ST 2539 – Even better than most Sundays – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2539 – Even better than most Sundays

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2539

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

Watch out for the multi-word definitions in this one – among the def+wordplay clues, only 17A, 27A, 7D and 13D have one-word definitions. Watch out for lots of other good stuff too – three &lit/all-in-one clues, a 13-letter hidden word, and some classic examples of the trick of making you look for synonyms of words when you don’t need to. This is one for aspiring setters to keep as an example of what they should be aiming at – apart from the highlights, every clue has a convincing surface reading and every cryptic reading makes perfect logical sense.

1 Army post I’m in is so extremely noisy (10)
FORTISSIMO – FORT=’army post’, then I’M inside IS SO. Only the worst possible kind of pedant would waste time pointing out that “molto fortissimo” = fff might fit the definition better. That’s my best shot at finding anything to grumble about.
6 New Jersey, say, as part of political federation (4)
CALF – hidden word, and “new Jersey” when Jersey is a type of cow. Putting this at the beginning of the clue magically converts it to an American state for a 1776 surface reading.
9 Sees man drunk in a group of Parisians (2,5)
EN MASSE = anag. of ‘sees man’, the definition being {“in a group”, of Parisians}
10 Shipyard worker dunking alien in Clyde, perhaps (7)
RIVETER – E.T.=alien, in RIVER = ‘Clyde, perhaps’ – not too hard as Clyde means the same in surface and cryptic readings. If you were expecting it to mean a 1930s criminal or other Clyde, remember that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
12 Guys on guard lately when chatting improperly about maiden (13)
NIGHTWATCHMEN = “Guys on guard lately” – M=maiden, in anag. of ‘when chatting’
14 Jack’s appearing in operatic part in place of Lawrence (6)
ARABIA = ‘place of (T.E.) Lawrence’ – AB = ‘able seaman’ = Jack, inside ARIA=’operatic part’
15 Guy provided one pilot has needed after crashing (8 )
HOSPITAL = anag. of ‘pilot has’ – the def. is “Guy provided one”, referring to Thomas Guy
17 Troops moved, namely by railway (8 )
SOLDIERY – SOLD=moved, i.e.=namely, Ry.=railway
19 Minister’s speech based on text message (6)
SERMON – CD alluding to the standard intro “my text this morning is …”
22 Cause of bad weather liable to affect round-the-world races (6,7)
GLOBAL WARMING – CD playing with the meaning of ‘races’, which need to be nations/peoples rather than competitions
24 What’s West End excitement about? (7)
THEATRE – T=”WesT end”, HEAT=excitement, RE=about – a very neat all-in-one
25 A risk to run as accomplice (7)
ABETTOR – A=a,BET=risk,TO=to,R=run
26 Just a little crash in race (4)
DASH – triple definition – just a little / crash / [in] race
27 Poor but no longer crooked, from what we hear (10)
STRAITENED = “straightened”
1 Contagious infection reportedly travelled fast (4)
FLEW = “flu”
2 Gunmen holding Arab in part of Eastern Europe (7)
ROMANIA – OMANI=Arab, in RA = Royal Artillery = gunmen
3 What’s in Latin sign, if I can translate, is of no importance (13)
INSIGNIFICANT – this is the Brian Greer trademark epic hidden word – “LatIN SIGN IF I CAN Translate”
4 Wet, say, after working (6)
SWEATY = anag. of “wet, say” – another neat all-in-one
5 Map’s initial creator, originally (8 )
MERCATOR – M=map’s initial,anag. of CREATOR – another all-in-one
7 Effort made by a part-timer, time after time (7)
ATTEMPT – A,T=time,TEMP,T=time – the wordplay needs brackets – “a, ((part-timer, time) after time)”
8 We have to let you go, for example, in dangerous position (6,4)
FIRING LINE – double definition, the first one alluding to one of those euphemistic phrases from the mouths of the ‘angel of death’ consultants brought into companies to tell people the glad tidings
11 Fault I had seen in current Senate chairman (4-9)
VICE PRESIDENT – VICE=fault, then I’D in PRESENT = current – this page confirms that the US Vice-President is the Senate chairman
13 Managed to secure great deal, being shrewd (3-7)
FARSIGHTED – SIGHT=’great deal’ in FARED = managed
16 Attend summit initially to intimidate (8 )
BROWBEAT – BROW=summit,BE AT=attend – “initially” signals the need to put the summit first, rather than first letters of words in the clue
18 Predatory female in 50s is embracing one inside (7)
LIONESS – this pretty much has to be a “Russian doll” clue when there are three potential container indicators – ‘in’, ‘is embracing’ and ‘inside’. When we untangle the wordplay we find that ‘in’ is a def/wordplay link, and the rest is ONE=one inside IS=is, all inside L’S or LS = ’50s’. The clue deserves some kind of award for the fact that apart from the regular cryptic solver’s Pavlovian response (converting 50 to L), every component of the wordplay is under your nose in the clue
20 Measure of explosive power turning over no rock (7)
MEGATON – reversal of ‘not a gem’ = ‘no rock’
21 In time, scoundrel makes mistakes in work (6)
ERRATA = ‘mistakes in work’ where work=book – RAT=scoundrel, in ERA=time=’a portion of time in history’
23 Apply stimulus to staff under pressure (4)
PROD – P=pressure,ROD=staff, with ‘apply stimulus to’ our last multi-word definition

1 comment on “ST 2539 – Even better than most Sundays

  1. Thank you Peter. I had no idea of the construct for 24a and was unsure about one or two others.

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