ST 2635 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2635

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2635

A full review by gnomethang

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

Afternoon All! This week we had a superbly themed puzzle by Virgilius to mark the Centenary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The grid was packed with thematic references in the answers and surface readings and there are other answers that are broadly nautical as well if not directly related to the disaster itself. Thematic answers and surface readings are highlighted in OLIVE

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1a           One key diver sent back to find what’s mostly underwater (7)
ICEBERG – Our first thematic clue and the cause of all the problems. Take I and C for One and a Key in music then reverse (send back) a GREBE which is a diving bird (diver). The definition relates to the fact that most of the iceberg is actually under the surface.

5a           Prophetic work contributing to optimal achievement (7)
MALACHI – The prophetic work is hidden in the last two words.

9a           Leading to English queen, in conclusion (11)
ENGENDERING – This word means leading to or creating. Start with ENG for English then place ER (Elizabeth Regina – our current Queen in the UK) inside ENDING (conclusion).

10a         Take a little bite and a little drink (3)
NIP – A double definition – a small bite and a nip of whisky perhaps.

11a         Part of choir having article lost at sea (5)
ALTOS – Part of the choir (along with sopranos etc) is created from A (article) and an anagram (at sea) of LOST.

13a         Opponents in ring swelter, oddly? Right, seconds too (9)
WRESTLERS – These grapplers in the ring are an anagram (oddly) of SWELTER and also R(ight) and S(econds).

14a         Put in another appearance and denigrate chaps in speech (8)
DISGUISE – To change ones physical appearance. This is a homophone of DISS (disrespect/denigrate) and GUYS (men). The indicator is simply ‘in speech’.

16a         See 5 Down
VOYAGE – see 5d for explanation.

18a         Deliveries, we hear — they’re for rest of passengers on board (6)
BERTHS – Where the ship passengers rest in their cabins. It is also a homophone of BIRTHS or baby deliveries.

19a         Employer, I’d said, is not seeing straight (4-4)
BOSS-EYED – The head of the company and a homophone of I’D means not seeing straight.

22a         Historically significant events linking pound with old European currency (9)
LANDMARKS – Split this as L AND MARKS (for Libra – pounds sterling AND MARKS the old German currency). These are historically significant events.

23a         Danger to shipping in August or May (5)
STORM – Another danger to shipping is hidden in the last three words.

25a         Maiden getting cut off from chap, in the drink (3)
ALE – Removing M(aiden) from MALE (cut off from the chap)leads to a drink of beer. Excellent surface reading for the end of the film Titanic.

26a         With aim of saving infant, behold signal (2,3,6)
TO THE RESCUE – A charade of TOT (infant), HERE’S (behold) and CUE (signal). The definition is ‘with aim of saving’

28a         Craft in Leonardo’s picture, appropriately positioned here (7)
TITANIC – A cryptic definition of the ill-fated ship (craft). A lovely misdirection of Leonardo’s picture for DiCaprio not DaVinci and the clue is perfectly positioned in the grid; at the bottom and under the iceberg! Top clue!

29a         Wrongly tried me for fault (7)
DEMERIT – A fault or black mark  is an anagram (wrongly) of TRIED ME.


1d           Origin of many emigrants wrecked liner ‘ad (7)
IRELAND – Virgilius and Brendan (and Brian Greer himself!) have all emigrated from the anagram of LINER AD. There were many Irish nationals on the RMS Titanic as well.

2d           Upset American serving in the crew (5)
EIGHT – Place GI (serving American in the army)  inside THE (from the clue) and reverse the lot (upset) to get one of eight in a boat.

3d           A lot of time that’s added for extended lunch (3)
EON – Thanks to crypticsue for explaining this to me as I threw this in on the day without getting the wordplay. The difference between LUNCH and LUNCHEON (which might be an extended lunch!) is EON – the long time.

4d           Sails for America, say, and perishes (4,4)
GOES WEST – To perish or ‘buy the farm’!. Also to travel west to America (e.g. from Southampton!)

5d           and 16 Across: Journey, initially, taking servant and messenger long time (6,6)
MAIDEN VOYAGE – This initial Journey (as that of the Titanic) is a charade of MAID (servant), ENVOY (messenger) and AGE (a long time)

6d           Hit with huge loss, tragically — they warn of dangers at sea (11)
LIGHTHOUSES – A tragic anagram of HIT and (with) HUGE LOSS gives the lights that warn of rocks on the shoreline.

7d           Time like today to commemorate big event — possibly recent? Nay (9)
CENTENARY – The definition is the first part of the clue before the hyphen. The rest is an anagram (possibly) of RECENT NAY. It is 100 years to the day that the RMS Titanic sank.

8d           Deadlock resulting from has-been’s admission? (7)
IMPASSE – This deadlock is also what a has-been might say – I’M PASSÉ

12d         Start of ill-fated trip that has a saintly side? (11)
SOUTHAMPTON – The definition here should not be causing any problems by now but we do need to know that the Southampton’s football team is nicknamed The Saints. Sorry Ladies but I loved this one and I am not even a football fan.

15d         Binding broken net with twine, initially (9)
STRINGENT – Here the definition is binding in the sense of rigorous as a contract may be. Take a broken anagram of NET and then put STRING (twine) on the front.

17d         Main location, going North — ship can’t go faster than this (3,5)
TOP SPEED – A reversal of DEEP SPOT (a location in the Spanish Main for example) gives the maximum velocity of a vessel.

18d         Live with large fleet where 28 came from (7)
BELFAST – The RMS Titanic was built in Belfast. Another charade her of BE (live, exist), L(arge) and FAST for Fleet or swift.

20d         Doctor splitting fee ahead of time — that’s extremely stupid (7)
DUMBEST – The abbreviation, MB, for doctor splitting DUES (fee or subscriptions) in front of (ahead of) T(ime). The definition is extremely, or the most, stupid.

21d         Cold in lorry, very cold (6)
ARCTIC – Extremely cold conditions. Place C for Cold inside ARTIC – an ARTICulated lorry. And of course this was broadly the location of the disaster remembered today.

24d         Zero mark, one of many 28 got (5)
OSCAR – O for Zero/Nil plus SCAR for a mark. The film TITANIC, of course, won many such statuettes.

27d         Wood topping off steering apparatus (3)
ELM – remove the top off hELM – the steering apparatus on a ship – to get a tree.

A massive thank you to Virgilius for a corker of a puzzle. See you all next week for the Saturday slot.

4 comments on “ST 2635

  1. An excellent themed puzzle that I found to be fairly straightforward. There are 2 errors in the answers given in the review:-
    19a The employer or head of the company is not BOOS but BOSS
    15d. An anagram of NET and STRING is not BINDING but STRINGENT.
    This is my first posting on this site.

  2. Welcome to the Blog John . We hope you stick around now. My apologies for the errors – I’ll correct them now (you should have seen the typo for SHUT that I made in my last review!!

  3. Hi gnomey

    Nice review of a very nice puzzle which we found great fun. Next time you highlght clues in green could you please use a darker shade?

    Thanks muchly to you and Virgilius.

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