ST 2486 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2486 – Review

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2486 – Review

A full analysis by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Another enjoyable Sunday puzzle, just right for sitting in the garden with a schooner of sherry in one hand and a pencil in the other!


1a Get away from exam, being first to finish? (8)
FLEETEST – a charade of FLEE (get away from) and TEST (exam) gives a word meaning fastest (first to finish)

5a Shoot jet going over river (6)
SPROUT – a word meaning to produce a shoot comes from SPOUT (jet) around (going over) R(iver)

9a Rigid group of players meeting press (4-4)
CAST-IRON – something rigid is derived as another charade, this time of CAST (group of players) and IRON (press)

10a Platforms some of Metro’s trains used (6)
ROSTRAS – the plural of rostrum (platform) is hidden inside (some of) MetRO’S TRAins; used is padding to improve the surface reading

11a Ideas, nevertheless, had by Eliot, initially (8)
These ideas come from combining THOUGH (nevertheless) and the first two initials of Thomas Stearns Eliot

12a American type, a chap disturbed by European (6)
APACHE – this Native American is an anagram (disturbed) of A CHAP followed by E(uropean) – and was yesterday’s 1 across!

14a Skill shown by Ted Heath, say, with boats (10)
This skill, which could have been shown by Ted Heath or any other Prime Minister come to that, is actually a simple charade of STATE (say) with CRAFT (boats)

18a Don’t push record as old as we are (10)
DISCOURAGE – a synonym for don’t push is yet another charade – this time of DISC (record) and OUR AGE (as old as we are)

22a Angela Merkel, for example, listening to works of Schubert (6)
LEADER – of which Angela Merkel is an example – sounds like (listening to) Lieder (works of Schubert)

23a It’s an old craft, making glass (8)
SCHOONER – a double definition of an old swift sailing-ship on the one hand and a large sherry glass on the other

24a English composer of high stature lives here (6)
TALLIS – a charade of TALL (high stature) and IS (lives) gives Sir Thomas TALLIS (English composer)

25a It’s good to get a little illumination (8)
GASLIGHT – charade time again – G(ood) with A SLIGHT (a little) gives a form of illumination

26a Being upwardly mobile, and so revolting (6)
RISING – a double definition

27a Churchman having tea without milk or sugar (8)
CHAPLAIN – a nice charade of CHA (a colloquial word for tea) followed by PLAIN (without milk or sugar / embellishment) gives this churchman


1d Information about stimulating stuff surfaces (6)
FACETS – Just put FACTS (information) around the stimulating drug called E(cstasy) and you get a word meaning surfaces

2d Station American in English college (6)
EUSTON – this London station comes from putting US (American) inside ETON (English college)

3d Emotional pang among left-wingers (6)
TWINGE _ an emotional pang that is hidden in (among) lefT-WINGErs

4d A little work politician put in, after drinks (5,5)
SHORT STORY – this little work comes from putting TORY (politician) after SHORTS (drinks)

6d Expectation of success, as far as one can see (8)
PROSPECT – a double definition

7d Expert helping one see a topic in a different way (8)
OPTICIAN – this expert in helping you to see better is an anagram (a different way) of A TOPIC IN

8d Hear about a match ending prematurely in burlesque (8)
TRAVESTY – to TRY (hear, as in a court) is put around A VEST(A) (a match ending prematurely) to give a word, one meaning of which is burlesque

13d Person preparing actors for classic Western (10)
STAGECOACH – A nice cryptic definition which leads to the classic Western film starring John Wayne

15d Confession from procrastinator or pagan (8)
IDOLATER – the procrastinator’s confession is “I DO LATER” – together it gives a synonym for a pagan

16d People in Middle East upending king into river (8)
ISRAELIS – these people from the Middle East are derived from reversing (upending) King LEAR, Shakespeare’s most famous king, inside ISIS, the stretch of the River Thames that passes through Oxford

17d Swindle taking in the press is amusing performer (8)
COMEDIAN – put a CON (swindle) around (taking in) the MEDIA (press) and you get an amusing performer

19d ‘Love in the fifties’ – work that’s inelegantly bound (6)
LOLLOP – put O (love) inside a few Ls (fifty in Roman numerals), add OP (an abbreviation for work) and you have a word one meaning of which is to bound about in an unco-ordinated, puppy-like manner

20d Puzzle’s meaning heartlessly distorted (6)
ENIGMA – this puzzle is an anagram (distorted) of MEA(N)ING without the middle letter (heartlessly)

21d Frenchman in Resistance getting back outside (6)
BRETON – this Frenchman from Britanny is found by putting a BET ON (back) around R(esistance)

That wraps up another excellent Sunday puzzle.  If you tried this puzzle more than three months ago and did’t like it, then now is the time to try again.

4 comments on “ST 2486 – Review

  1. I stuggled at the time and now I’ve seen the answers I’m not surprised.
    8d How many would spot hear=try rather than think it was something to do with the sound of? How does Vesta =match ,please?
    16d. First you have to realise that it is a particular king and not just R or rex , then out of the rivers on the world you have to pick Isis. Out of my league.
    24a I really don’t like clues like this. If you know Tallis it’s trivial , if you haven’t then if you have enough checking leters , its a guess but if you haven’t you are stuck.

    1. Greenhorn

      I’ll try and answer your questions one by one.

      8d There are certain words that keep coming up in crosswords, and you have to learn them, although a good thesaurus does help. If you look up “hear” in Chambers online the second entry is “try”. Vesta is an old word for a match that is kept alive by the Swan Vestas brand.. With this clue I was much more concerned with the alternative definition of “burlesque”, a word these days much more associated with an entertainment combining often coarse jokes, striptease, songs and dancing.

      16d Once again King Lear and the Isis are frequent visitors to crosswordland.

      24a The wordplay and the checking letters do lead you to the answer. Most setters are aware of the difficulties answers like this present and try to give strong hints in the wordplay – here you have “English composer” rather than just “composer”.

      Try getting hold of a copy of one of the Collins Bradford’s Crossword guides, or a similar publication, to help you progress. And remember that not even the reviewers on this site get every clue in every puzzle without some assistance. If you only did puzzles for which you already knew all of the answers then you would soon get bored.

      1. I have read Tim Moorey’s “How to master the Times Crossword” through and through.In it he says “The stated intention is that the Times Crossword can be done by any moderately well-educated person with a love of language and problem solving , without recourse to reference books” . If you look at the answers there are usually two or three answers which I would say that the moderately well educated person would never have heard of. It seems to me that this is a just an area where the more you do it, the more you remember the tricks.

        1. There’s a crucial difference between “the crossword can be done by” and “all the answers in the grid are words known to”. Even after 30-odd years of Times and other solving and two wins in the Times xwd championship, I still discover new words in the Times and other puzzles, but the setters nearly always give you easier bits of wordplay for these and neighbouring clues that give you the checking letters. You will learn lots of things that crop up a lot, like king=Lear, and it’s that and getting better at juggling with the possible interpretations of words until something good pops up, that will get you much further than knowing lots of composers or anything else.

          Just keep trying and keep reading the blogs – you will get there!

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