ST 2875 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2875 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2875 (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    Scottish architect‘s protection against cats and dogs? (10)
Two definitions – the second being protection against rain (as in raining cats and dogs)

6a    Cape in fashion, one of the things grudgingly worn on shoulders (4)
C(ape) followed by a word meaning in fashion

10a    Scale of disaster? Better off over time (7)
This scale expressing the magnitude of an earthquake is derived by putting an adjective meaning better off around T(ime)

14a    A peasant sent back by hospital once more (6)
The A from the clue is followed by the reversal (sent back) of a peasant and H(ospital)

17a    Some beers for men on board (8)
Two definitions – the second referring to a game which uses the same board as chess

19a    Poles following articles in foreign capital (6)
The abbreviations for both poles after the indefinite article and the definite article

24a    Spear I had dropped in river (7)
The abbreviated form of “I had” inside (dropped in) the third longest river in the UK

27a    Body of troops that’s good, stationed in one part of the world (10)
Insert G into one of several major parts of the world


1d    Engage in game show — and oftentimes has (4)
Hidden inside the clue not once, but twice

2d    Crew’s, so to speak, on right warship (7)
A word that sounds like (so to speak) crew’s followed by R(ight)

5d    Head of state, bent into shape, pursued austerity (8)
The initial letter (head) of S[tate] followed by a verb meaning bent into shape

7d    Expert‘s popular photograph (7)
A charade of two words meaning popular and a photograph

16d    Landed up in argument, producing knife (8)
The reversal (up in a down clue) of a verb meaning landed or dismounted inside an argument (3-2)

18d    In a fight scene, is getting up (7)
The A from the clue and the scene of a fight or boxing match around IS from the clue

21d    Optimistic in the lead, then defeated (6)
A two-letter word meaning in the lead followed by a verb meaning defeated

23d    Stayed, right? Wrong on both counts (4)
The answer is the opposite of both stayed and right

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  Listening to Surfin’ Bird by the Trashmen on yesterday’s Sounds of the Sixties reminded me of the late Kenny Everett’s album The World’s Worst Record Show and here are a couple of other tracks on the album.  
  ARVE Error: need id and provider
  ARVE Error: need id and provider


43 comments on “ST 2875 (Hints)

  1. 3*/5*++. Perfection! A joy to solve from start to finish.

    – Ticks: most clues.
    – Double ticks: 6a, 22a, 1d, 7d & 23d.
    – Favourite: 3d.

    Both 3d and 22a were beautifully disguised anagrams with sublime surfaces. :good:

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

    1. As is often the case for a Sunday, I find myself agreeing word for word with you. My only substantial difference would be on the degree of difficulty, as I scored it a notch lower, but the same for enjoyment, 2*/5*. Thanks Virgilius and BD.

  2. The usual excellent Virgilius puzzle which I found to be easier than the last couple of Sundays.

    Thanks to BD and Virgilius 1.5*/4*

  3. Well that certainly will be paradise for anagram aficionados but it wasn’t my cup of tea. Just as well it didn’t last long. No Fav. Thanks Virgilius and BD. */*.

  4. As usual, a ray of sunshine for a Sunday from Virgilius.
    Don’t think I’d have rated it a 3* for difficulty as RD did – not quite R&W but not overly taxing on the old grey cells.
    As Angel said, there did seem to be a profusion of anagrams, I make it six but can’t recall whether or not that’s considered to be OTT.

    My personal podium places go to 12&17a plus 3&4d.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the pictorial hints.

  5. I also found it a bit easier than Sundays can be sometimes – as enjoyable as ever.
    9a was my last answer and I spent too long thinking that 10a was an anagram.
    In 21a I got a bit distracted by the second and third letters in the answer and the fourth word in the clue – completely irrelevant.
    I liked a lot of the anagrams and 14 and 17a and 11d. My favourite was either 4 or 23d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.
    A grotty wet and windy day in Oxford – wish I’d saved the NTSPP for today.
    I hope that all those in the stormy areas are OK.

      1. I use it all the time – probably far too much. I know what it means to me but have never before looked it up in BRB which says, ‘informal adjective, ugly, dirty, in bad condition, or useless; ill’. I know we all know what it means but . . .

  6. Decidedly one of the easiest solving experiences for some time. Fairly rattled through this morning – actually finished the puzzle before the cuppa. Which is not meant to be a brag – as so many have observed before, it’s all about wavelength. But it’s also interesting to wonder how degree of difficulty – an intangible if ever there was one – can be reasonably consistent amongst a group of setters working with a given publication. DT certainly easier than Times for me and Guardian hardest. Consistently. I spent 45 minutes on yesterday’s Guardian and solved two – just two – clues. And they were both only 4 letters long!

    Despite smoothness of solve, not saying there weren’t some nice clues. 1a made me smile and 10a was nicely constructed. Agree with BD on 3d as a fave but 22a, though a nice anagram, was a bit too obvious given the key word in the clue.

    COTD just because I loved the construction is one of the shorter answers – 23a. Thanks to setter and BD.

  7. Glad of the help with 27a as clue on digital copy completely different. Clue was “Accidental detachment”

  8. After a very demanding Saturday I found this much more straightforward but perhaps I was just on Mr V’s wavelength today. I started smiling at 1a and my joy was pretty much undiluted throughout. 11d appealed to my chemical routes.
    Thank you BD for all your sterling efforts. Life was sadly empty last weekend without access to the blog. There really are some sad people out there. My BRB Thesaurus gives some very apt synonyms for sad 😂

  9. My quickest Sunday solve ever….bear in mind I usually measure my times with a calendar not a watch.

    Great fun to do and as always very clever clueing.

    Thanks to compiler, and BD for hints…not needed today…unlike yesterday.

    Storm Angus was quite interesting down here with much life boat and helicopter activity, no casualtys reported though.

  10. Most of the clues were far too obvious … a very disappointing Sunday morning challenge!

    But I still remain a great fan of Virgilius!

  11. Still recovering from yesterday’s effort (even GK in Weekend was hard work) so to find Mr G in a fairly benign mood was a relief. The anagrams helped to get my toe on the ladder and by working up and down a couple of times with 7d my last one in I arrived. Thanks to Virgilius and BD. OK what do I do for the rest of the afternoon?

  12. ***/****. Very enjoyable but no cakewalk for me. Some clever clues like 1a and 23d. Thanks to Virgilius and BD for the write up.

  13. Found it much easier than usual for a Sunday. Didn’t even have my second mug of tea and came to work early instead.
    Found 2d a bit strange as I didn’t have to look for a homophone.
    Will go for 9a as favourite.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  14. Agree with RD, wotta lotta fun today. There was so much to like, 1a was a great smiler, but I think I have to go with 23d as fave.
    I’m not really sure I understand 9a, but I think my answer must be correct.
    Thanks to Virgilius, and heaps of appreciation to BD for getting our site up and running again.

  15. This must be easier than usual for a Sunday, thank you Virgilius, as I just finished it, smiles all round. Did need BD’s hints to get me on the right fork in the road for a couple, where my brain could only accept one meaning and I should have been thinking of another. Good fun, and looking forward to Monday.

    Hope those in the U.K., particularly the south, are holding up ok during Storm Angus, and the snowy regions up north. Probably not kind to mention that it is a lovely sunny, 70 F morning here, with low humidity…

    1. I’m a true tropical, hot-house flower, I love it hot, humid, rainy and sticky! I hope this is no indication that the coming winter is going to be cooler, if so, I’ll emigrate to Manaus.

      1. 34 years and I still don’t like the summers. But for me, the winters make up for it, and the colder the better. Love an excuse to dig out the woolies.

    2. 70F with low humidity sounds lovely to me.
      I’d hate to be somewhere hot, sticky and wet although if you live somewhere like that you can grow amazing tropical plants and I’d love to have a go at some of them.
      Think I’ll just stay where we are and enjoy the very different seasons. I quite like proper dry and cold with a massive log fire.

      1. Yes, the different seasons is what I miss most, that and listening to the accents of home. Cold weather and a log fire is a distant fantasy of mine. But the winters here are glorious, we just have to get through the yucky summers. Unlike Merusa, I am not a fan of hot and tropical, although roads, restaurants and doctors offices are all quieter then. Wish we could fly everyone home for a real Christmas.

      2. There’s a big difference here as I was born and grew up in Jamaica. My parents were English so we went to UK to visit but always in the summer. It was a huge shock when I went to live there and had to endure a winter, in a bedsit with electric bar, shilling-in-the-slot heating! I froze!

    1. She’s fine – she’s just changed her alias but I’ll leave it to her to reveal it if she wants to ;)

      1. I almost gave the game away by mistake once before, so I won’t say anything, but we also haven’t heard from Hanni either. Do you know if she’s all right? Derek hasn’t checked in for ages.

  16. Enjoyable and satisfying except annoyingly couldn’t dredge up 27a & needed electronic cheat.
    Joint COTD 3d and 23d in their own way both good.
    Thanks to Virgilius and BD for the succinct hints and the memory lane stroll.
    Eamonn Andrews’ record: in the R&R era how did THAT ever get into the top 20?

    1. I solved the early morning electronic version where the clue for 27a was “Accidental detatchment”. I think the clue parsed by BD is slightly easier.
      This is happening quite a lot of late. Both meanings are in BRB. Can anyone explain the change?

  17. Just returned from Fabulous Beasts. Enjoyed today though it was over quickly, but I may be missing first bit of 9a. Favourites were 6a, 1d, 15a

    Many thanks Virgilius and BD

  18. Loved this puzzle. It has taken me all day as Senior Management has had me chauffeuring and executing other tasks. The tablets have worked well today so brain was not overtaxed. Last one in was 23D Could not make head nor tail of it but when the lightbulb moment came I wondered why the struggle. Got through without the hints but as always I am grateful to BD for providing them. My rating is 2.5 for difficulty and 4 for enjoyment.

  19. Definitely on the easy side for Virgilius, but as enjoyable as ever. A brief false start where I found that I couldn’t spell 1ac, but once that had been overcome the rest was plain sailing.

  20. As I’ve had company I got a bit behind, so last night after they’d gone and today, I embarked an a Telegraph marathon. Polished off Friday through Sunday. Surprisingly Saturday gave me the most problems, last in was the men making appearances on the radio. Had to resort to a thesaurus, so annoyed when I got it. Back to today’s (Sunday). Had a minor hiccup on 1a forgot the uk spelling. Easy sailing after that. Thought the clues were crisper/tightly word than many of late. Very enjoyable. My rating was 1 and 4.

  21. A poor effort today, on a bad run since Ray-T last Thursday.
    Thanks to:=
    BD for the hints
    Virgilus for the puzzle
    The people who run the crossword solving websites for dunces like me

  22. Really on the setters wavelength today, loved this puzzle, thought it was the best Sunday for many a long year. So many great clues but my favourite was 1a, superb!
    Thx to all

  23. My word, the Sunday maestro was in a very forgiving mood. I score this 1*/3.5*, but I was watching Murray and Djokovic at the same time, so my concentration was by no means 100%. My favourite clue was the ridiculously simple 23d, which I peered at in consternation for some time before the zloty dropped. Thanks to Virgilius and BD (and thanks for the nice picture of HMS “Tigger” – mind you, she looked a lot better before the back end conversion).

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