ST 2801 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2801 (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:


7a    Area set in Siam, possibly, or another Eastern country (8)
A(rea) and a verb meaning to set inside an anagram (possibly) of SIAM

9a    Saw cut one circle in slow movement (6)
A saw or maxim without its final letter (cut) followed by I (one) and the letter shaped like a circle

10a    Irish quarter changed as result (6)
An anagram (changed) of RESULT

12a    Misbehaviour of king in banking, for example (6,8)
Put K(ing) inside the activity (5,8) of which banking is an example

17a    Cut diamonds right, left, and centre (5)
D(iamonds) on the right and left and a slang word for diamonds in the centre

19a    Mostly perform brain operations fine (4)
Most of a verb meaning to “perform brain operations”

20a    Result of shocking event at sanatorium? It might be (14)
An anagram (might be) of AT SANATORIUM IT

28a    Reckoning error I found in manuscript is by Tolstoy, say (8)
The I from the clue inside the abbreviation for M(anu)S(cript) and followed by the rank accorded to, for example (say), Nikolai Tolstoy


1d    In Paris, I’ve left prison (4)
Back to school! – the French for I’ve/I have (1’2) followed by L(eft)

2d    Time in piece of music satisfactory for composer (6)
T(ime) inside a short piece of music and the two-letter word meaning satisfactory

6d    Greek character on a strange mission — very hush-hush? (10)
A letter (character) in the Greek alphabet followed by the A from the clue and an anagram (strange) of MISSION

13d    Vessel in evident trouble listed, finally capsized (10)
A three-letter vessel inside an adjective meaning evident or patent and the final letters of two words in the clue

14d    Like book that’s complete, or marginally unfinished (5)
Two definitions – the second being like a book from which the rough margins have not been removed

18d    Stump, perhaps, as part of crossword is missing (7)
One for the cricket fans! – to stump a batsman is one way of sending him back to the pavilion, and it’s cleverly hidden (part of) inside the clue

22d    First-class spinner following bit of advice (3-3)
A spinning toy follows a bit of advice

26d    Read note, oddly, as expression of anger (4)
The odd letters of the first two words in the clue

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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 Father’s Day and Happy Birthday to Prince William (33)




  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    2*/4*. Not difficult but great fun as ever. Lots of possibilities for favourite, but I’ll settle for the excellent anagram in 20a as my runner-up and the glorious 17a as the winner.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  2. Paul Smith
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Very satisfying to have completed this before the hints arrived, although I thought I would have needed a hint for 15a. It is amazing how difficult it can be to solve a four letter word with a clue of 11 words, but I got there!

    • Angel
      Posted June 21, 2015 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      I bunged in 15a but needed help to parse it.

  3. Sweet William
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Thank you Virgilius, harder than usual I thought. Perhaps it was the grid – without the 14 letter perimeter clues. 15a last in. I thought that I might be begging for help here until the penny final dropped ! Thanks BD for the hints, always good for checking purposes

  4. Brian
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    As often seems to the case on a prize puzzle, there are no hints for the ones I am stuck on!
    Can’t parse 5d, and 15a, 27a and 21d all have me stumped!

    • Hrothgar
      Posted June 21, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Stare at 5d, Brian.
      Stare hard at it.

    • Posted June 21, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      As often seems the case you have picked 4 clues that I rated as not needing hints!

      15a Conclusions reached by student despite the chaos in places on course (4)
      The final letters of four words in the clue

      27a Sensitive and caring type (6)
      Two definitions

      5d Least sensible part of job armies tackled (8)
      Hidden (part of) inside the clue

      21d Leaders abandoning PM and his very hapless state (6)
      Drop the initial letters (leaders) from three words (PM, his and very) in the clue

      • SheilaP
        Posted June 21, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Thank you BD. three of those were ones we couldn’t get too.

        • Posted June 21, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

          I bet you kicked yourself when you did get them!

          • Merusa
            Posted June 21, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

            Particularly 15a, took me longer to get that than the rest of the puzzle.

            • Colmce
              Posted June 21, 2015 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

              So glad it wasn’t just me with 15a,.

              • Robin Newman
                Posted June 22, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink

                nice clue, once the hint led me to the answer


      • Brian
        Posted June 21, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Thx BD, you have confirmed all my answers except of course 15a which I would never have got without the hint. Can’t make my mind up whether it is a very clever clue or an awful one! Whichever it certainly beat me.
        Overall I found this one of the more difficult Sunday puzzles for a while.
        Thx to all.

  5. dutch
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    The usual Sunday treat, pure joy, many thanks Virgilius
    Clues I marked as particularly appealing to me were 15a, 17a, 19a, 20a, 1d, 5d, 6d, 13d, 18d, 21d, 24d- says it all. Many thanks BD for the review.

    The Guardian Prize puzzle yesterday by Shed is also extremely entertaining (and free, just google guardian crosswords) – I highly recommend it.

  6. JonP
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle which I found slightly easier than usual for a Sunday. Thanks to BD and Virgilius **/****

  7. neveracrossword
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Good value. “D’oh” moments fizzing up all over the grid. 3*/4*.

  8. Una
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Like Dutch , if I were to list all the clues I liked , it would be quite a long list.
    10a was my last in , the “as” certainly misled me and it really should have been my first solve.. 12a and 6d were among my favourites.
    Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  9. SheilaP
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Liked this crossword but it took us ages to get going and took help to finish. Thank you to the Sunday setter and to BD.

  10. Kitty
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    A delight from start to finish. My favourite was 17a, with 6d (which goes nicely together with 2d and 9a) runner up and 21d beaten into third place. 15a was my last in.

    Happy Father’s Day, Dad :).

    • Kitty
      Posted June 21, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Many thanks to BG and BD too. That does go without saying but I should still say it!

  11. Merusa
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Good puzzle, most enjoyable.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD, particularly for 15a.

  12. Cornishpasty
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    What a relief, piece of cake today whereas I sweated bullets to complete yesterday’s.

    • RichardW
      Posted June 21, 2015 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Reverse here… yesterday’s completed without recourse to dictionary relatively easily (once I twigged which Cambridge for 6d!) – today’s a complete mystery – I have got about 6 clues after an hour!

  13. Framboise
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Quite a challenge for me . First reading of the clues almost send me in a panic. So calmed down and started to solve a few here and there. Needed the hints for 10a, 17a and indirectly for 20 a – knew it was an anagram but was trying with event sanatorium instead of at it sanatorium, which of course did not work – brilliant clue! 3*/4*. Found it more difficult than usual for a Sunday Prize crossword but enjoyed immensely solving it. Many thanks to Virgilius and of course BD for the much needed hints.

  14. Young Salopian
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Talk about not seeing the wood for the trees! Raced through this excellent puzzle then hit a brick wall with 16d of all clues. When the old penny dropped It was so obvious of course. I blame the Yorkshire hospitality then the drive home. ***\**** with thanks to all.

  15. Paso Doble
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    This was trickier than a normal Virgilius but very entertaining indeed. Had trouble parsing a couple of the bung ins though. Big Dave came to the rescue, so a satisfying Sunday was had by all.

    Andy Murray won Queens, Blur were brilliant last night so we are looking forward to The Who on Friday and the first day of Wimbledon Monday week.


  16. Salty Dog
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Another fine ST prize puzzle – bravo Virgilius! At the trickier end of 2* difficulty, and 4*+ for enjoyment. So many excellent clues to choose from, but my favourite is the deceptively simple 15a. Thanks to BD for the hints too.

  17. Angel
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Found this unusually taxing for a Sunday puzzle. Was left with 5 unanswered or unparsed clues which BD had not deemed “difficult” so had to seek alternative help. Splendid conclusion to enjoyable week of Queen’s Club tennis – well done Andy. Now a week’s breather before the Wimbledon long haul. It’s great to have so much TV coverage – sorry Kath! ****/***. Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  18. Cryptor
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Managed all but three, 17a, 21d and 27a in reasonable time, but doubled it scratching my head over these three. Went to church, came back, had supper and then answered all three straight off. Can’t decide if it was the prayer or the cheese and wine that made the difference. Great puzzle. Thanks everyone.

  19. Paso Doble
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    This one’s for you Big Dave – you missed a treat – and we think you will understand the relevance ……

    • Posted June 22, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Thanks for trying – I turned it off as soon as whoever it was started trying to sing. As Brian might have said “horrid”. My stereo system currently has Ben E King in one deck and Elvis in the other.

      • Merusa
        Posted June 22, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know him but I loved it! Will haven’t to look for it. And, of course, I’m of the generation who adore Elvis.

      • Paso Doble
        Posted June 22, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Fair enough BD. We appreciate all genres of music in this household including Ben E. King and THE King himself. We also have to put up with (and grown to enjoy) some of the rap preferred by the younger members…..

  20. Th
    Posted June 22, 2015 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Just 8d puzzling me now after getting the right Tolstoy eventually and learning what saw means. I can guess the answer but no idea why! Any help?

    • Posted June 22, 2015 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Th

      Regulars will know that most of the clues for which I don’t provide hints are those I rate as easy. Others will say they are only easy if you know the answers.

      8d Got off course, so remained without some basic education (7)
      A verb meaning remained outside (without) one of the three single-letter elements of a basic education