Sunday Toughie 52 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 52 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 52 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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Not as tricky as the New Year’s Day Robyn, but lots to like. Very musical today with lots of earworms from The Lone Ranger, Supertramp, Hall and Oates, Elvis and any beat 21a of your choice. Shakespeare gets a couple of look-ins too. I tried to take a pic of my BD 6d without revealing too much but I see I have revealed a crossing letter. They are both hinted so San Fairy Ann.

A balanced 14a and 14d clues today. Half hinted. Hopefully, you will get enough checkers to get the rest, but if you want another nudge just ask.

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 Am I going to reveal information about live opera? (7,4)
The first word ( also a synonym of to live or be) goes into a phrase that asks if one is going to reveal information, to be an opera.
William Tell's Overture Cartoons and Comics - funny pictures from CartoonStock
8a It’s impossible, note, to invest in new food e-tailer (2,3,2)

N for note and an online grocery seller containing (invests) another n for new.

10a Nearly burning forest in play (5)
Almost all of a synonym of burning is a forest in Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

11a Awfully nice, saving character dropped in EastEnders car fare (9)
The letter that people from the East End of London may drop goes in an anagram of nice, followed by a cheap Russian brand of car, becoming some tasty Mexican fare.

Chicken & bean enchiladas recipe | BBC Good Food


15a Reasonable person who serves in pub (7)
The public house you frequent contains someone who serves in the American Military.


22a Jaunt round Llanelli, ignoring the whole centre in port (7)
A jaunt, the letter that is round and what is left of Lanelli after it has been disheartened, give us a North African port.

23a  To sleep – perchance to dream: ay there’s the…

24a Cry in agony with son going after comic books (6-5)
A cry and an interjection made when in agony, followed by a comical or eccentric person and s for son. The bookings that happen after minor transgressions on the football pitch.


1d Wife husband’s left harassed and offended (7)
A synonym for harassed loses the H for husband and follows W for wife.

3d The writer’s shame, concealing base wickedness (7)
A contraction of how Robyn may refer to himself, and a synonym of shame around the base letter of the natural system of logarithms. Any wicked act.

6d Piece of rope left on an overturned cart (7)
My 6d with BD’s handwritten name card, (and Elgar’s from the York S&B). We would normally be having a get-together next weekend but hopefully someday… Happy Birthday Big Dave’s Blog!

7d Voyager undertook this small step before many steps (11)
Lots of steps here, S for small, a step and a whole bunch of them together…
This illustration shows the position of NASA’s Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes, outside of the heliosphere

9d Test this funky old track in record we hear (4,7)
A verbal test, an anagram (funky) of this, O for old and some abbreviated tracks.

17d Time to forego pleasures? I try, in a dark patch (7)
A period of forgoing that runs from Ash Wednesday to Easter, I from the clue and an attempt or try is a dark patch of skin larger than a freckle.

21d Pole in Scotland metres away from curve in road (5)
A curve across the surface of a road loses a metric metre.

The Outer Trial (And the Inner Tribulations) – the backwards van


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.
See you on the other side Croz…

12 comments on “Sunday Toughie 52 (Hints)
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  1. Another entertaining puzzle from Robyn, with only the SW corner providing a few hold-ups, including the dark patch I didn’t know previously. Lots of ticks on my page including 24a, and 3, 6, 7, 13 & 19 down. However, my favourite clue was the clever and elegant 12a.
    Thanks, Robyn, and thanks to SJB for the tuneful review.

  2. I think this must be the friendliest crossword ever from this setter – as enjoyable as all his crosswords are, but for me, over far too soon

    Too many favourites to list so I’ll just say many thanks to Robyn and SJB

  3. Like our blogger and CS I thought Robyn not at his most devious today but no compromise on fun and quality.
    From a plethora of contenders I’ll nominate 12&24a plus 7d as my podium.
    Many thanks to the aforementioned setter and to John, enjoyed the Supertramp clip though I find myself much preferring the compositions of Davies to Hodgson these days.

  4. Extremely enjoyable as we always get from this setter with beautifully smooth surfaces throughout – thanks to Robyn and SJB.
    I doubted that 24a was a verb and the BRB shares my doubts but it is in Collins – apparently you can make a verb from any noun these days.
    Difficult to pick top clues from a great selection but I’ll nominate 12a, 20a and 16d.

  5. Needless to say I didn’t find it anywhere near as easy as the bloggers. My race report would read dwelt in the stalls, dawdled through the first few furlongs, picked up a modicum of speed mid race & finished distinctly one paced. On the plus side all parsed & no temptation to hit the submit button to check for any mistakes so I realised it was a gentle one by this setter’s standards. I did need to consult Mr G as the parrot new to me & the dark patch only vaguely rang a bell but otherwise unaided. As ever hugely enjoyable & elegantly clued with ticks in abundance. If picking 3 of each I’d plump for – 11,12&20a along with 7,9&13d
    Thanks to Robyn & John whose hints I shall now read.

  6. Almost bunged in another second word in 24a at first until I got 21d. Mind you, I don’t think that the paper version still exists.
    The online food retailers were new to me and had to be checked.
    12a made me laugh and becomes my favourite.
    Thanks to Robyn for closing the first full year of Sunday toughies with a very enjoyable puzzle.
    Thanks to SJB for the first part of his review.

  7. Thought for a while that I must be finally getting to grips with this setter’s work but judging by the comments from others I just struck lucky today with a less fiendish puzzle from him! Not to worry, I thoroughly enjoyed the solve and only had to check on 17d – I’d worked the answer out from the wordplay but hadn’t previously encountered the name.
    So many ticks on my sheet and my stand-out favourite was 12a.

    Thanks to Robyn for an excellent Sunday Toughie and to SJB whose hints I didn’t need but enjoyed reading afterwards.

  8. A total joy for me. This setter never fails to enliven and enlighten and amuse me in wondrous ways. I was off and running–and humming Rossini–with 1a and never slowed down, unlike Huntsman with his more measured pacing towards the finish. But it’s 13d that wins the Gold–and my hurrahs–for the clue of the week for me. I knew the parrot, which had just appeared in a puzzle earlier this week, but I did have to confirm my correct answer for 17d, a new word for me. Thanks to SJB and Robyn.

    1. I thought the online food e-tailers may be a stumbling block for some, but you and Jean-Luc sailed past it with ease.

  9. I was mentally scarred from this setter after the NYD puzzle but took a look once I’d seen the comments. I’m glad I did, a much more approachable and enjoyable solve for me with some real originality and elegance. Special mentions for me go to 7a, 15a, 18a, 24a, 13d, 19d with my favourite being 7d which I thought very clever and original. I had a few bung-ins which I had to check the parsing of so my thanks to SJB. I didn’t know the forest in 10a and struggled with the wordplay for a while so that was my LOI. Thanks to Robyn.

  10. Absolutely wonderful puzzle, tackled this morning to waken the LGCs. Robyn’s clueing can leave me floundering but this time they made sense almost straight from the page. Not a duff clue in sight, too many crackers to single out any in particular.

    Many thanks indeed to Robyn, and of course to SJB

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