ST 2972 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2972 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2972 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where we have had more of the white fluffy variety of precipitation although not as much as Calgary, two provinces to the West, which had a record breaking (for October) 36 cm at the beginning of the week.

Another exciting if somewhat scrappy antipodean rugby international in which the All Blacks confirmed their superiority over the Springboks as winners of The Rugby Championship (and the Wallabies managed to avoid the Wooden Spoon).

This is a holiday weekend in North America.  In Canada, we have our version of Thanksgiving and, in the USA, they celebrate Christopher Columbus not ‘bumping’ into any part of Asia or any part of what became the continental USA on any of his voyages.  Modern theory is that he first landed on island that is now part of The Bahamas.

With a slightly odd grid giving 13 acrosses and 16 downs Virgilius has returned to trickiness this week.  A low number of anagrams, one (unhinted) lurker, but no homophones.

Joint favourites – 11a, 2d, and 7d.

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:


8a Serf is of use — finishes off grave (7)
This seems to becoming one of Virgilius’ favourite type of clue – delete the last letters (finishes off) of the words at the beginning of the clue.

10a Revered Indian bowler, say, hugged by mother (7)
A (wearable) type (say) of bowler contained (hugged) by a synonym of mother.

11a Artificially neat prose? (9)
An anagram (artificially) of NEAT PROSE.

14a Needing to diet, put back cheese in cloth (7)
How one might describe a person needing to diet reversed (put back) and a type of cheese.

17a Something handled in court — swindle involving inferior china? (9,6)
This clue looks very familiar – a synonym for inferior, a make of china, and a synonym of swindle.

19a Sun’s effect on selected players that produces traction on board (7)
A single word for sporting people selected to represent their countries and the sun’s effect (on skin).

24a Weapon almost in danger of dropping off when turned round (5)
A single word describes being about to sleep (dropping off) with its last letter removed (almost) and then reversed (when turned around).

28a Claret’s being drunk, or other variety of red (7)
An anagram (being drunk) of CLARET’S.


1d Poor learners succeeded in test (6)
An informal, perhaps derogatory, word for poor learners and the single (genealogical) letter for succeeded.

3d Briefly write about vessel with damaged sail as reporter (10)
A three letter synonym of write briefly containing (about) a type of vessel and an anagram (damaged) of SAIL.

5d It may be said to limit supply of drinkin what circumstances? (4)
A double definition – the first may be used as an instruction to stop pouring a drink.

7d It’s used to convey kinds of water, in short, with skill (8)
An abbreviated form of types of water (in terms of temperature) and a synonym of skill.

15d Foreign money I examine for person in order to follow vocation (10)
A type of foreign money still used in one country in Europe, I from the clue, and a synonym of examine.

16d Plan for trip, I hear, around popular time (9)
Not a homophone – I from the clue, a synonym of hear (judicially) containing (around) a short synonym of popular and a synonym of time.

18d King, at this point, accomplished what’s within grasp (8)
One of the single letters for king, a single word for at this point (in time), and a synonym of accomplished.

22d Carried out move in second half for City, producing score (6)
A single word for carries out move contained by (in) the second part of ciTY.

25d Star on stage opposed to splitting donated money up (4)
The reversal (up) of the single letter for opposed to contained by a single word that is often used for donated money.

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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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Please note, this selection was made last Tuesday!

Chubby Checker, originally named Ernest Evans, born on October 3, 1941, helped me to win £115 of book and record tokens on John Dunn’s Mystery Voice Challenge, on Radio 2, in 1985!

This reached number 2 in the UK charts in 1961:


38 comments on “ST 2972 (Hints)

  1. 3* / 4.5*. All the usual Sunday superlatives are needed for today’s puzzle.

    16d was my last one in as it took a while for the parsing penny to drop.

    17a was my favourite with 2d & 20d joining it on the podium.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  2. Very satisfying today, though the two clues I found most difficult were ignored by Senf, namely 7d and 12a. So I had to solve them myself. Thanks Senf and Virgilius.

  3. Thanks for the weather update . I recall being in Calgary some years ago around this time and it was unbelievably hot !
    Lovely crossword again today with lots of clever clues required to be fathomed out . Must have been difficult to decide which ones to hint and , similarly , so many favourites for me today .
    Slow start but 17a opened everything up .
    Thanks to everyone .

    1. The early October temperature record for Winnipeg is 31 degrees, we have been in single digits all week, up to 10 degrees below seaonal average.

  4. I enjoyed today’s endeavour but finally needed help in the NE. Bunged in 7d having failed to identify kinds of water. Fav was definitely 17a after seeking a helping hand. Thank you Virgilius and Senf.

  5. Excellent puzzle. Took me a little over my personal target time – which I don’t mind at all. I feel a bit cheated if they are over too quickly. Favourites were 10a, 17a, 27a, 7d with 12a in top spot.

  6. Managed without resorting to hints. I am glad that you explained 16d was not a homophone as for a while I had it down as such but got the right ending and parsing with your help. 19a my fave today.
    Thanks Senf and Virgilius.
    An I right in saying that Ernest Evans took his stage name as a riposte to Fats Domino? Or have I got that Bass Ackwards again.

      1. Nice wikkiing. Yes more a tribute from a fan in response to a good impersonation than riposte but at least I did get the fact that Chubby was predated by Fats.

  7. Excellent romp for the neurons, but 20d is still confounding us…
    Thanks to Messers Ron and Dave.

    Mr & Mrs T in a balmy 60F Boston.

    1. I’m with you on this one, all completed without outside assistance, but I just cannot parse 20d. Any offers?

      Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

    2. Yes, I have solved 20d but have no idea why it is right!!
      Ditto 27a, puzzle submitted but a total bung-in.

        1. BD always used to say that if you are starting your words of assistance with ‘think’ you are probably giving away too much information

    3. The answer can be an adjective as well as an adverb, i.e. “one part of speech or another”.

      1. Thanks, far too clever for someone of my limited intelligence!! Maybe I should do the Sun in Sunday quick crossword instead.

  8. Thanks Senf and Virgilius.
    As ever, unlike everyone else, I find Sundays tough as I struggle with the parsing which always lowers enjoyment factor.
    Thanks again.

    1. I think I parsed 27a as a double definition both being a relief. I did not parse 20d although I was on the parts of speech wavelength.

  9. Superb stuff, with the sort of delightful subtleties like 7d and 20d at which our setter is so expert.

    My top three clues were 8a (very clever), 17a and the aforementioned 7d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  10. Excellent stuff, as we have come to expect on a Sunday, with a little head-scratching required in places.
    Leader board here shows almost a dead heat between 7&16d with a mention for 17d which raised a smile.

    Many thanks to the maestro Virgilius and to Senf for making the difficult decision over which clues to hint! Thought to ponder – how did Chubby manage to remain so with all that exercise?

  11. A quality puzzle with some real ah-ha moments. 17a was my favourite closely followed by 3d. Thanks to Senf and Virgilius. Preparing to travel to Tofino to chill out and do a little storm watching on Long Beach.

  12. Happy Thanksgiving! Some people repurpose Ikea furniture. We just repurposed an on-it-way-out-but-the-frame and top is OK gazebo into a carport. Hubby will no longer have to spend 30 mins scraping off ice and snow before setting off for work at 5.00 a.m. :-)
    Loved this crossword, just the right mix for me. I did chuckle at the hint from Senf for 10a. True xxx might seem the logical choice but another thought flittered across my somewhat erratic mind. If you give a bowler a piggy-back does that make him wearable? Ahem, sorry.

    1. Apologies! I realised after I was past the edit time that xxx was not in the clue. 24 hours on the naughty step? I could try to blame it on the Rusty Nails we had with coffee after dinner but I would be fibbing, I didn’t drink it all, I had forgotten how strong they are and we were in bed by 10 last night so I think I might be grasping at straw excuses there.

  13. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. A super puzzle as usual from Virgilius. I liked 8a & 17d, but my favourite was 11a. Needed the hints to parse 16&22d, and the blog to parse 20d. Was 3*/4* for me. Great fun.

  14. I solved this in fits and starts; no flow at all. However still enjoyed the challenge as usual.
    7d was my favourite after the penny finally dropped.
    Thanks to Virgilius,and to Senf over there for the hints.

  15. Very late as usual having just got back from visiting eldest grandson in Birmingham. Also have a dreadful cold and cough after my flu jab and feeling sorry for myself. Am I alone in not liking the spelling for 17a? Thanks to all of you for taking my mind off my sore throat. 😪

  16. Great stuff from Virgilius, as always.

    10a is puzzling us. We parsed it exactly as Senf’s hint does, but we have a letter unaccounted for. Are we missing something?

    Thanks to Senf and Virgilius.

    1. Perhaps you do not have the correct synonym for mother. You need a four letter word that is a somewhat formal synonym.

      1. Ah, yes, got it now. With the wrong synonym for mother we further mis-parsed the rest of the answer. 3/10, must do better!

  17. Having real problems with this site – such a shame. My comments disappear into thin air and I keep being told I have been selected. Yuk.

  18. Excellent offering which I managed to complete without aid save for some parsing. 3d took me an inordinate length of time to solve and was the last man standing in the top half. Apart from that the SW was last to fall and only got the artful 20d when all the checkers were in. Still not sure what type of clue you would call 11a if artificially is the anagram indicator. Thanks Senf and if you can help me on this one when you wake up I shall be grateful.

    1. I think 11a is a type of all-in-one but I am no expert. We will have to wait to see what Cryptic Sue or gnomethang tells us at the end of next week.

      1. Gnomey will be providing the review of this particular crossword but you’ll have to wait until Thursday the 17th to see what he says

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