ST 2819 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2819 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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Morning All

Thanks to Crypticsue for standing in at short notice when a certain four-legged chum decided to be a bit awkward.  I am having problems with another four-legged chum this morning.  His name’s Dexter and he insists on sitting on the keyboard while I am typing this, expecting cuddles and treats.

Quite a tricky puzzle from our Sunday Setter today.  Lots of head scratching moments, and choosing the clues to put here hasn’t been easy, as I think I could have put most of them!  However, the best advice I can offer is to just read the clue carefully.  Every bit of it will mean something, there’s no wastage.

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 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.

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

Some hints follow and pictures courtesy of the lovely Crypticsue, as my iMac seems to not like showing them to you.:


1  Foreign article on the way about concert is inflexible (14)
A word meaning inflexible, hard and rigid is made up of a (French) article + a word meaning on the way.  Inside this put the short name of a classical music concert in London and IS.  See what I mean about no surplus bits in a clue?

10  Annoyance as succession interrupted by king (7)
A word meaning annoyance or envy is a word for a line of succession with the regnal initials of the Queen’s dad.

George VI

12  Rebuked and hurt after copying antique (10)
Something that means hurt or felt sore goes after the short name of a copied antique or painting to give you a word meaning told off or rebuked.

15 Interpret as disadvantages? Right (8)
A word my Latin Master at Prescot Grammar School, who taught me to do cryptics, use to use all the time.  Something that means interpret or translate is made up of a word sum.  Think of a word meaning disadvantages (if pros are advantages…?) and something that means right or correct.

17  Through which sailor can see right inside cavity in rock (8)
The name for a window on the side of a ship is R (right) inside the type of hole in the ground that people seem to enjoy climbing through.


22  Enable people to hold hands in wood (4)
A double definition, with the first cryptic.  How you enable people to hold hands (of cards!) is also the name of a type of wood in furniture making.

25  Separate one ascending sequence of notes (7)
A word that means to separate comprises I (one) plus three consecutive notes of the musical scale.

26  With limited vision, tragically, they’d shot girls (5-9)
A phrase that means something done with limited vision or myopically, is an anagram (tragically) of THEY’D SHOT GIRLS.



1  How pizzicato is played, standing tall (7)
Another double definition clue, where one part is cryptic.  If you play a violin pizzicato you are playing it without what? It’s also a way of describing a tall, upright person.

2  Letters on boat providing personal description (9,6)
A wordsum.  The way to describe letters of the alphabet + the name of the type of boat below =  a thumbnail description or potted biography of a person.


4  Poetic features exemplified by Gray, say (6)
One of our setter’s trademark clever clues.  A feature of many poems and Gray and say are examples!

5  Biscuit old artist lifted, dipped in wine (8)
A type of biscuit popular with Mrs Overall.  The  name for a type of wine from Burgundy has O (old) and the abbreviation for an artist back inside.

You might find the word in here….  Any excuse to make you smile….

6  Misplaced emphasis about an ability needed by people on board (10)
The skill needed to steer a boat is an anagram of EMPHASIS around AN.

13  Shooting aid that’s more portable assembled inside (5,5)
Something to help you shoot (a photo!) is a word meaning easier to carry, more portable with a word meaning assembled or encountered within.

light meter

16  British businessmen taking interest in kitchen appliances (8)
Products that are found in your kitchen are revealed by taking B (British) and adding the name of people who make their living out of charging interest.

23  Piano needed for lots of tunes — and drums, often (4)
And another of our setter’s trademark hidden answers.  However here the answer appears hidden not once but twice!

Good luck with the puzzle.   And it’s goodnight from me and goodnight from him…


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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Katy Perry (31)


  1. JonP

    I really enjoyed unravelling this one and I agree with Tilsit regarding its quite tricky status. I was fortunate enough to see 1ac straight away so that gave me a decent amount of checking letters to get going with some of the down clues. Great stuff – with thanks to Tilsit and Virgilius 2*/4.5*

  2. Rabbit Dave

    3*/5*. Superb, as ever on a Sunday. My last three in (12a, 16d & 17d) extended my time from 2* to 3*. I loved every single clue today but my joint favourites are 1d & 23d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit.

    P.S. Tilsit, your hint for 23d is numbered 20d.

  3. Nev

    Another enjoyable Sunday puzzle which I rate 3*/3* with 15a last in. Another’doh’ moment!
    Completed without any help, but thanks anyway for the clues, and to the setter.

  4. Wahoo

    Great puzzle as always from Virgilius. As Tilsit says, no wasted words.

    12a made me smile. Overall **/**** for me last night. Thanks to V and to Tilsit.

    By the way RD, you mentioned yesterday that your scroll bar doesn’t work on the hints when BD prepares them on Saturdays – same with me – which seemed to start happening about a month ago. But that doesn’t happen when Tilsit, or another blogger, prepares the hints. Not a criticism BD, just an observation.

    Come on Argentina!

    • Rabbit Dave

      My scroll bar works fine every day; it’s the page up/page down and cursor keys that don’t work for me with the prize puzzles on Saturdays and Sundays, regardless of the blogger. Yesterday’s (Cryptic Sue) and today’s (Tilsit) both give the same problem.

      • Jane

        Hi RD – just wondering how the antibiotics are going down today? By the way – what is Mr. Rabbit’s name – I think we all know him too well by now to be on such formal terms.

        • Rabbit Dave

          He is called Twix, and he is a model patient in taking his antibiotics. I’m much more concerned about him today as he has hardly eaten anything since yesterday, but at least he is drinking. Lots of cuddles continuing!

          • Jane

            Damn it – I do remember that now and the conversation as to whether he was right or left Twix. Sorry, RD.
            Hopefully, the lack of food intake is simply down to lethargy meaning that he doesn’t need so much ‘fuel’ – but I’m sure you’ll be back to the vet post-haste for a check-up.
            Keep us informed, RD.

          • Merusa

            Oh dear! We are all pulling for him and hope he brightens up soon. Good luck and many cuddles.

  5. John C

    I was fortunate in getting the four longest answers right at the beginning, I had some difficulty in working out why 5d and 25a were in fact the answers. Tricky indeed. 12a was the last one in, 2.5*/4*

    It is an usually full grid, with 166 letters

  6. Angel

    Great fun – thank you Virgilius and Tilsit. Can’t parse 14a. Made life difficult for 17d by stupidly plumping for wrong first four letters in 17a. Favs (sorry Kath!) are 1d and 22d. ***/***.

    • jean-luc cheval

      Hi Angel,
      I don’t know if you have been able to sort out your posting problems but for 14a it’s a double def: Unit with special assignment ( as in the army) which is also a verb meaning to dock.

  7. Hilary

    Tricky Sunday morning workout, first pass yielded nothing but sheer tenacity and, it has to be admitted, a fair amount of electronic help got me through. Decided to get four long ones and work from there, in the end I was definitely 26a but 1d. Off to get OH’s birthday lunch, his present was a very upmarket yoyo which was well received. What else can you buy a 70+ who has everything? Bright but chilly in East Suffolk.

    • Jane

      Upmarket yoyo, Hilary? Tell me more – that could come in useful for my Christmas present dilemmas!

      • Hilary

        Go to eBay and put in light up yoyo and a whole new world will be at your feet. OH very difficult to buy for, he had one many moons ago so I thought this would fit the bill.

  8. dutch

    I liked the down clues a lot more than the across clues today, having ticked 3d (thought producer), 4d (poetic feature), 6d (misplaced emphasis), 8d (individual with dagger), 20d (using needle) and 23d (piano).

    Last one in was 12a as I was struggling with the first bit.

    Many thanks Tilsit for an excellent blog and thank you again Virgilius for the usual superb sunday entertainment

  9. Graham Wall

    Sunday is always a good day for the crossword and this offering proves the point. It certainly made me think without my getting totally frustrated. I would give this. **/****
    My favourite clue was 1A. Thanks to Tilsit for the review. Now going to watch my beloved Leicester Tigers do their stuff. Their by-line is 1A

  10. Young Salopian

    The last few Sundays have shown Virgilius at his very best, and he has not disappointed today. Another top puzzle from a setter at the top of his game. Thanks to him and Tilsit. 3/4 for me, mainly because I got held up by 4d and 17d, otherwise would have gone 2/4. Torn between watching the second rugby semi and Liverpool. I suspect Mrs YS will have the casting vote for the rugby.

  11. mary

    Thanks for blog Tilsit?Sue??? I found this quite hard today at least a three star for difficulty, favourite clue 18a, just amused me, no real cause for complaint today quite enjoyable once I got into it

  12. jean-luc cheval

    Unlike JonP, 1a was my last one along with 1d and 14a.
    I’m often stuck with Virgilius long words and I refuse to use these word search programs which take some of the fun away from solving.
    Liked 9a (row about line), 8d (individual with dagger) and 16d (British businessmen) the most.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit.
    My avatar shows the front page of the sport section in my local newspaper. Made me laugh.

  13. Heno

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit for the hints. A very nice puzzle as usual from Virgilius. A joy to solve. Made it hard for myself by misspelling 4d, but once I realised, I managed to get 12, which was last in. Favourite was 15a. Was 3*/4* for me. Lovely day in Central London. Hope all those in York are enjoying the weekend.

  14. Merusa

    The usual superb offering from Virgilius! I found it decidedly tricky but his clues are so fair, if you worry them long enough the answer comes through.
    I love the long clues, they give so much help with the rest.
    I never did get 23d, very clever.
    Loved 1d and 10a.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Tilsit and Dexter for the hints, needed for 23d.

  15. Vancouverbc

    ***/****. What an excellent challenge which made finishing it even better without the hints. I agree with Tilsit, for whom much thanks for the review, that there wasn’t a wasted word in the clueing. Thanks also to the setter for the best Sunday puzzle for a long time.

  16. Salty Dog

    Another great puzzle from the master, with which l struggled for a while. In the end, though, 2*/4* is about right. I had ticks against 14a, 15a and 17d, the latter just nosing ahead in the favourite clue stakes. My only quibble is 17a: anyone who learned their 6d where l did would not call it that (and I hope that didn’t constitute an illicit clue). My thanks to Virgilius, and to Tilsit (and Dexter).

  17. Kath

    I thought this was a bit on the tricky side but have suffered all day from lack of sleep (a very late night) and a bit of a headache – a self inflicted one – a good evening though!
    My last answer was 4d – dim, I blame the headache.
    Spent ages trying to justify a wrong answer for 9a – just as well that I couldn’t as it would have completely screwed up the rest of that corner.
    I was slow with 12a for no obvious reason other than the headache!
    I liked 25a and loved 18a – the thought of anyone saying that to a head of state made me laugh and reminded me of another clue which was along the same lines but can’t remember it now.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit and to CS for providing the pics.
    Supper needed very soon, if not now even though it’s earlier than usual for us.

  18. Gwizz

    Sunday crosswords have always been a bit special and this one is well up to expectations! As Tilsit says, no words wasted. 3/4* overall and 18a because the idea is so daft.
    Thanks as ever to Virgilius and to Tilsit for the hints.

  19. sunny_h

    Electronic cheater has packed up so had to do this the long way, but was very pleased when finished without any hints. Just back from holiday in Spain so double whammy for putting the clocks back. Thanks for the review anyway as always useful for checking a few that wasn’t 100% sure on.

  20. Mark LH

    Seems obvious what 20d is, with all the checking letters, but can’t for the life of me get around the wordplay……………unless it isn’t the obvious word that comes to mind…..I feel inwardly dissatisfied.

    • Big Dave

      Welcome back to the blog Mark

      Since your earlier comments you have added LH to your alias – either will work now.

      20d Using needle to inject drug into small limb (6)
      Insert (inject ) the usual single-letter drug between S(mall) and an arm-like limb of a bird

  21. weekendwanda

    Very enjoyable – thank you setter. I don’t very often do Sunday’s offering. However 12a and 15a had me foxed even with all the checking letters. Resorted to the hints (thank you) which I never normally do save to check the parsing/word play.

  22. Paso Doble

    Thanks very much to Tilsit and Dexter for an excellent blog – we needed your help for the second half of 15a. A tricky but enjoyable puzzle from Virgillius. ***/*****

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