ST 2826 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2826 (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    Chemical used by cook a lot discoloured him (6,8)
An anagram (badly) of DISCOLOURED HIM

9a    Crime of person who sells property of others (7)
The OF from the clue followed by a person who (buys and) sells the property of others

10a    State of some South Americans, mostly furious when constricted? (7)
Most of an adjective meaning furious inside (when constricted) a creature that is famous for constricting

14a    Everything contained in spam etc wrong for customer (6)
All (everything) of the inner letters (contained in) of three words in the clue

17a    Without energy, having nothing to eat? Just the opposite (8)
Around (without) E(nergy) place a verb meaning having nothing to eat to get the opposite of having nothing to eat

18a    Is concerned about one problem seen in oral examination (6)
A verb meaning is concerned about around I (one) gives a problem that a dentist might see during an oral examination

24a    Coarse material in book youngster returned (7)
A book of the New Testament followed by a youngster, all reversed (returned)

26a    Initial survey, study set in period of cultural renewal (14)
A three-letter verb meaning to study inside a period of cultural renewal


1d    Second best doctor accepting a temporary solution (7)
S(econd) followed by an adjective meaning best and a local doctor, the latter around (accepting) the A from the clue

2d    The elite, in fact, ride all over the place (8,7)
Virgilius in deceitful mode – an anagram (all over the place) of ELITE IN FACT RIDE

4d    Keen to embrace that female in bright red (6)
A verb meaning to keen or weep around a pronoun meaning “that female”

6d    Logical about European line, concerning how connections are made (10)
An adjective meaning logical around E(uropean) and L(ine)

7d    Greater variety I had turned up, covering poet’s work (15)
The reversal (turned up in a down clue) of the abbreviated form of “I had” followed by a general word for the work produced by a poet

16d    Shared income cut, and money doubly so (2,6)
INCOM[e] without its final letter (cut) followed by MON[ey] with its final two letters cut (doubly so)

19d    Create colony around a port on Pacific (7)
A verb meaning to create a colony around the A from the clue

23d    Greek deity in Egyptian port set up (4)
This senior Greek deity is derived by reversing (set up in a down clue) an Egyptian port

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Today it’s Happy Birthday to Christopher Plummer (86) and Dick Van Dyke (90)
Christopher Plummer Dick van Dyke as Bert the chimney sweep in Mary Poppins


  1. Kitty
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    That’s my Sunday worship done.

    I give thanks to Virgilius and Big Dave.

    • Tantalus
      Posted December 13, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink


      • stanXYZ
        Posted December 13, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink


        Tantalus is back!

        • Merusa
          Posted December 13, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          He popped in a week or so ago and then disappeared again!

  2. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    3*/5*. Week after week after week after week, Virgilius serves up sheer brilliance for our unbridled enjoyment on a Sunday. Today is no exception, and this was an exquisite demonstration of an outstanding setter at the very top of his game.

    I always struggle to spell 26a but the checking letters got me there. I picked on the wrong source of wool initially for 22a, which left me unable to parse my answer until the penny dropped; and it took me some while to spot the typically Virgilian wordplay for 14a.

    Every single clue qualifies as a candidate for my favourite, but my vote goes to 2d with its cunningly disguised definition.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  3. neveracrossword
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    3*/4*. Last in was 24a, which took me a while to parse. Thank you BD and Virgilius.

  4. Heno
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A super puzzle from Virgilius as usual, how does he keep up such a very very good standard every week? Must have been on the right wavelength, no problems at all. Favourite was 10a, last in was 20d. Was 2*/5* for me. Getting ready to watch the Gooners.

  5. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Was a bit wary of the few GK related clues in 10a, 8d, 19d, 20d and 23d but the clueing was extremely fair.
    Perfect late breakfast enjoyment.
    21a favourite. A famous French comic used to say that with it, you ended up with more food on your plate than you started with.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the blog.

  6. dutch
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful as always – smooth surfaces throughout. Some interesting clueing today (11a, 14a, 16d,..)

    Many thanks Virgilius and BD.

  7. Kath
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Very good but I thought very difficult – seems to be just me, again, but it really has taken ages – much longer than usual.
    Unless I can’t count today there are only four anagrams – maybe that’ll do as my excuse for finding it so tricky.
    14a had to be what it was but I needed the hint to see why – I’d already turned it upside down, inside out and checked several times to make sure I wasn’t missing a hidden answer.
    I can’t spell 26a but at least I know that I can’t so always check it.
    I liked 10 and 24a and 1 and 16d. My favourite was 2d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.
    Cold, wet and miserable in Oxford today – might light fire soon.

    • Merusa
      Posted December 13, 2015 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      No, wrong, you are not the only person to find this difficult! I did too, but what fun.

      • Kath
        Posted December 13, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        Oh good!

  8. Una
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Lovely Sunday treat, as we have come to expect.I particularly liked the “add a letter ” clues 17a, 19d, 20d.
    I didn’t get 2d until I saw the hint and now it is my favourite.
    Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  9. Young Salopian
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink


    Difficult to add any meaningful comments to what is fast becoming a shrine of thanksgiving to the Sunday genius. 11 and 14 across my last two in, 2 down my absolute favourite. Many thanks Virgilius for another brilliant crossword and BD for his hard work.

  10. JonP
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Yes indeed, a very fine puzzle from Virgilius which I thoroughly enjoyed solving. I rarely find them to be a write-in and they sometimes initially seem to be very difficult, but a Virgilius puzzle almost always (for me) embodies the concept of the setter losing graciously after a good bit of thought on the solver’s behalf.

    Thanks to BD and Virgilius **/*****

    • pommers
      Posted December 13, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Couldn’t have put it better

  11. pommers
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    What a brilliant puzzle. **/*****
    If you’re reading this Mr Greer it’s hats off to you.

    It was even better as we solved it sat at a table in the street outside the bar over a couple of glasses of the local vino collapso – muy bien

    14a was probably favourite but there’s too many good ones to really pick out just the one.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  12. Paso Doble
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Hallelujah! We join the throng of Worshippers at the altar of Virgillius. A fantastic puzzle. ***/***** Thanks to St V and BD.

  13. Merusa
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    It took me a long time to get a toe in, but, as always, Virgilius’s clueing always allows you to figure it out. I just love my Sunday puzzle, so enjoyable. Kitty said it best.
    There were so many good clues, but if I have to choose a fave it’ll be 2d, how clever is that.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for his hints, needed for 14a.

  14. Vancouverbc
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    **/***. Gentle and pleasant solve today. Weather wet and windy so my back yard is covered in pine needles and cones. Thanks to the setter and BD for the review.

  15. Gwizz
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Yet another stonking Sunday puzzle! Thank you Virgilius. Like many have already said, too many excellent clues to really pick a favourite but if forced I’ll go with 2d.
    Thanks also to BD for the hints.

  16. Florence
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Virgilus for a terrific puzzle. Such fun. I didn’t find it easy, but got there in the end. Don’t think there’s a particular favourite, but liked 2d,16d, 15a and 26a. 15a was last in. Left it and went out for an hour. Came back and the penny dropped. Guess I just needed a break from it. Thanks BD for the review. I struggled with 24a, even with the picture, but persevered until I worked it out.

  17. Killer Watts
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    An excellent puzzle. I made good progress, but at the end, had the wrong Egyptian port in mind ! Bet I wasn’t alone ? Finally got there, as 25 across had to be what it is !

    ***/**** from me, thanks to setter and BD.

    • Merusa
      Posted December 13, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Nope, you were not alone! I spent some time looking for a Greek deity and found an obscure one, but, as you say, getting 25 across put me right!

      • Killer Watts
        Posted December 13, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately, there is a Greek deity who is a reversal of the “other” port, so this justifiably misled us both ……maybe many others ?

  18. Salty Dog
    Posted December 13, 2015 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff, as usual. 2*/4*. I was held up by the last couple of clues in the NW corner – 1d and 14a (both corners) – but I think my favourite is 2d. Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints.

  19. spindrift
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    A pleasure from start to finish. Sundays don’t get much better than this. Now to print off the Rookie…

  20. Airhead
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    17 across was my final clue … and it took forever to get the answer, but finally clicked. Very challenging this week. Thanks.