ST 2802 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2802 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2802 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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The last couple of days have been somewhat traumatic.  Many thanks to all of you for your forbearance during the problems caused by the total failure of the Sunstorm server at the hosting company.  There was a lot of work going on behind the scenes and the Support Engineers at Evohosting were fantastic.  I would also like to thank the other members of the team, particularly Deep Threat and Gnomethang, who had to repost their Friday blogs, and Prolixic, who stepped into the breach and posted the Saturday hints and a link to the NTSPP puzzle – what a pleasant surprise it was when I got home expecting to have to do both of those things.

For future reference you can follow the progress of any problems on the Evohosting status site here:
or on their Twitter feed:

We are now on the Ramjet server, having been moved there over the weekend from the, now defunct, Sunstorm server.

I was somewhat amused by an email from Google this morning which advised me that “Google detected a significant increase in the number of URLs we could not access. It is likely that your server had an internal error or was busy when attempting to process these requests.” – like I didn’t already know!

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, a number of the more difficult clues have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

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 a “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.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow:


1a    In part, is trusting model employer? (6)
Hidden (in) inside the clue is someone who might employ a model

10a    Host returning, having traversed distant part of country (5,4)
A host or large number reversed (returning) around (traversed) an adjective meaning distant to get a feature of the countryside

13a    Not like unusually well-read Oxford professor (7)
This anagram (unusually) of NOT LIKE gives a well-read Oxford professor who is also well-read in the sense of being read by many

14a    Rebuff queen may deliver, but never king (5)
A cryptic definition of an action in chess that can be delivered by a queen but never by a king

20a    Chap embracing openings provided by secret organisation? (5)
A chap around the initial letters (openings provided by) of the final two words in the clue gives someone defined by the whole of this all-in-one clue

23a    Article by poet laureate cut short? Just so (7)
The indefinite article followed by most of (cut short) an early twentieth century poet laureate gives a verb meaning to cut short

25a    With half of score accomplished, it’s okay to defend (7)
Spell out the number that is half of a score and add an adjective meaning accomplished

28a    Where all the pieces of poetry you write are set in row for typist (8)
Just think where you might find all the letters (pieces) of “poetry you write” set in the same row!

29a    Some work secured by the writer with right business deal (6)
A unit of work inside (secured by) the first person objective pronoun (the writer) and R(ight) – note, with some satisfaction, how the setter has ensured that “the writer” is the object of the verb “secured by”


1d    Interview  those sitting in front of stage (8)
Two definitions – the first one could be with the queen!

2d    Old craft of European pursuing unusual métier (7)
This old craft is making yet another appearance in a crossword – E(uropean) follows (pursuing) an anagram (unusual) of MÉTIER [except that it doesn’t work as there are too many Es and not enough Rs]
Revised version (only available online): Run into European excellence that’s shown up in old craft (7)
R(un) inside the reversal (that’s shown up) of E(uropean) followed by a word meaning excellence

5d    It’s bound to be available for a few (7,7)
A cryptic definition of a bound publication of which only a few copies are printed (available for a few)

6d    In coastal resort, left poor accommodation (5)
A resort on the South Coast of England followed by L(eft)

8d    Coaches in one part of speech or another (6)
This word meaning coaches can be a noun or a verb (one part of speech or another), with different meanings for each

19d    Produce some rhyming slang, initially kept in check (7)
The initial letter of S[lang] inside (kept in) a verb meaning to check

21d    Relative is upset over superficially attractive stuff (7)
The reversal of IS (upset in a down clue) followed by (over in a down clue) some superficially attractive stuff

24d    Wild animal seen in feeding orgy and covered in gore (5)
A classic Virgilius double hidden word clue!

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. Offending comments may be redacted or deleted.

Today it’s Happy Birthday to Mel Brookes (89)
Mel Brookes ARVE Error: need id and provider
I was fortunate to meet Mel and his late wife, Anne Bancroft, at the London premier of the play Our Town starring their great friend, Alan Alda.   I asked Anne for her autograph during one of the intervals and she asked if I would also like Mel’s.  When I said “Yes please!” she nudged him in the ribs and told him to sign my program.  Mel then took the time to explain the plot of the play to me.  It was an experience that I have never forgotten.
… and a very special Happy Birthday to new grandad Prolixic

 Finally, watch out a week tomorrow in the Indy for a puzzle by our latest graduate from the NTSPP series!

58 comments on “ST 2802 (Hints)

  1. A really good puzzle today. SW corner problems made it a ****\**** for me. Many terrific clues, but a mention in dispatches for 10a. Great fun. Thanks to setter and of course BD.

  2. Another brilliant effort from Virgilius. Only clue I disliked was 19, but there were many good ones, including 24d (favourite) and 1d which kept me from completing 12 and 14, as I was trying to fit in the wrong interview ( with the same 3 starting letters). Got it eventually, though.
    Thanks to Virgilius for his Sunday best and to BD for the review and excellent blog.

  3. Very enjoyable, but we found this tougher than usual for a Sunday.

    Re 2d: is there a mistake? Our answer has one more R and one fewer E than the parsing suggests.

    1. And thanks as ever to BG and BD. Hopefully the trauma of the server failure will fast become a distant memory.

      Happy birthday to Prolixic.

    2. 6d made us smile because we used to live near that particular South Coast resort. Kitty’s accommodation wasn’t quite that poor, but being a student house it wasn’t exactly the lap of luxury either.

      28a was clever and there were some other contenders, but after some confabulation we have opted for 26a as our favourite.

    3. you are perfectly correct. 3 levels of oars were used in this greek vessel – bottom middle and top and typical tactics were to row directly at each other and take out one side of oars, Do that and they can only row in circles.

      1. Yes, we wanted the right answer, but were totally confused by the letters that were seemingly required. In the end, we concluded that it must be so, and the puzzles site confirmed it.

    4. I must have printed mine off later, as my version has

      2d – Run into European excellence that’s shown up in old craft (7)

  4. 2d – I seem to be missing an extra “R” in the anagram fodder … but I could be wrong … yet again.

      1. I just bunged it in without thinking as it was so obviously the answer – or maybe not!! and

  5. Many years ago I was invited to a lunch where 13a was guest of honour. Unfortunately, I was unable to go. 2.5*/3* for me. Thanks to setter and BD. I’m glad that normality has been restored.

  6. Thank you Virgilius, great stuff again. I am not sure whether this puzzle was a bit harder than the usual Sunday, or whether it was just me after a late night and self inflicted headache. I thought 28a was amusing. Last in was 26a – I think I have the answer and I think I can understand the wordplay………….. Many thanks BD for your hints.

  7. Went to the local bar to do this one – may as well sit in their aircon rather than firing up ours – but we only did the acrosses before mates turned up and xword was abandoned. Seemed a bit tricky for a Virgilius.

    Reason for aircon? From weather forecast – “Actiive Advisory: Extreme high temperature”. It hit 37C this afternoon which is hotter than it ever got last Summer, and it’s still only June

    1. “It hit 37C this afternoon” – I went out for a walk in it earlier at about 4 o’clock, but decided that an hour of walking was quite enough.

      We’ve managed to avoid switching on the aircon in the last couple of weeks since we arrived, but have needed a couple of cold showers during the night!

      Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints.

      1. Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the afternoon heat in Valencia. The rest of the people have a siesta.

        Get fans for the bedrooms and sleeping becomes possible, although you may remember my overnight blogs which may be about to start again.

        1. I do remember your overnight blogs – they were among your best – I hope they do start again.

  8. I just love Virgilius’ puzzles, though it took me far too long to get 13a. It’s worse that I knew it was an anagram and still couldn’t see it.
    Thanks so much for that gem, Virgilius, and thanks to BD for the review.
    My admiration for you knows no bounds, BD, not only for your techie abilities, but also the time and trouble you have taken to keep us entertained. Heartfelt thanks.

  9. Hecky thump definitely brain dead day, first two readings produced nothing. Then 16d emerged from the mist closely followed by rest of SE corner. Shelved until after lunch and sort-of finished as I am not convinced about 26a. Thanks to Virgilius and BD, fingers crossed everything back to whatever counts as normal on the blog.

  10. I found this puzzle trickier than usual for a Sunday. Enjoyed it, but maybe not quite as much as I usually do. Thanks to BD and Virgilius ***/***

    Thanks also for sorting out the server issues which must’ve been very frustrating.

  11. I thought this was trickier than usual but, like Sweet William, we had a late night and I have a self inflicted headache.
    Couldn’t get the long 9d anagram or the equally long 5d non-anagram for ages which slowed things up.
    I can’t ‘do’ chess so guessed 14a.
    I missed the significance of the ‘one part of speech or another’ in 8d – but at least I knew I’d missed something!
    I really enjoyed this one and it’s given me something other than my headache to think about – in fact I think it’s cured it!
    I liked 4 and 20a and 3 and 22d. My favourite, even thought it wasn’t just a hidden answer but a doubly hidden answer, was 24d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD and a very Happy Birthday to our new Grandad.

    1. It seems to be the day for self-inflicted headaches. I’m curing mine with some “hair of the kitty”

      1. Far too much “hair of the kitties” (literally) around here already.
        Elder Pet Lamb and her partner are having building stuff done – their cats are staying with us – talk about feline world war going on – oh dear – hair and teeth flying in all directions – not exactly peaceful!

          1. I have to confess that Kaths like a bit of peace too – fat chance at the moment. More tomorrow – this could be an ongoing saga . . .

  12. Typical Sunday treat we’ve come to expect from virgilius – excellent stuff.

    I found it trickier with NW slow to complete – but a lot of fun. Too many favourites to mention. Though the penny drop moment for 28a was quite special.

    Many thanks virgilius & BD

  13. 29a ended up on a second page from my printer and was left behind.
    Finished it when I got back home.
    I remember that Virgilius always had lots of 13 letter words in the past but now it seems that it’s his clueing that is getting longer.
    Very enjoyable nonetheless.
    Favourite is 28a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for coming up with plan B to keep us happy.

  14. Glad to know I wasn’t alone in finding this more testing than some Sunday offerings but it was all the more rewarding for that although it wasn’t exactly a barrow-load of laughs hence no real Fav. Possibly ST will get fewer competition entries than usual thus less names for their contact list! Battled with 2d for a while but it had to be – wrap on knuckles for Editor! ****/**.

  15. Feeling a bit grumpy because my two pet hates both found their way into the clue for 23a. General knowledge and part of an word that’s not in the clue itself. Maybe it’s just because its getting very hot here in France – and it’s coming to the UK soon!

  16. Excellent puzzle today, really enjoyable but I did need some hints to fully parse a couple of clues (missed the reversed word in 10a, the unit of work in 29a and the letter position in 28a although I thought this was an excellent clue) but all were solvable by the rest of the clue.
    Nice to see the Blog up and working again although it weas a shame that we lost the Friday comments for a superb crossword from the Don. Wouldn’t have minded if we had lost Thursdays!

  17. Enjoyable but tough for us while we waited for some help from the hints to finish. Thank you to the Sunday setter and to BD for all his efforts.

  18. I, too, thought it was trickier than usual. I saw what I concluded must be an error in 2D also. Still, that didn’t detract from the usual enjoyment that Virgilius brings. Favorites are 10A and 19D. Thanks, BD, for the review.

  19. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable but very tricky puzzle. I needed 8 hints to finish. Favourite was 20a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  20. I’m glad to see someone else is also asking about 2d; I also need to know where the additional R is from (?europian) and await enlightenment!

  21. Great puzzle today from Virgilius (as usual) and we agree with some of the other comments that it was slightly tricky, so therefore more enjoyable because of it…****/****

    Thanks also to Big Dave for the hints.

  22. I likd 23a and 4a among others.
    I never did solve 3d and no hint for that and I have all the chequers.
    I hope all the trauma is over, thanks BD.

    1. 3d – the definition is “modern pirate”. You need one of the many crossword sailors – a four letter one. Put him inside (within) one of the better known Scottish Islands in the Inner Hebrides and follow that lot with the usual cricketing abbreviation for run or runs.

  23. Another first-class ST puzzle: 2.5*/4*. Some excellent clues, of which my favourite was (oddly enough) an anagram – 9d. Well done and thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints.

  24. I feel totally thick today! I don’t get 26a. Is it a term that describes a collection of nationalities / an ethnic group? It should be easy as Big Dave didn’t think it worth a hint! I also missed the sailing vessel anagram error – just put it in as It crops up regularly, although I’ve never seen one! Much tougher than usual – won a prize a few months ago but this kept me occupied for ages.

    1. The answer to your question is yes. I’ve been racking my brains to think of a way of explaining the clue without ending up in the NC – you need two of the abbreviation for answer, one starts off the solution ‘after’ telling you that the other bit of the wordplay follows: the second abbreviation is inserted (about) into a ‘wrong’.

      1. Rats, yet again you beat me to it. If we end up in the naughty corner what are you bringing to eat or drink?
        I’ve also spent ages trying to think of a decent hint.

        1. I’ve got 10 jars of strawberry jam made fresh today (to match the ten jars I made last week). Can you bring scones??

          1. I’ll think about it . . .
            Would it be too late by tomorrow – bit tired now and fed-up with bickering felines and hair, teeth and claws flying in all directions!

    2. Just because BD hasn’t given a hint for it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. Lots of people seem to have found this one tricky.
      All I can do is give my interpretation of it – I’m not even sure that I’m right.
      I think that the definition is “Like the majority of people”. Begin with the one letter abbreviation for A(nswer). Follow that with a noun meaning a wrong or an ungodliness which contains (about) another abbreviation for A(nswer).
      Not my best of hints, but it’s not my day for doing them!! Am I forgiven?

  25. Yep! Definitely a bit trickier then the usual Sunday fare but all the better for it I think.
    Smashing crossword. Took me ages to get going then one clue went in and suddenly everything made sense. Favourite was 28a, although I didn’t realise the significance of the poetry etc. A D’oh! moment.
    Glad everything is back up and running again. Thanks BD.
    And thanks to Virgilius for a very good puzzle.

  26. Another enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to setter, and to BD. Managed to put 1a, 10a, 12a and 14a straight in, but then stuck on 3d. Realised then that my 12a was wrong. Had put in the reason why I need to go to the optician every six months. Well I really did think it fitted !!!Really liked 9d and 24d. 3*/3* for me.

    1. Since you probably need to know the answer to 12a in order to understand your comment I’ll let it go, but please be careful about providing incorrect answers in the future as they can confuse some solvers.

  27. Solved this last night – it is already Monday here in NL! Nice puzzle as always from the Sunday Maestro!

    Faves : 10a and 9d.

  28. Good work out of the little grey cells on this one with no need of hints. Although, since I had printed last night, the clue for 2d was missing an r. So checked in here to see why.

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