Sunday Toughie 108 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View comments 

Sunday Toughie 108 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 108

by proXimal


Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A proper Toughie from proXimal today that took me a fair bit longer than normal last night, some quite tricky anagrams, extractions and wordplay have hit t’ cutting room floor
I have hinted at half of an even 14a and 14d clues but if you want a nudge on any just ask and I will try to help if I can. CrypticSue’s red pencil seems to be a bit sharper than mine – beware t’ naughty step!

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.


1a                           Unbelievable! Spooner’s cutting the grass without looking (4-7)
The act of cutting the grass whilst being unable to see is treated by the Reverend Doctor to be an unbelievable phrase!

8a                           Such plates bistro ordered might show abnormalities (7)
proXimal’s trademark reverse anagram, Thin plates of rock or bone when anagrammed with bistro might be abnormalities

10a        Aircraft bringing individual back with delay? Indeed (5,3)
A very specific aircraft, an individual is reversed then a delay and finishing with an interjection for indeed
The obvious musical link would have been too much, here is a piece by the only other band I know of that shares initials with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

14a        Take control of company browser to follow 1,000 staff (10)
Take control of abbreviations of company, thousand and to staff followed by a browsing even-toed animal

16a        Heard shaggy-haired beast and Solo act half-heartedly without weapons (10)
A homophone of a shaggy-haired beast, the forename of a Star Wars character and a four-letter act after one of its central characters has been removed

21a        That’s woeful overlapping music style somewhere in America (6)
A synonym of woeful shares its last letter with the first of a style of music similar to reggae

26a        Concerning to Parisian, small debts unchanging (11)
One of our usual concerning’s or about’s, how a Parisian may say small and promissory notes that acknowledge debts. Unchanging or a bit boring


1d          Market’s opening early before eggs land (7)
An opening letter, a synonym of early go before some biological eggs for a land in Eastern Europe
Moldova - Wikipedia

3d          Discusses sportspeople on a circuit (4,6)
Sportspeople, without a gender suffix, who wield the willow, a from the clue and a synonym of circuit. To informally discuss in a back and forth way

5d          Approaching one mile in underground tunnel, not hollowed out (8)
The letter that looks like one, an abbreviation of mile, an underground tunnel for the extraction of valuable commodities and what remains of not when it has been hollowed out

9d          Tribal adviser and fine subordinate blossom (11)
A tribal advisor who is the most senior in wisdom and experience, an abbreviation of fine and to be subordinate is the blossom that is a refreshing additive to many drinks
You can certainly taste t’blossom in my local gin

15d        Shocked when fish tail from bin’s found in drink (6,2)
To take a drink goes around a type of fish and the tail letter of bin

20d        Revolutionary sent gold to the north (6)
To send or throw and a reversal of heraldic gold
Fidel Castro

23d        Modify belief that disregards the King (4)
To believe or trust disregards the King’s regnal cipher

Could new readers please read the
 Welcome Post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.
As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.
Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.
If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

When investigoogling I found an article that suggested classical music was an aid to concentration particularly when doing crosswords, one of the pieces they recommended was Bach’s Goldberg Variations – Maybe I should have been listening to this last night!
That’s All Folks!

14 comments on “Sunday Toughie 108 (Hints)
Leave your own comment 

  1. Really enjoyed this one from a pleasingly gentle proXimal. A cracking Spoonerism to kick off and some zingy clues. I do think 16a, albeit nicely built, is trying a bit too hard. That busy surface just doesn’t quite work for me. 21a is a neat trick (ta for the banging tune, Sloop) and 1d is a super surface. But Spooner takes it by a nose. Huge thanks to proXimal and SJB.

  2. Super puzzle, couldn’t fathom 4d initially but reading the clue slowly got me there in the end, very good.. Thank you to Mr X and to Mr B for hints and music.

  3. Quite a benign but enjoyable puzzle from proXimal – thanks to him and SJB.
    I ticked 10a, 15d, 17d and 19d but the winner’s rosette goes to the excellent 1a.

  4. I thought proXimal was quite gentle today. Was scratching my head on 8a until I spotted it was his reverse anagram. The Spoonerism was brilliant and I liked the Yorkshireman’s finale at 11a.

    I was over in God’s own county yesterday at the Armoury museum in Leeds. We drove down through Skipton and Ilkley, lovely countryside.

    Thanks SJB and proXimal. I’ve never heard of your alternative OMD, a bit Bluegrass for me!

      1. That alternative OMD is enough to get me listening some of their other tracks. The SteelDrivers are excellent, but also try Alison Kraus & Union Station – absolutely brilliant. But then again, anything of that ilk with AK’s voice already has a lot going for it!

        1. Ironically I was only aware of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils because of an old pub quiz question to name another band that shared initials with OMD I have enjoyed listening to them, Huntsman’s recommendation of The Steeldrivers and AK of course

  5. A most enjoyable Spoonerism to kick off a most enjoyable puzzle. 1a takes one of my podium places alongside 7d and 15d. And despite being resonant of England’s recent woes in India, 3d delivered a pleasing PDM.
    Thanks to proXimal for t’ puzzle and to SJB for t’ ints (à la ‘East End’ Riding of Yorkshire…?)

  6. The reverend went in straight off which set the tone for a surprisingly brisk solve though there were a few head scratchers at the end. 4d (think I get it) & predictably the subtraction anagram were the last two in & caused the most trouble. Really enjoyed it (perhaps because I found it less taxing than usual) & thought there were some excellent clues. 11a was my favourite (& surely our reviewer’s pick?) with ✅s for plenty of others – 1,14,21&26a plus 1,7&12 other particular likes.
    Thanks to proXimal for another excellent puzzle & to John for the review & music choices – as a Coventry kid doing my A Levels in the late seventies I well remember the impact The Specials had. I had a part-time job on a clothing stall in the city centre indoor market & recall we struggled to order in enough black harrington bomber jackets to meet the demand. The Genesis track one of the few pre LLDOB songs I can still listen to & enjoy.

  7. You all seem to have found it a tad easier than I, but diff’rent strokes…
    The SE corner came easily but the West was a toil
    Like most I did like the unbelieveable! Spoonerism.

    11a was one that hit t’ cutting room floor as that corner looked a little overhinted. I hope my attempt at eliding t’ Yorkshire the was not too obvious

  8. I’d decided to sidestep this one but the excellent Spoonerism caught my eye and reeled me in. Other answers that quite appealed were 11&26a plus 9d.

    Thanks to proXimal and to SJB for the hints.

    1. We have had a Spoonerism at 1a for the last two Sunday Toughies, I wonder if Zandio is going to follow suit next Sunday

  9. Cracking Sunday Toughie, started last evening in the S and finished this morning in the N. Enough oblique “toothiness” to demonstrate why this is a Sunday Toughie rather than a Friday backpager!

    Ironically the excellent Spoonerism was the penultimate clue to fall, with the Private Confederate officer the last to fall, not wanting to ink in my long pencilled-in answer until I had the parsing. When I groaned, audibly. Dislike the first word in 3d when used in the context of the clue – it’s even worse than the extended gender-neutral version.

    Too many ticked clues to list. Thank you so much to proXimal and SJB.

Join the Conversation, Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.