ST 2878 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

ST 2878 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2878 (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    Arrived at front of theatre, appearing in small role (4,2)
The initial letter (front) of T[heatre] inside (appearing in) a small role in a play or film

4a    Fellow mostly using few words in sections of text (8)
A four-letter fellow or bloke followed by most of an adjective meaning using few words

11a    Award that comes after November, as heard on radio (5)
The letter that comes after November in the NATO Phonetic alphabet (which is used in radio communication)

13a    Keep watch, say (7)
Three words, three definitions

15a    Antagonism about some soldiers produces outrage (8)
A word meaning antagonism around some soldiers who are not commissioned officers

20a    Fired back, hemming in American Indian (5)
The reversal (back) of a three-letter verb meaning fired or ignited around AM(erican)

25a    Level in educational establishment for male (7)
An abbreviated educational establishment followed by FOR and M(ale)

28a    Those people having put old record in priest’s study (8)
A pronoun meaning those people around (having put … in) O(ld) and a record or journal

29a    Guard started crossing line (6)
A verb meaning started or recoiled around (crossing) L(ine)


1d    As part of goal, negotiate hazard at sea (8)
Split as (5,3) this could mean to negotiate a hazard at sea

5d    Fashionable river vessel makes diversion for semiaquatic creatures (14)
A very neat charade of a three-letter word meaning fashionable, a two-letter river, a three-letter vessel and a verb meaning makes a diversion or entertains

8d    Display or conceal test for illness (6)
Three more definitions!

9d    Searching TV for sporting action between us and France? (7-7)
This action could mean a sporting action between the UK and France – those who have solved today’s General Knowledge puzzle will find this easy

16d    Powerful female‘s case not finished within month (9)
Most of (not finished) a court case inside one of the months of the year

17d    Provide meal that includes meat cooked in dramatic fashion (8)
A four-letter verb meaning to provide a meal around a type of meat

21d    Berth in sound by Jersey or Guernsey before storm (7)
The sound made by an animal such as a Jersey or Guernsey followed by a storm

24d    Caught river fish put in here (5)
C(aught) followed by R(iver) and a fish

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 – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted.  In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

  Today two more tracks from the early 1960s
this time by Len Barry and Chris Montez

19 comments on “ST 2878 (Hints)

  1. Except for four clues in the SE, completed before lights out last night. Teased out two of the four, 20a and 21d, on waking up this morning; but I am not too keen on 21d as a word. Finally solved the last two 29a and 17d with electronic assistance; it must be the cold weather slowing me down – minus 23 degrees C this morning.

    Overall, a very enjoyable puzzle. Joint favourites 5d, must be an oldie but goodie, and 9d.

    Thanks to Virgilius and BD.

  2. Apart from 17d, which took ages ( I was convinced that cooked was telling me to make an anagram of ‘meat’), the rest fell into place without any problems.

    Many thanks to Virgilius, and to BD.

  3. Unusually straightforward for a Sunday – well, I thought so anyway.
    13a and 7d were my last answers but no major hold-ups today.
    I liked 1 and 29a and 1, 5 and 21d. My favourite was 17d.
    With thanks to Virgilius and to BD.
    Sunny but cold – off to the garden and the greenhouse.

  4. 4*/5*. Another Sunday delight! The LHS fell into place quite smoothly but the RHS (and particularly the SE corner) put up quite a fight with 20a & 17d the last to surrender.

    I’ll go along with Senf’s choice of joint favourites.

    Many thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  5. There are some prize puzzle days when I just wish we weren’t subject to the wrath of BD for detailing the error of our ways!
    Suffice to say that I had a far more amusing but equally plausible second part to 9d and -following on from that – a respectable answer for 23a as an all-in-one which led to all manner of problems. Fortunately, the 18a state eventually came to my rescue.

    Add that to some serious head-scratching over a few clues on the right-hand side (I’m with Senf over 21d) and I rated this as one of the maestro’s more challenging Sunday offerings.

    5d takes the accolades – bravo to Virgilius for producing such a smooth surface read to clue that one – although 9d would have been up there if my original answer had been correct!

    Thanks to Virgilius for the work-out and to BD – goodness, that dancing display made me laugh. We doubtless thought we were so ‘cool’ at the time!

  6. For me to be this has been a terrific DT/ST cruciverbal week. I didn’t find today’s puzzle altogether plain-sailing but enjoyed every minute of it. NE corner was last to yield. Re 11a my phonetic alphabet is from days of yore and still speaks of ‘O for orange’! 5d also foxed me for a while as I tried to work on an ‘i’ plural ending. Fav was 21d with 12a, 23a and 17d following up. Thank you Virgilius for such good fun and BD for hints which I enjoyed reading through and listening to particularly the Chubby Checker reminder. ***/****.

  7. For me the hardest Sunday puzzle since I started doing them. *****/**
    The left wasn’t too bad but the right hand side was almost incomprehensible!
    I did like 11a but I thought 25a was a horrible clue. Needed the hints for 17d and 20a.
    Thx to all.

  8. Excellent puzzle! Some very tricky bits but it all made sense eventually. 5d was my favourite piece of lego. Thanks to,Virgilius and BD.

  9. At the risk of upsetting Brian, the only one I ticked today was 25a.
    SE corner was last to yield too.
    Hope that Framboise and John made a good crossing back to Sussex.
    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD for the blog..

  10. As always, loved this Sunday offering. I got held up in the end with 17d, needing to bring out my trusty gizmo. Like Jezza, I was convinced there was an anagram of “meat” in there somewhere.
    All in all, a little trickier Sunday puzzle but wholly enjoyable. So much to like, but my fave has got to be 5d, how clever is that.
    Thanks to Virgilius for another treasure, and to BD for the hints.
    Yes, Jane, we thought we were really cool cats at that time.

  11. Like Kath I found this less challenging than usual for a Sunday, but still as enjoyable as ever.
    I smiled at 1a, 20a, 23a, 3d, 5d, 17d, and 21d. I can’t isolate a favourite from that collection of brilliant clues.

    Thanks to Virgilius and to BD.

  12. I came to this late today having been to watch Wasps play Connacht in the European Cup. Whether I am still on a high after the match plus a longish drive home, or just not on wavelength, but I found this difficult, especially the RHS. Unusually for a Virgilius puzzle I did not get my normal enjoyment. I would go 4*/3* overall as a result. My marks for his crosswords tend to be more in the 2*/5* area as a rule. It is probably just me.

    Many thanks anyway for the challenge, and to BD for his hints.

    I had trouble accessing the site his evening. Am I alone?

  13. As per a few comments above, I found the LHS profoundly easier than the RHS.

    I can see why some found this easier and some trickier than usual. It took me roughly the same time that I’d expect to complete a Sunday puzzle but initially I thought it would take me no time at all (probably as I’d completed the LHS and the two long down clues on first pass). I sat staring at a few clues on the RHS for quite a while before a couple of pennies dropped and allowed the rest to yield.

    Thanks to BD and Virgilius 2.5*/4* for me today.

  14. The LHS went in quickly enough, but for some reason the RHS seemed to take an age and I ended up badly stuck. The old trick of putting the puzzle to one side for a bit worked a treat, so perhaps I just ran out of steam.

  15. Well the SE corner had me all ends up for a while until the powerful one declared itself.
    5d was my favourite, especially after I had tried the other version of fashionable which obviously got me precisely nowhere! 3/4* overall.
    Thank you to Virgilius for yet another excellent mental work out, and to BD for the hints and reminding me of how gauche I was when these two records first appeared.

  16. Like a F&M Christmas hamper. Chock full of tasty treats. Like most solvers, the SE corner did me for a while but like all Virgilious offerings, getting stuck reveals my lack of brain flex rather than an iffy clue or totally obscure word. Loved it as ever, thank you V. Thanks to B D for his weekend working too.

  17. LHS was a breeze, RHS was very difficult.
    In the end I surrendered and availed myself of BD’s hints.
    Thanks to BD and Virgilius.

  18. Not on the wavelength at all with this one.
    Needed a lot of Big Dave’s excellent hints.

    Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave.

  19. Caught the LHS/RHS syndrome like others, but found this puzzle very enjoyable.
    Lots of neat clues ie 12A, 1D and 9D.
    Thanks to BD and Virgilius.

Comments are closed.