ST 2611 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2611

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2611

A full review by Gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Afternoon All!. We had a fairly standard (not to say that it wasn’t extremely high quality) puzzle from Virgilius this week – no frills or gimmicks but the usual solid cluing, a couple of &Lits and very solid surface readings.

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           Preserving material to create a short piece of poetry (8)
FORMALIN – Start with FORM and A ( create a) and add LINe – a piece of a poetic verse that has been shortened. Formalin is a water/formaldehyde solution used chiefly as a preservative.

9a           Way-out questions about voting oddly exploit Labour leader (4,4)
EXIT POLL – The questions that are asked outside a voting station in order to gauge the public opinion. An anagram (oddly) of EXPLOIT with L – Labour Leading letter. Very nice surface reading.

10a         Cape is what’s over your shoulders (4)
HEAD – A simple double definition. The long reach of headland is a HEAD, CAPE, NESS and Isthmus to name but some.

11a         Girl’s payments, of a kind, covering old-time musical entertainment (12)
DISCOTHEQUE – These musical entertainments have been replaced by raves and the like (I am reliably informed!). Start with DI’S (a common synonym for ‘Girl’s’). Then insert O for old and T for time inside CHEQUE (payments of a kind).

13a         Dreadful fires — no end of destruction to be contained (8)
INFERNOS – An &Lit or all in one. Make an anagram (dreadful) of FIRES NO and then insert N – the end of destructioN being contained. Reading the whole clue again gives an embellished definition.

15a         Bones found in chest in ship’s rear area (6)
STERNA – These chest bones are a charade of STERN (the ships rear) and A for Area in mathematical notation.

16a         Large plant removed from middle of road when it’s cut (4)
TREE – I would invite comments on this as I think that “when its cut” is potentially superfluous. You can cut the first and last letters from sTREEt for this but the instruction is equally valid to just remove the middle letters from street (road)

17a         Turn out to demonstrate (5)
PROVE – A slightly tricky double definition here that can be summed up thusly: “The problem proved (turned out) to be difficult but it was eventually proven (demonstrated).

18a         Hear about old person with right philosophy? (4)
TORY – To hear in a court around (about) O for Old gives a Conservative – a person with a right philosophy.

20a         Drink passed around a camp on the veldt (6)
LAAGER – I’ll give you BD’s hint on the day (although I disagree partially with the sentiments):
Put an alcoholic beverage, the one that is only fit to be drunk with curry, around A to get a camp on the South African veldt

21a         I would back ally so flaky? Not true (8)
DISLOYALLY – Reverse (back) I’D (a contraction of I would) and then add an anagram (flaky) of ALLY SO to reveal an adjective meaning ‘not true’ as in true to a person or cause.

23a         Fruit in state exactly as reported (8,4)
VICTORIA PLUM – I am sticking my neck pout and suggesting that VICTORIA is a state in Australia and PLUM means “exactly as reported”. The definition is simply fruit.

26a         Opposed to something it is added to (4)
AGIN – A Scottish word for against or opposed to. Split it as A GIN and it is a drink that IT (Italian vermouth) may be added to. Nicely devious.

27a         Contains changes? Okay (8)
SANCTION – This straightforward clue took me a while to solve. An anagram (changes) of CONTAINS means to Okay or approve.

28a         Fine man on board performing brain operations (8)
THINKING – A simple charade of THIN (fine or gossamer-like) and KING, a man on a (chess) board). The definition is the remainder of the clue.


2d           Quick wit aboard English vessel (3-5)
ONE-LINER – An example of quick wittedness is a charade of ON (aboard) E(nglish) and LINER (an ocean going vessel)

3d           Part of pop song about western fighter (12)
MIDDLEWEIGHT – I am of the opinion that Aerosmith always provided the finest Middle Eights. This is a part of the pop (or rock) song that is melodically or tonally different to the standard verse/chorus. Insert W (western) to get a weight class of boxer.

4d           Educational material not being broadcast as much (6)
LESSON – A structured plan for education also means ‘not being broadcast as much’ – Personally I would read this as ON LESS but it can be read the other way.

5d           Among inhumane Romans, the most brutal of tyrants (4)
NERO- Another &Lit, Emperor Nero being notoriously cruel and inhumane. He is hidden in (among) inhumaNE ROmans

6d           Look like holidaymakers in location on ocean, so to speak (8)
SIGHTSEE – A homophone (so to speak) of site (location) on top of sea (ocean) gives a verb meaning to look around as a tourist might.

7d           This Orientals fed upon, originally (4)
TOFU – the original letters of the first four words gives the name for soybean curd which is a high protein meat substitute developed and refined in Japan originally. Another &Lit I believe.

8d           Explanatory text a writer finally got into magazine (8)
GLOSSARY – A glossary is an explanatory text often as an appendix to a technical book or piece of literature. Place A then the final letter of writer inside a GLOSSY – a synonym for a magazine

12d         Doubt in long search covering one in position to run (8,4)
QUESTION MARK – Doubt is the definition. Place a QUEST ((long search) over (covering) I (one) and ON MARK (ready to run – on ones marks).

14d         Small complaint, commonly, resulting in rebuke (5)
SCOLD – S(mall) and COLD – a common complaint, results in a rebuke.

16d         Set-up receiving, unusually, live European broadcast (8)
TELEVISE – A reversal (up) of SET then an unusual anagram of LIVE followed by E for European gives a verb meaning to broadcast.

17d         Artist exhibited in opening Italian work of art (8)
PORTRAIT – This work of art is created by placing RA (Royal Academician) between PORT – an opening in a side of a ship and IT – the abbreviation for Italian.

19d         Find another position for idiot breaking rule (8)
REASSIGN – Another insertion, this time of ASS (idiot) inside REIGN (rule). The definition is ‘find another position for’.

22d         Italian food I’m regrettably passing up (6)
SALAMI – This Italian food is a reversal (passing up) of IM and ALAS (regrettably).

24d         In certain states, minimal change in concentration (4)
CENT – The cent represents small change in a number of countries worldwide and is contained IN conCENTration.

25d         Member of family I released from a group of soldiers (4)
AUNT – Remove I from A UNIT (released from a group of soldiers) to find your mum or dad’s sister.

I will be endeavouring to solve next Sunday’s puzzle whilst nursing my head following more cryptic theory discussions at the latest Cruciverbalist’s Convention. Hope to see some of you there!.

7 comments on “ST 2611

      1. But how do you explain the “not” in the clue? I think Gnomey’s got the correct wordplay.

  1. Thanks to Virgilius for another excellent puzzle and to Gnomethang for the review.
    I thought the “plum” in 23a was meant to be a homophone (as reported) of plumb (exactly).

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