Toughie No 1649 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****/*****
More often than not Micawber Toughies appear on Wednesdays which means that I’m a lucky blogger. This one is as entertaining as usual. I found the top half easier than the bottom, though my misreading of the 9d clue probably contributed to that.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Child catching more than half of city’s fish (6)
TURBOT – a young child contains three-fifths of an adjective meaning “city’s”.
4a Organised workers’ survey of Italian region (6)
TUSCAN – the abbreviation for a workers’ organisation followed by a verb to survey or scrutinise.
8a Agent taking one pound from sum received by actors (8)
CATALYST – a sum or total without one of its abbreviations for a pound sterling goes inside (received by) a group of actors.
10a Politician entering TV Centre for Songs of Praise? (6)
TEMPLE – our usual elected politician goes inside an informal word for TV.
11a Country without any trace of culture? (4)
GERM – remove ‘any’ from the name of a country. What an amusing surface!
12a Musicians making an impact by swearing interminably about nothing (10)
PERCUSSION – a preposition meaning ‘by’ followed by an informal synonym for swearing without its last letter and containing ‘nothing’.
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13a Seedy haunt in which, after time, I turn marauder (6,3,3)
ATTILA THE HUN – an anagram (seedy) of HAUNT contains T(ime), I and a verb to turn by machine.
16a There’s no going back after this — it’s where you put your hand in your pocket! (7,5)
TIPPING POINT – cryptically this could be the moment when you show your generosity to someone who’s done you a service.
20a Bird, one moving round capital (10)
BUDGERIGAR – someone moving or changing position contains a Baltic capital.
21a Ring Christopher’s friend back (4)
HOOP – reverse a friend of young Christopher Milne.
22a Setter’s regrettably rejected sausage (6)
SALAMI – combine a contracted form of ‘the setter is’ in the first person and an adverb meaning regrettably then reverse it all. Today’s old chestnut.
23a To calibrate study’s fair (8)
READJUST – charade of a verb to study and an adjective meaning fair or equitable. Should the definition not be ‘recalibrate’?
24a Come out of European Union right away? (6)
EMERGE – the abbreviation for European followed by a union or convergence without its final R(ight). Brilliant surface!
25a To eat in bed, lie awkwardly (6)
EDIBLE – an anagram (awkwardly) of BED LIE.
1d Burlesque effort involving a piece of underwear (8)
TRAVESTY – an effort or attempt contains A and an item of underwear.
2d Speciality of half of Spanish footballers (5)
REALM – the first five letters of the name of a Spanish football team.
3d Old play I’m adapting in classical setting (7)
OLYMPIA – the abbreviation for old followed by an anagram (adapting) of PLAY I’M.
5d Remorse after abandoning initial attempt to catch whopper (7)
UNTRUTH – an old word for remorse or pity follows a verb meaning chase or attempt to catch without its initial letter.
6d Is left economist misrepresented? (5,4)
COMES INTO – an anagram (misrepresented) of ECONOMIST.
7d Columnist channels online content (6)
NELSON – our one and only lurker.
9d Burns right for one giving sentimental performance (5,6)
TORCH SINGER – I would probably have got this one faster if I hadn’t initially misread the first two words as ‘Burns night’ (must go to Specsavers). We need two verbs meaning to burn followed by R(ight).
14d Come together in Spain after goal upset (9)
INTEGRATE – string together IN, a goal or objective reversed and the IVR code for Spain.
15d Beneficiary of drone flying over Vatican? (8)
ENDORSEE – an anagram (flying) of DRONE followed by what the Vatican is an example of.
17d Short news item perhaps — Elvis occupying space? (7)
PARKING – a short written news item without its final A is followed by the name by which Elvis is known.
18d One supervising submerged navy swimmer (7)
GURNARD – I knew that I’d come across this fish before and, sure enough, a bit of googling revealed that it was an answer in Toughie 1573 by Petitjean which I blogged earlier this year when I wrote: I didn’t know this bottom-dwelling fish but it sounds quite interesting. It has six finger-like appendages which it uses to explore the bottom of the sea for food, which make it look as though it’s walking along the bottom. It’s a supervisor or custodian with the abbreviation for our senior service inside it.
19d Get old faster, perhaps, with loss of power (6)
OUTAGE – cryptically this could be a verb to get old faster than someone or something else.
21d Cloth with which to cover onion bhaji when cooked (5)
HIJAB – an anagram (when cooked) of BHAJI. Onion is a slang term for the head.
As always with Micawber it’s a question of deciding which clues to leave out of my ‘likes’ rather than which ones to include. I’ll give honourable mentions to 10a, 16a, 9d, 19d and 21d but my favourite (for the surface reading) has to be 24a. Which one(s) got you going?