ST 2578

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2578

A full review by Crypticsue

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

Definitely normal service resumed by Virgilius today after last week’s themed crossword. A lovely start to Sunday morning with his usual excellent mix of clever clues, including a few headscratchers that caused me and others a bit of work. Thank you once again Virgilius for a great crossword which has been as much pleasure to review as to solve.

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.

Across

1a    Unoriginal statement from Conservative in Chile after internal setback? (6)
CLICHE- a hackneyed or unoriginal phrase is obtained by inserting C (conservative) into CHILE after reversing the middle three letters (internal setback).

4a    These mysteries, in particular, can amaze (6)
ARCANA – a term for specialist knowledge or mysteries that can amaze the average person is hidden in particulAR CAN Amaze .

8a    Protest about renegade party member (8)
DEMOCRAT – A member of one of the two political parties in the USA is a charade of DEMO (protest) C (circa, about) and RAT, a despicable person or turncoat.

10a    Part of steel cable needed for lion, say (6)
FELINE – Here you have to know that the major component of steel is iron, the chemical symbol for which is FE; a cable is a LINE and a lion is a FELINE, a member of the cat family.

11a    Acceptable way to address a knight? (4)
OKAY- an expression meaning all right, usually abbreviated to OK. One of King Arthur’s knights was Sir Kay – so Arthur may well have said “O Kay”. If you haven’t heard of him, then O and K(the abbreviation for knight) works just as well as an explanation!

12a    Opportunity to order one diamond, for example (7,3)
OPENING BID – An opportunity is an OPENING and BID here means a command or order. The second part of the clue is the cryptic bit, as an opening bid in a game of bridge might be ‘one diamond’.

13a    Poor tutors and the like he had extended (12)
OUTSTRETCHED – here a synonym for extended or proffered is found in a part anagram- part charade clue. Start with an anagram (poor) of TUTORS and follow this with ETC (and the rest) and HE[‘]D (he had).

16a    Help ambassador mature after mishandling, initially, first overseas trip (6,6)
MAIDEN VOYAGE – M (Mishandling initially) AID (help) ENVOY (ambassador) AGE (mature) – put them together to get the first voyage of a ship. I did like ‘overseas’
here, not meaning abroad as such but literally a trip over[on] the sea!

20a    Liable to change key undertakings to settle on island (10)
CAPRICIOUS – an adjective meaning unpredictable. The beautiful island of CAPRI followed by C (musical key) and IOUS (undertakings to settle [a debt]).

21a    Players found pitch (4)
CAST – a triple definition – actors in a play or to found or to throw or toss.

22a    Tyrant’s pronouncement requiring child’s return? Rubbish (6)
DIKTAT – a harsh settlement forced on the defeated or powerless by, presumably, a tyrant: reverse (return) KID (an informal term for a child) to get DIK and follow this with TAT (odds and ends of little value).

23a    Nothing gained in trade in poorly regulated shares (8)
RATIONED – the past participle of a verb meaning to restrict the sharing out of something – an anagram (poorly) of TRADE IN into which is inserted O (nothing gained).

24a    Reformed the son, following optimal policy? (6)
HONEST – another anagram (reformed) THE SON – which is, of course, the best or optimal way to be! Virgilius here refers, of course, to ‘honesty being the best policy’.

25a    Unpleasant experience, getting low grades in exam (6)
ORDEAL – A severe trial – the exam is an ORAL and the low grades to be inserted (getting … in) would be D and E.

Down

1d    Examine threat to king abroad (5,3)
CHECK OUT- A charade of CHECK, a threat to the king in a chess game and OUT, a word meaning away or abroad, gives you a phrasal verb meaning to examine.

2d    Front part of Jumbo jet? Just the opposite (5)
IVORY – The tusks at the front of an elephant are made of IVORY which is, of course, white in colour, the opposite to jet, a black variety of lignite. Clever clue as I wasn’t the only one who thought ‘trunk’ on first read through!

3d    Nurse in hospital with shady alcove (7)
HARBOUR – Here nurse means to save or preserve. H (hospital) and ARBOUR (a shady retreat in the garden).

5d    For dashing fellow, entering service is hard (7)
RAFFISH – This adjective meaning rakish, dashing or flashy is not often applied to the modern young man. A charade of RAF (one of the armed services) around F (fellow) and then IS and H (hard).

6d    Support editor cutting colleague, it’s said (9)
ALLEGEDLY – In order to avoid a law suit, an assertion without proof is always qualified with this adjective. Insert into ALLY (colleague) LEG (support) and ED (editor).

7d    A free broadcasting system, so-called (6)
AUNTIE – A plus UNTIE or free. The BBC is one of our broadcasting systems and is affectionately referred to as Auntie!

9d    Great excitement in the Oval – monarch is one of those watching play (7-4)
THEATRE-GOER – Someone who goes to the theatre to watch a play is contained in this complicated wordplay. An anagram (excitement) of GREAT is inserted between the word THE and O (oval) and followed by ER (abbreviation for Elizabeth Regina).

14d    Damage covered by a saint, sort of, who helped injured traveller? (9)
SAMARITAN – Another anagram (sort of) with insertions – rearrange A SAINT and insert MAR (damage, spoil or impair). The original Good Samaritan who helped an injured traveller is in the NT book of Luke.

15d    Porcelain that’s liable to be broken during breakfast (8)
EGGSHELL – Double definition – a very thin kind of porcelain or the outside of your boiled egg!

17d    Encourages understandings in speech (7)
INCITES – A homophone – insights (understandings) said out loud sounds like a word meaning provokes to action

18d    Person making call to protect it with face-saving device (7)
VISITOR – A person who visits or calls on someone. Insert (or protect within) IT into a VISOR, a part of a helmet covering, and so saving from harm, the face.

19d    Every year locks up undesirable (6)
PARIAH – An undesirable social outcast – P A (Per Annum, every year) followed by a reversal (up in a down clue) of HAIR (locks are strands or ringlets of hair).

21d    The same as throttle? That depends (5)
CHOKE – What depends here is whether you are using the solution as a noun or a verb. As a verb CHOKE means to throttle; as a noun CHOKE refers to a valve in the carburettor of a car; the throttle is what Mr CS calls the accelerator!

Amongst all the many good clues, my favourites are all in the downs today. I liked 2d and 15d but the best by far is 7d. Gnomethang will be back on Sunday duty next week.