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ST 2871 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2871 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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Morning all!  

And firstly a big congratulations to everyone who took part in yesterday’s Times Crossword Championships and a tenth victory for the amazing solving machine known as Mark Goodliffe (he’s the setter Mr Magoo).  Bravo to our very own Crypticsue who made the Final where everyone was greeted with a fairly tough set of puzzles.  I haven’t seen the other results yet, so can’t comment on how others did.  I believe only seven completed the Final’s three puzzles within the hour.  I was lucky enough to be one of the testers and thought they would be challenging.  Of course, this means our fragrant blogger gets to go back next year!

One of the semi-final puzzles was by our beloved Sunday setter and it has to be said, he’s on slightly more gentle form here today.  It’s well up to the usual standard of Sunday teasers and was a nice solve over my morning porridge and Beethoven’s 7th for tuneful accompaniment.  Plenty to bring on the usual Sunday smiles and a little head-scratching.

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             Record vehicle at home, one constructed of wood (3,5)
The name for a type of wooden building is found by taking a word for a record or annal, adding a vehicle you hire and what you are when at home.

9a             Work out duty guarding monarch (8)
A type of duty think of the old phrase ‘Customs and …..’.  Insert the abbreviation for a current monarch and you get a word meaning work out, or workout.

11a          Mingled to blend in, at a thing that’s outstanding for all of us (8,4)
A nice long anagram is always a good place to start and here’s where I began today.  An anagram of TO BLEND IN AT A gives you something that currently stands at £1.8 trillion.

18a          Boy reversing his conclusion ¬that’s curious (4)
A word for a young member of the family is reversed and the last letter of boy is added to give something that means curious.

20a          Instrument made of wood set in stone (6)
A word for an old musical instrument is found by taking a type of wood and putting it inside the abbreviation for stone, as in weight.


23a          Is accepted into partnership with excellent badinage (12)
This week’s lesson in bridge features the abbreviation for one of the two partnerships that play in bridge.  Inside goes IS and add to this a word meaning excellent, often used by Wallace to his friend Gromit.  All of this gives something that refers to badinage or patter.

28a          Reject move – what’s next? (4,4)
Another wickedly clever clue from our setter.  Something that means reject is made up of another word for a move in a game and adding what comes next in this puzzle!


2d            Dominate circle with part of speech, getting attention (8)
What a circle can signify, plus a figure of speech and add what you give when paying attention and you have something meaning dominate.

3d            Odd concern – a duty that’s performed in sets (7,5)
An anagram of CONCERN A DUTY will lead you to an activity where groups are known as sets.


4d            Badly behaved without reason around ring-leader (6)
This is an unusual word meaning badly behaved, usually like a sulky teenager.  A word meaning without reason or crazy has R – the first letter (leader) of ring- inside.

8d            Figure of speech, oddly, to hamper or harm poet (8)
Not one, but two anagrams!  The name for a figure of speech in literature or poetry is an anagram of TO HAMPER or HARM POET.

12d         Completed taking in broken nets, with fish extricated (12)
Something meaning extricated is revealed by taking a short word for completed and inserting an anagram of NETS and a word meaning to fish for something.

16d         Step over weapon that’s required by sentry (8)
A type of step (in ballet, think of __ de deux) goes before a type of weapon to give something needed to gain access.

19d         Was a tourist making sense with proverb? (8)
This is the past participle of a verb meaning what you did as a tourist.  Take one of the five senses and add an old word for a proverb.

25d         Damage bed in nursery inserting spades (4)
Something meaning damage is the name for a child’s bed (that type of nursery!) with S for spades inside.

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Today I have chosen a couple of lesser-known tracks – BD
Makin’ Love by Floyd Robinson and You’ve Got What It Takes by Marv Johnson

      Having not heard this tracki in a long time, it was played on yesterday’s Sounds of the 60s

41 comments on “ST 2871 (Hints)

  1. 3*/4*. The usual nicely challenging Sunday puzzle with clues ranging from good to superb. I thought all four 12 letter ones were particularly good, as were 28a & 6d. My joint favourites however were 16d & 22d – both great clues with lovely surfaces.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit.

    1. And a special big thank you to BD for the Marv Johnson clip! That was one of the first singles I ever bought, I think in 1959, and I drove my parents crazy by playing it almost non-stop for several weeks.

  2. I found this one from Virgilius to be a tad more tricky this week, but as usual, extremely enjoyable. I have never used 19d in any sentence that I can remember, though!

  3. Definitely one of the trickiest Sunday puzzles for a while but, with electronic assistance, I did complete it before lights out last night. Particularly, I got stuck in the SW corner until I finally solved 20a and then my last two, 16d and 23a, followed in short order. So, ***/** for me.

    I thought that 21a was a lack of inertia, but the two words are in each other’s entry in the Small Red Book so I suppose I cannot make an issue about it.

    Same as George on 19d, I never really thought about the existence of a verb for that activity.

    Favourite 12d.

    Thanks to Virgilius and Tilsit, and well done Cryptic Sue, almost time to start my travels to New Jersey and Florida so ‘attendance’ may be ‘spotty’ for the next 12 days.

  4. Nice sunday puzzle, thank you Tilsit for explaining 28a which I bunged in without understanding the second word.

    Congrats to CS for making the final and to the incredible Mark Goodliffe for his 10th win (did he also win the sudoku again?)

    I think I most enjoyed the rat-infested sewer in 22d today.

    Thanks Tilsit and Virgilius

  5. Well done Sue!!!!!! Thank for blog Tilsit, couldn’t figure out why the first three letters in 16d … Duh!!
    What a beautiful day for walking, shame I have band practice this afternoon! Have a lovely day all

  6. Solved this while taking a break from rounding up all the things our visitors left behind – small socks, dinosaurs, phone chargers, bracelets so far and I’m sure there’s still more lurking before I put them all in a jiffy bag and post them off..

    Thanks to Virgilius and Tilsit too – my favourite has to be 28a because if you solve crosswords like I do, that’s exactly what I did.

    1. Not only a times-finalist, impressively you round up dinosaurs too. No end to your talents. Congrats.

    2. 28a my favourite, too, followed by the sewer. Thank you setter and Tilsit. And congratulations to CS.
      We are looking forward to the cool clime of Blighty on Tuesday after roasting for three weeks in Pommersland.

  7. As always on Sundays I was a bit slow to get started – all good fun, again.
    I couldn’t see the 11a anagram – don’t know why but I needed lots of letters in before it jumped out and bit me.
    I thought the 20a instrument had a double letter in it so decided it couldn’t be that one – it was.
    10a and 6d were, to me anyway, very typical of Virgilius.
    The subtlety of 28a totally bypassed me for far too long.
    It took ages before I 12d’d 12d – no naughty corner for me today.
    I liked 23 and 28a and 6d. My favourite was 4d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit.
    A beautiful autumn day in Oxford – slightly misty still and a bit chilly but sunny too – perfect for digging, again.

  8. Excellence from Virgilius again. His surface readings are so perfect.

    The second part of 19d was a bung in (not recalling that word) and when I finally parsed 28a it was a D’oh moment! Might have been easier to see in the newspaper rather than on screen.

    So many potential favourites but I suggest 23a is up there with the sewer rat and the rejection.

    Overall **/****.

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit.

  9. Thanks to Industrialist Vigil for this morning’s synaptic romp with tea and toast.

    Mrs & Mr T

  10. I am definitely in the 3*/4* camp for this Virgilian offering. This was right up there with his usual high standard, with a lovely mix of clue types. 23 and 28 across were brilliant, but my favourite was 22 down for its simplicity and humour – a perfect clue.

    Thanks to our Sunday supremo and to Tilsit. Congratulations to all who made yesterday’s final, especially our own CS. I am suitably in awe.

  11. Pennies dropping all over the place during yet another Vigilian masterpiece. Glad I do it on paper as it makes me look and look again until I see why I have done it. Even something as simple as 27ac (to everyone else) came good after I had gazed at it for ages, perhaps I am improving. Sue was the only lady on the Times listing, doubly impressing. Thanks also to Tilsit for looking after the shop, hope the till balanced at the end of the day.

    1. There were two ladies in the final – Helen, who is a past champion, came second in the second preliminary session and did far far better than me in the final session.

  12. The Maestro does it again, of course. My only complaint – with apologies to Kath – was one of those that I consider to be a non-word at 4d. I could just about accept it being used with a different ending but that’s as far as I’m prepared to go! Not to worry – the rest made up for it.
    I was slow to pick up on the trademark clue at 10a and, like Kath, I had to check the spelling of 20a.

    Top three as already mentioned by others were 23&28a plus 22d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to our excellent stand-in blogger, Tilsit.

    1. it’s quite clever of non-words to make it into brb – and i’m lost as to which ending you might have preferred?

      1. Very clever things, some of these non-words! The ending I could envisage being used is ‘ISH’.
        If that sends me to the naughty corner, I shall blame it on you!

  13. Thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit for the hints. I found this very enjoyable, and quite gentle, except for 20a, where I needed the hint. Favourite was 6d. Was 2*/3* for me.

  14. I have never been disappointed by a Sunday puzzle, they are always so entertaining.
    Like others, I had to check the spelling of 20a.
    There was so much to like, 4d, 6d and 16d stood out, but I think 28a wins for its cleverness.
    Thanks to Virgilius for another fun crossword, and to Tilsit for the hints.

  15. Finished but without understanding a full 1/4 of the clues. 28a was a mystery for me at last for the second word until the hint. Tilsit describes it as wicked, I would describe as just plain unfair, horrid!
    For me one of the least enjoyable Sunday puzzles for quite a while.
    Thx for the hints.

  16. Loved it, too. Second word of 28A was a bung-in. Now that I understand it, that’s my favorite clue, with 22D right behind. Thanks to Virgilius and Tilsit, and congratulations to CS.

  17. Am still struggling with this. So am perusing the hints for some relief from my plight. Which is why I noticed…Is 16d wrongly written as 18d? I may be mistaken…I have had an early aperitif!
    Thanks for the hints which I am appreciating greatly and thanks to the setter.

    1. I’ve corrected the number now so hopefully anyone needing a hint for 16d won’t have any problems from now on

  18. Usual high class fare for a Sunday. Nice selection of clues and ‘sewer rat’ was my favourite. 3/3* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Tilsit for the hints.
    Three in an hour? OMG!
    CS I am impressed! Well done that girl.

  19. I was very slow this morning (I will not admit just how long it took me to get my last in, 24d :oops:) even though I was moderate as ever last night, so I will conclude that it must have been a tougher than usual puzzle :). The usual high-quality Sunday fare. Likes are multitudinous but include the brilliant 28a, 4d (sorry Jane!) and 8d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit.

    It was great to see some of you in London yesterday and I look forward to seeing some more of you next weekend in York. A humungous well done to our favourite Times Championship finalist, Crypticsue. :yahoo:

  20. I certainly had to put my thinking head on today, but did manage to finish, albeit with Tilsit and electronic help. A challenging but enjoyable puzzle. Congratulations to Crypticsue and the rest of the gang, dare I say Big League 😊

  21. A fairly gentle puzzle from Virgilius, thoroughly enjoyed. Congratulations to everyone who took part in the Times finals, and to Mark Goodliffe on his win. Is the man unstoppable?

  22. Quite a bit of head scratching went on with this today, but managed to finish it. 4d was last one in. There are only a certain number of combinations of adding a letter, but I tried all the wrong words first before I got the right one. Many thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit. 8d made me laugh.

  23. Nicely testing but a perfect way to relax after a day of gardening. I agree with Jane in not being keen on 4d and, like Kath, I hesitated over spelling of 20a. Failed to parse 27a and 28a but bunged in nevertheless. ***/***. TVM Virgilius and Tilsit. (The hint shown for 8d should obviously be for 6d).

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