ST 2705 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2705 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2705 (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.

A special mention for Colin Foster, Lancastrian Bluenose on fifteensquared and a regular face at Sloggers & Betters meetings.  He comfortably won his heat on Mastermind last Friday.  This can still be seen on the BBC iPlayer.

Here is seen here (on the right) with Prolixic.

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           Doctor man’s cut in private room (7)
An anagram (doctor) of MAN’S CUT

10a         Advises what’s one essential to make a crossword popular (5,2)
One of the essentials in the making of a crossword followed by a two-letter word meaning popular

11a         Bird taking most of fruit — shame about that (9)
Most of a citrus fruit inside (about that) a word meaning shame

12a         Old clothes in which to chatter idly (5)
TO followed by a verb meaning to chatter idly

15a         Philosopher, self-proclaimed existential thinker? (9)
This philosopher famously declared “cogito ergo sum” as a proof of his existence

17a         Newspaper partly concealing crime in minister’s house (9)
Part of a newspaper around a crime

19a         The thankyou letter coming from Athens originally (5)
THE followed by a thankyou

22a         Construction associated with Hoover when put in as US president (5)
A huge construction named after President Herbert Hoover inside AS

28a         A pacifist finally in position to pacify (7)
The A from the clue and the final letter of pacifisT inside a position


1d           Small happy dog’s air of superiority (7)
S(mall) followed by a happy dog – just think about what a dog does when it’s happy!

2d           One of those sweet words of affection or love (7)
Two definitions – and an excuse for a video!

6d           Hit it big, ultimately, in royal house in European city (9)
The final letters (ultimately) of the first three words in the clue inside a British Royal House

7d           Understanding not absent from mind, proverbially (7)
Start with the proverb about what is absent from the mind, then not indicates that you need to take the opposite (2,5)

14d         Large number in middle of summer (9)
We saw a similar clue to this recently – what is represented, in Roman numerals, by the middle letters of suMMer

18d         Change order right before meal — dig in without starters (7)
R(ight) followed by (before) mEAL dIG iN without their initial letters (starters)

20d         Beethoven’s work, including his fourth, is rousing stuff (7)
One of Beethoven’s most famous works around (including) his fourth letter

23d         Badger member of undistinguished trio (5)
… along with Tom and Dick

24d         Pour cold water on a book of prophecy (5)
A verb meaning to pour cold water, maybe on to the garden, followed by the A from the clue gives one of the Books of the Prophets in the Old Testament

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 Robert Redford (77) and Roman Polanski (80)

34 comments on “ST 2705 (Hints)

  1. Many thanks to Virgilius for an excellent puzzle. My rating is 3* for difficulty and 4*for enjoyment. Thanks too to BD, although, happily for me, I didn’t need any hints today.

    There was a delightful mixture of clues, with many amusing and enjoyable moments. 23d was my favourite, with 18d a close second.

    I found the NW corner harder than the rest, although 17a was my last one in. Interesting to see in 14d a similar construction today to one we had on Friday using summer but with an entirely different answer!

  2. Not my favourite grid – 4 separate crosswords – 3 of them OK but really struggled in the NE corner. I thought that I would need the hints to complete but eventually with Mary’s P word managed to finish. Thank you Virgilius for the enjoyable challenge and thanks BD for your hints. I did need to check my answer for 14d – thanks for the explanation. I remember the other clue to which you refer and there really is no excuse for not “getting it” this time !

  3. A puzzle of two halves. No problems with the bottom half, quite a few with the top. Thanks to BD for help in completing it. It did not help that I had what I thought was a plausible, but incorrect, answer for 10a. And, I was just not on the wavelength for 1d and 11a. Otherwise a very enjoyable puzzle, really liked 7a and 23a.

  4. 2.5*/3.5* for me. Thanks for the explanation for 14d. I’ve never heard the expression in 10a before.

  5. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A super puzzle as usual from Virgilius. I felt it was a bit on the gentle side. I was beaten by 22a,but managed to get the answer from Dave’s hint, American Presidents are not my strong suit. Penny drop moments with 12&23a. Favourites were 11a & 1&20d. Palace holding their own against Dave’s team at the moment. Was 1*/4* for me.

  6. Hi everybody, can someone please do me a favour and send me a copy of today’s ST cryptic crossword. I’ve been trying all day to log on to puzzles/telegraph (I have a subscription) but it simply refuses to log me on. And, of course, the help lines are only Monday to Friday office hours! Much appreciated.

  7. Hate this grid, as said 4 seperate puzzles mind you with a Virgilius that could be a bonus. Found this one quite hard and had to have three goes before completion.

    Thanks to BD for the hints.

    Thanks to Virgilius for a hard but enjoyable puzzle.

      1. Thanks Prolixic, got that , obviously, and then I submitted and then I corrected all my mispellings. Thanks to Virgillius and Big Dave. I think I like 8d the most.

  8. Just drafting the review (what can I say, I am a girl and girls always get their homework done early)… and I notice two typos in the online version – one in 16d where the N is missing from environment, and one in 23d where we have an extra set of IST creeping into undistinguished. I wonder if it is the same in the paper?

      1. Alfie is doing very well thank you. enjoyed my visit last weekend, hope I can get back over thre again soon.

    1. It’s the same in the paper, but I didn’t notice as I wasn’t wearing my glasses! Or perhaps I need a trip to SpecSavers?

      1. I only noticed because the spellchecker on the Word document picked them up. It’s a classic case of seeing what you expect to see.

    2. I don’t understand the problems with 16 and 23d.
      The clue in our paper for 16d is “Illicit tapes show awful working environment”. I assumed that it was a simple anagram of ‘tapes show’.
      23d was “Badger member of undistinguished trio”. I thought the definition was ‘badger’ and that the answer was the missing member of the threesome Tom, Dick and *****.

      1. Yes but on line version says ‘enviroment’ and ‘undististinguished’. Nothing wrong with the wordplay just the typesetting!!

        1. Oh – OK – understand now – I thought there must have been a mix-up in clues. You are, as always, quite right – you see what you expect to see. In my case I expect to see nothing – really MUST go to specsavers, if only there was ever time to do anything like that . . . :sad:

  9. Got the answers for 23d and 3d but don’t understand them. I had ***** which was obviously wrong, I was just thinking it was a poor clue. Now I’ve got the correct answer but does that mean fishing?
    How is 15a cryptic.
    Finished it somehow but goodness knows how!

    1. 3d you need to look the word up in the dictionary.
      23d The definition is the first word of the clue. Read BD’s hint and then think of an expression meaning any man in the street.
      15a the second bit is cryptic.

  10. Another good puzzle, but that’s because I was definitely on wavelength. I loved 1d, 11a, 20d and 23d. Thanks to all, though didn’t need any hints today BD.

  11. Mr BB is convinced he has seen this crossword before. Anyone else with a sense of deja vu? He still struggled with one or two clues!
    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  12. I too found the NE corner more difficult than the rest – indeed I am still stuck on the 5s (both 5a and 5d). Any little bijou hintettes would be very gratefully received…

    I enjoyed the rest of this puzzle. Am I right in thinking that this puzzle lacks Virgilius’ trademark hidden word (or indeed double / triple hidden word) clues?

    1. No Arthur you are wrong!! Have a look at the clue for 5d again!!
      5a is a double definition the first four words being one; the final three another.

      Is that bijou enough??

  13. As always from Virgilius – a very enjoyable, solvable crossword with a nice mix of clues!

    18d – the surface reading is brilliant!

  14. Late here. Really rubbishy and tricky day. Eventually tried to do crossword as a bit of light relief – always a mistake. It took me ages and I found it difficult – finished now but not without a struggle. Not sure if that was as a result of the kind of day it’s been or if I used up all the ‘little grey cells’ on NTSPP yesterday.
    I did enjoy it but came to grief on quite a few. 13a – couldn’t do to save my life – husband got the answer. Then, between us, we got 14d – yes, I know we had something similar on Friday but to me at least ‘the middle of summer’ means millions – OK – I know I’m wrong and you can all call me stupid . . . ! As usual I missed the trademark hidden answer in 5d – one day I will learn. REALLY screwed up 10a to begin with, then thought again and screwed it up again! And so it went on.
    Now retiring hurt from rest of day – I liked 23 and 27a and 7 and 20d. My favourite was 1d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    1. Sorry you’ve had a wretched day, Kath, but you’ve done far better than me. I’ve inched along to just one final clue to go – 9a – and despite having all the checking letters am being particularly stupid & can’t complete it :-( But do hope your day goes tons better tomorrow, and all is in order for your trip across the Channel… :-)

  15. Thank you to setter for a taxing time, and to BD for his usual classy hints (& music), although the ONE hint I need wasn’t covered sadly 9a. And probably I’ll have a true d’oh moment when I finally know!… If anyone is still awake / around and can help I’d be hugely grateful :-)

    1. I’m still awake, and thanks for good wishes – whether or not we end up making it across to France remains to be seen . . .
      Re 9a – the definition is writes – it’s an anagram of ‘a short’ (novel) around the usual abbreviation for university. Good luck!

      1. Thanks Kath that’s very much appreciated :-D & definitely an :oops: moment. Do hope you get some good & refreshing sleep

  16. I started this puzzle Today Monday and found it quite tricky but well set up. Some laughs on the way made it a ***/**** for me.
    Thanks to BD and our setter.

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