Sunday Toughie 54 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 54 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 54 by Zandio

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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A bit of confusion as to exactly when I started blogging the Sunday Toughies but I am pretty sure that  I am approaching the first anniversary of my attempts at blogging. I reviewed the Sunday Toughie from #2 but blogged the hints from #4, I have enjoyed the tussle and I think I solved this quite quickly. Senf is welcome to his Glenlivet and deserves his six years service medal, I hope I last as long. I was fuelled by “Jeyes Fluid” (Bunnahabhain Toiteach a Dha before midnight and Laphroaig Cairdeas – Port and Wine to finish) last night and my nightcap was not delayed as long as it was when Zandio set the New Years Day toughie. 

14 each way and I have hinted half, I could have picked many but will plump for Peter’s romantic meeting in 5d.

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 Men-of-war charged with men-of-war (10)
The military vessels that carry soldiers to battle, Men not Man so don’t forget the plural s

9a Sponsors going by plane — maybe time for alternative route? (10)
Sponsors financially, a large arboreal plant that plane is an example of, and t for time, give us this alternative route.
I couldn’t bring myself to listen to Nick Carter’s band so here is some Bruce instead…


12a Anger about team getting turned over — remedy needed (6)
This remedy for ills is a synonym of Anger reversed (getting turned over) around the team of a certain size shown in Roman numerals. See the preamble for my choice but Senf’s Glenlivet is equally palatable.

18a Equipment to make rap electronic disc with Queen (4,8)
I am tending towards an &lit here, to rap on a drum perhaps, e for electronic, a disc of music and the cipher of our former Queen

21a Redirects physical gesture when cycling (8)
Something physical that is… and like Queen above take a nonverbal gesture and cycle the first to last.

25a One’s nurses run back and forth, it’s all the same (10)
A double definition, Nurses run is a definition by example and Madam, in Eden, I’m Adam is another

27a Showing what often follows ‘news’ — ‘reel’? (10)
The time that evening news broadcasts are often shown, followed by a reel or other rhythmic movement


1d One’s taken hostage over in east Elba, Tuscany (6)
A reverse lurker (hostage over in) taken after an overindulgence of Bunnahabhain perhaps!

3d Obsession with rugby, getting into healthy food (7,5)
A synonym of obsession and to be healthy containing the “code” of Rugby that Scotland beat England at Twickenham yesterday.

5d Meeting held by Peter in French second home (4-1-5)
The given name of a Frenchman called Peter, contains a romantic meeting.
Pierre Sylvain Rosset - Alpine skiing - Les Gets ambassadors


11d Dead, he could conceivably appear thus confused! (6-6)
The second word of the answer is an anagram of the first two words of the clue, the first word of the answer is the anagram indicator that we need. I hope I am not thus confused.

19d Neighbour appears as little woman in following commercial (6)
A short commercial, one of the March sisters from Louisa M Alcott’s Little Women and in from the clue. A neighbour so close that they touch.

20d Drastic energy cut — you should switch (6)
E for energy and a synonym of cut, but you should switch the order before putting in the grid

23d Instrument — piano, that is — which Papa’s broken (4)
A musical notation, a Latin that is, broken by the Nato code letter that Papa represents. All crammed into a four letter clue phew

Here is the instrument in question


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26 comments on “Sunday Toughie 54 (Hints)

  1. No way can I comment on the crossword, I stand little chance of completing a Zandio standard, so no chance on a toughie!
    But what a brilliant choice of music! He’s a clever chap that Malcom Jones from Runrig and a brilliant guitarist, on a par with David Gilmour, I reckon. And he plays the above and the accordion.
    Too early for my new favourite whisky, Ledaig Sinclair not quite as smoky as Islay whiskies but very nice!
    Cheers SJB

    1. Stick at it -Zandio is v friendly today
      Agreed re Malcolm he was brilliant at the final Runrig concert
      Bha mise ann…

        1. I think so, despite being 14d from the Isle of Mull my own Gaelic is weak, Bha Mise Ann meaning I was there was printed on the back of the t-shirt from the concert.

  2. This was fairly gentle for a Zandio Toughie but very enjoyable – thanks to him and to SJB for the hints.
    My ticks went to 9a, 25a, 4d and 11d.

  3. Well it must be relatively gentle since I got there in the end.
    I liked 7d and 14d.
    Thanks to Zandio and SJB.

  4. Very enjoyable indeed. It’s no secret that I’m a big admirer of this setter, and I thought this was typically imaginative with some top-notch clues. I’ll highlight 10,25,26&27a plus 7&11d but it was all super.
    Many thanks to Zandio and John

  5. Zandio, as with Dada on the back page, in gentle mood for me, but what a splendid and humorous puzzle. Podium places to 25 & 27a, and 3d, with 11d edging its nose in front as my COTD.

    2* / 4*

    Many thanks to Zan and SJB

  6. Hello, compiler here. Thanks very much for taking the time to solve, analyse and discuss. Always appreciated.

    1. I loved 25a! Thank you. It’s been noted at the back of my Commonplace Book for special things.

  7. Thank you for this and many other fine puzzles. It is always appreciated when setters visit their “children”

  8. A most enjoyable Zandio, 90% of which I finished in happy time and then hit the wall with those nurses running back and forth at 25a. Of all things to struggle with! I used to bring in examples of 25a to amuse my students–A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!–but could not see the forest for the trees last night. I think I need a good reviver! So I must declare 25a my favourite but 3d, 9a & 5d must duke it out for podium places. Thanks to SJB and Zandio.

    1. I once wrote a very long twenty five across but the second half was poor roop saw flah dnoces eht tub ssorca evif ytnewt gnol yrev a etorw ecno I

  9. Surely I’ll learn to appreciate this setter’s style one day! I did get to the end of this one so maybe that marks a slight improvement?

    Thanks to Zandio for the puzzle and to SJB for the hints.

  10. It’s a toss-up as to which pleased me most – The Runrig clip or my first (I think) unaided completion of a Sunday Toughie. Both gave me much pleasure. Lots of chuckles along the way and a most pleasant Sunday solve. Will any fellow Runrig appreciators be in Birmingham on Thursday? Not that it will be Runrig at the Symphony Hall, but Transatlantic Sessions, with Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas et al. A great night is anticipated again this year. Thanks to Zandio and to SJB.

    1. Just a bit far to travel from deepest Yorkshire or I would be there for sure. I hope you enjoy it and report back.

      1. Will do 😊 👍 I missed last year’s concert, but this will be either be my 6th or 7th one.

    2. The first series of Transatlantic Sessions has just been on BBC4. Quite fun to see Aly Bain and friends looking 20 or more years younger. Shame the Beeb don’t make programmes like that any more.
      Hope you enjoy the concert.

  11. I finished this in *** time, I am a newbie in Toughie-Land so it must have been fairly gentle.
    Really enjoyable – particularly loved 11d and 25a, which was my LOI.
    Thanks to Zandio for the fun and games – and to Sloop John Bee for the hints and the sprinkling of Springsteen

  12. Just finished at breakfast, being stuck on 9a/4d where I was completely on the wrong track. Thank you SHB for your hint, and thank you Zandio for taking my mind off yesterday’s visit to DD1 which was so sad. Good to have something for my mind to wrestle with!

    1. You have my deepest sympathy, I know what it is like to see Mama Bee lose a little bit more memory etc. each day but it must be so much worse when it is your child rather than a parent.
      4d a homophone that worked for me for a change

  13. Had a brief stab at this last night but too sleepy to do it justice so finished it off this afternoon. Not unaided as revealed the 1a/4d checker (d’oh) & needed 2 stabs at 7d where I initially had a vaguely plausible different second word. Very enjoyable. 25a pick of crop for me with ticks for 3&12a plus 3,8&11d. Think I missed last Sunday’s Toughie so may have a stab at that one too.
    Thanks to Zandio & John.
    Ps have seen Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham at The Stables in Milton Keynes – great musicians & good raconteurs too.

  14. Didn’t find time for this over a busy extended weekend but enjoyed solving it this morning. The presence of ‘hostage’ in 1d puzzled me for a while but the penny eventually dropped. Across and Down podiums/podia for 6, 25 & 27 across and 3, 4 & 11 down.
    Thanks Zandio and SJB.
    PS I enjoyed the ’25 across emordnilap’!
    [Although it should have been ‘etorw’ :wink: ]

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