Sunday Toughie 41 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 41 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 41 by Zandio

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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Thanks to Gazza for stepping in to do the hints last week, I was busy boozing myself silly with Elgar, Dutch, Smylers, Fez and many other Big Dave and Fifteensquared alums and a great time was had by all.

It didn’t take too long to crack this last night but I am sure a skinful would have hampered me. I have hinted at half of an evenly balanced 28 clues and hope you have enough checkers to get the rest.

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.

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 Twisted Sixties youth cheats agent with American celebrity (12)
A sixties youth (who was distinguished by neat dress from rival Rockers), persons who cheat, and an abbreviation for a sales agent and finally two letters that indicate American. When you have got all that you reverse (Twisted) the lot for a word that describes celebrity.

10a Work too hard, getting cross after obvious answer (7)
A synonym of obvious, a for answer and the letter that looks like a cross.

One’s monitor, slightly twisted inside, must be flawed (9)
A contraction of a less formal ‘one is’, and a very slight internal reversal of a school monitor. (Not the monitor on the badge – that would be too easy)

LIBRARY MONITOR badge blue and gold (pack of 5) | School Merit Stickers

16a Pat is simply not 14 (4,5)
An antonym (is simply not) of 14a

21a Arsenal not firing in this international contest (4,3)
This international dispute was all “Jaw Jaw” but the weapons kept in an arsenal were rarely used. As Ukraine will testify the current dispute is not quite so unheated today.

Where Russia's invasion of Ukraine stands | MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

24a Times appearing twice — second time without article they delete (7)
A plural geological time period appears twice but the second time it loses the definite article.

Erasers and Eraser Pencils for Artists and Creative Individuals

26a Telegraph backing perjuror means it may be going downhill! (5,7)
Synonyms of telegraphic communication, a reversal (backing) of a perjuror and means are a mode of transport that goes downhill (and uphill but that would not be as friendly to the surface of the clue)
The Garaventas: the Swiss cable car pioneers | House of Switzerland


1d Confident, hosting female sex in excess (7)
A synonym of confident contains the letter that denotes female, followed by an informal sexual activity.

5d Beast came by ‘orse, we hear (3,4)
This beast is how someone who drops his aitches could claim to have arrived on ‘orse back.

7d Allow that woman to collar a raise and Parisian clothing (7,6)
To allow or permit, collars an a from the clue, a female pronoun, to raise a car to change a wheel and a Parisian and, create an item of clothing.

8d Former partner with cheeky humour quashing point one’s employed in court (6,7)
A former partner, something cheeky or impertinent, some humour and a point or headland are employed to testify in court.

15d Fragrant stuff — tip in or tip out (9)
I thought this was a simple anagram and a hint would not be required but I couldn’t make it fit any fodder in the clue.
After some deliberation, you need a synonym of tip (a cup of tea perhaps) in an anagram (out) of or tip

20d Rattling away, lift’s avoided by American always in a hurry (7)
An anagram (Rattling) of AWAY, LIFTS after A for American and an archaic Scots or Northern always are removed.
That doesn’t work – we need to keep the Y, I think we can remove both A’s by removing all the instances of that abbreviation for America from the fodder, leaving the rest as fodder for an adverb for rapid or in a hurry.

22d Contract clause involving shillings not pence — bit of a step up (5)
The contract clause that an artiste may insist on changes the d for pence (l.s.d.) to s for shillings to be the part of a step that lifts up between treads.

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21 comments on “Sunday Toughie 41 (Hints)
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  1. Zandio being gentler with us than usual I thought but still providing an enjoyable puzzle – thanks to him and SJB.
    I wasn’t too keen on 3d which seemed rather same-both-sidey.
    Top clues for me were 10a, 16a and 2d.

  2. A very enjoyable if not overly tough Toughie featuring, as ever with this setter, some clever wordplay and smile inducing clues.
    Plenty to like including the clever 1(good spot!) &23a plus the LOL4&5d along with 22d. Good stuff.
    Many thanks to Zandio and John.

  3. Hi I can’t actually see the toughie in the paper? Please can you point me in the right direction – thank you 😊

  4. I have been doing the telegraph cryptics for over a year now (usually 3 or 4 a week) and last week I decided to have a go at the prize toughie. I slogged my way through it, eventually posting yesterday that I had finally got all bar a few and was encouraged by Gazza and SJP to try some more, with the latter saying today’s was accessible.
    He was right, it took me a lot longer than the cryptics normally do, but a lot less than last weeks toughie and I got there unaided apart from giving up on 3D and the first word on 26A, which having now googled both, is leaving me feeling a bit annoyed as I should have got both.
    Anyway I have got the bug now, is there an online toughie every day and if so is there generally a gentler day, or is the prize toughie the best way to learn without being deflated by the tougher toughies? !

    1. There is a toughie every day except Monday and Saturday. Generally they start with a relatively gentle one on Tuesday getting harder through the week until a pretty fiendish Friday toughie. The Sunday Toughie is usually pitched at about Weds/Thurs level but occasionally (proXimal for me) they are tougher. The other Toughies are not prize puzzles and about 2pm you will get a very helpful blog to guide you as you improve. As the Sunday Toughie is a prize puzzle you will have to wait until after the closing date (usually a week on Weds) for a full explanation.

  5. Hi. The ‘daily’ Toughie appears Tuesday to Friday. In theory it gets harder as the week goes on.
    Chris Lancaster added the Sunday Toughie this year. I fill this slot roughly every three weeks.
    To be honest, in degree of difficulty my Sunday Toughies aren’t much different to my fortnightly Friday back-pagers. But then, that’s basically what Chris wants for the Sunday Toughie.
    I do aim to make them harder but it doesn’t come naturally. I admire compilers such as Dada who can do it!

    1. Thanks, it is always great to hear from Setters about how they work, I wouldn’t know where to begin with changing difficulty, but I generally get on better with your Toughies rather than proXimal

    2. Thanks, Tuesday and Sunday it is to start with then.
      Also ref below comments I saw The Who in Nottingham somewhere around 2014 and they were really good.

      1. Good plan, don’t be too dogmatic about the days you pick though as difficulty is a very subjective thing. You may find as most do, that some setters are better suited to you than others.
        Re The Who – Live at Leeds is pretty much the best live album of all time IMO.

  6. With some electronic assists, and boosted by SJB’s hints, I got there in the end, but technically again another Zandio DNF. Rats! Disheartening to me, after all, but I did enjoy the challenge, and all of the clues were quite fair, though I failed to realise that ‘twisted’ meant ‘reversed’ in 1a and struggled with that one; I took it as an anagram indicator. Maybe I’m truly disheartened because 1) my (favoured! ha!) Clemson Tigers were routed and virtually crushed by Notre Dame last night, 14-35; and 2) my Phillies lost the World Series Championship to the Astros. But I sailed through Dada! Thanks to Zandio and John.

    1. But did you recall the Shakespeare?
      Close in the name of jesting! Lie thou there,
      for here comes the ***** which must be caught with tickling

        1. I don’t know the text at all. Saw a production at Ludlow castle of all places years ago & Branagh’s Renaissance Company film.

  7. First Dada & now Zandio with a surprisingly gentle but thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. 4d was last in & a bung in because I could think of nowt else but know all about it now. 5d my clear favourite with ticks also for 1,12,14/16 combo &21a plus 7d.
    Thanks to Zandio & John – isn’t Pete’s playing just magnificent. It always amazes me that he’s overlooked in lists of greatest guitarists. Haven’t listened to the album right through for some time but might do so tonight – nice & loud.

    1. Agreed re Mr Townsend, I was looking for the album version but they too obviously hinted the Sixties youths I was aluding too for 1a. I had forgotten the Shakespeare quote but it came to mind quite easily as it is the new name of the Chequers Inn in Bilton in Ainsty where I recently tried to book Christmas Day Lunch. (Alas they were full but I have found a fine alternative in Hazelwood Castle)

  8. Another perfectly-pitched, ‘goldilocks-puzzle’ Sunday Toughie. Thanks, Zandio. Favourites here were 24a, 26a, 15d and 18d with my top pick being 5d, which appealed to my sense of humour (my experience was akin to that of 4d).
    Thanks also to SJB for his perfectly-pitched hints and illustrations.

  9. I have become very partial to Zandio’s crosswords and enjoy them immensely. This is not to say I find them easy, which I don’t. I’m happy to spend extra time working out parsing as the results are always very worthwhile.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this Toughie. It was certainly gentler than the past Friday’s backpager (which I did eventually complete without help!). Lovely clues, my top choices being 4d, 5d, and the 14a /16a pair!
    Appreciative thanks to Zandio. And the same to Sloop John Bee for very good hints and illustrations. I needed help for the parsing of 20d.

  10. It so happens that my Long March through the DT puzzles archive just went past Toughie 2240 from June 2019, and Gazza’s blog entry informs me that this was Zandio’s very first DT Toughie! This was by no means a ‘goldilocks-puzzle’ as it took a couple of sessions to work my way through it, but it was well worth the time taken as it was a most enjoyable challenge. Most commentators mentioned the level of difficulty (for a Wednesday Toughie), with Gazza reporting that it “gave me bit of a shock and jolted me out of my usual Wednesday comfort zone”. It is good to note that Zandio’s high standards have not dropped over the intervening years, albeit he may not be ‘shocking’ and ‘jolting’ us every 3rd Sunday!
    In comment #6 Zandio tells us, “I do aim to make them harder but it doesn’t come naturally.” Well, Zandio, you overcame your natural inclination with Toughie 2240! :smile:

    1. I commend your diligence at the toughie archive. I am struggling to do much more than I do already. Mama Bee always has something more important (to her) for me to do!

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