ST 2933 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

ST 2933 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2933 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg – after another week of extremely chilly weather, we could be running around in tee-shirts and shorts this afternoon with a forecast high of minus one!

The first Virgilius of the New Year; as excellent as ever, and on the benevolent side – the usual handful of anagrams (including partials), a couple of lurkers, and homophones, after a short absence, with some biblical references.  

My joint favourites – 6a, 12a, 24a, 5d, 11d, and 23d.

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 Arrange a nice time without pressure? Job didn’t suffer from it (10)
An anagram of A NICE TIME containing (without) the single letter for pressure makes a reference to an OT character.

9a Roadblock ultimately not any obstacle for smart alec (4-3)
The last letter (ultimately) of roadblock, a two letter synonym for not any, and a type of obstacle.

12a Not hot, not cool (13)
The negative of a word that is a synonym for both hot and cool as pop culture words.

15a In favour of lock to make building hard to break into (8)
One of the single word synonyms of in favour of and one of the types of lock that we encounter frequently.

17a Puzzle having this kind of clue, mostly something idiosyncratic (8)
This type of clue (in terms of the list it is in) with the last letter removed (mostly) and an involuntary nervous reaction (something idiosyncratic).

22a Sudden noise when corrupt hosts repeatedly beat us (13)
Anagram (when corrupt) of noise containing (hosts) a repeated synonym of beat, and US from the clue.

24a A contest for couples holding hands cut short (7)
A from the clue and that card game.

27a No longer bent, reportedly, so economically challenged (10)
The first homophone (reportedly) of a single word for no longer bent.


1d Like material for writer that’s popular — okay, but oddly lacking (4)
A favourite synonym for popular and what remains when the odd letters (oddly lacking) are removed from okay.

3d Safe place during crossing, if craft at sea is secure (7,6)
An anagram (at sea) of IF CRAFT, IS from the clue, and a synonym of secure.

4d Some churchmen listening join service (6)
One of the lurkers (some), the other is 21d, found in the clue.

7d Gruesome result of vehicle going into female runner (7)
An example of an equine (female runner) containing (result of . . . going into) a type of vehicle. 

11d Scientific type with a lot of fliers in his study (13)
An avian specialist.

13d Resident in hospital, to some extent exemplary worker (10)
IN from the clue, the single letter for hospital, a two word (1,3) synonymic phrase for to some extent, and an exemplary worker.

20d Decide not to vote, collecting a black mark (7)
A from the clue, the single letter for black, and a synonym for mark.

23d Want work to make dough, we hear (4)
The second homophone (we hear) of the process to make bread.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

Mike McGear (a.k.a. younger brother of Sir Paul McCartney) is 74 today; here he is (the one on the left) with the rest of The Scaffold with their 1968 hit:



53 comments on “ST 2933 (Hints)

  1. A nice brain-waker, but could have done with a hint for 6a. which was flagged as a favourite but then no help from Senf. Can see the way the answer is built up but I don’t get why it is ‘prophesies’ ( the plural of prophesy?) rather than ‘prophet’?

    That apart, very enjoyable and not too tough. **/****.

    1. Think of it as a collection of prophecies by a single person (singular prophecy, prophesy is a verb) – here ends the lesson!

      1. Thank you Senf. I value your educative post – I didn’t appreciate the difference between the verb and the noun form. Even so the inclusion of a singular male pronoun would have prevented my being thrown off the scent so far, and for so long!

  2. Another Sunday delight from Mr V. I meandered steadily from the NW to the SE and then, for the second day running, struggled with the SW Corner. Favourites of the day were 14a and 17a. Thank you Senf for explaining 22a to me – the beat was unfamiliar, but given my lack of rhythm that’s perhaps not surprising 😂

  3. We have all been trying to avoid the horses recently, and then one sneaks in and I fail to see her.

    I’m with HJ above, I don’t like 6a. We don’t use the word prophecies as a synonym for other similar people, so why this time?

    **/** for me overall. Thanks to Senf and Mr. V.

  4. I’m another who’s not at all happy with 6a – although I think perhaps the rules for a prize puzzle day have been well and truly broken by previous commenters!
    That aside, I thought this was another brilliant puzzle from the maestro. 5d fooled me for a while as I had the first letter in place and thought I’d dealt with the club – apparently not.

    Podium places went to 12&24a plus 16&18d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the blog. Reminders of our past pop stars don’t come much worse than that!

    1. Apologies for the comment above about folk breaking the rules – they obviously haven’t, I was just reading too much into it!

      1. I’ve referred the matter of whether the rules have been broken to a higher power but I don’t think he can be at home as he hasn’t helped me with another matter

  5. An excellent puzzle. 6a was my last to go in, although I had pencilled down the correct answer early on, once the checking letters were in place.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  6. I thought this was little harder than usual from Virgilius, but no less enjoyable as a result. I think 6a is fine, although I can see why it will divide opinon today. It was also my last one in. As ever, trying to pick a favourite from so many candidates is difficult in the extreme, but I will go for 18d with 12a a close runner-up. 3.5* /5* from me overall.

    Many thanks to Virgilius for the challenge and to Senf.

  7. With regard to 6 Down, it appears to refer to a book of the bible rather than a person. I think it could have been phrased differently.

  8. Lovely Sunday stuff, nothing too difficult although 26a had me going for a bit. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf, **/****.

  9. Happily completed in the wee small (and freezing) hours. 12A and 5D are my picks. thanks Virgilius and thanks also to Senf who is suffering colder weather than we are, I suspect.

  10. I got myself into a bit of a muddle in the bottom left corner, once I sorted that out I was soon home and dry. Very much on the side of those who felt that 6a could’ve been tightened up a bit.
    13a was the one I was looking forward to solving, but 14a was my favourite.
    Thanks to Senf and the setter, have a good afternoon.

  11. Thanks Senf for your interpretation of 6a. I’d wracked my brains trying to parse what I had put in for my answer. You’ve pretty much confirmed it for me. Otherwise nothing too complicated, but again very enjoyable. I thought 14a was very clever as was 24a. Thanks to our ‘resident’ Sunday setter.

  12. Before I go off and start my Sunday activities, let me try and have the final(?) word on 6a – remember this is a Sunday prize cryptic crossword, not a ‘coffee break’ crossword in another publication.

    I thought that this was a very good clue which was reasonably easily solved. However, while it might have benefited from an additional word or two, it required some extra thought by the solver to parse it along the lines of:

    Who makes prophecies?

    How are some of them ‘promulgated’?

    Where are some of them ‘promulgated’?

    Then, as suggested by BD above, the answer is a common and acceptable way of referring to a section of the Good Book.

    1. Gotcha! Yes, I completely agree with you now. Whew, we can all sleep easy in our beds (or somebody-else’s) tonight.

      Thanks Senf.

  13. The usual high quality crossword from Virgilius did not disappoint. An excellent challenge with some lovely clues of which 12a was superb. Definitely my fave.
    6a was no problem; I don’t quite see what the fuss is about… but each to their own.
    3/5* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for refereeing.

  14. Really enjoyed this puzzle lots of clever clues with a nice mix of the more difficult with the easier one’s. Got in a stew with 13d with the wrong answer that held me up in SW corner, didn’t read the clue carefully enough. Once sorted no real problems. A first class puzzle from this setter. Last in 6a it took me more than a second to figure that out.

    Clues of the day: 12a / 22a.

    Rating 2.5* / 4*

    Thanks to Senf and the setter.

  15. Very good fun, the SW corner took me longer than the others, but it seems I wasn’t alone.

    For once, a couple of my favourites coincide with Senf’s, being 12a and 24a. I also particularly liked 1a and 22a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to our afore-mentioned blogger.

  16. Another quality puzzle from Virgilius which I found to be reasonably straightforward. My LOI was 18d.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius 1.5*/4*

  17. Lots and lots to like here. I had no problem with 6a, it was one of my first in.
    Like others, I got held up in the SW corner, heaven knows why.
    My fave was 12a, but others were noteworthy as well.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf, been a fun start to the day.

    1. Warming up today Merusa. Hope you have made it through the cold front ok. Sadly, supposed to be a wet week, poor tourists…

      1. I’m feeling quite human again, even contemplated the pool for a fleeting second. I don’t mind the wet, we get so much dry in the winter and my garden, such as it is, suffers.

  18. I thought I was getting better at crosswords but today I needed more help from Senf than I have had recently. 6a as others was pencilled in wrong and was the last to be corrected after reading the above correspondence but 13d and 26a had me perplexed too as did 11d which I wanted to start with DEN…
    3d was first in and gets COTD from me as I struggled a bit ever after.
    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  19. I was slow off the mark but gradually it all fell into place without too much aggro except in the SW. 6a hung fire for sometime (in company with other bloggers) but I do have to say that in any case I wasn’t too keen on the clue. I also stupidly took a while to fathom 26a. Bung-in for 1a was Fav when job came to mind. TVM Virgilius and Senf.

  20. A bit of a struggle for me. Needed quite a few of the most excellent hints.
    Couldn’t figure out 6a at all, so was glad to see the explanations above.

    Thanks to Virgilus and to Senf.

  21. As ever the hardest and least enjoyable crossword of the week. Last Friday was a breeze compared to this. Nothing wrong with the crossword, I just cannot get my head around Virgilius’ clues, which is odd because I used to have no problem with them.
    No favourites, just a great deal of head scratching.
    Thanks all.

    1. Isn’t the old brain a funny thing. I struggled mightily with the Giovanni on Friday but this, with some trickiness in the SW corner, really wasn’t too difficult for me.

  22. SE corner went straight in and then it was hard work. Thanks to Senf and for all who commented on 6a. I was lost on that one but Big Dave’s input was much appreciated and helped me to finish, yay, second day in a row. It’s warming up here, so perhaps my brain is also. We are such cry babies about the cold in South Florida. And it’s not even 4 months since we were without power and sitting outside at 3am with our feet in the pool to cool down…

  23. On the easy side, and as enjoyable as always from Virgilius. Regarding 6ac, I think it’s fine, though I must admit to the definition giving me a moment’s pause. Without being able to discuss the clue in detail, though, I can say no more. :-)

  24. 2* / 5*. I have just got back from a cold but very enjoyable weekend in Oxford and was absolutely delighted to find that Virgilius has started 2018 with one of his typically brilliant trademark puzzles but one which was not too difficult.

    12a was my favourite but most of others were potential candidates for that accolade.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    1. You should have called in – yes, very cold in Oxford but we have a really big log fire which is going most of the time in weather like this.

  25. Yes, a relatively benign start to the year’s Sunday puzzles, but as enjoyable as one has come to expect from this setter. 1*/4.5* seems about right to me. 8d was my favourite, invoking as it does an unforgettable character in a book l shall always love. Thanks to Virgilius, and Senf, and a Happy Puzzling New Year to all.

  26. The holiday must have addled my brain… found this impossible. Ground out 10 answers, rest a mystery! Roll on tomorrow.

  27. My brain has been “Radlered” – I spent ages trying to do his MPP consequently there weren’t enough of the little grey cells left to deal with this one.
    Anyway – I did eventually finish it but not without a bit of a battle.
    6a caused trouble so I’m glad to see that I wasn’t the only one and so did 26a which was just plain dim.
    17a was my last one in – it had to be what it was but it took me ages to see why – again, dim.
    Another very good and enjoyable Sunday crossword so thanks to Virgilius for the puzzle and to Senf for the hints.
    Knackered so off to find some rubbish to watch for a short time before bed. :yawn:

  28. Virgilius doesn’t disappoint. Did he have a festive rest? If he did, he’s hit the ground running. On his gentler side – 3*/4*

    Oddly, considering the comments above, we had no problem with 6a, lighting on the correct parsing straight away. Favourite was 22a. It’s a common enough word that we’ve known, between us, for a total well in excess of 100 years and never appreciated that “internal repeat beat”. We’ll never look at it the same again.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  29. I got a bit fooled by the workers in 13d. When did they become exemplary?

    Just plain old workers I could have understood.

    1. I wondered about the ‘exemplary worker’ as well. The adjective might be for readability of the clue. The BRB includes ‘of proverbial industry’ in the definition of the worker – does that equate to exemplary?

  30. Nothing to frighten the horses but I did not find it particularly inspiring. Have circled 8d as favourite. 16d last one in. Some of the parsing took a bit of sorting out. Thanks all

  31. One of Virgilius’ easier offerings maybe. Agree with RD that 12a was best-in-show. I did struggle with 6a too until I was informed by BD. We all should know never to doubt the precision of this setter. 1.5/4.
    Now I can go to bed. Sunday is not complete until Virgilius has been sparred with..

  32. Brilliant as always. Love cheeky little clues like 26a and 14a.
    Many thanks Virgilius, many thanks Senf

Comments are closed.