ST 2707 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2707 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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           In which second mate causes offence? (6)
The offence of having two “mates” at the same time

4a           Gossip from unusual circle you are said to follow (6)
An adjective meaning unusual or odd followed by the circular-shaped letter and letters that sound like you and are

11a         Corrupt in power after violent struggle (4)
P(ower) follows a violent struggle

12a         Maiden I raced after, having character flaw? (10)
M(aiden) and  I followed by a verb meaning raced like Usain Bolt

13a         Thrifty saint beset by standard indications of debts (12)
An early saint sandwiched between a standard score in golf and some indications of debts

21a         Encounter in the flesh, so to speak (4)
This is how a homophone clue should be constructed, with the definition (encounter) separated from the indicator (so to speak) by the homophone (flesh), leaving no doubt as to which is which

23a         Not behaviour of the kind queen found in disorderly state (8)
The last Stuart monarch inside a disorderly state

25a         Novel character of part-time doctor? (6)
A cryptic definition of the alter ego of a famous fictional doctor


1d           Daughter clothed in dotty silk neckwear (8)
D(aughter) inside (clothed in) an adjective meaning dotty or mad – note that neckwear can be plural!

2d           Set to enter university without one part of basic education (5)
A phrasal verb meaning to enter university (2,2) around one of the three parts of basic education

3d           Short piece of music you perform, ultimately, least (7)
A piece of music which is equivalent to two crotchets followed by the final letters of two words in the clue

5d           Experience as junior to government leaders (7)
A verb meaning to experience comes from the position of a junior followed by the first two letters (leaders) of GO(vernment)

14d         Left-winger, thus, put on US agents’ record (9)
A two-letter word meaning thus followed by the US agency for spies and a record or catalogue

15d         Change for the worse that transforms lad into yob, for example (8)
The change that transforms BOY (lad) into YOB

17d         African animal that sounds like just a pet (7)
The first part sounds like a word meaning just and the second part sounds like a domestic pet

21d         The more people have of this, the less they want (5)
A cryptic definition of something that when you have more of it you are less likely to want for necessities – but in a different sense it is frequently untrue!

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 any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment, else they may be censored! 

Today it’s Happy Birthday to Gloria Estefan (56)



  1. una
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    My favourite is 25a, for which I needed assistance, but brilliant , I think. Thanks to Virgillus and Big Dave.

    • una
      Posted September 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      re 21d, lovely clue but so untrue !

    • mary
      Posted September 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      I am stuck on 25a too Una

      • mary
        Posted September 1, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        it’s ok I had 18d wrong!

  2. Sweet William
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Virgilius, got off to a good start and stayed on the right wavelength for once ! Always good fun. Thanks BD for your hard work as usual.

  3. jezza
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    This one took me twice as long as last Sunday; but I did solve it at 1am, at the end of a very boozy soiree chez nous.
    Many thanks to Virgilius, and to Big Dave.

    • Kath
      Posted September 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      A crossword at 1.00am at the end of a long boozy evening is always a mistake!

  4. Heno
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle from Virgilius as usual. Managed without the hints for once. Favourites were 13 & 16a and 21d. Last in was 1d, penny drop moment with 1a. Looking forward to the game later, where I hope my team can overcome Big Dave’s team. Was 2*/4* for me.

  5. mary
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Finished this in two sittings though I’m not sure the answer I’ve got for 23a is correct! Last day signing in for a while today as I will be busy preparing for our three week trip in motorhome to Scotland, Ah have just ‘seen’ 23a, now I have really finished :-), thanks for hints Dave , needed one or two today, Liverpool beating Man U 1-0 at half time…Yes

    • Kath
      Posted September 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Ah – the wanderer returns just in time to disappear again by the sound of it! Have a good trip to Scotland. I’ll do my best to keep the chatty seat warm for you! :smile:

      • mary
        Posted September 1, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        I’m more than confident of that Kath, see you soon(ish)

    • Poppy
      Posted September 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      It sounds as though you’ve quite a trip ahead, Mary. Scotland can be SO beautiful in September (especially with the midges gone) so do hope you have a wonderful time. And if you have any paw-people with you, Poppy recommends Brundholme Woods (if you’re near Keswick on your return via the Lake District) along the old railway line which is a gorgeous, flattish walk when you can see deer and red squirrels… Safe journeying & look forward to having you back :-D

      • mary
        Posted September 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Hi Poppy, we are staying at a site in Keswick on the way back for three nights so thanks for that, the ‘flat’ bit sounds good too as ‘paw-person’ is getting on now and like me doesn’t like hills! First day we head for Delamare Forest outside Chester then onto a site near the Scottish Borders, that will be our longest day, after that we progress stopping two or three nights at each site along the way til we get to Inverewe for a few days, then slowly make our way back stopping at various sites and Keswick and finally Delamare Forest before we head home :-) ‘Have van will travel ;-)
        Well done Liverpool temporarily top of the premiership, hee hee, ‘other half’ taken himself off in a sulk, I dooo love it when we beat Man U

        • Heno
          Posted September 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          I know that walk very well, I did it back in March walking through the snow. I’m going to the Lake District tomorrow, and will be popping into Keswick on the way to the hotel. A very nice part of the world.

  6. Kath
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t have too much, if any, trouble with this one – very unusual for me on a Sunday.
    1a and 3d took a few minutes to understand the ‘why’ bit.
    I screwed up 1d by making it singular with a double letter close to the end – no, I WON’T go to the naughty corner on a lovely day like today – anyway that messed up 13a but only briefly.
    I needed the hint to explain why my 4a was right.
    I liked 1a and 9 and 15d. My favourite was either 25a or 17d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  7. Kath
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Quiet here today – where is everyone?
    Was about to have a go at NTSPP to celebrate the first peaceful day here for what feels like weeks but our printer’s gone on strike AGAIN and husband’s gone to London to help daughter do ‘stuff’ so isn’t here to sort it out. Damn! Short of hitting printer with a hammer, which is my usual solution to most things but might not be popular, think I’ll just have to be patient – yet another thing that I’m not good at.

    • mary
      Posted September 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Lot of football on today Kath plus it is a lovely sunny day

    • Kath
      Posted September 1, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      Husband came back from London and sorted out printer. He didn’t hit it with a hammer – he switched it on! :oops: and :roll:
      So I printed out NTSPP and guess what – I can’t do it at all. Oh dear! Might have another go tomorrow before I give in and use the hints and treat it as a training exercise. I always find Radler difficult but can usually manage a couple of answers . . .

  8. Poppy
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    At last! Got this one completed after yesterday’s failure, but needed a lot of help so thank you BD. My favourite (because I love them) is 17d, but not sure there’s any cake in the naughty corner, so won’t say whether the answer is animal, vegetable or mineral… Thank you setter. And delight abounds as I have one enormous tomato going red and (literally “with no exaggeration” – huh!) about two zillion others on the way.

    • Kath
      Posted September 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      I was wondering about your triffids!
      Like Una also completely off crossword topic but going back to your reply (whatever time do you wake up?!) – daughter is right by Teddington Lock – just opposite the pub there so will take you up on your offer at some stage. I’m sure BD would pass on our email addresses to each other, if that’s OK with you.

      • una
        Posted September 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        I wonder where the explanations of that puzzle are to be found, as I got some answers without understanding why.

      • Poppy
        Posted September 1, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely :-)

  9. una
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Off topic, but I just finished st4553 puzzle, many thanks to BD and others fo all the coaching and assistance.Even futher off topic, pesonally I’m quite sad about Seamus Heaney.

    • Posted September 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      The explanations should be here next Sunday. We respect their publication conventions, so it should not be discussed here before that date.

      • una
        Posted September 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, I’ve book-marked that.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted September 1, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      Also off-topic and also sad … I would like to say …

      Farewell to Cliif Morgan, the commentator of the Best Try Ever!

      • una
        Posted September 1, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        Very good try, I only wish I knew how to upload a youtube video .

  10. Derek
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    The usual pleasant end to the week from Virgilius.

    Faves : 1a, 13a, 16a, 25a, 1d, 9d, 17d & 18d.

    1d was doubly dotty!

    A much cooler change in the weather here in NL but still dry.

  11. Roger
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Ooohh….thank you for that times cword link, BD. ’twas a time once when even with the answers I couldn’t see how but now…..I’ve even finished a couple.

    Anyway, thoroughly enjoyed todays….needed a little electronic help for a couple of them. Thought 15 a bit contrived TBH. Favourite clue 25. Thanks to both.

    • Kath
      Posted September 1, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      What’s TBH? Or am I being dim again ?

      • Posted September 1, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        To Be Honest

        • Kath
          Posted September 1, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

          Thank you – one day I will learn all these abbreviations and remember them. I do think that’s a new one for me.

  12. Hrothgar
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Terrific puzzle.
    Last in 25a and 15d, both brilliant clues.
    Many thanks Virgillus and BD

  13. gnomethang
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    A fine puzzle. The plural of the neckwear held me up for bit. Thanks to BG and BD.
    BTW Happy Birthday to Ms Estefan. As a metalhead I still love her work.

    To diminish Dr Beat? (4)

    Unfair I know!

  14. Rabbit Dave
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Finished this one early today but had to go out before the review was posted.

    I thought this was absolutely brilliant! My rating is ***/****. Many thanks to Virgilius for a lovely mix of clues of differing difficulties, overall providing a most enjoyable challenge. Many thanks too to BD for his hints, although I didn’t need them today.

    My usual procedure is to start with the first across clue and then the first down clue. That was a mistake today! The NW corner took me longer than the other three put together and 1a and 1d were my last ones in. When the penny finally dropped with 1a, it made me laugh and wins the award for my favourite!

  15. Cornish Pasty
    Posted September 2, 2013 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed this one and finished it without resorting to BD hints. 15d was my brickwall until the inverse of yob came to me.

  16. Catnap
    Posted September 2, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Another super Sunday puzzle! Greatly enjoyed it (*****) and did not need Big Dave’s excellent hints. So many lovely clues it’s difficult to choose faves — perhaps 12a, 13a, 25a; 1d, and also 17d (because I’m very partial to any good clue that isn’t distressing concerning a *** ). Mega thanks to Virgillius and Big Dave.

  17. TimCypher
    Posted September 2, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle as usual from Virgilius!

    I remain a bit confused about 15d – I did put in the right answer (my last one in), but I was unsure why the word means ‘change *for the worse*’? ‘Change’ yes, that’s clear.

    Some fantastic clues in 1a, 25a and 21d!

    • jezza
      Posted September 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      Re 15d, if you put your answer into the brackets..’a ( ) of fortune’, it can mean a ‘change for the worse’.

      • andy
        Posted September 2, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        ooh, I saw it as a decline in your health,or a setback, but I do believe you are more on the nose than I was