Sunday Toughie 39 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Sunday Toughie 39 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 39 by proXimal

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

I am a bit under the weather today, proXimal gave me a good brain mangling last night and the after-effects of a COVID booster make me feel like I have been beaten up by a baseball bat all night. Today’s mystery parsing is 9a but as it is just 2/3rd checked a guess should suffice. Not sure I will have the energy or time to illustrate too many but anyway.
Here we go, Folks…

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 review 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.


8a Foam wall blocking outsiders in this race for TV show (3,6,6)
The outside letters of ThiS go around the foam on a glass of beer and a wall to block water from flowing downstream, and a race in terms of a group of animals, plants or language.


10a Administrator leaving railway with fellow operative (6,5)
The administrator of a business or organisation loses the letters that represent a RailwaY and adds a fellow.


15a Heard about Boris who once played titular character (7)
One of the usual abouts and a homophone of the surname of a tennis player called Boris.
Rebecca | Summary, Characters, & Facts | Britannica

17a Lurching drunk going around grass (7)
A drunk is reversed and followed by a synonym of grass as in to reveal some secret.


21a A Parisian offended, pinching article without lagging (11)
How a Parisian says A, to be offended around the indefinite article, the lack of lagging to keep warm.


25a Poem, after he translated, that is powerful piece by European (3,6,6)
A lot to put together here, translate AFTER HE add the Latin Id Est and the most powerful piece on the chessboard and E for Europe for an epic poem by Edmund Spenser.




1d Exploit that woman’s craft to shorten fluffy garment (7,3)
An exploit or achievement, the female possessive pronoun and a shortened water-borne craft.

Genuine Ostrich Feather Boa 6 Ply 74 Long - Etsy UK

3d Vessels holding the dead eel at sea leaving windy archipelagoes … (10)
The letters of EEL leave Archipelagoes and then scrambled into a stone coffin.


5d Business costs when rising ultimately awful sign (8)
These business costs are a synonym of when is reversed (rising in a down clue), the ultimate letter of awful and a sign of the zodiac


7d Evergreen tree bears shot up (6)
A reversal (up in a down clue) of a shot or go is born by a three-letter deciduous tree to give us an evergreen shrub.

13d Sandwich taste within minutes appeals (10)
To taste or consume goes in the minutes recorded in a log.

16d Act of merry king showing cold side (8)
A  cold side dish of raw vegetables mixed in mayonnaise is a merry old king and the acts he may pass into the statute books

18d Dialect of festival director from the south (7)
A Muslim festival and the film director known for Walkabout amongst others, are reversed (from the south in a down clue)

23d Poet dismissing popular play (4)
A popular Hull-based poet loses a synonym of popular to be to game or play about.

Could new readers please read the Welcome Post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.
As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.
Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.
If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

13 comments on “Sunday Toughie 39 (Hints)

  1. 9a a bit weird but isn’t it just the answer inside the last word although gone seems superfluous?

    1. Well I got the answer ok but I don’t see how the shed gets to lose the house unless it is the cry you make when you have a bit of luck at bingo?

      1. If you found this word meaning ‘gone’ (as in a batsman?) inside ‘shed’ you’d have a verb meaning cried.

        1. Doh thanks for that Gazza
          Doh is coincidentally the first answer that came to mind for the other 3 letter solution (24a)
          Thanks for coming to the rescue again and also for offering to do Sunday Toughie 40.

        2. Thanks Gazza. Gone is essential and not superfluous at all! Dim day. I suppose anyone can be gone if they are not in.

  2. I thought I was grinding to a halt several times, but ultimately managed to claw my way over the finish line. My side annotations include a couple of ‘blimey’s and a ‘phew’ as well as exclamation marks and ticks! The ‘phew’ was for 25a because I had fortunately heard of the poem, and the ‘blimey’s were for 8a and 12a. The 18d director may be known for Walkabout by some, but not by me – however, there had to be someone with that name! My podium places today went to 10a, 15a and 16d. 16d was my last one in and is also my clue of the day.
    My thanks to proXimal for an entertaining challenge, and also to SJB.

  3. Being honest, this was well above my pay grade and I relied on the hints and comments to get me across the line.
    I did rather like 7d but 16d was the star of the show.

    Thanks? to proximal and to SJB for the toil whilst being post-Covid-jab. It will fade after another day or so!

  4. Sorry I’m so late today and so sorry you’re not well, John, but after reading late into the night and watching baseball playoffs, I finally got some sleep and just awoke a coffee ago. Anyway, to the puzzle: I had a LOL aha! moment when the penny dropped for 9a early in the solve; what enabled me to finish this exacting but very enjoyable puzzle was the gift of 5 letter reveals, scattered in strategic places, and so I finished but only with that e-help. I have to go with 25a and 10a as my co-favourites but the whole grid deserves a huge Oscar. I was quite chuffed when I solved 18d & 19d, neither of which I could have done two and a half years ago when I discovered BD’s blog. I’ll read the comments now. Thanks to SJB and proXimal.

  5. Thanks for the good wishes, I took to my bed early with a wee whisky and a paracetamol and feeling a lot better now. Mama Bee had her jab at the same time and sailed through it with no worries.

  6. Glad that you’re feeling better John. Completed at the 6th attempt 34hrs, 7mins &24seconds after opening the puzzle – 3 became 1 down Westminster way quicker than it took to crack this nut. Would have used some letter reveals but they wouldn’t work so had to rely on dogged perseverance & a few presses of the submit button to check progress (didn’t spell Spenser’s epic poem correctly 1st time but delighted to recall it). Failed to parse a few – 9a plus 6,7&18d all of which I now see apart from showy = fine at 6d.
    Thought the puzzle top notch. Some super PDMs (jailbird & not politico at 15a) & real satisfaction at grinding out a finish as well above my pay grade really. Big ticks for 10,12&15a plus 1,3,16&19d.
    Thanks to ProXimal & John

    1. The ability to letter reveal on the old website still works but you have to save and refresh the page. I couldnct get it to print properly though, and I doubt that the DT will keep both sites working forever. I to struggled with the spelling of the poem but following the Lego in the clue helped.
      That’s a “showy” six pack you once had.

Comments are closed.