Sunday Toughie 62 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 62 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 62 by proXimal

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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A fine puzzle from proXimal today as usual, I struggle to keep the hints down to about half so a couple of bonus pics have crept in. The 3d Spoonerism at 1a gets my COTD what was yours?

14a and 16d clues today, I hope you find the checkers to find the answers

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 Harbour location strike ended, according to Spooner (8)
Oh dear, we start with my bête noire, a Spoonerism. If “according to Spooner” is the indicator, the rest must be the phrase to be spoonerised and the definition. Take synonyms of strike and ended and swap the first syllables to fit the definition
Batman Sock Digital Art by Pop Art World - Fine Art America

5a Drake, perhaps, removing whiskey from jacket (6)
Not the first Drake that comes to mind, neither the Elizabethan explorer or the male duck. We remove the letter that whiskey suggests from a jacket to get the style of music that the Canadian Aubrey “Drake” Graham is known for


12a Beginning to embrace divorced Royal Institute scientist (6)
The beginning of the day embraces separately (divorced) the abbreviation of the Royal Institute

15a Assuredness backing general, manipulated soft figure to protect king (6,2,5)
Best solved from the back. Take the reversal of an American Civil War General, an anagram of soft, a figure between six and eight and the Latin letter that defines the regal nature of a king. Someone with the assuredness of an iron (alloy) constitution

18a This writer involved in a revolutionary fuel shares advances (13)
A from the clue, how proXimal (and Maria Von Trapp) refers to himself, a fuel reversed and some shares, give us a word that improves or advances

27a Make standard Scandinavian ferries land in Africa (9)
An ancient Scandinavian around a landlocked African country

29a Recalled times eating mediocre starter in eatery? Me too! (4,4)
A reversal of geological time periods goes around a slang interjection expressing mediocrity and the starting letter of eatery. An expression that I would like what your having



1d Books after some time degenerate (8)
A period of time followed by part of the bible

Shire Horses | Samuel Smith's Brewery | Tadcaster | Yorkshire | Horses,  Shire horse, Hackney horse

6d One checked car in place hit by driver? (7)
A brand of car and the place a golf ball is hit by a driver
Audi Womens T-Shirt Funny never underestimate - her / Ladies Car Gift Tee | eBay

7d Case of wine, fine mixture (9)
A fortified wine, a fine pencil and a mixture or medley, a case to contain loose papers

8d High-ranking people dispatch soldiers to the north (6)
To dispatch or kill and members of the armed services without commissions are reversed (to the north in a down clue)

14d Control playing piece, pinning one knight (8)
Not a chess or draught piece here but one of a group of (usually) 28 pins the letter that looks like one followed by the chess notation for a knight. Is proXimal a Star Trek fan?

19d Top network operator impacted by strikes (7)
A network operator formerly known as Everything Everywhere around glancing strikes

21d Large letters turning up journalist separated (6)
T h e   l a r g e   l e t t e r s   o f   t h e   a l p h a b e t    r e v e r s e d   a b o v e   o u r   u s u a l   j o u r n a l i s t

25d Listener’s comparatively well-ventilated place (4)
A place that is a homophone of the comparative of well ventilated


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I can’t believe it is April already, there are many fine covers of this lovely song (including one by Runrig) but here is the original

13 comments on “Sunday Toughie 62 (Hints)

  1. I was progressing reasonably well until I reached the NE corner and came across a drake I’d never heard of plus one of those non-words in 6d. Not to worry, I’d already dealt with the ghastly word for mediocre and the whizz so a quick word with Mr G was all I needed to cross the finishing line.
    I’d agree with our blogger that the Spoonerism wasn’t at all bad and I also rather liked the parrot with no tail.

    Thanks to proXimal and to SJB for the hints and a soupcon of S&G.

  2. So when 5across’ start appearing in our Toughies, I begin to despair that the world is indeed, well and truly, lost. At least to me. In today’s NYT’s magnificent and classy Sunday puzzle, we had such notables as Botticelli, Magritte, Klee, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Edward Hopper, and van Gogh (as well as titles of some of their works of art!)–all of them eminences and classics from the art world. Here, we have a Drake. And to add insult to injury, as Jane opines, we have that ‘ghastly word for mediocre’ to deal with. Yet, despite 5a and 29a, and with a few letter-reveals, I did finish this otherwise enjoyable proXimal poser. 15a is my COTD. Thanks to John and proXimal.

    1. I would love to have a go at the NYT sometimes but it is behind a paywall I can’t subscribe to but never mind. I am just 13a that we get such a wide range of puzzles that please as many of us as they do. That they occasionally annoy the Brian’s of this world is just a bonus ;)

      1. What I thought I’d written was “So when 5a’s start [this damned predictive text!]..”, but apparently I wrote something else.

          1. How extraordinary!
            That’s exactly what you needed to understand a certain clue.🤭

  3. I rated this a tougher Sunday Toughie today, having made rather slow progress until a moment of inspiration arrived on 18a that triggered a ‘playing piece’ effect. I ticked 10d, 14d and 20d and might have ticked more had I not been so intent on solving the clues rather than appreciating the finer points of our setter’s wordplay!
    Thanks to proXimal and SJB.

  4. Very pleased with myself for finishing as it took a while to get a foothold.
    Not sure if I have got 12a right as my parsing is a bit iffy.
    Great construction in 12a, 27a and 10d.
    Thanks to proXimal and to John.

  5. I always enjoy proXimal’s puzzles and this was no exception – thanks to him and SJB.
    Luckily Drake is one of the only three 5s I’ve heard of (‘heard of’ rather than ‘heard’!).
    Isn’t 6d a horrible word?
    My medals are awarded to 12a, 8d and 24d.

    1. The saving grace of 6d is that although it is rarely heard at least it is a valid construction for the subject of such checks, the word for mediocre in 29a however is a real stinker

  6. Started this late Sunday night & managed about half. Just finished the remainder pre lights out. Thought it on the tough side for a proXimal puzzle but very entertaining. Had heard of Drake but wouldn’t know his music. Needed the hints to parse a couple of lazy bung ins. 14d my pick of any number of clever clues
    Thanks both

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