ST 2638 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2638

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2638

A full review by Gnomethang

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

Morning All!. Just in case you are all not fully up to speed with the new postal arrangements for the closing dates of competitions at ‘Telegraph Towers’ this is the Blog of ST 2638 from Sunday 6th May. Again there is some lovely smooth surface readings here and a number of trademark Virgilius clues.

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           Source of report that won’t harm anyone (5,9)
BLANK CARTRIDGE – A cryptic definition of what’s fired (a report) but is not charged, firing blanks.

9a           Furniture that’s assembled in Number Ten (7)
CABINET – A definition of furniture wth a cryptic definition referring to assembling the Governmental cabinet at 10 Downing Street

10a         Someone who knows more than most how apples may be used, we hear (7)
INSIDER – Someone with inside information (knows more than most) and also a homophone, we hear, of apples being used IN CIDER.

11a         Watch in middle of storm (3)
EYE – Two definitions; to watch, keep an EYE on and also the quiet middle of a tornado for example.

12a         Top amateur excited about new piece of luggage (11)
PORTMANTEAU – A ponderously sized case is also an anagram (excited) of TOP AMATEUR around (about) N for New.

14a         Design setting for ring (6)
INTENT – A design or plan, when split as IN TENT, is the location for a Circus ring.

15a         Place in Devon, moving on West, as yet unsettled (2,6)
ON CREDIT – The Devon place is CREDITON. Move the ON West (left in an across clue) and split as (2,6) to get a phrase meaning ‘on tick’ or an invoice yet to be settled financially.

17a         Tempted sailor inside with love — not easily done (8)
LABOURED – Difficult or not easily done. Place AB (a sailor or Able Bodied seaman) and O for Love inside LURED (tempted)

19a         After one gets inside, drive away carriage (6)
CHAISE – A simply delivered insertion of I (one) getting inside CHASE (drive away) to get a sit down carriage that is often horse-drawn.

22a         People tending park crushed long piece of wood (6,5)
GROUND STAFF – A charade of GROUND (crushed to bits) and STAFF (a long piece of wood or pole) gives the people who tend parks and gardens.

23a         Side having tail dismissed — reason for break in cricket (3)
TEA – A nicely worked cricket theme with the last letter of TEA(m) being removed to give a planned reason for a break in cricket (usually around 4 O’Clock).

24a         Broken promise for person on half pay? (4-3)
SEMI-PRO – If someone is payed to carry out their job then they are PRO(fessional); so someone on half pay might be SEMI- PRO(fessional), which is an anagram (broken) of PROMISE.

26a         Greek character not liking Italian wine (7)
CHIANTI – A straightforward charade with another good surface reading. The Greek letter (character) is CHI and not liking/against is ANTI. The definition, of course, being Italian wine.

27a         Gambling device from casino near Med band itself extracted (3-5,6)
ONE ARMED BANDIT – A trademark long hidden word from Virgilius to finish the across clues. A gambling device is hidden in (extracted from) ‘ casinO NEAR MED BAND ITself’.


1d           Expert on cause of ill-feeling — dreadful blog atrocities (14)
BACTERIOLOGIST – some of my blog’s could no doubt be termed atrocious!. A dreadful anagram of BLOG ATROCITIES gives someone who is an expert on germs and the like that make one ill.

2d           Surrounding doctor that is protected by soldier, perhaps (7)
AMBIENT – This might have been difficult to spot for some. Ambient means surrounding as in music or conditions (ambient temperature for example). Place the doctor’s abbreviation MB and also I.E. (Id Est, that is) inside ANT, of which a soldier is one example (perhaps being a an indication of definition by example).

3d           Royalty on paperback for resident of Falklands (4,7)
KING PENGUIN – The royalty is the KING and PENGUIN is a well-known publisher of paperback books.  The result is a creature that resides on the Falkland Islands amongst other southern climes.

4d           Starts off in car at very important part of road system (6)
ARTERY – Take the starting letters from cAR aT vERY to get a main trunk road network – an important part of a road transport system.

5d           Cutting troops, initially, on border with China (8)
TRIMMING – The definition is simply ‘cutting’. Make a charade of T (Troops, initially) on (top of in a down clue) RIM (border/edge) and then MING – a Chinese porcelain.

6d           Conditions created by followers of her letters (3)
IFS – The following letters to H, E and R are I, F and S making conditions, ifs and buts.

7d           Part in theatre with purpose, unexpected good fortune (7)
GODSEND – A charade of GODS, the lofty part of a theatre, and END, a purpose. The definition is a windfall.

8d           Kind of analyst who won’t give one treatment? (5,9)
GROUP THERAPIST – He won’t give ONE treatment but will give treatment to three or more!

13d         Raft I anchor at sea in area south of Malta (5,6)
NORTH AFRICA – An anagram (at sea) of RAFT I ANCHOR is an area South of Malta. Libya for example.

16d         Quartet of players and person of 13 turning up in TV studio (8)
NEWSROOM – A fairly common Virgilius device – the quartet of players are North East South and West and they are playing Bridge!. Follow that with the reversal (turning up) of MOOR (an example of 13d, a North African) to get a TV Studio.

18d         Scholars giving bishop sign about authorisation (7)
BOOKMEN – The authorisation is an OK. Place B (the abbreviation of Bishop) and an OMEN or sign around the outside to get the definition of scholars, bookish types.

20d         Some point one disputed, monotonously uttered (7)
INTONED – Another hidden word. To have uttered solemnly. The word is hidden inside (indicated by ‘some’) poINT ONE Disputed.

21d         Was police chief humming really badly? (6)
RANCID – A person who was a police chief might have RAN the CID. He also might have been smelling (humming) really badly.

25d         Seed used in recipe, appearing repeatedly? Just so (3)
PEA – Our final hidden word appears twice (repeatedly) in the clue after the definition which is SEED.


Many thanks to Virgilius for an entertaining puzzle with some lovely wordplay. I’ll see you next week for the next treat.

1 comment on “ST 2638

  1. Morning gnomey

    Funnily enough I finally got around to doing this puzzle in the local yesterday evening! It was one of those I missed while in the UK. Nice for once to have the puzzle fresh in the mind when reading your review :smile:

    Favourites 1a and 27a, the latter, as you say , is a trademark Virgilius clue.

    Brilliant stuff from a master setter and a good review so thanks to both.

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