ST 2620 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2620

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2620

A full review by Crypticsue

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

It seems a long time ago now,  but this treat of a themed puzzle was a splendid start to the New Year.    This is the first time I have awarded the coveted 5* enjoyment rating to any crossword that I have reviewed but I had so much fun both solving and now reviewing it, that I couldn’t possibly rate it any differently.

It is impossible to pick one or two  special  favourites from all the good clues.   I have, however, put asterisks by the themed clues and highlighted the ‘months’ contained in the solutions.

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.


*1 Dated way of arranging a dozen beginnings for today’s solution (6,4)
JULIAN YEAR – According to the  Calendar instituted by Julius Caesar in 46BC, a Julian Year has 365¼ days divided (or arranged) into twelve months – this  clue  and eleven others contain the first three (and in one case four) letters   (beginnings) of the names of those months.

*6 Article in French I penned, the epitome of plainness (4)
JANE – A derogatory informal term for a dowdy girl –  Insert AN (article) into JE (the French word for I). 

*9 Religious probationers — and what they should have? (7)
NOVICES – The term for members of a religious house who have not yet taken their vows, if split 2, 5 would describe the requirement that they should be pure and have NO VICES.  

10 Unlikely to be removed from office, having settled rent due (7)
TENURED –  Holding a university appointment for a specified length of time: TENURED is an anagram (settled) of RENT DUE.

12 Passenger can choose train fare here (10,3)
RESTAURANT CAR –  No, not the ticket office, but a cryptic definition of  the carriage on a train where food and train can be purchased.

14 Major route for vessel carrying vital supply (6)
ARTERY – A double definition – a main channel of communication or movement, such as a traffic system or one of the major blood vessels of the body.

*15 Reasonable about move away from position in middle (8)
DECENTRE –  In order to fit December into this crossword, a charade of DECENT (reasonable) and RE (about) is required.

17 Novelist and poet disturbed about revolutionary act (8)
TROLLOPE –   The author of the Barsetshire novels is obtained by inserting into an anagram (disturbed) of POET , a revolutionary act or ROLL.

19 Doctor carried by our enemy once in warplane (6)
BOMBER –  The type of warplane that drops bombs is obtained by inserting (carried by) MB (Bachelor of Medicine) into one of our older enemies, the BOER.

22 A university, though cut, helping, having secured one’s official permission (13)
AUTHORISATION –  A noun meaning official permission is derived from A (from the clue) U (university) THO (tho[ugh] cut) and RATION (helping) with IS (secured I’s) inserted.

*24 Finally including me in relative increase (7)
AUGMENT –  The abbreviation for August is found at the beginning of a verb meaning to increase –  Insert G (the last or final letter of including) and ME into AUNT (relative).

*25 Overheated religious leader at centre of unorthodox belief (7)
FEBRILE – Overheated in the sense of having a fever –   An anagram (unorthodox) of BELIEF with R (leader or first letter of religious) placed in the middle.  

26 Explosive placed around European part of camp (4)
TENT –  The most basic requirement for camping –   Insert E (European) into TNT (the explosive trinitrotoluene).

27 Measurement system giving ancient city importance (4,6)
TROY WEIGHT –  A system mainly used for weighing precious metals and gems – follow the ancient city of TROY with WEIGHT (importance or influence).


*1 Abandon ship (4)
JUNK –  A double definition – An informal term meaning to abandon or discard as useless; an Asian flat-bottomed sailing vessel.  

2 Young animal invariably protected by permit (7)
LEVERET –   A young hare –  insert EVER (invariably) into LET (permit, allow).

3 Manor he combined with castle, possibly, as this? (9,4)
ANCESTRAL HOME – the sort of people who might normally refer to their ANCESTRAL HOME might well have once lived in a MANOR or CASTLE.  Possibly indicates that an anagram of MANOR HE and CASTLE will together (combined) produce the solution.

4 His support is guaranteed, yet so many appearing incomplete (3-3)
YES-MAN – An obedient follower with no initiative is to be found by removing the last letter of  YEt So MANy and then splitting the result 3-3.

5 Lawyer watching non-U medieval sport (8)
ATTORNEY – Someone  watching a medieval tournament might be said to be AT A TOURNEY.   Remove the U (non-U) and merge the words to get a lawyer authorized to act on behalf of others.

*7 One fruit mostly loaded inside a container … (7)
APRICOT –  Insert RIC(H) (mostly loaded where loaded means having lots of money) into A (from the clue) and COT (container).

8 … and another leader put in ground, we hear (10)
ELDERBERRY –  Another type of fruit – follow ELDER (officer or leader of a church congregation) with BERRY.   The latter of course sounds like BURY or put in ground,   we hear being the homophone indicator.  

11 Enabling one to put differently what’s not open to change (3-10)
NON-NEGOTIABLE –  Not open to negotiation or unable to be changed.   An anagram (put differently) of ENABLING ONE TO.

*13 Skilled defence, to spoil a trial badly ahead of time (7,3)
MARTIAL ART –  MAR (spoil) followed by an anagram (badly) of A TRIAL and finished off with T for time.

16 Second bookmaker’s speedy runner (8)
SPRINTER –  Someone who runs really fast – S (second) plus PRINTER (someone employed in printing books).

*18 Figure of many sides clubs in part of New Zealand name (7)
OCTAGON  –  Insert C (clubs) into OTAGO (a region on the South Island of New Zealand) and follow this with N (name).   This plane figure has eight sides.  

20 Republicans do this financial activity (7)
BANKING –  Republications are in favour of government without a monarch and so would want to BAN [a] KING.   Remove the space between the words to get the business or service of a bank, ie a financial activity.

*21 Insect isn’t grounded (6)
MAYFLY –  A short-lived insect which appears in May split 3, 3 would infer that it hadn’t been prevented from taking off and so  MAY FLY.

*23 Irish family group in circle around piano (4)
SEPT – A term for a division of a family or clan which originated in Ireland.   SET (circle, exclusive group) into which is inserted (around)  P (the musical abbreviation for piano, soft or softly).   

We always know we are going to get a good Sunday crossword from Virgilius so it only remains for me to thank him once again and look forward to the next one.

7 comments on “ST 2620

  1. Thanks for the great review Sue, certainly brought back memories of a wonderful puzzle and I agree with your 5* rating. They don’t often come this good!

    BTW, you’ve highlighted the wrong 2nd T in trinitrotoluene!

    1. I wasn’t going to highlight them at all – wish I hadn’t now :) I will sort it out later when I am at home and can play!

        1. All sorted now before I drive home. I wonder if anyone else will have read it and found any other ‘deliberate’ errors before I log on again this evening :)

  2. I agree totally with all of the comments. This was an absolute joy to solve & if this is an augur for 2012 then Sundays are looking good. Thanks to V & to CS for a great review as usual.

  3. Dear All,

    I am delighted to say that I won the pen for this competition. The second time in 12 months. Many thanks to Virgilius, Big Dave and all contributors including of course Pommers ( wall to wall blue in Cheadle Hulme 6 C ).

    It was a wise man who said ” Once you learn to do cryptic crosswords you are never bored “.

    Best Wishes to all for 2012.

    Fondest Regards,


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