ST 2879 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2879 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2879 (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/29a    Consumer guide for this week — see intervening answers (3-9,8,4)
This “guide” could include some or all of the intervening across answers – ours certainly did!

10a    Remedy for overindulgence I can’t set out in advertisement (7)
An anagram (set out) of I CAN’T inside an AD(vertisement)

14a    Fare for holiday in foreign country (6)
This seasonal food is also the name of a foreign country

15a    Sources of party hats and nuts (8)
Two definitions – the second being nuts as in mad, not the edible kind suggested by the clue

19a    Starts covering up blunder making fortified wines (8)
A verb meaning starts or recoils around (covering up) a blunder

24a    Spread put on 15 or loaf (4)
Two more definitions – but be careful, the kind of 15 Across is neither of those in its clue and the loaf is not a loaf of bread

25a    Feigned suffering, we hear, resulting in celebratory drink (9)
Chestnuts are not one of the items on our 1a/29a so to make up for that we have this old chestnut! – a charade of two syllables sounding like feigned and suffering

27a    Tree decorations also found in non-U things like this (7)
A three-letter word meaning also inside constructs like 27a but without the U (non-U)

28a    Important people in Leicester and Derby, for example (7)
Leicester and Derby are examples of this item that could be on our 1a/29a

29a    See 1 Across


2d    Something needed in court, always reduced for crook (9)
Something that is needed for many of the games that are played in a court followed by the short poetic word for always

4d    In relation to benefit, including right to claim again (8)
A two-letter word meaning “in relation to” followed by a benefit into which R(ight) is inserted (including)

8d    Male American fliers in ancient jumbos (8)
M(ale) and AM(erican) are followed by some flying insects

16d    Quality of some snacks princess ordered second (9)
An anagram (ordered) of PRINCESS followed by S(econd)

18d    Erects barrier around someone aiding criminal offence (6,2)
Someone who aids a criminal by helping them dispose of stolen goods followed by an offence – comments about the choice of one of the words in the clue will be redacted without warning

22d    Imposing latest period to avoid oysters? (6)
Folklore dictates those months of the year in which it is safe to eat oysters, so we are looking for the latest of the unsafe months

24d    Call for peace expressed in lots of cards (5)
Sounds like (expressed) a Latin word used as a call for peace

26d    Fellow adding sauce in alcoholic drink with egg (4)
F(ellow) followed by some sauce or cheek

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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.

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  Today if have chosen the first two tracks on the best Christmas album ever –
A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector
Darlene Love’s White Christmas and the Ronettes version of Frosty The Snowman
  ARVE Error: need id and provider
  ARVE Error: need id and provider

35 comments on “ST 2879 (Hints)

  1. Glad to see 10a in the 1a/29a, and enjoyed the literal instruction for the theme, very nice.

    LOI 22d, last to parse 27a

    Much fun many thanks Virgilius & BD

  2. After an evening out attending a ‘one man show’ by David Feherty (the golf commentator) I wasn’t sure if I would even tackle this puzzle before a delayed lights out. But, with the seasonal clues and some oldies but goodies it was almost a R&W with only 2d causing any head scratching. I even managed to collect the bonus points on submission to the on-line site.

    Favourite has to be the combine 1a/29a.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  3. The maestro kicks off the crossword festive season for us in fine style.
    Amused me that 10a took priority in his order of things!

    Got the 1/29 combo quite quickly which helped enormously with the rest of the solve.
    25a gets my vote for favourite even if it is an old chestnut, followed by the ancient jumbos.

    Many thanks and seasonal best wishes to Virgilius. Thanks also to BD for the words and music.

  4. Please could someone who solved this lovely seasonally themed crossword let Gnomey and me know when the closing date for entries is so that we can make sure the review appears on the right day. Thank you

      1. Thank you. Hopefully our Gnome won’t be quite as Bah Humbug as Jean-Luc and Stan when he provides the review.

  5. A nice little variation on a regular theme. Great clueing as expected from this setter and much enjoyed. Many thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  6. Lovely puzzle, just right for setting the festive mood. 27A is my stand-out.thanks Virgilius and CS.

  7. 27 across quite brilliant and the best of many fun seasonal clues. Virgilius in a fairly benign mood, but still hugely enjoyable as his puzzles always are. 2*/4* overall with many thanks to the aforementioned and BD.

  8. My brain’s not quite in gear today so this one took longer than it should have done but all good fun.
    The first little bit of 1a took ages – how silly – because I couldn’t see it I began to doubt my 2d answer.
    I confess to needing the hint to understand 27a.
    I liked 13a and 2 and 22d. My favourite was 8d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  9. Lovely puzzle, he’s a top man is Virgilius.
    I couldn’t finish as I have no idea what 13a is as checkers of “_ *_ *” do not exactly help!!! And I can’t get my head around the clue.
    Needed hints for 28a as I did not know that Derby produced the answer, 22d eluded me as a consequence, but went in after 28a. Ghastly things, oysters.
    Favourite, 2d.
    Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints.

    1. Partial answer redacted.

      13a Sponge, say, a piece of which isn’t hard (4)
      “Sponge, say” is a definition by example and then think about the rest of the clue – it’s not difficult!

      1. Oops, sorry Dave…
        Still does not make any sense.
        No matter, off to see Chesney Hawkes in Cinderella in Redhill with the family, dinner and a few beers in Wetherspoons first!!!
        Maybe the penny will drop on my return.

        1. This was my last one in as well. Wanted to put something in that grows on trees which was equally Christmas then the penny dropped.

        2. Well, I may not be able to solve 13a, but I can report that Chesney Hawkes still is ‘the one and only”.
          Great fun at the panto, you can’t beat it.

          1. Had to cheat for 13a and use the DT hints, I hate doing that, but would never have got it in 100 years.

  10. Virgilius clearly celebrates Christmas in style – though the first item on his list hints at the occasional upset in the past.

    Very enjoyable and a cleverly executed theme – even if it did mean that, by half way down, a few answers suggested themselves from the checkers even before the clue had been read. Which is my only mild criticism – when I did read the clues, they were, pretty much without exception, excellent. Tightly constructed, witty, elegant.

    Slight problems in SW corner until I realised I’d plumped for a seemingly obvious but – naturally, therefore – wrong answer to 27a. On realising my error, 27a would have been my COTD had it not been for 16d which is splendid.

    Thanks to Virgilius for an enjoyable Sunday morning and to BD for the review.

  11. Great puzzle, so enjoyable! I got 1a/29a straight off which gave me a hint at the theme.
    Last in was 13a, now, isn’t that super clever? I’ve got my 15a from Amazon! Loved 27a and 8d but I can’t decide on a fave.
    Thanks so much to Virgilius, who is in a horrible winter storm now, and to BD for his hints.

  12. Very festive theme and some ingenious clues. Liked 1&29a and 22d. Thanks to Virgilius and BD. Light snow currently so more shovelling before the promised rain.

  13. I was wondering when our setters were going to start with the festivities.
    Nice of Virgilius to open the ball.
    Plenty more to come no doubt.
    Such a routine at this time of year.
    I feel as grumpy as Kitty’s new avatar.
    Thanks anyway.
    Thanks also to BD for the blog..

  14. Bah Humbug!

    So Virgilius has set the tone for next week’s puzzles.

    Must try to remember the reindeers’ names and how many lords were a’leaping etc etc …

    Oh! No!

  15. Virgilius is such a good setter. Thanks to him for the seasonal fun, and as ever to BD. (I still cannot believe 13 and 14a were my last two in!)

  16. Not too difficult today, the theme helping things along. All done but also scratching head on 2d, only hold out.

  17. I think I enjoyed solving this crossword; normally I dislike themed puzzles but this one wasn’t too bad. My favourite clue was 22d and as it’s the festive period I’ll go for 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints.

  18. Thanks to Virgilius & to Big Dave for the hints. Fantastic puzzle. Given that it was themed, I couldn’t believe I needed the hint for 14a, doh!! Happy Xmas to all.

  19. V was being very kind with this one, but no shortage of smiles:1*/3.5*. I liked 27a a lot. Now for some 15a and 28a, washed down with a 19a. Hopefully, no need for 10a. Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  20. It must be Christmas then. ;-) A fun, fairly easy puzzle from Virgilius, to mark the coming festivities. 28ac and 18d were my last two in, and the two I struggled with the most.

  21. Our festivities started yesterday evening with all the neighbours coming to us for drinks and nibbles, which went on for rather a long time with no-one needing to drive home. After a very late start to the day and then clearing up the house, the crossword had to wait, but it was certainly worth waiting for – not difficult but great fun! Many thanks as ever to Virgilius.

    Phil Spector was not a nice man at all, but he was responsible for some great music. Many thanks to BD for the reminder of some his best work, and for the hints.

  22. Well, antipodean holiday over and jet lag just about seen off, so the Christmas tree was put up and decorated today. Visited brother-in-law and his wife this evening giving me a chance to wear my ‘Bah Humbug’ sweatshirt! Then we look at this crossword and find a coincidental theme.

    Nice work and thanks to Virgilius. Not too taxing and the theme helped. Favourite clue has to be 27a. Thanks to BD for the review.

  23. Festively themed it may be but for me there was not a lot of fun to be had. North went in with no problem but the South presented a stiffer challenge. Bunged in 27a without parsing it. Liked 15a and 3d. Here’s to more mistletoe, holly, etc. as the week unfolds. Thank you Virgilius and BD.

  24. Very seasonable crossword yesterday – it is Monday now.

    I do the cryptic every day to keep my English up to scratch.

    Shall spend Christmas chez my daughter and family – they also live here in NL. My grandson will be there but his twin sister is sweating it out down under in NZ.

    Seasonal greetings to all,

  25. Escaping from my rock in the Channel meant that Monday is the new Sunday. I bemoaned the fact that at Easter there was not even a themed clue let alone a themed crossword to be seen over the holiday period. Thank you Mr V for this seasonal offering which enhances the feeling of goodwill etc.
    Happy Christmas to one and all and thank you BD et al for your continuing sterling efforts.

  26. Very late to this one because en-route to Phoenix, Az where I have just had a first lesson in a glider in the clear sunny skies.
    A fine Christmas Crossword which Went down rather well. Thank you Virgenius and BD.

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