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ST 2642

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2642

A full review by gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Morning All! We had a very pleasing solve this week from Virgilius which didn’t seem to cause too many troubles on the day but was just a thoroughly satisfying puzzle.

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1a           Melancholy detective, without love (6)
MOROSE – The favourite crosswording detective of Colin Dexter outside (without) O for love gives a word for melancholy

4a           Small piano I bring in, or other keyboard instrument (6)
SPINET – An old keyboard instrument in the piano/harpsichord family. A charade of S(mall) P(iano) and I NET (bring in, a fish or wage packet).

8a           Pass Land’s End at a late stage (8)
ADVANCED – Another charade to get a word for ‘At a late stage’. ADVANCE for pass and the end D of Land.

10a         Head of college, outstanding and daunting (6)
COWING – C from the head letter of College, then OWING (outstanding/due) gives a word for daunting (as a transitive verb)

11a         Person who entertains a crowd (4)
HOST – Two definitions: A compere and a crowd (of e.g. Angels)

12a         Constable applied these oddly deficient social standards (3,7)
OIL COLOURS – Placing Constable at the front of the clue hides the capitalisation and the fact that we need the artist John Constable who painted in oils. Remove the odd letters (oddly deficient) in sOcIaL and then add COLOURS which is a synonym for standards in terms of flags.

13a         Let’s crib work in novel form — that’s frustrating for author (7,5)
WRITERS BLOCK – An anagram, very suitably indicated by ‘in novel form’, of LETS CRIB WORK’ leads to an author’s frustration that might well lead him to crib/plagiarise!. A beautiful  and consistent surface reading.

16a         Part of our capital that’s used to go to college, perhaps (6,6)
OXFORD STREET – A cryptic definition of a London shopping thoroughfare. Anyone attending an oxford college will probably use a Street in Oxford to get back to campus.

20a         Creating interest? Incorrect theory won’t (10)
NOTEWORTHY – An ‘incorrect’ anagram of THEORY WONT gives us a word meaning ‘creating interest’ or remarkable.

21a         Alexander, poet or religious leader? Depends on order (4)
POPE – Alexander POPE was an 18th century English Poet and POPE Alexander was any number of the primates of the Roman Catholic Church. POPE is the answer but the names are reversed (depending on the order). Top Clue!

22a         Injured party taking part of convict imprisoned (6)
VICTIM – The injured party is hidden(taking part of) in the last two words.

23a         Spell of work crucial as way to get capital (5,3)
SHIFT KEY – A lovely definition. Using the SHIFT KEY (as I just did) will give you a capital (letter). It is a charade of SHIFT (spell of work) and KEY (crucial).

24a         Kind of fighter airmen crashed (6)
MARINE – This fighter is an anagram (crashed) of AIRMEN.

25a         Guest competitor who should do well in the long run (6)
STAYER – Two definitions again: A guest (someone who stays at one’s house) and a competitor who will stay the distance in a long race.



1d           Doctor getting nothing extra, on average (8)
MEDIOCRE – The definition is at the back here – average being not very good or so-so. Start with a MEDIC and insert O 9getting nothing extra). Then add RE (an abbreviation for Reference, on or about).

2d           Right kind of oven for some beef (5)
ROAST – A charade of R for right and OAST – a hop drying kiln/oven popular in Kent. The result is how might enjoy some beef. Far be it for me to criticise Virgilius but I would have expected an indication of definition by example – either a question mark or a ‘perhaps’ to indicate that other roast meats are available.

3d           Help person taken advantage of in hearing (7)
SUCCOUR – A homophone of a sucker – one taken advantage of (in hearing is the indicator). Succour is a slightly archaic word and means help or comfort.

5d           Put in charge over clubs in sport, player blows it (7)
PICCOLO – The musical player blow this instrument. Follow the directions exactly – place IC (in charge) above (over) C for Clubs in(side) POLO for a sport.

6d           Employed Geordie guarding unknown US citizen (3,6)
NEW YORKER – The US citizen can be found by taking N(orth) E(ast) WORKER (I.e. a Geordie who is employed) and place him around 9guarding) Y for an unknown variable in mathematics.

7d           Harden after short time in occupation (6)
TENURE – To ENURE is to harden. Place it after T for time to get a word meaning ‘occupation/position’ (or even time in occupation but that would mean time was doing double duty as both wordplay and definition!).

9d           Carefully considers tempo included by French composer (11)
DELIBERATES – Considers or ponders as might a jury. Place RATE for tempo inside DELIBES – a French composer.

14d         Company car? (9)
TWOSEATER – A cryptic definition of a sports care with room for only one passenger. Remember that “two’s company and three’s a crowd”

15d         Pay return visit as a rep, in different ways (8)
REAPPEAR – Another clever observational clue from Virgilius. The word for ‘pay return visit’ is comprised of two anagrams of A REP (i.e. in different ways PLURAL). A lovely little spot!

17d         One serving in uniform in base on isle (7)
FOOTMAN – An old lackey who rides with the carriage in a uniform. A charade of FOOT (base, of a mountain for example) and MAN as in the island.

18d         Pen catalogue for distinctive writer, say (7)
STYLIST – Another charade of a STY (pig pen) and LIST (catalogue). The definition is a writer with a distinctive idiom.

19d         Society has extreme dislike for this element (6)
SODIUM – I’ve just realised the charade-heaviness of this puzzle but they are all extremely smooth!. This one is S for society and ODUIM for hatred/extreme dislike. This gives an element of the periodic table

21d         Ruth introducing husband, with a few words (5)
PITHY – Place H for Husband inside PITY (Ruth). The result is an adjective meaning concise or ‘with a few words’.

Thanks to Virgilius once more. I’ll see you all next week same time, same place.


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