ST 2627 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2627

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2627

A full review by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I usually type out my weekend puzzle review  when I have spare time on a Wednesday evening and schedule it for the right time slot on the Friday, as I don’t always know what I might be doing on Thursday evening.   It is a good job that I do as yesterday teatime brought a texted plea for help  from Gnomethang who was on a work call-out that might take all night.   Luckily I had saved my solved Sunday puzzle for such an emergency (there have been a few lately!) and was delighted to enjoy this superb Virgilius puzzle second time around.    I have marked my favourite clues in blue

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              China as location of storm that’s not serious (6)
TEACUP –   A nice misleading, make you smile, clue to start with.   A piece of a china tea set is a proverbial location of what Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable refers to as ‘a mighty to-do about a trifle’ or making a fuss about nothing.

4              Damage to phials in medical facility (8)
HOSPITAL –   An anagram (damage) of TO PHIALS rearranges to make a medical facility for treating the sick and injured.

10           Second XI’s trendy transport for trip overseas (9)
STEAMSHIP –  Before the advent of regular air travel, this was the only way to take a trip overseas.   S (second) TEAM[‘]S (XI’s being teams of eleven in say, cricket or football) and HIP (trendy).

11           Part of political policy tried after ten failed schemes? (5)
PLANK – If  your first ten schemes, plans A – J,  had failed, you would of course try PLAN  K.   A PLANK is one of the principles or aims that form the platform or programme of a political party.

12           West End spot we arranged for dance (3-4)
TWO-STEP –  A gliding dance in double time is an anagram (arranged) of SPOT WE plus the T at the end of West (West end).

13           Australian sheep farm in Victoria, say (7)
STATION –  A double definition  – an Australian stock farm or a London railway terminus.

14           Tree worker, perhaps, planted in front of church (5)
BEECH –  No, not a lumberjack, but  misleading punctuation – what we are after is a common forest tree:  BEE (perhaps  indicates that we need an example of one of the two ‘workers’ used in crosswords) followed by (planted in front of) CH (church).

15           Prisoner’s holding it back for close friend (8)
INTIMATE –   Insert a reversal of IT (it back) into INMATE (prisoner) to get INTIMATE or close friend.

18           Couturier clothing Georgia in knitwear (8)
CARDIGAN –  A knitted woolen jacket with buttons up the front is obtained by inserting GA (the abbreviation for the US State of Georgia) into CARDIN (Pierre Cardin – a famous couturier from the 1950s onwards)

20 Starts off dry and turns unusually mild, in fact (5)
DATUM –  The initial letters or ‘starts’ of Dry And Turns Unusually Mild go together to spell DATUM or fact.

23           Old, quaint, curious, rare in the extreme (7)
ANTIQUE –  An adjective meaning old or ancient is an anagram (curious)  of QUAINT followed by E (the last or ‘extreme’ letter of rare).

25           Claim he falsified to become saint (7)
MICHAEL –  Another anagram (falsified) of CLAIM HE gives us the Saint I always associate with Marks & Spencer’s!

26           Another state visible from Florida hotel (5)
IDAHO – Hidden within (visible) FlorIDA HOtel is another American state.

27           Score with ace in card game (6-3)
TWENTY-ONE   Another name for the card game of pontoon –  TWENTY (score) and ACE (one).

28           Blow for person taking advantage of sunshine (8)
HAYMAKER –  Virgilius has obviously been consulting his book of proverbs this week –   You are always advised to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ – in addition to being someone who cuts hay to dry for cattle fodder, a HAYMAKER is also a slang term for a wild swinging blow.

29           Namely, keeping in learner working least (6)
IDLEST –  The person who works the least might be said to be this.   ID EST (the Latin for that is, namely) with L (learner) inserted.


1              Part of experimental set-up showing match on TV (4,4)
TEST TUBE –  A glass tube used in the laboratory –  TEST (match) and TUBE (a slang word for a television set).

2              Turn over part of phenomenal plant (7)
ANEMONE –  A hidden reversal (turn over) – a flowering plant can be seen  backwards inside  pHENOMENAl  .

3              Having no peers — that’s odd (9)
UNMATCHED – A double definition – having no peers or equals ; odd like two different socks.

5              E.g. ten to four on watch for counterpart (8,6)
OPPOSITE NUMBER  – If you look at your watch you will see that 10 and 4 are numbers which are opposite each other.   Your opposite number is, as the clue says, your counterpart.

6              Heard you interrupting old man in part of Pacific island (5)
PAPUA – The Pacific island that comprises most of the western half of the Island of New Guinea.   Insert U (a homophone [heard]  of you) into PAPA (old man, father).

7              Follower of ruler seen in Asian garments time after time (7)
TSARIST  – Someone who followed a Tsar of Russia –  Insert SARIS (Asian garments) between a T and a T (time after time).

8              Left one man always on board, for preference (6)
LIKING –  A preference for something – L (left) I (one) and KING (the last man standing on a chessboard, when he is taken the game is over).

9              Mall that provides double parking? (8,6)
SHOPPING CENTRE –  The CENTRE  of SHOPPING contains two Ps (double Parking).   I agree with BD, definitely one of the clues of the day.

16           Intervened about Conservative under influence of drugs (9)
MEDICATED –  Having been given medicine – insert C (Conservative) into MEDIATED (intervened)

17           Minimal alms redistributed in case (8)
SMALLEST –  an anagram(redistributed) of ALMS followed by LEST (in case).

19           Policy analyst dealing with odds and ends? (7)
ACTUARY –  Apart from those people who had relatives who were actuaries, the majority of us wrote in the solution using the checking letters  and then had to check in Chambers for the definition.  Someone who assesses insurance policies to assess the risks (odds) of someone dying (ends).

21           Flower that we finally moved from bed (3,4)
TEA ROSE – A hybrid rose with a scent resembling that of tea.   The last letters of thaT and wE followed by AROSE (moved from bed) split 3, 4.

22           Piece of cooking including a new kind of pastry (6)
DANISH                  –  I do like a Danish pastry –   insert A (from the clue) and N (new) into DISH (piece of cooking).

24           Share, say, a tea? Oh, you queue up (5)
 QUOTA –  A very nice reversal clue to end with.   Say  indicates that you need homophones of the following:  A T (a TEA ) O (Oh) U (you) and Q (queue) which should then be reversed(up in a down clue)  to get another way of saying a proportional share.

Thank you to Virgilius for another superb Sunday puzzle and to Gnomethang’s employers for giving me the chance to enjoy it for an unexpected second time.    Hopefully normal service will be resumed next week.

7 comments on “ST 2627

  1. Thanks Publius and Sue!
    12a: What is West End doing? Maybe WE=West End and “we arranged” is to be taken as the anagrind?
    7d: I read the wordplay as (Asian garments time) after time = (SARIS+T) after T

    Overall a great Sunday morning treat!

  2. Hi guys – just to flag it’s anemone, not anenome for 2d. I never knew there was a plant with the same name as the sea creature, so that explains why I couldn’t get that answer on Sunday! Thanks as ever for the blog….

    1. Thanks Stuart – I blame two things for that – (a) less haste more speed in trying to get the blog sorted so that I could do what I was supposed to be doing last night and (b) my late mother in law who always called things by the wrong ‘spelling’ and that was one of hers!

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