Sunday Toughie 87 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 87 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 87 by proXimal

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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At the easier end of the spectrum of how I usually find proXimal, but still a definite Toughie. The Reverend Doctor Spooner makes an appearance again but I am getting less frightened of these clues now

We have a nicely balanced 14a 14d clues today with some lovely surfaces that tell a story whilst deceiving the solver I have hinted half but will offer a nudge for those clues that hit the cutting room floor

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 return with the full review blog just after the closing date. 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 Kids multiplying aboard ship (10)
The act of multiplying by a small odd number goes aboard an abbreviated ship

9a Chief attendant married enemy, so Spooner said (4,6)
Spoonerise a phrase that indicates that you have married the enemy to be the chief attendant at a restaurant

12a and 15a

13a This writer and sister go out to find deluge (8)
How proXimal refers to himself and a sister in a religious order go out on a romantic liaison but get rained off by a deluge A lovely surface that brings a great image to mind

21a Nonsense a learner put in to spoil explanatory diagram (8)
A from the clue and the letter that a learner driver displays are put in to a synonym of spoil, followed by an explanatory diagram 

Tiara oddly disappearing in sorcerer’s illusion (6)
What remains of tiara when you have removed the odd letters goes in a singular Eastern sorcerer, who with two colleagues brought gifts to the baby Jesus. An illusion they may have seen crossing the desert whilst following the Star of Bethlehem

25a Show the French murderer turning evil (10)
A musical recording made to show the quality of an unsigned performer, followed by a reversal (turning) of a French the and the murderer of his brother Abel

27a One once flying helicopter an odontologist possesses (10)
Something that doesn’t fly anymore hidden (possesses) in the rest of the clue
Pteranodon - Pteros

1d Succeeded having edge in church design (6)
The sewn edge of a dress in a Church of England abbreviation, preceded  by a genealogical succeeded

5d Grumpy creature crossing Severn regularly with fine bird (10)
The grumpy creature (who stole Christmas according to Seuss) crosses the even letters of Severn and an F for fine
Greenfinch: Habitat, Identification and Food UK | Ark Wildlife - Ark Wildlife UK
8d Scottish son of king simply skinned fish (8)
A Gaelic prefix meaning son of, The notation for the King in chess and the letters that remain from a synonym of simply when you have skinned it, delightful when smoked over oak chippings and spread on toast but beware of the bones
best places to eat, drink and shop in Whitby

14d Natural to welcome company for rambling (10)
Something natural or built-in welcomes an abbreviation for company, another lovely surface

16d Mischievous shark striking boat with seafood on top (8)
The seafood alternatively known as Dublin Bay Prawns and a Shark without Noah’s boat, gives us an adjective for someone mischievous

17d Easy chair Charlie occupies on ship (8)
One of our usual ons or abouts, The phonetic letter that Charlie suggests and a large passenger ship

20d Most of London town on good terms (4,2)
A town in London (between Woolwich and Bexleyheath)  loses its last letter (most of)  split 4,2 it becomes an informal phrase for on good terms

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Last night before preparing for this blog I had a go at Alchemi’s valedictory NTSPP and listened/watched a Sky Arts documentary about Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. I would recommend both highly
I could play the track from which my pseudonym is derived but instead, listen to this

That’s All Folks!

14 comments on “Sunday Toughie 87 (Hints)
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  1. Not Mr X-less’s toughest Toughie but an enjoyable outing – thanks to proXimal and SJB.
    I had to consult the BRB to verify that the 18a answer is a single word and not two words as I thought it should be.
    The clues I liked best were 21a (lovely word), 24a and 8d.

    1. I too consulted the BRB for 18a. In the digital app it is listed as 12 but has an apostrophe that seems to indicate that it could be split

  2. After giving Spooner so much flak over the years, 9a was my first one in today.

    The Bidie-in’s sister lives near the London town in 20d so it was not a problem.

    Favourites today are 24a, 4d and the amusing 19d.

    Thanks to proXimal for the challenge and SJB for several parsings.

    PS I think the abbreviation for learner needs to go into 21a too.

  3. What Gazza said above.
    Top clues for me were 21a (for the same reason) plus 19d (horrible word but great clue) along with 13a but the joint winners are Bruce and The Beach Boys (my favourite track of theirs) so thanks to John and of course to ProXimal.

  4. Like Gazza, I had to verify that 18a is a single word and I smiled at 21a once I’d stopped looking for a lady member of a conservation organisation! I also wasted some time looking for a type of shark to suit 16d.
    Enjoyable Sunday Toughie with an acceptable Spoonerism for once.
    My favourite without doubt was the grumpy creature with the fine bird – lends itself to all manner of interpretations!

    Thanks to Dada and also to SJB for the review.

    1. I am sure proXimal got your thanks and I picked the pic for 5d with you in mind The first choice was of the rather grumpy creature but the one from the RSPB is much prettier

  5. I agree with SJB about the level of ‘Toughiness’ – perhaps not the usual workout meted out by proXimal, but a delight to solve. The 9a Spoonerism got me underway and each new checker helped with the flow of answers across the grid. 15a and 18a were barriers to be overcome heading South, with 18a holding out until a few more checkers were established – a nice PDM clue with more than a hint of ‘first-five-letters’iness about it :wink: There were too many cleverly devised surface-readings to list them all, but I particularly liked the construction of 3d and 11d.
    Many thanks to both proXimal and SJB.

  6. A most enjoyable challenge from proXimal today. Some excellent surfaces and misdirection. 21a among my faves (I use this great word a lot!) and also liked 8d….the ones freshly smoked from Craster are my favourite!
    Thanks proXimal for the puzzle and SJB for the excellently crafted review.

    1. A one letter abbreviation for university dons (goes in) a preposition supporting or in favour of, the definition is square and the answer is what you get when you square 2

      Nice name BTW

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