ST 2677 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2677

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2677

A full review by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Virgilius  brought this  fine crossword to  start the morning of Sunday 3 February  – there were quite a few anagrams in this puzzle but not a single trademark hidden word at all.

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1a           City once in second, then first division? (6)
SPARTA – An ancient Greek City –   S (second) followed by PART  A (first division).

4a           Disease cut by exactly 50 per cent in one area, part of Europe (6)
IBERIA –   Insert half (cut by exactly 50%)  of the nasty tropical disease BERI-beri into I (one) and A (the abbreviation for area).

8a           Faithful convert cannot, without saint (8)
CONSTANT –   ‘ ST (the abbreviation for saint) should be inserted into an anagram (convert)  of CANNOT .  Without here means outside so you know that the clue is instructing you to insert the saint into the anagram fodder.

10a         Relation devouring mother’s Mexican food (6)
TAMALE – A seasoned dish of meat, chilli sauce and maize dough wrapped in a corn husk and steamed or fried.   Relation here means a story or TALE which should have MA (mother) inserted (devouring).

11a         Greatly amuse with line in statement of opinion (4)
SLAY – An informal way of saying to amuse very much.   Insert L (line) into SAY (a statement of opinion).

12a         No publicity in Central American country for annual award (5,5)  The newspaper  version of this clue did say ‘South American’ but this error had been  corrected by the time the online version went live.
NOBEL PRIZE –  NO (from the clue) followed by the Central American country of BELIZE, into which you have inserted PR (press release, publicity).

13a         You may take less than a minute for each child (6,6)
SECOND PERSON –  ‘You’ is the second person pronoun – SECOND (less than a minute) PER (for each) and SON (child).

16a         Somehow get Pat and Jock to eat entire vegetable dish (6,6)
JACKET POTATO –  An anagram of (somehow get) PAT JOCK TO EAT produces  one of my favourite vegetable dishes.

20a         Like parts that could be oral, in fact (10)
FRACTIONAL – Another anagram (could be), this time of ORAL IN FACT.

21a         Sport or game, originally as broadcast on radio (4)
GOLF –   In the NATO Phonetic  Alphabet, the initial letter of Game is known as GOLF.

22a         Person who analyses    contract (6)
SHRINK –   A double definition – a slang term for a psychiatrist (person who analyses) or a verb meaning to contract or become smaller in size or extent.

23a         Concerned with signs, as Van Gogh became? (8)
SEMIOTIC –   The study of signs and symptoms  split 4-4 could also describe the way that Van Gogh  was after he had cut off his ear – SEMI OTIC (only having half the usual amount of ears – otic meaning of or relating to the ear).   Apparently a number of Van Gogh’s works were semiotic, or full of signs and symbols.  This clue caused a lot of comments on the day but I actually marked it as one of my favourites when I solved it.

24a         Reason for believing in genies, possibly (6)
SEEING –   As we all know SEEING is believing, which here is an anagram (possibly) of GENIES.

25a         Shrewdness of top don finally taking in university (6)
ACUMEN  –  Shrewdness or quickness of perception –  ACME (the top or highest point) followed by N (doN finally) into which is inserted U (taking in University).


1d           Is it appropriate for the Queen to take on? (8)
SHOULDER –   as in SHOULD   ER?  ER being the cipher of our current Queen.

2d           Check on quality of a small state (5)
ASSAY –   A from the clue, S (small) and SAY (the second appearance of this word , this time meaning to state or utter).

3d           Exercised short time, then showered (7)
TRAINED –  The abbreviation for Time – T followed by RAINED (showered).

5d           Fights as club finishes off last football game, perhaps (7)
BATTLES –   BAT (club) followed by the final letters (finished) of lasT footbalL gamE and perhapS.

6d           Wretched term without kind old master (9)
REMBRANDT –   An anagram (wretched) of TERM into which has been inserted (without meaning outside) BRAND (a particular type or kind).

7d           A baker’s first loaf getting burnt (6)
ABLAZE –  A from the clue, B (the first letter of baker) and LAZE (loaf about, idle).

9d           Sport that involves bats, net, and line (5,6)
TABLE TENNIS –  Quite a lot of anagrams in this puzzle and here’s another which involves rearranging BATS NET LINE.

14d         Impartial in case? That’s an aim (9)
OBJECTIVE –   A triple definition – the first and last (impartial and aim) being fairly obvious, the middle one (case) referring to a grammatical relation of  a noun to another word in a sentence.

15d         Horse, as last resort, stood on predator (8)
STALLION –    Another anagram – this time a resort of LAST which is followed by a LION (predator).

17d         Certainly not game    bird (7)
CHICKEN –  A double definition – an informal way of saying cowardly, frightened – game meaning courageous or brave; or a type of domestic fowl.

18d         Attack in force, endlessly holding me up (7)
POLEMIC – A hostile or controversial argument –   Insert a reversal of ME (up in a down clue) into almost all of the POLIC[e] force.

19d         Pinafore, for example, added after undergarment for composer (6)
BRAHMS –   Pinafore is an example of one of  Her Majesty’s Ships  (she is found in the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta of the same name)   Add  the initials HMS  after a BRA (undergarment).

21d         Good opportunity for stable employee (5)
GROOM –  G (good) plus ROOM (opportunity).

I am back to Saturdays now so you will see me tomorrow morning with a review of last Saturday’s puzzle.