ST 2883 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2883 (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:


8a    She opened the box containing one or two of Pa’s pieces (7)
I bet that many of you, like me, were filling in the answer after reading the first four words – split that answer as (1,3/2,1) to understand the wordplay

10a    Workers taken back into excellent plant (7)
The reversal (taken back) of some workers inside “excellent”, spelt out

12a    Fake psychoanalyst having change of heart (5)
Start with the surname of a well-known psychoanalyst and change his middle letter (heart)

17a    Justice and three others using bad advice run trials (8,7)
An anagram (bad) of ADVICE RUN TRIALS

19a    Setter’s superior when it comes to giving directions in clue (7)
Two definitions – the first being a dog that is allegedly regarded as being superior to the setter when it comes to giving directions to a game hunter

21a    One in suit given precedence over others? Blast! (5)
Two more definitions – in the first definition the suit refers to playing cards – comments about any further definitions will be deleted

27a    Nasty type we had put outside quickly turned around (7)
A nasty type of person inside the abbreviated form of “we had”

28a    Secretive activity, the last resort? (7)
An anagram (resort) of THE LAST


1d    Eventual outcome produced by aiming too high? (6)
This outcome could, if split (2,4), be taken as the result of aiming too high

2d    Soul of wit exemplified in single craft (3-5)
A word meaning a single and a seagoing craft – at the time of writing “exemplifed” was spelt incorrectly in the online version, although it is now correct!

3d    Adherent of widespread religious belief (10)
Unless I’m missing something, this is only faintly cryptic – widespread here concerns the number of gods in the religious belief rather than the number of people having that belief

5d    Hazard at seado something to reduce canvas (4)
Two definitions

7d    Provokes strike initially uncalled for (8)
A verb meaning provokes followed by the initial letter of S[trike]

16d    Playwright grasping man who acts badly is obstacle (9)
The surname of a playwright around (grasping) a three-letter man who acts or behaves badly

20d    Reduced access for French artist (6)
Drop the final letter (reduced) from an access

23d    Fail to notice single person? Not he (4)
Two definitions

25d    Short river, hardly stream (4)
The abbreviation (short) of R(iver) followed by an adverb meaning hardly or with difficulty

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  Today a couple of “Wild” hits
Wild One by Bobby Rydell and Wild Thing by The Troggs 


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    2*/5*. I knew this was going to be wonderful from the moment I looked at and solved 8a, which was my favourite despite being obvious as BD has remarked, although there were very many other candidates for this honour including one very topical answer.

    I found this relatively easy for a Sunday cryptic apart from my last three interlinked answers in the SW corner (27a, 16d & 25d) which needed a bit of teasing our and took my time up to 2*.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  2. stanXYZ
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    The usual great fun from Virgilius on a sparkling Sunday morning.

    3d – I was hoping to see how this clue was cryptic. I have no idea but I’m sure someone will provide an explanation.

  3. crypticsue
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    re 2d – not any more it isn’t ;)

  4. Senf
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    After the first pass, I began to think that this was going to be a real stinker, but I got into a gentle canter and everything fell into place with only the customary thumbing through the Small Red Book required – **/*** for me.

    However, even though I solved the puzzle successfully, some of the clues slightly mystified me:

    Not sure at all what the ‘As’ is doing at the start of 18d.

    Not sure about the ‘hardly’ in 25d.

    With the available checkers, the obstacle in 16d had to be what it was but it took me some time to identify the playwright and parse the clue.

    Favourite – 2d.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    • Sheffieldsy
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Senf, on 25d we took ‘hardly’ as a synonym for one of the meanings of the word formed by the final three letters of the answer. If I’m more explicit I’ll be sititng on the naughty step.

      • Senf
        Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think you are heading for the naughty corner, that is how BD has described it in his hint above. Just a usage I am not familiar with. Thanks.

  5. Sheffieldsy
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Another lovely Sunday romp. We agree that 3d doesn’t seem at all cryptic. 2*/3*.

    Favourite was 28a for using a common phrase for something so unexpectedly different.

    Thanks go to BD for the hints and Virgilius for another finely-crafted offering.

    Every Sunday crossword seems to include a triple definition. Is this a Virgilius trademark/foible?

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      If you read BD’s hint, I think you’ll find the clue you think is a triple definition, is only a double.

      • Sheffieldsy
        Posted January 22, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Yes, CS, but we think it’s easily interpretable as a triple – fail to notice/single person/not he. However, BD has doubts so we’ll take it either way.

        • Posted January 22, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          I can’t see how “not he” can work as a definition.

          • Angiebaby
            Posted January 23, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

            I’m probably a bit late but surely ‘not he’ means the opposite of the masculine?
            So wish I could explain that better!

            • Posted January 23, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

              If you can’t explain it, that’s probably because it doesn’t work – “not he” is a definition of “she”, which is not the answer.

              • Angiebaby
                Posted January 23, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

                Ok, I understand.

  6. Young Salopian
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    3*/5* seems about right for this excellent Virgilian offering. It took me a while to get going, as after the first pass I only had seven answers, but then after a short beak, it all fell into place. I wouldn’t normally have an anagram as a favourite, but 17a is an absolute gem.

    Thanks to Virgilius for another wonderful puzzle and for cheering up a cold, grey day. Thanks too, to BD.

  7. Expat Chris
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was a wee bit trickier than usual, though very enjoyable. I thouht there was a triple, too. 17A is my pick. Thanks Virgilius and BD.

    • Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      So did I at first, but the third one doesn’t seem to stand on its own

  8. Paso Doble
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    What a magnificent Sunday puzzle from our Maestro Virgilius.
    2*/5* in agreement with Rabbit Dave
    Thanks to BD for the hints.

  9. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Last two were 27a and 25d and needed to check synonyms in both.
    The rest was quite straightforward.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the blog.

  10. Vancouverbc
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    **/****. Very neat clues apart from 3d which needed electronic help for me to solve. My favourite was 17a because although an anagram it just scans so well. Thanks to Virgilius and BD for the hints.

  11. Merusa
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I found this a bit tricky but no less enjoyable. On reviewing the answers, I can’t see why I found it difficult, I must be having a bad day. For instance, I struggled with 4d! Surely, anyone who has a computer must get that answer in a trice.
    Loved 2d, but without doubt, fave is 17a.
    I found 13a a bit confusing, surely it should be a bad smell when head’s on! Of course, I may have an incorrect answer.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints and 19a.

  12. dutch
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Just got back from Freiburg, where in addition to my University visit it was a great pleasure to meet up with Knut/Baerchen.

    Lovely puzzle, I liked 8a, 10a, 21a, 2d, 23d. I didn’t know the second meaning in 5d so many thanks BD – and thanks Virgilius

  13. Jane
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Well – maybe it was down to the exceptionally good Sunday lunch out with friends, but I found this a little trickier than usual for a Sunday. Once or twice, I was looking for the wrong definition – 27a being a prime example – and it was quite a while before I realised that 17a was an anagram.
    Not surprised that BD felt it necessary to warn of potential deletions over 21a!

    Thanks to the maestro Virgilius and to BD. My word, listening to The Troggs brought back some memories………..

    • Merusa
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Personally, I just prefer to pretend that it doesn’t exist!

  14. Woolgatherer
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    I must be the only person in the universe whose last clue in was 21a.
    Lovely Sunday Virgilius crossword, as ever (and all the better for ending with a laugh😀!).
    Thanks once again to Virgilius and BD.

  15. Angellov
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Cold and frosty day hence only too pleased to hug the fireside and enjoy the tv (in spite of disappointing tennis), newspapers and not least this delightful exercise which was just nicely challenging after a slow start. Lots of brilliant clues so wont pick a Fav. Huge thanks Virgilius and BD. 😑

  16. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    A lovely day visiting the V&A museum rendered this completely beyond me.
    Once I am into *** territory, I need all my faculties to have any chancre of finishing. The spirit was willing but the brain wasn’t. I couldn’t even complete it with BD’s hints. I shall rattle this off in the morning when I am fresh.
    Shame as I so enjoy Sunday’s puzzles.
    Thanks BD and Virgilius.

  17. Jon_S
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    A fun, quite challenging puzzle – perhaps *** for difficulty? Once or twice I thought I might not finish, especially in the NE corner, but got there in the end. A good crossword for a cold winter’s day.

    • Angiebaby
      Posted January 23, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      I still can’t finish the NE corner :(

  18. Salty Dog
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Right on the 1*/2* cusp for difficulty; 3.5* for enjoyment. Lots of nice clues, but 16d was my favourite. Thanks to Virgilius and Big Dave.

  19. RayS
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle. Too busy to do yesterday but done this morning. I liked 10a and 19a. 2.5*/4* for me. Incidentally, how many of you enter the competition?

  20. RayS
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I tried to edit my comment above, but I’m being told it’s/I’m spam?

    • Posted January 23, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Don’t know why, but it’s now sorted.