ST 2718 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2718 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2718 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a number 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 Transient visitors doctor forbids to (5,2,7)
An anagram (doctor) of FORBIDS followed by a verb meaning to spend time and a long period of time, the last two elements to be taken together as spend long time (4,3)

9a Unknown eclipsed by fine partner in bridge (7)
A mathematical unknown inside (eclipsed by) F(ine) and a partner or mate

11a Start off like a close friend or associate (4)
Drop the initial letter (start off) an adjective meaning like a close friend

12a Close relative restricting Irishman’s diet (10)
A very close relative (either one of two!) around the first name of many Irishmen gives a diet or legislature

15a Fish from seine emptied out and shifted ashore (8)
SeinE without its inner letters (emptied out) followed by an anagram (shifted) of ASHORE – presumably the lack of capitalisation means that the setter intended seine to refer to a type of net rather than the river

18a Fraction of a number that’s small, of course, speaking informally (6)
S(mall) followed by a colloquial word (speaking informally) meaning “of course”

21a Behind one‘s back, bishop is in Paris (6-4)
A verb meaning to back or support followed by B(ishop) and the French for is

22a Female or fellow in North (4)
F for Female or Fellow followed by IN and N(orth)

26a Group carrying cases at Waterloo, for example (9,5)
This group could have been one carrying injured patients (cases) at the Battle of Waterloo


1d Wild animals in New York city (7)
Two definitions – wild animals, for which the same word can be singular or plural, and a city in New York State

2d Club that, in short, includes leading RAF characters (5,3,7)
The abbreviated name (in short) for this golf club gives the two leading characters of RAF (1,3,1)

4d Either gender joining a line, according to protocol (6)
A choice of single-letter abbreviations for gender followed by the A from the clue and L(ine)

5d Warrior with a sole weakness? Yes and no (8)
This Greek warrior had a sole weakness, but it wasn’t in the sole but another part of the foot!

6d Scholar, in newspaper article, lying about being scantily clad (10)
A graduate (scholar) sandwiched between a newspaper and an article or object

7d Good and mature terrier, even, disturbed other breed (6,9)
G(ood) and an adjective meaning mature followed by an anagram (disturbed) of TERRIER EVEN

8d Painfully move author around hospital (6)
A verb meaning to author around H(ospital)

16d Encored piece of music I see pronounced as lacking in refinement (8)
A short piece of music and another one (encored), followed by I and the letter that sounds like (pronounced) see

17d Asian sailor switching sides, first and last, is such a scoundrel (6)
The first and last letters of an Asian sailor are the abbreviations for each of the two sides – switch them to get this scoundrel

20d Like something functional setter and solver accomplished (6)
The pronound that represents the setter and the solver together followed by an adjective meaning accomplished

23d Fail for lack of practice, primarily (4)
The initial letters (primarily) of four words in 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 any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or deleted.

Today it’s Happy Birthday to Greg Rutherford (27) and Danny DeVito (69)

79 comments on “ST 2718 (Hints)

  1. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. I enjoyed this one a lot, but found it trickier than usual. Last in was 18a, favourite was 17d. Was 3*/4* for me. What a day, no football to watch.

    1. Watching no football is distinctly preferable to watching England’s game against Chile on Friday (unless you happen to be Chilean)

    2. F1 USA? One of my american buddies asked “don’t all those different curves and bends make it difficult for the drivers?” – bloody Americans!

  2. I loved this one, and had marked seven clues I liked particularly, but 18A and 21A were favorites today. Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the review. No excuse now not to get an early start on my day.

      1. We need help with 18a – read and reread the clue and hint, no progress. Mrs T on toast duty this morning!

        1. 18a is a ‘fraction of a number’ – but not a numerical one – a different kind. It’s the usual abbreviation for small followed by five letters that are colloquial way of saying ‘of course’, or ‘*********’. Naughty corner here I come – will be raiding CS’s freezer for her mince pies . . .

            1. . . . just one? It’s lonely being in the naughty corner all on my own and one little mince pie would cheer me up . . .

              1. Yes please – then you can tell me why ****** is always censorrig our ******. Mincemeat -yum.

  3. Rating 2*/4*.

    Another excellent offering from Virgilius, which, as he does every week, brightened up Sunday morning. Brilliant and entertaining stuff!

    I was going to complain about seine not being capitalised, but wisely checked the BRB first and found that it does exist without a capital letter – as also mentioned by BD in his hints.

    As always with Virgilius’ puzzles there were too many good clues to list them all, but 24a gets my vote as favourite because it made me laugh out loud. The cunning 22a was my last one in.

    Many thanks to setter and hinter.

    P.S. to BD – there is a very small typo in your hint for 22a: it should say “or” not “of”

  4. Definitely tricky for me. Forgot all about those cats ! I had 21a but couldn’t figure out how it worked until the hints. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  5. Everyone must be very busy today, there are usually more comments by the time I get round to it. Very enjoyable puzzle which we managed to complete without too much help. Thank you setter & BD. No football, but some rugby to watch.

  6. 18a last one in for me too. I found this much trickier than yesterday’s. Thanks to the setter and to BD for the hints. A BRB is now on my Christmas list.

  7. Nice puzzle but do not understand 22A – can any one explain without giving the answer away?

    On something else entirely – having entered the puzzle on the Telegraph crossword page I got the 200 point but how did Robr get over 9,000,000 or Pilgrim nearly 8,000,000 – seems impossible….

    1. Thanks – I see where the word comes from your explanation is clear but how does the clue point at it – I do not know who the lady is (piano player OK) and hovering over her photo gives me her claim to fame but I have no idea what the M***** are. Is it nothing more than this is a female name I should know?

        1. In that case there’s no hope for me either – I’ve really never heard of them. A cunning thought has just come to me – perhaps I’m too young to remember them! What era are they from?

              1. They were books in the 1940s – not that I remember that far back you understand but my mum had some old copies – I wonder where they are now?

        2. I’m with Kath – never heard of them, and can’t see why I ever could have.

          Sibelius is good enough, but how about all those talented drivers that come from up there???

        3. Thank god I was able to get the answer without reference to the first hint in the blog – I’m afraid I have never heard of this cartoon either – ignorance is a wonderful thing!

    2. I would agree – no hope – but there you go I live in the sunshine and my daughters buy my DT crossword subscription so all in all life is pretty good. I have googled the cartoon and no wiser – will ask my grandaughter – although she seems fixated on pepper pig – what happened to muffin the mule. Thanks for your help it is much appreciated.

      1. Your comments are going into moderation because you have dropped the space from your alias. I changed the earlier ones, but left this one.

      2. Muffin the mule, Seaman Stains and Nogbad the bad are all figments of your imagination. Maybe BD’s real site is

          1. Yes – this is all coming back to me because of the blokes I dog-walk with in the mornings. I knew that there was a Roger but couldn’t remember who he was rogering!

  8. Wow, that was hard. Took two visits and even then I needed the hint for 12a.
    Can’t say it was very enjoyable, too many bitty clues clues and I thought 2d was just awful. The answer was obvious but RAF, oh come on!
    Thx to BD for the hints.

  9. I’ve had a bit of a battle with this one – just when I was beginning to think that I could, at last, cope with Sunday crosswords. I still think that there’s something completely different about them.
    The first read through of the across clues produced two answers but I did better with the downs and gradually got going and finished.
    I’ve been caught before by 2d – and was, again, for ages! I spent far too long trying to fit the wrong Irishman into 12a. I never think of 15a as fish. 22a was my last one and I’d almost given up hope of getting it but suddenly saw it. Haven’t seen that cat for a while!
    As usual on a Sunday I thought there were lots of good clues – 18 and 22a and 1, 5 and 16d. My favourite was 17d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    Christmas cake in oven. I’m in a sticky mess, and you should see the kitchen.

      1. Whenever I try to do things like that in advance they never quite make it as far as the freezer . . . my family are such piglets! They’d better steer clear of the Christmas cake or they’ll really be in trouble.

      2. Christmas has begun here, too…but in my case it’s going on line and ordering the British goodies we can’t get over here like good quality mincemeat, a Christmas pud and Tom Smith Christmas crackers. I even found sugar mice on line this year! As a kid, it was my job to hang them on the tree.

        My Mum always used to make the pudding and bring it over in her hand luggage. I miss that. I do make my own mince pies, brandy butter, stuffing and bread sauce, though. I make a lot of brandy butter because half of it never makes it until Christmas Day. And we do celebrate Boxing Day in style!

        1. Thank goodness Christmas isn’t at my house this year. Because so many of us Jamaicans in Miami are from Brit traditions, we do the pud, mincemeat pies, bread sauce, etc., with the addition of our own traditions, fried plantains and breadfruit for example.

          I get crackers from Marshall’s, which reminds me, I need to go and get some! Christmas is so much fun but I usually pass on Thanksgiving; two feasts too close together! What nostalgia.

          1. For some reason, I had you down in my mind as being in Texas! You’re lucky that there are lots of Brit shops and pubs in Florida, thanks to the immigrant population. We get our bangers and black pud shipped from a place in Ft. Lauderdale. They’re made by and Irish/Aussie couple and are really good.

  10. As always, thanks to BD and to everyone for a lot of appreciative comments, which spur me on while working on the next puzzle. At the risk of being irritating, I would like to point out something (which I think nobody commented upon) about a clue from ST2716, namely 24d:
    Foreign breed over in Melbourne, say (3) (answer POM)
    As well as the dog and the Aussie name for a Brit, there is also O (abbreviation for over(s) in cricket) in PM (Melbourne, say).

    1. The prologue of my blog of that puzzle does refer to “sneaky stuff staring us in the face”

    2. I do remember that one – it was my last answer, I think. Maybe that’s what I mean when I say that Sunday crosswords are different to others – we really need to be more on our toes or something sneaks its way past even those with the beadiest eyes of all – not mentioning any names here . . .

  11. I found this one HARD, it took ages with much utilisation of gizmo, and I had given up all hope of ever solving 2d when the second word came to me and a quick google proved it. I always, always forget the other meaning of 12a. I had a wrong second word of 21a and that made 20d wrong. What a litany of woes today, but I got there in the end with help of hints, thanks BD. Thanks Virgilius, you made me work today!

  12. At crypticsue’s request, I’ve added a yawn emoticon.


    Click on the emoticon below the comment box or enter [:yawn:] without the brackets.

        1. Wonderful – I love it – agree with Steve_the_ beard – best laugh today. I’d like to know when you took the photo of my husband!

  13. Thank you Virgilius. I found this far more difficult than your usual Sunday puzzles. It might just be me, for undisclosed reasons – but I came to this late in the day and used a lot of your hints BD to get going – many thanks. Have put in an answer for 18a which is a complete guess !

    1. The same for me. Without the blog I would not have solved this one. I am constantly amazed how some people manage to understand the intent of the setter. I do not understand the hint for 17d but assume I have the correct answer because it definitely matches the definition and fits.

      1. To understand 17 down, try and work backwards. Swap the first and last letters of your answer and look up the result in a dictionary. Chambers gives an Oriental (originally Indian) sailor or camp-follower.

  14. The Happy Birthday Pictures – Is that really The Sir Tim Rice? Or is there another one?

    Failed to understand 18a! Thanks all for the explanation!

    I wanted to complain about the geographical position in 1d but I think I understand it!

    1. That’s Danny Devito and his wife Rhea Pearlman (from Cheers) – I don’t know what they’ve got to do with Tim Rice?

  15. Another nice puzzle from Virgilius.

    Faves 1a, 26a, 1d, 2d & 5d.

    Much colder here in NL – got CH (central heating) on in both halves of my apartment.

  16. Sunday puzzles are special, and this was a super one. Enjoyment *****. Super hints, which I didn’t need at the time, but find invaluable. Although I had the answers, I missed on a couple of pointers. I’ve never heard of the cartoon characters in 22a, and I didn’t know that a ‘seine’ was a type of net. I look forward to the full review because I am sure there will be other subtle meanings I may have missed — as 24d in ST2716.
    Many thanks to you both, Virgillius and Big Dave.

    1. I hasten to add that the cartoon characters were created by a lady who is an example of 22 across, they are not actually part of the clue or the answer.

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