ST 2529 – Hints – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2529 – Hints

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2529 – Hints

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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The usual few hints to get you started.

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, 2nd April.


1a    Mafia’s activity in central America? (9,5)
The euphemism used, particularly in the USA, to describe the Mafia is itself an instruction to produce the centre of (A)MERIC(A) by means of an anagram – wow, what a start!

11a    Almost made it in academic stream? (3)
… this stream runs through a university town

14a    Heads off East — or way off course (6)
Remove the initial letters (heads off) from Eastor and way to get a word meaning off course

27a    Story of one season’s play (3,7,4)
… in a play by William Shakespeare


1d    Like actors, if twice involved in all-out effort? (8,6)
An anagram, indicated by involved, of LIKE ACTORS IF IF gives an action which requests “Everyone out!”

16d    End to travel, as Waterloo was (5-3)
A charade of words meaning “end” and “to travel quickly” indicates that the Battle of Waterloo could have gone either way

25d    In tug of war, starts to pull (3)
The starts to (initial letters of) Tug Of War give a word meaning to pull

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!

39 comments on “ST 2529 – Hints

  1. Newbie here. Thanks Dave, I’ve been waiting all morning in the hope that 16D would feature, since that’s the only one I’ve been missing. Something of a knowledge of history needed I think for that one.
    Can I also thank you for this site. In the 5 or 6 weeks I’ve been reading, my solving skills have increased greatly. I’ve now gone from someone who completes a puzzle about once very 3 months to about once a fortnight. Soon I think I’ll be at once a week.
    Out of interest, I’d like to know what solvers’ views are on “assistance”. Obviously we all strive to do the puzzle without any assistance at all, but what do you consider is or is not “cheating” if that is not too pejorative a phrase.
    At one end of the scale is the use of a hard copy dictionary. At the other end of the scale are the type of hints in this blog. But what about some of the online tools like crossword solvers (ie those where you fill in the known lights) or anagram finders? Is that cheating? Do you use them?

    1. Hi Ayayay – welcome to the blog.
      Sorry for the delay in getting your first post approved. We have a discussion about “cheating” from time to time. My view is that we do crosswords for enjoyment, so however you solve the crossword is fine, as long as you’re happy with it. If you are cheating, the only person you’re cheating is yourself, so as long as you don’t mind carry on.

    2. I think most of us use reference books to help us along – I certainly do. I try not to use the anagram solvers, but might just to get started some days! I would never have arrived at 15a or 20d today without a crossword solver and have no idea how either answer relates to the clue (or did the solver get them wrong??)

    3. My apologies also for the delay. I switched the laptop off in order to watch my time-shifted copy of the Grand Prix, and what an excellent race it was!

      1. Hi Geoff. I needed help to get 15a – luckily my father-in-law got it!
        He got it and I then realised that it is the first letter of “area” inside a word that means a stand-in followed by the initials of an NCO (who might be portrayed shouting on a parade-ground).
        20d A word that means “is able” followed by a word that is a method of preserving food followed by a.

        1. Thanks Mark, but think I must have something wrong in the SE corner. My word for 20d is a place in Costa Rica, where the bar is a promontory of land and there is no ‘n’ in it – I had the letters 1,3,5,7 and this was the only word the crossword solver came up with.

            1. Naively, I thought that ‘initially’ in 23a meant the initial letters of the three given words (and also thought it was poor clue); now that I realise I was —s to think that (and can see it is quite a clever clue), I have 23a correct … but it still doesn’t help with 20d!

    4. HI Ayayaya, I’ve been doing these about ten months now and I always need ‘help’ to finish them, i.e. crosswords dictionary and electronic help, i have progressed in that i don’t need the blog every day now, but it has been invaluable in helping me to do these, you will find everyone very helpful and as Gazza says as long as you enjoy doing them it doesn’t matter, we all strive to do without help but there are a lot of us out there who can’t, we have invented a so called ‘Clueless Club’ – the CC to which those of us who are not so clever belong, the only time i will resign from the CC is when i complete a puzzle totaly unassissted, a long time in the dim and distant future i feel :) , although i don’t always need the blog to complete, i always read it and the comments made as it helps to understand the clues better

  2. S/W corner really flowed after getting 19a…then severe halt until a few other clues solved then complete shut down… glad of the hints…I am sure if I can get 1d I can crack it….so thinking cap on….so far very enjoyable

  3. 15a totally unfair clue,didn’t know what it was about and never heard of the answer. There goes my chance of a pen.
    The rest of the puzzle was great

    1. Phew finished. 15a …..Yes that was the last one I got…but again only because I had every other letter and it was the only word that would fit…Love to have it explained…but will have to wait till next Sunday…..

    2. Why was this unfair? If you chose to read it as a stand-in NCO (say lance-sergeant) then the setter has fooled you!

      The wordplay, as Gazza has indicated in comment 6, is fair – a two-part charade followed by a clearly indicated insertion.

      1. Ive have just read Gazzas comment and you are right Dave, the setter has me bang to rights. Apologies all round, I feel like Hamilton having made an unnecessary pit stop.

      2. Big Dave…help! Um trying to get on comments by clicking on recent postings …and when I click on my name it takes me straight to my own website…so tried to click on Anax who recently posted on comments and same thing happens I get taken to his website……um being a newbie am I missing something? ps sorry to hijack this thread but confused…. Remind me how to find comments please.

    1. 15a. Stand-in NCO securing area in sudden attack (8)
      The definition is a sudden attack (of emotion, such as rage). Put together someone who represents someone else (stand-in) and the abbreviation for sergeant-major (NCO) and put A(rea) inside.

  4. Stuck on a few, but further comments might help. A hint on 17a would help for the time being.

    1. 17a. Provide with translation, in a way, being nuanced about it (8 )
      Put a word meaning delicately complex (nuanced) around (about) IT to get what a film distributor might do to allow people to understand a foreign film.

  5. Wow. What a cracking crossword from Virgilius today. It was great fun to solve, raised lots of smiles and some head-scratching along the way. Again there were almost too many good clues from which to choose a favourite, but 1a was just the winner for me. We have been spoilt rotten this weekend with Cephas, Virgilius and Anax all giving great entertainment. Thanks to all of them for their treats.

  6. Really enjoyed this one. Got lots on my own. My solving buddies (mother and father-in-law) helped me a bit. But I still can’t see 16d.
    Thanks for the hints!

  7. All done, with a bit of rethinking here and there. Last to go was 4d; didn’t know that is a confession. Favourite is probably 19a, maybe 28a as well. Now I can concentrate on tonight’s concert instead of wondering whatever such-and-such across was; Haydn’s Little Organ Mass this eve, no prizes for guessing what I’m playing.

  8. Great puzzle today from Virgilius.
    15a was last to go in and favourite along with 1a.
    Friends helped on a couple!!
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  9. Enjoyed solving this puzzle. Quite a mixed bag of clues! Even the three-letter quad was good.
    I liked 1a, 12a 17a, 24a & 27a. 7d,18d & 20d.
    My first in was 27a.
    I thought that the eastern half was slightly easier than t’other.
    Re 1a: I was a long time pondering over Central America but the penny dropped when I locked on to the small c of central.
    Very good Virgilius!

  10. Re 16d I thought the comment by the Duke of Wellington that the battle of Waterloo was “a damned *****-*** thing” was pretty well known.

  11. 4d and 21d are my sticking points this week, any hints to nudge me along? Great tips this week, have helped a lot.

    1. 4d. Confession from ring-leader secured by group of workers (6)
      It’s an old word for confession (when you see it these days it’s normally preceded by “short”). Put the first letter (leader) of Ring inside a group of workers who all work the same hours.

    2. 21d. Reflect about one’s inappropriate application (6).
      The definition is inappropriate application. Put a verb meaning to be absorbed in thought (reflect) around an abbreviation of one’s.

      1. You could kick yourself sometimes couldn’t you. Seems soooo easy now! Thanks so much, it feels so nice to be able to finish a crossword.

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