ST 2821 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2821 (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 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:


1a    Cook aromatic plant that’s specified in prescription (6)
A two-letter verb meaning to cook or falsify followed by an aromatic plant

4a    Widespread alarm about endless protest (8)
An alarm or fright around the first three letters (endless) of a four-letter protest

11a    Excerpt from popular song giving serious offence (5)
Looking for a lurker? – look no further

14a    Slow movement of mythical ship on lake (5)
Jason’s mythical ship, or should that be the mythical Jason’s ship, preceded by (on in an across clue) L(ake)

18a    Projection for securing rope is holding male climber (8)
A projection attached to part of a ship for securing a rope and the IS from the clue around (holding) M(ale)

25a    Something worn by noble, possibly made of gold, one seen in court (7)
The heraldic term for gold and ONE from the clue inside C(our)T

28a    Singers inside bars in holiday islands (8)
Two definitions – some “singers” who are often kept in cages (inside bars), for reasons that are totally beyond me, and, when capitalised, some holiday islands

29a    Without objection, good woman covers her head (6)
G(ood) followed by a woman, the latter around the initial letter (head) of the same word for a woman – not, as I first attempted, around the initial letter of H[er]!


1d    Pass securing science place for some teacher’s student (8)
A verb meaning to pass or expire around (securing) SCI(ence) and PL(ace)

2d    Chap with pistol people run away from as quickly as possible (7)
If you’re looking for some wordplay here you will be disappointed, as it’s a cryptic definition of a chap, or chappess, who uses a pistol to begin an event in which people run as quickly as possible

3d    Apparently envious over opportunity that’s provided for rest of players (5,4)
The colour associated with envy followed by opportunity or leeway – these players are actors rather than sportsmen

6d    Flier, one largely responsible for historic Spanish flight (5)
Two definitions – a flier or bird and the English hero who was largely responsible for the historic flight of the Spanish ships

8d    Recorded  Brahms and Liszt (6)
Two definitions – the second being another colloquial word for the rhyming slang expression “Brahms and Liszt”

17d    Excessive praise from playwright about coffee (8)
The surname of the playwright whose best-known work was famously misquoted by Margaret Thatcher around a posh word for a white coffee which usually results in its price being grossly inflated

19d    Swedish philanthropist upset about an unstable country (7)
The reversal (upset in a down clue) of the surname of a Swedish philanthropist around the AN from the clue

24d    General meaning to expand number of regiments, initially (5)
The initial letters of five words in the clue

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Bonnie Raitt (66)


  1. Young Salopian
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I found this at the easy end of the spectrum, with only a couple of sticky ones, 10a and 17d, to slow me up. 2/3 is my rating, with thanks to our setter and BD for his review. Somehow I doubt that we’ll have any moaners or complainers today.

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Yet another exquisitely crafted Sunday puzzle which was a joy to solve. 2d was looking favourite to be my favourite until I solved 8d, my last one in, which then took the accolade.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  3. Brian
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle that was both entertaining and fun. Two super clues in 2d and 6d, both of whom made me laugh out loud but all the clues were good today I thought.
    5d was a bit of a challenge as 14 letter anagrams usually are, not too sure about 1d but then I never am about clues that expect you to use fronts of words without any indication in the clue but that is being picky in an otherwise first class crossword.
    Thx to all.

  4. Una
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Lots of great clues. I think I like 2d best.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  5. jean-luc cheval
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Was slightly disappointed by 1d and 2d which I found a bit weak but was very impressed by 29a.
    A little thought for 19d too. Such a wonderful country. Unstable due to its neighbours surely.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the review.

    • dutch
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      I was a teenager in this country, luckily in a time of peace, 1967 to 1972. I was at an American high school, and enjoyed a lot of hiking and camping. It was always nice to walk from the river sources in the mountains to the sea, would normally take 3 or 4 days. Used to ski in faraya and the cedars. Lots of fond memories, this is a period that has shaped me.

      • Merusa
        Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, Beirut was always known as Paris of the East, a very beautiful and vibrant city with a very sophisticated society! What a waste.

    • Paso Doble
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Really enjoyed this puzzle as always on a Sunday but agree with you, Jean-Luc, about 1d and 2d which were our last to go in. A **/*** for us. Thanks to Virgilius and to BD – hope you have a peaceful, trouble-free day on the blog today.

  6. Graham Wall
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    The Sunday offering is always looked forward to in our house. It never disappoints. This one sticks to that tradition. Not the hardest but very enjoyable. I would rate this as 1/3.5 I particularly liked 2D and 6D A couple of good smilers there. My thanks to BD for the review.

  7. dutch
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Bonnie Rait!! Happy birthday and thank you for all the music.

    Loved today’s puzzle, usual Sunday excellence

    • Young Salopian
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      I saw Bonnie Raitt when she was the support act for Eric Clapton and Elton John at the old Wembley Stadium. ‘Saw’ is perhaps the wrong word to use, as all the performers were distant dots on the stage; we were as far from it as it was possible to be and still be inside the venue. Happy memories though.

  8. Vancouverbc
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    **/**** for me. Excellent clues and lots of fun. The bottom half went in swiftly then slowed through the NE and finally NW corners. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review and correcting my interpretation of 2d.

  9. Heno
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. As usual another super puzzle from the Sunday setter. Great fun, a bit on the gentle side. Was 1*/3* for me. Favourite was 8d. I’ll be getting 8d later, especially if the Red Machine wins later

  10. Hilary
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Once again a lovely Sunday treat from Virgilius beautifully annotated by BD, thanks to both of you from a dingy day in Suffolk where I feel that the best thing to alleviate the gloom is to do another crossword.

  11. pommers
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Splendid stuff as usual from the Sunday Supremo and not too taxing, which was a good thing after the excesses of yesterday evening

    2d was last in and I’ll go for **/****.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD for getting the hints up on time

    BTW Nice to see the place back to normal after yesterday’s todo. Personally if the tosser never comes back it will be too soon for me. I have this message for him

  12. Cryptor
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Super puzzle fitting nicely between lunch and nap. **/****. Also wasted a minute pondering where the ‘h’ fitted in 29a. Many thanks to all.

  13. Nev
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Another enjoyable Sunday puzzle with only 1a and d holding me up until I read the clues! Thanks to virgilius, and BD for the help.2*/4* for me today.

  14. Merusa
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Usual Sunday gem from Virgilius.
    I got 2d wrong, thanks for putting me right BD.
    I also missed 8d completely, never thought of cockney slang. Again, thanks for help with that.
    My fave was 6d, but lots of other contenders.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    • Kath
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Wonder if you had the same wrong 2d as I did – was it the second letter?

      • Merusa
        Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        Second and fourth letters! So I was even wronger than you were!

  15. Kath
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Just me then? I didn’t think that it was on the gentle side at all but everyone else seems to think so.
    The long 5d anagram took me ages and ages – needed almost every possible letter in before I saw it.
    I ended up with a completely empty top right corner – nothing, nothing at all for far too long.
    I’ve never heard of 3d and anyway thought we were probably talking football, rugby, golf . . . .
    Tried to make 12a an anagram of ISN’T and AIM but got there in the end and was just plain slow with 10a.
    My 2d was wrong, by one letter, the second one – it does mean to run away from as quickly as possible but also probably in different directions – thought it might mean a man with a gun . . .
    I like 1 and 29a and the two long down anagrams, 5 and 9. My favourite was 8d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    • Merusa
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      I, too, tried the “isn’t-aim” anagram, and the 5d anagram made me try every prefix and suffix known to the English language, but it fell in eventually. As you say, oh dear!

  16. Angel
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Yes, thought this a great puzzle. Thank you Mr. Ron and BD. Completed quickly in the East including the Rhyming Cockney but then needed rather more thought in the West. 1a and 2d were last in – not too sure about the latter although I do have to admit that I spent some time trying to remove R from something. ***/****.

  17. Drapdor
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Well I finally finished it, with help from the clues here, in particular on 3d which I had misconstrued.
    The 5d anagram also took me ages, and I tied myself up over 9d which was suddenly obvious once I had half the letters. I was also blind to 22d until the end!
    I don’t quite follow the clue for 26a, although I got the answer – I would be very grateful for any hints on how it works.
    I enjoyed this and liked 8d best – nice to see things with rhyming slang like the lovely Golden Syrup we had the other day.
    Thank you to the setter and BD.

    • Angel
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Re 26a think legal terminology – right – and then insert N.

    • Gazza
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      In 26a “right to a lawyer” means a word used by lawyers to mean a right (i.e. a legal term for a right). Into that you need to introduce the abbreviation for new.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        When I looked it up I found this:
        The right of a lawyer to hold a client’s property until the client pays for legal services provided.

      • Drapdor
        Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Thank you! That makes perfect sense, and the definition from Jean-Luc makes it crystal clear.
        Law is my day job but that particular right did not spring to mind here!

    • Margaret
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Drapdor, take out the middle letter and the word you have left means a right in law. Enjoyed this one. Needed no help, but thanks as always to everyone. Don’t very often comment as by the time I get here it’s all been said but love it anyway.

      • Margaret
        Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, I see that by the time I’d written my comment others had beaten me to it

        • Drapdor
          Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          Thank you anyway!

      • Kath
        Posted November 8, 2015 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

        If you get here and it’s already been said then just say it again – most of us do – you can always add a bit more!

  18. Framboise
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Good evening to all! Back from our wonderful voyage on QM2 and a few days in NYC! Returned in Hyères yesterday – coucou Jean Luc! – and relieved that I could complete today’s offering after so many days without cryptic solving. No problem apart from 2d which was my last one in. 3d is a new expression for me and for Mr Framboise… Many thanks to setter for an enjoyable solve and to BD for the review which I needed to check some of my answers.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back.
      Now that I have lots of free time I hope to see you for a homemade dinner.

  19. Salty Dog
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    1* difficulty, but plenty of smiles (so gusting 4* for enjoyment). 8d was my favourite, but was pushed hard by 18a. Many thanks to Virgilius – keep it up, Maestro – and to Biggus Davus (as the Pythons might have said).

  20. Michael
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable, a little tricky and some brilliant anagrams.

  21. Gwizz
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Virgilius never fails to deliver the goods. Yet another well crafted puzzle to enjoy.
    2d was my fave, and 8d wasn’t far behind.
    2/3* overall.
    Thanks to the man, and to BD for his hints.