ST 2996 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2996 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2996 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where the car seat warmer has been turned down from Regulo 4 to Regulo 1!

The benevolence continues, although not so much as last week, with the usual handful of anagrams, one lurker, and no homophones.

Candidates for favourite – 21a, 4d, and 5d (quite brilliant!).

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 Terribly sad caramel sauce (5,5)
An anagram (terribly) to start of SAD CARAMEL.

9a One now free, having defected from Tory party? (2-3)
A possible double definition, the first describes an individual who was being ‘entertained’ by HM.

12a Traveller taking duck round capital in Oman (7)
A type of (diving) duck with the capital (letter) of Oman inserted into it (taking . . . round) – a raised eyebrow when this one was written in.

17a Instant before dawn, when satellite disappears (7)
When Earth’s natural satellite disappears – not entirely astronomically correct.

19a One doesn’t believe suspect ultimately involved in a crime (7)
The last letter (ultimately) of suspecT contained by (involved in) A from the clue and a type of crime.

24a Soldier approaching favourite part of castle (7)
An (airborne) soldier and a synonym of favourite.

27a See mother juggling triplets, perhaps? (9)
An anagram (juggling) of SEE MOTHER.

28a Polished batting, timid catches (5)
A synonym of timid contains (catches) the two letter word that can mean batting.

30a Community ruling (10)
A reasonably straightforward double definition .


1d Worry what might be for dinner? (4)
Another possible double definition – see the illustration.

2d Security expert: hairdresser, quite possibly? (9)
Yet another possible double definition – the security expert specializes in devices.

5d From forty-five, one is over fifty! (7)
Start with one string of 9 letters (from) in the clue and rework it to another and you have solved an . . . (one is).

8d Nonsense written up on helpful types in school bullies (10)
A three letter synonym of nonsense reversed (written up) followed by (on) some helpful types.

14d Adjust as right number put in order (10)
An anagram (adjust) of AS RIGHT and a three letter number.

18d Very fired up with a passion for card game (9)
A synonym of very, a single word for fired up, A from the clue, and a synonym of passion.

21d Penalty or fine having taken out centre in match (7)
OR from the clue and FinE from the clue with its central letters removed contained by (in) a synonym of match.

23d Worth yours truly slowing down (5)
A pronoun for yours truly and an abbreviated form of a musical term for slowing down.

26d Growth in infancy, steady (4)
We finish with the lurker (in) found in the rest of the clue.

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Andrew Lloyd Webber was 71 on Friday.  This is from an Andrew Lloyd Webber 50th Birthday Celebration Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 1998 (the RAH Organist appears to be having fun):

36 comments on “ST 2996 (Hints)

  1. Fortunately not too taxing because the outdoors beckons in the sunshine. Thank you Senf and Dada.

  2. Rather a mixed bag for me. Raised my eyebrows over the same ones as our blogger did, had to check with the BRB on part of one answer and thought much of the clue in 21d was somewhat surplus to requirement.

    That said, there was enjoyment along the way and I particularly liked 2&25d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the blog and the Phantom clip.

  3. Like Jane, this was a mixed bag for me too. Enjoyed it mostly, but there were a couple I wasn’t as keen on, particularly 17a – not a word that trips off the tongue.

    Needed Senf’s help to fully parse 21d.

    5d caused a smile when the penny dropped.

    Many thanks to the setter and Senf

  4. Well I have finished but as always with this setter there are clues that are difficult to fully parse. I cannot see the (5d answer) in the clue, 16d and 18d are a mystery. 23d contains a musical term that I didn’t know. I thought perhaps the answer required using the second letter twice.
    I still yearn for our old Sunday setter rather than this chap who I cannot take to.
    Thx for the hints.

    1. 5d, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. 16d, one of the two usual two letter words for setter, roman numeral for one, last letter of journalist and a three letter word for fed. 18d, two letter word for very, three letter word for fired up with, a from the clue, and a three letter word for passion.

      1. 5d – You included the answer in what has been redacted.

        18d – Just what I said in my hint!

  5. I found this quite tough to get into but speeded up as I went through it. It was quite enjoyable, but I needed Senf to help me parse 18d and 21d, which I bunged in. Thank you Senf and thanks to the setter for a good challenge. Favourite clues were 12a, 27a, and 2d.

  6. Taxing enough for a Sunday. Needed a hint or two to get over the line. Thanks to Senf. The penny drop when I saw the 5d in 5d was awesome and gets my COTD by a nose from 2d (I have been watching a lot of YT vids of a 2d at work)
    Thanks to Dada and Senf.
    A sunny day cries out for a trip out on my bike TTFN.

  7. I found this particularly tough today although brain-freeze might have contributed as our central-heating boiler has broken down and I am shivering from head to foot :-(

    I didn’t help myself at the start with 1a by failing miserably to make a 10 letter anagram from the relevant fodder before I noticed the enumeration.

    I thought the definition for 12a was rather dodgy and 21d took me an age to parse.

    When all is said and done, there was a lot to like to here and my podium comprises 2d, 5d, 18d & 25d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  8. As Chriscross has said, a slow starter but then it gained momentum. I was able to complete the grid, but needed the hints to parse 21d.

    Many thanks to all.

  9. I cannot see beyond the excellent 5d for my favourite clue today. Quite exceptional. I’m not surprised that 12a has caused a few raised eyebrows as it was also my last one in. Overall this was pleasantly challenging and good fun to complete, so thanks Dada and Senf.

  10. My irritation with 17a being “iffy” was blown into touch once the penny finally dropped with 5d as LOI. What a fabulous clue!

    A lovely puzzle for a Sunday morning, 2d made me smile and 9a seemed particularly relevant against the backdrop of the current political merry-go-round.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  11. 17a I’m not sure that the whole clue should be underlined as the definition?

    A charade of an instant (2) followed by a synonym of “dawn” gives … when satellite disappears

    1. I was niggled by the astronomical inaccuracy when I finally managed to solve the clue. Your explanation makes much more sense!

    2. Good parsing Stan – that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me out of… but all the same, the definition is not actually correct as Dutch says – it is not the point at which the moon disappears.

  12. Isn’t it rather funny that, rather like buses, you don’t see a 3d for ages, then two come along at once? (In this case, two in two days.)

      1. I didn’t get to the Quickie today, so I didn’t see the third one. They must travel in packs.

  13. Not yet read the hints/blog but thought to comment first as some interesting observations expected .

    Finished relatively quickly for a prize offering with 5D , my last in , becoming favourite once the significance worked out .

    A mixture of clues and the anagrams helped to open the way .

    Thanks to the Setter and to Senf

  14. ***/****. 5d is the best clue I’ve seen for a while. Took a lot of pen sucking to finish this but enjoyable. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  15. Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints. A super puzzle today, quite tricky in places. 9a made me laugh. I liked 17a, but my favourite was 5d. Last in was 20d. Was 3*/4* for me.

  16. Possibly the most gentle Sunday crossword for many a weekend. Completed at a canter as Senf might say, in two sittings – one either side of a walk in the south Shropshire sunshine. One or two iffy clues IMHO, but 2 down and 5 down were my clues of the day. Thanks to Dada and Senf. Btw, I really do have to agree with Senf in that the cluing for 17 across isn’t really astronomically correct.

  17. More so than many of our setters I find once I truly tune into the clue rhythm things fall into place easier,,, some weeks gaining that foothold is easier than others. Today’s was more towards the benevolent end of the spectrum,,, 2.5*/3.5*
    Grateful thanks to Dada & Senf.

  18. A tasty treat for me but there were a few niggles. 5d I would buy a drink for.
    Just about right for a Sunday Prize. Completed in a Starbucks in San Fran over a ‘Vento’ coffee and their free wi-fi.
    I understand I am missing a v pleasant Sunday weatherwise in Blighty which is a regret as my nostrils are seldom free of the whiff of ‘weed’ in this city centre. Awful. Am I off piste here?
    ***/**** Thanks be to Dada and Mr Senf.

  19. What a glorious clue 5d is! The rest of the crossword wasn’t bad either. The answer to 17a didn’t bother me at all; so it’s not astronomically correct? Oh come on people, get a life! Really.
    Thanks to Dada, and to Senf for the hints.

    1. Okay, so you tell us how often it coincides with dawn, not very often as far as I can recall. 😊😊

  20. Definitely a benevolent offering from Dada as I was able to finish, albeit with some help at the end. There were a few clues where I was able to get the answer without really seeing why, but no matter. A pleasant break between packing moving boxes. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  21. Was away for the weekend staying with family near Groombridge, East Sussex, where this a.m. I sat in their garden in beautifully warm sunshine doing battle with this exercise. IMHO it is far from memorable but did contain one or two good clues of which, in common with opinions of many above commenters, 5d was without doubt the star turn. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  22. It took a very thick coat of looking at before 5d made any sense. Night shifts are beginning to catch up with me this week.

    1. Your comment went into moderation, it looks like you missed a ‘u’ out of your e-mail address.

  23. A little trickier this week I thought, though as enjoyable as always. 29d was new to me and needed a trip to the BRB.

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