ST 2960 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2960 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2960 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where our heatwave and occasional overnight storms continue.

Virgilius, with all the usual superlatives, still being tricky, maybe not as much as last week, with the usual number of anagrams, two lurkers, and one homophone.

Candidates for favourite – 27a, 5d, and 16d.

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 Way to achieve entrance as backward children, English learners (8)
A term for a group of children reversed (backward), the single letter for English, and two of the single letter for learner.

12a Previously referred to supervisors in a note I’d composed (14)
A synonym for supervisors contained by (in) and anagram of A NOTE I’D.

15a Cold cut of meat, or game (4)
Not a double definition – the single letter for cold and a cut of meat.

19a As part of black comedy, turned to ridicule (4)
A revers lurker (as part of . . . turned) found in the rest of the clue.

20a With regret, a poet logically has log moved (14)
Log relocated (has . . . moved) in the 14 letter string in which it appears.

27a Eliot the writer? Not he (6)
A writer with the surname of Eliot, but not the one normally known by first name initials.

28a Man on board protecting a wild ox, going by boat (8)
A chess piece containing (protecting) A from the clue and a wild ox.


1d Odd characters in photos are said to be pitiable (4)
Select the odd characters of photos and add the single letter that is pronounced as (said) are.

4d Rising that’s trapping one on island, South Seas paradise (6)
THAT from the clue reversed (rising) containing (‘s trapping) the single letter for one and all followed by the single letter for island.

8d Mathematical tasks are set up for Dutch scholar (7)
The plural of a mathematical task and ARE from the clue all reversed (set up).

13d Given legal status supporting African country’s education (10)
A synonym of supporting, an African country including the possessive S, and an abbreviation for education.

16d It helps to know one’s place when one returns to work (8)
A device used to indicate progress through a (written) work.

18d Essay about current record of events in book group (7)
A synonym for a particular usage of essay containing (about) the physics symbol for current and a single word for a record of events.

22d State that’s normal as Kansas at heart (6)
A lurker (that’s . . . at heart) found in the rest of the clue.

26d Makers of chains, we hear, for wild cat (4)
A homophone (we hear) of the items that make up chains.

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Julian Bream is 85 today, here he is playing Recuerdos de la Alhambra composed in 1896 by Francisco Tárrega:



62 comments on “ST 2960 (Hints)

  1. Going out to play boules now having to leave 9a 23a and 16d undone. The rest was great. Hope the penny drops on those remaining when I’m back unless one of the checkers is wrong of course. Good luck everyone.

    1. Now I don’t feel so bad that the same 3 clues held me too, plus a couple of others though.

  2. A very happy St Swithan’s Day to everyone .

    Yet another masterpiece for crossword enthusiasts with so many classic clues to tease and enjoy . No favourite as so many goodies .

    Please note the maximum score of 29 in the illustration in the hints , rarely achieved . Yet a maximum score from me for this crossword .

    Thanks to everyone .

    1. I particularly appreciate your St. Swithun’s Day wishes (which I reciprocate) having spent some of the happiest days of my life at the eponymous School however I do have mixed feelings about the possibility of a rain-free 40 days and 40 nights!

  3. Managed to walk straight into the trap at 2d despite there being no excuse – hardly the first time it’s appeared!
    Not overly convinced by the definition at 7a but that was a minor point in an otherwise most enjoyable Sunday exercise.

    Favourite was probably 16d.

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the blog. Hard to believe that Julian Bream is 85 – what a master of his trade.

    1. I, too, did a double take when I read that Julian Bream is now 85. Indeed, Jane, a true master.

    2. Amazing man even more so considering he had to virtually relearn to play after a serious car accident badly damaged his elbow.

  4. A lovely crossword as always – my particular favourite is the very clever 27a – if you can’t see why I like it, read the clue again carefully, but don’t say anything ‘out loud’ as the lemon drizzle cake that’s just come out of the oven is just for me and Mr CS

    Thanks to Virgilius for the crossword and Senf for the hints

    1. I agree with you Sue. Got it straight away for that reason but cannot say what it is for fear of giving the game away and being forced to eat cake

    2. Agree very clever 27a, even though it was last in – the penny took an awful long time to drop – it was my COTD.

  5. I’m not certain how to fully explain 27a but I think the “Not he” is of more significance than in the hint.

    Thanks Senf and Virgilius.

          1. Just read the other comments after putting in my twopenneth. Well explained Stan. Don’t think you have let the cat out of the bag.

    1. Trying to avoid the ‘cakeless’ naughty corner, if you google your answer, you may find out something that you were not aware of before which should explain ‘not he,’ or, perhaps, you already knew it.

      1. That’s what Stan and I were indicating – we already knew the ‘not he ‘ which is what makes this clue so good.

  6. Top half went in smoothly but bottom was a bit more tricky with lovely clues at 20a, 25a and 16d. A few lurkery lurkers too. I do love this setter’s work.
    Quite cool here in Johannesburg which is pleasant for a change.
    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  7. A truly excellent puzzle once again on a Sunday, so much to appreciate and enjoy. I thought that the clue construction in 9a, 20a and 25a was superb, but my overall favourite was 21d, as it produced the widest smile and it’s a lovely verb.

    It was interesting to see children described as “backward” in 7a, I’m sure that in these PC times it’s an adjective that the over-sensitive media would now avoid at all costs in favour of “educationally challenged”.

    Many thanks to Virgilus and to Senf.

  8. Great puzzle in every respect.

    Last night when I completed it I could not understand the significance of the first word in 25a and I still cannot this morning! I will wait for CS’s review later in the week.

    Cannot pick a favourite but 16d and 28a brought a big smile.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

    1. The BRB does not use ambiguous in its listing for the 25a answer but on-line sources do.

      And, why isn’t there a word biguous?

  9. Just one small hold up because of a wrong first letter in 24D. Soon sorted though. Altogether splendid. 9D, 25D, and 16D are my picks. Thanks to Virgilius for another masterful crossword, and to Senf for the blog.

  10. Might I ask if anyone thought 17a was a bit questionable in the word play or are we just meant to think anagram? 🤔

    1. Just a very good typically Virgilius clue, designed to get us solvers thinking, which does include an (partial) anagram with possibly as the indicator,.

      1. I have no idea what the definition is even. I bunged two sorts of clothing until I had a look at the clue again and decided it was an anagram of sorts. I got the right answer but I have no idea why it is right.

        1. I admit to getting this wrong. I was thinking of a fairly derogatory name for a female. However, on second thoughts it is an anagram with an insert.

        2. Hi, Hoofit. The wordplay is, as you worked out, an abbreviation for female inserted in (clothed in) an anagram (possibly) of THIS. So the entire clue is wordplay.

          The entire clue also forms the definition, making 17a a very smooth all-in-one clue.

        3. Your ‘new’ better half should be able to help you out on understanding the answer.

  11. 3D the single letter for second followed by a 3 letter word for strike? No surely not! That would be a noun and we need a verb! Great crossword and review.

    1. Although the cake looks scrummy, I’m not going to say anything more than I think you probably have picked the wrong synonym for strike

  12. I dismissed my first naughty thought Sue. I have just made a tray of Portuguese custard tarts – swap a virtual one for a virtual slice of lemon drizzle!

  13. Took a while to get 27a. But as it happens we have a similar case in France.
    What a great country.
    What a great Sunday crossword too.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the review.

  14. Great crossword. Too many good clues to single out a favourite.
    I will have to go through the hints and puzzle again as I am not sure I have explained all the bung-in’s.
    Thanks Senf and Virgilius puzzle

  15. Nothing further to contribute to earlier posts other than to add to the chorus of gratitude to Virgilius for another brilliant puzzle. And to Senf for the hints.

    Top drawer all round.

  16. Gosh Virgilius you certainly put us through it. Oddly enough for a relative novice I didn’t find it too hard except for 25a which was a very clever clue. Thanks for hints Senf.

  17. A huge improvement {on my part) from last Sunday. I loved it all, 27a went in on reading the clue, how clever was that, and it’s my fave. Solving took longer than it should have, I was constantly side tracked to watching the tennis. Well done Joker.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints and pics.

      1. Yes congratulations. A shame that the first goal was acquired by cheating and the second goal was a dreadful refereeing decision, but over the course of an excellent tournament France were the best team.

    1. Congratulations J-L. That should give you plenty of encouragement for the really important competition, the Rugby World Cup next year.

  18. Thanks Virgilius and Senf. Forgot to say I returned home to look at my missing answers and got 9a 23a and 16d straightaway and could not think what my problem had been. Also corrected my answer to 17a. Very good crossword – even on such a hot and tiring day!

  19. Usual very high quality puzzle from a master setter. Having said that I still cannot parse my answer to 25a, what is non-U?

  20. Thought that this was an excellent puzzle. Ticks included 9a, 17a, 23a, 25a, 1d, 2d, and 24d. If I had to pick a favourite it’d be either 17a or 25a. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  21. Needed some electronic help for this one and some hints, but got there in the end.

    Thanks to Virgilus and to Senf for his excellent hints.

  22. With Senf’s hints and some from help from Mr Google I did get there in the end. A great Virgilius puzzle, and any hold ups were of my own doing. 27a quite brilliant. And I enjoyed the 12a and 20a long ones. If I had spelt 29a correctly at first, it would have helped.

  23. This was a fun crossword to dip in and out of whilst watching yet more tennis from Wimbledon – pity that has to end. NW was last to succumb mainly due to 2d taking a while to dawn on me. 25a became Fav when that penny dropped. Lovely to hear the wonderful Julian Bream on his 85th birthday – many happy returns to him.

  24. Struggled a bit but got there in the end alrhough a couple of the unhinted clues are a bit bung in ish 9a is the only word I can fit and I can’t see much relation to the clue and 24d is only slightly more related to the clue.
    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

    1. 9a. Definition is having dropped off. Returned indicates a reversal of a grammatical article and a former prime minister’s

      24d is something made from rice, the same word can mean benefit

      1. Thanks I now have a better answer for 9a but a wrong answer in 4d which having read the hint I should have seen earlier.
        24d a synonym for benefit I didn’t twig until you pointed it out.
        Thanks Sue.

  25. A little trickier this week from Virgilius I thought, I struggled in particular at the close on 27ac and, finally, 25ac. Or perhaps the infernal buzzing noise the fridge is making has just finally driven me to distraction.

  26. An excellent puzzle today, top notch.

    I enjoyed the Julian Bream clip too. In my formative years as a student of the classical guitar I found the tremolo technique employed in Recuerdos and other pieces very difficult – almost impossible now due to nail psoriasis. I can still play Asturias (Leyenda) but poorly.

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius 3*/5*

  27. Didn’t get around to this absolutely top notch puzzle until very late today but it was certainly well worth waiting for. Brilliant!

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  28. What a good puzzle! I didn’t get a chance to attempt it yesterday as house painting took preference. So I was informed.
    Anyway, 27a was my fave amongst several candidates.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

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