Toughie No 2057 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
I didn’t have any significant problems with this one which gave me plenty of time to enjoy it. Thanks to Micawber for the customary high quality puzzle.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Judge, a right attack dog? (7)
ARBITER: string together A, R(ight) and what an attack dog may be.
5a Hold me back, facing two of them! (7)
EMBRACE: reverse ‘me’ and add a word meaning a couple. I presume the surface is referring to the previous clue’s attack dog.
9a Former monarch and family entering Nordic parliament in creative approach to problem (7,8)
LATERAL THINKING: start with an adjective meaning former or deceased and the single-letter abbreviation for monarch then insert a word meaning family into the anglicised name of the Icelandic parliament (which we had as recently as 3 weeks ago in Toughie 2045).
10a Film star informally getting share of meagre takings (5)
GRETA: hidden in the clue. Micawber could be referring to Ms. Scacchi but it’s more likely to be the Swedish actress who desired solitude.
11a Substitute gets wicket after county’s last pair out for duck (9)
SURROGATE: another word for a wicket (not the stumpy one but a means of ingress or egress) follows one of the Home Counties with its last two letters replaced by the duck-resembling character.
12a One-piece swimming gear in seaside surroundings (9)
DUNGAREES: an anagram (swimming) of GEAR goes into seaside mounds.
14a Expressed satisfaction with 0-0, held after goal finally ruled out (5)
OOHED: start with two zero-like letters and add ‘held’ after removing the final letter of goal.
15a Grub used to catch small perch (5)
ROOST: a verb to grub (like a pig searching for truffles) contains the abbreviation for small.
16a Like rocket lacking oil and not in gear (9)
UNDRESSED: double definition – this rocket might be part of your lunch (if you’re unlucky).
18a Paradise has crumbled, with wrath endlessly intruding (7-2)
SHANGRI-LA: an anagram (crumbled) of HAS contains an adverb meaning ‘with wrath’ without its last letter.
21a Genet, Cocteau etc put these on (5)
JEANS: what have Messieurs Genet and Cocteau in common? Our very own Monsieur Cheval could be another distinguished member of this group.
22a Three times a critical time for action turned into meaningless chatter (5,5,5)
YADDA YADDA YADDA: put together A and a critical time for action (in June 1944) then reverse that and repeat it twice.
23a Most of team having ace time stuck in lift (7)
ELEVATE: another word for a football or cricket team without its last letter contains abbreviations for ace and time.
24a Got new shades again, conserving energy, showing the effects of a bad night? (3-4)
RED-EYED: a verb meaning changed shades or colours once more contains the abbreviation for energy.
1d Bad deal limiting support, it’s claimed (7)
ALLEGED: an anagram (bad) of DEAL containing a support.
2d Don’t tell anyone — like most of the characters in Youth Training Scheme (7,3,3,2)
BETWEEN YOU AND ME: where do the fourteen inside letters of ‘Youth Training Scheme’ appear?
3d Rent to collect on paintings? (4,5)
TORE APART: rent here is the past tense of the verb to rend. Cement together TO, a verb to collect or gather in and another word for paintings.
4d Means of transport requiring some bread (5)
ROLLS: double definition – the means of transport is a posh one.
5d Out there playing with struggling side (9)
ETHERISED: an anagram (playing) of THERE followed by a second anagram (struggling) of SIDE.
6d Jack propping up bar with old instrument (5)
BANJO: the abbreviation for Jack in card games follows a verb to bar. We finish with the abbreviation for old.
7d Unknown supporting partner seeding man with rail rolling stock business (6,9)
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY: a mathematical unknown follows a male partner who is inside (seeding) an anagram (rolling) of MAN and RAIL.
8d Intellectual dispute raged as to whether this was big or little end (7)
EGGHEAD: In Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels the disputes between the peoples of Lilliput and Blefuscu concerning which end of the breakfast food item should be uppermost were a satire on the petty ideological differences on religion between Britain and France. If Swift were alive today I wonder what his take would be on the President of the USA or whether he’d consider him to be beyond satire.
13d Poor clue the setter’ll need time to clear up (9)
ELUCIDATE: weld together an anagram (poor) of CLUE, the subjective pronoun used by the setter and a period of time.
14d Finished with little woman you’d once made ecstatic (9)
OVERJOYED: assemble an adverb meaning finished, one of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and an old form of “you’d”.
15d Make over balance diocese raised (7)
RESTYLE: start with a word for balance or remainder and append the reversal of a diocese in Cambridgeshire.
17d Split up police officers’ union (7)
DISBAND: charade of an abbreviation for senior detectives and a word for a union or group.
19d Mounted a horse, when astride beginning to hack in the country (5)
GHANA: reverse A and an old horse and insert the first letter of hack.
20d Serpentine sunbather in summer? (5)
ADDER: this sinuous creature likes to lie in the sun. Cryptically it might be good at doing sums.
I have ticks all over my printout including next to 11a, 22a, 8d, 14d and 20d but pride of place goes to 2d. Do let us know which clue(s) received your plaudits?