ST 2865 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2865 (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    Withdrawing from European area held by cartel (10)
E(uropean) and an area of land inside (held by) a cartel

9a    Clap in irons a salt interrupting the person speaking (7)
The A from the clue and the chemical formula for common salt inside (interrupting) the first person objective pronoun (the person speaking)

10a    Crazy is running for president (7)
A three-letter adjective meaning crazy followed by IS from the clue and a word meaning running or working – very appropriate considering the choice the Americans have in the upcoming election

12a    Futility that’s experienced by total losers (13)
Could be the situation experienced by a team that has lost all of its games

17a    Brother in unspecified religious order, initially, providing cover for head (8)
BR(other) inside an unspecified quantity and followed by the initial letters of R[eligious] O[rder]

22a    Opportunists in sunshine outside lido rebuilt for tourists (13)
Proverbially these opportunists carry out an activity while the sun shines – just put them around an anagram (rebuilt) of LIDO

25a    List extract from minutes I meticulously sent round (7)
Hidden (extract from) and reversed (sent round) inside the clue

27a    Artist held back by females created kind of art that’s hard to believe (3-7)
The reversal (held back) of our usual artist inside two F(emale)s followed by a verb meaning created a particular kind of art


1d    What’s behind strange power cut? (4)
An adjective meaning strange followed by the abbreviation (cut) of P(ower0

3d    Misplaced caution over captain’s position in game (7,6)
An anagram (misplaced) of CAUTION followed by the position occupied by the captain on a ship

5d    Like most pages in books, feeling less edited (8)
An adjective meaning having less feeling followed by ED(ited)

8d    Acrobatic performance — watch parts (10)
Two of the parts that go to make up a typical watch (4,6)

13d    Unwise place to stow thrones, according to a certain Reverend (10)
First work out the Spoonerism (according to a certain Reverend) which gives “stow thrones” then find a place where doing this is proverbially unwise

16d    Ill-defined situation, with major cut covering disastrous year (4,4)
Start with an adjective meaning major or important, drop (cut) its final letter and put what remains around an anagram (disastrous) of YEAR

21d    Man on board provided following list of duties (6)
A man on board a ship is followed by the usual two-letter word meaning provided and F(ollowing)

23d    Right conclusion produces split (4)
R(ight) followed by a conclusion

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  Here are the first two records I ever bought, way back in 1960  


  1. George
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink | Reply

    A nice easy one this Sunday. I learned some new geography too!

    Thanks to all the usual suspects


  2. Senf
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink | Reply

    It is not very often that I tackle the Sunday puzzles, but when I do they usually give me more problems than this one did which was completed comfortably before lights out last night.

    Overall **/** with no stand out favourite, but I did like 11d.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  3. dutch
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 11:59 am | Permalink | Reply

    Another Sunday delight, though I was a bit surprised to see a repeated definition.

    So much to like: 6a, 12a (last one in), 22a, 1d, 4d, 5d, etc.

    The indirect(?) spoonerism is also very nice – haven’t seen that before

    Lots of smiles,

    many thanks Virgilius and BD

  4. Faraday
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another Sunday morning treat from Mr V. 8d and 13d amused me. I think that 22a is a rather clever clue but as a chemist, who is usually notoriously slow to spot such things, my favourite has to be 9a. Thank you BD for your hints which for once I didn’t need to resort to elucidate any of my answers.

  5. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Just getting to understand Sunday’s I thought – then see first post says 1* – shucks!
    Thought 13d COTD.

    Off the referee final of club foursomes so better glance at Rule 29 I guess.

    Thanks to setter & BD. Rock Around the Clock & See You Later Alligator were my first two “proper” records. I did however have the Laughing Policeman for our wind-up gramaphone years before.

  6. Jane
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another gem from the Sunday maestro.
    Unusually, it was two of the long ones (12a&11d) that held out until the end, along with the part of a neighbouring country.
    Only a vague recollection of having heard of 3d and guessed at the salt in 9a, although I did confirm it afterwards.
    Spent far too long thinking of the wrong type of duties in 21d – dim, as Kath would say!

    Podium places go to 22&27a plus 8d.
    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD – as you say, the 10a clue is extremely appropriate!

  7. Alec
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Brilliant, as ever, by our Sunday setter. I don’t usually like Spoonerisms in clues, but the reverse one at 13d was cleverly conceived. Thanks to all concerned.

  8. Kath
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As usual on Sundays I was slow to get started and, again as usual on Sundays, thought it was going to be tricky but then got going and everything fell into place without a huge amount of trouble.
    Even I spotted the hidden bit of 6a but for some unforgivable reason the ‘school’ bit mystified me briefly.
    15a was my last one – geography is not one of my strong points.
    Having spotted that 25a was another hidden one it still took me ages to find it.
    I messed up 8d by making it the plural of a different ‘acrobatic performance’ – even got as far as wondering about the second bit being a ‘watch part’. Oh dear – anyway, sorted that out.
    I liked 22 and 27a and 4d (once I’d got over a touch of misplaced ‘crickety blindness’) and 20d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.
    Garden seems to have turned into a field overnight following all the rain yesterday – off to do a spot of sorting out.

    • crypticsue
      Posted September 11, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      We only had a sprinkling of rain late yesterday evening so our garden is still very dried out. Doesn’t stop the tomatoes from ripening :(

      • Kath
        Posted September 11, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Yesterday it rained all day here – we had about 3/4″. This morning the whole place looked like a field and now, having cut the grass, it looks like a ploughed field as it was far too wet to cut. :sad: from me too.

  9. Young Salopian
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Clever, comfortable to solve and a delight as always from Virgilius. My dislike of Spoonerisms in crosswords is absolute, but I have to admit, like Alec above, that 13 down was quite brilliant. I cannot make it my favourite, as that honour goes to 11 down.

    2*/4* with thanksto the aforementioned and BD. Off to cut some grass now.

  10. Vancouverbc
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    **/***. Had loads of issues with 15a but eventually the penny dropped. Spelling 21d incorrectly also held up the SE corner until I realized my error. Thanks to all.

  11. Merusa
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh, how I love the Sunday puzzles, and today is no exception.
    Having said that, I have my first complaint in a Virgilius puzzle, and that is that the correct answer to10a doesn’t have enough letters for the available spots!
    Far too many good ones to choose a fave, but I did mark a few as outstanding:
    22a, 8d and 13d – maybe fave is 13a ‘cos it’s so very clever.
    Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints.

  12. BusyLizzie
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    From across the pond favorite is definitely 10a, which made us immediately think of you know who, and then followed by a chuckle at Big Dave’s hint, thanks! Although for us over here the situation is very funny or very scary, depending on how much you think about it.

    • Merusa
      Posted September 11, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I see we think along very similar lines.

    • Senf
      Posted September 11, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Scary enough to make me move from Delaware back to Canada!

    • Posted September 11, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I was thinking of both candidates, the mad witch and the mad billionaire. It’s a bit like us having to choose between Mrs Blair and Philip Green.

      • Brian
        Posted September 11, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

        What a scary thought!

    • Kath
      Posted September 11, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

      A very close friend of mine is an American – we happened to meet about sixteen years ago as we both had border collies of about the same age – that’s all bye the bye. She can still vote in American elections and she says it’s really the lesser of two evils.

  13. Brian
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Help! 1d has me beat all ends up even with the hint. Mind you my 1a may be wrong as I can’t see where the cartel comes in.
    Apart from the those two the rest went in quite nicely.
    Thx to all

    • Brian
      Posted September 11, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Ah the act of writing the comment made me think again and suddenly it is all clear. I did indeed have 1a wrong although the word I had did mean withdrawing.

      • Kath
        Posted September 11, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I think that’s called a ‘gnoment’.

  14. Brian Greer
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I agree with Big Dave. Chances are I will vote for Jill Stein (Green Party) in order to register a protest.

    • Merusa
      Posted September 11, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I am so disappointed, surely that’s a vote for The Donald? Can’t you just hold your nose?

  15. Gwizz
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 7:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Mrs Blair or Philip Green? OMG! That is some choice!
    As re: the crossword, once more something to be appreciated. I agree with the comments about 13d; spoonerisms normally leave me cold but this was cleverly used, even if the answer was pretty easy. 3/3* overall and 13d was favourite.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints.

  16. Sheffieldsy
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Solo effort today and it went swimmingly. No hold ups and very enjoyable, as we have come to expect from Virgilius, 1.5*/3.5*.

    Loved 13d but thought the interlocking pair of 18d and 22a should share top spot. ‘Opportunists in sunshine’ indeed; quite magnificent.

    Thanks to Big Dave (although no hints needed) and Virgilius.

  17. Jon_S
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Good stuff as always from Virgilius, on the easier side. 15ac and 8d gave me a little pause for thought at the close.

  18. Posted September 11, 2016 at 9:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As usual Virgilius earns many enjoyment stars. Not so many for difficulty. There were a few gimmes for those with a bit of experience, but I’m happy at how these opened up the grid to those who find it harder to tune in to this setter. So a lovely way to get more people hooked on the wonderful Sunday puzzles.

    My picks include the clever 22a, 2d and 13d. Surfaces that particularly made me laugh were 12a, 1d and 20d. I don’t think it’ll get me sent to the naughty corner to provide an illustration for 12a:

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave.

  19. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Much harder than yesterday and as usual for a Sunday got absolutely nowhere with this.
    Thanks to BD for doing the crossword for me and Virgilius for the weekly humbling.

  20. Longshanks
    Posted September 11, 2016 at 10:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable puzzle today. Some of the clues were laugh-out-loud when the penny dropped. I particularly liked the opportunists in 22a with notable mention to 15a. 4d was the last in, a large penny dropped when I finally saw it!

    I have to say I didn’t spot the spoonerism in 13d until about halfway through these comments (and about the 5th mention). For whatever reason my brain subconsciously corrected the spoonerism and I wrote the answer instantly. I wondered what was cryptic about the clue as it seemed rather easy but didn’t ponder too long assuming there must be a Reverend with that surname but I couldn’t be bothered to check.

    • Posted September 11, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Longshanks

    • Kath
      Posted September 11, 2016 at 11:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Yes – my brain also corrected the Spoonerism when I read the clue which left me wondering what I was supposed to do with it – oh dear. But welcome from me too. :smile:

      • Posted September 11, 2016 at 11:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

        My main objection to Spoonerisms is that they only qualify on a technical basis (swapping initial letters) – this one is good because it matches the spirit of the Reverend’s original contributions (who could ever forget the “Queer Old Dean”?).

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