ST 2787 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2787 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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There’s less than a week left to enter our March Prize Puzzle

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    Succeeding by chance after taking pawn in game (6)
An adjective meaning succeeding by chance or fortunate preceded by P(awn) gives an adjective meaning game or brave

10a    Worthless paintings returned before retiring (6)
The reversal (returned) of some paintings is followed by an adjective meaning retiring or timid

12a    The writer’s in earnest about time creating a puzzle (10)
A two-letter possessive pronoun meaning the writer’s (belong to the setter) followed by an adjective meaning in earnest or sincere around T(ime) gives an adjective meaning creating a puzzle or enigmatic

13a    Returned no work — emphasised it’s needed for final course (12)
NO, a two-letter musical work and a verb meaning emphasised all reversed (returned) gives something that’s needed for the final course of a meal

16a    Fast form of transport put in front of coach (7,5)
A verb meaning to put or articulate followed by a verb meaning to coach

21a    Captured, as well, chess piece — that cannot be (4)
A three-letter word meaning as well followed by a chess piece (the only one that cannot be captured!)

22a    Everything person possesses is English, say (6)
E(nglish) followed by a verb meaning to say or declare

23a    Lives in area, making living (8)
A two-letter verb meaning lives inside an area or stretch gives an adjective meaning living or having reality

25a    Protect as beginner at wheel did some throwing outside (6)
The type of plate displayed by a new driver (beginner at wheel) inside a verb meaning did some throwing, perhaps at the fairground


1d    Wind instrument as needed in each section, initially, piano coming in at various points (3-5)
Start with the initial letters of five words in the clue then insert P(iano) at various points (it’s easy to work out how many: (3 + 5) – 5 = 3)

3d    Making his mark, perhaps, in disputed region of Asia (7)
An anagram (perhaps) of HIS MARK

5d    With odd omissions, parroted Italian author’s old style (3,4)
Drop the odd letters (with odd omissions) from [p]A[r]R[o]T[e]D and then add the surname of the Italian author of The Name of the Rose

7d    Person navigating Jumbo miles in error about a height (6)
This jumbo is a real elephant, not a jet airliner!

9d    Take apart, since concealed by mask (11)
A two-letter word meaning since inside (concealed by) a verb meaning to mask or disguise

14d    Act as Lady Macbeth and somehow speak well (9)
An anagram (somehow) of SPEAK WELL

15d    Stopped running over broadcast that’s cast aside (8)
A verb meaning stopped running, as in the engine stopped running) around a verb meaning broadcast some seeds

19d    Gland is not brought up before end of medical (6)
The reversal (brought up in a down clue) of IS NOT is followed by the final letter (end) of [medica]L

21d    It’s covered by not just any old tax (5)
The IT from the clue inside the definite article (not just any)

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

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 Mike Love (74)




  1. George
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Another excellent Sunday puzzle. While not overly difficult I did have a bit more trouble in getting a foot hold, but once I had a good handle on the bottom half of the puzzle I filled in the rest without too much trouble. I had to smile at 7d and thought there were a number of other clues that I thought were quite clever – 13a, 5d and 15d.

    2*/4* for me.

  2. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    A bit disappointed by today’s crossword.
    Although I managed to finish it, some clues were a bit poor.
    1a and 1d mainly. 11a and 23a were not far behind.
    The only good one was 13a.
    That and the awful weather just make my Sunday very dull indeed.
    Thanks to BD. At least the review is the only entertainment I’m going to get.

  3. Expat Chris
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed it. A bit slow to get going but like George, once I solved a few everything started falling into place. I did like 13A, 21A and 15D in particular. Since it’s Sunday, I assume this is Virgilius, so thanks to him, and thanks to BD for the review.

    • Merusa
      Posted March 15, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      I found some bangers better than the Murvest ones at Trader Joe’s, called Irish Bangers. They were oh-so-good!

  4. SheilaP
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Thought this was really difficult, so we were in need of help from the hints. Just not our wavelength I’m afraid. I’m confident Monday will be better. Much thanks to BD for his help and to the Sunday setter.

  5. Una
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Unlike Jean-Luc , I liked 1a, as well as many others, including 20a and 2d (well hidden).
    Thanks Virgilous and BD.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted March 15, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Hi Una,
      I suppose it’s just me but 1a should be “successful by chance” or otherwise the answer should be getting •••••• which would add another indicator.
      The same goes for 12a. I don’t think puzzling is ok for creating a puzzle.
      Maybe I just suffer from Brianitis otherwise known as Brian’s complaint or just becoming a right pedant. Sorry.

      • Tantalus
        Posted March 15, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        The pedants are revolting !

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted March 15, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          I do love double entendre. And it’s also an anagram of ” the red peasant “. What a revolution!

      • Dutch
        Posted March 15, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        It took me a while to see, but I think creating a puzzle does work

        • Dutch
          Posted March 15, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          But a peculiar choice of definition…

          • jean-luc cheval
            Posted March 15, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            That’s the problem I think. Both parts of the clue seem to be cryptic.

  6. Sweet William
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I always look forward to the Sunday puzzle and am never disappointed. Thanks again Virgilius for your puzzle which I enjoyed. Thanks BD for the hints – important to check that I have got the wordplay right

  7. Tantalus
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Delightful puzzle, thanks to v & d for our weekly stimulus.
    Crumpets this morning so no crumbs. We do need help on 24a.

    Mr & Mrs T

    • Tantalus
      Posted March 15, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Got 14, so 24 fell into place. Snow melting fast, shoul be gone by Easter .

  8. Hilary
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    On the right wavelength , the trusty pencil and I completed the crossword without any electronic intervention. The anagrams were sheer delight, I loved 13a and 20a once the penny dropped and all too soon I had finished. Thanks as always to the setter and BD, I have only one question – what on earth am I going to do with the rest of the day?

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 15, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      I defrosted the freezer and am now making raspberry jam with some raspberries I found lurking at the bottom.

      • Merusa
        Posted March 15, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        I have a job for you here in Miami! I’ve been putting it off far too long.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted March 15, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        Thanks CS. You are just full of resources. That made me think about all those lovely sweet local kumquats lying around in my fridge. I’m now making a marmalade. As far as the freezer is concerned, there’s half a wild boar in it. One of the leg still has hair on. I promptly closed the door. I’ll do that another day.

        • crypticsue
          Posted March 15, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

          The photo you sent me of the marmalade looks delicious but I am not sure I can say the same about the leg

      • Brian
        Posted March 15, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Making a strawberry and almond crumble for us today, great way to use the tasteless supermarket strawbs.

        • crypticsue
          Posted March 15, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          Peach pie (peaches from the garden frozen as pie filling last summer) . Only got cherries, gooseberries, greengages and more raspberries to use up before this year’s produce turns up.

  9. Merusa
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Virgilius, you never fail me! I did think it was a little easier than the usual Sunday offering, but nothing wrong with that.
    Thanks BD for the hints and explanation for 9d.
    Fave was 7d, honourable mention to 13a, but many lovely clues; 21a and 21d were most clever.

  10. Brian
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Super crossword, made you think but encouraged you to keep going.
    Some nice anagrams to get you in then it reels you in.
    7d and 19d are the best clues for me.
    Many thanks to the setter and to BD but didn’t need the hints today.

    • Dutch
      Posted March 15, 2015 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      “Made you think but encouraged you to keep going” – Love it, I imagine there is no greater accolade for the setter.

  11. Hilary
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    In the end I watched a documentary about Enigma and Bletchley Park, apparently being good at crosswords was a prerequisite for entry among other things. Normally Alan Turing is the only name mentioned but this was fascinating because there were interviews with loads of code breakers, men and women interspersed with action including Rommel in the desert and D Day. Also Tommy Flowers about Colossus the first programmable computer.

  12. Gwizz
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    That was well up to Sunday standards! Lovely. Hard, but as Brian said you are compelled to keep going. My fave was 13a and Oil give it 3*/3*. Remember her? Guess that gives my age away!
    Thanks Virgilius (it must be surely) and BD for his hints. Incidentally have the number of hints increased recently?

    • Posted March 15, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes I lose count!

    • Hilary
      Posted March 15, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Janice Nicholls?

  13. Salty Dog
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    A pleasing romp of a puzzle. Not particularly difficult, but satisfying to complete: 1*/4*. I thought 13a was excellent. VMTs to Virgilius, and of course BD.

  14. Chris
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I thought it a bit harder and less enjoyable than the usual high Sunday standard. Perhaps fewer clever and fun clues and more of the awkward ones eg 1a. 3*/3* for me. Many thanks to BD – I didn’t need the hints though. And thank you to Virgilius.

  15. Heno
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A super Sunday puzzle as usual, the last few answers took a while, after reading the hints, I realised I had the wrong ending for 23a. Favourites were 13a and 1d. Last in was 16d. was 2*/4* for me.

  16. Framboise
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    A first glance did not yield much but I soon got into this enjoyable puzzle. 7d made me smile but 13a took the biscuit or am I allowed to say the sweet? 2*/3*. I would, however, agree with Jean- Luc about 1d and 12a… Today dreadful weather which we braved to walk to my brother’s for lunch. Watched the rugby and thought France deserved their win! Many thanks to BD and to the setter.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted March 15, 2015 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Well done France. I was half watching as the match took a while to warm up.
      Have you noticed how everything just stops here when the weather turns.
      We are so used to live outside.
      Decided to start my own Sunday Prize.
      A lovely pot of homemade kumquat marmalade sent to you anywhere in the world. Along the lines of 1d, if you solve it, you win ( after the draw that is).
      In hospital department, drugs are injected twice with a couple of small measures. (8).
      Good luck.

  17. Angel
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Came to this late today and it totally fazed me. Not my scene at all and much help was needed particularly in the SE corner so thank you BD for rescuing me from utter despair. IMHO no outstanding clues. Thanks nevertheless Virgilius! *****/**.

  18. Kitty
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Greetings from central London :). Today’s did seem a bit tricky, but then I did start it late… and, er, tired and emotional… :). As for Jean-Luc’s teaser, he has already proved himself cleverer than me and I think I will have to concede defeat again. Ah well.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    P.S. Well, done Hilary! Let’s not have any more talk of the cupboard under the stairs from you.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted March 15, 2015 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kitty,
      A single clue is quite unfair as you can’t possibly have any checking letters.
      The word to look for is Measures: Hospital dept = AE, Drugs are Es. a couple of S(mall) are injected twice between these letters A SS E SS ES.

  19. Ora Meringue
    Posted March 16, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    What a slog this week.
    Disappointed with myself after last week’s success.
    Needed almost all of the clues as well as electronic assistance.
    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave.