ST 2603 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2603 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2603 (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.


7a Change layout in store for material (8)
A word meaning to change a layout is hidden inside the last three words of the clue

9a One kind of leader who takes responsibility for another (6)
The leader of a newspaper team who is also responsible for writing the leader or leading article

5a Express disapproval of Charles’s conclusion (4)
A word meaning to express disapproval is a charade of the third person male possessive pronoun and the final letter (conclusion) of Charles

17a Strange thing to say repeatedly when tucking child in (5)
… a very clever way of defining an anagram (strange) of THING

28a Military commanders giving ground after unprepared retreats (8)
These aggressive regional military commanders are derived by putting a famous cricket ground after a word meaning unprepared is reversed (retreats)


1d Tears small page (4)
A word meaning to shed tears is a charade of a Scottish word for small and P(age)

3d Largest of four states divided equally by North-South line (4)
This is very clever and took me a while to work out – there are four US states which contain only letters which are symmetrical about a North-South line: HAWAII, IOWA, OHIO and this one, which is the largest of the four

8d President’s daughter housed in France (7)
This former US President is created by putting D(aughter) inside the French for house

22d Republicans taking everything in race (6)
Put the abbreviation of the nickname of the Republican party in the United States around a word meaning everything to get a word meaning to race, typically applied to a horse

26d Some original characters from Colin Dexter, such as Morse (4)
The first two letters (some original characters) of both Colin and Dexter give something of which Morse is an example – next Sunday I am going to a talk by Colin Dexter and Tim Moorey entitled “An Afternoon with Morse and Mephisto” – this event is now fully booked

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!

Today it’s Happy Birthday to LeAnn Rimes (29), Shania Twain (46) and David Soul (68)

47 comments on “ST 2603 (Hints)

  1. Corr Blimey, that was a marathon not a sprint. I fell asleep twice. I got a feeling this had an American influence. Sense of achievement when I eventually finished.
    Thanks to B Dave and the Setter

  2. Hi Dave, a bit of a toughie in parts I thought and it took me quite a while to complete need ing some of the hints, thank you, I don’t see how the answer to 1d works surely one is a verb and one a noun? also 8d surely house in France not housed? I know the clue wouldn’t work if it was house but how does it work anyway? a lot I liked todau 12a, 20a, 5d, 27a, 23a and more but not an easy puzzle for myself, good luck everyone :-)

    1. 1d the answer can be a verb or a noun – check your copy of Chambers!

      8d is that old trick of “housed” meaning “… in the house”

      1. I see teary and ****y, but not tear and **** am I missing something? surely there is no verb to tear as in cry??

        1. I think I’m with you on this one – am sure that BD will put us right. I put the answer in lightly (ie I wasn;t sure) – I’m still not.

  3. I loved this one – far from at the easy end of the scale (or at least I thought so), but very enjoyable.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  4. A medium scale Virgilius for me – might have been quicker but 7a held me up for ages and ages. I liked 12a a lot and quite a few others too. Thanks to Virgilius for the excellent puzzle and BD for the hints too.

  5. Had to go away and come back to this puzzle having only managed 5 clues initially. Would never have finished without your hints! Many thanks!

  6. The usual pleasant Sunday from Virgilius.
    7a,12a, 23a, 6d, 16d & 22d were my favourites.

    Now back to Spa/Francorchamps on the box!

  7. At the tougher end of the scale this one but very enjoyable favourites were 9a 28a and 3d. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints.

  8. An enjoyable work-out in the sun, with some cleverly concealed clues. As BD, I too liked 3d once the penny finally dropped. I assume that the answer to 4d is “factual” (i.e. hardly cryptic) or am I misssing something?

    1. 4d – Isn’t the cryptic part – capitalism (critical analysis thereof) – Das Kapital etc

  9. I am so glad that others have found this difficult. I’ve used ALL BD’s hints (thank you) and STILL have about five clues that I can’t do. Think I’ll go up the garden, do a few useful things, have a bit of a grump and try again later! Thanks to Virgilius (for making me realise that, although I have improved since finding this blog, I still can’t always do the Sunday puzzle) and to BD (for providing some very much needed hints)! Back later.

  10. Raining now so come back in – have finished this one now but I can’t explain the answer I’ve got for 25a – it does mean strategy but I can’t work out what the rest of the clue has to do with it. I still don’t understand 3d even with BD’s explanation. I liked 11, 12 and 17a and 5, 13, 16 and 26d. Loved 14d.

    1. Kath,
      Re. 25a look at the word you have as (3,3). Reverse the first three letters and you have a word used for cut (e.g. trees),.the second three letters could mean hostile or cold.

      1. Thanks Libellule – I would never have seen that and it would have irritated me for the rest of the day! Now I can finish making peach jam and then go back up the garden without having something niggling at me!! :smile:

        1. Don’t mention peach jam – I have reached the point where if Mr CS brings in another lot of peaches from the garden, I won’t be responsible for my actions :D

          1. You’re very lucky to have peaches in your garden – the ones that I have been making jam from have been our neighbour’s tree – they are away on holiday and I just can’t bear to see them rot on the ground. If they are lucky I might just give them a jar or two …

      1. Welcome to the blog Paddy

        11a The film shot without a break for players (4-4)
        An anagram of THE FILM placed around A gives a break for the players in a team sport like football

        4d What capital was for Marx, but not Lenin (6)
        Karl Mark was German and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was Russian, so the capital cities of their countries were different!

        6d Ordinary seaman that’s released from cellar as required (6,4)
        A word meaning ordinary and a slang word for a sailor combine to give something that is released or poured from a cellar when required

  11. Very clever. I liked 6d and 13d a lot, but still don’t understand 3d. Very annoyed that I needed BD’s help with 8d. Quite proud that I worked out 16d all by myself. Perhaps time-sharing with F1 is the wrong way to do the Sunday Cryptic. Muchos gracias BD. (ps. The editor for this comments facility has suddenly become VERY slow.

    1. Don Pedro,
      If I read BD’s hint right, if you take each individual letter of the states BD mentions, plus the answer and split each letter in half using a line drawn from the top of the letter to the bottom (North -South) then each letter looks the same to the left and to the right.

      1. That’s how I read it. And with only three four-letter states, the checking letters give the answer.

    2. For 3 down write your answer vertically, as in the grid, and then draw a vertical (north-south) line through it. Each side of the line is a mirror image of the other!

      1. Oh bloody hell – it STILL defeats me – sorry for being so dim but this HAS to be pretty devious. Think that I will have to wait for tomorrow to restore my confidence in the cryptic bit of my brain. :sad:

  12. I am still kicking myself for taking so long to get 6d! A good puzzle, rather liked on the whole. Favourites were 11a, 27a, 3d, 14d and 16d.

    O/T: Good drives by Button and Schumacher … I wonder what would have happened if both had made it into Q3 on Saturday rather than being let down by their teams/machinery.

  13. Excellent stuff from Virgilius! More difficult the the usual Sunday offering, but all the better for that.

    7a is brilliantly hidden. Also, liked 26d being a fan of the Colin Dexter novels.

    Alas, the penny has still not dropped for 3d even though I have read the hints! Help!

      1. Libellule, Thanks, all is now clear!

        I’m glad that you replied and not BD. After the events at White Hart Lane this afternoon, BD’s response may well have been somewhat unsparing!

  14. A request for BD. When you see Colin Dexter, tell him about the clue for CODE (I wonder if it has been done before) and say “hello” from me. As always, thanks for all the hard work.

    I was interested to find the 4 states with the symmetrical property, and am putting all into a reworked Virgilius puzzle that has SYMMETICAL across the middle, and all down words being symmetrical about a vertical line — using the remarkable coincidence that all the even letters of SYMMETRICAL have this property. I hope I can interest an American publisher in a book of cryptic puzzles tailored for American solvers, removing references to cricket etc. — any Americans listening?

    1. Surprised that there are no replies!

      A bit sycophantic, but the best DT crossword of the week is always on Sunday! (Is the cheque in the post??)

  15. Home from the match. HOWAY THE TOON. I found the cryptic quite taxing today. I definitely needed BD’s explanation of 3d. No where near sorting out why the answer was right. Thanks for all the help from other bloggers. :D Fav. clue 6d.

  16. Hmmmmm, well I found this one a struggle and it took quite a few breaks to clear the mind in order to complete.
    Despite being a bit of a slog, I did enjoy some of the more groan-worthy clues – 4d, 5d, 13d etc…14d certainly raised a smile as the penny dropped.
    Fun, but tough fun!

    1. I struggled too – and didn’t get around to it at all until very late in the day. Have finally completed all but 14d – the penny hasn’t dropped for me. Can you help?? Otherwise an enjoyable, if tricky, challenge. Thanks to Rufus & BD

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