ST 2861 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2861

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2861

A full review by crypticsue

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This puzzle was published on Sunday 14th August

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



Solving this enjoyable Sunday puzzle took me slightly longer than normal, with the Down clues falling into place quicker than the Acrosses.  The highlight of the morning was, however, breaking off from solving to enjoy the Spitfire, Lancaster and Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and then the Red Arrows,  flying over our house as part of the local air show.

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7a           Modified boot early in season for American sport (8)
FOOTBALL –  An anagram (modified) of BOOT inserted after the first letter (early) in the season the American’s call FALL

9a           Call after close of play, at hour to be arranged (6)
AUTHOR – A call for the author to appear on stage is often heard at an opening night of a play – an anagram (to be arranged) of AT HOUR

10a         Formal cover for head that’s getting over operation (3,3)
TOP HAT – THAT (from the clue) goes over OP (operation)

11a         E.g. game dramatist inserting line provided (8)
WILDLIFE – L (line) and IF (provided) inserted into Oscar WILDE

12a         Variation for a trumpet, indeed, not rehearsed (14)
UNPREMEDITATED – An anagram (variation for) of A TRUMPET INDEED

15a         Returned power tool that buzzes (4) WASP – A reversal (returned) of P (power) SAW (tool)

17a         Difficult, though less hard after start (5)
TOUGH – Simply remove the first H (less H after start) from THOUGH

19a         Some incentive for change in Washington (4)
CENT – Small change in the USA, as used  in Washington for example, can be found lurking in some of incentive

20a         Person in similar position crazily bit me on purpose (8,6)
OPPOSITE NUMBER – An anagram (crazily) of BIT ME ON PURPOSE

23a         British writer of picaresque novels placed in covers, say (8)
FIELDING –  If you said the  name of this writer when you were playing cricket, you’d be telling people you were in the covers, for example, rather than batting

25a         Least polite and most vulgar when leaderless (6)
RUDEST –  Remove the leader from CRUDEST, most vulgar

27a         Place for the old lady to retire, lucky thing (6)
MASCOT –  Split 2’1 3 and you’d see where the old lady might go to bed

28a         So led astray by sailor’s navigational aid (8)
LODESTAR – An anagram (astray) of SO LED goes by or before TAR (sailor)


1d           Merchant of Venicethat needs eight players (4)
POLO – Marco the Venetian merchant or a game that needs eight players, four on each team

2d           Creator of prints and such that female supports (6)
ETCHER – ETC (and such) supported by (in a Down clue) HER (that female)

3d           Sounded sad to those listening (4)
BLEW – To those listening it might sound like BLUE (sad)

4d           Small settlement for dramatically wronged prince (6)
HAMLET – Unlike 1d, where we weren’t supposed to think of the Shakespearean character, here we do need the Prince of Denmark, whose name is the same as the word for a small settlement smaller than a village

5d           Juggling act — lithe, fit and strong (8)
ATHLETIC – An anagram (juggling) of ACT LITHE

6d           Female I spotted in study, poet’s lady friend (10)
CONFIDANTE –  F (female) and I (from the clue) spotted between CON (study) and DANTE (the poet).   Note that it has to be a lady friend as a gentleman friend wouldn’t have the E at the end.

8d           Present for employee, not always on time, making effort (7)
ATTEMPT – AT (present) TEMP (non-permanent, not always) on T (time)

13d         Old writer upset about a form of Latin from place in Italy (10)
NEAPOLITAN – O (old) PEN (writer) upset or reversed about A (from the clue), the result then followed by an anagram (form) of LATIN

14d         Reason to give benefit that certain people don’t have (5)
DOUBT –  You can give someone the ‘benefit of the doubt’, people who are certain about something wouldn’t have any doubt at all

16d         The people with nothing rising up in locality (8)
POPULACE – O (nothing) and UP (from the clue) rising or being reversed inside PLACE (locality)

18d         Cricketer’s feat that’s repeated after first of May for MCC (7)
HUNDRED –   two lots of the Roman numeral for 100 – C – are repeated after the ‘first’ of May in MCC

21d         Call for peace, captivated by Eastern religion (6)
SHINTO – SH (call for peace) INTO (captivated by)

22d         Fashionable way to work on course (6)
MODISH- MO (modus operandi, way to work) on DISH (food course)

24d         A person with convictions turned up for festivity (4)
GALA – A reversal (turned up) of A LAG (a person with criminal convictions)

26d         State absorbing Western influence (4)
SWAY –  SAY (state) absorbs W (western)