ST 2900 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

ST 2900 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2900 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Good Sunday morning from Winnipeg.  This weekend, (most of) Canada is celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday with a holiday tomorrow.  These days the historical significance of the holiday is probably overtaken by using it as an excuse to eat more burgers, hot dogs, etc., and drink more beer – as if Canadians actually need an excuse to undertake those activities.

Another very enjoyable and very typical Sunday puzzle from, I thought, a very benevolent Virgilius with half a dozen anagrams (including partials) and a couple of lurkers, but there were a couple of clues that I didn’t ‘get’ completely which, for me, might suggest some editorial involvement.

My favourites (blogger’s prerogative) are 2d, 5d, and 20d.

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 Language learner I included in description of top class (6)
A four letter word for top class containing (included in) the single letter for learner and I from the clue.

4a Cross Tories oddly admitting claims (8)
The odd-number letters (oddly) of Tories containing (admitting) one of the favourite synonyms of claims.

11a Covering for those who have arrived and are arriving (3,6)
Floor covering for very important people or those attending a ceremony.

14a Breach agreement about returning paintings (13)
A synonym for breach comprised of a type of (usually international) agreement containing (about) a collective noun for paintings reversed (returning).

17a At home game, holding up — showing skill beyond defence? (13)
A two letter word for at home (I think game is superfluous), followed by single words for holding up and showing skill.

23a House member outside party encountered recorder of steps taken (9)
A member of the upper house containing (outside) a two letter synonym for party and a three letter synonym for encountered.


25a Keen to secure a mile in fast time (6)
A from the clue and the single letter for mile contained in (to secure . . . in) the period of fasting before Easter.

27a Remaining child very likely to succeed (4-2)
A three letter synonym for remaining (it’s in the Small Red Book) and a male child rewritten as (4-2).


1d The old man’s attempt to make some dough (6)
A two letter synonym for father (old man), the possessive S from the clue, and a synonym for attempt.

5d Averted changes around start of work in theatre — began operating again (11)
Anagram (changes) of AVERTED containing (around) a four letter (3,1) term for the start of work in theatre (this was one of the clues that I did not ‘get’ completely to start with, but the penny finally dropped – as Kath might say, perhaps I was being dim).

6d Meat cooked in ovens – does provide some of it (7)
Anagram (cooked) of IN OVENS with a suggestion of a source.

8d Thrilling performer’s going off about clubs (8)
The single letter for clubs contained in (about) a term for an actor leaving the stage.

15d Isn’t seen moving around without resistance — due to this? (9)
Anagram (moving around) of ISN’T SEEN containing (without – yes, that usage of this word) the single letter for (electrical) resistance.

18d Finish off soup and second dish (7)
Last letter (finish off) of souP and a synonym for second.

20d French language in British college (6)
A French regional language from the two letter abbreviation for British and one of cruciverbalists’ favourite colleges or schools.

22d Impressionist past his prime sent up head of state (5)
An artist, not an impersonator, from a four letter word to describe someone who is past his prime reversed (sent up) and the first letter (head of) State.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

This video selection was prompted by one of last Saturday’s prize puzzle clues.  This is Rainer Hersch – a pretty good entertainer.  If you want to see more, there are plenty of videos of him on YouTube.  The lady from Anglesey will have to wait for Irene Cara – I can’t be seen as showing too much favouritism.

51 comments on “ST 2900 (Hints)

  1. A gentle offering from Virgilius, but enjoyable nevertheless. 2*/3*
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the notes

    Re the hint for 17a, I understood the clue differently, with a synonym for game being essential to the wordplay, containing the word UP.

    1. I agree, the ‘game’ part makes the wordplay make sense, that said, it’seems a bit of a strange definition?

      1. Maybe it’s: a word for ‘at home’ + a synonym for ‘game’ with ‘up’ inserted + ‘showing skill’ ??
        Hope I am not in trouble

        1. I’d call it the perfect hint. It matches what I’ve put in the draft review, although that, of course, mentions the actual words involved.

    2. As I said in my preamble, although I solved all the puzzle, there were some clues I did not ‘get’ completely. This was one of them; and I agree with the parsings in this comment – because of time zones, there are not many ‘phone a friends’ around when I am compiling my hints at 2:00am on a Sunday morning.

    1. It is an example of what I call ‘setters’ impressionist of the month’ as he’s been around more than once in the last week or so

  2. The usual splendid stuff from Virgilius. Other newer setters should note that you don’t need to pack your puzzle with ‘challenging’ drug and sex references to produce a really enjoyable puzzle.

    My favourites were 16 dn and 7 down.

    I now have a few clues left for the special puzzle. If you’d like one to clue, let me know here or by email. I’ll be sending them after tea tonight when I’m home from bridge. Will need them back by Tuesday.

  3. Certainly Virgilius on the gentle side today but no complaints from me.

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

  4. Brilliant work from the Sunday maestro. However, even with the hint, still can’t parse 14a. Help appreciated.

  5. Relatively gentle for a Sunday, but enjoyed it. Last in was a lurker. Thanks to all.

  6. 2*/5* for another Sunday masterpiece which for me is as good as it gets.

    Ticks for everything and double ticks for 25a, 26a, 6d & 7d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  7. After a slow start, got round today’s offering fairly easily, until grinding to a halt at 25a; never heard the definition other than as an adjective, Doh!
    2*/3* and Many thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

    1. Now that you have heard 25a in the sense being used by Virgilius don’t forget it – it appears quite often.

  8. As excellent as ever. Does Virgilius ever have an off day? It seems not. One of the few compilers with consistently high enjoyment whether tough or benign. 2*/4*.

    ‘shameful mark’ in 3d has set my mind buzzing and I can’t get it to stop.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  9. Have to say that I’m in complete agreement with the thread at comment 1 regarding 17a. The single word suggested by Senf would be synonymous with ‘hold up’ but not with ‘holding up’ – at least, that’s my humble opinion!
    I had a question mark alongside the first part of 27a but accept the wisdom of the little red book and I really didn’t like 16d (sorry, Tilsit)
    but everything else lived up to the well-deserved reputation of the Sunday maestro.

    Top three for me were 25&26a plus 7d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints – I’m quite happy to take my place in the queue for song choices, particularly in light of you having graciously referred to me as a lady, and in any case I very much enjoyed listening to Rainer Hersch!

  10. Lovely stuff, though I’m puzzling over my answer for 16D. It fits and makes a kind of sense but I can’t parse it.. I’m either missing something glaringly obvious or I have the wrong answer. 17D was my favorite, and I also ticked 25A ,27A and 2D. Thanks Virgilius and Senf.

    1. Hi Chris,
      I’m glad that someone else was less than convinced by 16d – decided I must have missed something when Tilsit listed it as one of his favourites but I still can’t come up with anything satisfactory.
      Just seen your reply, Senf, but it doesn’t really work for me.

        1. Once again my knight comes charging to the rescue! Thank you, Gazza – that will do nicely.

        2. I was about to write my Comment for today but decided to read other bloggers’ remarks first so was reassured to discover that I was far from alone in finding 16d somewhat fragile. Gazza’s parsing improves things.

  11. Another top puzzle from Virgilius this morning. Hugely enjoyable, great fun and just about the right level of difficulty for a Sunday. Too many fine clues to pick a winner, and 2*/5* overall.

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  12. As so often on Sundays I got off to a very slow start with not many answers, then got a few more etc etc.
    16d was my last one and I didn’t really get it at all so was glad of the comments about it.
    I agree with all the comments about how 17a works.
    I got one of the lurkers without too much trouble but missed 7d for ages.
    20d – oh dear! I have a French sister-in-law who comes originally from that bit of France – she’s the eldest of six and when everyone is all together I can’t understand a word.
    I liked 25 and 26a and 5d. My favourite was 2d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.
    Off to the garden – it’s only three days since I cut the grass but we’ve had so much rain that it needs doing again.

  13. The work thing has prevented me from solving many crosswords in the past fortnight, so I enjoyed this one even more than is usual for a Sunday. I started it as my flight departed from Barcelona and finished it near Ireland (according to the seatback map I’m currently at 34,000 ft somewhere south of Iceland.) This was a joy from start to finish, with extra ticks for 5d, 17a, 24a, and 25a. Top spot today goes to 7d. Big, big smile for that one. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  14. A good combination of challenge with some light entertainment including a few chestnuts. Thank you Virgilius and Serf.

  15. Being a relatively new Virgilius solver I’m still getting to used to his style (which is much to my taste I should add), so I didn’t find it quite as easy as some, but I didn’t find anything held me up for too long either. The bottom half was more straightforward than the top I felt.

    My personal favourites were 2d and 16d.

    Excellent entertainment, thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  16. What a good puzzle and better still with a G&T on our verandah in the best weather since last summer. Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

    1. Isn’t Vancouver seven hours behind the UK? Your post is time-stamped at 3:48pm, so were you into the booze before 9:00am? Or is the verandah somewhere else? Que pasa, amigo?

      1. Sheffieldsy – you are off by an hour. Vancouver is 8 hours behind UK time, but that means that Vancouverbc can access the puzzle at 4:00pm ‘the day before’ when it is available on-line at midnight UK time. So, my guess is, that he was solving and supping G&Ts on Saturday evening (his time). Then his comment came ‘first thing’ on his Sunday morning.

        1. Thanks, Senf, it has the ring of truth, but, then again, you don’t know Vancouverbc like I do! 😀

  17. I found this very tricky for a Sunday, hugely enjoyable though.
    I found a couple difficult to parse, unusual for a Virgilius puzzle, e.g. 16d and 18d.
    Lots to like, in particular 2d, fave, but many others earned honourable mention, 7d and 20d for example.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints.

  18. I found this quite a slog to the end, but unlike most others above I am mostly struggle on Virgilius days, don’t know why, just the wavelength thingy I suppose. Can’t blame it on the snakes today. 11a was probably favorite with 2d a close runner up. Thank you Senf, I needed a lot of your hints today.

  19. This felt challenging while solving, but the finish time said otherwise, so… **** for enjoyment value, for a fun, inventive puzzle.

  20. All but 19d, which is obviously so easy as to need no hint! I assume it’s one of the abbreviations for “doctor” inside a word meaning “committee” but that doesn’t work. Can someone give me a hand?

    1. If I had included a hint for 19d it would have been just about the same as you have described. Assuming that you have the four checkers from the across clues, I can only think that there is an abbreviation for doctor that you have not tried yet.

  21. No problems today which considering the post-Wembley hangover I have is some achievement.
    Favourite 27a.
    Thanks Senf and Virgilius

  22. Savoured this one to the last drop (which was 25a and also favourite). Benchmark clueing earning a rating of 2.5 stars and 4.5 stars. Many thanks for another great puzzle Virgilius. Like Mr Kitty, I solved this on a flight as it was easily the best in-flight entertainment available though I might have covered a bit more of the earth’s surface getting it done than he did.

    1. It was a quick solve by my standards – I must have been on wavelength this morning. Two flights down, and one to go. I have Monday’s Rufus downloaded for the next leg, if I can stay awake.

  23. I do like our Sunday setter. NW slowed me up, but I can’t see why in retrospect. 7d is brilliant and in good company.
    Many thanks to Virgilius for another fine puzzle and to Senf for the review – whatever time it was.

Comments are closed.