ST 2649 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2649 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Crypticsue

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Big Dave has taken a rare day off and so, 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           For musical event, check warning light as soon as king enters court (7,7)
A type of musical event  – The abbreviation for check in a game of  chess followed by  a  coloured warning light.  To get the second word insert a conjunction meaning as soon as,  plus the single letter representing a king, into the abbreviation for court.

14a         Front of tropical fish seen in seaweed (6)
Once you realise that fish is used here as a verb, you should have no trouble following the first letter of Tropical with a verb meaning to fish to get a type of coarse seaweed.


15a         Origin of many a clue recycled every year? It’s my fault (3,5)
I know this is obvious but it is one of my favourite clues today – as if Virgilius would recycle a clue!    A Latin expression meaning it’s my fault is obtained by following the first letter  (origin) of Many with an anagram (recycled) of A CLUE, and then the two letters meaning every year, splitting the result 3, 5.  

 24a         70% of belongings destroyed in base (7)
An anagram of 7 of the 10 letters (70%) of BELONGIngs makes an adjective meaning base or dishonourable.

27a         Holder of evidence about crash given fine, not heavy, by judge (6,8)
A device recording the functioning of an aircraft, used to determine the cause of an air crash.   A charade of the abbreviation for fine and an adjective meaning not heavy, followed by a barrister or solicitor who sits as a part-time judge.


1d           Feature of architect’s car I adapted (14)
A nice anagram (adapted) to start the downs – a feature which marks or constitutes something is obtained by rearranging ARCHITECTS CAR I.

2d           Head off prison guard covering part of wing (7)
Remove the first letter (head off) a type of prison guard and add a preposition meaning covering to get part of the wing of a plane.


6d           Drink — it begins to get one down (3)
Probably the most original way yet of cluing the informal way of referring to Britain’s favourite drink.  Think carefully about  the final bits of the clue!

25d         Bride and groom first of all collected some luggage (3)
The initial letters (first of all) of Bride And Groom collected together give a piece of luggage they might take on their honey moon.

Lucky Big Dave – a day off from blogging duties, he gets to review this  superb Virgilius puzzle , and he’s snuck in some of his favourite singers at the end of my hints and tips!!

There are several clues which nearly made it into the hints and tips, so 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 Rufus Wainwright (39) [RIP Kate McGarrigle February 6, 1946 – January 18, 2010]  


  1. Kuni
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Hello all ! Is it possible if someone could be kind enough to tell me what page the crossword is on in the Sunday telegraph. Can’t find it in the main section anywhere??

    • crypticsue
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      If you separate all the different sections of the Sunday paper , there is a four page section (the name of which escapes me) which has the puzzles in it, and this is indicated at the top of the cover page.

      • BigBoab
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        The section is called “Life”

  2. gnomethang
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the review, CS. I managed to get this one done with a cup of tea before starting work on the boiler panel (day two). Still have Friday’s Toughie and yesterday’s to do but I made time for this one. Super stuff as ever from Virgilius, not really that difficult but lots of fun so thanks to him.

  3. toadson
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed this more than yesterday, not just because it was easier, but for me it was more fun too. Thanks for the hint for 6d .. hadn’t spotted the link!

    • Wozza
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      I completely agree. 2*/3* for me.

  4. Kath
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Lovely crossword AND the sun is out – well, sort of!
    I thought that this was a bit easier than Sunday crosswords are sometimes. I was dim about understanding why 19a was what it was and needed the hints to explain 6d and 2d – just misinterpreted the clue and thought the first three letters were “head off prison” which meant I couldn’t find the guard! :roll:
    I really liked lots of these – 15 and 24a and 3, 4, 5, 6 (now that I understand it). My absolute favourite was 20d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and CS.

    • crypticsue
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      At the risk of sounding like Pommers and co, it is HOT in East Kent, the sun is shining, the sky is blue and those perishing thunder bugs are back. :( Very unfair given how long we have waited for summer.

      • Kath
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        Yes – hot here too, now. Just come inside to cool down then back to garden. No thunder bugs but lots of nasty biting beasties lurking in all the places that I’m trying to weed and generally sort out after all the wet weather.

  5. BigBoab
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Vigilius for a very enjoyable crossword, one of his easier ones I think. Thanks also to Crypticsue for a very entertaing set of hints.

  6. Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Nice sunny Sunday. I agree a more gentle puzzle but some nice moments and a good range of clues. Many thanks to All.

  7. MikeT
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I must be getting more used to Virgilius’ style of clueing, as I completed this one relatively easily and would give it 4*. When it came to my last one in, I very nearly put ‘yippie’, until I suddenly realised what the clue was saying. Thanks to CS for today’s review.

  8. Tantalus
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the help CS. Maybe you could issue a “get out of the corner free” card to Franco so he could help me with 7d.

    • gazza
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      7d Key Italian used in authentic musical performance (7)
      The definition is musical performance. Insert a musical key and the two-character abbreviation for Italian inside a synonym of authentic.

    • crypticsue
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      He’s probably waiting until I share out the cherry and sultana cake :)

      7d A type of musical performance, usually by one performer or composer. Insert into a synonym for authentic, a musical note or key and the abbreviation for Italian.

  9. Addicted
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Stuck on 19a and 20d – any help would be much apreciated! Thanks.

    • gazza
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      19a Dance music has very little changed in last section (6)
      The definition is dance music. Start with an adjective meaning very little and change the order of the letters at the end (in the last section).

    • gazza
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      20d Perform hair-raising act, resulting in reprimand (7)
      A cryptic way of saying raise hair (2,5) is actually a verb meaning to reprimand.

  10. Polly Esther Cotton
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink


    What a finish and well done to Chris and Cav as well. What a result! :grin:

    Yes, it’s me! Thought a new screen name for non-blogging days would make a change, but I’ve not changed the avatar so you’ll know who I am.

    • gazza
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      I agree with Polly. The greatest British sporting achievement ever (IMHO).

      • Polly Esther Cotton
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Ranks along with winning the football World Cup (don’t suppose we’ll ever see that again!) but we might see another Tour winner – Wiggo again or Chris Froome perhaps?

        Quite emotional about it really as pommette’s family are all bike racers, and her mum was known to beat Beryl Burton occasionally on the track – if anyone’s old enough to remember her (Beryl that is, not pommette’s mum!).

        • crypticsue
          Posted July 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          Don’t think I ever met Pommette’s mum but I do remember Beryl Burton.

        • gazza
          Posted July 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          It’ll be Sir Wiggo now, surely?

          • crypticsue
            Posted July 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

            Do you think he will be the one to light the final Olympic ‘torch’?

    • crypticsue
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      I am wondering if Polly has had too much sun and vino collapso in Pommette’s absence :D

      • Polly Esther Cotton
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        All good things come to an end – she’s back now! Have to behave myself :grin:

        • crypticsue
          Posted July 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          I wondered why you had been so quiet today :)

          • Polly Esther Cotton
            Posted July 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

            Yep, airport runs interfere.

            Just off to the local for a bite to eat and tackle this puzzle – might be back late.

            • Kath
              Posted July 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

              All very confusing but unmistakeable avatar so all well. Does this mean you’re now Polly all the time except blogging days? Where did the name come from?

              • Polly Esther Cotton
                Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

                From the label inside the collar of my shirt :lol:

                • andy
                  Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

                  sound like a punk singer dear boy, but that was poly styrene i think. Shattered, my smattering of Polish and Spanish has been tested to the limit at a dinner party trying in vain to speak / translate in three idiomas, with top notch polish vodka. Going back for more…. see you tomorrow

                • Kath
                  Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink


    • Kath
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      There’s a good quickie pun there!
      A common name for a parrot (5)
      …… and Abi Offarim (6) Apologies if the names aren’t spelt correctly!
      A natural fibre (6)

  11. Digby
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Hot work in Paris and at the Oval.
    One of Mr V’s easier rides, so a bulging post-bag.
    Except I notice that the DT now accepts scanned entries on Sundays, which saves a 10 bob stamp!

    • Polly Esther Cotton
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Don’t mention the cricket – it’s an embarrassment!

  12. Hilary Power
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe you’re all saying how easy it is! Yesterday was a breeze but today has me scratching my head even with all your help :(

    • Kath
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Not easy at all, but not as tricky as Sundays can be! :smile:

  13. andy
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    To Hilary it wasn’t east for me either, but I always struggle on a sunday with Virgilius, however yip yip I did it unaided, 6d is a classic IMHO followed closely by 15a. Thanks to Virgilius and CSue. Tis sunny and warm here too, long may it last.

    • gnomethang
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      15a was my favourite as well and for precisely Sue’s reasoning!.

      • andy
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        Yup for the same reason, but dear Elgar gets clue of the week for me for “pithed”, still makes me laugh

        • Kath
          Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

          Can’t “do” Elgar but what was the clue?

          • gazza
            Posted July 22, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

            Violet Elizabeth’s drunk orange consumable so? (6)

  14. Derek
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed solving this puzzle from Virgilius while watching the first downpour since we came to the Var!
    Liked : 15a, 22a, 3d & 21d.

  15. Polly Esther Cotton
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    15a favourite by a mile. Enjoyed it a lot :smile:

    Lots of other good stuff though and a bit trickier than recent Sundays IMHO

    Thanks to Virgilius and to CS for holding the fort in the boss’s absence.

  16. Mep
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Could somebody please explain why 18D is what it is……I have put in the only officer that fits with the letters I already have having completed the rest of it. Many thanks in advance.

    • Prolixic
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Mep.

      The first three and the last letters are the name of a Scottish island. The inner three letters spell out I (as a number). Stationed in tells you to put the I letters inside the name of the island.

      • Mep
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

        Many thanks Prolixic…….on both counts. I hate getting an answer but not “getting” it. You have put my troubled mind at ease :)

  17. Heno
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius & to Cryptic Sue for the hints, only needed one for 25a . Usual great stuff from Virgilius, most enjoyable, Favourites were 1a & 8d. Have lost a bifocal contact lens, so did most of this with a magnifying glass. Off to the optician tomorrow.

  18. Colmce
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Late to this one, really enjoyed it.
    Thanks to Crypticsue for hints and to Virgilius for the entertainment.