ST 2814 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2814 (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    Diction’s modified by subtle difference in end (14)
An anagram (modified) of DICTION’S followed by a subtle difference

9a    Player is put in room inside, with temperature reduced (7)
Put IS between an inside room and the abbreviation (reduced) of T(emperature)

10a    Get together in Queen’s returning train (7)
A verb meaning to get together inside the Queen’s regnal cipher, all reversed (returning)

15a    Faithful person has to live with deception, endlessly jolly (8)
A two-letter verb meaning to live followed by a deception and most of (endlessly) an adverb meaning jolly or extremely

17a    Slacks, perhaps? It’s the opposite of kind taking in employer (8)
Start with a four-letter word meaning kind or type, reverse it (it’s the opposite) and then insert an employer

21a    Like lions, affected outside protected area, finally (10)
An adjective meaning affected or flowery around the final letters of two words in the clue

24a    With no attempt at concealment, devouring a cold ham (7)
An adjective meaning with no attempt at concealment around (devouring) the A from the clue and C(old) gives a verb meaning to ham or perform in an exaggerated manner

26a    Hobbyist for whom mail brings items of interest (5,9)
A cryptic definition of a hobbyist who is more interested in what is on the mail than what is inside


1d    Person providing determination for crucial game (7)
Two definitions – a person who determines which course of action is to be taken and a crucial game between two teams, only one of which will achieve their objective

3d    Expression of triumphant surprise about current state (4)
An expression of triumphant surprise around the symbol for electric current gives a US state

6d    Religious work giving convert ease of mind, we hear (10)
This religious work sounds like (we hear) a verb meaning to convert followed by ease of mind

8d    Over time, dressed up somebody in red (6)
An adjective meaning dressed in one’s finery around (over) T(ime) gives somebody who’s bank account is printed in red ink

13d    A large mammal seen in part of country, no real reason for anxiety (5,5)
The A from the clue, L(arge) and a marine mammal inside something that is an intrinsic part of our countryside

17d    Advice to European to proceed with caution (6)
Some advice followed by TO from the clue and E(uropean)

20d    Replacing centrepiece of meal, possibly uses shellfish (6)
Replace the middle two letters () of M[ea]L with an anagram (possibly) of USES

23d    Covering for shoulders, also head (4)
Two definitions – an item of clothing word on the shoulders and a headland

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 Sophia Loren (81)
Sophia Loren


  1. Una
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Another terrific puzzle from Virgilius, not without it’s challenges.Re 21a, I played around with various versions of the meaning of this word before hitting on the right one.
    My favourite is 26a and I also liked 8d.
    Thanks V and BD.

  2. dutch
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Usual enjoyable Sunday fare, fairly gentle today, though I wasn’t familiar with 21a which was my last one in. My favourite clue is 8d (over time, dressed up somebody in red). I was a bit surprised with the definition for 5d, I’d never thought of it that way.

    Many thanks Virgilius ( I assume) and BD for the review

  3. Hilary
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Good start ‘seeing’ 2d because it is just what I need, then a gentle solve fueled by my mid-morning coffee. After a bad week this weekend has restored me and instead of giving up, which I was all prepared to do, I will soldier on – me and my trusty pencil. Grateful thanks to Virgilius and BD. Cannot safely choose favourite because there are too many on my list but a slight bias to 2d.

  4. Jaycat
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Gentle Sunday puzzle with some great clues and associated wordplay. Liked 24a but caused me problems to start with and learnt new meaning.
    Favourite is 8d.

    Thanks to setter and BD


  5. Brian
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I found this much tougher than the usual Sunday (which is usually tricky) but have managed all except for 8d which I still don’t see even with the clue and 22a for which there is no hint (it’s probably obvious but beyond me). Can make a word meaning someone who is in debt but why dressed up? Very frustrating.
    For me ***/** no outstanding clues and all a bit pedestrian.
    Thx to all

    • crypticsue
      Posted September 20, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Up is a reversal indicator in a down clue and ‘dressed’ is what you have to reverse, the result then put around (over) time, just as the hint says

    • Kath
      Posted September 20, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      . . . and for 24a you need a little two letter word meaning accordingly or therefore followed by another two letters – homophones of you are.

      • Kath
        Posted September 20, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        . . . or even 22a!

        • Brian
          Posted September 20, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          Thx Guys, very much appreciated. I knew it would be obvious when I got it – eventually! Always frustrating when you have an answer that you think is right and cannot fully see why.

          • crypticsue
            Posted September 20, 2015 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

            When some of us started solving the DT cryptic, in the days when the internet wasn’t even thought of, we solved on our own, did our best and then looked at the paper the next day to see if we could work out what the clues we’d struggled with were on about. Quite often we couldn’t but we ‘perservated’ until we could solve complete puzzles and understand the parsing too!

            • dutch
              Posted September 20, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

              yes, that is exactly what we used to do..

            • Jane
              Posted September 20, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

              I’ve only been doing any ‘serious’ solving for a couple of years, so have always enjoyed the luxury of having Mr. Google to hand. Would you say that setters nowadays include more obscurities and GK as a result of knowing that we can all easily access far more information?

  6. George
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Another great Sunday puzzle that was mostly straightforward. Mis-entering 7d did not help me with18a until I realised my error when I kicked myself for making it that much more difficult to complete!

    2*/4* for me today.

  7. Nev
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    3*/3* fare for me today. I liked 17a and 26a. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  8. Kath
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was quite a tricky Sunday crossword but got there in the end.
    21a couldn’t have been much else but I needed the hint to explain why.
    I was slow to understand why 10a was what it was and 6d took a while too.
    I liked 15 and 25a and 3 and 17d. My favourite, and last answer, was 13d which had me completely tied up in all the worst kinds of knots for ages.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.
    Off up the garden now then will try to finish off the NTSPP from yesterday which is still causing grief.

  9. Graham Wall
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    A pleasant and gentle solve today. Thanks to BD for the review.

  10. pommers
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    We really got in a stew over 21a. Got the answer easily enough from the def and checkers but we spelled it wrong with a * instead of *. Doesn’t matter really you might say as the */* isn’t a checker but . . .

    What you have is an anagram (affected) of ******* placed around (protected) an * (**** finally) but where do the first two letters come from? I know it doesn’t really work but it’s near enough to have had me scratching the old bonce for ages before I realised what we had done wrong.

    Anyway thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    • Posted September 20, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Please leave the discussion of what you did wrong until the full review has been published.

      • Kath
        Posted September 20, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Poor pommers – he really didn’t mean to do anything wrong – please be nice to him – he does great hints and even better piccies!

  11. Wahoo
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Great fun for Sunday morning on another beautiful sunny day in paradise. Particularly liked 13d and 16 d ( do you think the addition of a comma after party might have been more of a misdirection?) but 6d has to be the favourite.

    Thanks to V and BD. */****

  12. Rabbit Dave
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    4*/5*. What a homecoming from a great holiday in the sun in the Algarve to find a tough but wonderful Sunday puzzle! My last two in were 17d & 21a. Not having the first letter, I was originally convinced that 21a must be another word which fitted with the other checking letters and which could also describe lions. Then the penny dropped on 17d helping 21a to fall into place.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    • Jane
      Posted September 20, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, RD, you’ve been missed – although there was an odd comment during the week that had your ‘friends’ feeling glad that you weren’t around to pick up on.
      What a relief to know that pedants’ corner will be up and running again.

      • Merusa
        Posted September 20, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        Now you’ve told him, he’ll go looking for it and get all bent out of shape!

        • Jane
          Posted September 20, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          You may be right, Merusa – maybe I just thought that he deserved a heads-up with regard to potential persecutors.

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted September 20, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          No time today to go hunting – unless one of you kind ladies gives me a clue as to which day(s) I need to check.

          • Merusa
            Posted September 20, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

            Noooooooooooo! Not on my head.

          • Jane
            Posted September 20, 2015 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

            Wouldn’t dream of dropping anyone in it but please don’t be upset if you happen to light upon comment 22 in the 27910 back-pager.

            • crypticsue
              Posted September 20, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

              I sorted out a drawer of kitcehen utensils this morning and found six wooden spoons. Would you like me to send you one to help with all the stirring you are doung?

              • Jane
                Posted September 20, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

                Thanks for the generous offer, CS, but I reckon I’ve probably created enough of a whirlpool with the one I’ve already got.

                • Rabbit Dave
                  Posted September 20, 2015 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

                  Wooden spoons are OK as long as they are not used for preparing rabbit pie.

                  It’s an unpleasant thought that in some parts of the world they eat dog, but I might make an exception if it happened to be a Salty Dog.

                  • Jane
                    Posted September 20, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink


                  • Merusa
                    Posted September 20, 2015 at 7:41 pm | Permalink


    • Kath
      Posted September 20, 2015 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Much too late to get into all this now – probably just as well in case I said something tactless – it has been known!
      RD – I’m glad you’re back and that you’ve had a great holiday with lots of sun.
      Your paper work has been filed!
      Now I suppose that I need to think about how much leave people are allowed in one year . . .

  13. Framboise
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    A great puzzle which gave me a lot of pleasure to solve. 26a made me smile but my favourite was 8d which was my last one in! Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the review – needed for understanding my answe ro 8d! 2*/4*.

  14. Merusa
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Learnt a new version of a word at 21a, the only clue that really held me up and my last in.
    It’s almost impossible to choose a fave but 6d comes the closest, followed by 25a and 26a.
    Thanks to Virgilius for his Sunday offering and BD for the review.

  15. Vancouverbc
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    ****/****. Very enjoyable but for me a tricky but very fair puzzle. Thanks to all. Heavy rain will make our community garden work party a soggy event. Deep joy.

  16. Florence
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Visitors left just after Sunday lunch, so settled down to an afternoon of sport on TV and the weekend prize puzzles. Both enjoyable. Thanks to setter and to BD.

  17. Gwizz
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Another Sunday treat from Virgilius! No real problems; 21a was new to me but BRB confirmed the answer. 8d was my favourite and 3/3* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his hints.

  18. Robin Newman
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 8:00 pm | Permalink


    found this one a bit more difficult than yesterday’s, but v enjoyable

    favourite clue 26A

    Thanks to setter and BD

  19. JonP
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I thoroughly enjoyed solving this puzzle. I didn’t find it particularly tricky – more of a steady solve to be savoured clue by clue. Thanks to BD and Virgilius 2*/4.5*

  20. Hrothgar
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Most enjoyable solve.
    Only really stumbled with 21a.
    I kept thinking, at first, stupidly, about the current sporting contest plastered over our TV screens.
    Then realised it must be a form of a particular word which it turned out to be.
    Many thanks Virgilius, and BD for the review.

  21. Salty Dog
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    I took a couple of bites at this, but completed well within 2* time. Great fun, so 4* for pleasure thus derived. 25a gets my vote, in honour of the five ********* we’ve had, and the two currently curled up at my feet (one of them decidedly niffy since her evening walk, when l suspect she rolled in something undesirable). Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints.

  22. jean-luc cheval
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    I am doing the rounds but haven’t done Friday’s Don yet.
    This excellent puzzle from Virgilius was solved before lunch and didn’t put too much of a fight.
    I suppose the long clues did help and the anagrams were solvable directly from the clues. MP will be glad to know that no ink was wasted.
    Favourite is 17d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  23. Jo Yoong
    Posted September 21, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    This was great. Exactly the right length of time to solve so I still had plenty of the day to spend with other things.