ST 2890 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2890 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2890 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Good Sunday morning from Winnipeg.  This week, Mother Nature reminded us that it is still winter (until the vernal equinox on March 20th).  A major system blew through (literally) on Monday and Tuesday – starting with rain, then, as the mercury dropped, changing to freezing rain, finally changing to snow, and blowing snow, with winds gusting up to 50 mph – and we got back into the deep freeze with ‘high’ temperatures in the middle minus teens. 

Lots of good rugby on Friday and Saturday, although the results may not be liked by everyone.  And, if  I have got it right, bonus points don’t appear to have had any real impact.  With one round of matches to go, France and Wales might be swapping positions in the table under the ‘old’ points system (I think).

Virgilius has provided us with another very typical and very enjoyable Sunday puzzle, but I did find it to be the trickiest since I started doing the Sunday hints.

My favourite is 11a, a certain lady appears again!

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 Highly regarded part of speech on our education (8)
A lurker (part of) in the last four words of the clue.

10a Quartet playing that’s regularly shown on TV (4)
The designation of four players in a card game, arranged to show a regular TV programme.

11a Creator of furniture, one seen in May, for instance (7-5)
Might be a double definition, how the PM might be described when forming a government.

17a Kind of drink with which one might get stoned (5)
A type of cocktail, or what is used to propel a stone at a target.

18a I will be found thus in Pride and Prejudice, not Sense and Sensibility (4)
How many times the first letter of the clue is found in each of the ‘main’ words of the first title.

21a Decisively winning point in court, usually? Excellent! (8)
Performing a type of stroke in a court game can also be used for excellent.

23a Trousers seen after session — they’re hard to miss (7,5)
Synonym for a session (e.g. of Parliament), followed by (seen after) trousers, named after the type of cotton fabric they are made from, give easy targets.

28a Drunken parties around area creating problem for host (8)
Anagram (drunken) of PARTIES and the single letter for area gives a living thing that lives on another.


2d Recovered from illness, we hear, passed at higher level (8)
A four letter synonym for recovered followed by a four letter homophone (we hear) of a, typically winter, illness describes how an aircraft passed across land en route.

3d Wrong subtractions standing in the way of enlightenment (12)
An individual who does not want enlightenment from an anagram of SUBTRACTIONS – a new word for me, which I will probably never use.

6d Political group withdrew from house, partly (4,4)
Double definition, the second indicates departure from part of a house.

8d Poetic device exemplified in Keats and Yeats (3-5)
Words in poetry when seen are spelled the same, but are pronounced differently.

12d Dunce securing prize thus for branch of science (12)
Three letter synonym for dunce containing (securing) the team prize awarded at a sports competition and a three letter synonym (frequentlyly used parenthetically) for thus.

16d Team’s method for event, not the main one (8)
An alternative for team, followed by a means of presentation.

21d More roguish fighter that takes a bow (6)
Double definition, the second shoots arrows.

25d Notice rising politician, moderate (4)
The favourite two letter notice reversed (rising) and the two letter politician.


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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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Last Sunday, the poorly schooled orphan boy wrote, ‘Maybe I will listen to some of the great work produced by Dylan in the seventies and every decade thereafter.’  This was originally released in 2006, but is it a great work?


67 comments on “ST 2890 (Hints)

  1. The usual Sunday satisfaction from Virgilius. It took me a little while to get going but it all fell into place in roughly the time I’d expect to spend on a Sunday puzzle.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius 2.5*/4*

  2. For me, at the harder end of Sunday puzzles (at least those I have done), but got there in the end. Needed the hint for10a – it still surprises me how much bother can be caused by the dreaded four letter clue. Liked 11a 18a and 14d. Re the Dylan clip, I saw him live in 2013 (in Blackpool, believe it or not), where he performed music mostly from that era. Those who were unfamiliar with it didn’t really ‘get it’, but there is something very dignified and honest about an old man singing as an old man, rather than prancing around like a 20 year old – Mick Jagger for example.

    1. I was there at alll three Blackpool Opera House shows. So intimate you could hear a pin drop. Stayed at the same hotel as the band and shared a drink or two after the shows. They really are the most politie musicians. Also saw Larry Holmes in our hotel where he was guest speaker at a charity boxing night. Also for the first time ever in a four star hotel saw a chap lamp another chap with the best punch I have ever seen. Totally out of the blue. Bizarre!

      1. Oddly enough, at some point during the show, my friend whispered to me ‘listen to this, you could hear a pin drop’. And the punch in the 4* hotel – only in Blackpool. Very funny.

        1. Not for the chap who took it. It knocked back so far. The chap who threw it turned his back and picked up his pint to take a drink. Cool as a cucumber.

  3. 4*/5*. A few clues held out stubbornly for quite a while taking me up to 4* time today, but nevertheless this was yet another tip-top puzzle from our Sunday Supremo.

    To quote Senf regarding 3d, this was “a new word for me, which I will probably never use”.

    18a was my favourite, closely followed by 14d, which was also my last one in, and 20a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  4. Only the 8d poetry is holding out. I am off to consult Stephen Fry. He will know the word I need. I also struggled with the anagram at 3d despite having all of the checkers but got there without resorting to using a pencil. Thanks to Virgillus for the puzzle and thanks to Senf for selecting a bit of Dylan this week. See you tomorrow

  5. Sunday mornings are definitely enhanced by Mr V. 23a improved my trouser knowledge, 3d and 8d were new to me and 7d amused. My favourite was also 11a. The said lady is certainly popular – well, at least in the crossword compiling community that is 😂
    Thank you to all involved as usual.

  6. No I haven’t even looked at the crossword yet but I have just spotted that the pictures from the birthday bash at Little Venice in January are in the gallery. :yahoo: good luck to Kitty and the half marathon in Woking.

    1. Thanks for mentioning the birthday bash photo’s – I’d given up expecting them to ever put in an appearance!
      Very judicious choice of shots from the ‘after’ do, BD!!!

      1. I’d be interested to know if anyone ever worked out what the clues on the cake represented (apart that is from a lot of work for me and the setters of said clues)

        1. I’m not sure that many people got the chance to look at them for any length of time. Have you by any chance got a written copy that you can put up on the blog?

            1. CS, prompted by your comment I looked at the picture of the cake (which I can confirm was very tasty) and worked my way through the very clever clues. I can neither solve the final clue, nor parse it, assuming I have correctly identified the theme and extrapolated the answer. Is a hint possible please?

    2. Thanks OA. It rained, but I enjoyed the swim. (Less so the wet wait for my lift afterwards – next time I think I’ll run home!)

  7. I’m used to the maestro giving us clues that can all be fathomed out from the wordplay and don’t require any confirmations from Mr. G, so the 23a trousers, 3d enlightenment and poetic device took just a tiny bit of the shine off for me in this otherwise excellent puzzle.

    I put 11&15a plus 2&7d up on the podium.

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for everything bar the Dylan – isn’t it enough that we spend most Mondays in his company?

    PS Well done, Kitty – you did the charity proud.

    1. Jane – about the Dylan, I was feeling sorry for the poorly schooled orphan boy after his (losing) encounter with the kerb. next Sunday will be something completely different – any requests?

      1. Dire Straits, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Paul Jones (with or without the rest of Manfred Mann), Sting – that’s it for now – back later. :smile:

    2. Thanks Jane. I managed a respectable time, so am very pleased. Sunday roast doesn’t often taste as good as mine did today.

  8. Help! I need a hint for 7d – maybe have something wrong elsewhere but don’t think so. Might it be what are found at the rear of animals? If so, I cant see why. Bet I have a doh moment soon!

    Lovely spring day in the Peak District, which is already so full of walkers, bikers and cyclists that we have shut the doors and are not letting anyone else in!

      1. Sorry – meant to say 14d! Had got 7d ok, but thanks for the reply anyway, Jane! Must have a touch of sunstroke.

  9. Went off at a canter but then a few hurdles slowed down my race to finish but it was an entertaining challenge. Bum steer led me off course for a while in 20a. First place went to 11a with 15a running up. 3d and 8d added to vocabulary however unlikely to be utilised much. Thank you Virgilius and Senf.

  10. 14D, 17A and even 4D held me up, but I got there in the end. Managed to work out 3D…not a word I’m familiar with and, like RD, will never use. I did like 16D, but 17A ended up as my favorite. thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

    Senf, the nor’easter is coming our way tomorrow night but down here in Southern MD we’re only expecting 3-5 inches.

    Oh, and I love Dylan!

  11. I really do love this blog – it has unlocked the gate to crossword satisfactionville and has finally justified my decision to subscribe to DT. Many,many thanks.

  12. Nice workout for a Sunday morning with no real problems, 10a was the last one in for me and I kicked myself for not seeing it earlier – very nice puzzle!

    Great game at Twickenham yesterday, England really overpowered the Jocks – who were lucky not to have the guy sent off for a spear tackle. It was sad to see the Scots take such a beating because they have been a revelation this Season but the English were too big and powerful for them. The Scots were unlucky with injuries, particularly Hogg but England played some good stuff.

    Bring on the Irish!

    1. “Sad to see the Scots take such a beating…”? Not in this house, it wasn’t.

  13. I have two left 20a and 14d. I have answers for both but can’t see why they would be right. Any hints welcome. Thanks.

    1. 14d, see my reply in comment 8 above. 20a – a biblical character who survived being locked up with a four legged family.

  14. Another super Sunday and I loved it all. I agree with RD that I’ll never use 3d, I had the checking letters and the anagram indicator.
    Didn’t know 8d but a quick google confirmed it, something new learnt.
    Last in was 14d, had no idea why my answer was correct, thanks for comments above.
    Fave was 11a, follow up likes 20a and 21a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the puzzle and hints.

    1. My profuse apologies to Senf, I should have thanked him and not BD. I don’t know where my brain was, definitely left the building.

      1. Merusa – That’s OK. BD has been such a fixture on Sundays that re-programming sometimes takes more than one reboot (and people say we look alike).

  15. I thought this was the trickiest Sunday crossword for quite a long time – perhaps the best one too.
    I’ve never heard of 3 or 8d so I was pleased to see that I was in good company.
    10a was my last answer – how many more times am I going to get stuck with that kind of clue?
    How many more times am I going to get stuck with the 1a kind of clue too? Oh dear – dim or blind or possibly both.
    Lots and lots of good clues – 17 and 18a and 4d. My favourite was either 7d because it made me laugh or 12d because it was a clever clue – well, I thought so anyway.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.
    Very busy weekend so still have yesterday’s crossword and the NTSPP to do, if I can stay awake.

  16. Thanks for the last hint in 20a.
    Didn’t know if I had to start reading the torah or the bible first.
    The trousers were also new to me.
    6d made me smile. Does the setter have an insight on the results of the next French elections?
    Speaking of France, haven’t had much time to follow the rugby but a journalist said the other day:
    The Blues having missed their landing on the green planet will now try to avoid the black hole.
    Made me laugh.
    Loved the Yoda talk in 17d. Just perfect.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints.

  17. Definitely at the harder end of Virgilius’ compiling spectrum, but so more enjoyable as a result. It’s a shame we only go up to five stars, as this was one of the very best. I will nominate 7d as my favourite because it is such a daft word, but an elegant clue. 4*/5* overall from me, with sincere thanks to Mr G and Senf.

    In common with others, we thoroughly enjoyed the rugby over the weekend, although I felt completely drained by the time the final whistle went at Twickenham. Next week all three are back-to-back games, with the Ireland v England encounter the last up. Lord knows what state we’ll be in by then. The referee at Twickenham was new to the Six Nations and it showed, giving a yellow card where perhaps a red was justified, then trying to give a yellow card later on to Hughes when none was justified.

  18. Super 21a 17d. Virgilius really is amazing.

    Exceedingly enjoyable, and not just because I was sitting down attempting to eat my body weight in various foodstuffs at the time.

    For the most part I was slow chiefly due to unhurriedly taking the time to savour it, but the last few took some considerable pondering.

    Had to verify the trousers in 23a and also 17a, both of which only rang faint bells.

    I learnt what an 8d is in school and I think it’s the first time that bit of knowledge has come in useful.

    I singled out for special mention 10a, 11a, 27a, 2d and 7d which made me laugh. I love the first bit of 14d 12d but can’t fathom the last three letters. Have I finally lost my mind completely? Help welcome!

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    1. I think you are on the wrong track, Kitty.
      How can I say…I am a football referee and the answer is linked to a ritual that happens before every game.
      I now expect a bollocking

          1. Ah, thanks – I’ve figured out which tree I was, and which I should have been, barking up. Insertion error. I was looking at the wrong three letters. I’ll quickly edit your comment so as to allow you, with luck, to escape the naughty corner.

  19. Great Sunday fare, as usual…
    I raced through three quarters of this then hit a bit of a brick wall, lots of double-unches in the grid.
    So many great clues, 20a was my favourite.
    PS, don’t mention the football

    1. Watched the first half – did the real Millwall get changed in time to play the second? Sad for the fans. Still it was good whilst it lasted Hoofit.

      1. When you see the gulf in quality between Millwall and a team that can’t get anywhere in even the Europa league, you realise quite how vast the gap is between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.
        We have the makings of a team that can get into the Championship, that has to be the goal.

  20. Another fine Sunday now I have got ” on message” with Virgilius. Like nearly all 3d & 8d new to me.
    COTD was a xxxx xx between 14d and 10a for their cleverness.
    Thanks to Virgilius for a lovely start to the day & Senf for hints which made the first word in 8d obvious.
    Watched the gundog class at Crufts last night the winner, was an American Cocker Spaniel that looked as much use as a gundog as Biggles would be as a contestant on Mastermind.

      1. Merusa,
        Just look at Afterglow Miami Ink (one of Sadies’ friends obviously). It’s like dog in a dress.
        Just imagine cleaning that after it rolled in fox poo like the disgusting Bigsey did yesterday.

        1. It’s just won best in Show!!!! A dog they plugged into the mains came second.
          It’s a parallel universe to the one Bigsey and I live in!

  21. OMG, that was definitely a workout today. Never heard of 3d and 8d, and don’t see how 14d works, so perhaps I don’t have the right answer there. Enjoyed and thank you Senf for the hints. Hoping for a gentler Monday.

  22. The usual gentle Sunday workout, except for 14d and 17ac that I found to be quite mind-bending. :-)

  23. He he, 3d is a good term for a setter of Cryptic Crosswords, of which Virgenius is one of the best. Like 14d but I think I have seen that before.
    Thank you Senf and V. Love and kisses to all.

  24. This was a nice gentle puzzle to enjoy during the afternoon after a spot of gardening earlier. I did need electronic help with 3 down, which was a new word learnt, but no great hold-ups otherwise. Am very new to Sunday’s puzzles, this being only my third. So pleased I changed my Sunday reading. Too many clever clues to pick a favourite. Thanks to Virgilius, most entertaining indeed

  25. I thought this an almost total pleasure. Beautiful mix of clues including legos, puns, general knowledge and double entendres. I have put a copy on my school’s notice board so the staff and older pupils might appreciate the artistry. This is how it should be done. Bravo!

  26. Great stuff as usual from Virgilius again…we loved it!
    Thanks also to Senf for there hints..!

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