ST 2788 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2788 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2788 (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    An area over which you can see ice contract? Wrong! (9,5)
AN from the clue followed by A(rea) inside an anagram (wrong) of ICE CONTRACT gives an area loosely defined by the whole clue

11a    Job, for example, not finished, so express disapproval (3)
This Job is a part of the old testament – just drop the final letter (not finished)

12a    Trunk left on board by ship’s officer, containing new gold (11)
The nautical (on board) word for left followed by a ship’s officer around (containing) N(ew) and finally the chemical symbol for gold

15a    Old soldier’s back cutting tree, one of small group at top (8)
O(ld) followed by the reversal of a US soldier, the latter being inside a coniferous tree

19a    Come forward with this neat clue, ultimately, by young setter (4,2)
The final letters (ultimately) of three words in the clue followed by the young of a setter, or any other dog

23a    Pope, Cleopatra and Napoleon have it in common (3)
The name of thirteen Roman Catholic Popes is hidden (have … in common) inside each of two words in the clue

26a    National emblem that blows down when it’s windy (7)
This national emblem emits tufted feathery parachutes of seeds (down) when it’s windy

27a    The posy this son arranged, showing what plants can do (14)
An anagram (arranged) of THE POSY THIS SON


1d    Like a self-sufficient life? (14)
A cryptic definition of being like an account of a person’s life written by that person

2d    Took steps of which one’s said to be incapable (7)
This verb meaning took some dance steps requires two people according to an idiomatic expression!

3d    Modified opinion about artist is received in shock (11)
One of the usual two-letter words for about then the usual artist and IS inside (received in) a verb meaning to shock

5d    Medicinal plant — measure after cold a medic’s provided (8)
A measure of distance preceded by C(old), the A from the clue and a medic

7d    A colleague said you are not professional (7)
The A from the clue followed by a colleague and textspeak (said) for you are

8d    Nevertheless, odd sects will include expert source for idea (7,7)
A word meaning nevertheless followed by an anagram (odd) of SECTS around (will include) an expert

16d    Enclosures for children from song writer, in addition to letter (8)
A three-letter song and a writing implement both inside an addition or afterthought at the end of a letter

25d    A short distance behind at sea (3)
The A from the clue followed by the abbreviation for a short distance

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Andrew Lloyd Webber (67) and Stephen Sondheim (85)
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50 comments on “ST 2788 (Hints)

  1. Great stuff! Last one in 2d – produced a smile when the penny dropped :)
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  2. Fabulous crossword from Virgilius.
    Probably the hardest of the week for me, but what a joy.
    21d was my last one in.
    Favourite is 14a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  3. 11a has raised some eyebrows over here.
    Anyway, still deep and very crisp here in the colonies. Thx to Messers v and d.

  4. I got the second word of 22A wrong so that held me up on the SE corner. Once my error was spotted it was pretty much plain sailing. A very enjoyable puzzle. 8D stood out as a good clue. Thanks to BD for the review.

  5. I was very slow to get going – my 8d’s don’t seem to be working any better today than they were yesterday with the NTSPP.
    I got 27a quickly but couldn’t spell it – oh dear!
    I needed the hints to explain why my 2d was right – even looked it up to see if it was slang for drunk (incapable) – it isn’t!
    1d was my last answer and I only got it once alternate letters were in by which time it could’t have been much else.
    The first three letters of 19a were a mystery for quite a while.
    My first thought for 10a began with the right letter but was the wrong spa treatment – couldn’t explain it anyway so didn’t put it in – I must be learning something at last.
    27a caused temporary blindness . . .
    On the plus side I got one of the hidden answers immediately even if the second one took a bit longer so feeling smug.
    I liked 11 and 26a and 6 and 18d. My favourite was 13d.
    With thanks to Virgilius for yet another brilliant crossword – how does he manage it every week – and to BD.

    1. We managed to create another word that differs from the right answer by only one letter and must be the least known word in the English language. it only warrants six pages if Googled!

  6. Thank you Virgilius for another Sunday treat – most enjoyable test as usual. Thanks BD for the hints.

    1. If, as I suspect, your “job” is more than 4 letters long then it would not usually be clued as “unfinished” in order to reduce it to 3 letters. This, and similar, curtailment indicators almost invariably involve the truncation of a single letter from the end of the word.

      1. My word was 4 letters ! I think Tantalus was on the same track as well – hence the raised eyebrows ! If you work your way through the alphabet you would come to the discarded letter very quickly ! Can’t say any more than that for fear of naughty step.

    2. Wish I’d seen that! Brilliant! The Kitties were most amused, and thought of another idea … unfortunately the three remaining trimmed letters do not give a real word. Meh. The brb gives a few 4-letter words which can precede job. A couple of them perhaps not suitable for a Telegraph crossword.

  7. A great test, as usual on a Sunday. Particularly liked 26a for its surface. Thanks to BD and V.

  8. We thought this was a brilliantly clued crossword with some delightful misdirected clues such as 26a and 18d and 14a which was excellent.
    Many Thx to the setter and to BD for confirming 2d which was the last in.
    Off to take the Porsche open top out for its first run of the year in the brilliant sunshine, hope the thing still works!

  9. Agree, fabulous puzzle. I had to work hard for it, but I got there in the end, needing BD’s hints to know the why of some answers, e.g. 2d.
    Lots of fun clues, but I think 11a takes the gold, runner up 1d.
    Thank you once again Virgilius and to BD for his review.

  10. As usual a great Sunday Puzzle. I found this one a bit more tricky than the usual Sunday experience – but some great clues. Thoroughly enjoyed it. 3*/4* for me today.

  11. lovely puzzle, I found it quite a bit harder than usual. Last one in was 21d (sound of composer).

    I liked 3 of the long clues, particularly 1a, but 1d seemed very weak to me – I wondered if I was missing something.

    I loved 24a (copy) and 9a (metal products) – both took me ages to see, very clever. I liked both clues with a clueing surface (19a and 6d). And I enjoyed 23a (pope).

    Many thanks virgules and BD

  12. Am I in the right place to talk about the rugby?
    Just watched yesterday’s match.
    What a good show.
    Congratulations to England and at same time commiserations for giving the win to our Irish friends.

    1. Certainly not – this is a crossword blog and no-one here ever talks about anything else – BD just wouldn’t allow it!

  13. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. Another masterpiece from Virgilius, so enjoyable. Too many Favourites to mention them all, so I’ll go for 22a. Last in was 2d, no real problems. Was 2*/4* for me.

  14. Not particularly difficult (2*) but very satisfying (4*+). 8d was pencilled in for favouritism, but pipped at the post by 2d. Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  15. Wow, that was a hard one. Took quite a lot of beavering away at over a long breakfast and beyond. Very satisfying, but 1d caused problems. With that and 11a remaining (no idea why that one took so long) Mr K decided to consult the brb while I refused to give in. I’m afraid I may have employed some rather strong language under the threat of having the answer prematurely revealed, but he was good, and I eventually twigged. Then I might have added a few more choice words giving my opinion of the answer. Good fun.

    That was many foods and wines ago, so memories of the details of the crossword are hazy, but I do recall a smile at 2d so will nominate that as favourite.

    Thanks to V and BD.

  16. Regarding Sunday Quick Crossword – Do the first 2 across clues make a word/saying as they do in the week? If so would someone please give me a clue as I have the answers but cannot see a further word/saying. Am I being particularly dense or am I looking for something that isn’t there?

  17. P.S. Today’s birthdays can both be referenced in the one video. A most entertaining mash-up:

  18. I ran into problems in the top L corner, mainly by having the wrong answer for 2d. Sadly I cannot say more but I thought my version fitted the clue fairly well (apart from being wrong, and messing up the intersecting answers, both of which I have to admit as being disadvantages).
    Virgilius has produced another excellent crossword, so thank you to him and of course to BD. I liked 24 and 26a, and 18d, amongst many others, but my favourite was 13d.

  19. Completed today’s brilliant puzzle bar 14a – only half answered – but was so disappointed to find no hint for it from BD, please someone help! Loved 11a and 23a among so many clever clues. Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    1. 14a Suffering losses up front, sold what is no longer fresh (3,3)
      ‘Suffering losses up front’ instructs us to remove the front letters from two words in the clue.

  20. For us. this was the most enjoyable puzzle for a week or so. Brilliant clues, and when parsed. easy to understand why. We loved it more than Manchester United, ‘the guv’nors’ beating Liverpool at Anfield. Shame about Hull (Paso was born just the other side of the Humber) losing with a valiant effort against Chelsea. Our favourite was 11a because it has a slightly different meaning in English from where the term originated. I’m sure Jean Luc & Framboise would agree.

  21. Really enjoyable only just managed to get round to it , due to having guests all day Sunday , still having two to do on the same day kept my spirits up . One hint required and uncertainty on 2d but I think I have it correct

  22. Did this a day late. Held up slightly by 2d and 14a but when the pennies dropped there was a definite smile.
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  23. Ah, the Sunday Virgilius crossword. Always something to savour. Some lovely clues with 2d being my personal favourite. 2*/3* overall.
    Thanks Virgilius and BD for the hints.

  24. I found this hard but enjoyed doing it….as opposed to hard and wanting to throw it in the bin.

    Got there eventually with lots of electronic help and some of the hints.

    Thank you to the setter and to Big Dave.

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