Sunday Toughie 85 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 85 (Review)

Sunday Toughie No 85 by


Review by Sloop John Bee

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This puzzle was published on the 10th of September 2023




1a What caretakers do you said bores legwear model (5-3)
HOUSE-SIT; What the temporary caretakers who feed the cat and water the flowers do, from the sound you make when you say you U, it goes into some fine legwear  HOSE, followed by what a model does for an artist SIT. 

Comparatively bitter alcohol not finished by judge (8)
WINTRIER; Most of an alcoholic drink WINe, followed by what a judge does in a court TRIER, comparatively bitter weather perhaps

Not on, like an American’s behaviour? (3-1)
NON-U; Socially unacceptable or not on, much like the way that Americans choose to spell behavior or color

Protested after crew member put in post is scatty (6-6)
ABSENT-MINDED; An abbreviation for a lower ranked member of the crew of a ship AB(le seaman), to have posted a letter perhaps SENT, and a form of protest where you indicate that you care about a subject MINDED

It may be Julian and Clare, dancing (8)
CALENDAR; It may be Julian or Gregorian, an anagram (dancing) of AND CLARE

Firm, disheartened, want to limit yearly waste of stock (6)
COWPAT; An abbreviated firm or company CO, what remains of want when disheartened W_T, goes around (to limit) an abbreviated Latin term for yearly Per Annum or PA. Apparently, bovine livestock produce 7-10 COWPAT’s per day. Fortunately, insects break down and dispose of them or we would be knee-deep in no time.

Tablets and precious metal figure in the Bible (4)
ESAU; Abbreviated tablets (plural) of Ecstasy E’S and the chemical symbol of a precious metal gold AU, give us the hirsute son of Isaac ESAU

Tip for Spurs — both sides will contain ball players (5)
ROWEL; A candidate for THE LIST. Both sides Right and Left R_L, contain the ball-like letter O, and a collective term that a group of bridge players that sit in the West and East seats, may use for themselves WE, ROWEL the pointed wheel on the tip of spurs

Sense what you and I will be in Paris (4)
NOUS; This sense ought to be common but often isn’t, also how the French may refer to you and I

I doubt iffy card player may do this (6)
OUTBID; What a card player in Bridge may do, an anagram (iffy) of I DOUBT

Lack of talent toppling a ruling class (8)
NOBILITY; A synonym of talent aBILITY, topples its initial a and replaces it with a lack or absence of something NO

Sear and e.g. roast outside of pork pie for comic figure (7,5)
CHARLIE BROWN; To sear the outside of meat CHAR, to mislead by telling a “pork pie” LIE, and the colour of well roasted meat BROWN, provide a much loved comic figure

Darn tattered, ratty clothes (4)
DRAT; I found it quite hard to distinguish between DARN or DAM last night but both are examples of the mild swearword that lurks (clothes) within the rest of the clue

Angry about what was a capital university (8)
SORBONNE; Angry or SORE, goes about a former capital city BONN, that was replaced by BERLIN after the reunification of Germany

Eating rubbish, uptight person acquires bulge (8)
PROTRUDE; Some rubbish or decay ROT, is acquired by an uptight person PRUDE


2d Steer round North Island and answer people at Christchurch? (8)
OXONIANS; The steer that gave it’s name to the shallow river crossing on the Thames where Christ Church and other colleges are situated OX-ford, the round letter O, the abbreviation for North Island NI, and an abbreviated answer. ANS I was somewhat confused by the New Zealand references until I remembered that Christchurch is on the South Island

Conservative feeling less 4? (6,6)
SQUARE NUMBER; Numbers in crossword clues usually refer us to other clues but here the 4? mark is a definition by example, 9? or 16? would be next. A somewhat SQUARE conservative (small c), and to feel less or NUMBER, when you have slept on your laptop as I did last week whilst trying to make clue 4 fit!

Drilling ground, employ drunk (6)
SOUSED; A synonym of employ USE, drilling into a clump of ground or earth SOD

Double whiskey in beer container? (4)
TWIN; The container that beer may come in TIN, contains the letter that whiskey represents in the NATO phonetic alphabet W

Obstructive car put in reverse, I state (8)
INIMICAL; An adjective for opposed or obstructive, from a small car put in reverse MINI becomes INIM, I from the clue and an abbreviation for the US State of CALifornia

Even what WeightWatchers do, swapping tips (4)
TIED; What WeightWatchers do DIET and swap the tips or first and last letters

Dip food in oil, eating that thing with seconds (8)
CRUDITES; Unrefined oil CRUDE, eats “that thing” or IT followed by S for seconds CRUDITES the usually raw food used to dip in various sauces, I prefer a carrot and hummus

Does this indicate Greenland is American? (3,9)
NEW ENGLANDER; A resident of six North-Eastern States, A reverse anagram in that the anagram indicator forms the first word of the answer NEW, and Greenland is the fodder to be anagrammed to ENGLANDER

Horse boxes with tough wood (5)
ROWAN; A horse of a particular reddish colour ROAN, with an abbreviation of With gives us ROWAN a wood that grows in arduous or tough environments, hence its alternate name Mountain Ash

Live with evil monster inside? Call this person! (8)
EXORCIST; An evil sea-monster or Tolkienian ogre ORC, goes in a synonym of live EXIST. Call this person to expel the evil spirit

Shiner of socialist worker, say, punched by soldier (3,5)
RED GIANT; The colour associated with socialism RED, and one of the worker insects ANT, contains (punched by) an American soldier or GI

Impolite Biblical guardian might have spoken thus? (8)
UNTOWARD; Archaically how someone biblically may address someone they are the guardian of

 Show contempt for repeated mistake (6)
BOOBOO; An informal mistake from repeated instances of the cry of contempt you may make at a show you disapprove of BOO -BOO

Blithe, like 16 Across in East London (4)
AIRY; How someone from East London (who drops his aitches) may describe the hirsute or hAIRY ESAU

Cover of Blondie record’s electronic sound (4)
BEEP; The covering letters of Blondie BE, and one of the increasingly obsolete recording formats EP
BEEP unusual item in the bagging area