ST 2516 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2516

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2516

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

I found this puzzle a little harder than some Sunday ones, even on a second solve after mislaying my original copy. 9A in particular kept me guessing for quite a while both times, and I’m pretty sure it was my last answer first time around. Even after the thematic extravaganza just before Christmas, there’s still some seasonal material, with wassailing at 16D and two lots of shopping (6D, 21D).

1 Scribbles in first part of diary a great deal (7)
DOODLES – D for diary, OODLES = a great deal
5 A body on motorway is dog (7)
MASTIFF – A STIFF = “A body”, on M = motorway
9 Failed to turn out as intended (5,2)
SLEPT IN – cryptic def. “turn out” is colloquial for “get up”, though not in the Oxford Dictionary of English.
10 Portion husband consumed in dazed state (7)
TRANCHE = portion (esp. of money) – H = husband in TRANCE = dazed dtate
11 For instance, essay about moon composed for this subject? (9)
ASTRONOMY – anag of MOON (indicated by “composed”), in AS = for instance, TRY = essay (noun or verb)
12 Not standing for dishonest behaviour (5)
LYING – a fairly chestnutty double def. – “prone to deceit” is the nutshell of a slightly less convincing version
13 Tory leader cuts these? (5)
TAXES – T = Tory leader, AXES = cuts – and a nice bit of political comment
15 Source of papers giving directions to spy (9)
NEWSAGENT – “directions” = N,E,W,S (compass points), AGENT = spy – some people aren’t keen on “directions” in clues to words like SENSE or NEWNESS, but exactly one of each is surely OK!
17 Diagrams distributed round Rio, primarily, for carnival (5,4)
MARDI GRAS – R = “Rio, primarily”, in anag of ‘diagrams’ – with Rio, carnival and (5,4), a very easy one
19 Craft he famously executed (5)
KETCH – 2 defs, one about Jack Ketch – the only executioner you need to know, unless they can come up with a grim clue for Albert Pierrepoint. Here’s the other one.
22 Indian batsmen, finally, getting over 1000 (5)
TAMIL – someone from Tami Nadu, as well as NE Sri Lanka. M = 1000 in TAIL = “batsmen, finally”. By pretty harmless cryptic xwd convention (or just the logic of one-dimensional geometry), AAAA over B = AABAA, with “over” as in Bridge over the River Kwai – going from one side of something to the other side
23 Astonishing bird seen around West End (9)
STARTLING – T = WesT end, in STARLING = bird
25 Aiming for title (7)
HEADING – two defs
26 Rest of flowers made into garland? Certainly! (7)
LEI = flowers made into garland, SURE = certainly, with a nice meaning change for “rest”
27 See it in West Point (7)
WITNESS – IT = it, in (W = west, NESS = point (e.g. Orford Ness))
28 Turn away and go to other side, crossing line (7)
DEFLECT – L = line in DEFECT = “go to other side” – this and 23A are old chestnut containers which made the SE corner straightforward for old hands
1 Musical accompaniment needed in Buxtehude’s cantatas (7)
DESCANT – hidden word – remember Mr B in case he’s an answer to “composer” one day (he did indeed write cantatas)
2 Make excessive demands on public before a vote (7)
OVERTAX – OVERT = public (adj.), A = a, X = vote
3 Drunk losing head in game of chance (5)
LOTTO = game of chance, from (b)lotto = drunk
4 Daily cause of depression making one drink lately (9)
SUNDOWNER – SUN = daily = newspaper, DOWNER = cause of depression – I guess this is the closest Brian could get to including his former blogging name “Sunsetter” in a puzzle
5 Team out before close of play in friendly (5)
MATEY – anag. of team, Y = close of plaY
6 Follow around shopping area, making casual conversation (5,4)
SMALL TALK = casual conversation – MALL = shopping area, in STALK = follow
7 Lean towards popular Conservative policy (7)
INCLINE – IN = popular, C = Conservative, LINE = policy
8 Transported stuff East in alarm (7)
FREIGHT – E = East in FRIGHT = alarm – with “stuff A in B” as the insertion indicator
14 Photograph biography as work of art (5,4)
STILL LIFE – STILL = photograph, LIFE = biography
16 Indulged in merry-making wife criticised (9)
WASSAILED – W = wife, ASSAILED = criticised – most wassailing these days goes on in Christmas carols
17 Part of format the writer’s chosen for book (7)
MATTHEW – hidden – book = book of the Bible.
18 Horn, for example, in part of castle (7)
RAMPART = part of castle, “ram part” = horn for example
20 Praise not originally expressed about British university (7)
TRIBUTE – (B = British, U = University) in TRITE = “not originally expressed” – but there is something original here – the word “originally” being given a rest from its usual role as an “acrosticator”
21 Most expensive merchandise ultimately found in shopping centre (7)
HIGHEST – E = “merchandisE untimately”, in “High St.” = shopping centre – we’re back in proper shops here rather than malls. (highest = “most expensive” is a bit of a stretch for me, as it’s prices that are high and goods that are expensive – but a Google search for “expensive prices” shows that plenty of people disagree.)
23 Sounds depressed? From what we hear, it could be area (5)
SIGHS = “size”, which could be area, as well as volume or length
24 The fellow one put inside as criminal (5)
THIEF – I = one, put inside (THE, F = fellow)

3 comments on “ST 2516

  1. Thanks for the review Peter. The last few Sundays have been very enjoyable in my opinion (having just got back into them in the last few months.
    Its also funny to read your comment on having to redo the crossword and still struggling after a few days away – I noticed that myself and thought that it shouldn’t be the case!.

    Does anyone else here do Sunday?

    1. Plenty of people do the Sunday puzzle – see the discussion on the Hints reports on the day. By the time the closing date is past and my full report goes up, most people have said what they want to say. The same happens for Saturday comp puzzles on the Times blog, even though we say nothing there until the full report.

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