ST 2973 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2973 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2973 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where November in October continues.

Sheer Virgilius brilliance!  A low number of anagrams, one homophone, but no lurkers.  The problem was what not to hint.

Favourites – I could incur the Wrath of Kath and list all 30 clues, but I will settle for nominating the following candidates – 23a, 6d, and 12d.

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 Got a loan outside bank, interest-free? (8)
A single word for interest free (lacking interest in what is going on) containing (outside) a synonym of bank.

11a Man’s covered by notice I check and copy — stick with it (8,4)
The male pronoun and the contraction of IS contained (covered) by the brief abbreviation for a notice, I from the clue, and three-letter synonyms for check and copy.

13a Malinger, albeit poorly in earliest stage (8)
An anagram (albeit poorly) of MALINGER.

16a Service area set back a long way away (4)
A military service (the one I was in) and the single letter for area all reversed (set back).

17a Stranger not even seen by monarch (5)
The antonym of (not) even followed by (seen by) HM.

20a Something played in time by title-holder? (6)
The single letter for time placed after (by) where the title of a book may be seen.

23a Male lawyer of bad repute in East producing general panic (4,8)
The single letter for male followed by a term for a bad lawyer inserted into (in) the continent in the East.

26a Part of Southern England understood in North (4)
A double definition – the second is the past participle of a synonym of to understand (yes, it is in the BRB).

28a Primate, in practice, preceded by bishop, say (8)
A synonym of (military) practice after (preceded by) a term for a bishop on a board.

(I avoided using an illustration showing the colourful posterior.) 


2d Caught learner initially exiting big intersection on other side (8)
The first letters (initially) of Caught and Learner deleted from (exiting) a type of (highway) intersection popular in North America.

5d Early deposits, we hear, in regular payment (4)
A homophone (we hear) of moisture deposits.

6d Dangerous striker in the box, one grabbed by Scottish player (3,5)
The two letter abbreviation for the item informally referred to as ‘the box’ and the single letter for one contained (grabbed) by a Scottish (instrument) player.

7d Funding a grand opera? Doesn’t sound like it! (4)
A synonym for funding and A from the clue.

12d Rogue, leader of thieves, Russian forger? (12)
The first (leader) letter of Thieves and a potential forger of Russian currency.

16d Meeting, with skill, covering disorder up (8)
A single word for with skill containing (covering) a synonym of disorder reversed (up).

17d Remote lake Stanley finally found in expedition (8)
The single letter for lake and the last (finally) letter of StanleY contained buy a synonym of expedition.

19d Somebody else supported by a line? Only in theory (8)
A (3,1) statement of somebody else, a two letter word for supported by, A from the clue, and the single letter for line.

25d Theorem regularly selected for school period (4)
Letters regularly selected from the first word of the clue.

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Justin Hayward, of the Moody Blues, is 72 years young today. This is Nights in White Satin, apparently written after he had received a gift of satin bed sheets from his girl friend, and includes a superb flute solo from Ray Thomas and a very good orchestral finish. I think this was recorded in the Royal Albert Hall as I did catch a glimpse of what looked liked the ‘acoustic mushrooms.’

24 comments on “ST 2973 (Hints)

  1. Another splendid Sunday puzzle, although I’d be interested to know whether it was just me who found that the SW corner took longer than the other three corners put together. I also noticed the double unches

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf

    1. Same for me with the SW corner.

      A real delight for a soggy Sunday. I wouldn’t argue with our blogger’s choices of top clues either.

      Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

    2. I don’t think I had a particular problem in the SW corner as my solving followed my usual trend of a couple of random acrosses followed by a couple of random downs and so on.

  2. Yes a lovely crossword to admire full of variety and cleverness . Too many excellent clues to single out a favourite .
    Steady progress for me including SW corner although the majority clues there are of the highest quality .
    Thanks to every one from soggy South Wales .

  3. No idea whether this will appear because I put in a comment to CS yesterday on last week’s Saturday puzzle and it didn’t appear, but here goes anyway.

    Very much enjoyed this as always on a Sunday, and agree with Senf can’t possibly pick a favourite.

    Thanks to all.

    By the way Senf, I think there are two letters in 19d that you haven’t covered in your hint

  4. Usual top notch Sunday fare from Virgilius.
    A very entertaining blog from Senf too TYVM both.
    Loved the Wrath of Kath comment too so will nominate just 23a as the top of a very long list.

  5. V good puzzle but an interesting misunderstanding of 6d.
    Thought the first word referred to the place where football managers sit to watch the march!

  6. Caught out by that wretched intersection again and gave myself a problem by trying to relate a specific title-holder to 20a, so this one took me rather longer than usual. Worth every moment for such a masterpiece.

    23a going to the top of my pile with 1a and the short but infinitely sweet 24d close on its heels.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. Thoroughly enjoyed the rendition of Nights in White Satin.

  7. Re the hint for 19d, I took supported to mean a word not a direction?

    Great puzzle. All fantastic clues. Thanks to V and S.

  8. Another great Sunday puzzle, so many excellent clues to savour.

    Like others, I loved 1a, 23a and 6d, but I thought 9a, 2d and 5d weren’t that far behind.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  9. Great puzzle with excellent clues. Went in smoothly enough, but struggled in the SW corner for a while. 12a is my pick, although I believe I have seen this before?

  10. Sheer absolute brilliance! One of the best Virgilius I have ever finished. Not easy but fun.

  11. A lovely distraction from the rain – very wet, Cambridge. Such clever clues, 23a was sheer brilliance. Thanks to Senf for confirming the parsing, I had the answer but didn’t know why. 27a was last in.

  12. Got to this late in the day. Church and Nonagenarian Mater duties meant Mrs Jumbo didn’t drop me down to the venerable Abbot Oasis till after 4pm by which time most of you would have completed the tussle. Three full pints and a lot of pen chewing before this yielded. Good Sunday scrap, didn’t need hints but thought about it a few times!! Loved 12 Down and thought 20 Across very clever when the penny dropped. Thanks to Setter and Senf

  13. Wotta perfectly lovely treat, as usual. I did need Senf’s help to unravel my bung in at 20a.
    So much to enjoy here, how can one choose a fave? I smiled at 12d NS 23a also deserves mention. I saw 7d at the Caracalla Baths in Rome once, I think the most dazzling spectacle I’ve ever seen, so that’s my fave for the memories.
    Many thanks to Virgillius and Senf, I’m sorry it’s all over.

  14. As ever, Virgilius on FM, I’m on AM, much the hardest and least enjoyable of the week for me.
    Thanks all.

  15. Got to this a little late in the day after Church and Nonagenarian Mater duties so it was past 4pm before the long suffering Mrs Jumbo could drop me off at the venerable Abbot Oasis. Great Sunday grapple, a good 3 Pinter and extensive pen chew. Managed without hints but read them after out of habit. Loved 12 down and 20 across (when the penny dropped). Thanks to Senf and Setter

  16. I found this to be less of a tussle then normal. Fun to complete with some lovely clues of which 20a was top of my list.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  17. Hard work, but very enjoyable. Only got 9a in the first pass, but slowly, slowly catchy monkey, and then I was done. Did need Senf’s hint for 20a, like Merusa. I took a break to watch recorded EastEnders on US public tv station (we are a few years behind here), and Barbara Windsor uttered the word for a bad lawyer – I was stumped in 23a until then. Amazing. Thank you to Virgilius and Senf. It’s been a great crossword weekend in this house.

  18. Good as ever from Virgilius. 20ac caused some difficulty at the close, but the rest went in without too much ado.

  19. Is anyone else having problem downloading the puzzles? I solve using the Telegraph app and logged on last night looking forward to tackling this weekend’s Virgilius… but none of the puzzles load despite the rest of the content on the app being fine.

  20. I got to this puzzle a day late. But Virgilius creations are a treat not to be missed. This one no exception. Took a bit of time but got there thoroughly satisfied. Aaaah. Lovely. Thank you Mr Greer and Senf.

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