Toughie No 1833 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
Many thanks to Micawber for a fun-packed puzzle though if I hadn’t known the setter I might have guessed that it was by yesterday’s compiler, what with the food and music references and a few mad-hat clues. Having come across con, wet and dry in the answers I did wonder at one stage whether there was a Tory party theme but I think that it was just a coincidence.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Native American private eye tailing city guide (5)
AZTEC – an informal abbreviation for a private eye follows a city street guide.
4a Hopeful this composer performs after concert (9)
PROMISING – ‘this composer performs’ (1,4) comes after an abbreviated concert.
9a Try fruit flip (2,7)
GO BANANAS – a try or attempt and some fruit.
10a Crush journalists (5)
PRESS – double definition.
11a Head of Cosa Nostra supplanted by informer — it’s essentially nuts (7)
RATAFIA – Cosa Nostra is a (mainly US) term for a well-known international criminal organisation. Change its first letter to an informer or turncoat. The result is a biscuit made with almond essence.
12a May’em and trouble in fruit you slice open (7)
AVOCADO – fuse together another word for mayhem with the H dropped as in the clue and a synonym for trouble or fuss.
13a Cheers! Prohibitionist drinking whisky — it’s just for show (6)
TAWDRY – join together an informal word for cheers or thanks and a prohibitionist then insert the letter that whisky(?) represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet. The codeword is usually spelled whiskey rather than whisky.
15a Net fully loaded with ease (8)
FLUENTLY – an anagram (loaded) of NET FULLY.
18a Perhaps pirate broadcast silenced when it comes to receiver (8)
MUTINEER – this sounds like (broadcast) a phrase (4,2,3) meaning silent as far as the hearing organ is concerned.
20a Disturbance when father comes to conciliation service (6)
FRACAS – the abbreviation for a religious father is followed by the acronym for the UK organisation which provides a conciliation service to those involved in disputes between bosses and workers.
23a Incite outside right to provide support on the flank (7)
STIRRUP – a phrasal verb to incite contains an abbreviation for right.
24a Crime relating to handler (7)
OFFENCE – concatenate a preposition meaning ‘relating to’ and a handler (of hot goods).
26a Indian food author listened to by some (5)
RAITA – I’m glad that Micawber included the ‘by some’ in the clue because this Indian side dish doesn’t sound like an author to me (although it may to others).
27a Like legacy I wasted in the red (9)
INHERITED – start with the I and add an anagram (wasted) of IN THE RED.
28a A shortened cane attached to something blown up, full of hot air (9)
BOMBASTIC – A and a cane or rod without its last letter follow a device that gets blown up.
29a Composition of Sturmabteilung as initially reported (5)
ESSAY – the Sturmabteilung were the Nazi storm troops and the two initials by which they were known when pronounced (in English) sound like the answer here.
1d Sounds like former vithe-prethident’th ideology provides a means to solve problems (9)
ALGORITHM – this is how someone curthed with a lithp might pronounce an ideology held by Bill Clinton’s Vice-President.
2d Finish off mountain goat in between times in mountain region (5)
TIBET – drop the last letter of a mountain goat and put what remains between two instances of the abbreviation for time.
3d One typically staying green provided note of hesitation in support of Conservative (7)
CONIFER – a conjunction meaning provided and an expression of hesitation follow one of the abbreviations for Conservative.
4d Fan of loud music regularly skipped Bach (6)
PUNKAH – this Indian fan comes from a loud form of rock music followed by regular letters from Bach.
5d Something in the way former pupils win the ball, beginning to kick off (8)
OBSTACLE – charade of the abbreviation for former male pupils and a verb to win the ball without the first letter of kick.
6d Earnestly request playful fairy tales (7)
IMPLORE – fit together a playful or mischievous fairy and tales passed down through the generations.
7d Being the one whose turn it is, I castle desperately, having limited freedom to move (9)
INELASTIC – a description of someone currently having their turn with the bat is followed by an anagram (desperately) of I CASTLE. Cricket and chess references in the same clue – Rabbit Dave will be over the moon!
8d Blow one’s top with relish (5)
GUSTO – a verb to blow or flurry followed by the top letter of ‘one’.
14d One with judgment getting no credit over time (9)
WITTICISM – the definition here means a joke. The abbreviation for ‘with’ is followed by a judgement or evaluation without the abbreviation for credit but containing the abbreviation for time. I’m not keen on the use of over for a containment indicator in a down clue.
16d In the past, second person once strayed badly (9)
YESTERDAY – an old second person pronoun precedes an anagram (badly) of STRAYED.
17d Warning sign where booze is sold — beer contains about 14 per cent of alcohol(3,5)
WET PAINT – an adjective describing a place where alcohol is sold is followed by an informal term for draught beer containing one-seventh of the word ‘alcohol’.
19d Bliss of North American touring Ireland with camper? (7)
NIRVANA – the abbreviations for North and American bracket an abbreviation for Ireland and what a camper is an example of.
21d Official note on payment Her Majesty’s accepted (7)
REFEREE – a note from tonic sol-fa is followed by a payment or charge containing Her Majesty’s usual cipher.
22d Style acquired by unsophisticated person getting a trim (6)
GOTHIC – string together a verb meaning acquired and a derogatory term for an unsophisticated person or country yokel without his final letter.
23d Quietly stroke plant (5)
SHRUB – an order meaning ‘quietly!’ and a verb to stroke.
25d As, Bs, Cs, Ds, Fs or Gs? (5)
NOTES – split the answer 3,2 to get a ‘definition by omission’.
11a, 23a and 3d all finished strongly but first past the post was 1d. Which one(s) took pride of place on your betting slip?