ST 2558 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2558

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2558

A full review by Crypticsue

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

Although I have been solving the daily cryptics for many years, I am a late convert to the Sunday Prize Puzzle, enjoy them greatly and can’t think why I didn’t do them before. As Peter Biddlecombe is on holiday, I have the pleasure of reviewing this week’s offering from Virgilius. I have given this crossword 3.5* for difficulty because of the struggle I had with a few of the clues and the fact that my total solving time was two-thirds longer than usual, which I don’t think was entirely due to blogger’s nerves or my attempts to overcomplicate the clues and thus be unable to see the solution! Thanks to Virgilius for the Sunday brain stretching. Peter will be back on duty next week and I can return to my usual routine – solving the Sunday puzzle while cooking the lunch!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Maiden is suitable to pinch (14)
MISAPPROPRIATE – A nice charade to begin with – M (abbreviation for maiden over in cricket) IS and APPROPRIATE (suitable) – the whole being a synonym for to pinch or take dishonestly for oneself.

9a    Fifty I count out for print, kind of (7)
LINOCUT – The Roman numeral for 50 – L with an anagram of I COUNT (out) – a type of print made from a design cut in relief in linoleum.

10a    Strain is back in part of joint (7)
TENSION – Reverse IS (back) and insert it into the name of the projecting piece of wood inserted into a mortise to form a joint.

11a    One abandoning ship turned to sailor (3)
TAR – Rats are, of course, famous for abandoning a sinking ship. Reverse one of them (turned) to get one of the compiler’s many useful alternatives to sailor.

12a    Pray send up a novel as original source for this (6,5)
SUNDAY PAPER – A very nice anagram (novel) PRAY SEND UP A produces the type of periodical which contains this crossword, my preferred medium for solving DT & ST cryptic crosswords.

14a    Part of Venice included in ministerial tour (6)
RIALTO – Hidden in ministeRIAL
ur is the name of the famous bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice.

15a    Note club that was useful for press (8)
FLATIRON – An old-fashioned iron heated on a stove is a charade of FLAT (a note below the right pitch in music and a type of golf club.

17a    Restricted movement for alien in debt (8)
TETHERED – If you were in debt, your bank statement used to show the figures in red ink, so you were said to be in THE RED. Inert Spielberg’s favourite alien, ET, and you get the past participle of a verb meaning to confine an animal within certain limits by means of a rope or chain.

19a    Person from one part of Africa thus leading another (6)
SOMALI – Someone from Somalia in Africa is obtained by SO (thus) and MALI (a country in West Africa).

22a    After US resort, revised parts of voyage – they’re not long in Bermuda (7,4)
TROUSER LEGS – Bermudans are famous for wearing shorts so obviously their trouser legs would not be long. The clue indicates that an anagram of US RESORT should be followed by LEGS (parts or stages of a journey). There is a very rare error by the setter here (who sends his apologies for any confusion caused) in that you end up with a spare S. I have to admit that if I hadn’t been analysing the clue for the review, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the spare S either as I just thought anagram of US RESORT and LEGS without looking too closely at the available letters.

23a    Beginning from two, ends in one or low digit (3)
TOE – Take the first letter (beginning from) of Two and follow it with the ends of ONE to get a digit found on the foot.

24a    Keep an eye on love poetry by European (7)
OVERSEE – O + VERSE + E(European) – keep an eye on in the sense of superintend.

26a    Person who wants the best people in personnel, it is true (7)
ELITIST – another hidden word – someone favouring the creation of a government by a select group is hidden in personnEL IT IS True

27a    Flexible in one’s mind in relation to addition (14)
SUPPLEMENTALLY – This took me ages to get and, once ‘got’, I really couldn’t see why I didn’t see it straight away. A charade of SUPPLE (flexible) and MENTALLY (in one’s mind) produces an adverb meaning additionally – not a word with which I was very familiar.


1d    Show of force – organized army to toil at it (8,6)
MILITARY TATTOO – A military entertainment show with marching held at night is an anagram (organised) of ARMY TO TOIL AT IT.

2d    Mixed drink and crooned tune when upset (7)
SANGRIA – the Spanish wine punch made with soda or lemonade (ie mixed) is produced by SANG (crooned: sang in a sentimental manner or apparently in an undertone) and a synonym for a melody or tune AIR reversed (upset in a down clue)

3d    They take the lead, initially, with due respect to people like me (4-7)
PACE-SETTERS – Pace-setters take the lead in a race in order to increase the lap rate to allow other runners to eventually go on to break a record for the distance. PACE is a preposition meaning ‘with due respect to’ and of course people like Virgilius, Cephas et al are SETTERS of marvellous cryptic crosswords.

4d    Deserving member of crew (6)
RATING – A fixing of classifications according to grade (BD has these every day for difficulty and entertainment) is also the classification of a sailor in a crew.

5d    Pathetic theatrical part I fit (8)
PITIABLE – a synonym for pathetic is a charade of the part of the theatre occupied by the orchestra – PIT plus I and ABLE (having the strength or power to do something).

6d    Local European river (3)
INN – I wonder how many people know that Innsbruck in Austria is named because of the bridge over the River Inn. Our village local is the Gate Inn.

7d    Person nearly falling for a tourist (7)
TRIPPER – someone who nearly falls over or someone who goes on trips as a tourist.

8d    Batting quietly under strain perhaps, in stubborn fashion (14)
INTRANSIGENTLY – The second 14 letter struggle of the day. A charade of IN (batting) TRANSI (an anagram – perhaps – of STRAIN) followed by GENTLY (synonym for quietly) produces an adverb meaning stubbornly or obstinately.

13d    David, for example, paints no art badly (6,5)
PATRON SAINT – St David is the patron saint of Wales – an anagram (badly) of PAINTS NO ART.

16d    Old magistrate imprisoning Prince I let off (8)
REPRIEVE – To let off or give a respite to – a historical high official or magistrate – a REEVE with PR (abbreviation for PRINCE) and I inserted.

18d    Anarchistic author penning essays, primarily (7)
THOREAU – a splendid &Lit – An anagram (anarchistic) of AUTHOR with E (the first letter of essays) produces the name of a famous writer of essays who is sometimes described as an individualist anarchist!

20d    High-rise accommodation for soldiers and others (7)
ANTHILL – Another one I couldn’t get immediately for no apparent reason – soldier ants and their relations live in an anthill – some of which can apparently be up to 10 feet high, hence the accommodation being high-rise.

21d    Separate letter that may have French accent, acute or grave (6)
SEVERE – SEVER, in the sense of separate or divide, plus E (a letter that in French can have either an acute or grave accent). The English pronunciation of grave also means serious or severe. (The assistance here of Gnomethang in resolving my mental block is gratefully acknowledged)

25d    Slowly take liquid hydrogen out of vessel (3)
SIP – One of my favourite clues today – not least because of its simplicity. The vessel here is the SHIP – remove the H (hydrogen) and you get a word meaning to drink liquid slowly.

My favourite clues today were 12a, 23a, 3d, 18d, 21d and 25d. Comments on the blog were very sparse well into the afternoon although site stats show that nearly 400 people looked at the hints – I don’t know whether this was because everyone was doing something else or whether like me they struggled more than usual but didn’t like to admit it in a comment!

24 comments on “ST 2558

  1. Totally agree with your ratings, I thought this was a tricky one today but very enjoyable, thanks to Virgilus and to Crypticsue.

  2. I did not find this too tricky, but then again, with the Saturday and Sunday puzzles I tend to print them off and complete them in between doing other things, rather than in one sitting. I tend to get frowned upon if I spend too much time at the computer on Sundays (hence my lack of comments!) and with another addition to the family due 5 weeks on Sunday, I will have to continue fitting in the weekend puzzles, as and when I can.
    Top quality puzzle from Virgilius. Thanks to Sue for the notes.

  3. Top class review,Crypticsue. I got on the wavelength to this quite quickly but Supplementally and Linocut caused a bit of chin scratching.

  4. Hi crypticsue
    I always think it’s a shame that someone goes to all the trouble of doing the review and gets so few comments. People comment on the Sunday tips but then forget about the puzzle and miss your (or Peter’s) erudite explanations! They ought to know better! Always worth reading.
    So, thanks for today’s offering. Also thanks to Virgilius for a great workout – very testing in places (for me at least)!

    1. Actually, the same comment could apply to the review of the Saturday puzzle. So thanks to Gnomethang for perervating with the reviews!

      1. Its one of those thangs, MrPommers. There are actually plenty of people who access the site (via tags or knowledge of the site) read these full reviews and dont comment. It would be nice if these visitors introduced thaemselves to the ‘blog as a whole but ultimately its not a big problem.

        1. Hello gnomethang
          OK, fair comment. But, I think those who read the review should at least be polite enough to place a word of thanks! I never look at the review without doing so – rude not to. So, if you don’t get a comment from me you know I haven’t done the crossword or read the review.
          Thanks to all the bloggers for making crosswordland a more sociable place – I was begining to think I was some sort of ‘nerd’ before I met you guys!
          And, less of the ‘Mr’ please – I’m ‘pommers’ or ‘Mike’ if you want to get friendly.

            1. Mr CS keeps muttering ‘nerd’ under his breath since I discovered the blog and became its first lady blogger – but then he never did understand the joy of solving a great cryptic crossword.

              1. Pommette was similar until she threw in the towel and joined me. We now do the DT crypitic over lunch and occasionally have a go at the Toughie -.not often very successfully.

                1. Had visitors for the last couple of weeks and she’s far too polite to do the Xword via CluedUp while they’re here! Not me! Back in UK next week so both absent for a while. Normal service, I hope, resumed on 1st November.

      2. Page views for last week’s puzzles with the associated hints post in brackets:

        DT 26367 – 393 (2,602)
        ST 2557 – 114 (535)

        Sunday’s puzzles are always less popular – a great pity

        1. Any idea why the Sundays are less popular? I quite like them.
          Long may Virgilius continue as they’re about my standard, doable without outside assistance but a bit of a challenge!

          1. Pommers

            1. The Sunday Telegraph sells fewer copies than the Daily Telegraph.

            2. For many years, up until spring last year, the puzzles were not, in my opinion, of the standard they are today – it takes time to persuade people who have been turned off to return and try again.

            1. Thanks for the explanation BD.
              I’ve really only got back into crosswordland in the last few months, since discovering CluedUp and your site. In Spain it costs an arm and a leg to get the DT!
              The Sunday puzzles are certainly OK by me nowadays – is it always Virgilius? He/she is pretty good as far as I am concerned.

  5. What an excellent review CS – I didn’t do the puzzle until Monday as was out on Sunday so didn’t comment. However, thought I would acknowledge that I have read your review and enjoyed it.

    Enjoyed the puzzle as well – thanks to setter.

  6. Thanks to all for their kind comments. I did enjoy doing the Sunday Review for a change. I second Brian’s remarks about the photograph :D

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