ST 2539 – Hints

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2539 – 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, 11th June.


1a    Army post I’m in is so extremely noisy (10)
Start with a post where soldiers used to be based and follow it with I’M inside IS SO and you get the musical term for extremely loud

12a    Guys on guard lately when chatting improperly about maiden (13)
These guys on guard for the late shift are an anagram of WHEN CHATTING around M(aiden) – one minor grumble in that Chambers gives the enumeration as (5-8), although the ODE has (13); a quick look on Google shows that (5,8) is also common

19a    Minister’s speech based on text message (6)
As heard in church today?

27a    Poor but no longer crooked, from what we hear (10)
A word meaning poor sounds like (from what we hear) no longer crooked, or maybe no longer curly


1d    Contagious infection reportedly travelled fast (4)
A word meaning travelled fast sounds like (reportedly) the abbreviated form of a widespread contagious infection

3d    What’s in Latin sign, if I can translate, is of no importance (13)
Remember that Virgilius is the acknowledged master of the hidden word!

5d    Map’s initial creator, originally (8)
An excellent all-in-one clue

18d    Predatory female in 50s is embracing one inside (7)
This predatory female animal is created by taking the Roman numeral for fifty, and the S from 50s, placing them around IS (in / inside 50s, IS) and then all around (embracing) ONE

23d    Apply stimulus to staff under pressure (4)
A nice easy one to finish – to apply a stimulus (by poking) is constructed from a staff following P(ressure)

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 June 6, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink | Reply

    morning Dave really stuck on 5d and 10a, any more help please, need to go to cinema :)

    • mary
      Posted June 6, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

      stupid me got 10a but not 5d

    • Libellule
      Posted June 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

      5d is the name of an early map maker, and is the first letter of map and then an anagram.

      • mary
        Posted June 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Hello Libelulle, long time no ‘speak’ thanks for that just googled it, how ever was I supposed to have heard of him?? Can go to cinema now (or pictures as I used to call it) and not be distracted during the film trying to think of answers, see you all later :) Found this a lot harder than yesterday fav clue 6a

        • Mr Tub
          Posted June 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

          I’m with you Mary: even Mrs Tub approved of 6a. What are you going to see?

          • mary
            Posted June 6, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Not much on for my ‘age group’ this pm so to cheer a friend up i am taking her to see a comedy called ‘Out of my league’ took one of my grandsons to see Streetdance last week, my first experience of a 3D film, brilliant, he nows says I would enjoys Space Chimps or something, I don’t think so :)

            • Mr Tub
              Posted June 6, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

              I’ve never even heard of Space Chimps! Hope you enjoyed the film.

              • mary
                Posted June 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

                That film was seriously not a bit funny, I do not recommend it at all, the only funny bit was when I dropped my glasses and had to have a boy with a torch come look for them :)

                • Mr Tub
                  Posted June 7, 2010 at 10:29 am | Permalink | Reply

                  Oh Mary, that did make me laugh! We watched a DVD called Amelie last night and enjoyed it very much.

    • Libellule
      Posted June 6, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

      10a Think of a famous film (2 letters) about an alien by Steven Spielberg, and then surround it with what the Clyde is.

    • Posted June 6, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

      M(ap’s) initial then an anagram (originally) of CREATOR gives a famous map maker, after whom a type of map projection is named.

      • mary
        Posted June 6, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Dave, never heard of him or it but have now completed and am off to cinema followed by Costa Coffee not that I like coffee but they do have some deeelicious cakes :)

        • Posted June 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Look at almost any map of the world and it will be using his method of projection – you know the maps where Greenland is nearly as big as Africa!

  2. Sarah F
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A very nice puzzle which I am enjoying getting into.

    So far, favo clues are 22a, 4d and 27a

  3. Posted June 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another cracking puzzle from Virgilius.
    Lashings of great clues, BD mentioned 5d but I would add 4d to that as an ace &lit and also liked 3d, 8d and the lovely misleading definitions at 6a and 15a.

    Many Thanks to Virgilius again!

  4. Prolixic
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Once again Virgilius has excelled himself with a superb puzzle. For the d’oh moments, my favourite clues were 3d, 15a and 19a. Many thanks to the setter for the treat.

  5. Geoff
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Roll on Friday! Gradually getting there, but hard to see how one or two of the answers relate to the clues. If 13d is correct (and it’s not why I wear glasses) then I have no idea what it has to do the first part of the clue.

    • Posted June 6, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Geoff – I suspect you are correct with the answer. The wordplay gives a word for great deal or large amount (quite colloquial) placed inside a word for ‘managed’. Took me a bit to spot it as well.

    • Claire
      Posted June 6, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m glad I’m not the only one Geoff! Still not sure about this one, even with your hint Gnomethang – though I’m sure I have the answer! Finished now but, as you say, roll on Friday – don’t understand the workings of several – 18a, 22a, 11d to name a few and the ‘in work’ bit of 21d seems superfluous. :-( Go to the bottom of the class Claire!!

      • gazza
        Posted June 6, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Claire, the “in work” in 21d goes with “mistakes”. The definition is mistakes in work, e.g. in a published work of literature.

      • gazza
        Posted June 6, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

        11d. Fault I had seen in current Senate chairman (4-9)
        A synonym for fault or sin is followed by another word for current (as in the current time) with an abbreviated form of “I had” inside it (seen in).

      • gazza
        Posted June 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

        22a Cause of bad weather liable to affect round-the-world races (6,7)
        Think of races as meaning peoples or nations.

        • Geoff
          Posted June 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Oh dear … I thought the second half of 22a was a word associated with climate change and rising temperatures, am I wrong?

          • gazza
            Posted June 6, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Geoff, you’re right. The clue is saying that it will affect races (peoples) around the world.

            • Geoff
              Posted June 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Phew! Apologies for typo in email address – funny how you only notice these things a nano-second after pressing the button …

      • gazza
        Posted June 6, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

        In 13d “great deal” is a word which might be used in a phrase such as “He’s a ***** too full of himself”.

      • Claire
        Posted June 6, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Goodness! – thanks Guys, it’s all so clear when you explain it (though I’m not sure I really like 22a, it feels like the two ‘clues’ are the same – maybe not explaining that too well). I try so hard to look at each word/element of the clue as well as the overall reading and often still don’t get it – sigh!
        Still – on the bright side – I doubt I could have done more than a couple of clues a year ago :-)

  6. Lea
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I haven’t done a Sunday puzzle for quite a while and really enjoyed this. There were some excellent clues with my favourites being 3d and 22a.

    Took me ages to click with 6a and in the end guessed using the example but still don’t know about the political federation. Will have to look at Peter’s review to find out why.

    • Posted June 6, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Lea – you are going to kick yourself. The New Jersey is a baby cow and it’s hidden inside political federation.

      • Lea
        Posted June 6, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Consider myself kicked – looking too deep – nice clue as a result. Thanks Dave

        • moonstruckminx
          Posted June 6, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Kicked myself also on that one! Hi everyone I am having to revert back to blogging for clues as Anax is busy photographing Buxton races…still hope to finish before he gets back! ps Big Dave…a grubby thank you card that I discovered in my bag is finally winging its way towards you….

        • Libellule
          Posted June 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

          I would argue – lots of lovely clues. Difficult to pick a favourite. Sundays are a treat.

          • lea
            Posted June 6, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

            I agree and will go back to doing them – don’t know why I stopped – otyher things to do I suppose. Enjoyed today’s and thought there were some lovely clues.

  7. Geoff
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A better weekend than the last couple, both completed this time. But (as usual!) there’s a fair bit I don’t understand about today’s, so looking forward to Friday.

    Some that stand out for me are 15/27a and 3/4/20d. Thanks for hints and helps!

  8. Steve
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have found this really tough today. The spelling of 27a threw me and 6a I really groaned over after reading the hints above. 11d I really should have got earlier, but once I had the first word it fell into place. Still lots to get, but the Word Wizard should help me along.

  9. Posted June 11, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Glad to see that others liked this puzzle. Can’t see any reason to grumble at puzzle-makers about (13) instead of (5-8) or (5, 8 ) when the dictionaries differ. The best you can expect is that they use the same dictionary for every clue in the same puzzle. Experience shows that relying on your memory for these choices may cause you trouble.

    • Posted June 11, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

      My reason for mentioning it was that there seems to be an unwritten rule that the enumeration given in Chambers takes precedence.

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