ST 2614 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2614

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2614

A full review by Crypticsue

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

One of the many ways my crosswording  life improved after I ‘found’ Big Dave and his blog was that I became a regular solver and then a  fortnightly  reviewer of the Sunday puzzle.    This week’s offering was another candidate for best puzzle of the week, containing the excellent clueing, trademark hidden words and a few d’oh moments too.  My top favourites 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           Worst place, best time for rest of travellers (3,4)
PIT  STOP –   Join together PITS (an informal term for the absolute worst place possible) and TOP (the best, highest) and then split them 3, 4 to get the stop a racing car makes during a race for repairs or refuelling.

5a           Worthless books I penned in hurry (7)
RUBBISH –  Worthless people or waste matter – insert BB (books) and I (from the clue) into RUSH or hurry.

9a           Piano isn’t commonly carried in carriage (7)
FAINTLY –   Piano here isn’t the instrument but the musical instruction to play something softly or FAINTLY.   AIN’T (the common way of saying isn’t) inserted into FLY (a fast stagecoach).

10a         Allowing little time for deliberation (7)
THOUGHT –  THOUGH (a conjunction meaning allowing or admitting) followed by T (the little abbreviation for Time) – deliberation meaning THOUGHT or mature reflection.

11a         Plan for travel, I hear, around popular time (9)
ITINERARY –  A plan of one’s route or journey –   Insert into  I TRY (I hear [a case]) IN (popular) and ERA (a series of years, ie time).

12a         Who, for example, joins a certain slacker in colony? (5)
DRONE  –   The male honey bee who can be compared to a slacker or idle person.    DR (Dr Who being an example of a doctor) and ONE (a certain [slacker, number, person]).

13a         Dance in a line in party of Americans (5)
GALOP  – a lively dance in double time – insert A (from the clue) and L (line) into the informal abbreviation for the US Republican Party – the Grand Old Party or GOP.

15a         Something to read as child slept (9)
KIDNAPPED –  A double definition    Join KID (child) and NAPPED (slept) to get a novel by Robert Louis Stevenson.

17a         Black dog for high-flying rich type (3-6)
JET-SETTER –   A black coloured particular breed  of  dog or  someone from a wealthy social set who travels frequently and widely for pleasure.

19a         I.e., what to do when coach lacks power? (2,3)
TO WIT –  The solution is an expression meaning namely, ie,  or that is to say.  However,  split 3, 2 this would then say what you had to do if a coach (or indeed any other vehicle lacked power)  TOW  IT.

22a         Animal unloaded from ship, possibly (5)
HIPPO –  My favourite animal is hidden in  (unloaded from) sHIP POssibly.

23a         Opposition getting violent about one bill that needs amendment (9)
REBELLION  – Opposition in the form of violent revolt.   RE (about) followed by an anagram (needs amendment) of ONE BILL.

25a         Ostentatious when monarch enters? That’s not altogether fair (7)
SHOWERY –   One of the numerous definitions of fair is ‘free from rain’.    If the weather was SHOWERY, this was not be the case.   SHOWY (ostentatious) with ER (the cipher of our current monarch) inserted.

26a         Coming to a ruler about unfinished conflict (7)
AWAKING  –  Coming to or AWAKING from sleep.  A plus KING with WA inserted (unfinished conflict or WAR with the last letter removed).

27a         A couple of things used in many sports, or one in particular (7)
NETBALL –   Many sports use both a NET and a BALL – some use both,  but the game required here is obtained by merging the two words.

28a         Some medicine for man on board (7)
DRAUGHT –   A dose of medicine or a thick disc used as a piece or man on a draught board.



1d           Flier good for advertising (7)
PUFFING –  Add a G for good to the PUFFIN (a flying seabird) to get a term meaning advertising, especially that which overstates something or misleads.

2d           Four or six in test? It’s of little significance (7)
TRIVIAL –   An adjective meaning of little importance.    Insert into TRIAL (test) either an IV (Roman four) or VI (Roman six).   It doesn’t matter which way round you have the I and the V, just where you insert them.

3d           Workers organised support for driver, a learner (5)
TUTEE  – A person who is tutored –  TU (Trades Union , or organised workers) and TEE (a support for a golf ball before it is hit with a driver).

4d           Put tar on ship for wages (3-6)
PAY-PACKET  – PAY here means to smear tar on a wooden ship to waterproof it.   PACKET ( a ship carrying packets or letters or passengers  regularly between one port and another).   A PAY-PACKET is an envelope containing someone’s wages . 

5d           As conclusions from earlier case merit further scrutiny, do this? (5)
RETRY –  The last letters, or conclusions of, earlieR casE, meriT, furtheR and scrutinY  give a verb meaning to hear a court case again.

6d           Bad actors ruined e.g. TV show (9)
BROADCAST  – An anagram (ruined) of BAD ACTORS  is an example of a television show.

7d           Ring after ring, unusually mounted as exclusive set (2-5)
IN-GROUP –     A social group of people having the same interests and attitudes is obtained from an anagram (unusually) of RING, followed by O (another ring or circle)and then UP (mounted on a horse), split 2-5.

8d           Person liable to have violent reaction, as opposed to cold feet? (7)
HOTHEAD –  Someone given to headstrong, violent reactions could be said to be a HOTHEAD, someone with cold feet would not be so courageous,   A hot head and cold feet are literally at opposite ends of the body.

14d         Remarkable events contributing to catastrophe no men anticipated (9)
PHENOMENA –  Remarkable or unusual events are hidden in (contributing to)  catastroPHE NO MEN Anticipated.

16d         Run committee that’s targeted by pub’s competitors (9)
DARTBOARD  –  DART (a sudden forward running movement) and BOARD (committee) join together to form a target used for darts matches in public houses.

17d         President and scholar who, by definition, became famous (7)
JOHNSON –   One of two American Presidents with the surname of JOHNSON, (I went for  Lyndon B as I remember him well, the other one being long before my time!) or Dr Samuel JOHNSON, famous for definitions of words in his  1755 “Dictionary of the English LanguageW”.   I think the ‘who, by definition became famous’ bit of this clue is wonderful.

18d         Garment that’s the last thing painter puts on (7)
TOPCOAT –   An outer coat or the last coat of paint applied to something by a painter and decorator.

20d         Fish is big success in party, in part (7)
WHITING –  A small edible white fish related to the cod –   Insert HIT (big success) into a part or faction of a political party, ie it’s left or right WING.

21d         Next occasion for retirement happening in jolly firm (7)
TONIGHT –  Unless of course you are a night worker, the next time you go to bed will be TONIGHT.  Insert ON (happening) into TIGHT (firmly fixed).

23d         This we can refer to a single top person (5)
ROYAL –   This was one of two clever clues where I had the answer but the gold sovereign didn’t clang to the floor until I was going through the clues making my notes for the review.   It’s those capitals, or in this case, non-capitals that get me every time!   The Majestic Plural or  Royal pronoun, the ‘Royal We’ might be used by a king or queen to denote the excellence, power or dignity of their words or writing.     Queen Victoria quite often referred to herself as ‘We’ but apparently never uttered the words ‘We are not amused’!

24d         Source of wool a shopping centre turned up (5)
LLAMA –    Reverse A MALL or shopping centre to get an animal whose soft woolly fleece can be used to make garments.

It’s Gnomey’s turn again for  the next two weeks to try and find some original superlatives to describe the next two Virgilius puzzles.   I wonder whether he will come up with anything new!