ST 2600 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2600 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2600 (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.

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 after the closing date for submissions.


5a           Characters collectively gaining height on mountain with support (8)
A collection of characters is created by putting H(eight) after European mountain and following it with a word meaning to support or assist

12a         Chemist, short of cash, began using computer (12)
The name of the founder of a well-known chain of chemist shops  is followed by a colloquial word for being short of cash to give a verb meaning started a computer and put it into a state of readiness to be used

15a         Frenchman or Englishwoman, so-called? (4)
The first name of many Frenchmen is more usually a woman’s name in English

26a         Totally how the first answer goes, or all them, initially (4,1,2,1)
You need to solve 5a first, then this one follows on – thanks to Gnomethang for pointing out that this clue is telling you that each of the 26 answers starts with a different letter


1d           In the course of card game, putting in pound (6)
A word meaning “in the course of” or during is created by putting a card game, similar to bridge, around a pound/ Livre

4d           Wed heartless lady to a man (8)
Follow a word meaning to wed or join with a heartless L(ad)Y to get a word meaning “to a man” or “without exception”

20d         Bad influence? Too right! (3,3)
A charade of words meaning bad or unwell and influence give an expression (1’2,3) meaning “too right!”, a  response expressing wholehearted agreement

23d         Mark’s replacement in amateur operatics (4)
The currency that replaced the German mark is hidden inside the last two words of the clue

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!

Back soon with a few more

Today it’s Happy Birthday to Stan Freberg (85)

One of my favourite records!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

68 comments on “ST 2600 (Hints)

  1. Thanks to Brian Greer for the puzzle and Big Dave for the hints. I enjoyed this one a lot, a nice mix of clues. Favourites were 19 and 16 across.

  2. Is it permitted to say that the hidden “theme” is illustrated by 26a? I.e. it’s a ‘pangram’ … although, strictly, that word refers to a sentence containing all the letters.

    I liked 19a, but wasn’t impressed by 20d.

    1. Hi AtH – impressed or not, can you help me with 20d, please? I’m not having a good day here!!

      1. Hi Addicted, See Franco’s comment below. If the clue had been shown as 1’2, 3 would that help?

      2. Actually – I got it!!! before reading the blog – and I agree with AtH,I don’t like it. But many thanks for the hint. A rather strange clue methinks?

      1. It’s a line from a Stan Freberg song taking the mick out of meaningless lyrics such as ” I was born in a crossfire Hurricane”

  3. I always enjoy the Sunday puzzle……but didn’t like 20d today. If the apostrophe is never included in the enumeration, then, perhaps such clues shouldn’t be submitted? Or, put the apostrophe in the enumeration?

  4. Gnomey’s astute comment that the clues start with all 26 letters leads me to believe that I have 25a correct (a heavenly body beginning with P?). But I can’t see the word-play, so haven’t inked it in yet! Thanks to everyone for the puzzle, hints, blogs and sunshine!!

    1. 25a – I think it starts with the missing letter from your pangram (See AtH1900 #2 above). However, I must admit that I don’t understand the wordplay.

      Also missed the pangram – despite 5a and 26a – Oh! Dear!

  5. A really inventive idea for (as Qix pointed out following my initial observation by email) puzzle number 2600. Virgilius always manages to throw something into a puzzle to delight us (and amuse himself!)
    Many thanks to him and to BD for the hints.

  6. Thanks BD & setter.
    Enjoyed this in the Portuguese sun and very impressed that each clue starts with a different letter, however – a hint for 16d would be appreciated. Can’t get it even though I have all checking letters :(

    1. An anagram (unusually) of ‘loud’ goes inside an organ or feature of the body to give a word meaning ‘showing effects of swelling’, or protuberance.

      1. Aha! thanks Jezza. I had got a wrong letter in the crossover with 22a. Back to the pool :)

  7. Despite spending an age early this morning trying to submit the puzzle on the prehistoric telegraph website, it did not detract from my enjoyment.
    Thanks to Virgilius for the fun, and as gnomethang says ‘a really inventive idea’.

  8. Ah.

    I’d enjoyed 5a and 26a together, but hadn’t spotted the trick with the starting letters of the answers. What a delightful idea in what was a very enjoyable and entertaining crossword. I’ll award an extra ‘*’ for the panpangram.

    I had 26a on the shortlist for a favourite, but given what I know now, it’s definitely the winner.

    Thanks to the Setter (Virgilius, I presume?) and BD for the review … and to Gnomethang for showing the marvellous extra trick.


    1. Without having the clue in front of me (I am in the pub!) you need a three letter word meaning ‘ in the capacity of’ (good for scrabble!) and a usual abbreviation for king or Queen. In the middle if which you should place a synonym for ‘when’. The definition is a celestial body that does not begin with P!

    2. The wordplay is in three parts:

      1. “In the role of” 2. “Queen” 3.”When”

      1&2 are Latin abbreviations ((3) and (1)), and 3 is a term often used in this way in Crosswordland (2).

      Arrange the elements 1,3,2 (“…when centrally placed”) and you have a heavenly body.

      1. Thanks Qix! I’d noticed the pangram and also (surprisingly) the different starting letters for each clue! Therefore knew this began with Q and with all other checkers the answer is obvious. However, got in my mind that ‘in the role of’ was AS (Olivier is appearing AS/IN THE ROLE OF Hamlet tonight). Couldn’t mask sense of the rest (obviously, as I was barking up the wrong tree – or barking mad!).
        Agree with posts below – this is a 5* puzzle!!!!
        Thanks muchly to Virgilius – you never cease to surprise me!

    3. You need a Latin word for “in the role of” and a one letter abbreviation for queen. Inside this (centrally placed) put a two letter word meaning when. This reveals a type of heavenly body as the answer.

    4. Thanks all. I think I now understand.

      Having read all the comments about today’s crossword, I’m amazed by the brilliance of this puzzle. (I missed everything despite solving all the clues – apart from 20d)

      1. Virgilius is top-notch. His puzzles are excellent, and there’s usually an “extra” reward in there somewhere for the solver!

        This was a particluarly clever grid-fill, with some tricky words clued very well.

          1. I think that exactly 26 solutions, each beginning with a different letter, and at least a couple of references to the pattern in the solutions is quite enough!

            Still, I can’t get onto the Telegraph Puzzles site just now (it’s down) to reexamine the grid, and you never know with Virgilius.

  9. Hi all late checking in again, finished it early on but retired to my sick bed not feeling too good! Worthy of a toughie in places for me, realised it was possibly a pangram when the first two answers I filled in each had a Z and the third one an X ! thought 5a and 26a very clever, didn’t like 3d very much fav clue today 23d :-) I have to admit not finishing yesterday and I will blame the grandchildren and illness for that (though I admit to finding it quite difficult ;-)

    1. Oh dear! Poor you – do hope that you feel better soon and will be back “on duty” tomorrow. :smile:

  10. Excellent puzzle from Virgilius, I had an inkling what it may be about with the No 2600 favourite clue 4d, The theme has also rubbed off on the GK setter. Many thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the notes.

    1. 24a – The definition is “Legal Term” in the sense of part of an academic year. The first letters of the last 6 words of the clue may help!

    2. 10a Essay, a piece of fiction that’s number one in the field (6)
      Someone on the football field having “1” on his shirt.

    3. 20d Bad influence? Too right (3,3)
      This is a phrase that someone may use when they’re in full agreement (“too right!”). It’s a charade of synonyms of a) bad and b) influence or sway.

  11. Hi all, telegraph site appears to be down at the moment (7:25 Sun pm)….anyone know of a way I get hold of todays crossword? Too late to actually buy the paper.

  12. Enjoyed this one from Virgilius.
    Faves : 1a, 12a, 25a, 26a, 3d, & 23d.

    Back in NL now after 10 weeks in sunny PACA!

    1. Thnakds to BD help was able to enjoy it as well….now for an hour or two of planet rock…

  13. Re BD’s comment on 26a, ‘You need to solve 5a first, then this one follows on’
    Pommette solved 26a first which is what gave her the answer to 5a (and me the view that it was a pangram) – she always was a bit back-to-front!

  14. What a crossword! Have struggled quite badly with crossword/lack of sleep/hangover from hell AND babysitting two tiddlers this afternoon. Spotted that it was going to be a pangram quite early on but didn’t notice the beginning letters of all the answers – thanks to Gnomey for pointing that out – it meant that I could eventually do my one remaining gap – 10a. I thought that this was seriously difficult. I have enjoyed it immensely. I am absolutely over the moon that I could, after much head scratching, finish it. I STILL don’t understand 23a but, having got this far, I don’t really mind. All I want to do is go to bed!! :smile:

    1. Hi Kath – if you mean 23d,it’s in the clue – the German currency before they went with the EC currency. There isn’t a 23a, but if you mean 24a I only got it becos I kind of know there’s a term with that name but I really don’t understand the rest of the clue!! Perhap someone could enlighten me? Unless the whole answer is the name of a youth? I’m off to bed too! Was really pleased to read the blog and realise about the panagram because it helped me to finish – hadn’t spooted it myself. Doh!

      1. No – actually meant 25a but writing had obscured the number! 24a is the beginning (starts off) of the rest of the words in the clue – meaning a term in some universities. :smile:

        1. Thanks – like I said, I got the answer but couldn’t see why! Doh!……..and doh! again. It’s there. Thanks!

  15. Do hope that yesterday in Cheltenham was a good day – would love to hear about it from anyone who went. I really wanted to go – we are only about an hour from there (well, add on another hour for getting lost once in Cheltenham) but family commitments (my Mum) made it impossible. One day I will get to one of these get-togethers!

    1. I too would like to get to one of these meetings – you never know, we might make the same one!

  16. In my haste to get to bed I’ve forgotten my manners! With thanks to Virgilius for a great (and grey cell challenging) crossword and to Big Dave for the hints.

  17. Hello all. Telegraph crossword editor here.

    Many apologies to all Telegraph Puzzles website subscribers for the crash today, which is not yet resolved. It appears that it was due to an explosion after lightning struck the Amazon ‘cloud’ server in Ireland which hosts Telegraph Puzzles along with many other websites. Amazon’s latest announcement says:

    Performance issues: Connectivity issues
    07 August 2011 23:01
    A quick update on what we know so far about the event. What we have is preliminary, but we want to share it with you. We understand at this point that a lightning strike hit a transformer from a utility provider to one of our Availability Zones in Dublin, sparking an explosion and fire. Normally, upon dropping the utility power provided by the transformer, electrical load would be seamlessly picked up by backup generators. The transient electric deviation caused by the explosion was large enough that it propagated to a portion of the phase control system that synchronizes the backup generator plant, disabling some of them. Power sources must be phase-synchronized before they can be brought online to load. Bringing these generators online required manual synchronization. We’ve now restored power to the Availability Zone.

    I’m sorry to say we don’t know when TP will be back, but some other websites have been restored, so hopefully not too long.

    Best wishes
    Phil McNeill
    Telegraph Puzzles Editor

  18. Thank you for posting that. I was wondering what was going on. Missing my morning fix here in Japan. We know about issues with power supplies over here…

    1. Welcome to the blog David

      I did manage to get into the site briefly, but the home page had not been updated – access was via “Latest Puzzles”

  19. Sterling work that man! That was a joy from start to finish (which in my case was 3:15am as I lay staring at the bedroom ceiling trying to work out where I’d gone wrong.). It’ll be a long time before we see anything so clever I suspect.

    Thanks to V & to BD

  20. Great!
    Needed the a -z thing to sort it out, because I had “Rene” in 15a…………..

    Thanks to all .

    More of this please!!!!

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