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ST 2981

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2981

A full review by gnomethang

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This puzzle was published on 9th November 2018

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

Morning All! I hope you all agree with me that our new Sunday setter seems to have settled on a good level for a prize puzzle. This had some great clues with convincing surface readings and a fair bit of whimsy.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Bit of a nag and that’s the whole thing summed up, so to speak? (12)
FOREQUARTERS – The cryptic definition refers to the fact that FOUR QUARTERS make up 1 or a whole and FORE is a homophone of FOUR (so to speak).

8a           Japanese island acceptable to a certain extent, docked (7)
OKINAWA – OK for acceptable then IN A WA(y) or toa certain extent with the tail letter cut off (docked).

9a           Book is written on characteristic units (7)
GENESIS – Place Is after (on on an across clue)  GENES or the units that define our character/make up.

11a         Talk about one being smarter! (7)
NATTIER – To NATTER or talk around/about I for one.

12a         Boat meeting a target for renovation (7)
REGATTA – An anagram (for renovation) of A TARGET.

13a         Disturbing the peace, louder hi-fi console by all conclusions (5)
EERIE – The final letters (by all conclusions) of thE peacE loudeR hi-fI consolE.

14a         Easy flitting to US, being end of the day (6,3)
LIGHTS OUT – LIGHT for easy and then an anagram (flitting) of TO US.

16a         Stunner or shocker? (9)
BOMBSHELL – Two definitions – a good looking (female usually) and an explosive.

19a         Meat and gravy brought home? (5)
BACON – The first is the straight definition and the cryptic is with reference to ‘bringing home the BACON’ or ‘making gravy for earning money.

21a         An obligation to steal kiss, snatched without permission (7)
ANNEXED – AN from the clue then NEED or obligation including/snatching X for a kiss.

23a         Out to lunch — as setter might be? (7)
BARKING – The setter being a dog!

24a         Deep and heavy, hot tray for cooking (7)
THROATY – An anagram, appropriately indicated by ‘for cooking’, of HOT TRAY.

25a         Almost everyone sent back, call for strike (4,3)
LASH OUT – Reverse AL(l) or ‘almost everyone sent back’ and then add SHOUT for call.

26a         Big fish — try to catch majestic lot by old boat (7,5)
BASKING SHARK – A BASH or try/go to include KINGS (majestic lot) and finally an ARK (an old boat from the bible.


1d           Waste food (7)
FRITTER – To liberally spend and also a fried delight (with spam!).

2d           Twig is found in drink under middle of tree (7)
REALISE – Place IS from the clue inside ALE/drink following (under in a down clue) the middle letters of t RE e.

3d           Dance in yard, about to come over unwell (9)
QUADRILLE – A QUAD(rangle) for  a yard and then RE for about/reference covering (coming over) ILL for unwell.

4d           Needle nipping top from sausage (5)
ANGER – Remove or nip off the top from a (b)ANGER/sausage.

5d           Mean clothes on this evening (7)
TONIGHT – A lovely simple clue with good surface reading. TIGHT or mean covers/clothes ON from the clue.

6d           S American port covering very dry Italian dish (7)
RISOTTO – The port of RIO covering SO TT(very TeaTotal).

7d           Token expletive in aggressive response (12)
COUNTERBLAST – a charade of a COUNTER/token and BLAST for a mild expletive.

10d         Barrier for racehorses has jumpin’ gee-gee, you might say, worried (8,4)
STARTING GATE – STARTIN’ for jumpin’ then GG for a Gee-ge (one might say) and finally ATE for worried.

15d         Approaching cups, might these be chipped? (4,5)
GOLF BALLS – A cryptic definition of the things that can be chipped towards a golf hole/cup.

17d         Not entirely in my possession, giant island (7)
MINORCA – Almost all of, but not entirely, MIN (e) (in my possession) then ORCA aka the Giant Orca.

18d         Some beer belly toned? (3-4)
SIX-PACK – Both a quantity of beer and the flat tummy (belly toned) that you don’t get from drinking it!.

19d         Person trained to serve in Italian city’s territorials (7)
BARISTA – The Italian city of BARI with an apostrophe ‘S followed by TA for the Territorial Army.

20d         Wind opening clasps over ornaments, primarily (7)
CHINOOK – A wind that blows over the Rockies. A CHINK or opening around/over O for over and the primary letter in O(rnaments).

22d         Make money, as most experienced member (5)
DOYEN – To DO/make and YEN for money.

Thanks to the setter – I’ll be back tomorrow.


6 comments on “ST 2981

  1. Thanks for the review. I certainly don’t agree!! I usually finish the back-pager, with the occasional hint, yet I struggle to get half a dozen answers on a Sunday. I shall persevere though and your hints may help me get on the right wavelength before I die!!

    1. I thought this was pretty tricky for a Sunday – there was a fair bit of ‘stop staring at the clue and look for a word that fits the grid’.

  2. I’ve rather lost track of how many Dada Sundays we’ve had so far – I found the first couple almost impossible but either he has toned down the difficulty level or I’m getting more used to his crosswords – I strongly suspect the former!
    I did finish this one and enjoyed it but it took a long time.
    Lots of good clues including 1 and 21a and 1 and 18d.
    With thanks to Dada for the crossword and Gnomey for the review.

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