Sunday Toughie 25 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 25 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 25 by Zandio

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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Welcome to the Silver Jubilee of Sunday Toughie puzzles. Twenty Nine clues today split 16a/13d, most of them tripped off my stylus with an appropriate Sunday Toughieness, but two have foxed me greatly, more of which later when I have decided if they need hinting. Last night’s refreshment came courtesy of the fine distillers at Bruichladdich, this morning I am drinking a Brazilian blend that came with my new espresso machine. It is a tad too darkly roasted for me but you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth and I will be drinking it for a while. Anyway here goes with Sunday Toughie 25.

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 parsing failures, and I am sure I will need similar help again. Don’t go too far though as Tilsit has been exercising his RED pencil on the Saturday Hints.

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 Classic dish from UK: samosa spread (8)
This classic dish cropped up in DT 30028 (also by Zandio) as part of an “enormous” lurker, it appears here as an anagram. Pick 8 letters and spread them about for a dish that must be popular with Zandio and Greeks, if not Mustafa G.

10a Country tune’s reflective, entertaining with little life (3,5)
A country from, some tune’s, on a G string perhaps ( no tittering at the back!), are reversed (reflective) not forgetting the ‘s. This ‘entertains’ a descriptive term for hair that has little life.

11a Have a meal after ten — it’s good for health (6)
The letters that look like ten when written as numerals precede the act of taking a meal, an element that the thyroid needs to prevent the development of a goitre or Derbyshire Wryneck.
12a Representation in graffiti art or painting making a comeback (8)
At first glance I saw the phrase ‘making a comeback’ and thought Reverse Lurker and bunged in the answer, but if it were a straightforward reversal it wouldn’t be a word I know. It must be a rekrul anagram. the letters are ‘re-presented’ in graffiti art or painting just so we can reverse the reversal of or. If representation is an anagrind can it be the definition too? Maybe Zandio and Mr Ed missed something or more likely I did. In the Telegraph Puzzles site version of this puzzle 12a now reads:

12a Picture of harbour property with time share (8)

A trickier clue which requires two synonyms (of harbour and property) and a bit of neat wordplay that allows those synonyms to share a letter.

Thanks to Mr K et al for spotting the update.

Self Portrait
15a Fabulous to be in command twice, carrying on (6)
Two abbreviations of in command carry on from the clue.

21a Social work office (8)
A rare but pleasing triple definition, take any of the words in the clue and look for a synonym.

23a British female singer concealed by alias — ‘Granny‘ (8)
The answer is made from B for British and the police abbreviation for an alias around a female singer who sang about these (Russian) Grannies. A clever clue and an obvious musical hint here that I will divert slightly.

26a Class of discreet residence old pharaoh rejected (8)
A wild animal’s discreet residence, O for old and a boy pharaoh are all reversed for the sort of class that I am sure Robert is familiar with.


1d ‘Quiet, quiet!’ originally stifled disorder (5)
Two synonyms of quiet, one maternal one musical and the original letter of stifled lead to a childhood disorder more serious if contracted as an adult.

4d Slightly disturbed at a master attending seedy show, indeed (2,1,6,2,4)
A very slight anagram of ‘at a master’ (only two letters are transposed), something seedy or rotten and performance or show. split according to the enumeration is a phrase meaning indeed.

5d People like cheap comfort food (7)
A suffix for like or similar too is applied to a vegetable like a turnip or rutabaga, is also a Scandinavian people.

7d Wearing a beanie, one might get this rash (9)
This synonym of rash or impulsive is also what you may get if you wear a beanie or bobble hat in the current (UK) heatwave.

12d Plug in board is legal though it may cause a shock (9)
A press release, in from the clue and a board make an article that is fit to publish but may be a surprise or shock.

14d Plastic protects a vehicle carrying 12 articles weekly (9)
12 here refers to 12d, the ‘vehicle’ for publishing 12d articles every week is an anagram (plastic) of the next 9 letters in the clue.


October - song by U2 | Spotify

22d Christmas shows about Brown’s first appearance as ‘Mr Dynamite‘ (5)
A very Christmassy word goes around the first letter of Brown to give us the inventor of Dynamite.


Just over half hinted, that should give you enough to find the others, but I will be tolerant of discussion as usual.
I referred to two clues that stumped me and 12a was one, the other unhinted one is 16d. With checkers and a limited number of alternatives to June the answer is one of the other eleven months. I haven’t a clue as to how this works though. Over to you…

Thirty days has September,

April, June, and November,

All the rest have thirty-one,

Save February at twenty-eight,

But leap year, coming once in four,

February then has one day more.

Thanks to Fez for putting us out of sweating over this clue. The answer is narrowed down to a period that has more days than June. The enumeration narrows it down to two so any checkers get us over the line.

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37 comments on “Sunday Toughie 25 (Hints)
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  1. 12a – as in your first thought, it is supposed to be a straightforward reversed lurker but it would seem that there is a setter’s error that wasn’t picked up by the editor. It wouldn’t be much of an anagram just swapping two letters out of eight. Hmm.

  2. A very pleasant puzzle – thanks to Zandio (pity about the 12a boob) and SJB.
    My ticks went to 20a, 23a and 17d.

    The only thought I had for 16d is that the answer is part of the annual animal hibernation period (in the Northern hemisphere at least) and June is not. If that’s all there is to it it’s not a great clue.

    1. … a bit more thought on 16d. The wordplay (present in all the rest) could lead to ‘et here al’ (ethereal) but what that’s got to do with the answer or June is beyond me.

      1. I have found a song by a band called Ocean Caravan, and poem entitled L’automne ethereal… but total parsing is beyond me too. and Zandio didn’t mention it in his comment either.

        1. Rather intrigued to see there’s a clue that has the great & good here somewhat stumped … any chance it can be re-produced, if that is within rules? (I don’t get access to the Sunday Toughies on the app)

            1. Many thanks Gazza. Is it to do with the old rhyme, “all the rest” have 31 (like the answer – could be a couple though would need crossers) whilst June is one counter-example? “period ” being the definition?

              1. Well done Fez, rather like the TDF that finished in a sprint for Jasper Phillipsen, you jump everyone on the line after an exhausting chase in the heat

                1. Well done Fez indeed. Thanks again for the analysis, SJB, but it’s a shame about the sport spoiler — I was looking forward to an evening watching the cycling! All the best.

                  1. Oh I am very sorry about the spoiler. Flicking back and forth I forgot my manners in the excitement of seeing Fez’s insight. I promise I won’t do it again if you have a word with CL when next you do about getting the Sunday Toughie on all the Telegraph platforms.

                1. Thanks all – I’ll need to wait til full review now to find out which of the two possible answers it is!

          1. Well done, any successful solve is a result in my book no matter how long. It took the hive mind (and Fez) a lot of braincells to get there.

  3. Hello, compiler here. Oh dear, sorry about the mistake in 12a. Tsk tsk. Thanks for taking the trouble to solve, analyse and discuss (and speculate). All the best.

  4. 16d completely mystified me (though the definition was clear enough from the checkers) and I simply missed the goof in 12a (I thought I saw a complete rekrul and just keyed in the right answer), but the rest I rather blissed my way through, quite happily. Thought the entire SW corner was the bee’s knees, with 23a my COTD, followed by 20a & 17d. Very enjoyably, the first Sunday Toughie I’ve finished unaided in some time. Thanks to SJB (yes, John, I’ve conducted many 26a’s, the best ones being during my stint at Notts. U) and Zandio.

  5. Really enjoyed this super and quite gentle Sunday Toughie, so thank you to Zandio – ideal for a feet-up Sunday trying to avoid the heat while enduring a heavy cold. Didn’t see a problem with 12a (answered on first pass) and even having it pointed out here, it took a further few reads to cotton on: funny how the brain tells the eyes what it wants to see sometimes! 16d could be little else but I don’t pretend to understand it: Gazza’s explanation is plausible, but if so then I concur that it is not the strongest clue in the grid. Thought that “vehicle carrying 12 articles” was superfluous to the clue in 14d,

    Hon Mentions to 4d and 17d – which almost but did not quite manage to nudge the quite brilliant 23a from top spot.

    Many thanks indeed to Zandio and to SJB

  6. After a brisk start the SW corner held me up for a while and, in common with some other commentators, the apparent answer for 16d has left me mystified. It’s not clear to me why 5d is considered ‘cheap comfort food’ – it’s an essential on 25th January! I didn’t notice the porblem with the clue for 12a, and I didn’t twig the relevance of the ’12 articles’ in 14d – thanks to SJB for pointing that out. My favourites today were 21a, 7d and 17d. Thanks, Zandio.

  7. In the Telegraph Puzzles site version of this puzzle 12a now reads: Picture of harbour property with time share (8)

    1. Wow, I never expected a revision at this stage. I think I would have found that harder to solve than the original. If the editorial team at the telegraph are making changes hopefully they will be trying to get the Sunday Toughie on all platforms soon.

      1. Not sure when it was updated because I only downloaded the puzzle late in the UK evening. Chris Lancaster typically fixes errors in the electronic version of a puzzle as soon as he hears about them, so it could have been earlier in the day.

        It’s a clever clue. I don’t recall seeing that “time share” device before.

        1. Very interesting that ‘time share’. Took me a while to work that out. Thanks for the update, Mr K.

      2. I would expect that a revision was made because there are ten days before entries close, and some solvers won’t have ‘looked’ at it yet. No doubt, CL and Zandio were ‘conversing’ during the day to come up with the new clue.

        Time share a neat way of covering ‘double duty’ for a particular letter.

  8. First Sunday Toughie I’ve tackled in some time & thoroughly enjoyed it despite finding it a good deal tougher than most seem to have. Assumed 16d must have been to do with the 30 days memory aid. 23a my favourite.
    Thanks Zandio & John.

  9. My 12a clue is different. It reads: “Picture of harbour property with time share”.

    Also, that months rhyme works better if the last three lines are:

    Saving February alone
    Which has 28 days clear
    And 29 each leap year.

    That way in the fourth line “alone” rhymes (almost) with “thirty-one”.

    1. You appear to have changed your email address. Both old and new will work from now on

      If you read all the hints for yesterday Sunday Toughie, there is a reason why your 12a clue is different

      1. Yes I know why my clue is different and I had read all the comments. I was just pointing out how it had changed for the interest of others. Thanks anyway.
        As for my email address, although I have posted before, I noticed that this website didn’t recognize me any more and I couldn’t find any way of logging on or signing in. So I had to re-register, so to speak, and I couldn’t remember which email address I’d used before. Sorry for any inconvenience but on previous occasions this website has always known who I am when I visit. I am using the same web browser and computer.

        1. The remembering/recognizing happens at your end via a cookie saved by your browser. It’s possible that the cookie has expired or been deleted since the last time you visited. Browsing in a private/incognito mode will also prevent recognition.

  10. I am now completely bamboozled by 12a. Got the rekrul and just bunged it in not noticing the transposition error,
    My COTD is 23a but that SW corner is otherwise resisting my efforts.
    At least the paper version is a better size and layout than previously.

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