ST 2731 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2731

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2731

A full review by gnomethang

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

Best puzzle of the week (again) for me. A tad harder than usual based on my solving time.

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1a           What might come from ship in danger — list is bad (8,6)
DISTRESS SIGNAL – A great clue to start and an all-in-one or &Lit. Make an anagram of DANGER LIST IS (indicated by bad) and insert SS, the usual abbreviation for ship. The whole clue neatly describing the predicament.

9a           One state very briefly joined with another, in short (7)
VERMONT – Take the last letter from VER(y) i.e. briefly then join it to MONT(ana) the short form of another US State.

10a         Performer in part is terrible (7)
ARTISTE – The actress/danseur is hidden in the last three words.

11a         Creative writing, in short, was illuminating (3)
LIT – The abbreviation of Literature (creative writing in short). The perfect past tense of ‘did light’/’was illuminating’.

12a         Carp at clues in a way that’s really striking (11)
SPECTACULAR – An anagram (in a way) of CARP AT CLUES. As if we would (well not most of us!!)

14a         A form of support for ship, perhaps, at sea? On the contrary (6)
ASHORE – A charade of A and SHORE (a type of stay or stanchion often used in nautical arenas so perhaps at sea). On the contrary tells you to make the antonym.

15a         Father protecting maiden repeatedly that’s extremely demure (8)
PRIMMEST – A PRIEST with MM inserted (M for Maiden is an abbreviation or abb. from cricket scoring).

17a         Traces piece of glass, e.g. — it’s eventually returned (8)
VESTIGES – A part of (piece of )’ glass, e.g. — it’s eventually’ reversed (returned).

19a         Sally‘s nature that is succinctly presented (6)
SORTIE – A charade of SORT (nature/type/kind) and I.E. the succinctly presented  abbreviation for ‘that is’.

22a         What’s included by people with little time or peace of mind (11)
CONTENTMENT – A charade of the CONTENT (what’s included in a book for example) then MEN (people) and the SI unit (and little way of writing) T(ime).

23a         Negative expression that’s repeated in error (3)
BOO – Repeat it and you get a BOO-BOO or error.

24a         Article about broken limb that one player conceals in game (7)
Place THE (a definite article in English) around an anagram (broken) of LIMB. q.v. Hunt The Thimble.

26a         Garment for person who’s cold, or one who’s hot? (7)
SWEATER – The straight definition – if you are cold you need a woolly jumper/sweater, the cryptic is one who sweats while hot.

27a         Very happy place — relaxed with a small drink (7,2,5)
PLEASED AS PUNCH – A charade of the abb. PL(ace) then EASED (relaxed) and A S(mall) PUNCH or communal drink in a bowl.


1d           Arguer for unpopular cause was upset over votes a cad rigged (6,8)
DEVILS ADVOCATE – Reverse (upset) LIVED (was) and then make an anagram (indicated by rigged) of VOTES A CAD.

2d           Slight injury making one withdraw (7)
SCRATCH – Two definitions – a slight injury and a verb meaning to withdraw from a competition

3d           More cover is, unusually, what lazy guests may request? (4,7)
ROOM SERVICE – An anagram (unusually) of MORE COVER IS.

4d           It helps to locate game or puzzle constructor (6)
SETTER – Another double definition. The first is a gun dog that flushes game in a shoot and the second is a Crossword SETTER (puzzle constructor)

5d           Courses for beginners (8)
STARTERS – A simple double definition.

6d           Material in part of racket one’s bust in strenuous effort (3)
GUT – Your tennis racket used to be strung with cat-GUT. One also ‘Busts a GUT’ when trying really hard.

7d           Pardon a bachelor’s confused love letters (7)
ABSOLVE – A B(achelor) of S(cience) and then a confusion of the letters in LOVE (i.e. an anagram).

8d           Leading man in play that has two parts (5,3,6)
HENRY THE FOURTH – A cryptic definition of the man in the two Shakespeare plays.

13d         Old male with stake in economical source of fertiliser (7,4)
COMPOST HEAP – O for Old and M for Male followed by POST for stake in the ground. Place all that inside CHEAP or economical.

16d         Art-lover’s strange taste he expressed originally (8)
AESTHETE – An anagram (strange) of TASTE HE followed by the first (original) letter in E(xpressed)

18d         Alternative to watch, but only for daytime viewing (7)
SUNDIAL – A nice cryptic definition of a timepiece that doesn’t work in the dark.

20d         Be protected by giant Asian (7)
TIBETAN – Place BE inside (it is protected by) a TITAN or giant.

21d         Japanese entertainer placed at centre of stage is happy (6)
GEISHA – The Japanese courtesan is hidden in the middle of the last three words.

25d         Combination of blood groups that’s dangerous for South Americans (3)
BOA – The large snake is a charade of three blood groups.

I’ll see you all tomorrow for a review of last Saturday’s puzzle. Thanks to Virgilius for this very nice solve.


6 comments on “ST 2731

  1. This was a beautiful puzzle. Totally agree with your comment at 12a, Gnomey!

    I wasn’t sure which was the definition and which the indicator in 26a, so thank you very much, Gnomey, for clarifying this. I also missed the double definitions in 2d and 6d. For the rest, happy to say, there were no problems. My fave clue was 8d because it made me chuckle thinking of Falstaff. ( I think it was A C Bradley who remarked that, had Shakespeare not got rid of him, Hal would have ‘disappeared like a puff of smoke and a bad smell’!)

    Many thanks and much appreciation to you both, Virgilius and Gnomey.

    1. p.s. Am I seeing things? Special thanks to Gnomethang for rectifying my mistake. That was very kind, and is much appreciated.

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