ST 2581 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2581

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2581

A full review by Crypticsue

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

This crossword is a very good example of why Gnomethang and I have this complicated weekend-puzzle-blogging schedule – neither of us wanted to miss the opportunity to review such wonderful cryptics with all the clever clues and wonderful wordplay. Thanks once again to Virgilius for another Sunday treat – definitely the highlight of the cryptic solving week.

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    Guys who aren’t rigid agree — that’s how more gets added (14)
SUPPLEMENTALLY – Lovely charade to start with – SUPPLE MEN (guys who aren’t rigid!) and TALLY (agree) – the definition is in the clue.

9a    Woman given box containing one or two of Pa’s letters (7)
PANDORA – this all-gifted lady from Greek mythology, who was given the box containing evils to bring about the ruin of man, is, as the clue says, found in the letters of Pa – P AND OR A.

10a    South-eastern state in Europe or America (7)
GEORGIA – Some questioned whether this clue was cryptic – either way it’s a state in south-eastern Europe or south-eastern America.

11a    Flower-girl’s language, dropping ‘h’ (4)
IRIS – Remove the H from Irish and you are left with the name of both a flower and a girl.

12a    Little read novel subjected to abuse (3-7)
ILL-TREATED – an anagram (novel) of LITTLE READ – abused or treated cruelly.

14a    Lose after opening of malt whisky (6)
MISLAY – Chambers has the lovely definition “to lay in a place not remembered” – M (opening letter of Malt) and ISLAY (a whisky from the island of the same name in the Inner Hebrides.

15a    Settler on island breaking horse (8)
COLONIST – A young male horse COLT with ON (from the clue) and IS (island) inserted (breaking) – these settlers were inhabitants of a colony.

17a    Second male outside hospital spotted — powerful feller (8)
CHAINSAW – This powerful saw would be used to fell or cut down trees – insert (outside) H for hospital into the second man in the Bible – CAIN – and follow this with SAW (spotted in the sense of observed).

18a    Just after beginning of false alarm (6)
FRIGHT – An alarm or sudden fear – F (the beginning of False) and RIGHT (just or fair).

21a    Beliefs about someone somehow making a point? True (10)
REPUTATION – a view of someone’s character is an anagram (somehow making) of A POINT TRUE.

22a    Person seeking quick profit — one without a partner (4)
STAG – a double definition – someone buying shares on the stock market to sell for a quick profit or a man attending a gathering without a partner.

24a    Agreement with clubs working? Sure thing (7)
CONCERT – Agreement or harmony in any undertaking – another charade – C (abbreviation for the suit of clubs in a pack of cards) ON (working, not off) and CERT (an informal noun meaning a certainty, such as a horse in a race that is bound to win so worth putting a bet on).

25a    Great service I have reduced (7)
MASSIVE – An adjective meaning great, on a very large scale. MASS (the service of Eucharist in a Roman Catholic Church) and IVE (I’VE with the apostrophe removed – I have reduced).

26a    Party choices — Newcastle Brown for a couple (5,9)
PRIME MINISTERS – What a clever clue! Obvious from the checking letters what the answer had to be, then I understood the first part of the clue: these people were chosen by a political party to lead the party and ultimately the country following an election. What took me most of a long journey on Sunday morning was to realise that the ‘beer’ was in fact the names of two Prime Ministers – the Duke of Newcastle who was PM from 1754-56 and Gordon Brown, who needs no explanation from me – except to say that if you haven’t seen the picture on BD’s Sunday hints, it’s well worth a look!


1d    Thus top politician conceals his deceptive argument (7)
SOPHISM – A plausibly deceptive fallacy or argument – SO (thus) and P M (prime minister, the top politician) with HIS inserted or concealed within.

2d    It provides an opening to get a point in the lead (6-9)
PENCIL-SHARPENER – Another great clue – Here you have to know which way to pronounce the final word but once you have cracked that, you easily work out the name of the small instrument with a hole or opening into which a pencil is inserted to get a point in its lead.

3d    Encouragement to see moderate view (4)
LOOK – LO – an archaic interjection meaning look or behold (an encouragement to see) and OK (to okay, approve or decide as a moderator) – LOOK in the sense of view or air.

4d    Jumble sale held by the writer’s pathetic (6)
MEASLY – An anagram (jumble) of SALE held by MY (belonging to the writer) – in addition to meaning spotty, this can also mean paltry, miserable or pathetic.

5d    For instance, accepted by a lot of people? Just the opposite (8)
NEGATION – A lot of people is a NATION – insert EG (for instance or example) – something that is the opposite (of a positive quality, state etc).

6d    Fare at higher level to begin with? That’s legitimate (5,5)
ABOVE BOARD – BOARD is the supply of meals (with or without lodging) and the clue tells you to put a word meaning at a higher level or ABOVE before BOARD (to begin with) to get an adjective meaning legal, open or without deception.

7d    Sudden problem at work, something a conductor can deal with (9,6)
LIGHTNING STRIKE – An industrial or military strike without warning, or a flash of light in the sky caused by electricity discharged from thunderclouds – a metallic rod or conductor which protect buildings from damage by this weather phenomenon.

8d    Robber taking part in two instalments (6)
BANDIT – An outlaw or brigand – a synonym for a part BIT which is split in two (in two instalments) by the insertion of the word AND – B AND IT.

13d    Conventional armaments I deployed unconventionally (10)
MAINSTREAM – Something conventional or in accordance with the normal standard – an anagram (deployed unconventionally) of ARMAMENTS I.

16d    Versatile worker, in reality, joining old corporation (8)
FACTOTUM – A person employed to do all kinds of work for another – another nice charade: FACT (reality) O (old) and TUM (corporation and tum are both informal terms for a (large) stomach)

17d    Junior minister’s position in club oddly suggestive (6)
CURACY – This junior minister in the Church of England assists a rector or vicar. Do as the clue instructs and take the odd letters of ClUb and follow them with RACY (risqué or suggestive).

19d    Lock aggressive American up inside for hunting female (7)
TIGRESS – The crossword compiler has many uses for the TRESS or lock of hair. Here Virgilius has reversed (up in a down clue) GI, the well-known abbreviation for an American soldier (who might well be aggressive), and inserted it into TRESS to produce TIGRESS, the female of the species who in the wild would spend her time hunting for prey.

20d    Open land as alternative to garden (6)
COMMON – An open piece of land used by all the inhabitants of an area. The clue refers to the expression common or (alternative to) garden.

23d    Divine female leads a double life (4)
ISIS – The Egyptian goddess is often to be found in a crossword. IS and IS (something that has life IS).

I liked so many clues it was easier to highlight them in blue rather than list them. Roll on next Sunday when it’s my turn to have fun all over again.

3 comments on “ST 2581

  1. Nice one again Sue, no April Fools too late :) some difficult clues to give hints for I thought

    1. Glad to be saved from your devilment. Gnomey did let on that you had ‘got’ him :)
      Virgilius clues are always quite tricky to explain. Luckily I had the journey from Kent to Swindon and back to work on my explanations.

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