Sunday Toughie 97 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 97 (Review)

Sunday Toughie No 97 by


Review by Sloop John Bee

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This puzzle was published on the 3rd of December 2023




1a           Spectacles in fair ground? There’s singing about it (10)
VARIFOCALS; Fairground is usually written without a space, here the space separates the fodder from the anagram indicator (ground) FAIR becomes ARIF, put the singing VOCALS, around it when you have for the spectacles that help me to see at a distance and close up

6a           Book with e.g. poetry kid associated with Homer (4)
BART; B for book and poetry as an example of the creative expressionism ART, we need for Mr Homer J Simpson’s eldest BART

9a           Son is going to drink heartily (5)
SWILL; To drink heartily like a pig at his trough perhaps, from S for son and is going to WILL

10a        Hollywood celeb not in shot after parting remark (9)
TARANTINO; Cilla Black’s parting remark TARA, leads an anagram (shot) of NOT IN, You need checkers to decide between Cilla’s TARA chuck and a Roman parting remark VALE  Both VALENTINO and TARANTINO are Hollywood celebs but checkers and the fact that Quentin Tarantino’s celebrity is from directing and therefore not in shot may help

12a        Twain book about sailor on whiskey (7)
TWOSOME; A large, usually scholarly, book TOME, goes about the letter that whiskey suggests W, and a sailor of lowly rank An Ordinary Seaman or OS, Twain is an archaic term for TWOSOME, the answer we need

13a        Stage entertainment long before debut of opera (5)
PANTO; To breathlessly long for PANT, and the debut of Opera O

15a        Somewhat disheartened accountant getting sack (1,6)
A TRIFLE; Remove the heart from an accountant (do they even have them?)  AT, add a synonym of sack in the sense of ransack RIFLE, split according to the enumeration and you have the somewhat insignificant answer A TRIFLE

16a        Support for guy, figure with back in torment and leg (4,3)
TENT PEG; A figure or number TEN, the back of torment T, and an informal leg PEG, hold temporary structures up by being the TENT PEG that supports a guy rope

18a        Agitation of whistleblower turning workers tense (7)
FERMENT; Turn the sporting whistleblower REF becomes FER, add the workers MEN, and T for tense

20a        Nurse hands round peeled fig or bit of grape plant, say (7)
TENDRIL; To nurse or care for TEND, then add both hands Right and Left, around a peeled f(I)g

21a        Copper seizing stolen garment from Asia (5)
DHOTI; A policeman of a particular rank (Detective Inspector) around the temperature of stolen goods HOT DHOTI an Asian undergarment favoured by Ghandi

23a        Spooner’s put red meat in herbal seasoning (3,4)
BAY LEAF; A synonym of put LAY, and red meat BEEF, is Spoonerised to be the herbal seasoning I wrap around a Bouquet Garni LAY BEEF becomes BAY LEAF

25a        Relish drinking vermouth, case of grenadine and one German spirit (9)
ZEITGEIST; The relish we get from the skin of a lemon ZEST, drinks an informal term for vermouth that indicates the country it comes from IT(aly), the case letters of grenadine GE, and the letter that looks like one I
ZEITGEIST the German spirit of the time; the spirit characteristic of an age or generation

26a        Artful when packaging large pottery (5)
DELFT; A synonym of artful DEFT,  packs an abbreviation of large L 

27a        Muses, perhaps, during meditation in east (4)
NINE; The Muses were Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, Urania. Count them and when in doubt look for a lurker hidden in the last three words of the clue

28a        What Jim Morrison did entrances (5,5)
FRONT DOORS; A double definition, easy if you can recall the band that Jim Morrison lead

                 C’mon Baby Light my Fire


1d           Clothing store’s clothing filling the box up (4)
VEST; The clothing letters of store SE, fill the abbreviation for the gogglebox T_V then reversed (up in a down clue)

2d           Terrorise legless reveller (9)
ROISTERER; A noisy reveller, from an anagram (legless as in drunk) of TERRORISE (thanks Gazza)

3d           Receiving poor remuneration, lumberjack’s work generates sympathy (6,7)
FELLOW FEELING; A lumberjack’s work to bring trees to the ground FELLING, contains a paltry sum or LOW FEE

4d           Crooked cheat smuggling too many drugs in part of cell? (7)
CATHODE; An anagram (crooked) of CHEAT contains an overdose of drugs OD, to be the negative terminal of a dry-cell battery

5d           Endlessly slow Parisian is fatter than the others (7)
LARGEST; A musical instruction to play slowly LARGO, loses its end letter and adds how a Parisian would say is EST

7d           Story in vacuous action or sci-fi film (5)
ALIEN; Evacuate action A_N, then put a story or fib  LIE inside

8d           Hot after moving around carefully (10)
THOROUGHLY; A synonym of around or approximately ROUGHLY, follows an anagram (after moving) of HOT

11d        Fiancé follows sister accepting work that isn’t supposed to amuse (2,3,8)
NO PUN INTENDED; A sister in a religious order NUN, accepting an abbreviation of work OP, a Fiancé or INTENDED follows

14d        Maybe twenty winks before noon, or fewer than that? (4,1,5)
HALF A DOZEN; If forty winks is a short nap twenty would be what proportion? HALF A DOZE, Add n for noon and you have fourteen fewer than that

17d        Minister has this drink, needing loo if bursting (9)
PORTFOLIO; An anagram (bursting) of LOO IF follows a fortified wine PORT A Cabinet Minister usually has a PORTFOLIO of his particular duties

19d        More corpulent bishop I introduced to King Edward? (7)
TUBBIER; The underground swelling that King Edward exemplifies TUBER, contains an abbreviated Bishop and I from the clue TUB(B)[I]ER

20d        Show audacity — hear setter put on weight (3,2,2)
TRY IT ON; To hear in a court of law TRY, how the setter refers to himself I, and a large weight TON

22d        Repeatedly running round Italy? It might make you cry (5)
ONION; The IVR code for Italy has a synonym of running ON, around both sides (repeatedly) It takes a pretty pungent ONION to get me crying

24d        Letters from abroad satisfy revolutionary (4)
ETAS; The plural of the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet ETAS, is also a synonym of satisfy SATE, when reversed (revolutionary)


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