ST 2784 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2784 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2784 (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    Clubs pursuing goal for victory (8)
A charade of C(lubs) and a phrase meaning pursuing a goal (2,5)

10a    Something got from parent for boy — or girl, we hear (4)
This a unit of heredity which is transferred from a parent to offspring is also a boy’s name, and sounds like a girl’s name

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a    Cautious piano duo (6-6)
A word which describes the musical notation piano is repeated (duo)

13a    Cooked very badly, needing something done about it (8)
V(ery) and an adverb meaning badly or not well inside (needing … about it) an action or something that is done

16a    Design tool or material for carpenter, mostly (4)
A design is derived from most of a tool that might be used by a carpenter or some material that might be used by a carpenter

20a    Ring pulled back and forth (6)
The letter that is shaped like a ring followed by the reversal (back) of a word meaning pulled

27a    Messenger carrying extreme letter from tyrant for king’s follower (8)
A messenger around (carrying) the final (extreme) letter of [tyran]T

28a    Commanding attention with small spear or missile (8)
S(mall) followed by a spear or a controversial ballistic missile


2d    Exaggerate merits of love poetry, two lines (8)
O (love) followed by some poetry and two L(ine)s

3d    Expression of uncertainty using odd quotes in religious book (8,4)
An anagram (odd) of QUOTES IN followed by a religious book of the New Testament

6d    Express oneself badly as single female covering summit (8)
A single female, as opposed to a married one, followed by (covering in a down clue) a summit

12d    Female isn’t passionate about king that’s timid (5-7)
F(emale) followed by a four-letter colloquial word for isn’t and an adjective meaning passionate, the latter around the Latin abbreviation for king

16d    Chance of success for religious group seizing power (8)
A prefix meaning for and a religious group around (seizing) P(ower)

17d    Overly fussy editor, under pressure, opposed to chapter (8)
ED(itor) preceded by (under in a down clue) P(ressure) and followed by a word meaning opposed to and C(hapter)

22d    Speak indistinctly in mass, say (6)
M(ass) followed by a verb meaning to say or articulate

25d    Miss no longer hugging a heavenly body (4)
The tile given to a married woman around (hugging) the A from 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 Roger “Rufus” Squires (83)
Rufus, aka Roger Squires, the Guardian cryotic crossword compiler


50 comments on “ST 2784 (Hints)

  1. Happy birthday to Rufus! Another excuse for an extra Kir tonight, so there. Not too taxing but a gentle tickling of the grey cells for a Sunday exercise… 2*/4* for me with 11a as favourite. Many thanks to setter and to BD for the review. Had to check 13a as was not sure of my answer.

  2. Grateful for the hints, BD, as I’d got 13a without being able to work out why. Thank you. Birthday greetings to Rufus too, and many thanks to setter for a pleasant tussle.

  3. 2*/4.5*. Excellent Sunday fare as always. Lots of smiles and very entertaining throughout. I particularly liked 10a (including BD’s nostalgic video clip!), and 23a, with 11a my favourite.

    BD, I parsed 16a slightly differently. I took “design” as the definition with most of either a carpenter’s tool or a material a carpenter might use as the wordplay.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD, and a very happy birthday to the wonderful and seemingly ageless Rufus.

  4. Happy Birthday to my still favourite setter ‘Rufus’ , I enjoyed todays puzzle with 11a and 25d being my favourites, awww come on Kath, I haven’t been here much lately, surely I can have two favourites today
    Have internet at mo very slow but at least its on, new cables been laid through village so sometime in March things should improve

    1. Nice to have you back again, Mary. Let’s hope that March is the dawning of a new era for you and that you will once again be able to be a regular contributor.

  5. Lovely morning albeit chilly in Suffolk, lovely sparkly crossword to match. Seem to have emerged from my slough of despond and yes I did have to jot down the anagrams and yes I did have a teeny bit of electronic help but I got there. Perhaps I will keep crosswording after all. Thanks to setter and BD.

    1. A few years on Hilary after starting cryptics and I still use my electronic friends and my Chambers crossword dictionary, there is nothing wrong with that, deciphering the clue in the first place is the hard part as far as I’m concerned! Sometimes I just cant think of the right word or don’t even know it! A Rufus crossword was the first one I solved without any help at all but there aren’t that many since! So keep crosswording and keep on this blog and you are bound to improve and hopefully enjoy … thus endeth the sermon!!!! Well I haven’t said much lately :-)

      1. Thank you and welcome back. I had a very bad week last week but realised that I would miss BD’s gang so will stay with it for the time being,

      2. Nice to ‘see’ you again, Mary even though you’re already causing trouble with your two favourites rubbish!!
        Just to add something to what you said about being unable to think of the right word or not even knowing it – if in doubt invent one, such as ‘perservate’ or ‘perservation’!

  6. A bit trickier than yesterday’s puzzle I thought, but all the better for it. I took a while to get going, but a pleasant sense of achievement on completion.
    Favourite clue was 19d, sounds like quite a cocktail!

    Thanks to Virgilius for another enjoyable puzzle, and to BD for the blog, plus a happy birthday to Rufus.

  7. Are the 3 (or possibly more ) double definitions a nod to Roger Squires bithday ?I see the double definitions as his signature clue.Great puzzle , as usual. Thanks V and BD.

  8. Nice puzzle today after a week’s break.

    I had parsed 22d as a most awful homophone ************* [this is a prize puzzle! BD]! I laughed with relief when I read the review.

    Many nice clues. I particularly liked 20a (ring pulled back.. reminds me of not being able to pull the ring tag off a beer can). I also liked 11a, and 23a (warden won’t let you feed it).

    Happy Birthday Rufus

    Thank you setter and BD

  9. Have to go now … band practice got a flute that needs tooting … maybe back later depending on internet

  10. Very late night, too much to eat, too much to drink so a bit fuzzy round the edges today.
    I didn’t have too much trouble with the crossword so either I’m not as fuzzy as I feel or it was fairly gentle for a Sunday – the usual good fun anyway.
    It took me ages to see why 13a was what I thought it had to be.
    Having decided that 4a was one of the dreaded lurkers I managed to invent a French designer but he started one letter earlier – he doesn’t exist. Oh dear.
    I liked 11 and 23a and 14 and 25d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD and a very Happy Birthday to Rufus.

    1. Re 4d, I know exactly what you did because I spent far, far too long looking for the same French designer who does not exist.

  11. Very pleasant, with several smiles, but over all too quickly (a new PB).

    Happy Birthday, Rufus :-)

    BTW I usually warm up by doing the Quickie. Today, in the online version, the answer to 8A is the same as the clue. What does the paper version say?

      1. Ah, no wonder I could not get anything else than the same word as the clue and was really puzzled! Thanks Kath.

  12. Usual excellent crossword from Virgilius. I took a while to get 1ac but after that it all fell into place quickly. Thanks to Virgilius and BD **/****

  13. i enjoyed solving this puzzle which for me was the usual ‘a little more tricky then the Saturday one’. Some very good clues including 11a, 17 and 19d, but my favourite was 25d.
    Many thanks to Virgilius(?) and BD for his hints.
    Happy Birthday Rufus…. keep ’em coming!

  14. PS I forgot. 2*/4*.
    And thanks for asking Steve the B, I thought I was being stupid having spent 20 minutes or so going round in circles on the Quickie. Well, I suppose I was come to think of it…

  15. Thank you Virgilius, I thought that was a bit harder than recent Sunday’s puzzles, but nevertheless enjoyable as always. Too many favourites to list ! Thanks BD for the hints.

  16. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A super puzzle as usual, but quite tricky. I also have 2 Favourites (sorry Kath) 20&23a. Last in was 19d. Struggled to make progress then suddenly all fell into place. Was 3*/4* for me. Happy Birthday to Rufus.

      1. I’ve got two favourites (at least) too – but as the lucky reviewer of this doubly delightful crossword, I can mention as many as I like in the review as by the time the 5th of March comes, Kath will have forgotten to check up on me

  17. About time I de-lurked….

    I’ve been a long time attempter of the DT crosswords, but only recently thought I must be able to do better. This site has helped enormously

    Finished both today’s and yesterday’s without even opening the dictionary or resorting to the hints!

    Odd things though, crosswords, there were 3 this week that mostly got * or ** difficulty, but I could do less than half of them. Hey ho, onwards and upwards

        1. Welcome from me too – I’m all for people de-lurking and sticking their oars in – it’s what makes this such a brilliant blog – the more the merrier!

  18. Pleasing, but rather gentle, l feel. 1*/3* overall. 13 and 20 across were nice, and the former gets the nod for favouritism from me. Many thanks to the setter and to BD, and birthday greetings to Rufus.

  19. 2*/4* for us. A really enjoyable puzzle today with 13a the last to go in. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave. Happy Birthday to Rufus.

  20. Not done todays crossword yet, will attack it later.
    But just thought I’d say happy birthday Rufus

  21. A very Happy Birthday, Rufus, my co-favourite setter. Can I have a co-favourite Kath? I always look forward to Sundays and Mondays.
    Today was no exception, and I think a little on the easier side for Virgilius. Like CS, so many clues are candidate for fave, but I think I’ll keep in Kath’s good books and choose just one, 11a.
    Thanks to Virgilius for another gem, and, of course, thanks to BD for his review.

    1. Glad that you did the same as I did with 4d (not 4a which is what I said earlier). You can have a little for the one favourite in today’s crossword but I might have to think a bit about the new phenomenon of co-favourite.

  22. Just the right level of challenge for me and several te-hees along the way. NW corner last to go in and stupidly failed to fathom 10a – d’oh Thanks Virgilius and BD. ***/***.

  23. We don’t usually comment on the weekend prize puzzles but will make an exception this week so we can add our Happy Birthday Rufus wishes to the list.
    We enjoyed today’s Virgilius puzzle as we do every Sunday.
    Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  24. Found it a bit harder than last week too. But managed in the end without help apart for my thesaurus for the double definitions.
    Happy birthday to Rufus.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  25. Happy Birthday Rufus and many of them . Nice to put a face to a name. Needed one hint but a very enjoyable crossword ***/****

  26. Enjoyed this weeks crossword and thought it was a bit harder than Saturday but it has been the other way around recently. Doing these crosswords is a family tradition but my dad only has 2 pens to show for over 30years. What is everyone else’s experience?

    1. That will be 2 more than most of us here! Well done Dad but by my reckoning the cost of postage over a 30 year period means that he could have probably bought the Mont Blanc factory by now but good on him for perservating.

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