ST 2860 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2860 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2860 (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    Political agreement oddly pains a British leader in particular (14)
An anagram (oddly) of PAINS A BRITISH followed by the initial letter (leader) of P[articular]

14a    Spiritual instruction with part of Bible, say (6)
A two-letter abbreviation for some spiritual instruction followed by a book (part) of the Bible

15a    Give new order to test nine or ten in set, being aware (8)
Two anagrams (give new order to) for the price of one TEST NINE or TEN IN SET

18a    Establish ruthless dictator, moving in first (6)
Start with the name adopted by a ruthless dictator and move the final IN to the beginning (first)

21a    What writer may be said to need still (10)
This word meaning still or motionless sounds like (said) something a writer may need – indeed both spellings are often, incorrectly, interchanged by people who should know better, and I’ll bet that RD is not one of them!

22a    Tie up jealous husband dramatically (4)
Two definitions – to tie up a boat and another name for the jealous husband in a play (dramatically) by Shakespeare

25a    Dog protecting its head in clash (7)
A type of dog around (protecting) the initial letter (head) of D[og]

26a    With urgency, holding prisoner — not without contradiction (14)
An adverb meaning with urgency around (holding) one of our usual prisoners


1d    Area inside perimeter for pupil staying in school (7)
A(rea) inside a perimeter

2d    Person at home in house, having taken a seat (15)
A cryptic definition of a person who, having won a seat, sits in a legislative house

3d    What enraged person’s gone through that may be raised in party (4)
Two definitions – both from well-known sayings

6d    Fair as player, holding up pro (10)
An adjective describing a player who is fair and honourable around UP from the clue

8d    Go to that thing and get out now! (4,2)
A phrasal verb meaning go to (2,2) followed by a word for “that thing”

16d    Success for better local in theatrical parts (8)
This word which represents success for someone who bets is derived from a local or pub inside some parts of a theatre

19d    Right limb raised is in position, to a great extent (7)
R(ight) and the reversal of a limb inside the position or situation

23d    This is the last such signal to player crossing line (4)
A signal to an actor (player) around (crossing) L(ine)

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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 a brace from The Big O  
  ARVE Error: need id and provider
  ARVE Error: need id and provider

56 comments on “ST 2860 (Hints)

  1. 4.5*/5*. Phew, that was tough but absolutely brilliant. Once again on a Sunday I could pick any of these clues as a favourite, but I am going to get off the fence by going for 15a in second place with the wonderful 23d crossing the line just ahead.

    Many thanks as always to Virgilius and to BD, and, yes, you are correct about me in your comment for 21a.

    P.S. Thanks too for the Big O tracks – superb! What a star he was.

  2. We thought this was a gem of a crossword. Just four answers on first pass but after getting the long clues we preserved and eventually completed it.

    Several lovely clues including 13d, 6d, 15a and 25a but the clear winner was 18a. 3*/4.5* here.

    Interestingly, we did on the iPad app and, there, the clue for 16d is “Made money as local…” Which we thought was a bit weak. The clue mentioned in the review is much better (from the print edition?).

    Thanks to BD for the review and to the setter.

  3. Great entertainment again. My favourite was 15a, a trademark Virgilius clue. Also enjoyed the 2 golden oldies. If Leicester City beat Man U this afternoon it will be a perfect Sunday. Thank you Virgilius and BD.

    1. And for me, the opposite result will make it a great Sunday. At half time, it’s looking better for me, NACW.

  4. This reminded me of the first crosswords I tackled from Virgilius.
    14 and 15 letter words were my downfall.
    The ones in today’s grid took forever.
    Needed the hints for 22a. A bit of lateral thinking that eluded me.
    Favourite is 25a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  5. Another Sunday gem with the author’s hallmark stamped firmly in place at 15a.
    Kath will be a happy bunny given a special one for her!

    Podium places for 9,14&18a plus 20&23d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and also to BD.

  6. Back to do Sunday crossword after a short break, what a treat. Took a while to get back into it but enjoyed every minute of the struggle, as always too many ticks to pick one but 18a and 23d on list. Thanks to BD and Virgilius off to do GK left from yesterday.

  7. Blimey – Virgilius flexing his muscles, I think – glad to see that it’s not another “just me” day.
    This has taken me ages and at various stages I thought I might have to give up but didn’t.
    1a was one of my last answers having failed to identify the right bits of what pretty much had to be an anagram – just about got there, eventually.
    Not sure that I’ve seen 18a with a single last letter rather than a double one – that’s my excuse for being slow with that one.
    I spent far too long trying to take 2d to pieces somehow – dim.
    Got in a muddle with 6d – my player was the first letter and the last four which left me with a few problems in the middle – oh dear. I was about to say who he was the lead singer with but maybe not . . .
    I can’t spell 13d (but I can spell 21a correctly even if I have to think about which is which).
    I liked 15 and 17a and 7 and 23d. My favourite was, inevitably, 25a.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD, and for the Roy Orbison – he’s wonderful.
    Off to deal with more weeds in the veggie patches.

  8. Tough again for me nearly got there after 3 breaks. My ignorance of Shakespeare meant BD hint was my only hope for 22a
    Kath’s 25a choice somewhat biased inevitably l but having been tricked by trying to fit head if “its” before the penny dropped it is mine too.
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD for the hints & the Big O. Forgot to thank you last week for the Little Richard. Lurking behind one of the clips was him doing “Blue Suede Shoes” hadn’t heard that for 50 years (no wonder some will say).

    1. A long time ago there was a really good clue when the answer was something to do with Labs – all I can remember is that it was a down clue and it was on the extreme left hand side – funny how brains work, isn’t it?

      1. It sure is. What to me seems like yesterday was years ago. What was yesterday I can’t always remember.Often wondered just how many Gigabytes of information we store.

  9. Well that was a fun-filled Sunday jaunt. Thank you Virgilius and of course BD, particularly for parsing 8d. Put wrong ending to 6d which messed up 18a for a while. Surely 13a is not necessarily sliced. No stand-out Fav clue but several really good ‘uns. ***/***.

    1. Welcome to the blog Richard

      I originally had a different word in the hint, but felt it gave too much away. I’ve changed the hint.

  10. Agree it was a clever crossword but I was too hot and it is too windy for much patience to be had. (Hate wind!) So I resorted to the hints probably sooner than I should have. Mostly in the SE corner. Managed the long ones except 7d for which I used my little helper out of sheer frustration. If I had given 15a more of a chance and read it carefully I could have enjoyed solving a brilliant clue.
    But good fun despite my peevishness! Thanks to all, to BD for the hints and to the setter.

    1. Oh – poor you. I’m with you entirely – hate being too hot and, as for wind – well, it just feels disruptive and destructive.
      If you’re cold it’s always possible to get warm – go for a walk, put another sweater on, have a bath, go and chop some wood and then light a fire with it – not in any particular order . . .

  11. I think this is possibly the most difficult i’ve completed without help. Some great clues and 23d was appropriately my last one in.

  12. A lovely crossword, puts one in a better frame of mind than one was in prior.

    ***/****. Thanks to setter and BD.

  13. Another superb offering from Virgilius. Tough but fair clueing, clever, innovative and great fun. The enjoyment was raised by the difficulty, so many thanks to the maestro and BD.


    And well done England!

  14. 4/5.for me the best crossword this year if very, very challenging. 15a was the best for me. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review. Congratulations to Jim Furyk who just shot the lowest round on the PGA tour (58)!!!!

    1. Have just seen some of Furyk’s round on TV. Hard for non-golfers to appreciate his feat. However there have been well over 2 million recorded rounds in the US & Europe over the years by the best players in the world & no one has done it before. Truly remarkable. Especially as it could easily have been a 56!

      1. Also with a golf swing like his!!! Brilliant achievement.
        I chatted with him at the Ryder Cup at the Belfry a few years back, came across as a real gent.

        1. Most golfers are gentlemen/gentlewomen but he is near the top of the list. Lucky you t have met him personally.

  15. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle. Was beaten by 23d, because I spelt 26a wrongly. Was 2*/3* for me.

      1. If your answer is a letter short I suspect that you’ve got the wrong ending for 26a.
        You need an adjective meaning urgently requiring attention, or compelling – inside that word you want the usual word for a prisoner, or someone bunged into prison.

        1. Thanks Kath, I have the first 8 letters correct with all the checking letters, I just don’t know how it ends, singular it is one short, plural it is one too much!! Oh well, I will leave it blank for now and see if I can get the checking letters for the last bit, thanks for your help

            1. Good – can’t do you a smiley face as they’re not working at the moment, but the thought is there.

  16. As usual, absolutely delightful.
    I needed the hints for 18a as I thought that Brits spelt that word with a double letter at the end.
    I never make a mistake with the spellings of 21a, drummed into me at school.
    Natch, my fave, without doubt, is 25a – well, it’s a dog, innit.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    Snapshot of Miami: The nurse came yesterday to fill out forms for me to sign, only the forms were all in Spanish. Now, what is there about the name Barbara Weekes to suggest Hispanic? He had to go home and get English forms.

    1. Hi Merusa,
      Just caught up with your news – you’ve certainly had more than your fair share dumped on you recently.
      Very relieved to see that your sense of humour is still very much intact!
      Best of wishes.

      1. Thanks Jane. I’ll get there in the end, the only problem I have now is the badly bruised back, and that only needs time, which I’ve got oodles of.

  17. Extra thanks to everyone for boosting my morale. I’m getting on a bit — though younger than Bernie Sanders, half of whose energy I wish I had. I’m observing quite a bit of cognitive wear and tear in myself, so it is good to know I can still produce decent puzzles (having a good editor helps). And please let me know when you notice some deterioration – comments with details are the most useful.

    1. If that’s what you produce after ‘cognitive wear and tear’ I would, in equal measures, love and dread seeing one produced in your pomp.

      I reiterate my enjoyment rating of 4.5. Enough said?

    2. This was a brilliant crossword – I thought it was possibly one of, if not the, most difficult of yours that I’ve ever met.. It took me ages but I enjoyed every hour of it.

    3. What a self-effacing gentleman you are, Mr. Greer. The consistent quality of your puzzles is a source of amazement to us all.

    4. Goodness, and there was I wondering what sort of elixir you were taking to produce such brilliance every week!

      Sorry Bernie didn’t work out, but I rather like Tim Kaine. I am encouraged by Hillary’s numbers, but too much can happen in 90 days. President Trump is something I hope I don’t live to see happen!

    5. Thanks Brian for what are my favourite puzzles of the week. A perfect way to begin a Sunday morning with tea and teasing Saint Sharon. Thanks for dropping in. I don’t usually comment at the weekend but felt I had to reply. Thank you.

    6. ‘Cognitive wear and tear’… I am sorry to read you feel that but it does not show in the least. It seems perhaps the opposite. Your pieces are like fine oil paintings and should adorn gallery walls somewhere. Maybe they will one day.

  18. Oh dear, top half went in, but bottom half beyond my pay grade. Yesterday’s I found easy, but today tough. Let’s see what Monday brings.

  19. Got there in the end. Didn’t like some of the clues but those with hints make me happier now – clearly still need to learn.
    Favourite was 18a.
    Thanks all.

  20. Phew from me too. I think I’ve picked this up and put it down half a dozen times today. I have managed to finish though and have a great feeling of satisfaction. I was a bit unsure of the spelling for 13d but managed in the end. The only easy clue was 20d. Favorites were 18a,26a and 23d. Thank you BD and setter.

    1. I’m willing to bet that the majority here had to look up the spelling for 13d! I had absolutely no clue.

      1. I did – I had a rough idea but, in a cryptic crossword, a rough idea can be worse than no idea at all.

      2. Not guilty on the *** front.
        On a different tack, you are losing enough sleep as it is, don’the lose any over Mr Quiff.

  21. Off the pace with this, never on anything like the setters wavelength. A real struggle.
    I needed many of BD’s hints for which many thanks are due.
    Thanks to the setter.

  22. Unlike HIYD, I was for some reason right on V’s wavelength! The top half flew in and the rest put up only slightly more of a fight. 1*/4* is my rating, and 23d my favourite word I can’t say without being sin-binned by BD. Thanks to V and BD.

  23. Blimey, a tough one from Virgilius this week. As good as always, but I had 5 or 6 at the end, including most of the SE corner, that I thought would never fall. Very satisfying to finish.

  24. Greetings to all,
    Missing the weekly offering from Virgilius, I have taken to actually buying all two kilos of the Sunday Telegraph just for the nugget of ambergris buried in one of the sub-sections. I then sit down contentedly – having thrown the rest of the paper away unread. Another gold-threaded tapestry of lexicological genius.
    Thank you and bravo!

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