ST 2518 – Hints

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2518 – Hints

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

First a bit of news.  Alexa is the best-known site for ranking websites and today this blog’s rating dipped below 1,000,000 for the first time – 986,285 to be precise.  What this means is that we are in the top million sites in the world!  This is actually a 3-month average, the 7-day and 1-month figures are nearer to 500,000.  Our UK rating, at 20,136, is even better.  Please feel free to add your own review to Alexa – you can access their site by clicking the widget at the bottom of the sidebar.

Today we have another excellent puzzle from Virgilius, but don’t take my word for it – have a go yourself.

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, 15th January.


1a    Hit second vehicle (6)
A word meaning hit (past tense) is built up from S(econd) and a commercial vehicle

8a    Superhuman male slightly disrupting female setter’s work (8)
This is the Roman name for the superhuman from Greek mythology and is constructed by swapping two letters (slightly disrupting) in a two word phrase that describes a female setter’s work – this is very close to the dreaded indirect anagram (an anagram where the some or all of the fodder is not present in the clue)

10a    Crew’s quarters reduced by 40% altogether (6)
The full name of the part of a ship under the maindeck, the quarters of the crew, is 10 letters long but is usually abbreviated to this 6-letter answer

25a    Means of operating remote home on Caribbean island (6)
The definition here is “means of operating remote” and it is comprised of two parts – a slang word for one’s own home follows a low island or reef in the Caribbean


1d    Possible sequence of events in which no race is out of order (8)
This possible sequence of events is a straightforward anagram (out of order) of NO RACE IS

9d    Godfather and Titanic, say, getting financial backing (11)
A charade of a godfather, or patron, and the type of vessel that the Titanic was gives a word meaning getting financial backing – nice surface reading that leads you two think of the two blockbuster films!

21d    Young woman with old piano for dance (5)
Take a name for a young woman and add O(ld) and P(iano) to get this lively dance in double time

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. mary
    Posted January 10, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    dont know if its me but i am finding this one really tough, soooo many i cant get:(

    • Nubian
      Posted January 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Come on Mary, pull youself together. This should be a walk in the park for you now. I find if you read each word of the clues individually you sometimes get the meaning before reaching the end.
      I am always wary about giving hints or tips on a Sat/Sun puzzle beacause I always put my foot in it but today was very a reasonable test.
      We have got a bit of a thaw starting up in Geordieland by the way

      • mary
        Posted January 10, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        I am struggling here Nubian – wish the brain would thaw out a bit – i have however just got 10a after looking it up on google, even then it was not straightforward for me, i knew what i had to do on looking at the clue but din’t know the abbreviation, i am still battling with 5 clues in the bottom half – don’t forget i am in the cc club, Barrie what do you think??? or daren’t i ask :)

        • Nubian
          Posted January 10, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          Mary, 22a is an old Chas and Dave song that their old ladies used to do a lot of.

          • mary
            Posted January 10, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

            thanks Nubian i got that one, i now have only one left and that is 24a, just cannot see it, have filled in all other blanks, just hope they are right! for 24a i have ****** is that right, hope i’m allowed to do that Dave, feel free to delete me if not :)

            • mary
              Posted January 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

              no i think it should be an n instead of the r?

              • mary
                Posted January 10, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

                help pleeeese

              • Nubian
                Posted January 10, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

                Mary as an old sea dog I can tell you that 24a is the rear part of a ship and then ending like pasta

                • Posted January 10, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

                  The last letter is the standard abbreviation for area!

                • mary
                  Posted January 10, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

                  thanks both should have known that – good luck cc members, dont know about rest of you but i found this tough today, glad to have finished at last, didn’t enjoy at all :(

                  • Barrie
                    Posted January 10, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

                    Fantastic Mary, you have obviously well overtaken me in ability, I can’t even do the clues that have got hints!!

                  • Claire
                    Posted January 11, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

                    Finally getting back into cryptic mode after a month playing lego and brio with the grandsons from South Africa! Like you Mary I found this one very tricky but eventually managed to finish with the help of the hints – bottom left corner was the worst for me. Favourite clues 14 and 15d, and 8a for it’s simplicity that took me far too long to get!!

            • Posted January 10, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink


              It’s not a major problem, but I don’t want this site to become like AnswerBank where people are only interested in getting the answers so that they can enter the Telegraph Weekend Prize Lottery.

              • mary
                Posted January 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

                understand Dave – needless to say i don’t enter the prize lottery draw –

        • Barrie
          Posted January 10, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          Dreadful! Far too tough for me

          • mary
            Posted January 10, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

            never mind barrie always tomorrow :( it was tough today and it took me forever, with lots of help

  2. Tilly
    Posted January 10, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable puzzle. Well done on the blog rating!

  3. Prolixic
    Posted January 10, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Well done on the statistics. A tribute to your hard work and that of the supporting crew. Particularly satisfying as you reach your first birthday.

    I thought today’s puzzle was challenging and enjoyable. I slowed myself down by having strike for 1a as the initial answer. Favourite clue was 15d.

    And now back to the Mary and Nubian show :grin:

    • mary
      Posted January 10, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink


  4. Franny
    Posted January 10, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Yes, congratulations! This site has added enormously to my knowledge and appreciation of crosswords, and I agree with Prolixic about today’s puzzle. I got 8a without knowing why (this often happens), so was glad of your explanation, had only a bit of trouble with19d and 10a. My favourite was 16a.

  5. gnomethang
    Posted January 10, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Well deserved Stats, BD! Top ‘blog with top people.
    Struggled a bit here but got there in the end.
    Plural bones stopped me for a bit.

    • mary
      Posted January 10, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      was the last one i got too :)

    Posted January 10, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Hi Dave,

    Too much snow for delivery of ST today so is there any chance you could email puzzle to me. Many thanks Alastair

    • Posted January 10, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      Now would I do something like that?

      Welcome to the blog Alastair

  7. nanaglugglug
    Posted January 10, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Good puzzle today – congratulations on the stats BD – well deserved and we’re the grateful to you for your hard work – What did we do without you all?? Remember the days when it was only us and Big Boab?

    • Posted January 10, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I do.

      It seems like a lifetime ago, but it’s less than a year. We all “met” on AnswerBank. I was only wondering the other day what happened to “Thinklateral”.

  8. NathanJ
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    Wow! Hard one today! Most of the time I find I am on the same wavelength as Virgilius but today is an exception.

    I have solved all except 20a and 19d.

    I would appreciate any help that can be given. Many thanks.

    • gazza
      Posted January 11, 2010 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      20a. To compete athletically, throw one’s weight around (3,3,4)
      It’s a field event for very strong athletes, and it’s not discus, javelin or hammer!
      19d. Little beasts surrounding an island people (6)
      Put the young of bears, for example, around AN to get the inhabitants of a Caribbean island.

      • NathanJ
        Posted January 11, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        Many thanks Gazza. I have completed it now.

  9. Lea
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    First of all Dave – well done and congratulations on your achievement. Without you and your team a lot of us would be struggling ALL the time with the crosswords. You have helped everyone expand their understanding and introduced an entertaining and informative site. Thank you.

    I have just done this puzzle and enjoyed it very much. For some reason my brain got stuck on 16a and it shouldn’t have as I spent many years in the finance industry!!!

    I think my favourite clues were it – 16a and 14d.

  10. Chinfaces
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Too difficult for us too. Have not even finished it. There will be no such prize draw for us.

  11. phisheep
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    I have just given you a high five on Alexa, Dave. Well deserved. I was even relatively nice about the contributors and commenters!

    • Posted January 11, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Many thanks Phisheep.

      I fear your “clue” will be lost on many who read it !!