ST 2623 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2623 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2623 (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           Unfriendly daughter isn’t accepting thanks (7)
An adjective meaning unfriendly or reserved is derived from D(aughter) and ISN’T around (accepting) thanks

9a           Wine goblet found in church by daughter of Oxford dean (7)
This wine goblet is a charade of CH(urch) and the name of the daughter of Henry Liddell, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, who was the inspiration for the famous books by Lewis Carroll

17a         City played in London initially in 2009 (9)
Particularly tricky for solvers outside London, this Middle Eastern city is also the title of a critically acclaimed play that opened at the Royal Court theatre in 2009

28a         Final instalment of pay, deserved and desired (7)
The final letter (instalment) of paY followed by a verb meaning deserved or merited gives a different verb meaning desired


1d           Appropriate behaviour from Italian writer caught in snare, perhaps (7)
A word for appropriate behaviour or propriety of conduct is created when the Italian author of The Name of the Rose is placed (caught) inside a musical instrument of which the snare is an example (perhaps)

4d           Time to study economist’s revolutionary form of punishment (9)
A charade of T(ime), a verb meaning to study literature and the surname of famous economist John Stuart (a perennial crossword favourite!) gives a form of punishment for which many pay good money to use at gymnasiums

20d         Composer attacked by insects, crossing river (7)
I loved this one! – this English composer, conductor and pianist, one of the central figures of 20th century British classical music, is derived by putting a word meaning attacked by insects like mosquitos around (crossing) R(iver)

24d         Kind of butterfly often found in list (5)
A double definition – a type of butterfly or the punctuation that usually separates items in a list

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 John Hurt (72)

88 comments on “ST 2623 (Hints)

  1. Good morning Dave and thanks for blog although I finished without it, I have question marks and exclaimation marks all over the place today! I needed my electronic friends and CCD lots today, too much general knowledge in this one for me, 17a, I thought it might have been played at the start of a test match or something!! 25a is on the lines of 22d yesterday, it’s not a word that is usually used is it? 15a, I wasn’t sure at first which way round this was and put the wrong one in! in 16d I didn’t know those four letters as an abbreviation for America, etc. etc. but nevertheless I sort of enjoyed it and found it easier than yesterday, fav clues 20d and 15a, good luck everyone, not easy but doable with lots of help and perservation (at least it was for me) :-)

  2. Very enjoyable puzzle. No specific favourites today, although some answers wouldn’t go amiss in the GK puzzle today I think. Thanks to BD and setter.

      1. Unless I had too much of the nectar last night, i thought that the GK has a mini theme to coincide with the fact that it is no. 1000. Or not?

        1. I think it has but it doesn’t detract from the fact that Mrt CS and I who normallly manage to complete a GK between us gave up because some of the General Knowledge was impossible.

          1. Without wishing to say too much, it feels that there was more interest taken to include two specific letters than anything else, which even included a part answer repetition. And, of course, 4d trips off the tongue on a daily basis!

        2. There are lots of words in the GK with the letter ‘k’ which I took to be a theme of sorts.

  3. Superb 5* entertainment as usual from the Sunday Maestro. My only regret that it was over far too soon but I enjoyed it while it lasted. Lots of favourites including 15a, 1d, 5, 8d, 20d, 23 and 24d too. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  4. Is it just me in a good mood this morning or is Virgilius getting even better? Pommette’s helping out at some sort of ‘horsey’ gymwotsit thingy today so I actually got to do this one on my own, so maybe that’s why I liked it so much, certainly 5* entertainment for me.

    This was one of those puzzles where I had a sense of disappointment when I realised there were no more clues left – great stuff!

    Favourite 17d but it’s not really fair to single out one clue from so much good stuff.

    Thanks Virgilius, keep them coming like this one please. Also thanks to BD who deserves a rest today after yesterday’s mammoth session!

  5. Another excellent puzzle as we come to expect on a Sunday. A fairly quick solve, although I did need to check a couple of things in Chambers (butterflies are not my forte).
    Plenty of good clues; the one I liked the most was 25a.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the notes.

      1. Hi Mary,

        It’s not a word I use, but I liked the surface of the clue, and the way it fitted the answer.

        1. Same here, and it’s noce to see the whole phrase for once rather than the usual abbreviation!

  6. Glad you all found it easy – took me longer than usual! And 17a – the clue meant nothing to me as a country bumpkin so the clue given above only served to explain why my guess was correct!
    I liked 11a best I think, but it was a good one, even though (or perhaps because) it had me head scratching.

    1. I got the answer to 17a from the checking letters. I didn’t know about the play, but that doesn’t mean living outside of London puts me at a cultural disadvantage, Dave!

  7. I’m struggling! Had only done a few when I read your noes but had already done two of them!
    17a was a mean clue. I thought it was a football clue! My heart sinks when I see people have finished but I’m not giving up yet. Don’t usually do the Sunday one and I realise why!

    1. For years (actually until I found this blog) I didn’t look at the Sunday puzzle because it just wasn’t worth the frustration. I still think they are the most difficult of the week but can usually manage them now. When there’s a particularly fiendish one (or when I’m having a dim day) there are always people around to pick up the pieces – you only have to ask for help and someone will reply very quickly. Good luck and don’t give up!! :smile:

        1. Pam, I didn’t enjoy this either. Whilst I got all clues right bar one, I couldn’t for the life of me understand a lot of the clues. Other days of the week are much more satisfying.

  8. Really enjoyed it today and didn’t find it as tricky as some Sunday puzzles – perhaps I’m just getting a bit more used to them. I didn’t understand why 17a was what it was until I read the hint for that one. With 15a I’m not sure whether the definition is “addition” or “not fair”!! The fourth letter ie the one that needs swapping around doesn’t affect anything else so I’m still dithering! I didn’t know that 13a was a gun. I liked 5, 8, 14, 16, 17 and 20d. With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    1. 15a Addition after changing sides? That’s not fair (9)

      I recently commented on a clue in an NTSPP submission that although putting instructions like this between the two parts of the clue can be correct it is extremely unpopular with solvers. In this particular clue the phrase before the question mark is the wordplay and after it is the definition. In this respect the setter has been fair, but I could name at least one Toughie setter who is quite capable of requiring the opposite, yodaesque, approach. This one is particularly difficult in that the altered letter is in an unchecked square (unch).

    1. I love these! My two favourites are:- :oops: and :roll: I don’t seem to be able to get them to work in emails – perhaps that’s just as well as our daughters absolutely hate them and say they should be used rarely, if ever! :grin:

      1. Sunny, I’m sat outside at moment and no hangover! pommette’s still doing unspeakble things with horses so I’ve not much to do apart from mess about with emoticons and watch the snooker, while listening to the Man City v Spurs game! Busy or what? :grin:

        1. Poor Pommers. Spain has much more to offer than snooker, football and smiley faces! It’s San Antonio Abad this weekend, so there are bonfires, fireworks, mascaletas, animal blessings.

          1. Hi Nora While I would normally agree with you about what Spain has to offer (El Classico springs to mind), on a day when it’s the Snooker Masters final, City v Spurs and Utd v Arsenal one has to get one’s priorities right!

        2. Kind of wet here in Cantabria today & yesterday so Mr A was quite happy as he could watch the footie without being nagged
          Pleased you got over the lurgie.

    1. 15a Addition after changing sides? That’s not fair (9)
      As David has said, the definition is “not fair” as a description of weather. Start with an addition and change the abbreviation for one side to that of the other side.

      1. 15a; Got it at last. Thanks. Still struggling.
        Help with SW corner needed, nothing there after 17a
        Also finding 23a baffling.

        1. 23a Command one army corps, in a manner of speaking (9)
          A command or instruction is created by putting I (one) and an army corps inside a manner of speaking – usually used to mean “correct” speaking.

  9. Save our marriage, help with 5a please. 23F here in Boston (-5C), sunny crisp morning, too nice for a divorce.

    1. How much is it worth?

      5a Resistance, in part, is hard for people in these islands (7)
      Put R(Resistance) inside a part (3) and then add IS H(ard) to get THESE islands

  10. Enjoyable Sunday Puzzle – but not one of the better ones. But I always like the surface readings from Virgilius.

    8d – how does the middle letter mean “high temperature”?

    5d – My clue of the day – I looked for an island for far too long!

      1. BD, Thanks! Thought you’d be watching the football! It’s safe to watch now – Spurs have just equalised 2-2! Deep Joy!

              1. Console yourselves that you support a floroushing club. The nearest (then) football league club to where I was born was Darlington, who can’t even afford to pay their players at present!

    1. Hi temp being the word opposite of cold, repeated (tautomer) around S to mean expert. I think.

      1. Tantalus, Thanks for your reply. Just looked up “tautomer” – n. (chem) a readily interconvertible isomer.

        Just been to BD’s FAQ to find out how to add formatting to a comment – there are supposed to be italics somewhere above.

        I then found the paragraph entitled “Why is my comment being ignored?” Hmmmm?

    2. I was wondering that too, Franco. Your question indicates that I have the correct answer, but I too need reassurance. Also that 12a is what I think it is as, I can’t see how the second half of the clue works. Hey, it is Sleepy Sunday!

      1. 12a Achieve some basic education with a head (5)
        Some basic edication (one of a set of three!) and a word meaning “a head” or “per head” gives a word meaning to achieve

        1. Cheers Boss – I was struggling with a shortened version of one of the 3 R’s and about H(ead), but not getting very far. Another Super Sunday Solve. Now for a bit of R&R.

      2. 12a took me ages to understand – I had interpreted it as the first two letters being the basic education, the “A” from the clue and then who knew where the last two letters came from but it was obviously right – then the light dawned!!

  11. Got there in the end!!! Very enjoyable :-) Thanks to the tipsters and this great blog. Couldn’t have done it without you.

  12. Tough but fun today but still struggling with top left because I cannot see 5a! Also although I have all the checking letters I can’t make head nor tail of 25a. Any help would be much appreciated with this tough puzzle.

    1. See comment #11 for 5 across

      25a A river that is extremely short of water (7)
      start with A R(iver) and add the full Latin phrase for “that is” – the one that is usually abbreviated – to get an adjective meaning extremely short of water

      1. Thx BD but I have had to admit defeat, bit too tough for me I’m afraid. Got the 5a but 7d,8d, 12a and that awkward 25a have got me beat.

  13. An exceptionally enjoyable puzzle from Virgilius today – very many good clues.
    Faves : 13a, 15a, 17a, 23a, 26a, 1d, 5d, 8d, 16d & 23d.

  14. Enjoyable today, even though i finished not knowing why for 5 of the answers (13, 15, 17, 25a & 16d); reading the forum has explained all bar 16d – I get the cold and the pale bit but have not come across that shortenning for america before. Or have i got it all wrong?
    I did have Diary in for 23d for a while.
    As ever, ta to the forum for the help.

  15. Struggled a bit to begin with and Mr.A & I cogitated over 5a for some time before it dawned on him not me and I would never have got 17a had it not been for his help,but apart from that managed to finish and enjoy it. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  16. What was it Anax suggested about people having more time to solve crosswords on Sundays. I managed to solve this gem of a Virgilius with my morning cup of coffee before getting up and since then have not stopped!

    Excellent crossword as always for which thanks to the setter and to BD for the notes.

  17. Been out for the day so just done with one eye whilst watching Dancing on Ice. Very enjoyable. Got left side straight in did not understand the clue for 17a but answer obvious. Top right last in. 5a obvious once you think about it! Brilliant clue. I liked16d although it messed with my answer for 23a. I had put in the other usual army answer – the part time one. 15a also very good. I had the same problem in knowing which side to go. What I like is that many clues can be solved from the surface reading and worked out backwards. Thanks to setter and BD for confirming especially 17a

  18. Thanks to Virgilus for the puzzle & to Big Dave for the hints of which I needed a couple, phew, tough going needed to read the blog to get another couple, all done now. Thanks all. Very enjoyable puzzle, made me try to think deeply:-) Favourites were 5d, 11& 19a.

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