Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1509

A medium-strength offering this week marred by a setter playing nasty. Well, two can play at that game, chum.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip, then you might find enlightenment in my Just For Fun page, where I’ve chucked together links to solutions for the past 150+ of these things. Elsewhere you can find the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind words and help, folks, and a special hat-tip to those who have purchased my stuff in recent months. I purposely avoid the hard sell in these posts, so it’s really nice to see the sales when they ping into my inbox. Thank you. Till next time, stay safe, mask up when asked, and continue giving props to the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Sailor and solider regularly unload arthropod (9)

Answer: TARANTULA (i.e. “arthropod”, or critters with segmented bodies and the like). Solution is TAR (i.e. informal word for a “sailor”) followed by ANT (i.e. “solider”) and ULA (i.e. “regularly unload”, i.e. every other letter of UNLOAD).

  1. Quiet American, sick with hatred, takes in old and timid (13)

Answer: PUSILLANIMOUS (i.e. “timid”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, i.e. “quiet” in musical lingo) followed by US (i.e. “American”), then ILL (i.e. “sick”) and ANIMUS (i.e. hostility or “hatred”) once wrapped around or “taking in” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: P-US-ILL-ANIM(O)US.

  1. A bunch of well-read librarians wing it (2-3)

Answer: AD-LIB (i.e. “wing it”). “A bunch of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: WELL-RE(AD LIB)RARIANS.

  1. Victory impresses more trendy assistant in hunt (7-2)

Answer: WHIPPER-IN (i.e. “assistant in hunt” who looks after the hounds, it says here). Solution is WIN (i.e. “victory”) wrapped around or “impressing” HIPPER (i.e. “more trendy”), like so: W(HIPPER)IN.

  1. Author about to block old censor and senator finally (7)

Answer: CREATOR (i.e. “author”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) placed in or “blocking” CATO the Elder (i.e. “old censor” – he was also known as Cato the Censor) and followed by R (i.e. “senator finally”, i.e. the last letter of “senator”), like so: C(RE)ATO-R.

  1. The incredible awareness at the heart of Shakespeare (12,10)

Answer: EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION (i.e. “incredible awareness”). Clue plays on how the initials ESP can be found “at the heart of ShakESPeare”.

  1. Idiots undermine bills ambassador introduced (8)

Answer: SAPHEADS (i.e. “idiots”). Solution is SAP (i.e. to “undermine”) and ADS (i.e. “bills” or advertisements) both wrapped around or “introducing” HE (i.e. “ambassador”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “His Excellency”), like so: SAP-(HE)-ADS.

  1. Bizarre account involving old form of fruit (8)

Answer: COCOANUT (i.e. “form of fruit” – Chambers just about tolerates the variant spelling). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “bizarre”) of ACCOUNT wrapped around or “involving” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: COC(O)ANUT.

  1. A lot of sailors grasping firm bit of mast (5)

Answer: ACORN (i.e. “bit of mast” – a variant meaning of “mast” is the fruit of assorted trees, oaks included, upon which pigs feed). Solution is A and RN (i.e. “lot of sailors”, specifically the Royal Navy) wrapped around or “grasping” CO (i.e. “firm”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a “company”), like so: A-(CO)-RN.

  1. Notice present then past feature in playground (6)

Answer: SEESAW (i.e. “feature in playground”). Solution is SEE (i.e. “notice” in the “present” tense) followed by SAW (i.e. “notice” in the “past” tense).

  1. Wet blanket near person at end of day (6)

Answer: MISERY (i.e. a “wet blanket”). Solution is MISER (i.e. “near person” – one definition of “near” is an informal word for being stingy) followed by Y (i.e. “end of day”, i.e. the last letter of “day”).

  1. Fleet Street record dance (9)

Answer: QUICKSTEP (i.e. “dance”). Solution is QUICK (i.e. “fleet”) followed by ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”) and EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended Play).

  1. Calm down one in a key state after rioting (4,2,4)

Answer: TAKE IT EASY (i.e. “calm down”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “after rioting”) of A KEY STATE wrapped around or taking “in” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: TAKE(I)TEASY.

  1. “Cicero is an orator first and foremost!” Roman cheers (4)

Answer: CIAO (i.e. “Roman cheers”, i.e. an Italian salutation or valediction. I’m guilty of signing off emails with “cheers” from time to time). “First and foremost” indicates the solution comprises the initial letters of Cicero Is An Orator.

  1. Couple hold nerve withdrawing farm job (7)

Answer: TILLAGE (i.e. “farm job”). Solution is TIE (i.e. to “couple”) wrapped around or “holding” GALL (i.e. “nerve”) once reversed (indicated by “withdrawing”), like so: TI(LLAG)E.

  1. This writer’s probing unfit revolutionary instruments (7)

Answer: TIMPANI (i.e. “instruments”). Solution is I’M (i.e. “this writer’s”, taken as a contraction of “this writer is” from the point of view of the setter) placed in or “probing” INAPT (i.e. “unfit”) once reversed (indicated by “revolutionary”), like so: T(I’M)PANI.

  1. Flat sporting occasion curtailed (4)

Answer: EVEN (i.e. “flat”). Solution is EVENT (i.e. “sporting occasion”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “curtailed”).

  1. In Arctic ground I had added corrosive chemical (6,4)

Answer: NITRIC ACID (i.e. “corrosive chemical”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “ground”) of IN ARCTIC followed by I’D (a contraction of “I had”), like so: NITRICAC-I’D.

  1. Large snake in garden initially gives problem with hose (9)

Answer: LADDERING (i.e. “problem with hose”, i.e. tights). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) followed by ADDER (i.e. “snake”), then IN and G (i.e. “garden initially”, i.e. the first letter of “garden”).

  1. French president takes off glove for trip (6)

Answer: ERRAND (i.e. “trip”). Solution is François MITTERRAND (i.e. “French president”) with the MITT removed (indicated by “takes off glove”).

  1. Small extremely clumsy article one’s used for cutting (6)

Answer: SCYTHE (i.e. “one’s used for cutting”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by CY (i.e. “extremely clumsy”, i.e. the first and last letters of “clumsy”), then THE (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the).

  1. It secures victory in time that’s empty (5)

Answer: TWINE (i.e. “it secures”). Solution is WIN (i.e. “victory”) once placed “in” TE (i.e. “time that’s empty”, i.e. the word “time” with its middle letters removed), like so: T(WIN)E.

  1. Is blinking big cat occasionally caught in rump? (8)

Answer: NICTATES (i.e. “is blinking” – I’ve tried, like really really hard, to twist the phrasing this way and that, but can only arrive at something ending in -ing, not -s). Solution is ICT (i.e. “big cat occasionally”, i.e. every other letter of BIG CAT) placed or “caught in” NATES (i.e. anatomical term for the buttocks or “rump”), like so: N(ICT)ATES. Clunky.

  1. Ten tucked into beer with lime, say, in bar on coach (8)

Answer: AXLETREE (i.e. “bar on coach” – a new one on me, but not one I think will live long in the memory). Solution is X (i.e. Roman numeral for “ten”) placed or “tucked into” ALE (i.e. “beer”) and followed by TREE (i.e. “lime, say” – other flavours of tree are available), like so: A(X)LE-TREE. One gotten by looking up words beginning with AXLE, if I’m honest.

  1. Relish standardising nosh cooked with dulse (8,6,8)

Answer: THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING (i.e. “relish” – and one so popular with Times setters it has appeared four times since I started doing these Jumbo posts. Either that or it’s the same setter each time and they’re utterly besotted with the stuff. Like, open any cupboard or drawer in their house and you’ll find nothing but jars and jars of Thousand Island dressing. Wardrobe: ditto. Box room: chock-a-block with it. Turn on the taps: Thousand Island dressing oozes out. Flush the toilet: Thousand Island dressing. Good grief, there are even jars of it stuffed into the cistern. These Times setters really, really love their Thousand Island dressing! I prefer hummus, personally). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cooked”) of STANDARDISING NOSH and DULSE.

  1. Antarctic explorer in India? Tell composer (7)

Answer: Gioachino ROSSINI (i.e. “Tell composer”, i.e. him wot wrote The Lone Ranger theme tune the William Tell Overture). Solution is John ROSS (i.e. “Antarctic explorer”) followed by IN and I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Poor state university function in deficit (9)

Answer: LOUSINESS (i.e. “poor state”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and SINE (i.e. trigonometrical “function”) both placed “in” LOSS (i.e. “deficit”), like so: LO(U-SINE)SS.

  1. Collapsing out of bounds, exhausted (3,2)

Answer: ALL IN (i.e. “exhausted”). Solution is FALLING (i.e. “collapsing”) with its first and last letters removed (indicated by “out of bounds”).

  1. Enlarging vein somehow the result of using needle (4,9)

Answer: LINE ENGRAVING (i.e. “result of using needle”). “Somehow” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ENLARGING VEIN. Nicely worked.

  1. Dealing online, English come across German car (1-8)

Answer: E-COMMERCE (i.e. “dealing online”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by COME once wrapped around or placed “across” MERC (i.e. “German car”, short for Mercedes), like so: E-COM(MERC)E.

Down clues

  1. Crosses put up around Republican states (9)

Answer: TRAVERSES (i.e. “crosses”). Solution is SET (i.e. to “put” in place) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped “around” R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”) and AVERS (i.e. “states”), like so: T(R-AVERS)ES.

  1. Bureau Trollope’s crazy daughter put in at end of week (4-3,4)

Answer: ROLL-TOP DESK (i.e. “bureau”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “crazy”) of TROLLOPE’S wrapped around or having “put in” D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) and followed by K (i.e. “end of week”, i.e. the last letter of “week”), like so: ROLLTOP(D)ES-K.

  1. Old part of Africa now under boats in Aswan primarily (5)

Answer: NUBIA (i.e. “old part of Africa” along the Nile). “Primarily” indicates the solution comprises the initial letters of Now Under Boats In Aswan.

  1. Peace-keepers, furious about eastern Yankee, hard to handle (8)

Answer: UNWIELDY (i.e. “hard to handle”). Solution is UN (i.e. “peace-keepers”, specifically the United Nations) followed by WILD (i.e. “furious”) once wrapped “about” E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”) and followed by Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: UN-WI(E)LD-Y.

  1. Surrounded by 500 in a film (6)

Answer: AMIDST (i.e. “surrounded by”). Solution is D (Roman numeral for “500”) placed “in” A and MIST (i.e. “film”), like so: A-MI(D)ST.

  1. Decorate unit inspired by my notes (5,5)

Answer: PAPER MONEY (i.e. “notes”). Solution is PAPER (i.e. to “decorate”) followed by ONE (i.e. “unit”) once placed in or “inspired by” MY, like so: PAPER-M(ONE)Y.

  1. My nicest port dissolved drug (12)

Answer: STREPTOMYCIN (i.e. “drug”). “Dissolved” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MY NICEST PORT. I knew strepto- from my sepia-tinged school days, so a quick shufti in Chambers got me over the line.

  1. Herbicide used up in kindergarten or uni lawns (4,3)

Answer: LINU RON (i.e. a “herbicide” no longer for sale owing to its effects on wildlife. Hoo boy, where to start with this beauty? First: the compound is not listed in any dictionary I own – certainly worthy of a caution, right there. Second: the most cursory glance online reveals it’s actually one word, not two. How on earth did you figure this was a two-worder, setter? Did Chemical John get you a cheap bottle of Soviet-era Linu Яon™ down the pub one day? Definite yellow card. Third: if you find you have painted yourself into a corner and have to resort to made-to-fit bullshit solutions like this, consider reworking the grid. It’s really not that difficult. Second yellow. Back to setter school with you). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: KINDERGARTE(N OR UNI L)AWNS.

  1. Old standard bearer fellow’s one on the right: we all know that? (7,7)

Answer: ANCIENT HISTORY (i.e. “we all know that” – Chambers offers this definition for the phrase: “news or gossip which, contrary to the expectations of the teller, one is already well aware of (inf, fig)“). Solution is ANCIENT (i.e. “old standard bearer”, an obsolete variant meaning of the word) followed by HIS (i.e. “fellow’s”) and TORY (i.e. “one on the right” of politics).

  1. Sloth’s favourite time to eat it up (7)

Answer: INERTIA (i.e. “sloth”). Solution is IN (i.e. popular or “favourite”) followed by ERA (i.e. “time”) once wrapped around or “eating” IT once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: IN-ER(TI)A.

  1. Somehow drain tooth around hole, using this treatment? (11)

Answer: ORTHODONTIA (i.e. “[tooth] …treatment”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of DRAIN TOOTH wrapped “around” O (i.e. “hole”), like so: ORTH(O)DONTIA.

  1. Gershwin’s pulled up long garment (4)

Answer: SARI (i.e. “long garment”). Solution is IRA’S (i.e. “Gershwin’s” – his first name) reversed (indicated by “pulled up” – this being a down clue).

  1. A thousand raised fibres and tiny diamonds found in plant (8)

Answer: KNAPWEED (i.e. “plant”). Solution is K (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “a thousand”) followed by NAP (i.e. “raised fibres”), then WEE (i.e. “tiny”) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “diamonds” used in card games).

  1. Remove European judge jailing a lot of sleuths from the south (9)

Answer: ERADICATE (i.e. “remove”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and RATE (i.e. to “judge”) wrapped around or “jailing” A and CID (i.e. “lot of sleuths”, specifically the Criminal Investigation Department of the police force) both reversed (indicated by “from the south” – this being a down clue), like so: E-RA(DIC-A)TE.

  1. US poet drinks with Austrian composer (8)

Answer: Allen GINSBERG (i.e. “US poet”). Solution is GINS (i.e. “drinks”) followed by Alban BERG (i.e. “Austrian composer”).

  1. Result of division not quite worked out (8)

Answer: QUOTIENT (i.e. “result of division”). “Worked out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NOT QUITE.

  1. Old unit look into mountain bike (9)

Answer: KILOCYCLE (i.e. “old unit”, these days known as kilohertz). Solution is LO (i.e. “look”, as in lo and behold) placed “into” KI (i.e. “mountain”, specifically K1 with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent) and CYCLE (i.e. “bike”), like so: KI-(LO)-CYCLE.

  1. Comedian is trained by top man for ref’s job (8-6)

Answer: DECISION-MAKING (i.e. “ref’s job”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “trained”) of COMEDIAN IS followed by KING (i.e. “top man”), like so: DECISIONMA-KING.

  1. The whole lot write off leaderless City (8)

Answer: TOTALITY (i.e. “the whole lot”). Solution is TOTAL (i.e. to “write off” a motor vehicle) followed by CITY with its first letter removed (indicated by “leaderless”), like so: TOTAL-ITY.

  1. Ace Joss and I wrestling with equine’s indefinable quality (2,2,4,4)

Answer: JE NE SAIS QUOI (i.e. “indefinable quality”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wrestling”) of A (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used in card games), JOSS, I and EQUINE.

  1. Send up dull latest edition of paper? Poles enjoy it for 6 months (8,3)

Answer: MIDNIGHT SUN (i.e. “[north and south] poles enjoy it for 6 months”). Solution is DIM (i.e. “dull”) reversed (indicated by “send up” – this being a down clue) and followed by NIGHT SUN (i.e. playfully, the “latest edition of paper”).

  1. Maybe track flier eventually (11)

Answer: CATERPILLAR. Solution satisfies “maybe track”, such as the kind you’d find on tanks, and “flier eventually”.

  1. Taking Charlie to empty place for washing gear primarily (10)

Answer: FREEBASING (i.e. “taking Charlie”, an informal name for cocaine – freebasing is when you smoke the stuff). Solution is FREE (i.e. “to empty”) followed by BASIN (i.e. “place for washing”) and G (i.e. “gear primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “gear”).

  1. Coming out, soldiers picked up some DNA around clubs (9)

Answer: EMERGENCE (i.e. a “coming out”). Solution is REME (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue) and followed by GENE (i.e. “some DNA”) once wrapped “around” C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games), like so: EMER-GEN(C)E.

  1. Old hacks taking old drink (8)

Answer: EXPRESSO (i.e. “drink” – can be spelled with an X or an S). Solution is EX-PRESS (i.e. “old hacks” or journalists) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”).

  1. Hard to find our lot in East, as it happens (7)

Answer: ELUSIVE (i.e. “hard to find”). Solution is US (i.e. “our lot”) placed “in” E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”) and LIVE (i.e. “as it happens”), like so: E-L(US)IVE.

  1. What leads to some hissing when you call “garçon”? (7)

Answer: CEDILLA, the ‘z’-like tail beneath the ç of “garçon”. Clue plays on the “hissing” sound this represents in the word’s pronunciation. That’s it, I guess, unless I’ve missed something clever.

  1. Attach poster before bringing in horse (6)

Answer: ADHERE (i.e. “attach”). Solution is AD (i.e. “poster” or advertisement) and ERE (poetic form of “before”) wrapped around or “bringing in” H (i.e. “horse”, both street names for heroin), like so: AD-(H)-ERE.

  1. Host guru briefly collecting rupees (5)

Answer: SWARM (i.e. a “host” or lot of something). Solution is SWAMI (i.e. “guru”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder wrapped around or “collecting” R (a recognised abbreviation of “rupees”), like so: SWA(R)M.

  1. Flower in the countryside opening out (4)

Answer: URAL (i.e. a river or “flower” – think about it). Solution is RURAL (i.e. “countryside”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “opening out”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1508

A medium strength offering that didn’t do too much for me. Could be there were one too many recent repeats in the grid, could be there was an overreliance on people’s names, but it was probably more your favourite internet nobody hitting holiday season and the summer FINALLY arriving!

So obviously I’m typing this indoors while watching the darts.

Anyway, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has left you flummoxed then you might my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and help. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts and alternative takes of other solvers once the pens are stilled. Till next time, stay safe, get vaccinated – my 5G shots are now complete so I’ll soon be able to lick door handles again – and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Cricketer possibly left in ship, accompanied by valet (9)

Answer: SPORTSMAN (i.e. “cricketer possibly” – other sportspeople are available). Solution is PORT (i.e. “left” in shipspeak) placed “in” SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship) and followed by MAN (i.e. “valet”), like so: S(PORT)S-MAN.

  1. Story originally promoting farming land (7)

Answer: PARABLE (i.e. “story”). Solution is P (i.e. “originally promoting”, i.e. the first letter of “promoting”) followed by ARABLE (i.e. “farming land”).

  1. Range of knowledge inspiring a Republican woman (5)

Answer: KAREN (i.e. a “woman’s” name). Solution is KEN (i.e. “range of knowledge”) wrapped around or “inspiring” A and R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”), like so: K(A-R)EN.

  1. Team breaking up? Very funny! (4-9)

Answer: SIDE-SPLITTING (i.e. “very funny”). When written without the hyphen the solution also satisfies “team breaking up”.

  1. Peacemaking proposal NI politician associated with the Republic (9)

Answer: EIRENICON (i.e. “peacemaking proposal”). Solution is NI and CON (i.e. “politician”, specifically one of the Conservative persuasion) both placed after or “associated with” EIRE (i.e. the “republic” of Ireland), like so: EIRE-(NI-CON).

  1. Wearing down staff in key area of hospital (7)

Answer: ERODENT (i.e. “wearing down”). Solution is ROD (i.e. “staff”) placed “in” between E (i.e. a musical “key”) and ENT (i.e. “area of hospital” dealing with the Ear Nose and Throat), like so: E-(ROD)-ENT.

  1. Tuft of grass son thus dropped in food (7)

Answer: TUSSOCK (i.e. “tuft of grass”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) and SO (i.e. “thus”) both placed “in” TUCK (i.e. “food”), like so: TU(S-SO)CK.

  1. Shout of praise from house taken by woman in South Africa (7)

Answer: HOSANNA (i.e. “shout of praise”). Solution is HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”) followed by ANN (a “woman’s” name) once placed “in” SA (a recognised abbreviation of “South Africa”), like so: HO-S(ANN)A.

  1. Art involved with son’s Latin renderings (12)

Answer: TRANSLATIONS (i.e. “renderings”). “Involved” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ART and SON’S LATIN.

  1. Baker’s company probing father’s attempt very well (10)

Answer: PASTRYCOOK (i.e. “baker”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) placed in or “probing” PA’S (i.e. “father’s”), TRY (i.e. “attempt”) and OK (i.e. “very well”, both forms of reluctant assent), like so: PA’S-TRY-(CO)-OK.

  1. British composer showing ecstatic joy (5)

Answer: Arthur BLISS (i.e. “British composer” – pats Bradford’s). Solution also satisfies “ecstatic joy”.

  1. Obscure character chaps trust at first, possessing good sense (9)

Answer: JUDGEMENT (i.e. “sense”). Solution is JUDE (i.e. “obscure character”, a reference to Thomas Hardy’s novel Jude The Obscure – pats Google), MEN (i.e. “chaps”) and T (i.e. “trust at first”, i.e. the first letter of “trust”) all wrapped around or “possessing” G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: JUD(G)E-MEN-T.

  1. Humorist’s better jokes finally gaining acceptance (7)

Answer: PUNSTER (i.e. “humorist” – the word “humour” has got to be the messiest word in the entire dictionary. To U or not to U? Looking across its derivative forms, your best bet is to toss a coin. Don’t expect your spellchecker to bail you out, either). Solution is PUNTER (i.e. “better”) wrapped around or “accepting” S (i.e. “jokes finally”, i.e. the last letter of “jokes”), like so: PUN(S)TER.

  1. Doctor he met in cave exploit (11)

Answer: ACHIEVEMENT (i.e. a heroic “exploit”). “Doctor” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HE MET IN CAVE.

  1. Threaten to go out and push for sensational journalism (6,5)

Answer: GUTTER PRESS (i.e. “sensational journalism”). Solution is GUTTER (i.e. of a lit candle “threatening to go out”) followed by PRESS (i.e. to “push for”).

  1. Musical theatre employee, one who’s made a bob or two? (11)

Answer: HAIRDRESSER (i.e. “one who’s made a bob or two”, a reference to the hairstyle). Solution is HAIR (i.e. famed hippy “musical”) followed by DRESSER (i.e. “theatre employee”).

  1. Short course a choir developed in painting technique (11)

Answer: CHIAROSCURO (i.e. “painting technique”, often one produced in black and white). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “developed”) of COURSE once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”) and A CHOIR.

  1. Take clothes off washerwoman abandoning US city (7)

Answer: UNDRESS (i.e. “take clothes off”). Solution is LAUNDRESS (i.e. “washerwoman”) with the LA removed (indicated by “abandoning US city”).

  1. Irritate female, initially using limited amount of cotton? (9)

Answer: NEEDLEFUL (i.e. “amount of cotton”). Solution is NEEDLE (i.e. “irritate”) followed by F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) and UL (i.e. “initially using limited”, i.e. the first letters of “using” and “limited”).

  1. Country briefly served by European record company (5)

Answer: INDIE (i.e. “record company”). Solution is INDIA (i.e. “country”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly served”) and the remainder followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: INDI-E.

  1. Flap when English scoff excessively, gulping it back (10)

Answer: EPIGLOTTIS (i.e. anatomical “flap”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by PIG (i.e. to “scoff” or eat voraciously) and LOTS (i.e. “excessively”) once wrapped around or “gulping” IT reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: E-PIG-LOT(TI)S.

  1. Black rook on sign incorporating outsize Jurassic herbivore (12)

Answer: BRONTOSAURUS (i.e. “Jurassic herbivore”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) followed by R (ditto “rook”, again in chess), then ON and TAURUS (i.e. astrological “sign”) once wrapped around or “incorporating” OS (a recognised abbreviation of “outsize”), like so: B-R-ON-T(OS)AURUS.

  1. Attend police station, not having caught 1950s dropout (7)

Answer: BEATNIK (i.e. “1950s dropout”). Solution is BE AT NICK (i.e. “attend police station”) once the C has been removed (indicated by “not having caught” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games).

  1. Unprincipled fellow visiting gallery (7)

Answer: GODLESS (i.e. “unprincipled” – I mean, yeah, but a little high and mighty, don’t you think? How about we fast forward 50 years and see how we describe those still observing religion…) Solution is LES (a “fellow” or bloke’s name) placed in or “visiting” GODS (i.e. an informal name for a “gallery” in a theatre), like so: GOD(LES)S.

  1. Unfinished craft I found in China? (7)

Answer: PARTIAL (i.e. “unfinished”). Solution is ART (i.e. “craft”) and I both placed “in” PAL (i.e. “China” – as in the cockney rhyming slang for “mate”, a china plate. (Insert Mr Poll’s usual string of weak London stereotypes here)), like so: P(ART-I)AL.

  1. Like teaching spun out in most of Italy (9)

Answer: TUITIONAL (i.e. “like teaching”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “spun”) of OUT IN and ITALY once it’s last letter has been removed (indicated by “most of”).

  1. Novel Haitian metric calculator? (13)

Answer: ARITHMETICIAN (i.e. “calculator”). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HAITIAN METRIC.

  1. Move forward quickly, having energy after breather (5)

Answer: LUNGE (i.e. “move forward quickly”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) placed “after” LUNG (i.e. “breather”), like so: LUNG-E.

  1. Splashed out without hesitation, securing old wind instrument (7)

Answer: SERPENT (i.e. “old wind instrument”). Solution is SPENT (i.e. “splashed out”) wrapped around or placed “without” ER (i.e. an expression of “hesitation”), like so: S(ER)PENT.

  1. Come into conflict after writer produces mystic symbol (9)

Answer: PENTANGLE (i.e. “mystic symbol”). Solution is TANGLE (i.e. “come into conflict”) placed “after” PEN (i.e. “writer”), like so: PEN-TANGLE.

Down clues

  1. South American with muscle finally caught wanted man (7)

Answer: SUSPECT (i.e. “wanted man”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “south”) followed by US (i.e. “American”), then PEC (i.e. “muscle”, short for pectoral) and T (i.e. “finally caught”, i.e. the last letter of “caught”).

  1. Fussy former desire to tour Arab country (3-8)

Answer: OLD-WOMANISH (i.e. “fussy”). Solution is OLD (i.e. “former”) followed by WISH (i.e. “desire”) once wrapped around or “touring” OMAN (i.e. “Arab country”), like so: OLD-W(OMAN)ISH.

  1. Discrimination shown by third of visitors in gallery (5)

Answer: TASTE (i.e. “discrimination”). Solution is S (i.e. “third [letter] of visitors”) placed “in” TATE (i.e. a “gallery”), like so: TA(S)TE.

  1. End up arresting large Italian, leader of inept volunteer force (7)

Answer: MILITIA (i.e. “volunteer force”). Solution is AIM (i.e. “end”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “arresting”) L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), IT (ditto “Italian”) and I (i.e. “leader of inept”, i.e. the first letter of “inept”), like so: MI(L-IT-I)A.

  1. Head teachers once (3)

Answer: NUT. Solution satisfies “head” and “teachers once”, a reference to the National Union of Teachers.

  1. Space in US prepared for showjumping competition (9)

Answer: PUISSANCE (i.e. “showjumping competition” – a new one on me). “Prepared” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SPACE IN US.

  1. African river rises, engulfing centre of exposed area (6)

Answer: REGION (i.e. “area”). Solution is NIGER (i.e. “African river”) reversed (indicated by “rises” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “engulfing” O (i.e. “centre [letter] of exposed”), like so: REGI(O)N.

  1. New staff biker at fantasy film (9,2,8)

Answer: BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (i.e. “film”). “New” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of STAFF BIKER AT FANTASY.

  1. Aural range and musical discrimination’s cool! (7)

Answer: EARSHOT (i.e. “aural range”). Solution is EAR’S (i.e. “musical discrimination’s”) followed by HOT (i.e. “cool”, both taken to mean something popular).

  1. Norfolk town girl supporting college (5,4)

Answer: KING’S LYNN (i.e. “Norfolk town”). Solution is LYNN (i.e. “girl’s” name) placed after or “supporting” – this being a down clue – KINGS (i.e. a “college” at Cambridge).

  1. Case regarding scam over in compound? (11)

Answer: RECONNOITRE (i.e. to “case” a location). Solution is RE (i.e. “regarding” – think email replies) followed by CON (i.e. “scam”) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket) once placed “in” NITRE (i.e. “compound”), like so: RE-CON-N(O)ITRE.

  1. Woman receiving judge, a martial art expert (5)

Answer: NINJA (i.e. “martial art expert” and frequent visitor to these Jumbos). Solution is NINA (i.e. a “woman’s” name) wrapped around or “receiving” J (a recognised abbreviation of “judge”), like so: NIN(J)A.

  1. He, perhaps, is a fraction superior to a boy? Strange! (5,6,8)

Answer: THIRD PERSON SINGULAR (i.e. “he, perhaps” – I being first person; you being second person and he/she being third person singular). Solution is THIRD (i.e. “a fraction”, or 1/3) followed by PER SON (i.e. “to a boy”) and SINGULAR (i.e. “strange”). I guess “superior” indicates THIRD is placed above PERSON, being a down clue.

  1. Temporarily debar second writer in south of France (7)

Answer: SUSPEND (i.e. “temporarily debar”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) and PEN (i.e. “writer”) both placed “in” SUD (i.e. “south of France”, i.e. the word “south” in French), like so: SU(S-PEN)D.

  1. Clumsy northern set broke part of pavement (9)

Answer: KERBSTONE (i.e. “part of pavement”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “clumsy”) of N (a recognised abbreviation of “northern”) and SET BROKE.

  1. Be extremely lacking in courage at first, like some old Celts (6)

Answer: BELGIC (i.e. “like some old Celts” – pats Bradford’s again. Life’s too short to fart around with made-to-fit solutions). Solution is BE followed by LG (i.e. “extremely lacking”, i.e. the first and last letters of “lacking”) and IC (i.e. “in courage at first”, i.e. the initial letters of “in” and “courage”).

  1. Accommodation for outriggers primarily in city on river (9)

Answer: BOATHOUSE (i.e. “accommodation”). Solution is O (i.e. “outriggers primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “outriggers”) placed “in” BATH (i.e. “city”) and OUSE (i.e. a “river”).

  1. Barracks limiting exercise? That’s a surprise! (7)

Answer: JEEPERS! (i.e. “that’s a surprise”). Solution is JEERS (i.e. “barracks”) wrapped around or “limiting” PE (i.e. “exercise”), like so: JEE(PE)RS.

  1. Like some serous membranes – more than one, we hear (7)

Answer: PLEURAL (i.e. “like some serous membranes” – serous is a mixture of serum and pus. Lovely!) “We hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of PLURAL (i.e. “more than one”).

  1. Landscape painter and woodworker (6)

Answer: TURNER. Solution satisfies “landscape painter” – specifically Joseph TURNER – he did some cracking seascapes too – and “woodworker”, specifically a lathe operator.

  1. Stone basin initially considered fashionable in Tuscan city (7)

Answer: PISCINA (i.e. “stone basin”). Solution is C (i.e. “initially considered”, i.e. the first letter of “considered”) and IN (i.e. “fashionable”) both placed “in” PISA (i.e. “Tuscan city”), like so: PIS(C-IN)A.

  1. Unexpected aid on air in digesting new group of languages (4-7)

Answer: INDO-IRANIAN (i.e. “group of languages”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unexpected”) of AID ON AIR IN wrapped around or “digesting” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: I(N)DOIRANIAN.

  1. Damaging articles on subterranean activity (11)

Answer: UNDERMINING (i.e. “damaging”). Solution is UN and DER (i.e. “articles”, specifically words like a, an or the – this time we’re dealing with their French and German equivalents) followed by MINING (i.e. “subterranean activity”).

  1. Wild rose, say, by can in country road (9)

Answer: EGLANTINE (i.e. “wild rose”). Solution is EG (i.e. “say” or for example) followed by TIN (i.e. “can”) once placed “in” LANE (i.e. “country road”), like so: EG-LAN(TIN)E. One gotten from a shufti in Chambers for words beginning with “eg”, if I’m honest.

  1. Petty thief in Lima introducing fire raiser on radio? (9)

Answer: LARCENIST (i.e. “petty thief”). Solution is L (“Lima” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by a homophone (indicated by “on radio”) of ARSONIST (i.e. “fire raiser”), like so: L-ARCENIST.

  1. Income cheers men at the top (7)

Answer: TAKINGS (i.e. “income”). Solution is TA (i.e. “cheers”, both informal expressions of thanks) followed by KINGS (i.e. “men at the top”).

  1. Melodious phrase finally assimilated by parentless child (7)

Answer: ORPHEAN (i.e. “melodious” – in Greek myth, Orpheus was a musician who could move inanimate objects with his playing). Solution is E (i.e. “phrase finally”, i.e. the last letter of “phrase”) placed in or “assimilated by” ORPHAN (i.e. “parentless child”), like so: ORPH(E)AN.

  1. Peaceful situation for Hamlet’s rest? (7)

Answer: SILENCE (i.e. “peaceful situation”). The remainder of the clue references Hamlet’s last words in the play: “the rest is silence”.

  1. Imagine fish at bottom of lake (6)

Answer: IDEATE (i.e. “imagine”). Solution is IDE (i.e. “fish”, also spelled id) followed by AT and E (i.e. “bottom of lake”, i.e. the last letter of “lake”, being part of a down clue).

  1. Chewed leaf Henry removed from nonconformist chapel (5)

Answer: BETEL (i.e. “chewed leaf”). Solution is BETHEL (i.e. “nonconformist chapel”) with the H removed (indicated by “Henry removed from” – H is a recognised abbreviation of “Henry”, a unit of measurement).

  1. Side dish served in Agra, it appears (5)

Answer: RAITA (i.e. “side dish” popular with setters, given how often it appears here). “Served in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: AG(RA IT A)PPEARS.

  1. Trendy joint (3)

Answer: HIP. Solution satisfies “trendy” and “joint”.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1507

A toughie this week and, barring a couple of scrappy clues, a really good one with lots of well crafted clues to chew on and slow but steady progress throughout.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has trampled your toes then you might find some relief in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

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

LP

Across clues

  1. Broadcaster cut unserviceable operating area (6)

Answer: RADIUS (i.e. “operating area” – a fairly loose take on an already loose definition of the word: “a distance from a centre, conceived as limiting an area or range” (Chambers). Hmm. Not keen.) Solution is RADIO (i.e. “broadcaster”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “cut”) and the remainder followed by US (a recognised abbreviation of “unserviceable”), like so: RADI-US.

  1. Head across pond east – better fish all round (4,3)

Answer: CAPE COD (i.e. “head across pond”, a head or cape is a geographical feature, and Cape Cod is found in the US, often referred to as being “across the pond”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”) with CAP (i.e. to “better” something) and COD (i.e. “fish”) placed “all round” it, like so: CAP-(E)-COD.

  1. Tools this waster fecklessly holds the wrong way (8)

Answer: FRETSAWS (i.e. “tools”). “Holds” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “the wrong way” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: THI(S WASTER F)ECKLESSLY.

  1. Be widely involved with filling in index? The reverse? (4,1,6,2,5,3)

Answer: HAVE A FINGER IN EVERY PIE (i.e. “be widely involved with”). Clue plays on index fingers and pie fillings. Not a classic.

  1. Man’s setting off as he pursues girl (5,3)

Answer: IRISH SEA (i.e. Isle of “Man’s setting”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “off”) of AS HE placed after or “pursuing” IRIS (i.e. a “girl’s” name), like so: IRIS-HSEA.

  1. Philosopher to talk up article carrying little weight (7)

Answer: Baruch SPINOZA (i.e. “philosopher”). Solution is SPIN (i.e. “to talk up”) and A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) wrapped around or “carrying” OZ (i.e. “little weight”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of an “ounce”), like so: SPIN-(OZ)-A. Straight to Bradford’s for this one, it won’t surprise you to learn. There have been as many philosophers throughout history as those who have read them.

  1. Discontinued your following something corny and crude (6)

Answer: EARTHY (i.e. “crude”). Solution is THY (i.e. “discontinued your”, i.e. a ye olde form of “your”) placed after or “following” EAR (i.e. “something corny”, as in an ear of corn), like so: EAR-THY.

  1. Feature otherwise put out endlessly? Not true! (10)

Answer: TRAITOROUS (i.e. “not true”, presumably to a cause. Another loose one, for me). Solution is TRAIT (i.e. “feature”) followed by OR (i.e. “otherwise”) and OUST (i.e. “put out”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endlessly”), like so: TRAIT-OR-OUS.

  1. Compulsion’s growing ultimately to broadcast celebrity feature (6,6)

Answer: GOSSIP COLUMN (i.e. “celebrity feature”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to broadcast”) of COMPULSION’S and G (i.e. “growing ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “growing”).

  1. Six go for the French test (4)

Answer: VIVA (i.e. an oral “test”). Solution is VI (i.e. Roman numerals for “six”) followed by VA (i.e. “go for the French”, i.e. the French for “go”).

  1. Refuse to handle – leading to trouble for dumps (5,3)

Answer: BLACK DOG (i.e. “dumps”, both descriptive of low spirits). Solution is BLACK (i.e. to boycott, ban or “refuse to handle”) followed by DOG (i.e. “to trouble” someone).

  1. Fish face being devoured by rats in east End (8)

Answer: EELPOUTS (i.e. “fish”). Solution is POUT (i.e. a “face” or facial expression) placed in or “devoured by” HEELS (i.e. “rats”, cads, bounders and other such Terry Thomas characters) once the H has been removed (indicated by “east End”, as in ‘ow all ‘em cockneys are forever droppin’ their bleedin’ aitches, inney, grubby urchins the lot of ‘em, gawblessem, guvnah and so forth), like so: EEL(POUT)S.

  1. Leaves unresolved job for decorator (12)

Answer: PAPERHANGING (i.e. “job for decorator”). Solution is PAPER (i.e. “leaves” of a book, for example) followed by HANGING (i.e. “unresolved”). Nicely worked.

  1. Bloomer when at least three detectives prematurely ended ambush? (10)

Answer: ASPIDISTRA (i.e. “bloomer”). Solution is AS (i.e. “when”) followed by PI and DIS (i.e. “at least three detectives”, specifically a Private Investigator and some Detective Inspectors), then TRAP (i.e. “ambush”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “prematurely ended”), like so: AS-PI-DIS-TRA. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Motor part that needs wound daily (4,6)

Answer: WING MIRROR (i.e. “motor [car] part”). Solution is WING (i.e. to “wound”) followed by MIRROR (i.e. “daily” newspaper). Another good ‘un!

  1. Blood group O? (6,6)

Answer: FAMILY CIRCLE. Clue plays on a few things, such as “blood” being another word for FAMILY (as in the phrase “blood is thicker than water”) and “group” being another word for a CIRCLE of people. The character O also represents a CIRCLE. You get the idea. Another one I rather liked once I twigged it.

  1. Obsessed with old goal – a form of torture (3-5)

Answer: ONE-TRACK (i.e. “obsessed”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by NET (i.e. “goal” in a number of ball games) and RACK (i.e. “a form of torture”).

  1. What’s at the heart of propaganda, Leninist, he composed (8)

Answer: Niccolò PAGANINI (i.e. “he composed”). “What’s at the heart of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the middle letters of proPAGAnda and LeNINIst. One I got without running to Bradford’s, though the wordplay was fairly obvious.

  1. Cold joint and a little potato (4)

Answer: CHIP (i.e. “a little potato”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”) followed by HIP (i.e. “joint”). This took way longer to nail than it ought to have done. Sometimes I just don’t see ‘em.

  1. Excitedly greet learned old author’s salutation (6,6)

Answer: GENTLE READER (i.e. a general “old author’s salutation” found in assorted prefaces). “Excitedly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GREED LEARNED.

  1. Suffer soreness, having caught illness: good thing you can drive (5,5)

Answer: BEACH BUGGY (i.e. “thing you can drive”). Solution is BE ACHY (i.e. “suffer soreness”) wrapped around or “catching” BUG (i.e. “illness”) and G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: BE-ACH(BUG-G)Y.

  1. Wine requirement has not exactly sunk in (6)

Answer: MUSCAT (i.e. “wine”). Solution is MUST (i.e. a “requirement”) wrapped around or “having” CA (i.e. “not exactly”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), like so: MUS(CA)T.

  1. Secretly backing America, others on the fringes in support (3,4)

Answer: SUB ROSA (i.e. “secretly” – the rose was once a symbol of secrecy, it says here; the Latin SUB ROSA translates as “under the rose”, hence “secretly”). Solution is US (i.e. “America”) reversed (indicated by “backing”) and followed by OS (i.e. “others on the fringes”, i.e. the first and last letters of “others”) once placed “in” BRA (i.e. “support”), like so: SU-BR(OS)A.

  1. House police hold in native settlement (8)

Answer: HOMETOWN (i.e. “native settlement”). Solution is HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”) followed by MET (i.e. “police”, short for the London Metropolitan Police) and OWN (i.e. “hold”)

  1. A moment of extreme agitation in Leicester? (3,6,2,1,5,4)

Answer: TWO SHAKES OF A LAMB’S TAIL (i.e. “a moment”). Clue plays on SHAKING being a form of “extreme agitation”, and “Leicester” being a breed of sheep. That’s about it, unless I’ve missed something clever.

  1. Headless corpse has finally cut down children’s writer’s hero (8)

Answer: ODYSSEUS (i.e. “hero” of Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey). Solution is BODY (i.e. “corpse”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “headless”) and the remainder followed by S (i.e. “has finally”, i.e. the last letter of “has”) and Dr SEUSS (i.e. “children’s writer”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “cut down”), like so: ODY-S-SEUS.

  1. Jack in Tyne and Wear metro, perhaps, arriving at factory (7)

Answer: CANNERY (i.e. a kind of “factory”). Solution is CAN (i.e. to “jack in”) followed by NE (i.e. “Tyne and Wear”, located in the North East of England) and RY (i.e. “metro, perhaps”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of a railway). Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Steal what player booked for dissent gave back? (6)

Answer: PILFER (i.e. “steal”). When the solution is reversed (indicated by “back”) and written as REF LIP, it also satisfies “what player booked for dissent gave”.

Down clues

  1. With minor injuries, men are unable to stand (5)

Answer: ABHOR (i.e. “unable to stand”). Solution is ABH (i.e. “with minor injuries” or Actual Bodily Harm) followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army).

  1. Wearing top I keep in school study (11)

Answer: INVESTIGATE (i.e. “study”). Solution is IN VEST (i.e. “wearing top”) followed by I and GATE (i.e. to “keep in school” as a punishment).

  1. It’s the same vaccination method, still (8)

Answer: SNAPSHOT (i.e. a “still” or photograph). Solution is SNAP (i.e. “it’s the same”) followed by SHOT (i.e. “vaccination method” – three days till my 5G implant is complete, all being well!)

  1. Friend’s twentieth anniversary (5)

Answer: CHINA. Solution satisfies “friend”, i.e. the cockney rhyming slang “china plate” for “mate”, and a traditional “twentieth [wedding] anniversary” gift. Apparently the modern-day equivalent for a twentieth anniversary is platinum. “Piss” and “off” spring to mind!

  1. Stars stick with a controversial old law (7)

Answer: PEGASUS (i.e. a constellation or “stars”). Solution is PEG (i.e. “stick”) followed by A and SUS (i.e. “controversial old law” – over to Chambers: sus or suss laws were “laws allowing a person to be arrested on suspicion of having committed a crime”. A new one on me. Interesting.)

  1. Herbie for one was furious about one blunder a best friend spotted (8,3)

Answer: CARRIAGE DOG, another name for a Dalmatian or “best friend spotted”. Another new one on me. Solution is CAR (i.e. “Herbie for one” – other sentient motor vehicles are available) followed by RAGED (i.e. “was furious”) once wrapped “about” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then OG (i.e. “blunder”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of an “own goal”), like so: CAR-R(I)AGED-OG.

  1. Casually pass dark horse with raised leg (5)

Answer: DUNNO (i.e. “casually pass”, i.e. a casual form of saying “I don’t know”). Solution is DUN (i.e. a “dark horse”, or horse of dun colour) followed by ON (i.e. “leg” side in cricket) once reversed (indicated by “raised” – this being a down clue) like so: DUN-NO.

  1. Smaller sport fund initially one has in reserve (4-1-4)

Answer: FIVE-A-SIDE (i.e. “smaller sport”, relative to a full-size football team of eleven). Solution is F (i.e. “fund initially”, i.e. the first letter of “fund”) followed by I’VE (a contraction of I have, or “one has”) and ASIDE (i.e. “in reserve”).

  1. Remote spot Yankee’s found in going to N Ireland (5)

Answer: EYRIE (i.e. “remote spot”). Solution is Y (i.e. “Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet) placed “in” EIRE (i.e. “Ireland”) once reversed (indicated by “N”, a recognised abbreviation of “northern” – this being a down clue), like so: E(Y)RIE.

  1. Disparate bits in use – plus four to spare (11)

Answer: SUPERFLUOUS (i.e. “spare”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “disparate bits in”) of USE PLUS FOUR.

  1. Welsh borough’s auditor’s being their… (7)

Answer: WREXHAM (i.e. “Welsh borough”). “Auditor” indicates homophone. Solution comprises homophone’s of WRECKS ‘EM (i.e. “being their…undoing” from 18d).

  1. …undoing, going with mounting resistance (9)

Answer: RUINATION (i.e. “undoing”). Solution is URINATION (i.e. “going”) with the R shifted along one (indicated by “mounting resistance” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “resistance” and this being a down clue), like so: U(R)INATION => (R)UINATION. This one took a sleep, a shower and a few meals besides before I finally twigged it. Very nicely played.

  1. Surfer enjoying a cruise? (7)

Answer: ONLINER (i.e. “surfer” – look, it’s in the dictionary, but I agree with you: who, outside of the 19th century, has ever referred to someone online as an “onliner”? Probably the same people who refer to mechanics as “garagists”). When written as ON LINER the solution also satisfies “enjoying a cruise”.

  1. Large gas main interfered with new naval transmitter (9)

Answer: SIGNALMAN (i.e. “naval transmitter”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “interfered with”) of L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), GAS MAIN and N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”).

  1. Sparkling wine reserved to have with dip (4,4)

Answer: COLD DUCK (i.e. “sparkling wine”, specifically a half-n’-half drink of champagne and burgundy. Sounds like something I’d find in a P.G. Wodehouse novel). Solution is COLD (i.e. “reserved” in nature) followed by DUCK (i.e. “dip”).

  1. “Rebuked for holding bishop up” Echo tweeted (9)

Answer: CHIRRUPED (i.e. “tweeted”). Solution is CHID (i.e. “rebuked”) wrapped around or “holding” RR (i.e. “bishop”, specifically a Right Reverend), UP and E (“echo” in the phonetic alphabet – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: CHI(RR-UP-E)D.

  1. Object to nurse running water, getting you worked up (9)

Answer: THRILLING (i.e. “getting you worked up”). Solution is THING (i.e. “object”) wrapped around or “nursing” RILL (i.e. a small stream or “running water”), like so: TH(RILL)ING.

  1. Mushroom to eat: keep mum two as a starter (8)

Answer: SHIITAKE (i.e. “mushroom”). Solution is TAKE (i.e. “to eat”) with SH (i.e. shush or “keep mum”) and II (i.e. “two” in Roman numerals) placed before it or “as a starter”, like so: (SH-II)-TAKE.

  1. Milk needing Spanish approval for one’s porridge abroad (7)

Answer: POLENTA (i.e. “porridge abroad”). Solution is PINTA (i.e. an informal word for a pint of “milk”) with the I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) swapped “for” OLE (i.e. “Spanish [word of] approval”), like so: P(I)NTA => P(OLE)NTA.

  1. Make start on this puzzle? Without time to explain (3,2,6)

Answer: GET IT ACROSS (i.e. “to explain”). Solution is GET I ACROSS (i.e. “make start on this puzzle” – the I being 1 as a Roman numeral) wrapped around or placed “without” T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: GET-I(T)-ACROSS.

  1. One mocked judge, no longer on world body (6,2,3)

Answer: FIGURE OF FUN (i.e. “one mocked”). Solution is FIGURE (i.e. to “judge”) followed by OFF (i.e. “no longer on”) and UN (i.e. “world body”, specifically the United Nations).

  1. Court proceedings in which race question all but resolved (11)

Answer: RACQUETBALL (i.e. “court proceedings”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “resolved”) of RACE, Q (a recognised abbreviation of “question”) and ALL BUT. Very nicely played. Probably my favourite clue of the puzzle.

  1. Board ship, clutching regular selection of tackier souvenirs (9)

Answer: KEEPSAKES (i.e. “souvenirs”). Solution is KEEP (i.e. “board” or rent money) followed by SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship) once wrapped around or “clutching” AKE (i.e. “regular selection of tackier”, i.e. every other letter of TACKIER), like so: KEEP-S(AKE)S. Another good ‘un.

  1. Matter raised after hitch gets approval (6,2)

Answer: THUMBS UP (i.e. “approval”). The remainder of the clue, and probably the whole clue in question, seem to play on the act of hitchhiking, in which one would stick out a thumb to oncoming drivers to flag them down for a lift. A bit of a guess, really, as I wouldn’t know. I’ve never really had the jaw muscles for hitchhiking.
[EDIT: Thanks to Louise in the comments for a better take on this one. Solution is PUS (i.e. biological “matter”) reversed (indicated by “raised” – this being a down clue) and placed “after” THUMB (i.e. to “hitch” a ride), like so: THUMB-SUP. Cheers, Louise! – LP]

  1. Deer, put in strange setting, broke out (7)

Answer: ERUPTED (i.e. “broke out”). “In strange setting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DEER PUT.

  1. Letters felt to be poorly received by Scottish bank (7)

Answer: BRAILLE (i.e. raised “letters” on a page or surface so that the blind may read them). Solution is ILL (i.e. “to be poorly”) placed in or “received by” BRAE (i.e. “Scottish bank”), like so: BRA(ILL)E. Another excellent clue.
[EDIT: A quick edit to mention the solution better satisfies “letters felt” than just “letters” – LP]

  1. Busy with pulling up weed in lake (5)

Answer: TAHOE (i.e. “lake” between California and Nevada). Solution is AT (i.e. “busy with”) reversed (indicated by “pulling up” – this being a down clue) and followed by HOE (i.e. to “weed”), like so: TA-HOE.

  1. Simple precis, abridged, shows up (5)

Answer: BASIC (i.e. “simple”). “Shows” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue, like so: PRE(CIS AB)RIDGED.

  1. Exaggerated negative impact when wife is absent (5)

Answer: HAMMY (i.e. “exaggerated”). Solution is WHAMMY (i.e. “negative impact”) with the W removed (indicated by “when wife is absent” – W being a recognised abbreviation of “wife”).

  1. Wit not contained in speech (5)

Answer: Oscar WILDE (i.e. “wit”). “In speech” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of WILD (i.e. “not contained”).

This week’s musical accompaniment saw an airing for my Electrochoonage playlist, where I’ve plonked a selection of the synthwave stuff I’ve liked over the last couple of years. After that I thought I’d explore some of Uppermost’s work, having recently come across his magnificent album closer, Uprising. The album itself, Perseverance, is a fine listen throughout with a chillout vibe I’ll definitely want to return to, but hot damn that closer! Imagine the kind of punishing beats you’d find in an old school Chemical Brothers track, fused with a soaring loop reminiscent of Daft Punk’s Da Funk and fleshed out with Rob Dougan’s Clubbed To Death. It’s an absolute monster. Check out the video below with one simple instruction: play it LOUD!

Also: come on England and all that! Laters, – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1506

For the most part a medium strength offering that was spoiled by a couple too many exotic solutions. I’m rarely keen on uneven puzzles like these, as they often smack of a setter struggling to fill the grid. Onto the next one, I guess.

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 is giving you night sweats then my Just For Fun page might be a help, listing solutions to the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the help and kind words, folks. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers when the dust settles. Till next time, stay safe, mask up (for the next fortnight, anyway), get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Abandoned like person in tree escaping flood? (4,3,3)

Answer: HIGH AND DRY. Solution satisfies “abandoned” and “like person in tree escaping flood”.

  1. Trade modest? This could make you stop (7,5)

Answer: TRAFFIC LIGHT (i.e. “this could make you stop”). Solution is TRAFFIC (i.e. “trade” or goods transported along a route) followed by LIGHT (i.e. “modest”).

  1. Lords call, forgetting it matters (9)

Answer: VISCOUNTS (i.e. “lords”). Solution is VISIT (i.e. “call”) with the IT removed (indicated by “forgetting it”) and the remainder followed by COUNTS (i.e. “matters”), like so: VIS-COUNTS.

  1. One hurrying about to get vehicle reversing (5)

Answer: RACER (i.e. “one hurrying”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” or regarding – think email replies) and CAR (i.e. “vehicle”) all “reversed”, like so: RAC-ER.

  1. Tot tucked into Eastern meat dish having no yen for fruit (7)

Answer: SATSUMA (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is SUM (i.e. to “tot” up) placed or “tucked into” SATAY (i.e. “Eastern meat dish”) once the Y has been removed (indicated by “having no yen” – Y being a recognised abbreviation of the Japanese currency), like so: SAT(SUM)A.

  1. Missing letters (8,9)

Answer: ABSENTEE LANDLORDS (i.e. “letters” who live away from their properties). Clue plays on “missing” being another word for ABSENTEE.

  1. Problems bringing horse aboard ship (5)

Answer: SNAGS (i.e. “problems”). Solution is NAG (i.e. “horse”) placed in or “aboard” SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship), like so: S(NAG)S.

  1. Diplomacy is restricting Conservative plans (7)

Answer: TACTICS (i.e. “plans”). Solution is TACT (i.e. “diplomacy”) followed by IS once wrapped around or “restricting” C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”), like so: TACT-I(C)S.

  1. Daughter in the role of the female who is in a hurry? (6)

Answer: DASHER (i.e. “who is in a hurry”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by AS HER (i.e. “in the role of the female”).

  1. Foreign girl working in a store (8)

Answer: SENORITA (i.e. “foreign girl”). “Working” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN A STORE.

  1. Record kept by good Parisian coming to a city in Italy (7)

Answer: BOLOGNA (i.e. “city in Italy”). Solution is LOG (i.e. “record”) placed in or “kept by” BON (i.e. “good Parisian”, i.e. the French for “good”) and followed by A, like so: BO(LOG)N-A.

  1. Offer applause, then mouth “rubbish!” (8)

Answer: CLAPTRAP (i.e. “rubbish”). Solution is CLAP (i.e. “offer applause”) followed by TRAP (i.e. a slang word for “mouth”). Pretty much the same clue appeared a couple of months ago in puzzle 1497, which is a little disappointing.

  1. Get angry about very loud activity at card table? (6)

Answer: RIFFLE (i.e. “activity at card table” – over to Chambers: “to shuffle by allowing the corner of a card from one part of the pack to fall alternately with that of a card in the other”). Solution is RILE (i.e. “get angry”) wrapped “about” FF (i.e. “very loud”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of fortissimo used in musical lingo), like so: RI(FF)LE.

  1. What insistent disputant wants? Amen! (3,4,4)

Answer: THE LAST WORD. Solution satisfies “what insistent disputant wants” and “amen”.

  1. Crucially influential period in America’s capital in the Depression (11)

Answer: DETERMINANT (i.e. “crucially influential”). Solution is TERM (i.e. “period”) IN and A (i.e. “America’s capital”, i.e. the first letter of “America”) all placed “in” DENT (i.e. “depression”), like so: DE(TERM-IN-A)NT.

  1. The French girl, kind-hearted, providing money (5,6)

Answer: LEGAL TENDER (i.e. “money”). Solution is LE (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the masculine form of “the” in French) followed by GAL (i.e. “girl”) and TENDER (i.e. “kind-hearted”).

  1. Professional in finance, fellow with silver, invested in what looks like a winner (4,7)

Answer: BANK MANAGER (i.e. “professional in finance”). Solution is MAN (i.e. “fellow”) and AG (chemical symbol of “silver”) both placed or “invested in” BANKER (i.e. “what looks like a winner”), like so: BANK(MAN-AG)ER.

  1. Game needing energy – boy doesn’t give up (4,2)

Answer: GOES ON (i.e. “doesn’t give up”). Solution is GO (i.e. “game”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) and SON (i.e. “boy”).

  1. People looking to buy something? Time for hard plugs maybe (8)

Answer: STOPPERS (i.e. “plugs”). Solution is SHOPPERS (i.e. “people looking to buy something”) with the H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard”) swapped “for” T (ditto “time”), like so: S(H)OPPERS => S(T)OPPERS.

  1. Brief month left – try to make a protest maybe? (7)

Answer: DECLAIM (i.e. “protest”). Solution is DEC (i.e. “brief month”, specifically an abbreviation of December) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and AIM (i.e. “try to”).

  1. One unpleasant woman backing revolution, not saying much (8)

Answer: TACITURN (i.e. “not saying much”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and CAT (i.e. “unpleasant woman”) both reversed (indicated by “backing”) and followed by TURN (i.e. “revolution”), like so: (TAC-I)-TURN.

  1. Feature of progressive female seen as fearsome (6)

Answer: OGRESS (i.e. “female seen as fearsome”). “Feature of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PR(OGRESS)IVE.

  1. Blessing I found in Oxford RAF location (7)

Answer: BENISON (i.e. “blessing”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “in” BENSON (i.e. “Oxford RAF location” – some everyday knowledge right there), like so: BEN(I)SON. A nod to my Bradford’s here.

  1. Pike ultimately bound to get away (5)

Answer: ELOPE (i.e. “get away”). Solution is E (i.e. “pike ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “pike”) followed by LOPE (i.e. “bound”).

  1. Exploiting something, being top earner? Nothing suitable (6,3,4,2,2)

Answer: MAKING THE MOST OF IT (i.e. “exploiting something”). Solution is MAKING THE MOST (i.e. “being top earner”) followed by O (i.e. “nothing”) and FIT (i.e. “suitable”).

  1. Indian sage, one with new order (7)

Answer: GOANESE (i.e. “Indian”, specifically one from Goa). “With new order” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SAGE ONE.

  1. Saw maiden forming an attachment with German guy? (5)

Answer: MOTTO (i.e. “saw” or saying). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “maiden” used in cricket) followed by OTTO (i.e. “German guy[‘s name]”).

  1. First person among new leaders is a female (9)

Answer: ESMERELDA (i.e. “female”, basically a woman’s name). Solution is ME (i.e. I or the “first person”) placed in or “among” an anagram (indicated by “new”) of LEADERS, like so: ES(ME)RELDA. Variants of the name, ESMIRELDA and ESMERALDA, also fit the intersecting letters but I think a stronger case is made for ESMERELDA. Not the best grid awareness from the setter IMLTHO.

  1. Heaven as specified aim of the proverbial chicken? (3,5,4)

Answer: THE OTHER SIDE. Solution satisfies “heaven” and “specified aim of the proverbial chicken”, as in the old joke “Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side”.

  1. Look at oneself, seeing bad points, etc, with anger finally admitted (10)

Answer: INTROSPECT (i.e. “look at oneself”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “bad”) of POINTS ETC wrapped around or “admitting” R (i.e. “anger finally”, i.e. the last letter of “anger”), like so: INT(R)OSPECT.

Down clues

  1. Try approach with murderous intent? (4,1,4,2)

Answer: HAVE A STAB AT. Solution satisfies “try” and “approach with murderous intent”.

  1. Sudden winds coming in August sometimes (5)

Answer: GUSTS (i.e. “sudden winds”). “Coming in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: AU(GUST S)OMETIMES.

  1. A background support is coming (9)

Answer: AMOUNTING (i.e. “coming” – one meaning of amount is “to come in meaning or substance (with ‘to’)” (Chambers). A bit naughty to leave the “to” out of the clue, but then the clue perhaps wouldn’t have scanned as well). Solution is A followed by MOUNTING (i.e. “background support” for, say, an artwork).

  1. Fellows accommodating indispensable animals (7)

Answer: DONKEYS (i.e. “animals”). Solution is DONS (i.e. “fellows”) wrapped around or “accommodating” KEY (i.e. “indispensable”), like so: DON(KEY)S.

  1. What old shoes may be – disposed of in charity shop, we hear? (7)

Answer: RESOLED (i.e. “what old shoes may be”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “we hear”) of RESOLD (i.e. “disposed of in charity shop”).

  1. Called to mind being embarrassed about evensong’s opening prayer (11)

Answer: RECOLLECTED (i.e. “called to mind”). Solution is RED (i.e. “being embarrassed”) wrapped “about” E (i.e. “evensong’s opening”, i.e. the first letter of “evensong”) and COLLECT (i.e. “prayer” – once more to Chambers: “a short prayer, specific to the liturgies of the Western Church, consisting of one sentence, conveying one main petition”), like so: R(E-COLLECT)ED.

  1. Coat with valuable material is craze (6)

Answer: FURORE (i.e. “craze”). Solution is FUR (i.e. “coat”) followed by ORE (i.e. “valuable material”).

  1. At home, female family member is one who won’t give way (8)

Answer: INSISTER (i.e. “one who won’t give way”). Solution is IN (i.e. “at home”) followed by SISTER (i.e. “female family member”).

  1. I sit up on stool – alternative configuration for meditation? (5,8)

Answer: LOTUS POSITION (i.e. “configuration for meditation”). “Alternative configuration” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I SIT UP ON STOOL.

  1. Fish and fleshy fruit French friend’s obtained for start of dinner (7)

Answer: GOURAMI (i.e. “fish”). Solution is GOURD (i.e. “fleshy fruit”) with the D (i.e. “start of dinner”, i.e. the first letter of “dinner”) swapped “for” AMI (i.e. “French friend”, i.e. the French for “friend”), like so: GOUR(D) => GOUR(AMI). One gotten from the wordplay, if I’m honest.

  1. One leaving school unwanted books, easy to read? (11)

Answer: TRANSPARENT (i.e. “easy to read”). Solution is TRAIN (i.e. “school”) with the I removed (indicated by “[Roman numeral] one leaving”) and the remainder followed by SPARE (i.e. “unwanted”) and NT (i.e. “books”, specifically the New Testament of The Bible), like so: TRAN-SPARE-NT.

  1. Wonderful batting partnership – view it from here? (10)

Answer: GRANDSTAND (i.e. “view [batting partnership] from here”). Solution is GRAND (i.e. “wonderful”) followed by STAND (i.e. “batting partnership” in cricket).

  1. Fellow army officer getting about three miles further south (9)

Answer: COLLEAGUE (i.e. “fellow” or someone on the same team). Solution is COL (i.e. “army officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “colonel”) followed by LEAGUE (i.e. “about three miles”). The “further south” bit relates to this being a down clue, requiring solvers place LEAGUE after or beneath COL.

  1. Warren maybe in seaside location (8)

Answer: HASTINGS. Solution satisfies “Warren maybe” – Warren Hastings was a Governor-General of India during the 18th century – and “seaside location”, referring to the town of Hastings in East Sussex.

  1. Something “flowery” in which wild animal conceals head (6)

Answer: ANTHER (i.e. “something ‘flowery’”, specifically a part of the stamen of a flower that produces pollen – another of those everyday words forever dropped into conversations. It’s maddening, really. Try to talk about the weather and all you get is “anther this” and “anther that”. Engage someone in the etiquette of queuing and it quickly dissolves into a discussion about anthers. Always bloody anthers! Anthers! Anthers!! Anthers!!! When will we ever talk about house prices again?) Solution is PANTHER (i.e. “wild animal”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “conceals head”). If you used a crossword solver to nail this one, you weren’t alone.

  1. Certain animals in endless routine task – information held in computer? (8)

Answer: CHORDATA (i.e. “certain animals”, specifically “a phylum of the animal kingdom, including the vertebrates and protochordates, animals possessing a notochord at some stage of their development” (Chambers). And what happens when you finally exhaust someone of their knowledge and opinions of anthers? They turn to sodding chordates! “Isn’t it a wonder of nature?” they’ll say, and that’s it, they’re off on chordates for an hour and a half. I swear it’s like we’re a nation of David Bleedin’ Attenboroughs. When will we ever talk about the flawless execution and brilliant success/abject failure and economic Armageddon/nope that’s it there’s absolutely nothing in-between, that is Brexit?) Solution is CHORE (i.e. “routine task”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder followed by DATA (i.e. “information held in computer”), like so: CHOR-DATA. One gotten from the wordplay and a shufti in Chambers.

  1. RAF signal confusingly given in a mixture of languages (9)

Answer: FRANGLAIS (i.e. “a mixture of languages” – hands up who likes hybrid words such as this? Hmm. Let’s try “ginormous.” How about now? Okay, a few less hands there. How about “chillax”? Ah, nobody. I thought as much). “Confusingly given” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RAF SIGNAL.

  1. Proper journalist should get put in the picture (6)

Answer: PRIMED (i.e. “put in the picture” – to prime can mean to coach or inform someone). Solution is PRIM (i.e. “proper”) followed by ED (i.e. “journalist”, a shortened form of “editor”).

  1. Everyone supporting the old Greek city lost ultimately, bringing the most desirable outcome (3,3,3,4)

Answer: ALL FOR THE BEST (i.e. “the most desirable outcome”). Solution is ALL (i.e. “everyone”) followed by FOR (i.e. “supporting”), then THEBES (i.e. “old Greek city”) and T (i.e. “lost ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “lost”).

  1. Land and stop to be heard, becoming frivolous (11)

Answer: LIGHTWEIGHT (i.e. “frivolous”). Solution is LIGHT (i.e. to “land”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “to be heard”) of WAIT (i.e. “stop”), like so: LIGHT-WEIGHT.

  1. Agent opposing a former gang member being given new ID in book? (11)

Answer: REPAGINATED (i.e. “given new ID in book”, referring to page numbers). Solution is REP (i.e. “agent”) followed by AGIN (i.e. “opposing”), then A and TED (i.e. “former gang member”, referring to Teddy Boys).

  1. Extra reading for one filling empty seat? (2-8)

Answer: BY-ELECTION (i.e. “one filling empty seat”). Solution is BYE (i.e. an “extra” run awarded in cricket for errors committed by the bowling side) followed by LECTION (i.e. “reading”). Topical, given the recent by-election in Batley and Spen.

  1. One admonishes soldiers on battle site having rushed into middle of battle (11)

Answer: REMONSTRANT (i.e. “one admonishes”). Solution is RE (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) followed by MONS (i.e. First World War “battle site” in Belgium) and RAN (i.e. “having rushed”) once placed “into” TT (i.e. “middle [letters] of baTTle”), like so: RE-MONS-T(RAN)T.

  1. Bands with recent music horrible – forget ‘em! (9)

Answer: CINCTURES (i.e. girdles, belts or “bands”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “horrible”) of RECENT MUSIC once the E and M have been removed (indicated by “forget ‘em”). Wordplay was fairly obvious but needed a brute force of my Chambers to nail.

  1. Significant performance, very good, that’s included rapid sort of movement before (8)

Answer: PREMIERE (i.e. “significant performance”). Solution is PI (i.e. “very good”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “pious”) wrapped around or “including” REM (i.e. “rapid sort of movement”, specifically the Rapid Eye Movement that takes place during sleep) and followed by ERE (i.e. poetic form of “before”), like so: P(REM)I-ERE.

  1. Test said to lie within revolutionary piece of church music (7)

Answer: CHORALE (i.e. “piece of church music”). Solution is ORAL (i.e. “test said” or spoken examination) placed or “lying within” CHE Guevara (i.e. “revolutionary”), like so: CH(ORAL)E.

  1. Ambassador and bishop getting observed outside drinking establishment (7)

Answer: SHEBEEN (i.e. illicit “drinking establishment”). Solution is HE (i.e. “ambassador”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of His Excellency) and B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop”) with SEEN (i.e. “observed”) placed “outside” of them, like so: S(HE-B)EEN. One I knew thanks to a trunk novel I put together a (long) while ago. Ah, the days.

  1. Possibly Amelia’s mistake (7)

Answer: BLOOMER. Solution satisfies “possibly Amelia” – referring to Amelia Bloomer, a women’s rights campaigner after whom the undergarments were nicknamed – and “mistake”.

  1. Is sparing politician to visit runners (6)

Answer: SKIMPS (i.e. “is sparing”). Solution is MP (i.e. “politician”, specifically a Member of Parliament) placed in or “visiting” SKIS (i.e. “runners”), like so: SKI(MP)S.

  1. Phoney female heading a London school (5)

Answer: FALSE (i.e. “phoney”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) followed by A and LSE (i.e. “London school”, specifically the London School of Economics).

A wee bit of music was had in the gaps afforded between the Euros and the England v Sri Lanka ODI courtesy of Gaspard Augé, one half of French dance act Justice. If you’ve been enjoying the opening titles of the BBC’s coverage of the Euros then you might be interested to find the theme tune on his debut solo album, Escapades. (Seek ye Force majeure.) While the album isn’t as tight as Justice’s best work, it’s still a solid listen that doesn’t outstay its welcome. And if you aren’t familiar with Justice, then check out this fun video from their debut album. How many logos can you recognise? Laters, – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1505

A toughie this week, but then I often struggle when these things lean a little harder into general knowledge. Passing off O’TOOLE as a six letter word didn’t help matters either. A mixed bag, in all.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip then you can find links to solutions for the last 150+ of the buggers on my Just For Fun page. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

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

LP

Across clues

  1. Restraint of article covered by feature (5)

Answer: CHAIN (i.e. “restraint”). Solution is A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) placed in or “covered by” CHIN (i.e. facial “feature”), like so: CH(A)IN.

  1. Makes alterations to speed up current measures (7)

Answer: REVAMPS (i.e. “makes alterations”). Solution is REV (i.e. “speed up”) followed by AMPS (i.e. “current measures”).

  1. Composer in peril goes mad (9)

Answer: Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (i.e. “composer”). “Goes mad” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PERIL GOES. Wordplay was obvious, but needed a shufti in Bradford’s to shift. If you are a fan of The Thick Of It and its spinoff movie In The Loop, my view of opera has been known to align with that of Jamie Macdonald, the crossest man in Scotland.

  1. Queen’s responsibility to force back men (4,5)

Answer: MARY TUDOR (i.e. “queen”). Solution is DUTY (i.e. “responsibility”) and RAM (i.e. “to force”) all reversed (indicated by “back”) and followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army), like so: (MAR-YTUD)-OR.

  1. Gathering technique in racing, and a problem with it? (7,6)

Answer: RUNNING STITCH (i.e. “gathering technique” in embroidery). Solution is RUNNING (i.e. “racing”) followed by STITCH (i.e. “a problem with [running]”).

  1. Country eggs faced with American fungus (7)

Answer: MOLDOVA (i.e. “country”). Solution is OVA (i.e. “eggs”) placed after or “facing” MOLD (i.e. “American fungus”, as in how the US spells “mould”), like so: MOLD-OVA.

  1. Metal I deliver; I am shielding uranium (7)

Answer: IRIDIUM (i.e. “metal”). Solution is I followed by RID (i.e. to free or “deliver”), then I’M (a contraction of “I am”) once wrapped around or “shielding” U (chemical symbol of “uranium”), like so: I-RID-I’(U)M.

  1. Apprentice, one paid in sterling? (7)

Answer: LEARNER (i.e. “apprentice”). “One paid” is an EARNER, but I hope the setter isn’t trying to pass the L off as a recognised abbreviation of “sterling”, as that only applies to pounds of weight, after the Latin libra. Yellow card if that is the case. My nerdy mind likes to think there may be a spot of recursion at play here, i.e. L being a recognised abbreviation of the solution itself, combined with EARNER to make the solution, but that would leave “in sterling” redundant. A naff clue, all told.
[EDIT – Thanks to Mick in the comments for prompting another look in my Chambers, where L was indeed shown as an abbreviation of sterling. I take it all back. Chambers can be a tricky thing to read at times, m’lud. For instance, here are the first 9 entries listed under “L”, each with their own lists of definitions: L1 or l, L2, L or L., L, L, Ľ, L-, l or l., and l. That’s an ‘ell of a lot of Ls! Cheers, Mick! – LP]

  1. Grotesque to be wholly dissatisfied with the planet (4,7,2,5)

Answer: LIKE NOTHING ON EARTH. Solution satisfies [descriptive of a] “grotesque” and “to be wholly dissatisfied with the planet”.

  1. Flag officer chasing limited intelligence (4)

Answer: WILT (i.e. to “flag”). Solution is LT (i.e. “officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “lieutenant”) placed after or “chasing” WIT (i.e. “intelligence”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “limited”), like so: WI-LT.

  1. To settle the furore, time for some music (5-4)

Answer: THREE-FOUR (i.e. “time for some music”, specifically “three crotchets to the bar” (Chambers)). “To settle” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THE FURORE.

  1. Maybe father’s missing annual payment (6)

Answer: RENTAL (i.e. “payment”). Solution is PARENTAL (i.e. “maybe father” – other flavours of parent are available) with the PA removed (indicated by “missing annual”, PA being a recognised abbreviation of “per annum”).

  1. Associate lout with upper class type (6)

Answer: HOBNOB (i.e. to mingle or “associate”). Solution is HOB (i.e. “lout”) followed by NOB (i.e. “upper class type”).

  1. Mark stores one’s address (12)

Answer: APOSTROPHISE (i.e. “address” – a variant meaning of “apostrophe” is (deep breath) “a sudden turning away from the ordinary course of a speech to address some person or object present or absent” (Chambers)). Solution is APOSTROPHE (i.e. typographical “mark”) wrapped around or “storing” I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”), like so: APOSTROPH(I’S)E. The variant meaning rings a bell but this needed a raid of my Bradford’s.

  1. Is concerned in resentment of rogue’s adventures (10)

Answer: PICARESQUE (i.e. “of rogue’s adventures”). Solution is CARES (i.e. “is concerned”) placed “in” PIQUE (i.e. “resentment”), like so: PI(CARES)QUE.

  1. Poem from Perth in translation: avoid (3,7)

Answer: THE PRELUDE (i.e. a “poem” by William Wordsworth – his life’s work, you could say). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “in translation”) of PERTH followed by ELUDE (i.e. “avoid”), like so: THEPR-ELUDE.

  1. In which rebels are resisting furiously? (6,6)

Answer: EASTER RISING, an armed rebellion against British rule that took place in Ireland during Easter week in 1916. “Furiously” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ARE RESISTING. Nicely worked.

  1. Father punching a fairy in brawl (6)

Answer: AFFRAY (i.e. “brawl”). Solution is FR (a recognised abbreviation of the title “Father”) placed in or “punching” A and FAY (i.e. “fairy”), like so: A-F(FR)AY.

  1. Carpenter’s mate recalling almost unquestionable rule (6)

Answer: WALRUS (i.e. “Carpenter’s mate” in Lewis Carroll’s poem The Walrus and the Carpenter). Solution is SURE (i.e. “unquestionable”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and followed by LAW (i.e. “rule”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “recalling”), like so: WAL-RUS.

  1. Love guide’s more composed speaking, with skill taking us back (4,5)

Answer: KAMA SUTRA (i.e. “love’s guide”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “speaking”) of CALMER (i.e. “more composed”) followed by ART (i.e. “skill”) and US once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: KAMA-(SU-TRA).

  1. Type that’s deficient, lacking height (4)

Answer: SORT (i.e. “type”). Solution is SHORT (i.e. “deficient”) with the H removed (indicated by “lacking height” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “height”).

  1. Leave cathedral precincts – time to reveal oneself (4,3,2,3,6)

Answer: COME OUT OF THE CLOSET (i.e. “to reveal oneself”). Solution is COME OUT OF (i.e. “leave”) followed by CLOSE (i.e. “cathedral precincts”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Revered figure honoured at last in poem we wrote (3,4)

Answer: OUR LADY (i.e. “revered figure”). Solution is D (i.e. “honoured at last”, i.e. the last letter of “honoured”) placed in OUR LAY (i.e. “poem we wrote”), like so: OUR-LA(D)Y.

  1. A little blue scarf, divine one stored away (7)

Answer: SADDISH (i.e. “a little blue”). Solution is SASH (i.e. “scarf”) wrapped around or “storing away”) DD (i.e. “divine”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Divinitatis Doctor or Doctor of Divinity) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: SA(DD-I)SH.

  1. Where treasure may be found at royal city (7)

Answer: CHESTER (i.e. “city”). Solution is CHEST (i.e. “where treasure may be found”) followed by ER (i.e. “royal”, specifically Elizabeth Regina).

  1. Crisis rarely experienced by habitual liar? (6,2,5)

Answer: MOMENT OF TRUTH (i.e. “crisis” or decisive moment). Clue plays on how habitual liars aren’t known for telling the truth. You get the idea.

  1. Beautiful boy is dodgy, seen by drugs officer (9)

Answer: NARCISSUS (i.e. “beautiful boy”). Solution is IS and SUS (i.e. “dodgy”, a shortened form of “suspect”) both placed after or “by” NARC (i.e. “drugs officer”), like so: NARC-(IS-SUS).

  1. Swimmer on river crazy to knock back port (9)

Answer: ROTTERDAM (i.e. “port”). Solution is OTTER (i.e. “swimmer”) placed “on” or after R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”) and followed by MAD (i.e. “crazy”) once reversed (indicated by “knock back”), like so: (R-OTTER)-DAM.

  1. Having made definite opening in railings, followed round (7)

Answer: ENSURED (i.e. “having made definite”). Solution is R (i.e. “opening in railings”, i.e. the first letter of “railings”) with ENSUED (i.e. “followed”) placed “round” it, like so: ENSU(R)ED.

  1. A month back, a lack of fertiliser (5)

Answer: GUANO (i.e. “fertiliser”). Solution is AUG (i.e. “a month”, specifically a shortened form of August) reversed (indicated by “back”) and followed by NO (i.e. “a lack of”), like so: GUA-NO.

Down clues

  1. I came to meal drunk, though not on this (8,3)

Answer: CAMOMILE TEA. “Drunk” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I CAME TO MEAL. Clue plays on how you’re not going to get mullered on camomile tea.

  1. Heading off from Med island, left such a fool (5)

Answer: APRIL (i.e. “fool”). Solution is CAPRI (i.e. “Med island”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “heading off”) and the remainder followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”), like so: APRI-L.

  1. Hard to deceive, but still awaiting delivery? (3,4,9)

Answer: NOT BORN YESTERDAY. Solution satisfies “hard to deceive” and “still awaiting delivery”.

  1. One that’s left service; time for a new plan (7)

Answer: REDRAFT (i.e. “a new plan”). Solution is RED (i.e. “one that’s left” in their politics) followed by RAF (i.e. “service”, specifically the Royal Air Force) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Auditor saves shillings for linesman (9)

Answer: VERSIFIER (i.e. one who produces verse or a “linesman”). Solution is VERIFIER (i.e. “auditor”) wrapped around or “saving” S (a recognised abbreviation of “shillings”), like so: VER(S)IFIER.

  1. What may be needed for wedding, or for widow (not uniform) (7,5)

Answer: MORNING DRESS (i.e. “what may be needed for wedding”). Clue plays on a “widow’s” MOURNING, and how you’d remove the U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet) to get MORNING. You get the idea.

  1. Dismissing first of batsmen after error, his knock shortened (3-7)

Answer: SIN-BINNING (i.e. “dismissing” in a number of contact sports). Solution is B (i.e. “first [letter] of batsman”) placed “after” SIN (i.e. “error”) and followed by INNINGS (i.e. a “knock” in cricket) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “shortened”), like so: SIN-(B)-INNING.

  1. Proper to capture a besieged king (5)

Answer: PRIAM (i.e. king of Troy in Greek myth, i.e. “besieged king”). Solution is PRIM (i.e. “proper”) wrapped around or “capturing” A, like so: PRI(A)M. One gotten from the wordplay, TBH.

  1. Condition requiring a measure of gravity, in actual fact? (8)

Answer: REGALITY. Solution is G (i.e. “a measure of gravity”, specifically the acceleration it causes, roughly 9.8m/s2) placed “in” REALITY (i.e. “actual fact”). Clue plays on “gravity” taken to mean solemnity or seriousness, a requirement of royalty when representing their country’s concern in certain weighty matters. That, and waving a lot.

  1. Format with parts swapped creates expense (6)

Answer: OUTLAY (i.e. “expense”). Solution is LAYOUT (i.e. “format”) with its two halves or “parts” swapped around.

  1. Is it built without nerves? (9)

Answer: EXTENSION, something that is “built”. When written as EX TENSION the clue also playfully satisfies “without nerves”, ex being “without” or “outside of” in Latin.

  1. Available to leave in that ship, perhaps, I board (11)

Answer: INHERITABLE (i.e. “available to leave” or bequeath). Solution is IN followed by HER (i.e. “that ship, perhaps”, as in how vehicles large or small are often referred to using a female pronoun), then I and TABLE (i.e. “board”, in reference to the table a board or committee may sit around).

  1. Sing-song raises spirit with fine energy (7)

Answer: KARAOKE (i.e. “sing-song”). Solution is ARAK (an old spelling of “arrack”, i.e. “spirit”) reversed (indicated by “raises” – this being a down clue) and followed by OK (i.e. “fine”) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: KARA-OK-E.

  1. Foreign expert almost mad, in a way (7)

Answer: ARABIST (i.e. “foreign expert”). Solution is RABID (i.e. “mad”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder placed “in” between A and ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: A-(RABI)-ST.

  1. Pretty girls apparently cut flower (4-4-8)

Answer: LOVE-LIES-BLEEDING (i.e. “flower”). Solution is LOVELIES (i.e. “pretty girls”) followed by BLEEDING (i.e. “apparently cut”).

  1. Actor also overwhelmed by shout of applause (6)

Answer: Peter O’TOOLE (i.e. “actor”). Solution is TOO (i.e. “also”) placed in or “overwhelmed by” OLE (i.e. “shout of applause”), like so: O(TOO)LE. Bloody hell, would it really have killed the setter to list this as (1’5)? I mean, how would they have listed TWO O’CLOCK or JACK-O’-LANTERN? Back in the early days of the Jumbo the convention was to treat ‘s as a separate word in a solution, so THAT’S RIGHT would be (4,1,5). Clearly that’s an arse way of going about things, so THAT’S RIGHT would these days be listed as (5,5). But it’s a hell of a leap to then go and list O’TOOLE as a (6). One to file under “dick move”.

  1. Lotion always found in second city (3,3)

Answer: BAY RUM (i.e. “lotion”). Solution is AY (i.e. “always”, both expressions of agreement) placed “in” BRUM (i.e. a nickname of Birmingham, our “second city”), like so: B(AY)RUM.

  1. Thready pulses? Have a drink (7)

Answer: HYDRATE (i.e. “have a drink”). “Pulses” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THREADY.

  1. Passing peaceful, America (7)

Answer: QUIETUS (i.e. dying or “passing”). Solution is QUIET (i.e. “peaceful”) followed by US (i.e. “America”).

  1. Such as the Cinderella story: makes fun of her stoic suffering… (4-2-6)

Answer: RAGS-TO-RICHES (i.e. “such as the Cinderella story”). Solution is RAGS (i.e. “makes fun of”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “suffering”) of HER STOIC, like so: RAGS-TORICHES.

  1. …missing one, practices former role of her fairy godmother? (11)

Answer: TRANSFORMER (i.e. “role of [Cinderella’s] fairy godmother”). Solution is TRAINS (i.e. “practices”) with the I removed (indicated by “missing [Roman numeral] one”) and the remainder followed by FORMER, like so: TRANS-FORMER.

  1. Using mortar repaired car (4,7)

Answer: GRAN TURISMO (i.e. “car”). “Repaired” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of USING MORTAR.

  1. Basic procedure, putting bullet in Luger to be fired (6,4)

Answer: GROUND RULE (i.e. “basic procedure”). Solution is ROUND (i.e. “bullet”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “to be fired”) of LUGER, like so: G(ROUND)RULE. Nicely worked.

  1. Completely uninvolved in the computer business? On the contrary (3,4,2)

Answer: FAR FROM IT. Solution satisfies “completely uninvolved in the computer business”, taking IT to be an abbreviation of Information Technology, and “on the contrary”.

  1. To encourage talking on equipment, installing new military commander (9)

Answer: Lord Herbert KITCHENER (i.e. “military commander” and sporter of the most famous moustache in British military history). Solution is CHEER (i.e. “to encourage”) placed after or “taking on” KIT (i.e. “equipment”) and placed around or “installing” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: KIT-CHE(N)ER.

  1. Christmas decoration basic, some say, for palace (8)

Answer: HOLYROOD (i.e. “palace”). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “some say”) of HOLLY (i.e. “Christmas decoration”) and RUDE (i.e. “basic”), like so: HOLY-ROOD. Chalk one to my Bradford’s, here. I would never have made the connection.

  1. In death, heart wanted again (7)

Answer: ENCORED (i.e. “wanted again”). Solution is CORE (i.e. “heart”) placed “in” END (i.e. “death”), like so: EN(CORE)D.

  1. Native American moneylender? (6)

Answer: PAWNEE. Solution satisfies “Native American” and “moneylender”. Another win for my Bradford’s.

  1. High tension, oppressed by total quiet (5)

Answer: SHTUM (i.e. “quiet”). Solution is HT (a recognised abbreviation of “high tension”, apparently an indicator of high voltage) placed in or “oppressed by” SUM (i.e. “total”), like so: S(HT)UM.

  1. Opera to study briefly (5)

Answer: TOSCA (i.e. “opera” by Giacomo Puccini). Solution is TO followed by SCAN (i.e. “study”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: TO-SCA.

To accompany this week’s post I dived into the synthwaves once more, stumbling across French artist M.A.D.E.S. and rather enjoying his albums Motor and Arrival, not to mention the superb single, Return (see below). I’m a massive sucker for any piece of music that is shamelessly overblown, so Return was right up my alley. After that, the volume was cranked up several notches courtesy of Finnish industrial outfit RTPN, whose album Pathogen is a fine way to get one’s grrrrrr on. Mute is a particular highlight. Give ’em a spin if that’s your thing. Laters, – LP.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1504

A medium strength puzzle this week and something of a “Greatest Hits”, what with the number of repeats. Such things usually make my teeth itch, but the setter more or less gets away with it with some good clueing. (Of course, it might be that I’ve been doing these posts for too long. Familiarity breeds contempt and all that.)

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has foxed you then you should tally-ho over to my Just For Fun page where you’ll find links to solutions for the previous 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind words (and help!). It’s always interesting to read the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put their pens down. Till next time, keep safe, mask up (for a few weeks more), get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Opener from western Irish team? (9)

Answer: CORKSCREW (i.e. “opener”). When written as CORK’S CREW the solution also satisfies “western Irish team”. A clue you see so often it could warrant its own tour T-shirt.

  1. A Soviet trying to change the nature of an inquiry (13)

Answer: INVESTIGATORY (i.e. “nature of an inquiry”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to change”) of A SOVIET TRYING.

  1. Staffs European minister’s residence (5)

Answer: MANSE (i.e. “minister’s residence”). Solution is MANS (i.e. “staffs” an outfit) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”).

  1. Advanced tango composer was conducting (9)

Answer: TRAVELLED (i.e. “advanced” or moved forward). Solution is T (“tango” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by Maurice RAVEL (i.e. “composer”) and LED (i.e. “was conducting”).

  1. Your setter’s singular attempt to pen English puzzle (7)

Answer: MYSTERY (i.e. “puzzle”). Solution is MY (i.e. “your setter’s”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”) and TRY (i.e. “attempt”) once wrapped around or “penning” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: MY-S-T(E)RY.

  1. Walk forward in organised protest unknown in the UK, say (14,8)

Answer: CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY (“a monarchy in which the power of the sovereign is defined and limited by the constitution” (Chambers), an example of which being “the UK, say”). Solution is CONSTITUTIONAL (i.e. “walk”) followed by ON (i.e. “forward”) once placed “in” MARCH (i.e. “organised protest”), then Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns), like so: CONSTITUTIONAL-M(ON)ARCH-Y.

  1. Can king and queen take against spectator? (6-2)

Answer: LOOKER-ON (i.e. “spectator”). Solution is LOO (i.e. “can”, both slang words for a toilet) followed by K (a recognised abbreviation of “king”), then ER (i.e. “queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) and ON (i.e. “against”).

  1. Free veteran beer finally does for publican (8)

Answer: TAVERNER (i.e. “publican”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “free”) of VETERAN followed by R (i.e. “beer finally”, i.e. the last letter of “beer”), like so: TAVERNE-R.

  1. Mallard, perhaps, departs with a string of carriages (5)

Answer: DRAKE (i.e. a male duck or “mallard, perhaps”. A female duck, incidentally, is a duck. Tsk, tsk. Come on naturalists, you’re not really trying…) Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “departs”) followed by RAKE (i.e. “string of carriages” – you’d be amazed how many variant meanings of “rake” there are).

  1. Crops rye fields use in the middle (6)

Answer: YIELDS (i.e. “crops”). “In the middle” indicates the solution is comprised of the centre letters of RYE FIELDS USE.

  1. Expression of surprise after TV system’s lack of colour (6)

Answer: PALLOR (i.e. “lack of colour”). Solution is LOR! (i.e. “expression of surprise”, specifically a contraction of “lord”) placed “after” PAL (i.e. “TV system”, specifically an acronym of Phase Alteration Line), like so: PAL-LOR.

  1. Interesting, a bishop leads service in west end of Glasgow (9)

Answer: ABSORBING (i.e. “interesting”). Solution is A followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess), then SORB (i.e. the “service” tree – a new one on me), then IN and G (i.e. “west end of Glasgow”, i.e. the first letter of Glasgow, this being an across clue).

  1. Gallium in star’s taken by American plant (10)

Answer: ASTRAGALUS (i.e. “plant”). Solution is GA (chemical symbol of “gallium”) placed “in” ASTRAL (i.e. “star”) and followed “by” US (i.e. “American”), like so: ASTRA(GA)L-US. For once, I didn’t go running off to my Bradford’s for this one. No, I ran off to my Chambers instead once I saw it was going to start with “astra”. Same difference.

  1. Hit band (4)

Answer: BELT. Solution satisfies to “hit” and “band”.

  1. Books one gala wrongly – pain seated near the drum! (7)

Answer: OTALGIA (i.e. “pain seated near the [ear]drum”). Solution is OT (i.e. “books”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible) followed by an anagram (indicated by “wrongly”) of I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and GALA, like so: OT-ALGIA.

  1. Threatening palomino usually keeps it captive (7)

Answer: OMINOUS (i.e. “threatening”). “Keeps it captive” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PAL(OMINO US)UALLY.

  1. Working fifty years at most (4)

Answer: ONLY (i.e. “at most”). Solution is ON (i.e. “working”) followed by L (Roman numeral for “fifty”) and Y (a recognised abbreviation of “years”).

  1. What schedules allow broadcasting screen epic? (10)

Answer: PRESCIENCE (i.e. foreknowledge or “what schedules allow”). “Broadcasting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SCREEN EPIC.

  1. Device trapping a rodent in a power discharge (9)

Answer: APPARATUS (i.e. “device”). Solution is A and RAT (i.e. “rodent”) both placed “in” A, P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) and PUS (i.e. “discharge”. Lovely!), like so: A-P-P(A-RAT)US.

  1. Abandon waterway with an area being given over to carbon energy (6)

Answer: CANCEL (i.e. “abandon”). Solution is CANAL (i.e. “waterway”) with the second A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”) replaced by or “given over to” C (chemical symbol of “carbon”) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: CAN(A)L => CAN(C-E)L.

  1. Stone knight in very good carriage (6)

Answer: STANCE (i.e. “carriage” or deportment). Solution is ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stone”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) once placed “in” ACE (i.e. “very good”), like so: ST-A(N)CE.

  1. Give a response on law that’s passed (5)

Answer: REACT (i.e. “give a response”). Solution is RE (i.e. “on” or regarding – think email replies) followed by ACT (i.e. “law that’s passed”).

  1. What batter could get used to cook eggs this way? (4,4)

Answer: EASY OVER. Solution satisfies “what batter [in cricket] could get used to” and “cook eggs this way”. Nicely done.

  1. Relating to an element of catholic church in Jerusalem, one with chapter (8)

Answer: ZIRCONIC (i.e. “relating to element”, specifically zircon). Solution is RC (i.e. “church”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “Roman Catholic”) placed “in” ZION (i.e. “Jerusalem”), followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and C (a recognised abbreviation of “chapter”), like so: ZI(RC)ON-I-C.

  1. Flat barge hailed gondola tangling lines on locking up on the Thames? (3,6,2,7,4)

Answer: THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL (by Oscar Wilde, a poem or “lines on locking up on the Thames” that has clearly left its mark on Times setters, having appeared relatively recently). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “tangling”) of FLAT BARGE HAILED GONDOLA. Of the two clues, I much prefer this one. Very nicely worked.

  1. Vigilantly team up to contain European right (7)

Answer: ALERTLY (i.e. “vigilantly”). Solution is ALLY (i.e. “team up”) wrapped around or “containing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and RT (a recognised abbreviation of “right”, e.g. Rt. Hon. for Right Honourable), like so: AL(E-RT)LY.

  1. Where one may melt things on the rocks (9)

Answer: INSOLVENT (i.e. “on the rocks”). When written as IN SOLVENT the solution also satisfies “where one may melt things”.

  1. Girl introducing a dish from India (5)

Answer: RAITA (i.e. “dish from India”). Solution is RITA (i.e. a “girl’s” name) wrapped around or “introducing” A, like so: R(A)ITA. Another popular solution for setters, it seems, having recently appeared in puzzles 1453 and 1475.

  1. Additional paper and gold currency, unknown and very unusual (13)

Answer: EXTRAORDINARY (i.e. “very unusual”). Solution is EXTRA (i.e. “additional [news]paper”) followed by OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry), then DINAR (i.e. “currency”) and Y (i.e. “unknown” – see earlier comment).

  1. Raced around clubs in Paris yesterday delivering uplighter (9)

Answer: TORCHIERE (i.e. “uplighter”). Solution is TORE (i.e. “raced”) wrapped “around” C (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games) and HIER (i.e. “in Paris yesterday”, i.e. the French for “yesterday”), like so: TOR(C-HIER)E. One gotten from deducing TORCH and looking the rest up in Chambers, if I’m honest. I’ll probably stick to calling them floor lamps.

Down clues

  1. Absurdly, company I ring is in the outskirts of Mandalay (9)

Answer: COMICALLY (i.e. “absurdly”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) followed by I and CALL (i.e. “ring”) once these latter two have been placed “in” MY (i.e. “outskirts of Mandalay”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Mandalay”), like so: CO-M(I-CALL)Y.

  1. Meet society girl with time to overspend wildly? (3,4,4)

Answer: RUN INTO DEBT (i.e. “overspend wildly”). Solution is RUN INTO (i.e. “meet”) followed by DEB (i.e. “society girl”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “debutante”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Perfume reportedly coming by mail order (5)

Answer: SCENT (i.e. “perfume”). “Reportedly” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SENT (i.e. “coming by mail order”).

  1. Regular changing of crops to set up in allotment (8)

Answer: ROTATION (i.e. “regular changing of crops”). Solution is TO reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue) and placed “in” RATION (i.e. “allotment”), like so: R(OT)ATION.

  1. Artist entering accompanied by shadowy presence (6)

Answer: WRAITH (i.e. “shadowy presence”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) placed in or “entering” WITH (i.e. “accompanied by”), like so: W(RA)ITH.

  1. The Spanish port in Italy filled with cattle being raised is irresistible (10)

Answer: INEXORABLE (i.e. “irresistible”). Solution is EL (i.e. “the Spanish”, i.e. the Spanish for “the”) followed by BARI (i.e. “port in Italy”) once wrapped around or “filled with” OXEN (i.e. “cattle”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “being raised” – this being a down clue), like so: I(NEXO)RAB-LE.

  1. Where cricketer may be revealing leg shockingly (7,5)

Answer: VILLAGE GREEN (i.e. “where cricketer may be”). “Shockingly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REVEALING LEG.

  1. Supporting band member I’d found among rising celebrities (7)

Answer: SIDEMAN (i.e. “supporting band member”). Solution is I’D placed in or “found among” NAMES (i.e. “celebrities”) once reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: S(I’D)EMAN.

  1. What limits disease running wild in some supermen (6,8)

Answer: IMMUNE RESPONSE (i.e. “what limits disease”). “Running wild” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN SOME SUPERMEN.

  1. Confident fool heading university rose? (7)

Answer: ASSURED (i.e. “confident”). Solution is ASS (i.e. “fool”) followed by U (i.e. “heading university”, i.e. the first letter of “university”) and RED (i.e. “rose”).

  1. Dining to excess, swallowing horse and heading for inflation (11)

Answer: OVERHEATING (i.e. an economy “heading for inflation”). Solution is OVEREATING (i.e. “dining to excess”) wrapped around or “swallowing” H (i.e. “horse”, both street names for heroin), like so: OVER(H)EATING.

  1. Toy boy’s taken up, abandoning tops? (2,2)

Answer: YO YO (i.e. “toy”). Solution is TOY and BOY with their first letters removed (indicated by “abandoning tops”) and the remaining letters reversed (indicated by “taken up” – this being a down clue).

  1. Be left standing in foreign city (8)

Answer: BELGRADE (i.e. “foreign city”). Solution is BE followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and GRADE (i.e. rank or “standing”).

  1. Try in speaking to finish at any time (9)

Answer: ENDEAVOUR (i.e. “try”). Solution is END (i.e. “to finish”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “in speaking”) of EVER (i.e. “at any time”). A bit clunky. Also, we already had ENDEAVOUR last week. Seems The Times have put another 50p in their Marconi GridFill 4000TM.

  1. Wonderful classic play mostly about Bulawayo, not elsewhere (8)

Answer: FABULOUS (i.e. “wonderful”). Solution is FAUST (i.e. “classic play”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder wrapped “about” BULO (i.e. “Bulawayo, not elsewhere”, i.e. the word BULAWAYO with AWAY taken out), like so: FA(BULO)US.

  1. Female gossip penning rubbish over lawyer (8)

Answer: ATTORNEY (i.e. “lawyer”). Solution is YENTA (i.e. “female gossip”, supposedly more of a US thing) wrapped around or “penning” ROT (i.e. “rubbish”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “over”), like so: AT(TOR)NEY.

  1. Is it clear – scrambled or hard-boiled? (9)

Answer: REALISTIC (i.e. “hard-boiled”). “Scrambled” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IS IT CLEAR.

  1. Source of sound fixed in pitch on record and film perhaps (8,6)

Answer: CASSETTE PLAYER (i.e. “source of sound”). Solution is SET (i.e. “fixed”) placed “in” CAST (i.e. to “pitch”) and followed by EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended Play) and LAYER (i.e. “film”), like so: CAS(SET)T-EP-LAYER. Nicely worked.

  1. Italian scientist is a very old doctor in prison endlessly (8)

Answer: Amadeo AVOGADRO (i.e. “Italian scientist”). Solution is A followed by V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”), O (ditto “old”) and DR (ditto “doctor”) once placed “in” GAOL once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endlessly”), like so: A-V-O-GA(DR)O. One gotten solely from the wordplay, TBH.

31.Left west London area in Conservative seat shortly for Essex town (7-2-3)

Answer: CLACTON-ON-SEA (i.e. “Essex town”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and ACTON (i.e. “west London area”) both placed “in” CON (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”), then followed by SEAT once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “shortly”), like so: C(L-ACTON)ON-SEA.

  1. Unusually emphatic about workers charging (11)

Answer: IMPEACHMENT (i.e. “charging”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unusually”) of EMPHATIC wrapped “about” MEN (i.e. “workers”), like so: IMPEACH(MEN)T.

  1. One in van going round with venison requiring no cutting (3-8)

Answer: NON-INVASIVE (i.e. surgery “requiring no cutting”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “going round”) of I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), VAN and VENISON. “In” is a bit misleading, but probably there to make the clue scan.

  1. Entirely popular gathering of sheep? (10)

Answer: INTEGRALLY (i.e. “entirely”). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) followed by TEG (i.e. “sheep” – you see its use in Jumbos from time to time) and RALLY (i.e. “gathering”).

  1. Free from guilt, former partner left in vessel at the end of June (9)

Answer: EXCULPATE (i.e. “free from guilt”). Solution is EX (i.e. “former partner”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) once placed “in” CUP (i.e. “vessel”), then followed by AT and E (i.e. “end of June”, i.e. the last letter of “June”), like so: EX-CU(L)P-AT-E.

  1. Who goes to service cars on time, mostly (8)

Answer: MINISTER (i.e. “who goes to [church] service”). Solution is MINIS (i.e. “cars”) followed by TERM (i.e. “time”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: MINIS-TER.

  1. Girl wanting a change of habitat (7)

Answer: TABITHA (i.e. a “girl’s” name). “A change of” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HABITAT.

  1. In central Asia, keen about hard language (7)

Answer: SWAHILI (i.e. “language”). Solution is WAIL (i.e. to “keen”) placed “about” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils). These are themselves placed “in” SI (i.e. “central Asia”, i.e. the middle letters of ASIA), like so: S(WA(H)IL)I.

  1. Beware of waste regularly found at bottom of grotto (6)

Answer: CAVEAT (i.e. “beware”). Solution is AT (i.e. “waste regularly”, i.e. every other letter of WASTE) placed after or “at bottom of” – this being a down clue – CAVE (i.e. “grotto”), like so: CAVE-AT.

  1. Saddle band? Get it round the horse at first (5)

Answer: GIRTH (i.e. “saddle band” that goes over the belly). “At first” indicates the solution is formed from the initial letters of Get It Round The Horse.

  1. British beer was something bad for one (4)

Answer: BALE (i.e. “was something bad”, referring to an archaic meaning of the word. A tad surprising, given that baleful isn’t that uncommon a word). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by ALE (i.e. “beer”). “For one” might be indicative of multiple variant meanings of BALE, or I might have gotten the wrong end of the stick.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1503

A medium strength puzzle, and another that tested the limits of some definitions. Taken as a whole, though, this was a decent challenge. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions to the past 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind comments. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared once the pens have been put down. Till next time, keep safe, mask up (despite the heat), get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Plan to travel round delta area with piano (4,3)

Answer: ROAD MAP (i.e. “plan”). Solution is ROAM (i.e. “to travel”) wrapped “round” D (“delta” in the phonetic alphabet) and followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”) and P (ditto “piano”), like so: ROA(D)M-A-P.

  1. Cabinet material perhaps found in wine club (8)

Answer: ROSEWOOD (i.e. “cabinet material perhaps” – other woods are available). Solution is ROSE (i.e. “wine”) followed by WOOD (a golf “club”).

  1. Waste material in high percentage (6)

Answer: OFFCUT (i.e. “waste material”). Solution is OFF (i.e. “high” or on the turn) followed by CUT (i.e. “percentage”).

  1. Where business locates in English country on River Test (10,6)

Answer: INDUSTRIAL ESTATE (i.e. “where business locates”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and STATE (i.e. “country”) both placed “on” or after INDUS (a “river”) and TRIAL (i.e. “test” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: (INDUS-TRIAL)-E-STATE.

  1. Put on guard to protect soldiers in densely populated area (6)

Answer: WARREN (i.e. “densely populated area”). Solution is WARN (i.e. “put on guard”) wrapped around or “protecting” RE (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army), like so: WAR(RE)N.

  1. Lotion is dissolving chemical compound (8)

Answer: INOSITOL (i.e. “chemical compound” – over to Chambers: “a lipid that is essential for the formation of cell membranes”). “Dissolving” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LOTION IS. Wordplay was obvious, but it needed a shufti in Bradford’s to nail it. File under “made to fit”.

  1. Printed material endlessly creates muddle (4)

Answer: BLUR (i.e. “muddle”). Solution is BLURB (i.e. “printed material”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”).

  1. Italian boarding house run for senior citizen (9)

Answer: PENSIONER (i.e. “senior citizen”). Solution is PENSIONE (i.e. “Italian boarding house” – one meaning of “pension” is a continental boarding house, so I guess this is its Italian spelling) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games).

  1. Dandy in a vehicle on entering motorway (8)

Answer: MACARONI (i.e. an 18th century “dandy”). Solution is A, CAR (i.e. “vehicle”) and ON all placed in or “entering” MI (i.e. “motorway”, i.e. the M1 with the 1 represented by its Roman numeral), like so: M(A-CAR-ON)I.

  1. This many jails are finished, boasted incarcerating Democrat (11)

Answer: OVERCROWDED (i.e. “this many jails are” – seems Yoda has set this week’s Jumbo). Solution is OVER (i.e. “finished”) followed by CROWED (i.e. “boasted”) once wrapped around or “incarcerating” D (a recognised abbreviation of “Democrat”), like so: OVER-CROW(D)ED.

  1. Chosen person is most important after God (9)

Answer: ISRAELITE (i.e. “chosen person”, i.e. believed chosen to be in a covenant with God). Solution is IS and ELITE (i.e. “most important”) once the latter has been placed “after” RA (Egyptian sun “god”), like so: IS-(RA)-ELITE.

  1. Scorning of French on horseback (8)

Answer: DERIDING (i.e. “scorning”). Solution is DE (i.e. “of French”, i.e. the French for “of”) followed by RIDING (i.e. “on horseback”).

  1. Up north: the pub that provides lift? (1-3)

Answer: T-BAR (i.e. “that provides lift” in a structure). When written as T’ BAR, the clue also satisfies “up north: the pub”, i.e. how some up north pronounce “the” as a hard t.

  1. Point put by cleric renouncing one current Parliament (11)

Answer: WESTMINSTER (i.e. “Parliament”). Solution is WEST (i.e. “point” of a compass) followed by MINISTER (i.e. “cleric”) once one of the Is has been removed (indicated by “renouncing one current” – I is a recognised abbreviation of an electrical current used in physics), like so: WEST-MINSTER.

  1. Morse having news boss tried (11)

Answer: ENDEAVOURED (i.e. “tried”). Solution is ENDEAVOUR (Inspector “Morse’s” first name) followed by ED (i.e. “news boss”, or editor).

  1. Deal with hidden wrinkle? (5,6)

Answer: TRADE SECRET (i.e. “wrinkle” – a new one on me, a variant meaning of “wrinkle” is a valuable tip or trick. A bit loose for me, but it’s always nice to learn new stuff in these things). Solution is TRADE (i.e. “deal”) followed by SECRET (i.e. “hidden”).

  1. Divine as environment for ace crew testing position (11)

Answer: PREDICAMENT (i.e. “testing position”). Solution is PREDICT (i.e. to “divine”) wrapped around or forming an “environment” for A (a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used on playing cards) and MEN (i.e. “crew”), like so: PREDIC(A-MEN)T.

  1. English composer has no tips for singer (4)

Answer: ALTO (i.e. “singer”). Solution is William WALTON (i.e. “English composer” – thank you again, Bradford’s) with its first and last letter removed (indicated by “has no tips”).

  1. Songs at speed in controlled atmosphere? (8)

Answer: AIRSPACE (i.e. “controlled atmosphere”). Solution is AIRS (i.e. “songs”) followed by PACE (i.e. “speed”).

  1. West Country professor? One had to be given push! (4,5)

Answer: BATH CHAIR (i.e. “one had to be given push” – a Bath chair is a kind of wheelchair). Clue also plays on BATH being a city situated in the “West Country” and CHAIR being a position held by a “professor”.

  1. Fragrant one does for our arrangement (11)

Answer: ODORIFEROUS (i.e. “fragrant”). “Arrangement” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I (i.e. “Roman numeral] one”) and DOES FOR OUR.

  1. Most conservative opening to speech as with others (8)

Answer: SQUAREST (i.e. “most conservative”). Solution is S (i.e. “opening to speech”, i.e. the first letter of “speech”) followed by QUA (in Latin, “as” or “in the capacity of” (Chambers), because, you know, The Times) and REST (i.e. “others”).

  1. Lay one’s opinion to rest in this formal discussion? (9)

Answer: INTERVIEW (i.e. “formal discussion”). When written as INTER VIEW the solution also satisfies “lay one’s opinion to rest” – INTER meaning to bury something.

  1. Language teacher has again impressed, primarily (4)

Answer: THAI (i.e. “language”). “Primarily” indicates the solution is formed from the initial letters of Teacher Has Again Impressed.

  1. What attracts smokers – several outside one small building (8)

Answer: NICOTINE (i.e. “what attracts smokers”). Solution is NINE (i.e. “several”) wrapped around or placed “outside” of I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and COT (i.e. “small building” or cottage), like so: N(I-COT)INE.

  1. TV presenter to make secure (6)

Answer: ANCHOR. Solution satisfies “TV presenter” and “to make secure”.

  1. Scrutinised from here, assembled gangsters really – that’s about right (9,7)

Answer: STRANGER’S GALLERY (i.e. “scrutinised from here”, i.e. a public gallery such as the one in the House of Commons). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “assembled”) of GANGSTERS REALLY wrapped “about” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”).

  1. Demand something from vain sister (6)

Answer: INSIST (i.e. “demand”). “Something from” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: VA(IN SIST)ER.

  1. Outline Irish unionists developed (6,2)

Answer: SHAPED UP (i.e. “developed”). Solution is SHAPE (i.e. “outline”) followed by DUP (i.e. “Irish unionists”, i.e. the Democratic Unionist Party).

  1. Begin with body cavity (7)

Answer: ENTERON (i.e. “body cavity”). When written as ENTER ON the solution also satisfies “begin with”. Another win for my Bradford’s.

Down clues

  1. Fruit associated with cereal almost growing (6)

Answer: RAISIN (i.e. “fruit associated with [breakfast] cereal”). Solution is RAISING (i.e. “growing”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”).

  1. Certainly an exotic craft (3,3)

Answer: AND HOW (i.e. “certainly”). Solution is AN followed by DHOW (i.e. “exotic craft” or sailing vessel – exotic referring to where in the world you’d usually find the things).

  1. Spouse quaffs wine, about to deal with mouthful (9)

Answer: MASTICATE (i.e. “deal with mouthful”). Solution is MATE (i.e. “spouse”) wrapped around or “quaffing” ASTI (i.e. “wine”) and C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), like so: M(ASTI-C)ATE.

  1. Holes in closing remarks involving Findhorn’s leader (11)

Answer: PERFORATION (i.e. “holes” – 9 times out of 10 this ought to have an S on the end, but the solution can also refer to a series of small holes made in material to assist clean tearing. Never works on any bog roll I pick up. Streamers. Always streamers) Solution is PERORATION (i.e. “closing remarks”) wrapped around or “involving” F (i.e. “Findhorn’s leader”, i.e. the first letter of “Findhorn”), like so: PER(F)ORATION.

  1. Maybe a bay tree lacking width (4)

Answer: ROAN (i.e. “maybe a bay” – in this case a breed of horse). Solution is ROWAN (i.e. “tree”) with the W removed (indicated by “lacking width” – W being a recognised abbreviation of “width”). Again, needed my Bradford’s to nail the tree in question.

  1. Gifted orator having to read out letters in file? (11)

Answer: SPELLBINDER (i.e. “gifted orator”). When written as SPELL ‘B-I-N-D-E-R’ the solution also satisfies “read out letters in file”.

  1. Swore a truce after swimming channel (11)

Answer: WATERCOURSE (i.e. “channel”). “After swimming” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SWORE A TRUCE.

  1. Reveals quiet study that’s fully extended (9)

Answer: OUTSPREAD (i.e. “fully extended”). Solution is OUTS (i.e. “reveals”) followed by P (i.e. “quiet”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano” used in musical lingo) and READ (i.e. “study”).

  1. With which one pressed beginner to fill pastry (8)

Answer: FLATIRON (i.e. “with which one pressed”). Solution is TIRO (i.e. “beginner” – can be spelled with an I or a Y) placed in or “filling” FLAN (i.e. “pastry”), like so: FLA(TIRO)N.

  1. Playwright published in Greece by Draco unusually (6,2,8)

Answer: CYRANO DE BERGERAC (i.e. “playwright”). Solution is RAN (i.e. “published”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “unusually”) of GREECE BY DRACO, like so: CY(RAN)ODEBERGERAC.

  1. Win over university leftist with employment for life? (7)

Answer: TENURED (i.e. “with employment for life”). Solution is NET (i.e. “win”) reversed (indicated by “over”) and followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and RED (i.e. “leftist”), like so: TEN-U-RED. Nicely done.

  1. It’s said girl skinned a large reptile (8)

Answer: ANACONDA (i.e. “large reptile”). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “it’s said”) of ANNA (a “girl’s” name) and CONNED (i.e. “skinned”), followed by A, like so: ANA-COND-A.

  1. English penned by one novelist or another (8)

Answer: Cecil Scott FORESTER, “novelist” who gave us Captain Hornblower. Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) placed in or “penned by” Edward Morgan FORSTER (i.e. “another” novelist), like so: FOR(E)STER.

  1. First Nation’s leader, reportedly more senior, with a crumpled hat (8)

Answer: HIAWATHA (i.e. “First Nation’s leader”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of HIGHER (i.e. “more senior”) followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), A and an anagram (indicated by “crumpled”) of HAT, like so: HIA-W-A-THA.

  1. Incensed marker for very simple grave? (5,2,3,6)

Answer: CROSS AS TWO STICKS (i.e. “incensed” – my dictionaries differ quite a bit on this. Oxford backs up the setter, while Chambers offers “particularly perverse and disagreeable”. I couldn’t say either way, having never heard the phrase before. Apparently, according to the Code of British Lexicographers, any such disputes between adherents are traditionally resolved through a hand-to-hand fight to the death held after hours in the British Library. Seems a bit much). Clue plays on how one could make a simple cross using two sticks to mark a grave. You get the idea.

  1. Singer’s blushing debut (8)

Answer: REDSTART (i.e. “singer” or bird). Solution is RED (i.e. “blushing”) followed by START (i.e. “debut”)

  1. Travel always upset canvasser (4)

Answer: Francisco GOYA (artist or “canvasser” perhaps best known for his bleak and disturbing (and brilliant) Black Paintings). Solution is GO (i.e. “travel”) followed by AY (i.e. “always”, both taken as affirmative words) once the latter has been reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue), like so: GO-YA.

  1. Timid male reaction to mouse? (4)

Answer: MEEK (i.e. “timid”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) followed by EEK! (i.e. verbal “reaction to mouse”).

  1. 90s computer that made many checks? (4,4)

Answer: DEEP BLUE, a “90s computer” that famously beat chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1997. (He’d won their previous series.) A “check” in chess is a position in which one’s king is in immediate danger of capture. You get the idea.

  1. Half involved in Great Plague (8)

Answer: EPIDEMIC (i.e. “plague” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is DEMI (i.e. “half”) placed “in” EPIC (i.e. “great”), like so: EPI(DEMI)C.

  1. Crossing affected refugees housed here? (7,4)

Answer: TRANSIT CAMP (i.e. “refugees housed here”). Solution is TRANSIT (i.e. “crossing”) followed by CAMP (i.e. an “affected” manner).

  1. Compelled to work in Fleet Street? (5-6)

Answer: PRESS-GANGED (i.e. “compelled” into doing something, typically against one’s will). Clue plays on Fleet Street being the home of a number of national newspapers or PRESS.

  1. During semester one won’t begin to mix (11)

Answer: INTERMINGLE (i.e. “to mix”). Solution is IN TERM (i.e. “during semester”) followed by SINGLE (i.e. “one”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “won’t begin”), like so: IN-TERM-INGLE.

  1. Sample includes most excellent instrument (9)

Answer: STOPWATCH (i.e. “instrument”). Solution is SWATCH (i.e. a “sample” of fabric, carpet, etc) wrapped around or “including” TOP (i.e. “most excellent”), like so: S(TOP)WATCH.

  1. Accountant with stock containing spirit for stew (9)

Answer: CASSOULET (i.e. “stew”). Solution is CA (i.e. “accountant”, specifically of the Chartered species) followed by SET (i.e. “stock” – not backed up by my Bradford’s, and I can’t immediately think of a satisfying overlap between the two words, but there are about 4,000,000 definitions for each, so who knows) once wrapped around SOUL (i.e. “spirit”), like so: CA-S(SOUL)ET.

  1. Glassy expression’s first seen in very upset suitor (8)

Answer: VITREOUS (i.e. “glassy”). Solution is E (i.e. “expression’s first”, i.e. the first letter of “expression”) placed “in” V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”) and an anagram (indicated by “upset”) of SUITOR, like so: V-ITR(E)OUS.

  1. Oriental art fiddle old Parisian buddy conceals (7)

Answer: ORIGAMI (i.e. “oriental art”). Solution is RIG (i.e. to “fiddle” an outcome) placed in or “concealed” by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and AMI (i.e. “Parisian buddy”, i.e. the French for “friend”), like so: O-(RIG)-AMI.

  1. Like some ancient scripts amusing writer keeps at home (6)

Answer: LINEAR (i.e. “like some ancient scripts” – this is a reference to Linear A and Linear B, both ancient scripts found in Crete estimated to be from around 1400 BC). Solution is Edward LEAR (i.e. “amusing writer”) wrapped around or “keeping” IN (i.e. “at home”), like so: L(IN)EAR.

  1. Critical about Pole meeting an African (6)

Answer: KENYAN (i.e. “African”). Solution is KEY (i.e. “critical”) wrapped “about” N (i.e. “Pole”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “north”) and followed by AN, like so: KE(N)Y-AN. (Waves to Ong’ara.)

  1. Paras’ descent finding ditch (4)

Answer: DROP. Solution plays on “paras’ descent” – a reference to a parachute landing – and to “ditch” something.

No musical accompaniment this time, what with the Euros and all. It’s such a relief to learn Christian Eriksen is on the mend so soon after a truly horrifying collapse during the Denmark v Finland game. The quick thinking and actions of players, officials and medical staff was as incredible to witness as it was harrowing, especially seeing it all play out in real-time. It’s a testament to the lessons learned following Fabrice Muamba’s own collapse some years earlier. Astonishing stuff, and well done all. – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1502

A relatively straightforward puzzle this week, especially considering how many people and places had been stuffed into the solutions and clues (usually a turn-off for me). There were a couple of rough edges to smooth over, but overall this wasn’t too bad.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo is giving you nightmares then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks for the kind words (and help!), folks. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers on these things once the dust has settled. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. In the end, indignant man right to return ticket (7)

Answer: RECEIPT (i.e. “ticket”). Solution is T (i.e. “in the end, indignant”, i.e. the last letter of “indignant”) followed by PIECE (i.e. “man” – chess pieces are sometimes referred to as “men”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “to return”), like so: R-ECEIP-T.

  1. Official dealing with grievances shoots male in Arabian country (9)

Answer: OMBUDSMAN (i.e. “official dealing with grievances”). Solution is BUDS (i.e. plant “shoots”) and M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) both placed “in” OMAN (i.e. “Arabian country”), like so: OM(BUDS-M)AN.

  1. Cry from Daffy, perhaps, being knocked about (4)

Answer: BLUB (i.e. “cry”). Solution is BULB (i.e. “daffy, perhaps” – a daffodil in this case, ignoring the misleading capitalisation) reversed (indicated by “being knocked about”).

  1. Objective lacking curiosity? (13)

Answer: DISINTERESTED. Solution satisfies being “objective” and “lacking curiosity”. Nicely worked.

  1. Plain sailing at last in peaceful movement, finally at one (9)

Answer: SERENGETI (i.e. a “plain” in Africa). Solution is G (i.e. “sailing at last”, i.e. the last letter of “sailing”) placed in SERENE (i.e. “peaceful”), followed by T (i.e. “movement, finally”, i.e. the last letter of “movement”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: SEREN(G)E-T-I.

  1. Mercury’s blasted music? (5,5)

Answer: HEAVY METAL. Solution satisfies “mercury” and “blasted music”. Exactly how it should be!

  1. Something meaty, employment register alongside it (7,4)

Answer: SAUSAGE ROLL (i.e. “something meaty”). Solution is USAGE (i.e. “employment”) and ROLL (i.e. “register”) both placed after or “alongside” SA (i.e. “it” – SA is a recognised abbreviation of “sex appeal” you pretty much only see in cryptic crosswords), like so: SA-(USAGE-ROLL).

  1. Artist drops in to see old man (5)

Answer: PATER (i.e. “old man”). Solution is PAINTER (i.e. “artist”) with the IN removed (indicated by “drops in”).

  1. Screenwriters in tears at the finale, actress in a mess (10)

Answer: SCENARISTS (i.e. “screenwriters”). Solution is S (i.e. “tears at the finale”, i.e. the last letter of “tears”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “a mess”) of ACTRESS IN, like so: S-CENARISTS.

  1. Capital where queen and the last William retired (6)

Answer: VIENNA (i.e. “capital” of Austria). Solution is ANNE (i.e. “queen”) and IV (i.e. “the last [King] William”) all reversed or “retired”, like so: VI-ENNA.

  1. Maestro to check out in India (9)

Answer: Arturo TOSCANINI (i.e. “maestro”). Solution is TO followed by SCAN (i.e. “check out”), then IN and I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Slight error losing franchise, I’m nonplussed initially (5)

Answer: ELFIN (i.e. “slight” in physique). “Initially” indicates the solution is derived from the initial letters of Error Losing Franchise, I’m Nonplussed.

  1. Articles written with skill, fundamentally (2,5)

Answer: AT HEART (i.e. “fundamentally”). Solution is A and THE (i.e. both “articles”) followed by ART (i.e. “skill”).

  1. Triumph, quick pass directed at us (6,7)

Answer: FLYING COLOURS (i.e. “triumph”). Solution is FLYING (i.e. “quick”) followed by COL (a mountain “pass”) and OURS (i.e. “directed at us”).

  1. Big ask, delivery of giraffe perhaps? (4,5)

Answer: TALL ORDER. Solution satisfies “big ask” and “delivery of giraffe perhaps”. I rather liked this one.

  1. Old pilot playing blinder starts to go higher (9)

Answer: Charles LINDBERGH (i.e. “old pilot”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “playing”) of BLINDER followed by G and H (i.e. “starts to go higher”, i.e. the initial letters of “go” and “higher”), like so: LINDBER-G-H.

  1. Spindly thing who can reach mummy’s top shelves? (5-8)

Answer: DADDY-LONGLEGS (i.e. “spindly thing”). Clue plays on mummies and daddies being part of your common or garden family setup, and how being long in the leg helps reaching them top shelves, something to which several daddies could privately attest.

  1. Bagpipe quiet, ready to be squeezed (7)

Answer: MUSETTE (i.e. a French “bagpipe”). Solution is MUTE (i.e. “quiet”) with SET (i.e. “ready”) placed or “squeezed” inside of it, like so: MU(SET)TE.

  1. Fortune teller seeing nothing in short (5)

Answer: TAROT (i.e. “fortune teller”). Solution is O (i.e. “nothing”) placed “in” TART (i.e. “short” – a scruffy one, this. I guess “short” is taken to mean being snappy toward someone, and “tart” taken to mean sharp or caustic, but I’d argue the two don’t quite overlap. “Short” could also describe a kind of pastry, but you’re going to need more than that to make a tart. Somewhat meh. Moving on…), like so: TAR(O)T.

  1. Instantly, love equally exciting (4,1,4)

Answer: LIKE A SHOT (i.e. “instantly”). Solution is LIKE AS (i.e. “love equally”) followed by HOT (i.e. “exciting”).

  1. Nod head, worried (6)

Answer: NUTATE (i.e. to “nod” – nutant describes something that is nodding or dropping). Solution is NUT (i.e. “head”) followed by ATE (i.e. “worried”).

  1. Brief task framing “50”, old model number (10)

Answer: CHLOROFORM (i.e. “number”, as in something that anaesthetises). Solution is CHORE (i.e. “task”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “brief”) and the remainder wrapped around or “framing” L (Roman numeral for “50”). These are then followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and FORM (i.e. “model”), like so: CH(L)OR-O-FORM.

  1. Mile taken in a remarkable battle (5)

Answer: SOMME (i.e. “battle”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “mile”) “taken in” to SOME (i.e. “remarkable”), like so: SOM(M)E.

  1. Company expanded central reserves? (11)

Answer: CORPORATION (i.e. “company”). The remainder of the clue plays on an alternative definition of the word, meaning a pot belly, which could be said to represent “expanded central reserves”. Like it.

  1. Details – of a day’s play at cricket? (3,3,4)

Answer: INS AND OUTS. Solution satisfies “details” and “details of a day’s play at cricket”, a game where players are put “in” to bat for the opposite team to get them “out”. You get the idea.

  1. Patriot originally inspiring a very old singer (9)

Answer: Luciano PAVAROTTI (i.e. “old singer” – a bit much given the guy died relatively recently, especially compared to some of the other notable people peppering this week’s grid. If you weren’t aware, one of the conventions adopted by The Times is to only feature people in their cryptic crosswords if they are deceased. I guess “old” is used here partly to make the clue scan, and partly to fool solvers into using “o” as a recognised abbreviation of “old”. Either way, this feels a bit naff given there are a number of better alternatives IMLTHO, e.g. “famous singer”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “originally”) of PATRIOT wrapped around or “inspiring” A and V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”), like so: P(A-V)AROTTI.

  1. Not the right idea taking snipe, comic not funny? (13)

Answer: MISCONCEPTION (i.e. “not the right idea”). “Funny” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SNIPE COMIC NOT.

  1. Tippler flourishing (4)

Answer: LUSH. Solution satisfies “tippler” and “flourishing”.

  1. Very important person has enough to prime many mousetraps? (3,6)

Answer: BIG CHEESE (i.e. “very important person”). The remainder of the clue plays on how cheese is sometimes used to prime mousetraps. Nutella is another winner.

  1. Extraordinarily angered? (7)

Answer: ENRAGED. “Extraordinarily” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ANGERED. Nicely done.

Down clues

  1. Heard of journey in IOW town (4)

Answer: RYDE (i.e. “IOW town” – IOW being the Isle of Wight). “Heard of” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of RIDE (i.e. “journey”).

  1. Tapes different test cases (9)

Answer: CASSETTES (i.e. “tapes”). “Different” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TEST CASES.

  1. Impossibly of endless drought, seemingly one black cloud after another? (2,5,5,3,2,5)

Answer: IT NEVER RAINS BUT IT POURS, describing stretches where one suffers one bad event or “black cloud” “after another”. Clue also plays on how you wouldn’t see a drought in those situations, taking the phrase literally. You get the idea.

  1. Flask in French tea service thus turned over (7)

Answer: THERMOS (i.e. “flask”). Solution is THÉ (i.e. “French tea”, i.e. the French for “tea”) followed by RM (i.e. armed “service”, specifically the Royal Marines) and SO (i.e. “thus”) reversed (indicated by “turned over” – this being a down clue), like so: THÉ-RM-OS.

  1. Finally descending past it (4,3,4)

Answer: OVER THE HILL. Solution satisfies “finally descending” and being “past it”.

  1. Dragon slayer (6-3)

Answer: BATTLE-AXE. Solution satisfies “dragon” or domineering woman, and “slayer”. Nicely played.

  1. Guys, those failing to preserve energy (5)

Answer: DUDES (i.e. “guys”). Solution is DUDS (i.e. “those failing”) wrapped around or “preserving” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: DUD(E)S.

  1. Southern capital captured by artist, very fine thing (8,3)

Answer: MOSQUITO NET (i.e. “very fine thing”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) and QUITO (i.e. “capital” of Ecuador) both placed in or “captured by” Claude MONET (i.e. “artist”), like so: MO(S-QUITO)NET.

  1. Country – I don’t believe it contains river (6)

Answer: NORWAY (i.e. “country”). Solution is NO WAY! (i.e. “I don’t believe it”) wrapped around or “containing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: NO-(R)-WAY.

  1. Story sad, drop to the floor (3,4)

Answer: LIE DOWN (i.e. “drop to the floor”). Solution is LIE (i.e. “story”) followed by DOWN (i.e. “sad”).

  1. Extremely intelligent – as is a star? (9)

Answer: BRILLIANT. Solution satisfies “extremely intelligent” and “as is a star”.

  1. Very little hope, geographer thinks, as lost (4,4,2,1,11)

Answer: KNEE HIGH TO A GRASSHOPPER (i.e. “very little”). “Lost” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HOPE GEOGRAPHER THINKS AS.

  1. Pathetic is mine: poem starts to unravel, literarily (7)

Answer: PITIFUL (i.e. “pathetic”). Solution is PIT (i.e. “mine”) followed by IF (a “poem” by Rudyard Kipling), then U and L (i.e. “starts to unravel, literarily”, i.e. the initial letters of “unravel” and “literarily”).

  1. Female in fancy undies, soaked (7)

Answer: INFUSED (i.e. “soaked”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “fancy”) of UNDIES, like so: IN(F)USED.

  1. Something perhaps caught, lift mechanism in tank (8)

Answer: BALLCOCK (i.e. “mechanism in [water] tank”). Solution is BALL (i.e. “something perhaps caught”) followed by COCK (i.e. to “lift”). Invented by Nobby Stiffington, it says here. In Penistone, no less. I never knew.

  1. Popular scoundrel, Bolshevik suffered (8)

Answer: INCURRED (i.e. “suffered”). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) followed by CUR (i.e. “scoundrel”) and RED (i.e. “Bolshevik”).

  1. First in row to leave, go off (5)

Answer: ADDLE (i.e. “go off”). Solution is PADDLE (i.e. to “row”) with the “first” letter “leaving”.

  1. A thousand years ultimately after that – a long time (5)

Answer: YONKS (i.e. “a long time”). Solution is K (a recognised abbreviation for “a thousand”, after the prefix kilo-) and S (i.e. “years ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “years”) both placed “after” YON (i.e. poetic or dialectic form of “that”), like so: (YON)-K-S.

  1. In accordance with green light, pass through (7)

Answer: UNDERGO (i.e. “pass through”). Solution is UNDER (i.e. “in accordance with”) followed by GO (i.e. “green light”).

  1. Prize wine dry and earthy at first (7)

Answer: ROSETTE (i.e. “prize”). Solution is ROSE (i.e. “wine”) followed by TT (i.e. “dry”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “teetotal”) and E (i.e. “earthy at first”, i.e. the first letter of “earthy”).

  1. Problem increasing, seeking a lift (11)

Answer: HITCHHIKING (i.e. “seeking a lift”). Solution is HITCH (i.e. “problem”) followed by HIKING (i.e. “increasing”).

  1. River Tees only low after diversion (11)

Answer: YELLOWSTONE (i.e. “river”). “After diversion” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TEES ONLY LOW.

  1. One comrade going after European city contracts in local government (9)

Answer: MUNICIPAL (i.e. “in local government”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and PAL (i.e. “comrade”) both placed “after” MUNICH (i.e. “European city”, of Germany) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “contracts”), like so: MUNIC-I-PAL.

  1. Ridiculously given smack, leaders of Uganda and Eritrea were opposed (4,5)

Answer: TOOK ISSUE (i.e. “were opposed”). Solution is TOO (i.e. overly or “ridiculously”) followed by KISS (i.e. “smack”), then U and E (i.e. “leaders of Uganda and Eritrea”, i.e. the first letters of “Uganda” and “Eritrea”).

  1. Cord bringing meat over some horses (9)

Answer: HAMSTRING (i.e. “cord”). Solution is HAM (i.e. “meat”) followed by STRING (i.e. “some horses”).

  1. Time after time, US composer prospers (7)

Answer: THRIVES (i.e. “prospers”). Solution is HR (a recognised abbreviation of “hour”) placed “after” T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and followed by Charles IVES (i.e. “US composer”), like so: T-HR-IVES.

  1. Study mounts through spy lens (7)

Answer: MONOCLE (i.e. “lens”). Solution is CON (an archaic word for “study” setters love to use) reversed (indicated by “mounts” – this being a down clue) and placed in or “through” MOLE (i.e. “spy”), like so: MO(NOC)LE.

  1. Cambridge, where taxi carries worker (6)

Answer: CANTAB (i.e. of “Cambridge”, specifically a shortened form of the Latin Cantabrigiensis virtually nobody uses). Solution is CAB (i.e. “taxi”) wrapped around or “carrying” ANT (i.e. “worker”), like so: C(ANT)AB.

  1. US state plan to oust a hot maiden (5)

Answer: NYMPH (i.e. “maiden”). Solution is NY (i.e. “US state”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of New York) followed by MAP (i.e. “plan”) once the A has been removed (indicated by “to oust a”), then H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot”), like so: NY-MP-H.

  1. Girl to take course after turning up (4)

Answer: ENID (i.e. a “girl’s” name”). Solution is DINE (i.e. “to take course”) reversed (indicated by “after turning up” – this being a down clue).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1501

A toughie to while away the Bank Holiday sun, and a good one too with lots of fine clueing to disentangle. More like this, please!

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip then you might find salvation in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and comments, folks. It’s always interesting to read what others make of the Jumbos when their pens cool. Till next time, keep well, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Thanks to Chris and Steve in the comments for the correct solution for 53a

Across clues

  1. Decrepit bully gives up resistance after shake (4-5)

Answer: MOTH-EATEN (i.e. “decrepit”). Solution is THREATEN (i.e. “bully”) with the R removed (indicated by “gives up resistance” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”) and the remainder placed “after” MO (i.e. “shake” – both short spells of time, i.e. “two shakes of a lamb’s tail”), like so: MO-THEATEN.

  1. One aboard smack who performs rescue? (7)

Answer: SAVIOUR (i.e. “who performs rescue”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed in or “aboard” SAVOUR (i.e. to “smack” or taste with relish), like so: SAV(I)OUR.

  1. Dominant idea or word from French Count’s prison island (5)

Answer: MOTIF (i.e. “dominant idea”). Solution is MOT (i.e. “word from French”, i.e. the French for “word”) followed by IF (i.e. “Count’s prison island”, a reference to the Château d’If, featured in Alexandre Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo).

  1. County short by pence, Berks keeps debt record hidden (13)

Answer: SURREPTITIOUS (i.e. “hidden”). Solution is SURREY (i.e. “county”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder followed by P (a recognised abbreviation of “pence”) and TITS (i.e. “berks” – ignore the misleading capitalisation. Also, setter, bravo. I did titter a little at this) once wrapped around IOU (i.e. “debt record”), like so: SURRE-P-TIT(IOU)S.

  1. Italian port in urban area’s rejected pleasure-seeking (9)

Answer: SYBARITIC (i.e. “pleasure-seeking”). Solution is BARI (i.e. “Italian port”) placed “in” CITY’S (i.e. “urban area’s”) once reversed (indicated by “rejected”), like so: S’Y(BARI)TIC.

  1. Uneven-coloured edges of plate for old photo (7)

Answer: TINTYPE (i.e. “old photo”). Solution is TINTY (i.e. “uneven-coloured”) followed by PE (i.e. “edges of plate”, i.e. the first and last letters of “plate”).

  1. However many knobs (7)

Answer: BUTTONS (i.e. “knobs”). Solution is BUT (i.e. “however”) followed by TONS (i.e. “many”). This may have also raised a titter. I’m a massive child, really.

  1. A month back, confined to home, like tropical native (7)

Answer: IGUANAS (i.e. “tropical native” – shouldn’t that be natives?). Solution is AUG (i.e. “a month”, specifically a shortened form of August) reversed (indicated by “back”) and placed in or “confined to” IN (i.e. “home”). The whole is then followed by AS (i.e. “like”), like so: I(GUA)N-AS.

  1. Lawyer is one for admitting guilt to get prisoner released (12)

Answer: PROFESSIONAL (i.e. “lawyer is one”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “for”) followed by CONFESSIONAL (i.e. “admitting guilt”) once the CON has been removed (indicated by “to get prisoner released”), like so: PRO-FESSIONAL.

  1. Family with girlfriend: is the girl kind of blue? (10)

Answer: KINGFISHER (i.e. “kind of blue”). Solution is KIN (i.e. “family”) followed by GF (a recognised abbreviation of “girlfriend”), then IS, then HER (i.e. “the girl”).

  1. Maybe tokes from bit of grass after rolling (5)

Answer: DRAWS (i.e. “tokes”). Solution is SWARD (i.e. “bit of grass”) reversed or “rolling”. Smooth!

  1. Result united country without force or lasting power (9)

Answer: ENDURANCE (i.e. “lasting power”). Solution is END (i.e. “result”) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”) and FRANCE (i.e. “country”) once the F has been removed (indicated by “without force” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “force”), like so: END-U-RANCE.

  1. Controversial elements of boom in filming? (7)

Answer: POLEMIC (i.e. “controversial”). When written as POLE and MIC the solution also satisfies “elements of boom [microphone] in filming”. Nicely worked.

  1. Area sans valets after three identical dismissals could be this (11)

Answer: SERVANTLESS. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “could be”) of AREA SANS VALETS once three of the As have been removed (indicated by “after three identical dismissals”). In the context of the clue, getting shot of one’s valets could leave them servantless. Perhaps not a clue you’d see in The Guardian crossword.

  1. Treat oven as wrong for French toast (1,5,5)

Answer: A VOTRE SANTE (i.e. “French toast”, raise glasses). “Wrong” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TREAT OVEN AS.

  1. Virginia’s tyrant having less power – it’ll raise blood pressure (11)

Answer: VASOPRESSOR (i.e. “it’ll raise blood pressure”). Solution is VA’S (US state abbreviation of “Virginia” made possessive) followed by OPPRESSOR (i.e. “tyrant”) once one of the Ps has been removed (indicated by “having less power” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “power”), like so: VA’S-OPRESSOR. One gotten from the wordplay, to be honest.

  1. Some take up hem – I stick with aim of avoiding offence (11)

Answer: EUPHEMISTIC (i.e. “with aim of avoiding offence”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: TAK(E UP HEM – I STIC)K. Took a while to notice this one. Nicely done.

  1. Good time passed quickly in retrospect (7)

Answer: WELFARE (i.e. “good”). Solution is ERA (i.e. “time”) and FLEW (i.e. “passed quickly”) all reversed (indicated by “in retrospect”), like so: WELF-ARE.

  1. English doctor attending Bart’s last was first beset by problems (9)

Answer: EMBATTLED (i.e. “beset by problems”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by MB (i.e. “doctor”, specifically a Medicinae Baccalaureus or Bachelor of Medicine), then AT (i.e. “attending”), then T (i.e. “Bart’s last”, i.e. the last letter of “Bart”) and LED (i.e. “was first”).

  1. Part of an antler’s secured with cord (5)

Answer: TWINE (i.e. “cord”). Solution is TINE (i.e. “part of an antler”) wrapped around or “securing” W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), like so: T(W)INE.

  1. Detachment of detectives are dying to nab yours truly (10)

Answer: DISPASSION (i.e. “detachment”). Solution is DIS (i.e. “detectives”, specifically Detective Inspectors) followed by PASS ON (i.e. “dying” – a little panel-beating needed for this one, I’d say it was more PASSING ON) once wrapped around I (i.e. “yours truly”), like so: DIS-PASS-(I)-ON.

  1. Someone working in an army, possibly (12)

Answer: ARTILLERYMAN. Solution fits the clue in its entirety, but is also formed of TILLER (i.e. “someone working”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “possibly”) of AN ARMY, like so: AR(TILLER)YMAN. Very nicely worked.

  1. Measure twisting in neck muscles (7)

Answer: SCALENI (i.e. “neck muscles”). Solution is SCALE (i.e. “measure”) followed by IN reversed (indicated by “twisting”), like so: SCALE-NI. A small nod to my Bradford’s for helping nail this one.

  1. Lacking knowledge of course (not cooked, hardly cooked), with no starters (7)

Answer: UNAWARE (i.e. “lacking knowledge”). Solution is RUN (i.e. “course”), RAW (i.e. “not cooked”) and RARE (i.e. “hardly cooked”) all with their initial letters or “starters” removed, like so: UN-AW-ARE.

  1. Conservative ready to drop good occupation (7)

Answer: CALLING (i.e. “occupation”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) followed by ALL IN (i.e. “ready to drop”) for G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”).

  1. Unknown lake overlooked by wandering Brazilian islander (9)

Answer: ZANZIBARI (i.e. “islander”). Solution is Z (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns) followed by an anagram (indicated by “wandering”) of BRAZILIAN once the L has been removed (indicated by “lake overlooked” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: Z-ANZIBARI.

  1. Ill-timed article used in ceremony after I nod support (13)

Answer: INAPPROPRIATE (i.e. “ill-timed”). Solution is A (i.e. “article”, as in a word like a, an or the) placed “in” RITE (i.e. “ceremony”). These are then placed “after” I, NAP (i.e. “nod” off) and PROP (i.e. “support”), like so: (I-NAP-PROP)-R(I)ATE.

  1. Remove equipment from rocky ridge (5)

Answer: DERIG (i.e. “remove equipment from”). “Rocky” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RIDGE.

  1. Proceed to enter special haunt, such as this? (4-3)

Answer: HAND-OUT (i.e. “this” – not sure here, so watch out. My guess is this is a reference to the Jumbo appearing in the Times 2 supplement, which could be loosely described as a “release”, “sample” or hand-out. Not much cop for those doing this thing online, mind, or when this gets reprinted in a future Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword omnibus, so I might not have this right). Solution is DO (i.e. “proceed”) placed in or “entering” an anagram (indicated by “special”) of HAUNT, like so: HAN(DO)UT.
[EDIT: Scrub that. The solution is HANG-OUT, with thanks to Chris and Steve in the comments for the correction. The solution still involves an anagram of HAUNT, but is wrapped around GO (i.e. “proceed”) instead of DO, like so: HAN(GO)UT. The solution is another word for “haunt” or meeting place. Thanks, guys! – LP]

  1. Water collection taking weight off security guards in court (9)

Answer: CATCHMENT (i.e. “water collection”). Solution is WATCHMEN (i.e. “security guards”) with the W removed (indicated by “taking weight off” – W being a recognised abbreviation of “weight”) and the remainder placed “in” CT (a recognised abbreviation of “court”), like so: C(ATCHMEN)T.

Down clues

  1. Bad move to cuddle up under young woman (7)

Answer: MISSTEP (i.e. “bad move”). Solution is PET (i.e. “to cuddle”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and placed after or “under” – again being a down clue – MISS (i.e. “young woman”), like so: MISS-TEP.

  1. A boy, never to break routine, picked up an old monster (11)

Answer: TYRANNOSAUR (i.e. “old monster”). Solution is A SON (i.e. “a boy”) and NARY (i.e. “never”) all placed in or “breaking” RUT (i.e. “routine”). The whole is then reversed, like so: T(YRAN-NOS-A)UR.

  1. Artistic appreciation almost stifling member’s dismal verse (5)

Answer: ELEGY (i.e. “dismal verse”). Solution is EYE (i.e. “artistic appreciation”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder wrapped around or “stifling” LEG (i.e. “member” or limb), like so: E(LEG)Y.

  1. Spuds stuffed with last of meat scraps (7)

Answer: TATTERS (i.e. “scraps”). Solution is TATERS (i.e. “spuds”) wrapped around or “stuffed with” T (i.e. “last of meat”, i.e. the last letter of “meat”), like so: TAT(T)ERS.

  1. Butt or cask upended (3)

Answer: NUT (i.e. “[head]butt”). Solution is TUN (i.e. “cask”) reversed or “upended” – this being a down clue.

  1. It’s not shaggy or harsh: it needs grooming (9)

Answer: SHORTHAIR (i.e. “it’s not shaggy”). “Needs grooming” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OR HARSH IT.

  1. A stunner lives in number four, to the north (6)

Answer: VISION (i.e. “a stunner” – Chambers offers this: “a person or scene of great beauty”). Solution is IS (i.e. “lives”) placed “in” NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) and IV (i.e. Roman numerals for “four”), and the whole then reversed (indicated by “to the north” – this being a down clue), like so: VI-(SI)-ON.

  1. Driven to repeat possible vices, move us off (9-10)

Answer: OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE (i.e. “driven to repeat”). “Off” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of POSSIBLE VICES MOVE US.

  1. Massage giving an impression of relief? (7)

Answer: RUBBING. Solution satisfies “massage” and “giving an impression of relief”, as in how one rubs charcoal over paper placed on, say, a gravestone to obtain an impression of its surface or “relief”. Nicely worked.

  1. Animal god completed miracle, oddly ignored (9)

Answer: MARSUPIAL (i.e. “animal”). Solution is MARS (i.e. Roman “god” of war) followed by UP (i.e. “completed”) and IAL (i.e. “miracle, oddly ignored”, i.e. every other letter of MIRACLE).

  1. I disapprove Egyptian cross and I approve Egyptian king (11)

Answer: TUTANKHAMEN (i.e. “Egyptian king”). Solution is TUT (i.e. “I disapprove”) followed by ANKH (i.e. “Egyptian cross”) and AMEN (i.e. “I approve”).

  1. Fine places for the seriously ill house plant? (5)

Answer: FICUS (i.e. “plant” or fig tree). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils) followed by ICUS (i.e. “places for the serious ill”, specifically Intensive Care Units). It will perhaps come as no surprise that I reached straight for my Bradford’s the moment I saw “plant”.

  1. Unemotional spin that led to James II’s downfall (9,10)

Answer: BLOODLESS REVOLUTION (i.e. “that led to James II’s downfall”). Solution is BLOODLESS (i.e. “unemotional”) followed by REVOLUTION (i.e. “spin”).

  1. Imprint letters with press down under (7)

Answer: ENSTAMP (i.e. “imprint”). Solution is ENS (i.e. “letters”, specifically Ns) with TAMP (i.e. “press down”) placed after or “under” it – this being a down clue.

  1. European blocking repeat of republican revolutionary’s choice (9)

Answer: RECHERCHÉ (i.e. particularly “choice”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) placed in or “blocking” R (a recognised abbreviation of “republican”) and CHE Guevara (i.e. “revolutionary”) “repeated”, like so: R-(E)-CHE-R-CHE. Another nod to my Bradford’s here. I’m about as French as Marcel Wave.

  1. Operate motor, turning in to outskirts of Augsburg (6)

Answer: ENGAGE (i.e. “operate”). Solution is ENGINE (i.e. “motor”) with the IN “turned into” AG (i.e. “outskirts of Augsburg”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Augsburg”), like so: ENG(IN)E => ENG(AG)E.

  1. Denied drops of water and eggs? Vicious perhaps in retrospect (9)

Answer: DISAVOWED (i.e. “denied”). Solution is DEW (i.e. “drops of water”) followed by OVA (i.e. “eggs”) and SID (i.e. “Vicious perhaps” – other Sids are available). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “in retrospect”), like so: DIS-AVO-WED.

  1. Outermost part of Exeter sprawling across motorway (7)

Answer: EXTREME (i.e. “outermost part”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sprawling”) of EXETER wrapped around or “across” M (a recognised abbreviation of “motorway”), like so: EXTRE(M)E.

  1. By nature, I had to see streaker in shower (7)

Answer: PERSEID (i.e. “streaker in shower” – a tough bugger this, it refers to “a meteor of a swarm whose radiant is in the constellation Perseus” (Chambers)). Solution is PER SE (i.e. “by nature”) followed by I’D (a contraction of “I had”). Took some brute forcing to nail.

  1. Author someone has to plagiarise for content (6)

Answer: SCRIBE (i.e. “author”). Solution is the word SOMEONE with all its middle letters removed and the word CRIB (i.e. “to plagiarise”) stuffed inside “for content”, like so: S(OMEON)E => S(CRIB)E.

  1. Minder pocketing kilo is to flit (7)

Answer: SKITTER (i.e. “to flit”). Solution is SITTER (i.e. “minder”) wrapped around or “pocketing” K (a recognised abbreviation of “kilo”), like so: S(K)ITTER.

  1. Story of weaver furling sails and seaman skipping island (5,6)

Answer: SILAS MARNER (i.e. “story of weaver” by George Eliot). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unfurling”) of SAILS followed by MARINER (i.e. “seaman”) once its I has been removed (indicated by “skipping island” – I being a recognised abbreviation of “island”).

  1. Dismissing last pair, win against furious coalition in power (11)

Answer: TRIUMVIRATE (i.e. “coalition in power”). Solution is TRIUMPH (i.e. “win”) with the last two letters removed (indicated by “dismissing last pair”) and the remainder followed by V (i.e. “against”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “versus”) and IRATE (i.e. “furious”), like so: TRIUM-V-IRATE.

  1. A loss of energy in diminishing arousal (9)

Answer: AWAKENING (i.e. “arousal”). Solution is A followed by WEAKENING (i.e. “diminishing”) once one of the Es has been removed (indicated by “loss of energy in…” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: A-WAKENING.

  1. Word antagonistic to avoid split is “harridan” (9)

Answer: TERMAGANT (i.e. “harridan”). Solution is TERM (i.e. “word”) followed by AGAINST (i.e. “antagonistic to”) once the I and S has been removed (indicated by “avoid split is”; the “split” indicates the letters aren’t contiguous within the word AGAINST), like so: TERM-AGANT.

  1. Saint Nick embodies a noted sailor’s source of strength (7)

Answer: SPINACH (i.e. “noted sailor’s source of strength”, specifically Popeye’s favourite foodstuff). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “saint”) followed by PINCH (i.e. “nick” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) once wrapped around or “embodying” A, like so: S-PIN(A)CH.

  1. Mark end of work, ignoring top management’s action against employees (7)

Answer: LOCKOUT (i.e. “management’s action against employees”). Solution is CLOCK OUT (i.e. “mark end of work”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “ignoring top”).

  1. Gentle custom involving constant oversight (7)

Answer: NEGLECT (i.e. “oversight”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “custom”) of GENTLE wrapped around or “involving” C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”), like so: NEGLE(C)T.

  1. Plain cloth covered in mystical icons (6)

Answer: CALICO (i.e. “plain cloth”). “Covered in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: MYSTI(CAL ICO)NS.

  1. Prepared to attach paper of particular dimensions (5)

Answer: SIZED. Solution satisfies “prepared to attach [to?] paper” – a variant meaning of “size” is “a weak glue or gluey material used for stiffening paper or rendering it sufficiently water-resistant to accept printing ink without over-absorption” (Chambers) – and also satisfies “of particular dimensions”.

  1. It’s bad to be left in this list suddenly (5)

Answer: LURCH. Solution satisfies “it’s bad to be left in this” and to “list suddenly”.

  1. The writer puncturing anti-discriminatory image (3)

Answer: PIC (i.e. “image”). Solution is I (i.e. “the writer” from the point of view of the setter) placed in or “puncturing” PC (i.e. “anti-discriminatory” or Politically Correct), like so: P(I)C.

After a dip into all things goth last time around, I decided to worship at the black altar of Carpenter Brut for a decent chunk of this post, getting my rock on to his album Leather Teeth and mighty fine collection TRILOGY (featuring the peerless Turbo Killer, see below). Can’t say I’ve been too enamoured with his most recent output, but if he’s working on a sequel to Leather Teeth then I’ll be all over that like molten butter. After that, it was time to shake the foundations courtesy of my Rockchoonage playlist, as it had been a while. (Insert devil-fingers emoji here.) Laters, – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1500

An enjoyable themed puzzle this week to celebrate the Times Jumbo reaching the 1500 milestone. There were a handful of rough edges and clunkily written clues to smooth over, but overall this was a good ‘un.

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 also find solutions to the last 10% of these things on my Just For Fun page, should a recent Jumbo have trampled your toes. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers when the dust has settled. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere. With the weather FINALLY! getting its act together, let’s hope this latest uptick of covid infections doesn’t stop us being allowed out to play. From the numerous references to operas and theatrical works in this puzzle, I imagine the setter feels the same.

Laters,

LP

Across clues

  1. MD treated November malady right (8)

Answer: MARYLAND (i.e. “MD”, its US state abbreviation). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “treated”) of N (“November” in the phonetic alphabet), MALADY and R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”).

  1. MD treated Sue in exercises not properly appreciated (14)

Answer: UNDERESTIMATED (i.e. “not properly appreciated”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “exercises”) of MD TREATED SUE IN.

  1. Game taking up half the golf course? (8)

Answer: NINEPINS (i.e. “game”). The remainder of the clue plays on games of golf spanning eighteen holes, sometimes referred to as pins. Half of eighteen… you get the idea.

  1. Ace pilot’s claims (8)

Answer: PROTESTS (i.e. “claims”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “ace” or expert) followed by TEST’S (i.e. “pilot” made possessive).

  1. Pig’s blood – extra gallon included (5)

Answer: GORGE (i.e. to “pig” out). Solution is GORE (i.e. “blood”) wrapped around or “including” G (a recognised abbreviation of “gallon”), like so: GOR(G)E.

  1. Trouble with composer ending on wrong note? (5)

Answer: GRIEF (i.e. “trouble”). Solution is Edvard GRIEG (i.e. “composer”) with the last letter changed from G to F, both musical “notes”.

  1. Like the element of chance in roulette usually: hoping, initially, and spinning! (9)

Answer: SULPHURIC (i.e. “like the element”). Solution is CIRUH (i.e. “chance in roulette usually: hoping, initially”, i.e. the first letters of “Chance”, “In”, “Roulette”, “Usually” and “Hoping”) and PLUS (i.e. “and”) all reversed (indicated by “spinning”), like so: SULP-HURIC.

  1. One’s to change position in favour? Hardly (3,4)

Answer: ILL TURN, an act of unkindness, which can said to be “hardly” a “favour”. When written as I’LL TURN the solution also satisfies “one’s to change position”.

  1. Refuse to take a punt? (3,5,4,1,9)

Answer: NOT TOUCH WITH A BARGEPOLE, “refuse”. Clue plays on “punts” being BARGEPOLES. You get the idea.

  1. Puff? Keep doing so! (6)

Answer: DRAGON (i.e. “Puff”, a magical one according to the song). When read as DRAG ON the clue also satisfies “keep doing so” when taking DRAG to mean a draw or “puff” of a cigarette.

  1. Drink of choice, quietly pushed forward (6)

Answer: POTION (i.e. “drink”). Solution is OPTION (i.e. “choice”) with the P (“quietly” in musical lingo”) “pushed forward”, like so: O(P)TION => (P)OTION.

  1. Musical work’s intricate movement heard, with which film closed (9)

Answer: RIGOLETTO (i.e. “musical work” by Giuseppe Verdi). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “heard”) of WRIGGLE (i.e. “intricate movement”) followed by ET (i.e. “film”, specifically ET: The Extra-Terrestrial) and TO (i.e. “closed”, as in a door being closed to), like so: RIGOL-ET-TO. Took a quick Google to nail the spelling.

  1. Bring up and greet guitar oddball (11)

Answer: REGURGITATE (i.e. “bring up”). “Oddball” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GREET GUITAR.

  1. Rock band, Indiana one, with track evoking memories (11)

Answer: REMINISCENT (i.e. “evoking memories”). Solution is REM (i.e. “rock band”) followed by IN (US state abbreviation of “Indiana”), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and SCENT (i.e. “trail”).

  1. 10? Do stick that number in vase! (11)

Answer: CONURBATION (i.e. “10” down, the solution of which being MEGALOPOLIS). Solution is CON (i.e. to trick or “do” someone) followed by BAT (i.e. a heavy “stick”) and IO (i.e. “that number”, referring to 10) both placed “in” URN (i.e. “vase”), like so: CON-UR(BAT-IO)N.

  1. Unstable element in short making the case for Mossad? (11)

Answer: MENDELEVIUM (i.e. “unstable element”). The remainder of the clue plays on how the chemical symbol of this is Md – fitting given the puzzle’s theme – and how they are the beginning and end letters, or “case”, of “Mossad”.

  1. One making eyes at Luis or Charlie, playfully (9)

Answer: OCULARIST (i.e. “one making [artificial] eyes”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “playfully”) of AT LUIS OR and C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Rough bits apparently swapped by carpenter? (6)

Answer: CHOPPY (i.e. “rough”). Solution is CHIPPY (informal name for a “carpenter”) with the I swapped for O (indicated by “bits…swapped” – in computing lingo, bits take values of 0 or 1), like so: CH(I)PPY => CH(O)PPY.

  1. Keen to absorb tip on jam-making, turning over notes from the WI? (6)

Answer: REGGAE (i.e. “notes from the WI” or West Indies). Solution is EAGER (i.e. “keen”) wrapped around G (i.e. “tip on jam-making”, i.e. the last letter of “jam-making”) and the whole reversed (indicated by “turning over”), like so: REG(G)AE.

  1. MD is American with VC: I however must come first (3,8,4,7)

Answer: ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED (i.e. “MD” in Roman numerals). Solution is US (i.e. “American”), AND (i.e. “with”), FIVE (i.e. the Roman numeral “V”) and HUNDRED (i.e. the Roman numeral “C”) with ONE (i.e. the Roman numeral “I”) and THO (i.e. “however”, a contraction of “though”) “coming first”, like so: (ONE-THO)-US-AND-FIVE-HUNDRED.

  1. MD eggs on flash lord (7)

Answer: MOLDOVA (i.e. “MD”, its recognised international abbreviation). Solution is OVA (i.e. “eggs”) placed “on” or after MO (i.e. “flash” – both short spells of time) and LD (a recognised abbreviation of “lord”), like so: (MO-LD)-OVA.

  1. MD with health agency programme (6,3)

Answer: DOCTOR WHO (i.e. TV “programme”). Solution is DOCTOR (i.e. “MD”, specifically Medicinae Doctor or Doctor of Medicine) followed by WHO (i.e. “health agency”, specifically the World Health Organisation). I still love how Peter Capaldi starred in the 2013 movie World War Z, cast as one of the “W.H.O. Doctors”, a year before his first appearance as Doctor Who.

  1. Helping of duck put together (2,3)

Answer: OF USE (i.e. “helping”). Solution is O (a zero score or “duck”) followed by FUSE (i.e. “put together”).

  1. Partner once visiting cooked like intelligent home help (5)

Answer: ALEXA (i.e. “intelligent home help” – other smart devices are available). Solution is EX (i.e. “partner once”) placed in or “visiting” A LA (i.e. “cooked like”), like so: A-L(EX)A.

  1. I perform myself, mostly, sort of light opera (8)

Answer: IDOMENEO (i.e. “opera” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart). Solution is I followed by DO (i.e. “perform”), then ME (i.e. “myself”) and NEON (i.e. “sort of light”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: I-DO-ME-NEO. A nod to my Bradford’s for nailing this tough bugger.

  1. Bird I couldn’t catch that circles small island (8)

Answer: WHINCHAT (i.e. “bird”). Solution is WHAT (i.e. “I couldn’t catch that”) wrapped around or “circling” INCH (i.e. a Scots word for a “small island” that you occasionally see in these things), like so: WH(INCH)AT. Another win for my Bradford’s. Life’s too short to know every species of bird. Pretty little critter, mind.

  1. Physicist has female track lookout with new satellite receiver (5,9)

Answer: HENRY CAVENDISH (i.e. eighteenth century “physicist”, among other things). Solution is HEN (i.e. “female”) followed by RY (i.e. “track”, specifically an abbreviated form or “railway”), then CAVE (i.e. “lookout”), N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and DISH (i.e. “satellite receiver”).

  1. A little lamb’s tail cut by champion dog (8)

Answer: NOISETTE (i.e. “a little [cut of] lamb”). Solution is NO I SETTER (i.e. “champion dog”) with its “tail cut” or last letter removed.

Down clues

  1. MD’s staff opposed to grand female minister (8,8)

Answer: MANAGING DIRECTOR (i.e. “MD” its recognised abbreviation). Solution is MAN (i.e. “staff”) followed by AGIN (i.e. “opposed” or against), then G (a recognised abbreviation of “grand”), then DI (i.e. “female”, basically a woman’s name) and RECTOR (i.e. “minister”).

  1. One needs to manage with corruption about to be rampant (3,4)

Answer: RUN RIOT (i.e. “to be rampant”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) with RUN (i.e. “to manage”) and ROT (i.e. “corruption”) wrapped “about” it, like so: RUN-R(I)OT.

  1. To drink nothing fine before ten, say: then it’s Victor’s round (3,2,6)

Answer: LAP OF HONOUR (i.e. “Victor’s round”). Solution is LAP (i.e. “to drink”) followed by O (i.e. “nothing”), then F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine”) and HONOUR (i.e. “ten, say” – in bridge an honour is a card such as a king, queen, jack or ten).

  1. Old model unchosen, surprisingly (8)

Answer: NONESUCH (i.e. “old model”, specifically an archaic word for something unparalleled or extraordinary). “Surprisingly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UNCHOSEN. Honestly, I was surprised to find Chambers had slapped an “archaic” indicator against this word.

  1. Viking’s neighbour’s horse: turn it loose (5,6)

Answer: NORTH UTSIRE (i.e. “Viking’s neighbour”, relating to Shipping Forecast areas). “Loose” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HORSE TURN IT. Wordplay was obvious but, not being an avid fan of the Forecast, this took a bit of finagling to get right.

  1. Diverting person from harbour: here he’s abandoned, upset (11)

Answer: ENTERTAINER (i.e. “diverting person”). Solution is ENTERTAIN (i.e. to “harbour”) followed by RE (i.e. “here he’s abandoned”, i.e. the word “here” with the “he” removed) once reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue), like so: ENTERTAIN-ER.

  1. Like pie, perhaps with tea, consuming one here? (4,5)

Answer: EASY CHAIR, the “here” of the clue. A bit wishy-washy given the solution is descriptive of a comfortable armchair, but there you go. Solution is EASY (i.e. “like pie, perhaps”, from the phrase “easy as pie”) followed by CHAR (i.e. “tea”) once wrapped around or “consuming” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: EASY-CHA(I)R.

  1. What oenophiles may hold in reserve: smart! (7)

Answer: TASTING (i.e. “what oenophiles may hold” – an oenophile is a wine lover). Solution is TA (i.e. “reserve”, specifically the Territorial Army of old) followed by STING (i.e. an acute pain or “smart”).

  1. City’s simple logo: a cuckoo (11)

Answer: MEGALOPOLIS (i.e. “city”). “Cuckoo” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SIMPLE LOGO A.

  1. British channel picked up in European port (5)

Answer: TURKU (i.e. Ukrainian “port”). Solution is UK (i.e. “British”) and RUT (i.e. “channel”) all reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue), like so: TUR-KU. Ports are nearly always used to bail setters out of a tight spot. Straight to Bradford’s here.
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for the corrections. For some unknown reason TURKU had become TURKA in my mind between solving the puzzle and writing it up. Cheers, Sue! – LP]

  1. Girl’s teacher fitting extra lesson in, finally flipping (6)

Answer: DUENNA (i.e. “girl’s teacher”). Solution is DUE (i.e. “fitting”) followed by NNA (i.e. “extra lesson in, finally flipping”, i.e. the last letters of “extrA“, “lessoN” and “iN” all reversed or “flipped”), like so: DUE-NNA. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, to be honest.

  1. Far from Fleet Street’s original base (4)

Answer: SLOW (i.e. “far from fleet” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is S (i.e. “street’s original”, i.e. the first letter of “street”) followed by LOW (i.e. “base”).

  1. Allow note to surround inscription (9)

Answer: LETTERING (i.e. “inscription”). Solution is LET (i.e. “allow”) followed by TE (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me style) and RING (i.e. “to surround”).

  1. Weaver with cold heart in the position of a crank (6,4,6)

Answer: BOTTOM DEAD CENTRE (i.e. “position of a crank”). Solution is Nick BOTTOM (i.e. “weaver” in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) followed by DEAD (i.e. “cold”) and CENTRE (i.e. “heart”).

  1. No question “lingua” can be rendered as “tongue” (9)

Answer: ALGONQUIN (i.e. “tongue”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “can be rendered as”) of NO, Q (a recognised abbreviation of “question”, as in Q&A) and LINGUA. Weirdly, I have Grand Theft Auto IV to thank for this one. I knew all those hours would pay off eventually.

  1. Browser and peripherals missing from notebook: a pity (5)

Answer: OKAPI (i.e. “browser”, or something that feeds on the shoots of plants). “Peripherals missing from” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: NOTEBO(OK A PI)TY.

  1. Jets and Sharks, say, crossing East River (6)

Answer: GANGES (i.e. “river”). Solution is GANGS (i.e. “Jets and Sharks” from West Side Story) wrapped around or “crossing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”), like so: GANG(E)S.

  1. I act on instinct, turning up for festival (6)

Answer: DIWALI (i.e. “festival”). Solution is I followed by LAW (i.e. “act”) and ID (i.e. “instinct” in the weird and wacky world of psychoanalysis) all reversed (indicated by “turning up” – this being a down clue), like so: DI-WAL-I.

  1. Football team facing pressure to act responsibility (3,2)

Answer: MAN UP (i.e. “act responsibly”). Solution is MAN U (i.e. “football team”, specifically Manchester United) followed by P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”).

  1. Conservative fighting in back alley (East End) (11)

Answer: REACTIONARY (i.e. “conservative”, as in how both tend to oppose political change). Solution is ACTION (i.e. “fighting”) placed “in” REAR (i.e. “back”) and Y (i.e. “alley (East End)”, i.e. the last letter of “alley”), like so: RE(ACTION)AR-Y.

  1. Precise place for exhibiting Thatcher’s material and religious beliefs (6,5)

Answer: NICENE CREED (i.e. “religious beliefs”). Solution is NICE (i.e. “precise” – Chambers offers this definition: “done with great care and exactness, accurate”) followed by NEC (i.e. “place for exhibiting”, specifically the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham) and REED (i.e. “thatcher’s material” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). I lucked out on this one as Chambers mentioned the Nicene Creed under its definition of “credo” when I was scrabbling around for clues.

  1. To expose posterior, Franc drops bloomers (11)

Answer: MOONFLOWERS (i.e. “bloomers” of the night). Solution is MOON (i.e. “to expose posterior”) followed by F (a recognised abbreviation of “franc”, the former currency of France – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and LOWERS (i.e. “drops”). One of the rare cases I was able to nail a flora-related solution without running to my Bradford’s. Go me.

  1. All leave is cancelled after six men, note, use catapults (6,5)

Answer: EXEUNT OMNES (i.e. “all leave” in theatrical lingo). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “catapults”) of MEN NOTE USE and X (i.e. “is cancelled after six”, i.e. the word “six” with the letters of “is” removed). I half-remembered this from a previous puzzle, but needed a shufti in my Chambers to get the “omnes” bit.

  1. Assessed (vehicle) outside of the standard range (4-5)

Answer: TEST DROVE (i.e. “assessed (vehicle)” – not sure why the parentheses). Solution is TE (i.e. “outside of the”, i.e. the first and last letters of “the”) followed by STD (a recognised abbreviation of “standard”) and ROVE (i.e. to “range” or gad about the place).

  1. I’m surprised to find illicit liqueur on board kid’s train (4-4)

Answer: CHOO-CHOO (i.e. “kid’s train”). Solution is COO (i.e. “I’m surprised”) wrapped around or having “on board” HOOCH (i.e. “illicit liqueur” – minor point: shouldn’t that be “liquor”? I always thought liqueurs were the fancy stuff a little less likely to blind you in one eye), like so: C(HOOCH)OO.

  1. Unusual wind removing walls from local urinal (7)

Answer: OCARINA (i.e. “unusual wind” instrument). Solution is derived from “removing walls” or the first and last letters from LOCAL URINAL.

  1. Against concealing reaction to pain, swears (4)

Answer: VOWS (i.e. “swears”). Solution is VS (i.e. “against”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “versus”) wrapped around or “concealing” OW (i.e. “reaction to pain”), like so: V(OW)S.

  1. Accept hardships hurt? I go crazy (5,2)

Answer: ROUGH IT (i.e. “accept hardships”). “Crazy” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HURT I GO.

  1. MD when visiting English hospital is one after blood much earlier (2,4)

Answer: EM DASH (i.e. “one after blood much earlier” – a reference to the clue for 15a, which employs an em dash right after the word “blood”). Solution is MD and AS (i.e. “when”) both placed between or “visiting” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and H (ditto “hospital”), like so: E-(MD-AS)-H.

  1. That is popular with lazybones, primarily? (3-2)

Answer: LIE-IN, something I can readily confirm is indeed “popular with lazybones”. Solution is IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. er… “i.e.”!) and IN (i.e. “popular”) both placed after or “with” L (i.e. “lazybones, primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “lazybones”), like so: (L)-IE-IN.

Live sport had a rare look-in this weekend with absorbing finals for the Championship Play-Offs and Champions League. What musical accompaniment was had was mostly provided by Spotify’s Dark & Gothic playlist – a very serviceable mix of goth through the ages, from Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy through to more modern outfits like Swedish gloomsters Then Comes Silence (see below). What better way to celebrate the good weather than pandering to one’s inner mope? What do you mean, “going outside and enjoying it”? Pfff. Away with you… TTFN! – LP