An easier time of it this week, though there were still a few exotic solutions to keep things spicy. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful.
As ever, a spot of housekeeping first. If you have a recent Times Jumbo Cryptic that has left you baffled in some way, then you might find my Just For Fun page a fine place to visit. If you like reading more than just crossword solutions, however, then I have a few book reviews that might interest you too.
Right. On with the show. I’m writing this via 4g as my broadband has packed in, so I’d better be quick before my phone melts through the chair arm.
TTFN – LP.
1. Large American plane for one going across to fight China (10)
Answer: LUSTREWARE, which is pottery that has a metal glaze (i.e. “china” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) followed by US (i.e. “American”) and TREE (i.e. “plane”, specifically any tree of the genus Planatus, it says here. I remembered this usage from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest) which is wrapped around or “going across” WAR (i.e. “to fight”), like so: L-US-TRE(WAR)E. “For one” is strangely redundant, so I might not have this fully right.
6. Doctor retries oxide brought out in surgery (12)
Answer: EXTERIORISED, which is to temporarily bring an internal part outside of the body (i.e. “brought out in surgery”). “Doctor” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RETRIES OXIDE.
14. Refined data Peg left (7)
Answer: GENTEEL (i.e. “refined”). Solution is GEN (i.e. “data”) followed by TEE (i.e. “peg” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”).
15. Bland genus of flowers filling image (7)
Answer: PROSAIC (i.e. “bland”). Solution is ROSA (i.e. “genus of flowers”) placed inside or “filling” PIC (i.e. “image”), like so: P(ROSA)IC. Got this mainly thanks to the same solution featuring in last week’s grid.
16. Replacement players cave in (7)
Answer: SUBSIDE (i.e. “cave in”). Solution is SUB (i.e. “replacement”, specifically short for substitute) followed by SIDE (i.e. “players”).
17. Tread on this very tender part, recoiling (4)
Answer: TYRE (i.e. “[there’s] tread on this”). “Part” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, while “recoiling” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: V(ERY T)ENDER.
18. Writer taking in street cafe (6)
Answer: BISTRO (i.e. “cafe”). Solution is BIRO (i.e. “writer”, as in the brand of pen) wrapped around or “taking in” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: BI(ST)RO.
20. None more vicious than this violent strife besetting church (8)
Answer: FIERCEST (i.e. “none more vicious than this”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “violent”) of STRIFE wrapped around or “besetting” CE (i.e. “church”, specifically Church of England), like so: FIER(CE)ST.
24. Behind curtain, nasty yob nabs red flag? No flipping wonder! (7,7,2,7)
Answer: HANGING GARDENS OF BABYLON, one of the Seven “Wonders” of the World. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “nasty”) of YOB NABS RED FLAG followed by ON (i.e. “no flipping”, i.e. the word NO reversed) which are then both placed “behind” HANGING (i.e. “curtain”), like so: HANGING-GARDENSOFBABYL-ON.
25. I’m taking queen in for card game… (7)
Answer: PRIMERO (i.e. “card game” – not one I’m familiar with, which isn’t saying much). Solution is I’M and ER (i.e. “queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) placed “in” PRO (i.e. in favour of, or “for”), like so: PR(IM-ER)O.
26. …one completely spoiled for us (3,5)
Answer: ALL-FOURS (i.e. “one” – the ellipsis indicates we’re continuing the context of the previous clue, so we’re seeking another card game. And, no, I don’t know this one either!) Solution is ALL (i.e. “completely”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “spoiled”) of FOR US.
27. Quarters affected? Put up tents (6)
Answer: ENCAMP (i.e. “put up tents”). Solution is EN (i.e. “quarters”, as in two of the four points or “quarters” of a compass, in this case East and North) followed by CAMP (i.e. an “affected” manner).
29. Best-ever splitting logs? (6-8)
Answer: RECORD-BREAKING. Solution satisfies “best-ever” and, cryptically, “splitting logs”.
31. Cheeky bishop maybe who’s just gone up? (8)
Answer: FRESHMAN (i.e. “who’s just gone up” – “up” can mean “in residence at school or college”, which I faintly remembered from a previous puzzle. A freshman is a new entrant to a school or college.). Solution is FRESH (i.e. “cheeky”) followed by MAN (i.e. “bishop maybe”, referring to how chess pieces are sometimes referred to as men).
34. Prepare state offering (8)
Answer: DONATION (i.e. “offering”). Solution is DO (i.e. “prepare” – it’s in the dictionary, but I can’t immediately think of a sentence that uses the word in this way) followed by NATION (i.e. “state”).
36. Guide turned up with pedalo with few people (14)
Answer: UNDERPOPULATED (i.e. “with few people”). “Guide” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TURNED UP and PEDALO.
39. Talk roughly about female sailor (6)
Answer: CONFAB (i.e. “talk”, short for confabulation. Hands up anyone who uses “conflab” even though it’s not in the dictionary? Yup. Me too.) Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of circa, i.e. “roughly”) followed by ON (i.e. “about”, as in “this week’s blog post is on the latest Times Jumbo Cryptic crossword”), then F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) and AB (i.e. “sailor”, specifically one that is Able-Bodied), like so: C-ON-F-AB.
41. He serenades Poles in joint with learner (8)
Answer: MINSTREL (i.e. “he serenades”). Solution is NS (i.e. “poles”, as in North and South) placed “in” MITRE (i.e. “joint” – a mitre joint is where two pieces of wood have a 45 degree edge so they help form a right-angle when put together) and then followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner”), like so: MI(NS)TRE-L.
43. Again take in notice occupying authority (7)
Answer: READMIT (i.e. “again take in”). Solution is AD (i.e. “notice”, as in a short form of advertisement) placed in REMIT (i.e. “authority”), like so: RE(AD)MIT.
46. Economic rule from when industrialising flourished (3,2,11,7)
Answer: LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS (i.e. “economic rule”). “Flourished” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FROM WHEN INDUSTRIALISING.
47. Kissed noisily on mouth, touching chest (8)
Answer: PECTORAL (i.e. “touching chest”, as in the definition “of, for, on or near the breast or chest” rather than the muscle). Solution is PECT (i.e. “kissed noisily”, i.e. a homophone of PECKED) followed by ORAL (i.e. “mouth”).
48. Answer for each copper’s witty comment (6)
Answer: APERCU, which can mean an immediate intuitive insight (i.e. “witty comment” – I guess “wit” in this context means being clever as opposed to being funny). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer” as in Q&A) followed by PER (i.e. “for each”) and CU (chemical symbol of “copper”). One I got solely through the wordplay.
49. Hard going in wartime force for mule perhaps (4)
Answer: SHOE (i.e. “mule perhaps” – a variant definition of the word is a backless slipper or shoe). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils) “going in” SOE (i.e. “wartime force”, specifically the Special Operations Executive) like so: S(H)OE. One of those where I said, “I wonder if a mule is a kind of shoe” and was happy to find it was. Doesn’t always happen like that.
53. Placate gorilla, say, feeding him vegetables (7)
Answer: APPEASE (i.e. “placate”). Solution is APE (i.e. “gorilla, say”) wrapped around or being “fed” by PEAS (i.e. “vegetables”), like so: AP(PEAS)E.
54. Gradually assimilating very big second sibling (7)
Answer: OSMOSIS (i.e. “gradually assimilating”). Solution is OS (i.e. “very big”, specifically a recognised abbreviation for “outsize”) followed by MO (i.e. “second”, as in a short form of the word “moment”) and SIS (i.e. “sibling”, as in a short form of “sister”).
56. Four abandoning calm standstill (7)
Answer: IMPASSE (i.e. “standstill”). Solution is IMPASSIVE (i.e. “calm”) with the IV removed (indicated by “[Roman numerals] four abandoning”).
57. Fight follows big birthday present under tree? (9,3)
Answer: CHRISTMAS BOX (i.e. “present under tree”). Solution is CHRISTMAS (i.e. “big birthday”) “followed” by BOX (i.e. “[to] fight”).
58. Reluctant to give way: sets new checks on income (5,5)
Answer: MEANS TESTS (i.e. “checks on income”). Solution is MEAN (i.e. miserly or “reluctant to give”) followed by ST (i.e. “way”, as in a recognised abbreviation of “street”) and then an anagram (indicated by “new”) of SETS, like so: MEAN-ST-ESTS.
1. Main beacon illuminates joint (9)
Answer: LIGHTSHIP, which is a ship that acts like a lighthouse, i.e. “main beacon”. Setters love using “main” to mean the sea. Solution is LIGHTS (i.e. “illuminates”) followed by HIP (i.e. “joint”).
2. Cut stable brother resident in US port (3,10)
Answer: SAN FRANCISCAN (i.e. “resident in US port”). Solution is SANE (i.e. “stable”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “cut”) and then followed by FRANCISCAN (i.e. monk or “brother”).
3. Stench from burn about to disappear (4)
Answer: REEK (i.e. “stench”). Solution is CREEK (i.e. “burn”, as in a waterway) with the C removed (indicated by “about to disappear”, C being a recognised abbreviation of circa or “about”).
4. One of two confining the flanks at Waterloo? (10,4)
Answer: WELLINGTON BOOT. “One of two confining the flanks” – flanks are sides, which in this case are left and right. Your left and right feet can be “confined” in wellies. “Waterloo” refers to the Battle of Waterloo, in which the Duke of Wellington did alright. You get the idea.
5. Blame strike (3)
Answer: RAP. Solution satisfies “blame” – as in to take the rap for something – and “strike”.
7. Gunmen stop axes penetrating beam (1-3)
Answer: X-RAY (i.e. “beam”). Solution is XY (i.e. “axes” on a graph) wrapped around or being “penetrated” by RA (i.e. “gunmen”, specifically the Royal Artillery), like so: X(RA)Y.
8. Escape ceremony involving old Irish bureau (10)
Answer: ESCRITOIRE, which is a secretary desk or “bureau”. It’s a mishmash of desk, drawers and bookcase which obviously demanded its own word once upon a time. Solution is ESC (i.e. “escape” as in the Esc key on your keyboard) followed by RITE (i.e. “ceremony”) which is wrapped around or “involving” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and IR (i.e. ditto “Irish”), like so: ESC-RIT(O-IR)E. One I got from the wordplay and a quick shufti through my Chambers.
9. What chisellers do in bed in Home Counties? (8)
Answer: INSCRIBE (i.e. “what chisellers do”). Solution is IN followed by CRIB (i.e. “bed”) once it has been placed “in” SE (i.e. “Home Counties”, i.e. the South East of England) like so: IN-S(CRIB)E.
10. They secure Polish gangs seizing black ruler (6,5)
Answer: RUBBER BANDS (i.e. “they secure”). Solution is RUB (i.e. “polish” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and BANDS (i.e. “gangs”) wrapped around or “seizing” B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) and ER (i.e. “ruler”, specifically Elizabeth Regina), like so: RUB-(B-ER)-BANDS.
11. I can still broadcast a little bit (9)
Answer: SCINTILLA (i.e. “a little bit”). “Broadcast” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I CAN STILL. This is one of those words I heard once and it immediately stuck. In this case, I have The Day Today to thank. (Resists urge to fill rest of blog post with favourite quotes…)
12. Act one way or the other (4)
Answer: DEED (i.e. “act”). “One way or another” indicates the solution is a palindrome.
13. Doughnut-shaped gold ring in sort of wave (8)
Answer: TOROIDAL (i.e. “doughnut-shaped”). In mathematics, a torus is a doughnut-shaped thing. Solution is OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry) and O (i.e. “ring”) placed “in” TIDAL (i.e. “sort of wave”), like so: T(OR-O)IDAL. Another one I knew, weirdly.
19. Early drink from this side with a royal couple (3-5)
Answer: TEA-MAKER (i.e. “early drink from this”. Not me. I start my day with a manly shot of tabasco sauce in each eye. RRRRRRRRR!!!!) Solution is TEAM (i.e. “side”) followed by A and then K and ER (i.e. “royal couple”, specifically recognised abbreviations of king (in chess or cads) and queen, i.e. Elizabeth Regina), like so: TEAM-A-(K-ER).
21. Long, narrow cruise ship rounds tip of Africa (6)
Answer: LINEAR (i.e. “long”). Solution is LINER (i.e. “narrow cruise ship”) wrapped “round” A (i.e. “tip of Africa”, i.e. the first letter of “Africa”), like so: LINE(A)R.
22. Introduce a new cat by name (8)
Answer: ANNOUNCE (i.e. “introduce”). Solution is A then N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) then N (ditto “name”) and OUNCE (i.e. “cat”, as in a snow leopard – oooh, pretty!), like so: A-N-N-OUNCE.
23. End up with one novel still in its wrapping (8)
Answer: UNOPENED (i.e. “still in its wrapping”). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of END UP and ONE.
28. It’s less than one professional for each French case (6,8)
Answer: PROPER FRACTION, which is a fraction where the numerator is less than the denominator, i.e. “it’s less than one”). Solution is PRO (a recognised abbreviation of “professional”) followed by PER (i.e. “for each”), then FR (recognised abbreviation of “French”) and ACTION (i.e. “[court] case”), like so: PRO-PER-FR-ACTION.
29. Scorn regulation limiting papers in charge (8)
Answer: RIDICULE (i.e. “scorn”). Solution is RULE (i.e. “regulation”) which is wrapped around or “limiting” ID (i.e. “papers”, as in a short form of “identification”) and IC (a recognised abbreviation of “in charge”), like so: R(ID-IC)ULE.
30. Head of government breaks bond for top office (8)
Answer: KINGSHIP (i.e. “top office”). Solution is G (i.e. “head of government”, i.e. the first letter of “government”) placed in or “breaking” KINSHIP (i.e. “bond”), like so: KIN(G)SHIP.
32. Latin work undergoes transformation (13)
Answer: METAMORPHOSES. Solution satisfies a “Latin work” by Ovid and “undergoes transformation”.
33. University left in old money for wealth (8)
Answer: OPULENCE (i.e. “wealth”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and L (ditto “left”) placed “in” O (ditto “old”) and PENCE (i.e. “money”), like so: O-P(U-L)ENCE.
35. Deal preserves hold-ups (7,4)
Answer: TRAFFIC JAMS (i.e. “hold ups”). Solution is TRAFFIC (i.e. trade or “deal”) followed by JAMS (i.e. “preserves”).
37. Shelter papa leaving sea battle (4-2)
Answer: LEAN-TO (i.e. “shelter”). Solution is LEPANTO (i.e. “sea battle”) with the P (“papa” in the phonetic alphabet) removed (indicated by “leaving”). A near carbon-copy of this clue only a couple of weeks ago. I mean, there’s freebies and then there’s this. Come on, ed!
38. Lion’s taken in by various nuts, as are most mammals (10)
Answer: VIVIPAROUS, which describes species in which young reach an advanced stage of development before delivery (i.e. “most mammals”). Solution is VIP (i.e. “lion” – this can be taken to mean an important person) placed in an anagram (indicated by “nuts”) of VARIOUS, like so: VI(VIP)AROUS. One I got though the wordplay, and the fact a very similar word appeared in last week’s grid. A cool word, still.
40. Daily exercising pre-nap, we start to snooze (9)
Answer: NEWSPAPER (i.e. “daily”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “exercising”) of PRE-NAP WE and S (i.e. “start to snooze”, i.e. the first letter of “snooze”).
42. Practise on late transport? (8)
Answer: REHEARSE (i.e. “practise”). Solution is RE (i.e. “on” or regarding – think email replies) followed by HEARSE (i.e. “late transport”, a play on how “late” can mean deceased).
44. Crude Greek column accepted by news agency (9)
Answer: TASTELESS (i.e. “crude”). Solution is STELE (i.e. “Greek column” – over to my Chambers here: a stele is “an upright stone slab or tablet” derived from the Greek word stele meaning “from root of”. So now you know.) placed in or “accepted by” TASS (i.e. “news agency” – and back into my Chambers again. TASS was the Telegrafnoye Agentstvo Sovietskovo Soyuza, a telegraph agency of the former Soviet Union. Right-oh, then). One of those weird clues where the solution was significantly easier than the wordplay used to derive it!
45. Nothing upset old Scottish smoker putting in English flooring (8)
Answer: LINOLEUM (i.e. “flooring”). Solution is NIL (i.e. “nothing”) reversed (indicated by “upset”, this being a down clue) and followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and LUM (a Scottish word for “chimney” it says here) which is wrapped around or “putting in” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: LIN-O-L(E)UM.
50. Tender loving care protects area, using this? (4)
Answer: TALC. Solution is TLC (a recognised abbreviation of “tender loving care”) wrapped around or “protecting” A (ditto “area”), like so: T(A)LC. Within the context of the clue you might use a little talc to help protect an area of the skin. Unless you wear black.
51. Rounds of smoked ham, skinned (4)
Answer: AMMO (i.e. “rounds”). Solution is GAMMON (i.e. “smoked ham”) with the first and last letters removed (indicated by “skinned”).
52. Lie across soft strip of land on coast (4)
Answer: SPIT (i.e. “strip of land on coast”). Solution is SIT (i.e. “lie”) wrapped around or “across” P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano” in music, meaning quiet or “soft”), like so: S(P)IT.
55. Short fat girl (3)
Answer: SUE (i.e. “girl”). Solution is SUET (i.e. “fat”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “short”).