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

 Sunday Toughie No 53 by proXimal

Review by Sloop John Bee

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This puzzle was published on the 29th of January 2023



1a New victory of prisoner involved in appeal (10)
RECONQUEST: To appeal or ask for something REQUEST,contains our usual prisoner CON.

6a Retreating king trapped by huge monsters (4)
ORCS: Our new king’s cipher CR is reversed (retreating) and goes in O.S. for outsize or huge to be ORCS mythological sea monsters or Tolkien’s Ogres

10a Vessel harbouring is from east state (5)
POSIT: A vessel or POT contains a reversal (from east is across clue)of IS. To POSIT a statement made on the assumption that it will be proved valid.

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

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

14a Fought using right instead of left and failed (7)
CRASHED: Fought or CLASHED, swaps L for left to R for right to be CRASHED or failed

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

17a Idiots gathering beside pits (7)
ABYSSES: Idiots or ASSES gathers a synonym of beside BY, to be the pits or ABYSSES we seek

19a Bath attached to totally exposed dull part like pipe (7)
TUBULAR: Remove the outer letters of DULL and PART to follow an informal name for the bath you soak in TUB. TUBULAR or pipelike

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

23a This magician working with fakir might make fruit cocktails (9)
OCCULTIST: Another extraction anagram (working) here, I am getting better at spotting them. remove the letters of fakir from FRUIT COCKTAILS and what remains can be anagrammed to be a magician or OCCULTIST

24a Nancy’s a fine journalist needing provisions (5)
UNFED: How a person from the French city of NANCY would say the indefinite article A  UN, F for fine and our usual journalist ED becomes UNFED or needing provisions

25a Cooking device turns and tilts (4)
TIPS: A cooking device or SPIT is reversed (turns) to be tilts or tips

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


1d Maybe guy that goes into Public Relations for real (4)
ROPE: 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 PROPER and the guy that holds up a tent remains. Thanks Gazza.

2d Bird caught, when very careful (9)
CASSOWARY: An abbreviation for caught C, and synonyms of when AS, very SO, and careful WARY, give us the CASSOWARY a most dangerous (but colourful) bird.

3d Supernatural force within, transformed now to Sith Lord (3,2,4,5)
NOT OF THIS WORLD: A nice anagram of F for force within an anagram (transformed) of NOW TO SITH LORD

4d I’m not sure Greek character looking embarrassed should be judged (7)
UMPIRED: An indication that I’m not sure UM, a Greek character PI, and the colour one goes when embarrassed RED. Decisions at Cricket should be judged or UMPIRED

5d Occasionally using such, I get niche expertise (7)
SCIENCE: Use the occasional letters of SuCh I gEt NiChE, SCIENCE expertise from knowledge ascertained by observation and experiment

7d Always turned up to take in family-friendly show (5)
REVUE: Always or EVER contains U for Universal, the film classification that is family-friendly

8d Far-off eruption shocking for all ears (5,5)
SOLAR FLARE: An anagram (shocking) of FOR ALL EARS gives us an eruption on the sun a far off 93 million miles away

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

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

OCEANFRONT: Regular letters of the On CuE rAiNs before a mask or disguise we put on as a pretext FRONT.

16d What’s potentially fatty stuffed in typiCAL ORIFICe? (9)
CALORIFIC: A lurker in the last two words of the clue

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

19d Left holding support going up for part of service? (7)
TREETOP: Going up tells us we are looking for are reversals( going up in a down clue), in this case a nautical left PORT around the support a golfer may use TEE all reversed. 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. The part of the Service tree we seek is the crown or TREETOP

21d Review power plant being erected (5)
RECAP: another reversed tree (being erected) P for power and an ACER. An acer is a plant of the Maple genus

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



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