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Toughie 2006

Toughie No 2006 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

It’s not Groundhog Day – you’re getting a double dose of me this week because Bufo is otherwise engaged. It’s never a chore to blog a Micawber puzzle and this one is very enjoyable but fairly gentle.

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

Across Clues

1a Arrive to collect missing centrepiece, and something it could go on in snug (11)
COMFORTABLE: a phrasal verb meaning ‘arrive to collect’ loses its central letter and that’s followed by something a centrepiece might be displayed on.

7a Express indifference towards quiet runner? (5)
SHRUG: charade of an order to be quiet and a runner or strip of carpet.

8a Perhaps flat round ordinary rods (9)
DOWELLING: what a flat is an example of contains the abbreviation for ordinary.

10a Knock down property that’s the first in its block in double figures? (7)
FLATTEN: split the answer 4,3 to get the lowest numbered property in a block requiring two digits on its front door. I wonder whether the clue number is just a coincidence?

11a Judge you and me et al in process of declining (7)
REFUSAL: string together an abbreviated judge or match controller, a pronoun meaning you and me and AL.

12a Rule westerly part of Tangiers (5)
REIGN: reversed (westerly) in the clue. The English name for the Moroccan port is spelt Tangier, not Tangiers.

13a Upright piano parts stolen, we suspect (5,4)
NEWEL POST: the musical abbreviation meaning piano goes inside an anagram (suspect) of STOLEN WE.

16a To show respect, head of government cast vote for keeping rejected amusement (9)
GENUFLECT: the first letter of Government and a verb meaning ‘to cast a vote for’ contain the reversal of a synonym of amusement or enjoyment.

18a It’s salty and impertinent, in essence, having a comeback (5)
NITRE: reverse the central letters of impertinent.

19a Corrupted a great society — it’s enough to make you weep (4,3)
TEAR GAS: an anagram (corrupted) of A GREAT followed by the abbreviation for society.

22a Instrument breaking into jaunty air in Italian course (7)
RAVIOLI: an old stringed instrument gets inserted into an anagram (jaunty) of AIR.

23a In irrational optimism, invest billion in plant (9)
EUPHORBIA: insert the abbreviation for billion into a word for a feeling of optimism or happiness. I wasn’t aware that this was irrational but Chambers describes it as ‘especially irrational or groundless’.

24a Bats circling (5)
LOOPY: double definition, the first meaning a bit doolally.

25a League clubs formed of any creed (11)
CONFEDERACY: the abbreviation for the card suit Clubs followed by an anagram (formed) of OF ANY CREED.

Down Clues

1d Country estate perhaps first in bloom (9)
CARNATION: a word for a country or state is preceded by what an estate is an example of.

2d Description exposing fake jewel put up for quite a few pounds (7)
MEGATON: reverse the answer and split it 3,1,3.

3d Big guns embracing introduction of international regulation (9)
ORDINANCE: a word for big guns or artillery contains the first letter of international. Rather an old chestnut.

4d One drawing building (5)
TOWER: double definition, the first being something that draws or pulls (a tugboat, for example).

5d Malignant contents of package? (7)
BALEFUL: cryptically this word could describe all the contents of a package or bundle.

6d Online images perhaps for major stories (5)
EPICS: as 1-4 these could be online images.

7d One fighting for rights — urge staff to revise note (11)
SUFFRAGETTE: an anagram (to revise) of URGE STAFF followed by a note from tonic sol-fa.

9d To perform redundant beauty treatment, I’ll dye light bristles (4,3,4)
GILD THE LILY: an anagram (bristles, in the sense of seethes) of I’LL DYE LIGHT.

14d Lock, perhaps, that was broken by journalists in DC (9)
WATERGATE: when split into two words the answer could describe a lock (on a canal).

15d Accepted view of forerunner of Seventies Music contains the odd loose ends (9)
ORTHODOXY: the abbreviation for ‘of’ is followed by the word that precedes Music in the name of an English rock band of the 1970s. Now insert TH[e] OD[d] without their last letters (having loose ends).

ARVE Error: need id and provider

17d Voice of loudmouth warning of nebulous threat (7)
FOGHORN: double definition, the second a warning signal to ships (no longer needed much these days due to modern navigational aids). I do like ‘nebulous threat’.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18d New love blossoming — the French story (7)
NOVELLA: N(ew) followed by an anagram (blossoming) of LOVE and a French definite article.

20d Cleo’s killer caught after I clear stuff pork pies may conceal? (5)
ASPIC: bring together what killed Cleopatra, I and the cricket abbreviation for caught.

21d Colloquially it’s a drag, losing old sword (5)
SABRE: another abbreviation for what is colloquially known as ‘it’ is followed by another word for a drag or tiresome thing without the abbreviation for old.

My podium hosted 10a, 2d and 17d. Which one(s) were you partial to?

11 comments on “Toughie 2006

  1. Oh how annoying – I’d even got the right 8a flat and still didn’t get there. Just call me 24a!
    Got myself a little tangled up with 15d but eventually got it – what a complex clue.

    Quite liked 6d but my favourite was 17d – like Gazza, I really enjoyed the ‘nebulous threat’.

    Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the overtime – usual rates, I presume?

  2. I very much enjoyed this. I got 1d and 7d early on and everything flowed nicely from there. 15d was my last in – I got it from the definition, but I was not familiar with the group and I needed Gazza’s explanation to piece it all together. My vote is 2d for favourite. Many thanks to Micawber, and deja-vu Gazza.

  3. This didn’t take me two years to solve, but it was very enjoyable indeed. A bit less tough that the others this week for me, but then I do seem to be on Micawber’s wavelength.

    The possibly exception was in the parsing of 15d, which I worried over for a bit before eventually getting there. Still, I’d agree with Gazza’s rating. Can’t pick a favourite.

    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

    1. I have the ‘two year’ puzzle in front of me with a handful left to work out. No more difficult than an average Toughie really.

      Some corkers, some about which Prolixic could write an essay, no doubt. Good fun though.

      ‘Six months’ for ‘ye’ amused amongst others. Recommended.

      1. Chris Lancaster has just been on local radio talking about that as well as the history of Telegraph crosswords. The catch-up link is here. He’s about half an hour in.

  4. A couple that took a bit of time to sort out the parsing. These were 1a and 21d, but we eventually got them sorted. Seeing the setter is Micawber always elicits an “Oh goodie” from us and he never disappoints. Good fun all the way through.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  5. Great fun, but like Jane I spent an age trying to parse 15d , Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  6. Enjoyable as Micawber reliably is, and as noted perhaps on the gentle side. My last few in were up in the NE corner, probably because I tried every possible substitute for “ordinary” apart from the one I needed at 8ac. 15d I never did manage to parse.

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