ST 2886 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2886 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2886 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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Good Sunday morning from Winnipeg. Having sunk well into the deep freeze in the middle of the week just gone by with more snow, and highs around -20C (-30C with wind chill), 10C below seasonal normal (whatever that means), we are supposed to reach a balmy -2C today (8C above seasonal normal).  Just for fun, the photos below illustrate two aspects of a Canadian winter. The first shows a snow ‘disposal’ site; ploughed snow is cleared from the sides of the roads and car parks of all sizes and deposited at these sites (the base is something like 5 or 6 football pitches side by side). This ‘mountain’ will probably take until June to disappear naturally. The second is of a snow sculpture as part of the Festival du Voyageur – the annual winter festival held in Winnipeg in the second half of February; large blocks of snow are created at various intersections around the city for the sculptors to do their thing (and hope that there is not a sudden heat wave).


The training wheels are still on, but no supervision today. In response to LabradorsruleOK comment/request on last Sunday’s blog, as I gain more experience/confidence working with WordPress you might get to see more ‘adventurous’ submissions.

Another very typical and very enjoyable Sunday puzzle from Virgilius which I completed at a fast canter, and I enjoyed the two 14 letter clues being non-anagrams (except for the first element of 9d).

Don’t forget to follow BD’s instructions in red at the bottom of the hints!

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    Child including effect of sunshine as part of nature study (6)
A male child containing the result of sunbathing.

4a    Audibly disapproves of private accommodation? (8)
Not the homophone perhaps suggested by audibly, but a double definition the second of which houses the lowliest of the military.

13a    Silly people coming from the North a lot (7)
The single letter for North and an informal word for a lot (also gives an oriental form of pasta – had to say that so I could include the photo).

18a    Son moved in gas meter – that’s better (8)
Concatenate gas and meter (it’s OK, Miffypops doesn’t make postings on weekend blogs), and move the single letter for son to the right to create someone who likes a flutter.

25a    Tenacious fighter has row about blunder (7)
An oldie but goodie? A regular four letter row containing a three letter blunder gives a nickname for a member of the reserve forces (or a lovable pooch).

26a    Left Red Sea port with cargo aboard (5)
Single letter for left and a Red Sea port to give a synonym for loaded (although my atlas suggests the port is just outside the Red Sea).

27a    Small low object seen in evening out (9)
A charade  based on the first three words – single letter for small, the cattle ‘noise,’ and another word for object.

29a    With short notice, check about new arrival (6)
The two letter notice, three letter word for check containing the single letter for new gives the religious season that precedes Christmas.


1d     Literary group‘s bad luck covered by mistake (4,4)
An anagram (bad) of luck inside a palindromic mistake.

5d     Good person in commercial vehicle helping management (14)
Start with a two letter commercial, the favourite small vehicle and good person, and finish with a serving.

8d     Major split as church is beset by extremes of sectarianism (6)
One of the two letter abbreviations for church and is (from the clue) inside the outside letters of sectarianism gives a serious break in unity of an organization.

9d     Female supporters having been awful over fine players (14)
Anagram (awful) of been, single letter for fine, and female cast members gives some of those who support, usually with money.

16d    Released learner I rebuked (9)
Single letter for learner, I (from the clue), and a synonym for rebuked.

19d    Lack of inhibition in a group of musicians performing (7)
A (from the clue), a musical group, and a two letter synonym for performing give carefree behaviour.

22d    Hue and cry that’s painful (6)
A four letter cry and a two letter exclamation when something is painful give a primary colour.

24d    Location of instruments from crashed plane (5)
Anagram (crashed) of plane.

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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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 Well, having worked on drafting this week’s blog for more than a couple of days and increasing my experience/confidence working with WordPress in the process, just for LabradorsruleOK:

 A bit of a ‘one (or two) hit wonder,’ but, when I was at the RAF College (many years ago), Paper Lace appeared regularly at mess functions (before they were famous).

49 comments on “ST 2886 (Hints)

  1. 2*/4*. I flew through this one today until I reached the SW corner which took me up to my 2* time with a few clues needing a bit of teasing out. 28a was my last one in.

    As usual lots to like here, particularly the devious non-homophone in 4a and the elegantly constructed 21d, which was my favourite.

    Senf, you definitely seem to have hit the ground running with your excellent hints. Very well done, and keep up the good work!

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    1. Thanks RD. As I have said before, the challenge is solving the puzzle – no solution, no hints. I hope that I can continue to stay on Virgilius’ wavelength, so that I can exercise my creative writing.

  2. I too found this to be a little more straightforward than some of Mr V’s offerings but 9d held me up for too long whilst 27a brought a smile to my face.
    My weekly report about the state of my DT App for my iPad reveals that last weekend it thinks I got everything right in both crosswords. Hallelujah! Their current advice is to delete the App and reinstall it. As I’ve already done this about a month ago I’m loathe to do it again. Obviously, and quite rightly, it’s the taking part and not the winning that’s important 😂
    My 25a, who clearly has a modelling contract in Canada that I know nothing about, is expressing a desire for a run on the beach. The coffee will have to wait.
    Thank you to all involved.

    1. …..and I meant to say, somewhat pedantically, wasn’t the ill-fated Italian of 6d around a bit too early for this capital?😂

  3. It’s over 20c and sunny here in Lanzarote. But very windy today – a palm tree has been blown over on the sea front.
    A gentle offering today from VIrgilius – but 9d held out until the rest had been solved. Favourite was the cunning 27a.
    Thank you Senf and V.

  4. Pleasant fare yoday. A couple of sticky moments with the SW corner but in hindsight cant see why. Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  5. Struggled with SW corner & took far too long to see 18a.

    27a & 22d joint COTD for me.

    Thanks to Virgilius for the fun and Senf for the succinct hints. Also for the musical nostalgia. From the date of the clip my pop music era you may just have heard in the womb! Your photos of the “Canadian Winter” would resonate with sister-in-law in Calgary. She sent a picture of her car temperature guage the other day at -23 or some unimaginable temperature.

    1. LrOK – I have re-read your comment about the music nostalgia a number of times to make sure I understand it – I had been out of the womb for more than twenty years when Paper Lace came on the scene, so my pop music era too.

      1. Sorry Senf misunderstanding: my pop era was the mid- late 50’s to the very early 70′ s. I was working backwards with your age to then – hence “womb” in the mid 50’s. Still enjoyed the clip as our first was born in ’74.

  6. Pleased to see that I wasn’t the only person who struggled with 9d – all the checkers in and I still had to write it out horizontally before the penny dropped! 18a held me up for a while as well – wondered where I could fit in the random ‘son’ (silly girl).

    Top two for me were 4&27a with many others hard on their heels in this latest excellent offering from Virgilius.
    Many thanks to him and also to Senf for a very professional blog. I doubt I would be able to survive your extreme temperatures but I do love ice sculptures. By the way – it doesn’t surprise me in the least to learn that you are ex-RAF. There’s a certain ‘something’ about the men who joined that particular service (my Dad included!).

  7. We didn’t enjoy this quite as much as we usually do with Virgilius’s Sunday offering. 2*/2*.

    Although 9d is a clever clue, the answer is a horrible word! Our favourite is probably 27a.

    Didn’t venture to the paper shop today as it is snowing here (though nothing like our Canadian friends can get), so we solved this on the Telegraph app on the iPad. In that, the word broadcast is spelled without the ‘d’ in 12a. We wonder whether this mistake that eluded the proof reader(s) if, indeed, there are any, made it to the puzzle site or the paper paper.

    Thanks Senf and Virgilius.

    1. Thanks, both, although they’re not the replies I expected. It implies, surely, that the clues are retyped rather than being cut and pasted or transferred programmatically to the IPad version. Otherwise, how else can that ‘d’ get dropped?

      It’s difficult to believe that in this day and age.

  8. Another really good Sunday crossword and an equally good set of hints, pics and clips.
    I thought I was going to be in real trouble today – so few answers went in to begin with but then, apart from a couple, they all sorted themselves out.
    9d was a problem – Jane had to write it out horizontally – I thought that was normal – I always do it. :sad:
    27a also took ages and I spent too long trying, somehow, to fit a ‘boo’ into 4a.
    18a was my last answer – how difficult can it be to move one letter – oh dear.
    The pic for 1d looks like the one I belong to but at our get-togethers you’d never see a teapot on the table.
    I liked 27 and 28a and 8d. My favourite was either 3 or 22d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  9. I am still stuck on a couple but I only started a couple of hours ago as it is 9.20 here in Ontario.

    We are originally British but were in the US for a while before we immigrated. We landed by road south on Winnipeg on February 6th almost 20 years ago and as we approached the city I well remember those snow mountains. We thought they were actually hills and were astounded when we drove out of the city in August and they had all gone. We did enjoy Winnipeg but for work reasons we moved to Ontario after a couple of years.

    Well I’m off to struggle with the last two….. I think perhaps I must have 22d wrong……. because I am coompletly thrown by 23a… and 18a for that matter.

    1. Ah I had 9d wrong. Now I’ve figured out the last two! Feeling a bit less thick than I was LOL.

  10. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the review and hints. A very nice puzzle most enjoyable, a little on the gentle side. Nice to see 13&26a again. Found this quite straightforward, just took a little while to get 9d, which was a new word for me and was last in. Favourite was 11a. Was 2*/3* for me. My 10 year old crock pot just blew up, so the joint is now in the oven. :-(

  11. For me today’s offering from the great man was a relatively gentle affair. Pleasant enough certainly but the grey cells were allowed to relax somewhat. 22d was my favourite and overal 2/3*.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints.

  12. I thought this was on the gentler side of Virgilius.
    Last in was 18a, don’t know why it took so long.
    I had decided that 27a was my fave but Senf’s pic at 25a changed my mind.
    Thanks to Virgilius for another fine offering, and to Senf for his hints and pics of Canada snow. I wouldn’t last a week there, I freeze when it drops into the 60s here in Florida.

  13. Hi newbie from Yorkshire here
    nice crosssword today still not finished yet but while I do in 27a see that the answer is a synonym of the underlined words but is the “object” that Senf refers too also an anagram of a synonym of the penultimate word the anagram being indicated by the last word? or maybe I’m thinking too much.

    on another note comments I post during the week ( on my mobile) don’t appear but when sent via laptop they do. Am I doing something wrong?

    1. John Bee – the way I parsed it in my hint a synonym of ‘object’ provides the third element of the answer. Hope that helps.

      1. Thanks Senf
        I was overthinking, your parsing is much better. and I wont blame the bitter Yorkshire weather as you are having it much colder than us here.

        Re Paper Lace. I too am of an age to remember them and there is a (probably apocryphal but I hope it’s true) story of an employee of the local York Chocolate factory who fell into a vat of chocolate destined for Aero bars. Every where he went everafter his colleagues burst into a chorus of “Billy Don’t be an Aero”

        1. That sounds like the one about the Irish guy who drowned in a vat of Guinness. It can’t have been too bad ‘cos he got out twice for a pee :lol:

  14. Just completed today’s offering – needed help with 1d and had a struggle with 1a. 2d also gave me grief as I only knew the French spelling for this word and of course it would not fit! Otherwise very enjoyable solve. 3d made me smile. 27a was good as was 8d. 2*/3*. Not been very present on the blog as very busy with Mademoiselle Fifi! Tuesday will be a red letter day as it will be her first official walk on the lead… Gosh, puppies are hard work! Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints.

    1. Just make sure she knows how to drink from different bowls. Some dogs do the strangest things when we give them water at the Jardin.

  15. Found it very straightforward with one of the simplest ever anagram in the last clue.
    Would have put another exclamation mark in the middle of 22a. Call that music? What am I to know?
    Thanks to Virgilius for the fun and to senf for the review.

    1. jean-luc – it was considered to be music, of a certain genre, in 1974. I should perhaps warn you that the best, or perhaps worst, is yet to come.

      1. Sorry Senf.
        I didn’t mean your choice of music but Hue and Cry! that’s painful! in 22a. Remember them?

    2. Believe it or not J-L, I did initially manage to bung in the wrong answer to 24d. 🤦🏼‍♀️

  16. Settled down to this one after watching Scotland spoil a lot of very solid play by silly mistakes. At times ‘The Auld Alliance’ was looking a little strained. Another brilliant offering – in my view slightly up on the Virgilius’ average which is already a benchmark – completed whilst listening to Jesca Hoop and Sam Beam’s new album. A great joy to solve with 27a being stand out (I laughed too). (9d; agreed, unusual word but typical V: no easy-peasy multi-word anagrams to lay bare the rest of the crossword. Nope… you have to work at it! Thanks v much V. Senf, excellent. How can you type with such cold fingers?

    1. It’s amazing how far into the body Dalwhinnie and Balvenie (or any other fine spirits originating from peat bogs) can reach!

    1. You’ve changed your alias since your last comment so this one needed moderation.

      11a Married available husband, say (5)
      The abbreviation for married, a synonym for available or published and the abbreviation for husband.

  17. Like mcmillibar I only got around to this after the RU and I do agree that with a little more care Scotland really could have done it. Unlike many above I didn’t find today’s task all that straightforward particularly in the West where I stumbled on several but Senf pulled me through. I stupidly xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx Many thanks to Virgilius for the enjoyable challenge and Senf for your help.

    1. Oh dear BD – I apologise for stupidly overstepping the mark on 24d. I consider myself duly reprimanded. 😡

  18. Perhaps I was just out of form today, because I really struggled with this. I was pretty slow anyway, but at the end took as long again to get 9d/18ac/27ac. I need a rest now. :-)

  19. As always, great fun. This one was relatively gentle (1*), but kept me smiling from start to finish (so 4.5* for that). My favourites were 27a and 19d. Many thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the review.

  20. Greetings from a hot and sunny St Lucia where I have finally managed to get round to not just completing a crossword, but commenting upon it. The wifi at the hotel is not that speedy, but perseverance has won the day.

    Usual splendid fare from Virgilius to whom many thanks, and to Senf for his review. 2*/4*.

    Congratulations to England for a tenacious display yesterday, and to Wasps for a hard-earned draw against a depleted Exeter.

  21. Back from skiing in one piece to recommence my new hobby.
    Enjoyable today, but I could not solve 9d or 5d, but did most of the rest of it.
    I have no idea why 28a is what it is.
    Thanks Senf for the hints and Virgilius for the puzzle.

  22. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Don’t usually do Sunday’s as still reading Saturday’s paper. Also used not to be on the wavelength. Anyway I found this in its new place. Very witty, sometimes had to think outside of the box which may not have pleased some solvers. I did not struggle with the SW at all. Last two in were 27a which I loved once I had cottoned on, after which, like Jane, I wrote out 9d horizontally after which the answer presented itself to me. I cannot say I like long word clues – much prefer phrases. Find them difficult to solve unless the checking letters are consonants. Thanks Giovanni and Senf (although did not need the clues). Can put a face on you since Little Venice.

  23. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Don’t usually do Sunday’s as still reading Saturday’s paper. Also used not to be on the wavelength. Anyway I found this in its new place. Very witty, sometimes had to think outside of the box which may not have pleased some solvers. I did not struggle with the SW at all. Last two in were 27a which I loved once I had cottoned on, after which, like Jane, I wrote out 9d horizontally after which the answer presented itself to me. I cannot say I like long word clues – much prefer phrases. Find them difficult to solve unless the checking letters are consonants. Thanks Giovanni and Senf (although did not need the clues). Can put a face on you since Little Venice.

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