ST 2950 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2950 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2950 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg –  where, I can’t believe I’m saying this, we need some rain.  Since March 1st we are at about 50% of average rainfall and there have already been a number of wildfires and the risk is increasing.

Virgilius has provided a puzzle of the usual quality – like last Sunday, some trickiness but not quite benevolent – back to the usual number of anagrams, two lurkers, a partial homophone, and a couple of crickety clues, all in 28 clues.

Joint favourites – 14a and 11d.

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 Hit an alien, given new order to destroy (10)
An anagram (given new order) to start of HIT AN ALIEN.

9a Behaviour that’s becoming odd — almost lure into trap at first (7)
A one word synonym for lure into trap with the last letter removed (almost) before (at first) a synonym of odd.

14a King Edward, for example, as source of pessimistic law(6)
An informal synonym for what a King Edward is a type of.

15a Exhausted layabout (8)
A double definition, although the BRB shows enumeration of (4-4) for the first one.

22a Beyond doubt, accomplished by popular argument against trial (13)
A charade made up of (accomplished by) a popular synonym for popular, a term for argument against, and a synonym of trial.

24a Communication from John or Paul, say, in English post (7)
The ‘honorific’ of a particular John or Paul contained by (in) the single letter for English and a synonym of post.

26a Bomb in military vehicle (4)
A double definition, the first describes not doing very well.

27a Where countdown begins before social gathering for those present (10)
Two words that indicate where a countdown begins and a type of social gathering.


1d Assistant‘s brainwave, moving article from bottom to top (4)
A synonym for brainwave with the indefinite article at the end moved to the front (from bottom to top).

3d Animal, one of particular colour, seen in tree (5,8)
A four legged animal, a term for one of those animals that is brown.

4d Creates boundary — in length, it’s under one mile (6)
The single letters for length, one, and mile and ITS from the clue at the end (under).

7d Male left in pit in lowest level for shift, for instance (7)
The male pronoun and a type of pit containing the single letter for left.

11d Person consulted expressing no interest, as some might say (8,5)
A synonym of expressing and a homophone (as some might say) of a term that indicates having no interest.

16d Blue during fall, after last of deciduous leaves (8)
A synonym of during and a synonym of fall with the last letter of deciduous removed (after . . . leaves).

21d Like cliché about phosphorus being important element in diet (6)
An adjective that might describe a cliché containing (about) the chemical symbol for phosphorus.

23d Some swimming energetically in part of pool (4)
One of the lurkers (some), the other is 17a, in the second and third words of the clue.

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For Miffypops, before he has to recharge his mobile phone, and all Abba fans who can’t wait for the new recordings to be released later in the year –  after winning Eurovision in April 1974, Number One for two weeks starting on May 4th, 1974:



39 comments on “ST 2950 (Hints)

  1. 3* / 5*. Nicely challenging with all the usual Sunday fun.

    Full marks to our esteemed setter for putting “as some might say” to qualify the non-homophone in 11d!

    Podium positions go to 14a, 19a & my last one in 16d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  2. A super Sunday puzzle. I am always encouraged by solving 1a quickly. 14a is very clever, my fav though is 23d, made me scratch my thinning hair. Thank you Senf and the setter.

  3. Not sure how it’s possible to take so long over 14a when all the checkers are in place but I managed it! Must be the hot weather getting to me.

    Like RD, my last one in was 16d and that joins the afore-mentioned 14a and 11d on the podium.

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf – how kind of you to be so considerate towards MP.

  4. Shan’t do till later as on Fosse Way en route for Cotswolds. Near Long Itchington which I think is Miffypop territory. Not sure whether you run a pub MF or just frequent one! Either way if you tell me which it is we may call in on way back

    1. You will find St Sharon and MP behind the bar in The Green Man in Long Itchington.

    2. MP could be busy playing mine host right now so here’s the info:-
      The Green Man, Church Road, Long Itchington, CV47 9PW.

      Enjoy your trip to the Cotswolds.

    3. MP is busy avoiding serving anybody. We have three Morris Dancing sides at the pub dancing in the road and stopping the traffic. You will be most welcome WW. Thanks for the clip Senf. I have an unopened Abba Greatest Hits in my pile of unopened CDs.

      1. Consulting my trusty Long Itchington calendar, surely even you must have to serve people when it is the beer festival?

        1. The staff have not got the time to re-train me. I am better off outside drinking.

          1. No. Unfortunately not. I sat at the table nearest the gate from about 5.30pm with the father of three of my staff and another couple. Weekendwanda’s term ‘very busy’ is worthy of RayT as a stretched synonym. I did pull six pints of beer though. Three at the beginning of the day to three chaps who arrived early before the staff came on and three at about nine pm. One of which was mine.

            1. Pity as my husband thinks BD’s crossword club are a myth or a euphemism, but good fun anyway. Enjoyed the beer. Had two pints of pale ale. Did catch one glimpse of St Sharon taking in some empties. Thanks Senf and Jane for the directions.

  5. I got the grid filled in *** time, but sorting out all the parsing took a while longer, I’ll blame that on this awful weather. (We did get a bit of respite at about 11:10am when a cloud came over).

    In fact, on checking Senf’s hints, I parsed one wrongly, so COTD for me has to be 24a.

    Many thanks to one and all.

  6. Another nicely testing exercise which included a couple of penny-drop moments after temporary hold-ups particularly in the SE. Wonder whether 7d will readily occur to the males of the species! Joint Favs 14a and 18d. Many thanks Virgilius and Senf. Phew is it ever warm/hot in the sunshine.

  7. 11 d clue of the week ,at the very least .
    That was fun , thanks to V and Senf .

  8. ***/****. day at sea so nothing to prevent my contributing providing the satellite link and wifi hold up. Very enjoyable fare with some crackers – my favourite was 11d. Thanks to Virgilius nd Senf.

  9. Oh dear, not doing well this weekend.
    Needed a lot of electronic help as well as Senf’s hints.

    Thanks to the setter and to Senf.

  10. I thought that, as usual, this was a super puzzle, same as I say every Sunday. After my spectacular belly flop yesterday, this was an especially delightful solve, needing electronic help for only 8d.
    I keep getting sidetracked here and I can’t remember my fave, having finished well over an hour ago, but I’ve got a tick by 14a so that must be it. So much good stuff, seems a bit unfair to single out just one.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf. I love ABBA, so thanks for the clip.

  11. Two in a row, another great puzzle like yesterday. Took me a while as I went down the wrong road with blue, plain and singing, but once the penny dropped (after an iced latte) all fell into place. Thanks to setter and to Senf for the hints. 1a was first in, but do confess I had to check my spelling despite it being an anagram. No excuse now not to return to tidying up,the garage…

    1. Me too with spelling! That’s another of “those” words that I know to check before writing in.

  12. All good fun (tho not that keen on 15a for the reason given by Senf, but only a minor quibble) – otherwise fair and the right level of challenge (for me) + like others, v much enjoyed 11d….

  13. Late attempt today due to flying visit to family in a very hot Amesbury. Completed In a reasonable time with 11d as odds on favourite. For me ***/** .Thanks again to everyone and welcome to Summer .
    Some years ago won the £50 prize and invested in a electric blanket which gained me lots of brownie points . Back in cupboard today much to wife’s regret !
    Well done Cardiff City .

  14. I had a little trouble at the close on 15ac, but the rest went in without too much ado. Nothing to complain about, top marks as always from Virgilius.

  15. 14a floated my boat in this terrific crossword from Virgilius. 4.5* overall.
    Thanks to The Man, and to Senf for the hints… a shame you used 14a!

  16. A mixed bag for me. Did not like 26a as did not know the first meaning. Could not find the synonym for trial in 22a if I have it right. Could not get 16d. Liked 12 and 27a and 11 13 and 18d. Low turn out of comments. Is it the weather?

    1. 22a – you may have done exactly what I did initially and not split your answer into enough parts to get the full parsing.

      1. Thank you Jane. You were right – that is exactly what I did/didn’t do

  17. I didn’t like this and I’m still stuck. 24 across I have the answer even though I still can’t see why apart from the ‘E’. 19a I have an answer that makes sense but it doesn’t fit with 8d which I think I also have a answer for. And I don’t have 6a although I think it ends in ‘S’. Please help !

      1. 24a. Think of who John and Paul were (not the Beatles). You have the first letter. You need a four letter word to go round what John and Paul were. I think you may have the four letter word in your answer. The word is one of the definitions for post but not one you would probably come across in every day life.

        1. Aha thank you at least I had right word. Now just 8d and/or 19a to understand :)

  18. Golf and too much rose (not at the same time) meant I didn’t get to this until Bank Holiday Monday.

    Another puzzle from the top drawer from Virgilius. Lots of great clues including 2 good lurkers but my 2 favourites were 7d and 11d.


    Thanks to the setter and to Senf.

  19. I, too, was busy yesterday helping with a “Day out with Thomas” on a local railway. So, today, I enjoyed the puzzle and only stalled on 16d. I was convinced “blue” was unhappy and forgot the dubious humour bit. Such a pure mind!

      1. Your comment went into moderation as you changed your alias (no spaces between the three words) – both should work from now on.

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