ST 2661 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2661

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2661

A full review by crypticsue

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

After the extra superb puzzle of the week before, it was an ‘average’ Virgilius this week, although of course,  miles better in both entertainment and difficulty than many other setters ‘average’ crosswords.   My particular favourite has to be 22d, which I liked even more after I had read Big Dave’s hint.   


1 Smiling expression of someone about to be shot (6)
CHEESE –   And I bet I wasn’t the only one who smiled at this one.   A cryptic definition of what the photographer asksyou to say before taking a photograph (shot) so you look like you are smiling.   The photographer at the boys’ junior school always asked them to say ‘sausages’ and you can tell they aren’t saying CHEESE!

4 Put weapon away here, refrain from striking poet (8)
SCABBARD  –  Somewhere to keep a sword –  SCAB (an informal term for a blackleg or someone who continues to work during a strike) and BARD (poet, Celtic or literary).

10 A lot of money to Greece, finally — much of it’s channelled through German banks (5)
RHINE – The river that runs through Germany –  RHIN[O] (a lot of money – rhino being a slang term for money used since the 17th century, probably from a belief that rhino horn increased sexual potency and therefore commanded a high price) plus E (Greece finally).

11 Demolished any I build with little or no noise (9)
INAUDIBLY – an anagram (demolished) of ANY I BUILD.

12 Calm, though surrounded by endless pack ice (7)
PACIFIC –  Endless indicates the removal of the last letters of PAC[K] and IC[E];   IF (though) should then be inserted between the remaining letters.

13 Infatuated son, one that holds someone’s hand (7)
SMITTEN – S (son) plus MITTEN (one that ‘holds’ someone’s hand [to keep it warm])

14 Money belonging to thief’s accessory used in serious crime (7,7)
CAPITAL OFFENCE    –  CAPITAL OF FENCE, or money belonging to a receiver of stolen goods.

17 Possibly alter circuit, e.g. for this instrument (8,6)
ELECTRIC GUITAR –  An anagram (possible) of ALTER CIRCUIT EG.

21 Put into office or elected, say (7)
INSTATE –  To install into office –   IN (elected) plus STATE (say).

23 Burnt a piece of Camembert or Cheddar (7)
TORCHED –   Hidden in a piece of CamemberT OR CHEDdar.

24 Craft shown by boxer holding on (9)
FREIGHTER –  A cargo-carrying boat –  insert RE (on) into a FIGHTER (boxer).

25 Mot juste for a dramatic production? (5)
VOILA –   The appropriate word to say before revealing something dramatic.

26 Like author’s work, it rarely needs editing (8)
LITERARY –   An anagram (needs editing) of IT RARELY.

27 In front of church, take off woollen coat (6)
FLEECE –  Precede the abbreviation for the Church of England – CE with FLEE (take off or leave hurriedly).


1 Hard top in vehicle put on quickly (8)
CARAPACE –  The hard top of, for example, a tortoise.    CAR (vehicle) plus APACE (quickly).

2 What’s peculiarly special about work of senior cleric (9)
EPISCOPAL –  Belonging to bishops (senior clerics)  –  an anagram (peculiarly) of SPECIAL with OP (work) inserted.

3 Soundly capture with sudden attack — deems it appropriate (4,3)
SEES FIT –   A homophone (soundly) of SEIZE or capture followed by a FIT (sudden attack).

5 Fellow I needed in great work with a politician sorting things (14)
CLASSIFICATORY –   Never met this word before and it’s one of those easier to solve than explain simply sort of clues too!    Insert into CLASSIC (great work) F (fellow) and I (from the clue) and follow with A (from the clue) and TORY (politician).

6 Issue person joining society raised — when should people retire? (7)
BEDTIME –  A reversal (raised in a down clue) of EMIT (issue) and DEB (person ‘coming out’ or joining society).

7 Religious leader giving a couple of bishops collection of sacred books (5)
ABBOT –  A (from the clue) B and B (two Bishops) and OT (Old Testament, sacred books).

8 Removing water from river abating outside (6)
DRYING –  Insert R (river) into DYING (abating).

9 Message to many repeatedly included by hook or by crook (8,6)
CIRCULAR LETTER –   A lovely definition of those pesky letters that long lost relatives send at Christmas as the words hOOk and crOOk both include circular letters.

15 Become inflamed, seeing two ways to effect dismissal (5,4)
CATCH FIRE –   Two ways of dismissing  – CATCH (someone out in a game of cricket) and FIRE (sack from a job).

16 A drug, foolishly consumed, finished student? (8)
GRADUATE –   An anagram (foolishly) of A DRUG followed by ATE (consumed).

18 Person who makes conversions seen in church with incense (7)
CHANGER –  CH (the ‘other’ crosswordland abbreviation for church, the alternative having appeared in 27a) plus ANGER (incense or enrage).

19 Become disentangled from a French party on left (7)
UNRAVEL –  UN (the French word for ‘the’) RAVE (a party where young people gather to dance to loud music under bright flashing lights) and L (left).

20 Engineer whose work is highly regarded in Paris (6)
EIFFEL –   A cryptic definition to give us the surname of the engineer who designed one of the best known Paris sights.

22 Fish, small, subject to heat, did this? (5)
SMELT –    I have borrowed from Big Dave’s hint for this explanation as it is just as much fun as the clue!  This fascinating clue results in a fish – the SMELT –   S(mall) followed by MELT (a verb meaning to subject to heat), The solution might also mean what  a fish might have done if subjected to heat  or perhaps the action of subjecting a metal to heat – take your pick.


Thanks to Virgilius for the continued great Sunday service.   I am back to Saturdays for a couple of weeks.