ST 2872 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

ST 2872 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2872 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Morning all!

I gather a good day was had in York and there may be one or two sore heads this morning.  We’ll no doubt see the evidence a bit later.

Here we are with the Sunday challenge and it was a bit harder than usual today from our Sunday Setter.  I found the top right corner a bit tricky but got there in the end after a face palm moment with 5 down.  Thanks to the Fragrant One for helping me understand 1 across.  One of those where I had the answer, but couldn’t quite see the wood for the trees.

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             With half-hearted role in King Lear, let down fan (8)
I had to seek guidance from the lovely Crypticsue for this one, as I couldn’t see the wood for the trees.  Got the answer but not how I arrived at it.  Take a four lettered character in King Lear, lose one of the middle letters, and add something that means to let down.  This gives you a word for a fan.


10a          Ask about positions, we hear, providing work for painter (6)
Painting one end of racing boat and sails (tablet version of the clue)
The version for the majority of us to solve is a homonym for to ask for opinions which gives us something an artist uses.

The tablet version is a very nice three definition clue

11a          Careful providing husband with love when in depression (8)
A word for a depression (in both senses of the word) has the abbreviations for husband and love inside to describe what you are when careful.

12a          One piece of text many deem tabu (4-6,4)
One of Brian’s clever clues.  The whole thing describes this and half of the clue may be seen as examples of this!

19a          Not quite long enough time for world revolution (4)
I rather liked this clever clue.  A word meaning to long, minus its last letter (not quite…) is the time it takes the earth to revolve around the sun.

20a          Train one performing, not so good at poker? (14)
Take a type of train, add the numeral for one, what you are said to be when performing and a way of saying not so.  This gives you a trait for playing poker and bridge, for that matter! 

25a          Author that may get drunk in wine bar? Doesn’t sound like it (6)
The name of an author (there’s a tiny clue in the picture) and the name of the type of wine, although they are pronounced differently.


28a          A statement of the obvious about Left’s consideration for others (8)
The word for the concept of being considerate for other people is found by taking A and the word for an obvious statement and inserting L (left)



1d            Travellers in European city, as they know it there (4)
The name for people who lead a travelling lifestyle is the name of a European capital in the news, but how it is known to its inhabitants.

2d            Musical old organ (6)
The name of a famous musical is found by taking O (old) and adding the name of an organ of the body.   Here’s your earworm for today!

5d            Game that’s not competitive (8)
The name of a famous game is also the name for a type of company that has no competition.

6d            Upset star, in embracing old dramatists (10)
An anagram of STAR IN contains a word for old to lead you to a type of playwright.

13d         Like scores requiring a lot of players (10)
If you don’t think sporting but musical, you should solve this nicely misleading clue.

16d         Falling pound cutting capital (8)
A word meaning falling is found by putting the one letter abbreviation for pound inside a synonym for ‘Capital!’


21d         Is misogynistic after first becomes last (6)
Take a word for a misogynist and drop the first letter to the end for something that means is.

26d         Like a piece of cake or pie? (4)
Something that is a piece of cake or said to be like pie can be this.

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 I have selected a couple of tracks by lesser known girl singers  [BD]

 I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More) by Barbara George and Bumble Bee by LaVern Baker

  ARVE Error: need id and provider
  ARVE Error: need id and provider


48 comments on “ST 2872 (Hints)

  1. 3*/5*. Simply wonderful, as ever on a Sunday.

    Picking a favourite is impossible. Even selecting a short list is very hard, but here goes: 19a, 20a, 25a, 21d & 26d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius for a splendid puzzle and to Tilsit for doing such sterling work in the absence of the boss.

  2. Definitely more tricky than usual for a Sunday for me. I usually solve a Virgilius puzzle with no problems, but I could not get the two long across clues for quite a while, and this meant not too many cross check letters. But as usual, all very enjoyable and yes, a bit of a sore head!

    Thanks to all the usual suspects.

  3. I am with RD on this one. An absolutely outstanding crossword from a setter at the top of his game. 19 across my favourite of many fine clues, although in truth I could have selected any one from a dozen or so. The hardest to solve of the week for me, so 3*/5*.

    Many thanks to Virgilius for an excellent workout, and to Tilsit for the second day running.

  4. Well found hard even with the help. Have answer to 10a maybe but don’t know what has to do wth xxxxx

    1. I’ve deleted your wandering off into wrong answer territory. If you read the hint, you should see whether your solution is the correct one.

      1. Thanks yes have answer all right but on line clue is “painting one end of racing boat and sails” which I still don’t understand. Stop press, a definition of an end of a racing boat that I was not familiar with. Hard

        1. Tilsit has gone out and so I have added the clue you quote above which I hope is correct. Presumably this is the newspaper version as the clue in Tilsit’s hint is the one on my copy I printed off from the Telegraph Puzzles site. If by online clue you mean the i pad version, please let me know. Perhaps someone who has the dead tree version could also confirm my supposition about the nautical clue being in the paper..

          1. My tablet version is “Painting one end of racing boat & sails” In my newspaper it is as RD .

            1. I’m supposed to be having a relaxing weekend after seven weeks of wedding preparations, wedding, visitors, last Saturday’s trip to London, and the day job becoming manic. I’ve felt more relaxed than I do at the moment what with all the various versions of this clue. Hopefully, once I’ve done the washing up, I can have a bit of a lie down

              1. Sorry Sue you did ask
                In my view the hints cover both versions perfectly. I like the tablet version. I do wonder why it is different.
                Sod’s Law it is probably the only clue that has two versions & Tilsit picked it!

            2. I printed out the on-line version from the Telegraph site early this morning and my clue is the same as for the print version.

    2. So glad I had the paper version as I cannot parse the iPad one in any way, shape or form and I have the answer!. There must be some nautical reference that I can’t see. Perhaps someone from the DT tell us why on occasions the paper and electronic versions differ.

  5. Great fun if not all plain-sailing but that’s no bad thing. A couple in the NW corner were my last to go in. I failed to parse bung-in for 19a so appreciated Tilsit help there and liked the surface read – probably Fav. Thanks to Virgilius and once again to Tilsit. ***/****.

  6. Lovely solve with some headscratching for a change this week.
    Like others NW corner last in.
    Thought 12a really clever but 5d favourite as it brought back so many enjoyable childhood memories.
    Thanks to Virgilius and Tilsit for hints. Esp for 19a. I had a much more technical parse that I can’t go into without getting on the naughty stair.

  7. Has Virgilius stopped using his trademark “hidden” clues?

    I haven’t found one for weeks!

    Yours, Disappointed!

        1. Wot?

          Is Tantalus Mr Brian Greer in disguise?

          The answer is obvious whichever way you look at it.

  8. Certainly the most difficult for some time, very pleased to have got it done with no queries or unanswered questions even if 5d should have had Friendly as the answer😀
    Thx to all for a tricky but enjoyable outing.

  9. First pass zilch, second pass zilch. Hecky thump I thought and reached toward tissues. 2d loomed, 13d dropped in plus 12ac and off I went. I have to own up to a small amount of electronic help, NE corner was my sticking point with only 6d in by lunch time. 4d came over lunch and all done before coffee. Thanks to Virgilius and Tilsit.

  10. Definitely trickier for a Sunday but no less enjoyable.
    I never did get 25a and needed the hint, now I wonder why. Funny, once you have the answer it seems so easy!
    Lots to like and any one could be fave, but rather liked 12a and 5d, and 19a was so, so clever.
    Thanks as ever to Virgilius and to Tilsit for sitting in again.

    1. I’ve been meaning to answer your post about “trumpery”.
      In France we use this word a lot.
      Not only in the way of a con or cheating on someone but also when one makes a mistake we say “je me suis trompé”.
      If you were to vote for the Donald you could say: Oops. I trumped myself!

  11. Oh what a lovely crossword! Lots of superb clues from the man at the top of his trade and 12a was the one that floated my boat. Took me a while to get going though…
    3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Tilsit for keeping the show on the road.

  12. Lovely stuff as ever from Mr. Sunday.
    Took an embarrassingly long time to get 21d but no other problems to report.
    Top three for me were 19&20a plus 13d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit for continuing to man the fort.

  13. Very late here today – more digging combined with the time change has thrown me out completely. Oh dear!
    A lovely Sunday crossword – was it trickier than usual – not sure . . .
    When I read the hint for 12a I thought that our friend Brian had started setting clues instead of grumbling but then I twigged.
    My last three answers – the 10a work for painter, the 1d travellers and the 4d work all caused trouble and now I can’t see why – I have to confess that husband got them all instantly.
    No hidden answers – well, I don’t think so anyway.
    I liked 19 and 20a and 2 and 21d. My favourite was 26d.
    With thank to Virgilius for the crossword and to Tilsit for doing such a good job of standing in.
    I do hope that all the revellers are in the land of the living, safely back home and heading for an early night.

    1. Hope you are going easy on the digging. It is the start of our gardening season here in the sub tropics. Have already strained my back, starting when we had to move everything indoors pre Hurricane Matthew, then aggravated having to put it all back out. Been moving, cleaning and repotting ever since so have now had to pop some muscle relaxants. Off to the garden store later this week for bedding plants and hopefully a new rose. They are a struggle here, but they are my little piece of England. I used to have one called Shropshirelad 🙂

  14. Thank goodness that was served up on a gloomy Sunday in South London, loads of time to give this a good go.
    The top half was completed first, but the bottom half needed a couple of hints, mainly because my brain had melted.
    I struggled to parse several of my answers, and for a couple even after reading the hint, no reflection on the hint, just me!!!
    That said, it was a superb crossword. I’m not sure that I can actually come up with a favourite, as there are so many superb clues, but if I had to pick one, it would be 21d, because I am so useless at spotting those clues that ask you to shuffle the letters about.
    Many thanks to Tilset and the Virgilus.
    On the down side, my leeks have that rust thing that they get, anyone know if that can be treated, or indeed that the leeks can be eaten????
    Question : What sort of people write these computer viruses, I think I am infected with the JS/Redir _F virus, anyone got any idea how to get rid of it. Ladies,look away now…………

    ……….If I could catch the bloke responsible, I would string him up by his bollocks.

    1. Sorry about the virus, I keep getting a message on my tablet whilst on the BD site.
      Strange in these days of equality you assume it is a man. Sadly my experience would say you are right.

      1. I hope I have removed the virus – special thanks go to Cyborg who narrowed the search considerably which enabled me to delete the code that was causing the problem.

        1. BD massive thank you to both of you. The message I kept getting was quite worrying (as these things are to silver surfers like me).

    2. Great puzzle. I took one look at it and thought that it was impossible, but I persevered and slowly but surely got there. The only easy clue for me was 15a, the rest took a bit of work. I liked 12a and 21d. Thank you Virgilius and Tilsit. My brother won allotment of the the year a while ago. I will ask him about leeks HIYD.

  15. Oh dear, struggled again. Strangely I got most of the ones Tilsit provided hints for (before I looked at the hints), it was the rest I found tough. Tomorrow is another day.

  16. I finished this in about ** for time, but needed my wits about me every step of the way. Thanks Virgilius for another good, nicely judged Sunday challenge. :-)

  17. The only clue that foxed me is obviously far too easy to merit a hint, but I can’t figure it out. Can anyone give me a nudge in the right direction on 9a?

    1. 9a Ready to take off a governing body (6)
      A from the clue followed by the governing body of a company, say.

  18. Just got around to finishing this. Agree it was a bit more tricky than usual, but still lovely stuff. Thanks Virgilius and Tilsit.

  19. Finally made it back from York.
    Had a wonderful time.
    Solved this wonderful crossword in the garden of my hotel, enjoying the very mild temperature for this time of year.
    Nice to see Sir Ian McKellen in 7a. Walked by the Wyndham’s theatre on Thursday when “No man’s land” was finished. Big crowd waiting by the stage door but only saw Patrick Stewart as his sirship took a secret door.
    Have so many more things to talk about but it’s getting rather late. Flying back tomorrow.
    So nice to see Stan back on the blog.
    See you all Monday in sunny France.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Tilsit and CS for watching over the blog.

  20. A late post to thank Virgilius for a typically wonderful puzzle [I always save it for Monday], Tilsit for a fine blog [I needed the hint for 10a] and BD for giving an airing to the late, great LaVern Baker. Bumblebee [along with Bobby Parker’s “Watch your Step”] was a signature tune at Club 60 in Shalesmoor, Sheffield, where I mis-spent too much of my youth.

  21. Finally cracked it needing 4 hints 😡. Favourites were 27a and 28a. Didn’t like 25a.
    Thanks all.

  22. Very late doing this for a variety of reasons, mainly new bathroom installation related….still not finished but nearly there now.

    Made very heavy weather of this and needed all but one of the hints and then quite a lot of electronic help.

    All of the clues were very fair, though, once I had worked them out, so thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

Comments are closed.