ST 2620 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2620 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2620 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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Happy New Year.

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           Dated way of arranging a dozen beginnings for today’s solution (6,4)
Read this clue carefully as it provides help with the first three letters of twelve answers, including this one!

12a         Passenger can choose train fare here (10,3)
… by reading the menu

17a         Novelist and poet disturbed about revolutionary act (8)
This 19th century English novelist, best known for his Barsetshire and Palliser novels, is derived by putting an anagram (disturbed) of POET around (about) an act of revolving or turning

22a         A university, though cut, helping, having secured one’s official permission (13)
Run together A from the clue, U(niversity, half of (cut) THO(ugh) and a helping itself placed around I (one) and the S from ‘S to get this official permission

24a         Finally including me in relative increase (7)
Put the final letter of includinG and ME inside a female relativeto get a verb meaning to  increase

27a         Measurement system giving ancient city importance (4,6)
This system of measurement, used mainly for precious metals and gems, is a charade of an ancient city that was destroyed by the Greeks after they presented the occupants with a horse, giving rise to the saying Beware of Greeks bearing gifts, and a noun meaning importance or influence


1d           Abandon ship (4)
A double definition – to abandon and an East Asian flat-bottomed sailing vessel

4d           His support is guaranteed, yet so many appearing incomplete (3-3)
This person whose support is guaranteed is built up by stringing together three of the words in the clue after dropping the final letter from each (appearing incomplete)

7d           One fruit mostly loaded inside a container … (7)
This fruit is created by putting most of an adjective meaning loaded or wealthy inside A from the clue and a container

8d           … and another leader put in ground, we hear (10)
… and another fruit is a charade of a leader by virtue of his age and a word that sounds like to put in the ground or inter

23d         Irish family group in circle around piano (4)
This Irish division of a tribe is created by putting a circle or clique around the abbreviation of piano – remembering the help given in 1 across!

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 Bebe Neuwirth (53) and Donna Summer (63)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

55 comments on “ST 2620 (Hints)

  1. What a superb start to a New Year – I hope the rest of the year’s puzzles are going to be as good fun as this one. Solved early (I can highly recommend drinking M&S Pink Champagne on New Year’s Eve, both for its deliciousness and lack of hangover inducing properties), and then followed by a lovely walk in the woods. Happy New Year to Virgilius and thank you for the lovely themed puzzle (particularly as it’s my turn to review) and Happy New Year to everyone else too.

  2. Yet again, my favourite puzzle of the week. I was expecting more of a struggle today than I had, as most of the answers fell into place without too much head scratching.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD – Happy New Year to you both, and to all.

  3. Thanks to the setter & Big Dave for the hints. I enjoyed this one, some nice clues. Favourite was 9a. I’m still missing 3 answers, I think I’ve got 1a, but don’t understand the hint.

    1. The hint was more intended to help with the other “thematic” answers!

      The definition is “dated way of arranging ….” and the items being “arranged” are represented by the first three letters of the answers to 12 clues.

        1. All done now, the theme helped with two answers. I would never have got the theme myself, thanks to all & Happy New Year :-)

          1. Ditto to that Heno, I had all but 1a 6a & 23d and hadn’t twigged there was a theme! Then used missing ones of the 12 to finally finish! Thanks for hints BD.

    2. I feel very dim and have got what I believe to be the correct answer, but still don’t understand the explanation. The first three letters don’t seem to have anything to do with anything. :-o

      1. If you have got the theme, then the first three letters of 1a relate to the 7th part of the theme

  4. Thanks for hints Big Dave – I got 1a but didn’t fully understand it so the explanation helped me to finish when I realised which 3 letters, or more, were still missing!! If you see what I mean? i.e 13d. All done now – nice puzzle, many thanks to all – and also a Happy New Year too.

  5. Loved the fireworks! And at last the penny has dropped regarding 1a — brilliant! A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle, so many thanks to Big Dave and Virgilius. :-)

  6. Fantastic start to the New Year. Many thanks to Virgilius for a treat of a crossword and Happy New Year to all of our setters, solvers, blogger and lurkers.

  7. In my slightly duntish state today I found this a bit tricky in places but wasn’t it a lovely puzzle to start the year?

    Many thanks to Virgilius for this puzzle, and all his others, and to BD for the site and for allowing me to join his team of bloggers.

    A Happy New Year to everyone, I sincerely hope you all have a great 2012. How did we get to that when it seems only a few months ago that we were ringing in 1970 with flared trousers!) Tempus fugit and all that I suppose!

    DUNTIST (adj) – mentally incapacitated by severe hangover. (have a look at ‘The Meaning of Liff’ by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd if you want a laugh. If you can’t find the book, which is probably out of print, The text of it can be found here: ).

    1. Surely not more cheap Benidorm beer, Pommers.

      Huge thanks to Dave for the hint for 1a, without which I was struggling, despite no hangover. Good Spanish wine and cheap Spanish brandy brought in the New Year here, with no ill-effects.

      Looking forward to learning as much in 2012 from the blog as I did in 2011.

      Happy new year

      1. Not cheap Benidorm beer. More like a bottle of a reasonable Rioja (El Coto) and then a surfeit of Freixnet and then some Soberano! Then getting up reasonably early to walk friend’s dogs, as she’s gone back to the UK to see grandchildren for New Year. Surprised I could finish it really – the crossword that is, not the Cava!

        1. We finally opened the bottle of M&S Pink Champagne given to me on my special birthday 13 months ago. There is a bit of me wishes we had drunk it sooner as it was so nice and another part of me wishes we had kept it, as now I have to save up and buy myself another one :)

          1. We don’t have to save up for Cava here. 1.85 euros buys a decent bottle which means that we can celebrate every little thing. We don’t have a drink problem, though, really we don’t.

  8. The first time I’ve missed a theme all year!

    Thanks to Virgilius – my favourite setter. Thanks also to BD for the enlightenment regarding 1a!

  9. Love the fireworks. Enjoyed the puzzle but would have missed the theme had it not been for your hint Dave. Thanks Dave and Virgilius. Very Clever.

  10. Our NY resolution was not to ask for help on ST! Bit please can you help with 1a – it is eluding me and Mrs T. HNY from Boston.

    1. If you read the comments above, you may get more hints – the answer is a particular method of arranging days/dates and it relates to this and eleven other clues too. Happy New Year to you too.

  11. Greetings to all from Portland, Oregon, as election year starts (look out for Brendan in Guardian on Jan. 9).
    Thankyou for all the kind comments and helpful feedback throughout 2011. I really enjoy having a regular weekly slot, for the first time in my career. And thanks to my editor, Phil McNeill, who has a keen eye for weak points, is very caring towards the solvers, and has helped me avoid some bloopers and improve a lot of clues.
    Now off to my favourite coffee house, Fresh Pot, for a good start to the day.

    1. Happy New Year Brian. Thank you for all the entertainment you have given us on all those Sunday mornings. Fresh Pot sounds like the perfect name for a coffee house, enjoy your coffee.

    1. Probably more like a Dollar dropping then :D BTW If you click on the reply bit in the line below your name, it helps to keep all the related comments together.

      1. Are we in the naughty corner now? Last 2 to do are 19 & 20. Mrs T say German plane, she remembers them flying over!

        1. 19 not necessarily German but I think she has the right idea. 20 is a proper d’oh moment. Split what you think is the answer 3, 4 and you will get the ‘republican’ link.

          1. Just having another scan – thank you CS for the 20d comment – I got the answer but couldn’t see why!!! As you say, a proper doh moment. While I’m at it, can you – or anyone – please explain 18d? I’m sure I have the right answer but don’t understand why – is this going to be another doh moment? Or is it just that my geography is pretty dreadful?

            1. It is a well known multi-sided figure. An area on the South Island of New Zealand with C (clubs in a pack of cards) inserted and N for name at the end.

              1. I have to admit to being a bit fortunate on that one as an old friend of mine (in both senses of the phrase) has lived in that part of NZ for about 25 years.

              2. Got the multisided figure, just didn’t know why (apart from the first 3 letters!!) and still don’t know why, though I understand what you’re saying and will have a look at the map. Have only been to North Island. Many thanks for response.

                1. Hi Addicted
                  Forget the theme for a mo if you’ve got the answer. It’s a part of South Island with C(lubs) inserted and followed by the N(ame). If you take out the C and the N you’ll be left with the part of NZ!

        2. I left some cava in the naughty corner before Christmas but it’s probably gone flat by now!

          1. I don’t think Mr and Mrs T should be in the naughty corner, particularly on such a quiet day as this. Those of us in the other corners might get lonely :)

            1. Neither do I. Nothing worse than flat cava!

              You’re right, it is a bit quiet today but it’s a Sunday and perhaps everyone else is a bit Duntish like me!

  12. Have been out with friends all day so am just having a look at it now.

    Haven’t tried a ST puzzle before but all the comments suggest it will be fun, and the hints are there when (not if) I get stuck!

    Thanks to setter and reviewer.

    Happy New year to all from Edinburgh.

    1. Good luck with the first go at a Sunday puzzle – I STILL find them (and occasional Fridays) the most difficult of the week but before I came across this blog I almost never even looked at them – it just wasn’t worth it as I could only ever do a handful of clues.

  13. Amazing – eventually came to look at the hints for the remaining three clues that I couldn’t do – 15a and 13 and 23d – all solved by reading the hint for 1a, which I HAD got!! How bloody clever – how does anyone spot this kind of thing? I’ve never heard of 23d but it had to be what it was and looked it up. Have now finished. Thanks to Virgilius for a wonderful crossword and to BD for the most important hint, and the fireworks!
    Once again a very Happy New Year to everyone who contributes to this great blog. :grin:

    1. I didn’t notice the theme until I got 23d (last in!) but then I never do unless it’s staring you in the face big time!

      New year resolution – look harder for hidden messages, Ninas, themes etc!

    2. Just remembered – I’m blogging Jay’s puzzles and he did the one with the Spanish bits round the edges a few weeks ago and I completely missed them! So did most others and Jay had to come on the blog to give us a hint, but I live in Spain so no excuse! Hang my head in shame on that one!
      I apologised when I met him but apparantly it wasn’t aimed at me!

      BTW, is it just me or has the bottom left firework gone missing?

  14. Solved this after I got back home from the Hogmanay activities with the family and friends.
    We shifted a lot of champagne of various brands and colours with the dinner then sent up the rockets at midnight.

    Faves : 1a – the very best! -, 12a, 14a, 17a, 27a, 3d, 7d, 8d, 13d & 18d.

    Excellent theme Virgilius!

    Happy new year to everyone.

    Don’t forget this is the Mayan Year of Doom!

    1. Thankyou for that last bit Derek! I know the Euro is about to implode but I think doom is a bit OTT – unless you know something I don’t!

    2. Didn’t know that champagne came in different colours! Happy New Year to you, Derek, even if we are all doomed! :smile:

      1. Hi Kath

        White and pink as far as I know. Walked friends dogs (she’s in UK for new year so we’re dog-sitting) and now off to bed to get over aforementioned duntishness!

  15. Is there a special prize for having completed the whole d*d thing without having understood there was a theme? Some tall, conical hat, maybe???

    Happy New Year, one and all :-)

  16. What a belter! If this is typical of this year’s offerings from Virgilius then Sundays will remain the best day of the week for me. I didn’t spot the theme until I came on the blog this morning & would never have got it without BD. So thanks to he & to Virgilius.

  17. Yet another cracking puzzle from Virgilius. My last one in was 1a, despite spotting the theme I think at the point where I got 18d and 21d, then the meaning of ‘dozen’ clicked – alas, I could not remember the name of the dating system until I was down to my last possibility for the first 3 letters, then it clicked. A lovely device to throw in, especially so as the puzzle is solvable without it, but it’s a beautiful layer of icing upon an already yummy piece of cake.
    Fave clue was 20d – I laughed at that one! :)
    Happy New Year all!

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