Sunday Toughie 25 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 25

Sunday Toughie No 25 by Zandio

Review by Sloop John Bee

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This puzzle was published on the 17th of July 2022

Although it wasn’t the toughest to solve, an enjoyable Sunday Toughie still gave the grey matter a good workout. A first for me in the blogging chair was the revision of 12a after an initial clue that wasn’t quite a lurker. The replacement employed a rather neat device to justify a shared letter.



1a              Classic dish from UK: samosa spread (8)
MOUSSAKA:   An anagram (spread) of UK samosa gives us a classic greek dish MOUSSAKA.

5a              Rifle and bow breaking that man’s back (6)
SEARCH:   A bow or ARC is inserted into a reversal of HE’S.

9a              If young, you can’t beat this papaya gel — I’m itching to sample (3,5)
AGE LIMIT:   A lurker (indicated by ‘to sample’) hidden in papayA GEL I’M ITching.

10a           Country tune’s reflective, entertaining with little life (3,5)
SRI LANKA:   Tunes’s or airs are reversed (reflective) around a synonym of hair or the like that has little life LANK.

11a           Have a meal after ten — it’s good for health (6)
IODINE:  The letters that look like ten when written as numerals 10 – IO precede the act of taking a meal DINE, IODINE an element that is good for health as the thyroid needs it to prevent the development of a goitre.

12a           Representation in graffiti art or painting making a comeback (8)
PORTRAIT:   I initially thought that this was a simple reverse lurker indicated by ‘making a comeback’ but that would be PROTRAIT. After I tried to justify representation as an anagram indicator as well as the definition Zandio admitted it was an editorial slip up and soon after Mr K spotted that the following revision had been made…

12a           Picture of harbour property with time share (8)
PORTRAIT:   A synonym of harbour PORT, and a property or TRAIT. ‘With time share’ is a rather neat device which allows these synonyms to share T for Time.

13a           Hurried to scoff sausages with no meat, sizzled (6)
HISSED:   This sizzling sound is an archaic or poetic verb meaning to hasten or urge on HIED, it contains the outer letters of SausageS (with no meat)

15a           Fabulous to be in command twice, carrying on (6)
ICONIC:  Two abbreviations of in command IC  _ IC carry ON from the clue.

18a           Again experienced taking ecstasy, being liberated (8)
RELIEVED:   To have experienced again or RE-LIVED contains an E for ecstasy to be RELIEVED or liberated.

20a           What little creature pecked? (6)
TITBIT:   An all-in-one, a small bird TIT and something it pecked at BIT, a TITBIT or small morsel of food.

21a           Social work office (8)
FUNCTION:   A triple definition, A social occasion, how or why something works, or the duties or responsibilities of an office.

23a           British female singer concealed by alias — ‘Granny’ (8)
BABUSHKA:   Seemed to be the favourite clue of the commentariat. B for British, and an abbreviation of an alias or Also Known As AKA contain a female singer Kate BUSH, Babushka is a Russian Granny, and although Ms Bush sang about a different spelling (Babooshka) it was a nice touch that I (and many others) appreciated. I doubt this Sunday Toughie Clue will feature in CL’s newsletter as COTW, but this should be a contender IMO.

24a           Opening of ‘The Omen’ re-edited — book to go in Bury (6)
ENTOMB:   The opening letter of The T goes into an anagram of OMEN and adds a B for book (to go in) to become ENTOMB, a synonym of bury or inter.

25a           Novice dropping plate — nice little thing to pick up (6)
EARNER:   A novice driver or Learner drops the L plate that such novice drivers are obliged to display to become Earner. This was a nice mental picture of Arthur Daley in Minder or Del-Boy in Only Fools and Horses, they were both looking for a ‘nice little earner’ 

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




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

2d              Son, little rascal, revealed as idiot (9)
SIMPLETON:   S for son, a little rascal or IMP, and LET on or revealed. SIMPLETON an idiot.

3d              Georgian city gives thanks over street getting end scrubbed by volunteers (7)
ATLANTA:  Thanks or TA is reversed (over) most of a street or LANe  (getting end scrubbed) followed BY some volunteers of the territorial Army or TA. ATLANTA the capital and largest city of the American state of Georgia.

4d              Slightly disturbed at a master attending seedy show, indeed (2,1,6,2,4)
AS A MATTER OF FACT:  A very slight anagram of ‘at a master’ (only the first T and the S are transposed), something seedy or rotten OFF and performance or show ACT. split according to the enumeration is a phrase meaning indeed.

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

6d              Body seen in shower’s keeping me up (7)
REMAINS: Showers or RAINS, contain a reversal (up in a down clue) of ME. The body that REMAINS when the soul has departed.

7d              Wearing a beanie, one might get this rash (9)
HOTHEADED: Someone who is rash or impulsive is also how one may feel if you wear a beanie in the recent heatwave.

12d            Plug in board is legal though it may cause a shock (9)
PRINTABLE: A Plug or Press Release, in from the clue and a board or TABLE become a PRINTABLE article that may be submitted to lawyers to check for legality before publication, which may still be a shock to some.

14d            Plastic protects a vehicle carrying 12 articles weekly (9)
SPECTATOR:   An anagram (plastic) of PROTECTS A.  SPECTATOR is a weekly publication that carries 12d PRINTABLE articles. ( and a rather devious barred crossword. I didn’t have the time to devote to solving it often during my short-lived subscription)

16d            Unlike June, say, this one’s present in all the rest period (7)
OCTOBER:    This puzzled me (and most of the rest of the commentariat) until Fez reminded us of the poem to remember the number of days in each month.

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 covered by the phrase “All the rest have thirty-one”. The enumeration narrows it down to two so any checkers get us over the line.
Fez doesn’t normally get the Sunday Toughie as he is a digital-only subscriber, who relied on Gazza telling him the clue in the blog. Yet another reason to encourage the Telegraph to get these puzzles in front of ALL the Telegraph readers/subscribers!

17d            Hundred and one viewing — wife’s taken off slip? (7)
CATCHER:   C the Roman numeral for one hundred and a viewer or WATCHER with the W for Wife removed (taken off) becomes a CATCHER or slip fielder in cricket perhaps.

19d            Soft-hearted German negative over cutting rent (7)
LENIENT: A German negative NEIN is reversed (over) in a synonym of to rent a property, LET to become LENIENT or soft-hearted.

22d            Christmas shows about Brown’s first appearance as ‘Mr Dynamite’ (5)
NOBEL:  A rather  Christmassy word NOEL, goes around the first letter of Brown to give us the inventor of Dynamite. Mr Alfred Nobel.

1 comment on “Sunday Toughie 25

  1. Thanks for another thorough review, SJB.
    Your 16d discussion has brought to my attention that a number of different versions of the poem exist. The one I am familiar with (albeit it was not sufficiently in mind to spot the reference in the clue!) is…

    Thirty days hath September,
    April, June and November.
    All the rest have thirty-one,
    Excepting February alone,
    And that has twenty-eight days clear
    And twenty-nine in each leap year.

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