Sunday Toughie 97 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 97 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 97

by Robyn


Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee


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Robyn going a bit easier before Christmas I think, I have hinted just under half 😮 of 16a and 14d clues today so I have a bit of latitude to give bonus nudges if you need them.
The Reverend Doctor Spooner makes an appearance but seems quite benign today, I liked it and 3d and 25a today but I am sure there are other candidates for your podia

I haven’t heard if anything special is planned for Sunday Toughie 100 on Christmas Eve yet, but It will probably be a sterner test than this, I hope Chris Lancaster goes easy on us and includes it in advance copies he usually sends to CrypticSue

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. 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           Spectacles in fair ground? There’s singing about it (10)
Fairground is usually written without a space, here the space separates the fodder from the anagram indicator, put the singing around it when you have
Here is a song about a trip to the fair, Annie Haslam provides the singing…

10a        Hollywood celeb not in shot after parting remark (9)
Cilla Black’s informal parting remark leads an anagram (shot) of not in

12a        Twain book about sailor on whiskey (7)
A large, usually scholarly, book goes about the letter that whiskey suggests and a sailor of lowly rank gives us an archaic adjective rather than the American author the capitalisation suggests

“I clumb up the shed and crept into my window just before day was breaking. My new clothes was all greased up and clayey, and I was dog-tired.”  Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

15a        Somewhat disheartened accountant getting sack (1,6)
Remove the heart from an accountant (do they even have them?) add a synonym of sack in the sense of ransack or pillage, split according to the enumeration and you have the somewhat insignificant answer

23a        Spooner’s put red meat in herbal seasoning (3,4)
A synonym of put and red meat is Spoonerised to be the herbal seasoning I wrap around a Bouquet Garni

25a        Relish drinking vermouth, case of grenadine and one German spirit (9)
The relish we get from the skin of a lemon drinks an informal term for vermouth that indicates the country it comes from, the case letters of grenadine and the letter that looks like one

28a        What Jim Morrison did entrances (5,5)
A double definition, easy if you can recall the band that Jim Morrison lead


1d           Clothing store’s clothing filling the box up (4)
The clothing letters of store and an abbreviation for the gogglebox are reversed (up in a down clue)
Rab C Nesbitt wouldn't make it past the censors, says creator - Scottish Daily Express

3d           Receiving poor remuneration, lumberjack’s work generates sympathy (6,7)
 A lumberjack’s work to bring trees to the ground contains a paltry sum. There appears to be a missing i in 3d both on the old and new puzzles site I have taken the liberty of correcting it here, and avoided the obvious Monty Python song

8d           Hot after moving around carefully (10)
A synonym of around or approximately follows an anagram (after moving) of HOT

11d        Fiancé follows sister accepting work that isn’t supposed to amuse (2,3,8)
A sister in a religious order accepting an abbreviation of work, a Fiancé follows

14d        Maybe twenty winks before noon, or fewer than that? (4,1,5)
If forty winks is a short nap twenty would be what proportion? Add n for noon and you have fewer than that

24d        Letters from abroad satisfy revolutionary (4)
The plural of the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet is also a synonym of satisfy when reversed (revolutionary)

Eta png images | PNGEgg


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The Muses were Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, Urania. Count them and when in doubt…

Here are three different Muses playing Sunburn, A condition unlikely to trouble northern hemisphere solvers at the moment

That’s All Folks…

33 comments on “Sunday Toughie 97 (Hints)
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  1. A top quality puzzle from Robyn – thanks to him and SJB.
    From a cornucopia of ticks I’ll just mention 15a, 5d, 14d and 19d with top honours going to 28a.

  2. It was all going well – until I entered an incorrect, although I think perfectly valid, answer for 10a. My farewell came from a Roman rather than Miss Black! Needless to say, that left me in trouble where 4&5d were concerned and probably doubled my solving time.
    Rosettes handed out to 28a plus 14&20d with the wooden spoon going to our setter!

    Thanks to Robyn for the rest of the puzzle and to SJB for the hints.

      1. I suppose the fact that he is usually behind the camera and therefore not in shot may be a help to picking the right celeb

    1. Fortunately I already had 4d, so didn’t fall into that trap! In Robyn’s defence, I’m not entirely sure that the other guy would be referred to as a ‘celeb’, though it is a valid answer…. and more Christmassy! 😁

    2. I was supposed to be huddling round the fire today but Mama Bee had other ideas so we have been to Betty’s for a Christmas cake 🎂 I didn’t spot Rudolph or the Roman valedictory farewell last night, I tend to agree that his fame probably predates the more modern sounding “celeb” but a valid Hollywood star indeed

        1. We usually end up buying a second one during Christmas Week but I cut out the trip by buying two today 😅 I will get a nice bit of Wensleydale in my Christmas cheese order
          The view from Betty’s at RHS Harlow Carr

      1. I’ve made my own this year, which is sharing a bottle of Corvoisier with me. That Betty’s one looks delicious though.

      2. When we were last in York the queue to get into Bettys was so huge we didn’t even attempt it. My husband refuses to queue. It caused a huge argument at a BL garden party where it was a scrum to get tea. I told him the Queen had spent all the morning making the cucumber sandwiches and we had to have some! I’m struggling a bit, the above conversation clarified 10a for me. Thanks.

        1. I imagine the British Legion or WRVS give the Queen a hand with the cucumber sandwiches
          The queue at Betty’s in Harrogate Town centre was too long for Mama Bee but we went to the one at The RHS garden at Harlow Carr, where we blagged our way to the front of the cafe by buying a couple of Christmas 🎂
          I am sorry to hear about DD1, Mama Bee is nowhere near as bad but her memory is going by the day, just hoping she can still get out occasionally to try and make memories stick

            1. Oh wow! Congratulations. Flash the pen around. I just came on to say what joy, I have just finished the toughie. Such a sense of achievement for this bird of little brain. I particularly liked 11d, a very clever clue as was 1a, 10a in fact I enjoyed it all. I have a huge 23a outside my back door, grown from a sprig taken from one in. Cornwall and I am always using it. I am sorry to hear about Mama Bee – I don’t know if she is your wife or your mother but either way it is distressing to see someone you love slip away mentally whilst being physically with you. Quite strange. I am sure one day there will be a cure. Schlaf gut.

              1. Mama Bee is definitely my mother, she was going to be Queen Bee but that has other connotations. Schlaf Gut – Ich werde

  3. Made heavy weather of this one. Don’t know why as everything was fairly clued. Required a fair bit of diverse General Knowledge but nothing too obscure.

    COTD is the same as the other commenters, 28a. It was also my first one in.

    Thanks as ever to Robyn and SJB for several hints which I needed.

  4. Another excellent example of the art of setting from Robyn.
    Favourite for me was the the witty and clever 17d but could have mentioned about half the rest.
    Many thanks to our esteemed setter and SJB

  5. Fairly friendly Robyn today. My top 3 were 14d, 19d and 28a. My only question mark remains on 20d. I have the definition and can see the weight but ‘hear setter’ eludes me? Can anyone enlighten me?

    1. Jane has paraphrased my entry for the review to a t
      Mama Bee’s Cranberry and Orange scones and my Rarebit (you could see my notes for the review but they are concealed under my napkin)

      1. It’s nice to see Mama Bee tucking into Betty’s offerings – she’s doing remarkably well for such a seasoned lady!

  6. Terrific puzzle. Had ticks against just about every clue. If I had to pick just one it’d be 3d with the other standouts being 1,12,25&28a + 11,14,17&19d. I see he’s back in the Toughie chair on Tuesday & I’m yet to get round to his Graun cryptic from Friday so happy days.
    Thanks to Robyn & to John – Betty’s cake looks yummy

  7. A very Christmassy weekend meant I didn’t look at this until bedtime, but fortunately it didn’t keep me awake for too long. I agree with Philbert that Robyn was being fairly friendly. Maybe we are being lulled into a false sense of security in the lead up to ST100…
    I didn’t fall into the 10a trap because I already had 4d, but I like both options! I had an answer to 1d from very early on, but it was my last one to parse after having set it aside. My podium places this week went to 3d, 8d and, on the top step, 14d.
    Thanks to both Robyn and SJB. That gin-soaked cake looks scrumptious. Ours is always a brandy-soaked traditional version, home-made by Mrs S – although I am always happy to help out when it needs feeding :smile:

  8. I print the backpager early evening and work on after catching up with the news. Some Toughies are printed and worked on as and when, so suspect my comments may be missed altogether. There is a second answer to 10 across. If the Latin for goodbye is placed in the first 4 letters instead of the intended one, another Hollywood celeb will be revealed. Congratulations to all the setters and thanks to all contributors for most useful comments.

    1. The blogger always gets to see comments so rest assured you won’t be overlooked
      The alternative you suggest wasn’t noticed by me as I already had checkers to correct me.
      Others up the comments noticed though, Jane for one

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