Toughie 1909

Toughie No 1909 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I thought that this one was fairly gentle for a Micawber Toughie but as enjoyable as his puzzles always are. Thanks to him for the entertainment.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Routes finances dubiously, rendering liquid property (7,7)
SURFACE TENSION: we start with a straightforward anagram (dubiously) of ROUTES FINANCES.

10a Oil rig built with care (9)
LUBRICATE: … and another – anagram (rig) of BUILT and CARE.

11a Fantastic meal only 1p! (5)
SUPER: take a pee in the middle of a meal.

12a Resident retreat with one getting religion (7)
DENIZEN: string together a retreat or hideout, the Roman numeral for one and an Eastern religion.

13a Advocate system for counting votes of everyone? (6)
PREACH: stick together the abbreviation for an electoral system and a synonym for everyone.

15a Fuel energy found in animal dung? (4)
PEAT: insert the abbreviation for energy into a roundish lump of animal dung.

17a The setter’s punctilious nature pointlessly requiring permission (10) (on-line clue)
Micawber’s punctilious nature pointlessly requiring permission (10) (clue in paper)
IMPRIMATUR: assemble the contracted form of ‘the setter is’ (or Micawber is), an adjective meaning punctilious or finicky and the word ‘nature’ without both of its cardinal points.

18a Frightfully honest children in trouble (2,3,5)
ON THE SKIDS: an anagram (frightfully) of HONEST followed by an informal word for children. I always thought that the expression was derived from Skid Row but the consensus is that skids are the runners on a sled (giving the meaning of sliding downhill).

20a Revered figure‘s independent living allowance cut off (4)
IDOL: an abbreviation for independent and a living allowance paid by the state without its last letter.

22a Old North African upland area (6)
EXMOOR: charade of a prefix meaning old and a person of North-West African descent.

23a Husk of oats and bits of edible bran carried by horse? (7)
NOSEBAG: this is an all-in-one. Insert the outer letters of oats and the initial letters of ‘edible’ and ‘bran’ into an old horse.

26a Teacher turned hint of triumph into defeat (5)
TUTOR: put the first letter of triumph into an overwhelming defeat and reverse it all.

27a Albino mammal circling island for fish (9)
WHITEBAIT: join together an adjective meaning albino and a flying mammal containing an abbreviation for island.

28a Soldiers surrender, going over (14)
RECAPITULATION: the abbreviation for our army engineers is followed by a synonym for surrender.

Down Clues

2d Timeless headgear for old pope? (5)
URBAN: there have been eight of these popes but none since 1644. Remove the abbreviation for time from a type of headgear.

3d Call for temporary halt in painting (6)
FRIEZE: this sounds like a temporary halt (in wage rises, for example).

4d Ties up donkey? Camels may soon be exhausted if you do! (5-5)
CHAIN-SMOKE: a verb meaning ‘ties up’ and an informal word for a donkey. How’s this for a creepy advertisement?


5d Sentimental social media message one character short (4)
TWEE: an abbreviated social media message – so just 139 characters?

6d Number to play on guitar — Bad Medicine? (7)
NOSTRUM: an abbreviation for number followed by a verb to play a guitar.

7d Naughty child getting dental cast fixed (9)
IMPLANTED: our usual naughty child is followed by an anagram (cast) of DENTAL.

8d Source of luminance interrupting darkness between Norway, the tip of Russia and Sweden? (8,6)
NORTHERN LIGHTS: this is another all-in-one. Knit together a 3-letter abbreviation for Norway, THE and the first letter of Russia then insert the initial letter of luminance into a synonym for darkness. Finally append the IVR code for Sweden.

9d Seasoned old pros reject adopting current retro picture-sharing application (5,9)
SLIDE PROJECTOR: form an anagram (seasoned) of OLD PROS REJECT containing the symbol used in physics for electric current.

14d Cautious, self-righteous type, oddly not likable (10)
PRUDENTIAL: a self-righteous person or goody-goody is followed by the odd letters from ‘not likable’.

16d Finding inspiration difficult, perhaps, as with recurrent idea that’s lacking direction (9)
ASTHMATIC: join together AS and an adjective meaning ‘relating to a recurrent idea’ without the single letter that identifies a direction.

19d Attained maturity after putting back up with self-promotion (3-4)
EGO-TRIP: start with a phrase (3,4) meaning attained maturity and move the last letter (back) up to the top.

21d It’s rumoured fool kissed face (6)
ASPECT: this is a double homophone so we want what sounds like sounds like fool (3) and kissed perfunctorily (6).

24d Well done, coming ahead of Charlie! (5)
BRAVO: what precedes Charlie in a well-known alphabet?

25d Mug draws up (4)
SWOT: reverse a verb meaning draws or drags. Mug here is a verb (often followed by ‘up’).

I thought that both the all-in-one clues (23a and 8d) were excellent and I also liked 11a and 18a but my favourite was the amusing 4d. Which one(s) lit your bonfire?

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26 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lots to enjoy thank you Micawber. I agree with Gazza’s ratings. Thanks to both of you.

  2. Senf
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A very enjoyable puzzle, completed at a canter on my back pager speed scale so I will have to give it – */****.

    Joint favourites – 28a and 8d – long non-anagrams are always guaranteed to make the podium for me.

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  3. Una
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Best puzzle in a long time.I just loved it. Most of the clues were quite misleading at first and hence the fun of solving.
    I’ll nominate 18a as favourite.
    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  4. RayS
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent puzzle with good cluing albeit not too difficult today. BD’s ratings will do for me. Joint winners – 4d and 17a.

  5. happy days
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As always, an entertaining puzzle from Micawber. My favourite was the simple 24d. (Well done, coming ahead of Charlie!)

  6. Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Marvellous as usual from Micawber, requiring much less furrowing of brows than yesterday. (I think it would be rude to suggest, on a blog of Gazza’s, that perhaps the usual days of these setters should be swapped, but …)

    I agree with the comments of our reviewer and, having looked at his picks, could choose any one of them as favourite. I won’t look over the other clues again as it would risk making the list even longer.

    Many thanks to Micawber and Gazza. (I don’t think I want to watch the 15a video though.)

    • Gazza
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It would be far too disruptive to move Micawber from his usual Wednesday slot where he’s very comfortable and gets along well with Petitjean and enjoys the occasional visit from Elkamere. Giovanni, on the other hand, is obviously a Tuesday person …

      • Posted November 1, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

        :)

        (I’m not complaining — am very happy with Tuesdays. But midweek does get some real peaches.)

  7. Tony
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I very much enjoyed this puzzle. I was fortunate in getting the longer outside clues early on and the rest filled in nicely, albeit slowly. Many thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  8. Bellerophon
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    An entertaining puzzle – with several amusing red herrings – coming as a welcome relief after yesterday’s hard slog.

    17a was the pick of the bunch for me.

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza

  9. Goblinski
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable stuff. I concur with the blogger’s assessment!

  10. PLR
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As ever I am very happy to complete a toughie. However low the rating it takes me a long time to complete and the days that I do are few and far between. I like anagrams and especially the long ones like 1a and 9d but I will go with 17a for top clue.

  11. dutch
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Loads of fun, many thanks Micawber. LOI was 17a where I struggled with the spelling.

    Great start with excellent clues at 1a, 10a, 11a, etc…

    Particularly like 23a. Solid homophone at 21d and 19d was good as well. Plenty more.

    I bunged in the long anagrams before fully parsing them.

    Many thanks Gazza for an entertaining review.

  12. Sheffieldsy
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What excellent fun. Mrs Sheffieldsy wasn’t available yesterday or this morning so Mr Sheffieldsy did yesterday’s Toughie solo this morning. That must have been a good warm-up because, on Mrs Shefffieldsy’s return, we fairly cantered through most of this then found the last half dozen quite difficult. Overall, 2.5* /4*. We still have the back-pagers from Sunday to Monday inclusive to catch up on! Happy days.

    Liked very much the “liquid property” definition for 1a, the homophone 21d and the easy but make-you-smile 11a. Overall favourite, though, 23a.

    Thanks to Gazza and Micawber.

    Gazza, I think you have mixed part of the explanation into the the clue for 17a in your write-up.

    • Gazza
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m not sure what you mean about 17a. If you’re thinking that ‘nature’ shouldn’t be in the hint it is already in the clue so I can’t see the problem in using it in the hint.

      • Sheffieldsy
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Not that. The clue was “Micawber’s…..” which is not what appears in the write-up.

        • Gazza
          Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Ah – I suspect that the clue in the paper is different from that on-line (which is what I’ve used). I’ll add that to the blog. It will have been changed from ‘Micawber’ to ‘The setter’ on-line because the name of the setter is not readily apparent on-line.

          • Sheffieldsy
            Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

            We used the paper version today. Looks like your assumption is correct.

            • Gazza
              Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Thanks for letting me know.

  13. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the hints, Gazza. That was much easier than yesterday’s back-pager.

  14. Gazza
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Excalibur tomorrow.

  15. Shropshirebloke
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I couldn’t resist making a comment today if only bcause of the childhood memories that the YouTube clip at 15 across brought flooding back. We older kids had the good sense to stand further back leaving the younger ones in the belief they were about to see a ‘pretty one’. More to the point though . . . a very enjoyable crossword completed more or less by the pair of us solving half each. We usually find a Micawber puzzle quite hard to get our aging brains around, but today’s gave us much hope. Loved the back page one as well, but I’ll not add to the comments already made for that one.

  16. Jon_S
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thoroughly enjoyable, perhaps a little into *** for difficulty here. Last in 27ac where I convinced myself I’d be looking for some obscure albino animal, but well, I wasn’t!

  17. Oldkiwi
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great Puzzle….made me feel I had a brain again after yesterday’s effort. Favourite was 27 A on account of it being a N.Z. delicacy. A very scarce item now on account of the degradation of their spawning grounds and of the rivers by intensive dairy farming. The Fonterra motto being……..”Greed Conquers All”

  18. Expat Chris
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 3:22 am | Permalink | Reply

    Not too challenging for a toughie, and lots of fun. 4D was a good length ahead of the field at the finishing post. Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  19. Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    Only got round to solving this this morning. Great fun with 11across and 4down (particularly the latter) leaving me with a huge grin ….a very very long time ago I used to enjoy that particular brand.

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