Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1452

Not sure whether this was a toughie, or whether my brain was not entirely on it. (I am on hols, so there’s that.) Got there eventually. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

As ever, some hawking before we jump in. You can find solutions to previous solutions on my Just For Fun page. I’ve also got some mouldy old book reviews and a story of mine.

I don’t usually produce posts for the Times crossword found in the main paper, but one clue stood out for me today (well, yesterday, I suppose): His poetry no-go, his prose uneven? (3) The solution is Edgar Allan POE, being POETRY without the TRY (hinted at by “no-go”) and all the odd or “uneven” letters of PROSE. Best clue I’ve seen for ages.

Anyway, till next time, keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere, mask-up and keep safe.

TTFN – LP

P.S. Dear WordPress, your “easier way to create posts” that you are going to eventually force upon us is a bag of balls. It’s time-consuming enough putting these posts together without some undoable bullshit editor fighting me every step of the way. Not everything that looks like a numbered list is a numbered list! I honestly couldn’t switch back to the old editor fast enough. Now please excuse me, I’ve got some looms to smash up.

Across clues

1. The essentials in underwear piles (5,5)

Answer: BRASS TACKS (i.e. “the essentials”). Solution is BRAS (i.e. “underwear”) followed by STACKS (i.e. “piles”).

6. Official voice possessed by a graduate with robe (12)

Answer: AMBASSADRESS (i.e. “official”). Solution is BASS (i.e. a singing “voice”) placed in or “possessed by” A and MA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Master of Arts) and followed by DRESS (i.e. “robe”), like so: A-M(BASS)A-DRESS.

14. Out of bed with feathers showing instability (2,3,4)

Answer: UP AND DOWN (i.e. “instability”). Solution is UP (i.e. “out of bed”) followed by AND (i.e. “with”) and DOWN (i.e. “feathers”).

15. Demon has man at heart scared (5)

Answer: AFRIT (i.e. a “demon” of Arab myth). Solution is A (i.e. “man at heart”, i.e. the middle letter of the word “man”) followed by FRIT (i.e. “scared”).

16. This person’s on army’s first vehicle in offensive (7)

Answer: ABUSIVE (i.e. “offensive”). Solution is I’VE (i.e. “this person’s” – we’ve seen this sneaky bit of wordplay recently: “this person’s” is a contraction of “this person has” (it doesn’t matter that the clue no longer scans well, so long as it disguises what the setter is playing at); from the point of view of the setter, this equates to “I have”, which contracts to I’VE) placed “on” or after A (i.e. “army’s first”, i.e. the first letter of “army”) and BUS (i.e. “vehicle”), like so: (A-BUS)-I’VE.

17. Novel states in which account may be (3,3,3,3,5)

Answer: THE RED AND THE BLACK (a “novel” by Stendhal, which “tells the story of Julien Sorel’s life in France’s rigid social structure restored after the disruptions of the French Revolution and the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte” (Wikipedia). Sounds laugh-a-minute.) Solution riffs on how bank “accounts” can be in the red (i.e. owing money) or in the black (i.e. holding money).

18. Sub officer retreating? I’m not sure (5)

Answer: LOCUM (i.e. “sub”, as in a substitute). Solution is COL (i.e. “officer”, specifically a colonel) reversed (indicated by “retreating”) and followed by UM (i.e. “I’m not sure”), like so: LOC-UM.

19. Cook fine, edible root, wanting starter (7)

Answer: FALSIFY (i.e. “cook”, as in cooking the books). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils) followed by SALSIFY (i.e. “edible root”) once the initial letter has been removed (indicated by “wanting starter”), like so: F-ALSIFY. Became obvious once I had all the intersecting letters but took a brute force of Chambers to get SALSIFY.

21. Cats track mouse heartlessly by second track (6)

Answer: MEMORY (i.e. “Cats track”, as in a song from the musical Cats). Solution is ME (i.e. “mouse heartlessly”, i.e. the word “mouse” with its middle letters removed) followed by MO (a contraction of moment, or a “second”) and RY (i.e. “track”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “railway”).

22. Fancy if I possessed lentils from the east (3-2-3)

Answer: LAH-DI-DAH (i.e. “fancy”). Solution is HAD I DHAL (i.e. “if I possessed lentils” – a dhal or dal is a pea-like plant cultivated in India) reversed (indicated by “from the east” – this being an across clue), like so: LAHD-I-DAH.

24. Whence porcelain fruit without error at the back (7)

Answer: LIMOGES (i.e. “whence porcelain”, specifically a city in France renowned for its porcelain, it says here. (Shrugs)). Solution is LIMES (i.e. “fruit”) wrapped around or placed “without” OG (i.e. “error at the back”, specifically an Own Goal), like so: LIM(OG)ES. Chalk one to my Bradfords here.

26. Almost keen on less civil, unwelcome fellow (8)

Answer: INTRUDER (i.e. “unwelcome fellow”). Solution is INTO (i.e. “keen on”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder followed by RUDER (i.e. “less civil”), like so: INT-RUDER.

27. Guide rested by reversing vehicle (6)

Answer: SATNAV (i.e. “guide”, specifically a contraction of Satellite Navigation). Solution is SAT (i.e. “rested”) followed by VAN (i.e. “vehicle”) after it has been “reversed”, like so: SAT-NAV.

30. Loudly cutting chicken, always making complaint (6,5)

Answer: YELLOW FEVER (i.e. “complaint”). Solution is F (i.e. “loudly”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “forte” in musical lingo) placed between or “cutting” YELLOW (i.e. “chicken”) and EVER (i.e. “always”), like so: YELLOW-(F)-EVER.

32. Detective on drug many rejected, one maybe fired (5,6)

Answer: HORSE PISTOL (i.e. “one maybe fired”, specifically a large pistol formerly carried by horsemen). Solution is PI (i.e. “detective”, specifically a Private Investigator) placed “on” or after HORSE (i.e. “drug”, specifically a street name for heroin) and followed by LOTS (i.e. “many”) once reversed (indicated by “rejected”), like so: HORSE-PI-STOL.

33. Like judge’s issue with one’s English in test (11)

Answer: MAGISTERIAL (i.e. “like judge”). Solution is MAG (i.e. “issue” or magazine) followed by I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”), then E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) once it has been placed “in” TRIAL (i.e. “test”), like so: MAG-I’S-T(E)RIAL.

35. Entertaining place to involve partner in match (7,4)

Answer: DRAWING ROOM (i.e. “entertaining place”, as in a place to entertain guests). Solution is DRAW IN (i.e. “to involve”) followed by GROOM (i.e. “partner in match” or wedding).

37. Substance initially becoming nitrogen gas (6)

Answer: NATTER (i.e. to “gas”). Solution is MATTER (i.e. “substance”) with the “initial” letter replaced by or “becoming” N (chemical symbol of “nitrogen”), like so: (M)ATTER => (N)ATTER.

38. Ruler at intervals moulding part of foot (8)

Answer: OLIGARCH (i.e. “ruler”). Solution is OLIG (i.e. “at intervals moulding”, i.e. every other letter of MOULDING) followed by ARCH (i.e. “part of foot”).

39. Male Greek deity knocked over dish (7)

Answer: RAMEKIN (i.e. “dish”). Solution is RAM (i.e. “male [sheep]”) followed by NIKE (i.e. “Greek deity”) reversed (indicated by “knocked over”), like so: RAM-EKIN.

42. Particular observation about banking area (8)

Answer: ESPECIAL (i.e. “particular”). Solution is ESPIAL (i.e. “observation”) wrapped “about” EC (i.e. “banking area”, specifically the postcode area of London’s Square Mile), like so: ESP(EC)IAL.

44. Manufacturer with licence (6)

Answer: WRIGHT (i.e. “manufacturer”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) followed by RIGHT (i.e. “licence”).

46. A single medic enters close to parched (4-3)

Answer: BONE-DRY (i.e. “parched”). Solution is ONE (i.e. “a single”) and DR (i.e. “medic”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of doctor) both placed in or “entering” BY (i.e. “close to”), like so: B(ONE-DR)Y.

48. Empty personnel devour tuck (5)

Answer: PLEAT (i.e. “tuck”). Solution is PL (i.e. “empty personnel”, i.e. the word “personnel” with all its middle letters removed) followed by EAT (i.e. “devour”).

49. E.g. coming here, current power to split atom (7,10)

Answer: PRESENT PARTICIPLE (i.e. “e.g. coming here” – in the dry and joyless world of grammar, a participle is “a non-finite form of a verb used to form compound tenses (eg broken in the phrase had broken) and as an adjective (eg burning in the phrase the burning bush)”, while a present participle is one “referring roughly to contemporaneous action” (both Chambers). Solution is PRESENT (i.e. “here”) followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics) and P (ditto “power”) once they have been placed in or “splitting” PARTICLE (i.e. “atom”), like so: PRESENT-PARTIC(IP)LE.

51. Mundane covers of Telegraph put in prematurely (7)

Answer: EARTHLY (i.e. “mundane”). Solution is TH (i.e. “covers of Telegraph”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Telegraph”) placed “in” EARLY (i.e. “prematurely”), like so: EAR(TH)LY.

52. So we hear, look for one in flight (5)

Answer: STAIR (i.e. “one in flight” of stairs). “So we hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of STARE (i.e. “look”).

53. Put under the rocks, wish to return (9)

Answer: ETHERISED (i.e. “put under”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rocks”) of THE followed by DESIRE (i.e. “wish”) reversed (indicated by “to return”), like so: ETH-ERISED.

54. Put down revolt to seize power? That’s bold (12)

Answer: ENTERPRISING (i.e. “bold”). Solution is ENTER (i.e. “put down”) and RISING (i.e. “revolt”) wrapped around or “seizing” P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”), like so: ENTER-(P)-RISING.

55. Person sacking porter, dead drunk (10)

Answer: DEPREDATOR (i.e. “person sacking” or plundering). “Drunk” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PORTER DEAD.

Down clues

1. Cow eating unit of bananas lavishly (11)

Answer: BOUNTIFULLY (i.e. “lavishly”). Solution is BULLY (i.e. to “cow” someone, as in causing them to cower) wrapped around or “eating” an anagram (indicated by “bananas”) of UNIT OF, like so: B(OUNTIF)ULLY.

2. Device for cooking skin of vine that’s succulent (5)

Answer: AGAVE (i.e. “succulent”). Solution is AGA (i.e. “device for cooking”) followed by VE (i.e. “skin of vine”, i.e. the first and last letters of “vine”), like so: AGA-VE.

3. Making blue design and modelling (9)

Answer: SADDENING (i.e. “making blue”). “Modelling” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DESIGN AND.

4. Clad in vinyl, a monarch’s turned up something odd (7)

Answer: ANOMALY (i.e. “something odd”). “Clad in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “turned up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: VIN(YL A MONA)RCH’S.

5. It’s involved in stocking domestic animals, say (7)

Answer: KINGDOM (i.e. “animals, say” – other kingdoms are available). “It’s involved in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: STOC(KING DOM)ESTIC.

7. Saving pound, ruin old, unrefined English town (11)

Answer: MARLBOROUGH (i.e. “English town”). Solution is LB (a recognised abbreviation of a “pound” weight, from the Latin “libra”) placed in or “saved by” MAR (i.e. “ruin”) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), followed by ROUGH (i.e. “unrefined”), like so: MAR-(LB)-O-ROUGH.

8. Off track, like cup-bearer (6)

Answer: ASTRAY (i.e. “off track”). When written as AS TRAY, the solution also satisfies “like cup-bearer”.

9. Diner’s bag filled with new piece of chocolate (5,3)

Answer: SNACK BAR (i.e. “diner”). Solution is SACK (i.e. “bag”) wrapped around or “filled with” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and followed by BAR (i.e. “piece of chocolate”), like so: S(N)ACK-BAR.

10. Manipulate and beguile old fraud (6-7)

Answer: DOUBLE-DEALING (i.e. “fraud”). “Manipulate” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AND BEGUILE OLD.

11. Shown one boy embraced by another (7)

Answer: EVINCED (i.e. “shown”). Solution is VINCE (i.e. “boy”, basically a boy’s name) placed in or “embraced by” ED (i.e. “another” boy’s name), like so: E(VINCE)D.

12. Digger’s spades and clubs found by shack (5-6)

Answer: STEAM-SHOVEL (i.e. “digger”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “spades” used in some card games) followed by TEAMS (i.e. sports “clubs”) and HOVEL (i.e. “shack”).

13. Pet around house, note, runs in part of dash (10)

Answer: TACHOMETER (i.e. “part of dash[board]” – i.e. a speedometer). Solution is CAT (i.e. “pet”) reversed (indicated by “around”) and followed by HOME (i.e. “house”), then TE (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me style) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in some ball games), like so: TAC-HOME-TE-R.

20. What brightens up endlessly bad mess (9)

Answer: LAMPLIGHT (i.e. “what brightens up”). Solution is LAME (i.e. “bad”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”) and the remainder followed by PLIGHT (i.e. “mess”), like so: LAM-PLIGHT.

23. Pull up and sell fish (8)

Answer: REPROACH (i.e. “pull [someone] up”). Solution is REP (i.e. “sell” – think sales reps) followed by ROACH (i.e. “fish”).

25. Cushion, with pins removed, spins over and over (6)

Answer: SOFTEN (i.e. “cushion”). Solution is S (i.e. “with pins removed, spins”, i.e. the word SPINS with PINS removed) followed by OFTEN (i.e. “over and over”).

26. Dishonestly persuade, given lie to spread around (8)

Answer: INVEIGLE (i.e. “dishonestly persuade”). “To spread around” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GIVEN LIE.

28. Made contacts, so it was possible to go online? (9)

Answer: NETWORKED (i.e. “made contacts”). When written as NET WORKED, the solution also satisfies “was possible to go online”.

29. Person repudiating old French bread (6)

Answer: DENIER. Solution satisfies “person repudiating” and “old French bread” – a denier was an old French coin.

31. Bird’s cry, coast there being wild (13)

Answer: OYSTERCATCHER (i.e. “bird”). “Being wild” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CRY COAST THERE.

33. Figures on board covering obstruction around shelf (11)

Answer: MANTELPIECE (i.e. “shelf”). Solution is MAN and PIECE (i.e. “figures on [chess] board” – chess pieces are sometimes referred to as “men”) wrapped around or “covering” LET (i.e. “obstruction” – an archaic meaning of the word) reversed (indicated by “around”), like so: MAN-(TEL)-PIECE.

34. Deception emerged? Nail criminal (11)

Answer: LEGERDEMAIN (i.e. “deception”). “Criminal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EMERGED NAIL.

35. Offering insults before leftist turns on rightist (10)

Answer: DEROGATORY (i.e. “offering insults”). Solution is AGO (i.e. “before”) and RED (i.e. “leftist”) both reversed (indicated by “turns”) and then followed by TORY (i.e. “rightist”), like so: (DER-OGA)-TORY.

36. Merely running with no end, he hopes to generate interest (11)

Answer: MONEYLENDER (i.e. “he hopes to generate interest”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “running”) of MERELY and NO END.

40. Chap treated by yours truly given digital upgrade (9)

Answer: MANICURED (i.e. “given digital upgrade” – riffing on the digits of one’s hands). Solution is MAN (i.e. “chap”) and CURED (i.e. “treated”) once placed after or “by” I (i.e. “yours truly”), like so: MAN-(I)-CURED.

41. Rates contributor in Times during year apt to change (8)

Answer: TAXPAYER (i.e. “rates contributor”). Solution is X (i.e. “times”, as in the multiplication symbol – ignore the misleading capitalisation) placed “during” an anagram (indicated by “to change”) of YEAR APT, like so: TA(X)PAYER.

43. Stage character to go off behind platform (7)

Answer: PIERROT (i.e. “stage character”, think sad clown) Solution is ROT (i.e. “to go off”) placed “behind” PIER (i.e. “platform”), like so: PIER-ROT.

45. Role reversed with ease, we hear, in swinger’s bar (7)

Answer: TRAPEZE (i.e. “swinger’s bar”). Solution is PART (i.e. “role”) “reversed” followed by EZE (i.e. “ease, we hear”, i.e. a homophone of “ease”), like so: TRAP-EZE.

46. Very masculine ruler in ruin (7)

Answer: BUTCHER (i.e. to “ruin”). Solution is BUTCH (i.e. “very masculine”) followed by ER (i.e. “ruler”, specifically Elizabeth Regina).

47. Count on son abandoning agreement (6)

Answer: CENSUS (i.e. a “count” held every ten years). Solution is CONSENSUS (i.e. “agreement”) with ON and S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) removed or “abandoned”, like so: C(ON-S)ENSUS => CENSUS.

50. Good health leaving queen’s place (5)

Answer: POSIT (i.e. “place”). Solution is PROSIT (i.e. “good health”, as in a toast like “cheers” or “salut” – not one I recall coming across before), with the R removed (indicated by “leaving queen” – R being a recognised abbreviation of Regina, or “queen” in Latin). Chalk one to my Bradfords here.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1451

A bizarre semi-stinker this week. It could be just me, but if you split the grid into two halves, north-west versus south-east, then it felt like the north-west was a piece of piss compared to the horror show opposite. I got there, I think, but good grief this was like pulling teeth, especially toward the end. Not fun. A shame, really, as there were some clues that were rather well worked. (Shrugs.)

As ever, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions. I hope you find them useful. Meanwhile, you can find previous solutions to the last couple of years’ Jumbos on my Just For Fun page. I’ve also got some book reviews and a story of mine knocking about the place.

Until next time, keep well, continue to give thanks to the NHS and all key workers as we continue to inch out of lockdown. And MASK UP! Don’t moan about it. If you can do it, then do it. This pandemic is bigger than any of us. Don’t be selfish.

Right then. Off to the answers with you while I find a way down off my high horse. Laters, taters.

LP

Across clues

1. Athlete runs and runs past point of no return (5)

Answer: RACER (i.e. “athlete”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) and a second R (“runs” again) placed after or “past” ACE (i.e. “point of no return” – referring to a tennis point scored in one hit), like so: R-ACE-R.

4. Purpose encompassed by a stick was stirring (7)

Answer: AROUSED (i.e. “was stirring”). Solution is USE (i.e. “purpose”) placed in “encompassed by” A ROD (i.e. “a stick”), like so: A-RO(USE)D.

8. Stupid to accept degree in dialect? (9)

Answer: IDIOMATIC (i.e. “in dialect”). Solution is IDIOTIC (i.e. “stupid”) wrapped around or “accepting” MA (i.e. “degree”, specifically a Master of Arts), like so: IDIO(MA)TIC.

13. What’s just the thing for the papers? It won’t detain court long! (9)

Answer: BRIEFCASE (i.e. “just the thing for the papers”). When written as BRIEF CASE the solution also satisfies “it won’t detain court long”.

14. Start off shining, having taken job in tap room? (9,4)

Answer: LISTENING POST (i.e. “tap room” – playing on how wiretaps are used to listen in on people). Solution is GLISTENING (i.e. “shining”) with the initial letter removed (indicated by “start off”) and the remainder followed by POST (i.e. “job”).

15. There’s no way out of it – this setter’s had his day (7)

Answer: IMPASSE (i.e. “there’s no way out of it”). When written as I’M PASSE, the solution also satisfies “this setter’s had his day”.

16. Spectators compete with bets, blowing silver (7)

Answer: VIEWERS (i.e. “spectators”). Solution is VIE (i.e. “compete”) followed by WAGERS (i.e. “bets”) once the AG has been removed (indicated by “blowing silver” – Ag being the chemical symbol of silver), like so: VIE-WERS.

17. “Caught in flying saucer”, he claims (7)

Answer: ACCUSER (i.e. “he claims”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “flying”) of SAUCER, like so: AC(C)USER.

18. Dog lacking ears helps in coursing (4,7,7)

Answer: KING CHARLES SPANIEL (i.e. “dog”). “Coursing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LACKING EARS HELPS IN.

21. Religion without saints returns to African nation (4)

Answer: MALI (i.e. “African nation”). Solution is ISLAM (i.e. “religion”) with the S removed (indicated by “without saints” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “saint”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “returns”).

23. Fashionable food store with non-U sort of cheese that can’t be got rid of (9)

Answer: INDELIBLE (i.e. “can’t be got rid of”). Solution is IN (i.e. “fashionable”) followed by DELI (i.e. “food store”, short for delicatessen) and BLUE (i.e. “sort of cheese”) once the U has been removed (indicated by “non-U” – whatever that’s supposed to mean. Non-Uranium, maybe, which is always reassuring when one is buying cheese), like so: IN-DELI-BLE.

25. Looking back, Gap creator sums up (6)

Answer: RECAPS (i.e. “sums up”). Solution is SPACER (i.e. “gap creator” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) reversed (indicated by “looking back”).

26. Allow financial computer to become deadly (6)

Answer: LETHAL (i.e. “deadly”). Solution is LET (i.e. “allow”) followed by HAL (i.e. “fictional computer” from Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey).

28. One on world tour putting foot on ball (12)

Answer: GLOBETROTTER (i.e. “one on world tour”). Solution is TROTTER (i.e. “[pig’s] foot”) placed “on” or after GLOBE (i.e. “ball”).

30. Sack builder who keeps lighting up compulsively? (4-6)

Answer: FIRE-RAISER (i.e. “who keeps lighting up compulsively”). Solution is FIRE (i.e. “sack”) followed by RAISER (i.e. “builder”).

33. Spoke about new education sector that’s free (10)

Answer: UNFETTERED (i.e. “free”). Solution is UTTERED (i.e. “spoke”) wrapped “about” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and FE (“education sector”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Further Education), like so: U(N-FE)TTERED.

34. Fold following disastrous collapse – it encapsulates English (4,2,6)

Answer: FALL TO PIECES (i.e. “fold”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “following” that you don’t often see, which is surprising – I suspect we might see a flurry of setters using this in the near future) followed by an anagram (indicated by “disastrous”) of COLLAPSE IT wrapped around or “encapsulating” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: F-ALLTOPI(E)CES.

37. Westerly to dry fish (6)

Answer: TURBOT (i.e. “fish”). Solution is TO followed by BRUT (i.e. French for “dry” or unsweetened wines) all reversed (indicated by “westerly” – this being an across clue), like so: TURB-OT.

39. Cash machine charge capped to maximum (2,4)

Answer: AT MOST (i.e. “to maximum”). Solution is ATM (i.e. “cash machine”, short for Automated Teller Machine) followed by COST (i.e. “charge”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “capped”), like so: ATM-OST.

40. Such as “No standing at the bottom!” in playground? Pupils understood this once! (5,4)

Answer: SLIDE RULE, a mathematical aid used before the advent of electronic calculators, i.e. “pupils understood this once”. Never had to use one in school, thankfully, so I can’t comment on whether the otherwise nonsensical “No standing at the bottom!” bit means anything in this context, other than it sounding like a rule. A quick aside: the “pupils understood this once” bit reminds me how the ones most critical of schoolkids using calculators are often the ones who didn’t have them when they were at school. Funny that.
[EDIT: Thanks to Steve and John in the comments for shedding light on this one. The “No standing at the bottom!” bit relates to playground slides, where children would be sworn off lingering around at the bottom. Cheers, both! – LP]

42. Relative’s ‘angout (4)

Answer: AUNT (i.e. “relative”). Solution is HAUNT with the H dropped (indicated by “‘angout”, as in ‘ow all ‘em cockneys would say it, dropping their bleedin’ aitches, Gordon Bennett, chim-chim cher-ee Miss Poppins, the Queen Mum gawblessah, and other playfully withering anti-London-isms).

43. Hung fire, putting life in the balance? (9,9)

Answer: SUSPENDED ANIMATION. Solution is SUSPENDED (i.e. “hung”) followed by ANIMATION (i.e. “fire”, as in being angry or animated). On the flip side, “life in the balance” riffs on how some weighing scales use a pair of “suspended” pans, with “life” taken to mean “animation”. You get the idea. Can’t say I was keen on this one. Having both halves of the clue equally cryptic and neither really relating to the solution felt a bit unfair. World keeps spinning, meanwhile…

46. Helping of coffee airline sent back (7)

Answer: ABETTAL (i.e. “helping”). Solution is LATTE (i.e. “coffee”) and BA (i.e. “airline”, specifically British Airways) all reversed (indicated by “sent back”), like so: AB-ETTAL.

47. Unleavened bread, brown, for one into self-denial? (7)

Answer: PURITAN (i.e. “one into self-denial” – Puritans are strictly moral in conduct and therefore “deny” themselves all kind of things. All the more for us heathens then…) Solution is PURI (i.e. “unleavened [Indian] bread”) followed by TAN (i.e. “brown”).

48. Potato pest perhaps keeping its distance (7)

Answer: ALOOFLY (i.e. “keeping its distance”). Solution is ALOO (a “potato” in Indian cooking – thank you, Chambers) followed by FLY (i.e. “pest perhaps” – other pests are available).

50. Would a second cup of this be appropriate? (7,6)

Answer: INSTANT COFFEE. Clue plays on how a second cup of instant coffee wouldn’t be quite as “instant” as the first. Assuming the coffee has been poured from a pot, I guess. I mean, most people would chuck instant coffee into a cup and add hot water, wouldn’t they? In other words it would always be instant. They wouldn’t make two cups of instant coffee, for example, and have one later, making it less instant, would they? Would they? No, of course not. That would be ridiculous. They’d just stick the kettle on again when they are ready to have another cup. Which would be another cup of instant coffee. To be honest, you could even argue that coffee poured from a pot is instant too, because it’s there ready to pour whenever you want it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the clue is… hello? Guys? Where’d you all go? Hello…?! Guys???

51. Make hit plays, then perform opera (3,6)

Answer: THE MIKADO (i.e. an “opera” by Gilbert & Sullivan). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “plays”) of MAKE HIT followed by DO (i.e. “perform”), like so: THEMIKA-DO.

52. Old writers include two separate notes for those providing explanation (9)

Answer: EXPONENTS (i.e. “those providing explanation”). Solution is EX (i.e. “old”) followed by POETS (i.e. “writers”) wrapped around or “including” N and N (i.e. “two separate notes” – N being a recognised abbreviation of “note” – “separate” indicates these are strewn throughout POETS, rather than sitting side-by-side), like so: EX-PO(N)E(N)TS.

53. Content fits badly in Express (7)

Answer: SATISFY (i.e. “content” – Hmm. “Contented = Satisfied”, yes, I get, but I’m struggling to think of a sentence that would allow “content” to be swapped for “satisfy”. Perhaps I’m being too fussy…) Solution is an anagram (indicated by “badly”) of FITS placed “in” SAY (i.e. “express” – ignore the misleading capitalisation and italicisation), like so: SA(TISF)Y.

54. Cultivated meadow’s beginning to go after variable output (5)

Answer: YIELD (i.e. “output”). Solution is FIELD (i.e. “cultivated meadow”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “beginning to go”) and the remainder placed “after” Y (i.e. “variable” – setters love describing X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns or variables), like so: Y-IELD.

Down clues

1. Funny parasite found under bone on fish (3-8)

Answer: RIB-TICKLING (i.e. “funny”). Solution is TICK (i.e. “parasite”) placed after or “under” – this being a down clue – RIB (i.e. “bone”) and then followed by LING (i.e. “fish”), like so: RIB-(TICK)-LING.

2. Brisk constable arresting gentleman from the south (5)

Answer: CRISP (i.e. “brisk”). Solution is PC (i.e. “constable”, specifically a Police Constable) wrapped around or “arresting” SIR (i.e. “gentleman”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “from the south” – again, this being a down clue), like so: C(RIS)P.

3. Don’t put money in plate for rubbish service (6,10)

Answer: REFUSE COLLECTION. Solution satisfies “don’t put money in [collection] plate” and “rubbish service”. Nicely worked.

4. Scared, run away onto a public walk (7)

Answer: ALAMEDA (i.e. a “public walk” in Spain). Solution is ALARMED (i.e. “scared”) with the R removed (indicated by “run away” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games) and the remainder followed by A, like so: ALAMED-A. Chalk one to my Bradfords here. I couldn’t look past AFRAID for “scared”, even when it clearly wouldn’t fit the intersecting letters.

5. Set too much store by usefulness of deliveries? (9)

Answer: OVERVALUE (i.e. “set too much store” in something). When read as OVER VALUE the solution also satisfies “usefulness of [cricket] deliveries” – six of which make an over.

6. Movie world’s barrier against old people? (6,6)

Answer: SILVER SCREEN (i.e. “movie world”). Solution also satisfies a “barrier against old people”.

7. Persisted rudely holding Conservative in contempt (10)

Answer: DISRESPECT (i.e. “contempt”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rudely”) of PERSISTED wrapped around or “holding” C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”), like so: DISRESPE(C)T.

8. Edited Times articles (5)

Answer: ITEMS (i.e. “articles”). “Edited” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TIMES. Simple, but nicely done.

9. I found a partner to adopt computer business, and took off (8)

Answer: IMITATED (i.e. “took off”). Solution is I MATED (i.e. “I found a partner”) wrapped around or “adopting” IT (i.e. “computer business”, specifically Information Technology), like so: I-M(IT)ATED.

10. Endless spiritual ceremony, involving smoke rising and charms (6)

Answer: MAGICS (i.e. “charms”). Solution is MASS (i.e. “spiritual ceremony”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder wrapped around or “involving” CIG (i.e. “smoke”, both slang words for a cigarette) once it has been reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: MA(GIC)S. Another nicely worked clue.

11. The right way is for everyone to be premier (9)

Answer: TAOISEACH (i.e. Irish Prime Minister or “premier”). Solution is TAO (i.e. “the right way” in Confucianism – thank you again, Chambers) followed by IS, then EACH (i.e. “for everyone”). A word I don’t think I’ll ever spell correctly without help. Or pronounce, for that matter.

12. Provide support in early stage of life (11)

Answer: CATERPILLAR (i.e. “early stage of life” of butterflies). Solution is CATER (i.e. “provide”) followed by PILLAR (i.e. “support”).

19. Capital movements no longer available, becomes dormant (4,3)

Answer: NODS OFF (i.e. “becomes dormant”). Solution is NODS (i.e. “capital movements” – capital taken to mean “relating to the head” (Chambers); you nod your head, it is therefore a capital movement) followed by OFF (i.e. “no longer available”).

20. Union’s a joke, mounting case with no right (7)

Answer: NUPTIAL (i.e. “union” or marriage). Solution is PUN (i.e. “a joke”) reversed (indicated by “mounting” – this being a down clue) and followed by TRIAL (i.e. “[court] case”) once the R has been removed (indicated by “no right” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: NUP-TIAL.

22. Nephew’s 21st perhaps has hallmark of largest party? (8,8)

Answer: RELATIVE MAJORITY (i.e. “hallmark of largest party”, being the seats the largest political party has over and above its nearest rival without holding an overall majority). Solution is RELATIVE (i.e. “nephew”) followed by MAJORITY (i.e. “21st perhaps” – an acknowledgement that the age of majority has historically differed in the UK). Another nicely worked clue.
[EDIT: Thanks to Mrs D for the typo fix. I’d originally written “Solution is RELATIVE (i.e. “relative”)…” – LP]

24. Indian appetizer picked up for one performing lighter work (6)

Answer: BARGEE (i.e. “one performing lighter work” – lighter taken to mean a kind of boat). “Picked up” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of BHAJI (i.e. “Indian appetizer”). Seems this setter has a thing for Indian food. I approve!

27. Oil know-how picked up in northern India (6)

Answer: NEROLI (i.e. an “oil” distilled from orange flowers, which sounds rather nice). Solution is LORE (i.e. “know-how”) reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue) and placed “in” between N (a recognised abbreviation of “northern”) and I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: N-(EROL)-I. Chalk another one to my Bradfords here. I’d rather lost the will with this puzzle by this point.

29. Picked up shirt, left around, to get crown (7)

Answer: TREETOP (i.e. “crown”). Solution is TEE (i.e. “shirt”, as in a T-shirt) with PORT (i.e. “left” in nautical lingo) placed “around” it. The whole is then reversed (indicated by “picked up” – again, being a down clue), like so: TR(EET)OP. Another score for my Bradfords here. My brain had badly wanted to do something else.

31. Devils yield to temptation, sacrificing maiden on island (7)

Answer: SUCCUBI (i.e. “devils”, a plural of succubus). Solution is SUCCUMB (i.e. “yield to temptation”) with the M removed (indicated by “sacrificing maiden” – M being a recognised abbreviation of “maiden” used in cricket to record scoreless overs) and the remainder followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: SUCCUB-I.

32. Abuse of whisky to gobble up 20% of money through regular payment (12)

Answer: MALTREATMENT (i.e. “abuse”). Solution is MALT (i.e. “whisky”) followed by EAT (i.e. “gobble up”) and M (i.e. “20% of money”, specifically the first 20% of the word “money”) once these latter two have been placed in or “through” RENT (i.e. “regular payment”), like so: MALT-R(EAT-M)ENT. Another nicely worked clue.

33. Solider upholding extremist position in spectrum? (11)

Answer: ULTRAMARINE (i.e. “position in [colour] spectrum”). Solution is MARINE (i.e. “soldier”) placed below or “upholding” – this being a down clue – ULTRA (i.e. “extremist”), like so: ULTRA-MARINE.

35. Coppers getting offer in barber’s shop? (7,4)

Answer: SWEENEY TODD. Solution satisfies “coppers”, specifically the cockney rhyming slang for the Flying Squad, a branch within the London Metropolitan Police, and “offer in barber’s shop”, specifically… well… Sweeney Todd, who had a thing for “offing” customers sitting in his barber’s chair. A reminder you should tip, people!

36. Plan to invade hills in US winds up? On the contrary (10)

Answer: DOWNDRAFTS (i.e. “US winds up? On the contrary” – a bit rubbish this, but basically the solution is the opposite of “winds up”, “winds” taken to mean a breeze and using the American spelling DRAFT rather than the UK spelling DRAUGHT. I suspect this will go down like a shit sandwich with some solvers!) Solution is DRAFT (i.e. “plan”) placed in or “invading” DOWNS (i.e. “hills”), like so: DOWN(DRAFT)S.

38. Seconds of bean feast? (7-2)

Answer: RUNNERS-UP (i.e. “seconds”). Solution is RUNNER (i.e. “bean”) followed by SUP (i.e. “feast” – an archaic meaning of “sup” is to take the evening meal, or to supper).

40. Deer at the bottom becomes motionless (9)

Answer: STAGNATES (i.e. “becomes motionless”). Solution is STAG (i.e. “deer”) followed by NATES (i.e. one’s “bottom”, anatomically – you learn something new every day!)

41. Ball fired at the crease producing report (8)

Answer: BULLETIN (i.e. “report”). Solution is BULLET (i.e. “ball fired” – bullets can be round as well as conical) followed by IN (i.e. “at the crease” in cricket).

44. German spy’s confession perhaps lacking right figures of speech (7)

Answer: IMAGERY (i.e. “figures of speech”). Solution is I’M A GERRY (i.e. “German spy’s confession perhaps” – in WW2, Germans were often referred to as Jerry or Gerry. Speaks to the age of the setter, it seems, along with a number of other clues this week) with one of the Rs removed (indicated by “lacking right” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”).

45. Provincial theatre etc facing up to pressure (6)

Answer: STRAIN (i.e. “pressure”). Solution is NI ARTS (i.e. “provincial theatre etc”, taken to mean Northern Irish arts) reversed (indicated by “facing up” – this being a down clue), like so: STRA-IN.

47. Leader of prayers has obligations for devout (5)

Answer: PIOUS (i.e. “devout”). Solution is P (i.e. “leader of prayers”, i.e. the first letter of “prayers”) followed by IOUS (i.e. “obligations”, or I Owe Yous).

49. Surround female and male sheep with pen after shearing (5)

Answer: FRAME (i.e. “surround”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) followed by RAM (i.e. “male sheep”) and E (i.e. “pen after shearing”, i.e. the word “pen” with its first and last letters removed).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1450

A little later than usual (working weekend) but here’s my completed grid for this week’s Times Jumbo. It was a so-so puzzle for me, with a few good clues but a few others where I thought the setter was pushing things a little too far, particularly with homophones. Your mileage may have varied. In any case, you can find explanations for my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

As ever, I’ll hawk some other stuff while you are here. Consider it my fee. You can find previous solutions to these things on my Just For Fun page, some book reviews or a story of mine. There, that wasn’t painful, was it?

And so to the answers. Till next time, continue to give thanks to the NHS and key workers everywhere, stay safe, eat your greens and wash behind your ears.

TTFN,

LP

Across clues

1. Bloomer made by union leader surrounded by dangerous reptiles (6)

Answer: CROCUS (i.e. a flower or “bloomer”). Solution is U (i.e. “union leader”, i.e. the first letter of “union”) placed in or “surrounded by” CROCS (i.e. “dangerous reptiles”), like so: CROC(U)S.

5. Canadian law enforcer free to pursue method of working (7)

Answer: MOUNTIE (i.e. “Canadian law enforcer”). Solution is UNTIE (i.e. “free”) placed after or “pursuing” MO (i.e. “method of working”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Modus Operandi), like so: MO-UNTIE.

9. Barker put on TV with porter (8)

Answer: AIREDALE (i.e. a breed of dog, or “barker”). Solution is AIRED (i.e. “put on TV”, “put” taken as past tense) followed by ALE (i.e. “porter”, a strong beer).

13. Extremely helpful, like an English noble once? (5,4,6,2,4)

Answer: WORTH ONE’S WEIGHT IN GOLD (i.e. “extremely helpful”). “Like an English noble once” refers to a noble, an English gold coin from the fourteenth century. Nicely worked.

14. Beg last of theatre managers to manage current stars (8)

Answer: PLEIADES (i.e. a group of “stars”, visible to the naked eye). Solution is PLEAD (i.e. “beg”) and ES (i.e. “last of theatre managers”, i.e. the last letters of “theatre” and “managers”) wrapped around or “managing” I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current”), like so: PLE(I)AD-ES. One I remembered from a previous grid, to be honest, though I’ll never remember how it’s spelled.

15. Illegal enterprises involving court? (7)

Answer: RACKETS (i.e. “illegal enterprises”). “Involving court” riffs on how rackets – or racquets, both spellings are recognised – are used to play tennis.

16. Film most of pleasant outdoor meal (6)

Answer: PICNIC (i.e. “outdoor meal”). Solution is PIC (i.e. “film” – both taken to mean movies) followed by NICE (i.e. “pleasant”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “most of”), like so: PIC-NIC.

17. Plea by Liberal in Lincoln referable to higher court? (10)

Answer: APPEALABLE (i.e. “referable to higher court”). Solution is APPEAL (i.e. “plea”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “Liberal”) once it has been placed “in” ABE (i.e. Abraham “Lincoln”), like so: APPEAL-AB(L)E.

20. Pieces of fruit a presbyter conceals, some say (12)

Answer: ELDERBERRIES (i.e. “pieces of fruit”). Solution is ELDER (i.e. “a presbyter” – an elder of the Presbyterian Church) followed by a homophone (indicated by “some say”) of BURIES (i.e. “conceals”).

23. Partner? One may be a fool’s or a scholar’s (4)

Answer: MATE (i.e. “partner”). The remainder of the clue plays on chess terms: a “fool’s” mate is “the simplest of the checkmates (in two moves by each player)”, while a “scholar’s” mate is “a simple mate accomplished in four moves” (Chambers, both).

24. Lacking shape, one leaves in livery (8)

Answer: UNFORMED (i.e. “lacking shape”). Solution is UNIFORMED (i.e. “in livery”) with the I removed (indicated by “[Roman numeral] one leaves”).

26. Caustic quality potentially making crony mad (8)

Answer: MORDANCY (i.e. “caustic quality”). “Making” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CRONY MAD.

29. Reduction in level of French euphoria about southern California (2-10)

Answer: DE-ESCALATION (i.e. “reduction in level”). Solution is DE (i.e. “of French”, i.e. the French for “of”) followed by ELATION (i.e. “euphoria”) once it has been wrapped “about” S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) and CA (ditto “California”), like so: DE-E(S-CA)LATION.

30. Clearly only teacher turns out a novel (10)

Answer: COHERENTLY (i.e. “clearly”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “novel”) of ONLY TEACHER once the A has been removed (indicated by “turns out a”).

32. Eg Fowler’s old lady transfixed by married woman (10)

Answer: GRAMMARIAN (i.e. “Eg [Henry Watson or Francis George] Fowler” – the brothers worked on a number of acclaimed books in the early twentieth century, perhaps most famously A Dictionary of Modern English Usage). Solution is GRAN (i.e. “old lady”) wrapped around or “transfixed by” M (a recognised abbreviation of “married”) and MARIA (i.e. “woman”, basically a woman’s name), like so: GRA(M-MARIA)N.

34. Self-aggrandising type came out clasping female Arab (12)

Answer: MEGALOMANIAC (i.e. “self-aggrandising type”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out” – one definition of the word is “away from the original or normal position or state” (Chambers)) of CAME, wrapped around or “clasping” GAL (i.e. “female”) and OMANI (i.e. “Arab”, specifically one from Oman), like so: ME(GAL-OMANI)AC.

36. Energy invested in fellow’s joint academic office (8)

Answer: DEANSHIP (i.e. “academic office”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) placed or “invested in” DAN’S (i.e. “fellow’s”, basically a man’s name made possessive) and followed by HIP (i.e. “joint”), like so: D(E)AN’S-HIP.

38. Explosive that throws me in moat! (8)

Answer: AMMONITE. Not one I’m 100% on, but I can’t immediately see anything else that fits. The solution is an anagram (indicated by “throws”) of ME IN MOAT. An AMMONITE is an extinct marine mollusc – hardly the kind of thing you’d see bobbing around a moat. I guess the setter is riffing on AMMO being an “explosive”, but that isn’t terribly satisfactory. If someone swings by with a better solution then I’ll update the post, but as it stands this one is destined for the setters’ sin bin.
[EDIT: Thanks to a number of people in the comments for highlighting that ammonite is a form of an old high explosive called Amatol. It’s a definition that is not supported by any of the dictionaries I have, but it does get a two-line mention in some far-flung Wikipedia page for Amatol. I don’t think it’s enough to bring the setter out of the sin bin, though. Which reminds me, I didn’t leave any food or water in there. (Checks sin  bin.) Shit… – LP]

39. Alcoholic drink? Some welcome a Dubonnet (4)

Answer: MEAD (i.e. “alcoholic drink”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: WELCO(ME A D)UBONNET.

41. Contrive goals, once proper, to live within one’s means (4,4,4)

Answer: MAKE ENDS MEET (i.e. “to live within one’s means”). Solution is MAKE (i.e. “contrive”) followed by ENDS (i.e. “goals”) and MEET (i.e. “once proper” – we’ve seen this in a recent puzzle, and was brought to light by Dr John in the comments: meet is a formal or archaic word meaning qualified or fitting, an example being in the Bible quotation “Therefore it was meet and proper that that in everything he should resemble his brethren…” (Hebrews 2:17)).

43. Like moonrock brought to earth? It’s hard to credit (3-7)

Answer: FAR-FETCHED. Solution satisfies “like moonrock brought to earth” and “it’s hard to credit”.

44. Knocked back drink with spirit, engendering furore (6)

Answer: RUMPUS (i.e. “furore”). Solution is SUP (i.e. “drink”) reversed (indicated by “knocked back”) and placed after or “with” RUM (i.e. “spirit”), like so: RUM-PUS.

46. Artlessness of first-class surgeon in Newcastle area (7)

Answer: NAIVETE (i.e. “artlessness”). Solution is AI (i.e. “first-class”, i.e. A1, often taken to mean excellent – the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent) and VET (i.e. “surgeon”, specifically a common shortened form of veterinarian) both placed “in” NE (i.e. “Newcastle area”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “north-east”, as opposed to any specific area in Newcastle), like so: N(AI-VET)E.

48. Merseyside port’s guttersnipes ultimately unshod (8)

Answer: BOOTLESS (i.e. “unshod”). Solution is BOOTLE (i.e. “Merseyside port”) followed by S and S (i.e. “port’s guttersnipes ultimately”, i.e. the last letters of “port’s” and “guttersnipes”).

50. Over the moon, having sampled seasonal delights! (4,2,3,4,2,6)

Answer: FULL OF THE JOYS OF SPRING. Solution satisfies “over the moon” – both phrases meaning “very happy” – and “having sampled seasonal delights” – riffing on SPRING being one of the four seasons. Another nicely worked clue.

51. Veracious husband withdraws, holding son to be gullible (8)

Answer: TRUSTFUL (i.e. “gullible”). Solution is TRUTHFUL (i.e. “veracious”) with the H removed (indicated by “husband withdraws” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) and S slotted in (indicated by “holding son” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”), like so: TRUT(H)FUL => TRUTFUL => TRU(S)TFUL.

52. Outstanding aim first to be funded (7)

Answer: ENDOWED (i.e. “funded”). Solution is OWED (i.e. an amount of money “outstanding”) with END (i.e. “aim”) placed ahead of it or “first”, like so: END-OWED.

53. Make fun of carrier, a slovenly dresser (6)

Answer: RAGBAG (i.e. “a slovenly dresser”). Solution is RAG (i.e. “make fun of”) followed by BAG (i.e. “carrier”).

Down clues

2. Argument over the Spanish horseman’s spiked wheel (5)

Answer: ROWEL (i.e. “horseman’s spiked wheel [on a spur]”). Solution is ROW (i.e. “argument”) followed by EL (i.e. “the Spanish”, i.e. the Spanish for “the”).

3. Audibly damn head adopting the writer’s quality of joined-up writing (11)

Answer: CURSIVENESS (i.e. “quality of joined-up writing”). Solution is CURS (i.e. a homophone, indicated by “audibly”, of CURSE, i.e. “damn” – I’m not keen on how this setter plays fast and loose with homophones, it must be said. Reading CURS on its own, you would pronounce it differently to CURSE) and NESS (i.e. “head”, as in the geographic feature, a headland) wrapped around I’VE (i.e. “the writer’s” – a sneaky bit of wordplay, this is a contraction of “the writer has” rather than the possessive “writer’s”. It doesn’t matter that the clue doesn’t scan in this form, so long as it disguises what the setter is playing at. From the point of view of setter, “the writer has” then equates to I HAVE, or I’VE), like so: CURS-(I’VE)-NESS. Ugh…

4. Agenda of revolutionary law lord brought up in Home Counties (8)

Answer: SCHEDULE (i.e. “agenda”). Solution is CHE Guevara (i.e. “revolutionary”, and catnip for Times setters) and LUD (i.e. “law lord”, as in a facetious form of “lord” used to address judges, m’lud), the latter reversed (indicated by “brought up” – this being a down clue). These are then placed “in” SE (i.e. “Home Counties”, basically the South East of England), like so: S(CHE-DUL)E.

5. Problem about entertaining at home less (5)

Answer: MINUS (i.e. “less”). Solution is SUM (i.e. “problem” – Chambers has this definition for SUM: “a problem in addition, or in arithmetic generally”) reversed (indicated by “about”) and wrapped around or “entertaining” IN (i.e. “at home”), like so: M(IN)US.

6. Increases desire for rise (7)

Answer: UPSURGE (i.e. “rise”). Solution is UPS (i.e. “increases”) followed by URGE (i.e. “desire”).

7. Ditch Berliner possibly, losing good hearty eater (11)

Answer: TRENCHERMAN (i.e. “hearty eater”). Solution is TRENCH (i.e. “ditch”) followed by GERMAN (i.e. “Berliner possibly”) once the G has been removed (indicated by “losing good” – G being a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: TRENCH-ERMAN. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

8. Bore keen to be heard (5)

Answer: EAGRE (i.e. “bore”, specifically “a bore or sudden rise of the tide in a river” (Chambers)). “To be heard” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of EAGER (i.e. “keen”).

9. Term in USA recollecting an agent of passive immunity? (9)

Answer: ANTISERUM (i.e. “agent of passive immunity” – basically a serum that contains antibodies. Topical!) “Recollecting” indicates an anagram. Solution is an anagram of TERM IN USA.

10. Accumulate work at university (3,2)

Answer: RUN UP (i.e. “accumulate”). Solution is RUN (i.e. to operate or “work” something) followed by UP (i.e. “at university” – another that’s catnip for Times setters).

11. Make brief visit, carrying short article, a piece of stage equipment (4,7)

Answer: DROP CURTAIN (i.e. “a piece of stage equipment”). Solution is DROP IN (i.e. “make a brief visit”) wrapped around or “carrying” CURT (i.e. “short” or impatient) and A (i.e. “article”, as in a word like a, an or the), like so: DROP-(CURT-A)-IN.

12. Diluted manoeuvres for an opponent of mechanisation (7)

Answer: LUDDITE (i.e. “opponent of mechanisation”). “Manoeuvres” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DILUTED.

18. Earth, possibly, about rear of large woody plant (5,4)

Answer: PLANE TREE (i.e. “woody plant”). Solution is PLANET (i.e. “Earth, possibly” – other planets are available) followed by RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) and E (i.e. “rear of large”, i.e. the last letter of “large”), like so: PLANET-RE-E.

19. Asian girl in W African state briefly (7)

Answer: BENGALI (i.e. “Asian”). Solution is GAL (i.e. “girl”) placed “in” BENIN (i.e. “W African state”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: BEN(GAL)I.

21. Figure teacher presented about a month back (9)

Answer: DODECAGON (i.e. a twelve-sided “figure”). Solution is DON (i.e. “teacher”) wrapped around or “presented about” DEC (i.e. “a month”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of December) and AGO (i.e. “back”), like so: DO(DEC-AGO)N. Another shape-related clue, following several others in recent weeks. Definitely a theme running here!

22. Body parts a murderer’s destroyed without hesitation (8)

Answer: EARDRUMS (i.e. “body parts”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “destroyed”) of A MURDERER’S once ER has been removed (indicated by “without hesitation”).

25. Determine position of old gallery accepting nothing French (9)

Answer: ORIENTATE (i.e. “determine position”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and TATE (i.e. “gallery” – another often-used play) wrapped around or “accepting” RIEN (i.e. “nothing French”, i.e. the French for “nothing”, like so: O-(RIEN)-TATE. (Attempts to sing Edith Piaf’s, Non Je Ne Regrette Rien.) (Quickly gives up.)

27. Woman in constant fury finding cost of storing goods (9)

Answer: CELLARAGE (i.e. “cost of storing goods”). Solution is ELLA (i.e. “woman” – basically a woman’s name) placed “in” C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”) and RAGE (i.e. “fury”), like so: C-(ELLA)-RAGE.

28. French murder victim meeting death finally on race (8)

Answer: MARATHON (i.e. “race”). Solution is Jean-Paul MARAT, a key player in the French Revolution who was assassinated in his bathtub, i.e. “murder victim”, followed by H (i.e. “death finally”, i.e. the last letter of “death”) and ON, like so: MARAT-H-ON.

31. Pistol-case they regularly require at first after vacation (7)

Answer: HOLSTER (i.e. “pistol-case”). Solution is TE (i.e. “they regularly”, i.e. every other letter of THEY) and R (i.e. “require at first”, i.e. the first letter of “require”) both placed “after” HOLS (i.e. “vacation”, specifically a shortened form of “holidays”), like so: HOLS-TE-R.

33. Report of woman with a European husband leaving US city (11)

Answer: MINNEAPOLIS (i.e. “US city”). Solution is MINNE (i.e. “report of woman”, i.e. a homophone of MINNIE, a woman’s name – again the setter’s use of homophones is jarring. It’s bad enough when setters use non-existent words as homophones, but it’s something else when the homophone doesn’t work in isolation) followed by A and POLISH (i.e. “European”) once the H has been removed (indicated by “husband leaving” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “husband”), like so: MINNE-A-POLIS.

34. Old lady with weapon pinches article? Keep quiet about it! (4,3,4)

Answer: MUMS THE WORD (i.e. “keep quiet about it”). Solution is MUM (i.e. “old lady”) and SWORD (i.e. “weapon”) wrapped around or “pinching” THE (i.e. “article”, as in a word like a, an and the), like so: MUM-S(THE)WORD.

35. Identify vocation, provoking verbal abuse (4-7)

Answer: NAME-CALLING (i.e. “verbal abuse”). Solution is NAME (i.e. “identify”) followed by CALLING (i.e. “vocation”).

37. Mail old S African province following delivery (9)

Answer: POSTNATAL (i.e. “following delivery” of a baby). Solution is POST (i.e. “mail”) followed by NATAL (i.e. “old S African province”, now called KwaZulu-Natal).

40. Dancer’s work in oil company limited by drink (8)

Answer: BEBOPPER (i.e. “dancer”). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, as in a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) placed “in” BP (i.e. “oil company”, specifically British Petroleum), which is itself placed in or “limited by” BEER (i.e. “drink”), like so: BE(B(OP)P)ER.

42. Trembling female replacing Victor’s source of water (7)

Answer: AQUIFER (i.e. “source of water”). Solution is AQUIVER (i.e. “trembling”) with the V (“Victor” in the phonetic alphabet) replaced by F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”), like so: AQUI(V)ER => AQUI(F)ER.

43. Agonises over wife cut by a carpentry tool (7)

Answer: FRETSAW (i.e. “carpentry tool”). Solution is FRETS (i.e. “agonises”) and W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) wrapped around or “cut by” A, like so: FRETS-(A)-W.

45. Behave like Bunter – indulge in mockery (5)

Answer: SCOFF. Solution satisfies “behaves like [Billy] Bunter” – who liked the odd snack – and “indulge in mockery”.

47. Peaceful woman, one associated with Descartes, possibly (5)

Answer: IRENE (i.e. “woman” – the “peaceful” bit hints at a play on the word irenic or irenical). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by RENE “Descartes”. Score one to Monty Python’s Philosophers Song, here.

48. Attempt to assimilate famous poem divided into two parts (5)

Answer: BIFID (i.e. “in two parts”). Solution is BID (i.e. “bid”) wrapped around or “assimilating” IF (i.e. “famous poem” by Rudyard Kipling), like so: B(IF)ID.

49. Rise for soldier’s mother, a character in Thessaloniki (5)

Answer: SIGMA (i.e. “a character in Thessaloniki” – basically a Greek letter, Thessaloniki is Greece’s second largest city). Solution is GIS (i.e. “[US] soldiers”) reversed (indicated by “rise for…” – this being a down clue) and followed by MA (i.e. “mother”), like so: SIG-MA.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1449

A relatively gentle affair compared to last week’s stinker, and a decent puzzle to boot, offering some well worked clues and good progression throughout.

As ever, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. Over on my Just For Fun page you’ll find links to solutions for this and the previous 99 puzzles, which you might find useful. I’ve also got a bunch of book reviews and a story of mine, should any of that appeal.

Till next time, give thanks to the NHS and key workers everywhere, keep safe and all being well I’ll see you here for #101.

LP

Across clues

1. Short couple returning pawnbroker’s gem (9)

Answer: CARBUNCLE (i.e. “gem”). Solution is BRACE (i.e. “couple”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “returning”), followed by UNCLE (a slang word for a “pawnbroker”), like so: CARB-UNCLE.

6. Including a feature with note passed across counter (6,7)

Answer: ADDING MACHINE (i.e. “counter”). Solution is ADDING (i.e. “including”) followed ME (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me notation) once it has been wrapped around or “passed across” A and CHIN (i.e. “[facial] feature”), like so: ADDING-M(A-CHIN)E.

13. Rowed and yelled, losing head (5)

Answer: OARED (i.e. “rowed”). Solution is ROARED (i.e. “yelled”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “losing head”).

14. Imagined names to cover old area one’s set in (11)

Answer: NONEXISTENT (i.e. “imagined”). Solution is N and N (both recognised abbreviations of “name”) wrapped around or “covering” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and followed by EXTENT (i.e. “area”) once I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”) been “set in”, like so: N(O)N-EX(I’S)TENT.

15. Assign many, about 50 (5)

Answer: ALLOT (i.e. “assign”). Solution is A LOT (i.e. “many”) wrapped “about” L (i.e. “[Roman numeral] fifty), like so: A-(L)-LOT.

16. Love being in a strip club, dancing, hot and humid? (11)

Answer: SUBTROPICAL (i.e. “hot and humid”). Solution is O (i.e. “love”, being a zero score in tennis) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “dancing”) of STRIP CLUB, like so: SUBTR(O)PICAL.

17. One female detected hole in a jug, a Paris icon (6,5)

Answer: EIFFEL TOWER (i.e. “a Paris icon”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”), FELT (i.e. “detected”) and O (i.e. “hole” – as in the letter’s resemblance to one) all placed “in” EWER (i.e. “jug”), like so: E(I-F-FELT-O)WER.

18. Alluring type in charge of cutting record (7)

Answer: ENTICER (i.e. “alluring type”). Solution is IC (a recognised abbreviation of “in charge”) placed in or “cutting” ENTER (i.e. “[to] record”), like so: ENT(IC)ER.

20. Mole spotted everyone grabbing European (7)

Answer: SEAWALL (i.e. “mole” – one of the various meanings of the word is “a massive breakwater”). Solution is SAW (i.e. “spotted”) and ALL (i.e. “everyone”) wrapped around or “grabbing European”), like so: S(E)AW-ALL.

21. A river by old US city yields gold ring (7)

Answer: AUREOLA (i.e. a halo, corona or “gold ring”). Solution is A followed by URE (i.e. “river”), then O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and LA (i.e. “US city”, specifically Los Angeles).

23. Implying convoluted legal nicety, maybe controversially engineered? (11,8)

Answer: GENETICALLY MODIFIED (i.e. “maybe controversially engineered”). Solution cryptically satisfies “implying convoluted legal nicety”, in that “legal nicety” is an anagram or MODIFIED form of GENETICALLY.

27. One who admires fine article (3)

Answer: FAN (i.e. “one who admires”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils) followed by AN (i.e. “article”, being a word like a, an or the).

28. What some casual readers do? Take drugs (3-3)

Answer: DOG-EAR. Solution satisfies “what some casual readers do” – referring to the abhorrent practice of folding the corner of a page to mark one’s place in a book – and, when written as DO GEAR, also satisfies “take drugs”.

29. Yell “Clear off!”, seizing tablet (6)

Answer: SCREAM (i.e. “yell”). Solution is SCRAM (i.e. “clear off!”) wrapped around E (street name of the drug ecstasy, often taken in “tablet” form), like so: SCR(E)AM.

31. Actor’s exit stumped old men packing circle (5,4)

Answer: STAGE DOOR (i.e. “actor’s exit”). Solution is ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stumped” used in cricket) followed by AGED (i.e. “old”) and OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) wrapped around or “packing” O (i.e. “circle”), like so: ST-AGED-(O)-OR.

34. Crossing lake, supports pale Oz bird (5,4)

Answer: BLACK SWAN (i.e. “Oz bird”). Solution is BACKS (i.e. “supports”) wrapped around or “crossed” by L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”) and followed by WAN (i.e. “pale”), like so: B(L)ACKS-WAN.

35. Muscle oil company’s used to guard diamonds (6)

Answer: BICEPS (i.e. “muscle”). Solution is BP’S (i.e. “oil company’s”, specifically British Petroleum, made possessive) wrapped around or “guarding” ICE (i.e. “diamonds”), like so: B(ICE)P’S.

36. With bottle of mineral knocked back, resultant sound going about? (6)

Answer: HEROIC (i.e. “with bottle”). Solution is ORE (i.e. “mineral”) reversed (indicated by “knocked back”) and placed in, or having “about”, HIC (i.e. “resultant sound”, i.e. a hiccup, the implication being one has knocked something back a little too quickly), like so: H(ERO)IC.

39. Community gathering endless drink (3)

Answer: BEE (i.e. “community gathering”, like a sewing bee). Solution is BEER (i.e. “drink”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endless”).

40. Everything under discussion I’ve used with our forensics nuts (8,2,9)

Answer: UNIVERSE OF DISCOURSE (i.e. “everything under discussion”). “Nuts” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I’VE USED and OUR FORENSICS.

42. Popular teams showing guts (7)

Answer: INSIDES (i.e. “guts”). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) followed by SIDES (i.e. “teams”).

43. Playwright’s very large book, one gripping queen (7)

Answer: John OSBORNE (i.e. “playwright”). Solution is OS (i.e. “very large”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “outsize”) followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) and ONE once it has been wrapped around or “gripping” R (a recognised abbreviation of Regina, Latin for “queen”), like so: OS-B-O(R)NE.

45. Weeds grow wild, eaten by rodent (7)

Answer: RAGWORT (i.e. “weeds”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wild”) of GROW placed on or “eaten by” RAT (i.e. “rodent”), like so: RA(GWOR)T.

47. Second service stops religious breaking with tradition (11)

Answer: MODERNISTIC (i.e. “breaking with tradition”). Solution is MO (shortened form of “moment”, i.e. “second”) followed by RN (i.e. “[armed] service”, specifically the Royal Navy) once it has been placed in or “stopping” DEISTIC (i.e. “religious”), like so: MO-DE(RN)ISTIC.

49. Title associated with range in US, I’d say? (11)

Answer: APPELLATION (i.e. “title”). “I’d say” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of the APPALACHIAN mountain “range in US”.

51. Hotel in Med resort designed for specific market (5)

Answer: NICHE (i.e. “designed for specific market”). Solution is H (“Hotel” in the phonetic alphabet) placed “in” NICE (i.e. “Med resort”), like so: NIC(H)E.

52. Encouraging cool strong drink in gallons (11)

Answer: INSPIRITING (i.e. “encouraging”). Solution is IN (i.e. “cool” or popular) followed by SPIRIT (i.e. “strong drink”), then IN and G (a recognised abbreviation of “gallons”).

53. Irish oddly acquit Arab (5)

Answer: IRAQI (i.e. “Arab”). Solution is IR (a recognised abbreviation of “Irish”) followed by every other letter (indicated by “oddly”) of ACQUIT, like so: IR-AQI.

54. A girl into maths briefly disputed term in it (13)

Answer: ANTILOGARITHM (i.e. “term in [maths]”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “disputed”) of A GIRL INTO and MATHS once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”).

55. County dismisses charter (9)

Answer: YORKSHIRE (i.e. “county”). Solution is YORKS (i.e. “dismisses” a batsman in cricket with a yorker, a specific type of delivery) followed by HIRE (i.e. “[to] charter”).

Down clues

1. Like relaxed Buddhist, thwarted touring large cell (5-6)

Answer: CROSS-LEGGED (i.e. “like relaxed Buddhist”). Solution is CROSSED (i.e. “thwarted”) wrapped around or “touring” L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and EGG (i.e. “cell”), like so: CROSS(L-EGG)ED.

2. Two groups of soldiers chewed toastie (7)

Answer: RAREBIT (i.e. “toastie”). Solution is RA and RE (i.e. “two groups of soldiers”, specifically the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers of the British Army) followed by BIT (i.e. “chewed”).

3. Jack doesn’t start to shake milk container (5)

Answer: UDDER (i.e. “milk container”). Solution is JUDDER (i.e. “shake”) with the J removed (indicated by “Jack doesn’t start” – J is a recognised abbreviation of “Jack” used in playing cards).

4. Plot against second main crime (10)

Answer: CONSPIRACY (i.e. “plot”). Solution is CON (i.e. “against”, as in pros and cons) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) and PIRACY (i.e. “main crime” – setters love referring to the sea as “main”).

5. Sultan’s guards regularly return such bananas (7)

Answer: EUNUCHS (i.e. “Sultan’s guards”). Solution is every other letter (indicated by “regularly”) of RETURN followed by an anagram (indicated by “bananas”) of SUCH, like so: EUN-UCHS.

6. Will should have three examples of this (9,4)

Answer: AUXILIARY VERB. “Three examples of this” are the auxiliary verbs “will”, “should” and “have”. These are verbs which add function or grammatical meaning to a clause, e.g. “she will do something”, “she should do something” or “they have done something”.

7. Outlaw some French and English in gallery (9)

Answer: DESPERADO (i.e. “outlaw”). Solution is DES (i.e. “some French”, i.e. the French for “some”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) once it has been placed “in” PRADO (i.e. Spain’s national art “gallery”), like so: DES-P(E)RADO.

8. End fuel supply that’s essential (7)

Answer: NEEDFUL (i.e. “essential”). “Supply” indicates anagram, as in something being supple – sneaky, eh? Solution is an anagram of END FUEL.

9. Rigorous man abridged inspiring article about subject (12)

Answer: MATHEMATICAL (i.e. “rigorous”). Solution is MALE (i.e. “man”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “abridged”) and the remainder wrapped around or “inspiring” A (i.e. “article”, as in a word like a, an or the) and THEMATIC (i.e. “subject”), like so: M(A-THEMATIC)AL.

10. Like some accountants about to be drafted outside (9)

Answer: CHARTERED (i.e. “like some accountants”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) with CHARTED (i.e. “drafted”) placed “outside” of it, like so: CHARTE(RE)D.

11. Relative’s trendy wife bagging French article (2-3)

Answer: IN-LAW (i.e. “relative”). Solution is IN (i.e. “trendy”) and W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) wrapped around or “bagging” LA (i.e. “French article”, i.e. the French for “the”), like so: IN-(LA)-W.

12. Register English church composer without top performer (11)

Answer: ENTERTAINER (i.e. “performer”). Solution is ENTER (i.e. “register”) followed by Sir John STAINER (i.e. “English church composer” – no, me neither. Chalk one to my Bradfords here) with the first letter removed (indicated by “without top”), like so: ENTER-TAINER.

19. Trim copper heading to seize book (3,4)

Answer: CUT BACK (i.e. “trim”). Solution is CU (chemical symbol of “copper”) followed by TACK (i.e. “heading” or course) wrapped around or “seizing” B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”), like so: CU-T(B)ACK.

22. Sick of quartet entertaining officer (3,6)

Answer: OFF COLOUR (i.e. “sick”). Solution is OF followed by FOUR (i.e. “quartet”) wrapped around or “entertaining” COL (i.e. “officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a colonel), like so: OF-F(COL)OUR.

24. Restricted zones in Genoa or Siena, extremely mysterious (2-2,5)

Answer: NO-GO AREAS (i.e. “restricted zones”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “mysterious”) of GENOA OR and SA (i.e. “Siena, extremely”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Siena”).

25. Permit fifty-one churches to keep name (7)

Answer: LICENCE (i.e. “permit”). Solution is LI (i.e. “fifty-one” in Roman numerals) followed by CE and CE (i.e. “churches”, specifically the Church of England) wrapped around or “keeping” N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”), like so: LI-CE-(N)-CE.

26. On reflection, sauce is not ideal at first, being tasteless (7)

Answer: INSIPID (i.e. “tasteless”). Solution is DIP (i.e. “sauce”) followed by IS, then N and I (i.e. “not ideal at first”, i.e. the first letters of “not” and “ideal”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “on reflection”), like so: I-N-SI-PID.

30. Grim CIA morons spread spore maybe (5-8)

Answer: MICRO-ORGANISM (i.e. “spore maybe”). “Spread” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GRIM CIA MORONS.

32. Spanish article about golf catches on soon (7)

Answer: ERELONG (i.e. “soon”). Solution is EL (for “Spanish article”, i.e. the Spanish for “the”), ON (i.e. “about”) and G (“golf” in the phonetic alphabet) all wrapped about or “catching” RE (i.e. “on” or about – think email replies), like so: E(RE)L-ON-G. I’ve twisted over this one for a while, and this seems the best solution I can get, but I’m not exactly cock-a-hoop about it. Using ON for “about” only to then use RE for “on” feels weirdly off, like a circular reference in a spreadsheet or something. [Reads that back.] Bloody hell, I’m such a nerd…

33. Hoping to drink German wine that’s sublime (3-9)

Answer: AWE-INSPIRING (i.e. “sublime”). Solution is ASPIRING (i.e. “hoping”) wrapped around or “drinking” WEIN (i.e. “German [for] wine”), like so: A(WEIN)SPIRING.

34. I’m in Bilbao crazily nursing a passion for shelf-stacking? (11)

Answer: BIBLIOMANIA (i.e. “passion for shelf-stacking”, as in having a thing for books). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “crazily”) of I’M IN BILBAO wrapped around or “nursing” A, like so: BIBLIOM(A)NIA.

37. Helm saves energy, anxious about four covering same length (11)

Answer: COEXTENSIVE (i.e. “covering same length”). Solution is COX (i.e. “helm”) wrapped around or “saving” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) and followed by TENSE (i.e. “anxious”) once this has been wrapped around or “covering” IV (i.e. “four” in Roman numerals), like so: CO(E)X-TENS(IV)E.

38. Star analyst runs over diary penned by Daisy (10)

Answer: ASTROLOGER (i.e. “star analyst”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games), O (a recognised abbreviation of an “over” in cricket) and LOG (i.e. “diary”) all placed in or “penned by” ASTER (i.e. “daisy” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: AST(R-O-LOG)ER.

40. Waterproof submarine, second in Clyde (9)

Answer: UNDERSEAL (i.e. “[to] waterproof”). Solution is UNDERSEA (i.e. “submarine”) followed by L (i.e. “second in Clyde”, i.e. the second letter of “Clyde”).

41. Small number possibly needing to edit screenplay perhaps (9)

Answer: SUBSCRIPT (i.e. “small number possibly” – subscripts can be text too). When read as SUB SCRIPT, the solution also satisfies “edit screenplay perhaps”.

43. Less intelligent old boy beginning to transform addict (7)

Answer: OBTUSER (i.e. “less intelligent”). Solution is OB (a recognised abbreviation of “old boy”, or alumnus) followed by T (i.e. “beginning to transform”, i.e. the first letter of “transform”) and USER (i.e. “[drug] addict”).

44. Bronte sister admits exercising with no effect (7)

Answer: EMPTILY (i.e. “with no effect”). Solution is EMILY (i.e. “Bronte sister”) wrapped around or “admitting” PT (i.e. “exercising”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Physical Training), like so: EM(PT)ILY.

46. Ring friend abroad about kit for art in Tokyo (7)

Answer: ORIGAMI (i.e. “art in Tokyo”). Solution is O (i.e. “ring”) and AMI (i.e. “friend abroad”, i.e. the French for “friend”) wrapped “about” RIG (i.e. “kit”), like so: O-(RIG)-AMI.

48. Old coin originally accepted in tube (5)

Answer: DUCAT (i.e. “old coin”). Solution is A (i.e. “originally accepted”, i.e. the first letter of “accepted”) placed “in” DUCT (i.e. “tube”), like so: DUC(A)T.

50. Section of program is simply wrong (5)

Answer: AMISS (i.e. “wrong”). “Section of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PROGR(AM IS S)IMPLY.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1448

Stinker, in word, For the most part a good one, too, though there were a few clues that were a bit hmm-worthy. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful.

Some housekeeping, as per: previous solutions to these things can be found here, I’ve got some book reviews there and a story of mine over thisaway.

Till next time, stay safe, give thanks to the NHS and all key workers, and if someone can track down the arsehole responsible for these “unseasonal” winds we’ve been getting every bloody week and give them a solid kick in the naughty bits, that would be lovely. My snapped and half-dead chilli plants thank you in advance.

Laters,

LP

Across clues

1. A certain doctor of mine, happy to celebrate (5,2,2)

Answer: WHOOP IT UP (i.e. “to celebrate”). Solution is WHO (i.e. “a certain doctor” – either BBC’s Doctor Who or from the World Health Organisation, take your pick) followed by O’ (a contraction of “of”, as in Sweet Child O’ Mine), then PIT (i.e. “mine”) and UP (i.e. “happy”).

6. Place for bluebottles in grass on top of hill? (7)

Answer: COPSHOP (i.e. “place for bluebottles” – bluebottles being a nickname for police officers). Solution is SHOP (i.e. to rat or “grass” on somebody) placed “on” or after COP (i.e. “top of hill” – one meaning of “cop” is “a top or head of anything” (Chambers). I guess the setter had to qualify that in some way to make the clue scan properly, but “top of hill” was an evil choice), like so: COP-SHOP.

10. One bachelor, if you ask me, can catch another dumb blonde? (5)

Answer: BIMBO (i.e. “dumb blonde”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “bachelor”, e.g. BSc being a Bachelor of Science) followed by IMO (i.e. “if you ask me”, being a recognised abbreviation of “in my opinion”) once this latter has been wrapped around or “catching” B (i.e. “another” bachelor, within the context of the clue), like so: B-IM(B)O.

13. Augustus was one heading off moderate men (7)

Answer: EMPEROR (i.e. “Augustus was one”). Solution is TEMPER (i.e. to “moderate”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “heading off”) and followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army), like so: EMPER-OR.

14. International force cut – nothing to be sorry about (7)

Answer: EUROPOL (i.e. “international force”). Solution is LOP (i.e. “cut”) followed by O (i.e. “nothing”) and RUE (i.e. “to be sorry”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “about”), like so: EUR-O-POL.

15. Hit song playing at presentation (2,5)

Answer: ON SIGHT (i.e. “[upon or] at presentation”). “Playing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HIT SONG.

16. Advice not to ring us, perhaps, but keep calling? (4,4,2,3,3,3)

Answer: DON’T GIVE UP THE DAY JOB. Solution satisfies “advice not to ring us” (as in the old phrase “don’t call us, we’ll call you”, which never augured well for interviewees and auditionees) and “keep calling” – taking “calling” to mean one’s profession.

17. Left wingers for instance spouting Marxist doctrine (3)

Answer: ISM (i.e. “doctrine”). “Left wingers for…” indicates the solution is formed from the initial letters of “Instance Spouting Marxist”.

18. Spin surrounding our leading female jockey (6)

Answer: Pat EDDERY (i.e. “jockey”). Solution is EDDY (i.e. “spin”, think whirlpools or waterspouts, that kind of thing) wrapped around or “surrounding” ER (i.e. “our leading lady”, i.e. the Queen, officially Elizabeth Regina), like so: EDD(ER)Y. Chalk one to my Bradfords here. I’d heard of the guy, but horse racing is not my thing.

20. It has drawn some in place of austerity (6)

Answer: SPARTA (i.e. “place of austerity”). Solution is SA (i.e. “it”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “sex appeal” that’s used a hell of a lot more in crossword puzzles than in real life) wrapped around or having “drawn” in PART (i.e. “some”), like so: S(PART)A.

21. Leading couple in formation dance swapping places an awful lot! (9)

Answer: OCTILLION (i.e. “an awful lot” – you’re not kidding either, being 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 in modern money). Solution is COTILLION (i.e. “formation dance” – another nod to my Bradfords here) with the first two letters or “leading couple” “swapping places”, like so: (CO)TILLION => (OC)TILLION.

23. Scraps with CID officers? Sit quiet, mostly (8,2)

Answer: DISPOSES OF (i.e. “scraps”). Solution is DIS (i.e. “CID officers”, specifically Detective Inspectors) followed by POSE (i.e. “sit”) and SOFT (i.e. “quiet”) once its final letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: DIS-POSE-SOF.

25. At that point would thwart international movement (3,3,5)

Answer: THE RED CROSS (i.e. “international movement”). Solution is THERE’D (i.e. “at that point would”, specifically a contraction of “there would”) followed by CROSS (i.e. to “thwart”).

29. BBC releasing article for free (5)

Answer: UNTIE (i.e. “free”). Solution is AUNTIE (an affectionate name for the “BBC”) with the A removed (indicated by “releasing article” – an article is a word like a, an or the).

30. City gent maybe sustained briefly by kebab (8)

Answer: LONDONER (i.e. “city gent maybe” – the “maybe” acknowledging the other 52% of the population). Solution is LONG (i.e. “sustained”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder followed by DONER (i.e. “kebab”), like so: LON-DONER.

31. Play wound up with Act I certainly would be (8)

Answer: ATYPICAL. “Wound up” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PLAY and ACT I. In the context of the clue, a play that ended after the first act would be at odds or atypical of its peers. Nicely worked.

34. Mild expletive following champion gymnast’s feat (8)

Answer: BACKFLIP (i.e. “gymnast’s feat”). Solution is FLIP (i.e. “mild expletive”) placed after or “following” BACK (i.e. “[to] champion”), like so: BACK-FLIP.

36. American’s brief rant – yet nothing gets sorted out (8)

Answer: ATTORNEY (i.e. “American’s brief” – a brief taken to mean a solicitor). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “gets sorted out”) of RANT YET and O (i.e. “nothing”).

37. Lay in cold, white shroud, close to ground (5)

Answer: HOARD (i.e. “lay in” – meaning “to get in a supply of” (Chambers)). Solution is HOAR (i.e. “cold, white shroud” – being a layer of frost) followed by D (i.e. “close to ground”, i.e. the last letter of “ground”).

39. Cut on head with stick, old sailor buckled at the knee (5,6)

Answer: BOBBY SHAFTO (i.e. “sailor buckled at the knee” – a reference to the song Bobby Shafto’s Gone To Sea, a line of which goes: “Bobby Shafto’s gone to sea, silver buckles on his knee…”. Bobby Shafto was an MP for County Durham in the eighteenth century and the rhyme was something sung at junior school, though I’ll confess only a few words survived into adulthood!) Solution is BOB (i.e. “cut on head”, specifically a hairstyle) followed by BY (i.e. “with”), then SHAFT (i.e. “stick”) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”). After a succession of grids that were a bit London-London-London (which I get: The Times is a London newspaper after all), it was really refreshing to see a nod to the North East. Nicely worked too.

41. You and your endless anniversaries finally must stop – with this one? (10)

Answer: THOUSANDTH. Solution is THOU AND THY (i.e. “you and your”, ye olde style) with the last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder wrapped around or “stopped” by S (i.e. “anniversaries finally”, i.e. the last letter of “anniversaries”), like so: THOU(S)-AND-TH. Within the context of the clue, a “thousandth” can be deemed an anniversary year.

43. Appearing in court after fine is increasing (7,2)

Answer: TOPPING UP (i.e. “increasing”). Solution is UP (i.e. “appearing in court” – a usage often used by setters in their clues) placed “after” TOPPING (i.e. “fine”, as in spiffing, top-hole, absolutely capital, old thing – other Wodehousean variations are available).

45. Dinosaur in Komsomol is so far to the left (6)

Answer: FOSSIL (i.e. “dinosaur”, probably taken to mean something or someone with outdated views than the creatures themselves). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “to the left” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being an across clue – like so: KOMSOMO(L IS SO F)AR.

47. Fabulous shot, mine, rebounding (6)

Answer: TIPTOP (i.e. “fabulous”). Solution is POT (i.e. a successful “shot” in snooker, pool etc) and PIT (i.e. “mine”) both reversed (indicated by “rebounding”), like so: TIP-TOP.

49. Character needed to get the measure of acid test? (3)

Answer: PHI (i.e. “character”, specifically the twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet). When read as PH 1, the solution satisfies “the measure of acid test” – the pH scale illustrates the acidity or alkalinity of solutions. Highly acidic solutions will see a pH approaching 1.

50. Undercover work of devious EU little concerning English (19)

Answer: COUNTERINTELLIGENCE (i.e. “undercover work”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “devious”) of EU LITTLE CONCERNING and E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”).

52. A flavour of how fan gets to feed (7)

Answer: ANISEED (i.e. “a flavour”). This took some twigging, but when read as “AN” IS “EED”, the solution satisfies “how fan gets to feed”, i.e. by replacing AN in “fan” with EED.

53. Wise lady lord had never tipped to become a dancer (7)

Answer: ISADORA Duncan (i.e. a “dancer” of old). “Never tipped” indicates the solution is derived by removing the first and last letters of WISE LADY LORD HAD.

54. Bishop getting sent up and smeared? (7)

Answer: BLOBBED (i.e. “smeared”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop”) followed by LOBBED (i.e. “getting sent up” or thrown).

55. Sailor following one inside port (5)

Answer: LAGOS (i.e. “port” of Nigeria). Solution is OS (i.e. “sailor”, specifically an Ordinary Seaman) placed after or “following” LAG (i.e. “one inside”, i.e. a prisoner), like so: LAG-OS.

56. Get kitted out in vain for Strictly (7)

Answer: RIGIDLY (i.e. “strictly” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is RIG (i.e. “get kitted out”) followed by IDLY (i.e. “in vain” – one definition of “idle” is “vain”).

57. Fixture for door – superior ones for Rev Spooner? (9)

Answer: LETTERBOX (i.e. “fixture for door”). “For Rev Spooner” indicates the solution is a Spoonerism, specifically for BETTER LOCKS (i.e. “superior [fixtures] for [door]”). Nicely worked.

Down clues

1. Observe light after word initially’s got round (8)

Answer: WHEEDLED (i.e. “got round”). Solution is HEED (i.e. “observe”) and LED (i.e. “light”, specifically a Light Emitting Diode) both placed “after” W (i.e. “word initially”, i.e. the first letter of “word”), like so: W-HEED-LED.

2. Expert in Belfast perhaps turned around plant (5)

Answer: ORPIN (i.e. “plant”). Solution is NI PRO (i.e. “expert in Belfast perhaps” – NI being a recognised abbreviation of Northern Ireland) reversed (indicated by “turned around”), like so: ORP-IN. One gotten purely from the wordplay, if I’m honest.

3. Dish of steaming porridge one had in gym (8,3)

Answer: PERIGORD PIE (i.e. “dish” – specifically “a pie of partridge flavoured with truffles” (Chambers). Not one that’s ever crossed my taste buds, but I’m game, so to speak.) Solution is an anagram (indicated by “steaming”) of PORRIDGE and I both placed “in” PE (i.e. “gym”, specifically Physical Education), like so: P(ERIGORDP-I)E. A bit of a weird one given PERIGORD was already an anagram of PORRIDGE.

4. With time and human resources, one has to do well (6)

Answer: THRIVE (i.e. “do well”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) followed by HR (ditto “human resources”) and I’VE (a contraction of “I have”, i.e. “one has”).

5. Urgent to keep up, naval officer’s assuming (12)

Answer: PRESUPPOSING (i.e. “assuming”). Solution is PRESSING (i.e. “urgent”) wrapped around or “keeping” UP and PO (i.e. “naval officer”, specifically a Petty Officer), like so: PRES(UP-PO)SING.

6. Looking up schedule: old police superintendent (7)

Answer: CURATOR (i.e. “superintendent”). Solution is ROTA (i.e. “schedule”) and RUC (i.e. “old police”, specifically the now defunct Royal Ulster Constabulary) all reversed (indicated by “looking up” – this being a down clue), like so: CUR-ATOR.

7. Repair that stopped pipe getting inched out (6,2,3,4)

Answer: PIPPED AT THE POST (i.e. “inched out”). “Repair” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THAT STOPPED PIPE.

8. Trouble-making sextet? (4-1-5)

Answer: HALF-A-DOZEN (i.e. “sextet”). The setter’s gone off on their own here. My guess is there’s a well-known phrase out there that includes the words “trouble” and “dozen”, albeit one that has escaped me, my dictionaries and the internet at large. If a kind soul swings by to shed light on this then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Abadchap in the comments wins the internet with this one. The solution satisfies “sextet” as discussed above, but when read as HALF “ADOZEN” it also reads as an instruction, i.e. to halve the remainder of the solution, “ADOZEN”, to “make” ADO, which is another word for “trouble”. I doubt I would have ever twigged that one. Many thanks, Ab! – LP]

9. Judge involved in caress with call girl on aircraft (7)

Answer: PROPJET (i.e. “aircraft” – my Chambers suggests this ought to have been hyphenated). Solution is J (a recognised abbreviation of “judge”) placed or “involved in” PET (i.e. “caress”), which is then preceded by PRO (i.e. “call girl”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “prostitute”), like so: PRO-P(J)ET.

10. Mean to get bouncer better headgear (8,3)

Answer: BASEBALL CAP (i.e. “headgear”). Solution is BASE (i.e. “mean”, both taken to mean “reprehensible, vile, etc”) followed by BALL (i.e. “bouncer”, as in something that bounces – could also be taken to mean a type of delivery in cricket) and CAP (i.e. “[to] better”).

11. No good getting upset if I see Chairman’s collared grandee (9)

Answer: MAGNIFICO (i.e. “grandee”). Solution is NG (a recognised abbreviation of “no good”, also individually recognised abbreviations of “no” and “good”) reversed (indicated by “getting upset” – this being a down clue) and followed by IF, I and C (one definition of “see” is simply the third letter of the alphabet). These are all then wrapped in or “collared” by “Chairman” MAO, like so: MA(GN-IF-I-C)O. Chalk another to my Bradfords as I could not see beyond “dignitary” at the time. Once this dropped, so did much of the surrounding corner.

12. Outrageous female going topless, displaying chest apparently? (7)

Answer: OTTOMAN (i.e. “chest apparently” – ottomans are backless seats that can sometimes include storage space). Solution is OTT (i.e. “outrageous”) followed by WOMAN (i.e. “female”) once the first letter has been removed (indicated by “going topless”), like so: OTT-OMAN.

19. In reasoned way, religious attitude is ticking boxes (7)

Answer: DEISTIC (i.e. “in a reasoned way, religious” – a deist is “a person who believes in the existence of God, but not in a divinely revealed religion” (Chambers)). “Boxes” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: ATTITU(DE IS TIC)KING.

22. Henry left absorbed by exotic geisha girl (8)

Answer: ASHLEIGH (i.e. “girl” – basically a girl’s name). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “Henry” – a unit of measurement we’ve seen a few times in previous puzzles) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) both placed in or “absorbed by” an anagram of GEISHA, like so: AS(H-L)EIGH.

24. Bow Street coming down on saucy hooker? (5-3,7)

Answer: FRONT-ROW FORWARD (i.e. a “hooker” in rugby). Solution is FRONT (i.e. “bow” of a ship) followed by ROW (i.e. “street”, as in a row of houses) both placed above or “coming down on” – this being a down clue – FORWARD (i.e. “saucy”). Nicely worked.

26. Infiltrator: hear one’s gaining access to hospital department (8)

Answer: ENTRYIST (i.e. “infiltrator”). Solution is TRY (i.e. “hear” in court) and I’S (i.e. “one’s” – with “one” represented by its Roman numeral, I) both placed in or “gaining access to” ENT (i.e. “hospital department”, specifically Ear, Nose and Throat – another pet play of setters everywhere), like so: EN(TRY-I’S)T.

27. Slashes note, one found beneath papers (6)

Answer: SOLIDI (i.e. “slashes” – a solidus is another name for a slash character ‘/’). Solution is SOL (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me style) followed by ID (i.e. “papers”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “identification”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed or “found beneath” it – this being a down clue – like so: SOL-ID-I.

28. Uproar when spouse gets reduced unemployment benefit at first (6)

Answer: HUBBUB (i.e. “uproar”). Solution is HUBBIE (i.e. “spouse”) with the last two letters removed (indicated by “gets reduced” – it’s not often you see multiple letters trimmed this way, it’s usually just the one) and the remainder followed by U and B (i.e. “unemployment benefit at first”, i.e. the first letters of “unemployment” and “benefit”), like so: HUBB-U-B.
[EDIT: Sue makes a good point in the comments, in that HUBBIE can also be spelled HUBBY, which means only one letter gets trimmed. Cheers, Sue! – LP]

32. Bird soaring over cape, then height almost halved (4,3)

Answer: COAL TIT (i.e. “bird”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of an “over” in cricket) and C (a recognised abbreviation of “cape”, as in the geographic feature) both reversed (indicated by “soaring” – this being a down clue) and followed by the first five letters of ALTITUDE (i.e. “height”), indicated by “nearly halved”, altitude being an eight letter word – and you thought the setter’s shenanigans in 28d were pushing it – like so: C-O-ALTIT.

33. A nation well beaten finally condemned aged Scottish defence (8,4)

Answer: ANTONINE WALL (i.e. “aged Scottish defence” – a bit like Hadrian’s Wall, but further north). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “condemned”) of A NATION WELL and N (i.e. “beaten finally”, i.e. the last letter of “beaten”).

35. Unlicensed traders throw in leaflets (11)

Answer: FLYPITCHERS (i.e. “unlicensed traders”). Solution is PITCH (i.e. “throw”) placed “in” FLYERS (i.e. “leaflets”), like so: FLY(PITCH)ERS.

37. Giving affection, being on intimate terms (4,2,5)

Answer: HAND IN GLOVE (i.e. “on intimate terms”). Solution is HANDING (i.e. “giving”) followed by LOVE (i.e. “affection”).

38. Start work on the Greens? That’s unpleasant (10)

Answer: OFFPUTTING (i.e. “unpleasant”). Solution is OFF (i.e. launch or “start”) followed by PUTTING (i.e. “work on the [golf] greens” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

40. I go after book suitable for christening (9)

Answer: BAPTIZING (i.e. “christening”). Solution is I and ZING (i.e. “go”, as in having a bit of zest and zip) both placed “after” B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) and APT (i.e. “suitable”), like so: B-APT-I-ZING.

42. A very soft goal upset team, in addition (8)

Answer: APPENDIX (i.e. “addition” to the end of a book). Solution is A followed by PP (i.e. “very soft”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “pianissimo” in musical lingo), then END (i.e. an aim or “goal”) and XI (i.e. “team”, being the Roman numerals for eleven) reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue), like so: A-PP-END-IX.

43. Trouble with polls bringing some superior canvassing? (7)

Answer: TOPSAIL (i.e. “superior canvassing” – the question mark is a riddly acknowledgement that the setter is referring to the “top sail” of a ship). Solution is AIL (i.e. “trouble”) placed after or “with” TOPS (i.e. “polls”, both taken to mean cutting the tops off of things, usually trees), like so: TOPS-AIL.

44. Awful case of gunge round sink (2,5)

Answer: GO UNDER (i.e. “sink”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “awful”) of GE (i.e. “case of gunge”, i.e. the first and last letters of “gunge”) and ROUND.

46. In senior year, one’s out of touch etc (7)

Answer: SENSORY (i.e. “touch etc”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of ONE’S placed “in” SR (a recognised abbreviation of “senior”) and Y (ditto “year”), like so: S(ENSO)R-Y.

48. Just about to vacate local when neighbour’s come round (3,3)

Answer: ALL BUT (i.e. “just about”). Solution is LL (i.e. “vacate local”, i.e. the word “local” with all its middle letters removed) with ABUT (i.e. “[to] neighbour”) wrapped “round” it, like so: A(LL)BUT.

51. Rich fellow pupil no longer under arrest (5)

Answer: NABOB (i.e. “rich fellow”). Solution is OB (a recognised abbreviation of “old boy” or alumnus, i.e. “pupil no longer”) placed “under” NAB (i.e. “arrest”) – this being a down clue – like so: NAB-OB.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1447

Not sure what to make of this week’s puzzle. I can’t say I was overly keen on the elastic wordplay on show, but there was still some good stuff to be had. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my answers where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

While you are here, I do have some non-crossword-related content somewhere around here, honest guv. There’s a dusty collection of book reviews, for example, or a story I put out a while ago. But it’s mainly crosswords at the moment, which is a bit naff. Speaking of which, if you’ve come a cropper against a recent Times Jumbo Cryptic, then my Just For Fun page might be just the tonic.

And so with the ephemeral British summer swiftly blown into the North Sea for another year, it’s on with the show. Stay safe, give thanks to the NHS and all key workers out there, and I’ll see you soon.

LP

Across clues

1. Primitive sea creature can die swimming round waving nori (10)

Answer: CRINOIDEAN (i.e. “primitive sea creature”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “swimming”) of CAN DIE wrapped around another anagram (indicated by “waving”) of NORI, like so: C(RINO)IDEAN. Wordplay was fairly obvious but needed a brute force of my Chambers to nail it.

6. Analytical way of looking at income sector? (12)

Answer: ECONOMETRICS. “Way of looking at” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INCOME SECTOR. Within the context of the clue, the solution could well be an analytical way of looking at the income sector.

14. Don’t take as much junk? (7)

Answer: USELESS (i.e. “junk”). When read as USE LESS the solution also satisfies “don’t take as much”.

15. Church primate with gold hat (7)

Answer: CHAPEAU (i.e. a French “hat”). Solution is CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) followed by APE (i.e. “primate”) and AU (chemical symbol of “gold”).

16. Is untruthful about drink? An understatement (7)

Answer: LITOTES (i.e. “an understatement” – an example of litotes in action is saying “he was not a little drunk”, mean he was absolutlely plastered). Solution is LIES (i.e. “is untruthful”) wrapped “about” TOT (i.e. “drink”), like so: LI(TOT)ES.

17. Drugs provided by jerks after party (4)

Answer: DOPE (i.e. “drugs”). Solution is PE (i.e. “jerks” – Hmm. I’m tempted to call bullshit on this. To the best of my knowledge, jerk is a weightlifting discipline, while PE is a recognised abbreviation of “physical education”. Call me weird, but any school that puts weightlifting into their PE classes would be up for child cruelty toot sweet. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the curriculum has changed and the setter’s kids are all built like brick shithouses…) preceded by or placed “after” DO (i.e. “party”), like so: DO-PE.
[EDIT: As has been noted in a few comments, “jerks” appears to be a reference to physical education from aways-back. Chambers also has this definition: “a movement in physical exercises”. Maybe I’m from a much more cynical generation. If any PE teacher at our school asked us all to jerk for him he’d be up in front of the beak sharpish. – LP]

18. Drawing of a dandy, not American (6)

Answer: DOODLE (i.e. “drawing”). Solution is YANKEE DOODLE “DANDY”, without the YANKEE (indicated by “not American”).

20. Relax rule, we hear, and hold back (8)

Answer: RESTRAIN (i.e. “hold back”). Solution is REST (i.e. “relax”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “we hear”) of REIGN (i.e. “rule”).

24. Enter race with hooting North Eastern loco (5,4,3,4,3,4)

Answer: THROW ONES HAT INTO THE RING (i.e. “enter race”). “Loco” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WITH HOOTING NORTH EASTERN.

25. Some just read lever here? (7)

Answer: TREADLE. “Some” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: JUS(T READ LE)VER. A treadle is a “lever” worked by the foot to work a machine.

26. Submissive old criminal about to pass on (8)

Answer: OBEDIENT (i.e. “submissive”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and BENT (i.e. “criminal”) wrapped “about” DIE (i.e. “to pass on”), like so: O-BE(DIE)NT.

27. One giving money embraces Republican appeal (6)

Answer: PRAYER (i.e. “appeal”). Solution is PAYER (i.e. “one giving money”) wrapped around or “embracing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”), like so: P(R)AYER.

29. Mountain cat den, strangely clean (14)

Answer: UNCONTAMINATED (i.e. “clean”). “Strangely” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MOUNTAIN CAT DEN.

31. Apple tree ain’t better if skins are removed (8)

Answer: REINETTE (i.e. a variety of “apple” – did a Google image search. Yup. Looks like an apple.) Solution is derived by removing the first and last letters (indicated by “if skins are removed”) of TREE AIN’T BETTER. One gotten purely through the wordplay, TBH.

34. Fake article providing cover under corporation, once (8)

Answer: CODPIECE (i.e. “cover under corporation, once” – “corporation” is an old word used to refer to a belly, often a pot-belly. Codpieces, meanwhile, are pouches that “cover” a chap’s bits and pieces). When read as COD PIECE, the solution also satisfies “fake article”.

36. Short testimonial that leads to another piece of work? (5-9)

Answer: CROSS-REFERENCE (i.e. “that leads to another piece of work”). Solution is CROSS (i.e. “short”, both taken to mean angry) followed by REFERENCE (i.e. “testimonial”).

39. Gurnard in pies, regularly hard to digest? (6)

Answer: UNRIPE (i.e. “hard to digest”). “Regularly” indicates the solution is derived by taking every other letter of GURNARD IN PIES.

41. National flag followed by hard crew (8)

Answer: IRISHMAN (i.e. “national”). Solution is IRIS (i.e. “flag” – one definition of “flag” is a plant of the iris family), “followed by” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils) and MAN (i.e. “crew” – both taken as verbs, as in to man or crew something).

43. Search two New England states, united with Canadian region (7)

Answer: MANHUNT (i.e. “search”). Solution is MA and NH (i.e. “two New England states”, specifically Massachusetts and New Hampshire), followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”) and NT (i.e. “Canadian region”, specifically its Northwest Territories).

46. College initially incorporated by Wolseley (6,6,2,9)

Answer: LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS (i.e. “college”). “Initially incorporated by” indicates the initials of the college have been hidden in WO(LSE)LY.

47. Lively one entering the next day (8)

Answer: SPIRITED (i.e. “lively”). Solution to “the next” clue is SPRITE. “Entering” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) into this and then following it with D (a recognised abbreviation of “day”) nets you the solution, like so: SP(I)RITE-D. Took a while to twig. Sometimes you just don’t see ‘em.

48. Fairy Queen’s involved in malice (6)

Answer: SPRITE (i.e. “fairy”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of Regina, Latin for “queen”) placed or “involved” in SPITE (i.e. “malice”), like so: SP(R)ITE.

49. Pine used in trial for making tea chest? (4)

Answer: ACHE (i.e. “pine” or to long for). “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: TE(A CHE)ST. The fuller “in trial for making tea chest” riffs on how ACHE has been slotted into TEST to make “tea chest”.

53. Highest point is always estimated (7)

Answer: Mount EVEREST (i.e. “highest point”). Solution is EVER (i.e. “always”) followed by EST (a recognised abbreviation of “estimated”).

54. Stupid person wrapping present cut cigar (7)

Answer: CHEROOT (i.e. “cigar”). Solution is COOT (i.e. “stupid person”) “wrapped” around HERE (i.e. “present”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “cut”), like so: C(HER)OOT.

56. UK employment scheme in which some get their cards? (3,4)

Answer: NEW DEAL. Solution satisfies “UK employment scheme” launched by New Labour in the late 1990s, and “in which some get their [playing] cards”.

57. Aid institute to change posture (12)

Answer: ATTITUDINISE (i.e. “posture”). “To change” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AID INSTITUTE. One of those words that’d see anyone laughed out of a normal conversation, and rightly so.

58. Way of working with general builder in goldmine (10)

Answer: MONEYMAKER (i.e. “goldmine”). Solution is MO (i.e. “way of working”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Modus Operandi) followed by Michel NEY (popularly known as Marshal Ney, he was one of Napoleon’s Marshals of the Empire – a Marshal is the French equivalent of a “General” here in the UK) and MAKER (i.e. “builder”). Hello, Wikipedia!

Down clues

1. State seizure success in hoax gallery turned up (4,5)

Answer: COUP DETAT (i.e. “state seizure”). Solution is UP (i.e. “success”) placed “in” COD (i.e. “hoax”) and followed by TATE (i.e. “gallery”) once this latter has been reversed (indicated by “turned up” – this being a down clue), like so: CO(UP)D-ETAT.

2. Mostly untrained, I stop protecting chief engineer new to the job (13)

Answer: INEXPERIENCED (i.e. “new to the job”). Solution is INEXPERT (i.e. “untrained”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by I and END (i.e. “stop”) once this latter has been wrapped around or “protecting” CE (a recognised abbreviation of “chief engineer”), like so: INEXPER-I-EN(CE)D.

3. Sign name in Latin when dispatching note (4)

Answer: OMEN (i.e. “sign”). Solution is NOMEN (i.e. “name in Latin”) with the initial N removed (indicated by “when despatching note”, N being a recognised abbreviation of “note”).

4. Unfortunate innocent caused shame (14)

Answer: DISCOUNTENANCE (i.e. “shame”). “Unfortunate” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INNOCENT CAUSED.

5. No straight line in bar code (3)

Answer: ARC (i.e. “no straight line” – an arc is a section of a circle’s circumference). “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: B(AR C)ODE.

7. Revolutionary women’s champ? (4)

Answer: CHEW (i.e. “champ”). Solution is CHE Guevara (i.e. “revolutionary”, and catnip for setters everywhere) followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “women”).

8. Not available, posh chairs? Disgusting (10)

Answer: NAUSEATING (i.e. “disgusting”). Solution is N/A (a recognised abbreviation of “not applicable”) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation taken to mean the “upper” class, i.e. “posh”) and SEATING (i.e. “chairs”).

9. I cheered up, friend being around to provide influence (8)

Answer: MILITATE (i.e. to have weight or “provide influence”). Solution is I and LIT (i.e. “cheered up”) both placed in MATE (indicated by “friend being around”), like so: M(I-LIT)ATE.

10. Don’t rate her out of shape figure (11)

Answer: TETRAHEDRON (i.e. “figure”). “Out of shape” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DON’T RATE HER. A recent repeat from two weeks ago, which is disappointing. What with PENTAHEDRON last week it seems we’ve hit upon the setters’ latest mania. My vote is for CUBICUBOCTAHEDRON next week. Make it so, setters. (Claps twice for emphasis.)

11. How decades are arranged if years hot up (9)

Answer: INTENSIFY (i.e. “hot up”). Solution is IN TENS (i.e. “how decades are arranged”) followed by IF and then Y (a recognised abbreviation of “years”).

12. Frame elite regiment with heroin (4)

Answer: SASH (i.e. a window “frame”). Solution is SAS (i.e. “elite regiment”, specifically the Special Air Service) followed by H (street name of “heroin”).

13. Tree cutting behind schedule – cut deeply (8)

Answer: LACERATE (i.e. “cut deeply”). Solution is ACER (i.e. “tree”) placed in or “cutting” LATE (i.e. “behind schedule”), like so: L(ACER)ATE.

19. Oppressive awkward situation I found in December (8)

Answer: DESPOTIC (i.e. “oppressive”). Solution is SPOT (i.e. “awkward situation”) and I both placed or “found in” DEC (a recognised abbreviation of “December”), like so: DE(SPOT-I)C.

21. Country garden under sweet williams initially (6)

Answer: SWEDEN (i.e. “country”). Solution is EDEN (i.e. “garden [in The Bible]”) preceded by or “placed under” – this being a down clue – S and W (i.e. “sweet williams initially”, i.e. the first letters of “sweet” and “williams”), like so: SW-EDEN.

22. Cruel first piece in Greek Scrabble for Plato and second son (8)

Answer: PITILESS (i.e. “cruel”). Solution is PI TILE (i.e. “first piece in Greek Scrabble for Plato” – Scrabble uses lettered TILEs. The “first” letter of “Plato” is P, its equivalent being PI in the Greek alphabet) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) and S (ditto “son”).

23. Cause to resent a confused veggie eating rook (8)

Answer: AGGRIEVE (i.e. “cause to resent”). Solution is A followed by an anagram (indicated by “confused”) of VEGGIE wrapped around or “eating” R (a recognised abbreviation of “rook” used in chess), like so: A-GG(R)IEVE.

28. Male working out with fine pectorals standing proud (4-10)

Answer: SELF-IMPORTANCE (i.e. “standing proud” – Hmm. One of those where the setter’s desire to write a good clue ends up leaving considerable stretch marks on the English language). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “working out”) of M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) and FINE PECTORALS.

29. Break link with relative about publisher (8)

Answer: UNCOUPLE (i.e. “break link”). Solution is UNCLE (i.e. “relative”) wrapped “about” OUP (i.e. “publisher”, specifically the Oxford University Press), like so: UNC(OUP)LE.

30. Wearing an undergarment upside down is working (8)

Answer: ABRASION (i.e. “wearing”). Solution is A BRA (i.e. “an undergarment”) followed by IS reversed (indicated by “upside down” – this being a down clue) and ON (i.e. “working”), like so: A-BRA-SI-ON.

32. Chaincap, sausance or lipalip, say? Only joking! (6-2-5)

Answer: TONGUE-IN-CHEEK (i.e. “only joking”). Clue plays on how different languages or TONGUES have been placed IN different words for CHEEK, like so CHA(INCA)P, SAU(SAN)CE and L(IPAL)IP.

33. Regretted horse nipping queen when mounted in fine ceremony (8)

Answer: GRANDEUR (i.e. “fine ceremony”). Solution is RUED (i.e. “regretted”) followed by NAG (i.e. “horse”) wrapped around or “nipping” R (a recognised abbreviation of Regina, “queen” in Latin). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “when mounted” – this being a down clue), like so: G(R)AN-DEUR.

35. I am in favour – one day in port is wasteful (11)

Answer: IMPROVIDENT (i.e. “wasteful”). Solution is I’M (a contraction of “I am”) followed by PRO (i.e. “in favour of”) and VENT (i.e. “port”, both outlets) once this latter has been wrapped around I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “day”), like so: I’M-PRO-V(I-D)ENT.

37. Contingent charged party millions (6)

Answer: RANDOM (i.e. “contingent” – both taken to mean accidental or by chance – another I’m not entirely on board with, but then I’m just some bloke on the internet). Solution is RAN (i.e. “charged [towards something]”) followed by DO (i.e. “party”) and M (a recognised abbreviation of “millions”).

38. Cleric’s strange charade over swindle (10)

Answer: ARCHDEACON (i.e. “cleric”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “strange”) of CHARADE followed by CON (i.e. “swindle”), like so: ARCHDEA-CON.

40. More sensible about coin coming back into currency (9)

Answer: RENASCENT (i.e. “coming back into currency” – a twisty bit of wordplay by the setter, here, taking “currency” to mean the here and now. Renascent means “coming into renewed life” (Chambers)). Solution is SANER (i.e. “more sensible”) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by CENT (i.e. “coin”), like so: RENAS-CENT.

42. Space launch low over poles, hard to put up (8)

Answer: MOONSHOT (i.e. “space launch”, specifically one aiming for the moon). Solution is MOO (i.e. “low”, taken to mean the noise a cow makes – another pet play of setters) followed by NS (i.e. “poles”, i.e. recognised abbreviations of North and South), then H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard”) and TO reversed (indicated by “put up” – this being a down clue), like so: MOO-NS-H-OT.

44. Small hawk dropped in to rip in small pieces (9)

Answer: TESSELLAR (i.e. “[paving or mosaic] in small pieces”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and SELL (i.e. “[to] hawk”) “dropped into” TEAR (i.e. “to rip”) like so: TE(S-SELL)AR.
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for the typo fix. I’d ran out of Ls. – LP]

45. Helped when sister is getting over boy (8)

Answer: ASSISTED (i.e. “helped”). Solution is AS (i.e. “when”) followed by SIS (a recognised abbreviation of “sister”) and TED (i.e. “boy”, basically a boy’s name).

50. Try one’s luck with a foreign character (4)

Answer: BETA (i.e. “foreign character”, specifically the second letter of the Greek alphabet). Solution is BET (i.e. “try one’s luck”) followed by A.

51. The French succeeded not so much (4)

Answer: LESS (i.e. “not so much”). Solution is LES (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the French for “the”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “succeeded”).

52. Be immersed with wife in computer game (4)

Answer: SWIM (i.e. “be immersed with”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) placed “in” SIM (i.e. “computer game”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a “simulation”, I believe, as opposed to EA’s Sims series).

55. Pair of books about keeping whiskey (3)

Answer: TWO (i.e. “pair”). Solution is OT (i.e. “books”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible) reversed (indicated by “about”) and wrapped around or “keeping” W (“whiskey” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: T(W)O.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1446

A relatively straightforward puzzle this week. It was okay, though a couple of recent repeats and one clue in particular ruffled my feathers a smidge. As ever, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. I also have solutions for the past ninety-odd of these things on my Just For Fun page should they be of any use to you. There are also some book reviews if that’s your thing, and a story of mine to help while away half an hour.

In the meantime, stay safe, continue giving thanks to the NHS and all the key workers still keeping everything ticking over. Oh, and stamp out every bad -ism you see. That’d be smashing, thanks.

TTFN,

LP

Across clues

1. Huge Parisian friends entertaining street criminals with partners? (9)

Answer: BIGAMISTS (i.e. “criminals with partners”). Solution is BIG (i.e. “huge”) followed by AMIS (i.e. “Parisian friends”, i.e. the French for “friends”) once it has been wrapped around or “entertaining” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: BIG-AMI(ST)S.

6. Courtesy of French firm finishing with drink (7)

Answer: DECORUM (i.e. “courtesy”). Solution is DE (i.e. “of French”, i.e. the French for “of”) followed by CO (i.e. “firm”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “company”) and RUM (i.e. “drink”).

10. Dresses as backward-looking father, retro-style (5)

Answer: SARIS (i.e. “dresses”). A guess here, as I can’t quite decode what the setter is up to. My solution, for what it’s worth, is AS reversed (indicated by “backward-looking”) followed by SIR also reversed (indicated by “retro-style”, another way of saying “backward-looking”). I can’t find anything to back that up, though. To father someone is to “sire” them, which is obviously too long. If anyone offers a better solution I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Thanks to Dr John and Chris in the comments who both mention how the use of “sir” when addressing one’s father used to be a thing back in the day. It’s not something explicitly backed up by a dictionary, but could well be what the setter is getting at. “Retro-style” could hint at this and also indicate the word needs to be reversed. I’d also add that addressing one’s father as “sir” is still a bit of a thing over in the US, if that helps. – LP]

13. Bird in the morning by heather then wanted, not half, to cross silver lake (8,5)

Answer: AMERICAN EAGLE (i.e. “bird”). Solution is AM (i.e. “in the morning”) followed by ERICA (i.e. “heather”), then the first half of NEEDED (indicated by “wanted, not half”) once it has been wrapped around or “crossing” AG (chemical symbol of “silver”) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: AM-ERICA-NE(AG-L)E.

14. Idiot, one enthralling African politicians, producing sort of vocal repetition (9)

Answer: ASSONANCE (i.e. “sort of vocal repetition”, as opposed to the sound of flatulence). Solution is ASS (i.e. “idiot”) followed by ONE once it has been wrapped around or “enthralling” ANC (i.e. “African politicians”, specifically the African National Congress), like so: ASS-ON(ANC)E.

15. One good old-style rocker around Belfast etc getting lit up (7)

Answer: IGNITED (i.e. “getting lit up”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) and TED (i.e. “old-style rocker”, i.e. a teddy boy) all wrapped “around” NI (i.e. “Belfast etc”, i.e. Northern Ireland), like so: I-G-(NI)-TED.

16. Daughter is meeting short beast returning – trouble! (7)

Answer: DISTURB (i.e. “trouble”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by IS, then BRUTE (i.e. “beast”) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “returning”), like so: D-IS-TURB.

17. A very old city engages chum as unpaid volunteer? (7)

Answer: AMATEUR (i.e. “unpaid volunteer”). Solution is A and UR (i.e. “very old city”, and a favourite of setters everywhere) wrapped around or “engaging” MATE (i.e. “chum”), like so: A-(MATE)-UR.

18. Difficult to put up with lane in which vehicles may be stopped (4,8)

Answer: HARD SHOULDER (i.e. “lane in which vehicles may be stopped”). Solution is HARD (i.e. “difficult”) followed by SHOULDER (i.e. “to put up with”).

20. Bored officer, one with expression of dismay when boss comes round (10)

Answer: STULTIFIED (i.e. “bored”). Solution is LT (i.e. “officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “lieutenant”), I and FIE (i.e. “expression of dismay”) all placed in STUD (indicated by “boss comes round”), like so: STU(LT-I-FIE)D.

23. Store with sign of approval for the most part (5)

Answer: CACHE (i.e. “store”). Solution is CACHET (i.e. “sign of approval”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “for the most part”).

24. Naughty sister, I have to be kicking against the pricks (9)

Answer: RESISTIVE (i.e. “to be kicking against the pricks” – a Biblical phrase, apparently, meaning “to react futilely against discipline or authority, to the extent of injuring oneself” (Chambers)). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “naughty”) of SISTER followed by I’VE (a contraction of “I have”), like so: RESIST-I’VE.

25. Former queen getting on and turning crazy (7)

Answer: QUONDAM (Latin for “former”). Solution is QU (a recognised abbreviation of “queen”) followed by ON, then MAD (i.e. “crazy”) once this latter has been reversed (indicated by “turning”), like so: QU-ON-DAM.

26. Hurry around and sound cheerful maybe in one type of institution (7,4)

Answer: NURSING HOME (i.e. “type of institution”). Solution is RUN (i.e. “hurry”) which is reversed (indicated by “around”) and followed by SING (i.e. “sound cheerful maybe”) and HOME (i.e. “in”, i.e. at home), like so: NUR-SING-HOME.

28. Writer with another novel about foremost of detectives, a multifaceted figure (11)

Answer: PENTAHEDRON (i.e. “multifaceted figure”). Solution is PEN (i.e. “writer”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “novel”) of ANOTHER once wrapped “about” D (i.e. “foremost of detectives”, i.e. the first letter of “detectives”), like so: PEN-TAHE(D)RON.

30. Provoked and greatly worried by social worker (11)

Answer: ANTAGONISED (i.e. “provoked”). Solution is AGONISED (i.e. “greatly worried”) placed after or “by” ANT (i.e. “social worker” – riffing on how ants are social insects).

32. Stirring words provided by former husband starting speech – about time! (11)

Answer: EXHORTATION (i.e. “stirring words”). Solution is EX (i.e. “former”) followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband” – “starting” seems a little redundant), then ORATION (i.e. “speech”) once this latter has been wrapped “about” T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: EX-H-OR(T)ATION.

34. Twelve daughters, indeed, following hardly anybody? (7)

Answer: NOONDAY (i.e. “twelve [PM]”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughters” – usually singular) and AY (i.e. “indeed”, both taken to mean “yes”) both placed after or “following” NO-ONE (i.e. “hardly anybody” – (sighs) I can see what the setter is trying to do here, passing off NOON as NO-ONE with its last letter removed (indicated by “hardly”), while also trying to pass off NO-ONE as meaning “hardly anybody”, and hoping to get away with it by slapping a riddly question mark on the end. But no. “No-one” is not the same as “hardly anybody”. There’s a world of difference, for example, between “no Covid-19” and “hardly any Covid-19”. Had the setter written “hardly nobody” in the clue, then everything’s gravy because “hardly” would then indicate NO-ONE gets shortened. As it stands, this is a poor clue for me. Yellow card.) like so: (NO-ON)-D-AY.

36. Music-maker having short drink given word of approval in newspaper (9)

Answer: FLAGEOLET (i.e. “music-maker”, specifically a small high-pitched flute). Solution is LAGER (i.e. “drink”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and OLE (i.e. “[Spanish] word of approval”) both placed “in” FT (i.e. “newspaper”, specifically the Financial Times), like so: F(LAGE-OLE)T.

38. Like Rex when forming dire pop group? (5)

Answer: INDIE (i.e. “pop group” – group taken to mean “genre”). Clue plays on how you would place R (a recognised abbreviation of “Rex”) IN DIE to form the word “dire”.

39. Record being played, something sure to upset (10)

Answer: DISCONCERT (i.e. “to upset”). Solution is DISC (i.e. “record”) followed by ON (i.e. “being played”) and CERT (i.e. “something sure” – specifically a contraction of “certainty”).

41. A fine handout arranged for spring (12)

Answer: FOUNTAINHEAD (i.e. “spring”). “Arranged” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A FINE HANDOUT.

45. Funny drawing box containing extra egg? (7)

Answer: CARTOON (i.e. “funny drawing”). Solution is CARTON (i.e. “box”) wrapped around or “containing” O (i.e. “extra egg”, as in the shape of a letter O), like so: CART(O)ON.

46. Little sleep and some food – what babies need? (7)

Answer: NAPPIES (i.e. “what babies need”). Solution is NAP (i.e. “little sleep”) followed by PIES (i.e. “some food”).

47. Attempt to capture India with diary that consists of three books (7)

Answer: TRILOGY (i.e. “that consists of three books”). Solution is TRY (i.e. “attempt”) wrapped around or capturing I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet) and LOG (i.e. “diary”), like so: TR(I-LOG)Y.

49. Edit a clue somehow, and explain (9)

Answer: ELUCIDATE (i.e. “explain”). “Somehow” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EDIT A CLUE. A near carbon copy of this clue appeared in the Times Cryptic Crossword 90th anniversary puzzle earlier this year.

50. Troubled inner-city geek shows work capacity in motion (7,6)

Answer: KINETIC ENERGY (i.e. “work capacity [of a body] in motion”). “Troubled” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INNER-CITY GEEK.

52. Monsieur? The Parisian stalking a bird (5)

Answer: TITLE (i.e. “monsieur” – other titles are available). Solution is LE (i.e. “the Parisian”, i.e. the French for “the”) placed after or “stalking” TIT (i.e. “a bird”), like so: TIT-LE.

53. A Cockney idol, bringer of brightness in the mist (7)

Answer: AEROSOL (i.e. “mist”). Solution is A followed by HERO (i.e. “idol”) once its initial H has been removed (indicated by “Cockney”, as in how they’re always dropping their bleedin’ aitches, presumably while thumbing their braces and singing Roll Out The Barrel a lot) and SOL (i.e. “bringer of brightness”, i.e. the sun), like so: A-‘ERO-SOL.

54. Correspondent in prison, day before death (3-6)

Answer: PEN-FRIEND (i.e. “correspondent”). Solution is PEN (i.e. “prison”) followed by FRI (i.e. “day”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “Friday”) and END (i.e. “death”).

Down clues

1. Clumsy mistake has listener interrupting (7)

Answer: BEARISH (i.e. “clumsy” – one definition of “bear” is a “rude, rough or ill-mannered fellow” (Chambers)). Solution is BISH (an informal word for a “mistake”) wrapped around or “interrupted” by EAR (i.e. “listener”), like so: B(EAR)ISH.

2. Trader in public space coarser in speech (11)

Answer: GREENGROCER (i.e. “trader”). Solution is GREEN (i.e. “public space”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “in speech”) of GROSSER (i.e. “coarser”).

3. Damp cat can get upset – is to be kept inside (5)

Answer: MOIST (i.e. “damp”). Solution is TOM (i.e. “cat”) reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around IS (indicated by “…to be kept inside”), like so: MO(IS)T.

4. Obnoxious person penning article, thus one held in contempt? (2-3-2)

Answer: SO-AND-SO (i.e. “one held in contempt”). Solution is SOD (i.e. “obnoxious person”) wrapped around or “penning” AN (i.e. “article”, being a word like a, an or the) and followed by SO (i.e. “thus”), like so: SO(AN)D-SO.

5. Woman certainly not right to take legal action (3)

Answer: SUE. A triple-header satisfying “woman”, “certainly not right” (i.e. the word SURE with R – a recognised abbreviation of “right” – removed), and “to take legal action”.

6. Like organic compounds in vessels for extraction (9)

Answer: DIGESTERS. Solution satisfies “like organic compounds” and “vessels for extraction”, being vessels through which strong extracts are drawn from animal or vegetable substances.
[EDIT: Thanks to zouzoulap in the comments, who suggests DIG for “like” and ESTERS for “organic compounds”, making DIG-ESTERS. Cheers, Z! – LP]

7. What sounds like European method of payment (6)

Answer: CHEQUE (i.e. “method of payment”). “What sounds like” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of CZECH (i.e. “European”).

8. Mostly prepared in place where there may be no soldiers to understand hidden message (4,7,3,5)

Answer: READ BETWEEN THE LINES (i.e. “to understand hidden message”). Solution is READY (i.e. “prepared”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by BETWEEN THE LINES (i.e. “where there may be no soldiers”).

9. Host going round is meeting everyone, giving address inappropriately? (7)

Answer: MISCALL (i.e. “giving address inappropriately”). Solution is MC (i.e. “host”, specifically a Master of Ceremonies) wrapped “round” IS and then followed by ALL (i.e. “everyone”), like so: M(IS)C-ALL.

10. Religious army overcoming terrible iron man in country (3,6)

Answer: SAN MARINO (i.e. “country”). Solution is SA (i.e. “religious army”, specifically the Salvation Army) followed by an anagram (indicated by “terrible”) of IRON MAN, like so: SA-NMARINO.

11. Discoverer of mountains gets instrument to assess distance (11)

Answer: RANGEFINDER (i.e. “instrument to assess distance”). When written as RANGE FINDER the solution also satisfies “discoverer of mountains”.

12. Guide is wise person covering start of tour (5)

Answer: STEER (i.e. “guide”). Solution is SEER (i.e. “wise person”) wrapped around or “covering” T (i.e. “start of tour”, i.e. the first letter of “tour”), like so: S(T)EER.

16. Psychological problem damaging us: no-one disregardful (9,2,8)

Answer: DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR (i.e. “psychological problem”). “Damaging” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of US NO-ONE DISREGARDFUL.

19. Trying to find location of bishop and monarch (7)

Answer: SEEKING (i.e. “trying to find”). Solution is SEE (i.e. “location of bishop”, i.e. their diocese) followed by KING (i.e. “monarch”).

21. Old man favoured in social event to be in control (9)

Answer: DOMINANCE (i.e. “to be in control”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), M (ditto “man”) and IN (i.e. “favoured”) all placed “in” DANCE (i.e. “social event”), like so: D(O-M-IN)ANCE.

22. Drink very quietly, wearing a hat (6)

Answer: TIPPLE (i.e. “drink”). Solution is PP (i.e. “very quietly”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “pianissimo” in musical lingo) which is placed in or “wearing” TILE (i.e. a slang word for “hat”), like so: TI(PP)LE.

23. Detain criminal, prisoner at the outset to be restricted (9)

Answer: CONTAINED (i.e. “to be restricted”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “criminal”) of DETAIN which has CON (i.e. “prisoner”) placed before it, or “at the outset”, like so: CON-TAINED.

24. English in pressing situation without leader – the answer? (7)

Answer: REGENCY. Solution E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) which is placed “in” URGENCY (i.e. “pressing situation”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “without leader”), like so: R(E)GENCY. Within the context of the clue, a nation finding themselves without a leader could place a regent in temporary charge. Nicely done.

25. Yard above desert in area of environmental significance (7)

Answer: QUADRAT (i.e. “area of environmental significance” – over to Chambers again for this one: “a small area (usually one square metre) of ground marked off for the detailed investigation of animal and plant life”). Solution is QUAD (i.e. “yard”) followed by or placed “above” – this being a down clue – RAT (i.e. “[to] desert”).

27. Make beloved stop with attentiveness being required (6)

Answer: ENDEAR (i.e. “make beloved”). Solution is END (i.e. “stop”) followed by EAR (i.e. “attentiveness”).

29. Telling a story, not beginning to give sense of joy (7)

Answer: ELATION (i.e. “sense of joy”). Solution is RELATION (i.e. “telling a story”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “not beginning”).

31. Silly tourist sure to appear in two-piece outfit (7,4)

Answer: TROUSER SUIT (i.e. “two-piece outfit”). “Silly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TOURIST SURE.

33. Provide series of lectures at the appropriate time (2,3,6)

Answer: IN DUE COURSE (i.e. “at the appropriate time”). Solution is INDUE (a variant form of “endue”, i.e. “provide”) followed by COURSE (i.e. “series of lectures”).

35. Remove smell from house finally through swinging side door (9)

Answer: DEODORISE (i.e. “remove smell from”). Solution is E (i.e. “house finally”, i.e. the last letter of “house”) placed in or “through” an anagram (indicated by “swinging”) of SIDE DOOR, like so: D(E)ODORISE.

37. Each lover originally receiving proposal may be this (9)

Answer: EMOTIONAL. Solution is EA (a recognised abbreviation of “each”) and L (i.e. “lover originally”, i.e. the first letter of “lover”) wrapped around or “receiving” MOTION (i.e. “proposal”), like so: E(MOTION)A-L. Within the context of the clue, lovers receiving proposals [of marriage] may well get emotional.

40. Rubbish in wedding venue presented as “musical item” (7)

Answer: CANTATA (a short musical work or “musical item”). Solution is TAT (i.e. “rubbish”) placed “in” CANA (i.e. “wedding venue” – referring to the Marriage at Cana at which Jesus turned water into wine, the first miracle of a short but influential career he had as the son of God), like so: CAN(TAT)A.

42. Unknown investigator probing teetotal movement with any number of old people (7)

Answer: AZTECAN (i.e. “of old people” – referring to the Aztecs of Mexico). Solution is Z (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in their solutions as unknowns) and TEC (i.e. “investigator”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “detective”) both placed in AA (i.e. “teetotal movement”, specifically Alcoholics Anonymous) and then followed by N (i.e. “any number”), like so: A(Z-TEC)A-N.

43. Unemotional and boring, I had to be listened to (3-4)

Answer: DRY-EYED (i.e. “unemotional”). Solution is DRY (i.e. “boring”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “to be listened to”) of I’D (a contraction of “I had”).

44. Laces in sports shoes (6)

Answer: SPIKES. Solution satisfies “laces [a drink]” and “sports shoes”. Nicely done.

45. Talk around start of exam and get someone else’s answers? (5)

Answer: CHEAT (i.e. “get someone else’s answers”). Solution is CHAT (i.e. “talk”) wrapped “around” E (i.e. “start of exam”, i.e. the first letter of “exam”), like so: CH(E)AT. Don’t worry. I won’t judge.

48. Intimate transgressor losing head (5)

Answer: INNER (i.e. “intimate”). Solution is SINNER (i.e. “transgressor”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “losing head”). A very similar clue to this appeared not too long ago.

51. What waiter would like, giving hint (3)

Answer: TIP. Solution satisfies “what waiter would like” and “hint”.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1445

A decent puzzle this week, and one with a religious mini-theme if the scorch marks on my keyboard are anything to go by. One that doesn’t feature any reversal wordplay too, which you don’t often see. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my clues where I have them. I hope you find them useful.

As ever, some housekeeping before all that: I gots ya some mouldy old book reviews here, a story of mine there, and a whole bunch of previous solutions over thisaway. Go check ’em out. Or not. Your choice.

Till next time, stay safe and enjoy the sun.

LP

Across clues

1. Proud feature in paper, that indicates maximum coverage (4-5,4)

Answer: HIGH-WATER MARK (i.e. “that indicates maximum coverage” – referring to the marks you sometimes see on bridges and such showing the highest level the water has reached). Solution is HIGH (i.e. “proud”) followed by WATERMARK (i.e. “feature in paper”). For an awkward moment early on in the puzzle, I thought this going to be PAGE-THREE GIRL. Thankfully less smutty minds prevailed.

8. Paint a sickener for animal (9)

Answer: DISTEMPER. Solution satisfies a kind of “paint” and “sickener for animal”.

13. Part of church left sort of orange (5)

Answer: NAVEL (i.e. “sort of orange”). Solution is NAVE (i.e. “part of church”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”).

14. Waves that are called grey (5,6)

Answer: WHITE HORSES. Solution satisfies “waves” – think a certain Guinness advert from a while back –and, I suppose, “that are called grey”. Are they though? Chambers has a definition of “grey” as “a grey or greyish animal, esp a horse”. Doesn’t necessarily scream white to me. Perhaps it’s a horse racing term. (Shrugs. Gets on with life.)

15. Powerless to block basin (5)

Answer: STOUP (a vessel or “basin” for holy water). Solution is STOP UP (i.e. “to block”) with the first P removed (indicated by “powerless” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “power”).

16. One soldier, carried round on the back of a native (9)

Answer: ABORIGINE (i.e. “native”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and GI (i.e. “soldier”) with BORNE (i.e. “carried”) placed “round” them both. The whole is then preceded or placed “on the back of” A, like so: A-BOR(I-GI)NE.

17. Down-and-out perhaps protected by Valkyries (4)

Answer: ALKY, a slang word for an alcoholic (i.e. “down-and-out perhaps”). “Protected by” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: V(ALKY)RIES.

18. Be told about saw cutting out a hat (8)

Answer: HEADGEAR (i.e. “hat”). Solution is HEAR (i.e. “be told about”) wrapped “about” ADAGE (i.e. “saw”, taken to mean a phrase or saying) once the middle A has been removed (indicated by “cutting out a”), like so: HE(ADGE)AR.

20. Before too late, hint at leaving (2,4)

Answer: IN TIME (i.e. “before too late”). Solution is INTIMATE (i.e. “hint”) with the AT removed (indicated by “at leaving”).

21. Young party disturbs spider by accident (5,5,6)

Answer: TEDDY BEARS PICNIC (i.e. “young party”). “Disturbs” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SPIDER BY ACCIDENT. Nicely done.

24. One conveying an impulse from steel dungeon (5,4)

Answer: NERVE CELL (i.e. “one conveying an [electrical] impulse”). Solution is NERVE (i.e. “steel”) followed by CELL (i.e. “dungeon”).

26. One note penned by emperor not yet delivered (2,5)

Answer: IN UTERO (i.e. “[pregnancy] not yet delivered”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by UT (i.e. “note” – apparently this was a precursor of “doh” in the doh-ray-me scale) once it has been wrapped in or “penned by” NERO (i.e. “emperor”), like so: I-N(UT)ERO.

27. Almost make blood donation – slow progress (5)

Answer: AMBLE (i.e. “slow progress”). Solution is AM BLED (i.e. “make blood donation”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “almost”).

29. Bus turned sharply beside flowing creek (6-6)

Answer: DOUBLE-DECKER (i.e. “bus”). Solution is DOUBLED (i.e. “turned sharply”, as in a double-take) followed by an anagram (indicated by “flowing”) of CREEK, like so: DOUBLED-ECKER.

31. Lear’s folk giving away one beer for fund raiser (6,4)

Answer: JUMBLE SALE (i.e. “fund raiser”). Solution is JUMBLIES (i.e. “[Edward] Lear’s folk” referring to his children’s poem The Jumblies) with the I removed (indicated by “giving away [Roman numeral] one”) and followed by ALE (i.e. “beer”), like so: JUMBLES-ALE.

33. Active, for one, to make hard copy of recorded speech (10)

Answer: VOICEPRINT (i.e. “recorded speech”). Solution is VOICE (i.e. “active, for one” – a quick demonstration of active vs passive voice: active voice – “Sam kicked the ball”; passive voice “the ball was kicked by Sam”. Active voice is generally a nifty way of injecting a little bit of life into a piece of writing) followed by PRINT (i.e. “to make hard copy”).

35. Trails ticked off by walker here? (4,8)

Answer: LAKE DISTRICT. “Off” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TRAILS TICKED. Within the context of the clue, you may well tick off a list of trails while trotting about the Lake District. Another nicely worked anagram.

38. Figure having third name for film is silly (5)

Answer: NINNY (i.e. “silly”). Solution is NINETY (i.e. “figure”) with ET (i.e. “film” – specifically ET: The Extra-Terrestrial) replaced by a third N (being a recognised abbreviation of “name”), like so: NIN(ET)Y => NIN(N)Y.

39. Creeper it was tempting to have in the garden (7)

Answer: SERPENT (i.e. “creeper”). “It was tempting to have in the garden” refers to the Bible story of Eve, who succumbed to temptation in the Garden of Eden, nibbling on an apple despite the large “DO NOTTE EATETH THE APPLES” signs that were dotted everywhere, because a snake said so. Which obviously happened.

40. This glow hard to disperse in laser display (5,4)

Answer: LIGHT SHOW (i.e. “light show”). “To disperse” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THIS GLOW and H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils).

42. Luxurious prison transport? (7,9)

Answer: STRETCH LIMOUSINE (i.e. “luxurious…transport”). “Prison” plays on STRETCH being a slang word for a prison sentence.

44. Cut open, took a quick look: not good (6)

Answer: LANCED (i.e. “cut open”). Solution is GLANCED (i.e. “took a quick look”) with the G removed (indicated by “not good” – G being a recognised abbreviation of “good”).

47. Minister has to tear round at any time (8)

Answer: REVEREND (i.e. “minister”). Solution is REND (i.e. “to tear”) wrapped “round” EVER (i.e. “at any time”), like so: R(EVER)END.

49. Man a bit short for Heather? (4)

Answer: ERIC (i.e. “man” – basically a man’s name). Solution is ERICA (i.e. “heather” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) with the last letter removed (indicated by “a bit short for…”).

50. Mixed drink and snack, first getting wind (9)

Answer: SNAKEBITE (i.e. “mixed drink”). Solution is BITE (i.e. “snack”) with SNAKE (i.e. “[to] wind”) placed “first”, like so: SNAKE-BITE.

52. Right to leave mildly humorous order (5)

Answer: IONIC (i.e. “order” – Chambers has this: “relating to the Ionians, one of the main divisions of the Ancient Greeks, to their dialect, or to Ionia”, and “relating to an order of Greek architecture characterised by the volute of its capital”. So it’s probably something to do with that, then.) Solution is IRONIC (i.e. “mildly humorous”) with the R removed (indicated by “right to leave” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”).

53. Like grand old man in goal, stand prepared (11)

Answer: GLADSTONIAN (i.e. “like grand old man” – William Gladstone was referred to as such by his supporters). “Prepared” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN GOAL STAND.

54. Not initially unresponsive, but stiff (5)

Answer: RIGID (i.e. “stiff”). Solution is FRIGID (i.e. “unresponsive”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “not initially”).

55. Basic way to describe aluminium? (9)

Answer: ELEMENTAL (i.e. “basic”). When written as ELEMENT AL the solution satisfies “way to describe aluminium” – Al being the chemical symbol of aluminium. Nicely worked. Best clue of the puzzle.

56. Sends the pasty to cook: it won’t arrive until after Christmas (2,8,3)

Answer: ST STEPHENS DAY (i.e. “it won’t arrive until after Christmas”, specifically 26th December, or Boxing Day). “To cook” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SENDS THE PASTY. Speaking of the C-word, the Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword will celebrate its 50th birthday this Christmas. We’ve got to be due something special for it, right? Some years ago, when it was still a broadsheet, my local paper The Northern Echo used to publish a whacking great 73×73 crossword on Christmas Eve. It was a superb time-filler between Bond films during Christmas and New Year. I mean, just look at it. No pressure, setters!

Down clues

1. Foreigner depended on contribution to Opera North (9)

Answer: HUNGARIAN (i.e. “foreigner”, unless you are reading this in Hungary. (Waves in Hungarian)). Solution is HUNG (i.e. “depended on”) followed by ARIA (i.e. “contribution to opera” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and N (a recognised abbreviation of “north”).

2. Announce painful condition I have contracted internally (4,3)

Answer: GIVE OUT (i.e. “announce”). Solution is GOUT (i.e. “painful condition”) wrapped around or having “internalised” I’VE (a “contraction” of “I have”), like so: G(I’VE)OUT.

3. Intention late at night to instruct freedom fighter (7,4)

Answer: WILLIAM TELL (i.e. “freedom fighter”). Solution is WILL (i.e. “intention”) followed by I AM (i.e. “late at night”, read as 1am) and TELL (i.e. “to instruct”).

4. Have to break link – one’s not in the country (6)

Answer: TOWNIE (i.e. “one’s not in the country”). Solution is OWN (i.e. “have”) placed in or “breaking” TIE (i.e. “link”), like so: T(OWN)IE.

5. Start to discuss great suffering and complain furiously (5,4)

Answer: RAISE HELL (i.e. “complain furiously”). Solution is RAISE (i.e. “start to discuss”) followed by HELL (i.e. “great suffering”).

6. Digital assistant at first nearly forgets what to say – fed with new lines (12)

Answer: ALEXANDRINES (i.e. “lines” – once more unto the Chambers, my friends: “a verse of six iambs (English), or in French of twelve and thirteen syllables in alternate couplets (perhaps from a poem on Alexander the Great by Alexandre Paris)”. So there you go.) Solution is ALEXA (i.e. Amazon’s “digital assistant”) followed by N (i.e. “at first nearly”, i.e. the first letter of “nearly”) then DRIES (i.e. “forgets what to say”) once this latter has been wrapped around or “fed with” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: ALEXA-N-DRI(N)ES.

7. Criticise a fight that’s boisterous (10)

Answer: KNOCKABOUT (i.e. “boisterous”). When written as KNOCK A BOUT the clue also satisfies “criticise a fight”.

8. Frustrate hurried travel (4)

Answer: DASH. Solution satisfies “frustrate” and “hurried travel”.

9. Held up crossing, stupidly ignored business pressure (10,6)

Answer: SUSPENSION BRIDGE (i.e. “held up crossing”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “stupidly”) of IGNORED BUSINESS and P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”).

10. Lent hasn’t started, so relaxed (5)

Answer: EASED (i.e. “relaxed”). Solution is LEASED (i.e. “lent” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) with the first letter removed (indicated by “hasn’t started”).

11. Dietary essential for youngster announced (7)

Answer: PROTEIN (i.e. “dietary essential”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “for”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “announced”) of TEEN (i.e. “youngster”).

12. Criticise tart husband entering bond for boosting relations (13)

Answer: RAPPROCHEMENT (i.e. “boosting relations”). Solution is RAP (i.e. “criticise”) followed by PRO (i.e. “tart”, taken as a recognised abbreviation of prostitute) and H once it has been placed in or “entering” CEMENT (i.e. “bond”) like so: RAP-PRO-C(H)EMENT.

19. Put beyond doubt what one can do when user moves (4,4)

Answer: MAKE SURE (i.e. “put beyond doubt”). “What one can do when user moves” plays on how “user” is an anagram of “sure”, i.e. you can MAKE SURE from its letters.

22. Picture that is the cover of periodical (5)

Answer: IMAGE (i.e. “picture”). Solution is IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. “i.e.”) wrapped around or “covering” MAG (i.e. “periodical”, short for magazine), like so: I(MAG)E.

23. Scott’s work as nurse I glimpse, covering on one occasion (6,2,3,5)

Answer: TENDER IS THE NIGHT (i.e. “[F.] Scott [Fitzgerald]’s work”). Solution is TENDER (i.e. “work as nurse”) followed by I and SIGHT (i.e. “glimpse”) once the latter has been wrapped around or “covering” THEN (i.e. “on one occasion”), like so: TENDER-I-S(THEN)IGHT. Solution also featured in puzzle 1426 earlier this year. I had no idea there were so few classic books in the world.

25. French department concerned with organisation of labour (7)

Answer: REUNION (i.e. “French department”, i.e. the French for “department” – a guess, really, not speaking the language much outside of please and thank you. Google Translate kind of backs it up, ish or thereabouts. I could easily be wide of the mark though.) Solution is RE (i.e. “concerning” – think email replies) followed by UNION (i.e. “organisation of labour”).
[EDIT: A big thank you to Steve in the comments for clearing this one up tout de suite! The clue refers to a small island near Madagascar called Réunion, which is an overseas “department” and region of France. Cheers, Steve! – LP]

28. Radiant to live with strict sect (7)

Answer: BEAMISH (i.e. “radiant”). Solution is BE (i.e. “to live”) followed by AMISH (i.e. “strict sect”). Also a pretty cool museum up north, if you remember such things.

29. Foresees royal weakness, which minister takes charge of (6,7)

Answer: DIVINE SERVICE (i.e. “which minister takes charge of” – not something listed in Chambers but my Oxford backs it up). Solution is DIVINES (i.e. “foresees”) followed by ER (i.e. “royal”, specifically Elizabeth Regina, the Queen) and VICE (i.e. “weakness”).

30. Skyline shows train travelling through high pass (8)

Answer: CONTRAIL (i.e. “skyline”, i.e. the trails in the sky left behind by jet planes). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “travelling”) of TRAIN placed in or “through” COL (i.e. “high [mountain] pass”), like so: CO(NTRAI)L.

32. Symbol of order getting islanders upset (7,5)

Answer: MALTESE CROSS (i.e. “symbol of order”, specifically the Knights of Malta). Solution is MALTESE (i.e. “islanders”) followed by CROSS (i.e. “upset”).

34. Land in east, not as open to pain (5)

Answer: EGYPT (i.e. “land”). Solution is EAST with the AS removed (indicated by “not as”) and the remaining letters “open to” GYP (i.e. “pain”), like so: E(AS)T => E(GYP)T.

36. Two men collecting earth reshaped a pyramid (11)

Answer: TETRAHEDRON (i.e. “pyramid”). Solution is TED and RON (i.e. “two men”) wrapped around or “collecting” an anagram (indicated by “reshaped”) of EARTH, like so: T(ETRAH)ED-RON.

37. Comfortable situation, but it is growing prickly (3,2,5)

Answer: BED OF ROSES (i.e. “comfortable situation”). Clue riffs on how thorns on rose bushes see them “grow prickly”. You get the idea.

40. Mortal danger: country is led astray (9)

Answer: LANDSLIDE (i.e. “mortal danger”). Solution is LAND (i.e. “country”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “astray”) of IS LED, like so: LAND-SLIDE.

41. One in seven needs to change driver, avoiding water flowing in road (9)

Answer: WEDNESDAY (i.e. “one in seven [days of the week]”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to change”) of NEEDS and D (i.e. “driver, avoiding water”, i.e. the word DRIVER with RIVER removed) both placed “in” WAY (i.e. “road”), like so: W(EDNES-D)AY.

43. Regret saving regular income (7)

Answer: REVENUE (i.e. “income”). Solution is RUE (i.e. “regret”) wrapped around or “saving” EVEN (i.e. “regular”), like so: R(EVEN)UE.

45. Charlie, surrounded, looked embarrassed (7)

Answer: CRINGED (i.e. “looked embarrassed”). Solution is C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet”) followed by RINGED (i.e. “surrounded”).

46. Deliver blow, catching a belly (6)

Answer: PAUNCH (i.e. “belly”). Solution is PUNCH (i.e. “deliver blow”) wrapped around or “catching” A, like so: P(A)UNCH.

48. Sport red frill (5)

Answer: RUCHE (i.e. “frill”). Solution is RU (i.e. “sport”, specifically Rugby Union) followed by CHE Guevara (i.e. “red” or communist). Chalk one to my Bradford’s here, as I couldn’t look past ruff, even though it didn’t have enough letters.

51. Friend at length is to become tedious (4)

Answer: PALL (i.e. “to become tedious”). Solution is PAL (i.e. “friend”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “length”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1444

A toughie this week, but not an entirely enjoyable one. Some of the clues were word salads than anything coherent, as if the setter was having a hard time gluing all the components together. Could just be me. There were some good clues to be had, mind, as well as some interesting bits of wordplay, but overall it wasn’t for me.

Anyway, I got there in the end. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful.

As ever a spot of housekeeping before all that, if you’ll permit: I’ve got some book reviews gathering dust over here, and an old story of mine over there. If you’ve come to grief with a recent Jumbo Cryptic, then my Just For Fun page could be just the ticket, stuffed with links to solutions for the last ninety-odd of the buggers.

Right. With that little lot out of the way, let’s get down to business. Stay safe, youses, and all being well I’ll see you around for the next one.

LP

Across clues

1. Try to spot invisible character in play (5)

Answer: GODOT (i.e. “invisible character in play”, referring to Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting For Godot, in which two characters wait for the titular Godot, who never arrives). Solution is GO (i.e. “try”, as in have a go) followed by DOT (i.e. “to spot”).

4. Barrier protecting platform for unconventional art (7)

Answer: DADAISM (i.e. “unconventional art” of the early 20th century – think Salvador Dali and such). Solution is DAM (i.e. “barrier”) wrapped around or “protecting” DAIS (i.e. “platform”) like so: DA(DAIS)M.

8. Lip ring ensemble with no strings attached (5,4)

Answer: BRASS BAND (i.e. “ensemble with no strings attached”). Solution is BRASS (i.e. “lip”, both taken to mean impertinence) followed by BAND (i.e. “ring”).

13. Passage that spans short story about uninhibited people (9)

Answer: TRAVERSAL (i.e. “passage”). Solution is TALE (i.e. “story”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder wrapped “about” RAVERS (i.e. “uninhibited people”), like so: T(RAVERS)AL.

14. Publish marks off Rhodes scholars etc (13)

Answer: POSTGRADUATES (i.e. “Rhodes scholars etc” – the Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate award for students to study at the University of Oxford (Wikipedia)). Solution is POST (i.e. “publish”) followed by GRADUATES (i.e. “marks off [by degrees]”).

15. Be rude to seaside town where each dismisses an English dramatist (7)

Answer: Anton CHEKHOV (i.e. “dramatist”). Solution is CHEEK (i.e. “be rude to”) and HOVE (i.e. “seaside town”) once both have removed or “dismissed” an E (being a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: CHEK-HOV.

16. Sound contented, getting back into bed unclean (7)

Answer: CORRUPT (i.e. “unclean”). Solution is PURR (i.e. “sound contented”) reversed (indicated by “getting back”) and placed “into” COT (i.e. “bed”), like so: CO(RRUP)T.

17. Rotary engine’s short piece, spun almost completely around (7)

Answer: TURBINE (i.e. “rotary engine”). Solution is BIT (i.e. “piece”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder then placed in or “surrounded” by TURNED (i.e. “spun”) once it too has had its last letter removed (indicated by “almost completely”), like so: TUR(BI)NE.

18. Answer book dispatched virtually having no pages unexpectedly missing (6,7,5)

Answer: ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE (i.e. “unexpectedly missing”). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A) followed by B (ditto “book”) then SENT (i.e. “dispatched”) and WITHOUT LEAVES (i.e. “[book…] having no pages” – pages of a book are referred to as leaves) with the last letter removed (indicated by “virtually”), like so: A-B-SENT-WITHOUT-LEAVE.

21. Rafter on Mississippi hotel attached to back of roof (4)

Answer: Huckleberry FINN (i.e. a “rafter on Mississippi” in a number of Mark Twain’s books). Solution is INN (i.e. “hotel”) placed after or “attached to” F (i.e. “back of roof”, i.e. the last letter of “roof”), like so: F-INN. Good clue.

23. Settled in house, sister produces fumes from trap? (9)

Answer: HALITOSIS (i.e. “fumes from trap” – trap being a slang term for one’s mouth). Solution is ALIT (i.e. “settled”) placed “in” HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”) and followed by SIS (ditto “sister”), like so: H(ALIT)O-SIS.

25. Observation of lucre paid back but not in full (6)

Answer: APERCU (i.e. a brief outline, glimpse or “observation”). “But not in full” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “back” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: L(UCRE PA)ID. One of those weird words I strangely knew. Doesn’t always happen like that!

26. Not fancy food? It’s arisen unexpectedly (6)

Answer: SARNIE, an informal name for a sandwich or “not fancy food”. “Unexpectedly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ARISEN.

28. Not an original way of multiplying (12)

Answer: REPRODUCTION. Solution satisfies “not an original” and “way of multiplying”.

30. Persecution hurt agreement, with delay of minutes (10)

Answer: HARASSMENT (i.e. “persecution”). Solution is HARM (i.e. “hurt”) and ASSENT (i.e. “agreement”) with the M (a recognised abbreviation of “minutes”) of HARM pushed back a few notches (indicated by “delay of…”), like so: HARM-ASSENT => HAR-ASS(M)ENT.

33. I attack old health resort with knife containing boron (10)

Answer: SANDBAGGER (i.e. “I attack”). Solution is SAN (i.e. “old health resort”, short for a sanatorium) followed by DAGGER (i.e. “knife”) once it has been wrapped around or “containing” B (chemical symbol of “boron”), like so: SAN-D(B)AGGER.

34. Dead and (outwardly) buried, like parts of a conspiracy? (12)

Answer: INTERRELATED (i.e. “like parts of a conspiracy”). Solution is LATE (i.e. “dead”) with INTERRED (i.e. “buried”) placed “outwardly” of it, like so: INTERRE(LATE)D.

37. Horseman with lance, not the first person unseating someone (6)

Answer: OUSTER (i.e. “person unseating someone”). Solution is JOUSTER (i.e. “horseman”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “not the first”).

39. First person expelled from more forward part of China? (6)

Answer: SAUCER (i.e. “part of china” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is SAUCIER (i.e. “more forward”) with the I removed (indicated by “first person expelled from” – to demonstrate: first person: “I did something”; second person: “you did something”; third person: “he/she/they did something”).

40. With overdose constricting the heart, depressants are marvellously effective (2,7)

Answer: DO WONDERS (i.e. “marvellously effective”). Solution is the letters OD (a recognised abbreviation of “overdose”) wrapped around or “constricting” the middle letter or “heart” of DOWNERS, like so: DOW(O)N(D)ERS.

42. Blunder and nearly get fired (4)

Answer: GOOF (i.e. “blunder”). Solution is GO OFF (i.e. “get fired”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “nearly”).

43. Be determined to acquire the company? (4,2,4,8)

Answer: MAKE IT ONE’S BUSINESS. Solution satisfies “be determined” and “to acquire the company”. Nicely worked.

46. Mozart’s contemporary position in exotic dress (7)

Answer: Antonio SALIERI (i.e. “Mozart’s contemporary”). Solution is LIE (i.e. “position”) placed “in” SARI (i.e. “exotic dress”), like so: SA(LIE)RI.

47. Cheese from Monterey urgently recalled (7)

Answer: GRUYERE (i.e. “cheese”). “From” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue while “recalled” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: MONT(EREY URG)ENTLY. Another nicely worked clue.

48. Title composed by Beatles’ leading pair? (3,2,2)

Answer: LET IT BE (i.e. “title composed by [The] Beatles”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “composed”) of TITLE followed by B and E (i.e. “Beatles’ leading pair”, i.e. the first two letters of “Beatles”), like so: LETIT-BE. Best clue of the puzzle. Very nicely done.

50. Too easily hurt at the workplace, introducing metric works, the fourth brought in later (13)

Answer: OVERSENSITIVE (i.e. “too easily hurt”). Solution is ON SITE (i.e. “at the workplace”) which is wrapped around both VERSE (i.e. “metric works” as in poetry, verse, metre, that kind of thing) and, “later” on, IV (i.e. “[Roman numeral] fourth”), like so: O(VERSE)NSIT(IV)E.

51. Way to cure turkey that won’t burst into flames (despite appearances) (5,4)

Answer: SMOKE BOMB (i.e. a projectile “that won’t burst into flames (despite appearances)”). Solution is SMOKE (i.e. “way to cure” or preserve meat or fish) followed by BOMB (i.e. “turkey”, both references to box office flops).

52. Get off course to westernise, apparently (9)

Answer: DISORIENT (i.e. “get off course”). Solution punningly also satisfies “westernise”, given the orient refers to the east.

53. Greenhouse gas meant he worried (7)

Answer: METHANE (i.e. “greenhouse gas”). “Worried” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MEANT HE.

54. Rough outskirts of Derby found on visit (5)

Answer: SEEDY (i.e. “rough”). Solution is DY (i.e. “outskirts of Derby”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Derby”) placed after or “found on” SEE (i.e. “visit”), like so: SEE-DY.

Down clues

1. Horrendous rates charge one received without being asked (4-7)

Answer: GATE-CRASHER (i.e. “one received without being asked”). “Horrendous” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RATES CHANGE.

2. Duke, libertine and noted sailor (5)

Answer: Sir Francis DRAKE (i.e. “noted sailor”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “duke”) followed by RAKE (i.e. “libertine”).

3. Difficulty in setting up extremely great Russian funds after support diluted? (8,8)

Answer: TEETHING TROUBLES (i.e. “difficulty in setting up”). Solution is GT (i.e. “extremely great”, i.e. the first and last letters of “great” – “extremely” is unnecessary IMLTHO as GT is already a recognised abbreviation of “great”) and ROUBLES (i.e. “Russian funds”) both placed “after” TEE (i.e. “[golf ball] support”) and THIN (i.e. “diluted”), like so: TEE-THIN-GT-ROUBLES.

4. Refuse to acknowledge capsize without vessel identification (7)

Answer: DISAVOW (i.e. “refuse to acknowledge”). Solution is WO (a recognised abbreviation of “without”) followed by VAS (i.e. a “vessel”, tube or duct carrying liquid (Chambers)) and ID (a recognised abbreviation of “identification”). The whole lot is then reversed (indicated by “capsize” – this being a down clue), like so: DI-SAV-OW.

5. Rebuff hardened tart, keeping the French lingerie etc? (9)

Answer: DELICATES (i.e. “lingerie etc”). Solution is SET (i.e. “hardened”) and ACID (i.e. “tart” or sharp of taste) once it has been wrapped around or “keeping” LE (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the French for “the”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “rebuffed” – this being a down clue), like so: D(EL)ICA-TES.

6. Pretender’s scion imprisoned by Roman emperor (12)

Answer: IMPERSONATOR (i.e. “pretender”). Solution is SON (i.e. “scion”) placed in or “imprisoned by” IMPERATOR (i.e. “Roman emperor”), like so: IMPER(SON)ATOR.

7. Pests I shut in religious buildings (10)

Answer: MOSQUITOES (i.e. “pests”). Solution is I and TO (i.e. “shut”, as in closing a door to) both placed “in” MOSQUES (i.e. “religious buildings”), like so: MOSQU(I-TO)ES.

8. Inlet of considerable width and great height (5)

Answer: BIGHT (i.e. “inlet of considerable width”). Solution is BIG (i.e. “great”) followed by HT (a recognised abbreviation of “height”).

9. Flexible fitting installed in a low bar (8)

Answer: ADAPTIVE (i.e. “flexible”). Solution is APT (i.e. “fitting”) placed or “installed in” A DIVE (i.e. “a low bar”), like so: A-D(APT)IVE.

10. Parisian who stops married woman returning to worm (6)

Answer: SQUIRM (i.e. “worm”). Solution is QUI (i.e. “Parisian who”, i.e. the French for “who”) placed in or “stopping” MRS (i.e. “married woman”) once it has been reversed (indicated by “returning”), like so: S(QUI)RM.

11. Aristocrat losing head’s spoken of natural wastage (9)

Answer: ATTRITION (i.e. “natural wastage”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “spoken of”) of PATRICIAN (i.e. “aristocrat”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “losing head”).

12. Perception of part of field, is CERN mentioned? (11)

Answer: DISCERNMENT (i.e. “perception”). “Of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: FIEL(D IS CERN MENT)IONED.

19. Replace a plant’s dried up basin (7)

Answer: SALTPAN (i.e. “dried up basin” – referring to the geographic feature). “Replace” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A PLANT’S.

20. Somewhere to go from ‘ere includes one place inside another (7)

Answer: ENCLAVE (i.e. “one place inside another”). Solution is LAV (i.e. “somewhere to go”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “lavatory” – “go” taken to mean visiting the toilet) placed or “included” in HENCE (i.e. “from ‘ere”) once the H has been dropped (indicated by “’ere” – like wot all ’em cockneys do, innit, droppin’ their aitches all the bleedin’, gawblessem, guv’nor, jellied eels and so forth), like so: ENC(LAV)E.

22. Heading away from States I had blue and white flowers, keen to raise saving target (6,2,8)

Answer: DAMSEL IN DISTRESS (i.e. “saving target”). Solution is ASSERT (i.e. “states” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) once the initial letter has been removed (indicated by “heading away from”), followed by I’D (a contraction of “I had”), then NILES (i.e. “blue and white flowers”, referring to the Blue Nile and White Nile rivers, as in how they “flow”) and MAD (i.e. “keen”). These are all then reversed (indicated by “to raise” – this being a down clue), like so: DAM-SELIN-D’I-STRESS. Phew!

24. It’s covered in Ypres mud, getting a dirty mark (6)

Answer: SMUDGE (i.e. “dirty mark”). “It’s covered in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: YPRE(S MUD GE)TTING.

27. Plant’s energy lost in time disturbance (6)

Answer: YARROW (i.e. “plant”). Solution is YEAR (i.e. “time”) with the E removed (indicated by “energy’s lost in…” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), then followed by ROW (i.e. “disturbance”), like so: YAR-ROW. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here, given there’s a few plants out there in the world.

29. Herts town, neither small nor very relevant to youth (7)

Answer: TEENAGE (i.e. “[relevant to] youth”). Solution is STEVENAGE (i.e. “Herts town”) with the S and the V removed (indicated by “neither small or very” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “small”, V “very”).

31. Record possibly first released by later engineers (7)

Answer: EXTREME (i.e. “[world] record possibly”). Solution is NEXT (i.e. “later”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “first released”) and the remainder followed by REME (i.e. “engineers” – specifically the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers of the British Army), like so: EXT-REME.

32. Breaking into 31, fellows start on theft (12)

Answer: INFRINGEMENT (i.e. “breaking [into]”). Solution is IN (i.e. “into”) followed by FRINGE (the solution to 31d being EXTREME, being much the same thing… ish…) then MEN (i.e. “fellows”) and T (i.e. “start on theft”, i.e. the first letter of “theft”), like so: IN-FRINGE-MEN-T.

33. Doctor half-heartedly neatens up, accepting hooligan’s punishment is self-serving choice? (11)

Answer: SMORGASBORD (i.e. “self-serving choice”). Solution is DR (a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”) and GROOMS (i.e. “neatens”) once one of the middle Os has been removed (indicated by “half-heartedly”).These are then both reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “accepting” ASBO (i.e. “hooligan’s punishment”), like so: SMORG-(ASBO)-RD.

35. Tailor badly misses stripping (11)

Answer: DISASSEMBLY (i.e. “stripping”). “Tailor” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BADLY MISSES.

36. Ethical travel company heading for old city is filling space (10)

Answer: ECOTOURISM (i.e. “ethical travel”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”), TO (i.e. “heading for”), UR (i.e. “old city” – and a favourite of setters everywhere) and IS all placed in or “filling” EM (i.e. “space” – another favourite of setters, this is a printing term for the width of a space, supposedly the same as the letter “m”), like so: E(CO-TO-UR-IS)M.

38. Son breaks down, has repressed feelings (9)

Answer: SMOULDERS (i.e. “has repressed feelings”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by MOULDERS (i.e. crumbles to dust or “breaks down”).
[EDIT: Typo fix courtesy of Mike in the comments. Cheers, Mike! – LP]

40. Remedy sipped, say, for this? (9)

Answer: DYSPEPSIA. “Remedy” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SIPPED SAY. In the context of the clue, you may well sip a remedy to help a dyspeptic stomach. Nicely worked.

41. Bravery of Scotsman caught in glen (8)

Answer: VALIANCE (i.e. “bravery”). Solution is IAN (i.e. “Scotsman” – another favourite play of setters) and C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games) both placed “in” VALE (i.e. “glen”), like so: VAL(IAN-C)E.

44. In triumph, presumably, nothing is free (7)

Answer: UNLOOSE (i.e. “[to] free”). Solution is UNLOSE (i.e. “triumph, presumably” – an acknowledgement that the word doesn’t really exist) “in” which is placed O (i.e. “nothing”), like so: UNL(O)OSE.

45. Landlord with gold taken away? (6)

Answer: LESSOR (i.e. “landlord”). When written as LESS OR the solution also satisfies “with gold taken away” – OR being “gold” in heraldry.

47. Flash grand, something that collects in pocket (5)

Answer: GLINT (i.e. “flash”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “grand”) followed by LINT (i.e. “something that collects in pocket”).

49. Expression in French, too European? (5)

Answer: TROPE (i.e. a figure of speech or “expression”). Solution is TROP (i.e. “in French, too” – i.e. the French for “too”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”). Thank goodness for Google Translate, eh?

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1443

An easier time of it this week after Bank Holiday Monday’s toughie, and by and large another good ‘un, offering a number of good clues and steady progression.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

As ever, some housekeeping: you can find lots of past solutions to these things on my Just For Fun page, or some book reviews gathering dust over thisaway, or a story of mine over thataway. Go check ’em out.

As we enter week plenty of lockdown, I hope you are keeping well and safe and all that. All being well I’ll see you for the next one. Meanwhile, do forgive me while I get incredibly nerdy ahead of Thursday’s PlayStation 5 announcement. (Flails arms Kermit-style.)

Laters,

LP

Across clues

1. Bracketed father, say, with man having time in charge (11)

Answer: PARENTHETIC (i.e. “bracketed”). Solution is PARENT (i.e. “father, say”) followed by HE (i.e. “man”), then T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and IC (ditto “in charge”).

7. Go in with five by two strengthening strip (6)

Answer: BATTEN (i.e. “strengthening strip”). Solution is BAT (i.e. “go in”, say, in a game of cricket) followed by TEN (i.e. “five by two”, i.e. 5×2).

10. Port city with area for university student residence (4)

Answer: HALL (i.e. “student residence”). Solution is HULL (i.e. “port city”) with the U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) swapped “for” A (ditto “area”), like so: H(U)LL => H(A)LL.

14. Note aunt’s unfortunate disease (7)

Answer: TETANUS (i.e. “disease”). Solution is TE (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me style) followed by an anagram (indicated by “unfortunate”) of AUNT’S, like so: TE-TANUS.

15. Quash right boxing ace in a ring (7)

Answer: ANNULAR (i.e. “[in a] ring”). Solution is ANNUL (i.e. “quash”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) wrapped around or “boxing” A (a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used on playing cards), like so: ANNUL-(A)-R.

16. Certainly bachelor interrupts ruse for ladies’ man (9)

Answer: PLAYBOY (i.e. “ladies’ man”). Solution is AY (i.e. “certainly”, being a variant spelling of “aye”) and B (a recognised abbreviation of “bachelor”) both placed in or “interrupting” PLOY (i.e. “ruse”), like so: PL(AY-B)OY.

17. Famous maestro, not English, getting cue wrong after Lohengrin’s wife is dressing (8,5)

Answer: BECHAMEL SAUCE (i.e. “dressing”). Solution is Sir Thomas BEECHAM (i.e. “famous maestro”) with an E removed (indicated by “not English” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “English”), then followed by an anagram (indicated by “wrong”) of CUE once it has been placed “after” ELSA (i.e. “Lohengrin’s wife” in Richard Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin), like so: BECHAM-ELSA-UCE. One for the Radio 3 listeners out there, I think.

18. City with terrible secret about gold (9)

Answer: WORCESTER (i.e. “city”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) and an anagram (indicated by “terrible”) of SECRET both placed “about” OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry), like so: W-(OR)-CESTER. Nice juxtaposition.

19. One living abroad has European vote, very conveniently (5)

Answer: EXPAT (i.e. “one living abroad”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) followed by X (i.e. “vote”) and PAT (i.e. “very conveniently” – one for my Oxford here, as my Chambers wasn’t terribly convinced).

21. Heavy work I have outside printing house (10)

Answer: OPPRESSIVE (i.e. “heavy”). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “opus” or, as I also like to think, “operation”) and I’VE (a contraction of “I have”) both placed “outside” of PRESS (i.e. “printing house”), like so: OP-(PRESS)-I’VE.

23. Charge involving one Zulu witch doctor? (6)

Answer: WIZARD (i.e. “witch doctor”, or a man who practices witchcraft). Solution is WARD (i.e. “charge”, as in “ward of the state”) wrapped around or “involving” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and Z (“Zulu” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: W(I-Z)ARD.

25. Confused pie chart and inscription (8)

Answer: EPIGRAPH (i.e. “inscription”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “confused”) of PIE followed by GRAPH (i.e. “chart”), like so: EPI-GRAPH.
[EDIT: A nod to Chris in the comments for the typo fix. I’d written EPIGRAM at the start when it ought to have been EPIGRAPH. Cheers, Chris! – LP]

26. What may result in prince’s military manoeuvre (6,8)

Answer: PINCER MOVEMENT (i.e. “military manoeuvre”). Clue plays on how PINCER is an anagram of PRINCE, i.e. “what may result in prince” following a MOVEMENT of PINCER’s letters. Good clue.

29. Large cactus so full of water of Mexican river (7)

Answer: SAGUARO (i.e. “large cactus”). Solution is SO wrapped around or being “full of” AGUA (i.e. “water of Mexico”, i.e. the Spanish for “water”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: S(AGUA-R)O. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here. I bet this wasn’t the first word the setter placed in the grid…

30. Anaesthetic unit is the best (6,3)

Answer: NUMBER ONE (i.e. “the best”). Solution is NUMBER (i.e. “anaesthetic”) followed by ONE (i.e. “unit”).

31. Royal Society’s in misery with lower standards (5)

Answer: WORSE (i.e. “with lower standards”). Solution is RS (a recognised abbreviation of “Royal Society”) placed “in” WOE (i.e. “misery”), like so: WO(RS)E.

32. Speak at length with old judge (5)

Answer: ORATE (i.e. “speak at length”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by RATE (i.e. “[to] judge”).

34. Queen trapped by duty? Right, this may give her strength (9)

Answer: EXERCISER (i.e. “this may give her strength”). Solution is ER (i.e. “Queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) placed in or “trapped by” EXCISE (i.e. “duty”, both forms of taxation) and then followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: EX(ER)CISE-R.

37. Golf provides for a place to swing (7)

Answer: GALLOWS (i.e. “a place to swing”). Solution is G (“Golf” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by ALLOWS (i.e. “provides for”). I love the black humour in this clue. Great stuff!

39. Key mineral fat for pastry producing artistic effect (14)

Answer: FORESHORTENING (i.e. “artistic effect”). Solution is F (i.e. “[musical] key”) followed by ORE (i.e. “mineral”) and SHORTENING (i.e. “fat for pastry”).

41. Established working name for language (8)

Answer: ESTONIAN (i.e. “language”). Solution is EST (a recognised abbreviation of “established”) followed by ON (i.e. “working”, as in switched on) and IAN (i.e. “name”).

43. Familiarly, wheels stick and make a harsh noise (6)

Answer: JAMJAR (i.e. “familiarly, wheels” – or cockney rhyming slang for “car” – remember The Times is predominantly a London newspaper so this happens from time to time, gorblimey, gercha, thumbs-behind-braces, etc). Solution is JAM (i.e. to “stick”) followed by JAR (i.e. “make a harsh noise” – a bit like the whistle I’m blowing to the setter for trying to pass this off as a 6-letter solution, when it should obviously be 3,3. Yellow card, setter.)

44. Absolute commander-in-chief chasing car holding traitor (10)

Answer: AUTOCRATIC (i.e. having an “absolute commander-in-chief”). Solution is CIC (a recognised abbreviation of “commander-in-chief”) placed after or “chasing” AUTO (i.e. “car”) and wrapped around RAT (i.e. “traitor”), like so: AUTO-C(RAT)IC. Nice bit of recycling in the clue, there.

45. Fine inventions, jets? (5)

Answer: FLIES (i.e. “jets”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils) followed by LIES (i.e. “inventions”).

48. Like flowers when meeting to study illness with hospital department (9)

Answer: CONFLUENT (i.e. “like flowers when meeting” – flowers in this case being a sneaky reference to rivers, given how they flow). Solution is CON (an archaic word for “study” often used by setters) followed by FLU (i.e. “illness”) and ENT (i.e. “hospital department” – specifically Ear Nose and Throat).

49. See beer in guilty sense without one getting better (13)

Answer: CONVALESCENCE (i.e. “getting better”). Solution is V (i.e. “see”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin “vide” – we’ve seen this used a couple of times before) and ALE (i.e. “beer”) both placed “in” CONSCIENCE (i.e. “guilty sense”) once the I has been removed (indicated by “without one”), like so: CON(V-ALE)SCENCE.

51. Doctor exposed about operation as one who failed to qualify (7)

Answer: DROPOUT (i.e. “one who failed to qualify”). Solution is DR (a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”) and OUT (i.e. “exposed”) both placed “about” OP (a recognised abbreviation of “operation”), like so: DR-(OP)-OUT.

52. Seller of pills made from tips of acacia blossom on tree (7)

Answer: Thomas BEECHAM (i.e. chemist and “seller of pills” – also the grandfather of the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, referenced in 17a – I did wonder this during solving…). Solution is A and M (i.e. “tips of Acacia blossoM“, i.e. the first and last letters of “acacia blossom” – a wordplay you don’t see every day – usually “tips” refers to the first and last letters of a single word) placed “on” or after BEECH (i.e. “tree”, like so: BEECH-AM.

53. Took on suitable editor without visit to see (7)

Answer: ADOPTED (i.e. “took on”). Solution is APT (i.e. “suitable”) and ED (a recognised abbreviation of “editor”) wrapped around or placed “without” of DO (i.e. “visit to see” – as in something like “let’s do Paris”), like so: A(DO)PT-ED.

54. Smart suppressing singular desire (4)

Answer: WISH (i.e. “desire”). Solution is SWISH (i.e. “smart”) with the initial S removed (indicated by “suppressing singular”, S being a recognised abbreviation of “singular”).

55. Failing to cross over desert (6)

Answer: DEFECT. A triple-header, it seems, with the solution satisfying “failing”, “to cross over” and “[to] desert”.

56. Web crawler that predicts where the wealth is going? (5,6)

Answer: MONEY SPIDER (i.e. “web crawler”). Clue plays on how one may let a money spider run over the palm of their hand, supposedly to bring them luck with money. Despite being a black-hearted sceptic, I must admit I still do this. Then I put them on my chilli plants in the hope they’ll munch on the greenfly.

Down clues

1. Pill introduced by east European is fit to drink down (7)

Answer: POTABLE (i.e. “is fit to drink down”). Solution is TAB (i.e. “pill”) placed in or “introduced by” POLE (i.e. “east European”), like so: PO(TAB)LE.

2. Informer about in Epping restraining local authority (4-7)

Answer: RATE-CAPPING (i.e. “restricting local authority”). Solution is RAT (i.e. “informer”) followed by CA (i.e. “about”, being a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) once it has been placed “in” EPPING, like so: RAT-E(CA)PPING.

3. Girl trapping judge’s assassin (5)

Answer: NINJA (i.e. “assassin”). Solution is NINA (i.e. “girl”) wrapped around or “trapping” J (a recognised abbreviation of “judge”), like so: NIN(J)A.

4. What’s inverted horny porno tester suffering? (8,8)

Answer: HYSTERON PROTERON (i.e. “what’s inverted” – over to Chambers for this one: “a figure of speech in which what would ordinarily follow comes first”. An example of this would be the phrase “salt and vinegar”, where, of course, every right-minded person knows to put the vinegar on first. Don’t listen to the salt-first crowd. They are deluded and unfit to wield condiments without adult supervision.) “Suffering” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HORNY PORNO TESTER. One of those where the anagram is significantly more interesting than the solution!

5. Managed a month in teetotal wing of church (8)

Answer: TRANSEPT (i.e. “wing of church [building]”). Solution is RAN (i.e. “managed”) and SEP (i.e. “a month”, specifically September) both placed “in” TT (a recognised abbreviation of “teetotal”), like so: T(RAN-SEP)T.

6. Mum’s core sin unfortunately is a love of shopping (11)

Answer: CONSUMERISM (i.e. “a love of shopping”). “Unfortunately” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MUM’S CORE SIN.

7. Bulk large on the outside? (5)

Answer: BULGE (i.e. “bulk”). “On the outside” indicates the solution has been hidden in the outer letters of BUL(K LAR)GE. Sneaky, yes?

8. Jettison bedcover on top of antique table (5,9)

Answer: THROW OVERBOARD (i.e. “jettison”). Solution is THROW (i.e. “bedcover”) followed by OVER (i.e. “on top of”) and BOARD (i.e. “antique table” – Oxford has this as an archaic word for “a table set for a meal”).

9. Sandwich spread? (6)

Answer: EXPORT (i.e. “spread”). When read as EX-PORT the solution also satisfies “Sandwich” – referring to Sandwich in Kent, now a couple of miles inland. Nicely worked.

11. Market exploiter using a rand drop to bait Europe (11)

Answer: ARBITRAGEUR (i.e. “market exploiter”). Solution is A followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “rand”), then BIT (i.e. a “drop” of something, e.g. liquid), then RAG (i.e. “to bait” or tease someone) and EUR (a recognised abbreviation of “European”).

12. Stratified lake certainly a warning of something dangerous (7)

Answer: LAYERED (i.e. “stratified”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”) followed by AYE (i.e. “certainly”, both forms of yes) and RED (i.e. “a warning of something dangerous”).

13. British petroleum jelly, not very standard for comparison (8)

Answer: BASELINE (i.e. “standard for comparison”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by VASELINE (i.e. “petroleum jelly”) once the V has been removed (indicated by “not very” – V being a recognised abbreviation of “very”), like so: B-ASELINE.

20. Convert home to church in stretch of land for row of houses (7)

Answer: TERRACE (i.e. “row of houses”). Solution is TERRAIN (i.e. “stretch of land”) where the IN (i.e. “[at] home”) has been swapped for CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: TERRA(IN) => TERRA(CE).

22. Certain about Chile’s capital being somewhere in the Andes (5)

Answer: SUCRE (i.e. “somewhere in the Andes”, specifically Bolivia’s constitutional capital). Solution is SURE (i.e. “certain”) wrapped “about” C (i.e. “Chile’s capital”, i.e. the first letter of “Chile”), like so: SU(C)RE. One gotten purely from the wordplay.

24. Strange being on underground with a railway minister (7,9)

Answer: FOREIGN SECRETARY (i.e. UK government “minister”). Solution is FOREIGN (i.e. “strange”) followed by SECRET (i.e. “underground”), then A and RY (a recognised abbreviation of “railway”). Nicely worked.

25. Moderate teases toffs endlessly (4,3)

Answer: EASE OFF (i.e. “moderate”). “Endlessly” indicates the solution can be derived by taking the first and last letters from T(EASE)S T(OFF)S.

27. No tears about disloyalty (7)

Answer: TREASON (i.e. “disloyalty”). “About” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NO TEARS.

28. Includes bitter brewed to be very strong (14)

Answer: INDESTRUCTIBLE (i.e. “very strong”). “Brewed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INCLUDES BITTER.

31. Rich, fit and not working (4-3)

Answer: WELL-OFF (i.e. “rich”). Solution is WELL (i.e. “fit”) followed by OFF (i.e. “not working”).

33. A blush digesting record of debt leaving son to the very end bitter (11)

Answer: ACRIMONIOUS (i.e. “bitter”). Solution is A followed by CRIMSON (i.e. “blush”) which is wrapped around IOU (i.e. “record of debt”) once the S – a recognised abbreviation of “son” has been placed “to the very end”, like so: A-CRIMON(IOU)S.

35. Section of poem to preserve – Tasso’s no fool (5)

Answer: CANTO (i.e. “section of poem”). Solution is CAN (i.e. “to preserve”) followed by TASSO once the ASS has been removed, indicated by “no fool”, like so: CAN-TO.

36. HM’s in grand construction – here? (11)

Answer: SANDRINGHAM (i.e. “here” – referring to where Her Majesty (HM) sometimes plonks herself). “Construction” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HM’S IN GRAND.

38. Dogmatic idea, no point shifting (11)

Answer: OPINIONATED (i.e. “dogmatic”). “Shifting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IDEA NO POINT.

40. Delay one riding horse (8)

Answer: STALLION (i.e. “horse”). Solution is STALL (i.e. “delay”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and ON (i.e. “riding”).

42. Sham opponent’s name a million nasty people sent up (5,3)

Answer: STRAW MAN (i.e. “sham opponent” or argument set up for the sake of disputation (Chambers)). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”) followed by A, then M (a recognised abbreviation of “million”) and WARTS (i.e. “nasty people”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “sent up” – this being a down clue), like so: STRAW-M-A-N.

43. Bird’s to raise hatch, reportedly (7)

Answer: JACKDAW (i.e. “bird”). Solution is JACK (i.e. “to raise”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of DOOR.

46. Mailer accepting Pound is rather fine (7)

Answer: SLENDER (i.e. “rather fine”). Solution is SENDER (i.e. “mailer”) wrapped around or “accepting” L (a recognised abbreviation of a “pound” of weight – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: S(L)ENDER.

47. Get annoyed with what might appear on waste land (6)

Answer: NETTLE. Solution satisfies “get annoyed” and “what might appear on waste land”.

49. Socialists pursuing Conservative split (5)

Answer: CLEFT (i.e. “split”). Solution is LEFT (i.e. “socialists”) placed after or “pursuing” C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”), like so: C-LEFT. Nicely worked.

50. Mike’s stuffing piece of meat to munch with gusto (5)

Answer: CHOMP (i.e. “munch with gusto”). Solution is M (“Mike” in the phonetic alphabet) placed in or “stuffing” CHOP (i.e. “piece of meat”), like so: CHO(M)P.