ST 2907 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2907 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where summer has finally and most definitely arrived, and I have been enjoying volunteering at a professional golf tournament for four days starting on Thursday. One of the mantras of the professional golf organisation in Canada and the USA is ‘giving back.’ One aspect of this is that every tournament raises money for worthy causes and the money raised ‘stays’ in the locale where the tournament is played rather than ‘disappearing’ into a big pot. So, I am more than happy to give my time to support an event like this.

Another very enjoyable puzzle, with Virgilius back to being somewhat tricky after a couple of weeks of benevolence – the usual handful of anagrams (including one partial), one lurker, but no homophones. 

My favourites – 14a and 17a – any 15 letter non-anagram will always get my vote.

Because of my involvement in said golf tournament and as I have quite an early start, I will not be able to provide too many follow-up comments or additional hints – hopefully some of the others will fill in for me.

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:


8a Firm falsified data about worker (7)
An adjective resulting from an anagram (falsified) of DATA containing (about) a two legged worker.

11a Punishment for people taking steps to maintain revolution (9)
A Victorian hard labour punishment – some might consider the modern equipment with the same name is also punishment.

14a It may go under schooner or cargo vessel (7)
Double definition, the first is a small table mat that goes under a drinking vessel.

17a Kind of paint people match — that’s how artists are supposed to behave (15)
A type of paint which has egg yolks as an ‘ingredient,’ a three letter synonym for people, and a synonym for match – but some artists may not agree that is how they behave.

19a One bird or another on coin (7)
A favourite diving bird after (on) a three letter term for a coin gives a member of the heron family.

26a Pudding put in front of author? That’s not wise (9)
A pudding typically made from the soft fruit Kath has been picking recently before (in front of) an author (and poet) from Dorset.

28a Area in which teacher is ill-prepared (7)
Anagram (ill-prepared) of TEACHER is approximately 2.47 acres.


1d Maiden is trapping one insect or another (6)
The single letter for maiden and IS from the clue containing (trapping) an insect gives another insect.

3d Sympathetic comment from firm north of Leicester, perhaps (4,6)
A synonym of firm (as an adjective) before (north of) a dairy product that Leicester is a type of – I not so sure that this is a sympathetic comment.

4d Crowded around antique that’s inverted to be securely fastened (9)
A synonym for crowded containing (around) a three letter synonym for antique reversed (that’s inverted).

7d Still upset about a role for US political group (3,5)
An adverbial synonym for still, reversed (upset), containing (about) A from the clue and a synonym for role.

15d Dessert wine that’s not so earthshaking (10)
A familiar term for dessert and a type of (German) wine.

18d African left from part of Western Europe (8)
The single letter for left and a European peninsula that includes a British Overseas Territory (not pommers’ abode).

22d Deal with dampness in study for old poet (6)
The first Poet Laureate which as (3,3) is what one would do to a damp study.

25d Something outstanding one doesn’t want to be in? (4)
A (sort of) double definition, the first is an account that has not been settled.

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.

Number one in the hit parade sixty years and one week ago:



  1. neveracrossword
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink | Reply

    The print version of the clue for 5d is wrong. It should be “Good argument for increase” .

    • crypticsue
      Posted July 9, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink | Reply

      When you say the print version, do you mean the newspaper version? If so, it may be as so often happens not ‘wrong’ but ‘different’

      What does it say as I’ll put it in my review?

      • neveracrossword
        Posted July 9, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink | Reply

        The newspaper version has: “Weak article lacks conclusion” (the same as 9d).

    • R J Hamlett
      Posted July 9, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I came here, because this was the only one I couldn’t get. No answer I could think of fitted the printed clue. Was slowly going mad (nothing unusual there…). :)

      • Gazza
        Posted July 9, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Welcome to the blog, R J Hamlett.

  2. Mark
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    Think I’ve got 23d (it’s always the four letter ones with all the checking letters isn’t it!?), but can’t for the life of me work out the wordplay.

    • Phil Marshall
      Posted July 9, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink | Reply

      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [edited]

      ‘ultimately’ indicates that you need to look at the last letters of some of the words in the clue

      • suech
        Posted July 9, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

        thanks. I got it, but couldn’t see why. Now I understand

  3. Expat Chris
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink | Reply

    Another lovely Sunday treat from Virgilius. How does he do it week after week? I, too, liked 17A and also 26A. The biggest smile, though, was from the video at the end. Thanks Senf and Mr. V.

  4. Paso Doble
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks neveracrossword. Guessed the answer and it was right.
    Great puzzle as usual from Virgilius and thanks to Senf for the hints.

  5. PLR
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Chocolate mousse of a puzzle- smooth and satisfying. Went down a treat.

  6. Michael
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It took me ages to get going, I got a couple of short ones on my first pass through and had to resort to my Wordsearch program to get going properly. A couple of nice anagrams but no obscure words and ultimately very enjoyable.

    I’m going to settle down and watch the Irish Open from Portstewart – what a brilliant course!

  7. stanXYZ
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    13a – takes the honours today – brilliant!

    27a – always love the Яussian clues.

    Thanks to Mr Greer and Senf (it’s still only 06:17 in Winnipeg)

  8. Heno
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. Fairly straightforward today, but good fun as usual. 23d was last in, favourite was 26a. Was 2*/4* for me.

  9. Gwizz
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Ah! A Sunday crossword as they used to be! Seriously though, an excellent challenge with some lovely clues of which I thought 26a was a prime example. 3/4.5* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  10. Brian
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Quite kind for a Virgilus I thought once you got over the newspaper having the same clue twice! The electronic version made sense, it must be a misprint I think.
    For the first time ever I didn’t need any clue explained so it must be a kind puzzle.
    My favourite was def 4d with a mention for 15d, both made me smile.
    Thx to all

  11. silvanus
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A lovely exercise in elegant cluing with super-smooth surfaces as usual.

    My favourites were 13a and 6d. I solved 9d before attempting 5d, so I then checked the Blog to see if the apparent duplication was intentional or not.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  12. Kath
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found this fairly straightforward.
    Completely fooled by the clues for 5 and 9d being the same (in the paper) and I wasn’t sure if it could turn out to be deliberate in some way – obviously not.
    I wouldn’t call 3d a very sympathetic comment.
    As usual I missed the 20d lurker.
    I’m more familiar with a different spelling of the first bit of 17d.
    I liked 26a and 22d. My favourite was 17a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.
    Managed to get tangled up in the hose while watering veggies and ended up face down on the path – grazed chin and fat split lip – very ‘poor pig’. :sad:

    • BobH
      Posted July 9, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      That’s hard luck. I gave up vegetable growing it’s much too hard for the limited rewards, almost a full time job.

      • Kath
        Posted July 9, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I like growing veg but agree it takes a lot of time and anyway really prefer the flowers and pretty stuff.

    • Merusa
      Posted July 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Poor, poor Kath! Hope it soon heals.

      • Kath
        Posted July 9, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks – it feels, and looks, pretty awful at the moment – and I’m hungry and think eating is rather out of the question.

        • crypticsue
          Posted July 9, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

          You are welcome to pop down here. I could make you gallons of courgette soup and still have loads left for other meals. We also have a supply of straws so you could drink it without further damaging your lip.

          • Kath
            Posted July 9, 2017 at 7:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

            A very kind offer but my lip is SO split and sore that I don’t think it would even cope with a straw. Yet again :sad: and what a stupid thing to do – can’t even quite work out how it happened.

            • LetterboxRoy
              Posted July 10, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Did MP start a trend in March? First his fall injuring his mouth and ribs, then my fall breaking ribs, now Kath with a fat lip…
              Hope it heals quickly Kath, and take care folks!

              • Miffypops
                Posted July 11, 2017 at 11:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

                The injury to the wallet hurts more and is ongoing

    • Angellov
      Posted July 9, 2017 at 11:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Commiserations Kath. I feel for you as I did something similar a couple of years ago as I squeezed a plastic sparkling water bottle whilst struggling to undo it and the cap flew off into my face. I have a slight scar as a memento! Hope it will heal quickly for you. 💐

  13. Orphan Annie
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Loved it, must think of new phrase because I keep saying the same thing. 5d threw me until I checked app on tablet (I always do it on paper) but apart from that I toddled gently through until I found I had filled all the lights. As always too many to pick favourite, still giggling over Dutch’s NTSPP from yesterday. Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  14. Cornishpasty
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable, fav and last in
    was 15d, got hung up for ages as thought it started with asti!

  15. Woolgatherer
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    5d and 9d are the same clue in the paper – 5d should be “Good argument for increase (4)”

    • BobH
      Posted July 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The answer is an actual sweet liqueur would you believe, I googled it as I was struggling to think how this could be a sweet wine.

      • Weekendwanda
        Posted July 9, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Your parsing may not be what the setter had in mind. I think it is intended as synonyms for dessert and a wine when split 6 and 4. I think the name of a liquor is coincidental as it does not fit the clue.

  16. Toadson
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As Heno, Kath and Brian imply, this was perhaps slightly too easy. Still very enjoyable though. Liked 3d (which put me in mind of Terry Thomas and ‘School For Scoundrels’), and 27a – which reminded me of another very good clue from recent weeks. Thanks to all.

    • Merusa
      Posted July 9, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I, too, immediately thought of Terry Thomas at 3d, remembering that wonderful smile and gap between his front teeth. He was a real treasure.

  17. BobH
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have to say I’m not a great fan of Virgilus, which is not the way for me to a be asking for help.
    However, can anyone explain 25d to me please.

    • Kath
      Posted July 9, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      25d – it’s outstanding as in owing and no-one really wants to be in 25d. I hope that helps – can’t really think of any other way of explaining it without heading for the naughty corner.

      • BobH
        Posted July 9, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

        That’s hard luck. I gave up vegetable growing it’s much too hard for the limited rewards, almost a full time job.
        Sorry now editing. This is the reply to your trip.

        Also the clue in question was 23d so I must be suffering from the heat and humidity here.

        • crypticsue
          Posted July 9, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

          23d has already been covered in one of the earlier comments

  18. Merusa
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I agree with Expat Chris, how on earth does he do it, week after week.
    I thought it was a most pleasant solve but not particularly easy, just in between, needing some thought.
    I liked too many, so no faves today.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints and tips.

  19. Young Salopian
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another Sunday, another excellent and hugely enjoyable puzzle. The long anagram was my favourite, but in truth I could have picked any one of half a dozen clues. 2*/5*.

    Thanks Virgilius and Senf.

  20. Weekendwanda
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well I never like to give up so only just looked at the blog for 5d. I actually thought it was a novel idea to have identical clues with different constructions/answers. Once I got the real clue above from Neveracrossword it was simple as I got the two checkers. Other hold up was 23d – stupid of me. I got the obvious answer but thought it was weak until I finally got the significance of Ultimately having read the answer to Mark’s query above. Favourites were 14 and 26a and 15d. I trust there will be an apology for the time I wasted trying to solve 5d! Thanks Virgilius (I think I am getting on to your wavelength) and Senf

  21. BusyLizzie
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Agree that 3d is hardly sympathetic… Got stuck in the south west corner today. Got to get back and finish our war with the rampant vines that are choking our hedges, not much fun at 91f and very humid.

  22. Brian Greer
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Greetings to everyone, especially Senf, from Calgary airport, where Air Canada has just cancelled our flight. As we say in Ireland, it won’t take us long to wait five hours.
    My editor is very sorry about the error, but worse things happen.

    For anyone interested, Will Shortz and I discuss cryptic clue writing on:
    [The link given by Brian is to a private Google drive. The same material can be accessed here: BD]

    See also:

    • Kath
      Posted July 9, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

      How nice of you to pop in. As you say, worse things happen at sea and mistakes happen. It didn’t spoil the crossword but it did make me think that I needed to go to Specsavers in case I was seeing double.

  23. Jon_S
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A little trouble at the close on 17d and 19ac, but the rest was fairly gentle fare. As enjoyable as ever on a Sunday.

  24. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Several short, thanks all.

    • Merusa
      Posted July 9, 2017 at 10:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Despite the majority opinion that it was easy, I didn’t find it so. Enjoyable but I really had to work for some. Tomorrow is a new week, let us know how you get on.

  25. NJoy
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What a lovely crossword. I don’t usually get the Sunday paper but if this is what I’m missing then I’ll have to start. I’m a Monday to Saturday solver and read blog everyday.
    Thank you to our setter – I hope your flight is sorted soon. And to Senf for hints and the wonderful video. Kath, may your lip heal quickly. You might try sucking arnica tablets to help with swelling and shock.

  26. Salty Dog
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 10:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Quite a struggle, but cracked it eventually in high 2* time (except 5d, which had the wrong clue). 15d was my favourite, because until l got a few key crossers l spent quite some time trying to find a dessert wine that was an anagram of “notsoearth” (the anagram, l thought, cleverly indicated by the “shaking”)! Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

    • Merusa
      Posted July 9, 2017 at 10:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Snap, I did the same thing. After circles and letters didn’t reveal anything, I went to electronic help, still no answer. I never learn.

  27. Vancouverbc
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 10:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Splendid puzzle and bang on my wavelength. Thanks to Senf and Virgilius. Favourites were 17a and 15d.

    Summer has arrived for Senf but it’s been here for a while and blisteringly hot. Over 200 forest fires in progress and over 7000 people have had to evacuate their homes. It’s feast or famine.

    • Merusa
      Posted July 9, 2017 at 10:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I saw on the telly about your fires. I remember a stay up the Fraser Valley at a ranch, watching the trains on the opposite side of the valley, their wheels sending sparks that set fires. Then the airplanes came over with their water drops. Such a sight, I’ll never forget it.

      • Vancouverbc
        Posted July 10, 2017 at 2:47 am | Permalink | Reply

        Hi Merusa. I live in the Vancouver end of the Fraser Valley so we’re ok but the fires in the interior are out of control and getting worse as the winds continue and lighting occurs without any accompanying rain. Our trade mark is Beautiful, Super Natural, British Columbia but there’re some areas going to look a little charred.

  28. Sheffieldsy
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 10:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very nice, as we’ve come to expect, and, for me, continuing the run of benign Sunday puzzles – 2*/4*.

    Summer came to Sheffield this week, so that should be it for the year now, as Vancouverbc will remember. Favourite was 15d.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

    • Vancouverbc
      Posted July 10, 2017 at 2:42 am | Permalink | Reply

      More wet golf at Hallamshire? Hope your weather stays reasonable.

  29. Angellov
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 12:06 am | Permalink | Reply

    A bit weary this evening after a 300 mile round trip drive including M25/Dartford Crossing hold-ups just to attend a garden party so my cruciverbal thinking-cap is not up to scratch and I can’t say I really enjoyed the exercise. Fav was 27a. Bunged in 23d and then had to seek Senf’s help to parse. Thank you Virgilius and Senf. And so to bed.

  30. Miffypops
    Posted July 11, 2017 at 11:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent puzzle. The second of the day (Tuesday) as I was involved with a family weekend here on Sunday morning. 9d holding out so far but I will not let it go. Thanks to our setter and to our blogger. I often have a Lonnie Donnegan Day. Great stuff. As George Harrison said. “No Lead Belly, no Lonnie Donnegan. No Lonnie Donnegan,no Beatles”

    • Senf
      Posted July 11, 2017 at 11:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

      9d – Definition weak.
      An article (item) with the last letter removed (lacks conclusion).

      • Miffypops
        Posted July 12, 2017 at 12:12 am | Permalink | Reply

        Too late. It was not going to hold out for long. Liked the Lonnie. Liked him better when he aged

Leave a Reply, but please read the Comment Etiquette (under Comment on the menu) first. If you are asking a question, please check if it is already answered in the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *