ST 2854 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2854 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2854 (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    Typical cathartic cries when agitated (14)
An anagram (when agitated) of CATHARTIC CRIES

11a    Unfriendly — reason’s clear to me when you spell it out (3)
Spell out each of the letters in the answer to get a phrase meaning the reason is clear to me

12a    Apple changed many things about computer, finally (6,5)
An anagram (changed) of MANY THINGS around the final letter of [compute]R

14a    Place for putting European or English author (6)
Isn’t the English language fun at times – putting can mean placing and hitting a golf ball – so start with a place for putting a golf ball and add either the abbreviation of E(uropean) or that for E(nglish)

17a    Nothing broken when protected by railway with vigour (8)
Put O (nothing) and a four-letter word meaning broken inside the three-letter abbreviation of railway

22a    Made move that’s bad and frets about blunder (11)
An anagram (bad) of AND FRETS around a blunder

24a    Bad driver had crashed, having run rings around good (4,3)
An anagram (crashed) of HAD inside (having … around) R(un) and two of the ring-shaped letters all followed by G(ood)

27a    Performers of moving service for victims (9,5)
A cryptic definition of a group of people who carry injured from the field of battle (or perhaps the football field!)


1d    Part of train coming back — it’s necessary at end of line (8,6)
A part of a passenger train followed by a word meaning a coming back gives what happens at the end of a line of typing

5d    European moved quickly to admit Arab (8)
A three-letter verb meaning moved quickly around (to admit) a national from a country in the Arabian peninsular

7d    Like part of Mont Blanc — south of it, a climber almost falls (7)
Below (south of in a down clue) IT place the A from the clue and most of a climbing plant

8d    Work in theatre performed with minimal cuts (7,7)
A cryptic definition of a procedure carried out in the operating theatre which minimises the number of incisions

16d    Reacting sensitively as some work — in charge, after all (8)
A unit of work and the abbreviation for In Charge following (after) the ALL from the clue

18d    Glaring at paragon of industry supporting British left (7)
The AT from the clue and an insect that is a paragon of industry preceded by (supporting in a down clue) B(ritish) and L(eft)

20d    In middle of jetty, one who’s first to launch something? (7)
Start with a jetty and insert (in middle of) ONE

25d    House without even parts in shade (3)
Drop the even letters (without even parts) from the first word in the clue

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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 we have two hits from the late great Eddie Cochran  
  ARVE Error: need id and provider
  ARVE Error: need id and provider

40 comments on “ST 2854 (Hints)

  1. Can’t believe I’m first here today. Found this one easier than most Sundays but needed BD’s explanations for 14a, 7d and 16d. Thoroughly enjoyed it and was just inside my 1* time, but definitely 4* for enjoyment.

    Thanks both to setter and BD, but also thanks to BD for the wonderful Eddie Cochran. I reckon your music collection and mine must be very similar

      1. I have regular problems with my comments going into moderation all the time and then when they are finally accepted straightaway, my name and email disappear and I start all over again.

        1. Thanks Cat. Sorry I realise my question wasn’t clear. I meant submitting my entry to the prize competition

          1. If you mean today’s crossword, can I have a hint on how I can submit it? I subscribe to the online puzzles but can’t see how.

            1. If you mean how can you submit it to try to win a prize then details are given in FAQ #4.

            2. Hi Graham, although I’ve never fully worked it out, I think there is a difference between the way I access the crossword online and the way some others do on here. I have a paper version subscription of the Telegraph and it entitles me to read the paper online and some (but not all) of the puzzles. When I have finished the crossword it then invites me to submit it. Hope that helps, but I’ve a feeling it probably doesn’t

              1. I only have the puzzles subscription about which faq4 (thanks Gazza) says I have to print it off and send it through the post. How quaint!

                  1. Under the puzzle in the Saturday paper it says

                    By post: Send to [puzzle no, eg ST 2,854], Telegraph Media Group, London SW1W |ODT

                    By email: Scan your filled in solution and coupon (by which they mean the name address bit etc, but you could surely add that to the scan of your solved puzzle) and send by email to with [puzzle no] in the subject field.

  2. At first glance this looked almost impossible but it gradually came together and fell into place. **/****

  3. And still he keeps them coming – another joyful Sunday morning interlude from the maestro.
    1d took me straight back to classroom days and the barked instructions of our tutor – doubtless it made CS smile as well!
    11a also merits a podium place with plenty of other contenders close behind.

    Thanks to Virgilius and also to BD. Loved the cartoon depiction of 8d.

  4. Brilliant puzzle, inevitably. I’m with Jane on the choice of 11a as favourite with, as she says, many other contenders close behind.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  5. I’d say **/*** today. Good mix of clues. 22a last one in once I’d got it. thanks all.

  6. This was a really relaxing and enjoyable puzzle, although I too was slow to see some of the explanations until I looked at the blog. */**** for me, with another vote for 11a as favourite. Many thanks to all concerned.

  7. I found this tricky in parts but immensely enjoyable.
    So many typical Virgilius clues, but I have to agree that 11a was a standout clue and worth a guffaw.
    Thanks so much to Virgilius, and to BD for your hints and the pics.

  8. I found this harder than the earlier commenters, although agree wholeheartedly about 11 across being the best clue by a country mile. 7 down was my last one in. Virgilius has done it again – another brilliant Sunday crossword full of his trademark clues. Many thanks to him and of course BD.

  9. He does create good crosswords doesn’t he? Another cracker from Virgilius with some lovely clues. Yes, 11a was excellent but my last entry, 8d was also a contender. I did make it hard for myself by thinking it was the other theatre which had a bit of a knock on affect, but eventually sanity prevailed.
    3/3* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints.

  10. Very witty and elegantly clued crossword I thought. Got so far and then had to seek help from the hints which then set me off again. A mix of nice gentle anagrams and more challenging stuff such as 22a which I seemed to spend hours considering.
    Liked 11a, 12a, 8d. 4d last one in having spent ages trying to think of names for underground pipes…doh! Thanks to Virgilius and BD for the hints which were very helpful.

  11. A couple of teasers but overall very enjoyable. My favourite was 8d as I was definitely off in the wrong direction until the penny dropped. Misspelling 5d also didn’t help for a while. Thanks to the setter and BD for the hints. We are now entering a week of clear blue skies so I hope we don’t get into the serious fire season like last year.

  12. No problem in the South but a couple of hold-ups in the NE mainly due to the 10a clue which is rather tenuous unless one is familiar with the ship’s officer in brief. 11a was Fav for me too with14a putting it as runner-up. Thanks very much Virgilius and BD. ***/***.

  13. Another good Sunday crossword.
    I was slow to get started and had very few answers having read all the clues through once so decided to head up the garden before it rained.
    Having come back in from the garden – raining again – most of it fell into place without too many problems.
    Two of the long clues – 27a and 1d – took a while as did 22a and the longish 17d anagram.
    I always forget that the abbreviation for railway can be three letters as well as the more commonly used two letters.
    The hidden answers didn’t cause too much trouble today so feeling smug.
    I think I’m probably having a dim day as this doesn’t seem to have bothered anyone else but, apart from the surface reading, where does the ‘falls’ bit of 7d fit in?
    I liked all the three letter answers – we don’t see them very often – and 8 and 16d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    1. Hi Kath. Been trying to email you but all blocked with this message “blocked using sip.invaluement.local” . Don’t know what is going on.

      Nice Sunday puzzle again that took a little while to get started but we did really enjoy.
      Thanks Virgilius and BD.

      1. Oh – I don’t know but will get my ‘technical advisor’ (Chris in other words, as I’m sure you know) to have a look. Back later but in the meantime a :smile: to both of you.

    2. For 7d (which is a down clue) I think that ‘falls’ just means ‘has to be written in a southerly direction’.

  14. With reference to the picture clue for 1d – is this a typewriter for left handers?

    Or were they all like that? I cannot remember!

    Typex at the ready!

      1. I seem to remember mine being on the right, but now you’ve got me doubting my own, admittedly porous, memory!

        1. P.S. On thinking it over, I think the lever had to be on the left. If on the right, it would start the page on the right, and, correct me if I’m wrong, we read left to right!

              1. Isn’t it strange, after slaving over those things for so many years, I am totally confused now. I feel sure it was right, but commonsense says it had to be left in order the start the page on the left.

  15. A little tricky in places I found, especially some of the cryptic definitions that held out until the end.

  16. 10a – Is he really a “ship’s officer”?????
    Lovely crossword, about half done so far….

    1. All done, very enjoyable for a Monday morning when you have no work to do as you are being made redundant.
      last in was 23a – I find that the 3 letter words are next to impossible without two checkers!!
      Thanks BD for the great blog and the setter, whose wavelength I was right on…

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