ST 2720 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

ST 2720 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2720 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

There is still no word from Telegraph Towers as to the cause of the outage which has hit the online puzzle site.  Surely as subscribers we deserve some sort of explanation for the loss of the service for which we have all paid.

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.

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


7a           Salt retained by exposed crustacean (8)
The chemical formula for salt inside an adjective meaning exposed

10a         Ignorantly or carelessly, for example, one splits an infinitive (6)
Ignorantly or carelessly are examples of this part of speech which is often controversially used to split an infinitive, as in “to boldly go where no man has gone before”

12a         Bit of brass tool used by meteorologist (4,10)
This bit of brass is found in an orchestra, although it could be a tool used by a meteorologist

15a         Birdcage in store not broken (4)
Take a store of the kind found on nearly every high street and drop the hyphen (not broken)

17a         Followed, so to speak, religious work in area (5)
What sounds like (so to speak) a verb meaning followed is actually either a religious work or an area

23a         Record collection classical quartet stored in vaults (8)
The Roman numeral for four (classical quartet) inside some architectural vaults

28a         Alarming changes on border (8)
An anagram (changes) of ALARMING


1d           Knave covering king or queen – or ace, or ten … (4)
A knave around the Latin abbreviation for king or queen

3oman emperor’s head has been turned – it’s love (4)
Start with a Roman emperor and turn his first letter (head) through 90° (either way!)

5d           Coats painter put on fashionable pottery, we hear (8)
The usual 2-letter painter and a 2-letter word meaning fashionable are followed by what sounds like (we hear) some pottery


6d           Like behaviour of the kind that’s wrecked chair and other furniture (10)
An anagram (wrecked) of CHAIR followed by another item of furniture

16d         Play one’s part, with good casting (8)
A phrasal verb meaning tp play one’s part (5,2) followed by G(ood)

21d         Painter found in area south of Rio Grande, say (6)
A prominent Mexican painter is derived by putting A(rea) under (south of in a down clue) the type of geographical feature of which the Rio Grande is an example (say)

22d         A loose woman among one’s relations (6)
The A from the clue followed by a verb meaning to loose or free

26d         Pressure of part in theatre (4)
Hidden (part in) inside 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 Bette Midler (68) and Woody Allen (78)
Bette Midler Woody Allen

56 comments on “ST 2720 (Hints)

  1. A little tricky in places, but an excellent puzzle! 3*/5* for me.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to Big Dave for the hints.

  2. I had another go at the Telegraph about this breakdown but as usual got nowhere.
    As you point out, Dave, and Mrs N made the same point this morning, we are paying for this service and I would have thought we were at least entitled to some sort of progress report.
    I must say that the alternative download option for those of us who prefer to print the crosswords, etc. is excellent but that’s not really the point, is it?
    I don’t know whether their IT department is in-house or a contractor but either way a change is needed.

  3. Enjoyable puzzle from the Sunday maestro.

    Faves : 10a, 17a, 20a, 13d & 16d. 3d was a good laugh!

  4. Good but hard I thought. I didn’t get 1d until the hint.I loved 7a, 12a 19a and the artist clues amoung many others. Now I see the explanation, 3d is brilliant. I didn’t see the anagram in one of the longer across clues until after the event.Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  5. Wondered if it was our family playing Monopoly in the background with associated noise or whether the puzzle was a bit trickier than normal – so am relived to hear that others found it a bit harder than the usual Virgilius Sunday. Thank you Virgilius for the puzzle – a real battle ! and thanks Dave for the hints.

  6. Got most of it done, but was glad when the hints appeared just to help finish it off. Thank you to the setter & to BD. Liked 20a, because the answer wasn’t what I was expecting.

  7. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable but tricky puzzle. I’ve used 4 hints so far. Did the top half ok, but struggling with the bottom half. Favourites were 7&12a. Was 4*/4* for me. Blue sky now in Central London.

  8. 3.5*/4* rating today for yet another lovely Sunday puzzle.

    I found the top half fairly straightforward, but the bottom half was much more of a challenge with 21d my last one in and I wasn’t 100% convinced my answer for this one was correct until I looked as BD’s hints.

    I failed miserably with 3d and needed BD’s help to get this one.

    I marked a lot of clues as especially good with 7a, 23a, 1d & 16d getting double asterisks.
    Now that I finally understand 3d that gets my vote as favourite.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    1. 3d gets my vote too. Thanks to V & to BD as per.

      I wonder if the site will be fixed tomorrow or if someone at the DT will strap a pair on & explain what has gone wrong, why it has gone wrong and, most importantly, when it is going to be fixed?

      1. It seems that Customer Relations isn’t the DT’s strongest point.
        I find it incredible not to have even an update, let alone taking over a week to sought it out.
        Still, small mercies – at least we get a download.
        Perhaps one should contact Sark!

  9. Took me a long time to get going and I finished without hints, but not without a good bit of effort. Some very clever clues. I absolutely loved 7A, 10A, 3D and 5D.

    Many thanks to Virgilius for a lovely puzzle and to BD for the review.

  10. I always start the Sunday Virgilius by quickly scanning all the clues looking for his famous “hidden” ones.

    25a – eluded me for quite some time today! Do’H!

    A lot more difficult than usual … but as always … most enjoyable!

  11. Blimey! I’ve just been reminded of how difficult I used to find Sunday crosswords – in pre-blog days I would have given up but because of how much I’ve learnt I finished it.
    I’m glad it wasn’t just me who found it tricky today.
    I had three answers from the across clues but did the 10a form of 28a better with the downs. After that I did get going a bit but it’s taken me a long time.
    I’m slightly embarrassed to say that 2d was my last answer – perhaps not the most difficult clue but just couldn’t see it, or the first word of 12a, and lots of others too.
    I thought there were several very typical Virgilius clues.
    I liked far too many to put them all down so just a few are 7, 12 and 25a and 14d. My favourite is either 3 or 22d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  12. I received a boiler plate response (from a robot?) to an email I sent in to telegraphenquiries, I am not sure what annoys me most. Being taken for a fool or being lied to. They claim that the site is down for “essential site maintenance”. Now I like others who have been in IT know that the professional way to approach something like ‘essential site maintenance’ is to have a project plan. And that plan should have a Change Management component of which an essential part is ‘communication to end users’.

    If it is ‘essential site maintenance’ then where is the project plan and why can’t they say how long it is going to take.

    Someone tomorrow at the Telegraph is going to get their ear bent good and proper. It won’t be a call centre agent as it’s not down to them but I intend to push on as high as I can get because I am well and truly narked. I am going to insist on cancelling and a refund.

    1. This is a disease of techie progress … sorry, you IT types, but it is. Ever have a problem with the telephone company? You can’t get past the little dolly in Ulan Bator or Philippines. Or maybe a charge on your credit card that’s questionable? Same thing. I could go on and on. Good luck with getting to the top, ain’t going to happen I think.

    2. Look forwarc to hear how you get on and if you hear from the BRAINS-l remember last time went on for yonks– if the Guardian can have a super online x word why the hellcant the DT :-(

  13. Crikey, this was HARD, HARD, HARD! I never did get 15a or 16d. The top half was easier, relatively speaking, but I’ve now had enough, I’ll just revisit the missing two later and see if I can make sense of the hints.

    1. I’m not doing down your crossword ability but as a US resident I’m not sure you will get 15a. I can’t even think of a different hint. Good luck.
      I’m just about to email Poppy.

      1. I did get both soon after my comment, by getting 16d first, then the other popped in. I agree, being this side of the pond, 15a is not really a familiar. Let us know what Poppy says, thanks.

      2. I’m a US resident and I got it. I don’t think current place of residence has much to do with it. I suspect that most of the overseas commenters here were either born and raised in the UK, as I was, or have spent some years living there and are familiar with words that have long been a part of the vocabulary. But since I haven’t lived in the UK since 1979, I do have some difficulty with more recent slang terms.

  14. That was a brilliant puzzle even by the high standards I’ve come to expect on a Sunday :grin: ***?***** from us! Favourite was 3d but it’s not fair to pick one out of all this good stuff.

    Really enjoyed it so thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  15. Definitely needed help today. Thanks to both. I couldn’t have done it without you!
    Just one niggle, a brass ********* is not a **** *********. They have a reed.
    Guess a lot of people wouldn’t know that. Just thought, flutes piccolos and recorders are **** ********* without reeds but they’re not brass!

    1. Chambers disagrees with you – both types are included in the category given by the answer. I’m sure crypticsue will have more to say in her review next week – you are confusing two types which I am not prepared to explain here.

      1. I had a look at the BRB before adding some extra lines to my draft review. It is worth looking at the entry for ‘brass’ too.

  16. I found this quite difficult, it took an age even to get started.
    But perservation is the key!
    Didn’t help thinking, stupidly, the Rio Grande was a mountain range!
    Some quite brilliant clues eg 16d, 15a (cheeky!) and 10a.
    All in all, thoroughly enjoyable.
    Many thanks,Virgillius and BD

  17. After a first sitting, I was left with a few clues outstanding. However, after a splendid roast dinner provided by Mrs n, the remaining obstacles were soon overcome. A bit harder than usual for a Sunday. Thanks to BD for explaining the subtleties of 15a, my last one in.

  18. I remain perplexed about 5d. I am confident that all the checking letters are correct and that means only one word seems to fit, and if the answer is a three part, then I fail to see how the third part works. Quite tricky today, so maybe I need to take another look tomorrow

    1. 5d Coats painter put on fashionable pottery, we hear (8)
      The usual 2-letter painter and a 2-letter word meaning fashionable are followed by what sounds like (we hear) some pottery.

      1. Another problem from the missing telegraph site emerged when I read this hint, as I had the wrong answer (I’ve got it now) but because I couldn’t “submit “, I didn’t know it.My message to the Telegraph, ENOUGH ALREADY.

  19. What a horror! I normally expect Sundays to be tough but this is the far side of tough.
    Way above my pay grade. Zero fun because it is unintelligible .

    1. You are entitled to your opinion, but being “way above your pay grade” does not qualify it for being “a horror”. It is certainly not “unintelligible” and, as I have said many times before, it is a Prize puzzle. Others who follow this blog, like Kath and Mary, seem to have progressed over the last few years, but if you whinge every time you find it difficult you will never improve.

      1. Oh BD – don’t be mean to Brian – as you say he is entitled to his opinion – and his opinions are pretty good value in general and provoke other comments which surely has to be good for the blog.

    2. Well, you did get one right, even if you don’t know it.By the way, when I started blogging you were way ahead of me.I used to long to be able to solve the puzzles you enjoyed.

    3. Brian, there are some setters that I find to be “above my pay grade” inasmuch as I just can’t make headway with their puzzles. Elgar springs to mind. He defeats me more often than not. However, I respect his skill. This puzzle was more challenging than the usual Sunday offering, certainly, but far from unintelligible, since most of us here today managed to do quite well. I suspect you rather enjoy playing the role of the miserable old git down at the pub who never has a good word to say about anyone or anything. But honestly, it’s wearing thin. Nothing wrong with admitting you had difficulty, but blaming the setter for your shorcomings is not on.

  20. Here I go again on a non-crossword topic. We’ve just watched the last ever episode of Agatha Christie’s “Poirot” with David Suchet followed by a long interview with him on “Being Poirot”. What an absolute star he is – I’ve heard him interviewed lots of times – he is SO lovely. He isn’t John Thaw but he and Martin Shaw come pretty close, in my opinion anyway.

  21. Monday morning…have to do these a day later now. Way way way outside my capabilities. Not a clue. Not even a sniff with the hints. Given up. Grump.

  22. I thought this puzzle superb. Tricky in places, but what brilliant clues! Very difficult to chose a fave from among them, but I really liked 17a, 23a, and 3d. I managed without Big Dave’s excellent hints. No matter how careful or attentive to parsing the clues I may have been, with a Virgillius puzzle I am always left wondering what subtleties I may have missed! I await the full review with much interest…
    Big thanks to both Virgillius and Big Dave.

Comments are closed.