ST 2610 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2610

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2610

A full review by Crypticsue

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

This excellent Sunday Virgilius just sneaks into 3* difficulty territory because of the problems I had with why the solution to 6d was what it was (I wasn’t alone!) and the slightly longer solving time, not to mention one application of Tippex!   I still can’t make up my mind whether it’s 3* or 4* enjoyment but it was definitely a great start to Sunday morning however many stars it gets.

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           Adapt our city hall to a body that works there (5,9)
LOCAL AUTHORITY – An anagram (adapt) of OUR CITY HALL TO A produces the type of municipal government that would work in a city hall.

9a           Stick and whip needed for wild animal (7)
POLECAT – Chambers describes this animal as “a type of large weasel, which emits a stink”!   It is a straightforward charade of a POLE or stick followed by CAT (a cat o’nine tails is a type of whip).

10a         Old map I converted into something of educational value (7)
DIPLOMA – Another anagram (converted) – this time OLD MAP I turns into a document conferring an honour such as a university degree.

11a         As it happens, returned as bad (4)
EVIL –  Something being televised as it happens or LIVE, when reversed spells  EVIL, bad or wicked.

12a         Vegetables head served in small party (5,5)
GREEN BEANS –  To get a vegetable that grew very well in our garden this year insert BEAN (an informal term  for the head) into GREENS  (a small political party which currently only has one Member of Parliament).

14a         Rubbish left on road in front of house (6)
DRIVEL –  Rubbish here means foolish talk or nonsense –   DRIVE (the road in the front of one’s house) plus L (left).

15a         Dandy’s invitation to flier to make a brief visit? (8)
POPINJAY –   A dandy or fop is apparently named after an old word for a parrot  – POPINJAY – presumably because they wore bright clothes like said parrot’s feathers.   Split 3, 2, 3 it would then become an invitation for another bird, the JAY,  to POP IN.

17a         Confine one to temporary accommodation in a sorry state (8)
PENITENT  –  Another charade – PEN (confine) I (one) and TENT (a temporary home) – expressing sorrow for a sin.

18a         Liberal inspiring fear long ago? Not causing offence (6)
LAWFUL –  Something allowed by law would obviously not be an offence –   L (Liberal) and AWFUL (here being an archaic term for causing dread, hence fear long ago).   I presume that the question mark is to draw attention to the archaic meaning of the word rather than the modern meaning of very bad or terrible.

21a         It helps to work out all the angles for vehicle (10)
PROTRACTOR – We all had one of these handy little instruments for measuring or drawing angles on paper and probably did need the last two words of the clue to write in the solution.    However, they are the important bit –   PRO (for) and TRACTOR (vehicle).

 22a         Dairy product of fine character from Greece (4)
FETA –  A fine &Lit – the Greek cheese is a product or sum of F (fine) and ETA (the seventh character in the Greek alphabet).

24a         Fixed middle parts of act entertainers put together (7)
CERTAIN –  Fixed or sure –  the middle letters (parts) of aCt and entERTAINers  put together.

25a         I am not well backed by boy in communication (7)
LIAISON –   LIAISON here means communication or connection, rather than a love affair!   Reverse (backed) I AIL  (I am not well) and follow it with SON (boy).

26a         Crazy lass interfered, kept under control without help from others (4-10)
SELF-RESTRAINED –  Another anagram (crazy)  to finish the acrosses.   LASS INTERFERED – restrained or kept under control by one’s own will and so without the help of others.


1d           See what someone is saying? (3-4)
LIP-READ –   A cryptic definition of the way in which deaf people follow conversations.

2d           Pass learner in car — is one taking lessons? That could lead to crash (9,6)
COLLISION COURSE –  A course which if persisted in might result in a collision, either physically or metaphorically is a lovely charade:    COL (a pass in a mountain range) L (a learner car driver) IS I (is one from the clue) and ON COURSE (taking lessons).

3d           Bishop taken off chess player — one needs to have it (4)
LACK –  The two players in a game of chess are known as white and BLACK after the colours of the pieces they use.   Remove the B (bishop) from (B)LACK to get a want or deficiency, which you would have if you were in need.

4d           Improvement in parking secured by radical change in policy (6)
UPTURN –   Insert P (the well-known symbol for Parking) into a U[-]TURN ( a complete reversal of direction of policy) to get UPTURN (a rise or improvement).

5d           Irritability in hard dispute that’s growing, by the way (8)
HEDGEROW –  A line of hedges, and trees, growing along the side of a road.   H (hard) and ROW (dispute) with EDGE (here meaning irritability or bitterness) inserted between the two.

6d           Harrison Ford includes a couple of top people for this party (10)
REPUBLICAN –  This is the second time I have been caught out by Virgilius putting two names together.   Last time, I ended up thinking of beer when I needed the surnames of British Prime Ministers!   This time, instead of the well-known film actor (who, by the way, according to Google sources, is a Democrat voter), I was supposed to  think of two  former US Presidents – Benjamin HARRISON and Gerald  FORD, who were leaders (top people) of the REPUBLICAN party.  I had got as far as thinking I ought to check whether Gerald Ford was a Republican when luckily Big Dave came to my rescue.

7d           Leader of revolution tossing James off thrones (6,9)
THOMAS JEFFERSON –   More American Presidents – this time the third one,  THOMAS JEFFERSON found by rearranging the letters (tossing is the anagram indicator here) of JAMES OFF THRONES.

8d           Deny any changes, for example (6)
NAYSAY – To deny or refuse.   An anagram (changes) of ANY followed by SAY (here used as an adverb meaning for example).

13d         Mate coming from improved play after interval, perhaps (6,4)
BETTER HALF – Although people tend to use this expression when referring to their spouse in a jocular or patronising way, according to Chambers it can also refer to an intimate friend , ie a mate.   If the first act of a play was poor, but things improved in the second act after the interval, one might indeed refer to  Act 2 as the better half.

16d         Get comfortably settled in children’s concert (8)
ENSCONCE  –  A verb meaning to settle comfortably is hidden in childrENS CONCErt.

17d         Quick to follow old man, top authority in church (6)
PAPACY  –  The office of the Pope, the top authority in the Catholic Church, is a charade of PA (some people refer to their father as the ‘old man’) and PACY (quick, fast or lively).

19d         Was paid under a pound, so became wiser (7)
LEARNED –  L (the abbreviation for £ Sterling) followed by (under in a down clue)  EARNED (was paid)  – became wiser or gained knowledge.

20d         Half-heartedly consume tea, say, in large cup (6)
GOBLET – Several people (not me this time!) were confused by this wordplay on Sunday.    A type of large drinking cup is obtained by removing one of the middle letters (half-heartedly) of GOB(B)LE  (consume greedily or eat hastily) followed by T (say indicates that you just need the letter which sounds the same as the drink when said out loud).

23d         Priest taking part in ritual, a mass (4)
LAMA –  A Buddhist priest (or Tibetan monk) is hidden (taking part in)  rituaL A MAss.

My favourites are marked in blue as usual.   Thanks to Virgilius for the ongoing entertainment – it’s Gnomethang’s turn to have the pleasure of reviewing Sunday next week;  I’m back off to sort out Saturdays for two weeks.

2 comments on “ST 2610

  1. Thanks to Virgilius for the usual excellence and to Crypticsue for the entertaining review.
    I find it fascinating how our assumptions are coloured by our experiences and interests – Crypticsue read 13d as being about Act 2 of a play, whereas I assumed it was referring to the second half of a football (or preferably rugby) match. Both work.

  2. A very enjoyable Sunday crossword from Virgilius and a super review from Crypticsue, many thanks to both.

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