Here’s this week’s Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword for any crossword nuts out there, along with explanations of my solutions. This was a noticeably easier puzzle than the previous few. It’s either that or I’ve found a setter I’m in tune with. This sometimes happened when I used to do The Guardian cryptic crossword during lunch breaks, back when I used to have such things as lunch breaks. Some setters’ puzzles I could do in the space of three cigarettes, back when I used to smoke such things as cigarettes. The fondly-remembered Araucaria, however, was a setter who would stump me every time – I’d be lucky to solve more than a handful of his clues. The Times don’t seem to credit their setters, which is a shame.
Anyway, enough misty-eyed blathering. Herewith my solution.
1. Smash-hit person who sells more albums than anyone else, say? (6-7)
Answer: RECORD-BREAKER. As you can see, the solution satisfies the hints in the clue.
8. Withdraws bad marks (9)
Answer: SCRATCHES. Solution satisfies both “withdraws” and “bad marks”.
13. Flap, being emotional in extremis after drink (5)
Answer: LAPEL (i.e. “flap”). Solution is EL (i.e. “emotional in extremis”, i.e. the first and last letters – the extremes – of the word “emotional”) preceded by (i.e. “after”) LAP (i.e. “drink”), like so: LAP-EL.
14. Men going round part of church taking time, as one might normally expect (2,7)
Answer: ON AVERAGE (i.e. “as one might normally expect”). Solution is OR (i.e. “men”, specifically “other ranks” in the military… I can hear the internet sharpening their knives already) surrounding (i.e. “going round”) NAVE (i.e. “part of church”), then followed by (i.e. “taking”) AGE (i.e. “time”), like so: O(NAVE)R-AGE.
15. Order the whole lot to go to battle site (7)
Answer: SUMMONS (i.e. “order”). Solution is SUM (i.e. “the whole lot”) followed by MONS (i.e. “battle site” – The Battle of Mons was an early battle of the First World War)
16. Club prices to change – it’s an element of economic management (6,6)
Answer: PUBLIC SECTOR (i.e. “an element of economic management”). “Change” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CLUB PRICES TO.
17. Goods in cube, wrapped in cheap paper, in iron case (10)
Answer: FREIGHTAGE (i.e. “goods”). Solution is EIGHT (i.e. “cube”, i.e. a cube number, in this case 2 x 2 x 2 = 8) surrounded by (i.e. “wrapped in”) RAG (i.e. “cheap paper”, as in a cheap newspaper) which is itself surrounded by FE (i.e. “in iron case”, Fe is the chemical symbol of iron), like so: F(R(EIGHT)AG)E. A valid, albeit slightly overengineered clue.
18. Fire ultimately provided in one prison when it’s very cold (3,3)
Answer: ICE AGE (i.e. “when it’s very cold”). Solution is E (i.e. “fire ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of the word “fire”) placed in (i.e. “provided in”) I CAGE (i.e. “one prison”) like so: IC(E)AGE.
19. After prayer, maybe render hymn that’s well liked (8)
Answer: PLEASING (i.e. “well liked”). Solution is PLEA (i.e. “prayer”) followed by SING (i.e. “render hymn” – I guess not many words ended with “hum-hum-hum” or “stare at the stained glass windows”).
21. Not connected to e.g. Oxford? (6)
Answer: UNSHOD. The solution hangs on Oxford being a type of shoe, and so to not be connected to an Oxford is to be “unshod”.
24. Audacity? It is, briefly, to nick vehicle for jaunts (10)
Answer: GALLIVANTS (i.e. “jaunts”). Solution is GALL (i.e. “audacity”) followed by IT’S (i.e. “it is, briefly”) wrapped around (i.e. “to nick”) VAN (i.e. “vehicle”), like so: GALL-I(VAN)TS.
26. Fanciful description of Ramanujan is unexpected period of flourishing (6,6)
Answer: INDIAN SUMMER. Solution satisfies both “Fanciful description of Ramanujan” and “unexpected period of flourishing”. Srinivasa Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician who lived during the British Rule of India, making him an “Indian summer”. I’ve only just looked that up, and I admit it made me smile. I thought my puns were bad.
29. Benefit through work finally (4)
Answer: PERK (i.e. “benefit”). Solution is PER (i.e. “through”) followed by K (i.e. “work finally”, i.e. the last letter of the word “work”).
30. One paid to get channels for items to be sold? (8)
Answer: PRODUCTS (i.e. “items to be sold”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “one paid”) followed by DUCTS (i.e. “channels”). For some reason, despite having the letters P_O_U_T_, it took me longer to figure this one out than most of the other clues.
31. A steerer out of control, someone grabbed by the cops? (8)
Answer: ARRESTEE (i.e. “someone grabbed by the cops”). “Out of control” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A STEERER.
34. Mischievous like Conservative in political gathering? (8)
Answer: RASCALLY (i.e. “mischievous”). Solution is AS C (i.e. “like Conservative” – C is a recognised abbreviation of the Conservative Party) slotted in RALLY (i.e. “political gathering”) like so: R(AS-C)ALLY. Only when typing this blog did I realise my first attempt, “rascable” was not only incorrect, but it wasn’t even a word. No wonder I couldn’t get the clue to fit!)
35. Nothing right in the country? That’s one sort of view? (8)
Answer: PANORAMA (i.e. “one sort of view”). Solution is O R (i.e. “nothing right”) slotted into PANAMA (i.e. “country”), like so: PAN(O-R)AMA.
36. Seen among them, utter idiot (4)
Answer: MUTT. “Seen among” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, i.e. THE(M UTT)ER.
39. Travel unresolved – get agitated? (2,2,2,3,3)
Answer: GO UP IN THE AIR. Solution satisfies both “travel unresolved” (i.e. “travel” – GO – followed by “unresolved” – UP IN THE AIR) and “get agitated”.
40. Cover protecting the female after protest is broken up (10)
Answer: DEMOLISHED (i.e. “broken up”). Solution is LID (i.e. “cover”) surrounding (i.e. “protecting”) SHE (i.e. “the female”) and preceded by (indicated by “after”) DEMO (i.e. “protest”), like so: DEMO-LI(SHE)D.
43. Group for the favoured few that may be a pest (6)
Answer: INSECT (i.e. “that may be a pest”). Solution is IN-SECT (i.e. “group for the favoured few”, which is riffing on the term “in-crowd”).
44. Anger facing blokes in television that’s about financial transaction (8)
Answer: VIREMENT, which is an accountancy term meaning an “authorised transference of a surplus to balance a deficit under another heading”. Don’t say I never learn you nuffink. Solution is IRE (i.e. “anger”) followed by (i.e. “facing”) MEN (i.e. “blokes”) surrounded by VT (i.e. “television that’s about”, i.e. the abbreviation TV reversed), like so: V(IRE-MEN)T.
45. Figures protecting university’s prestige (6)
Answer: STATUS (i.e. “prestige”). Solution is STATS (i.e. “figures”) wrapped around (i.e. “protecting”) U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) like so: STAT(U)S.
49. A city endlessly lauded sadly filled with bitterness (10)
Answer: ACIDULATED (i.e. “filled with bitterness” – this seems a little at odds with my Chambers, which suggests the word means “to make slightly acid”.) “Sadly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A, CIT (i.e. “city endlessly”, i.e. the word “city” with the last letter removed) and LAUDED.
51. Eat these – gain energy attending functions (12)
Answer: PROFITEROLES (i.e. “eat these”, indicating food). Solution is PROFIT (i.e. “gain”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) and ROLES (i.e. “functions”).
53. Full of endless craving, I was first to be exploited (3-4)
Answer: ILL-USED (i.e. “exploited”). Solution is I LED (i.e. “I was first”) wrapped around (i.e. “full of”) LUS (i.e. “endless craving”, i.e. the word “lust” with the last letter removed), like so: IL(LUS)ED.
54. Performance has elegance, we hear – one will get folk into an arena (9)
Answer: TURNSTILE (i.e. “one will get folk into an arena”). Solution is TURN (i.e. “performance”) followed by STILE (i.e. “elegance, we hear”, i.e. a homophone of “style”).
55. A community in Herts is well-informed (5)
Answer: AWARE (i.e. “well-informed”). Solution is A followed by WARE (i.e. “community in Herts”, the town of Ware is located in Hertfordshire).
56. Trade union woman, leader of Left, dealing with figures (9)
Answer: NUMERICAL (i.e. “dealing with figures”). Solution is NUM (i.e. “trade union” – specifically the National Union of Mineworkers, which is still a thing if in vastly reduced form) followed by ERICA (i.e. “woman”) and L (i.e. “leader of Left”, i.e. the first letter of “Left”).
57. Lack of elegance that is evident when no thanks are offered for meal? (13)
Answer: GRACELESSNESS. Solution satisfies both “lack of elegance” and “that is evident when no thanks…” – i.e. no saying of grace – “…are offered for meal”.
1. Having less colour coming up, grass is getting worse (9)
Answer: RELAPSING (i.e. “is getting worse”). Solution is RELAP (i.e. “having less colour coming up”, i.e. the word PALER reversed) followed by SING (i.e. “grass”, as in to grass someone up).
2. Accomplished office assistant housed in tower (7)
Answer: CAPABLE (i.e. “accomplished”). Solution is PA (i.e. “office assistant”, i.e. a personal assistant) placed in (i.e. “housed in”) CABLE (i.e. “tower”), like so: CA(PA)BLE. I’m not 100% about this one as I cannot see how a tower can be a cable or vice versa.
3. One helps cook stretch out part of the food supply (7, 3)
Answer: ROLLING PIN. Solution satisfies both “one helps cook stretch out” and “part of the food supply”. I’m guessing the latter means a rolling pin on a conveyor belt.
4. Black parasite found in garment (6)
Answer: BLOUSE (i.e. “garment”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) followed by LOUSE (i.e. “parasite”).
5. I’m one captain at sea – some hope for the slaves! (12)
Answer: EMANCIPATION, the act of setting free from restraint, i.e. “some hope for the slaves”. “At sea” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I’M ONE CAPTAIN.
6. University maiden may be sounding faint (4,4)
Answer: KEEL OVER (i.e. “faint”). Solution is KEEL (i.e. “university…may be sounding”, i.e. a homophone of Keele University in Staffordshire) followed by OVER (i.e. “maiden” – a maiden over in cricket is one where the batting team scores no runs).
7. Old coin not counterfeit (4)
Answer: REAL. Solution satisfies both “old coin” (a real was an old Spanish coin) and “not counterfeit”).
8. Formally admitting wickedness, inwardly sporting (8,2)
Answer: SWEARING IN (i.e. “formally admitting”). Solution is SIN (i.e. “wickedness”) with WEARING (i.e. “sporting”) placed inside (i.e. “inwardly”), like so: S(WEARING)IN.
9. Country game needing short pole (6)
Answer: RUSTIC (i.e. “country”). Solution is RU (i.e. “game”, specifically Rugby Union) followed by STIC (i.e. “short pole”, i.e. the word “stick” with the final letter removed). This was the last clue I solved, and for a while I was teetering between “rustic” and “Russia” as both fitted the given letters and “country”. It only clicked when I finally figured out what “RU” stood for.
10. US magazine given award in accordance with well-established tradition (4-8)
Answer: TIME-HONOURED (i.e. “in accordance with well-established tradition”). Solution is TIME (i.e. “US magazine”) followed by HONOURED (i.e. “given award”).
11. One house and another being erected – a commotion (3-2)
Answer: HOO-HA (i.e. “commotion”). Solution is HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”) followed by OH (i.e. “and another [house] being erected”, i.e. HO reversed) and A, like so: HO-OH-A.
12. Let Ben dress up unconventionally – wearing this, in drag? (9,4)
Answer: SUSPENDER BELT, an item of clothing a person in drag might wear. “Unconventionally” indicates anagram. Solution is a neat anagram of LET BEN DRESS UP.
20. Contains nuts, OK?
Answer: SANCTION (i.e. to “OK”). “Nuts” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CONTAINS.
22. Passionate woman grabs this person to present unpalatable fact (4,5)
Answer: HOME TRUTH (i.e. “unpalatable fact”). Solution is ME (i.e. “this person”) wrapped in (inferred by “grabs”) HOT RUTH (i.e. “passionate woman”), like so: HO(ME)T-RUTH.
23. Hotel obstruction after pop politician presents brochure (8)
Answer: PAMPHLET (i.e. “brochure”). Solution is H (i.e. “hotel”, which is the letter H in the phonetic alphabet) and LET (an archaic word for “obstruction”) preceded by (i.e. “after”) PA (i.e. “pop”, both terms for “father”) and MP (i.e. “politician”), like so: PA-MP-H-LET.
25. Incentive to delve into birds and plants (9)
Answer: LARKSPURS (i.e. “plants”). Solution is SPUR (i.e. “incentive”) placed in (i.e. “to delve into”) LARKS (i.e. “birds”), like so: LARK(SPUR)S.
27. Reporter Rex rushed up a hill (8)
Answer: NARRATOR (i.e. “reporter”). Solution is R (i.e. “Rex”, another word for king, abbreviated) and RAN (i.e. “rushed”) reversed (indicated by “up”) and then followed by A TOR (i.e. “a hill”), like so: NAR-R-A-TOR.
28. Escape from trouble? One man up for breaking law (3,1,4)
Answer: RUN A MILE (i.e. “escape from trouble”). Solution is I MAN (i.e. “one man”) reversed (indicated by “up”) and placed in (i.e. “breaking”) RULE (i.e. “law”), like so: RU(NAM-I)LE.
29. Wandering of person half lost, say, traveller finally joining one country (13)
Answer: PEREGRINATION (i.e. “wandering”). Word of the week for me, and one where I got the solution some significant time before I got the wordplay that led to it. Here goes! Solution is PER (i.e. “person half lost”, i.e. the word “person” with the latter half removed) followed by EG (i.e. “say”, i.e. “for example”), then R (i.e. “traveller finally”, i.e. the last letter of “traveller”) and then I NATION (i.e. “one country”), like so: PER-EG-R-I-NATION. Phew!
32. Manoeuvring bear in circus – a sort of craft (5,7)
Answer: CABIN CRUISER (i.e. “a sort of craft”). “Manoeuvring” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BEAR IN CIRCUS.
33. Government bureau not working, restricted by obvious formality (6,6)
Answer: PATENT OFFICE (i.e. “government bureau”). Solution is OFF (i.e. “not working”) placed in (i.e. “restricted by”) PATENT (i.e. “obvious”) and ICE (i.e. “formality”, i.e. a coldness of manner), like so: PATENT(OFF)ICE.
37. King, say, one mad about fighting unit (10)
Answer: REGIMENTAL (i.e. “about fighting unit”). Solution is R (i.e. “king” – another word for king, as noted earlier, is “Rex”, which can be abbreviated to “R”) followed by EG (i.e. “say”, i.e. “for example”) then I (i.e. “one”) and MENTAL (i.e. “mad”).
38. Past masters? (10)
Answer: HISTORIANS. Solution satisfies the hint dropped in the clue, i.e. people who are rather knowledgeable about the past.
41. Terrible mishaps when rubbish is dumped on plants (9)
Answer: DISASTERS (i.e. “terrible mishaps”). Solution is DIS (i.e. to “rubbish” something – both “dis” and “diss” are recognised words meaning to disrespect or to treat with contempt) followed by (i.e. “dumped on”) ASTERS (i.e. “plants”).
42. Mostly modern dance music gathers support in part of America (8)
Answer: NEBRASKA (i.e. “part of America”). Solution is NE (i.e. “mostly modern”, i.e. the word “new” with the last letter removed) and SKA (i.e. “dance music”) with BRA (i.e. “support”) in between (indicated by “gathers”), like so: NE(BRA)SKA.
46. Work on the land as prisoner wearing hat (7)
Answer: TILLAGE (i.e. “work on the land”). Solution is LAG (i.e. “prisoner”) surrounded by (i.e. “wearing”) TILE (i.e. “hat” – a tile is a slang word for a hat – not one I am familiar with, I would add), like so: TIL(LAG)E.
47. Poet’s pub – order outsiders to leave (6)
Answer: BARDIC, another word for a poetaster, or a petty “poet”. Solution is BAR (i.e. “pub”) followed by DIC (i.e. “order outsiders to leave”, i.e. the word “edict” with the first and last letters removed.)
48. Chemical drug followed by the same again (6)
Answer: ETHENE (i.e. “chemical”). Solution is E-THEN-E… E being an abbreviation of the drug “Ecstasy”, THEN the same again, E.
50. Form of belief conveyed by rabbi’s lamentation (5)
Answer: ISLAM (i.e. “form of belief”). “Conveyed by” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: RABB(I’S LAM)ENTATION.
52. Vessel burning with characters regularly escaping (4)
Answer: BRIG, a two-masted “vessel”. Solution is derived by removing regular letters from the word “burning” like so: BURNING.
Right, that’s all for now. And, yes, I know, I really, really, really should be writing.