ST 2895 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2895 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Good Sunday morning from Winnipeg on this Easter Day.  I won’t comment on the weather because it is totally messed up here.

Another very enjoyable and very typical Sunday puzzle from Virgilius; but, thankfully, he is in a much more benevolent frame of mind than he was last Sunday.  A couple of double definitions, three homophones, a sprinkling of anagrams, and, I think, some oldies, and some not so oldies, but goodies.  One of Kath’s ‘favourite’ games also makes an appearance, albeit in a retrograde fashion.

My favourite is 22d.

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:


7a Cause of visual problem producing fall (8)
We open with one of the double definitions; the first part should be obvious, and the second is a type of waterfall.

11a Massive part of our capital, in statement (8)
The first homophone (in statement) based on part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

12a Crooked merchant confused backer with mere talk (5,9)
Anagram (confused) of BACKER and MERE TALK..

17a This is odd – without leader, it’s the opposite (5)
An odd number, which when the first letter is removed (without leader) is the opposite of odd.

19a It sounds like search for religious type (4)
The second homophone (it sounds like) a synonym for search is a religion originating in the Indian sub-continent. 

23a Quick to contain damage where drugs are sold (8)
A synonym for quick with a crossword favourite synonym for damage inside (to contain).

27a Royal son ultimately put in charge? (6)
The last letter (ultimately) of soN inserted in a synonym for charge as shown on a label.

28a Flower I water is ruined (8)
Anagram (ruined) of I WATER IS.


1d Collection of tiny moving parts in old-fashioned timer (4)
What is in a timer that can be used while boiling eggs.

4d Initially play a part in conditional release (6)
The first letter (initially) of Play, the A from the clue, and a dramatic part. 

5d Gains, we hear, inspired teachers (8)
The third homophone (we hear) of (monetary) gains gives biblical teachers.

8d In office of rival paper, occasionally (2,5)
The second double definition, the first part indicates being in the offices of The Thunderer (without the definite article).

14d Dance in Scotland including very lively celebration (5)
Scottish dance containing the single letter for very.

18d Kind of pasta that’s new, lots and lots (7)
The single letter for new and a one word synonym for lots and lots – I am 99.99% certain that I have hinted this one before.

22d Threaten to go out, say, after midnight? (6)
A synonym for say after the middle letter of niGht is a verb indicating that a flame might self-extinguish.

26d Issue great healer proverbially raised (4)
Synonym for issue that is the reversal (raised) of the fourth dimension, as proposed by Lagrange in a paper published in 1788.

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Back to blaming my sister this week, ‘un morceau de jazz,’ as Hank Marvin, using his best franglais, says in the introduction, which was on the first Shadows’ album in 1961.  No prizes for guessing that the title is Marvin reversed:


  1. John Bee
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink | Reply

    Morning Senf.
    I was sat here waiting to gloat about finishing before coffee #1 was even cold but I have noticed I have submitted the grid with a wrong answer in 1d. I realise that its a pretty pass if the pointy things on a clock are now “old fashioned” but i thought kids these days get all there timekeeping done by digits and I didn’t go old fashioned enough in my time keeping.

    Also can’t quite parse 24d I have what I think is the right answer but puzzled by the last 2 or 3 words of the clue.

    As I said in yesterdays post thanks to all here for helping me with crosswords and although I don’t post here often (mobile posts disappear) I do appreciate the help. gonna go tackle a toughie now TTFN.

    • Senf
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink | Reply

      For 24d, see Comment 3 below with a perfect hint by Xingthing.

  2. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink | Reply

    Good morning everybody.
    Found the right side much harder than the left.
    Last in was 22d. Odd but there it was, word for word in the BRB.
    Favourite 9a. Made me smile.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  3. Xingthing
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink | Reply

    A parse for 24d is a synonym for a passage, turn upside down (heading north) on an abbreviation for large to create a Sailboat

    • Gazza
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog, Xingthing.

      • Xingthing
        Posted April 16, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Cheers, I am a regular user of the site which has helped me improve my cryptic puzzling.

    • Posted April 16, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink | Reply

      Perfect hint :smile:

      • Xingthing
        Posted April 16, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, taught by the master!

    • John Bee
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks I see it clearly now. Another one I submitted wrong. I headed north with my passage then added another north. Instead of pandiculating I should have finished the coffee and woken up properly.

  4. Aunty Marge
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink | Reply

    Nice puzzle – got stuck on things that I shouldn’t have (9a). No stand out clues for me but liked 17a

    Thanks to all

    • BusyLizzie
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m stuck on 9a still…

      • Gazza
        Posted April 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

        9a A woman from New York in Paris, say (6)
        A from the clue and an informal word for a woman in New York (or anywhere in the USA).

        • BusyLizzie
          Posted April 16, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Got it, thanks!

  5. Rabbit Dave
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink | Reply

    3*/5*. A typically wonderful puzzle from our Sunday Supremo, which was right at the top of the enjoyment scale. I found three quarters reasonably straightforward but the NE corner gave me a few headaches with 9a my last one in and favourite.

    I think all three homophones are fine. I wonder what Gazza makes of them?

    I see we have one of those amazing coincidences where a very recent answer has recurred today, but I can’t say more without the naughty corner beckoning.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    • Gazza
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m quite happy with all three homophones too, RD.

  6. Posted April 16, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink | Reply

    7a has special significance for me as I am due to have an operation to correct said “visual problem ” in two day’s time.

    • Senf
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink | Reply

      BD – I hope the surgery works out well, I will be thinking about you.

      • jane
        Posted April 16, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Best wishes from me as well, BD. Anything to do with eyes makes me feel rather squeamish! Hope you’re fully recovered in time to enjoy your birthday.

    • florence
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      All the best BD. I had my op last June. Brilliant success. Hope your op and recovery goes as well as mine did.

    • SheilaP
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Husband had the op. four weeks ago, and found it totally painless and over very quickly, so don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine.

    • Ora Meringue
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

      All the best for your op, BD.
      Hope everything goes well.

    • Orphan Annie
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Good luck, I had operation three years ago and was amazed at the difference it made. Definitely money well spent, kept me driving which is important when one lives in the back of beyond.

    • BusyLizzie
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Good luck with op, my husband had both eyes done a few years ago and was thrilled with the result, much better sight and true colors again.

    • Merusa
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      After years of being nearly blind, unable to read road signs properly, etc., I had mine done and it was a piece of cake. The results are unbelievable, good luck to you, don’t worry about it.

    • Hoofityoudonkey
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 5:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Good luck BD. My golfing pal had his done and the difference is astonishing.

    • LabradorsruleOK
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 8:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Good luck BD. SWMBO had it done on one side & now waiting for the other. She doesn’t miss a thing now! No pain but a lot of gain.

  7. Young Salopian
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink | Reply

    Virgilius has created another hugely enjoyable, if slightly tricky, puzzle for us this Easter Sunday. For reasons unknown, my last one in was 10a; my favourite was the wonderful 9a. I think 18d has appeared several times recently, but it still foxes me every time. 3*/5* from me, with thanks as always to Virgilius and to Senf (and good luck with the op BD.)

    • Senf
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink | Reply

      I started as the Sunday blogger in February and 18d, with a different definition and clueing, is definitely (up from the 99.99% certainty in the hint above) one of my previous hints.

  8. jane
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found this one a little tricky in places – 9a was (as for others, it would seem) the last to fall and I spent a while dithering over 1d. As for 19a – once the required word for ‘search’ was in my mind, my spelling of the religious type went completely to pot!

    My ticks went to 9&25a plus 22&26d.

    Thanks to the Sunday maestro and to Senf – hard to believe that you’ve only been doing the hints since February, you’ve very quickly become ‘one of the fixtures’!

  9. florence
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have finished all but 25a and 22d. I have three possibilities for 25a, so obviously two must be wrong. Having said that, all three could be wrong. I am off to find the BRB.

    • Senf
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

      25a E.g. a landlord?
      A double definition (which I did not notice when I solved the puzzle), the first is an example of the answer.

      • Miffypops
        Posted April 16, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

        E.g. (For example) A where A is an example of a character in the alphabet

    • florence
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Senf and Miffypops. I wouldn’t have got there without your help. I did manage to get all my possibilities wrong re 25a until the penny dropped. I have to confess I hadn’t heard of 22d which I had to googlething. Now I’ve managed to finish it I will reward myself with some sugar free chocolate I brought back from Bruges this morning. Thank you Virgilius, my favourite clues were 12a and 13d.

  10. Kath
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Like Jane I found this a bit tricky in places and had very few across answers to begin with but the downs got me started.
    I spelt 11a wrong to begin with so that messed up 4d and I can’t spell 19a but at least I know I can’t so always look it up.
    I agree that we’ve had 18d fairly recently.
    Even I managed 15a.
    No lurkers or answers formed from initial letters – I always think of them as trademark Virgilius clues.
    I liked 25a and 1 and 6d. My favourite, and last one to go in, was 9a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.
    My 28a is looking unhappy. :sad: Off to the garden.

  11. Ora Meringue
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyed doing this puzzle very much…as I usually do on a Sunday.
    Found it tricky, though, and needed some of Senf’s excellent hints.

    Many thanks to Virgilus and to Senf.

  12. silvanus
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Sunday is usually my crossword-free day (yes, I know it’s hard to imagine but we all have to recharge our batteries some time), so I have heard great things about Virgilius’s puzzles but, until today, I had never tackled one.

    What a delightful experience it was too. RD intimated some time ago that, once I had sampled the “Sunday Supremo” I might become hooked for good, and now I suspect he may be right!

    My joint-favourites were 23a and 22d. Not a weak clue in sight.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    P.S. Good luck to BD for his forthcoming op. Unlike Kath’s, my 28a is this year looking the best it has ever looked.

    • Senf
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You’re hooked! Until about 6 months ago, Sunday was my crossword ‘day of rest’ and look where I am now – blogging as well as solving. I just consume more single malt products to survive.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Told you so!

      Are you going to become a seven days a week man? If not, which day will you drop?

      • silvanus
        Posted April 16, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I’ll see how it goes! I can’t promise that I’ll attempt every Sunday puzzle, but I’ll do my best to dip in as often as possible from now onwards.

        • Miffypops
          Posted April 16, 2017 at 8:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

          The cryptic crossword, the Quickie and the Codeword comprise my daily treat enjoyed with tea before rising in the morning. Usually when it comes to blog publishing time I have forgotten the lot.

      • LetterboxRoy
        Posted April 16, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I’ve dropped Mondays – no Toughie and usually a doddle back-pager.
        Tomorrow will be an exception for obvious reasons :smile:

        • Miffypops
          Posted April 16, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

          For shame

          • LetterboxRoy
            Posted April 16, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

            At times M, you are very sharp and witty; at other times I have no idea what you mean.
            Currently the latter.

  13. Sheffieldsy
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The usual excellence on a Sunday from Virgilius. 2.5*/4*.

    Many enjoyable clues, as ever, with 3d, 22d, 25a and 17a our favourites.

    Thanks to Senf for the review and Virgilius for the crossword. Best wishes to BD on his upcoming surgery (I notice they tend to call it a ‘procedure’ these days; when did that start?)

  14. Merusa
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Happy Easter, folks.
    I always look forward to my Sunday treat and this was no exception.
    I did find it difficult to get a toehold, so I switched gears and started in the SE corner. In no time I was off and getting the grid filled in.
    I agree with Senf that 22d is fave, but there are so many others giving it a run. I rather liked 11a and 17a, amongst others.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  15. Brian Greer
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Best wishes to BD for your eye operation. I had mine done several years ago and it helped a lot.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for popping in, and many thanks for all the fabulous entertainment you provide us with every Sunday!

      • jane
        Posted April 16, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

        And so say all of us!

      • Merusa
        Posted April 16, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Me too! I would seriously have withdrawal symptoms without your Sunday fun.

    • Hoofityoudonkey
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

      And me, many thanks for the continued excellence of your puzzles.

    • florence
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for dropping in. I always look forward to your Sunday crossword.

    • Posted April 16, 2017 at 7:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Many thanks to you, and all the others, for your reassurance.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Agree with the above, consistently very good. Thank you.

  16. Hoofityoudonkey
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Just defeated by 10a, which I now understand.
    I found 22d difficult as I had forgotten the definition of the answer.
    This was another excellent Sunday puzzle from our Sunday maestro.
    Favourite was 17a, possibly an old chestnut but new to me.
    Spent a beautiful morning at Seaford Head, admiring the kittiwakes, ravens, meadow pipits, rock pipits, skylarks, linnets and returning swallows, etc.
    Many thanks to Sent and Virgilius.

    • Hoofityoudonkey
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Apologies Senf the predictive text on this tablet is a real pain at times!

      • Posted April 16, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

        One of the first things I did with my tablet was to turn off predictive text.

        • LabradorsruleOK
          Posted April 16, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

          I have looked everywhere (obviously except where it is) to get rid of that infuriating “aid”.

          • Senf
            Posted April 16, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Google it!

            • LabradorsruleOK
              Posted April 16, 2017 at 9:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Googling “it” wasn’t much use (came up with 1986 novel by Stephen King) but Samsung tablet keyboard predictive text sorted things thanks Senf”.

      • LetterboxRoy
        Posted April 16, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Yes, a pain in the arsenal, according to my phone.

  17. clisco
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t understand how the answer to 10a fits the clue; wording is IN commercial break, but the 2 letter abbreviation comes first, and the last four letters make an irrelevant word to me

    • florence
      Posted April 16, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The two letter abbreviation for commercial does come first. The next four letters make up a synonym for ‘break’. At least thats what I’ve managed to fit in, and it makes sense. Hope that helps, and that you manage to find the right synonym. If I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will put me right/ put us both right!

    • Posted April 16, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      “IN” is a word linking definition and wordplay. If the last four letters “make an irrelevant word” then you probably have the wrong answer.

  18. LetterboxRoy
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 8:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A treat as always; loved 25a among others.
    Hope all goes well, Dave.

  19. Jon_S
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I didn’t find this quite as easy as others, maybe **/*** for difficulty? Thoroughly enjoyable, perhaps I just made hard work of it.

  20. Heno
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 8:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, which I found very tricky. Needed the hints for 5d, I just didn’t think of them as teachers. Needed electronic help for 10a. Favourite was 17a. Was 3*/3* for me.

  21. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 8:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Tough as always on a Sunday for me but very enjoyable. NE corner held me up most with 5d LOI.
    COTD was 9a with the nicely misleading (to me anyway) 1d second.
    Thanks to Virgilius for your consistent excellence and Senf for the review & the clip. Difficult to imagine a pop group playing sitting down today..

  22. Salty Dog
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 9:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As always, a joy from the moment l took up my pen. 3*/5* for my money. The only one I didn’t get was 1d – just too thick, I’m afraid. I think 9a is my favourite, but 6d came very close. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    BD – if it’s laser surgery I can heartily recommend it. After 50+years of specs and/or contact lenses I had both eyes done at one sitting. I will never forget being driven back to Cornwall down the M5, being amazed that I could reel off the number of every car in the northbound carriageway unaided. My dear wife got bored with that quite soon. I’m still not bored nearly 15 years later!

  23. Donaldo
    Posted April 17, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable, though I found some of it very difficult. Interestingly, my last ones in were the ones omitted from the hints here. I don’t know what that means. ***/**** from me. D

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