ST 2742 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2742 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2742 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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Have you had a go at the May Prize Puzzle – this one is set by Gazza and it’s a corker!

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    How chap who’s lost his shirt may be seen to speculate? (6)
Split as (2,4) this could be how a chap who has lost his shirt may be seen

4a    Stern in front of vessel? That’s difficult to take (8)
An adjective meaning stern or severe followed by a sailing vessel

10a    Type of character that’s in minority in Europe, America, or Asia (9)
There are two of these in Europe, three in America but only one in Asia

13a    Male operating without delay in heavy rain (7)
M(ale) followed by a two-letter word meaning operating and an adverb meaning without delay

15a    Smelly fish is getting up one’s nose (8)
An adjective meaning smelly or repulsive followed by one of Crosswordland’s favourite fishes

23a    Collected charts fellow sailing in ocean brought back (7)
To get this collection of charts, put a four-letter word for a sailor inside an ocean and reverse the lot

27a    Attacking person as paragon of virtue outside US city (9)
AS and a person who is a paragon of virtue around the two-letter abbreviation for a US city

29a    Hears why, so to speak, you shouldn’t believe it (6)
A word that sounds like (so to speak) hears (4’1) followed by a letter that sounds like why – be careful, the answer itself doesn’t sound like hears why!


1d    Popular result of pressing for raise (8)
The usual two-letter word for popular followed by the result of pressing, for example, some trousers

2d    Graves, for example, dating from particular year (7)
A cryptic definition of the year in which wine, such as a Graves, was produced – once again required capitalisation is concealed by placing the word at the start of the clue!

3d    Doctor Who’s gun, fine specimen of its kind (9)
An anagram (doctor) of WHO’S followed by a slang word for a gun – there is a delightful scene in The Bogie Man where the title character, played on film by Robbie Coltrane, has a misunderstanding with his landlady, Mrs M, over the use of this slang term, which is also Scottish slang for a sandwich (4m 34s from the start)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

7d    Keep talking tediously about old whaling equipment (7)
A phrasal verb meaning to keep talking in a tedious manner (4,2) around O(ld)

9d    Stupidly sat in wet trainers, poorly protected from rain (5-9)
An anagram (stupidly) of SAT inside an anagram (poorly) of WET TRAINERS

19d    Front of vessel in sea near Cowes, not on the rocks (7)
The initial letter (front) of Vessel inside the name for the sea near Cowes, in the Isle of Wight gives an adjective that means the opposite (not) of on the rocks or broke

21d    Parrot from island — it’s carried by officer on board (7)
This verb meaning to parrot is derived from I(sland) followed by IT inside a naval officer

24d    Was model wearing silk? (5)
A three-letter verb meaning was a model, for an artist perhaps, followed by a word meaning wearing, in the context of wearing clothes

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Rory McIlroy (25)

33 comments on “ST 2742 (Hints)

  1. Aaaaah, 29a, had me completely stumped, thanks for the hint.

    As one expects a lovely puzzle for a nice sunny Sunday in Dover.

    Thanks to the setter.

  2. Brilliant fun again on a Sunday morning! My rating is 2*/4* for a puzzle which I found reasonably straightforward, although a bit harder in the SW corner, and very entertaining.

    As usual with this setter all the clues were excellent but I am going for 1a as my favourite as it made me LOL

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    1. Well said Una and Jezza et al. Hope to complete it before Mrs T wakes!

  3. Very entertaining – but as with yesterday’s, the entertainment was all too brief. What lies behind the thinking that weekends must be toughie-free?

  4. Thoroughly enjoyable, good tussle,a bit beyond my normal time, so *** for me.
    Thought 10a very crafty, and 29a especially clever.
    Many thanks Virgilius, and thanks BD for the review.

  5. The usual lovely Sunday crossword – I agree with RD – 2* difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.
    For once I didn’t have too much trouble with any clues.
    My last two were 15a and 16d – don’t know why.
    Not many anagrams and, just when I’ve started to remember to look for them, no hidden answers.
    I liked 10 and 15a and 2 and 17d. My favourite was 9d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    Lovely sunny warm day – off to do useful stuff in the garden then, later, have a go at gazza’s MPP.

  6. PS For anyone who has the paper rather than getting the crosswords on line the back page has five D-Day crosswords and an article by Phil McNeill.

    1. Thanks Kath – you’ve just disrupted my day! My routine on Sundays is to pluck the regular Virgilius masterpiece from the centre of the “Life” section and start on it while having breakfast. I then finish it off before getting on with whatever else Sunday may have to offer (e.g.: cutting the laurel hedge and the lawn are on today’s list) and leave reading the main section of the paper until the evening.

      Now I am torn – crosswords or garden? Mmm….

      1. I can’t remember who but someone recently said that everyone likes a bit of routine but too much makes us get old – break the routine, quickly!

        1. You are right Kath, but on this occasion I took Tantalus’ advice and adopted the boring option for two main reasons. It might rain tomorrow which is a Bank Holiday in which case having some more crosswords to do could be just what the doctor ordered. In any event getting old might not be an option if Mrs RD feels I have shirked my horticultural duties.

          I have to say the garden does look nice now :smile:

            1. 1978. I only remember that because it was the year my son was born!

              1. Pet Lamb Number One was also born in 1978 – don’t associate the May Day holiday with her as she was born on Bonfire night – typical – a noisy arrival and hasn’t stopped being noisy ever since. She is wonderful though, as I’m sure your son is.

  7. Another great Sunday puzzle, finished in record time for me last night – so */***. Too many great clues for any favourite but if pushed 29a followed closely by 23a.

    I know many were easy but it’s Virgilius whole style that makes his work so enjoyable.

    Thanks to Virgilius (and BD)

  8. Yes , yet another enjoyable one with just the right amount of difficulty for me . So **/**** from me . Managed without the hints . 23 a was my last and 1 a my favourite .

  9. Agree with everyone that this was an enjoyable puzzle, just right for a Sunday lunchtime. Thank you to the setter and to BD.

  10. I wouldn’t call this easy, as some have said, but not exactly a struggle, just a very enjoyable work out for a Sunday morning. I needed the hints to know why 10a was correct. Favourite is 29a with honourable mention to 1a and 23a, but many clever clues. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for review.

  11. Thank you Virgilius, enjoyable as always. I agree with the general consensus – a lovely puzzle and a lovely day. Thanks BD for your hints. Annual visit to Sizewell tomorrow to see special bird – hoping to avoid a visit from BNF police who become suspicious of people with binoculars and telescopes !

  12. Yeeeees, a super and varied puzzle which was greatly enjoyed without need for help. ***/****. Thanks so much Virgilius and BD. Several amusing clues including 1d, 2d and 29a.

  13. Great crossword solved early this morning before departing for a lovely walk all round Dungeness. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    1. I’m glad you had a lovely walk – having never been there Dungeness sounds a bit dark, gloomy and like being in a prison.
      I’m sure that sounds stupid but I can’t help the picture that the name conjures up.

      1. I’ll email you a couple of photos – lovely, bright ,sunny, peaceful, beautiful wild flowers and you’d like the famous Derek Jarman garden at Prospect Cottage.

        1. I wonder how many googled it. It looks lovely, but really, really close to the flight path!

          1. Only light aircraft at the moment – the main noise comes from the lovely steam trains on the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway – google that too

  14. This was an enjoyable and clever crossword, typical of the setter. About 2.5*/4* for me, and – as a sailor – l particularly relished 19d (although there are far too many boats there for this SW-based mariner!). Thank you Virgilius, and thank you Big Dave.

  15. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, that I found a bit on the gentle side. Favourite was 10a. Was 2*/4* for me. Lovely day in Central London, could be warmer on Monday. Last in was 23a.

  16. Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints – needed some of them to finish a very enjoyable puzzle. Loved 1a which made me laugh! Think I got 29a – would not have cracked it without BD’s help… For me 3*/4*. Had to wait till Monday morning to finish it as was busy with the family yesterday. Today not a holiday in France as we celebrated Mayday on the day last Thursday with a sprig of lily of the valley.

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