ST 2790 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2790 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2790 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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Don’t forget to enter our Monthly Prize competition.

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    Female improperly cut this film on traitor (5,9)
F(emale) followed by an anagram (improperly) of CUT THIS FILM ON

9a    Armed vessel in sound you observe carefully in attack (7)
The letter that sounds like you and the two-letter abbreviation for an instruction to observe carefully inside a phrasal verb meaning to attack (2,2)

11a    Calm characters often found in Greece and Crete, we hear (4)
Sounds like (we hear) the characters/letters most often found in the two places given in the clue

12a    They warn of danger, if turning over actual weapons (4,6)
The reversal of IF followed by an adjective meaning actual and some weapons

17a    Person following Eliot’s first couplet, not great poetry (8)
This person who follows another (and don’t mention an alternate meaning!) is followed by the first two letters (couplet) of EL[iot]

21a    Mixture of alpaca, mink, and llama, perhaps (4,6)
An anagram (mixture) of ALPACA MINK

24a    Landed on mark that’s clearly visible on stage (7)
A three-letter verb meaning landed or dismounted preceded by a mark

26a    Appliance chosen by affluent consumer (8,6)
An adjective meaning chosen for an office or job but not yet in it followed by an adjective meaning affluent and a consumer of food


1d    Invention from key people in sudden outbreak (7)
To get this invention or untruth put a musical key and some male people inside a sudden outbreak of, perhaps, laughter

2d    Searching around in swimming group that trains young ladies (9,6)
A verb meaning searching or trying to get around IN and followed by a group of swimming creatures

3d    Attacking shot bad captain played (4)
Two definitions – an attacking shot in cricket (but not in golf!) and the bad captain in JM Barrie’s famous novel

5d    Not expected to succeed at Wimbledon, as not prepared for grass, say (8)
This adjective which applies to a tennis player who is not given a favourable position in the draw, as he is not expected to win, could also describe a patch of land that has yet to have grass planted

7d    Doctor cures it, still holding empty comforter for child (8,7)
An anagram (doctor) of CURES IT followed by an adverb meaning still or up till now around an adjective meaning empty or vacant

13d    In job, I met all I could, including Al with Mo, for example (10)
This adjective which is hidden (including) inside the clue describes, for example, a pairing of the metals whose chemical symbols are Al and Mo

16d    Go-between put up list, same as mentioned earlier (8)
A four-letter list and Latin word meaning “same as mentioned earlier”, all reversed (put up in a down clue)

23d    Possibly shocking wickedness shown up (4)
Such a wire could, perhaps, be shocking if touched – reverse (shown up in a down clue) wickedness

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Agnetha Faltskog (65) and Jane Asher (69)
Image result for Agnetha Faltskog Image result for Jane Asher


34 comments on “ST 2790 (Hints)

  1. Thanks to v and bd for our morning’s mental romp.
    45f here , crocuses out finally!

  2. 4*/4*. With a handful of clues in the SW corner (17a, 24a, 16d & 17d) putting up quite a fight, this excellent puzzle proved to be tougher than usual for a Sunday but it was still very enjoyable.

    I also got held up slightly by initially selecting the wrong second word for 26a which made 19d temporarily impossible, and it took a while for the penny to drop on the part of the wordplay for 9a relating to attack – a real “d’oh” moment and very clever!

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD particularly for the parsing of 26a which explains why my initial second word was so very wrong.

  3. I found this puzzle a little more challenging than Sunday puzzles of late. Some big words! But a good work out and very much enjoyed. 4*/4* for me today.

  4. First of all, a huge thank you Big Dave for taking the time on what is probably a busy Easter Sunday (and all the other high days and holidays) to blog the puzzle. You and your fellow bloggers are very much appreciated.

    I really enjoyed this and thought it was quite tricky in places. 13D was last in and favorite. Thanks also to Virgilius.

    1. Fifthed by me, I spent morning popping in and out, dear BD you are much appreciated and crypticsue who is also keeping an eye on us in case we get up to mischief.

  5. To me it didn’t feel harder than the average Sunday, but the other crossworder in the household struggled, so maybe it was. Equally as good as a normal Virgilius though: thumbs up.

    A couple of the parsings (like 9a) took some unravelling.

    I was delayed at 26a because I really wanted a different second word which made no sense. It took a little working out to make sense of the correct answer too, but I loved it having done so.

    13d was beautifully hidden. Looking forward to see whether Kath found him.

    16d was my last in.

    I liked lots: I started to make a list, but it was too long. 15a raised a smile and 17a made me laugh, not necessarily for all the right reasons. Biggest laugh = favourite, so that is it.

    Many thanks to BG for a quality crossword as usual, and even more thanks to BD for the Easter blog.

    Happy Easter everyone, whether you’re celebrating the religious stuff, the bank holiday fun or the chocolate – or all three.

  6. Thank you V and BD for making me a happy little old lady. First look through felt formidable but once I picked up my pencil and popped in the few answers I had found it all gradually dropped into place. No special favourite just relieved to have finished, thanks to BD for hints but only needed them to confirm what I had done this week.

  7. Great puzzle today where we had to revert to BD’s hints for the last three in. That’s why we love it so much.

  8. I always enjoy Sunday’s crosswords and todays was no exception. Many thanks for the hints that explained a few clues for me and I swear that was not me in the woods in 17a. Favourite clues 25, 7 and 16.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  9. Oops – BD, I just noticed that your hint for 1a says F(email) instead of F(emale).

      1. I guessed autocorrect. Or failing that, fingers working automatically which mine do a lot.

  10. Loved it! At first I thought it was easier than usual, then I got bogged down. I had the wrong answer for 3d and that meant I had to use the hints to get 9a.
    I did need the hints to understand why some answers were correct, e.g. 26a, but there were lots of lovely clues.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  11. Thank you Virgilius for the puzzle which I found a bit harder than usual. I had put it down to being exhausted after a whirlwind family visit, so I was relieved to see that others found it tricky as well. Thanks BD for the hints and giving up your time on a holiday weekend.

  12. Yet another good crossword.
    I couldn’t get 3d and needed the hint to explain 26a – started off with the wrong appliance even though I couldn’t explain it but 19d put paid to that.
    The less said about 13d the better – missed the hidden answer for ages and spent a very long time wondering who Al and Mo were!
    1a also took far too long and so, for no obvious reason, did 17d.
    There weren’t any typical Virgilius clues – the ones were you have to chop the beginnings or endings off lots of words from the clue to get to the answer.
    I liked 9a (it took a while to understand) and 25a and 4d. My favourite was 15a.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  13. If the blog had appeared earlier, we would probably have had a peek to get some help. However, because it wasn’t there, we persevered, and finished it ourselves. This isn’t a grumble, but more a thank you BD, as we’re feeling very self righteous and pleased with ourselves. Probably pride before a downfall methinks. Thank you to the Sunday setter and to BD for his sterling work.

  14. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite tricky. Needed the hints for 9&26a and 1&7d. Last in was 11a. Favourites were 21a,13&6d, the latter had great misdirection. 4d made me laugh. Was 3*/4* for me.

  15. Really enjoyed doing today’s crossword.
    i have either made progress or the Sunday crosswords are getting easier.
    I prefer to think I have made progress.
    In common with others, I too had the wrong second word for 26a which made no sense and stopped me getting 19d . ….but got the rest all on my ownsome.
    Must try to learn that if it doesn’t make sense then it is wrong!
    Marvellous ingenuity at 13d.
    Thanks to Big Dave and to the setter.
    Sunshine and a bit of warmth at last up here in Tayside. It has been a long winter.

  16. A jolly good crossword – more interesting than quite a lot of prize puzzles – and 3*/4* by my reckoning. 26a my favourite, but there were plenty of other contenders. Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD as usual for his tender ministrations.

  17. Quite a challenge,and I needed hints for 1d and 24a, as I had the wrong answer for 17d. I particularly liked 2d, 5d 7d,18a and 26a.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  18. Super Easter Sunday creation. Agree wth Rabbit Dave 4/4 so thanks to the Maestro and to this blog’s people. Missed that long hidden clue for ages and that made the moment of realisation all the sweeter. I am always in awe of Virgilius’ skills. Some clues have an extra layer in them. Sometimes masquerading as an anagram but they are not. Also when the meaning of the anagram fodder is cleverly tied to the definition.
    I would swap all my Easter Eggs for another of these!
    Peaceful and happy holiday everyone.

  19. Yes, I also really enjoyed this puzzle on easter sunday morning while the kids were hunting for eggs. favourites include 12a, 14a, 17a (where I was quite relieved to read “following”), 26a, and that is just the across clues.

    many thanks setter and of course Big Dave

    1. I have too much to do today to spend time in the corner so I’m going to be very careful while trying to help you.

      8d The definition is ‘not so far’ – the abbreviation for Conservative is followed by a ‘person showing hesitation’ – which has to do with a particular proverb to do with hesitating. Not sure I’m helping but if I say any more…..

  20. As Ora said, it’s becoming less of a slog to solve the Sunday crossword.
    Slowly getting used to the setter.
    Favourite will be 4d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for being on duty during the Easter weekend.

  21. A late attempt on this but a really enjoyable solve . no real problems last in the spanish clue **/*** enjoyment ****

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