ST 2674 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2674 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

There’s still time to have a go at our monthly Prize puzzle.

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           Attack from air in fast RAF exercise — could be faster (6)
Take your pick!  This verb meaning to attack from air is hidden inside the clue and is an anagram (could be) of FASTER

4a           A salt dropped into sea in chains (8)
The A from the clue and the chemical formula for common salt inside the three-letter abbreviation of a sea

11a         Land in Africa, getting down finally in crucial area (5)
The final letter of dowN inside a three-letter word meaning crucial and A(rea)

12a         Ends concealed by minister repeatedly (7)
Very clever!  Minister repeatedly, minister minister, hides these ends

15a         Artists backed by a musical group for dance (8)
Pluralise and reverse Crosswordland’s usual artist and follow them with A and a musical group

27a         Source of oil that’s seen in Van Gogh’s paintings (9)
A good excuse for a pictorial hint!

28a         Allergy that could make you feel exhausted, initially, in hot state (3,5)
YThe initial letters of three words in the clue inside H(ot) and a verb meaning to state or declare

29a         Hospital proceeded with caution, sat on fence (6)
H(ospital) followed by a verb meaning proceeded with caution


1d           Only punishment partners in crime don’t share (8)
Punishment by imprisonment in a cell by oneself

2d           American hero Democrat greatly admired (7)
The American who is said to have alerted the militia of approaching British forces followed by D(emocrat)

3d           In favour of accepting rule — English, German or Italian, for instance (9)
A three-letter word meaning in favour of around (accepting) a verb meaning rule and E(nglish)

6d           Inappropriately inclined to seek directions (5)
A verb meaning to seek or question followed by some compass directions

17d         Trapped like rooks at first, unable to move (8)
How the rooks are placed at the start of a game of chess

19d         Force to pay levy, heartlessly? Just so! (7)
A verb meaning to force to pay followed by LevY without its inner letters (heartlessly)

22d         Put end to place for rest of children in school (6)
A place where young children sleep inside SCH(ool)

24d         Number in crowd you once found surrounding Queen (5)
Two’s company and this number is a crowd – the old-fashioned word for you around the Latin abbreviation for Queen

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 Orlando Bloom (36) and Stephen Hendry (44)


  1. pommers
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Excellent stuff as usual on a Sunday. Liked 12a as I don’t think I’ve ever come across that construction before – as you say Dave, very clever!
    1a amused us as pommette and I said the answer simultaneously, but she’d spotted the hidden word and I’d spotted the anagram :grin:

    Many thank to Virgilius and BD and also best wishes to CS for a speedy recovery.

    • mary
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Hope all is well with you pommers :-)

      • pommers
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Definitely on the mend thanks Mary. Not right yet by a long chalk but there is light at the end of the tunnel – just hope it ain’t the headlight of an oncoming train :grin:

        • Mary
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          At our age we take a bit longer pommers! I’m still not right after my hospital stay in August, patience I suppose but it’s so infuriating, you have the advantage of Spanish sunshine however and pommette to help you along :-)

  2. mary
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Afternoon Dave I enjoyed this one today, not least because my favourite football team who are playing Man U very soon now are at 10a :-), getting the answer to 12a was no problem but it took me ages and ages to see where it came from, how stupid, I agree very clever clue and has to be my favourite, also thought for a long time that 4a was going to be tartrate although I couldn’t work out why but neither could I work out why the answer was what it was for ages! New words for me at 15a and 20a had to look up the meanings, also had to check out that 16d was also played by musicians, this took a little perservation but worth it in the end :-), didn’t need the hints today Dave but thanks as usual

    • pommers
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      We have a few 20a living in our courtyard.

  3. spindrift
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable as always from the Sunday Maestro. Held up at 4a by trying to insert the usual references for a salt into the sea (thanks to Mrs B) plus 18a which I still don’t know why it is what it is completely. Thanks to BD for his hints which were not needed today.

    • mary
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Hi spindrift 18a a word for creatures 6 letters outside (without) a from the clue and the usual one letter abbreviation for right

      • mary
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        for a long time I thought the creatures were the ******* kind and then spent ages trying to work out where the other letters came from!

    • pommers
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Hi spindrift

      Re18a, Take some creatures and insert (without) an A (from the clue) and R(ight).

      • mary
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink


        • Mary
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          But it’s not these Dave?

          • spindrift
            Posted January 14, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

            Many thanks to both I finally got there by ignoring the ****** type of animal.

            • Posted January 14, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

              I censored Mary for giving away an alternative, but incorrect, approach to the answer!

              • spindrift
                Posted January 14, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

                Mea culpa!

  4. Only fools
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Another splendid Sunday puzzle . Favs 4a,28a and 6d .
    2* / 4 * for me .

    Thanks to both.

  5. Arthur Dent
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Well I managed this (just) before the hints came out. I was waiting for the hints to say what a clever clue I thought 12a was – but BD beat me to it!

    One question however – can anyone tell me what the Doctor is doing in 7d? I cannot fathom the wordplay for this answer (assuming I have it right!).

    Thanks to all for a very enjoyable solve…

    • Mary
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s the anagram indicator

    • pommers
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Arthur, DOCTOR in 7d is the anagram indicator. Once you’ve “doctored” LEARNT you have a choice of putting it about or with an N(ew) to give the source of illumination.

      • Arthur Dent
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Doh! – I didn’t see beyond “about” as the anagram indicator. Thanks!

      • MikeT
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        I’d also been puzzling for some time about the wordplay in 7D and when it suddenly clicked, I returned to the blog to find that you’d just explained it.

  6. Brenda Reding
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable, lots of clever clues like 12A which I really liked but 20A had me puzzled because I haven’t seen that spelling before. All in all a lovely start to the day so thanks for such a treat to the setter and BD for the blog — not needed today but read for verification and appreciated.

  7. Rod Ash
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    A well disguised if not overly difficult offering today. I started with down clues and managed to get my head around the acrosses afterwards.

  8. Kath
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Another really fun puzzle – I thought it was quite difficult but I seem to say that almost every Sunday. I took a very long time to get going at all.
    I didn’t understand why 12a and 28a were what they were until I read the hints. How lucky I am that BD did hints for those two – thank you.
    I’ve never heard of the 15a dance and i didn’t know that 16d could be played by musicians.
    Lots of great clues – 12 (now that I know why!) 13 and 23a and 5, 9 and 21d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    Just a touch on the arctic side in Oxford today but blue sky and sun. :smile:

    • Derek
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Very cold here in NL also but wonderful sunshine!

  9. Derek
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Another enjoyable puzzle from Virgilius!

    Faves : 4a, 12a, 15a, 27a, 2d, 16d & 22d.

    Re 2d, I have many times trodden his path in the town where my son lives!
    Re 27a, my favourite cooking oil!
    Re 20a, our house in the Var is home to them as well as us! We always have to leave the fireplace open in case any fall down the chimney – they then escape under the shutters.

  10. Roger
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Great fun and many thanks for explaining in the hints 12 and 28. 17 is my favourite

  11. Rufus the Dog
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    That was not too bad though even with the clue for 12a took me a moment or two before that Doh! moment.
    20a can only be one word but I cannot see how to get the answer constructed from the clue

    • gazza
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      20a Fair Conservative, for instance, rejected cold-blooded creature (5)
      String together abbreviations for fair (2), Conservative (1) and for instance (2) then reverse it all.

      • Rufus the Dog
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Many thanks Gazza :) – of course it makes perfect sense once you know

  12. jezza
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    A very enjoyable puzzle that was over far too quickly. I liked the construction of 4a – I don’t think I have seen that before. It is surprising what chemical formulae I can still remember from at least 25 years ago, KMnO4 being one of them.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD. 1.5*/4* for me today.

    • Derek
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jezza!

      I see that you remember the formula for Pot Perm!

      Here is a short tale from my youth.

      Little Audrey was in the chemist’s behind a man and a woman with a dog at the counter. The woman left and as the man stepped up to the counter he noticed a pool of liquid on the floor and said to Audrey “Be careful of the H2O” – of course Little Audrey laughed and laughed because she knew it was not H2O – it was K9P!

      • jezza
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for the anecdote, Derek. :)

        • Derek
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          Glad that you enjoyed it.

          It is very difficult to communicate with people in your mother tongue as the years go by because the normal speech changes and the vernacular alters considerably.

  13. Merusa
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I loved this crossword. I had never heard of 15a but could work it out and google to verify. Nice to learn new words. I needed the hints to know the why to 28a and 12a, the answers were obvious but a bit convoluted; very, very clever.

    • Kath
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Snap! 12 and 28a were the two that, although I had the answers, I couldn’t see the ‘why’!

  14. steve_the_beard
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    What a delightful crossword! I particularly liked 12A, and heartily approve of 1A for giving us two ways to solve it :-)

    I came across two new words today, but not here; SWMBO and I went for a walk around Draycote Water, a large reservoir south of Rugby, and at one point found ourselves leaning on a gate and admiring the alpacas. An information board contained the following words which I’d never seen before; “cria” (a baby alpaca), and “agistment” (being paid to house and feed livestock).

    Yes, there are alpacas in Warwickshire;

    You can find water buffalo close by, and llamas too :-)

    • Kath
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      Alpacas in Oxfordshire too – not sure that I can tell them from llamas – never seen water buffalo around here but if it goes on getting wetter and wetter who knows what will turn up next – crocs, alligators . . . .?

  15. Mary
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Hi experts on iPad is it right I can’t use the telegraph site on my new iPad because it doesn’t support adobe flash? I can open and see the site but can’t play the puzzles

    • Mary
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Dave I know this is not right place but don’t know who else to ssk

      • Hrothgar
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        Quite right, Mary you can’t.
        But there are crossword apps you can put on your ipad.
        Perhaps BD knows the best.
        If not I will recommend mine.

        • Posted January 13, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          BD loathes Apple and its entire product range and won’t touch any of them with a bargepole.

    • Posted January 13, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mary you can look round the Telegraph web site (using safari) for free and get the news from there but you won’t (or shouldn’t) be able to get the crosswords.

      To get the daily newspaper with the back page puzzle, quick crossword and the sudoku (no Toughie) you will need to download the app from i-Tunes then subscribe. At less than £10 per month I think it is good value.

      Adobe Flash isn’t an issue

      Hope this helps

      • Hrothgar
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        No, mine is FREE and it will download the Telegraph back page Xword when you provide your Telegraph Password etc.
        Get it from your iTunes Store.
        It comes from Standalone Inc. and their website is
        But, as I say, get it from your iTunes apps store.
        Follow the instructions, once downloaded, for getting this back page Xcrossword. You will need your Telegraph signing in details.
        It is very simple to do.
        To repeat it is FREE.
        It has served me well.
        Sorry BD, forgot about your Apple dislike. :)

        • Hrothgar
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          To clarify FREE – if you want certain other Xwords eg The Guardian
          or the Toughie it will cost you a subscription.
          But certainly this one,the Telegraph back page cryptic, is free.

          • Hrothgar
            Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

            Hope this helps, Mary.
            Good luck.

            • Mary
              Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

              Thanks Hrothgar

      • Mary
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        Cheers for that Nigel

    • Colmce
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Mary, email the Telegraph with your complaints about that particular issue.

      It is ridiculous that they are not serving what is an increasingly large part of their constituency.

      • Mary
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        Thnks colmce

    • Prolixic
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink


      By far the best app for the iPad is Crux – if you enter your Telegraph Puzzles log-in you get all the cryptic, Toughie, quick and general knowledge crosswords as well as the Independent and the Globe & Mail – Canadian paper whose daily cryptic is often set by Rufus.

      Details are here:

      • Mary
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Thanks prolixic

      • Hrothgar
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Crux looks better than my Standalone app.
        If Crux is free, that is.

        • Prolixic
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

          The app costs about £3. You need to be an existing subscriber to Telegraph puzzles to download Telegraph crosswords but if I recall, the same used to / still applies to the Standalone Inc app.

      • Tmdess
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        Hi Prolixic! I checked out the app site, but it’s not clear to me how I get Telegraph or other cryptic…does it give you a list of sources? Does it matter where one lives? Thanks for the help!

        • Prolixic
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

          Once the app is installed on your iPad or iPhone you can use the settings to enter your user name and password for Telegraph Puzzles.

          The app gives you two lists of puzzles. The first list is of American style crosswords. The second is British style crosswords from where you can access the Telegraph crosswords alongside the Independent and Globe & Mail crosswords.

    • Mary
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Thanks everyone for your help and comments all taken on board, meanwhile my son told me to access the site through an app called iSwifter a free app from the istore and it works apparently lots of programmes that cannot be accessed because of adobe flash can be accessed through this app, thanks Dave for allowing this discussion, promise not to mention apple again :-)

  16. Heno
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave, another lovely puzzle from Virgilius, not sure if it was on the gentle side, but it was my fastest ever solve for a Sunday puzzle, started with 1a, finished with 18a which held me up a little bit. Favourite was 4a.

  17. Sweet William
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Better late than never ! Actually finished in reasonable time but had to leave early for family lunch in Sheffield. Stayed over and had seriously bad journey back ! Anyone thinking of using A623 Baslow/Chapel road – think again ! Heavy snow falling on -1 deg surface.

    Thank you Virgilius and BD for hints. Now for Rufus !