Sunday Toughie 39 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 39

Sunday Toughie No 39 by proXimal

Review by Sloop John Bee

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This puzzle was published on the 23rd October 2022




8a Foam wall blocking outsiders in this race for TV show (3,6,6)
The outside letters of ThiS go around the foam on a glass of beer HEAD and a wall to block water from flowing downstream DAM, and a race in terms of a group of animals, plants or language.

9a You’d have cried finding this gone within shed (3)
OUT: couldn’t see this as I solved the rest but this from Gazza; If you found this word meaning ‘gone’ (as in a batsman GONE for a duck?) inside ‘shed’ you’d have a verb meaning cried. SH-OUT-ED

10a Administrator leaving railway with fellow operative (6,5)
SECRET AGENT: An operative or spy comes from t
he administrator of a business or organisation SECRETARY, loses the letters that represent a RailwaY and adds a fellow or GENT.

11a Birds cycling? That’s hard (5)
STERN:some seabirds or TERNS cycle the last letter to the beginning to give us a STERN synonym of hard

12a One ultimately optimistic entering formula following penny drop (9)
PRECIPICE: Start with P for penny, then the formula you follow when cooking RECIPE, into which you enter the letter that looks like 1 and the ultimate letter of optimistiC. Giving us a PRECIPICE or drop.

15a Heard about Boris who once played titular character (7)
One of the usual abouts RE, and a homophone of the surname of the tennis player called Boris Becker, gives us  REBECCA the titular character of a novel by Daphne du Maurier.

17a Lurching drunk going around grass (7)
A drunk or SOT is reversed and followed by a synonym of grass SING as in to reveal some secret.

19a Petty case of sarcasm unsurpassed (5-4)
SMALL TIME:the case letters of SarcasM and an unsurpassed sporting record ALL TIME, something petty or SMALL TIME.

20a Relationship between two gunners starts to turn in operations (5)
RATIO: The gunners of the Royal Artillery and the initials (starts to) of the last three letters in the clue. RATION the relationship between two numbers.

21a A Parisian offended, pinching article without lagging (11)
How a Parisian says A UN, to be offended INSULTED,around the indefinite article A, UNINSULATED the lack of lagging to keep warm.

24a I’m surprised by Dave losing way being duped (3)
HAD: An expression of surprise HA and what remains of Dave when the way, avenue or AVE has been lost.

25a Poem, after he translated, that is powerful piece by European (3,6,6)
A lot to put together here, An anagram (translated) of AFTER HE add the Latin that is,Id Est or i.e. and the most powerful piece on the chessboard QUEEN and E for Europe for an epic poem by Edmund Spenser.


1d Exploit that woman’s craft to shorten fluffy garment (7,3)
An exploit or achievement FEAT, the female possessive pronoun HER and a shortened water-borne craft BOA T.

2d Innovative American journalist presenting, apparently (6)
One of the most prolific American inventors comes from our journalist ED and presenting or IS ON the telly perhaps.

3d Vessels holding the dead eel at sea leaving windy archipelagoes … (10)
The letters of EEL leave Archipelagoes and then are scrambled (windy) into a stone coffin. at sea is also an anagram indicator as EEL doesn’t come out whole.

4d … we’re told passage leading to remote land (4)
ISLE: A homophone (we’re told) of a passage or AISLE, a small bit of land remote from the mainland.

5d Business costs when rising ultimately awful sign (8)
These business costs are a synonym of when  AS, is reversed (rising in a down clue), the ultimate letter of awful L, and a sign of the zodiac ARIES

6d Showy penalty (4)
FINE: A double definition, the second may be more obvious than the first but That’s a FINE pair of legs you have there.

7d Evergreen tree bears shot up (6)
A reversal (up in a down clue) of a shot or go TRY, that is born by a three-letter deciduous tree ELM, to give us an evergreen shrub MYRTLE.

8d Holiday location mounted across uniform pocket (7)
TROUSER: A holiday location or RESORT is reversed (mounted in a down clue) around U for uniform to give us TROUSER a synonym of steal or pocket.

13d Sandwich taste within minutes appeals (10)
To taste or consume EAT goes in the minutes recorded in a log ENTR-IES.

14d Prompt to hide site that’s naughty (5,5)
IDIOT SHEET: An anagram (that’s naughty) of TO HIDE SITE, gives us an IDIOT SHEET, a prompt or aide memoir.

16d Act of merry king showing cold side (8)
A  cold side dish of raw vegetables mixed in mayonnaise is a possessive merry old king COLE’S and the act or LAW he may pass into the statute books.

18d Dialect of festival director from the south (7)
A Muslim festival EID and the film director known for Walkabout amongst others Nicholas ROEG, are reversed (from the south in a down clue) The GEORDIE dialect of those from the North East.

19d Gander made from paper in second half of oriental discipline (6)
SHUFTI: To have a gander or look is the Fnancial Times or FT inserted into the second half of the oriental discipline FENG SHUI.

20d Element of bone that’s minute instead of small (6)
RADIUM: One of the bones in the forearm the RADIUS changes the s for small to M for minute to become the radioactive element RADIUM.

22d Thing small child’s dropped down top (4)
ITEM: Some more cycling here take a small child or MITE and cycle the first to last for a thing or ITEM.

23d Poet dismissing popular play (4)
A popular Hull-based poet Philip LARKIN loses a synonym of popular IN to be to play or LARK about.

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