Toughie No 1685 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
When I first scanned the clues I thought that this was going to be quite tricky but it all came together in good order and was really enjoyable, as always with Micawber. There seemed to be a lot of anagrams but I think that’s because four were clustered in consecutive clues – there are only six in total.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Elitist-leaning set? (14)
INTELLIGENTSIA – an anagram (set) of ELITIST-LEANING in an excellent all-in-one clue.
10a Old hands returned, mobbed by audience in island nation (4,5)
EAST TIMOR – reverse the abbreviation for old and an informal term for hands inside a word meaning audience or the act of hearing.
11a Nipper excessively slight, lacking inches (5)
TOOTH – start with a phrase (3,4) meaning excessively slight and take away the abbreviation for inches.
12a Study again about nonsense author’s written for ending (7)
RELEARN – string together a preposition meaning about or concerning, a well-known writer of nonsense verse and the end letter of written.
13a Good time girl of a type that may grow on one (6)
FUNGAL – charade of a word for a good time or enjoyment and an informal word for a girl.
15a Ultra-cold Double Diamonds (4)
ICED – a slang word for diamonds then the abbreviation for the card suit of that name. Double Diamond (apparently still brewed) was a heavily-advertised pale ale in the 1960s.
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17a Soldier gets stressed when mentioned in dispatches — put it in a different way (10)
PARAPHRASE – a flying soldier followed by what sounds like (when mentioned in dispatches) a verb meaning gets stressed or unravels.
18a Mafia bosses finding trade union slow to yield (10)
CAPITULATE – assemble a word, from Italian, for Mafia bosses, the abbreviation for trade union and an adjective meaning slow or unpunctual.
20a Don’t tell anyone bishop’s stashing bottles (4)
PSST – hidden (indicated by bottles) in the clue.
22a Band involved in hold-up storing paintings in Germany (6)
GARTER – insert another word for paintings in an abbreviation for Germany. I love ‘band involved in hold-up’.
23a A drink and a biscuit (7)
BOURBON – double definition.
26a Classical verse with injection of humour finally would be funny (5)
IONIC – if you insert the final letter of humour into the answer you get an adjective meaning funny or paradoxical.
27a Rob to achieve equal split after leaving wife (5,4)
BREAK INTO – start with a phrase (5,2,3) meaning to split or divide equally and remove the abbreviation for wife.
28a Veto bad nominee mistakenly named earlier (5-9)
ABOVE-MENTIONED – an anagram (mistakenly) of VETO BAD NOMINEE.
2d Beak’s not available on half pay (5)
NASAL – the abbreviation for ‘not available’ followed by the first half of a word for pay.
3d Catch up with spouse but back off (6)
ENTRAP – reverse (up with) a spouse without his or her last letter.
4d Noodle soup starter changing hands — food supplied is awful (10)
LAMENTABLE – we need a Japanese soup containing noodles (a word I’ve only ever come across in crosswords). We have to change its starting letter from R(ight) to L(eft) and then we have to add a word for food supplied or a spread.
5d Dress game up (4)
GARB – reverse a gambling card game.
6d Little Greek character put in nick (3,4)
NOT MUCH – insert the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet into a nick or incision.
7d Go on girl, put a drop of gin in it? (4,5)
SHOT GLASS – the answer is what you might serve gin or other spirits in and it’s a semi-all-in-one because the wordplay takes up the whole of the clue. Bring together a go or attempt and another word for girl then insert the initial letter (drop) of gin.
8d A badly loaded trunk, short side first — it’ll move as you walk (8,6)
ACHILLES TENDON – A is followed by a trunk or storage box containing an adverb meaning badly. After that we need a phrase (3-2) meaning ‘with the narrowest side first’.
9d Iran reacting to riots in strange land (5,9)
TERRA INCOGNITA – an anagram (riots) of IRAN REACTING TO gives a Latin term for unknown or unexplored land.
14d Animal feeding insects to mad hatter (10)
HARTEBEEST – insert some insects into an anagram (mad) of HATTER.
16d Language earns poet fans (9)
ESPERANTO – an anagram (fans) of EARNS POET.
19d React badly encountering lame, vacuous sentimentality (7)
TREACLE – our fourth consecutive anagram – this time one (badly) of REACT is followed by the outer (vacuous) letters of lame.
21d Gosh — unprincipled bird standing in for another (6)
CUCKOO – a somewhat dated expression of surprise (like gosh!) contains a bird without its principal letter.
24d Springiness not uniform in loaf (5)
BONCE – a word meaning springiness or elasticity loses the abbreviation for uniform.
25d Clever bishop dividing beer (4)
ABLE – put the chess abbreviation for bishop into a type of beer.
I really liked 1a, 20a, 6d and 7d but my favourite has to be 22a for the excellent definition. Which one(s) had you in stitches?