ST-2844 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2844 (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    Drug dealer with power to do damage is covered by law (10)
P(ower) followed by a verb meaning to do damage to someone and finally IS from the clue inside a law

10a    In front of a club, say, place notice (7)
In front of the A from the clue and any of the 13 clubs in a pack put PL(ace)

12a    Reduced seasoning, directing attention to sauce (5,8)
Most of a product used as seasoning followed by a verb meaning directing attention to

14a    Game with two packs — discarded in a hurry (6)
The two-letter abbreviation for a game in which each of the two sides has a pack followed by a verb meaning discarded

15a    A building that’s secure since lock added (8)
A three-letter conjunction meaning since or because followed by (added) a lock of hair

17a    For instance, disturb these old people (8)
Did you spot this anagram (disturb) of INSTANCE?

19a    Ideal place providing protection for head in university area (6)
An Item of headgear (protection for head), typically but not necessarily, a pith helmet, between U(niversity) and A(rea)

22a    Doctor sent in light meal for Leo, for example (13)
An anagram () of SENT inside a word that can mean a light meal taken on fast-days in monasteries

26a    Repaired at last, we hear, and disposed of (4)
Sounds like a verb meaning repaired by a cobbler at a last

27a    Broken wire in pretty awful office equipment (10)
An anagram (broken) of WIRE inside an anagram (awful) of PRETTY


1d    Select  best  tool for digging (4)
Three definitions

2d    Forms congregation supporting key church services (7)
A musical key supported by some church services

7d    Shifty first mate holding traveller’s document up (7)
Adam’s partner (first mate) around the reversal (up in a down clue) of a document often needed by a traveller

11d    Ruthless businessman, as person on outing, taking groups inside (5-8)
AS from the clue and a person on an outing around (taking … inside) some groups

13d    Female American actors collectively appearing in shows (10)
A derogatory American word for a female followed by some groups of (collectively) actors

16d    Plenty raised with no particular purpose, showing no emotion (8)
The reversal (raised in a down clue) of a four-letter word meaning plenty followed by an adverb meaning with no particular purpose

18d    Screen epic once, albeit not completely (7)
An easily missed hidden word (not completely)

23d    Make black  fish  cleaner (4)
… and another three definitions!

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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.

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or deleted.

Today it’s Happy Birthday to Sean Bean (57)


  1. Posted April 17, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Another fine Virgilius which should have brightened up my Sunday … alas, impatient insomniac Kitty once again did the crossword at midnight. It did brighten up my night, but that’s meant to be a time of darkness.

    I hadn’t heard of the light meal in 22a and also had to look up exactly what the packs were in 14a, not that either of those caused any trouble.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and BD. I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend – it’s a glorious day today, so once we’ve eaten I’m off to make the most of it. :bye:

  2. sgtbilko
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Wow! Managed to complete this one with only one bit of help from the site.

    This site is definitely helping me get better at solving.


    • Posted April 17, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog sgtbilko


    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted April 17, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Great Pseudo.
      Used to love that series.
      Welcome to the blog from me too.

  3. Jezza
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I romped through this one until I ended up scratching my head with a couple to go in the bottom left – last one in 18d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    4*/5*. What can one say about a work of sheer genius such as this which does full justice to it? I found it at the tougher end of Virgilius’ spectrum but a unbridled joy from start to finish.

    The head protection in 19a and the light meal in 22a were new to me. Every time I thought a clue would end up as my favourite I found another even better one culminating with 1a. This was my last one in and gets my vote today.

    Many thanks to Virgilius for making every Sunday special and to the indefatigable BD.

  5. Rabbit Dave
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    PS: BD, I think the definition for 2d is “forms congregation”, and the wordplay should be “some church services supporting a musical key”.

    • Posted April 17, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      I thought the wordplay was a bit yodaesque and was trying to simplify it. I’ve changed it now.

  6. dutch
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Pleasant Sunday offering as always – I had to look up the light meal (22a) and it took me a while to read 17a (For instance, disturb these old people) as an anagram of the answer to get instance. My favourite is probably 12a (Reduced seasoning…). Many thanks Virgilius and Big Dave

  7. Jane
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Another extremely high standard puzzle from Virgilius but for some reason I didn’t get as much ‘fun’ out of it as I normally do from his Sunday offerings. Probably just me having an ‘off’ day.
    Like RD, I wasn’t familiar with the head protection or the light meal and did need to check those with the BRB.
    23d raised a smile, favourite slot goes to 12a.

    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the Sunday homework.

  8. Michael
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Very good puzzle with a lot of interesting clues – I needed my Wordsearch program to get 21d – which was obvious once I’d got it – doh!

    Realy enjoyed it!

  9. Jane
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Don’t want to get anyone sent to the naughty corner over this but – can someone give me an instance in common parlance where the first word in the answer for 15a can be used in place of ‘since’ or ‘because’?

    • Posted April 17, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      From the Oxford Dictionary of English:

      He felt guilty, [because/since/***] he knew that he bore a share of responsibility for Fanny’s death.

      • Jane
        Posted April 17, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, BD. Latter day common parlance methinks!

  10. Kath
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    At the tricky end of Sunday crosswords – well, it was for me anyway, mainly because I was slow to get going – just as enjoyable as usual.
    Like several others of you I didn’t know the 22a light meal and I had to look up the 19a headgear – not sure if I hadn’t met that before or had just forgotten it.
    For no obvious reason I started off with the wrong first three letters in 15a but that was sorted out when I got 5d.
    I hardly dare to confess that 18d was my second to last answer – will I ever learn? 26a was my last one.
    I liked both triple definitions and 12 and 26a and 8 and 13d. My favourite was 1a.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD for giving up his Sunday morning yet again. :smile:
    Off to the garden – more unarmed combat with the ground elder but at least it’s lovely and sunny today.

    • Young Salopian
      Posted April 17, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      If you’re not too organic a gardener, you could try agent orange or napalm.

  11. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Probably the only setter I would recognise from a mile off.
    Usual trademarks present.
    Favourite is 12a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted April 17, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      or even 1.6 km off? :wink:

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted April 18, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        Good old metric system.
        Soon to be a thing of the past again maybe.

  12. Expat Chris
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Another lovely Sunday offering. I did know the light meal. It comes up in historical novels. 18A took a while to spot. Favorite today is 1A. Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  13. Young Salopian
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    This is yet another work of art that could be adorning the walls of the National Gallery. It would be disingenuous to try and pick a favourite from so many mini masterpieces, but I thought 1 across was truly excellent.

    Many thanks to Virgilius for a fabulous crossword, and BD for the blog. 4*/4*.

  14. Vancouverbc
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    ****/**. A very enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review. Two great shows this week – Paul McCartney on Tuesday and Rihanna on Thursday. Bring it on!

  15. Gwizz
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Lovely crossword as usual from Virgilius even though I found it to be a little more gentle than normal. 1a was my favourite clue among many, and overall it has to be 3/4*.
    Thanks to the great man and to BD for the hints.

  16. Salty Dog
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Great fun. I can’t score it confidently for difficulty (I had to break off to sort out dinner while my nearest and dearest had an extended knock-down drag-out telephone conversation with her increasingly loopy old mum – and yes, I know I’ll be loopy and old myself one day). It felt like 3* or thereabouts, but I’ll happily give 5* for enjoyment. Lots of candidates for top clue (22a, 12a, 13d), but I’ll plump for the charmingly simple 26a. Thanks to Virgilius and BD. One question, though – is 27a really still to be found in today’s offices?

    Now – to administer a large restorative G and T to nearest and dearest!

  17. Jon_S
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    The SW corner was a little tricky, I thought, or perhaps it was just the result of having to solve in dribs and drabs while trying to persuade children that, as there’s school tomorrow, an early night would be in order.

  18. Framboise
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Gentler than yesterday’s I thought but nonetheless enjoyable so many thanks to Virgilius for a great start of my day! Thought, however, that 27a was something of the past… 13a made me laugh and therefore gets my vote for favourite clue. Many thanks to BD for the hints not needed but perused nevertheless. Jean-Luc, still in the land of living and will soon touch base with you!

  19. AnntheArt
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Very late in the day again. Very few clues solved on first pass so decided to treat this as a learning exercise and once settled down with the hints I managed to finish this and enjoy it too. Totally respect those solvers who were able to go it alone and do appreciate the cleverness of Virgilius’s clueing. Thanks to BD for the hints and to the setter.

  20. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted April 18, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Nearly got there, but ran aground in the SW corner…
    Had to use lots of hints and BRB, all seems a bit of an uphill battle at the moment.

    • HoofItYouDonkey
      Posted April 18, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      A good effort, but finally defeated by:=
      13d – Don’t know the slang American woman
      6a – Quartermaster???
      25a – The second half of the wordplay (I knew the naughty child)
      Some nice clues, 17a was well hidden, 22a was clever pushing us down the star-sign route, favorite (as we are only allowed one now), was 1a
      Thanks to BD, without the hints I would have been lost, and the setter, an excellent, fair crossword.
      Looking forward to the day when I can actually complete one of these without the hints or the BRB
      Good to know that Sean Bean is actually older than me!!!

      • Posted April 18, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        In 6a the answer is hidden not once but twice – so the quartermaster has nothing to do with the answer apart from helping to hide it.

        • HoofItYouDonkey
          Posted April 18, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          I thought that Dave, but what is the definition? Call?? In which case I can’t see what that has to do with the lurker??

          • HoofItYouDonkey
            Posted April 18, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

            I solved the other two, though can’t see the wordplay for 25a.
            Thanks for your help and the continued excellence of the website.

          • Posted April 18, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            The definition is to call as a verb.

  21. Heno
    Posted April 18, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A fantastic puzzle, such quality, brilliant surfaces. 7&8d made me laugh. Favourite was 12a. Last in in was 6a, not sure if it’s correct. Was 3*/5* for me.