A medium strength puzzle this week, though this may be thanks to some kind wordplay and a few repeated solutions making things a little easier. Either way, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.
Before we begin, some housekeeping. If you have a recent Times Jumbo Cryptic showing a few gaps then you might find my Just For Fun page to be just the ticket. If you’ve a thing for horror fiction then I also have a few things on my Reviews page that might be of interest.
And so onto the good stuff. TTFN.
1. Source of light snacks originally served around English city (5)
Answer: LEEDS (i.e. “city”). Solution is LED (i.e. “source of light”, specifically a Light Emitting Diode) followed by S (i.e. “snacks originally”, i.e. the first letter of “snacks”) which are then wrapped around E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: LE(E)D-S.
4. Inland lake completely enclosed at first in S Africa? (4,3)
Answer: DEAD SEA (i.e. “inland lake”). Solution is DEAD (i.e. “completely” – like saying a race was completed in “two minutes dead”) followed by E (i.e. “enclosed at first”, i.e. the first letter of “enclosed”) once it has been placed “in” SA (a recognised abbreviation of “S Africa”), like so: DEAD-S(E)A.
8. Space remaining even now for housekeeper’s pantry (9)
Answer: STILLROOM (i.e. “housekeeper’s pantry”). Solution also satisfies “space remaining even now”, as in there being STILL ROOM.
13. Backing cultural pursuits in a Turkic ruler’s fleecy coat (9)
Answer: ASTRAKHAN (i.e. “fleecy coat” – did a Google Image search. Yup. Coat.) Solution is ARTS (i.e. “cultural pursuits”) reversed (indicated by “backing”) and placed in A KHAN (i.e. “a Turkic ruler”), like so: A-(STRA)-KHAN. One I got through the wordplay and a quick check in my Chambers.
14. Domineering writer and heretic imbibing wine (13)
Answer: AUTHORITARIAN (i.e. “domineering”). Solution is AUTHOR (i.e. “writer”) and ARIAN (i.e. “heretic” – and so to my Chambers again – an Arian being someone following the doctrines of Arius of Alexandria, who asserted “that Christ was not consubstantial with God the Father, but only the first and highest of all finite beings”. All of which is moot, of course, now we have superheroes to worship) wrapped around IT (i.e. “wine” – specifically an informal short name for Italian vermouth… no, me neither), like so: AUTHOR-(IT)-ARIAN.
15. Free of suspicion, turning out article uncoded (2,5)
Answer: IN CLEAR (i.e. “uncoded” – I can’t find this in my Chambers so I guess this is one where the dictionaries differ. It does have “en clair“, however, which is the French equivalent). Solution is IN THE CLEAR (i.e. “free of suspicion”) with THE (an “article”) removed (indicated by “turning out”).
16. Public service uselessness getting leader dismissed (7)
Answer: UTILITY (i.e. “public service”). Solution is FUTILITY (i.e. “uselessness”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “getting leader dismissed”).
17. Disgrace isn’t commonly associated with a non-drinker (7)
Answer: ATTAINT (i.e. “[to] disgrace”). Solution is AINT (i.e. “isn’t commonly”, as in a common form of “isn’t”) which is placed after A and TT (a recognised abbreviation of “teetotaller”), like so: A-TT-(AINT).
18. Become organised, like a parliament framing a law? (3,4,3,8)
Answer: GET ONE’S ACT TOGETHER. Solution satisfies “become organised” and “like a parliament framing a law”. Not at the moment, of course. Right now, they couldn’t find their arses with both hands.
21. Sound made by bell in first half of game? (4)
[FURTHER EDIT: As suspected, PING turned out to be the answer. I’ve left my original text for posterity, but you can safely ignore it. The grid has been updated with the corrected solution. – LP]
[EDIT: Thanks to Richard in the comments who suggests the solution could also be PING (as in the first half of Ping-Pong). I suspect, of the two, PING will be the answer given how Ping-Pong (the trademarked game) is in the dictionary while Dingbats (the trademarked game) is not. If so, I’ll update the post when the solution is published.]
Answer: DING [incorrect] (i.e. “sound made by bell”). I guess the “game” in question is DINGBATS, of which DING is the “first half”. Sometimes setters use brands and product names in their clues – even their solutions when they’re desperate – so I guess this flies. That said, if it turns out there was an obscure game called TINGTITS played in fifteenth century Scotland using niblicks, pettigrews and bags of fartwangles then you’ll have to accept my apologies in advance.
23. Carpet and reportedly sack politician leaving India (9)
Answer: AXMINSTER (i.e. “carpet”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of AXE MINISTER (i.e. “sack politician”) once the final I has been removed (indicated by “leaving India” – India being I in the phonetic alphabet).
25. Dog beginning to cross a square (6)
Answer: CANINE (i.e. “dog”). Solution is C (i.e. “beginning to cross”, i.e. the first letter of “cross”) followed by A and NINE (i.e. “square”, being 3×3).
26. Question posh commander about good sort of horse once (6)
Answer: QUAGGA (i.e. “sort of horse once” – my Chambers has it thus: “an extinct S African wild ass”, so there you go). Solution is Q (a recognised abbreviation of “question”, as in Q&A) followed by U (ditto “posh”, denoting the upper class) and AGA (i.e. “[a Turkish] commander”) which is wrapped “about” G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: Q-U-A(G)GA. Not one that sprang to mind, if I’m honest, but the wordplay soon guided me to the right page in the dictionary.
28. Eg Captain Cook’s ruined manor hikers survey in the end? (12)
Answer: YORKSHIREMAN (i.e. “eg Captain Cook”, among two or three others). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “ruined”) of MANOR HIKERS and Y (i.e. “survey in the end”, i.e. the last letter of “survey”).
30. Returning ring, stays for game devised by honey eater? (10)
Answer: POOHSTICKS (i.e. “game devised by honey eater” – referring to a game played in AA Milne’s Winnie The Pooh stories, and how the titular bear was always rather fond of honey). Solution is HOOP (i.e. “ring”) reversed (indicated by “returning”) and followed by STICKS (i.e. “stays”).
33. Like some population theory an African put about so (10)
Answer: MALTHUSIAN (i.e. “like some population theory…” – and off we go to my Chambers again: “…that the increase of population tends to outstrip that of the means of living and that sexual restraint should therefore be exercised”. Whoooo!!! Party round Malthus’s!!!) Solution is MALIAN (i.e. “an African”, specifically a citizen of Mali) which is “put about” THUS (i.e. “so”), like so: MAL(THUS)IAN. One I got through the wordplay, if I’m honest, and only once the M and a few other intersecting letters had been completed.
34. Modest and genuine, not like two of the Stuarts? (12)
Answer: UNPRETENDING. Solution satisfies “modest and genuine” and “not like two of the Stuarts”, referring to James Stuart (nicknamed The Old Pretender) and Charles Stuart (nicknamed The Young Pretender).
37. Comparatively roguish sportsperson aiming for the gold? (6)
Answer: ARCHER. Solution satisfies “comparatively roguish” as in to be more arch than someone, and “sportsperson aiming for the gold”. Nice pun, there. I like it.
39. Some fracas in old gaming establishment (6)
Answer: CASINO (i.e. “gaming establishment”). “Some” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: FRA(CAS IN O)LD.
40. Old-style exam initially exploring rural composition (9)
Answer: PASTORALE (i.e. “rural composition”). Solution is PAST (i.e. “old-style”) followed by ORAL (i.e. “exam”) and E (i.e. “initially exploring”, i.e. the first letter of “exploring”). Chalk one to my Bradford’s for that one.
42. Speaker’s claim to possess a small Scottish island (4)
Answer: IONA (i.e. “small Scottish island”). “Speaker’s claim” indicates the solution is a homophone of I OWN (i.e. “to possess”, from the point of view of the speaker) followed by A.
43. Act independently: get an individual’s recollection broadcast (4,1,4,2,4,3)
Answer: HAVE A MIND OF ONE’S OWN (i.e. “act independently”). Solution is HAVE A MIND OF ONE (i.e. “get an individual’s recollection”) followed by SOWN (i.e. “broadcast”, as in chucking seeds about).
46. Grouse when eg Henry goes off the rails (7)
Answer: GREYHEN, a female black “grouse”. “Off the rails” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EG HENRY.
47. Performer’s way to penetrate clarinettist Shaw? (7)
Answer: ARTISTE (i.e. “performer”). Solution is ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”) placed in or “penetrating” ARTIE (i.e. “clarinettist Shaw”), like so: ARTI(ST)E.
48. Measure volume of gallery, getting it right inside (7)
Answer: TITRATE (i.e. “[to] measure volume [or strength of a chemical solution]”. Solution is TATE (i.e. “gallery”) wrapped around or “getting” IT and R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: T(IT-R)ATE.
50. Former word one country used for mass murder… (13)
Answer: EXTERMINATION (i.e. “mass murder”). Solution is EX (i.e. “former”) followed by TERM (i.e. “word”), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and finally NATION (i.e. “country”).
51. …wooing judicial assemblies with it (9)
Answer: COURTSHIP (i.e. “wooing”). Solution is COURTS (i.e. “judicial assemblies”) followed by HIP (i.e. “with it”, as in hip and happening, daddio).
52. Whiskery growth displayed by poet following team (9)
Answer: SIDEBURNS (i.e. “whiskery growth”). Solution is Robert BURNS (i.e. “poet”) placed after or “following” SIDE (i.e. “team”), like so: SIDE-BURNS.
53. Furtiveness of waterbird accommodated in south (7)
Answer: STEALTH (i.e. “furtiveness”). Solution is TEAL (i.e. “waterbird”) placed in STH (a recognised abbreviation of “south”), like so: S(TEAL)TH.
54. Greeting about right for person renting car, perhaps? (5)
Answer: HIRER (i.e. “person renting car, perhaps”). Solution is HI (i.e. “greeting”) followed by RE (i.e. “about” – think of the prefix applied to email replies, for example) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”).
1. Top actress with influence in the upper chamber? (7,4)
Answer: LEADING LADY. Solution satisfies “top actress” and “[one] with influence in the upper chamber”, referring to a member of the House of Lords.
2. Stabbing sword or knives to carry in the centre (5)
Answer: ESTOC (i.e. “stabbing sword”). “In the centre” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: KNIV(ES TO C)ARRY. I remembered this solution from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.
3. Tremble with fear hearing Arab chief sharing one’s situation (5,2,4,5)
Answer: SHAKE IN ONES SHOES (i.e. “tremble with fear”). Solution is SHAKE (i.e. “hearing Arab chief”, i.e. a homophone of “sheikh”) followed by IN ONES SHOES (i.e. “sharing one’s situation”).
4. Removes hard outgrowths developing on herds (7)
Answer: DEHORNS (i.e. “removes hard outgrowths”). “Developing” indicates anagram. Solution is a rather fitting anagram of ON HERDS.
5. Female cat beginning to ruffle person behind mike (9)
Answer: ANNOUNCER (i.e. “person behind mike”). Solution is ANN (i.e. “female”) followed by OUNCE (i.e. a snow leopard or “cat”, and an absolute beauty too) and R (i.e. “beginning to ruffle”, i.e. the first letter of “ruffle”).
6. Stable fellow first engaged as data analyser (12)
Answer: STATISTICIAN (i.e. “data analyser”). Solution is STATIC (i.e. “stable”) and IAN (i.e. “fellow”) wrapped around or “engaging” IST (i.e. “first”), like so: STAT(IST)IC-IAN.
7. Like Herts town hospital department checking bleeding (10)
Answer: ASTRINGENT, which is to have the power to contract organic tissue (i.e. “checking [or stemming] bleeding”). Solution is AS (i.e. “like”) followed by TRING (i.e. “Herts town”) and ENT (i.e. “hospital department”, specifically Ear Nose and Throat). A clue that scans rather well.
8. Way in which southern Yankee goes about being ostentatious (5)
Answer: SHOWY (i.e. “being ostentatious”). Solution is HOW (i.e. a method or “way”) placed “in” S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) and Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: S-(HOW)-Y.
9. Copied Iowa man touring New England university (8)
Answer: IMITATED (i.e. “copied”). Solution is IA (a recognised abbreviation of “Iowa”) and TED (i.e. “man”, short form of Edward) placed around or “touring” MIT (i.e. “New England university”, specifically the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), like so: I(MIT)A-TED.
10. Outbuilding quietly removed from Greek battle site (4-2)
Answer: LEAN-TO (i.e. “outbuilding”). Solution is LEPANTO (i.e. “Greek battle site”, specifically a 16th century battle between the Holy League and the Ottoman Empire that took place in the Gulf of Patras, it says here) with the P (a recognised abbreviation of piano, or “quietly”) “removed”. Coo, someone’s showing off, aren’t they?
11. Old team digs in frantically, though going rusty (9)
Answer: OXIDISING (i.e. “going rusty”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and XI (i.e. “team”, specifically the number eleven expressed in Roman numerals) followed by an anagram (indicated by “frantically”) of DIGS IN, like so: O-XI-DISING.
12. Tiny girl wrapping grand timing device (6-5)
Answer: MINUTE-GLASS (i.e. “timing device”, specifically a sandglass that runs for a minute). Solution is MINUTE (i.e. “tiny”) and LASS (i.e. “girl”) “wrapped” around G (a recognised abbreviation of “grand” often used to describe thousands of pounds), like so: MINUTE-(G)-LASS.
19. Farm cart new butler observed across motorway (7)
Answer: TUMBREL (i.e. “farm cart”. Also a means of torture, apparently, which is nice.) Solution is an anagram (indicated by “new”) of BUTLER which is wrapped around or placed “across” M (a recognised abbreviation of “motorway”), like so: TU(M)BREL. One of those solutions where I got a few letters, guessed the rest and was pleased to find it in the dictionary.
20. Type of oven with yellowish-brown access (7)
Answer: TANDOOR (i.e. “type of oven”). Solution is TAN (i.e. “yellowish-brown”) followed by DOOR (i.e. “access”). Another solution that has appeared relatively recently, making it easier to solve.
22. Seeks word with small person making reinforcing loop (10,6)
Answer: BUTTONHOLE STITCH (i.e. “reinforcing loop”). Reading it slightly differently the solution also satisfies “seeks word with small person”, i.e. BUTTONHOLES TITCH.
24. Craving finally familiar in the present time (6)
Answer: THIRST (i.e. “craving”). Solution is R (i.e. “finally familiar”, i.e. the last letter of “familiar”) placed “in” THIS (i.e. “the present”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: THI(R)S-T.
27. Naval NCOs framing sexy snaps (6)
Answer: PHOTOS (i.e. “snaps”). Solution is POS (i.e. “Naval NCOs”, specifically Petty Officers) wrapped around or “framing” HOT (i.e. “sexy”), like so: P(HOT)OS.
29. Send out Greek character with reputation for climbing? (7)
Answer: EMANATE (i.e. “send out”). Solution is ETA (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet) and NAME (i.e. “reputation”) which are both reversed (indicated by “climbing” – this being a down clue), like so: EMAN-ATE. I got this mostly through a very similar solution that appeared in last week’s grid.
31. Transatlantic city stylish in the past (7)
Answer: CHICAGO (i.e. “transatlantic city”). Solution is CHIC (i.e. “stylish”) followed by AGO (i.e. “in the past”).
32. Lack of awareness of GOC, one in Cannes, surprisingly (12)
Answer: INCOGNISANCE (i.e. “lack of awareness”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “surprisingly”) of GOC IN CANNES and I (“[Roman numeral] one”).
33. Futile process for enclosing fireplaces (11)
Answer: MEANINGLESS (i.e. “futile”). Solution is MEANS (i.e. “process for”, e.g. a means to an end) wrapped around or “enclosing” INGLES (i.e. “fireplaces” – a new one on me, but I rather like it), like so: MEAN(INGLES)S.
35. Groundsman’s jade ring? (11)
Answer: GREENKEEPER (i.e. “groundsman”). Solution is GREEN (i.e. “jade”) followed by KEEPER (i.e. “ring”, as in a wedding ring, supposedly).
36. Girl removes clothing, inspiring first of lewd men’s slides (10)
Answer: FILMSTRIPS (i.e. “slides”). Solution is FI (i.e. “girl”, short for Fiona, for example) and STRIPS (i.e. “removes clothing”) wrapped around or “inspiring” L and M (i.e. “first of lewd men’s”, i.e. the first letters of “lewd” and “men’s”), like so: FI-(L-M)-STRIPS. A clue that scans rather well, if a little creepily!
38. Satisfied crook given temporary shelter (9)
Answer: CONTENTED (i.e. “satisfied”). Solution is CON (i.e. “crook”) followed by TENTED (i.e. “given temporary shelter”).
40. French national’s tried and tested state (9)
Answer: PROVENCAL (i.e. “French national”, as in one living in Provence). Solution is PROVEN (i.e. “tried and tested”) followed by CAL (i.e. “state”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of California).
41. More sprightly junior ringing the BBC? (8)
Answer: JAUNTIER (i.e. “more sprightly”). Solution is JR (a recognised abbreviation of “junior”) wrapped around or “ringing” AUNTIE (an nickname given to “the BBC” by its employees), like so: J(AUNTIE)R.
44. Precipitate overflow from blooming waterside plant! (7)
Answer: OUTRUSH. This is a bit of a guess, but I reckon “precipitate” is taken to mean quick or in a RUSH, and so a precipitate overflow would be an OUTRUSH. The solution then also satisfies “blooming waterside plant”, as in an OUT RUSH. You get the idea.
45. Innocent child’s difficulty following guerrilla leader (6)
Answer: CHERUB (i.e. “innocent child”). Solution is CHE Guevara (i.e. “guerrilla leader”) with RUB (i.e. “difficulty”) “following” afterwards.
47. A mother with two sons to collect (5)
Answer: AMASS (i.e. “to collect”). Solution is A followed by MA (i.e. “mother”) then S and S (i.e. “two sons”, S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”).
49. Hate a tedious talker endlessly trapping husband (5)
Answer: ABHOR (i.e. “hate”). Solution is A BORE (i.e. “a tedious talker”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”) and then wrapped around or “trapping” H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”), like so: A-B(H)OR.