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ST 2617

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2617

A full review by Crypticsue

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

A different Virgilius this week –  not a single hidden word clue, some very long anagrams and the whole thing tougher than usual but as entertaining as ever. 

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           Antarctic cools abnormally – that’s collectively agreed (6,8)
SOCIAL CONTRACT –   A collective agreement to co-operate is an anagram (abnormally) of ANTARCTIC COOLS.

9a           Protected from virus since it returned in European computer (7)
ASEPTIC –  An adjective meaning preventing decay or infection, eg from a virus  –  AS (since) and  E (European) followed by PC (Personal Computer) into which is inserted a reversal (returned) of IT.

10a         Butterfly, one that’s not common (7)
MONARCH –   A large butterfly, with orange and black wings or a head of state, ie not a commoner.

11a         With ultimate correctness, expelling a small child (3)
TOT –  Remove the A (expelling a) from  TO A T, an expression meaning with ultimate correctness or perfect exactness,  and you should be left with a young child.

12a         Checks claim this can be seen on computer (6, 5)
SCREEN SAVER –  a computer program which, after a period of inactivity, replaces the screen image with a moving pattern.   SCREENS (checks) and AVER (claim, declare to be true)  arranged 6, 5.

14a         Guard retreating to make new plan, perhaps (6)
REDRAW  –   Reverse a WARDER or guard and you get a verb meaning to draw a plan again.

15a         E.g., sailor or gaoler is misbehaving in women’s quarters (8)
SERAGLIO  – Misbehaving is the anagram indicator in this clue.   You have two choices, either EG SAILOR  or GAOLER IS rearrange to produce the women’s quarters in a Muslim house or palace.

17a         Rook is taken after pawn in substantial counterattack (8)
REPRISAL –   A counter-attack or act of retaliation –   Insert into REAL (substantial)  P (pawn) R (rook) and IS (from the clue)

19a         Seat providing support  (6)
BEHIND –  One’s bottom or seat is sometimes referred to as one’s behind;  as a preposition this also means support, which is, of course what your bottom does when you are sitting down!

22a         Pub, say, with XXXX?  If that is right, it could be jolly (11)
INTENSIFIER –  An utterance that lends force and emphasis –   IN (a homophone (say) of INN or pub) TENS (the clue has four Xs or Roman ‘numberals’ for 10) IF (from the clue)  IE (Id Est or that is) and R (right).

23a         Avoiding extremes, lads got in trouble (3)
ADO  –  Avoiding extremes, or ignoring the outside letters of lADs and gOt  will leave you with ADO (trouble, difficulty, stir or fuss).

24a         Player’s departure without greeting bandleader in show  (7)
EXHIBIT –   A player’s departure or EXIT without  outside or around  HI (a greeting similar to hello)and B (bandleader). 

26a         Delicacy and discretion when embracing the Italian way (7)
CAVIARE  –  Not a delicacy I enjoy but these fish eggs are obtained by inserting VIA (the Roman word for road or way) into CARE (discretion).

27a         Terse appreciation of gift could make one tense (7, 7)
PRESENT PERFECT –   A terse appreciation of a gift, probably if one was texting a thank you for a Christmas present!   This tense or form of a verb is used to express a past event that has current consequences.


1d           Transcribe date incorrectly, unable to think clearly (14)
SCATTERBRAINED –  I was definitely this while trying to work out this anagram (incorrectly) – TRANSCRIBE DATE rearranges to make adjective meaning unable to think clearly or incapable of sustained thought.

2d           Was deceptive, cold,  then hot (7)
CHEATED –   Another way of saying was deceptive is a simple charade of C (cold) and HEATED (hot).

3d           Taken in by police without husband, giving testimony  (11)
ATTESTATION  –    If you were taken in by the police you would be AT THE STATION.    Do as the clue instructs and remove the H (without husband) and  the spaces between the words to get a noun meaning an act of giving testimony.

4d           Orator showing constant unfriendliness to leaders in Rome (6)
CICERO  –  The Roman orator CICERO  is a charade of C (constant) ICE (unfriendliness) and RO (the leaders or first two letters of Rome).

5d           Was calculating and insensitive about ruler (8)
NUMBERED –  Was calculating or counted.   Insert ER (the cipher of our current ruler) into NUMBED (insensitive or unable to feel).

6d           Governed country short of capital  (3)
RAN  –  Remove the first letter (short of capital) from IRAN  to get another way of saying governed.

7d           South of cape, a French composer in Spanish ship (7)
CARAVEL  – A light Spanish or Mediterranean sailing ship –   Under (South of  in a down clue) C (cape) put A (from the clue) and RAVEL (the French composer).

8d           Show sort of deer, totally destroyed in a place where they were hunted  (8,6)
SHERWOOD FOREST –  Another anagram (totally destroyed) of SHOW SORT OF DEER produces the place where, in addition to trying to find Robin Hood, people hunted deer.

13d         Hard taskmaster bathed in southern stream (5-6)
SLAVE-DRIVER –   A figurative term for a hard task-master, probably referring to its origins in slavery, – insert  LAVED (an archaic word meaning bathed or washed) between S (southern) and RIVER (stream).

16d         Under pressure, mishandled task in a foreign country (8)
PAKISTAN  –  A foreign country much in the news these days –  P (pressure) followed by an anagram (mishandled) of TASK IN A .

18d         For vessel, someone putting up canvas  (7)
PITCHER –  A double definition, a type of earthenware vessel or someone who might pitch a canvas tent.

20d         Profession of ship’s officer in Muslim territory (7)
IMAMATE –   A ship’s office might introduce himself by saying I’M A MATE.   An IMAMATE is a territory under the jurisdiction of an imam.

21d         Shock treatment might cure this slight problem (6)
HICCUP –  The same word  that means either  temporary difficulty or slight problem  also means an involuntary contraction or the diaphragm causing a repeated sound referred to as a HICCUP.  It is said that saying boo to someone with hiccups, ie giving them a shock, is supposed to cure the condition.

25d         Transport not fully occupied, mostly broken down (3)
BUS  –  Another clue with two choices of wordplay giving the same answer.    The first three letters of BUSy (not fully occupied or working) or the first three of BUSt (mostly broken down)  – both spell the name of the most common form of public transport.

I wonder what sort of Virgilius we will get next week?   I for one can’t wait.

5 comments on “ST 2617

  1. One of the benefits of there being a gap of several days before the review is published is that I’ve mostly forgotten the clues, so I can read the review and enjoy them all over again. Thanks to Virgilius for the usual excellence and to Crypticsue for her (marathon) stint today.

  2. As I said last Sunday, this really was an excellent puzzle. Thanks to Virgilius, and to Crypticsue for the review.

  3. Thanks Crypticsue, I failed to solve 22a & 18d but I, as always, enjoyed the crossword. Regards to Big Dave and Pommers and thanks to Virgilius

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