ST 2659 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2659

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2659

A full review by gnomethang

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Morning All! Looking at my solving time this puzzle was very nearly a one star for difficulty but I was clearly on the wavelength so I have given it two after reading the blog. More of Virgilius’ excellent surface readings , a couple of trademark hidden clues and some very nice observational clues.


1a           Person using lawyer, say, securing legal right in court (6)
CLIENT – Clients use other people than lawyers as well so the ‘say’ is required to indicate a definition by example. To continue the legal theme we have LIEN – a legal right inside CT, the abbreviation for court.

4a           Put together a score, not 27 (8)
COMPOSED – The definition comes first and the cryptic definition is the opposite of 27 Across.

10a         Group given mission some in government ask for? Certainly (4,5)
TASK FORCE – The ‘awkward squad’ are hidden (indicated by some) in the last four words of the clue.

11a         Momentum in second eleven (5)
STEAM – That which one builds up a head of when gaining momentum. S for Second and TEAM as a synonym of eleven (of a football match).

12a         Mistakenly declare acquitted (7)
CLEARED – More legal stuff!. An anagram (mistakenly) of DECLARE.

13a         Emotionless university official admitting 500 every year (7)
DEADPAN – DEAN is the university official. Insert D for the Roman Numeral for 500 and then PA – the abbreviation of ‘per annum’ or every year.

14a         Form of transport, note, linked with city of Paris mainly (5)
METRO – ME, the third note in the tonic sol-fa scale is added to (linked with) almost all of the city of TRO(y) which is the city where Paris resided in Greek history.

15a         Girl with sign showing what some people make (8)
SALARIES – Those people who are in gainful employment get these regular wages. SAL is the girl and ARIES is the (star) sign.

18a         Attempt smart merger, meeting as partners (8)
TRYSTING – A charade or merger of TRY (attempt) and STING (smart, as a slap across the face might do). The result is a meeting of partners or lovers.

20a         Form of communication Conservative accomplished (5)
CABLE – Think Wild West. C for Conservative and ABLE as in accomplished or adept.

23a         Bone from joint gourmet ultimately put in Spanish dish (7)
PATELLA – The last letter of gourmeT (ultimately) placed inside PAELLA.

25a         You can’t drive anywhere in this dilapidated Renault (7)
NEUTRAL – My favourite clue. Neutral gear does not engage the drive gears and is an anagram (dilapidated) of RENAULT.

26a         Rook and duck protected by another bird — or another (5)
HERON – Another bird is found by placing R (the chess notation for Rook) and O (the cricket notation/name for a score of nought) inside HEN (a bird).

27a         I will josh about area that’s not comfortable (3,2,4)
ILL AT EASE – I’LL TEASE (I will josh) around the outside of A for Area (as a mathematical abbreviation).

28a         Like initial problems produced by article on part of course (8)
TEETHING – The TEE  or teeing area is a part of a golf course. Add THING (article) to get a problem at the start of a venture.

29a         Most rum toddies must be drunk without one (6)
ODDEST – A drunken anagram of TODD(i)ES without including the I for One. Rum, of course, meaning odd or weird.


1d           A search after pet in grave situation (8)
CATACOMB – A and COMB (for search, as in ‘comb the area’) after the domestic pet,l

2d           Pressure showing in, for example, cricket test (7)
INSPECT – The definition neatly hidden away at the end with a nice ‘lift and separate’ required between the definition and the rest of the clue. P for Pressure inside INSECT, of which a cricket is an example.

3d           Wicked and so unfair, wrongfully imprisoning European (9)
NEFARIOUS – An anagram (wrongly) of SO UNFAIR with E for European inside. Referring to those deeds that are wicked or sinful.

5d           Old composer left on island in kind way, with excessive care (4-10)
OVERDILIGENTLY – O(ld) and VERDI (composer) with I for Island and GENTLY (in a kind way)

6d           Father’s expressed appreciation for food (5)
PASTA – A charade of PA’S (Father’s) and TA (an expression of appreciation/thanks)

7d           Precipitously reduced energy that marked end of cross-country race? (7)
STEEPLE – Traditionally a steeplechase was just that – a group of riders would pick a church steeple in the distance and the first one to get there won (hence the modern steeplechase always involving jumps and obstacles. In any case we have all but the last letter of STEEPL(y) (precipitously reduced)with E for Energy.

8d           Man in game that’s almost certainly spotted (6)
DOMINO – A cryptic definition of the piece(man) that has spots (apart from the double blank hence the ‘almost’).

9d           Changed into a president – inevitable fate? (14)
PREDESTINATION – Another anagram (changed) of INTO A PRESIDENT.

16d         Checked, for example, how many votes told (9)
RECOUNTED – Two definitions – to have checked again the number of votes in a ballot box and also to have told (a story).

17d         Determinedly set, that guy is going to be not disheartened (4-4)
HELL BENT – A charade of HE’LL (he will, that guy is going to) BE (from the clue) and N(o)T with its middle letter (heart) removed.

19d         Person who’s stopped working on Scottish island (7)
RETIREE – A simple charade of RE (reference, about, on) and an Island in the Inner Hebrides.

21d         Possible cause of drunken brawl and a lot of gunfire (7)
BARRAGE – The first is the cryptic definition – split as BAR RAGE for the cause of a pub fight. The second is the main definition.

22d         Periods of good fortune – excited, as a result (6)
UPSHOT – The periods of good fortune are the UPS and excited is also HOT. There’s the result!.

24d         In jail, unchained? One will never be free, they say (5)
LUNCH – With the possible exception of Crypticsues lunch today (although it is in recompense for covering loads of my blogs!) there is no such thing as a free lunch. It is hidden in the 2nd and 3rd words, simply indicated by IN


I’m back tomorrow covering last Saturday’s Prize Puzzle. I’m off to join Crypticsue and others at Petitjean’s Crossword Workshop at Bridge, Canterbury. See you all tomorrow.