ST 2928 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2928 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2928 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg – where the weather has been all over the place in terms of temperatures and precipitation.

The benevolence shown by Virgilius over the last couple of weeks has disappeared this week – the usual handful of anagrams, some multiple definitions, three homophones, and two lurkers all contained in 27 clues.  Based on my experience with the puzzle, I could have hinted on more clues than I am allowed to so I expect some solvers will be disappointed.

My joint-favourites – 20a 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 Piece of text, perhaps ruined when one page is removed (6)
A simple anagram to start (ruined) of PERHAPS with a P (one page) removed.

8a Upper garments over underwear for those in authority (3,5)
A single word for upper garments (especially for females) containing (over) a type of female underwear.

13a Intolerant, but not big-headed? (6-6)
A double definition, a hyphenated two word expression and note the ‘?’ on the second definition.

16a Like fierce arguments with youth in a trial — I go crazy (12)
A synonym for youth contained by (in) an anagram (crazy) of A TRIAL I GO.

20a Caught fish, retaining pile for skinflint (10)
The single (crickety) letter for caught and a type of fish containing (retaining) a synonym for pile.

24a In old-fashioned speech, discerns English rage (6)
An archaic (in old-fashioned speech) synonym for discerns followed by the single letter for English.

25a Moderate’s so on both sides of this (6)
A term for moderate consisting of so repeated and ‘this.’


1d Motivate one young woman that’s extravagant? (8)
A synonym for motivate (physically?), the single letter for one, and a three letter synonym for a young woman.

2d Puttin’ on academic wear? Hood, for instance (5)
A synonym that might be used for putting on academic wear with the last letter removed.

5d Confidence, as reported, is bound to be restrained (7)
A homophone (as reported) of a synonym of confidence.

9d Subscribe on my behalf should it be necessary? That’s worth noting (11)
A synonymic phrase (4,2,1,4) for subscribe on my behalf written as a single word.

14d Fix a part for spy chief in complex procedure (9)
A synonym for fix, A from the clue, and a synonym for an acting part containing (for) Bond’s boss.

19d Puzzles, from what we hear, producing agony (6))
A homophone (from what we hear) of a synonym for puzzles.

21d Seat for MP that’s been half-heartedly supported by church (5)
Been from the clue with one of its middle letters removed (half-heartedly) followed by one of the usual abbreviations for church.

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Elvis Presley would occasionally improvise lyrics during live performances. This is the story behind such a performance of Are You Lonesome Tonight which was later released as a single and, as I recall (perhaps incorrectly), was a very popular selection on Ray Moore’s early morning Radio 2 show on Children in Need day.


44 comments on “ST 2928 (Hints)

  1. I had quite a tussle with this one this morning. I found it to be the trickiest Sunday puzzle for quite a while coupled, as always, with the usual enjoyment that Virgilius provides.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius ****/****

  2. Many thanks to Virgilius for a lovely start to my morning; favourite clue, which produced a smile, 9d.

    Thanks to Senf too.

  3. A tricky one for me, but a very enjoyable solve. For some reason, 19d took me ages and I still can’t parse 25a. Thank you setter and Senf.

  4. 3* / 5*. Simply the best!! What a joyful challenge for a dull damp Sunday morning.

    7d was my last one to be parsed because I was convinced that “articles” clued the first four letters. Wrong!

    I’ve got a page full of ticks, but the ones earning most ticks are 24a, 25a, 9d, 15d & 18d, with 25a & 9d just nosing ahead on the line to provide a photo finish for first place.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  5. I think this was the Sunday maestro at the top of his game – quite a few pauses for thought required.
    Typical Virgilius clues much in evidence and some delightful lego work.

    I really liked the simplicity of 15d, the ‘odd’ 10a and – top of my leader-board – 9d.

    So many more I’d like to comment on but I guess not here and now!

    Many thanks for the pleasure, Virgilius, and thanks to Senf for making the tough choices over which clues to include in the hints. The Elvis clip made me laugh – haven’t seen that one previously.

  6. Well I found a couple of these really tricky. Loved 9d, made me smile. Unless I’ve got a checking letter wrong I’m really stuck on my last one 19d I understood what it must be before the hint but have no idea what it can be. . .

  7. Solved this one at stupid o’clock (GMT) but at a reasonable hour in Adelaide.

    1d and 9d are my stand-out clues … both very similar but both so very clever.

    25a took me ages to understand but still not long enough for me to witness England getting another wicket in the cricket.

    Thanks Virgilius & Senf.

  8. Another masterpiece. Like trying to pick up an angry lobster initially, I took a while to grab hold of it. In true Virgilius style though, there is always a way in and then you are off into a world of wonderful inventiveness. I drained a whole coffee pot (insulated) over this one with the occasional laugh, and kilo-drop moments. Great lurker at 17a with 9d and 14d being similar types of clue fairly typical of V.

    Got there in the end and left with a great feeling of accomplishment and no small sense of awe at the beauty of this puzzle. Bravo!


  9. A super puzzle this morning and well worthy of being called a prize puzzle. I marked 18d as my first favourite clue, quickly followed by 21d and 24a. The top half seemed far easier to fill than the bottom did. A most enjoyable tussle – thank you setter and Senf.

  10. Super puzzle, some went in fairly quickly and then a real struggle with the remainder and needed a couple of the hints to help me along. Finally managed to complete with 19d being last in. 9d is my favourite.
    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf for the hints.

  11. Wow this one is putting up quite a struggle. I am down to the last two 7d and 25a. I have answers to each but cannot parse the clues. I can see the academic writings but that doesn’t gel with the I’m. But 25a is a real mystery and the hint is even more cryptic than the clue!

    1. You need to consider the first three words of the clue to get the first five letters of your solution which should be followed by an abbreviation for small

      If something is moderate you might use two lots of so (from the clue) and put the solution to 25a in between them

  12. 9d the clear winner from 1d as my COTD. Inexplicably the NE corner held me up and pushed out my solving time to something near a 4* which has not happened in a while, so overall this hugely enjoyable tussle was 4* /5* for me.

    Many thanks to Virgilius for another Sunday cracker and to Senf.

  13. I am not good at homonyms and I struggled with those in today’s puzzle which otherwise I found quite straightforward. 9d was a great clue and I liked 10a too.

    1. “Homonyms” or “Homophones” … what’s the difference?

      They all sound the same to me.

  14. Great entertainment, as ever on a Sunday, even though my repetition radar did bleep at one point.

    Favourite clues for me were 9d, followed by 4a and 8a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  15. Super! My ticks are many, but my standouts are 9D and 25A. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  16. This put up quite a tussle today and I’ve been coming back to it throughout the day in amongst other chores. I thought it was a masterpiece of the craft with 9d astonishing me in its ingenuity and, once the penny dropped, 25a. My thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the blog.

  17. Phew, that made me work a fair bit, especially the NE corner which held me up for far longer than it should. But it’s all part of the pleasure. 9d was tops for me today and 3/5* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  18. Another brilliant Sunday crossword.
    I found it a bit more difficult than the last few weeks, perhaps because there weren’t all that many anagrams.
    17a took me ages.
    I know that I’m being dim but I still don’t get 25a even with all the extra help that’s been given.
    I particularly liked 4 and 13a and 5d. My favourite was 9d which I loved.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.
    Off now to see if I can finish Alchemi’s NTSPP – I should be doing other things. Oh dear.

  19. What a fantastic puzzle – right up there with the very best. So many favourites. Totally agree with all who cite 9d – made me laugh. 25a brilliant and also really liked 2d, 18d and 19d (which took a while to ‘see’). Must admit, had thought 17d usually had an ‘e’ at the end but I guess it can be either way.
    Huge thanks to Virgilius for a seriously entertaining puzzle and as always to BD.

    1. I agree with you about 17d – I think I’ve only ever seen it with the extra letter at the end but it’s in the BRB as either.

  20. That was seriously trickier than the usual Sunday fare but wotta treat!
    The misdirection in 6d was brilliant.
    So much good stuff here how on earth can I choose a fave, but I think the majority is right, so 9d is it.
    Thanks to Virgilius, top of the pops today, and to Senf for his hints.
    BTW, I only count one lurker, any hints to the other one?

      1. I got the 17d one, easy peasy. I keep thinking lurker is between two or more words, my mistake, of course 11a is a lurker!

  21. :yahoo: Finally understood 25a. Blimey, how dim is it possible to be. Thanks to all for their patience.

    1. I wouldn’t say dim, many, much brighter than I, found it esoteric, to say the least. But, my goodness, I’d say that was brilliant.

  22. Surprised that some others have found this on the stiff side; l can’t score it higher than ** difficulty. Twice that for enjoyment, though, and my favourite was 14d. VMTs to Virgilius and Senf.

  23. Terrific Sunday fun but, as said elsewhere, I continue to have a mental blockage re 25a. Apart from that the NE corner held out longest. I join lots of fellow bloggers in nominating 9d as standout Fav with 4a in silver position. Thank you Virgilius for great puzzle and Senf for being there in case of need.

      1. Oh good – well done. I was just trying to think of yet another way of putting it. I just couldn’t see it either.

  24. A little trickier this week, perhaps *** for difficulty? Last in the SE corner, and it’s only several minutes after finishing that I’ve finally fathomed 25ac. Very clever, and very nicely done, if only in retrospect. As enjoyable as Virgilius always is.

  25. Late to this, top half fine, bottom half unfathomable, even with the hints.
    Thanks all.

  26. I agree with the majority on this one. Favourites20a and 9d. Perhaps also25a when the penny dropped which it did eventually. 18d was penultimate in preceded by 19d. Masterpiece.

  27. First class puzzle – a great deal of pennies were dropped! Hard to choose a favourite; in fact I can’t.

    Very many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the review. *** / **** and a bit

  28. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. A fantastic puzzle as usual from Virgilius. I found this very difficult, I was completely beaten by the two homophones in 4a&5d. Favourite was 25a. Was 4 ✳ / 5 ✳ for me.

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