Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1378

A good puzzle this week with a few really well-worked clues and only a handful of exotic solutions. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope they help.

As usual, some housekeeping before we begin. If you’d like solutions for previous puzzles then jump over to my Just For Fun page. If horror fiction is your thing then I have a few Reviews that might take your fancy. I should have a review of Best New Horror 5 coming soon, you lucky people.

Right, I won’t keep you any longer. Here you go.


Across clues

1. Being a good husband to Verity? Or less than faithful? (10,4,3,5)

Answer: ECONOMICAL WITH THE TRUTH. Solution satisfies “being a good husband to Verity” – husbandry can mean economical management, while verity is another word for truth – and “less than faithful”. A rather well worked clue.

13. Something to chew on: setter’s getting stick! (6)

Answer: CUDGEL (i.e. “stick”). Solution is CUD (i.e. “something to chew on”) followed by GEL (i.e. “setter”, as in something that sets).

14. Grass skirts so long? That’s not ringing a bell! (3-1-3)

Answer: RAT-A-TAT. Solution is RAT (i.e. “grass”, as in to rat on someone) “skirting” TA-TA (i.e. “so long”), like so: RA(TATA)T. Within the context of the clue, a “rat-a-tat” would suggest someone has used a door knocker rather than ringing a doorbell.

15. Sink to fill? Revealing plunger perhaps! (8)

Answer: NECKLINE (i.e. “revealing plunger perhaps”, as in garments with a plunging neckline). Solution is NECK (i.e. “[to] sink [a drink]”) followed by LINE (i.e. “to fill”).

16. Variety of cheese they sell excluding one European country (3,10)

Answer: THE SEYCHELLES (i.e. “country”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “variety”) of CHEESE THEY SELL once one of the Es as been removed (indicated by “excluding one European”, E being a recognised abbreviation of “European”).

18. Having pins and needles of metal, hideous but lead free (6)

Answer: TINGLY (i.e. “having pins and needles”). Solution is TIN (i.e. “metal”) followed by UGLY (i.e. “hideous”) with its first letter removed (i.e. “but lead free” – a nice bit of misdirection), like so: TIN-GLY.

20. Ghastly rotter claims to have pinched half of ours (10)

Answer: CADAVEROUS (i.e. “ghastly”). Solution is CAD (i.e. “rotter”) followed by AVERS (i.e. “claims”) which has “pinched” OU (i.e. “[the first] half of ours”), like so: CAD-AVER(OU)S.

21. Song a small bird relies on (2,4,4,2)

Answer: AS TIME GOES BY (i.e. “song”). Solution is A then S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by TIME (i.e. “bird” – both alternative words for a prison sentence) and GOES BY (i.e. “relies on”).

24. Press home point first (6)

Answer: INSIST (i.e. “press”). Solution is IN (i.e. “[at] home”), then S (a recognised abbreviation of “south” – i.e. a “point” on a compass), then IST (i.e. “first”).

26. Succumbing idly, eg in exercises (8)

Answer: YIELDING (i.e. “succumbing”). “Exercises” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IDLY EG IN.

28. Brilliance of one with strong desire to be heard (6)

Answer: LUSTRE (i.e. “brilliance”). “To be heard” indicates the solution is a homophone of LUSTER (i.e. “one with strong desire”).

30. Event in which twin mounts challenge? (3-5,4)

Answer: TWO-HORSE RACE. “Mounts” in this context meaning horses rather than mountains.

31. Minor US oil works producing fuel (10)

Answer: ORIMULSION, which, it says here, is an emulsion of bitumen, water and detergents used as a “fuel”. A new one on me. “Works” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MINOR US OIL.

33. Poison sample found in school square (10)

Answer: STRYCHNINE (i.e. “poison”). Solution is TRY (i.e. “[to] sample”) placed “in” SCH (a recognised abbreviation of “school”) and followed by NINE (i.e. “square”, specifically 3×3), like so: S(TRY)CH-NINE. Another well-worked clue.

34. Novel keeping (at first) prose writer father in a job (6-6)

Answer: WORKER-PRIEST (i.e. “father in a job”). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of K (i.e. “keeping (at first)”) and PROSE WRITER.

35. Brings boat in from Islay, Stornoway (4,2)

Answer: LAYS TO (i.e. “brings boat in”). “From” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: IS(LAY STO)RNOWAY.

37. Spy’s outside tracking account in French, very theatrical (8)

Answer: ACTRESSY (i.e. “theatrical”). Solution is SY (i.e. “spy’s outside”, i.e. the first and last letters of “spy”) following or “tracking” AC (a recognised abbreviation of “account”) and TRES (i.e. “in French, very”, the French for “very” being “tres”), like so: AC-TRES-SY.

38. Always following band parade (6)

Answer: SASHAY (i.e. “[to] parade”). Solution is AY (i.e. “always”, taken here to mean “yes” or “aye” or its alternative form “ay”) “following” SASH (i.e. “band” – think beauty contests), like so: SASH-AY.

40. Back doctor to provide supporting role (6,6)

Answer: SECOND FIDDLE (i.e. “supporting role”). Solution is SECOND (i.e. “[to] back [someone]”) followed by FIDDLE (i.e. “[to] doctor [something]”).

41. Dramatist maybe misses meeting with dignitary (10)

Answer: John GALSWORTHY, who wrote, among other things, The Forsyte Saga (ask your grandparents, kids). Anyway, “dramatist”. Solution is GALS (i.e. “maybe misses” – misses as in unmarried women) followed by WORTHY (i.e. “dignitary”).

43. Hungarian woman’s hat size not oddly recalled more than once (3,3)

Answer: ZSA ZSA Gabor (i.e. “Hungarian woman”). “Not oddly” indicates the solution is hidden in the even letters of HAT SIZE once they have been reversed (indicated by “recalled”). “More than once” then indicates ZSA is repeated. I can’t help but think the setter rather painted themselves into a corner here.

45. Henry buys into risk, after altering his past assessment (7,2,4)

Answer: HISTORY IS BUNK, a quote attributed to Henry Ford (i.e. “Henry…his past assessment”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “altering”) of H (for “Henry”) and BUYS INTO RISK. Taking into account the context of the quote, this is an excellent clue – probably the best since I started posting these solutions.

48. Skin condition initially affecting within month those with spotty faces (8)

Answer: JAUNDICE (i.e. “skin condition”). Solution is A (i.e. “initially affecting”, i.e. the first letter of “affecting”) placed “within” JUN (i.e. “month”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of June) and followed by DICE (i.e. “those with spotty faces”), like so: J(A)UN-DICE. Another good ‘un.

49. A hanky pictured when you hear this? (7)

Answer: ATISHOO. Solution riffs on how this sounds like A TISSUE (i.e. “a hanky”).

51. Saw investigators turning away from corporation (6)

Answer: DICTUM (i.e. “saw”, which can mean a motto or a saying). Solution is CID (i.e. “investigators”, specifically the Criminal Investigation Department of the police force) reversed (indicated by “turning away”) and followed by TUM (i.e. “corporation” – an alternative meaning of the word is the belly), like so: DIC-TUM.

52. Relish holding the k-keys? (8,6,8)

Answer: THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING (i.e. “relish”). Solution riffs on how K is often used to represent a thousand, and how “keys” can be a group of islands.

Down clues

2. Vintage Times brain teaser! (4)

Answer: CRUX (i.e. “brain teaser”). Solution is CRU (i.e. “vintage”) followed by X (i.e. “times”, as in the multiplication symbol).

3. Ailing rhythm’s turning out like a bad dream (13)

Answer: NIGHTMARISHLY (i.e. “like a bad dream”). “Turning out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AILING RHYTHMS.

4. Chap has taken notes in foreign language (7)

Answer: MALTESE (i.e. “foreign language”). Solution is MALE (i.e. “chap”) having “taken” TES (i.e. “notes” as in the doh-ray-me scale – can be spelled TE or TI), like so: MAL(TES)E.

5. Tail short for a dog (3)

Answer: CUR (i.e. “a dog”). Solution is CURT (i.e. “short”) which has been “tailed” (i.e. the last letter removed – to tail something can mean to remove the tail from it).

6. Milky fluids after hours mostly taken with cold dishes (7)

Answer: LATICES, which is the plural form of “latex” (i.e. “milky fluid”). Solution is LATE (i.e. “after hours”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and followed by ICES (i.e. “cold dishes”), like so: LAT-ICES.

7. One collection of books fellow’s muddled up (2,3,6)

Answer: IN THE SADDLE (i.e. “up”, as in someone who is a focus of interest, e.g. “who’s up next?”). Solution is I (Roman numeral “one”) followed by NT (i.e. “collection of books”, specifically the New Testament of The Bible), then HE’S (i.e. “fellow’s” – think of it more as “the fellow is” rather than the possessive form) and ADDLE (i.e. “muddled” – the past tense appears to be misleading here). Not a classic.

8. Place to stay in Arnhem after November? (5)

Answer: HOTEL (i.e. “place to stay”). Solution riffs on how, in “Arnhem”, the letter H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet) is “after” N (“November” in the phonetic alphabet). Another well-worked clue.

9. To give a few is generous (8)

Answer: HANDSOME (i.e. “generous”). Solution is HAND (i.e. “to give”) followed by SOME (i.e. “a few”).

10. Implied some lacking in sophistication turned up (5)

Answer: TACIT (i.e. “implied”). “Some” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, while “turned up” suggests the solution has been reversed, this being a down clue, like so: SOPHIS(TICAT)ION.

11. Swede’s chasing university place – they’re living the high life! (9)

Answer: UPLANDERS (i.e. “they’re living the high life”). Solution is ANDERS (i.e. “Swede”) placed after or “chasing” U and PL (recognised abbreviations of “university” and “place” respectively), like so: U-PL-ANDERS.

12. Impressive hair grip for someone who’s 7? (9,9)

Answer: HANDLEBAR MOUSTACHE. Solution riffs on how someone in the saddle (referenced by “7 [down]”) of a bike would “grip” a handlebar, and how handlebar moustaches are indeed “impressive hair”.

17. Before collecting pants, son wearing synthetic material (5,5)

Answer: EPOXY RESIN (i.e. “synthetic material”). Solution is ERE (i.e. a poetic form of “before”) “collecting” POXY (i.e. “pants”, as in rubbish), then followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) and IN (i.e. “wearing”), like so: E(POXY)RE-S-IN.

19. The latest, if far from the best, careers? (3,4,7,4)

Answer: BAD NEWS TRAVELS FAST. Another riffy clue, this. “The latest” can mean NEWS; “if far from the best” suggests it’s BAD NEWS, while “careers” can mean TRAVELS FAST. Stitch them all together and voila. I’m not often keen on these wishy-washy kind of clues, if I’m honest.

22. Indian restaurants opening for function one’s to hold (9)

Answer: TANDOORIS (i.e. “Indian restaurants”). Solution is DOOR (i.e. “opening”) placed in TAN (i.e. “function”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “tangent”, one of the six trigonometrical functions) and I’S (Roman numeral “one” made possessive), like so: TAN-(DOOR)-IS.

23. Liberal MP laughs wildly, strides exultantly (9)

Answer: GALLUMPHS (i.e. “strides exultantly”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wildly”) of L (a recognised abbreviation of “Liberal”) and MP LAUGHS.

25. Pair keeping gold chain round middle of cedar tree (9)

Answer: TORCHWOOD, a variety of “trees” whose wood make rather good torches. Solution is TWO (i.e. “pair”) “keeping” OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry) and CH (a recognised abbreviation of “chain” (a linear measure of 100 feet it says here), then followed by O (i.e. “round”) and D (i.e. “middle of cedar”, i.e. the middle letter of “cedar”), like so: T(OR-CH)WO-O-D. I guess an anagram of Doctor Who would have been too obvious.

27. Welshman, key journalist, gradually faded (9)

Answer: EVANESCED (i.e. “gradually faded”). Solution is EVAN (i.e. “Welshman”) followed by ESC (i.e. “key”, specifically the Escape key situated top-left of a keyboard) and ED (i.e. “journalist”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “editor”).

29. Lycée flics stormed: lots of changes resulting (4,6)

Answer: LIFE CYCLES (i.e. “lots of changes”). “Stormed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LYCEE FLICS.

32. The excitement you get from cutting out certain actions in swimming? (8,5)

Answer: SCISSORS KICKS. Solution satisfies “the excitement [i.e. kicks] you get from cutting” and “certain actions in swimming”.

34. Kind Cockney home raised money for Iranian monument (3,8)

Answer: WAR MEMORIAL (i.e. “monument”). Solution is WARM (i.e. “kind”) followed by OME (i.e. “Cockney home”, i.e. the word “home” after the H has been dropped) reversed (indicated by “raised” – this being a down clue) and followed by RIAL (i.e. “money for Iranian”), like so: WARM-EMO-RIAL.

36. Irish party men end letter with word of appeal, suddenly emphatic (9)

Answer: SFORZANDO (i.e. “suddenly emphatic” – I had a funny feeling this was going to be a musical term – chalk one to my Chambers Thesaurus for bagging me this one). Solution is SF (i.e. “Irish party”, specifically Sinn Fein) followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the army) then Z (i.e. “end letter”) then AND (i.e. “with”) then O (i.e. “word of appeal”, e.g. in “O Brother Where Art Thou?”), like so: SF-OR-Z-AND-O. Bloody hell.

39. Aussie football team te-heeing rudely (8)

Answer: EIGHTEEN (i.e. “Aussie football team”). “Rudely” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TE-HEEING.

41. Monster crackling finally on line: call terminated early (7)

Answer: GRYPHON (i.e. “monster”). Solution is G (i.e. “crackling finally”, i.e. the last letter of “crackling”) followed by RY (i.e. “line”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “railway”) and PHONE with it’s final letter removed (i.e. “call terminated early”), like so: G-RY-PHON.

42. Aspiring to listen to small forest insect? (5-2)

Answer: WOULD-BE (i.e. “aspiring to”). “To listen” indicates the solution is a homophone of WOOD BEE (i.e. “small forest insect”).

44. Nice friends the last to reappear inappropriately (5)

Answer: AMISS (i.e. “inappropriately”). Solution is AMIS (i.e. “Nice friends” – Nice as in the French city – the French for “friends” is “amis”). “The last to reappear” indicates the last letter of AMIS is repeated.

46. Was crawling, maybe, in front of one’s teacher (5)

Answer: SWAMI (i.e. “[Hindu] teacher”). Solution is SWAM (i.e. “was crawling, maybe”, as in the swimming stroke) followed by I (Roman numeral “one”).

47. Child of five seen in case of strabismus (4)

Answer: QUIN (i.e. “child of five”). A strabismus is a fancy name for a squint, which, as you can see, contains the solution: S(QUIN)T.

50. Gorge above delta, a long way from common (3)

Answer: ODD (i.e. “a long way from common”). Solution is OD (i.e. “gorge”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “overdose”) followed by D (“delta” in the phonetic alphabet).

2 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1378

  1. Thanks for posting your solution. It was definitely a 2down this week. I couldn’t for the life of me see how Sforzando was parsed. A right dog’s breakfast. I hate putting the clues in if I don’t understand the parsing but once I’d got the O at the end I knew it had to be musical. That then gave ne Zsa Zsa, which was puzzling me as well. Cheers.

    1. No worries, Mick. Glad to have helped. There were a few areas of the grid I had to write in lightly this week while I chewed over their solutions. Sforzando and Zsa Zsa certainly seemed to be escape routes for this week’s setter. – LP

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