Toughie No 1697 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Gazza
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty **/*** – Enjoyment ****
Thanks to Micawber for another very entertaining puzzle which is also a pangram (though a simple pangram does seem fairly unremarkable compared to Maize’s tour de force in last Saturday’s NTSPP – if you haven’t done it I do urge you to give it a go).
My anagram counter reached nine, which is unusually high for Micawber.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Young bird, showy and argumentative (10)
SQUABBLING – charade of a young pigeon and an adjective meaning showy or ostentatious.
6a Cast out random syllables (4)
SCAT – an anagram (out) of CAST.
9a Programme on computer arranging cabs when raining outside (7)
WEBCAST – because we (unlike our transatlantic cousins) differentiate between ‘programme’ and ‘program’ we can tell from the spelling that the answer here is a transmission rather than an app. It’s an anagram (arranging) of CABS with an adjective meaning raining around it.
10a One tampering with report on successful athlete? (7)
MEDDLER – this sounds like an athlete who’s finished in the top three.
12a Anything Goes put on in Japanese theatre captivates poet (2,5,6)
NO HOLDS BARRED – string together a traditional Japanese drama, a verb meaning captivates and a word for poet. Now insert (put … in) a preposition meaning on or concerning.
14a Colourful element in church, Catholic one (6)
CHROME – an abbreviation for church and a metonym for the Catholic Church.
15a He’s a kind, playful youth with not much up top? (8)
SKINHEAD – an anagram (playful) of HE’S A KIND.
17a Increase power when crossing river in this direction? (8)
UPSTREAM – this is a semi-all-in-one. Start with a verb to increase and add a type of power containing the abbreviation for river.
19a Attack, losing head in old-timers’ drinking bout (6)
ASSAIL – drop the first letter from an old word for a drinking bout.
22a This person’s acquiring beans, doing as Jack did with magic ones? (7-6)
IMPULSE-BUYING – what a superb clue! Split the answer 1’1,5,6 and the setter could be revealing that he’s acquiring beans. The BRB has the answer as two words rather than hyphenated.
24a Part of former band’s vague (7)
INEXACT – the answer could mean being a member of a defunct band if you split it 2,2,3.
25a Poor Melody, where d’you disappear to? (4,3)
THIN AIR – charade of an adjective meaning poor or meagre and a melody.
26a Former object of worship hurt after rejection (4)
EROS – reverse an adjective meaning hurt or in pain.
27a Tending to prove reckless, dive in late (10)
EVIDENTIAL – an anagram (reckless) of DIVE IN LATE.
1d Put together broadcast — broadcast news broadcast (4)
SEWN – there are two lots of wordplay here – a) a homophone (broadcast) of a past participle meaning broadcast or scattered and b) an anagram (broadcast) of NEWS.
2d Relatively courteous Pope’s hesitant expression (7)
URBANER – the name used by eight Popes followed by an expression of hesitancy.
3d Act as a friend and place undergarment over uncovered belly, that’ll prevent sunburn (5,8)
BEACH UMBRELLA – ‘act as a friend’ (2,1,4) followed by an undergarment containing the inner letters of belly.
4d Allow rises in stake as a recent thing (6)
LATELY – a verb to allow gets reversed inside a verb to stake or wager.
5d Desperately seek a man, e.g. one from Five Guys Named Moe? (8)
NAMESAKE – an anagram (desperately) of SEEK A MAN.
7d Rubbish coal fire, failing to start, produces small amount of heat (7)
CALORIE – an anagram (rubbish) of COAL [f]IRE.
8d Major, abandoning queen, was a turncoat? Flipping nonsense (10)
TARADIDDLE – an adjective meaning major or senior loses the Queen’s cipher and then we have a phrase (3,1,3) which could (just about) mean ‘was a turncoat’. Finally, reverse the lot.
11d Doctor aiding actions abroad (13)
DIAGNOSTICIAN – I initially thought that ‘doctor’ was going to be the anagram indicator but it’s actually ‘abroad’ with the fodder being AIDING ACTIONS.
13d Examine clubs in ruined sites journalist’s avoided after bombing (10)
SCRUTINISE – the abbreviation for the card suit clubs goes inside an anagram (after bombing) of RUIN[ed] SITES once the journalist has been removed.
16d Congratulations left to victor at the end of intricate puzzle (8)
MAZELTOV – the abbreviation for left, TO and the letter that Victor represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet all follow an intricate puzzle for this Jewish term used to express congratulations.
18d Leader‘s wrestling holds before (7)
SUPREMO – a type of wrestling contains a prefix meaning before. I’m not sure what the surface means.
20d Chinese captured by US soldier supporting a fellow Asian (7)
AFGHANI – a Chinese dynasty is contained inside a US soldier and that’s all preceded by A and the abbreviation for fellow.
21d Did project recalling some of last words after Julius (the lead character) died (6)
JUTTED – reverse the first two elements of the reputed last words of Caesar, precede them with the leading letter of Julius and follow them with the abbreviation for died.
23d Spoken for, a lover hides (4)
ORAL – as is often the case our final clue features a lurker.
There are loads of clues to like – I’ll restrict myself to listing 12a, 15a, 1d, 3d and 21d with 22a as the standout offering. Which one(s) had you rolling in the aisles?