ST 2519

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2519

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Another Sunday puzzle that’s easy for old hands but precisely clued.

1 Constant evil distasteful in sycophantic campaign (5,9)
CHARM OFFENSIVE – C = constant, HARM = evil, OFFENSIVE = distasteful – {C=constant} is by way of c = the speed of light, e.g. in Einstein’s famous equation, which is a constant – C does not stand for “constant”.
9 A role so awful it can damage the atmosphere (7)
AEROSOL – anag. of ‘a role so’, and the def. by reference to CFCs
10 Where we live, a phrase added for emphasis (2,5)
ON EARTH – 2 def’s – a phrase like “the best puzzle on earth” emphasises “the best puzzle”. I was distracted momentarily by the fact that SO THERE fits the (2,5), but found no role for the sot in “sot here”
11 Reason for difficulty learning to do some mathematics (3)
ADD – double def, one referring to ADD = Attention Deficit Disorder
12 Stressing, in text, licit gains I contrived (11)
ITALICISING – anag. of “illicit gains I” – easy to solve because the four I’s are hard to conceal
14 Religious type requiring end of daylight robbery (6)
THEIST – T = end of daylighT, HEIST = robbery.
15 One’s descent in railway after dreadful ascent (8 )
ANCESTRY – ANCEST = anag. of ascent, Ry. = railway – and a nice deceiving ascent/descent contrast in the def
17 Act the part, including old line in show again (4-4)
ROLE-PLAY – (O = old, L = line), in REPLAY = “show again”
19 Jacket for dancing in Spain (6)
BOLERO – 2 defs
22 Isn’t it odd, stableman getting place to relax? (7,4)
SITTING ROOM – SITTIN = anag. of “isn’t it”, GROOM = stableman. Quite good deception here, with “isn’t it odd” looking quite promising as a def. for a (7,4) word, and the rest posing as possible charade wordplay
23 Fool that represents American party (3)
ASS – 2 defs, one referring to the donkey which is the emblem of the Democrats
24 Against the law in bill I cited (7)
ILLICIT – hidden word
26 Attachment to building, one put in by wine business (7)
PORTICO – I = one, in (PORT = wine, CO. = business)
27 After dreadful stir, public transport’s convenient for unconventional hero (8,6)
TRISTRAM SHANDY – TRIS = anag. of stir, TRAM’S = “public transport’s”, HANDY = convenient. I did manage to read the book once, though I’m not sure I’d finish it if I tried now. If you don’t have time for the book, the A Cock and Bull Story film is a good reflection of the style.
1 Letter is covering idiosyncrasy – typical! (14)
CHARACTERISTIC – CHARACTER = letter, IS, TIC = idiosyncrasy
2 Make short work of a link between banks (7)
ABRIDGE – A = a, BRIDGE = link between banks
3 Male is often confused about double parking in this state (11)
MISSISSIPPI – M = male, PP = “double parking”, in three copies of IS, jumbled a bit. If you have trouble spelling this word, just remember that all the consonants except the first are doubled. “is often confused” is a clever way for the setter to dispose of an awkward bunch of letters (see 12A!), and “male is often confused” plus “about [something]” might suggest an anag/container combination
4 Seabird spotted in wonderful marina (6)
FULMAR – hidden word – the fulmar is the one that uses squirting of stomach oil as a defence mechanism
5 Felt things soon changed with time (8 )
EMOTIONS – anag. of (soon, time) – and more disguise as “felt” in “felt things” is an adjective, not a noun.
6 Fathom deep, when sounding (3)
SEE = understand = fathom, and also sounds like “sea” = deep. SEE with no mention of Ely, and sea with no mention of “main” – hurrah!
7 Composer brought to court, briefly, for judgment (7)
VERDICT – Guiseppe VERDI, CT. = court
8 Unkempt boxers, say, venture outside ring – it’s a joke (6,3,5)
SHAGGY DOG STORY – SHAGGY = unkempt, DOGS = boxers say, (O = ring in TRY = venture = attempt) – easy to solve as DOG is not far from DOGS
13 I had converted foes with moving protest that brought end of dictator (4,2,5)
IDES OF MARCH – I’D = I had, ESOF = anag. of foes, MARCH = moving protest
16 Child coming to changing of the guard (8 )
DAUGHTER – anag. of “the guard” – “coming to” = “amounting to” links the def and wordplay – nice surface suggesting Christopher Robin
18 Fifty in queen’s family? That’s not so big (7)
LITTLER – L = fifty in LITTER = queen’s family – a queen being a female cat. The answer may not be in your dictionary (only Collins has it) but is straightforward to work out.
20 So naive, silly excuse you try to get away with (7)
EVASION – anag. of “so naive”
21 Brits down under uplifted by cheerleader (3-3)
POM-POM – two Poms = “Brits down under”, and the fluffy globes of tinsel or rubbery plastic waved by US-style cheerleaders
25 Holiday island often associated with sin and tan (3)
COS – sin and tan are doing their best to masquerade as another version of “sun, sea and sex”, but are really trig functions from your school maths


  1. Posted January 22, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Permalink | Reply


    Chambers, in its great wisdom, gives C as an abbreviation for Constant and as a symbol for the speed of light. I have covered this in the crossword guide:

    See Note 1 at the bottom of this page.

    • Posted January 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You learn something new every day – I guess I’m applying logic from puzzles where the setter can’t just use any abbrev. in Chambers.

      • Posted January 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Chambers XWD contains 10,000 entries. Since it gives them by abbreviated word in one part and abbreviation in the other that would suggest a “vocabulary” of about 5,000, any one of which may appear in a puzzle. Learning all of these would be a formidable task.

        I agree with your comments here and elsewhere (DT 26144) that this is too many, but just where do you draw the line?

        • Posted January 22, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Well, I don’t recommend trying to learn any long lists for crossword solving, or anything in daily paper puzzles that implies a need to do so (or to ransack Chambers in the way you would for a barred-grid puzzle).

          For a puzzle like the Telegraph, I’d suggesting basing the permitted abbreviations on those in a dictionary like the Concise Oxford. For app., for example, this just gives appendix (of a book) and application – Chambers and Collins offer about 7 choices each. There is some scope for setters pleading that their choice is well-known even though not included, but the need to make a case for app. = apparently might prevent its use. Over time, a list of permitted exceptions could be built up for the use of setters.

          The Times xwd editor apparently gives his setters a list of permitted one-letter abbreviations. The list quoted for B in Brian Greer’s book on the Times puzzle has about 14 choices, compared to about 26 in Chambers. It’s supposed to contain the abbrevs in both Collins and the Concise Oxford, plus a few agreed on as “common enough”.

  2. Brian Greer
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The (surprising? maybe not) lack of agreement among dictionaries is well illustrated by their inclusion/exclusion of abbreviations. For 1-letter abbreviations, I generally stick with the Times approved list, now updated, which does include c = constant (ubiquitous in mathematics).

    • Posted January 22, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Oh well – I guess it’s a good thing there’s an alternative explanation.

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