ST 2615 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2615

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2615

A full review by Gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Afternoon All! I really enjoyed solving this puzzle on Sunday, containing as it does a couple of terrific hidden words and a great &Lit. No hidden themes but with puzzles of this quality you don’t always need them. I have given it two stars for difficulty although a few of you struggled a bit. I suspect, though, that you are all improving in this regard!

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           Keep drawing attention to bottle (6)
FLAGON – If you draw attention to something you FLAG it. If you keep doing it you FLAG ON which is also a large open necked bottle.

4a           Like some foreign characters, under stress (8)
ACCENTED – A cryptic definition of certain foreign letters (mainly vowels  but there are consonants too!) that have an accent to aid in pronunciation.

10a         On a horse and ready to go, knocked over (5)
UPSET – A charade of UP (mounted on a horse) and SET (to go) given a word meaning spilt or knocked over.

11a         It’s thought necessary to reassure a son in gaol (9)
REASONING – The first hidden word for the day, meaning ‘It’s thought’ or the thinking process, is hidden in the last 5 words.

12a         Small amount I collected, in total, for sporting facility (7)
STADIUM – Take TAD (a small amount) and I and place them in (they are collected in) SUM for total. This gets you the large sporting venue.

13a         In East, socialist leader embraced by revolutionary such as Mao (7)
CHINESE – Our favourite Crosswordland revolutionary, CHE (Guevara) embraces  IN E(ast) and S – the leading letter in Socialist. This gives an adjective for a Chinaman, such as Mao.

14a         From team on key bus, inessential bad behaviour (6,8)
MONKEY BUSINESS – An even longer hidden word, this time  for bad behavior, is hidden inside (from) teaM ON KEY BUS INESSential. Sounds like the England Rugby Squad in New Zealand recently!

17a         This is big — old NY broker arranged link between banks near Wall Street (8,6)
BROOKLYN BRIDGE – Stunning surface reading that reveals a trader arranging a deal between two banks. In fact we are told to make (This is …..) an anagram (arranged) of BIG OLD NY BROKER and the definition is the rest of the clue, the bridge connecting two banks of the East River near Wall Street. (I’m getting better at the geography – I nearly wrote ‘Hudson River’ but then bothered to check!).

21a         Person not appreciating location of fire (7)
INGRATE – Another name for an ungrateful person and also where a fire is laid – IN the GRATE.

23a         Thus part of West Africa joins a part of East Africa (7)
SOMALIA – A charade of SO (thus) MALI (part of West Africa) then (joining) A – this gives a pirate ridden country in East Africa.

24a         Doing role badly, one of those in G & S production (9)
GONDOLIER – An anagram (badly) of DOING ROLE is one of the eponymous characters in a Gilbert and Sullivan Operatic Production.

25a         Two or three, perhaps, appreciate what computers are for (5)
DIGIT – Two and three are examples of any of the numerals from 0-9 when used to express a number. If you split the clue as (3,2) you get DIG – appreciate or understand/get (very 70’s!) and IT ot Information Technology (what computers are for).

26a         English novel a player passed around, such as 1984 (4,4)
LEAP YEAR – 1984 was a Leap Year and is created by passing a novel anagram of A PLAYER around E for E(nglish).

27a         Thatcher’s successor, one making critical comments? (6)
SLATER – It may be argued that tiled roofs replaced thatched roofs so the SLATER replaced the THATCHER. If you SLATE someone you make critical remarks against them. Another great surface reading.


1d           Oarsmen more or less a match for golfers (8)
FOURSOME – As a keen golfer I got this straight away. I’ll give you BD’s hint from the day: “A charade of a group of oarsmen (not and eight this time!) and a word meaning more or less gives a  golf match played between two pairs of players, in which each pair plays only one ball, players taking alternate strokes”

2d           ‘e ain’t out in bars getting drunk (9)
ABSTAINER – A lovely &Lit or ‘all in one’ clue where the whole clue is the definition and entire clue also forms the wordplay (or subsidiary indication if you will). Place an anagram (OUT) of E AINT inside an anagram (getting drunk) of BARS to give you a Teetotaller (or TT!), someone who eschews alcohol and wouldn’t be out in bars getting drunk! Top Clue!

3d           Published fiction, incorporating new draft (7)
OUTLINE – OUT for published (out on sale e.g.) and LIE (fiction) including N for N(ew) gives a noun for draft or rough sketch.

5d           Takes a risk in crazy romances? She can (7,4,3)
CHANCES ONES ARM – The definition is ‘takes a risk’  and is an anagram (crazy) of ROMANCES SHE CAN.

6d           Like many a PM, put English nation in turmoil (7)
ETONIAN – David Cameron is one of many Prime Ministers who were graduates of this public school (although I seem to recall he was recently airbrushed form a picture of the ‘Naughty Hellfire Club’. Make an anagram of E(nglish) NATION (put it in turmoil)

7d           Like a chestnut tree, when it replaces one piece (5)
TRITE – replace one of the E’s in TREE (a chestnut being an example) with IT to get TRITE – an adjective meaning hackneyed or ‘like a chestnut’.

8d           Follow, for example, round left bend driver aims to negotiate (3-3)
DOG LEG – No fooling me on this one either. A DOG LEG on a golf course is a hole where the fairway bends tightly to either the left or the right, thereby increasing the difficulty level for successful negotiation. Start with DOG (follow) and E.G. (for example) and place them around L for Left.

9d           Introductory text about a dance popular with a top dancer (5,9)
PRIMA BALLERINA – The definition is a top dancer. We need to place PRIMER (an introductory textbook) around A BALL (a dance) and then follow (as they follow in the clue) IN (popular) and A.

15d         Piece of incidental information — possibly right, not serious (9)
SIDE LIGHT – A charade of SIDE (of which ‘right’ is an example) and LIGHT (not serious or heavy, man!) resolves to a word which is defined as a piece of incidental or contrasting information.

16d         Player on left wing, one preparing stuff to publish (8)
REDACTOR – A redactor is someone who edits (usually with a view to cutting words out) documents that are due for publication. A player on the left wing might also be an ACTOR who is RED (left wing in politics).

18d         Skill of Michael Foot, otherwise one of his opponents (7)
ORATORY – Michael Foot, the Labour Party leader in the 70’s, whilst otherwise depicted as a shambling old bloke in a duffel coat on Spitting Image, was actually a very skilled and humorous orator. In any case his skill is also a charade of OR (otherwise) and A TORY, one of his conservative opponents.(Please have a listen to the clip below!)

19d         Change design in relation to fashion line (7)
REMODEL – Another charade, this time of RE (reference, in relation to), MODE (fashion) and L for Line. The definition is Change Design.

20d         Poet’s silent demonstration about ending of war (6)
VIRGIL – I hadn’t realized that the inclusion of this answer required us to thank ******IUS rather that VIRGILIUS but I wasn’t actually sent to the naughty step myself!. Put VIGIL (a silent demonstration or act of remembrance) around R (the ending letter in war) to get an old Roman  Poet who shamelessly ripped of the Iliad to create the Aeneid detailing the creation of the Roman Empire. I studied book two for my Latin O Level and very good it was too!.

22d         Where Columbus was delivered a sail (5)
GENOA – When I realized that ‘was delivered’ could either mean ‘freed from jail’ or ‘born’ I figured that the latter was more likely  – so I Googled the obvious city to confirm!

I have the joy of reviewing next week’s Sunday puzzle – I will see you then.


4 comments on “ST 2615

  1. Fun puzzle and not overtaxing, thanks to the setter and to Gnomethang for the excellent review.

    1. Cheers Brian, for the continuing excellence in puzzles (and apologies to all for the numerous typos that I have now spotted!).
      Regarding Michael Foot I was looking for a particularly long, studied but humorous riposte in Parliament but couldn’t find it having heard it on Radio 4 on the evening of his Obit.

  2. Bit late catching up with this one following a very busy weekend and week in general…
    Yet another world-class puzzle from Virgillius that just places him in an absolutely different league to anyone else.
    From the ferocious cunningness of the hidden answer clues of 11a and 14a, to the exquisitely pleasing 21a, 25a and 27a, for me, this was just a work of art – just genius, absolutely inspired genius!
    My favourite puzzle of the year without question – I really cannot praise it highly enough.
    IMHO, the UK cryptic crossword scene is so immeasurably enriched thanks to offerings such as this, and long may Virgillius continue as a true and *the* most extraordinary master of his craft. 8)

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