ST 2656 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2656 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2656 (Hints)

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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Don’t miss our Monthly Prize crossword – this one is by Gazza.

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 Medicinal plant poet might use with porridge? (6)
We start with d’oh of the day.   We have this medicinal plant in our garden, but why would a poet use it with porridge.   Like me, you need to think what a poet does with words!


12a Strange doctor identifying some body parts (5-5)
A nickname for parts of your elbow.   A synonym for odd or peculiar followed by an informal way of referring to a doctor.

22a Like a court having a judicial process (6)
Merge A (from the clue) with a judicial process to get an adjective meaning like a central courtyard.

 25a Change to better part in Measure for Measure (6)
Hidden in the clue is a verb meaning change to better.


1d Contest in two parts — learner can get into both in a broadcast (8)
A contest combining shooting and cross-country skiing – an anagram (broadcast) of BOTH IN A plus L for learner.

14d Method of execution for making pale ale, for example (9)
Cutting the head off, as you do when turning the word pale into the word ale.

15d Personification of great power, awfully masculine? Not I (5,3)
The nickname for the citizens of the USA (great power) is an anagram (awfully) of MASCUL[I]NE with the I removed (not I).

21d Stuff on board old vessel south of Cape (5)
Goods carried on a ship or aeroplane.   Follow (south of) the abbreviation for Cape with the vessel used in the search for the Golden Fleece.

 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 there are lots of birthdays including Hugh Grant, Julia Sawalha, Michael Buble, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and Topol.   However, as BD has left me to choose my own musical clip this time, I am going for Otis Redding , sadly no longer with us, but born on the 9th September.

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87 comments on “ST 2656 (Hints)

      1. It is a Virgilius ‘special’ clue. Look at the clue and your answer. Split the first five letters of the solution 1, 3, 1 and all should become clear

        1. O.K. I had it right, but missed Virgilius’s delightfully devious clueing. Many thanks. Never previously heard of the tent in 24A, but the BRB came to the rescue.

          1. It’s one of those words that crop up in crosswords from time to time – like TENT for a Spanish red wine, that’s supposed to come from AlicanteProvince, but nobody round here has heard of it :grin:

              1. Probably right, but you should see the age of some of the people in this village – we have 2 centenarians!

                1. bodes well pommers, gosh just think you could be blogging for another 30 odd years at the very least ;-)

    1. Spell out the first 5 letters of the answer (1,3,1), and see if it fits one of the words in the clue!

    2. This is a perfect example of the type of clue that I wouldn’t have understood before finding this brilliant blog – I would have got the answer but not been able to explain why.
      My comment gives me yet another opportunity to say thanks to all concerned for all the hints, help and patience!! :smile:

        1. No, a mere 22C but beautiful clear blue sky and sun. Perfect for doing useful “stuff” in the garden. :grin:

  1. Good morning sue and thanks once again for filling in for Dave, I’ve finished this but there were about 6 I didn’t understand or see, your hints have helped me to understand two of my answers but I just cannot see 1a, 11a, 5d, 7d, I have the answers but cannot see where they come from!!! I thought at first this was going to be really hard but with the help of my books and machines I eventually got there :-) lots of perservation needed a three star for me today, fav clue today 12a, nice illustration sue :-D

          1. There is no cake at all in the corner today Mary so I would try and stay out of it. Having quite a busy weekend with no time for cake making at all.

            Re your other missing words, have another think about 1a when you have read my hint, 11a I think is just a cryptic definition of a particular 11a who was as the wordplay says. 5d have a look at your answer and a careful look at the clue.

                  1. Far too hot for sweatshirts here today. It was 18C in the shade at 8 am as I set off for my walk. Must be 26 at least now.

                    1. “Why is it so dull here!!” – Surely, Mary is not referring to the people who leave comments on this Blog!

                      (How many replies are possible in one thread? Cannot “Reply” to Mary’s last comment directly)

                    2. Now how could I possibly be referring to the blog stan! Everyone here lights up my days :-) especially when the weather doesn’t!

            1. Have looked and looked at your hint and the clue and the answer to 1a still can’t understand it, having another dense day obviously!

            2. Think there’s a bit more to 11a than meets the eye. It could be a just cryptic def of the 11a who was thrown out but if you put an I back into the answer you get an alternative spelling of the Islamic group prevalent in the place where said 11a was thrown out.

  2. Lovely puzzle as usual from Virgilius. 1.5*/4.5* from me today; ended up in the NW again (seems to be a feature for me this weekend).
    Thanks to setter, and to crypticsue.

  3. Morning Mary

    1a say out loud the answer and porridge
    11a Someone thrown out by Muslims is also an I removed froma branch of Islam
    5d Before the abbreviation for house (prior to) you need a word meaning match
    7d Can’t really add to what’s been said before.

    Hope the pennies drop soon :grin:

    1. Oh right pommers, re 1a, what a silly clue or is it?
      Thanks pommers, I can see clearly now… as the song goes :-)

  4. Thanks to Virgilius and Crypticsue for a super weekend offering, really enjoyable! Liked 1, 12, 13 and 24A, 1 and 14D Got all the answers but missed some of the subtle nuances until reading the blog so double thanks to V. and C.

  5. Greetings from Dover, 26° and hardly a breath of wind.

    Really enjoyed this puzzle,
    7d I put in without knowing why, thanks for the explanation.

    CS thanks for hints.

    Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable start to the day.

  6. I thought this was brilliant and loved doing it.
    I didn’t understand why 14d was what it had to be until I read the hint for it – thanks CS.
    I was a bit slow with 20a as I tried to make it start rather than end with the five letter word for “teams”. 1a took a while to understand and I’d never heard of the grass in 8a (but DO know all the “little women” so wasn’t too much of a problem). I was also held up with 1d as I interpreted “broadcast” as being indicative of a homonym so didn’t see the anagram.
    As always on Sundays there were too many great clues to put them all down so just a few were 12a and 7 and 17d. My absolute favourite was 13a.
    With thanks to Virgilius and Crypticsue.
    Hope that everyone had a good time yesterday and that there aren’t too many sore heads! :smile:
    Now to carry on what I suspect is an unequal struggle with yesterday’s NTSPP.

      1. I have, but tend to do an hour or two up the garden and then stop for a little while – my sister always describes how I do things as being in “flurries and slumps”! A few “slumps” are necessary today – don’t want to rub it in but it really is quite hot!!

  7. Thanks to Virgilius & to CrypticSue for the hints. Usual great stuff from Virgilius. First inwas 4a, last in is 1d, Favourites were 13 & 24a. A scorcher in Central London! I’m stuck on 1d,any hints would be most welcome. Got it now, just spotted the anagram!

          1. Do like the Spanish – don’t turn it on unless the temperature goes over 32C. Only 29C today so no need for AC.

        1. Looks pretty good in Norfolk too! Watching the Tour of Britain at the moment and softening tarmac might prove a problem for the sprint finish!

          1. I’m not speaking to any of you now, you’re just enjpying yourselves too much, isn’t anybody else getting this cloudy cold weather!!!!

  8. A puzzle just right for my befuddled barin this morning. Tahnks to Virgilius and CS. I’m just leaving St Pancras on my final leg home.

    1. Judging by the slightly scrambled comment shall we all assume that you had a good time “up North”? :smile:

  9. Its a pleasent 24° on the east coast of the US at the moment, conducive to solving crosswords! Pleasent outing today but still don’t fully get 7d. The composer is obvious but letters he has left? Thx to the setter for a nice exercise today.

  10. Many thanks to Crypticsue for providing the hints this weekend. Several other blog regulars put in an appearance at Anax’s 50th birthday celebrations – Pommette, Moonstruckminx, Dickiedot and Gnomethang come to mind, and not forgetting NTSPP setter Donk, John “Elgar” Henderson, Jetdoc, special guest Roger “Rufus” Squires and his lovely wife Anna.

  11. Usual late input from me – got the puzzle late and couldn’t print it out as my son-in-law had modified my printer settings – also was up ’til the early hours watching the battle between Serena and Victoria – felt very sorry for the White Russian lass!
    The usual very nice mix of clues from Virgilius.
    Hope tonight’s match between Novak and Andy goes the right way for the Scot at long last.

    PS : Faves were : 1a, 24a,5d & 21d.

    Off now to the local supermarket to get in basics in case I’m up till the early hours again!

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