ST 2689 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2689

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2689

A full review by crypticsue

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

We got an awful lot of lovely Virgilius clues for our money on the last Sunday in April, so many in fact that when I printed off the puzzle, two of the Across clues and one Down clue appeared on a second piece of paper.   My Green Impact persona might complain at the use of an extra sheet of paper, but the crossword addict in me was delighted to have more fun from the Sunday Maestro.

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1a           Living area somewhat protected by cover (7)
HABITAT –   A BIT (somewhat)  protected by the cover of a HAT.

5a           Behaviour that’s becoming weird after code’s broken (7)
DECORUM –  Behaviour which is becoming or suitable –   An anagram (broken) of CODE followed by RUM (weird).

9a           Space restricted in aircraft as North African set returned (7)
LEGROOM –   Reverse (returned) GEL (set) and MOOR (North African).

10a         Contemporary contributor of comments for book by lumberjack (7)
BLOGGER –   B (book) followed by LOGGER (lumberjack).

11a         Philanderer more sensible when going round Arab country (9)
WOMANISER –   Insert the Arab country of OMAN into WISER (more sensible).

12a         Sound made by cane that makes one smart (5)
SWISH  –   A  cane makes a movement which sounds like a prolonged or rushing SWISH.   SWISH as an adjective means smart or stylish – a cane can also make you smart or feel a stinging pain.

13a         Location for surfing — not hard, in principle (5)
TENET –   Remove H (not hard) from ThE NET (the internet being a location for ‘surfing’).

15a         Removed from sight without rhyme or reason, initially? That’s glossed over (9)
VARNISHED –  Insert R (Rhyme or Reason initially) into VANISHED (removed from sight).

17a         Good role secured by guy — do without a woman (4,5)
STAG PARTY –   Insert G (Good) and PART (role) into GUY (a stay or rope used to steady something).

19a         Craft needed in sketchbook etc, honed repeatedly (5)
KETCH –  When Virgilius hides a word, he does have the habit of doing it more than once, hence the repeatedly at the end of the clue which indicates that KETCH can be found in sKETCHbooK ETC Honed twice over.

22a         Become large and make hostile noise (5)
GROWL –   GROW (become) plus L (large).

23a         Mishandled foul debts, leading to lack of confidence (4-5)
SELF-DOUBT –   An anagram (mishandled) of FOUL DEBTS.

25a         Surrounded by dreadful feeling about how one operates (7)
AMONGST –   Insert MO (the abbreviation for Modus Operandi – how one operates) into ANGST (a general  feeling of anxiety).

26a         I have no novel that’s set in 12th-century England (7)
IVANHOE –   Our setters have obviously been revisiting their Sir Walter Scott novels –  Giovanni on Friday and now Virgilius.    An anagram (novel) of I HAVE NO produces another novel by Scott, this one set in 12th century England.

27a         Dodgy lawyer contributing to defendant’s hysteria (7)
SHYSTER –   A dodgy lawyer is part of or contributing to defendantS HYSTERia.

28a         For example, future saint is extremely rigid (7)
TENSEST –   Future is an example of a TENSE or time in grammar, TENSE should be followed by ST, the abbreviation for saint.


1d           Nincompoop‘s bad flaw concealed by success (4-3)
HALF-WIT –   Insert an anagram (bad) of FLAW into a HIT (success).

2d           Outlaw seizing old sports facility — that can be scary for kids (7)
BOGYMAN –  Insert O (old) and GYM (sports facility) into BAN (outlaw).

3d           Something prickly in mouth or nose (5)
THORN –   And another hidden word – this time in mouTH OR Nose.

4d           Rival daily with claim it improves efficiency (4-5)
TIME-SAVER –   Follow the Telegraph’s rival paper,  the TIMES with AVER (claim) and split 4-5.

5d           Disqualify bishop falling in love (5)
DEBAR –  A verb meaning to exclude or disqualify is obtained by inserting B (bishop) into  DEAR (love, beloved).

6d           Piece of meat staff provided that’s singularly useless for diner (9)
CHOPSTICK –  A CHOP (piece of meat) followed by a STICK (staff).   You do, of course, need two chopsticks to be able to eat your Chinese meal successfully!

7d           Awfully rough, is behaving like a villain (7)
ROGUISH –   An anagram (awfully) of ROUGH IS.

8d           After month, editor took part in moving protest (7)
MARCHED –   the month of MARCH followed by ED (editor).

14d         Excellent final steps for upwardly mobile type (3-6)
TOP-FLIGHT –   The last few stairs for someone going upstairs become with the addition of a hyphen an adjective meaning excellent or of the highest quality.

16d         Distortion of normality in which money is made (5,4)
ROYAL MINT –   An anagram (distortion) of NORMALITY, split 5, 4.

17d         Indicates informal speech is being written up (7)
SIGNALS –   A reversal (written up) of SLANG (informal speech) and IS (from the clue).

18d         Sorry expression from chap disheartened after a game (7)
APOLOGY –   A (from the clue) POLO (the game not the mint) and GY (a ‘disheartened’ GUY or chap).

20d         Closed with disgusted exclamation — that is really hard puzzle (7)
TOUGHIE –    TO (closed or in a fastened fashion)  UGH (disgusted exclamation) and IE (the abbreviation for id est, that is).

21d         Host, having switched one couple, goes on to dine — tricky situation (3,4)
HOT SEAT –   Rearrange the third and fourth letters of HOST (switched one couple) and follow with EAT (to dine).

23d         Promiscuously stray as lecherous type (5)
SATYR –   Lovely wordplay with  a splendidly apt anagram indicator (promiscuously) – just rearrange STRAY to get a very lecherous man.

24d         Like a no-win situation,    portrayed as     strained (5)
DRAWN –   A triple definition to finish – neither won nor lost; portrayed in a picture by using lines; strained or tense.

Lucky Gnomey will return with the next two Sunday reviews in due course.