ST 2612 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2612

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2612

A full review by Gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Morning All! I got the impression form comments on the day that people found this quite tricky. I also struggled in place but as gazza pointed out “I think it’s a mark of a great puzzle if you struggle to get some answers but, when you’ve finished, you can’t understand why it took you so long because the answers are so obvious.”. Specifically here I think that the excellent surface readings diverted people nicely away from the real meanings

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.


7a           Survivor from air crash, a tough case (5,3)
BLACK BOX – A cryptic definition of the telemetry that is designed to withstand an air crash in order to help the investigators and prevent further accidents.

9a           I use it, perhaps, to disinfect cut (6)
IODINE – A tricky spot – the first letter of the clue is the definition, I being the checmical symbiol for Iodine which was used once in the disinfection of cuts

10a         Ordered laymen to be specific (6)
NAMELY – An anagram (ordered) of LAYMEN provides an word meaning “to be specific”.

11a         Press political type endlessly to become peacemaker (8)
MEDIAOR – The definition is peacemaker and a charade of MEDIA (a term for the press) and TOR(y) (a political type with the end removed) BECOMES the answer.

12a         Pity unions ever disrupted this place of learning (4,10)
OPEN UNIVERSITY – An anagram (disrupted) of PITY UNIONS EVER leads to one of the original distance learning establishments.

15a         Men in a band go north of the border (4)
GANG – Two definitions – A group of men in a band and also a Scottich word (north of the border) for ‘go’.

17a         Deliberately lose toss (5)
THROW – Another double meaning – to throw a match and to throw a coin.

19a         Manned satellite? Not really (4)
MOON – The Earth’s satellite. We all know that there isn’t really a Man in the Moon.

20a         Amusing information about people, catalogue of strong views (14)
FUNDAMENTALIST – A quite complicated construction delivered smoothly. The definition is an adjective meaning “of strong views”. Start with FUN (amusing) then DATA (information) around MEN (people) and finally add LIST for catalogue.

23a         Musician’s uniform, including tailored suit (8)
FLAUTIST – Place a tailored anagram of SUIT inside FLAT or uniform to get a musician who plays the flute.

25a         A score less than century, important after loss of first wicket (6)
EIGHTY – (100 – 20) is another way of saying a score less than a century. You can also remove the W (short for wicket) from WEIGHTY or important.

27a         Either gender engaged in design (6)
FORMAT – A design or layout. Either gender can be read as F(emale) OR M(ale). Add AT (engaged in, “AT IT”).

28a         Unfortunate term, as exemplified in public school (8)
MISNOMER – The unfortunate or inaccurate thing about the term ‘public school’ is that they are in fact private and traditionally reserved for the privileged rich.


1d           Perform as runner, say, or high jumper (4)
FLEA – To take flight or ‘do a runner’ is also a homophone for the small bloodsucker that can jump over the Eiffel Tower, or something!

2d           Vet that’s on TV (6)
SCREEN – Not another Zleb show – just a double meaning with the verb meaning to vet or filter and the noun being the thing that is on the front of a TV set.

3d           Biggest possible English upset in test (4)
EXAM – A reversal (upset) of MAX (biggest possible) and E(nglish) gives a school test.

4d           Less disciplined author joining resistance (6)
WILDER – Add R, the SI abbreviation for the unit of Resistance to Oscar WILDE. This leads to an adjective meaning ‘Less disciplined’

5d           Impractical aspirations wrecked idle aims (8)
IDEALISM – A wrecked anagram of IDLE AIMS is how one might describe ‘impractical aspirations’. Lovely surface reading that sounds like a maxim.

6d           Like War and Peace, without name Tolstoy initially put in (10)
ANTONYMOUS – A difficult word meaning diametrically opposite in meaning (as exemplified by War and Peace, written by Tolstoy). Take ANONYMOUS (without name) and add the T – Tolstoy initially.

8d           Make a pointed attack from horse on alien (7)
BAYONET – The BAY is a type of horse with Chestnut body and black mane, tail, ears and lower legs. Start with this in the charade and add ON (in the clue) and E.T. – the crossword setter’s favourite alien to get a pointed attack with the blade attached to a rifle.

13d         What actress may do in pantomime for friend not working (10)
PLAYFELLOW – The lead boy in a pantomime is always a woman or girl. Hence she might PLAY FELLOW which run together means a pal or someone you associate with out of work hours (friend not working)

14d         Liveliness of tailless monkey (5)
VERVE – Not an easy clue to solve cold but the checking letters made it quite straightforward. The monkey is a VERVET (native to Africa and the Caribbean). Remove his last letter (tail) to get a noun meaning liveliness.

16d         A couple of drinks before my game (3,5)
GIN RUMMY – The card game is found by adding two drinks (GIN and RUM) before MY (from the clue).

18d         Foolish person giving testimony having change of heart (7)
WITLESS – The definition is foolish. Take WITNESS (person giving testimony) and change ythe middle letter (heart).

21d         Fly from Arabia, via Tehran (6)
AVIATE – One of Mr Greer’s tamer hidden word clues. The verb meaning fly (a plane) is hidden in the last three words. Again the surface reading helps in the deception.

22d         Vast number, say, held by majority shareholder? (6)
LEGION – Legion means vast number as in the biblical man possessed by a swarm of pigs. Place E.G. (say) inside LION – the animal who has the biggest share.

24d         From my point of view, it’s a large volume (4)
TOME – A cryptic definition and definition. ‘From my point of view’ also means ‘TO ME’. A TOME is a large book (volume)

26d         Opposition to US coming from the secret service boss (4)
THEM – Traditionally it is either ‘Them or Us’. The false capitalisation to US (to mislead us into thinking of the United States) caused a few raised eyebrows on the day but all the references that I can find suggest that it is acceptable (it is, however,  wholly unacceptable to remove capitals that are in the definition. In any case the cryptic part is THE and M – the secret service boss in MI6.

I am back on Saturday duty for the next couple of weeks so will see you at the earlier time of 8:00 a.m. Friday!