Sunday Toughie 103 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 103 (Review)

Sunday Toughie No 103 by


Review by Sloop John Bee

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This puzzle was published on the 14th of January 2024



8a           Dash or run, filled with life? Quite the opposite (4)
BRIO: The wordplay suggests that the prefix for living organisms goes in the run, quite the opposite reverses that so the run R, fills in the prefix BIO, BRIO to act or perform with dash, elan or style

9a           Border where trees still grow entire limb, possibly (6,4)
TIMBERLINE: An anagram (possibly) of ENTIRE and LIMB to give the visible line above which trees do not normally grow. It contains BERLIN the capital city of Germany

10a        Complaint about AC/DC, back in Ireland (8)
HIBERNIA: AC/DC is a slang term for someone who “swings both ways” A reversal (back) of an alternative BI becomes IB, goes into the complaint of a protrusion of an organ through the wall of the cavity containing it HERNIA, H-IB-ERNIA the Roman name for Ireland. It contains BERN the capital city of Switzerland

11a        Good crew member miserable in protest (2-4)
GO-SLOW: Abbreviations of good G, and a low-ranking member of the crew of a ship OS for Ordinary Seaman, go before a synonym of miserable LOW. The kind of protest where you deliberately restrict output to gain concessions from employers GO-SLOW. It contains OSLO the capital city of Norway

12a        Save complex remote measuring device (9)
BAROMETER: A synonym of save BAR, before an anagram (complex) of REMOTE, BAROMETER a device to measure atmospheric pressure. It Contains ROME the capital city of Italy

13a        American escaping prison traverses empty ditches (5)
JILTS: An alternative term for a prison JAIL loses one of our usual Americanisms A, followed by what remains of traverses after it has been emptied T-S, ditches or JILTS

15a        Art working briefly in dramatic Shakespearean event (7)
TEMPEST: A Shakespearean drama about a storm, to work on an ad-hoc or irregular basis TEMP, with an archaic or dialectal suffix used to form the second-person singular present tense and past tense of verbs (if thou is the subject) EST, Phew a bit of a grammar lesson from Robyn! Thou art working briefly

17a        Atmosphere in the City holding Sri Lankan back (7)
CLIMATE: A way of referring to the City of London (from its postcode) EC contains a member of a people from Sri Lanka TAMIL, all reversed (back) to give us C-LIMAT-E or atmosphere. It contains LIMA the capital city of Peru

20a        A key instrument, mostly for dealing with bees (5)
APIAN: An adjective for dealing with bees APIAN, also most of A from the clue and an instrument with keys A + PIANO – O. It contains APIA the capital city of Samoa

22a        Horse might don this headgear, with rain so bad (9)
CAPARISON: Those horse garments crop up again, from an item of headwear CAP, and an anagram (bad) of RAIN SO. CAPARISON an ornamented covering for a horse. It contains PARIS the capital city of France

25a        Appealing dancer aroused males, inspiring love (6)
SALOME: An anagram (aroused) of MALES when it contains (inspiring) the letter that love represents O, SALOME a dancer who appealed to Herod so much that he acceded to her request for the head of John the Baptist. It contains LOMÉ the capital city of Togo

26a        Worthless person taken in by low bloodsucker (8)
MOSQUITO: An informal worthless or contemptible person SQUIT, inside the sound of a lowing animal MOO. It contains QUITO the capital city of Ecuador

27a        What 1, 9, 10, 11, 12, 17, 20, 22, 25 and 26 all have is a moral failing once (7,3)
CAPITAL SIN: Robyn has created a wonderful collection of clues here, a couple of them may be difficult to spot (20,25) but all those clues have CAPITALS IN, when split (7,3) you have an obsolete term for a serious moral failing

28a        In which you may see swimmers fail (4)
TANK: A double definition, a container for captive swimmers, Goldfish perhaps and a slang term for failure


1d           Furious about doctor providing water (8)
IRRIGATE: A synonym of furious IRATE, around to doctor or tamper with RIG, to provide water ir IRRIGATE. It contains RIGA the capital city of Latvia

2d           Loud soldiers I come in front of (6)
FOREGO: To come in front of, from the musical notation for loud F, soldiers of other ranks OR, and I or self EGO

3d           Officer’s order requiring assent with day off (5,4)
STAND EASY: An anagram (off) of ASSENT and DAY

4d           Ran through fence, bandaged by one doctor (7)
IMPALED: The letter that looks like one I, and a Medical Doctor M.D. around a fence of wooden stakes PALE

5d           On energy, Greens welcoming right limit (5)
VERGE: The greens you have on a plate VEG, welcome R for right and go on E for energy

6d           Students and I writing about prejudice (8)
CLASSISM: A group of students  CLASS, and I from the clue followed by a reversal of an abbreviation of some writing a manuscript become MS reversed to be SM, CLASSISM prejudice on grounds of social class

7d           Fast runner at the end of a French Open (6)
UNBOLT: Start with a French A  UN, and add a fast Jamaican runner Usain BOLT

14d        Head of church inclined to accept saint’s purification (9)
CLEANSING: The leading letter of Church C, and a synonym  of inclined LEANING, accept a one-letter abbreviation of saint S

16d        Perhaps ideal boost after climbing mountain (8)
PLATONIC: The boost you may get from a restorative drink TONIC, after a reversal (climbing) of a mountain ALP become PLA

18d        Start to train, going off jogging (8)
TROTTING: The starting letter to train T,  and a synonym of going off ROTTING– jogging on

19d        One seeing future friend on film (7)
PALMIST: A friend PAL, and the film that descends in driech weather MIST, A PALMIST may see your future in the lines of your palm

21d        Be idle, mostly, in quiet areas, on vacation in city squares (6)
PLAZAS: Most of a synonym for idle LAZY, in a musical instruction to play quietly P for Piano, and AreaS when it has been vacated make these city squares or PLAZAS

23d        Group in Arctic senses dropping temperature (6)
INUITS: A synonym of senses as in the power of the mind to immediately perceive the truth of things without reasoning or analysis INTUITS, drops T for temperature

24d        Figure welcoming a vote, revolutionary US statesperson (5)
TEXAN: A figure between nine and eleven TEN, welcomes a reversal (revolutionary) of the mark you make when voting X, and A from the clue. TE(XA)N someone from the US state of Texas



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