ST 2691 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2691 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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Don’t forget there’s still time to enter our May prize crossword.

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           Boat a metre in length (6)
The A from the clue and M(etre) inside a length or extent

4a           Unconfirmed report is, accordingly, held back by doctor (6)
IS and a two-letter word meaning accordingly all reversed (back) inside (held) your local doctor

8a           Cold wine returned in cylindrical container (8)
C(old) followed by an aromatic Greek wine reversed (returned)

10a         Place for sea cruises linked to particular subject (6)
A place where there are sea cruises (3,3)

12a         Still not ready to start debate? (10)
This could mean that there is nothing tabled for a debate!

13a         Extensive traveller‘s log possibly improved, without rubbish (12)
An anagram (possibly) of LOG followed by an adjective meaning improved around (without) a three-letter word for rubbish

21a         Bear ridicule, when it’s repeated (4)
A bear named Winnie could mean to ridicule if repeated

25a         One of several monarchs providing university in beginning (6)
U(niversity) inside a beginning


1d           Safety device testable when faulty (4,4)
An anagram (faulty) of TESTABLE

Seat belt

2d           State with ocean on East (5)
This US state comes from another name for an ocean followed by E(ast)

5d           Where you’ll find isolated soldiers excel in sending dispatches? (7)
This could mean to excel in sending dispatches

6d           Disorder resulted before start of match that’s played by West Indians (5,4)
An anagram (Disorder) of RESULTED followed by the initial letter (start) of Match

Steel drum

9d           Logical thinker helping with a nautical problem (11)
A helping or share followed by the A from the clue and what is a problem if it happens to a ship

17d         Drama ultimately penned by British playwright for producer of picture (7)
The final letter (ultimately) of dramA inside the name of a British playwright

19d         Unexpected result that may come at end of either leg (4-2)
… of a pair of trousers

21d         Run into parents in European city (5)
R(un) between father and mother

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 Stevie Winwood (65) and Burt Bacharach (85)


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was a very enjoyable challenge with a lot of nice clues. My BD rating today is ***/****. My thanks to the setter, and also to BD for his excellent hints which I didn’t need for the second day running :smile:

    My only puzzlement relates to 15d. Either I can come up with a word which can mean fresh but doesn’t contain any fish that I am aware of (or that I can find in the BRB), or I can construct a word from “fish secured by pub ahead of time” but which doesn’t, to the best of my knowledge, mean fresh. Any enlightenment would be much appreciated.

    And just a very small quibble regarding 3d. Wouldn’t “effort after a racing event almost exhausted” be better? The word “in” seems wrong to me, or am I missing something?

    • Posted May 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      15d is fresh in the sense of cheeky. [Chambers: fresh: cheeky or pert (informal)]

      3d the “in” is justified as part of the construct “definition (can be found) in wordplay”.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Many thanks for the clarifications. I had always thought of cheeky being very mild but 15d as being very rude.

      • Merusa
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. I got it wrong as I used the other sense
        Of fresh. No wonder I couldn’t work out the why.

  2. Only fools
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Usual quality puzzle with trademark Virgilius clues .Always feel he sets with a smile .
    Personal pick 12a .(liked all the rest ! )
    Thanks very much .

  3. Sweet William
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed solving this one – thank you Virgilius and thank you BD for hints. Thought I was really going to struggle with only one answer in on first reading of the across clues, but suddenly made progress on the down clues. Held up at the end on 10a and 21d. Finally the penny dropped and I wondered why I hadn’t seen the answers sooner.

  4. una
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    3d and 22a are defeating me.I found a lot of the clues quite hard work, sometimes failing to see the anagram indicators.

    • una
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Finally penny dropped for 22a, still can’t work out the racing event, unless everything else is wrong.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        Una, think about Isle of Man motorbike racing

        • una
          Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          Thanks, I’ll have to wait for MR Uno to return from walking the dog,as he remembers all these sporting fixtures.

      • Only fools
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        If you have the checking letters there is only really one word it can be .
        Best of luck

        • una
          Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

          Thanks, OF, your nudge did it. If the clue hadn’t mentioned the racing event , I would have got it earlier. Now I know what misdirection means.Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for another crafty crossword.

  5. jezza
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Very good, as is usual for a Sunday. The bottom half went in very quickly, finishing up in the top right, which took as long as the rest of the puzzle. Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  6. John
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Slow going today.
    Many thanks to the settervand BD for his invaluable hints. Some very clever clues today.
    Only 11a to go.

    • steve_the_beard
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      See Zinger’s discussion below :-)

  7. Expat Chris
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Kicking myself for coming up empty for 10A! 16A took a while, since it’s another of those words for which a different word is used in the USA. And I would not have figured out 13A without electronic help. Still very enjoyable. 12A and 21A were co-favorites. Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

    • una
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      My co-favorites too.

    • Kath
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      If you mean what I think you do with 16a the other word is probably more common here too. I’ve never heard of it with this ending – it is in the BRB.

      • Tantalus
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        agreed – 16a is not even in Webster! but then, so are a great many words.

  8. Tantalus
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Slow going here, off for an early walk in the drizzle and damp in Boston, hopefully will have more inspiration when we return and perhaps our wisteria will be out. Thanks to BD and the cgs. Mr & Mrs T.

  9. Kath
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Unusually with a Sunday puzzle I didn’t have many problems, and I even understand all my answers.
    I though it was really good with lots of clever clues. Just when I get used to looking for the hidden-in-the-middle ones there was only one today.
    My last two were 12 and 16a. I don’t think I’ve heard of 16a – with a different ending, yes, but not that one. I almost had the wrong last three letters of 23a which would have completely messed up 15d. Missed the anagram indicator in 6d for far too long.
    I liked 10, 20 and 24a and 6, 19 and 21d. Absolute favourite was 21a.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kath. Tongue in cheek – if you can only have one favourite then you can’t qualify it with an adjective such as absolute. It’s either your favourite or it’s not! :wink:

      Actually I’ve only started up on this subject again in order to be sent to the newly created “shut-up step”, in the hope that CS might supply a bottle of wine…

      • crypticsue
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        We just had a nice drop of rose with our lunch and there isn’t enugh left to put on any step, sorry. I can offer part of a rhubarb crumble, or some of my famous lemon cake, if that helps.

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted May 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          Crumble please, preferably with hot custard!

      • Kath
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear – I typed that and then went back up the garden (in the rain) to do a bit more weeding – I thought about it and wondered . . . ! Serves me right! :oops:

  10. mary
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for hints Dave, needed them to finish off top right hand corner! fav clue today 19d, getting ready to watch Swansea v Man U, other half is a Man U fan! Come on Swans :-) , nothing much else to do on such a horrible day, think I’ll forget about my beach walk today!

  11. Andrew
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle but stuck on 24a – think I know the answer but can’t work out why?

    • Kath
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      24a The first three letters are the name of an author who wrote short stories. His name is followed by a three letter word for effort. The author also wrote the six letter answer.

      • Andrew
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Kath – I was completely wrong!

  12. Brian
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyable puzzle today with a couple of delightful clues in 24a and 12a.
    Just one thing, don’t fully understand 17d. I see the author and the answer but don’t see where the second letter comes from. Shouldn’t it be a d or an a?
    Thx to all concerned.

    • Kath
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      It is. Suspect your second letter is wrong.

  13. Derek
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Another enjoyable puzzle from Virgilius to round off the week.

    10a was my fave this time!

    I started earlier on to tackle the puzzle then remembered that I had to clean the cooker head extractor filter as part of the spring-cleaning work – by heaven it was very gooey so took much longer to clean up than anticipated – I use a lot of sunflower oil in cooking and it is rather volatile.

    Re 8a – the BRB does not define it as only cylindrical!

    Virgilius – I think that 21a should be dumped into “the ancient city” bin!

    • Kath
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      I hate to disagree but I just loved 21a. I don’t care that I’ve seen it in various guises a million times before – it always makes me laugh. I am, as you’ve probably guessed, a huge fan of the bear!

      • Derek
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        Glad that you like it Kath but we need new input to X-words instead of the usual recycled rot!

        • Kath
          Posted May 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

          I still like it! My Dad’s cousin did medicine at Cambridge and ran an A. A. Milne club. They invited him to join them for a ‘honey tea’ on a particular date. He sent a hand written reply and said that he couldn’t make it but hoped to drop in for ‘a little something’ at another time, which he did.

  14. Arthur Dent
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Well I’m feeling a bit down. I really thought I was making progress with this cryptic lark and I finished yesterday’s without needing the hints (except to conform some of my answers). Today I managed the sum total of 3 answers before having to turn to the hints. I needed almost all of them.

    I am still stuck in the SW corner with three left to do (and one of those has a BD hint – and I still can’t get it!) 19d. 22a and 24a. Any nudges gratefully accepted…


    • Arthur Dent
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      After re-reading Kath’s hint above, the penny has just dropped for 24a. Still stuck on 19d & 22a…

      • una
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        19d see BD’s hints above

    • una
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      22a I had trouble with this one too,it sounds like eating and not seriously.
      24a think of and author ,3, who wrote other things besides short stories

    • Roger
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      19d think trousers

      22a think about a verb that describes what you do when you consume something. Then think if another word meaning Not Serious that sounds the same as your first word (the verb)

      24a think of an author (of short scary stories) and another word for effort. Put them together…and you get another type of written work …that our author also wrote

    • stanXYZ
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink


  15. Zinger
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Completely stuck on 11a!

    • gazza
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Zinger.

      • Zinger
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Thank you! Any hints for this clue please? I have all the rest.

        • gazza
          Posted May 12, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

          11a Bishops taken in by a European cleric from France (4)
          Put a couple of chess bishops between A and the abbreviation for European.

          • Zinger
            Posted May 12, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

            Excellent got it now thanks Gazza!

        • steve_the_beard
          Posted May 12, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          You might think it a bit naughty of the setter, that the letter common to 2D and 11A doesn’t need an accent for 2D but most certainly does for 11A.

  16. Kath
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    19d The definition is an unexpected result. The ‘at the end of either leg’ bit is not anything to do with your body but more to do with your trousers. I don’t know how old you are but if you’re quite old you may well have these at the bottom of your trouser legs. If you’re young it’s less likely.
    22a The definition is be a consumer or to eat something. It is a homonym of what, split as 2, 4, could be said as a joke.
    There’s already lots been said about 24a – not sure I can add anything.
    Good luck.

    • Arthur Dent
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Doh! and er… Doh!
      Thanks Kath. Feeling very stupid today.
      All done – with thanks to all involved!

      • Kath
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think that you should feel stupid – we all have good days and bad days and lots in the middle. One of the wonderful things about this wonderful blog is that no-one ever makes anyone else feel stupid. That, as well as how much I have learnt here, is why I love it so much.

    • Tantalus
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      assuming that we are all over 50 (Ahem !) – these were popular configurations for Oxford Bags – a type of long trouser in the 70s.

  17. Tantalus
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    19d – what is at the end of your trousers… by your feet. Also means that is a surprise… like Swansea beating Man U…

    • Arthur Dent
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Tantalus – Kath beat you to it. But I appreciate your help nevertheless…

      • Tantalus
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        she is too quick for me…
        And we are stuck on 5d… we have all the other letters but just can not see it. Will donate upside down cake to rthe naughty corner for some help. Thx

        • una
          Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          there is a good hint already for that, above.An isolated place for soldiers who might be sending dispatches quicker than others.

        • Arthur Dent
          Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          I’m not so sure about “isolated”. Think more “far-flung corner”…

          • una
            Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            but the thing is we are not supposed to give alternative clues.

            • Tantalus
              Posted May 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

              thanks… we have it!

  18. Heno
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A lovely puzzle, Virgilius always puts me in a good mood. Found it plain sailing until I was stuck on 5d and 13a, needed the hints for these two. Favourites were 1a and 19d. Was 3*/4* for me.