Sunday Toughie 44 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 44 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 44 by proXimal

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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It is Mama Bee’s 86th birthday today so I may be a bit tardy in responding to comments, as we are taking her out for afternoon tea at (where else) Betty’s.

I was expecting a Zandio today but instead, we have a proXimal, maybe he wanted to give 5d an airing before he disappears into the political wilderness again. A broad stripe from top left to the bottom right came quite quickly but the other corners exercised the grey matter a bit more. Christmas rears its head a couple of times as do our near neighbours across the channel, but the city of Paris refers to the location of the mythological soldier who gave his name to the French capital.

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.



1a Deprived worker perhaps judged in hearing (6)
My favourite worker insect and a homophone (in hearing) of judged a football match.

1936 UK threepence value, George VHappy birthday Mama

9a Silent assistance by local individuals (6)
How our near neighbours over the English Channel, may refer to individuals, and a synonym of assistance.

14a Kick the bucket holding one fine and humble plant (13)
A slightly more respectful way of referring to death than “kick the bucket” contains the letter that looks like one, followed by F for fine and a synonym of humble.

Passion Fruit Flower and Bee Photograph by Mike Shaw - Pixels
17a A mineral unrefined reportedly way used to increase fitness (7,6)
 Homophones (reportedly) of the mineral you season your food with, and an adjective of unrefined.

21a One helping Santa arrive before time (5)
I bet you are singing the rhyme to try and remember all of Santa’s cervine helpers.

25a Exchanging tips with muscular diver (6)
Someone who is very fit and has well defined muscles may be described as such, swap the first and last letters (exchanging tips) for a much more attractive water bird.


27a Business of mature couple’s opening in New York (6)
To mature over time, and the initial letter of couple in New York.


1d Experts capturing fifty frauds (6)
An expert captures the Roman numeral fifty.

2d The man’s novel with such rewrites might make Christmas present (9)
A trademark proXimal extraction anagram, remove the first two words from the last two and rewrite the remaining letters. A rare definition that is not at one of the ends of the clue.

5d Man who presented half hour following dull politician (4,7)
A synonym of dull and the surname of a comedian who presented his show in half-hour segments.

12d Stupidly, inspector of ear advanced inside sick Yankee (11)
Start with a synonym of sick, add Y for Yankee, insert an abbreviated Detective Inspector, an adjective of or relating to the ear and a for advanced. Sort that little lot out and you have a synonym of stupidly.

15d Revolutionary act getting you nowhere? (5,4)
An all in one, the act of revolving the circular parts at the corner of cars so fast that forward motion doesn’t happen.

16d Assassin with half-hearted deed that’s dropped (8)
A drop of water is the assassin who struck the first blow against Julius Caesar and deed after one of the middle e’s has been removed.
Cascade Falls | Pembroke, VA

22d Told places where Americans buy mangles (5)
A homophone (told) of the places where Americans shop.
Mall of America Release Video Reassuring Visitors That They Are Back, and They Are Safe

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I had a great night at the Bellowhead concert, meeting J.K. 19d’s one who can’t be named and Saint Sharon.
The lyrics of this song touched me and are an apt metaphor for how I hope this blog will be. we grabbed the bottle as it passes, and did not fail to fill our glasses.
Let Union Be
Come my lads, let us be jolly
Drive away dull melancholy
For to grieve it is a folly
When we’re met together
Solomon in all his glory
Told each wife a different story
In our cups we’ll sing him glory
When we’re met together
Let union be in all our hearts,
Let all our hearts be joined as one
We’ll end the day as we began
We’ll end it all in pleasure
Eating and drinking they’re so charming
Smoking and piping there’s no harm in
All these things we’ll take delight in
When we’re met together
Cease your quarreling and fighting
Evil-speaking and backbiting
All these things take no delight in
When we’re met togetherLet union be in all our hearts
Let all our hearts be joined as one
We’ll end the day as we began
We’ll end it all in pleasure

Grab the bottle as it passes
Do not fail to fill your glasses
Water drinkers are dull asses
When we’re met together

Let union be in all our hearts
Let all our hearts be joined as one
We’ll end the day as we began
We’ll end it all
We’ll end the day as we began
We’ll end it all in pleasure

11 comments on “Sunday Toughie 44 (Hints)
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  1. Very enjoyable and not too tough for an X-man Toughie.
    Although it’s a bit dated I did laugh at 5d so I’ll choose that as my favourite. I also liked 6&15d plus 25a.
    Many thanks to ProXimal and John (I think the “local individuals” in 9a are more from your part of the world than France…as in “they are good ‘uns”)

  2. Another fine Sunday Toughie, although I didn’t think it reached the heights of other recent offerings. Perhaps the surprise, albeit topical, appearance of 5d put a damper on my enjoyment? I wonder if solvers in future years will be baffled when they encounter this clue in the archive. Top clues for me today were 10a, 26a and 2d, with honourable mentions to 1a and 21a. 16d was my last one in, and a opportunity to delve a bit deeper into ancient history. The confirmation of my answer led to an hour or so of interesting reading about turbulent politics in the last century BC – my pseudonym is more to do with Hollywood than knowledge of the era!
    Thanks to proXimal and SJB, and Happy Birthday to Mama Bee!

  3. I had to resort to the possible letters system to find Brutus’s pal, and I was a bit unconvinced by the local ones, otherwise that fairly flew in. Just took long enough for the rain to stop. Dog walk now.

  4. Doubted that I’d get a full house but perseverance paid off – 24a for me, please!
    Had to smile at 21a and my top two were 26a & 16d.

    Thanks to proXimal for the challenge and to SJB for the ‘hints & tips’. Best of birthday wishes to Mama Bee.

  5. Happy Birthday to Mama Bee!

    I fared so poorly on this one, with such a figure as 5d and so much else that is very UK-centred (as of course it should be!), that I can only register a DNF and thank SJB for his hints, though four of my unsolved clues are unhinted. Not having a good day, alas. But thanks to SJB and proXimal.

  6. Damn & blast it. After a fairly pedestrian solve I was left with 16d. Just couldn’t for whatever reason think of the definition synonym & convinced myself I was looking for a 6 letter assassin. As soon as I read Devartly’s comment the penny immediately dropped – doh. 5d probably my fav for no other reason than it’s topicality & he of the half hour was comedy genius.
    Thanks proXimal for a very enjoyable puzzle & to John – birthday wishes to Mama Bee also.

  7. Steady solve, with hold ups after initially putting the original half hour person in the grid, (without understanding why!), and then not being sure of the assassin.
    Agree with Stephen L regarding the locals in 9a.
    Favourite – once seen = 5d
    Thanks to all.

  8. After complete brain fog with this last night, I had another look this morning and it suddenly started to unravel. Now completed, with 1a, 13a, 14a runners up to 2d. Very clever
    Thanks all

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