ST 2917 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2917 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2917 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg – Mother Nature continues to confuse us and herself, a record 34.8 degrees on Tuesday, 11 degrees and rain on Friday, and 9 degrees and rain yesterday.

For me, after a slightly slow start, Virgilius is in a benevolent frame of mind today, maybe it was the Dalwhinnie, giving us another very enjoyable puzzle, the usual handful of anagrams, including partials, and two lurkers, including one of 13 letters!

My co-favourites – 8d and 11d.

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 Study subject in school that gives moral guidance (10)
A favourite three letter word that in one usage is a synonym for study and a school subject that includes experimentation.

9a Unforeseen problem in theatrical part before season in US (7)
Part of the structure of a theatre and the US term for the season that is just about to start.

12a Thoughtfulness seen in allowance set by Tory party (13)
The combination of a three letter synonym for Tory and a synonym for party, followed by (set by) a synonym for allowance.

15a Female at one’s home is that woman who does the polishing? (8)
The single letter for female, a two letter word for at one’s home, IS from the clue, and a word for that woman – phew!.

17a Birds getting together when the sun rises (4-4)
Two birds joined by a hyphen (and sometimes the hyphen is not used) which can be used as a term for sunrise.

22a Tool for tailoring legs without bad shrinkage (7,6)
An informal term for legs containing (without) an anagram (bad) of SHRINKAGE.

25a Small hardship, going without a vegetable (7)
The single letter for small and a synonym for hardship (at a . . .) containing (going without) A from the clue.

27a As change for US, introducing help for unemployed youth (10)
AS from the clue and the smallest US coin containing (introducing) financial help for the unemployed.


1d Manage to put together odds for croupier (4)
Select and join (put together) the odd-numbered letters of the last word of the clue.

2d Sighted off the rocks? (7)
The concatenation of how I like my Dalwhinnie served.

5d Conservative standing on ceremony before appearance raised standards (8)
The single letter for Conservative (as in politician), a term for a ceremony, and a synonym for appearance reversed (raised).

8d E.g. Mum or Dad having daughter housed by friend in capital (10)
The combination of a synonym for friend, IN from the clue, and a European capital city containing (housed by) the single letter for daughter.

11d Some top players partly muffle a din — glad I escaped (7,6)
The long lurker (partly) found in the fifth to the tenth words of the clue – FYI – the other lurker is 24a.

16d Kind of writing that’s used for minutes (8)
What indicates the minutes on an analog clock.

21d Swindle is covered up by revolutionary Left (6)
The favourite crossword revolutionary and the single letter for left containing (covered up by) IS from the clue gives a slang synonym for the definition.

23d It’s opposed to this heartless threat (4)
The last word of the clue with some of its centre letters removed (heartless).

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Gerry Marsden with The Pacemakers, in a ‘duel’ with Don and Phil Everly:

40 comments on “ST 2917 (Hints)

  1. 2*/5*. Another absolutely top notch composition from our Sunday supremo which I found at the easier end of his spectrum.

    11d is a lurker of the highest order, and other double ticks were awarded to 2d, 3d and 23d with 8d my favourite.

    I expect Silvanus’ repetition radar will have bleeped regarding the use of “without” in both 22a & 25a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  2. Agree, Senf, Virgilius in a more benevolent frame of mind.
    I may well have broken the online DT solving time bonus had the browser on my tablet not decided to have a wobbly.
    21d was a new definition for me, a US definition according to the brb
    24a was very clever and my fav.
    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius for the excellence we have come to expect and enjiy

      1. It was new to me as well. I did a quick check with a couple of online dictionaries which both gave it as being North American in origin.

      2. Senf, I’m with your BRB version in that it’s not necessarily North American jargon. I am in fact inclined to use the verb/noun (tool) and indeed to add “ler” to the tool to make a person.

        1. This one held me up. I had not heard of it and had to do a synonym check. After I found it I was able to finish the SE corner which had been holding me up. Favourites 2d and 8d.

  3. For the second day running I find myself in full agreement with RD at #1 in his assessment of this terrific Virgilian masterpiece, even down to his choice of 8d as top clue. I generally feel it s disingenuous to pick a favourite from such a worthy list, but 8d is outstanding. 2*/5* overall for me.

    Thanks indeed to Virgilius and to Senf.

  4. Sunday morning crosswording joy. I could just ditto RD, but will add another one which made me smile: 17a. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  5. A superbly enjoyable crossword with fabulous clues. 11D and 22A were real crackers. Thank you, Compiler and thanks Senf for the hints

  6. Senior Moment Calendar Thought for the Day

    “I resent your insinuenddoes!” Attributed to the mayor of Chicago – Richard J Daley

    As a wordsmith this amused me and I thought that I would share it with you.

  7. Another dish of delights from the Sunday Maestro, filled with his trademark touches.
    22a made me smile – brought back memories of my Mum – but today’s top places went to 17a plus 2&16d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hinty bits and this week’s video clip (gosh, they all look so young!).

  8. I very seldom seem to have the opportunity to do a Sunday cryptic. Having done the last two (last week’s and today’s) I have promised myself that I will try to make time to do it every Sunday from now on. What crackers!

    Having completed today’s (perhaps not as quickly as everyone else here – I certainly did not find it to be a R&W) I turned to the blog. I completely agree with Senf about 8d & 11d being co-favourites and with almost everybody’s comments.

    When I first started to tackle 11d I thought there might be a part of the solution “lurking” in the clue. Nothing jumped out and I moved on. When I finally realised the extent of the brilliance of the deception I was blown away.

    Well done Virgilius! And many thanks to Senf and BD…

    1. Your comment went into moderation. In the 2 years and 3 months since your last comment posting, your e-mail has changed! Both addresses should work from now on.

      1. Well I am naturally somewhat reticent. I tend not to say much unless I have something worthwhile to add.

        I guess I felt this worth breaking my silence!

    1. Would you like a hint or would you prefer to give your brain a bit longer to do it ‘all its own self’?

  9. The usual brilliant Sunday crossword – I agree that it was at the easier end of Virgilius’ spectrum.
    It took me ages to get 14a – don’t know why.
    Spent too long trying to find the ‘change for US’ in 27a.
    By the time I got 22a I had so many letters in that I didn’t quite get round to registering it didn’t have xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx were in the anagram instead.
    Not sure I’ve ever seen a lurker as long as 11a.
    I didn’t know 21d with this meaning.
    I liked 10 and 17a and 8 and 23d. My favourite was the long lurker.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.
    It’s stopped raining and the sun is thinking about coming out, I think – off to the garden which will probably make it rain again.

    1. Kath – Because it’s Sunday, I had to edit your comment – but I don’t think you need to go to the naughty corner.

      1. :oops: Sorry – it didn’t occur to me that it wasn’t OK – the moral has to be ‘think before letting fingers anywhere near the keyboard’. Oh dear, but glad I’m not off to the naughty corner.

  10. It was only earlier this year that I became a regular Sunday solver, thanks to RD’s recommendation, but in that time, I don’t think I’ve encountered another Virgilius puzzle that quite matches this one for all-round excellence.

    Yes, the old repetition radar did bleep where RD suspected it might, but that in no way detracted from an absolutely terrific display of the setter’s craft at its best. 11d was a real tour de force and gains my utter admiration. Other stand-out clues for me were 27a, 2d, 3d, 11d and 16d.

    A high-quality puzzle indeed. Huge thanks to Mr Greer and to Senf.

  11. Trying again, since I got a “bad request” notification when I tried to post the first time.

    Previous commenters have said it all, so I’ll just add that 8D was my favorite, closely followed by 11D. Loved the video clip at the end. thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  12. Frustrating morning trying to download the iPad version of this puzzle but as usual the Sunday setter was worth the trouble. I liked the long long lurker and the tailoring tool I have never heard of. Like everyone I too thought 8d was great.

  13. Utter bliss from start to finish. Magic mixture of clues with 11d just beating 8d to the gold medal. However, if I was really honest every answer would get an honourable mention. 22a took me back to my efforts at dressmaking and 4d made me wish I had one for tea.

    1. 4d – Strange that no-one has yet commented on “the cake that is long in shape but short in duration”. (Chambers)

  14. Still working on this, but enjoyed the 60% filled in so far. What a long lurker in 11d. Slow at filling 17a as dawn was not these birds but “sparrow fart” in our house 😊

    Merusa – where are you, hope to see you posting again soon.

    1. Thanks for your reply to my query, Lizzie – I hope that Maria doesn’t cause you as many problems.
      Let’s just hope that Merusa has simply got issues with power connections, it would certainly be reassuring to see her back on the blog.

  15. Quality puzzle. Favourites were 8&11d. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf. Fall weather approaching rapidly so rain expected to help with controlling the 150+ fires still burning.

  16. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. A very good puzzle. This was a brilliant offering. 11d was the best lurker I have ever seen. Enjoyed 22a, but my favourite was 6a, which had a great surface and made me laugh. Was 2*/5* for me.

  17. Could’ve kicked myself when I got 11d, but also felt very smug about 22a which is the type of clue that’s normally much too good for someone like me. A very enjoyable puzzle throughout.

  18. Terrific – thank you Virgilius for a fun accompaniment to my end of weekend (sun)downer. Stupidly missed the significance of Mum or Dad in 8d and too obvious for Senf to elaborate! I lived too long in the US to like things “off the rocks” but 2d was a Fav together with 27a, 11d and 16d. 👍.

  19. A little easier to the north than the south, but still about ** for difficulty overall. As enjoyable as always, a nice way to end the weekend!

  20. Just back in Cornwall from a few days visiting family, friends and Southend United (not many people can say that, or – in the case of the latter – would wish to) and this was a gentle, but enjoyable reintroduction to my accustomed armchair. 1*/4*, and l enjoyed 8d and 27a particularly. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  21. Top quality puzzle. I wonder, do these wonderful clues come easily to Virgilius or is much polishing involved? 1.5*/4*.

    Favourite has to be 27a.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

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