ST 2805 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2805 (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    Potter about before armistice arranged (10)
The single-letter Latin abbreviation for about followed by an anagram (arranged) of ARMISTICE

9a    Hide resentment of a kind, mostly before staff returns (7)
Most of a kind of resentment followed by the reversal of a four-letter staff

10a    Gathering fruit from some climbershow mad can one be? (7)
Two definitions – a verb meaning gathering the fruit of a plant of the mulberry family with a long twining stalk, used for flavouring beer, and an adjective that describes a degree of being mad

15a    Arbitrates about professional payments, including royalty (8)
The two-letter word meaning about followed by some professional payments around (including) royalty, in the form of Her Majesty

19a    Cast aside, lives in part of Ireland (6)
A two-letter verb meaning lives inside an Irish county

22a    He rings the changes as politician in action, and goal’s revised (13)
Our usual politician inside an anagram (revised) of ACTION and GOAL’S


24a    Make prediction for aircraft going over speed of light (7)
A three-letter word meaning for followed by an aircraft around the mathematical symbol for the speed of light

27a    What’s valued about a monarch that’s insecure (10)
An adjective meaning valued or cherished around the A from the clue and the Latin abbreviation for a monarch (king or queen)


1d    Signs left out of things like this (4)
Drop the L(eft) from a word that describes the above line, and the others in this puzzle

2d    Go back to clergyman shortly before I get behind on support (7)
The three-letter abbreviation for a clergyman followed by the I from the clue and a verb meaning to get one’s behind on a support

3d    Two non-alcoholic drinks that can be bought in bars (4,9)
Combine two non-alcoholic drinks to get an item of confectionery that can be bought in bars – one for the ladies!

4d    Create a single international gang boss in the US (6)
Split as (3,3) this could mean to create a single international sportsman

8d    Making arrangements I perform musically with instrument (10)
The I from the clue and a verb meaning to perform musically follow a musical instrument

11d    Powerful politician that’s initially backed MP (5,8)
… simply reverse the letters of MP and then expand the abbreviation

13d    Working in working group, for example, inserting one page in small piece (10)
… what the word working is in the phrase working group – I (one) and P(age) inside a small piece

18d    Doctor entering saw, for instance, a gambling activity (7)
One of the two-letter abbreviations for a doctor inside the kind of implement of which a saw is an example then the A from the clue

21d    Imaginative American writer leading movement out of control (6)
A three-letter American writer followed by (leading) an out-of-control movement

23d    Some ride sidesaddle for day after day like this (4)
Hidden (some) twice (day after day) in the clue is a day in the ancient Rome calendar that had great significance for Julius Caesar

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 Benedict Cumberbatch (39) and Brian May (68)




  1. Hilary
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Johnny-no-friends today, happy old person because somehow I managed to finish before BD’s second helpful hints arrived. Rain first thing but now just overcast. Hope it stays fine because Latitude festival just down road and not much fun if it rains.

  2. Hilary
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    P S thank you Mr G for a delightful way to spend Sunday morning

  3. Jezza
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Puzzle of the week for me! Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  4. Posted July 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Another great crossword from our one and only Sunday setter.
    Lovely surface. Especially 7d.
    Favourite is 21d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  5. overtaxed
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I liked this. A couple of new words and a very old one no longer used.liked 1d and 12a, and particularly liked the picture of the matchstick men at 22.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the usual fine blog.

  6. Kitty
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Average Sunday quality, average enjoyment … but on Sundays, average = top-notch :).

    Difficulty-wise, I thought it was a smidgen gentler than usual, but it does help to know Virgilius’s style. It makes clues like 13d much more straightforward than they would otherwise be.

    Thanks to V and BD.

    • Posted July 19, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      You’re so right about 13d. I’m useless when it comes to grammar.
      But the parsing was quite clear.

  7. Posted July 19, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Sorry BD, but this time I did fill in the website window with the official Hyères portal. It still works apparently.

  8. Rabbit Dave
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    3*/5*. As Kitty says – typical Virgilius: same old, same old… brilliance!

    I loved every bit of this from start to finish.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  9. Posted July 19, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Just had Juanes and his band for lunch.
    Playing in St Tropez tomorrow.
    Lovely Colombians, Spanish and Brazilians. Viva la musica.

    • crypticsue
      Posted July 19, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      I had home made apricot pie for lunch. Probably more delicious than eating a band

      Your ‘blue’ name as because the Hyeres address is still showing as well as your email address. The comments you made on the NTSPP earlier only had the email address.

      • Posted July 19, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        I had to be nice. The “Juanes” is from Medellin. Don’t want any trouble from the cartels.
        As for the blue name, BD said he disabled the field but I tested it on the Sunday crossword and it still works.

  10. Wahoo
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Is it only me then that has a technical problem with the online puzzle?

    Half of every clue is missing – it was last night and it is this morning.

    • crypticsue
      Posted July 19, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Just you – hang on and I’ll send you a pdf.

      You should now have mail

      • Wahoo
        Posted July 19, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        Just got back in and have your email. Very kind, thanks.

        Like Expat Chris, its’ well over 95 here today, so I’ll take the printed version down to the beach bar for a covered lunch before a much needed dip in the Caribbean Sea!

        • Kath
          Posted July 19, 2015 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

          Jealous – me – well, yes. Never seen, let alone been in, the Caribbean Sea. One day, maybe . . .

  11. Kath
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Not too tricky today although I was slow with most of the top left corner.
    I had the wrong ending (wrong spelling of it too) for 17a which was sorted out when I got 16d.
    I liked 10 and 12a.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  12. Framboise
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Lovely puzzle! Many thanks to Virgilius for this treat. 2.5*/4*. 17a made me smile. Favourite was 13d. Thanks to BD for the hints – the matchstick men are really funny!

  13. Dumb Dave
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes I have to solve the clue before I understand Big Dave’s hints.

    • Posted July 19, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      So you haven’t learnt anything since your last whinge. You obviously don’t read the hints properly as they give you both the definition and how the wordplay is constructed. Perhaps one day you might leave a positive comment.

      • Paso Doble
        Posted July 19, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        Dumb Dave, as this is a prize weekend crossword, Big Dave’s hints and tips are designed only to give you a shove in the right direction if you are stuck on something and we think they are really helpful….Nuff said!

        • Kath
          Posted July 19, 2015 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      • Dumb Dave
        Posted July 19, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        You have a long memory as it is at least a year ago since I commented. I can’t even remember what I put. It was obviously a whinge.

        • Posted July 19, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          I just have an intense dislike of people who only ever complain.

          Your only previous comment was on 1st March 2015 and said “Sometimes I find these hints harder than the clues” – look familiar?

  14. Expat Chris
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Smashing stuff! Loved it all, with 13D my absolute favorite. Thanks,Virgilius and BD.

    96F (35.5 C) at 11:30 am and climbing. An indoors day today.

    • Merusa
      Posted July 19, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      That’s hotter than us!

  15. Merusa
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Perfect puzzle, though I found it a tad trickier than the usual Sunday.
    Loved many, particularly10a, but runaway fave was 21d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the review and the stick men!

  16. Florence
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Best puzzle of the week for me. Possibly beacause it was the easiest, or timewise quickest I have ever filled in. Also, only used BD ‘s hint for 13d for checking purpose. Favourites today were 10a, 22a and 23d. Thanks to setter and to BD for all the effort put in, and for the enjoyment it has given today.

  17. Young Salopian
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    I did this excellent puzzle before driving up to Chester for a family party. An Australian cousin and his wife were somewhat overjoyed by the goings-on at Lord’s. 2/3 for me with thanks all round.

  18. Paso Doble
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    As aways, a delightful puzzle from Virgilius.
    Thanks to BD for the review.

  19. pommers
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    The usual splendiferousness on a Sunday so thanks to Mr Greer.

    Off on hols tomorrow so probably won’t be around for the next three weeks. Singapore, Phuket, Ko Samui and then Bangkok. We’ll be doing a bit of touristy sightseeing, six days sailing on friend’s boat and then the main event is the wedding of said friend’s youngest son. He’s 30 for God’s sake – how did that happen? It seems only yesterday that he was just a bump in his mum’s tum. That’s on Ko Samui and, as he’s Australian, it seems to require about 3 days of various parties and BBQ’s etc. I Don’t honestly think I’ll have time for crossies apart from on airplanes – I’ve got 60 printed out. Is that going to be enough?

    Anyway, see y’all next month and don’t worry, Kath’s covering my blogs. Probably she’ll do a better job than me anyway.

    • pommers
      Posted July 19, 2015 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      P.S. I notice the BBC sport website says the England cricket team were “Dismal”. Personally I didn’t think they were anything like that good.

      However, the Scottish one did a brill job in the tennis.

      • Angel
        Posted July 20, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Indeed both the Scottish ones!

    • Merusa
      Posted July 19, 2015 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Oh, that sounds wonderful. Reminds me of the hols I used to have when working for the airlines. You’ll be lucky to be still standing after three weeks of such jollity! Have a great time!

    • Jane
      Posted July 19, 2015 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      THREE WEEKS, Pommers?!!! I got ‘hauled over the coals’ for a similar transgression and I’m nothing like the vital link on the blog that you are. Have the most brilliant time but, a word to the wise, keep a very close eye on all your belongings whilst in Ko Samui.

      By the way, did you ever get round to last Thursday’s back-pager? Interested to know whether you thought it was mad-hat day or a new kid on the block.

      • pommers
        Posted July 19, 2015 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        Didn’t feel like a mad hat day to me but it was a very tricky little bugger. Mostly due to slightly dodgy wordplay IMHO. Quite liked it though glad it wasn’t my turn in the chair.

        Dunno about “vital link”. More like “grumpy old man that we have to put up with”.

        • Jane
          Posted July 19, 2015 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

          I’m sure you’re not fishing for compliments, Pommers, but – just in case….

          • pommers
            Posted July 19, 2015 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

            Fishing? Me? That will be next week off the back of friend’s boat in the waters around Phuket.

            Ask pommettes – grumpy old man is me

        • Kath
          Posted July 19, 2015 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

          Good – so you didn’t think it was a mad hat day either. I thought I might have been pushing my luck with saying that.

          • Jane
            Posted July 19, 2015 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

            Oh dear, Kath – looks as though I’m going to have to bring that ‘new’ category into play. What did Hanni christen it – ‘God help us’ day?!!!

    • Kath
      Posted July 19, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      No – there are very few who do a better job than you and anyway you got me into this so and have fun.

  20. Heno
    Posted July 20, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A ffantastic puzzle,so amusing and well constructed. Got held up for a while by 19a, and 7d which was last in. Favourite was 3d. GGreatfun, was 2*/5* for me.

  21. Gwizz
    Posted July 20, 2015 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Another Sunday special! A lovely crossword which was a joy from start to finish.
    21d was my fave, 3/3* overall and thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his hints.
    Holidays? What are they?

  22. Martin R
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure I have the answer to 7d but I can’t justify it. Any hints please? Thanks, Martin R

    • crypticsue
      Posted July 21, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Martin. The definition is building – limited indicates the need for abbreviation for Energy followed by a conjunction meaning provided inserted into a verb meaning to cut into small squares.

      • Posted July 21, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        … or cubes if you are working in thee dimensions!

        • crypticsue
          Posted July 21, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          After this evening’s goings on, assisting with a Toughie blog, I’m not sure I’m working in two dimensions.

      • Martin R
        Posted July 21, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Many thanks crypticsue, it was the conjunction I was missing….