ST 2864 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2864 (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    Form of payment that’s doubled, we hear, for European inspection (6)
Two words (that’s doubled) that sound like (we hear) this obsolescent form of payment are words meaning a citizen of a European country and an inspection

4a    Take back order, supposing that it’s sliced fish or meat (6)
The reversal of a verb meaning to order and a two-letter preposition meaning supposing that

8a    Sublime witticism I loaded into computer (8)
A witticism and the I from the clue inside (loaded into) my least favourite computer

13a    Feature of assembly line confused boy — not clever (8,4)
An anagram (confused) of BOY NOT CLEVER

20a    Expel chaps before start of term for behaviour (10)
A verb meaning to expel or extradite followed by some chaps and the initial letter (start) of T[erm]

21a    Cricket clubs out to lunch? (4)
Having said recently that no-one refers to these cricketing implements as clubs, Virgilius does just that – the other definition means out to lunch or mad

23a    Not odd number for service (8)
An adjective meaning the opposite (not) of odd followed by a vocal number gives a church service

25a    Designed, with pen guided by hand (6)
A charade of a pen for animals, particularly pigs, and a verb meaning guided by hand


1d    Advocate having hours reduced in plant (8)
The abbreviation (reduced) of H(ours) inside a plant of the pink family, typically having pink or white flowers with notched petals

3d    Without any qualifications, say, left university finally (7)
A verb meaning to say followed by L(eft) and the final letter of [university]Y

6d    Soldier on horse crossing a street in northern city (9)
Put a mounted (on horse) soldier around the A from the clue and ST(reet) to get this northern city

7d    Went about enunciating what diplomats require (6)
This sailing term meaning went about sounds like (enunciating) the virtue required by diplomats

14d    Six iron, say, oddly unpractical (9)
The Roman numerals for six followed by an anagram (oddly) of IRON SAY

15d    Was attentive and inclined to absorb point after point (8)
A verb meaning inclined or keeled over around a couple of compass points

18d    Go back on agreement, rejecting its conclusion (7)
A two-letter word meaning on or about followed by most of (rejecting its conclusion) an agreement

21d    Igneous rock cut at the lowest level (5)
Start with an igneous rock and drop (cut) its final letter

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  Today it’s the turn of two rockin’ girls – Brenda Lee and Janis Martin  



  1. Owdoo
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 12:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another gentle weekend puzzle. Still, it provided a pleasant accompaniment to a relaxed Sunday morning breakfast. No particular favourites stood out. 2*/3* for me.
    Thanks to both Virgilius and BD.

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    MPP, NTSPP, Sunday Cryptic – three very different crosswords with one important feature in common: all of them were brilliant! What a weekend treat of cruciverbal bliss!

    My favourite today, 1a, very unusually for me is a homophone, or more accurately a double homophone! Typical Virgilius!

    Many thanks to our Sunday Supremo and to BD.

  3. Jane
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another little Sunday gem from the maestro. I particularly liked 21&23a – both of which caused a wry smile.
    Thanks to Virgilius and also to BD. I can assure you that 1a’s are far from obsolescent in my world!

  4. Brian
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A little kinder than most Sunday’s I thought. A dearth of 13 letter anagrams help.
    My fav was 22a. Needed the hint to explain my answer to 4a and still not 100% happy with 5d, can’t really make my answer mean Call or Call For.
    Thx to all.

    • Kath
      Posted September 4, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Brian 5d. Call or call for doesn’t mean ring up (for call) or collect (for call for) it means entail as in, ‘to change the arrangements would ******* a lot of work’.

      • BusyLizzie
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Kath, I was stuck on 5d…

  5. crypticsue
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Whilst drafting the review, I’ve just noticed that the BRB refers to 21a as ‘clubs’.

  6. Angel
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A very slow start but then just nicely testing. Failed to parse 2d and 14d but both had to be. NE corner last to go in as I needed help with 4a and 7d which hadn’t occurred to me as a non-sailor in spite of working on the homophone.***/***. Thank you Setter and BD for a couple of prompts.

  7. Kath
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Like Angel I was slow to get going today.
    I needed the hint to understand my 4a.
    I spent a long time trying to justify the wrong northern city in 6d – it just popped into my head because I have some friends who live there – that’s my excuse anyway.
    I had a gap at 2d and read the hints hoping that there would be one – there wasn’t so I thought I’d have another look before begging for help – oh dear!
    I liked 8 and 22a and 14d. My favourite was, for various reasons, 21a! :smile:
    With thanks to Virgilius for yet another good Sunday crossword and to BD for the Sunday hints.

    • dutch
      Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

      2d is your favourite kind of clue!

      • Merusa
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

        But backwards!

        • LabradorsruleOK
          Posted September 4, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

          A rekrul perhaps.

    • Kath
      Posted September 4, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thank you very much everyone but my, “Thought I’d have another look before begging for help and oh dear”, meant that I’d finally seen it. Blimey, though, it didn’t half take a time.
      Yet again – dear, oh dear, oh dear – I don’t think that I’m ever going to get to grips with these little brutes.

  8. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Sunday:again took too long but only needed electronic help for a couple. 1a confused me & needed the other letters (know the correct word but keeping off the naughty stair) to sort out.
    Hard but fair & enjoyable.
    Thanks to setter & BD for hints and again the nostalgia.

  9. jean-luc cheval
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As usual, a lot to like from our only favourite Sunday setter.
    From the smoothness of 15d (was attentive) to the cheekiness of 1a (form of payment).
    Favourite is 17d (valiant citizen).
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the blog.

  10. Merusa
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 4:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Loved it! I’m not going to choose a fave, how could I? The other clever clues might get offended.
    I use 1a still, there are just a few you can’t do online – at least I can’t, but I’m sure the technocrats know how!
    I should particularly mention 8a, 23a, 6d and 15d, but they’re all good. It took me too long to get 5d, but I got there in the end.
    Thanks to Virgilius the King of setters, and to BD for the hints; where on earth did you find those two ladies, takes me back too many years for comfort!

  11. Hilary
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to BD and Virgilius for a delightful way to spend Sunday morning. Like several other people I am spoilt for choice so will tactfully leave it unsaid. Off to do GK from yesterday which got left as I ran out of time.

  12. Gwizz
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well, that was a super crossword! It took me probably far longer than it should have to complete, but I got there. 6d was my favourite, try as I like I could not get a certain city to fit!
    3/3* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints. As for the music… Impeccable sir, but am I showing my age! It’ll be Ral Donner soon at this rate!

  13. Jon_S
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 8:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A fairly gentle puzzle from Virgilius that was as good as ever. I got a little stuck at the end on 21d, but that was down to pure ignorance on my part. :-)

  14. Salty Dog
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Yes, gentle but enjoyable: 1*/4*. I had margin ticks against 22a, 25a and 6d, but for me the laurels go to 3d. Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  15. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 9:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Took ages to parse 4a!!

  16. Weekendwanda
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 9:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Got there! A couple of difficulties with parsing. Last two in were 22a and 20a. Got the obvious answer for the former but could not work out why. Despite all the checkers 20a caused me the most difficulty but cannot for the life of me think why. I agree a Giovanni masterpiece. Favourite was 12a. Thanks also to BD

    • Posted September 4, 2016 at 11:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I took “Giovanni masterpiece” as an example of an oxymoron.

      • Una
        Posted September 5, 2016 at 12:15 am | Permalink | Reply


  17. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Sundays are my least favourite day of the week (apart from every other Thursday), as I can’t ever seem to get on the setter’s wavelength.
    Coupled with having spent most of the day looking after a five year old and an eighteen month old, I got pretty much nowhere with this and had to use BD’s hints and crossword solving websites.
    22a remains unsolved and a good example of the wavelength thing as I can’t even see a vestige of a definition, yet alone make any sense of the clue. I could fit ‘Malawi’ in there LOL
    Thanks to BD for the hints and Giovanni, they are great crosswords, but still a bit of a mystery.

    • crypticsue
      Posted September 4, 2016 at 10:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Not entirely sure why you and Weekend Wanda think this is a Giovanni puzzle as he does Fridays and Virgilius provides the splendid Sunday puzzles.

      22a The definition is ‘fare from Italy’. You should by now recognise that when you see the word ‘returning’ in a crossword clue, you are more than likely looking for a reversal – in this case you need to reverse an interjection meaning regrettably and the first part of the clue.

      • HoofItYouDonkey
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 10:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Oops, I nicked the setter’s name from Weekend Wanda above. That’ll teach me!!
        Thanks for the heads up on 22a, I see it now.

        • Weekendwanda
          Posted September 4, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

          My fault. Apologies to both gents. Slip of the pen and transposition of Friday and Sundays!

  18. AnntheArt
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 11:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh dear, feeling particularly dim after that. Cobbled it together eventually with hints and other little helpers. So thanks for the hints BD and to the setter.

  19. Graham
    Posted September 5, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Done without any help and reasonably quickly for me so must be a one star. 3 star enjoyment. Submitted now (hope they accept pdf attachments to the email).
    Thanks all.

  20. Young Salopian
    Posted September 5, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I forgot to comment on this as I completed it early Sunday morning before driving to Coventry to watch Wasps overcome Exeter. This was at the easier end of the Virgilian spectrum but, as always, beautifully constructed with a delightful mixture of clue types.

    Belated thanks to both V and BD.

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