ST 2849 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2849 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2849 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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Morning all!  While BD sleeps off the excesses of yesterday’s Derby booze up meeting of minds, I’ve popped in to look after the Sunday puzzle.  It’s another absolute belter from Brian G who produces such high quality puzzles every week.  So many really clever clues to savour.  New and aspiring setters would do well to study how he puts together such clever misleading and amusing definitions and ways of playing with words.  I have the help today of Dexter the cat who feels its helpful to cover up of the keyboard while I type.

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             It serves food boy’s first cutting on plate so badly (10)
A tool used to serve smaller portions of food is found by taking B (Boy’s first) and putting it in an anagram of ON PLATE SO.

9a             Bridges are burnt once you’ve crossed this river (7)
The name of a famous Roman river is used in an expression meaning that when you have traversed it you have burnt your bridges and can’t go back.

12a          Activity in court to suppress fraudulent operations (6,7)
The court here is a sporting one, the first word of the phrase means to suppress (as in an injunction) and the second is a word for dodgy dealings.


17a          Poet’s written about English doctor (8)
The name of a famous English poet who was known by initials (AE) rather than a first name. Inside his name goes E and this gives you a word for a hospital doctor.

22a          It’s more trouble than it’s worth, chess player found before big game (5,8)
One of my favourites (of many today), the name for one of the two participants in a chess match (think colour) is added to one of the African big game creatures to give a phrase for something that is more trouble than it’s worth.

25a          Tricky part of course from which I can exit (7)
Our setter loves to include at least one hidden answer in every puzzle and here’s today’s!  It’s the part of a motor racing circuit that is hazardous to get through.


27a          Plays role differently, with new insertion for my part (10)
An anagram of PLAYS ROLE with N inside gives an adjective that means my part in something.


1d            One of the letters repeatedly needed by tenant for rent (4)
Another clever Brian G wordplay clue.  A word meaning rent or ripped is how you might describe the two repeated letters in the word TENANT.

3d            Men agree on cut in exchange for incentive (13)
An anagram of MEN AGREE ON CUT gives a word for an incentive or perk to do something,

5d            Spectator as weekly publication (8)
The name for one of the Sunday Telegraph’s rivals is another word for a spectator.

8d            Fragrant flower daughter grew under a screen (6,4)
Probably the most obscure answer today.  A type of flower known for its scent is found by taking D (daughter) and A plus a word for a cover.  This all goes on top of something that means grew,

damask rose

11d         Official authorising unusually direct note in suit (13)
A tricky one to work out.  A word meaning authorising of something is found by putting an anagram of DIRECT and A (a note) inside a word for a court case.

13d         Within reason, is subsequently as feeble (5-5)
This is tricky and clever.    An expression meaning feeble is found by putting both IS and AS each inside the question asked to find out a reason.

18d         Fabulous creature in tunic, worn unopened in each case (7)
The name of a mythical creature is found by taking the words TUNIC and WORN and losing their first letters.


23d         Brave editor stood up, finally, being extremely selective (4)
A word meaning to brave something is found by taking a short way of saying editor and reversing it and selecting the first and last letters of FINALLY.

Hope you have as much fun as I did solving this.  Now off you go!  I’m off to lecture a cat on the art of keyboard sitting.


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  Today it’s Happy Birthday to Ming Campbell, The Lord Campbell of Pittenweem CH CBE QC Kt (75)  
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48 comments on “ST 2849 (Hints)

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with Tilsit. This was indeed a riveting load of challenging fun. Thank you BrianG and indeed TIlsit although I eventually worked it all out for myself. It’s always good though to have some help with names of setters and the odd bit of parsing. Joint “Fav” 14a and 13d. ***/****.

  2. Many thanks to BG for the weekly treat and to Tilsit for the hints. I nominate 13d as clue of the month.

  3. 3*/5*. What a joy to find such an absolute gem of a puzzle to greet me on my return from a wonderful holiday in the sun in Malta. As Tilsit says, Brian Greer produces unfailingly high quality puzzles week after week (after week)! This one has certainly helped to ease me back into real life, as I gaze out into my garden seeing what work needs to be done there today.

    Any of today’s clues could reasonably be nominated as my favourite, but, after some thought, my short list is 15a, 1d & 13d, all of which have Virgilius’ unique flavour.

    Many thanks to V and to Tilsit.

  4. Thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit for the hints. A fabulous puzzle again from Virgilius. Top quality every week. How does he do it! I was beaten by 23d. I agree with Gazza, that 13d was my favourite. What an absolutely brilliant clue. Was 2*/5* for me. Pleasantly warmer in Central London today.

  5. I enjoy the Sunday Virgilius so much that I always regret it when I fill in the last little white box.

    Some brilliant clues in this one – 1d, 15a, 13d and the trademark 25a.

    Roll on next Sunday!

  6. Morning all. Many thanks for all your kind wishes on Friday. My wife and I had a wonderful day. Even the weather stayed fine which was bonus.

    We did today’s puzzle over breakfast this morning and enjoyed it. 25a was nicely hidden I thought. Our last one in was 17a as neither of us knew the poet I’m afraid, but with the checkers in place it seemed the obvious answer and a quick Google search both confirmed it and added to our general knowledge. Thanks to Virgilius and Tilsit.

    Off to Cornwall for a few days now on what I’m told is known as a minimoon. Can’t say that one’s in my BRB though.

  7. Bliss. Pleasant morning after overnight rain, what more could a little old lady want than a Mr G crossword reviewed by Tilsit – thanks to both. After first initial panic 3a slotted in which spurred me on to greater heights, 13d superb closely followed by giggle producing 22a. Hope BD and gang had splendid time in Derby.

  8. The usual good Sunday fun but definitely tricky, or I’m having a seriously dim day – at one stage I didn’t think I was going to finish it
    I found the lurker without too much trouble so that was one hurdle over with.
    My last two answers and the ones that caused the most trouble were 1 and 23d and I was slow with 14a – don’t know why.
    I can’t spell the 17a poet so for a while I didn’t quite understand the answer.
    I wonder how I’ve got so far on in life thinking that 22a meant something completely different.
    I liked 26a and 2 and 8d. My favourite was 13d – I agree, clue of the month.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit for standing in and doing the hints.
    Hope that everyone had fun in Derby yesterday and that there aren’t too many headaches today – are we going to see some pics?

  9. Very enjoyable and completed successfully, with Small Red Book and some electronic help, although I was not too sure of some of the parsing which Tilsit has helped me out with by including those clues in the hints above.

    I was also grateful for the anagrams and lurkers which were easy to identify. Nominations for favourite 15a, 22a, 25a, 5d, and 13d, all well constructed clues, and the winner is 15a!

    Thanks to Virgilius and Tilsit.

  10. Consistently clever and entertaining – I do enjoy the Sunday puzzles from Mr. Greer.
    One up to Kath, today – I got 25a before I spotted the lurker and was having problems with the parsing!

    Always hard to pick a favourite, but my top three slots go to 14a plus 1&13d.

    Thanks to Virgilius and also to Tilsit (plus little ‘helper’) for the reminder of the note I’d overlooked when parsing 11d.

  11. Great enjoyment, thanks to Tilsit and BG.

    14a eludes me though, I only get stuck on the ones with no hints.

    Ah cancel that, the second I pressed the comment button, the penny dropped.

    1. 14a – Popular followed by a word meaning to test with A(nswer) inserted. It’s what holds your post before you’ve read it.

      1. Thanks for that. I could not get 14a for love nor money, I had a total block.

  12. I think my cpomments on Sunday puzzles must be getting a bit repetitive as I always seem to be saying how brill the puzzle is.. As usual it’s the best puzzle of the week and Virgilius continues to delight us with clever wordplay and witty definitions – what Tilsit said in the intro really. **/***** from me.

    Agree with Gazza about 13d, but it’s possible clue of the year so far. 15a was pretty damn good too.

    Ta muchly to Mr Greer and to Tilsit.

  13. A real summer day.
    Roof open at the restaurant and all the plants have been attended to.
    And since to look at things in bloom, I rather liked 8d.
    Also liked 20 although it will not come again.
    Agree entirely with Gazza about 13d. Endless ticks next to that clue.
    Thanks to Virgilius for a superb crossword and to Tilsit for the hints.

  14. Superb puzzle again from Virgilius, I love Sunday mornings.
    I didn’t remember that the poet spelt his name sans the “e”, had to google that.
    New word for me is 25a, only knew it with more letters, but I felt it had to be a lurker so just googled it.
    Fave without doubt is 13d, but loved 9a, 22a, 8d – oh! Too many to mention.
    Thanks to BG, and to Tilsit for the hints.

  15. Another Sunday, another superb Virgilius puzzle. Definitely at the upper end of the difficulty spectrum, but as always, brilliantly and fairly clued. 13 down could just be the clue of the year. Absolutely brilliant.

    This was 3*/4* for me, with grateful thanks to BG and of course Tilsit for his hard work.

  16. ***/*****. Took me a while to get into the setter’s wavelength but once done this was a really good challenge. I had quite a few d’oh moments (19&22a for example). Thanks to the setter for a wonderful puzzle and Tilsit for the review.

  17. This one was well above my pay grade.
    Needed a lot of help, both electronic and from the hints, but got there in the end….after I had had such a good week too!

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

    1. You and me both. Started well and then struggled and hints mostly covered clues I had filled in. Never did get 19a and 16d. Still enjoyed though, better luck tomorrow.

      1. and me…well beyond me…
        I found the wordplay too complex and could only fill in answers by guessing the definitions (10a a great example). Looking forward to reviewing the answers later on in the week.

  18. This was a real belter of a crossword! There were some really wonderful clues giving so much pleasure to solve. I was going to nominate 8d as my favourite but upon reading 13d again I have to admit, that is some clue!
    3/4.5* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Tilsit for stepping into the breech.

  19. What a fantastic puzzle! We have been very lax on the crossword front over the last couple of weeks but this was a real treat to get us back on track. We got there in the end but, despite the clue, are stupidly bewildered by 1d (can anyone help?) Many thanks to Virgilius as always and to `tilsit for an entertaining blog. ***/**** (also, we agree with many others that 13d was an absolute winner)

    1. Tilsit has given a hint for 1d. You need to concentrate on the word ‘tenant’ and identify which letters are repeated in it.

      1. At last I understand 1d! Thank you. Even the deliberations of a two mile dog walk didn’t help although the grandson’s presence was probably also a limiting factor. I think 13d is a very clever clue. I’ve probably only been attempting the Sunday puzzle for the last six months and it has added a new and pleasant dimension to the day😂😎

    2. Glad to see that you two are back. I know that you always return so don’t go into border collie rounding up mode too quickly. :smile:
      How are your pups?

  20. Great stuff, and a bit stiffer than most recent ST cryptics. I spent a fair while looking blankly at apparently insoluble clues, but all fell into place eventually, so 3.5*/4.5* for my money. As for favourite clue, there were plenty of corkers but for me 13d takes the prize. Many thanks to Virgilius, and to Tilsit.

  21. As usual, thanks everyone for raising my morale (but at the same time, the pressure…)
    Glad that my vote helped Bernie to take Oregon.
    And that Rory finally won something.
    I meant to mention last week that Big Dave and I have the same favourite whisky.

    1. The pressure?

      Must be so difficult to fill a grid with such wonderful clues week after week after week!

      But you always make it seem so easy! (Not the solving … the setting.)

  22. I enjoyed what I have managed but I must be so thick compared to the rest of you! I did find 22 across very amusing. Well all of them really, like I said, I’m a still a few away and somehow I doubt I will get them.

    Trouble is by the time the answers come out for the weekend ones I have forgotten the clues. But then…. ahem…. given that I usually forget why I went upstairs or into any given room these days it’s not really surprising. I believe crosswords are supposed to stave off being completely batty….. trouble I was completely batty back when I was 18! Which was one or two fragrant summers ago…… and about 44 fairly hard winters….

  23. Another good puzzle from Virgilius, that I found quite challenging. More like this please. ;-)

  24. As always on a Sunday, a difficult but very satisfying solve, def need Sunday time for this one. Still don’t see the part of the U.K. In 4d or any of the first art of 16d although both solvable from other parts of the clue. Best clue for me was 9a.
    Thx to all

  25. Like most of the bloggers I look forward to the Sunday solve after the mornings shop. Consistently excellent and somehow different from the daily back page cryptic- certainly has a number of very long solutions.
    Have to say that I bunged in 1d, as the parsing defeated me- eventook a while for the penny to drop when I read Tilsit’s hint today !

  26. Gosh it’s been a tough weekend! No chance of that 50 quid amazon voucher…

  27. Still have no idea why 1d is what it is, in spite of the hints etc.
    Have to wait until Friday for an explanation,

    1. You’ll have to wait longer than that – this one won’t be reviewed until Thursday week.

      Read the hint again – which letters in TENANT are repeated? So if you only want one of them it must be …..

    2. Tilsit should have underlined “rent” as the definition.
      Rent as past tense is made up of either one of the two letters found twice in “tenant”.

      1. Many thanks BD and J-LC, I got there in the end.
        This wordplay (and a few others in this puzzle) is well above my current level and it’s a pity that the solution does not come out for so long as there is much for people like me to learn from puzzles like this.
        13d is another example, brilliant clue, but without Tilsit’s hint, I could have stared at that for years without success.
        Many thanks to Tilset and the setter.

        1. I agree! I learn something every day. I used to do this crossword decades ago when my dad read the DT….actually he used to peer past it watching Pan’s People as I was glued to Top of the Pops…, then I moved to the …. oh what was that newspaper….. the Independent! That was in my early 20’s.

          Then we moved to this brave new world and I had no access and though I read the online online DT from its very early days I only started the crossword again because my Dad was not doing so well but I knew he loved crosswords and I got a subscription so that we could share that even though we lived in different countries. He did the hard copy, I printed off the online version.

          Sadly within a few short years/very short he was unable to cope with that but by then I was well and truly hooked again! Dad is gone now but even though I struggle a bit I remember him and do delight in the lovely corny jokes. My husband – (of 41 years how on earth did that happen!?) has a go though he is a kind of ex-pat grumpy old man half the time. I will tell him the answers and yes he laughs…. sometimes… other times he just harrumphs….

          Like I said, I often feel thick as a plank and am in awe of all you clever-clogs. Try as I might I still don’t think I have the right end of the stick with….. what is it not anagrams, I have always been good at those, and the hidden ones… what’s the other one….a charade. I don’t understand what a charade is in crossword-terms. Charades for me was my Dad at Christmas in the very early 1970’s miming hooking a worm, casting, catching, gutting, and then doing a sort of Tommy Cooper ‘Like that!’ movement. Blank stares all round. Dad could not understand why we didn’t immediately recognise the name of the TV show


          I am not making that up.

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