Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1522

A relatively straightforward puzzle this week, helped by a few solutions that I remembered from previous grids. A pleasant enough run out, all told.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has picked your pockets then you might find some use from my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 170+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and help. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared. A significant boo and hiss, however, to WordPress, who can’t stop dicking around with their site. It was bad enough when we were all forced onto a retrograde editor, but can you jokers please just find a clean editing font and stick with it? Is that seriously too much to ask? After chopping and changing the font so often these last couple of months you now want us to use some 8pt serif horror show? Well, thanks a bunch. It’s just as well I write the body of these posts elsewhere otherwise I’d have no eyesight left by now. What a shambles.

Ugh. Anyway, rant over. Till the next one, stay safe out there kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Libellous attack in letter: “Two fools, one leading country” (9,13)

Answer: CHARACTER ASSASSINATION (i.e. “libellous attack”). Solution is CHARACTER (i.e. “letter”) followed by ASS and ASS (i.e. “two fools”), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and NATION (i.e. “country”).

  1. Go after contract, keeping united (6)

Answer: PURSUE (i.e. “go after”). Solution is PURSE (i.e. to “contract” one’s lips) wrapped around or “keeping” U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”), like so: PURS(U)E.

  1. Some children love one to make lines on paper (3,4)

Answer: RAG DOLL (i.e. “some children love one”). Solution is DO (i.e. “to make”) and LL (i.e. “lines” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “line”) both placed “on” or after RAG (i.e. “[news]paper”), like so: RAG-(DO-LL).

  1. In church, a simple minister (8)

Answer: CHAPLAIN (i.e. “minister”). Solution is CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) followed by A, then PLAIN (i.e. “simple”).

  1. One put on a few pounds: one result of major operation that should get my vote (5-4,4)

Answer: THREE-LINE WHIP (i.e. “that should get my vote”). Solution is THREE (i.e. “one put on a few”, if you take “few” to mean two – perhaps would have been better phrased as “one put on a couple”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “pounds”, after the Latin libra), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then NEW HIP (i.e. “result of major operation”).

  1. Boat needing coat of paint perhaps round front of hull (6)

Answer: DINGHY (i.e. “boat”). Solution is DINGY (i.e. “needing coat of paint perhaps”) wrapped “round” H (i.e. “front [letter] of hull”), like so: DING(H)Y.

  1. Damaged sheet not soft, extremely thin? (3-7)

Answer: SEE-THROUGH (i.e. “extremely thin”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “damaged”) of SHEET followed by ROUGH (i.e. “not soft”), like so: SEETH-ROUGH.

  1. Finally suffered deportation, after fiddling financial product (6,6)

Answer: TRADED OPTION (i.e. “financial product”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “after fiddling”) of D (i.e. “finally suffered”, i.e. the last letter of “suffered”) and DEPORTATION.

  1. Hymn garden, briefly maintained by corporation (2,4)

Answer: TE DEUM (i.e. “hymn”). Solution is EDEN (i.e. “garden” of The Bible) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder placed in or “maintained by” TUM (i.e. “corporation” – setters love riffing on an alternative meaning of the word, that being a pot-belly), like so: T(EDE)UM. I couldn’t reach for my Bradford’s quick enough the moment I saw “hymn”, especially after last week’s Godathon. You wouldn’t believe the amount of sin and debauchery I had to subject myself to in order to redress the balance. Frankly, it’s a wonder I have the energy left to type this.

  1. Delicate fabric, price cut (8)

Answer: LACERATE (i.e. “cut”). Solution is LACE (i.e. “delicate fabric”) followed by RATE (i.e. “price”).

  1. Study a line of ten (6)

Answer: DENARY (i.e. “ten”). Solution is DEN (i.e. “study”) followed by A and RY (i.e. “line”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a railway).

  1. Sort of bomber whose failing is to attract all attention (5,3,4)

Answer: STEAL THE SHOW (i.e. “to attract all attention”). Solution is STEALTH (i.e. “sort of bomber”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “failing”) of WHOSE, like so: STEALTH-ESHOW.

  1. Arrange where to get train after opening tree nursery (10)

Answer: PLANTATION (i.e. “tree nursery”). Solution is PLAN (i.e. “arrange”) followed by STATION (i.e. “where to get train”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “after opening”, i.e. the letters that follow the opening letter), like so: PLAN-TATION.

  1. In which one may rally to transport the Beaujolais Nouveau? (7,3)

Answer: VINTAGE CAR (i.e. “in which one may rally”). Clue plays on “transport” being CAR and “Beaujolais Nouveau” being a VINTAGE. I’m taking the setter’s word for it. My knowledge of wine doesn’t spread much beyond whatever fally-down juice is on offer this week.

  1. Short story The Monarch is first for TV debaters? (7,5)

Answer: TALKING HEADS (i.e. “TV debaters”). Solution is TALE (i.e. “story”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder followed by KING (i.e. “the monarch” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and HEADS (i.e. “is first”), like so: TAL-KING-HEADS.

  1. As it were, not merely wrong? (6)

Answer: UNJUST (i.e. “wrong”). Solution playfully satisfies “as it were, not merely”, if you take JUST to reference a small or “mere” amount, and UN- as a negating prefix.

  1. Team I must leave, out of practice and deceitful (8)

Answer: UNTRUSTY (i.e. “deceitful”). Solution is UNIT (i.e. “team”) with the I removed (indicated by “I must leave”) and the remainder followed by RUSTY (i.e. “out of practice”), like so: UNT-RUSTY.

  1. Dreadful ordeal put back in memory? (6)

Answer: RELOAD (i.e. “put back into [computer] memory”). “Dreadful” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ORDEAL.

  1. Swap confidences that are kept out of “any other business” (5,7)

Answer: TRADE SECRETS. Solution satisfies “swap confidences” and “that are kept out of any other business”, ignoring the speech marks in the clue.

  1. Conveyance, not for women, green, inadequately long (10)

Answer: STAGECOACH (i.e. “conveyance”). Solution is STAG (i.e. a do that is “not for women”) followed by ECO (i.e. “green”) and ACHE (i.e. to yearn or “long” for) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “inadequately”), like so: STAG-ECO-ACH.

  1. Cut – disrespected, having name ignored (6)

Answer: SCORED (i.e. “cut”). Solution is SCORNED (i.e. “disrespected”) once the N has been “ignored”, N being a recognised abbreviation of “name”.

  1. WW1 version of Dig for Victory? (6,7)

Answer: TRENCH WARFARE. Clue plays on the trenches famously dug during the Battle of the Somme, a major battle of “WW1”. You get the idea.

  1. Deduce sodium light’s beginning to be obnoxious (8)

Answer: INFERNAL (i.e. “obnoxious”). Solution is INFER (i.e. “deduce”) followed by NA (chemical symbol of “sodium”) and L (i.e. “light’s beginning [letter]”).

  1. Sound of bouncing around fine? Caution! (7)

Answer: BOOKING (i.e. yellow card or “caution”). Solution is BOING (i.e. “sound of bouncing”) wrapped “around” OK (i.e. “fine”), like so: BO(OK)ING.

  1. Run, in a feigned retreat (6)

Answer: ASHRAM (i.e. a place of “retreat” for a religious community). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games) placed “in” A and SHAM (i.e. “feigned”), like so: A-SH(R)AM. Took a brute force of my Chambers as I couldn’t make the connection.

  1. Cat and goat, perhaps, alert insect (13,9)

Answer: TORTOISESHELL BUTTERFLY (i.e. “insect”). Solution is TORTOISESHELL (i.e. variety of domestic “cat”) followed by BUTTER (i.e. “goat, perhaps”, as in how they are known to headbutt stuff) and FLY (i.e. knowing or “alert”).

Down clues

  1. Loot is from big house, according to informer (4)

Answer: HAUL (i.e. “loot”). “According to informer” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of HALL (i.e. “big house”).

  1. Be tempted, but risk being hooked? (4,2,3,4)

Answer: RISE TO THE BAIT. Solution satisfies “be tempted” and “risk being hooked” if you happen to be a fish. If you do happen to be a fish, let me take this opportunity to say “blub-bub-bubl-bub-blubl-bub”.

  1. Bank is less foggy (7)

Answer: CLEARER. Solution satisfies “bank”, as in how they clear cheques and stuff, and “less foggy”.

  1. Lug some extra equipment around (3)

Answer: EAR (i.e. “lug”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “around” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: EXT(RA E)QUIPMENT.

  1. Distress as pine loses its top (7)

Answer: ANGUISH (i.e. “distress”). Solution is LANGUISH (i.e. to “pine”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “loses its top”).

  1. A short distance north-west, so get moving (6,5)

Answer: STONE’S THROW (i.e. “a short distance”). “Get moving” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NORTH-WEST SO.

  1. Pretty girl extremely shy at large pub (5)

Answer: SYLPH (i.e. “pretty girl”. Not really backed up by my Chambers, but there you go). Solution is SY (i.e. “extremely shy”, i.e. the first and last letters of “shy”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and PH (i.e. “pub”, short for a Public House).

  1. Taken in with poor deception, nothing less (8)

Answer: INCEPTED (i.e. “taken in”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “poor”) of DECEPTION once the O has been removed (indicated by “nothing less”).

  1. Died after a military operation, getting VC perhaps (5)

Answer: AWARD (i.e. “VC perhaps” – other awards are available). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “died”) placed “after” A and WAR (i.e. “military operation”), like so: (A-WAR)-D.

  1. Is fish not brought up here in London? (9)

Answer: ISLINGTON (i.e. some place “in London”). Solution is IS followed by LING (i.e. a “fish” popular with setters) and NOT reversed (indicated by “brought up” – this being a down clue), like so: IS-LING-TON.

  1. Security association say no British spy can keep covering for us (13,5)

Answer: NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH (i.e. “security association”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “say”) of NAY (i.e. “no”) followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) and WATCH (i.e. “spy”) once wrapped around or “keeping” OUR HOOD (i.e. “covering for us”), like so: NEIGH-B-(OUR-HOOD)-WATCH.

  1. High spirits of persecutors almost squashed by barrier female dropped (10)

Answer: EBULLIENCE (i.e. “high spirits”). Solution is BULLIES (i.e. “persecutors”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder placed in or “squashed by” FENCE (i.e. “barrier”) once the F has been removed (indicated by “female dropped” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “female”), like so: E(BULLIE)NCE.

  1. Inspect red carpet in newly traffic-free zone (10,8)

Answer: PEDESTRIAN PRECINCT (i.e. “traffic-free zone”). “Newly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INSPECT RED CARPET IN.

  1. Opposed places prejudiced against some Europeans? (9)

Answer: ANTIPOLES (i.e. “opposed places”). When written as ANTI-POLES the solution also satisfies “prejudiced against some Europeans”.

  1. Experienced person collapsing alerts dog (3,6)

Answer: OLD STAGER (i.e. “experienced person”). “Collapsing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ALERTS DOG.

  1. Within college confines, one softens (9)

Answer: MITIGATES (i.e. “softens”). Solutions is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “within” MIT GATES (i.e. “college confines”, MIT being the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), like so: MIT-(I)-GATES.

  1. Consistency in this place in chapter not repeated? (9)

Answer: COHERENCE (i.e. “consistency”). Solution is HERE (i.e. “in this place”) placed “in” C (a recognised abbreviation of “chapter”) and ONCE (i.e. “not repeated”), like so: C-O(HERE)NCE.

  1. Novel sort of case for lady, blonde (6,4)

Answer: VANITY FAIR (i.e. “novel” by William Makepeace Thackeray). Solution is VANITY (i.e. “sort of case for lady”) followed by FAIR (i.e. “blonde”).

  1. In which exposed state athlete got beaten by some woman (3,10)

Answer: THE ALTOGETHER (i.e. “exposed state”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “beaten”) of ATHLETE GOT followed by HER (i.e. “some woman”), like so: THEALTOGET-HER.

  1. May she make poets richer? Not her art-form (11)

Answer: TERPSICHORE (i.e. a dancer: “poetry” hence “not her art-form”). “Make” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of POETS RICHER. One of those words I remembered from a previous puzzle, making this an easier get.

  1. Don’t get enough use out of some of one’s clothes? (9)

Answer: UNDERWEAR (i.e. “some of one’s clothes”). When read as UNDER-WEAR the solution also satisfies the clue in its entirety.

  1. Baskets of small molluscs (8)

Answer: SCUTTLES (i.e. “baskets”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by CUTTLES (i.e. “molluscs”). A solution from last week’s grid seemingly so good it had to make an appearance in this week’s grid. I’m sure this is just a one-off, though. I can’t imagine an esteemed newspaper such as The Times would cheapen the quality of their world-famous crossword puzzles by habitually allowing repeated solutions into the grids.

  1. Spotted demand for money? Duck! (7)

Answer: SAWBILL (i.e. “duck”). Solution is SAW (i.e. observed or “spotted”) followed by BILL (i.e. “demand for money”).

  1. Shocking recording upset social worker (7)

Answer: EPATANT (i.e. “shocking”). Solution is TAPE (i.e. “recording”) reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue) and followed by ANT (i.e. “social worker”, ants being social insects), like so: EPAT-ANT. One I got from the wordplay, if I’m honest.

  1. I can’t help you press for money, indeed not (5)

Answer: DUNNO (i.e. “I can’t help you”). Solution is DUN (i.e. to “press for money” – a variant meaning I wasn’t aware of. Interesting) followed by NO (i.e. “indeed not”).

  1. Pay my fare, turning to climb aboard (5)

Answer: EMBUS (i.e. “to climb aboard” a bus, unsurprisingly). Solution is SUB ME (i.e. “pay my fare”) reversed (indicated by “turning”), like so: EM-BUS.

  1. Part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the fourth often referred to in theatre? (4)

Answer: WALL. Solution satisfies “part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “the fourth often referred to in theatre” – the fourth wall being the imaginary one between the stage and the audience.

  1. African creature just born, it’s properly announced (3)

Answer: GNU (i.e. “African creature”). “It’s properly announced” indicates homophone – “properly” as the word can be humorously pronounced with a hard g. Solution is a homophone of NEW (i.e. “just born”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1521

A toughie this week, albeit one that was achieved more through contrivance than guile. There were some good clues to enjoy, but overall this one wasn’t for me. (A working weekend doesn’t help. #ExcusesExcuses)

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip then you might find help in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 170+ of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and help. It’s always good to hear how other solvers got on. A shout-out too for those who have recently bought my stuff. That’s really kind of you, thank you. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Problem with awkward customer knocking an electric car (13)

Answer: RECALCITRANCE (i.e. “problem with awkward customer” – Chambers offers a definition of “refractoriness”, meaning unruliness or obstinacy). “Knocking” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AN ELECTRIC CAR.

  1. Church member leaving hotel, hugging a bishop, and breaking down (9)

Answer: CATABOLIC (i.e. destructive metabolism or “breaking down”). Solution is CATHOLIC (i.e. “church member”) with the H removed (indicated by “leaving hotel” – “hotel” being H in the phonetic alphabet) and the remainder wrapped around or “hugging” A and B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess), like so: CAT(A-B)OLIC.

  1. Tot, Bill, found in a wood (5)

Answer: SUMAC (i.e. a “wood”). Solution is SUM (i.e. to “tot” up) followed by AC (short for account, i.e. “bill” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). A recent repeat from last month. And the month before that. It’ll probably be in next week’s grid too, you just watch.

  1. Fellow at home in 100 square metres in South American country (9)

Answer: ARGENTINE (i.e. “in South American country”). Solution is GENT (i.e. “fellow”) and IN (i.e. “at home”) both placed “in” ARE (i.e. “100 square metres” – a variant meaning of the word, it says here), like so: AR(GENT-IN)E.

  1. Old boy that’s laid into teacher not a gang member (7)

Answer: MOBSTER (i.e. “gang member”). Solution is OB (a recognised abbreviation of “old boy”) placed or “laid into” MASTER (i.e. “teacher”) once the A has been removed (indicated by “not a”), like so: M(OB)STER.

  1. Woodwind player in recital isn’t ultimately that bad (12)

Answer: CLARINETTIST (i.e. “woodwind player”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “bad”) of RECITAL ISN’T and T (i.e. “ultimately that”, i.e. the last letter of “that”).

  1. Idiot changes when tackling superior types going on the attack (10)

Answer: ASSAULTERS (i.e. “types going on the attack”). Solution is ASS (i.e. “idiot”) followed by ALTERS (i.e. “changes”) once wrapped around or “tackling” U (denoting the upper-class, and thus, supposedly, “superior”. Not in my world, chum), like so: ASS-A(U)LTERS.

  1. Feel bad about gift with bit chipped off at the front (6)

Answer: RESENT (i.e. “feel bad about”). Solution is PRESENT (i.e. “gift”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “with bit chipped off at the front”).

  1. Celebrity taking care of boy inside gets honour (8)

Answer: ACCOLADE (i.e. “honour”). Solution is ACE (i.e. “celebrity”) wrapped around or “taking” C/O (a recognised abbreviation of “care of”) and LAD (i.e. “boy”), like so: AC(C/O-LAD)E.

  1. International group helping to provide fun escorts (6)

Answer: UNESCO (i.e. “international group”, specifically the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). “Helping to provide” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: F(UN ESCO)RTS.

  1. The woman gathering fruit notices sharp points potentially injurious (10)

Answer: SPEARHEADS (i.e. “sharp points potentially injurious”). Solution is SHE (i.e. “the woman”) wrapped around or “gathering” PEAR (i.e. “fruit”) and followed by ADS (i.e. “notices” or advertisements), like so: S(PEAR)HE-ADS.

  1. This elf’s got this, regardless of others? (4-8)

Answer: SELF-ABSORBED (i.e. “regardless of others”). The clue plays on how the solution cryptically describes how SELF has been hidden or ABSORBED into the start of the clue, viz. “thi(S ELF)’s”.

  1. Power said to come with this bit of money (4)

Answer: MITE (i.e. “bit of money” – over to Chambers: “an old Flemish coin of very small value”). “Said” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of MIGHT (i.e. “power”).

  1. Speaker with heavenly body in concert item (8)

Answer: ORATORIO (i.e. “concert item” – to Chambers once more: “a story, usually biblical, set to music, with soloists, chorus, and full orchestra but without scenery, costumes or acting”). Solution is ORATOR (i.e. “speaker”) followed by IO (i.e. “heavenly body”, specifically one of Jupiter’s moons).

  1. Provider of milk and hot food, a Scot? (8)

Answer: FRIESIAN (i.e. “provider of milk”). Solution is FRIES (i.e. “hot food”) followed by IAN (i.e. “a Scot”, overlooking the fact most of us could name as many non-Scottish Ians as we could Scottish ones, but heigh ho).

  1. Attempt to grab a bit of underwear in burlesque (8)

Answer: TRAVESTY (i.e. “burlesque”). Solution is TRY (i.e. “attempt”) wrapped around or “grabbing” A and VEST (i.e. “bit of underwear”), like so: TR(A-VEST)Y.

  1. A possible clue to copper being interrupted (3,5)

Answer: CUT SHORT (i.e. “interrupted”). Clue plays on the solution cryptically satisfying “copper”. The chemical symbol of copper is Cu, which is the word CUT with its last letter removed. Such wordplay is often indicated by the word SHORT within clues.

  1. Bad chaps swear endlessly (4)

Answer: CURS (i.e. “bad chaps”). Solution is CURSE (i.e. “swear”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”).

  1. Underground worker to make money, we hear – man of old with a vision (5,7)

Answer: MINOR PROPHET (i.e. “man of old with a vision” – and so to Chambers once more: one of “the twelve from Hosea to Malachi in the Old Testament”. Hmm. To be honest they could have written wubalubadubdub! and I’d still be none the wiser. I’d reach for a Bible but Pazuzu finds it really triggering). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “we hear”) of MINER (i.e. “underground worker”) and PROFIT (i.e. “to make money”).

  1. PR type with formula for nonsense and hoax (4,6)

Answer: SPIN DOCTOR (i.e. “PR type”). In keeping with a few other clues this week, this one plays on the solution cryptically satisfying “formula for nonsense and hoax”, i.e. to SPIN or reverse ROT (i.e. “nonsense”) and COD (i.e. “hoax”) to get DOC-TOR.

  1. A bit of food and girl’s covered in spots! (6)

Answer: RADISH (i.e. “a bit of food”). Solution is DI (i.e. a “girl’s” name somewhat overused in cryptic crosswords) placed in or “covered in” RASH (i.e. “spots”), like so: RA(DI)SH.

  1. Hurries to get fuel containers (8)

Answer: SCUTTLES. Solution satisfies “hurries” and “fuel containers”, i.e. coal scuttles.

  1. Cloak used by Ripon choristers (6)

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

  1. Characters from the match organised by an agent facilitating departures? (7,3)

Answer: HATCHET MAN (i.e. “agent facilitating departures”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “organised”) of THE MATCH followed by AN, like so: HATCHETM-AN.

  1. Chat from foolish person with time a hindrance – ex-PM endlessly going on (6-6)

Answer: TITTLE-TATTLE (i.e. “chat”). Solution is TIT (i.e. “foolish person”. Man, it’s been ages since I last called someone a tit. Let’s face it, there are few more satisfying ways to express contempt for someone. Of course these days, in the interests of equality, when you call someone a tit you really ought to also call them a dick. It’s like the law or something) followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), then LET (i.e. an obstruction or “hindrance” – you see this variant meaning of the word used way more in cryptic crosswords than in real life), and Clement ATTLEE (i.e. “ex-PM”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endlessly”), like so: TIT-T-LET-ATTLE.

  1. Educational meeting in house managed the wrong way (7)

Answer: SEMINAR (i.e. “educational meeting”). Solution is SEMI (i.e. “house”, short for semi-detached) followed by RAN (i.e. “managed”) once reversed (indicated by “the wrong way”), like so: SEMI-NAR.

  1. Fish and fruit only (5,4)

Answer: LEMON SOLE (i.e. “fish”). Solution is LEMON (i.e. “fruit”) followed by SOLE (i.e. “only”).

  1. One fishing device gets mackerel finally caught in bay (5)

Answer: INLET (i.e. “bay”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by NET (i.e. “fishing device”) once wrapped around or “getting” L (i.e. “mackerel finally”, i.e. the last letter of “mackerel”), like so: I-N(L)ET.

  1. Overalls with muck are ending in machine, beginning to stink (9)

Answer: DUNGAREES (i.e. “overalls”). Solution is DUNG (i.e. “muck”) followed by ARE, then E (i.e. “ending in machine”, i.e. the last letter of “machine”) followed by S (i.e. “beginning to stink”, i.e. the first letter of “stink”).

  1. Is letter half sprinkled with Hosannas for people apostle wrote to? (13)

Answer: THESSALONIANS (i.e. “people apostle wrote to”, the apostle in question being… hmm. Hang on, let me check my Bible. Gaw-ww-wk-kkk! No! Nnngggg!!! Stay back, Pazuzu! Please! Grrrr!!! Not again! Leave me alone! Grrrrnnnnngg!!! Oh no, why did I go and have pea soup for dinner?!?! NOOOOOO
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Has…? Has he gone? Phew! Thank goodness that unpleasantness is over. Tsk, bloody hell. Pea soup all over the curtains again. Typical). Anyway, the solution is an anagram (indicated by “sprinkled”) of IS, LET (i.e. “letter half”, specifically its first half) and HOSANNAS.

Down clues

  1. Others joining French priests for therapeutic sessions (4,5)

Answer: REST CURES (i.e. “therapeutic sessions”). Solution is REST (i.e. “others”) followed by CURES (i.e. “French priests” – a curé is “a Parish priest in France” (Chambers)).

  1. Range offered by firm, great amount around back of shop (7)

Answer: COMPASS (i.e. “range”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”, i.e. “firm”) followed by MASS (i.e. “great amount”) once wrapped “around” P (i.e. “back of shop”, i.e. the last letter of “shop”), like so: CO-M(P)ASS.

  1. Service book, one laid out with clarity (10)

Answer: LECTIONARY (i.e. “service book”… oh, no. I’m not falling for any more of that godly stuff. Not again. I’m still seeing at right angles after THESSALONIANS, thank you very much). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “laid out”) of ONE and CLARITY.

  1. This writer’s taking a long time to create figures of speech (6)

Answer: IMAGES (i.e. “figures of speech”). Solution is I’M (i.e. “this writer is” taken from the point of view of the setter, i.e. a contraction of “I am”) followed by AGES (i.e. “a long time”).

  1. Assistant who won’t be left alongside you? (5-4,3)

Answer: RIGHT-HAND MAN (i.e. “assistant”). Clue plays on “left” being the opposite of RIGHT. You get the idea.

  1. Ideal hour of prayer to inaugurate university church (8)

Answer: NONESUCH (i.e. “ideal” – my Chambers doesn’t readily back this one up, but my Bradford’s is a bit more lenient). Solution is NONES (i.e. “hour of prayer”, “originally held at the ninth hour of the day (3pm)” (Chambers). Sheesh. If I’d known this week’s puzzle was going to be so religious, I wouldn’t have wasted all my Exorcist material in the across clues. Now everyone’s going to think I’m some kind of hack) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and CH (ditto “church”).

  1. Exist to overthrow this wickedness (4)

Answer: EVIL (i.e. “wickedness”). Solution is LIVE (i.e. “exist”) reversed (indicated by “to overthrow”).

  1. Au gratin bad? Makes one fed up (7,3)

Answer: CHEESED OFF (i.e. “fed up”). Solution is CHEESED (i.e. “au gratin”, or with cheese) followed by OFF (i.e. turned or gone “bad”).

  1. Gong repeatedly disappointing, inadequate (3-3)

Answer: TAM-TAM (i.e. a “gong” in an orchestra). Solution is the word TAME (i.e. “disappointing”) “repeated” once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “inadequate”). A win for my Bradford’s as I’d never heard of this one.

  1. Showing great emotion as US boy with glitzy stuff coming to maiden? (8,4)

Answer: BUBBLING OVER (i.e. “showing great emotion”). Solution is BUB (i.e. a term of address for a “US boy”) followed by BLING (i.e. “glitzy stuff”) and OVER (i.e. “maiden”, a maiden over in cricket being one in which there is no score).

  1. Happy, heading off, to be moving with ease (5)

Answer: LITHE (i.e. “moving with ease”). Solution is BLITHE (i.e. “happy”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “heading off”).

  1. Adulterers showing heart spend tons foolishly (2-11)

Answer: CO-RESPONDENTS (i.e. “adulterers”. In legalese, the husband or wife in an affair is the respondent; their shag is the co-respondent). Solution is CORE (i.e. “heart”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “foolishly”) of SPEND TONS, like so: CORE-SPONDENTS. Another solution that only appeared a few weeks ago. I guess this week’s setter is one who has their grids prepared for them by the office Marconi GridFill 4000TM. Disappointing.

  1. One apparently bent, stranger than everyone else and most sly (8)

Answer: LEERIEST (i.e. “most sly”). Solution is L (i.e. “one apparently bent”, a comment on the shape of a letter ‘l’. Depends on the font you use, I guess. And even then that’s assuming enough solvers write their grid entries in lowercase, which I doubt. If this is a comment on the shape of an uppercase L, however, then there’s no “apparently” about it. There’s no way of writing one without a bend. I guess what I’m trying to say is… hey, where are you all going?) followed by EERIEST (i.e. “stranger than everyone else”).

  1. Nickname thus needed by UK citizen – what Parisian introduced (9)

Answer: SOBRIQUET (i.e. “nickname”). Solution is SO (i.e. “thus”) followed by BRIT (i.e. “UK citizen”) once wrapped around or “introducing” QUE (i.e. “what Parisian”, i.e. the French for “what”), like so: SO-BRI(QUE)T.

  1. Journalist about to be met by someone at college entrance (8)

Answer: REPORTER (i.e. “journalist”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” or regarding – think email replies) followed by PORTER (i.e. “someone at college entrance”).

  1. Soldiers first off given instruction and put on to vehicle (9)

Answer: ENTRAINED (i.e. “put on to vehicle”). Solution is MEN (i.e. “soldiers” – yes, this usage is decades out of date; it is still in the dictionary, however) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “first off”) and the remainder followed by TRAINED (i.e. “given instruction”), like so: EN-TRAINED.

  1. Singer from India with fashionable folk appearing in nude (8)

Answer: BARITONE (i.e. “singer”). Solution is I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet) and TON (i.e. “fashionable” – another of those variant meanings you see infinitely more in cryptic crosswords than you ever do in real life) both placed “in” BARE (i.e. “nude”), like so: BAR(I-TON)E.

  1. Importance to have Greek letter buried in vault maybe (8)

Answer: MONUMENT (i.e. “vault maybe”. Flimsy, but I guess this refers to things like burial chambers). Solution is MOMENT (i.e. “importance”, as in momentous/important) wrapped around or “having” NU (i.e. the thirteenth “Greek letter”), like so: MO(NU)MENT.

  1. Transformed mother posed – “ma” in new guise (13)

Answer: METAMORPHOSED (i.e. “transformed”). “In new guise” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MOTHER POSED and MA.

  1. Athenian sure to be troubled by this nervous disorder of old (12)

Answer: NEURASTHENIA (i.e. “nervous disorder of old”). “To be troubled” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ATHENIAN SURE.

  1. Firm has a thousand allocated places for producing works of art (12)

Answer: COMPOSITIONS (i.e. “works of art”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of a company, i.e. “firm”) followed by M (i.e. “[Roman numeral] thousand”) and POSITIONS (i.e. “allocated places”).

  1. Exercises about to take place in various castles – events worth seeing (10)

Answer: SPECTACLES (i.e. “events worth seeing”). Solution is PE (i.e. “exercises”, specifically Physical Education) and C (a recognised abbreviation of circa, i.e. “about”) “taking place in” an anagram (indicated by “various”) of CASTLES, like so: S(PE-C)TACLES.

  1. Character of officer wanting men at one, getting on (10)

Answer: COLORATION (i.e. “character” – the solution is recognised with or without a U). Solution is COL (a recognised abbreviation of a colonel, i.e. “officer”) followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army), then AT, then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and ON.

  1. Crossword compiler put up with zero order in small confined spaces (9)

Answer: ROOMETTES (i.e. “small confined spaces”). Solution is SETTER (i.e. “crossword compiler”) reversed (indicated by “put up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or having “in” O (i.e. “zero”) and OM (i.e. “order”, specifically the Order of Merit), like so: R(O-OM)ETTES.

  1. Exhausted when going round a church to see friendship group (8)

Answer: ALLIANCE (i.e. “friendship group”). Solution is ALL IN (i.e. “exhausted”) wrapped “round” A and followed by CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England. Not now, Pazuzu. You’ve had your fun), like so: (ALL-I(A)N)-CE.

  1. Tree at palace mostly rotten (7)

Answer: CATALPA (i.e “tree”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rotten”) of AT and PALACE once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”). Not a nice clue. Bradford’s came to my aid again here.

  1. Author in street, one taking flight? (6)

Answer: Laurence STERNE (i.e. “author” – him wot wrote The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman). Solution is ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”) followed by ERNE (i.e. “one taking flight” – an erne is a sea-eagle).

  1. Happened to be overlooking Lake District location? (6)

Answer: BEFELL (i.e. “happened to”). Solution is BE followed by FELL (i.e. “Lake District location”). Took ages to twig, given its intersecting letters, but I quite liked it.

  1. Miss upset over knight being a recluse (5)

Answer: TIMON (i.e. “recluse”, specifically Timon of Athens, a play by William Shakespeare, in which our man buggers off and lives in a cave. Some stuff probably happens before then too, I dunno). Solution is OMIT (i.e. “miss”) reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue) and followed by K (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess), like so: TIMO-N.

  1. Let loose, the enemy moves north (4)

Answer: EMIT (i.e. “let loose”). Solution is TIME (proverbially “the enemy”) reversed (indicated by “moves north” – again, this being a down clue).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1520

A medium strength puzzle artificially made tougher by the number of exotic solutions in the grid. At least on this occasion their presence was mostly justified rather than being there to cynically fill an awkward space. While I can’t say I was a fan of the clunky phrasing in some of the clues, I did like how the setter had started each solution of each row with the same letter, at least for the across clues. If this is the calling card of this particular setter, then I’ve not noticed it before.

Anyhoo, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has left you bamboozled then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 170 or so of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind words and help. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers got on. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Religious claim is thrown out (7)

Answer: ISLAMIC (i.e. “religious”). “Thrown out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CLAIM IS.

  1. Where one may find hot spices – hot not cold – readily (2,1,5)

Answer: IN A HURRY (i.e. “readily”). Solution is IN A CURRY (i.e. “where one may find hot spices” – nom, nom, nom!) with the C replaced by H (indicated by “hot not cold” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “hot”, C “cold”), like so: IN-A-(C)URRY => IN-A-(H)URRY.

  1. Weaken one politician with broadcast (6)

Answer: IMPAIR (i.e. “weaken”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by MP (i.e. “politician”, specifically a Member of Parliament) and AIR (i.e. to “broadcast”).

  1. What leads to colours in fall? Crown cover around New York has northeast eclipsing south (16)

Answer: TRIPHENYLMETHANE (i.e. “what leads to colours” – the stuff is used in the making of dyes). Solution is TRIP (i.e. “fall”) followed by HELMET (i.e. “crown cover”, specifically the crown of one’s head) once wrapped around NY (a recognised abbreviation of “New York”), then HAS once the S has been replaced by NE (indicated by “northeast eclipsing south” – NE being a recognised abbreviation of “northeast”; S “south”), like so: TRIP-HE(NY)LMET-HA(S) => TRIP-HE(NY)LMET-HA(NE).

  1. Hearing organ’s part in tango make sweet backing (6)

Answer: TRAGUS (i.e. “hearing organ’s part”). Solution is T (“tango” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by SUGAR (i.e. “sweet”) once reversed (indicated by “backing”), like so: T-RAGUS. One nailed from the wordplay and a shufti in Chambers.

  1. Rascal with Irish accent, not British (5)

Answer: ROGUE (i.e. “rascal”). Solution is BROGUE (i.e. “Irish accent”) with the B removed (indicated by “not British” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “British”).

  1. Managed most of palace retinue’s resentment (7)

Answer: RANCOUR (i.e. “resentment”). Solution is RAN (i.e. “managed”) followed by COURT (i.e. “palace’s retinue”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “most of”), like so: RAN-COUR.

  1. One only separating in Louisiana to annoy Louis XIV (3,6)

Answer: ROI SOLEIL (i.e. “Louis XIV”, aka the Sun King). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and SOLE (i.e. “only”) both placed “in” ROIL (i.e. “in Louisiana to annoy”, as in how the word is more of an Americanism), like so: RO(I-SOLE)IL.

  1. Bury Malian unclothed among other things (5,4)

Answer: INTER ALIA (i.e. “among other things”). Solution is INTER (i.e. to “bury”) followed by ALIA (i.e. “Malian unclothed”, i.e. the word “Malian” with its first and last letter removed).

  1. Current EU politician getting round popular old chancellor (7)

Answer: IMHOTEP (i.e. “old chancellor” in ancient Egypt). Solution is I (a recognised abbreviation of an electric “current” used in physics) followed by MEP (i.e. “EU politician”, specifically a Member of the European Parliament) once wrapped “round” HOT (i.e. “popular”), like so: I-M(HOT)EP. Did I get this one from The Mummy films? Mayyyyyyyyybe…

  1. Playwright capturing all the rage about mad cow disease (5)

Answer: Henrik IBSEN (i.e. “playwright”). Solution is IN (i.e. “all the rage”) once wrapped “about” BSE (i.e. bovine spongiform encephalopathy, more commonly known as “mad cow disease”), like so: I(BSE)N.

  1. After a change to the final ordering, goes out live (5)

Answer: EXIST (i.e. “live”). Solution is EXITS (i.e. “goes out”) “after a change to the final ordering”, specifically the last two letters.

  1. Typical EU out of control – they have branches in Australia (9)

Answer: EUCALYPTI (i.e. “they have branches in Australia”). “Out of control” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EU TYPICAL.

  1. Hertfordshire village a short way east of railway (7)

Answer: ELSTREE (i.e. “Hertfordshire village”). Solution is STREET (i.e. “way”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder placed after or “east of” – this being an across clue – EL (i.e. “railway”, specifically an informal reference to an elevated railway over in the US), like so: EL-STREE.

  1. Dog – retired always going after right one (9)

Answer: RETRIEVER (i.e. “dog”). Solution is RET (a recognised abbreviation of “retired”) and EVER (i.e. “always”) once the latter has been placed “after” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: RET-(R-I)-EVER.

  1. Check bank document’s replacement (13)

Answer: REINSTATEMENT (i.e. “replacement”). Solution is REIN (i.e. to stem or “check”) followed by STATEMENT (i.e. “bank document”).

  1. Still show nave vault a bit damaged (7,6)

Answer: TABLEAU VIVANT (i.e. a living picture or “still show”, often depicting a historic scene). “Damaged” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NAVE VAULT A BIT.

  1. Work on and off switch for siren (9)

Answer: TEMPTRESS (i.e. “siren”). Solution is TEMP (i.e. to “work on and off”) followed by TRESS (i.e. “switch”, or a false lock of hair).

  1. Note falsehoods going about like false names (7)

Answer: ALIASES (i.e. “false names”). Solution is A (i.e. “[musical] note”) followed by LIES (i.e. “falsehoods”) once wrapped “about” AS (i.e. akin to or “like”), like so: A-LI(AS)ES.

  1. Civil engineer needs resistance in a soil to settle (9)

Answer: ASCERTAIN (i.e. “to settle”). Solution is CE (a recognised abbreviation of “civil engineer”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”) both placed “in” A and STAIN (i.e. to “soil”), like so: A-S(CE-R)TAIN.

  1. Make amends towards an individual (5)

Answer: ATONE (i.e. “make amends”). When written as AT ONE the solution also satisfies “towards an individual”).

  1. Woollen footwear perhaps is striking (5)

Answer: SOCKS. Solution satisfies “woollen footwear perhaps” and “is striking”.

  1. Son Tommy upset about papa’s sign of disease (7)

Answer: SYMPTOM (i.e. “sign of disease”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “upset”) of TOMMY once wrapped “about” P (“papa” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: S-YM(P)TOM.

  1. Thrilled about a ram for religious ritual (9)

Answer: SACRAMENT (i.e. “religious ritual”). Solution is SENT (i.e. “thrilled” – one of the definitions of “send” is “(orig of jazz) to rouse (someone) to ecstasy” (Chambers)) wrapped “about” A and CRAM (i.e. to stuff or “ram”), like so: S(A-CRAM)ENT.

  1. Point to a missile advanced across river bank (9)

Answer: ARROWHEAD (i.e. “point to a missile”). Solution is AHEAD (i.e. “advanced”) wrapped around or placed “across” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”) and ROW (i.e. a line or “bank”), like so: A(R-ROW)HEAD.

  1. A very dishonourable man in the centre of Wood Green (7)

Answer: AVOCADO (i.e. a “green” colour). Solution is A followed by V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”) and CAD (i.e. “dishonourable man”) once placed “in” OO (i.e. “centre [letters] of wood”), like so: A-V-O(CAD)O.

  1. Old Mexican investigator chasing a final letter (5)

Answer: AZTEC (i.e. “old Mexican”). Solution is TEC (i.e. “investigator”, specifically a shortened form of “detective”) placed after or “chasing” A and Z (i.e. “final letter”), like so: (A-Z)-TEC.

  1. Inflammation is rife in tissue in spleen, primarily (6)

Answer: IRITIS (i.e. “inflammation” of the iris). “Primarily” indicates the solution is derived from the initial letters of Is Rife In Tissue In Spleen.

  1. Plant type of breakfast perhaps coming from Asia to Europe (16)

Answer: INTERCONTINENTAL (i.e. “perhaps coming from Asia to Europe”). Solution is INTER (i.e. to bury or “plant”) followed by CONTINENTAL (i.e. “type of breakfast”).

  1. What fool called Lear’s sister and called regularly (6)

Answer: NUNCLE (i.e. “what fool called Lear”, apparently a contraction of “mine uncle”). Solution is NUN (i.e. “sister”) followed by CLE (i.e. “called regularly”, i.e. every other letter of CALLED).

  1. No saint – certainly Romeo, though this one might deny it (8)

Answer: NAYSAYER (i.e. “this one might deny it”). Solution is NAY (i.e. “no”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “saint”), then AYE (i.e. “certainly”) and R (“Romeo” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Tubercular university lecturer returning with a lot of fat (7)

Answer: NODULAR (i.e. “tubercular”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) followed by DON (i.e. “lecturer”) all reversed (indicated by “returning”) and followed by LARD (i.e. “fat”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “a lot of…”), like so: (NOD-U)-LAR.

Down clues

  1. Written avoiding rules? Trainee penning lie mostly needs attention (11)

Answer: INTERLINEAR (i.e. “written avoiding rules” – as in ruled lines on paper). Solution is INTERN (i.e. “trainee”) wrapped around or “penning” LIE once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”) and followed by EAR (i.e. “attention”), like so: INTER(LI)N-EAR.

  1. Remaining airlines’ business losing following (5)

Answer: LYING (i.e. “remaining”). Solution is FLYING (i.e. “airlines’ business”) once the F has been removed (indicated by “losing following” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “following”).

  1. Preserved meat given up by one who can tell the future is fish (7)

Answer: MAHSEER (i.e. “fish”). Solution is HAM (i.e. “preserved meat”) reversed (indicated by “given up” – this being a down clue) and followed by SEER (i.e. “one who can tell the future”), like so: MAH-SEER. Another nailed from the wordplay.

  1. Principal uneasy over scheme, something governing body moves (7,7,6)

Answer: CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (i.e. “something governing body moves”). Solution is CENTRAL (i.e. “principal”) followed by NERVOUS (i.e. “uneasy”) and SYSTEM (i.e. “scheme”).

  1. Cardinal’s twiddling a sort of chain (6,3)

Answer: ISLAND ARC (i.e. “sort of chain”, as in the geographic feature). “Twiddling” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CARDINAL’S.

  1. Attacked caterpillar always will escape the onset initially (5)

Answer: AWETO (i.e. “attacked caterpillar”, supposedly one infected with a parasitic fungus and destined to be used as a pigment. Poor little bugger). “Initially” indicates the solution is derived from the first letters of Always Will Escape The Onset. Another nailed solely from the wordplay. Interesting though.

  1. I shush rep being unruly in director’s office (9)

Answer: USHERSHIP (i.e. “director’s office”). “Being unruly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I SHUSH REP.

  1. Potato disease resistance in being acquired protects tuber finally (4,3)

Answer: RING ROT (i.e. “potato disease”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”) followed by IN, then GOT (i.e. “acquired”) once wrapped around or “protecting” R (i.e. “tuber finally”, i.e. the last letter of “tuber”), like so: R-IN-G(R)OT.

  1. Inventor surrounded by old stuff set up (7)

Answer: Guglielmo MARCONI (i.e. “inventor”). Solution is IN (i.e. “surrounded by”) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and CRAM (i.e. to “stuff”) all reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue), like so: MARC-O-NI.

  1. Gross rage is out of order for assailant (9)

Answer: AGGRESSOR (i.e. “assailant”). “Is out of order” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GROSS RAGE.

  1. Brilliant place to finish in here, avoiding pressure (11)

Answer: RESPLENDENT (i.e. “brilliant”). Solution is PL (a recognised abbreviation of “place”) and END (i.e. “to finish”) both placed “in” PRESENT (i.e. “here”) once the P has been removed (indicated by “avoiding pressure” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”), like so: RES(PL-END)ENT.

  1. Clear damage on electronic component with direct oscillation (6,8,6)

Answer: SIMPLE HARMONIC MOTION (i.e. “oscillation”). Solution is SIMPLE (i.e. “clear”) followed by HARM (i.e. “damage”), then ON, then IC (i.e. “electronic component”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of an Integrated Circuit), then MOTION (i.e. to gesture or “direct”).

  1. Time to acquire? Save up for washing machine (4-3)

Answer: TWIN-TUB (i.e. “washing machine”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) followed by WIN (i.e. “to acquire”) and BUT (i.e. except for or “save”) once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue).

  1. Balkan region once badly run with imam regularly ignored (7)

Answer: ILLYRIA (i.e. “Balkan region once”). Solution is ILLY (i.e. “badly”) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games) and IA (i.e. “imam regularly ignored”, i.e. every other letter of IMAM).

  1. Falls around church? It can put one’s arm out (7)

Answer: TRICEPS (i.e. a muscle that “can put one’s arm out”). Solution is TRIPS (i.e. “falls”) wrapped “around” CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: TRI(CE)PS.

  1. Included map showing home station (5)

Answer: INSET (i.e. “included map”). Solution is IN (i.e. at “home”) followed by SET (i.e. to place or “station”).

  1. Carpets woven in ranges of colour (7)

Answer: SPECTRA (i.e. “ranges of colour”). “Woven” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CARPETS. Nicely played.

  1. Indian dish of husked bran with fat (5)

Answer: RAITA (i.e. “Indian dish” – the fifth time in just over a year that this has appeared in Jumbo cryptics. I’ve ranted about the prevalence of this solution before, obviously to no avail. Maybe I’m missing something here. Maybe this is a Derren Brown thing that Times setters are all in on. Maybe you are being softened up for some unnecessarily dangerous magic show based entirely around veggie yoghurt-based dishes. I’d pay attention this next week or two if I was you. If every busker you walk past is clunkily working “raita” into their lyrics, or you start seeing RAITA!!! subliminally flash on the screen during Gogglebox, or if you wake up one morning to find the word RAITA has been written backwards across your forehead, don’t be surprised. And if that does happen and you find yourself starring in the next Derren Brown TV special, imperilled by raita in some way, just remember I bloody well told you so). “Husked” indicates the solution is derived by removing the first and last letters of BRAN WITH FAT.

  1. Fit to grasp English acting (7)

Answer: INTERIM (i.e. “acting”). Solution is IN TRIM (i.e. “fit”) wrapped around or “grasping” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: IN-T(E)RIM.

  1. Perhaps blight turned some of the rose yellow (7)

Answer: EYESORE (i.e. “perhaps blight”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “turned” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: TH(E ROSE YE)LLOW.

  1. An exchange of words travelling on last train (11)

Answer: TRANSLATION (i.e. “an exchange of words” from one language to another). “Travelling” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ON LAST TRAIN.

  1. Grand mushrooms rising broad and flat, billions must be about (11)

Answer: SPECTACULAR (i.e. “grand”). Solution is CEPS (i.e. “mushrooms”) reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue) and followed by TABULAR (i.e. “broad and flat”) once the B (a recognised abbreviation of “billions”) has been replaced by C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), like so: SPEC-TA(B)ULAR => SPEC-TA(C)ULAR.

  1. Raid home with dogs inside having eaten nought (9)

Answer: INCURSION (i.e. “raid”). Solution IN (i.e. at “home”) followed by CURS (i.e. “dogs”), then IN (i.e. “inside”) once wrapped around or “having eaten” O (i.e. “nought”), like so: IN-CURS-I(O)N.

  1. Round to harvest green buds (3,6)

Answer: CUT CAPERS (i.e. to gambol or “bound” – a new one on me). Solution is CUT (i.e. “to harvest”) followed by CAPERS (i.e. “green buds” used in cuisine). A nod to my Bradford’s for getting CAPERS. I couldn’t make the connection.

  1. Rain beats violently, but one’s staying dry (9)

Answer: ABSTAINER (i.e. “one’s staying dry” of alcohol). “Violently” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RAIN BEATS.

  1. Noticed millions doing evil in place of deal making? (7)

Answer: SAWMILL (i.e. “place of deal making” – one of the variant meanings of “deal” is “a fir or pine board of a standard size” (Chambers). I’ve a feeling we’ve had this one before). Solution is SAW (i.e. “noticed”) followed by M (a recognised abbreviation of “millions”) and ILL (i.e. “evil”).

  1. Fanatical about knight with a female to worship (7)

Answer: MADONNA (i.e. “female to worship”). Solution is MAD ON (i.e. “fanatical about”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess), then A.

  1. Spider scuttled to end up under article (7)

Answer: ARANEID (i.e. a “spider”). Solution is RAN (i.e. “scuttled”) followed by DIE (i.e. “to end”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue). These are then placed after or “under” (again, down clue) A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the), like so: A-(RAN-EID).

  1. Female novelist, note, unknown years after men (5)

Answer: Baroness Emma (and about 20 middle names) ORCZY (i.e. “female novelist” who gave us The Scarlet Pimpernel). Solution is C (i.e. “[musical] note”) followed by Z (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns) and Y (a recognised abbreviation of “years”). These are then all placed “after” OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army), like so: OR-(C-Z-Y).

  1. Measure a line integral (5)

Answer: TOTAL (i.e. “integral”). Solution is TOT (i.e. “measure”) followed by A and L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1519

A breezy run-through this week, which I don’t mind. A combination of being in tune with the setter and remembering solutions from previous puzzles made for an easier time, particularly with the more exotic solutions. Toughie next week, then?

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has picked your pockets, then you might find my Just For Fun page of use. There you’ll find links to solutions for the last 160+ of these things. Elsewhere, there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and help. It’s much appreciated, and it’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Teacher caught in riot turns nasty (10)

Answer: INSTRUCTOR (i.e. “teacher”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in some ball games) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “nasty”) of RIOT TURNS, like so: INSTRU(C)TOR.

  1. Amicable police officers sat by spring (4-8)

Answer: WELL-DISPOSED (i.e. “amicable”). Solution is DIS (i.e. “police officers”, specifically Detective Inspectors) and POSED (i.e. “sat” or modelled for an artist) both placed “by” or after WELL (i.e. “spring”), like so: WELL-(DIS-POSED).

  1. Accumulate too much weaponry, finding way to make deliveries (7)

Answer: OVERARM. Solution satisfies “accumulate too much weaponry” and “way to make [cricket] deliveries”.

  1. About to mature, having lost weight, line up differently (7)

Answer: REGROUP (i.e. “line up differently”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) followed by GROW UP (i.e. “to mature”) once the W has been removed (indicated by “having lost weight” – W being a recognised abbreviation of “weight”), like so: RE-GRO-UP.

  1. Agonise about Romanian currency used for floral ornament (7)

Answer: FLEURET (i.e. “floral ornament”). Solution is FRET (i.e. “agonise”) wrapped “about” LEU (i.e. “Romanian currency”), like so: F(LEU)RET.

  1. Tailless red fish (4)

Answer: RUDD (i.e. “fish”). Solution is RUDDY (i.e. “red”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “tailless”). Chalk one to my Bradford’s here.

  1. Man on board starts to browse in store (6)

Answer: BISHOP (i.e. “man on [chess] board” – chess pieces are sometimes referred to as men). Solution is B and I (i.e. “starts to browse in”, i.e. the first letter of “browse” and “in”) followed by SHOP (i.e. “store”).

  1. An indicator of what the office boss might do? (8)

Answer: SIGNPOST (i.e. “indicator”). When written as SIGN POST the solution also satisfies “what the office boss might do”.

  1. Rehearse one’s sermon – and take heed of it! (8,4,3,8)

Answer: PRACTISE WHAT ONE PREACHES. Solution satisfies “rehearse one’s sermon” and “take heed of [one’s sermon]”. Did you spell this “PRACTICE” to begin with? Yup. Me too.

  1. Bovine cross in short story seized by the Censor (7)

Answer: CATTALO (i.e. “bovine cross”, specifically that of a bison and a cow). Solution is TALE (i.e. “story”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder placed in or “seized by” CATO (i.e. “the Censor” – Cato the Censor was a Roman bigwig back in the day), like so: CAT(TAL)O. One gotten from the wordplay and a shufti in my Chambers.

  1. Ravel’s slant on otolaryngology? (8)

Answer: ENTANGLE (i.e. “ravel”). When written as ENT ANGLE the solution also satisfies “slant on otolaryngology” – ENT being a recognised abbreviation of the Ear Nose and Throat wing of a hospital.

  1. Leading church’s pompous formality (6)

Answer: STARCH (i.e. “pompous formality”). Solution is STAR (i.e. “leading”) followed by CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”). One I remembered from a recent puzzle, which made this an easier get.

  1. Swimmer, impudent and loud, rather, outside class (10,4)

Answer: FRESHWATER FISH (i.e. “swimmer”). Solution is FRESH (i.e. “impudent”), F (a recognised abbreviation of “loud”, specifically fortissimo in musical lingo) and ISH (i.e. “rather”) all placed “outside” of WATER (i.e. “class” – over to Chambers: “class, quality, excellence, esp. in the phrase of the first or purest water“. No, me neither), like so: FRESH-(WATER)-F-ISH.

  1. Like some leaves aimed across pitch (8)

Answer: TRILOBED (i.e. “like some leaves” – a lobe can be a section of a leaf). Solution is TRIED (i.e. “aimed” for) wrapped around or placed “across” LOB (i.e. throw or “pitch”), like so: TRI(LOB)ED. Another one gotten from the wordplay.

  1. Soft wool primarily crowning tree by lake (8)

Answer: CASHMERE (i.e. “soft wool”). Solution is C (i.e. “primarily crowning”, i.e. the first letter of “crowning”) followed by ASH (i.e. “tree”) and MERE (i.e. a “lake”).

  1. Definitive quests originally explained in Latin translation (14)

Answer: QUINTESSENTIAL (i.e. “definitive”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “translation”) of QUESTS, E (i.e. “originally explained”, i.e. the first letter of “explained”) and IN LATIN.

  1. One harbouring strong desire, do we hear, for reflected light? (6)

Answer: LUSTRE (i.e. “reflected light”). “Do we hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of LUSTER (i.e. “one harbouring strong desire”).

  1. Old politician turning our trite operatic texts (8)

Answer: LIBRETTI (i.e. “operatic texts”). Solution is LIB (i.e. “old politician”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “Liberal” – the Liberal Party split in 1988) followed by an anagram (indicated by “turning”) of TRITE, like so: LIB-RETTI.

  1. Attempt one’s made at first to embrace old political doctrine (7)

Answer: TORYISM (i.e. “political doctrine”). Solution is TRY (i.e. “attempt”), I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”) and M (i.e. “made at first”, i.e. the first letter of “made”) all wrapped around or “embracing” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: T(O)RY-I’S-M.

  1. Stories involving MI in the dark periods? (3,8,3,3,6)

Answer: THE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS (i.e. “stories” by Scheherazade). Clue plays on MI being Roman numerals for a THOUSAND AND ONE, and “dark periods” being NIGHTS. You get the idea.

  1. Characteristic of one’s belongings (8)

Answer: PROPERTY. Solution satisfies “characteristic” and “one’s belongings”.

  1. Poetic work principally sought electronically? (6)

Answer: SONNET (i.e. “poetic work”). Solution is S (i.e. “principally sought”, i.e. the first letter of “sought”) followed by ON NET (i.e. “electronically” – net being taken as an informal abbreviation of the internet).

  1. Objection by English in part of Scotland (4)

Answer: BUTE (i.e. an island or “part of Scotland”). Solution is BUT (i.e. “objection”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”).

  1. Parts of intestines a couple study first of all (7)

Answer: DUODENA (i.e. “parts of intestines”). Solution is DUO (i.e. “a couple”) followed by DEN (i.e. “study” room) and A (i.e. “first [letter] of all”).

  1. High-flyer from Kentucky by lake in Channel Island (7)

Answer: SKYLARK (i.e. “high-flyer”). Solution is KY (US state abbreviation of “Kentucky”) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”) both placed “in” SARK (i.e. a “Channel Island”), like so: S(KY-L)ARK.

  1. Sound attempt by military engineers to create ancient warship (7)

Answer: TRIREME (i.e. “ancient warship”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “sound”) of TRY (i.e. “attempt”) followed by REME (i.e. “military engineers”, specifically the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers), like so: TRI-REME. Another remembered from a previous puzzle.

  1. Trader in Caerphilly whose wares may be displayed on board (12)

Answer: CHEESEMONGER (i.e. “trader in Caerphilly”, a variety of cheese). Clue plays on how a cheesemonger’s goods can be served on a cheeseboard.

  1. Person serving drinks in south-west Asian country (10)

Answer: SALESWOMAN (i.e. “person serving”). Solution is ALES (i.e. “drinks”) placed “in” SW (a recognised abbreviation of “south-west”) and OMAN (i.e. “Asian country”), like so: S(ALES)W-OMAN.

Down clues

  1. One thus merged with Capricorn, perhaps, having the same properties (9)

Answer: ISOTROPIC (i.e. “having the same properties”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by SO (i.e. “thus”) and TROPIC (i.e. “Capricorn, perhaps” – other Tropics are available).

  1. Way top journalist goes around a fortress, displaying constancy (13)

Answer: STEADFASTNESS (i.e. “constancy”). Solution is ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a “street”) followed by ED (i.e. “top journalist”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of an “editor”) once wrapped or “going around” A. These are then followed by FASTNESS (i.e. a stronghold or “fortress”), like so: ST-E(A)D-FASTNESS.

  1. Bring up? It may be brought up by stragglers (4)

Answer: REAR. Solution satisfies “bring up” and “it may be brought up by stragglers”, i.e. the phrase “bringing up the rear”.

  1. Doorman’s company getting Hebridean beauty in trouble (14)

Answer: COMMISSIONAIRE (i.e. “doorman”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) followed by MISS IONA (i.e. “Hebridean beauty” – a play on how Miss (insert place name here) is a beauty contest) once placed “in” MIRE (i.e. “trouble”), like so: CO-M(MISS-IONA)IRE.

  1. Blade decapitating male porker, perhaps (3)

Answer: OAR (i.e. “blade”). Solution is BOAR (i.e. “male porker”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “decapitating”).

  1. Finally stage play about small island (4)

Answer: EYOT (i.e. “small island”). Solution is E (i.e. “finally stage”, i.e. the last letter of “stage”) followed by TOY (i.e. “play”) once reversed (indicated by “about”), like so: E-YOT.

  1. Idly sloped off with a crooked gait? (10)

Answer: LOPSIDEDLY (i.e. “with a crooked gait”). “Off” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IDLY SLOPED.

  1. Foot soldiers’ attempt to support trendy supporter (8)

Answer: INFANTRY (i.e. “foot soldiers”). Solution is TRY (i.e. “attempt”) placed after or “supporting” (this being a down clue) IN (i.e. “trendy”) and FAN (i.e. “supporter”), like so: (IN-FAN)-TRY.

  1. Ancient flying reptile portly cadet re-created (11)

Answer: PTERODACTYL (i.e. “ancient flying reptile”). “Re-created” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PORTLY CADET.

  1. The wounded can be carried on one? That’s a lie (9)

Answer: STRETCHER. Solution satisfies “the wounded can be carried on one”, and “that’s a lie”, informally at least.

  1. Fruit taken in field at Edinburgh (4)

Answer: DATE (i.e. “fruit”). “Taken in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: FIEL(D AT E)DINBURGH.

  1. Aubergine, say, at entrance to glue factory (8)

Answer: EGGPLANT (i.e. “aubergine”). Solution is EG (i.e. “say” i.e. for example) followed by G (i.e. “entrance to glue”, i.e. the first letter of “glue”) and PLANT (i.e. “factory”).

  1. Peddle fish, so to speak, being keen-sighted (4-4)

Answer: HAWK-EYED (i.e. “keen-sighted”). Solution is HAWK (i.e. “peddle”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “so to speak”) of IDE (i.e. a variety of “fish”).

  1. Hot pies served up in Scottish mountain valley (6)

Answer: STRATH (i.e. “Scottish mountain valley”). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot”) followed by TARTS (i.e. “pies”) all reversed (indicated by “served up” – this being a down clue), like so: STRAT-H. Another I got from the wordplay.

  1. Departing lad’s suspect behaviour (6-2)

Answer: GOINGS-ON (i.e. “suspect behaviour”). Solution is GOING (i.e. “departing”) followed by SON (i.e. “lad”).

  1. Lilaceous plant Derek located south of snake house (8)

Answer: ASPHODEL (i.e. “lilaceous plant”). Solution is DEL (shortened form of “Derek”) placed after or “south of” – this being a down clue – ASP (i.e. “snake”) and HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”), like so: (ASP-HO)-DEL. Yet another I got from the wordplay.

  1. Tackle problem boldly – and get stung? (5,3,6)

Answer: GRASP THE NETTLE (i.e. “tackle problem boldly”). The remainder of the clue plays on how nettles sting.

  1. Amenity sport administrators regularly claim in metropolis (8)

Answer: FACILITY (i.e. “amenity”). Solution is FA (i.e. “sport administrators”, specifically the Football Association) followed by LI (i.e. “regularly claim”, i.e. every other letter of CLAIM) once placed “in” CITY (i.e. “metropolis”), like so: FA-CI(LI)TY.

  1. Salt only initially delivered in tube (8)

Answer: FLUORIDE (i.e. “salt”). Solution is O (i.e. “only initially”, i.e. the first letter of “only”) and RID (i.e. “delivered”) both placed “in” FLUE (i.e. “tube”), like so: FLU(O-RID)E.

  1. Umber suits him, surprisingly, in this exhibition building (7,6)

Answer: BRITISH MUSEUM (i.e. “exhibition building”). “Surprisingly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UMBER SUITS HIM.

  1. Small bloke – large bottle! (8)

Answer: DEMIJOHN (i.e. “large bottle”). Solution is DEMI (i.e. “small” – the prefix demi- means “half-sized”) followed by JOHN (i.e. a “bloke’s” name).

  1. Noblewoman’s first day of month on eastern ship (11)

Answer: MARCHIONESS (i.e. “noblewoman”). Solution is MARCH I (i.e. “first day of month” – I being the Roman numeral for 1) followed by ON, then E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”) and SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship).

  1. Scandinavian police department chap set up (6)

Answer: NORDIC (i.e. “Scandinavian”). Solution is CID (i.e. “police department”, specifically the Criminal Investigation Department) followed by RON (i.e. “chap”, basically another bloke’s name). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue), like so: NOR-DIC.

  1. Born craftsman receives trivial sum, supporting two sides (10)

Answer: BIPARTISAN (i.e. “supporting two sides”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “born”) and ARTISAN (i.e. “craftsman”) wrapped around or “receiving” IP (i.e. “trivial sum”, i.e. 1 pence – P being a recognised abbreviation of “pence”), like so: B-(IP)-ARTISAN.

  1. Eg Lincoln’s place, where top cheese is distributed (9)

Answer: SHEEPCOTE (i.e. “eg Lincoln’s place” – Lincoln being a variety of sheep). “Is distributed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TOP CHEESE. The wordplay was fairly obvious, but took some brute forcing of my Chambers to get me over the line.

  1. African’s sleeveless garment shortened by Welsh girl (8)

Answer: TUNISIAN (i.e. “African”). Solution is TUNIC (i.e. “sleeveless garment”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “shortened”) and the remainder followed by SIAN (i.e. a “Welsh girl’s” name), like so: TUNI-SIAN.

  1. Minute new maid seen to behave badly (9)

Answer: MISDEMEAN (i.e. “to behave badly”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of a “minute”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “new”) of MAID SEEN, like so: M-ISDEMEAN.

  1. Half-hearted biblical physician married after conflict (8)

Answer: LUKEWARM (i.e. “half-hearted”). Solution is LUKE (i.e. “biblical physician”) followed by M (a recognised abbreviation of “married”) once placed “after” WAR (i.e. “conflict”), like so: LUKE-(WAR)-M.

  1. Like some poems one delivered, inspiring Chinese leaders (4)

Answer: ODIC (i.e. “like some poems”). “Leaders” indicates the solution is derived from the first letters of One Delivered Inspiring Chinese.

  1. Farmer finally invested in extra accommodation for cattle (4)

Answer: BYRE (i.e. “accommodation for cattle”). Solution is R (i.e. “farmer finally”, i.e. the last letter of “farmer”) placed or “invested in” BYE (i.e. an “extra” run in cricket), like so: BY(R)E.

  1. Struggle with general survey (4)

Answer: VIEW (i.e. “general survey”). Solution is VIE (i.e. “struggle”) followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”).

  1. Parrot identified by poet, not Eliot initially (3)

Answer: KEA (i.e. a kind of “parrot”). Solution is KEATS (i.e. “poet”) with the TS removed (indicated by “not Eliot initially”, specifically the poet TS Eliot). Made. To. Fit.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1518

Another scruffy effort this week. Uneven too. For the most part the puzzle was relatively straightforward, but I couldn’t fail to note the number of exotic five-letter solutions. This suggests the setter was struggling to fill the grid. Either that or they had some pet clues which made them unwilling to rework these areas. Whatever the reason, it’s interesting how we get runs of scruffy Jumbos from time to time. I guess we’ve just got to ride them out.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip, then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 160+ of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

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

LP

Across clues

  1. Small and tending to shrink; not initially appealing (9)

Answer: SEDUCTIVE (i.e. “appealing”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by REDUCTIVE (i.e. “tending to shrink”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “not initially”), like so: S-EDUCTIVE.

  1. It’s played where prisoner no. 15 is kept? (5)

Answer: CELLO (i.e. “it’s played”). My guess is when written as CELL O the solution satisfies “where prisoner no. 15 is kept”, but the setter has left me behind with this one. Bye, setter! Bye! B-bye! (Sound of ship’s horn fading into the horizon.) If this is a reference to 15a, solution AMORPHOUS, then I say cobblers – the letter O is very much a shape. If this is a reference to The Prisoner, however, then the setter is welcome to it.
[EDIT: Thanks to Chris in the comments for nailing this one. O is the 15th letter of the alphabet, hence all that palaver. Cheers, Chris! – LP]

  1. Endless frolic with boy provides thrill (7)

Answer: FRISSON (i.e. “thrill”). Solution is FRISK (i.e. “frolic”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder followed by SON (i.e. “boy”), like so: FRIS-SON.

  1. In sea abroad, this person’s one who plays dumb (5)

Answer: MIMER (i.e. “one who plays dumb”, or doesn’t speak). Solution is I’M (i.e. “this person’s”, a contraction of “this person is”) placed “in” MER (i.e. “sea abroad”, specifically the French for “sea”), like so: M(I’M)ER. Can’t say my French stretched this far, which, let’s be honest, isn’t saying much. It does make me wonder if there are any small foreign words deemed off-limits for being too obscure. Or rude.

  1. Set place to sleep by lake (7)

Answer: COTERIE (i.e. “set” or clique). Solution is COT (i.e. “place to sleep”) followed by ERIE (one of the Great “Lakes” of North America).

  1. Shapeless, extremely posh erotic dresses (9)

Answer: AMORPHOUS (i.e. “shapeless”). Solution is PH (i.e. “extremely posh”, i.e. the first and last letters of “posh”) placed in or “dressed” by AMOROUS (i.e. “erotic”), like so: AMOR(PH)OUS.

  1. Like some payments in scam causing offence (11)

Answer: CONTACTLESS (i.e. “like some payments”). Solution is CON (i.e. “scam”) followed by TACTLESS (i.e. “causing offence”).

  1. Rightist or leftist in the ceremony over there? (11)

Answer: THATCHERITE (i.e. “rightist”). Solution is CHE Guevara (i.e. famed “leftist”) placed “in” THAT RITE (i.e. “the ceremony over there”), like so: THAT-(CHE)-RITE.

  1. Religious study isn’t able to change one’s mind (6)

Answer: RECANT (i.e. “to change one’s mind”). Solution is RE (i.e. “religious study”, or Religious Education) followed by CAN’T (i.e. “isn’t able”).

  1. Vessel more quickly filled by both taps (8)

Answer: SCHOONER (i.e. seafaring “vessel”). Solution is SOONER (i.e. “more quickly”) wrapped around or “filled by” C and H (i.e. “both taps”, specifically Cold and Hot) like so: S(CH)OONER.

  1. As arms may be in a novel covering of bamboo (6)

Answer: AKIMBO (i.e. “as arms may be”). Solution is A followed by KIM (a “novel” by Rudyard Kipling) and BO (i.e. “covering of bamboo”, i.e. the first and last letters of “bamboo”).

  1. Biblical figure in African land importing stuff (8)

Answer: BENJAMIN (i.e. “biblical figure”, one of Jacob’s sons). Solution is BENIN (i.e. “African land”) wrapped around or “importing” JAM (i.e. to “stuff” or cram), like so: BEN(JAM)IN.

  1. The dog doesn’t bother me, penning current acceptance speech? (1,4,4,2,1,2)

Answer: I DON’T MIND IF I DO (i.e. “acceptance speech”, or a phrase of acceptance). Solution is I DON’T MIND FIDO (i.e. “the dog doesn’t bother me”) wrapped around I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics), like so: I-DON’T-MIND-(I)-FIDO.

  1. Dickensian heroine uttered a mournful sound (5)

Answer: KNELL (i.e. “a mournful sound”). “Uttered” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of Little NELL (i.e. “Dickensian heroine” from The Old Curiosity Shop).

  1. Climate change phenomenon represented online (2,4)

Answer: EL NINO (i.e. “climate change phenomenon”). “Represented” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ONLINE.

  1. Selfish sort covering miles with a horse, a poor runner (10)

Answer: MISMANAGER (i.e. “a poor runner”). Solution is MISER (i.e. “selfish sort”) wrapped around or “covering” M (a recognised abbreviation of “miles”) and A NAG (i.e. “a horse”), like so: MIS(M-A-NAG)ER.

  1. Reckon female with record has a way to get off (5,5)

Answer: COUNT SHEEP (i.e. “a way to get off” to sleep). Solution is COUNT (i.e. “reckon”) followed by SHE (i.e. “female”) and EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended Play).

  1. What’s framed by Truffaut, European director (6)

Answer: AUTEUR (i.e. “director”). “What’s framed by” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: TRUFF(AUT EUR)OPEAN. Nicely done.

  1. WC has broken? Sound not stressed (5)

Answer: SCHWA (i.e. “sound not stressed” or indistinct vowel sound). “Broken” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WC HAS. One of those everyday words. Thankfully the wordplay was fairly obvious.

  1. Party around upright man’s holiday home (8,6)

Answer: BALMORAL CASTLE (i.e. “holiday home” of the Royal Family). Solution is LAB (i.e. “party”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Labour Party) reversed (indicated by “around”) and followed by MORAL (i.e. “upright”), then CASTLE (i.e. “man”, i.e. a chess piece, sometimes referred to as men), like so: BAL-MORAL-CASTLE.

  1. King, in a certain outbuilding, flailed (8)

Answer: THRESHED (i.e. “flailed”). Solution is R (i.e. “king”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Rex) placed “in” THE SHED (i.e. “a certain outbuilding”), like so: TH(R)E-SHED.

  1. Rear end of bus driver having blemishes (6)

Answer: SCABBY (i.e. “having blemishes”). Solution is S (i.e. “rear end of bus”, i.e. the last letter of “bus”) followed by CABBY (i.e. “driver” – can be spelled CABBIE or CABBY).

  1. Flora’s relative with gear past its best (8)

Answer: MARIGOLD (i.e. “flora” or flower). Solution is MA (i.e. mother or “relative”) followed by RIG (i.e. “gear”) and OLD (i.e. “past its best”).

  1. Tailor consumed overwhelming quantity of wine? (6)

Answer: ATTUNE (i.e. “tailor”). Solution is ATE (i.e. “consumed”) wrapped around or “overwhelming” TUN (i.e. “quantity of wine”), like so: AT(TUN)E.

  1. 1000 different people regretting losing good spirit (7,4)

Answer: MOTHER’S RUIN (i.e. gin or “spirit”). Solution is M (i.e. Roman numeral for “1000”) followed by OTHERS (i.e. “different people”) and RUING (i.e. “regretting”) once the G has been removed (indicated by “losing good” – G being a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: M-OTHERS-RUIN.

  1. Little test for phone feature (11)

Answer: TOUCHSCREEN (i.e. “phone feature”). Solution is TOUCH (i.e. a “little”) followed by SCREEN (i.e. to vet or “test”).

  1. Possessor of case of L-Dopa, new drug (9)

Answer: LANDOWNER (i.e. “possessor”). Solution is LA (i.e. “case of L-Dopa”, i.e. the first and last letters of “L-Dopa”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and DOWNER (i.e. depressant or “drug”).

  1. Making feeble noises, seabird is given fish (7)

Answer: MEWLING (i.e. “making feeble noises”). Solution is MEW (i.e. a gull or “seabird” – a new one on me) followed by LING (i.e. a “fish” useful for setters).

  1. Philosopher, the French one, carrying weight (3,2)

Answer: LAO ZI (i.e. “philosopher” with umpteen variant spellings of his name. Just not this one, it seems. Like I said, scruffy.) Solution is LA (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the feminine form of “the” in French) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) wrapped around or “carrying” OZ (i.e. “weight”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “ounce”), like so: LA-(OZ)-I. Made. To. Fit.

  1. Will proverbially follows and precedes this lady (7)

Answer: THERESA (i.e. “lady”, basically a woman’s name). Shouldn’t the clue have read “This lady proverbially follows and precedes Will”? The proverb in question is “where THERE’S A will, THERE’S A way”. THERESA is in there twice. Will only once. I’ve tried twisting the clue this way and that in my mind. I’ve tried to see what was in the setter’s head when they were composing this clue, but I can only assume this is another one they’ve got wrong. In the preface to the latest Times Jumbo Cryptic book the editor infers he test-solves each Jumbo prior to its publication. Not on this evidence, it seems.

  1. Like painful area on foot, provoking weeping? (5)

Answer: CORNY (i.e. over-sentimental or “provoking weeping”). Clue plays on CORNS being “painful” growths on the “feet”.

  1. Barrier revolutionary Red China put round north (9)

Answer: HINDRANCE (i.e. “barrier”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “revolutionary”) of RED CHINA wrapped or “put round” N (a recognised abbreviation of “north”), like so: HI(N)DRANCE.

Down clues

  1. Shrubby growth, in total, a hundred (5)

Answer: SUMAC (i.e. “shrubby growth”). Solution is SUM (i.e. “total”) followed by A, then C (i.e. “[Roman numeral] hundred”). A recent repeat, which made this an easy get.

  1. Party with small amount of beer on open country (9,8)

Answer: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (i.e. “country”). Solution is DO (i.e. “party”) followed by MINI CAN (i.e. “small amount of beer”), then RE (i.e. about or “on” – think email replies) and PUBLIC (i.e. “open”).

  1. Brief everyone about Peruvian’s return to stage (7,4)

Answer: CURTAIN CALL (i.e. “return to stage”). Solution is CURT (i.e. “brief”) followed by ALL (i.e. “everyone”) once wrapped “about” INCA (i.e. a “Peruvian”, prior to the Spanish conquest), like so: CURT-A(INCA)LL.

  1. Picked up viewable Kindle (6)

Answer: INCITE (i.e. to enflame or “kindle” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). “Picked up” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of IN SIGHT (i.e. “viewable”).

  1. Fix vent with wrench, scratching openings (8)

Answer: ENTRENCH (i.e. “fix” – over to Chambers: “to establish or fix firmly because of an unwillingness to change or in such a way that change is difficult or impossible”). Solution is VENT and WRENCH once their initial letters have been removed (indicated by “scratching openings”), like so: ENT-RENCH.

  1. My daughter leaves gloomy person in suit (2-10)

Answer: CO-RESPONDENT (i.e. “person in [legal] suit”). Solution is COR (i.e. “my” – both expressions of surprise) followed by DESPONDENT (i.e. “gloomy”) once the first D has been removed (indicated by “daughter leaves…” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”), like so: COR-ESPONDENT.

  1. Officer in an elite unit leaving India foolishly (10)

Answer: LIEUTENANT (i.e. “officer”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “foolishly”) of AN ELITE UNIT once one of the Is has been removed (indicated by “leaving India” – India being I in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. American city with honour, I see (5)

Answer: OMAHA (i.e. “American city”). Solution is OM (i.e. “honour”, specifically the Order of Merit) followed by AHA! (i.e. “I see”).

  1. Supply info ad hoc for biological structure (4,5)

Answer: FOOD CHAIN (i.e. “biological structure”). “Supply” indicates anagram, as in something that is supple. Solution is an anagram of INFO AD HOC.

  1. Is minor epic novel showing looseness? (11)

Answer: IMPRECISION (i.e. “showing looseness”). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IS MINOR EPIC.

  1. Some in limousine going round European country there (5)

Answer: SUOMI (i.e. “European country there”, specifically Finland or the Finnish language to the Finns). Some indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “going round” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: L(IMOUS)INE. Made. To. Fit.

  1. Bird making its home in north-east almost back (6)

Answer: NESTER (i.e. “bird making its home”). Solution is NE (a recognised abbreviation of “north-east”) followed by STERN (i.e. “back” or rear of a ship) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “almost”), like so: NE-STER.

  1. Polish president receiving second baby’s toy (6,4)

Answer: RUBIK’S CUBE (i.e. “toy”). Solution is RUB (i.e. “polish”) followed by IKE (i.e. “president”, specifically the nickname of President Eisenhower) once wrapped around or “receiving” S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) and CUB (i.e. “baby”), like so: RUB-IK(S-CUB)E. In a dark corner somewhere there is a Rubik’s Magic that has remained unsolved for decades. To be fair, I was more fascinated with how the thing linked together. #ExcusesExcuses

  1. One opposed to leaving duke out of balance (8)

Answer: REMAINER (i.e. “one opposed to leaving”). Solution is REMAINDER (i.e. “balance”) once the D has been removed (indicated by “leaving duke out of…” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “duke”).

  1. Get a big hand and successful gambler may? (5,3,5,4)

Answer: BRING THE HOUSE DOWN. Solution satisfies “get a big hand” or round or applause, and a “successful gambler may” do this – casinos are often referred to as houses. Nicely worked.

  1. Problem capturing energy using complex science (2-4)

Answer: HI-TECH (i.e. “using complex science”). Solution is HITCH (i.e. “problem”) wrapped around or “capturing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: HIT(E)CH.

  1. Cross about name, which is grasped upon entry (10)

Answer: DOORHANDLE (i.e. “which is grasped upon entry” into a room). Solution is ROOD (i.e. crucifix or “cross”) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by HANDLE (i.e. “name”), like so: DOOR-HANDLE.

  1. When schools work without firm entry system (8)

Answer: INTERCOM (i.e. “entry system”). Solution is IN TERM (i.e. “when schools work”) wrapped around or placed “without” CO (a recognised abbreviation of company, i.e. “firm”), like so: IN-TER(CO)M.

  1. Planet: hilly, hollow and muddy (6)

Answer: MARSHY (i.e. “muddy”). Solution is MARS (i.e. “planet”) followed by HY (i.e. “hilly, hollow”, i.e. the word “hilly” with all its middle letters removed).

  1. Consider American serving up a brown spicy dish (12)

Answer: MULLIGATAWNY (i.e. “spicy dish”). Solution is MULL (i.e. “consider”) followed by GI (i.e. “American serving” in the US army) once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), then A and TAWNY (i.e. “brown”), like so: MULL-IG-A-TAWNY.

  1. As I see it, seizing foreign currency is awkward (11)

Answer: TROUBLESOME (i.e. “awkward”). Solution is TO ME (i.e. “as I see it”) wrapped around or “seizing” ROUBLES (i.e. “foreign currency”), like so: T(ROUBLES)O-ME.

  1. Carp at clues which could be amazing? (11)

Answer: SPECTACULAR (i.e. “amazing”). “Which could be” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CARP AT CLUES.

  1. Epicurean removes cap right for Hipparchus, say (10)

Answer: ASTRONOMER (i.e. “Hipparchus, say”). Solution is GASTRONOME (i.e. “epicurean”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “removes cap”) and the remainder followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: ASTRONOME-R. Did I look up Hipparchus? Of course I did. The National Curriculum didn’t exactly cover Greek astronomers and mathematicians when I was at school. Had it have done then I’d be senior partner in an expensive London law firm by now instead of some loudmouth blathering about crosswords on the internet. (Shakes fist at life chances.)

  1. Fox is by Asian country no longer (9)

Answer: ABYSSINIA (i.e. “country no longer”, these days Ethiopia and Eritrea). “Fox” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IS BY ASIAN.

  1. Do well with roughly three to five divided by fifty (8)

Answer: FLOURISH (i.e. “do well”). Solution is FOURISH (i.e. “roughly three to five”) wrapped around or “divided by” L (i.e. “[Roman numeral] fifty”), like so: F(L)OURISH.

  1. Cross at clothes fetish (6)

Answer: AMULET (i.e. a charm or “fetish” – both things “regarded with irrational reverence” (Chambers)). Solution is MULE (a “cross” between a horse and donkey) placed in or “clothed” by AT, like so: A(MULE)T.

  1. Eastern ruler to avoid admitting defensive error (6)

Answer: SHOGUN (i.e. “Eastern ruler”). Solution is SHUN (i.e. “to avoid”) wrapped around or “admitting” OG (i.e. “defensive error”, specifically an Own Goal), like so: SH(OG)UN. If your wrists are up to the job, I’d recommend a read of James Clavell’s Shogun. It’s very good, Anjin san. I can’t vouch for the TV series, though, having never seen it.

  1. What indicates time is tight (5)

Answer: TENSE. Solution satisfies “what indicates time”, as in past, present and future tenses, and “tight”.

  1. Like Hungarian kind of acid, bottling gallons (5)

Answer: UGRIC (i.e. “like Hungarian”). Solution is URIC (i.e. “kind of acid”) wrapped around or bottling “gallons”, like so: U(G)RIC. One I knew, weirdly, after reading up on the short-lived Hungarian revolution of 1956. Otherwise, this is another that’s here to make fit.

  1. Overturning water, getting wet behind the ears (5)

Answer: NAÏVE (i.e. “wet behind the ears”). Clue plays on the solution being the reverse (indicated by “overturned”) of EVIAN (i.e. “water”). Nicely done.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1517

A medium strength puzzle this week, which was a bit of a relief after last week’s stinker. This was a decent run out with some well worked clues, if a tad scruffy in places. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

If a recent Jumbo has you beating the ground asking why? Why? WHYYYYY??!?! then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 160+ of these things. Elsewhere, there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the input and kind words, all. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared, or if there’s something I’ve overlooked. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids. I’ll see you soon.

LP

Across clues

  1. Little woman pregnant – me too! (4,3,4)

Answer: JOIN THE CLUB (i.e. “me too”). When written as JO IN THE CLUB the solution also satisfies “little woman pregnant” – JO March being a character in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and IN THE CLUB being an informal phrase for being pregnant.

  1. Turner exhibition here? (11)

Answer: PLANETARIUM. Clue plays on planets being “turners”, and how their orbits can be demonstrated or “exhibited” in planetariums. Nicely played.

  1. Put on a brave face and continue to attend regularly? (4,2,11)

Answer: KEEP UP APPEARANCES. Solution satisfies “put on a brave face” and “continue to attend regularly”.

  1. Gross wreck (5)

Answer: TOTAL. Solution satisfies “gross” and to “wreck”.

  1. Score when expected to get a century, after setback (6)

Answer: NOTATE (i.e. “score”). Solution is ETA (i.e. “when expected”, specifically an Estimated Time of Arrival) and TON (i.e. informal reference to “a century”) all reversed (indicated by “after setback”), like so: NOT-ATE.

  1. Picture teacher’s stolen (8)

Answer: HEADSHOT (i.e. “picture”). Solution is HEAD’S (i.e. “teacher’s”) followed by HOT (i.e. “stolen”).

  1. Drink, case of which is important (7)

Answer: WHISKEY (i.e. “drink”). Solution is WH (i.e. “case of which”, i.e. the first and last letters of “which”) followed by IS, then KEY (i.e. “important”).

  1. A charity preserving woodland briefly mentioned earlier (9)

Answer: AFORESAID (i.e. “mentioned earlier”). Solution is A and AID (i.e. “charity”) wrapped around or “preserving” FOREST (i.e. “woodland”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: A-(FORES)-AID.

  1. Time that’s nervous for a batsman, intense I suspect (8)

Answer: NINETIES (i.e. “time that’s nervous for a batsman” in cricket, as they approach a century score). “Suspect” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INTENSE I.

  1. Undesirable order, some Christmas boxes (4)

Answer: ASBO (i.e. “undesirable order”, i.e. an Antisocial Behaviour Order). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: CHRISTM(AS BO)XES.

  1. Spy a lady’s partner? (5)

Answer: AGENT (i.e. “spy”). When written as A GENT the solution also satisfies “a lady’s partner”.

  1. European was obliged to admit error when turned over (6)

Answer: DANISH (i.e. “European”). Solution is HAD (i.e. “was obliged”, or had to) wrapped around or “admitting” SIN (i.e. “error”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “when turned over”), like so: DA(NIS)H.

  1. As beer may be from Barcelona, Man United importing English (4,6)

Answer: HOME-BREWED (i.e. “as beer may be”). Solution is HOMBRE (i.e. “Barcelona man”, i.e. the Spanish for “man” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and WED (i.e. “united” – again, ignoring the capitalisation) wrapped around or “importing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: HOM(E)BRE-WED.

  1. Exchange rate isn’t something to toy around with (5,3)

Answer: TRAIN SET (i.e. “something to toy around with”). “Exchange” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RATE ISN’T. Nicely worked.

  1. Commercial building that could be very quiet? (8,6)

Answer: SHOPPING CENTRE (i.e. “commercial building”). The remainder of the clue plays on how PP (a recognised abbreviation of pianissimo or “very quiet” in musical lingo) lies at the CENTRE of “SHOPPING”.

  1. O, I can help everyone! (9,5)

Answer: UNIVERSAL DONOR (i.e. blood group “O”). Over to Chambers: “a person whose blood is of group O, which can therefore be transfused into persons of other blood groups”. And so: “I can help everyone”.

  1. Dope found in lorry containing certain type of silver (10)

Answer: ARGENTIC (i.e. “containing certain type of silver”). Solution is GEN (i.e. “dope” or knowledge) placed “in” ARTIC (i.e. “lorry”, short for articulated), like so: AR(GEN)TIC. Argent is silver in heraldry, so you can derive the solution from it in a hand-wavy, don’t-look-too-closely kind of way. It’s just a shame the word isn’t explicitly supported by my Chambers, Oxford or Collins Concise. Thumbs down, setter.

  1. Not entirely comfortable in bind where pointed items inserted (10)

Answer: PINCUSHION (i.e. “where pointed items inserted”). Solution is CUSHY (i.e. “comfortable”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “not entirely”) and the remainder placed “in” PINION (i.e. “bind”), like so: PIN(CUSH)ION.

  1. Lovely guess (6)

Answer: DIVINE. Solution satisfies “lovely” and “guess”.

  1. First degree – that’s invigorating (5)

Answer: TONIC. Solution satisfies “first degree” – over to Chambers again: “of or being the first note of a scale (music)” – and “that’s invigorating”.

  1. Group of girls drink loudly (4)

Answer: BEVY. Solution satisfies “group of girls” and “drink”. I’m guessing “loudly” is a homophone indicator, but Chambers allows both BEVY and BEVVY as informal words for “beverage”. I might have missed something clever, though.

  1. Rise unexpectedly in simple psalm (8)

Answer: MISERERE (i.e. “psalm”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unexpectedly”) of RISE placed “in” MERE (i.e. “simple”), like so: M(ISER)ERE. One gotten from the wordplay, though I needed a push from my Bradford’s to get MERE.

  1. Author has last character poking succulent fruit on the turn (5,4)

Answer: EMILE ZOLA (i.e. “author”). Solution is Z (i.e. “last character” of the alphabet) placed in or “poking” ALOE (i.e. “succulent”) and LIME (i.e. “fruit”) once they’ve been reversed (indicated by “on the turn”), like so: EMIL-E(Z)OLA. Zola’s novel Germinal was a solution in one of these things a while ago. It’s weird what I remember.

  1. Direct effects on raids carrying on (7)

Answer: INROADS (i.e. “raids”). Can’t say I follow what the setter is up to here. To me, INROADS are “raids” or invasions. “Making inroads” can mean to make progress, but this is also wide of the mark. I believe the solution is an anagram (indicated by “carrying on”) of ON RAIDS, but as for the “direct effects” bit, who knows?

  1. Wet earth beside river rounded by runner perhaps on some island (8)

Answer: BERMUDAN (i.e. “on some island”). Solution is MUD (i.e. “wet earth”) placed after or “beside” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”). These are then placed in or “rounded by” BEAN (i.e. “runner perhaps”, as in runner beans), like so: BE(R-MUD)AN.

  1. Free, escape into Parisian street (6)

Answer: RESCUE (i.e. to “free”). Solution is ESC (i.e. the “escape” key on a computer keyboard) placed “into” RUE (i.e. “Parisian street”, i.e. the French for “street”), like so: R(ESC)UE.

  1. Expression of triumph after question voiced in furore (3-2)

Answer: HOO-HA (i.e. “furore”). Solution is HA (i.e. “expression of triumph”) placed “after” a homophone (indicated by “voiced”) of WHO? (i.e. a “question”). A naff clue, all told.

  1. Rotten article finished, watch Far From The Madding Crowd? (3,3,6,5)

Answer: OFF THE BEATEN TRACK (i.e. “Far From The Madding Crowd” – can be a reference to Thomas Hardy’s novel, set in a farming community, or to a general sense of the phrase). Solution is OFF (i.e. “rotten”) followed by THE (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the), then BEATEN (i.e. “finished”) and TRACK (i.e. to “watch” closely).

  1. Old comedian imagined heathland near Wolverhampton in conversation? (6,5)

Answer: DUDLEY MOORE (i.e. “old comedian”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “in conversation”) of DUDLEY MOOR (i.e. “imagined heathland near Wolverhampton” – “imagined” because Dudley is a large industrialised town). Why “old” though? People don’t appear in Times crosswords unless they are dead. I’d argue we’re a bit beyond “old” by that point.

  1. Explain disastrous realisation (11)

Answer: RATIONALISE (i.e. “explain”). “Disastrous” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REALISATION.

Down clues

  1. Nudge inspiring family to take a role seriously (6,5)

Answer: JOKING APART (i.e. “seriously”). Solution is JOG (i.e. “nudge”) wrapped around or “inspiring” KIN (i.e. “family”) and followed by A, then PART (i.e. “role”), like so: JO(KIN)G-A-PART.

  1. Still batting forward, opener dismissed (5)

Answer: INERT (i.e. “still”). Solution is IN (i.e. “batting” in a number of ball games) followed by PERT (i.e. “forward” or cheeky) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “opener dismissed”), like so: IN-ERT.

  1. 25 across, one of eighteen of course concealing decay (7)

Answer: TRUSTEE (i.e. “25 across”, the solution of which being AGENT). Solution is TEE (i.e. “one of eighteen of [golf] course” – not if I’m playing, there isn’t!) wrapped around or “concealing” RUST (i.e. “decay”), like so: T(RUST)EE.

  1. Biblical character entering battle, Saul (4)

Answer: ESAU (i.e. “Biblical character”). “Entering” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: BATTL(E SAU)L.

  1. Observation of speech in border town in England (3-7)

Answer: LIP-READING (i.e. “observation of speech”). Solution is LIP (i.e. “border”) followed by READING (i.e. “town in England”).

  1. Getting on train, issue remaining there? (8,6)

Answer: BOARDING SCHOOL (i.e. “issue remaining there” – “issue” being another word for “offspring”). Solution is BOARDING (i.e. “getting on”) followed by SCHOOL (i.e. to “train”).

  1. Illegal practice cooking eggs (8)

Answer: POACHING. Solution satisfies “illegal practice” and “cooking eggs”.

  1. Royal meeting lucky person, topless (5)

Answer: ASCOT (i.e. “royal [race] meeting”). Solution is MASCOT (i.e. “lucky person”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “topless”).

  1. Wheels going spare – before being absent (9)

Answer: ELSEWHERE (i.e. “absent”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “going spare”) of WHEELS followed by ERE (i.e. poetic form of “before”), like so: ELSEWH-ERE.

  1. Star key, look (6)

Answer: ALTAIR (i.e. “star”). Solution is ALT (another “key” on a computer keyboard) followed by AIR (i.e. the appearance or “look” of something).

  1. Responsibility must be shared for why one can’t dance? (2,5,3,2,5)

Answer: IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO. Solution satisfies “responsibility must be shared” and “why one can’t dance”.

  1. Spoil girl and cook (11)

Answer: MOLLYCODDLE (i.e. to over-indulge or “spoil”). Solution is MOLLY (i.e. a “girl’s” name) followed by CODDLE (i.e. “cook”).

  1. Post penetrating block from below, smooth quality (8)

Answer: BALDNESS (i.e. “smooth quality”). Solution is SEND (i.e. to “post”) placed in or “penetrating” SLAB (i.e. “block”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “from below” – this being a down clue), like so: BAL(DNES)S.

  1. Surgeon may go home? Gosh that signified a battle! (9,8)

Answer: OPERATION OVERLORD (i.e. “that signified a battle” – specifically the codename for the Battle of Normandy in World War Two). Solution is OPERATION OVER (i.e. after which “surgeon may go home”) followed by LORD (i.e. “gosh”, both expressions of surprise). This is another of those solutions popular with Times setters, having recently appeared a couple of times. While this is a little disappointing, it does at least give me another chance to point readers to one of my favourite coincidences, which saw a setter for the Telegraph having his collar felt by military intelligence when a startling number of military codewords started appearing in his puzzles. Here’s a Wikipedia article on it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-Day_Daily_Telegraph_crossword_security_alarm

  1. Lousy dunce punched by alumnus (3-3)

Answer: TWO-BIT (i.e. “lousy”). Solution is TWIT (i.e. “dunce”) wrapped around or “punched by” OB (i.e. “alumnus”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “old boy”), like so: TW(OB)IT.

  1. Most ephemeral celebration of cheese? (8)

Answer: BRIEFEST (i.e. “most ephemeral”). When written as BRIE FEST the solution also satisfies “celebration of cheese”. I’ll admit this one did raise a smile when I twigged it.

  1. Drunk taken out before party (6,2)

Answer: TANKED UP (i.e. “drunk”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out” – one of the word’s many definitions is “away from the original or normal position or state” (Chambers)) of TAKEN followed by DUP (i.e. “party”, specifically the Democratic Unionist Party), like so: TANKE-DUP.

  1. Person with similar job in house across the street? (8,6)

Answer: OPPOSITE NUMBER. Solution satisfies “person with similar job” and “house across the street”, as in how house numbers often alternate back and forth along properties on opposite sides of a street.

  1. Plant that’s red again going to seed (8)

Answer: GARDENIA (i.e. “plant”). “Going to seed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RED AGAIN.

  1. Recess cold, a pet’s wrapped up (6)

Answer: ALCOVE (i.e. “recess”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”) placed or “wrapped up” in A and LOVE (i.e. “pet”), like so: A-L(C)OVE.

  1. Novel bluish, end up without an outlet for it? (11)

Answer: UNPUBLISHED (i.e. “without an outlet for [novel]”). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BLUISH END UP.

  1. Reportedly, canine unreliable for soup (4-1-6)

Answer: COCK-A-LEEKIE (i.e. “soup”). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “reportedly”) of COCKER (i.e. “canine”) and LEAKY (i.e. “unreliable”).

  1. Nowhere near lama, priest lost (5,5)

Answer: MILES APART (i.e. “nowhere near”). “Lost” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LAMA PRIEST.

  1. Welcome attack in shower of pellets (9)

Answer: HAILSTORM (i.e. “shower of pellets”). Solution is HAIL (i.e. “welcome”) followed by STORM (i.e. “attack”).

  1. Check my clothes, I’m clueless! (6,2)

Answer: SEARCH ME. Solution satisfies “check my clothes” and “I’m clueless”.

  1. Choose artist, complex woman (7)

Answer: ELECTRA (i.e. “complex woman”, a reference to Electra complex, where a woman has a strong emotional attachment to her father). Solution is ELECT (i.e. “choose”) followed by RA (i.e. “artist”). I think this one appeared in the regular Times crossword recently, which made it an easier get.

  1. Scene around a large residence (6)

Answer: PALACE (i.e. “large residence”). Solution is PLACE (i.e. “scene”) wrapped “around” A, like so: P(A)LACE.

  1. Quite yellow, old comic (5)

Answer: BUFFO (i.e. a “comic” actor in an opera). Solution is BUFF (i.e. “quite yellow”) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”).

  1. American animal, fleece on one (5)

Answer: COATI (i.e. “American animal”). Solution is COAT (i.e. “fleece”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”).

  1. Third note, second note (4)

Answer: MEMO (i.e. “note”). Solution is ME (i.e. “third note” in the doh-ray-me scale) followed by MO (i.e. “second”, both short spells of time). Nicely done.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1516

Stinker time! And probably the nastiest one we’ve had for a while too. Not exactly the thing I wanted straight after three days spent catching up on recent Jumbos, but there you go. (A quick shout out to my crossword spy for securing me the goods in my absence.)

By and large the clueing for this one was really good, though, as you’ll see, the setter’s heavy use of misdirection has left plenty of areas of doubt, so expect red bits. You might therefore want to return later to see if a kind soul in the comments has bailed me out.

For now, you can find my “completed” grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has eluded you, then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 160+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and help, folks. I might need them a little more this week! It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers got on, so do pop in. Till next time, stay safe out there and I’ll see you soon.

LP

With thanks to Grins in the comments for nailing 16a.

Across clues

  1. As some guns may be for concealment, small wonder shed is needed (5-3)

Answer: SAWED-OFF (i.e. “as some guns may be for concealment” beneath a large overcoat, say). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by AWE (i.e. “wonder”) and DOFF (i.e. to “shed”).

  1. Gas piping with vent (3,3)

Answer: HOT AIR (i.e. “gas” or waffle). Solution is HOT (i.e. “piping”) followed by AIR (i.e. to “vent” or ventilate some place). Nicely done.

  1. One called on jockey to hold place (7)

Answer: VISITEE (i.e. “one called on”). Solution is VIE (i.e. to contest or “jockey”) wrapped around or “holding” SITE (i.e. “place”), like so: VI(SITE)E.

  1. As may be, possibly, a perfect health report? (3,4,4)

Answer: ALL VERY WELL. Solution satisfies “as may be” and “a perfect health report”.

  1. One involved with rector in case (11)

Answer: RECONNOITRE (i.e. to “case” a location). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “involved”) of ONE and RECTOR IN.

  1. Thus case made for cable transport (5)

Answer: BRIGS (i.e. prison ships or “transport”). Utter guess, if I’m honest, so watch out. I can just about link “cable” to RIG. The word RIG can be said to be “cased” inside of B(RIG)S, but I can’t make the leap of BS being “thus”. As with rather a lot of this week’s post, if some kind soul swings by with the right answer, I’ll edit and update.
[EDIT: Many thanks to Grins in the comments for saving the day. The solution is BLISS (i.e. “transport” – Chambers has this noun definition: “ecstasy, or any strong emotion”. I think this usage has foxed me before). When written as BL IS S the solution also cryptically satisfies “thus case made for cable”, i.e. how “BL” IS substituted in “cable” with an “S” to get you “case”. A disgusting clue, in all. Cheers, Grins! – LP]

  1. What hunter does is behind the times (7)

Answer: FORAGES (i.e. “what hunter does”). Solution is FOR (i.e. backs or “is behind”) followed by AGES (i.e. “the times”).

  1. Pointing out plates might be false type in need of replacing (5,4)

Answer: SPLAY FEET (i.e. “pointing out plates” – plates being cockney rhyming slang for feet, i.e. “plates of meat”). “In need of replacing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FALSE TYPE.

  1. Letter from Greek quartermaster, with Britain’s backing, bearing fruit (7)

Answer: KUMQUAT (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is TAU (i.e. the nineteenth “letter from [the] Greek” alphabet) followed by QM (a recognised abbreviation of “quartermaster”) and UK (i.e. “Britain” or the United Kingdom). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “backing”), like so: KU-MQ-UAT.

  1. Send out bowler to get ready? (4,3,3,5)

Answer: PASS THE HAT ROUND. Clue plays on “bowler” being a type of HAT, and how the solution describes a collection passed round for money or “ready”. You get the idea.

  1. What we basically learn from article: agricultural machinery cuts belt up (3,5,2)

Answer: THE THREE RS (i.e. “what we basically learn”, i.e. reading, riting and rithmetic. If only “spelling” had an R in it, eh?) Solution is THE (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, and or the) followed by THRESHERS (i.e. “agricultural machinery”) once the SH has been removed (indicated by “cuts belt up”, “belt up” being an expression for someone to keep quiet), like so: THE-THRE(SH)ERS => THE-THREERS.

  1. Mock old nurse in front of Irish politicians (4,2)

Answer: SEND UP (i.e. “mock”). Solution is SEN (i.e. “old nurse”, specifically a State Enrolled Nurse) followed by DUP (i.e. “Irish politicians”, specifically the Democratic Unionist Party).

  1. Something on stave almost split (4)

Answer: CLEF (i.e. “something on a stave”, i.e. those curly symbols seen at the beginning of sheet music, and whose meaning is lost to… (counts on fingers) everyone. Yep, everyone. Still, they look nice, don’t they?) Solution is CLEFT (i.e. “split”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”).

  1. Kid to remove quickly on being constrained by age (4,1,4,3,2)

Answer: PULL A FAST ONE ON (i.e. to “kid” or have on). Solution is PULL (i.e. “remove”) followed by FAST (i.e. “quickly”) and ON once they been placed in or “constrained by” AEON (i.e. “age”), like so: PULL-A(FAST-ON)EON.

  1. Weapon I fear I left close to mirror carelessly (3,5)

Answer: AIR RIFLE (i.e. “weapon”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “carelessly”) of I FEAR I, L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and R (i.e. “close to mirror”, i.e. the last letter of “mirror”).

  1. A record-breaking fizzy drink with energy gets award (8)

Answer: ACCOLADE (i.e. “award”). Solution is A followed by COLA (i.e. “fizzy drink”) once placed in or “breaking” CD (i.e. a “record” or Compact Disc), and followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: A-C(COLA)D-E.

  1. Detective woman with right advice for combating break-ins, we understand? (8,6)

Answer: SHERLOCK HOLMES (i.e. “detective”). Solution is SHE (i.e. “woman”) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and then a homophonic phrase (indicated by “we understand”) of LOCK HOMES (i.e. “advice for combating break-ins”).

  1. Some power I apply to wheel brace (4)

Answer: PAIR (i.e. two or a “brace”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “to wheel” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: POWE(R I AP)PLY.

  1. Old Dutch XI few English fancy (2-4)

Answer: EX-WIFE (i.e. “old Dutch” – more cockney rhyming slang, this time allegedly after the Duchess of Fife). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fancy”) of XI FEW and E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”). Nicely worked.

  1. Stole a piece of bread, and intended to tuck in? (10)

Answer: WRAPAROUND (i.e. a garment or “stole”). A bit of a guess, this. I’m taking A ROUND to be “a piece of bread” and assume the remainder of the clue refers to wraps, i.e. flatbreads/tortillas that are wrapped around a filling. Again, if a better solution comes to the fore, I’ll update the post.

  1. Associate with endless video game to a negligible degree (15)

Answer: INFINITESIMALLY (i.e. “to a negligible degree”). Solution is ALLY (i.e. “associate”) placed after or “with” INFINITE (i.e. “endless”) and SIM (i.e. “video game” or simulation), like so: (INFINITE-SIM)-ALLY.

  1. Close relation around one in retirement? (7)

Answer: NIGHTIE (i.e. a garment “around one in retirement” or sleeping). Solution is NIGH (i.e. “close”) followed by TIE (i.e. “relation”).

  1. When thousands beheaded – and character abroad the opposite, by mistake (3,6)

Answer: THE TERROR (i.e. a period “when thousands [were] beheaded” during the French Revolution). Solution is THETA (i.e. “character abroad”, specifically the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet) followed by ERROR (i.e. “mistake”). I guess “the opposite” is to stop us from mistakenly taking the first letter off of THETA. Who knows?
[EDIT: Thanks to Michael in the comments for correcting this one. I’d misread the clue, like a buffoon. The clue asks us to clip the end from THETA, which is the opposite of beheading it. This, combined with ERROR, then gives you THET-ERROR. Cheers, Michael! – LP]

  1. Cafeteria finally leaving rolls out for lunch (7)

Answer: LUNCHES. Another guess, but only because I can’t shift the notion that someone at The Times has buggered up and accidentally plonked the answer in the clue. (Paging Jim Bowen, come in Jim Bowen…) To me it looks like the solution is LAUNCHES (i.e. “rolls out”) with the A removed (indicated by “cafeteria finally leaving”, A being the last letter of “cafeteria”). Again, if someone swings by with the right answer, I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for confirming this was indeed a misprint. Good to know! – LP]

  1. Observe plot in segments? (5)

Answer: LOBED (i.e. “in segments”). Solution is LO (i.e. “observe”, as in lo and behold) followed by BED (i.e. “plot”).

  1. Ruins suffer when entered by heavy metal plant (5,6)

Answer: MARSH MALLOW (i.e. a “plant” akin to the hollyhock, it says here). Solution is MARS (i.e. “ruins”) and ALLOW (i.e. to permit or “suffer”) wrapped around or “entered by” HM (a recognised abbreviation of “heavy metal” music – not recognised by Chambers, but is backed up by my Oxford), like so: MARS-(HM)-ALLOW.

  1. A seal with teeth eats fern after chewing on a duck (3,8)

Answer: ZIP FASTENER (i.e. “a seal with teeth” – splitting hairs, you could argue the fastener itself doesn’t have teeth, rather the zip it’s applied to). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “chewing”) of EATS FERN placed “on” or after ZIP (i.e. “a duck” or zero score).

  1. Investigating officers confronting evasive traveller (7)

Answer: DIDICOY (i.e. “traveller” – over to Chambers: “an itinerant tinker or scrap dealer, not a true gypsy (Romany)“). Solution is DI and DI (i.e. “investigating officers”, specifically Detective Inspectors) followed by COY (i.e. “evasive”). Took a little brute force of my Chambers to nail. Interesting word I’ve not come across before, which means I’ll probably now see it peppered through everything I read this week.

  1. Solution’s framed in a way that’s most cunning (6)

Answer: SLYEST (i.e. “most cunning”). Solution is LYE’S (i.e. chemical “solution”, read as a contraction of LYE IS) placed or “framed in” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: S(LYE’S)T. I much prefer this spelling to SLIEST, which was featured a few grids ago.

  1. Supported allowing bishop out of bed, but keeping her indoors? (8)

Answer: ESPOUSED (i.e. “supported”). Solution is BED with the B removed (indicated by “bishop out of…” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess) and the remainder wrapped around or “keeping” SPOUSE (i.e. “her indoors”), like so: E(SPOUSE)D.

Down clues

  1. Whip initially should be fine for containing crowd (7)

Answer: SJAMBOK (i.e. a South African “whip”. I mean, with a name like that could have come from anywhere else?) Solution is S and B (i.e. “initially should be”, i.e. the first letters of “should” and “be”), and OK (i.e. “fine”) all wrapped around or “containing” JAM (i.e. a “crowd”), like so: S(JAM)B-OK. If, while walking the dog this afternoon, you caught a faint but distinct string of strong sexual swear words coming roughly from the east, that was me opening my Bradford’s and seeing this bullshit made-to-fit solution. Ugh.

  1. Is one to reveal all about a married man endangering son? (7,4)

Answer: WILLIAM TELL (i.e. “man endangering son” in shooting an apple off the lad’s head. He’s a Swiss hero, sure, but ask yourself how many sons he went through before he got it right…) Solution is WILL I TELL (i.e. “is one to reveal all”) wrapped “about” A and M (a recognised abbreviation of “man”), like so: WILL-I-(A-M)-TELL.

  1. Controversially up the dose for certain states (4,5)

Answer: DEEP SOUTH (i.e. “certain states” in the US). “Controversially” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UP THE DOSE.

  1. Smart of newspaper chap to deal with rage (3,3,3,6)

Answer: FLY OFF THE HANDLE (i.e. “rage”). Solution is FLY (i.e. knowing or “smart”) followed by OF, then FT (i.e. “newspaper”, specifically the Financial Times), then HE (i.e. “chap”) and HANDLE (i.e. “to deal with”).

  1. “I am the egg man” John reflected has zero meaning (8)

Answer: OOLOGIST (i.e. “I am the egg man”, i.e. a specialist in eggs). Solution is LOO (i.e. “john”, both informal words for a toilet) reversed (indicated by “reflected”) and followed by O (i.e. “zero”) and GIST (i.e. “meaning”), like so: OOL-O-GIST. An excellent clue, the best for ages.

  1. A vote by directors affecting everyone (6-3-5)

Answer: ACROSS-THE-BOARD (i.e. “affecting everyone”). Solution is A followed by CROSS (i.e. “vote”), then THE BOARD (i.e. “directors” of a company).

  1. Music that’s slow to produce yet sad? (10)

Answer: ROCKSTEADY (i.e. a 1960s style of “music” from Jamaica “that’s slow”). When written as ROCK STEADY the solution is a cryptic reference to STEADY being an anagram (indicated by “ROCK” or “production”) of “yet sad”.

  1. Reduced rainfall in a valley – rising in plain (7)

Answer: VANILLA (i.e. “plain”). “Reduced” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “rising” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue, like so: RAINF(ALL IN A V)ALLEY.

  1. Broke pen after sticking leg in (5)

Answer: STONY (i.e. “broke” or brassic). Solution is STY (i.e. pig “pen”) wrapped around or “sticking in” ON (i.e. “leg” side in cricket), like so: ST(ON)Y.

  1. Throwing the FT out, one finds phrase linked with financial sums (2,3,4,2)

Answer: TO THE TUNE OF (i.e. “phrase linked with financial sums”). “Throwing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THE FT OUT ONE.

  1. A couple of “drawings”, one only spoken of late in the day (8)

Answer: EVENTIDE (i.e. “late in the day”). Solution is formed of EVEN and a homophone (indicated by “only one spoken”) of TIED, both of which are “drawings”. Given the setter’s predilection for misdirection, I’m surprised “drawings” was placed in quotes.

  1. Attention given to women’s sport (4)

Answer: WEAR (i.e. to “sport”). Solution is EAR (i.e. “attention”) placed after or “given to” W (a recognised abbreviation of “women”), like so: W-EAR.

  1. Not being spotted in Ruth, city appearing in Genesis (6)

Answer: PURITY (i.e. “not being spotty”). Solution is PITY (i.e. mercy or “ruth” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) wrapped around or having “in” UR (i.e. “city appearing in Genesis” – I’ll have to take the setter’s word for it. Every Bible I hold bursts into flames), like so: P(UR)ITY.

  1. Bible teaching by eccentric old Italian, perhaps (7)

Answer: RICARDO (i.e. “Italian, perhaps” – basically an Italian bloke’s name. Oof, setter. Did you really just do that?) Solution is RI (i.e. “Bible teaching”, specifically Religious Instruction) followed by CARD (i.e. an “eccentric” person) and O (i.e. “old”).

  1. Bang on about pub’s formal dress requirement? (3,3)

Answer: TOP HAT (i.e. “formal dress requirement”). Solution is TO A T (i.e. exact or “bang on”) wrapped “about” PH (i.e. “pub”, specifically a Public House), like so: TO-(PH)-A-T. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Attend to harvest one’s corn, perhaps, crossing river (5,2,4,4)

Answer: PRICK UP ONE’S EARS (i.e. “attend to” or to focus attention on). Solution is PICK UP ONE’S EARS (i.e. “harvest one’s corn, perhaps”, given you get EARS of “corn”) wrapped around or “crossing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”, like so: P(R)ICK UP ONE’S EARS.

  1. Expecting relations to stop being obstructive (2,3,6,3)

Answer: IN THE FAMILY WAY (i.e. euphemistically “expecting” or pregnant). Solution is FAMILY (i.e. “relations”) placed in or “stopping” IN THE WAY (i.e. “being obstructive”), like so: IN-THE-(FAMILY)-WAY. Sounds like one of those phrases I ought to have heard before, but nope.

  1. Ate together with doctor, being invited in (6)

Answer: MESSED (i.e. “ate together” – think army catering, for example). Solution is MD (i.e. “doctor”, specifically a Medicinae Doctor or Doctor of Medicine) wrapped around or “inviting in” ESSE (i.e. “being” or the essence of living), like so: M(ESSE)D.

  1. Maybe one having trouble performing, in a flap (7)

Answer: AILERON (i.e. “flap”). Solution is AILER (i.e. “maybe one having trouble”) followed by ON (i.e. “performing”).

  1. Top that’s short and light? It can go with hips (6)

Answer: HOORAY (i.e. “it can go with hips”, i.e. hip-hip-hooray!) Solution is HOOD (i.e. a garment or “top”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “that’s short”) and the remainder followed by RAY (i.e. “light”), like so: HOO-RAY.

  1. Drove kid around university, and cardinal across much of Europe (11)

Answer: CHAUFFEURED (i.e. “drove” someone). Solution is CHAFF (i.e. to “kid” or tease) wrapped “around” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”), and RED (i.e. “cardinal”) all wrapped around or “across” EU (i.e. “much of Europe”, specifically the European Union), like so: CHA(U)FF-(EU)-RED.

  1. Swindlers establish facilities for online saving? (11)

Answer: MOUNTEBANKS (i.e. “swindlers”). Solution is MOUNT (i.e. “establish”, e.g. mounting an investigation) followed by E-BANKS (i.e. “facilities for online saving”, a play on how “e-” is tacked onto some stuff to show they’re online).

  1. After race, car’s cylinders to be put away (5,5)

Answer: SWISS ROLLS (i.e. “cylinders to be put away” or eaten). Solution is SWISS (i.e. “race” –Chamber’s offers this definition: “a class or group, defined otherwise than by descent”. It also offers this: “the descendants of a common ancestor”. So that’s everyone covered then) followed by ROLLS (i.e. “car”, specifically a Rolls Royce).

  1. Got it wrong with role for opera (9)

Answer: RIGOLETTO (i.e. “opera” by Giuseppe Verdi). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wrong”) of GOT IT and ROLE.

  1. Unseasonable fog descending on island at sea (8)

Answer: MISTIMED (i.e. “unseasonable”). Solution is MIST (i.e. “fog”) followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”) and MED (i.e. “sea”, specifically the Mediterranean). Another well worked clue.

  1. Pancakes with black dressing and chopped orange peel (8)

Answer: BLINTZES (i.e. “pancakes”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) followed by LINT (i.e. “dressing”) and ZEST (i.e. “orange peel”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “chopped”), like so: B-LINT-ZES. Chalk another to my Bradford’s here. I wouldn’t have got this in a month of Sundays.

  1. Husky which is outside runs round front of yurt (7)

Answer: THROATY (i.e. “husky”). Solution is THAT (i.e. “which”) wrapped “outside” of R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) and O (i.e. “round”), then followed by Y (i.e. “front of yurt”, i.e. the first letter of “yurt”), like so: TH(R-O)AT-Y.

  1. Goal by United Liverpool player let happen? (7)

Answer: ENDURED (i.e. “let happen”). Solution is END (i.e. aim or “goal”) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”), then RED (i.e. “Liverpool player”, after the colour of the football kit).

  1. Ideal Burgundy and something drinker goes after? (5)

Answer: ETHIC (i.e. “ideal”). Solution is ET (i.e. “Burgundy and”, i.e. the word “and” in French) followed by HIC (i.e. “something drinker does after”, i.e. hiccup, a stereotypical sign of drunkenness).

  1. Jabber, endless overpromotion coming to nothing (4)

Answer: HYPO (i.e. “jabber” or hypodermic needle). Solution is HYPE (i.e. “overpromotion”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder followed by O (indicated by “coming to nothing”), like so: HYP-O.

Having gorged on live sports in recent weeks, it was time to dive back into some choonage. One album I’ve frequently played this year is Jim Davies’s’s’ses’s(es’s) Headwars.

“Who he?” you might ask. Good question. You’re most likely to have heard his guitar-wangling on some Prodigy tracks, perhaps most famously his riff on Firestarter. So him, then.

Now, while Headwars is a solid listen and well worth your time, it’s the remixes album that often tickles my interest. Techno, dubstep, electronica: it’s all represented in a tight 40 minutes, but Prodigy completionists may be interested in a couple of very good remixes by Empirion (who made a mighty fine remix of Firestarter back in the day and seem to be rebuilding their following after a lengthy hiatus) and, perhaps the best of the bunch, a remix by one Leeroy Thornhill. Yes, that Leeroy. If that sounds like your bag, go check it out. As usual the link will take you to Spotify.

After all that Prodigy old-boy stuff, the only decent thing left to do was to listen to Music For The Jilted Generation. Still a masterpiece. Laters! – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1515

…and straight onto the next one! A bit tougher this time, with good progression and a few decent clues to chew over. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

Meanwhile, you can find links to the last 160+ of these things on my Just For Fun page if a recent Jumbo has you jiggered. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Right, that should be me up to speed again. Keep safe out there, peeps. I’ll see youses soon.

LP

Across clues

  1. Other folk on holiday, horribly loud, won’t do what’s expected (5,3,5)

Answer: BREAK THE MOULD (i.e. “won’t do what’s expected”). Solution is THEM (i.e. “other folk”) placed “on” or after BREAK (i.e. “holiday”) and followed by an anagram (indicated by “horribly”) of LOUD, like so: BREAK-(THEM)-OULD.

  1. Cross-dressing athlete on wheels? (4,5)

Answer: DRAG RACER. Clue plays on DRAG being an informal term for “cross-dressing”. Dragsters are cars. You get the idea.

  1. Digger scratching left elbow (5)

Answer: SHOVE (i.e. to “elbow” someone). Solution is SHOVEL (i.e. “digger”) once the L has been removed (indicated by “scratching left” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “left”).

  1. Sweet dish from junk sale ultimately in poor state (5,6)

Answer: BAKED ALASKA (i.e. “sweet dish”). Solution is K and E (i.e. “junk sale ultimately”, i.e. the last letters of “junk and sale”) placed “in” BAD (i.e. “poor”) and ALASKA (i.e. US “state”), like so: BA(KE)D-ALASKA.

  1. Outlaw seizing Irish kid elsewhere in UK (5)

Answer: BAIRN (i.e. a “kid elsewhere in the UK”, presumably Scotland, though we do use it in the northeast too). Solution is BAN (i.e. to “outlaw”) wrapped around or “seizing” IR (a recognised abbreviation of “Irish”), like so: BA(IR)N.

  1. Sid injured in mishap at sea here, perhaps (9)

Answer: AMIDSHIPS (i.e. “at sea here, perhaps” – other areas of a ship are available). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “injured”) of SID placed in another anagram (indicated by “at sea”) of MISHAP, like so: AM(IDS)HIPS.

  1. Post taken on by medieval knight? (4)

Answer: MAIL. Solution satisfies “post” and “taken on by medieval knight”, a reference to chain mail.

  1. Capital to invest in hospital priest (8)

Answer: HELSINKI (i.e. “capital” city of Finland). Solution is SINK (i.e. “to invest”) placed “in” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hospital” used on maps) and ELI (i.e. “priest” – more often than not, if you see “priest” in a clue, it’ll be ELI. If not, PR, its abbreviation), like so: H-EL(SINK)I.

  1. Tailless beast contrarily eats primarily unripe fruit (6)

Answer: GUAVAS (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is SAVAGE (i.e. “beast”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “tailless”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “contrarily”) and wrapped around or “eating” U (i.e. “primarily unripe”, i.e. the first letter of “unripe”), like so: G(U)AVAS.

  1. Parish flag maybe showing how well off we are (8,2,6)

Answer: STANDARD OF LIVING (i.e. “how well off we are”). Clue plays on STANDARD being another word for a “flag”, and “parish” describing somewhere in which you live. You get the idea.

  1. Shift spade over, as nosey parker may (9)

Answer: EAVESDROP (i.e. “as nosey parker may”). “Shift” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SPADE OVER.

  1. Bird’s down (7)

Answer: SWALLOW. Solution satisfies “bird” and to “down”.

  1. Cant from Trojan leader on ancient ship (5)

Answer: ARGOT (i.e. “cant”, or “to use the specialised vocabulary of thieves, politicians, lawyers etc” (Chambers)). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “Trojan”) placed “on” or after ARGO (i.e. “ancient ship” that Jason pootled about in), like so: ARGO-T.

  1. Man after rent set out to see him, possibly (6,6)

Answer: TENANT FARMER (i.e. “him, possibly” – in the context of the clue, a farmer who rents a farm). “Set out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MAN AFTER RENT. Nicely worked.

  1. Staff I’m canvassing for continue standing (5,2,3)

Answer: STICK IT OUT (i.e. “continue standing”). When written as STICK I TOUT the solution also satisfies “staff I’m canvassing”.

  1. Masking handle that is holding comparatively little (10)

Answer: NAMELESSLY (i.e. “masking handle”, handle being another word for “name”). Solution is NAMELY (i.e. “that is”) wrapped around or “holding” LESS (i.e. “comparatively little”), like so: NAME(LESS)LY.

  1. Complete cast for broadcast provided with initial transport (5,7)

Answer: CARRY THROUGH (i.e. to “complete”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “for broadcast”) of THREW (i.e. “cast”) with CARRY (i.e. “transport”) placed before it (indicated by “initial”).

  1. River delta opening in America (5)

Answer: INDUS (i.e. a “river” in Asia). Solution is D (“delta” in the phonetic alphabet) placed between or “opening” IN and US (i.e. “America”), like so: IN-(D)-US.

  1. Wavering doctor bound to break it (2,5)

Answer: IN DOUBT (i.e. “wavering”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “doctor”) of BOUND placed in or “breaking” IT, like so: I(NDOUB)T.

  1. Slickest gambler cleared out with minimal formality (9)

Answer: GREASIEST (i.e. “slickest”). Solution is GR (i.e. “gambler cleared out”, i.e. the word “gambler” with all its middle letters removed) followed by EASIEST (i.e. “with minimal formality”).

  1. Where, it seems, Our Mutual Friend is not to be published (7,9)

Answer: BETWEEN OURSELVES. Solution satisfies “where, it seems, our mutual friend is” – ignore the misleading capitalisation – and something that is kept from sight or “not to be published”. Took a while for me to twig what the setter was playing at here. Very nicely played.

  1. Fully occupied ground disheartened builder (6)

Answer: BURIED (i.e. “fully occupied”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “ground”) of BUILDER once its middle letter has been removed (indicated by “disheartened”).

  1. Unexpected benefit from air trip (8)

Answer: WINDFALL (i.e. “unexpected benefit”). Solution is WIND (i.e. “air”) followed by FALL (i.e. “trip”).

  1. Vitality unknown in middle of fight (4)

Answer: ZING (i.e. “vitality”). Solution is Z (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z as “unknowns”) followed by IN and G (i.e. “middle [letter] of fight”)

  1. Like daughter perhaps turning to arrange flower mum brought in? (9)

Answer: GIRLISHLY (i.e. “like daughter perhaps” – other female relations are available). Solution is RIG (i.e. “to arrange”) reversed (indicated by “turning”) and followed by LILY (i.e. “flower”) once wrapped around or “bringing in” SH (i.e. “mum”, both expressions of keeping silent), like so: GIR-LI(SH)LY.

  1. Island deporting last of rebels in unfriendly fashion (5)

Answer: ICILY (i.e. “in unfriendly fashion”). Solution is SICILY (i.e. an “island”) with the S removed (indicated by “deporting last of rebels”, i.e. the last letter of “rebels”).

  1. Medium, with veil, pipes up here in church (5,6)

Answer: ORGAN SCREEN (i.e. “pipes up here in church”, specifically a stone or wood screen upon which an organ is placed). Solution is ORGAN (i.e. “medium” – the main definition for “organ” in Chambers is: “an instrument or means by which anything is done”) followed by SCREEN (i.e. “veil”).

  1. Male dons fit to walk, slowly (5)

Answer: AMBLE (i.e. “walk slowly”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) placed in or “donning” ABLE (i.e. “fit”), like so: A(M)BLE.

  1. Improve on dope, ecstasy on most occasions (9)

Answer: GENERALLY (i.e. “on most occasions”). Solution is RALLY (i.e. “improve”) placed “on” or after GEN (i.e. “dope” or knowledge) and E (street name for the drug “ecstasy”), like so: (GEN-E)-RALLY.

  1. Local restorer renovated thrilling succession of cars (6,7)

Answer: ROLLER COASTER (i.e. “thrilling succession of cars”). “Renovated” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LOCAL RESTORER.

Down clues

  1. Set sequins in armband, acquiring uncanny ability (9)

Answer: BESPANGLE (i.e. “set sequins”). Solution is BANGLE (i.e. “armband”) wrapped around or “acquiring” ESP (i.e. “uncanny ability”, specifically Extra-Sensory Perception), like so: B(ESP)ANGLE.

  1. Cut up about old citizen returning fancy goods (7)

Answer: EXOTICA (i.e. “fancy goods”). Solution is AXE (i.e. “cut”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped “about” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and CIT (ditto “citizen”) reversed (indicated by “returning”), like so: EX(O-TIC)A.

  1. Monitors shot youngster tailing guard (5,4,2)

Answer: KEEPS TABS ON (i.e. “monitors”). Solution is STAB (i.e. “shot” or attempt at something) and SON (i.e. “youngster”) both placed after or “tailing” KEEP (i.e. “guard), like so: KEEP-(STAB-SON).

  1. Ferret sank its teeth into inhabitant of hole (6)

Answer: HOBBIT (i.e. “inhabitant of hole” in J R R Tolkien’s novel, which begins with the line “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”). Solution is HOB (a male “ferret”) followed by BIT (i.e. “sank its teeth into”).

  1. Model plugging cosmetics isn’t truthful (5,2,2)

Answer: MAKES IT UP (i.e. “isn’t truthful”). Solution is SIT (i.e. to “model” for an artist) placed in or “plugging” MAKE-UP (i.e. “cosmetics”), like so: MAKE-(SIT)-UP.

  1. Cop pursuing a French car took off at the same rate (12)

Answer: UNDIMINISHED (i.e. “at the same rate”). Solution is DI (i.e. “cop”, specifically a Detective Inspector) placed after or “pursuing” UN (i.e. “a French”, i.e. the masculine form of “a” in French) and followed by MINI (i.e. “car”), then SHED (i.e. “took off”), like so: UN-(DI)-MINI-SHED.

  1. Spiritual leaders in trouble after youth mounted a short service (5,5)

Answer: DALAI LAMAS (i.e. “spiritual leaders”). Solution is AIL (i.e. “trouble”) placed “after” LAD (i.e. “youth”) once reversed (indicated by “mounted” – this being a down clue) and followed by A, then MASS (i.e. religious “service”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”), like so: DAL-(AIL)-A-MAS.

  1. Drop Scotch spirit and run (4)

Answer: DASH. A quadruple-header, if I’m not mistaken, in that the solution satisfies to “drop”, to “scotch” (ignoring the misleading capitalisation), “spirit” (Chambers allows “verve” as a definition) and to “run”. Nicely worked.

  1. Novel term for loo if a WC toilet seat’s broken (1,4,2,3,6)

Answer: A TALE OF TWO CITIES (i.e. “novel” by Charles Dickens). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “broken”) of IF A WC TOILET SEAT and O (i.e. “term for loo” – the first definition of “term” offered by Chambers is “an end”).

  1. Couturier’s final awards for grand attire (5)

Answer: ROBES (i.e. “grand attire”). Solution is R (i.e. “couturier’s final” letter) followed by OBES (i.e. “awards”, specifically Orders of the British Empire).

  1. Drink that intoxicates one after another in song (7)

Answer: CHIANTI (i.e. “drink that intoxicates”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “after” I (i.e. “another” one, in the same manner) after being placed “in” CHANT (i.e. “song”), like so: (CH(I)ANT)-I.

  1. Product from sewer that may handicap jogger? (7,6)

Answer: RUNNING STITCH. Solution satisfies “product from sewer” – as in one who sews – and “that may handicap jogger”. Another recent repeat.

  1. Devotee’s union vow for the future? (8)

Answer: IDOLATER (i.e. “devotee”). Solution is I DO (i.e. wedding or “union vow”) followed by LATER “for the future”.

  1. National from Quebec joining militant force on island (5)

Answer: IRAQI (i.e. Iraq “national”). Solution is Q (“Quebec” in the phonetic alphabet) placed between or “joining” IRA (i.e. “militant force”, specifically the Irish Republican Army) and I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: IRA-(Q)-I.

  1. Trained birds you might catch, in wilful disregard of rules (12,4)

Answer: PROFESSIONAL FOUL (i.e. “wilful disregard of rules”). Solution is PROFESSIONAL (i.e. “trained”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “you might catch”) of FOWL (i.e. “birds”).

  1. Baleful case of vile fiend raised (7)

Answer: VENOMED (i.e. “baleful”). Solution is VE (i.e. “case of vile”, i.e. the first and last letter of “vile”) followed by DEMON (i.e. “fiend”) reversed (indicated by “raised” – this being a down clue), like so: VE-NOMED.

  1. Drop high ball with slippery glue coating (7)

Answer: GLOBULE (i.e. “drop”). Solution is LOB (i.e. “high ball”) placed in or “coated” by an anagram (indicated by “slippery”) of GLUE, like so: G(LOB)ULE.

  1. Catch up, wanting desperately to cover cup game (6,7)

Answer: TENPIN BOWLING (i.e. “game”). Solution is NET (i.e. “catch”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and followed by PINING (i.e. “wanting desperately”) once wrapped around or “covering” BOWL (i.e. “cup”), like so: TEN-PIN(BOWL)ING.

  1. Standard question in audition banned (5,3)

Answer: RULED OUT (i.e. “banned”). Solution is RULE (i.e. “standard”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “in audition”) of DOUBT (i.e. “question”), like so: RULE-DOUT.

  1. Speaker’s demonstrated old sound, using unnecessary words (12)

Answer: TAUTOLOGICAL (i.e. “using unnecessary words”, or stating something that has already been established in a sentence). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “speaker’s”) of TAUGHT (i.e. “demonstrated”) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and LOGICAL (i.e. “sound”), like so: TAUT-O-LOGICAL. A clue made significantly harder when you only have the even letters of the solution to work from. If you ever hear me grump about a lack of grid awareness from setters, this is the kind of thing I mean.

  1. Key hanging on length of cotton thread (5)

Answer: LISLE (i.e. “cotton thread”). Solution is ISLE (i.e. “key”, as in the geographical feature) placed “on” or after L (a recognised abbreviation of “length”), like so: L-ISLE.

  1. Order CIA just read settled matter (3,8)

Answer: RES JUDICATA (i.e. “settled matter” in legalese, from the Latin). “Order” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CIA JUST READ.

  1. Examiner’s child with unusual clothing snatches it back (10)

Answer: QUESTIONER (i.e. “examiner”). Solution is SON (i.e. “child”) placed in or “clothed” by QUEER (i.e. “unusual”) and itself wrapped around or “snatching” IT once reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: QUE(S(TI)ON)ER.

  1. Person of advanced years fools fliers (4,5)

Answer: GREY GEESE (i.e. “fliers”). Solution is GREY (i.e. “person of advanced years”) followed by GEESE (i.e. “fools”, a silly person is sometimes called a goose).

  1. Child’s favourite bed close to cot, ready to be moved (5,4)

Answer: TEDDY BEAR (i.e. “child’s favourite”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to be moved”) of BED, T (i.e. “close to cot”, i.e. the last letter of “cot”) and READY.

  1. Rigidity is recurrent in part of joint (7)

Answer: TENSION (i.e. “rigidity”). Solution is IS reversed (indicated by “recurrent” – an anatomical term: “running back in the opposite direction or toward the place of origin” (Chambers)) and placed “in” TENON (i.e. “part of joint”, specifically a sticky-out bit that goes in a pokey-in bit. My future as a celebrated lexicographer is secure), like so: TEN(SI)ON.

  1. Live in trendy manner (7)

Answer: INHABIT (i.e. “live in”). Solution is IN followed by HABIT (i.e. “trendy manner”). Nice bit of recycling.

  1. Tranquil stretch of Medicine River flowing north (6)

Answer: IRENIC (i.e. “tranquil”). “Stretch of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “flowing north” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: MEDI(CINE RI)VER. Nicely worked.

  1. Hall for accommodating the elderly (5)

Answer: FOYER (i.e. “hall”). Solution is FOR wrapped around or “accommodating” YE (i.e. “the elderly”, i.e. ye olde form of “the”), like so: FO(YE)R.

  1. Menacing sergeant major leaves looking complacent (4)

Answer: UGLY (i.e. “menacing”). Solution is SMUGLY (i.e. “looking complacent”) with the SM removed (indicated by “sergeant major leaving” – SM being a recognised abbreviation of “Sergeant-Major”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1514

For the most part this was a relatively easy one save for the top-left corner. Thankfully, once my holiday-brain cranked into gear, the pieces eventually fell into place. The big let-down, however, was the number of recent repeats peppering the grid. Again. I appreciate there are umpteen setters for these things and that they aren’t psychic, but it can’t take much to communicate a moratorium on certain solutions to prevent their overuse. Otherwise it all feeds into my conspiracy theory that the grids are being algorithmically set for setters to clue up later, that the algorithm is the genesis of Skynet, and that pretty soon we’re all going to be overrun by Terminators with curiously large vocabularies.

Anyway, back in the here and now, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has done for you then you might find enlightenment in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions to the last 160+ of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind comments and help. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers got on, or if there’s something I’ve missed.

Stay safe out there, kids. I’ll be along shortly with the next one.

LP

Across clues

  1. Lamb tender second-rate old butcher’s taken secretly (2,4)

Answer: BO PEEP (i.e. “lamb tender”, albeit one prone to losing them). Solution is B (i.e. “second-rate”, i.e. B grade) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and PEEP (i.e. “butcher’s taken secretly”, “butcher’s” being cockney rhyming slang for “look”, i.e. butchers hook).

  1. Daughter abandoning plans to adopt new standards (7)

Answer: ENSIGNS (i.e. “standards” or flags). Solution is DESIGNS (i.e. “plans”) with the D removed (indicated by “daughter abandoning” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) and the remainder wrapped around or “adopting” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: E(N)SIGNS.

  1. Cars here needing to be broken in systematic investigation (8)

Answer: RESEARCH (i.e. “systematic investigation”). “Needing to be broken” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CARS HERE.

  1. Cash for confidences: not an offer Simple Simon could have made? (1,5,3,4,8)

Answer: A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS (i.e. “cash for confidences”). The remainder of the clue plays on the nursery rhyme Simple Simon, in which he asks a pieman for a taste of his wares but hasn’t the money to buy any.

  1. Revolutionary husband taking place in long assignment (8)

Answer: MARATHON (i.e. “long assignment”). Solution is Jean-Paul MARAT (i.e. “revolutionary”, specifically a key player in the French Revolution) followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) and ON (i.e. “taking place”). Sigh… Regular readers will know I often have a bee in my bonnet when setters repeatedly slot the same solutions into their grids, but this one’s starting to take the piss. This is the fourth time MARATHON has appeared in these things in the last year or so, and on three occasions Jean-Paul Marat is inferenced in the clue. Come on, setters, you can do better than this. Does the office encyclopaedia fall open at the same page or something?

  1. Inuit occasionally corrected legal woman (7)

Answer: NIGELLA (i.e. “woman”, basically a woman’s name). Solution is NI (i.e. “Inuit occasionally”, i.e. every other letter of INUIT) followed by an anagram (indicated by “corrected”) of LEGAL, like so: NI-GELLA. Another bugbear of mine is when setters slot forenames into their grids. This one’s going well, then.

  1. Try to catch start of hockey or bit of cricket? (6)

Answer: THORAX (the bit of the body between the head and the abdomen, i.e. “bit of cricket” and, I guess, about a squillion other species besides). Solution is TAX (i.e. to “try” or challenge) wrapped around or “catching” H (i.e. “start [letter] of hockey”) and OR, like so: T(H-OR)AX.

  1. Violent criminal blocks way with extremely scary axe (10)

Answer: PSYCHOPATH (i.e. “violent criminal”). Solution is PATH (i.e. “way”) wrapped around or “blocked” by SY (i.e. “extremely scary”, i.e. the first and last letters of “scary”) and CHOP (i.e. to “axe” something), like so: P(SY-CHOP)ATH.

  1. Tight from booze in northeast having wine brought round (4-8)

Answer: MEAN-SPIRITED (i.e. “tight”). Solution is SPIRIT (i.e. “booze”) placed “in” NE (a recognised abbreviation of “northeast”) which itself is placed in or having “round” it MEAD (i.e. “wine”), like so: MEA(N(SPIRIT)E)D.

  1. Julie’s content to consume grammes in fruit (4)

Answer: UGLI (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is ULI (i.e. “Julie’s content”, i.e. the middle letters of “Julie”) wrapped around or “consuming” G (a recognised abbreviation of “grammes”), like so: U(G)LI.

  1. Bad after short attack of sickness, regularly taking soup (8)

Answer: BOUILLON (i.e. a strong broth or “soup”). Solution is ILL (i.e. “bad”) placed “after” BOUT (i.e. “attack of sickness”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”), then followed by ON (i.e. “regularly taking” a medicine), like so: BOU-ILL-ON.

  1. Comprehensive action where detective makes entrance (8)

Answer: DETAILED (i.e. “comprehensive”). Solution is DEED (i.e. “action”) with TAIL (i.e. “detective”, as in someone who keeps tabs on a suspect) “making an entrance” like so: DE(TAIL)ED.

  1. Too eager to press for expulsion from chambers? (7-5)

Answer: TRIGGER-HAPPY (i.e. “too eager”). The remainder of the clue plays on how triggers are “pressed”, and how ammunition is fired or “expelled” from the “chamber” of a gun. You get the idea.

  1. Player paid news boss to keep brochure overlong (10)

Answer: PROTRACTED (i.e. “overlong”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “player paid”, short for a professional) and ED (i.e. “news boss”, this time short for an editor) wrapped around TRACT (i.e. “brochure”), like so: PRO-(TRACT)-ED.

  1. Reformed rat with monocle seen in casino town (5,5)

Answer: MONTE CARLO (i.e. “casino town” in Monaco). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “reformed”) of RAT and MONOCLE.

  1. Lord investing pound accepted monetary system (4,8)

Answer: GOLD STANDARD (i.e. former “monetary system”). Solution is GOD (i.e. “lord”) wrapped around or “investing” L (a recognised abbreviation of a “pound” weight, after the Latin libra) and followed by STANDARD (i.e. “accepted”), like so: GO(L)D-STANDARD.

  1. Slight criticism when each son gives way to female deception (4-4)

Answer: FLIM-FLAM (i.e. “deception”). Solution is SLIM (i.e. “slight”) and SLAM (i.e. “criticism”) with the S from both (indicated by “each son”, S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”) replaced with or “giving way to” F (ditto “female”), like so: (S)LIM-(S)LAM => (F)LIM-(F)LAM.

  1. Column only remaining in support for bridge (8)

Answer: PILASTER (i.e. “column”). Solution is LAST (i.e. “only remaining”) placed “in” PIER (i.e. “support for bridge”), like so: PI(LAST)ER.

  1. Wrong when coming west to entertain second-rate writers (4)

Answer: NIBS (i.e. “writers”). Solution is SIN (i.e. “wrong”) reversed (indicated by “when coming west” – this being an across clue) and wrapped round or “entertaining” B (i.e. “second-rate”, as seen in 1a), like so: NI(B)S.

  1. Nancy’s indefinable quality? (2,2,4,4)

Answer: JE NE SAIS QUOI (i.e. “indefinably quality”). “Nancy’s” refers to the French city, Nancy, and this being a French phrase. Another recent repeat, sadly.

  1. Issue lacking clear boundaries for intelligence (4,6)

Answer: GREY MATTER. Solution satisfies “issue lacking clear boundaries” and “intelligence”.

  1. Officer shot landowners (6)

Answer: GENTRY (i.e. “landowners”). Solution is GEN (i.e. “officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a general) followed by TRY (i.e. an attempt or “shot” at something).

  1. Justify upright character being drawn into old scheme (7)

Answer: EXPLAIN (i.e. “justify”). Solution is I (i.e. the “upright character” of the alphabet) placed or “drawn into” EX-PLAN (i.e. “old scheme”), like so: EX-PLA(I)N.

  1. Refuse to become sad (4,4)

Answer: TURN DOWN (i.e. “refuse”). Solution is TURN (i.e. “to become”) followed by DOWN (i.e. “sad”).

  1. Wag from Portland twice as flash? (3,6,2,1,5,4)

Answer: TWO SHAKES OF A LAMB’S TAIL. Clue plays on Portland being a variety of sheep, and how “wag” can be a shake of a tail. Ho hum. Another repeat, this time from the not-exactly-ancient puzzle 1507. Even the clue is broadly the same, and the fact the solution is a big ‘un just amplifies the disappointment.

  1. Call for help involving black politician in pathetic tale (3,5)

Answer: SOB STORY (i.e. “pathetic tale”). Solution is SOS (i.e. “call for help”) wrapped around or “involving” B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) and followed by TORY (i.e. “politician”), like so: SO(B)S-TORY.

  1. Fox pelt we hear of in Bow? (7)

Answer: REYNARD (i.e. “fox”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “we hear”) of RAIN HARD (i.e. “pelt”) once the H of HARD has been removed (indicated by “in Bow”, as in ‘ow all ‘em cockneys are forever droppin’ their bleedin’ aitches, inney? That and selling stolen goods to one another). A new one on me. I like it.

  1. Horror-struck scallywag has turned to bottle (6)

Answer: AGHAST (i.e. “horror-struck”). “To bottle” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: SCALLYW(AG HAS T)URNED.

Down clues

  1. City in South Africa in quite nice area (5)

Answer: OSAKA (i.e. “city” in Japan). Solution is SA (a recognised abbreviation of “South Africa”) placed “in” OK (i.e. “quite nice”) and followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), like so: O(SA)K-A. A clue that’s a little 20a, shall we say?

  1. Impressive – as grey eminence evidently is? (3-8)

Answer: EYE-CATCHING (i.e. “impressive”). Clue plays on how EYE has been hidden, or CAUGHT, within GR(EY E)MINENCE.

  1. God as necessary consequence guarding over temple (8)

Answer: PANTHEON (i.e. “temple”). Solution is PAN (i.e. Greek “god” of the forest and such) followed by THEN (i.e. “necessary consequence”) once wrapped around or “guarding” O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), like so: PAN-THE(O)N. Needed a push from my Bradford’s to get over the line. The top-left corner of the grid was a bit of a horror show.

  1. Small and delicate female rising river claims (5)

Answer: ELFIN (i.e. “small and delicate”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) placed in or “claimed” by NILE (i.e. “river”) once reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: EL(F)IN.

  1. Screw up introduction to calculus course in school (7)

Answer: SCRUNCH (i.e. “screw up”). Solution is C (i.e. “introduction to calculus”, i.e. the first letter of “calculus”) and RUN (i.e. “course”) both placed “in” SCH (a recognised abbreviation of “school”), like so: S(C-RUN)CH.

  1. Handel for one humming needs no second singer (6,5)

Answer: GEORGE MELLY (i.e. “singer”). Solution is GEORGE (i.e. “Handel for one” – other Georges are available. George Melly, for example) followed by SMELLY (i.e. “humming”) once the S has been removed (indicated by “needs no second” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “second”).

  1. French philosopher enduring pain at length (5)

Answer: Georges SOREL (i.e. “French philosopher”). Solution is SORE (i.e. “enduring pain”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “length”). Was straight to Bradford’s the moment I saw “philosopher”. They’re only ever slotted in these things to fill an awkward space, after all.

  1. Went through stop light circling vehicle used for late trip? (9)

Answer: REHEARSED (i.e. “went through”). Solution is RED (i.e. “stop light”) wrapped around or “circling” HEARSE (i.e. “vehicle used for late trip”, “late” being another word for “deceased”), like so: RE(HEARSE)D.

  1. Short and low building taken over (5)

Answer: SQUAT. Solution satisfies “short and low” and “building taken over” by squatters.

  1. Ace local bar is one with a constant stimulant (11)

Answer: APHRODISIAC (i.e. “stimulant”). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used on playing cards) followed by PH (i.e. “local”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Public House), then ROD (i.e. “bar”), then IS, then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then A and C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”).

  1. Lawsuit about rotter in dramatic fall (7)

Answer: CASCADE (i.e. “dramatic fall”). Solution is CASE (i.e. “lawsuit”) wrapped “about” CAD (i.e. “rotter”), like so: CAS(CAD)E.

  1. Dish needs sweetheart to send delivery (5,4)

Answer: SUGAR BOWL (i.e. a kind of “dish”). Solution is SUGAR (i.e. “sweetheart”, both terms of endearment) followed by BOWL (i.e. “send delivery” in a number of ball games).

  1. One more article with books leading lady sent round hotel (7)

Answer: ANOTHER (i.e. “one more”). Solution is AN (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) followed by OT (i.e. “books”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible) and ER (i.e. “leading lady”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) once wrapped “round” H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet) like so: AN-OT-(H)-ER.

  1. State capital level as on plain (9)

Answer: ANNAPOLIS (i.e. US “state capital” of Maryland). “Level” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AS ON PLAIN.

  1. Domestic a learner following orderly sequence announced (8)

Answer: INTERNAL (i.e. “domestic”). Solution is A and L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner” used on L-plates) placed after or “following” a homophone (indicated by “announced”) of IN TURN (i.e. “orderly sequence”), like so: (IN-TERN)-A-L.

  1. I’m to assist an erring actor, posh, lacking script? (9)

Answer: IMPROMPTU (i.e. spontaneous or “lacking script”). Solution is I’M followed by PROMPT (i.e. “to assist an erring actor” with their lines) and U (“posh” or indicating the upper class, what, old thing, tally-ho and such).

  1. Dreadful crustacean in river drained lake (9)

Answer: EXECRABLE (i.e. “dreadful”). Solution is CRAB (i.e. “crustacean”) placed “in” between EXE (i.e. a “river”) and LE (i.e. “drained lake”, i.e. the word “lake” with all its middle letters removed), like so: EXE-(CRAB)-LE.

  1. I’m sorry copper interrupting restaurant date with old man (3,5)

Answer: MEA CULPA (i.e. my bad, or “I’m sorry”). Solution is CU (chemical symbol of “copper”) placed in or “interrupting” MEAL (i.e. “restaurant date”) and PA (i.e. father or “old man”), like so: MEA(CU)L-PA.

  1. Dirty bones scattered round church (7)

Answer: OBSCENE (i.e. “dirty”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “scattered”) of BONES wrapped “round” CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: OBS(CE)NE.

  1. Seems put out, wildly passionate (11)

Answer: TEMPESTUOUS (i.e. “passionate”). “Wildly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SEEMS PUT OUT.

  1. Mixture left by girl, one married to the French cook (11)

Answer: GALLIMAUFRY (i.e. “mixture”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) placed after or “by” GAL (i.e. informal word for “girl”), then followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then M (a recognised abbreviation of “married”), then AU (i.e. “to the French”, i.e. the French for “to the”) and FRY (i.e. “cook”), like so: GAL-(L)-I-M-AU-FRY. Cool word. Like it.

  1. Hackneyed rubbish to include poem Henry finished first (4,2,5)

Answer: DONE TO DEATH (i.e. “hackneyed” – a tacit admission of all these repeats, perhaps?) Solution is TAT (i.e. “rubbish”) wrapped around or “including” ODE (i.e. “poem”) and followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “Henry”, a unit of measurement popular with setters these days). DONE (i.e. “finished”) is then placed “first” ahead of all this, like so: DONE-(T(ODE)AT-H).

  1. Superior clue might one readily admit? (6,3)

Answer: MASTER KEY (i.e. “might one readily admit” access). Solution is MASTER (i.e. “superior”) followed by KEY (i.e. “clue”, as in how they both unlock stuff in their own ways. Interestingly, a variant spelling of clue is “clew”, which is a thread that guides through a maze, which also kind of fits. Ish.)

  1. Before noon wild boar is heavenly food (8)

Answer: AMBROSIA (i.e. “heavenly food”). Solution is AM (i.e. “before noon”, short for the Latin ante meridiem) followed by an anagram (indicated by “wild”) of BOAR IS, like so: AM-BROSIA.

  1. Choose gold mounting for plate (7)

Answer: ELECTRO (i.e. “plate”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of electroplate, the process of applying a coat of metal to stuff using electrolysis). Solution is ELECT (i.e. “choose”) followed by OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry) once this latter has been reversed (indicated by “mounting” – this being a down clue), like so: ELECT-RO.

  1. Concentrations of strength seen in good old England (7)

Answer: GANGLIA (i.e. “concentrations of strength”, the plural of ganglion. When they’re not scary looking tumours, ganglia can also describe nerve cells or centres of energy or activity. A bit of a leap to describe them as concentrations of strength, though). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) followed by ANGLIA (i.e. “old England”).

  1. Philistine always knocked over? Goliath finally ducks (5)

Answer: YAHOO (i.e. “philistine”, both taken to mean boorish or uncultured types). Solution is AY (i.e. “always”, both forms of assent) reversed (indicated by “knocked over” – this being a down clue) and followed by H (i.e. “Goliath finally”, i.e. the last letter of “Goliath”), then O and O (i.e. both “ducks”, i.e. zero scores in cricket), like so: YA-H-OO.

  1. One to sit with vexed question? (5)

Answer: POSER. Solution satisfies “one to sit” for an artist, and “vexed question”.

  1. Man with credentials retiring (5)

Answer: TIMID (i.e. “retiring”). Solution is TIM (i.e. a “man’s” name) followed by ID (i.e. “credentials” or identity).

  1. Falters under pressure in southern county (5)

Answer: WILTS. Solution satisfies “falters under pressure” and “southern county”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Wiltshire.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1513

A medium strength puzzle this week that didn’t stand out much from the crowd, but did offer the kind of steady progression I like. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

If a recent Jumbo has had you shaking your fists to the sky bellowing “damn you setter!!!!” then you might find my Just For Fun page of use. There you’ll find links to solutions for the last 160+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and help, folks. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared, or if there is an alternative take I have not considered. Note that I’ll be away from my laptop next weekend. All being well I’ll resume posting upon my return later on in the week. Till next time, stay safe and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Supports sailors circumnavigating island in secret (10)

Answer: BACKSTAIRS (i.e. “secret” or underhand). Solution is BACKS (i.e. “supports”) followed by TARS (informal word for “sailors”) once wrapped around or “circumnavigating” I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: BACKS-TA(I)RS.

  1. Possible description of home in homage, a redeeming feature (6,6)

Answer: SILVER LINING (i.e. “a redeeming feature”). Clue plays on how “home” can be wrapped around or provide a LINING for Ag (chemical symbol of SILVER) to produce the word “homage”, like so “hom(Ag)e”.

  1. Large insect covering a short distance (7)

Answer: MAMMOTH (i.e. “large”). Solution is MOTH (i.e. “insect”) wrapped around or “covering” A and MM (i.e. “short distance”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of a millimetre), like so: M(A-MM)OTH.

  1. Fish struck in the side (7)

Answer: WHITING (i.e. “fish”). Solution is HIT (i.e. “struck”) placed “in” WING (i.e. “side”), like so: W(HIT)ING.

  1. Climbing aid? It’s a fiddle securing slope (7)

Answer: CRAMPON (i.e. “climbing aid”). Solution is CON (i.e. “fiddle”) wrapped around or “securing” RAMP (i.e. “slope”), like so: C(RAMP)ON.

  1. Initial figure reduced by half for attractive instrument (4)

Answer: LUTE (i.e. “instrument”). Total guess, this one, so watch out. The clue seems to require solvers take half of an existing word to yield the solution, but there aren’t many words that begin or end in LUTE, and none that immediately satisfy “initial figure”. If a kind soul swings by with the solution then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Hats off to Chris in the comments for digging up the dirt on this one. The solution is CUTE (i.e. “attractive”) with the C (its “initial figure”, a reference to the first letter being 100 in Roman numerals) being replaced by L (i.e. “reduced by half”, L being 50 in Roman numerals), like so: (C)UTE => (L)UTE. Good grief, setter! Also, cheers Chris! – LP]

  1. Cry of surprise in autumn abroad, losing last of blossoms (6)

Answer: FLORAL (i.e. “of blossoms”). Solution is LOR (i.e. “cry of surprise”, a contraction of “lord”) placed “in” FALL (i.e. “autumn abroad”, specifically North America) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “losing last”), like so: F(LOR)AL.

  1. Loud type of jazz, not without heart (8)

Answer: STRIDENT (i.e. “loud”). Solution is STRIDE (i.e. “type of jazz”, Chambers offers “stride piano” if that helps) followed by NT (i.e. “not without heart”, i.e. the word “not” with its middle letter removed).

  1. Make a meal of ingratitude? (4,3,4,4,5,3)

Answer: BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS ONE, (i.e. “ingratitude”). Clue plays on meals and feeding and all that palaver. You get the idea.

  1. Essence of chess to sanction capturing pieces? That’s the essential part (7)

Answer: ELEMENT (i.e. “the essential part”). Solution is E (i.e. “essence of chess”, i.e. the middle letter of “chess”) and LET (i.e. “to sanction”) all wrapped around or “capturing” MEN (i.e. chess “pieces”), like so: E-LE(MEN)T.

  1. Disdaining to take in operatic cycle after receiving note (8)

Answer: SNEERING (i.e. “disdaining”). Solution is SEE RING (i.e. “take in operatic cycle”, referring to The Ring Cycle by Richard Wagner) wrapped around or “receiving” N (a recognised abbreviation of “note”), like so: S(N)EE-RING.

  1. Scoundrel’s wife needing support (6)

Answer: WEASEL (i.e. “scoundrel”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) followed by EASEL (an artist’s “support”).

  1. Cold and nasty dank old garage, associated with intrigue (5-3-6)

Answer: CLOAK-AND-DAGGER (i.e. “associated with intrigue”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “nasty”) of DANK OLD GARAGE, like so: C-LOAKANDDAGGER.

  1. Pilot show, say, in stupid series (5,3)

Answer: DUMMY RUN (i.e. “pilot show, say”, an example of an experimental run of something). Solution is DUMMY (i.e. “stupid”) followed by RUN (i.e. a “series”).

  1. Organ song bearing fruit? On the contrary (8)

Answer: MELODEON (i.e. a reed “organ”). Solution is MELON (i.e. “fruit”) wrapped around or “bearing” ODE (i.e. “song”), like so: MEL(ODE)ON. “On the contrary” indicates we need to decode “fruit bearing song”, rather than the “song bearing fruit” shown in the clue. Bradford’s bailed me out of this one, albeit under a variant spelling.

  1. Beer’s not cool – gutless drunks converted to become this? (5-4,5)

Answer: STONE-COLD SOBER (i.e. “this” within context of the clue, i.e. the result of converting drunks). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “converted”) of BEER’S NOT COOL and DS (i.e. “gutless drunks”, i.e. the word “drunks” with all its middle letters removed).

  1. Take contents from a French collection of suits (6)

Answer: UNPACK (i.e. “take contents from”). Solution is UN (i.e. “a French”, i.e. the masculine form of “a” in French) followed by PACK (i.e. “collection of suits”, i.e. a pack of cards).

  1. One hopes to discover former Priest retaining lessons of history? (8)

Answer: EXPLORER (i.e. “one hopes to discover”). Solution is EX (i.e. “former”) followed by PR (a recognised abbreviation of “priest”) once wrapped around or “retaining” LORE (i.e. “lessons of history”), like so: EX-P(LORE)R.

  1. It’s what laureate receives, bloke granted (7)

Answer: CHAPLET (i.e. a wreath or “what laureate receives”). Solution is CHAP (i.e. “bloke”) followed by LET (i.e. allowed or “granted”).

  1. Radio waves and so on providing entry for company in revised recent computer game list (15,8)

Answer: ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM (i.e. “radio waves and so on”). Solution is C (i.e. “entry for company”, i.e. the first letter of “company”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “revised”) of RECENT COMPUTER GAME LIST.

  1. Fluttering lids seen in dalliance? (8)

Answer: IDLENESS (i.e. “dalliance”). “Fluttering” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LIDS SEEN. Nicely worked.

  1. Managing minor employee in control of security number (6)

Answer: COPING (i.e. “managing”). Solution is COG (i.e. “minor employee”) wrapped around or “in control of” PIN (i.e. “security number”, specifically a Personal Identification Number), like so: CO(PIN)G.

  1. Audience’s first objection backing brass instrument (4)

Answer: TUBA (i.e. “grass instrument”). Solution is A (i.e. “audience’s first”, i.e. the first letter of “audience”) followed by BUT (i.e. “objection”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “backing”), like so: TUB-A.

  1. Nonsense – I should replace article – here’s a minor adjustment (7)

Answer: TWIDDLE (i.e. “minor adjustment”). Solution is TWADDLE (i.e. “nonsense”) with the A (an “article”, being a word like a, an or the) “replaced” by I, like so: TW(A)DDLE => TW(I)DDLE.

  1. Childhood dreams occur thus? (7)

Answer: INFANCY (i.e. “childhood”). When written as IN FANCY the solution also satisfies “dreams occur thus”.

  1. Foolishness in a year will have fool incarcerated (7)

Answer: INANITY (i.e. “foolishness”). Solution is IN A and Y (a recognised abbreviation of “year”) all wrapped around or “incarcerating” NIT (i.e. “fool”), like so: IN-A-(NIT)-Y.

  1. Party subordinate with yen to cover the old foreign policy hypothesis (6,6)

Answer: DOMINO THEORY (i.e. “foreign policy hypothesis”, specifically one from the Cold War that a communist government in one nation would quickly lead to communist takeovers in its neighbours). Solution is DO (i.e. “party”), MINOR (i.e. “subordinate”) and Y (a recognised abbreviation of “yen”) all wrapped around or “covering” THE and O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: DO-MINO(THE-O)R-Y.

  1. One tweets: “Shift European capital – opening for reinvestment” (10)

Answer: BUDGERIGAR (i.e. “one tweets”). Solution is BUDGE (i.e. “shift”) followed by RIGA (i.e. “European capital”, specifically that of Latvia) and R (i.e. “opening for reinvestment”, i.e. the first letter of “reinvestment”).

Down clues

  1. Dickens character needing a lot of ale, being a busy figure (9)

Answer: BUMBLEBEE (i.e. “busy figure”, as in the phrase “busy as a bumblebee”). Solution is Mr BUMBLE (i.e. “Dickens character” from Oliver Twist) followed by BEER (i.e. “ale”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of”), like so: BUMBLE-BEE.

  1. Get very heated – a lot of bother involved in old aircraft fuel (4,2,3,4)

Answer: COME TO THE BOIL (i.e. “get very heated”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “involved”) of BOTHE (i.e. “a lot of bother”, i.e. the word “bother” with its last letter removed) placed “in” between COMET (i.e. “old aircraft”, the world’s first commercial jet airliner) and OIL (i.e. “fuel”), like so: COMET-(OTHEB)-OIL.

  1. Broadcast interrupted by new interference (4)

Answer: SNOW (i.e. “interference” associated with iffy analogue television reception – ask your grandparents, kids). Solution is SOW (i.e. “broadcast”) wrapped around N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: S(N)OW.

  1. After bagging Munro, say, experts continue to nurse part of foot (8,6)

Answer: ACHILLES TENDON (i.e. “part of foot”). Solution is ACES (i.e. “experts”) wrapped around HILL (i.e. “Munro, say” – a new one on me, a Munro is “a designation originally of Scottish (and now English, Irish and Welsh) mountains over 3000 feet” (Chambers)) and followed by TEND ON (i.e. “continue to nurse”), like so: (AC(HILL)ES)-TEND-ON.

  1. Bank controversy (3)

Answer: ROW. Solution satisfies line or “bank”, and “controversy”.

  1. One getting second after one first in race gets flag (4)

Answer: IRIS (i.e. “flag” – a variant meaning of the word is “an iris”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) placed “after” I (“one” again) and R (i.e. “first in race”, i.e. the first letter of “race”), like so: I-R-(I-S).

  1. Having a dull time – herbivorous, say, and swallowing last of meat (10)

Answer: VEGETATING (i.e. “having a dull time”). Solution is VEG EATING (i.e. “herbivorous, say”) wrapped around or “swallowing” T (i.e. “last of meat”, i.e. the last letter of “meat”), like so: VEG-E(T)ATING.

  1. English church encircled by current fence (8)

Answer: RECEIVER (i.e. “fence”, or someone handling or receiving stolen goods). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England) placed in or “encircled by” RIVER (i.e. “current”), like so: R(E-CE)IVER.

  1. Statement from owner of paper about Democrat’s rallying cry in US? (1,4,1,5)

Answer: I HAVE A DREAM (i.e. Martin Luther King Jnr’s “rallying cry in US”). Solution is I HAVE A REAM (i.e. “statement from owner of paper”) wrapped “about” D (a recognised abbreviation of “Democrat”).

  1. Sadly time’s up without you heading off – that’s thoughtless (9)

Answer: IMPETUOUS (i.e. “thoughtless”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sadly”) of TIME’S UP wrapped around or placed “without” of YOU once it’s first letter has been removed (indicated by “heading off”), like so: IMPETU(OU)S.

  1. Note framed by giant percussion instrument (4)

Answer: GONG (i.e. “percussion instrument”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “note”) placed in or “framed by” GOG (i.e. “giant”, one half of Gog and Magog, “the last two survivors of a mythical race of giants inhabiting ancient Britain” (Chambers)), like so: GO(N)G.

  1. Making shift, daughter is joining second daughter in box (8)

Answer: DISLODGE (i.e. “making [something] shift”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by IS, then D (again, “daughter”) once placed “in” LOGE (i.e. “box”, over to Chambers again: “a box in the theatre or opera house”), like so: D-IS-LO(D)GE.

  1. Has to gather round piano in bar – unknown emotional piece (8)

Answer: RHAPSODY (i.e. “emotional piece”). Solution is HAS wrapped “round” P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, or quietly in musical lingo), and itself placed “in” ROD (i.e. “bar”). This is all then followed by Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in their clues as unknowns), like so: R(HA(P)S)OD-Y.

  1. “Run bearing rump”? The opposite: it’s “run baring rump” (6)

Answer: STREAK (i.e. “run baring rump”). Solution is STEAK (i.e. “rump”) wrapped around or “bearing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games), like so: ST(R)EAK. Like 34a, “the opposite” indicates we’re swapping round the words of “run bearing rump” to get the solution.

  1. Coven, perhaps, subsequently hosting ghastly rite (8)

Answer: THIRTEEN (i.e. “coven, perhaps” – a coven can specifically be a group of thirteen witches). Solution is THEN (i.e. “subsequently”) wrapped around or “hosting” an anagram (indicated by “ghastly”) of RITE, like so: TH(IRTE)EN.

  1. Comfortable seat in play area on ship (8)

Answer: RECLINER (i.e. “comfortable seat”). Solution is REC (i.e. recreation or “play area”) followed by LINER (i.e. “ship”).

  1. Government investment? Quiet dancing club is undecided (6,8)

Answer: PUBLIC SPENDING (i.e. “government investment”). Solution is P (i.e. “quiet”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “dancing”) of CLUB IS, then PENDING (i.e. “undecided”), like so: P-UBLICS-PENDING.

  1. One arriving, about to dump office machine (8)

Answer: COMPUTER (i.e. “office machine”). Solution is COMER (i.e. “one arriving”) wrapped “about” PUT (i.e. “to dump”), like so: COM(PUT)ER.

  1. Manage Japanese sandal, extended (3,5)

Answer: GET ALONG (i.e. “manage”). Solution is GETA (i.e. “Japanese sandal” – a new one on me) followed by LONG (i.e. “extended”).

  1. Agitated one is beginning to blame burglar for causing uproar (6-7)

Answer: RABBLE-ROUSING (i.e. “causing uproar”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “agitated”) of ONE IS, B (i.e. “beginning [letter] to blame”) and BURGLAR.

  1. A competition to store grain in seed container (5-3)

Answer: ACORN-CUP (i.e. “seed container”). Solution is A and CUP (i.e. “competition”) wrapped around or “storing” CORN (i.e. “grain”), like so: A-(CORN)-CUP.

  1. Notice oddly shaped flowering plant (11)

Answer: DICOTYLEDON (i.e. a classification of “flowering plant”). “Shaped” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NOTICE ODDLY. A rare fail for my Bradford’s. The wordplay was reasonably obvious but took a fair amount of brute force in my Chambers to nail. Not a word that will live long in the memory, sadly.

  1. Observation in support of singular quantity of material (6)

Answer: SWATCH (i.e. “quantity of material”). Solution is WATCH (i.e. “observation”) placed after or “in support of” – this being a down clue – S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”), like so: S-WATCH.

  1. Part of car, as it happens, not initially complete (10)

Answer: EXHAUSTIVE (i.e. “complete”). Solution is EXHAUST (i.e. “part of car”) followed by LIVE (i.e. “as it happens”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “not initially”), like so: EXHAUST-IVE.

  1. Communist committee to believe almost all about old African tyrant (9)

Answer: PRESIDIUM (i.e. “communist committee” of the old Soviet Union). Solution is PRESUME (i.e. “to believe”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost all”) and the remainder placed “about” IDI Amin (i.e. “old African tyrant”), like so: PRES(IDI)UM. Chalk one to Bradford’s. I’d reached the “bugger it” point.

  1. Hire after receiving elevated quote? That’s not saying much (8)

Answer: RETICENT (i.e. “not saying much”). Solution is RENT (i.e. “hire”) wrapped around or “receiving” CITE (i.e. “quote”) once reversed (indicated by “elevated” – this being a down clue), like so: R(ETIC)ENT.

  1. Literary hero some way misrepresented in first couple of translations (3,6)

Answer: TOM SAWYER (i.e. “literary hero” of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn books). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “misrepresented”) of SOMEWAY placed “in” TR (i.e. “first couple [of letters] of TRanslations”), like so: T(OMSAWYE)R.

  1. Feeling the blues rhythm without much stress (8)

Answer: DOWNBEAT (i.e. relaxed, unworried or “without much stress”). Solution is DOWN (i.e. “feeling the blues”) followed by BEAT (i.e. “rhythm”).

  1. Boss with a lot of scholarship (4)

Answer: STUD (i.e. “boss”). Solution is STUDY (i.e. “scholarship”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of…”).

  1. A group of aviators soaring a great distance (4)

Answer: AFAR (i.e. “great distance”). Solution is A followed by RAF (i.e. “group of aviators”, specifically the Royal Air Force) once reversed (indicated by “soaring” – this being a down clue), like so: A-FAR.

  1. Supporting justice? Fine attitude (4)

Answer: FAIR (i.e. “supporting justice”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils) followed by AIR (i.e. “attitude”).

  1. Solver’s early days? Half of that is forgotten (3)

Answer: YOU (i.e. “solver” from the point of view of the setter). Solution is YOUTH (i.e. “early days”) with the TH removed (indicated by “half of THat is forgotten”).