ST 2888 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2888 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Good Sunday morning (but not from Winnipeg) from Youngstown, Ohio.  After four relaxing days with friends in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, I am finally completing my move from the USA to Canada by emptying out a storage locker in Delaware, and driving a rental box van (containing the contents of said locker) back to Winnipeg – a four day journey (26 hours total driving). 

Another very typical and very enjoyable Sunday puzzle from Virgilius which I found to be more difficult than recent weeks requiring considerable head scratching and some electronic assistance.

My favourite is 13a, but 17d is really clever.

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 Gather outside front of restaurant for meal (6)
A synonym for gather containing the first letter (front) of restaurant is a meal that is a combination of two others.

4a Composer getting constant offer of a lift (6)
A Polish composer using the single letter for a constant used by Einstein and a two word phrase for the offer of a lift.

11a Difficulty or complexity that’s not pronounced (4)
Homophone (pronounced) of not.

13a Relating to hope, since religious and sensible (12)
Two letter synonyms for since and religious (the favourite one) followed by a synonym for sensible.

16a Peer‘s perverse, penning funny poem (12)
A synonym for perverse, like one of the Marys in a nursery rhyme, containing (penning) an anagram (funny) of poem.

22a Taxonomic groups in Information Age (6)
Two three letter synonyms, one for information and the other for age.

23a Providing cover for present ringleader in East End Area (8)
The East End area where Alf Garnett lived containing (in) the first (leader) letter of ring.

25a Lament, i.e. bawl, when upset (6)
Anagram (when upset) of i.e. bawl.


1d HQ receiving short message from Asian island (8)
A four letter synonym for HQ containing (receiving) a short message is a description of someone or something from an Asian island.

2d Like diamonds, initially, or a complete pack of cards (5)
Two definitions, the first describes newly mined diamonds.

3d Part of our capital otherwise invested in tea (7)
A four letter synonym for otherwise inside (invested in) a common name for tea (as a drink) gives one half of one of London’s Royal Boroughs.

5d Catch bit of PM’s address and cheer up (7)
‘Get it’ aurally followed by the number (bit of) of the PM’s home/office address.

14d Something added in court about people being put inside (9)
In from the clue, and the two letter abbreviation for court containing (being put inside) the two letter abbreviation for about and a synonym for people.

17d Very much like number of Down clues here (3,4)
The number of Down clues as a proportion of the total number of clues.

19d In eastern parts of desert terrain, claim watering hole (6)
The last letters (eastern parts of) desert and terrain containing (In) a favourite synonym for claim or declare.

(And of course this is a well known watering hole in Long Itchington)

21d Like an old picture showing Greek character in Aegean, say (5)
The body of water which describes (say) the Aegean containing a Greek character which gives the colour frequently found in old monochrome photographs.

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 – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

Today’s musical moment was ‘prompted’ by pommers including a video of a busker performing a Dire Straits number a couple of Thursdays ago.  Here we have two of the finest guitar players ever.  I have their collaborative CD (Neck and Neck) from 25 years ago – good job it’s not vinyl, I would have worn it out long ago.  There is quite a long introduction (by Chet Atkins introducing who is with him on stage), so, if you want to, skip ahead to around the 3 minute mark for the music.  Absolutely brilliant.



  1. JonP
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Enjoyable puzzle that I found to be quite tricky in places.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius 2.5*/4*

  2. Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Same old, same old … brilliance from the Sunday Supremo.

    1a is tasty and I liked 4a and 19d 17d.

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  3. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    4*/5*. That was tough, particularly in the NW corner, but exceptionally enjoyable (as was BD’s music clip which I found utterly spell-binding). I was mildly surprised to see the root word one of the answers appear in another clue, but that aside I thought this puzzle was just about perfect.

    Ticks littered my page, and special mentions go to 4a, 11a, 13a, 16a, 2d, 5d & 18d, with 17d my favourite.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    • Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      The music clip was from Senf, not me.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Sorry Senf. I thought that BD was the site’s resident DJ. Many thanks to you for the music as well as the hints!

        • Senf
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

          That’s OK RD. When I took over Sundays, BD told me it wasn’t really necessary, but I am enjoying ‘trawling’ up the musical moments. Also, the clip I showed is the beginning of a one hour US public television (fund raising) special. If you are interested you can find the complete show here

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

            Many thanks for the link! Brilliant stuff.

  4. Angellov
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    This was a tussle but a hugely enjoyable start to the day of rest (if watching RU can be called that!). North beat South to completion where I needed help to solve 22a and 19d. Thank you so much Virgilius and indeed BD for being there as always as a port in a storm if need be. 🇬🇧 🤞

    • Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      I know I filled this slot for most of the last eight years, but Senf has been providing the hints since the beginning of February.

      • Angellov
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Sorry BD – I knew that but am afraid I had a senior moment. Anyway thanks Senf and indeed BD for all your Sundays past. 💐💐

  5. Toadson
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Based on wittiness , this has to be the best of the week. 17 last in, but how clever, as Senf says. I’m sure I have 24a right, but can’t fully explain it. There was only ever going to be one illustration for the watering hole, wasn’t there?

    • Senf
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      24a Inform (should be underlined, but my WordPress skills need some honing) somebody else finally, being extremely selective (6)
      Short, two letter phrase for somebody else followed by the first and last (extremely selective) letters of finally.

      And, absolutely correct on the watering hole!

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Senf, I think you mean, “short, two word phrase …”

        • Senf
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

          Yes I did!

      • Toadson
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Right, can see that now, couldn’t get past seeing the 4th and 5th letters as one word. Thanks for putting me out of my misery Senf (and RD).

  6. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Found that as tough as Wales found Scotland yesterday . Needed hint for 17d a really good clue I suspected a maths theme but too dim to make the final connection.
    Did drop in to the featured 19d last week MP even laid on a guest Labrador – typical. Have to confess the place is in a time-warp – even the clock runs backwards (and mine host drinks tea whilst serving the customers ales).
    Superb puzzle just a little disappointed that I missed 17d.
    Thanks to setter and Senf for explanations. [Political comment, and subsequent replies, deleted BD]

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      You met The Devil Dog Lrok. It was nice to see you though.

      • LabradorsruleOK
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        One face to a name.for me. Guess it’s a sign of old age that landlords seem to be getting so much younger!
        It was wrong to say “place” sorry. It is an archetypal village pub frequented an appreciated by the locals clearly. Long may it be so.
        PS. After yesterday’s performance George North may not have stopped that first England try.

  7. RayS
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle. Took a while to solve but managed in the end without any hints. 3*/4* for me. Lots of excellent clues. I liked 4a, 13a, 22a and 24a, but 17d was my favourite and the last one to fall.

  8. Richard
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    The paper has a different clue for 22a ‘subgroups of families in Information Age’

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Richard.

      Thank you for letting us know. That happens quite a lot but we are never quite sure why

    • Senf
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Thanks from me as well Richard – editorial influence, I suspect. I don’t consider there is any real impact on the way I have written the hint.

  9. Heno
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable, but very tricky puzzle, needed the hints for 17&19d. Favourite was 4a, was 3*/4* for me.

  10. Gwizz
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    What a terrific crossword! The little gray cells were seriously put through their paces.
    17d was my favourite, and overall I have to give 4/4*.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Self in his locker. I hope the moving goes successfully.

  11. Orphan Annie
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Coo I really thought I was going to be beaten but I persevated and got there with a ginormous amount of help. Thanks to Senf and Mr G for a highly delightful Sunday exercise off to have lie down with ice pack on my poor little head. :phew:

  12. jane
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    That NW corner proved to be tricky but the remainder slotted in quite happily. Another first rate puzzle from the maestro in which I awarded ticks to exactly the same selection as RD – although I did give top billing to 4a simply because it raised the biggest smile.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and also to Senf – didn’t need your excellent hints but can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the video clip. Something in there to please just about everyone on the blog I should think!

    • Merusa
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      You’re so right – really enjoyed the musical clip.

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 27, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Too much talking for me.

  13. Merusa
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Rats, lost my comment.

    I found the SE corner very difficult. Left with 22a, 24a and 19d, I put it down for half an hour, when I came back I had a eureka moment and it all slotted in nicely.
    Too much good stuff here to choose a fave, but I particularly liked 17d and 19d.
    Thanks to Virgilius for the “bigly” entertainment, and to Senf for his hints. I don’t envy you travelling in the north with this awful weather. I would join you but I can’t stand the cold.

    • Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      I deleted your comment, and will do so every time you express political views on this website.

  14. Vancouverbc
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Cracking puzzle *****. But also no cake walk ****. Favourites were 24a, 17&19d. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. Hope your road trip goes well. Safe travels.

  15. dutch
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks Senf

    Enjoyable Sunday treat (as always). particularly liked 4a (offer of a lift) and 5d (bit of PM’s address). Wasn’t as keen on the two anagrams in 18d, but perhaps others did like that.

    Many thanks Virgilius

    • dutch
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      And mega thanks for the Mark Knopfler / Chet Atkins

  16. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    A locker in Delaware. Sounds a bit fishy to me. Isn’t it a tax haven? Mind you, if you needed a truck to remove your stash, I take my hat off to you.
    Found the crossword a real joy and was over before work this morning.
    4a and 17d joint favourites.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints.

  17. Florence
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Another great puzzle from Virgilius. Really taxed the old brain cells. Thank you Senf for the review. I’m glad you enjoyed your time away at Niagara on the Lake. I was there many years ago with the kids for the annual peach festival.

  18. Michael
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Very tough, requiring a fair amount of electronic assistance but extremely enjoyable.

    According to Wikipedia (not the most reliable source I know!) the Composer at 4a died in 1849, so that must be a very early photograph!

    A very tough day for England at Twickers, the Italians had some original tactics and gave England a real fright – it all ended well but it was touch and go for a while. It really sets up the last two games against Scotland and Ireland.

    • Angellov
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Yes Michael, a nail-biting first half but Eddie Jones obviously worked the oracle at half-time – phew! Now the real battles begin.

  19. Jon_S
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    This took a bit of getting into – my first one in was 20ac – but from then on steady progress was made. 5d and 10ac were my last ones in, with a time at the end about ** for difficulty. Favourite clue 11ac.

  20. LetterboxRoy
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Tricky, could just be the 19d lunch though…

  21. BusyLizzie
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Definitely trickier today, and still struggling with 8a, 20a and 14d. Doesn’t help that ever since we got our new router my iPad keeps dropping wifi…😕 Hopefully brain will kick in with answers soon.

  22. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    A shame, as Sunday is the one day in the week that I get a chance to sit down and do the crossword, but this was much too difficult today.
    Thanks BD and Virgilius

    • LabradorsruleOK
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      And Millwall missing two penalties in the last 5 minutes at Boundary Park. Not the best of weekends Hoofit.
      Things can only get better as someone once said.

      • hoofityoudonkey
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        Don’t remind me, the second one was the last kick of the game…4 points dropped since the win against Leicester.
        My mum is in mourning as a Saints fan, especially after a perfectly good goal was disallowed. Damn officials…

        • LabradorsruleOK
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

          I totally respect the referee’s decision without demur just like I always did as a player.
          Red Devil’s beat the Saints. Triumph of evil over good. All on the back of a free transfer player!!

          • hoofityoudonkey
            Posted February 27, 2017 at 6:42 am | Permalink

            That was tongue-in-cheek, LROK, remember, I am a referee myself…
            Going through the CW this morning, what an outstanding crossword it it, brilliant cluing.

  23. Salty Dog
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Since no hint is offered for 12a, it is obviously on the easy side. Doubly annoying, therefore, that it is the only clue unsolved! OK, Virgilius, you’ve beaten me! But will some kind friend please give me a hint?

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      It is a double definition. The same word can mean imposed punishment and also allowed or permitted

      • Salty Dog
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, CS. I suspected that but – until a couple of minutes ago – just couldn’t come up with the word!

  24. GMY1965
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    It’s been a long day but I just can’t see 10a. I have two answers- hints welcome please!

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:44 pm | Permalink


      Definition is storm as a verb. A two letter word meaning engaged in and a word meaning to change course at sea

      • GMY1965
        Posted February 27, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        Thank you so much. I suspected this was the answer but could not work out the word play. Will try to do better today.

  25. Young Salopian
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant. Clever. Enjoyable. Fun.

    Thank you Virgilius for yet another masterpiece.

  26. mcmillibar
    Posted February 27, 2017 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    Late to this one with family things but get to it i did – something awfully bad would have to happen to miss a Virgilius. It did not disappoint with glassy smooth surfaces with scarcely a loose end in sight.
    I got stuck a bit on the NW face but with all V puzzles persistence pays off and you seldom hit a true brick wall.
    With some memorable offerings recently from our other noble setters and the new Don together with some more challenging Saturday grids (welcome in my view) I have sometimes been guilty of wondering if Virgilius might be threatened. Then, bang, along comes another like today – actually yesterday now as I type – and those . thoughts are banished. Bravo.

  27. Kath
    Posted February 27, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t get round to doing the crossword until late Sunday night and wasn’t sure if it really was trickier than usual or if I just found it so because of the hour and being out of routine.
    I thought it was as enjoyable as Sunday crosswords always are.
    For no very good reason 19d was my last answer.
    I got into a terrible muddle with 1d – I don’t want to risk being sent to the naughty corner at this late stage so won’t elaborate further.
    I liked 4a and 1d (eventually) and 15d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Senf, particularly for musical clip – I’d forgotten all about Chet Atkins.