Toughie No 1325 by Dada
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BD Rating - Difficulty *** - Enjoyment ***/****
A snappy and entertaining puzzle from Dada. The third star for difficulty is due to a bit of a struggle I had with the top left corner - unable to get 1,2 or 3d, I was left with only two checkers for the cheeky 10a, and it was only when the penny dropped that the rest fell in. A bit more on that clue at the bottom of the review.
7a Disgust voiced in illegal seizure of power -- then pay! (5,2)
COUGH UP An expression of disgust goes inside a word for the overthrow of a government.
8a Instrument containing ring, topping item of jewellery (7)
CORONET A brass musical instrument goes round the ring-like letter of the alphabet.
10a Boo! (5,5)
SHORT STORY No definition. Read the clue as a word for a novel minus its last letter, and the solution is how a cryptic setter might indicate this.
11a Port God knocked back (4)
SUEZ A Greek god in reverse (knocked back).
12a How lightning appears quickly? (2,1,5)
IN A FLASH A phrase meaning suddenly or instantly suggests the way lightning strikes.
14a Ideal place to see posh bush trimming, lines snipped off (6)
UTOPIA The letter denoting posh or upper class (if only in crosswords these days) followed by a word for the art of hedge trimming after removing the abbreviation for railway (lines snipped off).
15a Moment past or lost for dinosaur (11)
TRICERATOPS A word for a moment or brief instant followed by an anagram of (lost) PAST OR.
19a Maoist revolutionary philosophy in China (6)
TAOISM An anagram of (revolutionary) MAOIST.
20a Tree by river in Germany (8)
TAMARIND A river in SW England, IN from the clue, and the IVR code for Germany.
22a Positive left among the vile stuff (4)
PLUS The abbreviation for left inside the yucky gunk that forms at the site of an infection.
23a Orgies a tad unlikely, thank God (3,7)
DEO GRATIAS An anagram of (unlikely) ORGIES A TAD.
25a Study of language that's relative, loosely speaking? (7)
GRAMMAR A rough homophone of (loosely speaking) a female relative.
26a Dictate two letters, hot stuff (7)
CAYENNE The answer sounds like (dictate) two letters of the alphabet pronounced in succession.
1d Duck wasting away in the drink (7)
NOTHING A word for lean or wasting away inside a kind of beer.
2d Scale up as setter (4)
AGAR A series of melodic notes in Indian music (new to me), reversed (up) to give a gelatinous substance.
3d Country one's attacking in report? (6)
RUSSIA The solution sounds like (in report) someone launching a physical attack.
4d Bits you'd adjusted in tight outfit (8)
BODYSUIT An anagram of (adjusted) BITS YOU'D.
5d Gag for a sweet? (10)
GOBSTOPPER A children's sugary sweet that could be the description of a gag used to stop someone from speaking.
6d The first book group (7)
GENESIS The first book of the Old Testament and the name of a rock group.
9d The bounder heading for imprisonment, something beneficial about it, dammit! (11)
BOTHERATION THE from the clue, a bounder or cad and the first letter of (heading for) imprisonment, all going inside an asset or benefit.
13d Musical direction from Orff, or not? (10)
FORTISSIMO Remove the OR from ORFF (or not) to get the abbreviation denoting this musical instruction.
16d Central figure supporting company, a cracker! (8)
COMEDIAN One who cracks jokes. The abbreviation for company followed by a statistical measure given by the middle value in a ranked series of numbers.
17d Batter's rising with fat duck (7)
MALLARD A verb meaning to batter or hit, reversed (rising) and followed by a type of rendered animal fat.
18d Not prudent, might you say? That's very strange (7)
UNCANNY A word for prudent or shrewd with a negative prefix attached.
21d Grass that may be pulled up? (6)
MARRAM A type of coastal grass that is a palindrome (that may be pulled up).
24d Come down, or join up (4)
TEEM ...as of heavy rain. A verb meaning to join or intersect, reversed (up).
So what did you think of 10a? I tend to grimace when clues like GEGS (9,4) or HIJKLMNO (5) are upheld as classics of the cryptic genre, when they are really just second-rate Dingbats with no definition and none of the ingenuity of a good cryptic clue that plays by the rules. But there was a chuckle as well as a groan when I got this one, and I suppose that's the real test of a clue's worth.
Over to you - please rate and comment on this puzzle below.