ST 2954 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2954 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2954 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg – where, over the last ten days, we have sizzled in the low 30s and then cooled down to the middle/low teens, at least we have had some more welcome rain.

I think I am going to run out of superlatives, the Sunday maestro has done it again and in a very benevolent frame of mind – unless I have mis-counted, only two anagrams and one lurker, and no homophones, in a well-balanced 32 clues.  I will leave it to others to count the number of insertions.

Candidates for favourite – too many to list.

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 Superlative ending in quintet is joyous (7)
The word ending that indicates a superlative contained by (in) the number in a quintet.

9a Object wrapped in torn old clothes (7)
A synonym for object (target) contained by (wrapped in) a synonym for torn.

11a Weapons poorly positioned in vessel carrying vital supply (9)
A synonym for poorly contained by (third time in three hints) (positioned in) a vessel found in the body – any comments/complaints on whether the vessel is a vessel should be addressed to Chambers.

15a Replacing fellow artist, finally, as singer? (9)
A two word (2,3) synonymic phrase for replacing, a synonym for fellow, and the last letter (finally) of artisT .

17a Rich high-flier? Stone me! (3-6)
A type of gemstone and the generic person taxing our brains right now.

23a Indicate some Europeans as upholders of standards (9)
A synonym for indicate (e.g. as marking in a document) and those who must be a cruciverbalist’s favourite Europeans.

25a Union leader shot in dramatic circumstances (7)
Someone who was assassinated in a theatre.

28a Doctor, new, observed to be rich (7)
One of the abbreviations for a doctor, the single letter for new, and a synonym for observed.


1d Body part receiving attention in class (7)
A single word for receiving attention contained by (in) a type of class.

4d Fanatic‘s taken out of context re mistake (9)
The lurker (taken out of) found in the rest of the clue.

6d Note always put in travel document? Just the opposite (4,5)
A musical note and a synonym of always contained by (put in) a type of travel document.

7d Thus article is about one African country or another (7)
A synonym of thus and one of the indefinite articles containing an African country.

16d It signals danger with shooter crossing a line (4,5)
A generic term for shooter (as in an article used to shoot with) containing A from the clue and the single letter for line.

18d Exercised short time, then showered (7)
The abbreviation (short) for time followed by (then) a synonym for showered.

21d Celebrity framed by parent as scoundrel (7)
A synonym for celebrity contained by (framed by) the male parent.

24d Having no faith in search for metals, including silver (5)
A method used to search for (precious) metals containing (including) the chemical symbol for silver.

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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.

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Given what begins on June 14th in Russia, on June 3, 1970 this was at the end of a 3 week run at number one:


41 comments on “ST 2954 (Hints)

  1. 3* / 5*+. This was crossword heaven. I could pick any one of the 32 clues as my favourite.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  2. Wonderful! Loads of favourites but in my opinion 17a is too good not to mention. A truly chuckle worthy moment when the penny dropped.
    Thank you as always to Mr V. And Senf.

  3. Agree with the previous comments , a delightful crossword , long may they continue . It is not too difficult yet needs plenty of thought/concentration leading to satisfying & rewarding answers .
    Like the Derby , could not pick a winner .
    Thanks again to everyone .

  4. As Senf remarked, one really does start to run out of superlatives to describe the Sunday maestro’s puzzles.

    A ridiculous number of ticks on my page but, like Faraday, I can’t resist a special mention for the rich high-flier!

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the blog – have to confess that I’d never heard of that football chant before, just lucky I guess!

  5. Another delightful Sunday solve. It always gets my day off to a great start if I can finish it without troubling the electrons.

    Not a single clue marked up as “bunged in but can’t parse”.

    For me, 11a was the COTD, but so hard to choose.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  6. Just the ticket. That was terrific fun. SW corner held out the longest. So many excellent clues that it’s difficult to pick a Fav but 23a had particular appeal and also 10a. Big thanks Virgilius and Senf.

  7. Brilliant crossword. Like others have said it would be indecorous to pick a favourite out of so many wonderful clues.
    I was beaten by 9a as I have never heard of the word, and was confused by the tense of ‘torn” but I am sure it correct.
    For the record, I thought the criticism of Jane’s comments on Friday were grossly unfair.
    Thanks all.

    1. The entire thread has now been removed from Friday’s blog – thank you for the comments Hoofit.

      1. Damnit, why do I always miss these things! Can’t we stick them in an archive for members only or something?

  8. Wonderful puzzle as is often the case on a Sunday. Remarkably good.

    Many thanks and huge respect to Virgilius, and lucky you, Senf!

  9. 13a was my favourite: small but perfectly formed. 15a was the last one in and the whole thing was a delight from start to finish.

  10. Superb puzzle, brilliantly clued with plenty of humour.

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  11. The vessel is a vessel, isn’t it?

    Will have to look in Chambers when I get “Back Home”.

    1. Yes it is, but, I recall some heated discussion a year or so ago on this subject. I think it was on this vessel’s ‘partner’ in the body.

  12. Very enjoyable and I would say probably of average difficulty for a Sunday.
    My lack of general knowledge/history let me down with 25a as I had no idea that this person was assassinated in a theatre.
    Of course the vessel in 11a is a vessel – the clue has also told us that it’s carrying a vital supply.
    Lots of good clues and I’m not really sure what my favourite is today so I’ll just leave it at that.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

        1. We did indeed enjoy our meal. I rarely comment on a weekend as I always seem to fall foul of the rules. My comment contained the answer to the clue concerned. I never learn. I’m off back into the weekend wilderness from now on.

  13. Oh – I’ve only just noticed that we no longer need to tick the extra little box before sending a comment.

  14. Thanks Virgilius and Senf. Favourites 1 23 and 24a and 17d. Went through it like a dose fo salts which is unusual for me on a Sunday. Only came to a halt on 25 and 27a. Cheated and looked at the hint for 25a. Thought this was a clever misdirection and wished I had persisted with it. Normally I do but if I find an easy puzzle I get frustrated with what is left. Still not sure about 27a although no-one has mentioned this so far. Forget the last sentence the penny just dropped!!! I would say this is the hardest clue.

    1. My last to fall were 15a and 27a, they had to be but it took ages to “get” why!

      1. 27a was my last in, but I am not sure if I am right, as I don’t see the fit…

  15. Can’t think of anything to say that hasn’t already been said. Absolutely superb puzzle with 17a as the star of the show but 25a was a very close second.

    Thanks to Mr Greer and Senf.

  16. Unusually for a Sunday this was over too soon! Great fun though so no complaints. I’ll take 21d as favourite as it’s not a word that gets much use.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

    1. 21d made me smile – I mentally went with my first thought and was rather relieved to see that it didn’t fit with the wordplay!

  17. Frabjous day for me as I did this alone and unaided….especially after my flop yesterday. Confidence restored….well, a bit.

    Thanks to Virgilus and to Senf for the blog.

  18. I agree with everyone, wotta treat again today.
    I must give a shout out to 11a, 17a and 25a, but it was all an enjoyable solve
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints and pics.

  19. Top banana! Another really high quality puzzle from Virgilius. Thanks and also to Senf.

  20. Really enjoyed this puzzle – though for some reason I got FIEND stuck in my head for 23d when of course the answer is obvious.

    Lots and lots of really good clues (IMHO) – and nothing I took issue with

    Thanks for a lovely finish to a glorious Sunday ( though not so good in Cumbria I hear)

  21. Late start today after a bit of diy and spring cleaning but worth the wait. Too many good clues to pick one. Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  22. I had several holdouts at the first sitting, so wasn’t ready to agree with all those who loved this puzzle. However, after my second coffee, some exercise, and a round of vacuuming, the rest fell into place. So now I agree it was a pleasant solve, though I might be wrong on 27a. Fave was probably 23a.

  23. A good puzzle to get the teeth into. Fortunately I knew the answer to 25a as many years ago Id taken my young children to a puppet show at Ford’s Theatre. The puppets told the history of the American presidents and sang a very funny song about people who came from Arkansas. Rather appropriate as Clinton was in office at the time. We still remember the song. Thank you setter and Senf.

  24. Enjoyable as ever, and fairly straightforward apart from 27ac which took an age to get.

  25. Nicely crafted, straightforward for a Sunday, except 27a which I can’t see the second part of… any hints?

    1. I’ll probably end up in the naughty corner but here goes . . .

      Think playing cards.

  26. I did this on Monday morning, and am so pleased I took the trouble to catch up. This was brilliant even for Virgilius. Pleasantly tricky in places but beautifully constructed. 25a my last in and favourite of many. 2.5* /5* for me.

    Belated thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  27. Yet another superb Sunday crossword. Many delightful clues. Thanks very much to Virgilus and Senf.

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