ST 2972 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2972

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2972

A full review by gnomethang

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This puzzle was published on 7th October 2018

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

Morning All! This was a pretty straightforward solve with the usual fine clueing.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a           Serf is of use — finishes off grave (7)
SERIOUS – Remove the finishes from SER(f) I(s) O(f) US(e).

10a         Revered Indian bowler, say, hugged by mother (7)
MAHATMA – A HAT (of which a bowler is an example, say) inside/hugged by MAMA (mother).

11a         Artificially neat prose? (9)
ESPERANTO – An artificial anagram of NEAT PROSE and an &Lit clue.

12a         Pass loaf I had cut (2,3)
NO BID – A pass in contract bridge. A NOB or loaf and an abbreviation (cut) of I HAD i.e. I’D

13a         Equipment for dive in Southern part of Caribbean (5)
SCUBA – S for Southern and then the Caribbean island of CUBA.

14a         Needing to diet, put back cheese in cloth (7)
TAFFETA – Reverse (put back) FAT for ‘needing to diet’ and then add FETA cheese.

17a         Something handled in court — swindle involving inferior china? (9,6)
BADMINTON – Start with dome BAD/inferior MINTON china and then add a RACKET for swndle/con.

19a         Sun’s effect on selected players that produces traction on board (7)
CAPSTAN – The selected players for an international test are CAPS and the sun’s effect is a TAN.

21a         Influence ignoramus had over university (5)
CLOUT – A CLOT/ignoramus around/had over U for University.

24a         Weapon almost in danger of dropping off when turned round (5)
SWORD – In danger of dropping of to sleep is DROWSY. Take almost all of that (DROWS) and revere/turn around.

26a         Restore to power to control country (9)
REINSTATE – A charade of REIN/control and a STATE or country.

27a         End labour that’s free (7)
DELIVER – Two definitions – To DELIVER a baby (an end to labour) and to free/DELIVER e.g. from slavery or temptation.

28a         Claret’s being drunk, or other variety of red (7)
SCARLET – A drunken anagram of CLARETS.


1d           Poor learners succeeded in test (6)
ASSESS – Poor learners are ASSESS and then add S for Succeeded (an abb. from family trees)

2d           Put forward for consideration in opposition to euro? (8)
PROPOUND – If one was in opposition to the Euro currency one might cryptically be PRO-POUND.

3d           Briefly write about vessel with damaged sail as reporter (10)
JOURNALIST – To JOT or briefly write around an URN (vessel) and an anagram (damaged) of SAIL.

4d           It’s crucial to bring exemplary worker into country (9)
IMPORTANT – An ANT is an exemplary worker so to bring one in to a country is to IMPORT an ANT.

5d           It may be said to limit supply of drinkin what circumstances? (4)
WHEN – To say WHEN is to stop a drink being poured – the rest is the straight definition.

6d           Small piece of furniture, unlike rocker? (6)
STABLE – S for Small and a TABLE for the furniture.

7d           It’s used to convey kinds of water, in short, with skill (8)
HANDCART – The Hot and Cold taps (types of water) are H AND C in short/when abbreviated. Add ART for skill.

9d           Number boy before girl, initially (4)
SONG – A SON for a boy and the initial letter of G(irl).

15d         Foreign money I examine for person in order to follow vocation (10)
FRANCISCAN – Start with a FRANC (the old currency of France) and then add I SCAN/examine. The remainder of the clue is the definition but it nicely disguises ‘in order to’ as a different art of speech rather than an order of a brotherhood.

16d         Plan for trip, I hear, around popular time (9)
ITINERARY – Place I TRY/I hear around IN/popular and ERA for time (period).

17d         Support team that’s behind (8)
BACKSIDE – A charade of BACK/support and SIDE/team.

18d         King, at this point, accomplished what’s within grasp (8)
KNOWABLE – K for King, NOW for ‘at this point’ and ABLE for accomplished/adept.

20d         Not well presented in one part of speech or another (6)
POORLY – This caused some confusion on the day but not well/POORLY can mean unwell as an adjective or badly as an adverb hence in one part of speech or another.

22d         Carried out move in second half for City, producing score (6)
TWENTY – WENT or carried out move (in a game of chess for example) inside the second half of the word (ci)TY.

23d         Audible disapproval, some of which is savage (4)
HISS – A hidden word which is some of which H IS S avage.

25d         Star on stage opposed to splitting donated money up (4)
DIVA – Place V for versus/opposed inside a reversal (up) of AID/donated money.