ST 2555

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2555

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

This report will appear a couple of days before I meet Brian Greer for the first time since my first win in the Times Crossword Championship in 2000, which marked the end of his reign as crossword editor and the beginning of Mike Laws’s short spell in the job. So I’m pretty well guaranteed to be nice about this one.

Across
1 Ominous statements from doctors outside hospital (7)
THREATS – H = hospital, in TREATS = doctors
5 Fruit was revolting to cheer-leader (4,3)
ROSEHIP – a fruit whose syrup you might have been given as a source of vitamin C. ROSE=was revolting, HIP = cheer-leader (when combined with another “hip”)
9 Skilled worker’s quietly taken off front of old weapon (7)
ARTISAN = skilled worker – p. = piano = quietly is removed from the front of partisan – for which the second def in Chambers is “a halberd-like weapon with twin axe-blades or spikes, common in the Middle Ages” – unusually difficult vocabulary for the Telegraph, but the def. is quite easy and I suspect BG was trying to find a new clue for a fairly common answer
10 Small cars assembled by competitors in drive (7)
BEETLES = small cars, and “assembled by competitors in drive”. A Beetle drive is one of those village hall events that I’ve yet to attend (ditto a whist drive).
11 Host returned to help worker on farm (9)
DAIRYMAID – reversal of myriad=host, then AID=help
12 At start of term, four tropical fish (5)
TETRA – four at the start of a term like tetragram or tetrahedron, and “any of various species of tropical freshwater fish of the family Characidae. [Short form of Tetragonopterus, former name of the genus]” – another harder than average def but combined with an easier one and a relatively weak surface, which should help
13 The writer permanently damages back in US city (5)
MIAMI = US city – reverse of (I MAIM = the writer permanently damages) – I remember the meaning of “maim” from childhood when Southern Region trains had a sign on trains reading something like “Do NOT open the door before the train has stopped – you may kill or maim”. An early example of the fact that you can learn words for crosswords from all sorts of unexpected sources.
15 American author may, along with European (9)
(Nathaniel) HAWTHORNE = American author – HAWTHORN = May, E = European
17 Pulled out of club, I later alternated between two sides (9)
BILATERAL – hidden word, only 9 letters this week
19 Call for truce heard in gangs of thieves, perhaps (5)
PACKS = gangs of thieves = “pax” = call for truce (in old-school playground games)
22 Perfect voice (5)
UTTER – two definitions, one adjective and one verb
23 Higher-level action RAF is in, but not army or navy (5,4)
UPPER CASE – UPPER = higher-level, CASE = (legal) action. The definition is provided by the contrasting “RAF” and other two services
25 Dock dog after dog (7)
CURTAIL = dock – CUR = dog (noun), TAIL = dog (verb)
26 Piece of furnitute [sic], not what needs to be switched (7)
WHATNOT = piece of furniture – switch the order of ‘not’ and ‘what’ in the clue – that’s all there is to it – once you’ve undone the obvious typo in the online version (still there on Friday – wakey wakey!)
27 Foreigner protected by stone part of fortification (7)
SALIENT = part of fortification – ALIEN = foreign, as in “enemy alien”, inside ST. = stone
28 Characteristic of no subject that’s rewarding for author (7)
ROYALTY = “characteristic of no subject”, and an author’s fee
Down
1 Initial switch for celebrity in Russia a century ago (7)
TSARDOM – swap the first two letters in STARDOM=celebrity, to get an old Russian form of celebrity
2 Wine stored the wrong way in canisters (7)
RETSINA – reverse hidden in ‘canisters’
3 A second chance to speak in trial (5)
ASSAY – A = a, S = second, SAY = chance to speak
4 Burns with heat, if silly, as this (9)
SUNBATHER – anag. of (burns, heat) and an all-in-one
5 Fanatical bishop central to sudden attack (5)
RABID = fanatical – B=bishop in RAID
6 Awful place to work demolished in two phases (9)
SWEATSHOP = anag. of (two phases)
7 Put weapon away as composer appears before monarch (7)
HOLSTER = verb for putting a gun into a holster – Holst = composer, E.R. = monarch
8 Reach level of maturity in musical section (7)
PASSAGE – PASS = reach level of, AGE = maturity
14 Clear net I contrived to entangle together (9)
INTERLACE – anag. of (clear net I)
16 Firmness of purpose is going to go very quickly (9)
WILLPOWER – WILL = is going to, POWER = go very quicky – as in “Hamilton is powering through the field”
17 Removes from premises black cats that are wild (7)
BOUNCES = removes from premises – B = black, OUNCES = cats that are wild
18 According to the letter I got in mail finally, later revised (7)
LITERAL – I in (L from mail, then anag. of later)
20 Arm of Atlantic, one of many surfer may go to (7)
(English) CHANNEL – also a destination for a channel surfer
21 Style we adapted, in appealing fashion (7)
SWEETLY = anag. of (style we)
23 Dark line dividing one in two (5)
UNLIT = dark – L = line, dividing UNIT = one
24 Dough prepared for bread (5)
READY – three definitions
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4 Comments

  1. Jake
    Posted October 1, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Hi Peter, thanks for the blog. I found this a little more difficult than previous Sunday puzzles. Still enjoyable nether the less.

  2. gnomethang
    Posted October 1, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Hope to see you there Peter (and Brian et al.)
    Fine crossword as ever from Virgilius.

    • Posted October 1, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Subject to the joys of a British Rail Sunday, you will – our turn for track repairs and buses …

  3. BigBoab
    Posted October 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Happily, and with thanks to yourself and the other bloggers, I am once again thoroughly enjoying the weekend crosswords, particularly the Sunday ones. This was very enjoyable from Virgilis and thanks for the review.