ST 2999 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2999 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2999 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where on Friday we had more white stuff from a ‘side swipe’ of a ‘bomb cyclone’ (the rapid deepening of an extratropical cyclonic low pressure area – ) that dumped significant amounts of snow on North Dakota and Minnesota to the South of us.

Today Dada is less benevolent than in recent weeks but still quite reasonable.  A handful of anagrams, with some unusual indicators, one lurker (not hinted, but it’s 9a), and one homophone.

Candidates for favourite – 20a, 8d, and 27d.

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 Medicine administered, drop fed to beastly female (6))
A synonym of drop contained by (fed to) the female of an animal species (beastly).

10a After embroidery, I undress various things (8)
An anagram (after embroidery) of I UNDRESS.

12a Dance anything but a dream, did you say? (4)
The homophone (did you say) of a single word for anything but a dream.

14a Shop that was run by me, turned over (4)
A (1,3) phrase for that was run by me reversed (turned over).

17a Demonstratively cheery rugby players drinking (12)
The players that make up just under half of a Rugby Union team and a synonym of drinking (usually applied to our four legged friends) – the BRB indicates this as (4-8) and I am inclined to agree.

20a Commonplace affair, rotten deed (6-2-4)
The stringing together of synonyms of affair, rotten, and deed.

24a Biblical king, that man getting stick (5)
The nominative form of the pronoun for that man followed by (getting) a type of stick.

29a African country like that leads (6)
A single word for like that comes before (leads) a country (that happens to be in Africa, but is not connected with the answer).

31a Court and office acting badly (6)
A synonym of court (as in go out with) and a type of (home) office.


1d Illustrate manufacture of rice beds (8)
An anagram (manufacture of) RICE BEDS.

2d Writing piece, time passed (8)
A double definition, the second refers to time passed at HM’s pleasure.

5d Box completing bingo line — is one chirpy? (5,7)
A synonym of box contained by (completing) the alternative word to bingo called out by a potential winner and a synonym of line – not a particularly well written clue and this is the only way I can see of getting the synonym of box into the position required for the answer.

8d Bird family inferior to relative (6)
A synonym of family placed after (inferior to) the abbreviated form of a sibling relative.

15d Carrier in the morning brings tea (5)
A carrier that is a beast of burden and the abbreviation of the Latin for in the morning (and brings is just filling).

18d Support worker shot, sportingly? (8)
Synonyms of support and worker.

21d African plant for afternoon meal (6)
A synonym of for and the single word for an afternoon meal.

22d Subdued complaint as alcoholic double upended (6)
An alcoholic drink repeated (double) and reversed (upended).

27d Engine with a screw loose? (4)
A double definition, the first is an abbreviated form of the type of engine illustrated below.

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A random selection this week. I heard this on an ‘oldies’ radio station last Sunday, and the video compilation seems to work well with it


41 comments on “ST 2999 (Hints)

  1. 3.5*/2.5*. Not my favourite Sunday puzzle in recent weeks. I found it a bit lacking in sparkle and relatively tough with the SE corner taking me as long as the other three quarters put together.

    Isn’t “sportingly” surplus to requirements in 18d?

    17a was my favourite.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. Without the word “sportingly” that clue would have taken me a lot longer to solve RD, but perhaps that’s your point?

      1. Quite the reverse for me actually, Margaret. I was misled into thinking “sportingly” was the definition. For me, without that word the clue surface would read perfectly and the wordplay / definition would be spot on.

        1. I see your point, but it just goes to show how differently all our minds work to arrive at the same conclusion

  2. A steady solve for me today with no big smiles but still enjoyed . Quite a few good clues with no outstanding favourite .
    Thanks to everyone especially Dada & Senf ( the white stuff must stop soon )

  3. I always look forward to Sunday’s Dada xword,today completed in 3*time but 4*enjoyment.Last one in 27d.Thanks to Dada and Senf with the snow.Capetown still quite warm.

  4. That pesky 29a held out to the very end but no other problems to report.
    A decent enough puzzle although, as others have said, somewhat lacking in sparkle. Nothing really stood out as a favourite.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf – can I blame you for the arctic wind we’ve had for the past few days?

    1. You can try, but no! And, I see that there is a significant ‘weather system’ moving NE in the Eastern half of the USA so I wonder where that is heading.

  5. Not much more to add as in general I agree with others. Last one in was 21d. Quite liked 31a.

    Many thanks to Senf and the setter.

    1. PS: I got really excited yesterday when I found that I had a full set of correct answers for last Saturday. Sadly today I am back to 0/32 for last Sunday.

      Last weekend it showed that I had one incorrect answer – upon checking with Cryptic Sue I found that it was correct. I really wish the DT would sort the problem.

  6. This was an enjoyable puzzle, much less demanding than yesterday’s and completed in average time. As a twitcher, I enjoyed 8d and as a geographer, I liked 25a, 29 a, and19d. Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  7. Managed most of that without resort to the hints and noticed a lot of birds and quite a lot of geography to remember. Still struggling with 16d and have several possibilities neither of which I can fully parse. Thanks to Senf and Dada.
    Next Sunday should be interesting Easter/3000 puzzles should be a bit special.

    1. I am reliably informed that there will be nothing special for next week being number 3000, we will have to wait and see if Dada includes any clues appropriate for the day.

          1. Have just gone onto the blog after struggling with 16d. I too had the wrong ending to 17a so thanks all. I also think ‘sportingly’ is unnecessary in 18d. Anyway nice puzzle. I am still chilly after the freezing car boot yesterday where I wasn’t even selling anything!

    2. John I too struggled with 16d until I realised I had the wrong three letter ending to 17a. I had a plural noun instead of a verb. Might you have made the same mistake?

  8. The SE corner was my only hold up in this pleasantly testing but enjoyable puzzle. 17a was my COTD ahead of 20a. No quibble about ‘sportingly” in 18d. I thought 5d was a little clunky.

    Thanks very much to Dada and Senf.

  9. Today’s General Knowledge crossword was brought to you by the letter B. Did anyone else notice that??

    1. Try this months MPP if you want to try a crossword with a surfeit of one particular letter.

  10. I too got held up on 29a and can somebody explain the cherry in 30a? I aha, my husband has just pointed it out.!

  11. Unlike some others, I quite enjoyed this one, and was amused by several clues. It might just be that I found this one a bit easier than earlier in the week, when puzzles were given ** difficulty, and I thought that they were harder than that. It was good to have my confidence restored. Many thanks setter and Senf.

  12. I was well on the way to completion when I came to the SE corner. Much later I did finish, but that corner took longer than the rest of the puzzle.
    28a when I finally realised what I was looking for was my favourite.
    Thanks to Dada, and to Senf for the hints.

  13. Dada being slightly more gentle today, or have I sussed his Sunday style? 29 across held me up almost until last, as I had another word in mind but couldn’t quite justify using it. 20 across also bothered me for a while, but I decided nothing else could possibly fit than what I eventually entered. No real chuckle moments today, but it was a most absorbing solve on a very nippy Palm Sunday morning – at least Easter looks to be fairly warm if the forecasters can be believed! Thanks to Dada and Senf

  14. ***/****. Stymied by a combination of 27d&29&31a. I had the wrong country which led me to a merry dance. Dumb or what? My favourite was 30a. Senf, isn’t 5d just three synonyms in the order suggested? Thanks to all.

  15. Steady solve for a middle of the road Dada in difficulty & entertainment, hence 3*/3*. Not a lot more to say

  16. Not much fun but then again Dada is rarely my scene. Reassuring to know that I wasn’t alone in getting held up in SE. Not sure whether 15d stands alone without tea. Still a bit puzzled by 5d. The simple 12a was Fav. Thank you Dada and Senf.

  17. Hey Angellov, read the clue for 5 down word for word quite slowly and the answer really is nowhere as difficult to arrive at than you might imagine. Break what you perceive to be your correct answer into three parts and each part fits the clue exactly. Can’t say more or else I’ll get slapped wrists!

    1. Thanks SalopLad. I see what the three components are but I stupidly still can’t quite make the solution exactly fit the clue. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    2. You were worried about slapped wrists whereas I got partial wipe-out for a comment which I doubt would have meant much to most bloggers!☹️.

  18. I don’t care. I like Dada.
    He also gave us the Guardian Prize this week.
    Two Dada for the weekend is always a pleasure.
    Thanks to senf for the hints.

  19. I enjoyed this and found it far less difficult than some recent Sundays (but can’t remember what last Sunday, or the one before) was like.
    I thought the top half was much easier than the bottom.
    I have my doubts about the first bit of 28a necessarily being a part-timer – to me at least it’s more like a stand-in.
    I don’t have a problem with the order of words in 5d – either in the clue or the answer.
    Always forget both meanings of 27d which was my last answer.
    I’m going for a couple of the short answers as joint favourites today – 12a and 3d.
    Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  20. I got there in the end and I’l have to say I did like quite a few clues , such as 17a, 13a 28a , and 31a .
    But overall not as much fun as Sunday used to be .
    Thanks to all concerned .

  21. Another good one that I didn’t find overly tricky. The dog and the African at the bottom of the grid both caused a little difficulty, but the rest went in without too much ado. Very nicely judged for a Sunday yet again.

  22. Thank you as usual for the tips. Realising how much easier these are when I’m relaxing on holiday! Enjoyed 22d for linked reason.

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