Sunday Toughie 55 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Sunday Toughie 55 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 55 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Robyn gets the Sunday Toughie difficulty just about right for me, grid filled in time for a good seven hours kip and the trickier parsings seemed to sort themselves out in my dreams. A biblical moaner, several middle easterners, a musical way of playing and the musical based on Puccini’s La Bohème all make an appearance.
We also have a repeat of an answer in yesterday’s prize but clued in a slightly more risque way. An equally risque definition of hell too…

14a and 14d clues today and I have hinted half.

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 Pay fine, also needing to return coppers (4,3,4)
An abbreviation seen on particularly fine pencils, a reversal (needing to return) of an also, and an informal term for the Metropolitan Police, as used in the title of the longest-running UK police procedural show

Celebrating Newham's heritage and history 2017 | Colin Grainger

Bar’s pair of cups one put back? (9)

A woman’s undergarment with a pair of cups moves the letter that looks like 1 down the order to be simple restaurants or bars that serve food

Son with the awful drinking trouble gets drop of the hard stuff (9)

Anagrams of son and the around a synonym for trouble

Giant hailstones kill toddler and injure 30

Record musical covers to express sorrow (6)

The musical based on Puccini’s La Boheme around a record slightly longer than a single

Middle Easterner once in Suriname, travelling (8)

Just an anagram (travelling) of Suriname for a former middle eastern region that was one the earliest known civilizations in Mesopotamia


24a The Spanish cheese left by Mike is very basic (9)
I leapt for Manchego, but the cheese we seek is Swiss and holey, one of the holes has swallowed up one M for mike, and follows how a Spaniard would say the definite article, something so basic it may appear on the periodic table

Bonus hint for Jeemz

28a Crook boasts about detective’s case, maybe a murder (6,5)

A slang term for a violent crook and a synonym of boasts around the case letters of detective. A particular Corvid whose collective noun is a murder


Arab turning up very shortly (5)

Our third middle-easterner today a 2,1,2 phrase for something that will happen very soon is reversed (turning up in a down clue)

Socialise in mostly sweet hotel to the north (6)

Most of a French sweet and H for hotel is reversed (to the north in a down clue)
The dark chocolate-covered version is the biscuit of choice in my barrel when socialising 
Seasonal Recipe - Chocolate Hobnobs - William Curley
Goal that lady ignores? Flipping hell! (6,7)

The goal that footballers are aiming for, a female possessive and an anagram (flipping ) of ignores become the underworld or hell

Holds section of newspaper for capital feature (7,6)

Wrestling holds that involve a grip around the neck and a section of a print newspaper give us a feature of London found in Trafalgar Square

17d In France, I admire cooked grouse (8)
A grouse or lamentation from how a French person may say the personal pronoun I, an anagram (cooked) of admire. A grouse or lamentation named for the reputed author of the Book of Lamentations. 

Way of playing ball cheers up a rotter at first (7)

This musical way of playing in a restless and wild manner is at from the clue, the letter that looks like a ball with a slang rotter first 



Extremely tough words in puzzle (5)

The extreme letters of tough and the “words” with someone developed into an argument. To puzzle or confuse


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.

A classic version of a classic song…

13 comments on “Sunday Toughie 55 (Hints)

  1. It’s that man again (3d), this time appearing in a very enjoyable puzzle from Robyn. I was unaware of the ‘musical’, and the ‘grouse’ was new to me but gettable from checkers and wordplay. That is an unusual synonym for ‘rotter’ in my book, but maybe it is customary usage somewhere in the UK? We’re spoilt for choice with so many smooth surfaces, and I have several ticks on my printout: 11a, 18a, 28a, 2d, 15d, 22d and 25d with a double tick for my clue of the day, 12a. Last one to go in was 20a – a penny-drop moment with a very metallic ring to it!
    My thanks to both Robyn and SJB.
    PS Your cartoon for 22d has been dropped in as ’22a’.

  2. Another splendid Sunday Toughie, the SW corner taking the longest to solve

    Thanks very much to Robyn and SJB

  3. Thought I should try harder to get onto this setter’s wavelength now that we’ve been told he is to become another Telegraph regular! Surprised myself by doing reasonably well with this one, so that makes two Robyns in a row I’ve dealt with adequately.
    Particularly liked 28a which won’t come as a surprise to anyone.

    Thanks to Robyn and to SJB for the hints.

      1. Gus (the cat) lives next door where they have a newborn, he is just escaping for a bit of peace and quiet as it is the baby that rules the roost there.

  4. A very good Toughie from a setter who always delivers – thanks to Robyn and SJB.
    My medals are awarded to 6d, 9d and 25d.

  5. Sorry I’m so late posting a comment today. I actually finished this terrific Robyn Toughie late last night and enjoyed it immensely, ft’s impossible to cite my favourites as I’d have to include just about every clue in the grid, but 12a and 20d are the two that made me laugh and shake my head at the same time–so clever, so inventive. I’ll read John’s hints now to double-check on my parsing, just to be sure I’m on the same page.Thanks to SJB and Robyn for the total pleasure.

      1. Oops. I meant 22d. Apparently, you and I are spot-on on our parsings! i have been so befogged today, lost in Mexico, as it were. Making mistakes like that 20d error. Mexico? Well, I’ve been on a cat-and-mouse chase with Philip Marlowe (yes, he of Raymond Chandler fame) in Lawrence Osborne’s revival of the man and the genre, Only to Sleep. I think that Osborne is the third writer to resurrect Marlowe and give him not only new life but also new adventures. And, as usual, he writes like an angel in 7d.

  6. A day late to this one & completed over a leisurely breakfast (no golf possible yet again which is very frustrating as lots of time to fill before a late night flight back tonight). Can’t claim an unaided finish as my mate blurted out the answer to 17d before I’d twigged it. Customary excellence from Robyn with ticks in abundance – 9d & 20a my top two.
    Thanks to Robyn & John.

Comments are closed.