ST 2918 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2918 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2918 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg; a very very good Sunday after having a TV camera inserted in the interior of my nether regions for the ninth (plus or minus one) time on Friday – once again the search for my brain was unsuccessful, and, thankfully, so was the search for any sign of the return of the Big C.

Virgilius in a tricky frame of mind today, which required some use of Chambers resources, giving us another very enjoyable puzzle, the usual handful of anagrams, including partials, and two lurkers.

And, yes, in at least the on-line version of the puzzle there is a spelling error in 1 Across – should be academic.

My joint-favourites – 1a, 14a, and 9d

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 Robust adcademic work about arithmetic, say? (6)
A type of academic work containing (about) a letter used to indicate the fundamentals of education of which arithmetic is one (say).

10a Warning from driver’s unlikely? Anticipate and stop (9)
The warning used for a wayward small white ball and a synonym for stop – I may have the underlining incorrect.

13a Take energy from vote in the USA somehow (7)
An anagram (somehow) of the single letter used to indicate a vote and THE USA.

14a Paradoxical odds? (5)
Betting odds that aren’t.

18a Bad person devil corrupted, poet’s concluded (8)
An anagram (corrupted) of DEVIL followed by the poetic form of a synonym for concluded.

23a Large volume in vehicle nowadays reduced by more than half (7)
A word for a type of multi-person transportation that today is shortened by more than half of its original length.

26a Pa’s letters revealing attraction of zoo (5)
The two letters of the first word of the clue joined by the additive conjunction.

29a Not even Parisian is as curious as can be (6)
A single word for not even and the (third person singular?) word for is used in Paris (and elsewhere in France).


1d Piece of news often editorially toned down (8)
One of the lurkers (piece of) found in the third to fifth words of the clue – the other lurker is 12a.

2d Country music producer briefly having shower inside (7)
A synonym for shower (as a weather phenomenon) contained by (inside) the abbreviated name of a four-string musical instrument gives the country which has the flag shown below.

5d Badly undermined, pals keep your pecker up! (3,11)
An anagram (badly) of UNDERMINED PALS gives a Latin expression.

7d Party making Conservative get excited (7)
The single letter for Conservative and a single word synonym for get excited.

9d Attention to detail, as I had evidence of debts put in safe place (14)
A single word for a safe place containing (put in) the contraction of I had and a term for evidence of debts.

17d Starts off winter in wet communications facility (8)
Remove (starts off) the initial letters of and then combine the remnants of the third to fifth words of the clue.

21d Worry a lot as area is seized by Left (7)
The single letter for area and a synonym for left containing (seized by) IS from the clue.

24d Defy party, holding up start of Brexit (5)
A type of party after (holding up) the initial letter (start) of Brexit.

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Heard this on the radio on the way home one afternoon this week. Perhaps an unlikely duo of Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, but they do justice to a Don and Phil Everly composition, with a good instrumental finish:

38 comments on “ST 2918 (Hints)

  1. The usual excellence from our superb Sunday setter – thanks to him and to Senf. I hadn’t even noticed the typo in 1a.
    For 10a I think the definition is the last three words and the last 4 letters of the answer are a synonym for ‘unlikely’.

  2. I found NW an SW read and write, the rest more tricky.
    Smiles from 6d “enthusiasm” and 20a “seafood”
    Last in 5d. Need to brush up on my Latin.
    Didn’t even notice the 1a. typo on my iPad
    Good news for Senf
    *rating 3/3

  3. No problems here once I’d remembered the vital element required to parse 19d!
    All the usual trademarks from our Sunday maestro from which I’d choose 20a as my favourite with 28a a close second.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the blog – I very much enjoyed the unlikely duet.
    So pleased that you got the ‘all clear’ from the medics and I wouldn’t worry too much about them not finding your brain – it’s obviously functioning quite well wherever it may be located!

  4. 3*/5*. Absolutely superb as ever on a Sunday.

    Senf, my take on 10a was: “Warning from driver”, followed by the “s” from ‘s, followed by a synonym for “unlikely”, with “Anticipate and stop” being the definition.

    Lots of possible favourites but I think I’ll settle for 10a followed by 17d and mention the topicality of 24d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf. Great news too, Senf. about your all clear.

  5. In total contrast to yesterday it is bright and warm in Notts today. A proper workout from the Sunday maestro but as always fair and well worth the effort. I could name any number of clues as favourite but will settle for 10a. Senf, well done and may you gallop, canter and trot through crossword land for a very long time.

  6. Another top-notch Sunday puzzle to enjoy. As RD rightly says, many contenders for favourite clues, but mine were 4a, 18a, 5d and 8d.

    Many thanks to Mr Greer and to Senf, great news indeed for you on the medical front.

  7. As is usual for a Sunday, the comments will be flooded by superlatives for another first class example of cryptic crosswords. Nothing forced, dodgy or obscure, just brilliant clueing. I will nominate the popular 10a as my COTD, although in truth it could have been any of them. The SW corner held me up and pushed out my solving time, so 3*/5* from me.

    Many thanks to Virgilius for the challenge and to Senf, to whom congratulations are due for his good news.

    1. I totally agree and also send my good wishes to Senf on his good news and humerous way of communicating it.

  8. Tough but fun and clever. I always find the Sunday crossword a nice halfway house between the usual back pagers and the altogether more challenging Toughies which on the whole are beyond my capabilities (and comprehension!). My fav clue was 25a which took a bit of figuring but was very clever, at least to me.
    Thx to all

  9. Needed two coffees in Starbucks in NY to sort this one out. It was two separate Starbucks, in fact. I needed the walk between them to unjam my thoughts. So a wonderful puzzle, if a bit harder than normal from BG. I have three ticks each against 1d and 13d. Thanks to V and very pleased for you, Senf and thanks for the review.

    1. Hector – are you mcmillibar in disguise? If you are, your comment went into moderation because of the new alias.

  10. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. A super puzzle, that was a real delight to solve. The right hand side went in first. Had a bit of a struggle with the left, but go there in the end. Loved the surfaces of 15&18a. Too many great clues to mention them all. Favourite was 2d. Was 3*/5* for me. Great news Senf on your all clear.

  11. Thank you for all the kind comments on my medical report. I was very fortunate to ‘dodge a bullet’ 14 years ago, when a very minor cancer was found and dealt with, and, with periodic checking since then, I have continued to stay in the clear.

    Thanks to Gazza and RD for unscrambling 10a better than I did. I find that, every three or four weeks, Virgilius comes up with a clue that is more of a challenge to decrypt than to solve. Of course, I could take the easy way out and not select that one to include in the hints but, by including it, I get to learn some more about parsing from some of our experts.

  12. The usual Sunday treat! I agree, a little trickier today but hugely enjoyable.
    No faves today, I’m spoilt for choice, too much good stuff and they’re all faves.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    No word from Wahoo yet and his island was hit so badly. I hope he’s all right.

    1. Hi Merusa. Thanks for your thoughts.

      This is my first day feeling in the mood for a crossword after 2 weeks of hurricanes.

      Irma’s closest point was just under 50 miles to our north. Maria about 50 miles to the south and that being so, she caused more damage (the strong northern arc spinning around us with maximum gusts of about 110mph) but thankfully mostly superficial or not important (like quite a few trees down and sea walls bashed up a bit) compared with the destruction on nearby islands. We were so, so fortunate or blessed. Nevis remains open for business.

      Whilst both were scary as hell when they went by, I guess the most stressful thing with a Category 5 + approaching is that one slight turn either way and its good night Vienna.

      As to today’s crossword – excellent but I am a bit rusty!!

      1. At least you’re safe and well, Wahoo, that’s the most important thing. Everything else can eventually be fixed.
        Thanks for leaving a comment today.

      2. Thanks for the update. These humongous brutes have been terrifying, I’ve never known such large hurricanes and I’ve lived in hurricane-prone areas all my life. I’m glad you only had superficial damage, unlike some other islands.

        1. Thanks Merusa and Jane. “Brutes” is a great description. There is another tropical wave just coming off Africa but, so far, the NHC is not predicting any development.

          I know BD’s wonderful site is about crosswords. Equally, I have got to know that all who participate on the Site always show support for others in times of personal or public sadness or difficulties. What a great bunch of people you all are!

          1. You’ve got to be kidding, another one coming off Africa? Give us a break! I still have the most of my shutters up, taking down only the areas I use most. It makes for a dark house in spots but beats having to put them all up again! You’re so right about the support these good folk give.

  13. A nice, gentle way to be eased back into the cryptic world. Lots to like about this one. 9d and 17d were my favourites, with 1d in third place….. because it was my last one in. I had a bit of a laugh for missing the lurker. I guess for others it was probably first one in. Thank you Virgilius for an excellent puzzle, and thanks and good wishes to Senf. So pleased your test results went well. I now have to go and investigate where the beeping noise is coming from. Washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher or children leaving the freezer open again after raiding it for ice cream. Why on earth can’t they make these things without beeping? So infuriating.

  14. Well. Kind of finished except 4a. Not sure if I have the right answer as I can’t parse it. And as BD always says…
    Had trouble parsing 9d too as the “safe place” gave me a hard time.
    Didn’t start well either. Got the wrong word in 24d as I put the first letter of Brexit in something I thought was a party. More of a dance actually.
    Got the first two letters wrong in 15a but yet again I couldn’t parse it so had to think again.
    All that to say that it took me toughie time to tackle but really enjoyed the experience.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to senf for the review. Glad you got the all clear and 5d looks like it is there for you.

  15. I struggled today! I just wasn’t in tune with Virgilius for some reason. Half the time it was akin to pulling teeth! But I got there eventually…
    22d was favourite and 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to the great man, and to Senf for the review.

  16. Definitely on the trickier side for a Sunday, with the SW corner in particular requiring some attention.

  17. I’m with Gwizz, having grappled with this for ages. North acquiesced before the South where I had to resort to all kinds of aid in order to complete. Think 4a is a bit tenuous in that it doesn’t necessarily refer to error in court. Thanks Virgilius for a real brainteaser and also to Senf (good to hear you are ‘in the clear’).

  18. What a cracker! No more than 1* difficulty but well worth 4.5* for enjoyment. Mind you, my euphoria after watching Exeter Chiefs demolish Wasps at Sandy Park this afternoon might have had something to do with it. My favourite was 26a, but the accolade could so easily have been bestowed elsewhere. My thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf?

  19. The usual Sunday cracker. I am visiting my 95-year-old mother, Mrs Sheffieldsy was unable to accompany me (entertaining her 80-year-old mother), so I had a go at this alone and what a pleasure it was. Beautifully crafted clues in abundance and lots of penny-drop moments led to a most enjoyable solve – 3*/4.5*.

    I loved the simplicity and mischief of 14a and 26a.

    Glad to hear Senf is still all clear and that hurricane-prone contributors seem OK. Thanks to Senf for the review and to Virgilius.

  20. I kept this one for today.

    The usual excellence from Virgilius, and a few that required a little thought. Favourite for me was 20a.
    Thanks to all.

  21. Top stuff as always for a Sunday. 26a has been discussed in ‘Comments’, surprisingly.
    Impossible to pick a favourite – it’s all good.

    I also echo Sheffieldsy’s comment regarding Senf’s all-clear and our Caribbean contributors safety, good news.

    Many thanks to setter and to Senf

Comments are closed.