Sunday Toughie 93 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 93

Sunday Toughie 93 by proXimal
Hints and Tips by Gazza

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SJB is having a week off so I’m providing the hints today. I found this somewhat trickier than our usual Sunday Toughies so I’ve provided hints for thirteen clues which is more than my usual interpretation of BD’s instruction to hint ‘a few’. Thanks to proXimal for the entertaining challenge.

By the time this blog is published I hope that I shall be in Exeter (probably lunching on a giant pasty) waiting to cheer on the mighty Exeter Chiefs in their derby match against Bristol Bears so please remember that this is a Prize Puzzle and keep to the rules (in red below) on what to include in your comments.

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.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.


1a Painstaking concern over dons by head (12)
The cricket abbreviation for ‘over’ dons or wears a preposition meaning ‘by’ and a head or cape.

9a Big delay with soldiers crossing the eastern border (5)
A synonym for delay or linger with the abbreviation for a British army corps bracketing its last letter.

15a Barrow‘s built-up, regularly cramped by corporations (7)
Regular letters from built-up go inside an informal word for bodily corporations.

26a Old council worker that’s 51 ignored in break (5)
Remove the Roman numeral for 51 from a verb to break or mitigate.

27a Descended shaft and came up with the goods? (4,4,4)
A phrasal verb (4,4) meaning descended and a shaft for extracting oil or water.


1d Figure out limitations in snooker shot (5)
An anagram (shot) of OUT and the outer letters of SnookeR.

4d Flipped this covering vial for malt vinegar (7)
We have a compound anagram here. An anagram (flipped) of the answer plus VIAL gives us MALT VINEGAR.

6d Tone that’s appropriate sounded vocal (5,4)
Stick together homophones (vocal) of appropriate (as a verb) and sounded (a musical instrument, say).

16d Short run conveyed around university city (9)
A verb to run or dissolve without its last letter followed by a past participle meaning conveyed or carried containing an abbreviation for university.

18d Bakery without leader in ace condition (7)
The name of a well-known bread maker without its first letter goes inside a synonym of ace or expert.

19d Work of Ezra received snub, so Spooner says (7)
The title of a song by George Ezra would be converted by Spooner to verbs meaning a) received and b) snub or cold-shoulder. I’ve listened to the first 20 seconds of the work and decided not to inflict it on you.

20d Hollow egg turned up in container (6)
Put together synonyms for a hollow or hole and an egg then reverse the lot.

24d Songbird and chum releasing inarticulate sound on tile (4)
Remove the ‘inarticulate sound’ from the word chum and add what ’tile’ is an outdated slang word for.

The clues I liked best were 13a, 27a and 3d. Which one(s) tickled your fancy?

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16 comments on “Sunday Toughie 93

  1. Not for me I’m afraid.

    Less than half completed even with the hints.

    Thanks to setter and hinter.

    1. Phew, finally got there. As with jane, much electronic assistance was employed.

      Everything was fairly clued but quite a few needed all the checkers in place before I worked out the solution. Still trying to parse 22a, my LOI.

      Favourites 15a & 8d.

      Thanks again to setter and hinter.

      1. Hopefully it’s ok if I suggest breaking the answer into 2-8, the 2 part being an archaic word?

          1. The answer is 2-8, the wordplay is 2-9 with a removal. But the latter gets closer to the naughty step on a prize puzzle day! Looks like we’re both on the right side of the line though.

              1. The answer is 10 letters, so it must add up to 2-8. I was trying to avoid crossing the prize puzzle etiquette on hints by not offering the solution through wordplay. You are trying to get closer to taking over Gazza’s role by explaining it through the wordplay which involves 11 letters. Maybe that’s alright, and Dave knows the answer anyway. Presumably we are all happy.

  2. Finally got there but only with electronic assistance and Gazza’s hints. Not a lot of enjoyment to be found although 27a & 3d raised a smile.

    Thanks to proXimal and most definitely to Gazza – hope rain hasn’t stopped play!

  3. Phew that was a bit tougher than I have been used to, Thanks to Gazza for filling the breach and filling my grid, you helped with almost all the strugglers who held out over breakfast
    I will agree with Jane 27a and 3d were my favourites too and I would have used the same clip to hint the bread too
    4d was the hardest to parse especially as I was explaining to Niece and her BF that definitions usually come at the beginning or end of clues and here one pops up in the middle
    Thanks to proXimal too
    After a weekend gorging on finest cheeses and both White and Tawny Port I am hoping the cheese dreams are less vivid

  4. Finally made it with help from the hints. I was correct with everything but I didn’t always know why, so am grateful for the explanations. Thanks to Proximal and Gazza.

  5. I so rarely attempt the Sunday Toughies, because if I see Robyn is the setter I totally switch off, as I just cannot get into his toughie mindset. Now proXimal I quite like and when I have an hour or three spare to on a Sunday crossword puzzle of his, I’ll give it a go. I can’t pretend that I particurly understood it all or even enjoyed the experience, but I was more than happy to end up with a full grid. The hints and my Franklyn were able helpers, plus persistence, determination and sheer bloody mindedness saw me through today, I think. 22a and 27a were my favourites. Now for a well earned dram of malt in a darkened corner to recover, lol. Thanks to both proXimal and Gazza. Btw, Mr Ezra’s song, if you ignore the nonsense of the lyrics is quite catchy, once you get to hear more of it – so speaks an octogenarian, lol, lol.

  6. Crikey. Thought I’d have a shufti at this before an early lights out. Only 9 answers in & already struggling so it’ll need to wait until tomorrow’s fresher eyes & a hopefully better functioning brain. Have a feeling I’ll need a fair bit of help from the expert stand in reviewer – reckon John’s done well to swerve blogging this one.

    1. You’re not wrong there Andy, I needed a lot of Gazza’s hints to get me over the line today, I hope I haven’t gotten rusty after two weeks off

  7. I went to bed last night with the NW corner sparsely populated, but by breakfast this morning I was left with just 1d and 9a to complete the grid. Nevertheless, I still needed Gazza’s hints to cross the line. I had considered the answer to 9a but didn’t spot the construction, and was at a complete loss with 1d – so my thanks to Gazza for setting my troubled mind at rest. Along the way I ticked 13a, 22a and 20d. My appreciation also goes to CS for the sensible rule-of-thumb to pick up a puzzle three times only and then capitulate… :unsure:
    Thank you, proXimal, for setting a formidable challenge – my first DNF in 93 Sunday Toughies!

    1. Thanks, Spartacus. to you and others for confirming my view that this was a step up in toughness from what we normally get in the Sunday Toughie.

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