ST 2897 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2897 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2897 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, back home after spending the work week in Calfornia.

Another very enjoyable and very typical Sunday puzzle from Virgilius.  Once again, I thought he was in a benevolent frame of mind; half a dozen anagrams, a couple of double definitions, a single lurker, and that board game making another ‘appearance.’

My favourite is 1d.

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 Sailor taken in by awfully silly info about courses (7)
An anagram (awfully) of SILLY containing the favourite two letters for a sailor gives some descriptive documents.

9a Tired as we are, tucking in one daughter (7)
WE ARE from the clue containing (tucking in) the single letter for one and ending with the single letter for daughter.

11a Cub that comes out at night? (4,5)
A heavenly constellation that could be a young animal.

15a Appearance with bishop, say, providing excellent example (9)
A synonym of appearance and one of the items used in a board game of which bishop is an example (say).

22a Run away from predator, going west then north (5)
A four legged predator reversed (going west) and the single letter for north. 

23a Perfect being lighter? Not so (9)
A type of lighter used for starting a fire and a synonym for not so.

26a Nice location, area by stream I’ll be found in (7)
Start with a type of large stream, insert I from the clue (‘ll be found in), and finish with the single letter for area; this gives the location of a French city.

28a Fabric taken to the cleaners (7)
A double definition; the second indicates losing badly (I think this one might generate some discussion).


1d Fine result of cutting deal, say (7)
The residue from cutting the type of material of which deal is an example (say).

3d A vote on island initially making self-evident statement (5)
A from the clue, how a vote will be indicated in May and June, and the three letters for an island in the Irish Sea.

4d Units used in one Eastern country or another (9)
An Eastern country containing another term for the right hand column in basic arithmetic gives another Eastern country.

7d John or James, for example, having pale ale outside (7)
ALE from the clue containing a synonym for pale (think fencing).

8d Like many European languages in court (7)
A double definition; the first is a descriptive word for European languages developed from a single source.

17d Fed up and exploited, prevented from going off (7)
FED from the clue reversed (up) followed by a synonym for exploited.

20d Grant, as president, lacking identity (7)
A synonym for grant created by removing (lacking) the two letters for identity from president.

24d Linger, however, after partners have left (5)
A synonym for linger (annoyingly perhaps) created by removing (have left) two card game players form however.


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This one hit wonder from 1969 was playing in Silky Sullivan’s Irish Pub in Fountain Valley, California while I was supping some of Dublin’s finest ‘food in a glass’ on Thursday:

58 comments on “ST 2897 (Hints)

  1. I’m surprised to be first on the scene again. Great stuff again from Virgilius, but not too challenging. Thank you to him and Senf.

  2. Wasn’t sure if this was a Virgilus puzzle or not, as there seemed to be a number of clues where a significant part of the answer is already given in the clue. Still enjoyable though, liked 11a and 1d. Thanks to all.

  3. 3*/5*. Magnificent!

    I started as usual in the NW and, after drawing a complete blank there, I moved on to the NE which was R&W followed by the SE and SW, which I found only slightly more difficult. I returned to struggle some more in the NW but it eventually surrendered taking my total time to 3* with 1d my last one in and favourite.

    In addition to 1d, I had double ticks for 1a, 13a, 23a, 4d & 24d.

    I didn’t know the majority shareholder in 2d but it couldn’t have been anything else. I have just one question – what purpose is served by “in a word” in 12a?

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

      1. That was all I could think of too, but doesn’t the clue work just as well without that phrase?

    1. Two into one plus a scattering of red scales from that herring. I liked it and many more

    2. 12a – as Toadson and Mcmillibar have said, a not very elegant way of saying concatenate a two word synonymic phrase for installed into the leader’s name.

      2d – an individual who has the largest share of anything is said to have the ***** share, I think words that might suggest financial investment have been used to ‘confuse.’

      1. Eloquently put, Senf. I agree with your explanation for both clues – so much so that I will add 2d to my double tick list.

  4. Masterpiece. Yet again. Tackled this from a Sunday lie-in and suddenly the bed was less comfortable. Ooo-err. I was jabbing away and could not land a punch. Like RD I tried to get a start and found one in the NW and then gradually with patience, cunning and drawing, frankly, on ALL my solving abilities it began to reveal itself. Over a stiff pot of Monsoon Malabar, it succumbed.
    I started a list of favourites but it swelled to almost all of them and that’s a naughty corner Kath would never allow me out of.
    As other bloggers might be wearily aware, I am in awe of Virgenius, who is able to find additional layers and links (‘pale ale’ for instance) all written into some of the briefest clues. V, you are our other British Heavyweight Champion. Thanks for this one and many others. ***/*****

  5. Despite 11a being my first one in, the NW corner caused a lot of head-scratching with 1a &1d being the last to fall.
    Brilliant as ever from the Sunday maestro although I’m still having a debate with myself over ‘run’ in 22a. Would the past tense be better? No doubt one of you will advise!

    1d definitely takes the laurels and I’ll also pick out 9&12a from amongst the plethora of ticks.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the review. Whilst I well remember the song you included, I wouldn’t ever have been able to come up with the name of the group.

    1. Jane – while I cannot and do not claim to be an English grammar expert, some on-line searching indicates that ‘run away’ (part of a compound verb) and the answer are past participles. So, it appears to work as is.

      1. Thank you, Senf, although it still niggles. With ‘run away from’ as the definition, I would want the answer to be a 4 letter word starting with the same two letters as the answer given and having a repeated vowel for the last two.

        1. I agree with you Jane – not at all happy with the tense. I understand your cryptic allusion to an alternative answer; mine would be 3 letters and relate to a nasty insect!

    2. Jane, 22a – I agree with you about the tense.

      I also agree with you that someone will advise on why it is perfectly correct usage.

        1. Ah – I can see that would work but only if you take the definition as ‘run away’ and use ‘from’ as part of the wordplay.

        2. I agree “Hasn’t xxxx xxxx” is a very common expression, in this household at least.

          1. A flea met a fly in a flue.
            Said the flea, “Oh what shall we do?”
            “Shall we flee?” said the fly,
            “Shall we fly?” said the flea,
            So they fled through a flaw in the flue

      1. ‘run away from’ works in a sentence such as ‘The children have grown up and run away from the nest’.

  6. Thought for today from my calendar – Mark Twain- I am pushing sixty. That’s enough exercise for me.
    I will be back later if and when I have done the crossword.

    1. I will use that later with the family gathered – with due accreditation to yourself and Mr Twain, of course.

  7. Really good although I slightly disagree that this is Virgilius in a benevolent frame of mind as I did have a few problems.
    I put 1a in straightaway but it looked so wrong that I had to check my spelling – it was right but looked very odd.
    I missed the anagram indicator for the first bit of 17a so that took a while.
    I was suitably confused by the 2d implication that the shareholder was financial – oh dear. :roll:
    Senf’s hint was needed for the 7d ‘pale’ – oh dear, again – I’ve been ‘had’ by that one lots of times before.
    I liked 11 and 26a and 24d. My favourite was 1d.
    Thanks to Virgilius for the crossword and to Senf for the hints and the Thunderclap Newman which took me straight back to 1969.
    Whatever is going to happen in “Line of Duty?”
    Off to do a rain dance now . . .

  8. Well I personally don’t regard this as the product of a setter in benevolent mood – I found it decidedly tricky and the NW was a particular challenge. Rather a lot of lengthy clues. 28a surface is clever but the verb didn’t occur to me. Several contenders with 23a probably Fav. Thank you Virgilius and Senf.

    1. Obviously, my use of benevolent is subjective and not everyone will agree, but, as the blogger, there are three elements to my ‘rating’ of the puzzle – solving time, use of reference sources during solving, and use of reference sources while writing the hints. The hint for a R&W clue/answer can sometimes be quite difficult to compose.

  9. This fine crossword seems to have split the commentariat somewhat. I was definitely in the ‘not benign’ group, as I found this decidedly tricky. A lot of lateral thinking was needed, which is part of the fun of course, and when I looked over the finished grid, there was nothing there to have made it difficult, just cunning clueing.

    1d was my favourite once I had worked it out, and overall I must put 3.5*/4* in the honesty box. Thanks very much to Virgilius for another excellent Sunday puzzle, and to Senf for his hints.

  10. As with others NW corner I struggled with and needed hints for 1d & posts for 2d

    However 1d was COTD for me with 11a very close behind.

    Thanks Virgilius for a super puzzle & Senf for needed hints & the video

  11. I give up which is the first time for a very long time. Cannot get on the setters wavelength at all. Even with the hints I can only manage 7 answers! Way too difficult for me at least a ***** for difficulty and minus 1 for enjoyment.
    Thx for the hints.

  12. As is often the case with this setter, I took time to get a foothold. Then it all seemed to click into place. In the end I completed right on my 1*/2* cusp. Some lovely clues, as always, of which my favourites were 1d and 16d. Many thanks to Virgilius, and Senf for the hints.

  13. Well done Millwall, we never do things the easy way!!
    Lovely crossword from the Maestro, great set of clues, not too tricky today.
    6d was a write-in for me as a committed birder, i didn’t need the help of the anagram. This was my favourite.
    Thanks Virgilius and Senf for tge hihts.

    1. At last, some heavy rain for the South-East tonight and tomorrow. The vegetables need the rain badly.
      Golf looks unlikely for the morning.

    2. Hmm, just a matter of three more wins & 6th place teams often do well.
      My “other team” Oldham Athletic were 17th, I think if they had been Athletico Oldham they would have been 16th!

      1. Remember Tommy Trinder being associted with Fulham – I go back a long way! Always found them a “homely club”.

        1. So do I, and Johnny Haynes – the first £100 a week footballer, superb captain for his club and country.

          1. A top class player and a GENT. One of a handful of players who were a pleasure to see no matter who you supported.

  14. I am usually on Virgilius’s wavelength, today I wouldn’t call it benign but it wasn’t really tricky.
    I needed the hints to know the reason for shareholder’s, and 1d was my last one in. Lots of good stuff here, 11a is my fave with 1d and 2d running close behind.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints.

  15. This was a very good crossword and no, I didn’t think it was benign either! 1d certainly floated my boat. The northwest corner was the last to fall too. 3.5/4* overall. (Sorry Brian)
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf or his hints.

  16. Loved it, too many favourites to risk admonition. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf. Off to tackle GK from yesterday. Hope Open Gardens going well with lots of generous visitors.

  17. Perhaps it was simply me being dim, but I found this puzzle to be the most challenging for a long time
    It took me far longer to solve than any puzzle during the past couple of weeks has done. My personal favourite clues were 6d and 12a, but many more gave me ‘lol’ moments. Thanks to setter and also to Senf.

  18. My rain dance hasn’t had any effect yet. I despair and my rain water butt is empty – even the weeds have stopped growing. :sad:

    1. Having just come in from filling 2 sacks with weeds, I wish ours in south Florida would go on hiatus…

    2. Not sure where you are, Kath, but I am in the same boat as you in South London.
      Fortunately the next 24 are forecast to be very wet, here’s hoping.

      1. Kath & Hoofs,
        You usually get what we get & the rain here at the moment is just about wetting the pavements. Don’t roll the hosepipe up ye
        See a low missing us for a change so you may get your wish!t.

      2. We’re in Oxford and it’s just spitting a bit now – not enough to do much good, yet, but here’s hoping.

  19. This was a perfect puzzle for me, just the right level of difficult and easier clues, and got there with just a couple of hints, thanks Virgilius and Senf. I didn’t know the word for 2d in that use, but the checkers made it obvious. Favorite was 12a, for totally non political reasons, just a clever clue ☺️

  20. Enjoyable, and on the easyish side, though it took a while to get my first one in. Last in the NE corner, for no particular reason other than that was where I ended up.

  21. An excellent puzzle I thought, six ticks were awarded to 11a, 13a, 23a, 28a, 1d and 7d. 1a slightly niggled, does anyone ever use that plural version any more?

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  22. I’m camping in the same tent as those who found this a little on the tricky side (though the fact that my part of the tent has been well-stocked with refreshments this weekend may just perhaps have some bearing … ), but also found the usual Vir-genius in evidence. I had the definition of 22a as “run away” with the “from” as a link word, but the alternative Gazza managed to come up with works too.

    Thanks to the 23a Virgilius and to Senf for the hints.

  23. Not a single answer on first read through, but on second I managed to work out 6d, then 19a and 20d. Panic over and I was off. Thank you Senf and Virgilius.

  24. We agree with Rabbit Dave – magnificent. 2.5*(so, reasonably benevolent and agree with Senf)/5*.

    Having been at our daughter’s barbecue yesterday, we did both today’s and yesterday’s today. We got them mixed up and thought we had done Saturday’s first when it was actually Sunday’s. When we discovered our mistake we realised why we had said, “great clue” or similar so often. Pale ale is so wonderful it’s worth three stars on its own. How does any human being see these things?

    We’re back from our trip to see our son in California and over the jet lag, so our postings should get back to their normal level next week

    Thanks Senf and the Sunday maestro.

  25. What a delightful Sunday evening treat this was! How does one select a fave when each clue is worthy of a special mention? Among my top choices are 11a, 12a, 13a, 15a, 1d, 18d, and I could go on… **/***** for me. Thank you very much, Virgilius.

    Thank you very much too Senf for the hints which weren’t needed on this occasion but which are greatly appreciated.

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