ST 2976 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2976 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2976 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where the weather and the month are now aligned and the solving and hinting of this puzzle was facilitated by the result of grapes being crushed three years ago.

As excellent as ever, Virgilius is mildly tricky this week  – about average for anagrams, but no lurkers or homophones.

Candidates for favourite – 12a, 20a, 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:


7a Minute place within continent, or part of it (8)
The single letter for minute, and a synonym of place inserted into (within) a continent.

10a Casual work not even taken by epitome of patience (3,3)
The single word for not even, and the OT individual who was the epitome of patience.

12a English writer in French city died surrounded by birds (7,7)
A (southern) French city and the single letter for died contained (surrounded) by sometimes domesticated birds.

17a Parking behind large vehicle, proceed on foot (5)
The single letter for parking after (behind) a type of large vehicle (that runs on rails).

20a Getting on with swimming group in Eton or Harrow, for instance (8,6)
A single word for getting on (onto a form of transport) and a term for a group of swimming creatures.

23a Artistic device that goes to Cockney’s head? (8)
Something that might be used when creating a smart appearance as used by a Cockney.

28a Survived cold temperature in Burgundy’s shade (8)
The single letter for temperature contained by (in) a two word synonymic phrase for Burgundy’s shade – thanks to stanXYZ and jane.


1d Sovereign, as well as foreign coin (4)
The single letter which can indicate a sovereign and a single word for as well as.

3d Piece of hook that’s said to wound others (4)
A double definition – the second is a verbal device.

5d See about cutting charge? It’s not straightforward (8)
One of the sets of usual two letters for about inserted into (cutting) a synonym of charge – thanks to Gazza for this one.

6d Endlessly leave mark on a carnival site as showbiz organiser (10)
A single word for leave mark with its last letter removed (endlessly), A from the clue, and the short name of a city (site) famous for its carnival.

13d Difficult for soldiers to penetrate after top of shell comes off (4-6)
The description of a breakfast item that might be considered ‘overcooked’.

16d Record of events in 1984, for example? (8)
A volume that records events in one twelve month period.

21d Work at changing tubs? Certain people don’t have them (6)
A synonym of work at and an anagram (changing) of TUBS.

26d Men on board audibly exulted (4)
A double definition to finish – the second is the past participle of a synonym of exult.

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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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Lulu was 70 years young yesterday, here she is with the iconic To Sir With Love, from 1967, which reached number one in Canada and the USA but only reached number 11 in the UK (this version was recorded in 1981):


73 comments on “ST 2976 (Hints)

  1. We iPad users have one of last week’s cryptics instead of today’s which is a real pity because Sunday is a real favourite. Last week they forgot to include the crossword. Oh dear what is going on please Mr Lancaster. 😢

    1. Apparently there was a problem with the overnight load to the iPad. This was corrected at about 9.30am; if the incorrect puzzle is still displayed then you can refresh the app (I had to delete today’s edition and then download it again) to see the correct puzzle.

      Apologies to anyone affected; technology is a wonderful thing when it works …

      1. Did I miss something? What is the IPad version? I was waiting for a revamp of the puzzles but nothing yet?
        I use the Penguin browser to get he puzzle on the IPad but the keyboard has lots to be desired? Used to use a crossword app that imported the puzzles but the Telegraph stopped them.
        Any updates?

      2. That is one benefit to being 5 hours behind over here, problems are usually fixed before I wake up 😊

  2. Another gem from Virgilius – thanks to him and to Senf.
    I think that 5d is a short word for ‘about’ inserted in a verb to charge or formally accuse. The definition of 28a is ‘survived cold’.

  3. 2.5* / 5*. This was absolutely top notch entertainment for a Sunday morning, which was a joy from start to finish.

    I thought 13d was going to be my favourite but it got pipped at the post by 22d, my last one in and a typically Virgilian clue.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  4. As Gazza says, another Sunday gem- 13d is my favourite – I always always forget the crosswordland meaning of these particular soldiers!

  5. Luverly stuff from the maestro with a couple of head-scratchers and a lot of smilers.

    Top three for me were 23a plus 13&22d but there were several other contenders.

    Thanks to Virgilius for the fun and to Senf for the blog. Hard to believe that Lulu is 70!

  6. The usual Sunday masterpiece from Virgilius.

    I interpreted 28a in a completely different way. Thought it was the abbreviation for temperature inside the product of which Burgundy is an example, followed by a 3-letter word for a shade. Which gives the definition as “Survived cold”.

    Thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

    1. I always believed that the shade referred to contained two words – the one before the temperature plus the one after it.

        1. I am with Jane. The definition is “survived cold”. Senf’s hint does not work, since there are not enough letters in the answer.

  7. I can’t see beyond the outstandingly brilliant 13d for a favourite clue. 22d ran it close, and the quality and cleverness of the clueing was right up there with the setter’s very best. Entertaining, fun, thought-provoking and absorbing.

    Thanks Virgilius for another superb Sunday workout, and to Senf.

  8. Wow 5d! Really gave me problems. Extra hint above now makes sense. I liked 7a as the two elements are interlinked. Not difficult, just a nice connection.

  9. Absolutely agree about 13d – it is a beauty! Unexpected opportunity to get to the crossword before night time so great pleasure all round.

  10. Absolute masterpiece from the Sunday maestro. If you had to define a cryptic clue 22d would fit the part exactly. However, my COTD would be 13d because it made me laugh out loud. If only all crosswords were this good.
    Many thx to Virgilius for the puzzle and for the hints which confirmed my answer to 26d.

  11. Lovely stuff once again. How does he do it week after week? 22D was my runaway favorite ( I have a fondness for grammar clues) and then I solved 13D, so I’m awarding them joint top spot. Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  12. Dear everyone, with great regret, I decided a few weeks ago to retire as the regular Sunday setter in order to free up time for other aspects of my life. It has been a privilege for nearly ten years. I will continue to contribute puzzles to the Telegraph on an ad hoc basis, and occasionally as Brendan in the Guardian, and in the Times. My successor will take over after next week’s puzzle.
    Thankyou to everyone.

    1. As stanXYZ says, Sundays will never be the same and it has been a privilege, including next Sunday, to have blogged the last 93 of your regular Sunday offerings.

      Thank you very very much

    2. Heartfelt thanks to you Brian. Your Sunday Telegraph puzzles have never been anything but brilliant and, as StanXYZ says you have made Sundays special.

      We will miss you.

    3. I too will sorely miss your Sunday magic. You have been an inspiration to me, thank you so much for the brilliance over the years. I will be keeping an eye out for Brendan.

      Heartfelt best wishes in your other pursuits. Thank you Sir.

    4. That’s terrible news. Many thanks, Brian, for your long stint of producing what was for many of us the ‘puzzle of the week’ – it will be sorely missed. Good luck in your new ventures.

      1. I second what Gazza says.

        Always great fun to solve and as I’m sure Gnomethang will agree, even more of a pleasure to review

    5. Wow. That’s a blow. You have given every Sunday – since I can’t remember when – a golden tinge. Thank you so much. Of course, I understand and wish you nothing but the best. Your pen-ultimate Sunday offering has just been much enjoyed – I marvel at your crossword setting mind and many times have shown your clues to people new to cryptics saying: ‘this is why I love these things”.

    6. It has been a privilege to solve your wonderful puzzles over the years. There will be a hole in solver’s lives for some time until we get used to your successor, and they have enormous shoes to fill. I don’t envy them!

      Good luck to you in your new ventures and many, many thanks for the memories.

    7. Thank you for producing such consistently entertaining Sunday puzzles and I’m very glad to hear that we will still have the pleasure of tackling your crosswords, even if the privilege of doing so is less frequent.

      Best wishes.

    8. Until you took over back in 2009, Sunday puzzles were a tedious grind, then they suddenly jumped to being the highlight of my solving week. You have set the bar high and will be a hard act to follow.

      1. “I will continue to contribute puzzles to the Telegraph on an ad hoc basis” – does that man the welcome return of Jed as a Toughie setter?

    9. What will Sunday’s be like in future? I shall miss these most elegant and fun puzzles. Today’s was no exception. Thank you. ***/*****. 13d was brilliant. Thanks also to Senf.

    10. Oh dear, we will all miss your lovely puzzles, challenging without being silly. Hope you greatly enjoy your retirement, which I can greatly recommend, although yours seems to be more semi retirement. Best wishes in all you do.

    11. I can but echo all the thanks given by others – you will indeed be sorely missed as our regular Sunday setter.
      I hope that your plans for the future give you as much pleasure as you have given to us over the years.

    12. We very rarely comment on Sunday prize puzzles but we always have looked forward to them as the highlight of our solving week. Thank you so much for all the pleasure you have given us over the years Brian. We will really miss you.

    13. Mr Greer, I’m devastated. Just as I’m about to retire myself and my Sundays will be all my own to enjoy as I choose, I’m losing the sheer genius of your creations. They will be big shoes to fill.

      However I wish you a long, enjoyable and healthy retirement and look forward to your occasional offerings.

      Needless to say, today’s was challenging but fair and thoroughly enjoyable

    14. Such bad news! I’ve only fairly recently started doing the Sunday puzzle, as I had it in my head that it was too difficult for me, but it rapidly became my favourite one of the week – challenging but consistently brilliant and much looked forward to. You will be very sadly missed and Sundays won’t be the same. Thank you for giving so much enjoyment and very best wishes for the future.

  13. I was going to comment on this latest offering from Brian but after the news above, I haven’t the heart to get into specifics on this puzzle. I’ll just go with ***/******

    There is no way I’ll be missing next week’s either. Not that I would anyway.

    Thanks to Senf as ever.

  14. Lovely puzzle as usual. We will miss your Sunday offerings but wish you all the best in your other ventures. I hope the Telegraph let’s us know if we can expect a Virgilius puzzle. I do wish back pages as well as toughie could have a byline.
    SE corner held out the longest today. I needed the hint for 28a and the associated debate to get me going again. Thanks to Senf at al and Mr Greer for many delightful puzzles.

    1. Just want to add my thanks for the pleasure of solving your puzzles every Sunday. We will all miss your huge talent.

  15. Sheer brilliance. Every single clue was an absolute gem and a delight to solve.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  16. Of course I loved this, I always do.
    Fave was 13d. I couldn’t solve 19a but no hint. Any help out there?
    Thanks to Virgilius, oh dear, and to Senf for the hints.

  17. This puzzle was brilliant.
    Thanks to Senf for the hints.
    Sunday’s will never be the same.
    Thank you Mr Greer for making them special.
    Good luck with whatever you plan to do.

  18. Another lovely Sunday in crossword land, apart from the news about Virgilius leaving the Sunday spot. Too many favourites today to pick just one, but 20a was very clever. Last in was 26d, and I’m still not sure how it works. Thanks again Mr Greer, and to Senf for the hints as usual.

  19. Last comment didn’t manage to get posted. Who knows why? Very stuck on bottom right. Can’t work out 28a even with the hints. Please help! Thanks

  20. Great crossword.
    Many thanks to Virgilius for your crosswords, you will be much missed.
    Thanks also to Senf

  21. Well I am reluctant to go against the flow but I did find this a real struggle and needed a great deal of help particularly in the East so can’t say I really enjoyed the exercise. Nevertheless many thanks Virgilius for this and so many other past Sunday offerings and all good wishes for the future 👏🍀. I agree with several other commenters above in that 13d was my outstanding Fav. Thanks also to Senf for your help for a maiden in distress.

  22. A good puzzle, but one where I struggled badly. I think I may have forgotten how to solve cryptics, as this seems to be a recurring theme the past week. Tell me this was genuinely tricky in places!

  23. I have only just finished and needed a comment which refers to “grammar” clues to get 22d. When I am going through the alphabet I forget it is not always a vowel that goes between two consonants. 19a is so simple but took me ages. A real “doh” moment. Thank you Brian Greer. Truly clever but I am in a minority as never seem to be on the right wavelength. A mention also for Brian the blogger whose views are diametrically opposed to mine. I used to think he did not have a cryptic brain but that cannot be right if he can solve Sundays’. Runaway favourite 13d. Let’s see what Virgilius cooks up for next Sunday’s breakfast.

  24. I always save Virgillius’ Sunday puzzle for a midweek treat so have only just seen the news that he is to [semi] retire. Thanks for your superb clueing Mr Greer. You’ve been a master of the disguised definition and crossword land’s most famous practitioner of the “hidden” clue. Anyone who can come up with “Some job at hand? We’ll soon see [4,3,5]” is more than a bit special.


  25. Dear Brian. What sad news! I started doing the S.T. cryptic on a wet sunday whilst camping in the New Forest with my, then girlfriend about six years ago. It took us all week to get about five answers. We persevered and practised each week, steadily improving. Sadly we split up about four years ago… but on the plus side I can now usually finish each week without any electronic help. I try to get the crossword section from the complimentary newspapers at the golf club, but if I can’t I shell out £2 and place the rest immediately in the recycling bin. I can’t get on with any other setter, you are a genius. I shall watch out for Brendan in the Guardian, do my best, and again on the plus side enjoy reading the rest of the edition.Thank you for introducing me to your etymological gymnasium. Slan go foill.

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