ST 2908 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2908 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2908 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where summer continues with temperatures in the middle/high 20s, and into the low 30s after adding on the effect of humidity. Unfortunately, the wild fire situation in the British Columbia ‘interior’ is not improving as weather conditions are such that they (gusting winds and low humidity) are ‘assisting’ the fires.

Good to hear that our ‘Springsteen’ came out of his medical appointment yesterday with some good answers (except for the wait time).

I am beginning to wonder if Lady Jane is ever going to return from her matriarchal duties on the IoW. 

Another very enjoyable puzzle, with Virgilius tending towards benevolence, but not quite – the usual handful of anagrams (including three partials), one lurker, but no homophones. Some clues contain or end with ‘?’ – the ‘?’ should not be ignored. 

My favourite – 4a

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 Company support for office machine (6)
The usual two-letter abbreviation for company and a type of support.

4a Secure with cable and pull back, producing mess on warship (8)
To secure a water-borne vessel and a synonym for pull all reversed (back) gives an area of a warship that used to have a dual purpose.

10a Part of stable with one working horse (8)
A compartment in a stable, the single letter for one, and the two letter word for working.

13a All-round sporting achievement for an American poet of old (5)
A somewhat informal term for a hit that allows a player in US men’s ’rounders’ to score without stopping.

14a Prepare to watch circus, including bizarre main show (13)
To go into the ‘structure’ where a circus might be presented containing (including) an anagram (bizarre) of MAIN.

21a Critical article covering North African country (5)
A three letter synonym for critical and an indefinite article containing (covering) the single letter for North.

26a Taunt taken to heart by French father with English lineage (8)
The French for father and the single letter for English containing (taken to heart by) a three letter type of taunt.

27a Publicity material is about to create stir (6)
Two letters that can be used for publicity material, IS from the clue, and a two letter word for about to create.


1d Runs into kind of driver liable to have road rage? (6)
The single letter for runs (as in cricket) inserted into a driver who plies for hire.

3d Going without info that’s urgent (7)
A synonym for going (leaving) containing (without) a three letter synonym for info.

8d Popular newcomer turned up within my smaller group (8)
MY from the clue containing (within) the two letter synonym for popular and a term for a newcomer (novice) reversed.

15d For instance, repeatedly ringing king with evidence of debts — shocking (9)
The two letter abbreviation of a Latin term, that can mean for instance, repeated and containing (ringing) the single letter abbreviation of the Latin for king, followed by the four letter term for debts.

16d Asian vessel’s short journey — it carries second-hand stuff (4,4)
An Asian vessel, complete with the possessive S, and a familiar term for a short journey.

19d Part in Chekhov — is it originally for one in company? (7)
The lurker (part in) contained in the third to sixth words of the clue.

20d Spread the rumour, initially, in all directions (6)
The initial letters of The Rumour from the clue inserted in the cardinal points of the compass – I will leave it to you to work out the arrangement of said cardinal points.

22d Cautiously proceeded to signal agreement about state’s borders (5)
A movement of the head containing (about) the first and last letters (borders) of StatE.

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Following on from last Sunday’s musical selection, from a documentary programme (probably shown on ITV) made in 1992, part of a discussion on The Trouble with the Fifties followed by a collaborative finale performance by musicians from that era and on:

A slightly longer extract from the programme, which includes the above, can be found here

29 comments on “ST 2908 (Hints)

  1. 4*/5*. Another really enjoyable Sunday challenge – quite tough but a joy from start to finish. 8d held me up slightly as I had forgotten the uncommon (for me at least) spelling of the newcomer. I feel spoilt for choice when trying to select a favourite, but I will give special mentions to 9a, 11a & 12d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  2. I pretty much agree with RD at #1 about this little gem from Virgilius. Certainly at the tougher end of the spectrum, with many fine and well-constructed clues to keep me busy. This was 3.5*/5* for me, and to be different, I selected 2d as my favourite of many.

    A huge thank you to Virgilius for yet another in a long line of excellent Sunday crosswords, and to Senf.

  3. I must’ve been on wavelength as I found this to be relatively straightforward. I thought it was an excellent puzzle.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius 1.5*/4.5*

  4. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. A fantastic puzzle, very interesting and entertaining. So many great clues. I liked 11&14a, but my favourite was 20d. Last in was 9a. Was 2*/5* for me.

  5. I’m with JonP on this one – must have been on the right wavelength as I didn’t have too much trouble and I thought it was a brilliant crossword.
    My last answer was 1d – whenever I see ‘driver’ in a clue I immediately think golf – wrong this time.
    I was a bit slow and dozy with some of the longer answers – don’t know why as it’s usually the short ones that cause trouble.
    Needless to say I didn’t understand the ‘sporting’ bit of the 13a poet – couldn’t find it in the BRB but it had to be what it was.
    So many good clues make it hard to pick out any in particular but I think my favourite was 1d.
    With thanks to Virgilius for such an excellent crossword and to Senf for the hints and pics. ‘Lady Jane’ is now home in Anglesey after a busy time.
    Now back to the Wimbledon Men’s Finals – really want Federer to win but feeling so sorry for the other chap. :sad:

    1. The sporty bit is in the BRB, you just have to look in the right place for it – I checked when bashing out the review between lunch and the start of the tennis

      1. Oh – I looked under the answer and then I did what it told me to do i.e. see under the first four letters of the answer – so I did what I was told and didn’t find it – can’t think of anywhere else to look – too bad! Thanks anyway.

        1. Kath – it is ‘hidden’ in the entry for the first four letters of the answer.

          1. Hmmm – not in mine it’s not! I’ve really looked hard – doesn’t matter – maybe I have an earlier edition. Well, either that or I need to go to Specsavers!

  6. ***/****. Enjoyable puzzle with some very good clues (4&13a were my favourites). Thanks to Virgilius and Senf for the hints.

  7. For sheer fluency/aptness of clue (am sure there is a special word used by bloggers for this but am too new to this to know . . . ) I liked 10a.
    P.S. It has gone very quiet in our village this afternoon – no lawnmowers, no barbecues – is there something special going on?

    1. I think the expression you’re after is ‘surface reading’ – in other words the clue sounds sensible all on its own.

  8. Another smasher from Virgilius. I found it decidedly tricky, but that may have been because I was distracted by someone named Roger, who won, thank goodness. What a gent he is.
    My Fave was 9a, with 4a coming up fast behind.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints and tips.

    1. Totally agreed; Federer is an exemplary champion, role model and ultimate gent. I would take my hat off to him.
      Very enjoyable and engaging crossword, as is usual for a Sunday. Thanks again Virgilius – I would take my hat off to you, too.

      1. Me too – hats off to Federer and to Virgilius. Have I ever said that I don’t possess a hat? Even so what stars they are in their own field of expertise. :good: to both.

        1. I’ve got less hats than I used to have as I’ve eaten several when wrongly guessing the back-page cryptic setters.

  9. Thanks Virgilius and Senf for an enjoyable challenge today. Hard but not impossible, and kept me busy for a while. Last in was 23a , with 11a probable favourite.

  10. An extremely slow start – my FOI was somewhere near the bottom of the grid, but from then on it was pretty plain sailing, finishing in the NE corner with 13ac and 7d. About ** time at the close.

  11. I’m still laughing at my last in – 9a. Another cracking puzzle from the Sunday maestro!
    My thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  12. However the week has gone one can rely on the Sunday crossword to make one think. Today’s is no exception. I eventually got to the end and found that I had ticked three clues; 2d, 26a and my favourite which was 14a.
    3/4.5* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  13. As Kath correctly said – ‘Lady Jane’ has now returned from one island to another – the intervening two weeks having comprised a couple of 11 hour car journeys from hell courtesy of the UK road network and 10 days in the company of first grandchild who has colic but a very healthy pair of lungs! When does being a grandparent become all the fun that so many of you have mentioned?

    Apologies, Senf, but Gazza’s NTSPP took priority today. Then I thought of all the hard work you would have put into solving half of this offering from Virgilius so stayed up beyond my bedtime to complete it – hope you are duly appreciative!

    The usual high standard from the Sunday maestro with 9a & 1d sharing the honours here. 1d struck a particular chord but I’ll say no more…………

    1. Duly noted and greatly appreciated – one of these days I will have to solve the whole puzzle, but, with providing hints on only half the clues, I am not sure how I would prove that I have done that. I’m guessing that 1d might be apposite given your two long journeys.

      I would suggest that the fun of grand-parenting develops gradually as the baby becomes more aware of who the different people around him or her are; and, Skype or Facetime are an absolute must.

      1. Skype I can manage – maybe I’ll just watch him on that with the sound turned off until he’s a bit older!

        Right – I really am off to bed now, the Rookie puzzle will have to wait until tomorrow.

  14. It was either crossword solving at home, or go out and enjoy the sunshine yesterday morning, and the beach at Puerto de Sagunto was voted favourite by the other three members in the family…
    It did mean that I was able to keep in store this lovely puzzle for today.

    What an excellent crossword; many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  15. Not as good as normal, I thought, far too many answers that could not be parsed.
    Thanks all.

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