ST 2785 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2785 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2785 (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:


7a    Gun show flier rewritten (3,5)
A verb meaning to show or display followed by an anagram (rewritten) of FLIER

10a    Counsel daughter being securely held? (6)
This D(aughter) is securely held inside the rest of the answer, when split (1,4)

12a    Undertaking to repay money prior to improperly seizing ship (10,4)
An anagram (improperly) of MONEY PRIOR TO around (seizing) Crosswordland’s usual ship

17a    Golf club taking women’s side (5)
W(omen) followed by a side or border

19a    It’s used in leaving a terminal (4)
A cryptic definition of the point of exit from an airport terminal that is hidden in the clue [thanks Oli et al}

20a    Unsophisticated types state change covering you and me (7,7)
A state or realm followed by some small change or money around (covering) the objective pronoun that means you and me

23a    Asian symbol unknown in work of Kipling (8)
A circular figure representing the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism followed by a mathematical unknown

28a    Crime fatal for victim that’s not common (8)
A cryptic definition of the crime of murdering someone who is not a commoner


1d    Some musicians  take course that’s not straightforward? Doesn’t sound like it (4)
These two definitions are homographs of each other – words that are spelt the same but not pronounced the same

5d    Way to claim territory, perhaps, for a lark (8)
A way in which, for example, a lark lays claim to its territory

8d    Woodcutter‘s anxiety understood (7)
Anxiety or worry followed by a verb meaning understood or got

13d    Was angry about English rugby players being presented in new way (10)
A verb meaning was angry around E(nglish) and the word used to describe the forwards in a rugby team

14d    How French chap has notes distributed, not in the usual way (5)
What do you notice about the distribution of the notes of the diatonic scale in FrEnCh ChAp?

16d    Part of instrument found in well-built part of theatre (8)
An adjective meaning well-built or robust followed by a part of a theatre from which the action on stage can be watched

18d    With sweetheart, running? (7)
A cryptic definition of running away, perhaps to Gretna Green, with one’s sweetheart which can be derived from the middle letter (heart) of [sw]E[et] followed by a verb meaning running [thanks RD]

26d    Chapter and verse for what’s character-changing? (4)
C(hapter) followed by a verse or poem

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Roger Daltrey (71) and Harry Belafonte (88)
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57 comments on “ST 2785 (Hints)

      1. Napoleon just landed in Golf Juan. It’s all uphill from now until June.

  1. Much happier today! 14d had me puzzled for a while, but figured it out once I had everything else. Good one.

  2. 3.5*/4*. A tussle in the SW corner, when I was on course for 2* time, took me over my 3* time. Very enjoyable as always on a Sunday.

    I “bunged in” 14d, but only after reading BD’s hint to understand the wordplay does it get my vote as favourite. 18d comes pretty close. BD, I think the wordplay for this one is more than just the cryptic definition, i.e.: the heart of swEet followed by running.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  3. An interesting challenge.My favourite and last in is 1d.
    Re the Rugby, the weather is going to win again, it’s hailing right now.My daughter is going, brave girl given the awful conditions.
    Thanks Virgilus and BD.

    1. You often get the four seasons in one day in Dublin. I’m sure by the time it starts it will be summer again.

        1. Bravo.
          Fabulous match. Ireland has gone such a long way since the 5 ( well now 6 ) nations started.

  4. That was a bit of a tough one.
    Not very keen on the two semi cryptic clues in 5d and 28a, or the strange construction of 10a.
    23a was my last one. Kipling was so prolific. Took a while to go through his entire biography.
    Favourite is 24d. What a great collection of homophones.
    I just knew we were going to have a nice picture for 8d from BD’s toolbox.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  5. Many interesting clues. BD, I think 19a is a hidden word.

    I was stuck for ages on 5d., my last one in.

    I liked 18d and 19a

    Many thanks setter and BD

      1. Two wrong parsings on one day – does our guru have his mind on other things today? Wembley this afternoon perhaps?

  6. This was more of a challenge today, and took me almost twice as long as normal to complete.
    Thanks to Virgilius for the Sunday morning distraction, and to BD for the hints.

    1. To all those from Wales, Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus i bawb (copied from facebook, apologies for any typos).

  7. Glad it’s not just me who thought Virgilius had sharpened his claws this week. I had quite a tussle and just tipped into 3* time for the first time in many Sundays. Loved the simple but effective 24d

  8. Definitely found this trickier than usual for a Sunday – needed electronic help for a couple too.. Thanks to virgilius and BD ***/***

  9. Elegant walk in the (snow covered) park – thanks to v and bd for the synaptic stimulation. Mrs T making eggy bacon muffins this morning so finished the puzzle in less time than it takes west ham to polish their silverware.

  10. Phew…that was hard. We definitely needed the hints today. Last one in was 1d, and I’m hoping we got it right. Thank you to the Sunday setter and to BD.

  11. I agree with the other comments here in that this was more challenging than other Sunday puzzles of late. What I do like about Vergilus puzzles though, is that I can usually eventually figure it all out as all you need to know is in the clue. You don’t usually need to know some obscure poet or strange religious cult to be able to complete the puzzle. Although there was one geographical reference and one literary reference here, I admit – but a quite well known ones.

    3*/4* for me..

  12. Stone me, this is tough! Can’t even get the answer with the hints, some of which are more cryptic than the clue ie 19a and 20a.
    I think I will have to go away and try again later.

  13. Blimey that was a real struggle. This setter has a warped and twisted mind if he can come up with the clue for 14d! One of those puzzles that has a great deal of satisfaction in completing albeit with the help of the hints but with almost no pleasure at all. Just a huge tedious slog.
    Thx to BD for the hints. I have huge respect for this setter but do not enjoy his puzzles if this is an example.

      1. We thought that this was much harder than usual – so glad everyone else agrees. Only managed to finish it after a few breaks getting on with the gardening. The main clue that gave us trouble had no hint – 9a. Do you fancy giving us one, Big Dave, so we can check that we are right?

        1. 9a A ceremonial procedure pronounced correctly (6)
          A (from the clue) followed by what sounds like a ceremonial procedure.

          1. Thanks Gazza, you’ve proved us wrong but we weren’t sure about it. The only one though, where hints or tips were not required.

  14. A Virgilius puzzle far more difficult than usual.

    Liked the “French Chap” clue!

    Hope that Mr Greer will not get too angry when the English rugby players win in Dublin today!

    Wishful thinking?

  15. Lovely sunny day in Suffolk matched by my mood having completed this crossword. Struggled Thursday and Friday when everyone else was saying easy peasy, loved yesterday thoroughly enjoyed today. Probably all downhill from tomorrow. Thank you to setter and BD.

  16. The only hold-up I had was in the parsing of 14D, but I see that I did it correctly. Liked several in particular…5D, 8D, 18D, and 24D, but 28 across came out tops with me. Many thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  17. This is embarrassing in view of the general feeling, because I found it not especially difficult today. (Usually I trail admiringly some way behind the wake left by everyone else.) i especially liked 18d which I thought very well done, and my runners up were 19 and 20a and 22d.
    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the review – hints not needed however for once.

  18. I agree with most of the rest of you – definitely more tricky than usual for a Sunday – glad that it’s not just me.
    I was very slow to get started at all and didn’t speed up much so this has taken a fair old while.
    5d was my last one and looked such an unlikely word that I thought I must have got something wrong but then saw what it might be – wasn’t too sure about the claiming of the territory bit – I suppose even when we all think that they’re singing nicely they’re really telling all the other birds to get lost, or words to that effect.
    The bottom left corner caused a few problems – don’t know much about Kipling and I know even less about Asian symbols so that meant 23a held me up; always forget those Rugby players in 13d and completely missed the hidden bit of 27a.
    I needed the hint to understand 14d.
    I liked 10 and 28a and 6 and 8d. My favourite was 18d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  19. This took me a while to finish; 1d being the main problem and certainly my last one in.
    Normally I like the puzzles set by Virgilius; today’s, well, for me anyway, some of the answers were a little less certain then usual. 6d floated my boat though, and overall 2.5*/3*
    Oh well, I suppose one can’t be full of the joys everyday!
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD for his hints.

  20. I found this very, very difficult but most enjoyable. I adore Virgilius’s puzzles, as said above, you can eventually work them out, even if it takes a long time.
    I didn’t do myself any favours by spelling 12a incorrectly; memo, if you have an anagram, work it out with the letters given, it helps if you can’t spell! This meant I never did get 14d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD, needed your hints today!
    Fave is 24d, how clever was that! Honourable mention to 18d and 23a.

  21. Just back from Kells Irish pub where there was a rugby match on the TV
    Franco, do you remember 2011 when the English team recorded a grand slam celebratory ad before they played Ireland? O’Connell and O’Driscoll made a Youtube about it, hilarious.
    But to beat an English team that strong today in such a manner was impressive, though sometimes I get a little nostalgic for the heroic failures by Irelanf that punctuated my yourh.

    1. Have just listened for first time to O’Driscoll/O’Connell YouTube piece – what a hoot! Thanks BG for tip-off.

    2. For some reason I don’t remember that!

      However, I’ve just managed to complete “No 1267 by Virgilius” in today’s “i”.

      Absolutely brilliant! Unfortunately not free on-line .. but the paper only costs 40p.

  22. What a struggle.
    Even harder than yesterday.
    Struggled with the hints too!
    Thanks to setter and reviewer.

  23. This certainly felt pretty difficult, but didn’t take as long as l thought it would. 2*/3.5* by my reckoning, and 2d my favourite clue. Thanks to Virgilius, and to Big Dave for the hints.

  24. Argh. After this weekend I’m tempted to give up on crosswords and crawl into a hole with some junior sudoku and a box of tissues. Got there in the end, but there was pain.

    14d was eeevil, but I was very pleased when I finally parsed it. I needed Mr K to give me 23a, and had all but given up on 1d when I finally saw the light. Or heard the sound. I liked many, but 21d gets the favourite vote because it raised the biggest smile, and smiles are priceless.

    Quick questions for the pros: With reference to 1d, does a double definition giving rise to a pair of homographs need to be clues as such like it was today or is that optional?

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  25. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but very difficult. Only got 8 answers on the first pass. Still stuck on 23a,21&22d, any help would be much appreciated. Was 4*/3* for me.

    1. For 23a if you hover over the picture BD supplied you may be enlightened.
      21d Article left in part of camp that some scouts try to find (6)
      Put an indefinite article and L(eft) inside something found in a camp.
      22d Small person that’s charming, for change (6)
      S(mall) followed by a person that uses charms.

  26. Didn’t have time yesterday and after reading comments perhaps I will give it a miss! However thanks BD for opportunity to hear Harry Belafonte again. I can’t believe he is 88.

  27. I am going to change my newspaper supplier as yesterday no inside with the crossword nor two weeks ago, and before that also, even with phoning up and saying it will be here today.
    I cannot finish the crossword but enjoy trying.

  28. Thank you Virgilius, another enjoyable puzzle. I always associate your puzzles with 14 letter answers round the edges and for some reason this grid seemed to make the puzzle rather harder than usual ! Many thanks BD for the hints. I needed to look at 2 of them – 14d and 23a to confirm my answers. I have discovered that there aren’t too many areas in the Derbyshire Dales where I can get an internet signal and I certainly would not have got 23a without your hint.

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