Sunday Toughie 38 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 38 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 38 by Zandio

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

For me, the trickier end of Zandio’s spectrum but I got there eventually. I understand that some of you may have not got the correct enumeration for 1 across, on the new site it was initially (15) when it should have been (4,3,3,5) It has been corrected now and should be an easyish start and doesn’t cause you to 27a.

14 across and 16 down clues today and I have hinted half. If you require extra hints or have alternative parsings (1d and 5d in particular) I am open to help and advice if required.

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 Finally we can’t forget ‘Carry On’ with aunt’s bottle exploding (4,3,3,5)
A synonym of ‘Carry on’ or endure and an anagram of aunt’s bottle to start with. The correct enumeration makes this easier.

10a Ticket for Versailles, the water spectacle (7)
A small bit of a ticket to admit the bearer and how someone from Versailles may say the water.

12a Truss, optionally reversible, used by runner to tighten belt (5)
Topically political from Zandio. The runner that slides across snow and the position held by our current premier. Optionally reversible because the two letters required can be used either way to indicate her elected status in parliament or the leadership role that she currently holds. How much longer she keeps either title is open to debate but not here.

13a Establish fact number one should be rebutted (7)
To establish at a post is an abbreviated numerical fact and a reversal (rebutted) of an abbreviated number one.

21a One’s turned or will turn 5 (5)
Something that turns is palindromic, a conditional conjunction and the sort of hill or rocky height that 5d signifies.

I have used a picture of this height in a Zandio puzzle before. A familiar sight to one from the SW I expect.

Glastonbury Tor: The Mysterious British Hill Steeped in History and Legend | Ancient Origins

25a Person waiting in front of prison cheers when one is incarcerated (7)
The person who may prepare and serve your 7d. The character that looks like one goes in the metal poles that a prison defines followed by a cheerful thank you.

27a Give up article going into some football draw with the Spanish (5,2,3,5)
How a footballer may get the ball back into play, a definite article, to draw or drag and how someone Spanish would say the same article.



1d What has five or two more itself? (7)
Not entirely sure I have got this, I was expecting the first word to have more characters but if you think of ‘what has’ as a definition by example we have seven characters but only five different ones. The term for those characters similarly has seven characters but only five different ones.

2d Special unit’s OK intervening splitting up boozers (5)
A special military unit known by its initials intervenes around OK. Boozers who drink to excess.

5d Unpopular group rocks, not all appearing for show (7)
Unpopular or not ‘in’ and a plural collection of rocks then drops the plural, to show itself.

7d Black resident of Martha’s Vineyard maybe needs love (9)
A resident of Martha’s Vineyard and the character that love represents in a tennis score. A long over-diluted (IMO) milk-free beverage served by a 25a.

14d Member of union that’s moonlighting? (9)
Moonlighting is a job outside the norm. If a member of the union of marriage has a bit on the side he (or she) would be committing this sin.

19d Fly-by-night getting married in the morning — first whopper! (7)
the letter that indicates marriage, and the morning or ante meridian are followed by something that flies at night for something extremely large.
A New Company With a Wild Mission: Bring Back the Woolly Mammoth - The New York Times

20d Outline of Elvis Concerto’s uplifting but hit-and-miss (7)
A reversal (uplifting in a down clue) and alternating letters (hit-and-miss) outline to aid the reproduction of a design.

24d … and more than half of that’s wrapped in tissue (5)
Three-fifths of the previous solution wrapped around in from the clue would give this connective tissue that joins muscle to bone.


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This cropped up in a random playlist while I was touring around Yorkshire looking at the glorious autumnal colours. I had forgotten all about Snowy White and bring this rather pleasant piece for your delectation.

19 comments on “Sunday Toughie 38 (Hints)

  1. I agree with SJB’s trickier than usual rating, not least because I think 1d has an error built in? My thinking is that the setter wrote “Which…” and the editor corrected the English to “What…” but in doing so got the arithmetic wrong! Anyway, that’s my tuppenceworth…
    Despite the above, I enjoyed the challenge provided by Zandio, with my favourite clues being 10a, 15a, 25a, 4d and the 22d/24d pairing, with the gold medal going to 4d. I wasn’t so keen on 11a, though – perhaps I have missed something?
    SJB, thanks as always for getting the hints and commentary underway – for 5d I thought the definition might be all of ‘rocks, not all appearing for show’ ? But maybe others will disagree with me :unsure:

    1. At times I had both rocks and show underlined as definitions but couldn’t find a purpose for Group? I think your interpretation is better than mine.
      With regards to 1d I thought that too but as Chris Lancaster has already changed 1a to the correct enumeration I doubt that 1d also has an error.
      11a I see as an all in one with not bothered with defining the first word and to run a meeting perhaps the second, the whole being the place one who cant be bothered with running may prefer to relax.

      1. I thought I must have missed something in 11a so thank you, SJB, for pointing out ‘run a meeting’ :good:
        I omitted to thank Zandio properly in my initial post, so will do so now – thanks, Zandio!

      2. Just to show how much I was tied in knots by 1d, I misconstrued your hints at first because “What has” is also a 5/7 :scratch: As Gazza commented, it was indeed a riddle!
        I, for one, am happy to admit that my tuppenceworth was a mini-budget that went wrong…

  2. Enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Zandio and SJB for the hints.
    I’m not too keen on 1d which seems to me to be a riddle rather than a cryptic clue.
    Top clues for me were 11a, 12a and 6d.

  3. Very enjoyable and took a fair bit of head scratching but did get it sorted in all sorted in a reasonable time.
    Solved via pen and paper which is something I’m not really used to anymore, but it’s always nice to “pencil things in”!
    11a&25a plus the excellent 14&19d were my picks.
    Many thanks to Zandio and John for the top-notch entertainment

  4. Hello, compiler here. Thanks very much for taking the trouble to solve and discuss. I’m with Spartacus on 5d. Have a great week.

    1. Thanks for visiting, I am pleased that you have explained 5d. Definitely one of your trickier offerings IMO.

  5. A very strange thing happened last night as I began working this tantalisingly enjoyable Zandio Toughie: I immediately found myself on his wavelength and the solutions just flowed (though not always the parsings–as in 11a and 1d, so thanks SJB for the assist) towards a very fast finish (speaking relatively) for me. I think that 4d is my favourite but, as I like to say when there’s a holistic glory to a puzzle like this, there’s not a dud in the grid. Thanks to Zandio and to John.

    1. I should add Spartacus to the list of those I thank for some parsing help–after all, we are all Spartacus, aren’t we?

      1. I for one found this quite tough, I used my full quota of bonus 1d’s embarrassingly.
        No I’m Spartacus! If you know the name behind his alias you would know how apt a comment that is 😉

        1. Well, I had ‘No I’m Spartacus’ in mind (the film of course) when I said ‘we are all Spartacus’; I just did a collective kind of thing.

  6. Well – I’ve managed to fill the grid with recognised words but that’s about as far as it goes so, as Gazza would say, I can’t claim to have completed the puzzle!
    I suspect that Zandio’s brain is very differently wired to mine but thanks to him anyway for the Sunday challenge and to SJB for the hints.

  7. Great challenge this afternoon but, after a very slow start (think one answer on first sweep!), I started to get on the right wavelength and enjoyed finishing it with a sense of achievement. Like others, I have some parsings to review. Thanks to setter

  8. Just had a glance at this & other than the SE corner can make neither head nor tail of it. Reckon it’ll have to wait for tomorrow- fresher eyes & hopefully a better functioning brain required.

  9. I managed the SE last night and the rest this morning with a bit of a peek at the hints, though the hints for 1a and 1d I found harder to unravel than the clues in the end!! (1a Makes sense now I’ve got the answer, so it must have been me).
    Zandio at his devious best, and a tad too devious for my poor little brain. All fairly clued though. Thanks to all.

  10. Thank you for a lovely puzzle, Zandro, and the parsing of one down, SJB, which we merely wrote in. Still haven’t parsed 4d or or the getting clear part of 18d (unless 4d refers to the weather in a song which stays in a country by Portugal).

    1. 18d puzzled me a lot too, I think it is a bank or shoal at a river mouth and to clear is profit.
      4d is a water being (like a turtle) without P for Portugal leaving an area.

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