ST 2800 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2800 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2800 (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    Chapter that is by fellow artist, Bobby’s superior (5,9)
CH(apter) followed by the Latin abbreviation for “that is”, F(emale) and the surname of a famous artist

10a    Messenger or porter, say, carrying letters (7)
This porter is an example (say) of a three-letter alcoholic drink – put it around (carrying) some letters or mail

11a    Succeed in putting some pots in kiln (4)
This term which means to “succeed  in putting” in a particular sport is hidden (some) inside the clue

12a    Front of garage, for sure, including large area for drivers (4,6)
The initial letter (front) of G[arage] and a phrase meaning for sure (2,6) around L(arge) is an area for drivers in the same “particular sport” as above!

15a    Was the cause of something being initially floored (8)
Two definitions – the second being something that is the first (initially) to be placed on the floor

22a    Comfortable in soldiers’ arms? Just the opposite (4)
The reversal (just the opposite) of some arms that might be carried by a soldier

26a    Like a shot from dreadful gun, hit in a style (14)
An anagram (dreadful) of GUN HIT IN A STYLE


1d    Definitive Indian drink, in small volume (7)
An Indian drink inside the abbreviation for a small metric volume

2d    Getting more extreme, if CIA’s muddled in aim (15)
An anagram (muddled) of IF CIA’S inside an aim or purpose

5d    For personnel provision, it’s smart including a couple of females (8)
A verb meaning to smart or tingle around the A from the clue and a couple of F(emale)s

6d    Record in a kind of licence that’s in a sorry state (10)
A record of events inside the A from the clue and a type of licence or allowable departure from strict fact for the sake of effect

7d    Creative activity following a line family inserted in article (7,8)
An adjective meaning following a line followed by a family inside (inserted in) an article or object

13d    Cockney’s clue that man concealed loathing for bully (10)
Start with a string of words meaning a clue (4), that man (3), concealed (3) and loathing (4) and write them down as a Cockney might say them, i.e. (3,2,2,3)

16d    One held by North African on island contracted disease (4-4)
Insert (held by) I (one) inside a member of one of the Muslim peoples of North Africa and then add I(sland)

23d    Language that is inconclusively put together (4)
Take two words in the clue, drop their final letters (inconclusively) and then put what’s left together

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Boy George (54)
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53 comments on “ST 2800 (Hints)

  1. There are two things I like about Sundays, and the crossword is one of them. Thanks very much to Virgilius: yet again you have not failed to produce something top-notch to puzzle and delight us.

    I found this very much on the stiff side, but given that I’m struggling in general it might well be just me. 13d was very clever, and I loved 7d and 21a. My favourites are 6d and 12a… sorry, but on a Sunday it’s impossible to have just one!

    Many thanks to BD for the blog and the hints.

    Now for roast noms, chores and running. Have a lovely day, everyone :).

  2. 3*/5*. I can 26a say this was a 1d Sunday puzzle, which was challenging and breathtakingly brilliant from start to finish. My page is littered with asterisks, notably: 11a, 18a, 21a, 24a (my last one in), 5d & 23d. However, 13d was my standout favourite as the best of a wonderful collection.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  3. As one who has had to sit on the naughty step in the past, I hesitate to point this out – but I think you’ve given the answer in the hint to11a!

    1. Thanks Arthur. I think BD must be having his lunch so I’ve taken the liberty of correcting the hint.

  4. Great stuff again Virgilius, trickier than most I thought. 13d brilliant ! Thanks BD for the hints – I noticed that you declined to mention the unmentionable sport

    1. If he did he’d have to go and sit in his own naughty corner – I don’t think he’d like that.

  5. I managed to complete this well before the hints came out, but there is no way I could have done so without extensive electronic help. I felt quite frustrated while doing so, but when I look back at the answers I can’t work out why I had such difficulty.

    I wish I had persevered longer – especially as the wife is now threatening to drag me of to a garden centre!

    With thanks to the setter and to BD.

  6. Kitty and RD haven’t left me with anything to say but when did that stop me . . . ?
    A really good crossword that I didn’t find too tricky until I got to my last couple of answers.
    I ended up with alternate letters in 9 and 24a and just couldn’t see the answers for ages – don’t know why.
    I was also a bit on the slow side with 15a.
    I did think that two consecutive clues about the same blasted sport was a bit mean!
    I don’t go much on the chances of the poor chap in the 16d piccy!
    I liked 12a and 1 and 17d. My favourite was 13d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  7. Terrific Sunday entertainment with plenty to tax the old grey matter however I do admit to needing a couple of nudges. TVM Virgilius and BD. Second half of 24a didn’t occur to me and can’t believe I didn’t tumble to 12a or 15a. Fav 6d. ****/***.

  8. I didn’t get 24A. Other than that, it was a joy. I, too, loved 13D, but 6D came out tops for me. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    1. Hi Expat Chris and Merusa,
      24a is a double definition – the first is ‘some ready’ and the second is ‘new term’.
      Ready here is the slangy term for some money. The second one is to create a new phrase or term as in Mary’s “perservation” (and lots of others from her too!)
      Hope that helps and that it doesn’t ditch me firmly into the naughty corner because supper is nearly ready and I’m really hungry!

  9. It’s all about the surface – I am in awe of 11a and 18a (which have something in common).

    other great surfaces include 14a, 21a, 25a, 3d, 17a.

    Hope I didn’t give anything away.

    Brilliant, thanks Virgilius and thanks Big Dave for the review

  10. Didn’t get 24a either but still working on it.
    The rest was quite straightforward with well written clues.
    A lovely Sunday treat.
    Like Kath favourite is 13d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD for the hints.
    Picture of Boy George appeared in mega size on my windows phone. But it’s ok. I like him.

  11. I have to admit that without my electronic Super toy I would be looking at an empty grid, this was hard going but strangely delightful. Thanks as always to Mr Greer for stretching my ageing brain cells and BD helping me to work out what I had done.

  12. Gremlins everywhere in my old Toshiba.I tried to comment earlier and the computer appeared to have a mind of it’s own and kept jumping to other pages.I know it is on its last legs and will have to be replaced sometime and I am open to suggestions as to which computer I should buy next.
    I had the second word wrong in 1a and it caused a lot of problems.The hints set me straight ,in the end.My favourite was 7d.
    Thanks BD and Virgilius.

    1. get a mac – i also have an old toshiba that completely does my head in. I love my macbook air.

      1. dutch, Paso Doble and Angel – I hope that BD doesn’t read what you’ve all said. If he does you’ll probably be banned from the blog for ever – it’s heresy to mention Mac’s here!
        I’ll just duck now and say I agree with you all! Oh dear – will we all be back here tomorrow . . . and

        1. PS – Oh dear again – there shouldn’t be an apostrophe with the Macs just in case RD, the resident pedant in chief, reads this.

          1. Mmm…

            I’ll let you off just this once with a three month suspended sentence as you realised your heinous crime and confessed almost immediately. Be VERY careful in future!

    2. I have a feeling B D boss may not agree with me but I am delighted with my Apple IPad Air – it’s all things to all men (and women!).

    3. Thanks for the suggestions, but aren’t Mac and I-pod air more expensive than other makes, though more resistant to viruses, I hear.

      1. Una – that is very much a myth especially if you consider Total Cost of Ownership. You will find that the time you save not having to worry about viruses and other nasties plus the time you save because it all works seamlessly together plus the fact that usually when Apple bring out a (free) new version of the operating system that your Mac will often perform better…well, nuff said!

        There are many people that I know who have gone from PC to Mac and say that they will never go back to PCs. I know of no-one who has gone the other way round.

        1. Exactly, worth the extra purchase price for smooth operation, peace of mind and portability.

    4. Hi Una. I drafted a comment but daren’t post it for fear of causing offence to those who have a differing opinion :(.

      What I will say though is this: it’s not about which is better but about which best suits your needs. To that end, I suspect you might prefer a Mac.

  13. I can’t believe I was held up by 17a of all of the excellent clues on display today. It goes to show that one man’s simple is another man’s tricky. Sometimes the obvious is the way to go. 24a too had me getting splinters scratching my head, but otherwise an elegant, thoughtful and thoroughly enjoyable crossword. ***\**** I think. I go along with the majority and pick 13d as the clue of the day – possibly of the year. Thanks to all, especially the brilliant setter.

  14. Brilliant, loved it. I won’t choose a fave, but 13d and 7d deserve special mention.
    Hoping for a hint for 24a.
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD, so sorry it’s now done, wanted more!

  15. I am another one hoping for a hint for 24A-think I get it, but not sure

    some very clever clues I think, especially 13D

    1. I am going to be exceedingly careful here as it is a hard one to hint for. It was my last one in too,.

      You will need your dictionary – a more formal term for something known as ‘ready’ can also be mean the invention of a new term or word.

      That’s probably still confusing but I can’t think of a better way of explaining it without getting into trouble. Mind you there is some very nice orange polenta cake in the tin (if I say so as the modest baker) so I could take that into the corner with me.

      1. Sorry CS – one day I’ll learn to read through all the comments before replying to anything. and

  16. For us in Camden, this was the best puzzle of the week. Another brilliant one from Virgilius as usual. We swanned into it thinking that it would be all over in minutes but it wasn’t!…13d was a brilliant clue as was 16d. Virgilius is a genius because you manage to go back and work out why every single letter is there.

    So, thanks to him and Big Dave…***/****

  17. That was tough! Eventually finished but had a job parsing a number of clues when I got the answer. Outstanding clue definitely 1a. Still not sure I fully understand 24a. Can see the first part but why new term? The hardest clue for me was 2d, getting that was exhausting!
    Thx to all.

    1. Dear Brian

      I thought we’d agreed you’d look things up before going ‘why….?’

      Best wishes


  18. A relatively easy but thoroughly enjoyable Sunday puzzle , having said that 17a held me up but once that fell the south conceded defeat !. Last in 6d , one of my favourite clues along with 12a and 21a. Not sure how good 13d is ??
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD for the w/e hints

  19. Great puzzle and a joy to solve! Last one in was 15a, wonder why.. 24a did not give me any grief, must have been on the same wave length as Virgilius. Loved 16d and 12a but there wers lots of gems. Revovering from a tremendous thunderstorm last night in Hyères. With many thanks to BD and Virgilius. 2.5*/4*.

  20. Thanks for a nice bit of fun on this one. Got them all ok but needed the hints to explain 11 & 12 across. Last one in was 15a, kept on thinking it had something to do with *********. Should have been easy as I installed ********** one summer vac.

  21. Great stuff from Virgilius, yet again. The SW corner nudged me into 2* time, but the whole thing was a joy. 21a is an excellent clue, which forced a snort of exasperation as l spotted the anagram. Thanks to V and of course BD.

  22. A real struggle for me today.
    Needed quite a few of the hints as well as all the extra ones for 24a. (Liked it when the penny dropped).

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave.

  23. OK – it’s time to wave the white flag! I’ve solved all of the clues except for 24a where i can see what it must be without fully realising why – a nudge would be appreciated. Apart from that i thought this was an absolute stonker.

    Does anybody know if Virgilius’s puzzles are available in book form as that would be my perfect holiday companion (Cephas is already coming with me, much to Mrs S’s displeasure who is a whizz at Sodoko but cannot get her head around cryptics

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