ST 2697 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2697 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2697 (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.

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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           Deal anew with case concerning gang (6)
A two-letter word meaning concerning or about followed by a gang, of cubs perhaps

10a         Old master exactly right about what’s central to art (5)
An adverb meaning exactly and R(ight) around the middle letter of (what’s central to) aRt

12a         Festival location, as we see it, is disorderly (7)
Split this as (3,2,2) and it could be a South American festival location, as we see it

13a         Lots of ships round the bend when following a river (7)
Deceptively simple! – an adjective meaning round the bend followed by a word meaning when and preceded by (following) the A from the clue and R(iver)

17a         Hobbies are included in class that interests them (14)
My first thought when I saw this was that a hobby is a small species of falcon, and I was right!

21a         Relative amicability rules, initially? It’s not obvious (7)
A male relative followed by the initial letters of Amicability Rules

27a         Enthusiastic about good backing for this type of pop music (6)
An adjective meaning enthusiastic around G(ood) all reversed (backing)


1d           Break records with small humanitarian organisation (3,5)
An anagram (break) of RECORDS with S(mall)

3d           Complain over nothing on Circle Line — it can save commuters money (3,4)
A verb meaning to complain followed by O (nothing), the letter shaped like a circle and L(ine)

8d           Carp, possibly, about popular conclusion (6)
A group of cold-blooded vertebrates, like the carp, around a two-letter word meaning popular

9d           Conflict symbolised by different colours of house-plants? (4,2,3,5)
A conflict between two Royal Houses, each symbolised by a different colour of house-plant – Henry Tudor cunningly combined both of these colours in his emblem

15d         Settling very shortly into a bit of work at last? (9)
The abbreviation (shortly) of V(ery) inside some work that could be done by a cobbler at his last

16d         Drive off from established area for practice shots (8)
EST(ablished) followed by an area where Gnomethang might practice his golf shots

18d         In a perfect world, I had European associate (7)
The abbreviated form of “I had” followed by E(uropean) and an associate

20d         Put down brief reminder to renew membership (6)
Split as (3,3) this could be a brief reminder to renew one’s membership

22d         Including one piece of basic education for learner in class is stupid (5)
Start with CLASS and then include one of the three pieces of basic education instead of the L(earner)

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 KT Tunstall (38) and Eddie Marsan (45)

Eddie Marsan
Eddie Marsan as Mr Pancks in Little Dorrit

48 comments on “ST 2697 (Hints)

  1. Another great puzzle today. Many thanks to the setter.

    I found three quarters reasonably straightforward but struggled with SE corner. 25a was my last one in simply because I was convinced it must begin with AR. Silly me. Overall my rating is **/****

    Although I completed this without help, I hadn’t heard of 10a (confirmed by Google) and I couldn’t understand the wordplay for 17a (enlightened by BD, to whom many thanks for the hints).

    Lots of excellent clues, with my favourite 17a now I understand it. 15d and 20d came close as did 2d with it’s lovely surface reading (I hope Kath got it!).

  2. Really enjoyed this, thank you Virgilius. For some reason got onto the right wavelength and got the 4 14 letter answers early. We particularly liked 17a as it is a class in which we take an interest ! – all a bit late this year ! Thank you BD for your hints. Weather in NW normal !

  3. I agree with RD that the SE corner is more of a challenge. It took me some time to get 17a because I did not remember that definition of hobbies. Best clue for me is 15d.

  4. Thanks to Virgilius for producing another top quality Sunday puzzle; pity the enjoyment was over too quickly.
    Favourites 27a, 15d, and 20d.

  5. Really enjoyed this, as always with Virgilius the answers are there, they just need a bit of winkling out.

    Thanks to BD for the review which clarified some of the word play.

    Thanks to. Virgilius for an enjoyable diversion.

  6. In Ciutadella at moment ,saw 2 17a on Wednesday near Sant Tomas .Great clue and puzzle .
    Weather tolerable 81F ,very sunny .Wi-fi only hiccup .back to Fiesta which is very impressive .
    Thanks to both .

  7. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. Another super puzzle from Virgilius. Too many Favourites to mention, stand out clue was 17a. Was 2*/4* for me. Off to Barnet now to watch Arsenal Legends in a charity match.

  8. I thought this was one of Virgilius’s more straightforward crosswords.
    I was dim about 27a and 16 and 20d which were my last ones. Needless to say I missed 26a for ages. Tried for ages to turn 16d into a ‘crickety’ clue.
    Too many good clues to pick out any other than my favourite which is, for reasons that will be obvious to anyone who has read all my rabbitting over the last few days, 14a. I also really liked 17a.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    Still terribly windy here. Just off to take Hopalong back to London as she has an OPD appointment tomorrow so that they can see how her 14a is doing.
    Back later – if the traffic is as bad as it was on Friday I could be some time!

      1. Thanks Mary and Merusa – she’ll be fine but really hope that she’s not hopping for too long as it’s making me hop too – hopping mad! :roll:

  9. Thanks to Biggles, Viviana and Druid for a pleasant morning. Shouldn’t 9a be singular (or the clue plural)?

    1. Tantalus, despite its plurality, 9d is the name of the single long-lasting (over 30 years) conflict referred to. It comprised lots of the singular variety!

      1. If one were to ask Tilsit, he would likely say that this singular conflict is ongoing…

        anyway – we need a little help in the SE corner… 23a, 15d and 19d.

        1. 23a you are looking for a type of thief particularly of cattle – take a five letter word for monarch with the usual two letter crossword abbreviation for a good person inside

        2. 15d – you are looking for a word for ‘settling’ as in an argument for example, you need the one letter abbreviation for very inside a word for what a shoemaker might be doing to mend the bottom of a pair of shoes using a last, I think I’m safe with that explaination!?

      2. 19d you are looking for a word meaning ‘to develop over a long period’ you need a certain key, as in music followed by a word for a large property

        1. Mary. Perfect, thanks… On 23a we had gone down the angel route… and on 19d the tilling the fields… doh.

          The 16d hint was a little difficult since we do not know how bad a golfer Gnomethang is. Does he practice from the bunkers, the rough, the fairway, the woods, the apron, the green, the tee… but we got there in the end.

  10. Another entertaining puzzle from Brian!

    Some tricky word play here and there.

    Aside from the four 14-letter collections, my faves : 10a, 12a, 1d, 3d, 19d & 20d.

    Weather here in NL seems to be settling down to what we expect for summer but still on the blustery side!

    Meat and two veg tonight! Plus Loire red!

    1. was in Noordwijk last weekend – watching the birds scavenge the food from the sand being pumped onto the beach, quite Hitchcock! Where are you?

  11. Yes, I agree, very enjoyable start to Sunday morning. I really had no problems as I remembered the birds in 17a from a previous crossword. I failed miserably with 15d and put in another word meaning outcome rather than settling. Just one word wrong, not too bad I think. Wimbledon tomorrow! I so look forward to that every year, hope no bad weather. Thanks to all for starting my day off so nicely.

    1. I live about 2 miles away from Wimbledon tennis, and it’s not great! At least there is no rain (at the moment)

        1. Why on earth do they grunt? What do they gain? I think it was Monica Seles who started it.

          1. Yes and she nearly got shot!

            Looking forward to The Championships!

            I did play tennis in my youth but now in my 90th year can’t run any more!

  12. Hi Dave, thanks for hints, didn’t need them today but I did use a lot of help from ‘electronic friends’ , fav clue 20d, I found the top half quite easy, then the SW corner ending up with three left in the SE which gave me some trouble, after much preservation all fell into place, a three star for me today, dull windy day here and the rain is just starting!

  13. Excellent ST crossword today, lots of lovely meaty clues.
    Thx to all.
    Back to the cricket but its now raining :-(

  14. This seemed more of a challenge than the usual Sunday puzzle. SE corner took ages and 17A escaped me, even with all the checking letters and the obvious second half. I had not heard of that type of bird of prey before. Very enjoyable, though, with 16D and 19D co-favorites. Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

  15. Passed on 2696 last Sunday as spent day at Queen’s watching Tennis Final between the numerous rain showers so I too hope for dry Wimbledon – would make a change! Enjoyed today’s challenge with 19d last to go in and needed explanation for answer to 17a so thanks for that.

  16. Thoroughly enjoyable,as we have come to expect on a Sunday ! Thanks to Virgilius and Big Dave, needed your help for 12a,17a,and 15d.

  17. Finally back from second round trip to London in three days. Knackered and had enough. What’s pissing me off now is that having escaped the clutches of the traffic warden on Friday husband thinks that I went into the London Congestion Charge bit, even if it was for a very short bit. I don’t think that I did but have paid it online this evening because I think the fine for not paying it is huge. Not fair – if they’ve got a picture of all the number plates that have been inside it surely they could tell me that I didn’t go into it, and, honest guv, I didn’t!
    I really enjoyed today’s puzzle which is something that I forgot to say earlier so more belated thanks to Virgilius.
    I always thought that the expression was ‘work fingers to the bone’. I had no idea until this weekend that it meant up to the elbow!

    1. Can you not appeal? Ask to have the surveillance reviewed? Could grovelling work again? After all your tribulations this week, no wonder you’re mad. Good luck.

      1. Thanks. :smile: they’ve just asked me to put my registration number in again in case it was wrong – it wasn’t. In other words I DIDN’T go into it. Have they offered to refund me – I’ll leave that up to you to make a guess . . . ! More hopping in Oxford! :sad:

  18. 29a from yesterday’s puzzle, I got it but never heard of it , and it’s not in my chambers. Has anybody got any clues ?

    1. I thought that yesterday’s was generally a great crossword, though I have to say I didn’t much like this particular clue.

      If I’m right (and I’m probably not!) the definition is simply a boy’s name. The wordplay as I understand it is – what you might have done had you taken part in the 100yards dash (3) into which you insert the 1 letter abbreviation for yard…

    2. Hi Una. Do you mean Saturday? I think it’s simply a boy’s name you’re looking for, a 3 letter word for dashed around the abbreviation for yard.

      1. Sorry, logged on last night then went to bed and didn’t refresh page this morning before commenting, so didn’t see Arthur’s reply. At least I now know I was on the right wave length!

    3. Please do put comments and queries about a specific puzzle on the relevant blog (rather than the next day’s) otherwise it all gets terribly confusing.

    4. You are right , of course, Gazza, I just got impatient because I thought nobody was looking at that puzzle any longer.Thank you Ian and Authur for your help , not a name I’m familiar with.

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