ST 2709 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2709 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2709 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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There’s still time to enter the September 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.

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           Relatively generous contribution for fatherless child (6,4)
This could be the child of a mother whose husband has died

6a           He didn’t have a single passenger on his vessel (4)
… because they were all in pairs

9a           Novice in better shape, capturing rook or queen (7)
An adjective meaning in better shape around (capturing) either the chess notation for a rook or the Latin abbreviation for queen

12a         Declaration from key people in court following part of speech (13)
A musical key and some people inside the abbreviation of C(our)T all following a part of speech

15a         Short publication about river or small stream (8)
A short publication around R(iver)

19a         European article on cause of ill-feeling (6)
The two-letter indefinite article preceded by (on) something that can cause one to feel ill

22a         Lacking power to hold naughty child, a head is blameless (13)
An adjective meaning lacking power around a naughty or mischievous child and a word meaning “a head”, as in “admission is £5 a head”

27a         Had match with county represented as unimportant (6,4)
A verb meaning had a match with followed by one of the six counties that form Northern Ireland


1d           Pack animal run over (4)
Reverse (over) a verb meaning to run like water

2d           Study about a daughter and father showing no emotion (7)
A study around the A from the clue, D(aughter) and a two-letter word for a father

5d           They could be upset, extremely, over any rent revision (8)
The whole of this &Lit clue collectively defines these people – the final letter (extremelt) of upseT followed by an anagram (revision) of ANY RENT

8d           Male with saying about one liable to lose (10)
The male pronoun followed by a verb meaning saying around I (one) gives a word describing someone who is proverbially liable to lose

13d         In the end, level with union supporter (10)
An adjective meaning level followed by the abbreviation for a union of workers and a supporter or friend

16d         Never meeting standard a European set in 50s (8)
A standard score in golf and the A from the clue followed by E(uropean) inside (set in) three of the Roman numerals for 50

18d         Crook that could do a lot of damage in Midwest (7)
Two definitions – a crook who swindles people and a North American (Midwest) word for a strong wind that causes a lot of damage

23d         Architect that constructs home in tree (4)
Two definitions – a famous architect and something that constructs its home in tree

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 Prince Harry (29)

35 comments on “ST 2709 (Hints)

  1. What a great weekend for puzzles! Yesterday’s was superb. Today’s was even better with beautiful cluing and surface readings, except, I’m sorry to have to vociferously and pedantically mention the jarring split infinitive in 14a. :wink:

    My rating today is 2* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.

    I found the NE corner the most tricky, with 15a my last one in. 5d was a new word for me but I found it in the BRB.

    My favourite was a toss up between 22a and 16d, with 22a just edging it.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

      1. I hadn’t noticed the split infinitive but I don’t mind chalk on blackboard – it’s nails on blackboard that finish me! :sad:

        1. Blimey – if you’re all so cross about the split infinitive, then BD is in for it when you spot that he wrote “who’s” rather than “whose” in his first hint!

          Personally, I’m just a little peeved that the presence of the apostrophe isn’t indicated in the enumeration of 1A…

        2. Don’t reply to me about the split infinitive – I hadn’t even noticed it! :roll: Not good on that kind of stuff . . .

          1. The split infinitive was discovered and named in the 19th century. 19th century writers seem to have made greater use of this construction than earlier writers; the frequency of occurrence attracted the disapproving attention of grammarians, many of whom thought it to be a modern corruption. The construction had in fact been in occasional use since the 14th century; only its frequency had changed. Even though there has never been a rational basis for objecting to the split infinitive, the subject has become a fixture of folk belief about grammar. You can hardly publish a sentence containing one without hearing about it from somebody. Modern commentators know the split infinitive is not a vice, but they are loath to drop such a popular subject. They usually say it’s all right to split an infinitive in the interest of clarity. Since clarity is the usual reason for splitting, this advice means merely that you can split them whenever you need to.
            Usual Lovely puzzle Thanks yet again to Virgilius and BD

      2. Nowadays we teachers have interactive whiteboards upon which we can no longer tease pupils with that sound.

  2. I rate * for difficulty and **** for enjoyment. 5a was my last one in.In general , I thought it was a different “take” on cryptic crosswords , easier and all the more fun for that.Lots of great clues, 19a being my favourite. Thanks to Virgillius and BD.

  3. This really was very good! One of the best cryptic puzzles I’ve solved for a while.
    Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  4. Why is it four letter words can be the ones to stump you? Solved this from the south east corner upwards, enjoyable but My last two were 1d & 22d, both four letter words!
    What’s that about?

    Yes I agree 2* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.

  5. A lovely crossword – either Sunday puzzles are getting easier or I’m getting better at them.
    1a and 1d were my last two – I’ve never heard of 1a and kept trying to fit an ‘R’ into 1d.
    I liked 6 and 26a and 3 and 7d. My favourite was 7d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    Not raining yet – probably ought to cut grass. :sad:

  6. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very good puzzle as usual from Virgilius. I needed the hints for 5d & 19a. I still can’t get the second word of 1a despite reading the hints. Any help would be much appreciated. Favourites were 15&17a & 1d. Was 3*/4* for me. Going to watch the Triathlon on the box.

    1. 1a is based on a parable and in that context the second word is very small amount of money, the “contribution” in the first part of the clue. It is also a word for the small “child” in the second part of the clue.

  7. Gentle crossword – although 1d was my last one in as I stupidly overlooked reversing the word to make sense of the clue!

  8. Thought I’d celebrate my first time completing a crossword without any hints by posting where I’d usually get them.

    /victory dance

  9. Late getting to this one due to watching the MotoGP.

    What splendid stuff it was, both the crossword and the bike race :grin: */**** for us.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  10. Great stuff! What fun for a Sunday morning; full disclosure, it was a slow starter but once I was in, it went like a charm. Last one in was 9a as I was convinced it was the name of a queen, but once I got 1d I tumbled. Favourites? Can’t say, they’re all good. Thanks to all

  11. Really enjoyable. I did it last night while most of you slept or were otherwise engaged! Although I got the answer almost right way for 14, it took a while to figure out the cryptic derivation. It was the a head, it gets me every time, same with per. Stumbled on 8 for a bit which screwed up 19, had tion instead of ing at the end. Liked 1a, ashamed to say had to read the parable to see why it was a generous, please forgive me Miss bartlet, my Sunday School teacher in the 1950s.

  12. Thank you Virgilius, enjoyable and managed to finish most of this whilst having coffee in the Famous Grouse Distillery Visitor Centre near Crieff ! With Mrs SW’s help finished without the help of gadgets and dictionaries for a change ! Thank you BD for hints. Have to leave Scotland tomorrow and return to NW.

      1. Oh no – gives me a thundering headache. Husband has said for ever that it’s because on the VERY rare occasion that I drink it I’ve already had too much to drink. He’s wrong – it’s been tried – went to a birthday party and had nothing to drink until we got back to where we were staying because I was driving – had one glass of ‘the stuff’ (far too late to even contemplate going to the naughty corner) and woke up the following morning with a headache! Point made, I think.

  13. A nice Sunday puzzle from Virgilius.

    My fave was 7d!

    Very cold and wet here in NL today – autumn arrives next week!

    Salmon and frites tonight with Sancerre rosé.

    My twin grandchildren are 18 today so both can drive unaccompanied.

    1. 20d Distinguished player as changed teams run out (7)
      It’s an anagram followed by a cricketing abbreviation.

  14. This was a super-duper puzzle! ***** for enjoyment. :grin: I seem to think it was a little easier than some of Virgillius’ puzzles have been. The split-infinitive does not bother me. I enjoyed each and every clue, especially 1a, 6a, 12a, 14a, 22a; 8d, 11d, 20d, and 23d. I, too, often struggle with four-letter clues, but isn’t 6a just brilliant! Big thanks to Virgillius and to Big Dave for hints which I’ve read with enjoyment but not needed.

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