ST 2958 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2958 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2958 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg on Canada Day, where, with the recent passing of laws to legalise cannabis, some think that the Canadian flag needs to be modified as shown here:

Today, Virgilius provides us with some trickiness moderated by what I think are some oldies but goodies and only 28 clues.  Around the usual number of anagrams, one lurker, and no homophones.

Candidates for favourite – 17a, 24a, 3d, and 8d.

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 Dishearten with exam in end (10)
One of the favourite types of exam contained by (in) a synonym for end.

10a Noted core of problem in entrance (7)
The lurker (core of) found in the rest of the clue.

15a Without interruption, like speech that’s fluent? (8)
A double definition – the first is a synonym of without interruption.

17a He represents the first one in table (5,3)
The clue starts with the chemical element that is first in a particular group of the periodic table.

22a Soldier does, perhaps, arriving outside and taking over (13)
A synonym for arriving containing (outside) a synonym for soldier and the type of animal that does are the female of.

24a Something to offer person moved to tears in dispute (2,5)
Written as (1,6) what can be used to absorb tears.

25a Incarcerate prisoner, adding another form of punishment (7)
The usual abbreviated synonym for prisoner and a monetary punishment.

27a Kind of forecaster posting record in a resort, possibly (10)
An anagram (possibly) of A RESORT containing (posting . . . in) a type of written record.


1d Old digital communication aid set up (4)
A synonym for set reversed (up).

3d I and others on early watch, for example (5,8)
The set of numbers that I is one of.

5d Like soldiers protecting West, suddenly changing course (8
A single word that describes how soldiers are supporting their Commander-in-Chief containing (protecting) the single letter for West.

8d Acrimony in flier — conclusion often reached by females (10)
A flier related to the heron and a word ending that frequently indicates the female form of a word.

13d I do nothing about ultimate wrecker of traditions (10)
Get the Lego bricks out – I from the clue, a three letter synonym for do, the single letter that can represent nothing, the single letter that can represent about, and a synonym of ultimate.

16d Tough quality shown by Duke in exploit (8)
The single letter for Duke contained by (in) a slightly unusual synonym of exploit.

18d Animated young animal? On the contrary, child (7)
A famous cartoon (animated) young animal followed by a single word that means the same as on the contrary.

23d King Edward, the humorist (4)
A double definition – the first is a Shakespearean King.

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As I said in the introduction, it’s Canada Day, Neil Young is Canadian, a resident of Winnipeg in part of his formative years, here he is in 1971, after ‘discussing’ the selection of a suitable harmonica, with one of his own compositions (song starts at 1′ 48″ if you want to skip the ‘discussion’):



59 comments on “ST 2958 (Hints)

  1. Great start to the month .
    Kept changing my mind on the COTD as progressing so will sit on the fence as too many , if that is feasible , to choose from .
    Needed the hint for 18d to verify my answer . It’s ****/**** from me .
    Another hot day on the horizon but not complaining .
    Thanks to everyone .

  2. Too good for me today. I needed help in the bottom left corner. Great clues and very clever though. Thanks for the hints, without which I’d have had to give up but no less enjoyable for that.

  3. A tricksy offering but another great puzzle. Not sure about 6a though.
    3d was my favourite but 13 and 18d earned double ticks too.
    Missus is away playing golf on the Isola Blanca so I can lay about doing crosswords and playing my music like some louche bachelor.
    Lovely. Thanks Virgilius and Senf. ****/*****

    1. I am also somewhat perplexed by 6a and the surface reading of 4d is most un-Virgilesque.

      However, loved the rest of the puzzle, especially 3d, 17a and the wonderfully hidden 10a.

      Thanks to Senf & Virgilius.

        1. With the probable lead time of puzzle production, I suspect topicality might be accidental.

  4. I remember the BBC2 In Concert series well. My elder brother raved about Neil Young and I watched this programme with him which started a lifelong appreciation of Neil young. I do remember the messing around before the start of the song Senf has used at the end of his review. i remember getting irritated and just wanting him to play and sing. i still hate it when artists feel that they have to engage with the audience. I am not interested in what any of them have to say. I only want to hear the music. As for the idiots who pay good money to attend and then talk throughout the concert … The whole programme (30minutes) is here.

  5. Plenty to like once again on a Sunday. Thanks to Senf for explaining every component of 22a, and also for the Neil Young clip.

  6. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. A super puzzle, but quite tricky. Needed the hints to parse 15&22a and 8d. Loads of fabulous clues, but my favourite was 17a. Was 3*/5* for me.

  7. Thought I was late in but, goodness, where is everybody? Making hay whilst the sun shines, I guess!

    Another good Sunday puzzle although perhaps not quite hitting the heights of last Sunday’s gem?
    To my shame, I don’t think I actually knew the meaning of 13d – just one of those words that I’m aware of but would never be able to define.

    After much deliberation I gave podium places to 24a plus 3&18d.

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the blog – I’d like to bet that the flag could be changed without many non-Canadians noticing for quite a while!

    1. I had to check 13d in the BRB. Before today, I think that if I was asked to define it I think I would have suggested something close to the opposite of what it does mean.

      1. Me too. It was a bung in from checkers only understood after a trip to BRB.

    2. No, I don’t think so, Jane. I think the leaf is so distinctive, it’d be recognised instantly worldwide!

  8. Good puzzle – 4* / 4* from us. Thanks for the workout Virgilius.
    pommers wasn’t 100% happy about 17a (he’s a chemist so gets picky about chemistry clues) as there are actually 2 correct answers – so you can’t actually complete until you have some checkers.
    One of the last ones in for us for 3d – and when the penny finally dropped became my favourite!
    Thanks for the hints Senf – and enjoy Canada Day. I’m another Neil Young fan!

  9. One of the hardest, but also one the finest, puzzles Virgilius has produced, and that is saying something. I would echo the four favourites highlighted by our blogger, and rated this 4* /5* overall. An absolute cracker and a joy from beginning to end.

    Thanks Virgilius for the not inconsiderable challenge, and to Senf.

  10. Very enjoyable crossword. ***/****. LOI was 10a. COD’s were 17a and 18d. Thank.

  11. ****/****. Really enjoyable fare. My favourite was 17a closely followed by 13d. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf – happy Canada Day.

  12. 4* / 4.5*. Just back from a long weekend in South Wales, and my first job was to tackle this excellent puzzle! You’ve got to get your priorities right!

    I got very badly held up in the SW corner by putting in what was drummed into me at school as the correct answer for 17a only find out it wasn’t the answer required.

    My joint favourites were 24a & 3d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    1. That’s what I thought about 17a. Two possible answers and no way of knowing which is right without a checker. Not what I expect from Virgilius.

      Because of that, unlike pommette’s ****/****, I would give it ****/***.

      1. Yep, it is confusing, but Mr V. is using the correct terminology as since 1962 some of them haven’t been *****. It’s a Canadian thing as that’s where one of them was turned into a compound, admittedly though by an English chemist.
        It’s almost as confusing as this comment! 😂
        P.S. sorry, I forgot to say – it’s a great crossword. Thanks to Mr V. and Senf for his elucidation which I needed today on a couple of clues.

        1. When I was an undergraduate at Manchester University between 1970- 73 they were known by the wrong answer.

          1. And when I was at Nottingham slightly before that. I think it only took about 20 years for the name to change…😂

            1. Sounds about right. A conservative lot are us chemists.

              Interesting that this clue is easier for a younger solver. Usually it’s “I don’t think anyone under 50 will have chance”. Makes a change.

          2. According to a well-known on-line encyclopedia, the right answer was first used in 1898.

            1. And then, at some stage, it changed to the wrong answer, which was thought to give a more accurate description of their chemical reactivity. Until 1962 that is…..😂

  13. I found this decidedly tricky and nearly put my hands in the air and consulted the hints for the last three, but perseverance won.
    So much good stuff, but I think the red herring “does” in 22a wins by a nose, and honourable mention must go to 18d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints and pics.

    P.S. They use what’s on Senf’s flag in a balm in Colorado, and, as a major arthritis sufferer, I can attest to it’s success. All you do is rub it on, no need to smoke it.

    1. Just noticed from your comments Merusa that (great) minds seem to think alike. I am reassured to know that I wasn’t alone in struggling with this.

      1. It’s hard, isn’t it, but there are a lot worse we could have. I can no longer write, only scribble a letter here and there into a grid. I saw in the Telegraph that there’s a movement to make it legal in UK. We did get a majority vote to make it legal in Florida but, as usual, politicians drag their feet. If you get the chance to get the balm, try it, it makes such a difference.

        1. Yes and it is all so silly, I am sure if aspirin was a new product today, someone would be sure to ban it.

    2. I’ve been trying CBD (cannabidol) capsules for about a month – all the benefits without the psychoactive THC components. I’ll stick to Scotch or Beer for getting out of it.

      1. Do you think it makes a difference? I have hemp oil, which is legal here, but it’s so thick and unpalatable, but I’ll use it if it helps.

        1. Benefit of capsules is it eliminates the taste. But I have read the oil can be more effective but there are many thing you can disguise the taste with. Mixed into a smoothie is popular here but I will stick to capsules

          1. I’ll have to work on it. It’s a bit like engine oil, but I’m sure I can find something to disguise it.. Thanks.

        1. Merusa mentioned arthritis and has my sympathy. With me I just have a touch of insomnia and it helps me sleep better.

  14. Phew, I am afraid Virgilius completely foxed me on this stifling day and I only just plucked up the courage to persevere and that only thanks to much outside help. The SW corner was the biggest bugbear. Won’t bother to list all those I couldn’t begin to solve/parse. No real Fav but one simple clue (24a) amused. Thanks Virgilius and Senf. Trust the rest of the week will be less of a slog. 😢.

  15. As others I struggled most in SW but got there in the end thanks to Senf. Thanks to to Virgilius. 3d and 8d my faves today.
    I recently went to see Nils Lofgren at the Harrogate Kursaal. He is now most widely known as a member of Bruce’s East St Band but was also a key member of Crazy Horse and played on many of Neil Young’s hits. He played a fair few of both in Harrogate but me fave was his own Shine Silently.

    (An earlier version but best I could find)

  16. I too struggled with the surface read of 4d. I’ve bunged in the answer, and can see where part of it comes from, but not the other part/s. As it’s a prize puzzle, I will have to wait for the explanation. Thank you Virgilius and Senf. It was good to get in out of the sun for a while, and put the old brain cells to the test. Just heard that Andy Murray has pulled out of Wimbledon. I’ll continue to live in hope for the England football team.

  17. Some lovely clues and some quite tricky .
    26a was my last one in , and it shouldn’t have been since there are so many more around these days than lets say between 1997 and 2007 .
    I utterly fail to see what 8d has to do with women , as opposed to other genders ( does anyone know what the Q in LGBTQ stands for ?).I could hazard a guess but I doubt that’s it .
    Anyway , thanks for the amusement Virgilius and to Senf . I feel Trudeau would love your suggestion to change the flag slightly .

        1. I think it is a bit like the N word only acceptable when used by the minority in question.

    1. The 8d answer does not apply exclusively to women (or any other gender orientation come to that); as I said in the hint, the end of the answer (last three letters) is ‘a word ending that frequently indicates the female form of a word’ (but not this one).

  18. Despite the head cold fog, I did get there in the end, albeit with a few hints and Mr Google. Definitely tricky today, but not impossible, no obtuse clues, or specialized GK. 6a was last in, still can’t see how it works, but it just has to be that. No real favourite,

    Hope you are all holding up in the heat. We’ve been getting all your rain, it’s been raining here every day since the beginning of May. Haven’t had our sprinklers on in ages. But hoping it cools down for our trip home later this month.

  19. RHS was fine.
    LHS was too much of a slog.
    Virgillius’ puzzles are still a bit over my head.
    Thanks all.

  20. Lots of fun, say *** for difficulty? Last in the NE corner, with a little bother on 6ac and 8d.

  21. I’m in the :phew: very tricky camp but thought it might be just me going :phew: I’m too ****** hot – clearly not.
    I missed the lurker but that’s boring – I always miss them and so always say that.
    Made a total pig’s ear of 22a – it would take too long to explain how/why so I won’t even try.
    Lots of good clues as usual on Sundays so thanks to Virgilius and thanks to Senf for sorting out 22a which I couldn’t do for myself.

  22. I must be thick! Just finished. I just could not get 15a which does not seem to have troubled anyone else. It was not easy for me to get from the checking letters. I think the last letter of 7d foxed me as I could not think of anything that would fit. Resorted to searching synonyms. Favourites 9 12 and 24a, and 3 and 23d. Did not like 16d. Thanks Virgilius and Senf.

  23. A tricky one that took a while to unravel. I got there eventually but there were a couple of ‘bung-ins’. Oh well, they might be right… 3d was fave.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

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