ST 2520 – Hints – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2520 – Hints

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2520 – Hints

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

If you’ve never tried the Sunday Prize puzzle before, this one is a gentle introduction

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, 29th January.


1a    Rejected, we hear? It’s all over (10)
This synonym for all over, in the sense of everywhere, sounds like a word meaning rejected, in the sense of chucked away

6a    Having little time off, that is — it used to be one day a month (4)
Take T (little time) off the Latin phrase meaning that is to get a day to beware in the Roman month

12a    Change of trees into a wasteland, ultimately? (13)
This is the answer that many wanted to squeeze into 13 across in DT 26144! – it’s an all-in-one /&lit clue where the whole clue is the definition and change indicates that the wordplay is an anagram of “OF TREES INTO A” and D, the last letter / ultimately of wastelanD

27a    Musical director also featured in British editorial (10)
To get this musical director you need to insert another word for also between B(ritish) and the main editorial article in a newspaper – how do you know whether to abbreviate British to B or BR? Only the number of letters in the answer can help!


1d    Inaccuracy in document held by security police (4)
A frequently encountered inacuracy (sic) in a document is hidden in the last two words

4d    Legal term used to name male or female (6)
There are four legal terms – this one, that can be a boy’s name or a girl’s name, together with Easter, Trinity and Michaelmas

23d    Wild animal repeatedly said to be a bother in South Africa? (4)
This wild animal sounds like either spelling of a Dutch colonist in South Africa – do you have a better explanation?

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!

40 comments on “ST 2520 – Hints

  1. Dave,
    Re 23d I took this as a reference to the double (repeatedly) meaning of another less well known term for a South African that sounds much closer to the wild animal referred to. The double meaning according to Chambers is
    a coarse, ill-mannered person
    a Dutch colonist in South Africa (history)
    Where the coarse ill mannered type is the bother, followed by the South African.

  2. The intented reading for 23D is a two-word phrase meaning a bothersome person from South Africa, each word of which is a homophone for the answer (hence “repeatedly”)

  3. How do you know who is the setter?
    Relaxing stuff for Sunday pm.
    8d was great clue and 10ac 26ac, 2d and 13d were others I liked.

    1. Chris

      The setter is the gentleman who left a comment two above yours!! He uses the alias Virgilius elsewhere, hence Prolixic’s comment.

        1. Chris

          No it doesn’t. It’s a long story which I will try and tell concisely.

          Peter Biddlecombe instantly recognised the style of Brian Greer, a former Times Crossword Editor. We kept this to ourselves for a while, although the fact that the new setter was the same one that had compiled some Toughies was admitted by Phil McNeill, The Telegraph Puzzles editor, after an administrative error produced a Sunday puzzle that was almost identical to a Toughie from Jed. Brian left several comments on the blog as Sunsetter and then a few weeks ago he came fully out into the open and told us officially.

  4. Ooh dear, dont know if it was because i started this later than usual or i was tired or i just couldn’t see what i was looking for but even when i did get the answers i didn’t understand half of them, e.g 23d, 6a, 13d – where does the rubbish bit come in? I went wrong here by putting waste for the first word! not sure if rest of CC will like this :)

    1. 6a. The answer needs the full latin term usually abbreviated i.e. Take a t from the term to get a word used for one day of each month in the Roman calendar – as in “Beware the **** of March.”

    2. Hi Mary, I started out putting the same as you for 13d but realised once I got the checking letters that the rubbish bit is the 6th,7th & 8th letters. A good clue in the end I thought. I really enjoyed this one and didn’t find it too bad – last clues to get were 1a,4d and 6a. Don’t understand the word play for 2d – still firmly in the CC.

      1. Claire
        2d. Persuaded to join exercise class held by scuptor (5,2)
        You need the abbreviation for physical education (exercise class) inside a famous sculptor’s name (think of “The Kiss”).

  5. I hardly ever buy the paper on a Sunday and today is a rare exception. And as always with the Sunday edition, I can never actually FIND the puzzle! God knows how I’m going to complete a crossword when the very grid and clues elude me! A pointer please?

  6. Apart from 8d have got it all done. I’m sure my letters across are right. Can anyone give me a clue please?
    First time to post a comment, think you are all brilliant!!

    1. The hand to be won in the clue is a romantic one. Think of a young lover playing a musical instrument to woo his sweetheart.

      1. You’re not alone Medlar … the penny has just dropped for me on 8d! Oh dear, only eight more to go …

      2. It took a while for the penny to drop for me as well on this one – it was one of the last few that I completed. You begin to learn the art of thinking deviously when looking a clues of this type. The setter leads you in one direction to think of, perhaps, a game of cards but you have to look under the surface for another interpretation of the clue.

  7. Completed by the pair of us in about an hour. None too tricky – last to go in were 27a and 8d.

    Similar problem to Mattparry7 in actually finding the crossword. I resorted to reading the letters page while I was flicking through which got me nicely riled up before starting!

  8. Enjoyed this but have to admit that it took probably 50% of my time just to get 19a which when I finally got I couldn’t believe it took me so long.

  9. Quality,quality and quality. What a great Sunday puzzle.
    I had a laugh at the answer to 12a as it was the basis for a lot of eraser usage during the week. The setter must have thought “That’s a good word, must use it next time”

  10. In response to Big Dave’s account of my unmasking, I think in fairness I should point out that the near-repetition of a Jed as a Sunday puzzle was my fault, not the Telegraph’s.

    Anonymity or pseudonymity of setters is a time-honoured tradition whose rationale is not entirely clear to me. As far as the Times is concerned, one justification, with limited validity, is that the editor imposes a degree of commonality of style.

  11. Really struggled with NE corner but it all fell into place after I got 8d (thanks to the hints on here). Result is a complete crossword!

  12. A very enjoyable puzzle!
    My favourites were 6a – very Roman Latin – 14a,, 17a and 22a – used to get these creatures in the garden down in the Midi! Also 4d, 8d, 13d and 16d.
    BD : thanks for forwarding this to me – I finally cured my printout problem for the pdf input!

  13. I have been doing my crosswords later and later each day, for personal reasons. Have finally caught up over the last few days and just finished this one.

    Maybe it’s late and my brain is fuddled, but 14a reads better to me as ‘unsatisfied WITHOUT article from EU country’ ie EU country minus ‘a’. Is it me?

    1. That’s exactly how I read it and I always find breaks from the puzzle really helpful because I come back and read the clues differently.

  14. To set the record straight, the puzzles you enjoyed until early April were by the same setter whose puzzles had appeared in The Sunday Telegraph for the previous 830 weeks. One of my favourite compilers, they are still an important part of our Toughie team, but we wanted a different flavour for the new Sunday pullout. Brian took over on April 12.
    Best wishes
    Phil McNeill, Telegraph Puzzle Editor

    1. Because Brian Greer follows very strict rules, it’s pretty much certain that given a bit of experience, you can understand most if not all of the clues after seeing the answer. For me, this was considerably less true with the former ST setter. But following rules doesn’t guarantee high-quality surface readings or a particular level of difficulty. These are down to Brian’s skill in writing clues and working to whatever specification he was given. Conversely, not following the same rules as Brian doesn’t guarantee a bad puzzle. I don’t seek out the Toughie puzzles by the former ST setter, but did solve one in the last few months which I thought was considerably better than the reviewer here implied, and I said so.

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