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Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2923

A full review by crypticsue

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This puzzle was published on 29th October 2017

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

Some commenters wondered whether this was a Virgilius production but it does have a lurker and the usual dependence on inserting something into something else, so I’m going to disagree with them and say it was him just as it is every Sunday.

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.


8a    Simplify calculation by increasing number in assembly (5-2)
ROUND-UP – The one that everyone’s going to discuss once this review is published! Looking in the BRB, both these definitions are shown with and without a hyphen

10a    Theory oddly selected by people in street (7)
TERRACE – Select the odd letters of ThEoRy and follow with RACE (people)

11a    I.e. place being rebuilt around me bit by bit (9)
PIECEMEAL – An anagram (being rebuilt) of IE PLACE around ME (from the clue) – The MS Word spellchecker is eternally grateful to Virgilius for using ‘around’ rather than ’round’ as it thinks the latter is completely wrong in this context.

12a    Game that’s handled by person in hot seat? (5)
POKER – A card game or something someone sitting by the fire might use to keep the fire going

13a    Disprove final 20 per cent of conjecture, however (5)
REBUT – RE (the final 20% of the letters in conjectuRE) plus BUT (however)

14a    Plant old bishop and priest put in US city (7)
LOBELIA – O (old) B (bishop) and ELI (Biblical priest) put in LA (Los Angeles, US city)

17a    Smooth, cold, and undecided about HM in session with reporters (5,10)
PRESS CONFERENCE – PRESS (smooth) C (cold) ON FENCE (undecided) about ER (Her Majesty’s regnal cipher)

19a    Key detail wrong for place of refuge (7)
CITADEL – C (musical key) followed by an anagram (wrong) of DETAIL

21a    English course including a non-English person (5)
ASCOT – A SCOT (a non-English person)

24a    King taken in by light-headed religious ascetic (5)
FAKIR – K (king) ‘taken in’ by FAIR (light-headed)

26a    Flower that makes one happy when it’s cut (9)
GLADIOLUS – If you refer to this flower informally as a GLAD, it may well make you happy

27a    Times can be read on this — other paper put back (7)
SUNDIAL – SUN (other newspaper) and a reversal (back in an Across clue) of LAID (put)

28d    Criticise article about expert that deals with all complaints (7)
PANACEA – PAN (criticise) ‘about’ ACE (expert)


1d    Religious leader embracing right, right? Right (6)
PROPER – POPE (religious leader) ’embracing’ R (right), another R (right) being added at the end. This one topped my favourites list

2d    Dominant female has been changed following strange cut (5,3)
QUEEN BEE – An anagram (changed) of BEEN following QUEEr (strange ‘cut’)

3d    Counselled about conclusions of the lower court being made known (10)
ADVERTISED – ADVISED (counselled) ‘about’ the ‘conclusions’ of thE loweR courT

4d    Kind of painting or photograph put on biography (5,4)
STILL LIFE – STILL (photograph) put on LIFE (biography)

5d    Part of speech, in short, to get ready for theatre (4)
PREP – An abbreviation for PREPOSITION (part of speech) and PREPARATION (get ready for an operating theatre)

6d    Means to raise a large wild animal (6)
JACKAL – JACK (means to raise) A L (large)

7d    Reduction, as incorporated in formal ruling (8)
DECREASE – AS (from the clue) incorporated in DECREE (formal ruling)

9d    Singular source of pressure, possibly, for noble person (4)
PEER – P (the singular ‘source’ of Pressure) and EER (ever, possibly) – Another clue that gave rise to a number of comments on the day

15d    Pub repeatedly is disrupted by an uncivilised lot (10)
BARBARIANS – BAR BAR (pub repeatedly) and IS (from the clue) ‘disrupted by’ AN (from the clue)

16d    Falsified logs of former product of mine that’s deceptive (5,4)
FOOLS GOLD – An anagram (falsified) of LOGS OF followed by OLD (former)

17d    Not advocating war, if one’s in treaty (8)
PACIFIST – IF IS (one’s) in PACT (treaty)

18d    With audacity, learner joins expert making piece of jewellery (8)
NECKLACE – NECK (audacity) L (learner) ACE (the second appearance of this expert)

20d    Assuming game for children includes family (6)
TAKING – TAG (game for children) includes KIN (family)

22d    Expert navigator needed in fleet as mandated (6)
TASMAN – We had to wait a while for a lurker but here it is in fleeT AS MANdated

23d    Fighting power that’s corrupt (4)
WARP – WAR (fighting) P (power)

25d    Attack with ultimate in air support (4)
RAID – R (the ultimate letter in aiR) AID (support)

For Gazza and Rabbit Dave (provided the knot hasn’t fallen out of the former’s hankie in the wash!)


6 comments on “ST2923

  1. I’m back as promised although CS has taken the wind from my sails by putting in her review what I was going to say that both “round up” and “round-up” are in the BRB with both definitions. Hence either (5,2) or (5-2) would be acceptable enumeration.

    Many thanks for the review, CS.

    P.S. I have a mental picture of Gazza wearing a knotted handkerchief on his head …

  2. I’ll be the first to raise my head above the parapet regarding 8a. Round-up (with a hyphen) appears in the BRB only as a noun and the first definition in 8a (Simplify calculation by increasing number) is a verbal phrase so I contend that the clue doesn’t work.
    That and the fact that the puzzle seemed to lack some of the usual Virgilius sparkle made me doubt the provenance of the puzzle but since nobody else has stepped forward to claim ownership I’ll have to concede that I was probably wrong.

    1. Good point, Gazza, about the (5-2) definition being only a noun. On further reflection, isn’t it OK if you read the clue not as a DD but as “wordplay in definition” where the definition “assembly” is a noun?

      1. Assembly is fine as a definition but I can’t see how the preceding words work as wordplay. I’d have been happy with its being a double-definition if the first word had been ‘simplified’ rather than ‘simplify’ making the first bit a noun phrase.
        A belated thanks to the indefatigable CS for the review.

  3. 19a might need a tweak.

    I always thought that to ’round up’ is mathematical, a ’round-up’ is a summary or grouping. Good ol’ BRB.

    Can’t imagine Gazza with a hankie on his head!!

    Thanks Virgilius and CS

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