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ST 2850

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2850

A full review by crypticsue

This puzzle was published on 29 May 2016

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

A Virgilius puzzle is always worth looking at twice, and in my case this time enjoy all the more as I hadn’t expected to be reviewing it, and so had forgotten how splendid it was until I enjoyed it all over again while typing this out.

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     A bad return, with debt, ruined livelihood (5-3-6)
BREAD-AND-BUTTER – An anagram (ruined) of A BAD RETURN with DEBT.

9a     Force protecting king I put in danger (7)
IMPERIL – IMPEL (force) ‘protecting’ R (Rex, king) and I from the clue.

10a     Surrender in panic once defeated (7)
CONCEDE – The first of the lurkers is to be found in paniC ONCE DEfeated

11a     Strong position seen in one part of London paper, initially (4)
FORT – F OR T – part of the FT, Financial Times, London paper.

12a     Recovered, having brought in one’s specialist for treatment after break (10)
BONESETTER – BETTER (recovered) with ONES (from the clue) ‘brought in’

14a     Fruit mother and child put together (6)
DAMSON – DAM (mother) SON (child)

15a     How I try frantically holding line in righteous way (8)
WORTHILY – An anagram (frantically) of HOW I TRY holding L (line)

17a     Got through part of year as wife in the red without husband (8)
WINTERED – W (wife) IN THE RED, without the H for husband.

18a     What makes diamond something useful when dating? (6)
CARBON – I did “really like” this clue. The element that makes a diamond can be useful when dating ancient artefacts.

21a     Is a bit less wobbly? (10)
STABILISES – Another splendid clue. An anagram (wobbly) of IS A BIT LESS

22a     Conflict with male’s become heated (4)
WARM – WAR (conflict) with M (male)

24a     Only including hard pebbles found on beach (7)
SHINGLE – SINGLE (only) including H (hard). On the day Kath said she’d call this very coarse sand. She obviously hasn’t visited the beaches round our way which are mainly those very hard pebbles – ouch!

25a     Soft leather is relatively satisfactory? (7)
DOESKIN – Split 4,3  and the ‘relatively satisfactory’ becomes clear.

26a     It’s quickly run away from when fired (8,6)
STARTING PISTOL – A nice cryptic definition.


1d     Cheese provided nourishment — gave instructions in case (7)
BRIEFED – BRIE (cheese) FED (provided nourishment)

2d     Be covering up for each current mad scientist (15)
EXPERIMENTALIST – EXIST (be) covering up PER (for each) I (electrical current) MENTAL (mad)

3d     Stabbed, finally, with needle or small dagger (4)
DIRK – D (stabbed ‘finally’) with IRK (needle in the sense of annoy)

4d     Naval hero injured more than once in hold when fighting (6)
NELSON – A nice double definition.

5d     Man not in union bungled lab chore (8)
BACHELOR – An anagram (bungled) of LAB CHORE

6d     Beat first of teams in friendly of little significance (10)
TANGENTIAL – TAN (beat) followed by the ‘first’ of Teams inserted into GENIAL (friendly)

7d     Coverage for retirement dependent on current supply (8,7)
ELECTRIC BLANKET – Another splendid clue.

8d     Reveal fish beneath punt (6)
BETRAY – RAY (fish) put beneath (in a Down clue) BET (punt)

13d     Female trapped by foreigner after exchange of two letters — that could be a pointer (10)
FOREFINGER – Exchange the positions of the G and N in FOREIGNER and insert an F (Female trapped by…)

16d     Double fruit, we hear, for vitamin deficiency problem (4-4)
BERI-BERI – Double the homophone (we hear) of BERRY (fruit).

17d     Is taken in by setter’s direction, extremely clever (6)
WISEST – The setter in this clue isn’t Virgilius but the sun which as everyone knows ‘sets in the West’ so all you need to do is insert IS (is taken in) into WEST.

19d     Small kind of change Bombay and Madras have experienced (7)
NOMINAL – Because Bombay and Madras have both experienced changes of name – they are now known as Mumbai and Chennai respectively.

20d     Veteran on board turns up without notice (3,3)
SEA DOG – A reversal (up) of GOES (turns) is put ‘without’ AD (notice)

23d     Highly elusive monster still on island (4)
YETI – YET (still) goes on I (island)

I believe Gnomey is on a one-week golfing break and so should be back in the UK in time to prepare his review of ST2851. However, if he’s delayed, I don’t mind standing in again as I’d be able to comment on the ‘clues I really liked a lot’ without Kath noticing.


1 comment on “ST 2850

  1. Thanks Sue, once again far too many likes to risk a favourite, 1a and 1d made me smile, how on earth does Mr. G MAKE us such happy little people week after week? Sunday definitely my favourite day.

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