Sunday Toughie 37 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 37 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 37 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

I rattled off quite a lot of this last night, leaving the parsing, but it has taken several cups of coffee this morning to see the ins and outs of several. (Square Mile Red Brick espresso with tasting notes of raspberry, fudge, blueberry and chocolate today)
I have hinted half of an uneven 14a 16d clues but as usual, I still have quite a few clues that are quite tricky. I will try and help with extra nudges if requested.

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 parsing failures, 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 Actor playing W. Churchill on the radio loots bank (7,5)
The initial and surname of the actor who played Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour ( IMO a masterclass of acting and makeup) and a homophone (on the radio) of loots, in the pillage or plundering sense give us an investment bank.

The Incredible Lengths Gary Oldman Went to Become Winston Churchill | Vanity Fair
10a One intended to jog round area’s left part (9)
Something intended to jog the memory around a for area gives us the part which is left after division.

12a High grade given by teacher having retired (4)
The highest grade goes by the Bachelors degree that a teacher may have.

13a Interpret late modernist writer (7)
A prefix for late as in dead goes in front of the late modernist poet who died in 1972.

Credit: Mondadori via Getty Images/Mondadori Portfolio
22a A little glower from cavalier in hasty retreat (5,5)
A hasty retreat contains a synonym of cavalier, light or insubstantial. This reminds me it is time to trim the tree before Christmas.

25a Daughter leaves second-class cereal in dish (9)
This one tripped off my keyboard but the parsing eluded me for some time. I saw D for daughter and the letter that second class indicates, and finished with a cereal grain. The 500 leaves of paper were harder to explain until caffeine had percolated through my braincells.

27a Fabled curative which may be plucked from lab? (4,2,3,3)
This fabled curative for a hangover (it doesn’t work I know!) may be plucked from the fur of a Labrador.


1d Regular servings of iced gin, rum, and spirits (5)
Take the odd letters of iced, add gin and anagram them (rum) to get some plural spirits.


4d Big rival from e.g. Tyneside, footballer with tail up (7)
Take a footballer whose first name is Lionel move the tail letter up one and stick it after the compass point that Tyneside suggests. A  big rival or opponent who cannot be beaten.

Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) - IMDb
5d Got off, needing appeal after call to dismiss case (4)
dismiss the case letters from call and put them on some sex appeal. The past tense of to dismount.

14d It’s made with fried veg in proper state — ace! (9)
A word that goes with proper to signify someone who is rigidly precise, to state or declare to be true and the letter that ace suggests, come together for an Italian dish of sautéed spring vegetables.

16d One scours great announcement to secure work (6,3)
Something that is bright, shiny or great, an announcement or plug, secure two letters that signify work and  give us some steel wool filled with soap to scour one’s dishes perhaps.

17d Obstacle in current social event for misfit (6)
An obstacle in a river and a social event or party.

19d Extremely silent, given gag for a punishment (7)
The extreme letters of silent and a synonym of gag give us a colloquial term for a period of time in prison.

24d One ruler or another receiving tips from maharishi (4)
The regnal cipher of our new monarch is not as friendly to setters as the former. Our former queens’ regnal cipher goes round the tips of maharishi to give us another ruler, particularly one from the middle east.


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20 comments on “Sunday Toughie 37 (Hints)
Leave your own comment 

  1. Brilliant, I can’t remember a Toughie I’ve enjoyed more – thanks to Robyn and to SJB for the hints.
    There are too many excellent clues to list them all so I’ll just mention 1a, 10a, 21a, 7d, 16d and 23d.

  2. A superb crossword, sadly over far too soon for both a Robyn puzzle and a Toughie

    My favourites were 27a 3d and the wonderful 16d

    Thanks very much to Robyn and SJB

  3. I’m a lurker and reticent poster.

    Do we have a separate thread to discuss the abomination that they are proposing to thrust on us ? I refer to the new website which is hideous and I’ll not renew.



    1. Roger, SJB pointed out a couple of weeks ago that you can still access the old site format if you simply close the dialogue box taking you to the new website pages. I hope that option remains until they get the new site into decent working order… :wacko:
      Best regards from Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells.

  4. Not my favourite setter by any means but he certainly comes out with some little gems from time to time. Today I particularly enjoyed 1&27a plus 3d.

    Thanks to Robyn and to SJB for the hints.

  5. Morning tea worked for the NTSPP and afternoon tea worked for the Sunday Toughie. Perhaps you’re on the wrong beverage, SJB!
    6d held me up for a while until I realised I had been too quick with my pencil when filling in 1a, but once I stopped ‘kidding’ around and corrected my spelling it quickly fell into place. An abundance of good clues here but, for some clever mis-direction and smooth surface readings, I have picked out four favourites from each orientation: 10, 17, 22 & 25 across and 3, 8,18 & 19 down.
    Thank you, Robyn, and also to SJB.
    P.S. I had to check out your 4d illustration as I would not have known there was such a movie. My days as an avid Star Trek fan were back in the 70’s when the college TV room was always jam-packed for the weekly adventure!

    1. 4d was not the best Star Trek film but Tom Hardy was an interesting baddie, I am rather hoping he may get a go at James Bond but that is looking less likely.

  6. Gazza almost took the words out of my mouth. Don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a Toughie–or any puzzle, for that matter–so much, with 1a winning the Gold and my heart (far from his ‘darkest hour’ indeed). But I also oohed and aahed over 4d, 6d, 16d, 21a, & 23d. I’ll read SJB’s hints now to be sure I got it all right. Thanks to Robyn and John.

    1. I rather thought Oldman’s performance (far better in Tinker Tailor for me) in The Darkest Hour somewhat overrated. I re-watched the film recently & enjoyed it more on a second viewing but Joe Wright yet to better Atonement for me. I’d have given the Oscar that year to DD-L for a pitch perfect performance in Phantom Thread which I thought was a marvellous film.

      1. Apart from the Wolf Hall Trilogy, which simply stands alone and in a category all its own, Atonement is my choice for the best work of fiction in the past 25 years–and the film is nothing short of splendid. Kudos to Joe Wright for both Atonement and The Darkest Hour. I have somehow missed D D-L in Phantom Thread, but I’ll try to find it.

  7. This was going so well ’til the NW, which held me up for a while. My 3 favourites were here as well, in 1a, 9a and 7d. Thanks Robyn and SJB

  8. First stab after lunch resulted in 3 answers snd a feelings of utter bewilderment – not uncommon for me when tackling a Robyn. So why, 7 hours later, did it all fly in at a rate of knots more suited to an early week backpager? Had no idea as to the parsing of 1a until reading the blog, so many thanks to SJB.

    Too many good clues to highlight any one in particular. Thank you Robyn for the much more enjoyable and rewarding evening than afternoon!

  9. Too tired to think on any further. Am short of 7d&9a which will have to wait until the morning. Agree with all that this was top notch Robyn & a super puzzle. 1a just pips 27a as my favourite & with very big ticks also for 10,22&25a plus 3,4,16&23d. Found it difficult as per with this setter but very satisfying when the pennies eventually drop.
    Thanks to Robyn & in advance to John.

    1. A synonym of reach or to draw near around the most major road from London to Leeds is a very left leaning political type.
      Ordinary members of a Royal Navy crew contain another word for the permanent skin decorations they may have.

  10. As usual this too was a very enjoyable puzzle, I tried solving it with a cappuccino (homemade) of course, and slowly improving on the toughies.

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