A toughie this week, though one whose (manifold) exotics lay just on the right side of annoying. A few mysteries remain – time is getting on as I edit this, and my brain has gone soggy. Also, is it just me or did the setter leave most of the exotics for the down clues? I mean, look at some of them! Sheesh!
Anyway, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.
[EDIT – I’ve updated the grid, changing 31a to ENLISTEES, following John’s helpful explanation in the comments of my ‘About’ page, and 41d to INTERVENE, as this is a much better fit. – LP]
A little housekeeping before we begin, in time-honoured fashion. If you have a recent Times Jumbo Cryptic that’s left you baffled then my Just For Fun page could help you. Failing that, hey, about some book reviews? No? Ah, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on…
Fine. To the answers, then!
1. Accomplices having fun after eleven? (9)
Answer: SIDEKICKS (i.e. “accomplices”). Solution is KICKS (i.e. “fun”) placed “after” SIDE (i.e. “eleven”, as in a football team, among others), like so: SIDE-KICKS.
6. Chose hotel on vacation, purely randomly, as temporary resting place? (4,9)
Answer: HOLY SEPULCHRE, the tomb in which the body of Christ was placed after the crucifixion. (i.e. “temporary resting place”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “randomly”) of CHOSE, HL (i.e. “hotel on vacation”, i.e. the word “hotel” with all of its middle letters removed) and PURELY. One of several clues in this puzzle that scans rather well. Somehow, I’ve managed to get through this blog post resisting all the while adding BATMAN! to the end of HOLY SEPULCHRE. I’ve changed, man, I’ve changed…
13. One who has depression after losing daughter (5)
Answer: OWNER (i.e. “one who has”). Solution is DOWNER (i.e. “depression”) with the D removed (indicated by “losing daughter”, d being a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”).
14. Chin disfigured with gunshot – or something else entirely (2,4,5)
Answer: NO SUCH THING (i.e. “something else entirely”). “Disfigured” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CHIN and GUNSHOT.
15. Preserving agent’s bulletin: it recommends contracting (5)
Answer: NITRE, also known as saltpetre (i.e. “preserving agent”). “Contracting” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: BULLETI(N IT RE)COMMENDS.
16. Declaration when going to part of Sicily, for example (11)
Answer: ARRIVEDERCI, which is Italian for farewell. Incidentally, also Brad Pitt’s best line in Inglourious Basterds. Anyway, “declaration when going to part”. The “of Sicily” indicates the Italian angle. You get the idea.
17. General manager, at first opening in French, is puzzling people (11)
Answer: ENIGMATISTS (i.e. “puzzling people”). Solution is GM (a recognised abbreviation of “general manager”), AT and IST (i.e. “first”, the I representing a 1) placed in or “opening” EN (i.e. “in French”, i.e. the French for “in”) and IS, like so: EN-I(GM-AT-IST)S.
18. Gift of mobile phone, with time exchanged for pounds (7)
Answer: HANDSEL, which is an inaugural “gift”, such as a coin placed in the pocket of a new coat. Solution is HANDSET (i.e. “mobile phone”) with the T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) replaced by or “exchanged for” L (ditto “pounds”). One I got from the wordplay and a check in my Chambers, if I’m honest. Nice word, though. I like it.
20. Protective gear appropriate for post-holder (7)
Answer: MAILBAG (i.e. “post-holder”). Solution is MAIL (i.e. “protective gear”, as in chain mail) followed by BAG (i.e. “[to] appropriate”).
21. Proceeds awkwardly, stopping for one to turn and look (7)
Answer: GLIMPSE (i.e. “look”). Solution is LIMPS (i.e. “proceeds awkwardly”) placed in or “stopping” EG (i.e. “for one”, as in “for example”) which has been reversed (indicated by “to turn”), like so: G(LIMPS)E.
23. No matter what is drunk with alcohol, emerge healthier (extremely) (4,4,2,4,5)
Answer: COME HELL OR HIGH WATER (i.e. “no matter what”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “drunk”) of WITH ALCOHOL EMERGE and HR (i.e. “healthier (extremely)”, i.e. the first and last letters of “healthier”). A clue I can get on board with.
27. Little friend, we hear, to bear regret (3)
Answer: RUE (i.e. “regret”). “We hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of ROO, (i.e. “little friend … to [Pooh] bear”).
28. Occasion to be poorly attended by specialist medical department (6)
Answer: ENTAIL (i.e. “occasion” – a little tenuous, but it’s backed up by my Chambers Thesaurus). Solution is AIL (i.e. “to be poorly”) placed “by” ENT (i.e. “specialist medical department”, specifically Ear Nose and Throat), like so: ENT-AIL.
29. Old African film – and welcome theatre performance (6)
Answer: ETHIOP (i.e. “old African” – it’s tagged in the dictionary as an archaic term). Solution is ET (i.e. “[Spielberg] film”) followed by HI (i.e. “welcome”) and OP (i.e. “theatre performance”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”).
[EDIT: Skeggis in the comments offers an alternative for OP, with “theatre performance” referring to a surgical procedure, which seems a better fit. Thanks, Skeggis! – LP]
31. Recruits ultimately neglectful in returning without shirts (9)
Answer: ENLISTEES (i.e. “recruits”). I haven’t got a Scooby on this one, so watch out. “Ultimately neglectful” could be L, as in its final letter, but after that I’m snookered. Some kip is needed, I reckon.
[EDIT: A big thank you to John in the comments of my ‘About’ page for this one. The answer is ENLISTEES (not ENLISTERS as I’d had it), being L (i.e. “ultimately neglectful”, i.e. the last letter of “neglectful”) being placed in SINE (Latin for “without”, e.g. sine die, meaning “without a day”) which is reversed (indicated by “in returning”) and followed by TEES (i.e. “shirts”), like so: EN(L)IS-TEES. Flippin’ ‘eck, I would never have gotten that one! – LP]
34. Books and a sticker collected by mostly hard-up party organisers (9)
Answer: POLITBURO (i.e. “[Soviet] party organisers”). Solution is LIT (i.e. “books”, as in a recognised abbreviation of “literature”) and BUR (i.e. “sticker”, as in those sticky plant seeds that cling to your clothes – also spelled “burr”) placed in or “collected by” POOR (i.e. “hard-up”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: PO(LIT-BUR)O.
35. Axes absorbing old reference work that’s not remained constant (2-4)
Answer: YO-YOED (i.e. “that’s not remained constant”). Solution is Y and Y (i.e. “axes [of graphs]”) wrapped around or “absorbing” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and followed by OED (i.e. “reference work”, specifically the Oxford English Dictionary), like so: Y(O)Y-OED.
36. Love early Dad’s Army I see in theatre (3,3)
Answer: OLD VIC (i.e. “[London] theatre”). Solution is O (i.e. “love”, as in a zero score in tennis) followed by LDV (short for Local Defence Volunteers, i.e. “early Dad’s army”), then I and C (i.e. “see”, as in the third letter of the alphabet).
39. Succeed, after going back regularly a bit (3)
Answer: ECU (i.e. “a bit”, as in a coin. Over the years an ecu has been an old French coin as well as a precursor to the euro, as in the European Currency Unit). “Regularly” indicates the solution can be derived by taking every other letter of SUCCEED once it has been reversed (indicated by “going back”), like so: DEECCUS.
40. Fiction by people put out for religious festival (9,2,3,5)
Answer: INVENTION OF THE CROSS, a “religious festival” observed on Star Wars Eve. Solution is INVENTION (i.e. “fiction”) followed by OF THE CROSS (i.e. “people put out”). One I got from the wordplay, to be honest.
42. Threat from deep from one football team, way back (7)
Answer: TSUNAMI (i.e. “threat from deep”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by MAN U (i.e. “football team”, i.e. Manchester United) and ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”), all reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: TS-U-NAM-I.
43. Jewish court risked row after hours (4,3)
Answer: BETH DIN (i.e. “Jewish court”). Solution is BET (i.e. “risked”) and DIN (i.e. “row”) once it has been placed “after” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hours”), like so: BET-H-DIN. Chalk one to my Bradfords here. Most everything religious in my brain has been claimed by adaptive memory over the years.
45. Chap coming from game left public house after party (7)
Answer: RUDOLPH (i.e. “chap”, as in a man’s name). Solution is RU (i.e. “game”, specifically Rugby Union), and L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and PH (ditto “public house”) once they’ve been placed “after” DO (i.e. “party”), like so: RU-DO-L-PH.
47. Place irises all round person in a field (11)
Answer: SPECIALISER (i.e. “person in a field”). “All round” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PLACE IRISES.
49. Which sees gas production at its peak? (6,5)
Answer: SUMMIT TALKS, e.g. those confabs between the G7, the G20, etc, which provide wonderful photo opportunities for those world leaders in attendance, eye-watering bar bills from their entourage and precious little progress for the world in general. Clue riffs on how “gas production” can refer to talking, and how “peak” is another word for “summit”. You get the idea.
51. Immigrant lives west of Southwark area (5)
Answer: ISSEI – off to my Chambers for this one: “a Japanese immigrant in the USA … after 1907, who did not qualify for citizenship until 1952”. So an “immigrant” then. Solution is IS (i.e. “lives”) followed by SEI (i.e. “Southwark area”, i.e. the post code area SE1). Relevant aside: I keep picking up James Ellroy’s Perfidia in Waterstones, especially now he’s followed it up with This Storm – it’s a sure sign I’ll buy them both at some point. Fun fact: my to-be-read pile can now be measured in mid-sized Waterstones stores.
52. State goal of female to acquire son (11)
Answer: NETHERLANDS (i.e. “state”). Solution is NET (i.e. “goal” in various sports) followed by HER (i.e. “of female”), then LAND (i.e. “to acquire”) and S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”).
53. Founder of Academy of Sport, just about closed (5)
Answer: PLATO (i.e. “founder of [the Platonic] Academy”). Solution is PLAY (i.e. “sport”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “just about”) and followed by TO (i.e. “closed”, as in leaving a door closed to), like so: PLA-TO. I’m not 100% here, so I’m open to alternatives.
54. A number of just people isolated? (4,3,6)
Answer: ONLY THE LONELY, a song or musical “number” by Roy Orbison. Solution also satisfies “just people isolated”.
55. Coffee percolator – at last – light and modern! (6-3)
Answer: LATTER-DAY (i.e. “modern”). Solution is LATTE (i.e. “coffee”) followed by R (i.e. “percolator – at last”, i.e. the last letter of “percolator”) and then DAY (i.e. “light”).
1. Stand with one outside hospital to make complaint (11)
Answer: STOMACHACHE (i.e. “complaint”). Solution is STOMACH (i.e. to bear or “stand”) followed by ACE (i.e. “one” in cards) once it has been placed “outside” of H (a recognised abbreviation of “hospital” used on maps), like so: STOMACH-AC(H)E.
2. Nervy conductor in retreat, humming endlessly (7)
Answer: DENDRON (i.e. “nervy conductor”, relating to elements of one’s nervous system). Solution is DEN (i.e. a study or “retreat”) followed by DRONE (i.e. “humming”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”), like so: DEN-DRON. Chalk another one to my Bradfords here.
3. Put out verse about Irish dancers (5)
Answer: KIROV Ballet, also known as the Mariinsky Ballet, over yonder in Russia, i.e. “dancers”. Solution is KO (i.e. “put out”, as in to knock out) and V (a recognised abbreviation of “verse”) placed “about” IR (ditto “Irish”), like so: K(IR)O-V. No, me neither. One I got purely from the wordplay and a quick Google to confirm.
4. May a surrealist work fifty years to produce something blooming orange? (6,4)
Answer: CANADA LILY, a plant that produces yellow or orange heads (i.e. “something blooming orange”). Did a Google Image search – ooh, pretty. Solution is CAN (i.e. “may”) followed by A, then DALI (i.e. “surrealist work”, as in an artwork produced by Salvador Dali), then L (i.e. “[Roman numeral] fifty”), then Y (a recognised abbreviation of “years”), like so: CAN-A-DALI-L-Y. Another one gotten purely from the wordplay.
5. Spies, close to cot, strange old rattle (7)
Answer: SISTRUM, “an ancient Egyptian wire rattle used in Isis-worship” (Chambers again.) Solution is SIS (i.e. “spies”, specifically the Secret Intelligence Service, more commonly known as MI6) followed by T (i.e. “close to cot”, i.e. the last letter of “cot”) and RUM (i.e. “strange”). A combination of wordplay and brute-forcing Chambers was needed here.
6. Two hotels, one mythic icon, transformed Asian port (2,3,4,4)
Answer: HO CHI MINH CITY (i.e. “Asian port”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “transformed”) of H, H (i.e. “two hotels”, H being “hotel” in the phonetic alphabet), I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and MYTHIC ICON. An easy get, having appeared before.
7. One dropping paper’s new setters? An error! (9)
Answer: LITTERBUG (i.e. “one dropping papers”). Solution is LITTER (i.e. “new setters” – badgers live in setts, so a litter of badger cubs would be “new setters”) followed by BUG (i.e. “an error”).
8. Hold in position large drink bottles for stealing (7)
Answer: SWIPING (i.e. “stealing”). Solution is PIN (i.e. “hold in position”) placed in or “bottled” by SWIG (i.e. “large drink”), like so: SWI(PIN)G.
9. Irrational general secretary with power and cunning? Unlikely! (4,5,3)
Answer: PIGS MIGHT FLY (i.e. “unlikely”). Solution is PI (an “irrational” number, being one that cannot be expressed as a fraction with an integer numerator and denominator), followed by GS (a recognised abbreviation of “general secretary”), then MIGHT (i.e. “power”) and FLY (i.e. “cunning”, as in being pretty fly (for a white guy)).
10. Going on more trips up Rhine, get beyond lake (9)
Answer: LENGTHIER (i.e. “going on more”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “trips up”) of RHINE GET which is placed after or “beyond” L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: L-ENGTHIER.
11. African race issue, tough to bring up every so often (5)
Answer: HUTUS (i.e. “African race”). “Every so often” indicates the solution can be derived by taking every other letter of ISSUE TOUGH, once reversed (indicated by “bring up” – this being a down clue), like so: HGUOT EUSSI
12. Quits flat, base for assignment in Rugby (4-7)
Answer: EVEN-STEVENS (i.e. “quits”). Solution is EVEN (i.e. “flat”) followed by T (i.e. “base” – a guess here, but I’m plumping for a recognised abbreviation of “tare”. This goes back to my days helping in my grandparent’s shop, where you would tare or zero the weighing scale once the pan had been placed on it. You could then measure whatever it was you wanted to weigh. (Often sweets.)) once it has been placed or “assigned in” SEVENS (i.e. a variant form of “rugby” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: EVEN-S(T)EVENS.
[EDIT: Thanks to Mark in the comments for pointing out a much more straightforward explanation for T, being the last letter or “base” of the word “assignment”. That’s better! – LP]
19. For old chancellor, that is hard, halfway through his time in office? Erm, no (7)
Answer: Helmut SCHMIDT (i.e. “old [German] chancellor”). Solution is SC (i.e. “that is”, being a recognised abbreviation of the Latin scilicet, meaning “namely” – a new one on me) followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard”) and MIDTERM (i.e. “halfway through his time in office”) once the ERM has been removed (indicated by “erm, no”), like so: SC-H-MIDT. Chalk one to my Bradfords, here, as this guy was a little before my time.
22. OAP, overly disposed to speak French (9)
Answer: PARLEYVOO (i.e. “to speak French”, riffing on the way “parlez-vous” is spoken – yes, it’s in the dictionary! Yes, I was surprised too). “Disposed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OAP OVERLY. One I solved only when I’d gotten most of the intersecting letters.
24. Satisfied large cuts augur badly for popular seventies track (9)
Answer: METALGURU (i.e. “popular seventies track [by T Rex]” – surely this is two words? I’ve checked Google, Spotify, even Wikipedia goddammit, and it’s two words. Yellow card, setter. (Explodes in typical internet nowtrage.)) Solution is MET (i.e. “satisfied”) followed L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) once it has been placed in an anagram (indicated by “badly”) of AUGUR, like so: MET-A(L)GURU.
25. In St Nazaire, where a couple of sailors dated (7)
Answer: OUTWORN (i.e. “dated”). Solution is OU (i.e. “in St Nazaire, where”, i.e. the French for “where”) followed by TWO (i.e. “a couple”) and RN (i.e. “sailors”, specifically the Royal Navy).
26. From which enemy corps have we initially recoiled? (7)
Answer: WHEREOF (i.e. “from which”). Solution is FOE (i.e. “enemy”) followed by RE (i.e. “corps”, specifically the Royal Engineers) and H and W (i.e. “have we initially”, i.e. the first letters of “have” and “we”), which are all reversed (indicated by “recoiled”), like so: W-H-ER-EOF.
30. Where estate maybe would show evidence of early settlement? (3-3-7)
Answer: PAY-AND-DISPLAY. Clue riffs on how an “estate” can be a car, and how you would prominently show a pay-and-display ticket on your car to show you’ve pre-paid a parking charge, i.e. “evidence of early settlement”. I actually groaned when this finally clicked. I like it.
32. Wed Dec 1: records sent up (7)
Answer: SPLICED (i.e. “wed”). Solution is DEC I (i.e. “Dec 1”) and LPS (i.e. “[long-play] records”) all reversed (indicated by “sent up” – this being a down clue), like so: SPL-I-CED.
33. Under this, almost certain to conceal weapon? (12)
Answer: SURVILLANCE. Solution is SURE (i.e. “certain”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) followed by VEIL (i.e. “to conceal”) and LANCE (i.e. “weapon”). In the context of the solution, under surveillance, you would conceal a weapon rather than flash it about. A clue that scans rather well.
34. Quietly topping others, manned satellite, if you ask me, is most speedy (11)
Answer: PRESTISSIMO (i.e. “most speedy” in musical lingo). Solution is P (i.e. “quietly”, also in musical lingo, being a recognised abbreviation of “piano”) followed by or “topping” (this being a down clue) REST (i.e. “others”), then ISS (i.e. “manned satellite”, specifically the International Space Station) and IMO (i.e. “if you ask me”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “in my opinion”). Musical terms have lately been something of a motif for these puzzles, haven’t they?
37. One doctor may look up to, say, corrupted with riches (4,7)
Answer: CASE HISTORY (i.e. “one doctor may look up”). “Corrupted” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO SAY and RICHES.
38. My old chair? That’s without doubt in the end the place to be! (5,3,2)
Answer: WHERE IT’S AT (i.e. “the place to be”). Solution is WHERE I SAT (i.e. “my old chair”) wrapped around or placed “without” T (i.e. “doubt in the end”, i.e. the last letter of “doubt”), like so: WHERE-I-(T)-SAT.
40. Creative person from newspaper opposed to blocking film (9)
Answer: IMAGINIST (i.e. “creative person”). Solution is the I (i.e. “newspaper”, launched in the UK in 2010) followed by AGIN (i.e. “opposed to”) once it has been placed in or “blocking” MIST (i.e. “film”), like so: I-M(AGIN)IST.
41. Get involved in a day to celebrate trainee nurses (9)
Answer: INTERVENE (i.e. “get involved”). Another where the setter has lost me, so watch out. Again, perhaps some sleep will help.
[EDIT: I’m changing my answer to INTERVENE (not INTERFERE). My solution is INTERNE (i.e. “trainee”) which is wrapped around or “nursing” VE (i.e. “a day to celebrate”, as in Victory in Europe), like so: INTER(VE)NE. Got there in the end! – LP]
43. Southern African graduates, and nothing but (7)
Answer: BASOTHO, a Bantu people of Lesotho (i.e. “Southern African”). Solution is BAS (i.e. “graduates”, specifically Bachelors of Arts) followed by O (i.e. “nothing”) and THO (i.e. “but”, as in an informal, contracted form of “though”). A little brute force of my Chambers was necessary when I couldn’t panel-beat “Lesotho” into the letters I had. Or the clue, for that matter.
44. In theory plan I’m only partially up for (7)
Answer: NOMINAL (i.e. “in theory”). “Partially” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, while “up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: P(LAN I’M ON)LY.
46. Old reformist that makes me crack up and blubber (7)
Answer: the LOLLARD movement, which was a pre-Protestant Christian religious movement that existed from the early 14th century to the English Reformation. No, me neither. Adaptive memory, see? Anyway, “old reformist”. Solution is LOL (i.e. “crack up”, as in “laugh out loud”, a popular acronym among interwebbers) followed by LARD (i.e. “blubber”). Another win for the Bradfords, here.
48. Drawing support and comfort first from lover (5)
Answer: EASEL (i.e. “drawing support”). Solution is EASE (i.e. “comfort”) followed by L (i.e. “first from lover”, i.e. the first letter of “lover”).
50. Tent peg found outside gym (5)
Answer: TEPEE (i.e. “tent”). Solution is TEE (i.e. “peg”) placed “outside” of PE (i.e. “gym”, as in Physical Education), like so: TE(PE)E.