ST 2975 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2975 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2975 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where, yesterday, we completed the suite of November weather in October with FOG!

With the usual superlatives, Virgilius is somewhat benevolent this week, but a couple of clues required a little head scratching, for solving and hinting – about average for anagrams, two lurkers, and one partial homophone.

Candidates for favourite – 23a, 27a, 1d, and 9d.

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 Little time left in warm embrace is dear (60)
The abbreviations for time and left contained by (in . . . embrace) a synonym of warm.

10a Nothing in court contest producing true partnership (4,5)
The word for nothing in a game played on a court and a synonym of contest.

12a Tanker installing right navigational aid on computer (7)
A vehicular tanker containing (installing) the abbreviation for right.

13a American serving in pub using premises correctly, for example (7)
The two letter abbreviation for an American serving (or a serving American) contained by (in) a synonym for pub (and the premises aren’t buildings).

18a Origin of glow, a small lamp (8)
The first letter (origin) of Glow, A from the clue, the single letter for small, and a synonym of lamp.

23a Composer of the year as represented in pieces (7)
One way in which the year can be divided up (in pieces) represented in music by the answer.

27a Performer who needs to take a bow before starting (9)
An instrumentalist who needs a bow.

29a Partly why bridge is crossed? (6)
The second lurker (partly), the first is 25a, found in the middle of the clue.


1d Not in union — albeit, oddly, in organisation allowing it (8)
An anagram (oddly) of ALBEIT contained by (in) the abbreviation of one (religious) organisation that does allow unions.

3d Soft material that once formed cover for little jumper (9)
A natural material obtained from a young animal’s ‘outer layer’ – I am not sure about the use of jumper by Virgilius.

5d A most unfriendly conclusion about possible site of leg injury (8,6)
A from the clue, a (slightly strange) synonym for most unfriendly, and synonyms for conclusion and about.

8d It’s clear oddly deficient clues irritate (6)
A term for it’s clear (as in financial transactions) and the even letters (oddly deficient) of cLuEs.

9d Precious material pirate found under site of castle, we hear (8,6)
The surname of a fictional pirate after (found under) a homophone (we hear) of a the site of a castle in Scotland.

16d Popular rising still without courage or honour (9)
The short synonym for popular, a synonym of still reversed (rising) containing a synonym of courage.

19d In brief, part of speech is edited as suggested (7)
Abbreviated (in brief) versions of a part of speech and edited sandwiching IS from the clue.

23d Initially lacking merit, succeed as student (5)
The first letter (initially) of Lacking and a synonym of merit.

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For my 99th blog overall, 91st Sunday, Dame Cleo Laine is 91 years young today, here she is (from quite some time ago) with husband John Dankworth:


52 comments on “ST 2975 (Hints)

    1. Pop back to the blog later on and you’ll both find a treat perfect for Sunday afternoon solving

    2. The Quick crossword is now present and correct in the Edition App; there was a technical problem that meant it wasn’t there earlier this morning.

  1. More standard Sunday excellence from the setter which felt more doable than recent Sunday prize puzzles (especially last w/end).

    Metaphorical ticks next to 1a, 3D, 16d, 27a, 28a. And a couple of high-quality lurkers to boot. 23a was a bung-in (thanks for the explanation).

    COTD = 26a for its concise clueing.

    LoI = 20a, which was a new meaning on me… although very gettable from the word play.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints.

  2. Finished before daylight today, courtesy of waking up far too early. Favorites were 1A and 26A. Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  3. Usual hugely enjoyable offering from the Sunday maestro but cannot for the life of me parse 20a or 26a even though I’m sure my answers are correct.
    Thx to all

      1. Hard to hint 20a without getting a bollocking, Brian. Have you got the right definition?? It’s an unusual (and new on me) meaning of the last word in the clue.

        1. Hmmm! I can see the bit about left and right which gets me started and perhaps another word for moderate but cannot for the life of me find any reference in any dictionary or thesaurus which gives me another meaning for Guy.
          Just going to have to wait for answers I suppose. Annoying though but thanks for trying to help.

          1. Apart from the fact that we’ve had this several times before, the second definition of guy in the BRB is the one you need

            1. I assume you are referring the definition which says to joke or lark. Why either of these should relate to the answer is a mystery to me.

      2. I got it from the checkers but for the life of me I couldn’t understand why. Thanks to those who explained, with the link, never knew that use.

  4. Very enjoyable, it must have been easier than normal as I am usually all at sea with Virgilius’ puzzles.
    Thanks for explaining 23a, very clever and has to be my favourite.
    Thanks Senf and Virgilius.

  5. Splendid – very hard to pick a top favourite – at the moment 23a is in that position, but all may change when I draft the review

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf

  6. More Sunday magic from the maestro with some clues in the bottom half needing pause for thought.
    20a raised a smile but my favourite has to be 23a – I was hoping for a video clip there but perhaps our blogger was spoilt for choice!

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the blog – didn’t realise that Cleo Laine had reached such a milestone.

    1. I did look for an appropriate video for 23a but I could not find one that did not ‘give’ the answer.

  7. I started this very enjoyable Virgilius puzzle just before the clocks went back in BST.

    On completion, in GMT, the telegraph.puzzles site recorded the time taken as: 17832 days 43 minutes.

    Thanks to Senf for the hints … though I think that 18a needs revising … the definition is simply “lamp”.

  8. All went swimmingly apart from a couple of hold-ups in NE. Bunged in 20a by which unlike Graham I am still baffled. Overall much fun was had. My little Fav was 14a. Thank you Virgilius and Senf.

    1. Hi Angellov,
      In 20a the definition is ‘guy’ – split the clue so that you have one letter to represent the first seven words and then follow it with a synonym of ‘to moderate’.

  9. Excellence comes as standard on a Sunday, and this was no exception. A moderately difficult but hugely enjoyable puzzle, worthy of a Prize Crossword. Some brilliant clues, so as always picking.a favourite is terribly difficult, but I will go for 1d.

    Thanks very much to Virgilius for the challenge and to Senf.

  10. Lots of mentions above for 20a, which I’m stuck on, even with Jane’s help

    Possibly because 16d is wrong depending if it’s the last word or the last 4 words that are the definition.

    Can anyone help?

    1. Hi Mark,
      It’s the last word in 16d that is the definition. Sorry my comment didn’t help with 20a – don’t think I can say much more without landing up in the naughty corner.

    2. Apologies, I missed the underlining of the definition in 16d (it is there now), as Jane says it is the last word.

  11. 2* / 5*. Sheer excellence!

    I needed a quick Google check for 12a as I don’t think I’ve heard of the tanker before.

    As ever picking a favourite on a Sunday is a challenge, but my podium choices are 20a (my last one in), 23a & 1d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  12. Despite having all 3 letters still can’t get 20a. Does the whole answer mean guy? Baffled!

  13. Great puzzle , wonderful stuff .

    Two favourites 14A for biggest smile and 23A for the thud of the penny dropping when the link was realised .

    Thanks to everyone .

  14. Very enjoyable Sunday puzzle, with only spoiler being 20a. No real favourite, but a pleasant challenge. Thanks to setter and Senf. Glorious weather here in South Florida, a cool 82F, first time for months that we have been able to sit here with the patio doors all open. A great respite, albeit temporary.

  15. i found it hard today to unravel my answers, I think others did too, so many struggling to “get” 20a and 23a. This is so unlike Virgilius.
    Great puzzle as usual, even though I fried my brain trying to understand 20a.
    Fave was undoubtedly 23a, but I needed the hint to know why.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his help understanding some answers.

  16. Finally got 20a – not a definition I knew. Can’t work out the wordplay for 23a despite the hints. Also does anyone have a hint for 26a? If it’s a Roman emperor I’m sadly lacking in knowledge. Thanks.

      1. A synonym for ‘one’ + an emporer (can’t say where from as it will give it away, but not Rome), reverse it all, gives a follower of another.
        Hope that helps.

  17. Got to this a bit late and hungover after 2 days of boozing with some of the great and good of cruciverbalism. Loved the puzzle today 20a was LOI and fell with an almighty clunk as about 10000 pennies dropped.
    Thanks to Senf and Vigilius for a top notch puzzle but I had to take a few hints as I burned out too many brain cells on Shropshire Gold and Black Sheep bitter. With thanks to Richard, Kenmac and daughter, Johnathon and Mrs I managed to win Elgars quiz and now have a copy of Boatman’s first 50 crosswords to work through. Didn’t help with Elgars exercise in futility where I would have needed 10000 pennies to drop for just about every clue.

  18. Loved 23 Across. Last one in 20 Across and annoyingly I knew the definition but took ages to read the cluing properly. Thanks to Setter and Hinter

  19. Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite tricky. Needed the hints for 16d, and the blog to explain 20a. Although I knew the definition, I struggled with the left and right bit, thanks to Jane for the explanation. Favourite was 29a. Was 3.5*/4* for me.

  20. I completed in fits and starts… I didn’t find any rhythm today. Excellent crossword of course and for me 20a was favourite.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf for the hints.

  21. No real problems apart from 20ac, which did give more than a little pause for thought. Another Sunday treat from Virgilius.

  22. Well it has taken me since 7.00 p.m. last night to midafternoon today to almost complete it. I am still stuck on 20 across even though I see the reason for the first letter and have the others on the bounce. I could just bung something in but I can’t see why that word would be right. So I think I will just leave it.

    Or, as I seem to wake up at 2.15 on the dot every morning (I do go back to sleep again afterwards) I have discovered that sometimes answers just pop into my head in the dead of night. Anyone else do that? No? Just me then.

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