ST 2503 – Hints

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2503

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

If I were to do only one of the Telegraph’s regular puzzles each week it would be this one. Worth the cost of the newspaper on its own and certainly worth the cost of a week’s subscription to CluedUp

Leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a Swallow mushroom, in turn (6)
A word meaning to swallow, in the sense of to trust, comes from that mushroom again (see DT 26042) put inside a turn, as in a performance on stage

14a Words specifically used for parts of year (5)
There are three of these in the educational year – at Oxford, for example, they are called Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity

26a Sign of Barbie’s dedication? (5)
… showing how this doll feels for her male counterpart


1d Old people that could be confused, for instance (8)
These people from a time long ago are an anagram of INSTANCE

2d Aircraft improperly used by Washington? (7)
… to hack away at his father’s cherry tree

5d Educational institution centred on poet and economist (4,10)
… which is based in Milton Keynes

19d Person in isolated state unfortunately can, we hear (7)
… Sarah Palin, maybe (remember her?)

If you need further help then please ask and I will see what I can do.

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



  1. Nubian
    Posted September 27, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi Big Dave, 19d took me an age but I did enjoy the whole thing as you say, worth the subscription to clued up, I see Hotlips is burning up the leaderboard again, how does she do it ?

    • Posted September 27, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Permalink


      It completely threw me when I first got to know them, but Hotlips is Nana’s partner – must be some guy to have a nickname like that.

      • Nubian
        Posted September 27, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        As you say. By the by, forgot to congratulate you on being the subject of the clues the other day, dizzy heights, what an honour!

        • nanaglugglug
          Posted September 28, 2009 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          He certainly is, but we all know who’s the brains of the outfit and its got nothing to do with lips- Hot or otherwise!! He had to have a long lie down yesterday after paying over 5 Euros for a Sunday Telegraph, but it was well worth it as it was thoroughly enjoyable!! On our way home today so see you all back in UK (its just stared to rain here, after a wonderful sunny week.

  2. Lea
    Posted September 27, 2009 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Hi – nice Sunday morning exercise – enjoyed it a lot. Was stuck on 4a for ages as I always thought it was two words.

    • Posted September 27, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink


      I agree. Chambers gives it as hyphenated. The Telegraph has usually gone with Chambers, but not today,

  3. Prolixic
    Posted September 27, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    A good Sunday offering. I particularly enjoyed 10a.

    A minor quibble, but I found the extra words “for” in 1d and “in” in 18a misleading within context of the anagram indicators. I know they help the surface reading but they threw me for a while, particularly in 1d

    • Posted September 27, 2009 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      I particularly noticed the extra word in 18 across as it doesn’t seem to be essential.

  4. Lucy
    Posted September 27, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Still can’t get 19 and 22 down! Help!

    • gazza
      Posted September 27, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      19d. You want a word meaning unfortunately, followed by a sound-alike of can.
      22d. Effectively put end to national spirit (6)
      It’s the national spirit of Scotland that you want.

    • Posted September 27, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Lucy

      Didn’t you like my picture of Sarah Palin? If you click on any of the pictures they often link to supplementary information. In this case, you need to look at the URL (Uniform Resource Locator – the http:// address at the top of the screen).

  5. Andy
    Posted September 27, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Permalink brain is working again. Loved this crossword today especially 26ac and 19d. 4ac took me a while to get as did 19d for some reason, and I’m Scottish as well.
    Ok, maybe I’m being a bit pedantic but is ‘organisation’ spelt with a ‘s’ or a ‘z’. Daily Telegraph is s and Chambers is z. Frankly I always spell it with a ‘s’, well I think I do lol. Ok, no replies please of ‘get a life’ it has for some reason really got to me that I should know when to use z and when to use s in words like this.

    • Posted September 27, 2009 at 8:17 pm | Permalink


      Like you I would use “s”, but Chambers actually gives both, with “z” being their preferred spelling.

  6. tonyp17
    Posted September 27, 2009 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Totally stuck until I used your clues and have now finished all bar 7d. Liked 22d

    Think I know the answer but cannot see the wordplay.

    Can you help me with a clue please?

    • Andy
      Posted September 27, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Old term for Japanese military commander WIth T for time in the middle. Well thats how I got it, may not have explained it very well.

      • Posted September 27, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        That’s fine!

        The commander has a Mitsubishi car named after him.

        • tonyp17
          Posted September 27, 2009 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          Thanks. Makes sense now.

  7. Peter Biddlecombe
    Posted September 27, 2009 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Struggled a bit with the top half, especially 4A and 8D, partly because I thought of a different answer to 8D which fits the clue quite well but conflicts with 4A. Looks as if everyone else found the intended answer first.

  8. Greenhorn
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Have been away but still haven’t got 4a out -crossword solvers don’t help. I await the answer with interest! I’m assuming it is ?*?*?*?*

    • Posted September 30, 2009 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Sorry about the censorship Greenhorn but your letters were correct.

      Try this crossword solver, which is better than most:

  9. R1kx
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    could someone give me a hint for 11a and 8d I have answer for 11 but not sure why


    • Posted September 30, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      11a Plants left in public squares (5)
      Usually paired with Fauna, this generic name for plants is constructed by putting L(eft) in the plural of a Latin word for a square

      8d Where pigs may be taken is warm (6)
      The wordplay for this is a phrase, the last part of which is a home for pigs, and the definition is based on something that you could be as warm as.

      It’s awful hard to provide a hit for that last one without using the words involved in the wordplay.

  10. R1kx
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for that I had 11a but my latin is ….well non existent have finished now and hope to catch the post on the morrow!

    • Posted September 30, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      You know – a funny thing may happen on the way to the …..