Toughie No 1633 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****/*****
It’s always a joy to solve and blog a Micawber puzzle and this one is well up there in the enjoyment stakes. I thought that it was slightly trickier than his usual offerings but that’s possibly because my little grey cells are disappearing at an ever faster rate – do let me know if you agree.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a He cuts end off ponytail for party (8)
BARBECUE – someone who cuts (or styles) without his last letter is followed by a twist of hair at the back of the head.
6a After a short time, present something trifling (6)
MINNOW – the abbreviation for a short period of time and a noun meaning the present time.
9a Turn a rogue monkey out of Eastern temple (6)
PAGODA – string together A, a rogue or scoundrel and a monkey without its E(astern) then reverse the lot.
10a Poor cut-off country chap (8)
INDIGENT – an Asian country without its last letter is followed by a posh chap.
11a Picture of soup’s suitable (8)
PHOTOFIT – luckily for me we had this Vietnamese noodle soup (3) not too long ago. Add a phrase (2,3) meaning suitable.
12a Test one has as a driver (6)
MOTIVE – an annual test for elderly vehicles followed by ‘one has’ put into the first person and contracted.
13a They’ll stick up for ass hanging round yard for ages (7,5)
DONKEY’S YEARS – what stick up on an ass contain the abbreviation for yard.
16a Test for driver of high-speed train, about to turn back after money cut (12)
BREATHALYSER – I didn’t previously know the name of the high-speed train operator which operates in western Europe. Add the reversal of a preposition meaning about and precede it all with a slang word for money without its last letter.
19a Dollar and some change for perfumes (6)
SCENTS – the capital letter which forms the basis of the dollar sign is followed by some small coins.
21a Pour drink over insect (2,6)
BE MOTHER – an alcoholic drink goes round a nocturnal insect.
23a Cornish runner has argument, going up to high do? (8)
FALSETTO – charade of a Cornish river and an argument (3-2).
24a Business having abandoned diamonds (6)
OFFICE – split 3,3 this could mean having given up diamonds.
25a Bid to suppress beginnings of unresolved sexual tension, being faithful (6)
TRUSTY – a bid or attempt contains the beginnings of three words in the clue.
26a In capitalism, a niche is what may secure fortune (8)
TALISMAN – a lurker.
2d Start to yawn, following one way to show lack of interest (6)
APATHY – the starting letter of yawn follows one way (1,4).
3d Vessel hugging port in swell (5)
BLOAT – a vessel or craft contains the abbreviation for what port means on board.
4d Bird seen in seed containers by part of yard (9)
CHAFFINCH – a charade of seed containers or husks and 1/36th of a yard.
5d Note I spelt out? (7)
EPISTLE – a musical note followed by an anagram (out) of I SPELT.
6d Woman swinging both ways (5)
MADAM – … because she’s palindromic.
7d Garments wreathing around (9)
NIGHTWEAR – an anagram (around) of WREATHING.
8d Stuffed, I’ve room to eat end of chicken — I’m not a fussy eater (8)
OMNIVORE – an anagram (stuffed) of I’VE ROOM contains the end letter of chicken.
13d Set up system for measuring piece of music to help identification (9)
DIAGNOSIS – string together the abbreviation for the international system of units of measurement, a piece of vocal music and a verb to help – then turn it all upside down.
14d Greasy liquid that’ll help open troublesome door? (6,3)
SESAME OIL – cryptically what may have helped Ali Baba to open the entrance to the treasure cave.
15d Empower board member advising remotely from home (8)
ARMCHAIR – charade of a verb to empower or equip with a weapon and the short form of the title of the person who presides at board meetings.
17d Scientist may use this hair of the dog? (3,4)
LAB COAT – this could be the hair of a breed of dog. I have personal experience of the truth of the fact shown below.
18d No doubt graduate’s got to eat in (6)
BETCHA – an arts graduate contains a verb to eat or corrode.
20d Nutty chicken perhaps brooded forever (5)
SATAY – a verb meaning brooded (as a hen on her eggs) and an adverb meaning forever.
22d Head down in formal rows (5)
TIFFS – start with an adjective meaning formal or reserved and relegate the first letter to the bottom.
Perm any two from 13a, 21a, 23a, 25a, 8d, 15d for the runners-up places but my gold medal has to be awarded to 17d. Which one would you vote for in the leadership contest?