ST 2823 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2823 (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    Servant attending gentleman before a dance (6)
A servant who attends a gentleman followed by the A from the clue

4a    Song for church service (3,5)
A three-letter song followed by FOR from the clue and the Church of England

11a    Something you might pick by European or English philosopher (5)
Something you might pick, especially if you were a burglar, followed by E(uropean)

12a    Resting-place beside lake for exclusive group (7)
A resting-place for animals followed by one of the Great Lakes

15a    Old boy was in the army, it’s said (8)
The abbreviation for Old Boy followed by a verb meaning was in the army

23a    Result of overindulgence less good for royal house (7)
Start with this result of overindulgence in alcohol and drop (less) the G(ood) – did you try to make a different royal house fit in? I did

26a    A high-ranking officer turned left — not general (5)
The A from the clue and the abbreviation for a high-ranking officer reversed (turned) then L(eft)

29a    Province historically included in consul’s territory (6)
Kath take note! – this historic province is lurking inside (included in) the clue


1d    Animation in shout from some Manchester supporters? (8)
Split as (4,4) this could be a shout from supporters of one of the Manchester football clubs

2d    Alternative to match that’s comparatively easy to shift (7)
That’ll be the modern alternative to a match, not the old-fashioned one that I tried to fit in! –

5d    In visionary way, decide a list I call, yet not entirely (14)
… another lurker for Kath!

6d    Half-heartedly attacked person with convictions (5)
Start with a phrasal verb meaning to attack (4,2) and drop one of the central letters (Half-heartedly)

7d    Lie about Conservative policy (7)
One of our usual two-letter words meaning about followed by C(onservative) and a policy or approach

9d    Finally attributed blame to sinner wrongly — it’s not provable (14)
A cleverly concealed anagram (wrongly) of the final letter of [attribute]D with BLAME TO SINNER

16d    Put back in control, play for time (9)
A four-letter word meaning control or check, as a verb or as a noun, followed by a verb meaning to play for time

17d    Repairman set out in error, confused (8)
Anagrams (out and confused respectively) of SET and ERROR are nested, one inside the other

19d    Dashing manner of pirate’s enemy enduring pain (7)
The fictional enemy of Captain Hook and his pirates followed by an enduring pain

24d    Superior middle-class house in very bad area (5)
V(ery) followed by a word meaning bad and A(rea)

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 Boris Becker (48) and Robert Vaughn (83)


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    2*/5*. Fantastic! 4a was my favourite favourite.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  2. Nev
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    A very pleasant puzzle today with the ne corner holding me up for a while which took it to 3* for me and 4* for enjoyment.
    Thanks to the setter and BD for the hints.

  3. Graham Wall
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    A most enjoyable puzzle which maintains the Sunday standard we have come to expect. I thought 1D was a good clue – it made me smile. My rating is 2/4 Thanks to BD for the blog.

  4. dutch
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Yes I did try first a different royal house! I also tried to use L for lake in 12a, AND I bunged in an answer meaning the first 4 words in 16d

    Very impressed with 4a, 6d, 7d and the super-lurker in 5d. I also like “it’s said” in 15a and “Pupil’s education” in 21d.

    I did think the definition in 24a was a bit ott, and guess what, it is straight from brb.

    Many thanks Virgilius, another great Sunday puzzle, and thank you BD

  5. Young Salopian
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    The master at his best. So many brilliant clues, such great enjoyment. Unusually for me, I don’t normally think of a puzzle in terms of five stars for enjoyment when the difficulty is at the lower end; however, I liked this one so much I have no hesitation in marking this 2/5. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  6. jimbow
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I had a bit of a chuckle about 5d. I think managed to create a completely new type of clue! An anagram with all its letters in the correct order!!! I was convinced it was an anagram and as I had completed the SE corner I was constructing the word from the bottom up. It was only when I made progress in the NE corner and I had all but three of the first four letters I finally realised “my anagram” had all its letters in the right order. Note I had 11 out 14 letters before the penny dropped!

    Am I quick or what?

  7. Una
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Top marks for all the very clever hidden clues , 5d is outstanding,and I liked 29a as well.I hope that doesn’t let too many cats out of the bag.
    An engaging level of difficulty, most enjoyable.
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    • Airhead
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Agree 5d is quite unique

  8. Airhead
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Not easy. still at it, but definitely enjoyable.

  9. Paso Doble
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Loved 1d and 5d was amazing. A fantastic puzzle from Virgilius – an absolute pleasure to solve. Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints. 2.5/5 from us.

  10. Expat Chris
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Lovely stuff. 5D comes out top. Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  11. Sheffieldsy
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    We were unable to get going in the top half (our normal method) for a while so worked from the bottom up. With the bottom half complete, we got the two long down class and the rest followed. Favourites were 10a, 14a, 19d with a groan for 1d. 2*/4* for us and thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    Yesterday’s snow hasn’t melted from our golf course, so we had a slow morning. I used some of the time to read through previous blogs and a thought occurred. I think it may spark some debate. I’ve not seen posts about it previously (and I’ve checked the FAQs), so here goes…

    Why does this site public any hints whatsoever for prize crosswords?

    Presupposing a decision to publish any at all, I understand why they would and should be limited to a few. However, if I were a print subscriber, say, who had sent in competition entries for years and been previously blissfully unaware of this fine site, I would be quite upset to discover that there were hints floating around ‘out there’. As an analogy, imagine you’ve been playing poker for years and you suddenly find out that some of the other players have undisclosed information that helps them to know what the hands are, but you do not have this knowledge.

    Personally, we don’t submit an entry if we had recourse to any hint at all – our consciences would not be clear; it feels like a mild form of cheating. Any views anyone?

    • Una
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      There are other sites which help out with hints and even give answers, but I only ever resort to them when a Sunday Times puzzle is defeating me .

    • Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      ” I’ve not seen posts about it previously (and I’ve checked the FAQs), so here goes…”

      Try FAQ #9. Why don’t you give answers to prize crosswords?

      • Sheffieldsy
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        BD, yes I saw that FAQ but to me it simply explains a) why it’s hints rather than the usual hints plus answers under the ‘click her’ box, and b) why it’s not a full set of hints. My point was to query why any hints at all are given.

        • Jane
          Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          Hi Sheffieldsy,
          I think this one will always be a minefield of differing opinions. As Una rightly says, there are other sites out there from which one can obtain hints and even answers along with a plethora of links to anagram solvers, crossword solvers etc. It would be naïve to imagine that the DT and other publications who run Prize Crosswords are unaware of this but I would suggest that there is little they can do other than to consider the discontinuance of said competitions.
          At the end of the day it is down to us, the solvers, to set our own ground rules – much as it is with regard to all the other information that can be relatively easily obtained via the internet. All correct solutions stand the same chance of being ‘pulled out of the hat’ as is true of the BD monthly puzzles. I can assure you that the pleasure of winning is in no way diminished as a result!
          I would add that I feel this site benefits greatly from the continued interaction over the weekends between its contributors. The fact that BD limits the hints for Prize Puzzles and gives no answers is, I feel, to be applauded.
          Speaking personally, I neither purchase the weekend papers nor subscribe to the on-line puzzles for same but I invariably check in with the BD ‘gang’ to see how they’ve fared.
          Hope this helps you to understand a little better – whether or not you feel able to agree with the format.

          • Sheffieldsy
            Posted November 22, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

            Jane, I get what you say and thanks for a lengthy and obviously thoughtful reply.

            Maybe I used a poor (hypothetical) example because you and overtaxed seem to think the angle is of print vs. non-print, which it is not in my mind. We are, actually, users of the printed version, but only on weekdays. At weekends we use the iPad app. So this, for me, isn’t about whether someone is solving on paper, or online.

            You’re spot on about the differing opinions, though. I think we’ll stay with our house rule of not submitting if it’s not all our own work.

            • Angel
              Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

              You are certainly to be commended and even more so if you don’t use a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopaedia either. Nevertheless I fear I have no qualms about engaging in such “mild forms of cheating” and I suspect if the truth be known I’m probably not alone in that. I do however try not to consult BD’s hints unless push comes to shove!

              • Kath
                Posted November 22, 2015 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

                You’re certainly not alone and I don’t even think it’s ‘cheating’. I do, occasionally, use the hints to explain an answer that I think is right but can’t explain, more often on Fridays than any other day. I try not to use the hints on the days that I’m supposed to be doing them – somehow it wrecks the ‘street cred’!

        • Paso Doble
          Posted November 22, 2015 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

          Whether you ‘cheat’ or not, the only thing you can win is a fountain pen which can be purchased at the local charity shop for the same price as the weekend newspaper.

    • overtaxed
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Most solvers who complete the paper version will have access to the internet, and probably don’t consider it cheating to google obscure facts, (such as philosophers, of which there are many), or to access online dictionaries.
      Expert solvers, who complete the paper version may never discover the site. However,for the rest of us, it is very easily found, if using the internet to find a tricky answer.
      The site is excellent, and I usually try to complete the puzzle before visiting. This sometimes means I am very late and therefore don’t comment as all has already been said.
      Not everyone who completes the puzzle will submit it, so I think it is up to individual conscience how they use the hints. I doubt if anyone who does submit their completed grid has much expectation of receiving a prize.

      • Una
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Besides which , if you complete it on-line as I do , you can’t submit it.

    • dutch
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know the number of correct submissions for the prize crossword but I would imagine it is very high, enough to make the choice of winner essentially a lottery. For me, this means a few hints doesn’t greatly affect anyone’s chances of winning – certainly no more than say doing the crossword with a friend, which similarly helps you to complete it.

      However it is a prize puzzle, so it is fair that the *answers* should not be published before the deadline.

      For me, the important thing is we have a forum to discuss the puzzle on the same day as solving it. Actually it is kind of fun, we get to try and discuss the puzzle without mentioning the answers – an extra challenge!

      So, enjoy!

  12. Hilary
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    5d deserves five stars it is totally magic, it must be almost unique, 1d made me smile but have to admit that yesterday’s euphoria has worn off as electronic help was needed today. Blaming it on cold snap my antique brain needs to be warm. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  13. Merusa
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    The south half went in readily but the north put up a huge fight, but I did win in the end.
    I didn’t know the Manchester team in 1d and that held me up, nor did I know the dance, so it was hard to get a foothold in the NW corner.
    Thoroughly enjoyed the workout, and I agree that 5d was outstanding, but my fave goes to 4a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his hints.

  14. Magmull
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    A lovely puzzle today, but I’m surprised no-one so far has mentioned 8d! I thought it was wonderfully clever!

  15. overtaxed
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Thought this was a brilliant puzzle, and my favourite today has to be 5d. What a clever clue. I would not have called it straightforward so give it ***/****
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints. As for the Royal family, I had checkers in before I tackled it, so didn’t fall into that particular trap.

  16. Annidrum
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I love this guy! Magmull , I’m with you re 8d . I thought it was really clever and loved 4a ,my last one in.A d’oh moment. So many wonderful clues. Thank you so much Virgilius.?

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      You went into moderation because you left the ‘g’ out of your email address.

  17. Michael
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Very good, the stand out one for me was 5d – I got it from the checkers and then tried to work out an anagram by writing out ‘decide a list I call yet’ before the penny dropped – doh!

    Tottenham v West Ham this afternoon – Harry Kane’s just scored for Tottenham – boooooo!

  18. jean-luc cheval
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Took me a while to see the super lurker in 5d too. Always have to wait for all the checkers for long words.
    Really enjoyed this crossword.
    Favourite is 8d. Totally agree with Magmull.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  19. Kath
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Late again – have had lots of people here – lovely to see them all but I have to admit that it’s blissfully peaceful now they’ve gone home.
    A really good crossword – I didn’t think it was too tricky today.
    I managed 29a without much more than a slight hesitation but just don’t even start me on 5d – oh dear – did such a lot of letter counting . . .
    I was a bit on the dim side with 4a and 8d both of which took ages and they’re not even the most difficult clues.
    I liked most of these but particular mention to 4 and 27a and the dreaded 5d and 22d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.
    Haven’t even had time to look at NTSPP yet – mañana . . .

  20. Salty Dog
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Virgilius does it again. A cracker of a puzzle – not overly difficult, but lots of fun to solve: 1.5*/4.5*. 4a was my favourite, but there were plenty of other candidates. Thanks to Virgilius for yet another Sunday stunner, and to BD for the hints.

  21. weekendwanda
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Not as late as me Kath. Had to go out for tea and return to get in the NE corner (it was NW yesterday). Certainly a Xword of two halves – bottom and top – and my late solving of the two long answers did not help me with the top half. Loved it nevertheless and managed without external help save for a list of philosophers. Penultimate one in was 4a and probably my favourite followed by 11a. I had also been held up with 6d. Guessed the answer but took me a long time to work out the parsing. I always learn something from the hints or the comments. Today from the hints – I would not have described the resting place (8a) as being for animals but, guess what, confirmed by the BRB! Thanks to compiler and all.

  22. Kitty
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    The crossword is the only good thing about Sundays. Virgilius on form yet again. Thanks to him and BD.

  23. Angel
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    North, particularly NE, required more effort than the South. Once again several reappearances including 20a, 23a and 28a. Proboscis came to mind in11a. Thanks BD for your hints (not needed today) and Virgilius for lots of fun and just enough cerebration. ***/****.

  24. Heno
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle as usual from Virgilius. Quite tricky I thought. Completely done up like a kipper, with 5d. Convinced that it was an anagram, can’t believe it was a lurker! Well done setter. Was 3*/4* for me. Late commenting due to attending the O2 yesterday for the Tennis, whilst trying to get a power cut sorted out. Stress… Who needs it :-)

  25. Gwizz
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Ah! Another super Sunday crossword! Even when it’s tackled on a Monday.
    Some terrific clues including 5d and 8d but my favourite was 23a. Yes of course I put the wrong house in and yes I could almost parse it….
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.