ST 2631 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2631

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2631

A full review by gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Afternoon All!. The clock stopped rather quickly on this puzzle for me but I immediately went back to absorb some of the near perfect surface readings that make it difficult for the inexperienced solver to break. A puzzle that was straightforward but a delight to solve.

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           Being non-judgmental, first of drawings is put in frame (14)
INDISCRIMINATE – Scattergun or non-judgemental. A lovely surface reading where the first letter of Drawings and IS must be placed in INCRIMINATE, or ‘frame’ in police parlance.

9a           Did coach or train take time with silly detour? (7)
TUTORED – The definition here is actually “Did coach or train”. Start with 9take) T for Time and add a silly anagram of DETOUR. Once again a superb surface reading.

10a         What’s provided by bank for the long haul? (7)
TOWPATH – A cryptic definition of the track by a canal bank. In the good old days horses had to pull barges from Avonmouth to Birmingham or suchlike – quite a long haul!

11a         Quickly move ladder (3)
RUN – A nice gentle double definition. To race and a series of steps making a ladder.

12a         Final instruction on board for players there (7,4)
ABANDON SHIP – A lovely cryptic definition. When considering that the band on the Titanic played on whilst people were manning the lifeboats they might have been the last people to get this instruction. Poor buggers!

14a         Too old? Extremely — about fifty (6)
OVERLY – O(ld) and VERY around about L for fifty in Roman Numerals gives a word meaning ‘too’ as in ‘too/overly proud’

15a         Guns and rockets, initially, held back inside previously (8)
ORDNANCE – Your military guns and other firepower. One needs to ‘lift and separate’ guns and rockets. Guns is the definition and we need to reverse (held back) AND R(ockets) inside ONCE for previously.

17a         Servile type following party in power (8)
DOMINION – Power or absolute authority. Put a MINION (servile type) after the common Crosswordland word for a party – DO.

19a         Produced artwork and so on he had trimmed (6)
ETCHED – Start with ETC (et cetera, and so on) and add HE’D (he had being trimmed). The result is a verb meaning to have produced artwork in relief.

22a         Make uniform and a dress with it, possibly (11)
STANDARDISE – Make uniform or flat in this case. The anagram (possibly) is of AND A DRESS (with) IT. This is quite usual in crosswords where the anagram fodder can be split but it is almost always split with either ‘and’ or ‘with’

23a         Perform vocal music hit (3)
RAP – Another gentle double meaning for you young’uns!. To make RAP music or to RAP possibly over the knuckles

24a         Very disappointed about learner having done a lot of cramming (7)
GLUTTED – ‘Sick as a Parrot’ (disappointed or GUTTED) with L (L-Plates) inside means having crammed a lot of food.

26a         Cover that’s complete, hiding officer (7)
SHELTER – Another insertion, this time of LT for Lieutenant inside SHEER (for complete as in sheer lunacy) gives a physical cover from the elephants.

27a         Get composed and take revenge (6,3,5)
SETTLE THE SCORE – A cryptic definition plus definition. A man that had finished composing might SETTLE THE (musical) SCORE and the second is the usual definition (take revenge)


1d           Creative planning, having room for improvement? (8,6)
INTERIOR DESIGN – That vocation that requires a room that needs toshing up a bit and also the creative juices to achieve the result. A good cryptic definition I thought, and one of my last in.

2d           Ending of strained relations of French and English in explosive dispute, finally (7)
DÉTENTE – Another excellent surface reading. The end of hostilities (and an originally French word) is a charade of DE (of in French) then E(nglish) in TNT (explosive) and then the final letter in disputE.

3d           Efficient way to sort out derailments (11)
STREAMLINED – Surface reading again!. Efficient as in a process with no waste or spare is also an anagram, once you have sorted out the letters, of DERAILMENTS.

4d           Set a Republican up, diverging from the centre (6)
RADIAL – Reverse LAID A R(epublican – a common abbreviation) for a word meaning ‘diverging from the centre’ like a spoke on a wheel.

5d           Animal tormentors who usually avoid charges (8)
MATADORS – Another cryptic definition of a bullfighter, what he does and what he hopes to avoid from the bull.

6d           Not mature and experienced, we hear (3)
NEW – A homophone of KNEW (experienced or had) and also young or not mature.

7d           Extended discussion that each instructor includes (5-2)
TEACH-IN – A extended schooling session is hidden inside (thaT EACH INstructor)

8d           Plant into which person associated with crook puts money (9-5)
SHEPHERDS PURSE – A cryptic definition of a plant that I just about remembered!. The person associated with a crook (and sheep!) and where he might put his money.

13d         Extract from section one the lesson, in spite of that (11)
NONETHELESS – You wait ages for a hidden word and two come along all at once!. Inside (an extract from) sectioN ON THE LESSon is a word meaning ‘in spite of that.

16d         Stir breakfast food (8)
PORRIDGE – Another gentle double definition. Stir and porridge both being synonyms for a prison sentence and also a breakfast food.

18d         Evaluate beginning or end of play by Shakespeare (7)
MEASURE – They play is ‘MEASURE FOR MEASURE’ so the word meaning evaluate might come at the start or the end.

20d         Prince’s friend starts in head office — nine to five, say (7)
HORATIO – I’ll give you Big Dave’s hint on the day as it is as concise as it gets:
“This friend of the Prince of Denmark is derived from the initial letters of (starts in) Head Office followed by another word for a proportion like (say) nine to five”

21d         Funny shtick that’s in poor taste (6)
KITSCH – A nicely observed clue if only for the fact that both words have their origins in High German/Yiddish. A funny anagram of SHTICK also means gaudy or in poor artistic taste.

25d         Disapproval as short skirt’s made shorter (3)
TUT – If one shortens an already short TUTU then one gets a TUT (and possibly a wolf whistle!)

I am on Saturday detail for the next two weeks so I will see you all then. Thanks are due to Virgilius for a really fun but accessible puzzle.


2 comments on “ST 2631

  1. Thanks, Gnomethang,

    An elegant appraisal. Thanks also to Virgilius & B. D.

    I enjoyed this puzzle especially the hidden none the less.



  2. Hi gnomey

    Thanks for the excellent review of a great puzzle. Pommette and I only just got around to doing this about an hour ago due to having had visitors all day last Sunday. It’s nice to be able to read your review while the puzzle is still ‘fresh’ in the mind :smile:

    Thought this was going to be a bit tricky as the first pass didn’t yield much but then things sort of started coming together over the second glass! The usual great stuff from the maestro. Especially the ‘nonetheless’ clue – apart from a slightly forced surface reading perhaps.

    Also thanks to Virgilius for an entertaining pre-prandial interlude.

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