ST 2936 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2936 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2936 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg – the weather continues to confuse, now there is not enough snow for the winter festival that starts in a couple of weeks, but it will definitely be cold enough.

Once again, an excellent Virgilius puzzle, some head scratching required, I don’t think he is showing any consideration for those who might have overindulged yesterday – the usual number of anagrams (including a partial), one (double) lurker, but no homophones.

My joint favourites, using blogger’s privilege once again – 7a, 12a, 19a, 1d, 14d, and 18d.

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:


7a Prepare to shoot at brace of ducks and another bird (8)
An action as part of the preparation to shoot a firearm, AT from the clue, and two of the (cricket) scores referred to as ducks.

10a Lines included in live reading of casual sort (6)
A synonym for lines contained by (included in) a two letter synonym for live.

12a Centre of action involving masked man perhaps in theatre (9,5)
An essential feature in a type of theatre where a masked man (or woman) ‘performs.’

17a Covering for rest very briefly in double act (5)
The single letter (briefly) for very contained by (in) a type of double act.

20a Renounce gift –- it could amount to making money illegally (14)
Anagram (amount to) of RENOUNCE GIFT — IT.

25a Champ seen around one European city (6)
A synonym for champ (in terms of eating) containing (around) the single letter for one.

28a Dog runs with youngster, initially, in place of mine (8)
A breed of dog, the single (crickety) letter for runs, and the first letter (initially) of Youngster.


1d Number of people having a row in small square (4)
Double definition – a type of racing crew or a small number that is the square of another.

3d Swindles some gentle females? (4)
Another double definition, but each is pronounced differently, the second of which is some four-legged females (that might know Bambi).

6d Complete English hero that subdues opponent by force of arms (4,6)
A synonym for complete and an English naval hero.

13d Most moralistic member of clergy interrupted by a head (107)
A member of clergy containing (interrupted by) a synonymic term for a head when distribution is carried out – and the word that is turned into a superlative for the answer is in the BRB.

14d One version –- everyone has it twice, not once (5)
The double lurker (has it twice) found in the rest of the clue.

18d Moving air that’s uplifting for those without power (7)
Pilots of non-powered aircraft benefit from this.

22d Raised offence — what divides opponents in this court action (6)
A type of offence (of the deadly kind) a and feature that is between opponents in some games all reversed (raised).

26d It’s found in bottle of wineport (4)
Another double definition to finish, a type of stopper or an Irish port.

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As well as being the ‘birthday’ of the world’s biggest and best crossword blog, today, in 1929, was the birthday of Somerset’s own Acker Bilk. I have previously used his signature hit Stranger on the Shore (played by Kenny Gee), so here is Mr Bilk playing Sweet Georgia Brown:




53 comments on “ST 2936 (Hints)

  1. As ever, my least enjoyable crossword of the week as I have to try and solve it like the quickie, identify the definition and ignore the wordplay which I find largely unintelligible. No failing of the crossword, just me on a different wavelength.
    Such a shame as Sunday is the only day that I really get to enjoy the crossword.
    Thanks Senf and Virgilius, one day I will understand your wordplay.

  2. I’m so frustrated with 19a especially as Senf lists it as a favourite clue. I just can’t tie in what I think the answer is, based on the first half of the clue, with the second half of the clue!

    1. Same here Cathy, everything else fell together nicely but 19a has me flummoxed even after listing out every possible word that could fit. I’ve no idea where that clue is going!

      1. Hello Phisheep, long time no ‘see’ :-) , I think that what the clue is maybe saying is that if this word is added onto the end of several other words it could mean something is lacking but this isn’t always so … !!!!

    2. yes, i feel the word ‘much’ was missed off the end….more generally, I found the SE corner tough and (stupidly) got stuck on 3d…my reaction when i got it was a noise not too dissimilar to the answer!

      1. Thank you to Omar, Rabbit Dave and Mary for putting me out of my misery. I did find it easier with a ‘much’ on the end! Cx

    3. Cathy, “not so” is the definition. If the answer is included as the last part of a word it indicates that something is lacking.

  3. 3* / 5*. Another wonderful crossword from our Sunday Supremo. I found considerable differences in difficulty between the different corners with the NW going in very quickly and the SE putting up quite a fight. The excellent 19a was my last one in.

    19a was my favourite across clue and 14d my favourite down clue with 12a also deserving of a special mention.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  4. A tricky puzzle from Virgilius this blustery morning, but hugely enjoyable as ever. The NW corner held me up and pushed out my solving time, the thoughtful 19a was my last one in and 12a my favourite of many. The double lurker is also worth mentioning in dispatches. Overall 3.5* /5* for me.

    Thanks to Virgilius for another cracking crossword and to Senf.

  5. Great Sunday stuff again. Totally couldn’t see 19a though – grr!

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf (and RD for the 19a hint).

  6. Completed at a trot, except for 19a. I’ve got two possible answers. Heads or tails?

    How many people these days knows what a 6d is? Come back Kent Walton, I say.

    Many Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  7. Like many I couldn’t understand 19a and I can’t see what the words ‘Part of’ are for at the beginning of 16d. Otherwise splendid stuff, ****/*** and favourite 1a. Many thanks as ever to Virgilius andSenf.

  8. I echo many of the comments about 19a I have several possible answers and cant decide which is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    2d and 16d were in early doors and remained in my faves along with the double lurker. Many thanks to Senf for the hints which helped me get the last few. On the whole I was quite slow today but in my defence I was one of those who overindulged at yesterdays bash. It was good to put faces to names and I had a good chat with most people there. I must say that as a mere solver amongst some serious setting and blogging talent I was made to feel most welcome and I even managed to help with Prolixic’s excellent themed puzzles one of which is this weeks NTSPP. Sue’s cake was lovely and so was the company I will make an effort to get to more of next years 10th anniversary. Yesterday was a long day up at 5:30 and not home til midnight but worth every minute and I would encourage other mere mortals that the company is every bit as encouraging in person as it is on the blog I hope to see even more people next time.

    1. Nice to meet you yesterday, JB. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the experience, and look forward to seeing you again.

  9. The trickiest Sunday puzzle for some time I thought. The SW corner lulled me into a false sense of security and suggested a straightforward solve, but the other three corners were much less willing to yield.

    For once, the majority of my ticked clues coincide with our blogger’s selections (hurrah!), namely 7a, 1d, 6d and the exceptionally clever 14d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  10. Above my pay grade today. Really frustrated with myself as I can’t even understand some of the hints, 13d for example. Don’t usually give up but think I’ll come back tomorrow when there might be something for the lesser mortals.

  11. I’m in the decidedly tricky camp today. It took me a while to see how 19a works and I couldn’t isolate the definition regarding 6d. Apart from that clue it was a steady solve but certainly took me longer than usual for a Sunday.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius 4*/4*

  12. Well, this was a real poser, and the pesky four-letter answers the trickiest. I got half of them wrong, and one of the rights was a bungin.
    I put the wrong city in at 25a, this messed up18d, which I never did get.
    I luckily remembered a similar clue for 12a some time ago, this started me off, for which I’m grateful and will nominate for fave as a reward.
    I have to mention 15a and 14d, very clever.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf, needed your hints today.

  13. Even trickier than usual for a Sunday and once more I am left with three clues and no hints! Any help with 4d, 11a and 24d would be much appreciated.
    Managed the rest (just!) but this one was a bit of a killer.
    Thx to all

    1. Brian

      4d Definition: “in proper fashion”. The abbreviation for “area” followed by the side that is “not left”.
      11a Definition: “in notable way”. A word meaning “recruit” (e.g. a footballer) is followed by a synonym for “partner”.
      24d Double definition.

        1. The good news is that we are basically saying the same thing! …

          … but how many alternatives to left are there? :wink:

    2. Brian,
      4d – the definition is in proper fashion – the A from the clue is followed by one alternative to left
      11a – the definition is in notable way – a verb to recruit, often followed by up, is followed by a synonym for a partner or co-worker
      24d – a double definition – the first is to beat thoroughly and the second a pace or speed as in ‘he must have been going at a hell of a **** to end up in the ditch’

    3. Given the ‘rules’ that apply to weekend prize puzzle blogging, here’s a suggestion for you (or anyone else), so that I might be able to offer some help:

      1. If you haven’t already done so, register for a subscription to the DT puzzle web site.
      2. Be up at midnight (UK time) on a Saturday night when the Sunday puzzle becomes available.
      3. Solve (as much of) the puzzle in 75 minutes or less; i.e. before 1:15am (UK time) on Sunday.
      4. Send me an e-mail listing the ones you cannot solve/parse and I will consider including them in the hints which I submit, for delayed publishing, around 3:00am (UK time) on Sunday.

      1. Ditto for the Saturday Hints, except that I dont start to solve the puzzle until about 8:30 am and aim to publish the blog at 10:00 – 11:00 am.

        I’m sure that Senf would agree with me that we try to cover all the difficult clues and certainly don’t deliberately avoid them, but one thing that blogging these puzzles teaches you is that what is easy for one solver can be difficult for another and vice versa.

        1. Agreed, like beauty, it’s all in the eyes (or, with crosswords, the brain) of the beholder!

          Then, I think I have become so attuned to Virgilius’ cluing style that deciding what is ‘difficult’ becomes more of a problem of what clues not too hint on.

    4. Problem for me was that I was fixated on apostrophes. Could not get over that so could not choose between the number of four letter words that would fit! Thank you for the brain-stretching but oddly enough I do not think I would ever have got 3d right.

  14. I am rather surprised that 19a caused such perplexity, since I think it is errorless and not so difficult. There are two elements. One refers to a common suffix that indicates that the noun that precedes it is lacking. The other is a direct synonym. Try the substitution test: last two words of clue + X = answer + X where X is any adjective.

    I hope this (a) helps explain the clue (b) keeps your setter out of the dreaded naughty corner.

    Greetings from Kolkata, and as always, thanks to Senf

    1. Brian, thanks very much for popping in. We are always delighted to “see” our setters. And many, many thanks for your wonderful puzzles every Sunday.

      I thought 19a was an absolutely brilliant clue!

    2. I don’t know why I found today’s so difficult, an off day perhaps.
      I don’t think any of us, particularly those who couldn’t attend rather late birthday parties, mind a tricky puzzle from time to time, and yours are always so enjoyable.
      Enjoy Kolkata and your winter break.

    3. Thanks, Brian, for the clarification of 15a. I can see it now. “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity”.

    4. Thank you sir, that’s the way I saw it. It did not seem to be difficult enough to make the list for hinting (from my perspective) and it was an exceedingly good clue.

      1. re 19A-seems to me that for the word “ultimate” to apply the word would have to be a noun-ie brain/brainless.
        for an adjective brainy/less brainy-the word less is not the ultimate one.
        thought 22D was a very good clue.
        3*/4* for the puzzle.

  15. Tricky blighter that required a lot more head scratching than usual. Worth the effort though. By the way I thought 19a was fine 👍. Thanks to the setter and Senf.

  16. I’m in the very enjoyable and ‘tricky today’ camp and although I was at the birthday bash I didn’t overindulge so can’t blame that.
    I got off to a slow start with very few answers going in after the first read through of all the clues, then had another go.
    Getting the two long across answers started me off and then things improved.
    I particularly liked 7a and 1d. I’m still trying to decide which is my favourite – it’s between 28a for obvious (to me) reasons and 16d because my two are so wonderful.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.
    I’m not sure about this six, six joint favourites malarkey, partly because everyone knows what I think about only having one favourite but also because I think that joint implies two, which is bad enough! :smile:

  17. This was certainly the trickiest crossword I have solved for quite some time! I had a few ‘bung-ins’ but on looking back I’m not sure why they were. 12a and 14d were my top clues and 3/4.5* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius for yet another brilliant challenge, and to Senf for the hints.

  18. This was unusually challenging for a Sunday but it was certainly worth the tussle. Almost got there in the end but three 4-letter answers hung fire and I have to admit I needed help to solve those – 15a, 19a and 24d. Altogether Virgilius gave us a pleasant run for our money – thank you and also to Senf.

  19. A little tricky for Virgilius on a Sunday and as delightful as ever. I sort of saw what was going on with 19ac, but don’t ask me to explain it! :-)

  20. Like many others, l struggled with 19a (l had it right, but had arrived at it by recourse to a desperate guess rather than intelligent analysis of the clue), and am grateful for our setter’s explanation above. I now see it works perfectly and should have been blindingly obvious! Overall, 2*/5*, and my pet clues were 25a, 8d and 22d. Many thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf.

  21. My definite favourite assuming I have it right was 22d. With regard to 4 letter clues I had no problem with 11a and 26d but did not like the others. My d’oh moment wax 6d. Could not get second word until I went through the alphabet. I spent too long on the battle field. Can’t really blame the pint of Doom Bar or the two of IPA on Saturday.

  22. Took quite a while to sort out the 11a recruit and, in company with others it would seem, dithered over 19a until it couldn’t possibly be anything else.
    Have to say that I wasn’t very keen on either 1 or 16d but 12 & 23a rather floated my boat.

    Thanks to Virgilius both for the puzzle and for popping in to explain the workings of 19a and thanks also to Senf for the words and music.

  23. Did not have time to try this yesterday, so gave it a go today.

    Way, way above my paygrade even with the hints.

    Needed a lot of electronic help.

    Thanks to the setter and to Senf.

  24. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. I really enjoyed this one, but found it very difficult. Needed the hints for 13d&19a, I still don’t understand the latter. Last in was 21d, just couldn’t see it, had to use electronic help. Favourite was 6d. Was 4*/4* for me.

  25. I doubt there will be anyone listening this late but to miss a Virgilius is unthinkable. I did have a go at it on the Monday but was stuck with a few clues. I would rather leave it than accept any help because there lies the satisfaction when they eventually reveal themselves together with the genuine wonder at their creation. I thought 1d one of the best 4-letter clues I have seen. ALL clues from this setter are elegant but many are just beautiful so, Brian, if you do see this comment, thank you very much for this and every Sunday. ***/*****

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