ST 2866 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2866 (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    Following lofty principles in trade, one’s put in unlimited time (8)
The following of lofty principles is derived by inserting (put in) a verb meaning to trade and the abbreviated form of “one is” inside the inner letters (un-limited) of [t]IM[e]

9a    Stop possessions otherwise being covered by tax (8)
To get this verb meaning to stop the possession of someone’s soul by evil spirits put the two-letter word meaning otherwise inside a form of tax

11a    At end of a new part of speech, stick declaration (12)
After (at the end of) a charade of the A from the clue, N(ew) and a part of speech place a verb meaning to stick

13a    Senior investigator’s command producing state of confusions (8)
A senior plain-clothes police investigator is followed by the S from ‘S and a command – is this a typo for “state of confusion”?

15a    Administer like high-fliers, including Conservative (6)
This verb meaning to administer, for example, a vaccine is derived from a phrase that describes where you might find some high-flying passengers (2,3) around C(onservative)

18a    Path travelled on horseback — or went by boat, we hear (4)
… two different homophones of the answer

23a    Two kinds of seaman like hot cakes? (12)
This charade of two different kinds of seaman (8 and 4) gives an adjective that could describe the hot cakes in the phrase “to sell like hot cakes”

26a    Heap is what Pat may have dropped (4)
What is dropped from a man’s name to get Pat?

28a    One isn’t perturbed about learner that’s cheeky (8)
An anagram (perturbed) of ONE ISN’T around L(earner)


2d    Artist’s work crossing line, in a manner of speaking (8)
A work of art produced, possible with a pencil, by an artist, around L(ine)

6d    Feeling pain under military leader giving instruction (8)
If you can’t explain your answer to this one then you have probably placed two letters that do not represent a military leader in front of a verb meaning feeling pain – so try again!

7d    Graves, for example, that can be found in vault (4)
When you are familiar with Virgilius’s style of cluing, you just know that this is not going to be about graves in a cemetery; I did think of the poet before the penny dropped as to what type of graves might be found in a vault

14d    Head of government, after financial disaster, in a sorry state? (5)
The initial letter (head) of G[overnment] preceded by financial disaster

17d    Story with moral about weapon that’s okay for fieldworker? (8)
Put a story with a moral, like those told by Aesop, around a three-letter general word for a weapon to get an adjective that means a field is okay for a worker to prepare for crops

22d    Old master manages to swallow half of beer (6)
A four-letter verb meaning manages around the first half of BE[er]

24d    Right on time, turning up — excellent (4)
R(ight) followed by the reversal (turning up in a down clue) of a long period of time

25d    No-win situation stated in Asian language (4)
This Asian language sounds like (stated) a situation in which neither side is winning

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  Today we have a brace from Tony Newley – I was lucky enough to see him play Littlechap on stage in Stop the World I Want to Get Off  


  1. dutch
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink | Reply

    Nice Sunday treat again.

    I think my favourite is 23a (Two kinds of seaman…). I also enjoyed 16d, 9a (where I was first trying to force in a similar word), 18a (two homophones), and 26a (my last one in)

    Like BD, I was confused about the confusions in 13a – hopefully a typo.

    Many thanks Virgilius and BD

  2. Jane
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent work yet again, Maestro.
    Yes, I dithered over the non-military leader for 6d but fortunately left him out until I’d got the answer to 9a.
    17d is yet another example of answers that make me think – ‘is that a real word?’
    Hard as always to pick out any particular Virgilius clue for the top honours, but my boat was best floated by 9,11&26a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  3. Toadson
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Joint puzzle of the week for me together with Thursday’s. (Personally, I found this the easier of the two, but that doesn’t necessarily make it better!). Enjoy the rest of the weekend all.

  4. George
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As usual a very good Sunday puzzle – perhaps on the easier side this week. Some good anagrams and as usual some creative ones as well.
    My last in were 1a, and 2d which took me a little time to come up with for some reason!

    Thanks to V and BD as always. 1

  5. Colin
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyed this puzzle, but as always spent more time on the four letter clues than the rest put together.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  6. Stone Lee
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable puzzle. ** difficulty for me this week. Struggled to get started in the top half but after completing the bottom half quite quickly, the top slowly fell into place. Favourites were 9a and 5d. The latter was such a good read. Thanks to V and BD.

  7. stanXYZ
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As usual my favourite Virgilius clues today were the “hidden” ones.

    Does any other crossword site call them “lurkers” ?

    Just as bad as “anagrind” IMHO. As for “rekrul” – God! Forbid!

    Thanks to BD & Virgilius.

  8. Senf
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable and completed comfortably before lights out last night. I agree with Jane (comment 2 above) about 17d and I would include 23a in the same category, especially as both have the same 4 letter ending.

    Favourite 12d, not often (in my experience) that that former PM pops up in a crossword with 7d as a close second with its somewhat clever misdirection.

    **/*** – thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  9. Omar
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable – for me, not too easy, not too hard, nothing obscure…..1a was my last in, I liked the lurker in 16a

  10. Omar
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh, I also liked 15a – clever and amusing

  11. Merusa
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wasn’t that a treat? Loved it.
    I failed to get 7d; I thought of everything that could be “graves” and missed that completely. Of course, if it hadn’t been at the start of the the clue and was capped in the middle, it might have nudged me in that direction. That’s why Virgilius is so clever.
    So much to enjoy in this, I’m not going to attempt to choose a fave; maybe 7d as it fooled me.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD, loved the Anthony Newley, so talented.

  12. Vancouverbc
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Unusually for me I started right in the middle and worked out from there. As BD said 6d had me searching for a while until the penny dropped but I got 7d right away so I’ve patted myself on the back. Favourite was 23a. Thanks to all. 35mm of rain yesterday so fall has arrived a little earlier than expected.

  13. Vancouverbc
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    BD shouldn’t your hint for 22d be a four letter word for manages?

  14. Rabbit Dave
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink | Reply


    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    • Posted September 18, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I don’t know how you did it, but while you were leaving your comment Mrs BD drew your name out for the September prize.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Many thanks :smile:

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Particularly to Mrs BD, of course.

  15. Heno
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle as usual from Virgilius. I think my solving skills have definitely gone on holiday. Was 10 answers short when I resorted to the hints. Managed to get finished, although I guessed 10a&6d, and have no idea if they are correct. Favourites were 18a&22d. Last in was 20a.

  16. Gwizz
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    More straight forward than the normal Sunday crosswords, at least I thought so. Just as good as always regardless; 13a was my favourite. 3/3* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for his hints.

  17. Kath
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Damn – just written a long (who – me?) comment and lost it – the comment I mean!
    After a very hectic weekend no energy left to write it again but just thought I’d say that it was, as usual on Sundays, a very enjoyable crossword.
    All the four letter answers took me ages and I still can’t see 10a – dim, probably.
    For some reason 20a was my last answer.
    I did notice that there were quite a few double unchecked letters – that kind of thing, along with pangrams and Ninas, usually escapes me.
    I liked 9 and 18a and 3 and 19d. I think my favourite was probably 26a.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    • hoofityoudonkey
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 8:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Kath, sorry about the lost comment, I have learnt from bitter experience never to type a lot of text straight into a web browser!! Type it into notepad++ first, then C&P!!!
      I hope you have sorted 10a, being a prize puzzle, I can’t help…

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 10:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Yes you can if it’s a proper hint:
        The definition is flat boat. Take the usual abbreviation for river followed by another 3 letter word for the stern of a ship.

        • Kath
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 11:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Thank you JLC – how could I have been so dumb! Having discounted the obvious ‘flat boat’ – well, the obvious one given where we live – I just went completely blind. :roll:

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

    Thanks Virgilius and Big Dave, very enjoyable puzzle with clues that took some thought, but got there in the end.

  19. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 8:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent crossword, just defeated by 1a as the wordplay was too obscure for my level of competance. Took me ages to fathom it out from the hint!!
    A couple of amusing mistakes that I can’t relate as this is a prize puzzle, they held me up for a while.
    7d was my favourite for the cheekiness of the use of “Graves”.
    Thanks to Vigilus and BD for the hints.

  20. Jon_S
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 8:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My first clue in was 17ac, at which point I thought I might be in trouble this week. As it turned out, from thereon in it was the usual fun, fairly straightforward Virgilius Sunday. LOI 26ac. Favourite clue 9ac.

  21. Longshanks
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 10:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I enjoyed this puzzle but it was much more of a test than yesterday. Thanks for the hints, I needed them for three of the clues – 2, 7 and 17d. I think I’d still be looking at 7d if it hadn’t been for the picture – I’ve never heard of those graves.

    Lots of favourites though – 1, 9, 11 and 18a; 16 and 22d. I particularly liked the lurker in 16d but needed the fruit (found via Google) before I spotted it.

    One query on the clue for 27a – does the preposition ‘on’ mean ‘after’ in an across clue? I’d have it meaning before in a down clue but I was held up for a while assuming the same in this case.

    • Gazza
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 11:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, in an across clue ‘on’ means after (i.e. added on to) although you have to be careful because not all setters are as punctilious as Virgilius in observing this convention.

  22. TonyT
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink | Reply

    7d was brilliant. The normal high quality from Virgilius. Thanks to him and BD.

  23. Young Salopian
    Posted September 20, 2016 at 8:09 am | Permalink | Reply

    Only got round to completing this wonderful puzzle on Tuesday morning as we were out all Sunday at Wasps then dinner with friends.

    This was a real gem, with 7 down getting my vote for clue of the month. Superlatives abound in earlier posts, so I will merely thank Virgilius for another consistently great crossword and of course BD.

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