ST 2894 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2894 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2894 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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Good Sunday morning from Winnipeg.  Apart from the ‘snow mountains,’ just about all the snow and ice has disappeared, but the rivers are still well above ‘normal’ levels.

Another very enjoyable and very typical Sunday puzzle from Virgilius; however, it probably caused me the most head scratching, in terms of both solving and hinting, since I started as the Sunday blogger.  There are a couple of clues where you will have to consider all possible pronunciations of one or two words.

My favourite is 5d.

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 Problem for canine — it’s seized by rodent (6)
Where canine is a tooth, IT from the clue inside (seized by) a rodent also known as a guinea pig.

10a Extreme way to dominate as speaker? (9)
Combine a synonym for speak, followed by a synonym for majority which as (5,4) could describe what a dominating speaker does.

13a Be in charge, initially performing live (7)
First letter (initially) of Performing and a synonym of live (in a house).

15a Flatter son and family member with extra love (8)
Single letter for son, and one of his parents containing (with extra) the numerical representation of the familiar starting score in tennis.

20a Better protected, back in secure fastness (5)
Reverse lurker (back in) in the last two words of the clue. 

25a Second slight cut in flower (7)
Single letter for second and a synonym for slight (lack of respect) with the last letter removed (cut) give an ‘oldie but goodie’ type of crocus.

27a Otherwise taken in by absurdly amusing fool (9)
Two letter synonym for otherwise inside (taken in by) an anagram (absurdly) of AMUSING.

29a Write name on flag (6)
Three letter synonym for write, single letter for name, and ON from the clue, often attached to a lance.


1d Cook’s vessel, in cloud, ran on the rocks (8)
A large cooking vessel formed from an anagram (on the rocks) of CLOUD RAN.

5d A little upset, as is company covered by urgent analysis of info (4,10)
Another term for a little reversed (upset, . . .), and the abbreviation for company reversed (. . . as is) inside a synonym for urgent. 

7d Carpenters fear it, call it last thing needed in house (7)
Synonym for call, IT from the clue and the last letter (last thing needed in) of housE.

9d Explanation of position’s requirements for patient? (3,11)
An OT prophet (for patient?), and a synonym of explanation define an employee’s duties – I changed the indication of the definition more than once, and I may not have it right.  Changed again – thanks to all for the inputs.

16d In fact, ask for certain unit with mission (4,5)
Lurker contained in second to fourth words of the clue.

17d Some pianos being played for young relative (8)
A type of (some) piano, and an anagram (being played) of some of the letters of PIANOS – that’s the way I see it, I am not sure everyone will agree
Or – A name for large pianos and a two letter word for being played or working.

21d Pro celebrity turned up as leader of crew (7)
Synonym of pro, and a synonym of a celebrity reversed (turned up).

24d Run away with official authorization, in short (5)
A two word phrase (3,2) for run away combined to give an abbreviated/informal word for the definition.

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This week, another selection from Kath’s ‘little’ list of favourites from a few weeks ago:

43 comments on “ST 2894 (Hints)

  1. I am going to email you about a couple of things including your explanation for 17d

  2. Perfectly splendid, not least because it didn’t take long to sort out, thus giving me plenty of time in the lovely sunny garden.

    My favourite has to be the brilliant 23a which I awarded two stars, my favourite Down clue is 9d

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf too

  3. Virgilius never lets us down – thanks to him for another great puzzle and to Senf for the hints. I agree with CS on the brilliance of 23a.
    I think that 17d is some pianos followed by an adverb meaning ‘being played’ (at a cinema, for example).

  4. Another splendid Virgilius offering.

    I am sure the Gazza explanation for 17d is correct.

    Many thanks to Senf as well.

  5. Super crossword for this glorious Sunday.
    Agree that 5d and 23a were just superb.
    Last ones in again were the lurker in 16d and the flower in 25a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  6. Another superlative puzzle from the Sunday Supremo.

    I think you should underline the first two words of 9d as it is part of the definition.

    1. Now I thought that as well, even so, cannot fully explain the answer. Still the best of the week for me though (I cannot change from regarding the start of the week as Monday, but won’t lose any sleep over that).

    2. The underlining of 9d and the explanation of 17d were the two things I put in my email to Senf – trouble is he’s probably fast asleep :yawn:

      1. Now awake!

        Thanks to all those who have provided help and suggestions for the parsing of 9d and 17d – greatly appreciated.

        As I said in my preamble, for me, today’s head scratching extended to the hinting.

        Thanks again.

      2. Thanks CS , following your comment – and Kitty’s below – I researched the biblical link. You learn something new every day! Thanks also to Senf for the review.

  7. Another sparkling Virgilius composition for a sparkling Sunday morning. Did this early to enable me to get outside in the garden. As always with this setter, it is difficult to pick a favourite, as there are so many contenders. I will go with the flow and nominate 23a. I thought the whole puzzle was at the more difficult end of the spectrum, so this was 3.5*/5* from me.

    Thanks to Virgilius for yet another superlative crossword, and to Senf for a couple of explanations.

  8. 3*/5*. I found the LHS straightforward (except for the parsing of 23a) and the RHS considerably tougher with 13a & 7d my last two in. But, wow, as ever the enjoyment factor was right off the scale.

    As YS says there are so many contenders for favourite. I was going to give a special mention to 15a & 9d and make 5d (which also took quite a while to parse) my favourite. But finally the penny dropped on 23a and that has leap-frogged the field into first place. Typically Virgilian and absolutely outstanding.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

      1. Merusa, see YS’s reply to comment #11 below. Just concentrate on how the answer might apply to the word “libraries”.

        1. Dammit, if that isn’t just the cleverest thing I’ve ever seen!! Must update my fave clue.

  9. An earlier solve than usual for me on a weekend as I wanted to get out before the day hotted up too much.

    Even my sleep-fogged brain could appreciate the wit and light touch here, the puzzle providing more rays of sunshine than I absorbed on my ploddings (and certainly more than I intend to soak up later as I hide in the shade).

    My dim moment came by failing to consider OT prophets for 9d, so was at a loss to explain the patient. Facepalm.

    23a is my favourite too. Wonderful penny drop.

    Many thanks to “Virgenius” (I’m forgetting who coined that, but I like it) and to Senf.

    P.S. If anyone is about in central London from 6ish on Wednesday, do pop into The George for a drink or two. You know it’s a good idea! :yes:

  10. Rather more difficult than usual for a Sunday puzzle and I confess to getting a bit stroppy towards the end. Hindsight did, of course, make me appreciate it for what it was – another gem from the maestro.
    Rather liked 10a but awarded the top two places to 23a & 5d.

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints – not my favourite Manfred Mann offering but hopefully Kath will approve.

  11. I thought the puzzle excellent – the parsing particularly difficult , 9d and 5d favourites . Please someone let me know how to read 23 a correctly .
    Thanks for the hints Senf

    1. Read the clue carefully, and forget about libraries being repositories for books.

  12. That was better, and very much enjoyed this Virgilius puzzle. Actually completed without electronic help, although did need a few of Senf’s hints, thanks. Was thinking of the wrong type of canine, oops, and hadn’t run across 29a before. Glad that I remembered the cat in 14a.

  13. Had a few problems sorting out why some if my answers were correct (7d, 5d and 25a) but cannot see what my answer for 23a has to do with signs in libraries? Obviously not thinking laterally enough here.
    Nice to see our old friend the snow leopard and the crossword fish, I have missed them 😀
    My personal favourite was 1a, it made me smile!
    Thx to all

    1. Mrs B has just seen 25a, so sharp I think the setter must have cut himself on this clue!

  14. Wotta ‘nother super offering for Sunday. I loved it all, but still don’t “get” 23a. I’m sure it’s something in Britspeak.
    Thanks Senf for parsing 25a for me, how clever is that!
    I’m not even going to attempt to choose a fave.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints.

    1. Absolutely nothing to do with Britspeak, Merusa – you can’t get out of it that way!

    2. Just read RD’s response to me, and I’m going to update my fave. That has to be number one, 23a that is, that is absolutely brilliant and I’m dim!

      1. Don’t worry – it took me ages to ‘see’ it as well. I was bursting to give you a clue but couldn’t think of a way without incurring wrath from on high!

  15. I managed to finish this, but the penny drop moment has not happened for 23a.I’m still not sure why it is what it is. Thank you Virgilius and Senf.

    1. You need to forget what ‘libraries’ means and just consider it as a word. Which signs can you see in it?

    2. Eureka!!! Penny drop moment has happened!!! Brilliant. I love it. Yes, favourite clue.

    3. Hi Florence.

      You probably have it by now but anyway:

      The definition is have something in common. The answer describes what the two signs in “libraries” do. When you can see those signs (of a type often seen in crosswordland) that penny will drop. :)

  16. Thank you Gazza and Kitty. I managed to work out 23a just before you posted and I’m so chuffed. It’s nice to know that there are lovely people on this site ready to help out, so I appreciate your comments.

  17. Great stuff. Light and fluffy but most satisfying: 1*/4*. My favourites were 5d and 9d. Thanks to the peerless Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  18. I found this quite a bit trickier than par for Virgilius, especially the LHS of the grid. Or perhaps I’m just a little off form, but good as ever.

  19. A very enjoyable puzzle. I had the pleasure of solving this initially overlooking Scarborough’s South Bay bathed in sunshine and then, with your kind assistance, in front of the Masters. 13a, 15a and 7d eluded my brain’s deductions. I liked 1a and 10a in particular. ***/*** from me.

  20. A bit late to comment on this one – a very busy weekend – visitors Friday and Saturday and at a wedding all day yesterday. :phew:
    I had a go at this yesterday evening when we got home – I didn’t do too well at all and that’s an understatement but finished it this morning.
    I confess that I needed all the input from the previous comments to ‘get’ 23a even though it had to be what it was.
    Now that I understand 23a it’s probably my favourite.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf, specially for the Manfred Mann – like Jane it’s not my favourite of theirs but anything with Paul Jones is good enough for me!

  21. It’s all been said. I was barking up the wrong tree thinking ‘xxx’ xxxxxxxxxxx… biggest D’oh! of the year to date. Excellent stuff.
    Brilliant puzzle, thanks Virgilius.

  22. Will I ever catch up?
    Another superlative challenge from Virgilius; how does he do it?
    I was a bit slow on the long clues which slowed me down considerably. Eventually however the brain came to life. 6d was my favourite and overall I will go for 3/4*.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  23. Just finished this. Looking back I don’t see what took me so long. Thanks to Vigilus for the tussle and thanks to Senf whose comments I will read later. Old patient indeed. Harrumph!!

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