Sunday Toughie 96 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 96 (Review)

Sunday Toughie No 96 by proXimal

Review by Sloop John Bee

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This puzzle was published on the 26th of November 2023



1a             Play area foundation entirely covered by black stone (8,7)
BASEBALL DIAMOND; A synonym of foundation BASE, an abbreviation of the colour black B, covers a synonym of entirely ALL, and finishes with a precious stone DIAMOND – BASEBALL DIAMOND the play area of a baseball game

9a             Swaying chime on The Beatles’ Now and Then (9)
TEETERING; A gem of a clue, and an obvious musical interlude, but Now and Then is not the new release from The Beatles, but an instruction to take alternate letters of ThE bEaTlEs followed by (on) a chime or RING

10a           Cavity at back displaying Middle-Eastern fare (5)
PITTA; A synonym of cavity PIT, and a reversal (back) of the next at becomes TA. I have included displaying in the definition as the Middle-Eastern fare is usually displayed on or in the answer

11a           Has problems to put on hotel showers (5)
HAILS; The problems that we all suffer from AILS, follow the phonetic letter for hotel H, to give us some plural icy showers

12a           Joyous aunt with beer drunk receiving kiss (9)
EXUBERANT; A joyous anagram of AUNT, BEER and the letter that we kiss letters with X

13a           No longer anxious priest: first woman accepted, in a way (8)
RELIEVED; A priest who crops up in crosswords a lot ELI, and the first woman EVE, are inserted in an abbreviated way or road RD

14a           Tramp concerned about little shelters (5)
TREAD; An informal synonym of little TAD, (and also an abbreviation of my home town) shelters one of our usual abouts RE

16a           Endure moments cycling (5)
STICK; A short moment that the beating of a clock makes TICKS, cycles one letter to be STICK or endure

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

22a           Comfortably settled hens conceded boxes (9)
ENSCONCED; A lurker (boxes) concealed in the other two words of the clue

23a           Fly high having installed new navigation system (5)
SONAR; A navigation system used underwater rather than on high, from to  fly high SOAR, around (installed) N for new

24a           Sign admiral regularly noted is part of code (5)
INDIA; Alternate letters (regularly noted) of the first two words is INDIA one of the phonetic code letters

25a           Quality woolly attire covering on the other hand (9)
ATTRIBUTE; An anagram (woolly) of ATTIRE covering a conjunction for on the other hand BUT

26a           Pro solver’s agreed on terms of personal methodology being top secret (3,4,4,4)
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY; Not sure I have parsed all of this but I have enough to hint. A synonym of pro FOR, and how proXimal may address solvers YOU ARE becomes YOU’RE, a term of agreement YES, and something personal ONLY, should suggest a certain top-secret term familiar to James Bond (or AgentB)



1d             Comparatively tough person delighting in violence (7)
BUTCHER; 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 BUTCH, adds a suffix for comparatively -ER

2d             Particular mounted circuits core to pricey electronic parts (7)
SPECIAL; Circuits of a racetrack LAPS, around the central core of pricey IC, and the prefix for electronic communication E, are reversed (mounted) Something particular or SPECIAL

3d             Grouse positioned around wood to mass over large fruit (9,6)
BEEFSTEAK TOMATO; Synonyms of grouse BEEF, positioned SAT, and a type of hardwood TEAK, add a crickety over O, and an abbreviation of mass M, TO from the clue and this large fruit added to burgers should be found BEEF(S{TEAK}[TO](M)AT){O}  Six bits of Lego in seven words defined by two more – another brilliant clue

4d             One won’t shift rioter fixed with glue, oddly ignored (8)
LOITERER; An anagram (fixed) of RIOTER and the even (oddly ignored) letters of gLuE

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

6d             I, perhaps, inspect alternative ways to enter workplace (15)
APPRENTICESHIPS; anagram (alternative) of the first three words in the clue

7d             Shock as king’s admitted to lack of power (7)
OUTRAGE; A lack of electrical power OUTAGE, contains a Latin-derived abbreviation of King, R for Rex

8d             Composed doctor? Not totally, the following day (7)
DRAFTED; Composed of a doctor DR, most of (not totally) a following AFTEr, and an abbreviation of day D DRAFTED or composed a letter perhaps

15d           Criminal behaviour having one in gang shot (8)
BANDITRY; A gang BAND, and a shot or go TRY, contain the letter that looks like one I

16d           One intolerant to 15 bananas, if fresh (7)
SHERIFF; Someone charged with catching the perpetrators of 15d BANDITRY, an anagram (bananas) of IF FRESH

17d           Person with specialist knowledge announced drink that’s popular? (7)
INSIDER; A conjunction for popularity IN, precedes a homophone of CIDER, an apple-based beverage giving an IN-SIDER

19d           Bird enclosure collapse, needing to make top good (7)
PENGUIN; An enclosure PEN, and a collapsed building RUIN, with its topmost letter R changed to G for good

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

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


That’s all Folks…

3 comments on “Sunday Toughie 96 (Review)
Leave your own comment 

  1. I think the ONLY in 26a comes from ON ( from the clue) and LY the last letters (terms) of “personal methodology”. A great crossword!

    1. You’re probably right, I was suffering from “parsitis”by then. Memo to self ask proXimal to sort me out next time we meet

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