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ST 2575

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2575

A full review by Gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Morning All!. This is my first review of one of my favourite setters. I found this slightly easier than many Virgilius puzzles although it still contained many of his trademarks – well disguised hidden words and some cheeky wordplay that makes you think (e.g. 22a).

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           Expertise is what can enhance a negative, we hear (4-3)
KNOW HOW – I solved this from checking letters and the definition of Expertise. I will leave you with Prolixic’s thoughts from the day:
“Musing further on 1a, I think that adding the three letter word in the answer to a negative [homophone] gives a more emphatic form of denying something (hence enhance a negative). A homophone of the more emphatic negative is the word for expertise.” – I know – I don’t like the clue, and how!

5a           Top player tucked into fish and fruit (7)
COSTARD – An old apple variety. Place STAR (Top player) into COD.

9a           Abundant evidence of debt produced by policeman (7)
COPIOUS – Your policeman is the COP and the usual Crosswordland synonym for ‘evidence of debt’ is an IOU. Perhaps the plural should have been indicated (debts) but the solution was pretty clear.

10a         Road ran windingly in mountainous country (7)
ANDORRA – A straightforward anagram of ROAD RAN leads to the Catalan Principality.

11a         Flexible tiles used in one type of house (5,4)
OPERA HATS – A cryptic definition of the collapsible (i.e. flexible) hats that can be collapsed in an auditorium in Victorian days. TILES is an old slang word for HATS (as CS says they goes on yer ‘eads!)

12a         Statement of approval head of BBC communicated on radio (5)
BRAVO – The head of BBC is the B. The NATO phonetic Alphabet gives B = BRAVO. Lovely clue with excellent surface reading.

13a         Fellow exploited caused current stoppage (5)
FUSED – A charade of F(ellow) and USED (exploited). A simple one to get going with, ‘caused current stoppage’ (i.e. electrickery) being the definition.

15a         Learner I reprimanded and let go (9)
LIBERATED – Another charade/word sum. L(earner) driver + I + BERATED for ‘reprimanded’ gives freed or let go.

17a         Ineffectively deal with composer’s daughter in audition (9)
MISHANDLE – In audition should tell you that a homophone is happening. In this case, however, one must create it from the name of the daughter of a famous composer, i.e Miss Handel. This one made me laugh as well.

19a         You may be urged to take notice after this exercise (3-2)
SIT-UP – Virgilius is very good at breaking down phrases into separate parts and this is a great example. The simple part of the clue refers to an ‘exercise’ . The phrase ‘Sit up and take notice’ should be familiar enough to everyone such that the answer is clear but the cryptic part is ‘You may be urged to take notice after this’.

22a         Oh! I see you are speaking out of order – that’s something rare (5)
CURIO – More skullduggery here that raised a laugh. Some may complain but I thought that this was ace!.  We first need to understand phonetically (speaking) the initial 5 words: O I C U R. Then make an anagram (out of order). This leads you to a CURIO which is a rarity or oddity. Top ‘out of the box’ thinking once again.

23a         Fish with rod – nothing could be plainer (9)
PIKESTAFF – A charade of PIKE (fish) and STAFF (rod). A pikestaff is the boring straight piece of wood that has the exciting choppy bit on the end and leads to the saying “As plain as a pikestaff”

25a         Lead, for example, English people interrupting service that gets cancelled (7)
ELEMENT – The metal, Plumbum, is an element. Place E(nglish) + MEN (people) inside LET (a cancelled service in tennis)

26a         Forgetting what can be seen in cinemas, oddly (7)
AMNESIAC – A synonym for forgetting is an anagram (oddly) of IN CINEMAS.

27a         Involving practical experience with husband and child (5-2)
HANDS ON – H(usband) AND SON (child) gives a phrase for practical experience where one gets one’s hands dirty.

28a         It isn’t commonly edited, cut, or spoilt (7)
TAINTED – Spoilt is the definition. Start with T’AINT – A common form of saying ‘It Isn’t’. Then add ED(ited) –cut or shortened.


1d           Thrill not present in scene in first act of play (4-3)
KICK-OFF – A charade of KICK  (thrill – I get a kick out of you) and OFF (not present in scene). The definition is ‘First Act of Play’ in e.g. a football match.

2d           Poet who lost his wife taking her up, so tragically (7)
ORPHEUS – One of the famous characters in Greek Literature. Poet, Prophet and Musician, he once lost his wife and had to trawl around the Underworld for her. His name is a tragic anagram of HER UP SO. Lovely clue.

3d           Contents of shoe box that, in a word, produce a fuss (3-2)
HOO-HA – I’m borrowing BD’s explanation:

Take the centre letters (contents) of shoe box that and string them together to get a fuss

4d           Expressed grief about fool that’s drunkenly celebrated (9)
WASSAILED – One of my favourite words meaning partied or caroused in olden days. Place WAILED (expressed grief) around ASS for fool.

5d           Part of society formed by female Young Conservative? (5)
CLASS – A female Young Conservative may be described as a C-Lass.

6d           Some facial hair right, perhaps, on poet (9)
SIDE BURNS – The facial hair of choice for British Rail porters in the 70’s. SIDE (of which ‘right’ is an example) followed by Rabbie BURNS, the poet.

7d           Run into an animal that’s alongside (7)
ABREAST – A synonym of ‘alongside’. An animal is A BEAST. Place R – the cricketing abbreviation for Run inside.

8d           Scene of American sporting contest in which all sides are equal (7)
DIAMOND – It depends on the cut of the glass, of course, but this is a cryptic definition of the inner bit of a baseball pitch.

14d         Female minister involved in episode – a con, essentially (9)
DEACONESS – The female priest is hidden in episode – a con, essentially

16d         Magistrate imprisoning ring-leader quickly to eat early (9)
BREAKFAST – Place the start of Ring (ringleader meaning the leader of Ring) in BEAK (magistrate – Up before the Beak) and follow that with FAST for ‘quickly’. Double Soss, Double Egg, Bacon, Toms, Tea and Toast please.

17d         Play produced by girl on computer? Just the opposite (7)
MACBETH – The girl (BETH) is ON top of the computer ( an Apple MAC). ‘Just the Opposite’ tells you to reverse the clue so as the computer goes on the girl (in a down clue) to find the ‘Scottish Play’

18d         Hospital worker making nurse go crazy (7)
SURGEON – A simple anagram of NURSE GO (crazy) leads to the skilled sawbones that all the nurses go crazy for!

20d         Carrying of people in lots of coaches after I moved on time (7)
TRANSIT – The definition here is ‘carrying of people’, or indeed anything. Take TRAINS (lots of coaches) and move the I to the back then add T for Time.

21d         Humourless quip of ace detective, in part (2-5)
PO-FACED – Another excellently disguised hidden word for ‘humourless’ can be found in quip of ace detective.

23d         It helps support mountaineer getting zero advice when climbing (5)
PITON – A small snow spike is derived from NO TIP (zero advice) reversed (when climbing). Don’t eat the yellow snow was Frank Zappa’s advice.

24d         Doctor is in a part of Egypt (5)
SINAI – Doctor in a cryptic puzzle is usually, DR, MO, MB etc but can also be used as an instruction meaning change or adulterate (i.e. make an anagram). If you do this to IS IN A you get a desert region in Egypt

I’m back in the Sunday slot for next Friday but may see you before then having offered to possibly bite off more than I can chew. Crypticsue will be on the Saturday Prize Puzzle review.

6 comments on “ST 2575

  1. great review Gnomethang, like you, I found this puzzle much easier than previous ones but nevertheless most enjoyable.

  2. It made a pleasant pre match warm up for last Sunday’s international. Thanks for explaining 22a Gnomey – I got the answer but just couldn’t see how. Dashed clever this Virgilius cove!

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