ST 2845 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2845 (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    Disorder guarantees pain for elderly person (14)
An anagram (disorder) of GUARANTEES PAIN

10a    Hear about old play that doesn’t have happy ending (7)
A three-letter verb meaning to hear a case in court around a word meaning old

11a    Catch  something that’s over quick (4)
two definitions – a verb meaning to catch and something that is over the quick on one’s finger

14a    Bird is spotted, being in hide (6)
IS from the clue inside (spotted being in) a hide or outer covering

17a    Republican in dissenting group that’s vulgar or improper (8)
Put R(epublican) inside a dissenting group to get a numerical value that can be vulgar or improper

21a    Administer without a split, so it would seem (10)
A verb meaning to administer or utilise around the A from the clue and a split

24a    Guilty person‘s argument against opposing one court (7)
An argument, the single letter that represents against, I (one) and the abbreviation for C(our)T

26a    Produced glossy cover for bilingual editor? (6-8)
Two languages followed by ED(itor)


1d    Supports  inferior goods  for short time (7)
Once you have worked out that there are three definitions this should be easy

2d    Writer’s turned in this article to make a point (6-9)
A cryptic definition of something used to make a point on a writing implement

5d    E.g. German or Italian examination a linguist has included (8)
You have to admire how well Virgilius hides (has included) answers in plain sight

7d    In which our conclusions are often non-U (8,7)
A cryptic definition of a version of a language that drops the letter U from near the end of a word – for example behavior, color and labor (all of which, I’m pleased to report, were picked up by my spell-checker)

8d    Shrub or tree, split by crack going upwards (6)
A three-letter tree around (split by) a crack or attempt, then all reversed (going upwards in a down clue)


16d    Toy first pair of children is holding not of the best quality (3-5)
A spinning toy and the first two letters (pair) of CH[ildren] around (holding) NOT from the clue

17d    For instance, losing ring — and in street, too — in part of Europe (6)
Start with the first two words in the clue and drop the letter shaped like a ring, the IN and the ST(reet)

23d    Site for experiments set up on island, one in Asia (4)
The reversal (set up in a down clue) of the abbreviated form of a site for scientific experiments followed by I(sland) gives an island in Asia

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 Jan Vertonghen (29) and Shirley MacLaine (82)


  1. dutch
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    About to use the kids as an excuse to go and see Batman vs Superman.

    Elgar’s NTSPP was a hard act to follow, but this was great stuff – 7d was exceptionally clever and definitely my favoUrite. Also really liked 5d (german or italian) and I liked the 1a anagram and the cryptic definition at 2d. 11a confused me briefly then I remembered I’d seen a similar clue before with quick as a noun.
    Seems to me 17a needs a “could be” in there somewhere.

    Many thanks Virgilius for another superb Sunday treat and thanks BD for the hints

  2. Hrothgar
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Good Sunday fare, satisfying mental workout.
    7d very clever clue.
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD for the review

  3. JonP
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I found this tricky to add to the current run of pretty tough back-page puzzles. I started in the NW (as per usual) and that fell quickly, but then I had to go all over the grid picking them off one by one.

    A well crafted puzzle as always from Virgilius with thanks to him and BD 3.5*/4*

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    2.5*/5* Quite simply, Virgilius is a genius!

    I have 28 candidates for favourite today, with 1a, 26a & 7d making the podium. The absolutely brilliant 7d takes first prize.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  5. neveracrossword
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    3*/4*. I biffed 11a and 7d. Thanks to BD, for the explanations, and to Virgilius.

  6. Angel
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was going to be a piece of cake after immediately filling in the full length 2d and 7d plus 1a but how wrong can one be. The rest presented a distinct challenge but with much enjoyment along the way. I agree with RD in nominating 7d as Fav. TVM Virgilius and BD who parsed 21a for me (d’oh!) ***/***.

  7. stanXYZ
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Once again Virgilius has provided the best puzzle of the week.

    The smooth surface readings hide a great variety of clue constructions (not to mention the hidden ones.)

    7d is my favorite!

  8. jaycat
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Better start today but then it soon became apparent that this was another fairly difficult puzzle although the wordplay was a little easier to work out then recently.

    Very clever clues like 17a 7d made this very entertaining.


    Thanks to Virgilious and BD

  9. TheTeesdale2
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Very, very clever. The setter is a genius, with super cluing. Really enjoyable – now for a small dry sherry! Thanks for help with parsing BD, especially 7d.

  10. Crack On
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Ditto all the praise from fellow bloggers. My favourite workout of the whole week. Just superb. Feel a bit 20d as have had granddaughters to stay overnight. Up at 6.30. 😴Many Thanks to BD and yes, how very ingenious is 5d.

  11. Expat Chris
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    What a joy! I loved all of it. Double ticks for 11A, 12A, 17A, 25A and 7D. Thanks Virgilius and Big Dave.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted April 24, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Expat Chris, very disappointed that you didn’t nominate a “favorite” today.


  12. Young Salopian
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    13 down my pick of so many brilliant and clever clues. I have to be careful on a Sunday, as I have a habit of going a bit overboard with the superlatives. Nevertheless, this was yet another in a long line of fabulous crosswords by a setter at the top of his game.

    2.5*/4* feels about right, with grateful thanks to the genius that is Virgilius, and to BD for his continuing hard work on this wonderful site.

  13. George
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Tremendous Sunday puzzle as usual. I don’t usually have a favourite (with a u) clue but really enjoyed 7d as it is one of my pet peeves here in Canada.
    2*/5* for me.

  14. Brian
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    What a great Sunday crossword full of brilliant clues like 7d and 17d, some easy lurkers and an anagram to get you going. For me this is what good crosswords should be like. Challenging but fun.
    Thx to all

    • Kath
      Posted April 24, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Easy lurker is an oxymoron. :sad:

  15. Kath
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Another great crossword and another difficult one too.
    Very slow progress today and I almost didn’t make it with the last few answers – 12 and 21a, the first word of 7d and 16d.
    New tactics – I decided to treat every clue as if the answer was a ‘lurker’ until proved otherwise – I still missed one of them – oh dear!
    I was slow with 17d and then even once it had to be what it was it still took ages to work out why.
    I liked 11 and 25a and 4 and 16d. My favourite was 7d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  16. Senf
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Very different to yesterday with a slow start and fast finish, but very enjoyable and completed before lights out last night. I was pleased to see that only one of the 14/15 letter answers was based on an anagram. Favourites (unfortunately my spell checker still tries to tell me that there should not be a ‘u’ in it) 2d and 7d. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  17. Vancouverbc
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    ***/****. What a delight. Loved 26a. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review.

  18. Merusa
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    What a corker! I always enjoy Virgilius’s offerings, but today was really special.
    Loved the triple definition at 1d, the brilliant 17d, 5d, and many others, but fave has to be 7d, how very, very clever.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his hints.

  19. Gwizz
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Such a good challenge! Loads of excellent clues, and for me 17a, 7d of course and 16d were prime examples. I’ll go with 16d as favourite but really it could be any.
    3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  20. Una
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe that I am the only one , so far , to take objection to the definition of 1a. Surely that description of that decade is somewhat premature ?
    I liked 2d and 7d and most of the other clues.
    Thanks BD and Virgilius.

    • Posted April 24, 2016 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I did think that complaint might be made about 1a, Una.

      • Una
        Posted April 24, 2016 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        Why ?I mean why did you think I would ?

        • Posted April 24, 2016 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

          Oh no – not by you, specifically, Una! Please don’t think that. It’s just that, like you, I though that people would indeed take exception to that definition.

          • Una
            Posted April 24, 2016 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

            Good.I mean , as far as I can make out , we are all , or most of us, are heading in that direction in the not tooooo distant future.
            It is funny how middle age expands, and I don’ mean the waist line.

  21. Jon_S
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Definitely *** for difficulty, but an enjoyable *** it was. 14ac my last one in, though not without some doubt, as in, is that really a bird?

  22. Posted April 24, 2016 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful as ever from Virgilius, and I share the general favourite, 7d. I also particularly liked 11a, 17a, 25a, 26a, 4d and 6d.

    It took me a long time to get 13d because I just couldn’t think of any tanks. The answer was new to me too, so had to look it up after I’d finally worked out what it could be.

    Many thinks to Virgilius and BD. I hope everyone has had a great weekend.

    • Posted April 24, 2016 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      Many thinks? No no no – that is what the puzzles this weekend have required of me. :wacko: I meant many thanks. And now I am going to take myself away, read a good book and not think any more about crosswords. “See” you all tomorrow evening. :bye:

  23. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Great crossword, too tired to be able to do without help from BD’s excellent hints.
    Many thanks to the setter.
    Lots of great clues, 17d my favourite

    • ListB
      Posted April 24, 2016 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      HoofIt, thanks for your suggestion on Friday to look at the Toughie. Getting many more answers there than on the back-pager restored some of my shaken confidence. It was a lot more fun as well.

      • HoofItYouDonkey
        Posted April 24, 2016 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        No problem ListB, I wish I had more time for the Toughie, I am being made redundant in August, so I should have plenty!!

  24. Salty Dog
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    What a surprise – Virgilius turns out yet another corker: 3*/4*. As always, plenty of contenders for favourite clue but my pick is 26a. 13d held me up rather unnecessarily, mainly because I somehow convinced myself that the “tank” was a Sherman! Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  25. ListB
    Posted April 24, 2016 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    This was so welcome after the frustrations of yesterday and Friday. I am amazed at how week after week Virgilius comes up with clues like 2d, 7d, and 26a that, for me at least, seem perfectly calibrated to bring a smile after just the right amount of mental struggle. I also liked and admired 5d. I did have to turn to word search in my BRB app to get 14a, which I had never heard of, and I needed to look up 13d to confirm the meaning of the answer. Many thanks to Virgilius for the enjoyment and to BD for the blog.

  26. Mad Man Moon
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Does anyone know why the on-line Monday Puzzle is not there today? I’m experiencing withdrawal already!

    • Posted April 25, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      It is there – the menu hasn’t been updated but click on “Crossword Puzzles” and you will find it.

      • Mad Man Moon
        Posted April 25, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Much appreciated, thanks.

  27. Florence
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Just printed this off and completed it, not realising it was the Sunsay puzzle not the Monday!!! Very enjoyable. Thank you setter and BD. Favourites were 26a and 13d.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted April 25, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      I’ve just contacted the DT about the non-appearance of the Monday puzzle … expecting a reply sometime next week!

      • Posted April 25, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Just click on “Crossword Puzzles

        Stop press: the main menu has now been updated.

        • Gazza
          Posted April 25, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

          I spent ages trying to work out the Quickie pun. Only after giving up and printing out the Cryptic did I realise that both were yesterday’s puzzles (when there is no Quickie pun).

  28. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Thought there was something odd.
    Printed Sunday’s puzzle again when I got in last night.
    Received my BRB and it helped find the definition of “quick” in 11a and also the synonym of “crack” in 8d.
    Agree with the majority that this was a super crossword and a joy from start to finish.
    7d is also favorite (n’est ce pas Stan).
    And 13d made me laugh.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the blog.
    I’m now going to look around for the Monday puzzle.

  29. Heno
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. Fabulous puzzle once again from the Sunday maestro. I made this very difficult by misspelling 1a, my first in. Eventually the penny dropped, and progress was made. Needed the hints for 11a, and I put the wrong answer to 15a, which stopped me getting 8d. Favourite was 13d. Was 3*/5* for me. Great entertainment.