Toughie No 1981 by Dada
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
We can always rely on Dada for an entertaining puzzle and this one is entertaining and not too demanding.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a A number hugging tree, dull yes? (11)
AFFIRMATIVE: A and a cardinal number contain an evergreen tree and an adjective meaning dull.
9a Life’s work for one? (14)
AUTOBIOGRAPHER: cryptic definition of one producing a work describing (and usually ‘bigging up’) what he or she’s done in life. Some titles are more honest than others.
11a European city not seldom, regularly seen (4)
OSLO: regular letters from two words in the clue.
12a One processes whisky to this day (5)
STILL: double definition, the second an adverb meaning ‘up to and including the present time’.
13a Ungulate dropping back in style (4)
ELAN: an African hoofed animal without its final letter.
16a Schubert played for purveyors of the flesh (8)
BUTCHERS: an anagram (played) of SCHUBERT.
17a Infant finally cradled by inexperienced mother (6)
NATIVE: put the final letter of infant inside an adjective meaning inexperienced or unsophisticated. Mother here is an adjective.
19a One after kiss for team? (6)
ELEVEN: the answer can be represented by the Roman numeral for one after the letter used to mean a kiss.
20a Second, not first number that is unmelodic (8)
MONOTONE: string together a short word for a second or tick, NOT and the first cardinal number.
22a Grass skirts of women on half of lads (4)
LAWN: append the outer letters of women to half of the word ‘lads’.
23a Sign one is overwhelmed by God (5)
ARIES: the Roman numeral for one is contained inside the Greek god of war.
24a What inspires confidence at first, love for beautiful nymph (4)
ECHO: an interjection requesting a repetition of something said (What?) contains the first letter of confidence. Finish with the letter resembling love or zero.
27a River top, stream beaten usually (3,3,4,4)
FOR THE MOST PART: start with a Scottish river and add an anagram (beaten) of TOP STREAM.
28a Bloomer on ship getting delivery grounded? (5-6)
DAISY-CUTTER: what we have here is a crickety term for a delivery that keeps very low to the ground. Stick together a common type of flower and a small vessel with one mast.
2d Cross about our tenant, wife gives curse (4-6,4)
FOUR-LETTER WORD: a verb to cross (a river, say) contains OUR, a term for a tenant(?) and the abbreviation for wife. The term used here for a tenant usually means the tenant’s landlord and I can’t really see how it means tenant.
3d Extreme characters in fine club (4)
IRON: treat the letters at the extremes of the word ‘fine’ as a chemical symbol.
4d Water spoiled suit with further clothing (8)
MOISTURE: an anagram (spoiled) of SUIT is contained inside an adverb meaning further or ‘to a greater degree’.
5d Fastener caught up on broken leg (6)
TOGGLE: reverse a verb meaning caught (an illness, say) and follow that with an anagram (broken) of LEG.
6d Bottle important, having lost heart (4)
VIAL: an adjective meaning very important without its central letter.
7d Hot dish cold, hero getting stick about flavour, ultimately (6,3,5)
CHILLI CON CARNE: knit together a word for a feverish cold, a synonym for hero or someone greatly admired and a stick containing the ultimate letter of flavour.
8d Primate overcoming slender attacker drinking knockout tea (6,5)
ORANGE PEKOE: start with a tree-dwelling primate of South-East Asia and add a slender sharp-pointed attacking weapon containing the abbreviation for knockout.
10d Truth hard to believe, spit over cliff (6,5)
DOUBLE BLUFF: a spit or lookalike followed by a word for a steep cliff.
14d Nerve — one of two on face (5)
CHEEK: this could be lip but it’s another feature of which you have two on your face.
15d Painter of popes, a degree blue (5)
BACON: this is the Irish-born British artist (Francis Bacon) who produced various grotesque variations on Velásquez’s painting of Pope Innocent X. Start with an Arts Degree and add an abbreviation for the political party associated with the colour blue. Here’s a detail from the magnificent Velásquez portrait and one of this painter’s efforts – you can probably guess which one I like.
18d Pro has messed up since, on scientific investigation (8)
FORENSIC: a preposition meaning ‘pro’ (as opposed to ‘anti’) followed by an anagram (messed up) of SINCE.
21d Cake remains? Good Lord! (6)
CRUMBS: double definition, the second an exclamation often used by Billy Bunter.
25d Stop question, then answer (4)
WHOA: a 3-letter question followed by an abbreviation for answer.
26d Spring, time for quarrel (4)
SPAT: a mineral spring and the abbreviation for time.
The clues I liked best were 24a, 3d and 5d. Which one(s) rang your bell?