ST 2990 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

ST 2990 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2990 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where, this week, we have been consistently 10 degrees below seasonal normals which makes the organisers  of Festival du Voyageur (the annual winter festival), which starts on the 15th, happy because there is plenty of snow and ice to make the festival a success.

Today Dada has returned to asymmetry with some ‘stretched’ synonyms, a handful of anagrams, three homophones, and one lurker in 28 clues (16 acrosses and 12 downs).

Candidates for favourite – 14a, 19a, 6d, and 8d.

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 Imperialist of the past preserved? (5)
Written as (2,3) a method of preserving food.

11a Figure left to stuff hollow turkey (6)
A synonym of left inserted into (to stuff) turkey with the inside letters removed (hollow).

14a Crowd screening film in beastly joint (7)
A synonym of crowd containing (screening) a well-known film with a two-letter title.

16a I step back alongside cold mountain peak, perhaps? (3,3)
I from the clue, and a synonym of step reversed (back) after (alongside) the single letter for cold.

19a Recall everyone, say, in plant (7)
The reversal (recall) of the assemblage of a synonym of everyone, the Latin abbreviation that can used for say, and IN from the clue.

22a Liaison’s ending in emotional kind of poem (6)
The last letter (‘s ending) of liaison contained by (in) a synonym of emotional.

23a Bay maybe is said to be rough (6)
The first homophone (said to be) of what a bay might be an example of (maybe).

24a Rest lung, possibly? (8)
A double definition possibly, the first is a type of rest.

26a Grind, emptying out green powder (5)
Green with its interior letters removed (emptying out) and a type of powder.


2d I agree 100%, a less than fair split? (3,4)
A less than equal share which is not a fair split.

5d Mouselike hair in Shakespearean character (7)
A synonym of mouselike and a strand of hair.

7d Scandinavian stuff in Norwegian banks (4)
The lurker (banks) found in the rest of the clue.

8d Dish of rubbery meat? (4,10)
A type of meat and an item (of footware) that can be made out of rubber.

15d Recovering maybe initially, likely to fall off boxes? (2,3,4)
The first letter (initially) of Maybe contained by (boxes) a (2,3,3) expression for likely to fall off.

20d Attend to a bandage for the ear? (7)
The third homophone (for the ear) (the second is 9d) of A from the clue and a synonym of bandage.

22d Run into swarm on the rise (4)
A synonym of swarm reversed (on the rise)

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.

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

Rick Astley was 53 on Wednesday, here he is with a ‘worldwide’ number one from 1987:


34 comments on “ST 2990 (Hints)

  1. I thought this was Dada in his most benign mood since taking over the Sunday slot. 8d was my COTD from a very worthy selection of fine clues, and overall this was an enjoyable and rewarding puzzle to work through.

    Thanks to the aforementioned and Senf.

  2. Am half way through with West in but East proving a problem. Agree with YS this is probably as easy as Sunday is going to get, but at my level it has been back to really enjoying Sunday even if I need help to get over the line.
    Thanks to DaDa and Senf I may need a hint or two when I return.

  3. A really approachable puzzle in comparison with those which have recently appeared inthe Sunday. I, too, found the western part much easier than the east but managed to complete it with some help in parsing 15d from Senf. Thanks to Senf for the hints and Dada for an enjoyable puzzle.

  4. I found this much more approachable than last Sunday, and much more enjoyable.
    Favourite clue, 8d.

    Thanks to Dada, and to Senf.

  5. Thought our setter had found just the right level for a Sunday puzzle with this one. I did need to check on the poem but nothing else caused any problems.

    My top two, chosen for their humour, were the preserved Imperialist and the rubbery meat.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the blog. Rick Astley looked far too young in that clip to have such a mature voice!

  6. Completed in reasonable time and enjoyed the journey . Had to verify 19A & 22A .
    Liked a few clues but no outstanding favourite .
    Unlike Winnipeg it is pleasantly warm in Fuerteventura again today .
    Well done to the big 4 Welsh football teams that all won yesterday , a rare occurrence in combination with the rugby team .
    Thanks to everyone .

  7. 4*/3*. Although I agree with previous commenters that this was less tough than recent Sunday puzzles, I still found it very challenging. I suppose I am still grieving over the loss of Virgilius. Starting immediately, I am going to pull myself together and accept that the new Sunday norm is going to be a Toughie in disguise.

    Having re-analysed the puzzle in the light of that mental adjustment, there is a lot to enjoy amidst a range of tough and accessible clues.

    15d seems a bit contrived to me and the homophone of 23a is somewhat of a stretch as a synonym for “bay”. I think 22a is a new word for me. (I must try to remember to add “I think” as I do forget from time to time!)

    My podium comprises: 1a, 1d, 7d, 8d & 19d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  8. With the aid of the splendid clues I managed to finish this tricky puzzle not as though DADAs puzzles are ever anything but.
    But cannot see why the beginning and end of 17a has anything to do with sink (either Verb or noun) or where the extra D comes from in 20d.
    Must admit I did like 25a but Mrs B got 19d, she obviously has a far more devious mind than I do.
    Satisfying to finish.
    Thx for the hints

    1. Senf’s hint should explain your query on 20d

      I can’t think of a way of explaining how the first two and the last letters of the solution to 17a relate to sink without going to the NC – I suggest a good read of all the definitions of that word in the dictionary

    2. For 17a, the synonym of sink is in its entry in the Small Red Book and both can be terms used in a game that originated in India.

  9. Very enjoyable Sunday workout which, at first glance, I thought was going to be much more difficult than it turned out to be.

    I shared Brian’s query of the supposed synonym in 17a until I looked it up and saw where the setter was going with it.

    I had also not heard of the poem, and I was amused when I came up with the word thinking I was yet again making words up, but it turned out to be right!

    Liked 8d and last one in was 1a which, when the penny dropped, turned out to be my favourite.

    Thanks to the setter and Senf.

  10. Second session completed the job had to check poem and plant but otherwise almost back to Virgilius enjoyment and level for me.
    COTD 8d: it produced the best “Doh” moment for some time when the penny dropped also a particular favourite.
    Thanks to DaDa and Senf for succinct explanations.

  11. Sundays are getting easier or maybe with Senf’s help I am improving. Not sure I have parsed 6d correctly. The poem was new to me but answer came and Google confirmed. As above 1a was a big doh moment but 16a was on my podium too. 22d last in as I was trying to fit my Nomme de Cruciverbalism in there. Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  12. Congrats too to Senf for “rickrolling” us all that earworm is going to take some shifting!

  13. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky, but a few to make you think. Lots of humour. Perhaps I’m getting on Dada’s wavelength. Last in was 9d. I liked 12a, but my favourite was 8d. Was 3*/3* for me.

  14. Ah yes the Festival, that was great fun, also Winnipeg Zoo around the Christmas holiday. Also the Forks, in winter the ice rink where some guys used to dance round and round his teddy bear, not that is not a euphamism, he really used to skate around and jump over a teddy bear! Don’t miss the mosquitoes and canker worms in the summer though.

    OK, again much fun. I too had never heard of 22a.I got the answer from the clue but then didn’t have a clue what it meant.
    Several made me laugh out loud, along with several ‘Doh how can you be so thick Carolyn?’ moments

    If I have to choose I’d say 8d is favourite but all of them are great.

  15. ****/***. Still find parsing some of the answers tricky (15a&22a). Favourite was 19a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  16. Finished! Two goes & a lot of 26across , SE corner last in. A very enjoyable cerebral Sunday stretch… favourites 3D &22A… I still enjoyed my 8D though .
    Grateful thanks to Dada & Senf for clue assistance.

  17. Have been returning to this off and on all day and phew I have finally made it (apart from 1a) but without much enjoyment or satisfaction – have yet to find Dada’s wavelength. I agree with Senf re several ‘stretched synonyms’ so I wrongly bunged in a homophone for 23a without fully parsing it. 22a is a new one on me. 8d raised a smile. Thank you Dada and Senf. Well done England on a terrific score-line. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿👏.

  18. More like the Dada from the Monday slot or I’m more on his wavelength these days. An enjoyable solve as always.

    Thanks to Senf and Dada **/****

    P.S. Something strange is afoot within the Everyman puzzle on the Guardian site – an Elk maybe??

  19. That was first-rate and just right for a Sunday.
    I needed a nudge for 19a, but that was just me being dumb.
    I hope this is the pattern for future Sundays.
    Thanks Senf and Dada.
    Any Chelsea fans around??

    1. I was a Chelsea fan way back in my attempted mis-spent youth which was somewhat hampered by being a convent school girl but then I married an Ipswich fan who then morphed into a Pittsburg Steelers American football fan. At least with proper football I had a fighting chance of know what was going on. 40+ years on I still don’t have the slightest clue when it comes to American football. I don’t understand cricket either but I enjoy the view. Especially the type where I can relax on a bllanket under a tree with a glass of wine and lovely men in white trorusers run back and forth in front of me for no apparent reason. I do miss thiat.

      The rest of my family are very avid Chelsea fans, season ticket holders and all that! My sister is not exactly a fan but she likes to make encouraging noises to her husband, daughter, don-in-law, our brother etc. Just today in fact, as she likes to always focuss on the positive, she saidd to her long suffering hubby ‘Oh wow babe your team were in the top two of the game….not sure he bought it….”


      1. Good Lord look at the typos in my reply! Sorry about that. It’s only 3.35 in the afternoon and I haven’t even had so much as a wine gum. Obviously that’s what’s wrong. Another hour and I will have a nice glass of semi-home made white plonk and that’ll fix it.

  20. Looked at this before going out for a traditional Sunday lunch (which was excellent, roast beef with just the horns knocked off), and couldn’t do a single one. Back home and all fell into place. Very good puzzle except I kept wanting to put ‘xxxxx xxx xxxxx” for 3d! Too many good clues to mention so thanks to all.

  21. Well I grumbled about last Sunday’s cryptic but really enjoyed this one….just challenging enough. Thanks Dada and Senf

  22. Thoroughly enjoyable, not overly tricky, and exactly the kind of puzzle I’m looking for from the Telegraph on a Sunday. More like this please, Dada.

  23. I did this with our son at noon-ish apart from 4 clues. Came back later and did not get much further. We spiked our own guns though by having the wrong ending to 6d which made the rest unsolvable, and furrowed brows needlessly. Once all was made clear by various cheats, the thing was in a fit state to ‘Enter’. That poem was not known to me and that seems a bit of an obscure plant though I expect the gardeners out there will beg to differ. so…
    ..I thought it was spoiled a bit by the few clues (22a) which were, for me, overly opaque.
    still enjoyed most of the thing but…. and you would never see that sort of thing with Virgilius. Mutter, mutter.

  24. Could someone please tell me where I can find the crossword in the Sunday Telegraph. I get the paper on line but can’t find the crossword to print. Thanks

    1. Welcome to the blog Tuppence

      You may need a Telegraph Puzzles subscription as well – I’m sure someone else can advise on that. By the way, it helps if you mention the platform you are using (PC/Phone/Tablet, Browser, etc.).

    2. This may help, however, I have an on-line subscription to Puzzles as well as the Paper so no guarantees.

      At the top right of the ‘Paper’ web page, there is ‘ALL SECTIONS’ with three horizontal bars. Click on that and you should see Puzzles listed in the RH column.

      What you will see if you do not have a Puzzles subscription I am not sure.

      1. Thanks Senf this doesn’t seem to be the solution! I get the papers on Press Reader and the ST is there with all the supplements but still can’t find the crossword to print off. I get all the other days ok. Maybe somebody who gets the hard copy may be able to offer advice. Thanks

        1. Don’t know if this will be any help, Tuppence, but in the hard copy the crossword is in the “Sunday” section.

  25. These days I don’t even look at the Sunday puzzle until I’ve checked the blog to see what other people made of it – as a result I haven’t attempted the last few. However, yesterday’s comments were encouraging so I thought I’d give it a go and was pleased I did, as I thoroughly enjoyed it. Finished all but the SE corner last night and have just done that (with the help of a hint for 22d – now can’t think why I didn’t get it). Thanks to Dada (more like this please) and Senf.

Comments are closed.