ST 2911 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2911 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2911 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg.

Another very enjoyable Virgilius puzzle, still on the slightly tricky side – the usual handful of anagrams, a couple of lurkers, and a homophone. How many clues did I solve this week? I have no idea. After my first busy week at the Canada Summer Games, I just solved and hinted until I fell asleep.

My favourite – 12a.

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:


7a Killer since caught in dope offence (8)
A two letter synonym for since contained by (caught in) synonyms of dope (as in fool) and offence (of the seven deadly variety).

10a Editing letter that contains this slightly shocking sensation (6)
One of the lurkers (that contains this) found in the first two words of the clue.

11a Buckle isn’t what belligerent Indian wore (8)
A synonym for buckle and an informal form of isn’t.

12a Undistinguished pair who share an annual celebration (9,5)
The human ‘result’ of a ‘double yolker.’

17a Rod teachers employed in school (5)
Double definition, the second is a collective noun.

23a Follows target in alley in greatly agitated state (8)
One of our favourite synonyms for follows and what is knocked over in a type of alley.

25a For example, fly within breakaway formation (6)
A two letter synonym for within and a group of followers.

28a Spanish dance ends off fiesta with new energy (8)
The first and last letters (ends off) of FiestA, linked by a common conjunction, with the single letter for new, and a two letter word for energy.


1d Wine that in test is tastiest (4)
The other lurker (that in test is) found in the last word of the clue.

3d A quartet playing without one again (4)
A from the clue and the quartet who play a card game less one member (without one).

5d Musician in band with a string that’s broken (8)
The single letter that might represent a band followed by an anagram (that’s broken) of A STRING.

6d Section of stadium — work to prepare ground comes to complete halt (10)
Single words for a section of a stadium and work to prepare ground (for sowing crops).

16d Offering fishing south of Land’s End (8)
Another word for fishing after (south of) the last letter (End) of LanD.

21d Elected politician in nearby country or group of countries (6)
A politician (who sits in Strasbourg) who might come from a country close to the UK represented by three letters.

24d Unfashionable female admirer upset (4)
The single letter for female and a synonym for admirer all reversed (upset).

26d Most of KGB, reportedly, is secretive (4)
And, we finish with the homophone (reportedly) of the pronunciation of two letters (most of) of KGB.

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

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After last week’s video ‘mishap’ – Booker T Jones, and some others, at Daryl Hall’s house playing Green Onions (and I am reliably informed that it can be viewed in the UK – well at  least in Anglesey):

A Sunday riddle – what do you call a drummer who doesn’t have a girl friend? Answer: Homeless!

60 comments on “ST 2911 (Hints)

  1. Definitely on the tricky side today for me, with the NE and SW being quite stubborn to yield. Thoroughly enjoyable as ever.

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

  2. 21d is surely an elected politician (2) inside a nearby country (4)?? That’s how I’m going to explain it in the review

    1. CS – I agree – my eyes were definitely beginning to glaze over (after being awake (most of the time) for twenty-two hours – volunteering is fun (?)) with a knock-on effect on my brain.

  3. 3*/5*. Another dose of Sunday brilliance! I was hoping for a hint for 27a because I can’t make the parsing work. “Person straying” seems to be the definition with answer starting with “s” for second, but the rest of the answer surely is a “perfect shot” not a “less than perfect shot”. I hope I haven’t strayed into naughty corner territory but I have only quoted words from the clue. I apologise in advance for any perceived transgression.

    As ever on a Sunday it’s difficult to pick a single favourite but I’ll go for 11a which is joined on the podium by 25a & 26d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    1. I’ve worked out how 27a works but can’t think how to hint at it without joining my lemon drizzle cake in the Naughty Corner.

      I think the best way is to tell you to look up the ‘rest of the answer’ in the BRB ;)

      1. Thanks CS. I’m absolutely astonished to see that entry in the BRB. I’ll be commenting in more detail when the full review appears!

    2. How to explain without going to the naughty corner? Your last five letters surround what would be the perfect shot.
      I agree CS parsing of 21d
      My favourite was 22d for its elegant simplicity

    3. Aha – methinks there are, after all, some sports in which even your good self needs tuition!

      1. You are perfectly correct, Jane, but not in this specific case. I used to participate in this particular sport regularly for many years at quite a reasonable level and the term in question here was only ever used to describe the perfect shot so I would take issue with the BRB in this instance.

          1. Yes, but that’s not what the BRB says. However Kath has come up with an alternative suggestion below which renders this debate on this type of perfection irrelevant.

            1. Must be me but I thought 27a worked well with respect to the sport in question given that the perfect shot would be in the centre.

    4. To use CS’s terminology of the ‘rest of the answer,’ my limited knowledge of the sport in question agrees with the BRB. So, if I had hinted 27a it would have been along those lines.

  4. I think 21D is more likely xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 3D toughest for me and 11A took a while.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      If you have a quick read of the instructions in red, you’ll see that we only hint at the parsing of prize puzzles so I’ve edited your comment accordingly

    2. 3D/11A last in for me, too; former would’ve been easier if I knew anything about that sort of quartet, latter easier if it had been a hyphenated word – which, although is not in current dictionaries, I’m convinced was when I was at school. (Not halcyon days for me but at least I came out knowing how to avoid prepositions at sentence ends and, of course, where apostrophes go!)

  5. Did not get much on the first pass but persistence paid off. The last two in 3D and 11a were my favourites.

  6. Another wonderfully inventive and hugely enjoyable puzzle from Virgilius. So many brilliant clues, it seems disingenuous to pick a favourite, but I will go for the clever 26d. Overall this was 2*/5* for me,

    Thanks very much to Virgilius for a sparkling crossword, and to Senf.

  7. Definitely on the tricky side today – certainly more so than the last few Sundays.
    11a and 3d were my last two and I was in the situation where I knew if I could just get one of them I’d get the other instantly.
    17a was a problem that I made “all my own self” by misreading its last letter.
    I agree with CS and others about how 21d works.
    I think that 27a is the usual abbreviation for second followed by a perfect shot without its first letter (less than perfect).
    I particularly liked 19a and 16d. My favourite is either 24 or 26d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    1. Kath, many thanks. I think you are spot on with your interpretation of 27a. I was barking up the wrong sport, so to speak …

      1. Although it appears to work perfectly well using Kath’s interpretation, I solved it thinking of a more old-fashioned sport which is also a form of warfare, where you can score on three parts of the target, the answer being the second type.

    2. Umm – I rather like your interpretation of 27a, Kath, maybe the maestro will find time to pop in to enlighten us.

    3. I’m pretty sure that, whereas ‘less than’ might be used to mean drop the last letter, Virgilius wouldn’t use it to mean drop the first letter.

    4. I had this thought when I first went through the clues with my red pen, changed my mind when I read the BRB definition and in the end, when I typed the review just over an hour ago, put both theories in my explanation.

  8. Poor Senf – I’m sure that you were just nodding off slightly by the time you got down to solving 21d – understandable after the week you’ve had but the BD gang take no prisoners! Any chance you might give us a bit of insight into what you’ve been doing at the Games?

    I enjoyed the maestro’s offering as much as ever, NE corner proving to be the sticking point.
    I liked the Spanish dance and the KGB but top marks went to Senf’s favourite at 12a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to the ringmaster. Loved the Booker T, of course, and am pleased to report that I hadn’t got a clue as to what the 5d musician was playing. Must be younger than I thought – whoopee!

    1. So far, I have been at Winnipeg airport. Throughout the games there are people coming and going and we have been coordinating transport (for those important enough to warrant it) to hotels and venues. This has included musicians as concurrent with the games there is a music festival. This has been arranged so that each evening the performers are from a different province or territory.

      Saturday was a ‘special’ day. The event schedule has been organised into two ‘blocks’ of a week each. So yesterday the first week athletes and officials were going home starting at 5:00am and the second week athletes and officials were arriving finishing at 9:30pm.

      The musician in 5d is playing a theme tune for the news ‘slot’ when going to the cinema was two films with advertising and a newsreel in between

      1. It looks like quite a busy airport – must be rather stressful for those of you trying to orchestrate the comings and goings.
        Hopefully, you are at least spared any potential terrorist issues with it being a national rather than international occasion.
        BTW – I note that there are direct flights to the UK but only during the Summer. That’s a little inconsiderate given that the blog birthday bash is in January!

        1. Yes – on the small side but busy. Because we are set up in a prominent position in the baggage claim area we have become a de facto airport information desk so we have been fielding questions and requests from all and sundry – where are the toilets, where are car rentals, why isn’t Tim Horton’s (an iconic Canadian coffee/doughnut/sandwich shop) a Starbucks?

          As to flights to the UK in January – there is a solution to every problem.

  9. Excellent crossword today, took some time getting but well worth it. Those dreaded 4 letter clues were amongst the trickiest today esp 3d, sneaky. But my fav was the 4 letter clue 26d, clever!
    I do so like Sundays Virgilus, it’s never easy but his clues are so elegant with no leaps of faith and seldom much in the way of religious references.
    Thx to all.

  10. I didn’t have any problems with today’s Virgilius … until I started reading the comments. Now I’m beginning to have “second” thoughts about 27a … but I’m sure my original interpretation is right.

    As it’s still the cricket season … I was hoping that “Soul Limbo” would appear in this week’s Booker T slot.

    ps. Forgot – I couldn’t parse 3d – so thanks to Senf for explaining the “quartet playing” – my quartet came from all points of the compass but obviously wrong!

  11. Another great Virgilius and thanks to Senf. Where would English cricket commentary be without The Great Booker T track, Soul Limbo🤗

    1. I think the idea is that a drummer makes no money, a bit like the joke Andrew Neil told when ginger Baker was on the show: ‘what do you call a person who likes to hang around with musicians?’ – answer ‘a drummer’.

      1. That reminds me of when John Lennon was asked if Ringo really was the best drummer in the world and his reply was, “He’s not even the best drummer in the Beatles”.

  12. Lovely puzzle – took me a while to see the parsing of 28a. Liked 26d

    Many thanks Virgilius & Senf

    1. My immediate thought on 28a was a different Spanish dance (with the same first and last letters, and letter count) but, obviously, not a ‘fit’ with the clue.

      I did like the (implied) way that Virgilius that created the second to fifth letters.

  13. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. Another super puzzle from the Sunday wizard. I needed the hints for 5d, I realised that it was an anagram of a string, but couldn’t get the other letter. Inexplicably, I transposed a couple of letters in 21d, so this made 23a impossible. My favourites were 11a&26d (sorry Kath). Was 3*/4* for me.

  14. Excellently clued as one has become accustomed to expect from Virgilius, so much there to admire and enjoy.

    My top three were 11a, 23a and the delightful 26d.

    Many thanks to Mr Greer and to Senf.

  15. A nice relaxing puzzle after a lunchtime pint. Enjoyment *** Difficulty * Last one in 11a, also my favourite today.

  16. Sunday isn’t Sunday without a Virgilius crossword to do! Once again a first class challenge giving lots of pleasure to complete. 26d was my favourite and 2/4* overall.
    Thanks to Mr Greer, and to Senf for the hints.

  17. Another delightful Sunday morning treat from Mr. Greer, decidedly tricky but hugely enjoyable.
    I could not get a toehold at first, then I got 22d which helped to get the second word of 20a, part of the anagram, and then I was off.
    Last in was 3d. I’m a bit stuck on a fave choice, I liked 11a and 12a, but 24d and 26d were both special.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for your hints. Glad the games are going well.

  18. Another good Sunday puzzle, managed to forget (again) what the quartet in 3d is connected with. Thanks to all.

  19. Tricky, and not as friendly as yesterday’s. But it kept me out of mischief for a while, before I decided to have a go at the NTSPP from yesterday. Delightful. From today’s, favourite was 12a, followed closely by 20a.

  20. I found that on the easier side for a Sunday Virgilius, perhaps I just got lucky? Enjoyable as ever anyway. Last in 5d followed by 23ac.

  21. Didn’t enjoy this as much as usual as I could parse so little. I still don’t understand what 19a has to do with a plane. A bad day, I guess. Much of this was solved by trying to identify the definition as I found much of the wordplay over my head, 3d is a good example.
    Thanks Senf and Virgilius.

      1. Thank you very much, both. A definition that was totally new to me, I feel better now that I didn’t solve it, one to remember for the future.
        Great website, this.

        1. Being of the generation that started solving cryptic crosswords long before the interweb was thought of, the dictionary is always my first port of call when I want to check definitions etc

  22. We too found this towards the easier end of Virgilius’s Sunday offerings.

    We didn’t think 1d was a lurker, more like a reverse lurker cum all-in-one. Not sure how else to describe it without the naughty step looming large.

    Thanks Senf and Virgilius.

      1. Yes, reverse was a poor choice. Didn’t mean that the lurker was backward, more that the clue instructions were kind of inside out.

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