ST 2817 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2817 (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    Guide to making food in English clubs ready to eat outside (6)
E(nglish) and C(lubs) inside (… outside) an adjective meaning ready to eat

4a    State in which you’ll find 50 per cent of Alaskans — plus earlier 25 per cent (6)
To get this US state start with the final 50 per cent of [Alas]KANS and then add an early 25 per cent of the same word

10a    Amorous male precisely interrupted by person in charge of event (6)
A phrase meaning precisely (2,1,1) around the person in charge of an event or public occasion such as a banquet

13a    Speculation about less civilised people creating state of confusion (12)
A three-letter speculation or gamble around a six-letter adjective meaning less civilised and some people

16a    Steps down from deck using method following mate (12)
A three-letter method is preceded by a mate or colleague

21a    Save last of port in cask (4)
A preposition meaning save or other than followed by the final letter (last) of [por]T

23a    Negative response to various points repeatedly seen as rubbish (8)
A two-letter negative response followed by three various compass points and then the same three points again (repeatedly)

25a    Yank wearing old jacket (6)
A word meaning a yank or tug followed by a two-letter word meaning wearing or having on


1d    Leaders I frantically got ready for (8)
An anagram (frantically) of LEADERS I gives a verb meaning got ready or cash in exchange for

2d    In time, get on board  lots of fish (5)
A verb meaning to be in time for, perhaps to get on board a train while carrying lots of fish!

3d    Massive monument English queen in decline set up (7)
An English queen inside a decline, all reversed (set up in a down clue)

5d    For example, a  story in newspaper (7)
Two definitions!

6d    Small brat revealed to be fool (9)
S(mall) followed by a brat and a phrase meaning revealed (3,2)

9d    Caught in middle of change, quarrel (11)
I find it fascinating that such a simple act as inserting a single letter, C(aught) in this case) inside another word gives a totally different word

15d    Guerrilla taking power, supported by skilled worker (8)
Once again a single letter, P(ower), followed (supported in a down clue) by a skilled worker gives someone totally different

17d    Brings up issue as female, partly from other standpoint (7)
… this lurker is especially for Kath!

18d    How halves of seesaw differ, with extreme force (7)
Split as (2,5) this describes how see and saw differ

19d    I’m appearing in something stunning, Asian garment (6)
The I’M from the clue and a two-letter word meaning appearing or acting in a theatrical production inside something that stuns

21d    Bust ringleader imprisoned by magistrate (5)
The initial letter (leader) of R[ing] inside a colloquial word for a magistrate

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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.

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

Today it’s Happy Birthday to Daryl Hall (69) and Sir Robert “Bobby” Charlton CBE (78)


  1. Kitty
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Another Sunday joy.

    23a and 18d were clever and typically Virgilian, but 10a is my favourite because that is Xx Xxxxx (self-censored because I don’t want to be sent to the naughty corner for giving an alternative definition

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  2. Heno
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle as usual from Virgilius. Needed the hints for 25a & 2d. Favourite was 18d, very clever. Was 3*/3* for me. A bit cloudy now in Central London, but very pleasant.

  3. JonP
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    A thoroughly enjoyable Sunday puzzle in my opinion. I was held up by 16ac which pushed it into two star territory for me. Thanks to BD and Virgilius **/****

  4. Una
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable , on the lighter side of the Virgilian scale, as I finished within Rufus’ time. My favourite is 13a, with 10a and 21 a a short head behind.
    Thanks Virgilius and BD.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted October 11, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Game is afoot.
      May the best team win.

      • Posted October 11, 2015 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        As one of life’s pedants I should point out that it is the “better” team when only two are involved. For some reason no-one seems to have told most of the BBC’s sports commentators.

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted October 11, 2015 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

          You are right BD.
          A little premature.
          Will have to wait for the final before I can call the French team “best”.

  5. Rabbit Dave
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    3*/5*. Superb! I completed all of this except 10a & 6d in less than my 2* time, but those last two somehow took me an age stretching me to 3* overall. It’s totally impossible to pick a favourite!

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    P.S. A very Happy Birthday to Bobby Charlton. A true great on and off the field! Wayne Rooney may be England’s leading goal scorer but he is not fit to lace Sir Bobby’s boots.

    • Florence
      Posted October 11, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Hear Hear!! Bobby Charlton was a truly great footballer. Just got back from Manchester, and although did some clues in the car, bit stuck on last four clues, so having a peak at the hints.

  6. Jaycat
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable but not quite finished, having trouble parsing 20a,17d and 11a if anybody can help without going to the naughty corner.
    Found I was getting the answers but then not quite able to parse them without spending time on it.
    3.5 *\ 4* nice puzzle for a sunny Sunday.

    • Una
      Posted October 11, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      20a,”author”, 17d “brings up”, 11a “essence”.

      • Jaycat
        Posted October 11, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Una, confirms my answers, not sure on the wordplay.

      • Posted October 11, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        11a Hard piece of advice taken wrong way, in essence (4)
        H(ard) and a piece of advice all reversed (taken wrong way)

        20a Author of book, novel bitter in inclination (10)
        This is an anagram (novel ) of BITTER inside an inclination or leaning

        The definition for 17d is ” Brings up issue as female” as given in the above hints, which also point out that the answer is hidden (lurking) in the clue.

        • Jaycat
          Posted October 11, 2015 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

          Thanks BD, couldn’t for the life of me see 17a in the clue , can now!
          The others also seem easy now.!

  7. neveracrossword
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Virgilius at his best. Favourite was 18d. Like RD, I was held up for a while at the end by 10a and 6d. (I never understood the “precisely” bit in the latter, though I got the right answer). For 19d I assumed that IM from the clue is inserted into a stunning number (in the sense of an item of clothing).Thanks to BD and setter.

  8. Hrothgar
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Excellent tussle.
    Thought 6d and 5d very clever.
    Last in 10a, took far too long for the penny to drop.
    Many thanks Virgilius and BD for the review.

  9. Hilary
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD, lovely Sunday treat. Tried a bit too hard with non-existent anagrams silly me but got there in the end. 3d appealed but in the end plumped for 12a just because I love the sound of the word even though it is about the last word to use to describe me.
    What I enjoy is the lightbulb moments when thanks to the blog I see why my wild guesses are correct. Lovely day here.

  10. Kath
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    A very slow start and I thought that I might be having a dim day but then it all sorted itself out.
    With several of my answers it was the working out why that took the time – 10a and 3, 17, 18 and 19d.
    I liked 13 and 21a and 18d. My favourite was 25a.
    With thanks to Virgilius for another really good Sunday crossword and to BD for doing the hints on a Sunday.

  11. Florence
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Missed the lurker in 17d, but once in, was able to sort rest Thanks to Virgilus and to BD. 12a and 13a favourites. Spent longer on this one than normal for a Sunday. Either it was harder, or I was even slower than normal due to suffering rugbyitis. Must go and cook a rather late Sunday lunch. Might have to open another bottle of something to help the rugbyitis.

  12. Graham Wall
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    A very enjoyable offering, makes a Sunday complete. I particularly liked the clever clueing of 13A. 16A had me stumped for a while but I succeeded in the end. My rating is 3/5 A very good cerebral work out and a very good blog proffered by our leader.

  13. Vancouverbc
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    **/****. Very enjoyable not least as I got some of the longer clues with few if any checkers e.g. 13a. Really liked 3d and 24a. Thanks to the setter for a good workout and BD for the review.

  14. Merusa
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Typical Virgilius offering, I loved it.
    I did need the hints to “get” 10a and understand why I was right. That is my fave by a long shot, so clever.
    Thanks to Virgilius, so many smiler clues, and to BD for the hints.

  15. Michael
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable and a little tricky but all good fun.

    I’ve been doing this whilst watching the British Masters from Woburn – what a great course and great competition – it’s given me the impetus to get out and play again even with my foot trouble – I’ll just grin and bear it and hack my way round as usual!

  16. Young Salopian
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    This little gem has made my Sunday. Very rarely does Virgilus disappoint, and this was an excellent example of his craft. 24a was my last one in, and I cannot pick a favourite as the whole crossword was a superb challenge. 3/4 for me, with grateful thanks to the aforementioned and BD for his hard work.

  17. jean-luc cheval
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Only had to check 16a which was a new word for me but easy to get from the parsing.
    I always love clues like 5d.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the hints.

  18. Expat Chris
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I was slow to get going on this, but it all finally fell into place. Loved 18D. Many thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  19. Killer Watts
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Well, after a very slow start, I resumed during the rugby and got to the end quite comfortably, last in was 10 A. COD for me was 16 A, not a word in everyday use, methinks. Thanks to setter and BD. ***/****.

  20. Framboise
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    A very pleasant brain teaser for which I needed help for 19d – not particularly difficult but had the wrong prefix for 22a! Completely missed that 17d was a hidden clue but got it nevertheless. Loved 10a, 23a and 25a – too many clever clues to find a favourite. Many thanks to BD for the hints and to Virgilius for an excellent mental workout. Sad that France lost to Ireland in rugby, boo, boo…

  21. Salty Dog
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Another stunner from my favourite setter! 2*/5*, and 13a top clue (also my last in). Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  22. spindrift
    Posted October 12, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    18d is sublime!

  23. Gwizz
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Excellent Sunday fare even when it’s completed on a Tuesday. I hesitate to say it… but I will anyway, but I thought it was a wee bit on the gentle side for Virgilius!
    16a was my last one in and also my favourite.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his hints.