Sunday Toughie 3 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 3 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 3 by proXimal (Hints)

Hints and Tips by Big Dave

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A few hints to get you started:


1a Spots leaving head with second rash (8)
Start with some facial spots, drop their initial letter (leaving head) and add S(econd)

10a Search people following one group avoiding fine security device (11,4)
A four-letter verb meaning to search then a body of people preceded by I (one) and finally a group, usually of sheep, without (avoiding) the F(ine)

11a This foreigner messing with Kyiv could be risky with vain US (7)
RISKY with VAIN US is a compound anagram (messing with) of a foreigner and KYIV, which is to say that the foreigner is an anagram of RISANUS – rather topical considering the current political situation!

15a Charges having put stone foundation all around (5)
The reversal (all around) of ST(one) and a foundation

18a We heard tree grew money (5)
Sounds like (we heard) a tree and a verb meaning grows

26a Be in Dunstable, Derby etc and do multiple roles (4,7,4)
Cryptically to be seen in many of the items of headwear that include a Dunstable and a Derby

27a Clearly not on, electronic game with plug away (6)
A threefive-letter electronic game without the letters ON (not on) [thanks RD] followed by a verb meaning to carry on or plug away

28a Dragon badly cut bottom after retreating (8)
A word loosely meaning badly without its final letter (cut) followed by the reversal (after retreating) of a word meaning the bottom


1d Celebrateunsurpassed performance (6)
Two definitions

6d Had food sent out with article missing (7)
A verb meaning out or projected without the single-letter indefinite article

8d Poster oddly containing goddess mounted on Eastern dog (8)
The odd letters of PoStEr around the reversal (mounted) of the Greek goddess of victory and E(astern)

14d Tree hit over shed in moving earth around (8)
An anagram (around) of MOV[I]NG EAR[TH] after removing (shed) the various letters (over) of HIT

16d Group in which Gary Barlow’s first played piano (4,5)
A group of musicians goes around an anagram (played) of GARY B[arlow]

19d Marital operations backfired, common to be (7)
The reversal (backfired) of OP(eration)S followed by a word meaning common without its middle letter (disheartened)

21d Thief from Irish province left to the south after hour (7)
Start with the Irish province that includes Northern Ireland, move the L(eft) along a couple of places (to the south in a down clue) and put the whole lot after H(our)

25d One developing popular valved masks (5)
Hidden (masks) inside the clue


15 comments on “Sunday Toughie 3 (Hints)

  1. Not able to access this puzzle from the newspaper app but nice to see Big Dave having a go again. Welcome back big fella

  2. Much harder than no’s 1 and 2 I thought, but still managed it in reasonable time. 11a favourite. Harder that the Sunday PP I found, which I’m pleased is now the back pager as well.
    Thanks proXimal and BD

  3. I was utterly defeated by this Toughie and so I eventually threw in the towel late last night. I did get 10a and a few more. I worked out of Dunstable for many years and despite knowing what its near neighbour Luton is famous for, Dunstable escaped me completely and that was despite a lenghty Google search. Thanks for the mental battle Proximal, you beat me hands down. Thank you too BD for a bit of enlightenment :-)

  4. Imho, the Toughiest Toughie I’ve ever completed unaided. An exceptional puzzle, thank you ProXimal, & thanks BD for parsing 11a & 14d. 26a, knew the Derby but not the Dunstable. 5*/5*

  5. An awful lot of perseverance & a fair bit of guesswork was required to complete at the third attempt last night. Dunstable & Derby (educated punt) the key to unlocking the south which had resembled a no go area. 3d needed 2 bites of the cherry via the submit button so can’t claim an unassisted finish. Certainly the toughest of the 3 so far & very satisfying to finish even if there were a few I was unable to parse fully. 11a my favourite for both topicality & surface read & even more so now BD has explained it – always get flummoxed with compound or augmented anagrams.
    Thanks to proXimal & to BD

  6. the shortened synonym of badly in 28a must be very loose indeed. I can’t find it in any thesaurus online or otherwise. I agree that this new toughie series has got steadily harder. I wonder how long before we get an Elgar in this slot.
    I enjoyed the fight and learned a lot about hats horses and card games.
    Thanks to proXimal and BD

  7. Wow. What a contrast to Sunday Toughie No.1 from the same setter! This one was genuinely tough and took me four separate sittings to complete but I did enjoy it.

    BD, I took “clearly” to be the definition for 27a with the wordplay for the first three letters of the answer being a 5-letter electronic game with the letters ON removed (“not on”).

    Many thanks to proXimal for the challenge and BD for the hints.

  8. Found this very hard work, I do hope all the Sunday Toughies aren’t going to be pitched at such a high level.
    Crossed the line eventually with a few questions regarding definitions along the way – fortunately BD’s hints sorted those out for me.
    Favourite was 5a with its probably outdated WI overtones!

    Thanks to proXimal and to BD for the hints – nice to see you back in the chair although I guess that implies that you haven’t been able to find a volunteer to provide the Sunday hints following your request last week.

  9. Many thanks to Big Dave, first off, for the hints and helping me parse the ones I struggled with. Thanks to the online lagniappe of 5 letters, with that ‘Reveal’ I was able to finish this very tough proXimal; however, it took several sittings to do so. Now that BD has explained 11a, it rises to the top as the best of the many superb clues (the answer was obvious; the parsing not so!). 28a was my LOI, and like John B, it took me ages to equate ‘badly’ with the first part of the definition. I didn’t really connect with Derby or Dunstable, to be honest, for 26a, but I got that one early on because of some checking letters and the enumeration, especially the 4-letter words. What an exhilarating workout! Thanks to BD and our wily compiler.

  10. What a super puzzle that was! At 9.30 last evening I struggled for ages to get more than one answer, but I suspect the copious quantity of champagne over supper had something to do with my confuddlement. At 5.00 this morning it was a different matter altogether, and I found it a very rewarding and satisfying Toughie indeed.

    I needed Big Dave’s parsings afterwards to understand a few of my answers, but what cracking clues, and not a duff one to be found. I knew the hats, am a bit of a 20a, have known a couple of 28s, and had never heard of the 7d game. Chortled at 3d and thought 12a and 13a v clever indeed, 27a my LOI (and without googling I still have no idea what this game is, so will have to remember to look at the review next week) but there were too many ticks for me to single out one in particular as being COTD.

    4 / 4

    Many thanks indeed to ProXimal & to Big Dave

  11. I saw that BD had posted some hints for this puzzle so decided to have a go last night. It has also taken some of this morning and an extended lunchtime to get to the finish – it was a bit of a head scratcher! I particularly liked 13a, 18a, 20a, 26a, 16d and 22d, but my gold medal goes to the topical 11a (the parsing of which took a bit of teasing out). I was not familiar with either of the 2 games in the wordplay and needed to look them up for confirmation, and I wasn’t comfortable with the first part of 28a until commentary above provided support. 22d and 24d don’t appear to be listed in BD’s hints and I’m not confident about my 24d because I would rather the soldiers were sailors!
    Thanks, Big Dave.

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