Sunday Toughie 26 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 26 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 26 by proXimal

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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A slightly more benevolent proXimal today, the top half almost rattled off the keyboard but the bottom half slowed things up a bit. I have hinted at exactly half of an evenly balanced 14a/14d clues. I hope we don’t have any late changes today as I haven’t quite recovered from the shenanigans over last week’s lurker that wasn’t.

Nocturnal refreshment was from the Black Sheep Brewery and the Bruichladdich distillery, this morning I am still drinking the slightly too dark Brazilian coffee I referred to last week.

Here goes with the hints…


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 Arthur lost at sea with frequent waves (10)
We start with an anagram, indicated by (at sea) If you remember any Physics you may have studied these waves have a frequency between one and ten metres.

10a Bad taste in house with green interior (9)
Start with in from the clue and then a bit of Cockney Rhyming Slang for a house, having a prefix for green inside.

12a Inconclusive list to be shortened before end (13)
A list at the back of a book is shortened by one letter and put before a synonym of end.

19a One buying award in possession of cavalry commander once (8)
The award is the Order of Merit, it goes in the cavalry commander who lost his life in a last stand in Montana 1876.

21a Newly fitted uniform kept by salesman in case (13)
Our usual abbreviated salesman contains the letter that uniform indicates in the Nato code book followed by an adjective to describe where a gun may be kept.

When to ReUpholster - Calico
24a Hopelessly drunk in clubs, roll around covered in beer (9)
In from the clue, the Bridge notation for the suit of Clubs, and a type of beer covers the reversal of a bread roll.

27a Dad’s nice playing with son exuding love and sincerity (10)
Another anagram of words 1, 2 and 5 after the letter that love represents has been removed.



1d Disheartened lurgy turned nasty (4)
Take the middle out of lurgy and turn it into something nasty.

3d Left craft area, group’s outside finished with it (9,4)
A for area, some plural group’s outside a synonym of finished, and add an adjective that describes someone informed about the latest trends.

4d Raising call for attention upon attack from bee (8)
An interjection to call for attention and an attack from a bee, I feel obliged to defend the humble bee who only employs this attack as a last resort as it is a one-time only weapon, The evil wasp seems to do this for pleasure, but both insects are part of God’s plan so let them go about their business rather than swatting them with a rolled up copy of the Daily (or Sunday) Telegraph.

Bee sting cake recipe - Recipes -

11d Insect made into meal for sports venue (7,6)
The insect that is also a sport was obvious, the meal less so. To be made into a meal we take a rather unsatisfactory grain or pulse ground to a powder. I can think of better things to have for Sunday dinner.

18d Assembly company not friendly sacking six (7)
Someone who is unfriendly has the Roman numeral for six removed and is attached to our usual company. Six could be equally four and the clue would still work.

20d One delivers uplifting dark whiskey provided by European (7)
Uplifting is a reversal indicator and dark or badly lit is the word that is reversed. It goes on the letter that whiskey represents, a conjunction indicated by provided, and E for European. This person delivers babies and was the occupation of Mama Bee until my elder sister came along.

Highland Park Dark Origins Scotch Whisky : The Whisky Exchange

23d Fish fingers, not starter (4)
To finger, the merchandise perhaps loses its initial to become a slippery fish.

That’s all folks I may be back to decorate with some more pics etc after I have done Mama Bee’s bidding for a while

Today’s music is a bit of a Geordie Anthem.

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17 comments on “Sunday Toughie 26 (Hints)
Leave your own comment 

  1. Enjoyed this although my physics wasn’t sufficiently up to scratch for 1a so I had to wait for checkers.
    The sports ground made me smile, as did the 17a bug, my favourite was the hopeless drunk.

    Thanks to proXimal and to JB for the hints.

  2. Good solid enjoyably testing (if maybe a little lighter than we have been previously tasked with solving) puzzle, thank you Proximal. I had ticks all over the place – 10a, 21a, 24a, 3d, 4d, 7d, 13d, with 16d just a nose in front to COTD.

    Thank you to SJB for the review, but in particular for Mark Knopfler – an artist of whom I never tire whether in his Dire Straits days or subsequent ‘solo’ works. A genius lyricist & guitarist.

  3. Thanks for the hints, SJB, although I was hoping for something on 5d as it has me perplexed – checkers provide 3 of the 5 letters and I have a possible answer that may be consistent with the wordplay, but…?
    Otherwise, this was a very entertaining puzzle from proXimal and I have picked out several clues that I particularly enjoyed: 14a, 24a, 25a, 3d, 7d and 16d.
    I have some reservations about the 20d illustration, SJB, (especially as you appear to be well informed on the subject matter :smile: ) as the ‘whiskey’ in the clue is the Irish variety!

    1. with 5d a household appliance has its initial letter moved down two places to be the list of needs that a musician such as Mark Knopfler may insist upon. The Whisky is just a personal taste thing, the Irish version with the E would not be my first choice.

      1. Ah, thank you. I spell that with a ‘Y’ and didn’t consider an alternative option (unlike whisky and whiskey!) :wink: P.S. I have bottle of Redbreast single pot still Irish whiskey in my drinks cabinet which I can highly recommend as an option.

  4. Very enjoyable, completed in fits and starts combining with my other Sunday morning activities.

    Candidates for favourite – 17a, 13d, and 20d – and the winner is 17a.

    Thanks to proXimal and SJB.

  5. This was a very satisfying solve — all but the 4 blanks at 16d. And the mysterious first 3 letters of 22d which I cannot get to fit the clue. Hey ho I’ll just have to wait for the full review. Thank you to Proximal and to Mr Bee for your most entertaining comments :)

      1. Appreciate the response SJB being a 22d myself I have the answer but wasn’t sure how! Mr L’s book going on the wish list

  6. 5d was my main holdup after the hint for 21a got me across the line. Over here, that appliance is spelled with a Y. I had no idea what the definition was for 5d! Otherwise, a most enjoyable Toughie, one that I nearly finished all by myself…but didn’t. Shucks. Thanks to SJB and proXimal.

    1. According to WordWeb;
      In both British and American English, the spelling drier is preferred for the comparative adjective and dryer for the noun.
      The clue seemed to call for the noun, so maybe Spartacus and yourself are justified.

      1. Actually, I am happy with the alternative as it was apparently accepted as a noun some years ago. I just didn’t think of it :sad:
        If ‘archaic’ usage and spelling were banned from crosswords there would be a lot of disgruntled setters and blank spaces in grids…

  7. Incredibly for a Sunday, I think I’ve finished this but must admit there are a couple of bung ins that I’m not that happy with.
    As we once kept bees I’m glad you defend them.
    To be on the safe side, in case I’ve boobed, my COTD is 17a.
    I don’t understand the illustration for 4d.

  8. Have only just started having a bash at the Toughies. Normally just the Saturday and Sunday prize cryptic. Am just starting to get used to them and find that a lot of the time I am working out what words can actually fit in with the letters I already have and then spending an age working out why it is the solution. Anyway was totally mystified by 5d so resorted to BigD. Still think the answer pushes the boundaries of what the word means though! Oddly I do the crosswords online as have switched to the digital version of the Telegraph and it isn’t a Prize crossword ? 21a was probably my favourite clue and I didn’t know 27a was an actual word ! Or maybe I’ve got it wrong !! Cheers !

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