ST 2966 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2966 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2966 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where, yesterday, I watched a very entertaining (tape delayed) antipodean rugby international on TV.  For 38 minutes, The Wallabies managed to match The All Blacks, but, from that point on, The All Blacks went into overdrive and ran out 40 – 12 winners – interestingly all the points were from tries and conversions.

Well, after benevolence last week, it is back to trickiness but perhaps not as tricky as some of the recent puzzles in that category.  Virgilius has given us the usual number of anagrams, two lurkers, no homophones, and some unusual words all in 28 clues.

Joint favourites – 15a and 13d.

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 Lack of confidence as result of scrutiny, i.e. being mistreated (10)
An anagram to start (as result of . . . being mistreated) of SCRUTINY I.E.

10a Spy many years in captivity (7)
A fictional spy and a single word for many years.

14a Fire about ten main people finally, in addition (6) (web site (and app?) version) or Frank as diarist about what’s at heart of Brexit extension (6) (newspaper version)
A three letter synonym for fire containing (about) the last letters (finally) of teN maiN peoplE or The first name of a famous diarist containing (about) two letters in the centre (at heart of) Brexit.

15a Motorist accommodating old reveller (8)
A two word phrase (3,4) for motorist containing (accommodating) the single letter for old.

17a I had reversed pieces of proof, creating problems (8)
The reversal of the contraction of I had followed by a single word for pieces of proof (new to me but it is in the BRB).

22a Fiend runs into position for protest (13)
A synonym of fiend followed the crickety abbreviation for runs contained by (into) a synonym of position.

24a Experienced kind of doctor managed without drug (7)
An abbreviated form of a type of doctor and a synonym of managed containing (without) the single letter used for a recreational pharmaceutical.

27a Cost raised after Charlie’s replaced, banished from company (10)
Concatenate the first two words of the clue and relocate the letter represented by Charlie in the phonetic alphabet.


1d Uncertain short time after leader is removed (4)
A single word for a short time with its first letter (leader) removed.

4d Snappy answer is concerning, and wrong (6)
The two letters used for concerning and a type of wrong (as a noun).

5d Protection for furniture cut from suitable material (5,3)
One of the lurkers (cut from), the other is 19a, found in the remaining words of the clue.

7d Husband wearing suit in warm indoor locations (7)
The single letter for husband contained by (wearing) a suit in a pack of cards.

13d North of port, two letters he has delivered (6,4)
How one might describe the composition of (two letters) the pronoun he placed before (North of) an English port.

16d Rushing south where invader was engaged in battle (8)
A synonym of rushing and the single letter for South (not necessarily the first synonym that would come to mind for rushing).

20d First in school, except when not bright, naturally (7)
The first letter of School and a synonym of except.

23d Work in college, mainly, or kind of farm (4)
The type of ‘work’ that is done in a college with the last letter removed (mainly).

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

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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Jet Black (a.k.a. Brian Duffy), drummer of The Stranglers, is 80 today; although The Stranglers were primarily classified as a punk rock band this is one of their ‘mainstream’ successes that reached number 2 in 1982:



60 comments on “ST 2966 (Hints)

  1. 3* / 5*. A few clues took a bit of teasing out with the clever 27a my last one in, but this was great fun as ever on a Sunday. As far as I can remember the piece of proof in 17a was a new word for me.

    As usual my page was littered with ticks but I’ll just mention 3d for its splendid surface, 27a & 13d both containing some typical Virgilian trickery, and my favourite, 15a.

    Many thanks to Mr Greer and to Senf.

      1. As a mathematician it was a write-in for me – it’s difficult to track down instances of the pieces of proof as my searches also include the whole answer.

        1. I found two examples of its use during the lifetime of the blog. One was a Toughie, the other a Giovanni back page puzzle. RD did comment on the latter puzzle but, having scored it 4*/1*, he was obviously adhering to that adage about saying nothing if you can’t say anything nice.

          1. I’m glad on this occasion I have covered myself by saying “as far as I can remember …” :wink:

            1. Since this is a prize puzzle I can’t give the puzzle number, but it was almost four years ago. Even if I had been solving regularly back then, I don’t think I’d remember answers from that long ago.

  2. Enjoyable and satisfying . Difficult choice but 13d my favourite .
    Once the anagrams were identified and solved everything fell into place . 17a last one in and had to verify part of the answer .
    The promised rain has arrived but should be ok for finals day on the bowling green tomorrow .
    Yes the All Blacks were awesome yesterday and the Pumas win was surprising .
    Thanks to everyone

  3. For my part the surfeit of anagrams took away from an otherwise pleasurable puzzle however no doubt that will have pleased others. I had reversed OK in 17a but the rest was a bung-in. 21a new one on me. Hard to pick an outstanding Fav from my shortlist of 14a, 15a and 25a. Thank you Virgilius and Senf.

    1. Typically, Virgilius gives us three to five anagrams, less than many other setters, and, unless I have miscounted, we are at the upper end of that range with five today.

  4. A few too many “gimmes” perhaps , thereby making it fairly benign overall.

    Agree about 13d, but 16d worthy of a mention for the surface having regard to its context.

    **/*** for me last night. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf

  5. 15a and 13d were my co-favourites in this tricky-in-places Virgilian masterclass in compilation. I have no objection to a modest surfeit of anagrams when they are so elegantly composed, as were these. I appreciate this sort of challenge when I can’t get outside because of the heavy rain, so many thanks to Mr Greer for the tussle and to Senf.

    1. If you, or someone else using the dead tree version, can provide that clue it can be added to the hint above. Thanks.

        1. The newspaper version seems much the better clue to me. I wonder why two different versions were needed.

          1. The Crossword Editor has been asked many times before why there are different clues.

            No response yet.

            I wonder why.

              1. Thanks Mr K,

                There didn’t seem to be a mistake in either of Sunday’s 14a’s and neither of them seemed too difficult.

                So, on this occasion, why the different clues?

  6. Enjoyable and not too tricky, but some thought required. I think we mathematicians would have been smug about 13a. Too many squares filled in by long anagrams for my taste.

  7. I looked at this before church this morning and decided I wouldn’t be able to get any, picked it up again when I got home and finished it with no difficulty at all, so I don’t know what happened there.
    Sunday’s puzzle is often my favourite of the week, and I enjoyed this tremendously. 16a was last to go in and may be my favourite.
    I’m off down the pub to see how that bloke who brings in all the chard from his allotment got on with the Everyman.

  8. Quite doable . 1d is my favourite
    I overthought 7d a bit so it was my last one in .
    Thanks for the Stranglers hit . Hard to believe he’s 80 .
    Thanks to senf and virgilius .

  9. Cracking super Sunday puzzle from Virgilius on the wavelength throughout, and with out a doubt one the best puzzle for weeks in my opinion. So many top class clues including superb anagrams an outstanding solve. Last in 20d for no real reason, 17a needed confirmation with BRB as other bloggers did. A puzzle that’s really difficult to pick out the best clues, there are so many, but here goes. A joy to complete on a washed out Sunday.

    Clues of the day: 15a / 13d

    Rating 3.5 / 5*

    Thanks to Senf and especially Virgilius

  10. I always enjoy Virgilius’s puzzles and this was no exception.
    Lots of candidates for fave but 15a stood out, so did 3d and 27a.
    I solved 17a from the checking letters, then I looked up the pieces of proof in the dictionary, but it was still gobbledygook to me.
    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf, particularly sorting out 5d and 6d, missed that darned lurker again. Rats.

  11. Good fun but, as others have said, made less challenging than usual by all those long anagrams providing many checkers early on. Liked 13d. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  12. I did not find too much of Virgilius’ trickery today, mainly because, as others have mentioned, several anagrams.
    Thanks for the hint for 17a, the second half of the answer was a new word for me.
    21d was a new word for me too.
    Fav is 13d as I was in the port this afternoon.
    Thanks both.

  13. Another good Sunday crossword and not too tricky for me to do after a fairly late night yesterday.
    My stumbling block and last answer was 21d.
    I have met the last bit of 17a – I’d been going to say that it must have been in a Giovanni crossword but that’s been said for me – at least I’d have been right.
    As the only person to find it possible get lost in a public loo I did appreciate 12a – welcome to how I live my life (not in a public loo but just generally a bit xxxxxxxxxxxxx!)
    Too many good clues to pick out any in particular apart from 3d which was my favourite.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    1. This comment seems to show the solution to 12a – maybe, Kath should be given directions to the Naughty Corner? :wink:

  14. An excellent crossword that took a fair bit of grey cell activity to complete. I agree that both 15a and 13d were worthy of favourite clue status; indeed I’ll plump for the latter.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  15. ***/**. Unusually for a Sunday I found this a bit clunky in parts and overly generous in anagrams. The paper version of 14a is much neater than my electronic version. Thanks to all. At last we’ve had rain and very welcome it was. I just hope this is not a brief interlude.

    1. Welcome to the blog Sarah.

      I can’t decide if 21d is a double definition or not; anyway, you are looking for a slang synonym of head.

      1. Thought I’d replied but it doesn’t seem to have appeared. Thanks Senf – I finally got there – hadn’t heard that expression before. Enjoyed The Stranglers. I did comment years ago with a different email address. Thanks too to Virgilius for an excellent puzzle.

  16. Late to this today. I had a quick go in the morning but didn’t get far. I put it down and went to deal with a glut of windfall crabapples and an overgrown patch of mint the net result of which is a nice stock of crabapple and mint jelly to put on lamb chops etc came back to the puzzle and once the anagrams sorted themselves the rest wasn’t too tricky. 9a LOI as I had the wrong driving problem. Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  17. Found this harder than yesterday, and needed consultations with thesaurus and hints to finish, so not feeling too pleased with my efforts. The more anagrams the merrier in my book so no complaints there. Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

  18. We are still struggling with 21d so can someone please do the humane thing and save our marriage.

    Mr (and soon to be ex) Mrs T

    1. It has me baffled was well .It’s always annoying when one is left with one uncompleted clue .

    2. I have an answer in but not sure it’s correct, so help from a kind soul out there would be appreciated.

      1. I do not understand JonP’s hint, so my answer may be wrong, but I have the clue definition as head.

        1. Well, I never knew that. I just looked up my answer in the slang dictionary and it’s correct!

          1. Fond memories of my grandad singing it accompanied by auntie rose on the old Joanna. Probably the first song I can remember. It also has “tile” in the lyrics, which i used to sing as “style” until I found out otherwise from crosswords….

    3. Thank you all. Mrs T said …. “put it in our umtidily umpum, pum pum family album…. ”

      Time for her medication methinks.

      Mr T

  19. I have to say that I found this one pretty tricky and needed several clues as well as a bit of electronic help. But Virgilus’s puzzles are always enjoyable, even if I need help.

    Thanks to Senf and to the setter.

  20. I always save the DT & ST cryptics for the evenings, so last as usual! Found this one amazingly easy for a Sunday and completed in record time without hints or aids. Must be the wavelength thing. Normally struggle on a Sunday and end up looking up last few hints on Monday morning with my first cuppa. so this one was definitely thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying! Liked 15a and the ‘wrong’ in 4d.The only unusual word for me was 8d.
    Thanks to all

    1. Not quite last. I don’t usually start until the next morning. Still can’t get 21d. I’m about to check the slang dictionary, having sung the song through without enlightenment.

        1. Late to add, I did get it shortly afterwards. Just didn’t realise what it meant.
          Thanks for all the help. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole puzzle.

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