A gentler puzzle this week – much more my speed! A number of well-constructed clues made for a pleasant grid fill, all told. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful.
Before we get stuck in, a spot of housekeeping. If you have a recent Times Jumbo Cryptic crossword that’s left you baffled, then you might find my Just For Fun page of some use. Meanwhile, if you have a soft spot for horror stories, I have a bunch of reviews conveniently placed on my Reviews page. I’m (slowly) working my way through Stephen Jones’s Best New Horror anthologies. 10 down, 19 to go…
Anyway, that’s quite enough blathering from me.
1. Brightly coloured hat? We hear you are wearing that (5)
Answer: LURID (i.e. “brightly coloured”). Solution is LID (i.e. “hat”) which is wrapped around or “worn by” U and R (i.e. “we hear you are”, i.e. homophones of “you” and “are”), like so: L(U-R)ID.
4. Sound from above? This is missing below (7)
Answer: THUNDER (i.e. “sound from above”). Solution is THIS with the IS removed (indicated by “is missing”) and followed by UNDER (i.e. “below”), like so: TH-UNDER.
8. Husband considered “never good” in retrospect, showing a certain sort of fake concern (9)
Answer: GREENWASH, which is to make an insincere show of concern for the environment (i.e. “fake concern”). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) followed by SAW (i.e. “considered”) then NE’ER (poetic form of “never”) and G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “in retrospect”), like so: G-REEN-WAS-H. A new word on me, but I rather like it.
13. Specialist element said to be backing police investigator (9)
Answer: TECHNICAL (i.e. “specialist”). “Said to be” indicates homophones. Solution is NICAL (homophone of NICKEL, a chemical “element”) placed behind or “backing” TECH (homophone of TEC, a shortened form of detective, i.e. “police investigator”), like so: TECH-NICAL.
14. Team falling apart? That’s very funny (13)
Answer: SIDESPLITTING. Solution satisfies “team falling apart” (when read as SIDE SPLITTING) and “very funny”.
15. Singer thus embracing musical work took off (7)
Answer: SOPRANO (i.e. “singer”). Solution is SO (i.e. “thus”) wrapped around or “embracing” OP (i.e. “musical work”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) and RAN (i.e. “took off”), like so: S(OP-RAN)O.
16. Numbers in financial documents – one number therein multiplied by five (7)
Answer: AMOUNTS (i.e. “numbers”). Solution is ACCOUNTS (i.e. “financial documents”) with the CC (which is 200 in Roman numerals) replaced by M (which is 1000 in Roman numerals), as indicated by “one number therein multiplied by five”.
17. One that may go through wood in county with endless wonder (7)
Answer: BUCKSAW (i.e. “one that may go through wood”). Solution is BUCKS (i.e. “county”, specifically Buckinghamshire) followed by AWE (i.e. “wonder”) with its final letter removed (indicated by “endless”), like so: BUCKS-AW.
18. Total entertainment – everything being enjoyed by blondes? (3,3,3,2,3,4)
Answer: ALL THE FUN OF THE FAIR. Solution satisfies “total entertainment” and “everything being enjoyed by blondes” – blondes being said to be fair-haired.
21. After victory you initially like a drink in the bar? (4)
Answer: WINY (i.e. “like a drink in the bar”). Solution is WIN (i.e. “victory”) with Y (i.e. “you initially”, i.e. the first letter of “you”) placed “after” it, like so: WIN-Y. Of all the words that could have fitted _I_Y, the setter picked this one?!
23. Criminal ten gaoled, given a stretch (9)
Answer: ELONGATED (i.e. “given a stretch”). “Criminal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TEN GAOLED.
25. Fierce folk, initially getting into rows (6)
Answer: TIGERS (i.e. “fierce folk”. Also animals, I’ve heard). Solution is G (i.e. “initially getting”) placed “into” TIERS (i.e. “rows”), like so: TI(G)ERS.
26. Move your hips without hesitation – thanks to me? (6)
Answer: PHYSIO. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “move”) of YOUR HIPS once the UR has been removed (indicated by “without hesitation”). Within the context of the clue, physiotherapy could see you move your hips. (The “thanks to me” refers to the solution, not the setter, which threw me a bit.)
28. Agriculturalists at the cutting edge who hope to do well from investments? (12)
Answer: SHAREHOLDERS. The intersecting letters also fit “stakeholders”, who would also “hope to do well from investments”, but I reckon “cutting” indicates a sharing of sorts. (“Edge” seems a redundant word included to make the clue scan better. I could be wrong.) HOLDERS, meanwhile, can be farmer types i.e. “agriculturalists”. You get the idea.
[EDIT: Thanks to Margt and Mick in the comments for shedding some light on this one. The gist of the clue hangs on the concept of ploughshares, being all agricultural n’ all. Ploughs have a “cutting edge” too, which explains the presence of “edge” in the clue. Thanks, both! – LP]
30. One given go-ahead sign, beginning to travel east in splendid emergency vehicle (4,6)
Answer: FIRE ENGINE (i.e. “emergency vehicle”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by GREEN (i.e. “go-ahead sign”) once the G has been placed to the end (indicated by “beginning to travel east” – this being an across clue). Both are then placed in FINE (i.e. “splendid”), like so: F(I-REENG)INE.
33. Verbiage used by fashionable folk in London location (10)
Answer: PADDINGTON (i.e. “London location”). Solution is PADDING (i.e. “verbiage”) followed by TON (i.e. “fashionable folk” – the definition is there in the dictionary, but seldom used. Catnip for crossword setters, then).
34. Mean person who achieves little success as a pickpocket? (5-7)
Answer: PENNY-PINCHER. Solution satisfies “mean person” and “[one] who achieves little success as a pickpocket”.
37. Celebrity and agent in front of truck (6)
Answer: REPUTE (i.e. “celebrity”). Solution is REP (i.e. “agent”, as in a shortened form of “representative”) placed “in front of” UTE (i.e. “truck”, short for “utility vehicle”).
39. Love, very good, had to be seen in one man’s view of religion (6)
Answer: OPIATE (i.e. “one man’s view of religion”, specifically Karl Marx, who considered religion to be the opiate of the people). Solution is O (i.e. “love”, being a zero score in tennis) followed by PI (i.e. “very good”, as in a shortened form of “pious” – setters have used this a few times, so I’m a little wiser to this now) and ATE (i.e. “had”, as in consumed).
40. Original equine measure – from the horse’s mouth? (5-4)
Answer: FIRST-HAND (i.e. “[news] from the horse’s mouth”). Solution is FIRST (i.e. “original”) followed by HAND (i.e. “equine measure”).
42. Country refugee’s claim about what he or she did? (4)
Answer: IRAN (i.e. “country”). When written as I RAN, the solution also satisfies “refugee’s claim about what he or she did”.
43. Re Lent: Christianity constructed basic set of beliefs (6-4,8)
Answer: THIRTY-NINE ARTICLES (i.e. “basic set of beliefs”). “Constructed” indicates anagram. Solution is a rather neat anagram of RE LENT CHRISTIANITY.
46. In saint one recognises someone who prays lyrically? (7)
Answer: INTONER (i.e. “someone who prays lyrically”). “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: SA(INT ONE R)ECOGNISES.
47. Combed and scrubbed (7)
Answer: SCOURED. Solution satisfies “combed” and “scrubbed”.
48. Periodical facing difficulty, having nothing that provides spark (7)
Answer: MAGNETO (i.e. “that provides spark” – the prefix magneto- can denote something that is magneto-electric, i.e. something that generates electricity through the use of magnets). Solution is MAG (i.e. “periodical”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “magazine”) followed by NET (i.e. “difficulty” – not the most immediate definition, but it is in the dictionary) and O (i.e. “nothing”).
50. A scholar, I get excited when there’s buried circle? (13)
Answer: ARCHAEOLOGIST. “Excited” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A SCHOLAR I GET, which is wrapped around or “burying” O (i.e. “circle”). Within the context of the clue, an archaeologist may well get excited about finding a buried circle. Something like that.
51. What you may see with photograph of mum and computer? (9)
Answer: MAINFRAME (i.e. “computer”). When written as MA IN FRAME, the solution also satisfies “what you may see with photograph of mum”).
52. Game plan to engage one who’s willing to take high-level risks (4,5)
Answer: TEST PILOT (i.e. “one who’s willing to take high-level risks”; high as in altitude). Solution is TEST (i.e. a “game” of cricket) followed by PLOT (i.e. “plan”) once it is wrapped around or “engaging” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: TEST-P(I)LOT.
53. With worker having little energy, movement is slow (7)
Answer: ANDANTE (i.e. “[musical] movement is slow”). Solution is AND (i.e. “with”) followed by ANT (i.e. “worker”) and E (i.e. “little energy”, as in a recognised abbreviation of “energy”).
54. Very little support given to American city (5)
Answer: TEENY (i.e. “very little”). Solution is TEE (i.e. “support [for golf ball]”) followed by NY (i.e. “American city”, specifically New York).
1. Group of dreamers tolerates us working (5-6)
Answer: LOTUS-EATERS (i.e. “group of dreamers [in Greek myth]”). “Working” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TOLERATES US.
3. Sign in with teeth sadly amiss – to see the likes of us? (6,10)
Answer: DENTAL HYGIENISTS. “Amiss” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SIGN IN and TEETH SADLY. Within the context of the clue, you well “see the likes of” a dental hygienist if one’s “teeth [were] sadly amiss”. You get the idea. A clue that scans rather well.
4. Rebuke coming from country bumpkin losing head, interrupting smart gent (4,3)
Answer: TICK OFF (i.e. “rebuke”). Solution is HICK (i.e. “country bumpkin”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “losing head”) and the remainder placed in or “interrupting” TOFF (i.e. “smart gent”), like so: T(ICK)OFF.
5. Without guidance, without merit, without knowledge (9)
Answer: UNLEARNED (i.e. “without knowledge”). Solution is UNLED (i.e. “without guidance”) wrapped around or placed “without” EARN (i.e. “merit”), like so: UNL(EARN)ED. Probably my favourite clue of the puzzle. Very well worked.
6. Unease that could be engendered by sitcom if rude (12)
Answer: DISCOMFITURE (i.e. “unease”). “Engendered by” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SITCOM IF RUDE.
7. Managing school and boosted by success (6,4)
Answer: RIDING HIGH (i.e. “boosted by success”). Solution is RIDING (i.e. “managing”) followed by HIGH (a kind of “school”).
8. Non-English visitors – they may breeze in (5)
Answer: GUSTS (i.e. “they may breeze in”). Solution is GUESTS (i.e. “visitors”) with the E removed (indicated by “non-English”, E being a recognised abbreviation of “English”).
9. From collection of old politician, by chance not complete (2-6)
Answer EX-LIBRIS (i.e. “from collection”). Solution is EX (i.e. “old”) followed by LIB (i.e. “politician”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a Liberal Democrat) and RISK (i.e. “chance”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “not complete”), like so: EX-LIB-RIS.
10. See old books with pleasant binding (6)
Answer: NOTICE (i.e. “see”). Solution is OT (i.e. “old books”, specifically the Old Testament) placed in or “bound” by NICE (i.e. “pleasant”), like so: N(OT)ICE.
11. Like position of sailor maybe, well away from port? (9)
Answer: AMIDSHIPS. Clue riffs on how “port” can refer to the left of a ship. A sailor placed amidships can be said to be “well away from port”. You get the idea.
12. Why each dog must be trained – one included for walkers etc. (7,4)
Answer: HIGHWAY CODE (i.e. “for walkers etc”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “must be trained”) of WHY EACH DOG, which is wrapped around or “including” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”).
19. Man is fat – very many years getting stuffed (7)
Answer: LEONARD (i.e. “man”). Solution is LARD (i.e. “fat”) which is wrapped around or “stuffed” by EON (i.e. “very many years”), like so: L(EON)ARD.
20. Strange female, old, having time in office (7)
Answer: FOREIGN (i.e. “strange”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) followed by O (ditto “old”) and REIGN (i.e. “time in office”).
22. To have low opinion of modern technology? That matters not a bit! (5,7,2,2)
Answer: THINK NOTHING OF IT. Solution satisfies “to have a low opinion of modern technology” – IT being a recognised abbreviation of Information Technology – and “that matters not a bit”.
24. For all that is hard inside, it is hard outside (6)
Answer: THOUGH (i.e. “for all that”). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils) with TOUGH (i.e. “hard”) placed “outside” of it, like so: T(H)OUGH. Another well-worked clue.
27. One sad little person, boy getting lost (6)
Answer: WEEPER (i.e. “one sad”). Solution is WEE (i.e. “little”) followed by PERSON once the SON has been removed (indicated by “boy getting lost”), like so: WEE-PER.
29. Careless type in drive policeman caught out (7)
Answer: DROPPER (i.e. “careless type”). Solution is DR (a recognised abbreviation of “drive” used in street names) followed by COPPER (i.e. “policeman”) once the C has been removed (indicated by “caught out” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games), like so: DR-OPPER.
31. Outcast somewhat masculine, from what we hear (7)
Answer: ISHMAEL, who was turfed out into the wilderness by his father Abraham because the Almighty said so. That all-loving Almighty, eh? Anyway, “outcast”. Solution is ISH (i.e. “somewhat”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “from what we hear”) of MALE (i.e. “masculine”), like so: ISH-MAEL. One I got from the wordplay, what with me not being terribly religious n’ all.
32. Terrible English editor getting told off got worse (12)
Answer: DETERIORATED (i.e. “got worse”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “terrible”) of E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and EDITOR, which is then followed by RATED (i.e. “told off” – a sense of the word “rate” is to scold or berate), like so: DETERIO-RATED.
33. Some old company worker quietly interrupts active member (11)
Answer: PARTICIPANT (i.e. “active member”). Solution is PART (i.e. “some”) followed by ICI (i.e. “old company”, specifically Imperial Chemical Industries, which was bought out in 2008) and ANT (i.e. “worker”) which are wrapped around or “interrupted” by P (i.e. “quietly”, being a recognised abbreviation of “piano” in musical lingo), like so: PART-ICI-(P)-ANT.
35. Hellish situation in rescue operation? Find that’s not new (11)
Answer: REDISCOVERY (i.e. “find that’s not new”). Solution is DIS (i.e. “hellish situation”. Dis was “a name for the god Pluto, and hence the infernal world” (Chambers). You’ll also find the fictitious city of Dis, situated across the lower circles of Hell, in Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy) placed “in” RECOVERY (i.e. “rescue operation”), like so: RE(DIS)COVERY.
36. Woman who went up barely making an impression? (4,6)
Answer: LADY GODIVA, a noblewoman who – according to legend – rode naked or “barely” through the streets of Coventry on horseback. You get the idea. There might be something cleverer at play, but I’m not seeing it.
38. Procedures involving amounts charged when only part of play is screened (9)
Answer: PRACTICES (i.e. “procedures”). Solution is PRICES (i.e. “amounts charged”) wrapped around or “screening” ACT (i.e. “part of play”), like so: PR(ACT)ICES.
40. WC, maybe “Gents”, for cricketers (9)
Answer: FIELDSMEN (i.e. “cricketers”). Solution is FIELDS (i.e. “WC, maybe”, referring to 1930s American comedian and actor WC Fields) followed by MEN (i.e. “gents”).
41. Fuel must be cleaner – firm beginning to abandon oil finally (8)
Answer: CHARCOAL (i.e. “fuel”). Solution is CHAR (i.e. “cleaner”) followed by CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”, i.e. “firm”) then A (i.e. “beginning to abandon”, i.e. the first letter of “abandon”) and L (i.e. “oil finally”, i.e. the last letter of “oil”). Another clue that scans really well.
44. A home in the capital offers a sort of lettuce (7)
Answer: ROMAINE (i.e. “sort of lettuce”). Solution is A and IN (i.e. “home”) placed “in” ROME (i.e. a “capital” city), like so: ROM(A-IN)E. Chalk one to my Bradfords here. In terms of lettuce varieties, after “iceberg” I’m goosed.
45. Head of government spots uprising – answer is to make a settlement (6)
Answer: ENCAMP (i.e. “to make a settlement”). Solution is PM (i.e. “head of government”, specifically the Prime Minister) followed by ACNE (i.e. “spots”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “uprising” – this being a down clue), like so: ENCA-MP.
47. Explorer lodging in this cottage (5)
Answer: Robert Falcon SCOTT, popularly known as Scott of the Antarctic. “Lodging” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: THI(S COTT)AGE.
49. Cheer brought by counselling service, right away (5)
Answer: ELATE (i.e. “cheer”). Solution is RELATE (i.e. “counselling service”) with the R removed (indicated by “right away”, R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”).