ST 2619 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2619 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2619 (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.

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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           Substitutes put in for first or second leg at Christmas? (8,7)
I’m sure there must be more to this, but all I can see is a cryptic definition of small gifts given at Christmas

10a         Courts in which a case is incomplete (5)
These central courtyards, typically rising through several stories and having glazed roofs, a constructed from A and most of (incomplete) a case in a courtroom

11a         In quartet of players, one unknown is tough and strong (6)
Start with a quartet of bridge players, insert I (one) and then add a mathematical unknown to get an adjective meaning tough and strong

20a         Triumphs this month he had, in practice (4,3,3)
A phrase meaning triumphs or gains victory is created by putting the abbreviation that represents the current month in business communications and the abbreviated form of “he had” inside a practice or method

30a         Combination of 15 down, 19, and 23, perhaps, who followed 8 (3,5,4,3)
This group of people, who had the qualities of 15d, 19a and 23a, followed 8d to find their way at the first Christmas


1d           Some children including good carols, for instance (5)
Put some male children around (including) G(ood) to get some carols

2d           Newspaper, say, that often is stopped (5)
A double definition – a posh word for a newspaper and a musical instrument that has stops

4d           Christmas verse taken from A Christmas Carol, say (4)
Another name for Christmas is derived by dropping V(erse) from a type of book of which A Christmas Carol is an example (say)

5d           Liable to explode, but it’s for awfully short time (3,2,5)
This phrase meaning liable to explode comes from an anagram (awfully) of BUT IT’S FOR followed by the abbreviation (short) of T(ime)

15d         Sensible thing to stuff into turkey (4)
A double definition – an adjective meaning sensible and something to stuff into a turkey

27d         Second present many would like for Christmas (4)
A charade of S(econd) and a word meaning the present time gives what many would like to see at Christmas

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 is a busy day for birthdays – it’s Happy Birthday to Christina Aguilera (31), Brad Pitt (48), Steven Spielberg (65) and Keith Richards (68)

35 comments on “ST 2619 (Hints)

  1. Thanks to the setter & Big Dave. A nice puzzle with a seasonal theme. Found it quite straightforward. Favourites were 15 & 22a and 26d.

  2. Afternoon Dave, I found 3/4 of this puzzle fairly easy and straight forward, with a nice Christmas theme but struggled with about 1/4 of it, fav clue by far was 22a followed by 12a, needed the explaination for 20a, thank you, like yourself, I am trying ‘to see’ 1a and think there must be more to the clue?

  3. Not been doing the DT for long, so stll getting the hang of it. I did like this one a lot, although 1a stumped me or ages. 22a made me laugh!

  4. Enjoyed this a lot over an al fresco lunch! The weather here is lovely today, 15C and sunny!

    Re 1a, all I can think of is that the gifts are substituting what normally goes inside these things.

    For some reason it took ages for the penny to drop on 29a (last in). Must have stared at this one for almost as long as it took me to solve all the rest put together!

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  5. I thought this one was, for a Sunday, straightforward – I enjoyed it very much. Needed the hint to explain 20a. 14d and 26 took me almost as long as the whole of the rest of the crossword – it’s always the “four letter words” that get me! Lots of great clues – 9 and 15a and 3, 13, 16 and 24d – best of all for me today was 22a – it made me laugh!! :grin: Thanks to Virgilius, I presume, and Big Dave.
    Where is everyone today?

  6. Very enjoyable. I do like a nice Christmas themed crossword and Virgilius delivered an excellent one today. Many thanks to him for the crossword and all the entertainment this year. Happy Christmas to him and thanks to BD for the notes.

  7. Superb if somewhat straightforward start to Sunday. I loved the theme and the theme within the theme too. We have had a similar clue to 1a before – I distinctly remember it being in one of the puzzles I had to review, although it may well have been a completely different setter. Merry Christmas and big thanks to Virgilius for this and all the other fun puzzles throughout 2011. Thanks to BD too.

    Back now to the family gathering – I loved the puzzle so much that I slipped away to comment on it – wonder if anyone has noticed I had gone :D

  8. A very enjoyable and topical puzzle from Virgilius.
    A lot of good clues – I liked 20a, 7d & 16d particularly.

    Very mixed weather here today – started off dry so I did my constitutional round the block but there was light hail for a bit.
    Then it cleared up but after lunch we had a real hailstorm with lightning – street is still covered in white. Now we have blue sky and sun but a northern wind.

    1. Hi BD!
      Surely 1a is quite simple – at Christmas one doesn’t put one’s legs in!
      Which reminds me to get things for the grandchildren for the very purpose.
      BTW – if any of you are coming to NL pack your 3d!

  9. Loved the crossword today – usually struggle on a Sunday. 22a &12a made me smile. Stuck for ages on 29a & didn’t understand 20a til I peeked at the hint.
    Thanks to setter & BD.

  10. Interesting seasonal puzzle but still stuck on the right side. Even with the hints I can’t for the life of me see 20a, probably obvious but can’t see it or 5d. I’m finding the whole SE corner very tough. Best clue so far is def 22a, made us laugh.

    1. Hi Brian for 5d you are looking for a phrase meaning ‘liable to explode’ it’s anagram of ‘but it’s for’ indicated by ‘awfully’ with the one letter abbreviation for ‘time’ (short time) included

    1. 23a – A(from the clue), and a type of vehicle, go inside the usual abbreviation for street, to give someone that would be a good example for a learner to follow.

    2. 17a – The definition is a type of overhead light. Take the final letters (endlessly) off the previous two words.

    3. 17a – This overhead lighting (befitting this themed crossword!) is constructed by curtailing (endlessly) other parts of the clue.

    4. Hi Brian,

      17a – Think of “The Saint” – take the last letter off the fourth and fifth words of the clue.
      23a – You need a three letter vehicle (the kind that is usually white and driven very badly and too fast) in the middle of the usual two letter abbreviation for street, meaning yet another clever chap.
      Good luck – hope that helps.

    5. Isn’t this “place” amazing – you only have to ask for help and in less than 1/4 hour you have replies from three people! :smile:

    6. Thx so much everyone for the help, still can’t finish so I’m giving up on this one. Nice puzzle with some clues that are too tough for my simple mind.

  11. Great fun today, quite straighforward. Last one in was 29a, which I didn’t twig until all the down clue letters were in. Thank you and happy Christmas to Virgilius, BD and all of you; I enjoy your entertaining comments. Going in early NY for a bit of surgury on right shoulder, so the rt. arm will be out of commission for eight weeks or so. I shall continue to tap away with my left forefinger, so please forgive the inevitable typos!
    Lovely day here and Scafell looks like a Christmas cake.

  12. All good nothing bad here. I have been exhorted to count the reindeers in puzzles (from a different site). Nothing here but still a fine (albeit short} crossword.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  13. Not the most difficult, but certainly one of the most charming of puzzles. Enjoyed the theme and on that note I’ll say 10a was a bit of a sprout, but I got it in the end! Many thanks to BD and the setter.

    1. Love sprouts – do I assume, from your comment, that you don’t? You should try cooking them differently!! :smile:

  14. Hi everyone – bit late tonight due to drinks party (lunchtime – groan!), family visiting, carol service, mulled wine in pub after, dinner, collapse etc. etc. Started off thinking to-day’s puzzle was easy then got horribly held up on several – however, did finish eventually but was really pleased with BD’s hints to explain a few that I’d got, but didn’t quite know why! (eg: 20a) Agree with comments about 1a – don’t quite “get” it, I must admit. Liked 6d and 22a, didn’t like 29a but overall a lovely puzzle. Thanks to setter and BD for explanations.

  15. This was just an utter delight from start to finish – a superb mixture of festive clues, sparkling with the wit and brilliance that I’ve come to expect from Virgillius.
    10a was my last one in, and, after wrestling with it for some time, I was glad that BD had selected that one for a hint…being more familiar with the singular, that would never have dawned…
    Fave clues were 17a (nicely-worded definition!) and 22a, which really did make me laugh. :)
    Can we expect another Virgillius puzzle next Sunday? Having only really started doing the Telegraph crosswords this year, I’m not sure how it works on Xmas day…

    1. There is, of course, no paper on Christmas day but there is an online only cryptic scheduled so you will still be able to get your cryptic fix in between present opening and sprout eating.

  16. My mother (81 years young) competed to see who could finish first. Guess who won? Not I!.Thanks to Virgilius & to BD for the hints which I only needed for 20a in order to understand that what we had entered was correct.

  17. Don’t normally do Sunday so not on the wavelength. I am assuming 6d is an anagram? Can only think of one answer for 26d but if I’m right I don’t know why. Can anyone put me out of my misery? On the plus side I did find more in the clue for 1a. The way I read it was very cryptic and I’m old enough to remember when we regularly used the abbreviation in letters together with those that went before and after!

    1. 6d – you are correct; it is an anagram.
      26d – an example of what might be referred to as ‘Mac’, is derived from the initial letters (start off) of some of the words in the clue.

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