ST 2849 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2849

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2849

A full review by crypticsue

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

This puzzle was published on Sunday, 22nd May 2016

Another fine Sunday puzzle, the enjoyment of which was slightly spoiled for me when I realised how many times I was typing the word ‘inserted’ when preparing this review.   One favourite today, the splendid 13d – Gazza called it Clue of the Month, I think it should probably go on the shortlist for Clue of the Year.

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.

1a           It serves food boy’s first cutting on plate so badly (10)
TABLESPOON  –  B (boy’s first) cutting or inserted into an anagram (badly) of ON PLATE SO

6a           A large number of Romans aim to get better (4)
MEND –  M (the Roman numeral for the large number 1000) END (aim)

9a           Bridges are burnt once you’ve crossed this river (7)
RUBICON –   If you cross the Rubicon you take an irrevocable step, just as Julius Caesar did when he crossed the small river of that name between Ancient Italy and Gaul in 49BC

10a         Small amount I invested in total for arena (7)
STADIUM –   TAD (small amount) and I (from the clue) invested in SUM (total)

12a         Activity in court to suppress fraudulent operations (6,7)
SQUASH RACKETS –   SQUASH (suppress) RACKETS (fraudulent operations)

14a         Popular answer in test for holder of post, initially (2-4)
IN-TRAY –   Nice cryptic definition –  IN (popular) and A (answer) inserted in TRY (test)

15a         One who chooses Spanish or French article, in part (8)
SELECTOR –   EL (the Spanish or French definite article) inserted into SECTOR (part)

17a         Poet’s written about English doctor (8)
HOUSEMAN  – HOUSMAN (the poet) ‘about’ E (English)

19a         Inconclusive debate, event not on track (6)
DISCUS –   This field event is an inconclusive DISCUSs (debate)

22a         It’s more trouble than it’s worth, chess player found before big game (5,8)
WHITE ELEPHANT –   WHITE (chess player) ELEPHANT (a big game animal)

24a         Others misspelled name in contract (7)
SHORTEN   –   An anagram (misspelled) of OTHERS followed by N (name)

25a         Tricky part of course from which I can exit (7)
CHICANE –   Lurking in whiCH I CAN Exit

26a         Citizen of republic giving no backing to king (4)
YANK –   A reversal (backing) of NAY (no) followed by K (King)

27a         Plays role differently, with new insertion for my part (10)
PERSONALLY –   An anagram (differently) of PLAYS ROLE with N (new) inserted.


1d           One of the letters repeatedly needed by tenant for rent (4)
TORN –   Because TeNaNT, has two lots of (repeatedly) T  OR  N

2d           Took care of offspring a tabby’s abandoned (4-3)
BABY-SAT –   An anagram (abandoned) of A TABBYS

3d           Men agree on cut in exchange for incentive (13)
ENCOURAGEMENT –   An anagram (in exchange) of MEN AGREE ON CUT

4d           Fine, for example, having press against covering part of UK (6)
PUNISH –   PUSH (press against) covering NI (Northern Ireland, part of UK)

5d           Spectator as weekly publication (8)
OBSERVER –   Someone who watches or the Sunday newspaper

7d           I had to enter competition, it’s clear (7)
EVIDENT –  ID (I had) to enter EVENT (competition)

8d           Fragrant flower daughter grew under a screen (6,4)
DAMASK ROSE –   D (daughter) followed by ROSE (grew) the latter under A MASK (a screen)

11d         Official authorising unusually direct note in suit (13)
ACCREDITATION –   An anagram (unusually) of DIRECT  and the musical note A  inserted into ACTION (suit)

13d         Within reason, is subsequently as feeble (5-5)
WISHY-WASHY –   Typical Virgilius fun –   Insert IS (from the clue) into WHY (reason) and then subsequently insert AS (from the clue) into WHY.

16d         Standard cut in theatre, in a manner of speaking (8)
PARLANCE –  PAR (standard) LANCE (cut in theatre)

18d         Fabulous creature in tunic, worn unopened in each case (7)
UNICORN –   Remove the opening letters from both (in each case) tUNIC and wORN.

20d         Derisive noise from audience upset performance in ring (7)
CATCALL –   An anagram (upset) of ACT (performance) inserted into CALL (ring)

21d         Small steps for intervening distances (6)
SPACES – S (small) PACES (steps)

23d         Brave editor stood up, finally, being extremely selective (4)
DEFY –  A reversal (stood up in a Down clue) of ED (editor) and then, being extremely selective, the outside letters of FinallY

Young Tilsit and I had an exchange of emails when I mentioned the number of insertions, where he was of the view that ‘It’s Brian’ and so splendid that it is OK;  when we met at the George, I managed (I think) to convince him that one shouldn’t have one rule for one and another for everyone else.   What do you think?



7 comments on “ST 2849

  1. Thanks Sue for yet another masterly review. 13d definitely fabulous but then Mr Greer has already had several top spots this year including the longest lurker although I have forgotten the exact details. Sunday my favourite day.

  2. Thanks to Crypticsue for the full review – always appreciated, even if largely uncommented upon.

    I don’t think it’s right to have one rule for one person and another for everybody else … however, I do think that exceptions can be made (for anyone) when there is good reason. Too many instances of one clue type is a minus point from a technical point of view, but this is because it tends to spoil a puzzle: it’s less enjoyable to solve something that feels repetitive. If the crossword doesn’t feel repetitive and the enjoyment doesn’t suffer – certainly the case here – then I’d say there’s no cause for complaint.

    1. I think you do tend to notice such things more when writing hints rather than just solving the puzzle. I wasn’t aware of there being too many insertions in this puzzle but I do get frustrated by having to type ‘abbreviation’ over and over again when writing reviews.

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