ST 2921 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2921 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2921 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where, in the early hours of yesterday morning, we had some precipitation of the soft fluffy white variety; fortunately, it had all disappeared by mid-morning.

Virgilius back to being quite tricky with, I thought, some ‘synonym stretching.’ Nevertheless, another very enjoyable puzzle, the usual handful of anagrams, including partials, one lurker, and one homophone.

My joint-favourites – 15a and 8d.

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 Monotonous way to vocalise with instrument (7)
A way to vocalise or sing (so says the BRB) followed by an instrument.

9a Ring concerning something we hear (7)
Not the homophone, that’s 18d, the usual two letters for concerning and a single word for something we hear.

11a Representative who’s becoming more broad-minded? (9)
A double definition (I think), the first represents their company to potential customers.

15a I recover without male doctor, in unethical way (9)
I from the clue and a synonym for (partially?) recover containing (without) the single letter for male and one of the usual abbreviations for a doctor.

17a Achieved 50 per cent of score after pro not recalled (9)
A three letter synonym for achieved and half of the number that is also called a score all follow a synonym of pro (in favour of).

22a A voyage back as result of making a name for oneself (5)
A from the clue and a synonym for voyage reversed (back).

27a With maximal organization, temperature falls in it (7)
The single letter for temperature, and IT from the clue containing (in) a synonym for falls.

28a Tested product of mine, for example, in a small edition (7)
A from the clue, and a single word synonym of for example inside (in) a single letter for small and an abbreviation of edition.


1d Dissenter in this position joining spasmodic movement (7)
A single word for in this position combined with (joining) a three letter word for spasmodic movement.

3d Libertine consuming good kind of wine from France (5)
A synonym (that is French in origin) for libertine containing (consuming) the single letter for good – which is what I was drinking while solving and hinting.

4d One of best three dinners initially found in menu? (9)
The initial letter of Dinners contained by (found in) a (somewhat clumsy, hence the ?) two word synonymic phrase for menu.

7d First letter one found in old language, then another one turned up (7)
The single letter for one contained by (found in) an old language followed by another single letter for one all reversed (turned up).

14d Low number accepting call for peace? Nonsense (9)
A synonym for low (cattle sound), and a number containing (accepting) two letters seeking peace (and quiet).

17d Anxious female with expression of disgust trapped by rodent (7)
The single letter for female followed by a rodent containing (trapped by) a single word used to express disgust.

20d Flower-girl covering up about it without breaking law (7)
A flower that is also a girl’s name containing (covering up) the single letter for about and IT from the clue.

24d Lock as part of theatre’s security (5)
The lurker (as part of) found in the last two words of the clue.

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This is the Veridian String Quartet playing, for some reason, All Along The Watchtower by Whatsisname, probably no worse and maybe better than if he was singing it:


49 comments on “ST 2921 (Hints)

  1. 2*/5*. Very enjoyable as usual on a Sunday but, unlike Senf, I found this almost R&W until I ground to a halt in the SE corner with my last three (23a, 20d & 23d) taking much longer than all the other clues together and pushing me up to my 2* time.

    Senf, my take on 11a is that the second part of the clue is a reference to a Mark Twain quote.

    On my podium today are 17a, 4d & 17d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    1. “****** is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”


      ****** broadens the mind.

    2. Thanks RD and MP for the lead on the Mark Twain quote, I had not heard it before. The only Mark Twain quotes I know, which were probably not said by him, refer to the weather in San Francisco and golf.

      1. I liked his quote about bank managers “A bank manager is like a man who lends you an umbrella, then asks for it back when it’s raining”

    3. The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs gives GK Chesterton as the first to write “They say ****** broadens the mind.”

      The full quotation, from Poet & Lunatics, is: “They say ****** broadens the mind, but you must have the mind.” How true!

  2. All fell into place, like a pleasant jigsaw, with generous helping of anagrams, and common synonyms to ease the way. A few Frankensteins, like 4d. “menu” , 8d. “Author”, but fun to solve. I liked 11a. because I’m on holiday, and enjoyed the semantic jump. Thanks to all for a great blog.

    1. The second word seems partly redundant anyway, only qualifying the third word. Unless you’re talking about proper names, when the two word definition works.

    2. I did start with just underlining the first word, but I settled on the ‘proper name’ approach as I consider that it helps to make a better surface reading.

  3. This didn’t fall into the R&W category for me – quite a few took a bit of teasing out even with checkers in place.
    Nonetheless, another excellent puzzle from the maestro with some very nice surface reads.

    My ticks went to the same clues as they did for RD apart from the fact that I put 1a ahead of them all – really amused me.

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the words and music – the latter being infinitely better than the singing of same by Whatsisname. I do, however, feel that someone needs to have a word with that violinist about his Charles 1 wig!

  4. This all flowed together fairly well for me. It was the SW corner that held me up with 23d and 27a being the last in. Completed in ** time for me. A very enjoyable Sunday solve.

    I’ve made a right mess of the GK so instead, I’ll tackle Sainsburys.

    Many thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  5. My solving experience was similar to RD’s except for me it was the SW corner that took considerably longer to complete than the rest of the puzzle combined.

    My three for the podium today were 4d, 8d and 14d (my LOI). Superb wordplay as always and interesting to see “minimal” and “maximal” used for separate clues in the same puzzle.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  6. No crosswords are read and write for me (at least, not how I’d interpret the phrase) but I’m closer to Rabbit Dave than Senf as I thought this not Virgilius at his trickiest, finding it somewhere around the difficulty of an average back pager. I was held up by the same ones: 23s a and d particularly. Can’t see why now. Lots of quality clueing to savour as usual.

    I liked 4d, 14d, 5d and 8d … but obviously, my favourite is 13a.

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

    1. I would claim a read and write if

      After the first pass I have ten or more clues answered spaced well around the grid.

      After the second pass I only have two or three left to solve.

      They go straight in on the third pass.

      That for me is a read and write.

  7. 4d was top of my podium today in this thoughtful and quite tricky-in-places Virgilian offering. The RHS went in fairly quickly, but the LHS took some sorting out. As ever, the crossword was a delight from start to finish, and was 3*/5* for me on this sunny Sunday morning.

    Many thanks Virgilius and Senf.

  8. Certainly no R&W for me. Lay becalmed in the bottom left corner for a while. As usual lots to enjoy and appreciate in the Sunday puzzle. I liked 1a and 17a the most.

  9. An enjoyable one today once I got away from the distraction of Sunday Brunch. Despite confirming my answer for 23d i don’t understand it. Presumably… oh hang on, I think I’ve got it.
    Thanks all.

      1. 23d – the definition is paid-out. It is a rather out-dated word that means thrilled or ecstatic which contains (over) the abbreviation for the smallest coin in the UK.

      2. Your comment went into moderation because you have changed your alias, and what Kath wrote (I was just about to write something similar).

  10. I’m in the, “No crossword is ever a read and write for me” club and today’s didn’t even come close to it, but all good fun anyway.
    As usual on Sundays I was slow to get going.
    I didn’t know the quotation that made sense of the second bit of 11a so that caused trouble even when it had to be what it was.
    4d took a while to sort out.
    I missed the anagram indicator in 23a so that and 23d were my last two answers – 20d took ages too.
    I liked 1 and 26a and 14 and 17d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf – I wouldn’t mind some of the soft fluffy white stuff – anything is better than this muggy fug that we’ve got at the moment which is all wrong and confusing the garden, and me!

  11. Thoroughly enjoyable last night. 2/5 for me. 11a, 13a and 17a are all 4downs for me.

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

    If anyone is in the West of Ireland – batten down now!

  12. Not quite the usual tussle for a Sunday today. This was completed at a steady pace; no R&W for sure but no real problems encountered either. 15a was top clue and 2/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  13. Favourites 11, 22 and 25a and 2 and 17d. Also loved 1a which was first in very quickly. Did find this a hard slog after the first few. Had to check meanings of words and synonyms. Was left with SW. Caused one of my own problems by inserting the last two letters of 4d. Once I corrected that I got 17a which puzzled me for ages. Did not have enough confidence in 18d to put it in before the checkers. 23d and 27a were last in. Did not like either. Needed hint for the parsing of 27a and unconvinced by 23d. Perhaps my least favourite for a time but one man’s meat…… Thanks Virgilius for postponing my chores and Senf.

  14. After overindulgence the previous night, my solving prowess (or lack thereof) felt somewhat hampered this morning. I teetered over the line in about 3* time and much enjoyment was had along the way..

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius 3*/4*

  15. Not quite as difficult as the usual Sunday but it will do. Last in was 8d, can see the author but cannot understand the rest of the clue, probably just me being dense.
    For me ***/****
    Thx to all concerned even if all the clues I needed help with were not hinted (twas ever thus!).

    1. Look carefully at the clue. You have identified the first word as the answer. Break up the rest to: raised fortune, second, play. This may not help but I don’t want to say too much on a prize puzzle.

  16. As ever, hugely entertaining Sunday puzzle. I think it was slightly trickier.
    I remembered the quote for the second definition of 11a but couldn’t remember who said it, so thanks to all for naming Mark Twain.
    Fave was 1a, no, maybe 17a, or maybe 4d – well, you get the picture, too many goodies.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints and tips.

  17. For me a read and write is when I decide, out of sheer determination, to concentrate on one clue at a time.
    Doesn’t mean that I get there any faster but the challenge is quite fun.
    Can only do this with setters who, to me, have a more logical approach such as Jay and Virgilius.
    Today, I only had to put on hold a handful of clues , finishing with 13a and 14d.
    As Kitty the all in one in 13a gets the top prize.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the review.

  18. Very enjoyable as usual.
    I found this harder than everyone else as the first pass yielded only three answers.
    Gradually I got going and it was as good as we have come to expect.
    I found the SW corner the trickiest and managed to choose the wrong definition for a couple. It also took far too long for the ‘50% of a score’ penny-drop moment.
    Fav was 18d.
    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius

  19. The South didn’t present any serious problems but not so the North however overall it was a fun run. Not too keen on 18d or 5a. Thanks Virgilius and Senf. We are apparently about to receive the tail-end of Ophelia but hope we aren’t also about to receive any of your “fluffy white precipitation”. 🌪 ☃️

    1. As we are still beset with usual high humidity I would love to experience some fluffy white precipitation. We were thrilled when it snowed unusually early during a visit to Bear Lake, Estes Park, Colorado several years ago.

      1. We in the South of England have had a weekend of welcome unseasonably warm temperatures with lovely sunshine today but thankfully none of your high humidity.

  20. I found this quite difficult in the SW corner, where 22ac, 23d and 27ac took as long as the rest of the puzzle put together. The latter is my favourite clue today, very nicely done.

  21. I struggled with this one, not on the setters wavelength at all – ah well tomorrow is another day!

  22. We’re in the camp that found this less taxing than most of Virgilius’s offerings – 2*/3*.

    Particularly liked 13a and 22a.

    Normal Sunday thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  23. Thanks to Rufus and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, that I found very difficult. Ran out of steam in the SW corner. Needed hints, blog comments and electronic help for 25&27a and 20&23d. Liked so many clues, but 11a was worth a mention, but my favourite was 17a. Was 4*/4* for me.

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