ST 2952 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2952 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2952 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg –  where, after some very welcome rain on Thursday and Friday – especially for those fighting the wild fires in the province, we have a holiday weekend to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 199th birthday although, as I have said before, I don’t think the average Canadian needs a reason to break out the burgers, hot dogs, and beer on any late spring or summer weekend.

Virgilius as excellent as ever, although I found this one very tricky – less than the usual number of anagrams, one lurker, and two homophones.

Candidates for favourite –  7a, 25a, and 5d.

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 A whistle-blower singularly shod? Not so (8)
A from the clue and the short form of a match official contained by a single item of footwear.

11a We are prone to absorb blow as harmless deception (5,3)
A two word equivalent of we are prone containing (to absorb) a synonym of blow.

12a Disorderly march cancelled — is even changing into friendly campaign (5,9)
An anagram (disorderly) of MARCH, a synonym of cancelled, and an anagram (changing into) of IS EVEN.

17a Deliberately lost to the other side, as stated (5)
The first homophone (as stated) of a single word for to the other side (the second is 19a).

20a How pieces of chintz are ordered — or almost! (14)
A description of the arrangement of the letters in chintz or almost.

23a Foreign citizen producing articles about part of UK (8)
Indefinite and definite articles containing (about) two letters for part of the UK.

28a Moron I’ve confused who will swallow anything? (8)
An anagram (confused) of MORON I’VE.


1d Part of foot that may be painful in dance (4)
A double definition – see the illustration for the first.

2d Flip ingredient in pub one’s unable to choose? (6)
An ingredient in a type of drink (flip) contained by (in) a synonym for pub.

4d Kindly include head of government in African country (6)
The first letter (head of) of Government contained by (include . . . in) a West African country.

5d Only Conservative is above criticism, ultimately, for bad behavior (8)
A synonym for only, the single letter for Conservative, IS from the clue, and the last letter (ultimately) of criticisM.

13d Women having fun with jolly fellows around new piano (3,7)
A single word for jolly fellows who might be members of a (pirate?) crew containing (around) the single letters for n and piano.

16d Manipulation of figures elevated favourite — be curious about it (8)
A single word for be curious containing (about it) synonyms for elevated and favourite.

18d Western criminal paid to kill American poet (7)
The single letter for Western and a single word for a criminal paid to kill.

26d Noble, sooner than should be the case, ending like that (4)
A single word synonym of sooner than should be the case which has the last letter deleted (ending like that).

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75 years (and 3 days) ago, 617 Squadron of the RAF completed its first operational mission attacking the key dams in Germany.  Memorialised in book, film, and music, here is the Dam Busters March composed by Eric Coates and played, including a choral finale, by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra (very appropriate given the Commonwealth complement in the Squadron’s aircrew):

The words of the choral finale can be found here

Interestingly, as outlined in the Wikipedia article, the march was not a specially commissioned piece, it was just ‘something’ that Eric Coates had completed shortly before being approached by the film’s producers.


34 comments on “ST 2952 (Hints)

  1. Struggled with the NW corner today. Found it tougher than yesterday and no real favourites but enjoyable nonetheless. Needed a clue for 2d. Thanks.

  2. Well, this corner of North West England has one chap with a smug little face on today. I finished this easily in ** time, and was only briefly held up in the NW corner, because I had misconstrued 7a.

    Time for a rewarding cuppa in the garden.

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  3. Another one I couldn’t do for toffee.

    Thanks to Senf for the much needed hints, to my electronic device and to Virgilus.

  4. Even after a Ray T Thursday, I thought this was the wittiest of the week. Thanks to all involved. I never knew the music was written by Eric Coates. We live and learn.

  5. Another Sunday, another fine offering from the maestro.
    Took me a while to parse the obvious answer to 7a – how dim is that – and pennies fell aplenty before I arrived at the correct manipulation of 16d.
    6d is not in my regularly used vocabulary so that was another that required a bit of thought but all in all the puzzle was completed in a respectable time.

    The women having fun rather appealed so that gets my vote for the day.

    Thanks to Virgilius and also to Senf for the blog, particularly the rendition of the RAF march – always brings a tear to my eyes. Don’t eat too many burgers and hot dogs today!

  6. As others this was a relatively easy Sunday offering and I too was held up a bit in the NW and needed a hint for 7a and 2d. Thanks to Senf for putting me on the right path and thanks to Virgilius too for his usual excellence.

  7. I didn’t find this particularly easy and was staring at a blank NW corner until I’d tumbled 7ac – that seemed to be the gateway for solving the rest of the clues there.

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

  8. 3* / 5*. Simply wonderful, with a bit of a fight in the NW corner taking me up to my 3* time. 7a was my last one in and favourite, joined on the podium by 12a & 20a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  9. Wow, tough but great fun.
    Could anyone explain the Quickie pun? Must be looking at it wrong.

  10. 7a had me beat. Thanks Senf, I went through every type of whistle-blower but the right one. D’oh! So it has to be top clue I suppose.
    The rest made for yet another terrific Sunday crossword.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for sorting me out.
    And hi Brian, good to see you back.

  11. Very enjoyable , 20a favourite , 5d new word for me but gettable .

    Busy day , just back from hols , but finished ok during tea and coffee breaks .

    Thanks to every one .

    PS finished yesterday’s on plane home but disappeared from iPad overnight so had to fill in again today to submit .

  12. Still struggling to see what 3d should be. I have the two across letters, unless I’m mistaken and I’m sure I’m not, but can’t seem to get the gist of this one.

    OK. I’ve sussed it! Just going down garden to water the runner beans, and it hit me!

    Otherwise an excellent puzzle again and I did like 20A Very clever.

    1. Welcome to the blog Blair

      On here that flash of inspiration is often referred to as Gnomey’s Law, as Gnomethang was the first to identify it.

      1. Thanks for the welcome. I’ve been using your site for some time now, but this is the first time I’ve felt the need to make a comment. Keep up the good work, all of you. Many thanks for the past assistance.
        I usually submit the two DT/ST competition puzzles electronically, but have never won anything, but I did win a DT Fountain Pen in the Bert Danher Trophy competition in Liverpool many years ago, and it’s a prized possession.

  13. Very enjoyable Sunday offering but very tricky for me, like others the NW corner was my hold up. I needed the hint for 2d, very clever that.
    Fave was the whole puzzle, can’t choose just one.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints. Like you, we are having a very wet week in South Florida, much needed after months of drought,

  14. Not sure if this has happened to anybody else but when I went to this puzzle on the online version it claimed I had already played it and the grid was filled in with answers from an earlier puzzle – but the clues agreed with Big Dave’s version.

    1. Were they the answers to this puzzle? I think the puzzles site got today’s number mixed up (2592 instead of 2952) and so they overwrote an earlier puzzle.

      1. What I found was that the puzzle number was wrong, the online puzzle was the one associated with the wrong number but with today’s clues, and the pdf version had the correct puzzle but with the wrong number. Perhaps the editor can sort it all out.

        1. That makes sense. I didn’t pursue it – just a little strange to see the grid filled in with answers that were totally different from the clues.

          1. Welcome to the blog Spender Dave

            Today the problem has only been partially resolved – my grid still has the answers from puzzle 2592 and puzzle 2592 has disappeared.

  15. Another predictably high quality offering from Virgilius 😆

    17a was LoI due to my having mucked up 14d with a similar word. Interestingly, the print version had a different (and IMHO) more difficult clue for 17a than the online version. Strange.

    As usual, plenty of great clues but 16d was the winner, just shading 2d.

    Thanks to the setter and to Senf who I hope is a few beers and burgers to the good by now.

  16. On the tricky side, say *** for difficulty. Last in 20ac which elicited a loud groan when I spotted what was going on.

  17. Well that was a battle and, like Ora Meringue, I relied heavily on help from my electronic device for several parsings (not “parkings” as per Spellcheck!). Nevertheless it was certainly worth the hassle. I’m with Jane in always being moved by the Dambusters (not “Adam busters” as Spellcheck came up with!) March. 2d appealed when the penny dropped. Thank you Virgilius and Senf.

  18. Yet again a very late comment from me.
    I thought this was difficult and today’s excuse is that I didn’t start it until a long time after my usual one so I’m very out of routine.
    Like others I also thought the top left hand corner was the trickiest – don’t start me on norths, souths, easts or wests – they just complicate things for me.
    Another really good crossword so thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints.

    1. How is grandson? He must be starting to do all the interesting things now, keeping everyone busy.

  19. Neat puzzle if a little tricky in parts. My standout favourite was 20a. Thanks to the setter and Senf for the hints. Jet lag setting in so time for a nap.

  20. Only just had a chance to get back to this today, but brain must have been working on the gaps because now it all filled in nicely. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf for a great puzzle. It put up a good fight, and was satisfyingly challenging without being impossible, at least for me. Last in was 23a. Fave was probably 9a.

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