ST 2515 – Hints – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2515 – Hints

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2515 – Hints

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment *****

Four weeks ago Sunsetter hinted that there might be a themed puzzle appropriate to the time of year – well here it is! You are certain to spot the theme very quickly, but in order not to spoil it I have decided not to provide hints for the first and last across clues.

This is quite an easy puzzle, but the five stars for enjoyment reflect the number of clues that made me smile.

If Helen is reading this, I  did try to write to you last week but my email was returned as undeliverable so I answered your question in the Hints post.

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.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them.

Peter Biddlecombe’s full review of this puzzle will be published at 12.00 on Friday, 25th December (or thereabouts!).


9a    Enjoy welcoming one born at Christmas (7)
Take a word meaning to enjoy and insert (welcoming) I (one) and you have someone who was born at Christmas

18a    Old maids some lads disturbed (8)
These old maids are an alternative spelling of a familiar word, and disturbed indicates that they are an anagram of SOME LADS

19a    Milkmaids in song and Santa’s 5, for example (6)
These groups have the same number of members as the maids who were a milking, and this clue is a good hint for 5 down!

27a    One who’s not satisfied where Father Christmas comes down? (7)
This person who is habitually dissatisfied is cryptically defined as where Santa finishes up having come down the chimney


1d    A bishop and saint oddly have no Christmas spirit? (7)
String together A with B(ishop) and an anagram (oddly) of SAINT and you get a word that means to have no Christmas spirit, or beer either!

5d    Team of high-fliers drawing at Christmas (8)
… and the clue for 19 across should give you a pretty good idea of what they are drawing for Santa

14d    Ordinary person with article that dates from first Christmas (6,3)
This ordinary person is one who is not a Lord, add the indefinite article and you have a phrase that covers the period since the birth of Christ

16d    Michael, say, making a difference between sides (9)
My favourite in today’s puzzle – Michael is an example of this celestial being, which is constructed from A and then a word meaning a difference between the Right side and the Left side

18d    What one kind of sky or angels brought to shepherds (7)
… what a red sky at night means to shepherds!

If you need further help then please ask and I will see what I can do.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers in your comment, else they may be censored!

21 comments on “ST 2515 – Hints

  1. hi Dave, have finished, lovely crossword but cannot understand how the answer to 26a is what it is or 20d?? maybe i have them both wrong, can u help pleeese??

      1. So you know all about white horses now!

        20d Waits at Christmas, for example, for some birds (7)
        Waits are people who welcome in Christmas by playing out of doors at night

  2. Enjoyed today’s offering.

    Not sure if everyone is aware that you can get a free website trial of Clued up on Christmas Day. It is advertised several times in today’s puzzle section.

    1. I had heard, but could find nothing about it on the website. This will enable everyone to do any special Christmas online-only puzzles. We will be blogging these, but I can make no promises as to timings for obvious reasons.

      1. I would have thought that they would have advertised it larger in the paper, but it appears like a large postage stamp size on the top right of each double page. If they wanted more people to get to know Clued up then this was a wasted opportunity.

        I also hope we have access for slightly longer than Christmas Day to allow us cooks to do what we need to and then partake in the festivities before clearing our heads to do the crossword.

  3. Here’s a funny thing,I thought 8d had the name of the Bishop of York embedded in the clue and so I filled in ‘SENTAMO’, I thought it was a great clue and the answer fitted the clue in every aspect. It is amazing how you can get something so wrong, Bah Humbug!!
    Good puzzle though
    Happy Christmas B Dave and thanks for an enjoyable first year.

  4. I’ve decided there is little point in continuing to hide my identity, since Peter unmasked me some time ago (as I suspected he might). So I can send greetings to you all from the fine city of Portland, Oregon.

    Many thanks to Big Dave and his team for the great job they do, to Peter who explains the logic of clues so clearly, and to my editor, Phil McNeill, who has an excellent eye for when I am getting too abstruse. And many thanks to all the solvers for their appreciation and constructive criticism.

    I hope to keep providing acceptable puzzles throughout 2010 (and beyond). I apologise for the poor clue at 10A today – I tried hard, but just seemed to have a block.

    1. Goodbye Sunsetter – Hello Brian !!

      It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. Peter wrote to me very early in your term as the Sunday Setter to say that he was sure that he recognised your style.

    2. Hi Brian

      Thanks for your puzzles – I really enjoyed solving them this year.

      Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for you and your family.

      I look forward to more great puzzles from you in 2010.

  5. An interesting and enjoyable puzzle. The top half was certainly two stars but the bottom half was more of a three or four star challenge. I think that I must have spent three times as long on the bottom half of the grid and there were several new words and more difficult constructions. This was up to the high standard that Jed has set for us over the year. Many thanks to him and the top and bottom lines are reciprocated.

  6. Wrote in the top half without pausing for breath but the bottom half is a different story -have come to grinding halt!
    19a There were eight milkmaids but eight doesn’t fit and adding together the number of animals depicted at 5d gives sixteen which doesn’t fit either!
    27a Hearth doesn’t fit nor does fireplace.
    14d Hint not helping -all I can thing of is a.d.
    16d A difference between the right side and left side in what sense, please? Obviously not middle.

    1. Greenhorn
      I hope Big Dave answers you because I would like to but I will probably give the game away.
      As far as 16d goes you are on the wrong track, you need to look more heavenly.

      1. Greenhorm, where does Santa land if he comes down the chimney?? 27a
        19a, you are on the right lines with ‘eight’
        I will leave the other two to Dave

    2. As a fellow struggler on the bottom half, I can empathise:

      19a – the word is related to eight – think of a group of eight musicians.

      27a – The answer is one word made up of two words to explain where Santa might arrive at the bottom of the chimney.

      14d – Normally the years after Jesus’ birth are referred to as AD. Another reference is sometimes used in interfaith circles that expresses a shared time.

      16d – You need the A plus abbreviations for your two hands. Inside the abbreviations add another word for difference (the word also means to alter) to get the answer.

      1. Thanks Prolixic

        Alternatively hovering over the picture for 5d will help with 19a; likewise with 16d!

        At 27a the phrase would usually have the definite article in the middle (2,3,5) but you only need to combine the 2 and the 5

        It is very hard to provide a hint for 14d without mentioning the answer – think in terms of Parliament – Lords sit in the House of Lords, so who sits in the other place. Take the singular of this and add the “article” and then split the result as (6,3) and look it up in a dictionary (preferably Chambers).

  7. Nice puzzle – struggled mightily with 26a – a new word to me and I had an alternative which nearly fit but not quite – but was much more easily associated with xmas!!

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