ST 2683 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2683 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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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           Who, for example, returned fish to river? (6)
The fictional time-traveller has this title – reverse (returned) a  fish and follow it with TO and R(iver)

11a         Good person to copy English fashion in list (4,5)
E(nglish) and a fashion inside a list

12a         Part of body ready for fight (7)
Two definitions, a noun and a verb

14a         Blank paper, with current lesson being partly switched (14)
A newspaper followed by the symbol for electric current and LESS ON with the two parts switched

17a         Card players and clubs undecided about note for meeting with press (4,10)
All four bridge players followed by C(lubs) and then a phrase meaning undecided (2,5) around the  second note of the scale in sol-fa notation

25a         Something that’s plucked or something that’s bowed (5)
Two definitions – a flower and a musical instrument

27a         Person who bothers about spiritual teaching? (6)
Put a bothersome person around some spiritual teaching and then read the whole of this &Lit clue again to get the definition


1d           Cheap for traveller — as one is on holiday (4-4)
Someone who is on holiday is released from his obligations

2d           Bright red peach, initially, that is put in fruit dish (6,3)
A bright-red colour followed by the initial letter of Peach and the abbreviation of the Latin for this is

3d           Exercise in discourse as work in theatre (7)
Physical Exercise inside a discourse – this theatre is in a hospital!

6d           I, for one, could be this (7)
I represent one for a Roman!

9d           In short, it’s central to anxiously signed agreement (10,4)
The middle three letters of anxIOUsly give an abbreviation which is an example of this

16d         A rock overturned with what, from the sound of it, is a lot of power (8)
The A from the clue and a rock or precious stone reversed (overturned) followed by a homonym (from the sound of it) of what

19d         Injure a Parisian male in old British car (3,4)
The French masculine indefinite article inside an old British car manufacturer

22d         Benefit from what a sister has taken as read (5)
The A from the clue followed by what sounds like (taken as read) an item of clothing worn by a sister in a convent

A few bonus hints from Tantalus:


4a Citizen from elsewhere is in Paris, and excited (8)
Gramaan (excited) of PARIS AND.

21a Heads away from din, can pity silly behaviour (7)
Decapitate the three words din, can and pity.

23a Preserve a top performer, mainly for this game (7)
Gorgeous concatenation – Preserve (3) & A & top performer (4) (without the last letter) for card game

24a Good rates arranged — for actors coming in, that is (5,4)
Angrama (redranga) of GOOD RATES. Actors use it to enter


5d Life force cop is somehow giving his colleagues (6,8)
Elegant a-granma of LIFE FORCE COP IS makes the collective description of the cops.

8d With concentration reduced, I had overturned instrument (6)
Two letter abbrev. for ‘I had’, reversed and followed by old English musical instrument (of torture in my book).

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 Pattie Boyd (69) and John Sebastian (69)


  1. Jezza
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    The very first answer I put in, 6d, was wrong! I was convinced when I saw the letter ‘I’ what the answer was going to be!!
    Fortunately I spotted my mistake early on, and got through the puzzle without any other problems.

    Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints.

    • Tantalus
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Morning Jezza – how do you know it is Virgilius?

      • Kath
        Posted March 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Jezza knows that it’s Virgilius because it always is on Sundays!

      • Jezza
        Posted March 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        As Kath says, Virgilius (Brian Greer), has been setting the Sunday puzzle for a few years.

  2. Tantalus
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to BD for posting so early – now I can impress Mrs T with my toast and crossword skills.

  3. Only fools
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Yet another lovely Virgilius puzzle .If I had to pick a favourite it would be 9d simply because it took me so long to see why !
    A somewhat more obvious &lit this week .
    Thanks very much .

  4. stanXYZ
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    The famous Virgilius “hidden” clues have been missing recently! A very welcome return – nearly missed it!

    Thanks to BD for explaining 9d.

  5. Kath
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    A lovely crossword for a cold snowy morning.
    I didn’t, for once, have too much trouble – needed the hints to explain 9d, having missed the IOU in the middle. I also completely failed to see the nuisance around the spiritual teaching in 27a but could see that there had to be more to my answer.
    I started off trying to justify ‘Estonian’ for 4a because of the ‘is in Paris’ but couldn’t do anything with the rest and then saw it.
    Like Jezza I nearly put the wrong answer in for 6d – probably the same one.
    I liked lots of these – 4, 10, 21 and 26a and 8 and 16d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    Still snowing . . . :sad:

  6. MikeT
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t understand how the first 4 letters of 17A fitted, despite working out the rest of the clue, as I (yet again) missed the bridge partners notation system. Also puzzled as to why 9D was what it was and kicked myself when I saw BD’s hint. Altogether a very enjoyable puzzle and not too testing for a Sunday.

  7. Poppy
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Very chuffed that I actually completed this nice and early, and then enjoyed checking some of my “yes, but why is it right?” against BD’s hints – for which many thanks! (27a as an example of that). Lots of rain here, with a thunder and hail storm last night. Anyone have some sun to share, or do we need to visit Merusa? :-) thanks to the setter for a terrific puzzle.

    • Tantalus
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Sunny and cold here in Boston. Daffs just peeking thru the last if the snow (we hope). Toast was delayed by F1 quallys (quallies?) so Mrs T had almost finished.

    • Merusa
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      See my comment below. Please send rain but keep the hail and cold!!

  8. Sweet William
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Virgilius – a very enjoyable puzzle. I always enjoy your puzzles: they are the right level for me – I find them taxing but am able to solve them with persistence. Thank you BD for the hint to 9d. Like others I had the answer but just could not get the wordplay ! I enjoyed unravelling 17a and there were many other enjoyable clues. Cheered me up after the shambles in Cardiff ! Well done Wales – completely outplayed us in all areas. Are you still singing Mary ?

    • mary
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Bit hoarse now SW :-)

      • Sweet William
        Posted March 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        Thoroughly well deserved win ! Just sorry that England forgot to turn up and make a decent game of it !

  9. Rabbit Dave
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I really struggled with this today. Thanks very much to BD for the hints explaining why several of my answers were correct. However I still can’t get 27a unless there is an obscure spelling of a church official that I am not aware of. Can anyone help please?

    Many thanks to Virgilius for a very stimulating challenge.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Rabbit D,

      BD has explained 27a – albeit with a typo! (See above)

      Is it me (or my Browser). Hints for the Across Clues then hints to the Down Clues. Then hints for the Across clues then hints for …..

      • crypticsue
        Posted March 17, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Tantalus has added some bonus hints apparently.

        • stanXYZ
          Posted March 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, but I was just pointing out the fact that the hints seem to be a bit repetative!

          Or is it an intentional Irish Joke! Today?

          • stanXYZ
            Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

            … repetitive (?) …

          • Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

            You somehow didnt see the words “A few bonus hints from Tantalus:! that separate the two sets of hints.

            • stanXYZ
              Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

              Done Up Like a Kipper!

              Thanks to BD & Tantalus! :oops:

              Am I the only person who failed to notice?

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      I too was confused by 27a as it isn’t an obscure spelling of a church official. I put my solution into the Telegraph puzzles thingy which worked but once I saw BD’s hint I realised how unawake I was first thing this morning :(

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted March 17, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        CS, I must be being stupid today because I was and still am stumped after looking at BD’s hint :-( . If I put a word for a bothersome person around the acronym for religous education I can’t find the resulting word for a church official spelled like that either on line or in the BRB.

        • gazza
          Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          Not so much religious education as religious instruction.

          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

            Thanks very much Gazza. All is now clear. I’ve never come across that term before. It was called religious education or scripture when I was at school (a long time ago).

        • steve_the_beard
          Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          RD, you’re using the wrong acronym for religious education – it’s not RE, it’s the other one :-)

  10. Merusa
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Got on well with this puzzle and thoroughly enjoyed, but was stymied by 17a and could not get the second word, despite all available letters. Then, the light went off, I obviously can’t spell and had spelt 9d incorrectly. I think we, at least I have come to rely too much on spellcheck and have got too lazy.

    At least I finished and have had a good start to the day. Thanks to setter and hinter.

    Sunshine here and warming up, but we need rain so badly. We have had one day of rain in three months and it’s a struggle to keep grass and plants alive.

    • steve_the_beard
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Where are you, that has had no rain ???

      • Merusa
        Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        Miami. It’s always a bit dry in winter, but this year has been pretty bad. Lovely clear, brilliant blue skies, but down at ground level it’s like a dust bowl.

  11. steve_the_beard
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    That was fun, if over rather too quickly.

    A small note; 5D is an anagram of the first four words, not the first three.

    Ta to BD and Virgilius.

  12. John
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Pleased as punch I managed to complete this, but needed BD’s hints to see why a couple were correct 14a and 2d particularly.

    Thanks to BD and setter for brightening up a truly awful day down here.

  13. Rosie G
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD. Checked some of the hints and that got me started. Good fun and some nice clues.
    Nice day and no rain here in Cheshire.

  14. Derek
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    The usual enjoyable end to the week from BG!

    I liked : 1a, 14a, 17a, 23a, 26a, 2d, 6d, 9d, 16d & 22d.

    Weather here in NL much more spring-like today but still no sign of burgeoning in the woods across the road!

    Had a portion of kibbeling for lunch – this is cod cheeks breaded and fried. There is a Dutch saying that “a ton of cod produces a pound of kibbeling”.

    Entrecóte and veg for dinner later.

    Equinox mid next week at last!

  15. Colmce
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    As always a joy to solve, just the right level for me, although this one took me a little longer than usual to tune in.

    15d was a bit unclear, but just revisited…small change cascading…doh, nice clue.

    Thanks to BD&T for the hints, explanations.

    Thanks to Virgilius for another lovely puzzle.l

  16. mary
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Just getting to this today, it’s been a beautiful sunny day so making the most of it, seems pretty tough to me on read through

    • Jezza
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Not content with the Six Nations Trophy, Wales have taken the sunshine too! :)

      • mary
        Posted March 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        we have sunshine in our souls jezza :-)

    • mary
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      Not as bad as I thought once I got down to it but did use Daves hints to help me along, I’m useless at this time of day, thanks Dave and Tantulus :-) and Virgilus once again for a lovely Sunday puzzle

    • Kath
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Sun? We woke up to snow. Rephrase that – husband up soon after 7.00 because he always is so he woke up to rain. By the time that I woke up about 9.00 it was snowing heavily and has done so for most of the day. Has now stopped but still very cold – fed-up with winter now. :sad:

  17. Vigo
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Don’t usually do the Sunday puzzle (I like the Sunday Times Style and Culture sections so go for that) but enjoyed this a lot so will be back again next week probably. 9d was a favourite also 26a. Thanks to BD and setter.

  18. mary
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    A belated Happy St Patricks Day to one and all, my grandmother on my mothers side was a Murphy, I was taught in primary school by Irish nuns, we always had Irish priests in our Parish and we always celebrated St Patricks Day with a dance where we all wore shamrock, it wasn’t until I started in secondary school that I started celebrating St Davids Day…amazing! Yes I was brought up in Wales :-)

  19. Brian Greer
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful day in Portland for a walk to Fresh Pot (a coffeehouse, in case you’re wondering). To the English rugby fans in mourning, be thankful you’re not Irish — time for a kidney transplant.
    The interview with Brendan at has a good picture of his cat.

    • gnomethang
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      THanks Brian – Agreed about the relative feelings of the Rugby camps – excellent puzle and cat too!.

  20. Heno
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. Another fine offering from Virgilius, very enjoyable, was 2*/4* for me, started with 1a, finished with 9d. Favourites were 14&27a and 15&16d. Off to the Lake District for walking tomorrow, may need some Scuba Gear :-)

    • Kath
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Do hope that scuba gear, and knee, hold up OK and that you have a good time.

      • Heno
        Posted March 18, 2013 at 6:29 am | Permalink

        Thanks both. I’ve had frozen peas on the knee over the weekend, and the swelling has gone down a bit :-)

    • Poppy
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      Hope you have a great trip – and manage to make it down Scafell Pike as well as up!!

  21. Ian
    Posted March 18, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Re 27a, I completely missed the obvious but justified my answer because Thomas Becket had been a bothersome one of these and that’s why he was murdered!