ST 2554 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2554 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2554 (Hints)

Pieces of eight from Cap’n Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Ahoy me hearties for today it be Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Ye comments may be in Pirate or English, for one day only!

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, 24th September.


1a    One insect holding another back with little force (6)
Put one insect reversed inside another (neither of them are ants!) an you get a word meaning with little force or weakly

15a    Person who supports HM, not her predecessor (8)
Split this person who supports as (6,2) and it could be HM The Queen, but not her predecessor, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

18a    Bad person, one put inside, right? (8)
Put an anagram (bad) of PERSON around I (one) and add R(ight) – where’s the definition? – just read this all-in-one clue again

29a    Attending critical trial to give evidence (6)
A charade of attending and a critical trial gives a word meaning to give evidence


1d    Top-quality game with man on board (4-4)
A top-quality hotel rating is a charade of a game similar to squash played with the gloved hand and a sailor (man on board)

9d    Canned music producers (6,3,5)
The definition here is canned, or drunk, and it’s rhyming slang involving two composers

21d    One of the Tudors switching endless parts in tent (7)
Take a Tudor monarch – the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon – drop the last letter from each part of her name, and then swap the order to get a large tent – far and away my favourite clue in today’s puzzle

24d    Place for locking up old instrument (5)
A place where prisoners are locked up is followed by O(ld) to get a stringed instrument

If you need further help then please ask and I will see what I can do.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put whole or partial answers in your comment, else they may be censored!

30 comments on “ST 2554 (Hints)

  1. Took me ages to finish, especially the SW corner, but I think with hindsight that has more to do with my being really tired than any particularly difficult clues. I liked 1a and 22d best. Thanks Virgilius and BD (even though you didn’t give hints for the ones I was stuck on!!)

  2. Arrr!, today be a goodun for ye landlubbers who cut across my bows. I I climbed the mizzen and walked along the yardarm to cover all the clues Capt Virgilius had set and am able to report to Chief Big Dave a job well done.
    The best clues be 17d and 21d.
    And whoever spot Moby Dick first gets this here gold dubloon I nails to the mainmast !
    Cheers and splice the mainbrace !

  3. Hey Nubian, a suffeit of navy rum last eve perhaps?
    Can anyone explain 19d and 22d please or shall I wait for Mr Biddlecombe’s explanation on Friday

    1. 19d Chat in frivolous way with expedition (7)
      The definition is with expedition or quickly. Split the answer as (3,4) to get chat in a frivolous way.

    2. 22d Remnants of old chestnuts, perhaps found in puzzles (6)
      Double definition. What’s left behind when you chop down things of which chestnuts are examples, and a verb meaning puzzles.

  4. Sorry Cap’n Dave, I missed your instruction re ‘talk like a pirate day’ and apologies Nubian for impugning your sobriety

    1. Apologies accepted shipmate Dickiedot or being Sunday is it Richardpoint ?. Oddly enough I was duty driver last night and couldn’t partake of a noggin of Nelson’s blood. I ad to swill tonic water all night, it almost poisoned myself with quinine.

      1. I’ll take your word for it but, like Dickiedot, I thought you’d been gulping when you should have been sipping!

  5. Late start today and a few gaps in RH side – a bit worried about crypticsue’s comment on the SW corner …

    During the summer there are themed boat trips from Oxford down and back upstream, A year or three ago, there was a Pirates Cruise, fully grown men wearing eye-patches and parrots on their shoulders wielding plastic swords. Even funnier coming back when they are all 9d!

  6. By my beard I enjoyed that!
    I found it more difficult than last week’s and particularly enjoyed 13a and 18a.
    Thanks to BD and Virgilius.

    By the way –
    Why are Pirates so cool?

  7. Got four gaps and am completely stuck; 11a, 8d and 25a, 17d. Think 25a is a leather pouch that serves as a pocket, but if so, what on earth is 17d ??

    1. 17d Exhausted after drink in part of bar (8)
      A word for exhausted follows to swallow a drink to get part of a bar of music – you’re not supposed to snap your fingers on this!

      It sounds like you’ve got 25a, by the way.

    2. 11a Style that is abbreviated for attractive girl (5)
      A hair style (3) and the Latin for “that is” give the attractive girl

      8d Pronouncement of moment for Arab leader (6)
      A slang term for a moment in time (there are usually two of them!) sounds like an Arab leader

      1. Ah thank you. Still don’t understand 17d, maybe 20a is wrong? I figured it’s the empire that controlled us until around 400AD and given the checking letters, neither I nor Word Wizard can come up with anything.

        1. 20a Hero who’s acted in Italian city with love (5)
          The definition is hero who’s acted (i.e. performed on stage). It’s the name of an Italian city followed by the letter used to signify zero or love.

          1. Thanks, although I got there before your message did. My first answer to 20a made sense to me at the time.

    1. 2d Short piece of music, perhaps, 20 heard on radio in bar (7)

      A short piece of music comes from the letter in the NATO phonetic alphabet represented by the answer to 20a inserted inside a word meaning bar or apart from.

      The reference to “heard on the radio” is telling you that the phonetic alphabet in question was introduced in order to clarify spelling in crackly radio conversations. The police use phonetics a lot – remember Juliet Bravo a few years ago?

  8. Was peeling apples all day yesterday for more appelmousse so started this puzzle late last night and finished it very early this morning.
    Quite a mixed bag!
    Best for me were 15a, 27a, 1d, 16d & 22d.
    5d & 9d good laughs.

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