ST 2625 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2625 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2625 (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           Call in cop, mostly revealing white material (6)
Just drop the final letters (mostly) from the first three words of the clue to get a white material

4a           Good woman’s Welsh name (6)
A charade of G(ood), a woman and the S from ‘S gives the Welsh name like that of Miss Pugh in the 1980s BBC television comedy Hi-de-Hi!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a         Club, in first part of February, as it appears in table (4)
Tricky little devil, as Pommers might say – this golf club is also the element represented in the periodic table by the first two letters of February

20a         Not yet decayed? It’s uncertain (10)
Take a word meaning decayed, usually applied to teeth and put a prefix meaning “not yet” or “before” in front to get an adjective meaning uncertain or hazardous

25a         Diamonds cut ahead of time, at great cost (6)
Cut all but the initial letter of D(iamonds) and follow it with a word meaning ahead of time to get an adverb meaning at great cost


1d           President locks leader of movement in jail (8)
This head person is created by putting some locks and the initial letter (leader) of Movement inside a slang word for a jail

2d           Left a container in situ, for example (5)
A charade of L(eft), A from the clue and a container gives the language of which in situ is an example

7d           Small, dark, and naturally bright (6)
A charade of S(mall) and an adjective meaning dark results in the complete opposite – naturally bright

15d         It divides two countries, or four, or six (8)
A name for the border between two countries can also mean a four or a six in cricket

21d         Hard question or subject for artist (5)
A double definition – a hard question or a subject for an artist to draw

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 Cristiano Ronaldo (27)

For those of you who don’t read their messages on Telegraph Puzzles, this one could be quite important:

Dear subscriber,

Telegraph Puzzles will be unavailable from 12.30am to 8am on Monday 6th February while maintenance is carried out. Users are advised to save any incomplete puzzles and log out before this time. We apologise for the interruption.

Thank you for your patience.

Best wishes,
The Telegraph Puzzles team

126 comments on “ST 2625 (Hints)

  1. A tricky start to a very cold (-5) snowy (6″) Sunday but I got there in the end. Some lovely d’oh moments and my favourite clues were 11a, 2d and 6d although there are lots of other runners up. Thanks to Virgilius and BD too.

    1. That’s an awful lot of the horrible white stuff sue, luckily so far we haven’t any here, we can see it on the hills hopefully it will stay there, a good day for baking then sue?

      1. We don’t normally get this much white stuff – it looks very pretty but does disrupt stuff. Apart from Sunday lunch – roast pork/pepper & onion tart (Mr CS is a vegetarian) and all the trimmings and apple crumble – I shan’t be doing any more baking today. It is a good day for snuggling under a blanket and reading a good book.

        No2 son just rang from Sydney where it is very very warm (he is apparently jealous of the snow, silly boy, and missing a pint or two at our local)

  2. Virglius in slightly tricky mood I thought but very enjoyable. Wasn’t helped by putting MAIN MEAL in 8a on first pass!
    I spotted the parsing of 11a quite easily but I suppose it helps have been a chemist! Last in was 22a and I had to check the dictionary to confirm, normally I would have asked pommette as she’s the musician around here!

    Favourites 8a, 12a and 9d.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD – nicely concealed nudge for 3d in the photo of Kevin!

  3. Really enjoyed this one today, lots of clues I liked, not quite sure how the last three letters of 18d work but I can see how it’s meant to be, nearly all good readings except maybe for 1a, which doesn’t make much sense, yes a lovely crossword today, although still a 3* in places :-), thanks for hints Dave, didn’t need them today but still used my ‘friends’

      1. Thanks both, yes , that’s what I thought, it just seemed a bit back to front if you know what I mean?

    1. Well done Mary, bit of a mystery today for me, can’t even get the answers from the hints! Must be all the snow clearing I’ve been doing has slowed the old brain cells. Just can’t seem to get into this one probably due to the lack of anagrams which are my usual way in.

      1. try again after the rugby, I don’t think this is beyond you, remember, perservation………. :-) , I agree it is a bit short on anagrams, I find more often than not they are my way in too

        1. I am trying this too, yes, usually need some anagrams, but have managed a few clues on my own, and am glad of the hints. Keep persevering!

      2. Hadn’t spotted the lack of anagrams but you are all, of course, absolutely right! There is the “trademark” chop last letter off several words (as in 1a) which has taken me so long to get but I’m wise to that one now! That was the kind of clue that always used to defeat me in PB (pre-blog) days!!

  4. There were certainly a few to make youy think, particularly at the bottom of the puzzle. The drive is cleared but I think that the pump has gone on the heating circuit – zero pressure this morning, I refilled and the damn thing wont run for more than a minute – I suspect that it is behavong like all boilers with no flow i.e. a kettle :(
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

      1. Its a Worcecster Combi – Its stayed on a bit longer now – just checking – doesn’t need bleeding – I’ve just remembered what your email address is!

        1. OK but long distance it sounds lke it needs refilling from the mains via the filling loop but you’ve tried that? email me if you have no success

          1. I have done that – its a tad over the high pressure indicator not that the temperature has come up – I filled it off the mains to just below expecting some expansion – it seems to be staying on now so I’ll wait and see – I know a tame local plumber (and will be having a pint with him later) but don’t fancy the call-out rates from Wales ;-).
            Thanks for the help!

              1. That is one of the many wonderful things about this blog – there is always someone who can supply an answer to any problem – cruciverbal or otherwise :)

            1. Just a thought, it would probably be cheaper than than calling out a plumber in your part of the country ;-)

          1. yes if it was a condensing boiler, that is the problem with them in freezing temperatures but gnomeys boiler is a Worcester combi :-)

            1. Had one more failure – I am doing the idiot thing and checking the batteries in the remote controller in case there is a ‘default’ option that I don’t know about.
              Otherwise it is the pump although rads will get hot on both floors so I can’t see where the pump might be at fault.

              In any case….
              Food time!

                  1. There is a sloooow one that has yet to be located – the system is only about 4 years old but the rads older. Strange to relate, changing the batteries in the remote stat/controller has helped. Its been on fo rthe last 4 hours. In any case I will get someone on it tomorrow or so.

    1. Oh dear – poor you! It’s too cold to be without heating, although people used to manage I suppose. Hope that you get it sorted out or there’ll be no alternative to the nice warm pub!!

    2. A minor, and perhaps last, comment on boilers – we had a new one last autumn – we had no alternative but to replace our elderly (but functional) boiler with a condensing one – all the “stuff” says that they don’t work very well in VERY cold conditions. Excuse me for being stupid but WHEN ELSE do we need a boiler that works well!!! :roll: Am I missing something here?

        1. Mary – you sound like a proper technician – I’m full of admiration. So far our new (condensing) boiler has worked OK – we live in hope …. :smile:

        2. We are also pretty lucky in that we have another line of defence – a massive, and very good tempered, fireplace and loads of wood! :grin:

    1. Never say never, it’s a funny old game! (but somehow 324 does seem a bit steep on recent form).

      1. At least we didn’t lose a wicket today so a win isn’t completely beyond the bounds of possibility, but I still think unlikely!

  5. Was doing really well until I misunderstood 18d so got stuck on the SE corner – however once I’d figured that out the last lot fell into place. Really enjoyed this one. Liked 10a, 13a, 9d and 15d. Lots of fun!! Thanks to Big Dave for the hints and tips – Enjoy the snow!!!!!

  6. Enjoyable puzzle from Virgilius on this cold and snowy day.
    Faves : 8a, 11a, 12a, 20a, 21a, 1d, 6d, 9d, 15d & 18d.

    Don’t completely understand the fodder of 24a.

      1. Hi Pommers!
        Did a bit of Googling on Intel STS so now understand the fodder of 24a.

        Did you see my note re the Haggis book recently – it is availalable from – new second edition.

    1. Actually it’s better than that! Only just noticed, D’oh!

      The phrase is ‘To *** the patience of a *****’ which is exactly what the clue says! Clever :grin:

      1. Especially as the meeting would be frowned upon by said ‘good people’. Clever and ironic – love it!

    2. Hi Derek – re 24a – the definition is meetings. The first three letters mean to “tax” as in “someone is very “***ing” and the last three are the plural of the usual “good” (in this case “best”) people.

      1. Thanks Kath!
        I think the cold weather dulls the thinking process – it is 11degrees below zero (Celsius) here in NL!
        I am happy about 24a now.
        I got the synonym for meetings OK – it was the best people that eluded me!

        1. I have had a lot of bother with my laptop recently – e.g. it would not type the degree symbol for some reason but now it will! Temperature outside is -12°C and falling.

          1. OK smartie pants – how do you do that?!! -12C (the best I can do until someone tells me what else to do) sounds a touch on the nippy side to me – keep warm!

  7. I’ve really enjoyed this one although when I first looked at it I thought I was going to have trouble. I could hardly do any to begin with but then it all fell into place. I needed the hint to understand my answer for 11a. It nearly went a bit wrong in the bottom left hand corner (blasted cricket AGAIN) although I did manage to understand 15d which, for me, was a bit of a coup. I liked 8 and 12a and 2, 3, 6 and 7d. Best today, for me anyway, was 21a – so simple!! With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    Snowy here but not very. Going to make more marmalade.

  8. Just in case there is someone out there who hasn’t heard this ..

    Ever since it started to snow my husband has done nothing but gaze through the window – it it goes on for much longer I think I’ll have to let him in!! :grin:

    1. I spent seven years of my childhood wondering what was behind the locked cellar door. My parents refused to tell me. One day, though, they left it unlocked and I plucked up the courage to open it. I then discovered the awful secret that lay beyond it…… daylight!

        1. Thank you for the smiles loved them both. Really must try and learn how to do the emoticons.

          1. Do as Mary says but the most useful ones (for me anyway) are:- :smile: which is (no spaces anywhere) colon smile colon. :grin: which is colon grin colon. :oops: colon oops colon. That one is my personal favourite and, given my track record the one that I need most often. The other one I love is :roll: which is colon roll colon.

  9. I didn’t find it that easy :( – perhaps I’m getting dim in my old age! Once I got started, though, it wasn’t too bad.
    Last in were 13a (DOH!), 10a (so near and yet so far) then last, but not least, 7d (so easy when I got it I kicked myself).

    Ho hum – no excuse not to finish off cleaning kitchen now…

    1. Surely an excuse can ALWAYS be found for not cleaning the kitchen – after all it’s only going to get dirty again and need doing again next year!!!

  10. Now then, am I going to stay up all night and watch the Superbowl and then catch the start of the cricket or should I be sensible and go to bed!

      1. Forward planning Mary! Can’t go for a kip this afternoon as I’m going out with a mate to watch the Man U v Chelsea game on the big TV in our local where he gets Premiership matches with Spanish commentary, so I might end up a bit knackered tomorrow.

        Ho hum, it’s a hard life when pommette’s away :grin:

        1. Yes, poor you, I can tell, does pommette keep an eye on the blog when she’s away? well we might not see you til later tomorrow then? we will be taping that match because it is partly on at the same time as Wales v Ireland rugby, other half here is a Man Utd supporter!!

  11. Even by Virgilius’s impeccably high standards, this was a corker of a crossword, nicely tricky and highly enjoyable. Thanks to our Sunday Setter and to BD for the notes.

  12. A thoroughly enjoyable, satisfying solve. Might I ask for a little patience and understanding tomorrow morning? You will have seen BD’s note about the DT website, and the snow in these here parts delayed the arrival of today’s papers. Should this happen again it may mean that we’re a little slow out of the blocks with the review, but please be assured that no effort or expense will be spared!

    1. Hi Digby

      I’ll probably still be up at midnight GMT watching the Superbowl so if the puzzle appears I’ll mail you a pdf, (if I remember after all the beer I’ll be drinking at the football!).

      1. Thanks Pommers – that would be very helpful. We used to live in Virginia, so supported the Washington Redskins. They don’t seem to feature much nowadays.

  13. Thanks for the message a the top of the comments – I’m one of those who doesn’t read my mail on CluedUp! Having done half of this puzzle, and going along quite smoothly so far, I will now leave the rest until tomorrow. I can’t have coffee without a crossword in the morning, and it looks as though it will be lunchtime in Dubai before the site is up and running again.

    1. You could always print a couple of old ones from the archive for your morning coffee. Or if you like to solve on screen go to the Grauniad site tomorrow as it will be a Rufus puzzle.

    2. Thank you for all the suggestions. I’m sure I will survive somehow! Although getting up at 4am (midnight UK time) is probably not one of the better options …. Even the Mullah doesn’t sound the call to prayer until about 6am during these winter months.

  14. Trickier than recent weeks, but just as enjoyable. Favourite clues 8a, and 1d.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  15. Ok Ok I have to eat my words, I thought this very good. BUT any help with 21a much appreciated – pesky four letter word!! I am hoping Gnomes law will happen….

    1. Hi andy it’s a double definition, firstly you are looking for a flower and the colour and name of this flower will give you a word for to cut with a wavy edge, you need a certain type of scissors to do this, I don’t think I’ve said too much??

  16. At first run through I thought this was going to be quite tough but then got going and really enjoyed it.There were some great clues 21a,12a and I was quietly patting myself on the back for getting (understanding)11a. Thanks Virgilius &BD

        1. Had a change of plan and went into town to a bar with two tellies. One had the second half of the rugby and the other the footy so managed to watch both! Interesting experience! The Welsh second try looked brill to me! And we had English commentary! Couldn’t believe we came back from 0-3 so hope your other half doesn’t hear the result before watching :smile:

          1. No we watched the rugby and then the second half of the football, I actually wanted Man U to win today better for Liverpool, we have Spurs Monday I think

    1. Blimey you lot – could BD invent an emoticon for :colon yawn colon! Sorry – think you’re all great but …… ! Husband working – had supper – done clearing up and now what ….

  17. Rattled through this today, earlier than usual as it seemed silly to go out in view of all the snow here. Car in the hedge on its bonnet down the road when i went to get the paper. Papers not all there, no magazine bits, so not as much to read as usual . Now , am completely stuck on the other Sunday crossword that I normally do : am i allowed to name it ? Just wish there was also a blog for it !
    thanks for hints which showed why the answer to 15d was what it is.

    1. Anncantab,

      Far be it for me to say, but I think it’s OK to name other papers.

      In fact, some members of BD’s Commentariat often recommend puzzles from other publications.

      (Hope it’s not a tabloid – Our Lord Gnome may not approve)

      1. It’s OK to name other papers but there is an unwritten agreement that we don’t discuss their prize puzzles until after the closing date.

      1. You can get the Observer’s’Everyman’ puzzle at the Grauniad site. they’re usually a bit benign but with a couple of obscure answers.

          1. 13a Was the genius controlling teacher resented? (12)
            Definition is “Was the genius controlling” e.g. a criminal activity like the Great Train Robbery – a charade of a teacher and a verb meaning resented

            14d Form of government in which ministers are all-powerful? (9)
            This is a cryptic definition of a form of government in which God is regarded as the sole sovereign, and the priesthood necessarily become the officers of the invisible ruler (with a little help from Chambers for the definition)

  18. Thanks to Virgilus & to Big Dave for the hints. Found this ok apart from the SE Corner, needed two hints & got the last one from May’s hint. Very enjoyable puzzle. Favourite was 24a. Even got some snow in Central London.

  19. It’s Sunday. It looked like a Virgilius puzzle, but somehow it was different. If there was a hidden clue in there – I missed it!

    Hate to be critical, but…….not a good mix of clues. Wot! No anagrams! Also, found it very difficult!

    Still – looking forward to next Sunday’s offering.

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