ST 2754 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2754 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2754 (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”. 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:


7a    Clear course to steer, going by river in France (8)
This clear course in a meal comes from a charade of a verb meaning to direct the steering of a ship followed by a river in France, the site of a major battle of the First World War

9a    What worker needs to make — and quick (6)
Two definitions – a worker needs to make this in order to meet his obligations and a what you are if you are quick as opposed to dead

11a    Protest about running Hillary, ultimately? Republicans oppose it (8)
A protest or demo around a two-letter word meaning running or in progress and followed by the final letter (ultimately) of [Hillar]Y

12a    They help prepare courses in which scores of pros do badly (4,10)
An anagram (badly) of SCORES OF PROS DO

17a    Dutiful parent initially promises to meet financial obligations (5)
The initial letter of P[arent] followed by the usual promises to pay back financial obligations

20a    Charge over diamonds is arbitrary (14)
A verb meaning to charge or accuse around D(iamonds) and IS

25a    Bad actor permitted in title role (6)
A bad actor followed by a verb meaning permitted gives the title role in a Shakespeare play

28a    Amend odd law on transfer, electronically (8)
An anagram (amend) of ODD LAW ON


1d    Company leading hostile takeover (4)
CO(mpany) followed by a word meaning leading or in front

2d    I endlessly abuse Democrat — that’s key in Florida (6)
The I from the clue followed by most of some abuse and D(emocrat)

4d    Sources of timber and tools for carpenters (6)
Two definitions – some trees and some carpentry tools

5d    Nothing mature about part of speech that’s too outspoken (8)
O)nothing) and a three-letter word meaning mature or aged around a part of speech

13d    One drink taken in by mouth at first (10)
I (one) and an alcoholic drink inside an adverb meaning by mouth

14d    Those who don’t need preaching to in section of church (5)
The people to whom one has no need to preach in the well-known idiom, defined by Chambers as “to advocate a course of action to people who are already in favour of it” – if you don’t know the expression, there is only one section of a church that fits the checking letters

18d    In one way or another, escort around ‘ouse (7)
A verb meaning to escort or usher around a house or residence without its initial letter H

26d    Most upset after English test (4)
The reversal (upset in a down clue) of the shortened form of a word meaning most preceded by (after) E(nglish)

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Christopher Dean (56) and Bobbie Gentry (70)
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28 comments on “ST 2754 (Hints)

  1. This was a real joy after a couple of dull days. Not too difficult but very enjoyable. 2*/4*.

    I found the NE corner the hardest to crack, and 11a was my standout favourite.

    Although I got the answer for 18d, I wasn’t sure how the “escort” part fitted the wordplay and needed BD’s excellent guidance to understand this.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  2. Another super puzzle, thank you Virgilius. I always wonder how I am going to get started with your puzzles, but once under way and with some checking letters I can usually finish them without any of BD’s hints. Very enjoyable as usual. Thanks BD for your hints, which I always check to make sure I have not made any mistakes

  3. A fun puzzle , as we have come to expect. “Submit ” didn’t work today, so I have no idea if I got it all right or not.The only clue I feel unsure about is 27a.There were many great clues, so it’s hard to pick just one , perhaps 11a.
    Thanks Virgillius and BD.

    1. 27a was my last one. I think it’s the one letter abbreviation for Conservative followed by a person defeated, in other words not the winner.
      If I’m wrong I’m pretty sure someone will tell me!

  4. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, was 2*/3* for me. Favourite was 4d. Last in was 5d. Not as hot as yesterday in Central London, but quite muggy. Captain Cook just got his 50.

  5. Ooh, let me see. I shall bestow a 1.5*/3.5* rating upon this: it must have been pretty easy as I could do it without too much trouble. That said, I had to ponder for a while in places, so it was all very enjoyable. Lots of lovely clues, but I can rarely pick a favourite, and can’t today. Some cunning misdirection there too. Thanks Virgilius, and thanks Big Dave for the hints which I shall take a look at now :).

    I have a query about the (first) definition part of 9a. but to avoid the shame of being sent to the naughty corner, I might have to leave it until the review comes out. By which time I’ll have forgotten all about it, of course.

  6. I agree with Rabbit Dave about the 2*/4* and with Sweet William about always wondering how, or even if, I’m ever going to get started on Sundays.
    I was very slow to get both the fourteen letter answers.
    I started off having the wrong answer to 9a which messed up 4, 5 and 6d. It made complete sense to me at the time and was SO wrong that I’d probably get away with saying what it was but I’m not going to risk it!
    I was feeling so smug about spotting 6d that I missed 21d.
    I didn’t, and still don’t, know the 14d expression but will look it up in a minute – it had to be what it was but I didn’t know why.
    I liked 7a and 8d. My favourite was 11a.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    Garden looks a bit tired – off to try and cheer it up. Much cooler in Oxford today.

  7. Overall another great puzzle from Virgilius (1.5*) although I found 4d (never seen that tree as a plural) and 9a (I assume quick as a synonym for the answer is given in the BRB – which I don’t have) a bit strange. So what would have been 4* for enjoyment late last night probably went down to 3*!!!! Maybe I was just tired!!

  8. An interesting, enjoyable but not too taxing puzzle. 14d was a new one to me – one learns something everyday! Thanks to the compiler, and to you too Big Dave, though I didn’t need your help today. **/***

  9. This wasn’t too demanding but good fun nevertheless. **/***. Thanks Virgilius and BD for elucidating 14d. Liked 7a and 13d.

  10. I thought this was a super puzzle, every clue straightforward and clear. I used 14d myself just yesterday, so easy peasy. Favourite was 11a, but many clever, clever clues. Thank you Virgilius and to BD for the review, always entertaining.

  11. Very good puzzle, quite tough as you would expect on a Sunday but with probably the easiest clue I have ever seen in a crossword in 25a. Last in was 9a but I needed the hint to get the Quick bit.
    Thx to all

  12. The usual pleasant Sunday fare fron Virgilius!
    Faves : 9a, 17a, 27a, 2d, 5d & 16d.
    Weather here still good – we never had the rain only thunder a night ago.

    My daughter emailed me from Java so I requested some coffee. She and family have had a week in Sumatra and visited Borobudur.

    1. I just googled Borobudur to find out why one would visit it. Marvelous place , I hope I get to see it one day.

  13. Just escaped from 5 hours of enforced slavery; well Mrs W calls it pottering in the garden! Showered and a glass of cheeky red and this delightful crossword. Not too taxing but very enjoyable and the welcome return of some humour. My rating is 2*/4* Thanks to Big Dave for the review.

  14. Reasonably hard for a Sunday.
    Thoroughly enjoyable.
    Only one doubt,18d – I would not regard a certain word as a synonym for escort.
    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the review.

  15. What about the Spoonerism from the usher at the theatre “I’ll *** you to your sheet”.

      1. . . . posted from the naughty corner so a little muffled but glad it helped! Could someone come with the key to let me out now – been in here for three and a half hours – bored, fed-up and hungry . . .

  16. A 2*/4* – the best this week. Lovely word play to hide some answers and difficult to single out favourites. Like they say, I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotomy! Didn’t need any hints but always appreciated. Thanks to BD and the setter.

  17. Sterling stuff on Sunday as usual. I found it tricky in places but generally straight forward . Thanks to BD and Virgilius **/****

  18. Just as a final comment (I’ve escaped from the naughty corner) 14d has been driving me mad all day. When something is driving me mad I usually drive everyone around me mad too! Unfortunately for husband he’s the only one (apart from collie and cat) here today – oh dear – poor husband!
    14d is not in my BRB – admittedly it’s the 11th edition – and it’s not under preach either. Husband eventually gave in and looked in his iPhone where he has the newest edition – there it is although it does say US expression. Now I’ll shut up . . . .

    1. Yes, I think it is a US expression as I’ve only heard it here, but I like it and think it hits the spot.

      1. I wasn’t aware it had originated here, but if so it’s one of the many that has ‘gone global’ so it’s fair game in a crossword, I’d say.

  19. Re the American expression in 14d, I think we say ‘Preaching to the converted’

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