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Toughie 2483

Toughie No 2483 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment ****

Micawber on a Wednesday – wow, it’s just like old times. Today he’s given us a puzzle which is very gentle with a few ‘old friends’ but chock full of beautifully crafted clues – I felt like Oliver Twist when I’d finished solving it.

Many thanks to Micawber for the enjoyment and to our editor for restoring him to his rightful day of the week.

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

Across Clues

1a Car‘s purpose — at root to do with self, in the first place (10)
AUTOMOTIVE: a purpose or reason follows a root word or prefix (from Greek) meaning ‘related to self’.

6a Do Burberrys over? (4)
SCAM: reverse the sort of garments that Burberry makes, although I suspect that being a ‘posh’ company they’d prefer to use a more upmarket term.

9a It takes skill to go after king and steal ornament (5-5)
KNICK-KNACK: a synonym for skill or gift follows the chess abbreviation for king and an informal verb to steal.

10a Type of oven that’ll take large pastry dish (4)
FLAN: insert the clothing size abbreviation for large into a type of oven.

12a After setback, I’ll bandage left eye up (4)
OGLE: reverse the Latin word for I and insert the abbreviation for left.

13a Draws must follow panel’s arrangement for how they can be settled (9)
PENALTIES: a method of deciding the result of a football match after extra time if it’s still a draw comes from a synonym of draws following an anagram (arrangement) of PANEL.

15a Broadcast: ‘Beer is man’s best friend‘ (8)
AIREDALE: charade of a verb meaning broadcast or transmitted and a type of beer.

16a You say you are certain inside, his rates are extortionate? (6)
USURER: what sounds like ‘you are’ with an adjective meaning certain inside.

18a Party winning masses over has source of power (6)
DYNAMO: a festive party contains the reversal of a word meaning masses or lots.

20a Free on bail — it means celebratory drink (8)
LIBATION: an anagram (free) of ON BAIL IT.

23a Group of youngsters pester antisocial character (9)
LITTERBUG: combine a group of young animals and an informal verb to pester.

24a Fellow that’s used by smugglers? (4)
COVE: double definition, the first a dated informal word for a man.

26a Does mate with one resist? (4)
BUCK: another double definition – ‘does’ here is a noun not a verb.

27a Royal family’s survival after removal of head of government by Scotsman (10)
HANOVERIAN: remove the first letter of Government from a word meaning survival or relic and follow that with a common name for a Scotsman. We never covered this period at school because our rather eccentric history master strongly maintained that there was no British history after 1714 – everything after that date was current affairs.

28a Slash is central to this band that’s current (kind of) (4)
ACDC: insert a slash or solidus in the centre of the answer to get both an Australian band and a type of current. After listening to said band I’ve decided not to inflict them on you.

29a Put in prison hulk for training (10)
INTERNSHIP: glue together a verb to put in prison and what a hulk is.

Down Clues

1d ‘Thank Heaven!’ (clutches cross) (4)
ANKH: hidden.

2d After time, one fitting out ship set off (7)
TRIGGER: a word for someone who fits out ships follows the abbreviation for time.

3d Bring two sides together? To do so will result in happiness for Micawber (4,4,4)
MAKE ENDS MEET: a phrase meaning to have just enough money to live on could literally mean to bring two sides together. The setter is not referring to himself here but to the Dickens character whose happiness came from his outgoings being slightly less than his income.

4d Red European’s top supporter (4-4)
TENT-POLE: weld together a type of sweet red wine and a European national. The BRB has this as 4,4 with no hyphen.

5d Empty container inside another (6)
VACANT: put one sort of metal container inside another.

7d Underground worker runs after dog (7)
COLLIER: the cricket abbreviation for runs goes after a type of dog.

8d Troubled teen — minor’s in the soup (10)
MINESTRONE: an anagram (troubled) of TEEN MINOR’S.

11d You can watch this part of blood test (6,6)
PLASMA SCREEN: link the liquid part of blood and a verb to test or check.

14d Light structure precariously balanced on middle of decoration (10)
CANDELABRA: an anagram (precariously) of BALANCED precedes the central two letters of decoration.

17d Identify mistake in dosage (8)
DIAGNOSE: an anagram (mistake) of IN DOSAGE.

19d Like cake that’s plain, perhaps, or spotted (7)
NOTICED: split the answer 3,4 to get the description of plain cake.

21d Sound of charger perhaps seizing victory after I launch attack (7)
INVEIGH: the sound made by what a charger can be in the animal world contains the abbreviation for victory and that all follows I.

22d Get on a bit, doddery (6)
OBTAIN: an anagram (doddery) of ON A BIT.

25d Break is critical on northward journey (4)
SNAP: reverse a verb meaning ‘is harshly critical’.

As is usual with Micawber my problem is deciding which ones to leave out of my ‘likes’ list. Those surviving the cull today were 12a, 23a, 26a, 22d and 25d. Which one(s) topped your list?


27 comments on “Toughie 2483

  1. We loved this crossword, agree */** for difficulty and **** for enjoyment. COTD 28A.

  2. Today has been a really good one in crosswordland and this splendiferous Micawber was probably for me the most enjoyable of the lot (Jay, Shed in the Graun, Eccles (Snape) in the Indy and Julius (Hudson) in the FT – the Times wasn’t bad either).

    Thanks to Micawber for the crossword, and Gazza for the blog

  3. A quick bit of fun from Micawber. I loved 15a [and it’s good to see a mention of God’s own dog] but was scratching my head over the parsing of 3d until Gazza pointed out the blindingly obvious [Ta!]
    One might quibble about the need for the first “you” in 16a.

    Many thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  4. Just beaten by the pesky 4 letter 26a. Guessed right but not why.
    I liked 28a. Was being too clever wondering how Slash of “Guns and Roses” came into the equation until the obvious answer hit me.
    Lots of good clues and much more enjoyable than the back pager.
    Thanks to Gazza and Micawber.

  5. Micawber and Gazza – what a winning combination!
    Our setter may well have been referring to the Dickens character in 3d but I suspect that he’d be quite happy to see it regularly occur in his own domain…….
    Not doing a very good job of culling for the leader board but I can’t leave out any of 9,15,18,27&29a or 3,11&22d.

    Many thanks to Micawber (so nice to see you back in your rightful place) and thank you to Gazza for the wittily illustrated review that perfectly complemented our setter’s humorous take on life.

  6. “Please, Sir, could I have some more?” Micawber showing us that things do have a way of turning up, turning up like gold from a gold mine. Sorry for mixing my Dickensian metaphors, sort of, but like Gazza as Oliver, I found myself in a state of blissful contentment as I worked this magical puzzle–alone and unaided–and finished in remarkably fast time for me for a Toughie. So many favourites, but I especially liked 9a,15a, 18a, 26a, 28a–and 3d of course. Yes, quite a good day in Crosswordland, with Jay and Micawber doing the honours, and thanks too to Gazza. ** / *****

    1. Glad you found time for this one, Robert, Micawber is a great setter and – rather like his reviewer today – is a delightful man in ‘real’ life. I’ve met him a few times at crossword related functions and he always comes across as being someone who enjoys chatting to solvers.

      1. Jane, I’ve always thought as much about our reviewer today (he’s been very kind to me!) and happy to know that the same humanity runs through Micawber. How I would love to meet these wonderful people!

  7. Wonderful, witty, great variety, good misdirections – it had the lot. Very hard to pick a favourite. I’d put 9a, 11d, 23a and 28a up there and maybe just topping them is 26a for the misdirection. Thanks to Micawber (come back soon) and Gazza, agree with your ratings.

  8. Well, I did my best today and I did finish but needed help with two – 11d (obvious really) and 24a – I had originally put cave. Never heard this word as a chap. So many favourites but especially 9a and 23a. Anyway starting to improve but its funny that yesterday was *** which I finished unaided and today’s * for which I needed a couple of hints. Onwards and upwards and thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  9. Did anyone else think of ‘boob-tube’ for the 4d ‘top supporter’ (4-4)? It was the first thing that came to mind but, unfortunately, I couldn’t make it stick.

    1. Double-sided tape worked quite well – think it was our late Princess Di who came up with that idea!

  10. I agree with Cryptic Sue as this was time well spent, to many good clues to mention but 15 across & 27 across were my C’sOTD 1 down was new to me, thank you to Micawber & Gazza for your services

  11. As always a very entertaining puzzle from Micawber.

    My favourite amongst many contenders was 28a … even though I presumed wrongly that “Slash” was a guitarist in said band.

    Thanks to Gazza for the review and congrats on winning last month’s DT clue-writing competition.

  12. Beautifully scribed, no GK, no obscurities, no biblical references, sheer delight erring on the side of gentle. Thank you very much Jay!!

  13. Micawber has the happy knack of keeping us smiling and chuckling right through the solve. We just love solving his puzzles. We won’t even try to pick a favourite.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  14. Very enjoyable, just the parsing of the red in 4d that required the hints. Spent a time think how Guns N’ Roses could assist 28a before I switched bands. 13a was my favourite today. Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  15. Enjoyed solving with aid of the hints…
    too many good clues to choose a favourite

  16. A beautiful collection of clues with 26a worthy of the gold medal but I am afraid I cannot agree with Gazza about 28a. Angus Young is one of the greatest living guitarists… for the uninitiated pour yourself a beer and put on Back in Black.

  17. Solved this rather quaint offering over a pre bedtime cup of tea extending into a further two this morning. Took me a while to get going but once I did it flowed very nicely. My favourite, a toss up between 3d and 23a, an expression I haven’t heard for about twenty years!
    Many thanks to Micawber and Gazza

  18. What a difference a day makes! Gave up on this yesterday but no paper delivered yet today so returned to it and hey presto fait accompli. A really great puzzle with only 28a needing help to solve. Lots of goodies but 26a and 19d particularly appealed. Thank you to the perfect match of Mikawber and Gazza.

  19. Great toughie. Quick to complete.
    Chuckled at several of the answers. Especially liked 21d and 15a. Needed the hint to realise why buck was the answer to 26a. Forgot does could be a noun! More like this please.

  20. Long way behind, but this was fantastic. Wonderfully crafted, and always the hope that the meaning of the clues would shift to reveal the answer. Superb, Micawber, thank you!

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