ST 2892 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2892 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2892 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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Good Sunday morning from Winnipeg.  Springtime is getting going (sort of), chilly mornings, but approaching positive double digit high temperatures.

Mr Robert Zimmerman’s alter ego is appearing here in July.  The venue is a (ice) hockey arena (that is multi-purposed for extra revenue) but, given that ticket prices range from the Canadian equivalent of £90 (up in the ‘gods’ (a.k.a. the ‘nosebleed’ section)) to £450 (sitting on the (arena) floor), and there is no double billing with Enya, I think I will pass.

Virgilius has provided us with another very typical and very enjoyable Sunday puzzle, although he seems to have followed the recent trend of a ‘clue count’ that is on the low side (28 total today).

My favourite is 27a.

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 Had a get-together in spacecraft cut short (6)
Double definition, the result of a ‘meet up’ between two spacecraft or the procedure on a dog’s tail.

4a Number of staff available, holding captured enemy in half-hearted way (8)
The three letter abbreviation for captured enemy inside a synonym for way with one of the middle letters removed (half-hearted).

11a In some respect, a clever display (9)
The first of a couple of lurkers inside (in some) the third to fifth words of the clue.

13a Traveller’s guide eventually abridged (5)
The concatenation of a synonymic two word phrase for eventually with the last letter removed (abridged) gives a guide named after a Greek god.

14a Dig up seed scattered around end of plot that’s detached (13)
A synonym for dig up (from a grave), followed by an anagram (scattered) of SEED containing (around) the last letter of ploT.

23a Turn aside, having frantically tried to break up fire (9)
A synonym for fire (from employment) containing (to break up) an anagram (frantically) of TRIED.

25a In East Germany, finally abandoned fairness (6)
The single letter for East and the last letter (finally) of Germany containing (in) a synonym for abandoned.

27a First edition taken to cleaners (6)
A synonym for first and the abbreviation form of edition gives a synonym for well beaten.


1d Money equally divided by six wanting to avoid conflict (6)
A slang word for money containing (divided by) the Roman numeral for 6.

2d Study taken care of and maintained (9)
The favourite three letter synonym for study and a synonym for taken care of give a synonym for maintained (e.g. a position in a debate).

6d Nobility always poetically expressed in part of book (7)
The poetic synonym for always contained in a single element of a book.

8d Perhaps Odysseus conceals this ecstatic expression of feeling (8)
A second lurker (conceals this) in the first two words of the clue.

12d Stupidly put secret agent in most prominent position (6,5)
Anagram (stupidly put) of SECRET AGENT gives a prominent theatrical position.

18d Elizabethan courtier who brought King Edward’s predecessor (7)
The courtier and explorer who brought a new vegetable back from across the pond of which KE is a variety.

19d Opposed to what, for the French, is old-fashioned (7)
A four letter synonym for opposed to and the French for what (remember ignore punctuation in a clue).

22d Flourish as learner in time of prosperity (5)
The single letter for learner inside (in) a synonym for a time of prosperity.

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A fairly random selection for today’s musical offering, but I recall that Kath listed Billy Joel in her list of favourites (notice, a list not a single favourite) a couple of weeks ago:

37 comments on “ST 2892 (Hints)

  1. Perfection! 3*/5*.

    Favourite? Any one of the 28 clues.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  2. Another gem from Virgilius which took me a bit longer than usual to solve.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius ***/****

  3. Great way to start Mother’s Day!
    I was ridiculously slow to latch onto 26a and had all sorts of the ‘wrong’ money in 1d before the penny dropped – still needed to check with the BRB that the answer is an actual word.
    Top of the pile for me were the possibly two old chestnuts at 5&16d. It’s the way the maestro constructs the clues that breathes new life into them.

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf – 18d put me in mind of the old Bob Newhart sketches about said Elizabethan courtier, still hilarious today.

      1. Sorry, guys – didn’t mean to cause any offence, but we simply celebrate the secular event in this household. None of us spend the day visiting the mother church.

      2. Here in the US Mother’s Day is not until May 14, and is more of a “Hallmark” moment. Much preferred the Mothering Sunday version in England, with lovely services enjoyed by both children and mothers alike.

  4. ***/*****. What a great crossword! Difficult to choose a favourite there were so many good clues. Thanks to Virgilius for an elegant puzzle and Senf for the hints. Spring has arrived and I actually had to mow the lawn yesterday.

      1. That’s the norm here, and as retirees we revel in the weekday quietness, but that is often disturbed these days by the commercial lawn cutting firms, who show up as early as 7:30am, complete with large noisy equipment, leaf blowers etc.

        1. We had a very early visit from a florist who insisted on tooting his horn when he arrived :( He delivered a lovely jug full of beautiful flowers to ‘Mum, Granny and Mother-in-Law’ so I can’t really complain.

      2. I believe that lawn mowing is not allowed on Sundays in Germany! It’s part of the “quiet time” rules.

    1. I’ve cut my grass, all 1/2 acre of it, four times this year already. I do it when it suits me which is largely dependent on the weather.

  5. we were a bit slow over this lovely puzzle but thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks to Virgillius and to send for parsing a couple of our answers! ***/****

  6. Much entertainment and plenty of challenge today. Last in were the two 1s with which Senf’s help was appreciated. Wasn’t sure about 15d analyst or 27a taken to cleaners but of course Chambers confirmed both. Thank you Virgilius for one of your best.

  7. Like Paso Doble I was a bit slow with this one but enjoyed it a lot – don’t know why I was so slow.
    1a was my last answer which was so dim.
    I also got into a muddle for ages with 12d – hadn’t registered that it was divided 6,5 and tried to make it one word.
    14a has got me on my high horse . . . I’ve just realised that what I was about to say will have me spending the rest of the day in the naughty corner.
    I found 11a easily and then missed the other one.
    I liked 4 and 26a and 7 and 18d. My favourite was 1d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Senf – I love everything Billy Joel has ever done. :smile:

    1. I like the line in this Billy Joel composition about ordering a ‘tonic and gin’ – that’s my kind of drink!

      1. Oh – he’s just wonderful and I love the ‘tonic and gin’ too.
        When our Lambs were little(ish) and we went on holidays which involved very long journeys in the car it was difficult to find music that we’d all listen to happily. He was, and still is in our family anyway, one that managed to please all of us.
        One of his is, to us, called, “The Swimming Pool Song” – far too long and complicated to explain why.

  8. I took two goes at today’s offering before it capitulated. Very good puzzle which one needed one’s thinking cap set firmly on to complete it. Favourite clue – out of many – probably 4a. 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius for yet another great crossword, and to Senf for the hints.

  9. Good puzzle from Virgilius although I do have to confess to being stuck on 3 clues that are not in the hints. Perhaps brain will kick in later. Favorite today is probably 18a although I thought it borderline cryptic.

  10. Dead right, RD, this was perfection!
    I needed the hints to know why the reference to King Edward in 18d, I do vaguely remember those. We don’t have them here, at least I’ve never seen them.
    So much good stuff, I can’t remember when I enjoyed a puzzle so much. I loved 1d and 26a in particular.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the Sunday entertainment.

  11. I used to have Sunday as a “no can do day” re the crossword but now, thanks to Big Dave and his band of contributors, I find it the most enjoyable of the week. That’s not to say I find it easy – in fact today’s offering has been with me in the garden all day. But now completed and not being one of those people who dislike a crossword because it’s a long solve, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I now understand why so many contributors to this blog praise Virgilius. Last one in 27ac – hope it’s correct! Stalled earlier having put an incorrect answer to 19dn which led on to all sorts of issues! It did end in que. 1ac my favourite. Many thanks to Virgilius and Senf for review. Hope that came across OK -my device preferred Virginia and Send.

  12. Bottom half was fine, but the top half defeated me.
    Good crossword, still learning though.
    Thanks Senf and Virgilius

    1. Hoofit,
      What this blog has taught me is that in crosswordland we all are still learning, just those like you and I have more to learn than some.

      1. Yes, LROK.
        Just like life really, as I used to tell my boys, “never stop learning”.
        It’s a great lesson in life really, I finish a couple of crosswords without hints, then get brought down to earth with a very hard bump.

    2. Put me in the still learning a group please…even though I’ve been doing these since the dark ages 🙂

  13. This rivalled the dog walk on a lovely sunny morning. Couldn’t have had a better start to the day.
    23a my COTD with 18d close.
    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf. Re the prices – you have to pay a lot to see a Nobel Laureate. Unless to want to come to my golf club where you can meet one for a pint.

      1. MP
        Sir Martin Evans Nobel Laureate in Medicine 2007 for his work on stem cells.

  14. Having started on the wrong foot by putting some GK answers into the cryptic grid, my solving had very messy look about it. Having righted things, solving was steady until being completely flummoxed by 27a. Would like to say that the penny eventually dropped, but it took ‘Mothering Sunday Girl’ to provide me with the three letters I needed to finish it off. A nice offering from Virgilius and all good fun, leaving plenty of time to celebrate the day with three mothers, two sons, three grandchildren and yours truly at one of the local restaurants.

  15. An enjoyable challenge, perhaps a little tougher than of late, *** for difficulty. NW corner last to fall, largely because of 1ac where I persistently failed to spot which bit was the definition.

  16. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. A wonderful puzzle as usual from Virgilius. I was beaten by 1a, I always struggle with double definitions. Last in was 1d. Favourite was 8d. Was 3*/5* for me.

  17. A charming, but relatively benign puzzle: 1*/4*. Little marginal ticks of approval for 17a, 20d and 23a, but my vote goes to14a – a cleverly constructed clue which initially led me to invent several new words whilst vainly searching for a 13 letter anagram. Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  18. Today’s crossword was very nicely constructed and pitched. Difficult, but one where the answers came after a mental wrestle. 1a was my last one in! It took long enough to last my Caffé Nero hot chocolate (large) and a pot of tea. Perfect.

  19. 2*/4* for this carefully crafted gem. We especially liked 7d (we laughed) but 8d is our top pick – the mark of the master, even when you look at it after solving it the lurker stays well hidden – try it!

    Thanks Senf and Virgilius

  20. I am often astonished and amused watching those guys with their blowers on a windy day wasting my service charge chasing leaves around. Pointless.
    Nice puzzle but no stand out favourites. Thanks to Virgilius and to Mr M for the not-required hints.

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