ST 2987 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2987

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2987

A full review by crypticsue

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

Back to the sort of crossword from Dada that it would be nice to see in the middle of the paper on a Tuesday (which seems to be the day for one of his ‘toughies’ to appear)

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Trees in a thicket cleared initially (2,5)
AT FIRST – FIRS (trees) inserted in A (from the clue) ThickeT (cleared telling you that you only need the outside letters)

5a    Enemy in retreat, safe to move around — relax (4,3)
EASE OFF – A reversal (in retreat) of FOE (enemy) inserted into an anagram (to move) of SAFE

9a    Line-dancing party starts to get active (5)
CONGA – CON (Conservative party) and the ‘starts’ of Get and Active

10a    Canopy closing off border for three months (9)
TRIMESTER – TESTER ‘closing off’ RIM (border)

11a    Good-looking woman has been identified as cleaner (10)
DISHWASHER – DISH (good-looking woman) WAS HER (has been identified as)

12a    Like that, gangsters less good (4)
THUS – Remove the G (less good) from THUgS (gangsters)

14a    Without control, public disorder descended (12)
UNRESTRAINED – UNREST (public disorder) RAINED (descended)

18a    For example, setter’s warmer breakfast-time drink? (4,2,3,3)
HAIR OF THE DOG – Something that keeps a dog such as a setter warm is used to describe a drink someone might consume after a heavy night at the pub

21a    Piece of furniture turned around in flat in Upminster (4)
UNIT – Lurking in reverse (turned around) in flaT IN Upminster

22a    Individual that’s struck with equal criticism (10)
MATCHSTICK – MATCH (equal) STICK (criticism)

25a    Noble tale dismissing a tutor of Alexander (9)
ARISTOTLE – ARISTO (noble) and TaLE (‘dismissing’ A)

26a    Period showing king ultimately in control? (5)
REIGN – G (the ultimate letter of king) inserted into REIN (control)

27a    Benefactor clutches at benefactor! (7)
DONATOR – DONOR (benefactor) ‘clutches’ AT

28a    Fine year after day in command (7)
POWDERY – Y (year) goes after POWER (command) into which has been inserted D (day)


1d    Needing no introduction, procession covering Chopin’s first passage (6)
ARCADE – Needing no introduction is telling you to remove the first letter from pARADE (procession) and insert (covering) the C that is the first letter of Chopin

2d    Complete language spoken? (6)
FINISH – A homophone (spoken) of FINNISH (language) – this week’s ‘old friend’

3d    File containing personal feature and current picture (4,6)
REAR WINDOW – This famous Hitchcock picture is obtained by inserted into a ROW (file) an EAR (personal feature) and WIND (current)

4d    Roman emperor uplifted hearts, perhaps — about time (5)
TITUS – A reversal (uplifted in a Down clue) of SUIT (hearts, perhaps) ‘about’ T (time)

5d    Focus of activity in great course, incomplete (9)
EPICENTRE – EPIC (great) ENTRÉe (an incomplete course in a meal)

6d    Drop tools here, maybe? (4)
SHED – A verb meaning to drop or a place to keep tools

7d    Better off female keeping fashionable (8)
OUTSHINE – OUT (off) SHE (female) ‘keeping’ IN (fashionable)

8d    If upset, remain somewhere cosy (8)
FIRESIDE – A reversal (upset in a Down clue) of IF followed by RESIDE (remain)

13d    Weak character, scarecrow? (3,2,5)
MAN OF STRAW – A person of no substance – a scarecrow is also made of straw

15d    Fan heading for trouble runs into old player (9)
EXTRACTOR – The ‘heading’ for Trouble and the abbreviation for Runs inserted into an EX ACTOR (old player)

16d    Grand seeing you on beach (8)
THOUSAND – THOU (you) on SAND (beach)

17d    Boundary I had drawn up, ideal (8)
DIVISION – A reversal (drawn up) of ID (I had) followed by VISION (ideal)

19d    Wonderful guess (6)
DIVINE – Double definition – an adjective meaning wonderful or a verb meaning to guess

20d    Spare space around pub (6)
SKINNY – SKY (space) around INN (pub)

23d    Inch worm (5)
CREEP – To inch or move slowly; a slang term for an unpleasant person

24d    Test failing, cancel amendment (4)
STET – An anagram (failing) of TEST – a direction to restore something in a written document previously marked for deletion

2 comments on “ST 2987

  1. Commenting here as “Sunday” was absent from my copy of yesterday’s paper. Very annoying as I tend not to read Sunday’s paper. I therefore retrieved the unopened one from two week’s ago on way to recycling. I have to say, as one who struggled with Dada, that I thought this to be excellent and most went in without difficulty and I parsed all apart from 3D. Like others it was the SE that held me up. Eventually got them all without help. 28a was Last in. Never thought of that synonym for fine and for some time I doubted my answer to 23d. Favourites 18 and 25a and 1 13 15 and 16d.

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