ST 2643 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

ST 2643

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2643

A full review by gnomethang

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Morning All!. Once again we have a Virgilius puzzle with some great clues and lovely surface readings. I thoroughly enjoyed solving and blogging it although I didn’t find it so hard on the day.

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           It helps one digest second rich source covering comprehensive exam (5,9)
SMALL INTESTINE – Great clue to start!.  ‘It helps one digest’ is the definition. Start with S(econd) then place MINE, a rich source of e.g. gold around ALL IN (comprehensive) and TEST (EXAM)

9a           Keep light out and call for quietness, say (7)
SHUTTER – A charade of SH (a call for quiet) and UTTER for say. Shutters keep out light and heat in hot climates.

10a         Man leaving one Northern city for another (7)
CHESTER – Nice and straightforward. Remove the MAN from manCHESTER to get another city in the north of England.

11a         One PM in garden, originally (4)
EDEN – Anthony EDEN, one time Prime Minister of England. The IN refers to definition IN wordplay which is the original biblical garden.

12a         Watch piece broadcast after hard season (10)
HAIRSPRING – This part of the watch is found by placing  AIR (broadcast) after H (Hard as an abbreviation for pencil sharpness) and then following with SPRING (a season)

14a         Speculation, with gold being held by those people (6)
THEORY – A speculation or unproven premise in mathematics. Place OR (Gold colour in Heraldry) inside THEY (those people)

15a         Shot what goes wrong, resulting in this? (4,4)
HOWS THAT – A lovely clue!. The shout of HOWS THAT? To the umpire by the fielding side in cricket might be made after a bad shot resulting in a potential catch or LBW. It is also an anagram of SHOT WHAT (goes wrong). A great surface reading for this semi &Lit.

17a         Militant is seen interrupting penultimate and last parts of ‘Hamlet’ (8)
ACTIVIST – Hamlet was a play in five Acts. So the penultimate is ACT IV (in roman numerals) and the last of hamlet is the letter T. Place IS inside both of these and you get your militant person.

18a         Angry, was full of loathing about European (6)
HEATED – Angry as in a heated debate. Place HATED (full of loathing) around E for European.

21a         Smear in incredible English, very badly written (10)
UNREADABLE – So badly written as to be illegible. Place DAB (smear or daub) inside UNREAL (incredible, far out) and E, this time an abbreviation for English.

22a         Something that shouldn’t be split, in short — old knowledge (4)
INFO – One must always remember to never split the infinitive!. An abbreviation of this is INF. Follow that with O for Old and you get a word for knowledge or facts.

24a         Strain devastated a victim of revolutionary violence (7)
TSARINA – The title for a Russian princess that was a victim of the Russian revolution. An anagram (devastated) of STRAIN followed by A (from the clue).

25a         Red line in M6 sign reversed (7)
MARXISM – A reversal of M SIX (6 written as a word) and RAM (a star sign for Aries). The result is the ‘Red Line’ associated with the practices and theory of Karl Marx.

26a         Warning signal coach’s backing activates, always, to inform learner in side (9,5)
REVERSING LIGHT – The definition here is at the start of the clue right the way to the comma (more than half the clue in fact!). Place EVER (always), SING (inform like a canary!) and L for Learner) in the RIGHT side.


1d           Think American pressure is splitting religious group (7)
SUSPECT – The inclusion of US and P (ressure) inside SECT – a religious group. The short definition is ‘think’.

2d           Blundering amateurs menaced where people play for money (9,6)
AMUSEMENT ARCADE – The place at the beach (and increasingly on the High Street) where one plays the slot machines is an anagram (blundering) of AMATEUR MENACED. The clue tells a lovely story of a hapless band of thieves trying to rob the people who are already being robbed!.

3d           Lacking will, fortune’s given to hospital (4)
LOTH – Add LOT (fortune, chance) to the front of H for Hospital to get a word meaning ‘lacking will’ or ‘averse’

4d           Standard article in French style (6)
NORMAN – A charade of NORM (standard) and AN (one of the indefinite articles) gives a style of French architecture.

5d           Part of plane’s cargo that is something consumed in Paris (8)
ESCARGOT – A lovely hidden word for the French snail (eaten in Paris) is found as part of planES CARGO That.

6d           Lorraine’s very old-fashioned daughter sinned (10)
TRESPASSED – Another lovely clue. Lorraine here refers to the French départment (electoral region or county) so we need the French for very old-fashioned which is TRÉS PASSÉ. Add D, the abbreviation for daughter in the family tree, to get a slightly old fashioned verb meaning sinned.

7d           Lacking reserve — good, however (15)
NOTWITHSTANDING – A word that has been clued quite a bit recently!. The whole thing means ‘however’

8d           Clever book title (6)
BRIGHT – RIGHT (title or entitlement) with B (abbreviation for Book) in front gives a word for clever.

13d         Reduce in importance as one repeatedly interrupts travels, perhaps (10)
TRIVIALISE – Place three separate instances (one repeatedly) of I inside an anagram (perhaps) of TRAVELS. The result is a verb meaning to (deliberately) reduce in importance.

16d         Weapons thrown while epic is put together (8)
ASSAGAIS – These throwing spears are created by a charade of AS (while), SAGA (an epic story) and IS (from the clue).

17d         Perceptive sharpness, placing university in Oxford or Cambridge, say (6)
ACUITY – Oxford and Cambridge are both examples (indicated by say) of A CITY. Put the U(niversity) inside to fins a noun meaning ‘perceptive sharpness’ or brightness.

19d         Submissive person that may convey a welcome (7)
DOORMAT – Two definitions – A DOORMAT is someone who is used or trodden on, as is the DOORMAT that often has ‘Welcome’ weaved into it.

20d         Limerick character, captain or mate (3,3)
OLD MAN – 3 definitions here. The last two are captain (of a ship) and mate/friend/old bean.

Then the first is the classic person employed in many Limericks such as:
There was an old man from Milan,
Whose Limericks never would scan,
When told this was so,
He said “Yes, I know!”,
But I always make a point of trying to get as many syllables onto the last line as I possibly can.

23d         Lesson to be drawn after opener’s dismissed in test (4)
ORAL – The exam given verbally is found by removing the first letter (opener dismissed) on mORAL (a lesson to be drawn). Another top cricketing reference.

I am back on the Saturday Stint so you will see me tomorrow. Thanks to Virgilius once more for the entertainment.


11 comments on “ST 2643

  1. Hi gnomey

    Thanks for a great reviwe of a great puzzle.

    Question (to which I don’t think you will know the answer) – why does Brian Greer go under the name ‘Virgilius’ on here when he used to set Toughies for the DT as ‘Jed’? ‘Virgilious’ is his pseudonym in the Indy as far as I’m aware (and Brendan in the Grauniad)..

    Anyway, great puzzle and great review so thanks to both.

      1. I had seen it but worth watching again. I was just curious as the other Toughie setters are all referred to by their Toughie name when they do a back pager (Cephas, Shamus, Giovanni, Petitjean, Elgar etc) and Virgilius has a Toughie name, although he doesn’t seem to have done a Toughie for a while.

        BD has explained above.

        To continue – how does RayT fit in? He’s Beam for the Toughie so why RayT on the annonymous back page? Perhaps that started before he did his first Toughie.

        1. Correct about Ray – he was one of the first setters to contact me when I started the blog and told us how to recognise his puzzles.

        2. Jed hasn’t done a Toughie since April 2009 (unfortunately) so he’s presumably no longer on the ‘panel’. It would probably just confuse people if we started referring to him as Jed for the Sunday puzzles at this stage.

          1. Fair point about the confusion and it’s no big deal – just curious is all, as I said earlier.

            BTW – done a few of the very early Toughies recently and the two Jeds I’ve done were brill!

  2. Beginning to think I should have posted the original question on the comment page rather than gnomey’s review! Didin’t realise it would start a conversation!

  3. There must be two Jeds, as I have only done one puzzle with this pseudonym and that was long ago, when Mike Laws was in charge. It had a barred diagram with rabbits disappearing down holes and reappearing elsewhere, with the title (from John Grimshaw) WARREN PIECE.

Comments are closed.