ST 2645 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2645

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2645

A full review by crypticsue

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

I don’t know about you but solving a great crossword first thing in the morning usually  leaves me in a really good mood for the rest of the day.   This superb Virgilius puzzle had that affect on me on Sunday 24th June.   A nice mix of straightforward clues and ‘thinkers’ and lots of favourites, which I have highlighted in blue.


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1a           British settle historical Irish problem (6)
BLIGHT –   Historically a big problem for the Irish was the potato BLIGHT –  B (British) plus LIGHT (settle, come to land).

4a           Former partner, told of blame, losing head throughout (3,5)
OLD FLAME –  The first of this Sunday’s many ‘favourites’ –  If you remove the first letters (losing head) of tOLD oF bLAME and rearrange the result 3, 5 you get a term for a former partner.

10a         Delay of French Revolution’s effect (9)
DEFERMENT – Delay or put off for another time –  DE (French for of ) and FERMENT (agitation such as would be stirred up as an effect of the French (or any other ) Revolution.

11a         Nothing, in its current state, provides refuge (5)
OASIS –  A place of rest or pleasure in the midst of toil and gloom (thank you Chambers) – O (nothing) and AS IS (in its current state).

12a         Offender who’s out taking a part in educational exercise (7)
PAROLEE – A prisoner who has been conditionally released –  Insert into PE (educational or school exercise) A (from the clue) and ROLE (part).

13a         Zero silt spread around river — that allows flow under bridge (7)
NOSTRIL –   A cryptic definition of part of your nose under the bridge – NO (zero) followed by an anagram (spread) of SILT into which is inserted (around) R (river).

14a         Promised almost complete choice of quarters (5)
SWORN –  Promised on oath –  the only quarter or compass point missing is East.   Almost the complete choice would be S(outh) W(est) OR N(orth).

15a         Dismissal is touching and poignant (8)
REMOVING –  Dismissal or removing –   RE (touching, referring to, on the subject of) and MOVING (poignant, touching the feelings of).

18a         The writer’s supporting theatre that’s turned vulgar (8)
IMPROPER –  Vulgar, unseemly indecent –  I[‘]M (the writer’s) PRO (supporting, in favour of) and then a reversal of REP (the abbreviation for repertory theatre).

20a         Line dancing with sidekicks? (5)
CONGA –   An all-in-one clue describes  that party  dance where dancers are linked in single file with their friends (sidekicks!) and move forward in a series of steps and side kicks. 

23a         He, symbolically, is what gets it off the ground (7)
AIRSHIP –   I bet Kath and I weren’t the only ones who knew it was Helium and so wrote in balloon only to find it didn’t work with the down clues.   Helium can also be used to get an AIRSHIP off the ground.

25a         Really wanted commander checked, but it’s half-hearted (7)
COVETED – Eagerly desired –   CO (Commanding Officer) and VET[T]ED (checked).    As the clue instructs, the second T is removed (half-hearted).

26a         Benefactor has name inscribed in entrance (5)
DONOR –  A person who makes a gift – simply insert N (name) into a DOOR (entrance).

27a         Come down right on top of vehicle (4-5)
LAND-ROVER –  A type of four-wheel drive vehicle – LAND (come down) R (right) and OVER (on top of) rearranged 4-5.

28a         Approach young woman, creating scary incident (4,4)
NEAR MISS –   A double definition – to approach or come NEAR [a] MISS (young lady); or a scary narrowly-avoided collision.

29a         Doctor involved in many cases erasing hospital from schedule? (6)
WATSON –  Another splendid clue –   removing the H for Hospital from the schedule of events or W[H]AT[‘]S ON and merging the result gives the name of the Doctor who was involved in many of Sherlock Holmes’s cases.


1d           Shoot a troublesome person in European city (8)
BUDAPEST –  The capital of Hungary is a simple charade – BUD (shoot) A (from the clue) and PEST (troublesome person).

2d           Have reason for negative conclusion and fire, with disastrous consequences (7)
INFERNO   – INFER (deduce, conclude, have reason for) and NO (negative conclusion) – an INFERNO is a large uncontrolled  fire which would definitely  have disastrous consequences.

3d           Person following rigid policy in firm over cosmetic (9)
HARDLINER  – Someone following a definite and unyielding policy –   HARD (firm) and LINER (a cosmetic for outlining the lips or eyes).

5a           People from south of US caught, trapped by weird Martian aliens (5,9)
LATIN AMERICANS –  People from the South of the US are obtained by inserting C (caught) into an anagram (weird) of MARTIAN ALIENS, split 5,9.  Is there some inference in the clue that people from the south of the US are more likely to believe they have been trapped by aliens?

6d           Following defeat, try to get the bit between your teeth? (5)
FLOSS –  Something used to clean between your teeth and remove a stuck bit of food – F (following) and LOSS (defeat).

7d           Not the winner in final, so ranted (4-3)
ALSO-RAN –   An entrant in a race that did not win or get a ‘place’  is craftily hidden in finAL SO RANted.

8d           Without difficulty, see while one is inside (6)
EASILY  –  Crosswordland’s favourite diocese makes yet another appearance – insert AS (while) and I (one) into ELY to get an adverb meaning without difficulty.,

9d           They support lines in paper followed by some Europeans (9,5)
TELEGRAPH POLES –   Something which holds up the phone wires –   BD called this a newspaper in his hint  – surely he meant THE newspaper!!   TELEGRAPH (paper) and POLES (Europeans).

16d         Very bad service area? Just the opposite (4,5)
VICE VERSA –  An adverb meaning the other way round or just the opposite is an anagram (very bad) of SERVICE followed by A (area) and split 4, 5.

17d         Kind of Chinese soldier, for the most part audacious (8)
MANDARIN –   MAN (soldier) and DARIN[G] (most but not all of an adjective meaning audacious or bold) go together to give a type of Chinese language or person.

19d         Name of woman I got into male golf club (7)
MIRANDA  –   Almost impossible to explain on the day without being sent to the Naughty Corner!   A girl’s name is obtained from M (male) I (from the clue) and R AND A (the Royal and Ancient Golf Club).

21d         Time’s up for least sophisticated locals (7)
NATIVES –   Locals to an area – simply move the T from the end of NAIVEST (least sophisticated) further up the word (Time’s up).

22d         Standard academic is what? (6)
PARDON –  Another super clue –  The polite way of saying ‘What?’ – PAR (standard or norm) and DON (an academic  fellow at a college or university).

24d         Quickly move married quarters for women (5)
HAREM –  Women’s quarters in a Muslim house – HARE (hasten, move fast like a hare) and M (married).
Thanks to Virgilius once again – Sunday mornings wouldn’t be the same without you!