ST 2953 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2953 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2953 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg – where we need a lot more rain than we have had so far this spring, wild fires have caused the evacuation of residents from remote Northern communities by float plane or Air Force Chinook and Hercules.

Another brilliant, or should it be def, and enjoyable offering from the Sunday maestro in a benevolent frame of mind – the usual number of anagrams (including partials), two lurkers, and two homophones, all in 27 clues.  It was quite difficult to decide what clues to hint/not to hint on.

Joint favourites –  21a and 9d.

Congratulations to The Cottagers from SW6, back in the Premier League!

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 Happy after pawn’s taken in game (6)
A synonym for happy after the single letter for pawn.

10a In first act, I carefully established plan for play (6)
The first lurker (in . . . established) found in four of the words in the clue.

13a Aim to irritate people ahead of time, creating hazard (12)
Synonyms for aim, irritate, and people, followed by (ahead of ) the single letter for time.

16a Setting English novelist, as announced, for part of course (7,5)
A synonym of setting and the first homophone (as announced) of an English novelist – I can’t help thinking that there might be some comments on this one.

21a This part of body is in foot? Yes and no (4)
IS from the clue contained by (in) the abbreviation for foot.

23a Celebrated British rugby player transformed side (8)
A member of the touring British rugby team followed by an anagram (transformed) of SIDE.

25a Lead, perhaps, holding end of mission in mind (6)
What lead is an example of containing (holding) the last letter (end of) of missioN.


1d Deeply significant, as expert discovered (8)
A three letter synonym for expert and a synonym for discovered.

3d Writer having half a fish for breakfast, then another (7)
The first half of a fish that is often eaten for breakfast followed by another fish common in crossword land.

6d Fight opponents at bridge with noble monarch (9)
Two of the opponents in that card game, a nobleman, and Her Majesty’s regnal cipher.

9d Small weapon for jet fighter? (5,6)
A type of weapon that discharges a jet of liquid.

15d One thing female tries to dispose of on beach? It’s hard to say! (8)
One of the items that a female is trying to dispose of in a tongue twister (hard to say).

18d Supporter in camp is fellow central European? (3,4)
A synonym of fellow and the second lurker (central) in European.

26d Deceptive move by boxer that’s weak, we hear (5)
The second homophone (we hear) of a synonym of weak.

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Cilla Black was born on this day in 1943 (as Priscilla White).  This is the first of her two number ones from 1964:


29 comments on “ST 2953 (Hints)

  1. A typically enjoyable and high quality offering from Virgilius this stormy morning. Lots of his trademark concise clues, humour and cleverness came together to produce another Sunday masterpiece. I will pick 9d as a favourite although it could have been any of the 27 clues on offer. 2* /5* from me overall.

    Thanks to Virgilius for cheering up this very wet morning here in the Marches, and to Senf.

  2. That was such a pleasant way of putting off gardening. There was certainly a sporty trend to the clues which may not please everyone. I have little knowledge of the sport concerned however I was aware of 8a if not 21d. Failed to parse 15d but with Senf’s help it became my Fav. Dry and muggy in West Sussex at present. Thank you Virgilius for the fun and Senf for help as above.

  3. Can also vouch that dry and muggy here in west sussex as down here visiting parents. Have got the long drive back to the Midlands this afternoon hopefully dodging the thunderstorms. Last one in 21 (thanks for hint) and 20a (every other letter and an anagram and still cant see it). Thanks as always for hints and tips – love the blog

    1. 20a – in typical Virgilius’ style, ‘certain fashion’ is doing double duty as an anagram indicator and with ‘or not’ as the definition.

    2. It was stymied by me putting 14d in with a typo. As It was a down clue I could not spot the error.

  4. Another crossword with the enjoyability factor almost off the scale.
    Smooth, clever with plenty of smiles. Perfect with a Sunday cuppa in bed. Thank you Mr Greer and to Senf for the duties.
    It seems our blue tits decided to postpone fledging after the rain last night. it must be getting cramped in there though.

  5. Not much chance of gardening here as it’s been tipping down last night and this morning. Never mind, the puzzle was a pleasure and thanks for the hint for 15d. I’d have been here until Christmas without it, even with all of the checkers in.

  6. Got myself into a bit of a pickle over 1a where the synonym used in the wordplay is not one that I’m comfortable with – although the BRB doesn’t have the same problem. Can’t think of an instance where I would use one in place of the other.
    Then I started looking for the ‘game’ – including the one that utilises part of the answer!
    Ho hum – just as well the remainder of the puzzle was fairly plain sailing!

    Agree with Senf over top clues and would also include the lady on the beach.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the blog. Can’t help thinking that the lady lighting up behind Cilla would be airbrushed out in this PC world – or asked to leave!

  7. An entertaining Sunday puzzle from Virgilius as usual.

    Clue of the day for me was 18d because of the “central European”.

    20a I wouldn’t have any idea what to underline as the definition. An anagram (in certain fashion) of HAT IN STYLE … but what else?

    Loved Cilla but Sheridan Smith is even better

    1. I ‘sort of’ explained it in my response to sunny_h at Comment 3. I will await with interest to see how crypticsue or gnomethang decodes it in the review in 11 days time.

  8. Wet start weather wise but very sunny on the crossword front yet again .

    Played bowls at 11am , finished the crossword by 1030 and then finished off our opponents on the green without getting too wet .

    Hard to pick a favourite but had to smile at 18d when I realised the misdirection and parsing .

    Felt sorry for the unfortunate Liverpool goalie last night but it was only a matter of time until his Teflon moment arrived .

  9. Wow, that was tough. Tougher for me than any Sunday I can ever remember.
    Some really clever clues that tax the grey matter.

  10. Still struggling to finish this one. Pouring down here, and had been for more than 2 weeks, and next week’s forecast is more of the same. Poor holiday makers. I like rain, as it is usually a respite from the sun and heat, but even I am getting really fed up with this now. Back to the crossword.

  11. 18d was my top clue in this top crossword from Mr Greer. Some lovely stuff, and like Jane I quibbled a bit about ‘happy’ in 1a but the BRB soon sorted that out!
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the review.

  12. In Edinburgh for the weekend where the haar is down and the castle looks misty and mysterious.

    Needed a little electronic help with this one, but that is not unusual for me on a Sunday.

    Excellent crossword as usual from Virgilus.

    Thanks to Senf for the hints which I needed for the parsings, and to the Sunday setter.

  13. Another quality puzzle from Virgilius. Enough to stretch the little grey cells. Thanks to all.

  14. The usual quality puzzle from Virgilius. I think I’ve got 1ac which was the only question mark I had. I’ll wait for the review to clarify lest I’m banished to the NC.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius 2*/4*

  15. As ever, the least enjoyable crossword of the week as too much of the wordplay is unfathomable to me.
    Completed but looking forward to tomorrow.
    Thanks all.

    1. I’m sure you’ll be able to parse the majority of it if you’re able to fill the grid.

      Wondering if you ever have a go at the Everyman in the Observer on a Sunday to be found on the Guardian’s puzzle page? I thought today’s was pretty accessible and well worth a go if you haven’t already.

  16. Not a regular with the Sunday puzzle but found this very entertaining and enjoyable with lots of clever clues to unravel. Took a bit to get on the right radar and got held up with quite a lot of clues, but completed after a fair amount of head scratching. 4a last in for no real reason. Thought some of the anagrams were excellent. A good work out and pleased to have completed.

    Clues of the day: Lots to like such as 8a / 23a / 9d / 18d

    Rating: 3* / 4*

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  17. This one was right up my street. I have circled lots of favourites, 3D,9d,15d,18d, 16a and 20a. I just liked all of it. Thank you Senf and Virgilius. Maybe I’m just in a happy mood. The blue tits fledged at 7.35 this morning and it was a delight to see. They are now in the orchard behind the house. No doubt mum and dad are teaching them to forage for caterpillars, although I believe that they will still be dependent on mum and dad to feed them for another couple of weeks.

    1. I’m so pleased to hear that the Blue Tits fledged successfully, Florence. I remember watching an episode of Springwatch where a woodpecker, having once found the nest, lurked in the nearby trees to pick off the youngsters as they left the nest. I was worried that might have been the fate of your little brood.

  18. Got there in the end, after another jolt of caffeine. Found it a strange puzzle, and off my wavelength so not the easiest for me. But good fun nevertheless.

  19. The usual excellent Sunday crossword.
    I confess that I had the wrong answer – the second word – for 18d but Senf’s preamble about there being two lurkers made me see sense!
    The 20a anagram caused grief.
    Too many good clues to pick out any particular ones but my favourite was either 9 or 15d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    Too hot – muggy (and sluggy – the little beasts are eating everything) – torrential rain last night.

  20. Having studiously avoided camping for 49 years I also got 18d wrong until alerted by the app, and also struggled with 21ac and 15d. Fun throughout though, and overall on the easyish side.

  21. Sunny here and lots to distract me but I managed it in the end. Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.
    3d my fave today.
    Congrats to Florence and her brood.

  22. Was stuck for a while on 20a but persisted and eventually got the leftover letters in the right place. Last two in 15d (a favourite) and 21d. Like Kath I missed the lurker in 18d. It had mystified as I thought of one of the usual Europeans which did not go with the first word. Other favourites 11 13 and 16a and 3d. Thanks Virgilius and Senf.

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