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Toughie 903

Toughie No 903 by Dada

Licensed to Thrill (within limits)

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Paul is my favourite Guardian setter and he’s never less than entertaining but in his Dada guise it seems at times as though he’s working in a straitjacket. I did enjoy this puzzle but I don’t really class it as a Toughie and it could have appeared on the back page.

Let us know how you got on and please take the trouble to give us your assessment of the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Characterful liquid? (8,4)
{ALPHABET SOUP} – cryptic description of a warming dish which may make you eat your words.

9a  Dry fruit including various ices, cold (9)
{DESICCATE} – I always have problems spelling this verb. A fruit contains an anagram (various) of ICES and C(old).

10a  Depicted as tense (5)
{DRAWN} – double definition, tense in the sense of strained.

11a  It’s said to be somewhat overbalanced (6)
{VERBAL} – hidden (somewhat) in the clue.

12a  Stimulating post, top man (8)
{SPARKING} – a charade of a post or pole and the top man in a monarchy.

13a  Give up feeding lead with sulphur (6)
{RESIGN} – a verb meaning to lead (as the previous clue’s top man may do) has the chemical symbol for sulphur inserted (feeding … with).

15a  Rude individual entering pub, tiresome at first (8)
{INSOLENT} – an adjective meaning individual or single gets inserted (entering) in a pub, then finish with the first letter of T(iresome).

18a  Warrior getting cold in water doing the backstroke? (8)
{ACHILLES} – this mythical Greek warrior comes from inserting (getting) a feverish cold in a large body of water which is reversed (doing the backstroke).

19a  Underline  possible cause of fracture? (6)
{STRESS} – double definition.

21a  Train to eat doubly loudly? (4-4)
{CHOO-CHOO} – misdirected by the ‘doubly loudly’ I tried initially to justify puff-puff here, but loudly actually indicates a homophone and what we want is a sound-alike repeated (doubly) of a verb to eat.

23a  Church official, fornication not recalled (6)
{SEXTON} – this is an official who looks after a church and/or churchyard. A synonym for fornication is followed by NOT reversed (recalled).

26a  Root for Nobel for one (5)
{SWEDE} – double definition, the second the nationality of Alfred Nobel.

27a  Elected, a political leader into message that’s hopeless (9)
{INCAPABLE} – start with an adverb meaning elected, then insert A and the leading letter of P(olitical) into a somewhat outdated type of message.

28a  Organise team to play in triangular arrangement (6,1,5)
{MÉNAGE À TROIS} – a superb anagram (to play) of ORGANISE TEAM.

Down Clues

1d  Hampshire town, an English port (7)
{ANDOVER} – I hope that 2Kiwis didn’t have to spend too long searching Wikipedia for this Hampshire town. It’s a charade of AN (from the clue) and an English channel port.

2d  Puzzle — more U, but less H? (5)
{POSER} – ‘uh’ is an exclamation indicating that something is puzzling the speaker, but the starting point here is a comparative meaning ‘more U’, i.e. more upper-class. Then just take away (less) the H.

3d  A modification in wings for celestial flier (9)
{ARCHANGEL} – A (from the clue) then a modification or alteration between (in) the abbreviations for the two wings (numbers 14 and 11, respectively) in a Rugby Union side (there are other sports).

4d  English Channel’s short dash (4)
{ELAN} – E(nglish) is followed by a channel (for shipping, perhaps) without its final letter (short).

5d  General  clearing the mess? (8)
{SWEEPING} – double definition, general in the sense of all-embracing.

6d  Sub in pieces, as not at the surface? (5)
{UNDER} – start with an adverb meaning in pieces or apart and remove the AS from the beginning (not at the surface).

7d  Asian headquarters withholding course of action (8)
{BALINESE} – the Asian is a native of an Indonesian island. A word for headquarters contains (withholding, i.e. suppressing) a course of action or approach.

8d  Man when sleeping usually may be heard (6)
{KNIGHT} – a man on the chessboard sounds like (may be heard) the time when sleeping usually takes place.

14d  Boat rather loaded with cargo, heaving initially (8)
{SCHOONER} – a comparative meaning rather or by preference contains (loaded with) the initial letters of C(argo) and H(eaving).

16d  Photo sent off immediately (2,3,4)
{ON THE SPOT} – an anagram (off) of PHOTO SENT.

17d  Young lady eats in or out (8)
{SEÑORITA} –  an anagram (out) of EATS IN OR.

18d  Boldly approach island in exploit (6)
{ACCOST} – a Greek island is contained in an exploit or deed.

20d  Head of silver, if not grey (7)
{SUNLESS} – the first letter (head) of S(ilver) is followed by a conjunction meaning ‘if not’.

22d  Brave to scoff soft French food (5)
{CRÊPE} – brave here is not an adjective but a warrior from a specific Native American tribe. This word contains (to scoff) the musical abbreviation for soft.

24d  Forbidden ticket, licence to kill (5)
{TABOO} – a ticket or bill is followed by the prefix in the code names of Ian Fleming’s fictional agents which means that they have a licence to kill.

25d  1/1000, top (4)
{ACME} – the playing card that has one spot contains (i.e. is divided by) the Roman numeral for one thousand.

I liked 3d, 6d and 20d but my top clue was 28a. Let us know what you liked.

9 comments on “Toughie 903

  1. I agree with everything gazza has said including the fact that I can never spell 9a either!

    Thanks once again to gazza and to Dada too even if it wasn’t a toughie, it did entertain me greatly at breakfast. Do tell, did Santa bring your new son a 21a for you to play with ? :)

  2. After a couple of weeks over Christmas not looking at a toughie, this was a most enjoyable, gentle reintroduction.
    Many thanks to Dada, and to Gazza for the review. 2*/4* for me.

  3. Entertaining fare on offer today, favourites were 2d 3d 18a and the stand out 28a thanks to Dada and to Gazza for the review.

  4. Straightforward and enjoyable toughie and the usual excellent review, many thanks to Dada and Gazza.

  5. A pleasure .After over complicating the back-pager found this far far more enjoyable .
    Favs 6d ,18a and of course 28a .

    Thanks once again .

  6. Disagree with your rating Gazza. Agree with the difficulty but we want to give this one at least ***** for fun. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. And yes, it only took a very quick glance at Wikipedia to confirm the county in which to find 1d. We’ve become conditioned now, like Pavlov’s dog, to dash to the site whenever we see one of these clues.
    Many thanks Dada and Gazza.

  7. This took me about half the time that the back page puzzle did. I really enjoyed it.
    Please can I join the “can’t spell 9a club”? The right way looks really wrong!
    I liked 18, 21 and 28a and 2, 6, 20 and 22d.
    With thanks to Dada and gazza.

  8. Really nice toughie. Liked all clues with the exception of 8d which seemed to show a little muddled thinking. But then, nothing is perfect

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