Sunday Toughie 16 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 16 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 16 by Zandio (Hints)

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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I was expecting Zandio last week but here he is now. Not the hardest of this series so far but still tricky enough to merit the Toughie status. Thanks to the nice long-necked Scot the east was all done and dusted before 15a steered the Sloop into the West. I think I need to check my Individual Saving Account and my investments before fully signing off on the parsings. If you need help with any more some bonus hints are mentioned at the end and as usual I will be lenient with the naughty step, but BD is probably keeping an eye on this NooBee.

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.


1a    Winter event in sierra — promptly take a tumble (8)
According to his weather reports, Senf sees quite a lot of this winter event. I think today’s blog reports a fresh load arrived overnight!. A Nato phonetic code, when something should be done in order to be prompt, and a tumble come together.

5a    Writer needs line after US VP cut one (6)
A former US VP cuts his last letter and adds the one that looks like one and the one that looks like a line.

9a    Turkey’s peak linked to, say, Persian area tunnel (8)
A Persian pet animal, an abbreviation for area, and the thing that turkeys have on their peaks, come together for a tunnel where the remains of the dead are kept.

10a    Figure to get hack’s sound support, first to last (8)
This hack is an animal we ride for pleasure, we want the sound it makes and the support that a golfer uses, put them together and move the first letter to the last.

12a    Dignitary giving service in times past? On the contrary (8)
A religious service in times past would be the wrong way of constructing this, on the contrary, we want an obsolete or poetic term for times past in a religious service.

18a    Clash, second-rate outfit playing Liverpool for instance (8)
This is a clash of style, size or even football talent when Liverpool meets second rate opposition for instance.

I don’t think the FA Cup Final yesterday was an 18a but I hope Terence is not too depressed.

21a    Worked backwards, 101 to 100 … after retiring, it could put you to sleep (8)
The Roman numerals for 101 and 100, “to” from the clue and a synonym of worked are all reversed and put together in the order suggested for something that makes you sleep.

26a    Drill making that woman’s revolutionary listening aids echo (8)
That woman is reversed, followed by things that help you listen and the phonetic code that echo represents.


1d    London area vehicle’s piercing alarm (5)
The point of the compass where the London area lies are pierced by a vehicle.

2d    Slogan about husband and wife drawn in toward breaking up (9)
Usual crossword abbreviations for about, husband and wife go in an anagram of toward.

4d    Old Scottish character with a lot of neck, unreliably sighted (4,4,7)
He is Scottish, has a long neck and sighting him is unreliable if not impossible, but that doesn’t stop shopkeepers in Drumnadrochit from selling all sorts of tat to gullible tourists.

6d    Do some decorating work — note time to go and time to stay (7)
A musical note ( that contains two tees), the first of which is removed but the second one can stay, a decorative handicraft.

12d    Plugs damage beer barrel with metal inside (9)
Synonyms for damage, a beer barrel, the barrel has a silvery metal inside, for the kind of plugs that persuade gullible children to part with parents cash for tartan tat in the shape of 4d

16d    Attendees not as drunk as closer relations (7)
Attendees lose the letters A and S (and add an acute accent) for a French term for the closer relations between countries)

17d    Rip-off getting uniform for nothing — it’s liable to be bent (7)
A synonym of Rip-off, in the sense of theft from the person, swaps the letter represented by uniform for the one that looks like nothing.

That is just over half of an imbalanced (16 across and 13 down clues) I hope that is enough to get you over the line. I found it easier in the east, mainly because that is where the two lurkers (one reversed) and a “bar thinly disguised” anagram lie.

Today’s music is not to my usual taste but after years of tactical voting and dire songs I can’t object to this winning last night. Although I agree with The Telegraph’s music critic. I could have done without the pink lampshade.

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19 comments on “Sunday Toughie 16 (Hints)

  1. 90% enjoyable for me, but I thought 4d and 18a a tad weak. And, to nit-pick here, surely 5a is EX US VP? A few seconds into 2* time, and 3* for headscratching. Thanks to both.

  2. I suppose that as former presidents remain Mr President forever, the same applies to former Vices.

  3. A pleasant, fairly gentle Toughie – thanks to Zandio and SJB.
    My favourite was 24a.

  4. Gazza expressed it as I found it.
    Thanks to all concerned.
    25a was my favourite.

  5. Once again I am politely asking CL to please include this in the digital version for those of paying a full subscription. It seems my requests are falling on deaf ears.

  6. Rarely get around to tackling the Sunday Toughies but had a bit of free time today so gave this one a try. It’s no secret that I struggle with this setter’s style but I did find some to enjoy in this one.
    Top three here were 1a plus 3&4d. I’ll be interested to read the full review and discover what others thought of the ones that gained ‘nul points’ from me.

    Thanks to Zandio and to JB for the hints.
    PS The organisers of last night’s Eurovision would doubtless have been royally castigated if Ukraine hadn’t been declared the winners – in spite of the pink lampshade!

  7. A good solid puzzle, admittedly somewhat lighter than recent Sunday Toughies, but nonetheless enjoyable for that. HMs to 9a, 23a and 25a, while I agree with NogBad about 4d and 18a – both a bit weak.

    Thank you to Zandio, and to SJB.

  8. Hello, compiler here. Thanks for taking the time to solve, analyse and discuss. All the best.

    1. Thanks for a pleasant puzzle and for checking in. I wonder if you have any sway with Mr Ed (CL) regarding getting the Sunday Toughie on the digital app?

    2. Thank you for a real head scratcher but I did finish it on my own, desperately needing SJB’s parsing hints just now. I don’t know where everyone else finds the time to do two crypticsue before eleven but I invariably only turn to the toughie at bedtime, and very often wake in the morning and am able to finish! I really appreciate your contribution towards keeping my mind active!

      1. The mental image of Crypticsue struggling to do two cryptics does not compute. I know what you mean though and thanks for the thanks it keeps us going.

  9. It’s a while since we’ve completed a Sunday toughie on the day so we’re rather pleased with ourselves. Favourite was 2d. Thanks to Zandio and SJB.

  10. Found this tougher than all those going before thus far, so happy to have finished. No real favourites, as none brought a smile, but I’ll plump for 10a as I’d failed to parse it. Thanks to Zandio for the headscratch and Sloop John Bee for the explanations.

  11. So late tonight! I found this a delightful addition to the Sunday Toughie gallery when I finished it last night (about 22 hours ago!). Since then I’ve been engrossed in the new Slow Horses volume–and sleeping the afternoon away. So much for this Sunday. Anyway, thanks SJB for parsing 10a for me (hadn’t heard of that kind of hack in years); otherwise, I think I’d parsed them all, with 1a, 9a, & 25a bundling together on the podium behind 16d, which is my COTD. Thanks to SJB for the hints, which I needed only for that one parsing, and to Zandio for the pleasure.

  12. A surprisingly quick pre bedtime solve that was certainly a good deal gentler than previous Sundays. Will need to have another look at it tomorrow as I paid scant attention to the parsing of a few answers. Have just started to do a bit of part time work at a local golf club & early starts plus on your feet all day has proved something of a shock to the system so was grateful for the easy ride.
    Thanks to Zandio & to John for the review.

  13. 4d was a nice hat peg to hang a lot of other clues on. You didn’t hint 8a SJB but I’ve done a bung in which I think is right but do not know why! I liked 9, 12a and 6d was brilliant. Many thanks.

    1. 8a fell into that area where I thought it deserved a hint but didn’t want to do too many. I gave a slight nudge in the preamble about checking your investments, perhaps if you depoSIT your 🍑 in a 💺 and think about ISA returns. Thanks for the encouragement though. You may get a little more of me soon as Miffs SL and I are standing in for Deep Threat when he is on holiday.

  14. Have been tackling this on a sporadic basis over the last few days, my first run through gave me little encouragement to continue as it seemed impenetrable. Slowly but surely, however, everything clicked into place as checkers appeared and I got on Zandio’s wavelength & finished at a canter without recourse to the hints. Genuine toughie with top-notch clueing, thanks Z for the workout.

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