Sunday Toughie 128 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 128 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 128

by Robyn


Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee


+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Robyn not too tricky, even if he included a Spoonerism. I have left it unhinted as it was my first one in

14a and 14d clues today and I have hinted half. A couple of clues were tricky to parse but I think I have got the gist

I am away to a cheese festival in Settle and internet may be a bit patchy but I will try and  help with any tricky ones that hit the cutting room floor if connections allow

I am somewhat subdued by the news about Dutch but fond memories of meets in London and York help the grieving

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           Briefly check case for police about vice in America (4)
The first two letters of a synonym of check and a reversal (about) of the case letters of police, an informal American term for a senior official of a company

3a           Accomplished rook move in chess without problem (10)
Rook here is not the chess piece  but a transitive verb to fleece or deceive, the move in chess is the ultimate one and they go around (without) the problem that is a mathematical addition

10a        Intoxicated by essential drugs? With time, one reacts to acid (6,4)
Synonyms of intoxicated and essential and the plural abbreviation of a recreational drug and T for time

14a        Fixture with Danes moved, hosting Queen’s Park Rangers (4,7)
Start with a sporting fixture, then an abbreviation of with, an anagram of Danes around the Latin for a Queen

18a        Where Reg is feeling less pressure, missing deadlines (6,5)
A comparative lack of feeling, an abbreviation of pressure and to miss a deadline indicate the mark that a vehicle must display to travel

Drivers, why spend a fortune on a personalised Reg. Simply change your name to your registration mark through Deed Poll.

         YB69 GKF, Yorkshire

21a        Using hypotheses before probing ChatGPT etc (1,6)
A synonym of before goes in an abbreviation of the form of reasoning that ChatGPT is an example of. An obscure (to me) term applied to reasoning from hypotheses from what came before

25a        Collect a lot of ice cream, say, in jar (10)
Most of the wafer that holds your ice cream then to utter or emit jarringly around say as an example
Why is a 99 called a 99 and how much do the ice creams cost? | Metro News


1d          Where father’s put up with cold, cutting through storm (8)
A way through with the abbreviation of cold cutting in and a storm or tempest, where the Reverend Father resides

4d          Approving of old man sometimes undergoing checks (5)
O for old and a “man” on a chessboard. To mark or pass as right, surely some missing apostrophes here? The BRB indicates one or even two

12d        Food store stocks pasty, gathering this prevents anarchy (3,3,5)
The place that you may store food contains a synonym of pasty or pale and an informal gathering

15d        Left in control, defending major general’s van (9)
The controls of a horse contain a synonym of major then the van or leading letter of general

16d        When dancing, hula skirts somewhat common (8)
An anagram (dancing) of hula around a somewhat small part. That which is common or customary

17d        After hour, crew gathering news do without men (3,5)
Abbreviations of hour and news and the crew of a rowing boat define this informal party without men

19d        E.g. Plaid Cymru’s leader behind top Tories, at heart (6)
top, excellent, or marvellous, the letters at the heart of Tories and the leading letter of Cymru. Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid


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To Dutch R.I.P.

That’s All Folks…

14 comments on “Sunday Toughie 128 (Hints)
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  1. The usual excellent fare from Robyn – thanks to him and SJB.
    In spite of the neat wordplay I do dislike the 4d answer.
    My ticks went to 1a, 18a, 1d, 8d and 20d.

  2. A veritable plethora of misleading surface readings – great fun! It just shows you shouldn’t always accept what you read at face value – a bit like pre-election manifestos…? :wink: Also a plethora of ticks today, 14, 18, 21, 23 & 25 across and 6, 8, 12, 16 & 19 down. Is that a first time for 23a? It ‘feels’ like it must have been used before as there are so many setters possessing a sharp mind and a keen eye for a clever anagram, but I don’t recall seeing it. I agree about the need for an apostrophe (at least) in 4d, but is it the case that an apostrophe has to be shown in the enumeration? Is there a rule book for this!
    Apostrophe notwithstanding, another super puzzle from Robyn. My thanks to him and to SJB.

    1. Mr K would be the one to ask about 23a but like you I think I have seen it before so it could be an oldie but goodie, 4d the BRB has options for 1, 2 or even no apostrophes and varying capitalisations too. I agree with Gazza it is an ugly word even if it works as a clue

  3. Made very heavy weather of this but a few nudges from our blogger steered me in the right direction. Not keen on either 1a or 4d but any hiccoughs elsewhere were entirely down to my own ineptness.

    Thanks to Robyn and to SJB for the hints and that memorable moment from Four Weddings and a Funeral. Hope you enjoyed the cheese festival.

  4. Brass band, Concrete cows (well fibreglass most likely) and grilled cheese sandwiches and the weather was kind too

  5. I can’t parse a potential answer for 20d. It’s unhinted here by SJB. I can see a couple of things, lines and of french, but don’t quite get it. Maybe what I think it is is wrong!

    1. Restoration writer is the definition
      A synonym of boring, a French “of” and an abbreviation of the physical force named after Sir Isaac give you the surname of the first English poet laureate
      I think lines is just telling you that the French goes between the boring and the force

      1. Ah right. I had lines as in tracks. Boring as something in something else ! Apart from that I did have to check 21a. Joint Cotd were 18a and 1d.
        Thanks all, and Dutch will be sorely missed in this part of Sussex, particularly on Fridays. Condolences to his family and friends.

    2. Am sure you’ve the right answer – a synonym for boring + the single letter for a unit measure of force the other components I think.

  6. Usual excellence from Robyn. Not as difficult as some of his Toughies but still tricky enough to beat me – annoyingly needed John’s hint for the put up context at 1d & only with the checker then twigged 1a – despite remembering the HBO satire from a few years ago. If forced to pick a fav it’d be 10a but too many ticks to mention.
    Thanks to Robyn & to John

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