ST 2920 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2920 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2920 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where last week I had my flu shot, and it worked, this week I had the flu; hot toddies and ‘stuff’ from the pharmacy appear to have worked, but, as a precaution I will continue with the hot toddies for a few more days. 

Virgilius in a benevolently tricky frame of mind again today, with some misdirection and obfuscation giving us another very enjoyable puzzle, the usual handful of anagrams, a lurker, and a crickety clue – all in 27 clues.

My joint-favourites – 11a and 18d.

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 Remove tax or duty (6)
A double definition, could even be a triple definition, to start – the second another term for tax or duty.

8a One way to punish son — with witticism, overly subtle (8)
A money form of punishment, the single letter for son, and a type of witticism.

11a Set of type that’s needed for ceremony with sponsors (4)
Another double definition – the second is required for a religious ceremony.

13a Timid people, covering second part of speech, don’t sound right (12)
A term for timid people containing (covering) the single letter for second and a part of speech.

20a Managing to survive article, and sporting about it (10)
A synonym for sporting, as in being dressed, containing (about it) a definite article.

22a Add a couple of pages before conclusion (6)
A from the clue, the abbreviation for multiple pages, and a synonym for conclusion.

25a Piece of work, not typically difficult (6)
The lurker (piece of) found in the third to fifth words of the clue.


1d Copies I’d reproduced in instalments (8)
Anagram (reproduced) of COPIES I’D (ignoring the apostrophe).

5d Sack worker, one often told to go to blazes (7)
The combination of synonyms for sack (dismiss) and a worker.

Hopefully, this short video won’t be copyrighted ‘out.’

7d Means to sort out clods in school (6)
Another double definition – a farm implement or where Churchill went to school.

9d Revolutionary ain’t registered as patriot (11)
Anagram (revolutionary) of AIN’T (ignoring the apostrophe) and a phrase that would indicate a person is registered for something.

17d Cover point, for example, following one senior figure (7)
The single letters for following and one and a synonym for senior figure – the crickety clue.

18d Huge weight, as opposed to a stone, raised (7)
A single word synonym for as opposed to, A from the clue, and a precious stone all reversed (raised).

21d Member providing support when trust is shattered (5)
Anagram (when . . . is shattered) of TRUST.

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44 comments on “ST 2920 (Hints)

  1. Delightful, as always. With Mr V, more than any other compiler, I seem to know the answers but my lightbulb moments often arrive after writing in the solutions – perhaps I’m just slow…
    Last in and the biggest smile was 11a but 9d also amused. Thank you to all involved.

  2. Where is your musical clip of the week? I always like to see what you have chosen even when it exasperates.

    1. My ‘run in’ with the flu for most of the week ‘interfered’ with my research time so the best I could come up with is the clip in the hint for 5d; but, at least, I got you to break your ‘no comments on the weekend’ rule!

  3. 4*/5*. Superb! Definitely at the tough end of Virgilius’ Sunday spectrum but nonetheless enjoyable for that. 20a was my last one in. Struggling as ever to pick a favourite from so many great clues but I’ll settle for 4a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  4. I did briefly flirt with the wrong kind of waiter in 6d (no rude comments, please!) and covered my back by checking the definitions at 8&24a but all else went well – even the cricket clue. Were you OK with that one, Kath?

    As usual with the Maestro, many clues could easily take the top slot. Think I’ll opt for 11a as that was the one that really made me laugh.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints – yes, the video clip worked fine over here.

  5. I’m definitely in the 5* for enjoyment camp this week. I thought this was an excellent puzzle and certainly trickier for me than in recent weeks.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius 3*/5*

  6. Struggled a bit today mainly because I had wrong answers in a couple of unhinted clues.
    I didn’t look too closely at the clip and thought at first glance it was Postman Pat which tossed a few more doubts into the equation.
    When I found an answer for 24a I was pleased to see
    “we have a case of linguistic double-dipping. That is, English borrowed from the same French root twice.” In merriam webster.

    1. Managed to ‘negotiate” the answer when I realised “notice” was the verb, not the noun. Both words from Old French, according to Wiktionary. At least the French don’t have a word for negotiation…

  7. The master of misdirection, the overlord of obfuscation. Thanks V.
    Like Faraday, the light dawns sometime after solving a clue, which is more enjoyable than not getting it at all. 18d. was a fine example, as was the lurker. Great work, Senf

  8. For me, the most difficult Virgilus puzzle in a good while, but still enjoyable. Thanks to all.

  9. Another superb puzzle from Virgilius that I had to really work at to complete. The popular 11a was my last one in, but my favourite of many great clues is probably 4a for the conciseness and the amount of lateral thinking needed to solve it. I freely admit that Virgilius is my favourite compiler, and this is a fine example of his art that demonstrates why. 4*/5*.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  10. 20A was my last one in and 11A my favorite. I particularly liked 15D also. I too thought that this was on the upper end of our much loved setter’s Sunday spectrum, but very solvable nonetheless. Thanks Virgilius and Senf.

  11. Excellent stuff from the Sunday 3D completed in quick but enjoyable time. Nice to start with what I took to be a Virgilius special, the triple definition (two verbs and a noun) and finish with a problem lurker! I’ll agree with others that 11a brought the biggest smile just ahead of 7d thinking of stupid school kids.

  12. Found this quite tricky and took a long time to finish. Missing the lurker in 25a and made it difficult. As usual it was a brilliant puzzle with a lot to admire. 20a took a lot of getting and is my top clue.

  13. A tricky crossword for the third day in a row – also for the third day running, “Oh good – it’s not just me”.
    11a was my last answer and 20a wasn’t far ahead of it – that kind of sporting – took me ages to see it. :roll:
    My ‘crickety’ alarm bells went off as soon as I saw 17d but at least I remembered that the first letter was a recognised abbreviation – it’s one that often gets me.
    As usual I missed the lurker.
    I particularly enjoyed 13 and 16a and 5d. My favourite was 4a.
    With thanks to Virgilius for such a good crossword and to Senf for the hints. I hope you feel better soon.

  14. Enjoyed as always.

    My favourite is the waiter at6d, though I also thought the lurker at 25a was pretty good.
    Actually I also liked 16a.

    Don’t think you can have a nice triple definition with two definitions more or less the same, so I’ll opt for a double.

    Not sure why we have “don’t sound right” instead of simply “sound wrong”, maybe I’m missing a subtlety. (13a)

    Last ones in were 4a and 7d.

    Many thanks Virgilius and Senf

    1. I’ll put my thoughts on 13a in the review I’m about to draft – I have far too much to do in the limited amount of day I’ve got left to spend any time in the Naughty Corner, even though we do have a delicious Pear and Ginger Cake in the tin

  15. Definitely chewier than the usual Sunday delight, but very flavoursome indeed.

    My list of favourites contains, in clue order, 6d 7d, 9d and 21d. Not the most complicated of clue types, but oh so beautifully done. All downs I notice (maybe I just took until then to wake up), but it was another down I hmmed on: I’m not that keen on 19d (the fine surface notwithstanding) unless I’m missing something. (I only mention that because I recall that Virgilius has solicited negative feedback in the interests of maintaining his high standard, so I’m taking this rare chance to make some. I bet it will now turn out that I have missed something!)

    EDIT – oh, now I see that I’d also marked 14d as a favourite.

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

    1. I’m sure you’ve thought of it, Kitty, but I wonder if we were supposed to get all tied up in knots with religious chaps.

      1. Haha – yes, Kath. It’s just that I found the outer bit of the wordplay a little unconvincing. Given that there’s no hint for that one I’m reluctant to say more and risk a ticking-off, much as I’m quite at home in the naughty corner. My jester’s hat even allows me to be in three corners at once!

  16. Super puzzle, Mrs B said it made her brain hurt. I really enjoyed it but did need the hint for 11a, bit too religious for me to get without aid. Last in was 24a which took ages to parse. My fav was 18d, the reverse really made me smile but MID is also 6d for the same reason (smile that is not reverse).
    Thx to all.

  17. Considering that I always look for Virgilius’ trademark clues, I am somewhat disappointed with myself that my last one in today was the “hidden” one!

  18. Very enjoyable and more than a little tricky – 24a was a new word to me.

    I had my flu jab yesterday morning, I said to the Nurse ‘you’re not going to hurt me are you?’ and I must admit I didn’t feel a thing!

    Saracens v Wasps this afternoon, very good match!

  19. Again, another super Sunday, most enjoyable but definitely tricky.
    I enlisted electronic help for 16a, then took ages to see the lurker at 25a.
    Fave was 4a, but any could have qualified.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf. I do hope you feel better soon, have another toddy.

  20. I thought the Saturday puzzle was stiff but today’s really made me work hard. Once I had finished I was a bit uncertain as to why I had struggled so much but then I think the arrival of the first man flu/cold of winter might have something to do with it.
    13a was my top clue, and overall I’ll go for 4/4*.
    Thanks to Virgilius for a great challenge, and to Senf for the hints.

  21. Ouch! That was hard.
    Very enjoyable though, and right in ****/**** time.
    So many great (and hard) clues, fav was 25a, reminded me of the great England wicketkeeper.
    Thanks Senf for the hints and Virgilius for the challenge.

  22. I struggled away with this one and only realised how supremely clever the it is after reviewing some of the clues. That log turned out to be a lurking croc in 25a and I was sadly mauled. Failed to parse 24a because I did not know the meaning of the answer.
    Took me 50 percent more time than a normal Virgenius.

    I feel like I need a drink now.

    Thanks to Senf and V. Excellent. Off to see Blade Runner 2049 now.

  23. Thoroughly enjoyable. Lots of subtle misdirection that caught me out more than once, Virgilius on top of his game. Last in 11ac, the cryptic part of which I’ve only managed to untangle several minutes after getting the answer.

  24. Another cracker of a puzzle. 3*/4.5* for my money, but l was foxed by 11a (just too thick). 12a and 9d were standout clues for me. Thanks again to Virgilius, and Senf.

  25. I’m reassured to find that I am not alone in having found this decidedly problematical but nevertheless very entertaining. In fact it seems to me that many of the setters have perhaps upped their difficulty level recently. Didn’t know 4a was a real word. Joint Favs 2d and 6d.

  26. Great Sunday fare as always. We didn’t struggle quite as much as we often do on a Sunday and thought this was in the middle of Virgilius’s difficulty range. It was, of course, at the high end of the enjoyment spectrum. We especially liked 6d and 16a. LOI was 11a.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

    1. Welcome from me also.

      When one is moving at a fast pace to compile the hints, you get what you get when you ‘go’ to Google Images. However, if a RH batsman was at the end where the wicket keeper (?) is leaping in the air, the fielding positions appear to be correct (and Cover Point is shown).

      1. I’m relieved that you’ve covered that point, Senf, I was deeply worried about it…………

  27. I didn’t think 1a was a double definition. I had it as : remove (in a religious sense) minus (tax) the two letters o&r to give the word for duty.

    1. Welcome from me also.

      For remove, definition 2 of the answer in the BRB, a term frequently used by the medical profession.

      1. I only know that because of the reports I have been given after all the medical procedures that I have been subjected to.

        1. I was aware of the medical term, just got it differently by using the religious term for remove and then ‘taxed’ the third and fourth letters.

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