ST 2735 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2735 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2735 (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.

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 Primarily Muslim place within its continent (8)
The whole of this all-in-one clue provides the definition – the initial letter (primarily) of Muslim followed by a three-letter verb meaning to place inside the continent in which this country can be found – tip: count the number of letters in the first two constructs to work out how many letters are left for the continent!

11a Anti-government articles are, we hear, fashionable (8)
This adjective meaning anti-government is a charade of two indefinite articles, the letter that sounds like (we hear) are and an adjective meaning fashionable

12a Producers of yarns, successful stories for Spooner? (8,6)
If the initial two letters of these devices used to produce yarns are exchanged in the style popularised by the Reverend William Archibald Spooner the result is an adjective meaning successful and some stories

15a Driving mechanism, in short, for front of plane (4)
The abbreviated form of a mechanism used to drive a ship or aeroplane is a charade of a word meaning for and the initial letter (front) of Plane

19a City of Paris, in which politician has change of heart (4)
To get the city where, according to Greek Mythology, Paris lived start with a Conservative politician and exchange his middle two letters (heart)

25a Animal show’s presenter cuts exactly in two (6)
Put the two-letter abbreviation for the presenter of a show inside (cuts … in two) a phrase meaning exactly (2,1,1)

28a Altered words of seconder improperly (8)
An anagram (improperly) of SECONDER


1d Hunted animals for sport (4)
Two definitions

2d Needs one more footballer perhaps in hurry (6)
if the answer is split (3,3) then it means that the manager needs one more footballer to complete the team

5d Cunning seen in Nato allies ready for fighting? (3,5)
A four-letter adjective meaning cunning inside the word often used to collectively describe the NATO allies

8d One who performs thus is included in great deal (7)
The two-letter word meaning thus followed by IS inside (included in) a great deal or quantity

14d Escort French author around university (5)
This French author has made several appearances in Telegraph puzzles, the most recent being in last Tuesday’s Toughie! – put his surname around U(niversity)

16d About time, put in a little money for show (8)
A two-letter word meaning about and T(ime) inside a small amount of British money

18d Flier about cheese (7)
A very long-legged wading bird followed by a two-letter word meaning about or concerning

22d Turned up rings and pieces of jewelry (6)
A four-letter verb meaning turned up followed by the ring shaped letter and a suffix that makes it plural

26d A part of a garment that’s said to attract attention (4)
The A from the clue followed by part of a garment

The words highlighted in yellow are Usual Suspects and the one highlighted in green is one of my Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing.

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28 comments on “ST 2735 (Hints)

  1. 3*/4* for another superb Sunday puzzle. Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    The flier in 18d was a new bird to me, and for quite a while I couldn’t fathom the part of the wordplay in 25a relating to cuts exactly in two. I wrote down the four letters involved in my answer, stared at them, couldn’t see at all what they had to with exactly, split them (2,2) and stared at them again for ages before the penny finally dropped with a resounding clang – (2,1,1)! This is a brilliant clue and my favourite today.

    12a is a very clever Spoonerism and 19a & 20a deserve special mention too.

    I’m still recovering from yesterday’s thrilling finale to the Six Nations which provided a fitting end to Brian O’Driscoll’s amazing international career. England’s win against Italy was magnificent and we can begin to feel confident that we are building an exceptional squad. Congratulations to the Irish and hopefully see you in the World Cup final!

    1. I also struggled to understand the wordplay for 25A, until I read your comment. I can’t believe I missed it (a bit like Sexton’s first kicks at goal, yesterday!)

    2. The bird in question is one of the species that live on the estuary beside which we live and is one of our favourites because of their petite elegance. Delighted to find it in the crossword.
      Loved the puzzle. Our usual starting point, the NW corner, was the last in with this one.
      Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  2. Thank you Virgilius – one of your harder puzzles – for me at any rate. Finished, but took me a long time ! 25a last in. Thinking the answer couldn’t be anything else, but for the life of me couldn’t get the wordplay until suddenly, that familiar sound of the penny dropping ! Glad I struggled on to the end without your hints BD – At one point I thought that I would need them. Many thanks for your time as usual in doing the hints – very useful in any case to check that my answers are right !

  3. Splendid puzzle, thanks Virgilius. Like RB above I didn’t understand the word play in 25a and several others but managed without the clues. I will study the full review when it is published.Thanks , BD. I really liked 9a, amoungst others.

  4. An enjoyable puzzle from Brian to end the week..
    Lots of good clues.
    Faves : 7a, 25a, 5d & 21d.
    Re 15a – rather old-fashioned kite!

    Springlike weather continues here in NL.

  5. Thx to v and bd, good chuckle at 12a. We still have the SE corner to do and are currently arguing over 20a – so any help would be appreciated (as long as it doesn’t support Mrs T’s theories).

    I was going to cut the grass but after that one I need a little lie down.
    I thought this was the most difficult Sunday, or any other day of the week, crossword for a long time – maybe it’s just me.
    Being terribly slow to get the two long clues – 12 and 20a – didn’t help much.
    Anyway, finished now and really enjoyed the struggle.
    I needed the hint to explain 25a.
    I particularly liked 19a and 3, 4 and 24d. My favourite was 12a.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  7. Thought this was a real toughy, & needed help today. A lovely almost springlike afternoon here on the east coast. Thank you setter & BD.

  8. A lovely Sunday offering, lots of good clues and smilers. Did not need the hints but thanks to Big Dave for the review. Would rate this 3*/4* My favourite was 13D

  9. I really enjoyed this one. Loved 13D and 25A. Virgilius is one of my favorite setters. Thanks to him and to BD for the review.

  10. Just checking in to confirm that I survived the match with France without a heart attack. The atmosphere in the pub where I was was electric. Thanks Rabbit Dave — I don’t expect Ireland to get too far in the World Cup, but England look potentially very strong — I would tip them to win if Joe Schmidt was their coach. And I enjoyed MikeT’s comments about Sexton’s misses.
    I believe that guy Brendan has a special puzzles in the Guardian for tomorrow.

  11. Like Kath, I need a little lie down after that. I had no problem with 12a (my favourite) or 20a, but the top left-hand corner took forever. With lots of gizmo help and hints from BD, I got there in the end. I always enjoy Virgilius’s puzzles, wotta workout. Thanks BD, I would never have got there without your help. With all the news about 1a, I wonder it took me so long to get it.

  12. A little trickier than normal, but just as enjoyable, if not more!
    Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

    1. I don’t think it was a little trickier than normal – I think it was a big trickier.

  13. Not many comments today, is everyone out in the garden? Soundly beaten by 25a, Mrs A got the answer but we needed the hint to understand why. For me this was one of the most convoluted clues ever, wish I could come up with its like! I bow before a superior mind.

    1. Some of us have managed to do the crossword and be out in the garden today – have cut half an acre of grass and feeling smug.

  14. Three quarters of this puzzle were standard virgilius excellence. The last quarter – and we all know which one that is – beat me roundly. Never heard of this name for a bird and 25a was beyond my powers so thanks again, BD for the second time recently.

    Worked this crossword in the garden in the sun on the iPad… What a treat.

    Hope you have all enjoyed the lovely weekend.

  15. I too found this a struggle (enjoyable) and needed help, self inflicted brain numbing with all the sport this weekend and all the “tea” that was involved. Many thanks Virgilius and BD.

  16. Had to pull out all the stops to cope with this but just managed without BD hints except to explain 25a, 5d and 18d (hadn’t heard of bird). Fav 12a. Enjoyable nevertheless – thanks Virgilius. ****/***

  17. By ‘eck! First time in a long time that I had to come to the site for BD’s tips in order to solve a Virgilius – so many thanks to him & to V.

    I’ll put it down to the elegant sufficiency I consumed watching all of the rugby on Saturday. I support England but I’m glad Ireland won for Bod’s sake. He will be missed not only by the Irish but also by anybody who recognises a rare talent when they see it.

  18. I came to this after 3 days without crosswords, and took a while to complete. I found it quite testing, but rewarding, and there were some very satisfying clues. My favourite was probably 25a, which was my last one in. Thank you Virgilius and Big Dave.

  19. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, I found this very difficult, have used two hints, and am still stuck on 9a & 4d, any help would be much appreciated. Favourite was 12a, was 4*/4* for me.

  20. I agree with those who found it difficult – this was to me like doing a tough Toughie, and I struggled to get almost every one, so enjoyment was rather diminished by snail-like progress. 4* difficult and only 2* for enjoyment, I’m afraid. Thanks to BD and the setter.

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