ST 2688 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2688 (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 and the FAQ 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           Put roofs on some buildings, not this church (6)
A pronoun meaning not this followed by CH(urch)

4a           Letters inside thin cover that could be extra weight (8)
Spell out the  inner letters of tHIn (1,3,1) and add a cover or lid

11a         US city in which the writer is turned back — is that so? (5)
The writer is (1’1) reversed (turned back) followed by “is that so” (2,1)

14a         It’s not put in speech one delivered in first part of the performance (5)
I (one) inside the initial letter (first) of The and a part of a dramatic performance

25a         To a liner out East — at sea, or in dock (2,5)
An anagram (at sea) of TO A LIN(E)R without the E (out East)

27a         Treehouse put in ahead of time, with serious intent (9)
A house built in a tree for a bird inside an adverb meaning ahead of time

29a         Didn’t go steady, switched around (apart from first couple) (6)
Start with STEADY, leave the first two in place (apart from first couple) and move two of the other letters to the end (switched around)


1d           Knitters recycled ornaments of little value (8)
An anagram (recycled) of KNITTERS

3d           Each year, in odd role, act tragic part (9)
The two-letter abbreviation for each year inside an anagram (odd) of ROLE ACT

5d           Article annoyed executives collectively and uniformly (6,3,5)
The indefinite article followed by an adjective meaning annoyed and a collective way of describing the executives of a company (3,5)

8d           Colours are not used in added text (6)
The colloquial way of saying “are not) inside an afterthought added to a letter

17d         Minimal change in broadcast shown again (8)
The smallest coin inside a verb meaning broadcast or transmitted

21d         Satirical writer left on journey, finally, with expedition (7)
A 17th/18th century satirical writer followed by L(eft) and the final letter of journeY

24d         Young boxer, say, framing popular photograph of actress (3-2)
The young of the type of aanimal of which a boxer is an example (say) around (framing) a two-letter word meaning popular

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!

There have been a number of comments recently regarding the policy adopted on this site regarding Prize crosswords.  None of the other crossword blogs allow any discussion on these puzzles until after the closing date.  I decided to give a few hints and to allow sensible discussion.  In the early days I was criticised for this by some of the Telegraph setters.  What I am desperate to avoid is requests of the type “I’ve got A?B?C?, what is the answer to 8 across”.  I started slipping a few gimmes in which could be revealed by hovering over the pictures.  When it was suggested that this practice be stopped there were howls of protest.  Please be sensible and respect this policy.  If you have any doubt about what to put in a comment, then don’t do it.

Today it’s Happy Birthday to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (87)


  1. mary
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Today may be the Queens birthday but it is also Daves birthday, so Happy Birthday Dave, hope you have a good one, you should be having a well deserved day off today!

    • mary
      Posted April 21, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Oops Happy birthday to Libelulle too :-)

      • una
        Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Do you have these dates in your calendar ?Many happy returns to Dave and Libellule and to the best Monarch Britain has ever had.

      • mary
        Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        I get notified on Facebook Una

        • una
          Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          I was on facebook but I’ve cancelled my account.

  2. Jezza
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Lovely puzzle – thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.
    Happy Birthday to BD, Libellule, ER, and anyone else who shares this illustrious day.

  3. mary
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one today, I was up early so maybe I should make that a habit and start early before brain fatigue sets in!
    Thanks for hints Dave, though not needing them, I couldn’t work out where the first letter of 14a had come from, stupid, simple once you know, the only one I really don’t understand now is my answer to 16d, not so nice here today but we are still going to take the motorhome for its exercise :-)

    • mary
      Posted April 21, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Fav clues 4a, 12a and 19d

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed this but it was a tale of two halves for me today. The left hand side fell into place fairly well but I struggled for quite a while with some of the right hand side.

    There were some great clues, my favourites being 4a and 20a, and 29a made me smile. I got the answers for 10a and 11a but I don’t understand the half-hearted part of the wordplay for 10a, and I would never have understood 11a without BD’s hint. Can someone put me out of my misery on 10a please?

    Many thanks to BD and to the setter. Now out into the sunny garden for me.

    • crypticsue
      Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      10 is an anagram – but you need to remove the ‘heart’ of copper before rearranging it and the word next to it. It is very nice wordplay.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Ah yes! Thank you CS and Jezza. I agree – a lovely clue now I understand it!

    • Jezza
      Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Re 10a – half hearted is telling you to remove one of the central letters of one of the words that forms part of the anagram.

      • una
        Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Another wonderful puzzle from Virgilus,which I think I have completed correctly.The word play in 4a and 20a mystifies me.Thanks BD for the hint on 21d , which I needed.

        • una
          Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

          Sorry , I don’t know how my comment followed yours in the way it did.

  5. crypticsue
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday to BD, Libellule, Her Majesty, my work colleague Jane and anyone else celebrating today.

    The perfect crossword for a lovely sunny Sunday when there is lots on my list of things to do. Too many favourites to pick just one or two. Thank you to Virgilius and the Birthday Boy.

    If anyone is cheering on the marathon, please give a shout to my niece Sarah who is running for Centrepoint.

    • gnomethang
      Posted April 21, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Hippy BAthday to BD (known), ER (known) and Libellule (Not Known).
      Thanks to Virgilius for the excellent puzzle as ever.

  6. Only fools
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Quality puzzle as usual .Faves 4a ,16d .
    Happy birthday (I prefer to overlook them now)
    Thanks very much .

  7. Kath
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    A lovely crossword and a lovely day here – hazy sunshine.
    I needed the hints to understand my answers for 4 and 14a so was lucky that they were among the clues explained. Like Mary I don’t understand my answer to 16d – it does mean restless but can’t see the rest of it, yet!
    I liked 1, 10, 11 (took me ages to untangle that one) 26 and 27a and 2 (as usual I nearly missed it) 3, 7 and 21d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    All good wishes for happy birthdays to all the birthday people.

    • crypticsue
      Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      In 16d the capital at the beginning is relevant today.

      Did you see the bit in yesterday’s gardening section about how to keep deer out of your garden?

      • stanXYZ
        Posted April 21, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        16d – I thought it was a reference to the ******** character. Is it his Birthday as well? Today?

        • crypticsue
          Posted April 21, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

          Silly boy – yesterday there was a clue with a capital letter which wasn’t relevant. As to whether it is his birthday…..???

          • stanXYZ
            Posted April 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

            It’s all a matter of how we interpret the English language …

            In 16d the capital at the beginning is relevant today.

            I just thought that the emphasis was on today – i.e. 21 April.

            Oh Well! Far too nice a day for the naughty corner … so I will just have a gentle stroll by the sea and ponder as to why I have been censored! :grin:

    • Kath
      Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the explanation of 16d – sneaky or what?
      No – I didn’t see that – I spent all day in the garden yesterday so haven’t looked at papers properly – will hunt it out now.

  8. Brenda Reding
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday, BD have a really good one, you deserve the best in the world, and all your bloggers too.
    Old age is beginning to take its toll, it took me ages and lots of think to finish today’s x-word, enjoyable nonetheless, liked a lot of clues, best 20, 4, 7, 8 and 21.

  9. Hrothgar
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday BD, Libellule, Her Majesty and Fred (bloke across the road)
    Great puzzle, very clever 1a and 4a, for example.
    And some cunning diversions eg 22d
    Thanks Virgilius and BD

  10. andy
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Very good, even more so In that I completed in one sitting which is an absolute first for a Virgilius. Clouding over now, but washing done and dried outside, as opposed to a house resembling widow Twankees laundry for what seems like an eternity. Happy Birthday to Dave, Libellule and Brenda

  11. Tantalus
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Hippo birdy to big Dave and thx to the cryptognomes for our toastful Sunday.

    Did you know that you only need 23 people for it to be likely that two share the same birthday.

  12. Brian
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Nice crossword today even if I still don’t fully understand 11a.
    Did like 4a paticulary, made me smile.
    Thx to the setter and Happy Birthday to BD (btw we’re losing 1-0 to an ex Gooner!)

    • crypticsue
      Posted April 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Reverse the first two letters of 11a and then split it 2, 3 and read it out loud!

  13. Arthur Dent
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Well it’s not my birthday today – I seem to be in a minority…

    Happy birthday to all those listed above!

    It was ditto yesterday for me today. About a dozen or so solved, grinding halt, look at the hints, up and running again!

    All finished. A few I put in without fully understanding the wordplay, but I will wait for the full review (or see if others ask here for explanation).

    With thanks to Virgilius and the birthday boy!

  14. neveracrossword
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    An enjoyable workout. Needed the hints to explain exactly why a couple of my answers were correct. Cunning fellows, these setters.

  15. Roger
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Save as Rabbit Dave…that rh half was tricky and I had to resort to electronic aids. I still don;t see 11a.

    • Arthur Dent
      Posted April 21, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Remarkably that was my first in!

      The setter might say that “he’s off to the shops now – or is he?”, but remember that he would be saying that phrase in the first person. Reverse the first verb part of that phrase (turned back) and add the second verb part to get your answer.

      What’s the cake today Sue?

      • Roger
        Posted April 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Got it…thanks

      • crypticsue
        Posted April 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        A puff pastry based pear and chocolate frangipane tart, a Hairy Biker’s recipe which is probably far too good for the naughty corner, even if Mr CS would let me hand over even a small morsel.

        • Kath
          Posted April 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          Oh no – so glad that I didn’t end up in the naughty corner. I really like all fruit, I like chocolate but don’t eat it very often – what I really DON’T like is fruit and chocolate together. I know that people say raspberries and choc is a classic combination – they can keep it as far as I’m concerned.

          • jezza
            Posted April 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

            I don’t like fruit and chocolate together either, but I do remember as a child a chocolate bar that had fruit in it that I did like, but I cannot remember its name. Not Penguin.. perhaps Club, fruit and raisin ?? I’ll cogitate overnight…

          • crypticsue
            Posted April 21, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

            Pear and chocolate is a great combination.

            • Kath
              Posted April 21, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

              I know that it’s supposed to be – poire belle helene – but really not my thing, and apologies if the french bit is wrong, and anyway can’t do accents on this keyboard.

  16. Sweet William
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Virgilius, enjoyable as always. Thank you BD and Happy Birthday to you and all others who share the date. Long drive down to Suffolk, but worth it ! Sunshine and a lot warmer than the grim North.

  17. Brian Greer
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Happy BirthDay

  18. Heno
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to the Birthday Boy for the hints, see Spurs gave you a good present :-) Happy Birthday to Her Maj & to Libellule too. Smashing puzzle as usual from Virgilius, got held up in the NE corner, but didn’t need the hints to solve, but needed an explanation for 4a, very clever. Last in was 15a. Favourites were 26a and 21&22d. Was 2*/4* for me. A lovely sunny morning in Central London, was inspired by the marathon runners and went for a considerably shorter run myself, first one for 5 weeks.

  19. Posted April 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for all the Birthday greetings.

    May I add my own Happy Birthday to Libellule.

  20. Derek
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday to BD and Libellule!

    A pleasant puzzle from Virgilius as always to end the week.

    19d brought back memories for me as in my youth I lived in Streatham and went to school on the common of 19d (plus a 3-letter addition). The school went defunct and the buildings are now used as a teacher’s training college I understand.

    • Posted April 21, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      My father used to live in 19d back in the 1930s.

    • jezza
      Posted April 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink


      I live less than 5 miles from where you lived, and where you went to school, and my father went to the same school as BD, and John Major (Rutlish School) in Merton, SW19.

      • una
        Posted April 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        It seems to me that between the three of you , you have discovered the centre of the earth’s cruciverbalism. Could it be something in the water ? Should we bottle it?

  21. Attila Thehun
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    I add my best wishes to all those celebrating birthdays today.

    On the first pass, I entered only one across answer.

    I then entered all but three down answers … which enabled me to complete those across and thence the remaining down clues were solved.

    A nice puzzle to start the week.

  22. una
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    I don’t want to rain on anybodies parade but aren’t we supposed to NOT reveal our birthdays on line in case there is some horrible identity thief out there, waiting to pounce?

    • gnomethang
      Posted April 21, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t reveal my Birthday….
      But seriously – There are easier ways of finding this stuff out!.

    • Kath
      Posted April 21, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      This wouldn’t have occurred to me. I’m so not clued up about that kind of thing. I know that Mary is a geminian as I am. I also know that Giovanni has the same birthday as I do. I remember talking about birthdays with BD at the last get-together and he said that he was surprised that I couldn’t guess what star sign he was!