Sunday Toughie 23 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 23 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 23 by proXimal

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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I stared at a virtually empty grid for ages until the pennies started to drop, but that was a real toughie. On the grounds of difficulty, I am struggling to leave any unhinted but here we go. I will try and toss in a bonus pic hints but as most of Sunday so far has been spent wrestling with this I may be brief. This won’t get the baby bathed so here we go…

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! I think that sentence is a bit redundant. You have all been so helpful in sorting out prior failures of parsing and I am sure I will need similar help again.

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 Seal line of light bites well on the turn (6)
We will seal the deal with a line or beam of light and insert a synonym of well or healthy that has been reversed (on the turn)

9a Bird having ooze around it (6)
To ooze like a wound, reversed and attached to it from the clue.

Peewit definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

10a Ranks of English whisked round Loch Ness endlessly (8)
E for English and most of Loch Ness should give you these ranks.

14a Effects from entering a pub in April near Barking area (13)
This one was the key to opening up this puzzle and started the penny drops going. There is a lot going on,These miscellaneous accessories or effects start with A from the clue, how a pub may appear on an Ordnance Survey map, inserted into an anagram (barking) of APRIL NEAR and finish with another A for area.

17a Officer’s cycle stand from the 1920s (7,6)
Not our usual crossword cycling here, that is saved for 27a. Several high-ranking officers and a child’s three-wheeled cycle.

Britain 1926 General Strike: On the Verge of Revolution | Britain | Europe
24a Stop ass going into Italian city (4,2,2)
A northern Italian city surrounds an ass or fool, an informal way to say stop it.


Gary Lineker | Ears to youHe bore the FA cup around like he was holding Gary Lineker’s Ears  – even the double definitions were tricky to parse.

26a Disrespect of sport opponents involved in dives (8)
The surface leads us towards some disrespectful footballers who feign injury to get a foul, but this synonym of disrespect comes from the sport of fifteen men (and women) who play with odd-shaped balls, opponents in the card game Bridge, and some dives of iniquity.

27a Know some cycled from Africa (6)
Half a scots way of saying to know, and half a “cycling” of an adjective that means some, the whole is someone from East Africa.


1d Quiet picking up a bill that’s unopened (6)
a preposition for each or a is reversed and appended to the last three-quarters (unopened) of the feature that we have, that serves the same function as the bill of a bird.

2d Not about to wrap present up immediately (9)
This synonym of immediately is a reversal of NOT, wrapped around where you are if you are present, and UP from the clue.

SPAM ® Fritters

7d Bee right over swallows (5)
I have got to hint the Bee clues, a synonym of over swallows our usual Right.

12d Vessels around Portugal not good sign (11)
Another “portmanteau” or lego style clue. Start with a crosswordy about, the IVR code for Portugal, a synonym of how you may be feeling if not good, and a sign of the zodiac. should give us some very fine blood vessels.

15d Rogue has to be deleted from Early English novel with lecherous style (9)
One of proXimal’s trademark extraction anagrams here. Rogue is the first anagrind that tells us to remove has from the fodder but not in that order. Novel is the second anagrind that tells us that EARLY ENGLISH is the fodder that HAS is deleted from, then what remains can be anagrammed to give us an adjective for with lecherous style.

16d One exciting city uncovered in range overlooking hill (8)
I spent ages trying to work a city in India into this but to no avail. The city is just uncovered leaving its central letters. it goes into a style of range cooker or stove much admired by some, followed by the small hill that Glastonbury is known for.

20d Mostly going nowhere is dull (6)
A road that goes nowhere loses its last letter(mostly) to become dull.

22d Dressing to cover concerning cut (5)
The soft part of a dressing or plaster goes around one of crosswordlands usual “concerning’s” to be the cut we seek.



Phew, that was tough today. I hope I have hinted enough to allow you to find the rest and as usual, I will be lenient with discussion in the comments as hopefully, I encouraged some of our Friday commenters to come and try a toughie. I hope this hasn’t put them off.

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Today’s music was mentioned in Zandio and StephenL’s, meeting. I think Blue Öyster Cult effected an Umlaut in their name but dropped it again.
I also see they are coming to Leeds with Deep Purple in October I may have to see if I can get a ticket!

24 comments on “Sunday Toughie 23 (Hints)
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  1. “ I stared at a virtually empty grid for ages until the pennies started to drop”. There is your problem SLB. Next week try staring at the clues

        1. I think you have got it right. I am not sure Mama Bee would agree that I am not a bit of a 7d occasionally.

  2. Thank goodness our bloggers always hint the first of both across and down answers, I kept staring unseeingly at my unparsed answer for 1d – ‘stupid’ doesn’t cover it!
    Don’t think I was familiar with the phrase in 24a but it had to be what it was – not the place or time to give my own version, I don’t want to finish up on the naughty step.
    I liked the bird in the ooze and the felt tile but my favourite was the cycle stand.

    Thanks to proXimal for the Sunday exercise and to JB for the hints.

    1. I meant to include a pic of the felt tile but ran out of time before the TDF started.
      Let’s see if this works. I wouldn’t pay $995 for one though.

  3. Re your music clip and comment John
    Back in 1980 Blue Oyster Cult went on the road with Black Sabbath in the “Black and Blue Tour”. Maybe the upcoming one will be named the “Purple and Blue Tour” 😊

  4. Thanks again to our editor for giving us something to get our teeth into on Sundays, thanks to proXimal for the enjoyable puzzle and to SJB for the comprehensive hints (though I can’t see what the 2d illustration has got to do with the clue).
    My ticks went to 13a, 25a, 6d and 20d.

  5. With some electronic help and an assist from SJB’s hints in the SE corner, I did manage to fill the grid just now, but I found this Sunday Toughie worthy of appearing on Friday of Toughie week. Like Jane, I most enjoyed 17a, with 2d & 24a rounding out the podium. Thanks to John and proXimal.

  6. I’m still staring at my unparsed answer to 1d, so it would seem that I too am ‘stupid’ (ref. #2)! I have contrived not to look at the hint so will continue to stare for a while longer. It took some time to make headway with this puzzle, but a few miles walking in the fresh air must have done me some good because things then started to fall into place. 1a was another much stared at clue until I stopped barking up the wrong tree, thence enabling the penny to drop. Another fine puzzle from proXimal, with my favourites being 14 & 17a and 2, 5, 15, 16 & 18d.
    I enjoyed the illustration for 25a – thanks for that, SJB. Not so sure about the illustration for 3d – it reminded me of less agreeable school meals! Now back to 1d… :scratch:

    1. Ah, unravelled it at last :smile:
      Not so much me being ‘stupid’, perhaps, but proXimal being very devious!

      1. One of many I spent too long thinking about. Someone (StephenL) said in Friday’s blog that some solutions arrived on an earlier bus than the parsings. Mine today were separated by a geological time period.

        1. The bus analogy is good – you can work on an answer for ages but when it does come another two will appear in quick succession… :roll:

    2. You were very lucky to be offered chips at school – certainly not on the menu when I was at school! Actually, there wasn’t a menu, just a case of ‘this is what you’re getting – like it or lump it’.

      1. No question of “lumping” it with our school meals, they came with a surfeit of lumps from the get go.

  7. Oh dear. First pass, one answer, second pass, one more. Thank heavens for this wonderful blog, otherwise the grid would have remained resolutely white. Glad others found it fiendish. Many, many thanks to SJB, without whom etc, and to proXimal, you devious so-and-so (Sunday language). At least I didn’t have to resort to the gimmes in the online version.

  8. Strewth, that was a proper Toughie, and no mistake. Needed a letter to confirm my thought for 1d and even then couldn’t parse it, so many thanks to SJB for the blog.

    What a cracking puzzle, quite brilliantly deceptive and with a whole shoal of red herring. Almost every clue could have taken Gold.

    Thank you Proximal, superb challenge.

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