ST 2704 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2704 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2704 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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This could be the time to have a go at our Monthly Prize puzzle.

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 Like people with convictions picked for team (6)
These people have convictions handed out by a court of law! – split as (2,4) it could mean picked for the team

4a Sign over some poems — they may be read in library, for example (8)
Reverse the anglicised version of a zodiac sign and follow it with some poems

12a Noisy party quiet people left out of indignation (7)
An exhortation to keep quiet followed by INDIG(nation) without the nation (people left out)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15a Strike that is happening with utmost speed (8)
A word meaning a strike followed by the unabbreviated Latin phrase meaning that is (2,3)

20a Undisputed bit of information about English side (5)
An undisputed bit of information around E(nglish)

25a Outside ring, interrogate a thug (7)
Outside the ring-shaped letter put a verb meaning to interrogate and follow it with the A from the clue

28a River vessel carrying soldier back for military operations (8)
A river followed by a vessel around the reversal (back) of a US soldier

29a Way in which son precedes guard (6)
A way in preceded by S(on)


1d Pauper’s statement about saint being a kind of fraud (8)
What a pauper might say (1’1,4) around the abbreviation of saint to get someone who is a fraud

5d Investigator of people in North mistreated, needing defender around (14)
An anagram (mistreated) of NORTH inside (needing ,,, around) a person who offers an argument in defence of something controversial

8d Reason to speak about overturned container (6)
A verb meaning to speak around the reversal (overturned in a down clue) of a container

9d Forming impressions when collecting digital data (14)
A delightful cryptic definition of the act of collecting data from the digits of criminals

16d Monarch surrounded by protection and respect (9)
The regnal cipher of our Queen inside a word meaning protection

17d Get held up by erratic game plan (8)
The GET from the clue is reversed and contained in (held up by in a down clue) an adjective meaning erratic

22d Like sound reflection needed for wise choice (6)
Not, as it may look initially, an anagram but actually a hidden word

24d Originally African music Brazilians introduced to South America (5)
The initial letters of three words in the clue inside the abbreviation for South AmericaAcross

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 Sandi Thom (32) and Hulk Hogan (60)
ARVE Error: need id and provider

39 comments on “ST 2704 (Hints)

  1. Thank you Virgilius – usual pattern for me on Sundays – slow to get started, but once I had some checking letters managed to make progress. Self destruct at 15a which caused long delays in NE corner. Finally the penny dropped that something must be wrong and I managed to finish it ! Many thanks for an enjoyable puzzle and to BD for your hints.

  2. What a delight! **/**** for me. No issues, just lots of great clues with 9d my favourite.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  3. It’s not very often that I try the ST, and usually I do not complete without some help from BD. But, I had this one done well before lights out last night. I would equate it with a Monday Rufus. There seem to be a couple (or more) of oldies but goodies – 2d and 21d for example. Favourite 5d – but I had plenty of checking letters in place when I solved that one. Thanks to setter and BD.

    1. I think you underestimate yourself – I found it a great deal harder than that, so good for you :-)

  4. Needed the hint for 4a. Thanks for that.
    Got the poem but not the sign although I did think it was astrological. Just couldn’t get there. Also struggled with the down one from there but once I’d got 4a the penny dropped.

  5. Lots of excellent clues from Virgilius, today! (As usual)

    My favourite: 9d – Last in and I had to resort to electronic help even though I had all the checkers. Bah! :cry:

    1. 2d – the start of every day.
      23a – one way of entering ‘out’ on a cricket scorecard and an offspring either side of a three letter word for border and you have a another version of the colour associated with embarrassment.
      7d – not so easy to describe, I’ll see if someone else can help on that.

    2. Think I have a hint for 7d without transgressing the rules for comments on prize puzzles. Three letter word for label (straight out of the BRB) and promissory notes.

        1. You are welcome. I often find that the BRB (if you have one) is useful for finding words (in their own right), based on words that are in the clue, that are part of the overall answer.

          1. I do, although I find the crossword dictionary more useful. In this case I had the wrong pope and that held up 7d.

            1. Just found a 2002 version of Chambers Crossword Dictionary in the local charity bookshop!

              £1.50 – A snippet and very interesting reading! (ISBN 0 276 42671 1)

              (Looked up BD’s ISBN in his hint for 4a – but for once Google fails to deliver!)

  6. Really enjoyed this one although with some help as usual. Particularly liked 11 across for some reason, probably because I finally got the answer. Thank you setter & hinter.

  7. Thought this was going to be a real struggle but once started (not the easiest bit!) it all came together nicely.
    Some nice clues but must admit needed the hint for 9d, very clever but too cryptic for me. My favourite was def 12a. Too many religious clues for my taste and have no idea whatsoever what 21d has to do with prayer but the answer is obvious from the first bit.
    Thx to the setter and to BD for the much needed hints,

    1. Aren’t we all different – today you found this much easier than I did!

      Re 21D; if you look up the answer in the BRB you see one meaning is “a short prayer, especially one assigned to a particular day or season”.

  8. VERY slow today with the crossword and everything else – not going to bed until 3.00am is just no good. :sad:
    I got held up almost everywhere. My last answer was 9d and I only put it in because it fitted with everything else – alternate letters by then – completely missed the significance of the last two words of the clue. Definitely not firing on all cylinders today.
    For some reason 23a took a long time as did 28a – I thought the river vessel was precisely that – eg a punt or a barge – rather than a river and a vessel. Oh dear!! I’ve never heard of the 11a Pope or 22d.
    Anyway – enough! I enjoyed this very much in a rather half-witted way!
    I liked 12 and 28a and 3 and 9d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD

    1. Kath, unlike favourites you can have more than one Pope 11a; there were at least half-a-dozen with that name.

      Hope things are a bit calmer for you today in your household.

      1. In that case I’ve never heard of any of the 11a Popes – they’re not a specialty of mine – in fact I’m really not sure what is!
        Yes thanks – things are much calmer today – we did have a very good evening but paying for it now.

  9. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. Usual great stuff from Virgilius. I really struggled with this. I needed help with 8 clues and I’m still short of two. I don’t understand the hint for the first three letters of 4a. I missed the hidden word for 22d and couldn’t think of 9d. Was 4*/4* for me.

    1. Heno, the first part of BD’s hint for 4a refers to the first four letters, not three.

  10. Hi Heno, re 4a reverse a four letter word which is a pictorial representation of a sign of the Zodiac then add a four letter word for poems.

  11. Thanks for hints Dave though finished without, quite enjoyed this today although once again it took me a while to get going, sunny cloudy here today, ah well that’s life!

  12. Another lovely Sunday diversion from Virgilius.

    Thanks to BD for the review, always useful to point out the subtleties in Virgilius’ clueing that I’ve missed, no doubt even more will be revealed when the full review is published.

  13. Good puzzle again. I needed the hints for 4a, got the poems but not the sign, but all is now revealed. I failed to read the “over” in the clue as reversed. Again, so easy when you have the answer. Thanks all

  14. Thanks to Virgilius for my Sunday morning fix; unfortunately all over far too quickly! I’ll have to look out for Brendan during the week. Thanks also to BD for the pointers.

  15. A fine puzzle with no quibbles from me but just a bit “flat” somehow., apart from 22d which is brill.

    I note that the master of the hidden word is trying hard to repel the boarders – RayT seems to me to be trying to steal his crown!

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    1. Yes, I must confess that I finished this one thinking that I hadn’t seen “wise” as an anagram indicator before… mind you, I haven’t seen “needed” as a hidden word indicator either :-)

  16. I took stanXYZ’s comment re BD’s image for 4A as a challenge.

    That ISBN is for “The 3 Indispensible Rules for Taking Charge: A Reptilian Guide to Personal Finance and World Domination” by Carrie Bailey

    What is BD trying to tell us, I wonder? :-)

    1. “Very interesting”,as the huns always say in old movies, (except I can’t see stanXYZ comment.)Just looked it up on amazon, kindle version only!

  17. Help! I am puzzled by the apparent answer to 15a which I rejected at first because I could not find this word in any dictionary. Sounds like broken English for a superlative of a word meaning ‘fast’. Please can someone enlighten me.

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