ST 2906 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2906 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2906 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday (or whatever day it is in Lady Jane time) morning from Winnipeg on this 150th Canada Day weekend which, for a large number of people, is an almost unnecessary excuse to drink more beer, eat more burgers and hot dogs, and set off fireworks.

Another very enjoyable puzzle, with Virgilius in a benevolent frame of mind, – the usual handful of anagrams, no lurkers or homophones, some double definitions, and a couple oldies but goodies/recent repeats (which I define as not so much clues, but definitions and answers with variations on clues). 

My favourites – 10a and 22d – both outstanding in my opinion.

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 Something soothing spoken in royal residence (8)
A type of ointment and a synonym for spoken.

10a Horse race with odds OK, as evens? (4)
Horse race for fillies constructed using OK for the odd letters and AS for the even letters.

11a Reprimand for wearing informal clothes (8-4)
Double definition, the first might be given for doing the second.

16a Asian ruler getting a shock, taken aback (4)
A from the clue and a type of shock (from an impact) reversed (taken aback) – I am more familiar with the five letter version of the definition, but the four letter version is also in the BRB.

20a A verse that’s in bad taste (6)
A from the clue and a single letter for verse contained by (in) a synonym for bad.

21a Is leader for crew to be found in port? Find out (8)
IS from the clue and the first letter (leader) of Crew contained by (found in) one of the Cinque Ports.

26a Solid, unlike a piece of cake (4)
Double definition, the second relates to the completion of a task.

28a Carefully select worker and tool (4-4)
A favourite type of (two legged) worker and a type of tool.


2d Snake in a study, and article about it (8)
A from the clue and a favourite synonym for study contained by (about it) AND from the clue and the indefinite article – a definite recent repeat, it appeared on Wednesday, four days ago.

4d New centre has moved about, from bottom to top (6)
Take CENTRE from the clue and move the two letters for about as indicated (as it is a down clue).

6d Giving little away about right area for fish (8)
An adjective describing someone who gives little away containing (about) the single letters for right and area – I once came off worse in an encounter with one of these.

8d Aquatic organisms in great quantity beneath part of wooden keel (8)
A fam term for a great quantity follows (beneath) a piece of material used in a wooden keel.

16d Plant one president or another grew first (8)
A synonym for grew before (first) one of two presidents (one . . . or another).

17d Time that may be taken for breakfast (8)
Double definition, a (slang) synonym for time inside and a hot cereal.

22d E.g. fall for American boy after drink (6)
A favourite synonym for boy after the body of water that drink is a familiar term for.

25d Cut oxygen, say, then hydrogen (4)
What oxygen is a type of (say) followed by (then) the chemical symbol for hydrogen.

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Some light relief, from some residents of SW19, before the two weeks of ‘torture’ that begins tomorrow:

55 comments on “ST 2906 (Hints)

  1. Hi Senf, I was confused that in your intro piece you said there were no lurkers, but I see that your 16a clue and the one I have on the iPad are differently worded. Conscious it’s a Sunday so I won’t say more.

    Enjoyed this puzzle and loved the very clever 10a.

    Thanks to you and the setter and happy birthday to Canada

    1. Yes, there are variations in clues which depend on the source of the puzzle. I subscribe to the puzzle web site. I will be interested to hear about 16a in the actual paper.

  2. 2*/5*. Another composition of genius! I thought 10a was the best of an absolutely wonderful selection.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  3. Very gentle for a Sunday, liked 12d, and took quite a while to explain every letter in 10a. Thanks to all.

  4. Happy Birthday Canada. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf (whose hints I did not need this week) I am still a happy little old lady, loved the long anagrams, favourite had to be 3d because I am good at them and enjoy the sound of the word. Off to do GK from yesterday.

  5. In the IPad version of today’s puzzle that I have just completed 16a is a lurker and the wording of 21a totally different to the one in the blog. Anyhow, this was not too difficult a Sunday puzzle. Am I right in thinking that the Sunday setter has become more benign in recent times?

    1. Since I started doing the Sunday blog in February, I have found variability in the difficulty. it seems to run in a cycle of two or thee weeks of low difficulty, then two or three weeks which are decidedly more tricky. Then, there is an element of becoming more and more familiar with the setter’s style.

  6. For once, ‘Lady Jane’ calendar is in tune with the rest of the UK, Senf, as I’m busy sorting myself out for the long journey to IOW tomorrow which will lead to my first chance to play ‘Granny’ – it’s imprinted on my brain that the ferry leaves from Southampton at 5pm on MONDAY evening!

    The usual excellence from Mr. Sunday (where would we be without him?) and I confess that some of my ticks went to ones that are doubtless 14d. However, I have to concur with RD and others and award the honours to 10a – the sort of letter manipulation that only Virgilius does so well.

    Many thanks to the maestro and also to Senf for solving half the puzzle on our behalf. (should that be pluralised, RD?).

    PS It never ceases to amaze me that so many men decry Wimbledon. I could understand it more if it were simply a matter of contact versus non-contact sports, but cricket puts the lie to that one. Ah well – at least you can take over the household duties whilst the ladies are ogling the men in white shorts.

    PPS Will be ‘off-air’ for the next two weeks (pink slip duly sent in to Kath) so behave yourselves and I hope everyone going to Macclesfield has a great time and remains on the right side of the law!

    1. Lady Jane – safe travels and remember one of the best parts of grand-parenting is that when there is a certain aroma from the nether regions that is the time to let the new Mum and Dad demonstrate their parenting skills. When normality has been ‘restored’ you take control again.

      My ‘beef’ about Wimbledon is that it ‘swamps’ all other sports coverage on TV (even in Canada) and disrupts some other TV programmes that I would prefer to watch.

      PS – our behalves or behalfs.

      1. Hi Senf,
        I’m reliably informed that one of the main reasons why new Dad is looking forward to Granny & Aunty arriving is that it will let him off the hook re: aromas from the nether regions!

        Your comment about Wimbledon amused me – does it not occur to you that there are some of us who feel the same way about the coverage of football and rugby? The latter, if one lives within the Welsh TV region, can be almost impossible to avoid. Anyway – Wimbledon only lasts for two weeks whereas football and rugby go on and on and on………….

        PS Looked up the behalves, behalfs info. Seems that anything other then behalf is now considered obsolete and archaic – oh dear, is that yet another reflection on the general age of DT readers!

        1. I’m coming in late on this one, but I agree with your PS, Jane, that “on our behalf” is OK. It may be less controversial perhaps to say “on behalf of all of us”.

        2. Not in my job description for a grandparent!

          On the other subject – perhaps we can have a philosophical discussion on January 27, 2018.

          On the other other subject – I am happy to be considered archaic, but not obsolete!

          1. Fortunately ‘Aunty’ is a fully qualified nanny with over 20 years experience so I’m hoping to leave the gruesome stuff to her whilst I get to do the cuddling and crooning bit!

            Re: Philosophical discussions in January – there’s a choice to be made here. Sensible discussions in the afternoon or slightly more preposterous discussions later in the day. My rule is that I don’t touch alcohol until TStrummer arrives – usually later in the day. A theory that has served me well over the last couple of years!

        3. Re Wimbldeon: Thank you Lady Jane for taking up the tennis cause so eloquently. I can’t wait!

          1. Me too. :smile: As Jane says it is only two weeks so maybe all the fans of all the things that a Kath can’t do can just put up with it.

            1. I see in the DT that Kyrgios (spelling?) is one of the “five” to watch. I hope not, he’s such a bad sport. Maybe he’ll have a melt down and disappear soon.

    2. Wimbledon has not been the same since we have been without an “Ooh, I say!!” from Dan Maskell

      1. To demonstrate my archaicness, all sports commentaries have not been the same with the passing/retirement of Maskell, McLaren, Wolstenholme, Alliss, Benaud, Arlott, to name but a few.

    3. Good luck on your trip to IOW Grandma, have a super splendid time cuddling your grandson. Do we get to know what his name is? Just to let you know while the cat’s away the mice will have a lovely time – Tee Hee.

      1. Hi Annie,
        He’s called Theo Xander which, from my research equates to ‘god, defender of men’. Quite a lot to live up to!

        Quite happy for you to ‘play’ – it’s just some of the others that I worry about……….

    4. Wimbledon is OK if it don’t rain but this year it clashes with Le Tour so I’ll not be watching much tennis.

  7. Well, that was a veritable R & W cinch if ever there was one so Senf’s hints (for which TVM) were only turned to after the event apart from parsing 4d. In anticipation of tomorrow15a was Fav with 22d running up. Thank you Virgilius for short but sweet fun.

  8. An unusually fast Sunday solve, benign indeed, but as enjoyable as ever – 1*/4*

    Agree that the laurel wreath be planted on the head of 10a, an exquisite clue.

    Thanks to Senf, Happy Birthday to Canada and homage to Virgilius.

  9. A bit of a breeze for a Virgilius puzzle but clever clues as usual. They don’t always have to be tricky to be enjoyable.
    Thanks to Send for the blog…

  10. Very enjoyable, as ever for a Sunday.
    Held up by a couple in the bottom half, last in was 24d, as the synonym for ‘past’ escaped me .
    4d was my favourite.
    Thanks Senf andVirgilius

      1. Definition is with skill.
        A from the clue, and the single letter for learner inside (in) a two letter synonym for past.

  11. Does anyone other than me look at the advertisements at the foot of the review? I have bronze labradors at £330 and pre-paid funerals plans. Sadly I cannot raise much enthusiasm for either option.

  12. */*****. Cracking puzzle but over far too quickly. Thanks to Virgilius for the enjoyment and Senf for the hints. Our Canada celebrations continue today with Queen performing at Rogers Arena, for which we have tickets. And our weather remains wonderful.

    1. We saw them in Sheffield last year. Adam Lambert is a pretty good substitute for Freddie Mercury. You’ll enjoy it.

      1. I agree – but don’t let Miffypops know how entertaining Queen are even without Freddie Mercury.

  13. In the IPad version of today’s puzzle that I have just completed 16a is a lurker and the wording of 21a totally different to the one in the blog. Anyhow, this was not too difficult a Sunday puzzle. Am I right in thinking that recently the Sunday setter has become more benign in recent times?

  14. I am really enjoying this Sunday puzzle but can anyone, without risking being red carded, shed a little more light on 20A? It really is eluding me and so is becoming vexatious.

    1. Graham, the definition is “taste”. Put “a” and the abbreviation for “verse” inside (“in”) a word meaning “bad”.

      1. Sorry Senf. I assumed that since Graham asked the question you hadn’t provided a hint. I should have looked. Dangerous things, assumptions!

        1. A little like my assumption regarding the derivation of a chinaman. I see from my homework that it is attributed to a Chinese left-handed bowler, although my non-PC variation is not entirely dismissed!
          That was something else new that I learned – never occurred to me that the Chinese were even remotely interested in cricket.

        2. I did read the hint posted by Senf but t did not shed any light, perhaps I had brain ache, I did ask for help and when RD helped, in very much the same style, as I say the penny dropped! This is what crosswordland is all about.

  15. What a little jewel this was, enjoyed from first to last.
    For sheer originality, 10a takes the gold, but there were many that were just beaten by a nose.
    As an aside, since when do the Brits spell 15a like that?
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his usual entertaining hints.

    1. To be honest, Merusa, I’d never spell 15a like that when referring to the ‘court’. There are other circumstances where I would use that spelling but I suppose that mentioning them would see me banished to the naughty corner!

      1. I suppose they now write checks on their bank accounts! The passage of time and all that.

        1. I should think that some of them don’t even know what a cheque book looks like!

  16. This was a between tasks puzzle for me, had to go to church, then to do some shopping, then walk the dog several times and then was seconded into slave labour, or gardening as my wife calls it. Very enjoyable though. Difficulty for me was averaging the 2.5 mark but the SW corner took it to around 3. Enjoyment was 4 Thanks to Senf for the hints and to Rabbit Dave for coinage.

  17. The usual quality puzzle from Virgilius which wasn’t particularly taxing, yet still a pleasure to solve. I was held up a bit in the SW corner.

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

  18. Virgilius must be being kind today as I actually finished with just a little help, despite heavy cold and wracking cough. Got held up for a while as I put the wrong second word for 23a until I realized my mistake. Stupid as we still have ours on the coffee table from recent trip. Only because we are still waiting for the airline refund for the Comfort seats we paid for but did not get…

  19. Enjoyable as ever, on the easier side again. A mind-blank on the name of the president, and inability to read the correct enumeration for 23ac were both self-imposed handicaps.

  20. A super, if relatively untesting, puzzle: 1*/4*. My favourite was 9a, not because it’s a particularly clever clue but because it took me back to my blissful childhood on a small -holding near fabled Southend (or “Sarfend”, as it was called when my sainted Mum wasn’t listening). The A127 was just across the fields, but was only ever known by the name of the answer to this clue. Thanks to Virgilius for the puzzle – and the happy memories – and to Senf for the hints. Happy Birthday Canada, a country I could be very happy in if only you could get a proper beer and see some proper cricket!

    1. Well, it’s not all gassy ‘American’ beers that only succeed in causing the drinker to b*rp and f*rt, there are plenty of British and Irish beers available plus some very nice local real ales (a.k.a. craft beers). And, last Sunday, I was watching cricket in Assiniboine Park here in Winnipeg. The Manitoba Cricket Association is the governing body for the sport in the Province.

      1. I’m glad to hear it! I look forward to seeing the bit between western Ontario and eastern Alberta when next I’m lucky enough to visit Canada.

  21. Solved using the printed version and then submitted online – and yes, three clues (16a, 21a, 3d) completely different in the online version. Favourite was 21a – the printed version, that is! 😉
    Nevertheless an entertaining distraction whilst enjoyed sunny Swanage! A bit of a cameo appearance by me on the blog – 10:25pm is quite early for me these days!
    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

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