ST 2951 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2951 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2951 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg –  where we have had wild swings in maximum temperatures this week – 31 degrees on Monday, 11 degrees on Thursday (fortunately both positive).

A very typical Virgilius puzzle of the usual quality – like last Sunday, some trickiness so not quite benevolent – more than the usual number of anagrams, two lurkers, no homophones, and a couple of answers that have appeared in other puzzles very recently.

Joint favourites –  10a and 22d.

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 Bad clue I had for mathematician (6)
An anagram (bad) of CLUE followed by the contraction of I had.

10a Put writer’s material back in cupboard, tightly bound together (5-4)
A synonym of cupboard containing (put . . . in) liquid writer’s material reversed (back).

11a Demonstrated shiny fabric (5)
When written as (3,2), a synonymic phrase of demonstrated.

14a Not all writers excel in using words sparingly (5)
The second lurker (not all) (the first is 4a) found in the second pair of words in the clue.

18a Stupid constable forgetting name — that impedes progress (8)
An anagram (stupid) of CONSTABLE without (forgetting) the single letter for name.

25a May, for example, organise constituents in her seat (7)
An anagram (organise constituents in) HER SEAT.

28a With skill following route through mountains OK (8)
A single word for with skill (be careful on the unchecked last letter) after (following) a single word for route through mountains.

29a The student, primarily, is presenting research work (6)
THE from the clue, the first letter (primarily) of Student, and IS from the clue.


1d Doctor let a case threaten to get out of control (8)
An anagram (doctor) of LET A CASE.

3d I approach home in tree seriously (2,7)
The ‘collection’ of I from the clue, a synonynm of approach, and a type of home in a tree written per the enumeration.

6d A state in East briefly upset part of India (5)
A from the clue and an abbreviated form (briefly) of an Eastern US state reversed (upset).

7d Test, in chemistry lab, requiring concentration? (7)
The answer relates to measuring the strength of a solution.

9d Arm of Atlantic that’s familiar to Brits surfing? (7,7)
A (tongue in cheek?) double definition – the second relates to watching TV (I think).

17d A river covering one part of US or another (8)
The combination of A from the clue, the single letter for river, and a US state gives another US state.

19d Signs with union’s announcement about end of strike? Right (7)
The announcements in church of an impending union containing (about) the last letter (end) of strikE and the single letter for right.

24d Copies turned up, including one old photograph (5)
A synonym of copies reversed (turned up) containing (including) the single letter for one.

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From 1960, Number One for the Everly Brothers for seven weeks beginning on May 5th:



35 comments on “ST 2951 (Hints)

  1. Thanks Senf, a very enjoyable crossword, and unusually, I was right on wavelength.
    I just got held up for a bit in the NE corner.
    That said, (as alluded to in the hints) I got the last letter of 28a wrong, which only became evident when I tried to submit the crossword. I would be interested to know if there is any way that the last letter can be distinguished from the wordplay, if you get my drift.
    Too many good clues to pick a favourite, but I will anyway, and that is 11a which was my last one in.
    Thanks again Senf and, of course, Virgilius

    1. It was on web site submission that I found out that I had ‘bunged in’ 28a incorrectly, and why I decided to include the ‘warning’ in the hint.

      In answer to your request, it is ‘with skill’ recognising that with skill is an adverbial phrase so an adverb is required for the answer.

      1. Thanks Senf, that makes perfect sense.
        I was misled by thinking that ‘with’ meant add it to the first bit…

        1. Am I missing something here? Yesterday I bemoaned the fact that the app version on y iPad doesn’t highlight errors prior to submission – for Prize ones at least – but it seems from the above comments that the ‘on line‘ version does. What’s the difference? More frustration for me this morning to see that I made yet another typo last Sunday and only got 29/30, so no cigar again. I need a proof reader – even more galling as I used to do some professionallie!

          1. I use the DT Puzzle web site and, for all puzzles, when I select ‘Submit’ it will highlight any incorrect answers and allow correction before selecting ‘Submit’ again. Very useful for me on days when I am blogging.

            But, I think that there is a limit of five incorrect submissions. I am not sure what happens when the limit is reached as I have never got there. Perhaps the laptop/notebook/tablet bursts into flames.

            1. Ah! That’s the difference. It’s a pay site I think. Annoying that I pay as a digital subscriber but don’t get the frills, nor the general knowledge or toughie puzzles. Might have to bite the bullet and fork out!
              Thank you Senf for the explanation.

              1. Whenever the Telegraph send me one of their reader surveys I mention that it would be nice if subscribers to print and digital editions got access to all the puzzles that are in dead tree versions but I think that my pleas fall on deaf ears as they don’t want to lose subscribers to puzzles. I am coming to same conclusion re shelling out for the puzzles too.

  2. I thought that this was easier than usual, but nonetheless very enjoyable. Agree 10A the best.

  3. 2* / 4.5*. Another wonderfully enjoyable Sunday puzzle although it was all over rather quickly.

    As a lapsed chemist, 7d doesn’t work for me as a cryptic definition as the answer leapt out at me rather than being misled by the intended alternative reading of “concentration”.

    Once again the hardest part is trying to select a favourite from so many excellent clues, but I’ll settle for the short and sweet 11a, with an honourable mention for the even shorter 2d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    1. I agree. I instinctively filled in 7d and then thought “Why?”. I think we chemists require a couple of volumes as well as a concentration.
      Nevertheless, yet another wonderful Sunday treat from Mr V.
      Thank you to him and Senf as always

      1. Virgilius isn’t telling us everything you need for this test, just that you definitely require a concentration

  4. Enjoyably completed with just a few hints to finish. The east side was completed on my own but the SW held out the longest mainly trouble parsing 22d. I with RD in picking 2d as fave among many good clues today.
    Re 28a neither the dead tree or android app tell me if I am right until next week but I am hoping “with skill” leads me to an adverb ending.
    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

    1. Have a look at what Senf has underlined as the definition – that should give you the answer.

  5. Short but undoubtedly sweet – another Sunday gem.
    Hard to choose a favourite but if pushed I’d go along with the vote for 11a.

    Hadn’t ever considered the two parts of the US in 17d – silly really when it’s staring you in the face!

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the blog. The Everly Brothers clip amused me – don’t know whether it was simply down to nerves but neither they nor the backing group appeared to be able to raise a smile throughout the entire performance.

      1. There is a significant body of opinion that the pronunciation of the 17d answer is the correct version.

    1. The Everly Brothers.

      Why raise a smile when you’ve been treated so bad?

      It’s a sad song!

  6. Loved this – as always with Virgilius. I look first time and am baffled but then it all unfolds seamlessly. I usually get to the end without much help. Having no university degree ! Thanks to V and Senf.

  7. Another superb puzzle from Virgilius.

    Got very few answers on first pass and thought this was going to be a struggle but it then fell nicely into place.

    Lots of great clues (10a, 25a, 2d, 6d, 8d) – favourite was 17d.


    Thanks to the setter and to Senf.

  8. Yet another Sundae Delight ! So many favourites .

    Record early finish for me as Crete is 2 hours ahead of Wales .

    Hot , sunny , lovely hotel , we are making the most of it and grateful for the Telegraph app especially the puzzles .

    Thanks to everyone .

    C’mon Liverpool must not fail now .

  9. At last a good solve, but it’s a new week! I had trouble parsing 7dn but I also had trouble with it at school! Along with a few other tests in chemistry and physics. I am colourblind … not just red/green which is very common but complete colourblindness. For those new to this it doesn’t mean I can’t see colour, it’s just that in certain situations I cannot ditinguish.

    Anyway back to the crossword – an enjoyable, if not too trying, workout. I liked 25ac and 21dn.

    Thanks setter and Senf.

  10. I was on the right wavelength for this puzzle and managed to complete it without outside assistance…except for the last letter of 28a which Senf warns about.
    As I seem to be in good company as far as that is concerned, I am counting this as a success. Hurrah!
    Not a common occurrence for me on a Sunday, so double hurrah!

    Thanks to the setter for making my day and to Senf, especially for his warning.

  11. Unusually for me I fairly romped through today’s crossword. I feel somewhat cheated! No real standout favourites.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  12. Lovely puzzle, as one expects on a Sunday, and even better because I went back and checked and I did get 28A correct. My favorite is 8A. Thanks to virgilius and Senf.

  13. Really enjoyed this one from Virgilius today, as it required a steady plod and kept me out of mischief for quite a while. However, knowing little about chemistry (having spent my time day dreaming through high school chemistry) 7d is the solitary hold out as even Senf’s hint didn’t help me.

  14. I completed most of this in the early hours of this morning when jet lag was stopping me from dropping off to sleep. I couldn’t get 19d, although I thought it had to be what it was. All was clear this morning when I realised I’d had a dyslexic moment with 26a and two letters were the wrong way round. Apart from that, a very enjoyable solve. Thank you Virgilius and Senf.

  15. As a late contributor this evening I think it has all pretty much been said. Definitely at the easier end of the Virgilian setting spectrum, but as enjoyable as always but perhaps not quite up there with his very best. 10a my favourite and 1* /4* overall.

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  16. Over-anagrammed and a touch prosaic but pleasant enough. N E corner proved to be most challenging. Liked 11a and 29a. Guilty of putting wrong final letter for 28a. Missed parsing for 10a bunt-in. Thank you Virgilius and Senf.

  17. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite straightforward. Favourite was 11a which made me laugh. Up at Skelwith Bridge, wonderful walking weather. Puzzle was 2*/3* for me.

  18. Short and sweet , with the only slight holdup being the last letter of 28a .
    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf .

  19. Enjoyable, and for the most part pretty straightforward. The NE corner was a little more difficult, with 7d an – either you know it, or you don’t. And I didn’t, even with all the checking letters so had to cheat…

  20. A R&W for me which is unusual on a Sunday. Nothing lingered although I think I have the wrong last letter for 28a. I was so sure I was right I never gave it a second thought until I saw the warning after I had finished. 10a and 22d my favourites. Have realised that I circle more for mention when I have taken time to work them out. I did not know the chemistry test but it was easy to work out as was the Brazilian dance. SW last in but only because the route I took got me there last. Thanks Virgilius and Senf

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