Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1492

A tougher challenge this week, not helped by this being 1) a working weekend for this internet nobody, and 2) a weekend in which this internet nobody’s brain has been stuck in second gear. The two could be related. In all this was another good ‘un with some nicely worked clues to enjoy. Maybe they’re keeping the stinker for the May bank holiday…

As ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has done for you then you might find solace in my Just For Fun page, where I’ve curated links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Also, there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind comments, folks. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Opening stairs for approach to higher regions? (11)

Answer: SPACEFLIGHT (i.e. “approach to higher regions”). Solution is SPACE (i.e. “opening”) followed by FLIGHT (i.e. “stairs”).

  1. Proof bar has brought in learner, one that’s overworked (6,5)

Answer: GALLEY SLAVE (i.e. “one that’s overworked”). Solution is GALLEY (i.e. a “proof” of a book created prior to full publication) followed by SAVE (i.e. “bar”, both taken to mean “except”) once wrapped around or having “brought in” L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner”), like so: GALLEY-S(L)AVE.

  1. Distribute vote to oust leader (5)

Answer: ALLOT (i.e. “distribute”). Solution is BALLOT (i.e. “vote”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “to oust leader”).

  1. Appear in front and pressure soldiers to surrender (7)

Answer: PRECEDE (i.e. “appear in front”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”) followed by RE (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) and CEDE (i.e. “to surrender”).

  1. Scented substance good in Morning Fruit (not ultimate in perfume) (9)

Answer: AMBERGRIS (i.e. “scented substance”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) placed “in” AM (i.e. “morning”) and BERRIES (i.e. “fruit”) once its second E has been removed (indicated by “not ultimate in perfume”, i.e. the last letter of “perfume”), like so: AM-BER(G)RIS.

  1. Knight, beset by flies in sun resolved to take armour off (9)

Answer: UNHARNESS (i.e. “to take armour off”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) placed in or “beset by” HARES (i.e. “flies”, as in to race about) which is itself placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “resolved”) of SUN, like so: UN(HAR(N)ES)S.

  1. Radical not right about husband? It’s misleading information (3,7)

Answer: RED HERRING (i.e. “misleading information”). Solution is RED (i.e. “radical” or socialist) and ERRING (i.e. “not right”) both wrapped “about” H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”), like so: RED-(H)-ERRING.

  1. Fibres a touch hard in place for horses (7)

Answer: TOWPATH (i.e. “place for horses”). Solution is TOW (i.e. “fibres”) followed by PAT (i.e. “a touch”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils).

  1. Pasta dish, note, involved in US city story (7)

Answer: LASAGNA (i.e. “pasta dish”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “note”) placed in LA (i.e. “US city”, specifically Los Angeles) and SAGA (i.e. “story”), like so: LA-SAG(N)A.

  1. Beer conceals when one’s missing exams (1,6)

Answer: A LEVELS (i.e. “exams”). Solution is ALE (i.e. “beer”) followed by VEILS (i.e. “conceals”) once the I has been removed (indicated by “when [Roman numeral] one’s missing”), like so: ALE-VELS.

  1. Watch, taking in the fielder beginning to play game (4,3,7)

Answer: HIDE THE SLIPPER (i.e. a hiding “game” popular in Victorian times in which participants form a circle around a finder and pass among themselves a small item such as a slipper with the aim of not being caught holding it – you had to make your own entertainment back then). Solution is HUNTER (i.e. “watch” – chalk one to my Bradford’s here as I wouldn’t have made the connection) wrapped around or “taking in” THE and SLIP (i.e. a “fielder” in cricket), like so: HUNT(THE-SLIP)ER.

  1. Newspaper etc omitting indefinite number in statistical quantity (5)

Answer: MEDIA (i.e. “newspaper etc”). Solution is MEDIAN (i.e. “statistical quantity”, being the middle value of a set of numbers when placed in ascending order) with the N removed (indicated by “omitting indefinite number”).

  1. Magician? Not the real article (6)

Answer: SHAMAN (i.e. “magician”). Solution is SHAM (i.e. “not the real”) followed by AN (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the).

  1. That chap, not very serious in promotions, beams (10)

Answer: HEADLIGHTS (i.e. “beams”). Solution is HE (i.e. “that chap”) followed by LIGHT (i.e. “not very serious”) once placed “in” ADS (i.e. “promotions”, i.e. a shortened form of “advertisements”), like so: HE-AD(LIGHT)S.

  1. Flower child about to snooze, faced with boring event (10)

Answer: SNAPDRAGON (i.e. “flower”). Solution is SON (i.e. “child”) wrapped “about” NAP (i.e. “to snooze”) and DRAG (i.e. “boring event”), like so: S(NAP-DRAG)ON.

  1. Female underwear in small? That shows intelligence (6)

Answer: BRAINS (i.e. “intelligence”). Solution is BRA (i.e. “female underwear”) followed by IN and S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”).

  1. Bill loves what’s prohibited (5)

Answer: TABOO (i.e. “what’s prohibited”). Solution is TAB (i.e. “bill” or account) followed by O and O (i.e. “loves”, i.e. zero scores in tennis).

  1. Scientist with a small prize, thus first (14)

Answer: ASTROPHYSICIST (i.e. “scientist”). Solution is A followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”), then TROPHY (i.e. “prize”), then SIC (i.e. “thus”) and IST (i.e. “first”, with the 1 written as a Roman numeral I).

  1. Warrior pre-empts responding when securing upland (8)

Answer: ACHILLES (i.e. “warrior” of Greek legend). Solution is ACES (i.e. “pre-empts responding”, i.e. serving without return in tennis) wrapped around or “securing” HILL (i.e. “upland”), like so: AC(HILL)ES.

  1. Composer dismissing a writer from Italy and a painter from further East (2,5)

Answer: EL GRECO (i.e. “a painter from further East”, relative to Italy – he was of Greek origin, hence the nickname). Solution is Edward ELGAR (i.e. “composer”) with the A removed (indicated by “dismissing a”) and the remainder followed by Umberto ECO (i.e. “writer from Italy”), like so: ELGR-ECO.

  1. Rest admit following Schubert song? (3-4)

Answer: LIE-DOWN (i.e. “rest”). Solution is OWN (i.e. “admit” responsibility) placed after or “following” LIED (i.e. Franz “Schubert song” – a lied is “a German lyric or song” (Chambers)), like so: LIED-OWN.

  1. Seaweed to move round avoiding old holiday region (7)

Answer: ALGARVE (i.e. “holiday region”). Solution is ALGA (i.e. “seaweed”) followed by ROVE (i.e. “to move round”) once its O has been removed (indicated by “avoiding old” – O being a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: ALGA-RVE.

  1. Parliamentarian say is restricted by claptrap everyone recalled (10)

Answer: LEGISLATOR (i.e. “parliamentarian”). Solution is EG (i.e. “say”, or for example) and IS both placed in or “restricted by” ROT (i.e. “claptrap”) and ALL (i.e. “everyone”) once these have been reversed (indicated by “recalled”), like so: L(EG-IS)LA-TOR.

  1. Embarrassingly rude about line after deliveries disallowed (9)

Answer: OVERRULED (i.e. “disallowed”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “embarrassingly”) of RUDE placed “about” L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”). This is then preceded by or placed “after” OVER (six regulation “deliveries” in cricket), like so: OVER-RU(L)ED.

  1. Chords? Urge to follow piano in endless song (9)

Answer: ARPEGGIOS (i.e. “chords”). Solution is EGG (i.e. to “urge” on) placed after or “following” P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano” in musical lingo). These are then placed “in” ARIOSO (i.e. “song”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endless”), like so: AR(P-EGG)IOS.

  1. No odd elements in party invite? Go (7)

Answer: ATTEMPT (i.e. a “go”). Solution is AT (i.e. “no odd elements in party”, i.e. every other letter of PARTY) followed by TEMPT (i.e. “invite”).

  1. Foreign letter about popular zoo animal (5)

Answer: RHINO (i.e. “zoo animal”). Solution is RHO (i.e. “foreign letter”, specifically the seventeenth letter of the Greek alphabet) wrapped “about” IN (i.e. “popular”), like so: RH(IN)O.

  1. Unethical behaviour: shaky camera clip capturing it at last (11)

Answer: MALPRACTICE (i.e. “unethical behaviour”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “shaky”) of CAMERA CLIP wrapped around or “capturing” T (i.e. “it at last”, i.e. the last letter of “it”), like so: MALPRAC(T)ICE.

  1. Romantic atmosphere may be charming around lake (11)

Answer: CANDLELIGHT (i.e. “romantic atmosphere”). Solution is CAN DELIGHT (i.e. “may be charming”) wrapped “around” L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: CAN-D(L)ELIGHT.

Down clues

  1. Ends in the Government blocking law award? (9)

Answer: STATUETTE (i.e. “award”). Solution is E and T (i.e. “ends in the Government”, i.e. the last letters of “the” and “Government”) both placed in or “blocking” STATUTE (i.e. “law”), like so: STATU(E-T)TE.

  1. Indication we’ll have to act when boarding coach after everyone (3,3,6,1,5)

Answer: ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE, a line from William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Haven’t touched Shakespeare since school and I’m very happy to keep it that way. Clue plays on “coach” and “stage” having similar meanings. After that, I’ll leave it to the luvvies.

  1. Penetrate the heart of America, not the top (5)

Answer: ENTER (i.e. “penetrate”). Solution is CENTER (i.e. “the heart of America”, i.e. how the US spells “centre”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “not the top”).

  1. Irish figures reel as punch is thrown (11)

Answer: LEPRECHAUNS (i.e. “Irish figures”). “Is thrown” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REEL AS PUNCH.

  1. Old King freely exhibiting unctuousness? (8)

Answer: GREASILY (i.e. “exhibiting unctuousness”). Solution is GR (i.e. “old King”, specifically Georgius Rex) followed by EASILY (i.e. “freely”).

  1. Author remains confused, having missed a statement from Pope (2,3,2,5)

Answer: TO ERR IS HUMAN (i.e. “statement from [Alexander] Pope”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “confused”) of AUTHOR REMAINS once one of the As has been removed (indicated by “having missed a”).

  1. Guzzler decided to avoid opening variable bottle (6,4)

Answer: GREEDY GUTS (i.e. “guzzler”). Solution is AGREED (i.e. “decided”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “to avoid opening”) followed by Y (i.e. “variable” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns or variables), then GUTS (i.e. “bottle” or bravery).

  1. Permission to take off (5)

Answer: LEAVE. Solution satisfies “permission” and “to take off”.

  1. Nasty beard smears will make you self-conscious (11)

Answer: EMBARRASSED (i.e. “self-conscious”). “Nasty” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BEARD SMEARS.

  1. African ecosystem re-created as green site (9)

Answer: SERENGETI (i.e. “African ecosystem”). “Re-created” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AS GREEN SITE.

  1. Enjoying the atmosphere? That’s risky in part of London (4)

Answer: AIRY, as in something jaunty and enjoyable. Clue also plays on AIR being another word for “atmosphere”, and finally in how all ‘em cockneys “in part of London” are always droppin’ their bleedin’ aitches, innit, guvnor, as in ‘ow they’d say HAIRY (i.e. “risky”).

  1. What makes bone bony? Simple (4)

Answer: EASY (i.e. “simple”). When written as E AS Y the solution also satisfies “what makes bone bony”, as in how one would replace the E with Y to get from “bone” to “bony”.

  1. Choose not to stop dance held by the wealthy below tower (4,3,4,7)

Answer: KEEP THE BALL ROLLING (i.e. “choose not to stop”). Solution is BALL (i.e. “dance”) placed in or “held by” THE and ROLLING (i.e. “wealthy”, as in rolling in it). These are then placed after or “below” – this being a down clue – KEEP (i.e. “tower”), like so: KEEP-(THE-(BALL)-ROLLING).

  1. European journalists tucking into very good coffee (8)

Answer: ESPRESSO (i.e. “coffee”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) followed by PRESS (i.e. “journalists”) once placed in or “tucked into” SO (i.e. “very good”), like so: E-S(PRESS)O.

  1. Acclaim of the French: a record by old man climbing (7)

Answer: APPLAUD (i.e. “acclaim”). Solution is DU (i.e. “of the French”, i.e. the French for “of”) followed by A, then LP (i.e. a long-play “record” – ask your parents, kids) and PA (i.e. “old man” or father). These are all then reversed (indicated by “climbing” – this being a down clue), like so: AP-PL-A-UD.

  1. Sporting new hat, allowed in college at the outset (8)

Answer: ATHLETIC (i.e. “sporting”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “new”) of HAT followed by LET (i.e. “allowed”), then I and C (i.e. “in college at the outset”, i.e. the first letters of “in” and “college”), like so: ATH-LET-I-C.

  1. Caught taking turn on large fairground attraction (8)

Answer: CAROUSEL (i.e. “fairground attraction”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games) followed by AROUSE (i.e. “turn on” – wahey!) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”).

  1. Arab capital leading to upturn in the French grape variety (8)

Answer: MUSCATEL (i.e. “grape variety”). Solution is MUSCAT (i.e. “Arab capital”, specifically the capital city of Oman) followed by LE (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the masculine form of “the” in French) once this latter has been reversed (indicated by “upturn” – this being a down clue), like so: MUSCAT-EL.

  1. Suggesting shifting hotel? It’s a popular idea (2-5)

Answer: IN-THING (i.e. “popular idea”). Solution is HINTING (i.e. “suggesting”) with the H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet) “shifting” to the middle, like so: (H)INTING => INT(H)ING.

  1. Mostly boring of philosopher to receive tons of privileged people (12)

Answer: ARISTOCRATIC (i.e. “of privileged people”). Solution is ARID (i.e. “boring” with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and followed by SOCRATIC (i.e. “of philosopher”, specifically Socrates) once wrapped around or “receiving” T (a recognised abbreviation of “tons”), like so: ARI-S(T)OCRATIC.

  1. One will turn on radio chap is altering (11)

Answer: APHRODISIAC (i.e. “one will turn on” – phew, steady on setter! (Eases collar)). “Altering” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RADIO CHAP IS.

  1. A Catholic when uplifted will get crazy about religious rite (11)

Answer: SACRAMENTAL (i.e. “about religious rite”). Solution is A, RC (i.e. “Catholic”, specifically of the Roman Catholic persuasion) and AS (i.e. “when”) all reversed (indicated by “uplifted” – this being a down clue) and followed by MENTAL (i.e. “crazy”), like so: (SA-CR-A)-MENTAL.

  1. Stress a lot of US cash is involved in move (10)

Answer: ACCENTUATE (i.e. “stress”). Solution is CENT (i.e. “US cash”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of”) and the remainder placed “in” ACTUATE (i.e. “move”), like so: AC(CEN)TUATE.

  1. Too keen with regard to monarch? About time! (9)

Answer: OVEREAGER (i.e. “too keen”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “with regard to”) followed by ER (i.e. “monarch”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) once wrapped “about” AGE (i.e. “time”), like so: OVER-E(AGE)R.

  1. What may be ending in drop to seabed after accident? (9)

Answer: SPEEDBOAT. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “after accident”) of TO SEABED once wrapped around or having “in” P (i.e. “ending in drop”, i.e. the last letter of “drop”), like so: S(P)EEDBOAT. In context of the clue, a speedboat accident could indeed see it drop to the seabed. Nicely worked.

  1. A Parisian officer leading Frenchmen forward and out of the way (8)

Answer: UNCOMMON (i.e. “out of the way”). Solution is UN (i.e. “a Parisian”, i.e. the masculine form of “a” in French) followed by CO (i.e. “officer”, specifically a Commanding Officer), then M and M (i.e. “Frenchmen” – the recognised abbreviation of “monsieur” is M), then ON (i.e. “forward”).

  1. Girl, going to capital of India, finding a drink there (5)

Answer: LASSI (i.e. “a drink there [in India]”). Solution is LASS (i.e. “girl”) followed by I (i.e. “capital [letter] of India”).

  1. Artist breaking 60% of laws of the country (5)

Answer: RURAL (i.e. “of the country”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) placed in or “breaking” RULES (i.e. “laws”) once the last two letters have been removed (indicated by “60% of…” – RULES being five letters long), like so: RU(RA)L.

  1. Prize money initially given to friend… (4)

Answer: PALM (i.e. “prize” – Chambers offers this: “emblematically, pre-eminence, the prize”). Solution is M (i.e. “money initially”, i.e. the initial letter of “money”) placed after or “given to” PAL (i.e. “friend”), like so: PAL-M.

  1. …after old gem (4)

Answer: OPAL (i.e. “gem”). The ellipsis indicates a connection with the previous clue. The previous clue ends in “friend” or PAL. This is carried over into this clue and placed “after” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: O-PAL.

Not much musical accompaniment was had this weekend, though it was notable that London Grammar have dropped another track from their upcoming album. America is a fine listen which led me to revisit their debut album If You Wait. Seven years on it still sounds great and features this spine-tingling (and Novello-winning) wonder. – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1491

Another medium strength offering, relatively speaking. Much like Saturday’s puzzle the smattering of exotic solutions here were mostly gettable after thumbing through a few dictionaries, which is how it should be. Another good ‘un, then. Stinker next week, do you reckon?

As ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo is looking a little gappy then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Meanwhile, there’s the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the comments, folks. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared in these things. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Sister holding rug with no time to beat it (7)

Answer: SCARPER (i.e. “beat it”). Solution is SR (a recognised abbreviation of the title “Sister”) wrapped around or “holding” CARPET (i.e. “rug”) once its T has been removed (indicated by “with no time” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: S(CARPE)R.

  1. Stretch of river covering basins of salt (7)

Answer: EXPANSE (i.e. “stretch”). Solution is EXE (i.e. a “river”) wrapped around or “covering” PANS (i.e. “basins of salt”), like so: EX(PANS)E.

  1. Appear cheated in hearing, so stopped and returned (7)

Answer: FIELDED (i.e. “stopped and returned” a ball in, say, cricket). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “in hearing”) of FEEL (i.e. “appear”) and DID (i.e. “cheated”).

  1. Poem the Italian writes with nothing on love (2,9)

Answer: IL PENSEROSO (i.e. “poem” by John Milton. No, me neither). Solution is IL (i.e. “the Italian”, i.e. the Italian for “the”) followed by PENS (i.e. “writes”), then O (i.e. “nothing”) placed “on” of after EROS (Greek god of “love”), like so: IL-PENS-(EROS)-O. Gotten mainly from chucking IL PENS into Google and seeing what it suggested next. I have no shame.

  1. Writhing excites love – stop! (4,7)

Answer: VOIX CELESTE (i.e. a type of organ “stop”. Again, shrugs from this quarter). “Writhing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EXCITES LOVE. Easy wordplay, but needed a little bit of brute force to crack. Here’s a video demonstrating it in action. Can’t say I’m much the wiser, to be honest.

  1. Small limb child plays on (5)

Answer: SWING (i.e. “child plays on” it). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by WING (i.e. “limb”).

  1. Calm, not yet sacked by The Times? (7)

Answer: STILLED (i.e. “calm”). When written as STILL ED the solution also satisfies “not yet sacked by The Times”. Perhaps this one was compiled by the puzzles editor.

  1. When one’s ahead of everybody, almost? (9)

Answer: AFTERNOON (a moment in time or “when”). Solution is AFTER NO-ONE (i.e. “ahead of everybody”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”).

  1. Thought train often featured in modernist novels (6,2,13)

Answer: STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS. Clue and solution describe a method of writing used by certain novelists to present the thoughts of a character as they occur. They’re easy to spot as they’re usually formed of wall-of-text sentences that go on and on for umpteen pages, and they are always, without exception, utterly, utterly awful. Like “don’t do it, oh no he’s doing it, look away in shame” kind of awful, like the author has decided to have a wank in public. Which, literarily speaking, is exactly what they are doing.

  1. Trouble-maker pretended to have had an effect (8)

Answer: IMPACTED (i.e. “have had an effect”). Solution is IMP (i.e. “trouble-maker”) followed by ACTED (i.e. “pretended”).

  1. Designated as nasty, knocking off sodium light (6)

Answer: STYLED (i.e. “designated”). Solution is NASTY with the NA removed (indicated by “knocking off sodium”, i.e. its chemical symbol) and the remainder followed by LED (i.e. “light”, specifically a Light Emitting Diode), like so: STY-LED. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here as I couldn’t make the connection.

  1. Lightly fried sesame, for example, which faculty regularly may tuck into (7)

Answer: SAUTEED (i.e. “lightly fried”). Solution is SEED (i.e. “sesame, for example” – other bags of seed are available) wrapped around or having “tucked in” AUT (i.e. “faculty regularly”, i.e. every other letter of FACULTY), like so: S(AUT)EED.

  1. Northerner once holding old twist of thread (5)

Answer: PICOT (i.e. “twist of thread”). Solution is PICT (i.e. “Northerner once”) wrapped around or “holding” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: PIC(O)T.

  1. Structure of an alliance that surprises me (7)

Answer: ANATOMY (i.e. “structure”). Solution is A NATO (i.e. “an alliance”, specifically the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) followed by MY (i.e. “that surprises me”, as in gosh, blimey, lummee, that sort of thing).

  1. Mechanic is erratic, if given confusing order (9)

Answer: ARTIFICER (i.e. “mechanic”). “Given confusing order” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ERRATIC IF.

  1. Flirtatious girl with very little money – gambler making right move (9)

Answer: SOUBRETTE (i.e. “flirtatious girl”, usually in theatrical productions). Solution is SOU (i.e. “very little money”, historically “a French five-centime piece” (Chambers)) followed by BETTER (i.e. “gambler”) once the R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) has been “moved”, like so: SOU-BETTE(R) => SOU-B(R)ETTE.

  1. Happening to enter, shortly departed (5,2)

Answer: GOING ON (i.e. “happening”). Solution is GO IN (i.e. “to enter”) followed by GONE (i.e. “departed”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “shortly”), like so: GO-IN-GON.

  1. Linger as blue is reflected by lake (5)

Answer: DWELL (i.e. “linger”). Solution is LEWD (i.e. “blue”) reversed (indicated by “reflected”) and followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: DWEL-L.

  1. Periodically, three fired up are busily active around one (7)

Answer: LITHIUM (i.e. “periodically, three” – a reference to lithium’s position in the “periodic” table, having an atomic number of “three”). Solution is LIT (i.e. “fired up”) followed by HUM (i.e. “busily active”) once wrapped “around” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: LIT-H(I)UM.

  1. For the audience, it might be on a high card (6)

Answer: HONOUR. Solution satisfies “for the audience it might be on a”, i.e. homophones of “on a” – depends how you pronounce ‘a’, I suppose – and a “high card” in a game of bridge. A new one on me, but then I don’t play the game.

  1. Men following female python, say, replacing end of skin that’s cast off (8)

Answer: FORSAKEN (i.e. “cast off”). Solution is OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) placed after or “following” F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) and followed by SNAKE (i.e. “python, say”) once the N (i.e. “end [letter] of skin”) has been moved or “replaced”, like so: F-(OR)-S(N)AKE => F-(OR)-SAKE(N).

  1. Livelihood dull person finds sweet (5-3-6,7)

Answer: BREAD-AND-BUTTER PUDDING (i.e. “sweet”). Solution is BREAD-AND-BUTTER (i.e. “livelihood”) followed by PUDDING (i.e. “dull person”).

  1. I’m a vocalist, love – something fishy here (9)

Answer: ISINGLASS (i.e. “something fishy here”, specifically “a material, mainly gelatine, obtained from sturgeon’s air bladders and other sources” (Chambers). It gets used in making jellies and in real ale production, in case you thought scientists pulled out sturgeon’s air bladders purely for shits and giggles). When written as I SING, LASS the solution also satisfies “I’m a vocalist, love”. Weirdly one I knew.

  1. Care worker shows a lot of cash in both hands (7)

Answer: ALMONER (i.e. “care worker”). Solution is A followed by MONEY (i.e. “cash”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of…”) once placed between or “in” L and R (i.e. “both hands”, i.e. recognised abbreviations of “left” and “right”), like so: A-L-(MONE)-R. One of those “make up a word and check in the dictionary” moments.

  1. Flirt with the lassies on and off (5)

Answer: TEASE (i.e. “flirt with”). “On and off” indicates the solution is derived from every other letter of THE LASSIES.

  1. Get don back somehow in headcount reduction? Fanciful (4-3-4)

Answer: COCK-AND-BULL (i.e. “fanciful”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of DON BACK placed “in” CULL (i.e. “headcount reduction”), like so: C(OCKANDB)ULL.

  1. Feature of phone to be delayed, interrupting profession (4,7)

Answer: CALL-WAITING (i.e. “feature of phone”). Solution is WAIT (i.e. “to be delayed”) placed in or “interrupting” CALLING (i.e. “profession”), like so: CALL-(WAIT)-ING.

  1. Catch some veterans newly returned (7)

Answer: ENSNARE (i.e. “catch”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “returned” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: VET(ERANS NE)WLY.

  1. Argument fills feeble football feature (5-2)

Answer: THROW-IN (i.e. “football feature”). Solution is ROW (i.e. “argument”) placed in or “filling” THIN (i.e. “feeble”), like so: TH(ROW)IN.

  1. Some err, generating this? (7)

Answer: REMORSES. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “generating”) of SOME ERR. In the context of the clue, some who err may indeed feel some remorse.

Down clues

  1. Most devious way to conceal concoctions (6)

Answer: SLIEST (i.e. “most devious” – can be spelled slyest or sliest). Solution is ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”) wrapped around or “concealing” LIES (i.e. “concoctions”), like so: S(LIES)T.

  1. Taking fruit round one makes a request (7)

Answer: APPLIES (i.e. “makes a request”). Solution is APPLES (i.e. “fruit”) wrapped “round” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: APPL(I)ES.

  1. In terror, grey with worry making public oration (9)

Answer: PANEGYRIC (i.e. “public oration”). Solution is PANIC (i.e. “terror”) wrapped around or having “in” an anagram (indicated by “with worry”) of GREY, like so: PAN(EGYR)IC.

  1. Judges restricting European banks (5)

Answer: REEFS (i.e. “banks”). Solution is REFS (i.e. “judges”, short for referees) wrapped around or “restricting” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: R(E)EFS.

  1. Expressive face, having picked up book I pore over (8)

Answer: EMOTICON (i.e. “expressive face” – or pint glass, multiple pint glasses, pizza slice or eight ball if my text messages are anything to go by). Solution is TOME (i.e. “book”) reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue) and followed by I and CON (i.e. “pore over” – con is an archaic word for study, which setters love), like so: EMOT-I-CON.

  1. Patrol runs into would-be escapee? Back to cell (5)

Answer: PROWL (i.e. “patrol”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in several ball games) placed “into” POW (i.e. “would-be escapee”, specifically a Prisoner Of War) and followed by L (i.e. “back of cell”, i.e. the last letter of “cell”), like so: P(R)OW-L.

  1. Statesman, one that runs through St. Petersburg, and collapses (7)

Answer: NEVADAN (i.e. US “statesman”, an inhabitant of Nevada). Solution is NEVA (i.e. “one that runs through St. Petersburg” – referring to the River Neva) followed by an anagram (indicated by “collapses”) of AND, like so: NEVA-DAN.

  1. Poussin’s work I decorate again, stupidly (2,2,7,3)

Answer: ET IN ARCADIA EGO (i.e. Nicolas “Poussin’s work”). “Stupidly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I DECORATE AGAIN. This would have been a lot more difficult had this exact same solution not already appeared in a recent-ish Jumbo. You might want to shake up that auto-fill word pool again, setters. Either that or Times setters are strangely attracted to this one painting. Don’t know why. I mean, there’s nothing all that special about it; nothing religious or mystical, for example, at least to this internet nobody. It merely depicts a scene in which three builders are pointing out the shoddy handiwork of whichever cowboys the woman had in last. Happened all the time back then. Next painting, please.

  1. Turbulent, consuming energy without serious purpose (9)

Answer: FACETIOUS (i.e. “without serious purpose”). Solution is FACTIOUS (i.e. “turbulent”) wrapped around or “consuming” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: FAC(E)TIOUS.

  1. Oriental potentate dismissing head mathematician (5)

Answer: Leonhard EULER (i.e. “mathematician”). Solution is E (i.e. “Oriental”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”) followed by RULER (i.e. “potentate”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “dismissing head”), like so: E-ULER.

  1. Board manoeuvre brought to light audit (10,5)

Answer: DISCOVERED CHECK (i.e. “board manoeuvre”, specifically “in chess, a check produced by moving a piece to leave a second piece attacking the opponent’s king” (Chambers) – I’m not a chess man, but I rather like the concept). Solution is DISCOVERED (i.e. “brought to light”) followed by CHECK (i.e. “audit”).

  1. Chaperone expected small girl to stand up (7)

Answer: DUENNAS (i.e. “chaperones” over in Spain). Solution is DUE (i.e. “expected”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and ANN (i.e. “girl” – basically a girl’s name) once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “to stand up” – this being a down clue), like so: DUE-(NNA-S). Chalk another one to my Bradford’s here.

  1. One never cracking up with a long period to survive (7)

Answer: AGELAST (i.e. a miseryguts or “one never cracking up”). Marked as a rarely used word in Chambers, but I rather like it. Solution is AGE (i.e. “a long period”) followed by LAST (i.e. “to survive”).

  1. Machine removing seeds from bed: nothing wrong displacing horse (6,3)

Answer: COTTON GIN (i.e. “machine removing seeds” from cotton fibres). Solution is COT (i.e. “bed”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “wrong”) of NOTHING once the H as been removed (indicated by “displacing horse” – H and “horse” are both street names for heroin), like so: COT-TONGIN. Another new one on me, but not one I imagine remembering much beyond the end of this sentence.

  1. Filled with second bunch of grass, we hear (7)

Answer: STUFFED (i.e. “filled with”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “we hear”) of TUFT (i.e. “bunch of grass”).

What the hell is a cotton gin?

  1. Face accepting concessions in return for sale (8)

Answer: DISPOSAL (i.e. “sale”). Solution is DIAL (i.e. “face”) wrapped around or “accepting” SOPS (i.e. “concessions”) once reversed (indicated by “in return”), like so: DI(SPOS)AL.

  1. Acquire certain guns to restore equilibrium (4,2,3,6)

Answer: PICK UP THE PIECES (i.e. “restore equilibrium”). Clue also plays on PIECES being slang for “guns” and how one would acquire or PICK them UP. Excuse me while I Smashie and Nicey a little…

  1. Substitute for model terribly ugly, I fear (3,6)

Answer: LAY FIGURE (i.e. “substitute for model”, specifically a wooden jointed figure used by artists). “Terribly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UGLY I FEAR.

  1. In the night, king embraced by beloved (8)

Answer: DARKLING (i.e. “in the night”). Solution is K (a recognised abbreviation of “king”) placed in or “embraced by” DARLING (i.e. “beloved”), like so: DAR(K)LING.

  1. Surpass everything by eating a rich tea? (4,3,7)

Answer: TAKE THE BISCUIT. Solution satisfies “surpass everything” and “eating a rich tea”.

  1. Waited, having had a go at crossing a river (7)

Answer: TARRIED (i.e. “waited”). Solution is TRIED (i.e. “having had a go”) wrapped around or “crossing” A and R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: T(A-R)RIED.

  1. Brown went for a small child, possibly, and danced (7)

Answer: TANGOED (i.e. “danced”). Solution is TAN (i.e. “brown”) followed by GOED (i.e. “went for a small child, possibly”, i.e. how a young child might say “goed” as a past tense of “go” rather than saying “went”).

  1. Violently grab principal knob, dropping one (9)

Answer: MANHANDLE (i.e. “violently grab”). Solution is MAIN HANDLE (i.e. “principal knob” – titter ye not) with the I removed (indicated by “dropping [Roman numeral] one”).

  1. In religion, suggestion to follow saint is in order (9)

Answer: SHINTOISM (i.e. “religion”). Solution is HINT (i.e. “suggestion”) placed after or “following” S (a recognised abbreviation of “saint” – can be S or St) and followed by IS once placed “in” OM (i.e. “order”, specifically an Order of Merit), like so: S-HINT-O(IS)M.

  1. Start to design type of work area (4-4)

Answer: OPEN-PLAN (i.e. “type of work area”). Solution is OPEN (i.e. “start”) followed by PLAN (i.e. “to design”).

  1. With enthusiasm shortly get teeth into roll (7)

Answer: BRIOCHE (i.e. “roll”). Solution is BRIO (i.e. “with enthusiasm”) followed by CHEW (i.e. “get teeth into”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “shortly”), like so: BRIO-CHE.

  1. One that’s behind advertisement (7)

Answer: TRAILER. Solution satisfies “one that’s behind” and “advertisement” for, say, a movie.

  1. Frozen creeper finally dying, more delicate (7)

Answer: GLACIER (i.e. “frozen creeper”). Solution is G (i.e. “finally dying”, i.e. the last letter of “dying”) followed by LACIER (i.e. “more delicate”).

  1. Bond to some extent while a guest (6)

Answer: LEAGUE (i.e. “bond”). “To some extent” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: WHI(LE A GUE)ST.

  1. Gather for hearing in the country (5)

Answer: GHANA (i.e. “country”). “For hearing” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of GARNER (i.e. “gather”).

  1. Bird about to disappear into gullet (5)

Answer: MACAW (i.e. “bird”). Solution is CA (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) placed “into” MAW (i.e. “gullet”), like so: MA(CA)W.

  1. Quarrelsome sportsman? (5)

Answer: ROWER (i.e. “sportsman”). Clue plays on how a ROW can be a “quarrel”. You get the idea.

No musical accompaniment today, unless you count the rhythmic beat of my tumble drier. (Had to keep the house warm somehow.) – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1490

Another medium strength offering this week, relatively speaking, with the more exotic solutions gettable after a bit of dictionary wrangling. One of the better ones, all told.

As ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has foxed you then my Just For Fun page might be just the ticket, listing solutions to the last 100+ of these things. Also, there’s 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 how other solvers fared. Till the next one, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Indecent girl’s legwear (4,5)

Answer: BLUE JEANS (i.e. “legwear”). Solution is BLUE (i.e. “indecent”) followed by JEAN’S (i.e. “girl’s” – basically a girl’s name made possessive).

  1. Racing once condemned harmful substance (10)

Answer: CARCINOGEN (i.e. “harmful substance”). “Condemned” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RACING ONCE.

  1. Everyone, say, runs over briskly (7)

Answer: ALLEGRO (i.e. “briskly” in musical lingo). Solution is ALL (i.e. “everyone”) followed by EG (i.e. “say”, i.e. for example), then R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket).

  1. Lively old punk tours Virginia (9)

Answer: VIVACIOUS (i.e. “lively”). Solution is Sid VICIOUS (i.e. “old punk”) wrapped around or “touring” VA (US state abbreviation of “Virginia”), like so: VI(VA)CIOUS.

  1. Officer in charge evincing problem with wind (5)

Answer: COLIC (i.e. “problem with wind”). Solution is COL (i.e. “officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “colonel”) followed by IC (a recognised abbreviation of “in charge”).

  1. Midshipman Easy’s job? (5,7)

Answer: PLAIN SAILING (i.e. “easy”). Clue plays on the solution’s nautical theme in referencing Frederick Marryat’s 1836 novel Mr Midshipman Easy. You get the idea. As an aside, it’s worth noting some setters will reference EASY in their solutions as “midshipman”, because we’ve obviously all read the novel.

  1. Court order one in residence to be moved (6,4)

Answer: DECREE NISI (i.e. “court order”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “to be moved”) of RESIDENCE, like so: DECREEN(I)SI.

  1. State vehicle that ruins crops (8,6)

Answer: COLORADO BEETLE (a pest “that ruins crops” of potatoes). Solution is COLORADO (i.e. US “state”) followed by BEETLE (i.e. “vehicle”, specifically one of the Volkswagen variety).

  1. New troops joining the navy in higher latitudes (8)

Answer: NORTHERN (i.e. “in higher latitudes”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) followed by OR (i.e. “troops”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army), then THE and RN (i.e. “navy”, specifically the Royal Navy).

  1. Metal, iodine and copper blocking miners (6)

Answer: INDIUM (i.e. “metal”). Solution is I (chemical symbol of “iodine”) and DI (i.e. “copper”, specifically a Detective Inspector) once placed in or “blocking” NUM (i.e. “miners”, specifically the National Union of Miners), like so: I-N(DI)UM.

  1. Starts with each child’s unrestricted period for game (4,6)

Answer: OPEN SEASON (i.e. “unrestricted period for [shooting] game”). Solution is OPENS (i.e. “starts”) followed by EA (a recognised abbreviation of “each”) and SON (i.e. “child”).

  1. Walk – with or without runs? (5)

Answer: AMBLE. Clue plays on how RAMBLE and AMBLE can mean “walk” and how you can get from one word to the other by removing the R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in ball games).

  1. Ladies missing whiskey could be a bad sign (4)

Answer: OMEN (i.e. “could be a bad sign”). Solution is WOMEN (i.e. “ladies”) with the W removed (indicated by “missing whiskey” – “whiskey” is W in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Fortunate having sanction limiting old bomb (8)

Answer: ENVIABLE (i.e. “fortunate”). Solution is ENABLE (i.e. “sanction”) wrapped around or “limiting” VI (i.e. “old bomb”, specifically a V1 with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent), like so: EN(VI)ABLE.

  1. Ruler quit, ignoring British excise (9)

Answer: ERADICATE (i.e. “excise”). Solution is ER (i.e. “ruler”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) followed by ABDICATE (i.e. “quit”) once the B has been removed (indicated by “ignoring British” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “British”), like so: ER-ADICATE.

  1. Dopey old men disheartened in IoW waters (9)

Answer: SOMNOLENT (i.e. “dopey”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and MN (i.e. “men disheartened”, i.e. the word “men” with its middle letter removed) both placed “in” SOLENT (i.e. “IoW waters”, i.e. the strait between the Isle of Wight and mainland Britain), like so: S(O-MN)OLENT.

  1. Regularly call on pretty woman to restrain quiet fool (8)

Answer: CLODPOLL (i.e. “fool”). Solution is CLO (i.e. “regularly call on”, i.e. every other letter of CALL ON) followed by DOLL (i.e. “pretty woman”) once wrapped around or “restraining” P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano” or “quiet” in musical lingo), like so: CLO-D(P)OLL. A new one on me. This particular Poll likes it.

  1. Like hoarding papers that are helpful (4)

Answer: AIDS (i.e. things “that are helpful”). Solution is AS (i.e. “like”) wrapped around or “hoarding” ID (i.e. “papers”), like so: A(ID)S.

  1. US cheat returns iron and silver engraved with name (5)

Answer: GANEF (i.e. “US cheat” – my Chambers didn’t want to know, but my Oxford bears this one out). Solution is FE and AG (chemical symbols of “iron” and “silver” respectively) reversed (indicated by “returns”) and wrapped around or “engraved with” N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”), like so: GA-(N)-EF. One gotten from the wordplay, to be honest.

  1. Free love in Little Rock (10)

Answer: PERIDOTITE (i.e. “rock”). Solution is RID (i.e. “free”) and O (i.e. “love”, i.e. a zero score in tennis) both placed “in” PETITE (i.e. “little), like so: PE(RID-O)TITE.

  1. Dance when tiddly, leaving tango to the end (6)

Answer: MINUET (i.e. “dance”). Solution is MINUTE (i.e. “tiddly” or small) with the T (“tango” in the phonetic alphabet) moved “to the end”, like so: MINU(T)E => MINUE(T).

  1. Make ugly girl initially hug primate (8)

Answer: MISSHAPE (i.e. “make ugly”). Solution is MISS (i.e. “girl”) followed by H (i.e. “initially hug”, i.e. the first letter of “hug”) and APE (i.e. “primate”).

  1. Fiddling finance firm pocketing a grand (6,8)

Answer: MONKEY BUSINESS (i.e. “fiddling”). Solution is MONEY (i.e. “finance”) and BUSINESS (i.e. “firm”) placed around or “pocketing” K (i.e. “grand”, both referencing 1,000), like so: MON(K)EY-BUSINESS.

  1. Boulders and tree reduced seafood (4,6)

Answer: ROCK SALMON (i.e. “seafood”). Solution is ROCKS (i.e. “boulders”) followed by ALMOND (i.e. “tree”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “reduced”), like so: ROCKS-ALMON.

  1. Letters, awfully cagey and tense about reserves (6,6)

Answer: ESTATE AGENCY (i.e. “letters” of property). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “awfully”) of CAGEY and TENSE wrapped “about” TA (i.e. “reserves”, specifically the Territorial Army), like so: ES(TA)TEAGENCY.

  1. Ruin ground packed with phosphorous (5)

Answer: SPOIL (i.e. “ruin”). Solution is SOIL (i.e. “ground”) wrapped around or “packed with” P (chemical symbol of “phosphorous”), like so: S(P)OIL.

  1. Trombonist’s eatery in the Open (3,6)

Answer: TEA GARDEN (i.e. “eatery in the open” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). When written as Jack TEAGARDEN the solution also satisfies US jazz “trombonist”. Not one I was familiar with.

  1. Berliner’s one to consume ultimate protein (7)

Answer: ELASTIN (i.e. “protein”). Solution is EIN (i.e. “Berliner’s one”, i.e. the German for “one”) wrapped around or “consuming”) LAST (i.e. “ultimate”), like so: E(LAST)IN. One gotten solely from the wordplay.

  1. Angry force stripped of uniform put on “different” clothes? (5-5)

Answer: CROSS-DRESS (i.e. “put on ‘different’ clothes”). Solution is CROSS (i.e. “angry”) followed by DURESS (i.e. “force”) once the U has been removed (indicated by “stripped of uniform” – “uniform” is U in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Sell coal off Republican imported, using this instead? (5,4)

Answer: SOLAR CELL. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “off”) of SELL COAL wrapped around or “importing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”), like so: SOLA(R)CELL. Clue plays on the solution and “coal” both being energy sources and how one could be used instead of the other. You get the idea.

Down clues

  1. Light timber a hunk hauled up (5)

Answer: BALSA (i.e. “light timber”). Solution is A and SLAB (i.e. “hunk”) both reversed (indicated by “hauled up” – this being a down clue), like so: BALS-A.

  1. Injured unsung heroes, wings clipped, giving little away (10)

Answer: UNGENEROUS (i.e. “giving little away”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “injured”) of UNSUNG and EROE (i.e. “heroes, wings clipped”, i.e. the word “heroes” with its first and last letters removed).

  1. Risk heading off big cat in jungly banks (8)

Answer: JEOPARDY (i.e. “risk”). Solution is LEOPARD (i.e. “big cat” – also by some distance the best below-average streamer on Twitch, a service you should definitely not watch, especially if you are a gamer, as it’s crack cocaine for the eyeballs. Oh wait, Covid-19 has rendered all of time meaningless, hasn’t it? Silly me. Go crazy y’all, knock yourselves out…) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “heading off”) and the remainder placed “in” J and Y (i.e. “jungly banks”, i.e. the first and last letters of “jungly”), like so: J(EOPARD)Y.

Lep’s reaction to dying for the 43rd time (go to 9:47) is how I sound all throughout gaming. I’m terrible.
  1. Number 5 in trouble? Smith beats it (5)

Answer: ANVIL (i.e. “smith beats it”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) and V (i.e. “[Roman numeral] five”) both placed “in” AIL (i.e. “trouble”), like so: A(N-V)IL.

  1. A number observed fencing incident (9)

Answer: SEVENTEEN (i.e. “a number”). Solution is SEEN (i.e. “observed”) wrapped around or “fencing” EVENT (i.e. “incident”).

  1. Get ready to fire farmyard boss? (4)

Answer: COCK. (Fnar!) Solution satisfies “get ready to fire” and “farmyard boss”, at least in the henhouse.

  1. Make a fresh start, dealing with old writer (6)

Answer: REOPEN (i.e. “make a fresh start”). Solution is RE (i.e. regarding or “dealing with” – think email replies) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and PEN (i.e. “writer”).

  1. Mare perhaps that can be covered outside? Impossible (14)

Answer: INSURMOUNTABLE (i.e. “impossible”). Solution is MOUNT (i.e. “mare perhaps” – other flavours of horse are available) placed in or having “outside” INSURABLE (i.e. “can be covered”), like so: INSUR(MOUNT)ABLE.

  1. Part of theatre box found in odd Scottish mine (9,3)

Answer: ORCHESTRA PIT (i.e. “part of theatre”). Solution is CHEST (i.e. “box”) placed “in” ORRA (“Scottish” word for “odd”, as in spare, unmatched or left over – a new one on me) and followed by PIT (i.e. “mine”), like so: OR(CHEST)RA-PIT.

  1. Fancy avoiding start that’s slippery (3-4)

Answer: EEL-LIKE (i.e. “slippery”). Solution is FEEL LIKE (i.e. “fancy”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “avoiding start”).

  1. Mafia boss welcomes composer briefly for a drink (10)

Answer: CAPPUCCINO (i.e. “drink”). Solution is CAPO (i.e. “Mafia boss”) wrapped around or “welcoming” Giacomo PUCCINI (i.e. “composer”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: CAP(PUCCIN)O.

  1. Tell niece about regular customers (9)

Answer: CLIENTELE (i.e. “regular customers”). “About” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TELL NIECE.

  1. Hyde for one has to change, say, before first of outings (5,3)

Answer: ALTER EGO (i.e. “Hyde for one” – a reference to Edward Hyde, alter-ego of Dr Henry Jekyll in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde). Solution is ALTER (i.e. “to change”) followed by EG (i.e. “say”, i.e. for example) and O (i.e. “first [letter] of outings”).

  1. Romeo expires visiting city worker (6,3)

Answer: LADIES MAN (i.e. “Romeo”). Solution is DIES (i.e. “expires”) placed in or “visiting” LA (i.e. “city”, specifically Los Angeles) and MAN (i.e. “worker”), like so: LA-(DIES)-MAN.

  1. Section of Church Times about a mad priest, close to arrest (10)

Answer: BAPTISTERY (i.e. “section of church” in which baptisms are performed). Solution is BY (i.e. “times” as in multiplication – ignore the misleading capitalisations) wrapped “about” an anagram (indicated by “mad”) of A PRIEST and T (i.e. “close to arrest”, i.e. the last letter of “arrest”), like so: B(APTISTER)Y.

  1. Note old way into very big Yankee’s joint exercises? (10)

Answer: OSTEOPATHY (i.e. “joint exercises”). Solution is TE (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me scale, can also be spelled TI), O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and PATH (i.e. “way”) all placed “in” OS (i.e. “very big”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “out-sized”) and Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: OS-(TE-O-PATH)-Y.

  1. Ecstasy? Consume it in Cornish resort (9)

Answer: BEATITUDE (i.e. “ecstasy”). Solution is EAT (i.e. “consume”) and IT both placed “in” BUDE (i.e. “Cornish resort”), like so: B(EAT-IT)UDE.

  1. With few folk around, waved to welcome HM with dad (14)

Answer: UNDERPOPULATED (i.e. “with few folk around”). Solution is UNDULATED (i.e. “waved”) wrapped around or “welcoming” ER (i.e. “HM”, both references to the Queen, the first Elizabeth Regina, the second Her Majesty) and POP (i.e. “dad”, both words for father), like so: UND(ER-POP)ULATED.

  1. Sneaky cryptic clue for cross? (8)

Answer: BACKDOOR (i.e. “sneaky”). When written as BACK DOOR the solution also satisfies a “cryptic clue for cross”: a word for Christ’s cross is ROOD, the reverse or BACK of which is DOOR.

  1. Run up with less crude appreciative noises (4-8)

Answer: WOLF-WHISTLES (i.e. “appreciative noises”, though not necessarily ones appreciated). Solution is FLOW (i.e. “run”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and followed by an anagram (indicated by “crude”) of WITH LESS.

  1. Epic tales about additional US chiefs (9)

Answer: SAGAMORES (i.e. “US [Native American] chiefs”). Solution is SAGAS (i.e. “epic tales”) placed “about” MORE (i.e. “additional”), like so: SAGA(MORE)S. Another gotten from the wordplay.

  1. Rewarding school test is quick (there’s no Latin at first) (10)

Answer: SATISFYING (i.e. “rewarding”). Solution is SAT (i.e. “school test”) followed by IS and FLYING (i.e. “quick”) once the L has been removed (indicated by “there’s no Latin at first”, referring to the first letter of “Latin”), like so: SAT-IS-FYING.

  1. Fifty-four at home pledge to protect with adequate pay (6,4)

Answer: LIVING WAGE (i.e. “adequate pay”). Solution is LIV (i.e. “fifty-four” in Roman numerals) followed by IN (i.e. “at home”) and GAGE (i.e. an archaic word for “pledge” – another new one on me) once placed around or “protecting” W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), like so: LIV-IN-G(W)AGE.

  1. Study teams – and support one of them? (4,5)

Answer: TAKE SIDES (i.e. “support one of them [teams]”). Solution is TAKE (i.e. “study”, e.g. taking geography) followed by SIDES (i.e. “teams”).

  1. Train driver, old character, given licence at any time (8)

Answer: MULETEER (i.e. “train driver” – a train in this case being a bunch of mules). Solution is MU (i.e. “old character”, specifically the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet) followed by LET (i.e. “given licence”) and E’ER (poetic form of “ever”, i.e. “at any time”). I, on the other hand, with my luscious lockdown locks, am chief mulleteer.

  1. Help one who’s easily taken in by the sound of it (7)

Answer: SUCCOUR (i.e. “help”). “By the sound of it” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SUCKER (i.e. “one who’s easily taken in”).

  1. Very old yacht’s first mature trip (6)

Answer: VOYAGE (i.e. “trip”). Solution is V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”) followed by O (ditto “old”), then Y (i.e. “yacht’s first [letter]”) and AGE (i.e. to “mature”).

  1. Cancel plant overlooking area (5)

Answer: ANNUL (i.e. “cancel”). Solution is ANNUAL (i.e. “plant”) with its second A removed or “overlooked” – A being a recognised abbreviation of “area”.

  1. Old province where charlatan, wanting tea, turns up (5)

Answer: NATAL (i.e. “old province”). Solution is CHARLATAN with the CHAR removed (indicated by “wanting tea”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “turning up” – this being a down clue).

  1. Main resident’s instrument (4)

Answer: BASS. Solution satisfies “main resident” – the sea is sometimes referred to as the main, especially in cryptic crosswords – and a musical “instrument”.

Another dive into synthwave was had this week, this time focusing on a few albums:
Magic SwordEndless – there’s a slight whiff of prog rock to Magic Sword’s sound, but don’t let that put you off. Their latest album is a solid listen throughout, but the highlight for me is the first track Depths of Power.
Zombie HyperdriveImperium – silly name, yes, but this is an album I often come back to. Same goes for their previous album Hyperion, but Imperium has stronger hooks. Awakening is a goosebump-raiser.
Le MatosJoin Us – a belter of an album that hardly puts a foot wrong, and one with a brilliantly chilling cover image. They’ve since moved onto horror movie soundtracks, but I hope they’ll return to this kind of stuff in future. Montrose is perhaps the stand-out track.
Laters, taters! – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1489

After last week’s puzzle went mad for people’s names, it seems this week’s effort went for a mini-theme of animals and, er, bits of animals, what with JACKDAWs, SKYLARKs and BIG CATs with their TALONs, OXTAILs and TENDERLOINs. Overall this was on the easier end of the Jumbo scale – I don’t mind that! – but at least there were a number of well-crafted clues for solvers to enjoy.

As ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a recent Jumbo has given you night sweats then you might find salvation in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions to the last 100+ of these things. Meanwhile, there’s the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and well wishes. They are always appreciated. Thanks are restored to WordPress for switching back once again to a more readable editing font. I get the feeling they’re making changes off the cuff, which isn’t exactly a good sign. That’s what test servers are for, peeps. You shouldn’t be dicking around with your production environment. (Wags finger authoratively authoritatly authoritatively…)

Anyway, till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere. Meanwhile, I’ll be counting down the days till the pubs open again. One year on, I’m a bit parched.

LP

Across clues

  1. Sizable hat, roomy but not special (9)

Answer: CAPACIOUS (i.e. “sizable”). Solution is CAP (i.e. “hat”) followed by SPACIOUS (i.e. “roomy”) once the SP has been removed (indicated by “but not special” – SP being a recognised abbreviation of “special”), like so: CAP-ACIOUS.

  1. Bird’s bill knocked empty, grabbed by rabbit (7)

Answer: JACKDAW (i.e. “bird”). Solution is AC (i.e. “bill”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “account”) and KD (i.e. “knocked empty”, i.e. the word “knocked” with all its middle letters removed) both placed in or “grabbed by” JAW (i.e. to “rabbit” or talk a lot), like so: J(AC-KD)AW.

  1. Car crash driver’s ending in sudden pain (5)

Answer: PRANG (i.e. “car crash”). Solution is R (i.e. “driver’s ending”, i.e. the last letter of “driver”) placed “in” PANG (i.e. “sudden pain”), like so: P(R)ANG.

  1. Top partnership’s victory in cricket match over (7)

Answer: TWINSET (i.e. “top partnership”, being “a cardigan and jumper made more or less to match” (Chambers)). Solution is WIN (i.e. “victory”) placed “in” TEST (i.e. “cricket match”) once reversed (indicated by “over”), like so: T(WIN)SET.

  1. Deadly killer of toxin in jam (5)

Answer: NINJA (i.e. “deadly killer”). “Of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: TOXI(N IN JA)M.

  1. How baleen may be put another way (9)

Answer: WHALEBONE. “Put another way” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HOW BALEEN. Baleen, according to Chambers, is “whalebone, horny plates growing from the palate of certain whales”. Very nicely worked.

  1. Steal from faculty division after head of profession’s function (11,12)

Answer: PROBABILITY DISTRIBUTION (i.e. a statistical “function”). Solution is ROB (i.e. “steal from”), ABILITY (i.e. “faculty”) and DISTRIBUTION (i.e. “division”) all placed “after” P (i.e. “head of professor”, i.e. the first letter of “professor”), like so: P-(ROB-ABILITY-DISTRIBUTION).

  1. Bird settled on quiet lake (6)

Answer: PLOVER (i.e. “bird”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “settled” or finished) placed “on” or after P (i.e. “quiet”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano” in musical lingo) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: P-L-(OVER).

  1. Belt trio out in vital part of opera (8)

Answer: LIBRETTO (i.e. “vital part of opera”, technically a book of the text or words of a musical production). “Out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BELT TRIO.

  1. Managed a wicket after at least twelve balls (7)

Answer: OVERSAW (i.e. “managed”). Solution is A and W (a recognised abbreviation of “wicket” used in cricket) both placed “after” OVERS (i.e. “at least twelve balls” – an over in cricket comprising six regulation deliveries), like so: OVERS-A-W. Nicely done.

  1. Symbolic when he turns to his dissenting (10)

Answer: SCHISMATIC (i.e. “dissenting”). Solution is SCHEMATIC (i.e. “symbolic”) with the HE “turned into” HIS, like so: SC(HE)MATIC => SC(HIS)MATIC. Twigging this one led me to solve 8d.

  1. Tool with sharpness Henry concealed in prison (12)

Answer: SLEDGEHAMMER (i.e. “tool”). Solution is EDGE (i.e. “sharpness”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “Henry”, a unit of measurement setters have been crutching on this last year) both “concealed in” SLAMMER (i.e. slang for “prison”), like so: SL(EDGE-H)AMMER.

  1. Set fire to church on hill (5)

Answer: TORCH (i.e. “set fire to”). Solution is CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) placed “on” or after TOR (i.e. “hill”), like so: TOR-CH.

  1. Air play about high-flying singer (7)

Answer: SKYLARK (i.e. “high-flying singer” or bird). Solution is SKY (i.e. “air”) followed by LARK (i.e. “play about”).

  1. Capital is destroyed when idle (3,5)

Answer: NEW DELHI (i.e. “capital” of India). “Is destroyed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WHEN IDLE.

  1. Man’s man, perhaps, is left to drift without wife (8)

Answer: ISLANDER (i.e. “Man’s man, perhaps” – taken to mean a male inhabitant of the Isle of Man). Solution is IS followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and WANDER (i.e. “to drift”) once the W has been removed (indicated by “without wife” – W being a recognised abbreviation of “wife), like so: IS-L-ANDER.

  1. Woman wrapped up with a cause of death? (7)

Answer: BANSHEE, a “woman” or female spirit whose shrieks are said to presage a death in the household. The clue generally riffs on this, but is also formed by SHE (i.e. that “woman”) being placed or “wrapped up” in BANE (i.e. “a cause of death”), like so: BAN(SHE)E.

  1. Belief Spanish wine is cut with ecstasy (5)

Answer: TENET (i.e. “belief”). Solution is TENT (i.e. “Spanish wine”) wrapped around or “cut with” E (street name of the drug “ecstasy”), like so: TEN(E)T.

  1. Weapon photographing by press (8,4)

Answer: SHOOTING IRON (i.e. “weapon”). Solution is SHOOTING (i.e. “photographing”) followed by IRON (i.e. to “press” clothes).

  1. Offer line round at home in dodgy district in America (10)

Answer: TENDERLOIN (i.e. “dodgy district in America”, specifically one where police corruption is rife. A new one on me, but interesting. I like it). Solution is TENDER (i.e. “offer”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”), O (i.e. “round”) and IN (i.e. “at home”).

  1. Canter wildly round course finally to go through again (2-5)

Answer: RE-ENACT (i.e. “to go through again”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wildly”) of CANTER placed “round” E (i.e. “course finally”, i.e. the last letter of “course”), like so: RE(E)NACT.

  1. Working bakery introduces rounds for regular output (8)

Answer: YEARBOOK (i.e. “regular output”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “working”) of BAKERY wrapped around or “introducing” O and O (both “rounds”), like so: YEARB(OO)K.

  1. Orders half of paramedics to embrace training at the start (6)

Answer: EDICTS (i.e. “orders”). Solution is EDICS (i.e. latter “half of paramEDICS”) wrapped around or “embracing” T (i.e. “training at the start”, i.e. the first letter of “training”), like so: EDIC(T)S.

  1. Daily puff in secret? (10,13)

Answer: CLASSIFIED ADVERTISMENT, the kind one often finds in “daily” newspapers. Clue plays on “puff” being self-promotion or ADVERTISMENT, and CLASSIFIED being “in secret”. You get the idea.

  1. Cut? Refrain from using bars (5,4)

Answer: SPARE RIBS (i.e. “cut” of meat. Well, bone, mainly, but you know what I mean). Solution is SPARE (i.e. “refrain from using”) followed by RIBS (i.e. “bars” used to strengthen structures).

  1. Ring mother about a hotel in US city (5)

Answer: OMAHA (i.e. “US city”). Solution is O (i.e. “ring”) and MA (i.e. “mother”) wrapped “about” A and H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: O-M(A-H)A.

  1. Wealth from a mine in California (7)

Answer: CAPITAL (i.e. “wealth”). Solution is A and PIT (i.e. “mine”) both placed “in” CAL (a recognised abbreviation of “California”), like so: C(A-PIT)AL. Nicely done.

  1. Poet’s love interest without name (5)

Answer: DANTE Alighieri (i.e. “poet”). Solution is DATE (i.e. “love interest”) placed around or “without” N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”), like so: DA(N)TE.

  1. Polite Liberal is after general support (7)

Answer: GENTEEL (i.e. “polite”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “Liberal”) placed “after” GEN (a recognised abbreviation of “general”) and TEE (i.e. a “support” used in golf), like so: (GEN-TEE)-L.

  1. Think about record beat surrounding one (9)

Answer: ENTERTAIN (i.e. “think about”). Solution is ENTER (i.e. to “record” information) followed by TAN (i.e. to “beat”) once wrapped around or “surrounding” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: ENTER-TA(I)N.

Down clues

  1. Upset dice (3,2)

Answer: CUT UP. Solution satisfies “upset” and to “dice”.

  1. Mill’s thing for grinding? It’s what many have sought (12,5)

Answer: PHILOSOPHER’S STONE (i.e. “it’s what many have sought”, being a stone or compound said to transform other metals into gold). Solution is PHILOSOPHER’S (i.e. John Stuart “Mill’s”) followed by STONE (i.e. “thing for grinding”).

  1. Go fishing with sons in Spanish sound? (9)

Answer: CASTANETS (i.e. clickety-clackety “Spanish sound”). Solution is CAST A NET (i.e. “go fishing”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “sons”).

  1. Type of soup unknown in Old Testament, innards in yak milk (6)

Answer: OXTAIL (i.e. “type of soup”). Solution is X (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z as unknowns) placed “in” OT (a recognised abbreviation of “Old Testament”) and followed by A and IL (i.e. “innards in yak milk”, i.e. the middle letters of “yak” and “milk”), like so: O(X)T-A-IL.

  1. Reforming Sybil ties in as a subject of English novel (11)

Answer: SENSIBILITY (i.e. “subject of English novel”, specifically Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility). “Reforming” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SYBIL TIES IN.

  1. Drug addict on a road where there’s little of value (8)

Answer: JUNKYARD (i.e. “where there’s little of value”). Solution is JUNKY (i.e. “drug addict” – can be spelled junkie or junky) followed by A and RD (a recognised abbreviation of “road”).

  1. Carriage central heating behaving uncontrollably (7)

Answer: CHARIOT (i.e. “carriage”). Solution is CH (a recognised abbreviation of “central heating”) followed by ARIOT (i.e. “behaving uncontrollably”).

  1. Oppressed staff study for working in unreal stately home (11)

Answer: DOWNTRODDEN (i.e. “oppressed”). Solution is DOWNTON (i.e. “unreal stately home”, a reference to TV drama Downton Abbey) with the ON (i.e. “working”) swapped “for” ROD (i.e. “staff”) and DEN (i.e. “study”), like so: DOWNT(ON) => DOWNT(ROD-DEN).

  1. Trying, we come to light embracing sacred mantra (9)

Answer: WEARISOME (i.e. “trying”). Solution is WE followed by ARISE (i.e. “come to light”) once wrapped around or “embracing” OM (i.e. “sacred mantra” of Buddhists), like so: WE-ARIS(OM)E.

  1. Right to avoid following piano piece by Chopin, perhaps (7)

Answer: PRELUDE (i.e. “piece by Chopin, perhaps” – other composers are available). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and ELUDE (i.e. “to avoid”) both placed after or “following” P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano”), like so: P-(R-ELUDE).

  1. Some filo I asked to be rolled in seasoned sauce (5)

Answer: AIOLI (i.e. “seasoned sauce” – essentially garlicky mayo). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “to be rolled” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: F(ILO I A)SKED.

  1. Verdant area with gardeners working (10)

Answer: GREENSWARD (i.e. “verdant area”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “working”) of GARDENERS and W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”). One I got largely thanks to being subscriber to PS Publishing’s weekly newsletter, in which owner Pete Crowther often signs off with well wishes from the greensward. Rather spooky considering I’ve just today taken receipt of my signed copy of Best New Horror 30 from the same publisher! (Cue Twilight Zone music.)

  1. It is work put up in advance (5)

Answer: POSIT (i.e. to put forward or “advance” an argument). Solution is TIS (i.e. “it is”) and OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) all reversed (indicated by “put up” – this being a down clue), like so: PO-SIT.

  1. Performers of dreadful pathos and corny rhymes (8,9)

Answer: SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (i.e. “performers”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “dreadful”) of PATHOS and CORNY RHYMES. Nicely done.

  1. Congratulated when having lack of parking brought up (6)

Answer: RAISED (i.e. “brought up”). Solution is PRAISED (i.e. “congratulated”) once the P has been removed (indicated by “lack of parking” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “parking” used on maps and signage).

  1. Weakness left current head of state (6)

Answer: LIKING (i.e. having a fondness or “weakness” for something). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics) and KING (i.e. “head of state”).

  1. Advise caution right after beer (5)

Answer: ALERT (i.e. “advise caution”). Solution is RT (a recognised abbreviation of “right”, often used in titles like Rt Hon) placed “after” ALE (i.e. “beer”), like so: ALE-RT.

  1. Grass skirts from Burma, low around back initially (6)

Answer: BAMBOO (i.e. “grass”). Solution is BA (i.e. “skirts from Burma”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Burma”) followed by MOO (i.e. “low” – one of the word’s meanings is a cow’s mooing sound) once wrapped “around” B (i.e. “back initially”, i.e. the first letter of “back”), like so: BA-M(B)OO.

  1. Detect beat finally in this? (5)

Answer: HEART, upon which the clue largely riffs. The solution is HEAR (i.e. to “detect”) followed by T (i.e. “beat finally”, i.e. the last letter of “beat”).

  1. Uses little energy in remote area (6)

Answer: WIELDS (i.e. “uses”). Solution is E (a “little” (i.e. recognised abbreviation of) “energy”) placed “in” WILDS (i.e. “remote area”), like so: WI(E)LDS.

  1. Monsoon ruined anyone’s sari (5,6)

Answer: RAINY SEASON (i.e. “monsoon”). “Ruined” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ANYONE’S SARI.

  1. Steady loss putting one into red? (11)

Answer: HAEMORRHAGE. Clue plays on the solution being a sustained or “steady loss” of blood (i.e. “red”). You get the idea, but this was a sod to get.

  1. City has close to eight educational establishments (5)

Answer: TUNIS (i.e. “city” of Tunisia). Solution is T (i.e. “close to eight”, i.e. the last letter of “eight”) followed by UNIS (i.e. “educational establishments”, short for universities).

  1. Banished old vehicles coming up on off side? (10)

Answer: OSTRACISED (i.e. “banished”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by CARTS (i.e. “vehicles”) once reversed (indicated by “coming up” – this being a down clue) and an anagram (indicated by “off”) of SIDE, like so: O-STRAC-ISED.

  1. Telling number forming a knot around one female (9)

Answer: NOTIFYING (i.e. “telling”). Solution is NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) followed by TYING (i.e. “forming a knot”) once placed “around” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”), like so: NO-T(I-F)YING.

  1. Soundly studied book on pig in something like a scotch bonnet? (3,6)

Answer: RED PEPPER (i.e. “something like a scotch bonnet”). “Soundly” indicates the solution is formed of homophones of READ (i.e. “studied book”) and PEPPA (i.e. “pig”, as in kids TV show Peppa the Pig).

  1. Sailor almost in charge of everyone, primarily (5,3)

Answer: ABOVE ALL (i.e. “primarily”). Solution is AB (i.e. “sailor”, specifically one of Able-Bodied rank) followed by OVER ALL (i.e. “in charge of everyone”) once the last letter of OVER has been removed (indicated by “almost” – can’t say I was too keen on this usage, if I’ve got it right), like so: AB-(OVE-ALL).

  1. All Ulster, note, contains not a single lough grave (7)

Answer: AUSTERE (i.e. “grave”). Solution is ALL ULSTER and E (i.e. musical “note”) once all the Ls have been removed (indicated by “contains not a single lough” – lough is an Irish word for “lake”, a recognised abbreviation of which is L), like so: A(LL)-U(L)STER-E => AUSTER-E.

  1. Seafood, dab and sole – though last of cod is gone (7)

Answer: ABALONE (i.e. “seafood”). Solution is DAB and ALONE (i.e. “sole”) once the D has been removed (indicated by “though last [letter] of cod is gone”).

  1. Piece about George Cross being taken by a top killer (3,3)

Answer: BIG CAT (i.e. “top killer”). Solution is BIT (i.e. “piece”) placed “about” GC (a recognised abbreviation of “George Cross”) and A (the “being taken by” bit I’m taking to mean “place alongside”), like so: BI(GC-A)T.

  1. Locally not in favour of protecting area once more (5)

Answer: AGAIN (i.e. “once more”). Solution is AGIN (i.e. “locally not in favour”, in this case a Scots form of the word “against”) wrapped around or “protecting” A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), like so: AG(A)IN.

  1. Volunteers half of the City’s stock (5)

Answer: TALON (i.e. “stock” – both taken to mean the remaining undealt cards in a card game. Another new one on me). Solution is TA (i.e. “volunteers”, specifically the Territorial Army) followed by LON (i.e. “half of the City”, i.e. the first half of LONdon).

UNKLE is back with a new album, and rather good it is too – If We Don’t Make It is an instant toe-tapper – but this week’s post was mostly soundtracked courtesy of Cheerzo’s enormous and really rather good Retrowave/Synthwave playlist. Lacquer your lockdown mullet, pop on your all-round shades and roll up your jacket sleeves. It’s party time. Laters! – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1488

Anyone looking for baby names at the moment could have saved themselves a tenner on a book and done this week’s Jumbo instead. Holy crap, there were a lot of them. Setting those aside, this week’s puzzle wasn’t too bad, leavened with a sprinkling of exotic solutions and a couple of spicy clues.

You can find my completed solution below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo is looking a little gappy for you then you might find my Just For Fun page a useful resource, containing links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Also ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind comments. They are much appreciated. A big raspberry, however, to whichever poison dwarf at WordPress decided to not only revert back to a tiny serif font when editing posts (and so soon after switching to one that was so much easier to read), but to then also tighten the spaces between the lines. You utter, utter sadist. It’d be nice if software designers – oh, I don’t know – perhaps used their own products every once in a while?

Anyway, enough of my bellyaching. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Vague private record company reportedly put an end to (13)

Answer: INDETERMINATE (i.e. “vague”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of INDIE (i.e. “private record company”) followed by TERMINATE (i.e. “put an end to”), like so: INDE-TERMINATE.

  1. See man on board, mostly very funny (9)

Answer: BISHOPRIC (i.e. “see” or diocese). Solution is BISHOP (i.e. “man on [chess] board”) followed by RICH (i.e. “very funny” – Chambers offers “full of comic potential” as a definition) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: BISHOP-RIC.

  1. Old Ottoman governor’s remains buried in Pennsylvania (5)

Answer: PASHA (i.e. “old Ottoman governor”). Solution is ASH (i.e. “remains”) placed or “buried in” PA (US state abbreviation of “Pennsylvania”), like so: P(ASH)A.

  1. Like a flat some fellows used in a short story (11)

Answer: APARTMENTAL (i.e. “like a flat”). Solution is PART (i.e. “some”) and MEN (i.e. “fellows”) both placed “in” A and TALE (i.e. “story”) once it’s last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”), like so: A-(PART-MEN)-TAL.

  1. Capital invested in Durham mansions (5)

Answer: AMMAN (i.e. “capital” city of Jordan). “Invested in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: DURH(AM MAN)SIONS.

  1. Bubbly lass finally leaving car round back of hotel (9)

Answer: SPARKLING (i.e. “bubbly”). Solution is S (i.e. “lass finally”, i.e. the last letter of “lass”) followed by PARKING (i.e. “leaving car”) once placed “round” L (i.e. “back of hotel”, i.e. the last letter of “hotel”), like so: S-PARK(L)ING.

  1. Tiny child – a pest! (4)

Answer: MITE. Solution satisfies “tiny child” and “a pest” or parasite.

  1. Detectives can, at court – that’s clear (8)

Answer: DISTINCT (i.e. “clear”). Solution is DIS (i.e. “detectives”, specifically Detective Inspectors) followed by TIN (i.e. “can”) and CT (a recognised abbreviation of “court”).

  1. Fury when king escapes power breakdown (6)

Answer: OUTAGE (i.e. “power breakdown”). Solution is OUTRAGE (i.e. “fury”) once the R has “escaped” or been removed – R being a recognised abbreviation of Rex, Latin for “king”.

  1. Expert custodians, about fifty, engaging female Scottish lawyer (10,6)

Answer: PROCURATOR FISCAL (i.e. “Scottish lawyer” – in Scotland a fiscal is “an officer who prosecutes in criminal cases in local and inferior courts” (Chambers)). Solution is PRO (i.e. “expert”) followed by CURATORS (i.e. “custodians”), then CA (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) and L (i.e. “[Roman numeral] fifty”). The whole is then placed around or “engaging” FI (i.e. “female” – basically a woman’s name, short for Fiona), like so: PRO-CURATOR(FI)S-CA-L.

  1. Repudiation of girl’s article I, for one, read out (9)

Answer: DISAVOWAL (i.e. “repudiation”). Solution is DI’S (i.e. “girl’s” – again a girl’s name, this time short for Diana) followed by A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) and a homophone (indicated by “read out”) of VOWEL (i.e. “I, for one” – other vowels are available), like so: DI’S-A-VOWAL.

  1. Embarks on journey: TV’s not on (4,3)

Answer: SETS OFF (i.e. “embarks on”). When written as SET’S OFF the solution also satisfies “TV’s not on”.

  1. Nutty substance primarily produced in my area (5)

Answer: COPRA (i.e. “nutty substance”). Solution is P (i.e. “primarily produced”, i.e. the first letter of “produced”) placed “in” COR (i.e. “my” – both taken as expressions of surprise) and A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), like so: CO(P)R-A. A short brute force of my Chambers was needed here.

  1. Over vivid in exam about mapping of mountains (12)

Answer: OROGRAPHICAL (i.e. “about mapping of mountains”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket) and GRAPHIC (i.e. “vivid”) both placed “in” ORAL (i.e. “exam”), like so: OR(O-GRAPHIC)AL.

  1. Recurring passages and runs spoilt trio Melba cut short (10)

Answer: RITORNELLI (i.e. musical lingo describing short “recurring passages” in a vocal work). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) followed by an anagram (indicated by “spoilt”) of TRIO, then Dame NELLIE “Melba”, famed soprano of the late Victorian era – yeah, me neither – once the last letter has been trimmed (indicated by “cut short”), like so: R-ITOR-NELLI.

  1. First of two mistakes about small dwelling’s earthenware (10)

Answer: TERRACOTTA (i.e. “earthenware”). Solution is T (i.e. “first [letter] of two”) and ERRATA (i.e. “mistakes”) once placed “about” COT (i.e. an archaic and poetic word for a “small dwelling” or cottage), like so: T-ERRA(COT)TA.

  1. Intrepid Reds unexpectedly dominated by clergy (6-6)

Answer: PRIEST-RIDDEN (i.e. “dominated by clergy” – perhaps less so once the results of today’s census is published). “Unexpectedly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INTREPID REDS.

  1. Old man going around with bearlike mammal (5)

Answer: PANDA (i.e. “bearlike mammal”). Solution is PA (i.e. “old man” or father) wrapped “around” AND (i.e. “with”), like so: P(AND)A.

  1. Go back in panic, carrying Mike’s powerful light (3,4)

Answer: FOG LAMP (i.e. “powerful light”). Solution is GO reversed (indicated by “back”) and placed “in” FLAP (i.e. “panic”) once wrapped around or “carrying” M (“Mike” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: F(OG)LA(M)P.

  1. Clubs formerly accommodating Laurel’s girl (9)

Answer: CONSTANCE (i.e. “girl” – more girl’s names. Are you spotting a theme?) Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in some card games) followed by ONCE (i.e. “formerly”) once wrapped around or “accommodating” STAN (i.e. “Laurel” – Stan Laurel was one half of famed comedy duo Laurel & Hardy), like so: C-ON(STAN)CE.

  1. Man harbouring yen to have wee drink before a play (7,4,5)

Answer: KITCHEN SINK DRAMA (i.e. “play”). Solution is KEN (i.e. “man” – a man’s name this time) wrapped around or “harbouring” ITCH (i.e. “yen” or yearning), then followed by SINK DRAM (i.e. “to have wee drink”) and A, like so: K(ITCH)EN-SINK-DRAM-A.

  1. Sort of meal friends recalled at university? (4-2)

Answer: SLAP-UP (i.e. “sort of meal”). Solution is PALS (i.e. “friends”) reversed (indicated by “recalled”) and followed by UP (i.e. “at university” – usage you see far more commonly in cryptic crosswords than you do in real life).

  1. Writer’s catalogue appearing after fifteen days? (8)

Answer: NOVELIST (i.e. “writer”). Solution is LIST (i.e. “catalogue”) placed “after” the first half of NOVEMBER – being thirty days in length, hence the “fifteen days” bit – like so: NOVE-LIST.

  1. Asian’s formal wear mentioned in speech (4)

Answer: THAI (i.e. “Asian”). “Mentioned in speech” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of TIE (i.e. “formal wear”).

  1. Difference in short seen … differently (9)

Answer: OTHERNESS (i.e. “difference”). “Differently” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SHORT SEEN.

  1. Wading bird biting head off rue (5)

Answer: EGRET (i.e. “wading bird”). Solution is REGRET (i.e. “rue”) with it’s “head” or first letter removed or “bitten off”.

  1. Senators met at sea, closest to where the sun rises (11)

Answer: EASTERNMOST (i.e. “closest to where the sun rises”). “At sea” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SENATORS MET.

  1. She’s back, wearing man’s close-fitting cap (5)

Answer: BERET (i.e. “close-fitting cap”). Solution is E (i.e. “she’s back”, i.e. the last letter of “she”) placed in or “wearing” BERT (i.e. “man” – yet more names), like so: BER(E)T.

  1. Fit for the main Home Counties area, value unknown (9)

Answer: SEAWORTHY (i.e. “fit for the main” – the main being another word for the sea). Solution is SE (i.e. “Home Counties”, referring to the South East of England) followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), then WORTH (i.e. “value”) and Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y and Z as unknowns).

  1. Trek there and sell reconditioned fairground ride (6-7)

Answer: HELTER-SKELTER (i.e. “fairground ride”). “Reconditioned” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TREK THERE and SELL.

Down clues

  1. In the compiler’s ancient dictionary it’s “with paint thickly applied” (9)

Answer: IMPASTOED (i.e. “with paint thickly applied”). Solution is I’M (i.e. “compiler’s” taken from the point of view of the setter, and taken as a contraction of “compiler is” or I AM, rather than its possessive form) followed by PAST (i.e. “ancient”) and OED (i.e. “dictionary” – specifically the Oxford English Dictionary). Nicely worked.

  1. Musical line a chap is unable to compose (7)

Answer: DESCANT (i.e. “musical line”). Solution is DES (i.e. “chap” – yet, yet more names) and CAN’T (i.e. “is unable”) put together or “composed”.

  1. Appreciative type, Kev, travelling with his grant (11)

Answer: THANKSGIVER (i.e. “appreciative type”). “Travelling” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of KEV and HIS GRANT.

  1. Something fishy about a girl band’s travel organiser (6)

Answer: ROADIE (i.e. “band’s travel organiser” – a very loose definition, but if you really contort the words then the setter just about gets away with it. Only just, mind…). Solution is ROE (i.e. “something fishy” – roe being fish eggs) wrapped “about” A and DI (i.e. “girl”, short for Diana – yet, yet, yet more names), like so: RO(A-DI)E.

  1. Speech delivered during summer month on Russian river (9)

Answer: INAUGURAL (i.e. “speech”). Solution is IN (i.e. “during”) followed by AUG (i.e. “summer month”, specifically a shortened form of August) and URAL (i.e. “Russian river”).

  1. Chair-covering a northern man, Charlie, carried in a vehicle (12)

Answer: ANTIMACASSAR (i.e. “chair-covering” used to protect upholstery from macassar and pomade and other such manly hair gunk). Solution is A followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “northern”), then TIM (i.e. “man” – yet, yet, yet, yet more names) and ASS (i.e. “Charlie” or fool) once placed in or “carried” in A CAR (i.e. “a vehicle”), like so: A-N-TIM-A-C(ASS)AR.

  1. Reader dined with English voters (10)

Answer: ELECTORATE (i.e. “voters”). Solution is LECTOR (i.e. “reader”) and ATE (i.e. “dined”) both placed after or “with” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: E-(LECTOR-ATE).

  1. Time to probe extra unit of data (4)

Answer: BYTE (i.e. “unit of data”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) placed in or “probing” BYE (an “extra” run in cricket, being those not directly scored), like so: BY(T)E.

  1. Mercenary desperate for oldies with big money (7,2,7)

Answer: SOLDIER OF FORTUNE (i.e. “mercenary”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “desperate”) of FOR OLDIES followed by FORTUNE (i.e. “big money”).

  1. Choose to frame rising academician’s abstract work (2,3)

Answer: OP ART (i.e. “abstract work”). Solution is OPT (i.e. “choose”) wrapped around or “framing” RA (i.e. “academician”, specifically a Royal Academician) once reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: OP(AR)T.

  1. Like some languages partly for Omani citizens? (7)

Answer: ROMANIC (i.e. “like some languages”). “Partly” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: FO(R OMANI C)ITZENS.

  1. Tory woman surprisingly into stars (13)

Answer: CONSTELLATION (i.e. “stars”). Solution is CON (i.e. “Tory”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) followed by STELLA (i.e. “woman” – yet, yet, yet, yet, yet more names) and an anagram (indicated by “surprisingly”) of INTO, like so: CON-STELLA-TION.

  1. Poisonous alkaloid from a harbour over in East (8)

Answer: ATROPINE (i.e. “poisonous alkaloid” found in deadly nightshade). Solution is A followed by PORT (i.e. “harbour”) reversed (indicated by “over” – this being a down clue), then IN and E (a recognised abbreviation of “East”), like so: A-TROP-IN-E. One gotten solely from the wordplay.

  1. Like some old Peruvians serving prison sentences? (5)

Answer: INCAN (i.e. “like some old Peruvians”). When written as IN CAN the solution also satisfies “serving prison sentences” – CAN being slang for a prison.

  1. Filled with enthusiasm, but brought down to earth, perhaps? (5,3,4,4)

Answer: SWEPT OFF ONES FEET. Solution satisfies “filled with enthusiasm” and “brought down to earth, perhaps” describing the scene if one took the phrase literally.

  1. Endlessly regretful about quietly getting a new pouch (7)

Answer: SPORRAN (i.e. “pouch”). Solution is SORRY (i.e. “regretful”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”) and the remainder wrapped “about” P (i.e. “quietly”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the musical lingo “piano”), followed by A and N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: S(P)ORR-A-N.

  1. Knight errant’s son in physical discomfort (7)

Answer: PALADIN (i.e. “knight errant”). Solution is LAD (i.e. “son”) placed “in” PAIN (i.e. “physical discomfort”), like so: PA(LAD)IN.

  1. Those not elected dig new head’s frank manner (13)

Answer: OUTSPOKENNESS (i.e. “frank manner”). Solution is OUTS (i.e. “those not elected”) followed by POKE (i.e. “dig”), then N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and NESS (i.e. “head”, as in the geographical feature).

  1. Trendy label, behold, around one engraved figure (8)

Answer: INTAGLIO (i.e. “engraved figure”). Solution is IN (i.e. “trendy”) followed by TAG (i.e. “label”), then LO (i.e. “behold”, as in lo and…) once wrapped “around” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: IN-TAG-L(I)O. Another gotten mostly from the wordplay.

  1. Accomplished gangster accepting fate? It’s comparable (12)

Answer: PROPORTIONAL (i.e. “comparable”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “accomplished”) and AL (i.e. “gangster”, specifically Al Capone, a favourite of several setters) wrapped around or “accepting” PORTION (i.e. “fate” – Chambers backs this up, though I can’t bring to mind an example of its use in this way), like so: PRO-(PORTION)-AL.

  1. An attempt to embarrass? (5)

Answer: ABASH (i.e. “to embarrass”). When written as A BASH the solution also satisfies “an attempt”.

  1. Unbearable to the French mob, a bishop having gone in first (11)

Answer: INTOLERABLE (i.e. “unbearable”). Solution is TO followed by LE (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the masculine form of “the” in French) and RABBLE (i.e. “mob”) once one of the Bs has been removed (indicated by “a bishop having gone” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess). The whole is then preceded (indicated by “first”) by IN, like so: IN-(TO-LE-RABLE).

  1. Support novel French art, ultimately with a little cash out East (10)

Answer: BACKSHEESH (i.e. “a little cash out East”, specifically a gift or gratuity or tip, also spelled backshish, bakhshish or baksheesh). Solution is BACK (i.e. “support”) followed by SHE (i.e. “novel” by H. Rider Haggard – another favourite of some setters), then ES (i.e. “French art” – another favourite of setters, “art” is taken to be a ye olde form of “are”, the French of which is ES) and H (i.e. “ultimately with”, i.e. the last letter of “with”).

  1. Naval officer’s chest of drawers containing gold (9)

Answer: COMMODORE (i.e. “naval officer”). Solution is COMMODE (i.e. “chest of drawers”) wrapped around or “containing” OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry), like so: COMMOD(OR)E.

  1. One who explains riots stirred up after trade fair (9)

Answer: EXPOSITOR (i.e. “one who explains”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “stirred up”) of RIOTS placed “after” EXPO (i.e. “trade fair”), like so: EXPO-SITOR.

  1. A French writer briefly visiting army eating-place (7)

Answer: TAVERNA (i.e. “eating-place”). Solution is A and Jules VERNE (i.e. “French writer”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”). These are then placed in or “visit” TA (i.e. “army”, specifically the Territorial Army), like so: T(A-VERN)A.

  1. Seaside entertainer perhaps – and what might cause his downfall? (7)

Answer: PIERROT (i.e. a clown or “seaside entertainer perhaps”). When written as PIER ROT the solution cryptically satisfies “what might cause his downfall”.

  1. Naval NCOs collecting raunchy snaps (6)

Answer: PHOTOS (i.e. “snaps”). Solution is POS (i.e. “naval NCOs”, specifically Petty Officers) wrapped around or “collecting” HOT (i.e. “raunchy”), like so: P(HOT)OS.

  1. Bachelor leaves in drunken state for game (5)

Answer: LOTTO (i.e. “game”). Solution is BLOTTO (i.e. “drunken state”) with the B (a recognised abbreviation of “bachelor”) removed (indicated by “leaves”).

  1. Greyish, like Henry on the outside (4)

Answer: ASHY (i.e. “greyish”). Solution is AS (i.e. “like”) followed by HY (i.e. “Henry on the outside”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Henry”).

Fleet Foxes are back! Yay! Their new album Shore made for a very pleasant first listen, so it wasn’t much of a stretch for me to return to the band’s back catalogue. King of the crop is still their eponymous debut album, the best known song from which you can find below. If lush, folksy Beach Boys-style close harmony is your thing then you’ll lap this up. Enjoy! – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1487

An easier time of it this week, thankfully! Another decent puzzle too, perhaps save for one clue that irked me. You might spot which one further on. (Looks away, whistling.)

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has you jiggered, then head on over to my Just For Fun page where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Meanwhile there’s the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind comments. They are much appreciated. Thanks also to whoever at WordPress decided to change the editing font from some tiny serif creation to something much easier to read. Now if only someone can help me consistently strike the right keys on this laptop. This 2,500 word post has felt more like 10,000!

Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and let’s look forward to all this Covid rubbish getting knocked on the head. In the meantime, keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Store form of isotope in desert (10)

Answer: DEPOSITORY (i.e. “store”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “form of”) of ISOTOPE placed “in” DRY (i.e. “desert”, both descriptive of a lack of moisture), like so: D(EPOSITO)RY.

  1. Some knitting order a pain (6,6)

Answer: GARTER STITCH (i.e. “some knitting”). Solution is GARTER (the highest “order” of knighthood) followed by STITCH (i.e. “a pain” sometimes felt during exercise).

  1. As one man is on, two union leaders off (9)

Answer: UNANIMOUS (i.e. “as one”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “is off”) of MAN IS ON, U and U (i.e. “two union leaders”, U being the first letter of “union”).

  1. Pull away from wife and sleep (5)

Answer: WREST (i.e. “pull away”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) followed by REST (i.e. “sleep”).

  1. Country cutting an American test (7)

Answer: AUSTRIA (i.e. “country”). Solution is A US TRIAL (i.e. “an American test”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “cutting”).

  1. Corrupt lot parliament, pure down-and-outs (6,11)

Answer: LUMPEN PROLETARIAT (i.e. “down-and-outs”). “Corrupt” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LOT PARLIAMENT PURE. Nicely worked.

  1. Cause of ferment, Irish poet turning tail (5)

Answer: YEAST (i.e. “cause of ferment”). Solution is William Butler YEATS (i.e. “Irish poet”) with its last two letters swapped (indicated by “turning tail”), like so: YEA(TS) => YEA(ST).

  1. Does loveless couple give up hope? (7)

Answer: DESPAIR (i.e. “give up hope”). Solution is DOES with the O removed (indicated by “loveless” – “love” being a zero score in tennis) and the remainder followed by PAIR (i.e. “couple”), like so: DES-PAIR.

  1. Inside scrapheap hid some bugs (6)

Answer: APHIDS (i.e. “bugs”). “Inside” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: SCRAPHE(AP HID S)OME.

  1. Taking hour to go in, hospital department has one seat (8)

Answer: ENTHRONE (i.e. to “seat” someone). Solution is HR (a recognised abbreviation of “hour”) “going in” between ENT (i.e. “hospital department”, specifically Ear Nose and Throat) and ONE, like so: ENT-(HR)-ONE.

  1. In brief, run is for trainer (7)

Answer: TRELLIS (i.e. “trainer” for plants). Solution is TELL (i.e. to “brief” someone) with R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games) placed “in” it, and then followed by IS, like so: T(R)ELL-IS.

  1. Sign drenched clothes most worn out (8)

Answer: WEARIEST (i.e. “most worn out”). Solution is ARIES (i.e. “sign” of the zodiac) placed in or “clothed” by WET (i.e. “drenched”), like so: WE(ARIES)T.

  1. Son isn’t wearing any trousers (6)

Answer: SLACKS (i.e. “trousers”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by LACKS (i.e. “isn’t wearing any”).

  1. What a stone being catapulted is, for sure (4,3,4)

Answer: HARD AND FAST. Solution satisfies “what a stone being catapulted is” and “sure”.

  1. Not in Italy, a flying race (11)

Answer: NATIONALITY (i.e. “race”). “Flying” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NOT IN ITALY A.

  1. A row I stomach, concealing bit of a pout for one always (2,9)

Answer: AD INFINITUM (i.e. “always”). Solution is A, DIN (i.e. “row”), I and TUM (i.e. “stomach”) all wrapped around or “concealing” FIN (i.e. “bit of a pout” – a pout is a fish of the cod family), like so: A-DIN-(FIN)-I-TUM.

  1. Sporting event turning live, though somewhat on the periphery (3,4,4)

Answer: THE BOAT RACE (i.e. “sporting event”). Solution is BE (i.e. to “live”) reversed (indicated by “turning”) and placed in or having “on the periphery” THO (a poetic contraction of “though”) and A TRACE (i.e. “somewhat”), like so: TH(EB)O-A-TRACE.

  1. Improvement finished, go (6)

Answer: UPTURN (i.e. “improvement”). Solution is UP (i.e. “finished”) followed by TURN (i.e. a “go”).

  1. In middle of bodega, is kitchen fixture perhaps cut off? (8)

Answer: DISUNITE (i.e. to “cut off”). Solution is DE (i.e. “middle [letters] of bodega”) wrapped around or having “in” IS and UNIT (i.e. “kitchen fixture”), like so: D(IS-UNIT)E.

  1. Pertinent European programme’s back (7)

Answer: GERMANE (i.e. “pertinent”). Solution is GERMAN (i.e. “European”) followed by E (i.e. “programme’s back”, i.e. the last letter of “programme”).

  1. Charm shown by boxer’s attendant after end of bout (8)

Answer: TALISMAN (i.e. “charm”). Solution is ALI’S MAN (i.e. “boxer’s attendant” – the boxer in question being Muhammad ALI) placed “after” T (i.e. “end [letter] of bout”), like so: T-(ALI’S-MAN).

  1. Swindle involving right number of racehorses, for example? (6)

Answer: STRING (i.e. a drove or “number of racehorses, for example”). Solution is STING (i.e. “swindle”) wrapped around or “involving” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: ST(R)ING.

  1. A boy embracing me in front of a Spanish promenade (7)

Answer: ALAMEDA (i.e. “Spanish promenade”). Solution is A and LAD (i.e. “boy”) wrapped around or “embracing” ME, and then the whole then placed “in front of” A, like so: A-LA(ME)D-A.

  1. Gripping last of rocks, anchor found resting place (5)

Answer: ROOST (i.e. “resting place”). Solution is ROOT (i.e. “anchor”) wrapped around or “gripping” S (i.e. “last [letter] of rocks”), like so: ROO(S)T.

  1. Proving inconsistent, like sirocco and mistral? (7,3,3,4)

Answer: BLOWING HOT AND COLD (i.e. “proving inconsistent”). Clue plays on siroccos and mistrals being hot and cold winds respectively.

  1. Clump of vegetation seen, jumbo part circling island to the west (7)

Answer: TUSSOCK (i.e. “clump of vegetation”). Solution is TUSK (i.e. “jumbo part”, i.e. body part of an elephant) wrapped around or “circling” COS (i.e. a Greek “island”) once reversed (indicated by “to the west” – this being an across clue), like so: TUS(SOC)K.

  1. Papers etc dismissing knight from holy city (5)

Answer: MEDIA (i.e. “papers etc”). Solution is MEDINA (i.e. “holy city” in Saudi Arabia) with the N removed (indicated by “dismissing knight” – N being a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess).

  1. Honest work out to protect ailing housing estate, initially (9)

Answer: GUILELESS (i.e. “honest”). Solution is GUESS (i.e. “work out” – no, in a word. I sincerely hope the setter doesn’t work in a profession upon which lives depend if they honestly believe guesswork equates to working something out. Scary if they do…) wrapped around or “protecting” ILL (i.e. “ailing”) once it has itself been wrapped around or “housing” E (i.e. “estate, initially”, i.e. the first letter of “estate”), like so: GU(IL(E)L)ESS.

  1. Pad, something soft for carpeting (8,4)

Answer: DRESSING DOWN (i.e. “carpeting” or what-I-just-did-above-in-53a). Solution is DRESSING (i.e. medical “pad”) followed by DOWN (i.e. “something soft”).

  1. Alleges car has crashed into comprehensive (5-5)

Answer: LARGE-SCALE (i.e. “comprehensive”). “Has crashed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ALLEGES CAR.

Down clues

  1. Nonsense – boast of bigamist? (6,5)

Answer: DOUBLE DUTCH (i.e. “nonsense”). Clue plays on “dutch” being cockney rhyming slang for “wife”, supposedly after the Duchess of Fife – we had this last week’s puzzle too, and how bigamists get hitched to more than one person.

  1. Hand in part penning second song (5)

Answer: PSALM (i.e. “song”). Solution is PALM (i.e. “hand in part”, or part of the hand) wrapped around or “penning” S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”), like so: P(S)ALM.

  1. Over everyone, small earwigs and beetles primarily creep (9)

Answer: SLIMEBALL (i.e. “creep”). Solution is SLIM (i.e. “small”) and E and B (i.e. “earwigs and beetles primarily”, i.e. the first letters of “earwigs” and “beetles”) placed “over” – this being a down clue – ALL (i.e. “everyone”), like so: (SLIM-EB)-ALL.

  1. Soldier drunk, other ranks caught up (7)

Answer: TROOPER (i.e. “soldier”). Solution is OR (a recognised abbreviation of “other ranks” of the British Army) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and placed in or “caught by” TOPER (i.e. a “drunk”), like so: T(RO)OPER.

  1. Rash having two drinks, don’t start the second (7)

Answer: ROSEOLA (i.e. “rash”). Solution is ROSE and COLA (i.e. “two drinks”) with the first letter of COLA removed (indicated by “don’t start the second”). Chalk one to my Bradford’s here.

  1. A law on mummification finally accepted by Roman ruler, not head of ancient Egypt (11)

Answer: ALEXANDRIAN (i.e. “of ancient Egypt”). Solution is A followed by LEX (i.e. “law” in Latin) and N (i.e. “mummification finally”, i.e. the last letter of “mummification”) once placed in or “accepted by” HADRIAN (i.e. “Roman ruler”) once the first letter has been removed (indicated by “not head”), like so: A-LEX-A(N)DRIAN.

  1. Rubbish match for a Scottish vegetable (6)

Answer: TATTIE (i.e. “Scottish vegetable”, i.e. Scots word for a potato). Solution is TAT (i.e. “rubbish”) followed by TIE (i.e. “match”).

  1. Call to keep oven hot (8)

Answer: ROASTING (i.e. “hot”). Solution is RING (i.e. to “call”) wrapped around or “keeping” OAST (i.e. a kiln or “oven” used to dry hops), like so: R(OAST)ING.

  1. Putting it mildly, a Trappist’s remit? (2,3,3,5)

Answer: TO SAY THE LEAST. Solution satisfies “putting it mildly” and “a Trappist’s remit” – Trappist monks being known for keeping vows of silence.

  1. Devastating thing having ruined a trick (7)

Answer: TORNADO (i.e. “devastating thing”). Solution is TORN (i.e. “ruined”) followed by A and DO (i.e. “trick”, as in to con someone).

  1. Sumo like this is so without mercy (11)

Answer: HEARTLESSLY (i.e. “without mercy”). The first half of the clue cryptically plays on how one takes the middle letters or HEART of “sumo” to get “so”.

  1. Honey in soft centre? (10)

Answer: SWEETHEART (i.e. “honey”, both terms of endearment). Solution is SWEET (i.e. “soft”, as in fancying someone) followed by HEART (i.e. “centre”).

  1. Strong flavour merits pan being given a stir (9)

Answer: SPEARMINT (i.e. “strong flavour”). “Given a stir” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MERITS PAN. Nicely worked.

  1. Soft of a perch right to feed baby (2,2,4)

Answer: AS IT WERE (i.e. “sort of”). Solution is A followed by SIT (i.e. to “perch”) and WEE (i.e. “baby”) once wrapped around or “fed” by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: A-SIT-WE(R)E.

  1. Track I’d sing out of tune (6)

Answer: SIDING (i.e. “track”). “Out of tune” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I’D SING.

  1. Success securing wire to become less convincing (4,4)

Answer: WEAR THIN (i.e. “become less convincing”). Solution is WIN (i.e. “success”) wrapped around or “securing” EARTH (i.e. “wire” in an electrical flex), like so: W(EARTH)IN.

  1. Face piece, knowing pottery (9)

Answer: CHINAWARE (i.e. “pottery”). Solution is CHIN (i.e. “face piece”) followed by AWARE (i.e. “knowing”).

  1. With unlimited food comes yen for tea (6)

Answer: OOLONG (i.e. “tea”). Solution is OO (i.e. “unlimited food”, i.e. the word “food” with its first and last letters removed) followed by LONG (i.e. “yen” or yearning). One I recalled from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

  1. Acknowledging limitations, this train’s last stop? (2,3,2,2,4)

Answer: AS FAR AS IT GOES. Solution satisfies “acknowledging limitations” and “this train’s last stop”.

  1. Post-watershed screening time ultimately spoiled (11)

Answer: ADULTERATED (i.e. “spoiled”). Solution is ADULT-RATED (i.e. “post-watershed” telly) wrapped around or “screening” E (i.e. “time ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “time”), like so: ADULT-(E)-RATED.

  1. Netting second of goals, Man United playing with spirit (8,3)

Answer: MOUNTAIN DEW (i.e. “spirit”, specifically an informal name given to illicitly distilled whisky (thanks, Chambers)). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “playing”) of MAN UNITED wrapped around or “netting” O (i.e. “second [letter] of goals”) and the whole then followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), like so: M(O)UNTAINDE-W. Nicely worked.

  1. Train a girl until fluent in three languages (10)

Answer: TRILINGUAL (i.e. “fluent in three languages”). “Train” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A GIRL UNTIL.

  1. Drennan’s country remedies all rubbished (7,4)

Answer: EMERALD ISLE (i.e. poet William “Drennan’s country”). “Rubbished” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REMEDIES ALL.

  1. Again look at article penned by communist outfit (9)

Answer: READDRESS (i.e. “again look at”). Solution is A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) placed in or “penned by” RED (i.e. “communist”) and followed by DRESS (i.e. “outfit”), like so: RE(A)D-DRESS.

  1. Family of essayist warmer? (8)

Answer: LAMBSKIN (i.e. “warmer”). When written as Charles LAMB’S KIN the solution also satisfies “family of essayist”. Yeah, me neither (pat’s Bradford’s).

  1. Forget to secure permit before European check (4-3)

Answer: LOOK-SEE (i.e. “check”). Solution is LOSE (i.e. “forget”) wrapped around or “securing” OK (i.e. to “permit”) and then followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: LO(OK)SE-E.

  1. Country girl on my mind in old song (7)

Answer: GEORGIA. Solution satisfies “country” and “girl on my mind in old song”, a reference to Georgia On My Mind, most famously recorded by Ray Charles.

  1. A life protecting mother, sublime (7)

Answer: AMAZING (i.e. “sublime”). Solution is A and ZING (i.e. “life”, as in pzazz, zip, that kind of thing) wrapped around or “protecting” MA (i.e. “mother”), like so: A-(MA)-ZING.

  1. Overlooking sea, private room appeared (6)

Answer: LOOMED (i.e. “appeared”). Solution is LOO (i.e. “private room”) placed before or “overlooking” – this being a down clue – MED (i.e. “sea”, specifically the Mediterranean).

  1. Last of twenty-four, nothing major (5)

Answer: OMEGA (i.e. “last of twenty-four”, a reference to the number of letters in the Greek alphabet). Solution is O (i.e. “nothing”) followed by MEGA (i.e. “major”).

With Everything Everything dropping new music this week I thought I’d try once more to get into their last album, RE-ANIMATOR. It’s still a not-quite from me, but it gave me a good reason to revisit their back catalogue. Pick any of their first four albums and you’ll be in for a treat. Here’s the track that got me into them. And, yes, it’s well weird! – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1486

Stinker alert! This week’s offering leaned a little too heavy into general knowledge for my tastes – too many people and places, and as for 13d… sheesh! – but setting those aside there was some rather clever clueing to enjoy. One of the better stinkers on reflection. (Note how I am writing this the day after solving it. I didn’t exactly feel this way at the time!)

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 done for you then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where I list links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Elsewhere there’s the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind comments. They are much appreciated and do help to ease the cabin fever. I and my fourteen other selves thank you. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep flying the flag for the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Relish large thing sold dishonestly? (3,2)

Answer: LAP UP (i.e. “relish”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) followed by A PUP (i.e. “thing sold dishonestly”).

  1. Male boss with this foolish ritual (5,5)

Answer: MUMBO JUMBO (i.e. “foolish ritual”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) followed by UMBO (i.e. the central knob or “boss” of a shield – no, me neither), then JUMBO (i.e. “this”, i.e. the Times Jumbo crossword).

  1. Girl visited by doctor – one stiff walking? (6)

Answer: ZOMBIE (i.e. “stiff walking” – stiff as in a dead body). Solution is ZOE (i.e. basically a “girl’s” name) wrapped around or being “visited by” MB (i.e. “doctor”, specifically a Medicinae Baccalaureus or Bachelor of Medicine) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: ZO(MB-I)E.

  1. Note rubbish bags keep Cockney’s hat (3,3,3)

Answer: TIT FOR TAT (i.e. “Cockney [rhyming slang for] hat”, often shortened to titfer – insert my characteristically lame dig at Cockerneys here). Solution is TI (i.e. “note” in the sol-fa or doh-ray-me notation) and TAT (i.e. “rubbish”) wrapped around or “bagging” FORT (i.e. “keep”), like so: TI-T(FORT)AT.

  1. Eccentric solver cut long hair, displaying an old head (10,3)

Answer: NUTCRACKER MAN (i.e. “old head” – referring to “a hominid whose bones were found in Tanzania in 1959” (Chambers). Again, me neither…) Solution is NUT (i.e. “eccentric”) followed by CRACKER (i.e. “solver”) and MANE (i.e. “long hair”) once it’s last letter has been removed (indicated by “cut”), like so: NUT-CRACKER-MAN.

  1. Cocktail of note, two rupees a shot (7)

Answer: FARRAGO (i.e. a mishmash or “cocktail”). Solution is FA (i.e. “note”, again in the sol-fa notation) followed by R and R (i.e. “two rupees” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “rupee”), then A and GO (i.e. “shot”, as in having a shot at something).

  1. De La Mare’s wild gypsy heroine (9)

Answer: ESMERALDA (i.e. “gypsy heroine” of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame). “Wild” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DE LA MARE’S. Nicely worked.

  1. Gongs eclipsing old woodwind instruments (5)

Answer: OBOES (i.e. “woodwind instruments”). Solution is OBES (i.e. “gongs”, specifically Orders of the British Empire) wrapped around or “eclipsing” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: OB(O)ES.

  1. Where something sweet’s to be had between flights, or less pleasant after one? (7,7)

Answer: PANCAKE LANDING. Clue plays on how one might add “sweet” toppings to PANCAKEs, how one finds LANDINGs “between flights” of stairs, and how a PANCAKE LANDING is where an aeroplane is forced to land belly first due to landing gear malfunction, which would indeed be not “pleasant”. You get the idea.

  1. In texts, you and I would add one last letter, enlarged (7)

Answer: UPSIZED (i.e. “enlarged”). Solution is U (i.e. “in texts, you”, as in how “you” gets contracted to U in some text messages) followed by PS (i.e. “I would add”, i.e. a postscript), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and ZED (i.e. “last letter” of the alphabet). Spend most of this clue trying to shoehorn WE or US into this one? Me too.

  1. Man United playing without a single female (6,4)

Answer: MAIDEN AUNT (i.e. “single female”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “playing”) of MAN UNITED wrapped around or placed “without” A, like so: M(A)IDENAUNT. Nicely done.

  1. Fancy piece of filming remains – I land Oscar (4,1,5,2)

Answer: TAKE A SHINE TO (i.e. “fancy”). Solution is TAKE (i.e. “piece of filming”) followed by ASH (i.e. “remains”), then I, then NET (i.e. to obtain or “land”) and O (“Oscar” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Joints: cats need one to move back (5)

Answer: LOINS (i.e. “joints”). Solution is LIONS (i.e. “cats”) with the I or Roman numeral “one” “moved back”, like so: L(I)ONS => LO(I)NS.

  1. Join trail east to find body of fighter? (8)

Answer: FUSELAGE (i.e. “body of fighter [plane]”). Solution is FUSE (i.e. “join”) followed by LAG (i.e. “trail”) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”).

  1. German and Irish article, deep, in the main? (8)

Answer: UNDERSEA (i.e. “in the main” – the main being a reference to the sea). Solution is UND (i.e. “German and”, i.e. the German for “and”) followed by ERSE (i.e. a variant of ‘Irish’ “sometimes used for Irish Gaelic, as opposed to Scottish Gaelic” (Chambers)) and A (i.e. “article”, as in a word like a, an or the).

  1. Container, not exactly small, I made smaller (8)

Answer: CASSETTE (i.e. “container”). Solution is CA (i.e. “not exactly”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) followed by S (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and SETTER (i.e. “I” from the point of view of the setter) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “made smaller”), like so: CA-S-SETTE.

  1. Capital that’s not for investing in cereal product (8)

Answer: SANTIAGO (i.e. “capital” city of Chile). Solution is ANTI (i.e. “that’s not for”) placed or “invested” in SAGO (i.e. “cereal product”), like so: S(ANTI)AGO. Nicely done.

  1. Shower that’s needed after washing? (5)

Answer: AIRER. Solution satisfies “shower” – as in one who shows or airs something as opposed to a fall of water – and “that’s needed after washing”, as in a clothes airer.

  1. Steam bath, say, being prepared? Perhaps (5,2,3,2)

Answer: THAT’S AS MAY BE (i.e. “perhaps”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “being prepared”) of STEAM BATH SAY.

  1. This corn one twice cooked with ham? (10)

Answer: HISTRIONIC (i.e. “with ham”, i.e. overacting or excessive staginess). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cooked”) of THIS CORN, I and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one twice”).

  1. Turning off at sideroad, avoiding some stick (7)

Answer: DISTAFF (i.e. “stick” used in spinning wool etc). “Avoiding some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, thus requiring the solver to remove part of it, while “turning” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: O(FF AT SID)EROAD.

  1. Fish, spare, kept in reserve outside, to be in a pickle? (5,2,4,3)

Answer: SKATE ON THIN ICE (i.e. “to be in a pickle”). Solution is SKATE (i.e. “fish”) followed by THIN (i.e. “spare”) once placed in or having “outside” ON ICE (i.e. “kept in reserve”), like so: SKATE-(ON-(THIN)-ICE).

  1. Cancel a year’s events, for a university (5)

Answer: ANNUL (i.e. “cancel”). Solution is ANNAL (i.e. “a year’s events”) with the second A swapped “for” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”), like so: ANN(A)L => ANN(U)L.

  1. Plaything that’s half dots, and lines on other half? (5,4)

Answer: DUTCH DOLL (i.e. “plaything”). Solution is DO (i.e. “half dots”, i.e. the first half of “dots”) and LL (i.e. “lines” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “line”) both placed “on” or after DUTCH (i.e. “other half” – more bleedin’ Cockerney, innit, this time rhyming slang for “wife”: “perhaps short for Duchess of Fife” (Chambers). Okay, if you say so…), like so: DUTCH-(DO-LL).

  1. Carp egg with cream (3-4)

Answer: NIT-PICK (i.e. “carp”). Solution is NIT (i.e. the “egg” of a louse) followed by PICK (i.e. “cream”, as in the pick of the bunch).

  1. Writer got out of bed – time to nurse very sick sheep (9-4)

Answer: Vita SACKVILLE-WEST (“writer”). Solution is SACK (i.e. “bed”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) wrapped around or “nursing” V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”), ILL (i.e. “sick”) and EWES (i.e. “sheep”), like so: SACK-(V-ILL-EWES)-T. One of those where I dropped “Sackville” into Google on a hunch.

  1. Not appreciated in UK, and then abroad (9)

Answer: UNTHANKED (i.e. “not appreciated”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “abroad”) of UK AND THEN.

  1. Mate appearing before judge is sorry (6)

Answer: PALTRY (i.e. meagre or “sorry”). Solution is PAL (i.e. “mate”) followed by TRY (i.e. to “judge”, as in being tried in court).

  1. Writer dear to the French when French is in fashion (10)

Answer: G. K. CHESTERTON (i.e. “writer”). Solution is CHER (i.e. “dear to the French” i.e. the French for “dear”) wrapped around or having “in” EST (i.e. “French is”, i.e. the French for “is”), then followed by TON (i.e. “fashion”, one of the word’s variant meanings and a common play used by setters. I’ve still yet to see this used in the wild, mind), like so: CH(EST)ER-TON.

  1. Dance that one watches as one pales? (5)

Answer: TANGO (i.e. “dance”). When written as TAN GO the solution also satisfies “that one watches as one pales”.

Down clues

  1. After check, turned to make excuse (3,3)

Answer: LET OFF (i.e. “excuse”). Solution is LET (i.e. “check” – a variant meaning of LET is to obstruct or hinder) followed by OFF (i.e. “turned”, as in food going bad).

  1. Safe to differ with impartial head of household (13)

Answer: PATERFAMILIAS (i.e. “head of household”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to differ”) of SAFE and IMPARTIAL.

  1. A brief mea culpa after upsetting Indian community (5)

Answer: POONA (i.e. “Indian community”, seemingly a city known for the last forty-odd years as Pune). Solution is AN OOPS (i.e. “a … mea culpa”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “brief”). The remainder is then reversed (indicated by “upsetting” – this being a down clue), like so: POO-NA. One gotten solely from the wordplay, if I’m honest.

  1. English town, one often conveying a welcome security (7)

Answer: MATLOCK (i.e. “English town” in Derbyshire). Solution is MAT (i.e. “one often conveying a welcome”) followed by LOCK (i.e. “security”). Another gotten from the wordplay.

  1. Taking good care to accept different punishment in writing (12)

Answer: MOTHERLINESS (i.e. “taking good care”). Solution is OTHER (i.e. “different”) and LINES (i.e. “punishment” given to naughty schoolkids) both placed in or “accepted by” MS (i.e. “writing”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “manuscript”), like so: M(OTHER-LINES)S.

  1. Rub out start of interview not intended for broadcast (8)

Answer: OINTMENT (i.e. “rub”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “out” used in several ball games) followed by I (i.e. “start of interview”, i.e. the first letter of “interview”), then N’T (a contraction of “not”) and a homophone (indicated by “for broadcast”) of MEANT, like so: O-I-N’T-MENT.
[EDIT: Chris in the comments offers an alternative route for this one, using “out” as an anagram indicator for I and NOT to get OINT. Sounds good to me. Cheers, Chris! – LP]

  1. Express being closer, no longer quiet (5)

Answer: UTTER (i.e. “express”). Solution is PUTTER (i.e. “closer” in a hole of golf) with the P removed (indicated by “no longer quiet” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “piano” or quietly in musical lingo).
[EDIT: Thanks to Mike in the comments for another route to this, taking SH from SHUTTER to get the solution. I’ve a feeling this was more what the setter had in mind. Cheers, Mike! – LP]

  1. Wearing shorts, perhaps, in Tube half-heartedly encouraged (10)

Answer: BARELEGGED (i.e. “wearing shorts, perhaps”). Solution is BARREL (i.e. “tube” of, say, a gun) with one of the two middle Rs removed (indicated by “half-heartedly”) and the remainder followed by EGGED (i.e. “encouraged”), like so: BAREL-EGGED.

  1. Cats you can see round church often (7)

Answer: OCELOTS (i.e. “cats”). Solution is O (i.e. “round”) followed by CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England) and LOTS (i.e. “often”).

  1. Young deer mostly left going through mud floor (9)

Answer: BAMBOOZLE (i.e. to “floor” someone). Solution is BAMBI (i.e. “young deer” of a certain Walt Disney movie, the name of which escapes me at the moment…) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) once placed in or “through” OOZE (i.e. “mud”), like so: BAMB-OOZ(L)E.

  1. Strayed, without ending up in Irish town (5)

Answer: ENNIS (i.e. “Irish town”). Solution is SINNED (i.e. “strayed”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “without ending”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue).

  1. Shun coca served with nougat – the response? (1,6,3,4)

Answer: A CHACUN SON GOUT, which translates as “each person to his own taste” (Chambers), supposedly “the response” one may hear if shunning coca served etc etc. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “served”) of SHUN COCA and NOUGAT. It’s in the dictionary I guess, but FFS this was a bastard to get. That said, it’s another of those handy phrases that help detect pretentious arseholes, so I’ve at least learned something this week.

  1. Lots of pieces first of all removed from revolutionary’s property (5,4)

Answer: CHESS SETS (i.e. “lots of pieces” – lots probably meaning “collections” in this sense). Solution is CHE’S ASSETS (i.e. “revolutionary’s property”, specifically CHE Guevara) with the A removed (indicated by “first of all removed from…” – A being the first letter of “all”).

  1. I called, worried, making a scandal (8)

Answer: IRANGATE (i.e. “a scandal” of the 1980s when the US government was rumbled selling arms to Iran to help fund anti-Communist forces in Nicaragua, despite Congress saying no. Let’s face it, all they really needed was Chuck Norris). Solution is I followed by RANG (i.e. “called”) and ATE (i.e. “worried”, as in what’s eating you?) Another gotten from the wordplay, though took my Oxford to confirm it. Interestingly, Wikipedia’s page on the whole sorry affair doesn’t use this particular epithet, so maybe this was something coined by the UK press.

  1. Speak out of turn, letting a dependable person down? (4,1,5)

Answer: DROP A BRICK (i.e. “speak out of turn”). Clue plays on how dependable people are sometimes referred to as BRICKs. You get the idea.

  1. A party to act, having suggested involving whip (10)

Answer: IMPLICATED (i.e. “a party to act”, as in one involved or implicated in a particular action). Solution is IMPLIED (i.e. “suggested”) wrapped around or “involving” CAT (i.e. “whip”, specifically a cat-o-nine-tails), like so: IMPLI(CAT)ED.

  1. Like a blooming con? (2,3,2,1,6)

Answer: AS FIT AS A FIDDLE. From what I can see the clue plays on “blooming” being in good health, and a “con” being a FIDDLE, otherwise this seems another of those nothing clues you sometimes get in these things. If I’ve missed something devilishly clever, let me know and I’ll update the post.

  1. Antiriot force finally deployed, getting done over (9)

Answer: ITERATION (i.e. an action “done over”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “deployed”) of ANTIRIOT and E (i.e. “force finally”, i.e. the last letter of “force”).

  1. Palace supporter, not born in Balham to start with! (8)

Answer: ALHAMBRA (i.e. a “palace” complex in Spain whose name has seemingly spread to venues and hotels far and wide). Solution is BRA (i.e. “supporter”) with BALHAM placed “to start with” once the B has been removed (indicated by “not born in…” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “born”), like so: ALHAM-BRA. Clever given the proximity of Balham to Crystal Palace, but it took my Bradford’s to nail this one.

  1. Young one from betting syndicate in Bluegrass State (6,7)

Answer: SPRING CHICKEN (i.e. “young one”). Solution is SP (i.e. “betting” – specifically the Starting Price) followed by RING (i.e. “syndicate”), then CHIC (i.e. “in” or stylish) and KEN (a recognised abbreviation of Kentucky, sometimes referred to as the “Bluegrass State”).

  1. Not the flat we’ve been searching the country for? (8,4)

Answer: NATIONAL HUNT also known as jump racing, as opposed to “flat” racing. Clue plays on the solution being a “search” across “the country”. Clever.

  1. Mock set repetition of echo in high voice, endless hours (5,5)

Answer: FALSE TEETH (i.e. “mock set”). Solution is E and E (i.e. “repetition of echo”, “echo” being E in the phonetic alphabet) both placed “in” FALSETTO (i.e. “high voice”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endless”). This is all then followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “hours”), like so: FALSET(EE)T-H.

  1. As related, in charge of getting in weapons (9)

Answer: ARSENICAL (i.e. “As related” – As being the chemical symbol of arsenic). Solution is IC (a recognised abbreviation of “in charge”) placed “in” ARSENAL (i.e. “weapons”), like so: ARSEN(IC)AL. Probably my favourite clue this week.

  1. Exile with feet tied up, but force not used (8)

Answer: DEPORTEE (i.e. “exile”). Solution is FEET and ROPED (i.e. “tied”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) once the F has been removed (indicated by “force not used” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “force”), like so: DEPOR-TEE.

  1. Quite the gangster’s moll? (3,4)

Answer: ALL OVER (i.e. “quite”). When written as AL LOVER the solution also satisfies “gangster’s moll”, the gangster in question taken to be Al Capone.

  1. Stumble upon trapping leg in lace (7)

Answer: HONITON (i.e. “lace”). Solution is HIT ON (i.e. “stumble upon”) wrapped around or “trapping” ON (i.e. “leg” side in cricket), like so: H(ON)IT-ON. Chalk another to my Bradford’s.

  1. Winter vehicle taking second child round and round (6)

Answer: SKIDOO (i.e. “winter vehicle”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) followed by KID (i.e. “child”), then O and O (i.e. “round and round”).

  1. Proust, eg, an oddly uplifting story teller (5)

Answer: AESOP (i.e. “story teller”). “Oddly” indicates the solution can be found in every other letter of PROUST EG AN once reversed (indicated by “uplifting” – this being a down clue).

  1. For audition, gets better tips (5)

Answer: HEELS (i.e. “tips”, probably taken to mean tilting or listing or tipping over). “For audition” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of HEALS (i.e. “gets better”).

  1. Drink to spot on round dresser, in centre (5)

Answer: TOAST (i.e. “drink to”). Solution is TO A T (i.e. “spot on”) wrapped “round” S (i.e. “dresser, in centre”, i.e. the middle letter of “dresser”), like so: TO-A-(S)-T.

With Peturbator dropping his first new music for ages this weekend (potted review: it might take a few more listens), this prompted a whole lotta synthwave to accompany this week’s post. Retrofuture-tastic! Give these beauties a try the next time you’re streaming (links are to Spotify):
=> Peturbator: Dangerous Days – basically the album that got me into synthwave. ‘Future Club’ remains a foot-stomping cyberpunk highlight no matter how many times I hear it, but there are a good half dozen go-to tracks here;
=> Makeup and Vanity Set: Chrome EP – the guy’s prolific so his output varies, but this EP is mighty fine from beginning to end;
=> Makeup and Vanity Set: Breaking News – plays like a modern day classic 70s zombie movie soundtrack, if any of that makes sense. Great cover image too!
=> Carpenter Brut: Blood Machines soundtrack – well, the first two tracks anyway. It gets very… um… soundtracky after that;
=> Carpenter Brut: Leather Teeth – sets itself up as a soundtrack to a non-existent 80s slasher film and pulls it off with aplomb. The title track kicks all kinds of ass. Some of the videos are… ah… unreconstructed to put it mildly, but I guess that’s the point;
=> Carpenter Brut: Trilogy – yeah, you might have guessed I’m a bit of a fan. I was once told by Spotify I was in the top 1% of his listeners, which wasn’t something I particularly wanted to know. Anyway, this is a (mostly) awesome collection of his earlier stuff. ‘Turbo Killer’, ‘Paradise Warfare’ and ‘Looking For Tracy Tzu’ are each superb;
=> Danger: July 2013 EP – if you like all those BBBWWWAAAHHHMMM!!!!! moments you get in Hans Zimmer soundtracks then you’ll love this. Pro tip: play it loud. I swear the big key change during ‘1:09’ still puts goosebumps on my goosebumps. Danger broadened his output soon after this EP, but if he ever returns to this kind of stuff again I’ll be all over it like a rash.

Enjoy! – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1485

A medium strength puzzle this week, and another offering steady progression throughout. One of the better ones, for my money.

As ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If you’re scratching your head over a recent Jumbo, then my Just For Fun page has links to solutions to the past 100+ of these things. If you’re still scratching your head then I’d recommend changing shampoos or a nit comb. Meanwhile there are also some ancient book reviews and a story of mine knocking about the place.

Thanks again for the kind and constructive comments. They are appreciated and do help when it comes to composing these posts. It’s always interesting to hear the hot takes from seasoned solvers, returnees and newbies once they’ve put their pens down, because that’s exactly what you are getting from me each week. My aim with these posts has always been to make the Jumbos less daunting for fellow solvers, not only by pointing out the cryptic indicators, abbreviations and other sneaky tricks setters use, but also to be honest and fess up when I reach for a reference book, Wikipedia etc, or if I’ve lost my rag with a particular clue. Secondary aim: occasional silliness. So if you are new to these things, welcome aboard. We’re always learning here.

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

LP

Across clues

  1. Marshal nabs macho vehicle (6,3)

Answer: HANSOM CAB (i.e. “vehicle”). “Marshal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NABS MACHO.

  1. Swamp dweller with reason to drop round after a time (5,8)

Answer: WATER MOCCASIN (i.e. “swamp dweller”, specifically a poisonous aquatic snake found in the US). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) and OCCASION (i.e. “reason”) once the second O has been removed (indicated by “to drop round”), the latter placed “after” A and TERM (i.e. “time”), like so: W-(A-TERM)-OCCASIN.

  1. Go wrong again perhaps making organic polymer (5)

Answer: RESIN. Solution satisfies “organic polymer” and, when written as RE-SIN, “go wrong again perhaps”.

  1. In attendance, ready for what the patient may play (7,4)

Answer: WAITING GAME (i.e. “what the patient may play”). Solution is WAITING (i.e. “in attendance”, as in ready and waiting) followed by GAME (i.e. “ready”).

  1. Reference book a seaman recalled? (5)

Answer: ATLAS (i.e. “reference book”). Solution is A followed by SALT (i.e. “seaman”) once reversed (indicated by “recalled”).

  1. Sauce ingredient, bay perhaps, I’d switched during outbreak (11)

Answer: HORSERADISH (i.e. “sauce ingredient”). Solution is HORSE (i.e. “bay perhaps” – other flavours of horse are available) followed by I’D once reversed (indicated by “switched”) and placed “during” RASH (i.e. “outbreak”), like so: HORSE-RA(D’I)SH.

  1. Run across again, never returning in opposite direction (2-9)

Answer: RE-ENCOUNTER (i.e. “run across again”). Solution is NE’ER (poetic form of “never”) reversed (indicated by “returning”) and followed by COUNTER (i.e. “in opposite direction”, e.g. counter-clockwise), like so: RE’EN-COUNTER.

  1. Pets, 1000 or so bitten by mites (7)

Answer: TOMCATS (i.e. “pets”). Solution is M (i.e. “1000” as a Roman numeral) and CA (i.e. “or so”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) both placed in or “bitten by” TOTS (i.e. “mites” or young children), like so: TO(M-CA)TS.

  1. Happen to disagree (4,3)

Answer: FALL OUT. Solution satisfies “happen” and “to disagree”. Simple, but nicely done.

  1. Almost everyone prepared for contest provided with bell or buzzer (7)

Answer: ALARMED (i.e. “provided with bell or buzzer”). Solution is ALL (i.e. “everyone”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder followed by ARMED (i.e. “prepared for contest”), like so: AL-ARMED.

  1. Director’s work throughout evening race not final (2,3,4,2,3,5)

Answer: IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (i.e. “director’s work”, in this case a 1967 film starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger). Clue plays on “heats” being athletic rounds held before a “final”. “Throughout evening” gets you IN…THE NIGHT. You get the idea.

  1. Border to clip: there’s no time (3)

Answer: RIM (i.e. “border”). Solution is TRIM (i.e. “to clip”) once the T has been removed (indicated by “there’s no time” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Accepting ridiculous wage, Grace returns to make trifle (6)

Answer: GEWGAW (i.e. a “trifle” – not the dessert but a toy or trifling object of little value). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “ridiculous”) of WAGE placed in or “accepted” by GW (i.e. “Grace”, specifically ye olde cricketer WG Grace, the original beard to be feared), once reversed (indicated by “returns”) like so: G(EWGA)W.
[EDIT: Thanks to Mick in the comments for the fix. I mistakenly had “GW” rather than “WG” Grace. Cheers, Mick! – LP]

  1. A hidden danger in Wisconsin for native deer (6)

Answer: WAPITI (i.e. “native deer” – well, native to the US anyway). Solution is A and PIT (i.e. “hidden danger”) both placed “in” WI (US state abbreviation of “Wisconsin”), like so: W(A-PIT)I. I couldn’t open Bradford’s quick enough when I saw “native deer”. Life’s too short.

  1. It should put the squeeze on secure online publishers? (9)

Answer: WINEPRESS (i.e. “it should put the squeeze on”). Solution is WIN (i.e. “secure”) followed by E-PRESS (i.e. “online publishers”, playing on how “e” used to be prefixed to stuff to denote they related to online – the riddly question mark acknowledges this isn’t really a recognised word).

  1. From rocks below cliff, endless game bird’s cries? (9)

Answer: SCREECHES (i.e. “bird’s cries”). Solution is SCREE (i.e. “rocks below cliff”) followed by CHESS (i.e. “game”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endless”), like so: SCREE-CHES.

  1. Sponsored child playing by gallery (6)

Answer: GODSON (i.e. “sponsored child”). Solution is ON (i.e. “playing”) placed after or “by” GODS (i.e. “gallery” in a theatre, as in being up in the gods), like so: GODS-ON.

  1. Troops contemplate official inspection (6)

Answer: REVIEW (i.e. “official inspection”). Solution is RE (i.e. “troops”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) followed by VIEW (i.e. “contemplate”).

  1. Nice street plant with medicinal properties (3)

Answer: RUE. Solution satisfies “Nice street” – Nice being a French city and the French for “street” being RUE – and “plant with medicinal properties”.

  1. Labour unaided as punishment? (8,11)

Answer: SOLITARY CONFINEMENT (i.e. “punishment”). The first half of the clue plays on the following meaning of CONFINEMENT: “the time during which a woman is confined to bed during labour and immediately after giving birth” (thank you, Chambers). So, to do this alone or “unaided” gets you the solution.

  1. Teams, ignoring the odds, breaching more limits (7)

Answer: EXTREMA (i.e. mathematical “limits” – I had to check my Oxford here as Chambers didn’t want to know). Solution is EM (i.e. “teams, ignoring the odds”, i.e. every other letter of TEAMS) placed in or “breaching” EXTRA (i.e. “more”), like so: EXTR(EM)A.

  1. Trip carrying spades, toppling (7)

Answer: OUSTING (i.e. “toppling”). Solution is OUTING (i.e. “trip”) wrapped around or “carrying” S (a recognised abbreviation of “spades” used in card games), like so: OU(S)TING.

  1. Impulsive Shakespearean spiced up secondary line (7)

Answer: HOTSPUR (i.e. “impulsive Shakespearean” – specifically the nickname of Henry Percy, who was characterised in Shakespeare’s play Henry V). Solution is HOT (i.e. “spiced up”) followed by SPUR (i.e. an offshoot or branch or “secondary line”).

  1. What monitors rate of receding waters over distance in US (11)

Answer: SPEEDOMETER (i.e. “what monitors rate”). Solution is DEEPS (i.e. “waters”) reversed (indicated by “receding”) and followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket) and METER (i.e. “distance in US”, referring to the US’s variant spelling of “metre”), like so: SPEED-O-METER.

  1. Underground resistance in Tyneside, where we live (11)

Answer: NETHERWORLD (i.e. “underground”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “resistance” used in physics) placed “in” NE (i.e. “Tyneside”, situated in NE England) and THE WORLD (i.e. “where we live”), like so: NE-THE-(R)-WORLD.

  1. Roadway cutting through landscape (5)

Answer: VISTA (i.e. “landscape”). Solution is ST (i.e. “roadway”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”) placed in or “cutting” VIA (i.e. “through”), like so: VI(ST)A.

  1. Pernicious agents altered Nixon’s route (11)

Answer: NEUROTOXINS (i.e. “pernicious [chemical] agents”). “Altered” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NIXON’S ROUTE.

  1. Gregarious beast now in river? (5)

Answer: HIPPO (i.e. social or “gregarious beast”). Solution is HIP (i.e. “now in” as in hip and happening, daddios) followed by PO (i.e. a “river” in Italy – a favourite of some setters).

  1. Distant management unlikely to check supplies (6,7)

Answer: REMOTE CONTROL (i.e. “distant management”). Solution is REMOTE (i.e. “unlikely”) followed by CONTROL (i.e. “to check [supplies]”).

  1. Explosive piece by right-winger with exaggerated content (9)

Answer: GUNCOTTON (i.e. “explosive” – specifically one “prepared by saturating cotton with nitric and sulphuric acids” (Chambers)). Solution is GUN (i.e. “piece” – a slang word) followed by CON (i.e. “right-winger”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Conservative) wrapped around or “containing” OTT (i.e. “exaggerated” or Over The Top), like so: GUN-C(OTT)ON. A new one on me, I admit. I now want to read a murder mystery where the victim wore explosive underwear.

Down clues

  1. A third night in action’s critical (4-7)

Answer: HARD-HITTING (i.e. “critical”). “In action” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A THIRD NIGHT.

  1. Remedy lack of alcohol, importing case of Sekt (7)

Answer: NOSTRUM (i.e. “remedy”). Solution is NO RUM (i.e. “lack of alcohol”) wrapped around or “importing” ST (i.e. “case of Sekt”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Sekt”), like so: NO-(ST)-RUM.

  1. Cat previously possessing heart of mouse (5)

Answer: OUNCE (i.e. “cat”, specifically the magnificent snow leopard). Solution is ONCE (i.e. “previously”) wrapped around or “possessing” U (i.e. “heart of mouse”, i.e. the middle letter of MOUSE), like so: O(U)NCE.

  1. Frighten with talk about origin of sinister plant (3,7)

Answer: COW PARSLEY (i.e. “plant”). Solution is COW (i.e. to “frighten” or bully) followed by PARLEY (i.e. “talk”) once wrapped “about” S (i.e. “origin of sinister”, i.e. the first letter of “sinister”), like so: COW-PAR(S)LEY.

  1. Public official’s pledge whenever female’s arrested (7)

Answer: BAILIFF (i.e. “public official”). Solution is BAIL (i.e. “pledge”) followed by IF (i.e. provided or “whenever”) once wrapped around or “arresting” F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”), like so: BAIL-I(F)F.

  1. Women’s boat crew promoting Olympic event (13)

Answer: WEIGHTLIFTING (i.e. “Olympic event”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “women”) followed by EIGHT (i.e. rowing or “boat crew”) then LIFTING (i.e. “promoting”).

  1. Insect little one on horse carrying current source of infection (5,4)

Answer: TIGER MOTH (i.e. “insect”). Solution is TOT (i.e. “little one” or small child) followed by or “on” – this being a down clue – H (slang for heroin; another being “horse”). The whole is then wrapped around or “carrying” I (a recognised abbreviation of an electric “current” used in physics) and GERM (i.e. “source of infection”), like so: T(I-GERM)OT-H.

  1. Time to block payment for chemical (7)

Answer: REAGENT (i.e. “chemical”). Solution is AGE (i.e. “time”) placed in or “blocking” RENT (i.e. “payment”), like so: RE(AGE)NT.

  1. Demanding too much rushing after balls (12)

Answer: OVERCHARGING (i.e. “demanding too much”). Solution is CHARGING (i.e. “rushing”) placed “after” OVER (i.e. a series of deliveries or “balls” in cricket).

  1. Fuel worker nursing cut arm gets treatment for bleeding, maybe (9)

Answer: COAGULANT (i.e. “treatment for bleeding, maybe”). Solution is COAL (i.e. “fuel”) and ANT (i.e. “worker”) wrapped around or “nursing” GUN (i.e. “arm”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “cut”), like so: COA(GU)L-ANT.

  1. Fork left raised in shed accidentally (5)

Answer: SPLIT (i.e. “fork”). Solution is SPILT (i.e. “shed accidentally”) once the L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) has been knocked back a notch or “raised” – this being a down clue – like so: SPI(L)T => SP(L)IT.

  1. Visionary shows wit, keeping up outrageous skills (11)

Answer: NOSTRADAMUS (i.e. “visionary”). Solution is NOUS (i.e. “wit”) wrapped around or “keeping” MAD (i.e. “outrageous”) and ARTS (i.e. “skills”) once they’ve been reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: NO(STRA-DAM)US.

  1. Expert manufacturer of sugar and salt (7)

Answer: ACETATE (i.e. “salt”). Solution is ACE (i.e. “expert”) followed by Henry TATE (i.e. “manufacturer of sugar”).

  1. Apply strengthening treatment to car before one’s garaged (9)

Answer: MERCERISE (i.e. “apply strengthening” to cotton, presumably the non-explosive variety, using caustic soda). Solution is MERC (i.e. “car”, short for Mercedes) and ERE (poetic form of “before”) once wrapped around or “garaging” I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”), like so: MERC-ER(I’S)E. Another new one on me, but not exactly something that’ll stick around.

  1. Most raffish doctor was tired by end of shift (9)

Answer: TAWDRIEST (i.e. “most raffish”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “doctor”) of WAS TRIED followed by T (i.e. “end of shift”, i.e. the last letter of “shift”), like so: TAWDRIES-T.

  1. Conversion of two cardinals, habit-clad (7)

Answer: TRANSIT (i.e. “conversion”). Solution is N and S (i.e. “two cardinals”, referring to the cardinal points North and South on a compass) placed in or “clad” by TRAIT (i.e. “habit”), like so: TRA(NS)IT.

  1. Crazed women about when nights are darkest? (3,4)

Answer: NEW MOON (i.e. “when nights are darkest”, i.e. when the moon lies directly between the earth and the sun and therefore doesn’t appear in the night sky). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “crazed”) of WOMEN followed by ON (i.e. “about”), like so: NEWMO-ON.

  1. Part of circuit needing installation in office before spring (9,4)

Answer: INDUCTION COIL (i.e. “part of [electrical] circuit”). Solution is INDUCTION (i.e. “installation [of new staff] in office”) followed by COIL (i.e. “spring”).

  1. Set out here (7)

Answer: PRESENT. Solution satisfies “set out” and “here”. Again, simple but nicely done.

  1. Choral society’s vocal line distressed choirman (12)

Answer: PHILHARMONIC. Not 100% on this one, as the definition I have in Chambers is merely “fond of music”. Might refer to a specific organisation, but there seem to be a few to choose from. Whatever. My solution, for what it’s worth, is PHIL-HARMONIC, the latter chunk being an anagram (indicated by “distressed”) of CHOIRMAN. As for PHIL, “vocal” could indicate a homophone, but I’m not twigging much of a link between “line” and “fill”, or whatever the homophone is supposed to be. If a kind soul sheds light on this one, I’ll update the post. Moving on…
[EDIT: Thanks to John in the comments, who points out that “line” can be “fill” in terms of lining one’s pockets. Sounds good to me. Cheers, John! – LP]

  1. Evaluate bank customer’s application to protect PC (11)

Answer: SCREENSAVER (i.e. “application to protect PC” – specifically a program that helps to prevent screen burn by blanking the screen or displaying an animation. I’m guessing the setter wrote this one on a laptop…) Solution is SCREEN (i.e. “evaluate”) followed by SAVER (i.e. “bank customer”).

  1. Qualified journalist following one sort of drink with another (7,4)

Answer: WATERED DOWN (i.e. “qualified” – a meaning of the word is to moderate or mitigate). Solution is ED (i.e. “journalist”, specifically a shortened form of “editor”) placed after or “following” WATER (i.e. “one sort of drink”) and followed by DOWN (i.e. “another [sort of drink]”, this time its verb form, i.e. downing a drink), like so: WATER-(ED)-DOWN.

  1. Pongy child under the briny when most tourists come (4,6)

Answer: HIGH SEASON (i.e. “when most tourists come”). Solution is HIGH (i.e. “pongy”) and SON (i.e. “child”) once this latter has been placed after or “under” – this being a down clue – SEA (i.e. “the briny”), like so: HIGH-(SEA)-SON.

  1. Firm dates to be arranged without delay (9)

Answer: STEADFAST (i.e. “firm”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to be arranged”) of DATES followed by FAST (i.e. “without delay”), like so: STEAD-FAST.

  1. Bank errors I’ve sorted out (9)

Answer: RESERVOIR (i.e. “bank”). “Sorted out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ERRORS I’VE.

  1. Old-fashioned cycle is all that’s produced (3-4)

Answer: OUT-TURN (i.e. “all that’s produced”). Solution is OUT (i.e. “old-fashioned”) followed by TURN (i.e. “cycle”).

  1. Scanty garment’s a bit of a fiddle (1-6)

Answer: G-STRING. Solution satisfies “scanty garment” and “bit of a fiddle”, as in the stringed instrument. Would you think any less of me if I said this was the first clue I got?

  1. Defence of area: exercises in sector (7)

Answer: PARAPET (i.e. “defence”). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”) and PE (i.e. “exercises”, specifically Physical Education), both placed “in” PART (i.e. “sector”), like so: PAR(A-PE)T.

  1. Course records on order (5)

Answer: EPSOM (i.e. “[race]course”). Solution is EPS (i.e. “records”, as in extended-play records) followed by OM (i.e. “order”, specifically the Order of Merit).

  1. Elm tree with a ring cut (5)

Answer: WAHOO (i.e. “elm tree”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) followed by A and HOOP (i.e. “ring”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “cut”), like so: W-A-HOO. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here, though I perhaps ought to have remembered this one from a previous puzzle.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1484

A fairly straightforward puzzle this week with a smattering of exotic (but deducible) solutions and a few decent clues. I don’t mind the easier ones! Gives me more time to ponder this week’s mathematical Listener Crossword…

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 is looking a bit gappy then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, in which you will find links to the last 100+ of these things. Also there’s the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind comments. They are much appreciated. Till next time, stay safe, mask up and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere. It’s great that Covid infection levels are markedly dropping, but this rubbish has got some months to run yet.

LP

Across clues

  1. Exhausted, American journalist on horseback (4,2)

Answer: USED UP (i.e. “exhausted”). Solution is US (i.e. “American”) followed by ED (i.e. “journalist”, specifically a shortened form of “editor”) and UP (i.e. “on horseback”).

  1. Opening large part of church (7)

Answer: CHANCEL (i.e. “part of church”). Solution is CHANCE (i.e. “opening” or opportunity) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”).

  1. Fly in food sent back? Do nothing (8)

Answer: STAGNATE (i.e. “do nothing”). Solution is GNAT (i.e. “fly”) placed “in” EATS (i.e. “food”) once reversed (indicated by “sent back”), like so: STA(GNAT)E.

  1. Song always associated with religious magazine (3,5,3,10)

Answer: ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER (i.e. Jimi Hendrix “song”). Solution is ALL ALONG (i.e. “always”) followed by THE WATCHTOWER (i.e. “religious magazine” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses).

  1. To co-operate, take part in a game prior to social function (4,4)

Answer: PLAY BALL (i.e. “to co-operate”). Solution is PLAY (i.e. “take part in a game”) followed by or placed “prior to” BALL (i.e. “social function”).

  1. Given the wrong role in film netting endless money (7)

Answer: MISCAST (i.e. “given the wrong role in film”). Solution is MIST (i.e. “film” – think condensation) wrapped around or “netting” CASH (i.e. “money”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endless”), like so: MIS(CAS)T. Nice bit of recycling.

  1. Bad storm skirting North Carolina (6)

Answer: RANCID (i.e. “bad”). Solution is RAID (i.e. “storm”) wrapped around or “skirting” NC (US state abbreviation of “North Carolina”), like so: RA(NC)ID.

  1. British chieftain’s time in capital, mostly, note with us (10)

Answer: CARACTACUS (i.e. “British chieftain” who resisted the Roman conquest of Britain a few years back). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) placed in CARACAS (i.e. “capital” of Venezuela) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”). This is then followed by C (i.e. musical “note”) and US, like so: CARAC(T)A-C-US. One you’re going to know or not know. Chalk one to my Bradford’s.

  1. Ostensibly promote excitement by winning flight (4,8)

Answer: KICK UPSTAIRS (i.e. “ostensibly promote”). Solution is KICK (i.e. “excitement”, as in getting one’s kicks) followed by UP (i.e. “winning”) and STAIRS (i.e. “flight”).

  1. Briefly examine item of jewellery (4)

Answer: STUD (i.e. “item of jewellery”). Solution is STUDY (i.e. “examine”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”).

  1. Measure of paper covering AGM’s awkward situation (8)

Answer: QUAGMIRE (i.e. “awkward situation”). Solution is QUIRE (i.e. “measure of paper”) wrapped around or “covering” AGM, like so: QU(AGM)IRE. Giggedy.

  1. Fresh buns – adjust heat to brown? (8)

Answer: SUNBATHE (i.e. “to brown”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fresh”) of BUNS followed by another anagram (this time indicated by “adjust”) of HEAT, like so: SUNB-ATHE. Nicely worked.

  1. Lends farmer a clapped out old warhorse (8,4)

Answer: FLANDERS MARE (i.e. “old warhorse”). “Clapped out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LENDS FARMER A.

  1. A head entertaining lecturer in Rhode Island, a Scot (10)

Answer: ABERDONIAN (i.e. “a Scot”). Solution is A followed by BEAN (informal word for a “head”) once wrapped around or “entertaining” DON (i.e. “lecturer”), but not before this has been placed “in” RI (US state abbreviation of “Rhode Island”), like so: A-BE(R(DON)I)AN.

  1. Few ordered in England originally, being ostentatiously modern! (10)

Answer: NEWFANGLED (i.e. “modern”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “ordered”) of FEW placed inside another anagram (indicated by “originally”) of ENGLAND, like so: N(EWF)ANGLED.

  1. Inhalant supplied to order? (6,6)

Answer: FRIAR’S BALSAM (“inhalant” of benzoin, storax, tolu and aloes, according to Chambers, whatever the hell they are. Sounds like supernal crack to me). Clue plays on how godly types organise themselves into “orders”. You get the idea. One of those “look up ‘friar’ in Chambers and see what happens” moments.

  1. Faculty I refer to in speech (8)

Answer: EYESIGHT (i.e. “faculty”). “In speech” indicates solution is a homophone of I CITE (i.e. “I refer to”).

  1. Learned line to utter repeatedly (8)

Answer: LITERATE (i.e. “learned”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”) followed by ITERATE (i.e. “to utter repeatedly”).

  1. Ballerina finally retiring, becoming pale (4)

Answer: ASHY (i.e. “pale”). Solution is A (i.e. “ballerina, finally”, i.e. the last letter of “ballerina”) followed by SHY (i.e. “retiring”).

  1. Here, rest assured (4,2,4,2)

Answer: TAKE IT FROM ME. Solution satisfies “here” (as in ‘have this’) and “rest assured”.

  1. Bother involving religious instruction given by cunning old bishop’s assistant (10)

Answer: ARCHPRIEST (i.e. “old bishop’s assistant”). Solution is PEST (i.e. “bother”) wrapped around or “involving” RI (a recognised abbreviation of “religious instruction”). This is then fronted “by” ARCH (i.e. “cunning”), like so: ARCH-P(RI)EST.

  1. Fool can in turn with comedian (6)

Answer: NITWIT (i.e. “fool”). Solution is TIN (i.e. “can”) reversed (indicated by “in turn”) and followed by WIT (i.e. “comedian”), like so: NIT-WIT.

  1. Show former partner and husband small piece about island (7)

Answer: EXHIBIT (i.e. “show”). Solution is EX (i.e. “former partner”) followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) and BIT (i.e. “small piece”) once wrapped “about” I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: EX-H-(I)-BIT.

  1. Study including data about European rat (8)

Answer: RENEGADE (i.e. “rat”). Solution is READ (i.e. “study”) wrapped around or “including” GEN (i.e. “data”) once reversed (indicated by “about”), and followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: RE(NEG)AD-E.

  1. Poet’s literary colleagues do, upset about poem’s ending (6,6,9)

Answer: SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (i.e. “poet”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “upset”) of LITERARY COLLEAGUES DO wrapped “about” M (i.e. “poem’s ending”, i.e. the last letter of “poem”). Nicely done.

  1. Fifteen from Ireland – some settle in sterling (8)

Answer: LEINSTER (i.e. “fifteen from Ireland” – a reference to the rugby team). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: SETT(LE IN STER)LING.

  1. Seeing that on, this must be genuine (7)

Answer: SINCERE (i.e. “genuine”). Solution is SINCE (i.e. “seeing that”) followed by RE (i.e. “on” or regarding – think email replies).

  1. Fast, agent crossing river to the west (6)

Answer: SPEEDY (i.e. “fast”). Solution is SPY (i.e. “agent”) wrapped around DEE (i.e. Scottish “river”) once reversed (indicated by “to the west” – this being an across clue), like so: SP(EED)Y.

Down clues

  1. Delay beginning to seem unlikely (5)

Answer: STALL (i.e. “delay”). Solution is S (i.e. “beginning to seem”, i.e. the first letter of “seem”) followed by TALL (i.e. “unlikely”, as in a tall order or a tall tale).

  1. Child’s toy with red and navy floppy hat (5,6)

Answer: DOLLY VARDEN (i.e. “hat”). Solution is DOLL (i.e. “child’s toy”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “floppy”) of RED and NAVY, like so: DOLL-YVARDEN.

  1. Friend, old singer, in a place in California (4,4)

Answer: PALO ALTO (i.e. “place in California”, though not one that sprang to mind). Solution is PAL (i.e. “friend”) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and ALTO (i.e. “singer”).

  1. Waterway with biblical town on left (5)
Paolo Veronese – The Wedding Feast at Cana (not to scale)

Answer: CANAL (i.e. “waterway”). Solution is CANA (i.e. “biblical town” in which Jesus did his water-into-wine trick. Fun fact: Paolo Veronese’s painting The Wedding Feast at Cana is not just immensely impressive, it’s also impressively immense, coming in just shy of 7m x 10m) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”).

  1. Employed by us, now and again? (2,5)

Answer: AT TIMES. Solution satisfies “employed by us” – “us” being a reference to the Times newspaper – and “now and again”.

  1. What may be brought with a Stilton? Check – see if keen, being curious (6,5)

Answer: CHEESE KNIFE (i.e. “what may be brought with a Stilton”). Solution is CH (a recognised abbreviation of “check” used in chess) followed by an anagram (indicated by “being curious”) of SEE IF KEEN, like so: CH-EESEKNIFE.

  1. Pounds carried by monk’s beast of burden (5)

Answer: LLAMA (i.e. “beast of burden”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “pounds” of weight, after the Latin libra) followed by LAMA (i.e. Buddhist “monk”).

  1. Weird curses involving wrecked tea clippers (9)

Answer: SECATEURS (i.e. “clippers”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “weird”) of CURSES wrapped around or “involving” another anagram (indicated by “wrecked”) of TEA, like so: SEC(ATE)URS. Nicely worked.

  1. Change flag when heading off (5)

Answer: ALTER (i.e. “change”). Solution is FALTER (i.e. to tire or “flag”) once the first letter has been removed (indicated by “when heading off”).

  1. From time to time was successful, turned up with a profit (3,3,5)

Answer: NOW AND AGAIN (i.e. “from time to time”). Solution is WON (i.e. “was successful”) reversed (indicated by “turned up” – this being a down clue) and followed by AND (i.e. “with”), A and GAIN (i.e. “profit”), like so: NOW-AND-A-GAIN. A weird one given the solution was used in the clue for 6d.

  1. Row involving stray dog (7)

Answer: TERRIER (i.e. “dog”). Solution is TIER (i.e. “row”) wrapped around or “involving” ERR (i.e. to “stray”), like so: T(ERR)IER.

  1. Big guns, hostile placed in middle of major road (9)

Answer: ARTILLERY (i.e. “big guns”). Solution is ILL (i.e. “hostile”) once “placed in” ARTERY (i.e. “main road”), like so: ART(ILL)ERY.

  1. Brief local authority by telephone (7)

Answer: COUNSEL (i.e. to advise or “brief”). “By telephone” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of COUNCIL (i.e. “local authority”).

  1. Gallant French actor and singer (9)

Answer: CHEVALIER. Solution satisfies “gallant” and “French actor and singer”, i.e. Maurice Chevalier.

  1. Swimmers also not good climbing on board ship (4,4)

Answer: SAND DABS (i.e. “swimmers”). Solution is AND (i.e. “also”) and BAD (i.e. “not good”), the latter reversed (indicated by “climbing” – this being a down clue) and both placed in or “on board” SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship), like so: S(AND-DAB)S. One gotten purely through the wordplay, to be honest.

  1. After fine, slate major championship (5,4)

Answer: GRAND SLAM (i.e. “major championship”). Solution is GRAND (i.e. “fine”) with SLAM (i.e. to “slate”) placed “after” it.

  1. Senior teacher having pains causes problems (9)

Answer: HEADACHES (i.e. “problems” – rather prescient considering I’ve been battling one all day). Solution is HEAD (i.e. “senior teacher”) followed by ACHES (i.e. “pains”).

  1. Names within top party (3,5)

Answer: HEN NIGHT (i.e. “party”). Solution is N and N (recognised abbreviations of “name”) placed “within” HEIGHT (i.e. “top”), like so: HE(NN)IGHT.

  1. Unreliable quote about a bishop coming over (7)

Answer: ERRATIC (i.e. “unreliable”). Solution is CITE (i.e. “quote”) placed “about” A and RR (i.e. “bishop”, specifically a Right Reverend). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “coming over” – this being a down clue), like so: E(RR-A)TIC.

  1. Angler: he was in form spinning (11)

Answer: FISHERWOMAN (i.e. “angler”). “Spinning” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HE WAS IN FORM.

  1. Plump, her tanned literary sleuth (6,5)

Answer: FATHER BROWN (G. K. Chesterton’s “literary sleuth”). Solution is FAT (i.e. “plump”) followed by HER and BROWN (i.e. “tanned”).

  1. Advanced up cliff (7-4)

Answer: LEADING-EDGE (i.e. “advanced”). Solution is LEADING (i.e. “up”) followed by EDGE (i.e. “cliff”).

  1. Fairly good hotel in a street in resort, close to pier (5-4)

Answer: THREE-STAR (i.e. “fairly good hotel”). Solution is H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “resort”) of A STREET and followed by R (i.e. “close to pier”, i.e. the last letter of “pier”), like so: T(H)REESTA-R. Another nice bit of recycling.

  1. Outraged at university, current members (2,2,4)

Answer: UP IN ARMS (i.e. “outraged”). Solution is UP (i.e. “at university” – something I’ve seen used far more in cryptic crosswords than anywhere else) followed by IN (i.e. “current”, as in hip and happening, my dudes) and ARMS (i.e. “members” – limbs are sometimes referred to “members”).

  1. Leader in another paper under discussion (2,5)

Answer: AT ISSUE (i.e. “under discussion”). Solution is A (i.e. “leader in another”, i.e. the first letter of “another”) followed by TISSUE (i.e. “paper”). Bless you.

  1. Item the Parisian found under lorry (7)

Answer: ARTICLE (i.e. “item”). Solution is LE (i.e. “the Parisian”, i.e. the French for “the”) placed after or “under” ARTIC (i.e. “lorry”) – this being a down clue – like so: ARTIC-LE.

  1. Pay for another nurse (5)

Answer: TREAT. Solution satisfies to sub or “pay for another” and “nurse”.

  1. Former US president in state of confusion, they say (5)

Answer: Rutherford B. HAYES (i.e. “former US president”). “They say” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of HAZE (i.e. “state of confusion”).

  1. Bohemian poet’s anger about Keats, primarily (5)

Answer: Rainer Maria RILKE (i.e. “Bohemian poet”). Solution is RILE (i.e. “anger”) wrapped “about” K (i.e. “Keats, primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “Keats”), like so: RIL(K)E.

  1. Fear about being caught by the old man (5)

Answer: DREAD (i.e. “fear”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) placed in or “being caught by” DAD (i.e. “the old man”), like so: D(RE)AD.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1483

Another medium strength offering this week, though thankfully one with tidier clueing. Another decent one, all told, despite a few niggly repeats. You can find my competed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has done for you, then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where I’ve links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Meanwhile there are the usual dusty old book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind comments, folks. They are much appreciated, and it’s always interesting to hear other solvers’ experiences or takes on these things. Till next time, keep safe, wrap up well and keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

(Thanks to Barry in the comments for the spelling fix)

Across clues

  1. To reduce pollution try to avoid misunderstandings (5,3,3)

Answer: CLEAR THE AIR. Solution satisfies “to reduce pollution” and “try to avoid misunderstandings”. A bit clunky, IMLTHO. Chambers offers this: “to simplify the situation and relieve tension”.

  1. Court formality concluded with warning signal (4,7)

Answer: STAR CHAMBER (i.e. English “court” sitting between 1487 and 1641). Solution is STARCH (i.e. stiffness or “formality”) followed by AMBER (i.e. “warning signal”).

  1. Response to enquiry about what can improve tonic water? Don’t be unreasonable! (3,6,2,1,5)

Answer: THE ANSWER IS A LEMON. Solution satisfies “response to enquiry about what can improve tonic water” and, supposedly, “don’t be unreasonable”. Chambers offers this definition: “(inf) one is given an unsatisfactory answer or no answer at all”. Not quite making the connection there, if I’m honest. Maybe that’s the point.

  1. Instrument in Purcell overture (5)

Answer: CELLO (i.e. musical “instrument”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PUR(CELL O)VERTURE.

  1. Pay for place in comfortable position (6)

Answer: SETTLE. Solution satisfies “pay” and “place in comfortable position”.

  1. Man dying in bath with hot on somewhere in Greece (8)

Answer: MARATHON. Solution is Jean-Paul MARAT, a key player of the French Revolution who was assassinated and left “dying in bath”, followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot”) and ON. The frequent use of repeated solutions in these things doesn’t half get on my wick. This solution appeared only a few weeks ago in 1477. It also appeared a little further back in 1450 with a very similar clue. The irony of me repeating a recent moan about recent repeats is not lost on me.

  1. Comic brother or sister consumed by anger (7)

Answer: RISIBLE (i.e. “comic”). Solution is SIB (a recognised abbreviation of “sibling”, i.e. “brother or sister”) placed in or “consumed by” RILE (i.e. to “anger”), like so: RI(SIB)LE.

  1. Gradually easing glove in to soak (9)

Answer: REMITTENT (i.e. “gradually easing”). Solution is MITTEN (i.e. “glove”) placed “in” RET (i.e. “to soak”), like so: RE(MITTEN)T.

  1. Skill of a king – is taking time in effort (8)

Answer: ARTISTRY (i.e. “skill”). Solution is A followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Rex, meaning “king”) followed by IS and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) once both placed “in” TRY (i.e. “effort”), like so: A-R-T(IS-T)RY.

  1. Leader to cry when overthrown by rebels ultimately (4)

Answer: BOSS (i.e. “leader”). Solution is SOB (i.e. “to cry”) reversed (indicated by “overthrown” – works better in down clues, but okay) and followed “by” S (i.e. “rebels ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “rebels”), like so: BOS-S.

  1. One acting insincerely is a problem (5)

Answer: POSER. Solution satisfies “one acting insincerely” and “problem”.

  1. Cheated excessively by relations (4,2)

Answer: TOOK IN (i.e. “cheated”). Solution is TOO (i.e. “excessively”) followed by KIN (i.e. “relations”).

  1. Drink from cask, bidding woman to follow (4,6)

Answer: PINA COLADA (i.e. “drink”). Solution is PIN (i.e. “cask”) followed by ACOL (a system or “bidding” in a game of bridge (thank you, Chambers)) and ADA (i.e. “woman”, basically a woman’s name).

  1. Recluses as before having small amounts of money (8)

Answer: EREMITES (i.e. “recluses”). Solution is ERE (poetic form of “before”) followed by MITES (i.e. “small amounts of money” – one definition of the word is “an old Flemish coin of very little value” (Chambers again)).

  1. A foreign school to which the girl returned and finished being “not understood” (14)

Answer: UNCOMPREHENDED (i.e. “not understood”). Solution is UN (i.e. “a foreign”, i.e. the word “a” in French) followed by COMP (i.e. “school”, specifically a shortened form of “comprehensive”), then HER (i.e. “the girl”) once reversed (indicated by “returned”), and finally ENDED (i.e. “finished”), like so: UN-COMP-REH-ENDED.

  1. A wise confessor sorted out conflict in America (3,2,9)

Answer: WAR OF SECESSION (i.e. “conflict in America”, another name for the American Civil War of the 1860s). “Sorted out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A WISE CONFESSOR.
[EDIT: Thanks to Barry in the comments for the fix. I’d written CESESSION, which clearly ain’t right. Cheers, Barry! – LP]

  1. Spread out sample on tissue (8)

Answer: NEOPLASM (i.e. a morbid new growth of “tissue” (Chambers)). “Spread out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SAMPLE ON.

  1. Determination in respect of letters being filled in grid? (10)

Answer: RESOLUTION (i.e. “determination”). Solution is RE (i.e. “in respect of” – think email replies) followed by SOLUTION (i.e. “letters being filled in [crossword] grid”).

  1. Catch superior – the foreign female for Bond? (6)

Answer: COPULA (i.e. to join or “bond” – ignore the misleading capitalisation. It’s from this word we get “copulate”, fnar, fnar). Solution is COP (i.e. “catch”, as in “cop a load of this”) followed by U (i.e. “superior” – U is a somewhat overworked abbreviation used to denote the upper class) and LA (i.e. “the foreign female”, i.e. the feminine form of “the” in French, the masculine form being “le”).

  1. Significant points made by eg Canterbury fellow on return journey (5)

Answer: NODES (i.e. “significant points”). Solution is SE DON (i.e. “eg Canterbury fellow”, SE being a recognised abbreviation of “south-east”, the area of England in which you’d find Canterbury) reversed (indicated by “on return journey”), like so: NOD-ES.

  1. Something dirty and greyish-brown, little good (4)

Answer: DUNG (i.e. “something dirty”). Solution is DUN (i.e. “greyish-grown”) followed by G (a recognised abbreviation or “little” form of “good”).

  1. Pill mum gets swallowed – something seen at meal time (5,3)

Answer: TABLE MAT (i.e. “something seen at meal time”) Solution is TABLET (i.e. “pill”) wrapped around or “swallowing” MA (i.e. “mum”), like so: TABLE(MA)T.

  1. Cosmetic making girl yell audibly (4,5)

Answer: FACE CREAM (i.e. “cosmetic”). “Audibly” indicates homophone. Solution comprises homophones of FAY (i.e. “girl”, basically a girl’s name) and SCREAM (i.e. “yell”).

  1. Model no longer, having got “wide” (7)

Answer: EXAMPLE (i.e. “model”). Solution is EX (i.e. “no longer”) followed by AMPLE (i.e. “having got ‘wide’” – are you calling me fat, setter?!). More repeats (chunter, mumble, grumble…)

  1. One in a hurry requiring second attachment to computer (8)

Answer: SPRINTER (i.e. “one in a hurry”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) followed by PRINTER (i.e. “attachment to computer”).

  1. Relation mostly bagging ducks with it? Hardly (6)

Answer: UNCOOL (i.e. “…with it? Hardly”) Solution is UNCLE (i.e. “relation”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder wrapped around or “bagging” OO (i.e. “ducks” – a duck is a zero batting score in cricket), like so: UNC(OO)L.

  1. Judge maybe in German city (5)

Answer: TRIER. Solution is “judge maybe”, as in how criminals are tried in court, and “German city”.

  1. It’s shocking – can make your hair stand on end! (6,11)

Answer: STATIC ELECTRICITY. Solution satisfies “it’s shocking” and “can make your hair stand on end”.

  1. Ordinary members in rows not facing each other (4,3,4)

Answer: RANK AND FILE. Solution satisfies “ordinary members” and “rows not facing each other”.

  1. Attempted to get adored venue redeveloped (11)

Answer: ENDEAVOURED (i.e. “attempted”). “Redeveloped” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ADORED VENUE.

Down clues

  1. Disaster when going after pet? What drink’s got knocked over? (11)

Answer: CATASTROPHE (i.e. “disaster”). Solution is AS (i.e. “when”) placed “after” CAT (i.e. “pet”). This is then followed by EH (i.e. “what”, as in eh? what? pardon?) and PORT (i.e. “drink”) once reversed (indicated by “knocked over” – this being a down clue), like so: CAT-AS-(TROP-HE).

  1. Put up in the rectory (5)

Answer: ERECT (i.e. “put up”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: TH(E RECT)ORY.

  1. Phone one way and phone another way – it can be hairy (7)

Answer: RINGLET (i.e. “it can be hairy”). Solution is RING (i.e. “phone”) and TEL (a recognised abbreviation of “telephone”, i.e. “phone”). The “one way”/”another way” bits comment on how TEL is reversed while RING is not, making RING-LET.

  1. Act as a seller making one cough up (4)

Answer: HAWK. Solution satisfies “act as a seller” and “cough up”.

  1. A loveless pain in the neck fighting a release of emotional tension (10)

Answer: ABREACTION (i.e. “a release of emotional tension”, specifically “the resolution of a neurosis by reviving forgotten or repressed ideas of the event first causing it” (Chambers)). Solution is A followed by BORE (i.e. “pain in the neck”) once the O has been removed (indicated by “loveless” – “love” being a zero score in tennis), then ACTION (i.e. “fighting”), like so: A-BRE-ACTION. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here.

  1. Practice of one type of religious person? Samaritan is far different (14)

Answer: RASTAFARIANISM (i.e. “practice of one type of religious person”). “Different” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SAMARITAN IS FAR.

  1. Chemical having advantage? The reverse, leading to resentment (8)

Answer: SULPHATE (i.e. “chemical”). Solution is PLUS (i.e. “advantage”) “reversed” and followed by HATE (i.e. “resentment”), like so: SULP-HATE.

  1. Notice minutes for business proceedings (5)

Answer: ADMIN (i.e. “business proceedings”). Solution is AD (i.e. “notice”, shortened form of “advertisement”) followed by MIN (a recognised abbreviation of “minutes”).

  1. Plant urns may be stored in such places (9)

Answer: CINERARIA. Solution satisfies “plant” and cremation “urns may be stored in such places”. Nice work, but it took my Bradford’s to help nail this one.

  1. Bill with amount to be paid for buttonhole (6)

Answer: ACCOST (i.e. to “buttonhole”, as in detaining someone with talk). Solution is AC (i.e. “bill”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “account”) followed by COST (i.e. “amount to be paid”).

  1. One blackballed don sacked, displaying signs of excommunication (4,4,3,6)

Answer: BELL BOOK AND CANDLE. Over to Chambers yet again: “a phrase popularly used in reference to a form of excommunication ending, ‘Do to (i.e. shut) the book, quench the candle, ring the bell’.” “Sacked” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ONE BLACKBALLED DON.

  1. State that would briefly provide religious instruction (5,6)

Answer: RHODE ISLAND (i.e. US “state”). Clue plays on how its state abbreviation, RI, is itself a recognised abbreviation of “religious instruction”.

  1. Woman almost taken in by mischief-maker is an arty type (8)

Answer: AESTHETE (i.e. “arty type”). Solution is ESTHER (i.e. “woman”, basically a woman’s name) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder placed or “taken in” to ATE (Greek goddess of mischief, i.e. “mischief-maker”), like so: A(ESTHE)TE.

  1. I am not involved with enterprises creating false account? (17)

Answer: MISREPRESENTATION (i.e. “false account”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “involved”) of I AM NOT and ENTERPRISES.

  1. Elusive little son getting cheeky (6)

Answer: SLIPPY (i.e. “elusive”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation or “little” form of “son”) followed by LIPPY (i.e. “cheeky”).

  1. Folksy detective dismissing learner with a joke (8)

Answer: HOMESPUN (i.e. “folksy”). Solution is Sherlock HOLMES (i.e. “detective”) with the L removed (indicated by “dismissing learner” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “learner” used on driver L-plates) and the remainder followed by PUN (i.e. “joke”), like so: HOMES-PUN.

  1. Number of cats and dogs? (8)

Answer: RAINFALL (i.e. raining “cats and dogs”). No idea on “number”, though. Could be a musical “number”, but I often file “musicals” under “Things I’d Rather Not Experience, Thanks” along with “sandpapering my eyeballs”. If anyone sheds light on this one then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Thanks to Chris in the comments for cracking this one. It seems the setter is trying to be clever (hence the riddly question mark), playing on how “footfall” is a way of describing the number of people entering a premises. A tumbleweed clue if there ever was one. Cheers, Chris! – LP]

  1. Number behold prisoner having entered tremulously to make legal plea (4,10)

Answer: NOLO CONTENDERE (i.e. “legal plea” where someone agrees to do the time but not admit to the crime). Solution is NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) followed by LO (i.e. “behold”, as in “lo and behold”), then CON (i.e. “prisoner”) and an anagram (indicated by “tremulously”) of ENTERED, like so: NO-LO-CON-TENDERE.

  1. Stylishness of English member, one belonging to a previous generation, not half (8)

Answer: ELEGANCE (i.e. “stylishness”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by LEG (i.e. “member”) and the first “half” of ANCESTOR (i.e. “one belonging to a previous generation”), like so: E-LEG-ANCE.

  1. Start back in ground that has buried “liquid gold” (6)

Answer: RECOIL (i.e. “start back”). Solution is REC (shortened form of a recreational “ground”) with OIL (i.e. “liquid gold”) following or “buried” beneath it – this being a down clue.

  1. Bowler rated “fantastic”, the best there is (5-6)

Answer: WORLD-BEATER (i.e. “the best there is”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fantastic”) of BOWLER RATED.

  1. What could make me spoiled, my being in the wrong job? (11)

Answer: MISEMPLOYED (i.e. “being in the wrong job”). “What could make” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ME SPOILED MY.

  1. Duck out of putting Polish high explosive in casing of metal (10)

Answer: BUFFLEHEAD (i.e. a “duck” found over in North America. Also a stupid fellow, apparently. I’ll have to remember that one). Solution is BUFF (i.e. “polish” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) followed by HE (a recognised abbreviation of “high explosive”) once placed “in” LEAD (i.e. “metal”), like so: BUFF-LE(HE)AD.

  1. Old rocker entertaining party-goers went over the top maybe? (9)

Answer: TRAVERSED (i.e. “went over the top [of something] maybe”). Solution is TED (i.e. “old rocker”, aka a Teddy boy) wrapped around or “entertaining” RAVERS (i.e. “party-goers”), like so: T(RAVERS)ED.

  1. Gradually pay off in a short time, extra income restricting debt finally (8)

Answer: AMORTISE (i.e. “gradually pay off”). Solution is A followed by MO (i.e. “short time”), then RISE (i.e. “extra income”) once wrapped around or “restricting” T (i.e. “debt finally”, i.e. the last letter of “debt”), like so: A-MO-R(T)ISE.

  1. I am supporting part of hospital restricted by firm making a bit of money (7)

Answer: CENTIMO (i.e. “a bit of money” – a bit can refer to a coin). Solution is I’M (a contraction of “I am”) placed after or “supporting” – this being a down clue – ENT (i.e. “part of hospital”, specifically Ear Nose and Throat). These are then placed in or “restricted by” CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”, i.e. “firm”), like so: C(ENT-I’M)O.

  1. Old city region entertained by religious group (6)

Answer: SPARTA (i.e. “old city”). Solution is PART (i.e. “region”) placed in or “entertained by” SA (i.e. “religious group”, specifically the Salvation Army), like so: S(PART)A.

  1. Teacher went through water to land on island (5)

Answer: SWAMI (i.e. a Hindu “teacher”). Solution is SWAM (i.e. “went through water”) followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”).

  1. East End dealer providing something for basket-weaver? (5)

Answer: OSIER (i.e. a willow whose twigs are used to make baskets, so “something for basket-weaver”). Solution is HOSIER (i.e. “dealer” of knitted goods and grundies) with the H removed (indicated by “East End” – as in ‘ow all ‘em Cockneys are always droppin’ their bleedin’ aitches, innit, QueenMumGawwwBlessah).

  1. Covered colonnade in street area with zero occupation (4)

Answer: STOA (i.e. “covered colonnade”). Solution is ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”) and A (ditto “area”) wrapped around or “occupied” by O (i.e. “zero”), like so: ST-(O)-A. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.