ST 2640 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2640

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2640

A full review by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***


If weekend reviews had subtitles, the review of the puzzle for Sunday 20 May  would be ‘the one where we had to go out and buy a paper’  as the online system was not working for most of the morning.   Well worth a trip to the paper shop or we would have missed another splendid crossword from Virgilius.


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1a           Study, as per usual, with only one university (7)
PERUSAL –  To get a verb meaning to study in detail, simply remove the second U (only one University) from PER US[U]AL.

5a           Gal excited by token of love, it’s obvious (7)
GLARING –  As with so many cryptic clues, a synonym for obvious or conspicuous is obviously obtained from an anagram (excited) of GAL followed by that token of love, the RING.

9a           Common sense about new place for puzzle (7)
NONPLUS –  Insert into NOUS (common sense) N (new) and PL (place) to get a verb meaning to perplex completely.

10a         Nervous female, ahead of rebuke (7)
FEARFUL – Nervous, afraid – F (female) followed by, or ahead of, an EARFUL (scolding words).

11a         Crewmen with fish that can seal a deal (9)
HANDSHAKE –  Handshakes are usually used to seal or confirm a deal –  HANDS (workers on a ship, crew) and HAKE (a type of fish).

12a         Part of oyster, and nothing else (5)
HINGE –   An oyster shell has a hinge which joins the two halves of its shell together.    One of the  best example of a Virgilius hidden word is found in notHING Else.

13a         Another zero needed in academic’s mathematical work (5)
PROOF – A checking operation in mathematics –  Insert O (another zero) into a PROF (academic).

15a         Book couple put together for American writer (4,5)
MARK TWAIN – The famous American author – MARK (one of the Books of the New Testament) and TWAIN (an archaic word meaning couple or pair).

17a         Author stumped by incomplete service (9)
STEVENSON –  The Scottish author can be derived by following ST (stumped in cricket) with EVENSON[G] (incomplete indicates that you need to remove a letter from this church service).

19a         Piece of sacred orthodoxy (5)
CREDO –  Another hidden word – A set of religious beliefs is hidden in saCRED Orthodoxy.

22a         Limit jump, for certain (5)
BOUND –  A triple definition – (a) limit or border; (b) jump, spring or leap;  (c) certain to or sure to do something.

23a         Top actor lacking interest, we hear, in what’s right for crew (9)
STARBOARD – the right side of a ship –   STAR (top actor) and BOARD (which is of course a homophone [we hear] of bored or lacking interest).

25a         Make rare contribution to sounder dogma (7)
UNDERDO –  And another hidden word –  a verb meaning  to make rare by insufficient cooking is hidden in soUNDER DOgma.

26a         Key member of group’s drunk pink gin (7)
KINGPIN – The most important person engaged in an undertaking is an anagram (drunk) of PINK GIN.

27a         Fight extremely poorly, being disorganised (7)
SCRAPPY –  Disorganised or disconnected –   SCRAP (fight) followed by the first and last letters (extremely) of PoorlY.

28a         Source of electricity that prisoner would like (3-4)
DRY-CELL  – Every prisoner would like to spend his sentence in a dry cell.   With a hyphen, it is a type of electric cell in which the electrolyte is not a liquid but a paste.


1d           Fighting behaviour increased after drink at party (5-2)
PUNCH-UP –  Fighting that might result from having too much drink at a party is derived from PUNCH (a drink usually provided at parties, traditionally a mix of water, spirits, sugar, lemon juice and spice) followed by UP (increased).

2d           Encounter and have an impact upon (3,4)
RUN INTO –  A double definition – either to meet up with someone by chance or to collide with something.

3d           One’s performances unaffected by being upset (5)
SOLOS –  Performances by one person –  ‘not affected by being upset’ indicates that the solution is a  palindrome.

4d           Young woman seen round one island resort or another (3,6)
LAS PALMAS  –   Insert PALMA (a resort on the island of Majorca) into a LASS (young woman) and you get one of the Canary Islands.

5d           Blunder as foreman, not reaching conclusion (5)
GAFFE –   Remove the last letter (not reaching conclusion) from a GAFFE[R} or foreman and you are left with a blunder or mistake.

6d           In a way, call up without any interest (9)
APATHETIC – Without interest or indifferent –  A (from the clue) PATH (way) followed by a reversal (up in a down clue) of CITE or call.

7d           Princess ain’t crazy about admirer (7)
INFANTA –  A princess of Spain or Portugal – an anagram (crazy) of AINT into which is inserted a FAN (admirer).

8d           Amount of water covering European vessel (7)
GALLEON – Insert E (covering European) into a GALLON (an amount of water, or any other liquid) to get a large vessel mostly used by Spaniards for carrying treasure.

14d         Runners collectively stumble — it’s a learning experience (5,4)
FIELD TRIP – the sort of learning experience beloved of geography teachers –  FIELD (the entire set of runners in a race) and TRIP (stumble).

16d         Thoroughly searched and chased out of office (9)
RANSACKED – searched thoroughly or plundered –   RAN (chased) and SACKED (dismissed from employment).

17d         Keeps down payments for membership (7)
SUBDUES –   Two types of membership payments  – SUB and  DUES merge to produce part of a verb meaning  quiets down or reduces the intensity of.

18d         Ruler securing copper with difficulty in this country (7)
ECUADOR –  A South American country –   Insert into ER (definitely the ruler of the moment in 2012!) CU (the chemical symbol for copper) and ADO (difficulty).

20d         Liberal supporting European vote, for instance (7)
 EXAMPLE –   An instance or specimen  –   E (European)  X (you make a cross when you vote) followed  or supported by,  AMPLE (liberal , abundant).

21d         Like first or second disturbance disrupting exam (7)
ORDINAL – An order of sequence such as first, second… and so on.   Insert a DIN (disturbance) into ORAL (examination).

23d         Lie linking Socialist leader with opponent (5)
STORY –   A lie, fib or tale – simply follow the first letter (leader) of Socialist with his rival, a TORY.

24d         Exchange, by letters (5)
BANDY – to exchange words with another person- using the letters  B AND Y.

Hopefully I won’t have to pop out to the shops again in order to review the next Sunday puzzle.  On line or on paper, it is guaranteed to be the usual treat