Toughie No 1808 by Dada
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
Greetings from Warrington! I have been asked to step in and start the Toughie week, and am doing it in the company of Dada. Many of you will know that Dada is John Halpern and recently he ran the London Marathon in a rather unusual way. A Guardian colleague designed a special grid with 26 answers, and at every mile marker a volunteer held up one of the words, and over the next mile he came up with a clue for that word. You can see the puzzle here, read all about it here – and (spoiler alert – contains the answers) here‘s the blog of how it all went.
A fantastic achievement and you can still donate to his wonderful cause.
Now back to today’s challenge, which could be described more as a humorous sprint, rather than a marathon. The puzzle contains a few of Dada’s slightly nudge nudge, wink wink clues and plenty to make you smile. All in all, a nice way to start the week. Particularly liked the unusual answer at 3 down and my last one in which was a nice penny-drop moment when I saw how it was made up.
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.
1a Daring type mischievously pinching rear of football supporter (5,6)
PANTY GIRDLE: We start with an anagram (mischievously) of DARING TYPE with L, the last letter of football inserted. This gives you a type of supporter that used to be associated with the company Playtex©.
9a A tragedy’s opening in that place? (7)
THEATRE: An all in one clue, for your definition, and the answer is found by taking A and T, the first letter of tragedy, and placing them inside a word meaning that place.
10a Split atom, dry inside (6)
BISECT: Another container clue. A word meaning dry in terms of wine goes inside another one that means something the size of an atom. This gives a word meaning split.
12a Red edges, blue boxes (7)
CRIMSON: A nice concise clue that leads to a shade of red. Something that means edges goes inside (boxed by) the abbreviated name for the party that wears blue.
13a Exhaust having backfired, evident dropping back in African country (7)
ERITREA: Reverse (backfired) a word meaning exhaust and add something that means evident, minus its last letter. (Excuse me while I go check whether its needs an apostrophe before, after or not at all!) This gives one of the newer African countries.
14a Washout, a shade of yellow (5)
LEMON: A double definition. Something that is a washout may be said to be this (fruit), which is also a shade of yellow.
15a A virtue so, singled out (9)
GODLINESS: Something that may be said to be next to cleanliness (but not in the dictionary!) is an anagram (out) of SO SINGLED.
17a Organisation independent of government in Turkish city, one getting beaten? (5,4)
BONGO DRUM: A type of instrument that is beaten the found by putting the abbreviation for a non-governmental organisation and putting it inside the name of a Turkish city.
20a Naval officer warmer on the outskirts of Borneo (5)
BOSUN: After the first and last letters (outskirts) of Borneo goes something that warms the planet from a distance. This gives you a naval officer.
22a Corporation trailing function with English ensemble (7)
COSTUME: After an abbreviation for a function in trigonometry goes a word for which corporation has in the past referred (think bodily part) and add E for English to give you what an ensemble in couture is said to be.
24a Country getting queen into line (7)
TERRAIN: A word that refers to country as in land, rather than a name of one, is found by taking the abbreviation for Her Maj and putting it in one that means line.
25a Prickly fibres in pants (6)
BRIEFS: Sneaky Dada! I am so used to seeing ‘pants’ now used as an anagram indicator, I missed that the indicator in this clue is prickly and that the rest is the definition of the anagram of FIBRES!.
26a Fallen, little evidence of injury? (7)
SCARLET: As earlier mentioned, this was my last one in. The question mark is often used in clues to represent a slightly dodgy or cryptic definition, i.e. one that is accurate, but needs a little thinking outside the box. Here we have a word that means fallen, as in a fallen woman may be said to be this. If you had a small injury you may have one of these to show for it!
27a Building in mess, three broken pieces (11)
SMITHEREENS: Another one where you have two anagram indicators, so you need to find which is the indicator and the other is the definition. So, an anagram (building) of IN MESS THREE gives a word for what pieces are said to be in, when broken into lots of fragments. It’s also an anagram of INTERMESHES.
2d Headless alien hijacking first of spaceships, one in command of craft? (7)
ARTISAN: Another clever definition. Inside a word for an alien, minus its first letter goes S, th first letter of SPACESHIPS and this gives you someone said to be the master of (a) craft.
3d Possibly a ten-year-old Shetland pony in the middle of Amsterdam (9)
TWEENAGER: A recent addition to the OED and other reference books is this word for someone between childhood and adolescence. How you may describe a Shetland pony (3,3) goes inside the middle three letters of AMSTERDAM.
4d Good, accomplished old actor (5)
GABLE: The surname of a famous actor from many films but probably best known for playing Rhett Butler, is found by taking the abbreviation for good and adding a word that means accomplished, capable.
5d Great musician in Paganini’s sorry when shown up (7)
ROSSINI: The name of a famous musician is hidden backwards (shown up, which works as it is a down answer) inside PAGANINI’S SORRY
6d Forage crop in Swiss canton (7)
LUCERNE: The name for a type of grass used for animals is also the name of a Swiss canton (and city).
7d Fish starters initially make spine tingle? (11)
STICKLEBACK: A type of small fish kids used to catch is revealed by taking S (initial letter of STARTERS) and adding a rather cryptic way of saying to make your spine tingle.
8d Stink engulfing priest, gas! (6)
HELIUM: The name for a gas is found by taking a standard crossword word that is the name of a biblical priest and putting it inside something that means stink or smell.
11d Glue binding serenade with no musical entry (7,4)
PASSING NOTE: A technical name for a type of insertion in a musical composition can be found by taking something that means to serenade, adding no and placing inside a type of glue, such as Gloy© that you were allowed to use at school, but nothing stronger.
16d Engineer missed tea for a cup of coffee? (9)
DEMITASSE: The name for a small coffee cup is also something that is an anagram (engineer) of MISSED TEA.
18d Recognise limitless street alcohol is ineffective medicine (7)
NOSTRUM: The name given to quack medicine comprises a word meaning recognise, minus its first and last letter (limitless), adding an abbreviation for street and a type of alcoholic drink.
19d Work fast to keep university magnificent (7)
OPULENT: After a short word meaning work goes a period when you fast and these take an abbreviation for university. This gives something that means magnificent or luxurious.
20d Writer’s tip about Asian city coming up a good deal (7)
BARGAIN: The name for something that’s a good deal is revealed by taking something that is used to write, inserting the name of a famous Indian city (Think Taj Mahal!).
21d Basic old houses poky for a start (6)
STAPLE: This held me up for a fair bit of time. The first letter of POKY goes inside something that means old (think bread!) and reveals something that means basic.
23d Follow leaders in European nations, some utterly execrable (5)
ENSUE: Something that means follow is the first letters (leaders) of the last five words of the clue.
Thanks to Dada for a witty, entertaining and perfect start to the Toughie week. And here’s the man after the event. See you soon!