ST 2500 – Hints

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2500 – Hints

Selected hints by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

We asked for a special crossword for number 2500, and here it is.  The best single tip for solving this puzzle is to read the clue for 25 across first, then you will have an idea of the theme and where it is featured.  And don’t forget to heed the warning given:

(WARNING: Two answers in this special 2500th puzzle require numbers as well as letters. The figure zero must be entered as a capital O.)

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them.

Peter Biddlecombe’s full review of this puzzle will be published at 12.00 on Friday, 11th September.


1a Time off for good behaviour? (6)
… like going to church!

28a This is it! See headline at 1, 11, 13, 14, 18 across, 21, 25 (6)
In its inimitable way, ScrewedUp has the word across in the middle instead of at the end of this clue [the word across is placed next to the only number that could also be a down clue!]- this is an ordinal number (like 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.) and if you have read the warning you will be in no doubt of the answer


18d Sailor and a soldier finish off fish paste (6)
You need a three letter word for a sailor followed by A and a three letter word for a soldier, but only use the first two – we are used to soldiers being men, well this is only one soldier! – the result is a fish past that Mrs BD had never heard of, so what chance did I have?

23 Part of pitch and time he used with catchy number? (3,2)
If you have been reading these hints carefully you will have realised by now that the answer to this clue must end in a number – in fact it is two numbers, and they are the closest that you can get when converting the 25-yard line in Rugby to the metric equivalent that is now, sadly, used – by the way the clue itself is a clever charade of an abbreviation for Time with HE and the catchy number from the book and film by by the American author Joseph Heller

I will be out all afternoon, but don’t let that stop you from leaving comments.  If your questions are still outstanding when I return, I will sort them out then.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers in your comment, else they may be censored!


  1. CastorFool
    Posted September 6, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Most enjoyable!
    18d REALLY is a bit fishy; I have never heard of half the word being used.

    • Emandan
      Posted September 6, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

      don;t think it is the name of a fish per se it is the word for a roe from a certain type of fish
      if i have the right answer and it isn’t even English

      • CastorFool
        Posted September 7, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I know it is not the name of a fish, and that it is not English.
        The word asked for in the clue does not stand alone in English, it is the first part of a word ‘joined’ to a foreign word for salad that has 12 letters.

        • Posted September 7, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

          I think if you google the 6 letter word you will find that it is used extensively, but Chambers Dictionary is, as yet, unaware of it.

  2. Tilly
    Posted September 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable. The word ‘across’ appears in the printed version of the crossword, too.

    i thought the answer to 23 referred to cricket.

    • Tilly
      Posted September 6, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Sorry, I meant to say ‘across’ appears in the same place in the printed clue, too.

      • Posted September 6, 2009 at 11:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I realised soon after I went out today that the word “across” was there to identify the only one of those numbers that could have been a down clue as well!

    • gazza
      Posted September 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think the “part of” in 23d means that it refers to rugby rather than cricket.

  3. Lea
    Posted September 6, 2009 at 2:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I am still working my way through – having a tough time but thought I would comment on 18d. It is shown as an also after the full name in rhe Oxford Dictionary. Thought it was a good clue but am struggling with top left corner. Will get there but it’s slow today. Must have left my brain with my new grandson yeaterday.

  4. Lea
    Posted September 6, 2009 at 3:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for your hints for 23d – that helped me get the other number clue 28d.
    Enjoyed it but did struggle a bit. I got the answer to 6d – Why you are upset, it’s said, about this island school – but don’t understand the reasoning behind the clue. Can you help please?
    I liked 12a – appealed to my sense of humour.

    • gazza
      Posted September 6, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

      6d. Why you are upset, it’s said, about this island school (5)
      The definition is school, and you want a sound-alike for “you are” upset (reversed) and inside put this island we live on.

      • Lea
        Posted September 6, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Gazza – makes sense now.

  5. Libellule
    Posted September 6, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    When put together 9d and 20d, are they meant to mean anything?

    • mrpauly
      Posted September 6, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think so Libellule! He/she is obviously having a bit of fun with this special edition.


      • Kram
        Posted September 6, 2009 at 7:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Doesn’t really matter wether M or Mdm, as long as Libellule continues with the usual standard of Chambers brain power and mixing it with humour and repartee, I for one don,t mind!

      • Posted September 6, 2009 at 11:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

        BTW If you read the review of last Sunday’s puzzle, Peter Biddlecombe recognised the style of the setter know variously as Jed, Brendan and Virgilius. He is identified in Jonathan “Azed” Crowther’s excellent book “A-Z of Crosswords” as Brian Greer. One of his specialities is cleverly hidden words, like 16d in this weeks puzzle and 3d and 6d last week.

  6. Edi
    Posted September 6, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    once again a lovely sunday jaunt. enjoyed the theme. cant figure the primate in 17d

    • gazza
      Posted September 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

      17d Excited primate about a controversial issue (3,6)
      The primate is a 5-character word, defined by Chambers as “a W. African loris, also applied to the kinkajou”.

      • Edi
        Posted September 6, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

        inspired. ta gazza. always nice to learn new words

  7. Emandan
    Posted September 6, 2009 at 8:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Had a few problems today but almost done anyone give me a hint for 22D

    • gazza
      Posted September 6, 2009 at 8:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Emandan

      22d Prophet in hot seat losing both times (5)
      The answer is the name of a prophet, and you want to drop the T (twice) from words in the clue to get it.

      • Emandan
        Posted September 6, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks i thought it was the name of a prophet but after running through as many prophets as i knew i couldn’t shoehorn one into the clue. once i saw your clue it was clear and i just googled it so i know all about him now


  8. Posted September 7, 2009 at 12:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    Avery enjoyable puzzle and befitting the occasion, and also shows why this setter is one of the finest in Britain today.

  9. newtocryptic
    Posted September 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent crossword, only finished it Monday morning with a real sense of achievement. I think if I can finish this standard of puzzle that it’s about time that I change my nom de plume to “notquitesonewtocryptic”!

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