ST 2759 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2759 (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:


1a    Wrongly interprets unusual smartness in dud (14)
An anagram (unusual) of SMARTNESS IN DUD

11a    Assistant‘s back-to-front idea? (4)
Move the final (back) letter of IDEA to the front

14a    Excitement is missing in this stream (6)
Drop (missing) IS from TH[IS] and add a small stream

15a    Disturbed area sealed off by barriers protecting it (8)
A(rea) and an adjective meaning sealed off by barriers, like some private roads, around (protecting) IT

17a    After power’s achieved, gave speech as minister (8)
P(ower) followed by a verb meaning achieved or attained gives a verb meaning gave a speech as a minister of the church

21a    Supporter I reprimanded settled a bill (10)
A limb used for support followed by the I from the clue and a verb meaning reprimanded or criticized gives a verb meaning settled or enacted a Parliamentary bill

24a    Met nine or ten men I represented as famous (7)
… two lots of anagram fodder for the price of one!

25a    Person who breaks  dish (7)
Two definitions – someone who breaks, say, dishes and a dish or beautiful girl

26a    Bold lad, one who beats aggressive dog? (14)
A charade of someone who beats or lashes another and an aggressive dog


1d    Male, I admit, who travels to work (7)
M(ale) followed by I and a verb meaning to admit or allow

2d    Darned slang, this? Wrong (8,7)
This all-in-one clue defines an anagram (wrong) of DARNED SLANG THIS

3d    Move cautiously North-West? On the contrary (4)
Split as (2,2) this says the opposite of North-West

4d    Station our wartime allies in old school (6)
To get this London station put our main wartime allies inside an old-established public school

7d    Artistic skill seen in piece on board vessel (15)
A piece used in a board game followed by a vessel

13d    Boycotts Dickensian villain as disgrace to family (5,5)
A verb meaning boycotts followed by a ‘umble Dickensian villain

19d    Second person in audience who removes woollen coat? (7)
S(econd) followed by a person in the audience gives someone who removes the woollen coat from 13 down!

23d    Festivity a person with convictions set up (4)
The A from the clue and a slang term for a person with criminal convictions, all reversed (set up in a down clue)

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Richard Gere (65) and Van Morrison (69)


  1. Graham Wall
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Another excellent Sunday offering which was most enjoyable and I completed before publication of the blog. My favourite was 12A Last one in was 20D which seemed to take forever to get then I realised it was staring me in the face all the time. My rating is 2.5*/4* My thanks to Big Dave for the review.

  2. Hrothgar
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Rather unchallenging, though nice to meet many old friends, especially those with more than ten letters to their names.
    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  3. Rabbit Dave
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    2*/4* for a very entertaining Sunday puzzle. I thought all the clues were excellent., but I particularly liked 2d, 3d & 13d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  4. JonP
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    On the easier side for a Sunday I thought, but enjoyable nonetheless. Thanks to Virgilius and BD **/***

  5. Heno
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, a bit on the gentle side. Only difficulty was 22a, I have an answer, but I’m not sure if it’s right. A hint would be much appreciated. Favourite was 24a. Was 2*/3* for me.

    • Heno
      Posted August 31, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Gnome’s Law, got 22a now

  6. Franco
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Far too easy … IMHO … not much of a Sunday Morning challenge.

  7. Brian
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable puzzle well-crafted . It asked a few questions but gave you some questions to get you started. Best clue for us was 24a, clever double anagram.
    Many Thx to the setter and to BD of course even if for once the hints were not needed

  8. Rick
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    A very gentle offering this week. The top half was virtually a write-in and the bottom did not put up much more of a fight, so 1.5 on the difficulty-ometer. I too like the ‘take your pick’ anagrams in 24a and got half a smile from 26a.

  9. SheilaP
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable Sunday puzzle, too easy for some but not for us. Like lots of long words. Thank you to the setter and to BD.

  10. Ally
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I liked having the long words to get going. I particularly liked 2d and 13 down. Thanks BD and the setter.

  11. Owdoo
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Had a late night last night and did it before lights out. There were plenty of smiles even if it was rather straight forwards. Thanks setter and BD. 1*/3*
    I remember being called a young 26a quite a few times in my youth!

  12. Una
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle, although I am stuck on 20d, so

    • Kath
      Posted August 31, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      I should think you’ve been reading this blog for long enough to know the kind of clue that I always miss – it’s one of those!

      • Una
        Posted August 31, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        Ta (and given that red box thing, very brave).

        • Kath
          Posted August 31, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          So far so good – either BD hasn’t noticed it yet or it’s OK. I can’t really see why it shouldn’t be OK . . .

  13. Kitty
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Lovely Sunday stuff as usual. I started off nice and quickly, then found a fair few clues that took a little chewing over… but they were toffee-chewy rather than gristle-chewy, and dissolved sweetly after a little mastication :). Too many great clues to pick a favourite. Thanks to BD and Virgilius, and smiles for everyone!

  14. jean-luc cheval
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Never read the Sunday telegraph. Can’t get it down here anyway. But just like to apologize to Big Dave for yesterday post. Hope I made you smile though. With all the work you put in, sorry to be such a pain.

  15. Kath
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    The usual lovely Sunday crossword.
    Unlike others I started very slowly and only managed a few of the across answers on first read through.
    Then got onto the down clues and everything more or less sorted itself out.
    22a was my last one in – I assumed it was cricket and had more or less given up but finally saw it.
    I took a while to understand the first bit of 10a – don’t know why.
    I liked 12 and 24a and 3d. My favourite was either 26a or 13d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD.
    It’s a lovely day in Oxford – I hope it’s nice for the rest of you. Maybe that’s why it’s quiet here today.

    • Merusa
      Posted August 31, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      22a took me a long time as well!

  16. Rachel
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Phew, not so tricky today – I love anagrams. But I’m stuck on 18a – I can’t make it fit with what I have for 6d ??

    Lovely weather here by the sea – when I’ve finished this one I’ll make my mother (88 years old) read out the clues for the GK, and write in the answers. It’ll keep her brain active, I hope.

  17. Dutch
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    What I really liked here is that a number of clues used normal cryptic indicators in unexpected ways, even as the definition. That really raised the enjoyment for me.

    my favourite clues include the double anagram 24a, 14a, definitely the 2d all-in-one, and 8d (as just one exemplifier of my first sentence)

    Many thanks setter and Big Dave for review

  18. Magmull
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    The quick, as usual has given me a load of head scratching, but finally got there bar the Scorsese film and Bond villain – 11 and 23 across. I’m not up in popular culture, I’m afraid, but what is really bugging me is the cryptic. Enjoyed it all, but am completely stuck on 18 across. I have a word (Yiddish apparently) which fits the grid, but I can’t get it to agree with the letters I have, and can’t believe are wrong! Any hints most gratefully received so that I can get on with my life!

    • Rick
      Posted August 31, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Difficult to help without banishment to bad boys’ corner but it’s definitely not Yiddish! The first word is what you are looking for. Hope that helps (and Rachel).

    • stanXYZ
      Posted August 31, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      18a – Im surprised you are stuck … I thought it was fairly elementary!

      • Magmull
        Posted August 31, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Oh brillo. You’ve made a little old lady very happy. Can’t think why I was quite so thick. Many thanks

    • Posted August 31, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      18a Detective maiden’s needed in difficult situations (6)

      A very famous fictional detective is created by inserting M(aiden) inside some difficult situations.

      The Scorsese film is a remake of a (superior in my opinion, I have both versions on DVD) 1962 film which was wonderfully parodied by The Simpsons.

      The Bond villain is one of the most famous of all the villains.

      • Rachel
        Posted August 31, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Thank you BD and Rick – how stupid can I get? THAT detective!! Have a great week y’all.

  19. Sweet William
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Another most enjoyable puzzle thank you Virgilius. Perhaps not the hardest, but always good fun. Thanks BD for your hints, which are always helpful for checking wordplay.

  20. Merusa
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    As usual, super Sunday puzzle … and not, for me anyway, a write in. I never did get 18a (thanks for hints above) and was sure it was someone on TV. How dim can one get? Loved quite a few, fave was 13d, with honourable mention to 26a, 7d and 19d. I had one question, 15a uses “barriers” as plural, and that made me think my answer for 15a should have ended in “s”. That held me up for a bit. Not to worry, all sorted in the end. Thanks to Virgilius for the enjoyment and BD for the review and help with 18a.

  21. Bob Collins
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I must be really thick . 22 a is eluding me. I can only think of the middle leg joint, but that doesn’t,t work.. Can you give me a clue?

    • Rick
      Posted August 31, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      It does if you look a little harder. Again rules is rules but you will find it in the end!

    • Merusa
      Posted August 31, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      The clue says: back in the side, ultimately… Etc.

    • Derek
      Posted August 31, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Hi BC!
      Read the fifth word of the clue!

  22. Derek
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Straightforward solve today!

    Faves : 18a, 3d & 13d.

    Mixed bag of weather today here in NL- some sunny periods and a few showers.

  23. Mel Goodman
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Fairly straightforward, needed to clarify one answer. Lover the pic of the tennis girl.

  24. Gwizz
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Was that really a Sunday crossword? It has been a long time since there was one so gentle!
    Good fun regardless. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  25. Salty Dog
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    First crossword for the best part of a week (hence my non-appearance on this blog). This one was pleasant, but unchallenging. No particular favourite clue, but thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints.

  26. Catnap
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Sowly catching up, having been off-line all last weekend.

    Thought this less difficult than some of Virgilius’s puzzles, but none the less enjoyable for that. Plenty of lovely clues, including 18a, 24a, 26a, 3d, 13d, and 23d.

    Didn’t need any hints, but have much appreciated having them. (So far, so good. No doubt the full review will, in due course, reveal something I may have done incorrectly… )

    Grateful thanks to Virgilius and Big Dave.

    Don’t know what I’d do without crossword puzzles and this wonderful Big Dave’s Crossword Blog!