ST 2577 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2577 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2577 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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Not a difficult puzzle, more a film quiz. You must read the editor’s note first – “In this Oscars Special, some answers include figures. A figure 1 should be input as the letter I.”   Only three answers actually contain numbers, and in one of those the numerals are Roman.

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.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post before asking questions about the site.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”.

A full review of this puzzle will be published on or after the closing date.

Not a difficult puzzle, more a film quiz. You must read the editor’s note first – “In this Oscars Special, some answers include figures. A figure 1 should be input as the letter I.” Only two answers actually contain numbers, and in one of those the numerals are Roman.


7a    Julia, the actress Duvall and De Niro named (7)
The surname of actress Julia is the plural of the first names of the two actors

16a    Unsteady couple of Romans in sequel, first of many (5,2)
A word meaning unsteady is followed by two Roman numerals that indicate, in that typically uninspired American way, this film is the first of many sequels

23a    Play leading roles in movie, one about former Spanish colony (5,4)
Start with a word meaning to play a leading, but not the main, role in a movie and follow with I (one) and a two-letter abbreviation for about to get this former Spanish colony

26a    Not as fine as Oscar singularly got by ‘The Queen’ (7)
A word meaning not as fine as is an anagram (singularly) of OSCAR followed by HM The Queen


1d    Person with managerial role in cinema — one of two characters in Mel Brooks movie (8)
This person with a managerial role in cinema is one of the two characters in a Mel Brooks movie responsible for overselling “Springtime for Hitler”

8d    Make indelible impression as nothing short of famous actor (5)
A word meaning to make indelible impression on, for example, cattle is created by dropping (short) the final O (nothing) from the name of a famous actor

17d    Prepare to shoot hit about love — it’s on much smaller scale than ‘Titanic’ (8)
Start with what is done to prepare to shoot a gun and follow it with a word meaning to hit, possibly a cricket ball, around O (love) to get this small frail boat – this strange answer looks as if it started off as the second name of the John Wayne character in 13 across and was changed because no answer would then fit 26 across

22d    Nominates Connery or Penn, upset about leading part in movie (5)
A word meaning nominates is created by reversing (upset) the first name of either of the actors Connery or Penn around the initial letter (leading part) of Movie

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!

93 comments on “ST 2577 (Hints)

  1. Don’t consider a quiz on films and the film industry to be a cryptic crossword. Looked at it briefly then threw the paper across the room in disgust. A big ZERO rating for me.
    Thanx to BD.

  2. The Virgilius Sunday puzzle is usually my favourite of the week but I was disappointed by this one. The ingenuity to fit all those themed answers in has to be admired, but some of the clues (e.g. 1d and 21d) were barely cryptic at all.

  3. I was initially slightly perturbed when I saw the theme of today’s puzzle, particularly as it’s my turn to review it. I am not a film buff by any means, the only films I have seen lately at the cinema have been the Harry Potters as part of a tradition whereby my son Matthew and I have seen every film together. However, I had heard of all the films in the crossword and IMHO it is a cryptic crossword rather than a film quiz. I enjoyed solving it so thanks to the setter, who I presume is Virgilius as usual. Thanks to BD for the hints.

    PS: If Barrie doesn’t enjoy solving this, I shall eat my copy of Chambers Dictionary :D

    1. thats what I thought Sue custom made for Barrie! can’t say I’ve heard of 18d though have the second word, it would help to know if the first ‘word’ is three numbers????

          1. Its a fairly new one which is probably the only reason I knew it from reading about it in the paper.

    2. Thoroughly enjoyed it and finished in short time. Just got a little stuck on 18d which was a clever clue:-)

      1. How was it clever? I’ve never heard of it and had to guess the 2nd ‘letter/number’, somewhat less than a gross could be 1,2, or 3!!

        1. The clue is “gripping”. It’s a very new movie about a recent event that was well publicised esp in climbing circles

              1. there is still no way you would get the number, it could be one of three, if you don’t know the film!

  4. This is the second of Virgilius’s Oscar themed crosswords. Persoanlly, I thought his crossword in Saturday’s Guardian (as Brendan) on the same theme was head and shoulders above this one. Enjoyable, but this one felt a bit contrived in places. Still, you have to marvel at getting two crosswords out of the Oscars all fully themed.

    Many thanks to Virgilius for the crossword and to BD for this hints.

    1. The Brendan definitely was the better of the two, but as you say, to be able to get two cryptic crosswords out of the Oscars is a wonderful achievement.

    2. I agree with the ‘bit contrived’ description for some of it. At the same time, I did think some clues were quite clever, e.g., 8d. On the whole, fairly straightforward if one is familiar with this year’s nominees.

  5. 18d held me up – the last film I went to see was Alien Resurrection!. I eventually grabbed a “Letter” in the second position having first checked the final one at 19a. I don’t mind this sort of thing as a one off but wouldn’t necessarily want to see it every week!.
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  6. I think I might have been to the cinema three times in ten years. Not a film buff and didn’t even read beyond four clues. I even checked to see if the puzzles had been switched and this was the GK puzzle. Very disappointing and another big zero. Will be watching the blog avidly to see Barrie’s comments!

    1. Totally with you Geoff but have perservated and done about half, Barrie is laughing all the way to his film shoot today :)

  7. Bah! Not an enjoyable start to my Sunday morning at all.

    The answer to 19a was obvious but unfair. Even considering the number warning from the editor, the title of the film in question has the last word spelled out in full. So the answer given is wrong in my opinion. Didn’t like 16a and 18d either, for obvious reasons.

    Perhaps if I was more of a film buff I would have enjoyed this more. I don’t mind a little theming in my crosswords, but this was more general (or specialist?) knowledge and not very cryptic.

    1. I think a lot of people will agree with you today abw, this crossword has spoilt a lot of peoples Sunday mornings, it may be clever in some ways but on those three clues I totally agree with you, don’t we always input the letter i for no1 in crosswords, the editors note does not suggest that we need to be inputting other nos too, I feel it should have said eg after that statement, also shouldn’t the instruction have been put at the head or foot of the crossword, grrrrrrrrr! because as stupid as this sounds at first I thought it was all to do with 7a!

  8. Most boring xword of year so far. I am in complete agreement with Wayne. I also need Mary’s tip for 18d. I always thought 19a was a film about 10-3 [I’m not allowed to use the s word]. I hope they kick old Oscar into touch ASAP.

    1. UTC never heard of 18d but the second word is this, if its owned by us, i.e. its not yours its ****, ‘its said’ means it sounds the same as the word needed, the first three are digits, nos, I assume a little less than a gross, with the last one making the word for 19a, hope some of this makes sense??

      1. Thanks Mary. Got it now but I had to google the time thing. Never heard of the film and didn’t notice note re numbers. Hope we don’t get any more of these. Its spoilt my weekend. Yours wiil probably get worse as I have just seen West Ham score.

  9. OK because it is raining/hailing and the football hasn’t started yet, I have perservated and have 5 left, by fair means or foul I am now determined to finish it :)

    1. Finished, with loads of googling etc. hope we don’t get any more of these too soon, one clue I liked was 9d, good luck to anyone still at it :) thanks for hints Dave

            1. It’s not really my thing but it may be better than watching Liverpool today! Lets hope Arsenal do it right afterwards

                    1. I haven’t laughed so much since former Spurs player Nayim lobbed David Seaman to win the Cup Winner’s Cup for Real Zaragoza in 1995.

                      I met Nayim in 2007 and he signed my program with the immortal words “Nayim from the halfway line”,

  10. Plenty of help from Little Digby, a walking Chambers of Films, sorted this one out. Not a hugely satisfying solve. Plus, India just massacred our bowlers, and it’s started to rain. Bah, Humbug and Harumph!!!

      1. Yes, I fear they got at least a ton more than we’ll manage – unless KP finally gets his act together?

  11. Well, pommette and I managed this without trouble apart from 18d where we put the wrong number – never heard of the film!
    Didn’t think we’d manage this as the last time I went to a cinema was to watch the original release of Star Wars!
    Thanks to the setter (Virglius?) for an entertaining puzzle (no pun intende!) and to BD for the hints which suprisingly we didn’t need!

  12. The camp seems to be well and truly divided on this one.
    Personally I enjoyed it – and I know very little about films. Must be lots of grumpy old men about today! Why? We beat France at Rugby yesterday although the cricket isn’t looking good. Currently listening to the cricket commentary on R4 in a cold and rainy Spain!

    1. thank goodness for Pommers and Pommette- I was beginning to think Barrie and I were on our own and that would be a very rare day!! I too know little about films but I do enjoy a quiz and I have that sort of mind that retains all sorts of ‘stuff’ including, as I found out this morning, information on films. I am halfway through typing the review and I have concluded that it is a cryptic crossword rather than a quiz, albeit one that requires knowledge of a particular theme. Given all the brilliantly tricky cryptic puzzles Virgilius provides us with on a weekly basis, why shouldn’t we let him have a bit of fun with a topical theme?

      1. Totally agree crypticsue. Definately a cryptic as many of the clues don’t actually require film knowledge but have used cinema references included in the clue eg 24a – Marx Brothers initially could equally have Mars Bars initially .
        They must be pretty well know films if Pommette and I have heard of them – except 18d which we worked out but with the wrong middle digit in the first part – but a bit of Googling soon put us right!

    1. 6d Get across, in a way, what film-makers want to achieve (6)
      It’s an anagram indicated by in a way.

      1. Belay that last order helmsman! As soon as I pressed “post comment” it came to me! Thanks anyway

  13. I thought the clue to 18d was clever. ‘Gripping drama’ works because the film is about climbing and the drama revolves around what you use to grip with. ‘Somewhat less than gross’ is a loose definition of the number part of the answer, i.e. < 144, but also the climber does end up somewhat less than gross (total, including everything, without deductions) in the gripping department during the film.

    1. I thought that “gripping” referred to the fact that the climber’s arm became wedged (gripped).

  14. A rather challenging puzzle this Sunday!
    Sorry that many of you disagree!
    I had to do a wee bit of Googling as well as consult the list of films in Chambers Crossword Book to solve it.
    Brought back many memories of some of the films for me.

    Quite a change from our normal fare!!

  15. Did this without much enjoyment. But I would like some help on explaining the cryptic significance on the solution to the griddler from 2 weeks ago, a couple of pages on from the crossword. E, L, L and a big S? How does that fit into the title? Help!

      1. The rules were changed some time ago. You are correct – it used to be the side losing the fewer wickets won in the event of a tie.

      2. Now in limited over games if you end up on the same number of runs wickets don’t matter – it’s purely a run chase. It doesn’t matter whether you were bowled out or only lost 8 wickets.

        Just watched the end of the footy too! Birmingham just neat Aresenal in the Carling Cup.
        FANTASTIC. Not a Brummie fan – who do I support? Man U and anyone playing Arsenal.
        Ready and waiting for the flack!

        1. PS Neat is not a reference to cows – my typing’s as bad as Pommers’ – meant beat, and of course Arsenal not Aresanal. Not had too much vino yet – still to come

        2. I don’t like Arsenal either – or more particularly, Monsieur Whinger!

          I hope he saw the celebration by Obafemi Martins after scoring the winning goal – Round-off, flick-flack followed by backward somersault!

  16. I agree that it was none too cryptic but to those who are complaining, now you know how I feel when confronted with a Ray T, frustrating isn’t it.

  17. Have only just sat down with it, and having looked at the comments, think I will probably leave it. I know nothing about films etc, and will have a go at yesterday’s giant General Knowledge instead.

    1. 14d Went too far, with show mostly presented in open (8)

      This one you asked about elsewhere. The definition is “went too far”. put SHO (show, mostly) inside a word meaning open or public.

  18. I never thought I’d complain about finding a puzzle easy to do, but I do feel a little bit unsatisfied; but on the other hand, it was well constructed, and interesting to see a cryptic with numbers in it. Thank you!

  19. The “film” crossword in the Guardian by the same complier is much better. I object to having to use numbers, even roman numerals (in this context any way) in a crossword. If I want to battle with numbers then I’ll do a Sudoko quiz (not that I can do them anyway!)

  20. This reminded me of the Christmas themed puzzles that are equally simple. It does help that I’m a bit f a film buff though. I can understand why people didn’t like it. However, I agree with an earlier post that these sort of puzzles are ok once or twice a year. A suggestion though, could we have it in addition to a ‘proper’ crossword? This would surely keep everyone happy.
    Well done Colin on the little gold man.

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