ST 2797 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2797 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2797 (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    Resident, before long, admitting hard worker, say (10)
A phrase meaning “before long” (2,1,3) around (admitting) H(ard) and followed by a six-legged worker

9a    Conservative is alone backing powerful organisations (7)
C(onservative) followed by the reversal (backing) of IS and a word meaning alone

12a    In essence, provide resources for article, using brain (13)
A verb meaning to provide resources for, followed by the indefinite article and an adjective meaning using the brain

14a    Are joining Society that’s nicer to fellows? (6)
A verb meaning are or is alive preceded by S(ociety)

15a    Achieve without expert’s approval? Just the opposite (8)
A verb meaning to achieve or attain around (without) a three-letter abbreviated word for an expert gives a word meaning the opposite of approval

17a    Doing very little to improve one’s health? (4,4)
A treatment consisting of inactivity and quiet

22a    Visual aids placed just in front of pupils (7,6)
… these pupils are not students but parts of the visual organs

24a    Provide backing for track about pair holding hands (7)
A track or trail around a pair holding hands in the game of bridge

27a    It’s hot in a fire, then — possibly as indicated by this? (10)
Put H(ot) inside an anagram (possibly) of A FIRE THEN


1d    It’s more of a hand than a foot (4)
This is 25% of a hand or 8.33% of a foot

2d    Prince provided a cross for Northern town (7)
Shakespeare’s prince followed by a two-letter word meaning provided, the A from the clue and the lcross-shaped letter

4d    Island in East that is oddly lacking in colour (6)
The odd letters of two words in the clue followed by an adjective meaning lacking in colour – hands up all those who thought that “oddly lacking” meant to use the even letters!

5d    Anaesthetised English left-winger came to (8)
An adjective meaning anaesthetised followed by E(nglish) and a left-winger gives a word meaning came to or totalled

7d    Low mark in French I called wrong (7)
Simple if you correctly split the definition from the wordplay – an anagram (wrong) of I CALLED

8d    American bowler’s to take on cricket team here (10)
The American name for a bowler hat followed by the S from ‘S and a verb meaning to take on or employ gives the name of somewhere which has a cricket team

16d    Key ceremony and broadcast raised standards (8)
A musical key followed by a ceremony and the reversal (raised in a down clue) of a verb meaning to broadcast

18d    Event seen in evening paper saddened (7)
The name of a daily newspaper followed by an adjective meaning saddened or unhappy

23d    Without a break, attend strike (4)
Start with a phrasal verb meaning to attend (2,2) and remove the break between the two words

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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 Bob Dylan (74)
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35 comments on “ST 2797 (Hints)

  1. Thank you Virgilius, more excellent stuff ! Thanks BD for the hints. I had the answer for 24a but confess to needing your hint to unravel the wordplay. Always an enjoyable puzzle on Sundays.

  2. Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle as usual from Virgilius. Was beaten by 15a, needed the hint for that. Some very clever clues, favourite was 21d. Also liked 22,25,27a. Was 2*/4* for me. Off to watch the Gooners, weather changeable in Central London.

  3. I liked 1A, 5D and 7D, but somehow this puzzle didn’t have the usual Sunday sparkle for me. Maybe because I finished the sparkliest of puzzles (the NTSPP) immediately beforehand. I don’t understand the definition for 14A at all, though the answer could not have been anything else. Oh, well. Thanks, Virgilius, and thanks to BD for the review.

    1. I agree not the usual “sparkle” and also on14a. Easy to construct the answer 14a had to be, but why is the answer “nicer to fellows”?

      1. The dictionary definition of this word has (originally women) . The ? at the ened of the clue queries whether it does just mean ‘nicer to fellows.

  4. Am I really going to be the first today? Probably not by the time I’ve finished writing this.
    I enjoyed this a lot but found it trickier than the last few Sundays – don’t know why – I just did.
    Most of the right side was OK but I was much slower to get going on the left.
    I was terribly slow to get the two long anagrams – 27a and 3d – which didn’t help much.
    I liked 9 and 25a and 1 and 7d. Even though it’s a lurker my favourite was 6a.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.
    Raining – off to play in the greenhouse.

  5. Another very enjoyable Sunday puzzle with some twists and turns. Perhaps some of the clues were a bit plainer than what normally Vergilius comes up with – 17a, 22a would be examples.
    Anyway 1*/4* would be my rating.

    Thanks to Vergilius and BD for the review.

  6. Splendid crossword.
    Enjoyed every minutes of it after watching the end of the Eurovision song contest.
    I’ll give my 12 points to Virgilius.
    And remember kids, we are the heroes of our time oh ouh oh ouh oh.
    Thanks to BD for the hints as I needed an explanation for 17a. I just didn’t know that expression and guessed from the checking letters.

  7. We agree with Sweet William. Excellent stuff indeed! Tricky enough to be enjoyable and again very well crafted from Virgilius. ***/****

  8. Another good Sunday puzzle, which I found tricky.

    I gave up and looked at the hint to untangle my answer for 24a.

    Thanks to V and BD.

  9. Enjoyable stuff as usual from Virgilius. Had never heard or 17ac, didn’t have any checkers so electronic help used there. After that it was fairly plain sailing. Thanks to BD and Virgilius 2.5*/3.5*

  10. 3*/4* for me today, with 27a last in, and for which I needed help with the clue, before it became crystal clear! Thanks for the help BD, and also to Virgilius.

  11. Am I going mad, cos I couldnt get 26a on the electronic crossword even though it seemed obvious, and no hint…

    1. Welcome Phil. A verb meaning to contest something is obtained from the’finishes’ of some of the other words in the clue.

      1. thanks a lot – I got it with your hint, but I think I probably “contest” the synonym too! A pity cos I really enjoyed the rest.

  12. Finally got 26a, but ‘contest’ the synonym – not contained in Collins thesaurus. Warren.

  13. It’s BD’s birthday, not Big Dave but Bob Dylan. He’s serenading himself….

  14. Thanks to setter and for the hints, both excellent.
    I think that the hint for 4 down should maybe have the number two in it not three?

    In any event many thanks again

  15. 2*/3* or so, and l rather liked 24a. Thanks to Virgilius for playing his part in preserving what remains of my intellect, and to BD for the hints.

  16. I had to work really, really hard to complete this.
    Chuffed without assistance.
    Last in 24a which I thought a brilliant clue amongst many.
    Many thanks Virgilius and BD for the review.

  17. 26A took a time for me but the clue’s there when you see it. The ‘contest’ synonym seems a bit obscure.

  18. Raced through this, but coming back to it now four times, cannot get 26 across. A clue PLEASE!

    1. Welcome. Unless you are the Mike who has commented before (and from your email address, I don’t think you are), you should look into changing your ‘name’ or alias to something else to avoid confusion.

      Our Sunday setter, Virgilius, is fond of these ‘last letter’ or ‘first letter’ clues so it is worth keeping an eye out for them in future.

  19. A sterling and flowing crossword thank you Virgilius. Fav clues were 18d and 24a with lots of others. 23d had me for a while so thanks for confirming that one BD. This one was a two-pinter at the pub on a Sunday with son, parsing away whilst sitting outside. Lovely.

  20. Very late to get round to this today. My rating is 4*/4*. A handful of clues pushed my time to well over 2* with 15a and 23d my last two in.

    1d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  21. I’ve done Monday’s crossword so now it’s time to catch up with Virgilius’ Sunday challenge. Maybe I should have done this the other way round because the simplicity of Monday’s lulled me into thinking this too would be a breeze. Silly me!
    An excellent puzzle though with some lovely clues of which 8d made me smile.
    3*/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his hints.

    1. Like you, Gwizz, I did Monday’s puzzle earlier today but have just burnt a bit of midnight oil to belatedly tackle the Sunday offering. In fact I slightly regret postponing my head-down because I didn’t particularly enjoy this exercise – possibly due to fatigue after a long day’s gardening! ***/**.

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