ST 2840 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2840 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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Note:  The EV is now up on the website

Good morning everyone, the Boss is schmoozing with the Macclesfield set this morning, so I’ve been left with the keys to the shop.  It’s the Sunday cryptic and to be fair, I thought today was a little more challenging than usual, but no less enjoyable.  I took a little while to find a foothold in the puzzle, but then it was mostly plain sailing.

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:


1. Reacted to foul play in game, having initiated trick (8)

Like your blogger, our setter has a love of card games, especially bridge.  Here we have the name of another card game, similar to bridge and added to it is what you have done if you have played the first card.   When put together this gives what a referee may have done after a foul in football.


9  Articles of protective clothing in war are badly needed (8)

Something to have one when the weather’s not very nice is an anagram (badly needed) of IN WAR ARE.

11  Getting better with unorthodox cure, gym activity helping (12)

This is a nice word sum clue.   An anagram (unorthodox) of CURE + an abbreviation for the school gym class + a word for a helping or portion.  When run together they reveal a word that means getting better after an illness.

13 A learner, in loud argument, raised voice (8)

There are a couple of these clues today.  where a phrase (here it’s loud argument) needs to be broken down to form two things.  So here you need  A & L (a learner) to go inside the musical abbreviation for loud and a phrase (3-2) that refers to a fight.   That gives you a type of higher-pitched singing voice.

26 Country’s anger, as expressed in blog? (4)

This is quite a clever clue.  The name of a country not to far away can be found by thinking how you would be annoyed on line.  The question mark in the clue is telling you to think outside the box with this one.  If, for example, you were talking about mail on line, that would be email.  So here, you need to work out what anger on line would be and that spells the local name for this country.

27 County having season, as American says, that’s failure (8)

The name for a county north of 26 has the word Americans use for autumn to  give a word meaning failure.

28 Test ground with it for authority (8)

The name for our main cricketing venue takes an American 60’s word meaning with it or trendy to give a title associated with authority or the elite.



2 Assisting partner, get ample home partly set up (8)

Wonder how many of you spotted this without checking letters!  Our setter loves hidden answer clues and is probably the best in the business for hiding them.  He’s done just that here.  ‘Partly’ is a way of showing it, and as it’s a down clue, ‘up’ means it’s reversed.  So hidden backwards in ‘get ample home’ is something that refers to someone who provides assistance.

3 Marksman notes part of face (12)

The name for a marksman is found by taking a word for some types of musical notes (not flats!) and adding a slang word for the bit on your face that smells.

4 Window   that’s needed for theatre opening (6)

Today’s last one in.  Not helped by the dreaded double unch – two unchecked letters together.  A word for a type of window is what a surgeon may use to make an opening in an operation.


12 Characteristic of close-knit group to understand her point (12)

A word that can’t be applied to our Cabinet at the moment.  Again, it’s a word sum:  TO  + a word meaning to understand + HER + a geographical term for a point or headland  – all told, these give a word meaning unity.

17 French citizen having change of air in Spain, possibly (8)

The name for the inhabitant of a certain French city is found by placing an anagram of AIR inside an anagram of SPAIN.

19 New composition for cornet among 101 musical works (8)

A slightly unusual word.  Inside the Roman numeral for 101 goes an anagram  (new composition) of CORNET to give the output of composers.

25 Utter hero of some central Europeans (4)

The name of a famous folk hero in central Europe is a word that means to utter.


Now, while the boss is away, we have to play nicely.  So off you go, and behave yourselves!

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 Fernando Torres (32)
Fernando Torres


  1. JonP
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I too found this trickier than usual and initially struggled to get going with a few solved clues scattered about the grid. However I was duly awarded a completed grid for my tenacity and thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle.

    Thanks to Tilsit and Virgilius ***/****

  2. Kath
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I found this tricky too.
    I ended up with four answers that took ages – all in the top left corner and all interlocking – really not helpful. I confess that two were hidden answers – 10a and 2d. Oh dear!
    I’m not sure I knew that 20a was an easy shot – unless it was associated with a water bird!
    I needed the hint to understand why my answer to 4d was right – dim – and also to understand 26a.
    I liked 11a and 3d. My favourite was 12d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit. What does the bit in red at the top mean – what’s EV? Am I being dim, yet again?
    Off to the garden – lots to do . . .
    Hope that everyone’s having fun in Macclesfield.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted March 20, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you on 20A. I’ve only ever heard a two word phrase. EV is Enigmatic Variations.

      • Angel
        Posted March 20, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        D’oh, just realised – see page X2 of Puzzles Pullout for EV.

    • Merusa
      Posted March 20, 2016 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you with 10a and 2d, and when I did find the answer, I still missed the lurkers! As you say, oh dear!

  3. Expat Chris
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Yes, more challenging than usual, but good fun to solve. 1A was my last in, and my favorite was 26A. Thanks to Virgilius and Tilsit.

  4. Jezza
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Puzzle of the week for me. Many thanks to Virgilius, and to Tilsit.

  5. Young Salopian
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    A pretty tough example of Virgilius’ art today. As usual for him, all the clues are elegant and fairly clued, which made even the odd answer like 4 down doable, even though it as a new type of window to me. I thought of a xxxxxxxxxxxx and got there in the end. Of several outstanding clues, I went for 13 across as my favourite, and as for 20 across, if a footballer misses an open goal, he is said to have missed the answer, if that makes sense. 3.5*/4*.

    Grateful thanks to Virgilus and Tilsit for his hints. Hope all went well in Macclesfield.

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 20, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      You might well have thought of xxxxxxxxxx but you can’t say so because that’s giving an alternative clue.

      • Young Salopian
        Posted March 20, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Fair comment.

  6. rod
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Good workout for the poor brain. Wasted too much time trying to make 11a end in …ing, which, in turn, caused all sorts of problems with 8d. Is ‘getting better a correct meaning of 11a? Also puzzled about the first word in 23a. Had hoped for a hint to tell me why I got it right.

    Many thanks to V and T. Off now to have a large V&T with ice to cool the brain.

    • Kath
      Posted March 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      I think if you ‘put’ something in a particular way you’re probably first word of 23a ‘ing’ it.
      I know what you mean about 11a but think it’s OK – it’s Virgilius so it’s bound to be – but can’t go any further on that tack as too much to do in the garden.

      • rod
        Posted March 20, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Kath. That is basically what I thought but nice to know I was on the right track. Happy gardening.

  7. Merusa
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I found this a decidedly tricky Virgilius, but, oh, what wonderful satisfaction when I unravelled the answers. I just loved it.
    I thought a couple of four-letter answers were so clever; 7d and 26a.
    I loved 1a, 13a and 12d, but there were many others.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Tilsit for his hints.

  8. jaycat
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Definitely difficult today and although I got a lot of the solutions, I couldn’t, for the life of me figure out the wordplay of most, so i didn’t rate this as enjoyable, rather a bit frustrating albeit clever puzzle.


  9. pommers
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I was pretty impressed with this puzzle. All the usual Sunday elegance but trickiness increased enough to make it last a bit longer than usual. 1a was last in and a real tea-tray moment when the penny finally dropped.

    Can’t decide on a favourite as the whole lot were good stuff. Possibly it’s 17a as we have a French citizen having change of air in Spain in our village at the moment.

    Muchas gracias to Virgilius and Tilsit.

  10. Easily confused
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Can anyone help with 6d, just can’t get it. Thought today’s bit easier than usual apart from 6d

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 20, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink


      the definition is ‘in violent fashion’ – abbreviation for fellow, the way we might say ‘that is’ and the abbreviation for caught inserted into a verb meaning to bank [on] something/someone.

      • Easily confused
        Posted March 20, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, had got half way then inspiration fled! All done now. Thanks again

  11. Angel
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Quite a struggle to get off the ground but then it gradually fell into place and it was a pleasant journey. Thank you Virgilius and Tilsit. The argument in 13a seems to appear regularly these days. Fav probably 3d but several runners-up amongst the elegant clues. ***/***.

  12. Hrothgar
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable mind stretcher.
    Some brilliant clues eg 1a
    Many thanks Virgilius, and Tilsit for the review.

  13. Jane
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Definitely not a walk in the park but most enjoyable. 6d took a long time to sort out and I’m still not sure about the ending of 11a. Seems to be right for the latter part of the clue but the wrong ending for ‘getting better’? However, as Kath said – it’s Virgilius so it’s almost bound to be correct!

    Thanks to Virgilius for the masterpiece and to Tilsit for holding the fort. I was certainly glad of your review to fully parse 26a.

  14. Gwizz
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    That got the grey cells working! Lovely crossword which took a bit of work starting in different areas before it all began to come together. 1a when the penny dropped was my favourite. 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit for depping. (No spellcheck, not ‘disposing’….)

  15. Jon_S
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Definitely trickier than of late. I started quickly, but was left with 1ac / 4d and 7d which refused to budge for an age.

  16. AnntheArt
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Started late in the day and Enjoyed completing this. Feeling proud that so many of you found it tricky. Have to confess to seeking help for 6d, so near and yet so far with that one, and 12d. Also had to ask Mr Google to check on 4d. Thanks to Tilsit and the setter.

  17. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Got there in the end.
    4d flummoxed me completely, but CS kindly put a hint up that helped.
    Many thanks to Tilset fro the hints and the setter for an enjoyable challenge

  18. Heno
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit for the hints. A super puzzle, been trying to to finish it since Sunday. Needed the hints for 1&28a,and 4d. Favourites was 12d. Was 3*/4* for me.