Sunday Toughie 98 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 98 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 98

by proXimal


Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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We haven’t seen Zandio for a while – maybe they are saving him for the big one hundred on Christmas Eve

proXimal a little tougher than last time and a couple of pesky little four letter words took most of my parsing time last night 

We have hints for half of 14a and 16d clues today

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.



9a           Ancient civilisation in hope to turn foreign agents (9)
An anagram (to turn) of the preceding two words, followed by the agents who work covertly on behalf of the American government      

11a        Chosen extremely retro type of music (7)
What we do to choose our Politicians and the extremes of retro give us a type of music exemplified by the acknowledged forefathers of this genre…

13a        Organiser that woman used to pen about matter half-heartedly (9)
Matter is a comparative of something that is more matt and has a less shiny surface, a six-letter synonym has one of the heart letters removed and goes after a term for that woman around one of our usual abouts

17a        Told where you’d find students get on transport (7)
A homophone of the large residence where students are accommodated and to get on in years is how we used to refer to what is now known as “Logistics”
Oriel College, Oxford University(10a College)

24a        Fault spoilt coins: missing head (7)
A synonym of spoilt or rotten adds the smallest coins of the realm without its leading letter

26a        Maybe primary suspect nicking article (7)
A definition by example (maybe) of the avian aids to flight, to suspect or doubt nicks a definite article

29a        Maybe quantity of 17 fight beside lake to feed amphibian (9)
A fight for the ball that Rugby players do, and the cartographers abbreviation of lake are fed into an amphibian to be a quantity carried by a “Logistics” company


1d           Disappointments of animated film series (6)
An animated film is followed by a series of tennis games
Up (2009) - IMDb

2d           Quietly be indebted to Greek character and work for energetic person (10)
A bit of Lego™ A musical instruction to play quietly, to be indebted to, a Greek character and to work for combined to give us an energetic person

5d           Old language of Spain regularly used on border with resistance mounting (8)
Regular letters of Spain followed by a border or edge but an abbreviation of resistance is “mounting” up the word order slightly
Nirvana sanskrit text. Indian phylosophy. Vector 8745390 Vector Art at  Vecteezy7d           Dig US rapper endlessly (4)

An American rapper (whose parents call him Marshall Mathers III) loses both ends of his stage name, whose music I won’t inflict on you here
Eminem net worth: The fortune and annual earnings of the rapper | Marca

17d        Nasty bears close to bobcat dens (8)
A synonym of nasty bears a closing letter – nice surface

18d        Request stony-hearted rogue to dispose of dosh (8)
An anagram (rogue) of stoney-hearted after you have disposed of dosh

25d        Out of order having stomach upset (4)
These last two haunted my dreams last night in the search for parsing but I think I have it now – A synonym of order or structure has its middle letters (stomach) upset

27d        Cross mayor bringing up case of arson
The case letters of arson are brought from the bottom to the top of the surname of the current Mayor of London

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15a should be sufficient…

That’s All Folks!

14 comments on “Sunday Toughie 98 (Hints)
Leave your own comment 

  1. proXimal trickier than we normally get on Sundays I thought (possibly because a number of the definitions are not that obvious) – thanks to him and SJB.
    I’ve never heard of the 1d animated film so that needed verification.
    I’ve got 12a, 6d and 17d on my podium.

  2. Started off okay but quickly came to a grinding halt. Managed a few more answers before the hints became available. Excellent choice of clues to hint John, as I needed them all except one.

    Favourite has to be 19a as I went for the correct Nancy straightaway.

    Thanks to ProXimal for the ingenious cluing and SJB without whose hints I would be looking at a virtually empty grid.

  3. Definitely needed the hints to get over the finish line. I agree with Gazza about some of the definitions being tricky to pick out. Kept me entertained on a rainy Sunday though.
    Thanks to proXimal and SJB for dreaming up the tricky parsings 😁

  4. That was a proper workout. I hadn’t parsed 25d, but I like Mr Sloop’s explanation. I wish I had persevered a bit longer and got there myself, but I need to start cooking the roast.

    1. 25d was my last too, I am glad I persevered last night as Mama Bee is running me ragged with silly little jobs today

  5. Very difficult indeed & just beyond me I’m afraid – it wasn’t for the want of trying & was frankly 6d to get so close to the finish line without John’s help. 25d&28a had me beaten when I threw the towel in – got the former with the hint & with the extra checker bunged a correct word in for the other but don’t understand it. Annoyingly also missed the subtractive anagram parsing at 18d, Mr G required for 9a confirmation & don’t begin to understand the 26a (a wordplay bung in) definition by example. Particularly liked the downs at 17,22&27.
    Thanks to proXimal though a bit easier next time please guv & of course to John – I’d have been in a state of utter panic if I’d had to review this.

    1. My first stab at 28a involved a volume of liquid in “like this” and it would have been the next to get a hint if I had any leeway. The parsing of this and its intersecting 25d kept me awake last night, my only excuse for not recalling Sadiq is the fact that I don’t live there
      Hope this appears – we are having power cuts here
      28a is an abbreviated imperial measurement for a very small fraction of 1″

      1. Well that’s another of endless things I never knew – no doubt I was called a revolting little **** at some stage at boarding school by some obnoxious prefect – pleb & oik the other favourites

  6. Trickier than the last few Sunday Toughies and definitely not one to solve at bedtime (although SJB seems to do so every week). It took a mug of coffee over breakfast to get things almost sorted out – having answers for all the clues but stuck on parsing two of the pesky 4 letter ones! Having spelled the ancient civilisation incorrectly as I was dozing off last night didn’t help matters, but fixing my spelling this morning led to a domino effect on 2d, 17a, 17d, 28a and 25d; although the parsing for 25d eluded me – as did that for 27d. Fortunately, SJB has provided the required hints to put my mind at rest. Lots of ticked clues on my printout amongst the copious scribbled notes – 13a (I liked the use of ‘matter’ here), 28a, 8d, 17d (my favourite, once solved!), 18d and 23d (which also took a bit of effort to get the parsing).
    I’d never heard of the animated film and had just assumed 2 letters to be a synonym for ‘animated’ with the rest being ‘film series’ until reading SJB’s hint. The ‘cross’ also required a bit of (r)e-search.
    Many thanks to proXimal for an entertaining challenge and to SJB for spot-on hinting.

    1. The surface of 17d was my favourite too
      I ran out of my self-imposed limit of hints before I got through the hard ones but I tried to include the recess in the pic for 17a which linked nicely to 29a, that and a musical hint to the Canadian tree and I had to call it a day
      My routine for solving starts at midnight when the new puzzle drops and I try to get the answers in about an hour, this was a bit trickier and took until 01:15 before a bit of copy and pasting of the clues into the blog and 7hrs kip to allow the trickier parsing to come (25 and 27d this week) a couple of hours of hint writing and pics and tunes and I was able to take Mama Bee out for coffee before noon oh and copious coffee helps with the hinting too

      1. I applaud your diligence and endurance, SJB. Clearly the trick is not to go to bed with the printout but to remain up – with coffee to stay awake and whisky for inspiration. My advent calendar from the family this year has the theme ‘Peaty Whisky’ so I have a wide-ranging variety of ‘inspiration’ available :smile:

        1. You will have to let me know your favourite, I am due to pick my Christmas bottle next weekend. There is a fairly new Yorkshire Whisky (Filey Bay) I have been meaning to buy but will probably plump for a Peaty Islay as usual

          1. I don’t like to declare a favourite as they are all different and interesting – it is good to ring the changes. That said, my Dec 4th advent calendar window was a Finnish Wood Smoke Malt Rye from Kyro distillery – I think Finland should stick to producing their excellent vodkas…

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