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ST 2979

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2979

A full review by crypticsue

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This puzzle was published on 25th November 2018

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

The second Dada Sunday Prize Puzzle had some of his humour but was still, in my view, more suited to a weekday Toughie spot – my time would indicate a 4* difficulty if I was solving a weekday Toughie, but I think for a Sunday crossword, it should be rated as 5*. Probably only a reviewer would notice, but there’s quite a lot of ‘take a letter off’ going on.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


6a    Fine not yet paid (11)
OUTSTANDING – A double definition clue

9a    Gannet, one curious bird (6)
PIGEON – PIG (gannet, greedy person) and an anagram (curious) of ONE

10a    Food that’s served inside (8)
PORRIDGE – A nice cryptic definition

11a    Clipped shot during game of tennis one’s played (6,4)
DOUBLE BASS – Clip or remove the final letter of BASh (shot) and insert into DOUBLES (game of tennis)

14a    Itch to get rid of, head scratched (4)
URGE – This time we ‘scratch’ the first letter (head) of pURGE (get rid of)

15a    Hen’s job to come by good egg — skill of home-making perhaps? (11)
BRICKLAYING – LAYING (hen’s job) comes by or after BRICK (good egg)

21a    Slight reduction of figure (4)
THIN – Here ‘figure’ means work out or THINk and you have to reduce this by removing the last letter

22a    Community decision (10)
SETTLEMENT – Another double definition clue

25a    Grey substance Greek character found among the ashes? (8)
GRAPHITE – PHI (Greek character) found in GRATE (among the ashes?)

27a    Swallow egg and stuff on the counter (6)
MARTIN – On the counter indicates the need to reverse NIT (egg) and RAM (as a verb meaning to stuff)

28a    Fruit with flower and blossom? (5,6)
BLOOD ORANGE – BLOOD (flower in the sense of something that flows) ORANGE (blossom?)


1d    Grand reserve bottles for every one (6)
SUPERB – SUB (reserve) ‘bottles’ PER (for every one)

2d    Time awaiting payment nerve-racking at first, cause to get agitated about it? (6)
USANCE – Time allowed for payment of foreign bills of exchange – the first letter of Nerve inserted into an anagram (to get agitated) of CAUSE. Strange the stuff you remember from long ago taken secretarial courses!

3d    Siren improvised music (4)
VAMP – I knew one of the definitions but had to check the second

4d    Credentials are on report, probably (1,4,3)
I DARE SAY – ID (credentials) ARE (from the clue) SAY (report)

5d    Two animals, one tailless, one living on island (8)
ANTIGUAN – ANT and IGUANa (two animals, one without its ‘tail’)

7d    US president with nothing in diary, apparently (5)
NIXON –NIX is [originally US] slang for nothing doing) followed by ON (one of the meanings of which is in [the] diary)

8d    Back move as much as you like (1,2-2)
A GO-GO – AGO (back) GO (move)

12d    Blooming colourful circle inside kaleidoscope (3)
LEI – A colourful garland of flowers can be found inside kaLEIdoscope

13d    Dish out thousands and thousands to the auditor? (5)
ALLOT – Sounds like (to the auditor) A LOT (thousands and thousands)

16d    Sound cricket shot for opener (4-4)
RING-PULL – RING (sound) PULL (cricket shot – an attacking stroke played with a horizontal bat where the batsman hits the ball from waist height round onto the legside)

17d    Gatecrashing little party, excited for sure (4-4)
CAST-IRON – ASTIR (excited) in CON (abbreviated – little – Conservative party

18d    Dessert, sweet without topping (3)
ICE – Another chop the first letter off (without topping) this time of nICE (sweet)

19d    Green vegetable black, by the sound of it? (5)
CHARD – This green vegetable sounds like CHARRED (black)

20d    One admitting failure at the outset — probably not working out? (5)
UNFIT – UNIT (one) admitting F (the letter at the outset of Failure)

23d    Starter of mutton scoffed by priests in RC feast once (6)
LAMMAS – The M that is the ‘starter’ of Mutton ‘scoffed by’ LAMAS (priests)

24d    Scene imagined blowing a gasket close to Watford Gap services, possibly? (6)
MIRAGE – MI RAGE might describe a driver blowing a gasket somewhere near Watford Gap services on the M1 motorway

26d    London landmark burning up (4)
EROS – A reversal (up in a Down clue) of SORE (burning)

6 comments on “ST 2979

  1. Reading the review, I still stand by my original comment, that this puzzle was too difficult for a Sunday morning entertainment. Last Sunday’s was more accessible and better IMO.
    Thanks for the review.

  2. I am still of the opinion that the occasional “toughie” on any day of the week sets a challenge to be attempted , learnt from and the compiler’s skill admired .
    Apart from 2D , the answers were familiar words or phrases .
    Thanks for the review and comments .

  3. Lovely puzzle. The London landmark took a bit of finding (Picadilly Circus is always too busy). I could not see the why and the wherefore of 8d but did not split the whole 3,2 so thanks to CS for that.

  4. Thanks Sue. I don’t think I would ever be clever enough to solve a puzzle like this.
    Admiration and respect to all who cracked this.

  5. My only eventual quibble was 17d which I got but was unable to understand the parsing.
    I would never in a month of Sundays have regarded ‘gatecrashing’ as an intervention.
    We live and learn.
    A thoroughly challenging but enjoyable tussle.
    Many thanks Dada, and crypticsue

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