ST 2638 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2638 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2638 (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 submission.


1a           Source of report that won’t harm anyone (5,9)
Using this in a gun will produce a report but not fire a bullet!

9a           Furniture that’s assembled in Number Ten (7)
… that’s Number Ten Downing Street

10a         Someone who knows more than most how apples may be used, we hear (7)
This person within a certain organization has access to exclusive information – split as (2,5) it sounds like (we hear) that the information concerns how to make an alcoholic drink using apples

14a         Design setting for ring (6)
This design or purpose could, if split (2,4), be the setting for a circus ring

22a         People tending park crushed long piece of wood (6,5)
These people who tend a park or other recreational facility come from a charade of a word meaning crushed and a long piece of wood

27a         Gambling device from casino near Med band itself extracted (3-5,6)
This gambling device is very cleverly hidden (extracted) from inside the clue


1d           Expert on cause of ill-feeling — dreadful blog atrocities (14)
This expert on the causes of someone feeling ill is an anagram (dreadful) of BLOG ATROCITIES

4d           Starts off in car at very important part of road system (6)
Drop the initial letters from (Starts off) three of the words in the clue to get a very important part of the road system

6d           Conditions created by followers of her letters (3)
My favourite in today’s clues –to get these conditions start with HER and convert each letter into the following one

16d         Quartet of players and person of 13 turning up in TV studio (8)
Start with the four bridge players and add the reversal (turning up in a down clue) of someone from 13 down to get a TV studio

21d         Was police chief humming really badly? (6)
Split as (3,3), the head of a police department could have done this – but it’s actually an adjective meaning humming really badly or rotten

25d         Seed used in recipe, appearing repeatedly? Just so (3)
This seed is hidden not once, not twice, but three times inside the clue

Today it’s Happy Birthday to George Clooney (50)

51 comments on “ST 2638 (Hints)

  1. BPotW again . Some clues took a lot of thinking about but my favourites include 10a, 15a, 27a, 6d and the lovely double hiding in 25d. Thanks Virgilius for a lovely start to another soggy Sunday morning. Thanks to BD for the hints too. 2*/5* for me.

    1. Agree on BPotW – thanks to Virgilius and BD (I thought that 25d had a treble hiding, rather than a double).

        1. That took me as long to work out as the crossword did to finish! I think that is taking “crypticness” a bit far! :roll:

  2. A thoroughly superb puzzle which appealed to me even more the further I got into it.

    Many thanks to Virgilius for once again producing such a fine crossword, and to BD for the hints.

  3. Good afternoon Dave, managed this today without any hints, but lots of ‘usual’ help :-)
    On first read through I couldn’t do any but with much perservation and enjoment I eventually got there, as sue says some clues took a lot of thinking about but were nearly all workable and read nicely IMHO, fav clues 25d and 15a, others included 10a and the hidden/inclusive clue at 27a also liked 4d and 6d, a good variety today :-D, well worth the effort

    1. Just potted on some tomato seedlings in greenhouse, it’s more like March than May! I do hope Kath isn’t gong to say she’s already got fruit on hers! :-;

      1. No – not fruit yet, but flowers!! :smile:
        On the down side have just noticed that the ******* muntjac have eaten ALL the buds on my perennial geraniums! :sad:

        1. what are they! really Kath, flowers on your tomatos now?? you are way ahead :-)

            1. You may well ask why they’re in our garden – I suppose the answer is because they can be! SO fed-up with them – they are such a nuisance. We have to cover all the veg or they just chomp their way through everything but there’s not much point in having flowers and covering them up, is there?

                1. .. however (and whenever) they like! We are surrounded by fields so they just jump our hedges and fences and help themselves to anything they fancy!

                  1. Try a rifle…or find a local who has one…..Just had some of their fallow cousins with black currant sauce. Highly recommended. :-)

  4. Fabulous puzzle, solved without recourse to hints or electric aids, but took a bit of serious thinking.

    So many good clues,6d last in but when you saw it so obvious.

    Thanks to Virgilius for my mornings entertainment, and to BD for hints.

    Sitting in bright sunshine in Dover, cool and breezy.

    1. Could you send some sun up the road a bit? It is very grey, damp and freezing here. Call from No2 son in Sydney complaining it was too ‘cold’ to sit out in his swimming shorts in the evening didn’t help my mood either.

      1. Drove down about 11.30, started in rain, at Lydden it cleared, still v cold though.

  5. Well, now that I’ve finally worked out what you’re all on about with the BPotW I can start to think straight again!! I agree – it’s a really good one. I was very slow with the last few – 14 and 15a and 18 and 21d. Also it took me ages to see the “hidden in the middle” bit of 27a. Favourites include 15, 17 and 27a and 1, 13, 21 and 25d. Best of all, for me, 6d. With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    Sun just beginning to remind us that it does still exist, but chilly.

  6. I Knew if I continued persevating I would enjoy the Sunday challenge. Loved this one, especially 6d and 25d. Thanks to BD and Virgilius

  7. Aarghh, having trouble entering my e-mail address with the scrollbar thing in the way

    1. Now why did that time it worked? So not techie minded, anyway I knew if I continued peresevating on a Sunday I would geto enjoy the challenge, and I certainly did today. Loved 6d and 25d so thanks to BD and Virgilius

  8. Definitely BPotW, to coin a phrase that I seem to have read somewhere recently. Great fun to work my way through. Several favourites but 27a 25d 16d all deserve a mention. Thanks to BD and Virgilius.

  9. A really excellent puzzle. Although I got 6d I needed your help to explain it, many thanks.

    BTW I’m still not getting email notifications.


  10. Fully agree, even beats Fridays excellent offering. Far too many xcellent clues to single any out. Many thx to the setter.

    1. Hello Brian, your RayT has been my Virgilius on my part for far too long. Reading the plaudits on his offerings has been both deflating and an urge to, as Mary says, perservate. A few months ago i nearly got to the point of not buying the paper on a Sunday,but thankfully today I bought it. And tis not raining hurrah so the the dogs and I heading out, via a hostelry no doubt, cheers

      1. I could never do Sunday puzzles until I learnt lots from this blog – now they’re one of my favourites. Used to find the Friday ones a bit tricky too.
        YET again thanks for a fantastic blog – you’re all really appreciated. :smile:

  11. When I’ve time I have started looking at the Sunday puzzles, and logged on today to say I thought it was the best of the week. Glad so many others think so too .. so many witty clues, without any being ‘clever for the sake of it’.

  12. Most excellent dude! 27a is awesome… Yeah I is been bin in the crib with my homies.

  13. Excellent puzzle – thanks Virgilius and BD – I still didn’t get notified of the new post…

  14. Agree with everyone else – absolutely lovely puzzle to-day. Like Mary, needed a bit of electronic help but finished without hints, which is VERY unusual for me on a Sunday! Got 6d mainly because I couldn’t think what else it could be, but needed hints to understand why – very clever! Thought 15a was clever too. Thanks Virgilus and BD.

  15. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    Truly great puzzle, brain fully engaged in working through it.
    Last in 14a – a naughty little clue!

  16. Solved this just before midnight my time – my daughter rang up to say they were back in NL after a week’s sauna in Cyprus! Here it is still chilly!!

    Liked : 1a, 9a, 15a, 22a, 4d, 6d, 8d & 21d.

    Off to bed now!

  17. Agree with everyone. Whistled through this much quicker than a usual Sunday – seemed to be on the right wavelength today. Had a few in SW and NE which took a little extra time

  18. Sunday telegraph 2638 a great crossword, the hardest clue for me was 6 down *** which took a while (I wanted to make it *** for some reason)

  19. I really enjoyed this crossword ,haven’t done the ‘Sunday’ one before, I am just a learner really but enjoy reading your blogs,and thank you BD and all contributors for your valuable help.Just a bit stuck on 15 a. I have the checking letters and I thin I know what it is, but can’t see why? Any help appreciated. Have a great bank holiday folks.

    1. 15a Place in Devon, moving on West, as yet unsettled (2,6)
      Start with the name of a town in Devon, then obey the instruction and move ON as far left (Westwards) as it will go. The result is a phrase meaning unsettled or not yet paid for.

      1. Thanks a million Gazza! I see now.I did have the answer but couldn’t see quite why. all done now thanks to you.

  20. has anyone else done todays Indy by Anarche aka arachne? I Loved it, difficult but so well crafted

      1. Sorry BD for going off topic but CSue there were a couple e.g. 7d and 26a which had me reaching for the dictionary for confirmation but wow, this girl is definetely upping her game IMHO

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