Back in the saddle again, so let’s catch up a little. Here’s my completed grid for Saturday’s puzzle along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. A mixed-bag this: a mostly straightforward affair (my kind of speed) but with a couple of markedly tough clues thrown in. A couple of repeats also spoiled things a smidge.
Before we get down to it, a spot of housekeeping. If you have a previous Times Jumbo Cryptic which has left you stumped then you might get some joy from my Just For Fun page. If you have a hankering for horror fiction then I’ve a few odds and sods in my Reviews page. I’ll have a review of Best New Horror 9 up once I’ve gotten up to speed.
In the meantime, solutions. Enjoy, and I’ll see you in a bit.
1. Father occupying lively Roman Catholic office (6)
Answer: PAPACY (i.e. “Roman Catholic office”). Solution is PA (i.e. “father”) placed in or “occupying” PACY (i.e. “lively”), like so: PA(PA)CY.
4. Spurious damage, first to last, will have you embarrassed (10)
Answer: SHAMEFACED (i.e. “embarrassed”). Solution is SHAM (i.e. “spurious”) followed by DEFACE (i.e. “damage”) once its initial letter has been placed at the end (indicated by “first to last”), like so: SHAM-EFACED.
10. Forecaster is backing Times line (5)
Answer: SIBYL, which is a female oracle or prophet from ye olde times (i.e. “forecaster”). Solution is IS reversed (indicated by “backing”) and then followed by BY (i.e. “Times”, as in multiplication – ignore the misleading capitalisation) then L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”), like so: SI-BY-L.
14. Not initially allowed to interrupt dispersal of halon? It’s not going to kill anyone (3-6)
Answer: NON-LETHAL (i.e. “it’s not going to kill anyone”). Solution is N (i.e. “not initially”, i.e. the first letter of “not”) and LET (i.e. “allowed”) both placed in or “interrupting” an anagram (indicated by “dispersal”) of HALON, like so: NO(N-LET)HAL.
15. Young fellow bound to have smart range of knowledge (6,7)
Answer: SPRING CHICKEN (i.e. “young fellow”). Solution is SPRING (i.e. “bound”, as in to leap) followed by CHIC (i.e. “smart”) and KEN (i.e. “range of knowledge”).
16. A doctor will accept present disciple (7)
Answer: ADHERER (i.e. “disciple”). Solution is A followed by DR (a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”) wrapped around or “accepting” HERE (i.e. “present”), like so: A-D(HERE)R.
17. Excessive, on reflection, to embrace that woman with ecstasy in addition (7)
Answer: THERETO (i.e. “in addition”). Solution is OTT (i.e. “excessive”, being a recognised abbreviation of “over the top”) reversed (indicated by “on reflection”) and wrapped around or “embracing” HER (i.e. “that woman”) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “ecstasy”), like so: T(HER-E)TO.
18. No turning back, engaged in troop movement for King? (7)
Answer: MONARCH (i.e. “king”). Solution is NO reversed (indicated by “turning back”) and placed in or “engaged” by MARCH (i.e. “troop movement”), like so: M(ON)ARCH.
19. Stuff in computer mars democracy – omens looking bad (6,6,6)
Answer: RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY (i.e. “stuff in computer” – basically what a computer uses to keep stuff in its head while switched on). “Looking bad” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MARS DEMOCRACY OMENS.
21. Stage return of favourite items (4)
Answer: STEP (i.e. “stage”). Solution is PETS (i.e. “favourite items”) reversed (indicated by “return of”).
24. Doctor, one avoiding study of something in dentistry (5)
Answer: MOLAR (i.e. “something in dentistry”). Solution is MO (i.e. “doctor”, specifically a Medical Officer) followed by LAIR (i.e. “study”, as in a den) with the I removed (indicated by “one avoiding”), like so: MO-LAR.
26. Dull information’s about old features of castle? (8)
Answer: DUNGEONS (i.e. “features of castle”). Solution is DUN (i.e. “dull”, as in gloomy and dingy) followed by GEN’S (i.e. “information’s”) once it has been placed “about” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: DUN-GE(O)NS.
27. American treated privately (2,6)
Answer: IN CAMERA (i.e. “privately”). “Treated” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AMERICAN.
29. Difference after electrical failure? Don’t give full details (5-6)
Answer: SHORT-CHANGE (i.e. “don’t give full details”). Solution is CHANGE (i.e. “difference”) which is placed “after” SHORT (i.e. “electrical failure”).
30. Sender of information runs into TV playwright (11)
Answer: TELEPRINTER (i.e. “sender of information”). Solution is TELE (i.e. “TV”, both shortened forms of “television”) and Harold PINTER (i.e. “playwright”) once it has been wrapped around R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in various ball games), like so: TELE-P(R)INTER.
32. Example of a shift in thinking? (11)
Answer: TELEKINESIS. Clue riffs on how telekinesis is the supposed power to move or “shift” things using thought alone. We’ve all tried this with the TV remote, right?
35. Woman capturing mole before long in artistic medium (6-5)
Answer: PAPIER-MACHE (i.e. “artistic medium”). Solution is PAM (i.e. “woman”) wrapped around or “capturing” PIER (i.e. “mole” – one of its umpteen definitions is “a massive breakwater, causeway or pier” – a new one on me, which isn’t saying much) and then followed by ACHE (i.e. “[to] long [for]”), like so: PA(PIER)M-ACHE.
37. Diver’s gold snaffled by a financial analyst (8)
Answer: AQUANAUT (i.e. “diver”). Solution is AU (chemical symbol of “gold”) placed in or “snaffled by” A QUANT (i.e. “a financial analyst”, though the financial crisis of 2008 may elicit a slightly different pronunciation from some), like so: A-QUAN(AU)T.
39. Get boost from facing the batting where the batsman stands (8)
Answer: INCREASE (i.e. “boost”). Solution is IN (i.e. “facing the batting” – a weird one, this, as I would argue if your side was “in” you’d be facing the bowling or pitching. Just me?) followed by CREASE (i.e. “where the batsman stands [in cricket]”).
40. Describing hooter or some siren as “alarm” (5)
Answer: NASAL (i.e. “describing hooter”, as in a nose). “Some” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: SIRE(N AS AL)ARM. A clue that scans rather well.
43. End product of, say, finishing-school, place that’s home to daughter (4)
Answer: LADY (i.e. “end product of, say, finishing-school”). Solution is LAY (i.e. “place”) wrapped around or “home to” D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”), like so: LA(D)Y.
44. Computer program misled, following topic embraced by arts graduates – this is a scientific discipline (7,11)
Answer: APPLIED MATHEMATICS (i.e. “this is a scientific discipline”). Solution is APP (i.e. “computer program”) followed by LIED (i.e. “misled”) and MAS (i.e. “arts graduates”, specifically Masters of Art) once it has been wrapped around or “embracing” THEMATIC (i.e. “topic”), like so: APP-LIED-MA(THEMATIC)S.
47. Still swaddled in former baby clothing (7)
Answer: LAYETTE (i.e. “baby clothing”). Solution is YET (i.e. “still”) placed or “swaddled in” LATE (i.e. “former”), like so: LA(YET)TE. An easier get thanks to it being a recent repeat.
48. US lawyer with a French degree initially on the ball? (7)
Answer: ATTUNED (i.e. “on the ball”). Solution is ATT (i.e. “US lawyer”, short for “attorney”) followed by UNE (i.e. “a French”, as in the feminine form of “a” in French) and D (i.e. “degree initially”, i.e. the first letter of “degree”).
50. Sporting boss, chap with a basic idea? Not entirely (7)
Answer: MANAGER (i.e. “sporting boss”). Solution is MAN (i.e. “chap”) followed by A then GERM (i.e. “basic idea”) once the final letter has been removed (indicated by “not entirely”), like so: MAN-A-GER.
51. Putting up with individual cordoning off street’s archaeological feature (8,5)
Answer: STANDING STONE (i.e. “archaeological feature”). Solution is STANDING (i.e. “putting up with”) and ONE (i.e. “individual”) wrapped around or “cordoning off” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: STANDING-(ST)-ONE.
52. Botanical trips I skipped involving a water vessel (5-4)
Answer: CANAL-BOAT (i.e. “water vessel”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “trips”) of BOTANICAL once the I has been removed (indicated by “I skipped”), which is then wrapped around or “involving” A, like so: C(A)NALBOAT.
53. Spoke, neglecting America, over the wireless (5)
Answer: RADIO (i.e. “the wireless”). Solution is RADIUS (i.e. “spoke”, as in the spokes on a bike wheel) with the US removed (indicated by “neglecting America”) and followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), like so: RADI-O.
54. Protection for locks? Cheated about last of these four, perhaps (10)
Answer: HEADSQUARE (i.e. “protection for locks”, as in hair). This took some figuring, but the solution is HAD (i.e. “cheated”) wrapped “about” E (i.e. “last of these”, i.e. the last letter of “these”) and then followed by SQUARE (i.e. “four, perhaps”, being the square number 2×2), like so: H(E)AD-SQUARE.
55. Political party to welcome mostly opposing points (6)
Answer: GREENS (i.e. “political party”). Solution is GREET (i.e. “to welcome”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and followed by NS (i.e. “opposing points”, being North and South on a compass), like so: GREE-NS.
1. Star shape to identify sheep behind fold (9)
Answer: PENTAGRAM (i.e. “star shape”). Solution is TAG (i.e. “identify”) and RAM (i.e. “sheep”) which are both placed “behind” PEN (i.e. “fold”), like so: PEN-TAG-RAM.
2. Historic theatrical character to strike O’Neill differently (11)
Answer: PUNCHINELLO, a “hook-nosed character in an Italian puppet show”, as my Chambers would have it (i.e. “historical theatrical character”). Solution is PUNCH (i.e. “to strike”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “differently”) of O-NEILL, like so: PUNCH-INELLO. Weirdly, one I knew!
3. See you offer support, with elevated call for attention (7)
Answer: CHEERIO (i.e. “see you”). Solution is CHEER (i.e. “offer support”) followed by OI (i.e. “call for attention”) once it has been reversed (indicated by “elevated” – this being a down clue), like so: CHEER-IO.
5. Menial worker much in demand around US railroad (5)
Answer: HELOT – again to my Chambers: “one of a class of serfs among the ancient Spartans, deliberately humiliated and liable to massacre”. Lovely. Anyway, “menial worker”. Solution is HOT (i.e. “much in demand”) wrapped around EL (an informal “US” term for an elevated “railroad” – Chambers to the rescue again here), like so: H(EL)OT. I got the HOT part but had to brute force the rest.
6. I observed series of clues curtailed in the writer’s approach to filming (4,2,5)
Answer: MISE EN SCENE, an “approach to filming” in which a static camera is used to capture all subjects of a scene with minimal cutting. Filming on the cheap, in other words. Anyway, the solution is I followed by SEEN (i.e. “observed”) and SCENT (i.e. “series of clues”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “curtailed”), all placed in ME (i.e. “the writer”, from the perspective of the setter), like so: M(I-SEEN-SCEN)E.
7. Fashion workers enthralled by child’s flower (6-2-3)
Answer: FORGET-ME-NOT (i.e. “flower”). Solution is FORGE (i.e. “[to] fashion”) followed by MEN (i.e. “workers”) once it has been placed inside or “enthralled by” TOT (i.e. “child”), like so: FORGE-T(MEN)OT.
8. Fail to study everything around start of McGill’s first course? (8)
Answer: CONSOMME (i.e. “first course”). Solution is CON SOME (i.e. “fail to study everything” – CON is another word for “study” often used by setters in their clues, so if you’ve failed to study everything you can be said to have only CON[NED] SOME. You get the idea), wrapped “around” M (i.e. “start of McGill”, i.e. the first letter of “McGill”), like so: CON-SOM(M)E.
9. Many stories of French began around centre of Paris (9)
Answer: DECAMERON, “Boccaccio’s book of a hundred tales, supposed to be told in ten days” (Chambers again) (i.e. “many stories”). Solution is DE (i.e. “of French”, i.e. the French for “of”) followed by CAME ON (i.e. “began”) once it has been placed “around” R (i.e. “centre of Paris”, i.e. the middle letter of “Paris”), like so: DE-CAME(R)ON. One I got from the wordplay, if I’m honest.
10. Pub in elevated region having had little in the way of food? (6)
Answer: SKINNY (i.e. “had little in the way of food”). Solution is INN (i.e. “pub”) placed “in” SKY (i.e. “elevated region”), like so: SK(INN)Y.
11. One using oven’s ash, say, to get source of tar for road (5,6)
Answer: BAKER STREET (i.e. “road”). Solution is BAKER’S (i.e. “one using oven’s”) followed by TREE (i.e. “ash, say”) – the clue scans marginally better if you read those two parts together – and finished with T (i.e. “source of tar”, i.e. the first letter of “tar”), like so: BAKER’S-TREE-T.
12. Start to skip a meal (5)
Answer: LUNCH (i.e. “meal”). Solution is LAUNCH (i.e. “start”) with the A removed (indicated by “to skip a”).
13. Curiously, not the opposite of “here and now” (5,3,4)
Answer: THERE AND THEN. Clue cleverly shows how taking the opposites of “here and now” gets you “there and then”, which means the same thing. Best clue for a while. Like it.
20. Unknown writer is entering church to add to sacred list (8)
Answer: CANONISE (i.e. “add to sacred list”). Solution is ANON (i.e. “unknown writer”) and IS placed in or “entering” CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: C(ANON-IS)E.
22. Plain attitude that is supporting promotional work (7)
Answer: PRAIRIE (i.e. “plain”). Solution is AIR (i.e. “attitude”, e.g. as in airs and graces) and IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. …um… “i.e.”) placed underneath or “supporting” (this being a down clue) PR (i.e. “promotional work”, being a recognised abbreviation of “press release”), like so: PR-AIR-IE.
23. Half like being overwhelmed by Dutch sailor’s charm (8)
Answer: TALISMAN (i.e. “charm”). Bloody hell, the solution was fairly easy but parsing it took for-fudging-ever! The solution is LI (i.e. “half like”, specifically the first half) placed in or “overwhelmed by” Abel TASMAN, a 17th century Dutch explorer (i.e. “Dutch sailor” – nope, me neither), like so: TA(LI)SMAN. One of those lucky “chuck TASMAN into Google and see what happens” moments. Eventually.
25. Again catching great plays about family (8)
Answer: RETAKING (i.e. “again catching”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “plays”) of GREAT placed “about” KIN (i.e. “family”) like so: RETA(KIN)G.
28. Disrespectful cheek – fine to gasp about that (8)
Answer: FLIPPANT (i.e. “disrespectful”). Solution is LIP (i.e. “cheek”, as in impertinence) with F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils) and PANT (i.e. “to gasp”) placed “about that”, like so: F-(LIP)-PANT.
29. Leave port: prepares beer when speaking (3,4)
Answer: SET SAIL (i.e. “leave port”). “When speaking” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SETS (i.e. “prepares”) and ALE (i.e. “beer”).
31. Decide in advance animal at home should possess brightly-coloured fur (12)
Answer: PREDETERMINE (i.e. “decide in advance”). Solution is PET (i.e. “animal at home”) wrapped around or “possessing” RED (i.e. “brightly-coloured”) and followed by ERMINE (i.e. “fur”) like so: P(RED)ET-ERMINE.
33. Ruddy animal upset cleaner (7-4)
Answer: LAUNDRY-MAID (i.e. “cleaner”). “Upset” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RUDDY ANIMAL.
34. Aware I ignored reminders to pay, in brief (11)
Answer: SENTENTIOUS (i.e. “in brief”, as in concise and full of meaning). Solution is SENTIENT (i.e. “aware”) with the I removed (indicated by “I ignored”) and followed by IOUS (i.e. “reminders to pay”), like so: SENTENT-IOUS.
35. Alcoholic drink and non-alcoholic drink consumed by soccer team in the case (11)
Answer: PORTMANTEAU (i.e. “case”, as in a large travelling bag). Solution is PORT (i.e. “alcoholic drink”) followed by TEA (i.e. “non-alcoholic drink”) once it has been placed inside or “consumed by” MAN U (i.e. “soccer team”, specifically Manchester United), like so: PORT-MAN(TEA)U.
36. Actors against entering bar? Last of troupe is the decider (7,4)
Answer: CASTING VOTE (i.e. “decider”). Another one that took some figuring, this, but the solution is CAST (i.e. “actors”) followed by V (i.e. “against”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “versus”) once it has been placed in or “entered” into INGOT (i.e. “bar”), and the whole then followed by E (i.e. “last of troupe”, i.e. the last letter of “troupe”), like so: CAST-ING(V)OT-E.
38. Put the men to work well down the order (9)
Answer: UMPTEENTH (i.e. “well down the order”). “To work” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PUT THE MEN.
41. Girl accepting uninspired services at the end (4,5)
Answer: LAST RITES (i.e. “the end”). Solution is LASS (i.e. “girl”) wrapped around or “accepting” TRITE (i.e. “uninspired”), like so: LAS(TRITE)S.
42. Everyone on boats needing directional assistance? (3,2,3)
Answer: ALL AT SEA. Solution satisfies “everyone on boats” and “needing directional assistance”.
45. Set aside half of area in the shape of a ring (7)
Answer: ANNULAR (i.e. “the shape of a ring”). Solution is ANNUL (i.e. “set aside” – one of the meanings of the phrase is to cancel something) followed by AR (i.e. “half of area”, specifically the first half), like so: ANNUL-AR.
46. Boss, one beginning to operate film company (6)
Answer: STUDIO (i.e. “film company”). Solution is STUD (i.e. “boss”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and O (i.e. “beginning to operate”, i.e. the first letter of “operate”).
47. Beam, having upheld most of later transaction (5)
Answer: LASER (i.e. “beam”). Solution is RESALE (i.e. “later transaction”) reversed (indicated by “upheld”, this being a down clue) and its final letter E removed (indicated by “most of”).
49. Staff upset about city scenery (5)
Answer: DÉCOR (i.e. “scenery”). Solution is ROD (i.e. “staff”) reversed (indicated by “upset”, again this being a down clue) and wrapped “about” EC (i.e. “city” – specifically the post code area for the City of London, for the 90+% of the UK who live outside of the M25), like so: D(EC)OR.