ST 2669 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2669

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2669

A full review by crypticsue

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

A perfect Sunday puzzle – but then what else did we expect from Virgilius?

The definitions are, as usual, underlined and my top favourite clues are shown in blue.

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.


1 Developed into hard worker outside academic stream (6)
BECAME –  Insert the River CAM(from which the academic city of Cambridge gets its name) into a BEE (hard worker).

4 Rescues Las Vegas drunk (8)
SALVAGES –  A drunk anagram of LAS VEGAS.

10 Entertains in a way, with quartet of players around one (5)
WINES – The initials of the quartet of bridge players – West, North, East, South, with I (one) inserted.

11 Despicable people introduced to new editor? Forget it! (5,4)
NEVER MIND –  Insert VERMIN (despicable people) into N (new) and ED (editor), and then split 5,4.

12 Destruction of empires, from which one may draw certain conclusions (7)
PREMISE –  A proposition stated or assumed for the purposes of argument –  An anagram (destruction) of EMPIRES.

13 Runs low joints, and is persistently annoying (7)
RANKLES  –   R (runs in cricket scores) and ANKLES (‘low’ joints).

14 Lack of importance within certain sign, if I cancel (14)
INSIGNIFICANCE –   The first ‘trademark’ hidden word can be found in certa IN SIGN IF I CANCE l

17 Unfinished research I’m doing badly? Dons control it (9,5)
ORGANISED CRIME –   Mafia dons control this –  an anagram (badly) of RESEARC[h] IM DOING.   Unfinished tells you to remove the last letter from RESEARCH.

21 Comprehend where setter’s skill is shown around end of crossword (7)
INCLUDE –  To comprehend or take in.   Insert the D at the end of crossword into IN CLUE (where the setter’s skill is shown, particularly on a Sunday!).

23 Demanding leave for player concealing dope (7)
EXIGENT – Demanding immediate attention –   EXIT (how a player leaves the stage) with GEN (dope in the sense of information in general).

24 Before big game, initiate check for drugs, perhaps (5,4)
BLOOD TEST –  To initiate into blood sports or BLOOD, followed by TEST (a big game).

25 Container repeatedly broken in outskirts of Philadelphia (5)
PHIAL –  Superb –   a small bottle, usually for medicine can be found in two anagrams (repeatedly) at both ends (outskirts) of PHILAdeLPHIA.

26 Authenticate a cut in pay, or no change (8)
NOTARISE – To authenticate a document as a notary.    If your pay stayed the same, being neither cut or increased, you would say that there was NOT A RISE.

27 Berry, oddly, put in alcoholic drink (6)
BRANDY –   The odd letters of BeRrY are BR AND Y.



1 Part that extends over prow’s possibly this (8)
BOWSPRIT –  Insert an anagram (possibly) of PROWS into a BIT or part gives us a strong spar projecting over the prow of a ship.

2 Priest, generally, converted sons with force (9)
CONFESSOR – A priest who hears confession – an anagram (converted) of SONS and FORCE.

3 Screening male in role of Lear, for example (7)
MASKING –   M (male) AS (in the role of) KING (Lear being an example of a Shakespearean King).

5 These parts of newspaper are, in brief, central for dreadful lady reader (14)
ADVERTISEMENTS –   The second superb penny-dropping moment of the day.   The solution was obvious from the checking letters but then you spot that the abbreviation (in brief) for the solution can be found in the middles (central) of dreADful lADy, reADer.

6 Gallery section for engraver and artist (7)
VERANDA –   And another hidden word – this time in a section of engraVER AND Artist.

7 Interrogate as gaoler, extremely badly (5)
GRILL –   The extreme or outside letters of GaoleR followed by ILL (badly).

8 Cruel person lives in depressed time (6)
SADIST –  IS (lives) inserted into SAD (depressed) and T (time)

9 Hamlet’s problem, having sorted out vice inside head (14)
INDECISIVENESS – Hamlet, of course, couldn’t make up his mind whether to be or not to be.   An anagram (sorted out) of VICE  INSIDE followed by NESS (head).

15 Standard note covering disorderly interior (9)
CRITERION – C (note) followed by (covering) an anagram (disorderly) of INTERIOR.

16 Potential husbands with match in mind (8)
MENTALLY –   MEN have the potential to be husbands if they wish.   Follow them with TALLY (match).

18 Divided in the way shown below (7)
ASUNDER – Separated into parts AS UNDER, or shown below.

19 Person removing some nails, perhaps, from old vessel (7)
CLIPPER –  A double definition – a cryptic definition of someone who cuts finger nails or an old fast sailing vessel.

20 Primate and historian (6)
GIBBON –  Another double definition –  either a primate (ape)  with very long arms or the historian who wrote The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

22 Influence foolish person had over union leader in strike (5)
CLOUT –    (a) An informal term for influence or power (b) a strike, blow or cuff.   Simply insert U, the ‘leader’ of Union into a CLOT or foolish person.

A brilliant mix of superb  clues, penny-dropping moments made a great way to start off Sunday morning.  Thanks to Virgilius – I am so glad it was me that had the chance to have three times  the fun with this one – once to solve it, once to draft the blog,  and I have just realised, while setting up the post on the system, that I have a big smile on my face all over again :)

As this is my last Sunday review for 2012, I would like to wish Virgilius a very Happy Christmas and hopefully an equally enjoyable crossword filled 2013.

7 comments on “ST 2669

  1. Agree with ratings of this one Sue. Absolutely brilliant stuff and a tad trickier than some of his recent puzzles. Thought 5d favourite.
    I only got to do it on Tuesday evening as it was one of those I missed while in the UK so it’s nice for once to have it fresh in the mind while reading your excellent review.

    Many thanks and a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to Virgilius.

  2. A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Portland to CrypticSue and the other reviewers, and to Big Dave. The kind comments are much appreciated and keep me on my mettle. On to 2013 (I note that St. Patrick’s Day is on a Sunday).

    1. Thanks to Virgilius for all the Sunday puzzles in 2012! (And also for those in the Guardian, Brendan)

      Looking forward to the puzzle on Sunday 17 March 2013! A theme, perhaps?

    2. Thank you Brian for the best weekly puzzles of the year (also “Brendan” in another place is much appreciated but probaby shouldn’t be mentioned here!). Just one question – where has Jed gone?

      Anyway, best wishes for Xmas and a Happy New Near to you and yours. Looking forward to doing battle again soon, I always enjoy it!

    3. Brian,
      Joyeux Noel from France, and thank you for all those great crosswords through 2012, long may you continue.

    4. Ah, Virgilius, a chance to thank you personally for all the wonderful Sunday puzzles that you have provided. We really look forward to them and even print out an extra copy to give to a friend each week as a treat. Have a great festive season and look forward to more of the treats next year. Cheers from the other side of the world.

  3. Thank you Brian, you have been my nemesis, a weakness on my part -as Pommers said, “Looking forward to doing battle again soon, I always enjoy it!” Best wishes

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