Sunday Toughie 59 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 59 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 59 by proXimal

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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A tricky but doable Toughie today from proXimal.A slightly uneven 14a and 16d clues today, as ever I am struggling to keep hints down to half, there may be some bonus hints. I loved the topicality of 1a and 24a

I am still shivering without a boiler but plenty of coffee breaks will keep me going, and I have a subliminal yen for olives stuffed with peppers and beetroot soup for lunch, washed down with a French aperitif. I better get on with it before I suffer a 27a emotional change.

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 Drawing attention to sum of money insulting nurses (12)
An informal sum of money goes in a synonym of insulting
Bruce in Spotlight - Darkness Edition 007 —

12a Mostly calm before frenzy leading to clout (8)
Most of a five-letter synonym of calm precedes a frenzy, the clout needed to achieve a further objective

14a Insignificant guy’s first to enter place for boats beside lake (8)
A first letter and a place for boats go beside an abbreviation to give us something insignificant
Narrow Margins – Crotchety Man
17a Pot with me in centre of olive that’s stoned? (8)
An anagram of three words in the clue and the middle letter of another
Supermarché PA / Pimento Stuffed Olives
19a This soup et al could be concoction of Batchelors (6)
A trademark proXimal extraction here, the soup we require plus et al from the clue could be an anagram of Batchelors, a UK based manufacturer of soup

24a Rush home with fine treat reduced by 50 per cent (6)
Our usual synonym of home, a pencil based abbreviation of fine, and 50% of a synonym of treat


28a City’s cruel guards turned old harbour ablaze (12)
An adjective relating to cities is a synonym of cruel around a reversed generic harbour, o for old and a synonym of ablaze, definitely a bung in and parse afterwards clue


1d One function set up; contracted as well for parties (7)
The letter that looks like 1 and a mathematical function are reversed before a contracted synonym of as well

2d Edges out fully from Goring Lock for river (7)
The first four words are the instruction, the last word is the definition. apply the instruction to the other three words and a river and eponymous Womble should remain.
Steiff limited edition teddy Orinoco Bear From the Wombles, 691157
3d Successful cruciverbalist anagrammed without fancy cribs (9)
Another extraction anagram that proXimal is quite open about, take a fourteen-letter word without a five-letter word  anagram what remains and you have something financially successful

5d With organ tips from experts, compose elevated classical pieces (8)
Take one of the organs that stop your spectacles from falling off, the outer letters of experts and a synonym of compose (a crossword perhaps) then reverse the lot (elevated in a down clue) and you have the pieces of a classical Roman floor
Pompeii guard dog mosaic back on show - BBC News
7d Knight using advantage to snaffle unprotected pawn (6)
This Arthurian Knight is a synonym of advantage around what remains of a pawn when unprotected

15d Rings brought in to support climbing plant (9)
The support for a table perhaps is reversed (climbing in a down clue) around to ring or envelop in the plural
The 16d tool is useful for eradicating this weed

20d Son raised in capital is Tottenham’s top player (7)
A Scandinavian capital has the letter that son represents raised one position, followed by is from the clue and the top letter of Tottenham

21d Checkers should get you there but these are not the winged beasts you seek here
What Is It About Bees And Hexagons? : Krulwich Wonders... : NPR

25d Dog overturned avoiding hard run (4)
An informal dog loses a hard pencil and is overturned for the run that the winged beasts in 21d may have


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No time for music today as the boiler has decided to spring a leak now – All pans and buckets on deck!
Though this popped up on my YT today…

25 comments on “Sunday Toughie 59 (Hints)

  1. I’ve still got one that I cannot yet parse, but the parsing of 21d has finally dawned, with a dull clang! A well-judged Sunday Toughie, and very enjoyable – I didn’t know who the setter was until coming to this review but had not felt it to be a typical Robyn creation. So many splended clues – I love it when with a clue like 9a the pennies drop, or where the the lego instructions (eg 28a, 20d) are so well concealed.

    Hon Mentions to 9a, 18a, 28a, 2d & 20d (through gritted teeth, as a Gooner) with COTD 17d.

    Many thanks indeed to Proximal, and of course to SJB – hope it warms up for you soon!

    1. As a Gooner have you ever caught this chap – he usually plays at Euston International before home games

      1. That’s a very impressive and accomplished rendition – fortunately no-one could hear me ‘singing’ along! And thank you for the Marillion clip – so many wonderful tracks and I now have an afternoon of Script, Fugazi & Childhood ahead of me. How do so many years pass so quickly?

        1. My first car had a nifty pioneer hi fi before it was stolen! I used to play Script so loud that I didn’t notice the motorcycle policeman tapping on my window asking me to turn it (and me) down. Those were the days

            1. Problems problems, don’t give me your problems!

              I have enough of my own with a knackered boiler

              I hope you still listen to Marillion post Fish, Steve Hogarth has been brilliant

  2. Finished this very testing but immensely enjoyable Toughie last night, but not altogether on my own merits as I had to use the occasional letter reveal. But right now, as Everything Everywhere All at Once is about to appear on Showtime TV, I must stop this and return later…more anon.

    1. I managed to avoid reveals myself, but used an anagram checker for a few, I could have solved them the old-fashioned way but had to rush things along a bit last night.
      hope you enjoy the Oscar contender I haven’t seen it myself yet

      1. Ruptured multiverses do not give me much viewing pleasure these days, nor fast-paced, explosive chaos. The last sci-fi movie I can remember fully understanding and hearing (I mean being clearly audible to my ears) was 2001: A Space Odyssey. EEAAO, wonderfully acted by the Asian troupe that will probably win the Oscar later tonight, is not my kind of movie, alas. Especially as it followed on the heels of our watching the 1933 classic 42nd Street! Just a song and a dance man these days. Actually, I loved Banshees of Inisherin and would be happy if it won the Oscar, but it won’t.

    2. I had earlier planned to highlight my winners and lament my shortcomings, but I’ll wait until the full review on Wednesday the 22nd. Thanks to SJB and proXimal.

  3. I found the SW corner very tricky due almost entirely to having written the wrong answer in for 26a. Once I’d sorted that out it all fell into place. Very enjoyable – thanks to proXimal and SJB.
    The clues I liked best were 9a, 19a, 17d and 20d.

    1. I did have a picture hint for 26a but it hit the cutting room floor when the boiler decided to leak

  4. It’s always the last two or three that take the most time but I’ve slowly learnt with this compiler that, if all else fails, look for either a subtractive anagram or its counterpart!
    Very pleased to have completed this one with my favourite being 9a.

    Thanks to proXimal and to SJB for the hints.

    1. Just noticed that we have a detective sergeant and a detective inspector, both ranks of the crossword loving Endeavour Morse. It is going to be weird to watch the last one tonight. It also connects to 9a as Colin Dexter was known to make clandestine appearances in Morse rather like the director in 9a in his own films

  5. I’m with Gazza here – a wrong answer to 26 resulted in no end of head-scratching in the SW corner but once corrected all was well. Tough but great fun with 19a, 20d and 9a the pick for me. Thanks to proXimal and SJB.

    1. I wonder if your wrong answer is the same as Gazza’s. We will have to wait ’til the review a week on Wednesday to discuss alternatives. It was one of the few in this puzzle that went in quickly. Welcome to the Sunday Toughie blog. I don’t think we have “met” before

      1. Add me to those who initially had the wrong answer slotted into 26a. Have to admit that the correct answer is, annoyingly, a great improvement!

        1. And me too!

          Thank you to SJB for review and Proximal.

          Hope SJB flood has now abated.

          1. Flood has been stopped but boiler still knackered, I think the next step is them selling us a new boiler :o

        2. And me as well. Only corrected when we were forced to admit the right answer for 18d

  6. Time to catch up on one of my favourite weekly crosswords!
    I’m another who fell into the 26a trap and sweated for a while in the SW corner. Having eventually teased out 17a, 17d and 22a it was very clear that my 26a was wrong and the correct penny then dropped. Favourites in this puzzle were 5d, 20d (nice juxtaposition of son/Son) with COD the highly topical 1a.
    Thanks to proXimal and to SJB.

  7. What a difference a day makes. Nearly finished it (eventually) on my own but needed the hint for 5d to get me over the line. Found it very tough indeed but patience & perseverance rewarded in the end. Loved the Spurs clue & plenty of ticks elsewhere.
    Thanks to proXimal & John – hope your heating issues soon resolved

  8. I too had 26a wrong for a while – nasty setter trapped many of us by the looks of it. I still can’t parse 21d. Excellent puzzle.

    1. The review will be out Wednesday but to help the first word is the definition, times suggests multiplication which suggests the 24th letter of the alphabet, past is some time earlier and the winged beast lays your breakfast. The Bees in the picture are not a hint but the shape or figure beneath is.

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