Sunday Toughie 53 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 53 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 53 by proXimal

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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A nice offering from proXimal to start the second year of Sunday Toughies. It will be a long time (about 58 years I think) before it gets to celebrate a 3000th as the normal Toughie did on Friday. A couple of proXimal trademark extraction anagrams and as normal for me some doubts about parsing remain (1d – but see the hint for what I made of it)
14a and 14d clues and I have hinted half. As usual the BRB and thesaurus are your friends.

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 New victory of prisoner involved in appeal (10)
To appeal or ask for something contains our usual prisoner.

11a Ancient Amazon offering harm, we heard (9)
Two homophones here, one a subscription offered by Jeff Bezos’s company, the other of harm. You may need the BRB to check your spelling here, I did!

12a Fruit and veg included in diet before run (10,4)
Diet here is not the food we choose to eat, but a national, federal or other assembly, followed by a small green vegetable and the letter a cricket scorer uses to indicate a run.

15a Theatrical cast might display such decent art (7)
An anagram of theatrical when split 7,3  would be a display that is in accord with approved moral behaviour. cast off the three-letter word and the synonym of decent is apparent.

19a Bath attached to totally exposed dull part like pipe (7)
Remove the outer letters of two words to follow an informal name for the bath you soak in.

20a Permanently resume travelling, clamping article to boot (3,4,7)
A two-word phrase for permanently, and an anagram of resume around the indefinite article to boot.

23a This magician working with fakir might make fruit cocktails (9)
Another extraction anagram here, I am getting better at spotting them. remove the letters of fakir from the last two words of the clue and what remains can be anagrammed to be a magician of the ilk of Aleister Crowley

26a Piano piece noted pianist’s rejecting in seconds (10)
A noted pianist loses in from the clue and adds an abbreviation and a synonym of seconds


1d Maybe guy that goes into Public Relations for real (4)
I am not sure I have got all of this sussed, Maybe guy is our definition by example, I think the wordplay is to take a go or work into that or about. Gazza got it right, remove an abbreviation for Public Relations from a synonym of real and the guy remains. Thanks Gazza

2d Bird caught, when very careful (9)
An abbreviation for caught, and synonyms of when, very, and careful, give us this most dangerous bird.

9d Appropriate tea partner bizarrely beat them all (4,3,7)
To be the most remarkable or foolish of its kind, is a synonym of appropriate and a partner that goes very well with a nicecupoftea

On cue, rains regularly mask land by sea (10)

Regular letters of the first three words go before a mask or disguise we put on as a pretext.

18d Kind of blue diamonds inspector hid in belt (7)
A pair of diamonds, and the letter that a police inspector may have in his rank, go into a belt worn across the body.

19d Left holding support going up for part of service? (7)
Going up tells us we are looking for a reversal, in this case a nautical left around the support a golfer may use. You may wish to consult an arboretum to get the Service. Here it is actually similar to the rowan with apple or pear-shaped fruits. and you need the uppermost part of it.

22d Top cryptic devices for creative works (4)
Remove the top letter of the cryptic devices solved at Bletchley Park to leave some creative works.


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A bonus hint for 14a…

12 comments on “Sunday Toughie 53 (Hints)
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  1. A proper Toughie from proXimal – thanks to him and SJB.
    My ticks went to 11a, 12a and 2d.

    1d If you put the abbreviation for Public Relations round the answer you get real.

  2. A very enjoyable Sunday Toughie from proXimal, deserving several ticks. Favourites were 14a, 17a, 20a, 1d, 2d, 8d, 16d with 26a doing what 9d tells us! The 16d device doesn’t usually make it to my podium, but I particularly enjoyed this one as it took a while to twig!
    Thanks for your review, SJB. Re: 1d, put your answer into Public Relations as advised by the setter!

    Ah, I see Gazza got there before me! :smile:

  3. Good puzzle , though I confess to needing the hints for 23a and 26a. I’m finding extraction anagrams tough too ! and I still don’t quite understand parsing of 19d .

    1. Service? Is a large arboreal “plant” related to the rowan or mountain ash, the uppermost part of which is what we seek.

  4. I think that I’m finally cottoning onto extraction anagrams. At least I did for this excellent proXimal Toughie today, though I did need a few letter-reveals to facilitate my finishing. Loved it all but 26a is my favourite and thanks to SJB for the lovely *piano music I am listening to right now as I type. Thanks, SJB & proXimal.

    *I wonder if anyone else remembers a 1956 recording by the Four Aces, titled ‘To Love Again’, based on the E-Flat Nocturne? Listening just now to the clip above, I began singing that very song, remembering many of the lyrics. (Ah, yes: Jerry Vale also recorded this.)

      1. Well, how nice of you, John! Actually, the Jerry Vale recording became more popular, as I recall, but I rather like the harmonies of the Four Aces recording a bit better. The Summer of 1956: I had just, at 17, graduated from high school and spent the first half of that break travelling with my parents (10 great days in Boston; a week or two in Canada–first trips ever to Montreal and Toronto, Niagara Falls for the first time; Buffalo, Pittsburgh, the Skyline Drive of Virginia)–all of this in our 1955 Buick Century auto!

        Then I left home for the first time and matriculated as a fresher at Clemson University in September. A memorable summer, the last trip I ever took with my parents. Life interfered.

  5. Took me a long time but I finally got there and earned my tea partner!
    Podium places going to 12&28a plus 2&16d.

    Thanks to proXimal for the Sunday brain battle and to SJB for the hints.

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