Sunday Toughie 67 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 67 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie 67 by Robyn (Hints)
Hints and Tips by Gazza

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SJB is off to Dublin today to see The Boss so I’m standing in to provide a few hints. I wasn’t expecting a Robyn today as he entertained us last Sunday but I’m certainly not complaining because he’s one of my favourite setters. He’s having a busy week because we can look forward to another Toughie from him on Tuesday.

I enjoyed this puzzle a lot – many thanks to Robyn.

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 for what I consider to be the trickier clues follow.


1a Don’t retire having got heavier, we hear? (4,2)
This sounds like (6,2) having put on a few pounds.

9a Flip out, having captured nothing on a chessboard (2,2,6)
Split your answer 3,1,6 and it could mean that you’ve captured nothing in a game of chess.

10a War poet‘s opening words of Ode to London? (4)
This is a famous WWI poet who was killed in action just before hostilities ceased. If you split his name 1,3 it looks like the start of an ode dedicated to (an archaic word for) a congested city, especially the great city of London.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

19a Ken from Edinburgh, say, uttered refusal (4)
What the Scottish verb to ken means sounds like a refusal.

27a Red head welcoming way to become a darker colour (8)
A South American red and an informal word for the human head contain the abbreviation for a way.

28a Prune from France is sweeter than the others (6)
A verb to prune or trim and the French word ‘is’.


2d American tries as much as one wants (1,4)
An abbreviation for American followed by a try or attempt duplicated.

3d Lacking the brains to seize power, getting a little stick (9)
A phrase meaning lacking the brains or overly dense contains the physics abbreviation for power.

14d One commanding the faithful nanny to accept a charge (9)
A nanny employed during the Raj contains A and a charge (to cross a bridge, say).

17d Irish comic works gain ground (8)
A synonym of works or factory and an anagram (ground) of GAIN produce a spiky comic.

22d City founder dealing with problem arising (5)
One of the mythological twins who supposedly founded the city of Rome comes from a preposition meaning ‘dealing with’ and the reversal of a problem.

24d Officially sanction the grade below A minus (5)
The grade below A in an exam and a synonym of minus.

I really liked lots of clues here, including 11a, 23a, 3d and 16d. Which ones took your fancy?

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13 comments on “Sunday Toughie 67 (Hints)

  1. Thank you for stepping in, Gazza, and I’m very glad you included a hint on 10a as I was stumped on the wordplay! I had never heard of the word for a ‘large, overcrowded city’, although I would have found it in Collins if I had thought to look…
    This was another enjoyable puzzle from Robyn, from which I have picked out six as favourites: 9a, 11a, 21a, 8d and, sharing the top step of the podium, 18a and 3d. Spooner’s fish dish evoked a chuckle! Thanks, Robyn.

  2. I do hope that SJB is having a cracking good time over in Dublin as he pays court to the one and only, The Boss. Wish I were with him. How great to have Robyn back with us again this Sunday, even though I was stretched enough so that I needed some *letter-reveals to finish this super-great Toughie. I think I’ll choose the Spooner clue as my COTD, especially since it came to me immediately. Not so, however, *1a and 2d. Doh! Thanks to Gazza and Robyn.

  3. Another splendid crossword from Robyn (a phrase that comes up in predictive text as soon as I type the word ‘another’ !

    Thanks very much to Robyn and Gazza – if I’d known we were going to get Robyn two weeks running, I’d certainly have arm-wrestled you for the chance to provide the hints

  4. Many thanks to Gazza for the hints, I managed to sort this out on the Ferry, highlights included the Reverend fish eater and the dirty auld town. Stuck in Queue outside the arena listening to the soundcheck at the moment. The Irish comedian particularly apt too

  5. Great puzzle with a large number of wonderful clues, including 1a, 15a, 23a, 25a, 3d and 8d. As with others I failed to parse 10a.

  6. Super puzzle, with Robyn being somewhat kinder than has sometimes been the case. Had not known that word being used for London, only as a cyst/wart, and I’m not sure I knew the comedian was Irish: his major years were before my time and his humour rarely appearled to me; good final words on his gravestone, though.

    Top three for me were 27a, 16d & 24d.

    Thank you to Robyn & Gazza

  7. I thought this was absolutely top-notch, nobody does misdirection quite like this setter. With that in mind the excellent 11a&3d particularly took my fancy and they are joined on my podium by 26a where I think the surface read is sadly often apposite, probably written with a wry smile.
    Many thanks to Robyn, who I look forward to meeting again on Tuesday and to Gazza, particularly for the 10a explanation.

  8. Many thanks for the hints, Gazza, they certainly helped me to stagger my way through this one. Try as I may, I have yet to discover the wavelength that our setter operates on!
    No favourites to mention, just a sigh of relief that I got to the end.

    Thanks and apologies to Robyn and gratitude to Gazza – given my ongoing IT problems I think I need a 1a repository large enough to put my computer in as well as the scales!

  9. Thanks, Gazza, for unwrapping 10a for me. Even though the answer was obvious, the 3-letter word was a new one for me. ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ is the absolute classic, of course. But ‘Strange Meeting’ still stands up very powerfully…

    1. I particularly like ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’. What he might have produced if he hadn’t been killed.

  10. Many thanks to Gazza for the excellent hints, and to everyone dropping in. I hope SJB enjoyed the concert on his well-earned weekend off. Have a great Bank Holiday Monday, everyone!

  11. Super puzzle. Maybe a wee bit gentler than some of his Toughies but still plenty taxing enough for the likes of me. Ticks aplenty but I’ll go along with Gazza for the picks of ‘em plus 26a.
    Thanks to Robyn (missed his Toughie last Sunday so must find time to go back to it) & Gazza – I didn’t parse 10a either.

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