ST 2581 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2581 (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.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Guys who aren’t rigid agree — that’s how more gets added (14)
Split this as (6,3,5) and the first two words give guys who aren’t rigid and the third word means to agree – the definition is “how more gets added”

10a    South-eastern state in Europe or America (7)
This state in South-eastern Europe is also a state in South-eastern America – the first state here is often considered a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Western Asia

14a    Lose after opening of malt whisky (6)
This word meaning to lose is constructed from the first letter (opening) of Malt followed by a location in the Hebrides where several of my favourite whiskies are produced

26a    Party choices — Newcastle Brown for a couple (5,9)
These people are chosen to lead the ruling party – the Duke of Newcastle and Gordon Brown are two examples


1d    Thus top politician conceals his deceptive argument (7)
Start with a two-letter word meaning thus and then put the abbreviation for the country’s top politician around (conceals) HIS to get a deceptive argument

6d    Fare at higher level to begin with? That’s legitimate (5,5)
Take the provision of meals, with or without accommodation, (fare) and precede it (to begin with) a word meaning at a higher level to get a phrase meaning legitimate

8d    Robber taking part in two instalments (6)
To get this robber take a word meaning a part, split it (1,2) and then put a conjunction between the two “instalments”

23d    Divine female leads a double life (4)
A Crosswordland regular, this Egyptian goddess comes from repeating (double) a word meaning leads a life

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. Jezza
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    A little tricky in parts, but very enjoyable. Last one in was 16d.
    Favourite clues 26a, 2d, and 19d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  2. gazza
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Best of the week (again) for me, though I don’t think that 10a is really cryptic. Favourite clues: 9a, 26a and 20d.

    • mary
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Have got 9a Gazza but no matter how I look at it I can’t see how it works!?

      • Posted March 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink


        Read the answer as (1,3/2,1)

      • Prolixic
        Posted March 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Split the answer 1,3,2,1.

      • mary
        Posted March 27, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        Duh moment :)

  3. mary
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I’ve found this tough today and really have perservated for a long time, but I am still stuck on16d, 17d, 17a, 21a, if anyone can help I would be really grateful :)

    • gazza
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      17d Junior minister’s position in club oddly suggestive (6)
      The definition is junior minister’s position and this minister is not a politician.

    • Prolixic
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      16d. The answer is a word for a versatile person. It comes from a four letter word meaning in reality, an abbreviation for old and a three letter for corporation (in the sense of the stomach).

      17d. The answer is a title for a junior church minister’s position. It comes from the odd letters of club followed by a word meaning suggestive.

      17a. The answer is a powerful feller (used to fell something). It comes from the name of the second male in the bible around an abbreviation for hospital followed by a word for spotted (as in observed).

      21a. The answer is an anagram of “a point true” indicated by somehow making. It describes the beliefs that may be held about someone.

    • Upthecreek
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Afternoon Mary
      16d Truth on old body part
      17d Symbol for copper on word used for sexy magazines
      17a The man who killed Abel round hospital looked to give an object used for felling
      21a Anagram
      Note no cricket after yesterday’s debacle!

  4. Prolixic
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Another jewel in the crown from Virgilius. Many thanks to him for a very enjoyable crossword and to BD for the notes. Once again almost too many clues to chose favourites but 1a, 26a, 2d and 20d are at the top of a long list!

  5. Upthecreek
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    A most enjoyable puzzle although quite easy today. Favourites were 17a and 26 which I think were both brilliant. Thanks to the setter for assuaging the cricket blues.

  6. gnomethang
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Another belter from Virgilius. Some lovely clues here that were extremely satisfying to solve. Agreed with gazza – best of the week again. Thanks to BD and Virgilius.

  7. mary
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Thank you everyone on helping me out, I think I would never have finished it otherwise! a real toughie in parts for me, would never ever have got 16d, the others maybe, but what have the last three letters of 16d got to do with anything, are they some kind of abbreviation for corporation or am I being dense, is it corporation as in health???

    • Prolixic
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Corporation is an informal term (according to Chambers) for the belly, especially a pot belly. It is only used, as far as I can see, in crossword clues these days.

    • Posted March 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink


      This question comes up every time this usage appears! The last regular cryptic in which it was used was:

      If you look there you will find corporation leading to paunch, which I hope answers your question.

    • mary
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Thank you both for your extreme patience :)

  8. Spindrift
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Re; 15a – I can see what it is but not why. Hint anybody? I enjoyed this & yesterday’s cryptic & the NTSPP plus I’ve almost finished “The Week’s” offering so I suppose I ought to make amends & cut the lawns then clean the car!

    • Prolixic
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Four letter word for a horse around on (from the clue) and an abbreviation for Island

    • mary
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Spindrift a two letter abbreviation for island preceded by the second word of the clue insice a four letter word for horse, a young one I think gives you a settler, hope I haven’t ‘sinned’ here!!

      • Spindrift
        Posted March 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        Thank you to both – it’s easy when you know how isn’t it? It’s just that I don’t know how sometimes!

  9. Derek
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Another very enjoyable puzzle from Virgilius – rather tougher than usual !
    Very many good clues.
    1a, 14a, 17a, 26a, 1d, 2d, 7d & 23d to choose a few.

    14a was rather easy for me!

    Now going out in the glorious sunshine and must shift the clock in the car to DST.

    Posted March 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Could hardlly do any at first glance but it all fell nicely into place after 1a came together. Being a Geordie I particularly appreciated 26a. 17a also clever.I ifound the quickie and the GK really quite hard going today. But who said hat life should be easy. I hope the Census form is more straightforward!!

  11. pommette
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I found this TOUGH – last ones in were 16d and 21a for some unknown reason. Like Mary I’d forgotten about the other meaning of corporation (again! – it just will not stick in my brain). Got seriously held up on 15a though as I put “ive” as the ending for 5d – Doh moment when I realised it was wrong
    Thanks Virgilius for an enjoyable workout and to BD for the hints – which I didn’t need as I had these already.

  12. Geoff
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear, another reminder of how much I don’t know, doubt if I’ll get this finished, 6 to go. 24a is a complete mystery; I have the odd letters and several words that fit, but none make any sense. Can someone explain, please?

    • gazza
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      24a Agreement with clubs working? Sure thing (7)
      The definition is agreement. String together the abbreviation for clubs, a short word meaning working and a sure thing (in a horse race, say).

      • Geoff
        Posted March 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, had the wrong ending to 17d, now it makes sense!

  13. Addicted
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Am being completely thick to-day – still staring at lots of blank spaces despite the hints and help. Am blaming a rather good Saturday night and BST!! However, it’s very nice sitting in the sun despite the sluggish brain.

    • Nora
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      I´m struggling too but can´t even blame a night out. The brain cells are just asleep I think. I´m stuck in SE – 18 22 and 25a, 19 and 20d. Any hints please, so that I can a) see the light, b) kick myself?

      • gazza
        Posted March 27, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        20d Open land as alternative to garden (6)
        Double definition – land that anyone can use (open) and the alternative to garden in a phrase meaning lacking distinction.

      • gazza
        Posted March 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        22a Person seeking quick profit – one without a partner (4)
        Double definition – a) a stock market term for someone applying for shares intending to sell them immediately at a profit and b) a man attending a gathering without a partner.

        • Nora
          Posted March 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for those Gazza. I´ll see if I can finish now with the intersecting letters your hints have provided.

      • gazza
        Posted March 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        25a Great service I have reduced (7)
        The definition is great. It’s a religious service followed by a contraction (reduced) of “I have”.

      • gazza
        Posted March 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        19d Lock aggressive American up inside for hunting female (7)
        The definition is hunting female. Reverse up a military (aggressive) American inside what a lock often is in Crosswordland (it’s nothing to do with keeping things fastened).

        • Nora
          Posted March 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

          Now I see. Thank you.

  14. Addicted
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Well,I’ve done it, I think. Assuming I have the correct answer, can anyone please “explain” 24a to me? Thanks!

    • Libellule
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      See Gazza’s comment just above (12).

      • Addicted
        Posted March 27, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        Missed that on my trawl – sorry – however STILL don’t understand the end of the word??? I’m obviously extremely thick to-day!

        • gazza
          Posted March 27, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          A horse that’s a sure thing in a race is also called “a dead ****”.

          • Addicted
            Posted March 28, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

            No wonder I couldn’t understand it – I had ***sent!!!!

  15. Geoff
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Good heavens, blood, sweat and tears, but I’ve finished it! Will definitely need the review to understand it all. Thanks for the hints BD and others, they were much-needed.

  16. Geoff
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    13d seems to have 2 anagram indicators, or is there something I’m not understanding?

    • gazza
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      The anagram indicator is “deployed unconventionally”. Conventional is the definition.

      • Geoff
        Posted March 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        Fair enough. The XWD Dictionary gives each as indicators in their own right, hence the question.

  17. Nora
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Done it. I don´t know when I last struggled so much, and Clued Up had this as 2 star for difficulty. I did kick myself over some clues where I failed, but I don´t understand 19d at all, despite getting the right answer in the end. Roll on Monday when I hope to be more in tune with the setter.

    • pommers
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Hi Nora
      If you’ve got the answer you’ll know what the definition is. Take a word for get rid of and follow it with one of the usual abbreviations for king and O (nothing).

      • pommers
        Posted March 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        Sorry – wrong crossword! Just been doing Friday’s Giovanni and am therefore a little confused!

    • Posted March 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Permalink


      Never take any notice of the difficulty ratings on Telegraph Puzzles. Quite a lot of people do the puzzle on paper and then enter it online, so the ratings are frequently too low.

    • Posted March 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      The “aggressive American” is a soldier: reverse him and then insert him inside a lock of hair to get the “hunting female”.

      • Nora
        Posted March 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Dave. That´s reassuring and it makes sense, because I sometimes sail through 4 or even 5 stars and struggle with the supposedly easier ones.

  18. Nubian
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Very nice teeth grinding puzzle. I’m exhausted.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to B Dave

    • pommers
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      So am I! Haven’t recovered from yesterday yet. First it was qualifying for a Grand Prix, then a cricket match (poor) followed by football (good) and thern rowing in a boat race! I was knackered by the end of all that!

  19. crypticsue
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I solved this in the car at 8.30 this morning starting a journey from Kent to Swindon for the christening of a great nephew – it took me almost 100 miles of motorways before I realised what the second part of the clue was on about! I get to have fun all over again tomorrow when I try to decipher my scrawled notes (never try to write while Mr CS is driving) and sort out the review. Thanks Virgilius, I did enjoy the whole crossword.

  20. pommers
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    I like 14a – both the clue and the whisky!

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Don’t like whisky but I remember the names for wine and wisdom/crossword purposes! Just having a restorative cider following our long journey home.

      • pommers
        Posted March 27, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        14a isn’t just whisky – it’s nectar of the Gods!

  21. Qix
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Another excellent Sunday puzzle.

    Many thanks to the setter, and to congrats to BD for the hints, as well as for his good taste in uisge beatha.

  22. Posted March 28, 2011 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    Still stuck on 13 down and 15 across! (Is the second letter V?)

    • Prolixic
      Posted March 28, 2011 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      13d The answer is a word meaning conventional. It is an anagram (deployed unconventionally) of armaments I.

      15a. The second letter is not V. There is a hint for 15a above. You need to look again at 5d. I suspect you have the wrong ending for 5d (a lot of people in that clue indicates that you need another word for a country).

  23. Posted March 28, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Goddit! Thanks