ST 2804 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2804 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2804 (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    Accommodation for officers isn’t too special in mess (6,8)
These are non-military officers – an anagram (in mess) of ISN’T TOO SPECIAL

10a    Excellent, like every part of RAF, but not army or navy (7)
Look carefully at every part of R A F!

12a    Never to be removed from home — a right to keep property accomplished (11)
The usual two-letter word for home followed by the A from the clue, a right to keep property and an adjective meaning accomplished or proficient

15a    Unparalleled order to stop being so inquisitive (8)
Split as (4,4) this could be an order to stop being so inquisitive

17a    Make interesting observations as visitors (8)
A cryptic definition of making interesting observations as visitors or tourists

19a    Number of Latin Americans giving short talks (3-3)
This Latin American number or dance tune comes from a four-letter word for a talk without its final letter (short) followed by the same again

24a    Have a line about game’s unfortunate score (3,4)
A three-letter verb meaning to have, the A from the clue and L(ine) around a board game

27a    Meat dish, in general, following grouse (4,10)
The name of a famous general follows a grouse or complaint


1d    Creating camps far apart, holding up rising increase in accessibility (14)
The act of splitting opinion into two opposing camps around (holding) the reversal (rising in a down clue) of UP

3d    Is spellbound? Oddly daft witch is fascinating (11)
The IS from the clue inside (bound) a spell and followed by the even letters (oddly?) of dAfT wItCh – is the word “missing” missing from this clue?
Thanks to the setter for confirming that there was an omission in the clue, which should have read “Is spellbound? Oddly deficient daft witch is fascinating”

5d    Assigned a small place to sleep, overlapping with another (8)
The A from the clue and S(mall) followed by two places to sleep, with the final letter of the first overlapping the initial letter of the second – although the abbreviation for “small” is used a lot, surprisingly it is not supported by Chambers

7d    Conspicuous reason for putting menu items on laptop? (7)
Split as (2,5) this could be a reason for putting menu items on one’s lap[top]

13d    Former PM introducing current measure with style in this town (11)
An eighteenth century Prime Minister followed by a measure of electric current and a word, of French origin, meaning style

16d    Early-morning call always upset sick European (8)
The reversal (upset in a down clue) of a word meaning always followed by an adjective meaning sick and E(uropean)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

20d    Stripped in exotic act in nightclub (7)
An adjective meaning stripped or naked inside an anagram (exotic) of ACT

25d    It’s not on circular letter fellow duplicated (3)
The letter shaped like a circle followed by F(ellow) and F(ellow) (duplicated)

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.

Please read these instructions carefully. Offending comments may be redacted or deleted.

Today it’s Happy Birthday to Cheryl Ladd (64) & Christine McVie (72)
Cheryl Ladd ARVE Error: need id and provider


56 comments on “ST 2804 (Hints)

  1. I really enjoyed this little teaser. Just the right balance of tough but fair clues and a couple of lightbulb moments that had me laughing. Favourites I think would be 8d and 19a. ***\**** reflects my thoughts. Thanks to setter and BD.

  2. This was a joy to solve with just enough grey matter exercise. Thanks so much Mysteron and BD for being on hand in case of need. Came near to going Russian with 27a. 12a was last to go in. ***/****. Now all set for final day of Wimbledon – should be great match.

    1. Wimbledon is increasingly becoming a 2 week competition to see who Djokovic beats in the final.

      1. Maybe, but I for one (and I’m not alone) am hoping to see Djokovic get a good Federering

          1. Oh dear, YS. Both Kitty and MP cast bait into the waters and then sit back to wait and see who gets reeled in – pleased to see it was someone else’s turn today.

            1. Wimbledon commentators ain’t quite wot they used to be SheilaP are they? DM certainly was a gentleman gem and I for one miss him.

            1. Do not know whether you will see this Merusa, second attempt back with his family Lupo appeared fine. We have him this weekend to see how his separation anxiety has improved. I’m not giving up on him just yet :)

    2. Just the same in the Women’s competition, boring isn’t it!
      About time a h/cap system was introduced to stop the same players winning everything. I suggest that the top 10 seeds be only allowed a single serve.

      1. I suppose it depends on whether the competitions are being held purely as a spectator event or to discover just who is the ‘best in the world’ at any given time. The top seeds have usually been playing at a gruelling level for quite a few years and so are obviously fighting increasing age with every season that passes. Interesting debate!

        By the way – well done you for acting as mentor to your grandson. I’d like to be a fly on the wall when you tackle a Mr. T with him!

    3. Did anyone other than me laugh at the “fill in stuff’ i.e. the commentators trying to keep the interest going while the players went off, briefly, when it rained a bit. The cameras did a scan of the surrounding area and there was a lake – someone (don’t ask me who – can’t remember) said, “This lake used to be in Capability Brown’s garden” – there was then a slight pause before someone else said, “The lake wasn’t moved but that area was where his garden used to be!”

  3. I knew evenly could mean oddly and today I learned oddly can mean evenly (3d). Odd world we’re in.

    Bit tricky for me today I think because of long words with some very nice anagrams, nice surfaces and precise (for the most part) clueing.

    I liked 9a (Parking car so…), 10a (…RAF…), 11a (Don’t stand for…), 22a (Awfully smart…), 2d (Pride is issue…), 5d (Assigned a small place…), 18d (Potentially earning…), 25d (It’s not on circular…)

    Great stuff, many thanks setter and BD

  4. I really enjoyed this, and checked 10A, 15A, 23A and 7D as being particularly appealing to me, but I think 12A is my favorite. I’m assuming since it’s Sunday it’s Virgilius, so thanks to him and to BD for the review.

  5. Entertaining Sunday fare to brighten a wettish morning. Favourite clue was 10a. Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  6. Bliss there is no other word for this offering from Vigilius, had not met 22a before but laughed out loud when I found it, 21d made me smile because architect who did our alterations had a tendency to them, too many magic moments to choose from, thanks to BD.

  7. 12a favourite. Solved post birthday hangover. Rounders tournament seemed a good idea plus picnic at a nearby country park (ferry meadows). Cuth and Cynth excelled at catching the balls, not quite so good at taking them back to the correct base :) Anyway thanks to BD and Virgilius

  8. I liked 7d,and 19a and 18d in particular.
    I have completed the puzzle so I am not looking for a hint but I still find little connection between the clue and the solution in 3d, 10a and 23a.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  9. Wot! No “hidden word” clues in a.Sunday Virgilius puzzle?

    Disappointed !

    But 10a was EXCELLENT..

  10. Ah, Sunday is the day for crossword heaven! Enjoyed every second of this. All doable but requiring some thought, and generating lots of smiles along the way. I don’t mind evenly or oddly to mean alternate letters. It seems Chambers is missing a definition if that abbreviation for small is not in there, but the crossword is not missing anything (except the clue type Franco mentioned). No point in even trying to look for a single favourite clue.

    Many thanks to our consistently brilliantly Sunday setter and our consistently wonderful BD.

    1. I agree with Rabbit Dave, you’ve said everything I want to say. Super puzzle, doesn’t get better than this.
      Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his review.

      Am agonizing over Federer, I won’t be able to stand his loss!

            1. Don’t feel too sorry for Roger … the runner-up’s prize today was £950,000

              A lot of Swiss Francs even after tax deductions.

              1. I’m with Merusa so It’s probably not about the money at this stage. On the plus side he has a beautiful wife who supports him and they have two lovely sets of twins – what more could he want?

  11. Not for me this one, found it a chore and had trouble with the big words and wavelength matching!. Couldn’t get the even /odd thing and there are many answers I couldn’t parse at all.
    Favourite was 2d, didn’t know the alternative spelling of 18d ?
    Thanks to setter and BD

  12. A real cracker.
    Enjoyed every clue immensely.
    3d stood out for me. Didn’t have a problem with the oddly as I always read it as an instruction to skip the first letter.
    I also like the construction of 7d and 15a.
    22a made me laugh.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the blog.

  13. 4*/4*. Kitty has said everything I wanted to say.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD,

  14. Not too difficult (for a Sunday) but did anyone else find it a bit clunky and heavy going or just me? Can’t remember coming across the French word for style before and I can’t really see the wordplay for 17a. However, I did like 27a and 19a.
    At the moment I am, at his request, trying to teach my 11 yr old grandson how to do the DT cryptic crossword (I know in the land of the blind etc ec) and being 11 he hasn’t got the patience to wait for the Blog so I am trying to Blog it for him. It has taught me great respect for you Guys who do the hints because it is not easy! To get the balance between helping but not giving away the answer is a real test. So I raise my hat to all you hinters who take the time to help the rest of us.

    1. Brian,

      17a – there is no wordplay – it’s a cryptic definition.

      Please, do not teach your 11 year-old grandson on a Thursday!

      1. We have already declared Ray T crosswords out of bounds!
        I am hoping he will get proficient enough to teach me how to deal with those

      2. Think I must have the wrong answer as I cannot see anything interesting about my answer. Can’t be anymore specific or I will get censored. Could put a hint to my answer but BD frowns on that sort of thing.

  15. Great crossword. Am left with 23a but no idea why it is what it is. Regards to all. Smashing tennis comments!

    1. You’ve changed your alias so your comment needed moderation. Both aliases should work from now on.

      23a Reason for competitor’s effortless progress for so long (3)
      It’s a double definition.

        1. It’s not really the cricket meaning – more getting through to the next round in a knockout competition without having to face an opponent.

  16. 24a – shouldn’t the clue read ‘after’ rather than ‘about’?
    1a – maybe the hint should be ‘non-military offices’ rather than ‘officers’.

    Come on, RD – where’s pedants corner today?

    1. Jane, shock, horror! Where’s what? Do you mean pedants’ corner?!!

      The clue for 24a is fine (as per BD’s hint), although I do agree “after” would have worked equally well using a different logic to piece the answer together.

      1a – I’m sure we can be charitable and forgive BD for a typo just this once …

    2. Jane, surely, you should say “pedant’s” – or perhaps “pedants’ “.

    3. Mea culpa for the missing apostrophe.
      Still not happy re: 24a. Surely ‘about’ and ‘around’ both imply that the board game is contained within the A and L?

      1. Read BD’s hint again – a word meaning have, A and L are put around the board game, i.e.:
        [have] + [board game] + [A] + [L].

      1. Oh for goodness sake – common sense has finally clicked in. Many thanks to both of you.

  17. Once again, a super puzzle from my favourite setter. I made this 2* difficulty, but getting towards the top of the satisfaction scale at 4.5*. Hard to choose a favourite. My three front-runners were 7d, 16d and 18a. If l must choose, l’ll go for the first one. Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  18. 3d had an error in transcription or somehow that my first-class editor (oddly) did not pick up. Should have read “oddly deficient”

    Virgilius nods.

  19. Terribly late here today. Still and after watching the Men’s final at Wimbledon.
    Back later after supper . . . .
    Oh, and by the way, needed the hint to get 19a!
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for sorting out my 19a – how couldn’t I do that for myself?

    1. Not much point in coming back – I think that it’s all been said . . .
      ‘See’ you all tomorrow when I’ve stopped snifflling about Federer
      Having said that I did think that Djokovic was really lovely and very gracious – he has learnt from Federer – the best mannered tennis player of them all.

  20. Yes, once again late to the party but I have just completed this lovely crossword. Well up to the standard we have come to expect from the Sunday man. Thanks Virgilius.
    3/4* for me and ooh, 18a perhaps as favourite.
    Thanks also to BD.

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