ST 2837 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2837 (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    Wretched strikes I had backed (6)
The reversal (back) of some strikes and the abbreviated form of “I had”

4a    What’s absurd about clubs having boxer, perhaps, as guard? (8)
An anagram (absurd) of WHAT around (about) C(lubs) and followed by the type of animal of which a boxer is an example (perhaps)

10a    Affected by moving air, part of orchestra’s shed tears (9)
A section (part) of an orchestra followed by the S from ‘S and a verb meaning shed tears

13a    Scottish author runs into obstacle (7)
The surname of the Scottish author who wrote one of the best-known books for children followed by R(uns)

15a    Very nice answer within one’s competence put right in (8)
A(nswer) followed by an adjective meaning within one’s competence around (put … in) R(ight)

20a    Returning thus in performance in title role (5)
A two-letter word meaning thus inside a performance, all reversed (returning) gives the title role in a famous opera

26a    A permit legally voided — in a way that’s how it should be (5)
The A from the clue followed by P[ermi]T and L[egall]Y without their inner letters (voided)

29a    At the same time that learner enters game (6)
L(earner) inside a card game


1d    Attach less importance to drink and fun (8)
A verb meaning to drink, often in one go, followed by some fun or amusement

2d    Doing wrong part of test, putting final piece first (7)
Start with part of a test cricket match and move its final letter to the beginning

5d    Person taking responsibility for their life who doesn’t believe in ghosts? (14)
… this person doesn’t believe in using ghost writers in order to tell their life story

7d    Remove human expertise from workplace in poor shape (7)
A charade of a workplace in an office and an adjective meaning in poor shape

8d    Key admission for those in certain class (6)
A musical key followed by a word meaning admission or access

9d    High-ranking strategist with mostly moral attitude, having multiple job applications (7-7)
A high-ranking military strategist followed by most of an adjective meaning moral and an attitude of the kind taken up by an artist’s model

17d    Tough sergeant, say, time after time breaking soldier (8)
T(ime) follows )after) T(ime) inside (breaking) a soldier who serves on board a ship

22d    Rising in revolt over conflict diamonds (6)
A two-letter adverb meaning in revolt followed by a major conflict and D(iamonds)

24d    Composer whose pieces could come in handy (5)
An anagram of (whose pieces could come in) HANDY

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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Mario Andretti (76)


  1. Expat Chris
    Posted February 28, 2016 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    For me, this was trickier than the recent Sunday offerings, particularly the RHS, but no less enjoyable. Thanks to Virgilius and thanks to BD for the review and congratulations on the successful upload.

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 29, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    What a lovely start to the day, turning on my computer to find my favourite website (only one favourite!) up and running again. Many thanks and heartfelt congratulations, BD.

    I agree with Expat Chris that this was trickier than usual for a Sunday puzzle but absolutely up to the usual standard, so I my rating is 4*/4*. 17d was last one in. I got 7d wrong as I took “remove” as the definition and found out the error of my ways when I checked BD’s hints to try to find out how “human expertise from workplace” could possibly clue the first four letters of my answer.

    5d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  3. Cryptor
    Posted February 29, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Welcome back blog! Great crossword, ****/****. Last in 17d and merited a trip to chambers. 10a favourite as it brought a smile when penny dropped. Thanks to all, especially Big Dave for all the work put in to this blog.

  4. Brian
    Posted February 29, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    The lack of hints forced me to really think about this one but it was worth it in the end.
    Pretty tricky though, at least a 3.5 but that’s about par for a Sunday.
    Thx to all

  5. Hilary
    Posted February 29, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Oh heck first message lost when switched back to maintenance mode. You are a total star BD. I echo Brian’s comment having no help made me try harder which was brilliant. Just what we have come to expect from our Sunday master thank you to Virgilius, have to own up to electronic help but got there in the end the ghostly one being my favourite.

  6. Jon_S
    Posted February 29, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I thought it was just me having an off day, so pleased (if that’s the right way to put it :smile: ) to see others found this trickier than usual too. As ever on a Sunday, though, time pleasurably spent.

  7. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted February 29, 2016 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Tricky this, after the high of completing the Saturday prize puzzle, which was my first ever without hints.

  8. Taff Wellian
    Posted March 1, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Congratulations on getting the site back up BD, I know how frustrating it can be. Excellent crossword for a Sunday, well done Virgilius, very challenging for the likes of me, had to use the blog clues for the last three (7d,22d,26a) with a shout of ‘of course! Picks would be 9d & 20a. Building nicely for possibly the Six Nations decider in two weeks; being Welsh, I’m looking forward to it as it’s one of the best sporting rivalries in the world – this has got to be one of the best opportunities for a Grand Slam for England but as history tells us – a certain rather rotund lady won’t be in a hurry to wet her larynx.

  9. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted March 1, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    ‘Voided’ means remove the inner letters from a word in crosswordspeak???
    I have much to learn (grasshopper)

  10. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted March 1, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    SE corner defeated me in the end

  11. Young Salopian
    Posted March 1, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    The hardest Sunday offering for some time, with the SE corner holding me up and pushing me well into 4* time, which matches my score for enjoyment.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    I did this one on Tuesday, straight after Monday’s and Tuesday’s puzzles as I wasn’t around for the last few days. Guessed I missed all the fun, if that is the right word.

  12. Wahoo
    Posted March 1, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    All in one place, if that’s OK:

    Sunday – brilliant ****/**** – and I knew we would have a “medical” theatre at sometime over the weekend following from the two “medical ” numbers last week.

    Monday – OK */** – not too keen on Rufus

    Tuesday – bit bland as Gazza says */**

    Congratulations on getting the site back up an running.

    Thanks to all.