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ST 2931

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2931

A full review by crypticsue

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This puzzle was published on Christmas Eve 2017

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

Having time at the start of Christmas Eve to draft this review before a later than usual walk and then lots of Christmas food preparing, I sorted it all out early while thinking about all the ‘not more seasonal clues’ grumpies would be in their element with this splendid seasonal offering. If you are going to have lots of Christmassy content in a cryptic crossword, then you can’t do better than this one from the Sunday Maestro. As it is Christmas (well it is while I’m typing) and by the 4th of January everyone will be back at work and won’t remember to look at the review, I’m going to have several favourites – 12a, 23a 6d being top of the Christmas tree.  I could have listed many more clues I really liked and I’m going to take the opportunity to remember Charlie too.

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    Concerned about losing after opening exchange in seasonal performance (5-7)
CAROL-SINGING – CARING (concerned) goes ‘about’ LOSING after you have ‘exchanged’ the position of the opening letters to get OLSING

10a    Spoil a woman Beatles serenaded, consuming good cocktail (9)
MARGARITA – MAR (spoil) A (from the clue) RITA (the Beatles’ song Lonely Rita Meter Maid refers) ‘consuming’ G (good)

11a    Extremes of Christmassy treat for children (5)
CANDY – The ‘extremes’ of ChristmassY are C AND Y

12a    Thing inserted in hose near location of fire (8,6)
STOCKING FILLER – A cryptic definition of a present you might find in a stocking hung by a fireplace (location of fire) – we always had ours at the end of our beds

14a    Fellows having little time before, little time after — altogether little time (6)
MOMENT – MEN (fellows) having MO (little time) before and T (little time) after

16a    Writer including apter parts rearranged for pantomime (5,3)
PETER PAN – PEN (writer) including an anagram (parts rearranged) of APTER

18a    Cause teenager to get excited (8)
GENERATE – An anagram (to get excited) of TEENAGER

20a    Angel European installed in church with difficulty (6)
CHERUB – E (European) installed between CH (church) and RUB (difficulty)

23a    It doesn’t allow overnight delivery by traditional route (7,7)
CENTRAL HEATING – A proper d’oh moment when I realized what this cryptic definition was all about. If you have CENTRAL HEATING, there may not be a chimney/fireplace for Santa to use to deliver the presents

27a    More wintry, in a way, and more dangerous if losing head (5)
ICIER – Remove the ‘head’ of DICIER (more dangerous)

28a    Worksite busy at this time of year that has maximal latitude (5,4)
NORTH POLE – Another seasonally relevant cryptic definition

29a    Falsely depict as miser that’s recycled gift (12)
MISREPRESENT – An anagram (that’s recycled) of MISER followed by PRESENT (gift)


2d    Person in isolated state, unfortunately — then another, briefly (7)
ALASKAN – ALAS (unfortunately) KANsas (another ‘briefly’)

3d    Whence kings appeared, out of door I entered (6)
ORIENT – A festive lurker – out of doOR I ENTered

4d    Pinched what’s rubbishy in Santa’s transport (8)
SNAFFLED – NAFF (rubbishy) in SLED (Santa’s transport)

5d    Is able to put up with Frenchwoman in part of aircraft (7)
NACELLE – A reversal (put up in a Down clue) of CAN (is able to) with ELLE (Frenchwoman)

6d    Quickly look up, in private, one fully booked before Christmas (9)
INNKEEPER – A reversal (up) of PEEK (quickly look) inserted into INNER (private)

7d    Chaps wishing you Merry Christmas, finally (4)
GUYS – The final letters of wishinG yoU MerrY ChristmaS

8d    Kiss while under mistletoe, primarily in this holiday season (4)
XMAS – X (kiss) AS (while) under M (mistletoe ‘primarily’)

9d    For example, wise men emerging from awful riot (4)
TRIO – The three wise men obviously form a TRIO which emerges from an anagram (awful) of RIOT

13d    Deliberately ignore second most important issue (4)
SNUB – S (second) NUB (most important issue)

14d    Travellers offering original Christmas presents (4)
MAGI – Another seasonal cryptic definition

15d    Rum men sip with ice and festive fare (5,4)
MINCE PIES – An anagram (rum) of MEN SIP with ICE

17d    Small person giving instruction that may be needed in kitchen (8)
STRAINER – S (small) TRAINER (person giving instruction)

19d    Someone not working on Christmas feature about one (7)
RETIREE – RE (on) TREE (Christmas feature) ‘about’ I (one)

21d    Male with endless capital, not one of the faithful (7)
HEATHEN – HE (male) with ‘endless’ ATHENs (capital)

22d    Group of people singing about deity (6)
CHORUS – C (circa, about) HORUS (major Egyptian deity)

24d    Pressing need for part of environment (4)
IRON – A nicely hidden lurker – part of envIRONment

25d    Mirth and gaiety, in general, after midnight? (4)
GLEE – LEE (Crosswordland’s most useful American Civil war general) goes after G (mid niGht)

26d    White Christmas, say, initially forecast in London, maybe (4)
FILM – The initial letters of Forecast In London Maybe


7 comments on “ST 2931

  1. I remember rather liking this one too but I did it while trying to do lots of other things at the same time so probably didn’t give it the attention that it deserved.
    Thanks to Virgilius – how nice to know what he looks like at last.
    Thaknks to CS too for the review but reallythree favourites? You thought you’d get away with it but you’re nicked.
    Who’s the Charlie that you’re remembering?

    1. Our old cat in the mince pie picture

      It is in the rules for Christmas that everyone can have three favourites, didn’t you know? :D

      1. I really liked the Christmas tree toppings on your mince pies – must try that next time.

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