Toughie No 1757 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****/*****
Thanks to Micawber for another great puzzle – he never disappoints.
There is a note in the paper saying: ‘There Once was a Man With Six Wives: Our Kings and Queens in Limericks by Mick Twister, aka Micawber, is published tomorrow, available at books.telegraph.co.uk – a noble theme.’ If this is as funny as Mick’s previous book of limericks ‘There was an Old Geezer called Caesar‘ we’re in for a treat.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared with the puzzle and what you thought of it.
6a Americanism in original entertains stars (5,5)
CANIS MINOR – hidden in the clue.
8a Tenth player unable to play with tail? (4)
MANX – split the adjectival answer 3,1 to get player number ten.
10a Sole aim’s expression of gratitude (6)
PLANTA – stick together an aim or intention and an informal expression of gratitude to get a (new to me) word, from Latin, meaning the sole of the foot.
11a Science of selecting line abandoned after evolution (8)
GENETICS – I dithered as to whether this was a semi-all-in-one or not and ended up deciding that it was. It’s an anagram (after evolution) of SE[L]ECTING.
12a Good for France, imprisoning 1D singer (3,5)
BOB DYLAN – the French adjective for good contains what you get if you treat 1d as a reverse anagram.
13a I’ll assign roles in palace once line’s eradicated, right? (6)
CASTER – start with a palace like Windsor, delete the single-letter abbreviation for line and append R(ight).
15a Lacking substance, travel around island on fringes of Mauritius … (6)
FLIMSY – a verb to travel by air contains an abbreviation for island and the outer letters of Mauritius.
16a … or small island on fringes of northern archipelago (6)
ORKNEY – OR followed by a small low-lying island containing the single letter that appears at both ends of ‘northern’.
20a Harp on about one having lost Massachusetts and Pennsylvania in short order? (6)
ORPHAN – an anagram (about) of HARP ON. ‘In short order’ tells us to take the two-character abbreviations for the quoted US States.
23a Cow left to calve? (8)
OVERBEAR – charade of an adverb meaning left or remaining and a verb to calve or give birth to.
24a Restricting carbon is improving buildings (8)
EDIFICES – a verb meaning ‘is improving’ or educates morally or intellectually contains the chemical symbol for carbon. A bit Yoda-like?
26a Cakes consumed halfway up gum trees (6)
TUARTS – cakes or pastry-based comestibles contain half the word ‘up’. I didn’t know this word for the ‘Eucalyptus gomphocephala’ tree which is native to Western Australia.
27a Twister, perhaps, and what it’ll do (4)
WIND – double definition. Twister is an informal word for a destructive natural phenomenon which we are fortunate not to get in the UK. Twister is also one of Micawber’s alter egos – see my prologue.
28a Women’s groups in centre of Florida Sally’s ringing (10)
SORORITIES – the central three letters of Florida are inserted into a (falsely-capitalised) sally plus the ‘S.
1d Poor boy — lad’s shattered by fines (5,3)
BADLY OFF – an anagram (shattered) of BOY LAD followed by two occurrences of the abbreviation for fine.
2d Find his net seething with sardines? (6,4)
TINNED FISH – an anagram (seething) of FIND HIS NET.
3d I continue to complain, having yen for suffering (2,5)
IN AGONY – I continue to complain (1,3,2) followed by the abbreviation for the Japanese currency.
4d Satirical press report I see (6)
IRONIC – a verb to press and what sounds like ‘I see’.
5d Put out cryptic message indicating deadline’s passed? (4)
EMIT – think of what an exam invigilator may call out when you have to put down your pen.
7d Micawber getting terrible sales fever (7)
MEASLES – how Micawber refers to himself objectively followed by an anagram (terrible) of SALES. Normally in a clue like this the setter’s name in the on-line version will be replaced by ‘setter’ or similar to compensate for the fact that the setter’s name is not immediately apparent on-line.
9d Macaroni cheese extract finding limited market (5)
NICHE – the second lurker of the day.
14d Scours Sweden and Belgium to meet foot models (10)
SANDBLASTS – ‘Sweden and Belgium’ using the relevant IVR codes rather than the country names followed by the foot models used by cobblers.
17d Put energy into letter and post again (2-5)
RE-ENTER – insert the abbreviation for energy into a letter or leaser.
18d More bubbly? Answer in the affirmative, one’s getting hitched! (8)
YEASTIER – the single-letter abbreviation for answer goes inside an affirmative response. After that we need someone making a hitch or knot.
19d Monarch’s companion is right-wing type (7)
CONSORT – concatenate an abbreviation for a right-wing party and a synonym for type.
21d Lines from king on the second year of our Lord (5)
RADII – an abbreviation for king followed by how Romans may have written the second year of the Christian era.
22d Nut hollowed out and filled with desserts is extremely sweet (6)
NICEST – nut loses its central letter and what’s left contains some cold desserts.
25d Reduce short-term interest rate finally (4)
FADE – a short-term interest or temporary fixation followed by the final letter of rate.
As usual with Micawber I have to prune my list of top clues – I’ll just mention 8a, 3d, 5d, 19d and 25d – my favourite is 20a. How about you?