Toughie No 1669 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
In the last three Wednesdays we’ve had Toughies from Dada, Elkamere and Micawber. It would suit me fine if that sequence were to be repeated ad infinitum. This one is very much at the less exacting end of Micawber’s spectrum but witty and enjoyable as always.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Missile launch reported in coastal plant (8)
SAMPHIRE – charade of the acronym for a type of armed missile and what sounds like a verb to launch or shoot.
5a Hit in street fight (6)
STRUCK – the abbreviation for street and a slang word for a fight.
9a What’ll brighten up the room — pale daffodil, perhaps (5,4)
LIGHT BULB – string together an adjective meaning pale or whitish and what a daffodil is an example of.
11a Kids matter (5)
ISSUE – double definition (somewhat chestnutty).
12a Poor quality wood used in test (6)
TRASHY – insert a type of wood into a verb to test or check out.
13a Praise from a spymaster upon cypher being broken by secondary characters in Bletchley Park (8)
ACCOLADE – start with A and the letter traditionally used to identify the head of MI6 then insert the second letters of Bletchley and Park into a cypher.
15a Bird pursues mite that’s found in cherry? (8,5)
COCKTAIL STICK – join together a male bird, a verb meaning pursues or dogs and a small mite or parasite.
18a Corrupt old earl’s hanging round outside toilet for minister (4,5,4)
LORD PRIVY SEAL – we’ve had this minister from Micawber before (in Toughie 536) when he clued it as ‘God can confirm minister (4,5,4)’. Here it’s an anagram (corrupt) of OLD EARL’S containing a word for an outside toilet. LOL – same old goings-on at Westminster then.
22a Short-term employment around Thailand’s capital is attractive (8)
TEMPTING – the activity of a non-permanent office worker contains the capital letter of Thailand.
23a Call big meeting on replacing it (6)
SUMMON – start with an important conference of heads of government then obey the last three words of the clue.
26a Dog that’ll guide one in mountains? (5)
CAIRN – double definition, the second a mound of stones on a hilltop used as a landmark.
27a Abysmal article in French paper (9)
CHRONICLE – charade of an adjective meaning abysmal and a French definite article.
28a What you do when sailing past Gib became apparent (6)
SEEMED – split the answer 3,3 and this is what you may do when sailing past Gibraltar (but only when travelling eastwards).
29a Cast who boast are theatrically ostentatious (8)
SHOWBOAT – an anagram (cast) of WHO BOAST.
1d Lost cities heartlessly demolished, a turning point (8)
SOLSTICE – an anagram (demolished) of LOST CI[ti]ES.
2d Soft rock publication mostly reproduced (5)
MAGMA – start with an informal word for a publication and add most of the same word again.
3d Statement of obvious success (7)
HOTSHOT – if you split the answer 3’1,3 you get a statement of the obvious which adds little to our understanding (a bit like ‘Brexit means Brexit’).
4d Thoroughly beat flour and butter for variable time (4)
ROUT – a mixture of flour and butter used in the making of sauces has its algebraic variable replaced by the abbreviation for time.
6d One of three Mediterranean cities featured on radio three times? (7)
TRIPOLI – the name of three Mediterranean cities (in Libya, Lebanon and Greece) sounds (a bit) like an adverb meaning three times.
7d Regularly furnish singular ‘hair of the dog’ for free (9)
UNSHACKLE – the even letters of ‘furnish’ are followed by a single instance of the hairs on a dog’s back which rise as a sign of excitement or aggression.
8d Again look up custodian of the net (6)
KEEPER – reverse a verb to look again.
10d Hide money with family (8)
BUCKSKIN – an informal word for money in various countries (including the USA) followed by a term for family.
14d Man’s fear of Latin? (8)
HISPANIC – a possessive adjective (man’s) and a word for fear or great alarm.
16d Flower display in emo club (9)
COLUMBINE – an anagram (display, in the sense of ‘set out’) of IN EMO CLUB.
17d Noisy, mean chap (8)
PLANGENT – charade of a verb to mean or intend and a posh chap.
19d Entourage always holding one up (7)
RETINUE – a poetic form of ‘always’ contains a word for the number one. Now reverse the lot (up).
20d Saying ‘Why, oh… Britain these days!’ is a conversational filler (3,4)
YOU KNOW – string together the letters that sound like why and oh, the abbreviation for our country and an adverb meaning these days or at the present time.
21d Remains in talked-about underworld location (6)
STICKS – this sounds like the name of a mythological river in Hades.
24d Coded instruction from a crossword’s setting (5)
MACRO – our one and only hidden word.
25d Main part of foot (4)
ARCH – double definition, the first used as a prefix to mean principal.
I’ll pick out 15a, 3d and 20d but my favourite, for the funny surface, is 18a. Which one(s) had you in stitches?