ST 2902 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2902 (Hints)


Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2902 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where we are enjoying temperatures in the high 20s (above the seasonal average of low 20s) but windy with gusts around 30 mph, we even had a record breaking 34 degrees on Friday.

Another very enjoyable, and, like last Sunday, a quite tricky offering from Virgilius, with a handful of anagrams (including one partial), a couple of lurkers, and a ‘clever’ homophone.

My favourite is 9d, but it was almost beaten by 29a.

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 Fleet holding one ringleader for crime at sea (6)
The single letter for one, and the first letter (leader) of Ring inside (holding) a synonym for fleet (of foot).

4a One seeking satisfaction with second helping (8)
A participant in an event to settle a dispute, with at least one supporter.

11a Constant speed in rickety aircraft (5)
The single letter for the speed of light (constant) and a synonym for speed.

14a Exchange rate, partly, as subject for management course? (5)
One of the lurkers, the other is 7d, (partly) could be a subject for a particular type of course.

15a Catch fish, including first of salmon, as early bird (8)
A single word for catch fish containing (including) the first letter of Salmon followed by a fairly frequent crossword fish.

20a How American in the ranks operates gadget (5)
 A two letter abbreviation for a Latin phrase for how to operate belongs to and follows the usual American soldier (with a possessive S).

23a Piano introducing new theme initially in piece of music (7)
A synonym for what piano stands for in pianoforte containing (introducing) the first letters (initially) of the third and fourth words of the clue.

27a Set aside each religious book penned by cardinal (9)
The two letter abbreviation for each and the colour of which cardinal is a variety containing (penned by) one of the first four NT books.

29a Singer vocalised second lowest note for us (6)
Homophone (vocalized) of a singer which is an informal term for the second lowest (in value) British bank note.


1d Conceited person‘s report covered by flier (8)
A three letter synonym for report (as a sound), a two letter word for covered by, and a bird.

2d Right conclusion producing tears (7)
The single letter for right and a synonym for conclusion.

5d Plant holding up broken units as not good enough (14)
Anagram of UNITS AS followed by (holding up) a synonym for a plant (industrial).

8d Make an effort, securing objective with it (6)
A single word for make an effort containing (securing) a synonym for objective.

9d Restrain doctor attending flier — that may be required by air traffic control (7,7)
A two word synonymic phrase for restrain, a two letter type of doctor, a two letter synonym for attending, and a favourite crossword bird – Phew!

17d Killer charged in Spain (8)
One of the participants in one of Spain’s ‘favourite’ entertainments.

21d Flag need in some quarters (7)
A synonym for need inside three cardinal points of the compass.

24d Tribute directed towards John, Paul, or George, say (5)
Two word synonymic phrase (2,1) for directed towards and the two letter abbreviation for a person, who is not one of the ‘fab four,’ listed in the clue.

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A week or so late, but 50 years on from the release of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Ringo (a little bit out of tune; so, in need of help from his friends):


47 comments on “ST 2902 (Hints)

  1. Just to put things into perspective, yesterday’s atrocity happened a stone’s throw from where we had our S&B meeting last month.

    1. That certainly does put things into very sharp perspective, BD. We are all greatly indebted to the brave men and women who dealt so rapidly with this outrage and its aftermath, along with the members of the public who stepped up to the mark to offer shelter and support to those caught up in it. There, but for the grace of God, could have been any one of us or our loved ones.

    2. Just understanding the enormity of the atrocity (with good coverage by one of the Canadian news channels); special prayers when I attend church this morning.

    3. I had a number of happy lunchtimes in the Wheatsheaf by Borough Market when I worked in
      London in the 1989s. None of the dead or injured deserves any of what happened (except the perpetrators). The terrorists will not prevail. Their philosophy is ultimately a dead end.

    4. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it on the news last night. When will these dirty bastards stop trying to undermine our freedoms? I commend the Brits for their courage.

      1. Have you seen the wonderful picture of the man determined to keep all the beer in his pint glass while running down the road… however much they try, they’ll never come between a man and his pint.

        1. No I didn’t, I’ll have to google!

          I got my DNA test back, I’m 86% Brit, 7% Scandinavian, 4% Irish and 3% “other”. I thought it rather dull, but in light of the Brit grit yesterday, maybe I should be proud.

      2. Terrible news again. Impressed with Mrs May’s comments, but dismayed by comments from a certain person who verbally attacked the London Mayor in his tweet..

        The chap saving his pint was brilliant, a real mood lifter.

    5. I walk over London Bridge twice a day and know all those pubs so well.
      It brings into sharp perspective the thin dividing line between life and death.
      Condolences to all, I shall find out tomorrow if any of my work colleagues were caught up in the atrocity.

    6. Yes – I was thinking of that meeting and the other times that we’ve all been there. I emailed the 2K’s about it.

  2. Another Sunday delight from Mr V, the enjoyment of which is somewhat dulled by last night’s events.
    Thank you Senf for explaining the logic of 9d to me. As often seems to happen on a Sunday, I know the answer but the reasoning can be rather hazy. 18a, 22d, 24d and 16d all brought smiles to my face. Thank you to all involved

  3. Oh wow! Had a good old tussle with this one. Very chuffed to finish it without help. Having spelt 20a with an z was stumped by 21d but got there eventually. The solution to 21d would have eluded me in my pre- blog past as I would not have known what the term quarters implies. Thanks to BD for the site , horse loving Senf for the blog and the setter for a doable but tricky puzzle.

    1. I also thought ‘Z’ for 20a, but both versions are in the BRB and, obviously, the non-‘Z’ version is required because of the checker for 21d.

  4. This was the perfect reminder of why I enjoy cryptic crosswords; I thought this was excellent.
    Many thanks to Virgilius, and to Senf.

  5. Some very clever clues but overall too much like hard work to be deemed enjoyable. More like ‘it’s not going to beat me’. Had problems fully understanding 6 clues but the hints explained 3 of them. Have to wait for the solution to get the rest.
    For me **** for difficulty and ** for enjoyment.
    Thx to all

  6. Another little gem from the maestro. Took a while to steer myself away from the musical element in order to parse 29a (dim moment!) but everything else slotted in quite nicely. I noted that one of Kath’s ‘birthday puzzle’ answers put in an appearance and other fans of the NTSPP slot will have smiled at another coincidence.
    As always, extremely difficult to pick just one favourite – maybe 24d by a short head.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for the blog. No brownie points for the musical clip today I’m afraid – that album put an end to my worship of the Fab Four!

    1. When The Beatles played Sgt Peppers to Bob Dylan he said “I get it. You don’t want to be cute anymore”

  7. 4*/5*. I found this very tough but I was having some difficulty concentrating following last night’s abomination here in London. The puzzle was certainly every bit as good as we have come to expect to on a Sunday with several of Virgilius’ unique ideas on show, even though the enjoyment was dulled by the shocking news.

    9a is a brilliant charade and gets my vote as favourite, with special mentions for 21d & 24d too.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf, and our thoughts go to all those directly affected by this latest nauseating act of mindless terrorism.

    1. RD – I think you mean 9d for brilliance – four words for the clue but, perhaps, slightly spoiled by the (necessary) ‘short essay’ for the definition.

      1. I did wonder whether he could have shortened the essay to just the last three words?

  8. 3*/5* from me for this absolutely brilliant offering from Virgilius. 24d was my last one in, and probably my favourite once the penny had dropped due to misdirection towards the Liverpool Sound.

    Many thanks to the Sunday maestro for taking my mind away from the ghastly and pointless acts in London overnight. Thanks, too, to BD for his hints and timely sense of perspective.

  9. A bit of a struggle today with some almost too clever (for me) clues. I got 1 and 9d but needed Senf to show me how they worked. ****/*** for me, many thanks to Virgilius and Senf.

  10. I thought I had seen Virgilius using John, Paul and George in his Sunday Crosswords before!

    Using “Search this site” revealed just how many times he has used it before. Always different! Brilliant! Poor Ringo!

    1. I got the answer, but don’t understand the second bit of the wordplay

        1. Yes but I did not understand the last two letter bit. Ringo’s initials were RS? Sorry for being so stupid!

          1. I expect to hear the penny dropping here in Winnipeg – the three names listed have been canonised (definitely not members of the fab four).

            1. Ah yes, thanks Senf. Told you I was stupid! God knows how I did the rest of it!

  11. I had hoped for a hint as to how 12a can be like a team member. Can’t see it for the life of me.

    Dreadful happenings in London. So sad.

    Thanks BD

    1. If you have a copy of Chambers or any other dictionary for that matter – look up the word team and you should find the answer to your question

      1. There are lots of things I could say to this comment, but I’ve far too much to do to spend time with you in the Naughty Corner, even though I’m sure your pub has a special one just for the landlord, so I’ll leave it for BD to decide whether to wield the crosses of redaction.

        1. Sorry for delay thanking you all but had to go to the airport to collect my nephew. I understand I now.

  12. A lovely puzzle to begin this holiday Sunday. Two fliers (plus one in The Quickie) seems too many. Otherwise perfection. Ta to all.

  13. I so look forward to my Sunday puzzle. There were so many misdirections in this one, which made it a bit tricky, and I fell for every one.
    I am going to pick 9d as fave, but so many others are in hot pursuit – 1d, 19d and 24d, and I loved the pic for 14a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to Senf for his hints and pics.

  14. And bringing up the rear after a really chaotic few days . . .
    The only place that I can start my comment is the attack in London – we only heard about it this morning – my Mum would have said, “What is the world coming to?” I’m glad that she didn’t live to see this.
    OK – crossword now because I won’t let the b******* stop me.
    Busy day so I was late, very late, getting to it.
    Given that I’m out of routine, which always affects my solving, I didn’t find this too tricky.
    There were three lurkers – when I’ve found two I almost stop looking . .
    Enough – I’m blathering too much and we’re about to have supper, and wine I hope!
    I liked too many to put them all down so just a few are 4a and 22 and 24d. My favourite just has to be 18a – I love them – they are my favourites – I’ve been picking mine for about ten days. :smile:
    With thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  15. Another puzzle on the trickier side from Virgilius, as others have noted. Entertaining though through and through.

  16. Tricky, could not get 4a or 17d.
    Thanks for the hints BD and Virgilius for the puzzle.

  17. First time I’ve checked in today and it’s already 10:30 pm over there so I don’t suppose many people will see this, but I just want to say that although I’m 3,000 miles away, I am with you all in spirit. It’s so very hard to be so far away from my fellow countrymen right now. Have to go because I’m crying. God bless you all and keep you safe.

    1. Your kind thoughts and support is much appreciated. I’m back in Cornwall now, but was walking over London Bridge barely a week ago.

  18. A revenons a ces moutons, as our French friends might say, I very much enjoyed this crossword., which to me comes out as 2*/4* or thereabouts. I might take slight issue with the spelling of 20a (which might have been avoided by a “sounds like” or similar in the clue) but I loved the wicked misdirection in 24d. Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  19. Re 29a, the RBS issues £1 notes, so the answer is not the second lowest “British” banknote.

  20. I don’t know if I am distracted by recent events, or some other reason, but I could not concentrate on this and so struggled from start to finish.Thought it a little harder than usual, but as I said, that could just be me. 18a gets the cigar.
    Many thanks to Virgilius and to Senf.

  21. My Sunday solve was also marred by the horrific news from London.
    So sad to realise that there isn’t a place in the civilised world where one could ever feel safe.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to senf.

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