ST 2615 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2615 (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.


1a           Keep drawing attention to bottle (6)
When split as (4.2) this could be a phrase meaning to keep drawing attention to, but it is actually a  large bottle in which alcohol, especially wine or cider, is sold

13a         In East, socialist leader embraced by revolutionary such as Mao (7)
Put IN, E(ast) and S (initial / first letter of Socialist) inside Crosswordland’s favourite revolutionary to get the nationality of Mao Tse-tung

14a         From team on key bus, inessential bad behaviour (6,8)
Step back and admire this cunningly hidden answer!

23a         Thus part of West Africa joins a part of East Africa (7)
A charade of a two-letter word meaning thus, a country in West Africa and A from the clue gives a country in East Africa

27a         Thatcher’s successor, one making critical comments? (6)
This person who covers the kind of roofs that came after thatched roofs could also be someone  making critical comments


1d           Oarsmen more or less a match for golfers (8)
A charade of a group of oarsmen (not and eight this time!) and a word meaning more or less gives a  golf match played between two pairs of players, in which each pair plays only one ball, players taking alternate strokes

2d           ‘e ain’t out in bars getting drunk (9)
Put an anagram (out) of E AIN’T inside a further anagram (getting drunk) of  BARS to get someone who is positively not getting drunk

18d         Skill of Michael Foot, otherwise one of his opponents (7)
The skill with which Michael Foot was endowed is a charade of a two-letter word meaning otherwise followed by a member of the Conservatives (1,4) i.e. one of his opponents

22d         Where Columbus was delivered a sail (5)
The Italian city where Christopher Columbus was born (delivered) gives its name to a large jib which overlaps the mainsail

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 Bo Derek (55) and Veronica Hamel (68)


  1. Prolixic
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Superb as usual. Loved the long trademark hidden word.

    I thought this was a lot easier than the past couple of weeks’ Sunday crosswords but enjoyable as ever.

    Thanks to Virgilius for the crossword and to BD for the review.

  2. Derek
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Excellent Sunday fare from Virgilius!

    Faves : 1a, 14a, 17a, 24a, 27a, 2d, 5d, 7d, 18d & 20d.

    6d is very topical!

  3. crypticsue
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Prolixic has said everything I was going to apart from the fact that I thought 27a was stunningly misleading, and my other favourites are 7d, 2d, 7d, and 22d.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD too.

    Another lovely sunny day here but I have spent it in the kitchen – 52 mince pies are now in the freezer and the meringues made from the egg whites left over after putting egg yolk in the pastry are in the oven.

    • Derek
      Posted November 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Are the mince pies for Christmas or do you also celebrate Sinter Klaas (St.-Nicholas)?

      • crypticsue
        Posted November 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        They are for the Church Christmas Fair in two weeks time, for work on the last day before we break up and for home consumption too. I’ll celebrate anything that involves a home made mince pie :)

        • Nora
          Posted November 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

          Me too. It’s one of my few English indulgences but I never bake any until December. Happily Christmas doesn’t start in Spain nearly so early as in England – last time I was over, in September, the shops were already well stocked with festive stuff. It takes all the fun out of it!

          I loved today’s crossword. It took me a while to see 14a, and it really made me smile when I got it. Loads of good clues, and a few where a bit of GK came in useful, esp 22d.

      • Posted November 20, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        I alwys look forward to the pictures from the Sinter Klaas parade at my sister’s!

  4. Pigdoghyena
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Great fun, as ever. 15d and 17d were tricky, and 24a much more straightforward in the paper edition than in the iPad version.

    • gazza
      Posted November 20, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Hi Pigdoghyena – welcome to the blog.
      What’s the paper version of 24a?

      • Addicted
        Posted November 20, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        “Doing role badly, one of those in G & S production” What’s the iPad version?

        • crypticsue
          Posted November 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          That matches the version on the puzzle I downloaded from the Telegraph site.

        • gazza
          Posted November 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          I probably misunderstood what Pigdoghyena was saying. I thought he/she was saying that there two different versions of the clue.

    • Kath
      Posted November 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Where the hell did the name come from …. ? Welcome anyway. :smile:

      • Pigdoghyena
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        I needed a name that would raise a smile, Kath.

        Thanks one and all for welcoming me to the site.

  5. Addicted
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Ref #1, I think it must be easier as I had finished it before the hints appeared!! But not without some “electronic” help, I hasten to admit and I’m not at all sure that I have 20d correct, so a hint on that would be appreciated. Last in 16d, which I then had to check in the dictionary, but I loved it for great surface reading.

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      20d you should have the name of an ancient poet – last letter of war in a silent demostration or watching over

      • Addicted
        Posted November 20, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        Thank you! I didn’t have it right, but I do now.

  6. Jezza
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle as always on a Sunday. Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the notes.

  7. Franco
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    14a – Brilliant!

    Also, liked 20d – Thanks to ******ius for the Sunday Treat!

    • Kath
      Posted November 20, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Cunning plan, Franco – have “borrowed” it – don’t want to end up in the naughty corner – is that where Jezza is now? He doesn’t seem to have been censored and neither has Prolixic, Derek or CS – think that all the cakes in the naughty corner have been eaten by the prisoners!!

  8. The Buffer
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    7 and 16d a hint someone please.

    • gazza
      Posted November 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Hi The Buffer – welcome to the blog.

      7d Like a chestnut tree, when it replaces one piece.
      The definition is like an (old) chestnut or lacking originality. IT replaces one bit of tree.

    • gazza
      Posted November 20, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      16d Player on left wing, one preparing stuff to publish (8)
      Player on left wing could be, as (3,5), communist thespian.

  9. The Buffer
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Gazza – now I see. Been doing these since 1966, so no excuse really. Maybe I should change the B in my handle to D! Thanks to Virgilus – bit of his/her own in there today and, of course BD.

  10. Posted November 20, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Virgilius (and BD) – One of the less difficult puzzles but enough there to make you think! The golfers had it easy this week!

  11. Jo
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Have finally finished I think but not at all sure of my answer to 7d I took a letter out & replaced with it to give a word meaning corny but no idea where the chestnut comes in. Or maybe am barking up the wrong tree ;) hints appreciated.

    • gazza
      Posted November 20, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      I think you’ve got it right. A chestnut (often preceded by “old”) is something repeated often so that it has become stale (a joke, say, or a crossword clue).

      • Jo
        Posted November 20, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        Oh thanks gazza – don’t often finish the Sunday xwrd so very happy :)

  12. Scrabo
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I did enjoy this, not least because I was able to do it all, after a very despondent week of solving. I’m not sure if, in the run up to Christmas, I have the time on hand to keep at this crossword business. I guess I will just have to get faster. Liked 27 a and had to check that 15d did have that meaning.

  13. Kath
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Very late starting this one – in garden all day so didn’t get going until after dark. Managed this one – just about, although to begin with I didn’t think that I could. Finished apart from 16d which is a new word to me but someone else also had trouble so I hijacked the response – can’t remember now who asked the question and who replied but thanks to both of them for putting me out of my misery with only one unsolved clue. I really loved 14a – have never seen SUCH a long “in the middle” type clue that made sense (well, sort of) on first reading. Also liked 17a and 5 and 9d once I had unravelled them. With thanks to ……ius and Big Dave.

  14. Heno
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter & Big Dave. Quite enjoyed this, favourites are 13.14.17 across. Just stuck on 7d, any hints would be welcome.

    • Heno
      Posted November 20, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Got 7d now I’ve read the blog, thanks :-)

  15. spindrift
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Tougher than most Sundays (IMHO) & needed an overnight recharge of the few remaining grey cells before I finished it this morning over a mug of Yorkshire Gold. Thanks to V & to BD.