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ST 2996

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2996

A full review by gnomethang

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This puzzle was published on 24th March 2019

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

Morning All! I am not sure of the solving time but there were a few tricky clues to parse but this was balanced by more than a few fairly straightforward double and cryptic definitions.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Terribly sad caramel sauce (5,5)
SALAD CREAM – A terrible anagram of SAD CARAMEL and a despicable thing to put on salad!.

6a           Barely deserved (4)
JUST – Two definitions – one meaning nearly not at all and the other fair/deserved.

9a           One now free, having defected from Tory party? (2-3)
EX-CON – A defector from the Conservative party might cryptically be an EX-CON.

10a        Type letter (9)
CHARACTER – CHARACTER or type of person and also a printed letter.

12a        Traveller taking duck round capital in Oman (7)
SCOOTER – A SCOTER/type of duck around the capital letter in O(man).

13a        Strapping damaged leg and arm mostly (5)
LARGE – An anagram (damaged) of LEG and also most of AR(m).

15a        Frivolous case with four banged up (7)
TRIVIAL – IV, the Roman Numeral for four in banged up inside a TRIAL or law case.

17a        Instant before dawn, when satellite disappears (7)
MOONSET – A sort of cryptic definition of when dawn breaks (although not always). The satellite being our moon.  MO (instant) followed by (before) ONSET (dawn).

19a        One doesn’t believe suspect ultimately involved in a crime (7)
ATHEIST – Place the ultimate letter in suspect(T) inside A HEIST  or a crime.

21a        Swindler — might one take a bow? (7)
FIDDLER – A straight definition and the cryptic of a violinist or FIDDLER who uses/takes a bow to play.

22a        Letter from Greece going abroad, mailed miles afield initially (5)
GAMMA – We need the initial letters of Going Abroad Mailed Miles Afield.

24a        Soldier approaching favourite part of castle (7)
PARAPET – A charade of a PARA(trooper)/soldier and PET or favourite.

27a        See mother juggling triplets, perhaps? (9)
THREESOME – An anagram (juggling) of SEE MOTHER.

28a        Polished batting, timid catches (5)
SHINY – SHY/timid contains or catches IN for batting/at the crease in cricket.

29a        Cash register (4)
NOTE – Two definitions again – A banknote/cash and to spot or notice/register.

30a        Community ruling (10)
SETTLEMENT – The double definitions keep coming – A community of houses/people and also a final ruling in a court or financial dispute.


1d           Worry what might be for dinner? (4)
STEW – To STEW/fret/worry and a pot of meat and vegetables.

2d           Security expert: hairdresser, quite possibly? (9)
LOCKSMITH – The first is the straight definition and the second the cryptic. In the same way that a poet or wordsmith manages words, a hairdresser manages LOCKS of hair.

3d           Wild thing, stop that awful noise! (5)
DINGO – I spotted a number of dingoes in crosswords about this time. In any case if you want the noise ti stop you might shout DIN, GO!

4d           Performance: briefly remember to embrace it (7)
RECITAL – IT from the clue is embraced by almost all of (briefly) to RECAL(l) or remember.

5d           From forty-five, one is over fifty! (7)
ANAGRAM – As spotted forty-five is an ANAGRAM of over fifty.

7d           Head knocked from golf club, say (5)
UTTER – Remove the head letter from a golf (p)UTTER.

8d           Nonsense written up on helpful types in school bullies (10)
TORMENTORS – Reverse (write up in a Down clue, ROT for rubbish and then add MENTORS or ‘helpful people in school’.

11d        Taking everything into account, book reading’s finished? (3,4)
ALL-TOLD – When a book is completely read (aloud) then the story is ALL TOLD.

14d        Adjust as right number put in order (10)
STRAIGHTEN – Make an anagram of (or adjust) AS RIGHT and then add the number TEN.

16d        This person is one: conclusion for journalist fed copy (7)
IMITATE – I’M for (this person is) then I for one, the concluding letter in [journalis]T and ATE (fed)

18d        Very fired up with a passion for card game (9)
SOLITAIRE – SO for very, then LIT for fired up and finally A IRE for a passion.

20d        Excellent jumper with flaw? (3-4)
TOP-HOLE – A TOP for a jumper and a HOLE for a flaw.

21d        Penalty or fine having taken out centre in match (7)
FORFEIT – OR from the clue and then F(inE) i.e. fine with the centre taken out all placed inside FIT for match.

23d        Worth yours truly slowing down (5)
MERIT – ME/yours truly and RIT(ardando) – a musical instruction meaning ‘with decreasing speed’.

25d        Success! Couple finally dated (5)
PASSE – PASS for success and the final letter in (coupl)E.

26d        Growth in infancy, steady (4)
CYST – A hidden word in infan CY ST eady.



8 comments on “ST 2996

  1. From what I remember I enjoyed this one – thanks to Gnomethang for the entertaining review. Heinz recently announced that they were changing the name of their disgusting product to ‘sandwich cream’ but overwhelming public response (so they say!) persuaded them to revert to the original name.
    I think the definition of 17a is just ‘when satellite disappears’ with the wordplay being MO (instant) + ONSET (dawn).

      1. You are not alone, I was somewhat confused by 17a when I did the hints. I think partly because the event hardly ever occurs just before dawn!

  2. My notes for this one called it ‘A short-lived solving experience with a considerable number of ‘old friends’ and repeated same clue devices’

    Thanks for the blog

  3. Nice Sunday of the new era that was just right for a Sunday. 2d my fave and it gives me the opportunity to post the funniest YT link I saw on April fool’s day.

  4. Like CS, I also noticed that often the clue format was rather samesy.

    Wasn’t keen on 16d (the hint needs finishing off!)

    Thanks for the review GT

  5. 4*/2*…
    liked the rather topical 9A (one now free, having defected from Tory party?).

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