ST 2661 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2661 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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There’s still time to enter this month’s Prize crossword.

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           Smiling expression of someone about to be shot (6)
A cryptic definition of what a photographer might say to someone whose photograph he is about to take

10a         A lot of money to Greece, finally — much of it’s channelled through German banks (5)
Most (a lot) of a slang word for money followed by the final letter of GreecE – a much of this geographic feature is in Germany

12a         Calm, though surrounded by endless pack ice (7)
A two-letter word meaning though between (surrounded by) PAC(K) and IC(E) without their final letters (endless)

14a         Money belonging to thief’s accessory used in serious crime (7,7)
Split as (7,2,5) this could be money belonging to the person who purchases stolen goods from a thief (thief’s accessory)

25a         Mot juste for a dramatic production? (5)
A French word meaning “there you are”, often uttered before revealing something dramatic

27a         In front of church, take off woollen coat (6)
The abbreviation for the Church of England is preceded by (in front of) a verb meaning to take off or run away from


1d           Hard top in vehicle put on quickly (8)
The thick hard shell of the crab, tortoise, turtle, etc. comes from a charade of a vehicle and an adverb meaning quickly

5d           Fellow I needed in great work with a politician sorting things (14)
F(ellow) and I inserted into a great work of fiction followed by the A from the clue and a Conservative politician – the definition is an adjective meaning of a system of sorting things into categories

9d           Message to many repeatedly included by hook or by crook (8,6)
How the O, in hook or crook, is often described in crossword clues

15d         Become inflamed, seeing two ways to effect dismissal (5,4)
A charade of two means of dismissal– the first in cricket and the second from a job

16d         A drug, foolishly consumed, finished student? (8)
An anagram (foolishly) of A DRUG followed by a verb meaning consumed food gives a student who has finished his degree course

22d         Fish, small, subject to heat, did this? (5)
This fascinating clue results in a fish or S(mall) followed by a verb meaning to subject to heat or what a fish might have done if subjected to heat or perhaps the action of subjecting a metal to heat – take your pick

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 Sir Cliff Richard (72) and Sir Roger Moore (85)


  1. mary
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Good morning Dave, I read through all but 3 clues before I managed to get one answer today, then slowly with help from book, electronic friend I managed to complete it, although I got 10a, despite your hint, I still don’t know what that slang word is? liked clues, 14a,24a,26a, 27a, fav clue 9d, good luck everyone, perservation once again pays off today :-)

    • mary
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Right I just looked up money and found the slang term :-)

      • Colmce
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        Thank you, that one puzzled me, all is now clear.

    • Moja
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Finished quite quickly today, but the rationale for 10a had me foxed for quite a while. Chambers helped! Is it related, then, to a pony?

      Most enjoyable.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    It is so hard trying to comment without making grown men weep. However, as usual with the Virgilius puzzles with the 14 letter solutions, I did take a smidge longer than usual to sort this one out. My initial reaction is that it isn’t as much fun as last weeks but I am sure it will grow on me as I type the review later on today.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD and whoever arranged for it to be lovely and sunny this morning.

  3. Colmce
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Found this one quite hard as I’d made a silly mistake on 5d, however having sorted that managed to complete without hints or much lachrymose activity!

    Lots of very nice clues though.

    Is it just me or are the Sunday puzzles getting trickier?

    Thanks to BD and to the setter.

  4. Hrothgar
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Quite hard, I thought, in parts.
    But once I got going – emphasis being on once – arrived at the finish and wondered why I’d struggled.
    Funny, that.
    Many thanks, Virgillius, most enjoyable, and BD.

  5. MikeT
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Great fun today and I thought 9D was a brilliant clue. Don’t altogether understand where the first letter of the second word of the answer to 3D comes from and thought the use of ‘on’ in 24A was a bit on the tenuous side.

    • gazza
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      3d The second word is a sudden attack.

      • MikeT
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        Of course it is …. I should have seen that. Thanks Gazza

  6. Only fools
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this slightly more than the Grand Prix ! Only **\*** .

    • Wozza
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Hmm, I’m not sure. Not a lot in it.


      • Tantalus
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        oh no! dont say that mclaren didnt finish?

  7. Peter
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    As usual for a Sunday it took me a little time to get going, but then it all fell into place with a little help from my electronic friend.
    I’m not sure about the tense being correct in 12a, but as no one else has commented it must be correct.
    I liked 22d, it appealed to my sense of humour

  8. Wozza
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Still working on it, but a poor shadow of yesterday’s gem IMHO.

  9. Brian
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this a lot but still don’t quite understand 24a why holding on? And why river in 8d?

    • gazza
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      24a Craft shown by boxer holding on (9)
      A boxer goes round (holding) a preposition meaning on or concerning.

    • gazza
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      8d Removing water from river abating outside (6)
      The single-character abbreviation for river has outside it a present participle meaning abating or fading.

      • Brian
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Thx for that, now I get it :-)

  10. Kath
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I read through all the clues and at the end only had about three answers so thought that it might be tricky today – it was, well I thought so anyway.
    I’ve never heard of the slang term for money in 10a. 25a took me for ever. Even though it didn’t quite make sense I had the wrong ending for 5d – that was just stupid and really didn’t help with 24a. I needed the hint to understand why 9a was what it was. I still can’t understand my answer for 21a.
    I liked 14, 26 and 27a and 2, 19, 20 and 22d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    • Posted October 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      21a Put into office or elected, say (7)
      Split your answer as (2,5) and you have words meaning elected and to say

      • Franco
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        21a – Thanks to BD for explaining the wordplay. Totally missed the relevance of “say” in the clue!

      • Kath
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Thanks BD – why couldn’t I see that? :oops:

    • Hrothgar
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Likewise – never, ever heard of ***** as slang for money. It’s not even rhyming slang which one could, perhaps, work out.
      Too obscure, in my opinion.

      • Posted October 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        It’s not the first time that I have seen it and it probably won’t be the last.

  11. Tim C
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear. Like Kath, I only managed 3 clues on my first pass….and no more on my second pass! With the help of the blog most has now become clear. I will press on and keep my fingers crossed. Still stuck on most of the NE corner :-(


    In the 15 minutes “cooling off” period I have managed to complete the NE corner. Only left with 18d. I am clueless!


    I have now finished it. It is amazing that after I posted this it all fell into place. 30 minutes of staring at it before I typed and it was a mystery. Who says that telepathy does not exist.

    Thank you to all the mystics out the who have just helped me :-)

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      18a someone who converts or alters things. The abbreviation for church followed by another word for incense (not the smelly kind)

  12. Jezza
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    As did a couple of others, I wondered about 21a for a while; apart from that one, I found this one to be a gentle Sunday morning workout.
    Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  13. Tantalus
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    English weather here in the colonies, we are in the middle of divorce over rabbi for 7d. i know its not right so will not have to go to the NC. thx to all especially BD, CS and G – and good to see franco is back.

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Don’t divorce, I wrote in rabbi to start with too. It is because it appears as a religious leader more than the solution so the temptation is to write it in without thinking the wordplay through. Well that’s my excuse anyway.

      The sun has been shining here all day too. Lovely after yesterday’s heavy (torrential) showers.

      • Tantalus
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Your kind words have helped us delay the divorce… we are back collaborating (once I went to get a fresh scraping of toast for Mrs T). And what is the real collective noun for toast?

        • crypticsue
          Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

          Probably a ‘comfort’ as it is the best thing to eat in times of miserableness.

          • Franco
            Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

            “Crumbs!” I wish I had thought of that! :wink:

            • Tantalus
              Posted October 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

              Master T said a rack, a round… Mrs T said a buttering, a jam, a celebration, a burning, a browning…. maybe a ‘toast of toast’ …. l like a comfort… or even a ‘toast of crumbs”, or a ‘bed of crumbs’…

        • gazza
          Posted October 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          A cremation ?

          • crypticsue
            Posted October 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

            You obviously need a new toaster :D

          • Tantalus
            Posted October 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

            Perfect – a cremation of toast!

            • Franco
              Posted October 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

              But …if you are poetically inclined – A Browning!

              (Enough of this Highbrow stuff – off to watch Strictly Come Dancing!)

    • Franco
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Wot! Another divorce! You colonials will need a visa to enter the NC.

      Oy Vey – it’s not Rabbi!

      • Tantalus
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        Franco, will a green card suffice? and will ‘Elvis’ be obtuse enough to avoid the NC for 7d?

        • crypticsue
          Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          Nothing to do with crosswords, but if you know the song ‘there’s a guy works down the chip shop swears he’s Elvis’ you may be fascinated to know that Elvis’s daughter now lives in England and has been helping out in a friend’s mobile fish and chip van :D (See if you only print off the crossword online you miss all this ‘stuff’ in the paper :) )

          • Tantalus
            Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

            Those are a few of our favorite (sic) things: – fish n chips, bacon baps, kebabs, cockles and mussels…. ah well.

  14. gnomethang
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    This all went in quite quickly apart from 21a and 9d which caused a pause.
    Thanks to BD and virgilius .

  15. Derek
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Another enjoyable puzzle to finish the week from Brian with some excellent word play.

    Faves : 10a, 14a, 25a ( ? here is essential!), 1d, 15d & 22d.

    Very mixed weather today in NL – some sunshine earlier on with odd blue patches then rain and now overcast mammillated cover.

    The woods opposite are now very golden – we never have the magnificent colours of New England in the fall.

    • Tantalus
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Derek, Enough to patch a Dutchmans trousers? Where did that idiom originate?

      • crypticsue
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        I always say ‘sailor’s trousers’ but apparently it is enough blue sky to make a Dutchman a pair of trousers. Brewers Dict of Phrase and Fable doesn’t say where it comes from.

      • Derek
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        Hi Tantalus!

        If you go to you find an article by Elyse Bruce under Historically Speaking on this subject.

        Or you can Google “enough blue sky to make a Dutchman a pair of pants” and read many articles.

        I now must log off and go watch Fiona Bruce!


      • Kath
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        Yes – there has to be enough blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers – could never really understand it!!

  16. Addicted
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I STILL don’t understand 10a – always assuming I have the corect answer, of course, but all the checking letters would seem to indicate so. I wonder where Mary looked up “money”? I’ve tried that and still haven’t been able to go “doh”!
    Found this one difficult but enjoyable – liked 1a and 27a particularly. Thank you to setter and BD for hints.

    • Franco
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      10a – Money – Try the Chambers On-Line Thesaurus! New word for me too.

    • Kath
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Or completely cheat which is what I do when totally sunk – go to BRB and go all the way through the first four letters of your answer – there aren’t THAT many – I know – I did it today!! :smile:

  17. Sweet William
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Virgilius and BD – I find, when away from home, it is very difficult to keep up with the puzzle. Managed to finish – after long lunch with friends at The Crown, Southwold ! But the necessity to get it done before the next round of drinks detracts from the enjoyment, and it becomes more of a battle than a pleasure ! Nevertheless, done it, so can now relax !

    • Heno
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 12:11 am | Permalink

      Been in that pub, superb, at least the beer doesn’t have far to travel :-)

      • Sweet William
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Agreed Heno – have to confess to a couple of pints before lunch in The Sole Bay Inn opposite the brewery after a walk round the town and on the pier – with all those amazing, crude, but hilarious slot machines ! Just arrived back in drizzly Lancashire, so now to tackle todays puzzle.

  18. Heno
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius & to Big Dave for the hints. Enjoyed this one a lot, got stuck on 25a, thought of an instrument, but it was an anagram of that! If only I didn’t have to pack up French in the 3rd form :-) About 2*/4* for me. Brilliant day in Central London.