Me in last week’s post:
“I don’t mind trickier puzzles so long as the setter plays fair and doesn’t overly rely on their Who’s Who or Collins Atlas of the World to bail themselves out of a tight spot.”
This week’s setter:
“Hold my Armagnac, Jeeves, there’s a good fellow…”
In a word: “ugh”. Who gave Jacob Rees-Mogg the keys to the crossword generator again? A novelty this week, then, as I post an incomplete grid. If I have a flash of inspiration, or if some kindly cruciverbalist swings by in the comments, then I’ll update the solution. You’ll find my grid below as it currently stands, along with explanations of my solutions where I have them.
[EDIT: The grid has now been completed. Thanks to Mark in the comments for saving the day! – LP]
Before we jump in, some housekeeping in time-honoured fashion. If you have a previous Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword which has left you baffled then you might find my Just For Fun page useful. If you have a soft spot for horror fiction then my Reviews page carries a few odds and sods for you to pick over.
Finally, the solution for puzzle 1392 has been published. My solution DING was indeed incorrect and should have been PING. I’ll update the post accordingly.
Right, on with the show. Laters, taters.
1. Still bright and fine – due to change (7)
Answer: UNFADED (i.e. “still bright”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to change”) of AND DUE and F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils).
5. Recent arrival to pack stuff by eight? Not quite (4,3)
Answer: WOLF CUB (i.e. “recent arrival to pack”). Solution is WOLF (i.e. “[to] stuff”, e.g. to wolf down your food) followed by CUBE (i.e. “eight”, in this case the cube number 2x2x2) with its final letter removed (indicated by “not quite”).
9. Charlie needs one for a cricket team? Correct (7)
Answer: CHASTEN (i.e. “[to] correct”). Solution is CHAS (i.e. “Charlie”) followed by TEN (i.e. “needs one for a cricket team” – a cricket team consists of eleven players, so deduct one to get ten).
[EDIT: Thanks to 1961blanchflower in the comments for providing a more satisfying explanation. The solution can also be read as C-HAS-TEN. C is “Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet, and if he “needs one for a cricket team” then you could say he HAS TEN.]
13. One on hand with the punch (6,5)
Answer: BOXING GLOVE. You can see how this fits the clue. A suspiciously straightforward solution, unless I’m missing something.
14. Africans lost in maze saw two bishops (11)
Answer: ZIMBABWEANS (i.e. “Africans”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “lost”) of IN MAZE SAW and B and B (i.e. “two bishops” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess).
15. Capital time to leave unspeakable German indeed! (5)
Answer: ABUJA, the “capital” city of Nigeria. Solution is TABU (i.e. “unspeakable”, being a variant spelling of “taboo”) with the T removed (indicated by “time to leave”, T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and then followed by JA (i.e. “German indeed”, as in the German for “yes”), like so: ABU-JA.
16. Match going away from City: fix! (3,4)
Answer: TIE DOWN (i.e. “fix”). Solution is TIE (i.e. “match”, as in a cup tie) followed by DOWN (i.e. “going away from city” – ignore the misleading capitalisation – it’s in the dictionary but I can’t say I’ve ever used the word in this way).
17. Sometime around four, perfect perhaps, for sweeping! (9)
Answer: EXTENSIVE (i.e. “sweeping”). Here’s one where the setter loses me, the first of a few this week. I get that IV is “four” in Roman numerals, and TENSE could be “sometime” (as in future tense, present tense, past tense), and placing one in the other gets you TENS(IV)E. As for the EX bit, um…
[EDIT: Thanks to Mike in the comments for nailing this one. The solution is EX (i.e. “sometime” as in formerly) followed by IV (i.e. “[Roman numeral] four”) once it has been placed into TENSE (i.e. “perfect, perhaps”, perfect tense is “a tense signifying action completed in the past”, e.g. I have said), like so: EX-TENS(IV)E.]
18. Join forces with Bob from Victoria? (4,3,6,8)
Answer: TAKE THE QUEEN’S SHILLING, which, according to Chambers, is “to enlist as a soldier by accepting a recruiting officer’s shilling, a practice discontinued in 1879” (i.e. “join [the Armed] forces”). Solution riffs on how “bob” is an informal name for a SHILLING. The practice would have been active while QUEEN “Victoria” was on the throne. Blimey, a solution I knew!
23. Unusually short but square old weapon (8)
Answer: ARQUEBUS (i.e. “old weapon” – did a Google Image search. A gun, then.) Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unusually”) of BU (i.e. “short but”, i.e. “but” with the last letter removed) and SQUARE. I knew this was going to be shitty solution, so chalk one to my Bradford’s here.
25. Sitcom of one hour, back on screen (2-2-2)
Answer: HI-DE-HI (a “sitcom” that ran on the BBC from 1980 to 1988. Ask your parents, kids.) Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “hour”) both reversed (indicated by “back”) and placed after HIDE (i.e. “screen” – think of it along the lines of hiding something behind a screen), like so: HIDE-(H-I).
27. We all have two payments to follow annually (7)
Answer: PARENTS (i.e. “we all have two” – well, traditionally, anyway. A handful of kids have been conceived recently using the DNA from three people.) Solution is RENTS (i.e. “payments”) placed after or “following” PA (a recognised abbreviation of per annum, i.e. “annually”), like so: PA-RENTS.
30. Back in Brazil, educating professor’s pupil (5)
Answer: ELIZA (i.e. “professor’s pupil”, specifically Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins’s pupil in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion). “In” suggests the solution is hidden in the clue, while “back” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: BR(AZIL E)DUCATING. Now, repeat after me: “The woh-tah in Ma-jow-ka don’t fall where it oughta”.
32. Unimaginative artist incorporating circles in image (7)
Answer: PROSAIC (i.e. “unimaginative”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) wrapped around or “incorporating” OS (i.e. “circles”, as in Xs and Os), and then the whole itself placed “in” PIC (i.e. “image”, being a short form of picture), like so: P(R(OS)A)IC.
33. Miss turning to wine-based drink drained dry port (9)
Answer: KIRKCALDY (i.e. “port”). Solution is LACK (i.e. “miss”) reversed (indicated by “turning”) and then placed behind KIR (i.e. “wine-based drink”). The whole is then followed by DY (i.e. “drained dry”, i.e. the word “dry” with its middle letter removed), like so: KIR-KCAL-DY. Chalk one to my Bradford’s again. The moment I saw “port” I knew this wasn’t going to be worth too much of my time.
35. Parisian that enters to defeat Home Secretary hands down! (9)
Answer: BEQUEATHS (i.e. “hands down”). Solution is QUE (i.e. “Parisian that”, i.e. the French for “that”) placed in or “entering” BEAT (i.e. “to defeat”) and then followed by HS (a recognised abbreviation of “Home Secretary”), like so: BE(QUE)AT-HS.
36. Terms used in cricket are too long (7)
Answer: OVERRUN (i.e. “[go on] too long”). Solution is OVER and RUN, both “terms used in cricket”.
37. I refuse to go on backing everyone that’s flat (5)
Answer: LLANO, which, diving into my Chambers, is: “one of the vast steppes or plains in the northern part of South America”. So there you ago. Anyway: “that’s flat”. Solution is NO (i.e. “I refuse”) “to go on” or after ALL (i.e. “everyone”) once it has been reversed (indicated by “backing”), like so: LLA-NO. One of several solutions in this puzzle where I had only the wordplay to go on.
38. Sailor briefly caught in a satellite town on the Med (7)
Answer: AJACCIO, which is a town on the island of Corsica (i.e. “town on the Med”). Solution is A and IO (i.e. “a satellite” – Io being one of Jupiter’s many moons) which are wrapped around JACK (i.e. “sailor”) with its final letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in several ball games), like so: A-(JAC-C)-IO. Oh goody, more place names. Yay. #NotYay
40. Take The Sun for understanding article on woman (6)
Answer: BASQUE (i.e. “article on woman”, as in an article of women’s clothing). “For understanding” rather weakly indicates the solution is a homophone of BASK (i.e. “take the sun”, ignore the misleading italics and capitalisation).
41. Blind porter catching zeds – where you’d expect to find him? (8)
Answer: BEDAZZLE (i.e. “blind”). Solution ALE (i.e. “porter”) wrapped around or “catching” Z and Z (i.e. “zeds”), and preceded by BED (i.e. “where you’d expect to find [someone catching Zs]”), like so: BED-A(ZZ)LE.
44. What have you in mind? Very little change on offer (1,5,3,4,8)
Answer: A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS. Solution riffs on how A PENNY represents “very little change”. You get the idea.
48. Resolutely deferred start of meal during visit (9)
Answer: STAUNCHLY (i.e. “resolutely”). Solution is LUNCH (i.e. “meal”) with the initial letter placed at the end (indicated by “deferred start of”) and placed inside or “during” STAY (i.e. “visit”), like so: STA(UNCHL)Y.
50. Bits from Roman times one read in translation (7)
Answer: DENARII, plural of denarius (i.e. “bits from Roman times” – a bit being an informal name for a coin, e.g. a thrupenny bit). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “in translation”) of READ IN and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”).
53. Area with which the author’s at home, reflecting his female side (5)
Answer: ANIMA, which is (from my Chambers): “in Jungian psychology, the female component of the male personality”, i.e. “his female side”. Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”) followed by AM IN (i.e. “the author’s at home” – taken from the point of view of the setter) which is reversed (indicated by “reflecting”), like so: A-(NI-MA). I knew this one back from when I was composing my review of Best New Horror 4, which contained a story by M. John Harrison called Anima.
54. Fire extinguisher taken from prison: warder finally in court subject to questioning (7,4)
Answer: STIRRUP PUMP. And off we go to my Chambers again! A stirrup pump is “a portable water pump held in position by the foot in a stirrup-like bracket, for fighting small fires”. Not recommended for electrical fires, then. Anyway: “fire extinguisher”. Solution is STIR (i.e. slang term for “prison”) followed by R (i.e. “warder finally”, i.e. the last letter of “warder”), then UP (i.e. “in court”, e.g. “up in front of the judge”), and finally PUMP (i.e. “subject to questioning”, as in to pump someone for information). I managed to get STIRRUP from the wordplay but had to jump into the dictionary for the rest.
55. Putting together project about Times: “no gaps”, I resolved (11)
Answer: JUXTAPOSING (i.e. “putting together”). Solution is JUT (i.e. “[to] project”) wrapped “about” X (i.e. “times”, as in the multiplication symbol – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and then followed by an anagram (indicated by “resolved”) of NO GAPS I, like so: JU(X)T-APOSING.
56. Crime baron maybe going down (7)
Answer: SINKING. Solution satisfies “crime baron maybe”, as in a SIN KING, and “going down”.
57. Prince, not exactly that carefree (7)
Answer: HALCYON (i.e. “carefree”). Solution is HAL (i.e. “Prince” – I had to resort to Wikipedia here, not being a keen fan of Shakespeare. Prince Hal is “the standard term used in literary criticism to refer to Shakespeare’s portrayal of the young Henry V of England as a prince before his accession to the throne, taken from the diminutive form of his name used in the plays almost exclusively by [Sir John] Falstaff.” Got all that? You’re a better person than me, then.) followed by C (i.e. “not exactly”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) and YON (i.e. a poetic form of “that”), like so: HAL-C-YON.
58. Learner driver (7)
[EDIT: Big thanks to Mark in the comments for correcting COACHER to COACHEE, an informal word for a coachman or “driver”. The solution is also a sneaky way of describing a “learner”, as in one being coached. I’ve left my original solution below for posterity, but you can ignore it. – LP]
Answer: COACHER [incorrect]. Solution satisfies “learner” – a sneaky way of saying someone who teaches or coaches – and “driver” as in a sneaky way of describing a coach horse, “drive” being taken to mean powering something rather than steering it.
1. Happy to attend, having finished earlier (6)
Answer: UPBEAT (i.e. “happy”). Solution is BE AT (i.e. “attend”) with UP (i.e. “finished”, as in one’s time being up) placed “earlier”, like so: UP-(BE-AT).
2. Outdoor pursuit by horse in spring (7)
Answer: FOXHUNT (i.e. “outdoor pursuit”). Solution is X (i.e. “by”, as in the multiplication symbol) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “horse”) placed “in” FOUNT (i.e. “spring”), like so: FO(X-H)UNT. A clue that scans really well. I like it.
3. Pass request for assignment to tutor? (4,3,2)
Answer: DON’T ASK ME (i.e. “pass”). Solution also satisfies “request for assignment to tutor”, as in DON, TASK ME! Another good ‘un.
4. Figure computer buffs do this? (5)
Answer: DIGIT (i.e. “figure”). Solution also satisfies “computer buffs do this”, as in they DIG IT, a recognised abbreviation of Information Technology. I admit, this one made me smile when I got it.
5. Anyone occupying new home, verifiably? (8)
Answer: WHOMEVER (i.e. “anyone”). “Occupying” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: NE(W HOME VER)IFIABLY. Took me a while to spot. Well played.
6. More or less stop, in the main to deceive (3,2)
Answer: LIE TO, which is sailor-speak for bringing a vessel to a virtual stop (i.e. “more or less stop, in the main” – “main” in this case being another word for the sea – a bit of wordplay often used by setters). Solution also satisfies “to deceive”.
7. Enclosed frames something Walton’s on about for artist (7)
Answer: Paul CEZANNE (i.e. “artist”, and very good he was too). This took some figuring, but the solution is ENC (a recognised abbreviation of “enclosed” typically used in formal correspondence to indicate a letter has been accompanied by one or more enclosures) which is wrapped around or “framing” NAZE (i.e. “something Walton’s on”, referring to the small town of Walton-On-The-Naze in Essex. No, me neither. The Naze in question, if you’re interested, is a headland that juts out quite a way into the North Sea, which looks pretty cool), and then the whole lot reversed (indicated by “about”), like so: C(EZAN)NE.
8. With glasses on, watches ads for cars? (6,8)
Answer: BUMPER STICKERS (i.e. “ads for cars” – well, it’s described as such in the dictionary, I guess). Solution is BUMPERS (i.e. “glasses”, specifically full glasses ready to raise in a toast – no, me neither) followed by TICKERS (i.e. “watches”).
9. Outlet’s porch fast deteriorating (5,4)
Answer: CRAFT SHOP (i.e. “[retail] outlet”). “Deteriorating” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PORCH FAST.
10. What you’ll see on the Nile, and the Avon, typically (5)
Answer: ASWAN. Solution satisfies “what you’ll see on the Nile”, referring to the city of ASWAN which is situated on the Nile. More place names, then. Solution also satisfies “what you’ll see on…the Avon, typically”, as in A SWAN. One I only got once I had all the intersecting letters.
11. Music that could have lad join tzaritza dancing (11,4)
Answer: TRADITIONAL JAZZ (i.e. “music”). “Dancing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LAD JOIN TZARITZA.
12. Saving time in New York, say: no good concealing it (4,3)
Answer: NEST EGG (i.e. “saving”). This was another one that took some figuring, but the solution is EST (i.e. “time in New York”, specifically Eastern Standard Time) and EG (i.e. “say”, as in “for example”) placed in or “concealed” by N (a recognised abbreviation of “no”) and G (ditto “good”), like so: N-(EST-EG)-G.
19. Herald eclipse, one a long way from earth? (7)
Answer: TRUMPET (i.e. “herald”). Solution is TRUMP (i.e. “eclipse”) followed by ET (i.e. “one a long way from earth”, specifically an Extra-Terrestrial).
20. Single-issue college speakers get up briefly (9)
Answer: UNIPAROUS, which is to produce only one at birth (i.e. “single-issue”). Solution is UNI (a recognised abbreviation of university, i.e. “college”) followed by PA (i.e. “speakers”, specifically a Public Address system) and ROUSE (i.e. “get up”) with its final letter removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: UNI-PA-ROUS.
21. Unfinished stringed instrument: I state you can wax it (7)
Answer: LYRICAL (i.e. “you can wax it”). Solution is LYRE (i.e. “stringed instrument”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “unfinished”), then followed by I and then CAL (i.e. “state”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of California), like so: LYR-I-CAL.
22. A snake or two bear tormented (5,3)
Answer: WATER BOA (i.e. “a snake”). “Tormented” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TWO BEAR.
24. Callixenus comprehends his limits age wise (15)
Answer: QUINQUAGENARIAN, which describes someone in their fifties (i.e. “age wise”). I know the word (it’s one of my favourites – yes, I’m weird) but not having had hundreds of thousands of pounds lavished on my education, I’m left guessing the solution is something that can be broken down into a Latin phrase befitting the clue, something like QUIN-QUA-GENERI-AN. Google Translate has this as “without the degree or”, so, er… perhaps not.
[EDIT: A big thank you to Mike, Mark and Clive in the comments for decoding this one. CaLLIXenus contains or “comprehends” the Roman numerals L and LIX successively, being the numbers 50 and 59, i.e. the “limits” of a quinquagenarian. For all I’m not this setter’s biggest fan, I have to admit this clue is brilliant.]
26. State funds partner no longer one with place on the board (9)
Answer: EXCHEQUER (i.e. “state funds”). Solution is EX (i.e. “partner no longer”) followed by CHEQUER (i.e. “one with place on board”, as in a piece in a game of chequers).
28. The blue socks that are great for seeing baseball teams in? (8)
Answer: SKYBOXES (i.e. “that are great for seeing baseball teams in”, as in the posh boxes found in some sports arenas). Not a word found in my Chambers, this, but the solution is SKY (i.e. “blue” occasionally) followed by BOXES (i.e. “socks” – think of it in terms of hitting someone).
29. Odd person, the president, one featuring in reply to children’s question (10,4)
Answer: GOOSEBERRY BUSH (i.e. “one featuring in reply to children’s question” – this refers to an allegedly popular response given to a child when they ask where they came from, whereupon they are told they were “found under a gooseberry bush”. “Gooseberry bush” was originally a slang term describing a woman’s pubic hair, so, technically speaking, they’re right.) Solution is GOOSEBERRY (i.e. “odd person”, as in the awkward hanger-on who accompanies a pair who would rather be alone) followed by BUSH (i.e. “the president” – George or Dubya, take your pick).
31. French town one can start to like, somehow (7)
Answer: ALENCON (i.e. “French town”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of ONE CAN and L (i.e. “start to like”, i.e. the first letter of “like”). One I got from the wordplay and only once I’d had most of the intersecting letters filled in. More bloody place names.
34. Romeo regularly taking money for reciting poem (7)
Answer: RONDEAU. Hold on. (Grabs Chambers again.) This is “a form of poem characterised by closely-knit rhymes and a refrain, and, as defined in the 17c, consisting of thirteen lines, divided into three unequal strophes, not including the burden (repeating the first few words) after the eighth and thirteenth lines, brought into vogue by Swinburne”. And they wonder why limericks are popular. Anyway, the solution is R (“Romeo” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by ON (i.e. “regularly” – a weak one this, if I have it right) and DEAU (i.e. “money for reciting” – it should be noted that RONDEAU is pronounced ron-dough… so DEAU is a homophone of dough, i.e. “money”). Another one that took a fair amount of figuring.
39. How mishit croquet ball might come back ready-made (3,3,3)
Answer: OFF THE PEG. Solution satisfies “how mishit croquet ball might come back”, a beastly situation I’m sure every man, woman and child can relate to, what, what, what, eh, Jeeves; and “ready-made [clothing]”.
42. Alias entered into by queen to see a Russian poet (9)
Answer: Anna AKHMATOVA (i.e. “Russian poet” – what do you mean you’ve never heard of… ah, who am I kidding? Me neither.) This was another that took a fair amount of figuring, but the solution is AKA (i.e. “alias”, as in a recognised abbreviation of “also known as”) which surrounds or is “entered into by” HM (i.e. “queen”, as in Her Majesty), then followed by TO, then V (i.e. “see” – one of this setter’s tells, and one I was wise to. V is a recognised abbreviation of “vide”, which is “see” in Latin), and finally A, like so: AK(HM)A-TO-V-A. Good grief.
43. Hormone’s harmful substance keeping husband younger (8)
Answer: THYROXIN (i.e. a “hormone” produced by the thyroid gland). Solution is TOXIN (i.e. “harmful substance”) wrapped around or “keeping” H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) and YR (ditto “younger”), like so: T(H-YR)OXIN. Unsurprisingly, this was another one gotten largely through the wordplay.
44. Is supporter first to abandon plucky players? (7)
Answer: ASSISTS (i.e. “is supporter”). Solution is BASSISTS (i.e. “plucky players”, as in how they pluck the strings) with the initial letter removed (indicated by “first to abandon”).
45. Reference work on beer, large and so complex? (7)
Answer: OEDIPAL (i.e. “complex”, being a strong affection one has for their mother paired with a strong dislike of one’s father). Solution is OED (i.e. “reference work”, specifically the Oxford English Dictionary) followed by IPA (i.e. “beer”, specifically Indian Pale Ale) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”).
46. Maybe like Berkshire land one’s keeping quiet about (7)
Answer: SWINISH (i.e. “maybe like Berkshire” – referring to the Berkshire breed of pig. No, me neither.) Solution is WIN (i.e. “land”, as in to land a big contract) and I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”) both placed in SH (i.e. “quiet”), like so: S(WIN-IS)H.
47. Jar on its lid – something often right underneath (6)
[EDIT: A further big thank you to Mark in the comments for the answer, which is JANGLE (i.e. “[to] jar”). The solution is J (i.e. “jar on its lid”, a little bit of recursion there referring to the first letter of “jar”) and ANGLE (i.e. “something often right”, as in right angles. “Often”, setter, really? On a sheet of graph paper, perhaps…) placed “underneath”, this being a down clue. Again, I’ve left my original text below for posterity, not that it’ll help you much! – LP]
Answer: Your guess is as good as mine, I’m afraid. There are dozens of words that match the letters _A_G_R, and none of them leap out as a strong contender for the solution. It could be DAGGER, being the symbol you sometimes see in text to denote a related footnote, or “something often right underneath”. I can’t see how it fits the rest of the clue, though. Given the setter’s penchant for using place names, it could be BANGOR, which fits “jar” (BANG) and “right underneath” (R placed at the end, this being a down clue), but that’s about it. If I have a brainwave anytime soon, I’ll let you know. I suspect when the solution is published in a couple of weeks, I’ll still be none the wiser.
49. Italian architect recalled in verse – and oddly overlooked (5)
Answer: Pier Luigi NERVI (i.e. “Italian architect” – I know, I know. More dead people. Don’t worry, we’re nearly done). “Oddly overlooked” indicates the odd letters are ignored in the words IN VERSE AND once they have been reversed (indicated itself by “recalled”), like so: DNA ESREV NI.
51. In vain altering Schiller ode’s intro (2,3)
Answer: NO JOY (i.e. “in vain”). Solution is TO JOY (i.e. “Schiller’s ode”, as in Ode To Joy. We’re ignoring the “Ode” bit, as it has already been mentioned in the clue) with the initial letter changed (indicated by “altering…intro”).
52. Child nearly sacrificed? There are differing accounts (5)
Answer: ISAAC (i.e. “child nearly sacrificed” – in the Bible, Abraham was tasked by God to kill his son, Isaac, to prove his faith and was only stopped at the very last moment by a spot of divine intervention. That God, eh? Such a nice deity. “It’s Tuesday so let’s mentally scar a boy to help flatter My ego. Cor, it’s great being God, isn’t it?” <snips 10,000 word anti-religious rant>) Anyway, the solution comprises ISA and AC, both “differing accounts”, the former being an Individual Savings Account, the latter being a recognised abbreviation of the word “account”.