ST 2874 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2874 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2874 (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.

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    How to start recycling paper showing where minister stands (6)
Split as (4,2) this could be how to start recycling paper

4a    Test like this is detested, certainly (6)
Split as (2,4) this describes where “test” is to be found

10a    Decline in royal company (6)
Split as (4,2) this could mean in the company of our queen

12a    European adult shielding one declared innocent (10)
Put E(uropean) and an adjective meaning adult (1-5), when referring to movies, around (shielding) ONE

20a    Legal group revealing a substance concealed by male, with distinctive flavour (10)
The A from the clue and the substance or main point of an action inside (concealed by) M(ale) and an adjective meaning with distinctive flavour

22a    River breaks over opening to harbour (6)
A verb meaning breaks or domesticates around the initial letter of (opening to) H[arbour]

24a    Primate and king embraced by sovereigns, for example (6)
K(ing) inside some sovereigns or other coins

25a    Veteran who advises soldiers to run (6)
Some soldiers followed by TO from the clue and R(un)


1d    Choice between academic and graduate, following set procedure (3,5)
Split as (4,2,2) this adjective meaning following a set procedure could be a choice between a senior academic and a graduate

2d    Off-putting statement that could make one alert (5)
A deliberately misleading way of indicating that the answer is an anagram of ALERT

5d    Out of the running at this point — twice (7)
A charade of two different words meaning at this point (3,4)

6d    Two people in film sharing a kind of fan (9)
Two different people who may appear in a film overlap (sharing) the final A of the first word with the initial A of the second

14d    Traveller with fliers for mechanics, for instance (9)
A three-letter abbreviation of a commercial traveller is followed by some fliers in the RAF

15d    After game with a lot of cards, sides surrounding English ref? (8)
Start with a card game then add the abbreviations for both sides around E(nglish) to get this loose definition (indicated by the question mark) of a referee

19d    Understand in depth (6)
This verb meaning to understand is also a nautical measure of depth

21d    Painter almost ready on time (5)
Most of some ready or cash followed by T(ime)

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  Today it’s the turn of Connie Francis with
Who’s Sorry Now and Lipstick On Your Collar
  ARVE Error: need id and provider
  ARVE Error: need id and provider

52 comments on “ST 2874 (Hints)

  1. I found this a bit trickier than most Sundays but thoroughly enjoyed the work out Looking back when it was completed, it all looked a lot more straight forward then when the grid was empty! Lots of excellent clues as usual.

    Just really enjoy the Sunday puzzle.

    Thanks to all for puzzle and site.

  2. A puzzle of two halves for me, well actually three clues and the rest. I think my last three in, 10a, 20a, and 5d, took as long as the rest! So, 2.5*/**.

    A couple of ‘recent’ clues appear to have ‘popped up’ again – 11a and 23a; and I am not sure that I have seen the river in 22a for a long time, if at all.

    Three candidates for favourite – 12a for the adult part, 20a for educating me on the legal group, and 6d for the concatenation around the middle letter of the answer. And the winner is – 12a.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  3. 3*/5*. Yet another tip-top Sunday puzzle – challenging and great fun. The top half went in quite smoothly, but initially entering the syllables for 18d in the wrong order slowed me down in the SE and a few clues in the SW corner put up a fight, with 20a my last one in.

    As ever picking a favourite on a Sunday is an almost impossible task, and I had double ticks by 1a, 4a, 10a, 12a, 1d, 5d & 6d. If you twist my arm to select one, I’ll settle for 10a.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  4. Mr. Perfection delivers again. A couple of his trademark clues at 4a&7d held me up for a while as did 20a where I had the answer but couldn’t quite grasp the parsing.
    23a raised a smile – in my limited experience that can be something of a misnomer!
    Liked 12a but my favourite is a toss-up between 1a&1d.

    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  5. I thought this was good even by Sunday standards. There are so many brilliant clues that choosing a favourite is hard, but I’ll single out 4a for the prize.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and Big Dave. Belated birthday wishes to Crypticsue – I hope you had a lovely day.

    P.S. My comments are not going into moderation. They are going straight into spam. :(

    1. Because of the weather yesterday (wet and chilly) and the prospect of sun today, we had a fairly average Saturday, but with a super lunch including treacle sponge pudding (yum) and then today we used our tickets we won in the church fete draw back in July and went to Leeds Castle (here in Kent) and all we had to pay for was a delicious lunch. Beautiful weather, beautiful castle and gardens, lovely birds of prey and a delicious lunch that I didn’t have to cook – result.

  6. Lovely puzzle as usual on a Sunday, with plenty of innovative and fun clueing. I liked 6d, 4a, 16a and 12a. I was less keen on 2d and 3d, but that didn’t dent the enjoyment.

    Many thanks BD and Virgilius

  7. Delightful morning of tea and toast. Thx to v and bd. The adjective in 20a had us foxed – flavour?

    Mr & Mrs. T

    This Trump result has given us some insight as to how you guys must feel about Brexit.

    1. Tantalus – several results of a quick Google search (so they must be correct?) have the four letter ending of 20a as a distinctive flavour or similar, so no arguing with Virgilius on that one.

    2. The only thing that both results have in common is that the polls got them wrong. Some of us (54% to be precise) are pleased that we are breaking away from that ridiculous organisation called the EU. I somewhat doubt that 54% are in favour of the US election result, but then what bunch of idiots chose the toxic Clinton woman as their candidate?

        1. Don’t think you chose HC just voted for her. I have no time for DT but as the vote neared the thought of HC having a place in history as your first woman President I found sort-of unpalatable. Now Condoleezza Rice would have been different.

      1. Not the same thing at all. If we were eligible I would have voted for Brexit, and would never in a million years have voted for Trump. Unfortunately neither party came up with a truly lovable candidate, and Hillary and the Donald were what we left with. She did get the people’s vote by 2 million, so if this was a U.K. election, without the electoral college thingy here, she would have won. As one tv host commented, we needed to choose between 2 pilots, one with years of experience, and one new to the cockpit. Better man the life rafts then.

    3. Did you see that The Donald and Nigel Farage are now best buddies? He also got an endorsement from Maire LePen.

    4. thanks tantalus – there is half (perhaps more) of this country that appreciates your sentiment.

  8. Just finished puzzle with the aid of a couple of the hints, but very enjoyable. Best wishes to 2 Kiwis and their family, hope you are all OK.

    1. I have been thinking of them all morning. They’re on South Island, aren’t they? I hope they’re able to check in today.

    2. Yes – I’ve been thinking of them too – they’re on North Island – I’ll email them in a minute and report back.

  9. There are crosswords that make you grumpy and there are ones that make you smile. Sunday crosswords always make me smile, especially on the days when I know I can enjoy them twice over by typing the review (although today is not one of those days).

    Thanks to BD for the hints with musical accompaniment and Virgilius for another great crossword. I am torn between picking 4a and 6d but perhaps as it is my birthday weekend, Kath will let me have two favourites.

    1. A belated Happy Birthday from me.
      Yes, as it’s your birthday weekend you can have two favourites as long as it doesn’t become a habit with any old excuse.

  10. At some point Virgilius will deliver a crossword that is average. Today is not that day. Yet another top-notch challenge with a host of good clues including 12a which was my favourite. 3/4* overall.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and also to BD for the hints.
    PS. Are all the site problems now resolved BD?

  11. Almost finished, just stumped on 20a and 25a which brain is refusing to unravel. Will have another go after our walk and coffee break. Trying to figure out where 2Kiwis are in New Zealand, assume on the west side as KiWi Colin referred to sunset over the Tasman sea recently. Hopefully then they are away from the earthquake and the tsunami warning on the Christchurch side on the Pacific. Fingers crossed they and their family are all ok. Will be relieved when they next appear here.

  12. Well, well, well, this was a tricky Sunday for the most part, but what a super one.
    I needed hints for 4a, but why? It’s obvious when you know the answer.
    So much to enjoy, I won’t choose a fave.
    Thanks to Virgilius for the enjoyment and BD for the help with 4a! Also for the music from my youth, aaah, the memories.

  13. Am I the only person who groaned when penny dropped for 4ac? Have had rest on Sunday for last few weeks but what a delight to return, thanks to Virgilius and BD for firstly addling my ageing brain and then confirming that I was not too far from the correct answers. I always have extra pat on the back ( or at least I would if I could reach) when I finish Sunday crossword with minimum of electronic help. :phew:

    1. P S forgot to say fingers crossed for 2Kiwis hope and pray all is well with them and their family

  14. I thought that was a bit trickier than usual – maybe it’s me – been battling with Pyracantha most of the day – very spiky.
    My last answer for no very obvious reason was 25a.
    I confess to needing the hint to sort out why I had the right river in 22a – oh, that kind of breaks. :roll:
    I missed the 2d anagram and the 3d hidden answer for a long time.
    What a good crossword with far too many good clues to pick out any in particular except maybe 4 and 12a and 6d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  15. Very happy to have finally staggered over the line with this. These are superb crosswords but they do become a bit of a slog as I am right on the limit of my ability, though practice can only make them simpler and more enjoyable. Good job they are on a Sunday!! Perseverance is the watch-word.
    I needed a couple of hints, namely 20a and 15d.
    I could not parse 11a or 18d, though they were not hard to fill in the blanks.
    4a and 6d were favourite, though it seems unfair to single out any favourites out of so many great clues.

    1. Good to see Connie Francis making an appearance. “Lipstick on Your Collar” was also the title of Dennis Potter’s last (I think) plays, not a patch on “Pennies from Heaven” or “The Singing Detective”.
      Ok, ok, it’s a dark Sunday in November, so it’s post irrelevancies or back to learning the ins and outs of MVC

  16. Good morning everyone.
    Just checking in to report that we, our family, and everyone we have heard from so far, are fine. We have been thinking of the Sheffieldsys who we understand arrived in the country on Saturday. The big shake which happened just after midnight was the biggest and by far the longest that we have ever experienced. Since then there have been dozens of aftershocks so not a lot of sleep was had last night. It is just after dawn here now and reports of damage are flooding in. Wellington CBD which is about 100Km south of where we live has quite a lot of damage to buildings and infrastructure but, fingers crossed, people have been relatively unscathed although reports have just come through of a couple of deaths.
    Thanks for thinking of us.

    1. Whew! Wotta relief, but now you have us worrying about the Sheffieldsys. I wonder if they will be able to drop in?

    2. Never been quite so pleased to see the Kiwi avatar appear on the screen. So glad that you and yours are safe – let’s hope the Sheffieldsys check in soon.

    3. Thought of you as soon as I heard. Glad you are OK. Fingers crossed for the Sheffieldseys

    4. Kia ora.

      Thank you all for your concerns. We are fine. We are in Greymouth on the South Island, kind of north west of the epicentre and on the west coast rather than the east. The shaking gave our hired motorhome a real wobbling and woke us up. Did feel some aftershocks too. I guess we must be about 120 miles, straight line, from the centre so our heart goes out to anyone who was nearer.

    5. That’s good news that you and yours are ok. Thanks for taking the time to let us all know.

  17. Am looking forward to this treat from Virgilius, which I have just printed out. (I have carefully avoided looking at Big Dave’s hints, which I may well need, reading some of the comments.)
    I’m delighted and relieved to know that the 2Kiwis and their family are all fine.
    Belatedly, all very best Birthday wishes to Crypticsue for yesterday. How lovely to have been having a thoroughly enjoyable weekend — and no Sunday lunch for you to have to cook! I remember with pleasure going to Leeds Castle years ago…
    Huge thanks to Big Dave for all your work on keeping this site going despite all the mindless attacks. I wasn’t able to access it for a while, and am still receiving the dire Google/Firefox warning when I do. I do, of course, choose to ignore it. High time Google removed it!

  18. Lovely puzzle in contrast to the weather tthat greeted me in Edinburgh. Teach me not to visit foreign parts!
    Usual Sunday for me – tough but do-able although 4a a bung-in.
    COTD 6d
    Don’t hear many / any 15d these days. Did the Walkman etc kill off the “art”? Remember Ronnie R one of mum’s heart throbs.
    Thanks to setter & BD for hints.

  19. Usual tricky Sunday but so enjoyable. So many good clues.
    Very puzzled by all the attacks, who in Russia/Eastern Europe has BD upset?
    As a retired forensic computer scientist I saw lots of these attacks, some mindless, most for gain and some as a test run for something else. I suspect this was either the first or last.
    Thx to all

  20. What an enjoyable puzzle. Found it quite tricky only finishing it after getting back from flying this afternoon. ***/*****. Lots of favourites 1 4 10 and 12a, 1 5 6 and 7d. Several made me chuckle out loud. Quite a few new (to me) costructs.
    Thanks all

  21. My response to Busylizzie at 8.05 worked but 2 subsequent Comments didn’t transmit. Perhaps I will give up for today and hope for more luck tomorrow.
    Good heavens this HAS gone thru so I will add that my previous comment was along lines that I have been working on and off all day on today’s offering and did eventually see it off but without much joy along the way. Penny only just dropped on parsing 4a – maybe Fav. Thanks Virgilius and BD.

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