ST 2559 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2559

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2559

A full analysis by Peter Biddlecombe

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

I found this puzzle pretty difficult for a Sunday, or at least I got badly stuck on two crossing pairs – 1A/4D, and 25A/21D. But I enjoyed the chance to use a picture taken on my holiday, which I was already intending to send to the setter. The difficulty meant that while I was still trying to speed-solve, I entered 3 answers without fully understanding the wordplay – 15A, 17A, 13D.

1 Disengage from the faithful? Awful clues result (10)
SECULARISE = “disengage from the faithful” – SECUL = anag. of ‘clues’, ARISE = result – as in “arguments can arise/result from drinking too much beer”. It was the second half that I struggled with – lacking the R from 4D, the anagram could have been at either end, so (synonym for “disengage …” + anag of SECUL = synonym for “result”) was still a possibility
6 Conservative, left of centre — what’s the catch? (4)
CHUB = fish = “catch” – C = Conservative, literally left of HUB = centre
9 London paper covering regions in distant part of world (3,4)
FAR EAST = “distant part of the world” – AREAS = regions, in the F.T., the number 1 “London paper” for cryptic clue purposes
10 Part of plot he’ll outline for play (7)
OTHELLO – hidden word
12 Recent misbehaving by brazen footballer (6,7)
CENTRE FORWARD = footballer – CENTRE = anag. of ‘recent’, FORWARD = brazen. Bang-up-to-date Wayne Rooney surface reading
14 Not reacting about second piece put in (6)
INSERT = put in – S = second, in INERT = not reacting – my colleague dorsetjimbo at the Times blog would be delighted with this bit of science
15 New café moving a place for waiters (8)
ANTEROOM = a place for waiters (whimsically, people who wait in the most obvious sense of “wait”) – (N = new, TEAROOM = café), with the A moved
17 One making slow progress in French course — bad mark in English obtained (8)
ESCARGOT = “One making slow progress in French course” (Escargot = snail, so the course can be one at a school or a bistro.) SCAR = bad mark, in (E = English, GOT = obtained)
19 Demonstrator’s derogatory term for group (6)
SHOWER – a double def., the trickier one being “British informal a group of people perceived as incompetent or worthless”
22 Soap dispenser? (10,3)
TELEVISION SET – cryptic def made considerably easier as Mrs B was watching Eastenders when I was solving the puzzle
24 European taking journey after journey as boost for confidence (3,4)
EGO TRIP = boost for confidence – E = European, then GO and TRIP as the two journeys
25 Knowing about monarch preserving business (7)
CANNERY = “preserving business” – E.R. = monarch, in CANNY = knowing – my difficulty here was thinking of Queen ANNE as the monarch and then trying to make ??Y = knowing. I rejected FLANNERY at least twice.
26 Knowing about monarch preserving business (7)
TIFF = row – IF = provided (a Times 11D part two), in T,F = “the front, initially”
27 Desired a TV broadcast to be made known (10)
ADVERTISED = made known – anag. of “desired a TV”
1 Piece of furniture not finished until now (4)
SOFA = pc. of furniture – incomplete version of “so far” = until now
2 A vehicle almost surrounded by others in SA city (7)
CARACAS – capital of Venezuala – (A CA(r)), inside CARS
3 Lots, initially, on this person’s plate (7,6)
LEARNER DRIVER – cryptic def. referencing L = (Lots, initially) plates
4 International organization of revolutionary movements (6)
ROTARY – 2 defs, one the charitable businessmen who irritate me slightly every Christmas by blasting carols at you through stonking loudspeakers, rather than finding some real musicians
5 Mocking what eager consumer is doing (8)
SCOFFING – another double def
7 In very short time, 25% of amount? (4,1,2)
HALF A MO = “very short time” – in this combination of arithmetic and cryptic crossword logic, 50% of amount = “amo”, so 25% = “half amo”.
8 Cruel queen that may be drunk (6,4)
BLOODY MARY – another double def., one with Worcestershire Sauce.
11 In southern parts, arranged box or other tree (5,8)
HORSE CHESTNUT – CHEST = box, in anag. of ‘Southern’. Given various talk here about (old) chestnuts, I was tickled by seeing this seasonal picture on a book used by someone else in our holiday party.
13 Rich man not drinking with people inside — getting out of habit? (10)
DIVESTMENT = “getting out of habit” – see the dated/humourous meaning here – DIVES = rich man, MEN = people inside T.T. = not drinking
16 GOP’s side corruptly spread malicious rumours (8)
GOSSIPED – anag. of “GOP’s side” – a rather American surface meaning here, the GOP = Grand Old Party being the Republicans
18 Abandon in cold, with nothing on (4,3)
CALL OFF = abandon – C=cold, ALL OFF = “nothing on”
20 Damages highest point on mount (7)
WITHERS – double def, one horsey
21 Skill with point got me! (6)
TOUCHE = “got me” – as in Hollywood fencing scenes – TOUCH = skill, E = east = point
23 I had heard and observed (4)
EYED = observed, sounding like “I’d” = “I had”.

5 comments on “ST 2559

  1. Perhaps your little grey cryptic cells were still in holiday mode. Love the chestnut pic. Thanks for the review of what I thought was a most enjoyable crossword.

  2. Fine picture. It occurred to me that I didn’t know why an oft-repeated clue or joke is called a chestnut. The explanation is in Brewer.

    1. The OED is as careful as you’d expect on this meaning: “Origin unknown: said to have arisen in U.S. The newspapers of 1886-7 contain numerous circumstantial explanations palpably invented for the purpose”. But their earliest citation is the one in Brewer.

  3. Really must read these reviews more slowly. For a while I was convinced that in 1a you were struggling with drinking too much beer!

    Once again thanks to Virgilius for an excellent Sunday crossword.

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