Sunday Toughie No 50 by proXimal
Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee
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Welcome to Sunday Toughie 50. A bit of a brain mangling last night and the ensuing lie-in have put me a bit behind so I better get on with hinting half of an uneven 14a/16d clues. No booze today and even the “leaf soup” at 18a is not strong enough to refresh my brain this morning. A couple of Americanisms and a couple of “Canadianisms” too. Some trademark proXimal clues too, extraction anagrams and removal of covering letters
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 Contest jam being very thin (10)
A sporting contest and to jam two things together. I prefer my fries chunky, with fluffy insides and crispy outsides but each to his own.
11a Clear system of alliances rejecting old great (9)
The alliances of workers that are currently striking loses the o for old and adds a synonym of great in height.
12a Really top spies caught by pirate (5,5,3)
To top or beat handsomely comes from a pirate good that is a poor imitation of the real thing around a synonym of spies.
20a Mighty relic abandoned by priest in weakness (8)
Remove the Hebrew priest from relic and put it a weakness or penchant.
22a Criticisms from countries following fraud of French male (13)
A synonym of fraud, how a French person would say of, The abbreviation for Monsieur, followed “by country we mean a sovereign state that’s a member of the UN in it’s own right” © R. Osman – Pointless
26a Check covering over copy recording (9)
A check on the financial records of a business covers a cricketty over, followed by an informal copy or imitation.
29a Condiment made from ten bananas dropped in supplementary fluid (5,5)
A couple of anagram indicators here (bananas, fluid) should lead us to removing the letters of ten from a 13 letter word and anagrammatise what remains for a condiment that Canadians such as Senf and Falcon may be more familiar with.
1d Header seen across such post would be ‘Top Teacher’ (4)
The header of a newspaper in the typographical form in which it normally appears is also the top 4 letters of a male teacher. The post from which a flag or sail may be flown, when surrounded by “header” would be a senior teacher.
4d American working on roads brought up brief with leader (8)
I am not sure we really need the Americanism indicator here, This synonym of working on the roads has been common parlance here since at least 1981 when a rather rude song by the Not the Nine O’Clock News Comedy Troupe was released. Take a discourteously brief response and reverse it (brought up) and append a male leader of a monarchy.
9d Secret totally exposed: best hotel price (8)
This secret adjective is found when the first and last letters (totally exposed) are removed from each word of the rest of the clue.
13d Fun thing to cut odds for gamble in America (5,5)
A fun thing or hilarious performance cuts into some odds and ends.
17d Erect bar for all to see north of concrete city (8)
To erect or get on top of loses the film classification “for all to see” and adds a synonym of concrete for our second Canadianism.
19d Organised turned over dessert English love (5,2)
E for English, an informal dessert and the tennis score that love suggests are reversed (turned over)
21d Garment ruined, that is end of sweater (7)
Financially ruined, a Latin that is, and the last letter of sweater become a somewhat more revealing garment.
25d Sound from young bird beginning to appear (4)
A nice little all-in-one to finish, the sound a young bird may make is also to appear over the horizon perhaps.
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10 comments on “Sunday Toughie 50 (Hints)”
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I made a slow start to this proXimal puzzle, but once underway and with a few checkers available things started to fall into place. I gave 3 ticks in each direction today: 10, 14 & 29 across and 2, 7 & 9 down, and I learned something new about tea!
Thanks for your hints, SJB, but I think 1d definition is ‘post’ and you need to split the first word 4,2 around the answer…
Thanks for the challenge, proXimal.
Hint amended Thanks.
As I said in the preamble, my brain was a bit mangled by the time I got to the downs!
Super-duper puzzle from the X-man, one of my favourite setters, to complete a great double-act with the Dada back-pager.
On the basis that they produced the biggest smiles my ticks go to 27&28a plus 2&8d
Many thanks to ProXimal and John.
Great stuff from proXimal – thanks to him and SJB.
The clues I liked best were 12a, 1d and 13d.
Just checking in briefly as I work with the NE corner, including that long’un at 12a. So far I haven’t had to reveal a letter, nor have I looked at the hints yet. Have really enjoyed this proXimal Toughie. Taking a break. Will return to the puzzle and the blog before long.
Got there finally! Never heard the 12a expression before but with the checking letters and a bit of googling, managed to work it out. 13d is probably my favourite but there’s a whole lot to like. Must read SJB’s review now to check on the parsings. Thanks to John and proXimal.
I’ve really enjoyed this reasonably straightforward Toughie, but found some of the surface readings rather bizarre, even clumsy, in their necessary obscuring of the clue/answer. Was therefore surprised to see that this is from Proximal!
On the other hand, there were some truly wonderful clues, among which stood out 18 & 26 across, 2, 13 & 17 down.
Many thanks to Proximal for the challenge, and SJB for the review.
Didn’t get chance to tackle this until late in the day but don’t think I can use that as an excuse for finding it quite tough!
I did know the tea which was quite a relief but the IT threw me a bit – it always does.
Favourite was 12a – really made me laugh.
Thanks to proXimal and to SJB for the hints.
Had a brief look at this yesterday but wasn’t in the mood for what looked like a difficult solve. In the event not quite as much of a slog as it looked at first but by no means easy. Had to hit the submit button to check progress a couple of times & correct an error at 13d (I was throwing them until I remembered Guys & Dolls) so by no means an unaided finish. Am inclined to agree with MG’s comment re some of the surface reads a touch contrived but hugely enjoyed the puzzle & the challenge of figuring out the wordplay, which I think I’ve managed with the exception of 1&13d – not close at 1d & with the other thought odds was starting prices – doh.
Thanks to proXimal & John
Practice makes perfect as it was mentioned on the blog a few days ago.
Even knew the idiom in 12a for a change.
Didn’t find it easy but a real pleasure to solve.
Thanks to proXimal and to SJB for the hints.