ST 2612 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2612 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2612 (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 more difficult 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.

After an exhausting but thoroughly enjoyable day out in London yesterday, here, at last, are the hints!


7a           Survivor from air crash, a tough case (5,3)
This tough case is designed to survive an air crash

9a           I use it, perhaps, to disinfect cut (6)
… which element has the chemical symbol I?

19a         Manned satellite? Not really (4)
Is there a man in this satellite of the Earth ?  No, not really

27a         Either gender engaged in design (6)
Start with either gender (1,2,1) and add a two-letter word meaning engaged in to get this design

28a         Unfortunate term, as exemplified in public school (8)
Public school is an example of this unsuitable term – such schools are far from public


1d           Perform as runner, say, or high jumper (4)
What sounds like a verb meaning to run away is actually an insect that can jump high

6d           Like War and Peace, without name Tolstoy initially put in (10)
This word meaning that means opposite in meaning, like War and Peace, is created by taking an adjective meaning without a name and inserting the initial letter of Tolstoy

13d         What actress may do in pantomime for friend not working (10)
An actress in a pantomime might  do this (4,6) by taking the part of principle boy – it actually means a friend outside of the working environment

26d         Opposition to US coming from the secret service boss (4)
The opposite of us. as in a well-known phrase, is a charade of THE from the clue and the secret service boss in the James Bond stories

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 Diego Maradona (51) and Henry Winkler aka The Fonz (66)

68 comments on “ST 2612 (Hints)

  1. Very enjoyable start to Sunday once again from Virgilius. My afvourites are 19a and 26d but I do hope that BD is going to explain the wordplay for 28a ni his hints, for which I thank him in advance :)

      1. D’oh and thank you. IN my defence I would refer you to BD’s comment re exhausting and enjoyable days out above. Don’t know what Pommers’ excluse is though!

    1. Great puzzle. I’ve used all the hints, but still have no idea re 26d and 28a. Took a long time for the penny (tanner?) to drop on 6d

      1. The hints from Jezza and Franco should help with 28a. You will kick yourself when you get 26d. The only hint I can give without giving it all away and spending time in the naughty corner when I have lots to get done this afternoon is that the last letter relates to James Bond’s boss.

          1. very very naughty but I am sure Virigilius did it so he could imagine us all kicking ourselves :D

            1. 26d – My last one in – Naughty, but nice. I thought it was one of Virgilus’ hidden clues (“coming from”) – some sort of acronym of a Soviet Union Agency – tried “****” and “****” but Google didn’t recognise either. Great Clue!

              1. 26d was my next to last one and it was the extra checker from that which gave me the answer to 28a, but that was one penny which just wouldn’t drop! I thought I was going to be beaten for a while!

                Question, does it count as completing a crossword when you get all the right answers but can’t parse one of them?

                Don’t know about the naughty corner but I might go and spend some time on the ‘stupid step’! There any cake there?

                1. pommers, in reply to your Question – as Eric Morecambe once said – “I played all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order”..

                  I must admit that I don’t understand the competitive element of solving crosswords – probably because I have never been able to solve one on the first pass. Maybe, tomorrow?

                  1. I don’t think that I understand the competitive bits of crossword solving either – I just enjoy doing them! :smile:

                  2. Hi Franco

                    It’s not that I’m competitive about crosswords. At least not competitive with other solvers. Apart from Wednesdays, when I blog, I don’t really care how long I take or in fact ever time myself. I rarely sit down alone and have a straight go at a crossword without breaks. On Weds I put the clock on to get an idea of difficulty rating but I think I’ll stop that now and play it by ear as I seem to be out of step with the majority!

                    The competition, to me, is between me and the setter, and I’ve heard (from Anax I think it was) that the setter’s aim is to ‘lose gracefully’. i.e. give you a solveable puzzle that stretches you a bit (or a lot in his case!).

                    My question is basically this: I’ve got all the right answers to today’s puzzle but can I really claim to have ‘solved’ it? I didn’t see where the answer to 28a came from without Jezza’s hint so, I’ve got the answer, but haven’t ‘solved’ the clue! Perhaps Virgilius and I should just call today a score draw?

                    Rufus tomorrow so hopefully an easier ride!

        1. Muchas Gracias. Gottem. My only excuse is that I am stuck here in Malaga and didn’t have a refreshing day out on London yesterday.

  2. Very nice post-Grand Prix solve over a bite of lunch.

    I’ve got the answer to 28a but have to admit to not knowing how thw wordplay works! I also hope BD will elaborate on this one.

    Thanks Virgilius and in advance to BD.

    1. I interpreted it as a Public School is in fact privately owned, and does not rely on state funding, and as such is not a ‘public school’.

            1. Chambers definition of the answer is : A wrong or unsuitable name or term

              A public school is not public, so it is an unsuitable term

              1. Ahhh! Of course. Thank you, Dave. I feel a clot now, but I’m pleased you’ve enlightened me.

  3. Managed it – just – without the need for hints. I need reassurance on 22d – is the “**** ** *** ******” another term for a large shareholder?

    1. The ‘**** ** *** ******’ as you say, has the ****’s share, in other words the largest part.

        1. So was I – even got so far as looking up **** to see if it was a slang term for a major shareholder …. how silly!!

  4. All good stuff from Virgilius. I am glad that everyone else appeared to struggle in the South East. I eventually got those and finshed at 3d (D’OH!) and 11a (Double D’OH!).
    Very nice to meet everyone yesterday to catch up or say Hi for the first time. And yes, I will pull the ‘Tired and emotional’ card out for my poor performance today.
    Thanks to BD and to Virgilius.

    1. Brilliant stuff as ever from Virgilius. I think it’s a mark of a great puzzle if you struggle to get some answers but, when you’ve finished, you can’t understand why it took you so long because the answers are so obvious.

  5. Totally agree with all of the remarks & I look forward to the reviews as I’m not entirely happy with how I arrived at some of the answers most notably 9a & 28a.

    1. There are lots of explanations of 28a already in these comments. 9a was a d’oh moment for me too – look at the start of the clue very carefully and think chemical symbols.

    2. Thank you both. When I re-read the clue for 28a it was then that the pfennig descended. Now I’ll turn to my Chamber’s for the chemical symbols…

  6. Very good day yesterday – thanks to everyone. Quite tricky trying to put faces to the names that I knew – doubly tricky when, in lots of cases, there are TWO names to put to the faces!! Some were roughly how I had imagined people would look – lots weren’t! Not going any further than that!!
    I thought this was a fairly difficult crossword. Was left with 26d but that one has already been sorted out by previous comments. 25 and 28d took some time as did 6d. Assuming that what I have for 19a is right then I don’t understand the “Not really” at the end of the clue. Kept trying to make 9a into an anagram before I understood it and also spent a long time trying to make 20a an anagram. I liked 12, 17 and 27a and far too many down clues to list them all. With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  7. Finally finished, so I found it tricky enough but very enjoyable and really liked 20a. I’m sure it was very interesting to match up names and faces yesterday as Kath says. Maybe if I keep on working at this crossword business I might have the nerve to attend such a convention one day.

    1. I never thought I’d be brave enough but, once I was there, it really didn’t take much nerve at all – I do confess to a few moments of wondering what the hell I was doing on the way to London in the train! Everyone is very friendly and, as BD just said, it really is an excuse/euphemism for a day in the pub!! Very glad that I didn’t join in the boozing and stuck to coffee – as it was I very nearly missed getting out of the train at the right station on the way home! :smile:

      1. Do you know what, I just might attend the next time although I would have to find some other business in London at the same time to justify flight but that could be arranged. I’ll stick to the coffee too, all the better to observe with I think.

        1. Yes – a clear head makes it much easier to observe stuff that is going on around – I left a bit later than I had originally intended and still managed to meet up with younger daughter for a quick cup of coffee before heading home. Arrived home – heroic husband had dealt with my elderly Mum, walked our dog, cooked supper AND opened bottle of wine – what more could anyone ask? A really good day … :smile:

        2. I’ve arranged the Autumn trip to see the aged parent around the Derby meet so it can be done. Perhaps see you there – 26th Nov but the post has gone off the blog. I’m sure BD can provide details.

  8. Have FINALLY finished! I guessed the answer to 9a but didn’t understand it at all until reading the blog – so thank you for that everyone. Last in was 4d – simply cound’t see it – doh! 6d took a whle, but got there eventually with some electronic help. Not the easiest Sunday, I thought, but very satisfying. Thanks to setter for the brain work-out.

  9. Have finished now, was thrown on 27a by automatically putting the male gender first ! i always find the sunday puzzle very enjoyable , didn’t dare attempt it until recently. thanks for hints.

  10. The usual enjoyable Sunday fare from Virgilius.
    Faves : 1a, 11a, 20a, 25a, 28a, 6d, 13d, 16d, 22d & 26d.

  11. OK, I think I’ve finished this one – not too sure of my answers for 15a and 14d – they sorta fit the clue, but I can’t make sense of the wordplay, so any additional hints to confirm one way of the other would be splended! :)
    I was also puzzled by 9a, but BD’s hint above confirmed the only word I could think of that seemed to fit.
    But, yeah, really enjoyable stuff – I LOVED 24d and 26d (my first one in!), plus many others that were quite clever and original ways of cluing the answer.
    It was also refreshing to have an ‘X’ as a checking letter! I see that so infrequently, I thought I must have gone wrong somewhere…
    In short, yet another work of art from Virgillius!

    1. 15a – The definition is ‘Men in a band’ and is also a Scottish term (north of the border) for to ‘go’ or walk.

    2. 14d – This word means ‘Liveliness’, and is a type of African monkey without it’s last letter (tailless).

      1. Thanks for those pointers, Jezza – you’ve confirmed my answers were right. Not heard of that monkey tho’…but I’d not heard of the 8d horse either…thankfully, Virgillius constructs his crosswords in a way so that you can still fathom the answers via the definition component of the clue and the checking letters. Which I greatly appreciate! :)

  12. I found this quite difficult , thanks to the setter & to Big Dave. Has the site changed ?it looks very different than it did at 14:58 yesterday .

  13. Hello, all, new boy here.

    Read all the hints and seem to be the only person struggling on 20A and 13D.

    Could anyone help please?

    1. 20a Amusing information about people, catalogue of strong views (14)
      The definition is “of strong views”. Start with amusing (3), then put information (4) around people (3) and finish with catalogue (4).

    2. 13d What actress may do in pantomime for friend not working (10)
      This is a friend (but not in a working environment). It’s also, as (4,6) what an actress may do in a pantomime.

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