ST 2644 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2644 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2644 (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           Notes warning about wife and armed females (10)
Put a verb meaning notes or indicates and a warning around W(ife) to get these females who are armed with rifles

9a           Visual aid positioned in front of a single pupil (7)
A cryptic definition of a visual aid which is positioned in front of one eye

12a         One who shows what’s in store for the man in the street (6-7)
… by arranging the wares in the front of a shop, where they can be seen by the man (and woman) in the street

22a         Impartial call for help with party’s work for children (4,2,7)
A charade of a word meaning impartial, the three-letter  international call for help and a right wing political party gives a work written for children by Rudyard Kipling

THE Camel’s hump is an ugly lump
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get
From having too little to do.

24a         Ramble aimlessly — it’s one degree below (7)
To get a verb meaning to ramble aimlessly (but not the one usually applied to a river) combine a degree higher than bachelor and a word meaning below

27a         Information about no real changes in stricken city (3,7)
Put some up-to-date information around (about) an anagram (changes) of NO REAL  to get this US city which was stricken seven years ago by Hurricane Katrina


1d           The writer with a way of performing written communication (4)
Combine the first person objective pronoun with a way of performing or doing to get this written communication

3d           With hindsight, criticised visitor vocally after short time (6-7)
This verb apparently means criticised with the benefit of hindsight, although I always thought it meant anticipated an action – Chambers has both! – put what sounds like (vocally) a visitor after a short period of time

4d           State other exciting option, being extremely selective (6)
… coincidentally the US state that is currently home to our setter!

8d           Cursing after director, say, cut short evaluation (10)
This verb meaning cursing comes from a charade of a short name for a director and an evaluation

16d         Can, perhaps, hold back under pressure (8)
This verb meaning to can food in order to keep it comes from a verb meaning to hold back or earmark after (under in a down clue) P(ressure)

23d         Bishop is hiding a prejudice (4)
Start with B(ishop) and follow it with IS around (hiding) the A from the clue to get a prejudice

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 Venus Williams (32) and Barry Manilow (66)
(I hope you’re not expecting a Barry Manilow video!)

45 comments on “ST 2644 (Hints)

  1. The top half of this started off so well that I thought it was all going to be lovely and straightforward. How wrong I was! A very enjoyable time was had once again, so a big thank you to Virgilius and to Big Dave too, particularly for not giving us a Manly Barrilow video :D

  2. A tad trickier than normal I thought, but just as enjoyable. Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD

  3. Found this a bit of a struggle today and have spent far too much time indoors as a result! Totally stuck on 26a…. but finally got there!! Really enjoyed the challenge so thanks to Vigilius and managed without help from BD, so maybe I am getting better at this! Off to B&Q to get mouse traps :( why do my cats bring in mice and then leave them! I am pretty good at catching them usually but this one has defeated me!

  4. 26a still uncertain, a gentle nudge welcome. (4 letter answers, bane of my life).

    No problems with the rest of this excellent puzzle.

    Great fun,thanks to setter and to BD for tips.

    1. A triple definition for (a) an uncontrolled slide (b) killed and (c) how Americans may refer to a lot of something.

  5. Really struggling here. Finding this very difficult indeed. Any help with 13d would be much appreciated.

    1. The name of an American author is also the name of two past members of Brfitish royalty!

    2. Just about finished, only 18d to go and even with the checking letters and my electronic aid I still can’t make a word, I wonder if the across clues are wrong. Can see a word for ramble aimlessly for 24a but no idea how it fits the rest of the clue.

      1. 18d – you will need your shin pads – if you have the right checking letters, you will find that an anagram (tailor) of CUT SOME gives you an outfit – definitely a clue YOU should have solved. 24a if you have the right answer split it 2 and 5 and then read the second part of the clue again.

        1. Thx Sue, shin pads at the ready. Should have seen tailor as the anagram indicator. Never heard of the answer to 24a, had to look it up in Chambers but I can now see the wordplay. .I had another word for ramble aimlessly with an e and an a.
          8d is another new word I have learnt today
          Feel pleased to have finished but did find it hard going with only one clue I really enjoyed and that was 17a.

  6. I didn’t find this too difficult but did have to take my time to understand some clues. Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the H&T

  7. I see that the GK crossword has been set by the pangram addict. Binned after about 10 answers.

  8. Certainly had to work at this one but got there in the end. No particular favourites but 17a, whilst an obvious answer, it is a word I can’t recall ever having used; if we take off the last two letters and add the word “science”, it becomes hackneyed.
    Happy Fathers’ Day to all fellow dads; feeling my age though, since both of mine are in their forties!
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD for a stimulating bit of cerebral exercise.
    Oh, almost forgot: Mrs B is doing the cooking tonight; now there’s a welcome change!

  9. Afternoon Dave, managed to finish this before taking ‘other half’ out for Fathers Day! Found it really hard today and as Brian said my brain was hurting!!! For over an hour I had only solved about half a dozen clues and was just about to leave it when my brain must have woken up! I still needed loads of help from my electronic friends and had never heard of 8d or 24a, a toughie for me today 4* IMHO :-)
    Perservation needed in bucketfuls, to recover have spent a lovely afternoon in Picton Castle and woodland gardens with a delicious cream tea in the forecourt in the sunshine (yes sunshine!)
    Now to top it off about to order a Chinese takeaway :-)

  10. A good workout that one. Anything contentious ? not really, a gentle Sunday stroll before the family arrives for dinner. Thanks to Virgilius & to Big Dave

  11. Thanks to Virgilius & to Big Dave. Another super puzzle from Virgilius, but much more difficult than usual. Needed 3 hints and help with another two from the blog. Favourite was 22a. Managed to do some more glossing outside this morning, rain again in Central London tomorrow.

  12. Quite a slog for me, but got there in the end. The American state I would never have got from the clue without having the checking letters, guessing the state and then spending ages trying to work out how the clue works. I’m in awe of Virgilus as a result.

  13. I’m just a starter at this particular puzzle (today is my first ST cryptic) and feel very thick…thankyou BD for some hints but I’m really stuck on everything, especially 8d, 22a,17a, 25a, 14a and 3d et al (I’m a scientist BTW…albeit not v intelligent for 17a!). This puzzles me as I usually complete Saturday’s puzzle after cribbing from BD of course but is the Sunday puzzle meant to be harder or is it just me?

    1. I thought this one was harder than the usual Sunday Virgilius but as good as ever.
      17a What’s studied by very intelligent scientists? Temperature in part of garden (8)
      There’s a phrase used to describe something which doesn’t require a high degree of intelligence “It’s not ****** science”.
      Insert the abbreviation of temperature inside an arrangement of stones in a garden.

    2. Do persevere with the Sunday Cryptic. More often than not it’s the best puzzle of the week.

      25a Asian language and English used in part of Indonesia (7)
      Insert the 3-letter abbreviation for English inside an Indonesian island to make a language spoken in India and Bangladesh.

  14. I agree with Brian and Mary. Just a boring slog – not enjoyable.Everything works out but the game doesn’t seem to be worth the candle. It’s all too dull. Just had my fiftieth birthday and wonder if I’m becoming a grumpy old man

  15. Glad it’s not just me finding this a hard slog – still haven’t finished, even with the hints and electronic help and am now fed up with it and going to bed! Two 4-letter peskies unsolved – 6a and 26a – and my electronic friend can find no word at all for 21d and I’m pretty sure the checking letters are correct. Bit disappointed in fact as, although I find the Sundays tricky, I usually enjoy working them out and I didn’t enjoy this one at all – 1a is horrid and is 17a really a word? I’m with you phercott.

  16. So glad that it’s not just me today. Had a very quick look at this early this morning before going off to London to spend Father’s day with younger daughter and friends – they cooked lunch for us – and what good cooks they all are – roast beef and trimmings, wonderful pud and generally lovely day. How lucky we are! :smile:
    When we got home at about 7.30pm I had another go at the crossword – I thought that it was really difficult today. I’m finally left with 4d which I still don’t understand and 26a which I just can’t do – for ages, although I couldn’t explain it, I tried to make it something that a car might do on a slippery surface but, having read the hint and at last got 18d that puts paid to that idea. Oh dear!! I give in – I’m tired and my brain hurts AND it’s absolutely chucking it down again in Oxford with thunder rumbling around.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    1. Kath,
      In 4d ‘being extremely selective’ means select only the outer (extreme) letters. In 26a the easiest of the three definitions is ‘killed’.

  17. Dear Gazza,
    just got the kids to bed, (12 and 10 by the way!). Thankyou for the clues. This is still very hard though. I hope I can do better next time, look forward to talking with all on what appears a very friendly site. Thankyou once again.

  18. Hello Gazza,
    25a, aaagh…easy once you know how. Never mind, hope to contribute next weekend. I’ll try to get up earlier for Saturday’s puzzle. I do like the friendliness of this site and the support for folk like me from the likes of you.

  19. Also got 17 a ….muchos gratias. Bedtime now to dream upon the rest. Maybe I’ll have it done by next week.

  20. First time ever to try the ST cryptic – and found it comparatively hard work, although I had to kick myself a few times, when the wordplay in the clue finally dawned on me, having come to the answer from a different direction. Cleverly set and I’m not convinced that I’m right with my answer to 6a – any hints?

    1. 6a As fine champion, it’s humiliating to lose (4)

      Combine F (fine, as in grade of pencil) with a champion to get the second part of the phrasal verb lose **** or be humiliated

    2. As with any setter, you need to solve a few of Virgilius’s puzzles in order to become accustomed to his style. It’s worth persevering as he is one of the top Telegraph setters.

    3. MikeT, for many years I only attempted the DT Cryptic from Monday to Saturday.

      The first few times I attempted Virgilius on a Sunday – I found it completely impenetrable. Now, the Sunday puzzle is always my favourite of the week! Definitely – keep persevering!

      As a paper reader, perhaps, it’s the different layout on Sunday – Clues on the Left – Grid on the Right – that makes it more of a challenge? You also have to fold the paper in a different way!

  21. Really obvious – can’t believe I missed it. Thanks for your help. I will have to persevere with Virgilius, as I found his style so different from the usual weekday compilers and ended up struggling – which is relatively unusual.

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