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ST 2590

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2590

A full review by Crypticsue

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

Another great crossword from the Sunday Maestro.   A couple of places held me up for a while but I did enjoy the challenge.    Lots of ‘favourites’ which I have marked in blue but my top clue has to be 23d.   Thanks to Virgilius once again for making us smile while encouraging us to indulge in quite a bit of 7d!

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           Better wool – that could be what’ll keep you warm (3-5, 6)
HOT-WATER BOTTLE –  a rubber container into which hot water is placed to keep you warm in bed is an anagram (could be) of BETTER WOOL THAT.

9a           Travel guide and staff going round one area, politician round another (4,3)
ROAD MAP – This travel guide provides information on roads in a particular area .    You need to remember that the abbreviation for area is A.   Take a ROD (staff, long piece of wood) and insert A (going round one area) and follow this with MP (Member of Parliament, politician) into which a second A is inserted (round another).

10a         Put on with striker in another game (7)
REMATCH  – Another game between the same opponents –  RE (on or about) and MATCH (a striker used to light a fire).

11a         Agreement to give piano performance (4)
PACT –  An agreement is a charade of P (piano) and ACT (performance).

12a         Cooking equipment taken back from heiress I tormented (10)
ROTISSERIE –  A piece of cooking equipment containing a spit is reversed and hidden (taken back) in hEIRESS I TORmented.

14a         It’s delightful, my dear, unusually so (6)
DREAMY –  An adjective meaning lovely or delightful is an anagram (unusually so) of MY DEAR.

15a         Modest praise for drama, not the acting of villain (4, 4)
FAIR PLAY – A villain would not consider dealing in this honest way.    A drama that wasn’t exceptionally good or dreadfully bad might be described as a FAIR PLAY.

17a         Hateful person in dock, with ring-leader put inside (8)
ACCURSED –  An adjective meaning hated –  insert R (Ring leader) into ACCUSED ( someone charged with a crime and in the dock in court)

18a         Deadly result of rearranging all the pieces (6)
LETHAL – An alternative way of saying deadly is an anagram (result of rearranging)  ALL THE.

21a         Passages inside one repeatedly set in haphazardly (10)
INTESTINES – part of one’s digestive system is an anagram (haphazardly) of SET IN and SET IN (repeatedly).

22a         Sending back some baker’s work is an insult (4)
SNUB – Reversing (sending back)  BUNS (baker’s work) gives SNUB, a rebuff in a humiliating or insulting manner.

24a         Irritation as restraint hems in king (7)
CHAGRIN – a feeling of vexation, annoyance or irritation –   insert R (hems in Rex or king) into CHAIN (a series of links used to restrain).

25a         Serving person a piece of toast (7)
SOLDIER –  If I had a penny for every time I forget that in crosswordland toast usually refers to SOLDIER……!    A splendid piece of penny-dropping double definition if ever there was one.

26a         Documenter of misdeeds ignored clanger, oddly
RECORDING ANGEL  –  According to Chambers, this documenter of misdeeds is supposed to keep a book in which every misdeed is recorded against the doer’s name.    An anagram (oddly) of IGNORED CLANGER.


1d           Severe writer’s block is problem for setter (4, 3)
HARD PAD –   A charade of a word meaning severe – HARD,  and a PAD (or block of paper, used by a writer).    Setter in this clue refers to the canine breed, not the crossword compiler, and the problem here is a symptom of canine distemper causing hardness of the pads of the feet.

2d           Country house in front of trees, with shaded bed and rickety gate (8,7)
THATCHED COTTAGE –  The sort of house people imagine that we country dwellers all live in.  A charade of T (front of Trees)  HATCHED (shaded with fine lines)  COT (bed) and an anagram (rickety) of GATE = TAGE.

3d           A lot of people taken in by popular mystic (4)
ARMY –  A multitude of people is hidden in (taken in by)  populAR MYstic.

4d           Use as agent English spy with cunning plan (6)
EMPLOY – a verb meaning to use or employ as an agent –   E(nglish) M (in Ian Fleming’s books, M is the Head of MI6 and boss of James Bond) and PLOY (a method or procedure used to achieve a result).

5d           Insult my claim to be competent as part of defence (8)
BARBICAN –  A watchtower over the gate of a castle or fortified town, used as part of its defences –   BARB (a wounding pointed remark or insult) and I CAN (my claim to be competent – I can [do something]).

6d           Person without convictions? Yes and no (4-6)
TIME-SERVER – A double definition.    Yes – a person who cynically suits his or her opinions to the times or those in authority at the time.   No – a person with convictions serving ‘time’ in a prison sentence.

7d           Subsequently a large and weak ruler shows crossword solving skill (7,8)
LATERAL THINKING – One of the most useful crossword solving skills –   a charade of LATER (subsequently) +  A  (from the clue),  L(large), THIN (weak) and KING (ruler).

8d           Insincere, like the statement of one about to be shot?  (6)
CHEESY –  One of the penny-droppers –   It was clear what the solution had to be from the checking letters but it took me a while to realise that the shot here would be taken by a photographer who had asked someone to say ‘cheese’.

13d         Promise I falsely made about a run as organiser (10)
IMPRESARIO – A producer or organiser of entertainments is an anagram (falsely made) of PROMISE I with A R (run) inserted (about).

16d         Was monarch putting in son?   Did abdicate (8)
RESIGNED –  If you were a monarch you would have REIGNED.   Inserting or putting in S for son produces a verb meaning to formally give up one’s office or position.

17d         Each dish in the best service (6)
APIECE –  Put PIE (a dish) inside ACE (the best service a tennis player can achieve) to get an adverb meaning each.

19d         Abundant defamation written about artist –
LIBERAL  – an adjective meaning abundant or ample.  Insert crosswordland’s favourite abbreviation for artist  RA into LIBEL (written definition)

20d         Hold, using force of arms, naval commander (6)
NELSON – Possibly this country’s most famous naval commander is also the term for a wrestling hold in which the arms are passed under both the opponent’s arms from behind and the hands joined so that pressure can be applied to the opponent’s neck.

23d         Overthrow accomplished, little corporal punishment was administered here. (4)
ELBA –  Reverse ABLE (accomplished) to get ELBA the place where Napoleon, whose nickname was the little corporal, was exiled for punishment.

The trouble with reviewing a Virgilius cryptic crossword is that one soon runs out of superlatives when writing the review.   Gnomey will be back to try and find some new ones next week, while I return to Saturday duty.

2 comments on “ST 2590

  1. As CS says you run out of superlatives with Virgilius, this was yet another example of his considerable talent favourites for me were 12a and 2d thanks to Virgilius and to CS for the review.

  2. Fine review of a fine crossword! I really enjoyed it – and at last I now see the logic behind 5d & 6d.
    Many thanks Crypticsue and setter! :o)

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