Sunday Toughie 66 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 66 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 66 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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I am feeling a bit delicate today with a vicious headache and body aches that I hope is just a cold.

I have hinted half of an even 14a and 14d clues, and hope you find enough checkers to fill the grid

I made hard going with this and 15a didn’t get a hint as I am not sure I fully understand it unless Bill is Shakespeare and we have much ado about nothing

I am returning to bed to try and shake this lurgy as this time next week I will be in Dublin for the Bruce Springsteen concert, I believe Gazza will be on hinting duties


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.


8a Put down vermouth and tango in pretty lady’s embrace (8)
A two letter alternative to vermouth relating to its European origins and the Nato code letter that tango represents is embraced by a pretty lady

11a Exhausted demagogue intended hostility (8)
Exhaust the internal letters of demagogue and add one who you intend to marry

13a Honestly, why consume nourishing food and Asian booze? (3,8,4)
A phrase you may utter instead of honestly! is why we consume nourishing food followed by some Asian rice wine

18a Unable to surf over lake in France well (7)
Abbreviations for over, lake and the IVR code for vehicles from France and a synonym of fine

24a Congress is compelled by this vow to follow politician (6)
A centrist politician and a marriage vow, an urge to partake in sexual congress
Sun Headlines: Classics: It's Paddy Pantsdown

25a Wow, is it someone mad keen on archery? (4,4)
Split 3,5 This is someone who admires the instrument used for firing arrows. split 4,4 it is an informal expression to Wow!

28a Substitute column in terribly arty papers on frame of cinema (8)
Start with the framing letters of cinema, an anagram of arty and your important papers, a supporting column of a draped female figure

What Are Caryatids? Exploring The Unique Sculpture's History

1d Criminal bothered after case has gone straight (6)
An anagram of bothered after the case letters are removed, the sexuality of someone who is straight

3d Could this make sandstone be firm? (5,4,6)
An anagram of sandstone but here the anagram indicator is the third word of our answer

4d Place of biblical suffering, say, about hair product (7)
Say or eg. is reversed (about) followed by a hair dye

6d Whacking ball girl sent skywards after pass (8)
A girl is reversed (sent skywards) after a mountain pass and the letter that looks like a ball

17d Choice to cover a cheaper metal in a dearer one (8)
A synonym of choice that is also the nickname of Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, cover a from the clue and another cheaper metal

20d Check energy consumption during fire (7)
A check or reversal to one’s plans is to fire from a post or raise to the ground, around e for energy and a disease known as consumption

23d Little fish drinks on both sides of the Channel (6)
An alcoholic beverage popular on this side of the English Channel, usually made without hops and a fermented grape beverage popular in France combine to be a young fish especially a salmonid
Chinook alevin - FISHBIO | Fisheries Consultants

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10 comments on “Sunday Toughie 66 (Hints)

  1. Another splendid crossword from Robyn – even though the RH side was a lot trickier than the left, it wasn’t really a Toughie but when the enjoyment factor is so high, then I’m not going to complain. My favourite clue, out of quite a long list, is 3d

    I presume it is the lurgy that made SJB miss the vital word ‘film’ in 15a. Hopefully once he has had a sleep, he might see which partner of Bill we need.

    Many thanks to Robyn and Get Well Soon SJB

  2. My 1d was a different anagram to that hinted by SJB, in the sense of ‘to the point’ for ‘straight’. SJB’s answer is a stronger synonym though, and more in Robyn’s style! Eight clues were in my ticked not-so-short-list, with four in each direction: 11, 21, 24 and 25 across plus 3, 5, 7 and 20 down. I felt a strong sense of deja vu with 17d. I hadn’t heard of the 23d ‘little fish’, but it was very gettable from the wordplay. The 28a ‘column’ magically manifested itself from an old dusty braincell, somewhere at the back of my mind (there are many old dusty braincells to be found there…)
    Thank you, Robyn, for another enjoyable Sunday Toughie and thanks, SJB, for coming up with your good-humoured hints despite your malaise. I hope you feel better soon.

  3. I was on this superb compiler’s wavelength from the get-go and just revelled in the joy of speed-solving–this has got to be a first of its kind for me, especially with a Toughie as challenging as this one (I must disagree with CS: it seemed tough enough for me). But I agree with CS that 3d is the outstanding clue and it gets the gold, with ticks everywhere else, especially those lovely ladies at 28a (twice in the same month, no less). Thanks to SJB and Robyn.

    Sorry that you’re feeling bad, John. Hope you improve soon. My 7-week-long lurgy battle seems destined to remain a permanent part of what’s left of me. I hope that yours does a quick about-turn and vanishes.

  4. What a superb puzzle – thanks to Robyn and SJB (get well soon!)
    I’ve too many ticks to list them all – I’ll go with 12a, 25a, 2d and 20d with my favourite being 3d.

  5. An enjoyable Sunday Toughie offering plenty of smiles. Top three for me were 12a plus 3&20d.

    Thanks to Robyn and to SJB for the hints – a sudden plea of ‘lurgy’ from a man who’s just promised to renovate the bathroom sounds rather suspicious to me………….

  6. Just emerged from my pit for a nice cup of tea and a parcetamol.
    New bathroom ordered but it doesn’t get delivered until 13/14th May hopefully I will be better then

    1. I emerged from my pit long enough to have a stab at the toughie. I’m almost there. Hope your lurgy is not Covid as mine is, though in all honesty it is no worse than the good old stinking cold we used to get in the old days. One you know you’ve got this you really are morally bound to isolate – which is a bore! Hope you get to your concert. And thanks to you and Robyn.

      1. I do think it is just a cold, I feel fine enough today and I haven’t got any COVID tests now they are charging for them. Taking Mama Bee for bloodtests tomorrow so may ask at the surgery for their opinion. I emerged from my pit this morning with Dada’s puzzle to finish and got that fairly quickly even though I missed the extra letter in the lurker

  7. Excellent puzzle full of Robin’s trademark wit and misdirection.
    As usual with this setter I have ticks throughout the grid but I’ll choose to mention 27a plus 3&22d with (just to be different) my top clue being the superb 20d.
    Many thanks to Robyn and John, hope you’re feeling brighter soon.

  8. Super puzzle, definitely a Toughie in my book. Too many excellent clues for me to highlight any in particular. Plenty of smiles and PDMs. Two new/forgotten words for me – 20a, 23d – and I wasn’t entirely certain of my parsing in 1d.

    Many thanks to Robyn and SJB

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