Sunday Toughie 51 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 51 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 51 by Zandio

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A tricky little devil tonight, I was hoping that a good lie-in would help me parse the final few. I think I have mostly got it but parts of 15a elude me. I have enough to at least hint you in the right direction. There are a couple of lurkers and at least three double definitions unhinted so keep your eye out for them. I have hinted half of an even 14a 14d clues but if you have any queries just ask, someone will help.

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 Lake with no water up in the sky, you’d say it’s nonsense (6)
A homophone (you’d say) of a smooth part of our satellite which although bone dry, were named as bodies of water

10a Half-heartedly clasp northern waterway travel planner? (8)
A clasp that is a piece of jewellery loses one of its two central letters and adds a northern waterway that doesn’t give its name to the dale that it runs through. The sort of travel planner you may consult before booking a holiday.

15a Winger and small left back getting round defence’s stars (5-8)
Start with a winger in the Corvidae family, and end with S for small. In between, we have a defendant’s answer to a charge and three unexplained letters. Those stars that most delight those watching them.
I am at a loss to fully parse this any ideas?

20a Shady area in London Docks? (6)
An area shaded by trees is how someone from the East End of London (who drops his aitches) may say docks or wharves.

22a News following contest — see cycles heading west from a city (8)
A three-lettered synonym of contest, and two N’s for news followed by the “cycling” of SEE when reversed (heading west). Cycling in crosswords usually involves moving the first letter to the last, but with SEE that would give us EES but we need to cycle the reversal of SEE to get the three letters we need.
famous coffee houses in Vienna

24a Population study is divided about Buddhism (8)
This member of the population or inhabitant is a synonym of a room for study, is from the clue around a Buddhist doctrine.

Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' Author Robert M. Pirsig Dies At 88 : The Two-Way : NPR

27a Initially select tot as glass? (6)
The initial letter of select and an informal small child or tot. A slippery surface as smooth as glass.


1d Idiot upset about golf will get fine or quit (3,3)
An idiot is reversed (upset) around the letter that golf suggests and finishes with f for fine. I can’t quit this yet as I still have 6 clues to hint.

2d Like 600 in uniform breaching shatter’d Crimean line (9)
U for uniform, L for line and Crimean are shatter’d to satisfy the example we are given by 600.

3d You might attack this grumpy low-down poser (9,6)
The answer is staring you in the face, something you may say when grumpy and a poser are what we are all doing at this moment.
Test yourself with The Telegraph's new puzzles website

6d A character in ‘Morse‘ heads north — shock ending! (11,4)
One of the characters that has a morse code, that are not letters or numbers !

14d Copper rings keep one supple (7)
A Copper or Police Constable around a synonym of keep or preserve and the letter that looks like 1.

16d Couple below par I had heard to be looking well (5-4)
Vision as good as a bird of prey is a golf score and a homophone (heard) of a contraction of I had.

23d After church, cricket side comes over (4)
An abbreviation for the Anglican church follows a side at cricket, later in time or after.


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I was going to include a Camel track for 1a but it was too specifically titled so I found this instead.

23 comments on “Sunday Toughie 51 (Hints)
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  1. Thanks to Zandio for a proper Toughie and to SJB for the hints.
    The 3-letter word that’s reversed in 15a is ‘left’ in a political sense.
    I took 6d to be saying that the answer is a (lower-case) letter turned upside-down.
    For my podium I’ve picked 4a, 18a and 16d.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed teasing out the solutions to this excellent Zandio offering, full of wit and misdirection.
    I could have easily filled the podium three times over but I’ll mention the simple but very clever 13a,18a (one of the best clues of its type I’ve seen for a while) plus 2&21d but favourite has to be the brilliant 6d, where the letter “A” at the beginning plays a significant part in the definition as it’s the actual character represented by “dot dash”…super clever.
    Many thanks to Zandio and John

    1. Well done on getting the full explanation of 6d. I didn’t know the Morse code for ‘A’ – I thought it was just ‘i’ reversed. Top-notch clue.

    2. Thanks for that Stephen, while I sort of noticed that the answer was A in Morse code turned up to look like the character required, I went down a Wikipedia rabbit hole of prosigns and the various different ways to signal !
      I should have looked a bit more at the emboldening and embiggining of that character I put in my hint

  3. An excellent 3d from Zandio that kept me on my toes. 6 ticks on my page, one each for 15a, 24a, 2d and 16d, but a double tick for 6d! I didn’t know what the answer represented when heading east, but I was very pleased to discover that it is indeed ‘a’ character… Great clue!
    Many thanks, Zandio.
    Thanks also to SJB for the hints. BTW – I think ‘low-down’ is also relevant in parsing 3d, as in get the low-down on something.

    1. Thanks, I did spot the low-down you suggest.
      I am trying not to overhint at these prize puzzles as I feel I have given too many in the past. On the grounds of difficulty alone I would like to have hinted many more

  4. Very good Toughie , hard enough without being impossible , a la Elgar [ most of the time ! ]. So many excellent clues , difficult to pick a fave , but 18a was the best of its type seen in a long while . Thanks to all .

    1. I liked 18a too and the surface made me think of Queen Elizabeth the First and her speech…
      “I know I have the body but of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too…” Shame that it actually happened in Tilbury rather than Greenwich though.

  5. Solved half this morning and completed the other half now.
    Was left with the 4 long ones mainly and really enjoyed teasing out the answers. Especially 18a that I stared at long enough to spot the answer.
    6d is just great.
    Thanks to Zandio and to John for the hints.

  6. Thanks to all kinds of help–SJB’s hints, Gazza & Stephen, Google–I now have a full grid. Never would have solved 16d without all of the assists. Very tough puzzle for me. Too many great clues to list them all–a very impressive display of craft and wit and just downright brilliance. Thanks to Zandio and SJB

  7. No chance to look at this yesterday so a day late as usual. A near full grid bar (5d answer still eludes me) aided by 2 hits of the submit button to check progress (no corrections required) but with 3 unparsed. The only thing I know about Morse code is that it involves dots & dashes & is handy for an SOS – after reading the comments realise I’d not have parsed that one in a month of Sundays. Shall work on the other 2 & that pesky 4 letter holder outer before seeking enlightenment from John if they’re hinted. Super lurker at 18a my fav but with ticks aplenty elsewhere.
    Thanks to Zandio & to John.

    1. I had doubts about 5d too, the best I could manage was to remove the Physical Exercise from one of the words in the clue and the change we seek is what you may have in your pocket after spending money where you call inland bodies of water the letters that remain.
      I am sure there are many places that call their bodies of water by that name that spend other currencies (Switzerland for example) but close enough for this cruciverbalist.

      1. My thinking was that if you add the Physical Exercise to the currency you may already have as your answer, then just look what place pops up…

        1. I much prefer your reasoning, it gets over the Switzerland conundrum. I will credit you and amend the review accordingly. (The reviews rarely get comments but that is the case with most prize puzzle reviews)

      2. Thanks John (& Spartacus) – of course.
        Have just listened to the Camel track on Moonmadness – used to love all that prog rock but along with Yes, ELP & most early Genesis listening to it now I wonder why. Still play Floyd though.

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