Sunday Toughie 8 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 8 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 8 by Zandio (Hints)

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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Hello from a sunny but breezy Yorkshire,
Yesterday was quite a fun day, it started with a great SPP from Chalicea. Tilsit’s Blog came with a delightful pic that inspired me to take a trip out to the Ribble Valley, and as it happens Chalicea was back home in deepest Yorkshire. We probably passed like ships in the night in the many traffic problems in that area yesterday.

It’s a small world but I wouldn’t like to paint it!

Zandio has brought us a fine not too tough toughie, once I saw the metaphor in 1a it flowed quite smoothly. I was still up half the night sorting out a recalcitrant printer driver but restoratives from the fine distillers at Bruichladdich helped me last night, and this morning a rather nice Sparkenhoe Vintage Red Leicester and Coffee from Roost roastery in Malton, kept me going this morning.

28 cules today 14 of each I have hinted half but if you get to the hind I may have nudged a couple more. Cules is a deliberate misspelling (see 14a)

As it is a Prize puzzle I can only hint at a few and hope that will give you the checkers and inspiration to go further.

I’ll be back just after the closing date with the full blog.

Don’t forget to follow BD’s instructions in RED at the bottom of the hints! I hope I don’t have to redact any comments but I am new at this and don’t want to rock the boat. If in doubt I’ll rub it out!

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow:

Remember the site rules and play nicely.


1    Check on politician’s instinct — is it red or blue? (6,4)
We start with quite a tricky little political metaphor – “a question asked of a potential candidate for high office, the answer to which would determine whether the nominating official would proceed with the appointment or nomination” The red or blue here are not one’s political colours but the indicator results of the examination on which the metaphor is based.
276 Litmus Test Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock
10  Reduction of tobacco’s tar I campaigned for here? (5,4)
This is a lurker (reduction of) with a rather vague geographical definition hence the question mark. Answer hidden in words 3-6.

12  Spell in charge of board that organises all matter of things (8,5)
A spell (of time), an abbreviation of In Charge, and a synonym of board come together to create an organisational chart for all matter of things or elements. I would recommend Primo Levi’s book on the subject but it is a bit of a hard read at the moment.

19  Strolling player serenaded senorita in film, endlessly elegant (8)
A Hispanic girls name, in film most probably West Side Story, and a synonym of elegant without it’s last letter created A strolling player (also hispanic). I was trying to find a nice clip here but I haven’t worked out how to blur the YT titles like Mr K so I have chosen something without the answer in the title.



21  Celebrity Dunroamin? (9,4)
Some people who have decided that they have found their “forever home” may give the place twee names like “Dunroamin” It is also how someone whose celebrity was known in many homes may be described.

26  What headlights might catch with no time to drive away (4)
A five letter word for to drive away without the t for time.

Political Cartoon U.S. biden press deer headlights
27  Self-evidently being sly about this crooked sport (5,5)
A tricky little extraction and anagram here. S…ly is about the first two words of the clue, remove those letters and anagrammatise the rest (crooked) to fit the definition


1    Sign diary: ‘With love’ (4)
A diary (particularly of Starship’s captains) and the letter represented by love. Give any easily recognizable or significant badge or emblem used by a company, organization, etc as a trademark or symbol.

Star Trek Cats | Star Trek Shop - UK
3    Funny tale unfolded around tour getting diverted, worse luck (13)
Anagram of first two words (unfolded) around an anagram of the fifth word. (getting diverted)

4    Idle moment ended (4,4)
A short moment of time and a synonym of ended give us the idling that a car may do while waiting to get into Malham.

8    Mix up rare gift, it could be wrapped in yellow and pink inside (10)
An anagram (mix) of the following three words. These usually have yellow skin but may be pink inside.

11  Independent will support scribe over rubbish, the writer’s confident (13)
A “scribe” such as Primo Levi, is supported by an abbreviation of Independent, then a colloquial piece of rubbish and a contraction of something the writer may say when he is in possession of something.

13  Archduchy is corrupt — king’s grasped where the bodies are buried (10)
Anagram of the first word and the Latin abbreviation for King.
St Mary's Tadcaster: Hidden past | English Ancestors
I think that was the flood that brought our bridge down! though it got a bit soggy there just a few weeks ago.

20  Rift within church about vicars being halfcut (7)
Looking at the solution one may see an abbreviation of our Reverend but that is not the priest we are looking for. we want a crossword term for about and the first half of the Vicars, surrounded by the Church of England.

What is limestone and how is it formed? - ppt video online downloadI used to think the stones were grikes and the 20d were clints but a school geography field trip to Malham Cove taught me otherwise.

That is half the clues and I hope that gives you enough checkers to finish the puzzle, If you have stuck with me so far I will tell you that 15a is another lurker and should sort out any confusion about the ending of 7d.

Today’s music is a piece I caught by chance stuck in a traffic jam in Malham yesterday – Mama Bee was getting tired of my choice of music (Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Etc) I bunged Classic FM on, wound the windows down and this calmed the furrowed brow caused by the traffic. 3 calming pieces of music later we were sitting in the Town End Farm shop tea rooms having Tea and Scones with Cream and Raspberry Jam (Mama Bee) Black Coffee and a Bacon and Mushroom Crusty Baguette (Me Myself and I – it was big enough for 3!)


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28 comments on “Sunday Toughie 8 (Hints)

  1. There are some fine clues here, among them 2d, 4d, 8d,16d and 22d.
    Thanks to Zandio and SJB.

  2. It took me quite a while to get onto the right wavelength today, but then it all came together nicely apart from the parsing of 17a & 22d..

    Sloop, I don’t think the definition for 10a is that vague. Smoking was prohibited there about ten years ago.

    A special mention for the quadruple definition in 9a.

    Many thanks to Zandio for a fun challenge and to SJB.

    1. Thanks RD Every day is a school day. That would make it an all in one? as well as a lurker.

    2. 17a – The AS from the clue and a two-letter abbreviation for about inside (to get arrested) by the abbreviations for right and left (as the abbreviation for right is on the left and the abbreviation for left is on the right, the sides are swapped).

      22d – A three-letter word for a person know as Mr inside (boxes) a reversal (lifted) of how you would write X in Arabic numerals.

  3. A lovely puzzle & thoroughly enjoyable. Not sure it was any more difficult than some of his Friday back-pagers but no complaints from me on that score. I’ll plump for a podium of across cules at 9,26&27.
    Thanks to Zandio & to John for another fine review – lovely Islay drop. Thought you may have added a track off Santana’s Supernatural album featuring The Product G&B for 19a.

  4. No problem today keeping my 100% record for these new Toughies, although it was great fun to solve.
    22d and 21a my favourites.
    Thanks Zandio and SJB

    1. Thanks for popping in. It is good to see setters keeping an eye on their babies.

  5. Although I managed to finish, in the sense that I filled in the grid, I struggled to parse quite a few, most notably 1a (that must be a particularly British metaphor in the manner of selecting candidates for office; all I had to go on was chemistry lab and the colours red and blue), 22d (thanks to Prolixic for the post), and 17a (in terms of the arrangement of letters). In all three cases, I twigged the definition early on, though not the wherewithals. For me, I think the toughest of our new Sunday Toughies but ultimately quite enjoyable. Thanks to SJB & Zandio.

    I don’t know about anything about smoking in 10a, but my ten days there were among the most completely satisfying of any vacation I have ever had–an absolutely lovely, eco-devoted country, friendly to the max, and the real deal.

    1. The Wikipedia page where I tracked down the political metaphor indicates it is mostly used in the US in presidential candidates and appointees to the judiciary of the Supreme Court of the US. I guess neither of us are terribly political.
      10a sounds like an enchanting place. and coincidentally on my telly Attenborough is there at the moment, I must try and visit someday.
      I have persevered with the Midnight Library by Matt Haig ( not as good IMO as “how to stop time” ) After a re-read of L.p. Hartley and Primo Levi my bedside table is a bit bare any tips?

      1. Very, very late your time, but perhaps you’ll check back. Tips? All of Mick Herron’s Slough House series, all 7 volumes, the last of which I’ve just begun. On my metaphorical bedside table (read: anywhere I can put them): Anne Tyler’s new novel, French Braid (she’s a longtime favourite of mine) and Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House (another old favourite). I must read Levi’s book about the elements. Just read Toni Morrison’s story Recitatif with an intro by Zadie Smith, which is badly overwritten. Published posthumously for the first time. Not great Morrison but still.

        1. Robert, you have not tried Dorothy Dunnett yet? Her Nicolo and Lymond books are great historical reads.

  6. Another good Sunday Toughie, with my favourite being the very clever 9a then runner-up credits to 12a, 25a, 27a, 4d and 8d. I’m looking forward to the full review as my parsings of 14a and 24a leave something to be desired. I’m used to seeing grykes spelt with a ‘y’ so the 20d illustration was a surprise. But then I did my geology course at Lancaster and SJB is from the other side of the Pennines, so he should know what term the locals use! Whatever you call them, the limestone pavement formations are spectacular.

    Thank you to Zandio for the puzzle and SJB for the hints etc.

    1. Looking again this morning provided the penny-drop moment on 14, but I still haven’t squared away 24 to my satisfaction. I’m probably missing something…

      1. I have seen grikes spelt both ways (clints isolated by deep fissures called grikes or grykes[2] (terms derived from a northern English dialect).) – luck of the draw with the pic I chose. I had a similar PDM when I got the self-referential “this” (clue becomes cule)
        We may both be missing something with 24a – the best I could come up with was the required money is word 1 and 3 “you need to settle this bill ** this **** ” with a from the clue and the city being the middle word.

        1. I took the ‘required money’ to be the last word which follows (to succeed) ‘in a US city’ (2,1,2).

          1. Thanks, Gazza – Your interpretation is better than mine. You guys are writing more of the review than I am :)

          2. That’s where I am at, too. Just wrangling with myself with regard to some slightly off-beat synonyms. But, hey, this is a cryptic crossword!

  7. Despite not being a fan of this setter’s back-pagers, I’ve invariably done quite well with his Toughie compilations. Not today, however! I’ve filled the grid courtesy of some outside help but my sheet is liberally strewn with question marks and ‘hmms’.
    Wavelength issue perhaps?
    Of the ones I coped with and enjoyed, 1,4&23d took the honours.

    Thanks to Zandio and to JB for his sterling work on the hints.

  8. Look at the time of posting and you will see that it is another ‘white night’, ie sleepless. Started it yesterday afternoon and got bogged down by 13 of all things. I was trying to be far too clever with sarcophagi etc. anyway, a cup of drinking chocolate and a digestive are my go-to mid-night snack and suddenly it was all there. I am enjoying these Sunday toughies, a real bonus, 12 and 14a were favourites. Many thanks to Zandio and the Sloop John Bee,your scones sound delicious. And, Robert, I must get Anne Tyler’s French Braid, she is a favourite of mine. At the moment I am reading Maggie O’Farrell After You’d Gone.

    1. Sorry to hear about your “white nights” I hope they are not too frequent. I have been there but thankfully not too often. I usually start these toughies online as soon as they are published (midnight) and get most of the answers in the first hour. Sunday morning a printer problem kept me up til 3 am. I was petrified that the parsings and scribbled marginalia my grids usually have, would escape my brain overnight. (Some did anyway – see RD re 9 and 10a)
      Yours and Robert’s reading tips duly noted and I think a trip to Waterstones is called for. (I read Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet and although I finished it I didn’t feel like revisiting Hamlet to compare notes.

  9. These Sunday Toughies have become more of a Monday extra for me – Sunday morning, church, Sunday afternoon, archery, invariably followed by a pint of England’s finest ale alongside cheesy chips, Sunday evening cook, eat, moan at the rubbish served up on the telly. So no time for the brainstrain, but I enjoy reading other solvers’ comments, usually before tackling the thing. Thanks to Zandio, SJB, and the rest of you canny solvers.

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