Toughie No 1773 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
It’s turning out to be a good week in Toughieland – Dada yesterday and Micawber today. I started off at a pedestrian pace with this one but speeded up in the home straight. My last answer was 15a where I needed all the checkers because I’d been thinking of some sort of palace. Good fun as always – thanks to Micawber.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared with the puzzle and what you thought of it.
1a Showy trick with light not suitable for all ages (10)
FLAMBOYANT – start with a trick or falsehood and add an adjective meaning light or cheerful without the letter used as a classification for films suitable for all ages. I didn’t know the word for trick.
6a Male politician’s a plant (4)
HEMP – combine a male pronoun and an elected politician.
9a Subject to endless selection (5)
TOPIC – TO and a selection without its last letter.
10a Having hatched plot ringing round, I left no doubt (4,5)
MADE PLAIN – a phrase meaning ‘hatched plot’ (4,4) contains I.
12a Judge applying law to old record is court’s ultimate arch manipulator? (13)
REFLEXOLOGIST – this is someone who manipulates one’s arches (or other parts of the feet). String together an abbreviated judge or arbiter, the Latin word for law, O(ld), a record or journal, IS and the ultimate letter of court.
14a It’ll provoke a reaction from smaller gentlemen (8)
ALLERGEN – hidden in the clue.
15a Tea approaching for audience in Sultan’s place (6)
BRUNEI – this sultanate sounds like words meaning tea (4) and approaching (4).
17a Divine drink breaking trance (6)
NECTAR – an anagram (breaking) of TRANCE.
19a Note, in distress I can sue for offence (8)
NUISANCE – N(ote) followed by an anagram (in distress) of I CAN SUE.
21a Immersion heater’s an ordeal (7,2,4)
BAPTISM OF FIRE – a religious rite involving immersion is followed by an adjectival phrase meaning “heater’s” i.e. relating to something that heats.
24a Determined Ben Gunn starts to dig incessantly all over the place (9)
UNBENDING – an anagram (all over the place) of BEN GUNN and the starting letters of D(ig) and I(ncessantly). Nice surface relating to the treasure-hunting cheese-loving sailor marooned on Treasure Island.
25a Terrible guillotine permitted (5)
AWFUL – chop the top off an adjective meaning permitted.
26a Ran and took shelter, conserving energy (4)
HIED – a verb meaning took shelter or holed up contains the abbreviation for energy.
27a Hit top note, returning after time without piano (10)
BESTSELLER – assemble an adjective meaning top or supreme, a period of time without the abbreviation for piano and the reversal of a note from tonic sol-fa.
1d Full English — the lot! (4)
FATE – an adjective meaning full or well rounded is followed by E(nglish).
2d Clothing engineers dressed in to shock (7)
APPAREL – insert the abbreviation for army engineers into a verb to shock.
3d Defensive line-up makes one spectate, perhaps (4-9)
BACK-FORMATION – spectate is an example of a word created from another word (in this case a verb from a noun) when normally one would expect the sequence to be the other way round. The answer, with a space rather than hyphen, could mean the defensive pattern adopted by a sports team.
4d PM coming up with ungrammatical statement of left-wing views created outcry (8)
YAMMERED – reverse the name of our current Prime Minister and add an ungrammatical statement claiming left-wing views (2,3).
5d Acknowledge refusal to put time into party (3,2)
NOD TO – a refusal followed by the inclusion of T(ime) in a festive party.
7d Denial by goalkeeper accused of letting balls in? Flipping excuse (7)
EVASION – reverse what could be a rebuttal by a goalkeeper of criticisms of his defensive capabilities (2,1,4).
8d Cut up United’s back three and rush inside wearing City kit? (10)
PINSTRIPED – reverse a verb to cut or trim and append the last three letters of United containing a verb to rush or move forcefully and rapidly.
11d Aspire to act, failing with realisation in the end? That’s about right (13)
PROCRASTINATE – I think that this is an all-in-one although I’m shilly-shallying as to whether the whole clue is a good definition of the answer. It’s an anagram (failing) of ASPIRE TO ACT and (realisatio)N containing an abbreviation for right.
13d Producer of wall-to-wall coverage getting grief over Trump’s inauguration runs into ex-president (10)
PAINTBRUSH – bring together a synonym for grief, the inaugural letter of Trump and the surname of an ex-president or two containing the abbreviation for cricketing runs.
16d Spooner’s Happy Meal’s a riot (3,5)
BUN FIGHT – Spooner might have said fun bite.
18d Practical old man splitting wire (7)
CAPABLE – put an affectionate term for one’s old man inside another word for wire or cord.
20d Knight heartlessly fuelled rioting with demands (7)
NEEDFUL – start with the chess abbreviation for knight and add an anagram (rioting) of FUE[L]LED without its central letter.
22d Crop rotation affecting north of US state (5)
MAIZE – a US state with the abbreviation for North within it rotated by 90 degrees.
23d Slight lack of clarity in articulation (4)
SLUR – double definition. The lack of clarity may result from going on a bender.
12a, 15a, 24a and 3d vied for favouritism but the laurels are awarded to 22d. Which one(s) provoked your admiration.