ST 2703 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

ST 2703 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2703 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

This could be the time to have a go at our Monthly Prize puzzle.
All of the entries received so far have given a different answer, and only one of them is correct!

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           Manual surfaces, covering small parts for service (6)
These manual surfaces are those on the human body – put them around S(mall) to get parts of a church service

10a         It’s hard to be penniless (5)
An adjective meaning hard and the state of being penniless or broke

11a         Europeans from North and South accepted by chaps of the old school (9)
S(outh) inside some chaps, like Cameron and Osborne, from an old school

12a         Oddly I used to change outside — that’s doubly tiresome (7)
Two anagrams (doubly) that give the same result – oddly I USED TO and change OUTSIDE

14a         Producer of sunflower oils (7,3,4)
A delightful cryptic definition of someone who “produced” a sunflower using oils

21a         Concerning condition of course in progress (7)
A two-letter word meaning concerning followed by the condition of a horse-racing course

25a         Clumsy writer held back by the aforementioned article (5)
An instrument used for writing is reversed (back) inside (held) a two-letter word which refers to a previously mentioned article

27a         Hunted some elephants initially in part of Africa (6)
The initial letters of Some Elephants inside an African country


1d           Fully convinced, as result of development (8)
two definitions – the second one being the result of developing a photograph

Negative and Positive

2d           Evasion from a spokesperson about level of fighting (9)
The A from the clue followed by a spokesperson around a level of fighting used in Japanese combative sports

3d           Month with foreigner in centre for traditional dance (7)
A charade of a month of the year and a foreigner

6d           Handled weapon used in attack that’s carried out by woman (7)
Something with handles which is used by a woman, like Mrs Thatcher, to literally or metaphorically carry out an attack

7d           Careless piece of writing, apart from first slow movement (5)
Start with a careless piece of writing and drop (apart from) the initial letter (first) of Slow
[Jezza has suggested that the initial letter could be dropped by “apart from first” and that leaves “slow movement” as a rather better definition]

9d           County with it can prepare compact living quarters (3-7,4)
A charade of the abbreviated form of an English county, IT, a can and a verb meaning to prepare

15d         Pure, like an unadorned lily, so to speak? (9)
This sounds like an adjective that could be applied to a lily that has not been adorned, as in the phrase which technically means applying gold to a lily but actually means attempting to beautify that which is already beautiful

19d         Using shot in a hospital for extreme pain (7)
An anagram (shot) of USING inside the A from the clue and H(ospital)

22d         Show amusement about a bit of corn (5)
A verb meaning to show amusement around the A from the clue

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 Barack Obama (52)

56 comments on “ST 2703 (Hints)

  1. Thanks to Virgilius for the usual Sunday treat, and to BD for the hints.
    I wondered whether the definition to 7d was ‘slow movement’, or perhaps ‘apart from first’ is not an adequate instruction to drop the first letter.

      1. A fun puzzle from Virgilius that I solved this morning on the train due to early golf then family duties.
        Personally I read this clue as Jezza describes and favour that interpretation only because it appears more elegant to me.
        Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the Hints and Tips.

  2. Oh dear, again – for the third day in a row I’ve found the crossword really difficult – now totally convinced that it must be me! :sad:
    I was very slow to even get started on this one. Having read all the clues through once I only had five answers – and it didn’t get much better.
    I ended up, after a very long time even by my standards, with absolutely nothing in the top left corner, except 12a.
    It’s ages since I gave up and came running for help with so many gaps – couldn’t even do the sunflowers – really having a dim day.
    I wanted to make 6d exactly what it is but didn’t dare put it in as it made the last bit of ‘the sunflowers’ look a bit unlikely. :roll: should have got it from that!
    Oh well – put it all down to experience!
    I liked lots of these clues, eventually – 4, 13 and 24a and 9d.
    With thanks to Virgilius for the crossword (and for putting me back in my box) and to BD for the much needed hints.

    1. You are not alone. Yesterday was hard but with an eventual start was do-able, but today was a real slog. I got 14a immediately, then full stop. I never did complete the top right-hand corner, still don’t know 4a and 8d. The long clues were the easiest. Will revisit later.

        1. No, you’re definitely not as thick as any kind of plank – I’m the plank of the blog today. I really couldn’t do it. I’ve never gaped blankly at any clue for as long as I did with 14a.

  3. Always my favourite puzzle of the week. Thanks to Virgilius!

    (Happy Birthday, Mr President! There are rumours that he is losing weight … but … ?)

  4. I thought it was a lovely puzzzle, as usual, though not easy.Absolute favourite 14a, which wasn’t immediately obvious.Neck-in- neck for second place were 1a, 4a, and 24a. I’m not really sure how I got 7d and 19d , just the checking letters , I think.Thanks Virgilius and BD for this blog, didn’t need the hints, for once.

  5. I found this challenging but not as hard as the previous two days. A good puzzle.

    re 15d, I thought the lily was painted, the other thing was ******.

    1. Sitting here on the naughty step, I fail to see the difference between ‘applying gold’ and the word I used.

      1. The one you used was the one I had jumped through hoops to avoid using as it forms part of the homophone. If you can’t see the difference then it’s best to say nothing.

  6. PS Just read BD’s comment about the MPP at the top of this. Just about to go and see if I can work out the answer – might as well add another different one!

    1. If its any consolation, the person who tested the puzzle couldn’t get the right answer at first, she had to enlist the help of her husband!!

      1. I wonder who that was! :smile:
        Seriously now, I do think that there are different ways of interpreting the question – husband at work at the moment but I might give it to him later and see what he thinks.

    2. I was pleased to read that one of the answers submitted for the MPP was correct, sincerely hope that it was mine. Agree that there are several possible interpretations. Will just have to wait in hopeful expectation for the 17th August to find out.
      Really fun to do. Solving the puzzle and having a shot at the answer is well within the abilities of all commenters on this blog I reckon. Why not give it a go everyone.

      1. I agree with everything you’ve said.
        Go on everyone – have a go – if I can finish it most of you, if not all of you, can. The tricky bit is the question.
        Do hope that it’s been noticed how good I’m getting at doing the bold and italics stuff! This is, of course, where it will all have gone wrong!

  7. Very enjoyable puzzle with some clever clues such as my fav 14a and also 12a.
    Needed the hint for 1a due to my usual problems with religious clues.
    Thx to the setter and to BD for the hint.

    1. Bit unsure about shot as an anagram indicator, doesn’t really work for me, what does anyone else think?

    2. Brian, I’m always so disappointed when you actually like the crossword!

      Much prefer it when you think it is “Horrid”!

      1. Especially when I found it so hard and the ones I find easy, he thinks are stinkers!

  8. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. I enjoyed this one a lot, but needed the hints for 1&21a to finish. Favourites were 14a and 5d. Was 3*/3* for me. Hope the rain doesn’t spoil the Test Match.

  9. Another very enjoyable puzzle from Virgilius to round off the week!

    Faves : 1a, 11a, 14a, 24a, 2d, 6d, 7d & 9d.

    Not all 24a are poisonous though!

    Still wandering around my flat virtually undressed to keep cool! 27C inside!

  10. Found it fairly straight forward today although had lethal in for a while in Sw corner which held me up.
    Spent ages thinking of the 3 letter word at the beginning of the accommodation. Last one in

  11. Superb stuff – very jealous of that Gnome!! Many favourites but 14a has the most stars by it.

    Nieces greatly impressed by my ability to decipher cryptic clues! I’ll convert them to solving too one day.

  12. Like yesterday’s I found this of the teeth-pulling variety but got there in the end .
    Thanks to Virgilius & BD.

  13. Despite jealousy of Dereks heat whilst it’s pouring down in East Anglia, and slightly annoyed that trying to get washing dry is impossible, Virgilius has come up trumps. Thanks to all

  14. Really glad others thought this a bit at the difficult end of Sunday puzzles – I thought it might just be us having an off day! Took pommette and I about twice as long as usual with only 5 across clues on first pass!

    Finished (eventually) while sitting at the bar in a nice cooling flow from the aircon so I can’t even blame the heat! Must just be us having an off day after all.

    17a is a bit American for my taste but we got there after a bit of head scratching.

    However, it was great entertainment and one of the best Sunday puzzles for some time IMO, and that’s saying quite a lot as Virglius is one of my favourite setters.
    Many thanks to him for the puzzle and for keeping us entertained for an extra beer while we teased out the last few :grin:

    1. A bit like cryptic Sue and Eileens comments on a recent Bannsider puzzle on a different site, just when you think you’ve reached the wavelength……..enjoy your beers the pair of you

      1. If I ever get anywhere near Bannsider’s wavelength I’ll know I’ve become a real expert! His puzzles usually take me about 3 days but are always fair and gettable (eventually) once the currency has dropped and the head been banged on the table a few times!

          1. I reckon Bannsider is HD television compared to my 405 line analogue but it is possible to get there in the end. Only been looking at his puzzles for about 3 or 4 months but always found his clues fair, even if very misleading.

      2. A different site? Surely there is only one worth looking at – nothing is as good as this one is! This is not an informed decision – never looked at another one, and don’t intend to – it would feel disloyal. As usual thanks to all.

  15. Thank you Virgilius – good as usual. Thanks BD for your hints – some of which I used to get a move on as I was late starting. Rushing round Conway RSPB to beat the rain, a swim, test match and a total failure to concentrate properly ! Had to finish before hopefully a decent dinner in a nice hotel near Caernarfon.

  16. sorry to say i did not much like this puzzle.

    The sunflower clue was good but it went downhill after that.

    MrC and i got it all without coming here for hints but really… “anglisizing” an americanism? Especially when there’s a shorter form of that word which is much better English.

    And then one of the Down clues was the most sexist i’ve seen in a crossword for a very long time.

    Sorry, my response is “could do better”

        1. Just checked in Chambers to see what the definition was – its an informal verb meaning to attack, destroy, wreck or undermine, originally attributed to Margaret Thatcher. You learn something knew every day

    1. I really can’t see anything sexist in 6d – perhaps I’m less ‘sensitive’ than you are on the subject.
      Most complaints about sexism are aimed at Ray T on alternate Thursdays, although never from me – I usually find those kinds of clues/answers some of his best – they make me laugh!

      1. I found it a breathtakingly clever puzzle with lots of lovely clues, many that made me smile.

        Best puzzle this weekend by a long chalk.

    2. Three generations of females in my family laughed out loud – definitely not a sexist clue

      1. and my mates in the pub whom i am tying to “get” cryptics really don’t see it as sexist. Somewhat annoying but lovely when you hear, oi andy, 14a “sunflower oils” , that’s that bloke who chopped his ear off and that 17a gonna be an anagram….

        1. Yes – that 17a anagram all went a bit wrong – thought I’d got the answer and wrote it straight in but it wasn’t on elastic and wasn’t long enough! It wasn’t until I actually wrote out all the letters of the anagram that I realised it was the American version with a couple of extra letters in the middle. That’ll teach me . . .

  17. I thought this crossword was brilliant with some really clever clues. Very very enjoyable. And straightforward !

  18. Virgilius is my favourite setter and like others thought the sunflower clue a knockout !
    I have no problem with anglicisms ,americanisms or sexist clues (was it really ?) but I do have a problem with “could do better ” .
    A real pleasure of a puzzle ,thanks Virgilius .If you can do better ,I for one look forward to it .
    Keep happy Caroline and thanks to BD

  19. A real slog. Thanks for the tips. With repeated efforts, this one has taken me over a day. NOW, I love the sunflower clue:)

  20. Finally done the. Darn thing, relieved to see I was not the only one to struggle with this one. 14a required a lot of staring over 2 days to finally twig the key was oils as a medium. I got 5d early on but it took until today to completely understand why.

Comments are closed.