ST 2750 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2750 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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”. Where the hint describes a construct a “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow:


1a    Like chatting in company with citizen about poetry, mostly (14)
CO(mpany) followed by a citizen or subject around most of some poetry

9a    Sun is awful — part of dilemma is still having woollen coat on (7)
An anagram (is awful) of SUN followed by one or other part of a what may impale someone, according to the well-known phrase meaning faced with a decision involving equally unfavourable alternatives

10a    Monk holding naughty dance in South America (7)
A Buddhist monk around an adjective meaning naughty

12a    Endlessly endangers health? That could make he-man so sick (5-6)
An anagram (that could make) of HE-MAN SO SICK

15a    Like a good jumper, strongly built (4-4)
This adjective meaning strongly built or powerful is cryptically like a good jumper or sweater

19a    How person jumping off Pont Neuf might be pronounced? (6)
Split as (2,4) this sounds like (pronounced) where someone who has jumped off the Pont Neuf in Paris might finish up, as (6) it possibly describes how their mentality might be pronounced or assessed

26a    Cause of ill-feeling, friend pinching certain amount of work (7)
A friend around (pinching) the CGS unit of work

27a    Lots come here on top of the sledge? Just the opposite (5,3,6)
Where auction lots come is the opposite of on top followed by a sledge or heavy tool used for such jobs as breaking rocks and driving in fence posts


1d    Reckon mere rearranging’s a positive preventive step (14)
A verb meaning to reckon or add up followed by an anagram (rearranging) of MERE, the A from the clue and an adjective meaning positive or certain

3d    Having raised mark, pass English without support in school (4,7)
Reverse (having raised in a down clue) a verb meaning to mark or write down followed by a three-letter word for a pass and E(nglish) around a support, such as one for a table

5d    A fast time in boat race Oxford finally accomplished (8)
The A from the clue and a time of fasting in the Christian calendar inside the final letters of three words in the clue

6d    Circle ruler, initially, as measure of resistance (3)
The letter shaped like a circle followed by the two-letter abbreviation accorded to a ruler or monarch

16d    Display rope that gives extra protection when camping (8)
A verb meaning to display or show, for example, a flag followed by a nautical term for a rope

20d    For racing tipster, starting price, for example, is a sign about horse (7)
How do you get, for example, from RACING TIPSTER to STARTING PRICE (or vice versa)? To find the answer put the A from the clue and the three-letter English word for a particular sign of the zodiac around a three-letter word for a horse

21d    Face very learned person taking one in (6)
V(ery) and a learned person around (taking … in) I (one)

25d    Crop doubled in bumper year? Yes (3)
This type of grain crop is hidden not once but twice inside the final three words in the clue

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 Katherine Jenkins (34)


  1. Tantalus
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    A delightful intellectual breakfast for the Pangbourne crew, Audley, Hannam, Peter and Gill. Thx to v and bd for the acetyl choline.

    Let’s see how Mrs T does…

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    My rating is 2*/4* for yet another superb Sunday crossword.

    19a made me laugh out loud, and 20d was my favourite.

    16d was my last one in and I think it should be enumerated (3-5) and not (8). My version of the BRB also gives it only as (3-5). The parsing of this clue eluded me in that I have never come across the last five letters being used as a term for “rope”, and I couldn’t find the nautical meaning referred to by BD in his hints in my BRB.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    • Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Both of my copies of the BRB (12th and 13th editions) gives the enumeration of 16d as (8) and also definition 2 of the last five letters as a nautical term for a rope.

      • Only fools
        Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        ” Three ***** to the wind ”
        Usual super puzzle .Thanks to all .

        • crypticsue
          Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          I have a million things to do this afternoon without having to edit posts and send people to the Naughty Corner.

    • Doug Ireland
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      There is only one rope on a ship and its attached to the Bell. All the rest have various names according to their useage.

  3. Chris T Heswall
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle and smiled at 26a as I was sneezing away having forgotten to take my tablet this morning. What a difference a day makes, heavy rain yesterday and glorious sunshine today. I hope your weather is as good, if not better, wherever you are. Thanks to setter and BD.

  4. Kitty
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    This was just right for me today, as it provided some challenge, smiles, and eventual success without needing any extra help. Thanks to setter and BD :).

  5. Derek
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Pleasant solve today.

    Faves : the four 14-letter externals and 8a,15a, 23a, 3d, 15d &18d.

    19a is what I call a Sootongton clue (French pronunciation of Southampton) – there is a shade of difference between English **** and the river in Paris.

    • crypticsue
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Derek but you can’t give away partial solutions without being edited and sent to the stoute hoek

      • Derek
        Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        Sorry Csue!

        Ik zie dat U Nederlands spreekt!

        • crypticsue
          Posted June 29, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          I just put the words ‘Naughty Corner’ into Google Translate

          • Kath
            Posted June 29, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink


  6. Graham Wall
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    A very good puzzle which was most enjoyable. I got away without using the hints but some got the grey matter working at full throttle. Lots of good clues, 8D and 22A for instance. However my Gold Award goes today to 19A. My thanks to Big Dave for well executed well illustrated review. My rating would be 3/4.5

  7. Kath
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was going to be tricky when I first started but finished it without many problems.
    I was a bit slow to get 1a and 1d so didn’t have any starting letters to help things along.
    9a was my last one and I needed the hint to understand 5d – only had the “Oxford” finally which gave me a couple of spare letters.
    I’m getting better at spotting the hidden answers – managed both of them today!
    I liked 1 and 27a and 4d. I thought 20d was really clever and my favourite was 19a – wonderful.
    With thanks to Virgilius for yet another lovely crossword and to BD for the hints.

    • Una
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      I am surprised you didn’t include 24a in your list of likes.

      • Kath
        Posted June 29, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Careful – CS has already said she’s too busy to be sending people to the naughty corner – and anyway it’s not quite the right kind of last five letters!

        • Una
          Posted June 29, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

          It’s an in-joke , so anyone in on the in-joke can probably solve 24a themselves.

          • Kath
            Posted June 29, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

            OK – you’re right. I really have to get over this and move on but . . . .

  8. Vancouverbc
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Cracking puzzle. Like Rabbit Dave 16d held me up until this morning as I thought this was two words but once the synonym for rope came to mind all was well. 20 d is one of the better clues I’ve seen in a while. A **/3.5* for me. Thanks to BD for the hints. Have to mow the lawns today – what fun!

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I just got my lawnmower out from the shed, and, as if by magic, it started to rain :-(

    • Kath
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      “We” are about to cut ours too – I’m hoping that if I spend enough time fiddling about here husband might just have made a start . . .

      • Kath
        Posted June 29, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        It worked – result!
        This is clearly a ploy that I should use more often!

  9. Una
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Terrific puzzle although all those long framing words looked a bit daunting at first.19a -marvelous.Thanks Virgilius and BD, especially for explaining 20d.

  10. Angel
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this solve and was sorry to finish – so many excellent clues even though for me perhaps OTT on anagrams. Hard to choose a fav but will plump for 19a which amused and 27a as runner-up. Thank you Setter for providing perfect relaxing Sunday entertainment in the garden and BD for your review with special mention for the performance by the birthday girl and Andrea Bocelli.

  11. Merusa
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I just loved this, the top bits going in quite quickly but then slowing up somewhat.
    Last one in was 19a, and after looking up all sorts of French words pertaining to drowning, it suddenly dawned on me. That is a very, very clever clue and is hands down my favourite. Others deserve mention, for instance 14a, 20d and 25d. Thanks to Virgilius, you are a star, and to BD for the review.

  12. Rick
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Good fun, the crossword equivalent of cricket’s fair balance between bat and ball. All there to be solved and often witty. Refreshingly light on abbreviations too so a bonus mark from me!

    • Chillin
      Posted July 1, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Well put, a fair balance indeed, tricky but achievable. But how do you all know the setter is called Virgilius, cannot see it in my newspaper, am I being dim?

      • Posted July 1, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        The setter is Brian Greer, affectionately referred to on this site as Virgilius, one of his setting aliases (he is also known as Brendan in the Guardian). He has set every Sunday puzzle since 12th April 2009 and has a very distinctive style. He often pops in to say hello.

  13. stanXYZ
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Virgilius is always my favorite puzzle of the week. Even better than usual today!

    20d is brilliant … just beating 5d by a short head for my clue of the day.

  14. Brian
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Super puzzle, v enjoyable especially 19a which made both of use laugh. Took ages to see why those three letters meant pass then I realised it meant mountain pass!
    Teach me to look a big more laterally at clues. Got 20d from the wordplay then realised why starting price etc, a brilliant clue!
    Thx to all

  15. Brian
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    CS, I know it’s committing a sin to talk about previous puzzles but just wanted to thank you for explaining the one clue of yesterday’s that was really bugging me.

  16. SheilaP
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Finished today without needing the hints, so I think it must be pretty straight forward. Very enjoyable. Thank you to the Sunday Setter and to BD for the hints.

    • Kitty
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Yes: “if I can do it, it’s easy, and if I can’t I’m stupid!” … Well, the veteran solver of this household needed me to give him the last few answers, today, whilst I enjoyed every word. Why don’t you join me and feel the pride! :)

      • Kath
        Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        Well done to you. I’m still trying (unsuccessfully so far) to convert husband to cryptics, I’ll keep trying . . .

        • Kitty
          Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          Thanks, Kath. I don’t actually have a husband, because I’m too picky! But it seems to me, that one who does the lawn instead might not be such a bad thing ;).

          • Kath
            Posted June 29, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

            I was quite picky too but the one I’ve had for nearly forty years is pretty good so I’ll keep him for a bit longer!
            As the wonderful (in my opinion anyway – and I don’t care who disagrees with me) Wogan would say “The present Mrs Wogan” he says it keeps her on her toes . . .

  17. Annidrum
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    I always love Virgilius’s puzzle and this was no exception but I don’t know why it took me so long to finish it. Maybe I was just savouring it but then again maybe not ….just plain slow. My last one in was 16d and I thought 27a was going to be my favourite until second last one in 19a. Brilliant.. Thanks to Virgilius and BD for explaining 20d ,didn’t see it.

  18. Poppy
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear! I’ve ground to a halt with 17a – so any permitted help will be very gratefully received. I’ve got all the checking letters but no lght bulb has switched on. Otherwise all done and, with several others, absolutely loved 19a. Thank you setter and BD.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      17a – the definition is “wind” – the flower is actually a flower not a river!

      Hope I will not be sent to the “stoute hoek”. (Looks very hot for the boys from the Nederlands!)

    • mary
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Hi Poppy you need a three letter city around a five letter flower (the plant variety) to get a type of wind blowing from a certain direction

      • Poppy
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        Thank you, StanXYZ and Mary – I had the city, but was completely stuck otherwise. How silly of me. You’ve saved my sanity!

  19. Expat Chris
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Usual lovely puzzle from Virgilius. Thanks to him and to BD for the review. Off to the train station for a few days business meetings further north. I won’t be able to print out at my usual early morning time so I’m taking a few of the early NTSPP puzzles along that I haven’t done.

  20. mary
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I got the answer to 20d but I still don’t understand it!!??

    • Kitty
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      I want to help, but just a little terrified of being sent to the naughty corner! Anyway … there is an example of the answer in the clue :).

      • mary
        Posted June 29, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Kitty I would hate you to be sent there especially as it seems there are no refreshments there!! At one time it was almost fun to be sent there – loads of people and loads of food

        • Kitty
          Posted June 29, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

          Refreshments and lots of naughty people. That does indeed sound like fun!

          • Kath
            Posted June 29, 2014 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

            I’ll just quote Billy Joel:-
            “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
            The sinners are much more fun”

            I think he’s amazing.

        • Kath
          Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          Have you got it yet or is more help needed?

  21. Sweet William
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Can’t get the S TEL. Here in Paris. But loved the KJ clip. We are going to see her next w/e at an evening picnic concert. Have missed the puzzles !

  22. Salty Dog
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I hereby award my first ever 5* enjoyment rating to Virgilius! That was a splendid puzzle – difficult enough for its solution to be very satisfying – with a lot of very good clues. I think I’m the first to go for 10a as favourite, but that accolade could very easily have gone elsewhere. Thanks too to Big Dave for the hints.

  23. Carrie
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Think my old grey cells are working unusually well as I completed today’s puzzle without too much head scratching.

    Most enjoyable with 19a inevitably being the favourite as most of my friends and work colleagues consider me to be thus and my mother has taken to calling me Dotty.


    Thank you BD and Virgillus

  24. Chris
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable today – so many ingenious clues to raise a smile. Thanks to Virgilus, and BD for the review – luckily not needed but enjoyed it anyway. 3* difficulty and 5* enjoyment here.

  25. spindrift
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Brilliant! 20D is my clue of the year so far. Ta to V & To BD.

  26. Heno
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. Another super puzzle on a Sunday. Favourite was 8d. Was 2*/4* for me.

  27. Chillin
    Posted July 1, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    How do you all know the setter is called Virgilius? Am I being dim or unobservant as I cannot find it in the newspaper?
    Finished it without looking up BD’s hints, but was stretched, really enjoyed it. 20d is superb, my favourite.
    I think 8d and 24a are excellent clues too, because the anagrammed words suggest the meaning.
    Also 25a. Thanks very much BD, so handy if stuck and it’s a lovely feeling when I have completed it to check it going through BD’s hints!

    • andy
      Posted July 1, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      See an item in the FAQ area of this site

      “How do you know the names of the setters? “

      • Chillin
        Posted July 1, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Aha, I see, Thanks Andy