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ST 2808 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2808 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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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    Piece of hair cut and tucked in place (6)
Most of (cut) a piece of hair followed by a verb meaning tucked in to some food
Newspaper version – Determine position of pass, turning towards east (6) – thanks Stuart
The reversal of Crosswordland’s favourite pass is followed by a two-letter word meaning towards and E(ast)

4a    Keep back from wife, one informed about husband repeatedly (8)
W(ife), I (one) and a verb meaning informed around two instances (repeatedly) of H(usband)
Newspaper version – Retain water after short time in desert (8)
Put the abbreviation for time and the chemical symbol for water expressed as three letters inside a word meaning desert – thanks RD

11a    Disprove conclusions in either case, nevertheless (5)
The final letters of (conclusions in) two words in the clue followed by an adverb meaning nevertheless

14a    I see you are pronounced out of order by a court in Rome (5)
The letters that sound like (pronounced) the first four words in the clue with the first being moved to the end (out of order) all followed by the A from the clue gives the court of the papal see in Rome

23a    Attention-grabbing company is source of reports (7)
A company or business having the *** of (attention-grabbing) gives the source of reports or explosive noises– I don’t know what others think but this doesn’t quite work for me

26a    Sudden movement in temperature on Earth, for example (5)
I’ve looked at this several times and I don’t think it works – T(emperature) is preceded by (on in an across clue) something an example of which is surely the Sun not the Earth – I know that Venus is often described as being the Morning or Evening version of this, but it is still a planet

27a Undoing or extending rental agreement? (9)
Newspaper version – Breaking or extending rental agreement? (9) – thanks Robin
Split as (2-7) this could mean extending a rental agreement

28a    Speculate he’s invading to create rebellion (8)
HE inside (invading) TO and a verb meaning create rebellion

29a    Daughter in a break-up is powerless, in the main (6)
D(aughter) inside the A from the clue and a break-up or separation


1d    Revised article and said why it’s required for readers (8)
An anagram (revised) of ARTICLE followed by the letter that sounds like (said) why

2d    With different head, it could be perceived as grammar school (7)
Change (with different) the initial letter (head) of this type of school to get a word that sounds like (could be perceived as) grammar

3d    Destructively criticise work in theatre? (4,5)
Split as (4,1,4) this means to work or act in a theatre

7d    Not the craft for landing old river fish one can catch (7)
O(ld) and R(iver) followed by a fish that one can catch (because it takes the bait)

9d    They include speech from economic theorist, heard after estimate (9,5)
These include ‘the written version of a speech’ – what sounds like (heard) the surname of a German economic theorist is preceded by (after) an estimate, typically one received from a tradesman

17d    Raised skill, in a sense, in finishing part of course (8)
The finishing part of a course, such as a racecourse, is derived from the reversal (raised) of a three-letter word meaning skill inside one of the senses

19d    Extent of field expert covers right, over time (7)
A three-letter expert around (covers) R(ight) and is followed by a long period of time

22d    Compensate for being removed from scene of shooting (6)
Split as (3,3) this could mean being removed from scene of shooting a film

24d    Actively moving white queen (5)
A white wine followed by the single-letter Latin abbreviation for queen

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Gillian Anderson (47) and Melanie Griffith (58)



53 comments on “ST 2808 (Hints)

  1. I had the same answer as you for 26A, BD, and a big question mark by it. It seems out of character for Virgilius to make such an error. Other than that, I did enjoy this and had no problems. 9D was my favorite. Thanks for the review.

    1. Chambers gives one definition of the first four letters of the answer as a planet as a supposed influence on one’s luck. Whether the earth is used astrologically in this sense in the same way as the other planets, I don’t know.

  2. The SW corner held me up, particularly 26a which, like BD and EC above, I don’t think works as an honest clue. This turned the otherwise fun puzzle into a 3/2 for me. Thanks to setter and of course BD.

  3. I seem to have different clues to la and 4a, same answer to 1a, right letters for 4a but I can’t work it out. I don’t know if there other anomalies. Also, clue to 22d is completely missing, although you can guess it from the letters. Has anyone else found this or is it me??

    1. I also have different clues in the paper version for 1a and 4a and, yes, 22d is missing!
      Frank the ref

        1. So that’s why I cannot solve 22d!

          Where’s the Crossword Editor?

          This is a Sunday puzzle … loads of time to get everything right … but apparently NOT!


    2. I also have different clues for 1a and 4a and am missing 22d. Even without the clue it is possible to fill in 22d because the answer is the only word in the English language that fits in with the across clues.

    3. Cat, the word play for the clue in the paper for 4a is:

      Retain water after short time in desert (8)

      Retain is the definition. Put the abbreviation for time and the chemical symbol for water expressed as three letters inside a word meaning desert.

      1. Thank you!!!! I worked out that Retain was the answer and the desert but couldn’t reconcile the middle bit. I shall be able to sleep tonight now!

    4. It occurred to me that 22d was left out on purpose, as the solution confirmed that the SETTER had omitted it !

  4. My published copy of 2808 omitted the clue for 22d, however, since it was the last word I needed and a spellchecker only gave one possible answer, I managed to complete it! Thanks for your confirmation.

  5. As others have mentioned it’s a pity that the clue for 22d was missing from the paper and that 26a doesn’t seem to work. Apart from that, it was business as usual for a Sunday, and my rating is 3*/3* (it would have been 4* except for 26a).

    I didn’t know 2d could refer to a school but, of course, my BRB says it can. I wonder if Brian will check?

    25a is my favourite due to the very clever misdirection.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  6. My one across reads, “Determine position of pass, turning towards east”

    The rest seems to be the same as you state? I double checked the 2808 and the date of paper.

  7. in addition to the errors in the paper version mentioned above, 27A is “breaking” in the paper version but “undoing” on line

    liked 14A and 8D


  8. Re 23a, I took it that “company” was “grabbing” (i.e. included) attention. Many thx to BD (especially for supplying the missing clue) and setter.

  9. I have to ask what the crossword editor actually does?It is clear that he/she totally failed to do a proper job with this mess of a puzzle. A missing clue and a very poor clue-[22dn/26ac],not to mention different clues online from the paper. Get a grip!!

  10. Lost heart a bit when I realised 22d was missing, struggled with 4a and decided to jump ship until BD loomed to rescue me, thanks as always off to incinerate lunch.

  11. I agree completely with BD. very tough in places not helped by 22d missing (doesn’t anyone proof read at the Telegraph any more?). 26a is completely ridiculous, if the setter thinks the Earth is what the clue implies, let him try living on the Sun! My last in was 24d which for which I missed the alternative usage of white! On the plus side I thought 18a an excellent clue.
    Not the best Sunday puzzle but by no means the worst.
    Thx to all

  12. I’m rather glad that 26a turned out to be a mistake. I was beginning to think the jet lag had addled my brain.

    Agree that 23a doesn’t quite work but otherwise the usual Sunday fun.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD

  13. Obviously , from the remarks above, the crossword editor’s computer has been hacked .
    9d is my favourite. I couldn’t make head or tail of 26a, now I know why.
    Otherwise , I thought it was a bit easier than some Sundays.Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  14. Re 26a at the risk of upsetting folk here, my copy of the BRB has this as the second definition:

    More loosely, these and the planets, comets, meteors and even, less commonly, the sun, moon and earth

    As always my thanks to BD for the hints and, of course, Virgillus.

  15. Quite off-putting and upseting today. Got frustated and fed up with it, the puzzles are hard enough without having mistakes and poorly set clues in as well!


    Maybe a refund on our subsriptions to puzzles is due?

  16. Not the easiest Sunday puzzle but yet again the copious amount of anagrams did help.
    A bit slow on the SW corner (mainly 26a and 24d) and on 2d which I found a bit weak.
    Favourite is 28a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the weekend blog.

  17. Like Frank says. No clue to 22d, although a glance at the on-line version has it, and some different angles on other clues.

    Editor must have done this last thing Friday methinks?

  18. I agree re 23a, that held me up, but it was my first choice, just could not make it work.
    All in all, I found this pretty difficult but enjoyable.
    I have many candidates for fave, but I’ll settle on 9d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the enlightenment for some clues.

  19. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. Had to look on the blog because the clue 22d was missing in the paper. Didn’t understand 23&26a, despite reading the hints. Also needed the hints for 4&14a and 7&24d. Very difficult. Favourite was 25a. Was 4*/2* for me. Disastrous start by the Gooners

  20. BD, I have only just read your hint for the newspaper version of 1a which has reminded me I meant to comment earlier that I didn’t understand how “towards” clues the 4th & 5th letters. Are they really synonymous? I can’t think of a sentence where one could replace the other.

    1. RD – I also failed to understand the wordplay in 1a in the paper.

      Maybe, that’s why they changed it?

      1. ps. Has Kath filled in the requisite number of forms for this extended leave of absence?

        Hope I have spelt Cath . Kath correctly?

        Hope I have spelled “spelt” correctly?

        1. No Franco – I haven’t filled in any forms. Two reasons – the first is that until yesterday I didn’t know that the whole weekend was going to be hijacked and by the time that it was I didn’t have time to fill in anything . . .
          The second is that, as I am the keeper of the forms, I didn’t really think anyone else would notice. Oh dear!
          On the plus side you’ve certainly spelt “Kath” and “spelt” correctly, although I always wonder if it should be “spelled”.

          1. I believe that both “spelled” and “spelt” are OK, with “spelt” being more common in the UK but, I think, it is almost always spelt “spelled” in the US!

            1. Yes it is, and I’m always getting a rocket for using the English form! That is just one of many that I’m told off for.

          2. I noticed, Kath – especially when you were AWOL on the Beet puzzle. I was giving you until tomorrow before taking the matter to Head Office.
            Speaking of paper work – doesn’t TS’s run out this weekend?

            1. Have slightly lost track of TS’s paper work – husband’s probably shredded it – that’s what’s usually happened to anything I can’t find!

      1. Mmm … well done Gazza! That works but I am not sure that anyone would ever say or write that in practice.

  21. The weekend, not the crossword although I did think it was quite tricky.
    Too late to bed last night and up too early this morning so I think (hope) that lack of sleep contributed to finding the crossword difficult.
    I would never have worked out why 4a was what it was from the clue in the paper – thanks to RD. I know I’m wrong but for the first two and last two letters of the answer I think it should have “S” on the end.
    Like others I was completely thrown by 26a and the lack of a clue for 22d.
    I feel sorry for Virgilius – I’m quite sure that he set a perfect crossword and then, somehow, it all got messed up.
    I liked 14a and 9d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  22. What a complete pig’s ear of a puzzle. I sympathise with BD having to come up with hints. I can’t believe it’s a Virgilius product. I felt sure it came from a rookie as indeed does most of the editorial content over this “silly season”. Liked 17d but too many dislikes to mention! A sterling effort BD but reserved thanks to the setter. Sorry if I sound a bit like Brian on this occasion! ***/-*.

  23. If this is a Virgilius, he’s rather dropped off the pace in comparison with his output over recent weeks. I found this rather tricky and not particularly satisfying, especially given the absence of a clue in my e-paper for 22d and the rather dubious one for 26a, so l would score it 3*/2*. Still, thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  24. Worked hard at it and completed it without having to wait for BD’s hints. Was puzzled by 26a as quite a few of us were. Strange to see anagrammatised as an anagram indicator. Got the answer for 23a but did not really understand why I got there. Still it was enjoyable and doable so many thanks to Virgilius and to BD of course. 3*/4* with 24d as my favourite and my last one in.

  25. As Salty Dog notes, newspaper edition did not have a light for 22d. In all, a slightly unsatisfactory effort with parses for 18a, 23a, 26a that stretched solvability

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