ST 2848 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2848 (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.

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    Refinement of manners and language (6)
Two definitions – the first being, according to Chambers Thesaurus, cultivation, class, breeding or sophistication

4a    Round the bend in a river, a collection of warships (6)
An adjective meaning round the bend or insane inside the A from the clue, R(iver) and the other A from the clue

8a    Informative programme giving directions to players (8)
All four compass directions are followed by the list of players in a dramatic production

10a    Stuff Mad Hatter had crazily taken out (6)
Start with MAD HATTER and drop (taken out) the assorted letters (crazily) of HAD

13a    Recovering from cold after drinks in sisters’ house (12)
C(old) comes after some alcoholic drinks and then is inserted into the house for religious sisters

20a    50 per cent of group at riot is milking state support (10)
… yet another way of indicating a lurker!

22a    Plane up in the air? Keep quiet about it (6)
This verb meaning to plane a piece of wood is derived by putting an adjective meaning up in the air or controversial inside (about it) an exhortation to keep quiet

25a    Political group including left, up to a point (6)
A political group around (including) L(eft)


1d    Portrayed, in a way, with no end of artistry, one animal after another? (8)
This anagram (in a way) of PORTRA[Y]ED without the final letter (end) of [artistr]Y gives an animal that is after or hunting another – the surface reading seems to be referring to Noah’s Ark!

2d    Powerful cutting device initially constructed (5)
This word for this powerful cutting device is an acronym, just as radar is derived from RAdio Detection And Ranging

5d    Like Italian, for example, from Cremona, originally (7)
This general name for the vernacular languages that developed out of popular Latin, such as Italian, is an anagram (originally) of CREMONA

6d    Genuine article secured by relative in charge (9)
The definite article inside (secured by) a relative and followed by the abbreviation for In Charge

7d    Works to improve bill, say — it happens as PM arrives (6)
This verb meaning works to improve a bill in the House of Commons, when split (2,4), could describe the time of the day when PM arrives

9d    One of our competitors running holiday home scheme (4-7)
The name of one of the Telegraph’s competitors followed by a verb meaning running

15d    Toughness of points covering fundamental truth (8)
Two points of the compass followed by (covering in a down clue) a fundamental truth

21d    For sake of argument, assume one’s not unemployed? (5)
This verb meaning to assume as true for argument’s sake is derived by putting I (one) in a job (one is not unemployed)

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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 Andy Murray OBE (29) and Zara Tindall (née Phillips) MBE (35)  




  1. dutch
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Usual assortment of fun from our sunday maestro.

    last one in was 22a

    My favourite was 20a (50 per cent of group…) for the pdm, also 10a (stuff mad hatter…), 11a (market forecast..), 24a (setter…), 1d (portrayed….), 2d (powerful cutting device…), etc, etc.

    Unfortunate double negative in 21d, though, not sure why that is needed

    Many thanks Virgilius and BD

    • crypticsue
      Posted May 15, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      21d read the clue and BD’s hint again. The double negative is definitely needed.

      • Hrothgar
        Posted May 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it is needed.

    • dutch
      Posted May 15, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      For the sake of argument, assume one’s employed (5)

      • neveracrossword
        Posted May 15, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        But the use of double negatives in English is not incorrect.

        • dutch
          Posted May 15, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          agreed, just unnecessarily complicated ( I loved the ‘not incorrect’). I am trying to understand why the setter would do this – i can only think that without the double negative, the surface could read as though the ‘one’ referred to the argument – but then, surely that adds to the deception?

  2. Hrothgar
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Great Sunday fare.
    Loved the long lurker.
    Many thanks Virgilius and BD for the review.

  3. stanXYZ
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff from Virgilius as always.

    Still trying to work out how many definitions are included in 11a.

    20a – my last one in and my favourite – a classic of the genre.

    (I knew that there was one in there somewhere – just took me a very long time to find it)

    Thanks to Virgilius & BD.

  4. Hilary
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Dim day, even with help I still struggled with 15d and 21d. Enormous crash when penny dropped. Thanks to BD and Virgilius for a delightful way to spend Sunday morning, off to do GK from yesterday. Favourite has to be the lurker.

  5. Brian
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Interesting one today. Never come across 5d as a description of languages before and I must say the lurker indicator in 20a was a bit underhand!
    Not easy as Sunday’s never are but very enjoyable. Must admit to resorting to the invaluable hints for 8a.
    Thx to all.

  6. jean-luc cheval
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I just love the way Virgilius describes what to look for:
    (it happens when PM arrives) in 7d, (what divides Europe and Africa) in 19d, (one of our competitors) in 9d and (one animal after an other) in 1d are beautiful examples of his style.
    20a (50 per cent) was very clever.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  7. Merusa
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know why 22a and 2d were correct, so thanks to BD for sorting that lot.
    I loved 21d and 11a, but I think fave has to be the lurker at 20a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD for the hints.

  8. Tantalus
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to V and BD for the delightful synaptic romp… Amid the Spanish GP excitement.

    Mr & Mrs T

  9. Una
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Impossible to pick a favourite, so I will plum for 22a and 23a as examples of excellent clues.
    Thanks BD and Virgilius.

  10. Expat Chris
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    i thought this was a bit trickier than usual in places. Very enjoyable, though. 2D (when the initially constructed clicked) became my favorite. Very clever. I also liked 21A since it took me far to long to see it. Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  11. Heno
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very good puzzle as usual from Virgilius, some brilliant clues. Loved 20a, but my favourite was 13a. Needed the hints for 15d. Was 3*/4* for me. Happy St. Totteringham’s day :-)

  12. Young Salopian
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Another Sunday, another cracking puzzle from Virgilius. I thought this was getting towards the top of the difficulty spectrum, but, as usual, superb and fair clueing got me across the finishing line. No standout favourites, but the lurker was brilliant.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD. 3*/4*

  13. Jane
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Would agree with Young S that this was heading towards the top end of the Virgilius spectrum and certainly had a few blind spots in the NW corner. Hadn’t ever considered that 2d was an acronym – never too old to learn!
    Always hard to pick a favourite from our Sunday ‘man’ but my podium list includes 12a (lovely word), 1,3,7&9d.

    Thanks to Virgilius, to BD for the verifications and also to the lovely BD site blogger who faithfully sends me the puzzle every Sunday!

  14. Faraday
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    An idyllic beach dog walk interrupted the solving process but both were equally enjoyable. 2d and 7d amused, 20a lurked so successfully that the crossword was long solved before BD enlightened me and 21d is a word I obviously know but now I know what it means as well! The joys of crossword solving😂😎

  15. 2Kiwis
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    We always do the Sunday puzzle but do not usually comment. We thought this one was so brilliant that we just had to thank Virgilius for it. Where do we start to pick a favourite from so many excellent clues? The multi definition one, the lurker to end all lurkers? It just goes on and on.
    Many, many thanks Virgilius, you’re a genius, and BD for the hints.

  16. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Nearly there…lovely crossword today, just the nw corner to do…
    I know many of you are Rugby fans, but well done to the Lions from Bermondsey with a resounding 3-1 win at Bradford this afternoon in the League 1 play-offs, do the business on Friday then it will be off to Wembley on the Bank Holiday week-end.

  17. Salty Dog
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    As always, for my money, the best puzzle of the week. Not the hardest (2*), but a delight from start to finish (5*). I loved 16a, 6d and the lurker, but 7d is my favourite. Many thanks to Virgilius, and of course to Big Dave.

  18. Jon_S
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Good as always from Virgilius, a little tougher than usual I fancied, 15d and 20ac especially at the end.

  19. BusyLizzie
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Always happy if I can finish a Sunday puzzle, so a good day, although would not have got there without Big Dave’s hints for some. Actually NW corner went in first for me, then we went for usual Sunday walk (like to prove that mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun…). After another coffee, iced this time, and returned home and managed to finish rest of puzzle. Yay!

  20. JonP
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle as always from Virgilius. I got held up in the SE corner for far too long and nearly chucked in the towel before the pennies clanged around me. Overall I’d say it was a 2* puzzle but due to my delay I’d have to go with 3*

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

  21. AnntheArt
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this very much although I had to avail myself of the hints for 21d and 7d. Was able to appreciate the elegant clueing to some extent and am grateful for some of the comments above which explain further the quality of Virgilius’s style.
    Thanks also to BD for the explanations and of course to the setter.

  22. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Finally crossed the line, thanks to a couple of Dave’s hints. I thought that this was quite tricky.
    Thanks to BD and the setter,

  23. Angel
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Terrific – thank you Virgilius. So good to have a prize puzzle that provides plenty of cerebral exercise. Thanks BD for parsing 9d for me which now leads me to nominate that as my today Fav. The SE corner presented me with the most problems but I eventually overcame them all. ***/****. Congratulations To Andy Murray for his Birthday victory over Djokovic in Rome.

  24. RichardW
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Thought I was on for an epic fail after first read through revealed only 2 clues, and no idea how to solve any of the others! Eventually got a few more then it fell into place. Pretty hard for me!

  25. Gwizz
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you Richard, I was panicking after the first pass; one answer and I wasn’t even sure it was correct. Slowly slowly catchee monkey prevailed and the rest came together. As usual some fabulous clues but I’ll go with the 50% example as my favourite. 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  26. Sheffieldsy
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    A first rate crossword with several favourites, notably the fabulous 7d, 21d, 9d and the wonderful lurker that is 20a.

    We rate this offering 2*/4* and our thanks go to Virgilius and BD.

    • Sheffieldsy
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Remiss of us. Should have mentioned 1d as a favourite – lovely clue.