ST 2540 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2540

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2540

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

More Sunday class. As Brian Greer called me an “arch-roaster of chestnuts” or similar a few weeks ago, I suspect he may well have done this before without me noticing properly, but there is very little stale old cryptic xwd material in this puzzle – apart from some one-letter abbreviations like fifty=>L, which are almost impossible to avoid completely, there are just two bits of what I’d think of as “chestnut content”: four=>IV (25A), leg=>ON (4D).

Next Friday’s report will be a bit different. Gnomethang and I will both record our thought processes as accurately as we can while solving next Sunday’s puzzle (2541), and the blog will be a report showing our progress in parallel. The idea is to show you a bit of how we get from the clue to the answer – the analysis you usually get explaining the answer is useful (and all you can be sure of being able to write after the event) but not quite the same. It will also show you that there are many ways to skin the solving rabbit – there will be clues that one of us sees easily and the other misses completely on first look – both ways, I hope.

1 Carefully analysed, however twice needing extra time, right? (7,7)
THOUGHT THROUGH = carefully analysed – two copies of THOUGH=however, one with an extra T=time, the other with an extra R=right. Nice mention of “extra time” for day 3 of the World Cup
9 Tummy muscles ain’t out of shape, so avoid getting stout? (7)
ABSTAIN – ABS = abdominals = tummy muscles, TAIN = anag. of ain’t, indicated by ‘out of shape’
10 Flower I planted in middle of stable, oddly (7)
ASTILBE – a flower that you can buy at your local garden centre. I in the (exact) middle of an anagram of ‘stable’
11 Horatius, for example, among the Romans (4)
HERO – hidden in “the Romans”. My classics knowledge isn’t great, so (unless I’m forgetting a better-known Horatius) I needed Chambers Biographical Dictionary to tell me that three brothers of this name were chosen to fight for Rome against the three Curiatii brothers of Alba Longa. Two were “speedily slain”, so the hero must be the other, who overcame all three opponents, or his descendant Publius Horatius Cocles, who held a bridge over the Tiber against the army of Lars Porsena. Does anyone really remember all this stuff? Much quicker to assume that Horatio Nelson was named after someone heroic. Or just not worry given the easy wordplay. Meanwhile, the clue is a semi-&lit (semi-all-in-one sounds wrong!), as both “Horatius, for example” and the whole clue can be read as definitions.
12 What identifies us in explosive competition (10)
TOURNAMENT – OUR NAME = ‘what identifies us’, in TNT=explosive
14 Join a navy, initially, as this? (6)
SEAMAN – SEAM (vb.)=join,A,N from Navy to give us a true all-in-one
15 Before cuckoo clock is put outside, it provides morning call (8 )
COCKEREL – ERE=before, in anag. of CLOCK, indicated by “cuckoo”, and a cockerel provides an “early morning call”.
17 Pass over insects in lower gear, not top (3,5)
SKI PANTS = “lower gear, not top” (2 defs!) – SKIP=pass over, ANTS=insects
18 Grab a few notes (6)
SNATCH – 2 defs, one a short bit of music
21 Funny US comedian – unlike a straight man (10)
MENDACIOUS = not like a straight (=honest) man – anag. of ‘US comedian’
22 Sign for majority shareholder (4)
LION – 2 defs – one translation of Leo=sign (of the zodiac), one from “lion’s share” (not a stock market beast to go with bull/bear/stag as I briefly thought)
24 Store supplies good news for investor (5,2)
STOCK UP – 2 defs again – “store” (vb.), and “stock up” = “shares higer in price”
25 Store supplies good news for investor (5,2)
TEL AVIV – reverse of valet=servant, then IV=four
26 Leader of movement who delivers evening paper? (8-6)
STANDARD BEARER – 2 defs – a leader of a movement, and whimsically, a deliverer of the Evening Standard
1 Works for school in set-up without a head (7)
TEACHES = works for school – EACH=’a head’, in reversal of SET
2 Comment on dispatch showing military position (11,4)
OBSERVATION POST=’military position’ – OBSERVATION=comment, POST (into a red box)=dispatch
3 Attack a lecherous man (4)
GOAT – 2 defs: lecherous man, and attack = ‘go at’
4 Take care of leg, or injury-prone part of body (6)
TENDON=’injury-prone part of body’ – TEND=take care of, ON=leg
5 Clearance for vehicle taking different road home (8 )
HEADROOM = anag. of ‘road home’
6 Monarch quickly emerged, excelling as officer (10)
OUTRANKING = excelling as officer, and “OUT RAN KING”=”monarch quickly emerged”
7 Dog, good and mature, getting even terrier excited (6,9)
GOLDEN RETRIEVER – G=good,OLD=mature,ENRETREIVER = anag. of ‘even terrier’
8 Pulse is one fifty after fast time (6)
LENTIL – LENT=fast time,I=one,L=fifty
13 Crazy family that’s dangerous when one puts one’s foot down (6,4)
16 I hope it transformed a country in Africa (8 )
ETHIOPIA – (anag. of ‘I hope it’),A
17 Asian food served initially in Pacific islands (6)
SAMOSA – S in SAMOA = Pacific islands
19 Hang around outside an old royal house (7)
HANOVER = an old royal house – AN in HOVER=hang around
20 Took legal action about it – that’s appropriate (6)
SUITED = appropriate – IT in SUED=took legal action
23 Take off small jumper, say (4)
FLEE = take off, sounding like “flea”=small jumper

1 comment on “ST 2540

  1. 14a was my favourite from this puzzle. The solve was a slightly odd experience though; I can’t accuse Brian of using chestnuts, but there was odd coincidence in that TOURNAMENT had been set in a clue-writing competition I entered a day or two before it appeared here – and I’d used GOLDEN RETRIEVER in an Indie puzzle recently enough for the clue here (while quite different) to make the answer jump out at from the enumeration alone. Those two answers provided many checkers and led to a rapid solve (ASTILBE was the sole hold-up).

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