Toughie 203

Toughie No 203 by MynoT

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

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

Last time I reviewed a Toughie from MynoT I said it was “difficult in places, but overall very enjoyable” – this one is very much the same.  Some of the difficulties are described below, and if you can help then please leave a comment.

7a According life-force to dynasty (7)
{CHIMING} – a word meaning according, in the sense of agreeing, comes from a charade of CHI (life force) and the MING dynasty

8a Restrict popular success about black independence (7)
{INHIBIT} – a synonym for to restrict comes from IN (popular) HIT (popular success) around B(lack) and I(independence)

10a In Hell colour is faint (10)
{INDISTINCT} – this charade comprises IN with DIS (hell) and TINCT (colour – yes, it’s right, I checked it in Chambers)

11a In the beginning were spirits (4)
{GINN} – these spirits are hidden in beGINNing

12a Royal rank is trendy after one’s relatives start to govern (8)
{KINGSHIP} – put ‘S (is) HIP (trendy) after KIN (one’s relatives) and G (start to govern)

14a This Berlin, eg, could be grieving (6)
{IRVING} – when you add the first name of the famous composer to E.G. it’s an anagram of grieving – although obvious, I didn’t like the clue; what did you think?

15a Philosopher with legal claims for specialist builders (11)
{MILLWRIGHTS} – a good rule of thumb is that if a philosopher is not Plato then he is probably John Stuart MILL; add W(ith) and RIGHTS (legal claims) for these people who used to build and repair mills

19a Row during lunch (6)
{TIFFIN} – I always like the simple clues like this – TIFF (row) and IN (during) combine to provide a light lunch for the British Raj in colonial India

20a Condition of identity for cat? (8)
{TWINSHIP} – this is defined in Chambers as the condition or relation of a twin or twinsto me the definition is “condition of identity”, but the clue seems to be saying “Twin is hip” as “identity for cat” (cat and hip are terms from the beat generation that sound so dated today!) – what do you think of this one?
As is so often the case, Gazza has come to my rescue on this one – the cat(amaran) is a TWIN-hulled SHIP

22a Dry two-thirds of jar (4)
{KILN} – I use a lot of KILNER jars in Big Dave’s Kitchen – two-thirds of one of them gives a word which is better known as a noun, but can be a verb

23a Deer spots direction-finders at rear (10)
{HINDSIGHTS} – an excellent charade of HIND (deer) and SIGHTS (spots)

25a Children with affinity for soft leather (7)
{KIDSKIN} – the middle one of three charades, but who cares when they are this good – KIDS + KIN = soft leather

26a Crossing meadow behind The Bull, for example (7)
{SIGNING} – do people still sign by marking with a cross? – I had seen before that an ING is a meadow but it is probably new to some of you (and to my spell checker!) and Taurus, the bull, is my star SIGN

1d Joint excavation causing row (7)
{SHINDIG} – a row that is a charade of SHIN (joint) and DIG (excavation) – BigBoab beat me to commenting on this one; it is possible that you could justify this as a joint of meat, but it is very tenuous

2d Internationals flank representative group of armed warriors (4)
{IMPI} – I and I (Internationals) around MP (representative) give a group of armed Zulu warriors

3d Steal feature of Quidditch (6)
{SNITCH} – I got this from the first part of the double definition, but Harry Potter is a closed book to me; you can gen up on the finer points of the imaginary game of Quidditch, in which players fly on broomsticks on Wikipedia

4d Getting together outfit about new ring (8)
{KNITTING} – put KIT (outfit) around N(ew) and add TING (ring) – it makes a change to see ring being used for something other than phone calls and circles

5d Trouble with gum is giving it when swimming (10)
{GINGIVITIS} – a gum disease that is an anagram (swimming – I don’t remember seeing that one before) of IS GIVING IT – don’t worry, there will be no picture to illustrate this answer!

6d Attractive pub in part of building (7)
{WINNING} – just put INN (pub) inside WING (part of building) – this is the sort of clue that you look for when trying to find a way into a puzzle

9d Possibly printing one is cheerfully encouraging (11)
{INSPIRITING} – you know that possibly is probably an anagram indicator, but the fodder is not “printing one” but PRINTING I (one) and IS

13d Sorrow not ecstasy at end as chimera (10)
{GRIFFINISH} – take the E away from (not Ecstasy) GRI(E)F (sorrow) and add FINISH (at end) and note that “as chimera” is the definition – which once again was flagged by the spell checker

16d Long distance badge for one essential (8)
{LINCHPIN} – this charade of L(ong) INCH (distance) and PIN (an Americanism for badge that has yet to make it into Chambers) just fell into place

17d Marvellous commune provided one reaches 100 (7)
{MIRIFIC} – yet another word that fooled the spell checker! – MIR (a peasant farming commune in pre-Revolutionary Russia, which gave its name to a space station) IF (provided) I (one) and C (100) all combine to give this synonym for marvellous

18d Proper accessory (7)
{FITTING} – a double definition

21d Drop in this month with the Italian (6)
{INSTIL} – add together INST (the current month – do people in the real world still use ult., inst. and prox.?) and IL (the in Italian)

24d Traps river eel on its way back (4)
{GINS} – these traps are SNIG (a river eel) reversed – the spell checker has learned a lot today!


  1. bigboab
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Not bad, I’ve never thought of a shin as a joint however (1d) and I would never have got 7a or 20a witout your hints. Thanks again BD.

    • bigboab
      Posted August 21, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Should have said that I loved 3d being an aged HP fan.

    • Posted August 21, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      You did well getting 20a from my hint, as it was off course – see Gazza’s note below!

  2. gazza
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    20a. I think that ‘cat’ here is catamaran, a boat/ship with twin hulls.

    • Posted August 21, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Gazza

      I was fixated on geting cat = hip into the wordplay and missed the obvious.

  3. Libellule
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm | Permalink


    Re. 14a I think subtraction would have worked better than addition.

    With 26a I took this as meaning, the sign of the cross, where its a gesture of “tracing the form of a cross as an invocation of God’s grace”. Which is a different interpretation, but gets you the same answer. I suspect your variant is the one that was meant though :-)

    • Posted August 21, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Re 14a

      Are you saying that the clue should have been written differently or my analysis of the wordplay?

      • Libellule
        Posted August 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        The clue should have been written differently….

  4. mary
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    am i right …. all the vowels are ‘I ‘ today :)
    not quite finished but getting there!

    • Libellule
      Posted August 21, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Yes I believe you are correct… next up O :-}

      • Libellule
        Posted August 21, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        And congratulations on the step up :-)

      • gazza
        Posted August 21, 2009 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        I missed it as well, but then I always miss things like that! Must look out for “O” next time – “U” will be interesting!!

    • Posted August 21, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Permalink


      I missed it completely, which is unforgivable. This same setter has already done A (T173) and E (T185).