Sunday Toughie 96 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View comments 

Sunday Toughie 96 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 96

by proXimal


Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

proXimal not as devious as I usually find today, I managed to turn the light out before 1 am and the slightly less obvious parsings seemed to come in my dreams. If I have missed any parsings or clues that you need pipe up early, as I am taking Mama Bee out for her 87th birthday. We are going to try the new York Refectory that has just opened in the old Minster Choir School, I will return later this evening 

We have a nice even 14a and 14d clues today and I have hinted half, the highlight for me was the great 9a but plenty of others to admire

Here we go, Folks…

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 return with the full review blog just after the closing date. 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. Don’t 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             Play area foundation entirely covered by black stone (8,7)
A synonym of foundation, an abbreviation of the colour covers a synonym of entirely and finishes with a precious stone

9a             Swaying chime on The Beatles’ Now and Then (9)
A gem of a clue, and an obvious musical interlude, but Now and Then is an instruction to take alternate letters followed by (on) a chime

13a           No longer anxious priest: first woman accepted, in a way (8)
A priest who crops up often in crosswords and the first woman are inserted in an abbreviated way
Poseidon Incarnate: This Little Boy At The Beach Is Standing At The Shoreline With His Bathing Suit Down Peeing Directly Into The Waves - ClickHole

14a           Tramp concerned about little shelters (5)
An informal synonym of little, (and also an abbreviation of my home town) shelters one of our usual abouts😎🦁🐴✒️

18a           Vessel of gold church obscured with cross (8)
To cross a bridge perhaps, contains gold and the Church of England

23a           Fly high having installed new navigation system (5)
A navigation system used underwater rather than on high, from to  fly high and n for new

26a           Pro solver’s agreed on terms of personal methodology being top secret (3,4,4,4)
Not sure I have parsed all of this but I have enough to hint. A synonym of pro and how proXimal may address solvers, a word from the clue  a term of agreement and something personal should suggest a certain top-secret term familiar to James Bond (or AgentB)



1d             Comparatively tough person delighting in violence (7)
An unpleasant mental image of Klaus Barbie the Gestapo officer in Lyon, came to mind as he was known for delighting in violence. Aggressively masculine in appearance or manner adds a suffix for comparatively

3d             Grouse positioned around wood to mass over large fruit (9,6)
Synonyms of grouse, positioned and a type of hardwood, add a crickety over and an abbreviation of mass, to from the clue and this large fruit added to burgers should be found
Mucci Farms

5d             Brought to light, wooden boat (6)
A double definition, split (3,3) as the first, (6) for the second

8d             Composed doctor? Not totally, the following day (7)
Composed of a doctor, most of (not totally) a following and an abbreviation of day

15d           Criminal behaviour having one in gang shot (8)
A gang and a shot or go contain the letter that looks like one

20d           Issue tenders working here? (7)
The place where those tending your young issue work

21d           City home that’s stretched dough (6)
The postcode for the City of London precedes an animal home to be an elongated pastry product


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.

This may or may not be a clue, but a fine tune either way

That’s All Folks!

13 comments on “Sunday Toughie 96 (Hints)
Leave your own comment 

    1. Thanks, it made my breakfast when I saw it this morning and thanks to you for the ace Beatles clue in particular

  1. An enjoyable puzzle from proXimal, the toughest aspect of which was parsing 26a! I was impressed by 3d with six clue elements in the space of seven words, the other being an ‘action’, yet still having a reasonable surface reading – albeit painting an unusual picture! I have selected 7 for my favourites list: 25a, 2d, 6d, 15d, 16d, 20d and the excellent 9a heading the list. SJB, I have the last 2 letters of 26a being the last letters (terms) of two words in the clue, and proXimal having a way to say “solver is” – anyway, that’s the way I saw it…
    Thank you, proXimal, and my thanks – as always – to SJB.

  2. proXimal gave us a much easier task than usual and much more enjoyable for the likes of this solver!
    Tops for me were the swaying chime, the bird and the top secret solving method.

    Many thanks to our setter and to SJB for the hints – hope Mama Bee enjoys her birthday meal.

  3. I did not find this as straightforward as the other commenters and was 13a to put the last answer in. Never mind, it was a good excuse not to do more tidying in the garden.

    Still struggling to fully parse 2d 🤔.

    Thanks to ProXimal for the puzzle and congratulations to SJB on your success.

    1. Mounted is a reversal indicator, the “parts” to be reversed are a sporting circuit the core of another word and a prefix

  4. Mercifully easier than yesterday evening’s solve (PM’s NTSPP) but still plenty tough enough for me. Very enjoyable & no real problems filling the grid but still a couple of parsings to satisfactorily nail down. Top 2 for me were 9&26a.
    Thanks to proXimal & to John – hope you had a pleasant outing & congrats on you win.

  5. I’m not having a good solving day anyway, and this is a Toughie, so I didn’t find it easy. Thanks for the hints SJB. I hope Mamma Bee had a good birthday. I still can’t quite get my head around 26a. The third word of the answer seems more like a homonym of a word meaning yeses, than a straight synonym of ‘agreed’.

Join the Conversation, Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.