ST 2739 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2739 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2739 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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There’s a new Monthly Prize Puzzle available right now – can you solve the mystery?

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    Revised opinion, albeit ahead of time, penned by assistants (6,8)
A six-letter word meaning albeit and T(ime) inside (penned by) some assistants, originally those assisting the protagonists in a duel and latterly boxers in the ring

9a    Warning about British area, region of North America (7)
A warning around B(ritish) and followed by A(rea)

12a    It may be superfluous on tradesman’s sign and idiotic too, perhaps (10)
Grocers, and greengrocer’s, are notorious for the unnecessary and inappropriate use of this on their signs – it’s an anagram (idiotic) of TOO PERHAPS

14a    Reported in ineffective fashion in this publication (6)
Sounds like (reported) an adverb meaning in an ineffective fashion

15a    Part of Victoria’s political policy (8)
… not Queen Victoria but the railway station named after her

17a    Believer, of a sort, at hospital, in severe pain (8)
AT and H(ospital) inside a severe pain

24a    Illustrations showing pair right inside rescue craft (7)
The number that makes up a pair and R(ight) inside Noah’s rescue craft

25a    Agile performer in a cricket club gathering century, then run out (7)
The A from the clue and a club used by a cricketer to hit the ball around the abbreviation for Century (which is also the Roman numeral for a century) and the abbreviation for Run Out

26a    Vigorously spoken, a heroine’s needed to remain calm (4,4,4,2)
An anagram (vigorously) of SPOKEN A HEROINE – when the second word of a phrase like this can be either of two alternatives, it is usual in crosswords, as here, that the impersonal form be used unless it is clearly indicated that the other alternative is required


1d    Superficial spectacle excluding nobody? (7)
A spectacle with a word meaning everybody inside – two negatives making a positive!

2d    Small volume that, in short, is morocco bound? (5,10)
The abbreviation (in short) for this small metric volume can be found inside (is … bound) moroCCo

6d    Information on English helping peer group (10)
A three-letter word for information followed by E(nglish) and a helping or share

7d    Very large figure that may be kept in cell (9,6)
This very large figure could be kept in a cell or mobile

13d    Type of red stuff left in pub, good or bad (5,5)
L(eft) inside an anagram (bad) of PUB GOOD OR

17d    Long garment in prison covering Jack’s behind (6)
An alternative spelling of this long garment is derived by putting a slang word for a prison around the nautical (Jack’s / sailor’s) term for behind – I bet I wasn’t the only one who tried to fit the final letter (behind) of JacK into the wordplay

19d    Powerful person’s pronouncement put an end to slacking (7)
Sounds like (pronouncement) a powerful person, beautifully defined by Chambers as “a person of great intellect but not the highest inspiration”

23d    Musical performance that’s partial, missing bits left, right, and centre (4)
Start with the word PARTIAL and then drop (missing) the letters (bits) on the left, right and centre.

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Edward Fox (77)

22 comments on “ST 2739 (Hints)

  1. Another super puzzle from Virgilius. I always find it difficult to get started with his puzzles, but once I get a foothold they are a great pleasure and a lot of fun. Thanks BD for your hints and hard work as usual.

  2. I thought this was at the gentler end of the scale, but high on entertainment. Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

    The hint for 24a needs a r(ight).

  3. A lovely crossword for a lovely sunny Sunday.
    I was a bit slow to get started – not helped by trying to make 1a an anagram to begin with.
    My last two were 15a (too many different kinds of Victoria to consider and I didn’t know that it was a political policy anyway) and 8d which I just couldn’t get for ages.
    I don’t quite get why 2d is a small volume rather than a distance, except that would screw up the surface reading – crossword setter’s licence, I suppose.
    I liked 12 and 21a and 16d. My favourite was 23d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    Off to the garden.

      1. Yes – thanks gazza – got up to the top of the garden and thought “Don’t be stupid Kath” and came back in to say so.

  4. I slogged away and eventually got there without the hints, but your hints, BD,made sense of what had been senseless clues ,especially 2d and 13d. I liked 1a and 12a amoung others. I do not agree with Jezza above.
    Thanks Virgilious and BD.

  5. This took a while to get going, but with a bit of help from our electronic device ( yes I know it’s cheating, but only a little bit), we managed to finish without need for the hints. We agree with Kath that 2 down isn’t really volume, but after trying something else, it was the only thing that fitted. Thank you Mr. Setter and BD for his explanations.

    1. It is, but I’m really glad to have some company in being wrong!! Have a look at gazza’s reply – he is, as always, right. The first word of the answer turns it into a volume. One day I’ll learn to keep big mouth shut unless I’m absolutely sure about something.

  6. Could not see why 2d was cc and penny only dropped after seeing the hint – thanks as usual . Up to usual high standard . Grass cutting now !

  7. I am now back from France and totally refreshed. This is my first crossword in over a week and thoroughly enjoyed it too. Some good smilers in there, 12A and 26A in particular. However I need someone’s help, please. I have completed the puzzle except for 20D so I have 50% of the letters in place but still cannot see it? Either the effect of the Bordeaux Superieur is working or senility kicking in! Will someone help me with this misery?

    1. 20d Confusion resulting as some soldiers enter service (6)
      Insert the abbreviation for non-commissioned soldiers into a religious service.

      1. Gazza, you are a star! So simple when one (at last) sees it! My thanks to you and to Big Dave for the review.

  8. Excellent puzzle, took a while to get going and asked some tough questions but always fair. Very enjoyable.
    Thx to all concerned.

  9. Loved this, but that doesn’t mean I found it easy. I did finish but with help from electronics, not too much but did need a couple. It took me forever to know why 2d was what it was, very clever was that. The “cell” in 7d threw me for a bit as I thought that was an Americanism and not Britspeak. It’s hard to choose a favourite among all those gems, but I think 26a takes the prize. Thanks to Virgilius for the fun and BD for the review.

  10. Perfect combination of fun and cerebral exercise – just right for Sunday relaxation. Thank you Virgilius and BD. 12a reminded me of Lynne Truss’ excellent book “Eats, Shoots & Leaves”.

  11. Realy enjoyed this puzzle which I managed tto complete with, I confess, help from electronics. Some BD’s hints helped me, however, make sense of some clues which I had guessed, 2d for example. 13d and 17d made me chuckle. Thanks to Bid Dave and Virgillius.

  12. I’m late on parade today after returning from a lovely weekend in Cambridgeshire.

    This was another splendid offering from Virgilius – challenging but very enjoyable throughout. My rating is 3*/4*.

    My page is littered with asterisks marking clues that I particularly liked, but 2d was my stand out favourite.

    I’ve always spelled 17d with a different first letter, but I found the spelling used in the answer in the BRB.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  13. Got to this v late and in Miami. Completed in a sitting and in the time taken for Mahler’s ninth to play (no boast this!). Slow to get a grip but once a few letters were in a steady and delightful work-through with no assistance. Thank you Virgilius and BD for the odd clarification. ***/****

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