Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1465

A toughie this week. Probably even a stinker judging by TWOC, BRRR and leaving solvers _R_C_S for one of the tougher clues. This was a setter who was in no mood to play nice. Writing this the day after solving it lets me appreciate some of the good clueing on display, but at the time this was a bit of a joyless grind.

As ever, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. While you’re here, I have links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things on my Just For Fun page, along with some dusty book reviews and a story of mine.

Still persevering with WordPress’s new editor. It’s a bit like driving with the handbrake on, but at least I can still use MS Word to do much of the work. It’s not a pretty read, but it does what it needs to do.

Till next time, stay safe, mask up, and keep flying the flag for NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Get beaten for holding bible class? That’s hairy! (11)

Answer: BEWHISKERED (i.e. “hairy”). Solution is BE WHISKED (i.e. “get beaten”) wrapped around or “holding” RE (i.e. “bible class”, specifically Religious Education), like so: BE-WHISKE(RE)D.

  1. Inferior sound device with important second function (6,5)

Answer: MICKEY MOUSE (i.e. slang for “inferior” – I was surprised to find this doesn’t quite chime with Chambers, which suggests something that’s simple/unimportant/cliched). Solution is MIC (i.e. “sound device”, short for a microphone) followed by KEY (i.e. “important”), then MO (i.e. “second”, shortened form of “moment”) and USE (i.e. “function”).

  1. No going back – so suffer immediately (2,3,4)

Answer: ON THE NAIL (i.e. “immediately”). Solution is NO reversed (indicated by “going back”) followed by THEN (i.e. “so”) and AIL (i.e. “suffer”), like so: ON-THEN-AIL.

  1. Error diminished old Greek car manufacturer (7)

Answer: BUGATTI (i.e. “car manufacturer”. I’m not sure it’s enough to land the setter a free Veyron, but nice try all the same). Solution is BUG (i.e. “error”) followed by ATTIC (i.e. “old Greek”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “diminished”), like so: BUG-ATTI.

  1. The crossword editor retained by Express is dull! (5)

Answer: SAMEY (i.e. “dull”). Solution is ME (i.e. “the crossword editor” taken from the point of view of the setter) placed in or “retained by” SAY (i.e. to “express” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: SA(ME)Y.

  1. Waiting to connect leg with horse before getting on (2,4)

Answer: ON HOLD (i.e. “waiting to connect”). Solution is ON (i.e. “leg” side in cricket) followed by H (i.e. “horse” – both slang words for heroin) and OLD (i.e. “getting on”).

  1. The woman chasing fairies finds little devil (8)

Answer: PERISHER (i.e. a scamp or “little devil”). Solution is HER (i.e. “the woman”) placed after or “chasing” PERIS (i.e. “fairies”), like so: PERIS-HER.

  1. Against the current voting system, one’s put in united resistance (7)

Answer: UPRIVER (i.e. “against the [water] current”). Solution PR (i.e. “voting system”, specifically Proportional Representation) and by I’VE (i.e. “one’s” read as a contraction of “one has” or “I have” rather than “one is”) both “put in” between U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”) and R (ditto “resistance”), like so: U-(PR-I’VE)-R.

  1. Female suffering terrific stress moved as queue dealt with? (5,4,5,6)

Answer: FIRST COME FIRST SERVED (i.e. “as queue dealt with”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “suffering”) of TERRIFIC STRESS MOVED.

  1. Religion’s expression of enlightenment in repeated Mass (7)

Answer: BAHAISM (i.e. “religion”). Solution is AHA (i.e. “expression of enlightenment”) placed in BIS (i.e. twice or “repeated” in musical lingo) and followed by M (a recognised abbreviation of “mass” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: B(AHA)IS-M.

  1. Salty food Parisian prepared with article taken from fire (7)

Answer: PRETZEL (i.e. “salty food”). Solution is PRET (i.e. “Parisian prepared”, i.e. the French for ready or “prepared”, as in Pret a Manger, Pret a Porter etc) followed by ZEAL (i.e. passion or “fire”) once the A has been removed (indicated by “article taken from” – an article being a word like a, an or the), like so: PRET-ZEL.

  1. With track race put back, athlete finally gets to train (7)

Answer: NURTURE (i.e. “train”). Solution is RUT (i.e. “track”) and RUN (i.e. “race”) both reversed (indicated by “put back”) and followed by E (i.e. “athlete finally”, i.e. the last letter of “athlete”), like so: (NUR-TUR)-E.

  1. Drive away unauthorised pair of canvassers at the front (4)

Answer: TWOC (i.e. “drive away unauthorised”, i.e. an acronym of Take Without Consent, often in relation to vehicle theft). Solution is TWO (i.e. “pair”) followed by C (i.e. “canvassers at the front”, i.e. the first letter of “canvassers”).

  1. Kept in hand men’s prize at festival (5,3)

Answer: PALME DOR (i.e. “prize at [film] festival”). Solution is PALMED (i.e. “kept in hand”) followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army).

  1. Go crawling along out of gear? (6-3)

Answer: SKINNY-DIP, or swimming around in one’s birthday suit. Clue plays on how “crawling” is a swimming stroke, and how one removing all their clothes would be “out of gear”.

  1. Tries the lot again, mostly for practice (9)

Answer: REHEARSAL (i.e. “practice”). Solution is REHEARS ALL (i.e. “tries the lot again” in a court of law) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”).

  1. Scrape trailer filling skip (8)

Answer: ESCAPADE (i.e. “scrape” or exciting or mischievous adventure). Solution is AD (i.e. “trailer”, i.e. a shortened form of “advertisement”) placed in or “filling” ESCAPE (i.e. to “skip” out of something, e.g. school), like so: ESCAP(AD)E.

  1. Reaction to the cold basics of learning by the book? (4)

Answer: BRRR (i.e. “reaction to the cold” – I wasn’t keen on this one either, especially after TWOC, but it is in the dictionary and with three Rs too, so…) Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) placed before or “by” RRR (i.e. “basics of learning”, being reading, writing and arithmetic, collectively called the “three Rs” despite floods of smartarse schoolkids pointing out only one of those begins with an R), like so: B-RRR.

  1. Save one’s cheers for the person serving the drinks (7)

Answer: BARISTA (i.e. “person serving the drinks”). Solution is BAR (i.e. “save”, as in “all over bar the shouting”) followed by I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”) and TA (i.e. “cheers”, both expressions of thanks).

  1. Knock one over: not exactly sweet! (7)

Answer: TAPIOCA (i.e. “sweet”). Solution is TAP (i.e. “knock”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket) and CA (i.e. “not exactly”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “circa”).

  1. Noble fellow cheated on the first female? (7)

Answer: GALAHAD (i.e. “noble”, as in “a person notable for nobility and integrity of character” (Chambers), after Sir Galahad, the most noble knight of the Round Table of Arthurian legend). Solution is HAD (i.e. having “cheated” someone) placed “on” or after GAL A (i.e. “the first female”, assuming there was a GAL B, C, D etc), like so: (GAL-A)-HAD.

  1. Light work made of devout folk – how much punishment’s involved unknown (3,7,2,8)

Answer: THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE (i.e. “light work” or comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, which includes the oft-parodied I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General). Solution is THE PI (i.e. “devout folk” – “pi” being a shortened form of “pious”) followed by RATES OF PENANCE (i.e. “how much punishment”) once wrapped around or “involving” Z (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as “unknowns”), like so: THE-PI-(RATES-OF-PEN(Z)ANCE).

  1. Nearly all choose to accept current condition for peace (7)

Answer: PACIFIC (i.e. “for peace”). Solution is PICK (i.e. “choose”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “nearly all”) and the remainder wrapped around or “accepting” AC (i.e. “current”, specifically Alternating Current) and IF (i.e. “condition”), like so: P(AC-IF)IC.
EDIT – a quick thank you to Michael in the comments for the typo fix. I’d written “condition for peace” as the solution, which should have merely been “for peace” – LP

  1. Material with which to test cosmetic (8)

Answer: TOILETRY (i.e. “cosmetic”). Solution is TOILE (i.e. “material”) followed by TRY (i.e. “to test”).

  1. Publisher takes role of petitioner (6)

Answer: ISSUER. Solution satisfies “publisher” and “role of petitioner”, as in one who raises an issue or point of dispute.

  1. Shaped outlines round first part of encyclopaedia? (5)

Answer: OVOLI (plural of ovolo, or “arc of an ellipse with the curve greatest at the top” (Chambers) i.e. “shaped outlines”). Solution is O (i.e. “round”) followed by VOL I (i.e. “first part of encyclopaedia”, as in Volume One). Call me cynical, but I doubt this was the first solution the setter slotted into the grid…

  1. Fair, perhaps, to have teams in red (7)

Answer: MARXIST (i.e. “red” or communist). Solution is MART (i.e. “fair, perhaps”) followed by XIS (i.e. “teams”, i.e. a plural of eleven expressed in Roman numerals), like so: MAR(XIS)T.

  1. Real nice uniform that’s worn (9)

Answer: AUTHENTIC (i.e. “real”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “worn”) of NICE, U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet) and THAT.

  1. Neutral zone of old formerly swallowed up by Polish (6,5)

Answer: BUFFER STATE (i.e. “neutral zone” or country between two states at loggerheads with one another). Solution is ERST (i.e. “formerly”) and ATE (i.e. “swallowed up”) both placed after or “by” BUFF (i.e. to “polish” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: BUFF-(ERST-ATE). “Of old” seems unnecessary in the clue as neither BUFFER STATE nor ERST are flagged as archaic terms in the dictionary.
EDIT: Hat-tip to burleypab in the comments for the typo fix. I’d accidentally written BUFF-(ESRT-ATE) – LP

  1. Military command dispatched divisions in advance? (7,4)

Answer: PRESENT ARMS (i.e. “military command”). Solution is PRE-SENT (i.e. “despatched…in advance”) and ARMS (i.e. “divisions”).

Down clues

  1. Barrack the person that is heard sobbing (6)

Answer: BOOHOO (i.e. “sobbing”). Solution is BOO (i.e. “barrack”) followed by HOO (a homophone, indicated by “that is heard”, of WHO, i.e. “the person”).

  1. Kids TV shows cave containing possible emperor and queen (5,4,6)

Answer: WATCH WITH MOTHER (i.e. “kids TV shows” – ask your grandparents, kids). Solution is WATCH (i.e. “cave” – an alternative meaning of the word is to beware of something) followed by WITH (i.e. “containing”), then MOTH (i.e. “possible emperor”, referring to emperor moths or wild silk moths) and ER (i.e. “queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina).

  1. Romantic rendering italicised (10)

Answer: IDEALISTIC (i.e. “romantic”). “Rendering” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ITALICISED.

  1. Old ruler shook hands, disappearing outside (4)

Answer: KHAN (i.e. “old ruler”). “Disappearing outside” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, i.e. the outside letters must disappear, like so: SHOO(K HAN)DS.

  1. What shows highs and lots of plot to remove the old guard? (6,3)

Answer: RELIEF MAP. I suspect this clue contains a typo and that it ought to have read “what shows highs and lows”. While “lots” can refer to parcels of land, this seems to serve more an administrative function than a geographical one. Clue plays on how “removing the old guard” can be to relieve them, and how a plot can be a plan or map. You get the idea.

  1. Excellent, having cheese in grill (7)

Answer: DEBRIEF (i.e. interrogate or “grill”). Solution is DEF (i.e. “excellent” – fresh from the 1980s, kids!) wrapped around or “having” BRIE (i.e. “cheese”), like so: DE(BRIE)F.

  1. Radio unit taking great pains to broadcast (9)

Answer: MEGAHERTZ (i.e. “radio unit” of frequency). Solution is MEGA (i.e. “great”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “to broadcast”) of HURTS (i.e. “pains”).

  1. Just leave odd parts for Henry Archer (5)

Answer: CUTER (i.e. “archer” or more cunning – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is CUT (i.e. “leave” – not sure where “just” factors into this, if at all, but then CUT has more definitions than I have fingers and toes) followed by ER (i.e. “odd parts of Henry”, i.e. every other letter of HENRY), like so: CUT-ER. Another for the “trying too hard” file.

  1. I run peace movement for pleasure (9)

Answer: EPICUREAN (i.e. one “for pleasure” and the pursuit of it – usually one who digs on good food). “Movement” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I RUN PEACE.

  1. Archbishop’s doctors turn out upset: RIP! (4,8)

Answer: MOST REVEREND (i.e. “archbishop”). Solution is MOS (i.e. “doctors”, specifically Medical Officers) followed by EVERT (i.e. “turn out[wards]”) reversed (indicated by upset” – this being a down clue), then REND (i.e. “rip” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: MOS-TREVE-REND

  1. Calm as king must be prior to being taken to castle (7)

Answer: UNMOVED (i.e. “calm”). Clue refers to a move in chess known as castling, where the king and a rook or “castle” can swap places in a single go so long as neither piece has previously been moved.

  1. Friend to bear errors excepted long ago (6)

Answer: EEYORE (i.e. “friend to bear”, specifically Winnie The Pooh). Solution is EE (a recognised abbreviation of “errors excepted”) followed by YORE (i.e. “long ago”, as in times of yore).

  1. Rogues succeeded with much (8)

Answer: SCUMBAGS (i.e. “rogues”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “succeeded”) followed by CUM (i.e. “with” in Latin) and BAGS (i.e. “much”).

  1. Lectures on horses for touts (5,2)

Answer: TALKS UP (i.e. “touts”). Solution is TALKS (i.e. “lectures”) followed by UP (i.e. “on horses”).

  1. Penny, coming in flushed after double PE, showered (8)

Answer: PEPPERED (i.e. “showered”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “penny”) placed “in” PE and PE (i.e. “double PE”) and followed by RED (i.e. “flushed”), like so: PE-(P)-PE-RED. The clue’s a bit clunky, but does work. Ish.

  1. Albert’s heart, pounding inside loose garment (8)

Answer: BATHROBE (i.e. “loose garment”). Solution is BE (i.e. “Albert’s heart”, i.e. the middle letters of “AlBErt”) with ATHROB (i.e. “pounding”) placed “inside” of it, like so: B(ATHROB)E.

  1. Give in to the French: what’s expected (5)

Answer: ENDUE (i.e. “give”). Solution is EN (i.e. “in to the French”, i.e. the French for “in”) followed by DUE (i.e. “what’s expected”).

  1. One presumably telling too little about article illegally acquired (5-3-7)

Answer: UNDER-THE-COUNTER (i.e. “illegally acquired”). Solution is UNDERCOUNTER (i.e. “one presumably telling too little” – “telling” in this case meaning “mattering” or “counting” for something) wrapped “about” THE (i.e. “article”).
EDIT: Michael makes a good point in the comments, saying that “telling” could also refer to a bank teller, which probably chimes better with what the setter had in mind. Cheers, Michael! – LP

  1. FA’s forerunner came down on one with a certain force (7)

Answer: MILITIA (i.e. “force”, usually armed). Solution is MI (i.e. “fa’s forerunner” in solfège, or do-re-MI-“FA”-sol-la-ti-do and all its variant forms – ignore the misleading capitalisation) followed by LIT (i.e. “came down” or landed) then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and A.

  1. Play area closed – leaves to the right (5)

Answer: RECTO (i.e. “leaves to the right” – a printing term: recto refers to the right-hand pages of a book, verso the left). Solution is REC (i.e. “play area” or recreation area) followed by TO (i.e. “closed”, as in leaving a door closed to).

  1. In dire need of film company dismissing English fellow (8)

Answer: INDIGENT (i.e. “in dire need”). Solution is INDIE (i.e. “film company” – often describes some record companies too) with the E removed (indicated by “dismissing English” – E being a recognised abbreviation of English) and the remainder followed by GENT (i.e. “fellow”), like so: INDI-GENT.

  1. Serializes a fine novel, not interfering with anything? (7-5)

Answer: LAISSEZ-FAIRE (i.e. “not interfering with anything”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “novel”) of SERIALIZES A and F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine”, used in grading pencils).

  1. What’s somehow keeping everything out of Chelsea net? (5,5)

Answer: CLEAN SHEET. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of CHELSEA NET. Clue plays on a game of football, where to keep the opponent from scoring i.e. keeping the ball out of one’s net is referred to as a clean sheet. Nicely done.

  1. Friends, perhaps, in the main revolting, however (2,2,5)

Answer: AS IT COMES (i.e. “however” – taken to mean “however it is made” or “in any way whatsoever”, e.g. when ordering food in a restaurant). Solution is SITCOM (i.e. “Friends, perhaps” – other sitcoms are available) placed “in” SEA (i.e. “the main”) once reversed (indicated by “revolting” or uprising – this being a down clue), like so: A(SITCOM)ES.

  1. Cliff, Charlie and I, dividing homework, finish off (9)

Answer: PRECIPICE (i.e. “cliff”). Solution is C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet) and I both placed in or “dividing” PREP (i.e. “homework”) and followed by ICE (i.e. to kill or “finish off”), like so: PRE(C-I)P-ICE.

  1. Like normal, bland sweetener (9)

Answer: ASPARTAME (i.e. “sweetener”). Solution AS (i.e. “like”) followed by PAR (i.e. “normal”) and TAME (i.e. “bland”). Chalk one to my Bradford’s here.

  1. Lecture Mark completed (4,3)

Answer: TICK OFF. Solution satisfies “lecture” and “mark completed” – ignore the misleading capitalisation.

  1. Be too generous, glaring at paltry sum (7)

Answer: OVERTIP (i.e. “be too generous” – depends on your perspective…). Solution is OVERT (i.e. “glaring”) followed by IP (i.e. “paltry sum”, i.e. 1p expressed as a Roman numeral).

  1. Being collected in a Post Office, large computer storage unit (6)

Answer: APLOMB (i.e. “being collected”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) placed “in” A and PO (ditto “Post Office”) and followed by MB (i.e. “computer storage unit”, short for a megabyte), like so: A-P(L)O-MB.

  1. Writes off to a dictator, the king (6)

Answer: WRECKS (i.e. “writes off”). “To a dictator” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of REX, Latin for “king”. Sneaky.

  1. Film star in fur coat putting king in his place in Ireland? (5)

Answer: TARKA (i.e. “film star in fur coat”, referring to Tarka the Otter. Way to ignore the book there, setter.) Solution is K (a recognised abbreviation of “king”) placed “in” TARA (i.e. “[king’s] place in Ireland, referring to the Hill of Tara, inaugural place of old for the High Kings of Ireland), like so: TAR(K)A.

  1. Inflammation contracted last year (4)

Answer: STYE (i.e. “inflammation”). “Contracted” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, found by removing or contracting the outer letters of LA(ST YE)AR.

No music accompanied this week’s post. Lots of sport was had instead: a blend of live footie and game 4 of the World Series. (Let’s go, Dodgers!)

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1464

There’s a certain whiff of someone trying too hard in this week’s puzzle. There were good clues to be had, don’t get me wrong, but some others didn’t quite elicit the “ooh, that’s clever” response the setter may have wanted. Then again, my mood’s been through the floor for much of this week, so it could just be me being a grumpy bugger.

As ever, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. You can find links to solutions to the last 100+ of these things on my Just For Fun page should a recent Jumbo have done for you. While you are here, I’ve also got some mouldy old book reviews and a story of mine.

This post marks my first concerted effort to stick with WordPress’s new editor. I’ve had to make some formatting changes to lessen the overheads caused by some of the new editor’s idiot design choices, but there’s nothing too controversial I hope. I’ll still highlight the stuff I’m not sure about in dark bloody red, but other than that welcome to Pleasantville.

Anyway, time’s getting on and this week’s been rubbish. I hope yours has been better. Till next time, stay safe, mask up and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

1. Introductory letters and end articles? That’s wrong (11)

Answer: CREDENTIALS (i.e. “introductory letters”). “That’s wrong” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of END ARTICLES.

7. Former treasurer to provide football stadium (3,8)

Answer: OLD TRAFFORD (i.e. “football stadium”). Solution is OLD (i.e. “former”) followed by TR (an abbreviation of “treasurer” not recognised by my Chambers, Oxford or Bradford’s, but is listed in my Collins Concise) and AFFORD (i.e. “to provide”).

13. City guides on audio (5)

Answer: LEEDS (i.e. “city”). “On audio” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of LEADS (i.e. “guides”).

14. Weapon, right for unknown minor noble (7)

Answer: BARONET (i.e. “minor noble”). Solution is BAYONET (i.e. “weapon”) with R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) replacing (indicated by “for”) Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X Y or Z in solutions as unknowns), like so: BA(Y)ONET => BA(R)ONET.

15. Broody hen at home getting youngster area to run (9)

Answer: INCUBATOR (i.e. “broody hen”). Solution is IN (i.e. “at home”) followed by CUB (i.e. “youngster”), then A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), then TO, then R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in several ball games).

16. Goat, perhaps, caught up in meadow plant (9)

Answer: BUTTERCUP (i.e. “meadow plant”). Solution is BUTTER (i.e. “goat, perhaps”, as in how they are known to headbutt things) followed by C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in several ball games), then UP.

17. What’s eaten until turning rank (10)

Answer: LIEUTENANT (i.e. military “rank”). “Turning” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EATEN UNTIL.

20. Rum solo or old dark sherry (7)

Answer: OLOROSO (i.e. “dark sherry”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rum”) of SOLO OR and O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”).

22. Fool includes a parliamentarian in satirical attack (7)

Answer: LAMPOON (i.e. “satirical attack”). Solution is LOON (i.e. “fool”) wrapped around or “including”) A and MP (i.e. “parliamentarian”), like so: L(A-MP)OON.

24. Feeling section of opera perhaps must cut slab (7)

Answer: TACTILE (i.e. “feeling”). Solution is ACT (i.e. “section of opera perhaps” – other dramatic productions are available) placed in or “cutting” TILE (i.e. “slab”), like so: T(ACT)ILE.

25. Book about one double-cross for Smiley? (8)

Answer: EMOTICON (i.e. “smiley” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is TOME (i.e. “book”) reversed (indicated by “about”), followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and CON (i.e. “double-cross”), like so: EMOT-I-CON.

26. Lower number Swiss canton cast off starved (14)

Answer: UNDERNOURISHED (i.e. “starved”). Solution is UNDER (i.e. “lower”) followed by NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”), then URI (i.e. “Swiss canton”), then SHED (i.e. “cast off”).

28. Constant atmosphere round capital (5)

Answer: CAIRO (i.e. “capital” city of Egypt). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”) followed by AIR (i.e. “atmosphere”) and O (i.e. “round”).

29. Expensive importing French article? One might find it so (6)

Answer: DEALER. Solution is DEAR (i.e. “expensive”) wrapped around or “importing” LE (i.e. “French article”, i.e. the French for “the” – an article being a word like a, an or the), like so: DEA(LE)R. Within the context of the clue, a DEALER is someone engaging in a transaction. I’d argue the likes of shipping agents would handle the importing of stuff rather than the people trading or dealing the goods, but what do I know. Weak, in any case.

30. Conclusion of Hamlet? (10)

Answer: SETTLEMENT. Solution satisfies “conclusion”, say, of a court case, and “hamlet” – ignore the misleading capitalisation.

33. Fabric is one easily taken in by Sibyl, perhaps (10)

Answer: SEERSUCKER (i.e. “fabric”). Solution is SUCKER (i.e. “one easily taken in” or fooled) placed after or “by” SEER (i.e. “Sibyl, perhaps” – other oracles are available), like so: SEER-SUCKER. One I remembered from a previous solution, TBH.

35. Sins go after getting renewed spiritual knowledge (6)

Answer: GNOSIS (i.e. “spiritual knowledge”). “After getting renewed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SINS GO. Nicely worked.

37. Port has its fans – I must be the latest to be included among those (5)

Answer: HAIFA (i.e. “port” of Israel). The setter has gone off on their own here, so watch out. Bradford’s offers HAIFA (if the setter is inclined to use a lazy solution to bail them out of an awkward spot then I’m going to be equally lazy in solving it), and I can see the solution is hidden in the first one or two letters of HAS ITS FANS, but I can’t see how the remainder of the clue gets you there. If someone swings by with the lowdown on this one then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Some excellent work from Steve in the comments nails this one. The solution is HAS ITS FANS with every letter after I in the alphabet removed, as indicated by “I must be the latest to be included among those”. While part of me thinks “trying too hard again!”, another appreciates the setter trying to bring some fresh wordplay into the mix. Either way, hats off to Steve! – LP]

39. Effect of exposure turning to such hue of tan? (1,5,2,3,3)

Answer: A TOUCH OF THE SUN (i.e. “effect of exposure”). “Turning” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO SUCH HUE OF TAN.

41. Looking embarrassed, abandon West Midlands town (8)

Answer: REDDITCH (i.e. “West Midlands town”). Solution is RED (i.e. “looking embarrassed”) followed by DITCH (i.e. “abandon”).

44. A second copy – experts initially make attribution (7)

Answer: ASCRIBE (i.e. “make attribution”). Solution is A followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”), then CRIB (i.e. “copy”) and E (i.e. “experts initially”, i.e. the first letter of “experts”).

45. Cautious driver and passengers keeping safe, ultimately (7)

Answer: CAREFUL (i.e. “cautious”). Solution is CARFUL (i.e. “driver and passengers”) wrapped around or “keeping” E (i.e. “safe, ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “safe”), like so: CAR(E)FUL.

46. Newspaper interrupting key web operation by police (7)

Answer: DRAGNET (i.e. “operation by police”). Solution is RAG (i.e. slang for “newspaper”) placed in or “interrupting” D (i.e. “[musical] key”) and NET (i.e. “web”), like so: D-(RAG)-NET.

47. Illicit trader in Merseyside town cell backing resistance (10)

Answer: BOOTLEGGER (i.e. “illicit trader”). Solution is BOOTLE (i.e. “Merseyside town”) followed by EGG (i.e. “cell”) reversed (indicated by “backing”) and then R (a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”), like so: BOOTLE-GGE-R.

49. Adorn rice – needs to be chopped herb (9)

Answer: CORIANDER (i.e. “herb”). “Needs to be chopped” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ADORN RICE.

53. Carry on Sergeant perhaps currently showing (7,2)

Answer: SOLDIER ON (i.e. “carry on”). Solution is SOLDIER (i.e. “sergeant perhaps”) followed by ON (i.e. “currently showing”).

54. Parisian inn needs time accepting taxi firm (7)

Answer: AUBERGE (i.e. “Parisian inn” – also Chris Rea’s best song by a country mile, in case there was anyone left in the universe who thought I was cool). Solution is AGE (i.e. “time”) wrapped around or “accepting” UBER (i.e. “taxi firm”), like so: A(UBER)GE.

55. Calico, plain, regularly used for dressing (5)

Answer: AIOLI (i.e. a rather nice garlicky “dressing”). “Regularly used” indicates the solution is derived from every other letter of CALICO PLAIN.

56. Stick around restaurant by large lake and mountain (7,4)

Answer: SCAFELL PIKE (i.e. “mountain” in the Lake District). Solution is SPIKE (i.e. “[to] stick”) wrapped “around” CAFÉ (i.e. “restaurant”), L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and L (ditto “lake”), like so: S(CAFÉ-L-L)PIKE.

57. Venerable chap in English society is quite well-balanced? (4-7)

Answer: EVEN-STEVENS (i.e. “well-balanced”). Solution is VEN (a recognised abbreviation of “venerable”) and STEVEN (i.e. “chap”) placed “in” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and S (ditto “society”), like so: E-(VEN-STEVEN)-S.
[EDIT: Typo fix. I’d accidentally wrote EVEN-MINDED. Thanks to James and Mrs D for flagging this. – LP]

Down clues

1. Caught a sailor locked up in lax jail (9)

Answer: CALABOOSE (i.e. slang name for “jail”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games) followed by A and AB (i.e. “sailor”, specifically of the Able-Bodied variety) once this latter has been placed or “locked up in” LOOSE (i.e. “lax”), like so: C-A-L(AB)OOSE.

2. What wave power generates shortly found in Bloemfontein? (13,5)

Answer: ELECTOMOTIVE FORCE (i.e. “what [electromagnetic] wave power generates”). “Shortly found in…” plays on how its abbreviated form, EMF, can be found in BloEMFontein. See what I mean about the setter trying too hard? Good grief.

3. Follow nurse Susan (5)

Answer: ENSUE (i.e. “follow”). Solution is EN (i.e. “nurse”, specifically an Enrolled Nurse) followed by SUE (a shortened form of “Susan”).

4. Distributed coca to broad in novel of poor Americans (7,4)

Answer: TOBACCO ROAD (i.e. a 1932 “novel of poor Americans” by Erskine Caldwell – everyday reading, then). “Distributed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of COCA TO BROAD.

5. After a key game, pint emptied lustily and rapidly (8)

Answer: ABRUPTLY (i.e. “rapidly”). Solution is A followed by B (i.e. “[musical] key”), then RU (i.e. “game”, specifically Rugby Union), then PT (a recognised abbreviation of “pint”) and LY (i.e. “emptied lustily”, i.e. the word “lustily” with all its middle letters removed).

6. One cared for obsessive (6-6)

Answer: SINGLE-MINDED (i.e. “obsessive”). Solution is SINGLE (i.e. “one”) followed by MINDED (i.e. “cared”).

7. Some Hellespont hero, pessimistic and near defeat (2,3,5)

Answer: ON THE ROPES (i.e. “near defeat”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: HELLESP(ONT HERO PES)SIMISTIC.

8. State of indecision is Democrat fault (5)

Answer: DRIFT (i.e. “state of indecision” – topical, given the pitched battle currently going on between local and central governments over their Covid response). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “Democrat”) followed by RIFT (i.e. “fault”).

9. Shocking cost with current fashion again (11)

Answer: RECONSTRUCT (i.e. “fashion again”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “shocking”) of COST and CURRENT.

10. Series creator coming up with some Wiccan obi fantasy (9)

Answer: FIBONACCI (i.e. “series creator”, referring to a sequence of numbers he devised that have since been observed in a spooky number of other areas, from nature to several branches of mathematics. The word “observed” is key here for this sceptic, as in not necessarily “proven”. It reminds me of a stockbroker who once upon a time enthusiastically espoused the Fibonacci sequences he and his peers had detected in market patterns, seemingly oblivious to the umpteen self-fulfilling prophecies like it that had helped fuel every boom and bust since the dawn of finance. But I digress…) “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “coming up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: W(ICCAN OBI F)ANTASY. Another clue that’s trying too hard, but I do like what the setter was trying to do.

11. Obscenity is old hat, unfortunately (4)

Answer: OATH (i.e. a curse word, “obscenity”, or, if you’re showing off, an imprecation) (Puts away thesaurus.) Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “unfortunately”) of HAT, like so: O-ATH.

12. Gently featured in detective fiction, a dagger (4)

Answer: DIRK (i.e. “a dagger” – chalk another to my Bradford’s). “Gently featured in detective fiction” refers to Dirk Gently, holistic detective and central character of two-and a-bit Douglas Adams novels. This nerd approves! This nerd also rather liked the Netflix series. Shame it got cancelled.

18. Brilliant device Liberal European Democrat may be confused with? (5-8,5)

Answer: LIGHT-EMITTING DIODE (i.e. “brilliant device” – brilliant as in being very bright, though they’re also rather nifty little things). After the exploits demonstrated in 2d, it might not surprise you to learn the rest of the clue plays on how the solution’s shortened form, LED, is also the initials of “Liberal European Democrat”.

19. Examine volunteers injected with last bad blood (8)

Answer: VENDETTA (i.e. “bad blood”). Solution is VET (i.e. “examine”) and TA (i.e. “volunteers”, specifically the Territorial Army) wrapped around or “injected with” END (i.e. “last”), like so: V(END)ET-TA.

21. Extremely worrying when some fine house gets stripped (7)

Answer: OMINOUS (i.e. “extremely worrying”). “Gets stripped” indicates the solution is derived by removing the first and last letters of SOME FINE HOUSE.

23. Bunk, not a single one, in which briefly to dispatch son (8)

Answer: NONSENSE (i.e. “bunk”). Solution is NONE (i.e. “not a single one”) “in which” is placed SEND (i.e. “to dispatch”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), and S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”), like so: NON(SEN-S)E.

27. Most impressive crack I found in waterproof coat (8)

Answer: MAJESTIC (i.e. “most impressive”). Solution is JEST (i.e. “crack”) and I placed or “found in” MAC (i.e. “waterproof coat”), like so: MA(JEST-I)C.

28. Perhaps Crusoe’s reason for putting nothing on? (8)

Answer: CASTAWAY (i.e. “perhaps Crusoe”, referring to the central character of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe). “Reason for putting nothing on” is a play on how a theatre might have nothing on as the CAST is AWAY. Something like that.

31. Spiny anteater concealed in tangled cane (7)

Answer: ECHIDNA (i.e. “spiny anteater” – chalk another to my Bradford’s here. Anteaters aren’t interesting enough to warrant extra names. I’d stake my zoology degrees on it. (Looks to camera.)) Solution is HID (i.e. “concealed”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “tangled”) of CANE, like so: EC(HID)NA.

32. Too much is coverable without following fine English (12)

Answer: INSUFFERABLE (i.e. “too much”). Solution is INSURABLE (i.e. “coverable”) wrapped around or placed “without” F (a recognised abbreviation of “following”), F (ditto “fine”) and E (ditto “English”), like so: INSU(F-F-E)RABLE.

34. School banning son about boy offering harmful substance? (11)

Answer: CHOLESTEROL (i.e. “harmful substance”). Solution is SCHOOL with the S removed (indicated by “banning son” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”), and the remainder placed “about” LESTER (i.e. “boy” – bloody hell, how hateful a parent must you be to name your child Lester? Have a word…) like so: CHO(LESTER)OL.

36. Absence of large figure from small building society head? (11)

Answer: SLENDERNESS (i.e. “absence of large figure”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by LENDER (i.e. “building society”) and NESS (i.e. “head” – both as in the geographic feature).

38. Backing note about Leningrad formerly removing leader (10)

Answer: RETROGRADE (i.e. “backing”). Solution is RE (i.e. “note” in the do-re-me scale, sometimes anglicised as “ray”) wrapped “about” PETROGRAD (i.e. “Leningrad formerly”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “removing leader”), like so: R(ETROGRAD)E.

40. Credit one number with style for female garment (9)

Answer: CRINOLINE (i.e. “female garment”). Solution is CR (a recognised abbreviation of “credit”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) and LINE (i.e. “style”).

42. Casual greeting to Royal Marines on one steam ship (3-2-4)

Answer: HIT-OR-MISS (i.e. “casual”). Solution is HI (i.e. “greeting”) followed by TO, then RM (a recognised abbreviation of “Royal Marines”), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and SS (a recognised abbreviation of “steam ship”).

43. Like item in restaurant with a fabric covering design (1,2,5)

Answer: A LA CARTE (i.e. “like item in restaurant”). Solution is A and LACE (i.e. “fabric”) wrapped around or “covering” ART (i.e. “design”), like so: A-LAC(ART)E.

48. Seen insulin regularly used for tiredness (5)

Answer: ENNUI (i.e. “tiredness”). “Regularly used” indicates the solution can be derived by taking every other letter of SEEN INSULIN.

50. Precious stone and silver bolted down? (5)

Answer: AGATE (i.e. “precious stone”). Solution is AG (chemical symbol of “silver”) followed by ATE (i.e. “bolted down”).

51. Time of difficulty, not leading pair to find goddess (4)

Answer: ISIS (i.e. Egyptian “goddess”). Solution is CRISIS (i.e. “time of difficulty”) with its “leading pair” of letters removed.

52. Florida invaded by European parasite (4)

Answer: FLEA (i.e. “parasite”). Solution is FLA (a recognised abbreviation of “Florida”) wrapped around or “invaded by” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: FL(E)A.

And now, apropos of nothing, here’s a rundown of the tip-top choonage that accompanied the production of this post. There may be rock.
(Insert devil-horns-hand-sign emoji here.)

Des Rocs – Let The Vultures In (“Let Me Live/Let Me Die” and “Used to the Darkness” especially – modern goth is alive! …or undead at least)
Dorothy – ROCKISDEAD (“Dark Nights” is my new obsession; like a power-trippin’ Dolly Parton)
Dorothy – 28 Days In The Valley (cleaned up sound – still pretty good; looking forward to next album)
Royal Blood – Trouble’s Coming (looking forward to their new album)
Rival Sons – Feral Roots (if you liked Bad Company and old school Aerosmith, you’ll love these)
Airbourne – Black Dog Barking (ditto AC/DC and Alice Cooper)
Airbourne – Runnin’ Wild
Volkor X – This Means War (the last 4 mins of the title track is guitar-wangling bliss)
Volkor X – This Is Our Planet Now (“Shoot Them Up” especially – brilliantly cheesy!)

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1463

Back to a medium strength puzzle after last week’s stinker. It was another good ‘un too, with a healthy dollop of well-written clues marred only by yet another appearance of AT A LOOSE END. When I cast an initial glance over the clues and saw blah, blah, blah (2,1,5,3), I immediately thought AT A LOOSE END and genuinely groaned when I actually read the clue. I rather liked how setters were slotting different shapes into their grids earlier this year, but sticking the same solution in week-in-week-out feels a bit cheap. Maybe Max ERNST will start haunting these pages again…

Anyway, minor bellyaching aside, 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 previous Jumbo has done for you, then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. I’ve also got a dusty collection of book reviews and a story of mine knocking about the place.

In other news, I’ve tried to persevere again with WordPress’s new editor – the one I’m being increasingly pressured to use – and once more had to work around it, reverting to the old editor. Sadly the new editor is poor, enforcing concepts like document blocks which don’t lend themselves easily to these kinds of posts, plus it hides useful controls away in cumbersome menus and no longer recognises often-used keyboard shortcuts. (No Ctrl+U for underline? Seriously?) Producing these posts in the new editor is like pulling teeth. I really appreciate the kind words and assistance I receive in the comments each week, so I’ll have a think on how to continue these posts once WordPress finally kills off its classic editor. Would anyone object to me posting these things as PDFs, for example? Would that adversely affect accessibility for anyone? Let me know in the comments.

Till next time, stay safe, mask up and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere, especially as this second wave of Covid ticks ever upwards. And to the anti-lockdowners who leafleted my neck of the woods this weekend: try being a little less paranoid. Wearing a mask isn’t going to kill you. The restrictions on our lives aren’t going to be permanent. This isn’t the thin end of the wedge that’ll see government stormtroopers goose-stepping up and down Main Street. By all means moan about the state of things, but let’s also get some perspective on this. Also, thank you for closing my gate.

Laters,

LP

Across clues

1. Out of action, sort lower in rank (9)

Answer: DOWNGRADE (i.e. “[to] lower in rank”). Solution is DOWN (i.e. “out of action”) followed by GRADE (i.e. “sort”).

6. Money about right for wreck (5)

Answer: CRASH (i.e. “wreck”). Solution is CASH (i.e. “money”) wrapped “about” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: C(R)ASH.

9. Source of inspiration after retirement perhaps caused bewilderment? (7)

Answer: BEMUSED (i.e. “caused bewilderment”). Solution is MUSE (i.e. “source of inspiration”) placed in BED (indicated by “after retirement perhaps”, a play on how MUSE has been put to bed), like so: BE(MUSE)D.

13. Book first of vacations in time for Christmas (5)

Answer: NOVEL (i.e. “book”). Solution is V (i.e. “first [letter] of vacations”) placed “in” NOEL (i.e. “time for Christmas”), like so: NO(V)EL.

14. Singer taking short cut to city in Nevada, heading west (7)

Answer: CROONER (i.e. “singer”). Solution is CROP (i.e. “cut”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and followed by RENO (i.e. “city in Nevada”) reversed (indicated by “heading west” – this being an across clue), like so: CRO-ONER.

15. Decide to turn off before quarry, possibly (9)

Answer: DETERMINE (i.e. “decide”). Solution is DETER (i.e. “to turn off”) followed by MINE (i.e. “quarry, possibly”).

16. Musical composition by college principal, a tour de force (11)

Answer: MASTERPIECE (i.e. “a tour de force”). Solution is PIECE (i.e. “musical composition”) placed after or “by” MASTER (i.e. “college principal”).

17. Solemn Aussie, a sexton maybe (11)

Answer: GRAVEDIGGER (i.e. “a sexton maybe” – a sexton is “an officer who rings a church bell, attends the clergyman, digs graves etc” (Chambers)). Solution is GRAVE (i.e. “solemn”) followed by DIGGER (“an informal Australian term of address” (Chambers again)).

18. Reindeer given mashed potato, say, before run (6)

Answer: DANCER (i.e. one of Santa Claus’s “reindeer”). Solution is DANCE (i.e. “mashed potato” – ask your grandparents, kids) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games).

19. Eavesdrop? Line isn’t tapped! (6,2)

Answer: LISTEN-IN (i.e. “eavesdrop”). “Tapped” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LINE ISN’T.

21. Yellow flowers in neat borders (6)

Answer: OXLIPS (i.e. “yellow flowers”). Solution is OX (i.e. “neat” – an alternative meaning of the word is “an ox, cow or bull” (Chambers)) followed by LIPS (i.e. “borders”). One I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

25. Family, edgier unfortunately, after gym (8)

Answer: PEDIGREE (i.e. “family”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unfortunately”) of EDGIER placed “after” PE (i.e. “gym” or Physical Education), like so: PE-DIGREE.

26. End disagreement? This may have a bearing on title (4,10)

Answer: GOAL DIFFERENCE (i.e. “this may have a bearing on title”). Solution is GOAL (i.e. “end” or aim) followed by DIFFERENCE (i.e. “disagreement”).

28. Baffle fool, hiding face (5)

Answer: ELUDE (i.e. “baffle”). Solution is DELUDE (i.e. “fool”) once the first letter has been removed (indicated by “hiding face”).

29. Spot used to be put back for playground attraction (6)

Answer: SEESAW (i.e. “playground attraction”). Solution is SEE (i.e. “[to] spot”) followed by WAS (i.e. “used to be”) once reversed (indicated by “put back”), like so: SEE-SAW.

30. Crowd sitting for improvised performance (3,7)

Answer: JAM SESSION (i.e. “improvised performance”). Solution is JAM (i.e. “[to] crowd”) followed by SESSION (i.e. “sitting”, as in a court session).

33. Where one is a consequence of being sent for an early bath? (2,3,5)

Answer: IN HOT WATER. Clue plays on how serious on-field offences in sports can warrant a player being dismissed from the game, often called “being sent for an early bath”, which places them in trouble or IN HOT WATER with their teammates. Also plays on how baths generally place you IN HOT WATER, unless you are one of those people who for some reason like ice baths. Brrr!

35. Cloak carried by Ripon chorister (6)

Answer: PONCHO (i.e. “cloak”). “Carried by” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: RI(PON CHO)RISTER.

36. One like Harpagon, in intense discomfort, endlessly (5)

Answer: MISER (i.e. “one like Harpagon”, central character of Molière’s The Miser). Solution is MISERY (i.e. “intense discomfort”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”).

38. Play a hit, newsletter broadcast (3,7,4)

Answer: THE WINTER’S TALE (i.e. “play” by William Shakespeare). “Broadcast” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A HIT NEWSLETTER.

40. Old-fashioned Republican next to witness (6-2)

Answer: PASSER-BY (i.e. “witness”). Solution is PASSE (i.e. “old-fashioned”) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”) and BY (i.e. “next to”).

42. A year in mean accommodation provides sanctuary (6)

Answer: ASYLUM (i.e. “sanctuary”). Solution is A followed by Y (a recognised abbreviation of “year”) once it has been placed “in” SLUM (i.e. “mean accommodation”), like so: A-S(Y)LUM.

43. Damn tack, the cause of a sore finger? (8)

Answer: HANGNAIL (i.e. “cause of a sore finger”, being “a torn shred of skin beside the fingernail” (Chambers)). Solution is HANG (i.e. a euphemism for “damn”) followed by NAIL (i.e. “tack”).

44. Precise as regards unfinished shopping centre (6)

Answer: FORMAL (i.e. “precise”). Solution is FOR (i.e. “as regards”) followed by MALL (i.e. “shopping centre”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “unfinished”), like so: FOR-MAL.

47. Somehow smart, hi-tech policy back in the 1980s (11)

Answer: THATCHERISM (i.e. “policy back in the 1980s”). “Somehow” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SMART HI-TECH.

50. Bored? Answer: eat noodles, specially prepared (2,1,5,3)

Answer: Your weekly appearance of AT A LOOSE END, folks (i.e. “bored”). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A) followed by an anagram (indicated by “specially prepared”) of EAT NOODLES, like so: A-TALOOSEEND.

52. Limit beer in grounds (9)

Answer: RATIONALE (i.e. “grounds”). Solution is RATION (i.e. “limit”) followed by ALE (i.e. “beer”).

53. Father hiding key makes one cross (7)

Answer: SALTIRE (i.e. St Andrew’s “cross” and national flag of Scotland). Solution is SIRE (i.e. “[to] father”) wrapped around or “hiding” ALT (i.e. “key”, as in the Alt key on a computer keyboard), like so: S(ALT)IRE.

54. Black and yellow cape missing (5)

Answer: RAVEN (i.e. “black”). Solution is CRAVEN (i.e. cowardly or “yellow”) with the C removed (indicated by “cape missing” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “cape”, the geographic feature).

55. Disorder resulting from exploding grenade (7)

Answer: DERANGE (i.e. “disorder”). “Resulting from exploding” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GRENADE.

56. Around noon, wee can of beer in Perth? (5)

Answer: TINNY (i.e. “can of beer in Perth” – Perth in this case being the one in Australia. I love how, during one recent Boxing Day test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, fans were reminded that they were limited to bringing in one case of beer per person – my kind of people!). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “noon”) “around” which is placed TINY (i.e. “wee”), like so: TI(N)NY.

57. Completed articles by Lawrence? Ask for more (2,3,4)

Answer: UP THE ANTE (i.e. “ask for more”). Solution is UP (i.e. “completed”, as in time’s up) followed by THE and AN (both of which are “articles”) and then TE (i.e. “Lawrence” – aka Lawrence of Arabia).

Down clues

1. Material excavated mounted (5)

Answer: DENIM (i.e. “material”). Solution is MINED (i.e. “excavated”) reversed (indicated by “mounted” – this being a down clue).

2. Book in certain members of the clan? (5,3,9)

Answer: WIVES AND DAUGHTERS (i.e. “book” by Elizabeth Gaskell). Clue plays on how wives and daughters are often “members of the clan” or family.

3. Bird in vicious gale, on ledge (6,5)

Answer: GOLDEN EAGLE (i.e. “bird”). “Vicious” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GALE ON LEDGE.

4. Pass law about edible fungus (6)

Answer: ACCEPT (i.e. “pass”). Solution is ACT (i.e. “law”) wrapped “about” CEP (i.e. “edible fungus”), like so: AC(CEP)T.

5. Circle in compound on island, circle initially difficult to understand (8)

Answer: ESOTERIC (i.e. “difficult to understand”). Solution is O (i.e. “circle”) placed “in” ESTER (i.e. a “compound”) and followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”) and C (i.e. “circle initially”, i.e. the first letter of “circle”), like so: ES(O)TER-I-C.

6. Established nunnery on Hebridean island, then left (12)

Answer: CONVENTIONAL (i.e. “established”). Solution is CONVENT (i.e. “nunnery”) followed by IONA (i.e. “Hebridean island”) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”).

7. Brazenly, turn up inside, with pride (10)

Answer: ARROGANTLY (i.e. “with pride”). Solution is ARRANTLY (i.e. “brazenly”) with GO (i.e. “turn”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and placed “inside”, like so: ARR(OG)ANTLY.

8. Monster in Binchy drama (5)

Answer: HYDRA (i.e. mythical “monster”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: BINC(HY DRA)MA.

9. Gambler leaving in profit? (6,3)

Answer: BETTER OFF (i.e. “in profit”). Solution is BETTER (i.e. “gambler”) followed by OFF (i.e. “leaving”). Nicely done.

10. Officer reportedly in game, heading off for karate, etc. (7,4)

Answer: MARTIAL ARTS (i.e. “karate, etc”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of MARSHAL (i.e. “officer”) followed by DARTS (i.e. “game”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “heading off”).

11. Smart, Romeo leaving procession (5)

Answer: STING (i.e. to hurt or “smart”). Solution is STRING (i.e. “procession”) with the R removed (indicated by “Romeo leaving” – Romeo represents R in the phonetic alphabet).

12. Dull days breed melancholy, ultimately (6)

Answer: DREARY (i.e. “dull”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “days”) followed by REAR (i.e. “breed”), then Y (i.e. “melancholy, ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “ultimately”).

18. I must go in to protest against decline (10)

Answer: DEPRECIATE (i.e. “decline”). Solution is I placed “in” DEPRECATE (i.e. “to protest”), like so: DEPREC(I)ATE.

20. Bore is lying in shade (8)

Answer: NUISANCE (i.e. “bore”). Solution is IS placed in or “lying in” NUANCE (i.e. “shade”), like so: NU(IS)ANCE.

22. Song’s unexpected benefit (7,4,6)

Answer: PENNIES FROM HEAVEN. Solution satisfies “song” from the film of the same name, and “unexpected benefit”.

23. Ridiculous age, his female companion (6)

Answer: GEISHA (i.e. “female companion”). “Ridiculous” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AGE HIS.

24. Mint coin – sovereign, perhaps (10)

Answer: PENNYROYAL, a variety of “mint”. Solution is PENNY (i.e. “coin”) followed by ROYAL (i.e. “sovereign, perhaps”).

27. Look into touching prior to examination (8)

Answer: RESEARCH (i.e. “look into”). Solution is RE (i.e. “touching [on]” or regarding – think email replies) followed by SEARCH (i.e. “examination”).

31. Work hard on a new jingle (6)

Answer: SLOGAN (i.e. “jingle”, both taken to mean catchy arrangements of words used to advertise products). Solution is SLOG (i.e. “work hard”) followed by A and N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”).

32. Where one may get spares down the lane? (7,5)

Answer: BOWLING ALLEY. Clue plays on how “spares” in tenpin bowling are where you knock over your pins with a ball to spare, and how the sport takes place on “lanes”. You get the idea.

34. Nonsense written about large cap and papal tiara (6,5)

Answer: TRIPLE CROWN (i.e. “papal tiara”). Solution is TRIPE (i.e. “nonsense”) wrapped or “written about” L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and followed by CROWN (i.e. “cap”), like so: TRIP(L)E-CROWN.

36. Wrongly interpret young lady defending argument against? Correct (11)

Answer: MISCONSTRUE (i.e. “wrongly interpret”). Solution is MISS (i.e. “young lady”) wrapped around or “defending” CON (i.e. “argument against”, as in pros and cons) and followed by TRUE (i.e. “correct”), like so: MIS(CON)S-TRUE.

37. Man soon set off – his business may be flagging (10)

Answer: STONEMASON (i.e. “his business may be flagging”, referring to flagstones). “Off” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MAN SOON SET.

39. Paddy had a meal, balanced (9)

Answer: TEMPERATE (i.e. “balanced”). Solution is TEMPER (i.e. “paddy”) followed by ATE (i.e. “had a meal”).

41. American and I ruin it, upside-down dessert (8)

Answer: TIRAMISU (i.e. “dessert”). Solution is US (i.e. “American”) and I MAR IT (i.e. “I ruin it”) all reversed (indicated by “upside-down” – this being a down clue), like so: TI-RAM-I-SU.

45. Kept being annoyed about time taken by duke (6)

Answer: STORED (i.e. “kept”). Solution is SORE (i.e. “annoyed”) wrapped “about” T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and followed by D (ditto “duke”), like so: S(T)ORE-D.

46. Concealed hide close to nest (6)

Answer: COVERT (i.e. “concealed”). Solution is COVER (i.e. “hide”) followed by T (i.e. “close to nest”, i.e. the last letter of “nest”).

48. A sailor holding line where knot may be tied (5)

Answer: ALTAR (i.e. “where knot may by tied” – tying the knot meaning to get married). Solution is A TAR (an informal term for “a sailor”) wrapped around or “holding” L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”), like so: A-(L)-TAR.

49. Delicate point, female being sacked for showing no skill (5)

Answer: INEPT (i.e. “showing no skill”). Solution is FINE (i.e. “delicate”) and PT (a recognised abbreviation of “point”) once the F of FINE has been removed (indicated by “female being sacked” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “female”), like so: INE-PT.

51. Slow to understand Democrat, unable to relax, blowing top (5)

Answer: DENSE (i.e. “slow to understand”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “Democrat”) followed by TENSE (i.e. “unable to relax”) once the first letter has been removed (indicated by “blowing top”), like so: D-ENSE.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1462

Stinker alert! I suppose we were due one, and for the most part it was pretty good, though the setter did seem a little too hell-bent on shaking off as many solvers as possible. You can find my completed solution below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. Expect red bits! If you receive these posts via email, you might want to check back in to see if a kind commenter has saved the day.

While you are here, I’ve also got solutions to the last 100+ of these things on my Just For Fun page should that interest you, plus a few mouldy old book reviews and a story of mine.

In other news, it seems WordPress is equally hell-bent on forcing its new blog editor on me. I no longer get the option when creating new posts, and I’m sorry to say the new editor makes producing these crossword posts a right old slog. I’ve found a workaround that lets me use the classic editor for the time being but I don’t know how long that’ll last. (Shakes angry fist toward WordPress.)

Anyway, such things pale into insignificance given the state of the world. Till next time, stay safe, mask up and keep supporting NHS and key workers everywhere. It sadly feels like we have a dark few months ahead.

LP

Across clues

1a. Atmosphere in the centre fairly lively (9)

Answer: SPRIGHTLY (i.e. “lively”). Solution is SP (i.e. “atmosphere in the middle”, i.e. the middle letters of “atmoSPhere”) followed by RIGHTLY (i.e. “fairly”).

6a. Secretary’s dogs must cross the high road (2,7,4)

Answer: ST BERNARD PASS, a “high road” over in Switzerland. Solution is PA’S (i.e. “secretary’s”, specifically Personal Assistant made possessive) placed in or “crossing” ST BERNARDS (i.e. “dogs”), like so: ST-BERNARD(PA’S)S. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

13a. Note twelve old pennies could make one wealthy! (5)

Answer: NABOB (i.e. “one [who is] wealthy”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “note”) followed by A BOB (an informal name for a shilling or “twelve old pennies”).

14a. As key policy expert, perhaps, recalled for wisdom (9)

Answer: KNOWLEDGE (i.e. “wisdom”). This took some twigging, but the solution is EG (i.e. “as”, as in “for example”) followed by DEL (i.e. “key”, as in the Delete key on a keyboard) and WONK (i.e. “policy expert, perhaps” – other wonks are available). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “recalled”), like so: KNOW-LED-GE.

15a. Roundabout, or what looks like one, desolate, we understand (7)

Answer: OBLIQUE (i.e. “roundabout”, both taken to mean indirect). Solution is O (i.e. “what looks like one”, referring to “roundabout”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “we understand” – a bit too loose for my liking) of BLEAK (i.e. “desolate”), like so: O-BLIQUE.

16a. Bothered by “intervertebral”, I, with a loaf that’s poor? (1,4,2,4,6,5)

Answer: A BEAR OF VERY LITTLE BRAIN. The solution is an anagram of BY INTERVERTEBRAL I and A LOAF. The anagram indicator could be “bothered” or “that’s poor”. The solution is a reference to Winnie The Pooh which makes me wonder whether “poor” in the clue was supposed to be “pooh”. I was never much of a fan of Winnie the Pooh, so I can’t say whether the setter is being clever here. As it stands, the clue resembles what happens when you shake your dictionary so hard the words fall out.
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for clarifying this one. The quote continues thus: “…and long words bother me”. The anagram indicator is therefore “that’s poor”. Cheers, Sue! – LP]

18a. Rake nearly ready a month before start of autumn (8)

Answer: CASANOVA (i.e. “rake”, as in a debauched or immoral person. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here. I couldn’t see past seeking a definition of rake to actually name one). Solution is CASH (i.e. “ready”, as in ready money or readies) with its last letter removed (indicated by “nearly”) followed by A, then NOV (i.e. “month”, specifically a shortened form of November) and A (i.e. “start of autumn”, i.e. the first letter of “autumn”), like so: CAS-A-NOV-A.

20a. Happen to regret following space traveller (4,4)

Answer: COME TRUE (i.e. “happen”). Solution is RUE (i.e. “to regret”) placed after or “following” COMET (i.e. “space traveller”), like so: COMET-RUE.

21a. Take the 4×4 across the channel (5)

Answer: SEIZE. Solution satisfies “take” and “4×4 across the channel”, i.e. the French for sixteen, or 4×4. Nicely worked.

23a. Oily stuff’s running to the left of me (6)

Answer: SMARMY (i.e. “oily”). Solution is RAM’S (i.e. “stuff’s”) reversed (indicated by “running to the left” – this being an across clue) and then followed by MY (i.e. “of me”), like so: S’MAR-MY.

24a. Not moving theatre’s two shows (2,4)

Answer: AT REST (i.e. “not moving”). “Shows” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: THE(ATRE’S T)WO.

25a. An element of love, quiet reflecting, is a must, somehow (9)

Answer: POTASSIUM (i.e. “element”). Solution is O (i.e. “love”, as in a zero score in tennis) and P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, which is “quiet” in musical lingo) both reversed (indicated by “reflecting”) and then followed by an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of IS A MUST, like so: (P-O)-TASSIUM.

28a. Speeding impressively thus, for all to see, and being arrested (10)

Answer: SUPERSONIC (i.e. “speeding”). Given the trickery the setter demonstrates in 19d, I think the solution to this is SUPERB (i.e. “impressively”), SO (i.e. “thus”) and [put] ON ICE (i.e. “being arrested”) once the last letter has been removed from each, like so: SUPER-S-ONIC. I can’t immediately see an indicator for this, though, so I could be wrong – “for all to see” doesn’t quite fit the bill. If anyone swings by with a better solution then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Hats off to mjcs in the comments for nailing this one. Basically ignore everything I said! The solution is U (i.e. “for all to see”, as in film certification) and PERSON (i.e. “being”) both placed in or “arrested” by SIC (i.e. “thus”), like so: S(U-PERSON)IC. Awesome sauce, M! Thanks for that. – LP]

29a. Killer is nonracial, which is oddly overlooked (4)

Answer: ORCA (i.e. “killer”). “Oddly overlooked” indicates the solution is derived by taking every other letter of NONRACIAL.

30a. Spaniard possibly to win nothing when chasing gold (7)

Answer: ORLANDO (i.e. “Spaniard possibly” – not the greatest clue, is it?) Solution is LAND (i.e. “to win”) and O (i.e. “nothing”) both placed after or “chasing” OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry), like so: OR-LAND-O.

32a. The idiot that is His Majesty the King touring capitals (7)

Answer: SCHMUCK (i.e. “the idiot”). Solution is SC (i.e. namely or “that is”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of the Latin scilicet, a wordplay you don’t often see in these Jumbos) followed by HM (a recognised abbreviation of “His Majesty”) and K (ditto “King”) once these have been wrapped around or “touring” UC (i.e. “capitals”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “uppercase”), like so: SC-HM-(UC)-K.

34a. Grand welcome for Lent (4)

Answer: GAVE (i.e. “lent” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “grand”) followed by AVE (i.e. “welcome”).

35a. Teams go off for each leg next to the other (4-6)

Answer: SIDE-SADDLE (i.e. to ride a horse with “each leg next to the other”). Solution is SIDES (i.e. “teams”) followed by ADDLE (i.e. “go off”).

38a. Supporter going on about a previously successful team (3-6)

Answer: CUP-HOLDER (i.e. “previously successful team”). Solution is UPHOLDER (i.e. “supporter”) placed after or “going on” C (i.e. “about”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), like so: C-UPHOLDER.

39a. Came down in a red convertible (6)

Answer: RAINED (i.e. “came down”). “Convertible” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN A RED.

40a. Piping tune – or just words? (3,3)

Answer: HOT AIR (i.e. “words”). Solution is HOT (i.e. “piping”) followed by AIR (i.e. “tune”).

43a. Norwegian lake you can evidently cross by car? (5)

Answer: ROALD (i.e. “Norwegian” – basically a Norwegian name). Solution is ROAD (i.e. “by car”) wrapped around or “crossing” L (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: ROA(L)D. And, yes, I too had originally pencilled in FJORD for this.

45a. Sailors putting their heads together plot something very different (8)

Answer: OPPOSITE (i.e. “something very different”). Solution is PO (i.e. “sailor”, specifically a Petty Officer). Two of these with “their heads together” gets you OP-PO. This is then followed by SITE (i.e. “plot”), like so: OP-PO-SITE.

47a. Means, indeed, always to include five reservists at sea (4,4)

Answer: WAVY NAVY (i.e. “reservists at sea” – specifically an old name for “the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, so called from the undulating gold braid on officer’s sleeves” (Chambers)). Another I’ve not been able to fully decode, I’m afraid. I can see that AY satisfies “indeed” and “always” – all three being words expressing agreement – and that wrapping AY around V (i.e. “five” expressed as a Roman numeral) can get you A(V)Y and A(V)Y, but that’s about all from me.
[EDIT: Still not got this one, but I’m wondering whether “means” gets you WAY and AV in the solution, the latter being a recognised abbreviation of “average”. “Indeed” could merely be Y, being a shortened form of “yes”, giving us WAY-AV-Y. Slot in a singular V or “five” then gets you WA(V)Y-AV-Y. Not sure how the N would come in, though. – LP]
[FURTHER EDIT: Thanks to several commenters for their input on this one. The consensus view is WAY (i.e. a “means” of doing something) and NAY (i.e. “indeed”, both taken to mean “in point of fact”) both or “always” including V (i.e. “[Roman numeral] five”), like so: WA(V)Y-NA(V)Y. One to file under “Best Forgotten”, I think! – LP]

49a. Poem of old incorporated in poster for literary lass’s dance? (3,6,2,7,4)

Answer: THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL (i.e. “poem” by Oscar Wilde). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) placed in (deep breath) THE BALL AD OF READING GAL (i.e. “poster for literary lass’s dance”).

52a. Sun’s now all we’re aware of in garden? (7)

Answer: WEEKEND (i.e. “Sun”, as in a shortened form of “Sunday”). Yet another I’m not 100% on. My solution for what it’s worth is KEN (i.e. “aware of”) placed “in” WEED (i.e. “[to] garden”), like so: WEE(KEN)D. “Now all we’re” doesn’t mean anything to me, though, so I’ve probably missed something.
[EDIT: Thanks to Steve in the comments for helping to clarify this one some more, in that KEN = “all we’re aware of”, rather than just “aware of”. It still leaves “now” unaccounted for, so I’ll leave this in red for the time being. – LP]

53a. One’s online business, something tiny, picked up (9)

Answer: DOTCOMMER (i.e. “online business”). Solution is DOT (i.e. “something tiny”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “picked up”) of “,”, like so: DOT-COMMER.

54a. Look for a bite in the end to eat: bagel (5)

Answer: TROLL (i.e. “look for a bite” – trolling is the act of saying stuff, usually on social media, with the intent of winding people up). Solution is T (i.e. “the end to eat”, i.e. the last letter of “eat”) followed by ROLL (i.e. “bagel”).
[EDIT: Thanks to Charlie in the comments for providing an excellent alternative to this one, pointing out that to TROLL is to fish using moving bait, often along behind a boat. Cheers, Charlie! – LP]

55a. Such as honey, and ducks? (5,8)

Answer: SWEET NOTHINGS. Clue plays on how “honey” and “ducks” can be words of affection, and also how “honey” is SWEET and “ducks” are NOTHINGS scored in a game of cricket. Nicely worked.

56a. Wind one’s papa up with hoax (9)

Answer: SAXOPHONE (i.e. “wind” instrument). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wind…up”) of ONE’S, P (i.e. “papa” in the phonetic alphabet) and HOAX.

Down clues

1d. Native American ceremonies can send US crazy (3,6)

Answer: SUN DANCES (i.e. “Native American ceremonies”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “crazy”) of CAN SEND US. Nicely worked.

2d. Pass pack down after bridge match? (6,5)

Answer: RUBBER STAMP (i.e. to approve or “pass”). Solution is STAMP (i.e. “pack down”) placed “after” RUBBER (i.e. “bridge match”). Another one that’s nicely done.

3d. Much-married actress a gift to the loquacious men (5)

Answer: Zsa Zsa GABOR (i.e. “much-married actress” – she did get through ‘em, no doubt). Solution is GAB (i.e. “gift to the loquacious”, as in having the gift of the gab – loquacious means being rather chatty) followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army).

4d. Break off – score fifteen subsequently? (4,4)

Answer: TAKE FIVE (i.e. “break off”). “Score fifteen subsequently” refers to how, when TAKING FIVE from a “score” or twenty gets you “fifteen”.

5d. Farmers once needing possible six-month forecast? (6)

Answer: YEOMEN (i.e. “farmers once”). Solution is YE (i.e. “six-month” – a sneaky one this, basically being half a YEAR) followed by OMEN (i.e. “forecast”).

6d. A bomb, but hardly a smart one? (5,5)

Answer: SILLY MONEY (i.e. “a bomb” – both taken to mean a large amount of cash). Clue plays on how SILLY is “hardly…smart”. You get the idea.

7d. What to tell children of plot by politician (7,5)

Answer: BEDTIME STORY (i.e. “what to tell children”). Solution is BED (i.e. “plot”) followed by TIMES (i.e. “by”, as in to multiply) and TORY (i.e. “politician”).

8d. One who’s sore maybe after kicking small log over (2-5)

Answer: RE-ENTER (i.e. to “log over”, or re-enter some information). Solution is RESENTER (i.e. “one who’s sore maybe”) with the S removed (indicated by “after kicking small” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “small”).

9d. Above supervisors, I note, revelling in promotion (14)

Answer: AFOREMENTIONED (i.e. “above” – again, a bit too loose for my liking). Solution is FOREMEN (i.e. “supervisors”) and an anagram (indicated by “revelling”) of I NOTE all placed “in” AD (i.e. “promotion”, i.e. a shortened form of “advertisement”), like so: A(FOREMEN-TIONE)D.

10d. Girl of 14’s seen at party (7)

Answer: DOLORES (i.e. “girl” – basically a girl’s name). Solution is LORE’S (i.e. “14’s” – the solution to 14a is KNOWLEDGE) following or “seen at” DO (i.e. “party”), like so: DO-LORES.

11d. What’s got Parisian who is roused into fighting? (11)

Answer: ACQUISITION (i.e. “what’s got”). Solution is QUI (i.e. “Parisian who”, i.e. the French for “who”) followed by IS reversed (indicated by “roused” – this being a down clue). These are then placed “into” ACTION (i.e. “fighting”), like so: AC(QUI-SI)TION.

12d. Police force has turned up to make arrest (4)

Answer: STEM (i.e. “arrest”). Solution is MET’S (i.e. “police force has”, i.e. London’s Metropolitan Police force made possessive) reversed (indicated by “turned up” – again, this being a down clue).

17d. Potter’s mate hire men, especially to hold wheel? (8)

Answer: HERMIONE (i.e. “[Harry] Potter’s mate”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “especially”) of HIRE MEN wrapped around or “holding” O (i.e. “wheel”), like so: HERMI(O)NE.

19d. Rome’s top nun men round on never-endingly (6,3)

Answer: NUMERO UNO (i.e. “Rome’s top” – i.e. the Italian for “number one”). “Never-endingly” indicates the solution can be derived by removing the final letter from each of NUN MEN ROUND ON.

22d. Journalist’s copy – way superior (8)

Answer: STRINGER (i.e. “journalist”, specifically one “employed part-time by a newspaper or news agency to cover a particular (especially remote) town or area” (Chambers). I’ve learned something). Solution is RINGER (i.e. “copy”) with ST (i.e. “way”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “street”) placed above or made “superior” to it – this being a down clue – like so: ST-RINGER.

25d. One’s hypocritical praise he rubbished (8)

Answer: PHARISEE (i.e. “one’s hypocritical”). “Rubbished” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PRAISE HE. Another I remembered from a previous Jumbo, if I’m honest.

26d. Girl, thanks to your rearing, is naturally a bounder! (9)

Answer: SALTATORY (i.e. “naturally a bounder” – seemingly a biological term meaning “of or for leaping or jumping” (Chambers). Another I’ve not come across before, but I doubt this will live long in the memory). Solution is SAL (i.e. a “girl’s” name) followed by TA (i.e. “thanks”), then TO and YR (a recognised abbreviation of “your”) reversed (indicated by “rearing”), like so: SAL-TA-TO-RY. One I got from the wordplay and a check in the dictionary.

27d. Rubbish article, carelessly written over and over, is a wake-up call! (4-1-6-3)

Answer: COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO (i.e. “a wake-up call”). Solution is COCK (i.e. “rubbish” – I wholeheartedly approve this usage!), followed by A (i.e. “article”, as in a word like a, an or the), then DOODLED (i.e. “carelessly written”) and O and O (i.e. “over and over” – O being a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket).

28d. Has CD, so runs new feature of Windows operating system (4,4)

Answer: SASH CORD (i.e. “feature of windows operating system” – as in the glassy things that attract dirt approximately 2 minutes after every clean). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “new”) of HAS CD SO and R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games).

31d. Occasionally, Oscar’s opening pianissimo, in English and in French (5,2,5)

Answer: EVERY SO OFTEN (i.e. “occasionally”). Solution is O (i.e. “Oscar” in the phonetic alphabet) placed in or “opening” VERY SOFT (i.e. “pianissimo”). This is then itself placed “in” between E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and EN (i.e. “in French”, i.e. the French for “in”), like so: E-(VERY-SO(O)FT)-EN.

33d. Sportswoman with husband permitted to visit trendy gallery (11)

Answer: HEPTATHLETE (i.e. “sportswoman”). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) and LET (i.e. “permitted”) placed in or “visiting” HEP (i.e. “trendy”) and TATE (i.e. “gallery”), like so: HEP-TAT(H-LET)E.

36d. Being history of French girl: tragic suicide attempt maybe coming to nothing (4,2,1,4)

Answer: DEAD AS A DODO (i.e. “being history”). Solution is DE (i.e. “of French”, i.e. the French for “of”), followed by ADA (i.e. a “girl’s” name), then SAD (i.e. “tragic”), then OD (i.e. “suicide attempt maybe”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of a drug overdose – “maybe” recognises an OD might also come about through misadventure) and O (i.e. “nothing”), like so: DE-ADA-SAD-OD-O.

37d. Champion can be harsh without turning corrupt (10)

Answer: VICTORIOUS (i.e. “champion”). Solution is VICIOUS (i.e. “harsh”) placed around or “without” ROT (i.e. “corrupt”) once reversed (indicated by “turning”), like so: VIC(TOR)IOUS.

41d. Boys spent unwisely, we hear? A shade (5,4)

Answer: ROYAL BLUE (i.e. “a shade”). Solution is ROY and AL (i.e. “boys’” names) followed by a homophone (indicated by “we hear”) of BLEW (i.e. “spent unwisely”).

42d. Caretaker’s raised team right after New Year’s Day (8)

Answer: JANITRIX (i.e. a female janitor, or “caretaker”). Solution is XI (i.e. “team” – i.e. Roman numerals for eleven) and RT (a recognised abbreviation of “right”, as in the title Right Honourable) both reversed (indicated by “raised” – this being a down clue) and placed “after” JAN I (i.e. “New Year’s Day”), like so: JAN-I-(TR-IX).

44d. Noble reference that would appear had better be drastically reversed (7)

Answer: DEBRETT (i.e. “noble reference”, being the easily ridiculed code of etiquette the upper crust are often advised to observe, as if any of it bloody matters. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of saying things like “I wonder what Debrett’s has to say on fellatio” – be thankful you don’t know me). “That would appear” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “reversed” indicates the solution has been… um… reversed, like so: BE(TTER BE D)RASTICALLLY.

46d. Begin to go through scale model with this? (4-3)

Answer: PLAY-DOH. Solution satisfies “begin to play through scale” – as in PLAY DOH-RAY-ME etc – and “model with this”. Ugh. I’m rarely keen when trademarked products find their way into Jumbos. It is in the dictionary, though.

48d. Greek island’s conveniently laid on medics (6)

Answer: PATMOS (i.e. “Greek island”, albeit not a terribly populous one). Solution is PAT (i.e. “conveniently”) placed above or “laid on” – this being a down clue – MOS (i.e. “medics”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Medical Officer made plural).

50d. Costume to show a leg? (3-2)

Answer: GET-UP. Solution satisfies “costume” and “show a leg” or to get a move on.

51d. Weight having gone up, needing very large braces (4)

Answer: TWOS (i.e. “braces”). Solution is WT (a recognised abbreviation of “weight”) reversed (indicated by “having gone up” – this being a down clue) and followed by OS (i.e. “very large”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “outsize”), like so: TW-OS.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1461

A medium strength puzzle this week, and a decent one overall. The use of European words and places got a little wearisome after a while, but nothing that would send me all Dads Army. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. You can also find links to previous solutions to these things on my Just For Fun page, should a recent Jumbo have given you gyp. While you’re here, I’ve also got some dusty old book reviews and a story of mine.

Till next time, stay safe, mask up, and keep flying the flag for NHS and key workers everywhere. It looks like we’ll be relying on them more and more the way things are going.

LP

Across clues

1. One may expand broadcast quiz (3,4)

Answer: AIR PUMP (i.e. “one may expand”, say, a tyre). Solution is AIR (i.e. “broadcast”) followed by PUMP (i.e. “quiz”).

5. Guy stranded without employment? (5,3)

Answer: BEACH BUM, being an informal description of “a young man who loafs about on the beach” (Chambers). I’m guessing the setter is playing on clichés of castaways on desert islands, who could be described as being “stranded” on a BEACH. A BUM, meanwhile, can somewhat uncharitably describe someone “without employment”. I hope I’m missing something clever here, because this feels a bit naff otherwise.
[EDIT: Thanks to Steve and a few others in the comments for pointing out that “strand” is another word for a BEACH, which makes for a much better fit. Thanks all! – LP]

9. Not many backed retaining old centre of Hull – that’s sad (6)

Answer: WOEFUL (i.e. “sad”). Solution is FEW (i.e. “not many”) reversed (indicated by “backed”) and wrapped around or “retaining” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”). This is then followed by UL (i.e. “centre of Hull”, i.e. the middle letters of “Hull”), like so: W(O)EF-UL.

13. Madly imperil secret plan, dispatching one undercover operator (7,9)

Answer: SCARLET PIMPERNEL, eponymous “undercover operator” of Baroness Orczy’s play and novel). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “madly”) of IMPERIL SECRET PLAN once one of the Is has been removed (indicated by “dispatching [Roman numeral] one”). Nicely worked.

14. It’s not really a souvenir of the Parisian experience (4,2)

Answer: DÉJÀ VU, that unsettling “experience” one sometimes has of reliving past events. “Parisian” hints at the solution being a French phrase. The first half of the clue appears to riff on the etymology of the word “souvenir”, which originates from the Latin subvenire, meaning “to come to mind”, and how a sense of déjà vu one experiences is often “not real”. Something like that, anyway.

16. One picks the French to invest in part of industry? (8)

Answer: SELECTOR (i.e. “one picks”). Solution is LE (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the masculine form of “the” in French) placed or “invested” in SECTOR (i.e. “part of industry”), like so: SE(LE)CTOR.

17. Source of meat initially modified in research centre (4)

Answer: LAMB (i.e. “source of meat”). Solution is M (i.e. “initially modified”, i.e. the first letter of “modified”) placed “in” LAB (i.e. “research centre”, i.e. a shortened form of “laboratory”), like so: LA(M)B.

18. Nagged, having concern about new quantity of grain? (9)

Answer: HENPECKED (i.e. “nagged”). Solution is HEED (i.e. “concern”) wrapped “about” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and PECK (i.e. “quantity of grain” or dried goods in general – you may recall the tongue-twister “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”), like so: HE(N-PECK)ED.

20. Metal worker preserves it in casing in March (8)

Answer: TINSMITH (i.e. “metal worker”). Solution is TINS (i.e. “preserves” taken as a verb rather than a noun) followed by IT once it has been placed “in” MH (i.e. “casing in March”, i.e. the first and last letters of “March”), like so: TINS-M(IT)H.

21. A constant matter about to be adopted by a US city business course (11)

Answer: ACCOUNTANCY (i.e. “business course”). Solution is A followed by C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”), then COUNT (i.e. “matter”, as in counting for something), then C (i.e. “about”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) once it has been placed in or “adopted by” A and NY (i.e. “US city”, specifically New York), like so: A-C-COUNT-A-N(C)Y.

24. Medical specialist in Paris to go with main point (9)

Answer: ALLERGIST (i.e. “medical specialist”). Solution is ALLER (i.e. “in Paris to go”, i.e. the French for “to go”) followed by GIST (i.e. “main point”).

25. Stifling any sense of air, time and energy, except when outside (8)

Answer: TUNELESS (i.e. “stifling any sense of air” – “air” in this case being another word for a piece of music or TUNE). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) followed by E (ditto “energy”) once placed in or having “outside” UNLESS (i.e. “except when”), like so: T-UN(E)LESS.

26. Record of payment providing backing for objections (4)

Answer: STUB (i.e. “record of payment”, say in a chequebook). Solution is BUTS (i.e. “objections”) reversed (indicated by “backing for…”).

29. Vital current – not electric current – in mortal bodies, possibly (11)

Answer: BLOODSTREAM (i.e. “vital current”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “possibly”) of MORTAL BODIES once the I has been removed (indicated by “not electric current”, the recognised abbreviation of which being I). Nicely worked.

31. Feeling of home – it’s recalled in feature of cathedral city (11)

Answer: DOMESTICITY (i.e. “feeling of home”). Solution is IT’S reversed (indicated by “recalled”) and placed “in” between DOME (i.e. “feature of cathedral”) and CITY, like so: DOME-(S’TI)-CITY.

33. Fake very soon scaled down, university subsequently getting involved (11)

Answer: INAUTHENTIC (i.e. “fake”). Solution is IN A TICK (i.e. “very soon”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “scaled down”) and the remainder wrapped around or “involving” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and THEN (i.e. “subsequently”), like so: IN-A-(U-THEN)-TIC.

36. Enchant with a lot of sensation? There’s a cost (8,3)

Answer: ENTRANCE FEE (i.e. “cost”). Solution is ENTRANCE (i.e. “enchant”) followed by FEEL (i.e. “sensation”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of”), like so: ENTRANCE-FEE.

38. Article dismissed by a European source (4)

Answer: GERM (i.e. “source”, as in a germ of an idea). Solution is GERMAN (i.e. “European”) with the AN removed (indicated by “article dismissed” – an article being a word like a, an or the).

39. Larger part of river includes one form of water (8)

Answer: MOISTURE (i.e. “form of water”). Solution is MOST (i.e. “larger part of”) and URE (i.e. “river”) wrapped around or “including” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: MO(I)ST-URE.

41. Sign of winter? Many people adopting hairstyle protecting wearer ultimately (9)

Answer: HOARFROST (i.e. “sign of winter”). Solution is HOST (i.e. “many people”) wrapped around or “adopting” AFRO (i.e. “hairstyle”) which is itself wrapped around or “protecting” R (i.e. “wearer ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “wearer”), like so: HO(A(R)FRO)ST.

44. Reveal all Earth is following food article (4,3,4)

Answer: DISH THE DIRT (i.e. “reveal all”). Solution is DIRT (i.e. “earth” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) placed after or “following” DISH (i.e. “food”) and THE (i.e. “article”).

45. Tormented and unfeeling, hogging seats near the front? (8)

Answer: HARROWED (i.e. “tormented”). Solution is HARD (i.e. “unfeeling”) wrapped around or “hogging” ROW E (i.e. “seats near the front” – I’ll admit this made me smile when I twigged it), like so: HAR(ROW-E)D.

48. Article in Spanish justifying online study (1-8)

Answer: E-LEARNING (i.e. “online study”). Solution is EL (i.e. “article in Spanish”, i.e. the Spanish for “the”) followed by EARNING (i.e. “justifying”).

49. Rabbit not coming forward round end of garden (4)

Answer: CONY (i.e. “rabbit”). Solution is COY (i.e. “not coming forward”) wrapped “round” N (i.e. “end of garden”, i.e. the last letter of “garden”), like so: CO(N)Y.

50. Hoping I will participate in a period of growth (8)

Answer: ASPIRING (i.e. “hoping”). Solution is I placed or “participating” in A and SPRING (i.e. “period of growth”), like so: A-SP(I)RING.

52. City girl calling in medic (6)

Answer: MADRID (i.e. “city”). Solution is MAID (i.e. “girl”) wrapped around or “calling in” DR (i.e. “medic”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”), like so: MA(DR)ID.

53. Give up and offer a free cake? (5,2,3,6)

Answer: THROW IN THE SPONGE. Solution satisfies “give up” and “offer a free cake”.

54. Place to slightly shift commitment (6)

Answer: PLEDGE (i.e. “commitment”). Solution is PL (a recognised abbreviation of “place”) followed by EDGE (i.e. “to slightly shift”).

55. Plan sending back some puddings for one year (8)

Answer: STRATEGY (i.e. “plan”). Solution is TARTS (i.e. “some puddings”) reversed (indicated by “sending back”) and followed by EG (i.e. “for one”, or for example) and Y (a recognised abbreviation of “year”), like so: STRAT-EG-Y.

56. Democrat attack involving that man repelled conservative (3-4)

Answer: DIE-HARD (i.e. “conservative” – both taken to mean dyed-in-the-wool or resistant to change). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “Democrat”) and RAID (i.e. “attack”) wrapped around or “involving” HE (i.e. “that man”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “repelled”), like so: DI(EH)AR-D.

Down clues

1. Making no changes without singular source of temporary help (6)

Answer: ASSIST (i.e. “help”). Solution is AS IS (i.e. “making no changes”) wrapped around or placed “without” S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”) and followed by T (i.e. “source of temporary”, i.e. the first letter of “temporary”), like so: AS-(S)-IS-T.

2. Recover after injection of illegal drug? Come off it! (6)

Answer: REALLY (i.e. “come off it”, both taken as expressions of disbelief). Solution is RALLY (i.e. “recover”) wrapped around or having “injected” E (i.e. “illegal drug”, as in the street name for the drug “ecstasy”), like so: R(E)ALLY.

3. United, note, more daring but losing lead – that’s less fortunate (9)

Answer: UNLUCKIER (i.e. “less fortunate”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”) and N (ditto “note”) followed by PLUCKIER (i.e. “more daring”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “losing head”), like so: U-N-LUCKIER.

4. Supportive influence that may be not partisan (6,5)

Answer: PATRON SAINT (i.e. “supportive influence”). “That may be” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NOT PARTISAN.

5. Naval prison has transport to release indefinite number (4)

Answer: BRIG (i.e. “naval prison”). Solution is BRING (i.e. to “transport”) with the N removed (indicated by “to release indefinite number”).

6. First star, rich, with yacht gutted, heads for his marina, having brainwave (5,6)

Answer: ALPHA RHYTHM (i.e. “brainwave”). Solution is ALPHA (i.e. the brightest or “first star” of a constellation) followed by RH and YT (i.e. “rich [and] yacht gutted”, i.e. the first and last letters or “rich” and “yacht”), then HM (i.e. “heads for his marina”, i.e. the first letters of “his” and “marina”).

7. Foolish to run a quantity of water into the sack (4-7)

Answer: HARE-BRAINED (i.e. “foolish”). Solution is HARE (i.e. “to run”) followed by RAIN (i.e. “a quantity of water”) once it has been placed “into” BED (slang for which being “the sack”), like so: HARE-B(RAIN)ED.

8. Not fair, misprinting a clue and hint (9)

Answer: UNETHICAL (i.e. “not fair”). “Misprinting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A CLUE and HINT.

10. About to interrupt unhappy poet with cheers for lyrical work (8)

Answer: OPERETTA (i.e. “lyrical work”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) placed in or “interrupting” an anagram (indicated by “unhappy”) of POET and then followed by TA (i.e. “cheers”), like so: OP(ER)ET-TA.

11. Genuine onions, feted after modification – becoming this? (12,4)

Answer: FRANKENSTEIN FOOD. Solution is FRANK (i.e. “genuine”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “after modification”) of ONIONS FETED, like so: FRANK-ENSTEINFOOD. Clue riffs on how genetically modified food sources are sometimes called Frankenstein foods. The arguments against GM food never quite stacked up for me. In the red corner: using science to help improve the resilience, quality and quantity of food sources the world over; in the blue corner: lowering global demand for food, however that’s achieved. Resorting to GM techniques is less than ideal, I agree, but I’m not quite ready to ally myself to the Utopia project just yet.

12. Country railway bringing in uniform for washing (7)

Answer: LAUNDRY (i.e. “washing”). Solution is LAND (i.e. “country”) and RY (a recognised abbreviation of “railway”) wrapped around or “bringing in” U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: LA(U)ND-RY.

15. Investigations start to identify lodges as accommodation for Queen (8)

Answer: INQUESTS (i.e. “investigations”). Solution is I (i.e. “start to identify”) and NESTS (i.e. “lodges”) wrapped around or “accommodating” QU (a recognised abbreviation of “Queen”), like so: I-N(QU)ESTS.

19. Abuse is matter dealt with criminally (8)

Answer: MISTREAT (i.e. “abuse”). “Dealt with criminally” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IS MATTER. Nicely worked.

22. Speculation publication reflected on kitschy jewellery (8)

Answer: GAMBLING (i.e. “speculation”). Solution is MAG (i.e. “publication”) reversed (indicated by “reflected”) and followed by BLING (i.e. “kitschy jewellery”), like so: GAM-BLING.

23. A significant point for sightseers in three different cities (10,6)

Answer: CLEOPATRA’S NEEDLE. These were ancient Egyptian obelisks that were shipped to and re-erected in each of London, Paris and New York. Clue riffs on how needles are “pointed”. You get the idea.

27. Cry with pity about English in German city (8)

Answer: BAYREUTH (i.e. “German city”, though a not entirely populous one). Solution is BAY (i.e. “cry”) followed by RUTH (i.e. “pity”) once it has been placed “about” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: BAY-R(E)UTH.

28. Start of chat with police officer’s on record (4)

Answer: DISC (i.e. “record”). Solution is C (i.e. “start of chat”, i.e. the first letter of “chat”) placed “on” or after DI’S (i.e. “police officer’s”, specifically Detective Inspector), like so: DI’S-C.

30. Old-fashioned, overlooking small charge (4)

Answer: DUTY (i.e. “charge”). Solution is DUSTY (i.e. “old-fashioned”) with the S removed (indicated by “overlooking S” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “small”).

32. American subject not entirely uninteresting, having embraced a spy (4,4)

Answer: MATA HARI (i.e. “spy”). Solution is MATH (i.e. “American subject” – a reference to how they drop the S of “maths”) followed by ARID (i.e. dry or “uninteresting”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “not entirely”). This is then all wrapped around or “embracing” A, like so: MAT(A)H-ARI.

34. Drunk in middle of week? Lush endlessly mysterious (8)

Answer: ESOTERIC (i.e. “mysterious”). Solution is SOT (i.e. “drunk”) placed “in” EE (i.e. “middle of week”, i.e. the middle letters of “week”), and then followed by RICH (i.e. “lush”) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “endlessly”), like so: E(SOT)E-RIC.

35. Scathing over soft drink – not something to be swallowed (7,4)

Answer: CAUSTIC SODA (i.e. “not something to be swallowed”). Solution is CAUSTIC (i.e. “scathing”) followed by SODA (i.e. “soft drink”).

36. Flying in the plane behind European jumbo (11)

Answer: ELEPHANTINE (i.e. “jumbo”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “flying”) of IN THE PLANE placed after or “behind” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: E-LEPHANTINE.

37. Unoccupied toilet observed in a bit (2,1,5,3)

Answer: AT A LOOSE END (i.e. “unoccupied”). Solution is LOO (i.e. “toilet”) and SEEN (i.e. “observed”) both placed “in” A TAD (i.e. “a bit”), like so: A-TA(LOO-SEEN)D. Weird how this phrase also appeared a couple of weeks ago.

40. Supports popular weapon (9)

Answer: SLINGSHOT (i.e. “weapon”). Solution is SLINGS (i.e. “supports”) followed by HOT (i.e. “popular”).

42. Sense initially employed when going about small scamp’s inheritance (3,6)

Answer: FEE SIMPLE (i.e. “inheritance”). Solution is FEEL (i.e. “sense”) and E (i.e. “initially employed”, i.e. the first letter of “employed”) wrapped “about” S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and IMP (i.e. “scamp”), like so: FEE(S-IMP)L-E. One of those gotten from the wordplay and a check in the dictionary, if I’m honest.

43. Looking to trap large bird (8)

Answer: STARLING (i.e. “bird”). Solution is STARING (i.e. “looking”) wrapped around or “trapping” L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), like so: STAR(L)ING.

44. Imagine challenge, avoiding a big cat climbing (5,2)

Answer: DREAM UP (i.e. “imagine”). Solution is DARE (i.e. “challenge”) with the A removed (indicated by “avoiding a”) and followed by PUMA (i.e. “big cat”) once reversed (indicated by “climbing” – this being a down clue), like so: DRE-AMUP.

46. Contend girl’s name should be taken up for city (6)

Answer: VIENNA (i.e. “city”, continuing the setter’s little jaunt around Europe). Solution is VIE (i.e. “contend”) followed by ANN (i.e. “girl’s name”) once reversed (indicated by “should be taken up” – this being a down clue), like so: VIE-NNA.

47. America’s first intent to acquire is not in dispute (6)

Answer: AGREED (i.e. “not in dispute”). Solution is A (i.e. “America’s first”, i.e. the first letter of “America”) followed by GREED (i.e. “intent to acquire”).

51. Runs from random check (4)

Answer: STAY (i.e. “check” or to block). Solution is STRAY (i.e. “random”) once the R has been removed (indicated by “runs from” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in some ball games).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1460

This was probably the easiest Jumbo Cryptic since I started doing these posts. By the time I’d finished it I was surprised to find no scribbles or workings dotted around the grid. Not that I’m complaining, mind. It’s nice to have a good chunk of Saturday left!

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 cryptic has gotten the better of you, then you might be interested in my Just For Fun page, which has links to the last 100+ of these things. Meanwhile, there are also some book reviews and a story of mine.

Till next time, keep well, mask up, and keep flying the flag for NHS and key workers everywhere. Let’s hope another lockdown doesn’t come to pass.

LP

Across clues

1. Note on flying mammals incorporating first of innovative material (7)

Answer: BATISTE (i.e. “material”). Solution is TE (i.e. “note”, in the do-ray-me style) placed “on” or after BATS (i.e. “flying mammals”) once it has been wrapped around or “incorporating” I (i.e. “first of innovative”, i.e. the first letter of “innovative”), like so: BAT(I)S-TE.

5. Married man goes round introducing current yearbook (7)

Answer: ALMANAC (i.e. “yearbook”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “married”) with ALAN (i.e. “man”) placed “round” it, and then followed by AC (i.e. “[alternating] current”), like so: AL(M)AN-AC.

9. One who butts in, talking of rosaceous tree (7)

Answer: MEDDLER (i.e. “one who butts in”). “Talking of” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of MEDLAR (i.e. “rosaceous tree”).

13. Appallingly great van tax: it’s extortionate! (11)

Answer: EXTRAVAGANT (i.e. “extortionate”). “Appallingly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GREAT VAN TAX.

14. Eminent university entertained by bad American music groups (11)

Answer: ILLUSTRIOUS (i.e. “eminent”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) placed in or “entertained by” ILL (i.e. “bad”), US (i.e. “American”) and TRIOS (i.e. “groups”), like so: ILL-US-TRIO(U)S.

15. Admitted being possessed (5)

Answer: OWNED. Solution satisfies “admitted [being]” and “possessed”.

16. South Carolina celebrity digesting Berlioz’s last piece (7)

Answer: SCHERZO (i.e. a lively “[musical] piece”). Solution is SC (state abbreviation of “South Carolina”) followed by HERO (i.e. “celebrity”) once it has been wrapped around or “digesting” Z (i.e. “Berlioz’s last”), like so: SC-HER(Z)O.

17. Doctor regularly quelled barmen that can be counted (9)

Answer: NUMERABLE (i.e. “can be counted”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “doctor”) of ULE (i.e. “regularly quelled”, i.e. every other letter of QUELLED) and BARMEN.

18. Warning describing fate of inquisitive Somali? (9,6,3,3)

Answer: CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT (i.e. “warning”). Clue plays on how Somali can describe a breed of cat, not just a Somali national. You get the idea.

23. Booked, being unforthcoming (8)

Answer: RESERVED. Solution satisfies “booked” and “unforthcoming”.

25. He abandons the city man’s Asian headdress (6)

Answer: TURBAN (i.e. “man’s Asian headdress”). Solution is T (i.e. “he abandons the”, i.e. the word THE without the HE) followed by URBAN (i.e. “the city”).

27. Middle East scholar taken at first with trailing plant (7)

Answer: ARABIST (i.e. “Middle East scholar”). Solution is T (i.e. “taken at first”, i.e. the first letter of “taken”) placed after or “with” ARABIS (i.e. “trailing plant”).

30. Fruit pie originally making us podgy (5)

Answer: PLUMP (i.e. “podgy”). Solution is PLUM (i.e. “fruit”) followed by P (i.e. “pie originally”, i.e. the first letter of “pie”).

32. One leaves Moroccan port carrying a N American singer (7)

Answer: TANAGER (i.e. “N American singer” – a bird). Solution is TANGIER (i.e. “Moroccan port”) with the I removed (indicated by “[Roman numeral] one leaves…”) and the remainder wrapped around or “carrying” A, like so: TAN(A)GER. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

33. Report of husky animal producing material for violin bows (9)

Answer: HORSEHAIR (i.e. “material for violin bows”). Solution is formed of homophones (indicated by “report of”) of HOARSE (i.e. “husky”) and HARE (i.e. “animal”).

35. New paperback briefly covering large variety of fruit (4,5)

Answer: CRAB APPLE (i.e. “variety of fruit”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “new”) of PAPERBACK once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), wrapped around or “covering” L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), like so: CRABAPP(L)E.

36. Greek hero’s article initially edited in S America (7)

Answer: THESEUS (i.e. “Greek hero”). Solution is THE (i.e. “article”, as in a word like a, an or the) followed by E (i.e. “initially edited”, i.e. the first letter of “edited”) once it has been placed “in” S and US (i.e. “America”), like so: THE-S-(E)-US.

37. Spot where builders work, so to speak (5)

Answer: SIGHT (i.e. “spot”). “So to speak” indicates homophone. Solution is an homophone of SITE (i.e. “where builders work”).

38. Pull fish back on the sheltered side (7)

Answer: LEEWARD (i.e. “on the sheltered side”). Solution is DRAW (i.e. “pull”) and EEL (i.e. “fish”) all reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: LEE-WARD.

40. Way to go on horseback, or walk with long steps? (6)

Answer: STRIDE (i.e. “walk with long steps”). Solution is ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”) followed by RIDE (i.e. “to go on horseback”).

41. Musician married in centre of Boston – about fifty (8)

Answer: MINSTREL (i.e. “musician”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “married”) followed by IN, then ST (i.e. “centre of Boston”, i.e. the middle letters of BOSTON), then RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) and L (i.e. “[Roman numeral] fifty”).

44. Regimental NCO’s favour given to leading cloth-worker? (13-8)

Answer: QUARTERMASTER-SERGEANT (i.e. “regimental NCO” or Non-Commissioning Officer). Solution is QUARTER (i.e. “favour”) followed by MASTER (i.e. “leading”), then SERGE (i.e. “cloth”) and ANT (i.e. “worker”).
[EDIT: Thanks to Greg for the correction. I’d incorrectly had NCO as Non-Commanding Officer. Cheers, Greg! – LP)

48. Naughtily bend a rule? That can be tolerated (9)

Answer: ENDURABLE (i.e. “that can be tolerated”). “Naughtily” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BEND A RULE.

50. Bill a continental noble rings about (7)

Answer: ACCOUNT (i.e. “bill”). Solution is A then COUNT (i.e. “continental noble”) once it has been wrapped around or “ringed” C (i.e. “about”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), like so: A-C(C)OUNT.

53. Operatic princess with house in US state (5)

Answer: IDAHO (i.e. “US state”). Solution is IDA (i.e. “operatic princess” from Gilbert & Sullivan’s Princess Ida) followed by HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”).

54. Clear water flowing round managed health resort (11)

Answer: TRANSPARENT (i.e. “clear”). Solution is [River] TRENT (i.e. “water”) wrapped or “flowing around” RAN (i.e. “managed”) and SPA (i.e. “health resort”), like so: T(RAN-SPA)RENT.

55. Medallist initially whips ring with pronounced force (11)

Answer: PRIZEWINNER (i.e. “medallist”). Solution is W (i.e. “initially whips”, i.e. the first letter of “whips”) and INNER (i.e. “ring” around a bullseye) placed after or “with” a homophone (indicated by “pronounced”) of PRISE (i.e. to “force [open]”), like so: PRIZE-(W-INNER).

56. Tried again to pick up daughter after scripture lesson (7)

Answer: REHEARD (i.e. “tried again” in court). Solution is HEAR (i.e. “pick up”) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) both placed “after” RE (i.e. “scripture lesson”, specifically Religious Education), like so: RE-(HEAR-D).

57. Turtle abandoning quiet tract of land (7)

Answer: TERRAIN (i.e. “tract of land”). Solution is TERRAPIN (i.e. “turtle”) once the P has been removed (indicated by “abandoning quiet” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, or quiet in musical lingo).

58. Doctor in broadcast regularly riled Lanarkshire town (7)

Answer: AIRDRIE (i.e. “Lanarkshire town”). Solution is DR (a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”) placed “in” AIR (i.e. “broadcast”) and IE (i.e. “regularly riled”, i.e. every other letter of RILED), like so: AIR-(DR)-IE.

Down clues

1. Rupees invested in wager relating to French national (6)

Answer: BRETON (i.e. “French national”). Solution is R (i.e. “Rupees”) placed or “invested” in BET (i.e. “wager”) and followed by ON (i.e. “relating to”), like so: B(R)ET-ON.

2. Giant bird with bill seen around part of UK (7)

Answer: TITANIC (i.e. “gigantic”). Solution is TIT (i.e. “bird”) followed by AC (i.e. “bill”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “account”) once wrapped “around” NI (i.e. “part of UK”, i.e. Northern Ireland), like so: TIT-A(NI)C.

3. One defaming Cuban perhaps, ignoring tip with hesitation (9)

Answer: SLANDERER (i.e. “one defaming”). Solution is ISLANDER (i.e. “Cuban perhaps” – other islands are available) with the first letter removed (indicated by “ignoring tip”) and the remainder followed by ER (i.e. “hesitation”), like so: SLANDER-ER.

4. English vehicle primarily serving Welshman (5)

Answer: EVANS (i.e. “Welshman”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by VAN (i.e. “vehicle”) and S (i.e. “primarily serving”, i.e. the first letter of “serving”).

5. Arthropod from Irish islands I’d seen outside church (8)

Answer: ARACHNID (i.e. “arthropod”). Solution is ARAN (i.e. “Irish islands”) and I’D placed “outside” of CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”), like so: ARA(CH)N-I’D.

6. It measures oxygen escaping from shooting star? (5)

Answer: METER (i.e. “it measures”). Solution is METEOR (i.e. “shooting star”) with the O removed (indicated by “oxygen escaping” – O being the chemical symbol of oxygen).

7. Toff, one breathing in ozone in African capital (7)

Answer: NAIROBI (i.e. “African capital”). Solution is NOB (i.e. “toff”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) wrapped around or “breathing in” AIR (i.e. “ozone”), like so: N(AIR)OB-I.

8. Man guarding only boss in honorary military rank (7-2-5)

Answer: COLONEL-IN-CHIEF (i.e. “honorary military rank”). Solution is COLIN (i.e. “man” – basically a man’s name) wrapped around or “guarding” LONE (i.e. “only”) and followed by CHIEF (i.e. “boss”), like so: CO(LONE)LIN-CHIEF.

9. Communicators collectively aimed to disperse after service (4,5)

Answer: MASS MEDIA (i.e. “communicators collectively”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to disperse”) of AIMED placed “after” MASS (i.e. “[religious] service”).

10. Ancient city adopted by the German engraver (5)

Answer: Albrecht DURER (i.e. “engraver”). Solution is UR (i.e. “Ancient city” often used by setters in their solutions) placed in or “adopted by” DER (i.e. “the German”, i.e. the German for “the”), like so: D(UR)ER.

11. Play what irate motorists do perhaps when tailgated? (4,4,2,5)

Answer: LOOK BACK IN ANGER. Solution satisfies a “play” by John Osborne, and “what irate motorists do perhaps when tailgated”.

12. Particular deference (7)

Answer: RESPECT. Solution satisfies “particular” (as in “with respect to”) and “deference” (as in “have respect for”).

19. Excel with regard to start of this surgical procedure (7)

Answer: OVERTOP (i.e. “excel”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “with regard to”) followed by T (i.e. “start of this”, i.e. the first letter of “this”) and OP (i.e. “surgical procedure”).

20. Engineer urges on extremely tardy kid (9)

Answer: YOUNGSTER (i.e. “kid”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “engineer”) of URGES ON and TY (i.e. “extremely tardy”, i.e. the first and last letters of “tardy”).

21. Archbishop initially overwhelmed by male archdeacon’s goodness (7)

Answer: HEAVENS (i.e. “goodness” – both taken as exclamations). Solution is A (i.e. “archbishop initially”, i.e. the first letter of “archbishop”) placed in or “overwhelmed by” HE (i.e. “male”) and VEN’S (i.e. “archdeacon’s” – VEN being a recognised abbreviation of “venerable”), like so: HE-(A)-VEN’S.

22. Republican in sun hat, mostly relaxed and very hot (8)

Answer: TROPICAL (i.e. “very hot”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”) placed “in” TOPI (i.e. “sun hat”) and followed by CALM (i.e. “relaxed”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: T(R)OPI-CAL.

24. Outside America, herb served at first with mother’s hot food (8,3,4)

Answer: SAUSAGES AND MASH (i.e. “food”). Solution is US (i.e. “America”) with SAGE (i.e. “herb”) placed “outside” of it, then S (i.e. “served at first”, i.e. the first letter of “served”), then AND (i.e. “with”), then MA’S (i.e. “mother’s”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot”), like so: SA(US)GE-S-AND-MA’S-H.

26. Man involved in drinking spree, a pub employee (9)

Answer: BARTENDER (i.e. “pub employee”). Solution is ART (i.e. “man”, specifically a shortened form of Arthur) placed or “involved in” BENDER (i.e. “drinking spree”), like so: B(ART)ENDER.

28. Device controlling flow of fuel – or choke? (8)

Answer: THROTTLE. Solution satisfies “device controlling flow of fuel” and “choke”.

29. European articles on country gents ultimately apt for playing down (14)

Answer: UNDERSTATEMENT (i.e. “playing down”). Solution is UN and DER (i.e. “European articles”, i.e. the French for “a” and the German for “the”) followed by STATE (i.e. “country”), then MEN (i.e. “gents”) and T (i.e. “ultimately apt”, i.e. the last letter of “apt”).

31. Country bumpkin’s pulse a surgeon felt in the end (7)

Answer: PEASANT (i.e. “country bumpkin”). Solution is PEAS (i.e. “pulse”) followed by A, then N and T (i.e. “surgeon felt in the end”, i.e. the last letters of “surgeon” and “felt”).

34. Harsh call arresting Cleopatra’s killer (7)

Answer: RASPING (i.e. “harsh”). Solution is RING (i.e. “call”) wrapped around or “arresting” ASP (i.e. “Cleopatra’s killer”), like so: R(ASP)ING.

39. Necessity for game identified by river managers (9)

Answer: DARTBOARD (i.e. “necessity for game [of darts]”). Solution is DART (i.e. “river” in Devon) followed by BOARD (i.e. “managers”).

42. Alarm if one is kept ultimately for a soil loosener (9)

Answer: SCARIFIER (i.e. “soil loosener”). Solution is SCARE (i.e. “alarm”) wrapped around or “keeping” IF and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), and then followed by R (i.e. “ultimately for”, i.e. the last letter of “for”), like so: SCAR(IF-I)E-R.

43. Native of Lima perhaps, salesman turning up with one in posh vehicle (8)

Answer: PERUVIAN (i.e. “native of Lima perhaps”). Solution is REP (i.e. “salesman”) reversed (indicated by “turning up” – this being a down clue) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) once placed “in” U (i.e. “posh” – U being an abbreviation used to describe the upper class) and VAN (i.e. “vehicle”), like so: PER-U-V(I)AN.

44. One searching for game in macaque’s territory (7)

Answer: QUESTER (i.e. “one searching for game” – a quest is a variant spelling of queest, a kind of wood pigeon). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: MACA(QUE’S TER)RITORY.

45. Kitchen device misplaced at store (7)

Answer: TOASTER (i.e. “kitchen device”). “Misplaced” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AT STORE.

46. Item of footwear found in coach? (7)

Answer: TRAINER. Solution satisfies “item of footwear” and “coach”.

47. Origin of condiment, reportedly (6)

Answer: SOURCE (i.e. “origin”). “Reportedly” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SAUCE (i.e. “condiment”).

49. One adheres to WI religion – partly, for a start (5)

Answer: RASTA (i.e. “one adheres to WI religion”). “Partly” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: FO(R A STA)RT.

51. Dried kernels represented by Constable, the artist? (5)

Answer: COPRA (i.e. “dried kernels” of coconuts). Solution is COP (i.e. “constable” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) followed by RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician).

52. Governor dipping into Times – a character! (5)

Answer: THETA (i.e. “a character” of the Greek alphabet). Solution is HE (i.e. “governor” – a recognised abbreviation of His Excellency) placed “into” T and T (recognised abbreviations of “time”, i.e. “times” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and followed by A, like so: T(HE)T-A.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1459

Another medium strength puzzle this week, and a pretty good one too. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

You can find links to solutions for the past 100+ of these things on my Just For Fun page, should that be of any use to you. I’ve also got some mouldy old book reviews and a story of mine, should any of that appeal.

Till next time, stay safe, mask up and keep giving thumbs to NHS and key workers everywhere, especially as infections and hospital admissions continue to tick up again.

LP

Across clues

1. Liberal’s comic – phoney person who leaves the less well-off behind? (6,7)

Answer: SOCIAL CLIMBER (i.e. “person who leaves the less well-off behind”). “Phoney” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LIBERAL’S COMIC.

8. Sign of unity between partners in business, say (9)

Answer: AMPERSAND. Clue plays on how you sometimes see ampersand characters or “signs” in business names, e.g. Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Steptoe & Son etc.

13. Dog rescuers on the road carrying equipment (5)

Answer: AKITA (i.e. a breed of “dog”). Solution is AA (i.e. “rescuers on the road”, specifically the Automobile Association) wrapped around or “carrying” KIT (i.e. “equipment”), like so: A(KIT)A.

14. All decline perversely to accept large invention of physicist (7,4)

Answer: DANIELL CELL (i.e. an early innovation in battery technology and “invention of physicist” John Frederic Daniell). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “perversely”) of ALL DECLINE wrapped around or “accepting” L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), like so: DANIE(L)CELL.

15. Celebrate outside with jazzy music (5)

Answer: SWING (i.e. “jazzy music”). Solution is SING (i.e. “celebrate”) wrapped around or placed “outside” of W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), like so: S(W)ING.

16. Spiritual band? (3,6)

Answer: DOG COLLAR (i.e. “band”). Clue plays on how collars worn by the clergy are called dog collars.

17. Danger when last character comes forward presenting dagger (4)

Answer: KRIS (i.e. “dagger” with a wavy blade). Solution is RISK (i.e. “danger”) with the “last character coming forward”, like so: RIS(K) => (K)RIS.

18. A job had for one leaving the fold (8)

Answer: APOSTATE (i.e. “one leaving the fold”). Solution is A followed by POST (i.e. “job”) and ATE (i.e. “had”).

20. Least known artist ahead of others (6)

Answer: RAREST (i.e. “least known”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) followed by or placed “ahead of” REST (i.e. “others”).

21. Given a chance to do business favourably where customers come in? (2,3,6,5)

Answer: ON THE GROUND FLOOR. Solution satisfies “given a chance to do business favourably” and “where customers come in”.

24. Computer software has changed, right? We are mad (9)

Answer: SHAREWARE (i.e. “computer software” created to be shared rather than for profit). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “changed”) of HAS followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”), then another anagram (indicated by “mad”), this time of WE ARE, like so: SHA-R-EWARE.

26. Loveless city wanting end to crime – it’s hairy (7)

Answer: BRISTLE (i.e. “it’s hairy” – what, a single bristle?) Solution is BRISTOL (i.e. “city”) with the O removed (indicated by “loveless” – “love” being a zero score in tennis). The remainder is then followed by E (i.e. “end to crime”, i.e. the last letter of “crime”), like so: BRISTL-E.

27. Beliefs of left-winger disrupting firm (5)

Answer: CREDO (i.e. “beliefs”). Solution is RED (i.e. “left-winger”) placed in or “disrupting” CO (i.e. “firm”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “company”), like so: C(RED)O.

29. Once again tackling study with relish? (12)

Answer: READDRESSING (i.e. “once again tackling”). Solution is READ (i.e. “study”) and DRESSING (i.e. “relish”).

31. Woman, 51, wanting man? Lady losing heart should be taking care (10)

Answer: DILIGENTLY (i.e. “taking care”). Solution is DI (i.e. “woman”, i.e. a shortened form of a woman’s name, Diana) followed by LI (i.e. “51” in Roman numerals), then GENT (i.e. “man”) and LY (i.e. “lady losing heart”, i.e. the word “lady” with all its middle letters removed), like so: DI-LI-GENT-LY.

33. Academic Scotsman maybe joining club in European country (10)

Answer: MACEDONIAN (i.e. “in European country”, specifically Macedonia, funnily enough). Solution is DON (i.e. “academic”) and IAN (i.e. “Scotsman” – a bit of wordplay I’ve never liked) both placed behind or “joining” MACE (i.e. “club”), like so: MACE-DON-IAN.

35. Elements of opera, ballet or pantomime? (4,3,5)

Answer: SONG AND DANCE (i.e. “pantomime”, both taken to mean a right old palaver). Clue plays on how SONG is an “element” of “opera”, likewise DANCE of “ballet”.

38. Poet giving answers to binary question (5)

Answer: Alfred NOYES (i.e. “poet”). When written as NO YES the solution also satisfies “answers to binary question”.

39. Role of singer that comes in last bit of Idomeneo (7)

Answer: SECONDO (i.e. “role of singer”, specifically the lower part of a duet). When written as SECOND O, the solution also satisfies “that comes in last of Idomeneo”, i.e. how the second O of the word appears at the end.

40. Happy one, a politician mostly the combative type (9)

Answer: GLADIATOR (i.e. “combative type”). Solution is GLAD (i.e. “happy”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then A and TORY (i.e. “politician”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: GLAD-I-A-TOR.

42. High-level words of wisdom for disciples (6,2,3,5)

Answer: SERMON ON THE MOUNT. Solution satisfies “high-level words” and “words of wisdom for [Christ’s] disciples”.

44. What sounds like Cockney’s ascent of mountain in a little bath! (6)

Answer: EYECUP (i.e. “a little bath”). “What sounds like” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of HIKE UP (i.e. “ascent of mountain”) once the H has been removed (indicated by “Cockney’s”, as in how Cockneys are forever dropping their bleedin’ aitches, presumably in those gaps when they’re not eating winkles and pickled eggs.)

47. One praising international community – record is excellent ultimately (8)

Answer: EULOGIST (i.e. “one praising”). Solution is EU (i.e. “international community”, specifically the European Union) followed by LOG (i.e. “record”), then IS, and T (i.e. “excellent ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “excellent”).

49. Some aliens of Universe to go around in these? (4)

Answer: UFOS. Clue riffs on how aliens used to gad about the skies in Unidentified Flying Objects back when spotting them was an easy way to get oneself into the papers. Ah, the days. (Puts away pan lids.) “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “to go around” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: ALIEN(S OF U)NIVERSE.

50. No cure sadly – time to offer support (9)

Answer: ENCOURAGE (i.e. “to offer support”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sadly”) of NO CURE followed by AGE (i.e. “time”), like so: ENCOUR-AGE.

52. Noise of family beginning to gather (5)

Answer: CLANG (i.e. “noise”). Solution is CLAN (i.e. “family”) followed by G (i.e. “beginning to gather”, i.e. the first letter of “gather”).

53. Needless description of someone left in the lurch? (8-3)

Answer: UNCALLED-FOR (i.e. “needless”). “Lurch” can describe a whitewash or a very one-sided game. I understand a game of bridge involves calls, so I’m assuming a right thumping might leave you UNCALLED-FOR. If I’m on the wrong track and a better solution comes to the fore, I’ll update the post.

54. Wind to go suddenly, backing east (5)

Answer: TRADE (i.e. “wind” – the trade winds, blowing around the Earth’s equator, were often ridden by captains of sailing ships). Solution is DART (i.e. “to go suddenly”) reversed (indicated by “backing”) and then followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”).

55. Possible colour of water, surprisingly subtle, hiding fish (5,4)

Answer: STEEL BLUE (i.e. “possible colour of water” – I’d run the taps a little longer, setter). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “surprisingly”) of SUBTLE wrapped around or “hiding” EEL (i.e. “fish”), like so: ST(EEL)BLUE.

56. Troublemaker and others come down in street – sort of control needed (4-9)

Answer: SELF-RESTRAINT (i.e. “sort of control”). Solution is ELF (i.e. “troublemaker”), REST (i.e. “others”) and RAIN (i.e. “come down”) all placed “in” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: S(ELF-REST-RAIN)T.

Down clues

1. Flags code of behaviour (9)

Answer: STANDARDS. Solution satisfies “flags” and “code of behaviour”.

2. First of children to hang around, one holding on to mum maybe? (7)

Answer: CLINGER (i.e. “one holding on to mum maybe”). Solution is C (i.e. “first of children”, i.e. the first letter of “children”) followed by LINGER (i.e. “to hang around”).

3. Terribly sad poet, alone, powerless, not sure what to do (2,1,5,3)

Answer: AT A LOOSE END (i.e. “not sure what to do”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “terribly”) of SAD POET ALONE once the P has been removed (indicated by “powerless” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “power”).

4. Old king engaging divine cook (6)

Answer: CODDLE (i.e. to “cook”). Solution is COLE (i.e. “old king”, the merry old soul) wrapped around or “engaging” DD (i.e. “divine”, one definition being a theologian. DD is a recognised abbreviation of Divinitatis Doctor or Doctor of Divinity), like so: CO(DD)LE.

5. I travel around north European country, heading off in state of bliss? (9)

Answer: IGNORANCE (i.e. “state of bliss”, as in the phrase “ignorance is bliss”). Solution is I followed by GO (i.e. “travel”) once it has been wrapped around N (a recognised abbreviation of “north”). This is then followed by FRANCE (i.e. “European country”) once the initial letter has been removed (indicated by “heading off”), like so: I-G(N)O-RANCE.

6. Use far too much bread? (5,3,4)

Answer: BREAK THE BANK (i.e. “use far too much”). Clue plays on how “bread” is an informal word for money. That’s about it, I guess.

7. Rich Greek character has new kitchen device (7,3)

Answer: ROLLING PIN (i.e. “kitchen device”). Solution is ROLLING (a slang word for “rich”, as in “rolling in it”) followed by PI (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet) and N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”).

8. Church music ignoring scripture? Excuse me! (4)

Answer: AHEM (i.e. “excuse me!”). Solution is ANTHEM (i.e. “church music”) with the NT removed (indicated by “ignoring scripture” – NT being a recognised abbreviation of the New Testament of The Bible).

9. Pre-Napoleon’s win, a terrible historical conflict (13,3)

Answer: PELOPONNESIAN WAR (i.e. “historical conflict”). “Terrible” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PRE-NAPOLEON’S WIN A. Wordplay was obvious but took a while to grind out, my knowledge of ancient Greek wars being not all that hot.

10. Cunning plans soldier finally employs (5)

Answer: RUSES (i.e. “cunning plans”). Solution is R (i.e. “soldier finally”, i.e. the last letter of “soldier” – a sneaky attempt to misdirect solvers jaded by the number of times army-related abbreviations are used in cryptic clues) followed by USES (i.e. “employs”).

11. Disturbed, thanks to being led by a soldier (7)

Answer: AGITATO (i.e. “disturbed” in musical lingo). Solution is TA (i.e. “thanks”) and TO placed after or “being led by” A and GI (i.e. “soldier”, as if to prove my point), like so: (A-GI)-TA-TO.

12. Old illustration of tragedy with Europe being torn apart (13)

Answer: DAGUERREOTYPE (i.e. “old illustration”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “being torn apart”) of TRAGEDY and EUROPE.

19. See an object bringing detestation (8)

Answer: LOATHING (i.e. “detestation”). Solution is LO (i.e. “see”, as in “lo and behold”) followed by A THING (i.e. “an object”).

22. Record poem about cult hero (5)

Answer: FICHE (i.e. “record”). Solution is IF (i.e. “poem” by Rudyard Kipling) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by CHE Guevara (i.e. “cult hero”).

23. Perform digital operation to cause somebody delight or embarrassment? (4,4,4,4)

Answer: MAKE ONE’S TOES CURL. Solution satisfies “perform digital operation” – toes being the digits of one’s feet – and “to cause somebody delight or embarrassment”.

25. Lots without leader would embrace roguish state of disorder (7)

Answer: ANARCHY (i.e. “state of disorder”). Solution is MANY (i.e. “lots”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “without leader”) and the remainder wrapped around or “embracing” ARCH (i.e. “roguish”), like so: AN(ARCH)Y.

28. Old lover with money, oddly cute and gone forever (7)

Answer: EXTINCT (i.e. “gone forever”). Solution is EX (i.e. “old lover”) followed by TIN (a slang word for “money”) and CT (i.e. “oddly cute”, i.e. every other letter of CUTE), like so: EX-TIN-CT.

29. Anecdotes consisting of touching little episodes – about a hundred (13)

Answer: REMINISCENCES (i.e. “anecdotes”). Solution is RE (i.e. “touching”, both taken to mean “regarding” – think email replies) followed by MINI (i.e. “little”) and SCENES (i.e. “episodes”) once this latter has been wrapped “about” C (i.e. “a hundred” expressed as a Roman numeral), like so: RE-MINI-SCEN(C)ES.

30. Big town faced with damage – lack of provisions (8)

Answer: SCARCITY (i.e. “lack of provisions”). Solution is CITY (i.e. “big town”) placed after or “facing” SCAR (i.e. “damage”), like so: SCAR-CITY.

32. King’s indication of approval perhaps for something in the garden? (8-4)

Answer: SOLOMON’S-SEAL (i.e. “something in the garden”). Solution is SOLOMON’S (i.e. a “king’s”) followed by SEAL (i.e. “indication of approval”).

34. Party music, something that’s found very lacking (5)

Answer: DISCO (i.e. “party music”). Solution is DISCOVERY (i.e. “something that’s found”) with the VERY removed (indicated by “very lacking”).

36. Girl possibly destined to travel by bicycle and boat to deliver bomb (5,6)

Answer: DAISY CUTTER (i.e. “bomb”). Solution is DAISY (i.e. “girl possibly destined to travel by bicycle”, a reference to the song Daisy Bell (Bicycle Made For Two), which features the famous line “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do…”) followed by CUTTER (i.e. “boat”).

37. Divine being descends from heaven in watery South American location (5,5)

Answer: ANGEL FALLS (i.e. “watery South American location”). Solution also satisfies “divine being descends from heaven”.

40. Sad end of gnu and end of tiger sought by killer? (6,3)

Answer: GUNNED FOR (i.e. “sought by killer”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sad”) of END OF GNU and R (i.e. “end of tiger”, i.e. the last letter of “tiger”).

41. Play in which one type of theatre is meeting with grudge (9)

Answer: REPRESENTS (i.e. “play”). Solution is REP (i.e. “type of theatre” – rep being short for a repertory theatre) followed by RESENT (i.e. “grudge” – wouldn’t that be “begrudge” or RESENTMENT?)

43. Announcement about rental agreement (7)

Answer: RELEASE (i.e. “announcement”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – again, think email replies) followed by LEASE (i.e. “rental agreement”).

45. Fellow at lunchtime maybe gets a bit of food (7)

Answer: CHAPATI (i.e. “bit of food”). Solution is CHAP (i.e. “fellow”) followed by AT I (i.e. “at lunchtime”, think of it as “at 1[pm]” with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent).

46. Lots of heart binding saints (6)

Answer: SCORES (i.e. “lots”). Solution is CORE (i.e. “heart”) placed in S and S (i.e. “saints”, S being a recognised abbreviation of “saint”), like so: S(CORE)S.

48. Energy and ambition having no place for a Russian author (5)

Answer: Nikolai GOGOL (i.e. “Russian author”). Solution is GO (i.e. “energy”) followed by GOAL (i.e. “ambition”) with the A removed (indicated by “having no place for a”), like so: GO-GOL.

51. Top celebrity enthralling millions (4)

Answer: ACME (i.e. “top”). Solution is ACE (i.e. “celebrity”) wrapped around or “enthralling” M (a recognised abbreviation of “millions”), like so: AC(M)E.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1458

A medium strength puzzle this week for those able to get their hands on a copy following Extinction Rebellion’s protest. While a mere crossword is of course literally nothing compared to the fate of the planet, let alone the news itself, it does seem this particular protest was less about the damage we are doing to the environment and more how 80%+ of our national newspapers are owned by just three companies, News UK Newspapers, part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, being the largest. This is without doubt a poor state of affairs but blocking the newspapers you don’t like doesn’t feel like much of a solution, at least to this pseudonymous nobody. More worrying for XR perhaps is how their cause is increasingly being piggybacked by other agendas which, while undoubtedly important and justified, risk turning the group into merely another unfocused hard-left outfit.

Anyway, putting real life to one side for ten minutes (or 4-5 hours, if you’re me typing this) here’s my solution for this week’s puzzle for anyone who does their Jumbo Cryptics online, or who were able to get a copy (hat-tip to my local corner shop, who very kindly let me have the parts of the paper that did arrive), or for those who are curious of what they missed, or for those who have bought The Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword Book 23 in 2024 and are wondering 1) why it’s 40°C outside in September, 2) whatever happened to Extinction Rebellion, and 3) how on earth 10a is ABBOT.

As ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. Meanwhile, there’s other stuff knocking about the place: further solutions can be found on my Just For Fun page, there’s some dusty old book reviews and a story of mine.

Till next time (which will be a few days late as I’ll be away from my laptop next weekend, lockdowns permitting), take care, mask up and keep the flag flying for NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

1. Biting as Arctic’s winds (9)

Answer: SARCASTIC (i.e. “biting”). “Winds” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AS ARCTIC’S. Nicely worked.

6. Supplier of ecstasy to be our sponsor, it’s said (7)

Answer: BACCHUS (i.e. “supplier of ecstasy”, specifically, according to Wikipedia, “the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre”… that’s one hell of a business card). “It’s said” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of BACK US (i.e. “be our sponsor”).

10. Superior rating given to second-rate back (5)

Answer: ABBOT (i.e. “superior” in charge of an abbey). Solution is AB (i.e. “rating”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Able-Bodied, a rating given to skilled sailors marking them above ordinary sailors) followed by TO and B (i.e. “second-rate”, or B-grade) once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: AB-(B-OT).

13. With energy, note, old German chaser’s a stayer (7)

Answer: ENDURER (i.e. “stayer”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) followed by N (ditto “note”) and Albrecht DURER (i.e. “old German” artist and theorist). I believe “chaser” merely means DURER is placed after E and N, but I might have missed something clever.
[EDIT: Ong’ara comes up with the goods in the comments, highlighting that an alternative meaning of “chase” is to decorate by engraving, a discipline that Durer had dabbled in. Thanks, Ong’ara! – LP]

14. Explosive start setting one back a bit (5)

Answer: NITRO (i.e. “explosive”). Solution is INTRO (i.e. “start”) with the I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) moved “back a bit”, like so: (I)NTRO => N(I)TRO.

15. Close one’s rubbish bin – huge odour after emptying! (9)

Answer: NEIGHBOUR (i.e. “close one”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rubbish”) of BIN HUGE and OR (i.e. “odour after emptying”, i.e. the word “odour” with all its middle letters removed).

16. Seize chance to stop working with metal piping? (6,5,3,4,2,3)

Answer: STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT (i.e. “seize chance”). Solution is STRIKE (i.e. “to stop working”) followed by WHILE THE IRON IS HOT (i.e. “with metal piping [hot]”).

17. Big cat seeing gap, quietly escaping into yard, briefly (6)

Answer: COUGAR (i.e. “big cat”). Solution is GAP with the P removed (indicated by “quietly escaping” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, or quietly in musical lingo) placed into COURT (i.e. “yard”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: COU(GA)R.

18. Old statesman rarely any take to at first (8)

Answer: Jomo KENYATTA, former Prime Minister and President of Kenya (i.e. “old statesman”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rarely”) of ANY TAKE and T (i.e. “to at first”, i.e. the first letter of “to”).

19. One selling joints in bar in Montmarte, not cheap (7)

Answer: BUTCHER (i.e. “one selling joints” of meat). Solution is BUT (i.e. “bar”, as in “best bar none”) followed by CHER (i.e. “in Montmarte, not cheap”, i.e. the French for “dear” – the use of other languages by setters to get the job done gets a bit tiresome in these things from time to time, but this is at least a word supported by my Chambers. Not sure I’m pretentious enough to use it, mind).

22. Lots of ladies, perhaps, one visiting old grandmother of Samuel (10)

Answer: JOHNSONIAN (i.e. “of [Dr] Samuel” Johnson, lexicographer and memorable guest star of Blackadder The Third). Solution is JOHNS (i.e. “lots of ladies, perhaps” – other flavours of toilet are available) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) once it has been placed in or “visiting” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and NAN (i.e. “grandmother”), like so: JOHNS-O-N(I)AN.

23. Bearing wine: unfamiliar accompaniment to duty-free purchase? (7,5)

Answer: AIRPORT NOVEL (i.e. “accompaniment to duty-free purchase”). Solution is AIR (i.e. “bearing”) followed by PORT (i.e. “wine”) and NOVEL (i.e. “unfamiliar”).

27. Foreign drama that’s painful under any circumstances (5)

Answer: NOHOW (i.e. “under any circumstances” – the definition for this is “in no way”, which seems entirely the opposite, but then my brain isn’t especially great at double-negatives). Solution is NOH (i.e. “foreign drama”, specifically a traditional Japanese drama) followed by OW (i.e. “that’s painful”).

29. In line, getting reading to be picked up (7)

Answer: QUEUING (i.e. “in line”). “Picked up” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of CUEING. I can’t help thinking there’s a typo in this clue; that it should read “getting ready” rather than “getting reading”. Happy to be corrected otherwise.

30. Motivating force behind religious teaching one runs in SE Asia (3,5)

Answer: RED RIVER (i.e. “one runs in SE Asia”, and most other parts of the world it seems). Solution is RE (i.e. “religious teaching”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of Religious Education”) with DRIVER (i.e. “motivating force”) placed “behind” it, like so: RE-DRIVER.

32. Capital Radio presenter blocking call and not available (8)

Answer: NDJAMENA (i.e. “capital” of Chad). Solution is DJ (i.e. “radio presenter” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) placed in or “blocking” NAME (i.e. “call”) and followed by N/A (i.e. “not available), like so: N(DJ)AME-N/A.

34. Be effective after all, maybe, protecting large layer of skin (7)

Answer: CUTICLE (i.e. “layer of skin”). Solution is CUT ICE (i.e. “be effective after all, maybe” – the phrase “cut no ice” means to be ineffective) wrapped around or “protecting” L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), like so: CUT-IC(L)E.

36. Students gathering for one drink (5)

Answer: NEGUS (i.e. “drink”, specifically “a drink of port or sherry mixed with hot water, sweetened and spiced” (Chambers)). Solution is NUS (i.e. “students” – specifically the National Union of Students) wrapped around or “gathering” EG (i.e. “for one”, as in “for example”), like so: N(EG)US.

39. Folk with primitive homes: all deserve modernising with WC (4-8)

Answer: CAVE-DWELLERS (i.e. “folk with primitive homes”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “modernising”) of ALL DESERVE and WC.

41. One in haste cut sticks to deliver huge blows (10)

Answer: HURRICANES (i.e. “huge blows”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “in” between HURRY (i.e. “haste”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “cut”) and CANES (i.e. “sticks”), like so: HURR-(I)-CANES.

44. Writer embracing year performing as poet (7)

Answer: BYRONIC (i.e. “as poet”, specifically as Lord Byron). Solution is BIC (i.e. “writer”, i.e. a Bic biro) wrapped around or “embracing” YR (a recognised abbreviation of “year”) and ON (i.e. “performing”), like so: B(YR-ON)IC.

46. Appropriate to put on a very loud alarm (8)

Answer: AFFRIGHT (i.e. “alarm”). Solution is RIGHT (i.e. “appropriate”) placed “on” or after A and FF (i.e. “very loud”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “fortissimo” in musical lingo), like so: A-FF-RIGHT.

48. Soft, ultimately tuneless humming (6)

Answer: SPONGY (i.e. “soft”). Solution is S (i.e. “ultimately tuneless”, i.e. the last letter of “tuneless”) followed by PONGY (i.e. “humming”).

50. Do colours? I polish crucifix ring fits inside, to be exact (3,4,2,3,5,4,2)

Answer: DOT ONES IS AND CROSS ONES TS (i.e. “to be exact”). Solution is DO followed by TONES (i.e. “colours”), then I, then SAND (i.e. “polish”), then CROSS (i.e. “crucifix”), then O (i.e. “ring”) and NESTS (i.e. “fits inside”), like so: DO-TONES-I-SAND-CROSS-O-NESTS. Blimey!

53. Rocket, perhaps, that has wartime success within reach? (9)

Answer: VEGETABLE (i.e. “rocket, perhaps”). Solution is VE (i.e. “wartime success”, specifically Victory in Europe) followed by GETABLE (i.e. “within reach”).

54. Triumphant cry on clinching record, that’s followed by “Bravo” (5)

Answer: ALPHA (i.e. “that’s followed by “Bravo”” in the phonetic alphabet). Solution is AHA (i.e. “triumphant cry”) wrapped around or “clinching” LP (i.e. “record”), like so: A(LP)HA.

55. Shakespearean jester, one sharing top billing with duke (7)

Answer: COSTARD (i.e. “Shakespearean jester”, specifically a comic figure in Love’s Labour’s Lost who, incidentally, uses the word honorificabilitudinitatibus in Act V – another reason why I’ll never make it as a stage actor). Solution is CO-STAR (i.e. “one sharing top billing”) followed by D (a recognised abbreviation of “duke”).

56. Period before series concluded (3-2)

Answer: RUN-UP (i.e. “period before”). Solution is RUN (i.e. “series”) followed by UP (i.e. “concluded”).

57. Repeat xray that’s distorted on one side (2,5)

Answer: EX PARTE (i.e. “on one side” only, from the Latin and used in legalese). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “that’s distorted”) of REPEAT and X (i.e. “xray” in the phonetic alphabet”).

58. Vanquish, having finished with commanding position (9)

Answer: OVERWHELM (i.e. “vanquish”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “having finished”) followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) and HELM (i.e. “commanding position”).

Down clues

1. Mends fencing in king’s colours (5)

Answer: SKEWS (i.e. “colours”). Solution is SEWS (i.e. “mends”) wrapped around or “fencing in” K (a recognised abbreviation of “king”), like so: S(K)EWS.

2. To be cavalier with good horse, very hurried training required (4,9,4)

Answer: RIDE ROUGHSHOD OVER (i.e. “to be cavalier with”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “training required”) of GOOD HORSE, V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”) and HURRIED.

3. Language review is a frank assessment, primarily (9)

Answer: AFRIKAANS (i.e. “language”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “review”) of IS A FRANK and A (i.e. “assessment, primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “assessment”).

4. Reading, perhaps, absorbing personnel in cast (6)

Answer: THROWN (i.e. “cast”). Solution is TOWN (i.e. “Reading, perhaps”) wrapped around or “absorbing” HR (i.e. “personnel”, i.e. Human Resources), like so: T(HR)OWN.

5. Kind of legal position for player in case (11)

Answer: CONSIDERATE (i.e. “kind”). Solution is ONSIDE (i.e. “legal position for player”) placed “in” CRATE (i.e. “case”), like so: C(ONSIDE)RATE.

6. I’ll be seeing you around Thursday, in passing (2,3,3)

Answer: BY THE BYE (i.e. “in passing” – can be spelled BY or BYE). Solution is BYE-BYE (i.e. “I’ll be seeing you”) wrapped “around” TH (a recognised abbreviation of “Thursday”), like so: BY(TH)E-BYE.

7. Way to make up yarn of note, not the first time (7)

Answer: CROCHET (i.e. “way to make up yarn”). Solution is CROTCHET (i.e. “[musical] note”) with the first T removed (indicated by “not the first time” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

8. Deliver one international player to each sporting official (11)

Answer: HANDICAPPER (i.e. “sporting official”). Solution is HAND (i.e. “deliver”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then CAP (i.e. “international player”) and PER (i.e. “to each”).

9. One visibly upset crossing mountain, meeting British person descending it? (9)

Answer: SKIBOBBER (i.e. “person descending [mountain]”). Solution is SOBBER (i.e. “one visibly upset”) wrapped around KI (i.e. “mountain”, specifically K1 in Pakistan with the 1 replaced by I) and B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”), like so: S(KI-B)OBBER.

10. Seeing a crime being committed possibly, but not believing (7)

Answer: ATHEIST (i.e. “not believing”). When written as AT HEIST, the solution also satisfies “seeing a crime being committed possibly”.

11. Some raised cash to oblige assassin (5)

Answer: John Wilkes BOOTH (i.e. “assassin” who killed Abraham Lincoln). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “raised” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: CAS(H TO OB)LIGE.

12. Act utterly crazily – not unknown to be upset (4,6)

Answer: TURN TURTLE (i.e. “to be upset”, as in turning a turtle over onto its shell, rendering it helpless). Solution is TURN (i.e. “act” or performance) followed by an anagram (indicated by “crazily”) of UTTERLY once the Y has been removed (indicated by “not unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in their solutions as unknowns).

17. One living in southern US around early summer (5)

Answer: CAJUN (i.e. “one living in southern US”). Solution is CA (i.e. “around”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) followed by JUN (i.e. “early summer”, as in a shortened form of June).

20. Individual’s own urge to confront hosts gets to look stupid (4,3,2,4,4)

Answer: HAVE EGG ON ONES FACE (i.e. “look stupid”). A bit of a clunky mess, this one. Rather than follow the phrasing of the clue, I’ll merely point out the individual bits, i.e. HAVE (i.e. “hosts”), EGG ON (i.e. “urge”), ONE’S (i.e. “own”) and FACE (i.e. “to confront”).

21. Where we learn which of our neighbours is special (6)

Answer: UNIQUE (i.e. “special”). Solution is UNI (i.e. “where we learn”, as in a shortened form of university) followed by QUE (i.e. “which of our neighbours”, i.e. the French for “which”).

24. Leave time to visit trendy, small bars (6)

Answer: INGOTS (i.e. “bars”). Solution is GO (i.e. “leave”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) placed in or “visiting” IN (i.e. “trendy”) and S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”), like so: IN-(GO-T)-S.

25. New, excellent service gets you to Scottish destination (5)

Answer: NAIRN (i.e. a “Scottish destination”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) followed by AI (i.e. “excellent”, i.e. A1 with the 1 replaced by I) and RN (i.e. “service”, specifically the Royal Navy).

26. Wheels put together with track one assembled (3,3)

Answer: KIT CAR (i.e. “wheels put together”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “assembled”) of TRACK and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”).

28. Open country show – hope grandma will attend, finally (5)

Answer: WEALD (i.e. “open country”). “Finally” indicates that the solution is derived from the last letters of SHOW HOPE GRANDMA WILL ATTEND.

31. Flat, shell-like blocks in need of water? (6)

Answer: DREARY (i.e. “flat”). Solution is EAR (i.e. “shell-like”) placed in or “blocking” DRY (i.e. “in need of water”), like so: DR(EAR)Y.

33. Winning the lot, Bill tends to get emotional (1,5,5)

Answer: A CLEAN SWEEP (i.e. “winning the lot”). Solution is AC (i.e. “bill”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “account” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) followed by LEANS (i.e. “tends”) and WEEP (i.e. “to get emotional”).

35. Shiftless viewer specifically into You Tubers? (5,6)

Answer: COUCH POTATO (i.e. “shiftless viewer”). Not fully on board with this one, I’m afraid. I get that tubers gets you POTATO, but that’s about it from me.
[EDIT: Upon reflection, I think there’s nothing more to this one than potatoes = tubers and that the setter is merely cracking wise. (Sighs. Shrugs shoulders.) – LP]

37. Weakling is first, say? Nothing odd in that (5)

Answer: SISSY (i.e. “weakling”). “Nothing odd in that” indicates the solution can be derived by taking every other letter of IS FIRST SAY.

38. Copper, corrupt, one has arrested by senior underworld investigator in suit? (5,5)

Answer: SCUBA DIVER (i.e. “underworld investigator in suit”). Solution is CU (chemical symbol of “copper”), BAD (i.e. “corrupt”) and I’VE (i.e. “one has”, i.e. a contraction of “I have”) all placed in or “arrested by” SR (a recognised abbreviation of “senior”), like so: S(CU-BAD-I’VE)R.

40. Sporting saxe blue cape not such a crime! (9)

Answer: EXCUSABLE (i.e. “not such a crime”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sporting”) of SAXE BLUE and C (a recognised abbreviation of “Cape”).

42. Wife, under arrest in Grammar School, with a sharp object (6,3)

Answer: COPING SAW (i.e. “a sharp object” used to cut curves). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) placed after or “under” – this being a down clue – COP (i.e. “arrest”), IN, GS (a recognised abbreviation of “Grammar School”), W (ditto “with”) and A, like so: (COP-IN-GS-A)W.

43. A viewer of EastEnders Christmas special? (5,3)

Answer: MINCE PIE. Solution satisfies “Christmas special” and “a viewer of EastEnders”, as in the cockney rhyming slang for “eye”. Nicely worked.

45. Reflected on points put by, say, Cork Express (7)

Answer: NONSTOP (i.e. “express”). Solution is NO (i.e. “reflected on”, i.e. the word “on” reversed) followed by NS (i.e. “points”, specifically recognised abbreviations of north and south) and TOP (i.e. “cork” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

47. Stuff in the end not just a source of amusement (7)

Answer: FUNFAIR (i.e. “a source of amusement”). Solution is F (i.e. “stuff in the end”, i.e. the last letter of “stuff”) followed by UNFAIR (i.e. “not just”).

49. Autopsy check’s far from complete, mind (6)

Answer: PSYCHE (i.e. “mind”). “Far from complete” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: AUTO(PSY CHE)CK.

51. Cross when hearing match lost (5)

Answer: TIGON (i.e. a “cross” between a tiger and lion created purely because some heartless sods thought “why not?”. Ditto ligers.) “When hearing” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of TIE GONE (i.e. “match lost”).

52. Instant good advice to follow up in place of evil? (5)

Answer: SODOM (i.e. “place of evil”). Solution is MO (i.e. “instant” or moment) followed by DOS (i.e. “good advice”, as in dos and don’ts). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “to follow up” – this being a down clue”), like so: SOD-OM.

The Listener Crossword 4621

I mentioned in a recent edit that I rather enjoyed Aug 22’s numerical Listener crossword. As most people hitting these pages will know, The Listener Crossword appears each week opposite the Times Jumbo Cryptic. The numeric crosswords appear every three months and are a bit of a love/hate thing for Listener fans. I rather like them and, having not done one for a while, I thought I’d give it a go.

Now that the deadline has passed for submissions, I thought as a one-off post I’d stick the solution on here, purely because the message in the grid made me laugh.

The idea of this puzzle was to determine the values, 1-19, of the letters used in 39 algebraic equations forming the across and down clues. We are told that three of the solutions are palindromes, 8d, 24d and 29d. The solutions were then to be slotted into the grid with each cell containing one or two digits. The values in each cell were then to be replaced by their equivalent letters.

You were given the following grid and clues:


Across clues

1. (MAR)C+H (5)
4. COM(E+T) (4)
7. TRIT+O-N (4)
10. CO(M+B)+A+T+S (3)
12. DA(M+E) (4)
13. ROU-T (4)
14. A(NG+S)+T! (4)
15. VIV+A+S (4)
16. INC(U-R+S+I+O+N)+S (4)
18. BANT(E+R-S)-M+E+T (5)
21. TA+RR+IE+R-S (4)
25. G+O-I+N-G+B+A+NA+N(A+S) (4)
28. A(KA+V)A (3)
30. W(A-S)-O+K (3)
31. A(I+D)+E! (3)
32. COOL-S (4)
33. B(O-B)SL+E(I-G)+HT+EA+M (6)
34. NIN+E-S (3)
35. MALT (4)

Down clues

1. BBILB+(O+B)(A+G)-GI+N+S (5)
2. WAR(L-O+C+K) (4)
3. RA-T+(E+N-T+E-R+S)A(BIN-N) (6)
4. T-O+T+AI-WAN (4)
5. U-S-E+B(E-A)N+TI(N+S) (4)
6. L(E-C)+(T+U+R(E+R)+O/O)M (5)
7. M(A-G-N+E+TI+S)M (5)
8. GL(OB+U-L-E) (4)
9. MARACA+S (4)
11. TALL-M+E-N (4)
17. CAR+N(I+V+A(L+S)) (5)
19. VERV+E-S (4)
20. WRIN+K-L+E+S (4)
22. (R-A)BA-T (4)
23. BANN+TV (5)
24. L(U+M+BE+R+S) (4)
25. MO(O+D) (4)
26. (L+O+G)IC (4)
27. CE(R-A+M+I+C)-S (4)
29. TA (3)


As ever with these things, half the battle is in finding an entry point into the equations. On this occasion, the entry point was relatively easy. The clue for 29d is TA, a 3-digit number. We know from the preamble that 29d is a palindrome. Only two 3-digit numbers fit the bill: 112 = 121, and 73 = 343. Another clue, 14a, A(NG+S)+T!, a 4-digit number, allows us to narrow in on the values of T and A. If T was 11, then T! or 11x10x9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1 would be 39,916,800 – much too big. 7! on the other hand, or 7x6x5x4x3x2x1 is 5040. Therefore T=7 and A=3. 29d is therefore 73 = 343. 14a then becomes 3(NG+S)+5040.

From then on it’s a case of keeping track of each equation, slotting in the values of the letters as you deduce them. Adding the solutions you’ve deduced to the grid where possible also helps.

The equations featuring powers or factorials are key as they help eliminate potential values for each letter. For example, 21a, TA+RR+IE+R-S, a 4-digit number, suggests R is no more than 5 because 66 is 46,656 and S could never be enough to bring that down to 4 digits.

Certain clues featuring powers are doubly key as they help to further narrow possible ranges for certain values. For instance, 30a, W(A-S)-O+K, tells us that S is going to be less than A. This is because negative powers yield decimal values less than 1, which you would not be able to fit into the grid. As we’ve deduced A to be 3, this suggests S is going to be either 1 or 2. In this case, S=1 because no value of W(3-2) can yield enough for the solution to be a 3-digit number.

A number of clues let us narrow in on values for C, R and E.

5d, which is now U-1-E+B(E-3)N+7I(N+1), and 31a, 3(I+D)+E!, allow us narrow in on a value for E. 5d tells us that E is going to be more than 3 thanks to the power (E-3), while 31a tells us that E is going to be 6 or less due the solution being a 3-digit number (6! being 720 – anything larger and you’ll bust). E is therefore going to be 4, 5 or 6.

The power (E-C) in 6d, which is now L(E-C)+(8+U+R(E+R))M, tells us that C is going to be less than E. C is therefore going to be 2, 4 or 5. (We’ve already established S=1 and A=3.)

17d is now C3R+N(I+V+3(L+1)), a 5-digit number. With C being a minimum of 2, R cannot be more than 5. (23×5 = 215 = 32,768, while 23×6 = 218 = 262,144 – too big.). R is therefore going to be 2, 4 or 5.

21a is now 20+RR+IE+R, a 4-digit number. The maximum IE can be at this point is 18×19=342. 22=4 and 44=256 aren’t going to be enough to make a 4-digit solution, but 55 =3125. Therefore R=5.

Going back to 17d, now C15+N(I+V+3(L+1)), we now see that C=2 for the solution to remain a 5-digit number. If C was 3, C15 would be 14,348,907 – too big.

27d is now 2E(4+M+I)-1, a 4-digit number. With 1, 2, 3 and 5 now spoken for, E must be either 4 or 6. The most (4+M+I) can be at this point is (4+18+19) = 41. If E was 4, this would be 24*41-1=655, which is too small. Therefore E=6.

By now we’ve established which letters represent 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7. Powers continue to play a crucial part in deducing further values.

4d is now 14-O+3I-3WN, a 4-digit number. The least 3WN is going to be at this point is 3x4x8=96. We can therefore see that 3I is going to form the lion’s share of this number. I=4 is too little, as 34=81. I=9 is too much, as 39=19,683. (The most 3WN can be to reduce this is 3x18x19=1026.) Therefore I=8.

33a is now B(O-B)L+6(8-G)+7H+18+M, a 6-digit number. The power (8-G) tells us that G is going to be less than 8. As 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 are already spoken for, G=4.

25a is now O-5+N+B+N3+N4, a 4-digit number. Numbers 1-8 are now deduced. If N was 10, then 25a would be O-5+10+B+1000+10000 – too big for a 4-digit number. Therefore N=9.

By now you’ll have solutions for some clues that can be slotted into the grid, allowing you to deduce further values.

14a is 5151, 21a is 3198, 34a is 653 and 29d is 343. As we know the numbers in the grid are to be swapped for letters, this means two-digit cells are going to be a maximum of 19. The solutions will therefore be entered into the grid as 5-15-1, 3-19-8, 6-5-3 and 3-4-3 respectively. Also, 7a at the moment is 1951+O, so, with numbers 1-9 already deduced, this will eventually be a value between 1961-1969. (7a can’t be 1970 as 9d cannot begin with a 0.) We can therefore also fill in the first two cells of 7a, i.e. 19-6-(?).

(Additionally, we know that 8d is a palindrome, 4-digits, 3 cells long, now beginning with 6. It must therefore end with a 6. We know only values 1-19 can be entered into each cell. The solution for 8d can only therefore be 6116, entered either as 6-11-6 or 6-1-16.)

At this point, the grid will look like this:

Doesn’t seem like much, but believe it or not we’re near the end!

7d is now 53M2, a 5-digit number. We can see from the grid that it begins with 19 and ends with 3. The only value that fits is M=19, making 7d 19133 (entered as 19-1-3-3).

A couple more solutions now drop into place. 9d is 5131 (entered as 5-13-1) and 27d is 1983 (entered as 19-8-3).

By virtue of solving 9d we now know the solution to 7a is 1965. The clue at the moment is 1951+O, which means O=14.

22d is now 2B3-7, a 4-digit number beginning with 19. Therefore B=10, making 22d 1993 (entered as 19-9-3).

More solutions drop into place. 4a is 6916 (entered as 6-9-16), 10a is 823 (entered as 8-2-3), 18a is 18894 (entered as 18-8-9-4), 25a is 7318 (entered as 7-3-18) and 3d is 711118 (entered as 7-11-1-18 due to 14a ending in 1).

The grid is now taking shape:

Next, we think back to 8d, which we know will be 6116, entered as 6-11-6 or 6-1-16. We’re told that 13a, crossing 8d midway, will be a 4-digit number squeezed into 3 cells. The first and last two digits of 13a have been solved, meaning that the remaining digit is single. 8d, which crosses 13a, must therefore be written in as 6-1-16. This means 13a is 1113. With the clue for 13a being 70U-7 at the moment, this means U=16.

Further solutions drop into the grid as a result. 16a is 6193 (entered as 6-19-3) and 5d is 9569 (entered as 9-5-6-9).

15a is now 8V2+4, a 4-digit number we now know will end in 316. Therefore V=17, making 15a 2316 (entered as 2-3-16).

Further solutions drop into the grid as a a result. 19d is 8675 (entered as 8-6-7-5) and 23d is 81119 (entered as 8-1-11-9 – this is because 32a is 4 digits crammed into 3 cells, and we already know the first two cells of 32a are 4 and 3).

6d is now L4+1501, a 5-digit number we now know will begin with 16 and end with 2. Therefore L=11, making 6d 16142 (entered as 16-14-2).

A ton of solutions now drop into the grid as a result. 32a is 4311 (entered as 4-3-11 – already solved by virtue of solving 23d), 35a is 4389 (entered as 4-3-8-9), 1d is 88146 (entered as 8-8-14-6), 8d is 6116 (entered as 6-1-16 – already completed when deducing U), 11d is 2519 (entered as 2-5-19 – already filled in by other solutions), 17d is 33317 (entered as 3-3-3-17), 24d is 1111 (entered as 1-1-11 – this is because 33a is a 6-digit solution crammed into 3 cells, so all three cells will be values 10-19) and 26d is 1856 (entered as 18-5-6).

12a is now 75D, a 4-digit number we now know will begin with 11 and end with 5. Therefore D=15, making 12a 1125.

Further solutions drop into the grid as a result. 31a is 789 (entered as 7-8-9) and 25d is 7714 (entered as 7-7-14).

4d is now 6561-27W, a 4-digit number we now know will begin with 62. The last two digits are entered into a single cell, meaning they are 10-19. Of the undetermined values remaining (12, 13 and 18), only W=13 results in a solution ending this way, making 4d 6210.

20d is now 4676+K, a 4-digit number we now know will begin with 4 and end with 94. Therefore K=18, making 20d 4694 (entered as 4-6-9-4).

Further solutions drop into the grid. 28a is 639 (entered as 6-3-9 – already in the grid thanks to other solutions), 30a is 173 (entered as 1-7-3 – ditto) and 2d is 3315 (entered as 3-3-15).

Finally, H must be 12 as it’s the only value left. This drops in 1a, 81237 (entered as 8-12-3-7).

The completed grid therefore looks like this:

Which, when replaced with their letter equivalents, spells out the following message:

In all, a great puzzle! If you are reading this, Piccadilly, 10/10. Great construction, witty solution and good progression throughout. Loved it.

Laters,

LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1457

Not the Bank Holiday stinker that was feared. A pretty average strength puzzle in the end, which is all fine and dandy with me. All the more time to get other things done!

As ever, you can find my completed solution below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. Posts covering the previous 100+ of these things can be accessed via my Just For Fun page. Meanwhile, I’ve also got some dusty old book reviews and a story of mine.

Till next time, keep safe, mask up and continue to support the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

1. Go away, packing some current toiletry (7)

Answer: SHAMPOO (i.e. “toiletry”). Solution is SHOO (i.e. “go away”) wrapped around or “packing” AMP (i.e. “some [electrical] current”), like so: SH(AMP)OO.

5. Show sheet of stamps left ready (5,4)

Answer: PANEL GAME (i.e. “[TV or radio] show”). Solution is PANE (i.e. a large “sheet of stamps” issued by the Post Office) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and GAME (i.e. “ready”).

10. A lot of well-rounded fruit (4)

Answer: PLUM. A triple-header, I believe, in that the solution satisfies “a lot” – a plum, according to my Chambers, is an old word for £100,000 – also “well-rounded” and “fruit”.
[EDIT: Thanks to Ong’ara in the comments for providing a much better solution to this, being PLUMP (i.e. “well-rounded”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of”). Much obliged, Ong’ara! – LP]

14. Nice jumper, perhaps needed for game (6,7)

Answer: FRENCH CRICKET (i.e. “game”, specifically one where “players throw a ball at a batsman from the place where it is fielded, the batsman being out if the ball strikes his or her leg below the knee.” (Chambers) – it’ll never catch on). Solution plays on how “Nice” is a FRENCH city, and a CRICKET is a “jumping” insect. You get the idea.

15. South American owl’s cries, communicating in concealment (2,7)

Answer: IN CAHOOTS (i.e. “communicating in concealment”). When written as INCA HOOTS the solution also satisfies “South American owl’s cries”.

16. Peacekeepers with move to East Darfur – initially not costed (10)

Answer: UNBUDGETED (i.e. “not costed”). Solution is UN (i.e. “peacekeepers”, specifically the United Nations) followed by BUDGE (i.e. “move”) and T E and D (i.e. “to East Darfur – initially”, i.e. the initial letters of “to”, “East” and “Darfur”).

17. Again plan to improve university gets behind schedule (11)

Answer: REFORMULATE (i.e. “again plan”). Solution is REFORM (i.e. “improve”) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and LATE (i.e. “behind schedule”).

18. All-female church – for this reason (5)

Answer: HENCE (i.e. “for this reason”). Solution is HEN (i.e. “female”) followed by CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England).

19. Dogfish is tender, Harry (10)

Answer: NURSEHOUND (i.e. “dogfish”). Solution is NURSE (i.e. “tender”) followed by HOUND (i.e. “[to] harry” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

21. Indian Statesman with horse protected by solider (6)

Answer: Rajiv GANDHI (i.e. “Indian Statesman”). Solution is AND (i.e. “with”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “horse”) both placed in or “protected by” GI (i.e. “soldier”), like so: G(AND-H)I.

23. Overturned ruler, a distant one? (3,6)

Answer: RAS TAFARI (i.e. “overturned ruler”, also known as Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia who was overthrown in a military coup in the mid-1970s). Thanks to a spot of recycling the solution is TSAR (i.e. “ruler”) reversed (indicated by “overthrown”) and followed by AFAR (i.e. “distant”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: RAST-AFAR-I. Nicely worked.

25. What improves flow of southern wine from Spain (5)

Answer: STENT (i.e. “what improves flow” of blood). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) followed by TENT (i.e. “wine from Spain”).

26. Difficult Republican pair in Australia (7)

Answer: ARDUOUS (i.e. “difficult”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”) and DUO (i.e. “pair”) both placed “in” AUS (a recognised abbreviation of “Australia”), like so: A(R-DUO)US.

28. Easy, cheap bake cooked in area rich with seafood (10,3)

Answer: CHESAPEAKE BAY (i.e. “[US] area rich with seafood”). “Cooked” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EASY CHEAP BAKE.

31. Penny-pinching sets back head of Treasury’s check on finances (5,4)

Answer: MEANS TEST (i.e. “check on finances”). Solution is MEAN (i.e. “penny-pinching”) followed by SETS reversed (indicated by “back”) and T (i.e. “head of Treasury”, i.e. the first letter of “Treasury”), like so: MEAN-STES-T.

33. Wrecks – and what might cause them? (9)

Answer: TORPEDOES. Clue plays on how the solution can be a noun and a verb, i.e. how to TORPEDO something can be said to “wreck” it. You get the idea.

35. Position-finding in Lima, say calling to drop off Victor (13)

Answer: RADIOLOCATION (i.e. “position-finding”). Solution is RADIO L (i.e. “Lima, say” – Lima is L in the phonetic alphabet, used to clearly spell stuff over radio or other audio communications) followed by VOCATION (i.e. “calling”) with the V removed (indicated by “to drop off Victor” – “Victor” being V in the phonetic alphabet), like so: RADIO-L-OCATION.

37. Assorted charms seen around European border region (7)

Answer: MARCHES (i.e. “border region”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “assorted”) of CHARMS wrapped “around” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: MARCH(E)S.

38. Expert at getting round odd parts of Dieppe (5)

Answer: ADEPT (i.e. “expert”). Solution is AT wrapped “round” every other letter of DIEPPE (indicated by “odd parts of…”), like so: A(DEP)T.

40. Poor quality trader hit badly (5-4)

Answer: THIRD-RATE (i.e. “poor quality”). “Badly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TRADER HIT.

42. Organ installed in new empty baptistry not far away (6)

Answer: NEARBY (i.e. “not far away”). Solution is EAR (i.e. “organ”) placed or “installed in” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and BY (i.e. “empty baptistry”, i.e. the word “baptistry” with all its middle letters removed), like so: N-(EAR)-BY.

44. Female working to run large outfit in recession (6,4)

Answer: CAREER GIRL (i.e. “female working” – blimey, what century is this from?). Solution is CAREER (i.e. “to run”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and RIG (i.e. “outfit”) once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “in recession”), like so: CAREER-(GIR-L).

46. Some pyromaniac – Nero, perhaps (5)

Answer: ROMAN (i.e. “Nero, perhaps”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PY(ROMAN)IAC. Nicely worked.

48. Get hold of the wrong end of the stick in row chasing male dog (4,7)

Answer: BULL TERRIER (i.e. “dog”). Solution is ERR (i.e. “get hold of the wrong end of the stick”) placed “in” TIER (i.e. “row”) and preceded by or “chasing” BULL (i.e. “male”), like so: BULL-T(ERR)IER.

50. Old writers have English with identical style of spelling (4,6)

Answer: OPEN SESAME (i.e. “spelling”, as in how the words would open the forty thieves’ cave in One Thousand and One Nights – now if only the words would work on peel-and-reseal packaging: surely the biggest lie that has been fed the British public in decades. (Checks all lies fed to British public over several decades.) Yup. Definitely the biggest. Thank goodness for knives, I say. It’s the only way to get into the bloody things. Of course, then you’ve got to get the cling film out to wrap the now-mutilated packaging, instantly doing away with the environmental benefits of having it resealable in the first place. I mean, why? (Drops to knees) Why?!? WWHHYYY??!! In fact, why aren’t we protesting this? Action is surely needed to stop… wait, I appear to have gone off track.) Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by PENS (i.e. “writers”), then E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and SAME (i.e. “identical”).
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for the typo fix. O is a recognised abbreviation of “old”, not “open”. Cheers, Sue! – LP]

52. Impression capital is a cause of fall in aviation industry (3,6)

Answer: AIR POCKET (i.e. “cause of fall in aviation industry” – sick bags at the ready!). Solution is AIR (i.e. “impression”) followed by POCKET (i.e. “capital” – one definition of “pocket” is “one’s personal stock of money”).

53. Empire’s in trim with stirring leader (5,8)

Answer: PRIME MINISTER (i.e. “leader”). “With stirring” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EMPIRE’S IN TRIM.

54. Man cried (4)

Answer: CREW. Solution satisfies to “man” a boat and “cried”, i.e. the past tense of “crow”.

55. Make union once more upset centre about Conservative (9)

Answer: RECONNECT (i.e. “make union once more”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “upset”) of CENTRE wrapped “about” CON (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”), like so: RE(CON)NECT.

56. Cosmonaut a bit mad at urine being uncovered (7)

Answer: Yuri GAGARIN (i.e. “cosmonaut”). Solution is GAGA (i.e. “a bit mad”) followed by RIN (i.e. “urine being uncovered”, i.e. the word “urine” with it’s first and last letters removed), like so: GAGA-RIN.

Down clues

1. Some works of art in Chesterfield (4)

Answer: SOFA (i.e. “Chesterfield”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: WORK(S OF A)RT.

2. Key coins used around northern Italian region (9)

Answer: APENNINES (i.e. “Italian region”). Solution is A (i.e. “[musical] key”) followed by PENNIES (i.e. “coins”) wrapped “around” N (a recognised abbreviation of “northern”), like so: A-PENNI(N)ES.

3. Work in concert to imagine the devil showing off (8,2,2,10)

Answer: PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION (i.e. “work in concert” by Modest Mussorgsky). Solution is PICTURE (i.e. “to imagine”) followed by SATAN (i.e. “the devil”) and EXHIBITION (i.e. “showing off”).

4. Reason for growth projection in unit over November (7)

Answer: ONCOGEN (i.e. “reason for growth”, specifically an agent causing the formation of cancerous tumours). Solution is COG (i.e. “projection” – can refer to the tooth of a cog as well as the thing itself) placed “in” ONE (i.e. “unit”) and followed by N (“November” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: ON(COG)E-N. Another of those make-up-a-word-and-see-if-it’s-in-the-dictionary moments.

5. What publisher uses to improve look about reset insert (8,3)

Answer: PRINTERS INK (i.e. “what publisher uses”). Solution is PRINK (i.e. “to improve look” – not a word I can imagine myself using: “Yeah, mate, I’ll be right there. I’m just having a little prink first…”) wrapped “about” an anagram (indicated by “reset”) of INSERT, like so: PRIN(TERSIN)K.

6. Snakes end writhing, having shed skins? (9)

Answer: NAKEDNESS (i.e. “having shed skins” – a bit Hellraiser if you ask me, but okay). “Writhing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SNAKES END.

7. Roofer starting late and after some time (5)

Answer: LATER (i.e. “after some time”). Solution is SLATER (i.e. “roofer”) with the initial letter removed (indicated by “starting late”). Naff that the solution is a variant form of another word used in the clue.

8. A noise, loud one, mostly rising up to the furthest distance (2,9)

Answer: AD INFINITUM (i.e. “to the furthest distance”). Solution is A followed by DIN (i.e. “noise”), then F (i.e. “loud”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the musical term “forte”), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and MUTINY (i.e. “rising up”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: A-DIN-F-I-NITUM.

9. Space centre’s to give work once more (6)

Answer: ENCORE (i.e. “to give work once more”). Solution is EN (i.e. “space” – a printer’s term denoting half an “em”, a space the width of the letter “m” – if you ever see “space” in a clue, keep EM and EN in mind) followed by CORE (i.e. “centre”).

11. Man running in open land and road (7)

Answer: LEONARD (i.e. “man”, basically a man’s name). Solution is ON (i.e. “running” or switched on) placed “in” LEA (i.e. “open land” or meadow) and followed by RD (a recognised abbreviation of “road”), like so: LE(ON)A-RD.

12. Tons in row following my puzzles? (9)

Answer: MYSTERIES (i.e. “puzzles”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “tons”) placed in SERIES (i.e. “row”) and the whole then placed after or “following” MY, like so: MY-S(T)ERIES.

13. A suggestion of “misrobing”? This might go with green items (8,6,8)

Answer: THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING (i.e. “this might go with green items”, i.e. salad). Not on the same page as the setter on this one, I’m afraid. I get the DRESSING = “robing” part but I cannot parse the rest satisfactorily. “A suggestion of” could hint that the solution itself, when written a certain way, represents a cryptic clue, but nothing is sparking. Alternatively, you could write it as THOU SAND IS LAND DRESSING, which, while true, doesn’t speak much of a “misrobing” to me. Meh. Whatever. If I have a brainwave or if a kind commenter swings by with the solution I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Dr John wins the internet after clearing this one up, pointing out that “misrobing” gets you the solution when it’s broken down as follows: M (i.e. “[Roman numeral] THOUSAND), IS (a recognised abbreviation of ISLAND) and ROBING (i.e. DRESSING).
I echo his “Phew!” in the comments! Cheers, Doc! – LP] 

18. Bin last trio of artichokes and cook another vegetable (7)

Answer: HARICOT (i.e. “vegetable”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cook”) of ARTICHOKES once the last three letters or “last trio” have been removed or “binned”.

20. Unable to appreciate stereo unit, watch end of DVD (3-4)

Answer: ONE-EYED (i.e. “unable to appreciate stereo” vision – unless some weird synaesthesia is going on). Solution is ONE (i.e. “unit”) followed by EYE (i.e. “watch”) and D (i.e. “end of DVD”, i.e. the last letter of “DVD”).

22. Lover of fine dressing for pasta (8)

Answer: MACARONI. Solution satisfies “lover of fine dressing”, i.e. a dandy, and “pasta”.

24. Mike leaves fraternity residence for pub (8)

Answer: ALEHOUSE (i.e. “pub”). Solution is MALE HOUSE (i.e. “fraternity”) once the M has been removed (indicated by “Mike leaves” – M being “Mike” in the phonetic alphabet).

27. Signs of dodgy passages round Bethel, I have article stolen (5)

Answer: OBELI (i.e. “signs of dodgy passages”, an obelus is “a – or † used in ancient manuscripts to mark suspected, corrupt of spurious words and passages” (Chambers)). Solution is O (i.e. “round”), BETHEL and I once the THE of BETHEL has been removed (indicated by “…have article stolen” – an article being a word like a, an or the), like so: O-BE(THE)L-I => O-BEL-I. Tough bugger.

29. Fear losing first letter in misprint, perhaps (5)

Answer: ERROR (i.e. “misprint, perhaps”). Solution is TERROR (i.e. “fear”) after “losing [its] first letter”.

30. See Brum’s obscure language (7)

Answer: BURMESE (i.e. “language”). “Obscure” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SEE BRUM’S.

32. Can bird feature in Wordsworth poem? (7)

Answer: TINTERN (i.e. “feature in Wordsworth poem”, specifically Lines Written A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey). Solution is TIN (i.e. “can”) followed by TERN (i.e. “bird”). One of those make-up-a-word-and-search-Google moments. I have no shame.

34. Bogus article is stripped stick of a witch doctor (11)

Answer: SHAMANISTIC (i.e. “witch doctor”). Solution is SHAM (i.e. “bogus”) followed by AN (i.e. “article” – see 27d, above), then IS and TIC (i.e. “stripped stick”, i.e. the word “stick” with the first and last letter removed), like so: SHAM-AN-IS-TIC.

36. Revealed team went for a winger (7-4)

Answer: OUTSIDE-LEFT (i.e. “a winger”, as in a position on a football field). Solution is OUT (i.e. “revealed”) followed by SIDE (i.e. “team”) and LEFT (i.e. “went”).

37. A lot of March, say, mostly clear and cold for skiing area? (4,5)

Answer: MONT BLANC (i.e. “skiing area”). Solution is MONTH (i.e. “March, say” – other months are available) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of…”) and the remainder followed by BLANK (i.e. “clear”), again with its last letter removed (this time indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder this time followed by C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”), like so: MONT-BLAN-C.

39. King with gold I sheltered in brief scare (9)

Answer: TERRORISE (i.e. “scare”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of Rex, or “King” in Latin), OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry) and I all placed in or “sheltered” by TERSE (i.e. “brief”), like so: TER(R-OR-I)SE.

41. Old school needs to adjust about a couple of degrees (4,5)

Answer: ALMA MATER (i.e. “old school”, from the Latin for “benign mother”). Solution is ALTER (i.e. “to adjust”) wrapped “about” MA and MA (i.e. “a couple of degrees”, specifically Masters of Arts), like so: AL(MA-MA)TER.

43. Belted earl with tag on the run (2,5)

Answer: AT LARGE (i.e. “on the run”). “Belted” indicates anagram, as in giving something a whack. Solution is an anagram of EARL and TAG.

45. Author with official approval, not British (7)

Answer: Doris LESSING (i.e. “author”). Solution is BLESSING (i.e. “official approval”) with the B removed (indicated by “not British” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “British”).

47. Runs after ruined trader (6)

Answer: BROKER (i.e. “trader”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) placed “after” BROKE (i.e. “ruined”), like so: BROKE-R.

49. Rent concerning for northern city (5)

Answer: RIPON (i.e. “northern city”). Solution is RIP (i.e. “rent”) followed by ON (i.e. “concerning”).

51. Land in the centre of Albania’s capital (4)

Answer: IRAN (i.e. “land”). Solution is the middle letters or “centre of” TIRANA (i.e. “Albania’s capital”).