ST 2551 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2551 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2551 (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 on Friday, 3rd September.


1a    Time for new-age celebrations that can make customers smile (6,8)
The time when new-age and neo-pagan types celebrate at Stonehenge is a clever anagram (can make) of customers smile

25a         Repeat both sides of festive music, amusing Oxford don (7)
Take some Christmas music and double the R(ight)s and L(eft)s to get the pen-name of an Oxford Mathematics don

26a    Honest alien holding flag put under severe restraint (14)
A word meaning honest and Steven Spielberg’s ubiquitous alien are placed around (holding) the Union flag to get a word meaning to put under severe restraint


1d    Speaker’s position on raised pay (5,2)
The position of a speaker during a political campaign and a word meaning raised give a phrasal verb meaning to pay or fork out

16d During endless fight, snide comment is demeaning (5,3)
You need a two-letter word meaning during, followed by a four-letter word for fight without the last letter, followed by a three letter word for snide remark or having a go at somebody to get an abbreviation of a Latin term for demeaning or beneath one’s dignity – based on Mary’s tip

19d         Middle piece of cotton garment worn long ago (7)
The middle piece of coTTon, when spelt out gives an old garment

23d    Part in opera Callas initially rejected (4)
A part in an opera is the first name of opera singer Callas without the first letter

ARVE Error: need id and provider

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!

115 comments on “ST 2551 (Hints)

  1. I am kicking myself. I didn’t read 19d properly and if I had I would have got 18a and 22a some hours ago. The rest of the puzzle I solved in the usual, fairly quick, time. Some very nice clues today 15a, 17a, 7d and my favourite 26a. Thanks to Virgilius for the enjoyment and BD for the hints.

    1. Only just finished it!! It has taken me an hour and a half! Must be the clouds and rain… was sure it was going to be a fine day here :(

      1. They changed the forecast for us yesterday from all sun to showers – didn’t mention the strong winds and driving rain, though, did they? Think we have the same again tomorrow.

    1. Ah, that’ why it made no sense! I had the right word, but spelt it the other way, dammit, so put an ‘ed’ on the end. Then I read the hint for 23d …

  2. This was so good – I did it twice…..Hadn’t intended to, but an accidental hitting of the Back Space key on Clued Up when about two-thirds through meant I had to start all over again. 5*.

  3. Top quality stuff – as is usual now on Sunday’s. Have to agree with the_chairman, 5*’s!

  4. The penny finally dropped with 19d.
    Not sure about the spelling for 26a. Chambers online only gives the spelling as in Dover or Bering.
    Otherwise very enjoyable.

  5. That was a very satisfying solve – took me ages and I used all my letter hints on clued up. Last one to go in was 16d as didn’t see it for ages.

    Favourite clues were 9a, 21a, 25a and 7d.

    Thanks to Virgilus and Big Dave.

  6. Excellent hard puzzle today – agreed on best of the week.
    I needed a couple of hint letters on Clued Up
    Many thanks to Virgilius for the excellent puzzle

  7. Here I go again trying to finish this, I still don’t ‘see’ 19d even with the hint, ****** tee, teetee, what then?????

  8. After a hard and fairly unsatisfying time trying to solve this puzzle, I am reluctant to give up but I am still stuck on 6d, 7d, 12a, and 8d, I think I have 2d but I really can’t make sense of it!! :) I have cogitated and perservated to the best of my ability and though there have been some wow moments on the whole it has just been hard work, have I enjoyed it? the jury’s out on that one :)

    1. Mary,
      Some hints,
      7d is what is normally referred to as – the sort of heavy non fiction tome you leave lying around to impress guests or visitors.

      1. Re. 12a if read as (4,6) It would mean food, at back of ship. Definition in this case is Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese etc.

            1. Me too! Especially as my answer fit the 3,7 perfectly, instead of the answer being made up of 4,6

      2. Thanks Libelulle, thought no one was about well I think I know what you mean but I have never heard that expression :)

        1. Thank god you found it hard too!! I really struggl;ed with it and it took me over an hour and a half! thought it was just me !

          1. Liz,
            I thought this was a bit of a “Toughie” when I did it. It’s an excellent crossword, but it certainly isn’t easy. I will not give times, but I personally spent enough time on this to nearly lose my Clued Up bonus!.

      3. Re. 8d put N (new) in a word meaning lucky or by chance. e.g. that was a ***** shot…

            1. Think so with Libelulles help, I have 5d left but it can only be one thing though I can’t see where the first 4 letters come from??

              1. You have struggled with the same ones as me!
                This one made me groan when I got it! The last half is to do with what roof tiles are made of???

    2. OK – re 6d.
      You need a word for school/educate and remove the I (one expelled) then follow this with another word for criticized. Definition in this case is “moved elsewhere” aka Star Trek for example. The same word can also be what the babel fish did. (Google Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy).

      1. Libelulle you have saved my sanity :) this has been a long slog and I wouldn’t have finished without your help, 6 star for difficulty for me today!! having said that I did really like some clues when I got them eg 4d, 21a, 26a, 19d!
        Thank you Libelulle and thank you Dave for the hints, roll on tomorrow

        1. Well done! lets hope for one we understand tomorrow! Whe I first logged on to the website everyone was finding it so easy… I felt really dim! ;(

        2. Mary,
          This was a superb piece of work. To paraphrase “I have come up with a crossword so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel.”

              1. Ah Blackadder, Star Trek, Babel Fish! Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy, my education is sadly lacking, though I did watch the first series of Star Trek :) Cheers Libelulle

    3. That’s given me a few more, thanks! I gave up on this about three hours ago. Mist of the lower half is still open territory …

  9. just started this xwrd, looking forward to 3 sundays on the trot. sadly to say i am already scouring through the hints and am completely befuddled. off for dinner and a glass of red, then ill be back begging for assistance. hope somebody is online.

  10. Well after everyone else I still have not finished, but picked up a lot of useful hints. Thankyou Mary, Libellule et al, certainly have a chance now

  11. Found this really tricky today and still not got all! After yesterday it was a bit of a facer. I have 6d – but why?? also 3d and the second half of 2d??

  12. ah – just seen Libellule’s explanation for 6d – thanks!! Just 2 left now (well one and a half really) Had my fill of stiff drinks and still firmly in the CC

    1. I can’t work out how to give a hint for 3d without revealing the word but the second half of 2d is one of the other chaps you would associate with Communism with ist on the end. There is a number hidden inside another word for catalogue.

      1. Thanks Crypticsue – that means 24a isn’t right – hohum! Not bad though with only two left! Did I enjoy it or not?? I’m out with Mary on that one – but there were some very good clues inc 4d, 19d, 12a & 21a

    2. 3d What’s liable to cause shock when it’s shown up? (4)
      It is a little difficult, but if you reverse the answer it gives the wire you shouldn’t touch if you want to avoid an electric shock.

      24a Was left holding pole (7)
      The definition is was
      A word meaning left or departed is placed around one of the poles

      1. Thanks BD – didn’t get back to it again last night as we watched The Constant Gardener – excellent! Now just going to have a go at todays as I haven’t had a chance yet – hoping it’s as gentle as Libellule suggests.

  13. 16d; have he checking letters, although uncertain about 4th letter, but can’t come up with anything. Don’t understand the reference to auntie and hugging in what I think is the answer to 20d. Anyone care to comment?

    1. Ok, I’m done. Sorry Mary, your tv station comment is too subtle, possibly for this time of night, or this many drinkies. Umm, Dave, doesn’t the added hint for 16d add up to 9? I have the answer, from my latin classicist friend, not an expression I knew.

      Some of this puzzle was very tricky, clever too! Thank goodness there were a few easy ones to retain a modicum of dignity.

        1. We have different words in mind for fight, mine is 6 letters. No matter, I have the answer.

          Re 20d, i might have the answer of course, but I still don’t see the connection between ‘beeb’ (am I allowed to type that?) and what I assume is a male feline with all his bits intact. Mind you, it could be the teachers are, or is, to blame here …

    1. Hi John – welcome to the blog.
      22a Something little boy uses to inspire passion, it’s said, in sweetheart.
      The definition is sweetheart, and it sounds like (it’s said) the weapon that a little boy (possibly the one in Piccadilly Circus) might use to inspire passion.

      1. Sunday Telegraph, Life sup, General Knowledge CW, 23a. another name for the antirrhinum or snapdragon

        1. didn’t know there was another name for them sorry john but think you’re on the wrong site maybe someone else ca advise you

            1. On CluedUp – got some of the crossing letters, then used the hint button to get most of the rest, then checked it in Chambers.

  14. A fantastic puzzle today, but I found it quite tricky to finish. So many good clues, 15a just took it for me but there were many good ones. Didn’t like 2d at all though. If only every crossword was as good. Enjoyed the comments too. Sleep well everyone

  15. im back and still have the sw corner to conquer. any help would be wonderful. i am truly going out of my brain!!! nothing seems to make sense. 15a and 18a also giving me gip. …—…

    1. Edi, what’s at the very bottom of the ocean? When you have that, you’ll see how a bishop divides the source of a family.

          1. 6d was the straw that broke the camels back. had completely the wrong idea. the star trek reference fooled me. here enduth my run of two sunday xwrds on the bounce. i regretfully surrender to the genius of virgilius. we shall battle again. sleep well all. ta ta.

    2. 15a: before refrigerators, we had a ******, in which, if the standard abbreviation of editor is contained (shut in), gives a word meaning exactness.

  16. Newish to crosswords, and have been puzzling away for 6 months now…..almost finished this one, just 2d left, maybe just being an idiot and have wrong checking letters but here I am begging for a nudge in the right direction anyway! Thanks.

    1. Welcome to the blog PD

      2d Red number held up in place of trade, and another in catalogue (7-8)
      A left-winger who is a follower of a famous doctrine, as adapted by the first Communist leader of Russia, is built up from a number reversed inside (held up) a place of trade followed by a different number reversed inside a catalogue.

    2. 2d Red number held up in place of trade, and another in catalogue (7-8)
      The definition is ‘Red’ as in Russian or Communist.
      Take a reverse of a 3 letter number inside an abbreviation of market, then a 4 letter number reversed inside a word for catalogue or rota. Cracking clue and I hope this helps!.

  17. A very good Sunday puzzle with some excellent clues.

    Clues that I liked were 12a, 21a, 28a, 2d, 7d & 13d but the rest was very pleasing to solve!

    1. I am really struggling with this one. Started last night and still at it. Going to put it to one side as we are off for a picnic and will try again later today, but not hopeful. Thanks for all your hints…

  18. Great fun and games from Virgilius yesterday. I found this a lot tougher than some of this recent ones but perservated and got the answers. Many thanks to him for some delightful clues and to BD for the hints.

  19. I thought ST2551 was going to end my many weeks unbroken run, but thanks to all the tips here (not to mention there!) I have just finished it and I confidently hope to be the winner of this week’s female swan with intention manifested without the little editor.

  20. Fascinating reading!

    I expect to be in London on Sunday, October 3, and would love to meet with BD, Peter, and anyone else interested, in a suitable pub.

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