Sunday Toughie 88 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 88 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 88 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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One of the friendliest Sunday Toughies today, only the allegedly popular composer gave me pause for thought, a somewhat intimidating grid without a lot of starting checkers but sorting the four outermost clues got the ball rolling and the rest flowed smoothly

14a and 14d clues today and I have hinted half,  as usual I will try and provide a nudge for any that hold out but I will probably be taking Mama Bee out in my new motor, I hope the neighbours don’t think it was my car alarm that woke the neighbourhood at stupid o’clock this morning

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.


7a Represented Macbeth, say, with ease, considering the circumstances (2,3,4,3,2)
I am supposed to hint at the first clue but it is an anagram indicated by the first word, of three of the next four, to fit the definition in the last three words

 Wee drop of Drambuie, then four in 60 seconds (10)
Drop all bar the initial letter of Drambuie, then put a Roman four in one period of 60 seconds

12a He perhaps has dip from the east (3)
He perhaps is a definition by example, but He is not the nominative pronoun, take a synonym of dip and reverse it (from the east in an across clue) and although you may be thinking of a bloke who has overindulged on the Refried-Beans it is the state of He or similar at normal temperatures

Jack Anthony Fitzgerald who sang dance tune (10)
Three bits of Lego here, start with another Jack or Sailor, add a 9a of someone whose forename is Anthony and finish with a singer who got the most out of her Thesaurus here, you may dance like you have been bitten by a spider!

17a Creative, impractical and rather risqué broadcaster (4-3)
The kind of creative but ultimately impractical thinking that comes from combining risqué jokes and a satellite broadcaster

Team Sky reveal special one-off kit ahead of unofficial debut as Team Ineos - BBC Sport23a Does this suggest singular rather than plural refusals? (3)
Split 2’1 The absence of a certain letter usually indicates the singular, here we have the plural to indicate several refusals

28a A faff after a military corps defends attack very well (2,3,2,1,6)
A from the clue, a military corps around an attack or convulsion, all followed by the other A from the clue and a synonym of faff


E.g. Moscow correspondent’s writings in USSR, say (7,7)
Two definitions by example here (E.g. and say), What Moscow is to the former USSR, and the writings of a correspondent are the form of script used in the abbreviation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

4d Queen American philosopher interrupts roughly (7)
A for American and an English philosopher and politician, who according to Monty Python, of his own free will
On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill, goes in (interrupts) one of our usual roughly or about’s

6d Least colourful painter entertains popular composer (10)
The letters that a painter who is shown at the Royal Academy may use and a hip synonym of popular follow something that is the least colourful to give us an Italian composer of the Renaissance, A Tad obscure but as all the YouTube links plaster his name everywhere you may have to resort to Mr Google

Plot by politicians creating fictions after retiring (7,7)
More Lego – The plot that you may grow roses in, a mathematical synonym of by and an informal name for politicians that lean to the right are the fictions you may read after retiring for the night

Most Popular Bedtime Stories to Read to Your Kids - Baby Chick

14d Port Bezos’s assistant consumes along with fruit, occasionally (10)
The virtual assistant that Jeff Bezos developed for Amazon around a conjunction for along with, and occasional letters of fruit give us the largest Mediterranean port city
The 7 Best Alexa Speakers - Fall 2023: Reviews -
Irrelevant current message about BoJo, say (7)
Another Definition by example – An abbreviation for irrelevant, the physics symbol for current and a brief message are reversed (about) to define someone who attended the same school as BoJo

27d Makes vows in the middle of the working week (4)
An abbreviated day in the middle of the week also makes vows at a marriage

Could new readers please read the Welcome Post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.
As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.
Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.
If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

Only one question… WHY!

Northumberland National Park boss' hope to make Sycamore Gap site 'iconic once again' - Chronicle Live

12 comments on “Sunday Toughie 88 (Hints)
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  1. Started this just after midnight as the dog was needing out and I couldn’t resist a look at the puzzle. Completed about 50% before getting back to my much needed beauty sleep.

    Favourites 17a, 24a (which would have amused my schoolteacher mother) and 1d.

    Thanks to Robyn and SJB. Hope you have the same sunny autumn day as here for the run in your new car. 🙂

      1. Know them both well – was based at Deverell Barracks in Ripon a couple of times. Cracking views from the top of Sutton Bank and a good test for your new car.

  2. Brilliant!!
    I can’t really think of another setter who can write puzzles so prolifically and to such a consistently high standard.
    My printed sheet is covered in ticks but I’ll mention 16 (lol)&25a plus my favourite 8d.
    Many thanks to Robyn for this relatively light gem and to SJB.

  3. Somewhat problematical to assemble the pieces in some answers but checkers were a great help. Biggest ticks went to 13&16a plus 1&8d.

    Thanks to Robyn and to SJB for the hints – hope Mama Bee enjoys her run out in the new car.

    1. After your comment in Senf’s place about being up late with a good book, I would have expected 8d in your list
      And yes thanks she did almost as much as getting home to the teapot and biscuit tin!

  4. Tremendous fun – many thanks to Robyn and SJB.
    24a made me think that Robyn must have been to my area for his holidays.
    I have too many ticks to list them all – they include 9a, 17a,3d, 5d and 8d.

  5. Unusual but most enjoyable puzzle from Robyn. Lots of 3 and 4 letter clues, so I have picked a favourite from each set: 12a and 16a. From the same sets, three ‘groans’ of the day: 24a, 3d and 10d :roll: ! Elsewhere, my podium places went to 8d, 15d and 19d. All this plus I learned the name of a composer of whom I was previously unaware.
    Many thanks to Robyn and SJB – enjoy your outing!

  6. Top notch. My picks the same as Jane. Fully endorse Stephen’s comment about the setter. His Graun puzzles are invariably my fav of the week in that publication too.
    Thanks to Robyn & to John – found it much more difficult than Dada mind.

    1. I’d blame the golf, it was rather distracting and maybe the reason I struggled with Dada today, pretty much everyone has picked 8d today so I will nominate it as COTD

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