ST 2825 – Hints

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2825 (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 as “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    Crew old-fashioned but resolute (4-6)
The crew of a medium sized rowing boat followed by an old-fashioned adjective meaning old-fashioned

10a    Old man without energy, a little down (7)
The six-letter word for old man around (without – ouch!) E(nergy) – this down is found on a bird

12a    Looking bad, not having what it takes to wrap gift (13)
An adjective meaning not having what it takes around (to wrap) a gift

17a    Awfully stupid European introducing another substitute (8)
An anagram (awfully) of STUPID followed by E(uropean) and round (introducing) another E(uropean) gives a verb meaning to act as a substitute

19a    Doctor who documented his partner’s cases (6)
A cryptic definition of a Doctor who documented the cases of his partner, a fictional detective

22a    Increasing strength I had, surrounded by comfort (13)
The abbreviated form of “I had” inside (surrounded by) a word meaning comfort or sympathy

24a    Land on Mediterranean island, one surrounded by fish (7)
One of the abbreviatons for IS(land) and I (one) inside a type of fish

27a    Point on south coast enemy finally secured in invaders’ initial objective (6,4)
Put the final letter of [enem]Y inside (secured in) the initial object of a seaborne invasion force


1d    Defect in fine piece of legislation (4)
F(ine) followed by a piece of legislation

2d    With no strings attached, like diplomat going to New York? (7)
Split as (2,5) this could describe a diplomat going to New York to represent his country at the organisation situated there

5d    Soldier‘s turned up to identify large tree (8)
A verb meaning to identify or label followed by L(arge) and a type of tree – all reversed (turned up in a down clue)

7d    Before long, seizing front of house to occupy (7)
A phrase meaning before long (2,1,3) around (seizing) the initial letter (front) of H(ouse)

8d    Ominously indicating bad news for postprandial drinkers? (10)
Split as (4,6) this could be bad news for those hoping for a postprandial drink

11d    As another option, reform in artless fashion over time (13)
A verb meaning to reform or change followed by an adverb meaning in artless fashion around (over) T(ime)

18d    Change including a new way to express remorse (7)
Some small change (in the UK) around the A from the clue and N(ew) – the key to solving this clue is working out where the wordplay ends and the definition starts (which I’ve done for you!)

20d    When setter next appears, making newspaper improve? (7)
This setter reappears at this time every day of the year! – a tabloid newspaper is followed by a verb meaning to improve

23d    Centrepiece of package deals for elderly (4)
Hidden (centrepiece) bang in the middle of two words in the clue

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff (38)



  1. Young Salopian
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m running out of superlatives to describe these Sunday puzzles. This is yet another in a long line of excellent crosswords that we have enjoyed recently. I found this a little harder than usual, and strayed into 3* time for difficulty, but give it a solid 4* for enjoyment. So many great clues, but I’ll go for 27a as my favourite. Many thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  2. Una
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant and quite tough this week , at least for me.
    I really liked 1a, my last one , and 7d and 20d , among many others.
    I am quite 12a myself , having come down with this years version of flu.It is an odd version , it creeps up on you, with the first symptom being exhaustion.
    With thanks to Virgilius and BD for the blog.

  3. Paso Doble
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Another amazing puzzle from Virgilius which we both thoroughly enjoyed.

    Other high points of the weekend must go to Leicester City (Dad Paso played there from 1949-1955) who are top of the Premier Division (the second word was a recent answer) and to Bournemouth where Paso studied during the 1970’s who ‘done’ Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

    Great Sunday morning entertainment and thanks again to Virgilius and to BD for the hints and tips.

  4. Langstone Joe
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable, just stuck on 26a. Feel I have the correct solution of a contest two people face each other at, but just cannot relate it to the first part of the clue.

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 6, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Split your solution 3,1 and then read the clue again

      • Langstone Joe
        Posted December 6, 2015 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Yes, thank you.

  5. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I always find it very strange when similar clues appear in two completely different crosswords at the same time.
    This time it was Alchemi’s with his drink running out.
    Needed to solve 20d before making sure of the ending in 22a and found 27a a bit weak and couldn’t find my answer for 1a in my super powered universal encyclopedia. Must definitely get one of these BRB. I’m sure it is in there.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the blog.

  6. Vancouverbc
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    ***/****. Another excellent puzzle with lots of a-ha moments. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review.

  7. Merusa
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    It took some work to get started on this, but as I went on, the answers fell into place nicely. Virgilius is always so very fair, if you keep gnawing at the clue, the answers will eventually reveal themselves.
    I loved 27a, but in the beginning I wanted to put in another town that came to mind in connection to invaders.
    It took far too long to solve the anagram at 3d.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and also many thanks to BD for the hints.

    Sorry to read about the flooding in the NW. I just hope the rains will stop and give them a break.

  8. Expat Chris
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Lovely stuff as usual. 3D and 10A are my top picks. Many thanks Virgilius and BD.

    • Merusa
      Posted December 6, 2015 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I agree about 10a, just forgot to mention it. Clever, clever clue.

  9. Gwizz
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Oh boy, can Virgilius deliver good crosswords? Can he! Another superb example with a load of great clues of which 27a was my favourite.
    3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his hints.
    And the site, touch wood is behaving….

  10. Michael
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    A very good puzzle, pretty tricky but very enjoyable. Some nice clues, I think I was proudest of getting 22a – working it out on the wordplay. It doesn’t take much to please me!

    I see the Emoticons are back, does that mean the server problems are a thing of the past – I do hope so, it’s been very frustrating over the last few days.

    • Posted December 6, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Great as they are, the emoticons actually account for quite a high proportion of the page load time (0.16 seconds / 6%) on the last test I ran.

      • Jane
        Posted December 6, 2015 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        We’d hate to see them go, BD, hope it doesn’t become necessary. It’s seemed quite strange without them – they speak such volumes – despite those such as TS being ‘anti’.

      • stanXYZ
        Posted December 6, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        I’m not very good at percentages!

        But it will be very sad to see this little chap disappear!

  11. Dr_Bob
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Excellent crossword. Very tricky in places and some delightful clues too. 15a was perhaps a little weak but others more than made up for it. Hard to pick a favourite but I’ll go for 1a partly because after the easy 1d it misled me completely. Not sure I can say more given it’s a prize puzzle. ***/****

  12. ginniebd
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Forgive me for being so thick but what is a BRB? I obviously need one.Loved todays puzzle but had to work hard at it,last one in 26 across.Today is only the third time Ive done it but Im hooked

  13. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    4*/4*. Very late to get round to this today. Whilst it was up to Virgilius’ usual standard of excellence I found it much harder than usual. As my lateness resulted from a very pleasant and very long lunch accompanied by copious amounts of a fine Rioja, this may well have contributed significantly to the degree of difficulty.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  14. John
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t posted for months but had to comment on just how brilliant this was. Laugh out loud moment at 8d and lots of other brilliant answers 3*/5* for me

  15. Drapdor
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this, and it kept me going during a day of ’emergency’ work in my flat.
    Some of it I found tricky, and it took me a long time to decipher 3d.
    I liked 8d in particular, but my highlight, at a very stage, was putting in ‘Jekyll’ for 19a! That held me back a bit. 19a doesn’t actually seem very cryptic.
    My last in was 6a, on which I proceeded with difficulty.
    Thank you to Virgilius, and to BD for the useful hints.

  16. Salty Dog
    Posted December 6, 2015 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff, as usual. How long can Virgilius keep this up? I did this in three bites, but the total added up to 2* time in my book. Enjoyment? Not less than 4*. Having refined down my list of contenders for favourite clue, I find I’m left with 2d. Plaudits to Virgilius, and to Big Dave for the hints.

  17. Beaver
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Quite difficult, with the usual long anagrams, and I struggled with one of the down ones because I had the first letter wrong from the across clue. Anyway a ***/ **** for me, enjoy the Sunday solve between breakfast and the lunchtime pint-thanks setter.

  18. dutch
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable, as always on a Sunday. Liked 10a, 3d, 8d 16d and many more. Many thanks Virgilius and BD for hints

  19. Heno
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A fantastic puzzle as usual from Virgilius. Managed it all apart from 19a and 5d, I wouldn’t have got the latter in a million years. Favourites were 10a & 7d. Was 3*/3* for me.