ST 2623 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2623

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2623

A full review by Gnomethang

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

Afternoon All! I have recently flown through these reviews due to work commitments and today was no exception. Having attempted to slow down and smell the roses I must urge anyone reading this to look at these clues in isolation and marvel at the superb surface readings that make perfect sense and mostly either perfectly define the answer or else completely mislead. Wonderful stuff!

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 pos


1a           Unfriendly daughter isn’t accepting thanks (7)
DISTANT – Unfriendly or aloof. We need D and then TA (thanks) inside ISNT.

5a           Resistance, in part, is hard for people in these islands (7)
BRITISH – Place R(esistance) inside BIT (part) then add IS and H for Hard (as in Pencils).

9a           Wine goblet found in church by daughter of Oxford dean (7)
CHALICE – The daughter is of Lewis Carroll and he named Alice in Wonderland after her. Put her after CH – one abbreviation for Church to get a Wine Goblet.

10a         Finish training as fighter and faint (4,3)
PASS OUT – To successfully graduate form Sandhurst (for example) and to saint/swoon.

11a         Fixed book with editor and made a comeback (9)
REBOUNDED – The past tense of to rebind a book and then ED, the short name for the newspaper editor. The definition is ‘made a comeback’.

12a         Achieve some basic education with a head (5)
REACH – Reach as in achieve a goal. One of the Three Rs (some basic education) followed by EACH, a head or per capita.

13a         One’s automatically fired, as a principle (5)
MAXIM – The MAXIM gun was the first self powered (i.e. automatically fired) machine gun and is also a word for a principle or tenet.

15a         Addition after changing sides? That’s not fair (9)
INCLEMENT – Swap the Right for Left in INCREMENT (addition) to get a word meaning not fair in a meteorological sense.

17a         City played in London initially in 2009 (9)
JERUSALEM – I will give you Big Dave’s clue on the day – I would agree that this was not the strongest of clues but the checking letters gave it away somewhat:
“Particularly tricky for solvers outside London, this Middle Eastern city is also the title of a critically acclaimed play that opened at the Royal Court theatre in 2009

19a         Minimal temperature I predict for mountainous country (5)
TIBET – A charade of the minimal (i.e. abbreviated way) of writing T(emperature) followed I BET, I predict/wager. This gives a famously mountainous country.

22a         Banter husband accepted in eatery (5)
CHAFF – An unusual word for chatter or banter is created by placing H for husband inside CAFF – a slang word for a greasy eatery.

23a         Command one army corps, in a manner of speaking (9)
DIRECTION – Place the Royal Engineers abbreviation into DICTION – a manner of speaking for a noun meaning command or leadership.

25a         A river that is extremely short of water (7)
ARIDEST – A charade of A R(iver) and ID EST (Latin for ‘that is’ and usually seen abbreviated to IE) yields a clumsy looking word meaning most dry/lacking in water.

26a         Old woman absorbed by Hindu scripture in Asian island (7)
SUMATRA – Yer MA (Mother, Old Woman) inside SUTRA (Hindu Scripture) for the Asian Island.

27d         Influence holding protest back, sooner or later (7)
SOMEDAY – Reverse a DEMO (protest) inside SAY (Influence/say-so) to get a word meaning ‘sooner or later’ in the future.

28a         Final instalment of pay, deserved and desired (7)
YEARNED – Desired or ached for. The last letter (instalment) in paY followed by EARNED for deserved.



1d           Appropriate behaviour from Italian writer caught in snare, perhaps (7)
DECORUM – Not too tricky from the checking letters and a tad easier if you remember Umberto ECO the Italian writer. Place him inside DRUM (of which a snare is an example) to get a word for ‘the done thing’ or etiquette.

2d           Drama series on TV that provides place to air views (7)
SOAPBOX – This is a down clue so the SOAP (opera) goes on top of the BOX (slang for television) to get upon which people traditionally stand in order to air their views.

3d           Final pronouncement from abroad, i.e. ultimatum (5)
ADIEU – The final French pronouncement is hidden in (from) the last three words.

4d           Time to study economist’s revolutionary form of punishment (9)
TREADMILL – An old form of punishment (on a revolving set of steps) is a charade of T(ime) READ (study) and the economist John Stuart MILL.

5d           Man, for example, one quietly sleeping? (5)
BIPED – A lovely penny drop moment. Man stands on two legs (the definition). If I (one) and P (Piano, quiet) are both sleeping they would be IN BED – hence B IP ED.

6d           Like rebels occupying South, needing immediate attention (9)
INSURGENT – A description of rebels or terrorists (the other side’s freedom fighters!). A charade of IN (occupying) S for South and URGENT (needing immediate attention).

7d           For example, an old king I overturned a long, long time ago (4,3)
IRON AGE – The definition is a period in history which was a long time ago. A reversal (overturned) of E.G. AN O(ld) R (Rex, King) and I.

8d           Expert’s tautology about high temperature (7)
HOTSHOT – A tautology is a repetitive self evident statement. Therefore HOT IS HOT or HOT’S HOT will be such a statement regarding a high temperature.

14d         Life’s made complicated for a poet (9)
MASEFIELD – The poet John Masefield is an anagram (complicated) of LIFES MADE.

16d         Cold American, pale and afraid of being shot (6-3)
CAMERA SHY – Heavy on charades this week but light on straight anagrams. This charade is C(old) AMER(ican)  – not an abbreviation I was aware of – and AHSY for pale. The excellent definition is ‘afraid of being shot’.

17d         Make fool of sailor on a ship (7)
JACKASS – To make this fool you need to place a JACK (Jolly, Jack Tar – sailor) on top of (in a Down clue) A SS (Steamship archaically).

18d         Pragmatic approach is needed in kingdom (7)
REALISM – A clue that regular solvers will have seen before in one guise or another. Place IS in REALM (kingdom) for a pragmatic approach to life.

20d         Composer attacked by insects, crossing river (7)
BRITTEN – Benjamin BRITTEN the composer. We need BITTEN (attacked by insects) around (crossing) R for River. Coming soon to a crossword near you – “Bird attacked by insects, crossing river (7)”

21d         Mug putting most of capital into trust fund ultimately (7)
TANKARD – This drinking mug is created by placing most of ANKAR(a) insidethe last letters (ultimately) of trusT funD.

23d         Work that’s personal, penning that heartless song (5)
DITTY – A small song or jingle. The personal work is DIY (Do it Yourself) and it goes around (is penning) T(ha)T – ‘THAT’ heartlessly.

24d         Kind of butterfly often found in list (5)
COMMA – Such butterflies as the Red Admiral (comma) the Cabbage White (comma) the Comma (comma)– need I go on?

A final thank you to Virgilius. I am on Saturday detail next week which means that Crypticsue must solve next week’s Virgilius with a raging hangover (because I owe her about 50 drinks!) after the Cruciverbalist’s Convention tomorrow. We all hope to see some of you there, both newcomers and previous.



5 comments on “ST 2623

  1. Sundays for me must involve a full English breakfast, cleaning the car, sitting down with Virgilius in my favourite armchair with a few alcoholic libations then a roast dinner with all the family. Bliss!

  2. Thanks GT, and to the setter. On a slightly pedantic note, Alice was not Lewis Caroll’s daughter. Her father was Henry Liddell, an Oxford dean.

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