Sunday Toughie 31 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 31 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 31 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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I understand that my silence on recent matters has caused some speculation, but nothing more should be read into it than the fact that I have a full-time job and an elderly mother with Alzheimer’s and cataracts to look after most of the time.

At the time of writing the puzzles website hasn’t updated the list of Sunday Toughie Setters but, I am expecting a Robyn today.  I hope the dead tree arrives early enough on a Bank Holiday Sunday when my paperboy is spending all his earnings on a ticket to the Leeds Festival, that I can faintly hear 4 miles away. Update – the dead tree has arrived and I can confirm we have a Robyn.

Here we go with the hints for an uneven 16a 13d clues just over half are 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 failures of parsing 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.

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 Dropped off where sleepers are grabbing a rest at last (6)
A place where you sleep grabs A from the clue and the terminal letter of rest.

9a A record store engaging even heartless staff (10)
A vinyl album of music from a favourite band, the letters that are left when even is heartless, and a synonym of store make up this staff.
Ice Blades - History and Technology – Grivel

Trigonometry Graphs for Sine, Cosine and Tangent Functions
12a Online provocateurs run into charges (6)
A cricketty run goes into the charge for crossing a bridge.

15a Indisposed by borders of east sector of Amazon? (1-7)
A synonym of indisposed follows the bordering letters of east. to be the sector of the economy that Amazon fulfil.

18a Keen to eat mashed suet, eating nothing French (8)
An anagram of SUET around how a French person may say nothing. A lovely word that flows off the tongue mellifluously. 

21a Blow is hard, punching face (6)
A slang term for face surrounds is from the clue and a pencil lead that is hard.

26a Journalist cross about current work left unfinished (5,5)
Our usual journalist and the triumphal cross set above the chancel surround a current of air, to be an unfinished work.

28a Deliver note facing judge (6)
A note of the tonic sol-fa scale faces a synonym of judge. To deliver from sins perhaps.


2d Very cold, not cold, or hot food (5)
A northern sea that is used as a synonym of very cold loses the letter represented by cold to be a hot spicy food or the dish it is served in.

3d Child, rather cutesy, to swim across the Channel (9)
A synonym of cutesy and how they say swim across the English Channel. A child who at a young age has already developed an interest in fashion, pop music, and exasperating his or her parents.

5d Ignore cryptic clue for ‘keep’? (4,3,5,3)
Clue of the week for me, Have a glance at keep from an alternative direction.

Side Eye Meme - IdleMeme

8d Part of shoe, regularly knocked, shows freshness (9)
Part of a shoe and the even letters of kNoCkEd.

14d White animal in frame from Magritte or Munch (9)
An Italian white wine, in the framing letters of MagrittE with the animal that Mr K features in his blogs. To munch or chew.

20d Daughter leaves meal after end of Christmas Eve? (6)
A daughter leaves a meal and it is replaced by the last letter of Christmas. Eve? is a definition by example of one of the first to commit this crime.
Let he who is without…

24d Flipping English, as I see it, ham it up (5)
E for English and how Senf often expresses his opinions in his introductory remarks, is flipped to ham it up. To show or express exaggerated feelings.

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.

I throw the baby out with the bathwater… 😲

11 comments on “Sunday Toughie 31 (Hints)

  1. A lovely puzzle from Robyn – thanks to him and to SJB for the hints.
    The face in 21a was new to me but it couldn’t be anything else.
    I have lots of ticks on my printout including 19a, 5d, 6d and 22d.

    1. I remember a joke in a comic in the early 1950s. A man comments, ‘When I’ve finished shaving my * * *, it shows a lot of short cuts’.

  2. Glad to see that you are carrying on in this wonderful site, SJB. I don’t comment often, but enjoy all the posts and banter.

    Thanks Robyn – especially appreciated the clever use of the Channel in 3d.

    And thanks SJB for the hints. Glad you covered 14d which I couldn’t justify, and 26a – hadn’t a clue here (well I did but couldn’t solve it….)

  3. Merci à Robyn et SJB.

    Great puzzle with 3d and 18a taking the honours for the French connection.

  4. Yippee! I finally finished a Robyn Toughie all by my lonesome, and I loved it. If 14d isn’t my COTWeek, nothing is sacred in this blighted world. I roared (methinks, if only within) when I saw the light, or should I say I SCREAMED!? 3d deserves a special honorary COTD award mainly because it reminded me of Fr 101 at Clemson University, ca 1958. OMG, 64 years ago. Thanks to SJB for your diligence and loyalty, and to Robyn for the thrill.

  5. A good hard toughie that eventually took longer than I was expecting it to. A long forgotten word in 18a, but 10a my cotd.
    Thanks Robyn and SJB

  6. Bonsoir! Just as well I paid attention to my French O level :wink:
    Another enjoyable puzzle from Robyn with a couple of answers I needed to confirm with the dictionary and a bit of slang I had never seen but, as Gazza noted, it couldn’t be anything else. My favourites today were 11a, 6d and 20d but there were many runners-up.
    Thank you, Robyn, and also my thanks to SJB for his usual excellent work on hints.

  7. Zut alors! That took me ages, and wouldn’t have done it without looking at a couple of hints, so thanks and well done SJB. I’m wondering whether the relatively few comments here is because the crossword was tough rather than it’s a bank holiday weekend? Thank you Robyn for the workout,

  8. Well it was easier than Monday but still jolly tough for the likes of me & much satisfaction at finally completing & fully parsing (I think). Started it late last night while watching Rory trouser a modest $18 million winning the Fed Ex finale & finished (at the 4th attempt) lunch time today. 4 in the SW held out longest (14,17&22d + 21a). The arty one eventually yielded when I twigged the definition & stopped looking for a white coated critter & the others then slowly followed. 3d a new term on me.
    Top notch puzzle as ever from Robyn. 5d narrowly pips 14d for top spot but a host of ticks elsewhere – 1,8,23&26a plus 6,7&22d.
    Thanks both.

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