Sunday Toughie 100 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 100 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 100

by Robyn


Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee


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I was hoping for something a little more Christmassy or celebratory for Sunday Toughie 100 but we have a fairly standard Sunday Toughie from Robyn today, anagrams and lurkers are unhinted but some obscurities may need an extra nudge, just ask and I will help

I will decorate the blog with our Christmas Plates starting with 1976 up there, Don’t tell Mama Bee about the dust, I am not fluffing around with the feather duster whilst they are up there Pretend it is just the snow falling on the Blog and move on

We have 14a and 14d clues and I will hint half

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.


1a           Pitiful, drained performers suppressing flowing tears? It helps if one has a break (7,4)
What remains of pitiful when drained, an anagram (flowing) of tears followed by the group of performers in a theatrical production may help when one has fractured a limb

That is Mama Bee’s mother hiding behind the Two Turtle doves

11a        Artist may drink nothing, keeping off the sauce (9)
A synonym of may, a drink made without hops, the letter that looks like nothing and the abbreviation for one who doesn’t drink alcohol combine to give us an 18th-century Venetian painter

12a        Around Trojan, running horse may wear this (9)
We have had this horse garment before, one of our usual abouts and a synonym of running or working go around the Trojan son of King Priam who fatally wounded Achilles

16a        Gents maybe given a punch, getting a shiner (4,4)
Gents as a synonym for the toilet, a from the clue and an informal punch come together to give us something that shines

christmas lava lamp OFF50% |

24a        East End school boss gives tip for hitting target (9)
How someone from the East End of London may refer to the boss of the school that counts 7 former Prime Ministers amongst its alumni

26a        Stop Annie, say, ignoring article about one natural number (9)
A synonym for stop and the fact that Annie was deprived of her parents but swap the indefinite article for the letter that looks like 1 to give us a natural pain killer produced in the brain and pituitary gland

27a        Runner‘s day cutting across the Atlantic (5)
An abbreviation of day cuts into the location of someone across the Atlantic. Something that runs along the valleys of the Himalayas, India and Pakistan



2d           Boost for one you heard breaking record (3-2)
A record or album contains an example (for one) and a homophone of you

3dPrickles the sheep was sheared for 1st time in 7 years, and 'she took it very well' | CBC Radio

5d           Church rules soon broken by nipper? Quite the reverse (5,3)
The wordplay suggests that the synonym of soon contains the synonym of a nipper, Quite the  reverse allows us to change that so the nipper contains the soon to fit the definition

6d           Note piece of classical music in conservatories, say (7)
A note on the Tonic scale and an operatic piece of music defined by conservatories as a place allowing exposure to sunlight

8d           Vessel’s equipment in vessel carrying barrel over Great Lake (8)
An obscure part of a wind powered ship, from an abbreviated steam ship containing a large barrel, an adjective for Great as in the formal designation for the Great North Road between London and Edinburgh, and a map abbreviation of Lake

I suppose 10a is a Lord now

9d           Dream of Felicity’s desserts one’s swallowed in March (5,8)
Desserts of stewed fruit mixed with cream or custard, and a March which has swallowed the letter that looks like 1

The Eleven Pipers Piping look like they are on such a “March” but somewhat artistically distributed by the artist

21d        Dress down, touring round western exterior of Jersey? (7)
To dress down or scold/rebuke around the round letter and the abbreviation of West, the exterior surface of a Jersey after it has been processed in a tannery

25d        Gift sent unwrapped requiring payment now (5)
What remains of sent when unwrapped and a word that means payment is required now, to gift or provide with
I suppose all twelve of the “gifts my true love sent to me” cover the hint here


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I have used up a lot of time and webspace with my pics so will limit the music to a rendition of Once in Royal David’s City

That’s All Folks…

17 comments on “Sunday Toughie 100 (Hints)
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  1. As John says, a non-festive offering for Christmas Eve but none the worse for that as it occupied most of my Sunday morning as usual.

    Favourite is 21d which rings a vague bell but still quite amusing.

    Thanks to Robyn and SJB – have a good Christmas.

    1. Would that be a SNL bell?

  2. Not the anticipated cryptic battleground for the #100 milestone, but for me it was definitely at the Tougher end of the scale. Lots of fun along the way, with ticks for 13, 23, 26 & 28 across and 7, 9,15 & 21 down – my favourite being 7d. There were several grid entries requiring dictionary or other confirmation – the horsewear (which I had forgotten), slang word for ‘punch’, ‘vessel equipment’, ‘revolutionary leader’ and ‘ancient curse’. 10a induced a good PDM after some letter juggling had first taken place and Ms. ‘Felicity’ misled me for some time.
    Thanks and a Merry Christmas to Robyn. My thanks to SJB for the hints and displaying your fine collection of Christmas Plates – a Merry Christmas to you and also to fellow bloggers.

    1. I struggled with the revolutionary too until I remembered David’s painting (artfully edited to conceal his name on the washstand if not the letter in his hand)

    1. Ouch. I’m finding this very hard. But I still have enough bonhomie to wish you a very happy Christmas and keep giving me these headaches.

  3. An entertaining Toughie well worthy of bringing up the century – many thanks to Robyn and SJP (and Christmas greetings to both).
    I have loads of ticks including 10a, 18a, 24a, 3d and 21d.

  4. I sometimes struggle with getting on the correct wavelength with this setter and, after just two completed on first pass, I thought the worst. But, it all started to come together (7D was my first in) and I ended up completing a challenging, but very enjoyable, puzzle. Thanks to setter; 16A was my favourite, taking me back to my youth!!

  5. Late on parade today. A thoroughly enjoyable Toughie, as always top notch from Robyn. Some new GK learned 👍

    Thank you SJB and Robyn and a
    Merry Christmas to all in Crossword Land.

  6. No. I have had a hard day and I am an old lady. I give in, though I may well pick it up again in the morning. I did like 19d though.
    And thanks to SJB.
    Why don’t you come and live next door to me.

  7. Excellent way to start my Christmas Day…hope it’s not all downhill from here!
    I liked virtually every clue from this master setter but for my podium I’ll go with 10a (blues No 1, very smart) plus 24a (lol)&26a.
    Many thanks to Robyn and SJB and a Happy Christmas to both.

  8. A monumental struggle but after doing the sprouts (for 17) it got my attention for the 3rd go at it (albeit compromised by maybe a wee bit too much pop) & came within a whisker of completion. Of all the clues to fall short on ‘twas the reverse lurker 14a wot dunnit. Definitely at the much tougher end of Robyn’s difficulty range. 10a my clear fav – exhausted Chelsea, BBKing & depression before the penny dropped.
    Thanks to Robyn for all of his terrific puzzles throughout the year & to John for his super reviews

  9. I just love Robyn’s definitions.
    From the Blues former No1 to exterior of Jersey, I too could add all the clues to a favourites list. But I’m not going to upset Kath on this very special day.
    Best wishes to the setter, the sloop and everyone on the blog, hoping their Xmas was as good as mine. Managed to get my parents and in laws together for the whole weekend.

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