Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1414

Another good ‘un this week, with plenty of well worked clues to keep solvers entertained. There were a few repeats to contend with, but, overall, this was good clean fun.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If you have a previous puzzle that’s showing a few gaps then you might also find my Just For Fun page a helpful resource. While you’re here, feel free to check out the odd book review, or indulge in a short story. If I had biscuits in, I’d offer them too, but I don’t. (Hides biscuits.)

Right. (Munch, munch, munch…) To the (chomp…) solutions then.


Across clues

1. Anxious – unlocked is it? (10)

Answer: DISTRESSED. Solution satisfies “anxious” and, cryptically, “unlocked”. (Tresses and locks are other words for hair, so if one has a haircut, they could be said to be both distressed and unlocked.)

6. Prayer treasured for rescuer at sea (5,7)

Answer: GRACE DARLING, who, in the nineteenth century, gained fame when she helped rescue survivors of a shipwreck (i.e. “rescuer at sea”). Solution is GRACE (i.e. “prayer”) followed by DARLING (i.e. “treasured”). A name that rang a bell, weirdly, though I couldn’t have said why.

14. Chapter I’d rewritten for a song? (4,5)

Answer: DIRT CHEAP (i.e. “[going] for a song”). “Rewritten” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CHAPTER I’D.

15. Wander north into red mist? (5)

Answer: RANGE (i.e. “wander”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “north”) placed “into” RAGE (i.e. “red mist”), like so: RA(N)GE.

16. Staff teacher in ancient kingdom (7)

Answer: MACEDON (i.e. “ancient kingdom”, also known as Macedonia, not to be confused with North Macedonia. I know, I know, it’s all Greek to me too…) Solution is MACE (i.e. “staff”) followed by DON (i.e. “teacher”).

17. Entering maturity, things better work out fab – forget senility! (4,6,2,5)

Answer: LIFE BEGINS AT FORTY (i.e. “entering maturity, things [get] better”). “Work out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FAB FORGET SENILITY.

18. Specific done deed? (5)

Answer: EXACT (i.e. “specific”). When read as EX-ACT, the solution also satisfies a “done deed”.

19. Remains of ashes, perhaps? (7)

Answer: SAWDUST. Clue refers to ash trees. If one was to take a saw to the wood from an ash tree, you’d get SAWDUST “remaining”. “Ashes”, following a cremation, are also said to be “remains”. You get the idea.

21. About to happen, but not starting – far from it? (6)

Answer: ENDING (i.e. “starting – far from it”). Solution is PENDING (i.e. “about to happen”) with the initial letter removed (indicated by “but not starting”).

22. Girl embracing fashion finally, swimmer in broad hat, possibly? (8)

Answer: SUNSHADE (i.e. “broad hat, possibly”). Solution is SUE (i.e. “girl”) wrapped around or “embracing” N (i.e. “fashion finally”, i.e. the last letter of “fashion”) and SHAD (i.e. “swimmer”, as in a fish – did a Google Image search… yup, fish), like so: SU(N-SHAD)E.

24. Alone, dude in a shambles (7)

Answer: UNAIDED (i.e. “alone”). “Shambles” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DUDE IN A.

26. In the box, fashionable items ultimately glittering (8)

Answer: TINSELLY (i.e. “glittering”). Solution is IN (i.e. “fashionable”) and S (i.e. “items ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “items”) both placed “in” TELLY (i.e. “the box”, both referring to a television), like so: T(IN-S)ELLY.

27. At first, everything in hand before a party (6)

Answer: FIESTA (i.e. “party”). Solution is E (i.e. “at first, everything”, i.e. the first letter of “everything”) placed “in” FIST (i.e. “hand”), all placed “before” A, like so: FI(E)ST-A.

30. Difficult finding Russian bread in volume (11)

Answer: TROUBLESOME (i.e. “difficult”). Solution is ROUBLES (i.e. “Russian bread”, i.e. Russian currency) placed “in” TOME (i.e. a book or “volume”), like so: T(ROUBLES)OME.

32. Still about one metre of layered rock (11)

Answer: SEDIMENTARY (i.e. “layered rock”). Solution is SEDENTARY (i.e. “still”) placed “about” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and M (a recognised abbreviation of “metre”), like so: SED(I-M)ENTARY.

33. Women cursing very, very loudly outside, stops paying attention (8,3)

Answer: SWITCHES OFF (i.e. “stops paying attention”). Solution is SO (i.e. “very”) and FF (a recognised abbreviation of “fortissimo”, i.e. “very loudly”) placed “outside” of WITCHES (i.e. “women cursing”), like so: S(WITCHES)O-FF.

35. Important carrier ship joining race (5,6)

Answer: BLOOD VESSEL (i.e. “important carrier”). Solution is VESSEL (i.e. “ship”) placed after BLOOD (i.e. “race”).

37. Damned English pages left! (4,2)

Answer: EVER SO (i.e. “damned”, both taken to mean “very”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by VERSO (i.e. “pages left” – in printing terms, VERSO denotes left-handed pages while RECTO denotes right-handed pages).

38. Anthem in lied, sung (amazingly) backwards! (5,3)

Answer: AGNUS DEI (i.e. “anthem”, as in a composition for a church choir). “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, while “backwards” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: L(IED SUNG A)MAZINGLY.

39. Daring act one found in old story (7)

Answer: EXPLOIT (i.e. “daring act”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “in” EX (i.e. “old”) and PLOT (i.e. “story”), like so: EX-PLO(I)T.

42. Gradually moving to pinch queen’s ornament (4-4)

Answer: NOSE-RING (i.e. “ornament”). Solution is NOSING (i.e. “gradually moving”) wrapped around or “pinching” ER (i.e. “queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina), like so: NOS(ER)ING.

44. High-quality nurse covering surgery (3-3)

Answer: TOP-END (i.e. “high-quality”). Solution is TEND (i.e. “nurse”) wrapped around or “covering” OP (i.e. “surgery”, short for “operation”), like so: T(OP)END.

46. In flower (7)

Answer: CURRENT. Solution satisfies “in”, as in what is hip and happening, and “flower”, referring to a river.

48. Bird flying (5)

Answer: SWIFT. Solution satisfies “bird” and “flying”, as in speedy.

49. Plan of action in statement to peer who’s been stitched up? (9,8)

Answer: OPERATION OVERLORD (i.e. “plan of [D-Day military] action”). Solution comprises OPERATION (hinted by “who’s been stitched up”), OVER (i.e. “statement”, as in what something is about) and LORD (i.e. “peer”). The clue is a bit clunky, but the crossword trivia attached to this one more than makes up for it. Back in 1944 the Daily Telegraph published a series of crosswords whose solutions contained D-Day codewords such as “Overlord”, “Omaha”, “Utah”, “Neptune” and so on. The number of codewords and their frequency in the run-up to D-Day was found to be an incredible coincidence, but only after the setter, Leonard Dawe, was arrested and interrogated by MI5. The whole episode has been one of my favourite mysteries of the unexplained for years. Worth a read!

51. What woman might have on Noah’s son, follows a patriarch (7)

Answer: ABRAHAM (i.e. “patriarch” – we’ve had a few of these recently). Solution is BRA (i.e. “what woman might have on”) and HAM (i.e. “Noah’s son”), both placed after or “following” A, like so: A-BRA-HAM.

52. Hindu deity sees five parting Muslims (5)

Answer: SHIVA (i.e. “Hindu deity”). Solution is V (i.e. “[Roman numeral] five”) placed in or “parting” SHIA (i.e. “Muslims”), like so: SHI(V)A.

53. Soldier a degree east of Ulster peninsula caught by rifle, say? (9)

Answer: GUARDSMAN (i.e. “solider”). Solution is MA (i.e. “degree”, specifically a Master of Arts) placed to the right or “east of” ARDS (i.e. “Ulster peninsula”) and the whole placed in or “caught by” GUN (i.e. “rifle, say”), like so: GU(ARDS-MA)N.

54. US president manoeuvring to bring in new controls (12)

Answer: SUPERINTENDS (i.e. “controls”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “manoeuvring”) of US PRESIDENT which is wrapped around or “bringing in” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: SUPERI(N)TENDS.

55. Censor has been extremely unhelpful, clip appearing blurred (4-6)

Answer: BLUE-PENCIL (i.e. “[to] censor”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “appearing blurred”) of BEEN, CLIP and UL (i.e. “extremely unhelpful”, i.e. the first and last letters of “unhelpful”).

Down clues

1. In America, nothing left in little house illegally occupied (6-5)

Answer: DIDDLY-SQUAT (i.e. “in America, nothing”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) placed “in” DIDDY (i.e. “little”) and followed by SQUAT (i.e. “house illegally occupied”), like so: DIDD(L)Y-SQUAT.

2. Line of text shoots up (5)

Answer: SERIF (i.e. “line of text”). Solution is FIRED (i.e. “shoots”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue).

3. Pitch sure to be covered in stones (4-5)

Answer: ROCK-BOUND (i.e. “covered in stones”). Solution is ROCK (i.e. “pitch”, as in something pitching back and forth) followed by BOUND (i.e. “sure”, as in something was bound to happen).

4. Reportedly insignificant skill (7)

Answer: SLEIGHT (i.e. “skill”). “Reportedly” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SLIGHT (i.e. “insignificant”).

5. Sweep containers into river (7)

Answer: EXPANSE (i.e. “sweep”). Solution is PANS (i.e. “containers”) placed “into” EXE (i.e. “river”), like so: EX(PANS)E.

7. Where gold may be on display, contact thieves (4,7)

Answer: RING FINGERS (i.e. “where gold may be on display”). Solution is RING (i.e. “contact”) followed by FINGERS (i.e. “thieves”).

8. One’s stoned, heading off drunk after companion (6)

Answer: CHERRY (i.e. “one’s stoned”). Solution is MERRY (i.e. “drunk”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “heading off”) and placed “after” CH (i.e. “companion”, specifically a Companion of Honour), like so: CH-ERRY.

9. I’m not sure my cricket score is under five hundred in Test (5,3)

Answer: DUMMY RUN (i.e. “test” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is UM (i.e. “I’m not sure”), MY and RUN (i.e. “cricket score”) all placed “under” (this being a down clue) D (i.e. “[Roman numeral] five hundred”), like so: D-UM-MY-RUN.

10. Clever stuff investing energy and time in geology, say? (6,7)

Answer: ROCKET SCIENCE (i.e. “clever stuff”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) and T (ditto “time”) placed “in” ROCK SCIENCE (i.e. “geology, say”), like so: ROCK-(E-T)-SCIENCE.

11. State – nation not applicable (7)

Answer: INDIANA (i.e. “[US] state”). Solution is INDIA (i.e. “nation”) followed by NA (a recognised abbreviation of “not applicable”).

12. Power in heat energy adapted for experimental engineering (4,7)

Answer: GENE THERAPY (i.e. “experimental engineering”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “adapted”) of HEAT ENERGY, like so: GENETHERA(P)Y.

13. Holiday: European hosts constant acrobatic entertainment (10)

Answer: BREAKDANCE (i.e. “acrobatic entertainment”). Solution is BREAK (i.e. “holiday”) followed by DANE (i.e. “European”) once it has been placed around or “hosting” C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”), like so: BREAK-DAN(C)E.

20. Make arm bend in a sweep round (9)

Answer: WEAPONISE (i.e. “make arm”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “bend”) of IN A SWEEP and O (i.e. “round”).

23. Bloomers revealed by daughter in dressing, girl disheartened initially (8)

Answer: GLADIOLI (i.e. “bloomers”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) placed “in” AIOLI (i.e. “dressing”, and very tasty it is too) and the whole then preceded by (indicated by “initially”) GL (i.e. “girl disheartened”, i.e. the word “girl” with the middle letters removed), like so: GL-A(D)IOLI. A clue that scans rather well.

25. German, one looking to shift stones, perhaps? (6)

Answer: DIETER. Solution satisfies “German”, as in a German forename, and “one looking to shift stones, perhaps”, as in one who diets. This took a lot longer for me to spot than it ought to have!

26. Comprehensive, however, uncivilised (8)

Answer: THOROUGH (i.e. “comprehensive”). Solution is THO (i.e. “however”, i.e. an informal “though”) followed by ROUGH (i.e. “uncivilised”).

28. Soft rock beginning to shake pensioners – stress down below (9)

Answer: SOAPSTONE (i.e. “soft rock”). Solution is S (i.e. “beginning to shake”, i.e. the first letter of “shake”) followed by OAPS (i.e. old age “pensioners”) and TONE (i.e. “stress”). “Down below” indicates the composite parts are stacked on top of one another, this being a down clue. I remembered this from a previous puzzle, which made it an easier get.

29. Mark in trousers, mud generally (6)

Answer: SMUDGE (i.e. “mark”). “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: TROUSER(S MUD GE)NERALLY.

31. Devil punching angel: one with a long reach (13)

Answer: BACKSCRATCHER (i.e. “one with a long reach”). Solution is SCRATCH (i.e. “devil”, sometimes known as Old Scratch) placed or “punched” into BACKER (i.e. “angel” – as in a financial backer), like so: BACK(SCRATCH)ER. Another really good clue.

33. Somewhat dazed at the Oscars, say? (6,5)

Answer: SEEING STARS. Solution satisfies “somewhat dazed” and “at the Oscars, say”.

34. Fair, ok, somehow, in institute to get a great deal? (4,2,1,4)

Answer: FOUR OF A KIND (i.e. “a great deal [in, say, a game of poker]”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of FAIR OK placed “in” FOUND (i.e. “[to] institute”), like so: FOU(ROFAKI)ND.

35. Chirpy character has to fix car that won’t start after shift (10)

Answer: BUDGERIGAR (i.e. “chirpy character”). Solution is RIG (i.e. “to fix” an outcome) followed by CAR once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “that won’t start”), and the whole then preceded by or placed “after” BUDGE (i.e. “shift”), like so: BUDGE-RIG-AR.

36. Inuit a tad confused between lines around the Arctic Circle, say? (11)

Answer: LATITUDINAL (i.e. “lines around the Arctic Circle, say”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “confused”) of INUIT A TAD placed in L and L (recognised abbreviations of “line”), like so: L-(ATITUDINA)-L.

40. A bit on edge in game (9)

Answer: PARTRIDGE (i.e. “game [bird]”). Solution is PART (i.e. “a bit”) followed by or placed “on” RIDGE (i.e. “edge”).

41. Singular French figure on public land (8)

Answer: UNCOMMON (i.e. “singular”). Solution is UN (i.e. “French figure”, referring to one in this case, the French of which is “un”), placed “on” COMMON (i.e. “public land”).

43. Put foot in it when racing to correct purist about last bit of grammar (7)

Answer: STIRRUP (i.e. “put foot in it when racing”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to correct”) of PURIST placed “about” R (i.e. “last bit of grammar”, i.e. the last letter of “grammar”), like so: STI(R)RUP. Another one made easier having appeared in several puzzles this past year.

45. Irish county tricked colleen (7)

Answer: DONEGAL (i.e. “Irish county”). Solution is DONE (i.e. “tricked [someone]”) followed by GAL (i.e. “colleen”, taken to be a girl’s name with a misleading lack of capitalisation).

46. Caution required, carrying through eggs (7)

Answer: CAVIARE (i.e. “eggs”). Solution is CARE (i.e. “caution required”) placed around or “carrying” VIA (i.e. “through”), like so: CA(VIA)RE.

47. Tenant with not as much space, miserable ultimately (6)

Answer: LESSEE (i.e. “tenant”). Solution is LESS (i.e. “with not as much”) followed by E and E (i.e. “space, miserable ultimately”, i.e. the last letters of “space” and “miserable” – the comma acting as a list separator), like so: LESS-E-E. An easier get, as this solution also appeared last week!

50. Giant scratching head – very dense? (5)

Answer: OSMIC (i.e. “very dense” – referring to the chemical element osmium). Solution is COSMIC (i.e. “giant”) with the initial letter removed (indicated by “scratching head”).

One thought on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1414

  1. My take on 49A is, after surgery on a peer of the realm, a surgeon might say “operation over Lord” (ie. surgery is finished!).

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