ST 2796 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2796 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2796 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, a number of the more difficult clues have been selected and hints provided 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    Place for union resistance, say — is effort spoiled by hostility? (8,6)
Get your Lego kit out! – R(esistance) followed by the Latin abbreviation of say / “for example”, IS, an effort or attempt, an adjective meaning spoiled or rancid and hostility or coldness

10a    Slippery European capable of shocking, taking us in (7)
E(uropean) followed by the electric wire that is capable of shocking around (taking … in) US

12a    French artist upset at clue about evil spirit (6,5)
An anagram (upset) of AT CLUE around an evil spirit – if you thought that the only reason I have given a hint for this one is so that I can provide an illustration then you are right:

14a    Lives finally chronicled by British author (6)
This verb meaning lives or resides is derived from the final letter of [chronicle]D and the surname of a British science-fiction author

17a    Noble  leaves much to be desired? (4,4)
Two definitions – a nobleman who was Prime Minister in the 19th Century and the blend of various fragrant oriental tea leaves, flavoured with bergamot, that was named after him – easy for me as I made a pot of this for breakfast!

24a    From old capital I’m returning Japanese art (7)
O(ld) followed by the capital of a Baltic state and the reversal (returning) of I’M

26a    Ridicule a person in seat — fool around (7)
To get this verb meaning to ridicule put the A from the clue and a person with a seat in the Houses of Parliament inside a fool or simple-minded person

27a    Reconstructed mine, and acted to clear of pollution (14)
An anagram (reconstructed) of MINE AND ACTED TO


1d    Is Rev repeatedly disturbed about editor over sacred text? (7,7)
An anagram (disturbed) of IS REV with (repeatedly) IS REV around ED(itor) followed by a two-letter word meaning over or “across the surface of” – I guess that crossword setters will miss the two Eds more than I will!

2d    Refuse to put front of BMW under cover (7)
The initial letter (front) of B[MW] inside where it might be kept overnight (under cover / in a ******)

3d    It pointedly illuminates English cunning in insult (11)
E(nglish) and an adjective meaning cunning or sly inside an insult or affront

5d    Exaggerates more than some females (8)
… these females could be deer

8d    Silly female put away her book and showered (7-7)
Lego time again – F(emale) followed by a verb meaning to put away or devour, HER, B(ook) and a verb meaning showered or drizzled

16d    Prepare to serve more that’s raw, not initially on menu, for example (2-6)
This verb meaning to prepare to serve more time in the armed forces comes from an adjective meaning raw or inexperienced without its initial letter followed by, for example, a menu

18d    Kind of music newspaper issue sent up (7)
A colloquial word for a newspaper followed by the reversal (sent up) of a verb meaning to issue or discharge

ARVE Error: need id and provider

20d    Talk informally over wine, producing affinity (7)
A verb meaning to talk informally followed by a fortified wine

25d    Trouble and woe, in regular instalments (3)
The odd letters (in regular instalments) of two words in the clue

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.

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Enya (54)
Enya ARVE Error: need id and provider

44 comments on “ST 2796 (Hints)

  1. 3*/4*. Quite challenging but a very enjoyable Sunday puzzle as ever except for 1a, which totally misled me and gave me a lot of grief with 4d until I worked out why I my answer for 1a was not what Virgilius intended. I’ll try to explain why, hopefully without being sent to the naughty corner!

    I took “effort spoiled” to be an anagram of “effort” which leads to the correct terminology for the place in question, whereas my belief (with my pedant’s hat on!) is that the required answer (which you arrive at by using synonyms for “effort” and “spoiled”) is a common misnomer. My BRB does give the “wrong” answer but says that it is not strictly correct!

    Initially I put in the wrong first half for 15a, which stopped me getting 13d until I realised the error of my ways.

    I wasn’t previously aware that the particular word included in 20d could mean “talk informally”.
    4d was my last one in, and, as always on a Sunday, it’s too difficult to pick a single favourite but it certainly won’t be 1a!!

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  2. We agree with you, Rabbit Dave, a bit more challenging than usual for a Sunday but most enjoyable nonetheless. We also spent ages over 1a, barking up the wrong tree but got there in the end. Last in was 15a. Many thanks to Big Dave and Virgillius.

  3. Good morning from St Mawes. I rarely tackle the Sunday puzzle on a Sunday so rarely comment. This took longer than normal due to trying to make an anagram from the wrong letters in 9ac. Once sorted 4d flew in. Very enjoyably solved whilst watching the sailing boats.

  4. I thought this was quite straightforward with the possible exception of 15a. I had all the rest done in 1* time, and then with all the checking letters in 15a I still struggled to find the right word. I correctly parsed the clue but it took me quite a while to just find the right answer.

    2*/4* for me today.

    Thanks to all for puzzle and blog.

    1. You’re one up on me George.
      15a is the only one that I can’t get.
      The rest was very straightforward and thoroughly enjoyable.
      Thanks to Virgilius and BD for the hints.

      1. I usually run through the alphabet for the first letter trying to find words that fit and then see if that word fits the clue. But it can take a while!

        1. Thanks.
          I think it has got to do with driving which I do not practice. And probably with the wrong side of the road as we say here.

          1. Jean-Luc, it’s exactly that. i drove on the ‘wrong side’ of the road for 24 years or so but even so, it was the last one in. Great clue. I thoroughly recommend a television play called ‘The Knowledge’ which talks about the test that London taxi drivers have to pass to get their licence. Very funny indeed!

  5. Puzzle of the week for me. Not too tricky, although there were a couple to think about; last one in 16d.
    Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  6. Enjoyed this one as it wasn’t too difficult and not too much general knowledge required. Favourite clue was 17A.

  7. I’m sure I’ve seen the “leaves much to be desired” 17a clue before. Either in a back page or Toughie. It stuck in my mine because it seemed so good

  8. Easy
    Peasy, that is.
    Enjoyed unravelling the long clues.
    All good fun.
    Chin, chin.
    Thanks to the setter and BD

  9. Excellent stuff again, thank you Virgilius. Always like the 14 letter border clues. Many favourites. Thanks BD for the hints – always important for checking !

  10. This put me pleasantly to the test. Thank you Virgilius and BD for overcoming my mental blockage on 14a – d’uh! I’m with Rabbit Dave vis-à-vis talk informally in 20d. Fav probably 17a. ***/****.

  11. I had the same grief with 1ac as Rabbit Dave. If you google the answer to 1ac, it gives you the correct spelling. Look it up in the telephone directory and you get a similar result. Very enjoyable otherwise, so thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  12. This puzzle needed lots of electronic help not to mention hints too, to complete, though I’m not sure why, after seeing the answers. It’s always easy to be wise after the event. Thank you to the Sunday setter and to BD.

  13. Another super Sunday! Took a little while to get going but all done as per and without any help, I’m pleased to say. I liked 1a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and BD

  14. Took me ages to get started but once I got going I found it not too difficult and very enjoyable. 8d gets my vote as favourite. Thanks to setter and BD for explaining why I had the second word in 1a correct as I had put it in only because nothing else made sense.

  15. Enjoyed this today, and 3*/3* for me. Took a while to find 16d,(last one in), but the penny dropped eventually thanks to the hint! Thanks to BD and Virgillus.

  16. I found this fairly straightforward and was able to get the 4 long clues around the perimeter fairly quickly which helped. Thanks to BD and Virgilius **/****

  17. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle as usual from Virgilius. All went ok except for 16d, got within one letter of it, but just couldn’t get it. Favourite was 1d.Was 2*/4* for me.

  18. A solid 3/3 today. Thoughtful, fun, and occasionally downright awkward. Top puzzle.

  19. I didn’t think this was too tricky apart from untangling a few of my answers.
    Quite a few anagrams and no cricket, football, golf etc etc probably contributed to making it fairly straightforward, for me anyway.
    I managed to convince myself that 14a began with ‘S’ (lives finally) until I got 1d which sorted that out.
    15a was an “oh dear” – lefts and rights again and I never know what the answer means anyway . . .
    I’m with Rabbit Dave and Angel in not knowing that the first bit of 20d means ‘talk informally’.
    I liked 1a (sorry RD) and 6d. My favourite was 8d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD – the piccy for 12a makes me want to go to Giverny again – it’s so lovely.
    Off to cut grass again.

    1. I thought it was only me that did not know what the answer to 15a means.
      It has never made any sense to me.
      I am very comforted to know that I am not alone.
      Thank you, Kath.

      1. . . . and I thought I was the only one who didn’t know what husband means when he says my 15a tyre looks a bit flat, or whatever. Doesn’t make any sense to me either!! So glad that it really isn’t just me – thank you!

        1. It’s the similar term describing multiple lanes on a motorway that has never made sense to me. They seem to be totally the wrong way round. I’m not sure if that is understandable but I daren’t risk the naughty corner tonight.

  20. A really good test. ***/****. Started last night but had to restart this morning with the NW corner. Very enjoyable once some pennies dropped. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review.

  21. Sitting in Suffolk there is a very happy old lady because this was a superb Sunday treat. Lovely anagrams, several smiley moments and four long words round the outside to help. Thanks to BD and Mr G, back to caption writing for exhibition catalogue.

  22. Quite easy ,, but as ever on a Sunday … most enjoyable!

    I liked “The Guinness” one!

    Cheers to Mr Greer!

  23. I’ve been bothered all day by where I’d seen the 17a clue before Have finally found it with the help of Search this site. In an Excalibur Toughie No 679 Now I can relax!

  24. Needed a fair bit of electronic help with this one, but enjoyed it nevertheless.
    Particularly liked 22a.

    Agree with some others that 1a is not strictly the correct term.
    For servants rather than for unions.

    Thanks to Big Dave and to the setter.

  25. Always enjoy the sunday crossword although todays was in the *** bracket for difficulty. I released a sigh of satisfaction on completion . Thanks to the setter for some terrific word play.

  26. Very pleasant crossword that asked some questions but was very fair. Don’t see why people are getting their knickers in a twist over 1a, it seems perfectly clued and indeed was my first answer.
    Just have one query, with 19a, I can see the answer being a sweet child but the rest of the clue has me puzzled. Within the confines of the rules, could anyone explain please.
    Thx to all

    1. Brian, the problem with 1a is that the wordplay leads perfectly to what is an incorrect but very commonly used term for the place in question. Coincidentally and bizarrely a different interpretation of the same wordplay can lead perfectly to the correct name for the place. However this is not what Virgilius intended as it doesn’t fit with 4d.

  27. Thought this was easier than most puzzles this week…. managed with minimal resort to the dictionary.

  28. I can save my fingers and just echo RD’s comments verbatim apart from the last one in (can’t remember what mine was but it wasn’t that).

    Thanks to V and BD.

  29. You are right about 1ac, Rabbit Dave. The first word should end in ‘xx’, not ‘xx’ (although any number of people get this wrong).

    1. Welcome Leigh. You are correct but you can’t say so ‘out loud’ until after the closing date next Thursday.

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