ST 2643 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2643 (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           It helps one digest second rich source covering comprehensive exam (5,9)
This organ that helps one digest is derived from S(econd) and a rich source of minerals around (covering) a phrase meaning comprehensive (3,2) and an exam

21a         Smear in incredible English, very badly written (10)
Put a smear or small amount of something (3) inside a word meaning incredible and E(nglish) to get an adjective meaning very badly written

22a    Something that shouldn’t be split, in short — old knowledge (4)
Start with “something that shouldn’t be split”, one of the best-known examples being “to boldly go”, then take the shortened form of the word, add O(ld) and the result is some knowledge

26a         Warning signal coach’s backing activates, always, to inform learner in side (9,5)
This warning signal which is activated when a vehicle, such as a coach, is backing is constructed by putting a word meaning always, a verb meaning to inform and L(earner) inside a side (not the left!)


1d           Think American pressure is splitting religious group (7)
A verb meaning to think or believe is created by putting the two-letter abbreviation for American and P(ressure) inside (splitting) a religious group

4d           Standard article in French style (6)
A charade of a standard and the two-letter indefinite article gives a French style of architecture

7d           Lacking reserve — good, however (15)
A charade of a phrase meaning lacking (3,4), a reserve (5,2) and G(ood) gives a word meaning however

23d         Lesson to be drawn after opener’s dismissed in test (4)
Start with a lesson to be drawn then remove the initial letter (after opener’s dismissed) and the result is a spoken test

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 Elizabeth Hurley (47)


  1. lizwhiz1
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    A really pleasant challenge :) Got a bit stuck on the SE corner but got there in the end!

  2. crypticsue
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    The usual great start to Sunday morning once again. Lots of good clues incluidng 15a (a straightforward anagram that took me ages to work out); 17a, 22a and 25a. Thanks to Virgilius and BD too.

  3. Brian
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Super puzzle that took all my concentration to solve. Was nice to sit in the sun for a change to do the crossword.

    • Kath
      Posted June 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Sun? It’s just starting to rain again here.

  4. Kath
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear! :sad: Just when I thought that I could, at last, do Sunday puzzles along comes a little piglet like this.
    I found it really difficult – have finished it now, if having an answer for all the clues counts even if there are quite a few that I don’t understand. BD’s hints have explained two of them (1 and 26a) which now leaves me with 21 and 22a and 4d. Any help would be very much appreciated.
    I enjoyed this, even if it’s taken ages and nearly driven me mad! Clues I liked are 10, 12 and 25a and 5 (which took me a long time to see) 6, 8 and 16d. With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    I do hope that I’m not the only one to have had trouble with this!

    • pommers
      Posted June 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kath

      21a – not easy to explain without breaking the rule about alternative clues. If you look at your answer you will find its a word for incredible (6) followed by E(nglish) into which a smear has been inserted.

      22a – The abbreviation for the part of a verb which you shouldn’t split followed by O(ld)

      4d – a word for standard followed by an indefinite article gives something French

      • Kath
        Posted June 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        Thanks pommers – I now understand 21 and 22a and it’s no wonder that I didn’t understand my answer for 4d because it was wrong!! I thought that the definition was standard and so I had all the right letters except the last one which was an “L”! Oh dear, again!!
        Where is everyone today – I’ve never seen it so quiet on a Sunday.

  5. pommers
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    A tricky but enjoyable little rascal :grin:

    In view of England’s current performance at Edgbaston I think 15a has to be favourite :lol:

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD

  6. Hrothgar
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Really geat puzzle, very impish and cheeky.
    Very satisfyng.
    6d got me going until the penny dropped.
    Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  7. axe
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Struggled with 24a untill i realised that i had 17d wrong, was i the only one ?

    Very much enjoyed the word-play to 1.14.16,19.

    I will now return to your monthly, only 50% complete.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  8. The Buffer
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I’ll offer more coment later; in the meantime: 16d, can’t sus it out although I have all the checking letters. Help please.

    • gazza
      Posted June 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      16d Weapons thrown while epic is put together (8)
      Definition is weapons (that are) thrown. Put together a word meaning while (2), a synonym for epic (4) and IS.

      • Aunty Marge
        Posted June 11, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        It took me forever to find this word

    • spindrift
      Posted June 11, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Zulus! Bloody ‘undreds of them…

  9. Addicted
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Had a quiet sit at this and managed to finish – without help! – which is, I think, a first for a Sunday. Didn’t understand several of the answers but BD has explained most of them – thank you! – but am still puzzled about 25a; get the last 4 letters but don’t get the first 3??? Am not at all sure about my 8d either?
    But did enjoy it – thought I couldn’t do anything to start with but got going on the down clues and gradually got there. Thanks for a fun Sunday puzzle and the help from BD as ever.

    • crypticsue
      Posted June 10, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      25a – the definition is red line. Reverse M and 6 in letters and then the animal that represents the sign of Aries. 8d is the single letter abbreviation for book, followed by a word meaning title or entitlemtn to something; put them together and you get a synoym for clever.

      • Addicted
        Posted June 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        Thanks CS – I must be thick – I get the sign for Aries but I still don’t understand why it is a red line? I took “red” to be the definition but can’t get my head round “line” even though I know I have the right answer. Not to worry – but it is aggravating!

        • Kath
          Posted June 10, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

          I had trouble with this too – if you’re thick then so am I!! I’m still not sure about it … but I think life is too short …
          I thought this was difficult today.

        • gazza
          Posted June 11, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

          The definition is ‘red line’, where line means philosophy or attitude, so red line = communist philosophy.

      • Aunty Marge
        Posted June 11, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        Omg I am so stupid! I got stuck with the Latin version of six!

        • spindrift
          Posted June 11, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

          …and me!

  10. axe
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    well done the HAM.
    Brill race.

  11. Heno
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very tricky puzzle, but enjoyable. Had to use the hints for 22a and 23d. Favourites were 15a & 17d. I still can’t understand 21a despite reading Pommers comments.

    • axe
      Posted June 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      here goes.

      Place a word meaning to smear (3)

      Inside a word meaning Incredible (6)

      And add an E

      • Heno
        Posted June 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        Thanks axe, I finally get it now. I had the right answer, but I couldn’t parse it.

  12. DrBob
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    16d Point of order to the setter if I have it right then this is a stabbing spear not a throwing spear

    • Posted June 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog DrBob

    • crypticsue
      Posted June 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      Chambers says it is a spear for hurling or thrusting, which would imply both uses.

    • axe
      Posted June 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Did not the Zulu use such a thing ?

  13. Derek
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Quite a busy sport Sunday with Roland Garros. F1, and other events! Faves : 1a, 15a, 26a, 2d, 6d & 16d.

  14. andy
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    in a grump, been out all day, bought the paper but as i sit down to solve discover the Life section is missing, any chance of a pdf anyone please

    • crypticsue
      Posted June 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      It is on its way

      • Kath
        Posted June 10, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        I don’t need a pdf today but how wonderful are all the people who do this kind of stuff. I have been sent them before – today it’s CS! :smile: to you.

  15. Kath
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Still think it’s quiet here today ….. been gardening all day – maybe everyone else is too – probably not as I get the feeling that there aren’t many gardeners here …

    • Franco
      Posted June 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      Yes! Very quiet!

      • Kath
        Posted June 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

        … but not a gardener … ?

    • axe
      Posted June 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      Mrs Battle will return within the next few days
      The lawn to be mown, the bushes to be trimmed, the weeds to be removed.


  16. Jezza
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle! Not too tricky, although I spent a while on 16d.
    Plenty of good clues, but I put a tick against 15a.
    Thanks to Virgilius for the enjoyment; playing catch up on some of the puzzles from the last ten days, I will now look at last Sunday’s.

  17. andy
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to C Sue, for sending me a pdf, solved this evening. My respect grows for the setter. Thanks BD and Virgilius