ST 2829 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2829 (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    Contribution to disorder as calculating mischief-maker (6)
Were you fooled by the first clue having a hidden answer?

10a    From which you might get oil in USA — area that’s near Mississippi (9)
An anagram (from which you might get) of OIL IN USA A(rea)


11a    Broken article placed on end of desk (5)
The indefinite article and a verb meaning placed are preceded (on in an across clue) the final letter (end) of [des]K

13a    Waiting for start of action in court (7)
Two definitions – waiting in, say, a restaurant and the start of action in a tennis court

20a    Person still being portrayed as problem (5)
Two definitions – the first being someone being still while being portrayed by an artist

26a    Loud, isn’t hard to hear (5)
The musical notation for loud followed by a a colloquial word for “isn’t”

27a    Step up on one side of debate (9)
Split as (3,6) this could mean being on one side of a debate

28a    Was a pest of different type found in part of garden? (8)
An adjective meaning of different type inside a three-letter part of a garden

29a    Avoid or escape key cut (6)
The abbreviation found on the escape key on the computer keyboard followed by a verb meaning to cut


1d    Banking on weapon that’s protecting one (8)
The usual two-letter word meaning on or concerning followed by a weapon around I (one)

5d    Movement that’s raised skill and physical activity in people (14)
The reversal of a three-letter word meaning skill followed by a physical activity or recreation inside a people or race

6d    Epitome of stiffness in game (5)
Fill in the blank – “As stiff as a _____”

7d    Turn over detail of school uniform that gives head fit (7)
Split as (3,4) this gives a measure that ensures an item of school uniform fits on the head

9d    Drink after first piece reduces energy — that limits star’s appearance (7,7)
An alcoholic drink follows the first piece (4,1) and is followed by a verb meaning reduces and E(nergy)

16d    Haughty and irreverent around ruler (9)
An adjective meaning irreverent around the regnal cipher for our ruler

17d    Mint and cinnamon, finally, included in concoction (5-3)
The AND from the clue and the final letter of [cinnamo]N inside a concoction

21d    Servile as prodigal son, to begin with (7)
An adjective meaning prodigal or wasteful preceded by (to begin with) S(on)

24d    Characteristic of feet as measure of length (5)
These feet are divisions of a line of poetry

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to John Paul Jones (70)


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    4*/5*. Sheer brilliance! Favourite? Pick any one from 30!
    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Just splendid. SE corner gave me a bit of pause, which just added to the enjoyment when I worked it all out. Plenty of smiles and lots to like, including 11A, 20A, 27A, 29A, 6D, 7D and 24D. Many thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave.

  3. stanXYZ
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I found this quite difficult … mainly because the cricket from Cape Town was far too distracting … finished it during the lunch break. Very enjoyable. Thanks to Virgilius.

  4. Michael
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    No real problems – a couple of lurkers, a few anagrams but no new or obscure words – very enjoyable it just didn’t last long enough!

    It’s a miserable wet day here in Bishops Stortford – so it’s Football/Rugby/Football all the way – the telly doesn’t watch itself y’know – it’s quite exhausting!

  5. Paso Doble
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic stuff again from Virgilius even if we 15 acrossed towards the end.
    We agree with Rabbit Dave’s assessment of ****/*****
    Thanks again to Virgilius and BD.

  6. Kath
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    3* difficulty and 4*+ for enjoyment.
    New tactics today – go lurker hunting before doing anything else – it seemed to work.
    The bottom left corner was a bit of a problem mainly because I couldn’t get 22d and thought 28a was an anagram.
    I was slow with 13a and 5d and needed the hint to explain 9d even though the answer was obvious from the definition and the checkers.
    I’d hate to be the poor girl in the piccie for 20a – not only is she starkers in a blizzard but she’s going to have a hard time holding that position for long.
    I liked 11 and 14a and 3 and 17d. My favourite, eventually, was 22d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  7. Young Salopian
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I will echo everything said by RD above. He has said it all.

  8. Hilary
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Lousy, rotten wet dingy day here but thanks to Mr G for cheering me up with a stonking crossword to exercise my little greys cells. No pencil lead was expended on the anagrams and several including 22d and 26a raised a small smile on my ancient visage. Thanks also go BD, loved the statistics you directed us to last week, did you ever guess when you started that it would be so successful?

    • Jane
      Posted January 3, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Hi Hilary,
      Thought I’d pop in to let you know that I have, eventually, seen the pin-up picture you referred to yesterday. Apparently it also appeared in The Times today and Hanni very kindly sent it across to me – along with a comment that she doesn’t know what I see in him!
      Don’t know whether you saw my post the other day but I do hope ‘Al’ is doing well!

      • Hilary
        Posted January 3, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        He sent his love and asked when you were going to pop in again. Al is short for Alaric and he is very self-conscious about it. Glad you got the picture as I was wondering how to get it to you.

  9. Heno
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A terrific puzzle that I ran out of steam on. I started at the top, then got really bogged down with 16d. needed hints for 16&17d&21d and 28&29a. Favourite was 14a. Was 4*/5* for me.

  10. Merusa
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Super puzzle again from Virgilius, last corner was the SE.
    I spent far too long working out the anagram at 1a, my paper ls littered with letters written in circles.
    I can’t pick just one fave.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his hints.

  11. Boltonbabs
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Our ipad edition had 28a as two words 5,3. We could not believe it was a toothy vegetable which was all we could get to fit. Had to wait for your hint, by which time the fault had been corrected. Too many mistakes are appearing in the digital version and the switching between across and down clues is very confusing.
    We still thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, despite finding it more difficult than usual.

  12. Gwizz
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Contrary to Boltonbabs I thought this was easier than the usual Sunday Virgilius! Each to their own again…
    However a treat to do with lots of good clues 21d being a good example.
    3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  13. Vancouverbc
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle. Took me a while to get going but then it fell into place quite quickly. Some very clever misdirection as well. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review.

  14. Langstone Joe
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this one. Struggled as usual, so thanks to BD for the hints which I availed myself of several times. But managed to complete it.

  15. Framboise
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Great offering from Virgilius which was a treat to solve. Did not find it too difficult and thoroughly enjoyed it. 3*/5* with lots of brilliant clues – 11a, 14a, 29a, 22d to name only a few. Oops, suddenly realized that my 13a was incorrect – had another word which fitted but could not be parsed correctly. Many thanks to BD and to Virgilius who provided a splendid start to an otherwise dismal rainy day.

  16. Una
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    A terrific puzzle, tough enough at times. I had to look up the spelling of 10a and 14a.It’s a long time since I heard 22d used , nice to hear it again.
    Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  17. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    This defeated me today, a shame after yesterday’s success.

  18. Airhead
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    A tough one for me. I needed the tips. I’m blaming all the sugar and alcohol still in my system from the holiday period.

  19. Salty Dog
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    I put in another word for 26a, which threw out two other clues in the SW corner, so had to draw on BD’s hint for 22d before I realised my mistake. Suitably chastened, I score this 3.5*/4*. I think 26a – having caused the most brow-furrowing – deserves my vote for favouritism. Thanks to Virgilius, and Big Dave.

  20. Kitty
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Horrible day, brilliant crossword.

    Thanks to V and BD.

  21. Florence
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Guests have all gone but wanted to watch War and Peace before settling down to do the crossword. All plain sailing until 17d. Spent ages on it. Eventually cracked it with the help of the review. Lots to like about today’s puzzle. Thanks to the setter and to BD.