Sunday Toughie 104 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 104 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 104

by Robyn


Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee


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Robyn is back today, it is not the first time one of our triumvirate of Sunday Toughie Setters has had sequential puzzles. Zandio brought us Sunday Toughie 8 and 9 and 28 and 29, and Robyn did it again with 66 and 67. I wonder if he is going to have a multiple-linked clue this week. We’ve had figure-hugging numbers, Guard-dogs and last week’s theme which is still sub judice until the review is out Wednesday
Robyn is in the lead on 37 Sunday Toughies, with proXimal on 35 and Zandio on 32

I wrote that while hacking and coughing before a sleep-deprived night and I can’t detect a theme. I found it quite tricky to do and I kept at it as I was more comfortable while busy. We have a sure-fire candidate for THE LIST™ (Terence)  in 20d and some tricky parsing. Yesterday we had a few comments where the very act of typing a plea for help aided the brain cells and as soon as the request was sent the answer came to mind. I had the same thing with 15a whose parsing came in a flash just as I sent a plea for help to the Answerbank. You are all clever enough to get there too but if I have left any gaps on the cutting room floor please ask

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           Harry S Truman securing time for pets (8)
Harry here is an anagram indicator, take his middle initial and surname and t for time to produce the pets that a troublesome child may throw
Toddler Tantrums: Key Questions During Meltdowns | Bubbles Academy

12a        Adult bears regularly live without oxygen? One of these can’t (6)
An adult, regular letters of bears and to live or exist go outwith the symbol for oxygen

13a        Writer‘s work defended by provocateur with energy (8)
Abbreviations of a piece of work and energy follow (defended by) a provocateur that stirs up trouble on social media platforms or Norse myths

15a        Having possibly lousy diet, I sense, limits camp Welshman (13)
Not necessarily a bad diet but one we should consider. I from the clue, some common sense, a camp or body of followers of an extreme movement around a Welshman whose name is most associated with a train
BBC One - Ivor the Engine

18a        Blooming small church, where Tuscans are round it (13)
An abbreviation of small and one of the church go in a place where many Tuscans live
The BEST Florence Wine tasting & winery tours 2024 - FREE Cancellation | GetYourGuide

27a        Brazil perhaps welcomes cut in French food (9)
To cut into shape and the French for in going in a Brazil as an example of the hard-shelled seed

29a        Traveller‘s fighting to save variable travel expense (8)
A serious fight between nations contains a mathematical variable and the cost of travel


1d           Did model put up with obsession in Pacific state? (8)
To model for an artist in the past tense is reversed (put up) and a synonym of an extreme obsession for a state in the Southern Pacific

3d           Playing Cards Ace of Diamonds on White Background Photograph by Natalie Kinnear - Fine Art America

6d           Scorer of classical composition holding rising note (7)
A musical composition of the Baroque era that contains a principal theme and around various episodes or couplets holds a reversal (rising in a down clue)of a note on the tonic sol-fa scale
Cristiano Ronaldo Crowned Most Famous Athlete on Planet

8d           What crowd does with loud Republican songs, given a new direction (6)
R for Republican and the types of songs they like to sing, but one of the compass directions within is changed for another

16d        Drops PR work on overall message (9)
What PR advisors do to develop misleading messages and the general meaning or direction a message may take. Fine snow, sand or sea spray driven by the wind

19d        Leaves chore carrying crude oil on base (7)
A chore that a schoolboy may be forced to do for another around an anagram of oil and a base letter

20d        Ancient chicken is that thing I put in cheap eatery (7)
This is the sure-fire candidate for THE LIST™ Terence That thing and I go in a cheap eatery and get your BRB out to check this ancient noun for a despicable or cowardly fellow

25d        Poet wasting day climbing peak in Europe (4)
An Italian poet wastes D for day and when it is reversed (climbing in a down clue) you get a peak in Europe

The Guide to Climbing Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy


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A great voice… (both of them)

That’s All Folks…

20 comments on “Sunday Toughie 104 (Hints)
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  1. A wonderful properly tough Sunday Toughie with lots to enjoy throughout. My particular favourite was 15a when the penny dropped about the lousy diet

    Many thanks to Robyn and SJB

    1. I do recall an episode of QI where we were encouraged to take more protein in that form but the thought is too off putting (as were the pics that were in line before the engine) but then again what are prawns – sea bugs!

      1. As someone who upholds the Red Instructions, I’ll have to try and remember to come back with a story about the lousy diet when the full review is published

    2. My wife and I were visiting an upmarket food event when a young and attractive man persuaded her to do some blind food tasting for a BBC programme. She loved it all – no lousy offering – but had a few choice words afterwards. She wasn’t impressed when I said the subterfuge wasn’t cricket.

  2. Oof, rather you than me! Some pretty gnarly parsing in there – 15a especially. Lousy as in louse(y) presumably? 5a and 8d were particularly brilliant, I thought. Annoyingly, 2d took me longest to parse – don’t know why really. Tough but very jolly. Many thanks to Robyn and Sloop, of course. Hope that cough cheers up soon, chap.

  3. Robyn has again set us a most enjoyable challenge – what I would consider to be a Goldilocks Toughie. Lots of ticks on my printout: 1, 15, 22, 23, 26 & 28 across and 6, 8, & 14 down. Favourite today for the jangling PDM was 8d. LOI was 2d – I had a potential answer for quite some time but it took me a while to sort out the parsing (so you were not alone, ALP)! I’d never heard of 20d before – had anyone?
    15a set in motion an earworm about an engine driver. I’m surprised SJB didn’t use this opportunity to embed a clip performed by ‘The Who’ – albeit 8 mins or so in duration!
    Thanks again, Robyn, and my thanks to SJB – congratulations on the second anniversary of your Sunday Toughie hints slot!

    1. Not quite my 2nd anniversary as BD himself did the first couple of hints blogs, i started with the review on Sunday Toughie 2 and #3 shared with BD was my first hints blog

      This one?

      1. That’ll do! Our engine driver appears at about 2:50…
        A bit of an oddity, perhaps, but ‘The Who’ do like their rock operas!

  4. A bit tougher than we usually get from Robyn but as entertaining as ever – thanks to him and SJB.
    I was rather surprised to find that what the 20d wordplay was suggesting actually exists.
    My ticks went to 5a, 28a, 7d and 21d.

  5. **/****. Thanks Robyn. Very enjoyable. Clever constructions, good surfaces and an unknown coward that had to be checked. Good stuff, unlike today’s back pager which could have come from a children’s puzzle book.

  6. Most enjoyable as I sit here with the worst case of man flu in medical history (you have my sympathies SJB). Favourite clue? It’s got to be 16d.

  7. Keep telling myself that if I keep on struggling through Robyn’s Toughies for long enough I’ll find his wavelength. Haven’t seen any improvement in my performance to date, the BRB and Mr G are still doing more than their fair share of the heavy lifting.
    Top three here were ones I sorted out by myself – 1,22&29a.

    Thanks to Robyn, sorry to be such a dunce, and to SJB for the hints.

  8. A most rewarding challenge after the disappointing backpage grid. Some cracking clues cracked, and plenty of pennies dropped.

    Many thanks to Robyn and SJB.

  9. A day late to this & I’m 20 answers in (they’re correct as I’ve checked) & now stumped. I’ll have to put it down as my head hurts….
    May return to it. Couldn’t do Robyn’s midweek Graun puzzle last week either
    Rather you than me John.
    Ps Love The Who but that one isn’t their finest.

    1. Finally finished with 1 letter reveal & a fair bit of checking via the submit button. Last in the lousy diet & took an age to peg the Welshman. 20d definitely one for T’s List. Above my pay grade to be honest but enjoyed the battle.
      Thanks both.

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