Sunday Toughie 69 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 69 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 69 by proXimal

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

proXimal today has given us 14a and 16d clues today and I have hinted half. As usual, some quite tricky clues have hit the cutting room floor so some discussion will be tolerated, in particular, I haven’t hinted 5d as I am not 100% on the parsing. I think we have almost all of ran a needle reversed (over) but your opinions may clarify my thinking.

I hope you find the checkers to finish this fine toughie but will provide a bonus nudge or two if required

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 Saw chief turning round corporation (6)
A popular maxim or authoritative saying is a Spanish chief reversed and appended to your corporation

4a Act cut short depression, getting past it (8)
A legal act is cut short, followed by a depression in the ground

15a Bird coming from outhouse area I should feed nearby (8,5)
An agricultural outhouse, a for area, and a synonym for nearby around the ‘I’ or self, that which is conscious and thinks
Barnacle Goose Facts - CRITTERFACTS
18a Majority of homework none cared about (13)
The homework done at a boarding school, followed by an anagram (about) of the other two words in the clue

Shut up rascal returning denial to teacher (8)

Our usual rascal and a reversal of how you would make a denial to a (male) teacher

28a Lovely old English beer in Oz knocked back by us (8)
An informal Australian term for beer is reversed, followed by abbreviations  for English, Old and us from the clue

29a Quit recording outside facility (6)
A digital recording format around a synonym of facility


1d Scandinavian bridges for all to see over top of Bergen river (6)
A southern Scandinavian  goes around a film suitable for all to see and the top of Bergen

3d Breaking ear trumpet, a politician missed one speaking (7)
Remove a politician from ear trumpet and anagram what remains

Sheep special: How to meet the needs of mid-pregancy ewes - News - Farmers Guardian

8d Used straighteners across hair, just the ends pressed (8)
Used an appliance to straighten (or curl?) hair and insert just the ends of hair, pressed into a great multitude

12d Bee above fruity drink (6)
The letter that Bee suggests above someone sexually lascivious
Prince Andrew admits he was nicknamed Randy Andy after getting caught in girls' dorm at school in unearthed TV interview | The Sun
14d Learning in newspaper name for section of brassica (6)
Some archaic learning in the “pink rag”
The archaic learning is also an  expression of various Malts from my favourite Laphroaig distillery

17d Letting out squeal consuming tablet (8)
To squeal, confess or turn informer consumes a tablet for a headache

20d One running store in revolutionary age (7)
A reversal of a geological time period around a store of useful information that BD keeps under the features tab

25d Asian foodstuff that’s sweet? Not half, you said (4)
Half of a sweet that is good (or bad according to the orthodontists amongst us) at removing fillings, and the letter heard when you say you


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This was released 45 years ago (19th May 1978) and I recall I first heard it in the Khyber Pass cafe in Whitby very soon after, during a geography field trip to study jet formation and other fossils. Now it is Mr Knopfler and myself who are the old fossils!

9 comments on “Sunday Toughie 69 (Hints)

  1. proXimal kept me entertained through both tea and coffee this morning, tea first for the bottom half and then coffee required for the top half, with a bacon sandwich to keep me going somewhere in between. All in all a very pleasant and relaxing way to spend a Sunday morning. Lots of good clues and well-worked surfaces in this puzzle from which I have selected three favourites in each direction: 11, 15 & 18 across and 3, 8 & 20 down.
    Many thanks to proXimal and also to SJB.
    P.S. I share your thoughts on 5d parsing.

    1. I too did the bottom half quicker than the top, but rewarded myself with a tot of a different expression of Laphroaig before bed!

  2. More of a left/right divide for me and the last few took an inordinate amount of time to yield.
    Tick list very similar to that of Spartacus although I had 23d in place of 3d. Top two were 11&15a.

    Thanks to proXimal for the workout and to SJB for the hints and the great piece of work from Mr Knopfler Our geography field trip to Whitby was cold and wet – and even the mini-fairground was closed. A thoroughly miserable week was had by all!

    1. We were lucky ’78 was a glorious summer
      I only remember the Khyber Pass cafe because of the cracking juke box, and it was about the only time we were indoors the whole week

  3. This is our third proXimal puzzle in four days and I enjoyed it – thanks to the setter and SJB.
    The NE corner held out longest for me.
    I too was not convinced by 5d but the BRB says that the relevant verb can mean drain or ooze so I suppose that ‘oozed’ can mean ‘ran’.
    For my podium I’ve selected 11a, 15a and 21d.

    1. Either we want 4/5ths of ran with a needle or 4/5ths of ran like a drain. I suspect your interpretation leads by a short head.

      1. Think that is a good shout SJB. Cannot think of another option. A slow, steady and fun solve. Thanks to both.

  4. Couldn’t have done it without you John. Stalled with 5 to go in the NE & used your pic (+ comments) for 5d & also the hint at 8d to get me the checkers for the other 3. Found it hard work to be honest & not as enjoyable as his Friday puzzle. Too much reverse engineering required & probably above my pay grade – 15a a typical example. As ever excellent wordplay though.

    1. I too had to reverse engineer 15a, I retired to my pit with it filled in but unparsed. I gave it a good coat of looking at in the morning

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