Toughie No 1893 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****/*****
I found this one a bit trickier than we normally get from Micawber (possibly because several of the words were new for me) but it’s really enjoyable as his puzzles always are. I pretty much solved the puzzle from the bottom up – I quite often find that it’s easier to start at the bottom, especially in the SE corner.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Rolls perhaps stuffed in apron for baker’s helper? (6)
BICARB – what a Rolls is an example of goes inside a sort of apron or protective garment.
4a Spirit that’s not United aficionado’s shout! (8)
VIVACITY – bearing in mind the intense rivalry among football fans in Manchester this (when split 4,4) is not what you’d expect to hear from the home supporters at Old Trafford.
9a Insect‘s extremities grasping ends of hair (6)
THRIPS – I didn’t know this little black insect which can be a serious pest to flowers and food plants. Another word for extremities (not ‘toes’ which was my first thought) contains the outer letters of hair.
10a Inspect over stern after docking by ships carrying earth (8)
REASSESS – a word for the stern or back end without its last letter is followed by two abbreviated ships with, between them, the abbreviation for earth.
11a It’s a bloomer to rent electronic instrument, some might say (8)
HYACINTH – to some (but not to me) this could sound like a phrase (4,5) meaning to rent an abbreviated electronic instrument.
13a Trendy outfit — sick! (6)
INFIRM – stick together an adjective meaning trendy and an outfit or company.
15a Tick to show belief in story (6,7)
CREDIT ACCOUNT – a verb to believe or trust is followed by a story or report.
18a Excerpt from film by snapper, one making connections on circuit (9,4)
CROCODILE CLIP – a short sequence from a film follows a large predator with lots of teeth.
22a Lack of b-booze in cup (6)
NOGGIN – start with a phrase (2,3) indicating that the mother’s ruin has run out then double the first letter of the booze to get what the BRB describes as a small mug or wooden cup (new to me).
24a Source of timber in conversion of barn and home (8)
HORNBEAM – a straightforward anagram (conversion) of BARN and HOME gives us a deciduous tree (another word that I didn’t know).
26a Drawing lots of airmen at dance (8)
RAFFLING – concatenate the abbreviation for our fighting airmen and a Scottish dance.
27a Subtlety is lost in pain (6)
NUANCE – remove IS from a pain or pest.
28a Severe or twisted boss (8)
OVERSEER – an anagram (twisted) of SEVERE OR.
29a Gold rated competitor at Chelsea? (6)
ORCHID – join together our usual heraldic tincture of gold and a dated verb meaning rated or berated.
1d I’ll lay money on that airline accepting cut (6)
BETCHA – an airline contains a verb to cut artistically.
2d Starter motor damage avoided in fall in river (9)
CARPACCIO – start with a motor (the same one that we have in the crossing 1a) then add an Italian river containing the first half of what a fall or trip (8) can be after you remove a verb to damage or diminish.
3d Cloth cap’s a nasty piece of work (7)
REPTILE – charade of a type of cloth and a slang term for a cap or hat.
5d Stare at ‘Posh chap’ said to be mountain climber? (4)
IBEX – LOL! We need two homophones here. The first is a sound-alike of a verb to stare at and the second sounds like the popular nickname used for the husband of the woman known as ‘Posh’.
6d As Wenger, finish off in charge (7)
ARSENIC – the first name of football manager Monsieur Wenger without its last letter is followed by the abbreviation for ‘in charge’. If you’re unsure about the definition here pay attention to this clip:
7d Freeze coverage scheme for old Brits (5)
ICENI – a verb to freeze is followed by the abbreviation for the monetary contributions made by UK workers and employers which was originally devised as an insurance against sickness and unemployment but which these days is regarded as just another tax.
8d Casual greeting by Middle Easterner in US park (8)
YOSEMITE – a casual greeting (once famously used by George Bush to Tony Blair) is followed by someone from the Middle East, in particular an Arab or a Jew.
12d Fool attaining 51 gets gloomy (6)
TWILIT – an informal name for a ‘silly billy’ contains the Roman numeral for 51.
14d Peer and bishop getting over viewpoint in garden? (6)
GAZEBO – a verb to peer or look intently is followed by the chess abbreviation for bishop and the cricketing abbreviation for over.
16d Match official with clout taking number — the latest in a long line (9)
UMPTEENTH – start with an informal (mainly North American) abbreviation for a match official (in cricket or tennis, for example) and add a metaphor for clout or effective influence containing an abbreviation for number.
17d Scheme succeeded — head honcho controls Asian state after revolution (8)
SCENARIO – the abbreviation for succeeded is followed by the 3-letter abbreviation for a head honcho containing the reversal of an Asian country.
19d Fliers‘ oil rose in exchanges (7)
ORIOLES – an anagram (in exchanges) of OIL ROSE.
20d Sloth and monkey hiding love (7)
LANGUOR – hide the letter that resembles a score of love inside a long-tailed monkey.
21d Threaten naughty child’s rear (6)
IMPEND – split 3,3 this could be a naughty child’s rear.
23d 28 finishing early is a mistake (5)
GAFFE – a synonym for 28a without its last letter.
25d Joint king born female (4)
KNEE – the chess or bridge abbreviation for king and a word meaning ‘born’ which precedes a woman’s maiden name.
There are too many fine clues to list them all so I’ll restrict myself to 4a, 29a, 3d, 6d and 16d but my runaway favourite has to be the guffaw-inducing 5d. Which one(s) tickled you?