Sunday Toughie 29 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 29 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 29 by Zandio

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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Zandio was the first to do successive Sunday Toughies (#8 and #9) and here he is again with #28 and #29. what’s the betting that I get Zandio on Friday when I stand in for Deep Threat again?

Not the trickiest Sunday Toughie ever tackled but still a good workout for the brain. I see that it is the free-to-access puzzle today, so a few more people should be able to have a go. I do wish the powers that be at the DT get the Sunday Toughie available on the app as that would also boost the audience for these fine puzzles.

Anyway here we go with an evenly split 14a and 14d clues half hinted.


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. Don’t go too far though as the village elders have been exercising the RED pencil on the Saturday Hints.

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.

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             Total a couple of graduates retains is capital (5,5)
A synonym of total, is from the clue, a from the clue and a couple of (arts) graduates should get you to a capital city.

9a             Body in NY on life support, letting things go (10)
The international organisation whose HQ is in New York, and the condition of a patient on life support.

15a           One that’s down now, with a high-flying future? (4,8)
I feel a song coming on but any clip I use will give the game away. I will quote some lyrics instead;
…No feathers all stubby and brown
For in fact these birds in so many words said (you are)
The best in town, the best, the best
The best in town…

18a           Surfer uses this gear seen in waves, worn by companion (6,6)
A partial anagram of three words in the clue and the two letters a companion of honour is entitled to use. If you want more try Google, Bing, Duckduckgo or similar.

24a           Unhappily having starter of spinach (4)
A pre-position for a cooking style served in the manner of, adds the starting letter of Spinach.
Classic Eggs Florentine Recipe Made Easy

25a           Going over border, bad time to make journey (10)
A border is reversed and has synonyms of bad and time to be a journey to Lourdes or Santiago de Compostela perhaps.
Spanish Steps By Tim Moore

27a           Small meal, two kilos cooked, fine thing for a carnivore (5,5)
S for small, an afternoon meal, two letters that kilos suggest and an anagram of fine. Personally, I think that if you need one of these your meat is either poor quality or overcooked.




1d             Delighted to see PR about model (6)
When an artist takes the relationship with a model or sitter to a more intimate level they may be likened to any of the nine goddesses of the liberal arts, you would be delighted to bung her in between some PR or publicity. Picasso seems to have tupped most of his models over the years but he was not the only artist to do so.

2d             Receipt from pendant initially ten times as valuable (6)
A small pendant in which a photograph or keepsake can be kept loses its initial Roman numeral and replaces it with another ten times larger.

5d             Book every defective vehicle (5,5)
A defective piece of software or app may be this, it follows an abbreviation for book and a synonym of every.

11d           Travelling supporter that needs to be taken in hand (7-5)
A nice little &lit all in one, The support that someone perambulating may use, is carried in the hand.
Mama Bee ought to use hers a bit more but she is a bit stubborn about it.

14d           Writing style roughly used in comic strip (10)
A synonym of style or sort, one of our usual rough estimates and an anagram of strip.

16d           Repacked case and so on to go up in rocket (8)
A Latin phrase for and so on, is reversed and follows an anagram of case.

23d           Famous site of raga’s composition? (4)
A little anagram to finish which needs little more than a pic to hint, it is the location of this famous site.


16,882 Taj Mahal Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime



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I suspect Zandio would want some music from Matt Bellamy and friends for 1d but I have decided to offer a bonus hint for 3d instead.I bet he practised his 3d‘s a lot!

25 comments on “Sunday Toughie 29 (Hints)

  1. Thanks Zandio, still missing 19d (and had focussed on the wrong border in 25a so couldn’t make sense of it so grateful to JB for putting me right) but great puzzle. I also think of site admins as “village elders” — and would have enjoyed some Matt Bellamy. I liked 2d and especially 15a :)

    1. The letter that looks like the number one(not forgetting the plural ‘s, contains a military service that flies and a for area, all reversed ( taken round )

  2. Thanks to Zandio for another very enjoyable puzzle and to SJB for posting his hints and tips, albeit I had to use the dim and distant memories of my visit there to picture the illustration intended to accompany 23d :wink:
    My initial podium contenders were 15a, 18a, 11d and 17d, but late penny-drop moments on the parsing of the deceptive 25a and the inventive 2d resulted in them nicking joint top spot.

      1. There are a number of pictures, a couple of embedded ‘YouTube’s and a link (to an interesting story about Picasso) that do appear, but nothing related to 23d (on my screen, at least). Having solved Zandio’s puzzle, I now have SJB’s puzzle… :scratch:

        1. Well as you have obviously worked out the Pic is supposed to be the Taj Mahal. Two different versions have been posted and appeared on both my devices, so I hope no one else has stumbled over the final hurdle in this fine puzzle.

          1. It has now magically appeared :unsure:
            Perhaps it had been lost in the post… :wink:
            Pictures cannot do this monument justice, I was fortunate enough to visit some years ago and was overwhelmed by the immensity of this magnificent majestic Mughal marble mausoleum.

  3. I didn’t find it easy but I did find it very satisfactory and enjoyable.
    I particularly liked 18a, 25a and 27a.
    Thanks to Zandio and Sloop John Bee.

  4. Hello, compiler here. Greetings from the seaside home of Matt Bellamy & Co. Thanks for taking the time to solve, analyse and discuss.

    1. Thank you, Zandio, for the terrific challenges your puzzles offer me. Today’s Toughie was no exception. I am, however, pleased to report that I finished your quite demanding DT 30064 Cryptic last Friday completely on my own, though it took two separate sittings. Well worth the time and effort, as are all of your unique offerings. I look forward to the next one.

    2. Thanks Zandio for filling in an hour of an impossibly hot and clammy night. Even with the fan on and the Veluxe window open it is stifling! Great puzzle, loved 15a and 8d very smart. Hot chocolate and a Digestive biscuit, filled xword grid and now I might get back to sleep!

  5. My usual assortment of grumbles but I did really enjoy a couple of today’s clues – 15&25a

    Thanks to Zandio and to JB for the hints. Tell Mama Bee that she’d be far more steady on her pins if she used her 11d – I fought against it for a while but have to admit that it’s a great help.

  6. Thanks to Zandio for the enjoyable puzzle and to SJB for the hints,
    The clues that I liked best were 15a, 8d and 11d.

  7. My usual difficulties with this setter notwithstanding, I did manage to complete the grid with a bit of electronic help (letter reveal to the rescue), but I did enjoy the workout last night. It would be hard to find a clue more delightfully satisfying than 1a, a place I’ve always loved…just pronouncing it!…but my COTD is 18a. Thanks to SJB (parsing help much appreciated, John!) and to Zandio.

    1. It does roll off the tongue in a very mellifluous manner, almost as smooth as writing on a banana with a Biro.

        1. Well Daisygirl, If you wanted to post a banana to a friend, how else would you write the address on it? One useful tip here. Affix the stamp before writing the address.

        2. You ought to try it.
          It’s crazy but it works like a dream.
          You wish all writing could be this way. It flows. It’s smooth. It’s sensual.
          You get the urge to write poems; sonnets; odes to lilies. A strongly worded
          letter of complaint is impossible. It makes you realise that everything can be
          improved. That even the familiar can be looked at in a new light.
          And that imagination is more powerful than knowledge.
          Do you believe in the power of dreams?

  8. Another excellent Toughie from Zandio – very enjoyable, and smiles aplenty on the many PDMs. Steady progress throughout but I was so unsure about my final two (1d & 2d) that I was hugely relieved to see that (a) SJB had hinted both, and (b) my answers appear to be correct. I now have some “Matt Bellamy & Co” playing in the background … had never heard of them before but will now take steps to fill that particular lacuna.

    Hon Mentions all over the place – 12a, 15a, 18a, 3d, 5d, 11d – with COTD to the wonderfully simple 24a, my feeling whenever that foodstuff appears.

    Thank you to Zandio and to SJB

  9. I think 3d (trombone practice) was the clue that made me laugh the most, but there were so many others I could’ve chosen from this delightfully bonkers puzzle. Thanks, Zandio.

    Thank you also to SJB: these toughies are beyond my level (Zandio is good at making them noticeably tougher than the Friday backpagers), but I got there with a little assistance, and used more of your hints to help parsing others.

    1a I learned from a borked quiz machine in our regular pub a couple of decades ago. Its random-number generator somehow got stuck, and so it would always ask the same questions in the same order — and 1a was the answer to the first one. A later question would always ask what pogonophobia was the fear of: we soon learnt it was beards. The endgame was a speedy ‘chase the ace’ challenge which was so hard that it took us several goes to complete in time, even with all the sequence of the answers to the preceding multiple-choice questions written down (‘CCAB’, etc). The £10 jackpot we eventually got out of it didn’t quite cover the amount we’d paid in over the weeks …

    1. Nice story. Maybe the machine wasn’t quite as borked as you suggest. It did manage to earn money from you after all.

      1. £25.00 Jackpot Quiz Question back in the Eighties. Answer needed very quickly
        What vitamin is present in oranges and lemons?

        Button A B
        Button B. C
        Button C. A

        We failed. Chris, our button hitting maestro hit button C

  10. Thanks JB for the hints which I only needed for a couple fortunately. I think Mama Bee is quite understandably reluctant to use an 11d, it’s got to be a last resort and presumably she can mostly hang on to you?

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