Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1518

Another scruffy effort this week. Uneven too. For the most part the puzzle was relatively straightforward, but I couldn’t fail to note the number of exotic five-letter solutions. This suggests the setter was struggling to fill the grid. Either that or they had some pet clues which made them unwilling to rework these areas. Whatever the reason, it’s interesting how we get runs of scruffy Jumbos from time to time. I guess we’ve just got to ride them out.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip, then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 160+ of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and help. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once the pens fall silent. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Small and tending to shrink; not initially appealing (9)

Answer: SEDUCTIVE (i.e. “appealing”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by REDUCTIVE (i.e. “tending to shrink”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “not initially”), like so: S-EDUCTIVE.

  1. It’s played where prisoner no. 15 is kept? (5)

Answer: CELLO (i.e. “it’s played”). My guess is when written as CELL O the solution satisfies “where prisoner no. 15 is kept”, but the setter has left me behind with this one. Bye, setter! Bye! B-bye! (Sound of ship’s horn fading into the horizon.) If this is a reference to 15a, solution AMORPHOUS, then I say cobblers – the letter O is very much a shape. If this is a reference to The Prisoner, however, then the setter is welcome to it.
[EDIT: Thanks to Chris in the comments for nailing this one. O is the 15th letter of the alphabet, hence all that palaver. Cheers, Chris! – LP]

  1. Endless frolic with boy provides thrill (7)

Answer: FRISSON (i.e. “thrill”). Solution is FRISK (i.e. “frolic”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder followed by SON (i.e. “boy”), like so: FRIS-SON.

  1. In sea abroad, this person’s one who plays dumb (5)

Answer: MIMER (i.e. “one who plays dumb”, or doesn’t speak). Solution is I’M (i.e. “this person’s”, a contraction of “this person is”) placed “in” MER (i.e. “sea abroad”, specifically the French for “sea”), like so: M(I’M)ER. Can’t say my French stretched this far, which, let’s be honest, isn’t saying much. It does make me wonder if there are any small foreign words deemed off-limits for being too obscure. Or rude.

  1. Set place to sleep by lake (7)

Answer: COTERIE (i.e. “set” or clique). Solution is COT (i.e. “place to sleep”) followed by ERIE (one of the Great “Lakes” of North America).

  1. Shapeless, extremely posh erotic dresses (9)

Answer: AMORPHOUS (i.e. “shapeless”). Solution is PH (i.e. “extremely posh”, i.e. the first and last letters of “posh”) placed in or “dressed” by AMOROUS (i.e. “erotic”), like so: AMOR(PH)OUS.

  1. Like some payments in scam causing offence (11)

Answer: CONTACTLESS (i.e. “like some payments”). Solution is CON (i.e. “scam”) followed by TACTLESS (i.e. “causing offence”).

  1. Rightist or leftist in the ceremony over there? (11)

Answer: THATCHERITE (i.e. “rightist”). Solution is CHE Guevara (i.e. famed “leftist”) placed “in” THAT RITE (i.e. “the ceremony over there”), like so: THAT-(CHE)-RITE.

  1. Religious study isn’t able to change one’s mind (6)

Answer: RECANT (i.e. “to change one’s mind”). Solution is RE (i.e. “religious study”, or Religious Education) followed by CAN’T (i.e. “isn’t able”).

  1. Vessel more quickly filled by both taps (8)

Answer: SCHOONER (i.e. seafaring “vessel”). Solution is SOONER (i.e. “more quickly”) wrapped around or “filled by” C and H (i.e. “both taps”, specifically Cold and Hot) like so: S(CH)OONER.

  1. As arms may be in a novel covering of bamboo (6)

Answer: AKIMBO (i.e. “as arms may be”). Solution is A followed by KIM (a “novel” by Rudyard Kipling) and BO (i.e. “covering of bamboo”, i.e. the first and last letters of “bamboo”).

  1. Biblical figure in African land importing stuff (8)

Answer: BENJAMIN (i.e. “biblical figure”, one of Jacob’s sons). Solution is BENIN (i.e. “African land”) wrapped around or “importing” JAM (i.e. to “stuff” or cram), like so: BEN(JAM)IN.

  1. The dog doesn’t bother me, penning current acceptance speech? (1,4,4,2,1,2)

Answer: I DON’T MIND IF I DO (i.e. “acceptance speech”, or a phrase of acceptance). Solution is I DON’T MIND FIDO (i.e. “the dog doesn’t bother me”) wrapped around I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics), like so: I-DON’T-MIND-(I)-FIDO.

  1. Dickensian heroine uttered a mournful sound (5)

Answer: KNELL (i.e. “a mournful sound”). “Uttered” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of Little NELL (i.e. “Dickensian heroine” from The Old Curiosity Shop).

  1. Climate change phenomenon represented online (2,4)

Answer: EL NINO (i.e. “climate change phenomenon”). “Represented” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ONLINE.

  1. Selfish sort covering miles with a horse, a poor runner (10)

Answer: MISMANAGER (i.e. “a poor runner”). Solution is MISER (i.e. “selfish sort”) wrapped around or “covering” M (a recognised abbreviation of “miles”) and A NAG (i.e. “a horse”), like so: MIS(M-A-NAG)ER.

  1. Reckon female with record has a way to get off (5,5)

Answer: COUNT SHEEP (i.e. “a way to get off” to sleep). Solution is COUNT (i.e. “reckon”) followed by SHE (i.e. “female”) and EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended Play).

  1. What’s framed by Truffaut, European director (6)

Answer: AUTEUR (i.e. “director”). “What’s framed by” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: TRUFF(AUT EUR)OPEAN. Nicely done.

  1. WC has broken? Sound not stressed (5)

Answer: SCHWA (i.e. “sound not stressed” or indistinct vowel sound). “Broken” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WC HAS. One of those everyday words. Thankfully the wordplay was fairly obvious.

  1. Party around upright man’s holiday home (8,6)

Answer: BALMORAL CASTLE (i.e. “holiday home” of the Royal Family). Solution is LAB (i.e. “party”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Labour Party) reversed (indicated by “around”) and followed by MORAL (i.e. “upright”), then CASTLE (i.e. “man”, i.e. a chess piece, sometimes referred to as men), like so: BAL-MORAL-CASTLE.

  1. King, in a certain outbuilding, flailed (8)

Answer: THRESHED (i.e. “flailed”). Solution is R (i.e. “king”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Rex) placed “in” THE SHED (i.e. “a certain outbuilding”), like so: TH(R)E-SHED.

  1. Rear end of bus driver having blemishes (6)

Answer: SCABBY (i.e. “having blemishes”). Solution is S (i.e. “rear end of bus”, i.e. the last letter of “bus”) followed by CABBY (i.e. “driver” – can be spelled CABBIE or CABBY).

  1. Flora’s relative with gear past its best (8)

Answer: MARIGOLD (i.e. “flora” or flower). Solution is MA (i.e. mother or “relative”) followed by RIG (i.e. “gear”) and OLD (i.e. “past its best”).

  1. Tailor consumed overwhelming quantity of wine? (6)

Answer: ATTUNE (i.e. “tailor”). Solution is ATE (i.e. “consumed”) wrapped around or “overwhelming” TUN (i.e. “quantity of wine”), like so: AT(TUN)E.

  1. 1000 different people regretting losing good spirit (7,4)

Answer: MOTHER’S RUIN (i.e. gin or “spirit”). Solution is M (i.e. Roman numeral for “1000”) followed by OTHERS (i.e. “different people”) and RUING (i.e. “regretting”) once the G has been removed (indicated by “losing good” – G being a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: M-OTHERS-RUIN.

  1. Little test for phone feature (11)

Answer: TOUCHSCREEN (i.e. “phone feature”). Solution is TOUCH (i.e. a “little”) followed by SCREEN (i.e. to vet or “test”).

  1. Possessor of case of L-Dopa, new drug (9)

Answer: LANDOWNER (i.e. “possessor”). Solution is LA (i.e. “case of L-Dopa”, i.e. the first and last letters of “L-Dopa”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and DOWNER (i.e. depressant or “drug”).

  1. Making feeble noises, seabird is given fish (7)

Answer: MEWLING (i.e. “making feeble noises”). Solution is MEW (i.e. a gull or “seabird” – a new one on me) followed by LING (i.e. a “fish” useful for setters).

  1. Philosopher, the French one, carrying weight (3,2)

Answer: LAO ZI (i.e. “philosopher” with umpteen variant spellings of his name. Just not this one, it seems. Like I said, scruffy.) Solution is LA (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the feminine form of “the” in French) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) wrapped around or “carrying” OZ (i.e. “weight”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “ounce”), like so: LA-(OZ)-I. Made. To. Fit.

  1. Will proverbially follows and precedes this lady (7)

Answer: THERESA (i.e. “lady”, basically a woman’s name). Shouldn’t the clue have read “This lady proverbially follows and precedes Will”? The proverb in question is “where THERE’S A will, THERE’S A way”. THERESA is in there twice. Will only once. I’ve tried twisting the clue this way and that in my mind. I’ve tried to see what was in the setter’s head when they were composing this clue, but I can only assume this is another one they’ve got wrong. In the preface to the latest Times Jumbo Cryptic book the editor infers he test-solves each Jumbo prior to its publication. Not on this evidence, it seems.

  1. Like painful area on foot, provoking weeping? (5)

Answer: CORNY (i.e. over-sentimental or “provoking weeping”). Clue plays on CORNS being “painful” growths on the “feet”.

  1. Barrier revolutionary Red China put round north (9)

Answer: HINDRANCE (i.e. “barrier”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “revolutionary”) of RED CHINA wrapped or “put round” N (a recognised abbreviation of “north”), like so: HI(N)DRANCE.

Down clues

  1. Shrubby growth, in total, a hundred (5)

Answer: SUMAC (i.e. “shrubby growth”). Solution is SUM (i.e. “total”) followed by A, then C (i.e. “[Roman numeral] hundred”). A recent repeat, which made this an easy get.

  1. Party with small amount of beer on open country (9,8)

Answer: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (i.e. “country”). Solution is DO (i.e. “party”) followed by MINI CAN (i.e. “small amount of beer”), then RE (i.e. about or “on” – think email replies) and PUBLIC (i.e. “open”).

  1. Brief everyone about Peruvian’s return to stage (7,4)

Answer: CURTAIN CALL (i.e. “return to stage”). Solution is CURT (i.e. “brief”) followed by ALL (i.e. “everyone”) once wrapped “about” INCA (i.e. a “Peruvian”, prior to the Spanish conquest), like so: CURT-A(INCA)LL.

  1. Picked up viewable Kindle (6)

Answer: INCITE (i.e. to enflame or “kindle” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). “Picked up” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of IN SIGHT (i.e. “viewable”).

  1. Fix vent with wrench, scratching openings (8)

Answer: ENTRENCH (i.e. “fix” – over to Chambers: “to establish or fix firmly because of an unwillingness to change or in such a way that change is difficult or impossible”). Solution is VENT and WRENCH once their initial letters have been removed (indicated by “scratching openings”), like so: ENT-RENCH.

  1. My daughter leaves gloomy person in suit (2-10)

Answer: CO-RESPONDENT (i.e. “person in [legal] suit”). Solution is COR (i.e. “my” – both expressions of surprise) followed by DESPONDENT (i.e. “gloomy”) once the first D has been removed (indicated by “daughter leaves…” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”), like so: COR-ESPONDENT.

  1. Officer in an elite unit leaving India foolishly (10)

Answer: LIEUTENANT (i.e. “officer”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “foolishly”) of AN ELITE UNIT once one of the Is has been removed (indicated by “leaving India” – India being I in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. American city with honour, I see (5)

Answer: OMAHA (i.e. “American city”). Solution is OM (i.e. “honour”, specifically the Order of Merit) followed by AHA! (i.e. “I see”).

  1. Supply info ad hoc for biological structure (4,5)

Answer: FOOD CHAIN (i.e. “biological structure”). “Supply” indicates anagram, as in something that is supple. Solution is an anagram of INFO AD HOC.

  1. Is minor epic novel showing looseness? (11)

Answer: IMPRECISION (i.e. “showing looseness”). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IS MINOR EPIC.

  1. Some in limousine going round European country there (5)

Answer: SUOMI (i.e. “European country there”, specifically Finland or the Finnish language to the Finns). Some indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “going round” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: L(IMOUS)INE. Made. To. Fit.

  1. Bird making its home in north-east almost back (6)

Answer: NESTER (i.e. “bird making its home”). Solution is NE (a recognised abbreviation of “north-east”) followed by STERN (i.e. “back” or rear of a ship) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “almost”), like so: NE-STER.

  1. Polish president receiving second baby’s toy (6,4)

Answer: RUBIK’S CUBE (i.e. “toy”). Solution is RUB (i.e. “polish”) followed by IKE (i.e. “president”, specifically the nickname of President Eisenhower) once wrapped around or “receiving” S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) and CUB (i.e. “baby”), like so: RUB-IK(S-CUB)E. In a dark corner somewhere there is a Rubik’s Magic that has remained unsolved for decades. To be fair, I was more fascinated with how the thing linked together. #ExcusesExcuses

  1. One opposed to leaving duke out of balance (8)

Answer: REMAINER (i.e. “one opposed to leaving”). Solution is REMAINDER (i.e. “balance”) once the D has been removed (indicated by “leaving duke out of…” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “duke”).

  1. Get a big hand and successful gambler may? (5,3,5,4)

Answer: BRING THE HOUSE DOWN. Solution satisfies “get a big hand” or round or applause, and a “successful gambler may” do this – casinos are often referred to as houses. Nicely worked.

  1. Problem capturing energy using complex science (2-4)

Answer: HI-TECH (i.e. “using complex science”). Solution is HITCH (i.e. “problem”) wrapped around or “capturing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: HIT(E)CH.

  1. Cross about name, which is grasped upon entry (10)

Answer: DOORHANDLE (i.e. “which is grasped upon entry” into a room). Solution is ROOD (i.e. crucifix or “cross”) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by HANDLE (i.e. “name”), like so: DOOR-HANDLE.

  1. When schools work without firm entry system (8)

Answer: INTERCOM (i.e. “entry system”). Solution is IN TERM (i.e. “when schools work”) wrapped around or placed “without” CO (a recognised abbreviation of company, i.e. “firm”), like so: IN-TER(CO)M.

  1. Planet: hilly, hollow and muddy (6)

Answer: MARSHY (i.e. “muddy”). Solution is MARS (i.e. “planet”) followed by HY (i.e. “hilly, hollow”, i.e. the word “hilly” with all its middle letters removed).

  1. Consider American serving up a brown spicy dish (12)

Answer: MULLIGATAWNY (i.e. “spicy dish”). Solution is MULL (i.e. “consider”) followed by GI (i.e. “American serving” in the US army) once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), then A and TAWNY (i.e. “brown”), like so: MULL-IG-A-TAWNY.

  1. As I see it, seizing foreign currency is awkward (11)

Answer: TROUBLESOME (i.e. “awkward”). Solution is TO ME (i.e. “as I see it”) wrapped around or “seizing” ROUBLES (i.e. “foreign currency”), like so: T(ROUBLES)O-ME.

  1. Carp at clues which could be amazing? (11)

Answer: SPECTACULAR (i.e. “amazing”). “Which could be” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CARP AT CLUES.

  1. Epicurean removes cap right for Hipparchus, say (10)

Answer: ASTRONOMER (i.e. “Hipparchus, say”). Solution is GASTRONOME (i.e. “epicurean”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “removes cap”) and the remainder followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: ASTRONOME-R. Did I look up Hipparchus? Of course I did. The National Curriculum didn’t exactly cover Greek astronomers and mathematicians when I was at school. Had it have done then I’d be senior partner in an expensive London law firm by now instead of some loudmouth blathering about crosswords on the internet. (Shakes fist at life chances.)

  1. Fox is by Asian country no longer (9)

Answer: ABYSSINIA (i.e. “country no longer”, these days Ethiopia and Eritrea). “Fox” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IS BY ASIAN.

  1. Do well with roughly three to five divided by fifty (8)

Answer: FLOURISH (i.e. “do well”). Solution is FOURISH (i.e. “roughly three to five”) wrapped around or “divided by” L (i.e. “[Roman numeral] fifty”), like so: F(L)OURISH.

  1. Cross at clothes fetish (6)

Answer: AMULET (i.e. a charm or “fetish” – both things “regarded with irrational reverence” (Chambers)). Solution is MULE (a “cross” between a horse and donkey) placed in or “clothed” by AT, like so: A(MULE)T.

  1. Eastern ruler to avoid admitting defensive error (6)

Answer: SHOGUN (i.e. “Eastern ruler”). Solution is SHUN (i.e. “to avoid”) wrapped around or “admitting” OG (i.e. “defensive error”, specifically an Own Goal), like so: SH(OG)UN. If your wrists are up to the job, I’d recommend a read of James Clavell’s Shogun. It’s very good, Anjin san. I can’t vouch for the TV series, though, having never seen it.

  1. What indicates time is tight (5)

Answer: TENSE. Solution satisfies “what indicates time”, as in past, present and future tenses, and “tight”.

  1. Like Hungarian kind of acid, bottling gallons (5)

Answer: UGRIC (i.e. “like Hungarian”). Solution is URIC (i.e. “kind of acid”) wrapped around or bottling “gallons”, like so: U(G)RIC. One I knew, weirdly, after reading up on the short-lived Hungarian revolution of 1956. Otherwise, this is another that’s here to make fit.

  1. Overturning water, getting wet behind the ears (5)

Answer: NAÏVE (i.e. “wet behind the ears”). Clue plays on the solution being the reverse (indicated by “overturned”) of EVIAN (i.e. “water”). Nicely done.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1517

A medium strength puzzle this week, which was a bit of a relief after last week’s stinker. This was a decent run out with some well worked clues, if a tad scruffy in places. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

If a recent Jumbo has you beating the ground asking why? Why? WHYYYYY??!?! then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 160+ of these things. Elsewhere, there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the input and kind words, all. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared, or if there’s something I’ve overlooked. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids. I’ll see you soon.

LP

Across clues

  1. Little woman pregnant – me too! (4,3,4)

Answer: JOIN THE CLUB (i.e. “me too”). When written as JO IN THE CLUB the solution also satisfies “little woman pregnant” – JO March being a character in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and IN THE CLUB being an informal phrase for being pregnant.

  1. Turner exhibition here? (11)

Answer: PLANETARIUM. Clue plays on planets being “turners”, and how their orbits can be demonstrated or “exhibited” in planetariums. Nicely played.

  1. Put on a brave face and continue to attend regularly? (4,2,11)

Answer: KEEP UP APPEARANCES. Solution satisfies “put on a brave face” and “continue to attend regularly”.

  1. Gross wreck (5)

Answer: TOTAL. Solution satisfies “gross” and to “wreck”.

  1. Score when expected to get a century, after setback (6)

Answer: NOTATE (i.e. “score”). Solution is ETA (i.e. “when expected”, specifically an Estimated Time of Arrival) and TON (i.e. informal reference to “a century”) all reversed (indicated by “after setback”), like so: NOT-ATE.

  1. Picture teacher’s stolen (8)

Answer: HEADSHOT (i.e. “picture”). Solution is HEAD’S (i.e. “teacher’s”) followed by HOT (i.e. “stolen”).

  1. Drink, case of which is important (7)

Answer: WHISKEY (i.e. “drink”). Solution is WH (i.e. “case of which”, i.e. the first and last letters of “which”) followed by IS, then KEY (i.e. “important”).

  1. A charity preserving woodland briefly mentioned earlier (9)

Answer: AFORESAID (i.e. “mentioned earlier”). Solution is A and AID (i.e. “charity”) wrapped around or “preserving” FOREST (i.e. “woodland”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: A-(FORES)-AID.

  1. Time that’s nervous for a batsman, intense I suspect (8)

Answer: NINETIES (i.e. “time that’s nervous for a batsman” in cricket, as they approach a century score). “Suspect” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INTENSE I.

  1. Undesirable order, some Christmas boxes (4)

Answer: ASBO (i.e. “undesirable order”, i.e. an Antisocial Behaviour Order). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: CHRISTM(AS BO)XES.

  1. Spy a lady’s partner? (5)

Answer: AGENT (i.e. “spy”). When written as A GENT the solution also satisfies “a lady’s partner”.

  1. European was obliged to admit error when turned over (6)

Answer: DANISH (i.e. “European”). Solution is HAD (i.e. “was obliged”, or had to) wrapped around or “admitting” SIN (i.e. “error”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “when turned over”), like so: DA(NIS)H.

  1. As beer may be from Barcelona, Man United importing English (4,6)

Answer: HOME-BREWED (i.e. “as beer may be”). Solution is HOMBRE (i.e. “Barcelona man”, i.e. the Spanish for “man” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and WED (i.e. “united” – again, ignoring the capitalisation) wrapped around or “importing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: HOM(E)BRE-WED.

  1. Exchange rate isn’t something to toy around with (5,3)

Answer: TRAIN SET (i.e. “something to toy around with”). “Exchange” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RATE ISN’T. Nicely worked.

  1. Commercial building that could be very quiet? (8,6)

Answer: SHOPPING CENTRE (i.e. “commercial building”). The remainder of the clue plays on how PP (a recognised abbreviation of pianissimo or “very quiet” in musical lingo) lies at the CENTRE of “SHOPPING”.

  1. O, I can help everyone! (9,5)

Answer: UNIVERSAL DONOR (i.e. blood group “O”). Over to Chambers: “a person whose blood is of group O, which can therefore be transfused into persons of other blood groups”. And so: “I can help everyone”.

  1. Dope found in lorry containing certain type of silver (10)

Answer: ARGENTIC (i.e. “containing certain type of silver”). Solution is GEN (i.e. “dope” or knowledge) placed “in” ARTIC (i.e. “lorry”, short for articulated), like so: AR(GEN)TIC. Argent is silver in heraldry, so you can derive the solution from it in a hand-wavy, don’t-look-too-closely kind of way. It’s just a shame the word isn’t explicitly supported by my Chambers, Oxford or Collins Concise. Thumbs down, setter.

  1. Not entirely comfortable in bind where pointed items inserted (10)

Answer: PINCUSHION (i.e. “where pointed items inserted”). Solution is CUSHY (i.e. “comfortable”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “not entirely”) and the remainder placed “in” PINION (i.e. “bind”), like so: PIN(CUSH)ION.

  1. Lovely guess (6)

Answer: DIVINE. Solution satisfies “lovely” and “guess”.

  1. First degree – that’s invigorating (5)

Answer: TONIC. Solution satisfies “first degree” – over to Chambers again: “of or being the first note of a scale (music)” – and “that’s invigorating”.

  1. Group of girls drink loudly (4)

Answer: BEVY. Solution satisfies “group of girls” and “drink”. I’m guessing “loudly” is a homophone indicator, but Chambers allows both BEVY and BEVVY as informal words for “beverage”. I might have missed something clever, though.

  1. Rise unexpectedly in simple psalm (8)

Answer: MISERERE (i.e. “psalm”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unexpectedly”) of RISE placed “in” MERE (i.e. “simple”), like so: M(ISER)ERE. One gotten from the wordplay, though I needed a push from my Bradford’s to get MERE.

  1. Author has last character poking succulent fruit on the turn (5,4)

Answer: EMILE ZOLA (i.e. “author”). Solution is Z (i.e. “last character” of the alphabet) placed in or “poking” ALOE (i.e. “succulent”) and LIME (i.e. “fruit”) once they’ve been reversed (indicated by “on the turn”), like so: EMIL-E(Z)OLA. Zola’s novel Germinal was a solution in one of these things a while ago. It’s weird what I remember.

  1. Direct effects on raids carrying on (7)

Answer: INROADS (i.e. “raids”). Can’t say I follow what the setter is up to here. To me, INROADS are “raids” or invasions. “Making inroads” can mean to make progress, but this is also wide of the mark. I believe the solution is an anagram (indicated by “carrying on”) of ON RAIDS, but as for the “direct effects” bit, who knows?

  1. Wet earth beside river rounded by runner perhaps on some island (8)

Answer: BERMUDAN (i.e. “on some island”). Solution is MUD (i.e. “wet earth”) placed after or “beside” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”). These are then placed in or “rounded by” BEAN (i.e. “runner perhaps”, as in runner beans), like so: BE(R-MUD)AN.

  1. Free, escape into Parisian street (6)

Answer: RESCUE (i.e. to “free”). Solution is ESC (i.e. the “escape” key on a computer keyboard) placed “into” RUE (i.e. “Parisian street”, i.e. the French for “street”), like so: R(ESC)UE.

  1. Expression of triumph after question voiced in furore (3-2)

Answer: HOO-HA (i.e. “furore”). Solution is HA (i.e. “expression of triumph”) placed “after” a homophone (indicated by “voiced”) of WHO? (i.e. a “question”). A naff clue, all told.

  1. Rotten article finished, watch Far From The Madding Crowd? (3,3,6,5)

Answer: OFF THE BEATEN TRACK (i.e. “Far From The Madding Crowd” – can be a reference to Thomas Hardy’s novel, set in a farming community, or to a general sense of the phrase). Solution is OFF (i.e. “rotten”) followed by THE (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the), then BEATEN (i.e. “finished”) and TRACK (i.e. to “watch” closely).

  1. Old comedian imagined heathland near Wolverhampton in conversation? (6,5)

Answer: DUDLEY MOORE (i.e. “old comedian”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “in conversation”) of DUDLEY MOOR (i.e. “imagined heathland near Wolverhampton” – “imagined” because Dudley is a large industrialised town). Why “old” though? People don’t appear in Times crosswords unless they are dead. I’d argue we’re a bit beyond “old” by that point.

  1. Explain disastrous realisation (11)

Answer: RATIONALISE (i.e. “explain”). “Disastrous” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REALISATION.

Down clues

  1. Nudge inspiring family to take a role seriously (6,5)

Answer: JOKING APART (i.e. “seriously”). Solution is JOG (i.e. “nudge”) wrapped around or “inspiring” KIN (i.e. “family”) and followed by A, then PART (i.e. “role”), like so: JO(KIN)G-A-PART.

  1. Still batting forward, opener dismissed (5)

Answer: INERT (i.e. “still”). Solution is IN (i.e. “batting” in a number of ball games) followed by PERT (i.e. “forward” or cheeky) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “opener dismissed”), like so: IN-ERT.

  1. 25 across, one of eighteen of course concealing decay (7)

Answer: TRUSTEE (i.e. “25 across”, the solution of which being AGENT). Solution is TEE (i.e. “one of eighteen of [golf] course” – not if I’m playing, there isn’t!) wrapped around or “concealing” RUST (i.e. “decay”), like so: T(RUST)EE.

  1. Biblical character entering battle, Saul (4)

Answer: ESAU (i.e. “Biblical character”). “Entering” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: BATTL(E SAU)L.

  1. Observation of speech in border town in England (3-7)

Answer: LIP-READING (i.e. “observation of speech”). Solution is LIP (i.e. “border”) followed by READING (i.e. “town in England”).

  1. Getting on train, issue remaining there? (8,6)

Answer: BOARDING SCHOOL (i.e. “issue remaining there” – “issue” being another word for “offspring”). Solution is BOARDING (i.e. “getting on”) followed by SCHOOL (i.e. to “train”).

  1. Illegal practice cooking eggs (8)

Answer: POACHING. Solution satisfies “illegal practice” and “cooking eggs”.

  1. Royal meeting lucky person, topless (5)

Answer: ASCOT (i.e. “royal [race] meeting”). Solution is MASCOT (i.e. “lucky person”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “topless”).

  1. Wheels going spare – before being absent (9)

Answer: ELSEWHERE (i.e. “absent”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “going spare”) of WHEELS followed by ERE (i.e. poetic form of “before”), like so: ELSEWH-ERE.

  1. Star key, look (6)

Answer: ALTAIR (i.e. “star”). Solution is ALT (another “key” on a computer keyboard) followed by AIR (i.e. the appearance or “look” of something).

  1. Responsibility must be shared for why one can’t dance? (2,5,3,2,5)

Answer: IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO. Solution satisfies “responsibility must be shared” and “why one can’t dance”.

  1. Spoil girl and cook (11)

Answer: MOLLYCODDLE (i.e. to over-indulge or “spoil”). Solution is MOLLY (i.e. a “girl’s” name) followed by CODDLE (i.e. “cook”).

  1. Post penetrating block from below, smooth quality (8)

Answer: BALDNESS (i.e. “smooth quality”). Solution is SEND (i.e. to “post”) placed in or “penetrating” SLAB (i.e. “block”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “from below” – this being a down clue), like so: BAL(DNES)S.

  1. Surgeon may go home? Gosh that signified a battle! (9,8)

Answer: OPERATION OVERLORD (i.e. “that signified a battle” – specifically the codename for the Battle of Normandy in World War Two). Solution is OPERATION OVER (i.e. after which “surgeon may go home”) followed by LORD (i.e. “gosh”, both expressions of surprise). This is another of those solutions popular with Times setters, having recently appeared a couple of times. While this is a little disappointing, it does at least give me another chance to point readers to one of my favourite coincidences, which saw a setter for the Telegraph having his collar felt by military intelligence when a startling number of military codewords started appearing in his puzzles. Here’s a Wikipedia article on it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-Day_Daily_Telegraph_crossword_security_alarm

  1. Lousy dunce punched by alumnus (3-3)

Answer: TWO-BIT (i.e. “lousy”). Solution is TWIT (i.e. “dunce”) wrapped around or “punched by” OB (i.e. “alumnus”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “old boy”), like so: TW(OB)IT.

  1. Most ephemeral celebration of cheese? (8)

Answer: BRIEFEST (i.e. “most ephemeral”). When written as BRIE FEST the solution also satisfies “celebration of cheese”. I’ll admit this one did raise a smile when I twigged it.

  1. Drunk taken out before party (6,2)

Answer: TANKED UP (i.e. “drunk”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out” – one of the word’s many definitions is “away from the original or normal position or state” (Chambers)) of TAKEN followed by DUP (i.e. “party”, specifically the Democratic Unionist Party), like so: TANKE-DUP.

  1. Person with similar job in house across the street? (8,6)

Answer: OPPOSITE NUMBER. Solution satisfies “person with similar job” and “house across the street”, as in how house numbers often alternate back and forth along properties on opposite sides of a street.

  1. Plant that’s red again going to seed (8)

Answer: GARDENIA (i.e. “plant”). “Going to seed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RED AGAIN.

  1. Recess cold, a pet’s wrapped up (6)

Answer: ALCOVE (i.e. “recess”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”) placed or “wrapped up” in A and LOVE (i.e. “pet”), like so: A-L(C)OVE.

  1. Novel bluish, end up without an outlet for it? (11)

Answer: UNPUBLISHED (i.e. “without an outlet for [novel]”). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BLUISH END UP.

  1. Reportedly, canine unreliable for soup (4-1-6)

Answer: COCK-A-LEEKIE (i.e. “soup”). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “reportedly”) of COCKER (i.e. “canine”) and LEAKY (i.e. “unreliable”).

  1. Nowhere near lama, priest lost (5,5)

Answer: MILES APART (i.e. “nowhere near”). “Lost” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LAMA PRIEST.

  1. Welcome attack in shower of pellets (9)

Answer: HAILSTORM (i.e. “shower of pellets”). Solution is HAIL (i.e. “welcome”) followed by STORM (i.e. “attack”).

  1. Check my clothes, I’m clueless! (6,2)

Answer: SEARCH ME. Solution satisfies “check my clothes” and “I’m clueless”.

  1. Choose artist, complex woman (7)

Answer: ELECTRA (i.e. “complex woman”, a reference to Electra complex, where a woman has a strong emotional attachment to her father). Solution is ELECT (i.e. “choose”) followed by RA (i.e. “artist”). I think this one appeared in the regular Times crossword recently, which made it an easier get.

  1. Scene around a large residence (6)

Answer: PALACE (i.e. “large residence”). Solution is PLACE (i.e. “scene”) wrapped “around” A, like so: P(A)LACE.

  1. Quite yellow, old comic (5)

Answer: BUFFO (i.e. a “comic” actor in an opera). Solution is BUFF (i.e. “quite yellow”) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”).

  1. American animal, fleece on one (5)

Answer: COATI (i.e. “American animal”). Solution is COAT (i.e. “fleece”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”).

  1. Third note, second note (4)

Answer: MEMO (i.e. “note”). Solution is ME (i.e. “third note” in the doh-ray-me scale) followed by MO (i.e. “second”, both short spells of time). Nicely done.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1516

Stinker time! And probably the nastiest one we’ve had for a while too. Not exactly the thing I wanted straight after three days spent catching up on recent Jumbos, but there you go. (A quick shout out to my crossword spy for securing me the goods in my absence.)

By and large the clueing for this one was really good, though, as you’ll see, the setter’s heavy use of misdirection has left plenty of areas of doubt, so expect red bits. You might therefore want to return later to see if a kind soul in the comments has bailed me out.

For now, you can find my “completed” grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has eluded you, then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 160+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and help, folks. I might need them a little more this week! It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers got on, so do pop in. Till next time, stay safe out there and I’ll see you soon.

LP

With thanks to Grins in the comments for nailing 16a.

Across clues

  1. As some guns may be for concealment, small wonder shed is needed (5-3)

Answer: SAWED-OFF (i.e. “as some guns may be for concealment” beneath a large overcoat, say). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by AWE (i.e. “wonder”) and DOFF (i.e. to “shed”).

  1. Gas piping with vent (3,3)

Answer: HOT AIR (i.e. “gas” or waffle). Solution is HOT (i.e. “piping”) followed by AIR (i.e. to “vent” or ventilate some place). Nicely done.

  1. One called on jockey to hold place (7)

Answer: VISITEE (i.e. “one called on”). Solution is VIE (i.e. to contest or “jockey”) wrapped around or “holding” SITE (i.e. “place”), like so: VI(SITE)E.

  1. As may be, possibly, a perfect health report? (3,4,4)

Answer: ALL VERY WELL. Solution satisfies “as may be” and “a perfect health report”.

  1. One involved with rector in case (11)

Answer: RECONNOITRE (i.e. to “case” a location). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “involved”) of ONE and RECTOR IN.

  1. Thus case made for cable transport (5)

Answer: BRIGS (i.e. prison ships or “transport”). Utter guess, if I’m honest, so watch out. I can just about link “cable” to RIG. The word RIG can be said to be “cased” inside of B(RIG)S, but I can’t make the leap of BS being “thus”. As with rather a lot of this week’s post, if some kind soul swings by with the right answer, I’ll edit and update.
[EDIT: Many thanks to Grins in the comments for saving the day. The solution is BLISS (i.e. “transport” – Chambers has this noun definition: “ecstasy, or any strong emotion”. I think this usage has foxed me before). When written as BL IS S the solution also cryptically satisfies “thus case made for cable”, i.e. how “BL” IS substituted in “cable” with an “S” to get you “case”. A disgusting clue, in all. Cheers, Grins! – LP]

  1. What hunter does is behind the times (7)

Answer: FORAGES (i.e. “what hunter does”). Solution is FOR (i.e. backs or “is behind”) followed by AGES (i.e. “the times”).

  1. Pointing out plates might be false type in need of replacing (5,4)

Answer: SPLAY FEET (i.e. “pointing out plates” – plates being cockney rhyming slang for feet, i.e. “plates of meat”). “In need of replacing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FALSE TYPE.

  1. Letter from Greek quartermaster, with Britain’s backing, bearing fruit (7)

Answer: KUMQUAT (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is TAU (i.e. the nineteenth “letter from [the] Greek” alphabet) followed by QM (a recognised abbreviation of “quartermaster”) and UK (i.e. “Britain” or the United Kingdom). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “backing”), like so: KU-MQ-UAT.

  1. Send out bowler to get ready? (4,3,3,5)

Answer: PASS THE HAT ROUND. Clue plays on “bowler” being a type of HAT, and how the solution describes a collection passed round for money or “ready”. You get the idea.

  1. What we basically learn from article: agricultural machinery cuts belt up (3,5,2)

Answer: THE THREE RS (i.e. “what we basically learn”, i.e. reading, riting and rithmetic. If only “spelling” had an R in it, eh?) Solution is THE (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, and or the) followed by THRESHERS (i.e. “agricultural machinery”) once the SH has been removed (indicated by “cuts belt up”, “belt up” being an expression for someone to keep quiet), like so: THE-THRE(SH)ERS => THE-THREERS.

  1. Mock old nurse in front of Irish politicians (4,2)

Answer: SEND UP (i.e. “mock”). Solution is SEN (i.e. “old nurse”, specifically a State Enrolled Nurse) followed by DUP (i.e. “Irish politicians”, specifically the Democratic Unionist Party).

  1. Something on stave almost split (4)

Answer: CLEF (i.e. “something on a stave”, i.e. those curly symbols seen at the beginning of sheet music, and whose meaning is lost to… (counts on fingers) everyone. Yep, everyone. Still, they look nice, don’t they?) Solution is CLEFT (i.e. “split”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”).

  1. Kid to remove quickly on being constrained by age (4,1,4,3,2)

Answer: PULL A FAST ONE ON (i.e. to “kid” or have on). Solution is PULL (i.e. “remove”) followed by FAST (i.e. “quickly”) and ON once they been placed in or “constrained by” AEON (i.e. “age”), like so: PULL-A(FAST-ON)EON.

  1. Weapon I fear I left close to mirror carelessly (3,5)

Answer: AIR RIFLE (i.e. “weapon”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “carelessly”) of I FEAR I, L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and R (i.e. “close to mirror”, i.e. the last letter of “mirror”).

  1. A record-breaking fizzy drink with energy gets award (8)

Answer: ACCOLADE (i.e. “award”). Solution is A followed by COLA (i.e. “fizzy drink”) once placed in or “breaking” CD (i.e. a “record” or Compact Disc), and followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: A-C(COLA)D-E.

  1. Detective woman with right advice for combating break-ins, we understand? (8,6)

Answer: SHERLOCK HOLMES (i.e. “detective”). Solution is SHE (i.e. “woman”) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and then a homophonic phrase (indicated by “we understand”) of LOCK HOMES (i.e. “advice for combating break-ins”).

  1. Some power I apply to wheel brace (4)

Answer: PAIR (i.e. two or a “brace”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “to wheel” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: POWE(R I AP)PLY.

  1. Old Dutch XI few English fancy (2-4)

Answer: EX-WIFE (i.e. “old Dutch” – more cockney rhyming slang, this time allegedly after the Duchess of Fife). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fancy”) of XI FEW and E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”). Nicely worked.

  1. Stole a piece of bread, and intended to tuck in? (10)

Answer: WRAPAROUND (i.e. a garment or “stole”). A bit of a guess, this. I’m taking A ROUND to be “a piece of bread” and assume the remainder of the clue refers to wraps, i.e. flatbreads/tortillas that are wrapped around a filling. Again, if a better solution comes to the fore, I’ll update the post.

  1. Associate with endless video game to a negligible degree (15)

Answer: INFINITESIMALLY (i.e. “to a negligible degree”). Solution is ALLY (i.e. “associate”) placed after or “with” INFINITE (i.e. “endless”) and SIM (i.e. “video game” or simulation), like so: (INFINITE-SIM)-ALLY.

  1. Close relation around one in retirement? (7)

Answer: NIGHTIE (i.e. a garment “around one in retirement” or sleeping). Solution is NIGH (i.e. “close”) followed by TIE (i.e. “relation”).

  1. When thousands beheaded – and character abroad the opposite, by mistake (3,6)

Answer: THE TERROR (i.e. a period “when thousands [were] beheaded” during the French Revolution). Solution is THETA (i.e. “character abroad”, specifically the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet) followed by ERROR (i.e. “mistake”). I guess “the opposite” is to stop us from mistakenly taking the first letter off of THETA. Who knows?
[EDIT: Thanks to Michael in the comments for correcting this one. I’d misread the clue, like a buffoon. The clue asks us to clip the end from THETA, which is the opposite of beheading it. This, combined with ERROR, then gives you THET-ERROR. Cheers, Michael! – LP]

  1. Cafeteria finally leaving rolls out for lunch (7)

Answer: LUNCHES. Another guess, but only because I can’t shift the notion that someone at The Times has buggered up and accidentally plonked the answer in the clue. (Paging Jim Bowen, come in Jim Bowen…) To me it looks like the solution is LAUNCHES (i.e. “rolls out”) with the A removed (indicated by “cafeteria finally leaving”, A being the last letter of “cafeteria”). Again, if someone swings by with the right answer, I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for confirming this was indeed a misprint. Good to know! – LP]

  1. Observe plot in segments? (5)

Answer: LOBED (i.e. “in segments”). Solution is LO (i.e. “observe”, as in lo and behold) followed by BED (i.e. “plot”).

  1. Ruins suffer when entered by heavy metal plant (5,6)

Answer: MARSH MALLOW (i.e. a “plant” akin to the hollyhock, it says here). Solution is MARS (i.e. “ruins”) and ALLOW (i.e. to permit or “suffer”) wrapped around or “entered by” HM (a recognised abbreviation of “heavy metal” music – not recognised by Chambers, but is backed up by my Oxford), like so: MARS-(HM)-ALLOW.

  1. A seal with teeth eats fern after chewing on a duck (3,8)

Answer: ZIP FASTENER (i.e. “a seal with teeth” – splitting hairs, you could argue the fastener itself doesn’t have teeth, rather the zip it’s applied to). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “chewing”) of EATS FERN placed “on” or after ZIP (i.e. “a duck” or zero score).

  1. Investigating officers confronting evasive traveller (7)

Answer: DIDICOY (i.e. “traveller” – over to Chambers: “an itinerant tinker or scrap dealer, not a true gypsy (Romany)“). Solution is DI and DI (i.e. “investigating officers”, specifically Detective Inspectors) followed by COY (i.e. “evasive”). Took a little brute force of my Chambers to nail. Interesting word I’ve not come across before, which means I’ll probably now see it peppered through everything I read this week.

  1. Solution’s framed in a way that’s most cunning (6)

Answer: SLYEST (i.e. “most cunning”). Solution is LYE’S (i.e. chemical “solution”, read as a contraction of LYE IS) placed or “framed in” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: S(LYE’S)T. I much prefer this spelling to SLIEST, which was featured a few grids ago.

  1. Supported allowing bishop out of bed, but keeping her indoors? (8)

Answer: ESPOUSED (i.e. “supported”). Solution is BED with the B removed (indicated by “bishop out of…” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess) and the remainder wrapped around or “keeping” SPOUSE (i.e. “her indoors”), like so: E(SPOUSE)D.

Down clues

  1. Whip initially should be fine for containing crowd (7)

Answer: SJAMBOK (i.e. a South African “whip”. I mean, with a name like that could have come from anywhere else?) Solution is S and B (i.e. “initially should be”, i.e. the first letters of “should” and “be”), and OK (i.e. “fine”) all wrapped around or “containing” JAM (i.e. a “crowd”), like so: S(JAM)B-OK. If, while walking the dog this afternoon, you caught a faint but distinct string of strong sexual swear words coming roughly from the east, that was me opening my Bradford’s and seeing this bullshit made-to-fit solution. Ugh.

  1. Is one to reveal all about a married man endangering son? (7,4)

Answer: WILLIAM TELL (i.e. “man endangering son” in shooting an apple off the lad’s head. He’s a Swiss hero, sure, but ask yourself how many sons he went through before he got it right…) Solution is WILL I TELL (i.e. “is one to reveal all”) wrapped “about” A and M (a recognised abbreviation of “man”), like so: WILL-I-(A-M)-TELL.

  1. Controversially up the dose for certain states (4,5)

Answer: DEEP SOUTH (i.e. “certain states” in the US). “Controversially” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UP THE DOSE.

  1. Smart of newspaper chap to deal with rage (3,3,3,6)

Answer: FLY OFF THE HANDLE (i.e. “rage”). Solution is FLY (i.e. knowing or “smart”) followed by OF, then FT (i.e. “newspaper”, specifically the Financial Times), then HE (i.e. “chap”) and HANDLE (i.e. “to deal with”).

  1. “I am the egg man” John reflected has zero meaning (8)

Answer: OOLOGIST (i.e. “I am the egg man”, i.e. a specialist in eggs). Solution is LOO (i.e. “john”, both informal words for a toilet) reversed (indicated by “reflected”) and followed by O (i.e. “zero”) and GIST (i.e. “meaning”), like so: OOL-O-GIST. An excellent clue, the best for ages.

  1. A vote by directors affecting everyone (6-3-5)

Answer: ACROSS-THE-BOARD (i.e. “affecting everyone”). Solution is A followed by CROSS (i.e. “vote”), then THE BOARD (i.e. “directors” of a company).

  1. Music that’s slow to produce yet sad? (10)

Answer: ROCKSTEADY (i.e. a 1960s style of “music” from Jamaica “that’s slow”). When written as ROCK STEADY the solution is a cryptic reference to STEADY being an anagram (indicated by “ROCK” or “production”) of “yet sad”.

  1. Reduced rainfall in a valley – rising in plain (7)

Answer: VANILLA (i.e. “plain”). “Reduced” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “rising” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue, like so: RAINF(ALL IN A V)ALLEY.

  1. Broke pen after sticking leg in (5)

Answer: STONY (i.e. “broke” or brassic). Solution is STY (i.e. pig “pen”) wrapped around or “sticking in” ON (i.e. “leg” side in cricket), like so: ST(ON)Y.

  1. Throwing the FT out, one finds phrase linked with financial sums (2,3,4,2)

Answer: TO THE TUNE OF (i.e. “phrase linked with financial sums”). “Throwing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THE FT OUT ONE.

  1. A couple of “drawings”, one only spoken of late in the day (8)

Answer: EVENTIDE (i.e. “late in the day”). Solution is formed of EVEN and a homophone (indicated by “only one spoken”) of TIED, both of which are “drawings”. Given the setter’s predilection for misdirection, I’m surprised “drawings” was placed in quotes.

  1. Attention given to women’s sport (4)

Answer: WEAR (i.e. to “sport”). Solution is EAR (i.e. “attention”) placed after or “given to” W (a recognised abbreviation of “women”), like so: W-EAR.

  1. Not being spotted in Ruth, city appearing in Genesis (6)

Answer: PURITY (i.e. “not being spotty”). Solution is PITY (i.e. mercy or “ruth” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) wrapped around or having “in” UR (i.e. “city appearing in Genesis” – I’ll have to take the setter’s word for it. Every Bible I hold bursts into flames), like so: P(UR)ITY.

  1. Bible teaching by eccentric old Italian, perhaps (7)

Answer: RICARDO (i.e. “Italian, perhaps” – basically an Italian bloke’s name. Oof, setter. Did you really just do that?) Solution is RI (i.e. “Bible teaching”, specifically Religious Instruction) followed by CARD (i.e. an “eccentric” person) and O (i.e. “old”).

  1. Bang on about pub’s formal dress requirement? (3,3)

Answer: TOP HAT (i.e. “formal dress requirement”). Solution is TO A T (i.e. exact or “bang on”) wrapped “about” PH (i.e. “pub”, specifically a Public House), like so: TO-(PH)-A-T. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Attend to harvest one’s corn, perhaps, crossing river (5,2,4,4)

Answer: PRICK UP ONE’S EARS (i.e. “attend to” or to focus attention on). Solution is PICK UP ONE’S EARS (i.e. “harvest one’s corn, perhaps”, given you get EARS of “corn”) wrapped around or “crossing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”, like so: P(R)ICK UP ONE’S EARS.

  1. Expecting relations to stop being obstructive (2,3,6,3)

Answer: IN THE FAMILY WAY (i.e. euphemistically “expecting” or pregnant). Solution is FAMILY (i.e. “relations”) placed in or “stopping” IN THE WAY (i.e. “being obstructive”), like so: IN-THE-(FAMILY)-WAY. Sounds like one of those phrases I ought to have heard before, but nope.

  1. Ate together with doctor, being invited in (6)

Answer: MESSED (i.e. “ate together” – think army catering, for example). Solution is MD (i.e. “doctor”, specifically a Medicinae Doctor or Doctor of Medicine) wrapped around or “inviting in” ESSE (i.e. “being” or the essence of living), like so: M(ESSE)D.

  1. Maybe one having trouble performing, in a flap (7)

Answer: AILERON (i.e. “flap”). Solution is AILER (i.e. “maybe one having trouble”) followed by ON (i.e. “performing”).

  1. Top that’s short and light? It can go with hips (6)

Answer: HOORAY (i.e. “it can go with hips”, i.e. hip-hip-hooray!) Solution is HOOD (i.e. a garment or “top”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “that’s short”) and the remainder followed by RAY (i.e. “light”), like so: HOO-RAY.

  1. Drove kid around university, and cardinal across much of Europe (11)

Answer: CHAUFFEURED (i.e. “drove” someone). Solution is CHAFF (i.e. to “kid” or tease) wrapped “around” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”), and RED (i.e. “cardinal”) all wrapped around or “across” EU (i.e. “much of Europe”, specifically the European Union), like so: CHA(U)FF-(EU)-RED.

  1. Swindlers establish facilities for online saving? (11)

Answer: MOUNTEBANKS (i.e. “swindlers”). Solution is MOUNT (i.e. “establish”, e.g. mounting an investigation) followed by E-BANKS (i.e. “facilities for online saving”, a play on how “e-” is tacked onto some stuff to show they’re online).

  1. After race, car’s cylinders to be put away (5,5)

Answer: SWISS ROLLS (i.e. “cylinders to be put away” or eaten). Solution is SWISS (i.e. “race” –Chamber’s offers this definition: “a class or group, defined otherwise than by descent”. It also offers this: “the descendants of a common ancestor”. So that’s everyone covered then) followed by ROLLS (i.e. “car”, specifically a Rolls Royce).

  1. Got it wrong with role for opera (9)

Answer: RIGOLETTO (i.e. “opera” by Giuseppe Verdi). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wrong”) of GOT IT and ROLE.

  1. Unseasonable fog descending on island at sea (8)

Answer: MISTIMED (i.e. “unseasonable”). Solution is MIST (i.e. “fog”) followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”) and MED (i.e. “sea”, specifically the Mediterranean). Another well worked clue.

  1. Pancakes with black dressing and chopped orange peel (8)

Answer: BLINTZES (i.e. “pancakes”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) followed by LINT (i.e. “dressing”) and ZEST (i.e. “orange peel”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “chopped”), like so: B-LINT-ZES. Chalk another to my Bradford’s here. I wouldn’t have got this in a month of Sundays.

  1. Husky which is outside runs round front of yurt (7)

Answer: THROATY (i.e. “husky”). Solution is THAT (i.e. “which”) wrapped “outside” of R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) and O (i.e. “round”), then followed by Y (i.e. “front of yurt”, i.e. the first letter of “yurt”), like so: TH(R-O)AT-Y.

  1. Goal by United Liverpool player let happen? (7)

Answer: ENDURED (i.e. “let happen”). Solution is END (i.e. aim or “goal”) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”), then RED (i.e. “Liverpool player”, after the colour of the football kit).

  1. Ideal Burgundy and something drinker goes after? (5)

Answer: ETHIC (i.e. “ideal”). Solution is ET (i.e. “Burgundy and”, i.e. the word “and” in French) followed by HIC (i.e. “something drinker does after”, i.e. hiccup, a stereotypical sign of drunkenness).

  1. Jabber, endless overpromotion coming to nothing (4)

Answer: HYPO (i.e. “jabber” or hypodermic needle). Solution is HYPE (i.e. “overpromotion”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder followed by O (indicated by “coming to nothing”), like so: HYP-O.

Having gorged on live sports in recent weeks, it was time to dive back into some choonage. One album I’ve frequently played this year is Jim Davies’s’s’ses’s(es’s) Headwars.

“Who he?” you might ask. Good question. You’re most likely to have heard his guitar-wangling on some Prodigy tracks, perhaps most famously his riff on Firestarter. So him, then.

Now, while Headwars is a solid listen and well worth your time, it’s the remixes album that often tickles my interest. Techno, dubstep, electronica: it’s all represented in a tight 40 minutes, but Prodigy completionists may be interested in a couple of very good remixes by Empirion (who made a mighty fine remix of Firestarter back in the day and seem to be rebuilding their following after a lengthy hiatus) and, perhaps the best of the bunch, a remix by one Leeroy Thornhill. Yes, that Leeroy. If that sounds like your bag, go check it out. As usual the link will take you to Spotify.

After all that Prodigy old-boy stuff, the only decent thing left to do was to listen to Music For The Jilted Generation. Still a masterpiece. Laters! – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1515

…and straight onto the next one! A bit tougher this time, with good progression and a few decent clues to chew over. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

Meanwhile, you can find links to the last 160+ of these things on my Just For Fun page if a recent Jumbo has you jiggered. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Right, that should be me up to speed again. Keep safe out there, peeps. I’ll see youses soon.

LP

Across clues

  1. Other folk on holiday, horribly loud, won’t do what’s expected (5,3,5)

Answer: BREAK THE MOULD (i.e. “won’t do what’s expected”). Solution is THEM (i.e. “other folk”) placed “on” or after BREAK (i.e. “holiday”) and followed by an anagram (indicated by “horribly”) of LOUD, like so: BREAK-(THEM)-OULD.

  1. Cross-dressing athlete on wheels? (4,5)

Answer: DRAG RACER. Clue plays on DRAG being an informal term for “cross-dressing”. Dragsters are cars. You get the idea.

  1. Digger scratching left elbow (5)

Answer: SHOVE (i.e. to “elbow” someone). Solution is SHOVEL (i.e. “digger”) once the L has been removed (indicated by “scratching left” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “left”).

  1. Sweet dish from junk sale ultimately in poor state (5,6)

Answer: BAKED ALASKA (i.e. “sweet dish”). Solution is K and E (i.e. “junk sale ultimately”, i.e. the last letters of “junk and sale”) placed “in” BAD (i.e. “poor”) and ALASKA (i.e. US “state”), like so: BA(KE)D-ALASKA.

  1. Outlaw seizing Irish kid elsewhere in UK (5)

Answer: BAIRN (i.e. a “kid elsewhere in the UK”, presumably Scotland, though we do use it in the northeast too). Solution is BAN (i.e. to “outlaw”) wrapped around or “seizing” IR (a recognised abbreviation of “Irish”), like so: BA(IR)N.

  1. Sid injured in mishap at sea here, perhaps (9)

Answer: AMIDSHIPS (i.e. “at sea here, perhaps” – other areas of a ship are available). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “injured”) of SID placed in another anagram (indicated by “at sea”) of MISHAP, like so: AM(IDS)HIPS.

  1. Post taken on by medieval knight? (4)

Answer: MAIL. Solution satisfies “post” and “taken on by medieval knight”, a reference to chain mail.

  1. Capital to invest in hospital priest (8)

Answer: HELSINKI (i.e. “capital” city of Finland). Solution is SINK (i.e. “to invest”) placed “in” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hospital” used on maps) and ELI (i.e. “priest” – more often than not, if you see “priest” in a clue, it’ll be ELI. If not, PR, its abbreviation), like so: H-EL(SINK)I.

  1. Tailless beast contrarily eats primarily unripe fruit (6)

Answer: GUAVAS (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is SAVAGE (i.e. “beast”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “tailless”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “contrarily”) and wrapped around or “eating” U (i.e. “primarily unripe”, i.e. the first letter of “unripe”), like so: G(U)AVAS.

  1. Parish flag maybe showing how well off we are (8,2,6)

Answer: STANDARD OF LIVING (i.e. “how well off we are”). Clue plays on STANDARD being another word for a “flag”, and “parish” describing somewhere in which you live. You get the idea.

  1. Shift spade over, as nosey parker may (9)

Answer: EAVESDROP (i.e. “as nosey parker may”). “Shift” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SPADE OVER.

  1. Bird’s down (7)

Answer: SWALLOW. Solution satisfies “bird” and to “down”.

  1. Cant from Trojan leader on ancient ship (5)

Answer: ARGOT (i.e. “cant”, or “to use the specialised vocabulary of thieves, politicians, lawyers etc” (Chambers)). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “Trojan”) placed “on” or after ARGO (i.e. “ancient ship” that Jason pootled about in), like so: ARGO-T.

  1. Man after rent set out to see him, possibly (6,6)

Answer: TENANT FARMER (i.e. “him, possibly” – in the context of the clue, a farmer who rents a farm). “Set out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MAN AFTER RENT. Nicely worked.

  1. Staff I’m canvassing for continue standing (5,2,3)

Answer: STICK IT OUT (i.e. “continue standing”). When written as STICK I TOUT the solution also satisfies “staff I’m canvassing”.

  1. Masking handle that is holding comparatively little (10)

Answer: NAMELESSLY (i.e. “masking handle”, handle being another word for “name”). Solution is NAMELY (i.e. “that is”) wrapped around or “holding” LESS (i.e. “comparatively little”), like so: NAME(LESS)LY.

  1. Complete cast for broadcast provided with initial transport (5,7)

Answer: CARRY THROUGH (i.e. to “complete”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “for broadcast”) of THREW (i.e. “cast”) with CARRY (i.e. “transport”) placed before it (indicated by “initial”).

  1. River delta opening in America (5)

Answer: INDUS (i.e. a “river” in Asia). Solution is D (“delta” in the phonetic alphabet) placed between or “opening” IN and US (i.e. “America”), like so: IN-(D)-US.

  1. Wavering doctor bound to break it (2,5)

Answer: IN DOUBT (i.e. “wavering”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “doctor”) of BOUND placed in or “breaking” IT, like so: I(NDOUB)T.

  1. Slickest gambler cleared out with minimal formality (9)

Answer: GREASIEST (i.e. “slickest”). Solution is GR (i.e. “gambler cleared out”, i.e. the word “gambler” with all its middle letters removed) followed by EASIEST (i.e. “with minimal formality”).

  1. Where, it seems, Our Mutual Friend is not to be published (7,9)

Answer: BETWEEN OURSELVES. Solution satisfies “where, it seems, our mutual friend is” – ignore the misleading capitalisation – and something that is kept from sight or “not to be published”. Took a while for me to twig what the setter was playing at here. Very nicely played.

  1. Fully occupied ground disheartened builder (6)

Answer: BURIED (i.e. “fully occupied”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “ground”) of BUILDER once its middle letter has been removed (indicated by “disheartened”).

  1. Unexpected benefit from air trip (8)

Answer: WINDFALL (i.e. “unexpected benefit”). Solution is WIND (i.e. “air”) followed by FALL (i.e. “trip”).

  1. Vitality unknown in middle of fight (4)

Answer: ZING (i.e. “vitality”). Solution is Z (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z as “unknowns”) followed by IN and G (i.e. “middle [letter] of fight”)

  1. Like daughter perhaps turning to arrange flower mum brought in? (9)

Answer: GIRLISHLY (i.e. “like daughter perhaps” – other female relations are available). Solution is RIG (i.e. “to arrange”) reversed (indicated by “turning”) and followed by LILY (i.e. “flower”) once wrapped around or “bringing in” SH (i.e. “mum”, both expressions of keeping silent), like so: GIR-LI(SH)LY.

  1. Island deporting last of rebels in unfriendly fashion (5)

Answer: ICILY (i.e. “in unfriendly fashion”). Solution is SICILY (i.e. an “island”) with the S removed (indicated by “deporting last of rebels”, i.e. the last letter of “rebels”).

  1. Medium, with veil, pipes up here in church (5,6)

Answer: ORGAN SCREEN (i.e. “pipes up here in church”, specifically a stone or wood screen upon which an organ is placed). Solution is ORGAN (i.e. “medium” – the main definition for “organ” in Chambers is: “an instrument or means by which anything is done”) followed by SCREEN (i.e. “veil”).

  1. Male dons fit to walk, slowly (5)

Answer: AMBLE (i.e. “walk slowly”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) placed in or “donning” ABLE (i.e. “fit”), like so: A(M)BLE.

  1. Improve on dope, ecstasy on most occasions (9)

Answer: GENERALLY (i.e. “on most occasions”). Solution is RALLY (i.e. “improve”) placed “on” or after GEN (i.e. “dope” or knowledge) and E (street name for the drug “ecstasy”), like so: (GEN-E)-RALLY.

  1. Local restorer renovated thrilling succession of cars (6,7)

Answer: ROLLER COASTER (i.e. “thrilling succession of cars”). “Renovated” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LOCAL RESTORER.

Down clues

  1. Set sequins in armband, acquiring uncanny ability (9)

Answer: BESPANGLE (i.e. “set sequins”). Solution is BANGLE (i.e. “armband”) wrapped around or “acquiring” ESP (i.e. “uncanny ability”, specifically Extra-Sensory Perception), like so: B(ESP)ANGLE.

  1. Cut up about old citizen returning fancy goods (7)

Answer: EXOTICA (i.e. “fancy goods”). Solution is AXE (i.e. “cut”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped “about” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and CIT (ditto “citizen”) reversed (indicated by “returning”), like so: EX(O-TIC)A.

  1. Monitors shot youngster tailing guard (5,4,2)

Answer: KEEPS TABS ON (i.e. “monitors”). Solution is STAB (i.e. “shot” or attempt at something) and SON (i.e. “youngster”) both placed after or “tailing” KEEP (i.e. “guard), like so: KEEP-(STAB-SON).

  1. Ferret sank its teeth into inhabitant of hole (6)

Answer: HOBBIT (i.e. “inhabitant of hole” in J R R Tolkien’s novel, which begins with the line “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”). Solution is HOB (a male “ferret”) followed by BIT (i.e. “sank its teeth into”).

  1. Model plugging cosmetics isn’t truthful (5,2,2)

Answer: MAKES IT UP (i.e. “isn’t truthful”). Solution is SIT (i.e. to “model” for an artist) placed in or “plugging” MAKE-UP (i.e. “cosmetics”), like so: MAKE-(SIT)-UP.

  1. Cop pursuing a French car took off at the same rate (12)

Answer: UNDIMINISHED (i.e. “at the same rate”). Solution is DI (i.e. “cop”, specifically a Detective Inspector) placed after or “pursuing” UN (i.e. “a French”, i.e. the masculine form of “a” in French) and followed by MINI (i.e. “car”), then SHED (i.e. “took off”), like so: UN-(DI)-MINI-SHED.

  1. Spiritual leaders in trouble after youth mounted a short service (5,5)

Answer: DALAI LAMAS (i.e. “spiritual leaders”). Solution is AIL (i.e. “trouble”) placed “after” LAD (i.e. “youth”) once reversed (indicated by “mounted” – this being a down clue) and followed by A, then MASS (i.e. religious “service”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”), like so: DAL-(AIL)-A-MAS.

  1. Drop Scotch spirit and run (4)

Answer: DASH. A quadruple-header, if I’m not mistaken, in that the solution satisfies to “drop”, to “scotch” (ignoring the misleading capitalisation), “spirit” (Chambers allows “verve” as a definition) and to “run”. Nicely worked.

  1. Novel term for loo if a WC toilet seat’s broken (1,4,2,3,6)

Answer: A TALE OF TWO CITIES (i.e. “novel” by Charles Dickens). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “broken”) of IF A WC TOILET SEAT and O (i.e. “term for loo” – the first definition of “term” offered by Chambers is “an end”).

  1. Couturier’s final awards for grand attire (5)

Answer: ROBES (i.e. “grand attire”). Solution is R (i.e. “couturier’s final” letter) followed by OBES (i.e. “awards”, specifically Orders of the British Empire).

  1. Drink that intoxicates one after another in song (7)

Answer: CHIANTI (i.e. “drink that intoxicates”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “after” I (i.e. “another” one, in the same manner) after being placed “in” CHANT (i.e. “song”), like so: (CH(I)ANT)-I.

  1. Product from sewer that may handicap jogger? (7,6)

Answer: RUNNING STITCH. Solution satisfies “product from sewer” – as in one who sews – and “that may handicap jogger”. Another recent repeat.

  1. Devotee’s union vow for the future? (8)

Answer: IDOLATER (i.e. “devotee”). Solution is I DO (i.e. wedding or “union vow”) followed by LATER “for the future”.

  1. National from Quebec joining militant force on island (5)

Answer: IRAQI (i.e. Iraq “national”). Solution is Q (“Quebec” in the phonetic alphabet) placed between or “joining” IRA (i.e. “militant force”, specifically the Irish Republican Army) and I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: IRA-(Q)-I.

  1. Trained birds you might catch, in wilful disregard of rules (12,4)

Answer: PROFESSIONAL FOUL (i.e. “wilful disregard of rules”). Solution is PROFESSIONAL (i.e. “trained”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “you might catch”) of FOWL (i.e. “birds”).

  1. Baleful case of vile fiend raised (7)

Answer: VENOMED (i.e. “baleful”). Solution is VE (i.e. “case of vile”, i.e. the first and last letter of “vile”) followed by DEMON (i.e. “fiend”) reversed (indicated by “raised” – this being a down clue), like so: VE-NOMED.

  1. Drop high ball with slippery glue coating (7)

Answer: GLOBULE (i.e. “drop”). Solution is LOB (i.e. “high ball”) placed in or “coated” by an anagram (indicated by “slippery”) of GLUE, like so: G(LOB)ULE.

  1. Catch up, wanting desperately to cover cup game (6,7)

Answer: TENPIN BOWLING (i.e. “game”). Solution is NET (i.e. “catch”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and followed by PINING (i.e. “wanting desperately”) once wrapped around or “covering” BOWL (i.e. “cup”), like so: TEN-PIN(BOWL)ING.

  1. Standard question in audition banned (5,3)

Answer: RULED OUT (i.e. “banned”). Solution is RULE (i.e. “standard”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “in audition”) of DOUBT (i.e. “question”), like so: RULE-DOUT.

  1. Speaker’s demonstrated old sound, using unnecessary words (12)

Answer: TAUTOLOGICAL (i.e. “using unnecessary words”, or stating something that has already been established in a sentence). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “speaker’s”) of TAUGHT (i.e. “demonstrated”) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and LOGICAL (i.e. “sound”), like so: TAUT-O-LOGICAL. A clue made significantly harder when you only have the even letters of the solution to work from. If you ever hear me grump about a lack of grid awareness from setters, this is the kind of thing I mean.

  1. Key hanging on length of cotton thread (5)

Answer: LISLE (i.e. “cotton thread”). Solution is ISLE (i.e. “key”, as in the geographical feature) placed “on” or after L (a recognised abbreviation of “length”), like so: L-ISLE.

  1. Order CIA just read settled matter (3,8)

Answer: RES JUDICATA (i.e. “settled matter” in legalese, from the Latin). “Order” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CIA JUST READ.

  1. Examiner’s child with unusual clothing snatches it back (10)

Answer: QUESTIONER (i.e. “examiner”). Solution is SON (i.e. “child”) placed in or “clothed” by QUEER (i.e. “unusual”) and itself wrapped around or “snatching” IT once reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: QUE(S(TI)ON)ER.

  1. Person of advanced years fools fliers (4,5)

Answer: GREY GEESE (i.e. “fliers”). Solution is GREY (i.e. “person of advanced years”) followed by GEESE (i.e. “fools”, a silly person is sometimes called a goose).

  1. Child’s favourite bed close to cot, ready to be moved (5,4)

Answer: TEDDY BEAR (i.e. “child’s favourite”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to be moved”) of BED, T (i.e. “close to cot”, i.e. the last letter of “cot”) and READY.

  1. Rigidity is recurrent in part of joint (7)

Answer: TENSION (i.e. “rigidity”). Solution is IS reversed (indicated by “recurrent” – an anatomical term: “running back in the opposite direction or toward the place of origin” (Chambers)) and placed “in” TENON (i.e. “part of joint”, specifically a sticky-out bit that goes in a pokey-in bit. My future as a celebrated lexicographer is secure), like so: TEN(SI)ON.

  1. Live in trendy manner (7)

Answer: INHABIT (i.e. “live in”). Solution is IN followed by HABIT (i.e. “trendy manner”). Nice bit of recycling.

  1. Tranquil stretch of Medicine River flowing north (6)

Answer: IRENIC (i.e. “tranquil”). “Stretch of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “flowing north” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: MEDI(CINE RI)VER. Nicely worked.

  1. Hall for accommodating the elderly (5)

Answer: FOYER (i.e. “hall”). Solution is FOR wrapped around or “accommodating” YE (i.e. “the elderly”, i.e. ye olde form of “the”), like so: FO(YE)R.

  1. Menacing sergeant major leaves looking complacent (4)

Answer: UGLY (i.e. “menacing”). Solution is SMUGLY (i.e. “looking complacent”) with the SM removed (indicated by “sergeant major leaving” – SM being a recognised abbreviation of “Sergeant-Major”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1514

For the most part this was a relatively easy one save for the top-left corner. Thankfully, once my holiday-brain cranked into gear, the pieces eventually fell into place. The big let-down, however, was the number of recent repeats peppering the grid. Again. I appreciate there are umpteen setters for these things and that they aren’t psychic, but it can’t take much to communicate a moratorium on certain solutions to prevent their overuse. Otherwise it all feeds into my conspiracy theory that the grids are being algorithmically set for setters to clue up later, that the algorithm is the genesis of Skynet, and that pretty soon we’re all going to be overrun by Terminators with curiously large vocabularies.

Anyway, back in the here and now, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has done for you then you might find enlightenment in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions to the last 160+ of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind comments and help. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers got on, or if there’s something I’ve missed.

Stay safe out there, kids. I’ll be along shortly with the next one.

LP

Across clues

  1. Lamb tender second-rate old butcher’s taken secretly (2,4)

Answer: BO PEEP (i.e. “lamb tender”, albeit one prone to losing them). Solution is B (i.e. “second-rate”, i.e. B grade) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and PEEP (i.e. “butcher’s taken secretly”, “butcher’s” being cockney rhyming slang for “look”, i.e. butchers hook).

  1. Daughter abandoning plans to adopt new standards (7)

Answer: ENSIGNS (i.e. “standards” or flags). Solution is DESIGNS (i.e. “plans”) with the D removed (indicated by “daughter abandoning” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) and the remainder wrapped around or “adopting” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: E(N)SIGNS.

  1. Cars here needing to be broken in systematic investigation (8)

Answer: RESEARCH (i.e. “systematic investigation”). “Needing to be broken” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CARS HERE.

  1. Cash for confidences: not an offer Simple Simon could have made? (1,5,3,4,8)

Answer: A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS (i.e. “cash for confidences”). The remainder of the clue plays on the nursery rhyme Simple Simon, in which he asks a pieman for a taste of his wares but hasn’t the money to buy any.

  1. Revolutionary husband taking place in long assignment (8)

Answer: MARATHON (i.e. “long assignment”). Solution is Jean-Paul MARAT (i.e. “revolutionary”, specifically a key player in the French Revolution) followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) and ON (i.e. “taking place”). Sigh… Regular readers will know I often have a bee in my bonnet when setters repeatedly slot the same solutions into their grids, but this one’s starting to take the piss. This is the fourth time MARATHON has appeared in these things in the last year or so, and on three occasions Jean-Paul Marat is inferenced in the clue. Come on, setters, you can do better than this. Does the office encyclopaedia fall open at the same page or something?

  1. Inuit occasionally corrected legal woman (7)

Answer: NIGELLA (i.e. “woman”, basically a woman’s name). Solution is NI (i.e. “Inuit occasionally”, i.e. every other letter of INUIT) followed by an anagram (indicated by “corrected”) of LEGAL, like so: NI-GELLA. Another bugbear of mine is when setters slot forenames into their grids. This one’s going well, then.

  1. Try to catch start of hockey or bit of cricket? (6)

Answer: THORAX (the bit of the body between the head and the abdomen, i.e. “bit of cricket” and, I guess, about a squillion other species besides). Solution is TAX (i.e. to “try” or challenge) wrapped around or “catching” H (i.e. “start [letter] of hockey”) and OR, like so: T(H-OR)AX.

  1. Violent criminal blocks way with extremely scary axe (10)

Answer: PSYCHOPATH (i.e. “violent criminal”). Solution is PATH (i.e. “way”) wrapped around or “blocked” by SY (i.e. “extremely scary”, i.e. the first and last letters of “scary”) and CHOP (i.e. to “axe” something), like so: P(SY-CHOP)ATH.

  1. Tight from booze in northeast having wine brought round (4-8)

Answer: MEAN-SPIRITED (i.e. “tight”). Solution is SPIRIT (i.e. “booze”) placed “in” NE (a recognised abbreviation of “northeast”) which itself is placed in or having “round” it MEAD (i.e. “wine”), like so: MEA(N(SPIRIT)E)D.

  1. Julie’s content to consume grammes in fruit (4)

Answer: UGLI (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is ULI (i.e. “Julie’s content”, i.e. the middle letters of “Julie”) wrapped around or “consuming” G (a recognised abbreviation of “grammes”), like so: U(G)LI.

  1. Bad after short attack of sickness, regularly taking soup (8)

Answer: BOUILLON (i.e. a strong broth or “soup”). Solution is ILL (i.e. “bad”) placed “after” BOUT (i.e. “attack of sickness”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”), then followed by ON (i.e. “regularly taking” a medicine), like so: BOU-ILL-ON.

  1. Comprehensive action where detective makes entrance (8)

Answer: DETAILED (i.e. “comprehensive”). Solution is DEED (i.e. “action”) with TAIL (i.e. “detective”, as in someone who keeps tabs on a suspect) “making an entrance” like so: DE(TAIL)ED.

  1. Too eager to press for expulsion from chambers? (7-5)

Answer: TRIGGER-HAPPY (i.e. “too eager”). The remainder of the clue plays on how triggers are “pressed”, and how ammunition is fired or “expelled” from the “chamber” of a gun. You get the idea.

  1. Player paid news boss to keep brochure overlong (10)

Answer: PROTRACTED (i.e. “overlong”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “player paid”, short for a professional) and ED (i.e. “news boss”, this time short for an editor) wrapped around TRACT (i.e. “brochure”), like so: PRO-(TRACT)-ED.

  1. Reformed rat with monocle seen in casino town (5,5)

Answer: MONTE CARLO (i.e. “casino town” in Monaco). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “reformed”) of RAT and MONOCLE.

  1. Lord investing pound accepted monetary system (4,8)

Answer: GOLD STANDARD (i.e. former “monetary system”). Solution is GOD (i.e. “lord”) wrapped around or “investing” L (a recognised abbreviation of a “pound” weight, after the Latin libra) and followed by STANDARD (i.e. “accepted”), like so: GO(L)D-STANDARD.

  1. Slight criticism when each son gives way to female deception (4-4)

Answer: FLIM-FLAM (i.e. “deception”). Solution is SLIM (i.e. “slight”) and SLAM (i.e. “criticism”) with the S from both (indicated by “each son”, S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”) replaced with or “giving way to” F (ditto “female”), like so: (S)LIM-(S)LAM => (F)LIM-(F)LAM.

  1. Column only remaining in support for bridge (8)

Answer: PILASTER (i.e. “column”). Solution is LAST (i.e. “only remaining”) placed “in” PIER (i.e. “support for bridge”), like so: PI(LAST)ER.

  1. Wrong when coming west to entertain second-rate writers (4)

Answer: NIBS (i.e. “writers”). Solution is SIN (i.e. “wrong”) reversed (indicated by “when coming west” – this being an across clue) and wrapped round or “entertaining” B (i.e. “second-rate”, as seen in 1a), like so: NI(B)S.

  1. Nancy’s indefinable quality? (2,2,4,4)

Answer: JE NE SAIS QUOI (i.e. “indefinably quality”). “Nancy’s” refers to the French city, Nancy, and this being a French phrase. Another recent repeat, sadly.

  1. Issue lacking clear boundaries for intelligence (4,6)

Answer: GREY MATTER. Solution satisfies “issue lacking clear boundaries” and “intelligence”.

  1. Officer shot landowners (6)

Answer: GENTRY (i.e. “landowners”). Solution is GEN (i.e. “officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a general) followed by TRY (i.e. an attempt or “shot” at something).

  1. Justify upright character being drawn into old scheme (7)

Answer: EXPLAIN (i.e. “justify”). Solution is I (i.e. the “upright character” of the alphabet) placed or “drawn into” EX-PLAN (i.e. “old scheme”), like so: EX-PLA(I)N.

  1. Refuse to become sad (4,4)

Answer: TURN DOWN (i.e. “refuse”). Solution is TURN (i.e. “to become”) followed by DOWN (i.e. “sad”).

  1. Wag from Portland twice as flash? (3,6,2,1,5,4)

Answer: TWO SHAKES OF A LAMB’S TAIL. Clue plays on Portland being a variety of sheep, and how “wag” can be a shake of a tail. Ho hum. Another repeat, this time from the not-exactly-ancient puzzle 1507. Even the clue is broadly the same, and the fact the solution is a big ‘un just amplifies the disappointment.

  1. Call for help involving black politician in pathetic tale (3,5)

Answer: SOB STORY (i.e. “pathetic tale”). Solution is SOS (i.e. “call for help”) wrapped around or “involving” B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) and followed by TORY (i.e. “politician”), like so: SO(B)S-TORY.

  1. Fox pelt we hear of in Bow? (7)

Answer: REYNARD (i.e. “fox”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “we hear”) of RAIN HARD (i.e. “pelt”) once the H of HARD has been removed (indicated by “in Bow”, as in ‘ow all ‘em cockneys are forever droppin’ their bleedin’ aitches, inney? That and selling stolen goods to one another). A new one on me. I like it.

  1. Horror-struck scallywag has turned to bottle (6)

Answer: AGHAST (i.e. “horror-struck”). “To bottle” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: SCALLYW(AG HAS T)URNED.

Down clues

  1. City in South Africa in quite nice area (5)

Answer: OSAKA (i.e. “city” in Japan). Solution is SA (a recognised abbreviation of “South Africa”) placed “in” OK (i.e. “quite nice”) and followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), like so: O(SA)K-A. A clue that’s a little 20a, shall we say?

  1. Impressive – as grey eminence evidently is? (3-8)

Answer: EYE-CATCHING (i.e. “impressive”). Clue plays on how EYE has been hidden, or CAUGHT, within GR(EY E)MINENCE.

  1. God as necessary consequence guarding over temple (8)

Answer: PANTHEON (i.e. “temple”). Solution is PAN (i.e. Greek “god” of the forest and such) followed by THEN (i.e. “necessary consequence”) once wrapped around or “guarding” O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), like so: PAN-THE(O)N. Needed a push from my Bradford’s to get over the line. The top-left corner of the grid was a bit of a horror show.

  1. Small and delicate female rising river claims (5)

Answer: ELFIN (i.e. “small and delicate”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) placed in or “claimed” by NILE (i.e. “river”) once reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: EL(F)IN.

  1. Screw up introduction to calculus course in school (7)

Answer: SCRUNCH (i.e. “screw up”). Solution is C (i.e. “introduction to calculus”, i.e. the first letter of “calculus”) and RUN (i.e. “course”) both placed “in” SCH (a recognised abbreviation of “school”), like so: S(C-RUN)CH.

  1. Handel for one humming needs no second singer (6,5)

Answer: GEORGE MELLY (i.e. “singer”). Solution is GEORGE (i.e. “Handel for one” – other Georges are available. George Melly, for example) followed by SMELLY (i.e. “humming”) once the S has been removed (indicated by “needs no second” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “second”).

  1. French philosopher enduring pain at length (5)

Answer: Georges SOREL (i.e. “French philosopher”). Solution is SORE (i.e. “enduring pain”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “length”). Was straight to Bradford’s the moment I saw “philosopher”. They’re only ever slotted in these things to fill an awkward space, after all.

  1. Went through stop light circling vehicle used for late trip? (9)

Answer: REHEARSED (i.e. “went through”). Solution is RED (i.e. “stop light”) wrapped around or “circling” HEARSE (i.e. “vehicle used for late trip”, “late” being another word for “deceased”), like so: RE(HEARSE)D.

  1. Short and low building taken over (5)

Answer: SQUAT. Solution satisfies “short and low” and “building taken over” by squatters.

  1. Ace local bar is one with a constant stimulant (11)

Answer: APHRODISIAC (i.e. “stimulant”). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used on playing cards) followed by PH (i.e. “local”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Public House), then ROD (i.e. “bar”), then IS, then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then A and C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”).

  1. Lawsuit about rotter in dramatic fall (7)

Answer: CASCADE (i.e. “dramatic fall”). Solution is CASE (i.e. “lawsuit”) wrapped “about” CAD (i.e. “rotter”), like so: CAS(CAD)E.

  1. Dish needs sweetheart to send delivery (5,4)

Answer: SUGAR BOWL (i.e. a kind of “dish”). Solution is SUGAR (i.e. “sweetheart”, both terms of endearment) followed by BOWL (i.e. “send delivery” in a number of ball games).

  1. One more article with books leading lady sent round hotel (7)

Answer: ANOTHER (i.e. “one more”). Solution is AN (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) followed by OT (i.e. “books”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible) and ER (i.e. “leading lady”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) once wrapped “round” H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet) like so: AN-OT-(H)-ER.

  1. State capital level as on plain (9)

Answer: ANNAPOLIS (i.e. US “state capital” of Maryland). “Level” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AS ON PLAIN.

  1. Domestic a learner following orderly sequence announced (8)

Answer: INTERNAL (i.e. “domestic”). Solution is A and L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner” used on L-plates) placed after or “following” a homophone (indicated by “announced”) of IN TURN (i.e. “orderly sequence”), like so: (IN-TERN)-A-L.

  1. I’m to assist an erring actor, posh, lacking script? (9)

Answer: IMPROMPTU (i.e. spontaneous or “lacking script”). Solution is I’M followed by PROMPT (i.e. “to assist an erring actor” with their lines) and U (“posh” or indicating the upper class, what, old thing, tally-ho and such).

  1. Dreadful crustacean in river drained lake (9)

Answer: EXECRABLE (i.e. “dreadful”). Solution is CRAB (i.e. “crustacean”) placed “in” between EXE (i.e. a “river”) and LE (i.e. “drained lake”, i.e. the word “lake” with all its middle letters removed), like so: EXE-(CRAB)-LE.

  1. I’m sorry copper interrupting restaurant date with old man (3,5)

Answer: MEA CULPA (i.e. my bad, or “I’m sorry”). Solution is CU (chemical symbol of “copper”) placed in or “interrupting” MEAL (i.e. “restaurant date”) and PA (i.e. father or “old man”), like so: MEA(CU)L-PA.

  1. Dirty bones scattered round church (7)

Answer: OBSCENE (i.e. “dirty”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “scattered”) of BONES wrapped “round” CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: OBS(CE)NE.

  1. Seems put out, wildly passionate (11)

Answer: TEMPESTUOUS (i.e. “passionate”). “Wildly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SEEMS PUT OUT.

  1. Mixture left by girl, one married to the French cook (11)

Answer: GALLIMAUFRY (i.e. “mixture”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) placed after or “by” GAL (i.e. informal word for “girl”), then followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then M (a recognised abbreviation of “married”), then AU (i.e. “to the French”, i.e. the French for “to the”) and FRY (i.e. “cook”), like so: GAL-(L)-I-M-AU-FRY. Cool word. Like it.

  1. Hackneyed rubbish to include poem Henry finished first (4,2,5)

Answer: DONE TO DEATH (i.e. “hackneyed” – a tacit admission of all these repeats, perhaps?) Solution is TAT (i.e. “rubbish”) wrapped around or “including” ODE (i.e. “poem”) and followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “Henry”, a unit of measurement popular with setters these days). DONE (i.e. “finished”) is then placed “first” ahead of all this, like so: DONE-(T(ODE)AT-H).

  1. Superior clue might one readily admit? (6,3)

Answer: MASTER KEY (i.e. “might one readily admit” access). Solution is MASTER (i.e. “superior”) followed by KEY (i.e. “clue”, as in how they both unlock stuff in their own ways. Interestingly, a variant spelling of clue is “clew”, which is a thread that guides through a maze, which also kind of fits. Ish.)

  1. Before noon wild boar is heavenly food (8)

Answer: AMBROSIA (i.e. “heavenly food”). Solution is AM (i.e. “before noon”, short for the Latin ante meridiem) followed by an anagram (indicated by “wild”) of BOAR IS, like so: AM-BROSIA.

  1. Choose gold mounting for plate (7)

Answer: ELECTRO (i.e. “plate”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of electroplate, the process of applying a coat of metal to stuff using electrolysis). Solution is ELECT (i.e. “choose”) followed by OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry) once this latter has been reversed (indicated by “mounting” – this being a down clue), like so: ELECT-RO.

  1. Concentrations of strength seen in good old England (7)

Answer: GANGLIA (i.e. “concentrations of strength”, the plural of ganglion. When they’re not scary looking tumours, ganglia can also describe nerve cells or centres of energy or activity. A bit of a leap to describe them as concentrations of strength, though). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) followed by ANGLIA (i.e. “old England”).

  1. Philistine always knocked over? Goliath finally ducks (5)

Answer: YAHOO (i.e. “philistine”, both taken to mean boorish or uncultured types). Solution is AY (i.e. “always”, both forms of assent) reversed (indicated by “knocked over” – this being a down clue) and followed by H (i.e. “Goliath finally”, i.e. the last letter of “Goliath”), then O and O (i.e. both “ducks”, i.e. zero scores in cricket), like so: YA-H-OO.

  1. One to sit with vexed question? (5)

Answer: POSER. Solution satisfies “one to sit” for an artist, and “vexed question”.

  1. Man with credentials retiring (5)

Answer: TIMID (i.e. “retiring”). Solution is TIM (i.e. a “man’s” name) followed by ID (i.e. “credentials” or identity).

  1. Falters under pressure in southern county (5)

Answer: WILTS. Solution satisfies “falters under pressure” and “southern county”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Wiltshire.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1513

A medium strength puzzle this week that didn’t stand out much from the crowd, but did offer the kind of steady progression I like. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

If a recent Jumbo has had you shaking your fists to the sky bellowing “damn you setter!!!!” then you might find my Just For Fun page of use. There you’ll find links to solutions for the last 160+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and help, folks. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared, or if there is an alternative take I have not considered. Note that I’ll be away from my laptop next weekend. All being well I’ll resume posting upon my return later on in the week. Till next time, stay safe and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Supports sailors circumnavigating island in secret (10)

Answer: BACKSTAIRS (i.e. “secret” or underhand). Solution is BACKS (i.e. “supports”) followed by TARS (informal word for “sailors”) once wrapped around or “circumnavigating” I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: BACKS-TA(I)RS.

  1. Possible description of home in homage, a redeeming feature (6,6)

Answer: SILVER LINING (i.e. “a redeeming feature”). Clue plays on how “home” can be wrapped around or provide a LINING for Ag (chemical symbol of SILVER) to produce the word “homage”, like so “hom(Ag)e”.

  1. Large insect covering a short distance (7)

Answer: MAMMOTH (i.e. “large”). Solution is MOTH (i.e. “insect”) wrapped around or “covering” A and MM (i.e. “short distance”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of a millimetre), like so: M(A-MM)OTH.

  1. Fish struck in the side (7)

Answer: WHITING (i.e. “fish”). Solution is HIT (i.e. “struck”) placed “in” WING (i.e. “side”), like so: W(HIT)ING.

  1. Climbing aid? It’s a fiddle securing slope (7)

Answer: CRAMPON (i.e. “climbing aid”). Solution is CON (i.e. “fiddle”) wrapped around or “securing” RAMP (i.e. “slope”), like so: C(RAMP)ON.

  1. Initial figure reduced by half for attractive instrument (4)

Answer: LUTE (i.e. “instrument”). Total guess, this one, so watch out. The clue seems to require solvers take half of an existing word to yield the solution, but there aren’t many words that begin or end in LUTE, and none that immediately satisfy “initial figure”. If a kind soul swings by with the solution then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Hats off to Chris in the comments for digging up the dirt on this one. The solution is CUTE (i.e. “attractive”) with the C (its “initial figure”, a reference to the first letter being 100 in Roman numerals) being replaced by L (i.e. “reduced by half”, L being 50 in Roman numerals), like so: (C)UTE => (L)UTE. Good grief, setter! Also, cheers Chris! – LP]

  1. Cry of surprise in autumn abroad, losing last of blossoms (6)

Answer: FLORAL (i.e. “of blossoms”). Solution is LOR (i.e. “cry of surprise”, a contraction of “lord”) placed “in” FALL (i.e. “autumn abroad”, specifically North America) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “losing last”), like so: F(LOR)AL.

  1. Loud type of jazz, not without heart (8)

Answer: STRIDENT (i.e. “loud”). Solution is STRIDE (i.e. “type of jazz”, Chambers offers “stride piano” if that helps) followed by NT (i.e. “not without heart”, i.e. the word “not” with its middle letter removed).

  1. Make a meal of ingratitude? (4,3,4,4,5,3)

Answer: BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS ONE, (i.e. “ingratitude”). Clue plays on meals and feeding and all that palaver. You get the idea.

  1. Essence of chess to sanction capturing pieces? That’s the essential part (7)

Answer: ELEMENT (i.e. “the essential part”). Solution is E (i.e. “essence of chess”, i.e. the middle letter of “chess”) and LET (i.e. “to sanction”) all wrapped around or “capturing” MEN (i.e. chess “pieces”), like so: E-LE(MEN)T.

  1. Disdaining to take in operatic cycle after receiving note (8)

Answer: SNEERING (i.e. “disdaining”). Solution is SEE RING (i.e. “take in operatic cycle”, referring to The Ring Cycle by Richard Wagner) wrapped around or “receiving” N (a recognised abbreviation of “note”), like so: S(N)EE-RING.

  1. Scoundrel’s wife needing support (6)

Answer: WEASEL (i.e. “scoundrel”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) followed by EASEL (an artist’s “support”).

  1. Cold and nasty dank old garage, associated with intrigue (5-3-6)

Answer: CLOAK-AND-DAGGER (i.e. “associated with intrigue”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “nasty”) of DANK OLD GARAGE, like so: C-LOAKANDDAGGER.

  1. Pilot show, say, in stupid series (5,3)

Answer: DUMMY RUN (i.e. “pilot show, say”, an example of an experimental run of something). Solution is DUMMY (i.e. “stupid”) followed by RUN (i.e. a “series”).

  1. Organ song bearing fruit? On the contrary (8)

Answer: MELODEON (i.e. a reed “organ”). Solution is MELON (i.e. “fruit”) wrapped around or “bearing” ODE (i.e. “song”), like so: MEL(ODE)ON. “On the contrary” indicates we need to decode “fruit bearing song”, rather than the “song bearing fruit” shown in the clue. Bradford’s bailed me out of this one, albeit under a variant spelling.

  1. Beer’s not cool – gutless drunks converted to become this? (5-4,5)

Answer: STONE-COLD SOBER (i.e. “this” within context of the clue, i.e. the result of converting drunks). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “converted”) of BEER’S NOT COOL and DS (i.e. “gutless drunks”, i.e. the word “drunks” with all its middle letters removed).

  1. Take contents from a French collection of suits (6)

Answer: UNPACK (i.e. “take contents from”). Solution is UN (i.e. “a French”, i.e. the masculine form of “a” in French) followed by PACK (i.e. “collection of suits”, i.e. a pack of cards).

  1. One hopes to discover former Priest retaining lessons of history? (8)

Answer: EXPLORER (i.e. “one hopes to discover”). Solution is EX (i.e. “former”) followed by PR (a recognised abbreviation of “priest”) once wrapped around or “retaining” LORE (i.e. “lessons of history”), like so: EX-P(LORE)R.

  1. It’s what laureate receives, bloke granted (7)

Answer: CHAPLET (i.e. a wreath or “what laureate receives”). Solution is CHAP (i.e. “bloke”) followed by LET (i.e. allowed or “granted”).

  1. Radio waves and so on providing entry for company in revised recent computer game list (15,8)

Answer: ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM (i.e. “radio waves and so on”). Solution is C (i.e. “entry for company”, i.e. the first letter of “company”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “revised”) of RECENT COMPUTER GAME LIST.

  1. Fluttering lids seen in dalliance? (8)

Answer: IDLENESS (i.e. “dalliance”). “Fluttering” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LIDS SEEN. Nicely worked.

  1. Managing minor employee in control of security number (6)

Answer: COPING (i.e. “managing”). Solution is COG (i.e. “minor employee”) wrapped around or “in control of” PIN (i.e. “security number”, specifically a Personal Identification Number), like so: CO(PIN)G.

  1. Audience’s first objection backing brass instrument (4)

Answer: TUBA (i.e. “grass instrument”). Solution is A (i.e. “audience’s first”, i.e. the first letter of “audience”) followed by BUT (i.e. “objection”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “backing”), like so: TUB-A.

  1. Nonsense – I should replace article – here’s a minor adjustment (7)

Answer: TWIDDLE (i.e. “minor adjustment”). Solution is TWADDLE (i.e. “nonsense”) with the A (an “article”, being a word like a, an or the) “replaced” by I, like so: TW(A)DDLE => TW(I)DDLE.

  1. Childhood dreams occur thus? (7)

Answer: INFANCY (i.e. “childhood”). When written as IN FANCY the solution also satisfies “dreams occur thus”.

  1. Foolishness in a year will have fool incarcerated (7)

Answer: INANITY (i.e. “foolishness”). Solution is IN A and Y (a recognised abbreviation of “year”) all wrapped around or “incarcerating” NIT (i.e. “fool”), like so: IN-A-(NIT)-Y.

  1. Party subordinate with yen to cover the old foreign policy hypothesis (6,6)

Answer: DOMINO THEORY (i.e. “foreign policy hypothesis”, specifically one from the Cold War that a communist government in one nation would quickly lead to communist takeovers in its neighbours). Solution is DO (i.e. “party”), MINOR (i.e. “subordinate”) and Y (a recognised abbreviation of “yen”) all wrapped around or “covering” THE and O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: DO-MINO(THE-O)R-Y.

  1. One tweets: “Shift European capital – opening for reinvestment” (10)

Answer: BUDGERIGAR (i.e. “one tweets”). Solution is BUDGE (i.e. “shift”) followed by RIGA (i.e. “European capital”, specifically that of Latvia) and R (i.e. “opening for reinvestment”, i.e. the first letter of “reinvestment”).

Down clues

  1. Dickens character needing a lot of ale, being a busy figure (9)

Answer: BUMBLEBEE (i.e. “busy figure”, as in the phrase “busy as a bumblebee”). Solution is Mr BUMBLE (i.e. “Dickens character” from Oliver Twist) followed by BEER (i.e. “ale”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of”), like so: BUMBLE-BEE.

  1. Get very heated – a lot of bother involved in old aircraft fuel (4,2,3,4)

Answer: COME TO THE BOIL (i.e. “get very heated”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “involved”) of BOTHE (i.e. “a lot of bother”, i.e. the word “bother” with its last letter removed) placed “in” between COMET (i.e. “old aircraft”, the world’s first commercial jet airliner) and OIL (i.e. “fuel”), like so: COMET-(OTHEB)-OIL.

  1. Broadcast interrupted by new interference (4)

Answer: SNOW (i.e. “interference” associated with iffy analogue television reception – ask your grandparents, kids). Solution is SOW (i.e. “broadcast”) wrapped around N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: S(N)OW.

  1. After bagging Munro, say, experts continue to nurse part of foot (8,6)

Answer: ACHILLES TENDON (i.e. “part of foot”). Solution is ACES (i.e. “experts”) wrapped around HILL (i.e. “Munro, say” – a new one on me, a Munro is “a designation originally of Scottish (and now English, Irish and Welsh) mountains over 3000 feet” (Chambers)) and followed by TEND ON (i.e. “continue to nurse”), like so: (AC(HILL)ES)-TEND-ON.

  1. Bank controversy (3)

Answer: ROW. Solution satisfies line or “bank”, and “controversy”.

  1. One getting second after one first in race gets flag (4)

Answer: IRIS (i.e. “flag” – a variant meaning of the word is “an iris”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) placed “after” I (“one” again) and R (i.e. “first in race”, i.e. the first letter of “race”), like so: I-R-(I-S).

  1. Having a dull time – herbivorous, say, and swallowing last of meat (10)

Answer: VEGETATING (i.e. “having a dull time”). Solution is VEG EATING (i.e. “herbivorous, say”) wrapped around or “swallowing” T (i.e. “last of meat”, i.e. the last letter of “meat”), like so: VEG-E(T)ATING.

  1. English church encircled by current fence (8)

Answer: RECEIVER (i.e. “fence”, or someone handling or receiving stolen goods). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England) placed in or “encircled by” RIVER (i.e. “current”), like so: R(E-CE)IVER.

  1. Statement from owner of paper about Democrat’s rallying cry in US? (1,4,1,5)

Answer: I HAVE A DREAM (i.e. Martin Luther King Jnr’s “rallying cry in US”). Solution is I HAVE A REAM (i.e. “statement from owner of paper”) wrapped “about” D (a recognised abbreviation of “Democrat”).

  1. Sadly time’s up without you heading off – that’s thoughtless (9)

Answer: IMPETUOUS (i.e. “thoughtless”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sadly”) of TIME’S UP wrapped around or placed “without” of YOU once it’s first letter has been removed (indicated by “heading off”), like so: IMPETU(OU)S.

  1. Note framed by giant percussion instrument (4)

Answer: GONG (i.e. “percussion instrument”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “note”) placed in or “framed by” GOG (i.e. “giant”, one half of Gog and Magog, “the last two survivors of a mythical race of giants inhabiting ancient Britain” (Chambers)), like so: GO(N)G.

  1. Making shift, daughter is joining second daughter in box (8)

Answer: DISLODGE (i.e. “making [something] shift”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by IS, then D (again, “daughter”) once placed “in” LOGE (i.e. “box”, over to Chambers again: “a box in the theatre or opera house”), like so: D-IS-LO(D)GE.

  1. Has to gather round piano in bar – unknown emotional piece (8)

Answer: RHAPSODY (i.e. “emotional piece”). Solution is HAS wrapped “round” P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, or quietly in musical lingo), and itself placed “in” ROD (i.e. “bar”). This is all then followed by Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in their clues as unknowns), like so: R(HA(P)S)OD-Y.

  1. “Run bearing rump”? The opposite: it’s “run baring rump” (6)

Answer: STREAK (i.e. “run baring rump”). Solution is STEAK (i.e. “rump”) wrapped around or “bearing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games), like so: ST(R)EAK. Like 34a, “the opposite” indicates we’re swapping round the words of “run bearing rump” to get the solution.

  1. Coven, perhaps, subsequently hosting ghastly rite (8)

Answer: THIRTEEN (i.e. “coven, perhaps” – a coven can specifically be a group of thirteen witches). Solution is THEN (i.e. “subsequently”) wrapped around or “hosting” an anagram (indicated by “ghastly”) of RITE, like so: TH(IRTE)EN.

  1. Comfortable seat in play area on ship (8)

Answer: RECLINER (i.e. “comfortable seat”). Solution is REC (i.e. recreation or “play area”) followed by LINER (i.e. “ship”).

  1. Government investment? Quiet dancing club is undecided (6,8)

Answer: PUBLIC SPENDING (i.e. “government investment”). Solution is P (i.e. “quiet”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “dancing”) of CLUB IS, then PENDING (i.e. “undecided”), like so: P-UBLICS-PENDING.

  1. One arriving, about to dump office machine (8)

Answer: COMPUTER (i.e. “office machine”). Solution is COMER (i.e. “one arriving”) wrapped “about” PUT (i.e. “to dump”), like so: COM(PUT)ER.

  1. Manage Japanese sandal, extended (3,5)

Answer: GET ALONG (i.e. “manage”). Solution is GETA (i.e. “Japanese sandal” – a new one on me) followed by LONG (i.e. “extended”).

  1. Agitated one is beginning to blame burglar for causing uproar (6-7)

Answer: RABBLE-ROUSING (i.e. “causing uproar”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “agitated”) of ONE IS, B (i.e. “beginning [letter] to blame”) and BURGLAR.

  1. A competition to store grain in seed container (5-3)

Answer: ACORN-CUP (i.e. “seed container”). Solution is A and CUP (i.e. “competition”) wrapped around or “storing” CORN (i.e. “grain”), like so: A-(CORN)-CUP.

  1. Notice oddly shaped flowering plant (11)

Answer: DICOTYLEDON (i.e. a classification of “flowering plant”). “Shaped” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NOTICE ODDLY. A rare fail for my Bradford’s. The wordplay was reasonably obvious but took a fair amount of brute force in my Chambers to nail. Not a word that will live long in the memory, sadly.

  1. Observation in support of singular quantity of material (6)

Answer: SWATCH (i.e. “quantity of material”). Solution is WATCH (i.e. “observation”) placed after or “in support of” – this being a down clue – S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”), like so: S-WATCH.

  1. Part of car, as it happens, not initially complete (10)

Answer: EXHAUSTIVE (i.e. “complete”). Solution is EXHAUST (i.e. “part of car”) followed by LIVE (i.e. “as it happens”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “not initially”), like so: EXHAUST-IVE.

  1. Communist committee to believe almost all about old African tyrant (9)

Answer: PRESIDIUM (i.e. “communist committee” of the old Soviet Union). Solution is PRESUME (i.e. “to believe”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost all”) and the remainder placed “about” IDI Amin (i.e. “old African tyrant”), like so: PRES(IDI)UM. Chalk one to Bradford’s. I’d reached the “bugger it” point.

  1. Hire after receiving elevated quote? That’s not saying much (8)

Answer: RETICENT (i.e. “not saying much”). Solution is RENT (i.e. “hire”) wrapped around or “receiving” CITE (i.e. “quote”) once reversed (indicated by “elevated” – this being a down clue), like so: R(ETIC)ENT.

  1. Literary hero some way misrepresented in first couple of translations (3,6)

Answer: TOM SAWYER (i.e. “literary hero” of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn books). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “misrepresented”) of SOMEWAY placed “in” TR (i.e. “first couple [of letters] of TRanslations”), like so: T(OMSAWYE)R.

  1. Feeling the blues rhythm without much stress (8)

Answer: DOWNBEAT (i.e. relaxed, unworried or “without much stress”). Solution is DOWN (i.e. “feeling the blues”) followed by BEAT (i.e. “rhythm”).

  1. Boss with a lot of scholarship (4)

Answer: STUD (i.e. “boss”). Solution is STUDY (i.e. “scholarship”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of…”).

  1. A group of aviators soaring a great distance (4)

Answer: AFAR (i.e. “great distance”). Solution is A followed by RAF (i.e. “group of aviators”, specifically the Royal Air Force) once reversed (indicated by “soaring” – this being a down clue), like so: A-FAR.

  1. Supporting justice? Fine attitude (4)

Answer: FAIR (i.e. “supporting justice”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils) followed by AIR (i.e. “attitude”).

  1. Solver’s early days? Half of that is forgotten (3)

Answer: YOU (i.e. “solver” from the point of view of the setter). Solution is YOUTH (i.e. “early days”) with the TH removed (indicated by “half of THat is forgotten”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1512

A medium strength puzzle that offered the kind of steady progression I like. There were a handful of scruffy clues conspiring to spoil the party but, overall, this was an improvement on recent weeks.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has picked your pockets then you can find links to solutions to the last 160+ of them on my Just For Fun page. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and insights, folks. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put down their pens. Till next time, stay safe and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Dig first for peat, a feature of Ireland (6)

Answer: PLOUGH (i.e. “dig”). Solution is P (i.e. “first for peat”, i.e. the first letter of “peat”) followed by LOUGH (i.e. “a feature of Ireland”, specifically a geographic feature, in this case the Irish for a lake).

  1. For heathen, lawyer produces publicity (10)

Answer: PROPAGANDA (i.e. “publicity”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “for”) followed by PAGAN (i.e. “heathen”) and DA (i.e. “lawyer”, specifically a District Attorney).

  1. Nobel author removing one line further on in the text (5)

Answer: BELOW (i.e. “further on in the text”). Solution is Saul BELLOW (i.e. “Nobel author”) with one of the Ls removed (indicated by “removing one line” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “line”).

  1. More crazy to drop initial promise – end of story (9)

Answer: AFTERWORD (i.e. “end of story”). Solution is DAFTER (i.e. “more crazy”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “to drop initial”) and the remainder followed by WORD (i.e. “promise”, as in “my word is my bond”), like so: AFTER-WORD.

  1. Drop lifeless: for example, a coffin must follow (4,6,3)

Answer: DEAD LETTER BOX (i.e. “drop”, specifically a location in which spies dunk sensitive information to be picked up by another). Solution is DEAD (i.e. “lifeless”) followed by LETTER (i.e. “for example, a” – other letters are available) and BOX (i.e. “coffin”).

  1. Displacing son during excursion (7)

Answer: OUSTING (i.e. “displacing”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) placed “during” OUTING (i.e. “excursion”), like so: OU(S)TING.

  1. Golf club admitting West and North African (7)

Answer: RWANDAN (i.e. “African”). Solution is R AND A (i.e. “golf club”, specifically the R&A, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews) wrapped around or “admitting” W (a recognised abbreviation of “west”) and followed by N (ditto “north”), like so: (R-(W)-AND-A)-N

  1. At sea, declare how weather has improved (7)

Answer: CLEARED (i.e. “how weather has improved”). “At sea” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DECLARE.

  1. OK to develop preparation for each task (8,10)

Answer: PLANNING PERMISSION (i.e. “OK to develop”). Solution is PLANNING (i.e. “preparation”) followed by PER (i.e. “for each”) and MISSION (i.e. “task”).

  1. Key mistake admitted by party-pooper (4)

Answer: TYPO (i.e. “key mistake” referring to the keys of a keyboard). “Admitted by” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PAR(TY-PO)OPER.

  1. Hard, unresponsive, not feminine (5)

Answer: RIGID (i.e. “hard”). Solution is FRIGID (i.e. “unresponsive”) with the F removed (indicated by “not feminine”, F being a recognised abbreviation of “feminine”).

  1. In quarrel rod snapped off on top of head (8)

Answer: DOMESTIC (i.e. “quarrel”). Solution is STICK (i.e. “rod”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “snapped off”) and the remainder placed “on” or after DOME (i.e. “top of head”), like so: DOME-STIC.

  1. Send for engineers to achieve objective (3,5)

Answer: GET THERE (i.e. “achieve objective”). When written as GET THE RE the solution also satisfies “send for engineers” – RE being the Royal Engineers of the British Army.

  1. Appear, since having resolved dangers (11)

Answer: EMERGENCIES (i.e. “dangers”). Solution is EMERGE (i.e. “appear”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “having resolved”) of SINCE, like so: EMERGE-NCIES.

  1. Sterile land treated and brought back into use (11)

Answer: REINSTALLED (i.e. “brought back into use”). “Treated” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of STERILE LAND.

  1. Interior desperate for nourishment, introduced directly (11)

Answer: INTRAVENOUS (i.e. “introduced directly” into the bloodstream). Solution is INT (a recognised abbreviation of “interior”) followed by RAVENOUS (i.e. “desperate for nourishment”).

  1. Doing nothing wrong, sample food that’s aesthetically pleasing (2,4,5)

Answer: IN GOOD TASTE (i.e. “aesthetically pleasing”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wrong”) of DOING and O (i.e. “nothing”) followed by TASTE (i.e. “sample food”), like so: INGOOD-TASTE.

  1. In short have half of gorge to cross (8)

Answer: TRAVERSE (i.e. “to cross”). Solution is RAV (i.e. “half of gorge”, i.e. the first half of RAVINE) placed “in” TERSE (i.e. “short”), like so: T(RAV)ERSE.

  1. Not all were wrong to waste day in garden (8)

Answer: PARTERRE (i.e. “garden” – over to Chambers: “a formal arrangement of flower beds”). Solution is PART (i.e. “not all”) followed by ERRED (i.e. “were wrong”) with the D removed (indicated by “to waste day” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “day”), like so: PART-ERRE. A new one on me. I figured the solution would end in ERRE but could I hell get PART. (Pats Bradford’s.)

  1. Obstruct seat (5)

Answer: STALL. Solution satisfies “obstruct” and “seat”.

  1. Comfortable with trigonometrical expression (4)

Answer: COSY. Solution satisfies “comfortable” and, when written as COS Y, “trigonometrical expression”, i.e. the cosine of a variable, Y.

  1. Journalist died, Times agree, in early spring? (5,13)

Answer: LOBBY CORRESPONDENT (i.e. a “journalist” on parliamentary affairs). Solution is OB (i.e. “died”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin, obit), BY (i.e. “times”, as in multiplication – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and CORRESPOND (i.e. “agree”) all placed “in” LENT (i.e. “early spring”), like so: L(OB-BY-CORRESPOND)ENT.

  1. Most tedious journey, in a way (7)

Answer: ARIDEST (i.e. “most tedious” – Chambers disagrees, but my Oxford backs it up. Ish.) Solution is RIDE (i.e. “journey”) placed “in” A and ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: A-(RIDE)-ST.

  1. After meal, perform music, not serious (7)

Answer: TEASING (i.e. “not serious” – hmm, not really. The closest I can get is to playfully make fun of someone, but this is hardly satisfying). Solution is SING (i.e. “perform music”) placed “after” TEA (i.e. “meal”), like so: TEA-SING.

  1. Wizard goes on curious search (7)

Answer: RUMMAGE (i.e. “search”). Solution is MAGE (i.e. “wizard”) placed “on” or after RUM (i.e. “curious”), like so: RUM-MAGE.

  1. Holder of secure government post abroad (10,3)

Answer: DIPLOMATIC BAG, a “holder of secure government post” or mail over in the US (i.e. “abroad”).

  1. Lear’s companion offered to drink last of strong mineral (5,4)

Answer: FOOL’S GOLD (i.e. “mineral”). Solution is FOOL (i.e. “Lear’s companion” in Shakespeare’s King Lear) followed by SOLD (i.e. “offered”) once wrapped around or “drinking” G (i.e. “last of strong”, i.e. the last letter of “strong”), like so: FOOL-S(G)OLD.

  1. Indicate approval, having cleaned out dirty seabird (5)

Answer: NODDY (i.e. “seabird”). Solution is NOD (i.e. “indicate approval”) followed by DY (i.e. “cleaned out dirty”, i.e. the word “dirty” with all its middle letters removed), like so: NOD-DY. One gotten from the wordplay, if I’m honest.

  1. In barrel, see brewing gallons – of these? (5,5)

Answer: LAGER BEERS (i.e. “of these”, referring to the kind of stuff you might see brewing in barrels, referenced in the clue). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “brewing”) of BARREL SEE wrapped around or having “in” G (a recognised abbreviation of “gallons”), like so: LA(G)ERBEERS.

  1. Like some kings to take power ahead of time (6)

Answer: PEARLY (i.e. “like some kings” dahn in ahld Lahndan taaaaaahn, innit, guvnah? Wotcha, gorbimey and much thumbing of braces). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) followed by EARLY (i.e. “ahead of time”).

Down clues

  1. Veg sounding wonderful, but we see nothing in it? (3-6)

Answer: PEA-SOUPER (i.e. “we see nothing in it”, pea-souper being an informal reference to thick fog). Solution is PEA (i.e. “veg”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “sounding”) of SUPER (i.e. “wonderful”).

  1. Stupid view? It’s more than right (6,5)

Answer: OBTUSE ANGLE (i.e. “it’s more than right [angle]”). Solution is OBTUSE (i.e. “stupid”) followed by ANGLE (i.e. “view”).

  1. Proceed with angular measure ignoring a sort of knot (7)

Answer: GORDIAN (i.e. “knot” of legend, supposedly impossible to undo, so Alexander the Great simply sliced through it). Solution is GO (i.e. “proceed”) followed by RADIAN (i.e. “angular measure”) once one of the As has been removed (indicated by “ignoring a”), like so: GO-RDIAN.

  1. Less polished diamonds accepted by king perhaps for pounds (5)

Answer: RUDER (i.e. “less polished”). Solution is RULER (i.e. “king perhaps” – other varieties of ruler are available) with the L (a recognised abbreviation of “pounds”, from the Latin, Libra) swapped “for” D (a recognised abbreviation of “diamonds” used in card games), like so: RU(L)ER => RU(D)ER.

  1. Footmen work over time to get covered by chroniclers (11)

Answer: PODIATRISTS (i.e. “footmen”, i.e. those specialising in the care of feet). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) reversed (indicated by “over”) and followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) once placed in or “covered by” DIARISTS (i.e. “chroniclers”), like so: PO-DIA(T)RISTS.

  1. Old prime minister that is twice introduced to supreme king (5,6)

Answer: GRAND VIZIER (i.e. “old prime minister” post in pre-Republican Turkey). Solution is VIZ and IE (both recognised abbreviations of “that is”: viz being short for the Latin videlicet – “to wit, namely”; i.e. being short for the Latin id est – “that is, that is to say” (both from Chambers)) both placed in or “introduced to” GRAND (i.e. “supreme”) and R (i.e. “king”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Rex), like so: GRAND-(VIZ-IE)-R. One for the classicists.

  1. In drowsy state, daughter gives way to new invalid condition (8)

Answer: NULLNESS (i.e. “invalid condition”). Solution is DULLNESS (i.e. “drowsy state”) with the D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) replaced by or “giving way to” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: (D)ULLNESS => (N)ULLNESS.

  1. Are you one to have problems eating this? (9)

Answer: ARTICHOKE (i.e. “this”, the thing you might eat within the context of the clue). Solution is ART (i.e. ye olde “are”, or more likely “are you” in the clue) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and CHOKE (i.e. “to have problems eating”).

  1. Supplier of pub provides empty bar with jug (6)

Answer: BREWER (i.e. “supplier of pub”). Solution is BR (i.e. “empty bar”, i.e. the word “bar” with its middle letter removed) followed by EWER (i.e. “jug”).

  1. Cheek ring, a symbol of independence (7,4)

Answer: LIBERTY BELL (i.e. “symbol of independence” located in Philadelphia). Solution is LIBERTY (i.e. “cheek”, as in taking liberties) followed by BELL (i.e. to “ring”).

  1. Having grown, wood’s first to be cut down (5)

Answer: WAXED (i.e. “having grown”, often paired with waned). Solution is W (i.e. “wood’s first [letter]”) followed by AXED (i.e. “cut down”).

  1. Fuss, having to swap foot-and-mouth activities (4,3,5)

Answer: SONG AND DANCE (i.e. “fuss”). Clue plays on these being “activities” that are performed using the “mouth” and “foot” respectively, and how these are “swapped” to get you the solution.

  1. Page unfinished judge takes on to work out (4,4)

Answer: PUMP IRON (i.e. “work out”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “page”) followed by UMPIRE (i.e. “judge”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “unfinished”), then ON, like so: P-UMPIR-ON.

  1. Old vegetation river leaves behind (7)

Answer: OVERDUE (i.e. “behind” schedule). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by VERDURE (i.e. “vegetation”) once one of the Rs has been removed (indicated by “river leaves”, R being a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: O-VERDUE.

  1. At length, opponents destroyed continent (8)

Answer: ATLANTIS (i.e. “destroyed continent”). Solution is AT followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “length”) and ANTIS (i.e. “opponents”).
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for the typo fix. I’d written ALTANTIS, like a fool. Cheers, Sue! – LP]

  1. Shabby magistrate read poorly (3-5)

Answer: DOG-EARED (i.e. “shabby”). Solution is DOGE (i.e. former “magistrate” in Republican Venice and Genoa, it says here) followed by an anagram (indicated by “poorly”) of READ, like so: DOGE-ARED.

  1. Clothes hang on one end of line (8)

Answer: LINGERIE (i.e. “clothes”). Solution is LINGER (i.e. “hang on”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and E (i.e. “end [letter] of line”).

  1. Typical – only the second half is quarrelsome (7)

Answer: ERISTIC (i.e. “quarrelsome” – a new one on me). Solution is taken from the “second half” of CHARACTERISTIC (i.e. “typical”). While I love learning new things in these Jumbos, getting solvers to deduce a lesser-known solution from the arse-end of a 14-letter word is a bit much, don’t you think?

  1. Sponsor keeps changing representative (12)

Answer: SPOKESPERSON (i.e. “representative”). “Changing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SPONSOR KEEPS. Very nicely worked. Probably my favourite clue of the puzzle.

  1. Put into new vessel, stuck, having broken shin inside (11)

Answer: TRANSHIPPED (i.e. “put into new [sailing] vessel”). Solution is TRAPPED (i.e. “stuck”) wrapped around or “having…inside” an anagram (indicated by “broken”) of SHIN, like so: TRA(NSHI)PPED.

  1. Court formality, a warning sign (4,7)

Answer: STAR CHAMBER (i.e. English “court” that was charged with keeping powerful folk in check). Solution is STARCH (i.e. stiffness or “formality”) followed by AMBER (i.e. “a warning sign”).

  1. Blend is endless, good for a book (11)

Answer: INTERMINGLE (i.e. “blend”). Solution is INTERMINABLE (i.e. “endless”) with the A and B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) swapped “for” G (ditto “good”), like so: INTERMIN(A-B)LE => INTERMIN(G)LE.

  1. It doesn’t pay to divert a bus, overall (5,6)

Answer: SLAVE LABOUR (i.e. “it doesn’t pay”). “To divert” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A BUS OVERALL.

  1. Deficiency the result of extended summer? (9)

Answer: SHORTFALL (i.e. “deficiency”). When written as SHORT FALL the solution also satisfies “result of extended summer”, FALL being another word for autumn more regularly used in North America.

  1. Modern sort of saint? (6-3)

Answer: LATTER-DAY. Solution satisfies “modern” and a “sort of saint” associated with Mormonism.

  1. Being right up close, a knocking of heads (8)

Answer: ABUTTING (i.e. “being right up close”). When written as A BUTTING the solution also satisfies “a knocking of heads”.

  1. Greeting famous person, receiving answer, extremely short (7)

Answer: NAMASTE (i.e. a “greeting” in India). Solution is NAME (i.e. “famous person”) wrapped around or “receiving” A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, e.g. in Q&A) and ST (i.e. “extremely short”, i.e. the first and last letters of “short”), like so: NAM(A-ST)E.

  1. Venture money to win unknown plant (6)

Answer: BETONY (i.e. “plant”). Solution is BET ON (i.e. “venture money to win”) followed by Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z as “unknowns”). Another gotten solely from the wordplay.

  1. Incompetent teacher has mislaid book supplement (3-2)

Answer: ADD-ON (i.e. “supplement”). Solution is BAD DON (i.e. “incompetent teacher”) with the B removed (indicated by “has mislaid book” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “book”).

  1. Achieve much travel with reduced ticket price (2,3)

Answer: GO FAR (i.e. “achieve much”). Solution is GO (i.e. “travel”) followed by FARE (i.e. “ticket price”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “reduced”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1511

One of those medium strength puzzles artificially made more difficult by crowbarring in a few too many exotic solutions. You can tell these a mile off when you sail through most of the puzzle and are left wondering from which circle of hell the setter got the remaining solutions. It’s a cheap way of upping the difficulty level and nearly always results in an uneven and dissatisfying solution. The best Jumbos for me are the ones that offer steady progression, whether that’s an easy one that can be blazed through in double-quick time or a stinker that can be chipped away at throughout the day. Maybe next week, eh?

Anyway, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has left you flummoxed then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 160+ of these things. Elsewhere you can find the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and insights, folks. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers get on with these things, and to hear alternative takes on the clues. Till next time, stay safe and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Prize money to be shared? It could be topped, in case? (7)

Answer: CUPCAKE (i.e. “it could be topped, in case”, referring to icing and a paper bun case). Solution is CUP (i.e. “prize”) followed by CAKE (i.e. “money to be shared” – not according to Chambers, but my Oxford backs this one up: “(the cake) Brit. The amount of money or assets available to be divided up or shared.”)

  1. Subordinate topic (7)

Answer: SUBJECT. Solution satisfies “subordinate” – imagine some high and mighty type lording over their subjects – and “topic”.

  1. Bubble car, say, son has taken over from husband (7)

Answer: VESICLE (i.e. a “bubble” in the medical world: “a small globule, bladder, sac, blister, cavity, or swelling” (Chambers)). Solution is VEHICLE (i.e. “car, say” – other flavours of vehicle are available) with the H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) replaced or “taken over” by S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”), like so: VE(H)ICLE => VE(S)ICLE.

  1. Interrupting ignoring introductions on a January day’s end? (11)

Answer: INTERVENING (i.e. “interrupting”). Solution is WINTER EVENING (i.e. “January day’s end”) with the first letter removed from each word (indicated by “ignoring introductions”).

  1. Every Charlie sitting in plane gives a big wave (11)

Answer: BEACHCOMBER (i.e. “big wave”). Solution is EACH (i.e. “every”) and C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet) both placed or “sitting in” BOMBER (i.e. “plane”), like so: B(EACH-C)OMBER.

  1. Lovely entertaining European relative (5)

Answer: NIECE (i.e. “relative”). Solution is NICE (i.e. “lovely”) wrapped around or “entertaining” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: NI(E)CE.

  1. Kitchen device rotates cooking (7)

Answer: TOASTER (i.e. “kitchen device”). “Cooking” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ROTATES. Nicely done.

  1. Mother is holding capital back together with notes (9)

Answer: MEMORANDA (i.e. “notes”). Solution is MA (i.e. “mother”) wrapped around or “holding” ROME (“capital” city of Italy) reversed (indicated by “back”) and AND (i.e. “together with”), like so: M(EMOR-AND)A.

  1. Time to cut opening photo session in golf contest – the lot (3,5,8,5)

Answer: THE WHOLE SHOOTING MATCH (i.e. “the lot”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) followed by HEW (i.e. “to cut”), then HOLE (i.e. “opening”), then SHOOT (i.e. “photo session”), then IN, then G (“golf” in the phonetic alphabet”) and finally MATCH (i.e. “contest”). Phew!

  1. Capsize open vessel (8)

Answer: OVERTURN (i.e. “capsize”). Solution is OVERT (i.e. “open”) followed by URN (i.e. “vessel”). Nicely worked.

  1. French city’s name is translated (6)

Answer: AMIENS (i.e. “French city”). “Translated” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NAME IS.

  1. Note just what one is looking for in offensive academic? (7)

Answer: ERUDITE (i.e. “academic”). Solution is E (a musical “note”) followed by IT (i.e. “just what one is looking for”) once placed “in” RUDE (i.e. “offensive”), like so: E-RUD(IT)E.

  1. Broken up getting back into narcotic shrub (5)

Answer: KAPUT (i.e. “broken”). Solution is UP reversed (indicated by “getting back”) and placed “into” KAT (i.e. “narcotic shrub”, also spelled khat), like so: KA(PU)T.

  1. Composer of substance I will back (7)

Answer: Arcangelo CORELLI (i.e. “composer”). Solution is CORE (i.e. the “substance” of something) followed by I’LL (a contraction of “I will”) once reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: CORE-LL’I.

  1. Check performance of screen and computer peripheral (4-5)

Answer: TEST-DRIVE (i.e. “check performance”). Solution is TEST (i.e. to “screen” job candidates, for example) followed by DRIVE (i.e. “computer peripheral”).

  1. Beguiling scheme to sharpen up returned Labour? (9)

Answer: HONEYTRAP (i.e. “beguiling scheme”). Solution is HONE (i.e. “to sharpen up”) followed by PARTY (i.e. “Labour” – the question mark hints other political parties are available) reversed (indicated by “returned”), like so: HONE-YTRAP.

  1. Thoroughly search around university and see charging unit (7)

Answer: COULOMB (i.e. “charging unit”, i.e. a unit of electrical charge). Solution is COMB (i.e. “thoroughly search”) wrapped “around” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and LO (i.e. “see”, as in lo and behold), like so: CO(U-LO)MB. The component parts were reasonably easy to deduce, but the whole needed a push from my Chambers to nail. A solution to file under “Made to Fit”.

  1. Bad-tempered note about not drinking (5)

Answer: RATTY (i.e. “bad-tempered”). Solution is RAY (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me style) wrapped “about” TT (i.e. “not drinking”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “teetotal”), like so: RA(TT)Y.

  1. Place crate with working parts for harpsichords (7)

Answer: PLECTRA (i.e. “parts for harpsichords”, i.e. its plucky bits – plural of plectrum). Solution is PL (a recognised abbreviation of “place”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “with working”) of CRATE, like so: PL-ECTRA.

  1. Move in the middle of keen game (6)

Answer: ECARTE (a card “game”). Solution is CART (i.e. to transport or “move”) placed “in” EE (i.e. “the middle [letters] of keen”), like so: E(CART)E. Chalk one to my Bradford’s.

  1. Group of planes singular chap planted around court (8)

Answer: SQUADRON (i.e. “group of planes”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”) and RON (i.e. “chap”, basically a bloke’s name) all wrapped or “planted around” QUAD (i.e. “court”) like so: S-(QUAD)-RON.

  1. Healthy calories and more PE sorted out cause of blocked arteries (21)

Answer: HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA (i.e. “cause of blocked arteries”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sorted out”) of HEALTHY CALORIES and MORE PE. Very nicely worked.

  1. Food of poor quarter in land round Madrid neither finished (9)

Answer: SPAGHETTI (i.e. “food”). Solution is GHETTO (i.e. “poor quarter”) placed “in” SPAIN (i.e. “land round Madrid”) once the last letter has been removed from both (indicated by “neither finished”), like so: SPA(GHETT)I.

  1. Road user growth swelled by 151 (7)

Answer: CYCLIST (i.e. “road user”). Solution is CYST (i.e. “growth”) wrapped around or “swelled by” CLI (i.e. “151” in Roman numerals), like so: CY(CLI)ST.

  1. Fur bought initially during offer period (5)

Answer: SABLE (i.e. “fur”). Solution is B (i.e. “bought initially”, i.e. the first letter of “bought”) placed in or “during” SALE (i.e. “offer period”), like so: SA(B)LE.

  1. Go beyond one small tango in unfashionable foxtrot? (11)

Answer: OUTDISTANCE (i.e. “go beyond”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and T (“tango” in the phonetic alphabet) all placed “in” OUT (i.e. “unfashionable”) and DANCE (i.e. “foxtrot” – again the question mark indicates there are other dances out there such as… such as… hmm. I appear to have drawn a blank. Bear with me while I find another one…), like so: OUT-D(I-S-T)ANCE.

Ah, here we go. A classic Mediterranean dance performed in traditional costume. Lovely.

  1. Hillary perhaps organising team reunion (11)

Answer: MOUNTAINEER (i.e. “[Edmund] Hillary perhaps”). “Organising” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TEAM REUNION.

  1. Believing in an illusion of Christ, refer to fish being turned (7)

Answer: DOCETIC (i.e. “believing in an illusion of Christ”). Solution is CITE (i.e. “refer to”) and COD (i.e. “fish”) all reversed (indicated by “turned”), like so: DOC-ETIC. Another one for the “made to fit” file.

  1. Carbuncle, gemstone in the end certainly something from a mine (7)

Answer: EYESORE (i.e. “carbuncle”). Solution is E (i.e. “gemstone in the end”, i.e. the last letter of “gemstone”) followed by YES (i.e. “certainly”) and ORE (i.e. “something from a mine”).

  1. Foul fiend featured in sermon’s terrifying (7)

Answer: MONSTER (i.e. “foul fiend”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: SER(MON’S TER)RIFYING.

Down clues

  1. Dependant court accepts right to hold another’s property (6)

Answer: CLIENT (i.e. “dependant”). Solution is CT (a recognised abbreviation of “court”) wrapped around or “accepting” LIEN (i.e. “right to hold another’s property”), like so: C(LIEN)T.

  1. Invalid’s conspicuous around unit (7)

Answer: PATIENT (i.e. “invalid”). Solution is PATENT (i.e. “conspicuous”) wrapped “around” I (i.e. “unit” or the Roman numeral for 1), like so: PAT(I)ENT.

  1. Contract aide initially to welcome outside people (9)

Answer: AGREEMENT (i.e. “contract”). Solution is A (i.e. “aide initially”, i.e. the first letter of “aide”) followed by GREET (i.e. “to welcome”) once wrapped around or placed “outside” of MEN (i.e. “people”), like so: A-GREE(MEN)T.

  1. Get up before chalet emptied (5)

Answer: ERECT (i.e. “get up”). Solution is ERE (poetic form of “before”) followed by CT (i.e. “chalet emptied”, i.e. the word “chalet” with all its middle letters removed). Fnar, fnar.

  1. Appropriate uniform I used in firm (8)

Answer: SUITABLE (i.e. “appropriate”). Solution is U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet) and I both placed “in” STABLE (i.e. “firm”), like so: S(U-I)TABLE.

  1. Wreck’s left out in wide bay (5)

Answer: BIGHT (i.e. “wide bay”). Solution is BLIGHT (i.e. “wreck”) once the L has been removed (indicated by “left out” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “left”).

  1. Turn up to get my attention over bar (7)

Answer: EMBARGO (i.e. to block or “bar”). Solution is GRAB ME (i.e. “get my attention”) reversed (indicated by “turn up” – this being a down clue) and followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), like so: (EM-BARG)-O. Took most of the puzzle to decrypt this one. Sometimes you just don’t see ‘em.

  1. Am anti-tourist flying round area is shocking experience (14)

Answer: TRAUMATISATION (i.e. “shocking experience”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “flying”) of AM ANTI-TOURIST wrapped “round” A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), like so: TR(A)UMATISATION.

  1. Passion of macho types in Italian city, missing Northern Ireland (9)

Answer: VEHEMENCE (i.e. “passion”). Solution is HE-MEN (i.e. “macho types”) placed “in” VENICE (i.e. “Italian city”) once the NI has been removed (indicated by “missing Northern Ireland”), like so: VE(HE-MEN)CE.

  1. Thoroughly search tart concealing cents (5)

Answer: SCOUR (i.e. “thoroughly search”). Solution is SOUR (i.e. “tart”) wrapped around or “concealing” C (a recognised abbreviation of “cents”), like so: S(C)OUR.

  1. Best incriminate revolutionary member of the government (7,8)

Answer: CABINET MINISTER (i.e. “member of the government”). “Revolutionary” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BEST INCRIMINATE.

  1. Nag party, supporting willingness to listen (7)

Answer: EARBASH (i.e. “nag”). Solution is BASH (i.e. “party”) placed after or “supporting” – this being a down clue – EAR (i.e. “willingness to listen”).

  1. Greeting speed merchant turning up in rented vehicle (4,3)

Answer: HIRE CAR (i.e. “rented vehicle”). Solution is HI (i.e. “greeting”) followed by RACER (i.e. “speed merchant”) once reversed (indicated by “turning up” – this being a down clue), like so: HI-RECAR.

  1. Images from staggering musical artist (9)

Answer: SIMULACRA (i.e. “images”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “staggering”) of MUSICAL followed by RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician), like so: SIMULAC-RA.

  1. Perhaps one making cast slowly break down (7)

Answer: MOULDER. Solution satisfies “one making cast” or mould – the “perhaps” indicates we’re straying a little outside the dictionary here – and to “slowly break down”.

  1. Sliced meat – either end of pack hard work to keep cold (4,4)

Answer: PORK CHOP (i.e. “sliced meat”). Solution is P OR K (i.e. “either end of pack”, i.e. descriptive of the beginning/end letters of “pack”), H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils) and OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) all wrapped around or “keeping” C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”), like so: (P-OR-K)-(C)-H-OP.

  1. When it’s transported, did as plan except for packaging material (8,7)

Answer: EXPANDED PLASTIC (i.e. a mesh-like “packaging material”). “When it’s transported” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DID AS PLAN EXCEPT.

  1. Tchaikovsky’s Sixth loses its way, dry eastern form (9)

Answer: ETIQUETTE (i.e. “form”). Solution is PATHETIQUE (i.e. “Tchaikovsky’s Sixth” – of course I looked it up. What did you expect?) with the PATH removed (indicated by “loses its way”) and the remainder followed by TT (i.e. “dry”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “teetotal”) and E (ditto “eastern”), like so: ETIQUE-TT-E.

  1. The whole world always has that energy (8)

Answer: EVERYONE (i.e. “the whole world”). Solution is EVER (i.e. “always”) followed by YON (i.e. poetic form of “that”) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”).

  1. Stumble on loyal Scots with English about to fix up coalition (6,8)

Answer: TRIPLE ALLIANCE (i.e. a “coalition” of countries formed in opposition to another state – there appear to have been a few of these throughout history). Solution is TRIP (i.e. “stumble”) followed by LEAL (i.e. “Scots” poetic form of “loyal” – my Oxford agrees, but Chambers suggests the word is Old French), then E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), C (i.e. “about”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) and NAIL (i.e. “to fix”) once these latter three have been reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: TRIP-LEAL-(LIAN-C-E). Bloody hell.

  1. One of two meeting to attempt to control eliminating ecstasy (7)

Answer: TRYSTER (i.e. “one of two meeting”). Solution is TRY (i.e. “attempt”) followed by STEER (i.e. “to control”) once one of the Es has been removed (indicated by “eliminating ecstasy” – E being a street name for the drug), like so: TRY-STER. What a naff word.

  1. Underwater clubs abandoning diving apparatus on wharf endlessly (7)

Answer: SUBAQUA (i.e. “underwater”). Solution is SCUBA (i.e. “diving apparatus”) once the C has been removed (indicated by “clubs abandoning” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games) and the remainder followed by QUAY (i.e. “wharf”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endlessly”), like so: SUBA-QUA.

  1. Writhing unnaturally sorted out itch at toe (9)

Answer: ATHETOTIC (i.e. “writhing unnaturally”, usually the fingers and toes). “Sorted out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ITCH AT TOE. Wordplay was fairly obvious but took a brute force of my Chambers. Another for the ‘Made to Fit’ file.

  1. Recognition of a key assignment (9)

Answer: ADMISSION (i.e. “recognition”). Solution is A followed by D (a musical “key”) and MISSION (i.e. “assignment”).

  1. Note settled puddles regularly in deserted location (8)

Answer: SOLITUDE (i.e. “deserted location”). Solution is SO (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me style) followed by LIT (i.e. landed or “settled”) and UDE (i.e. “puddles regularly”, i.e. every other letter of PUDDLES).

  1. Like ordinary tissue hospital is to establish the identity of (7)

Answer: HISTOID (i.e. “like ordinary tissue”). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “hospital”) followed by IS TO and ID (i.e. “establish the identity of”). One gotten from the wordplay, to be honest.

  1. Hide in empty structure on Mediterranean island (7)

Answer: SECRETE (i.e. “hide”). Solution is SE (i.e. “empty structure”, i.e. the word “structure” with all of its middle letters removed) followed by CRETE (i.e. “Mediterranean island”).

  1. Going round one hospital department after a doctor (7)

Answer: AMBIENT (i.e. “going round”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by ENT (i.e. “hospital department”, specifically one dealing with the Ear Nose and Throat) both placed “after” A and MB (i.e. “doctor”, specifically a Medicinae Baccalaureus or Bachelor of Medicine), like so: (A-MB)-I-ENT.

  1. Who carries the ale round topless bar? (6)

Answer: BEARER (i.e. “who carries”). Solution is BEER (i.e. “ale”) placed “round” BAR once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “topless”), like so: BE(AR)ER.

  1. Robbery losing support from Jewish expert (5)

Answer: HEIST (i.e. “robbery”). Solution is HEBRAIST (i.e. “Jewish expert”) with the BRA removed (indicated by “losing support”).

  1. Senior director holds a minute or very small role (5)

Answer: CAMEO (i.e. “very small role”). Solution is CEO (i.e. “senior director”, specifically a Chief Executive Officer) wrapped around or “holding” A and M (a recognised abbreviation of “minute”), like so: C(A-M)EO.

  1. Found part of Bible set up as a revered item (5)

Answer: TOTEM (i.e. “revered item”). Solution is MET (i.e. “found”) followed by OT (i.e. “part of Bible”, specifically the Old Testament) all reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue), like so: TO-TEM.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1510

A medium strength offering this week with a few nicely worked clues. Not much I can add, really, though it was nice to find RAPSCALLION in the grid. Here’s hoping we’ll see some scallywags, perishers and jackanapes in future puzzles.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a recent Jumbo has you jiggered, then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and help. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts and alternative takes from other solvers once their pens are stilled. Till next time, stay safe and keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Fruit producer’s problem with cooling system (5)

Answer: SUMAC (i.e. “fruit producer”). Solution is SUM (i.e. an arithmetic “problem”) followed by AC (i.e. “cooling system”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “air conditioning”).

  1. What cricketer did, bagging half century, is strove (7)

Answer: BATTLED (i.e. “strove”). Solution is BATTED (i.e. “what cricketer did”) wrapped around or “bagging” L (i.e. “half century”, specifically the Roman numeral for 50, L), like so: BATT(L)ED.

  1. Subject oneself to debts free of interest (9)

Answer: INCURIOUS (i.e. “free of interest”). Solution is INCUR (i.e. “subject oneself to”) followed by IOUS (i.e. “debts”). Nicely worked.

  1. Pit in grounds not ultimately a watering hole (9)

Answer: ESTAMINET (i.e. “watering hole”, a small bar or café, from the French). Solution is MINE (i.e. “pit”) placed “in” ESTATE (i.e. “grounds”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “not ultimately”), like so: ESTA(MINE)T. A new one on me, gotten mostly from the wordplay and a shufti in my Bradford’s.

  1. Not a chime of gold, but one’s highly decorated (5,8)

Answer: NOBEL LAUREATE (i.e. “one’s highly decorated”). Solution is NO BELL (i.e. “not a chime”) followed by AUREATE (i.e. gilded or “of gold”).

  1. Inspire to show clothes very well (7)

Answer: PROVOKE (i.e. “inspire”). Solution is PROVE (i.e. “to show”) wrapped around or “clothing” OK (i.e. “very well”, both taken as expressions of reluctant assent), like so: PROV(OK)E.

  1. A team mate around the Central Line? (7)

Answer: AXIALLY (i.e. “around the central line”). Solution is A followed by XI (i.e. football “team”, i.e. Roman numerals for eleven) and ALLY (i.e. “mate”).

  1. Fishing boat, one with sharp point crossing river (7)

Answer: DRAGGER (i.e. “fishing boat” – though not one explicitly acknowledged in any of my reference books. A definition for “drag” is a net that is pulled through the water, so you could extend from there, but this seems to be more of a North American term. Can’t say I’m keen). Solution is DAGGER (i.e. “one with sharp point”) wrapped around or “crossing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: D(R)AGGER.

  1. The Book of Numbers? (8,6-4)

Answer: NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR (a “book” by George Orwell). Clue plays on how the title of the book comprises all “numbers”. Nicely worked.

  1. This person’s a leader of Muslims (4)

Answer: IMAM (i.e. “leader of Muslims”). Solution is I’M (i.e. “this person’s” taken as a contraction of “this person is”) followed by A and M (i.e. “leader of Muslims”, i.e. the first letter of “Muslims”). Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Periodical fashion magazine one’s found in cell (9)

Answer: ORGANELLE (i.e. “one’s found in cell”). Solution is ORGAN (i.e. “periodical”) followed by ELLE (i.e. a “fashion magazine”). One gotten from the wordplay, if I’m honest.

  1. A little food consumption limited by it both ways (6)

Answer: TITBIT (i.e. “a little food”). Solution is TB (i.e. “consumption” or tuberculosis) placed between or “limited by” TI and IT (i.e. “it both ways”), like so: TI-(TB)-IT.

  1. Did carp stew done with a starter of mussels (6)

Answer: MOANED (i.e. “did carp”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “stew”) of DONE, A and M (i.e. “starter of mussels”, i.e. the first letter of “mussels”).

  1. Silly if neat pants, including the lady’s underwear (12)

Answer: FEATHERBRAIN (i.e. “silly”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “pants” or rubbish) of IF NEAT wrapped around or “including” HER (i.e. “the lady’s”) and BRA (i.e. “underwear”), like so: FEAT(HER-BRA)IN.

  1. Extra property of fruit ingested by Frenchman (4-1-5)

Answer: PIED-A-TERRE (i.e. “extra property”). Solution is DATE (i.e. “fruit”) placed in or “ingested by” PIERRE (i.e. “Frenchman”), like so: PIE(DATE)RRE.

  1. Criminal sent down, stealing muggins’s funds (10)

Answer: ENDOWMENTS (i.e. “funds”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “criminal”) of SENT DOWN wrapped around or “stealing” ME (i.e. “muggins”), like so: ENDOW(ME)NTS.

  1. Set supervisor in two different coaches (5,7)

Answer: STAGE MANAGER (i.e. “set supervisor”). Solution comprises “two different” words for “coach”.

  1. One’s time off drinks counter (6)

Answer: RESIST (i.e. to “counter”). Solution is I’S (i.e. a Roman numeral “one” made possessive) placed in or “drunk” by REST (i.e. “time off”), like so: RES(I’S)T.

  1. Make settlement affected by opponents at table (6)

Answer: ENCAMP (i.e. “make settlement”). Solution is CAMP (i.e. an “affected” manner) placed after or “by” E and N (i.e. “opponents at table”, specifically East and North in a game of bridge), like so: E-N-(CAMP).

  1. Prepare to fire a round really high (4-1-4)

Answer: COCK-A-HOOP (i.e. very happy or “really high”). Solution is COCK (i.e. “prepare to fire” a gun) followed by A and HOOP (i.e. “round”).

  1. Big promotion secured by pushy person (4)

Answer: HYPE (i.e. “big promotion”). “Secured by” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PUS(HY PE)RSON.

  1. Enlarge works – an artistic number (7,11)

Answer: GENERAL ANAESTETIC (i.e. “number”, as in how it numbs). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “works”) of ENLARGE followed by AN and AESTHETIC (i.e. “artistic”).

  1. About a pair of French words for the drink… (4,3)

Answer: REAL ALE (i.e. “drink”). Solution is RE (i.e. regarding or “about” – think email replies) followed by A, then LA and LE (both “French words for ‘the’” – female and male forms respectively).

  1. …which is given name for bird (7)

Answer: BITTERN (i.e. “bird”). Previous solution, REAL ALE, feeds into this clue. Another word for REAL ALE is BITTER, which is followed by or “given” N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”).

  1. Doughnut present in, e.g. breakfast foodstuff (7)

Answer: OATMEAL (i.e. “foodstuff”). Solution is O (i.e. “doughnut”) followed by AT (i.e. “present”) and MEAL (i.e. “e.g. breakfast”, other mealtimes are available).

  1. Clowning around, I twice do superman routine (5,8)

Answer: MODUS OPERANDI (i.e. “routine”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “clowning around”) of I, DO, DO (i.e. “twice do”) and SUPERMAN.

  1. An indication with wine courses (9)

Answer: ANTIPASTI (i.e. “courses”). Solution is AN followed by TIP (i.e. hint or “indication”) and ASTI (i.e. “wine”).

  1. After a kind of sleep, make time for artist (9)

Answer: REMBRANDT (i.e. “artist”). Solution is REM (i.e. “a kind of sleep”, short for Rapid Eye Movement) followed by BRAND (i.e. “make”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Cover old song, done at first (7)

Answer: OVERLAY (i.e. “cover”). Solution is LAY (i.e. “old song”) with OVER (i.e. “done”) placed “at first”, like so: OVER-LAY.

  1. Fabric cape taken out of drawer? (5)

Answer: RAYON (i.e. “fabric”). Solution is CRAYON (i.e. a “drawer”) with the C removed (indicated by “cape taken out of…” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “cape”).

Down clues

  1. Confounded pest to write and devour novel (11)

Answer: STEPPENWOLF (i.e. “novel” by Hermann Hesse). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “confounded”) of PEST followed by PEN (i.e. “to write”) and WOLF (i.e. to “devour”), like so: STEP-PEN-WOLF.

  1. Marks higher than a German, as a rule (5)

Answer: MOTTO (i.e. “rule”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “marks”, the old German currency) followed by OTTO (i.e. “German”, basically a German bloke’s name).

  1. What the Great Ouse will do, finally, is to be known (4,3,2,3,4)

Answer: COME OUT IN THE WASH. Solution satisfies “what the Great Ouse will do, finally” and “to be known”.

  1. Solvent German car maker on principle losing outside races (7)

Answer: BENZENE (i.e. “solvent”). Solution is BENZ (i.e. “German car maker”) followed by TENET (i.e. “principle”) once the T and T on the “outside” have been removed or “lost”. TT is also a famous motorbike “race” held on the Isle of Man.

  1. Four empty theatres without a seat (4-1-4)

Answer: TETE-A-TETE (i.e. “seat”, specifically an S-shaped sofa designed to bring sitters face to face). Solution is TE, TE, TE and TE (i.e. “four empty theatres”, i.e. the word “theatre” with all its middle letters removed and repeated four times) all wrapped around or placed “without” A, like so: TE-TE-(A)-TE-TE.

  1. Bagging sportswear one may take off here (7,5)

Answer: LANDING STRIP (i.e. “one may take off here”). Solution is LANDING (i.e. “bagging”) followed by STRIP (i.e. “sportswear”). You could also tack on “one may take off” to further underline STRIP.

  1. Make feeble argument defending current books (10)

Answer: DEBILITATE (i.e. “make feeble”). Solution is DEBATE (i.e. “argument”) wrapped around or “defending” I (a recognised abbreviation of an electric “current” used in physics) and LIT (i.e. “books”, short for literature), like so: DEB(I-LIT)ATE.

  1. Murderer’s confession somewhere in Scotland (5)

Answer: ISLAY (i.e. “somewhere in Scotland”). When written as I SLAY the solution also satisfies “murderer’s confession”.

  1. 150 cars bearing uniform for fratricidal ruler (8)

Answer: CLAUDIUS (i.e. “fratricidal ruler”). Solution is CL (i.e. “150” in Roman numerals) followed by AUDIS (i.e. “cars”) once wrapped around or “bearing” U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: CL-AUDI(U)S.

  1. Theology’s double bill for study again (6)

Answer: REREAD (i.e. “study again”). Solution is RE and RE (i.e. “theology’s double”, i.e. Religious Education repeated) followed by AD (i.e. “bill”, notice or advertisement).

  1. Protestant country suppressing wild anger (9)

Answer: ORANGEMAN (i.e. “protestant”). Solution is OMAN (i.e. “country”) wrapped around or “suppressing” an anagram (indicated by “wild”) of ANGER, like so: O(RANGE)MAN.

  1. Range Rover’s tail with car forced to go around (6,5)

Answer: SIERRA MADRE (i.e. a Mexican mountain “range”). Solution is R (i.e. “Rover’s tail”, i.e. the last letter of “Rover”) placed in or having “around” SIERRA (i.e. a Ford-flavoured “car”) and MADE (i.e. “forced”), like so: SIERRA-MAD(R)E.

  1. Crawl along with booze up? One is tight (7)

Answer: NIGGARD (i.e. “one is tight” or miserly). Solution is DRAG (i.e. “crawl along”) and GIN (i.e. “booze”) all reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: NIG-GARD.

  1. What secretary does, fixing a flaw (7)

Answer: FAILING (i.e. a “flaw”). Solution is FILING (i.e. “what secretary does”) wrapped around or “fixing” A, like so: F(A)ILING.

  1. Short figure gets meat and warm egg on the side (9,7)

Answer: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (i.e. “side” or football team). Solution is TOT (i.e. “short” or measure of strong drink) followed by TEN (i.e. “figure” or number), then HAM (i.e. “meat”), then HOT (i.e. “warm”) and SPUR (i.e. “egg on”).

  1. One adding embellishment perhaps in food store (6)

Answer: LARDER. Solution satisfies “food store” and “one adding embellishment” – one definition of “lard” is to “garnish or strew” (Chambers). “Perhaps” indicates the latter meaning of LARDER suggested in the clue isn’t exactly one you’re going to find in the dictionary.

  1. Not entirely bad: amicable like the first person (6)

Answer: ADAMIC (i.e. “like the first person” in The Bible). “Not entirely” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: B(AD AMIC)ABLE.

  1. In street abroad, European can train (7)

Answer: RETINUE (i.e. entourage or “train”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and TIN (i.e. “can”) both placed “in” RUE (i.e. “street abroad”, specifically France), like so: R(E-TIN)UE.

  1. Tease wife getting nothing right, one with yellow bloomers (7)

Answer: RAGWORT (i.e. “one with yellow flowers”). Solution is RAG (i.e. “tease”) followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”), then O (i.e. “nothing”) and RT (a recognised abbreviation of “right”, e.g. the Rt Hon Lucian Poll MP. Kindly address all bungs to my constituency office).

  1. Block some text, sentence in final part of play (8,4)

Answer: STOPPAGE TIME (i.e. “final part of play”, often in a game of football). Solution is STOP (i.e. “block”) followed by PAGE (i.e. “some text”) and TIME (i.e. a prison “sentence”).

  1. Quake there, with mortar exploding (5,6)

Answer: EARTH TREMOR (i.e. “quake”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “exploding”) of THERE and MORTAR.

  1. Rogue is to knock salad ingredient (11)

Answer: RAPSCALLION (i.e. “rogue”). Solution is RAP (i.e. “to knock”) followed by SCALLION (i.e. “salad ingredient”, specifically a leek or spring onion). A great word I’ve not heard for a while.

  1. Working on sonata in US city (3,7)

Answer: SAN ANTONIO (i.e. “US city”). “Working” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ON SONATA IN.

  1. Ethnic group’s record tough to keep in game (9)

Answer: SEPHARDIM (i.e. “ethnic group”, specifically “the Jews of Spanish, Portuguese or N African descent” (Chambers)). Solution is EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended Play) and HARD (i.e. “tough”) both placed “in” SIM (i.e. “game”, short for simulation), like so: S(EP-HARD)IM. Not one I was going to get from shallow pool of general knowledge I possess, so had to get this largely from the wordplay.

  1. Protection of Earl Grey, say, featured by tabloid (5,4)

Answer: CHAIN MAIL (i.e. “protection”). Solution is CHA (i.e. “Earl Grey, say” – other teas or cups of cha are available) followed by IN (i.e. “featured by”) and the Daily MAIL (i.e. “tabloid”).

  1. Fabulously young fellow’s safe shot (5,3)

Answer: PETER PAN (i.e. “fabulously young fellow” – “fabulous” referencing the fantastic nature of the story). Solution is PETER (a slang word for a “safe”, rather popular with Times setters) followed by PAN (i.e. a cinematic camera “shot”)

  1. Soldiers backing officer brought in retiring soon (7)

Answer: SHORTLY (i.e. “soon”). Solution is OR (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) and LT (i.e. “officer”, short for lieutenant) reversed (indicated by “backing”) and both placed “in” SHY (i.e. “retiring”), like so: SH(OR-TL)Y.

  1. Parent, one having recourse to, e.g. speed gun (6)

Answer: MAUSER (i.e. “gun”, specifically a German rifle). Solution is MA (i.e. “parent”) followed by USER (i.e. “one having recourse to, e.g. speed” – speed being a drug in this case).

  1. Topping for a French loaf? (5)

Answer: BERET. Clue plays on the item of headwear or “topping” being something you’d associate with “France”, and how “loaf” is a slang word for the head. You get the idea.

  1. Leaders in Evening Standard and Express paper (5)

Answer: ESSAY (i.e. “paper”). Solution is ES (i.e. “leaders in Evening Standard”, i.e. the first letters of “Evening” and “Standard”) followed by SAY (i.e. to “express” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1509

A medium-strength offering this week marred by a setter playing nasty. Well, two can play at that game, chum.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip, then you might find enlightenment in my Just For Fun page, where I’ve chucked together links to solutions for the past 150+ of these things. Elsewhere you can find the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind words and help, folks, and a special hat-tip to those who have purchased my stuff in recent months. I purposely avoid the hard sell in these posts, so it’s really nice to see the sales when they ping into my inbox. Thank you. Till next time, stay safe, mask up when asked, and continue giving props to the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Sailor and solider regularly unload arthropod (9)

Answer: TARANTULA (i.e. “arthropod”, or critters with segmented bodies and the like). Solution is TAR (i.e. informal word for a “sailor”) followed by ANT (i.e. “solider”) and ULA (i.e. “regularly unload”, i.e. every other letter of UNLOAD).

  1. Quiet American, sick with hatred, takes in old and timid (13)

Answer: PUSILLANIMOUS (i.e. “timid”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, i.e. “quiet” in musical lingo) followed by US (i.e. “American”), then ILL (i.e. “sick”) and ANIMUS (i.e. hostility or “hatred”) once wrapped around or “taking in” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: P-US-ILL-ANIM(O)US.

  1. A bunch of well-read librarians wing it (2-3)

Answer: AD-LIB (i.e. “wing it”). “A bunch of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: WELL-RE(AD LIB)RARIANS.

  1. Victory impresses more trendy assistant in hunt (7-2)

Answer: WHIPPER-IN (i.e. “assistant in hunt” who looks after the hounds, it says here). Solution is WIN (i.e. “victory”) wrapped around or “impressing” HIPPER (i.e. “more trendy”), like so: W(HIPPER)IN.

  1. Author about to block old censor and senator finally (7)

Answer: CREATOR (i.e. “author”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) placed in or “blocking” CATO the Elder (i.e. “old censor” – he was also known as Cato the Censor) and followed by R (i.e. “senator finally”, i.e. the last letter of “senator”), like so: C(RE)ATO-R.

  1. The incredible awareness at the heart of Shakespeare (12,10)

Answer: EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION (i.e. “incredible awareness”). Clue plays on how the initials ESP can be found “at the heart of ShakESPeare”.

  1. Idiots undermine bills ambassador introduced (8)

Answer: SAPHEADS (i.e. “idiots”). Solution is SAP (i.e. to “undermine”) and ADS (i.e. “bills” or advertisements) both wrapped around or “introducing” HE (i.e. “ambassador”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “His Excellency”), like so: SAP-(HE)-ADS.

  1. Bizarre account involving old form of fruit (8)

Answer: COCOANUT (i.e. “form of fruit” – Chambers just about tolerates the variant spelling). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “bizarre”) of ACCOUNT wrapped around or “involving” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: COC(O)ANUT.

  1. A lot of sailors grasping firm bit of mast (5)

Answer: ACORN (i.e. “bit of mast” – a variant meaning of “mast” is the fruit of assorted trees, oaks included, upon which pigs feed). Solution is A and RN (i.e. “lot of sailors”, specifically the Royal Navy) wrapped around or “grasping” CO (i.e. “firm”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a “company”), like so: A-(CO)-RN.

  1. Notice present then past feature in playground (6)

Answer: SEESAW (i.e. “feature in playground”). Solution is SEE (i.e. “notice” in the “present” tense) followed by SAW (i.e. “notice” in the “past” tense).

  1. Wet blanket near person at end of day (6)

Answer: MISERY (i.e. a “wet blanket”). Solution is MISER (i.e. “near person” – one definition of “near” is an informal word for being stingy) followed by Y (i.e. “end of day”, i.e. the last letter of “day”).

  1. Fleet Street record dance (9)

Answer: QUICKSTEP (i.e. “dance”). Solution is QUICK (i.e. “fleet”) followed by ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”) and EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended Play).

  1. Calm down one in a key state after rioting (4,2,4)

Answer: TAKE IT EASY (i.e. “calm down”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “after rioting”) of A KEY STATE wrapped around or taking “in” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: TAKE(I)TEASY.

  1. “Cicero is an orator first and foremost!” Roman cheers (4)

Answer: CIAO (i.e. “Roman cheers”, i.e. an Italian salutation or valediction. I’m guilty of signing off emails with “cheers” from time to time). “First and foremost” indicates the solution comprises the initial letters of Cicero Is An Orator.

  1. Couple hold nerve withdrawing farm job (7)

Answer: TILLAGE (i.e. “farm job”). Solution is TIE (i.e. to “couple”) wrapped around or “holding” GALL (i.e. “nerve”) once reversed (indicated by “withdrawing”), like so: TI(LLAG)E.

  1. This writer’s probing unfit revolutionary instruments (7)

Answer: TIMPANI (i.e. “instruments”). Solution is I’M (i.e. “this writer’s”, taken as a contraction of “this writer is” from the point of view of the setter) placed in or “probing” INAPT (i.e. “unfit”) once reversed (indicated by “revolutionary”), like so: T(I’M)PANI.

  1. Flat sporting occasion curtailed (4)

Answer: EVEN (i.e. “flat”). Solution is EVENT (i.e. “sporting occasion”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “curtailed”).

  1. In Arctic ground I had added corrosive chemical (6,4)

Answer: NITRIC ACID (i.e. “corrosive chemical”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “ground”) of IN ARCTIC followed by I’D (a contraction of “I had”), like so: NITRICAC-I’D.

  1. Large snake in garden initially gives problem with hose (9)

Answer: LADDERING (i.e. “problem with hose”, i.e. tights). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) followed by ADDER (i.e. “snake”), then IN and G (i.e. “garden initially”, i.e. the first letter of “garden”).

  1. French president takes off glove for trip (6)

Answer: ERRAND (i.e. “trip”). Solution is François MITTERRAND (i.e. “French president”) with the MITT removed (indicated by “takes off glove”).

  1. Small extremely clumsy article one’s used for cutting (6)

Answer: SCYTHE (i.e. “one’s used for cutting”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by CY (i.e. “extremely clumsy”, i.e. the first and last letters of “clumsy”), then THE (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the).

  1. It secures victory in time that’s empty (5)

Answer: TWINE (i.e. “it secures”). Solution is WIN (i.e. “victory”) once placed “in” TE (i.e. “time that’s empty”, i.e. the word “time” with its middle letters removed), like so: T(WIN)E.

  1. Is blinking big cat occasionally caught in rump? (8)

Answer: NICTATES (i.e. “is blinking” – I’ve tried, like really really hard, to twist the phrasing this way and that, but can only arrive at something ending in -ing, not -s). Solution is ICT (i.e. “big cat occasionally”, i.e. every other letter of BIG CAT) placed or “caught in” NATES (i.e. anatomical term for the buttocks or “rump”), like so: N(ICT)ATES. Clunky.

  1. Ten tucked into beer with lime, say, in bar on coach (8)

Answer: AXLETREE (i.e. “bar on coach” – a new one on me, but not one I think will live long in the memory). Solution is X (i.e. Roman numeral for “ten”) placed or “tucked into” ALE (i.e. “beer”) and followed by TREE (i.e. “lime, say” – other flavours of tree are available), like so: A(X)LE-TREE. One gotten by looking up words beginning with AXLE, if I’m honest.

  1. Relish standardising nosh cooked with dulse (8,6,8)

Answer: THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING (i.e. “relish” – and one so popular with Times setters it has appeared four times since I started doing these Jumbo posts. Either that or it’s the same setter each time and they’re utterly besotted with the stuff. Like, open any cupboard or drawer in their house and you’ll find nothing but jars and jars of Thousand Island dressing. Wardrobe: ditto. Box room: chock-a-block with it. Turn on the taps: Thousand Island dressing oozes out. Flush the toilet: Thousand Island dressing. Good grief, there are even jars of it stuffed into the cistern. These Times setters really, really love their Thousand Island dressing! I prefer hummus, personally). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cooked”) of STANDARDISING NOSH and DULSE.

  1. Antarctic explorer in India? Tell composer (7)

Answer: Gioachino ROSSINI (i.e. “Tell composer”, i.e. him wot wrote The Lone Ranger theme tune the William Tell Overture). Solution is John ROSS (i.e. “Antarctic explorer”) followed by IN and I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Poor state university function in deficit (9)

Answer: LOUSINESS (i.e. “poor state”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and SINE (i.e. trigonometrical “function”) both placed “in” LOSS (i.e. “deficit”), like so: LO(U-SINE)SS.

  1. Collapsing out of bounds, exhausted (3,2)

Answer: ALL IN (i.e. “exhausted”). Solution is FALLING (i.e. “collapsing”) with its first and last letters removed (indicated by “out of bounds”).

  1. Enlarging vein somehow the result of using needle (4,9)

Answer: LINE ENGRAVING (i.e. “result of using needle”). “Somehow” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ENLARGING VEIN. Nicely worked.

  1. Dealing online, English come across German car (1-8)

Answer: E-COMMERCE (i.e. “dealing online”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by COME once wrapped around or placed “across” MERC (i.e. “German car”, short for Mercedes), like so: E-COM(MERC)E.

Down clues

  1. Crosses put up around Republican states (9)

Answer: TRAVERSES (i.e. “crosses”). Solution is SET (i.e. to “put” in place) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped “around” R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”) and AVERS (i.e. “states”), like so: T(R-AVERS)ES.

  1. Bureau Trollope’s crazy daughter put in at end of week (4-3,4)

Answer: ROLL-TOP DESK (i.e. “bureau”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “crazy”) of TROLLOPE’S wrapped around or having “put in” D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) and followed by K (i.e. “end of week”, i.e. the last letter of “week”), like so: ROLLTOP(D)ES-K.

  1. Old part of Africa now under boats in Aswan primarily (5)

Answer: NUBIA (i.e. “old part of Africa” along the Nile). “Primarily” indicates the solution comprises the initial letters of Now Under Boats In Aswan.

  1. Peace-keepers, furious about eastern Yankee, hard to handle (8)

Answer: UNWIELDY (i.e. “hard to handle”). Solution is UN (i.e. “peace-keepers”, specifically the United Nations) followed by WILD (i.e. “furious”) once wrapped “about” E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”) and followed by Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: UN-WI(E)LD-Y.

  1. Surrounded by 500 in a film (6)

Answer: AMIDST (i.e. “surrounded by”). Solution is D (Roman numeral for “500”) placed “in” A and MIST (i.e. “film”), like so: A-MI(D)ST.

  1. Decorate unit inspired by my notes (5,5)

Answer: PAPER MONEY (i.e. “notes”). Solution is PAPER (i.e. to “decorate”) followed by ONE (i.e. “unit”) once placed in or “inspired by” MY, like so: PAPER-M(ONE)Y.

  1. My nicest port dissolved drug (12)

Answer: STREPTOMYCIN (i.e. “drug”). “Dissolved” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MY NICEST PORT. I knew strepto- from my sepia-tinged school days, so a quick shufti in Chambers got me over the line.

  1. Herbicide used up in kindergarten or uni lawns (4,3)

Answer: LINU RON (i.e. a “herbicide” no longer for sale owing to its effects on wildlife. Hoo boy, where to start with this beauty? First: the compound is not listed in any dictionary I own – certainly worthy of a caution, right there. Second: the most cursory glance online reveals it’s actually one word, not two. How on earth did you figure this was a two-worder, setter? Did Chemical John get you a cheap bottle of Soviet-era Linu Яon™ down the pub one day? Definite yellow card. Third: if you find you have painted yourself into a corner and have to resort to made-to-fit bullshit solutions like this, consider reworking the grid. It’s really not that difficult. Second yellow. Back to setter school with you). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: KINDERGARTE(N OR UNI L)AWNS.

  1. Old standard bearer fellow’s one on the right: we all know that? (7,7)

Answer: ANCIENT HISTORY (i.e. “we all know that” – Chambers offers this definition for the phrase: “news or gossip which, contrary to the expectations of the teller, one is already well aware of (inf, fig)“). Solution is ANCIENT (i.e. “old standard bearer”, an obsolete variant meaning of the word) followed by HIS (i.e. “fellow’s”) and TORY (i.e. “one on the right” of politics).

  1. Sloth’s favourite time to eat it up (7)

Answer: INERTIA (i.e. “sloth”). Solution is IN (i.e. popular or “favourite”) followed by ERA (i.e. “time”) once wrapped around or “eating” IT once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: IN-ER(TI)A.

  1. Somehow drain tooth around hole, using this treatment? (11)

Answer: ORTHODONTIA (i.e. “[tooth] …treatment”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of DRAIN TOOTH wrapped “around” O (i.e. “hole”), like so: ORTH(O)DONTIA.

  1. Gershwin’s pulled up long garment (4)

Answer: SARI (i.e. “long garment”). Solution is IRA’S (i.e. “Gershwin’s” – his first name) reversed (indicated by “pulled up” – this being a down clue).

  1. A thousand raised fibres and tiny diamonds found in plant (8)

Answer: KNAPWEED (i.e. “plant”). Solution is K (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “a thousand”) followed by NAP (i.e. “raised fibres”), then WEE (i.e. “tiny”) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “diamonds” used in card games).

  1. Remove European judge jailing a lot of sleuths from the south (9)

Answer: ERADICATE (i.e. “remove”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and RATE (i.e. to “judge”) wrapped around or “jailing” A and CID (i.e. “lot of sleuths”, specifically the Criminal Investigation Department of the police force) both reversed (indicated by “from the south” – this being a down clue), like so: E-RA(DIC-A)TE.

  1. US poet drinks with Austrian composer (8)

Answer: Allen GINSBERG (i.e. “US poet”). Solution is GINS (i.e. “drinks”) followed by Alban BERG (i.e. “Austrian composer”).

  1. Result of division not quite worked out (8)

Answer: QUOTIENT (i.e. “result of division”). “Worked out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NOT QUITE.

  1. Old unit look into mountain bike (9)

Answer: KILOCYCLE (i.e. “old unit”, these days known as kilohertz). Solution is LO (i.e. “look”, as in lo and behold) placed “into” KI (i.e. “mountain”, specifically K1 with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent) and CYCLE (i.e. “bike”), like so: KI-(LO)-CYCLE.

  1. Comedian is trained by top man for ref’s job (8-6)

Answer: DECISION-MAKING (i.e. “ref’s job”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “trained”) of COMEDIAN IS followed by KING (i.e. “top man”), like so: DECISIONMA-KING.

  1. The whole lot write off leaderless City (8)

Answer: TOTALITY (i.e. “the whole lot”). Solution is TOTAL (i.e. to “write off” a motor vehicle) followed by CITY with its first letter removed (indicated by “leaderless”), like so: TOTAL-ITY.

  1. Ace Joss and I wrestling with equine’s indefinable quality (2,2,4,4)

Answer: JE NE SAIS QUOI (i.e. “indefinable quality”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wrestling”) of A (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used in card games), JOSS, I and EQUINE.

  1. Send up dull latest edition of paper? Poles enjoy it for 6 months (8,3)

Answer: MIDNIGHT SUN (i.e. “[north and south] poles enjoy it for 6 months”). Solution is DIM (i.e. “dull”) reversed (indicated by “send up” – this being a down clue) and followed by NIGHT SUN (i.e. playfully, the “latest edition of paper”).

  1. Maybe track flier eventually (11)

Answer: CATERPILLAR. Solution satisfies “maybe track”, such as the kind you’d find on tanks, and “flier eventually”.

  1. Taking Charlie to empty place for washing gear primarily (10)

Answer: FREEBASING (i.e. “taking Charlie”, an informal name for cocaine – freebasing is when you smoke the stuff). Solution is FREE (i.e. “to empty”) followed by BASIN (i.e. “place for washing”) and G (i.e. “gear primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “gear”).

  1. Coming out, soldiers picked up some DNA around clubs (9)

Answer: EMERGENCE (i.e. a “coming out”). Solution is REME (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue) and followed by GENE (i.e. “some DNA”) once wrapped “around” C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games), like so: EMER-GEN(C)E.

  1. Old hacks taking old drink (8)

Answer: EXPRESSO (i.e. “drink” – can be spelled with an X or an S). Solution is EX-PRESS (i.e. “old hacks” or journalists) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”).

  1. Hard to find our lot in East, as it happens (7)

Answer: ELUSIVE (i.e. “hard to find”). Solution is US (i.e. “our lot”) placed “in” E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”) and LIVE (i.e. “as it happens”), like so: E-L(US)IVE.

  1. What leads to some hissing when you call “garçon”? (7)

Answer: CEDILLA, the ‘z’-like tail beneath the ç of “garçon”. Clue plays on the “hissing” sound this represents in the word’s pronunciation. That’s it, I guess, unless I’ve missed something clever.

  1. Attach poster before bringing in horse (6)

Answer: ADHERE (i.e. “attach”). Solution is AD (i.e. “poster” or advertisement) and ERE (poetic form of “before”) wrapped around or “bringing in” H (i.e. “horse”, both street names for heroin), like so: AD-(H)-ERE.

  1. Host guru briefly collecting rupees (5)

Answer: SWARM (i.e. a “host” or lot of something). Solution is SWAMI (i.e. “guru”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder wrapped around or “collecting” R (a recognised abbreviation of “rupees”), like so: SWA(R)M.

  1. Flower in the countryside opening out (4)

Answer: URAL (i.e. a river or “flower” – think about it). Solution is RURAL (i.e. “countryside”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “opening out”).