ST 2943 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2943 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2943 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg – where, yesterday with glorious sunshine outside, I watched Spurs cruise into the FA Cup semi-finals followed by Stoke City, trying to avoid sliding out of the Premier League, playing, and losing to, Everton in on and off blizzard conditions.

Virgilius in a very tricky frame of mind, I thought – the usual number of anagrams, two lurkers,  but no homophones.

Candidates for favourite – 15a, 27a, 1d, 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 Do it so male suffering cuts becomes poor (6)
Deletion (suffering cuts) of even last letters from the first words of the clue – Oops.

10a Succeeded in college course with marks for reading volumes (9)
A double definition – the second relates to marks on a measuring jug or similar.

12a Elected ruler is protecting pound, creating suspicion (7)
A two letter synonym for elected and a regal ruler containing (is protecting) the single letter used for pound.

15a See bud attached to minute fruit tree (4,4)
A synonym for see (girl or boy friend), a synonym for bud (friend), and the single letter for minute.

18a Neat kind of knitwear for yacht (8)
A synonym for neat and a kind of patterned knitwear.

25a Top man on board is mad, mad, mad liar (7)
An anagram (mad) of MAD and an anagram (mad) of LIAR.

27a I am going to mock about article, making you anxious (3,2,4)
A synonymic phrase for I am going to mock containing (about) one of the indefinite articles.

28a Believe chapter right, ready for publication (6)
A single letter abbreviation for chapter, the single letter for right, and a single word synonym for to ready for publication.


1d Conflict between setters, say — in which one may be shot down (8)
The setters are the four-legged variety and a synonym for conflict.

2d Slow students lack energy, to some extent (7)
The first lurker (to some extent) found in the rest of the clue.

6d Garment of Frenchman or Englishwoman? (5)
A name, with a possessive S (of), that is male in France and female in England.

8d Small, spiteful, absent-minded and disorganized (6)
The single letter for small and a synonym for spiteful gives a synonym for either of the definitions.

9d Instruction for players in part of journey South, perhaps (5,9)
A single word for part of a journey and what South is an example of (perhaps).

17d Determined male will, having become crooked (4-4)
The male pronoun with the abbreviated form of will and a synonym for crooked.

21d Attacker in combat protected by former president (7)
A synonym for combat contained (protected) by a former (never elected) US president.

24d Unorthodox covers top of every country chart? (5)
The second lurker (covers) found in the first word of the clue.

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.

2001: A Space Odyssey, which was released 50 years ago, in April 1968, used some outstanding music, which pre-dated the film by a considerable number of years.  This part of the opening sequence used the Introduction or Sunrise from Also Sprach Zarathustra composed by Richard Strauss in 1896.:



51 comments on “ST 2943 (Hints)

  1. Thanks Senf . My first reaction was one of horror when after 15 minutes I had two answers. However, slowly the brain moved into second gear and I managed to finish but not without much head scratching and far too many bung ins to really enjoy this.
    Looking forward to going through the hints.
    Thanks to virgilius too.

      1. Someone recently said that they did not bother attempt to parse their bung-ins post completion. I find that strange as to me, it is all part of the fun.
        Once I went back, I parsed everything except 3d, Brilliant cluing.

  2. I found this puzzle a bit trickier than the last couple from Virgilius. Lots to enjoy as usual.

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

  3. I too found Mr V more difficult to fathom today and I was slow to get going but as always it turned out to be the usual Sunday treat from him.
    Lots of good clues but my favourite was 25a which I thought was very clever. It took a long time for 5d to become 5d to me but I think I was just being a bit dense. 😫
    Thank you to all involved.

  4. On first pass I too thought this was going to be very tricky but I managed to find a way in. Possibly not quite up to the setter’s extremely high standards but very enjoyable nonetheless.

    COTD = 25a which brought to mind another favourite clue “Good, fish fish fish” (Grayling)

    Many thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  5. Firstly, I wanted to thank everybody for wishing me a Happy Birthday yesterday.
    Secondly, congratulations to the Irish team for winning and commiserations to all the losers.
    Always nice to wake up on a Sunday and tackle another jewel from Virgilius. Certainly clears the brain.
    Only had to check synonyms for scruffs in 22d and learned a new word in the process.
    Loved the construction in 1a.
    Great double def in 10a.
    6d made me laugh. Told you before but I used to receive so many mailshots starting with Miss when I lived in London.
    Favourite 17d. Love the expression.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints.

      1. Thanks, now fixed – I think I must have put the Mouton Cadet away too early yesterday.

  6. Stalled for ages whilst I assumed 6d was an item once worn by Frank Spencer.

    4a finally put that to bed.

  7. This certainly took some teasing out to finish, with the NE corner the last to give up its secrets. As ever on a Sunday, trying to pick a favourite from so many classy clues is somewhat disingenuous, but I will nominate 15a. This was 3.5* /5* for me overall, with many thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  8. I perhaps did not find this as tricky as some today. I find Virgilius puzzles to be great from the aspect that they heavily rely on logic not GK, which often is my downfall! That makes them usually a faster solve than some other setter’s enigmas.

    So extremely enjoyable today.

    Thanks to all for the puzzle and blog.

  9. Similar to others I had very little on first pass but judicious use of the hints got me close. JL helped with a nudge away from maps of the Med towards the BRB for synonyms of scruffs and the last was a semi confident bung in even if not fully parsed. Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.
    COTD 25a the same word used 3 times once as fodder and twice as an anagram indicator was clever. And brought to mind Terry-Thomas in It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

  10. 2.5* / 5*. What else is there to say about Brian Greer’s puzzles but magnificent? My page is littered with ticks. Indeed there is probably a case for ticking every single clue. My double ticks were awarded to 1a, 10a, 25a, 26a, 1d, 3d, 6d & 24d.

    Although I don’t think “citizens” and the answer to 4a are strictly synonymous, the BRB does list one as a definition of the other but not vice-versa.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    1. On 4a – citizens and the answer have complementary (singular) entries in the Little Red Book, and I think the answer has fallen out of use as the use of citizens has become more popular.

  11. I thought this was one of the maestro’s best and, like RD, could make a case for ticking virtually every clue.
    In case you’re wondering, CS, I went straight for the right ‘General’ today!

    My favourite – which doesn’t seem to have figured highly for anyone else – was 5d. Still laughing about it.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for making the difficult choice over which to hint.
    The featured clip was the music I wanted for my walk down the aisle – the church organist refused point blank.

    1. 5d was on my shortlist – the draft review mentions ‘a big smile’ – will that suit??

  12. At the beginning I thought this one would be too tough for me, but little by little I got there in the end, so it was very satisfying. I thought all the clues were first class, with the possible exception of 5d, but I expect I missed something in that one. Excellent Sunday fare as ever. Thank you Virgilius and Senf.

  13. Terrified to write anything today as, having read the red rules over and over, I can’t see how I breached them at all yesterday, so I’ll keep it brief.

    Loved this work of genius as always on a Sunday. Favourite was 25a. Last one in was 22d.

    1. You didn’t do anything wrong yesterday – it was just a request not to discuss the alternative word that so many people appeared to have put in 20d before the review appears on Friday.

      1. I thought both Margaret and I followed BD’s rules to the letter yesterday in not mentioning the alternative word.

        1. I once got a penalty awarded against me for ‘looking like I was going to be offside’. When I complained the ref marched us ten meters back for dissent.

    2. While BD is perfectly entitled to impose rules and restrictions as this is his website they have terrified me to the extent that I have reverted to my former state of lurker.

      1. That’s such a shame, PLR. Everyone’s comments are welcome here as long (as they as they are civil) and you only need to be careful not to give anything away for the prize puzzles. Hence on Saturdays and Sundays you will see in red at the start of the hints: “as this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment”.

        Try not to be put off and do please keep on commenting.

      2. This is the only crossword blog that allows any discussion of active prize puzzles – so asking that you don’t provide any help, beyond the interpretation of the clue, is not a lot to ask.

        When I first started the blog, what I wanted to avoid was idiotic comments along the lines of “Help – in 1 down I have A?B?C?D”. This kind of comment gives away a letter in each of 4 other answers, or does it? Any or all of the letters may be wrong.

        Alternative clues are the worst kind of help as they provide no real help at all.

        If you want to say how much you enjoyed the puzzle in general or certain clues in particular, that’s fine.

    3. I’m sorry -my intention wasn’t to deter comments – just intending to point out to late comers that they shouldn’t put the word quite a lot of people apparently thought of first into a comment on the day.

      I’m not sorry that you’ve all missed the fact that I was trying to get people to come back and comment on a Friday – a rare event most weeks

  14. Very fun puzzle for today! [**/****]
    Is 1a even deletions as you say or just final letter deletion? (Sorry if this counts as extra clues!)
    5d and 25a were my favourites though excellent clues throughout.

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf!

  15. On my first look at the puzzle I seemed to be getting nowhere, not helped by my laptop freezing up for no apparent reason – perhaps it was the snow and arctic conditions? Rebooted, reloaded the Telegraph Puzzle site, and promptly finished in about * time. So take your pick as regards difficulty. Perhaps I can’t think when my computer isn’t? Enjoyable as always from Virgilius, last in was 22d.

  16. What a great puzzle. Very little in on first pass and then gradually filled the grid. Last one in 24D. Excellent, thanks!

  17. Thanks, everybody. I enjoyed the Grand Slam win yesterday, watching in Kells Irish Pub here in Portland (be sure to get in touch, Senf, if you’re ever down this way). I can remember listening to the first Irish Grand Slam in ’48 on the radio. On Wednesday I take a redeye to Connecticut for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, where Richard Rogan, the Times crossword editor, will be giving a talk. And, as Chris Lancaster takes over, one more word of appreciation for our outgoing editor, Phil McNeill.

    1. Thanks very much for popping in, Brian, and for a superb puzzle. It was a great win for Ireland yesterday and a thoroughly well-deserved Grand Slam. Ireland are playing the way that I would like to see England play. The All Blacks had better watch out…

    2. Congratulations to your countrymen, Brian. A well-deserved result playing with guile, intelligence and flexibility which managed to undermine the various threats from teams they faced. pretty impressive. Another extraordinary puzzle again today. Thanks as ever.

  18. Like several others, including HoofityouDonkey, I got very few answers on my first pass. Struggled for a while, but then with Senf’s help, I was able to get going again and even finished over breakfast. Some of the hints were “duh” moments, when I was annoyed with myself for not figuring it out on my own. 3d was one of my first in, and favourite, having run into the different pronunciation over here regularly. So quite enjoyable after all.

  19. I got through this one with Senf help, electronic stuff and asking family various questions. Thank you Senf for explaining why I had to have a certain letter at the end of 6d. I didn’t know where it had come from. I got myself into a right pickle over 9d (my favourite). I had the wrong sort of players. Once I’d put various letters into a word solve and found the answer I could have kicked myself. Thank you Virgilius for today’s challenge and Senf for the review.

  20. Quite a bit tougher than recent Sunday offerings, I felt, so more of a sense of satisfaction when the final answer went in, which in my case was 22d.

    I’m with Jane in thinking that the outstanding clue was 5d, and I’m still laughing as well!

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  21. ****/***. I despaired on first pass. I got there eventually but a lot of bung ins and then parsing to try to justify. This wasn’t my favourite puzzle because it seemed too convoluted. Nevertheless thanks to the setter and Senf for the hints.

  22. Nice combination of fun and cerebration. West gave in first with the beast in the East needing a bit of help including parsing 1a and 10a. Not too keen on 15a. Thank you Virgilius and Senf.

  23. Like several of you, I didn’t have much success on first run. After my abysmal effort yesterday, I began to get seriously worried, but the downs set me off and running. What a difference a day makes, I’m so often right on wavelength with Mr. Greer.
    There’s no competition for fave, 5d was masterful and I loved it. There were so many delightful ones, 25a and 6d, for example, but 5d really tickled my fancy.
    Thanks to Virgilius, self-confidence restored, and to Senf for his hints and pics.

  24. A slow start followed by a slow finish to be honest! 4a and 6d held me up for ages – actually it was the other way round of course. Dim or what?
    Anyway finally got there and 12a was my fave just because I like the word.
    3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  25. great puzzle – slow to start like many others but my excuse was a cracking migraine that slowed me down a lot – it took until this evening when i was feeling better to finally see through the last clues which for me were 8d and 18a (i got the first four letters but took me ages to get the last four – just kept thinking of the feline version of this type of boat!!). Some clues like 5d I got early but couldn’t parse so they stayed out of play until I had all the crossing letters and there was absolutely no doubt!)

    There were lots of great clues – one of my favourites was 27a.

    Thanks to the setter and for the hints though as I seem to be an ‘improver’ cruciverbalist (after all these years) I only needed to use them to check out one or two of the clues i couldn’t parse (eg 10a – I didn’t get the second meaning of this until i looked at the hint)

  26. Only 1* difficulty, but a delight for as long as it lasted, out of which my favourite was the splendidly mischievous 3d. 27a was a cracker too. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf (who, along with others from that neck of the woods, must be vastly amused by the spectacle of The Old Country coping with a couple of inches of snow).

  27. Tramped across the snowy countryside to reach the oasis of the Deer’s Hut pub where I knew I would find warmth, friends, well-kept ales and… crucially, Virgilius waiting. This was a two-beer delight which proved a smooth, satisfying solve from the SE corner anti-clockwise delighting in that Virgillian way.

    As addicted solvers, we are very fortunate to have the dedication of a fine group of extraordinary setters who can turn out quality puzzles which are consistently true to their own style. With our Sunday setter – for myself, at least – there is absolutely another level of clueing in evidence. I regularly do the back-pager of the DT and The Times – the latter being much more variable in difficulty and generally harder and more satisfying to complete. The appeal of cryptics for me is in the smooth ingeniousness of the clues, 11a and 24d today being good examples with playfulness and humour never far away. A good Virgillius (and, are there any bad ones?) is as close to perfection of the art that I have seen in thirty years of solving.

    Virgenious indeed.

  28. Yet another masterpiece, 2*/4*.

    We could have picked about half the clues as favourites. With great difficulty, therefore, we’ve selected just one – 5d gets the nod.

    Many thanks to Senf and Mr. Greer.

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