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)
JUL IAN 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)
JAN E – 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)
NOV ICES – 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)
DEC ENTRE –  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 ( B achelor of M edicine) 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)
AUG MENT -  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)
FEB RILE – Overheated in the sense of having a fever -   An anagram (unorthodox) of BELIEF with R ( leader or first letter of r eligious) placed in the middle.  

26 Explosive placed around European part of camp (4)
TENT -  The most basic requirement for camping -   Insert E ( E uropean) into TNT (the explosive t ri n i t ro t oluene).

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)
JUN K -  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  YE t S o MAN y 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 TO U RNEY.   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)
APR ICOT -  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,   w e 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)
MAR TIAL ART -  MAR (spoil) followed by an anagram (badly) of A TRIAL and finished off with T for t ime.

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

*18 Figure of many sides clubs in part of New Zealand name (7)
OCT AGON  -  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)
MAY FLY -  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 p iano , 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.


  1. pommers
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    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!

    • Posted January 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      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!

      • andy
        Posted January 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        CS, I think the month in 21d needs highlighting also when you’re at play-time

        • Posted January 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          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 :)

          • andy
            Posted January 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

            I promise not to look too closely….

  2. spindrift
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    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. Denis
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    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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