ST 2983 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2983

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2983

A full review by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

By the time this review of the most straightforward of Christmas themed Sunday crosswords appears, we’ll have forgotten all about the festive period and be back at work.

So after four weeks of Dada crosswords tougher to solve than any of his back pager or inside the paper crosswords, which had the result of putting many Sunday solvers off even attempting to start the crossword, ST 2983 was widely advertised as being ‘ferocious’, which probably caused even more people to give up without trying, which was sad because you’d be hard pressed to find a more benign crossword than this one on any day of the week in any publication. If there was a 0.5 star difficulty option, I’d have used that, but I did enjoy the Christmas theme so I gave it 4* for enjoyment.

I know ‘wrong envelope days’ are subjective but I still maintain that the postman is getting in a right muddle with envelopes from Dada – his back pagers are harder than his puzzles in the middle of the paper and, apart from this one exception, his Sunday crosswords are harder than the other two put together. Hopefully the 2019 envelopes will end up in the correct in-trays and there’ll be more happy solvers in the year ahead.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


6a    Christmas favourite thing: tinsel for decorating (6,5)
SILENT NIGHT – An anagram (for decorating) of THING TINSEL

9a    Cured gambler (6)

10a    Drunk is gifted postprandial drink (8)
DIGESTIF – An anagram (drunk) of IS GIFTED

11a    Yank featuring in one ripping tale that’s emotional (4-6)
TEAR-JERKER – JERK (yank) ‘featuring’ in TEARER (one ripping)

14a    Christmas book, middle torn out (4)
NOEL – NOvEL (book) with its middle ‘torn out’

15a    Seasonal good wishes, remarks inspiring leaders in pretty lacklustre institution (11)
COMPLIMENTS – COMMENTS (remarks) ‘inspiring’ the leaders of Pretty Lacklustre Institution

21a    Somewhat disliked, a mean pantomime character (4)
DAME – Lurking (somewhat) in dislikeD A MEan

22a    Collapse of art trade we just survive (5,5)
TREAD WATER – An anagram (collapse) of ART TRADE WE – a clue that made me smile while solving as I’d just had a message from No 2 son to say he’d be doing a Christmas Day swim – rather him than me!

25a    Duck and orange (8)
MANDARIN – A 5d of a double definition clue

27a    Failure, Christmas dinner (6)
TURKEY – And another!

28a    Mad on Christmas, those likely to enjoy the Queen’s Speech? (11)
MONARCHISTS – An anagram (mad) of ON CHRISTMAS


1d    Wallet ultimately secreted by Scrooge — that’s what you’d call him (6)
MISTER – The T that is the ultimate letter of walleT ‘secreted by’ MISER (Scrooge)

2d    Order always coming up after Christmas time (6)
DECREE – EER (always) reversed (coming up) after DEC (December, Christmas time)

3d    Fastener securing tree unfortunately damaged, initially (4)
STUD – The initial letters of Securing Tree Unfortunately Damaged

4d    Hang about, that is for stockings, say? (8)
LINGERIE – LINGER (hang about) IE (that is)

5d    Tree trunk supporter (8)
CHESTNUT – CHEST (trunk) NUT (supporter, fan)

7d    Set up bar for party (5)
REVEL – A reversal (set up) of a LEVER (bar)

8d    Rudolph’s partner, foxy lady? (5)
VIXEN – Another double definition that doesn’t need explaining

12d    Troublesome situation, awful traffic (3)
JAM – Double definition anyone?

13d    Carver with some beef in kitchen to be served up (5)
KNIFE – Lurking in reverse (to be served up) in some of beEF IN Kitchen

16d    Done with poor reforms, such a welcoming policy (4-4)
OPEN-DOOR – An anagram (reforms) of DONE with POOR

17d    Pantomime horse’s rear in difficult part, writer has admitted (5,3)
PETER PAN – E (horse’s rear) inserted into an anagram (difficult) of PART and the result then inserted (admitted) into PEN (writer)

18d    Certainly not getting wife present! (3)
NOW – NO (certainly not) W (wife)

19d    Devil, Santa in disguise! (5)
SATAN – An anagram (in disguise) of SANTA

20d    Originally serene and smooth, number of swans a-swimming (5)
SEVEN – The original letter of Serene – S and EVEN (smooth)

23d    Particular Christmas film seen in Irish house (6)
DETAIL – ET (Christmas film) seen in DAIL (lower house of the legislature of the Irish Republic)

24d    Make effervescent putting article on a tree that’s shimmering (6)
AERATE – A (article) on an anagram (shimmering) of A TREE

26d    Arrest Christmas saint? (4)
NICK – And, you’ve guessed it, another double definition to finish off this excellent Christmas themed Sunday crossword

1 comment on “ST 2983

  1. I would agree with your rating – good puzzle but I do confess to being a tad disappointed that it was not at all challenging. You can’t always please everyone so I’m not complaining.

    Thanks to setter and to CS

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