ST 2698 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2698 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2698 (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           Most of the fault lies in this economy (6)
Most of TH(E) followed by a fault

4a           Blood type different? That’s a nuisance (6)
One of the blood types followed by a word meaning different

11a         Hot gaseous mixture — that may end in a bang (4)
H(ot) followed by a gaseous mixture gives something that may end in a bang or fringe

12a         Bad luck, having set mousetrap, for example (4,6)
An adjective meaning set or firm followed by something often used as bait for a mousetrap

20a         They bear heavy burdens, so include supporting frames in case? (10)
Split as (4,6) this could mean to include supporting frames for drying clothes in a suitcase

21a         Like some Asians, that is, endlessly getting together (4)
A typical Virgilius clue – drop the final letters of THA(T) and I(S) and run what’s left together

23a         It indicates you’ve arrived — don’t knock it! (8)
A cryptic definition of something that is pushed, not knocked, to indicate your arrival

24a         Woollen cloth that’s good in short jacket (6)
G(ood) inside most of (short) the kind of jacket traditionally worn by trainspotters!

25a         Cross section of lengthy bridge (6)
A cross(breed) is hidden (section of) inside the clue


1d           The graduate a short time in charge of certain subject (8)
THE followed by a graduate, T(ime) and the abbreviation of In Charge

2d           Having basic education in odd places, not so well done (5)
This adjective meaning not so well done, when applied to cooking steak, has the three elements of basic education in the odd letters

5d           For example, general proposal covering one chapter (7)
A proposal around (covering) I (one) and C(hapter)

6d           Followers creating aggravation between husband and child (7-2)
Aggravation or outrage sandwiched between H(usband) and a male child

14d         Instant idea underlying the Web, primarily (9)
An idea following the initial letters (primarily) of The and Web

17d         Tastiest extremity on swine? (7)
The initial, or final, letter (extremity) of TastiesT followed by a swine or cad – the whole of this &Lit clue provides the definition

19d         State of a canalon your head be it (6)
Two definitions – the state or country through which the eponymous canal runs and something worn on the head – ironically the headwear is usually manufactured in Ecuador

21d         Row across British or Italian river (5)
A row or rank around (across) B(ritish) gives this Italian river (not the River Po!)

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 Mike Tyson (47) and M.J.K. Smith (80)

34 comments on “ST 2698 (Hints)

  1. This took me a smidgeon longer to complete than normal for a Sunday, but no real hold-ups.
    24a last one for me.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  2. Thanks as always for the analysis and tips. I used to find the Sunday crossword so hard until a few weeks ago, when I discovered this blog. My brain seems to have become conditioned nicely to solving more for myself. Wasn’t 100% about 11a reasoning, so most grateful for that.

  3. Excellent Sunday solving . Lots of “smile” moments for me. Thanks setter and BD. Paper solvers should be aware of a difference in clue 15 across, in the quickie ,from the on line version. That cost me 10 points to find an answer. Perhaps “IM” missing something.

  4. I absolutely loved this, and my rating is **/****. Many thanks to the setter for a really great crossword on a lovely, proper summer’s morning here in London. I managed three quarters quite quickly but got held up a bit with the NW corner.

    Many thanks too to BD for his excellent hints. Although I completed this without any help, I needed BD to explain the wordplay for 1a, 11a (which included a new meaning of bang for me), 20a, & 2d (I got the basic education part but couldn’t see at all where the other two letters came from).


  5. Lovely puzzle. as usual.I took an age to get 5d and 10a. Favourites are 19d and 23a. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  6. Usual slightly tougher standard as for a Sunday but quite doable. Thank goodness for anagrams to get me started!
    Not sure i fully get 20a which was my last in. Best clue for me was 11a which I thought very clever.
    Many Thx to all.

  7. Brilliant puzzle and a lovely sunny Sunday morning – nearly 4* for difficulty and 4* also for enjoyment.
    I thought that this one was going to be a real little piglet – only managed two across answers having read all the across clues but did better with the downs and then got going, but rather slowly.
    I ended up in a real pickle in the bottom left corner with hardly anything in but finished eventually.
    21a was my last one and I almost gave up and came running here for help – had one last look (mainly because husband was fiddling about with the wireless network so I couldn’t use the computer) and got it – was going to say exactly what BD put in his hint about it being a typical Virgilius clue but he beat me to it.
    I liked too many clues to pick out any in particular except my favourite which was 20a.
    Even having read the hint I still don’t understand where the 2nd and 4th letters of 2d come from – sorry to be dim again.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    1. Hi Kath, my understanding is that letters 2 & 4 are not specifically clued but you need to deduce them from the other letters and the answer. There are really only 25 possible combinations of which I think only one makes a real word.

      1. Thanks – still not really sure – it feels a bit too much like guesswork for Virgilius. We must be missing something I think. :smile:

        1. Virgilius often pops up on the blog later on a Sunday. Perhaps he will enlighten us all?

        2. Me, too. “In odd places” would give you “p-a-e”. Hopefully we’ll get enlightenment somehow!

  8. An enjoyable puzzle from Virgilius to round off the week!

    Faves : 8a, 13a, 20a, 5d, 14d & 17d.

    Another magnificent day here in NL – not as warm as in California today though!

    Back to the flat screen after lunch for Silverstone and Andy Murray!

  9. Found I’d put a star by so many of the clues I especially enjoyed that there’s no way I could choose a favourite! And for some (with hindsight) inexplicable reason 22a was my last in. Was just about to give in and ask for help when the penny dropped… So thank you to the setter for a delightful puzzle, and to BD for his usual brilliant hints (hope the farmer’s market went well yesterday). Loving the sunshine so Poppy gets a special outing today along the Thames where there are some dog friendly pubs – perfect :-D

      1. Absolutely! She wants a signed poster of him to hang up so is saving her biscuits…. :-)

  10. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. Very good puzzle from Virgilius, most enjoyable. I needed the hints for 1, 14&19d and 11&20a. I’m not in form at the moment. Favourites were 13a and 21d. Hamilton had a blow out.

  11. Enjoyable crossword as usual & as usual had to check some of the answers with the hints…..oh dear. Perhaps after 7 to 9 years we’ll be able to wizz through these crosswords with the ease & speed of some of you experts. Of course, we’ll be well past our sell by date by then I suppose. Thank you setter & definitely, hinter.

  12. Got there in the end, but 2D is / was bugging me. Glad to see I’m not the only one.

  13. 11A was a write-in for me, since that’s the term used here, but in the plural. 3D was last but one, whcih gave me 1A. Lot’s of lovely clues, including 1D and 21A, but 14D was my favorite. Great stuff from Virgilius and many thanks to BD for the review. I didn’t need the hints but did want to confirm my reasoning for 2D.

    Building up to be another extremely humid day here, so no outdoor activities for me.

  14. Remember nearly choking on my cornflakes when reading that Barack thought the most significant event of his inaugural week in January was Michelle “I love her bangs .She always looks good”. Further investigation enlightened me .
    Usual smooth thoroughly enjoyable puzzle from Mr Greer ,14 d fav .
    Thanks to him and to BD

    1. Come on, can you blame him? The entire media focused their tunnel vision on this and could talk of nothing else!

  15. My first run through had me very disillusioned, thinking I’ll never finish this. On first reading, I got a total of five answers. On further reading through, I found some anagrams, and these helped me to keep on going. I did eventually have to resort to gizmo for help with some clues. 17d made its appearance again! Thanks to all, this took longer today, just prolonged the enjoyment.

  16. Greetings from sunny Portland, Oregon.

    About 2 down, I think it was Don Putnam who referred to a “half-a-loaf” ((is better than no bread)) clue in which the wordplay does not cover all the letters. I would use that kind of clue very rarely, when the answer is totally clear given the letters that are covered.

    As always, thanks to BD

  17. Anyway, where’s Mary? Has she gone on unofficial leave again? She’s probably glued to the tennis, unless one of the lions that everyone was talking about yesterday has eaten her!

      1. No need for play today. Despite a few disruptions last week things are running pretty much to schedule.

      2. Oh – thought that they’d played every day in the fortnight for the last few years – just goes to show how up to date I am with Wimbledon! I love it but can’t let myself get too hooked too early on in the tournament or nothing else gets done.
        In that case, back to original question – where’s Mary – has she been eaten by one of those Lions?!!

  18. Thank you Virgilius – enjoyable puzzle as always. I confess to being relieved that you rarely write clues like 2d ! It was a while before the penny dropped. Thank you BD for your hints, which I used to get me started, having been out looking at the ospreys I had run out of time to finish the puzzle unaided before dinner ! We had some decent long distance views of the birds, but ultimately cheated by going up to the Whinlatter visitor centre where you can watch the birds on the nest with the help of their cameras set up round the nest site.

  19. Medium difficulty and fun. Thanks Virgilius but Dave I needed help from your competition for southwest corner as I didn’t recognise 22a as an anagram. ***/***.

  20. I pointed out a coincidence between two clues in an earlier blog, and I wish to say now that it really was just that, a coincidence.Since I made the remarks on this forum I would like to apologize to Orlando for any hurt or injury I may have caused him, on this forum.

    1. just completed my first Sunday Times cryptic crossword.I’m so excited I had to share !

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