Toughie No 1263 by Notabilis
Engage Reverse Gear
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****
As Crypticsue said yesterday Wednesday seems to be becoming the new Friday as far as Toughies are concerned. There’s some top stuff here from Notabilis with his usual number of reversals. There’s also a clue (3d) which has provoked some discussion among the bloggers but which, for me, contains an indirect anagram – I await your comments with interest.
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.
1a Indifferent quality of course (not the starter) that includes another (6)
APATHY – one course or road without its leading letter contains another. Willie Whitelaw once accused his political opponents of going around stirring this up.
4a Forever, Dunkirk carries name of costly battle (6)
VERDUN – the name of the WWI battle (costly in terms of the vast numbers killed) is hidden (carries) in the clue.
8a Monarch rejected by populace here? (8)
REPUBLIC – a semi-all-in-one. Reverse our Queen’s cipher and add a word for populace.
10a Restaurant‘s talked about animal line (6)
BISTRO – this sounds like an animal and a line (on a spreadsheet, perhaps).
11a Barely legal? (4)
JUST – double definition. The question mark is possibly indicating that legality does not always correspond with fairness.
12a Smart to retain opponent’s support at one end (10)
CANTILEVER – an adjective meaning smart or bright contains an opponent.
13a Reversing undue speed in branch arrangement breaking down is much better (7,5)
STREETS AHEAD – reverse the sort of undue speed which proverbially slows down one’s progress and put it inside a woody arrangement of branches. Then insert all that inside (breaking) an adjective meaning down or depressed.
16a Question about procedure in river dividing crossing? I have doubts (5,2,5)
POINT OF ORDER – a charade of a) our favourite Italian river, b) a preposition meaning dividing (in sums), c) a shallow river crossing and d) a response indicating a lack of certainty.
20a Mushrooms in rich cake lead to ridicule in this review! (10)
RETROSPECT – I had difficulty in deciding what to underline here – the answer means a look back or contemplation of the past, but review is also telling us that we need a reversal. Insert some edible mushrooms into the sort of rich cake that Vienna is famous for, then add the leading letter of ridicule. Finally reverse the lot.
21a Large-scale movie available online? (4)
EPIC – double definition. Cryptically, as 1-3, this could be a movie available online.
22a Radius crossed by ray that may be repeated in reflection (6)
MANTRA – there are lots of reversals in this puzzle and ‘in reflection’ looks like another one but it’s not. This reflection is a sort of mystical meditation. Insert R(adius) into another name for a giant ray or sea-vampire (new word for me).
23a Put aside principle of low-sodium diet? (4,4)
SALT AWAY – double definition – to put aside for a rainy day and, cryptically, what a low-sodium diet may mean.
24a Substitute repaired trapezes with middle cut (6)
ERSATZ – an anagram (repaired) of TRA(pe)ZES with the middle letters cut out.
25a Crack in wood set back evergreen shrub (6)
MYRTLE – put a crack or attempt into a type of timber and reverse it all (set back).
1d Enough depth evident initially in water table’s extremes (8)
ADEQUATE – the initial letters of Depth Evident go inside a word for water then we finish with the outer (extremes) letters of TablE.
2d Mature daughter in misdeed, going topless … (5)
ADULT – insert the abbreviation for daughter into a misdeed or transgression without its leading F.
3d … husband caught in the same, dancing in his cups (4-3)
HALF-CUT – start with H(usband) then insert C(aught) into an anagram (dancing) of FAULT (i.e. the same misdeed that featured in the previous clue). I don’t know how this got through the editing process but to me it’s a clear case of an indirect anagram – tut tut!
5d Censored mostly over binding books? It’s on the way out (3-4)
EBB-TIDE – reverse (over) a verb meaning censored without its final letter (mostly) and insert two B(ook)s.
6d With scarlet throat upturned, lark’s tail becoming small as that of a jay, say (9)
DESCENDER – the y (tail letter) of jay is one of these. Reverse (upturned) a phrase (3,6) meaning having a scarlet throat then replace the last letter of larK with S(mall). [Thanks to Notabilis for pointing out that the definition is referring to the tail of a letter j (jay, as it’s pronounced) rather than the last letter of the word jay.]
7d Angry Republican enters undisguised (6)
NARKED – insert the single-character abbreviation for Republican into an adjective meaning undisguised or explicit.
9d Trick lacking subtlety nearly takes in knight — you’re supposed to see through it (7,4)
CONTACT LENS – a trick or swindle is followed by an adjective meaning lacking subtlety or insensitive without its final letter but with the chess abbreviation for knight inserted.
14d Superheat liquid running water in SW Asia (9)
EUPHRATES – an anagram (liquid) of SUPERHEAT.
15d Church position welcomes club practising abstinence (8)
CELIBATE – one of the abbreviations for church followed by a position (of a ball on the golf course, for example) with a club or stick inserted.
17d Tin’s hammered around bronze flash (7)
INSTANT – an anagram (hammered) of TIN’S containing a verb to bronze.
18d Stout supporter producing disastrous result (7)
FATALLY – charade of an adjective meaning stout and a supporter or accomplice.
19d What does for Resistance in daring act (6)
BEHAVE – start with an adjective meaning daring or heroic and replace (does for) the R(esistance) with a terse enquiry meaning ‘what?’ or ‘pardon?’.
21d Force out law since repeal? (5)
EXACT – cryptically this could be a one-time law now repealed (2,3).
Top clues for me today were 23a and 6d. Let us know which one(s) you liked.