Sunday Toughie 86 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 86 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 86

by Zandio

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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Zandio gave me a 10a on Sunday Toughie solving last night, I had to go to the land of nod before all the parsings came to me but a good seven hours kip has thrown light on the trickier parts – pipe up if you disagree with my hints and ask away if you want an extra nudge on the unhinted clues

Zandio has given us 16a 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. Dont forget the Mine of useful information that Big Dave and his son Richard so meticulously prepared for us.

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 Go beyond romantic proposition with young man needing love (4,2)
An informal amorous advance and a young man who lacks the letter that love represents

Cancel key atomic meeting behind rocket (8)
The consequences of a key on my laptop, an abbreviation and the condition of being behind time for a meeting soon rocket out of control

12a Vacillating about replacing one bodily adornment (7)
A synonym of Vacillating replaces the letter that looks like 1 with one of our usual abouts.

Portrait Of A Child With Freckles And Blue Eyes. Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image. Image 204646894.14a Signature oddly omitted over preface (5)
Omit the odd letters of the first word and append a crickety over
I had a song by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band with Adolf Hitler on Vibes, in mind but it was too obvious

18a Spinning on the deck, dance music (8)
A dance performed by crews on the deck of a sailing ship and a traditional part of The Last Night of the Proms

26a Company getting alternative singles together? (5)
A company that produces music outside of the mainstream of popular music

28a Slot machine in pub offered to reward this person (8)
These machines that accept coins in a slot are increasingly obsolete, combine the reward for employment, how a pub is shown on an Ordnance Survey map and a formal pronoun for I or me
Britain's Smallest pub gets behind the Sunday Mirror's Save Our Pubs campaign - Mirror Online
29a Five taking a dip around dawn (6)
A from the clue and a dip or hollow in the panel of a car perhaps goes around a Roman five


1d Seen above France, fighter that drops bit of aircraft oil (8)
An airborne soldier, the IVR code for France, and the fixed vertical surface of an aircraft combine to be a heating oil

3d Analysis that may require analysis (9)
A financial analysis of costs or the mental collapse for which one may require a psychological analysis


Pointless, like one plus ten minus one? (7)
An adverb for like or in the manner of, the letter that looks like 1 and the result of ten minus one. Someone so pointless they are of or like an ass

Pointless Are Looking For New Contestants - Secret Manchester
Set out with date to frolic — coax to be cuddled (9)
An anagram (to frolic) of date around (to be cuddled) a synonym of coax

19d Parents meeting date, maybe zero salary will secure break-up (4,3)
The letter that looks like zero, your salary contains a (will secure) terminal break-up. A meeting for parents to select a new school perhaps, Although I doubt the Wales’ had to mix with the Hoi-Polloi

George, Charlotte and Louis settling into new school after 'tense' time for Kate Middleton - Mirror Online

Philbert has noticed that some of you may have a different clue for 19d Date maybe to invite parents over? Bring in sandwiches left over! (4,3) I am not sure I would have parsed that last night but if the bit before the over? is the definition you have the crickety over, the money you earn sandwiched around the left over bit of a loaf perhaps

22d Shed I’m sitting in for a stint (6)
To shed or cast off small parts swaps a for I’m to be to stint or allot stingily

Former Soviet bloc citizen police eavesdropped on (5)
A citizen of a former Soviet bloc country, also a homophone of (eavesdropped on) to police or control


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.

Another of my musical heroes is gone this week :(   (this time a “local hero” from Leeds Mr Brendan Croker), I think I have played this before for Mr Knopfler’s brilliant guitar playing but today it is to celebrate Brendan Croker’s sublime vocals


Check out the moving Telegraph Obituary

32 comments on “Sunday Toughie 86 (Hints)

  1. Very enjoyable with, as we’ve come to expect from this setter, lots of inventive, subtle and clever wordplay.
    My ticks include 18&23a plus 1&17d but could have mentioned several others. Good stuff indeed.
    Many thanks to Zandio and SJB, had to laugh at the name of the pub on the “dog and bone” box!!

    1. Only one in common with Gazza’s list of favourites is a good sign of a great puzzle I can’t disagree with either list but would add (or subtract) 7d

  2. I thought that this was going to be a reasonably speedy solve (for a Zandio puzzle) until I got to the SW corner which held me up for a long time. I enjoyed the puzzle a lot, particularly the cleverly disguised definitions. Thanks to Zandio and to SJB for the hints.
    Top clues for me were 15a, 1d, 3d, 8d and 9d.

  3. Not on the setter’s wavelength at all. My problem, not his, as everything was fairly clued.

    Favourite is 9d. I had the answer early on but it took ages before I realised where Wes was involved. Doh!

    Thanks to Zandio and SJB. I’m afraid that I needed all your hints except one but got there in the end.

    1. I thought that if you performed a 9d on Wes you would get seM but I think that was taking things too literally

  4. Hello, compiler here. Thanks very much for taking the time to solve, analyse and discuss. Always appreciated. Have a great week.

    1. Thank you for a very entertaining puzzle that always gives me lots of opportunities for musical interludes

    2. I never seem to get round to the Sunday toughie until I go to bed , so probably not at my brightest. But I am loving this – at the moment 17d is my favourite. Many thanks for consistently giving us such super guzzles and to SJB for his hints. I shall go on worrying at it like a dog with a bone!

  5. SW corner last to fall too. Quite a few answers went in way before I managed to parse them, including 9d. Lots of great clues, I liked the naughty nurse in 13a!

    Thanks Zandio for the entertainment and SJB for your blog.

    1. Looking at the filled grid I struggle to see what was so tough about the SW but Gazza and I both took a while in that Quadrant

  6. Just noticed that the clue I have in the app is completely different for 19d…think I prefer yours!

    1. How strange, I copy the clues for the blog from the old site but it differs from that one in the new site I will have to ponder that as I can’t quite see it at the moment

      1. I presume it’s O(ver) + PAY (bring in, as in ‘tourism’s going to bring in millions this year’) containing END (left-over, as in fag end?).
        I’m not surprised this was superseded!

        1. I think this is what superseded the hint from the old site, i have submitted on the new so my new site page is fixed on this I can’t tell which is the most current

          1. I downloaded the puzzle from the old Puzzles site where 19d was difficult enough to solve. I don’t think I could have solved the clue on the new site from cold.

      2. Hello. My fault! Philbert has an old version of the clue, which I didn’t intend to submit. Evidently I updated the clue in one of the two files we submit to Chris Lancaster, the Puzzles Editor, but not in the other.
        We send Chris a text file (TXT) and a Crossword Compiler file (CCW). The TXT file generates the newspaper PDF, which Chris uses to solve the puzzle, and which he sends to the compiler for checking.
        Our Puzzles Assistant Editor, Daniella Gomès, checks the answers in the CCW file, but if a clue varies between the TXT and CCW files, it’s not easy to spot.
        This is not the first time I’ve sent Chris differing files — I recently sent a file with a changed answer in one file but not the other, which Chris spotted. I don’t know whether other setters have this problem!
        When I used to edit the Telegraph Crosswords, this wasn’t a problem because we only required a TXT file. I still managed to find plenty of other ways to confuse our long-suffering solvers. 😂

        1. Thanks, I have been checking the physical paper and both sites and it is as you say. Only the new site has the old clue but if Telegraph Towers and others didn’t spot it, Philbert appears to have the eyes of a hawk

        2. Thanks Zandio for the explanation. Adding an extra level of muddle to my already mashed brain. Keep up the good work 🤪

    2. I have taken a stab at the alternative clue above but although it may explain Gazza’s and your problems in the SW my slowness is as yet unknown

      1. I blame Zandio and his clever misdirection sending me off down a cul-de-sac with clues like 26a, where I tried to put CO with alternate letters of SINGLES to produce a word meaning ‘Together’ 🙄

  7. The parsing is, I think, a cricket over then left-over (end) being sandwiched by ‘Bring in’ (earnings)?

  8. Well I have finished it but goodness knows if I am right. 22d and 26a are bung ins. Or bungs in. If I put the ‘a’ back into 22d instead of ‘I’ it isn’t a word and I think 26a is some new fangled type of company producing films and records. Anyway with a certain amount of pride the grid is complete and I can nip off to M& S for some groceries! And 17d is best in show.

  9. I think you have 26a right, it is an informal term for the sort of music producers you describe, but 22d doesnt swap A for I, you have a 5 letter shed as a verb and swap the A for I’M giving a six letter synonym of stint and save (that you are unlikely to do by shopping at M&S 😉

  10. Thanks to both. I got a few but then ran into a wall. The hints helped me over and I finished, without using a crossword solver! Agree re 17d

    P.S. I’m surprised you let Gazza’s comment from 17th at 5.54pm through as it really gives the answer away. Maybe too caught up in the alternative clue conversation?

    1. I had already given a hint for 19d that wasn’t too different to what Gazza and Philbert had said about the clue, I am not too much of a stickler about the naughty step here. I think I have left quite a lot to test the grey matter
      Also Gazza is pretty much one of the head honchos round these parts😉

      1. Oops – sorry about that. With all the confusion about having two different clues I’d forgotten that it is a prize puzzle.

  11. Although I haven’t commented often, I’m rather partial to Zandio’s crosswords and thoroughly enjoyed this Toughie. I particularly liked 3d, 5d, 9d and 15a, with 5d being the fave.
    I found the SW corner very tricky indeed and am most grateful to Sloop John Bee for his most helpful hints for these. Much appreciated — and I enjoyed reading the other hints and tips although I didn’t need them. Very nice illustrations!
    Many thanks to Zandio for a super entertaining puzzle.

    1. Thanks for the comments – they are appreciated, I am sorry I missed your comment as my email is overzealous sometimes, hopefully when you comment again I will spot it sooner

Comments are closed.