What a strange one this was! I was doing rather well for about two-thirds of it, only for the brakes to be pulled and for me to find the remainder leavened with a load of bastard-hard solutions. It was almost as if two setters had compiled the puzzle. (Rubs imaginary chin.)
Anyway, I got there in the end… I think. Either way, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. This doesn’t represent my best week, I warn you, thanks mostly to my nostrils converting my fatty tissue and vital organs into snot and hosing it out at an alarming rate. Consequently, crabbiness and occasional swears lie ahead for those with a strong constitution.
Before we get to all that, as ever, a little housekeeping. You can find solutions to previous Times Jumbo Cryptics on my Just For Fun page, which you might find useful. If books are your thing, then my Reviews page might be of interest, particularly if you’re a fan of horror.
Right. On with the show. I’m off to snort bleach and to dump this laptop in a bucket of disinfectant for a week.
Yours, in man-flu – LP
1. Mark places of learning installing area for oriental tree (9)
Answer: MACADAMIA (i.e. “tree”). A faller at the first, it seems. My solution, for what it’s worth, is M (a recognised abbreviation of “mark”, the former currency of Germany) followed by ACADEMIES (i.e. “places of learning”), with the final letters ES (I’m guessing ES represents “oriental” as in a recognised abbreviation of “Eastern”, but my Chambers doesn’t support this) replaced by A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”).
[EDIT: A big thank you to Chris in the comments for the clarification and correction. I was on the right lines, but not quite there. The annoying thing is I’d looked this one up in my Chambers while writing the original post, and still didn’t spot I’d spelled the solution incorrectly. Told you I was ill! – LP]
6. For sale, non-uniform prison tankard (4,3)
Answer: TOBY JUG (i.e. “tankard”). Solution is TO BUY (i.e. “for sale”) with the U removed (indicated by “non-uniform” – U being “uniform” in the phonetic alphabet) and then followed by JUG (i.e. a slang term for “prison” – it’s in the dictionary, but I can’t recall ever seeing its use), like so: TO-BY-JUG.
10. Collect fool’s confession (5)
Answer: AMASS (i.e. “collect”). Solution is AM ASS (i.e. “fool’s confession”, as in “I am an ass”).
13. One recommends a screen to protect duke (7)
Answer: ADVISOR (i.e. “one recommends”). Solution is A VISOR (i.e. “a screen”) wrapped around or “protecting” D (a recognised abbreviation of “duke”), like so: A-(D)-VISOR.
14. In the air? Not initially – on the ground (5)
Answer: LYING (i.e. “on the ground”). Solution is FLYING (i.e. “in the air”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “not initially”).
15. Impossible to improve without billions? That’s not acceptable from restaurant (9)
Answer: UNEATABLE (i.e. “that’s not acceptable from restaurant”). Solution is UNBEATABLE (i.e. “impossible to improve”) with the first B removed (indicated by “without billions” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “billions”).
16. Make difficulties and honk when respirator wasn’t adjusted (5,1,7,2,3,5)
Answer: THROW A SPANNER IN THE WORKS (i.e. “make difficulties”). “Adjusted” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HONK WHEN RESPIRATOR WASN’T. A repeated solution from only a few months ago. Ho hum.
17. Enlarge muscle; fail to keep it (6)
Answer: DILATE (i.e. “enlarge”). Solution is LAT (short form of latissimus dorsi, a “muscle” in the lower back) “kept” inside of DIE (i.e. “fail”), like so: DI(LAT)E.
18. Haggle about a shilling, and finally buy instrument (8)
Answer: PSALTERY (i.e. “instrument” – did a Google Image search… then had to do a You Tube search… pretty cool, but it looks a bugger to play. I’ll stick to air guitar, thanks.) Solution is PALTER (i.e. “haggle” – a new one on me, but I rather like it) wrapped “about” S (a recognised abbreviation of “shilling”) and then followed by Y (i.e. “finally buy”, i.e. the last letter of “buy”), like so: P(S)ALTER-Y.
19. Given to burner regularly, short fat strips (7)
Answer: UNROBES (i.e. “strips”). Solution is UNR (i.e. “burner regularly”, i.e. every other letter of BURNER) followed by OBESE (i.e. “fat”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “short”), like so: UNR-OBES.
22. Unfair comment about DNA pioneer ending in court (3,7)
Answer: NOT CRICKET (i.e. “unfair”). Solution is NOTE (i.e. “comment”) placed about Francis CRICK (i.e. “DNA pioneer”) and then followed by T (i.e. “ending in court”, i.e. the last letter of “court”), like so: NOT(CRICK)E-T.
23. Look, I escaped, flying in ever-changing patterns (12)
Answer: KALEIDOSCOPE (i.e. “in ever-changing patterns” – I don’t want to come over all Grammar Nazi, but doesn’t this phrasing lead to “kaleidoscopic“?). “Flying” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LOOK I ESCAPED.
27. Steer half of relatives into charity (5)
Answer: OXFAM (i.e. “charity”). Solution is OX (i.e. “steer”) followed by FAM (i.e. “half of relatives”, i.e. the first half of the word FAMILY).
29. Partly undressed, losing one’s head? (7)
Answer: TOPLESS. Solution satisfies “partly undressed” and “losing one’s head”.
30. Party indoors with whiskey for starter a disadvantage (8)
Answer: DOWNSIDE (i.e. “disadvantage”). Solution is DO (i.e. “party”) followed by INSIDE (i.e. “indoors”) with the initial letter or “starter” I replaced with W (i.e. “whiskey” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: DO-WNSIDE.
32. Exercises joint that doesn’t allow one to lug cargo across (8)
Answer: TRANSHIP (i.e. “lug cargo across”). Solution is TRAINS HIP (i.e. “exercises joint”) with the first I removed (indicated by “that doesn’t allow [Roman numeral] one”).
34. Live, introducing choir to rock and roll (7)
Answer: BRIOCHE (i.e. “[bread] roll”). Solution is BE (i.e. “[to] live”) wrapped around or “introducing” an anagram (indicated by “to rock”) of CHOIR, like so: B(RIOCH)E.
36. Pressure in water channel rose fast (5)
Answer: LEAPT (i.e. “rose fast”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”) placed “in” LEAT (i.e. “water channel” – proof that there are sometimes too many words for things), like so: LEA(P)T.
39. Writer’s sporting portmanteau covering cape (6,6)
Answer: TRUMAN CAPOTE (i.e. “writer”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sporting”… a bit weak) of PORTMANTEAU, which is wrapped around or “covering” C (a recognised abbreviation of “cape”, as in Cape Cod etc), like so: TRUMAN(C)APOTE.
41. Lead actors in play concerning priests (10)
Answer: SACERDOTAL (i.e. “concerning priests”). “In play” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LEAD ACTORS. One I got more through brute force on the anagram than any ecumenical knowledge.
44. Shy, but entice into pub (7)
Answer: INDRAWN (i.e. “shy”). Solution is DRAW (i.e. “entice”) placed “into” INN (i.e. “pub”), like so: IN(DRAW)N.
46. Trumpet that fleece is off? (4-4)
Answer: RAM’S-HORN (i.e. “trumpet” made from… well, a ram’s horn). Solution is also RAM SHORN (i.e. “fleece is off”).
48. Look good with weapon (6)
Answer: GLANCE (i.e. “look”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) followed by LANCE (i.e. “weapon”).
50. Enormous company of mounted soldiers heard of in Arabian saga (3,8,3,3,6)
Answer: THE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS (i.e. “Arabian saga”). For the most part of solving this grid, I had this written in as ONE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS because… well, that’s what it is, isn’t it? Only when I finally solved 38d did I realise the setter was playing silly buggers. Anyway, “heard of” indicates a homophone is at play here, in this case THE THOUSAND AND ONE KNIGHTS (i.e. “enormous company of mounted soldiers”). Shite, in a word.
53. Satisfying answer, using gas for cooking (9)
Answer: ASSUAGING (i.e. “satisfying”). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A) followed by an anagram (indicated by “for cooking”) of USING GAS, like so: A-SSUAGING.
54. A Nevada city shortly acquires a stadium (5)
Answer: ARENA (i.e. “stadium”). Solution is A followed by RENO (i.e. “Nevada city”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “shortly”) and followed by another A, like so: A-REN-A. Not great.
55. In orchestra, you are heard with a plucked instrument (7)
Answer: BANDURA (i.e. “plucked instrument” – and off we go again to a Google Image search… and a You Tube search… really cool, this, a bit like a board-backed harp, but it must be a right sod to tune. Anyway…) Solution is BAND (i.e. “orchestra”) followed by UR (i.e. “you are heard”, as in the pronunciations of U (“you”) and R (“are”)) and then A. A clue that scans rather well.
56. Pair failing to thwart special occasion (5)
Answer: EVENT (i.e. “special occasion”). Okay here’s one I’m really shaky on, but I can’t see anything else in the clue that fits the letters E_E_T. I reckon, given this setter’s penchant for removing letters from words to derive solutions, and given how “thwart” can be taken to mean “to cross the path of”, that there is a synonym of “pair” removed from (i.e. “failing to thwart”) a larger word meaning “special” in order to derive EVENT, e.g. E(___)VENT, or EV(___)ENT, or EVE(___)NT, etc. I can’t think of one at the moment, as my head is still mostly filled with snot as I type this. Maybe sleeping on it will spark something.
[EDIT: Thanks to Rod in the comments for helping out on this one. Solution is PREVENT (i.e. “thwart”) with PR (a recognised abbreviation of “pair”) removed.]
[FURTHER EDIT: Gab in the comments suggests an alternative solution to this which hinges on “pair” being EVEN on a roulette table, and T being a reduction of the word “thwart”. (“Failing” could be said to be a shortcoming.) Thanks, Gab!]
57. Half-past ten? Ridiculous, we snort (3-4)
Answer: NOR-WEST (i.e. “half-past ten”, which is north-west on the compass). “Ridiculous” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WE SNORT.
58. Account book held page for dining room extension (5,4)
Answer: TABLE-LEAF, which is an extension to a table-top (i.e. “dining room extension”). Here’s another that tripped me up. I’m seeing “account” as TAB, and LEAF as “page”, but after that my brain jumps ship on me.
[EDIT: Thanks to Rod and Clive in the comments for both clarifying this one. The solution is TALE (i.e. “account”) wrapped around or “holding” B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) and then followed by LEAF (i.e. “page”), like so: TA(B)LE-LEAF.]
1. Implied insect’s introduction? (5)
Answer: MEANT (i.e. “implied”). Solution is also ME ANT (i.e. “insect’s introduction”). I actually laughed when I got this. I’ll always be a sucker for bad puns.
2. Fielder not apparently engaged on field catches hit eventually, having to run far (5,1,3,2,6)
Answer: COVER A LOT OF GROUND (i.e. “having to run far”). Solution is COVER (i.e. a “fielder” in cricket) followed by ALOOF (i.e. “not apparently engaged”) and GROUND (i.e. “field”) which are wrapped around or “catching” T (i.e. “hit eventually”, i.e. the last letter of “hit”), like so: COVER-ALO(T)OF-GROUND.
3. Ruin server, dropping one in dirty liquid (9)
Answer: DISHWATER (i.e. “dirty liquid”). Solution is DISH (i.e. “ruin”, informally) followed by WAITER (i.e. “server”) with the I removed (indicated by “dropping [Roman numeral] one”), like so: DISH-WATER.
4. Miserable doctor was promoted (6)
Answer: MOROSE (i.e. “miserable”). Solution is MO (i.e. “doctor”, specifically a Medical Officer) followed by ROSE (i.e. “promoted”).
5. Complete success of worker not yet in the chimney? (1,5,5)
Answer: A CLEAN SWEEP. Solution satisfies “complete success” and “worker not yet in the chimney”. Another that made me smile when I got it.
6. Shape of kitchen item (8)
Answer: TRIANGLE (i.e. “shape”). I don’t quite get the “kitchen item” angle, if I’m honest. A lazy look on Google suggests “the kitchen triangle” to be some kind of design ethos that’s rather useless for those whose kitchens measure 7ft by 12ft – to pick an example entirely at random. Either way, it doesn’t sound terribly “item”-ish. Right now, whatever it is, it can’t cure the common cold, so I don’t really give a shit. Moving on…
[EDIT: Jeremy added a comment to my About page that nails this one. The clue is playing on how the percussion section of an orchestra is sometimes informally referred to as the “kitchen”, so the triangle could be said to be a “kitchen item”. Thanks, Jeremy!]
7. Actor grand in part of stage role finally (7)
Answer: Dirk BOGARDE (i.e. “actor”). Good grief this took some getting. The trouble with a clue like “actor” is that there are literally tens of fucking thousands of them, even the dead ones. Luckily, I blew my nose and found the answer written in the shredded bog roll folded in my hands. No, really. Anyway, solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “grand”, often used to describe thousands of pounds) placed “in” BOARD (i.e. “part of stage”, as in treading the boards) and then followed by E (i.e. “role finally”, i.e. the last letter of “role”), like so: BO(G)ARD-E. For all this annoyed the hell out of me for much of the puzzle, I’ll admit it did feel pretty good when I finally nailed it.
8. Where lovers meet in play? (8,3)
Answer: JOURNEY’S END, a 1928 “play” by R. C. Sherriff. “Where lovers meet” refers to a quote from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night: “Journeys end in lovers meeting”. One of those where I got the clue from the intersecting letters rather than any “proper” cultural knowledge.
9. Uranium in hydrogen compound? Want to bet on it? (9)
Answer: GREYHOUND (i.e. “want to bet on it?”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “compound”) of HYDROGEN and U (chemical symbol of “uranium”). A clue that scans rather well.
10. Pacifist soldier perhaps I advise to conceal name (7)
Answer: ANTIWAR (i.e. “pacifist”). Solution is ANT (i.e. “soldier perhaps” – other ants are available) followed by I and then WARN (i.e. “advise”) with the N removed (indicated by “to conceal name” – N being a recognised abbreviation of “name”), like so: ANT-I-WAR.
11. Light resin (5)
Answer: AMBER. Solution satisfies “light”, as in the middle of a set of traffic lights, and “resin”. A good clue, this.
12. Measures I back shortly for one who hated Cinderella (10)
Answer: STEPSISTER (i.e. “one who hated Cinderella”). Solution is STEPS (i.e. “measures”) followed by I and then STERN (i.e. “back” of a ship) which has the final letter removed (indicated by “shortly”), like so: STEPS-I-STER.
17. I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue team full of news (5)
Answer: DUNNO (i.e. “I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue”). Solution is DUO (i.e. “team”) which is “filled with” N and N (each a recognised abbreviation of “new”, the plural being “news” – sneaky, isn’t it?), like so: DU(N-N)O. A good clue that scans rather well.
20. American woman finding actors for audience in Art Deco building (12,5)
Answer: BROADCASTING HOUSE (i.e. “Art Deco building” home of the BBC). Solution is BROAD (i.e. “American woman”) followed by CASTING (i.e. “finding actors”) and HOUSE (i.e. “audience” of a theatre).
21. Corner of Yorkshire offering strong drink (6)
Answer: SCOTCH (i.e. “strong drink”). Solution also refers to Scotch “Corner”, a motorway junction “of Yorkshire” well known to motorists bombing it up and down the A1.
24. Attack Christmas revelry, needing to lose weight (6)
Answer: ASSAIL (i.e. “attack”). Solution is WASSAIL (i.e. “Christmas revelry” – I remembered this from a recent puzzle) with the W removed (indicated by “needing to lose weight” – W being a recognised abbreviation of “weight”).
25. Girl, one bound up in rope fibre (5)
Answer: SISAL (i.e. “rope fibre” made from the leaves of a Mexica agave – another I remembered, this time from a puzzle from the end of last year). Solution is LASS (i.e. “girl”) with I (Roman numeral “one”) “bound” inside of it, and the whole then reversed (indicated by “up”, this being a down clue), like so: S(I)SAL.
26. You Tube’s about to lose European sort of agreement (3-3)
Answer: YES-BUT (i.e. “sort of agreement”). Another I’m shaky on. My guess is we’re dealing with an anagram (indicated by “about”) of YOU TUBE’S, once it has “lost” OU – but quite what makes this “European” is anyone’s guess. I’m open to alternative solutions!
[EDIT: Thanks to several commenters for their input on this tricky bugger. Solution is YE (i.e. “you”) followed by TUBES once it has been reversed (indicated by “about”) and the E removed (indicated by “to lose European” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: YE-SBUT. Thanks, everyone!]
28. Special food not able initially to support fellow (5)
Answer: MANNA (i.e. “special food” miraculously provided for the Israelites in the wilderness, if you go in for Bible stuff). Solution is NA (i.e. “not able initially”, i.e. the first letters of “not” and “able”) placed beneath or “supporting” MAN (i.e. “fellow”) – this being a down clue – like so: MAN-N-A.
31. One greeting little childless person (6)
Answer: WEEPER, which is a hired mourner (i.e. “one greeting”). Not a profession that I’d choose for myself. Anyway, solution is WEE (i.e. “little”) followed by PER (i.e. “childless person”, i.e. the word PERSON with the SON removed).
33. Perhaps briefly disturbed by rage: his work sends him up the wall (11)
Answer: PAPERHANGER (i.e. “his work sends him up the wall”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “disturbed”) of PERHAPS once it has had its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and then followed by ANGER (i.e. “rage”), like so: PAPERH-ANGER.
35. Seer vainly involved with actor (11)
Answer: CLAIRVOYANT (i.e. “seer”). “Involved” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of VAINLY and ACTOR.
37. Movement of water across lake in wavy line (5)
Answer: TILDE (i.e. “wavy line”, specifically the ~ you see over some letters of foreign words). Solution is TIDE (i.e. “movement of water”) wrapped around or placed “across” L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: TI(L)DE.
38. Revelatory performance by band interrupted by drinks (10)
Answer: STRIPTEASE (i.e. “revelatory performance”). Solution is STRIPE (i.e. “band”) wrapped around or “interrupted by” TEAS (i.e. “drinks”), like so: STRIP(TEAS)E.
40. Old officer, badly neurotic, back from expedition (9)
Answer: CENTURION (i.e. “old officer” of Ancient Rome). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “badly”) of NEUROTIC followed by N (i.e. “back from expedition”, i.e. the last letter of “expedition”), like so: CENTURIO-N.
42. Virtually exhausted in social function, a waste of time (9)
Answer: DALLIANCE (i.e. “waste of time”). Solution is ALL IN (i.e. “exhausted”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “virtually”) and placed “in” DANCE (i.e. “social function”), like so: D(ALL-I)ANCE.
43. Part of leg that is way the most glossy (8)
Answer: SHINIEST (i.e. “the most glossy”). Solution is SHIN (i.e. “part of leg”) followed by IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. … well, “i.e.”) and ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: SHIN-IE-ST.
45. Essentially a danger when river moves south (2,5)
Answer: AT HEART (i.e. “essentially”). Solution is A THREAT (i.e. “a danger”) with the R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”) moved down or “south” a couple of notches – this being a down clue.
47. Intervene, having no time to ponder at length (7)
Answer: MEDIATE (i.e. “intervene”). Solution is MEDITATE (i.e. “ponder at length”) with the first T removed (indicated by “having no time” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”).
49. Rower’s newly-washed hairstyle? (3-3)
Answer: WET-BOB, which is, according to my Chambers: “at Eton, a boy who goes in for rowing during the summer term”. Meh. I went to a comprehensive which has since been pulled down, so ya-boo to all that elitist bollocks. Anyway, before I invoke class war, the solution satisfies “rower” and “newly-washed hairstyle”.
51. Follow, to make certain of downing resistance (5)
Answer: ENSUE (i.e. “follow”). Solution is ENSURE (i.e. “to make certain of”) once the R (a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”) is removed or “downed” – an odd choice of word by the setter, there. Could just be me.
52. No way out of town for employees (5)
Answer: STAFF (i.e. “employees”). Solution is STAFFORD (i.e. “town”) from which is removed (indicated by “out of”) the O (i.e. “no”, as in nothing or zero) and RD (a recognised abbreviation of “road”, i.e. “way”).