ST 2924 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2924 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg – more wintry weather this week, with increasing amounts of soft fluffy white stuff.

Another typically excellent Virgilius puzzle in which he has returned to benevolence (at least I think so); the usual handful of anagrams, including partials, and only one lurker.

My joint-favourites – 11a, 27a, 4d, and 16d.

Congratulations to Cryptic Sue on her achievement in The Times Crossword Championship yesterday (isn’t it about time that Mark Goodliffe retired as Champion Emeritus?).

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 Self-centred travel in troubled cities (8)
A two letter synonym for travel contained by (in) an anagram (troubled) of CITIES.

9a What’s detested in every article, mother concludes (8)
The three articles, arranged appropriately, and a two letter term for mother.

11a Ideal speech for selling musical gift (7,5)
A synonym for ideal and a term for a speech used to sell something.

16a Starts off aria like true opera singer (4)
The first letters (starts off) of the third to sixth words of the clue.

18a Take part in everything that’s jolly (4)
The lurker (take part in) found in the fourth word in the clue – verified in both entries in the Little Red Book.

21a Is imprisoned by key and lock, suffering (8)
IS from the clue contained in (imprisoned by) a musical key and a lock (of hair).

27a Is permitted to do wrong in airline, producing capital (8)
A three letter synonym for is permitted, and a synonym for to do wrong contained by (in) two letters for a (national) airline produce an antipodean capital city.

28a Opposite of rare statement of approval (4,4)
A double definition, the first relates to the subject of the picture below.


2d With beat raised, dance that’s hit on course (4,4)
A synonym for beat reversed (raised) and a (formal) function which includes dancing.

4d Passionate little heroine switching ends (6)
A heroine of a Dicken’s novel with the outside letters swapped (switching ends).

6d Time in European city with an enthusiastic supporter (8)
The single letter for time contained by (in) a European (capital) city and AN from the clue.

8d Like man dealing with issue in caring way (8)
An adjective that describes how a man acts towards his offspring.

12d Very poor current politician on left I drop (12)
The single letter for (electrical) current, a two letter politician, a synonym for left (surplus), I from the clue, and a synonym for drop.

16d Music for church service (3,5)
A type of music, FOR from the clue, and one of the usual sets of two letters for church.

22d Small shack for tool (6)
The single letter for small and a synonym for shack.

25d What changed as result of spring coming? (4)
Anagram (changed) of WHAT.

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Today is the 412th anniversary of The Gunpowder Plot, it is also Peter Noone’s 70th birthday. Here he is with the rest of Herman’s Hermits with a recording, from 1965, that got to Number One in the USA and Canada, but, perhaps strangely, not in the UK:



  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink | Reply

    2* / 5*. Another corker from our Sunday maestro. Not too difficult but a joy from start to finish.

    16d was my last one in and favourite. Other double ticks went to 11a, 18a, 4d, & 5d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  2. John Bee
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink | Reply

    Yes v enjoyable start to the day. Needed second brew but still hot when I finished.
    I struggled a bit with the european city (I tried to get fan in there.)
    I was trying to get an extra letter in 1a too.
    Fave clues many but 9a 16d 4d and 11a best of a good bunch.
    Not a fan of 5d and 18a – 75% checkers and I am pretty sure of the answer but they didn’t read well to me.
    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  3. Margaret
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyed this very much with the exception of two clues – 5d and 7d. I don’t normally like criticising but those two just didn’t read well to me. Can’t say more as it’s a prize crossword. I was also for a while trying to put an extra letter in 1a.

    Nevertheless I always enjoy the Sunday crosswords so thanks very much to Virgilius and Senf

    • Margaret
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink | Reply

      By the way I meant to say that once again, both yesterday and today, apparently I got nil correct answers on last weekend’s two prize crosswords. I so wish the DT would get it’s act together

      • Faraday
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink | Reply

        I think we had this conversation about a year ago Margaret when I was plagued with the same problem. I think, following the DT advice, I deleted the App and reinstalled it. I think I phoned them and a “young thing” talked me through it – it was obvious from their comments that they thought it was a problem, at my end.
        Whatever the rights and wrongs of it are I now seem to be given the credit due. Interestingly however I know that I submitted last Sunday’s crossword with an silly error in it but all is well because they are saying that I scored 30/30 – then I noticed that it’s from two weeks ago….

        Am I correct in saying that the Saturday and Sunday grids are identical this week?

        • Senf
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink | Reply

          Yes, you are correct about the two grids!

        • Attila the Hun
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink | Reply

          The grids are the same.

        • Margaret
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Thanks Faraday. Yes, I certainty remember our conversation of some time ago and things have been going smoothly until the last couple of weeks. Thanks for the tip, I’ll try it. Can’t quite work out how it’s a problem our end though.

          • Faraday
            Posted November 5, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Neither can I……..😂

          • Margaret
            Posted November 5, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Certainly!!! Flippin’ autocorrect!

  4. One Across
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink | Reply

    Good jigsaw puzzle, with each piece informing intersecting clues. This made it seem a lot easier than it might have been. Nice misdirection in the homographs (rare, guys). Not sure about parsing of 7d although answer seems clear. Thanks to the Sunday team, especially the ones not making any money.
    2 * / 3 ½ *

  5. Young Salopian
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink | Reply

    Another wonderful puzzle from our regular Sunday compiler. I went through most of it at a good clip, then came to a grinding halt in the SW corner, with the excellent 16d my final entry and my COTD. That tricky corner pushed out my solving time, so 3* /5* from me overall.

    Many thanks to Virgilius for the challenge and to Senf.

  6. Attila the Hun
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink | Reply

    7d held me up for a moment. 😈

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink | Reply

      Naughty but nice :)

    • Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I have no doubt that if I’d said that, I’d have been given some kind of punishment. :)

    • One Across
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Figured out this one. Duh!
      A lot of slang involved, which threw me. It is the Telegraph, after all.
      Both homographic meanings of ‘clobber’ are English slang. The homographic solution has a myriad of meanings, and indeed, one of the slang versions is the relevant heteronym, as well as the more common usage.
      Actually, a very good clue. Probably the best.

  7. tilsit
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely puzzle and well done to the lovely Lemon Drizzle Lady.

    As for Mark Goodliffe, why should he retire? If you want the title, beat him. Anyone who won with him still around wouldn’t feel they were a champion.

    Incidentally, he is also the holder of the Telegraph version, the Bert Danher Trophy, which was donated by his relative, one Sir P McCartney.

    And will probably never defend it.

    • silvanus
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Tilsit,

      If that was the 2004 Competition for the Bert Danher Trophy (its only incarnation I believe), I’ve still proudly kept my two letters from the Telegraph, one enclosing a commemorative pen for correctly completing the puzzle, and the second confirming that I finished in 43rd place, a mere 27 minutes and 14 seconds behind the winner!

  8. PLR
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink | Reply

    As always a wonderful Sunday treat. I did not find this as challenging as yesterday’s puzzle. Lots of great clues with very smooth surfaces that are the hallmarks of the Sunday setter. Last one in was 27a which is also my favourite clue. CS I would like to say 28a.

  9. stanXYZ
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    11a – isn’t it a double definition?

    Think I said the same thing last Sunday about 8a?

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’d say it works either way Stan.

  10. Heno
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. A super puzzle as usual from Virgilius. Last in was 4d. Favourite was 22d. Was 2 ✳ /5 ✳ for me.

  11. Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another hugely enjoyable Sunday puzzle. My favourite is 16d. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf, and congratulations to CS.

  12. Stone Lee
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable but rather quick solve. Must have been on the right wavelength today as it was finished in 1* time without the need of any computer aids. I can understand stanXYZ’s, comment about 11a but think it works both ways. Many thanks to setter and Senf.

  13. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    At the simpler end of Virgilius’ scale, I though, but that did not in any way diminish the enjoyment.
    Lots of great clues, in particular 4d, which is COTM for me. Other clues that should be mentioned in despatches are 9a, 2d, 27a, 6d.
    After football this morning I shall have a go at the NTSPP, I just hope it’s not at the usual Toughie level.
    Many thanks Senf and Virgilius

  14. scott
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I really enjoyed today’s offering. Partly because I was able to complete it without resorting to cheating, there being no essential references to things I have never heard of. I had the wrong “cape” in 26A for a while and made hard work of 17D which was last in. 11A “Ideal speech for selling musical gift” and 20A “Don’t forget about ring” my favourites.

  15. Graham Wall
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Not too challenging a puzzle but what it lacks in difficulty it certainly makes up with enjoyment. Was a great pleasure from star to finish except for 7D which held me up for a while. I particularly liked 12D My rating is 1.5/5 My thanks to Senf for the hints.

  16. Gwizz
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Certainly more benign than normal but still a pleasure to solve. Both 4 and 16d were excellent so they are joint faves (sorry Kath). 2/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hint.

  17. JB
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Just beaten by 26a. I’ve got alternate letters but cannot crack it. I bet it’s simple!
    Not sure either about 7 d but it fits and makes sense.

    • Senf
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

      A geographical feature that is also part of our bodies.

      • JB
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. I’d played with that but got bogged down looking for an actual place like Cape Horn or Cape Fear but knew the letters I had were correct.

  18. Merusa
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I really look forward to our Sunday fun and this was a real treat.
    I rather liked 7d, it’s clever and I don’t see anything wrong with it.
    My fave was 4d, outstanding, running close behind were 11a, 2d and 16d
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints and tips.
    Clever, clever Crypticsue, you’re a STAR! Congrats.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I can’t find any info on it, Merusa. Any pointers?

      • Merusa
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

        You mean 7d? What do you wear with pants … or, as my mother would say, trousers.

      • LetterboxRoy
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

        No – got that! I meant CS’ adventures?

        • Merusa
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Oh! See Senf’s preamble, C’Sue has excelled herself at the cruciverbalist meeting yesterday!

  19. silvanus
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Unlike certain other crossword addicts, I don’t normally attempt three puzzles in one day, but this was a must after tackling yesterday’s NTSPP and MPP a day late, and naturally it was well worth it.

    Difficult to choose favourites amongst such a good crop of clues, but I’ll go for 10a, 23a and 16d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  20. Snape
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Away from crosswords at the moment, due to my laptop being repaired with parts that don’t exist (after 4 weeks, they are just going to give me a new laptop, which will do), but just popping in to congratulate CS on a fantastic achievement.

  21. LetterboxRoy
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable as usual. 16d just gets the gong, but is in very good company. 20a & 10a also highly rated.
    Many thanks to Virgilius for the amusement and to Senf for the blogging duties.

  22. BusyLizzie
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable making a good end to the week. Only 18a was questionable and I still don’t understand how it = jolly? But I was clearly on the setter’s wavelength apart from that clue, with 16d being my COTD.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      BusyLizzie, I thought 18a was a jolly good clue.

      • Merusa
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Took me ages to see it, eventually thought of exactly that!

  23. JonP
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another excellent offering from Virgilius today which I found to be mostly straightforward.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius 1.5 * / 4 *

  24. Salty Dog
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Right on the */** cusp for difficulty, and **** for satisfaction. Little ticks of approval against 4d, 11a and 17d. Once again, Virgilius hits the spot for me. Thanks to V and Senf.

  25. Jon_S
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I made heavy weather of this, probably distracted by the heavy artillery going off outside the window, but as enjoyable as always on a Sunday. 17d was very nicely done, one where I only managed to spot the wordplay an age after getting the answer.

  26. Weekendwanda
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Favourites were 9 and 11 a and 4, 6,and 16 d. All r & w, Lasr one

    • Weekendwanda
      Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:37 am | Permalink | Reply

      Sorry about that. Should have said 17d last one in as last clue I got to in my haphazard way of solving. Thanks setter – I am not always on same wavelength .

      • Weekendwanda
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:48 am | Permalink | Reply

        I should have added that I originally had the wrong answer for 26a. I found a lurker which I thought fitted the clue. I was convinced this was right till I attempted 12d. Am I the only one?

        • Attila the Hun
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink | Reply

          You were not.

  27. Angellov
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Good light entertainment to end an enjoyably relaxed weekend. Tried to fit 9 letters into 8 spaces in 1a until I realised dropping a letter produced similar meaning. 18a had to be but complete parsing didn’t occur to me. Fav was 4d. Thank you Virgilius and Senf.

  28. Hector Pascal
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink | Reply

    Virgenius crosswords are like The Blue Planet II – pretty much unmissable.
    Agree with most folks; 2/4.
    Congratulations CS! Now I’ off to look up your achievement.
    Thank you Senf

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