ST 2626 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2626 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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 submission


1a           Person finding fault that could make brother lose out (14)
This person employed to  trace and correct faults in a system is an anagram (could make) of BROTHER LOSE OUT

15a         Case of leaves making trains halt, ultimately (3,5)
This case in which leaves are transported from, say, India is derived from a verb meaning trains or educates followed by the final letter () of halT

22a         Corruptly mastermind a process for producing steel shares? (11)
An anagram (corruptly) of MASTERMIND A gives a process for producing steel shares, as in Isaiah 2:4 “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” [Thanks to Gazza for the nudge in the right direction.]

27a         Kind of work that has no superior (4-10)
A cryptic definition of freelance work


1d           Not needing to offer a penny, however, doing business around East (7-7)
Those who can do this have no need to offer to pay a penny for them! – a word meaning however is followed by a verb meaning doing business with E(ast) inserted

3d           Congratulating striker, dominant runner going after defence (11)
Someone who congratulates another by striking them on the shoulders is created by putting a dominant runner who overtakes others after the defensive positions in football and other sports

5d           Labour performer, male, dominates over Conservative (8)
This performer of a dozen labours, spelt in the Roman form not the Greek one, is constructed from the male pronoun and a verb meaning dominates with C(onservative) inserted (over)

18d         Want something heart-warming? (7)
This want makes the heart grow fonder

21d         Writer making change, cut one line (6)
This writing implement is derived by dropping the final E (cut) from some small change and then adding I (one) and L(ine)

25d         Legendary creature following 27’s lead (3)
This legendary creature can be found in the answer to 27 across, hiding after the initial letter (following … lead)

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 Naseem Hamed (38)



  1. crypticsue
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    If I were down to review this one, it would get 5* for both difficulty and entertainment – took me twice as long as usual for all the pennies to drop but what pennies they were. Thanks to Virgilius for making my brain work extra hard on this freezing morning and to BD for the hints.

    Cherry and sultana cake just cooling down ready for the naughty corner :D

    • Franny
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Thank goodness for that — and you too, Sue! That acorn cake looked horrible! :-)

  2. Jezza
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I solved this one at leisure, in between bouts at the sauna, where I attempted to detox myself of last night’s dinner, which involved last amounts of beer, crisps, gin & tonic, lamb vindaloo, cheese, and chocolate.
    Favourite clue, 26a, because I solved it a long time before I parsed it!
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

    As for the remainder of the day, it is either going to be spent glossing some of the woodwork, which is beginning to look slightly yellowish, or a couple of large glasses of Sancerre, followed by an afternoon nap.

    • Posted February 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      I’d go for the Sancerre and a nap – no contest!

      • Jezza
        Posted February 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Great minds…… :)

        • Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          I’m just off to tackle Virglius in the local over a glass or two while the beefs’s in the oven. Back later :grin:

  3. Franco
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I like the definition of 4d in Chambers – “a cake, long in shape but short in duration with cream filling….”

    This puzzle from Virgilius – a piece of cake? Not for me! Very long in duration! Thanks to BD for a few nudges!

  4. Kath
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Very glad to find that others thought this was quite difficult. Have finished now although I didn’t quite understand lots of my answers. Luckily for me the hints have sorted out some of these – the only one that I still can’t work out the “why” bit is 8d – I’m assuming my answer is right – it seems to fit with everything else – I had the last two letters of 12a wrong to begin with which didn’t help. I liked 19, 24 and 26a and 18d but my favourite today was 1d. With thanks to Virgilius for a very enjoyably taxing puzzle, and to BD for sorting out the bits that were far too clever for me to understand on my own!!

    • Franco
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      8d – an anagram of “RAF – he’s getting” plus (L)earner.

      • Kath
        Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Franco – how did I not notice that it was an anagram? :oops:

      • Franny
        Posted February 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Yes, thanks Franco — I had a wrong ending at 12a which confused things, but all is clear now. :-)

        • Franco
          Posted February 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

          Bon dimanche!

          • Franny
            Posted February 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

            Merci. :-)

  5. Franny
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I am amazed at having been able to finish this — which probably means mistakes. I don’t understand 6d or 8d, always supposing I’ve got them correct. This took me a long time this morning and a great deal of electronic help, but I did enjoy it. So thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints. :-)

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Franco has explained 8d now. 6d is funny in the sense of peculiar rather than ha ha.

    • Kath
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Unless I’ve missed something I think that 1984 is an even number so something that is “funny” can be described as “not even” therefore it’s ***. I nearly put the word in there – I think I’m hoping to be sent to the naughty corner for some of that cake!!

      • crypticsue
        Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        You will have to fight Mr CS and No 1 son to get any :D

      • Franco
        Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        6d – In the paper 1984 is in italics – a bit of a misdirection – George Orwell etc. Has Telegraph Puzzles yet managed to include italics?

  6. Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Having read all your comments I’m feeling rather pleased with myself, as I finished it fairly speedily (for me) with only a minor nudge or two from dear BD.
    I liked 14a, and the paesing of 26a has just dawned on me……

    Happy Sunday, back to the garden pond!

    • Kath
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Garden pond? In this weather? You MUST be joking!!

      • crypticsue
        Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        I was wondering where Bionic Woman was – our pond has a thick layer of ice on the top (apart from the hole to let oxygen in). Certainly don’t want to go outside never mind do things to the pond!

        • Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          Well, I am in the West – nr Bristol – and it’s fairly balmy here. There is some ice on the pond, but the weather was perfect for me to move the control box and cables, helped by the lack of leaves on the hedges.
          Fish are all looking happy, but certainly not eating so it’s cold in there!
          Hey,ho, soon be tadpole time again!

    • mary
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Lovely day here today :-)

  7. Prolixic
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think this took any longer than usual to solve but the quality and enjoyment level went up another notch for me this week. Quite simply stunningly good 5* enjoyment with plenty of penny dropping moments. Thanks to Virgilius for the crossword and to BD for the notes.

  8. cruisenuts96
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Finding this hard. Thank you for the hints. Will persevere!

  9. Philpotts
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to be a bit dim but really cannot see 26a – I ‘can’ see the first bit if that is right but not the rest – are you able to help me??

    • gazza
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Hi Philpotts – welcome to the blog.
      26a Is able to see you producing piece of music (7)
      You want a childish equivalent (2-2) of “See you!”.

      • Addicted
        Posted February 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that Gazza – was just about to ask myself, which just proves one should read the blog first! Enjoyed that, though it’s taken a while on and off. Also had the wrong ending for 12a, which held me up no end on 8d. Thanks to setter and BD for invaluable hints.

        • Weekend wanda
          Posted February 13, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

          Just finished on the train before starting today’s. Not being a regular Sunday solver I found this easier than some. One or two unfamiliar words which I checked and some I had to work out after I got the answer. Eventually got 22a but needed the hint for the explanation. Liked 15a and 1d. The anagrams were cleverly concealed. Took a while to get 24a. Not the way I spell Indian food!

  10. Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Or as they used to say – TTFN!

  11. andy
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Not the easiest but very enjoyable. Thanks Gazza forconfirming 26a, and to Virgilius and BD

    • Tmdess
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Hi! Is 4d a UK term or am I just anagramming wrong?

      • Kath
        Posted February 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        You want an anagram of Charlie without the “H” (no end of relis(h) and it’s a French cake often filled with cream or chocolate.

        • Tmdess
          Posted February 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          Thanks, Kath! Boy, am I embarrassed…easy clue!

          • mary
            Posted February 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

            Don’t be I didn’t see it for ages!!

          • Kath
            Posted February 12, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            You’re very welcome – I don’t think that anyone needs to feel embarrassed on this blog – it’s just great for being helpful and completely non-judgemental – I have asked some really dim questions here – I’m still alive!! :smile:

            • Posted February 12, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

              Hi Kath
              I’ve found the ‘stupid step’ very comfortable on occasion but unfortunately there’s not usually any cake!

              • Kath
                Posted February 12, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

                That’s because there are even dimmer people who have got there before us and gobbled up all the cake!!! I know you’re not dim – I’m talking about me!!

                • Posted February 12, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

                  Hey Kath I have my moments believe me! My Spanish neighbours think ‘Oh you stupid pratt pommers’ is a British term of endearment as they hear it so often from our back garden!

                • Kath
                  Posted February 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

                  That’s mild – you should hear what my lot call me sometimes!! :sad: they are only joking, at least that’s what they say!! :grin:

        • Posted February 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

          I told pommette it was an anagram of CHARLIE with the end of relish removed and then wandered off to the bar for another glass of wine. When I got back I found she’d taken the R out (wrong end) and couldn’t see the anagram – not very surprising :roll: To be fair I think it was a ‘dyslexic’ moment rather than not understanding ‘end of relish’ !

  12. Jackie
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Like others I found this one quite difficult. I completed about half of it but then had to rely on the hints to point me in the right direction. Fortunately BD chose to explain the ones I was lacking! Many thanks.

    • Kath
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      BD certainly picked the right ones today – well, certainly for me! I had quite a few that I didn’t understand and he did hints for all but one of them. My lucky day!!

    • andy
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      And for me too!

  13. mary
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Hi Dave finished this earlier on but just getting chance to call in now, thought you might appreciate me being quiter today! a three to four star for me, needing help with a couple of the anagrams, didn’t help myself by putting ‘tag’ for 23a and then putting it at 25d!!!not keen on the connection between 25d and 27a, fav clues today 19a and 26a, got the answer but really don’t see 6d? I thought it was entirely doable with a lot of perservation and a little help from ‘my friends’!! Thanks once again for hints Dave, didn’t have to use them today tho’ :-)

  14. Derek
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Another enjoyable puzzle from Virgilius.
    Aside from the four fringe 14-letter jobs my faves were : 10a, 12a, 15a, 24a, 5d, 6d, 18d & 21d.

    For 21d, BD, I thought of the 6-letter word for writer and made changes to that!

    After last night’s superb meal, I shall have something simple – lamb chops and spuds with a drop of Beaujolais then blackberries and cream.

    Overcast here now – some light snow earlier.

    • andy
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      What was the menu choices last night Derek? I downloaded the menu then attempted to translate using the internet, not easy. Especially as it made feel hungrier and hungrier as I went through the courses!!

      • Derek
        Posted February 12, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        Hi andy!

        We started with various amuse-gueules along with champagne (me) kir royal (my son-in-law) water (my daughter and grandchildren) then we started the main meal of many courses. There were two fish courses – 1st was zeebaars 2nd was NoordZee tong(sole) with accompanying veg and sauce – both courses were delicious. Afterwards there were several dishes many with truffles – very tasty (zeer lekker) – and finally we got to reerug filet which was out of this world. Accompanied by Meursault (fish et. seq.) and Gevrey-Chambertin (other courses). Several sweets.
        The meal lasted four and a half hours and the restaurant was packed solid!
        We got home around 2AM.

        Today, I ate simply!

        Zeebaars = seaperch ; Reerug = saddle of venison; filet = fillet. Zeer = very – but we have the same word in English eg – he was SORE afraid.

        • Posted February 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

          //amuse-gueules// Now that is a great word!. Is it like an ‘amuse-bouche’ for the cake hole?!. Your menus are, as ever, mouthwatering!
          My sis got home to terheijeden from Honk Kong this last night.. Tis colder in the Netherlands!

          • andy
            Posted February 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

            Open to correction from Derek but I think / gueules / bouche are one and the same. Well if put on a plate in front of me they would be!!

          • Derek
            Posted February 13, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

            Hi gnomey as mary would say!
            “amuse-gueule” is older usage of “amuse-bouche” – Gueule is basically used for animals!

            • Posted February 13, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

              Hiya, That was what I was thinking – bouche being mouth and gueule being gob or cakehole when applied to humans. Its been a while since my A level French!

        • andy
          Posted February 12, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

          Sounds fantastic, Zeebars is I think a fish I’ve never tasted. As for the Reerug, as long as it is cooked properly is simply sublime. I’m all for meals that last four hours or more, my mother lives between Athens (not for much longer she fears) in the winter and in the summer goes to Samos, an invite to Dinner basically means forget doing anything else that evening! Is the new Chinon going down well?

          • andy
            Posted February 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

            Derek thank you.At the risk of Big Dave waking up thinking Rick Stein has hijacked his blog does Sea perch equal sea bass? In which case I do know it.

            • Derek
              Posted February 13, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

              Hi andy!
              1.My bibles for fish are the books of Alan Davidson. In his “Nothh Atlantic Seafood” at p.65 he describes Sea Perch / White Perch as morone americana (Gmelin) and at p.84 Bass/Sea Bass as dicentracha labrax (Linnaeus) so they are different species.
              2. You mention Greece – one can get excellent fish dishes in that land!

              • Derek
                Posted February 13, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

                Correction Sea Perch is at page 85. Also read North Atlantic – my fingers go too fast!
                The Chinon is good but not the one that I normally get. My regular Chinon is that of Marc Brédif now owned by Ladoucette. My wine merchant was temporarily out of stock but keeps me going with alternatives!

              • andy
                Posted February 13, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

                Greece fantastic for fish. We use a restaurant in Samos where the owners children swim out to the nets at weekends and whatever they bring in is added to the menu. You cannot really get any fresher than that!

  15. Posted February 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    What a brilliant puzzle! I just hit the 5* at the end of the post as they don’t come better than this one.

    No particular favourites, just start with 1a and continue in order :grin: Difficulty? I’d give it 3* as we seemed to be on the wavelength today, apart from the aforementioned end of relish.

    How does Virgilius keep producing the goods week by week and seem to get better week by week?

    Many thanks to Virgilius for an enjoyable pre-prandial interlude and to BD for the hints.

  16. Posted February 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Meant to say, thanks to BD and Gazza for explaining 22a, our last in. Obvious anagram and the only word we could see that fitted the checkers but ‘ploughshares’ and Isiah? How devious is that?

    I guess, in view of my comment yesterday, we can’t claim to have fully completed this puizzle as we couldn’t parse this one :sad:. “As you sow, so shall you reap”!

    In case you missed it, I said “There’s a not so subtle difference between getting the answer and solving the clue”

    Thanks again.

  17. Annidrum
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle but not at all easy .I managed to complete it (at least put the correct answers in)without recourse to the hints ,but needed BD’s explanation for 22a and15a .I was on completely the wrong tracks (pardon the pun) for that one. Thanks to Virgilius for the brain gymnastics and to BD for the hints.
    I will not mention the rugby. This :smile: is for you Mary.

    • mary
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Annidrum :-D
      Well done Wales

  18. AndyNW
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I thought that was really good today, difficult but manageable. 1d was my favourite, but I really struggled to explain my answer to 15a until BD’s hints told me I was looking at entirely the wrong type of maritime case – only 1 letter out!

  19. Anncantab
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Took a long time to get going with this, but now completed I think. I have an answer for 24a, but if it is correct I have no idea why. The (OED) dictionary definition is a yellowish cloth, so probably not right ? no one else has commented on this one, so presumably it didn’t cause a problem for anyone else.

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Look at the first three letters – that is the Indian food. The last four relate to a saying to do with mustard.

      • Anncantab
        Posted February 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, that makes sense !

  20. Kath
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Quiet here today, for a Sunday – must be the dreaded Football – sorry, Rugby! Same game – different ball shape, different shape to aim aforementioned ball into/through!!!

    Only joking really …… :grin: do SO hope that I haven’t upset anyone!

  21. Posted February 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink


    • Posted February 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi gnomey
      That comment is very succinct, also relevant, pertinent, fitting, material, appropriate, pat, suitable, proper, to the point, apt, applicable, apposite, germane :grin: Sorry, had grilled thesaurus with the beef for Sunday lunch!

      • Posted February 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Hiya. Sometimes less is more, too!

      • andy
        Posted February 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

        Lovely jubbly. Just been responding to Derek. The menu above sounds to die for. My little chicken casserole tonight paled into insignifance. Got to go and find a decent venison butcher nearby. I’m sure there must be one

        • Posted February 12, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

          I can recommend grilled Thesaurus! :grin:

          • andy
            Posted February 12, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

            Ooh sorry, late night dog stuff to do. Now its raining t’ boot. Hmmpphhh, Grilled Thesaurus maybe but I’m on the hunt for Zeebaars as well as the Venison.

  22. Kath
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Lots of muntjac in the garden today …..

    • andy
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      Not seen any here this year. They tend to get by the river in the spring / summer. Nene is about a 1/3 mile away. The snow has brought about surprises though. Footprints in the garden. Fox, and I think more than one. I understand my dogs sniffing now, they have smelled what I couldn’t see!!!!