ST 2550 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2550 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them.

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.

Peter Biddlecombe’s full review of this puzzle will be published at 12.00 on Friday, 27th August.


1a    British staff holding space for charming female’s transport (10)
Put B(ritish) and a staff around some space to get the mode of transport favoured by women who cast spells

14a    Defensive cover for injury time at West ‘am? (6)
If you split this defensive cover as (3,3) and add the letter traditionally dropped by people from West ‘am to the start of each part, you get injury and a unit of time

19a    Yellow – that is to say, a primary colour (6)
A word meaning yellow or cowardly is built up from the abbreviation for the Latin term scilicet (namely / that is to say) followed by A and a primary colour

27a    US city a long way away from this state (10)
This US city is on the East coast and the state of the same name on the West coast


1d    Attempt to impact party (4)
A double triple definition – an attempt, to make an impact and a party

8d    Certain degrees, in short, represented in this (10)
An anagram (re-presented) of CERTAIN DEG(rees) gives a scale that uses degreees

23d    Design aircraft without tail (4)
A design comes from dropping the last letter from an aircraft

Sorry I’m a bit late today – busy weekend!

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. Prolixic
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable crossword from Virgilius. A quick question, is not 1d a triple definition? Many thanks to setter and blogger.

    • Posted August 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Permalink


      Duly amended.

      • Nubian
        Posted August 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        It still says double definition Dave

        • Posted August 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          I did change it – honest. It’s ok now.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable puzzle today. Lots of good clues but especially liked 1a, 5d, 8d and my favourite 11d. Agree with Prolixic that 1d is a triple definition. Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  3. gnomethang
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Agreed on the triple def at 1d.
    Lovely puzzle completed without any paper due to a power cut.
    Thanks again to Virgilius and BD for the hints

  4. Kath
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this puzzle – rarely look at Sunday ones, mainly because I can’t usually do them! I’ve finished today, although I got 19a wrong. Needed the hints to explain 14a – thank you BD. Favourite clue today, by a long way, was 11d but there were lots of others that I liked. Back to grass cutting – having looked like a hay field for most of the summer it’s now bright green and growing at about an inch each day after all the rain.

    • Sarah F
      Posted August 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      I’m just about to have a look at it. Like you, I don’t usually try this because I find it difficult, but will persevere. Been at a BBQ in sunny Edinburgh so must get my brain into gear.

  5. Lea
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    That was a good one – completed early this morning. Really liked 1a and 18d. Thanks to Virgilus and BD.

  6. Nubian
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Lots of good meaty clues to get your teeth into today. A feast of fun and enjoyment. Fave was 12a.
    Just as an aside, The Times looks like it has a spelling mistake in 25a, seems bad form for such an august journal.

  7. Digby
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I like the ST Cryptic much better than the typical Saturday challenge – thanks for “persuading” me to tackle it, BD. An extra crack at winning the coveted fountain pen. 14a my favourite, as I once supported them. 3d quite clever.

    • prolixic
      Posted August 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Not only is Virgilius a brilliant setter, one thing he is especially good at is hidden word clues, as 3d illustrates.

      • gnomethang
        Posted August 22, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Permalink


      • Sarah F
        Posted August 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Thanks—hadn’t spotted it!

    • Posted August 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Permalink


      If the view count on the blog is anything to go by, five or six times as many people do the Saturday puzzle so your chances (still low!) are a lot better with today’s.

    • Posted August 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      I should add that for about a third of the cost of 52 Sunday papers you can have a subscription to CluedUp. Looks like a bargain to me.

      • crypticsue
        Posted August 22, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        Yes but you don’t get all those interesting bits of paper to read after you have done the puzzles with Clued Up – and 3 of us at least read our copy of the paper. And didn’t Phil the Ed say that all the words in the Cryptic have appeared in the paper at some stage. Oh all right, I will admit it, I am a Luddite who prefers to solve her puzzles the same way she has done for over 40 years in the ‘proper’ paper format.

        • Nubian
          Posted August 22, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          Or is it Luditesse ?

          • crypticsue
            Posted August 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

            Not sure the originals let ladies join in!

        • Sarah F
          Posted August 22, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          Agree with you on this. I went off the Telegraph and took the Scotsman (VERY parochial!) for a while, and took out the sub to CluedUp. I couldn’t be bothered with having to download the puzzle or to print it out every day, so, as I much prefer the Telegraph, went back to taking the paper & cancelled the sub.

          I enjoy the paper AND having a go at the puzzles. Now that there is this great blog, doing the daily puzzle is a real treat!

  8. Mr Tub
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    That was my most enjoyable Sunday for quite some time. 6a was new to me but you could find it in the clue, 11d made me laugh, and just to make it hard for myself I used 21d to get 12 a rather than the other way ’round. A firm handshake for the setter and Big Dave for the help with 19a.
    Brollies up for what I’m told will be a wet night, and weather permitting see you tomorrow!

  9. mary
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi all late signing in today, finished it this morning but have had one of my grandsons here ever since! he is here for a couple of days so I don’t know how often I’ll be around, only one I really had a problem getting was 6a, I have never heard it and though I have 14a, don’t really know how ! fav clues 10a and 11d, I managed to ‘borrow’ my computer for five mins!! :)

  10. brendam
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Along with others enjoyed this puzzle. Thanks Vrgillus and B.D. Have chucked the paper in the recycle bin so can’t comment on fav’s or anything else

  11. Pommers
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Best Sunday for a while – thanks Virgilius!
    Favourite 3d – the longest hidden word I’ve ever come across! Clever or what? Anyone seen a 14 or 15 letter one?
    Thanks for the hints BD (although not needed today).

  12. Geoff
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Only able to glance at today’s crossword and now able to get online, in Thames Ditton at an astonishing 9.6mbs more than 3 times the speed I get in Oxford! This page loaded like greased lightning. Home some time tomorrow.

  13. Edi
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    excellent sunday xwrd. 2 in a row ive completed now!!! i must say i do enjoy buying the paper, dont read it. but do enjoy sending off the grid for that pen. one day maybe. here’s to another enjoyable cryptic week. cheers all

  14. Wingnut1000
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Finished it this morning with 6a the last to go; just couldn’t think of a word that even fitted (apart from T*L*, but that didn’t work) and then looking at the clue in desperation it jumped out at me, Doh! Liked 14a, very clever. Got 18a but had no idea how the first 2 letters were derived; thanks for explaining that – one to remember.