Sunday Toughie 73 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 73 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 73 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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Robyn brings us a puzzle at just the right level for a Sunday Toughie, a little bit of Shakespeare, Dickens and politics and an interesting appearance for the #Octothorp and ChatGPT adds an up-to-date feel. I rather enjoyed this but may be distracted by ongoing tiling works in the bathroom this afternoon, but I will check back occasionally if you need a nudge or two.
I would like to applaud Robyn for the surface reading of 7d – an extremely adroit bit of setting indeed, only unhinted because it is a relatively easy compound anagram.
Today we have 14a and 16d clues and I have hinted half 

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. Don’t forget the Mine of useful information that Big Dave and his son Richard so meticulously prepared for us.

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 Reluctant to splash the cash, your old clothes split (7)
How your was said in days of yore surrounds a split, cleft or fissure

9a Faceless menial character in Dickens (5)
A menial loses it’s first letter to be the title character of a Dickens novel

The Charles Dickens Page - Barnaby Rudge

11a Model players plugging smooth covers of Lindisfarne (10)
This childhood model of a much larger building is constructed from to smooth with a gritty substance, a group of theatrical players. and the covering letters of Lindisfarne and an ideal opportunity to play one of my favourite tunes

14a Visit friend in Cambs city with great official residence (6,6)
A city in Cambridgeshire, to visit or physically observe a friend and a synonym of great, become the official residence of a Republican President

21a A German referendum option? Vote for strongman (4)
One of the options in a German yes/no referendum and the mark they make on the ballot paper, create an ancient Greek strongman

25a After worship, devout women will gather old money and clothing, say (4,5)
A collective term that denotes something that cannot be made plural

28a Dramatic figure generating a lot of interest? (7)
A ruthless Shakespearean money lender.



1d Party time! #WelcomingKing! (6)
T for time and the more usual name for the # character welcomes the Latin abbreviation for King to a wild party

3d British comic with head in some pain? (6,4)
The comedy partner of Jennifer Saunders and an informal head make “pain” in some parts of the world

More Yogi than Yeti! | Inspiring St.Clare's

5d Foreign gent rented vehicle in France to go round (9)
A foreign horsey chap formed from a vehicle for hire, the French term for to go and the round letter

8d A lot of red flags about English people not working (8)
I got the ending of this wrong at first. Most of a colour, a synonym of flags around E for English

13d Blithe in case of faults, politico gives unlikely account (5,5)
Very topical in the week that BoJo’s lies were exposed, The case letters of faults around a synonym of blithe, followed by a politico on the right of the spectrum, creates a tale to mislead his colleagues.

15d Small man’s going to clubs, perhaps, in 1980s gear (5,4)
S for small, an elision of what a man’s going to do and clubs as an example of one of the four groups of playing cards. I wouldn’t have been seen dead in one of these then or now.

Shell Suits - Do You Remember?

19d Pleasure boat boy turned over after games (6)
A reversal of a boy and a crickety over follow some abbreviated games

24d Not supporting ChatGPT, say, penning books (4)
An abbreviation for the “thinking” behind ChatGPT, pens the collection of books that form the latter half of the Bible

Film - A.I.: Artificial Intelligence - Into Film

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I Predict a Riot gets more topical day by day…

That’s All Folks


14 comments on “Sunday Toughie 73 (Hints)

  1. Most enjoyable start to the day provided by Robyn – thank you! I began to wonder if there was an intended continental theme, but the lower half of the puzzle didn’t really support that idea. 25a was a new term to me, but the finer points of grammar were never a strong point… I agree with SJB’s opinion about 15d, nevertheless it is one of my favourite clues, all of which come from the Down side: 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 13 & 15 (does that make it the up side?). 22a nearly crept onto my list, but so did many other fine clues from both across and down.
    Time now to batten down the hatches as the thunderstorms have crossed the south coast and are heading toward Kent :eek:

  2. Thanks to Robyn for the enjoyable puzzle with a very modern feel and to SJB for the hints.
    Amongst others I ticked 1a, 25a and 3d but my runaway favourite is the very topical 13d.

  3. The ‘modern feel’ mentioned by Gazza is what I found so hard to deal with – quite happy being a dinosaur and enlisting help from a daughter when absolutely necessary!
    Top three for me in this one were 11&28a along with 13d.

    Thanks to Robyn and to SJB for the hints.

  4. It is a splendid puzzle as ever from Robyn. Whilst 7d is indeed a very clever clue, it also appeared in Friday’s Guardian by AKA Picaroon with the most minor of tweaks. Unfortunate that the two puzzles were published so close to each other

  5. Apologies, I believe it was in yesterday’s Guardian so even closer together

  6. Great puzzle from the master of misdirection, made all the better by the inclusion of some contemporary references.
    In a very strong field I’ve selected 1a plus 1,8,13&15d as possible podium placers.
    Many thanks to Robyn and SJB.

  7. Plenty of clever surface reads today. My favourites being 3d and 13d. Thunder storms just hitting us here in the NW. Glad to be inside and looking forward to a well-deserved Father’s Day dram.
    Thanks Robyn for today’s puzzle and SJB for the hints.

  8. Super puzzle. 13d my runaway fav too with 3d in the runner up berth. 1,11,14,18,22&28a can fight it out for the last podium spot. 25a & ChatGPT both unfamiliar to me & requiring confirmation & annoying missed the parsing at 1d having neglected to remove the tag from my # – Jane has company in the 🦕 category.
    Thanks to Robyn & to SJB – thanks for sparing us Fog on the Tyne but my 5 bob was in the bookie’s satchel as I felt sure you’d go for Lady Eleanor. Hope you got the tiling finished.

  9. Lunchtime yesterday everything was different, new bath, taps and plumbing, towel rail, shaver socket (behind the camera) tiling and wiring and solving and blogging a delightful Robyn. Just rewarded my helper and myself with a rather nice Thai meal in Boston Spa – I think I will sleep like a log tonight and run a bead of silicone around the edges tomorrow. Thank you and goodnight

  10. Proper job! Great puzzle Robyn, thank you. Only time my eyebrow went up was at 15d, which is something that seems far from specifically 1980s. An unfortunate invention if ever there was one. Too many ticks to highlight any in particular.

    Thanks also to SJB – impressive tiling!

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