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.
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.
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?