Sunday Toughie 9 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 9

Sunday Toughie No 9 by Zandio

Review by Sloop John Bee

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This puzzle was published on 27th March 2022

A tricky little devil at first but with a bit of “Biased” help from the blog we got there in the end.


1              Who cares if a child’s left home? (4-6)
BABY SITTER: The person employed to look after one’s offspring while the parents are temporarily absent.

6              Formal lessons in doctrine held by national leader (4)
PRIM: Lessons in doctrine are Religious Instruction, our national leader is the Prime Minister. An abbreviation for the former is contained (held by)  the latter. A synonym of formal.

9              Mountainous land with gold found by exposed crag (7)
ANDORRA: This mountainous land starts with a preposition “With the addition of”, The heraldic term for Gold, and the letters exposed when crag loses its outer letters.

10           Register pub event with 100 standing by (5,2)
CLOCK IN: This pub event may be a bit British for some, if you find an amenable landlord who is willing to serve you after the normal hours, he may close and lock the doors, check the curtains are tightly drawn, and safe from the prying eyes of Constables, resume selling booze. This is a Lock in. Start with the Roman numeral for 100 and we have the sort of register of arrival you may do when starting a shift at work.

12           Team from Oxford or Cambridge races in world meeting (6,7)
UNITED NATIONS: Not the teams that represent the Universities in those cities, but the Association Football teams of those cities. They share a common suffix.  (UNITED)  Added to a synonym of races or geopolitical groupings (NATIONS)  and we have a world meeting first formed in 1945

14           Waffle stuff and that’s that! (8)
NONSENSE: lots of definitions all amounting to the same – something that makes no sense.
A triple definition, waffle, stuff and nonsense, that’s that – no more of your nonsense.

15           Tree’s stripped, essentially it’s deliberate (6)
CONFER: A Conifer tree is stripped of it’s central (essential) letter. To confer or deliberate about a subject.

17           Teacher bounded ahead, skipping occasionally (6)
BUDDHA: Odd Letters of words 2 and 3 (skipping occasionally)

19           Parisian’s grilled again — curt when beaten, but caught out (2,6)
AU GRATIN: An anagram (when beaten) of again and curt with the cricket abbreviation for caught removed (out) – How a Parisian may serve some food.

au gratin and gratin adjcookery said of a dish: covered with breadcrumbs, or grated cheese, or a combination of both, cooked in the oven and/or browned under the grill, so that a crisp, golden topping is formed.
ETYMOLOGY: Early 19c: French, meaning ‘with the burnt scrapings’.

21           Mark return of butterfly? (8,5)
INVERTED COMMA: A punctuation mark. If something was a ‘return of’ it would be inverted and a species of butterfly combine to give the punctuation.

The Comma is a fascinating butterfly. The scalloped edges and cryptic colouring of the wings conceal hibernating adults amongst dead leaves, while the larvae, flecked with brown and white markings, bear a close resemblance to bird droppings.

24           They count and recount (7)
TELLERS: A teller of tales may recount anecdotes, Tellers at a Bank or Polling Station, count and recount banknotes or votes until they tally.

25           Part of cast in ‘Cabaret’ sit raunchily facing backwards (7)
ARTISTE: A reverse (in) lurker (facing backwards)

26           Low returns across year and other periods (4)
DAYS: A synonym of low/depressed/sad is reversed (returns) about (across) the abbreviation of Year Y to give us an(other) periods of time.

27           Noted disrespectable drunk making odd sips with this? (10)
CELEBRATED: Remove the letters of sips from disrespectable and anagrammatise the rest.
We have 2 Anagrinds (drunk) and (odd) we need both as we are not removing sips from disrespectable but an anagram of sips. What remains is then re-anagrammed to give us the synonym of noted we require.




1              Load black Sierra, keeping top up (4)
BIAS: There is an electrical reference to load here but it is beyond my knowledge to explain, as my Uncle (also called) John who worked for Marconi, has long gone I will opt for a simpler Load – That applied by having a set of bowls that are `loaded` or weighted on one side. This bias allows them to curve predictably. The wordplay gets us to BIAS by putting B for black and the letter that the phonetic code for Sierra indicates around a reversal of a top grade A1. B 1 A S. I finally parsed this while driving across the A1 to take Mama Bee out for lunch on Mothers Day  Phew!

2              Nomad wants somewhere to sleep in Cote d’Ivoire, definitely by November (7)
BEDOUIN: Somewhere to sleep – BED , How a Francophone from Cote d’Ivoire would say yes or definitely – OUI,  and the letter represented by November in the phonetic alphabet N, come together to give an Arabic Nomadic tribe.
The BedouinBeduin or Bedu (/ˈbɛduɪn/;[21] Arabic: بَدْو, romanizedbadū, singular بَدَوِي badawī) are nomadic Arab tribes who have historically inhabited the desert regions in the Arabian PeninsulaNorth Africa, the Levant, and Mesopotamia.[22] However, the Arabian Peninsula is the historic and original homeland of the Bedouin Arabs.

3              It could be worth waiting for this ceremony — rush forward! (7,6)
SERVICE CHARGE: A ceremony such as a church service, and a rush forward or charge, combine to give a fee added to the bill that one hopes is going to top up the wages of the staff that served you.

4              Two kinds of creativity — elevating one makes one cross (8)
TRAVERSE: One type of creativity ART is reversed TRA and another isn’t VERSE  TRAVERSE to Travel across or pass over.

5              One’s time is in the past (2-3)
EX-CON: Time served in prison as a convict is in the past. therefore I am an EX-CON

7              Comb needed with bad cut (4-3)
RAKE OFF: A Comb or RAKE with OFF as in bad food is the cut one may take off any profits. A percentage (of winnings or loot or profit) taken by an operator or gangster

8              Dig spicy condensed Eastern food with pasta? (10)
MINESTRONE: Synonyms of dig valuable resources  (MINE), spicy (STRON)g (condensed – lose the last letter) and E for east give a food that usually contains pasta.
Classic minestrone soup in a bowl

11           Stay longer time in dock that’s attached to boat (8,5)
OUTBOARD MOTOR: I struggled to parse this at the time but the consensus from the blog is To stay longer (in a boarding house) and to dock or Moor with T for time inside. OUT BOARD MO(T)OR. an Internal-combustion engine that mounts at stern of small boat.

13           I ordered bartender not to close, keeping one _____? (10)
INEBRIATED: An anagram of I and BARTENDEr (without the closing letter) (not to close) is the condition you may be in if you ordered the bartender not to close (à la 10a) and to carry on serving intoxicating beverages.

16           Wallet full of change — half’s gone to make this? (8)
PURCHASE: A wallet or PUR SE contains the first half  (half’s gone) of CHAnge. something you may buy with the contents of said wallet.

18           Bad behaviour arising on stage — tedious to be around that (7)
DEVILRY: A performance on stage as opposed to recorded is said to be LIVE this is reversed (arising) and a synonym of tedious D-RY is around EVIL

20           Passage shows despot arresting revolutionary is not unknown (7)
TRANSIT: A despot or TYRANT loses the algebraic unknown Y and inserts a reversal (revolutionary) of is. T Y RAN SI T

22           All Bar One points continental group to t’North, ‘appen! (5)
ENSUE: All Bar One points allows us to start with three of four points of the compass.
E N and S. The continental group would be the E.U but it is reversed (t’North in a down clue) to ensue or happen. I expect our setter lapsed into a Yorkshire vernacular because he gave us “All Bar One” letter of the definition. I still have some doubts about it though as t’North elides 2 letters (the North) and ‘appen is the Yorkshire dialect word for Perhaps not Happen. I think I may be overthinking this.
I tend to agree with Rabbit Dave “22d is bizarre.”

23           Quite boring cold (4)
DEAD: We finish with a dead boring double definition.

9 comments on “Sunday Toughie 9

  1. Some of my formatting hasn’t survived moving from Word to WordPress. I will have to practice a bit more I think.

  2. Thanks, SJB, for your herculean efforts on this one. I’m still poring over your Yorkshire-vernacular comments, especially the way that ‘appen’ works (or fails to work) in 22d. When struggling with this fiend of a puzzle (‘bias’. ‘ensue’–and others), I remember thinking that it was the toughest of the Sunday Toughies, and I still think so. Your description of the comma butterfly is quite lovely, by the way. Are you also a lepidopterist, among your many attainments?

    1. I have lived in Yorkshire for most of my life, (54/60ths) and it still confuses me! I think the Yorkshire dialect song “on ilkla moor baht ‘at” may have some bearing on the use of bar in the clue, but perhaps ‘appen’ the ensue(ing) brain ache is a bit of a strain.

  3. Couldn’t get a foothold on this one when it was published, but hung on to it anyway, and had another look last Saturday. Blimey! It all fell into place, although it took a while. Thanks SJB, I’ll read your hints now. And thanks to the setter too

  4. Thanks, SJB. I particularly enjoyed the illustration and description of the Comma.

  5. Thanks SJB, that was most helpful. I was 4 clues off finishing this. Although I had guessed the answer to 20D but that convoluted way of arriving at the answer eluded me so I didn’t allow myself to put it in.

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