Sunday Toughie 49 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 49 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 49 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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Happy New Year to all.

What is 'First-Foot' at New Years?

I found this a bit of a grind last night but maybe because my nightcap of Bunnahabhain Toiteach a Dhà (smoky too) was delayed by some noisy fireworks and tricky parsing.

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 Being airily cold, medic with pride ignoring hospital (12)
A synonym of pride without its initial H for hospital follows one of our usual 2 letter medics.

11a Work hard — live off investing say (6,4)
A two-word phrase for to live off one’s usual patch (2,4) surrounds a word for say that crops up in crosswords more often than in everyday conversation.
To beaver away | Confessions of the Linguistic Spy

13a Recall European president making a comeback (7)
Not a European President but an American one who served from 1977 to 1981, he is reversed (making a comeback) and followed by E for European.

15a Speaker no longer in seaside town (7)
The thing you speak with follows a prefix for no longer.
Promenade the longest seafront in Devon - Visit Exmouth


Stella & Rose's Books : Jennings By Anthony Buckeridge | ArticlesA Frightful 21a indeed!

22a Formerly tender poet attacked from behind (5,5)
This no longer legal tender is a synonym of attacked reversed(from behind) that follows a poet whose first name was Ezra.

25a One with craft refined his ability around November (9)
An anagram of HIS and the special ability of a superhero around N for November.
Aristotle Onassis: Greece's Larger Than Life Tycoon
Pantone 16-1105 Tpx Plaza Taupe Color | #a79e8b - Hex Color Conversion - Color Schemes - Color Shades - Pantone color | Hexcolorpedia
27a Many a report of spirits finally soaring entertains people in party (5,7)
The final letter of soaring, those who hold and entertain guests, and a common name for a political party
A Ghost Story - Rotten Tomatoes


1d Bush always has new flower coming up (5)
A synonym of always and the early stage of a new flower are reversed to be the folksy Texan pronunciation of the middle initial of a US President.

2d Funny picture of queen touring one vast room (5,4)
A Queen who reigned England, Scotland and Ireland at the time of the union, around the letter that looks like 1, and a large room.
Annie Hall Movie Review | Common Sense Media

5d & 24d Reporter’s experiences with tech titan’s features upgrades (4,4)
A homophone (reporter’s) of experiences or understands and the surname of the co-founder and driving force behind the tech titan Apple. an upgrade to one’s facial features.

8d Skeleton crew abandoning steam ship (6)
Take the crew or group of colleagues from Steam and add a small two-masted sailing vessel for a rough outline or skeleton towards a more finished work.

14d Revolving fan hits me, possibly one supplying air (9)
I initially took revolving as an anagrind. and created a mineshaft that supplies air to miners, checkers sorted me out. We need a synonym of a fanatic and revolve it then an anagram (possibly) of hits me for someone who creates a fine air.

16d Poet concerned with the main races on island (9)
Take an adjective concerning the sea or main add the Tourist Trophy races associated with the Isle of Man and I for island itself, then go and google this Italian poet and founder of the Futurist movement.

17d Musician in classical sextet having time after encore (6)
How a classical Roman would define a group of six, a musical notation for play again or encore and t for time. According to the Bonzo dog doo dah band, Adolf Hitler was the 17d on this piece.

19d Spirited criminal getting life? That’s about right (3,4)
An abbreviated criminal and a prefix meaning life around R for right give us a spirited or vivacious musical instruction.


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What else today…

21 comments on “Sunday Toughie 49 (Hints)
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  1. A properly tough Toughie, but then that is what we should expect when we see the name Robyn. My favourite has to be 21a, a word I too always associate with Jennings. I also liked the definitely in 23d once the penny had clanged loudly to the floor

    Thanks very much to Robyn and SJB

  2. Very enjoyable – thanks to Robyn (I wonder how his Toughie on Tuesday will compare) and SJB.
    Like our blogger I initially made an anagram for 14d which did more-or-less match the definition. It was only when I got 27a that I had to do some crossing out.
    I always thought that ‘Brazilian?’ would be a good cryptic clue for 11a (though maybe not in the Telegraph).
    My top clues were 11a, 15a and 19d.

      1. I certainly did, re 14d, and stuck with it, obsessively, because it seemed so clever as a vital source of ‘air’!

  3. Like our blogger I thought this was quite tricky (let’s hope he’s a bit friendlier on Tuesday!) with no shortage of this setter’s trademark cunning and misdirection.
    Lots to like and admire with 1a getting us off to a cracking start and 15a appealing for personal reasons but I’ll highlight 11&19a plus 5&6d as my picks from a very strong field.
    Thanks Robyn and John.

      1. If you look right across the bay from my Avatar you can see the delightful 15a, had a lot of fun there over the years, always had a bit of a soft spot for it.

  4. Thanks SJB ,definitely needed your help with a few of these , though when I then got them , thought I should have done a bit better myself . 14 and 16d pretty hard though. Looking forward to a further challenge on Tuesday !

    1. Thanks to your good self too. Bloggers always appreciate comments and I repeat what Dutch said on his last blog.
      “I also hope that in the new year we can encourage many more people to contribute to comments. Comments are loved by all (including setters). We want to help you have a positive experience. Ask anything you want in the comments”

  5. I found this to be a ‘toughier’ Robyn Toughie today, but that most often adds to the enjoyment and satisfaction of solving it. It took me a while to correctly parse 8d and 20d, and 1d was LOI when the penny (or dime, perhaps) eventually dropped. Having been mislead down the same garden path as other commentators, I had made a neat circle of 9 letters for 14d before twigging the correct construction. The poet and musician were unfamiliar to me, but accessible from the wordplay. Favourites today were 10a, 25a, 27a, 5d and 23d.
    Thanks for an entertaining challenge, Robyn, and thanks also to SJB for setting up the hints and tips amid the din of fireworks! Happy New Year to one-an-all!

  6. Thanks for your hints today, SJB–very much needed, as I just drew blank after blank throughout this delightful Toughie. I’m still missing 21a, as I have no idea whatsoever what I’m looking for, and CS’s reference to a ‘Jennings’ just throws me further into a tizzy (maybe a literary reference I’m unfamiliar with?). I’m ashamed to admit that the Italian poet didn’t register with me at all at first; the other poet I can no longer read for obvious reasons. So many to pick as favourites but I think I’ll settle on 23d. Thanks to Robyn for a real headscratcher and to SJB for the very helpful assists.

    1. Look at the picture provided for 21a and then do some investigoogling. Jennings was a schoolboy who more often than not made a bit of a 21a of things. A new book in the series was definitely a childhood treat

    2. A very British literary reference, Jennings and his pal Darbishire were always getting into scrapes at Linbury Court Preparatory School.
      21a was a favourite phrase of theirs. A senior cleric loses two letters for work.

      1. Got it–although the word I got is not one that is in common parlance in these backwaters I dwell in. [‘British informal dated’ says my most reliable source.] Thank you, Sue & John. Sorry I missed out on Jennings and Darbyshire.

        Meanwhile, I’m now returning to the Ian Rankin-highly touted-Read of the Year, which is titled Wrong Place Wrong Time, and it’s a long, long way from John Rebus, Inc. Has anyone else read it?

  7. Super and properly tough challenge from Robyn to start the New Year – took ages to get started, but once roughly a quarter was in place the rest fell much more speedily. Great clues throughout.

    Many thanks indeed to Robyn and to SJB, in particular for the timeless U2 track – Live At Red Rocks: Under A Blood Red Sky was one of my favourite albums of the mid 80s.

  8. In addition to the age I spent looking at this on New Year’s Day it’s had a further 15 mins on each day following. Thought I’d finally cracked it but my last in 21a bung in is obviously incorrect as it’s scored me 97%. Just read the hints & none the wiser not being familiar with the Jennings books. Very tough indeed but they’re great clues. Fav a close call between 22a & 23d.
    Thanks to Robyn & John – great BDDDB lyrics knowledge.

    1. Ha I knew they had someone on the intro and the outro playing that instrument but had to give it to a listen to remind me of the “player” I think I have worked out why my YT links stayed as links rather than embedding but we will see next Sunday.

  9. Bitchin but largely fair. 1d somewhat obscure. Took a while and finished today’s before returning. Is Sunday the new Friday? Enjoyed the challenge.

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