ST 2606

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2606

A full review by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

This Sunday Virgilius provided us with an easy cryptic which was a delight to solve (and revisit for the review) with many fine clues;  my top  favourites are highlighted 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.

Across

1a           Talk informally with tramp about new book (6)
HOBNOB –  a verb meaning to talk informally – insert N (new) into HOBO (tramp) and follow this with B (the abbreviation for book).

4a           Picture crisp biscuits just out of the oven (8)
SNAPSHOT – A simple and informal picture is a charade of SNAPS (crisp biscuits) and HOT (which is what said biscuits would be if they were just out of the oven!)

10a         Scoundrel and libertine, good at heart (5)
ROGUE – A synonym for scoundrel is obtained by inserting G in the middle (Good at heart) of a ROUE (a libertine or profligate debauched man).

11a         He plays to capture heart and so win hand (9)
SERENADER – A cryptic definition of someone who plays a romantic song under a lady’s window in order to win her affections.

12a         Large container I covered with vegetable and ornamental plant (7)
PETUNIA –  One of those delightful flowers which caused Mary so many problems last summer  is obtained by inserting (covered with) into PEA (vegetable) a TUN (a large cask containing 216 gallons of ale) and I (from the clue).

13a         Transfers possession, not just in theory (5-2)
HANDS-ON –  A double definition which depends on whether the hyphen is used or not.   Without a hyphen, HANDS ON means transfers ownership of something to someone else; with the hyphen, HANDSON means involving practical rather than theoretical knowledge.

14a         Inspector, with glee, improperly embracing a subordinate of his (6,8)
POLICE SERGEANT –  Lovely clue –  a rank in the police force subordinate to an inspector is an anagram (improperly) of INSPECTOR and GLEE with A from the clue inserted (embracing A).

17a         One only can hear scores from this player (8,6)
PERSONAL STEREO – A cryptic definition of a device enabling one person to listen to music without others hearing it – now if only that were true in real life…!

21a         Encourage sound understanding (7)
INSIGHT –    Sound is a very clear homophone indicator –  INCITE or encourage sounds like INSIGHT or understanding, the latter being the word  required here.

23a         Lead to disaster, going into stormy lagoon in this? (7)
GONDOLA –   Inserting D (the lead or first letter of Disaster) into an anagram (stormy) of LAGOON produces a GONDOLA, which would indeed be in trouble in a stormy lagoon.

24a         Domestic pet consuming old garment (9)
HOUSECOAT – A long coat-like dressing gown worn at home – insert O for Old into a HOUSE CAT or domestic pet.

25a         Perfect profession for trader (5)
IDEAL –  Profession here has two meanings.   A profession or declaration about his profession or career might cause a trader to say I DEAL.   Omit the space between the words  to get an adjective meaning perfect.

26a         Reform I restate in formal discussion document (8)
TREATISE – A written composition treating a subject formally or systematically is an anagram (reform) of I RESTATE.

27a         One released, after change of heart (6)
UNITED –  To get UNITED,  an adjective meaning one or combined into one, reverse the position of the middle two letters (change of heart) of UNTIED or released.

Down

1d           Steps taken by sailors when one kind of wind follows another (8)
HORNPIPE –  A charade of two wind instruments one after the other make a lively English dance usually performed by sailors.

2d           Entrance in dance with English light music (9)
BAGATELLE – I didn’t know this definition of BAGATELLE but apparently it is a piece of music in a light style.   Insert a GATE (entrance) into a BALL (dance) and follow it with E (English).

3d           Like what divides us from US, as CIA once bungled (7)
OCEANIC –  An anagram (bungled) of CIA ONCE produces OCEANIC , meaning relating to an ocean.  The Atlantic Ocean which does of course divide the United Kingdom from the United States of America.

5d           With zero resistance the navy lands — a heavenly spectacle (8,6)
NORTHERN LIGHTS –  The spectacular Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.   NO R (zero or no resistance – R being the abbreviation for electrical resistance) followed by THE RN (the navy) and LIGHTS (lands, alights or settles).

6d           Change around article in atonement for errors (7)
PENANCE – An act of punishment to atone for errors –  Insert AN (an – indefinite article) into PENCE (small change).

7d           Where late arrivals get the warmest of receptions? (5)
HADES – A brilliant cryptic definition of the hellish abode of the dead where it is said that one would be greeted by an inferno.

8d           A lot of people run in light footwear (6)
THRONG –  Inserting R (Run in cricket) into a THONG (a sandal held on by a thong or strap between the toes) makes THRONG –  another term for a crowd or multitude of people.

9d           Pair of stupid brutes is holding people, leading to killings (14)
ASSASSINATIONS – Killings for fee or reward are a charade of ASS + ASS (two  stupid people) followed by IS into which is inserted  NATION (is holding people) ).

15d         Missile penetrating home, maximally precise (9)
NARROWEST – Maximally precise or least broad –  insert an ARROW (missile) into a NEST (home).

16d         Dubiously labelled old scale needing adjustment (2-6)
SO-CALLED –  An anagram of OLD SCALE (needing adjustment) produces an adjective which casts doubt on the meaning of something.

18d         For example, people taking middle-of-the-road position in this piece (7)
SEGMENT –  A piece or portion, quite often part of a circle.   ST, the abbreviation for street or road is separated so that EG (for example) and MEN (people) can be inserted, or take the middle-of-the-road position.

19d         In which one isn’t loose? (7)
TENSION –  If one was under TENSION or strain, one definitely wouldn’t be loose.   It’s an anagram (loose)  of ONE ISNT.

20d         Fashionable jokes have an impact (4,2)
WITH IT  –  An expression meaning following the current trends is a rearrangement  of the letters of the charade of  WIT (jokes) and HIT (have an impact) from 3, 3 to 4, 2.

22d         Brass that may be put in boat (5)
SAUCE –  A lovely double definition to finish with – the same word that means an informal term for impertinent language or behaviour is also a dressing poured over food which is quite often served in a sauce boat.

I got all excited at the start when we had hobnob and snap at the top of this grid, thinking there might be a biscuit-related theme.   However, it seems that it is Gnomethang who gets  the weeks when Virgilius presents us with a theme or hidden message,  wonder if he’ll have that pleasure when he returns to review next Sunday’s Prize Puzzle?