Toughie No 1617 by Dada
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
It’s another lovely sunny day in North Devon – a hosepipe ban can’t be far away. Dada is never less than entertaining and today is no exception, though, as has been said several times, it would be nice to get an occasional puzzle from him in full-blown ‘Paul’ mode.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
8a Shark’s tail gripped by red shark (4)
MAKO – the last letter of shark goes inside an old Chinese red.
9a Sound character? Yes! (3)
AYE – this sounds like one of the letters of our alphabet.
10a Judge I see behind priest is prophet (6)
ELIJAH – the abbreviation for judge and an exclamation meaning ‘I see’ follow an Old Testament priest.
11a Picture host filling capacity (3-3)
ROM-COM – put the abbreviation for a host or compère into a word meaning capacity or scope.
12a Choose swimmer to catch river fish (8)
PICKEREL – start with a verb to choose and add a slippery swimmer containing the abbreviation for river.
13a See 7d
15a Strong voice breaks down after setback, figure needing a hug? (7)
STENTOR – reverse a verb meaning breaks down or decays and insert a cardinal number. The answer means someone with a strong voice (from the name of a mythological Greek character with such a voice) but I suppose that it can mean the voice itself, in the same way that soprano can mean both a singer and her voice.
17a Amount of food is proving beneficial (7)
HELPING – double definition. My initial answer (serving) had to be overwritten when the answer to 18d became apparent.
20a Goat with bananas put down fruit (9,6)
BUTTERNUT SQUASH – string together a cryptic description of a goat, another informal word meaning bananas or crazy and a verb to put down or suppress. I can’t really see that the surface means anything.
23a With evidence of damage going round, square wheels in force! (5,3)
SQUAD CAR – a mark left by a wound contains the short word for a square or enclosed courtyard.
25a Lingerie, say, is revived? (6)
UNDIES – cryptically this could be a verb meaning comes back to life.
26a Jam that’s preserved in a brine or marinade? (6)
PICKLE – this could be a double definition but I’m opting for a triple with jam meaning a tricky situation and marinade being a verb.
27a Stuff knocked over producing blot (3)
MAR – reverse a verb to stuff or thrust forcefully.
28a Very great life’s end is destiny (4)
FATE – an adjective meaning very great or sizeable is followed by the last letter of life.
1d Shade required in desert? (6)
MAROON – double definition. Desert, here, is a verb meaning to leave stranded.
2d Poisoner that’s afoot? (8)
MOCCASIN – another double definition, the first being a poisonous North American snake.
3d Sports equipment a big noise in equestrianism? (9,6)
BADMINTON RACKET – cryptically this could be a big noise at the site (in Gloucestershire) of an annual three-day event.
4d Instrument of the past present imperfect! (7)
SERPENT – an anagram (imperfect) of PRESENT produces a (new to me) old wind instrument shaped like a writhing snake and an ancestor of the tuba.
5d Not as much to read out on Conservative London area (9,6)
LEICESTER SQUARE – in the surface ‘read out’ is in the present tense but for the wordplay it’s the past tense and indicates a homophone of ‘less to’. After that we need an adjective meaning conservative or old-fashioned.
6d The last word in celluloid primarily, shown up — here? (6)
CINEMA – join together the last word in a Christian prayer or hymn and the primary letters of ‘in celluloid’ then reverse it all.
7d/13a Feel nervous generating passion with an event in English county (4,4,2,4,5)
HAVE ANTS IN ONE’S PANTS – insert an anagram (generating) of PASSION AN EVENT into the short name of a county in southern England.
14d Hide in closet, anyhow (3)
TAN – lurking in the clue is a verb to hide (i.e. give someone a hiding).
16d For starters this, afterwards upsilon? (3)
TAU – the starting letters of words in the clue produce the letter that precedes upsilon in the Greek alphabet.
18d Pudding choice, useless (4-4)
PLUM-DUFF – charade of an adjective meaning choice or excellent and an informal adjective meaning useless.
19d Chief mouser out to catch first of prey (7)
SUPREMO – an anagram (out) of MOUSER contains the first letter of prey.
21d I appreciate that hospital’s needed among the machinery of war (6)
THANKS – insert the abbreviation for hospital into fighting vehicles.
22d As weather so wintry, shelter in farmyard accommodation (6)
SLEETY – insert a word for shelter into accommodation for a type of farmyard animal.
24d Not entirely pretty to walk out (4)
QUIT – drop the last letter from an adverb meaning pretty or fairly.
Vying to get into the final today were 23a, 25a and 21d. Which ones managed to get out of the group stages for you?