ST 2831 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2831 (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    Revised consumer poll, a new service for readers (8,6)
An anagram (revised) of CONSUMER POLL A N(ew) gives a service for readers of newspapers

9a    One who inherits as learner, for example, a place on course (7)
A straightforward charade of L(earner), the Latin abbreviation of “for example”, the A from the clue and a place on the golf course

11a    Odd question spelled out as to identity of spy chief (3)
Spell out the answer to get a question as to the identity of the spy chief who is James Bond’s boss


12a    After short time managed visit as arranged that takes one through country (7,4)
Start with T(short time) then after that put a three-letter verb meaning managed and an anagram (arranged) of VISIT AS

15a    Where VW can be found, we hear? It’s said to yield right of way (5,3)
Sound like (we hear) where V and W can be found in the alphabet

19a    Stroll past river, or walk in countryside (6)
A verb meaning to stroll follows (past) R(iver)

22a    Letters he has written about awful danger, i.e. explosive device (4,7)
Spell out the letters HE (1,3,1) and then insert an anagram (awful) of DANGER

27a    Release many exotic species initially tethered, including feline that’s wild (14)
This one takes a bit of unravelling – a four-letter verb meaning to release followed by the initial letters of three words in the clue and then a verb meaning tethered around (including) a three-letter feline


1d    Puritanical settlers in terrible plight fire arms (7,7)
An anagram (terrible) of PLIGHT FIRE ARMS

3d    First-class contribution by batsmen in middle of trip (11)
A contribution by two batsmen towards the total score inside (in middle of) a trip – and it really is in the middle, so insert the batsmen’s contribution after the first three letters of the six-letter trip

4d    In more sensible area, set up venues for big events (6)
Start with a five-letter adjective meaning more sensible, add A(rea) then reverse (set up in a down clue) the lot

5d    Finishes work on Jersey or Guernsey and prepares to sail away (5,3)
Two definitions – Jersey and Guernsey are types of knitwear, not islands or cattle

6d    Retrieving animal from research facility (3)
… I bet Gazza got this one quickly!

7d    Fish outside provided it’s calm (7)
A brightly-coloured tropical fish around (outside) a two-letter word meaning provided

8d    A certain arrangement of sail in fashion that’s novel (8,6)
The A from the clue, a four-letter word meaning certain and an anagram (arrangement) of SAIL all inside a fashion or vogue

21d    Section including rook, duck, and another bird (6)
A section around the chess notation for rook and O (duck)

25d    Stated number in addition (3)
Sounds like (stated) a cardinal number

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Muhammad Ali (74)


  1. Clarky
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one!
    11 and 15a particularly made me smile amongst many others.
    Thank you setter and BD for this blog, even if hints were not required today.

  2. Young Salopian
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Another top Sunday puzzle. Anagram heaven for those who like them, and the long ones certainly helped to get me started. 15 and 22 across tie for first place for me, and overall I rated this 2*/4*.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  3. Jill
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    An interesting puzzle, most satisfying to complete. 11a must win a prize for the briefest answer to a complex question!

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    3*/5* for another in a seemingly never ending line of brilliant Sunday cryptics, which presents the usual problem of trying to select a favourite from so many outstanding clues. I’ll settle for 11a with 15a a close second.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints which I needed to understand the Jersey or Guernsey bit of 5d.

    • Paso Doble
      Posted January 17, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      We have to agree wholeheartedly agree with Rabbit D’s comments and include 27a in our list of favourites. Thanks to Virgilius for another fantastic puzzle and to BD for the hints. ***/*****

  5. JonP
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    A really engrossing puzzle today from Virgilius, full of superb clues – some straightforward and some that required quite a bit of lateral thinking on behalf of this solver.

    Thanks to BD and Virgilius **/*****

  6. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Quite heavy in anagrams and part anagrams but enjoyable enough.
    Only used a bit of electronic help to check the fish in 7d.
    And had to bung in 5d.
    11a favourite also.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  7. neveracrossword
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Excellent entertainment, as usual on a Sunday. Thank you Virgilius and BD.
    PS. Is the first definition in 6d not “Retrieving animal” rather than just “animal”?

  8. Faraday
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable Sunday morning entertainment whilst still basking in the afterglow of yesterday’s events in SA.
    I found 15a cleverly amusing but 5d caused me some consternation. Despite living in “the thinking man’s Jersey” and owning one of the mentioned items I assumed that the solution must contain CI somewhere – surely? Doh!?
    Thank you BD for your much appreciated but, today, pleasingly unused hints.

  9. crypticsue
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Without wishing to cause my fellow weekend puzzle blogger extra work, if Gnomey’s boss is reading this and wants to give him some overtime on Wednesday 28th, I wouldn’t mind at all as the solving process was over far too soon and I’d love to enjoy this 5* entertainment puzzle all over again while doing a ‘stand-in’ review, particularly as Kath is away and I could tell you about all the clues that I’ve marked as favourites.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  10. Michael
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable – just the right level of difficulty after a heavy night when my head is still a little fuzzy!

    Football all the way today – firstly the Liverpool/ManU and then Stoke/Arsenal.

    Just a sprinkling of snow here this morning but it’s all gone now – I’m really glad I went for them Winter Tyres!!


  11. pommers
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Very pleasant, perhaps because it was solved over a couple of glasses of the anodyne tincture of grape and a portion of Ensaladilla Rusa in the local. Can anyone tell me why Spanish people have to make sooo much noise when they’re having a good time. It really doesn’t help the concentration on the crossword!

    No stand out favourite, just an all-round great puzzle so thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    • Una
      Posted January 17, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      It seems to be a cultural thing to never stop talking among Spaniards.I wonder how they sulk ?

      • pommers
        Posted January 17, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        Noisily :lol:

        • Una
          Posted January 17, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

          They never heard of the silent treatment .

          • pommers
            Posted January 17, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

            Silencio or even tranquilo are not words in most Spaniard’s vocabulary. Fair enough though, the same applies to Italians and Greeks – it’s a Med thing.

            • Jezza
              Posted January 17, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

              Another word they appear to completely ignore is despacio (for both speaking and driving).

              • pommers
                Posted January 17, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Permalink


                Have you ever seen a Spaniard use an indicator on a roundabout? Not surprising really if you look at Trafico’s guidelines on how to use roundabouts – my advice is extreme caution.

  12. Graham Wall
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Not a bad weekend al considered. got the cricket sorted, Leicester Tigers did a good job and then this crossword up to the usual high Sunday standard. No hints required today. I particularly liked 15a, a nice little smiler. Thanks to BD for his work.

  13. Una
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I found to be on the easier end of the Virgilius scale.
    My favourite is 15a and I also really liked 26a, the hospital where both my children were born. The red box has gone, (thank heaven), so I hope the last comment is within the rules.
    Thanks Virgilius and BD.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted January 17, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      The Big Red Box has gone …. Long Live the BRB !


  14. Hilary
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Loved this Sunday special thanks to Mr G and BD. Over far too quickly with gorgeous anagrams the only problem being what on earth do I do with the rest of the afternoon?

    • pommers
      Posted January 17, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      The Everyman on the Grauniad site is quite pleasant.

  15. Expat Chris
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    The Sunday Setter never fails to please. Favorites today are 14A and 15A. Many thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the blog.

  16. Penky
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    A blissful way to spend a Sunday afternoon,doing an excellent crossword – I really love long anagrams. Feet up in front of the wood-burner after a productive morning’s fly-fishing, what could be better.
    Thanks to BD and the setter.

  17. Angel
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    It seems I differ a bit from the majority but for me this wasn’t one of Virgilius’ more pleasurable offerings – thank you nevertheless for all you efforts on our behalf. Thanks also BD particularly for parsing 4d which I can’t believe I couldn’t parse. My joint favs (as Kath is perhaps not monitoring!) are 9a and 5d. ***/**. :neutral:

  18. Merusa
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Virgilius has outdone himself with this one, I give it 5* for enjoyment. Two are so 3D (nearly used the word), 11a and 15a, worthy of a laugh out loud.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his hints, not needed today but always entertaining.

  19. Derek
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Pleasant Sunday crossword.

    Tomorrow I shall be 92.

    Weather in NL is dry but cold wih a steely blue sky.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted January 17, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, Derek!

      Happy Birthday for tomorrow!

      I miss your recipes – and your impeccable choices of wine!

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted January 17, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Congratulations Derek, and wishing you a very happy birthday for tomorrow. I hope to emulate you and still be doing cryptic crosswords when I get to 92.

    • pommers
      Posted January 17, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Ay up Derek. Nice to see you. Your description of the weather is exactly what we have here, but probably a few degrees cooler methinks. It’s currently 14C here.
      BTW, just had some very pleasant Chianti, present from a friend who recently went to Rome.

    • Merusa
      Posted January 17, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Have a very happy birthday tomorrow. We have missed you, don’t leave it so long in between visits again!

    • Angel
      Posted January 17, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Many Happy Returns of tomorrow Derek. Cheers! :rose:

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 17, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Hartelijk gefeliciteerd met uw verjaardag.

    • dutch
      Posted January 17, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Ok van mij van harte gefeliciteerd! Proost!

      • dutch
        Posted January 17, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Ook! Spellcheck…

        Ik dacht dat ik al iestje oud was, maar jij bent nog ietsje ouder dan mijn vader! Heel veel plezier gewenst.

        • stanXYZ
          Posted January 17, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          Ook! or Ok!

          It;s all double Dutch to me!

  20. pommers
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Man U win at Anfield, cricket won in three days, Rocket Ronnie well on the way, Virgilus in the bar, rain disapeared and not forecast again for at least two weeks, roast Asturian lamb for dinner and my favourite (just one) Bond film on the telly – my cup runneth over :good:

  21. Vancouverbc
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyable solve but over far too quickly. I loved 15a and 11a when the penny dropped. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review. A wet day (maybe week!) in prospect but good for the ski slopes.

  22. dutch
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Ooo, some tricky bits of clueing (22a, 27a, 15a) – very nice, particularly like 15a.
    I liked the 18d lunatic, elegant, concise and still deceptive. I though 17a (these records may be discovered) and 16d (in theatre) were very good. I also liked the 1a anagram, very smooth, and I enjoyed 4d (in more sensible area…). At first I thought the surface grammar was odd in 23d, thinking it was the characters that were ok (freudian slip), but I guess the intention was that the puzzle was ok – ah, well, hard to disagree with us characters.

    Many thanks virgilius and thank you big dave

  23. Heno
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big dave for the hints. Very enjoyable Sunday fare, but not too tricky. Great misdirection in 15a, but my favourite was 11a, one of the best clues for a three letter answer that I’ve seen. last in was 27a. Was 2*/4* for me.Great fun.

  24. Salty Dog
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Another triumph for Virgilius. Only just into 2* difficulty, but joy from beginning to end. And to cap it all, a mention for my all-time favourite at 8d. There could be no other favourite clue. Many thanks to Virgilius, and to Big Dave.

  25. Robin Newman
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    appreciated the Muhammad Ali clip

    also enjoyed the puzzle & hints

  26. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Finally got there after spending most of the day getting ready for a new kitchen on Tuesday. Really enjoyable, favourite was 16d, as a relative novice, had been starting at it for ages.
    Oh, and Millwall finally managed a win today as well.

  27. Killer Watts
    Posted January 18, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Managed to complete, but the aquatic creature in 7d is a new one on me, I must confess. I have a new ventriloquist’s dummy here. I can’t believe how technologically advanced it is ………..speaks for itself really.

    Thanks to setter and BD for confirmation of 7d.

  28. Taff Wellian
    Posted January 18, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Great weekend – the Ospreys with a good win in the European Cup, my own village side still unbeaten in league and cup, superb band in my local on Saturday and two very enjoyable crosswords for the weekend, thanks to Virgilius and BD, 11a made me laugh, thank goodness 27a came to me before I had to work it out in cryptic fashion!

  29. Gwizz
    Posted January 18, 2016 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    I must agree with Angel; although this was fun to do it was not up to the usual standard from the maestro. No real examination of the grey cells required and for me therefore a bit of a disappointment. Oh well, c’est la vie I suppose; you can’t win them all and so forth.
    5 and 15a were the standouts. 2/3* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.