ST 2728 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2728 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2728 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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In response to a number of requests, I have added a page, The Usual Suspects, to the Crosswords section of the blog.  This lists some of the wordplay elements commonly used in cryptic crosswords.  I hope it proves to be useful, especially to newer solvers.

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.

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    A lot of swimmers I put under pressure, including male or female teacher (14)
A lot of fish or other swimming animals followed by the I from the clue and some pressure around (including) M(ale)

9a    Left-winger putting boundary back inside trading area (7)
A boundary in cricket reversed (back) inside an area where a number of vendors carry out their trade

11a    Athlete’s first breaking record in 400 metres, typically (3)
The initial letter (first) of Athlete inside (breaking) a vinyl record or album

14a    Western character? Maybe, maybe not (6)
This character in many a Western movie (maybe) is also someone from an Asian country (maybe not)

15a    Time-saver for writer that we got from Romans (2,6)
A Latin phrase (that we got from Romans) meaning “and the rest” or “and so on”, usually represented by a symbol or a three-letter abbreviation

22a    Attacks with sword thrusts and blows (4,7)
Two definitions – the second meaning blows as in spends extravagantly

24a    Requesting place for bishop and his neighbour on board (7)
The three-letter word for a district under the pastoral care of a bishop in the Christian Church followed by the chess piece that is next to the bishop on the chess board

27a    Brainy group with dreadfully elitist leaning (14)
An anagram (dreadfully) of ELITIST LEANING


1d    Dire perils test me in return from advance (6,8)
An anagram (dire) of PERILS TEST ME IN gives the return from an advance or loan

2d    Severe writer’s block, a problem for setter, say (4,3)
An adjective meaning severe followed by a block of paper used by a writer gives a problem for the kind of animal of which a setter is an example (say)

3d    Expert on faraway part of world transformed relations with it (11)
An anagram (transformed) of RELATIONS with IT

6d    Service, including ace, travelled fast (3)
A military service around A(ce)

8d    False alarm over woman after change in US or region to South (7,7)
An anagram (false) of ALARM followed by a woman’s name and preceded by a unit of US currency (change)

13d    Keels over in cold shelter with face uncovered (5-6)
A verb meaning keels over or becomes inclined to the vertical inside C(old) and a shelter or sanctuary

16d    Old song with crazy line about port (8)
An adjective meaning crazy and L(ine) around a Baltic port

21d    Open with same key before and after? That could be a pointer (3,3)
A verb meaning to open or loosen with the same musical key before and after gives an animal of which a pointer is an example (that could be)

25d    Namely, holding clubs or diamonds (3)
The Latin abbreviation for namely or that is around C(lubs)

If you need further help then please ask and I will see what I can do.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

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 Huey “Piano” Smith (80)
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39 comments on “ST 2728 (Hints)

  1. Thank you Virgilius – one of the trickier ones, or maybe just me after too much haggis and other things. Many great clues as usual and an enjoyable puzzle. Thanks BD for your hints as usual.

  2. Morning. Early toast crumbs in bed – a thoughtful puzzle. Thanks to all.

    @bd: Was hoping you saw my mail to reduce the burden.

      1. Was hoping you liked our “think politics not sport” themes. Ah well, we enjoyed our attempt.

        Better to have tried and been denied…. (to quote Alfred somewhat).

  3. I was utterly baffled by 15a until I read your hint. I liked 5d and 24a.Thanks to Virgillius and BD.

  4. Too easy peasy! Not bad for a Yank! Does the Telegraph site still have a problem? I cannot log in!!!

        1. Interestingly, there is a link to the puzzles helpline on the site, but it is only there once you have logged in and are filling in the puzzle to submit.

          Try the following:

          According to the Puzzles website the phone lines are only open Monday to Friday.


          Telegraph Enquiries
          Victory House
          Meeting House Lane
          ME4 4TT

          0800 316 6977

          (If for any reason you can’t use the 0800 number, please call 01622 335030. This will be charged at normal rates)

          Please note that phone lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. (All incoming and outgoing calls are recorded for training, quality control and for confirming orders and information.)

  5. My rating today is 1*/3.5*. I felt on wavelength from the start, and, although I did not find it very challenging, it was very enjoyable with many entertaining clues with clever constructions and surface readings.

    8d was my last one in.

    It’s quite a struggle to pick a favourite from this splendid selection, but I’ll settle for 27a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  6. Thank you Virgilius, you have not disappointed. A clean, concise puzzle – great wordplay. Enjoyed it in two halves, the Southern half at 2am and the harder Northern half this morning before rising. I loved 1a. Enough anagrams to get keep ball rolling and no egregiously obscure words.

    Mini tornado in NE Hants yesterday pm dropped a huge oak – almost on a friend who had to run. Their roots can’t grip in the soggy ground. Something is happening on our wee planet.

    1. Agreed McMillibar. Minus 10C here in Boston. Is your pseudonym indicative of your profession?

      1. Hi Tantalus, Affirm. Am in ORD soon – hope it warms up a bit. Here in the UK, we play at the weather. Hardy Mid-US denizens do it properly!

  7. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable, but not too tricky puzzle. Was 1*/4* for me. Favourite was 21d.

  8. I was slow to get started today – I think all the little grey cells are a bit tired after yesterday’s NTSPP.
    Anyway once I got going everything more or less fell into place, although I found it slightly trickier than usual.
    I thought that there had to be more to 15a than I was able to see but maybe not and I didn’t understand the ‘blows’ bit of 22a until I read the hint.
    8d took me ages to unravel – I got the answer from the checking letters and then tried to sort it out – got there eventually.
    I think that Virgilius must be quite a ‘doggy’ person – he often has clues like 2 and 21d.
    I liked 14 and 27a and 2 and 20d. My favourite was 21d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    It seems to have stopped raining at last – it’s been absolutely chucking it down here all morning.

    1. Pfeeeew. Thought you were calling him dodgy (must be my eyes).
      My bet is Virgilius has two English setters, tricolours, called Penny and Diesel.

  9. Didn’t need hints today. **/**** for me. Some good clues. Could not work out why the last 3 letters of 17a were a contraction of tension. Thanks BD

  10. On my own again, apart from the Four Fat Felines, as pommette has gone to the UK this morning to sort out a residential care home for her aged mother. Still, it means I can probably do the blog on Thurs and I did this puzzle on my own over a rather late breakfast.

    Rather benign for Virgilius I thought but as elegant as usual. Most enjoyable. */**** from me.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  11. Very enjoyable puzzle, not too testing but plenty of smilers and good word play. I particularly liked 12A . I would rate as **/**** Thanks to Big Dave for his review which I didn’t need but isn’t it a comfort to know it’s there if required?

  12. Nice one Virgilius – thanks. No real need for you BD except for reassurance which it is always good to have – thank you. Your hints today are certainly very comprehensive and revealing. No really outstanding clues. **/***.

  13. I found this a usual Virgillius for me; not easy but enjoyable to work out. I did need the hints for some explanations, such as 22a and 15a. Last one in was 15a as didn’t understand it, but what else could it be? Glad to get the confirmation and explanation, thanks BD. Favourite 21d, anything to do with dogs! Thanks to Virgillius and BD.

  14. It took some time for my brain to engage with this puzzle but once I got started it filled in rather nicely. Lovely puzzle from Virgilius once again.

  15. One of the easier Sunday puzzles I thought but no less enjoyable for all that.
    Many Thx to Virgilus for a super puzzle and for hints which for a change I didn’t need today.

  16. Oh dear, I’m obviously in the minority as I needed loads of help with this one – and there I was feeling so jolly about having solved yesterday’s without help – so thanks (again) to BD for hints which steered me safely home. Thanks to setter (does he really have a dog called Diesel?). Off to play hide and seek with Poppy who’s getting a bit stir crazy with all this rain. She must have cat in her ancestry as, unlike our Irish Wolfhound who adored water, she skirts all puddles while shunning umbrellas….

    1. Hi Poppy, I’m joining your minority, I didn’t need hints but the time it took me to solve was just plain silly. I’m blaming yesterdays (5 min) .storm. My Pooches are used to getting wet at this time of year, but 3:30 pm yesterday was something else. Within minutes the thunder and lightning, though spectacular, was joined by a deluge of hail which turned the meadows white. Oh well I said to traumatised pooches, when we get home…….there will be no electricity for a few hours.
      Then to find most of next doors shed, fences and a chimney in our garden :(

      1. I also took ages. Our dog refuses ,point blank, to go “walkies” in the rain and in many other ways is very cat-like.

      2. Very cheered to know I’ve got company in the minority stakes, but Oh you poor things with such an outburst of Weather (with a capital W) ! Do hope you’re dry and warm now, as well as safe – a chimney down can be a bit exciting. Here in the wussy south I thought I’d imagined a burst of hail, but perhaps I didn’t. Sorry I won’t see you in Bristol – I’ve never forgotten your kind friendliness, with Kath too, at the 4th birthday party… Hope you all have a super day.

  17. Evening all,

    Late input from me as have been struggling to try and set up my new laptop but it seems I’ll have to wait for my son’s return in the Spring! So back to the old one.

    Faves are : 26a & 21d.

    Now going to watch the TV.

  18. This was a lovely Sunday treat. I finished it without hints and it seemed to go more quickly than usual. It seemed slightly ‘different’, but I don’t know why. I wondered if it had something to do with the grid. I can’t say I have felt this on previous occasions when Virgillius has used it. Fave clue was 22a. Fave illustration, too, Big Dave!
    Very many thanks to Virgillius. And very many thanks to Big Dave. Whether or not I use the hints at the time, I always enjoy reading them afterwards.

Comments are closed.