ST-2870 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2870 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, a number of the more difficult clues have been selected and hints provided for them.

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    Second dismissal not going as intended (10)
A verb meaning to second or support followed by a dismissal from a job

9a    Fish with line that has weights, attached to rod (7)
A type of fish followed by L(ine)

14a    Excel in fight, getting case dismissed? Just the opposite (6)
Not a case or container followed by a cricketing term meaning dismissed -the other way around (just the opposite)

17a    Height gained by police aircraft (8)
H(eight) inside a colloquial word for the police – note that aircraft is the plural of aircraft

19a    Provided backing as company goes into complete failure (6)
The reversal of a two-letter word meaning providing or on condition that followed by AS from the clue and CO(mpany)

24a    Travel permit for one arriving originally with two others (7)
A travel or excursion followed by a verb meaning to permit gives one that arrives in this world along with two siblings

26a    Person who entertains crowd (4)
Two definitions

27a    Attacking position in game leading to point (10)
A card game followed by a point or promontory


1d    Horse carrying bishop is little one (4)
A type of horse around B(ishop)

2d    Either side of cooker with raised temperature? That’s not good (7)
Express a choice between the first and last letters (either side) of C[ooke]R as (1,2,1) and follow it with a two-letter word meaning raised and T(ime)

3d    Place for wounded men filled with pathos, I recollected (5,8)
An anagram (recollected) of FILLED with PATHOS I

4d    Drawing instruments — dividers, perhaps (6)
An allusion to the policy of maintaining control over one’s opponents by encouraging dissent between them

8d    Cutting up middle slice of dessert, in manner of speaking (10)
the middle three letters (slice) of [de]SSE[rt] inside a manner of speaking

11d    Organisation including all constituents in any matter (8,5)
A cryptic definition of method of organisation of the constituents or elements of any or all matter

13d    Stolen drug found in repeated check in mixture (10)
A three-letter adjective meaning stolen followed by a drug sandwiched between a pair (repeated) of abbreviations for CH(eck)

18d    Starting-points for big wins, leaders having dropped out (7)
… drop the leading letters from three words in the clue

20d    Inheritance from father certainly is holding chap up (7)
A four-letter word meaning certainly around (holding) the reversal (up in a down clue) of a chap

23d    Deflated but not flat? That can be done (4)
Simply drop FLAT from DE[FLAT]ED – a sort of reverse hidden clue!

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 I have chosen the original version, by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, of one of my all-time favourite Elvis tracks – compare it with Elvis’s own version  


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    3*/5*. Another magnificent Sunday puzzle to savour. Ticks abound on my page, and double ticks were earned by 24a, 4d & 7d, with the brilliant 2d my last one in and favourite – once I had unravelled the very inventive parsing!

    Many thanks as ever to Virgilius and to BD.

    • Young Salopian
      Posted October 16, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I agree word for word.

    • Tantalus
      Posted October 16, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hear hear. A delightful exercise.

      Mr & Mrs T

  2. George
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The usual Sunday pleasure. I was held up a bit in the SW corner this week even though I had all the cross check letters for 18d – until I finally parsed the clue.I really liked 23a which puzzled me for a while, but really was typical Virgilius!

    Thanks to all as usual.

  3. Senf
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found this to be trickier than most recent Sunday puzzles and I had to resort to some 12 year old Balvenie for cranial lubrication about half way through so that I could complete it before lights out last night.

    2.5*/3* for me, with 11d as favourite and 1a a close second.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  4. Alec
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle, as we come to expect of Virgilius, week after week. I have many clues I admire, but 2d and 18d take top spot for me. Thanks to all concerned

  5. Posted October 16, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very Virgilian – classy and inventive. I found it fairly gentle but was held up immensely with a few in the NW. My top three are 4d,7d and 2d, which was my last to parse. I spent ages staring at that one.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and BD.

    We haven’t had the bad weather we were promised so will have to get out and about again this afternoon. It’s a hard life!

  6. Kath
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I agree with the rest of you – the usual good Sunday crossword.
    My two main hold-ups were 9a and 2d – managed to convince myself that 9a had to be a plural which scuppered what I thought the answer to 4d had to be – it was.
    I dismissed my first answer for 17a – forgot that aircraft is the plural of aircraft – it seems to be my day for being confused by plurals.
    I liked 1 and 24a and 2 and 16d. My favourite was 13d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.
    Stopped raining now – no excuses for a day off from the jungle warfare – on the plus side I’ve planted next years sweet peas so feeling smug.

  7. dutch
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely Sunday puzzle – my son’s 14th birthday today.

    I enjoyed the anagrams especially 3d, 24a raised a smile and 20d

    all wonderful surfaces as usual.

    Many thanks BD and Virgillius

  8. Expat Chris
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely stuff, though I needed the hints to parse 2D. My picks are 24A, 11D and 18D. Thanks to Virgilius and Big Dave.

  9. Mark
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    1a came to mind immediately – so I thought this was going to be a breeze. And it was a lovely clue, too. And then I tried 1d and got stuck for ages – thinking the bishop was being carried somewhere different from where he turned out to be…. And that set the tone for the rest of the puzzle – some which sprang to mind instantly and others which stubbornly resisted.
    I got the 2d that challenged so many others here – but couldn’t understand how the first four letters were parsed until I read the hints, for which many thanks BD.
    13d tickled me but 14a is my favourite for the day.

  10. Florence
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Found this much easier than yesterday, and all over a bit too quickly, but very enjoyable. Favorites were 1a, 24a and 11d. Thank you Virgilius and BD.

  11. Merusa
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Typical Sunday entertaining fare.
    Lots of smile clues, 13d, 17a and 24a as examples, but fave has to be 2d. I couldn’t see why my answer was correct, so needed the hints to “get” it.
    Thanks to Virgilius for this splendid offering, and to BD for unravelling 2d.

    • Merusa
      Posted October 16, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      P.S. Elvis wins hands down!

      • LabradorsruleOK
        Posted October 16, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Agree but perhaps recording techniques had moved on.
        First heard the song on a 78 recorded by a boy in my class which was on the juke box in our local milk bar. It was the b-side to 20 Flight Rock (Eddy Cochran of course). It was his only disc (he became a journalist I think).

        • Merusa
          Posted October 16, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

          I’m just a huge Elvis fan! Particularly his country music.

      • Kath
        Posted October 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

        What am I missing? How did Elvis sneak in here? :unsure:

        • Merusa
          Posted October 16, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

          See the music offerings BD has given us today!

          • Kath
            Posted October 16, 2016 at 10:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

            OK – should have paid more attention. I agree with you.

  12. Heno
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Virgilius and to Big Dave for the hints. A fantastic Sunday puzzle as usual. I found this very very tricky and couldn’t finish without the hints. Needed them for 1&27a, 1,2,23d. My favourite was 11d, and 17a & 13d both made me laugh. Was 4*/4*for me.

  13. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Really enjoyed this. No obtuse words, no stretched synonyms with well constructed & fair clues.
    Seem to be getting the hang of Sundays. Like Kath took ages to see 2d but am pleased I did parse it.
    11d was COTD for me. Brought Tom Lehrer to mind of course.
    Thanks to Virgilius for a lovely start to the day & BD for review.

  14. Faraday
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Virgilius is truly masterful. I rarely R & W solutions to his clues but after a good mull I’m left with a rather self satisfied feeling on solving them. Not immediately spotting the possibility of a couple of anagrams didn’t help matters and I again failed to recognise for too long the chemistry of 11d. I enjoyed 2d however.

  15. BusyLizzie
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Was missing a few answers at breakfast, but then brain kicked in over lunch and it all fell into place. Great Virgilius puzzle, and particularly enjoyed a chuckle at the picture Big Dave provided for 24a. Been away for a few days so relieved not to have got too rusty.

    • Merusa
      Posted October 16, 2016 at 8:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

      We missed you but remember you said you were packing!

  16. Jon_S
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another nice, mostly straightforward puzzle from Virgilius. 9ac was my LOI, and I must admit to guessing the answer, so thanks for the explanation.

  17. Jane
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wonderful puzzle of course but, for once, my last two in – 14&27a – were the least satisfying.
    Top three for me were 2d for the penny drop moment, 13d for the word itself and 24a for the smile and BD’s depiction.

    Many thanks to the Sunday maestro and to BD.

    Despite Kitty’s remarks, the weather did close in quite rapidly. However, she is now an expert on the processing of sea salt in the manner of Halen Mon. Oh yes – she met a couple of lions as well!

  18. Salty Dog
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 9:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well up to the usual standard. 2* difficulty, but 4.5* satisfaction. I enjoyed 13d and 18d particularly. Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for the hints.

  19. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 9:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A complete non-wavelength day today.
    Off for week’s R&R in Turkey tomorrow, looking forward to lots of current bun…
    Have a good week, all, back online next Tuesday.

  20. jean-luc cheval
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 10:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Been trying to pronounce 13d all day.
    What a strange word.
    Learned a new word in 27a too.
    Favourite 2d.
    Thanks to Virgilius for a great crossword and to BD for the hints.

  21. Angel
    Posted October 17, 2016 at 12:18 am | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyed grappling with the honest task set for us today by Virgilius although I admit to needing help on parsing one or two. Fav 2d and I also liked 20d. Thanks to V and BD. ***/***.

  22. Gwizz
    Posted October 17, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink | Reply

    A really good Sunday treat! Took me a while to complete, but great fun teasing out the answers. To that end 18d was very clever and my favourite. 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and to BD for his hints.

  23. Peter Gliddon
    Posted October 17, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    2d, don’t get it. Maybe being thick but where do letters 2 and 3 come from?

    • Posted October 17, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Peter

      It’s all explained in the hint – try reading it again.

Leave a Reply, but please read the Comment Etiquette (under Contact on the menu) first, especially if you are asking a question

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *