Sunday Toughie 23 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 23

Sunday Toughie No 23 by proXimal

Review by Sloop John Bee

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This puzzle was published on the 3rd of July 2022



1a Seal line of light bites well on the turn (6)
RATIFY:    We will seal the deal with a line or beam of light RAY, and insert a synonym of well or healthy FIT, that has been reversed (on the turn).

4a Ways to escape and duck headless alien (8)
OUTSIDER:     Some ways to escape OUTS, and most of an Eider duck without its Head eIDER define an alien or OUTSIDER.

9a Bird having ooze around it (6)
PEEWIT:   To ooze like a wound WEEP, reversed and attached to IT from the clue. A Peewit or Northern Lapwing.

10a Ranks of English whisked round Loch Ness endlessly (8)
ECHELONS:    E for English and an anagram of most of LOCH NESs should give you these ranks.

11a Dubious spasm on muscles rotating case of alcohol (9)
SCEPTICAL:     Some muscles PECS, are reversed (rotating) a muscular spasm or TIC and the case letters of A lcoho L.

13a While away, stay apart from American (5)
SPEND:     To stay or SUSPEND action loses a two-letter American to while away  some time.

14a Effects from entering a pub in April near Barking area (13)
PARAPHERNALIA:    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 PH, 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)
GENERAL STRIKE:    Not our usual crossword cycling here, that is saved for 27a. Several high-ranking officers GENERALS and a child’s three-wheeled cycle TRIKE, split according to the enumeration.

21a Subject of toy piece oddly missing (5)
TOPIC:     Tried for a while to conjure up an alternate letters answer here  but toy is just a small spinning top, and alternate letters of pIeCe. TOPIC the subject of discussion.

23a Irresistible vice, dad troubled with it (9)
ADDICTIVE:     An irresistable anagram of VICE DAD and IT.

24a Stop ass going into Italian city (4,2,2)
TURN IT IN:    A northern Italian city TURIN surrounds an ass or fool NIT, an informal way to say stop it.

25a Handled bore (6)
LUGGED:     A double definition. He 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)
RUDENESS:    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 RU, opponents in the card game Bridge E and S, inside some dives or DENS of iniquity.    

27a Know some cycled from Africa (6)
KENYAN:    Half a scots way of saying to know KEN, and half a “cycling” of an adjective that means some part of ANY, “cycle” the Y to the beginning. The whole is someone from East Africa.




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

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

3d Fried food waste (7)
FRITTER:     Another double definition that brought back some Proustian memories of grim school dinners and FRITTER to waste away some time.

5d One Parisian cool and outstanding (11)
UNCOLLECTED:     How a Parisian would say one, and a synonym of cool, calm and collected gives us some UNCOLLECTED or outstanding debts.

6d Time to split plants on felt tile (7)
STETSON: To plant or SET takes a plural s. SETSaroiund a T for time and ON from the cllue gives us a STETSON, a tile or HAT usually made of felt. Tile has cropped up a fair bit as something worn on the head, usually a hat but sometimes a wig.

7d Bee right over swallows (5)
DRONE:     Something that is over and DONE with around R for right, DRONE a BEE

8d Surplus rails due to be recycled (8)
RESIDUAL:     This leftover surplus is an anagram (to be recycled) of RAILS DUE

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

15d Rogue has to be deleted from Early English novel with lecherous style (9)
LEERINGLY:    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 LEERINGLY.

16d One exciting city uncovered in range overlooking hill (8)
AGITATOR:    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. it goes into a style of range cooker or stove much admired by some AGA, followed by the small hill that Glastonbury is known for TOR. AGITATOR one exciting a population to action.

18d Run sale without a fuss (7)
RUCTION:     An Auction sale loses (without) A and replaces it with R for run. RUCTION a bit of fuss.

19d Admit colour blue is pronounced (7)
INCLUDE:     Homophones of colour or INK and a off colour or blue LEWD joke. INCLUDE to admit to.

20d Mostly going nowhere is dull (6)
DEADEN:     Most of a synonym of a road that goes nowhere DEAD-ENd becomes a synonym of dull. To DEADEN the pain perhaps.

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

4 comments on “Sunday Toughie 23

  1. Thanks — this was well beyond me (as a proper Toughie should be!), and I definitely learnt things from reading your explanations.

    Well, I say “learnt”: I mean I read things that I didn’t know and thought “I should remember that”; whether I actually do or not is quite a different matter …

    I didn’t know the 24a phrase for “stop it”. To me “Turn It In” is both what students do with assignments and the name of the software universities use to detect essays that are suspiciously similar to each other and therefore might indicate one not being entirely the student’s own work.

    1. I learned about the copy detection software from you. The height of such things in my day was making sure you wrote it out again in your own hand, the very act of so doing helped it stick in the memory. Cut and paste is easier but no good at learning.
      Turn it in meaning stop seems likely to be heard on the set of EastEnders more than elsewhere.

  2. Have only just picked this puzzle from our newspaper pile so my comment will be somewhat after the event.
    What an excellent bit of fun this turned out to be with some clever clues and a certain amount of misdirection, I thought it a real gem.
    Thanks to proXimal for the workout and SJB for the hints.
    PS. I was surprised to see the lack of comment for this Toughie, is this the norm for a Sunday? I am certain many solvers look forward to these large grid puzzles at
    the weekend (as I do).

    1. The post prize deadline reviews get few comments but the hints on a Sunday get more. I am sure if the DT get the Sunday Toughie on the app it will shoot up.

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