ST 2737 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2737 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2737 (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


1a Discouragement from exam I took, one taken in bad spirit (14)
A phrase meaning a spoken examination I took (4,1,3) and I (one) all inside a bad spirit

9a Removes couple at table tucking into university food (7)
A couple who are partners at the bridge table inside (tucking into) U(niversity) and a colloquial word for food

11a Was lying like a minister? On the contrary (3)
As an adjective this means unlike (on the contrary) a church minister

12a Improvising at sea, cheating in trial? (4-7)
Two definitions – setting up a temporary mast on a ship and, without the hyphen, bribing those who are selected to bring in a verdict at a trial

17a Royal epithet or polite expression of surprise (8)
Two definitions – an epithet used of royalty and an expression of surprise

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19a Complete book collection started by Matthew in Ireland (6)
The collection of books in the bible of which the first one is the Gospel according to St Matthew inside the Gaelic name for Ireland

22a Reduced number of brain operations, being inconsiderate (11)
Split as (7,4) this could mean that the number of brain operations has been reduced

27a German king foolishly greets foe, right? (6,3,5)
This German-speaking British king is an anagram (foolishly) of GREETS FOE RIGHT


1d After large drink, say, in local making grammatical mistake (6,8)
A large measure of, for example, whisky (or a standard measure for BigBoab!) followed by the abbreviation of the Latin for say or “for example” inside an adjective meaning local

2d Walked slowly as doctors watched (7)
The abbreviation of some doctors followed by a verb meaning watched

3d Again modifying fair in English city (11)
An adjective meaning fair or honest inside an English city – think how a verb which means to do something again might start and then the city should become apparent

6d Company, so it’s said, in prime — that’s not odd (3)
The number that is said to be company, as opposed to a crowd, is the only prime that is not an odd number

8d RAF type needing thin fabric in cooler temperature (6,8)
An adjective meaning thin or delicate and a type of rough fabric inside a three-letter word for a cooler and followed by T(emperature)

13d Reason tenors are, initially, very loud — they have to work on pitch (6,5)
A reason or justification followed by the initial letters of Tenors Are and the musical notation for very loud gives these people responsible for the maintenance of, say, a cricket pitch

16d It’s included in understated bottom line for foreign movie? (8)
IT inside (include) an adjective meaning understated gives what is often seen on the bottom line of a foreign movie

25d Bit of corn seen in some arable area sooner or later (3)
This bit of corn is hidden (seen in) twice (sooner) inside the clue and from the final letters of three words in the clue (later)

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Robbie Coltrane (64) and Eric Clapton (69)
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31 comments on “ST 2737 (Hints)

  1. Lovely day – Mothering Sunday – lovely home made card from Grandson (with some help from his Dad), walk in the woods with sunshine, primroses, violets, wood anemones, usual splendid Sunday cryptic (and relieved to find that the cryptic grey matter is now back in full working order

    Thanks to Virgilius for the great crossword – my top favourites being 19a and 25d and to BD for the hints.

    Now for a post sticky toffee pudding snooze in the chair.

    1. Hi CS, I wondered how 25d could be your favourite (or one of them!) until I read Jezza’s comment below. Now I see.. great clueing. Wow.

  2. I thought I was going to have trouble again today – read through all the across clues and didn’t get a single answer.
    The downs went a bit better and then gradually it all put itself together.
    I didn’t know the nautical bit of 12a and was slow with the long answers round the outside, except 27a.
    I liked 15 and 17a and 5 and 8d. My favourite was 2d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    Haven’t quite managed to untangle 26a – lots of indefinite articles but I seem to have a couple of letters that I can’t sort out – I think it’s right.
    Sunny and warm – off to the garden.

    1. If I tell you only the first and last letters are the required ‘articles’, does that help?

      1. Oh – of course. Thank you – seriously dim at the moment.
        Back to the garden as that is all the brain seems capable of at the moment.

  3. Best puzzle I’ve solved for some time…
    2*/5* for me today. Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  4. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A super puzzle as usual from Virgilius,v enjoyable, needed a bit ofelectronic help on 1a, but otherwise ok. Favourites were 2d&10a. Was 3*/4* for me. A bit cloudy now in Central London. Bodyclock is the only clock with the wrong time now :-)

  5. Lovely start to our morning, thx to v and bd. 26a foxed us due to bloody Aemerican spellings. Mrs T has real PG tips today, too strong for me!

    1. I know what you mean! I have to make a conscious effort to “think Brit” when I do the puzzles.

  6. Happy Mother’s Day to all you UK Mums. Ours will not be until the second Sunday in May and hopefully better weather.

    Lovely puzzle. Many thanks to Virgilius, a firm favorite of mine, and also to BD for the review. 26A was very clever, I thought and I also liked 22A and 16D.

  7. Great puzzle and definitely not easy. 2d was the last in , when even after thinking of , I had difficulty spelling it.Thanks Virgillius and BD for the blog.

  8. Re 25d – I found the answer 3 times if ‘or later’ can imply the last letter of the preceding words. I am no doubt barking up the wrong tree!

  9. Third time lucky BD – last attempt ! Many thanks Virgilius, lovely puzzle. Wondering if you were dreaming of the recent Paris game at 10d ?? I was thinking this might be one of your easier ones as I managed to finish it without too many problems. Many terrific clues as usual. Thanks for the hints BD as usual – hoping this post gets through !

  10. We actually managed to finish before the hints appeared, though it did require a bit (or quite a lot, if I’m honest) of electronic help. Doesn’t Mothering Sunday sound so much better than Mothers Day? I think it does IMHO. Thank you to the setter & to BD.

    1. Yes – I agree with you about Mothering Sunday (apparently the fourth Sunday in Lent – something that I only learnt today) sounding much better than Mother’s Day – an Americanism which is the second Sunday in May (again, something I only learnt today).
      Three cheers for all us Mums!

      1. Oh dear – the little chap jumping about and giving all of us Mums a big cheer seems to have jumped into the wrong place. I can’t blame him so I suppose it’s my fault!

        1. Just to make you jealous again , I had a great 20 min Skype ‘conversation’ this afternoon with our lovely little chap jumping about all over the place when he wasn’t demonstrating how to roll across the floor!

          1. How lovely. Could I be any more jealous? I think not. Our two pet lambs are just too busy doing other things and not really thinking about babies at the moment.
            I’m keeping quiet – they’re both grown-ups and it really isn’t anything to do with us any more. As I think I’ve already said to you we bring our children up to be independent beings and then, when they are, we don’t like it.

            1. I agree entirely. Our job as parents is to give them wings and let them fly, but one of our’s took it a bit too literally and is living in Sydney. The doctor one lives in Manchester just a couple of hours away from Nottingham but as you say both too busy to produce grandchildren.
              Bit late doing Sunday’s but no problems

  11. Sooooo disappointed today. One of my favourite setters and my brain totally went to sleep. I had three answers and stuck. I looked at the hints and got some help to start again, but, sadly, I’m really stuck now, mostly top right-hand side. I hope I have better luck tomorrow with Rufus, it would really be bad news if I can’t get my head around his puzzle. Thanks Virgillius, not your fault for my failure, and thank you BD but can’t finish, even with your help.

    1. I agree with you – Virgilius is one of my favourite setters too. So you had a tough day and brain just wouldn’t do what you wanted it to. I didn’t think that today’s was easy – cheer up – tomorrow is another day. You will do tomorrow’s without any problems – I won’t!

  12. 2.5*/4* for me today. Nice to see some sunshine. Thx to BD for unravelling the intricacies of 9a.

  13. Great puzzle – just up my street. Many thanks Virgilius. Lots of good clues including 8d and 13d. Was able to complete with breakfast at what, thanks to new summertime, felt a bit like the crack-of-dawn. I too needed CS help with sorting my articles in 25a. ***/****. Thanks BD for reviving memory of killing Sellers/Loren turn.

  14. Late posting as I have been out since late this morning with Mrs RD and my two step children.

    From my perspective this was a perfect puzzle! 3.5*/5*

    What a wonderfully enjoyable way to start a Sunday! It needed just the right amount of effort to unravel the answers and it would be impossible to pick a favourite from this superb collection.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD, particularly for the clip of Layla – one of my all time favourite tracks: sheer brilliance!

  15. Top notch from Virgilius, I am guilty of needing electronic help. In my defence your honours one lodger out today, a new one in, removing a window to get sofas in was not on the agenda. 2 hours later I found Cynth who we thought was in the back garden with Cuth. Oops

  16. Thanks, Virgilius, for a very satisfying puzzle. I’d make it about 3*/4* with 15a as my favourite clue. Thanks too to BD for blog and hints.

  17. Another marvelous concoction for our Sunday delectation. I prostrate myself at the feet of St Virgilius. This might be going too far but I can visualise a museum one day in the future, when mankind has dumbed itself down to stump, and around the walls, lit just so, are Virgilius crosswords representing the ‘golden age’ of lexicological mastery.

  18. Like others, I thought this a truly masterly puzzle. I completed it without Big Dave’s excellent hints. Like others, needed Crypticsue’s comment to untangle the wordplay of 26a. Also valued Jezza’s observant eye re 25d. What a brilliant clue! Other faves (because it’s Virgilius,can I have more than one?) were 2d and 19a.

    Thank you both very much, Virgilius and Big Dave.

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