ST 2640 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2640 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Many thanks to Digby for rushing to and from the paper shop to provide me with a scan of today’s puzzle.

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           5tudy, as per usual, with only one university (7)
To get this act of studying, drop one of the U(niversity)s from “per usual”

11a         Crewmen with fish that can seal a deal (9)
A charade of some crew on a ship and a  fish resembling the cod gives an action that can seal a deal

12a         Part of oyster. and nothing else (5)
This part of an oyster is hidden inside the clue

22a         Limit jump, for certain (5)
Three definitions for the price of one!

28a         Source of electricity that prisoner would like(3-4)
This source of electricity is what a prisoner would prefer to a wet one


1d           Fighting behaviour increased after drink at party (5-2)
Fighting behaviour is derived from a two-letter word meaning increased preceded by a drink typically served at the start of a party

4d           Young woman seen round one island resort or another (3,6)
Put a young woman (4) around a resort on the island of Majorca to get one in the Canary Islands

7d           Princess ain’t crazy about admirer (7)
To get this Iberian princess put an anagram (crazy) of AIN’T around an admirer

20d         Liberal supporting European vote, for instance (7)
Start with an adjective meaning liberal and precede it with (supporting in a down clue) E(uropean) and a mark used to indicate a vote to get an instance or illustration

24d         Exchange, by letters (5)
This verb meaning to exchange information is simply the letters of B Y (1,3,1)

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 Cher (66) and Joe Cocker (68)




  1. Wozza
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    No puzzle on the iPad edition either – grrr.

  2. Colmce
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Yep nothing on IPad, still got some Grauniad Cryptics left from last week so one of those will have to do. Stiff letter to telegraph in draft as we speak.

  3. Digby
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I wonder if the birthday boy & girl ever sang a duet together?
    Gypsies, Tramps and Throat Lozenges?
    The mind boggles!

  4. Dickiedot
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    It’s an enjoyable crossword can I scan it and send it to anyone? I’ve completed it though :-)

    • Digby
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      I have it scanned and un-done.
      If anyone would like a copy just reply to this comment.

  5. Heno
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Hi Big Dave, something has happened to the site, when trying to access from a mobile device. Ipod will not load the page and Safari keeps dropping out. On Android, I can see the page for the Mobile version, but I have a message at the top of the page saying “Webpage Unavailable” and I can’t click on anything. All works fine from my PC.All was ok yesterday.

    • Heno
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      I am talking about Big Dave’s sites, not the Telegraph site.

  6. Robert Page
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Site is up and running :-)

    • gnomethang
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Just got in myself – please remember: One at a time and no pushing at the back! ;-)

    • Hrothgar
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Yes,the site is up but with Sat’s, not today’s cryptic. ST2640
      DT knows how to irrirtate one!

      • gnomethang
        Posted May 20, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Go back to “Cryptic Crossword” under ‘Puzzles’ on the lft then select Sunday – I managed to get the print which is now as a PDF – I didn’t try the online solve.

        • spindrift
          Posted May 20, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          Thanks Gnomey!

        • Hrothgar
          Posted May 20, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          Very many thanks, gnomethang
          I should have tried a bit more imaginatively but why should it be necessary?
          Perhaps the DT will take our grumbling on board :)

  7. Dickiedot
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Done online solve OK at about 11.25am

  8. Kath
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    There are obviously advantages to getting the newspaper!
    I’ve finished this now, apart from one that I can’t do at all and one that I don’t understand the answer I have. Will come back here later when a few other people have had a chance to do it.

    • Addicted
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Couldn’t agree more Kath! My paper was here by 7 am – the fact that it has taken me until now – interspersed with a multitude of household chores! – to finish the puzzle, is immaterial! I HAVE finished, as I say – can I help with anything? I don’t understand 17a, assuming I have the correct answer? In fact, if BD reads this, perhaps he could give me a clue?

      • crypticsue
        Posted May 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        I am not BD but… The first two letters are the cricketing abbreviation for stumped and the rest of the word is a church service with its last letter removed (incomplete service).

  9. Phil McNeill
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Hello all.

    Many apologies again for the lack of service overnight on the Telegraph Puzzles website.

    We are aware that it is showing yesterday’s puzzles in the “Today’s Puzzles” panel. This problem has occurred because the site was down at the time that the cron job to update that panel was due to run. Unfortunately I can’t initiate a cron job myself but I have requested that it should be done — and in fact it has been done while I was typing this.

    All the best, and much humble pie-eating

    • Hrothgar
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Mr. Crossword. for organizing the repair work.
      Please don’t take my whingeing too seriously (or personally) :)

  10. crypticsue
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    As enjoyable as ever thank you Virgilius – I have seen some of your hidden words in my time but I think 12a is the most hidden yet :) . Thanks to BD for the hints too.

  11. Kath
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    A very enjoyable crossword. It took me a while to understand 17a – think I do now – I’m assuming that the first two letters of the answer is “crickety” and the rest is the incomplete (church) service. I can’t do 3d – have three of the five letters and I feel, from the clue, that it ought to be a palindrome – maybe not. Anyway, a hint for that one would be much appreciated.
    The clues that I liked are most of them but particularly 9, 13 and 22a and 7 (once I’d stopped trying to justify “Tsarina”) 14, 17 and 24d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    • Posted May 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink


      3 down is a palindrome, so you only need to try the vowels!

      • Kath
        Posted May 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Yes – thanks – how dim can I be? I’d done that but somehow missed the correct pronunciation of the vowel and so excluded it!! It just came to me when I was at the top of the garden!

    • spindrift
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for the explanation for 17a. I looked at it every which way I could but just couldn’t justify the answer. Now it’s back to ironing my son’s shirts for school next week (he’s a teacher not a pupil). Please don’t ask but apparently nobody irons shirts like Dad. A fact which MrsS heartily endorses….

      • Addicted
        Posted May 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        As you apparently are not available, do you perhaps have a brother with similar skills???

        • Posted May 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

          Kath gave a hint to 17a at tthe eginning of this thread (#11).

  12. Colmce
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to BD for his e-mail, sailing postponed as its blowing old boots in Dover, so will have something to pass the afternoon with.

    When I opened this site it came up as moblle version, to get rid of it scroll to bottom and switch off IPad version and you get back to normal.

  13. Heno
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink


  14. Brian
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Very pretty looking site now but the add comment doesn’t work on an iPad!
    Managed 3/4 but stuck on bottom left. Any hint for 17d? BYW don’t understand the hint for 22a.
    Apart from the bottom left I thought this a very enjoyable puzzle, may enjoy the last 1/4 if I can finish it!

    • Prolixic
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Put together two words each meaning membership payments for a word meaning keeps down or quells.

      • Brian
        Posted May 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        Thx sooooo obvious, got the first bit just couldn’t see the second. Thx again
        PS the add comment works if you turn off the iPad setting at the bottom and use the classic view.

    • Prolixic
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      22a – The answer can mean limit, jump or for certain. It is a triple definition clue.

      • Brian
        Posted May 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        Thx again obvious when you get it,DOH!

        • Brian
          Posted May 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          All done and as I suspected very enjoyable. Some clever clues and some tricky ones too. Thx to the setter and to BD and Proloix for the hints.

    • Colmce
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Yes it does!

  15. Colmce
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    All done and dusted, as usual for a Sunday an absolute pleasure, rich mix of accessible clues, thanks Virgilius.

    5a wasn’t. Liked 15a 21d 22a.

    Extra shout for BD for not only getting the puzzle to me, but also for his review.

    Solving with paper and pencil ( not confident enough to use pen), a bit of a novelty nowadays !

  16. AnnB
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks all just stuck on 14d just cannot see it today …brain not working in the sunshine !!

    • crypticsue
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      The sort of learning experience you might have in geography… runners collectively are known as a (5) and if you stumble you….!

      • Kath
        Posted May 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Sorry CS – I think I’ll just give up ever trying to do a hint – it’s either wrong, done better, or too late!!

        • crypticsue
          Posted May 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          If it is any consolation, we haven’t got the sun either!

          • Kath
            Posted May 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            No consolation at all – REALLY want/need some sun now and, what’s more important, so does my garden. Forecast for this week looks better … I live in hope!

    • Kath
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      I’ll swap you a hint for some sunshine!!
      14d – the answer is the kind of learning experience that kids in their GCSE year do, particularly for Geography. The first word is the number of people competing in a running event and the second is a synonym for fall over.
      NOW send me the sun, please!!

  17. Arthur Dent
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Well I thought I was getting better at this cryptic lark, but then this morning, before the hints came out, I had managed the sum total of ONE answer. I nearly cried into my tea.

    The hints got me going however and now (with a good deal of electronic help) I have completed the grid and I am now feeling much better about Life, the Universe and Everything.

    Once again I got stuck in the SW corner. I didn’t much care for the answer to 25a – I would prefer it to have an extra couple of letters on the end and, although I have got the country in 18d (with the help of a googled list of countries to find one with the copper in the right place) I still cannot see who the “ruler” is…

    Anyway – having now solved it I can say that I enjoyed it (eventually).

    With thanks to the setter and particular thanks to BD without whom I would still be a blubbering wreck…

    • crypticsue
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      I hope you have still got those shin pads handy, and please don’t bang your head on the table again, you are going to look silly tomorrow with a large bump on your head. If you have the correct country, which I think you should have, have a look at the first and last letters.

      • Arthur Dent
        Posted May 20, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink


        I have so much to learn…


        • crypticsue
          Posted May 20, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          I don’t wish to depress you further… but I am still learning ‘stuff’ almost 42 years after I first started !

  18. Franny
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Persevate, Arthur, and don’t be discouraged. The answers didn’t all leap out for me either. I find that reading the clues through then going away and doing something else for a while before returning is often very helpful. Anyway, I did eventually complete this one and enjoyed it on the whole. Once I got into the swim I found plenty of good clues. thanks to BD for the explanations, especially for 17a, and to the compiler for the fun. Now, could someone explain 25a for me?

    • gazza
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      25a Make rare contribution to sounder dogma (7)
      Hidden in the clue is a verb meaning to make a rare contribution (to a steak meal, for example).

  19. Aristotle
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    After spending most of the last week moaning (quietly) about the number of anagrams used I must thank Virgilius for a puzzle with only one. I enjoyed it greatly.

    • gazza
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      I counted three anagrams in this one, but I, too, enjoyed it greatly. If you appreciate anagram-free puzzles I hope you found last Wednesday’s Toughie by Beam.

  20. Derek
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    BD two initial remarks : 1 your banner says DT 2640 but underneath 2639!! I see it is modified now.
    2 I have a lot of trouble logging on to your blog since all the innovations – it gets stuck transferring data from cdn.widget.server.
    It could be my PC which is aging somewhat. I thought I would mention it nevertheless in case others find similarities.

    A pleasant puzzle from Virgilius I presume – not very taxing.

    Liked : 9a, 15a, 17a, 28a, 3d, 4d, 14d & 18d.

    Today here in NL the weather is quite summery. It rained heavily last night but today is warm and sunny which is good as it is the Leids Marathon (Leyden) so my friends and I didn’t go to the Teahouse (Theehuis) in the Leidse Bos as some of the roads were blocked to traffic.

    Chelsea did rather well yesterday.

    • Posted May 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      I’ve moved that widget so that it’s only on the Contact/Calendar page

  21. Weekend Wanda
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Most enjoyable. Managed without hints or other help in several parts due to catching train from Nottingham to London via Grantham due to the inexplicable length of the ‘direct’ journey from Nottingham on a Sunday morning.First in was NE corner and last in NW. Cracked it once I got 1a and 9a last in. Favourites 11, 17a and 3, 4 and 14d. Thanks setter – I daren’t say I am now on your wavelength as it may not last!

  22. Jo
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I think I have all but 24d. Can’t make any sense of hint either :( Maybe got checking letters wrong but don’t think so . Can anyone offer another hint please?

    • gnomethang
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      JO – I can’t give any further hints without hitting the ‘Naughty Corner’.
      The two letters from Dave’s hint as split mean ‘to throw around’ (exchange) pleasantries or banter.

      • Jo
        Posted May 21, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        Thanks gnomethang, for risking the Naughty Corner for me, I have it now :).

  23. gnomethang
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    A lovely puzzle by Virgilius.
    ‘Bog Standard’ for him does not do it justice as it is still the highlight of my week.
    What with the outage at Telegraph Towers I actually managed to solve this in the pub.
    With a pint.
    Before winning the darts.

    Thanks to all concerened!

  24. Annidrum
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I was very slow getting into this but got there eventually with quite a few D’OH moments. Needed the explanation for 17a .Thanks again to Virgilius.

  25. Heno
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, agree with Crypticsue about 12a. Got the answer without realising it was a hidden word! Needed to read the blog to get 17a, which was last in. Favourite was 28a. Might be almost tropical in Central London next week, watch this space.

  26. nubian
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Nice crozzy for a Sunday, thanks to B Dave and the Setter

    • Digby
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Been on leave?

      • nubian
        Posted May 20, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Moving house, down sizing and retiring disgracefully with the profit. Last 2 months hae been a bit hectic, hopefully now back on station, Thanks for the heads up Diggers

        • pommers
          Posted May 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          Hi Nubian, nice to see you back.
          The retiring/downsizing/profits bit worked for me! Can recommend it as you’ll have more time for crosswords :grin:

          • nubian
            Posted May 20, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for the note Pommers, nice to be back

        • pommers
          Posted May 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

          Forgot to mention that I too have retired disgracefully – well on the way to being a grumpy old man, just need some time :lol:

    • Kath
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Glad that you’re back – had wondered where you’d got to! :smile:

      • nubian
        Posted May 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Kath, I’m starting to get all emotional with this, nice to know there are still some great people out there in the ether.

        • pommers
          Posted May 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

          Surprisingly, perhaps, some peolpe do actually care about others. Kath’s one of them. :grin:

        • spindrift
          Posted May 21, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          Please don’t tell me you’ve left the beautiful North East second only to God’s Own County just a little further South? Were coming up to Northumberland in September for Dad’s 82nd birthday bash with the whole clan.

          • nubian
            Posted May 21, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

            I have moed South by about 500mtrs so not too drastic. Thanks for the concern Spin

  27. Posted May 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Day off today. Back tomorrow … Hopefully. Like the new lay out.

  28. pommers
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    What an excellent puzzle – is 12a the clue of the year so far? I may have seen better ‘hidden word’ clues but I can’t remember when that was :grin:

    Many thanks to Virgilius for a very entertaining pre-prandial solve, and also the to BD, of course, for the hints.

  29. Hrothgar
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    How dim can you be to look and look and look at the word ‘*****’ and only think of bow-legged?
    Excellent puzzle, thanks Virgilius and BD

  30. pommers
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Hey Dave – good videos! Sounds of my youth :grin: Muchas gracias!