ST 2556 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2556 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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A reminder that Brian Greer, today’s setter, will be joining myself and Peter Biddlecombe in the Bree Louise, Euston today from 2.00pm onwards. If you are able to meet us there, you are more than welcome.

If you are interested, there is an excellent video of an interview with Brian here:

Brian Greer (aka Virgilius) – Clues to Social Justice, May 16, 2010

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.

A full review of this puzzle will be published on Friday, 8th October.


1a           Break arranged before close of day in food shop (6)
Put an anagram (arranged) of BREAK before the last letter (close) of daY to get a food shop

21a         It’ll make one quite inebriated, having knocked back a litre (7)
An anagram (inebriated) of quite followed by a reversal (having knocked back) of A L(itre) gives something that will make you very inebriated!

25a         Italian city getting another name when burnt (5)
The Italian spelling of a city famous for the Palio horse race has an extra N(ame) when preceded by burnt

27a         Move king to safety in stronghold (6)
Make a special chess move in which the king is transferred from its original square two squares along the back rank towards a rook on its corner square which is then transferred to the square passed over by the king – this move is named after a stronghold


1d           Money that is cut at first – could be general (5,3)
A slang word for money followed by (T)HAT without the initial letter (cut at first) gives an officer who wears gold braid – could be a General!

6d           Like Eliza Doolittle or Professor ‘iggins, so to speak (7)
A description of Eliza Doolittle – if you add an H to the front it sounds like (so to speak) something said by Professor Higgins about her

7d           Large golden retriever’s bark and slow movement (5)
Nothing to do with dogs! – combine L(arge) with the ship used by Jason to retrieve the Golden Fleece to get a slow movement in music

22d         Estimate such as “noble six hundred” (5)
A double definition – an estimate or a repeat of some of the words from a poem, like Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade”

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

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 or alternative clues in your comment, else they may be censored!



  1. Posted October 3, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Fairly straightforward today but enjoyable nonetheless with some fun clues. I particularly liked 21a, 1d and 14a, containing, as it does, enough Crosswordland instructions for hidden words, every other letters and anagrams to make the answer very satisfying once found!.
    Thanks to BD and to Virgilius, I am jumping on the 12:02 to St Pancras and will walk up the road to but y’all a pint.

  2. mary
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Unlike Gnomey, I found this really tough today with some very obscure clues, 25a I would never have got without Daves hint and Google, 17a, not really cryptic? 5d, more a General Knowledge question? I was going to give up after an hour with only 6 clues filled in but a bit of perservation took me to completing all but the top r/h corner, once again I was stuck here and had to have help by phone off my brother! A puzzle worthy of a toughie IMHO
    Good luck all CCers, I didn’t enjoy this one not just because I found it difficult, maybe it was just too clever for me :) Hope y’all have a good time today in the Bree Louise, sounds like the name of a boat

  3. mary
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Have just realised the comments have numbers next to them now

    • Franco
      Posted October 3, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Mary, the comment numbers have always been there – but were not very clearly displayed using Internet Explorer. They have always been correctly displayed using Firefox. Someone must have tweaked the code!

      • mary
        Posted October 3, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        First time I’ve seen them Franco, it’s very quiet here today isn’t it, do you think everyones gone to the Bree Louise!!! :-D

        • Libellule
          Posted October 3, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          Not everyone – its a bit far for me….

        • Franco
          Posted October 3, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

          If not at the Bree Louise, maybe they’re watching the rain at Celtic Manor.

      • Posted October 3, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        I fixed the code last night – by trial and error!

  4. Patsyann
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    A hint for 19a would be appreciated – last one to go in.

    A suggestion to the editor: If the two crossword grids were printed one on top of the other, with the relevant clues by the side, it would be much easier to fold the paper on your lap to complete!

    Hope you are enjoying the refreshments at Bree Louise – bet there’s a good anagram somewhere in that name!

    • mary
      Posted October 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Hi Patsyann there is no 19a today did you mean 19d? If so you need an unusual word for venerable followed by ‘a’ for area to give you the capital of Maine a USA state
      I had never heard this word for venerable before!

    • gazza
      Posted October 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Patsyann, Do you mean 19d?
      19d Venerable area in state capital (7)
      Put a synonym for venerable or respected in front of the abbreviation for area to make the state capital of Maine.

    • gazza
      Posted October 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      The best anagram I can make from “The Bree Louise” is Beer House lite or even “Lite Beer” House.

      • Jezza
        Posted October 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        …otherwise know as ‘The Blue Soiree”, which serves a wicked cocktail known as an ‘eerie blue shot’ :)

        • gnomethang
          Posted October 3, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

          Jezza, Mr Henderson (Elgar) and myself both liked the first one!

    • Patsyann
      Posted October 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Thanks everyone. Yes – I did mean 19d. The light dawned seconds after I’d posted.

  5. Derek
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Extremely enjoyable puzzle Brian – I got through rapidly this afternoon. Out this morning drinking coffee with friends in the sunshine at Het Teehuis in the Leidse Bos – we do it every Sunday weather permitting.

    Clues I liked were 21a, 25a, 5d, 6d, 7d, 9d & 19d.

    Looking forward to seeing the end (hopefully) of the Ryder Cup tonight.

    • Derek
      Posted October 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Correction : Theehuis = Tea Café
      Leidse Bos = Leyden Wood

      Is it still raining in Gwent?
      For real rain go to Scotland – but think of the malt whisky that comes from it!

      Up there we used to say if you can see across the street :it is going to rain and if you can’t then it is!

    • Derek
      Posted October 4, 2010 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      I thought that 4a was the toughest clue of the lot!

      • mary
        Posted October 4, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        I agree Derek, that is worthy of a ‘toughie’ crossword

  6. pommers
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this one! If any of you at the Bree Louise read this by iphone or similar please pass my thanks to Brian Greer.
    If anyone has a bit of free time this pm I can highly recommend Bufo’s NTSPP from yesterday.

    • gnomethang
      Posted October 3, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Pommers. Your thanks were delivered in person via a human bean (me) and reciprocated from Mr Greer (him) via iPhone (this one)
      Jolly good time was had by all.
      On the way home now.

      • pommers
        Posted October 3, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        Thanks gnomethang, somehow makes it all a bit more personal. I really do appreciate the work these setters must put in to make puzzles that are challenging but entertaining at the same time – can’t be easy! Long may it continue. Glad the afternoon went well, maybe I’ll get a chance to join in one day but, somehow, I doubt it.

  7. Mr Tub
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    All done! I found this a bit harder than some Sundays… Maybe it was that bottle of M&S claret I had last night. I could feel my gums recceding as I drank it…
    I’m desperately sad not to be able to make it to The Bree Louise. It looks like my kind of pub, ie open! That said I am going to take advantage of that fact that Mrs Tub is walking the dog to nip out now for a quick one. Tomorrow we’re off to Tunbridge Wells for a few days, so the chances are I won’t get to ‘check in’ until Friday. Wishing you all well for the rest of the week, keep off the 21a!

  8. Geoff
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    LH side all done, RH side has gaps and I’m getting nowhere with it! A hint on 4a and 5d might get me going again. Didn’t understand BD’s hint for 6d – I think the answer is what is dropped from her words (or am wrong?), but how can that be a description of her?

    • gazza
      Posted October 3, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      4a People of republic throwing foolish ruler back in river (8)
      The answer is citizens of a Middle-Eastern republic. Reverse (throwing .. back) a foolish Shakespearean king inside a river in Oxford.

    • gazza
      Posted October 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      5d His casebook was written by medical assistant, supposedly (8,6)
      His cases required powers of deduction.

      • Geoff
        Posted October 3, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. I did wonder if 5d was something to do with Dr Finlay on the first read through! Having the final two letters of 24 swapped around didn’t help.

        • mary
          Posted October 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          I thought so too Geoff, I think we were meant too :)

    • gazza
      Posted October 3, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      6d The answer is a description of the naive Eliza. It also sounds like (so to speak) a description of Higgins if you reinstate the dropped H.

      • gnomethang
        Posted October 3, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        ..sorry gazza, you need to reinstate the E as well unless e as lost is large male deer!

        • gazza
          Posted October 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I know it’s spelt as if e’s lost his deer, but it sounds like (so to speak) e’s lost his ticker.
          A good time was obviously had by all at the Bree!

          • gnomethang
            Posted October 3, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

            Gawd bless ya !
            And yes!

            • Posted October 3, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

              Apparently the clue refers to the film rather than the play. Gazza is spot on about the “E” (as usual) but that was covered in the hint!

  9. Geoff
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    All done. Can’t say I found this very exciting, perhaps because some of it was rather tricky. But it’s complete and thanks for the help.

  10. Gary
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi everyone. Just starting off on my cryptic adventures!! Haven’t completed one yet, but come very close the last 2 days. I just want to say what a great site this is. Lots of help etc. Most people ask the question I want to so this is first post (of many probably!)

    • gazza
      Posted October 3, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Hi Gary – welcome to the blog and good luck in your cryptic adventures!

  11. Drcross
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Just to say thanks to everyone who attended Lube Soiree for making me feel so welcome. It was extremely nice to meet you all and put names to faces!

    • Posted October 3, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Nice to meet you as well.

      See you on the 30th at the Sloane Pony! 11am onwards.

    • gnomethang
      Posted October 3, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      Ditto Drcross,
      Hope to see you soon.

  12. Jezza
    Posted October 4, 2010 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I did not get the chance to look at this yesterday, so catching up this morning. I found this a little tricky in parts, but most enjoyable. Thanks to BG and to BD.

  13. Brian Greer
    Posted October 5, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Tuesday morning, I’m at St. Pancras, waiting for Eurostar, and delighted to find free wi-fi here.

    I had a great time Sunday meeting BD, PB and many other old and new friends. Thanks to everyone and for all the kind comments.

    • gnomethang
      Posted October 5, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Nice to meet you and have a safe journey. I am also enjoying the free Wifi at St Pancras – just trying to find out where I am working today!

    • Peter Biddlecombe
      Posted October 5, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Hope you’re in Paris / Lille / wherever by now. Great to meet you and other solvers familiar and new.