ST 2947 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2947 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2947 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg –  from where Virgilius can be assured that his position as Sunday maestro is not in danger of being usurped by my alter ego.

After last week’s benevolence, this is one of the trickiest Virgilius puzzles I have experienced in my 15 months of blogging – we have the usual number of anagrams, two lurkers, no homophones,  one triple definition, and double unches.

Candidates for favourite – 23a, 28a, 2d, and 19d.

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 Master criminal better kept in solitary (2,6)
A synonym for better inserted into (kept in) a synonym for solitary.

11a Fail to see people outside art gallery ahead of time? It’s not true (12)
A single word for fail to see and a synonym for people containing (outside) the favourite art gallery, followed by (ahead of) the single letter for time.

16a Cheese ready for case? Not quite (4)
A term for to ready (a team) which can also be used with case with the last letter removed (not quite).

17a Thing baked before church for bishop, perhaps (5)
Something that is baked and one of the abbreviations for church for a bishop made of wood or plastic?

21a Follower‘s record that is holding another back (8)
A type of record and the abbreviation of the Latin for that is containing (holding) another type of record reversed (back).

23a What we see in Copenhagen — Danes’ ulterior motive (6,6)
The second lurker (the first is 10a) – a single word that can be a synonym for what we see in which becomes the lurker indicator for what is in Copenhagen Danes – brilliant.

27a Knew race must be rearranged? Ascot, it could be (8)
An anagram (must be rearranged) of KNEW RACE.

28a Seaside facility at end of quay embraced by business leaders (8)
AT from the clue and the last letter (end of) of quaY contained (embraced) by the collective group of leaders of a business.


2d A player confused about end of overture, such as 1812 (4,4)
An anagram (confused) of A PLAYER containing (about) the last letter (end of) overturE (which the answer has nothing to do with).

3d Spoke disparagingly — steered clear of including corrupt admin (12)
A synonym for steered clear of containing (including) an anagram (corrupt) of ADMIN – a new word for me which required BRB confirmation.

5d What one faces, coming from West Indians’ part of world (4)
A double definition, the first is the direction of travel if one starts in the West.

7d Missing target I had in partnership (4)
For all cricket fans, the contraction of I had contained by (in) a two letter word that indicates a partnership.

12d How attraction may happen in delightful way, securing catch (12)
A single word for in a delightful way containing (securing) a synonym for catch.

16d Part of defence worker used for action in court (8)
A member of the defence in either the round or oval ball game and a synonym for worker.

19d Local in country pub, say, has unfinished nasty drink (8)
A synonym for nasty with last letter removed (unfinished) and a type of beer.

24d Tie up and cut off weed (4)
The triple definition – check the picture.

25d Suit, for example, in card game, turned over (4)
A card game reversed (turned over).

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Born in Cardiff on this day in 1944, this was Dave Edmunds’ only Number One hit over Christmas in 1970 (it was first recorded by Smiley Lewis (who, along with Chuck Berry and others gets an honourable mention about half way through) in 1955):



41 comments on “ST 2947 (Hints)

  1. I agree with Senf about this being at the trickier end of the setting spectrum. It also, to my mind, contained one of the best clues I have come across in many years, the peerless 23a, which was my clear favourite. I run out of superlatives describing these Sunday puzzles, so I will just rate it as 3* /5* and offer my thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  2. A steady solve today which I found to be fairly straightforward.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius 2*/4*

  3. I can only echo everything YS said – absolutely brilliant! Very many thanks to all.

    PS I was confused by what Senf said about there being no homophones because there was one, but on checking I see that a couple of the clues on the iPad version are different to above.

    1. Your PS is interesting, that seems to be happening more often recently. I get the puzzle from the official(?) puzzle web site. Does the dead tree version have any differences today?

      1. 11a 17a 18a 23a are different between my android app and dead tree version. Won’t say more for fear of naughty step. 11 and 17 appear IMO to be better in the app and 18 and 23 better in the dead tree. I hope the “editing” of clues gets ahead of publication soon as I think it better for bloggers setters and solvers if we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.

  4. No problems here beyond spotting an anagram indicator that wasn’t!
    For some reason I did know 3d – must have turned up in crosswordland before as it’s not a word I’ve heard anyone use.

    The usual superb standard from the Sunday maestro who excelled himself with 23a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the blog – I’m surprised that the lad from Cardiff had even one hit record!

  5. I thought this was one of the best I have seen from Virgilius; sheer excellence!

    Many thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf.

  6. A few fizzers to cheer up a dreich day in Devon. I thought that “ready for case” in 16a was a way of saying “instruct a barrister”. Thanks to Virgilius and the galloping Senf.

  7. An excellent brain stretch for a Sunday morning with some brilliant clues. Last one in for me was 3d – a new addition to my vocabulary but the only possible outcome in the end! Difficult to pick a COTD but will plump for 23a. Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  8. I found this very tricky, but got there in the end with the help of the BRB for 3d which I had never heard before. Still not entirely happy with ‘section of plane’ in 26a, but I’ll just have to wait to see what others think. Thanks as always to Virgilius and Senf.

    Agree that 23a is brilliant.

      1. Thank you Jane. I think I’ve thought of the correct type of plane, but perhaps I was just being pedantic – not unusual!

  9. I thought the Copenhagen clue was Wonderful, wonderful.

    Senf, I thought that the “partnership” in 7d was to do with a certain card game rather than a two letter word.

    Thanks to all.

  10. I’m with Stan on the partnership in 7d.

    I didn’t find this too difficult, apart from 3d. I was trying to get the wrong “steered clear of” into the anagram.

    The plane in 26a took some time to materialise, but I got there in the end.

    My COTD was 28a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  11. 4* / 6*. I make no apologies for awarding 6* for enjoyment for this puzzle for which Virgilius has surpassed his own magnificent standard. Yes, it was more difficult than normal but it was fun, fun, fun all the way.

    3d was a new word for me.

    None of the clues would be disgraced by being labelled as favourite. I actually awarded double ticks to many: 1a, 17a, 21a, 2d, 12d, 16d, 17d & 24d with rarely seen triple ticks given to 15a & 5d. However, even these were usurped by my favourite …
    … 23a

    Many, many thanks to Virgilius. Thanks too to Senf and also to (I assume) BD for the Dave Edmunds’ clip, which brings back some wonderful memories. My particular favourite track of his is this one:

    1. No – all the musical video ‘footers,’ even the terrible ones, are selected and inserted by me (I suppose I could blame Moutarde for the terrible ones).

  12. Lovely puzzle from Virgilius as usual with some excellent hinting and musical interludes from Senf. It was interesting to note the differences between versions of the same puzzle.
    I can’t argue with 23a as COTD but plenty of other great clues too 2d 6d 19d 27a 28a 13a all up there too.

    1. Spotted your new moniker yesterday – wonder how long it will take before the earworm goes away………..

      1. Sir Linkalot dubbed me with that when we were discussing Grand National tips. I imagine he has the same earworm.

  13. One of the best Virgilius puzzles of recent memory, full of so many wonderful constructions, even if my repetition radar did bleep at one point.

    My hardest task was not the solving of the puzzle but whittling down my list of ticked clues to just four, but I’ve gone for 1a, 15a, 23a and 2d in the end.

    I knew 3d but in its more general meaning rather than the definition here.

    Many thanks to Mr Greer and to Senf.

    1. I thought you turned your repetition radar off on Sundays – you missed a couple in the previous two Sunday puzzles

  14. Brilliant stuff from Virgilius, best Telegraph puzzle in yonks. I didn’t find this to be too tricky, apart from 3d that is which was most definitely new to me and where I needed all of the checking letters. Favourite clues 23ac and 15ac.

  15. I agree with everyone else that this was a brilliant crossword, that it was a bit trickier than usual and that 23a was the best of the lot.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  16. I found the top half very benign, except for 3d for which I needed electronic help, but the bottom half was very, very tricky.
    I think Rabbit D said it all, I can’t remember a better clue than 23a! Superb.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints and pics.

  17. 23a clue of the week .15a is up there too , though easier to get than 23a .
    Thanks to V and senf .

  18. Much trickier than usual for a Sunday. The outstanding clue for me was 23a. Brilliant! Thanks to Senf and Virgilius for a real mental workout.

    I have no doubt the Kinder Morgan pipeline will get the go ahead today but I just wish they refined the oil sands in Alberta before they pipe it to BCs coast – a bitumen spill is so much worse than an oil spill. And I note they don’t want to run the pipeline through Quebec – Mr Trudeau’s locale. That’s enough politics for today.

    1. I so agree with you. We’re going to ruin our own habitat and once it’s gone, it takes a hundred times more effort to restore it.

  19. Not seen a better clue than 23a for a long time.
    Like others have said, superb crossword the bottom was a struggle but I got there.
    Thanks all.

  20. For me 23a was possibly not just clue of the day, but clue of the month – brilliant. A new word learned in 3d, but otherwise a very straightforward and enjoyable Sunday puzzle. Thanks to all concerned.

  21. Well I’m glad not to be alone in having found this a very real challenge and have to admit to having relied on much outside assistance. Nevertheless I enjoyed it thanks in part to a day of family celebration and all that involves. My Fav (9a) was for me among a few pleasantly mild cryptic clues. Thank you Virgilius and Senf.

  22. I thought yesterday’s was tough, but this one is decidedly tricky. I still have 4 holdouts which I hope might fall into place after a cuppa later.

  23. Only just out of 1* difficulty – it was only 3d (a word l derived correctly but have never heard of) that took me into 2* time – but as interesting a solve as always. 16d was my favourite, although mine certainly didn’t work that well this morning. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  24. A humdinger. Quite a hard humdinger. Took me a while to get a toe-hold. When I found one I struggled a bit, found another in an opposite corner. The cup of coffee went cold and I put it down finished it before lights out. 28a was my man of the match.
    I remember a V puzzle about a year ago that I thought was my all-time best from this setter but this one has to be as good. Bravo!
    ****/****** – yes, 6. Well, if RD can…
    Thanks to virgenious and senf.

  25. Thank goodness for Senf’s consoling remarks. I have Never had to turn to Big Dave for so many blank spaces since I first started doing crosswords at my mother’s knee – and that was Many decades ago. My thanks to you and to Senf – but I’ll restrict my sentiments towards Virgilius to congratulations on 23 across!

  26. What a humdinger of a crossword! Even better then usual it has to be said.
    23a was brilliant. 3/5* overall.
    Thank you Virgilius for the challenge, and to Senf for the hints and music.

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