ST 2789 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2789 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2789 (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    Coward, for example, awfully wary in tricky situation (10)
An example of this profession is Mr Coward, whose necessary capitalisation is disguised by being positioned as the first word in the clue – an anagram (awfully) of WARY inside a tricky situation

9a    Taxing a couple in middle of rural America (7)
The A from the clue then a couple inside the middle leter of ru[R]al and the two-letter abbreviation for America

10a    Imagine leading when in second place (7)
A two-letter word meaning leading between S(econd) and a verb meaning to place someone in order that they can be photographed or painted

12a    Wise men in a row, holding trial, initially, in appropriate way (13)
The biblical wise men followed by an adverb meaning in a row around the initial letter of T[rial]

17a    Before fight, gym equipment’s put in trailer (8)
Read this clue as “before fight gym equipment is put” – a three-letter verb meaning to fight is preceded by some equipment often found in the gym

19a    Come to pass, maybe, in the Yorkshire Dales (6)
A northern English (in the Yorkshire Dales) dialect word meaning maybe or possibly

24a    Female from part of US or USSR formerly (7)
This girl’s name is a US state and a country that was formerly part of the USSR

25a    Following error, produce something really frightful (7)
An error, typically one on a computer program, followed by a verb meaning to produce or give birth to

27a    Lots of heavenly bodies, something Hollywood relied on (4,6)
Two definitions


1d    Alternative to apple for Adam and Eve, say (4)
This fruit, which is similar to the apple, sounds like (say) a word that could describe Adam and Eve

2d    Trouble about British workers forming corporation (7)
A three-letter word meaning trouble around B(ritish) followed by some workers gives a word for which corporation is a lesser used alternative

3d    Wagner’s beginning with his masterpiece about old Russian woman dreaming (4-9)
The initial letter (beginning) of W[anger] and the two-word title of his best-known work around O(ld) and a Russian woman’s name

8d    Heaney rhymes very little (5-5)
Combine two words which rhyme with Heaney

11d    Capital removed from country, betting on pound and yen with great care (13)
Drop the initial letter (capital) from a European country and add a verb meaning betting or wagering, the abbreviations for the pound sterling and Y(en)

13d    Correct perspective that’s formed by 1 Across and Down (5,5)
The answers to the given clues form this shape

16d    County players collectively disheartened (8)
A county in Northern Ireland followed by players or actors collectively

20d    Paint some farm workers put on front of tractor (7)
Some farm workers who look after a particular kind of livestock followed by the initial letter (front) of T[ractor]

23d    Edge from side of bat followed by another (4)
The initial letter (side) of B[at] followed by another word for side (or edge!)

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Eric Idle (72) and John Major (72)
Image result for Eric Idle Image result for John Major

48 comments on “ST 2789 (Hints)

  1. Aagh, satisfaction. The Sunday Puzzle is usually my favourite of the week and no disappointment today. I found the puzzle a little tougher than usual for Sundays, but also very satisfying. Some very ingenious clues that I have not seen previously added a nice freshness.

    3*/5* for me today.
    Thanks to the usual folks for the hints (which I did not use, however) the setter and the comments which are always interesting.

  2. For 23d, it seems to me that both ‘edges’ would provide a correct answer, why is it the first?

    1. I presume from your surname that you are a different John to the one who already comments under that name. If so, welcome and please can you alter your ‘alias’ to something different so we can tell the two of you apart. JohnM would work.

      As for your question about 23d, it has to be the first one because the ‘another’ or second one is part of the wordplay.

        1. Thanks for doing that, John. I can assure you that you’d not want your posts confused with mine – I’ve only been here a short time myself, but have already been well and truly on the “naughty step”….and probably will again at some stage in the future – and so your own, unique “nickname” is very much recommended!

  3. That’s so much better, although it looks as if I was in a minority of one in my dislike of yesterday’s puzzle. Today’s offering has brightened a wet and miserable day here in London! My rating is 3*/4.5*. The LHS of this extremely enjoyable puzzle went in very easily but the RHS put up quite a fight.

    Having worked in the paint industry for over 40 years, I was going to protest that the answer to 20d is a component of paint but is not synonymous with it. However I checked my BRB first and found out that I was wrong.

    I can’t pick a single favourite from this excellent selection but 1a, 12a, 14a, 22a, 26a, 3d, 8d, 11d and 13d make up a long “short list” of possibilities!

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    1. I also worked in the paint industry and came to the same conclusion. And still not convinched.

      Really liked 12d, though I am concernd that some members of the CP (crossword police) will object to what is almost a DIngbat.

  4. Certainly found this trickier than usual and needed electronic help for 3 answers. There’s a possibility that I’m a bit excited about leaving the UK for Australia via the US tomorrow, so I will use that as an excuse. Thanks to BD and Virgilius ***/***

  5. Another superb Sunday puzzle. I think 12A sums it up nicely! Took me a while to get going but gradually nibbled away without much electronic or book support. 3D was my favourite but then I like the music! I don’t see 6a but happy to wait for the full report. Many thanks to all.

    1. 6a Instrument taken back for neighbour (4)
      The reversal of a musical instrument gives a verb eaning to neighbour or be near.

  6. Thank you for another enjoyable puzzle Virgilius. I hadn’t heard of the expression in 3d. – fortunately Mrs SW had, so I was able to finish the puzzle without the hint ! Thanks BD for the hints and giving up so much of your time to assist us

  7. Virgilius never disappoints, I seem to say that every week. I needed BD’s hint to understand 19a, but it couldn’t have been anything else.
    Fave has to be 13d, how clever was that, but honourable mention has to go to 17a, loved the picture.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his review.

  8. Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
    7d took me a while but I’m afraid to say that I am still lost in the Yorkshire Dales and cannot find my way out.
    So my crossword will remain with three little blank spaces.
    Was a bit scared of the long words but they didn’t cause much trouble.
    Wasn’t too keen on 17a and 8d but apart from that it was very enjoyable.
    Favourite is 9a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints and after having learned everything about the Dales, I’m now going to brush up on the northern dialects.

    1. It’s a word only used in Yorkshire which to anyone else if probably gibberish. It’s one my mother was fond of. It’s often heard in Corry and sometimes the Archers.
      The first part of the clue gives the answer anyway.

      1. And was heard even more often on Emmerdale when my mum used to watch it in the 70s and 80s.

  9. We always enjoy Virgilius puzzles and this one was no exception. Like Jean-Luc we were rather daunted by the long words but in the end they fell into place quite nicely. We especially liked 12a and 3d for the way the ‘lego’ (to borrow Miffypops’s expression) fell into place. ***/**** for us. Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  10. I found this a bit trickier than usual but really good.
    12a took ages to untangle and I think I’m missing something with 27a – it fits with all the other letters but . . .
    I dithered about whether 6a was going to be the instrument or the neighbour – really not good at these kinds of clues – and also had a spot of bother trying to decide which spelling to use with 1d.
    Completely missed the anagram indicator in 5d which was silly.
    13d fooled me for ages.
    I liked 1 and 17a and 2 and 18d. My favourite was 3d even though I don’t like the music one little bit.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.
    Thoroughly miserable day today – grey with heavy rain and such strong wind that my big camellia has blown over. Wish that I’d saved yesterday’s NTSPP to do today.

    1. I agree with you 100% about the music in 3d. It seems very much to be like Marmite – you either love it or hate it, and I know which side I come down on!

  11. A pleasant but not overtaxing puzzle; 2*/3.5* or so. 3d made me smile – no mean feat on a wet and windy day in Cornwall – so gets my vote for favouritism. Many thanks to the setter, and of course to BD.

  12. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle as usual on a Sunday, my favourite of the week. Was slightly trickier than usual. Favourite was 20d, made me laugh out loud. Was 2*/4* for me. The storm is just about blowing itself out. More to come in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Central London.

  13. A stiffer than normal Sunday test, but very enjoyable. Thanks for the hints and thanks also to the setter. Sunday is usually my favourite for the Cryptic. I thought 13d was very clever and gets my vote as I had to check the brb for 3d as was unfamiliar with the answer.

  14. To me Sunday crosswords were normally always a bit harder than the Saturday ones. Not so lately I realise. However this was a very good challenge where the grey cells certainly had their work cut out.
    I liked 19a best as a clue, probably because it were a bit daft!
    3*/3* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD for his hints.

  15. No trouble at all apart from 19a and like Jean-Luc I am lost in the Dales! In spite of this enjoyed this Sunday puzzle very much. 3*/3*. Favourite 1a with 3d following closely. First really warm day in Hyères with 22C, spring is here with blossoms exploding everywhere…

  16. Even harder than usual, it took two sittings to lay this beast to rest!
    Lots of clever misdirection as in 1a and 2d esp 17a which was the last in.
    Best clue for us was def 27a followed closely by 19a.
    Not sure exactly how enjoyable it was but it certainly gave us a deal of satisfaction to complete it.
    Thx to all.

  17. Very enjoyable (and for me quite challenging) Sunday puzzle. Afraid I had about six left to do when I finally reached for the electronic help. Despite the defeat I completed it without using the hints. Virgilius always includes many clues that are fun to do and personally I liked 2d best, for that reason, even though not the hardest to do. Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  18. My occasional crossword co pilot and I managed this one in an average sort of time, with no outside help, so feeling quite happy about that.

    Seemed to struggle more than usual with the longer clues, 11d being one of the last ones in. Actual last one solved was 23d, Kent providing some stubborn resistance right to the end.

    Favourites today were 8d (co pilot), and 13d (me), with an honourable mention to 19a. As a born and bred Lancastrian, I can hardly ever understand how that lot over there speak, but I’d certainly heard of this word, and it was one of the first ones in.

    Tempted to make another controversial statement today, but I’ll leave it – I’ve already been in trouble once this week! I’m sure the opportunity will arise again at some point

    1. Now I want to know what your potentially controversial statement would have been.
      In response to your comment yesterday when I said “Truce” I meant that I replied to your comment several days ago, when you said that gazza’s introduction was condescending, in a rather bolshie way.

  19. I too found this a bit trickier than usual for a Sunday but enjoyed the challenge.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the blog of course.

    1. Welcome back to the blog Frank

      You have changed both your alias and your email address since last time.

      21d Black king, repeatedly, of African people (6)
      B(lack) and the regnal cypher of several British/English kings, including our current queen’s great grandfather, then the same again (repeatedly)

  20. Not as late as usual, so worth commenting I hope. A wonderful puzzle as always on a Sunday, I found this easier than many, loved 2d, 3d, 13d, I could go on….Thanks to setter, and to BD as always though I didn’t need him today.

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