ST 2934 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2934 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2934 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg – it would appear that Mother Nature is as confused as the rest of us; at midnight on Tuesday the temperature was zero degrees and from there it just freefalled to minus 30 degrees by Friday morning. One local TV station has started to include estimates of ‘frostbite time’ for exposed skin in its weather forecasts.  Still, it has now warmed up enough that we might get some snow this morning.

Yet another excellent Virgilius puzzle, some head scratching required – more than usual number of anagrams (including partials), only one lurker, and no homophones, with some compass directions.  

My joint favourites – 1a, 11a, 28a, 3d, and 16d.

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 Court of justice backed main point in legal action (8)
A type of legal action containing (in) a single word for main point (of an argument) reversed (backed).

9a European from North or South hugged by schoolboy (8)
The single letter for South contained (hugged) by a pupil from one of the public schools.

11a Play, after eleven, different thing (7,5)
What comes after eleven(th) and an anagram (different) of THING.

13a One includes copy of subsequent two letters, as originally written (8)
A synonym of one containing (includes) two letters that are also at the end (copy of subsequent) of the answer.

17a Responsibility of minister cut in foreign capital (5)
The domain of a minister of the cloth with the last letter removed (cut).

20a Damage part of dozen filling box (6)
A single word synonym for part of and a dozen good persons.

23a Battle in recast film as result of in-fighting (12)
A synonym for battle contained by (in) an anagram (recast) of FILM AS.

28a Chap who fixes things in hospital also doctored many (8)
The single letter for Hospital, a synonym for also, and an anagram (doctored) of MANY.


2d Share with a learner capable of logical thought (8)
A synonym of share, A from the clue, and the single letter for learner.

3d Original outfit barely appropriate for annual celebration? (8,4)
A synonymic phrase for being in the nude.

6d European objects about Cubist’s first works of art (8)
The single letter for European and a synonym for objects containing (about) the first letter of Cubist.

7d Something circular round setting that’s square (4)
Double definition, the second is the setting for a sporting event. 

12d Bad image city changed in state without authorization (12)
A synonym for bad followed by an anagram (changed) of IMAGE CITY.

16d Old fighter with power in fist exploded with anger (8)
Anagram (exploded) of FIST containing (with . . . in) the single letter for power followed by a synonym for anger.

19d Travel with oilman at sea around part of Asia (8)
An anagram (at sea) of OILMAN containing (with . . . around) a synonym of travel.

25d Slice of Cheddar cheese that’s curved in shape (4)
The lurker (slice of) found in the third and fourth words of the clue.

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For those of you who tackled the NTSPP yesterday, and for those of you who didn’t this was the ‘theme’ of the puzzle; first released on an album in 1969, then as a single in 1974, and covered by over 200 artists (




64 comments on “ST 2934 (Hints)

  1. The usual good stuff from Mr V which used up a good few brain cells. Thank you to him and also to Senf for the very necessary elucidation of a couple of clues.

  2. 4* / 5*. Just over half the answers went in fairly smoothly today but the remainder took quite a lot of teasing out leading to an overall 4* time for me.

    I’m not 100% convinced in 13a that subsequent can mean final, but this puzzle was as hugely enjoyable as ever and a joy to solve.

    Special mentions go to 20a, 28a, 3d & 17d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    1. RD – I agree that Virgilius has ‘stretched’ the meaning of subsequent; I wonder if this meaning will come into common usage and ‘make it’ into the dictionaries at some time in the future.

      1. Sorry guys, can’t agree with you. I suspect that we’re looking at the clue in different ways. Shame it’s a prize puzzle and I can’t elucidate further.

          1. No problem but you’ll have to remind me – I’ll be too busy laughing over those promised bunny ears!

    2. 13a. The “subsequent” in the clue isn’t meant to mean “final”, as far as I can see. I think you’ve been somewhat mislead by the wording in the hint?

    3. Can I explain 13a by re-jigging the existing hint to show what I mean: A synonym of one contains (includes) a copy of the two letters that are also following (subsequent) later in the answer. [The fact that the second pair of letters appear at the finale of the answer is merely incidental]. That’s how I see it – I could, of course, be wrong.

  3. Took a while to solve 17d in an otherwise quite straightforward puzzle.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints.

  4. Tricky today I thought. I had to solve all over the grid to get checking letters for the clues I found to be the toughest. Enjoyable as ever.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius 3*/4*

  5. Definitely at the tougher end of Virgilius’ setting spectrum this morning, if not in the solving, then in the parsing. Hugely enjoyable as normal, with 3d my favourite of many, and 3.5* /5* overall. Solving time wasn’t helped by having the cricket from Melbourne playing in the background.

    Many thanks to Virgilius for a great tussle and to Senf.

  6. Enjoyable romp through this challenging the brain cells. Favourites 5 and 15. Thanks for parsing 13; I can’t parse second half of 4’s top couple.
    Thanks Vergilius and Senf

    1. Gordon – short on its own in this usage in 4d would indicate deletion of one letter. Virgilius is using the phrase at the end of the clue to indicate deletion of more than one letter (somewhat cryptic, but it is Sunday).

          1. I did like 16a as it refers to the region my favourite malts come from. I am currently drowning a cold with a bottle of Laphroigh.

  7. I don’t know whether it’s just me today as I solved this in very much my normal time for a Sunday, but I didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as normal. Definitely needed Senf’s explanation for a couple and I think that’s probably my problem – if I can’t explain my answer even after I’m fairly sure it’s correct it detracts from the pleasure of it.

    So very many thanks to Senf for that and thanks as always to Virgilius

  8. Much to delight and amuse, as is typical of Sunday puzzles.

    Unusually though, a couple of hmms. I thought “after eleven” to mean “after eleventh” (11a) just about ok but a bit of a stretch.

    As for 13a, I had no problem with subsequent – just took it as meaning after that part of the wordplay – but the clue seemed a bit indirect to me, with no indication of what the two letters in question should be.

    My biggest trouble was actually understanding the answer to 7d – d’oh!

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    1. Hi Kitty,

      There are only two extra letters ‘included’ in the definition of the first word so it didn’t seem like much of a leap to me but I take your point.

  9. Thought this was Virgilius on his A game and had a bit of a struggle to fully parse some of them. Never did quite get there with the second definition of 7d – should have known it would be sports related!

    Impossible as ever to isolate a favourite so I’ll just add 18a to the list of those already mentioned by Senf and RD.

    Thanks as always to the Sunday maestro and the same to Senf both for the blog and the video clip – which gave me the chance to check on the themed entries in the NTSPP!

  10. Another top-rate puzzle from our Sunday supremo with a few tricky bits of parsing required. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf for the hints. Top clues for me were 15a, 20a and 7d.

  11. Nice sunday puzzle today. The west side went in quite quickly. Last ones in today were 22d 21a and 14d as they were all unhinted I must have been overthinking. They all fell in quick succession when I got 22d.
    COTD is between 3d and 16d.
    I needed Senf for a couple of hints so thanks to him and setter. 13a seemed ok to me so I guess I am looking at it the same as Jane. Ill try to remember to look at the review.

    1. Today was one of those days to decide which clues to leave out of the hints. I almost needed to use 14d as a selection method.

  12. Super puzzle but trickier than usual even for a Sunday. After 15 mins I had one answer! Then I found a couple of anagrams and things began to fall into place. Still took two sittings though.
    All first class elegant clues but my favourite was11a. Still a little stuck for a full understanding of 4d.
    Thx to all

    1. Just seen Gazza’s note on 4d which I missed on the first run through. Now it makes sense! Thx Gazza.

  13. Enjoyable as always on a Sunday. Some tricky parsings, I also thought “oh, ok?” for 11a, i guess i can make it work but it didn’t seem obvious.

    Many thanks Virgilius and Senf

      1. You should probably add a ‘nod’ to Chalicea. I had a totally different selection ‘lined up’ until I saw the NTSPP yesterday, but, don’t worry, you will be able to wince and groan at that one next Sunday.

  14. Good fun with lots to enjoy: up to the usual Sunday standard. 17d was the last one in, 5d was my favourite. How does the setter keep up this standard week after week?

  15. Another superb Sunday puzzle from Virgilius, with certain clues, like 13a and 4d, being trickier to parse than normal. My top two were the consecutive 16d and 17d.

    Many thanks to Mr Greer and to Senf for his selective decryptions.

  16. I found this much more difficult than usual but as enjoyable as ever – I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only one to find it tricky.
    On the first read through of the across clues I only had one answer.
    I’m ashamed to say that I needed the hints to understand 7d and, even worse, 17a – that was really dim. :roll:
    On the plus side I did find the lurker without too much trouble.
    It took me ages to see the ‘part of set’ bit of 18a.
    I particularly appreciated 16 and 20a and 4 and 5d. My favourite was 17d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.
    I didn’t get round to doing the NTSPP yesterday so off to have a go at it now – at least I now know the theme – it’s not looking hopeful!

  17. Completed over breakfast with a colleague who is new to the Cryptic but shows remarkable innate ability, getting there before I did on some clues! It is always a great pleasure to open up this world to people who show an interest. With just a bit of time and the assistance of this site a lot of pleasure and satisfaction await.
    I saw this one a bit easier than norm at **/**** but that might be because we had two heads on the task.
    Thanks V, for another great puzzle and to Senf.

  18. A tale of two sittings. Last night just couldn’t get into this but this morning it fell into place very quickly. Bizarre. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf for the hints.

  19. Well, I thought I was losing it until I came here and saw that so many others found it tricky. Most of the answers came quite readily but the parsings were hard.
    I liked 11a, 16d and 17d, but anything here could have been a fave. Last in was 13a.
    Thanks to Virgilius, wotta treat, and to Senf for his hints.

  20. No one has mentioned 21a that I can see. I have an answer but can’t work out the word play. Can someone provide a hint please?

      1. Oh dear it’s a duh moment. Thanks for the clarification – really should have seen that!

    1. Welcome to the blog, Eddie.

      24d A politician supporting Conservative party (4)
      A and our usual elected politician follow an abbreviation for Conservative.

  21. Tricky is the word of the day…I struggled with this, and still not sure about my answers to 13a and 23a.

  22. As 21a was my top clue out of many GMY i’ll just say a two letter appeal for peace followed by a trip giving the answer. Hope that helps!
    A lovely Sunday challenge and did I have to work at it! Wonderful!
    3/5* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints.

  23. Terrific – thank you Virgilius for consistently setting us such great challenges. Took a while to get going then 3d (my Fav) occurred to me and off I went although SW did hold out for a while mainly due to 17d not dawning on me. In company with Kath 7d needed Senf’s help to parse for which I say TVM.

  24. When my first answer in was 26ac I guessed Virgilius had stepped up a gear. As it was I managed most of the puzzle in about ** time, but then got badly stuck at the close on 20ac and 17d pushing it into *** for difficulty. 13ac I got, but pleased you’ve explained the parsing above. :-)

  25. Slightly trickier than usual, but still in 2* territory for difficulty. Cast-iron 4* enjoyment, though, with some left-field clues and misdirection to help furrow the brow. 17d my favourite, but there were plenty of other contenders. Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf.

  26. We’re with Salty Dog in bucking the general trend in finding it not overly trickier than usual. Of course, it should go without saying that it’s the most enjoyable puzzle of the week (again).

    We had a different parsing for 4d (which we felt worked fine), but agree that Gazza’s method is probably what Virgilius intended.

    Favourite, for the penny-drop moment, was 7d. Exquisite.

    Thanks to the Sunday maestro and to Senf for the blog.

  27. As ever the biggest and least enjoyable struggle of the week, but still hoping that one day the penny will drop.
    Thanks all.

    1. Hello Hoofit

      I started as a novice some years ago and have found xword land a land of unending mysteries – some borne of my own ignorance (football and cricket for example) but others as ineffable as ever – like identifying the setter. The kind folks on here have given me some hints with this in the past but to no real avail. However persistence has paid off and I am just about getting to the stage where I can recognise the structure of a clue – I think there is a word for this since cruciverbalists seem to have a language all of their own – which also remains opaque to me. But hey ho its all good fun and I might even get to the birthday bash at some stage to put some names to faces – there’ll be no hiding then!!

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