ST 2773 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2773 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2773 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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There’s a new Monthly Prize Puzzle available right now!

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    Release articles in French about hostile takeover (8)
The indefinite and the definite French articles around a hostile takeover

11a    Criminal behaviour from musicians I hear (8)
A charade of a group of musicians, the I from the clue and a verb meaning to hear a case in court

12a    Cheating in first of down clues — so boring must be changed (6-8)
An anagram (must be changed) of the initial letter (first) of D[own] with CLUES SO BORING

15a    Piece of reading material that’s found on plane, for example (4)
This could be found on, for example, a plane tree

19a    Catch  leader of pirates (4)
Two definitions

20a    Cherished quality about one child, initially, showing early development (14)
A cherished quality around the initial letters of O[ne] C[hild]

27a    Set eyes on, now and then, playground equipment (6)
The present and past tenses of a verb meaning to set eyes on

28a    Militant has view restricted after start of play (8)
Most of (restricted) a view or scene after the first part (start) of a play (3,1)


1d    Data belonging to part of UK turned up (4)
A two-letter word meaning belonging to and the abbreviation for a part of the UK, all reversed (turned up)

3d    Basil, for example, in Sybil’s heart? (4)
Split as (3,1) this could describe what is at the centre (heart) of SyBil

6d    Showing how old we are in company, you and me — that’s brave (10)
A phrase that shows how old we are (3,3) inside CO(mpany) and a pronoun meaning you and me

8d    French scientist‘s gone over street there, heading North (7)
An adjective meaning gone followed by (over in a down clue) the reversal (heading North in a down clue) of the French for street

16d    Best at running exam — left in charge over it (8)
An exam preceded by (over it in a down clue) L(eft) inside a charge firs

18d    Garment repeatedly found in knitting patterns (7)
Although I have seen variations on this before, it still makes me smile! – what can be found in both (repeatedly) kniTTing and paTTerns (6,1)

22d    Person from that place not knowing about end of conflict (6)
An adjective meaning not knowing or immature around the final letter (end) of [conflict]T

26d    Not easy without drink consumed? That’s curious (4)
Drop (consumed) the drink from the middle of the first two words in the clue


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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Luke Donald (37) and Sue Johnston (71)
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34 comments on “ST 2773 (Hints)

  1. Thoroughly enjoyable solve that I found to be a bit trickier than the last few Sundays’. Thanks to Virgilius and BD for explaining the mechanics of 3d and 18d for which the answers were obvious but not so the parsing! 2.5*/4*

  2. So a fair enough mental work out for me – not too hard not too easy. I, of course, found 21d interesting as it is the first reference to the country in which I live that I have seen – usually have to struggle a bit with very British references!

    I did have to scratch my head for quite a while to understand 15a, which was my last entry, but when I finally grasped it, I thought it was a very good clue.

    2.5*/4* I would say.

  3. Unlike Jon , above, I found this one quite a bit easier than usual.Who knows why ? Mood ? time of day ?Anyway, it was fun while it lasted. Thanks V and BD.

  4. Same old, same old – absolutely brilliant!

    2*/4* for another really enjoyable Sunday puzzle. The wordplay for 6d took a bit of unravelling, although with hindsight I wonder why, and 15a was my last one in.

    I could pick about 20 favourites but I wouldn’t get away with that, so I’ll settle for 18d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  5. A lovely bit of light relief from all the pre-Christmas stuff that I really ought to be doing.
    I didn’t have too much trouble apart from trying to untangle 20a and 6d.
    Spent a little while trying to make 11a a homonym of something before I realised what it was and why.
    I thought that 18 and 26d were very Virgilius’ish clues – they’re the kind that would have stumped me in pre-blog days.
    The clue for 13d reminded me of something that happened to husband driving in France a few years ago – don’t ask!!
    I liked 10 and 19a and 2 and 18d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD
    Back to Christmas things now . . .

          1. A VERY long story – husband ended up seeing it the way that les gendarmes did! They didn’t really give him much choice – very expensive! Had I been with him it wouldn’t have happened – I’d have been saying “Slow down, George, it doesn’t start until 7.20 . . . ” or something similar . . .

            1. I can see that was a very appropriate clue for you!

              And it goes to show that we men always need a good woman to keep us in line, although I wouldn’t admit that to Mrs RD.

  6. Really enjoyed this one. I found 3d a bit tricky to understand why the answer should be what it is but twigged it eventually. My favourites were 27a,28a 18d,21d and 26d. Well done compiler and thanks BD

  7. Well I had to give in eventually, with 15a unsolved.

    Once I saw the clue on here and realised that I had 16d incorrect, it wasn’t really that surprising though.

      1. Thanks Hilary,

        Work took over and sent me to London for a couple of days, I did have the crossword with me on Friday for the train, and from memory fell about three short (though I did get some unexpected help when stood on the central line in the afternoon and couldn’t help but notice an answer on someone else’s paper).

        The less said about Thrusday the better, though I usually do them online so I haven’t given up yet… day off tomorrow to catch up.

  8. Only my third go at Sunday crossword and have managed to struggle through, thought at beginning would be heading for cupboard under stairs but something clicked and finished it off after lunch. Thanks to setter and BD for a most enjoyable interlude.

  9. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A super puzzle as usual. I managed it ok, but just needed the hints to parse 18d, very clever. Favourite was 27a. Last in was 20a, because I couldn’t spell it without all the checkers.
    Was 2*/4* for me.

  10. I too had problems with 15a and 16d. I really enjoyed the puzzle and found it much harder than the last couple of weeks. I liked 27a and 18d. Thank you BD and the setter.

  11. This was really an outstanding puzzle; just tricky enough to keep me busy for a little while, and those lovely “aaaaaah” moments when I got them. I loved it all, but I agree with BD, 18d was special and is my fave, honourable mention to 3d.
    Thanks to Virgilius, you never let us down, and to BD for the review.

  12. A bit too hard for me today with a good many left unsolved. 18d had me slapping my head and going all Homer Simpson when I looked at the hint provided!

  13. Great puzzle, thank you Virgilius. Enjoyable as always. Every clue is a favourite. Thanks BD for the hints.

  14. 18 down is a really good clue as others have said. We thought we would have to wait for the hints to appear, but persevered, and finished it, more or less.Thank you to the Sunday setter and to BD.

  15. I did this one in the wee hours after a not inconsiderable amount of wine. That time and state seems to produce my best performance, and everything just fitted nicely and very satisfyingly into place. Loved it, and agree with all the others who chose 18d as favourite Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  16. **/****. Good fun on a wet Sunday morning. Some very amusing clues when the penny dropped. Thanks to BD for the (unneeded) review and the setter for an enjoyable start to the day.

  17. hints most appreciated

    presumably Virgilius mentioned above is the setter but cannot see how one can tell that-have had a look around this site to find out

    1. There is a tab at the top called FAQ – As BD says if you are asking a question, check there first. Scroll down past all the helpful bits and you will come to a bit which tells you all about the setters.

  18. Very enjoyable crossword but quite tough I thought.
    Only real problem is trying to parse the clue for 9a. The answer I have fits the first half of the clue but I can’t make out what the second half is all about.
    Thx to all

    1. Brian – if I can get this one anyone can. In case that’s not enough of a hint the crucial bit is the fourth word in the clue.

  19. Quite gentle but lots of fun: 2*/4* for me. 18d was my pick of the clues. My thanks to the setter, and to BD for the hints (not needed on this occasion).

  20. So, A.G Brown, instead of leaving a completely anodyne and inane comment, give us the depth of your experience as to what you thought of this superb puzzle and the reasons for your opinion.

    Or is that too much for you?

    1. You, Tilsit, have to be the master of the put down. I have never laughed so much, thanks for the levity! Wonder if he will reply!

  21. Ooh, a very rare Sunday where the puzzle for me was almost a write-in! I will now suffer for the rest of the week having said that….
    18d maybe was my fave.
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD for the revue.
    C’mon A G Brown, what’s it all about?

  22. very enjoyable thank you setter. Thanks BD for the hint for 2d although didn’t like it when I got it. I was trying to find something much more complicated to justify my answer. 28a was probably my favourite. The two long ones across the middle took me far too long to get in. Due to my haphazard solving – no set pattern I sometimes find a write in after hours of poring. On this occasion it was 26d which I had completely overlookedbut which helped me with 28a. I often do not do Sundays’ but have now done two running and enjoyed both.

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