Sunday Toughie 114 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 114 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 114

by Robyn


Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee


+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

I was hoping that Robyn would give us a slightly easier ride for Easter Sunday when the clocks go forward, but I found this “fully” up to Sunday Toughie difficulty

A couple of old coins and an Easter clue were podium contenders but I will pick the animal feeds in 12d and 27a What were your favourites?

We have a slightly uneven 15a and 16d clues and I have hinted just under half so A bonus hint is available for the first to ask


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          Old coat of rags concealing ample bust for models (9)
A prefix for old, the coating letters of rags and an anagram (bust) of ample give us ideal models

11a       Like comic actor‘s crack in sequel that’s shot (12)
I think this is an anagram of in sequel preceded by the crack in one’s lips when exposed to bitter weather, but I am open to alternative interpretations
NPG P282; Charlie Chaplin - Portrait - National Portrait Gallery

16a       Letter from India, one put in language from the east (7)
The cruciverbalist’s most useful archaic language is reversed (from the east in an across clue) with the letter that looks like one and the letter that India suggests. I think India belongs in the definition as well as the wordplay and as such appears to be doing double duty

20a       Duff intel going around over offence (7)
A place where you go when highly offended, synonyms of duff and intel around a crickety over
Midsomer Murders: Neil Dudgeon was on show before landing lead role - details | HELLO!

22a       Conformist feeling that lady’s sharp to hold back in sermon (4,8)
The accusative pronoun of that lady, and a synonym of sharp, holds the back letter of sermon
The Far Side" by Gary Larson. in 2024 | Far side cartoons, Weird animals, Cowboy humor

27a       Swift brute, rolling over, loves animal feed (5)
An animal feed of cut and dried grass and a couple of loves roll over to give us a class of animals which are human in form, but which have the understanding and passions of brutes. Jonathan Swift here would keep his capital even if he wasn’t the first word in the clue
A.Word.A.Day --yahoo

29a       Cadge soft drug, at first, for sleeping policeman (5,4)
Start with a slang term for an amphetamine-based drug and add to cadge or beg for and a musical soft
What is a speed bump? | Sino Concept


1d          Fetching dresses make an impression (4)
Dresses here is a containment indicator, in that the first word of the clue contains a synonym of the last three

3d          Mug knocked over with hot drink left for Easter (7)
Ooh a seasonal clue – we didn’t get many at Christmas but a nice little Easter clue for Easter Sunday. Easier for those of a Jewish or Hebrew faith perhaps. A mug who is immature and full of the vital juice of a young tree is reversed over a synonym of a hot beverage and the letter that left suggests. We will be having the 3d Lamb rubbed in garlic and rosemary later today

5d          Identified coins banks provided with old penny (9)
A somewhat unusual term (to me) for coined money and a conjunction for provided followed by a pre-decimal penny

8d          Clue antelope crosses river in remote area (10)
A synonym of clue, that I am providing here, followed by a type of African antelope crossing an abbreviated river

12d       Oats for one head of hotel, wanting European supply (6,4)
Some more animal feed here. In his dictionary Samuel Johnson was quite dismissive of oats;
“A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people”
Nowadays it is considered a heart-friendly way to start the day and in terms of the crossword it is an anagram of “head of hotel” without E for European
Easy Overnight Oats

13d       Makes very dear papa paella, say, during parts of match (10)
The letter that Papa suggests and the staple ingredient of paella goes in short parts of a cricket match

19d       Somewhat antipathetic, in essence displaying this? (7)
An all-in-one lurker (somewhat) (displaying this) hidden in the rest of the clue

21d       Green coloured clothes drawn deceptively (7)
A synonym of green in an environmentally aware way clothed by a synonym of coloured

25d       Old French bread accompanying power lunch? (4)
French bread is a term for a historical French five-centime piece, it accompanies an abbreviation of power to give a lunch dish often served with French Onions and French Bread


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A song for Easter…

That’s All Folks…

24 comments on “Sunday Toughie 114 (Hints)
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  1. An enjoyable **/****. Some great surfaces and misdirections and constructions. Hard to pick, but top three for me would be 27a, 7d and 26a. Thanks to Robyn and SJB – I parsed 11a the same as you. Enjoy your roast lamb!

  2. I thought that Robyn was being pretty gentle with us today but as enjoyable as ever – thanks to him and SJB.
    The clues gracing my podium are 27a, 7d and 21d.

    1. I found it quite tough to parse a few (I’m looking at you 11a and 3d), but maybe I was a bit grumpy after losing an hour of beauty sleep

  3. Thanks John for the great hints , I actually completed this , for once.
    14a, 20a, and 27a were among my favourites, with 22a getting top place.
    Definitely fun.
    Roast lamb is my favourite too.
    Thanks to Robyn too.

  4. Invariably find it quite challenging to parse some of this setter’s Toughie answers and he made no exception for Easter Sunday despite raising my hopes with the fries!
    Rosettes handed out to 11&20a plus 3&21d – think I need a drink now…….

    Thanks to Robyn and to SJB for the hints & Easter hymn.

    1. I much prefer the roasties rolled in rosemary shown above and I half expected some comments about the fries as an unindicted Americanism but I suppose they are common to both sides of the pond nowadays

    1. Congratulations on your first Sunday Toughie
      Yesterday Mama Bee and I eventually got to Bamburgh Castle on a long day out it was sunny and bright but quite breezy

  5. I’m just beginning to dip my toe into Toughies and I’m finding them pretty, well, tough. I managed to fill in about a third of this unaided. With the help of the hints I was able to crack a few more and the checkers they provided allowed others to fall into place. It’s taken me all day, mind. Now I’m just left with 23D which is stubbornly holding out on me. I believe there was mention of a possible bonus hint, SJB?!

    Thanks to you and the setter.

    1. You need an abbreviation of Say as an example and a synonym of ally or friend in a language other than English (foreign) and when retreating tells you to reverse those parts and what you should have is a shot?
      The question mark tells you that shot is a definition by example such as that taken by a camera perhaps

      1. Ah ha, thank you! I had actually come up with that word before but just couldn’t work out how it could be the solution. I would never have parsed those components without your assistance. The puzzle is complete, my entry is submitted and I will cross my fingers for a pen!

  6. Had to work hard but very satisfying to complete. Last to fall was 21d when the parsing suddenly became clear – very clever. I did need your hint SJB, to parse 11a which I’d bunged in once all the checkers present. So many thanks for that and to Robyn for the enjoyable challenge. Clues I liked best were 6d 7d and 22a.

  7. A lovely and fortunately relatively benign Toughie with which to start my Monday morning. Great clueing, with top three for me the same as Wahoo – 26a, 27a & 7d

    Many thanks indeed to Robyn and SJB

  8. Hope it’s not frowned on to mention another paper here, but Robyn’s puzzle today (as Picaron – sic) in The Guardian is an ingenious April 1st special that’s well worth experiencing.

  9. A day late to this though I did open it up yesterday on the old site & got distracted hence completion time of over 24hrs. Didn’t find it particularly easy & oddly enough my last 2 in were the ones John mentioned having difficulties parsing – with 11a the answer came first & with 3d the hot drink was the reluctant penny drop & then had to confirm the answer post solve as the term was unfamiliar. 7d my pick of a good number of ticks.
    Thanks to Robyn & to John.

      1. Will do John thanks. Must do Mark’s Indy puzzle too having met him for a pint the other day. Caught a great organ recital in Hereford Cathedral today

  10. Another catch-up puzzle which I enjoyed. A couple of favourites in 1a and 5d. Judging from the notes and squiggles on my printout I had some tricky parsings to work through…
    Thanks to Robyn and to SJB – and also to Michael R for the heads-up. I’m now looking forward to checking out Robyn’s April 1st puzzle in the Grauniad.

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