ST 2654 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2654 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2654 (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”.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submission


1a           Seafood I served with pickle (6)
Start with the I from the clue and then put a pickle or mischievous child in front

10a         Pedigree of computer company? Its product supposedly impacted scientist (5,4)
… inspiring him to give a mathematical description of his law of universal gravitation

11a         Philosopher that one saves from danger and successfully brings home (5)
Fill one of the blanks!  “Save one’s _____” or “Bring home the _____”

12a         Experience an evening out in damp late autumn (7)
Another fabulous hidden word – a signature Virgilius clue

18a         Fish in river turned right into bottom of boat (8)
Reverse (turned) a three-letter river and follow it with R(iver) inside the bottom of boat

25a         Duke about to put two and two together, say, as follower of fashion (7)
Put a duke or clenched hand around a verb meaning to two and two together

ARVE Error: need id and provider

29a         Commercial opening that occurs before Christmas (6)
A two-letter commercial followed by an opening or aperture


1d           Showed irritation over European stock’s panicky reaction (8)
A verb meaning showed irritation followed by (over in a down clue) E(uropean) gives a sudden rush of some panic-stricken stock

7d           Alternative for the acre? (7)
An anagram (alternative) of THE ACRE is described by the whole of this &Lit clue

9d           Innovative foundation seizing opportunity (14)
A charade of a foundation or base and a verb meaning seizing an opportunity to make something generally known   A foundation (9) around (seizing) an opportunity [Thanks Jezza.]

19d         Working on pamphlet, do some drawing (7)
A two-letter word meaning working on followed by a pamphlet gives a verb meaning to draw towards

24d         I, as indicated by pilot, land in Asia (5)
The letter represented by I in the NATO Phonetic alphabet as used by, among others, a pilot

 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 Brian Duffy aka Jet Black of The Stranglers (74)
  ARVE Error: need id and provider

42 comments on “ST 2654 (Hints)

  1. Perfection on a piece of paper. Didn’t take long to solve but what entertainment. Had a read through afterwards to try and pick some favourite clues but it was too hard to choose – a definite ‘Brucie’ collection of clues.

    Thanks to Virgilius for a splendid start to what is turning out to be a great Sunday and to BD too.

  2. A most enjoyable stroll, some quite brilliant clues.
    Took longer than usual to get started, went bottom up and then it all fell into place.
    Thanks Virgilius and BD

    1. Tell us where you are stuck & I’m sure someone will give you a gentle nudge. The secret is to keep persevating as Mary would say ( and welcome back Mary , your pearls of wisdom have been missed)

  3. took longer than usualbut got the long anagram at 5D quickly which helped a lot. Lovely crossword, too many good clues to pick a favourite, so thanks to Virgilius and B.D.

  4. Enjoyed today’s, a nice mixture of some clever clues. But could some explain why the hidden word in 12a is an evening out, why 27a is helping and what has pickle to do with the mischievous boy in 1a. Thx.

    1. Here we go again
      12a Evening out doesn’t mean a night on the tiles – it is used as a verb
      27a the definition isn’t helping, helping is part of the wordplay
      1a Surely you have heard of a naughty boy being called both a pickle and the majority of the letters in 1a.

      1. Thx Sue, so obvious now, had a brain hangup over the evening! Never heard of a bad boy being called a Pickle before and neither had Mrs B, must be a regional term.

        1. The definition of pickle is in Chambers 1949, 2008 and 2011 editions, as an informal term for a troublesome child, no mention of any regional connections.

          1. Quite right, looked the first five letters of the clue in Chambers but never thought to look up pickle. So that’s one thing mrs b and I have learned today.
            Ps no one in the pub had heard of it either!

            1. Our eldest daughter is named Jane, but for her first few years “Pickle” was used more often than not!

  5. Busy day! So far I’ve watched the Moto3. Moto2 and MotoGP motorcycle races and am now watching some Touring cars on ITV4. In between I’ve done the Observer Everyman xword and Toughie No51,washed and dried 4 loads of bedding from the apartment and been following progress in La Vuelta on the computer! I really must get a life :grin:

    Now off to local now to try Virgilius and watch the last hour of La Vuelta in the aircon. Very hot again today and also the stickiness has returned :sad:

    See y’all later.

  6. I thought this was a fairly gentle puzzle from Virgilius today, but I did enjoy solving it, even more so with a cold beer in the hot sunshine.
    Re 9d, I thought it was a synonym for ‘foundation’ containing (seizing) a 5 letter noun for an opportunity..(I am probably wrong!)

    1. Rhyming slang. Duke (of York’s) = forks, hence means fingers and you can work out the rest.

    2. Hi Slartibartfast. Have a look at for an explanation which seems plausible, if not absolutely convincing..

        1. Isn’t that where you put your left leg in, left leg out, in out in out shake it all about… or am I thinking of something else? :)

          1. SORRY BD, not sure I got your e-mail, I only just spotted that I had won the prize. Was I the only entrant? I’ve never won acrossword competition before.
            Can you e-mail me again please

            thank you

  7. Lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon; excellent puzzle but not too taxing. I thought 12a was a masterpiece. I see The Captain got a mention in 28a! Thanks BD and Virgilious.

  8. A long time since I tried the ST. Needed some help from BD (and Jezza and Bill Gates) – thanks to all – especially on 8d and 19d. New to me that the 5 letter second part of 19d was a synonym for pamphlet, always thought it was something else, but Bill Gates says it is – so it must be true.

    Not quite sure why 27a works – even with CS’s comment above.

    A couple of favourites – 20a and 14a.

    Would be nice if Rufus is really kind tomorrow.

    1. For 27a you have to put the abbreviation for ‘that is’ round (over) the abbreviation for time, then follow all that with a helping.

      1. Thanks Gazza – having solved the clue, I should have been able to work that out, but for unknown reasons just did not think of “helping” that way (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!).

  9. Thanks to all, lovely sunny 13 here in Boston. Pickle was a toughie for us too, and that seafood is just not available here – just fried clams and lobster!

    1. You are not missing anything. Over here it is, for some strange reason, still popular. The law requires that it be preceded by the word “reformed” (as it is usually made from made from waste scraps glued together with chemicals) but most restaurants don’t seem to know that.

  10. The Master of the hidden clue!

    My Sunday ritual is always to go through all the clues simply looking for Virgilius’ hidden clues.

    Last one in today 12a – Brilliant! Didn’t know that it can be used as a verb!

  11. LOvely puzzle. I have just learnt during a convivial barbecue that I am working tomorrow so bo!. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  12. Late commenting as we are away supervising grandkids for a week, so out of usual routine and using strange computer. A really elegant and enjoyable puzzle from Virgilius again that provided many smiles and not too many problems. Pickle used in this way was new to us. Thanks Virgilius and BD

    1. It is usually to be found in one of the ‘bits’ that come with the main paper – in the section called Life.

  13. Here I am coming up the rear (as per the norm).
    You may have all moved on to puzzles new. If not can you help please.

    I’m struggling with the SW corner:

    19D (there are references above to it but haven’t helped so far)

    Carrie (in the dunce’s corner)

    1. Sudden flash of inspiration and I’m done

      Really enjoyed this one. As a novice judging what is a good crossword is, for me, difficult. Usually it’s down to did I solve it, however that is too simple.

      It’s hard to pick out a favourite clue at a push l would plump for 4A least is 25A.

      As ever thank you setter and BD


      1. 19d Working on pamphlet, do some drawing (7)
        Split your answer as (2,5). The first word can mean working, although it’s a little weak, and the second word is a pamphlet.

  14. Thanks to Virgilius & to Big Dave. Usual great stuff from Virgilius, first puzzle I’ve completed since Mum was admitted to hospital :-) Started with !a finished with 9d. Favourite was 10a.

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