ST 2843 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2843 (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    Form of communication, usually kept short, that could be remote, clinical (10,4)
An anagram (could be) of REMOTE CLINICAL

10a    Confused mixture put right in distant past (7)
The first time I encountered this word meaning a confused mixture was when former Prime Minister Harold Wilson used it to denounce a book by Joe Haines (remember the Lavender List scandal?) – put R(ight) between words meaning distant and past

11a    Choose to back, seizing power (3)
It’s easy to get this one wrong – it’s not a lurker but a reversal (back) of TO around (seizing) P(ower)

14a    Top or formerly highly-rated player, we hear (6)
The definition is a verb meaning to top or surpass and is derived from a word meaning formerly and what sounds like (we hear) a highly-rated tennis player

15a    Most unorthodox partnership that is securing runs (8)
Two bridge partners (my first thought was a pronoun) and the unabbreviated Latin phrase for “that is” around (securing) R(uns)

17a    After vacation, place is not this  busy (8)
Two definitions – think about it!

22a    Neatly fitting small decorative features around old volume (11)
Some small decorative features around O(ld) and V(olume)

23a    Vessel that reappears in our next return journey (3)
… don’t you just love the way our setter hides a three-letter word not once, not twice but three times in the clue

27a    In earnest way, holding ‘er hand, off and on (14)
An adverb meaning in an earnest way around (holding) ‘ER from the clue and a four-letter a colloquial word for a hand


1d    For some monastic groups, what leader of mission opens? (8,6)
This could me what Ethan Hunt opens before undertaking his impossible mission!

2d    Wandering sailor capsized, taken on board by Viking explorer (7)
The reversal (capsized in a down clue) of one of our usual words for a sailor inside () the first name of a famous Viking explorer – did you see the recent Dan Snow documentary about the Vikings?

3d    Youngster carrying foreign currency, parking in dangerous place (7,4)
A three-letter word for a very small child around (carrying) some foreign currency and P(arking)

5d    Grass planted among grain for merchant (8)
… it took me quite a while to spot this lurker (planted among)

6d    Injure in attack with bow raised (3)
The reversal (raised) of a verb meaning to attack with the bow of a ship

7d    Assume the speaker opposes ending of debate (7)
A phrase that could mean the speaker (first person) opposes (1’1,4) followed by the final letter (ending) of [debat]E

8d    How points on the line are distinguished (14)
… the line here is the equator

20d    Traveller I spotted entering French city on time (7)
The I from the clue inside (entering) a French city and followed by T(ime)

25d    In other words, compressing carbon to produce diamonds (3)
The Latin abbreviation for “in other words” or “that is” around (compressing) the chemical symbol for Carbon gives a a colloquial word for diamonds

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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 Sophie Ellis-Bextor (37)


  1. Kitty
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    More delicious than Sunday roast (and fewer calories). Many thanks to V and BD.

  2. Crack On
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks BD. 5d Have spent ages trying to put a certain substance into a synonym. A lurker …….. D’oh moment , again. Great crossword, as always and at least the iPad version works this Sunday!

  3. Rabbit Dave
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    3*/5*. I adore Virgilius’ crosswords and today’s was no exception! Three quarters went in steadily but the NE held me up taking my time up to 3*. My last two in and joint favourites were 15a & 13d, but all of the three letter answers deserve a special mention too.

    Many thanks to our Sunday Supremo and to BD.

  4. George
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Not too difficult but some new words for me at 19a and 21d. A fine puzzle as usual for a Sunday from Virgilius. 2*/4*

  5. Kath
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Blimey – I thought this was really difficult – very enjoyable but difficult.
    I was so smug about finding the first lurker – the one with three in it – that I missed the following one and the final one, 5d, was one of my last answers.
    10a I’d forgotten but someone used it as a word to describe the Thursday PJ crossword so it was still in my memory!
    13d took ages although I don’t know why – dim.
    I never did work out why 15a was what it just had to be – I suppose we rarely see the unabbreviated Latin phrase – well, that’s my excuse anyway.
    I didn’t really understand 1d and then when I read the hint I had to look up Ethan Hunt . . .
    I liked 17 and 27a and my favourite was 9a. I also quite liked 24a even though it’s a lurker.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    • crypticsue
      Posted April 10, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Re 15a – if you read my review of 2841 (you did comment) you’d have seen it on Friday!!

  6. dutch
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff as always on a Sunday – no easy ride today. Took me a while to get my head around 17a (aren’t the two meanings related, if not the same?) and 8d – was not thinking about equator but the other lines, and struggled With the meaning though only the answer would fit.

    Much fun many thanks V & BD

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted April 10, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Dutch, the two meanings of 17a are distinct but, without the naughty corner beckoning, I can’t say more except suggesting looking up the root word in the BRB.

      • dutch
        Posted April 10, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink


  7. Brian
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    That was Hard! After finishing this I had to have a lie down to ease my aching head. My brain hurts! Sunday is always tough but this is beyond tough.
    Some clever clues in 12a and 17a but my favourite was definitely 14a, I am a sucker for a good pun. The only one I am still unsure that I have the correct answer is 13d, having real trouble making my answer fit the clue.
    Thx to all.

    • Posted April 10, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      13d Period during which bar is open inside (7,4)

      Two definitions – the first six words form one and the last word the other.

  8. JonP
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    A quality puzzle from Virgilius that I found to be quite tricky in places.

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

  9. Jane
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Definitely Virgilius shaking us out of our normal Sunday comfort zone.
    Like Kath, it took me a while to justify 15a and to get the right bar in 13d.
    Also found my own little ‘dim’ spot with the classical quartet in 26a.

    Top three for me were 27a plus 1&7d.

    Thank you Virgilius – I’m wide awake now! Also thanks to BD for the reminder of ‘that’ partnership.

    • Kath
      Posted April 10, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      I have to confess that I didn’t justify 15a – I read the hint! :oops:

      • Jane
        Posted April 10, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        Confession is good for the soul, Kath. Can’t tell you how long it took me to work out why I seemed to have the wrong number of people involved in 26a!

  10. jaycat
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle which took some working out but which was very rewarding for doing so.

    Very nice Sunday fare.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.


  11. Una
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    A rewarding but quite difficult puzzle. 13d is my favourite.
    Thanks to virgilius and BD.

  12. Chalkster
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    My wife & I are relative newcomers to the DT crossword but are getting to grips with it now, often thanks to BD and the regular contributors. (We started off with the cryptic in the Sun, but don’t judge us too harshly for that). Today’s crossword was just the right amount of complexity for a Sunday, so thanks to the setter.

    However, we’re still not convinced we’ve got 19a. Is it something that one might do to a particular type of Sunday roast? Or are we barking up the wrong tree?

    I have commented on here once before so apologies to BD if I’ve used 2 different names.

    • Gazza
      Posted April 10, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Hi Chalkster,
      It sounds as though you have the wrong answer for 19a. It’s a double definition.

    • Posted April 10, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      You left two previous comments last year, but with a different email address.

    • Chalkster
      Posted April 10, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Gazza. My wife has just worked it out. Definitely barking up the wrong tree.

  13. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Totally forgot to print it this morning as I was still struggling with Radler.
    Much more on the right wavelenght for this one.
    Great selection of clues including his trademark in 23a.
    Never a disappointment.
    Last ones were 1d and 9a.
    Quite a few favourites but I’ll settle for 3d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the blog.

  14. Young Salopian
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I will come clean and confess that I found this a lot harder than most Virgilian compositions. Several took some severe parsing, and needed some fairly oblique thought processes to get there. However, the brilliant wordplay and clueing were fair throughout. It was 4*/4* for me, with my favourite the outstanding 15 across, although, like BD, I loved the clever way the answer appeared three times in 23 across.

    Many thanks to Mr G for a tough Sunday tussle, and to BD for his hints.

  15. Robin Newman
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    challenging and interesting
    particularly liked 23A
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD

  16. Jon_S
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    The longer clues took a little unpicking, but pretty straightforward once a few had gone in. Clues like 23ac are becoming a bit of a speciality with Virgilius of late.

  17. Florence
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Ringed several favourites. Loved 23a. Thank you Virgilius and BD. NW corner was last in for me. Started at the bottom and worked up today. 27a was first in.

  18. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Getting nowhere with this.
    This has been a pretty chastening week for us beginners.

    • Una
      Posted April 10, 2016 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Give us a clue where you are stuck.

      • HoofItYouDonkey
        Posted April 10, 2016 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the offer, but pretty well everywhere.
        I can’t even get the answers from the hints. I think taking up the piano may be a more profitable use of my time!!
        Time to turn the laptop off and watch the golf.
        Thanks anyway!!!
        Thanks to BD for the hints, but the level I am at, I think the hints need to be at the level “and the answer is…”

        • Kath
          Posted April 10, 2016 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          Blimey – you must be really stuck to be watching the golf – :yawn:
          Most days you can see the answer if you’re really stuck – you can’t do it at weekends because they’re prize puzzles.

        • Salty Dog
          Posted April 10, 2016 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

          Don’t let it get to you. I find that if I keep staring at the clues I can’t decipher, things don’t get any better (ie I still can’t!). So relax: put it on one side and glance at it over morning coffee – chances are you will spot a way in and clues will tumble like ninepins.

          I was reasonably on wavelength, even though the NE corner held me up a bit. Call it 3*/4*, and my pick of the clues was 3d. Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

        • Una
          Posted April 10, 2016 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

          I didn’t try the Sunday puzzle for quite a while after first starting to try cryptics.I think , maybe , a year. There a number of anagrams in this one which should give you a leg up. .Such as 1a and 16d.
 was hard.

          • HoofItYouDonkey
            Posted April 10, 2016 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

            Oddly 1a was first in.
            I got there in the end, but what a slog…

    • Florence
      Posted April 10, 2016 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      Don’t be too hard on yourself. There have been easier Sunday’s than this. I’ve had to chip away at this on and off through the day. You’re doing fine.

    • Kath
      Posted April 10, 2016 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      I’m not a beginner. I think it’s been a pretty tricky week. Cheer up, tomorrow is another day and the beginning of a new week. It’ll all be fine . . .

  19. AnntheArt
    Posted April 10, 2016 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Phew that was a mammoth struggle, but did get there in the end with a combination of hints and electronic help and consultations with the better half.
    I feel quite proud that I did solve some clues, such as 20d, 26a, and 19a myself before resorting to the blog and I saw all the lurkers. But sympathise entirely with HIYD and wonder whether, after finally understanding 15a, my brain will ever be able to contort itself to that degree!
    Thanks to the setter and BD for the entertainment and brain workout.

  20. Attila the Hun
    Posted April 11, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I must have been on Virgilius’s wavelength because the grid filled quickly. But after completing it I spend several minutes puzzling over where the fifth letter in 15a came from. I kept parsing it as: ************. Then the penny dropped. Duh!

    • Posted April 11, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      A bit too much information. The main reason for redaction is that it will probably confuse more than it will help.

  21. Paso Doble
    Posted April 11, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Like many others we found this to be a very tricky Virgilius but very rewarding to get there in the end. Completely failed to see the lurker and needed BDs wise words to parse a couple of the others. Great fun. Many thanks to Virgilius for a most enjoyable challenge and to BD for the hints. ***/***** from us.

  22. Gwizz
    Posted April 11, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    This was a corker! A real pleasure to do battle with, and there were several for sure.
    10a was my favourite, partly because it is just a nice sounding word.
    4/4* over all.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his hints.