ST 2771 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2771 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2771 (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    Person helping parents out, whose charges are small (4-6)
A cryptic definition of someone who looks after small children (charges) while their parents are out

9a    Descent taking long time on rope (7)
To get this descent or ancestry, a long period of time is preceded by (on in an across clue) a rope

10a    Sheets put on piano for musicians (7)
Some sheets or strata preceded by (once again on in an across clue) P(iano)

14a    Where last flight goes? Area that’s part of Greece (6)
The room at the top of a house that is reached by the last flight of stairs followed by A(rea)

17a    Before a contest, amateur is slacker (8)
The A from the clue and a contest in, say, boxing preceded by a three-letter word meaning amateur

22a    Having a major role in stealing valuable stuff from church (6,3,4)
This could mean stealing valuable stuff from the roof of a church

26a    Middle of historic game in East African country (4)
Deliberate misdirection here – the middle two letter of [his[TO[ric] followed by a game that came originally from the Orient (East) gives this West African country

27a    Absurdly old, a suitor not operating in good faith? (10)
An anagram (absurdly) of OLD A SUITOR


1d    Epitome of soundness or beauty, say (4)
The metaphoric epitome of soundness sounds like a beautiful young lady

2d    It supports complaint about new type of welfare (7)
IT preceded by a complaint or moan around N(ew)

3d    Track Conservative support around popular would-be ministers (6,7)
A verb meaning to track or follow then C(onservative) and a verb meaning to support or assist around a two-letter word meaning popular

4d    With little time left, Germany finally score (6)
T(ime) followed by a verb meaning left or departed and the final letter of [German]Y

5d    Performer I put under pressure in next upset (8)
The full expansion of the Roman numeral I under P(ressure) all inside an anagram (upset) of NEXT

11d    Notice conclusions of judge for court, given careful consideration outside (13)
The final letters () of [judg]E [fo]R and [cour]T inside some careful consideration or counsel

16d    Medium spoke, produced speech hard to follow (8)
M(edium) followed by a verb meaning spoke

23d    Line taken from almost endless prophetic book (4)
An answer that is hidden in plain sight – drop L(ine) from A[L]MOS[T] without its final letter (endless)

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Zoe Ball (44) and Sue Nicholls (71)

36 comments on “ST 2771 (Hints)

  1. My rating today is 2*/4* for yet another in a very long line of superb Sunday puzzles. The interlinked 1d & 9a were my last two in. It’s a relief to see that the ST have come to their senses after one week and have reinstated the puzzles as a separate supplement, which is now only slightly buried rather than being completely hidden in the TV section.

    As ever on a Sunday, my page is littered with asterisks with 9a, 14a, 22a, 4d & (of course for me!) 18d deserving extra special mentions.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  2. This is going to be another day when I think I’m the first to comment and by the time I’ve finished writing it several others will have sneaked in before me.
    I thought this was a very straightforward crossword – lovely, as usual, but still straightforward.
    For no obvious reason my last answer was 27a. For obvious reasons my second to last answer was 21d. Oh dear!
    I was slightly fooled by 10a – spent a bit of time trying to make the answer a specific musician.
    I was also held up by 17a – couldn’t read my own writing and thought it began with a different letter. Stupid!
    I liked 9 and 22a and 4 and 18d. My favourite was 7d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.
    Cold and wet in Oxford – might light fire soon . . .

    1. Thank you Kath for answering my query about the BRB! I am greatly tempted to get the proper book as opposed to download it in spite of its weight – perhaps it is available in paperback…

      1. The latest edition has accidentally dropped several words (he one’s that were highlighted in the previous edition). It is rumoured that there will soon be a revision.

  3. I agree with Kath, straight forward, and fun.I particularly liked 13d ,22a , 24a and 23d.ThanksVirgilius and BD.

  4. Thank you BD for the hint on 26a. I got the correct answer but with a big question mark to check as I just thought it was a typo. Otherwise very enjoyable.

  5. 26a – I was going to complain – it’s not in East Africa!

    Thanks to BD for the explanation. Very clever!

  6. Dull dark and drippy in Dorset too.
    I had the second word of 1a wrong which held it up slightly but 2*/4* even so.
    I always look forward to the Sunday puzzle – good fun and very consistent high quality.
    Thank you to Virgilius and to BD.

  7. 2*/3.5* or so. A nice way to spend a bit of a Sunday afternoon, despite the distractions offered by Messrs Federer and Hamilton. My long-time favourite was 14a, but 26a gets the nod because of the clever bit of misdirection. Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints (albeit not needed on this occasion).

  8. Great offering from Virgilius again, for which many thanks. Many smilers, but some like 22a, 4d and 7d deserve honourable mention. Thank you BD for the review, not needed but always fun to read.

  9. Good fun as always. Thanks Virgilius & BD please keep the weekend hints coming. How else could we enthuse over Virgilius’s puzzle?

  10. Straightforward but enjoyable. In 16d I thought wordplay and definition were similar.

    Many thanks setter & BD

  11. Good fun for a miserable Sunday (from a weather point of view) – it’s been all go trying to keep on top of the two Rugby games, the two Football games and do the Crossword at the same time – phew!

    Onward and upward!

  12. **/**** for the usual Sunday excellence from Virgilius for which thanks are in order. Thanks also to BD.

  13. We managed to finish before the hints appeared which was very good for us. It was an enjoyable puzzle with lots of good clues and good hints if needed so thank you BD and the setter.

  14. Another great Sunday crossword. I seem to be better at weekends than weekdays at the moment. Must be a time and pressure thing.
    Thx to all.

  15. Good enjoyable fare today. 4d made me smile. Needed BD’s explanation to understand 14a. Favourite clue is 19a

    Thank you Virgillius and BD

    Trying to persuade myself to get on the train and head for London but I just don’t want to

  16. Another lovely puzzle, many thanks Virgilius. I certainly needed your hint for 26a BD. My map seemed to be telling me something different to the clue. So many thanks as usual.

  17. Straightforward solve today!

    Faves : 1a, 14a, 27a, 3d, 11d & 13d.

    Weather here in NL still good but rather colder – the woods across the street are beautifully golden and the street is laden with shedded leaves – I expect the gemeente will start clearing them up next week.

    1. Gemeente = Council or in Germany Gemeinde. I solve the DT crosswords to keep my English up-to-date – I have lived on this side of the North Sea for such a long time and I don’t travel any more.

      1. I am all admiration that you do a cryptic in your second language. You must be pretty brilliant. Good for you.

  18. Another enjoyable puzzle and rewarding solve this morning. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review.

  19. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle to brighten up a horrible rainy day. Got rainwater coming through the ceiling. Was a bit tricky in places, but I got there in the end. Had the wrong second word in for 1a for a while, but realised my error. Favourite was 18d. Was 3*/4* for me. Must contact the roofer tomorrow.

  20. A nice straightforward puzzle which was mot enjoyable to complete. Got 26a right but needed BD’s hint to explain my answer. 5d was my last one in. my favourites were 7d and 22a. 2*/4* for me. Another beautiful warm day here in Hyères. Are we really at the end of November? Many thanks to the setter and BD for the review.

    1. You’re right about the weather. People on the beach at this time of year. We will pay for it somehow. Just not natural.

  21. I thought this was a rather middle-of-the-road offering from Virgilius with no really outstanding clues. Managed without hints but enjoyed reading them afterwards. Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  22. A bit bloomin’ quiet here today if you ask me – where are you all? I don’t remember a day with so few comments – come on everyone – wake up. OK I get it – you’ve all looked at the weather forecast, seen that it’s going to get chilly and gone into hibernation . . .

  23. A good start and then I needed google etc to finish before BD’s hints. Thank you for explaining BD. I liked 14a and 22a. The puppies screw up their eyes and refuse to go out in the rain and retreat to the Aga. I wonder how they will react to snow. Thanks too to the setter.

  24. With no spare time on a Sunday, this has now become my Monday puzzle!
    Many thanks to Virgilius for a nice start to my week, and to BD for the hints.

  25. I enjoyed this puzzle, good early Monday morning entertainment, oi’ll give it ****/*****.
    Don’t much like 18D and struggled with 26A until the little light bulb clicked on reminding me of a game owned by my late M-I-L.
    Up above I see references to the setter -/\ How do you know who it is? Not important, just interested.
    IIRC DT setters were, years ago, mentioned by name.
    First time I’ve stumbled across your site BD and I thank you. In all likelihood I shall become a regular visitor.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Tobes. I hope that you will become a regular visitor.
      If you look at the FAQ there’s information on how we (sometimes) know who the setter is.

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