ST 2636 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2636

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2636

A full review by crypticsue

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

From this coming Sunday, April 29th, the closing date for the Sunday puzzles is being extended by six days.  The Telegraph Puzzles editor has taken this decision, because of the huge increase in postal rates due to come in on the following day, in order to allow solvers to use second class post.  As a result the reviews of the Sunday puzzles will now be published six days later than at present.  The next review will be on Thursday 10th May, and there will be no review next week.  BD

Many thanks to Virgilius once again for brightening up Sunday morning with a slightly more straightforward than usual crossword, but with the same high enjoyment factor as ever.   My favourites are highlighted 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


1a           Something good about monarch for state (6)
ASSERT –  A verb meaning to state or declare positively is obtained by inserting R (Rex or Regina, monarch) into ASSET (something good, valuable or useful).

4a           Expressed opposition in article editor shortened (8)
OBJECTED – Another way of saying expressed opposition is a charade of OBJECT (article) and ED (editor shortened or abbreviated).

10a         Offside? Just (5)
RIGHT –  A double definition – in the UK, the right hand side of your car (or, apparently, your  horse!);  or  a synonym for just in the sense of fair or deserved.

11a         Yobs finally languish in gaol so wretchedly (9)
HOOLIGANS – Young violent vandals or yobs – the final letter of languisH followed by anagram (wretchedly) of IN GAOL SO.

12a         Heroic Swiss securing start of rope is support for climbers (7)
TRELLIS –  a support for climbing plants –   Insert the first letter of Rope (securing start of rope) into the surname of the Swiss hero William TELL and then follow (support) the result with IS from the clue.

13a         King has troublemaker beheaded in Russian fortress (7)
KREMLIN –  The fortress that was  the home of the government of the former Soviet Union –  behead or remove the first letter from a GREMLIN or troublemaker and replace it with K (King).

14a         Rent a party line, perhaps, for such really long-distance calls? (14)
INTERPLANETARY –  an anagram (perhaps) of RENT A PARTY LINE  gives an adjective meaning between planets – a party telephone  line would have to be very long for calls to place between planets!

17a         How the parts of films, from first to last, are ordered (14)
ALPHABETICALLY –    On first reading the clue, it was obvious that the wordplay  could  refer to the fact that the cast of a film where there is no clear lead role is listed alphabetically in the credits.   However, this is a  Virgilius clue and a second  closer look  reveals a second definition, in  that the parts or individual letters of FILMS are ordered, from first to last, ie alphabetically.

21a         Stir too vigorously, making Italian dish (7)
RISOTTO –  A lovely Italian rice dish is made from vigorously stirring an anagram of STIR TOO.

23a         Money to cover everything? Not quite, one pound short (7)
CAPITAL –CAP IT ALL (to cover  everything, reach a climax) with the final L removed (one £ short) and merged together to give CAPITAL – money to cover all required expenditure.

24a         Like university pass, authorised when one enters (9)
COLLEGIAL –  An adjective meaning relating to a college or university – COL (mountain pass) and LEGAL (authorized), the latter with I (one) inserted.

25a         Young family using second entrance when returning? (5)
BROOD – Offspring or young children –   B (second highest in a category or range) followed by a reversal (returning) of DOOR (entrance).

26a         Equestrian event requiring costume, period (8)
DRESSAGE – Another charade:  DRESS (costume) plus AGE (period) go together to form the equestrian discipline where horses show deportment and response to controls.

27a         As opposed to some solvers, useless (6)
VERSUS –  As we are not useless solvers, we were all able to spot that a word meaning ‘as opposed to’ is hidden in solVERS USeless.


1d           Pretentious behaviour on flight, perhaps, and where it might end (8)
AIRSTRIP –  A charade of AIRS (pretentious behavior or an assumed and affected manner) plus TRIP (a flight being a trip by air)  make a place where a flight would come to land.

2d           In pieces son, for example, kept in mind (9)
SEGMENTAL – Formed in pieces or segments –  S (son) EG (for example) and MENTAL (relating to or done in the mind).

3d           Hunter of vermin trapping large and dangerous reptile (7)
RATTLER –  An informal name for a dangerous rattlesnake is obtained by inserting L (trapping Large) into a RATTER or hunter of vermin.

5d           Lifting apparatus as means to stop attacker (5,3,6)
BLOCK AND TACKLE – A type of lifting device could also be a way of stopping an attacker as one might BLOCK or hinder the action of an attacker AND then TACKLE them to the ground.

6d           I had cut into social occasion, it’s clear (7)
EVIDENT – An adjective meaning clear.  Insert I[‘]D (I had) into an EVENT or social occasion.

7d           Track and follow across river (5)
TRAIL –  Insert R (across River) into TAIL (follow and keep watch on) makes a verb meaning to follow or hunt or a noun meaning a track or  path.

8d           Giving a tonic, say, encouragement for choir to perform (6)
DOSING –  Giving a tonic or other form of medicine – DOSING – if split 2, 4 might be an instruction for a choir to perform  “Do sing”.

9d           Revealing bad acting as critic, putting end to play (7-7)
WHISTLE-BLOWING –  I think this is a triple definition –  ‘revealing bad’ or acting as an informer to reveal bad practices; ‘acting as critic’ or making a sound of derision about a performance of some sort; and ‘putting end to play’ as a referee blowing his whistle to stop play in a game of football.

15d         Telling contributions from family (9)
RELATIONS –  A double definition –  statements  ie verbal (telling) contributions or relatives by birth or marriage.

16d         Advertisement displayed in vehicles in Greek islands (8)
CYCLADES –  Inserting AD (advertisement) into CYCLES (vehicles) gives us the Greek Islands.

18d         Proverbial madmen creating awful threats (7)
HATTERS –  An anagram (awful) of THREATS makes HATTERS  as used in the proverbial expression ‘as mad as a hatter’.   Apparently, long before Lewis Carroll popularized the phrase in Alice in Wonderland, hatters were believed to be mad because of the use of mercurous nitrate in the making of felt hats which caused them to suffer St Vitus’s Dance and other tremulous manifestations.

19d         Knowing the ropes, old man interrupts one (7)
CAPABLE – Knowing the ropes or having practical ability to do something –  Insert PA into one type of rope – a CABLE (PA  being a familiar or childish word for father or old man).

20d         Discovered whereabouts of a little daughter (6)
TRACED – Adding D (a [little] abbreviation for daughter) to TRACE (a little or small quantity of) gives us part of a verb meaning discovered the whereabouts of.

22d         Learner goes into bar for soothing concoction (5)
SALVE –  A soothing ointment – insert L for learner into SAVE (bar, except for).

This review completes the takeover of the blog by the Weekend Two while Big Dave was celebrating his birthday at the S&B Gathering in the Calder Valley.   Normal service will be resumed this weekend with Dave providing the hints, Gnomey doing the Saturday review, and me enjoying reviewing what will probably be the ‘best puzzle of the week’ once again.

3 comments on “ST 2636

  1. Thanks to CS for reminding me what an excellent puzzle this was. Whether my braincell will stretch to remembering them at all in future, when we have to wait an extra week for the review, is another matter. If the Telegraph is so keen to save money for its readers why doesn’t it allow entry by e-mail (which Private Eye has been doing for years)?

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