ST 2499 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2499

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2499

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

After a few months of the variable delights of the Saturday puzzle, Dave has given me the privilege of writing about the Sunday puzzle in its new style.   What a change!  Instead of wondering how much to bang on about the clues that annoy me, I’m now trying to make sure I don’t miss any of the very clever aspects of these clues.   It seems to be current DT policy not to name the setter for each day, but if this puzzle wasn’t written by Brian Greer (Brendan and Virgilius elsewhere and a former Times xwd editor, now back on their setting team), it’s by someone who’s learned a lot from Brian and other good setters.  This puzzle was relatively tricky for Brian – his scrupulously fair clues mean that I can get through some of his puzzles pretty swiftly.   I look forward to something with an extra twist to celebrate ST No. 2500 next week.

1 Marsupial primarily found in island, a native running wild (9,5)
TASMANIAN DEVIL = M (“marsupial primarily”) in anag. of “island, a native” – and it’s an &lit/all-in-one, the Tasmanian Devil being a marsupial as described. Fairly easy start as “primarily” is a bit of a give-away.
9 It appears, on the surface, to get court involved in a little work (7)
OUTCROP – anag. of court, indicated by “involved”, in Op. = “a little work”. Not such a spectacular clue as 1A, but deserves credit for the very smooth surface(!) meaning.
10 Keep it in mind, it’s what we live on (7)
BRITAIN – IT in BRAIN=mind. Nice twist to “what we live on”.
11 Military leader’s limited intelligence (3)
GEN = Gen. for General, and a slang word for “information”. nice dig at the reputed daftness of military types.
12 It could be okay after last of sweet (7,4)
DESSERT WINE – this was the clue that slowed me down at the end – I could see DESSERT as a pretty inevitable first word, but the WINE part took a long time to come. The idea is that a dessert wine could be Hungary’s splendid Tokay, which you must try if you’ve never had it. I’m glad to see that now Hungary is in the EU, all that “Tokay Pinot Gris” nonsense is on the way out. Back at the wordplay, you can get Tokay from T=”last of sweet”,OKAY – and the clue is another all-in-one
14 Exactly the right thing, a collector’s item (6)
TICKET – two definitions, one referring to ticket collectors. Classic quote about people frantically looking for tickets: “It’s always in the first place they looked.”
15 Celebrate first piece of luggage appearing here? (8 )
CAROUSEL – another all-in-one – CAROUSE=celebrate,L=”first piece of luggage”
17 Request admission, wanting to dine inside (8 )
ENTREATY – EAT = “to dine” in ENTRY=admission
19 European pest could be annoying (3,3)
MAY BUG – two defs, one nicely accurate as May bugs can be found all over Europe – they’re those beetles that sound as if they can barely fly.
22 Realistic, having been affected by gravity of our situation (4-2-5)
DOWN TO EARTH – 2 defs nicely worked together by a twist of meanings for “gravity”
23 Island, despite what Donne said (3)
MAN – cryptic def., referring to “No man is an island”
24 Humming sound, including mystic syllable (7)
NOISOME = humming = smelly – OM=”mystic syllable” in NOISE=sound. I was troubled for a while by entering the fairly convincing red herring BO(OM)ING, though humming=booming doesn’t really work.
26 Space for comment — add excessive amounts of it? (7)
MARGINS – had to be the answer from “space for comment”, but it took ages to understand the wordplay. You can spoil or MAR GINS by adding too much it = Italian vermouth – one of those old bits of slang that refuses to die in cryptic crossword clues. When it can bamboozle you this well, why should it?
27 Wrongly incarcerate over strike in Western region (7,7)
CENTRAL AMERICA – LAM=strike in anag. of incarcerate.
1 Knowing what others have in mind, yet putting one’s foot down (7-7)
THOUGHT READING = “though treading” – one from the apparently bottomless “just move the gap by one letter” collection
2 Diabolical and awful act, a sin (7)
SATANIC = anag. of “act a sin”
3 Section of Battersea Bridge men tackled as contracted work (11)
ABRIDGEMENT – hidden in “BatterseA BRIDGE MEN Tackled” – long hidden words are a Brian Greer speciality, and “contracted work” is another nicely misleading def.
4 Rascally Irish taking politician for ring-leader (6)
IMPISH – the R=ring-leader in Irish is replaced by MP=politician. Brian Greer was born in Ireland so can get away with “Rascally Irish”.
5 Head male, accepted by rest as one with special status (8 )
NOBLEMAN – NOB=head,M=male in LEAN = rest – and another all-in-one
6 Priest repeatedly in the limelight (3)
ELI – hidden twice over in “thE LImELIght”
7 In which characters are inclined to show stress (7)
ITALICS – leaning=inclined text which often indicates stress=emphasis
8 Listing an elite, unusually bright people (14)
INTELLIGENTSIA = anag. of “listing an elite”
13 Computer problem that brought an end to investment (6,5)
TROJAN HORSE – 2 definitions, one referring to the events which concluded the siege of Troy, “investment” being another word for siege.
16 A term of Latin that follows some examples (2,6)
ET CETERA – which follows some examples, when used correctly.
18 Obediently follow instructions, say, pulling rope (7)
TOWLINE – a “pulling rope” and “toe line”
20 Children at home absorbed by Disney classic (7)
BAMBINI – Italian for infants, and IN=”at home” in BAMBI. I hope no-one guessed at DUMBINO from the middle two checking letters.
21 Scene of conflict for Russians starting Dostoevsky’s novel (6)
CRIMEA = the beginning of “Crime and Punishment”, and scene of the war with Florence Nightingale and the Light Brigade.
25 Poet’s frequently using old paper (3)
OFT – O=old,F.T. – the only one of the five broadsheets which has yet to publish any BG puzzles.

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