ST 2594 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2594

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2594

A full review by Crypticsue

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

If you solve your cryptics in the newspaper or were able to convince the Telegraph Puzzles website to cooperate, then like me you had a lovely treat of a crossword from Virgilius again this week.  The top half went in quite quickly but the bottom half was another story, particularly the SW corner where I was held up by several of the craftier clues.  As to my favourite clues – as Brucie might say ‘they’re nearly all my favourites’!!

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           Sails South to see how the land lies (7)
CANVASS – add S for south to CANVAS, the sails of a ship named after the material from which they were made, to get a verb meaning to test public opinion or see how the land lies.

5a           Regular letters from true cult we trust as source of news (7)
REUTERS – The name of a global news agency is, as the clue said,  found in the regular or even letters of tRuE cUlT wE tRuSt.

9a           Performing with small group going around a part of North America (7)
ONTARIO –  One of the provinces of Canada is a charade of ON (performing) and TRIO (a small group of three, eg, musicians) with A from the clue inserted (going around).

10a         Song one sings about region, mostly hot part of US (7)
ARIZONA –  One of the hot states of America –  ARIA (a vocal solo) around ZON (most of ZONE or region).

11a         Its political leaders are unlikely to get to number ten (9)
OLIGARCHY – An oligarchy is government by a small number of people which the clue implies would have fewer than ten members.   The UK is not an oligarchy so the leaders of such a government would be unlikely to move into Number 10 Downing Street, the home of the  Prime Minister or head of the government.

12a         Outstanding victory secured by defensive blunder (5)
OWING – an outstanding debt would still be OWING.   Insert WIN (victory) into OG, which is of course an abbreviation for the worst type of defensive blunder in football, the Own Goal.

13a         Funky gift hard to pack inside box (5)
FIGHT –  Nice misleading here as ‘gift … pack’ initially made me think of a cardboard box.   Here box means to fight by striking blows with the hand.    An anagram (funky) of GIFT with H for hard inside.

15a         Graduate’s university, say, making change about degrees (4,5)
ALMA MATER – A term applied by alumni to their university, school or college.   ALTER (making change) is twice put around (about degrees) MA and MA (Master of Arts degrees).

17a         Turning-point in special treatment for DTs, we hear (9)
WATERSHED – a crucial point between two phases of something is an anagram (special treatment) of DTS WE HEAR.

19a         Take some clothing from Georgia base, going West (5)
DEBAG –  A term meaning to remove someone’s trousers, either as a prank or punishment, is a reversal of GA (the abbreviation for the US State of Georgia) and BED (base).

22a         Warning signs of half the adult population losing head (5)
OMENS –  I took some time to work out the S on the end of the OMENS or warning signs.  The clue says OF half the adult population, meaning belonging to women,  so WOMENS, which then has the W (losing head) removed.

23a         Medics outside university with a parent giving theatrical version of events (9)
DOCUDRAMA –  A play or film reproducing real events and characters.    Insert U (university) into DOC and DR (medics outside university) and follow this with A MA (a parent).

25a         As you used to be, in intelligence, lacking (7)
WITHOUT – Obvious what the answer was but why?   THOU is how people used to refer to YOU.   WIT is intelligence.   Insert THOU into WIT and get a preposition meaning lacking.

26a         Victoria and others appearing in shorter miniskirts (7)
TERMINI –  It took me a while to spot that we didn’t need a queen here but a railway station at the end of a line.   The end points of railway routes are hidden (appearing) in shorTER MINIskirts.

27a         Old composer died — performed excessively (7)
OVERDID –  Part of a verb meaning did too much is a charade of O (old) VERDI (the Italian composer) and D (died).

28a         Ruin of the French city of Paris (7)
DESTROY –  I initially had despair  here before I realised it didn’t work with the down clues. Instead of an anagram of Paris, I needed to put TROY the home of Paris, son of Priam in Greek mythology,  after DES (the French work for  of the in the plural).


 1d           Calm down crazy fool of Conservative initially (4,3)
COOL OFF – a phrase meaning to calm down is C (conservative initially) followed by an anagram (crazy) of FOOL OF.

2d           Making observations about husband in love (7)
NOTHING –  A topical clue, given that it’s Wimbledon Fortnight –  Love in tennis (and elsewhere too)  means no score or NOTHING.   NOTING (making notes or observations) around H (husband).

3d           Vessel carrying vital stuff from China or Taiwan (5)
AORTA – The main arterial vessel carrying blood from the heart is hidden in ChinA OR TAiwan.

4d           No sprinter coming in second depressed trainer (9)
SLOWCOACH – A slow or sluggish person who lags behind.  A charade of  S (second) LOW (depressed)  and COACH (trainer).

5d           Prepared to study history or geography, finally (5)
READY – An adjective meaning prepared is a verb meaning to study READ and Y (the last or final letters of either historY or geographY.

6d           Not developed outside unit, like most soldiers (9)
UNIFORMED –  Something that is not developed or UNFORMED  outside, ie with  I inserted (I here representing a unit of one),  produces an adjective meaning wearing uniform which is what most soldiers do most of the time.

7d           For instance, is taken in by extreme bighead (7)
EGOTIST – Someone with a very high opinion of themselves is found in EG (for instance) and OTT (over the top, or extreme) with IS inserted (taken in).

8d           Old-fashioned actor concealing good surprise (7)
STAGGER – Someone who is an old hand at acting is known as a STAGER.   Inserting or concealing G for good into this noun produces a verb meaning to surprise shock or nonplus.

14d         The point of entering is to beat senior (9)
THRESHOLD –   A simple charade of THRESH (beat) and OLD (senior) gives us the place or point of entering a house or other building.

16d         Intervened about cold, provided treatment (9)
MEDICATED – Treated with medicine   –  MEDIATED (intervened or acted as an intermediary) into which C (cold) is inserted.

17d         People that matter in the Doctor’s multinational medical group (4,3)
WHOS WHO –  More wordplay needing thought.    Important or noteworthy people, ie those who matter are listed in this tome.   The Doctor here is the television Time Lord,  so the Doctor’s would be WHO[‘]S ;  the second WHO is the abbreviation used for  the  World Health Organisation; the public health arm of the United Nations.

18d         Dramatic situation in which masked man wields blade (7)
THEATRE – I was pleased to see that I wasn’t the only one to go off into the realms of the Mask of Zorro with this one.    The only drama in this THEATRE would be the wielding of a scalpel by a surgeon wearing a surgical mask.

20d         Bizarre arrangement for heating that’s not fixed (7)
BRAZIER – A container or tray for hot coals is an anagram (arrangement) of BIZARRE.

21d         What’s universally attractive, it appears, in ill-gotten gains (7)
GRAVITY – The force attracting a body to the centre of the earth.   The clue instructs that IT appears in GRAVY (money obtained by corrupt practices or graft).

23d         Old saw (5)
DATED – A double definition – old-fashioned or out of date;  or went out on a date with someone.

24d         Classic violin turning up in slow movements? On the contrary (5)
DARTS – the informal short form of a Stradivarius violin is reversed to get part of a verb meaning to move rapidly rather than, or on the contrary, in slow movements.

I am now back on Saturday duty, leaving Gnomethang to work out the deviousness of Virgilius for the next two weeks.


3 comments on “ST 2594

  1. Another top class puzzle by Virgilius – how does he do it week after week? Thanks to CS for the entertaining review (though I was hoping for a different picture at 26a :D ).

    1. Crypticsue has been flexing her ‘behind the scenes’ blogging muscles and has figured out the picture addition. Clearly she is a rank amateur who wouldn’t recognise a ‘put a picture of a saucy gal on the blog’ type clue if it came up and bit her on the ankle.

      Very nice review, shame about the lack of minskirts! ;-)

      Looking forward to more lovely stuff from Virgilius on Sunday.

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