ST 2867 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2867 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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:


7a    Red, for instance, in US leading commotion in state (8)
The American (in US) spelling of the property of which red is an example (for instance) followed by (leading) a commotion gives a US state

11a    Restrain worker heading strike (8)
A manual worker followed by (heading) a strike or hit

12a    Tense reason to change nothing? (7,7)
This grammatical tense could mean that there is no reason to change, because the ******* is *******

17a    Fellow holding tune, finally, for a song (5)
A fellow or bloke around the final letter of [tun]E gives an adjective meaning that an item is priced as “for a song”

19a    Bit of brass neighbour returned (4)
To get this brass instrument simply reverse a verb meaning to neighbour or adjoin

20a    Things like this restricting pre-noon game, note, for some sportsmen (9,5)
Put things like this one you are looking at right now around the abbreviation for pre-noon, a card game and a musical note of the diatonic scale of C major

27a    Roman magistrate imprisoned people, primarily upholding law (6)
Some people who are in prison followed by the initial letters (primarily) of the last two words in the clue

28a    Clinching time inside for criminal activity (8)
A verb meaning clinching around T(ime)


1d    Final course, perhaps, for dunce (4)
The dish that might (perhaps) be served as a final course

3d    Bear exactly 50 per cent of ridicule (4)
This fictional bear is either the first half or the second half of a verb meaning to ridicule

4d    Oval then Lord’s welcoming new batsman initially (6)
O(val), an abbreviation supported by Chambers XWD, and a general word for a lord around N(ew)

5d    Case for moving leaves a head in trying situation (3,5)
After being emptied of its contents, this case used to be used when moving house (I’m told that these days you have to buy the boxes that are used – it’s nearly 40 years since I last moved) – it is derived from the four-letter word meaning “a head” inside a trying situation

8d    As it is, when reduced to symbol (7)
… if you haven’t seen a similar clue before the answer is the element with chemical symbol As, with the necessary capitalisation disguised by placing the symbol at the beginning

14d    Quietly covering main part, carry on lawsuit (5)
The musical notation for quietly followed by (covering) the main part in a play

16d    Belittle good-looker in revealing garment? Just the opposite (8)
Instead of putting a good-looking girl inside a revealing garment, do the opposite, as instructed

22d    I’ll be upset over small attacks on paper (6)
An anagram (upset) of I’LL BE around (over) S(mall) – early online solvers may have been hampered by an error in the grid which prevented the correct answer from being entered [now resolved thanks to Crypticsue and Phil McNeill]

26d    Not without reason, only partly believes an expert or trusts a nerd (4)
Hidden (only partly) inside the clue, not once but twice

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

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 a couple of tracks from Fats Domino  


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    3*/5*. What a joy! Great clues with great surfaces throughout.

    It took me ages to get started today with only a couple of answers written in after my first pass. Then everything began to fall gradually into place with 3d my last one in and favourite when the penny dropped with a very loud clang. Extra special mentions also go to 8d and the Virgilian trademark 26d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius (and full marks for clearly indicating a US spelling!) and to BD.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted September 25, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      … great surfaces throughout.?

      I’m a great admirer of Mr Greer … but the surface of 20a doesn’t make much sense to me.

  2. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have to say, that was a superb puzzle, so many great clues…7a, 2d, 3d, 20a, 11a, 8d…
    I needed a bit of electronic inspiration to do 3d, great clue, though probably to the more experienced is an ‘old chestnut’, but not to me. Favourite clue for me…
    As I am first blogger, not 100% who to thank for the puzzle, but that was a corker.
    Thanks to BD for the hints….

    • hoofityoudonkey
      Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Oops, I wasn’t, so thanks to Virgilius….

  3. George
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I always look forward to Sundays and the Virgilius crossword. This one is no different – a very enjoyable solve. Especially, being a scientist, 8d! Great stuff.

    Thanks so much to all and especially Virgilius.

    1*/5* for me.

  4. Angel
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Phew I found this heavy-going but thanks to much electronic aid I did make it in the end with NE corner holding out the longest. After so much wrangling the simple 3d gets my vote for Fav. Thank you Virgilius for an exacting exercise. Thanks BD also. Wonder how you would have graded this. I give it ****/***.

    • Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I would have given it **/****

      • Angel
        Posted September 25, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

        My grey matter is obviously not up to scratch today then.

  5. Senf
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Completed comfortably before lights out last night, but with a little head scratching here and there plus the frustration of the grid error on 22d – so **/** for me.

    But, the correction of the grid error resulted in a complete resetting for the puzzle on line so, when I re-entered the solutions from my paper copy, I ‘completed’ it in an amazingly fast time.

    Favourite 20a. Thanks to Virgilius, BD, Phil McNeill, and CS.

    • hoofityoudonkey
      Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Ah, that’s what happened…I had finished and was submitting and the whole thing went blank!!
      Resubmitted from memory (no paper) and finished in 3 minutes!!! Genius level!!!

      • Senf
        Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Beat you – 2 minutes 46 seconds!!

        • hoofityoudonkey
          Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

          You had the paper copy, I had my aging memory!!

          • Senf
            Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

            OK. But, if the complete reset had not happened, my time would have been calculated as 13 hours and some minutes (I started the puzzle at 6:00pm Saturday (Manitoba time) – midnight UK time), a time I would not be proud of.

  6. Jane
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    So pleased to read RD’s comment as I got off to exactly the same start before the whole grid began to fall into place.
    Managed the cricket clue with only a brief moment of panic but had a blind spot over 2d which was my last one in.
    As is usual with Virgilius, it’s impossible to pick out any one clue for top spot – big ticks for me next to 12&20a plus 3,5&8d. 3d probably has the edge for the smile factor.

    I did wonder whether 24a could have a double meaning but somehow I doubt it – what do you think, Kath?

    Many thanks to the Maestro and to BD.

    • Kath
      Posted September 25, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Suspect you mean 24d – not sure what you mean – I’m clearly missing something here – am I being dim, again? :unsure:

      • Jane
        Posted September 25, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Yes indeed – 24d! Sorry, lack of concentration. So, do you think it would be a likely scenario?

  7. neveracrossword
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyable as ever on a Sunday. I took the definition in 5d to be “Case for moving leaves”. (You know what leaves). Thank you Virgilius and BD.

    • Jane
      Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think you could well be right!

    • Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      So did I – sometimes the mouse doesn’t obey orders!

  8. stanXYZ
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    22d – I thought I was right ! But the DT said I was wrong when I pressed the “submit” button.

    Also, 22d, was this the only anagram partial anagram in the whole puzzle?

    Thanks to (Crypticsue and Phil McNeill) and of course to Virgilius!

  9. Alec
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The usual high standard we consistently get on Sundays from Virgilius. Special mention for 20a but the top clue must be the brilliant 8d. Thanks to all concerned

  10. Merusa
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I really, really didn’t want this to end, what a load of fun. Like RD, it was difficult to get a toehold.
    There was so much to enjoy, but I think that 3d was the fave for the smile value. This is not to take away from some like 20a and 8d, aren’t those clever.
    I had difficulty wondering why my 27a was correct, so thanks for that BD.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints, and for Fats Domino, he’s special.

    • Posted September 25, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I was lucky enough to see him on stage several times. In what turned out to be his final tour, with Little Richard and Chuck Berry, he was due to perform at Sheffield, London and Birmingham – I had tickets for the latter two and he was taken ill during the performance at Sheffield. In London Little Richard tried to make up for his absence by singing “Blueberry Hill” but he only knew the first verse – he had learned the whole song by the time the tour reached Birmingham. Fats’s party piece was to end his act by pushing the grand piano off the stage with his thighs while playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” – quite clever really because he was now unable to play an encore.

      • Merusa
        Posted September 25, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

        What memories! Remember “My Blue Heaven”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, so many more.

        • LabradorsruleOK
          Posted September 25, 2016 at 7:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

          And ‘Ain’t that a Shame ‘ sadly I could still sing along with the lyrics for most of them!

  11. Young Salopian
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Most of the superlatives have already been used for this cracking Virgilian offering. So many brilliant clues it seems disingenuous to pick a favourite, but I will plump for 8 down. Like RD above, I had a slow start before the answers went in apace. That tardiness at the beginning forces me to put 2.5/4* in the honesty box.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  12. Kath
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Like RD and Jane I was slow to get going today.
    I didn’t know that 27a was a Roman magistrate and 20a took for ever.
    If we hadn’t had a similar clue quite recently – ? in MP’s Rookie crossword but not sure – I probably wouldn’t have got 8d.
    I liked 12 and 15a and 6 and 21d. My favourite was 3d if only because I love the books.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.
    Black sky and torrential rain interspersed with blue sky and sun – all very confusing – wish I’d kept the NTSPP for today.
    BD – I think you mean the musical symbol rather than the mathematical one in the hint for 14d – I imagine we all knew what you meant – it’s that disobedient mouse again!

    • Posted September 25, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      As I think I have mentioned before, I use autocorrect in Word to give me a lot of the recurring phrases – ffb = “followed by”, itc = “in the clue” etc. I use mnf for “musical notation for” and msf for “mathematical symbol for” and for some reason I thought today that msf would give “musical symbol for” and it didn’t.

  13. Hilary
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely mind-bending Sunday treat, first pass produced 2 answers, nearly slunk off to cupboard. However, sheer persistence paid off plus a certain amount of electronic help so sincere thanks to Mr G and BD. As always on Sunday totally impossible to pick favourite but 2d and 8d on the list.

  14. LetterboxRoy
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t have a paper today, so I’m trying to build the crossword as I solve it. It’s difficult.

    • Mcmillibar
      Posted September 25, 2016 at 8:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Eek! Like making love in a hammock – none too easy.

  15. Mike
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Amazed nobody has mentioned 2 down as their favourite clue! Took me ages to get.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted September 25, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I liked 2d … but it was a bit elementary!

  16. Gwizz
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well I think I have completed this crossword although I am being told otherwise by the infernal machine. Oh well, I guess there’s no prize then for me this week!
    Otherwise yet another lovely Sunday challenge from the great man. 3d was my favourite and 3/3.5* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints and Fats.

  17. BobH
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well I finished after a struggle and had five question marks, thankfully answered by BD. Having wrestled with a new phone and a new car with a completely unfathomable touch screen I was in no mood to battle with today’s crossword, which I found unnecessarily difficult. however it did pass the time nicely following my previous two challenges and now going out for (hopefully) a pleasant evening meal.

    • Stone Lee
      Posted September 25, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Lots of sympathy here – new (to me) car with c 250 page manual for the car and c 250 pages for the screen! Struggled with the crossword but got there in the end although the ‘infernal machine’ wouldn’t accept my solution (just ignored any request to submit!). **** difficulty for me but **** for enjoyment. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  18. JonP
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 7:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another excellent Sunday puzzle which, like a few others on the blog, took me a while to get going with. I got caught out yet again with 12ac….

    Thanks to BD and Virgilius 2.5*/4.5*

  19. Jon_S
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 7:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A lovely puzzle from Virgilius to end the weekend. The bottom half went in a lot more quickly than the rest, with the NW corner last to fall. Was I the only person desperately trying to shoe-horn something to do with ****** into 10ac? Too many good clues to list.

    • Kath
      Posted September 25, 2016 at 8:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

      No – you’re not – I also spent ages trying to make 10a into the word that you wanted it to be.
      Since we’re not really allowed to put even wrong answers into a comment on a prize crossword day I avoided mentioning the word that you did which means one of two things – a) BD hasn’t noticed or b) it’s so wrong that he thinks it doesn’t matter. If you’re sent to the naughty corner you’re on your own. :bye:

      • LabradorsruleOK
        Posted September 25, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

        He certainly doesn’the seem to have got the hump. Perhaps he’s mellowing….!

      • Jon_S
        Posted September 25, 2016 at 9:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I haven’t been sent off yet, looks like I got away with it. :-)

        • Posted September 25, 2016 at 9:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

          • Jane
            Posted September 25, 2016 at 10:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Brilliant, BD – just brilliant!!!

          • Jon_S
            Posted September 25, 2016 at 11:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Gah! ;-)

            • LabradorsruleOK
              Posted September 25, 2016 at 11:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Don’the complain Jon or he’ll produce the red card.

              • Posted September 25, 2016 at 11:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

                That would require a very serious offence. BD is reasonable!

    • Jane
      Posted September 25, 2016 at 8:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      No, you weren’t alone!

  20. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 8:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very similar to John S. Took a little time to get going then SE corner kicked things off. Some nice clues in a thoroughly enjoyable solve for me.
    Thanks to Virgilius & BD for hints & thanks for the Fats Domino & the anecdote. Went & found videos of ‘Ain’t that a Shame’ and ‘I’m Walkin’ – ah youth!

  21. Vancouverbc
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 8:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Best of the week! Considering I didn’t start very quickly the answers started to drop in once I got on the right wavelength. Favourites difficult to choose but 12a&16d were notable. Thanks to all.

  22. Mcmillibar
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 9:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Hard work for me, mind, but done over a Mexican Sunday lunch – it was a looong Sunday lunch though with ne’er a sniff of Tequila. ***/**** from this solver. Sweetest of surface readings and damnably clever wordplay. Last in was 2d liked 26d. Thank you Brian for another Gold Standard offering – just the right touch as ever, it must be hard to strike the right balance with the difficulty level. Need a lie down now.

  23. Salty Dog
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 9:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another cracker from the Sunday maestro! This wasn’t a particularly difficult one (say, 1 to 2*), but was a delight from start to finish. 4d, 20a and the charming 3d were my favourites. Thanks to Virgilius, and to Big Dave.

  24. Florence
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    On first reading, panic set in. Could only do a couple of clues. Went out to Cliveden for the day and came back and filled in a few more. Had supper, then filled in a few more clues with one eye on the TV watching sheepdog trials. Low and behold, all now complete and a great feeling of satisfaction. Good job we don’t mention how long it takes us to complete a puzzle. Thank you Virgilius,I found this a real challenge but absolutely loved it, and thank you BD for the review.

  25. Posted September 25, 2016 at 11:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The usual lovely Sunday stuff. Going against the grain a bit, I started well but took as long to get my last few in as the rest combined.

    My long list of likes includes 11a, 12a, 25a, 3d, 8d, 16d and 26d.

    Thanks to Mr Greer and to BD for both providing and refereeing the blog.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted September 25, 2016 at 11:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi kitty,
      Great minds think alike 😊.

      • Posted September 26, 2016 at 12:00 am | Permalink | Reply

        Hi Jean-Luc,

        I can’t give the reply that sprang to mind because I’d be carded too, and I very much don’t want to land in the naughty corner now. So I shall just have to agree with you! :)

  26. jean-luc cheval
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 11:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Just loved the definitions today such as the “batsman initially” in 4d, “for a song” in 17a and “are you sure?” in 21d.
    Too many Favourites to mention.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to our referee.

  27. Heno
    Posted September 26, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle from Virgilius as usual. I needed the hints for 7a, I’m still stuck on 10a & 2d, any help would be much appreciated. Favourite was 20a. Was 3*/4* for me.

    • crypticsue
      Posted September 26, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

      10a def is beasts of burden – ‘bringing… back’ in an Across clue is telling you what to do with a word meaning little and the abbreviation for area

      2d If you put ‘left’ into some accommodation, you produce a person whose cases were recorded by a doctor

      • Heno
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Sue, got them with your help, wouldn’t have got either in a million years. Just a mental blank on my part.

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