ST 2677 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2677 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2677 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

(with a bit of help from the Tantali!)

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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           City once in second, then first division? (6)
An ancient city is derived from S(econd) followed by what could represent the first division if split (4,1)

4a           Disease cut by exactly 50 per cent in one area, part of Europe (6)
Start witha skin disease which is a repeat of the same 4 letters, drop either half (cut by exactly 50 per cent) and put it inside I (one) and A(rea)

8a           Faithful convert cannot, without saint (8)
An anagram (convert) of CANNOT around (without) an abbreviated saint

11a         Greatly amuse with line in statement of opinion (4)
L(ine) inside a statement of opinion or right to express

13a         You may take less than a minute for each child (6,6)
A period of time that is much shorter than a minute followed by a word meaning for every and a male offspring

21a         Sport or game, originally as broadcast on radio (4)
This sport is also the code in the NATO Phonetic alphabet (as broadcast on radio) that represents the initial letter of Game

23a         Concerned with signs, as Van Gogh became? (8)
A word meaning  concerned with the study of signs and symptoms could, if split (4-4) suggest having only one ear, like Vincent Van Gogh

25a         Shrewdness of top don finally taking in university (6)
A four-letter word meaning the top or highest point and the final letter of doN around (taking in) U(niversity)


1d           Is it appropriate for the Queen to take on? (8)
A word meaning is it appropriate, asking about the advisability of an action, followed by the cypher of Elizabeth Regina

2d           Check on quality of a small state (5)
The A from the clue and S(mall) followed by a verb meaning to state

3d           Exercised short time, then showered (7)
T(ime) followed by a verb meaning showered with precipitation

5d           Fights as club finishes off last football game, perhaps (7)
A club, of the kind used by a cricketer, followed by the final letters of (finishes off) four words in the clue

14d         Impartial in case? That’s an aim (9)
Three definitions, the middle one being a case or grammatical relation of a noun to another word in the sentence

17d         Certainly not game bird (7)
Double definition – sadly is a game that some kids play in front of speeding trains

19d         Pinafore, for example, added after undergarment for composer (6)
The letters that preceded the Pinafore of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta after a female undergarment

21d         Good opportunity for stable employee (5)
G(ood) followed by an opportunity or scope gives someone who is employed to look after the horses in a stable

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 Dave Davies (66)
ARVE Error: need id and provider

97 comments on “ST 2677 (Hints)

  1. Hi Dave managed to finish without the hints today although I didn’t find this an easy one, I thought 23a was just the style of painting that Van Gogh belonged to, I don’t think I can split my answer 4/4!!?? A definite 3 star plus for me today, thanks for explainations Dave of those I didn’t understand, Hope you all had a brilliant time yesterday, awaiting the pictures eagerly :-)

      1. well I don’t think so as that is definitely the style of painting of Van Gogh, so I don’t understand what BD means, I’m sure he’ll enlighten us

          1. Does it really, I have split my answer and googled it but come up with nothing, my answer must be wrong!

            1. Ah I see what you are saying now, then IMHO the answer to this clue could be either of two words, the one Dave refers to happened when he had his ear cut off and the other is his style of painting??? (which is the answer I put)

              1. His style of painting was Impressionism so I have no idea what you are talking about. The first four letters mean half and the second mean of the ear – having half of one’s ears means like Van Gogh.

                1. I always thought Van Gogh was slightly post impressionist and early ********, I understand the clue but as I thought he was ******** I thought the answer was ********!

                    1. Now Mrs T keeps singing: paint your palette blue and grey, look out on a summer’s day……

                  1. Mary

                    We knew what you had thought was the answer, so there was no need to spell it out, especially as it reveals four of the checking letters.

                2. His style was also called what the clue refers to.
                  A very clever and crafty clue which foxed me and then a DOH moment.

  2. Firstly a big happy birthday to Gnomethang and his twin brother (sorry I don’t know his name) – hope you have a great day.

    Another enjoyable start to Sunday morning, thank you Virgilius. I particularly liked 23a. Thanks to BD and the Tantali too.

      1. Gnomethang or gnomey as I call him is one of our bloggers you must surely have seen him on the blog?

          1. ‘Thang’ and ‘Thing’ are just eating their celebratory birthday lunch – but Thang hopes to drop in on the blog later.

            1. Thanks Sue et al for the wishes. Rack of beef. Superb!.
              Enjoyed this one very much today. Thanks to V and BD.
              Trifle beckons.

  3. I found this harder than recent Sundays – searching for hidden words didn’t help ! Enjoyed 12 a, 9d and 19d but it all took a long time. It has delayed the making of a marmalade and pecan cake though ! Thank you Virgilius if it was you and BD for all the hints – which I was tempted to use but didn’t. I did need to check the wordplay for 4a though. All very enjoyable though as usual.

  4. Lovely puzzle ,loads of favs ,thought 23a was terrific .
    3* / 4* for me .
    Thanks yet again .

  5. Happy Gnomethang to you!

    Also, today is the 54th anniversary of the “Day the Music Died” – Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper & Ritchie Valens!

    Nice crossword as always from Virgilius – but very difficult for me.

  6. What a nice puzzle, even if I did start off really slowly.
    1a and 1d were my last two – and then I needed the hint to explain the last letter of 1a. I didn’t understand 23a and I’m afraid that I still don’t – neither do I understand the bit about splitting it as 4, 4. Oh dear!! I’ve never heard of the Mexican food so that took a while and I had 17d wrong to begin with which played havoc with 24a.
    I liked 4, 12, 13 . . . actually too many to put them all down individually.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    Cold, grey and generally a bit ‘Februaryish’. In a terrible sticky mess making marmalade but it smells nice and makes the kitchen all warm and steamy.

    1. Kath you probably have the same answe for 23a as I do and this cannot be split, the answer Dave gives can, meaning half deaf and a study of symbols and signs

  7. At the get together yesterday there was a fair bit of talk about why people are called what they are on the blog.
    Not many of us seem to use our real names apart from BD, (cryptic) Sue, Mary, Andy and me – there are others I know but can’t think of them at the moment.
    I understand why some people chose their aliases – Prolixic, because I’ve looked it up – Poppy, because it’s the name of her dog – Alchemi, because as I learnt yesterday it’s an anagram of his first name (and there I’d been thinking that it was to do with wizards and magic and stuff like that! :roll: )
    I want to know how others picked their aliases.

    1. Because all my WWW identities are assassins or mass-murderers. Also, AttilatheHun was my identity on ARPANET in the days before t’Internet was all joined up.

    2. In honour of the great Italian footballer – Franco Baresi – AC Milan! (Not the Spanish dictator!)

    3. From a series of Labradors. Me(gan), Ru(fus) and Sa(die … Current); yellow, chocolate and black respectively. And, BTW, Poppy’s breed, affenpinscher won best toy in AKC dog show. Barbara

      1. Great question, Kath, with some fascinating answers. And I did so enjoy meeting you yesterday. You were one of the main reasons I went.

        1. Thanks and lovely to meet you too. So glad that you’ve turned up, albeit late in the day – was beginning to wonder if it had all been too much!! I hope that you had a good evening. :smile:

          1. Thanks, Kath. Yes, Mr P was worried I’d overdone it on my first complete day up, but I’m fine, & glad you got back to your super curry OK. Theatre piece was stunning – funny, sad, unexpected, well cast & brilliantly written, directed and staged. Not often it all comes together like that. No wonder the ‘Full House’ signs were up… :-)

      1. Thanks nanaglugglug!

        My name can be found here:

        Toughie 295

        It must be said that thewizenedgnome comes from a conversation (drunk) with me and my sister regarding the start of the Sisters of Mercy song ‘Train’. The opening word sounded, to me at least, like a wizened gnome singing in a tunnel.

    4. I’m really glad that I asked that one – thanks to all who replied – much appreciated. I have to say that if there was an award for COD ( not being rude here – just mean Comment Of the Day) it would go to nanaglugglug. It really made me laugh and husband too when I told him and that doesn’t happen very often. Whenever I try to explain a funny clue/answer to him it usually takes so long that I wish that I’d never started.

  8. 14d Impartial in case ? That’s an aim (9)
    Three definitions, the middle one being a case or grammatical relation of a noun to another word in the sentence.
    Sorry, I’ve no idea what you mean

    1. Split the clue definitions – (a) impartial (b) a grammatical case and (c) aim (intention). Three definitions so its a triple definition clue.

  9. Oh had lots of difficulty with this one, usually on Sundays it takes time to get into and then just flows, it didn’t today.

    Needed lots of help from hints, thanks BD&T for them.

    Thanks to Virgilius.

    It might have had something to do with a beer promotion in the pub last night…look not upon the lager when it is cheap.

  10. Took me a little while to finish the last few in the top left. 3*/4* for me today.
    Thanlks to Virgilius, and to BD.
    Happy Birthday Gnomethang!

          1. The version I printed off from the website at 9.21 this morning does say ‘Central American country’.

            1. As did the email I received from the Tantali at 5:27 this morning, which was based on the online version. What does it say in the newspaper?

            2. I read the paper – just checked – it still definitely says “South” American.

              I would be grateful if other paper readers could confirm – or have I lost my marbles?

              1. I am sure your marbles are fine – I expect the Puzzles Editor realised after the paper had gone to press but was able to change the online version of the clue.

                I will mention it in my review, just in case in eleven days time someone queries it, provided of course that after all that time has elapsed anyone even remembers!

              2. and the online version is with capitals: “No publicity in Central American country for annual award (5,5)” so we can’t even allow for the fact that it is south of America. But then again it is one of those places that is little known – like Tuvalu and Comoros… Think CS explanation is spot on. So Franco, it seems the marbles are present and correct.

  11. First time for ages that I’ve failed to finish. I was stuck in the top left, so thanks Dave for clues to all my missing answers!

  12. Another nice end to the week from Virgilius.

    Faves : 1a, 4a, 12a, 13a, 23a, 1d, 6d & 19d.

    Rain all day here in NL.

    Fish and chips tonight!

  13. I enjoyed this puzzle, though had a hiccup with 1a. I had to get the hint to finish. Thanks to all for a good start to the day.

  14. Finally got my act together to write after an absolutely brilliant day yesterday. :-D Weather was great, likewise the venue, and oh! What a super bunch of people to meet (with and without two names)! Special thanks to BD for setting it all up, & for being a great PL (Pack Leader), and to Kath who made me feel so welcome, as well as Andy, Bufo, Helen & Sid, & Eric & everyone else . Fascinating range of topics inc. as well as ‘swords. So glad I didn’t chicken out as I loved the gathering. Mary, CS, Pommers & Pommette – hope your ears were burning after all the nice things said about you – you were missed (& not just cake). Thank you everyone. Now I’m off to memorise the rest of the alphabet a la 21a….

    1. That alphabet catches me out every time – I do know lots of them, if I think about them, but just forget to think in that way. Just the same with the hidden-in-the-middle type of answers – always forget about them too! And THEN when I do remember to look for them (particularly on Wednesdays and Sundays) there aren’t any!

      1. Oh, that’s a great help, to keep a watch out on Weds & Suns. Didn’t know about that. I’m learning SO much from this site. Thanks everyone.

  15. Have been busy today. Since I don’t often buy the Sunday paper, could some kind person tell me where the cryptic crossword is hidden!

  16. Thanks to Virgilius & to Big Dave & the Tantali. Found this very difficult got stuck at the top, and had to use 3 hints and one electronic look up. Had 23a wrong, then learnt a new word once I got Dave’s hint. Was 3*/4* for me. Favourites were 12 & 13a.

  17. I have looked in the middle of the Life supplement but no crossword (or any other puzzles) – which explains why I couldn’t find it. Is anyone else clueless today?

  18. Found it! In the middle of “Lifestyle essentials” – 8 pages of home and bedding offers. Having spent so long looking for the thing, I’m not sure I have the energy left to solve it.

    1. Yes – you have! It’s worth doing. Go on – you know you want to . . .
      I’m wise to how well the puzzle section is hidden now – it takes me ages to find it every week even though I know where to look for it.

  19. Thought today’s was an excellent offering although 23a is a bit of a mystery. Agree with Mary, the Van Gogh reference is daft.

      1. I didn’t say it was daft I just thought that the answer could be either of two words, see thread above

  20. Unrelated to this puzzle…

    Did anyone else pick up the deliberate error in last Saturday’s Quick GK?

    The clue was “Swiss Capital”. While Geneva is the capital of the Canton de Geneve, it most certainly is not the capital of La Belle Suisse.

  21. Very enjoyable with 10a last one in (should not have tried to relate relation to a relation but should have related to another relation)

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