ST 2596 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2596

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2597

A full review by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Thanks once again to Virgilius for a superb start to Sunday – the crossword didn’t take that long to solve, so it was great to have time to enjoy the clues for a second time in order to prepare this review.  Some of my favourite clues are marked in blue.

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           In which one pursues mate without seeing any men (9,5)
BLINDFOLD CHESS –  A chess game in which the players wear blindfolds and so are unable to see or touch any of the ‘men’ but try to achieve checkmate by mentally keeping track of the game.

9a           Scientist, remembered by degrees, is put back in silly clues (7)
CELSIUS – An anagram (silly) of CLUES with IS inserted (put back in) – CELSIUS was a Swedish astronomer who is best remembered for developing a scale of temperature where 0oC is the freezing point of water.

10a         Keep going in university after second bad mark (7)
SUSTAIN – a verb meaning to keep going is a charade of S (second) U(University) and STAIN (bad mark).

11a         Flop Gilbert and Sullivan initially backed (3)
SAG –  To find a verb meaning to flop or droop,  do as the clue instructs and reverse the initials of Gilbert And Sullivan.

12a         Irregular dieting is no problem for eater (11)
INDIGESTION –  pain caused by an inability to digest food is an anagram (irregular) of DIETING IS NO.

14a         Claim as part of historical legend (6)
ALLEGE –  A verb meaning to claim or assert is hidden (as part of) historicAL  LEGEnd.

15a         Left, in protest, is hard to break up (8)
DEMOLISH – another charade – DEMOLISH or break up is formed by DEMO (protest), L (left), IS  (from the clue) and H (hard).

17a         Ambassador and I told a PM off (8)
DIPLOMAT –  An ambassador is a diplomat or person skilled in diplomacy.   An anagram (off) of I TOLD A PM.

19a         Persian king seizing power in divided island (6)
CYPRUS –    Cyrus is the Persian King required here.   Just insert P for power into his name to get the island of CYPRUS which is, of course,  divided in two, one part Greek and the other Turkish.

22a         Evita Peron I backed, exchanging two letters — producing no effect (11)
INOPERATIVE – The last three words of the clue define this adjective.   Reverse (backed) EVITA PERON I and then change the places of the R and the P (exchanging two letters).   For me, this was one of those ‘reading what thought I saw’ moments, as I quickly glanced at the reversed letters and saw INOPERATIVE  – it took me a while to see what the wordplay was on about.

23a         Vegetable or fruit cropped once or twice (3)
PEA – The smallest  green vegetable –  I have been persuaded that the wordplay is PEA(R) (fruit cropped once, ie with one letter removed) or PEA(CH) (cropped twice).  However, I still maintain my reading of the clue works just as well, ie that the ‘fruit’ could be either singular or plural so that one could remove either the R from one PEAR or the RS from several of them.

24a         Bunk, I said, used to be a little hot (7)
EYEWASH – Eyewash and bunk are both informal terms for nonsense.   EYE (said indicates a homophone of I) WAS (used to be) and H (a “little” abbreviation for hot).

26a         Organised workers give approval to rule backing strike (7)
WALKOUT – A splendid bit of “backing” – TU (workers organised into a Trade Union) OK (give approval to) and LAW (rule) are all reversed to produce WALKOUT or strike.

27a         Theoretician who doesn’t have to stand up for his opinions? (8,6)
ARMCHAIR CRITIC –  A cryptic definition of someone who delivers his opinions and criticism from the safety of his armchair (usually while watching a television programme).


1d           Source of gratuitous advice from champion behind golf club (4-4,6)
The paper version had  the enumeration 4-4, 6 as does Chambers – the online version originally has (9.6) but this was corrected later in the day.

BACK-SEAT DRIVER  –  Someone who offers unwanted advice to the person driving a car is a charade of BACK (champion or support) SEAT (behind – here meaning bottom, as in something on which you rest!) and DRIVER (a type of golf club).

2d           Young female patient swallowing drug that’s banned (7)
ILLEGAL –  an ILL GAL sounds to me like a poorly Doris Day in Calamity Jane.   Insert E, the abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy into the female patient to get ILLEGAL, another way of saying banned.

3d           Avoiding any misunderstanding, on way back from car trip (7,4)
DRIVING HOME – A double definition here – making sure that something is completely understood and accepted, or being in the car on your way back home.

4d           Picked for team in position on pitch that’s okay (6)
ONSIDE –  If you are ONSIDE when you score a goal then it is okay as it is within the rules.    Split 2, 4  this would mean that you had been picked to be ON [a] SIDE or team.  I hope no-one is expecting me to explain the offside rule! 

5d           Planned action without notice (8)
DESIGNED –  An action or DEED must be a very useful word when you are a crossword setter.  Here it is again, this time put round (without ie outside) SIGN (notice) to get the past participle of a verb meaning planned.

6d           Keeps contents of the case (3)
HAS – The third person singular of the verb have, one of the meanings of which is to keep, is obtained from the middle letters (contents) of tHe and cASe.

7d           Language I wish a learner could translate into (7)
SWAHILI – A language spoken in Kenya, Tanzania and other parts of East Africa is an anagram (could translate into) of I WISH A with L (learner) inserted.

8d           In this cause, nut becomes excited? Just the opposite (14)
UNENTHUSIASTIC  –   The opposite of being  excited about something  is an anagram (becomes) of IN THIS CAUSE NUT.

13d         Promoter taking in politician and his leader is liar (11)
STORYTELLER – To get an informal term for a liar, you need a SELLER (someone who promotes or sells something) into which you insert a TORY politician and T (the leader or first letter of Tory).

16d         With lawyers, first of all, the answer is material (8)
BARATHEA – The profession of barristers and advocates is known as the BAR, follow this with A (first [letter] of All), THE (from the clue) and A (abbreviation for answer) – the whole is a soft worsted fabric, which is apparently used in this dress. (Gnomey should note that  I can recognise a clue which requires a pic of a young lady!

18d         Take the lead in bridge section, holding ace (7)
PIONEER –  Someone who is amongst the first to do something in exploration, research etc.  Insert ONE (ace) into PIER (the support of a bridge).

20d         Friendly relations chat over wine (7)
RAPPORT –  A noun meaning friendly relations is a charade of RAP (an informal term for chat) and PORT (a fortified wine from Portugal).

21d         Very large vessel carrying one person on watch? (6)
VIEWER – A person who watches or views –  V (very) and EWER (a large jug with a wide spout) into which is inserted I (carrying one).

25d         Piece of circular curve (3)
ARC –  My top favourite clue to finish with – as Qix said ‘simple but nice’  – Part of a circle is hidden in circulAR Curve.

My only slight quibble would be the lack of suitable opportunities for illustrations,  now that I have finally mastered picture insertion, as I do need practice to reach Gazza’s high standards!   I will be back to see if next Sunday’s puzzle offers better pictorial prospects.

11 comments on “ST 2596

  1. Many thanks to Virgilus for a really good crossword and to Crypticsue for a super review.

  2. Another really good Virgilius Sunday outing. He did a themed crossword (cheese) on Tuesday in the “i” which was very good too. Thanks to CS for the review.

    1. I think you will find that the puzles in the “i” are old ones being given a second airing. Obviously this one was worth the effort.

  3. CS, I enjoyed your review. But will we ever know the setter’s real intention for 23a (The Pea Thing)

    23a Vegetable or fruit cropped once or twice (3)

    PS. Like the “i” – only 20p!!!

    1. Franco, re#; 23a I think that the setter’s intent was probably peach/pear but CS is perfectly correct in the singular/plural of PEAR(S). Perhaps Virgilius will let us know (otherwise I will email him!)

      1. Maybe best to send him an email.

        I have recently read (somewhere) that some setters cannot solve their own clues after about ………10 minutes!

        1. I was trying to get a clue for ‘Nice Castle’ but gave up after ‘Chateau?, Chateau!, Chateau?. Chateau!’ got a bit repetitive!.

      2. I am sure the intention was pear/peach but I thought I should admit to my alternative theory, which is Gnomey says, is perfectly correct in its own way.

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