Sunday Toughie 86 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 86 (Review)

Sunday Toughie No 86 by Zandio

Review by Sloop John Bee

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This puzzle was published on the 17th of September 2023


1a Go beyond romantic proposition with young man needing love (4,2)
PASS BY; An informal romantic proposition (to make a PASS at) and a young man or BOY who lacks the letter that love represents

Cancel key atomic meeting behind rocket (8)
ESCALATE; The consequences of a key on my laptop ESC, an abbreviation for atomic A, and the condition of being behind time for a meeting LATE, soon rocket out of control

Romeo tragically frees Juliet, perhaps this offers revival (9)
REFRESHER; The NATO phonetic alphabet provides just one letter here R for ROMEO, tragically is an anagram indicator for the next word in the clue FREES becomes EFRES, and Juliet perhaps provides the genitive possessive pronoun of Juliet and other women’s presumed gender HER, REFRESHER a revival of learning serving as a review of previous education

More unfriendly here in France — here, where outsiders are ignored (5)
ICIER; How someone in France would say here ICI, and the same word (H)ER(E) in English when the outsiders are ignored

Vacillating about replacing one bodily adornment (7)
FRECKLE; A synonym of Vacillating FICKLE replaces the letter that looks like 1 with one of our usual abouts RE.

Nurse with no uniform leading sir round hospital (7)
NOURISH; Start with a word from the clue NO, a NATO phonetic code letter for uniform U, then a reversal (leading round) SIR becomes RIS and finish with an abbreviation of hospital H

Signature oddly omitted over preface (5)
INTRO; Omit the odd letters of the first word sIgNaTuRe and append a crickety over O – INTRO a preface to a piece of work

Drove past it, in case? (8)
PACKAGED; Getting on or past it AGED, follows a group of animals PACK, that may be herded together down a drove road

Spinning on the deck, dance music (8)
HORNPIPE; A dance performed by crews on the deck of a sailing ship and a traditional part of The Last Night of the Proms

Brief is to overturn European armistice (5)
TRUCE; A synonym of brief CURT and E for European are overturned to be an armistice or suspension of hostilities TRUCE

18 performers sent to Coventry in style (4,3)
CREW CUT; A rather severe hairstyle for those performers who dance on the deck of their ship CREW and to ostracise or CUT by being sent to Coventry

Small group at heart of revolutionary plan — I’m one (7)
NOMINAL; A reverse lurker (group at heart of – revolutionary) hidden in the rest of the clue is NOMINAL or small

Company getting alternative singles together? (5)
INDIE; A company that produces music outside of the mainstream of popular music itself an abbreviation of Independent

Annual rut relocated far from common (9)
UNNATURAL; An anagram (relocated) of the first two words of the clueANNUAL RUT becomes UNNATURAL or far from common

Slot machine in pub offered to reward this person (8)
PAYPHONE; These machines that accept coins in a slot are increasingly obsolete, combine the reward for employment PAY, how a pub is shown on an Ordnance Survey map PH and a formal pronoun for I or me ONE

Five taking a dip around dawn (6)
ADVENT;  or DAWN, A from the  clue and a dip or hollow in the panel of a car perhaps DENT, goes around a Roman five V


1d Seen above France, fighter that drops bit of aircraft oil (8)
PARAFFIN; An airborne soldier that drops from the sky a PARA(trooper), the IVR code for France F, and the fixed vertical surface of an aircraft FIN, combine to be a heating oil PARAFFIN

Most restrained yawns at the end of exam (7)
SOFTEST; The letter at the end of yawns S, OF from the clue and an exam or TEST

Analysis that may require analysis (9)
BREAKDOWN; A financial analysis of costs or the mental collapse for which one may require a psychological analysis

Seasonal work assignment for the water board? (6-8)
SPRING-CLEANING; Seasonal work done to keep a water source SPRING, sanitary by CLEANING

Some clue I’d anguished over for so long (5)
ADIEU; A reverse lurker (some – over)

Pointless, like one plus ten minus one? (7)
ASININE; An adverb for like or in the manner of AS, the letter that looks like 1 I, and the result of ten minus one NINE. Someone so pointless they are of or like an ass ASININE

Crude hearing aid, your old style (6)
EARTHY; One of the aids to hearing that supports spectacles EAR, and an old-style word for your THY Crude or EARTHY

Manoeuvre that could make Wes sew? (5-5,4)
THREE-POINT TURN; A manoeuvre that you need to perfect for a driving test, also what you have to do to Wes to make it sew
The Highway Code now refers to this as a turn in the road using forward and reverse gears, as it is sometimes possible to use more or less than three manoeuvres and still meet the requirements of the examiners

Set out with date to frolic — coax to be cuddled (9)
ATTEMPTED; An anagram (to frolic) of DATE around (to be cuddled) a synonym of coax TEMPT

Apartment with iron twice left on didn’t catch fire (4,4)
FELL FLAT; Another term for an apartment or separate residence within a larger building FLAT, with the chemical symbol for Iron FE and two instances of left LL

Parents meeting date, maybe zero salary will secure break-up (4,3)
OPEN DAY; The letter that looks like zero O, your salary or PAY, contains a (will secure) a terminal break-up  or END – A chance for parents to select a new school perhaps

An alternative clue to the same solution appeared on the new site

19d Date maybe to invite parents over? Bring in sandwiches left-over! (4,3)

OPEN DAY; A crickety Over and the PAY you bring in sandwiches a left-over END

Zandio explained on the hints blog that he intended the former clue but a mix-up prevented the revision from making it to the new site, Philbert, who spotted this, is to be congratulated for having the eyes of a Falcon

21d Alarm could make you run, even in a mix-up (7)
UNNERVE; To alarm or put on edge, an anagram (in a mix-up) of RUN EVEN

Shed I’m sitting in for a stint (6)
SCRIMP; To shed or cast off SCRAP, swaps A for I’M to be to stint or allot stingily SCRIMP

Former Soviet bloc citizen police eavesdropped on (5)
CZECH; A citizen of  CZECHOSLOVAKIA, a former Soviet bloc country, also a homophone of (eavesdropped on) to police or control CHECK becomes CZECH


That’s All Folks!