ST 2536

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2536

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

Quite an easy one I thought – maybe as a lot of the answers seem to be words that come up in crossword grids. All clued as well as you’d expect, in a very clean-looking grid, with just 10 black squares added to the basic lattice.

1 As a consequence, one is thrown out of the French resort (6)
THENCE = “as a consequence” – THE,NICE with I=one removed. Applause for “the French” NOT meaning LE, LA or LES for the umpteenth time
4 One unlikely to win, who hasn’t entered? (8)
OUTSIDER – 2 defs, one based on the original inside/outside contrast rather than the metaphorical meaning of “outsider”. Metaphorical words are high up in my mind at present as I’m rereading the excellent The Unfolding of Language, which shows among other things how much they pervade our language.
10 A few chestnuts, perhaps, as clues offering perplexed solver entry, initially (5)
COPSE – first letters of “clues …. entry” in the clue, “chestnuts” being trees rather than familiar tricks used in cryptic clues, as the ironic surface suggests.
11 Princess rescued by legendary hero from rock stars (9)
ANDROMEDA – two defs. One is “stars“, the other is the rest of the clue. My second book plug is for Brewer – my edition confirms that she was chanied to a rock and rescued from it by Perseus. These days of course, Wikipedia will tell you the same, but Brewer is worth having – a good dictionary, Bradford and Brewer are probably the top three reference books for solvers.
12 Rent to set around old North American city (7)
TORONTO – the crossword setter’s favourite Canadian city, with two TOs, TORN, TONTO and TOTO in there and doubtless other words too. This time it’s O=old in (TORN=rent,TO)
13 Quick reply in letter I posted (7)
RIPOSTE = quick reply – hidden word
14 Scheming corsair in a plot that’s gone wrong (14)
CONSPIRATORIAL=scheming – anag. of “corsair in a plot”. Easy with some checking letters unless you think “scheming” might be an anagram indicator. In the precise world of Brian Greer, probably not.
17 Useless fine, with no charge to follow (4-3-7)
GOOD-FOR-NOTHING – GOOD=fine, FOR NOTHING = “with no charge”
21 Blow up mine, finally, wearing uniform at the front (7)
INFLATE – E from minE, after (IN=wearing, FLAT=uniform). FLAT=uniform may seem a stretch, but flat as in “flat rate” is “the same in all cases”.
23 One needs a blower to make off-peak calls (7)
ALPHORN – cryptic def. with “blower” meaning “player of a brass instrument”, and “off-peak” meaning “from a mountain”. Alphorns are more likely to be used in the areas of pasture from which the word “alp” originally comes, but we’ll let that pass (unintentional mountain pun!). (Or we can count this as a logical reason for “off-peak”)
24 Part of fisherman’s catch has gone bad in his basket (6,3)
CONGER EEL – anag. of ‘gone’ in creel = “his basket”
25 So wise — so reaching no conclusions, these Europeans (5)
SWISS – just the word to have underneath ALPHORN! “So wise so” with the last letters removed. A nice hint of Swiss neutrality in the surface meaning.
26 Art patron’s daughter, say, making error (8)
MISSTATE = error – How can this be? you might ask, misstate being a verb and error a noun. BG has not slipped up – lurking in Collins is “n. a misstatement” for misstate. “Miss Tate” is the supposed daughter of art-lving sugar merchant Henry Tate. PB slipped up! See comment below from BG identifying the real definition.
27 Remained in position, supported by guys (6)
STAYED – 2 defs, “guys” being ropes supporting tents and the like
1 How bookies communicate, taking little time on course (4-4)
TICK-TACK (which you can also spell without the Ks) – a signalling system used by on-course bookies. TICK=little time,TACK = (nautical) course
2 Unusually neat prose naturally spoken by no children (9)
ESPERANTO – “naturally spoken by no children” as it’s an artificial language. Anag. of ‘neat prose’
3 Make large profits, free from corruption (5,2)
CLEAN UP – two defs
5 Powerless to take over the German base, it’s clear (14)
UNDERSTANDABLE = clear – (DER=’the German’,STAND=base) in UNABLE=powerless
6 Bung in small hat (7)
STOPPER – S=small,TOPPER=hat
7 Over time, subscription concert items you and I might perform (5)
DUETS = “concert items you and I might perform” – T = time in DUES = subscription
8 What author wants is a university position (6)
READER – two defs
9 Contraction in political group (6,8)
LABOUR MOVEMENT – two defs again – the sixth and last in this puzzle, probably a couple more than average. Not a complaint – if this is the clue type that suits best, why not use it?
15 No amity is involved in this (9)
ANIMOSITY – anagram of “no amity is”, with ‘involved’ as the indicator, making an all-in-one. (Amity is friendship, as you can guess from your school French)
16 Diagnose incorrectly and put through mental torment (8)
AGONISED = anag. of “diagnose” – in the cryptic reading, “put” is in the past tense, not the present.
18 Face shocking treatment, in a manner of speaking (7)
DIALECT – DIAL=face (of a clock, or of a person in the ‘Brit. informal’ meaning),ECT = electroconvulsive therapy = “schocking treatment”
19 Kind group of people prepared to go into print (7)
TYPESET = “prepared to go into print”, “prepared” being the original verb, not “ready”. TYPE=kind,SET=group of people
20 Funny programme cut — first by two-thirds, then a half (6)
SITCOM = funny program – the rest of the clue refers to SIT being 1/3 = 3/9 of “situation”, and COM being 1/2 = 3/6 of “comedy”
22 Ominous sights at sea around one — that’s how movie may end (5)
FINIS – which you might see instead of “The End”, “Fin”, or “That’s all, Folks!” – the right answer to go here. I=one, in FINS = “ominous sights at sea”


  1. Brian Greer
    Posted May 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Two comments for Peter.

    10 across was written with him in mind, as a roaster of chestnuts

    26 across: intended reading is that the definition is “say, making error”

    • Posted May 21, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Permalink


      I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who read this as “Art patron’s daughter, say”.

    • Posted May 22, 2010 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Thanks Brian. I should probably say a bit more often that identifying the old chestnuts doesn’t mean I always disapprove of their use, e.g. to give solvers a few easy entries in a hard puzzle. (And if “the French” wasn’t an old chestnut, one bit of deception in 1A wouldn’t work!)

  2. Posted May 21, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Peter and Mr Greer (Loving your work!)