ST 2863 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2863 (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    Partner that means to manage economically (7)
Two definitions – a male partner and a rather dated verb meaning to manage economically

5a    Start of Euroscepticism in British right and left as well (7)
The initial letter (start) of E[uroscepticism] splits B(ritish) and how right and left can be collectively described

10a    Deliverer of stinging attack, a tirade about money one’s lost (4,3)
The A from the clue and a tirade around M[ONE]Y without (lost) the ONE

11a    Persuasive speech on behalf of king that was held by revolting peasant? (9)
A persuasive sales speech is followed by a three-letter preposition meaning on behalf of and K(ing) – If you “bunged in” a word that fits the checking letters and can’t resolve the wordplay, like I very nearly did, then it is probably wrong and I hope you learn from the experience!

12a    Fabric — what’ll need to be cut from that to make hat? (5)
A typical Virgilius clue – simply answer (1,4) the question posed by the wordplay

19a    When we first see the light daily, no longer sleeping (5)
A daily newspaper followed by a two-letter word meaning no longer sleeping, hence out of bed

22a    Variation of rumba in Eastern state recalled (5)
… this state is now known by a different name, which is why “recalled” is used

23a    Get back from European capital, initially in great joy (9)
E(uropean) and the initial letter of C[apital] inside a word meaning great joy

27a    Prepared to play, covering what’s on top of charts — met with derision (7)
A verb meaning prepared a piece for an orchestra to play around (covering) the compass direction found at the top of most charts

28a    Casually draws lots, following first of decisions (7)
A colloquial word meaning lots preceded by (following) the initial letter (first) of D[ecisions]


1d    Son splitting stolen drug found in dangerous area (3,4)
S(on) between an adjective meaning stolen and a Class B drug – I had to look up that last bit!

3d    A desire that Daphnis and Chloe have in common (5)
The A from the clue followed by a desire gives the expanded version of the only letter which is found in both Daphnis and Chloe

This version of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe, by the late Isao Tomita, is a recent addition to my CD collection


5d    Expressionless as pound gets deposited? (5)
Just deposit the symbol for a pound sterling inside a financial institution

6d    Occasionally making an admiring remark about one of our rivals? (9)
I suppose that if you split this as (4,5) and say it in a particular way it could mean making an admiring remark about one of our (the Telegraph’s) rivals, but I don’t find it very convincing

16d    Provided cosmetic treatment to my satisfied patient? (9)
Split as (3,1,5) this could mean my satisfied patient

18d    Country in which work’s bound to be completed (7)
Two definitions – the second being a material used in bookbinding

21d    American author set up second literary type (7)
The three-letter surname of an American author is followed by the reversal (up in a down clue) of SET and S(econd)

24d    Heads for paved area that is outside, such as this (5)
The initial letters (heads) of five words in the clue give something loosely defined by those five words

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  Today we have a couple of early records. 
The one by Ike Turner under the name Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, recorded in 1951, is arguably the first ever Rock’n’Roll record.
The other, a 1952 recording by Merrill Moore, is a particular favourite of mine.



  1. Jane
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I thought perhaps 6d worked better if split (2,2,5)?

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    4*/4.5*. I thought that parts of this were very tough but overall it was absolutely magnificent and really enjoyable! Parsing several of my answers took me quite a time, and although 6d was obvious I needed BD’s hint to understand the wordplay. I agree with BD that this seems a bit dodgy and I have knocked off half an enjoyment star as a result.

    Special mentions, all of which are trademark Virgilian constructions, go to: 12a, 3d, 5d and 16d, but my choice as favourite is the LOL 11a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      P.S. Great music selection, BD! House of Blue Lights is one of Mrs RD’s and my favourite jive tracks, although it’s a bit fast for us these days.

  3. Kath
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Maybe not quite as tricky as Sundays can be apart from a few answers that took me ages to see why, or if, they were right.
    I wasn’t sure about 6d and didn’t know that 19a could be one word – hunted in BRB and missed it!
    I got into a terrible muddle with 27a – my ‘what’s on top of charts’ was the second letter which meant I didn’t see why the answer was what if so clearly was.
    I liked 15 and 17a and 3d (so Virgilius!) and 20d (reminds me of my sister – don’t ask!) My favourite was either 28a or 16d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  4. Hilary
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Back to Sunday crossword after short break and it was hard work but most enjoyable. Thanks BD for helping me with top right hand corner which eluded me until I read the blog. Struggled with 15a because misread my writing, could pick several as favourites but will play safe and say nothing. Thanks also to Vigilius, off to dish up lunch hope rest of weekend goes well for you all. Cooler here today think I might survive.

  5. Lollygee
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I thought this was quite tricky and I needed electronic help for some of the answers. It didn’t help that I’d put Brexits as the answer for 5a before having second thoughts 😳. Favourite is 11a with special mention to 2d and 28a. Thanks to setter for stretching the old grey matter and thanks to Big Dave for the hints.

  6. Jane
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    No problems apart from having to check that 19a was one word.
    Completely agree with RD that this was ‘absolutely magnificent and really enjoyable’. I’d also go along with his selection of special mentions and overall favourite.

    Many thanks to the Sunday maestro and to BD – delightful recording of Daphnis and Chloe.

  7. Toadson
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    3 days of good crosswords – including Friday’s Grauniad as recommended by CS (in which I still can’t understand the answer ‘dosh’). Enjoy the remainder of the weekend all.

  8. crypticsue
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve left Mr CS in charge of the first of three batches of fig jam while I solve and then comment on this lovely Sunday puzzle.

    I’ve looked at all my starred clues to try and pick a favourite and think I’m going to settle on 2d.

    Thanks to BD for the hints. Now back to the jam

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The fig festival is the weekend happening down here. The famous Violette from Sollies. Only 10 miles away from Hyeres.

  9. jean-luc cheval
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Pleasant solve on this very pleasant day.
    Might have a bit of rain finally on Tuesday but the heat wave will continue well into September.
    19a was also new to me.
    Loved 11a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.
    Haven’t had time to look at Brendan yet nor the typical Maskarade head scratcher.

    • Framboise
      Posted August 28, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Jean-Luc! Will be back in Hyères next Wednesday. See you soon!

  10. Graham Wall
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I had to do mental gymnastics to get a few of the answers but the workout was well worth it. The Sunday offering never fails to be enjoyable but there was a different slant on this week’s offering which, to my mind, added to the difficulty. Nothing wrong in that as if I am not stretched my ability to solve will not improve. I did need the hints on some clues. I particularly liked 16D and 17A Many thanks to BD for the blog. My rating is 3.5/4.5

  11. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    First unaided Sunday finish so probably at the easier end of the spectrum for some. Lovely clues & very enjoyable.
    At least there should be no problems with spelling 14d this time.
    11a COTD for me.
    Thanks to setter & BD for hints & journey into nostalgia. As you say arguably the earliest; Fats Domino was a favourite so I like to think it was him. Doubt if it matters, great music “of the time” to me whoever started it.

    • Una
      Posted August 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Well done, Virgilius is never all that easy.

  12. Faraday
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Phew, Mr Virgilius sure knows how to use up some of my diminishing supply of brain cells!
    If solving crosswords helps you to increase your knowledge then thanks to Dr Wikipedia I am now much more erudite in Ancient Greek literature and the Peasants Revolt, although in the latter case I felt quite well qualified already, being a Man of Kent whose local, many years ago, was a pub called The Wat Tyler. I realised somewhat belatedly that all this new found and rediscovered knowledge was rather superfluous but I’m sure it will come in handy in some future crossword 😂
    A very enjoyable exercise. Thank you to everyone.

  13. Salty Dog
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great fun, but survey at the gentler end of this setter’s output. I make this 1*/4* or thereabouts. My favourites were 11a, 28a and 16d. 27a was my last in; the answer was obvious but I couldn’t parse it satisfactorily. I had fallen into the (no doubt deliberately laid) trap of choosing the wrong “top” – as a Naval man I hang my head in shame. Thanks to Virglius and BD.

  14. Merusa
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I second Rabbit Dave’s comment. This was a super offering, a bit trickier than usual but definitely great fun.
    I still don’t get 6d, but that’s all right, I think that is the first Virgilius clue that isn’t crystal clear.
    I needed the hint for 27a, I used “top of the chart” differently and it confused me.
    So many good clues, loved 3d, but fave was 11a, how clever was that!
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his hints, needed a couple today.

    • Una
      Posted August 28, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m slightly baffled by the parsing in 6d too , the rival is obvious , but the admiring remark ?

      • LabradorsruleOK
        Posted August 28, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Perhaps split it as BD says (4,5) then put an exclamation mark after the rival paper. Works for me anyway.
        Una, ta for the encouragement.

      • Gazza
        Posted August 28, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

        An admiring remark about someone, such as “Your daughter is **** actress, Mrs Dench!”.

        • Merusa
          Posted August 28, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Thanks, Gazza, now I get it, but I still think it’s pretty obscure!

        • BusyLizzie
          Posted August 28, 2016 at 7:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

          I think my 10a must be wrong, as I still don’t get admiring part of this clue. Rest of puzzle fell nicely into place; just had trouble with the north east corner.

  15. Una
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I opt for 11a as my favourite.
    Great puzzle , with thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  16. Heno
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle as usual from Virgilius. Was beaten by 21d, I thought that I should be looking for an American author. Favourite was 5d. Was 3*/4* for me. Great fun.

    • Una
      Posted August 28, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

      There is an American author in 21d.

  17. Ora Meringue
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Managed this alone and unaided except for 28a…then when I saw the hint there was head-slapping and doh! shouting.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints.

  18. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Have to say, I did not understand the first part of 6d?? I can’t see the ‘admiring remark’.
    Anyway, lovely challenge today. So much better when I get a good run at it rather than pick it up at 2200 after a day with the grand-children!!!
    As ever, thanks BD and Virgilus….

    • Hilary
      Posted August 28, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      In case you wondered about my comment yesterday it is an old family joke. Very earnest 4 year old when asked what she was looking forward to replied Tomorrow is Bonk Holiday and I’m going to see Grandma. Collapse of all grown-up in earshot.

      • Angel
        Posted August 30, 2016 at 12:38 am | Permalink | Reply

        How cute Hilary – she must have wondered what was so amusing!

  19. Jon_S
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 7:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As devious, clever and enjoyable as ever from Virgilius. Perhaps a little on the easier side, though along the way more than one clue felt like it would never fall. 28ac was my LOI, due to an inability to spot exactly where the definition ended and the wordplay began. Very nicely done.

  20. Gwizz
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 8:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Two excellent crosswords in a row, and over a weekend too; we are truly blessed!
    Virgilius making us think a bit, as usual. My favourite was 3d; very clever.
    3/3* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD of course for the hints.
    Ps. Did Kath really nominate two favourites? Surely not……

    • Posted August 28, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

      When Kath has more than one favourite she phrases it very carefully. Today she clearly stated that her favourite was either one or the other, but not both. We know what she means though. ;)

    • Kath
      Posted August 28, 2016 at 10:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Kitty’s right – I’d never suggest that I had two favourites – I just meant that I hadn’t quite decided which of the two would be it. Now that I’ve had time to think about it a bit more I’ll come down on the side of 16d but 28a is a pretty close runner-up. :smile:

  21. Posted August 28, 2016 at 9:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Back after visiting family and having picked up a handful of visitors. My Bonk Holiday, as Hilary will have it, won’t begin until next Sunday.

    The crossword was the usual excellence from this setter, but my answers have disappeared so I won’t bother trying to pick out a favourite. There’ll be too many contenders anyway – I do remember that much. I also remember that it took me ages to work out why the thing on top of charts was what it had to be.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  22. Young Salopian
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 10:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Evening everyone. Mrs YS and I are down in The Smoke this weekend. Proms on Friday – magnificent Mozart – ODI at Lord’s yesterday and a family party today.

    Loved this crossword. Tough but fair, a real challenge. Many thanks Virgilius and BD. 3.5*/4* from me.

  23. Paso Doble
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 10:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A really lovely puzzle with plenty to get our teeth into. Many thanks to Virgillius and to BD for the blog and for help on 11a. ***/****

  24. Brian
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 10:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Pretty tough but an amazing puzzle. Top marks must go to 12a, I had the answer but could not parse the clue until the hints came up, utterly brilliant. Not too sure about 6d, seems rather weak for a setter of Virgilus quality. However, a minor point in an otherwise excellent crossword.
    Thx to all

  25. Sheffieldsy
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 11:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Best Sunday puzzle for some time. 2.5*/4*.

    Lots to like but we’d pick out 17a and 28a for smiles, 5d as a little stunner, 10a for a lovely construction but pick of the bunch was 12a – fabulous.

    Actually, 4.5* for enjoyment.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD for the (thankfully not needed) hints.

  26. AnntheArt
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    Have been very busy lately so have not been commenting and feeling guilty as a result as I invariably visit the blog. Pleased to have finished today’s puzzle without hints, starting very late. I seem to be able to do Virgilius’s puzzles and really enjoy the challenge too.
    Thanks to BD today and to all the hint providers…I am always entertained and grateful for the help.

  27. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 6:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    Just defeated by 15a, never heard of it, super crossword though, thanks all.

    • Posted August 29, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink | Reply

      For an audiovisual hint, try Steadfast Loyal and True by Elvis!

  28. Paul Mepham
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 7:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Could somebody please explain how 15a is cryptic? Thank you.

    • crypticsue
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 9:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

      How about because it has a definition followed by some wordplay inviting you to insert two lots of an abbreviation for a degree into a verb meaning to change something rather than leave it as it is.

      • Paul Mepham
        Posted August 29, 2016 at 9:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Brilliant. Thank you. I knew the answer immediately but for some reason I just couldn’t work out the clue.(I didn’t mean to sound sarcastic)

  29. Angel
    Posted August 30, 2016 at 12:54 am | Permalink | Reply

    Have only just had time belatedly to attack in haste (I want to go to bed!) this enjoyable puzzle. It was eminently solvable but with several solutions being unparsed prior to my seeking BD’s assistance and that of CS for 15a – d’oh! Thank you Virgilius, BD and indeed CS. ***/***.

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