ST 2779 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2779 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2779 (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    Perform vocally in angry speech, having a quarrel (8,6)
A verb meaning to perform vocally inside angry speech (5,5)

10a    Bunk made from European wood (two sorts) (7)
Bunk or nonsense comes from a charade of E(uropean) and two sorts of wood

12a    Solution for someone with bit between their teeth? (6,5)
… use this to dislodge it!

17a    Samuel’s teacher summoned and brought out (8)
The priest who acted as a teacher to the prophet Samuel followed by a verb meaning summoned or named

22a    For example, test maiden and a powerful male forming a relationship (11)
A test is an example of this type of cricket game – follow it with M(aiden), the A from the clue and a powerful male

23a    Either cold meat or fish, mostly, for tea (3)
Most of C(old) followed by some meat or, alternatively, most of a type of fish

26a    Used a perch I consumed to fill up (7)
A verb meaning used a perch followed by I and a verb meaning consumed

27a    Rival of Aer Lingus that could make Irish a bit wary, heading south (7,7)
An anagram (could make) of IRISH A BIT WARY followed by S(outh) as a heading / bearing


1d    Have buyer’s remorse, say, getting money back on wrong denims (6,4,4)
The money you get back after tendering a larger amount when paying for something followed by ON and an anagram (wrong) of DENIMS

2d    Set up company on time, and work for influential organisation (7)
The reversal (set up in a down clue) of CO(mpany) followed by T(ime) and a musical work gives an organization with widespread influence

3d    Unfriendly resistance put up by school? (11)
Split as (5,2,4) this could be the resistance or defiance put up by a school or shoal

4d    Making an observation – husband’s not in love (6)
Simply drop the H(usband) from a word meaning love or zero

6d    Product of mine often found in foreign stores – for euros, moreover (3)
A signature Virgilius clue – this product produced from a mine is hidden inside the clue not once, not twice, not even three times

8d    Piece of furniture and part of trunk belonging to some artists (5,2,7)
Part of the trunk or torso that could below to some artists or sketchers

18d    Result of counting from one to e.g. ten, perhaps? Right (7)
I (one) followed by an anagram (perhaps) of E.G. TEN and finally R(ight)

20d    With perfect exactness, including copy with a piece of music (7)
A phrase meaning with perfect exactness (2,1,1) around an indication that the message is a copy of one sent to someone else and followed by the A from the clue

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25d    Capsized sailor that gets out of stricken vessel (3)
The reversal (capsized) of a sailor gives the creature that is noted for abandoning a stricken vessel

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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.

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or deleted.

Today it’s Happy Birthday to Kevin Costner (60) and Bobby Goldsboro (74)
Kevin Costner ARVE Error: need id and provider
…. and a special mention for our very own Derek who is 91 today


56 comments on “ST 2779 (Hints)

  1. Perfect Sunday morning exercise with enough challenge to make it interesting. Many thanks Mr. Ron and BD particularly for the musical hint to 20d which never ceases to stir. Several sources of amusement including 12a. **/***.

  2. Splendid as ever. especially the wonderful 6d.

    Thanks to Virgiliusand BD too.

    Many happy returns to Derek.

  3. Wow, much less difficult than the previous ones of late. A read and write, but some very clever clues. Really enjoyed this puzzle – excellent.

    I am coming to really look forward to Vergilius’ puzzles.
    Thanks to setter and BD.

    1*/5* is my rating.

  4. I have never up till now regarded 2d as anything other than what it appears to be,( I thought better of being more specific).27a is very clever , but to me anyway , hardly cryptic at all, though a certain Mr O’Leary would disagree with the solution.Lots and lots of great clues, 10a, 7d, 25d. Thanks Virgilius and BD.
    Happy Birthday , Derek !

  5. Thank you Virgilius, another lovely puzzle which I enjoyed very much. I was hoping you might go for Widor at 20d BD. I remember from my school days that almost the entire congregation stayed behind when our Head of Music – also the chapel organist – played this as a voluntary after morning service. Thanks for the hints – the Bach was fine !

  6. Harder than yesterday’s for us but still enjoyable, though we were glad to have some help from the hints. I too have never heard of 2 down being anything other than what it appears to be either, Una. Now on to the GK crossword. Thank you to the Sunday setter and to BD.

  7. Really enjoyed this weekend puzzles! No problem with today’s. Lots of great clues with 12a as my favourite. 1.5*/4* for me. Many thanks to Virgilius and BD for the review. Hope everybody is having a great weekend. Just had our granddaugter for a sleepover. Have not got her on to crosswords as yet – she is only 7 but she can do an easy Sudoku!

  8. What a lovely Sunday crossword.
    I thought that apart from a few clues it was fairly straightforward.
    There seemed to be quite a lot of anagrams for a Sunday.
    I found all seven hidden answers!
    I still can’t quite work out what the fish is in 23a but never mind.
    Didn’t know this meaning of 2d.
    10a and 16d were my last two answers and although I looked at the answer to 3d for ages I needed the hint for the ‘why’ bit of it. Dim!!
    My favourite was 12a because it made me laugh.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

      1. The Big Red Box tells you not to give explicit hints, answers or in your case almost answers.

          1. I toyed with putting an :oops: instead of xxxxxx but then I thought it would look like Roger was telling Kath she’d done something wrong.

            Perhaps we need a new emoticon for when we have to cover up an offence against the rules laid down in the Big Red Box.

            1. I thought I had but wasn’t quite sure what! That’s what happens when you work somewhere for as long as I did when the catch phrase was “If in doubt blame Kath!”

  9. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. Another brilliant puzzle from Virgilius. Must be my favourite setter. Last in was 16d. Favourite was 23a, fantastic clue. Was 2*/4* for me.

  10. Splendid stuff as usual on a Sunday. */**** from us. 6d is excellent but our favourite was 21d.

    Never heard of the fish in 23a but the answer was clear from the meat.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

      1. I know the one Roger mentioned but I took the clue to be C(old) followed by a meat or a fish mostly. There is a fish which fits the bill and it’s that one I’d never come across.

        1. Either fish would work – I wonder which one Virgilius was thinking of? He won’t be able to tell us until Thursday 29th by which time we’ll all have forgotten all about it.

        2. I took it to be either (cold meat) or (fish) mostly, with the mostly applying to both but only the meat being cold.

        3. The clue definitely reads either (cold meat) or (fish) – either cold (meat or fish) is grammatically (and mathematically) unsound, it would have to be either (cold meat) or (cold fish).

  11. The Sunday standard is maintained with this puzzle.Not a lot of humour today. Not familiar with 2d being use as per clue. My rating is 2*/3.5* Thanks to BD and best wishes to Derek.

    1. I think it was Prolixic who first introduced me to this meaning of 2d and, fortunately, I’ve never forgotten it.

      1. Have you ever heard it used in common parlance or in the media? I haven’t but will be keeping my ears open from now on. Enjoy your Sunday.

        1. I’ve never heard the word “parlance” used in common parlance, but I wouldn’t complain about its appearance in a crossword.

    2. Many thanks for your greetings Graham – I am on my Jim Jones today as the family left at 4AM to fly to GB to visit my son-in-law’s parents for a few days.

      Weather here is dampish but a cold spell is forecast!

  12. Great way to spend Sunday afternoon.
    This is one of the most interesting puzzle for a while. Well in my opinion anyway.
    I liked 2d and 3d particularly and 8d was the kind of word or words that I learned to write correctly quite late in my English education as it never seems to be pronounced in the way it is written.
    The only quibble I have is 27a. I think virgin would have been more appropriate than Aer Lingus.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  13. Very enjoyable and a credit to the setter. The embedded solutions were top notch. Thanks to the setter for a nice challenge and to BD for the review. We have very strong winds and torrential rain this morning so I’m going to be removing debris from the roof again.

  14. No great problems today, just a very enjoyable Sunday morning over breakfast.
    I am sure that CS will be pleased to know that the two which I could not fully parse yielded to my further investigation so I will not be asking for explanations today
    Thx to all

  15. Only Virgilius would go the extra mile for a three-letter answer as he did with 6d. That to me is what sets him apart even on his easier days like today. 1*/4*

  16. A very pleasant Sunday puzzle as usual from the maestro!

    Aside from the four external 14-letter jobs, I liked 12a, 22a, 23a, 2d, 16d & 20d.

    My family and friends and I celebrated my birthday anniversary yesterday at a restaurant in Leiden (Leyden) on the Oude Rijn where the food is good but the service is interminably slow – we arrived at 19.00hrs and left about 20min. before midnight! They still serve cuisine nouvelle which most establishments abandoned years ago.

    1. Very Happy Birthday, Derek. You’re only a spring chicken compared to the lady who died last week in England who was 114 I believe, so many more Happy Birthdays to you.

  17. I am not complaining about its use in the crossword, on the contrary I have learned something. The point I am making is I have not heard the word used in that sense in everyday conversation nor in the media or in recondite or esoteric situations.

  18. Great puzzle, as usual, from Virgilius. Thank you sir for the enjoyment. Fave 6d.
    Thank you BD for the review. You didn’t hint the one I missed, 16d, it’s probably too easy for a hint.
    Many happy returns, Derek, and many, many more.

    1. It was on the short list, but didn’t make it to the review.

      16d Around area, shows signs of radioactive emissions (4,4)
      Around A(rea) put a verm verb meaning shows or discloses to get these signs of radioactive emissions

  19. 1.5*/4* for another excellent Sunday puzzle, with 6d my favourite. My only difficulty, in common it seems with many others, was in understanding the influential organisation bit of 2d.

    We seem to be having quite a glut of chess related clues at the moment.

    Many thanks to Virgillius and to BD.

  20. Enjoyed this muchly was I was lazing about in luxury having breakfast made for me This is what Sundays are all about! It was done by the time the tray arrived, so it must be a bit easier than usual. Lots of great clues, but not one in particular that stands out, although we did like 6d and loved the definition in 21d. We are with those of you who hadn’t heard of 2d in that sense before.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and BD, and many happy returns to Derek :).

    1. Thanks for the greetings Kitty!

      I am an afternoon Xword solver as I usually print the grid and clues out after noon European time.

  21. A very enjoyable puzzle, not difficult but clever and satisfying: 1*/4*. 21d made me smile, so gets my vote. Thanks to the setter, and to Big Dave for the hints.

  22. Very enjoyable, and yet another great puzzle on a Sunday. Thanks very much to Virgilius and BD.

  23. i tend to do the weekend crosswords on my iPad so its easier to submit them for a prize, not that i have ever been so lucky. Actually, i would prize a telegraph pen above a £50 amazon voucher, but after 20 years of cutting out puzzles and sending them away in a stamped envelope without any success i gave it up as economically unfeasible. Point is, i don’t capture my favourite clues as easily on the iPad as i do in the paper, where i just tick the clues I like. but i did enjoy today’s puzzle.

    So, looking at the iPad – I thought the grid looked familiar (same as yesterday?). 10a (two kinds of wood) looked familiar too. I liked 21d (rest of the day). Basically this was an enjoyable puzzle, not over-challenging, which i kinda like.

    Many thanks setter and BD

  24. 24 hours later I finally achieved completion…. My last one in was the musical piece which I had a complete blind spot on; yes, I know it was one of BD’s hints but where is the fun in that? A fine puzzle from Virgilius and very satisfying to finish. Favourite clue was 10a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD for his hints.
    By hook or by crook I’ll be last in….

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