ST 2857 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2857 (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    Is, within very short time, providing make-up for face (6)
IS from the clue between the shorted (abbreviated) form of V(ery) and a period of time gives the make-up of a person’s face, with reference to the proportions of the features

4a    Delivering article after wife returned (8)
An article or object preceded by (after) the reversal (returned) of our usual three-letter term, of biblical origin, for a wife

12a    Put out text initially rejected in court (7)
This adjective meaning put out comes from a charade of [t]EXT without (rejected) its initial letter, IN from the clue and C(our)T

15a    Cut link between eastern parts of Russia and Poland (8)
To get this adjective meaning cut or shortened put a link or span between the final letters (eastern parts in an across clue) of [Russi]A and [Polan]D

23a    Male with sign who takes part in moving protest? (7)
M(ale) followed by the English word for a sign of the Zodiac – i.e. if the sign was Taurus the English word would be Bull

26a    Prepared to be belligerent in popular media (5)
… the answer is lurking inside the clue

28a    Offered caretaker abbreviated education (8)
This caretaker is one who takes care of a person rather than a building; just add the abbreviated form of ED(ucation)

29a    Pour so badly, unable to retain liquid (6)
An anagram (badly) of POUR SO


1d    Brief evocative piece in novel given title, oddly (8)
An anagram (novel) of GIVEN followed by the odd letters of T[i]T[l]E

3d    Weed land encircling house on European lake (9)
The land encircling or surrounding a large house followed by E(uropean) and L(ake)

6d    Subject to minimal change in charge (5)
A charade of the TO from the clue, a small amount of change in the UK and the abbreviation for In Charge

7d    Occupying position overlooking church, fire (7)
Split as (2,5) this could mean occupying a feature at the top of (position overlooking) a church

9d    Get position of captain for game (8,6)
A verb meaning to get or obtain followed by the position of a captain on a ship

16d    Heroic actions going wrong in unconventional rising (7-2)
A verb meaning going wrong inside the reversal (rising in a down clue) of a three-letter word meaning unconventional

21d    Smart move, going around a city in US (7)
A four-letter adjective meaning smart or elegant followed by a move or turn around the A from the clue

24d    Reduce risk of loss in hospital — proceed with caution (5)
H(ospital) followed by a verb meaning to proceed with caution

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  Today it’s the turn of two massive hits from Jerry Lee Lewis.  


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink | Reply

    4*/5*. Yet another work of genius! I found this challenging but thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. 4a was my last one in despite 6 of the 8 letters of the answer being obvious!

    There are two reasons why it can be impossible to choose a favourite. One is that there are no outstanding clues. The other is that all the clues are outstanding, which was certainly the case today. I will however mention four: 15a, 5d, 16d and 22d; the latter being an absolutely splendid example of its type.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  2. George
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink | Reply

    Usual excellent fare for a Sunday from Virgilius. I thought it straightforward, but then I am usually on the same wavelength as the setter on a Sunday. 1*/4* for me today.

    Thanks to all for blog and puzzle.

  3. Jane
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink | Reply

    Fairly rapid solve for me this morning and – to prove RD’s point about all the clues being outstanding – I’ve gone for four totally different ones for my podium places. The honours go to 4a plus 6,7&9d.

    Many thanks to the wizard Virgilius and to BD.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted July 17, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Well I loved those four too. There just wasn’t room for them all on the podium!

  4. Jezza
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great stuff as always from Virgilius. A slight delay at 4a, otherwise nothing that required excessive thought.
    2*/4* for me. Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

    The only decision I need to make now as I sit outside in the Valencian sunshine, is whether to have a beer, or a gin & tonic… or perhaps several of both before a siesta…

    • pommers
      Posted July 17, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

      We did it while avoiding the Valencian sunshine in the local over a couple of beers and tapas. The aircon was on so the temperature must be over 30C.

      • Jezza
        Posted July 17, 2016 at 6:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Since we bought our house here last year, the upstairs night-time temperature has been between 26C (in winter, and we have never needed to use the central heating) and a high of 35C a couple of weeks ago. Air conditioning is being installed upstairs tomorrow morning!

  5. JonP
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    An entertaining puzzle as usual from Virgilius that I found to be towards the slightly easier end of the Sunday difficulty scale.

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

  6. Expat Chris
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I absolutely loved this. All of it. My favorites are 1A, 4A (superb), 2D and 16D. Thanks Virgilus and Big Dave.

  7. Heno
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 1:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. I must be a bit slow witted today. Found this a bit of a slog. Still can’t get 18&25a, even using electronic help, I’m sure the down answers are correct. Any help would be much appreciated, but don’t end up in Naughty Corner. Needed electronic help for 4a. Favourite was 3d. Was 3*/3* for me. Gnome’s law just came into play, noticed that the second word of 5d was wrong, just as I pressed the send button. All done now :-)

  8. pommers
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I think others have said it all. The best puzzle of the week – again :grin:

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  9. cat
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another excellent puzzle, possibly slightly easier than sometimes, although I spent a lot of time on 4a, my last in, despite having 5 of the 8 letters. Thought about it from another angle and inspiration finally struck.
    Many thanks to setter and BD.

  10. Hilary
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My first Sunday crossword for several weeks, found it quite hard but 4a cheered me up, absolutely inspired plus 5d. Thanks to Virgilius and BD. Steaming hot here despite sea breeze, Latitude three miles down the road all we can hear is thump, thump, thump.

  11. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable. Like others 4a last to go in. Had electronic help but “Should’ve gone to Usual Suspects” as BD hinted (I. did look in “wolf in sheep’s clothing”)
    Thanks to setter for *** enjoyment & BD for reminding it’s all there if you look.hard enough.

  12. Vancouverbc
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    4/5. What a great puzzle! Needed two sittings to get on the right wavelength but oh so satisfying once I did. Thanks to the setter and BD.

  13. Merusa
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What a pleasure this was. I never need to wait for the hints to parse my answers, the clues are always spot on. Clever, clever Virgilius.
    I enjoyed all of it, but I think a special mention of 4a is called for.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his hints; loved the pic at 9d.

    I dare say Mr. Greer will be glued to the box tonight! I thought it was time to bring back 007 and HM for my avatar again.

  14. Gwizz
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m sorry to say that for me today’s crossword just wasn’t up to the high standard that I have come to expect from the great man. It was over far too quickly and while pleasant enough it just wasn’t enough of a challenge. 16d was my personal favourite just because I like the word. 2/3* overall. Harrumph! I’d better get me coat…
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  15. Ora Meringue
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyed this very much, but needed electronic help for 4a.
    Hats off to those who gotmit without assistance!

    Cannot believe that after years of getting nowhere with the Sunday puzzle, I now look forward to it…all thanks to this blog.

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave.

  16. Florence
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Strange, the more you do, the easier it gets!! Slow start, but a race to the finish. I could kick myself that I struggled with 9d. Loved 5d and 16d. Thank you Virgilius and BD. Well done Davis Cup team.

  17. Stone Lee
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Rather agree with Gwizz on this one **/***. all fairly straightforward once I got started.
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  18. BusyLizzie
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 8:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wow, managed to finish yesterday and today, with Big Dave’s hints of course. 4a and 24d were last to go in. Started at breakfast, then went outside and did almost 2 hours of weeding and pruning in the 91C humid air.. Perhaps the time spent with my head down improved my thinking 🌞

  19. Jon_S
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 9:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A fairly swift and enjoyable solve. 4ac baffled me for a long time until inspiration struck. The usual Virgilius genuis.

  20. Salty Dog
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 10:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    2*/3.5* – rather less testing than this setter’s usual effort. Only the NE corner caused any real problems, and it contained the two best clues: 4a and 7d. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  21. Weekendwanda
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 10:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very good thank you. Only recently resumed doing Sunday’s. I am with Florence on this one. A slowish start and then a romp to the finishing post. My last in was 2d. Eventually got it when I realised that the answer was not a small furry animal.

  22. Young Salopian
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I did this Monday evening as not around yesterday. Virgilius at his excellent best. 2*/5* with grateful thanks all round.

  23. Robin Newman
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    clever stuff !-liked 16D amongst others

  24. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable, needed a few of BD’s hints, as ever.
    Much fun though, thanks to BD and to the setter

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