ST 2893 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2893 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2893 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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Good Sunday morning from Winnipeg.  The spring thaw is in full flow, and so are the rivers around this part of the Province with serious risks of flooding in some areas.

Another very enjoyable and very typical Sunday puzzle from Virgilius with a couple of lurkers, three double definitions, and only a handful of anagrams.

My favourite is 16d.

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 County participated in game called unimportant (10)
One of the six counties of NI and a single word for participated in game.

6a Academic briefly omitting one zero in mathematical work (4)
What is produced to support, for example, a mathematical theorem with an O removed (omitting one zero).

12a Condition people included in public announcement that’s exaggerated (13)
A synonym for public or visible, containing (included in) synonyms for condition and people (this was easier to describe than I thought it would be).

15a Blunder as writer is taken in by male charm (8)
IS from the clue inserted between (taken in by) the single letter for male and a synonym for charm.

17a Small computer peripheral, one that runs fast (8)
Single letter for small and what ‘hard’ copy is produced on.

22a Where some top people reside, deserting town for resort (7,6)
An anagram (for resort) of DESERTING TOWN is where top government ministers reside.

25a Football team second to enter stadium, then left (7)
Synonym for stadium, containing (to enter) the single letter for second with the single letter for left at the end (then).

The team’s old (now demolished) and new (under construction here) stadia.

27a Race to have tiny addition to letter put in post (10)
A type of (typically horse) race with a synonym for post (in the ground) containing (put in) a usual three letter synonym for tiny and the acronym for an addition to a letter.


1d Female appearing in Verdi, vainly? (4)
One of the lurkers found in (appearing in) the last two words is a female who might well appear in something written by Verdi.

2d Military commander‘s news about area followed by both sides (7)
A synonym (perhaps uncommon) for news containing (about) the single letter for area and the single letters for both sides.

3d Part of Christianity supporting check on opponents before mass (13)
The three letter word for supporting, a synonym for check on, a synonym for opponents (of a proposal?), and a single letter for mass (this was also easier to describe than I thought it would be).

8d Excellent start for education (5-5)
One of the double definitions, the second one is where a new student would start.

11d Harass about property deals, providing information for media (5,8)
A synonym for harass, the two letter preposition for about, and types of property deals give what an organisation considers newsworthy.

16d Without gardening tool, method to produce roadside border (8)
A three letter word for method to produce outside (without – BRB checked) a gardening tool used to keep lawns looking neat.

18d At short notice, conflict arises — info awaiting analysis (3,4)
Reversal (arises) of all of AT from the clue, the usual two letter notice, and a three letter synonym for conflict give info that has just been collected.

23d Like some bruises near the knuckle (4)
Another of the double definitions, a colour that is exhibited by some bruises, or that describes written/spoken material that might be offensive.

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One of my own (double) favourites this week. A great 1961 composition, from Pensford, Somerset’s own Acker Bilk, played by a well known saxophonist Kenny G – so this is probably being played on a soprano saxophone (a straight one) rather than a clarinet as played by the composer. Originally entitled Jenny for Acker Bilk’s daughter, but changed to Stranger on the Shore after it was decided to use it as the theme for a BBC TV series of the same name.

45 comments on “ST 2893 (Hints)

  1. 2*/5*. I thought this one was at the easier end of Virgilius’ spectrum but what a great way to start a beautiful sunny day with another in a seemingly never-ending line of top notch Sunday puzzles.

    Extra special mentions today for 26a, 16d & 20d, but my favourite was 27a.

    Many thanks to the wonderful Mr Greer and to Senf.

  2. Definitely at the easier end of the scale but a nice interlude in a busy day – my favourite is 1d.

    Lovely and sunny here – the woods think it is spring – primroses, wood anemones and violets – the garden thinks its summer as we have loads of flowers on the strawberry plants.

  3. I found this a little harder than RD at #1, and marked it 2.5*/5* overall. This was yet another in a very long line of quite superlative puzzles from Virgilius, and gave added cheer to a beautiful sunny morning here in the Marches. Difficult to find a favourite amongst so many great clues, but I will go for 16d.

    Many thanks to Mr. G and to Senf for his review.

  4. Not so easy but not so hard.

    Great puzzle again from the Sunday Maestro ***/*****

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  5. Time to sit on the fence – I found it pretty much in the middle level of difficulty for Sunday crosswords.
    26a was my last one – I had two possibilities for an answer and didn’t understand either until the light suddenly dawned.
    3 and 16d took ages and so did 1a which meant I didn’t have any starting letters for the down answers for some time.
    I missed the anagram indicator for 9a – how – it couldn’t have been an easier one. Dim.
    I liked 24a and 8d and my favourite was 23d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.
    Quiet here today so far – off to the garden.

  6. No great problems and very enjoyable but as always the two clues I need help with have no hints (”twas always thus!). I have an answer for 19a but cannot see what is has to do with seats and 26a is a complete mystery even with the checking letters, I just cannot understand the clue, its driving me nuts! Any help would be much appreciated.
    Thx to all

    1. 26a is a chess clue. When you don’t end with mate.
      19a is about parliament.

    2. So difficult to hint 19a without going to the Naughty Corner – but in your case I can ask you to remember that film you were once in!!

      26a Is a double definition clue – one bit being the first 6 words, and the second one just the last word of the clue

        1. There’s not enough lemon drizzle cake to share around, so I dropped one word from your hint rather than admit you to the naughty corner.

          1. Mr CS’s ‘help me with the last willow tree, chopping it down will only take an hour’ has so far taken a total of 2.5 hours and we still have a bit more to go, so the lemon drizzle cake I was going to prepare this morning, remains in the ingredients in waiting stage :(

            1. It is well known in engineering that a 5 minute job rake at least 15 minutes. So, using the factor of 3, at least hours for the tree removal.

              1. Oh, so that is why my husband, a retired engineer, when he says a task (lawn mowing, checking the pool, fixing something etc.) always takes at least 3 times as long as he estimates?

      1. Ooh thanks for this…. like Kath couldn’t work out which one of two poss solutions it was until you mentioned chess ….duh!!!

  7. Brian, for 19a think of those who we vote for every 5 years or so. In 26 across think of a board that has 64 squares.

    I actually found this is bit tough, but I suppose no more so than other Sundays. ***/*** for me.

  8. I think this was on the gentle side for a Virgilius, but then again I’d put aside my usual leisurely Sunday approach in favour of more sustained concentration. Perhaps that’s why I’m not quite as full today of the enthusiastic praise which I can usually heap on a Sunday puzzle. They’re worth savouring.

    I had the same experience as Kath with 26a, except that it was the penultimate in. Last was 19a.

    With thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  9. As usual for a Sunday, I really enjoyed this. I’d agree with 2* difficulty. 19a was my last one in (took a while). Faves were 26a and 27a.

  10. Didn’t find this quite as easy as RD apparently did – one or two head-scratchers along the way. Like Kath, I was slow to get 1a so nearly fell into the trap of putting in what seemed to be the obvious answer for 2d before hesitating long enough to realise that it wouldn’t parse no matter how hard I tried.
    Plenty of ticks as usual for the Sunday maestro – 19&27a plus 11&16d getting podium places.

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf – hadn’t heard that version of Stranger on the Shore before today and very much enjoyed listening to it.

  11. Another brill Sunday from the Supremo, but perhaps a little on the benign side? */**** from me.

    No real favourite as it’s all great stuff but 1d certainly deserves a mention.

    Thanks to Mr Greer and the thawing Senf.

    BTW, I know it’s now Spring here as the price of strawberries in the local Mercadona supermarket has dropped below 2€/kg :grin:

    1. Lucky you. We have wonderful strawberries here too but this year it started at 14€ / kg direct from producer to consumer. Outrageous.

  12. I guess this was a gentle Virgilius as I was actually able to finish it, yay 😊 Very much enjoyed, just had to put thinking head on to figure out as some clues were definitely tougher than others. 19a was last in and still not sure what seats has to do with it. Other than that, liked them all so no favorite today. Oh yes, did need said retired engineer’s help with 6a as I lost interest in math once I got to High School. 🤔

    1. Re 19a, see the responses to Brian’s post at comment 6. I, too, needed the help for that!

  13. “Bigly” enjoyable, as is usual for our Sunday entertainment.
    Thanks to those above for the explanation of 19a. I think the beauty of Virgilius puzzles is that the answers are always so logical.
    I had lots of smiles, but I think I’ll go along with 16d as fave.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints. Loved the Acker Bilk music, that was a lovely version.

  14. Thank you Virgenius. You hit the sweet spot every time.
    Got it all done but had to scratch about a bit on some. Just how it should be.

      1. You should blog RD. Next time I want to miss a Monday it is yours ( or Janes)

  15. I do look forward to the Sunday crossword! Today’s was no exception. Of many highlighted clues I think 27a sits at the top of the pile. 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  16. It’s a struggle to come up with something new to say about Virgilius’ consistently excellent Sunday puzzles. So I’ll just say that today I head-scratched about the optimum amount and smiled more than I have for any crossword this week. Out of all the possible lists of clues, my favourite list contains 19a, 27a, 2d and 23d. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  17. I cannot say I found this easy, but I did enjoy it.

    Last in for me too was 26a…..but feeling the penny drop is really quite enjoyable.

    Thanks to Virgilus and to Senf for the hints.

  18. Dolphin browser now broken on my tablet.
    2d, sorry I am thick what are single letters for both sides, I think I have the answer but can’t parse. Yhanks

        1. If this had been one of the clues I had hinted on, it would be:

          Secluded spot in which those with seats can rest? (6)
          Double definition, second refers to when Parliament is not in session.

  19. A strange one, this, in that it did not feel like a Virgilius at all. Sunday’s usually have much head-scratching and smiles, this had neither, really. I was gardening all day yesterday, and knackered in the evening, yet finished this at the gallop late last night/this morning, which is very unusual for me.
    Much to like and lovely neat cluing as well. 3d was my favourite, I would imagine that the answer to 25a might have upset the upper echelons of this website’s management!!
    Thanks Senf and Virgilius

  20. 19a and 4d last two in for me. Spotted the double definition in 19a but took longer for the penny to drop with 4d. It was not until I read J-L’s hint above that I realised I had 26d wrong. I bunged in what I thought was the most likely of the options. Must learn the rules of chess (and cricket). Thanks to setter and all. Not as enjoyable or easy for me as Saturday but we are all different!

  21. Great puzzle – finished it this morning. Been staring at 19a and 26a all this time. Penny did eventually drop for 26a but needed Senf’s last hint to finally get 19. So it has to be 3*/4* for me. I liked 23d and 16d, with 26a ending up being my favourite.

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