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

Sunday Toughie No 87 by proXimal

Review by Sloop John Bee

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This puzzle was published on the 24th of September 2023



1a Kids multiplying aboard ship (10)
STRIPLINGS; The act of multiplying by three TRIPLING goes aboard an abbreviated ship S.S

6a Flawless person conceals primarily rough beginning (4)
GERM; Someone who is absolutely flawless a GEM conceals the first letter of rough R. A GERM or seed is the beginning of all life

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

10a Mark picked up detailed requirements (4)
SPEC; A homophone (picked up) of a very small mark or mote of dust SPECK, gives us an abbreviation for the detailed SPECifications we need to satisfy

12a Age-old author imbued NT woman with archaic look (6)
MALORY; A woman from the New Testament MARY, contains an archaic term for look LO, to give us the very old (15th C) writer of such age-old classics as Le Morte d’Arthur by MALORY

13a This writer and sister go out to find deluge (8)
INUNDATE; How proXimal refers to himself I, and a sister in a religious order NUN, go out on a romantic liaison DATE, but a deluge comes along to INUNDATE them. A lovely surface that brings a great image to mind

15a Appearance is reportedly calm making book illustration (12)
FRONTISPIECE; The appearance that you face the world with FRONT, IS from the clue and a homophone (reportedly) of calm PEACE becomes  PIECE, FRONTISPIECE The book illustration that appears before the title page

18a Containers of hamster food? (12)
CHEEKPOUCHES; Where a hamster keeps his nuts, that I might have split 5,7 but the BRB has it 12 of course
Hamster Cheek Pouches (TYSM for the feature and coins!) | Hamsters! Amino
21a Nonsense a learner put in to spoil explanatory diagram (8)
MALARKEY; A from the clue and the letter that a learner driver must display L, put in to a synonym of spoil MAR, followed by an explanatory diagram or KEY  M(A-L)AR-KEY or nonsense

Tiara oddly disappearing in sorcerer’s illusion (6)
MIRAGE; What remains of tiara when you have removed the odd letters IR, goes in a singular Eastern sorcerer MAGE, 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

24a Missionary losing track after girl leaves island (4)
IONA; A small island off the west coast of a larger island, off the west coast of Scotland. Remove a young unmarried girl MISS, and an abbreviated railway track RY from missIONAry in the clue

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

26a Injury right in back of thigh (4)
HARM; R for right goes in the salted and dried back of the thigh of a pig HAM

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


1d Succeeded having edge in church design (6)
SCHEME; The sewn edge of a dress HEM, in a Church of England abbreviation CE, preceded  by a genealogical succeeded S – A SCHEME or design

2d Soldiers join forces? Indeed! (6)
REALLY; Specifically, Royal Engineers join forces R.E. + ALLY

3d Worker probes corrupt people of influence (5,7)
POWER BROKERS; An anagram (corrupt) of WORKER PROBES
, defined by people of influence as POWER BROKERS

4d Lopped at top, conifer is shorter plant (4)
IRIS; A type of conifer or fIR, is lopped at the top, and IS from the clue, to give a shorter plant or IRIS, often clued as a flag

5d Grumpy creature crossing Severn regularly with fine bird (10)
GREENFINCH; The grumpy creature (who stole Christmas according to Seuss) GRINCH crosses the even letters of Severn E-E-N, and an F for fine

7d Stresses of English male with growth stages (8)
EMPHASES; Abbreviations of English and male  E M, along with growth stages or PHASES give us some plural stresses EMPHASES

8d Scottish son of king simply skinned fish (8)
MACKEREL; A Gaelic prefix meaning son of MAC, The notation for the King in chess K, and the letters that remain from a synonym of simply m)EREL(y when you have skinned it, delightful when smoked over oak chippings and spread on toast but beware of the bones

11d Struggling since, son paid for action taken suddenly (4,8)
SNAP DECISION; An anagram (struggling) of SINCE SON PAID. An action taken suddenly on the spur of the moment

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

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

17d Easy chair Charlie occupies on ship (8)
RECLINER; One of our usual on’s or abouts RE, The phonetic letter that Charlie suggests C, and a large passenger ship or LINER

19d What top detective did that’s unpleasant (6)
RANCID; Split 3,3 what the head of a group of detectives did RAN C.I.D., when (6) RANCID is rather unpleasant

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

23d University dons supporting square (4)
FOUR; An abbreviation of University dons a synonym of supporting FOR, FO-U-R a square number

That’s all Folks…