Toughie No 1805 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
Getting a Micawber to blog on Wednesdays is always the highlight of the crossword week for me. This one was on the easier side but as enjoyable as ever (and it’s a pangram).
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared with the puzzle and what you thought of it.
1a After wine, Margaret’s one often found pinning a guy down (4,3)
TENT PEG – a red wine from Spain followed by one of the many diminutive names for someone called Margaret. What a brilliant definition!
In search from A to Z they passed,
And “Marguerita” chose at last;
But thought it sounded far more sweet
To call the baby “Marguerite.”
When grandma saw the little pet,
She called her “darling Margaret.”
Next uncle Jack and cousin Aggie
Sent cup and spoon to “little Maggie.”
And grandpapa the right must beg
To call the lassie “bonnie Meg.”
From “Marguerita” down to “Meg,”
And now she’s simply “little ***.”
5a Roll back restraining order mostly with which one might be taken for a ride (7)
PEDICAB – a bread roll is reversed and contains an order without its final letter.
9a Joe backing John for White House? (5)
IGLOO – reverse the abbreviation for the US serviceman known informally as Joe and add what the falsely-capitalised john is a slang word for across the pond.
10a Gave too much weight to column in print media? On the contrary (9)
OPPRESSED – put a collective term for the print media inside a newspaper column (2-2) expressing a personal opinion.
11a Conservative judge initially dismissing opening speech as opinion without proof (10)
CONJECTURE – string together an abbreviation for Conservative, the single-letter abbreviation for judge and a formal speech without its opening letter.
12a Plant right in bog (4)
FERN – insert an abbreviation for right into a bog or marsh.
14a Awfully patient with Girls Aloud? Very! (3-9)
EAR-SPLITTING – an anagram (awfully) of PATIENT and GIRLS.
18a Dumping half of book, abridged Pride and Prejudice — eviscerated, rewritten as explicit novel (6-6)
BODICE-RIPPER – start with just half of the word ‘book’ and add an anagram (rewritten) of PRID[e] and PRE[jud]ICE.
21a Cue to use butt of machine-gun in centre for interrogation (4)
QUIZ – start with the letter ‘cue’ and add the name of a sub-machine gun of Israeli origin with its last letter (butt) moved to the centre.
22a Graduate bouncing check promises to pay, refraining from excess (10)
ABSTEMIOUS – assemble the reversal of an arts graduate, a verb to check and promises to pay.
25a Tramp can retain terrible clothes (9)
ITINERANT – another word for a can is contained inside an anagram (terrible) of RETAIN.
26a Wound up mini grandfather clock at the back with two keys (5)
IRKED – the final letters of three words from the clue followed by two musical keys.
27a Pensioner perhaps runs away, trapped by contrary DIY bore (7)
YIELDED – someone of advanced age (pensioner perhaps) without the abbreviation for runs goes inside the reversal of DIY.
28a Grants immunity to former politician given time in case of egregiousness (7)
EXEMPTS – start with a prefix meaning former then insert our usual elected politician and the abbreviation for time into the outer letters of egregiousness.
1d End of tryst with enchanting woman produces involuntary response (6)
TWITCH – the last letter of twist and an enchanting woman.
2d Spoilt only son throwing away old hose (6)
NYLONS – an anagram (spoilt) of ONLY S[o]N without one instance of O(ld).
3d Origin of man? Start off in south-eastern France (10)
PROVENANCE – insert the word ‘man’ without its starting letter into a region in south-eastern France.
4d Look like the cat who got the cream, left surrounded by butter (5)
GLOAT – the abbreviation for left is surrounded by one that butts.
5d Mash rice mixed with core of apples as staple alternative? (5,4)
PAPER CLIP – start with a word for mash or soft food and follow this with an anagram (mixed) of RICE and [ap]PL[es].
6d Welsh water pressure’s down a long way (4)
DEEP – the name of a river which rises in Snowdonia is followed by the abbreviation for pressure.
7d Company restructured Times — changes primarily superficial (8)
COSMETIC – bolt together the abbreviation for company, an anagram (restructured) of TIMES and the primary letter of ‘changes’.
8d Banter‘s good when you’re young, by implication? (8)
BADINAGE – split your answer 3,2,3 and it could imply good when young.
13d Make more efficient power cable, getting round resistance (10)
STREAMLINE – join together a source of power and a synonym for a cable and insert the abbreviation for electrical resistance.
15d Sierra vineyard — dull, stunted plants here (9)
SCRUBLAND – concatenate the letter that Sierra is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet, a word from French for a vineyard and an adjective meaning dull or uninteresting.
16d Resignation statement penned by red after polling being all over the place (8)
UBIQUITY – insert a terse resignation statement (1,4) into a deep red colour without its first letter (after polling, i.e. cutting its top off).
17d Colouring maybe can be habit-forming if not caught (8)
ADDITIVE – an adjective meaning habit-forming without the cricketing abbreviation for ‘caught’.
19d Meg, being cryptic, to arrive unexpectedly (4,2)
ROCK UP – cryptically the answer could be signalling the reversal of a ‘meg’.
20d Words spoken on stage, for example on Caesar’s dying day (6)
ASIDES – a conjunction meaning ‘for example’ or ‘by way of illustration’ is followed by a day in the ancient Roman calendar.
23d Rank deed in book (5)
TITLE – triple definition, the second being a deed in law.
24d Grass object of hunt up (4)
REED – when reversed this is a creature hunted by the unspeakable.
I could list almost all of the clues as my top picks so I’ll have to be ruthless and restrict myself to 1a, 9a, 14a and 19d. Which one(s) exercised your chuckle muscles?