Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1587

Stinker time! This wasn’t among the best – there were a few repeats and one too many made-to-fit solutions for my liking – but a generous helping of excellent clueing made up for a lot of this.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you night sweats then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the opinions of other solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

FBV (French-By-Volume): 5%

(With thanks to Mick Scott in the comments for fixing 51a)

Across clues

  1. Vexed question, so one you’ll address yourself? (9)

Answer: SOLILOQUY (i.e. “address yourself” or the act of talking to oneself). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “vexed”) of Q (a recognised abbreviation of “question”), SO, I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and YOU’LL.

  1. Man with the minimum required to make it (8,5)

Answer: SKELETON STAFF. Solution satisfies the clue as a whole, but also plays on the verb form of “man” being to “staff” an organisation. That’s about it, I guess, unless I’m missing something clever.

  1. A red or white mark intended to deceive (5)

Answer: MACON (i.e. “a red or white” wine). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “mark”, the former German currency) and A CON (that which is “intended to receive”).

  1. Preserving substance of books ten and eleven penned by a poet (abridged) (11)

Answer: ANTIOXIDANT (i.e. “preserving substance”). Solution is NT (i.e. “books”, specifically the New Testament of The Bible), IO (i.e. “ten”, as in the resemblance of the letters to the number 10), XI (i.e. “eleven” expressed in Roman numerals) all placed in or “penned by” A and DANTE Alighieri (i.e. “poet”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “abridged”), like so: A-(NT-IO-XI)-DANT.

  1. Western moral theory oddly dismissed (5)

Answer: OATER (i.e. “western”, a US slang word apparently). “Oddly dismissed” indicates the solution is derived from every other letter of MORAL THEORY.

  1. Farm worker unexpectedly passes empty sheds here (11)

Answer: SHEPHERDESS (i.e. “farm worker”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unexpectedly”) of PS (i.e. “passes empty”, i.e. the word “passes” with all its middle letters removed) and SHEDS HERE.

  1. Staggered start by journalist, very slow at first (11)

Answer: DUMBFOUNDED (i.e. “staggered”). Solution is FOUND (i.e. to “start”, e.g. a company) and ED (i.e. “journalist”, short for editor) with DUMB (i.e. “very slow” on the uptake) placed “at first”, like so: DUMB-(FOUND-ED).

  1. One thus about to flee from a certain belief (7)

Answer: ISLAMIC (i.e. “from a certain belief”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by SIC (i.e. “thus” in Latin) once wrapped “about” LAM (i.e. “to flee”), like so: I-S(LAM)IC.

  1. Special buckets perhaps for wrenches (7)

Answer: SPRAINS (i.e. “wrenches”). Solution is SP (a recognised abbreviation of “special”) followed by RAINS (i.e. “buckets”).

  1. Hotel axes description of some compounds (7)

Answer: HYDROXY (i.e. “description of some compounds”). Solution is HYDRO (i.e. “hotel”, short for hydropathic establishment: “a hotel (with special baths etc, and often situated near a spa) where guests can have hydropathic treatment” (Chambers)) followed by X and Y (both “axes” of a graph).

  1. To prepare for major conflict, he’d flog water pistols, ridiculously (3,4,3,4,2,3)

Answer: LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR (i.e. “to prepare for major conflict”, in this case a quote from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar). “Ridiculously” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HE’D FLOG WATER PISTOLS.

  1. Supporter with cups boasting endlessly (3)

Answer: BRA (i.e. “supporter with cups”). Solution is BRAG (i.e. “boasting”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”).

  1. Pet in need of attention, cast to the margins (6)

Answer: DEARIE (i.e. “pet”, both terms of endearment). Solution is EAR (i.e. “attention”) with DIE (i.e. a “cast” or stamp) wrapped around it or placed “to the margins”, like so: D(EAR)IE.

  1. Sound amplifier leaves: very quiet without it! (6)

Answer: PREAMP (i.e. “sound amplifier” – a little disappointing the indicator is rather similar to the solution, but I guess there was no better way of phrasing it). Solution is REAM (i.e. “leaves” of paper) with PP (i.e. “very quiet”, or a recognised abbreviation of pianissimo in musical lingo) wrapped around or placed “without it”, like so: P(REAM)P.

  1. Good bread to have with wine – fancy, and white? (9)

Answer: GHOSTLIKE (i.e. “white”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) followed by HOST (i.e. “bread to have with wine” during the Eucharist) and LIKE (i.e. “fancy”).

  1. Paddy with a note for Clement (9)

Answer: TEMPERATE (i.e. “clement” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is TEMPER (i.e. “paddy”) followed by A and TE (i.e. “note” in the sol-fa notation, i.e. doh-ray-me etc).

  1. What’s essential to take to neutralise chemical substance (6)

Answer: KETONE (i.e. “chemical substance”). “What’s essential to” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: TA(KE TO NE)UTRALISE.

  1. Alive? No colder (6)

Answer: ASWARM (i.e. “alive” with activity). When written as AS WARM the solution also satisfies “no colder”, comparatively speaking.

  1. Doctor has tip for Aunt Sally (3)

Answer: MOT (i.e. “sally”, both witty remarks or retorts). Solution is MO (i.e. “doctor” or Medical Officer) followed by T (i.e. “tip for Aunt”, i.e. the last letter of “Aunt”. I’m rarely a fan of this wordplay. How often do you call the back end of something the “tip”?). There are numerous variant meanings of MOT, it seems, but the one in play here is from the French, so you know what that means…

  1. PM passing on work (5,2,3,9)

Answer: DEATH IN THE AFTERNOON (i.e. a “work”, in this case a non-fiction book by Ernest Hemingway). Clue plays on “PM” referring to THE AFTERNOON and “passing” being another word for DEATH.

  1. Pressure to pursue key for return of property once (7)

Answer: ESCHEAT (i.e. “return of property once” – over to Chambers: “property that falls to the feudal lord or to the state for lack of an heir or by forfeiture”). Solution is HEAT (i.e. “pressure”) placed after or “pursuing” ESC (i.e. “key”, specifically the Escape key of a computer keyboard), like so: ESC-HEAT. One remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

  1. Help a councillor with a backward rural region (7)

Answer: ARCADIA (i.e. “rural region” of Greece). Solution is AID (i.e. “help”), A, CR (a recognised abbreviation of “councillor”) and A (again), all reversed (indicated by “backward”), like so: A-RC-A-DIA.

  1. Upright and sensible, chasing ambition (7)

Answer: ENDWISE (i.e. “upright”). Solution is WISE (i.e. “sensible”) placed after or “chasing” END (i.e. aim or “ambition”), like so: END-WISE.

  1. Shops conveniently situated by one: small row (11)

Answer: PATISSERIES (i.e. cake “shops”). Solution is PAT (i.e. “conveniently”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and SERIES (i.e. “row”). “Hmm, do we have sufficient patisseries here in Blighty to avoid another French meme?” Mr Poll 1-acrosses. To meme or not to meme; to meme or… Wait. Didn’t Patisserie Valerie shut down their shop in Norwich? That settles it.

  1. An appetiser and an inspiration: it hurts, to be without that (5-6)

Answer: AMUSE-BOUCHE (i.e. “an appetiser”). Solution is A MUSE (i.e. “an inspiration”) followed by OUCH (i.e. “it hurts”) once placed in or having “without” BE, like so: A-MUSE-B(OUCH)E. Mon dieu! Here we go again!

  1. Finish best at regatta, perhaps, or almost (5)

Answer: OUTDO (i.e. “finish best”). Solution is OUTDOOR (i.e. “at regatta, perhaps” – other outdoor sporting events are available) with the last couple of letters removed (indicated by “almost”). Another minor gripe of mine is when trim indicators are used to remove multiple end-letters. It’s legitimate, granted, but can make it harder to work forwards from a clue than it would be working backwards from a possible solution.

[EDIT: Scratch that. Thanks to Mick Scott in the comments for providing a better answer, being OUTRO (i.e. a “finish” to, say, a musical piece). Solution is OUTROW (i.e. “best at regatta, perhaps”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “or almost”). Cheers, Mick! – LP]

  1. Dull, if hot, and fine – a curiously predictable spring (3,8)

Answer: OLD FAITHFUL (i.e. “predictable spring” in Yellowstone National Park in the United States). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “curiously”) of DULL IF HOT, F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils) and A.

  1. Bill’s father maintaining position (5)

Answer: FLIER (i.e. “bill”, also spelled flyer). Solution is FR (a recognised abbreviation of the title “Father”) wrapped around or “maintaining” LIE (i.e. “position”), like so: F(LIE)R.

  1. Daniel and Nathaniel do make one, however not Gwen and Jen (8,5)

Answer: FEMININE RHYME, apparently. Chambers has this: “a two-syllable rhyme, the second syllable being unstressed”. A cursory search on Google turns up examples like “ocean and motion” or “measles and weasels”. Coming back to the clue, I guess the setter is playfully referring to how the male names quoted satisfy the solution, while, ironically, the female names quoted do not. Trouble is “Nathaniel” is three syllables, no matter how you say it. Can’t say I’ve heard of feminine rhymes before, so I can’t crow too much, but this feels like a goof all the same.

  1. Layer of rocks, to the left near large plant (5,4)

Answer: ROYAL FERN (i.e. “large plant”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rocks”) of LAYER OF followed by NR (a recognised abbreviation of “near”) once reversed (indicated by “to the left” – this being an across clue), like so: ROYALFE-RN.

Down clues

  1. Houses rendered late, as workers not fully trained? (11)

Answer: SEMISKILLED (i.e. “as workers not fully trained”). Solution is SEMIS (i.e. “houses”, short for semi-detached) followed by KILLED (i.e. “rendered late” – late being another word for “deceased”).

  1. Briefly need hot drink and litre of milk (7)

Answer: LACTEAL (i.e. “of milk”). Solution is LACK (i.e. “need”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder followed by TEA (i.e. “hot drink”) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “litre”), like so: LAC-TEA-L.

  1. Some fare well, uncharacteristically, after downsizing (5)

Answer: LUNCH (i.e. “some fare”). “After downsizing” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, removing the outer letters of WEL(L UNCH)ARACTERISTICALLY.

  1. One extending leg, taking bike, tears around church (10)

Answer: QUADRICEPS (i.e. a muscle, specifically “one extending leg”). Solution is QUAD (i.e. “bike”) followed by RIPS (i.e. “tears”) once wrapped “around” CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: QUAD-RI(CE)PS.

  1. Star, yet to explode, releases gas (7)

Answer: YATTERS (i.e. “releases gas” or talks a lot). “To explode” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of STAR YET.

  1. Charity event: boy very evidently embarrassed when pennies collected go missing (9,4)

Answer: SPONSORED WALK (i.e. “charity event”). Solution is SON (i.e. “boy”) and SO RED (i.e. “very evidently embarrassed”) all wrapped around or “collecting” P (i.e. “pennies”, short for “pence”). This is all then followed by WALK (i.e. “go missing”), like so: (S(P)ON-SO-RED)-WALK.

  1. After revolution, survive murder and onset of great wickedness (9)

Answer: EVILDOING (i.e. “wickedness”). Solution is LIVE (i.e. “survive”) reversed (indicated by “after revolution”) and followed by DO IN (i.e. “murder”), then G (i.e. “onset of great”, i.e. the first letter of “great”), like so: EVIL-DO-IN-G.

  1. Old scholar featuring in The Times letters (7)

Answer: Desiderius ERASMUS Roterodamus (i.e. “old scholar”). Solution is ERAS (i.e. “the times” – ignore the misleading caps and italics) followed by MUS (i.e. “letters”, specifically the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet made plural).

  1. With fuel exhausted, article locked in safe (3,2,3,4)

Answer: OUT OF THE WOOD (i.e. “safe” – both “wood” and “woods” in the phrase are recognised). Solution is OUT OF WOOD (i.e. “with fuel exhausted”) wrapped around or “locking in” THE (i.e. “article”, being a word like a, an or the), like so: OUT-OF-(THE)-WOOD.

  1. Flood that’s to be expected, one may hear? (4,5)

Answer: SNOW UNDER (i.e. to “flood”). “One may hear” indicates homophone. Solution comprises homophones of [THAT]‘S NO WONDER (i.e. “that’s to be expected”).

  1. Did something about rearing delinquent youth (5)

Answer: ACTED (i.e. “did something”). Solution is CA (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) reversed (indicated by “rearing” – this being a down clue) and followed by TED (i.e. “delinquent youth” of the 60s, short for a Teddy Boy), like so: AC-TED.

  1. Female with a light cape in a storm finding protection against lightning (7,4)

Answer: FARADAY CAGE (i.e. “protection against lightning”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) followed by A, DAY (i.e. “light” time) and C (a recognised abbreviation of “cape”, the geographic feature) once all placed “in” A RAGE (i.e. “a storm”), like so: F-A-R(A-DAY-C)AGE.

  1. Complaint he conveys when entertaining one (7)

Answer: MALAISE (i.e. “complaint”). Solution is MALE (i.e. “he”) wrapped around or “conveying” AS (i.e. “when”) once this has itself been wrapped around or “entertaining” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: MAL(A(I)S)E.

  1. Essential to play one close to All Blacks in NZ region, on reflection (9)

Answer: OBBLIGATO (i.e. “essential to play” in music lingo). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), L (i.e. “close to All”, i.e. the last letter of “All”) and B and B (i.e. both “blacks” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) all placed “in” OTAGO (i.e. “NZ region”). This is all reversed, like so: O(BB-L-I)GATO. I’m surprised setters are still finding new ways to clue this solution considering how often variant forms of it appear in Jumbos. Third time this year, ed. Just saying.

  1. A cut arm: it might turn out so? (9)

Answer: TRAUMATIC. The solution satisfies the clue as a whole, but is also an anagram (indicated by “might turn out so”) of A CUT ARM IT.

  1. Ultimately tough, a type of rugby mostly representative of E Wales town (7)

Answer: HARLECH (i.e. “Wales town”). Solution is H (i.e. “ultimately tough”, i.e. the last letter of “tough”) followed by A, then RL (i.e. “type of rugby”, in this case Rugby League), then ECHO (i.e. “representative of E” in the phonetic alphabet) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: H-A-RL-ECH. If you hadn’t heard of it, don’t worry. You weren’t alone. Its population was 1,447 at the last count. Put another way, you could put 50 Harlech’s in the Millennium Stadium. Its castle was supposedly the site of a seven-year siege during the Wars of the Roses, which the setter will probably claim qualifies its entry in this Jumbo. I’m sure it’s a lovely place to live and visit too, but this is made-to-fit rubbish pure and simple.

  1. Yellow strip lined with new sort of material (7)

Answer: ORGANZA (i.e. “sort of material”). Solution is OR (i.e. “yellow” or gold in heraldry) followed by GAZA (i.e. “strip”, housing around 2m Palestinians) once wrapped around or “lined with” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: OR-GA(N)ZA.

  1. Wound that bled, etc, after constant fighting (7,6)

Answer: PITCHED BATTLE (i.e. “constant fighting”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wound”) of THAT BLED ETC placed “after” PI (i.e. a mathematical “constant”), like so: PI-TCHEDBATTLE.

  1. Rested up before dawn of day, stunned (7)

Answer: TASERED (i.e. “stunned” by a taser, a device delivering an electric shock to its target). Solution is SAT (i.e. “rested”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) followed by ERE (poetic form of “before”) and D (i.e. “dawn of day”, i.e. the first letter of “day”), like so: TAS-ERE-D.

  1. Gesture in vain, indicating place to park the Rover? (3,2,3,4)

Answer: BAY AT THE MOON. Solution satisfies “gesture in vain” and, playfully, “place to park the [Lunar] Rover”. A very similar version of this appeared a few months ago in grid 1556, also a stinker. I hope the same setter wasn’t behind both, otherwise that’d be a bit rubbish.

  1. Finally got confession from American culprit, covering against theft? (6-5)

Answer: TAMPER-PROOF (i.e. “against theft”). Solution is T (i.e. “finally got”, i.e. the last letter of “got”) followed by AM PERP (i.e. “confession from American culprit”) and ROOF (i.e. “covering”).

  1. European national entering sneakily, a day earlier (11)

Answer: MONTENEGRIN (i.e. “European national”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sneakily”) of ENTERING placed after or having “earlier” MON (i.e. “a day”, in this case a short form of Monday), like so: MON-TENEGRIN.

  1. English friend outside, present in spirit? (10)

Answer: ETHEREALLY (i.e. “in spirit”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and ALLY (i.e. “friend”) all wrapped around or placed “outside” of THERE (i.e. being “present”), like so: E-(THERE)-ALLY.

  1. Be not quite as smart in rebuke (5,4)

Answer: DRESS DOWN. Solution satisfies “be not quite as smart” and “rebuke”.

  1. Means to use scenery, as ordered (9)

Answer: NECESSARY (i.e. “means”, both referencing money). “As ordered” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SCENERY AS.

  1. Indian manager taking a 34 across a river (7)

Answer: AMILDAR (i.e. “Indian manager” – a new one on me). Solution is A followed by MILD (i.e. “34 across” – the solution to this is TEMPERATE), then A and R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”). Another made-to-fit solution.

  1. Rock formation shaking, but with vibration removed (7)

Answer: AQUIFER (i.e. “rock formation” bearing water). Not 100% on this one. I guess the setter is transforming AQUIVER (i.e. “shaking”) to AQUIFER, but I don’t see how changing V to F is “with vibration removed”. My Chambers doesn’t offer many recognised abbreviations of V or F that would fit the bill. “Removed”, on the other hand, could suggest we’re removing something from an existing word to get AQUIFER, but nothing is sparking. If anyone swings by with the solution to this one then I’ll update the post.

[EDIT: A big thank you to Sue in the comments for clearing this one up. It seems the setter is playing phonological games here, in how the V of AQUIVER is a voiced consonant and how the F of AQUIFER is a voiceless consonant, the difference in pronunciation between the two being the vibration applied by the lower lip against the teeth. So “with vibration removed” gets you from V to F in the clue. Good grief, setter. Don’t play that one again! Cheers Sue! – LP]

  1. Maybe italicise letters following US company policy (7)

Answer: INCLINE (i.e. “maybe italicise letters”). Solution is INC (i.e. “US company”, short for Incorporated) followed by LINE (i.e. “policy”).

  1. Symbol depicting bear trampling maiden (5)

Answer: TOTEM (i.e. “symbol”). Solution is TOTE (i.e. to “bear”) followed by M (a recognised abbreviation of “maiden” used in cricket).

  1. Rubbish left by old earth excavator (5)

Answer: OFFAL (i.e. “rubbish”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) placed after or “by” King OFFA of Mercia (i.e. “old earth excavator”, referring to Offa’s Dyke), like so: OFFA-L.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1586

A medium strength puzzle this week, and one enjoying a generous dollop of well-written clues. A good un, then, and somewhat welcome after grinding through a couple of duffers.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things.

Thanks again for your kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

FBV (French-By-Volume): 1.33%

Across clues

  1. Tailored coat mum’s altered, done without lining (6-4)

Answer: CUSTOM-MADE (i.e. “tailored”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “altered”) of COAT MUM’S followed by DE (i.e. “done without lining”, i.e. the word “done” with its middle letters removed), like so: CUSTOMMA-DE.

  1. What people pour into gardens with a cane and string for lashing (8,4)

Answer: WATERING CANS (i.e. “what people pour into gardens”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) and A followed by an anagram (indicated by “for lashing”) of CANE and STRING, like so: W-A-TERINGCANS.

  1. Intimate audition for Court Theatre? (4,5)

Answer: SHOW TRIAL (i.e. “court theatre”, playfully. A show trial is “a trial at which the opportunity to expose the accused to public opprobrium is given priority over the impartial prosecution of justice” (Chambers)). Solution is SHOW (i.e. to “intimate”) followed by TRIAL (i.e. “audition”).

  1. Work at including queen in abstract piece (2,3)

Answer: OP ART (i.e. “abstract piece”). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) followed by AT once wrapped around or “including” R (i.e. “queen”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Regina), like so: OP-A(R)T.

  1. Job involving a large American choir (7)

Answer: CHORALE (i.e. “American choir”). Solution is CHORE (i.e. “job”) wrapped around or “involving” A and L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), like so: CHOR(A-L)E.

  1. Elected Conservative party scold head for lack of respect (17)

Answer: INCONSIDERATENESS (i.e. “lack of respect”). Solution is IN (i.e. “elected”) followed by CON (short for “Conservatives”), then SIDE (i.e. team or “party”), then RATE (i.e. to “scold”) and NESS (i.e. “head”, in this case the geographical feature).

  1. New York has speed and spirit (5)

Answer: NYMPH (i.e. “spirit”). Solution is NY (a recognised abbreviation of “New York”) followed by MPH (i.e. “speed”, specifically Miles Per Hour).

  1. Dog grips part of leg, exerting pressure (7)

Answer: PUSHING (i.e. “exerting pressure”). Solution is PUG (i.e. “dog”) wrapped around or “gripping” SHIN (i.e. “part of leg”), like so: PU(SHIN)G.

  1. Closed Civil Service during alarm (6)

Answer: TOCSIN (i.e. an “alarm”). Solution is TO (i.e. “closed”, as in a door closed to) followed by CS (short for “Civil Service”) and IN (i.e. “during”). One nailed from the wordplay and a shufti in Chambers. It’s from the French, so you know what that means…

  1. Wrong spring put into lock (8)

Answer: TRESPASS (i.e. “wrong”). Solution is SPA (i.e. “spring”) “put into” TRESS (i.e. “lock” of hair), like so: TRES(SPA)S.

  1. I am having beans? This will get one going (7)

Answer: IMPULSE (i.e. “this will get one going”). Solution is I’M (a contraction of “I am”) followed by PULSE (i.e. “beans”).

  1. Financially embarrass senator holding property (8)

Answer: STRAITEN (i.e. “financially embarrass”). Solution is SEN (short for “senator”) wrapped around or “holding” TRAIT (i.e. attribute or “property”), like so: S(TRAIT)EN.

  1. We should be away from fires (4,2)

Answer: LET’S GO (i.e. “we should be away”). When written as LETS GO the solution also satisfies “fires” from a job.

  1. They can up the tension to go round bends (11)

Answer: TURNBUCKLES (i.e. “they can up the tension”). Solution is TURN (i.e. “to go round”) followed by BUCKLES (i.e. “bends”).

  1. A stone? Queen and king, say, after millions for jewel in the crown (11)

Answer: MASTERPIECE (i.e. “jewel in the crown”). Solution is A, ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stone”), ER (i.e. “queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) and PIECE (i.e. “king, say” – other chess pieces are available) all placed “after” M (a recognised abbreviation of “millions”), like so: M-(A-ST-ER-PIECE).

  1. Kindly don outraged to be disturbed (4-7)

Answer: GOOD-NATURED (i.e. “kindly”). “To be disturbed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DON OUTRAGED.

  1. Protest loudly about circuit crash (11)

Answer: THUNDERCLAP (i.e. a “crash” of thunder). Solution is THUNDER (i.e. “protest loudly”) followed by C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) and LAP (i.e. “circuit”).

  1. Extremely clever solver’s got this (4,2)

Answer: EVER SO (i.e. “extremely”). “Got this” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: CL(EVER SO)LVER.

  1. Annoying person is in touch (8)

Answer: NUISANCE (i.e. “annoying person”). Solution is IS placed “in” NUANCE (i.e. “touch”), like so: NU(IS)ANCE.

  1. Attach payment: a bit off Sunday roast? (7)

Answer: SUBJOIN (i.e. “attach”). Solution is SUB (i.e. “payment”) followed by JOINT (i.e. “Sunday roast”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “a bit off”), like so: SUB-JOIN.

  1. As some wild animals ate English lamb unfortunately (8)

Answer: TAMEABLE (i.e. “as some wild animals are”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unfortunately”) of ATE, E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and LAMB.

  1. Show off floor National Trust inlaid with gold (6)

Answer: FLAUNT (i.e. “show off”). Solution is FL (a recognised abbreviation of “floor”) and NT (ditto “National Trust”) wrapped around or “inlaid with” AU (chemical symbol of “gold”), like so: FL-(AU)-NT.

  1. Aperture in very large copper chimney up north (7)

Answer: OSCULUM (i.e. “aperture”, specifically “an exhalant aperture in a sponge” (Chambers)). Solution is OS (i.e. “very large”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “outsize”) followed by CU (chemical symbol of “copper”) and LUM (i.e. “chimney up north”, a Scots word). One nailed from the wordplay, unsurprisingly.

  1. Ruminant – I had three finally in compound (5)

Answer: OXIDE (i.e. “compound”). Solution is OX (i.e. “ruminant”) followed by I’D (a contraction of “I had”) and E (i.e. “three finally”, i.e. the last letter of “three”).

  1. Much action with bombers flying in which fuel catches fire (10,7)

Answer: COMBUSTION CHAMBER (i.e. “in which fuel catches fire”). “Flying” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MUCH ACTION and BOMBERS.

  1. Underlying theme of message from HMS Vanguard? (7)

Answer: SUBTEXT (i.e. “underlying theme”). When written as SUB TEXT the solution playfully satisfies the remainder of the clue, “HMS Vanguard” being a submarine and TEXT being an informal name for an SMS message.

  1. Mend incomplete iron blade (5)

Answer: KNIFE (i.e. “blade”). Solution is KNIT (i.e. “mend”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “incomplete”) and the remainder followed by FE (chemical symbol of “iron”), like so: KNI-FE.

  1. Poisonous plant of the underworld Persephone finally brought forth (9)

Answer: HELLEBORE (i.e. “poisonous plant”). Solution is HELL (i.e. “the underworld”) followed by E (i.e. “Persephone finally”, i.e. the last letter of “Persephone”) and BORE (i.e. “brought forth”). Another nailed from the wordplay. Nicely worked, though.

  1. Walk in sounding weary, something unprepared players may do (5-7)

Answer: SIGHT-READING (i.e. “something unprepared players may do”, being “someone who can read or perform music at first sight of the notes” (Chambers)). Solution is TREAD (i.e. “walk”) placed “in” SIGHING (i.e. “sounding weary”), like so: SIGH(TREAD)ING.

  1. Crucial batsman’s actions – these could be character forming (10)

Answer: KEYSTROKES (i.e. “these could be character forming”, as in typed characters on paper or a screen). Solution is KEY (i.e. “crucial”) followed by STROKES (i.e. “batsman’s actions” in cricket).

Down clues

  1. Specific example of something in milk and nought in beer? (4,2,5)

Answer: CASE IN POINT (i.e. “specific example”). Solution is CASEIN (i.e. “something in milk”, a protein used in the production of cheese) followed by O (i.e. “nought”) once placed “in” PINT (i.e. “beer”), like so: CASEIN-P(O)INT.

  1. Philosopher – one in short supply (5)

Answer: STOIC (i.e. “philosopher” – a Stoic is “a disciple of the philosopher Zeno, who taught in the Stoa Poikilē (Painted Porch) at Athens” (Chambers). It can also relate to said Stoics or their philosophy. Try as I might, I can’t twist any of this to make a “philosopher”. The clue seems to imply that disciples of a philosopher are philosophers themselves, which might explain why there are so many of them). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “in” STOCK (i.e. “supply”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”), like so: STO(I)C.

  1. Endless game in old California lasting a number of years (9)

Answer: OCTENNIAL (i.e. “lasting a number of years”, in this case eight). Solution is TENNIS (i.e. “game”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder placed “in” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and CAL (ditto “California”), like so: O-C(TENNI)AL.

  1. Intend to break pottery, causing damage (7)

Answer: MAIMING (i.e. “causing damage”). Solution is AIM (i.e. “intend”) placed in or “breaking” MING (i.e. “pottery”), like so: M(AIM)ING.

  1. United playing with learner, tending to reduce concentration (7)

Answer: DILUENT (i.e. “tending to reduce concentration” of a substance). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “playing”) of UNITED and L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner”).

  1. Trained medics aim to follow a constant and formal way of teaching (11)

Answer: ACADEMICISM (i.e. “formal way of teaching”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “trained”) of MEDICS AIM placed after or “following” A and C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”), like so: A-C-ADEMICISM.

  1. Take selection from Keith? Eric? Keith or Eric? (6)

Answer: EITHER (i.e. “Keith or Eric”, an inference that EITHER person would satisfy the first half of the clue. The riddly question mark at the end unnecessarily confuses things in my less-than-humble opinion). “Take selection from” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: K(EITH ER)IC.

  1. Cutters in navy can inflict sinkings on raiding subs from the outset (8)

Answer: INCISORS (i.e. teeth that are “cutters”). “From the outset” indicates the solution is derived from the initial letters of In Navy Can Inflict Sinkings On Raiding Subs.

  1. US park worker crushed small ring (13)

Answer: GROUNDSKEEPER (i.e. “US park worker”). Solution is GROUND (i.e. “crushed”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and KEEPER (i.e. a guard “ring” – I recalled this from a previous Jumbo).

  1. Cell deficiency of a new blood group English intend going over (7)

Answer: ANAEMIA (i.e. “cell deficiency”). Solution is A followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), then A (i.e. “blood group”), then E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and AIM (i.e. “intend”) once the latter has been reversed (indicated by “going over”), like so: A-N-A-E-MIA.

  1. Leave it on hospital round? Possibility for this? (11)

Answer: STETHOSCOPE (i.e. “this” within the context of the clue, inferring a piece of medical equipment). Solution is STET (i.e. “leave it”, i.e. an editor’s note to ignore changes made and retain the original text, after the Latin for “let it stand”) followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “hospital”), then O (i.e. “round”) and SCOPE (i.e. “possibility”). Very nicely worked.

  1. Frank put on trousers as a means of expression (5,5)

Answer: VOCAL CORDS (i.e. “a means of expression”). Solution is VOCAL (i.e. “frank”) followed by CORDS (i.e. “trousers”).

  1. Great attitude to get on? (9)

Answer: SUPERPOSE (i.e. “to get on” top of another). Solution is SUPER (i.e. “great”) followed by POSE (i.e. an assumed “attitude”).

  1. Concerned with fool leading river rally (8)

Answer: REASSURE (i.e. to “rally” another). Solution is RE (i.e. “concerned with” – think email replies) followed by ASS (i.e. “fool”) and URE (i.e. a “river”).

  1. Nearly left somewhere without key in move (6)

Answer: EXCITE (i.e. to “move”). Solution is EXITED (i.e. “left”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “nearly”) and the remainder wrapped around or placed “without” C (i.e. a musical “key”), like so: EX(C)ITE.

  1. Notes one found in odd room with beds and lamps (8)

Answer: SOLARIUM (i.e. “room with beds and [tanning] lamps”). Solution is SO and LA (both “notes” in the sol-fa notation) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) once placed “in” RUM (i.e. “odd”), like so: (SO-LA)-R(I)UM.

  1. Cleaner reported to run off with fleece (5,4)

Answer: STEEL WOOL (i.e. “cleaner”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reported”) of STEAL (i.e. “run off with”) followed by WOOL (i.e. “fleece”).

  1. Hollow rocks of granite, ovoid, excrescences on the outside (6)

Answer: GEODES (i.e. “hollow rocks”). “On the outside” indicates the solution can be derived from the first and last letters of GranitE, OvoiD and ExcrescenceS.

  1. Riverside’s gallery chaps need time for financial report (4,9)

Answer: BANK STATEMENT (i.e. “financial report”). Solution is BANK’S (i.e. “riverside’s”) followed by TATE (i.e. London art “gallery”), then MEN (i.e. “chaps”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Pensions, perhaps, you once got in speculations (11)

Answer: GUESTHOUSES (i.e. “pensions, perhaps” – a variant meaning of the word is a continental boarding house). Solution is THOU (i.e. “you once”, i.e. ye olde form of “you”) placed “in” GUESSES (i.e. “speculations”), like so: GUES(THOU)SES.

  1. Maya chasing daughter is let down (11)

Answer: DISILLUSION (i.e. “let down”). Solution is ILLUSION (i.e. “maya” – a new one on me) placed after or “chasing” D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) and IS, like so: D-IS-(ILLUSION).

  1. Dumb part of shoe done up like laces (6-4)

Answer: TONGUE-TIED (i.e. struck “dumb”). Solution is TONGUE (i.e. “part of shoe”) followed by TIED (i.e. “done up like laces”).

  1. Mammals, marine, wild – tons kept in enclosures (4,7)

Answer: PINE MARTENS (i.e. “mammals”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wild”) of MARINE and T (a recognised abbreviation of “tons”) all “kept in” PENS (i.e. “enclosures”), like so: P(INEMAR-T)ENS.

  1. Raised youngster has the ability always to be a reckless adventurer (9)

Answer: BUCCANEER (i.e. “reckless adventurer”). Solution is CUB (i.e. “youngster”) reversed (indicated by “raised” – this being a down clue) followed by CAN (i.e. “has the ability to”) and E’ER (i.e. poetic form of “always”), like so: BUC-CAN-E’ER.

  1. British have no restraint in formal wear (5,3)

Answer: BLACK TIE (i.e. “formal wear”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by LACK (i.e. “have no”) and TIE (i.e. “restraint”).

  1. Post holder initially makes trouble over sack (7)

Answer: MAILBAG (i.e. “post holder”). Solution is M (i.e. “initially makes”, i.e. the first letter of “makes”) followed by AIL (i.e. “trouble”) and BAG (i.e. “sack”).

  1. Foot regularly started outside darts players’ mark (7)

Answer: TROCHEE (i.e. “foot” in poetic terms. Again to Chambers: “a foot of two syllables, a long followed by a short”). Solution is TRE (i.e. “regularly started”, i.e. every other letter of STARTED) placed “outside” of OCHE (i.e. “darts players’ mark”), like so: TR(OCHE)E.

  1. Hides from view round leader of crazy sects (7)

Answer: OCCULTS (i.e. “hides from view”). Solution is O (i.e. “round”) followed by C (i.e. “leader of crazy”, i.e. the first letter of “crazy”) and CULTS (i.e. “sects”).

  1. Fumed as a small donkey died (6)

Answer: SMOKED (i.e. “fumed”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by MOKE (slang for a “donkey”, apparently) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “died”).

  1. Stream runs inside reserve (5)

Answer: BROOK (i.e. “stream”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) placed “inside” of BOOK (i.e. to “reserve”), like so: B(R)OOK.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1585

Another grind, pretty much the same as last week. I mean, look at some of the trash in the grid. Pff. I might think differently tomorrow, or at least be more forgiving, but for now I’m just glad to have this one out of the way.

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 flummoxed then you might find some solace in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, wrap up well and stay safe out there, kids.

LP

FBV (French-By-Volume): 3.3%

Across clues

  1. Youngster initially enthused by Indonesian climber (5)

Answer: CUBEB (i.e. “Indonesian climber” – Chambers offers this: “the dried berry of Piper cubeba, an Indonesian climbing pepper shrub, formerly used as a drug to treat infections of the urinary tract”). Solution is CUB (i.e. “youngster”) followed by E and B (i.e. “initially enthused by”, i.e. the first letters of “enthused” and “by”). Made-to-fit rubbish.

  1. Struck, holding wife inside animal shelter (7)

Answer: COWSHED (i.e. “animal shelter”). Solution is COSHED (i.e. “struck”) wrapped around or “holding” W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”), like so: CO(W)SHED.

  1. Stew made by shy Liverpudlian (9)

Answer: LOBSCOUSE (i.e. “stew” – and again to Chambers: “a stew or hash with vegetables or biscuit, a sea dish”). Solution is LOB (i.e. “shy” or throw) followed by SCOUSE (i.e. “Liverpudlian”). Never heard of it.

  1. Book of words governor’s kept in house (9)

Answer: THESAURUS (i.e. “book of words”). Solution is HE’S (i.e. “governor’s”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of His Excellency, if you go in for all that bowing and scraping) placed “in” TAURUS (i.e. “house” or sign of the zodiac), like so: T(HE’S)AURUS.

  1. Where courses may be provided along certain lines (10,3)

Answer: RESTAURANT CAR. Clue plays on railway “lines” and a train carriage in which food is served. That’s about it, I guess.

  1. Owns gallery shaped like a spear (7)

Answer: HASTATE (i.e. “shaped like a spear”). Solution is HAS (i.e. “owns”) followed by TATE (i.e. an art “gallery” in London). A new one on me. Apparently from the Latin hasta, meaning spear.

  1. British soldiers given pay for preparing drinks (7)

Answer: BREWAGE (i.e. “preparing drinks”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by RE (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) and WAGE (i.e. “pay”).

  1. Happiest, surprisingly, when son leaves grave message (7)

Answer: EPITAPH (i.e. “grave message”, or tombstone inscription). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “surprisingly” of HAPPIEST once the S has been removed (indicated by “when son leaves” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”).

  1. Face a hard task? As a popular journalist one might (4,4,4,3,3)

Answer: HAVE ONE’S WORK CUT OUT. Solution satisfies “face a hard task” and “as a popular journalist one might”, referring to press cuttings.

  1. Tyneside graduate goes west? So be it (4)

Answer: AMEN (i.e. “so be it”). Solution is NE (i.e. “Tyneside”, or the North-East of England) and MA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Master of Arts) all reversed (indicated by “goes west” – this being an across clue), like so: AM-EN.

  1. Sailor originally involved in Beds town’s cleaning process (9)

Answer: ABLUTIONS (i.e. “cleaning process”). Solution is AB (i.e. “sailor”, specifically one of Able-Bodied rank) followed by I (i.e. “originally involved”, i.e. the first letter of “involved”) once placed “in” LUTON’S (i.e. “Beds town’s”), like so: AB-LUT(I)ON’S.

  1. Extend downward dimension of enclosure by river (6)

Answer: DEEPEN (i.e. “extend downward dimension”). Solution is PEN (i.e. “enclosure”) placed after or “by” DEE (i.e. “river”), like so: DEE-PEN.

  1. Medic swallowed by big fish in Arctic territory (6)

Answer: TUNDRA (i.e. “Arctic territory”). Solution is DR (i.e. “medic”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”) placed in or “swallowed by” TUNA (i.e. “big fish”), like so: TUN(DR)A.

  1. Broken hearts originally haunting a ruler of great importance (12)

Answer: EARTHSHAKING (i.e. “of great importance”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “broken”) of HEARTS followed by H (i.e. “originally haunting”, i.e. the first letter of “haunting”), then A and KING (i.e. “ruler”), like so: EARTHS-H-A-KING.

  1. Final Greek poet beheaded in confines of bare cell (10)

Answer: BLASTOMERE (i.e. “cell” – and to Chambers once more: “one of the cells formed in an early stage of the cleavage of a fertilized ovum”. Another everyday word, then). Solution is LAST (i.e. “final”) and HOMER (i.e. “Greek poet”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “beheaded”) all placed “in” BE (i.e. “confines of bare”, i.e. the first and last letters of “bare”), like so: B(LAST-OMER)E.

  1. Give excessive work to old priest returning cross (10)

Answer: OVERBURDEN (i.e. “give excessive work to”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by REV (i.e. “priest”, in this case a shortened form of “reverend”) reversed (indicated by “returning”), then BURDEN (i.e. “cross”, as in one’s cross to bear), like so: O-VER-BURDEN.

  1. Endless moral rectitude concerning ship’s owner (12)

Answer: PROPRIETRESS (i.e. “owner”). Solution is PROPRIETY (i.e. “moral rectitude”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder followed by RE (i.e. “concerning” – think email replies) and SS (i.e. “ship”, a recognised abbreviation of a steamship), like so: PROPRIET-RE-SS.

  1. Partner finally secures employment on European river (6)

Answer: SPOUSE (i.e. “partner”). Solution is S (i.e. “finally secures”, i.e. the last letter of “secures”) followed by USE (i.e. “employment”) once it has first been placed “on” or after PO (a “river” in Italy), like so: S-(PO)-USE.

  1. Property in East, say (6)

Answer: ESTATE (i.e. “property”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”) followed by STATE (i.e. “say”).

  1. European prince, carrying cape, left social venue (9)

Answer: DANCEHALL (i.e. “social venue”). Solution is DANE (i.e. “European”) and HAL (i.e. “prince” – a reference to Shakespeare’s portrayal of a young King Henry V. This is a useful one to keep in mind because short obscure word + Shakespeare reference = catnip for cryptic crossword setters) all wrapped around or “carrying” C (a recognised abbreviation of “cape”, the geographic feature). This is all then followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”), like so: (DAN(C)E-HAL)-L

  1. Relax, having letters read aloud (4)

Answer: EASE. Solution satisfies “relax” and “having letters read aloud”, in this case a homophone of plural E.

  1. Part of US which briefly employs leaders in Denver, Colorado (8,2,8)

Answer: DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (i.e. “part of US”, these days better known as Washington D.C.). The remainder of the clue plays on how the initials D.C. are also the “leaders in Denver, Colorado”, or the first letters of “Denver” and “Colorado”.

  1. Reportedly regret dig in simulated conversation (7)

Answer: RHUBARB (i.e. “simulated conversation”, referring to a word extras mutter in the background of film or TV scenes in lieu of actual conversation). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of RUE (i.e. “regret”) followed by BARB (i.e. “dig” or criticism), like so: RHU-BARB.

  1. Verse in ancient language also inspiring a NE European (7)

Answer: LATVIAN (i.e. “NE European”). Solution is V (a recognised abbreviation of “verse”) placed “in” LATIN (i.e. “ancient language”) along with, separately, (indicated by “also inspiring”) A, like so: LAT(V)I(A)N.

  1. Officers with notices, in French to begin with (7)

Answer: ENSIGNS (i.e. army “officers”). Solution is SIGNS (i.e. “notices”) with EN (i.e. “in French”, i.e. the French for “in”) placed “to begin with”, like so: EN-SIGNS.

  1. French writer, chap with castle at end of wood (13)

Answer: François-René de CHATEAUBRIAND (i.e. “French writer”). Solution is BRIAN (i.e. “chap’s” name) placed after or “with” CHATEAU (i.e. “castle”) and followed by D (i.e. “end of wood”, i.e. the last letter of “wood”), like so: CHATEAU-BRIAN-D. Never heard of him, nor anything in his oeuvre, but I guess it helps the setter meet the minimum French quota this week. Wait, did I say “oeuvre” just then in my withering dig at the Frenchness of Jumbos? Zut alors! L’ironie…

  1. Plotter, one who fascinates? (9)

Answer: INTRIGUER. Solution satisfies “plotter” and “one who fascinates”.

  1. Modern way to dip into coffee? Certainly (6-3)

Answer: LATTER-DAY (i.e. “modern”). Solution is RD (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a “road”) placed “into” LATTE (i.e. “coffee”) and AY (i.e. “certainly”, poetically), like so: LATTE-(RD)-AY.

  1. US city taking ages to accept a British monarch (7)

Answer: YONKERS (i.e. “US city” in New York State). Solution is YONKS (i.e. “ages”) wrapped around or “accepting” ER (i.e. “a British monarch”, specifically Elizabeth Regina), like so: YONK(ER)S.

  1. Perceived as only a subsidiary journalist? (5)

Answer: NOTED (i.e. “perceived”). When written as NOT ED the solution playfully satisfies “only a subsidiary journalist”, i.e. not the editor.

Down clues

  1. Net wears thin, we hear? It’s something often delivered (11)

Answer: CATCHPHRASE (i.e. a saying that’s “often delivered”). Solution is CATCH (i.e. to “net”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “we hear”) of FRAYS (i.e. “wears thin”).

  1. Consecrate land originally held by good queen (5)

Answer: BLESS (i.e. “consecrate”). Solution is L (i.e. “land originally”, i.e. the first letter of “land”) placed in or “held by” BESS (i.e. “good queen”, Good Queen Bess being a byname of Elizabeth I, apparently), like so: B(L)ESS.

  1. Prevaricate, but attend a fight over the Aussie outback (4,5,3,4)

Answer: BEAT ABOUT THE BUSH (i.e. “prevaricate”). Solution is BE AT A BOUT (i.e. “attend a fight”) followed by THE BUSH (i.e. “Aussie outback”).

  1. Funeral procession my sheep ultimately impede (7)

Answer: CORTEGE (i.e. “funeral procession”). Solution is COR (i.e. “my”, both exclamations) followed by TEG (a “sheep” in its second year, apparently) and E (i.e. “ultimately impede”, i.e. the last letter of “impede”).

  1. Used to be game, installing hotel’s facilities for 23 (9)

Answer: WASHBOWLS (i.e. “facilities for 23” – the solution to 23a being ABLUTIONS). Solution is WAS (i.e. “used to be”) and BOWLS (i.e. “game”) all wrapped around or “installing” H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: WAS-(H)-BOWLS.

  1. Hard bargaining involving Arabs and Andalusians, perhaps? (5,7)

Answer: HORSE-TRADING (i.e. “hard bargaining”). Clue plays on “Arabs” and “Andalusians” being breeds of horses. The latter is also a chicken, so make sure you’ve got the correct riding gear before mounting one.

  1. Underworld boss having quick fix is bumped off (10)

Answer: DISPATCHED (i.e. “bumped off”). Solution is DIS (i.e. “underworld boss”, also known as Pluto. Another useful one to keep in mind because short obscure word + classics reference = Viagra for cryptic crossword setters. Well, the male ones anyway…) followed by PATCHED (i.e. “having quick fix”).

  1. Give up holiday (5)

Answer: LEAVE. Solution satisfies “give up” and “holiday”.

  1. Pub sign covering live outdoor meal (8)

Answer: BARBECUE (i.e. “outdoor meal”). Solution is BAR (i.e. “pub”) and CUE (i.e. “sign”, theatrically speaking) all wrapped around or “covering” BE (i.e. “live”), like so: BAR-(BE)-CUE.

  1. Plain as peel may be, releasing energy (6)

Answer: CANDID (i.e. “plain”). Solution is CANDIED (i.e. “as peel may be”) once the E has been removed (indicated by “releasing energy” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy”).

  1. Object taken in by pawnbroker, note, awaiting applicant (9)

Answer: UNCLAIMED (i.e. “awaiting applicant”). Solution is AIM (i.e. “object”) placed “in” UNCLE (slang for a “pawnbroker”) and D (a musical “note”), like so: UNCL(AIM)E-D.

  1. Turbulent weather near pottery (11)

Answer: EARTHENWARE (i.e. “pottery”). “Turbulent” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WEATHER NEAR.

  1. Woman heading for vessel on a large lake (7)

Answer: VALERIE (i.e. “woman’s” name). Solution is V (i.e. “heading for vessel”, i.e. the first letter of “vessel”) followed by A, then L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”) and ERIE (one of the Great “Lakes” of North America).

  1. Part of pedal pilot used going north round City (7)

Answer: TOECLIP (i.e. “part of [bicycle] pedal” designed to keep the foot in place). Solution is PILOT reversed (indicated by “going north” – this being a down clue) and wrapped “round” EC (i.e. “city”, basically the postcode area for the City of London. Another useful one to keep in mind for future as obscure short word + London reference = cocaine for Jumbo setters, given The Times is predominantly a London newspaper), like so: TO(EC)LIP.

  1. Impossible? Not in the search I mount regularly (3,2,3,8)

Answer: OUT OF THE QUESTION (i.e. “impossible”). Solution is OUT OF (i.e. “not in”) followed by THE, then QUEST (i.e. “search”), then I and ON (i.e. “mount regularly”, i.e. every other letter of MOUNT).

  1. Neat woman’s daughter, an animal minder (6)

Answer: OXHERD (i.e. “animal minder”). Solution is OX (i.e. “neat”, a variant meaning of the word is an archaic term for livestock) followed by HER (i.e. “woman’s”) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”).

  1. A function for the speaker to fix (6)

Answer: ASSIGN (i.e. “to fix”). Solution is A followed by a homophone (indicated by “for the speaker”) of SINE (i.e. a trigonometric “function”).

  1. Joints English rejected, laid for foreign parliament (7)

Answer: KNESSET (i.e. “foreign parliament”, specifically of Israel). Solution is KNEES (i.e. “joints”) with one of the Es removed (indicated by “English rejected” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and the remainder followed by SET (i.e. “laid”), like so: KNES-SET.

  1. Prize possession we associated with English essayist (3-4)

Answer: EWE-LAMB (i.e. “prize possession” of a pauper, apparently a Biblical reference). Solution is WE placed after or “associated with” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and followed by Charles LAMB (i.e. “essayist”), like so: E-(WE)-LAMB.

  1. Fisherman’s club freed study dominated by ministers (6-6)

Answer: PRIEST-RIDDEN (i.e. “dominated by ministers”). Solution is PRIEST (i.e. “fisherman’s club” or mallet for killing fish – a new one on me, but interesting) followed by RID (i.e. “freed”) and DEN (i.e. “study”).

  1. Like the treatment of those expecting somehow to steal crib (11)

Answer: OBSTETRICAL (i.e. “like the treatment of those expecting” babies). “Somehow” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO STEAL CRIB.

  1. Confident lasses Freud mismanaged (4-7)

Answer: SELF-ASSURED (i.e. “confident”). “Mismanaged” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LASSES FREUD.

  1. Wise men initially supporting female law administrators collectively (10)

Answer: MAGISTRACY (i.e. “law administrators collectively”). Solution is MAGI (i.e. “wise men”) followed by S (i.e. “initially supporting”, i.e. the first letter of “supporting”) and TRACY (i.e. “female’s” name).

  1. Alumni blunt about an opposer of enlightenment (9)

Answer: OBSCURANT (i.e. “opposer of enlightenment”). Solution is OBS (i.e. “alumni”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Old Boy made plural) followed by CURT (i.e. “blunt”) once wrapped “about” AN, like so: OBS-CUR(AN)T.

  1. Protective of duck crossing eastern marshes (9)

Answer: DEFENSIVE (i.e. “protective”). Solution is DIVE (i.e. “duck”) wrapped around or “crossing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”) and FENS (i.e. “marshes”), like so: D(E-FENS)IVE.

  1. Detectives certain to be removed from cover (8)

Answer: DISBOUND (i.e. “removed from cover” in relation to books – not a word explicitly supported by Chambers but Oxford backs it up). Solution is DIS (i.e. “detectives”, specifically Detective Inspectors) followed by BOUND (i.e. “certain”, as in “bound to be” some outcome).

  1. Mycenaean prince of old relaxes, conserving energy (7)

Answer: ORESTES (i.e. “Mycenaean prince” of Greek mythology, son of Agamemnon). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by RESTS (i.e. “relaxes”) once wrapped around or “conserving” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: O-REST(E)S.

  1. Flower cluster European male kept in stock (7)

Answer: RACEME (i.e. “flower cluster” – and to Chambers once more: “an inflorescence in which stalked flowers are borne in acropetal succession on a main stalk or lateral branches”. Glad that’s been cleared up, then). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and M (ditto “male”) both placed “in” RACE (i.e. “stock” – Chambers supports it, albeit deep into its definitions), like so: RAC(E-M)E.

  1. Truck, possibly, taking parrot across river (5)

Answer: LORRY (i.e. “truck”). Solution is LORY (a kind of “parrot”) wrapped around or placed “across” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: LO(R)RY.

  1. Scrawny relative holding up beginning of game (5)

Answer: GAUNT (i.e. “scrawny”). Solution is AUNT (i.e. “relative”) placed after or “holding up” G (i.e. “beginning [letter] of game”), like so: G-AUNT.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1584

A toughie this week. While this had a decent dollop of inventive wordplay and sneaky misdirection, I’m reluctant to call it a stinker due to the prevalence of exotic solutions. It’s just too easy for a setter to stuff a grid with esoterica in order to boost its difficulty. If you’re the kind of solver who likes to flex their general knowledge then fair enough, but, for me, by the end, this was done solely to get it done.

Anyway, bellyaching aside, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things.

Thanks again for the kind comments and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

FBV (French-By-Volume): 5%

Across clues

  1. No tough guy, Mike’s given kind of concession (7)

Answer: MILKSOP (i.e. “no tough guy”). Solution is M (“Mike” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by ILK (i.e. type or “kind”) and SOP (i.e. “concession”).

  1. Hesitation backing scams in political campaigning (8)

Answer: HUSTINGS (i.e. “political campaigning”). Solution is UH (i.e. “hesitation”) reversed (indicated by “backing”) and followed by STINGS (i.e. “scams”), like so: HU-STINGS.

  1. Sacred instrument up to now has captured hearts (6)

Answer: SHOFAR (i.e. “sacred instrument” – and so to Chambers for the first of many visits this week: “a wind instrument made from a ram’s horn, blown in Jewish religious ceremonies and in ancient times as a call to battle, etc”). Solution is SO FAR (i.e. “up to now”) wrapped around or “capturing” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hearts” used in card games), like so: S(H)O-FAR. A win for my Bradford’s, it may come as no surprise. I’d grown rather bored of this Jumbo by the time I reached the top-right corner of the grid.

  1. Day PC stops keen hunters giving fictional account (5,11)

Answer: DAVID COPPERFIELD (i.e. “fictional account”, or a novel by Charles Dickens). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “day”) followed by COPPER (i.e. “PC”) once it has been placed in or “stopping” AVID (i.e. “keen”) and FIELD (i.e. “hunters”), like so: D-(AVID-(COPPER)-FIELD).

  1. Zero tax returns in company book (6)

Answer: OCTAVO (i.e. “book” – and to Chambers again. Pick the bones out of this lot: “adjective: having eight leaves to the sheet; (conventionally) of a size so obtained, whether so folded or not. noun: a book printed on sheets so folded; (conventionally) a book of such a size…”). Solution is O (i.e. “zero”) followed by VAT (i.e. “tax”, specifically Value-Added Tax) once reversed (indicated by “returns”) and placed “in” CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”), like so: O-C(TAV)O. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

  1. Prior and head of abbey inside, saving face (8)

Answer: ANTERIOR (i.e. before or “prior”). Solution is A (i.e. “head of abbey”, i.e. the first letter of “abbey”) followed by INTERIOR (i.e. “inside”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “saving face”), like so: A-NTERIOR.

  1. Telegraph lowbrow’s right wing rage (4)

Answer: WIRE (i.e. “telegraph”). Solution is W (i.e. “lowbrow’s right wing”, i.e. the last letter of “lowbrow”) followed by IRE (i.e. “rage”).

  1. He or I, say, without work, running off (9)

Answer: ELOPEMENT (i.e. “running off”). Solution is ELEMENT (i.e. “He or I, say”, in this case the symbols of chemical elements helium and iodine) wrapped around or placed “without” OP (i.e. “work”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “opus”), like so: EL(OP)EMENT.

  1. Authorised rubbish tours here in Provence (8)

Answer: OFFICAL (i.e. “authorised”). Solution is OFFAL (i.e. “rubbish”) wrapped around or “touring” ICI (i.e. “here in Provence”, i.e. the French for “here”), like so: OFF(ICI)AL.

  1. Leftist put off after brief time in game (6,2,3)

Answer: CHEMIN DE FER (i.e. “game” – and to Chambers again: “a variety of baccarat”). Solution is CHE Guevara (i.e. “leftist”) and DEFER (i.e. “put off”) once the latter has been placed “after” MIN (i.e. “brief time”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a minute), like so: CHE-(MIN)-DEFER. Another win for the Bradford’s. The moment I saw the middle word began with ‘D’ was when I knew not to waste any more time on it.

  1. Enchanting figure, entering bank, is less relaxed (9)

Answer: TWITCHIER (i.e. “less relaxed”). Solution is WITCH (i.e. “enchanting figure”) placed in or “entering” TIER (i.e. “bank”), like so: T(WITCH)IER.

  1. Charlie never on rocking chair (8)

Answer: CONVENER (i.e. “chair” of a meeting). Solution is C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by an anagram (indicated by “rocking”) of NEVER ON.

  1. Auntie going back and forth? (4)

Answer: BEEB (i.e. “Auntie”, both nicknames of the BBC). The remainder of the clue plays on how the solution is a palindrome.

  1. Wanting bottle, paid for peanuts (7,4)

Answer: CHICKEN FEED (i.e. “peanuts”, both informal references to low pay). Solution is CHICKEN (i.e. cowardly or “wanting bottle”) followed by FEED (i.e. “paid” – the verb form means to pay a fee).

  1. One showing property of say a boring English fellow (6,5)

Answer: ESTATE AGENT (i.e. “one showing property”). Solution is STATE (i.e. “say”) and A placed in or “boring” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and GENT (i.e. “fellow”), like so: E-(STATE-A)-GENT.

  1. Reason I’m going to start to imitate street artist (11)

Answer: POINTILLIST (i.e. “artist” painting in dots). Solution is POINT (i.e. “reason” – Chambers offers “a clearly defined aim, object, or reason” deep into its definitions) followed by I’LL (i.e. “I’m going to”, i.e. a contraction of “I will”), then I (i.e. “start [letter] to imitate”) and ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”).

  1. Calling up troops with little sense (11)

Answer: REMINISCENT (i.e. recollecting or “calling up”). Solution is RE (i.e. “troops”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) followed by MINI (i.e. “little”) and SCENT (i.e. a trace or “sense” of something).

  1. Reported section of fork in river (4)

Answer: TYNE (i.e. “river”). “Reported” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of TINE (i.e. “section of fork”).

  1. Grams not working as a unit of measurement (8)

Answer: ANGSTROM (i.e. “unit of measurement” of wavelengths). “Working” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GRAMS NOT.

  1. Finish second, then second again, in rallies (9)

Answer: COMEBACKS (i.e. “rallies”). Solution is COME (i.e. “finish”, as in coming first, second, etc) followed by BACK (i.e. to “second” a proposal) and S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”).

  1. Steer cars, let in English region (11)

Answer: OXFORDSHIRE (i.e. “English region”). Solution is OX (i.e. “steer”) followed by FORDS (i.e. make of “car” made plural) and HIRE (i.e. “let”, as in a To Let sign).

  1. Knight, rider lacking height, is a medieval invader (8)

Answer: NORSEMAN (i.e. “medieval invader”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) followed by HORSEMAN (i.e. “rider”) once the H has been removed (indicated by “lacking height” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “height”), like so: N-ORSEMAN.

  1. Giving out piece scoffing sandwiches (9)

Answer: EMANATING (i.e. “giving out”). Solution is MAN (i.e. chess “piece”) placed in or “sandwiched” by EATING (i.e. “scoffing”), like so: E(MAN)ATING.

  1. Maybe a saxophone key with round shape (4)

Answer: ALTO (i.e. “maybe a saxophone” – other instruments are available). Solution is ALT (i.e. “key” on a computer keyboard) followed by O (i.e. “round shape”).

  1. Little piece of grass, possibly sleek tip (8)

Answer: SPIKELET (i.e. “little piece of grass”). “Possibly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SLEEK TIP.

  1. Nothing left over in wine-producing area (6)

Answer: OPORTO (i.e. “wine-producing area”, probably better known as Porto. I’ll have to take the setter’s word for it. A cursory gawp at Google seems to suggest the actual winey parts are a distance away from the place). Solution is O (i.e. “nothing”) followed by PORT (i.e. “left” in shipspeak) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket). Cough!-(made-to-fit-rubbish)-Cough!

  1. Maybe glamping staycation in town with mud opera star organised (11,5)

Answer: PORTMANTEAU WORDS (i.e. “maybe glamping [and] staycation”, both examples of such contractions). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “organised”) of TOWN and MUD OPERA STAR.

  1. Meat packing sector ultimately provides revelatory career! (6)

Answer: STREAK (i.e. a “revelatory career”, playfully describing nuddy folk running onto sports pitches). Solution is STEAK (i.e. “meat”) wrapped around or “packing” R (i.e. “sector ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “sector”), like so: ST(R)EAK.

  1. Sensible having Democrat ousted by Republican, one of a salacious nature (8)

Answer: PRURIENT (i.e. “of a salacious nature”). Solution is PRUDENT (i.e. “sensible”) with the D removed (indicated by “Democrat ousted” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “Democrat”) and replaced by R (ditto “Republican”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: PRU(D)ENT => PRU(R-I)ENT.

  1. Rejecting tango dancing, shun cute, ineffectual types (7)

Answer: EUNUCHS (i.e. “ineffectual types”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “dancing”) of SHUN CUTE once the T has been removed (indicated by “rejecting tango” – “tango” being T in the phonetic alphabet).

Down clues

  1. Place where Muslims learn, briefly, to make spicy food (6)

Answer: MADRAS (i.e. “spicy food”). Solution is MADRASA (i.e. “place where Muslims learn”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”).

  1. Appeal to block tax, showing good cheer (6)

Answer: LEVITY (i.e. “good cheer”). Solution is IT (i.e. popularity or “appeal”, as in having “it”) placed in or “blocking” LEVY (i.e. “tax”), like so: LEV(IT)Y.

  1. Men in south of France providing case of ipecac or diaphoretic (9)

Answer: SUDORIFIC (i.e. “diaphoretic”, descriptive of causing one to sweat. Everyday words, then!) Solution is OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) placed “in” between SUD (i.e. “south of France”, i.e. the French for “south”), IF (i.e. conditional upon or “providing”) and IC (i.e. “case of ipecac”, i.e. the first and last letters of “ipecac”), like so: SUD-(OR)-IF-IC. One nailed solely from the wordplay. If only I’d looked up “diaphoretic” in my Chambers, as the solution was sitting right next to it!

  1. Possible spin by party out of office, lacking power, it’s suggested (11)

Answer: PROPOSITION (i.e. “it’s suggested”). Solution is PR (i.e. “spin”, short for Public Relations) followed by OPPOSITION (i.e. political “party out of office”) once one of the Ps has been removed (indicated by “lacking power” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “power”), like so: PR-OPOSITION.

  1. Market, upon vacation, holiday games (4)

Answer: HYPE (i.e. to “market” a product). Solution is HY (i.e. “upon vacation, holiday”, i.e. the word “vacation” with all its middle letters removed) followed by PE (i.e. “games”, specifically Physical Education).

  1. Proper quality extremely special plates served well (6-5)

Answer: STRAIT-LACED (i.e. prim and “proper”). Solution is TRAIT (i.e. “quality”) placed in or “plated” by SL (i.e. “extremely special”, i.e. the first and last letters of “special”) and followed by ACED (i.e. “served well” in a game of tennis), like so: S(TRAIT)L-ACED.

  1. I travel about amid landscape having shifting colours (11)

Answer: IRIDESCENCE (i.e. “having shifting colours”). Solution is I followed by RIDE (i.e. “travel”), then C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) once placed “amid” SCENE (i.e. “landscape”), like so: I-RIDE-SCEN(C)E.

  1. Duck spinning bit of timber with hole I picked up (9)

Answer: GOLDENEYE (i.e. a variety of “duck”). Solution is LOG (i.e. “bit of timber”) reversed (indicated by “spinning”) followed by DEN (i.e. animal home, often a “hole”) and a homophone (indicated by “picked up”) of I, like so: GOL-DEN-EYE. Another win for the Bradford’s.

  1. Fencing off nice ground, possessed a large house (8)

Answer: HACIENDA (i.e. “large house” in Spain). Solution is HAD (i.e. “possessed”) and A both wrapped around or “fencing off” an anagram (indicated by “ground”) of NICE, like so: HA(CIEN)D-A. Another remembered from a previous puzzle.

  1. What gives RE basic criteria for judgment (5,2,9)

Answer: FRAME OF REFERENCE (i.e. “criteria for judgment”). The first half of the clue plays on how the solution cryptically satisfies “RE”, i.e. being the first and last letter or FRAME of the word REFERENCE.

  1. Male boxer’s ending with another jab, losing head (7)

Answer: ROOSTER (i.e. “male” bird). Solution is R (i.e. “boxer’s ending” letter) followed by BOOSTER (i.e. “another jab” or hypodermic injection) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “losing head”), like so: R-OOSTER.

  1. Chirpy Antipodean ex-president in new role, given time (8)

Answer: LORIKEET (i.e. “chirpy Antipodean” bird). Solution is Dwight D. Eisenhower, nicknamed IKE (i.e. “ex-president”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “new”) of ROLE and followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: LOR(IKE)E-T. The wordplay was reasonably obvious but I still reached for the Bradford’s the moment I figured this was going to be a bird. Made-to-fit solutions aren’t worth anyone’s time, least of all mine.

  1. Statesman departs with countryman? (8)

Answer: Benjamin DISRAELI (i.e. “statesman”, former Prime Minister of Great Britain). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “departs”) followed by ISRAELI (i.e. “countryman”).

  1. What a drug dealer might do, getting kitchen item (8)

Answer: STOCKPOT (i.e. “kitchen item”). When written as STOCK POT the solution also satisfies “what a drug dealer might do”.

  1. Papers written up on party’s view for working arrangement (8,2,6)

Answer: DIVISION OF LABOUR (i.e. “working arrangement”). Solution is ID (i.e. identity “papers”) reversed (indicated by “written up” – this being a down clue) and followed by VISION OF LABOUR (i.e. political “party’s view”), like so: DI-(VISION-OF-LABOUR).

  1. Something of no value: drug ingested in worst trial (4-4)

Answer: BETA-TEST (i.e. “trial”). Solution is TAT (i.e. “something of no value”) and E (i.e. “drug”, slang for ecstasy) both placed or “ingested in” BEST (i.e. “worst” – over to Chambers: “to get the better of in a contest; to defeat”. I can confidently say I’ve never heard anyone say “Ha! I completely worsted you”, but there you go), like so: BE(TAT-E)ST.

  1. Quantity of harissa’s served in sauce from the US (4)

Answer: SASS (i.e. lip or “sauce from the US”). “Quantity of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: HARIS(SA’S S)ERVED.

  1. One’s flown east with equipment earlier (4)

Answer: KITE (i.e. “one’s flown”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”) with KIT (i.e. “equipment”) placed before it or “earlier”, like so: KIT-E.

  1. What convict does with joker, one getting punched (8)

Answer: TIMECARD (i.e. “one getting punched”). Solution is TIME (i.e. “what convict does”) followed by CARD (i.e. “joker”).

  1. Strength of pine on part of deck (4,4)

Answer: LONG SUIT (i.e. talent or “strength” – a new one on me). Solution is LONG (i.e. to yearn or “pine”) followed by SUIT (i.e. “part of deck” of cards).

  1. With energy dropping in that place, control ship (5-6)

Answer: THREE-MASTER (i.e. “ship”). Solution is THERE (i.e. “that place”) with the first E “dropped” a notch – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy” and this being a down clue – followed by MASTER (i.e. “control”), like so: TH(E)RE-MASTER => THR(E)E-MASTER.

  1. What protesters do right before topless show (11)

Answer: REMONSTRATE (i.e. “what protesters do”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) followed by DEMONSTRATE (i.e. “show”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “topless”), like so: R-EMONSTRATE.

  1. Feeling less pressure, old Reg is found here (11)

Answer: NUMBERPLATE (i.e. “reg is found here” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is NUMBER (i.e. “feeling less”) followed by P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”) and LATE (i.e. “old”, as in the phrase “of old”).

  1. With jazzy style, note covers from Oliver! entrance (5,4)

Answer: SWING DOOR (i.e. “entrance”). Solution is SWING (i.e. “jazzy style”) followed by DO (i.e. “note” in the sol-fa notation, also spelled ‘doh’) and OR (i.e. “covers from Oliver!”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Oliver”).

  1. Bishop hasn’t white pen, perhaps (5,4)

Answer: BLACK SWAN (i.e. “pen, perhaps” – a pen is a female swan). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess) followed by LACKS (i.e. “hasn’t”) and WAN (i.e. “white”).

  1. Maiden brought in to make a light repast (5,3)

Answer: CREAM TEA (i.e. “light repast”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “maiden” used in cricket) placed or “brought in to” CREATE (i.e. “make”) and followed by A, like so: CREA(M)TE-A.

  1. Demanding responsibility, saving deposit up (7)

Answer: ONEROUS (i.e. “demanding”). Solution is ONUS (i.e. “responsibility”) wrapped around or “saving” ORE (i.e. “deposit”) once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: ON(ERO)US.

  1. One’s part of cloth weaving circle (6)

Answer: CLERIC (i.e. “one’s part of the cloth”, an informal reference to the clergy). “Weaving” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CIRCLE.

  1. Society led by police state ruling out change (6)

Answer: STASIS (i.e. a constant state or “ruling out change”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “society”) placed after or “led by” STASI (i.e. “police state”), like so: STASI-S.

  1. Ace flier doing that activity (2,2)

Answer: AT IT (i.e. “doing that activity”, fnar, fnar). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used in playing cards) followed by TIT (i.e. bird or “flier”, also fnar, fnar).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1583

A medium strength offering with a couple of snaggy clues holding up proceedings. Setting those aside, and the occasional odd phrasing, this was a pretty good un.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has you flummoxed then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Simple bit of comeback for those who love Legolas etc (7)

Answer: SNAFFLE (i.e. “simple bit” for horses). Solution is ELF FANS (i.e. “those who love Legolas etc” – Legolas being an elf in JRR Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings books) reversed (indicated by “comeback for…”), like so: SNAF-FLE.

  1. Junior reporter left in cool office space? (7)

Answer: CUBICLE (i.e. “office space”). Solution is CUB (i.e. “junior reporter”) followed by ICE (i.e. “cool”) once wrapped around or having “in” L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”), like so: CUB-IC(L)E.

  1. Get right through one’s last run and see notice in gym (7)

Answer: PERVADE (i.e. “get right through”). Solution is E (i.e. “one’s last”, i.e. the last letter of “one”), R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in several ball games), V (i.e. “see”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin vide) and AD (i.e. “notice”, short for advertisement) all placed “in” PE (i.e. “gym”, or Physical Education), like so: P(E-R-V-AD)E.

  1. I’ll squeeze old ruler that contains mark of error, wrong unit in two forms (11)

Answer: EXTORTIONER (i.e. “I’ll squeeze”). Solution is ER (i.e. “old ruler”, specifically Elizabeth Regina – it’ll be interesting to see if “old” is kept in this clue by the time it gets republished in the annual Jumbo book) wrapped around or “containing” X (i.e. “mark of error”), TORT (i.e. “wrong”) and both I and ONE (i.e. “unit in two forms”, in this case 1 expressed as a Roman numeral and in word form), like so: E(X-TORT-I-ONE)R.

  1. In no way depends on installing Nan’s first and second vacuum (11)

Answer: NOTHINGNESS (i.e. “vacuum”). Solution is NOT (i.e. “in no way”) and HINGES (i.e. “depends on”) wrapped around or “installing” N (i.e. “Nan’s first” letter). This is all then followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”), like so: NOT-HING(N)ES-S.

  1. Capital has some regressive decision ahead (5)

Answer: HANOI (i.e. “capital” city of Vietnam). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “regressive” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: DECIS(ION AH)EAD.

  1. Supporter allowed to take a break after cycling (7)

Answer: TRESTLE (i.e. “supporter”). Solution is LET (i.e. “allowed”) with the last letter placed first (indicated by “after cycling”, i.e. LE(T) -> (T)LE) and wrapped around or “taking” REST (i.e. “a break”), like so: T(REST)LE.

  1. A pita isn’t out of place for snacks (9)

Answer: ANTIPASTI (i.e. “snacks”). “Out of place” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A PITA ISN’T. A recent repeat, making this an easier get.

  1. Misfit awkwardly cornered? (6,3,2,1,5,4)

Answer: SQUARE PEG IN A ROUND HOLE (i.e. “misfit”). The rest of the clue plays on the “corners” of a SQUARE. That’s about it, I guess.

  1. The guy succeeded according to American star of Twilight (8)

Answer: HESPERUS (i.e. “star of twilight” – or the evening star, specifically the planet Mercury or Venus reflecting the sun in the evening). Solution is HE (i.e. “the guy”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “succeeded”), then PER (i.e. “according to”) and US (i.e. “American”). One nailed solely from the wordplay.

  1. Returning home, one’s to use a specific case in house (6)

Answer: GEMINI (i.e. “house” or astrological sign). Solution is IN (i.e. “home”), I’M (i.e. “one’s”, a contraction of I AM) and EG (i.e. “to use a specific case”, i.e. for example) all reversed (indicated by “returning”), like so: GE-M’I-NI.

  1. Shock of singular small filled pastry left unfinished (7)

Answer: STARTLE (i.e. “shock”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by TART (i.e. “filled pastry”) and LE (i.e. “left unfinished”, i.e. the word “left” with the last couple of letters removed). “Singular” seems superfluous in the clue, and wordplay such as “unfinished” nearly always suggests the removal of a single letter from the end of a word, so I might not have this one 100% right.

  1. Rocket consumes last of fuel, using sustainable power (5)

Answer: SOLAR (i.e. “sustainable power”). Solution is SOAR (i.e. to “rocket”) wrapped around or “consuming” L (i.e. “last [letter] of fuel”), like so: SO(L)AR.

  1. Usual dithering about mean heartless old boy (7)

Answer: ALUMNUS (i.e. “old boy”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “dithering”) wrapped “about” MN (i.e. “mean heartless”, i.e. the word “mean” with all its middle letters removed), like so: ALU(MN)US.

  1. Not taking drink away, keeping can (9)

Answer: ABSTINENT (i.e. “not taking drink”). Solution is ABSENT (i.e. “away”) wrapped around or “keeping” TIN (i.e. “can”), like so: ABS(TIN)ENT.

  1. Somewhat timeless series of clues, still (9)

Answer: QUIESCENT (i.e. “still”). Solution is QUITE (i.e. “somewhat”) with the T removed (indicated by “timeless” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and the remainder followed by SCENT (i.e. “series of clues” in an investigation), like so: QUIE-SCENT.

  1. Something with pith and a little weight on record (7)

Answer: EPIGRAM (i.e. “something with pith” – Chambers offers “condensed substance, essence” for “pith”, while an EPIGRAM is “any concise and pointed or sarcastic saying”. Too wishy-washy for my liking). Solution is I GRAM (i.e. “little weight”, i.e. 1g) placed “on” or after EP (i.e. “record”, in this case an Extended Play), like so: EP-(I-GRAM).

  1. Brush tones lacking colour for the ears (5)

Answer: GRAZE (i.e. to “brush” against). “For the ears” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of GREYS (i.e. “tones lacking colour”).

  1. Letter printer provides ruler (7)

Answer: EMPRESS (i.e. “ruler”). Solution is EM (i.e. the “letter” m in speech) followed by PRESS (i.e. “printer”).

  1. Place long recalled as starting point of boat race (6)

Answer: PUTNEY (i.e. “starting point of boat race” each year between Oxford and Cambridge universities). Solution is PUT (i.e. “place”) followed by YEN (i.e. to “long” for or yearn) once reversed (indicated by “recalled”), like so: PUT-NEY.

  1. Actors to keep line out of score, which may provoke a reaction (8)

Answer: CATALYST (i.e. “which may provoke a reaction”). Solution is CAST (i.e. “actors”) wrapped around or “keeping” TALLY (i.e. “score”) once one of the Ls has been removed (indicated by “line out of…” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “line”), like so: CA(TALY)ST.

  1. Without commitments, descriptions of change in (of/to) reef (9,3,5-4)

Answer: FOOTLOOSE AND FANCY-FREE (i.e. “without commitments”). The remainder of the clue plays on the solution cryptically satisfying how FOOT and FREE are anagrams (indicated by LOOSE and FANCY respectively) of “of/to” and “reef”. What a bizarrely worded clue.

  1. Run, everyone, after some deliveries go too far (9)

Answer: OVERREACH (i.e. “go too far”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “run”, covered earlier) and EACH (i.e. “everyone”) both placed “after” OVER (i.e. “some deliveries” in cricket), like so: OVER-(R-EACH).

  1. Reversal of intention to stop widespread lunacy (7)

Answer: MADNESS (i.e. “lunacy”). Solution is END (i.e. “intention”) “reversed” and placed in or “stopping” MASS (i.e. “widespread”), like so: MA(DNE)SS.

  1. Sons stand to emulate troopers? (5)

Answer: SWEAR (i.e. “emulate troopers”, after the phrase “swearing like a trooper”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “sons” – Chambers supports singular and plural) followed by WEAR (i.e. to bear or “stand”).

  1. Turning over vermouth, vent and take place inside pub, being sozzled (11)

Answer: INEBRIATION (i.e. “being sozzled”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), IT (short for Italian “vermouth” – an easier get after the same wordplay was used a few weeks ago), AIR (i.e. “vent”) and BE (i.e. “take place”) all reversed (indicated by “turning”) and placed “inside” INN (i.e. “pub”), like so: IN(EB-RIA-TI-O)N.

  1. Mother moves without agency, accepting article’s core subject (11)

Answer: MATHEMATICS (i.e. “core subject”). Solution is MAMA (i.e. “mother”) and TICS (i.e. “moves without agency”) all wrapped around or “accepting” THE (i.e. “article”, as in a word like a, an or the), like so: MA(THE)MA-TICS.

  1. Twitchy condition of failed UN state (7)

Answer: TETANUS (i.e. “twitchy condition”). “Failed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UN STATE.

  1. Quizzical archer? (7)

Answer: EYEBROW. Clue plays on how one arches an eyebrow when being inquisitive. A proper groaner that took a brute force of my Chambers to nail.

  1. Doctor wraps right side for bottom scraper (7)

Answer: DREDGER (i.e. river “bottom scraper”). Solution is DR (a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”) “wrapped” around R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and EDGE (i.e. “side”), like so: D(R-EDGE)R.

Down clues

  1. Boil or spot next to be reduced (6)

Answer: SEETHE (i.e. “boil”). Solution is SEE (i.e. “spot”) followed by THEN (i.e. “next”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “to be reduced”), like so: SEE-THE.

  1. A nondrinker stops and comes to (7)

Answer: ATTENDS (i.e. “comes to”). Solution is A followed by TT (i.e. “nondrinker”, short for teetotaller), then ENDS (i.e. “stops”).

  1. Guts misshaped red outfit (9)

Answer: FORTITUDE (i.e. “guts”). “Misshaped” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RED OUTFIT.

  1. Are southern breaks way out? (5)

Answer: EXIST (i.e. “are”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) placed in or “breaking” EXIT (i.e. “way out”), like so: EXI(S)T.

  1. Tory to invite disrespect (8)

Answer: CONTEMPT (i.e. “disrespect”). Solution is CON (short for “Conservative”) followed by TEMPT (i.e. “to invite”).

  1. Loose lid stripped without force? (5)

Answer: BERET (i.e. “loose lid”, lid being slang for a hat). Solution is BEREFT (i.e. “stripped”) with the F removed (indicated by “without force” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “force”).

  1. As soon as in credit, taking on new business (7)

Answer: CONCERN (i.e. “business”). Solution is ONCE (i.e. “as soon as”) placed “in” CR (a recognised abbreviation of “credit”) and followed by N (ditto “new”), like so: C(ONCE)R-N.

  1. Heading north, before crossing Iowa, northern Idaho, shout: Texas is outstanding (14)

Answer: EXTRAORDINAIRE (i.e. “outstanding”). Solution is ERE (poetic form of “before”) wrapped around or “crossing”) IA (US state abbreviation of “Iowa”), N (a recognised abbreviation of “north”), ID (US state abbreviation of “Idaho”), ROAR (i.e. “shout”) and TX (US state abbreviation of “Texas”). This is all then reversed (indicated by “heading north” – this being a down clue), like so: E(XT-RAOR-DI-N-AI)RE.

  1. Head of research keen on cutting phrases for paper copies (9)

Answer: PRINTOUTS (i.e. “paper copies”). Solution is R (i.e. “head of research”, i.e. the first letter of “research”) and INTO (i.e. “keen on”) both placed in or “cutting” PUTS (i.e. “phrases”), like so: P(R-INTO)UTS.

  1. Patch together little dog one runs over (3,2)

Answer: RIG UP (i.e. “patch together”). Solution is PUG (i.e. “little dog”), I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs”, already covered) all reversed (indicated by “over”), like so: R-I-GUP.

  1. Negative conditioning, a type someone nonbinary is about to criticise (8,7)

Answer: AVERSION THERAPY (i.e. “negative conditioning”). Solution is A followed by VERSION (i.e. “type”), then THEY (i.e. pronoun of “someone nonbinary”) once wrapped “about” RAP (i.e. “to criticise”), like so: A-VERSION-THE(RAP)Y.

  1. Result takes in sexual activity connected to bedroom (2,5)

Answer: EN SUITE (i.e. “connected to bedroom”). Solution is ENSUE (i.e. “result”) wrapped around or “taking in” IT (i.e. “sexual activity”), like so: ENSU(IT)E.

  1. Menu item available after scrolling? (7)

Answer: ROULADE (i.e. dish or “menu item”). I think the clue is playing on ROUL being an obsolete word for “roll” or “scroll” and -ADE being a suffix expressing the result of an action. (Chambers offers masquerade and lemonade as examples.) In this case, the solution is playfully describing the result of scrolling. Can’t say I was keen on this one.

  1. Dan’s inferior defence against sprawl? (5,4)

Answer: GREEN BELT. Solution satisfies “dan’s inferior” in martial arts grading, and “defence against [urban] sprawl”.

  1. Sketch en travesti is a triumph (7)

Answer: DRAWING (i.e. “sketch”). I guess en travesti is another way of saying “in drag” in another language (Spanish?), so the clue is effectively saying “in drag is a triumph”, in this case WIN placed “in” DRAG, like so: DRA(WIN)G.

  1. Constitution of champagne, I’m afraid to say (8)

Answer: PHYSIQUE (i.e. “constitution”). “To say” indicates homophone. Solution comprises homophones of FIZZ (i.e. informal word for “champagne”) and EEK! (i.e. “I’m afraid”).

  1. Small mischievous pair roam with guys, not ultimately becoming better (4-11)

Answer: SELF-IMPROVEMENT (i.e. “becoming better”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by ELF and IMP (i.e. “mischievous pair”), then ROVE (i.e. “roam”), then MEN (i.e. “guys”) and T (i.e. “not ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “not”).

  1. Notwithstanding retreat of enemy, warns part of UK (2,5,2)

Answer: IN SPITE OF (i.e. “notwithstanding”). Solution is FOE (i.e. “enemy”) followed by TIPS (i.e. “warns”) and NI (i.e. “part of UK”, specifically Northern Ireland). This is all then reversed (indicated by “retreat of”), like so: IN-SPIT-EOF.

  1. Request admission, to dine inside (8)

Answer: ENTREATY (i.e. “request”). Solution is ENTRY (i.e. “admission”) wrapped around or having “inside” EAT (i.e. “dine”), like so: ENTR(EAT)Y.

  1. Product of top quality with limited options (8-6)

Answer: MULTIPLE-CHOICE (i.e. “with limited options”). Solution is MULTIPLE (i.e. mathematical “product”) followed by CHOICE (i.e. “top quality”).

  1. Republican America to win acceptance of British philosopher (7)

Answer: Bertrand RUSSELL (i.e. “British philosopher”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”) followed by US (i.e. “America”) and SELL (i.e. “to win acceptance”, as in selling an idea to someone).

  1. Brief report of hot weather on radio (7)

Answer: SUMMARY (i.e. “brief report”). “On radio” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SUMMERY (i.e. descriptive of “hot weather”).

  1. People looking for a secret passage? (9)

Answer: STOWAWAYS. Solution satisfies the clue as a whole, taking “passage” to mean a journey. I’m not often a fan of riddly clues, but I rather liked this one.

  1. Aviation industry and beyond love boarding quickly (9)

Answer: AEROSPACE (i.e. “aviation industry and beyond”). Solution is EROS (i.e. god of “love”) placed in or “boarding” APACE (i.e. “quickly”).

  1. Low current turned off with zero watts (8)

Answer: UNDERTOW (i.e. “low current”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “off”) of TURNED followed by O (i.e. “zero”) and W (a recognised abbreviation of “watts”), like so: UNDERT-O-W.

  1. Run joint without any women’s bloomers supplied by me (7)

Answer: FLORIST (i.e. “bloomers supplied by me”). Solution is FLOW (i.e. “run”) and WRIST (i.e. “joint”) both with their Ws removed (indicated by “without any women” – W being a recognised abbreviation of “women”), like so: FLO-RIST.

  1. Has-been, I’m one in part up as Oscar candidate? (7)

Answer: NOMINEE (i.e. “Oscar candidate”). “In part” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: HAS-B(EEN I’M ON)E.

  1. Late PM’s unlimited revenge, staying elected (7)

Answer: EVENING (i.e. “late PM”). Solution is EVENG (i.e. “unlimited revenge”, i.e. the word “revenge” with its start and end letters removed) wrapped around or “staying” IN (i.e. “elected”), like so: EVEN(IN)G.

  1. When signature’s ending in slip, use this? (6)

Answer: ERASER (i.e. “this”, within the context of the clue, i.e. something you’d use to rub out an error). Solution is AS (i.e. “when”) and E (i.e. “signature’s ending”, i.e. the last letter of “signature”) both placed “in” ERR (i.e. to “slip”), like so: ER(AS-E)R.

  1. Leading couple in repertory theatre season’s show again (5)

Answer: RERUN (i.e. “show again”). Solution is RE (i.e. “leading couple in repertory”, i.e. the first two letters of “repertory”) followed by RUN (i.e. “theatre season”).

  1. Below delta there’s uncapped bone object (5)

Answer: DEMUR (i.e. to “object”). Solution is D (“Delta” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by FEMUR (i.e. “bone”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “uncapped”), like so: D-EMUR.

  1. Await settlement after small outlay (5)

Answer: SPEND (i.e. “outlay”). Solution is PEND (i.e. “await settlement”) placed “after” S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”), like so: S-MALL.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1582

A medium strength puzzle this week after a couple of toughies. Not much I can add to this one, really. Some good clues, steady progression, a pleasant enough diversion.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you grief then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

FBV (French-By-Volume): 1.7%

Across clues

  1. River quietens with injection of hydrogen (6)

Answer: THAMES (i.e. “river”). Solution is TAMES (i.e. “quietens”) wrapped around or “injected” with H (chemical symbol of “hydrogen”), like so: T(H)AMES.

  1. Gosh! Pound will get a good picnic accessory (4,3)

Answer: COOL BAG (i.e. “picnic accessory”). Solution is COO (i.e. “gosh!”) followed by LB (a recognised abbreviation of “pound” weight, after the Latin libra), then A and G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”).

  1. Confident males, modest, relinquishing power (8)

Answer: COCKSURE (i.e. “confident”). Solution is COCKS (i.e. “males”) followed by PURE (i.e. “modest”) once the P has been removed (indicated by “relinquishing power” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “power”), like so: COCKS-URE. Fnar fnar!

  1. Unhappy end darkens this cartoon film (4,6,3,8)

Answer: KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS (a 1949 Ealing comedy starring Alec Guinness and Alec Guinness and Alec Guinness and Alec… you get the idea. Anyway, “film”). “Unhappy” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of END DARKENS THIS CARTOON. Nicely worked.

  1. Tracery to move agitatedly after corrosion (8)

Answer: FRETWORK (i.e. “tracery” or a fine decorative pattern). Solution is WORK (i.e. “move agitatedly” or convulsively; ‘of features’ apparently, though I had to go deep into Chambers’ definitions for it) placed “after” FRET (i.e. “corrosion”, one of its variant meanings), like so: FRET-WORK.

  1. Understand, when tucking into meat, about greens (7)

Answer: VEGETAL (i.e. “about greens”). Solution is GET (i.e. “understand”) placed “into” VEAL (i.e. “meat”), like so: VE(GET)AL.

  1. Clubs possibly hosting Frenchmen for conference (6)

Answer: SUMMIT (i.e. “conference”). Solution is SUIT (i.e. ” clubs possibly” – other suits in a pack of cards are available) wrapped around or “hosting” M and M (i.e. “Frenchmen” – M is a recognised abbreviation of “monsieur”), like so: SU(M-M)IT.

  1. Experts favoured our group to receive first of college course lists (10)

Answer: PROSPECTUS (i.e. “course lists” – should that be singular?) Solution is PROS (i.e. “experts”), PET (i.e. “favoured”) and US (i.e. “our group”) all wrapped around or “receiving” C (i.e. “first [letter] of college”), like so: PROS-PE(C)T-US.

  1. One in disgrace, Mother got on with kind son (7,5)

Answer: DAMAGED GOODS (i.e. “one in disgrace”). Solution is DAM (i.e. “mother” – a variant meaning of dam relating to cattle that we’ve seen in a few Jumbos now) followed by AGED (i.e. “got on”), then GOOD (i.e. “kind”) and S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”).

  1. Patch of land I almost killed off (4)

Answer: ISLE (i.e. “patch of land”). Solution is I followed by SLEW (i.e. “killed off”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “almost”), like so: I-SLE.

  1. Disparaging after extracting iodine around ring of bark? (8)

Answer: CORTICAL (i.e. “of bark”, derivative form of ‘cortex’). Solution is CRITICAL (i.e. “disparaging”) with one of the Is removed (indicated by “after extracting iodine” – I being its chemical symbol) and the remainder wrapped “around” O (i.e. “ring”), like so: C(O)RTICAL. One nailed from the wordplay, if I’m honest.

  1. Church canon with a new description of the heavens? (8)

Answer: CERULEAN (i.e. a shade of blue, or “description of the heavens”). Solution is CE (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) followed by RULE (i.e. “canon”), then A and N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”). The X-Files episode ‘Pusher’ may have had a hand in me solving this one.

  1. Food item to elevate film shot at Acapulco finally (6,6)

Answer: JACKET POTATO (i.e. “food item”). Solution is JACK (i.e. “to elevate”) followed by ET (i.e. “film”, specifically ET – The Extra Terrestrial), then POT (i.e. snooker “shot”), then AT and O (i.e. “Acapulco finally”, i.e. the last letter of “Acapulco”).

  1. A cover gardener finally brought in to treat flower (6,4)

Answer: DAMASK ROSE (i.e. “flower”). Solution is A, MASK (i.e. “cover”) and R (i.e. “gardener finally”, i.e. the last letter of “gardener”) all placed or “brought in to” DOSE (i.e. “treat”), like so: D(A-MASK-R)OSE.

  1. How to get sent fishing equipment? (6,4)

Answer: TANGLE NETS (i.e. “fishing equipment”). Clue plays on the solution cryptically satisfying “how to get sent”, i.e. an anagram (indicated by “TANGLE”) of NETS.

  1. Palace throne resited in part of Westminster (7,5)

Answer: ANOTHER PLACE (i.e. “part of Westminster”, referencing the House of Lords from the point of view of those in the House of Commons, or vice versa. I always thought they were saying “the other place”, but then my hearing isn’t great. Every day’s a school day). “Resited” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PALACE THRONE.

  1. Stopped to embrace second member, being placated (8)

Answer: DISARMED (i.e. “placated”). Solution is DIED (i.e. “stopped”) wrapped around or “embracing” S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) and ARM (i.e. “member” or bodily extremity), like so: DI(S-ARM)ED.

  1. Pile of farm produce has way to keep years (8)

Answer: HAYSTACK (i.e. “pile of farm produce”). Solution is HAS and TACK (i.e. “way”) all wrapped around or “keeping” Y (a recognised abbreviation of “years”), like so: HA(Y)S-TACK.

  1. Bottle of great importance, lacking central element (4)

Answer: VIAL (i.e. “bottle”). Solution is VITAL (i.e. “of great importance”) with the middle letter removed (indicated by “lacking central element”).

  1. Group admitting Danish writer ignoring one English fantasy creature (12)

Answer: BANDERSNATCH (i.e. “fantasy creature”). Solution is BATCH (i.e. “group”) wrapped around or “admitting” Hans Christian ANDERSEN (i.e. “Danish writer”) once one of the Es has been removed (indicated by “ignoring one English” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: B(ANDERSN)ATCH.

  1. One on board often depressed: restraint vital (7,3)

Answer: CONTROL KEY (i.e. “one on [computer key]board often depressed”). Solution is CONTROL (i.e. “restraint”) followed by KEY (i.e. “vital”).

  1. University learners coming in to secure passage (6)

Answer: GULLET (i.e. “passage”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”), L and L (ditto “learners” – plural, so there are two) both placed “in” GET (i.e. “to secure”), like so: G(U-L-L)ET.

  1. Poison very twisted individual injected into ailing men (7)

Answer: ENVENOM (i.e. to “poison”). Solution is V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”) and ONE (i.e. “individual”) once reversed (indicated by “twisted”) both placed “into” an anagram (indicated by “ailing”) of MEN, like so: EN(V-ENO)M.

  1. Pepper’s appearance rooted in stone, initially odd (8)

Answer: PIMIENTO (i.e. variety of “pepper”). Solution is MIEN (i.e. “appearance”) placed or “rooted in” PIT (i.e. fruit “stone”) and followed by O (i.e. “initially odd”, i.e. the first letter of “odd”), like so: PI(MIEN)T-O.

  1. Wan desultory ambition stirred, receiving a comment on extended construction times (4,3,3,5,2,1,3)

Answer: ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY (i.e. “comment on extended construction times”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “stirred”) of WAN DESULTORY AMBITION wrapped around or “receiving” A.

  1. Looking ravaged, allowed element of challenge (8)

Answer: GAUNTLET (i.e. “element of challenge”). Solution is GAUNT (i.e. “looking ravaged”) followed by LET (i.e. “allowed”).

  1. Caribbean island not supporting Pacific island? Not entirely (7)

Answer: ANTIGUA (i.e. “Caribbean island”). Solution is ANTI-GUAM (i.e. “not supporting Pacific Island”, playfully) with its last letter removed (indicated by “not entirely”), like so: ANTI-GUA.

  1. Charge excluding a German house-guest (6)

Answer: LODGER (i.e. “house-guest”). Solution is LOAD (i.e. to “charge”) with the A removed (indicated by “excluding a”) and the remainder followed by GER (a recognised abbreviation of “German”), like so: LOD-GER.

Down clues

  1. Price rise beginning to rile rambler (5)

Answer: HIKER (i.e. “rambler”). Solution is HIKE (i.e. “price rise”) followed by R (i.e. “beginning to rile”, i.e. the first letter of “rile”).

  1. Little risk for speaker in a quick meal (6,5)

Answer: MINUTE STEAK (i.e. “quick meal”). Solution is MINUTE (i.e. “little”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “for speaker”) of STAKE (i.e. to “risk”).

  1. Vessel more readily allowing first couple of children on board (8)

Answer: SCHOONER (i.e. “vessel”). Solution is SOONER (i.e. “more readily”) wrapped around or “allowing…on board” CH (i.e. “first couple [of letters] of ‘children’”), like so: S(CH)OONER.

  1. Family spook finally producing sound of chains? (5)

Answer: CLANK (i.e. “sound of chains”). Solution is CLAN (i.e. “family”) followed by K (i.e. “spook finally”, i.e. the last letter of “spook”).

  1. Gutted contralto picked up items on score, but not opening sequences of notes (7)

Answer: OCTAVES (i.e. “sequences of notes”). Solution is CO (i.e. “gutted contralto”, i.e. the word “contralto” with all its middle letters removed) reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue) and followed by STAVES (i.e. “items on [musical] score”) once the first letter has been removed (indicated by “but not opening”), like so: OC-TAVES.

  1. Country upset about newspaper trouble – I will probe company bluster (11)

Answer: BRAGGADOCIO (i.e. “bluster”). Solution is GB (i.e. “country”, specifically Great Britain) reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue) and wrapped “about” RAG (slang for “newspaper”). This is then followed by ADO (i.e. “trouble”) and I once placed in or “probing” CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”), like so: B(RAG)G-ADO-C(I)O.

  1. Leave and spot someone expected to appear? (5)

Answer: GODOT (i.e. “someone expected to appear”, referencing Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting For Godot). Solution is GO (i.e. “leave”) followed by DOT (i.e. “spot”).

  1. Poor justification to produce firewood, say, before a lot of cold weather (9)

Answer: CHOPLOGIC (i.e. false reasoning or “poor justification” – my Chambers and Oxford both disagree, listing this as a two-word phrase and not a single nine-letter word. My Collins Concise, meanwhile, doesn’t list it at all.) Solution is CHOP LOG (i.e. “produce firewood, say”) followed by ICE (i.e. “cold weather”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “a lot of…”), like so: (CHOP-LOG)-IC.

  1. It’s hard to carry, making you grumpy (5)

Answer: CROSS. Solution satisfies “it’s hard to carry”, as in someone’s “cross to bear”, and “grumpy”.

  1. Slow-moving vehicle covering each mile with walker (11)

Answer: STEAMROLLER (i.e. “slow-moving vehicle”). Solution is EA (a recognised abbreviation of “each”) and M (ditto “mile”) both placed in or “covered” by STROLLER (i.e. “walker”), like so: ST(EA-M)ROLLER.

  1. Cancel escape, having cut skin (7)

Answer: RESCIND (i.e. “cancel”). Solution is ESC (a recognised abbreviation of “escape”, a key on a computer keyboard) placed in or “cutting” RIND (i.e. “skin”), like so: R(ESC)IND.

  1. Runs a wildlife tour, retaining time for religious figure (3,6)

Answer: RAS TAFARI (i.e. “religious figure”, specifically revered former emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) followed by A and SAFARI (i.e. “wildlife tour”) all wrapped around or “retaining” T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: R-A-S(T)AFARI.

  1. Book containing revolutionary plant item (7)

Answer: TWOSOME (i.e. couple or “item”). Solution is TOME (i.e. “book”) wrapped around or “containing” SOW (i.e. “plant” seeds) once reversed (indicated by “revolutionary”), like so: T(WOS)OME.

  1. Notice Eire investing in whiskey: that’s awkward (9)

Answer: MALADROIT (i.e. “awkward”). Solution is AD (i.e. “notice”, short for advertisement) and ROI (i.e. “Eire”, or Republic Of Ireland) both placed or “invested in” MALT (i.e. “whiskey”), like so: MAL(AD-ROI)T.

  1. Is nothing in part of Northern Ireland of little significance? (8)

Answer: DERISORY (i.e. “of little significance”). Solution is IS and O (i.e. “nothing”) both placed “in” DERRY (i.e. “part of Northern Ireland”), like so: DER(IS-O)RY.

  1. It’s all over a statement of the obvious about pronoun (5,4)

Answer: THAT’S THAT. Solution satisfies “it’s all over” and “a statement of the obvious about pronoun”.

  1. Redevelopment of seacoast involving one couple (9)

Answer: ASSOCIATE (i.e. to “couple” or join). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “redevelopment of”) of SEACOAST wrapped around or “involving” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: ASSOC(I)ATE.

  1. River boat’s gone round, displaying flag (8)

Answer: STREAMER (i.e. “flag”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”) placed in or having “round” STEAMER (i.e. “boat”), like so: ST(R)EAMER.

  1. Hairstyle? Complain about yokel getting trimmed (7)

Answer: MOHICAN (i.e. “hairstyle”). Solution is MOAN (i.e. “complain”) wrapped “about” HICK (i.e. “yokel”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “getting trimmed”), like so: MO(HIC)AN.

  1. African currency acquired by American banker, a respected figure (5,3,3)

Answer: GRAND OLD MAN (i.e. “a respected figure”). Solution is RAND (i.e. “African currency”) placed in or “acquired by” Marcus GOLDMAN (i.e. “American banker”), like so: G(RAND)OLDMAN.

  1. Trace of nudity in naughty bit broadcast? Certainly not (8,3)

Answer: ANYTHING BUT (i.e. “certainly not”). Solution N (i.e. “trace of nudity”, i.e. the first letter of “nudity”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “broadcast”) of NAUGHTY BIT, like so: A(N)YTHINGBUT.

  1. Led after stage of game, being very controlled (5-6)

Answer: LEVEL-HEADED (i.e. “being very controlled”). Solution is HEADED (i.e. “led”) placed “after” LEVEL (i.e. “stage of (video) game” – this nerd approves!).

  1. Effort to acquire new Irish plates etc (6,3)

Answer: DINNER SET (i.e. “plates etc”). Solution is DINT (i.e. “effort”) wrapped around or “acquiring” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and ERSE (i.e. “Irish”), like so: DIN(N-ERSE)T.

  1. US state securing border in getting crook (8)

Answer: CRIMINAL (i.e. “crook”). Solution is CAL (i.e. “US state”, short for California) wrapped around or “securing” RIM (i.e. “border”) and IN, like so: C(RIM-IN)AL.

  1. Vocal music around pier curtailed marine displays (7)

Answer: AQUARIA (i.e. “marine displays”, plural of aquarium). Solution is ARIA (i.e. “vocal music”) wrapped “around” QUAY (i.e. “pier”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “curtailed”), like so: A(QUA)RIA.

  1. On holiday? Feeling glum, missing love, beside borders of China (7)

Answer: CAMPING (i.e. “on holiday”). Solution is MOPING (i.e. “feeling glum”) with the O removed (indicated by “missing love” – “love” being a zero score in tennis) and the remainder placed after or “beside” CA (i.e. “borders of China”, i.e. the first and last letters of “China”), like so: CA-MPING.

  1. Drying agent tails off excessively? (5)

Answer: TOWEL (i.e. “drying agent”). Solution is TOO WELL (i.e. “excessively”) with the last letter removed from each word (indicated by “tails off”), like so: TO-WEL.

  1. Shakespearean character going by catching start of one line (5)

Answer: VIOLA (i.e. “Shakespearean character”, from The Merchant Of Venice Twelfth Night). Solution is VIA (i.e. “going by”) wrapped around or “catching” O (i.e. “start [letter] of ‘one’”) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”), like so: VI(O-L)A.

[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for the correction re: Twelfth Night. I was getting my Portias and Violas mixed up. Cheers, Sue! – LP]

  1. Historic city has taken up recording revolutionary creative work (5)

Answer: PETRA (i.e. “historic city”). Solution is EP (i.e. “recording”, short for Extended Play) reversed (indicated by “taken up” – this being a down clue) followed by ART (i.e. “creative work”) also reversed (indicated by “revolutionary”), like so: PE-TRA.

  1. Fragrant plant no longer for the solver and setter (5)

Answer: THYME (i.e. “fragrant plant”). Solution is THY (i.e. an archaic form, indicated by “no longer”, of “for the solver”, i.e. “your”) followed by ME (i.e. “setter”), both taken from the point of view of the setter.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1581

A toughie this week and one that dipped too deeply into general knowledge for my liking. I mean, just look at some of the stuff in the grid. Oof. Still, there were several well-crafted clues to enjoy so it wasn’t too bad in the end. Kudos too for including a modern hit novel in the grid.

Speaking of which, 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 you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts and opinions of other solvers once their pens are silenced. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

FBV (French-By-Volume): 8.3% – a fruity Cassel with a slightly acidic aftertaste. Short of a full-bodied Depardieu, but a pokey little number nonetheless. Serve with fish or white meat, and preferably a Gauloises.

Across clues

  1. Vessel recently found complete united country without force (9)

Answer: ENDURANCE (i.e. “vessel recently found”, referring to Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the finding of which made the news a few months ago. It’s unusual to find a time-sensitive clue in a Jumbo. I wonder if the ship’s discovery will be as memorable and as relevant in a few years’ time when this puzzle gets republished in the annual Jumbo Cryptic book). Solution is END (i.e. “complete”) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”) and FRANCE (i.e. “country”) once the F has been removed (indicated by “without force” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “force”), like so: END-U-RANCE.

  1. Vicious perhaps to return letter showing no consideration (10)

Answer: DISMISSIVE (i.e. “showing no consideration”). Solution is SID (i.e. “Vicious perhaps” – other Sids are available) reversed (indicated by “to return”) and followed by MISSIVE (i.e. “letter”), like so: DIS-MISSIVE.

  1. Gold rush associated with area in city (7)

Answer: AUGUSTA (i.e. “city” in the US state of Georgia). Solution is AU (chemical symbol of “gold”) followed by GUST (i.e. “rush” of wind) and A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”).

  1. Stay with European supporter in residence (9)

Answer: LODGEPOLE (i.e. “supporter in residence”, in this case a pole used in a Native American lodge). Solution is LODGE (i.e. “stay with”) followed by POLE (i.e. “European”). One solved from the wordplay, to be honest.

  1. Indispensable as in pen that’s disposable? (5)

Answer: BASIC (i.e. essential or “indispensable”). Solution is AS placed “in” BIC (i.e. “pen that’s disposable”, or a Bic biro), like so: B(AS)IC.

  1. Old actress banking money woman needed for anniversary (12)

Answer: TERCENTENARY (i.e. 300th “anniversary”). Solution is Dame Ellen TERRY (i.e. “old actress” – no, me neither. Chalk this one to my Bradford’s. She has appeared in Jumbos before, but not since 2018) wrapped around or “banking” CENT (i.e. “money”) and ENA (i.e. “woman’s” name), like so: TER(CENT-ENA)RY.

  1. Simple stone containing ash say in comfortable position (4,6)

Answer: EASY STREET (i.e. “comfortable position”). Solution is EASY (i.e. “simple”) followed by ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stone” weight) once wrapped around or “containing” TREE (i.e. “ash say” – other trees are available), like so: EAST-S(TREE)T.

  1. Cardinal interrupting terribly stubborn ass commits irrevocably (5,4,5)

Answer: BURNS ONE’S BOATS (i.e. “commits irrevocably”, a variant form of ‘burns one’s bridges’). Solution is ONE (i.e. “cardinal” – basically a number) placed in or “interrupting” an anagram (indicated by “terribly”) of STUBBORN ASS, like so: BURNS(ONE)SBOATS.

  1. Express affection introducing fancy bun to Wine Society (3,5)

Answer: RUB NOSES (i.e. how Eskimos “express affection”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fancy”) of BUN placed in or “introduced…to” ROSÉ (i.e. variety of “wine”) and S (a recognised abbreviation of “society”), like so: R(UBN)OSÉ-S.

  1. Native British soldiers needing hotel accommodation? (6)

Answer: INBORN (i.e. “native”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) and OR (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) both placed in or “accommodated by” INN (i.e. “hotel”), like so: IN(B-OR)N.

  1. Journey quickly to France – via a number of stations? (7-3)

Answer: CHANNEL-HOP. Solution satisfies “journey quickly to France” and “via a number of [TV or radio] stations”.

  1. One tooth Queen wanted out? GP was seen here (5)

Answer: IMOLA (i.e. “GP was seen here”, the solution being a race track in Italy and a GP being Grand Prix). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by MOLAR (i.e. “tooth”) once the R has been removed (indicated by “Queen wanted out” – R being a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Regina), like so: I-MOLA.

  1. Nothing fixes a fixer (4)

Answer: NAIL (i.e. “fixer”). Solution is NIL (i.e. “nothing”) wrapped around or “fixing” A, like so: N(A)IL.

  1. Dead? He died alone, note (8)

Answer: OBSOLETE (i.e. “dead”). Solution is OB (i.e. “died”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of the Latin obiit) followed by SOLE (i.e. “alone”) and TE (i.e. “note” in the sol-fa notation, i.e. doh-ray-me etc).

  1. Island within French sea board having value (9)

Answer: MERITABLE (i.e. “having value”). Solution is I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”) placed “within” MER (i.e. “French sea”, i.e. the French for “sea”) and TABLE (i.e. “board”, “a table around which committee meetings are held” (Chambers)), like so: MER-(I)-TABLE.

  1. Smooth and white – a plant undergoing tests? (9)

Answer: ALABASTER (i.e. “smooth and white”). When written as A LAB ASTER the solution also playfully satisfies “a plant undergoing tests”.

  1. Perhaps a Floridian can? (8)

Answer: RESTROOM. Clue plays on “can” being slang for the toilet, and how Americans call their toilets “restrooms”. That’s about all, I guess.

  1. Prejudice shown in twice concealing answer (4)

Answer: BIAS (i.e. “prejudice”). Solution is BIS (i.e. “twice” in musical lingo) wrapped around or “concealing” A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”), like so: BI(A)S.

  1. Idea from police about seize heroin and ecstasy (5)

Answer: THEME (i.e. “idea”). Solution is MET (i.e. “police”, short for the London Metropolitan Police) reversed (indicated by “about”) and wrapped around or “seizing” H (slang name for “heroin”). This is all then followed by E (ditto “ecstasy”), like so: T(H)EM-E.

  1. Meal Spartan’s taken round lake or region by river (10)

Answer: FLOODPLAIN (i.e. “region by river”). Solution is FOOD (i.e. “meal”) and PLAIN (i.e. “spartan” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) wrapped or “taken round” L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: F(L)OOD-PLAIN.

  1. Girl invited to garden embraces academician Harry (6)

Answer: MARAUD (i.e. to plunder or “harry” – again, ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is MAUD (i.e. “girl invited to garden” – apparently a reference to Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem Maud, containing the line: “Come into the garden, Maud”. Again, me neither) wrapped around or “embracing” RA (i.e. “academician”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a Royal Academician), like so: MA(RA)UD. Another win for the Bradford’s.

  1. Negative decisions on row involving city backed (8)

Answer: REFUSALS (i.e. “negative decisions”). Solution is RE (i.e. “on” or regarding – think email replies) and FUSS (i.e. “row” or bother) wrapped around or “involving” LA (i.e. “city”, specifically Los Angeles) once reversed (indicated by “backed”), like so: RE-FUS(AL)S.

  1. Work that’s current seen in West London landscape? (6,8)

Answer: ACTION PAINTING (i.e. “work” – specifically the kind of thing Jackson Pollock did). Solution is I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics) placed “in” ACTON (area of “West London”) and PAINTING (i.e. “landscape”), like so: ACT(I)ON-PAINTING.

  1. Language of actor, sober, unusually (5-5)

Answer: SERBO-CROAT (i.e. “language”). “Unusually” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ACTOR SOBER.

  1. Put a message about India’s holy day (12)

Answer: SEPTUAGESIMA (i.e. “holy day”, supposedly the third Sunday before Lent. I distinctly remember WH Smiths being fresh out of Septuagesima cards this year, so that’s them damned for all eternity). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of PUT A MESSAGE wrapped “about” I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: SEPTUAGES(I)MA. Sounds more like a nasty skin infection to me.

  1. Small instrument not in tune (5)

Answer: SHARP (i.e. “not in tune” – over to Chambers: “high in pitch, or too high (music)”, among other definitions). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by HARP (i.e. “instrument”).

  1. Swamp predator stopped by boy – one brave fighter (9)

Answer: GLADIATOR (i.e. “brave fighter”). Solution is GATOR (i.e. “swamp predator”, short for alligator) wrapped around or “stopped by” LAD (i.e. “boy”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: G(LAD-I)ATOR.

  1. Eccentric learner one in Paris with a nervous twitch (7)

Answer: LUNATIC (i.e. “eccentric” – I mean, okay, but that word is having to do some serious heavy-lifting in this clue. Call a serial killer ‘lunatic’? Sure, why not, they’re nuts. Call them ‘eccentric’? Well, I suppose it’s possible they might spend a weird amount of effort arranging all the human heads in their fridge so their noses touch, but surely first principles would apply here?! Anyway…) Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner”) followed by UN (i.e. “one in Paris”, i.e. the French for “one”), then A and TIC (i.e. “nervous twitch”).

  1. Bargain rates for exchange in large company (5-5)

Answer: HORSE-TRADE (i.e. to “bargain”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “for exchange”) of RATES placed “in” HORDE (i.e. “large company”), like so: HOR(SETRA)DE.

  1. Compensates and changes gear? (9)

Answer: REDRESSES. Solution satisfies “compensates” and “changes gear”.

Down clues

  1. Dying bird deserted by large rook (5)

Answer: EAGER (i.e. “dying” or yearning). Solution is EAGLE (i.e. “bird”) with the L removed (indicated by “deserted by large” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and the remainder followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “rook” used in chess), like so: EAGE-R.

  1. Medical provider from Galashiels at last writes in Daily Record (10)

Answer: DISPENSARY (i.e. “medical provider”). Solution is S (i.e. “Galashiels at last”, i.e. the last letter of “Galashiels”) and PENS (i.e. “writes”) both placed “in” DIARY (i.e. “daily record” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: DI(S-PENS)ARY.

  1. Course ends prematurely with smart lecture (8)

Answer: ROASTING (i.e. a telling-off or “lecture”). Solution is ROAD (i.e. “course”) with the last letter missing (indicated by “ends prematurely”) and the remainder followed by STING (i.e. “smart” or hurt), like so ROA-STING.

  1. Only worked with new material (5)

Answer: NYLON (i.e. “material”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “worked”) of ONLY followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: NYLO-N.

  1. Colour that is reflected on blue cover (9)

Answer: EIDERDOWN (i.e. bed “cover”). Solution is RED (i.e. “colour”) and IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. “i.e.”!) both reversed (indicated by “reflected”) and followed by DOWN (i.e. “blue”), like so: (EI-DER)-DOWN.

  1. Bottomless river with source in Pennines? (4)

Answer: DEEP (i.e. “bottomless”). Solution is DEE (i.e. “river”) followed by P (i.e. “source in Pennines”, i.e. the first letter of “Pennines”).

  1. Labour worker can’t finish campaign line (6)

Answer: SLOGAN (i.e. “campaign line”). Solution is SLOG (i.e. “labour”) followed by ANT (i.e. “worker”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “can’t finish”), like so: SLOG-AN.

  1. What was that personal request for absolution? (1,3,4,6)

Answer: I BEG YOUR PARDON. Solution satisfies “what was that” and, playfully, “personal request for absolution”.

  1. Give support for healthy, mostly those on vacation (12)

Answer: SUBSTANTIATE (i.e. “give support for”). Solution is SUBSTANTIAL (i.e. “healthy” or considerable) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by TE (i.e. “those on vacation”, i.e. the word “those” with all its middle letters removed), like so: SUBSTANTIA-TE.

  1. Service scooters from Italy as discussed? (7)

Answer: VESPERS (i.e. evening “service”). “As discussed” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of VESPAS (i.e. a brand of “scooters from Italy”).

  1. Spanish speaker is unable to answer very naughty boy? (10)

Answer: CANTABRIAN (i.e. “Spanish speaker” – Cantabria is a region of north Spain). Solution is CAN’T (i.e. “is unable to”) followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A) and BRIAN (i.e. “very naughty boy”, a reference to the famous line from Monty Python’s Life Of Brian – I very much approve!)

  1. Attic style not left out in Carthage? (4,5)

Answer: CITY STATE (i.e. “Carthage” – I’ll take the setter’s word for it. I’ve had my fill of general knowledge for this week). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of ATTIC STYLE once the L has been removed (indicated by “not left” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “left”).

  1. Metropolis ultimately associated with the glass? (2,6)

Answer: ST HELENS (i.e. a “metropolis”, being the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens). Solution is S (i.e. “metropolis ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “metropolis”) followed by THE and LENS (i.e. “glass”).

  1. Scottish poet keeping books outside a religious office (9)

Answer: RABBINATE (i.e. “religious office”). Solution is RABBIE Burns (i.e. “Scottish poet”) wrapped around or “keeping” NT (i.e. “books”, specifically the New Testament of The Bible) once this has itself been wrapped around or placed “outside” A, like so: RABBI(N(A)T)E.

  1. Here one learns son in space retains height (10)

Answer: SCHOOLROOM (i.e. “here one learns”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by COOL (i.e. “in” or popular) and ROOM (i.e. “space”) all wrapped around or “retaining” H (a recognised abbreviation of “height”), like so: S-C(H)OOL-ROOM.

  1. Story involving astronauts that remain, somehow (3,7)

Answer: THE MARTIAN (i.e. “story involving astronauts”, being a 2011 science fiction novel by Andy Weir that was turned into a hit 2015 movie directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. Respect to the setter here. I was getting fed up with how each novel featured in a Jumbo was usually some dusty old thing from over a hundred years ago, as if setters all thought the author had to be dead before they could reference their work. This was therefore rather refreshing to solve. More, please! Obviously I’ll beat the drum for more genre fiction bestsellers, but there’s decades of literary prize-winning chin-strokers that could feature too). “Somehow” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THAT REMAIN.

  1. Essential passages in blog a bit rambling, indulged at first (9)

Answer: OBBLIGATI (i.e. “essential passages” in musical lingo). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rambling”) of BLOG A BIT followed by I (i.e. “indulged at first”, i.e. the first letter of “indulged”), like so: OBBLIGAT-I.

  1. First person to succumb saved by a radiant, alluring individual (1,3,2,3,5)

Answer: A BIT OF ALL RIGHT (i.e. “alluring individual”). Solution is I (i.e. “first person” – “I” being first person, “you” being second person, “they” being third person), TO and FALL (i.e. “succumb”) both placed in or “saved by” A and BRIGHT (i.e. “radiant”), like so: A-B(I-TO-FALL)RIGHT.

  1. Regret after sending up chance to protect unknown wife snake bit (8)

Answer: EURYDICE (i.e. “wife snake bit” in Greek mythology. A recent repeat from grid 1562, so I won’t repeat myself here). Solution is RUE (i.e. “regret”) reversed (indicated by “after sending up” – this being a down clue) along with DICE (i.e. “chance”) all wrapped around or “protecting” Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as “unknowns”), like so: EUR-(Y)-DICE.

  1. Writ has to integrate Lincoln with another Oxford college? (6,6)

Answer: HABEAS CORPUS (i.e. a “writ” “to a jailer to produce a prisoner in person, and to state the reasons for detention” (Chambers)). Solution is HAS wrapped around or “integrating” ABE (i.e. “Lincoln”) followed by CORPUS (i.e. “Oxford college”, informal name of Corpus Christi), like so: H(ABE)AS-CORPUS. While it’s tempting to make fun of such a rah-rah-rah clue, I have to admit this was very nicely worked.

  1. Skier sat in a daze, beginning to see stars (9)

Answer: ASTERISKS (i.e. “stars”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “in a daze”) of SKIER SAT followed by S (i.e. “beginning to see”, i.e. the first letter of “see”), like so: ASTERISK-S. Another excellent clue.

  1. Angular look two men for example introduced (4,6)

Answer: SIDE GLANCE (i.e. “angular look”). Solution is SID and LANCE (i.e. “two men’s” names) wrapped around or “introducing” EG (i.e. “for example”, after the Latin exempli gratia), like so: SID-(EG)-LANCE.

  1. Mown area with slip catch that turns game (4,6)

Answer: LAWN TENNIS (i.e. “game”). Solution is LAWN (i.e. “mown area”) followed by SIN (i.e. “slip” or error) and NET (i.e. “catch”) once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “that turns”), like so: LAWN-(TEN-NIS).

  1. Take oblique look round cool street in city (9)

Answer: LEICESTER (i.e. “city”). Solution is LEER (i.e. “take oblique look”) wrapped “round” ICE (i.e. “cool”) and ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: LE(ICE-ST)ER.

  1. Common people using hammer to open cold beer? (8)

Answer: CANAILLE (i.e. “common people”, and not an especially kindly reference). Solution is NAIL (i.e. “using hammer”) placed in or “opening” C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold” used on taps) and ALE (i.e. “beer”), like so: C-A(NAIL)LE. One remembered from a previous puzzle if I’m honest. It’s from the French too, so you know what that means…

  1. Variety of stuff from newspaper appearing in Algarve city (7)

Answer: FARRAGO (i.e. “variety of stuff”). Solution is RAG (i.e. “newspaper”) placed “in” FARO (i.e. “Algarve city”), like so: FAR(RAG)O.

  1. Prospect with gold disappearing in country with canal (6)

Answer: PANAMA (i.e. “country with canal”). Solution is PANORAMA (i.e. view or “prospect”) with the OR removed (indicated by “with gold disappearing” – OR being “gold” or yellow in heraldry).

  1. Ready to drop on coming in half-drunk (5)

Answer: TIRED (i.e. “ready to drop”). Solution is RE (i.e. “on” – already covered in 44 across) placed or “coming in” TIDDLY (i.e. “drunk”) once the last “half” has been chopped off, like so: TI(RE)D.

  1. Stroke, fantastic cut, is making boundary (5)

Answer: ICTUS (i.e. “stroke” or sudden attack, medically). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fantastic”) of CUT placed in or having as it’s “boundary” IS, like so: I(CTU)S. Another that had me rolling my eyes initially – Times setters sure love their Latin – but, again, I have to admit this was another well-crafted clue.

  1. Price increase in March? (4)

Answer: HIKE. Solution satisfies “price increase” and “march” – ignoring the misleading capitalisation.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1580

Another toughie this week. For the most part this was an enjoyable one to chip away at during the day, though I did think the setter would run out of homophone indicators at one point! A couple of clues also relied on definitions that could be described as “distant cousins” of their solutions at best. Still, taken as a whole this one was pretty good.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has left you scratching your head then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things.

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

LP

FBV (French-By-Volume): 3.3%

Across clues

  1. In vain, still awaiting service from bartender, allowing round character to push in? (9)

Answer: POINTLESS (i.e. “in vain”). Solution is PINTLESS (i.e. “still awaiting service from bartender”) wrapped around or having O (i.e. “round character”) “push in”, like so: P(O)INTLESS.

  1. Reservists accessing land from the East after deposing leader in country (5)

Answer: QATAR (i.e. “country”). Solution is TA (i.e. “reservists”, specifically the Territorial Army) placed in or “accessing” IRAQ (i.e. “land”) once reversed (indicated by “from the East” – this being an across clue) and it’s first letter removed (indicated by “after deposing leader”), like so: QA(TA)R.

  1. A doctor getting around predicament, gallant (7)

Answer: ADMIRER (i.e. “gallant”). Solution is A and DR (a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”) wrapped “round” MIRE (i.e. “predicament”), like so: A-D(MIRE)R.

  1. Odd bits removed from boiled rice, wrinkly (5)

Answer: OLDIE (i.e. “wrinkly”). “Odd bits removed from” indicates the solution is derived from every other letter of BOILED RICE.

  1. Scene I love in theatrical piece (7)

Answer: DIORAMA (i.e. “scene”). Solution is I and O (i.e. “love”, a zero score in tennis) both placed “in” DRAMA (i.e. “theatrical piece”), like so: D(I-O)RAMA.

  1. Communicate anger initially in rage (3,6)

Answer: GET ACROSS (i.e. “communicate”). Solution is A (i.e. “anger initially”, i.e. the first letter of “anger”) placed “in” GET CROSS (i.e. “rage”), like so: GET-(A)-CROSS.

  1. Criminal, harmless beauty (11)

Answer: SAFECRACKER (i.e. “criminal”). Solution is SAFE (i.e. “harmless”) followed by CRACKER (i.e. “beauty”).

  1. One revealing all as tapestries unravelled, beginning on reconstruction (11)

Answer: STRIPTEASER (i.e. “one revealing all”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unravelled”) of TAPESTRIES followed by R (i.e. “beginning [letter] on reconstruction”), like so: STRIPTEASE-R.

  1. Maestro in control, by the sound of it? (6)

Answer: George Frideric HANDEL (i.e. “maestro”). “By the sound of it” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of HANDLE (i.e. “control”).

  1. Idyllic Scottish isle inspiring painting by Pissarro, originally (8)

Answer: UNSPOILT (i.e. “idyllic”). Solution is UNST (i.e. “Scottish isle” – no, me neither) wrapped around or “inspiring” OIL (i.e. “painting”) once first placed after or “by” P (i.e. “Pissarro, originally”, i.e. the first letter of “Pissarro”), like so: UNS(P-OIL)T.

  1. African really, African land (6)

Answer: SOMALI (i.e. “African”). Solution is SO (i.e. “really”) followed by MALI (i.e. “African land”).

  1. Avian selection from menu: that chicken? (8)

Answer: NUTHATCH (i.e. bird or “avian”). “Selection from” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: ME(NU THAT CH)ICKEN.

  1. Note, I falter after passing motorway (14)

Answer: DEMISEMIQUAVER (i.e. musical “note”). Solution is I and QUAVER (i.e. “falter”) both placed “after” DEMISE (i.e. “passing”) and M (a recognised abbreviation of “motorway”), like so: (DEMISE-M)-I-QUAVER.

  1. Fermentation ingredient for instance fuelling still (5)

Answer: YEAST (i.e. “fermentation ingredient”). Solution is AS (i.e. “for instance”) placed in or “fuelling” YET (i.e. “still”), like so: YE(AS)T.

  1. Cub that is beside man (6)

Answer: ROOKIE (i.e. “cub”, both referring to beginners). Solution is IE (i.e. “that is”) placed after or “beside” ROOK (i.e. “man” – sometimes chess pieces are referred to as men), like so: ROOK-IE.

  1. Through taking leave, work at getting around puzzlement (10)

Answer: PERPLEXITY (i.e. “puzzlement”). Solution is PER (i.e. “through”) followed by EXIT (i.e. “leave”) once placed in or “getting around” it PLY (i.e. “work at”), like so: PER-PL(EXIT)Y.

  1. Quick way golden tortilla stuffed with last of cheddar (10)

Answer: AUTOSTRADA (i.e. “quick way”, or a motorway in Italy). Solution is AU TOSTADA (i.e. “golden tortilla” – AU being the chemical symbol of gold) wrapped around or “stuffed with” R (i.e. “last [letter] of cheddar”), like so: AU-TOST(R)ADA. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here. I couldn’t think beyond taco for “tortilla”.

  1. Month before king of France backed youth (6)

Answer: JUNIOR (i.e. “youth”). Solution is JUN (i.e. “month”, short for June) followed by ROI (i.e. “king of France”, i.e. the French for “king”) once reversed (indicated by “backed”), like so: JUN-IOR.

  1. In declaration, acquire land (5)

Answer: GHANA (i.e. “land”). “In declaration” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of GARNER (i.e. “acquire”).

  1. Blow that may have loosened dentures? (4,2,3,5)

Answer: KICK IN THE TEETH (i.e. “blow”). Solution also satisfies the clue as a whole.

  1. One couldn’t translate last part of poem, too long for translation (8)

Answer: MONOGLOT (i.e. “one couldn’t translate” – a monoglot is someone who only knows one language). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “for translation”) of M (i.e. “last part of poem”, i.e. the last letter of “poem”) and TOO LONG.

  1. Leading to end of obstruction, mostly healthy (6)

Answer: LETHAL (i.e. “leading to end”). Solution is LET (i.e. “obstruction”, a variant meaning of the word we’ve seen in a couple of Jumbos) followed by HALE (i.e. “healthy”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: LET-HAL.

  1. Animal’s oink best neglected (8)

Answer: STEINBOK (i.e. “animal”). “Neglected” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OINK BEST. A brute force of my Chambers was needed here.

  1. Spring when fellow overheard? (6)

Answer: GEYSER (i.e. “spring”). “When…overheard” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of GEEZER (i.e. “fellow”).

  1. As, for example, planes run well during first minutes of flight? (11)

Answer: ARBORESCENT (i.e. tree-like, or “as, for example, planes” – one of the definitions of “plane” is a kind of tree). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in some ball games) and BORE (i.e. “well”) both placed “during” ASCENT (i.e. “first minutes of flight”), like so: A(R-BORE)SCENT.

  1. Token: give fourth out, banking first of cash (4,7)

Answer: GIFT VOUCHER (i.e. “token”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of GIVE FOURTH wrapped around or “banking” C (i.e. “first [letter] of cash”), like so: GIFTVOU(C)HER.

  1. Socially distancing in a fog (6,3)

Answer: SPACED OUT. Solution satisfies “socially distancing” and mentally “in a fog”.

  1. Girl wearing old fifties garment (7)

Answer: OVERALL (i.e. “garment”). Solution is VERA (i.e. “girl’s” name) placed in or “wearing” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and LL (i.e. “fifties” – L being the Roman numeral for fifty), like so: O-(VERA)-LL. I rather liked this one.

  1. Stout or plonk? (5)

Answer: PLUMP. Solution satisfies “stout” or to “plonk”.

  1. Doing a twirl in dress, it amuses artist (7)

Answer: Henri MATISSE (i.e. “artist”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “doing a twirl” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: DR(ESS IT AM)USES.

  1. Sticky stuff, make error again? (5)

Answer: RESIN (i.e. “sticky stuff”). When written as RE-SIN the solution also satisfies “make error again”.

  1. Care when mate tumbles into river (9)

Answer: TREATMENT (i.e. “care”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “tumbles”) of MATE placed “into” TRENT (i.e. “river”), like so: TRE(ATME)NT.

Down clues

  1. Churchgoing liberal missing company initially (5)

Answer: PIOUS (i.e. “churchgoing”). Solution is COPIOUS (i.e. “liberal”) with the CO removed (indicated by “missing company” – CO being a recognised abbreviation of “company”).

  1. What might be an incident I felt I messed up, having trapped organ (10,7)

Answer: INDEFINITE ARTICLE (i.e. “what might be ‘an’”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “messed up”) of INCIDENT I FELT I wrapped around or “having trapped” EAR (i.e. “organ”), like so: INDEFINIT(EAR)TICLE.

  1. Sweet nurse containing spillage of claret (7,4)

Answer: TREACLE TART (i.e. “sweet”). Solution is TREAT (i.e. “nurse”) wrapped around or “containing” an anagram (indicated by “spillage of…”) of CLARET, like so: TREA(CLETAR)T.

  1. Draw? Result needing attention (6)

Answer: ENDEAR (i.e. to appeal to, or “draw”). Solution is END (i.e. “result”) followed by EAR (i.e. “attention”). I originally had this as LUSTRE, being an anagram of “result”. It didn’t help, as you can imagine.

  1. Awful taking belt out to constrict part of leg (8)

Answer: SHOCKING (i.e. “awful”). Solution is SING (i.e. “belt out”) wrapped around or “constricting” HOCK (i.e. “part of leg” in quadrupeds, apparently), like so: S(HOCK)ING.

  1. As subversive on pier had, seaside picture (12)

Answer: QUADROPHENIA (i.e. “seaside picture”. The film depicts the dust-ups between the mods and rockers on Brighton beach). Solution is QUA (i.e. “as” in Latin – an indicator would have been nice) followed by an anagram (indicated by “subversive”) of ON PIER HAD.

  1. In conversation pour liquor, as unifying resolution (4,6)

Answer: TEAM SPIRIT (i.e. “unifying resolution”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “in conversation”) of TEEM (i.e. to “pour” – Chambers allows it with and without “down”) followed by SPIRIT (i.e. “liquor”).

  1. I’ve got that man (5)

Answer: ROGER. Solution satisfies “I’ve got that” in radio communications, and a “man’s” name.

  1. Pour in an Italian drink for starters (9)

Answer: ANTIPASTI (i.e. “starters”). Solution is TIP (i.e. “pour”, or to empty by tilting) placed “in” AN and ASTI (i.e. “Italian drink”), like so: AN-(TIP)-ASTI.

  1. Audio equipment important, computer accessory unimportant (6,5)

Answer: MICKEY MOUSE (i.e. “unimportant”). Solution is MIC (i.e. “audio equipment”, short for microphone) followed by KEY (i.e. “important”) and MOUSE (i.e. “computer accessory”).

  1. Cultural identity courses discussed? (5)

Answer: ROOTS (i.e. “cultural identity”). “Discussed” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of ROUTES (i.e. “courses”).

  1. Place for break from teaching bible class (6)

Answer: RESORT (i.e. “place for break”). Solution is RE (i.e. “teaching bible”, short for Religious Education) followed by SORT (i.e. “class”).

  1. Something up sleeve, natural killer initially charging money for mischief (5-5)

Answer: HANKY-PANKY (i.e. “mischief”). Solution is HANKY (i.e. “something up sleeve” – if you do this, kindly keep away from me) followed by N and K (i.e. “natural killer initially”, i.e. the first letters of “natural” and “killer”) once both placed in or “charging” PAY (i.e. “money”), like so: HANKY-PA(N-K)Y.

  1. Unusual instrument just spinning in gossamer (8)

Answer: THEREMIN (i.e. “unusual instrument”). Solution is MERE (i.e. “just”) reversed (indicated by “spinning”) and placed “in” THIN (i.e. “gossamer” – can be used as an adjective for light and flimsy), like so: TH(EREM)IN.

  1. Be vulnerable to damage by stick – as might be tomato plant? (4,2,1,5,5)

Answer: LIVE IN A GLASS HOUSE. Solution satisfies “be vulnerable to damage” and “as might be tomato plant”. “By stick” feels superfluous, so I might not have this completely right.

  1. Recorder, one making music? (6)

Answer: SCORER. Solution satisfies “recorder”, or one keeping score, and, playfully, “one making music”.

  1. Common sense to carry weight under horse (4,6)

Answer: GREY MATTER (i.e. “common sense”). Solution is MATTER (i.e. “weight”) placed after or “under” – this being a down clue – GREY (i.e. a kind of “horse”).

  1. My nutritional value (8)

Answer: GOODNESS. Solution satisfies the exclamatory “my” and “nutritional value”.

  1. Copy the sixth of Henry’s books (6)

Answer: PARROT (i.e. “copy”). Solution is Catherine PARR (i.e. “the sixth of Henry’s”, referring to the wives of Henry VIII) followed by OT (i.e. “books”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible).

  1. Placing coin, there’s a hole in it (7,5)

Answer: PUTTING GREEN (i.e. “there’s a hole in it”). Solution is PUTTING (i.e. “placing”) followed by GREEN (i.e. “coin” – green is slang for money, though I would argue it’s really more to do with folding money than for coins).

  1. Little bits present in mess tin, gone off (11)

Answer: SMITHEREENS (i.e. “little bits”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “gone off”) of MESS TIN wrapped around or having “in” HERE (i.e. “present”), like so: SMIT(HERE)ENS.

  1. Entertainer on hand? (5,6)

Answer: GLOVE PUPPET. Solution satisfies the clue as a whole.

  1. Cryptic inspected, filled with old tricks (10)

Answer: DECEPTIONS (i.e. “tricks”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cryptic”) of INSPECTED wrapped around or “filled with” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: DECEPTI(O)NS.

  1. Concertina reflecting instrument? (9)

Answer: TELESCOPE (i.e. “reflecting instrument”). Sorry, but I really don’t think a concertina and a telescopic action are the same thing. Fold back and forth along a strip of paper and you get a concertina effect. A telescope, meanwhile, is “to collapse part in part” (Chambers), like an old school radio aerial. There’ll no doubt be some dictionary that bails the setter out, but this still feels jarringly wrong to me.

  1. Style in Versailles, period trousers unfashionable after revolution (8)

Answer: BOUFFANT (i.e. “style in Versailles”). Solution is BOUT (i.e. spell or “period”) wrapped around or “trousering” NAFF (i.e. “unfashionable”) once reversed (indicated by “after revolution”), like so: BOU(FFAN)T. The clue was very nicely worked, but utterly evil to be given only the even letters to work with.

  1. Reportedly fine coach (6)

Answer: HANSOM (i.e. “coach”). “Reportedly” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of HANDSOME (i.e. “fine”).

  1. Sophisticated Soviet letter, every other part redacted (6)

Answer: SVELTE (i.e. “sophisticated” – another not really backed up by my Chambers, but there’s probably a looser dictionary out there that allows it. Either way, I still disagree). “Every other part redacted” indicates the solution is derived by taking every other letter of SOVIET LETTER.

  1. Devil, since secured by stake (5)

Answer: BEAST (i.e. “devil”). Solution is AS (i.e. “since” or because of) placed in or “secured by” BET (i.e. “stake”), like so: BE(AS)T.

  1. Key – what to do with it? (5)

Answer: ENTER. Solution satisfies “key” on a computer keyboard, and also the clue as a whole.

  1. Again, plant that’s lush coming up (5)

Answer: REPOT (i.e. “again, plant”). Solution is TOPER (i.e. “lush” or drunk) reversed (indicated by “coming up” – this being a down clue).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1579

A toughie this week, though I hesitate to call it a stinker. While this was one of those grids where every letter of the alphabet gets used – often the hallmark of a stinker – it felt rather like a knock-off. There was some good misdirection at play in some of the clues, but others exhibited a degree of scruffiness I’m surprised escaped the editor’s pen.

They also tried to kill off Alice Munro, which seemed a bit mean.

Also, also, this seemed another Jumbo puzzle aimed squarely at solvers of a particular vintage. Nothing wrong in that, I suppose, but it does sometimes grate the number of Times setters who think we all still take Latin at school and for whom popular culture ended in the 1970s.

Anyway, griping aside, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to read the opinions of other solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

FBV (French-By-Volume): 8.3%
A potent little number, so you might want to sip this one.

Across clues

  1. Ancient musical instrument, not exactly novel (7)

Answer: REBECCA (i.e. “novel” by Daphne Du Maurier). Solution is REBEC (i.e. “ancient musical instrument” akin to a mandolin, apparently) followed by CA (i.e. “not exactly”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “circa”).

  1. Show loyal friendship, perhaps, with press chief in retreat (4-5)

Answer: BACK-PEDAL (i.e. “retreat”). Solution is BACK PAL (i.e. “show loyal friendship”) wrapped around or having “in” ED (i.e. “press chief”, short for an editor), like so: BACK-P(ED)AL.

  1. Hit recalled for granny? (4)

Answer: KNOT (i.e. “granny”, a variant thereof). Solution is TONK (i.e. “hit”) reversed (indicated by “recalled”).

  1. As we were on a quest astute, largely, to be organised (6,3,4)

Answer: STATUS QUO ANTE (i.e. “as we were” in Latin, because, you know, The Times…) Solution is an anagram of ON A QUEST and ASTUTE once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “largely”).

  1. Film makers did show with some Japanese cooking (9)

Answer: CAMERAMEN (i.e. “film makers”). Solution is CAME (i.e. “did show” or appear) followed by RAMEN (i.e. “Japanese cooking”).

  1. Force unit to broadcast each November in style of French author (10)

Answer: VOLTAIREAN (i.e. “in style of French author”, specifically ‘im wot did Candide). Solution is VOLT (i.e. “force unit”) followed by AIR (i.e. “to broadcast”), then EA (a recognised abbreviation of “each”) and N (“November” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Stop early, returning home: beer with male friend (3,2,3,3)

Answer: NIP IN THE BUD (i.e. “stop early”). Solution is IN (i.e. “home”) reversed (indicated by “returning”) and followed by PINT (i.e. “beer”), then HE (i.e. “male”) and BUD (i.e. “friend”), like so: NI-PINT-HE-BUD.

  1. One having shot rook involved in row (5)

Answer: TRIER (i.e. “one having shot” or a go at something). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “rook” used in chess) placed or “involved in” TIER (i.e. “row”), like so: T(R)IER.

  1. Free issue including photo that’s been withdrawn (10)

Answer: EMANCIPATE (i.e. to “free”). Solution is EMANATE (i.e. “issue”) wrapped around or “including” PIC (i.e. “photo”) once reversed (indicated by “that’s been withdrawn”), like so: EMAN(CIP)ATE.

  1. Set sights on corporate tax IFC’s holding over (6)

Answer: FIXATE (i.e. “set sights on”). “Holding” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “over” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: CORPORAT(E TAX IF)C’S.

  1. Girl who came out on maybe weekly drive, bypassing E German town (9)

Answer: MAGDEBERG (i.e. “German town”, in which the effects of atmospheric pressure was proven by holding two hemispheres together and pumping the air out from between them. Yes, of course I looked it up). Solution is DEB (i.e. “girl who came out”, short for debutante) placed “on” of after MAG (i.e. “maybe weekly” publication, short for magazine) and followed by URGE (i.e. “drive”) once the E has been removed (indicated by “bypassing E”), like so: MAG-(DEB)-URG.

  1. Reading matter keeping I see within the law (5)

Answer: LICIT (i.e. “within the law”). Solution is LIT (i.e. “reading matter”, short for literature) wrapped around or “keeping” I and C (“see”, one of its variant meanings is the spoken form of the letter ‘C’), like so: L(I-C)IT.

  1. Graduate playing clumsily with a small set of keys (7)

Answer: BAHAMAS (i.e. “set of keys” or islands). Solution is BA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Bachelor of Arts) followed by HAM (i.e. acting or “playing clumsily”), then A and S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”).

  1. Bloomers in letter by Pentagon – demise of Reagan? (13)

Answer: RHODODENDRONS (i.e. “bloomers”). Solution is RHO (i.e. “letter”, specifically the seventeenth letter of the Greek alphabet) followed by DOD (i.e. “Pentagon”, in this case the Department Of Defence), then END (i.e. “demise”) and RON’S (i.e. “of Reagan”, referencing a shortened form of the former US president’s first name).

  1. Order to be collected from elderly butcher serving part-time (4,5)

Answer: DON’T PANIC. Solution satisfies “order to be collected” or keep calm, and “elderly butcher serving part-time”, a reference to the catchphrase of Clive Dunn’s character Lance Corporal Jones in the BBC sitcom Dad’s Army […, a butcher by trade. – edit courtesy of Sue in the comments. Cheers, Sue! – LP.]

  1. Learner celebrated mathematician clinching City University teaching job (9)

Answer: LECTURING (i.e. “university teaching job”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner”) and Alan TURING (i.e. “celebrated mathematician”) all wrapped around or “clinching” EC (i.e. “City”, basically the City of London’s postcode area. The Times is a London newspaper, so…), like so: L-(EC)-TURING.

  1. Photo op formed originally for Cassandra (7,2,4)

Answer: PROPHET OF DOOM (i.e. “Cassandra”, who in Greek myth was doomed to foresee events and not be believed). “Originally” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PHOTO OP FORMED.

  1. Writer Romeo, back in the day, one for Flower Power generation (7)

Answer: TURBINE (i.e. “one for Flower Power generation” – ignore the misleading capitalisation, the setter is playing on flowers being rivers, as in how they flow. Turbines, meanwhile, are used to generate hydroelectric power). Solution is NIB (i.e. “writer”) and R (“Romeo” in the phonetic alphabet) both reversed (indicated by “back”) and placed “in” TUE (i.e. “day”, in this case short for Tuesday), like so: TU(R-BIN)E.

  1. In place of classic poems, novel (5)

Answer: EPSOM (i.e. “in place of classic”, a reference to the horse race that takes place there). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of POEMS.

  1. Love having one’s fair share of trouble? (9)

Answer: ADORATION (i.e. “love”). When written as ADO RATION the solution also playfully satisfies “having one’s fair share of trouble”.

  1. Strong material, when front has split, weakening (6)

Answer: EBBING (i.e. “weakening”). Solution is WEBBING (i.e. “strong material”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “when front has split”).

  1. Frame of picture, or highly ornate ancient symbol (10)

Answer: HIEROGLYPH (i.e. “ancient symbol”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “ornate”) of PE (i.e. “frame of picture”, i.e. the first and last letters of “picture”) and OR HIGHLY.

  1. Floor cover (5)

Answer: THROW. Solution satisfies to “floor” or surprise someone, and a “cover” e.g. for a sofa.

  1. Earth for example from plot and from abroad needed by Tom or Barbara? (5,6)

Answer: MAJOR PLANET (i.e. “Earth for example”). Solution is PLAN (i.e. “plot”) and ET (i.e. “and from abroad”, i.e. the French for “and”) placed after MAJOR (i.e. “Tom or Barbara” – the former a reference to Major Tom, a recurring character in some David Bowie songs; the latter a reference to Major Barbara, a play by George Bernard Shaw), like so: MAJOR-(PLAN-ET).

  1. Stoker needing hot drink not saying thanks? (5,5)

Answer: CHAIN GRATE (i.e. “stoker” – over to Chambers: “a device for stoking a furnace in which fuel is drawn into the furnace by means of a rotating chain”. I’m still none the wiser). Solution is CHA (i.e. “hot drink” or an informal word for tea) followed by INGRATE (i.e. “not saying thanks”).

  1. Outlaw’s especially long time inside not even with remission? (9)

Answer: DESPERADO (i.e. “outlaw”). Solution is ESP (a recognised abbreviation of “especially” often used in dictionaries) and ERA (i.e. “long time”) both placed “inside” of ODD (i.e. “not even”) once reversed (indicated by “with remission”), like so: D(ESP-ERA)DO.

  1. Request for news that’s unexpected! (4,2,3,4)

Answer: WHAT DO YOU KNOW. Solution satisfies “request for news” and an exclamatory expression meaning “that’s unexpected”.

  1. 1 down to choose university for a career (4)

Answer: RUSH (i.e. “career”). The solution to “1 down” is RASH. Here we’re swapping A “for” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”), like so: R(A)SH => R(U)SH.

  1. Popular English composer died: that’s a shock! (1,5,3)

Answer: I NEVER DID (i.e. “that’s a shock”). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), then Giuseppe VERDI (i.e. “composer”) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “died”).

  1. Unemotional, but on consuming whiskey, reddened? (3-4)

Answer: DRY-EYED (i.e. “unemotional”). Solution is DYED (i.e. “reddened”) wrapped around or “consuming” RYE (i.e. “whiskey”), like so: D(RYE)YED.

Down clues

  1. Not considered an unwelcome series (4)

Answer: RASH. Solution satisfies “not considered” and “an unwelcome series”, presumably of spots.

  1. Heavily publicising law graduate with answer on regionalisation (9)

Answer: BLAZONING (i.e. “heavily publicising”). Solution is BL (i.e. “law graduate”, specifically a Bachelor of Law) followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A) then ZONING (i.e. “regionalisation”).

  1. Bar turn by stars – not rising ones? (7-15)

Answer: COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARIES (i.e. “not rising ones”). Solution is COUNTER (i.e. “bar”) followed by REVOLUTION (i.e. “turn”) and ARIES (i.e. a constellation of “stars”).

  1. Come by with a lot of paper for the auditors (7)

Answer: ACQUIRE (i.e. “come by”). Solution is A followed by a homophone (indicated by “for the auditors”) of QUIRE (i.e. “lot of paper”).

  1. Returned unexpectedly, as did thunder across mountains (11)

Answer: BOOMERANGED (i.e. “returned unexpectedly”). Solution is BOOMED (i.e. “did thunder”) wrapped around or placed “across” RANGE (i.e. “mountains”), like so: BOOME(RANGE)D.

  1. Accepted article for wearing like a dunce’s hat? (9)

Answer: CANONICAL (i.e. “accepted”). Solution is AN (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) placed in or “wearing” CONICAL (i.e. “like a dunce’s hat”), like so: C(AN)ONICAL.

  1. Hymn from non-believer having change of heart (5)

Answer: PAEAN (i.e. “hymn”). Solution is PAGAN (i.e. “non-believer”) with the middle letter changed to E (indicated by “having change of heart” – I’m seldom keen on wishy-washy wordplay like this), like so: PA(G)AN => PA(E)AN.

  1. Poorly paid cadet, note, not having a bean? (11)

Answer: DECAPITATED (i.e. “not having a bean” – a variant meaning of “bean” is an informal word for one’s head). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “poorly”) of PAID CADET and TE (i.e. “note” in the sol-fa notation, or doh-ray-me). Another thing I’m not keen on is when setters perform a double-jump in their clues, in this case expecting solvers to unscramble an anagram that isn’t possible without first also deducing what “note” refers to.

  1. Tart left money splashed out (6)

Answer: LEMONY (i.e. “tart” or sharp-tasting). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “splashed out” – again, scruffy. “Splashed” as an anagram indicator? That’s fine. “Out”? Yup, that’s okay as well. “Splashed out” though? Really?) of MONEY, like so: L-EMONY.

  1. Staff turning up one short prejudice foreign state (7)

Answer: NAMIBIA (i.e. “foreign state”). Solution is MAN (i.e. to “staff” an organisation) reversed (indicated by “turning up” – this being a down clue) and followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then BIAS (i.e. “prejudice”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”), like so: NAM-I-BIA.

  1. Garment is big top put on by female medic? (4,5)

Answer: TENT DRESS (i.e. “garment”). I think the clue is playing on a circus TENT being a “big top” and a DR-ESS being a “female medic”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “doctor” with a “-ESS” suffix.

  1. Abbey church prior on fast unsettled leading cleric (10,2,10)

Answer: ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY (i.e. “leading cleric”). “Unsettled” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ABBEY CHURCH PRIOR ON FAST. Nicely worked.

  1. Cart with breadbasket falling on Belgian singer (7)

Answer: TUMBREL (i.e. a ye olde “cart” used to carry dung, and also those condemned to hang. Lovely!) Solution is TUM (i.e. “breadbasket” or belly) followed by Jacques BREL (i.e. “Belgian singer” – no, me neither).

  1. Artist’s abnormal craving’s like this (7)

Answer: Pablo PICASSO (i.e. “artist”). Solution is PICA’S (i.e. “abnormal craving” for food – a new one on me – made possessive) followed by SO (i.e. “like this”).

  1. A tip for rubbish? One with nothing from the start (2,6)

Answer: AB INITIO (i.e. “from the start” in Latin). Solution is A followed by BIN IT (i.e. a hint or “tip for rubbish”), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and O (i.e. “nothing”). One nailed from the wordplay, unsurprisingly.

  1. As written or spoken French, filling university requirement (8)

Answer: UNEDITED (i.e. “as written”). Solution is DIT (i.e. “spoken French”, i.e. the French for “said”) placed in or “filling” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and NEED (i.e. “requirement”), like so: U-NE(DIT)ED. Bloody hell, if there was ever a clue that deserved the French meme it’s this, so…

  1. Writer’s scaled down poem, unromantically (5)

Answer: James MUNRO (i.e. “writer”, a pseudonym used by author and TV writer James Mitchell, creator of the 1970s TV series When The Boat Comes In and Callan, and through which he published four novels in the 1960s. Except, of course, it isn’t him at all. One of the unwritten rules of Times crosswords is that people have to be dead to feature in them, and I’ll bet good money the setter had the much better-known Alice Munro in mind when writing this clue. Trouble is she is still alive… unless of course the setter knows something we don’t. Hmm. Book ’em, Danno…) “Scaled down” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: POE(M UNRO)MANTICALLY.

[EDIT: Mick in the comments points out that the setter was more likely thinking of H H Munro, better known under his pen name Saki, who was a celebrated short story writer until his death in the First World War. Having had a shufti, I’d agree, if only because it would align with the setter’s rather antediluvian proclivities. Cheers, Mick! – LP]

  1. Come to mind old dog that’s caught cold (5)

Answer: OCCUR (i.e. “come to mind”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and CUR (i.e. “dog”) wrapped around or “catching” C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold” used on taps), like so: O-(C)-CUR.

  1. One to contend with pensioner missing a sitter (7)

Answer: OPPOSER (i.e. “one to contend with”). Solution is OAP (i.e. short for old age “pensioner”) with the A removed (indicated by “missing a”) and the remainder followed by POSER (i.e. “sitter” or artist’s model), like so: OP-POSER.

  1. Urgent invitation, perhaps, bringing mild reproof (4,3)

Answer: COME NOW. Solution satisfies “urgent invitation” and “mild reproof”.

  1. Recognise an unusual feature (7,4)

Answer: GRECIAN NOSE (i.e. “feature”). “Unusual” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RECOGNISE AN.

  1. Unsubtle fellow poet’s indeed offered gripping verse (5-6)

Answer: HEAVY-HANDED (i.e. “unsubtle”). Solution is HE (i.e. “fellow”), AY (i.e. “poet’s indeed”, a poetic form of yes or always) and HANDED (i.e. “offered”) all wrapped around or “gripping” V (a recognised abbreviation of “verse”), like so: HE-A(V)Y-HANDED.

  1. Jollies I had with other ranks once a month (9)

Answer: THERMIDOR (i.e. “once a month” – over to Chambers again: “the eleventh month of the French Revolutionary calendar, 19 July – 17th August”). Solution is THE RM (i.e. “jollies” – one definition of “jolly” is a slang word for a Royal Marine; meanwhile RM is a recognised abbreviation of the Royal Marines) followed by I’D (a contraction of “I had”) and OR (a recognised abbreviation of the “Other Ranks” of the British Army).

  1. Staff flourished for a spell (5,4)

Answer: MAGIC WAND. Clue plays on a wand being a “staff”, and how magic wands are wafted around when casting a “spell”. You get the idea.

  1. Irish girl being educated in New York caught bug? (9)

Answer: IRRITANCY (i.e. “bug”). Solution is IR (a recognised abbreviation of “Irish”) followed by RITA (i.e. “girl being educated”, referencing Willy Russell’s stage play Educating Rita) and NY (short for “New York”) once wrapped around or having “in” C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games), like so: IR-RITA-N(C)Y.

  1. My bride after vacation in France I suspect (7)

Answer: BEJESUS (i.e. “my”, both exclamations of surprise – backed up by my Oxford. Weirdly my Chambers doesn’t want to know). Solution is BE (i.e. “bride after vacation”, i.e. the word “bride” with all of its middle letters removed) followed by JE (i.e. “in France I”, i.e. the French for “I”) and SUS (slang form of “suspect”).

  1. Tune you had that’s soothing (7)

Answer: HONEYED (i.e. “soothing”). Solution is HONE (i.e. to “tune”) followed by YE’D (I think a contraction of “you had”, taking YE to be “you” – again, I’m not keen).

  1. Lime maybe drunk mostly without a hint of lemon (6)

Answer: ALKALI (i.e. “lime maybe”). Solution is ALKIE (i.e. “drunk”, slang for alcoholic) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder wrapped around or placed “without” A and L (i.e. “hint of lemon”, i.e. the first letter of “lemon”), like so: ALK(A-L)I.

  1. Strap we see on odd occasions no more? (5)

Answer: TAWSE (i.e. a leather “strap” used for corporal punishment). “On odd occasions no more” indicates the solution is derived by taking the odd letters away from STRAP WE SEE.

  1. A day filled with dread (4)

Answer: AWED (i.e. “filled with dread”). Solution is A followed by WED (i.e. “day”, short for Wednesday).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1578

A relatively straightforward one this week. The setter seems to be one who goes the extra mile to slot long words into their grids ahead of phrases, which is all good to me.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things.

Thanks again for the warm words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the opinions of other solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

FBV (French-By-Volume): 1.6%

Across clues

  1. Maine resident perhaps has peace by river interrupted by seabird (9)

Answer: EASTERNER (i.e. “Maine resident perhaps”, Maine being situated on the east coast of the US). Solution is EASE (i.e. “peace”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”) all wrapped around or “interrupted by” TERN (i.e. “seabird”), like so: EAS(TERN)E-R.

  1. One million soldiers chased by tailless sea monster (7)

Answer: IMMENSE (i.e. “monster”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by M (a recognised abbreviation of “million”), then MEN (i.e. “soldiers”) and SEA once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “tailless”), like so: I-M-MEN-SE.

  1. Bury playwright destroying first of plays (5)

Answer: INTER (i.e. “bury”). Solution is Harold PINTER (i.e. “playwright”) with the P removed (indicated by “destroying first [letter] of plays”).

  1. Key in again across air gap of widescreen terminals? (2-5)

Answer: RE-ENTER (i.e. “key in again”). “Across air gap of” indicates the solution has been hidden around the space found in WIDESC(REEN TER)MINALS.

  1. German prince who helps choose government? (7)

Answer: ELECTOR. Solution satisfies “German prince” – Chambers offers: “the title belonging to those princes and archbishops of the Holy Roman Empire who had the right to elect the Emperor”; Oxford meanwhile narrows it to “a German prince entitled to take part in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor” – and “who helps choose government”.

  1. Cut aluminium and separate (7)

Answer: SEVERAL (i.e. “separate”). Solution is SEVER (i.e. “cut”) followed by AL (chemical symbol of “aluminium”).

  1. Ran mediation online unusually involving several religious groups (19)

Answer: INTERDENOMINATIONAL (i.e. “involving several religious groups”). “Unusually” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RAN MEDITATION ONLINE.

  1. We are giving out whiskey as before (3)

Answer: ERE (i.e. “before”, poetically). Solution is WE’RE (a contraction of “we are”) with the W removed (indicated by “giving out whiskey” – W being “whiskey” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Billy goat’s head tossed easily (6)

Answer: GLIBLY (i.e. “easily”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “tossed”) of BILLY and G (“goat’s head”, i.e. the first letter of “goat”).

  1. Dose of cocaine finished band’s members (4-2)

Answer: LINE-UP (i.e. “band’s members”). Solution is LINE (i.e. “dose of cocaine”) followed by UP (i.e. “finished”).

  1. Ship worker backing weather checks (9)

Answer: STEVEDORE (i.e. “ship worker”, more specifically one employed at a dock to load and unload ships). Solution is ERODE (i.e. “weather”) and VETS (i.e. “checks”) all reversed (indicated by “backing”), like so: STEV-EDORE.

  1. One taking out patent, say, restarting with new design (10)

Answer: REGISTRANT (i.e. “one taking out patent, say”). “With new design” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RESTARTING.

  1. House divided, leaderless, about possible Russian subjugation (11)

Answer: ENSLAVEMENT (i.e. “subjugation”). Solution is TENEMENT (i.e. “house divided”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “leaderless”) and the remainder wrapped “about” SLAV (i.e. “possible Russian”), like so: EN(SLAV)EMENT.

  1. Ring extended family before end of evening (5)

Answer: CLANG (i.e. “ring”). Solution is CLAN (i.e. “extended family”) followed by G (i.e. “end [letter] of evening”).

  1. Signal unlikely to be misunderstood (3,5)

Answer: ALL CLEAR. Solution satisfies “signal” and “unlikely to be misunderstood”.

  1. Way to finish off church from Rev Spooner, a bad-tempered type (8)

Answer: SPITFIRE (i.e. “a bad-tempered type”). Solution is a “Spoonerism” of FIT SPIRE (i.e. “way to finish off church”).

  1. Happening to get fish when the light is fading (8)

Answer: EVENTIDE (i.e. “when the light is fading”). Solution is EVENT (i.e. “happening”) followed by IDE (i.e. “fish”).

  1. Choose Scots island loch at one’s discretion (8)

Answer: OPTIONAL (i.e. “at one’s discretion”). Solution is OPT (i.e. “choose”) followed by IONA (i.e. “Scots island”) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “loch”).

  1. English and eleven French for the bar? (5)

Answer: EXILE (i.e. “bar”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by XI (i.e. “eleven” in Roman numerals) and LE (i.e. “French for ‘the'”, so you know what that means…)

  1. Knowing I backed wind power round islands (11)

Answer: ARCHIPELAGO (i.e. “islands”). Solution is ARCH (i.e. “knowing”, shrewd or cunning) and I followed by GALE (i.e. “wind”) and P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “backed”). The whole is then followed by O (i.e. “round”) like so: (ARCH-I)-(P-ELAG)-O

  1. Concierge upset about tenant ultimately not thinking of others? (10)

Answer: EGOCENTRIC (i.e. “not thinking of others”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “upset”) of CONCIERGE wrapped “about” T (i.e. “tenant ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “tenant”), like so: EGOCEN(T)RIC.

  1. Tactless speaker’s vulgar opening (9)

Answer: LOUDMOUTH (i.e. “tactless speaker”). Solution is LOUD (i.e. “vulgar”) followed by MOUTH (i.e. “opening”).

  1. Full of fun, but no judge of eyes (6)

Answer: OCULAR (i.e. “of eyes”). Solution is JOCULAR (i.e. “full of fun”) with the J removed (indicated by “but no judge” – J being a recognised abbreviation of “judge”).

  1. Allowed to follow a Royal Marines band (6)

Answer: ARMLET (i.e. “band”). Solution is LET (i.e. “allowed”) placed after or “following” A and RM (a recognised abbreviation of “Royal Marines”), like so: (A-RM)-LET.

  1. Time after game to fight over females? (3)

Answer: RUT (i.e. “fight over females”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) placed “after” RU (i.e. “game”, specifically Rugby Union), like so: RU-T.

  1. Not being got home, half have to leave school by about one with books (19)

Answer: INCOMPREHENSIBILITY (i.e. the sense of “not being got”). Solution is IN (i.e. “home”) followed by COMPREHENSIVE (i.e. “school”) with the VE removed (indicated by “half have to leave…”, i.e. specifically the last half of “have”), then BY once wrapped “about” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and LIT (i.e. “books”, short for literature), like so: IN-COMPREHENSI-B(I-LIT)Y.

  1. Source of starch fool found in wine (7)

Answer: CASSAVA (i.e. “source of starch”). Solution is ASS (i.e. “fool”) placed “in” CAVA (i.e. “wine”), like so: C(ASS)AVA.

  1. British current design leading to European aircraft (7)

Answer: BIPLANE (i.e. “aircraft”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of an electric “current” used in physics), then PLAN (i.e. “design”) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”).

  1. Support bad English language with feeling? (7)

Answer: BRAILLE (i.e. “language with feeling”, a play on how braille characters are identified by touch). Solution is BRA (i.e. “support”) followed by ILL (i.e. “bad”) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”).

  1. Fencing move new in winter sport (5)

Answer: LUNGE (i.e. “fencing move”). Solution N (i.e. “new”) placed “in” LUGE (i.e. “winter sport”), like so: LU(N)GE.

  1. Drunken tart kept under observation (3-4)

Answer: PIE-EYED (i.e. “drunken”). Solution is PIE (i.e. “tart”) followed by EYED (i.e. “kept under observation”).

  1. So you dated, embracing a lot of fashion again (9)

Answer: THEREFORE (i.e. “so”). Solution is THEE (i.e. “you dated”, i.e. an archaic form of “you”) wrapped around or “embracing” REFORM (i.e. “fashion again”) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “a lot of…”), like so: THE(REFOR)E.

Down clues

  1. Lacking pounds, picking up small income from work (8)

Answer: EARNINGS (i.e. “income from work”). Solution is LEARNING (i.e. “picking up”) with the L removed (indicated by “lacking pounds” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “pounds” weight, after the Latin libra) and the remainder followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”), like so: EARNING-S.

  1. Upturned seats over time gathered dust (5)

Answer: SWEPT (i.e. “gathered dust”). Solution is PEWS (i.e. “seats”) reversed (indicated by “upturned” – this being a down clue) and followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: SWEP-T.

  1. Fascinating all-nighter wound up around noon (11)

Answer: ENTHRALLING (i.e. “fascinating”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wound up”) of ALL-NIGHTER wrapped “around” N (a recognised abbreviation of “noon”), like so: E(N)THRALLING.

  1. Run in without clothes, bothered (6)

Answer: NARKED (i.e. “bothered”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games) placed “in” NAKED (i.e. “without clothes”), like so: NA(R)KED.

  1. I rally Hector, possibly with rousing speeches (12)

Answer: RHETORICALLY (i.e. “with rousing speeches”). “Possibly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I RALLY HECTOR.

  1. News report that is about second break down (7)

Answer: ITEMISE (i.e. “break down”). Solution is ITEM (i.e. “news report”) followed by IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. “i.e.”) once wrapped “about” S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”), like so: ITEM-I(S)E.

  1. Encountered speed in tiniest amount in Fife with a good source for stimulant (15)

Answer: METHAMPHETAMINE (i.e. “stimulant”). Solution is MET (i.e. “encountered”) followed by MPH (i.e. “speed”, specifically Miles Per Hour) once placed “in” HAET (i.e. “tiniest amount in Fife”, referring to a Scots word meaning “a whit” (Chambers) – no, me neither), then A and MINE (i.e. “good source”), like so: MET-HA(MPH)ET-A-MINE.

  1. Vanity of drug agent having wife keeping head down? (10)

Answer: NARCISSISM (i.e. “vanity”). Solution is NARC (i.e. “drug agent”) followed by MISSIS (i.e. “wife”) once its last letter or “head” has been placed to the end or “down” – this being a down clue – like so: NARC-(M)ISSIS => NARC-ISSIS(M).

  1. The very heart of a German city church (7)

Answer: ESSENCE (i.e. “the very heart of” something). Solution is ESSEN (i.e. “German city”) followed by CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England).

  1. Concern in volume five to fix missing chapter (11)

Answer: INVOLVEMENT (i.e. “concern”). Solution is IN followed by VOL (short for “volume”), then V (i.e. “[Roman numeral] five”) and CEMENT (i.e. “to fix”) once the C has been removed (indicated by “missing chapter” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “chapter”), like so: IN-VOL-V-EMENT.

  1. Triplets? See mother struggling (9)

Answer: THREESOME (i.e. “triplets”). “Struggling” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SEE MOTHER.

  1. Bring aid to fifty-one locked up by local magistrate (7)

Answer: RELIEVE (i.e. “bring aid to”). Solution is LI (i.e. “fifty-one” expressed in Roman numerals) placed in or “locked up by” REEVE (i.e. an old “local magistrate”), like so: RE(LI)EVE.

  1. Repeat: I support trapping rodent (7)

Answer: ITERATE (i.e. “repeat”). Solution is I followed by TEE (i.e. “support” for a golf ball) once wrapped around or “trapping” RAT (i.e. “rodent”), like so: I-TE(RAT)E.

  1. Position legs over edges of tear in seat (8)

Answer: STRADDLE (i.e. “position legs over”). Solution is TR (i.e. “edges of tear”, i.e. the first and last letters of “tear”) placed “in” SADDLE (i.e. “seat”), like so: S(TR)ADDLE.

  1. What’s taking a long shot with an unapproachable subject? (15)

Answer: TELEPHOTOGRAPHY (i.e. “what’s taking a long shot”). The remainder of the clue plays on, say, a paparazzo’s use of a telephoto lens when snapping celebrities from afar. You get the idea.

  1. Dismayed note on piano lost its attraction (8)

Answer: APPALLED (i.e. “dismayed”). Solution is A (i.e. “[musical] note”) followed by P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano” used in music) and PALLED (i.e. “lost its attraction”).

  1. Shackle communist with hierarchical system (6)

Answer: TIERED (i.e. “with hierarchical system”). Solution is TIE (i.e. “shackle”) followed by RED (i.e. “communist”).

  1. Note mother’s written after school plan (6)

Answer: SCHEMA (i.e. “plan”). Solution is E (i.e. another “[musical] note”) and MA (i.e. “mother”) both placed “after” SCH (a recognised abbreviation of “school”), like so: SCH-(E-MA).

  1. Original capital for Denmark, say (7)

Answer: INITIAL. Solution satisfies “original” and “capital for Denmark, say”, or any other word for that matter.

  1. Possibly amusing documentary throwing men into faint (12)

Answer: INFOTAINMENT (i.e. “possibly amusing documentary”). “Throwing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MEN INTO FAINT.

  1. Group of leaders seeing Mutti arrive flustered (11)

Answer: TRIUMVIRATE (i.e. “group of leaders”). “Flustered” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MUTTI ARRIVE.

  1. Eliminate former word in a note (11)

Answer: EXTERMINATE (i.e. “eliminate”). Solution is EX (i.e. “former”) followed by TERM (i.e. “word”), then IN, then A and TE (i.e. yet another musical “note”, this time from the sol-fa notation, or doh-re-me).

  1. Overweight fairy queen in predicament, open to working out? (10)

Answer: FATHOMABLE (i.e. “open to working out”). Solution is FAT (i.e. “overweight”) followed by MAB (i.e. “fairy queen” – over to Chambers: “the name of a female fairy believed to be the bringer of dreams; the queen of the fairies”) once placed “in” HOLE (i.e. “predicament”), like so: FAT-HO(MAB)LE.

  1. Loose woman roués can’t upset (9)

Answer: COURTESAN (i.e. “loose woman”). “Upset” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ROUÉS CAN’T. Nicely worked.

  1. Vacated emplacement hastily leave nerve gas (8)

Answer: ETHYLENE (i.e. “gas”). Solution is the words “EmplacemenT“, “HastilY“, “LeavE” and “NervE” all with their middle letters removed, indicated by “vacated”.

  1. Stringed instrument mostly I term endlessly songlike (7)

Answer: LYRICAL (i.e. “songlike”). Solution is LYRE (i.e. “stringed instrument”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by I and CALL (i.e. to “term”) once its last letter has also been removed (indicated by “endlessly”), like so: LYR-I-CAL.

  1. Relative nearly gets snake to release grip (7)

Answer: UNCLASP (i.e. “release grip”). Solution is UNCLE (i.e. “relative”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “nearly”) and the remainder followed by ASP (i.e. “snake”), like so: UNCL-ASP.

  1. University group speaking about Newton is not listened to (7)

Answer: UNHEARD (i.e. “not listened to”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and a homophone (indicated by “speaking”) of HERD (i.e. “group”) all wrapped “about” N (a recognised abbreviation of “Newton”), like so: U-(N)-HEARD.

  1. Sailor in base having potential to work (6)

Answer: VIABLE (i.e. “having potential to work”). Solution is AB (i.e. “sailor” of the Able Bodied variety) placed “in” VILE (i.e. “base”), like so: VI(AB)LE.

  1. Northern dwelling – one with a lot of shade (5)

Answer: IGLOO (i.e. “northern dwelling”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by GLOOM (i.e. “shade”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “a lot of…”), like so: I-GLOO.