Toughie No 2731 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Gazza
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
Micawber makes one of his all-too-rare appearances in the Toughie slot today. This one is very enjoyable as his puzzles always are.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Don’t leave any more in this dire shambles (10)
DISINHERIT: an anagram (shambles) of IN THIS DIRE.
6a Case of rowing records being overturned (4)
SPAT: reverse a verb meaning records or bugs. Rowing here rhymes with cowing rather than sowing.
9a Polish Conservative, outwardly disagreeable (5)
SCOUR: an abbreviation for Conservative contained in a synonym of disagreeable or embittered.
10a After scene, call for deal or settle perhaps using initial capital? (5,4)
PLACE NAME: after a synonym of scene we need a verb to call or label. Initial capital letters transform deal and settle into examples of the answer.
12a Politician identified as capable of promoting growth (5-8)
GREEN-FINGERED: charade of a member of a political party and identified or ‘singled out’.
14a Old Queen having radical leader of Trotskyites imprisoned and punished for beliefs (8)
MARTYRED: paste together a Tudor queen and a radical then insert the leading letter of Trotskyites.
15a Blair‘s alternative source of oil (6)
ORWELL: a conjunction identifying an alternative precedes a source of oil.
17a It could be cricket devotee’s location? (6)
INSECT: split 2,4 this could be where a religious devotee is to be found.
19a Raid netting academic who’s out for a good time (8)
HEDONIST: a raid or hold-up contains a senior academic.
21a Pupils progressing together with speed get help completing circuit (9,4)
CROCODILE CLIP: weld together a line of pupils walking together and an informal word for speed.
24a Decorate space in style of something hanging in church? (9)
EMBELLISH: assemble a space used in printing and, cryptically, ‘in the style of something hanging in the belfry’.
25a Venue taking a long time to make comeback (5)
ARENA: reverse ‘a long time’ (2,3).
26a State of agitation seeing return of s-spot (4)
TIZZ: a spot on the skin has its first letter duplicated as shown in the clue. Now reverse it.
27a A staggeringly insane sum for assistant (10)
AMANUENSIS: A followed by an anagram (staggeringly) of INSANE SUM.
1d Dee river in evening light (4)
DUSK: the identified letter and a river in Wales.
2d Parasite, small foul-smelling one (7)
SPONGER: the clothing abbreviation for small followed by someone suffering from BO perhaps.
3d Shark tracks fish where small fry are gathered (7,6)
NURSERY SCHOOL: join together a type of shark, the abbreviation for tracks and a group of fish.
4d One increasing volume direct from procurer (8)
EXPANDER: combine a preposition meaning ‘direct from’ and an old word (new to me) for a procurer or pimp.
5d Air translated TV panel game from Middle East (5)
IRAQI: an anagram (translated) of AIR and a TV panel game.
7d Partnership has runs in it, that is plain (7)
PRAIRIE: a partnership containing the cricket abbreviation for runs with the abbreviation for ‘that is’ appended.
8d He toiled to reset instrument (10)
THEODOLITE: an anagram (reset) of HE TOILED TO.
11d Accommodating bore with extremely high rental (5,2,6)
EAGER TO PLEASE: rivet together a word for a bore (of the type seen in the river Severn) and synonyms for ‘extremely high’ and rental.
13d In new form, since I’m not comprehensively educated? (10)
OMNISCIENT: an anagram (in new form) of SINCE I’M NOT.
16d Note the broadcast about large fundraiser (8)
TELETHON: an anagram (broadcast) of NOTE THE contains the clothing abbreviation for large.
18d Entertainment from crosswords? How bizarre! (7)
SHOWBIZ: hidden in the clue.
20d Words of journalist flashing credentials to create effect (7)
IMPRESS: what a journalist flashing his/her credentials might say (1’1,5).
22d Fool wasting time on central Colombian dialect (5)
IDIOM: a fool without the abbreviation for time precedes the central letter of Colombian.
23d I don’t know
what will get me through security (4)
PASS: double definition, the first an admission that one doesn’t know the answer to a question.
I ticked lots of clues including 15a, 24a and 7d but my favourite was 2d. Which one(s) cut the mustard for you?
15 comments on “Toughie 2731”
Funny how I can get really grumpy when the crossword in the Toughie spot isn’t any more difficult than a backpager, but can forgive all when we have the rare treat of a crossword from Micawber. So many lovely clues but I particularly liked the pupils processing together in 21a, 24a and 2d
Thanks to Micawber – come back soon please – and to Gazza
I agree that this was more like a testing end-of-week backpager, but it was such a good puzzle, so satisfying and “different”, that it required a complete change of mindset for me. It did not feel entirely like a DT puzzle – I thought parts of it could have come straight out of The Times.
Briefly tried to convince myself that a central S would be a legitimate spelling of a South American oil-producing country, which didn’t help! Laughs/broad smiles to 12a, 21a, 24a, 2d and 11d. I echo CS’s entreaty to Micawber to return soon.
3* / 4*
Thank you Micawber, and thank you Gazza.
Delightful! The penny-drop at 10a takes the prize in my view, but I also smiled at 21a. I spent a while trying to find somewhere to put a J and a V, having found all the other letters…
Many thanks to Micawber and to Gazza.
The woodpecker returns and how welcome he is. This was definitely a case of doing well until I wasn’t – 6&10a had me flummoxed for a long time. Learned something new in both 15a & 4d so the old grey matter has indeed been stretched today!
Top three places went to 12a plus 2&3d with a mention for the pupils progression.
Many thanks to Micawber (more please!) and to Gazza for the enjoyable review.
Found this easier and far more enjoyable than today’s back page, although I did resort to an anagram solver for 27a which was new to me. 12a and 21a were my favourites. Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.
I thought this was excellent – a nicely challenging Toughie which all came together gradually except for 10a which I failed to solve. I couldn’t even come up with anything to bung in using the checking letters as nothing occurred to me as a possible definition.
My podium choices were 15a, 2d & 3d.
Many thanks to MIcawber and to Gazza, particularly for the enlightenment regarding 10a.
I’ve clearly misunderstood CS’s comment which I read as she thought the puzzle no tougher than a backpager but forgave all due to the quality. I thought it extremely testing but thoroughly enjoyable. 27a’s anagram was yesterday’s tegument inasmuch it was a case use the checkers, chuck in something that sounded vaguely plausible & look it up more in hope than expectation. Last in was 10a which was yet another bung in (24a, 4d & 7d the others) for the consolation of a correctly completed grid. Was sure we were in for a pangram but turned out shy of a couple. 12a was my clear favourite (more my level of clue) of many good ‘uns – 14,15,19&21a along with 2&13d my other ticks.
Thanks Micawber & to Gazza for some much needed explanations
Like others before me I was flummoxed by 10a and really still don’t understand it. (Deal as in Kent and Settle as in Carlisle?)
I very much liked 12a and that is my COTD.
Using “initial capital” deal becomes Deal (name of a place in Kent) and settle becomes Settle (name of a place in North Yorkshire).
Yes, the penny finally dropped. Been on the Settle and Carlisle steam railway line enough times.
I had to resort to the hints for 6a, 10a, 4d and to parse bore in 12d as they were beyond me. I also used an anagram solver for 27a and 13d as I’d never heard the words before, so a bit of a failure all round. Oh well! Favourite was 21a. Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.
What a wonderful puzzle! And how I wish I could say that I got to the end all on my own, but 10a absolutely baffled me: I just drew a blank, couldn’t figure out what to do with capital letters! And I do know those two towns. Mercy me. Otherwise, so very much to admire, even that delicious lurker in 18d. And just to be different, I think I’ll choose an anagram for my COTD, 13d. And so nice to see Mr Eric Blair in one of our puzzles again. He wrote the most teachable essay I ever taught, ‘Shooting An Elephant’ from his Burmese Days. I could go on. Thanks to Gazza for the review and to Micawber for the thrills.
After a long and liquid lunch getting a start on this presented quite a challenge. The bottom half went in easily enough but still left an embarrassing amount blank above. Eventually I spotted the [fairly obvious!] anagram at 1a and away we went. But the parsing of 10a eluded me – tho’ it had to be what it was – so thanks for that Gazza; thanks for the blog and thanks Micawber for an all too rare treat.
It is a good thing that we had remembered some geography we have learned from doing cryptic crosswords and were able to experience the penny-drop moment with 10a.
A sheer delight of a puzzle.
Thanks Micawber and Gazza.
I completed this excellent puzzle before leaving for a concert in Birmingham then forgot to comment upon my return. 10a was my only unparsed bung-in so thanks to Gazza for sorting that one out. To Micawber, my thanks and admiration for a superb crossword.
Comments are closed.