2639: Spelling the end

22 said ‘29 11’ (five words, ignore an apostrophe), suggesting the placing of theother unclued lights. Across 1    Once rush from county, as ire subsides (5) 4    Essential component of maximum break for players (3,6) 10    Open to sympathy as a barrel breaks cabinet (10) 12    Two ancients drinking a gallon in the shade (3,4)

Christmas crossword: Double celebration

Unclued lights have something in common, nine of two words, five pairs, and one singleton.        Across 10  Always hard to keep a maid (4) 13  Only covering one’s losing bid (6) 15  Put down women’s medieval instrument (5) 16  Follow the game secretly from chimney (5) 21  Indian wasting minutes in queue (4) 22 

2626: Eternal youth

Unclued lights name an authoress (two lights), her hero (two lights), his group (one light, two words), and its members (mostly human). Across 4    Stimulant gets lad near to collapse at home (9) 10    FBI agents after government department: time to clean up files (10) 14    In mill channel pressure rose suddenly (5) 15    Labourer

2624: Him and her

Each Across unclued light is associated in the same way with a Down one (one of two words).         Across    1    In small conurbations, transport deficiencies (10)    7    Walk from Piraeus to Athens (4) 15    Huge resistance from masculine self-importance? I wonder (6) 18    PM’s residence about to receive first of rock stars

2615: Bronze pile

Unclued lights give the names (one of two words) of some members of a distinguished group. A further member is the answer to a clued light and should be highlighted. One name does double duty. Across 1    Enclose wife in vaulted chamber (8) 5    Mean times approaching (6) 14    Hard ball of wood found in

2606: In a twinkling

The unclued lights are of a kind and may be easy to see. A diacritical mark should be ignored in each of two clued solutions. Across 1    Ungenerous-sounding notice gets woman in frenzy (6) 7    Birthday back in one Scottish home (5) 13    A sign to remove singer (5) 17    Parent welcoming one of her

2597: A couple

Five unclued lights are connected with one partner, four with the other. Another links both. Across 1    Nervous about yarn being threadbare (6)11    She intervenes, announcing press deceptions (9)12    Currency heretic returns (5)14    Saviour’s foul-up: I take fright, losing head (9)16    Switch middle of tracks for competitions (6)21    ‘Estimates’ (6)22    Joins college team with backing

2596: Charades

Unclued lights provide three definitions each of a whole word and of its two syllables. Solvers should highlight the word where it appears on this page. Across 1    In clinic came up against a barman (7)6    Walker and cyclist on stone (7)12    Polishes round back of altar in hallowed places (7)14    Bird in casserole with two eggs?

2591: Get over it

The nine individual unclued lights form three sets of three, each set related to a theme word in a different way. The theme word is hidden in the grid and should be highlighted. Across 5    Most appropriate page in a quiz (6)10    I’m praised for moving to retain university committee (10)12    Queen is taking a

2576: After Eleven

The unclued lights form five pairs, as suggested by the title. Across 6 Fashion blunted by useless needle (6) 10 Sister in action in a moving church feast (12) 13 Lily and Len backing boss (7) 16 Youth turns to another who’s idle (4) 17 Scarper from unstable ice-sheet (6,2) 21 Underclothes hang loosely? Twaddle

2567: Stop!

The unclued lights (including two pairs, one of which is three words, and one single light of three words) are of a kind, as found pleasingly in Brewer. Ignore three accents and one apostrophe. Across 1 Reveal details of ride in car with open top (4,3,3,3) 9 City is enormous, endlessly gloomy (4) 11 Ivied

2558: Blonde, 78

Unclued lights can be grouped into three triplets, each associated in a different sense with a keyword to be discovered, of which the title suggests a topical example   Across 7 Assembly line described by writer I don’t know (6) 12 Smaller flower is rarity, but gets propagated (9) 13 Dido laughed, admitting mistaken views

2546: Picture book

43 (two words) created 1A (four words) and 3 10 14 (seven words). The latter inspired 17 30, whose work introduced the egregious 18. Elsewhere, ignore one accent. Across 9 The first three letters of ‘skunk’ (4) 11 Duke ordering wild heroics (9, hyphened) 12 Beat wife and cover up (4) 15 Mark has no

2543: Parts of speech

Unclued lights form a progressive set, plus the name of the speaker.   Across 1 Talk shortly about present-day veg (7, two words) 6 Secure trim accessory (7, two words) 11 Harp on about poor child (6) 12 Sun already, so? It’s a feature of India (7) 14 Welshman and Scotsman clash over nymph (5)

2533: Monday’s Child

A nine-word phrase (in five unclued lights, two used twice) opens a work for 1A (three words) by 8 (two words). The work inspired the other two unclued lights.   Across 9 A horse’s bridle eventually just as old (7, three words) 11 Outrageous, a chimney turning half black (7) 12 Army team endlessly tense

2522: A trifle

The unclued lights (one hyphened) have nothing in common.   Across 4 Author Henry’s daughter perhaps (not a son) making a bad slip (11) 11 Hard ball scores for Scots, English not coming back (9) 12 Guess sport returns after a month (5) 13 Frail oracle failing doesn’t bother me (11, four words) 18 Abstracts

2519: Not so up-to-date – solution

The unclued lights can all be preceded by OLD which is the clued solution at 49 Across. ‘Crocks’ at 5 Across was also acceptable. First prize George Walker, Stockport Runners-up Andrew Harris, Hopesay, Shropshire; Sue Pounder, Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside

2514: Welcome back

Unclued lights (one of two words, the others paired) are of a kind. Across 7 Lace branches left in fruit tree (6) 11 After study, forgetting the year, doubting what William was famous for (10) 13 Appealing to restrain husband’s slide (5) 14 It strengthens bricks originally placed in tower (5, hyphened) 15 Mounted, moving south towards

2504: Collectors’ items

Clockwise round the peri-meter go two lines of a topical verse, thirteen words altogether. (The barred off square divides the lines.) The other unclued lights are some possible collectors’ items. Across 9 Half more oil, cooking white radish (5) 13 Decide to leave work with solicitor (6, two words) 15 Church land welcomes bishop in

2494: Back to front

The unclued lights have something in common. None is a real word.   Across 1 Promoted male only editor eclipsed (8) 8 Four blood groups maybe, or one group (4) 11 In brief affair, my girl headed off cutting turf (12) 12 Force president to accept Liberal myth (5) 14 Cheerless and tense inside drink