ST 2671 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2671 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2671 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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Merry Christmas. 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           Dreadfully slay with a cut, producing this? (8)
An anagram (dreadfully) of SLAY with A CUT

5a           Rhythmic performer providing rhyme for answer (and the next one) (6)
This rhythmic performer rhymes with answer and with the answer to 10 across (next one) – and gives the first of eight related answers

12a         Kind of wings with which Daedalus began (5)
These wings grace a number of aircraft and their design is based on the initial letter of Daedalus in Greek

16a & 20a             Jovial old man assault can upset (5,5)
The jovial owner of today’s thematic answers comes from an anagram (upset) of ASSAULT CAN

17a         Earth mother? (5)
A cryptic definition of a mother animal that could be found in an earth – a thematic answer

22a         Female of 31, say, finishes off crossword so simple (3)
A signature Virgilius clue – the final letters of (finishes off) the last three words in the clue

31a         Soundly control beloved animals (8)
Homophones (soundly) of control and beloved give a key to several of today’s answers – whatever happened to Rudolph?


1d           Party drink I had for boy with amorous aims (5)
A party drink followed by the abbreviated form of I had – one of today’s thematic answers!

6d           3 disheartened and upset in African capital (5)
The outer letters (disheartened) of the answer to 3 down followed by an anagram (upset) of the same answer

7d           It’s difficult to assemble without one vote (7)
A verb meaning to assemble a crossword, say, without the I (one) and followed by the letter used to indicate a vote

19d         Writing about incense in eating places, one of which had another role at Christmas (7)
The two-letter abbreviation for a document written by hand around a verb meaning to incense

20d         Brainboxes operated in intelligence group (6)
A verb meaning operated or managed inside a US intelligence group

22d         Repeatedly, unknown learner is falling in awful ride — not heavy fall (7)
A mathematical unknown is repeated and followed by L(earner) inside an anagram (awful) of RIDE

26d         Person who gives fellow gold (5)
A university fellow followed by the heraldic term for gold

29d         Occupying, we hear, accommodation full at Christmas (3)
What sounds like a word meaning occupying or at home is actually a hostelry in which there was no room for Joseph and Mary

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 Matt Baker (35) and Carol Ann Duffy (57)

59 comments on “ST 2671 (Hints)

  1. Nicely themed as one might expect from Virgilius and nothing to make grown men weep as far as I can see.

    Happy Christmas to everyone from me too.

  2. As always a splendid Sunday puzzle, slightly easier than usual due to the theme.

    Thanks to BD for the hints, not needed today but fun to read.

    Thanks to Virglius.

  3. I must confess my knowledge of the theme had some gaps, and I did need to check a couple of them!
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

    1. I am just worried about ‘Olive’ who appears in one of the illustrations for the NTSPP review – she’s a new one on me!

      1. I don’t understand either of these comments – haven’t tried NTSPP yet – haven’t even had time to print it off – keeping it for a moment of peace – I can only wonder when!! :roll:
        ‘Olive’ is a mystery to me . . . as is *****’s 10th and the shy and retiring one! Oh dear!!

        1. It’s a near -homophone of “all of the other ********” from the song .Sounds like “olive” led to such classics as Olive the orphan ******** who became ******10th ********* etc . and appears in other guises using same name .(think but may be wrong the name was used in Comic Relief).

  4. A good day for me (still classing myself as relative newcomer!)
    Happy and uplifted and now about to brave M&S FoodHall…… I fear this feeling of joy may be short lived!!

    1. I fear you’re losing grip of your senses. I do hope we shall see you again. People have been known to disappear without trace after viviting M&S so close to Christmas.

  5. Just what’s needed at this time of year, full of seasonal allusions to gladden the heart.

    Not too taxing, there are other ways of getting stressed, M&S foodhall for instance!


  6. Many thanks to V & to BD for the hints.

    As tomorrow will be spent flying up the A1 to collect the Aged Ps I would like to wish everyone connected with this splendid site the compliments of the season and I look forward to moire cruciverbalistic badinage & persiflage in the year to come.

    Av a gud un!

  7. Thank you Virgilius, most enjoyable and a Merry Christmas to you. Thank you BD for hints. There were a number of clues where I had the answer and it took me ages to get the wordplay – 11a being typical.

    A Merry Christmas to you BD and all your colleagues and everyone who contributes to the site. Your help has enabled me to finish puzzles which a few months ago would have been impossible. It has brought great pleasure to Mrs SW and me. Have a good time !!

  8. Thanks to Virgilius & to Big Dave for the hints. Found it quite straightforward except for 25a, I have one theory but am not sure if It’s right. Any help would be much appreciated.

  9. Yuletide felicitations to all especially BD & Virgillius. A most enjoyable crossword not too 7D once the theme emerged. My favourite clues were 12A & 17A.
    We are off to Newquay for New Year to misbehave out of the sight of our children (& grandchildren )



  10. Shame Rudolph wasn’t there but perhaps he’s busy! A nicely themed puzzle today thanks setter and thanks Dave

  11. Done with no problems – we loved the great Xmas theme.
    Mary – Rudolf is busy in the Quick Crossword today.
    Merry Christmas everyone and thank you Dave for a great blog.

    1. Tut tut Brian – you should know better than that by now! I will have to defrost you a mince pie – Mr CS has just polished off the last of the ones I got out the freezer earlier.

  12. What a wonderful crossword for a penultimate finish to the year. OK, not too difficult but very enjoyable. I loved the theming.
    Many thanks to virgilius for the puzzle and to BD’s blog for the help and encouragement through the year.

        1. Hi Mike

          Ram the last three words of the clue together, reverse the whole sequence and you’ll find an embedded word which describes a group or set which has a particular number of elements.


  13. i am somewhat surprised that big dave says he is providing hints for the more difficult clues
    as far as i could gather, there were no difficult clues
    this crossword is overly simple and be honest the theme was wildly overdone
    the times crossword was far more enjoyable

  14. Lovely crossword today – thankfully not too difficult – wouldn’t have had enough time had it been one of the more tricky Sunday ones.
    I needed the hint to explain why my my answer for 7d was right – just being dim (and trying not to forget that mince pies were in the oven!)
    I’m not quite sure why 23 & 28 are a tempestuous duo.
    Too many good clues to put them all down.
    With thanks to Virgilius for taking pity on the overworked and giving us a fairly straightforward puzzle on a busy day, and to BD.

              1. The clue says “tempestuous duo”. Mike gave a hint as to how to interpret tempestuous – you gave the answer, albeit translated into English. It’s a precedent that I would rather avoid.

    1. Really sorry to anyone who got into trouble with my question. I have never done German in my life – I do now, finally, understand. :oops:
      And NO, una, if you don’t do German, you don’t do German!! How far can YOU get in French? Forgive me if you are bilingual or trilingual as several of my nieces and nephews are.

      1. I think my french is a lot better than my german. Germans address each other as either Sie or Du. Both words mean you.The former is impersonal and the latter is friendly. Apperantly they sit down and have a chat before changing from Sie to Du, which is all very alien to us friendly folk. Well I find it weird ,anyway.

        1. to clarify further, I was having a little joke with Franco and implying that he should have written “sprechs du deutsch ? “

        1. 9d is a hidden word clue.
          24d is a reversal of a four letter word meaing story followed by the abbreviation for Europe
          14a is an old fashioned way of saying celebrated at Christmas. The abbreviation for wife followed by criticised in the sense of attacked.

          1. Thank you, 9d was the country I originally thought of, except in its current form, 14a has bubbled from the subconscious as a word I know. 24d I’ll sleep on it.You are a brick, thank you again.

  15. All the best for Christmas and the New Year.

    On the question of ease, on which views clearly differ, it is (in my opinion) easier to create a hard puzzle than an easy one. My editor, Phil McNeill keeps a close eye on aspects of clues that he thinks might cause unnecessary difficulty, and does it very well. He, naturally, is concerned with the full range of solvers, not just the blognoscenti who have, through perseverance and collegiate learning, become familiar with my style and idiosyncrasies.

    Anyway, I hope to continue through 2013 and beyond. This is the first time I’ve had a weekly slot, and I enjoy it.

    1. All power to your elbow, Sir, and long may you continue!

      As a small note, my thanks for what is a new word for me: blognoscenti :-)

    2. Please do, it’s a fabulous puzzle and I haven’t finished it yet.South of the border done, but the north is still under patchy snow.

    3. Like steve_the_ beard it’s a new word for me – I love it and will try to use if soon (or I will forget it!)
      I can never see how the compilers set a crossword that is designed to be of a particular standard – what is easy to some is not to others.
      You’re so right about how much we all learn from this fantastic blog.
      I wish you a very Happy Christmas.

    4. Always enjoy your puzzles, keep up the good work.

      Happy Christmas.

      Blognoramus, but working on the noscenti bit.

  16. Thanks to all of you and my new Chambers dictionary, I have got the furthest ever in a crossword. Any hints for 15d? I think I have to do a reversal? Happy Boxing Day to you all.

    1. Hi Glenesk – welcome to the blog and compliments of the season. Now that you’ve found us I hope you’ll be a regular contributor.

      15d Support seen romantically and made effective, retrospectively (4-5)
      It’s a verb mean to support or endorse followed by a past participle meaning seen on a romantic engagement.

  17. Awesome, thanks and now completed. Very happy, great sense of achievement.
    I’ll be back and hope to start contributing as the cryptic crossword fog starts to clear.

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