Sunday Toughie 61 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 61 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 61 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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I think Robyn went a bit easier on me last night as the clocks went forward. We have 16a and 14d clues today and I have hinted half. I hope you find enough checkers to get the rest. The midwife that Mama Bee used to be was particularly amused by 8d and it was my favourite too, but 28a ran it close. 

This isn’t getting the ring around the bath off (6a) so 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 Trio outside commercial pub not having a nap (10)
A trio, around a commercial and a pub is a well worn fabric that lacks a nap
Teddy Repairs | Soft Toy Repair | New & Antique Teddy RestorationOver-restored IMO the Repair Shop Bear Ladies would have done a more sympathetic restoration.

6a Add screening about to show nasty film (4)
A mathematical addition and one of our usual abouts is an early Ray Winstone film or the film around a bath when you haven’t had a boiler for a fortnight!

10a Energy cut in depressed region, creating damage (9)
A depressed region around an abbreviation for energy and a synonym of cut

The depressed region from hitting a deer on the way to work perhaps, What a year!

13a Old lady suggesting executed English monarch? (5)
A cryptic style of the regnal cipher of the monarch we executed in 1649 also a disagreeable old woman

The beheading of King Charles I. The King has his head on the block with onlookers surrounding him.
15a Flirting from flipping coquette is too forward (7)
The Miffypops maxim of when in doubt look for a lurker came to the rescue here, a reverse one too (from flipping) in the rest of the clue

Do you know how to play footsie? | Health24

18a Inferior and under the weather, dropping out (2,5)
This synonym of inferior or ersatz is also a synonym of under the weather when out has been dropped

23a Military delaying time of a match (7)
An adjective relating to the military drops the t for time down the order to be an adjective of the nature of a match between a couple who make vows

28a With old English ex-PM touring, called for zest (6,4)
Abbreviations of old and English around a telephonic called for and a former Prime minister

Coffee Negroni - The Endless Meal®


2d Artist with sense drinking my bitter (9)
Our usual artist and some common sense around an expression of surprise suggested by “my” leaves a bitter taste

5d Upsets conductor on back of bus (7)
This conductor and the terminal letter of bus

BBC - Simon Rattle: The 12 composers who made me

8d Spy alternative option for Hamlet? One’s expectant (6-2-2)
James Bond’s boss, an alternative and one of Hamlet’s options from his soliloquy.


11d In case of trouble, stopping PC is clearly right (13)
In from the clue and the case letters of trouble inside a low ranking policeman

14d Pleasant crossing ring road that’s not too steep (10)The letter that looks like a ring and an abbreviated road go in a synonym of pleasant for something that is not too steeply priced

17d Training period of rifle carrying finished (9)
An act of rifling or plundering around a synonym of finished gives the state of learning when a student may attend a 19d

22d Northerner‘s short stay in French hotel? (5)
How someone French may cryptically describe an overnight stay is also an indigenous people of northern arctic regions

6a and 10a triggered bad memories today but 28a, 8d and 17d made up for it. which clues did you like?


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Sir  Simon 5d conducting John Hendersons’ favourite composer;


24 comments on “Sunday Toughie 61 (Hints)

  1. Not so high up the toughie scale today, I thought, which was convenient given that our day is an hour shorter than usual! Nevertheless I was still lead up the garden path a couple of times, especially with 25a where surely the rebel uniform was the other shade… :wacko:
    My podium trio were 1a, 23a and 22d. Many thanks to Robyn for the puzzle and to SJB for hosting.

    1. Rebel is required for the anagram fodder but I was similarly confused until the PDM

      1. Indeed, it was quite a ‘doh’ PDM on 25a. My other garden path was 19d where my instant answer was a sharp piece of medical kit, but it made no sense wrt ‘part of course’!

        1. I had the part of course as an abbreviation for a collection of 3 school terms in a charring

  2. Robyn’s not as tough as he can be but as entertaining as ever – thanks to him and to SJB.
    My medals are awarded to 13a, 25a and 22d.

  3. Very friendly for both a Robyn and a Toughie but splendidly enjoyable as usual. My particular favourite was 22d

    Many thanks to Robyn and SJB

    1. The first trio of comments all pick 22d I had not realised how clever it was because of the many different northerners and knowing which name they prefer to be known by

  4. I didn’t find this as easy as our reviewer apparently did but got there eventually despite several hiccoughs along the way.
    New term for me in 20a – doesn’t sound very appealing!
    Rosettes going to 1&28a plus 20d.

    Thanks to Robyn and to SJB for the hints and the
    stirring music. You’re right, the ‘bear ladies’ would have made a much better job of 1a!

    1. I rather agree about 20a a horrible cobbled together word and most of the bars that make their own beer are not very good at making beer or running said establishment

  5. Favourite was also 22d until I solved coot’s Saturday offering and I now prefer his version.
    While solving, I thought Dada was a bit harder than usual until I realised I was doing the Sunday toughie.
    The three crosswords I did today brought equal enjoyment. I don’t want anyone to be jealous.
    Thanks to Robyn and to John.

  6. All fairly straightforward but great fun. 22d, 8d and 4d on the podium for me today. Thanks to Robyn and SJB.

  7. Well, I just loved this one, even though I briefly forgot The Mipps’ maxim at 15a about looking for lurkers and went looking instead for floozies and flossies and all sorts of louche lovelies. But then, the PDM! An absolutely charming Toughie, with 13a, 1a, and 14d topping my choices today. 22d, however, deserves a Clarkie for making me laugh when I finally got it. Many thanks to John and Robyn.

    1. Having now read the comments, i must also add my confusion about 25a, so perhaps Robyn will step in later and comment on his thinking about that ‘rebel’ / ‘conservative’ allusion. As an American Southerner, I do hope that our compiler is referring to those great Big Hair Southern Ladies who generally undergo the 25a Saturday salon experience before going to church the next morning. It’s what many of our conservative ladies still do, y’know–or so I hear, being quite liberal myself.

      1. In my half written review I have included style in the definition as I do think it refers to the coiffure of conservative ladies rather than a rebel in US ( which is the fodder ) of an anagram (possibly)

  8. Just a thought re 13a.
    Do you think Charles III was scared to come to France only to be beheaded in the current revolution? History does repeat itself.

    1. I think the French rioters have got it in for their elected officials rather than our unelected ones, or do you want a monarchy back ;)

  9. My first go at the Sunday Toughie but very enjoyable. I did finish it eventually with the help of the blog (thank you!) and Mr Google, but I have to confess that my favourite was 15a – solved very early with no help at all – but just made me giggle! Naughty me!

    1. Welcome to the Sunday Toughie, I am pleased you enjoyed it and hope you come back for more. Wayy too many of the pics I looked at for 15a were NSFW

  10. Many thanks to SJB for the clues to the clues, and to everyone dropping in to comment.
    Robert and SJB are quite correct that the definition of 25 across is the first three words, for the reasons Robert so vividly describes.
    SuzyQ, welcome and come back!
    Have a great week, everyone.

    1. Many thanks for the great puzzle and for confirming Robert’s thoughts on 25a

    2. Thanks, Robyn, for another splendid Toughie. I really grooved on it (see Dada today).

      Vividly yours,

  11. A lovely puzzle as per from this setter. A reasonably straightforward grid fill but was unable to parse either 16a or 22d, the latter now that I’ve read the hint my clear fav. Too many ticks elsewhere to mention.
    Thanks to Robyn & John.

  12. Enjoyed working through this one with the aid of the hints;
    thought 22D, “Northerner‘s short stay in French hotel? (5)” , was quite cute.

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