ST 2809 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2809 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2809 (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    Minimal salary increase in, for example, good job! (6)
Split as (1,5) this could be regarded as a minimal salary increase – say, for example, “good job” to someone and you are issuing this

8a    Revolutionary comrade with little time for non-Communist (8)
Forget Che and those reds under the bed, this time revolutionary indicates an anagram of COMRADE which is then followed by T(ime)

10a    Reinforcing piece added to shoe to walk backwards (6)
This is quite easy once you have separated the definition from the rest – TO is followed by the reversal (backwards) of a verb meaning to walk

12a    How to connect painter with craft, say, and establish union (3,3,4)
… this painter is a rope and the craft is a boat

13a    Remaining fish on slate, perhaps, put in the shade (12)
A four-letter word meaning remaining or spare is followed by a four-letter fish and on the slate or indebted

20a    Supporter‘s complaint about new player (10)
A complaint or moan around N(ew) and followed by a player or dramatic artist

22a    In addition, having acted as guide inside Spanish city (6)
A three-letter word meaning in addition around (having … inside) a verb meaning acted as a guide

23a    Make change in layout concerning pro wrestling location (8)
A charade of a two-letter word meaning concerning, a word meaning pro or in favour of and a location on which wrestling might take place

25a    Next to piano, song is secondary activity (2-4)
A two-letter preposition meaning next to, P(iano) and a song give this secondary activity


1d    Maintain quiet and restrained manner (8)
The musical notation for quiet followed by a restrained manner or coolness

2d    Admitted, audibly? Just so (5)
Sounds like a word meaning admitted or permitted but actually (just so) means audibly

5d    He wrote sacred verses in dull fashion (7)
An adjective meaning dull followed by a verb meaning to fashion, typically, wood

9d    Watch someone like me crossing river as leader, in a fashion (11)
A verb meaning to watch over and someone like our compiler around (crossing) R(iver)

14d    President‘s first lady left in sleeping-place (9)
The world’s first ever lady and L(eft) inside a sleeping place for chickens

17d    Monster devouring old soldier on horse (7)
Once again quite easy once you have separated the definition from the rest – a monster around O(ld)

18d    Wanting to save money, your old clothes split (7)
An old-fashioned word for your around (clothes) a split or fissure

21d    Run into small vessel extremely popular with surfers? (5)
R(un) inside a small vessel gives this word meaning extremely popular with surfers, particularly those using Twitter

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Madonna (57)
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24 comments on “ST 2809 (Hints)

  1. 3*/5* for a very satisfying solve which was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.

    10a was my last one in as I had become obsessed with another word which fitted with the checking letters and could have been correct as long as “reinforcing piece” was the definition. Sensibly as it turns out, I refrained from ‘bunging it in’ as the rest of the wordplay made no sense at all. I kept coming back to it and finally the penny dropped!

    Impossible to pick a favourite but special mentions must go to 8a, 10a, 16a, 23a, 25a, 3d, 5d, 14d & 18d. However, on reflection, that is probably unfair on the rest of the clues which were all excellent too.

    Many thanks to Virgilius for a brilliant crossword, to Phil McNeill for including all the clues this Sunday, and to BD for his hints.

  2. Another excellent puzzle on a Sunday! Really enjoyed this one. A bit slow to get a foothold but then it all moved forward well.

    2*/5* for me today.

    Usual thanks all around.

  3. Hate to be a party a party pooper but I did not enjoy this as much as I would have liked. I found too many of the clues a bit clunky and forced, so, although there were a couple of excellent clues, my overall impression leaves me with a 2/2 only I’m afraid. However, thanks to our setter and of course BD for his sterling work.

  4. The usual high quality puzzle that was a very pleasant solve. Thanks to BD and Virgilius **/****

  5. For some reason , I made very heavy weather of 19d , although I had the answer I couldn’t work out the word play. I still can’t actually and so needed the hint . I enjoyed teasing out all the other clues .
    Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  6. Very enjoyable and so many lovely clues, but I’ll narrow my favorites down to 5D, 14D and 21D. Thanks Vigilius and BD,

  7. I found this really difficult but, so far at least, I seem to be on my own.
    For some reason sorting out the wood from the trees was a problem and I kept getting tied up and missing definitions and anagram indicators.
    I can’t spell 6 or 14d! Oh dear!
    I don’t know anything about wrestling so couldn’t get the last bit of 23a for ages.
    All this sounds as if I didn’t enjoy the crossword – I did but just thought it was tricky.
    I liked 22 and 25a and 18d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    1. You are not on your own, I thought for some time that I would be heading for the cupboard under the stairs with my box of tissues. I could not even get started so put it aside until after lunch. Gradually got a few letters sneaked in and with a enormous amount of electronic help I finished, I think that I enjoyed it but would be happier if I had not had to rely on outside help. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

      1. Thank goodness for electronic help I say. We needed it today to finish, so no, you’re not on your own, Kath. We did enjoy it and it helped to solve the multi worded clues quite quickly. Thank you to the Sunday setter and to BD.

    2. I’m with you Kath – needed much e-help and the hints to finish this one, similar to yesterday!

    3. No you are not on your own Kath! I too found it difficult and trickier than thr usual Sunday offering. At one point was ready to throw in the towel but perseverance paid off and things began to fall into place, phew! Needed quite a bit of electronic help and the hint for 25a. Liked 22a. I suppose I enjoyed it at the end… Many thanks to BD and to Virgilius.

  8. First reading didn’t yield very much and worked from the bottom up.
    Very slow and enjoyable solve.
    Favourite definitely 2d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the blog.

  9. A very enjoyable puzzle 3*/4*. Last in 20a (with the help of the clue). Thanks to BD and Virgilius.

    1. I also needed the “clue” to solve 20a – but I didn’t need the “hint”.

      No-one likes a smart-arse – I apologise!

  10. Virgilius never disappoints me.
    Loved 20a, 23a and 6d, but 2d is the clear winner.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the review.

  11. Took me a while to work through this one although not as difficult as yesterdays. It didn’t help that I had wrong words in for some and I found some of word play a bit hard to understand.
    Liked 2d and 15d. Had to use some electronic help for some but then it’s rare I don’t have to.

    Thanks BD and setter


  12. As a sailor it took far too long for the penny to drop on 12a but apart from that it was the usual Sunday excellence. **/**** from us.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  13. very enjoyable puzzle, I found

    particularly liked 1A, 11A and 12A

    do not see how the Telegraph rated it 5 for difficulty-?


  14. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A super puzzle with lots of really well written clues. Favourite was 2d,and 24a was very clever. Last in was 22a. Was 2*/4* for me.

  15. Good to see that Virgilius is back on form. I made this 2* in difficulty, but certainly at least 4* in smugness engendered through completion. I can’t choose between 20a and 14d as favourite. Thanks to V and BD.

  16. I do like the Sunday crossword! Another cracking puzzle even if I did need BD’s hint for the wrestling one; lord knows why I tripped up on this one but I managed it.
    My favourite was 20a and overall 3/4*
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD for his needed hints, well, at least one of them anyway.

  17. ***/****. Not a gentle stroll but equally not a tug of war. Enjoyed some clues especially 5d, 8a, 14d and 18d. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review.

  18. Not easy, Sunday never is but very enjoyable nevertheless.
    Best for me was 12a, nice misdirection but I also enjoyed 14d and 17d.
    For me ***/****
    Thx to all

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