Happy New Year, folks! The Times saw in the new decade with this tricky bugger. A mighty fine puzzle overall, but blimey some of the clues left my head hurting. (Examines previous night’s alcohol intake.) Ah. Right.
Anyway, as ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. My Just For Fun page lists umpteen solutions should you have a recent Jumbo that’s showing a few gaps. While I’ve got you here, I’ll also take this opportunity to hawk a few book reviews and a short story of mine, because you can’t blame a guy for trying.
And so to the answers. Till the weekend, laters!
1. Unlimited late opening eventually, then close (8)
Answer: INTIMATE (i.e. “close”). Solution is LATE with the first and last letters removed (indicated by “unlimited”) and placed in or “opening” IN TIME (i.e. “eventually”), like so: IN-TIM(AT)E.
5. Handy for Nancy only to accept feminine uniform for a start (6)
Answer: USEFUL (i.e. “handy”). Solution is SEUL (i.e. “for Nancy only”, i.e. the French for “only” – Nancy being a small city in France) wrapped around or “accepting” F (a recognised abbreviation of “feminine”) and the whole preceded by U (indicated by “uniform for a start” – “uniform” being U in the phonetic alphabet), like so: U-SE(F)UL. A stinker of a clue!
9. Famous people touring eastern island (7)
Answer: CELEBES, also known as Sulawesi, an “island” found in the Pacific Ocean. Solution is CELEBS (a contraction of the word “celebrities”, i.e. “famous people”) wrapped around or “touring” E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”), like so: CELEB(E)S. One gotten solely from the wordplay and a quick shufti on Google.
14. Such a school? A head leaving chapel to chase pupil’s work (11)
Answer: PREPARATORY (i.e. “school”). Solution is A followed by ORATORY (i.e. “chapel”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “head leaving”). The whole is then preceded by or “chasing” PREP (i.e. “pupil’s work”), like so: PREP-A-RATORY.
15. Entitlement to take a small shower? Fine (5,2,4)
Answer: RIGHT AS RAIN (i.e. “fine”). Solution is RIGHT (i.e. “entitlement”) followed by AS RAIN (i.e. “to take a small shower”). A bit loose, but I guess it works.
16. Unexciting way to get help (5)
Answer: STAID (i.e. “unexciting”). Solution is ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”) followed by AID (i.e. “help”).
17. Ultimate misfortune dogs a colony (7)
Answer: ANTHILL (i.e. “colony”). Solution is NTH (i.e. “ultimate” – my Chambers doesn’t back this up, taking nth to mean an indeterminate or variable degree, but my spanking new Oxford bails the setter out) followed by ILL (i.e. “misfortune”) all following or “dogging” A, like so: A-NTH-ILL.
18. Underground river heard of in rural location (3,6)
Answer: THE STICKS (i.e. “rural location”). “Heard of” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of THE [river] STYX (i.e. “underground river”).
19. Preparing to read, maybe, old writing, pulling out end of translation (7)
Answer: OPENING (i.e. “preparing to read, maybe”, as in the opening of a book or magazine). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by PENNING (i.e. “writing”) with one of the Ns removed (indicated by “pulling out end of translation”, i.e. the last letter of “translation”), like so: O-PENING.
20. Around twenty, this could be, in space with symptom of illness (4,11)
Answer: ROOM TEMPERATURE (i.e. “around twenty [degrees Celsius], this could be”). Solution is ROOM (i.e. “space”) followed by TEMPERATURE (i.e. “symptom of illness”).
22. Department where one would be expecting to be cared for (10)
Answer: OBSTETRICS, a “department” concerned with childbirth. Clue riffs on how “expecting” refers to mothers-to-be. You get the idea.
23. Hush-hush demand on drivers (4,2)
Answer: BELT UP. Solution satisfies “hush-hush” and “demand on drivers”.
25. Does understand others partly (4)
Answer: DOTH (i.e. ye olde “does”). “Partly” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: UNDERSTAN(D OTH)ERS.
28. Ask for a hand from Dad: “to be or not to be”? (3,3,8)
Answer: POP THE QUESTION (i.e. “ask for a hand [in marriage]”). Solution is POP (i.e. “Dad”) followed by THE QUESTION (i.e. “to be or not to be [that is the question]”, a famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet). Good clue.
30. One able to lay hands on for doctor, we hope (8)
Answer: PROCURER (i.e. “one able to lay hands on”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “for”) followed by CURER (i.e. “doctor, we hope”).
32. Non-rigid bar becomes flatter (4-4)
Answer: SOFT-SOAP (i.e. “[to] flatter”). Solution is SOFT (i.e. “non-rigid”) followed by SOAP (i.e. “bar”). A new one on me.
34. Royals, and singular admiral, wily man (7,3,4)
Answer: WILLIAM AND MARY (i.e. “Royals”, 17th century rulers of England, Scotland and Ireland). “Singular” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ADMIRAL WILY MAN.
37. Followers of star, glossy one (4)
Answer: MAGI (i.e. “followers of star”, also known as the Three Wise Men). Solution is MAG (i.e. “glossy”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”).
38. Confusing reflections in garbled Oldie article (6)
Answer: EIDOLA (i.e. “confusing reflections”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “garbled”) of OLDIE followed by A (i.e. “article”, descriptive of words like a, an and the), like so: EIDOL-A.
39. Priest getting feeling of euphoria in book she might read from (10)
Answer: REVELATION (i.e. “book [of Bible] priest might read from”). Solution is REV (a recognised abbreviation of “reverend”, i.e. “priest”) followed by ELATION (i.e. “feeling of euphoria”).
43. Is Douglas attached to England? A poet’s answer (2,3,2,2,6)
Answer: NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, a quote from John Donne’s Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (i.e. “a poet’s answer”). Clue riffs on how Douglas is the capital of the Isle of Man. You get the idea. Cool clue.
45. Rugs from publishing house thrown in river (7)
Answer: TOUPEES (i.e. “rugs”). Solution is OUP (i.e. “publishing house”, i.e. the Oxford University Press) placed or “thrown” in TEES (i.e. “river”), like so: T(OUP)EES.
47. Festival books, green, a nuisance to carry (9)
Answer: PENTECOST (i.e. “festival” celebrated fifty days after Easter Sunday). Solution is NT (i.e. “books”, specifically the New Testament) and ECO (i.e. “green”) placed in or being “carried” by PEST (i.e. “nuisance”), like so: PE(NT-ECO)ST.
49. Drinking whiskey without water, regularly backing city (7)
Answer: SWANSEA (i.e. “city”). Solution is SANS (i.e. French for “without”) wrapped around or “drinking” W (“whiskey” in the phonetic alphabet”) and followed by AE (i.e. “water, regularly”, i.e. every other letter of WATER) which is reversed (indicated by “backing”), like so: S(W)ANS-EA.
51. Bend double at start of exercise (5)
Answer: TWINE (i.e. “bend”). Solution is TWIN (i.e. “double”) followed by E (i.e. “start of exercise”, i.e. the first letter of “exercise”).
52. Not to be tolerant of denial – threw wobbly (4,3,4)
Answer: DRAW THE LINE (i.e. “not to be tolerant of”). “Wobbly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DENIAL THREW.
53. Business’s printer has messed up page (11)
Answer: PARTNERSHIP (i.e. “business”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “messed up”) of PRINTER HAS followed by P (a recognised abbreviation of “page”), like so: PARTNERSHI-P.
54. Send up and down in the shade (3,4)
Answer: SKY BLUE (i.e. “shade”). Solution is SKY (i.e. “send up”) followed by BLUE (i.e. “down”).
55. One putting on skirt perhaps in good condition (6)
Answer: KILTER. Solution satisfies “one putting on skirt perhaps” and “in good condition”.
56. Fish bones passing around back of throat (8)
Answer: STURGEON (i.e. “fish”). Solution is SURGEON (sometimes nicknamed “bones”) wrapped “around” T (i.e. “back of throat”, i.e. the last letter of “throat”), like so: S(T)URGEON.
1. Me, too old, for love? That’s laying it on thick (7)
Answer: IMPASTO (i.e. “that’s laying [paint] on thick”). Solution is I’M PAST (i.e. “me, too old”) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: I’M-PAST-O.
2. Quidditch for example under way? All is revealed (3,4,2,2)
Answer: THE GAME IS UP (i.e. “all is revealed”). In the Harry Potter books, Quidditch is a game played up in the air. You get the idea.
3. Excellent daughter with source of wealth in my family (2,3,4)
Answer: ME AND MINE (i.e. “my family”). Solution is MEAN (i.e. “excellent”, as in “that deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball”) followed by D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) and MINE (i.e. “source of wealth”, e.g. a gold mine).
4. Area of sea level – heroic sailor looks down on it (9,6)
Answer: TRAFALGAR SQUARE. Clue riffs on the Battle of Trafalgar and Nelson’s Column, which “looks down” on Trafalgar Square.
6. Possible TV programme that’s not polite for vicar (3,5)
Answer: SKY PILOT, a slang description of a vicar (i.e. “that’s not polite for vicar”). Solution also satisfies “possible TV programme”, referring to UK’s Sky TV and how pilot shows are made for prospective TV series.
7. Unrestricted, our planet? Exactly! (3,3,3,5)
Answer: FOR ALL THE WORLD. Solution satisfies “unrestricted, our planet” and “exactly”.
8. Allowed on appeal? I am worried (10)
Answer: LEGITIMATE (i.e. “allowed”). Solution is LEG (i.e. “on”, referring to leg or on side in cricket) followed by IT (i.e. “[sex] appeal”) then I’M (a contraction of “I am”) and ATE (i.e. “worried”, i.e. being eaten with worry).
9. It reflects well on those behind the wheel (4,3)
Answer: CATS EYE. Clue riffs on the small “reflective” disks set into the road to help keep drivers or “those behind the wheel” on the right path.
10. Virtuoso, drunk when partnered? (5)
Answer: Franz LISZT (i.e. “virtuoso”). I had to resort to Google to get this one. I forget The Times often thinks the UK ends at the M25. Anyway, the clue refers to Cockney rhyming slang, “Brahms and Liszt”, i.e. pissed or “drunk”. I love the cheekiness of the clue, but I can’t say I’ve heard this particular epithet.
11. Auditor has some coffee at the table (4,7)
Answer: BEAN COUNTER (i.e. “auditor”). Solution is BEAN (i.e. “some coffee”) followed by COUNTER (i.e. “table”).
12. Left at home as relative goes outside (8)
Answer: SINISTER (i.e. “left”; sinister being left and dexter being right). Solution is IN (i.e. “at home”) with SISTER (i.e. “relative”) placed “outside”, like so: S(IN)ISTER.
13. After a job (4)
Answer: POST. Solution satisfies “after” and “a job”.
20. Music fan makes switch, of sorts (6)
Answer: ROCKER. Solution satisfies “music fan” and “switch, or sorts”, i.e. an on-off switch.
21. Brought as evidence answer worked out with no end of trouble (7)
Answer: ADDUCED (i.e. “brought as evidence”). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer” as in Q&A) followed by DEDUCED (i.e. “worked out”) with the first E removed (indicated by “with no end of trouble”, i.e. the last letter of “trouble”), like so: A-DDUCED.
22. Not favour work by ancient author, not started, picked up (6)
Answer: OPPOSE (i.e. “not favour”). Solution is OP (a recognised abbreviation of “opus” or, I like to think, “operation”) followed by AESOP (i.e. “ancient author”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “not started”) and reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue), like so: OP-POSE.
24. Make arrangements concerning publication after tax: it never needs charging (9,6)
Answer: PERMANENT MAGNET, which is “a magnet that keeps its magnetism after the force which magnetised it has been removed” (Chambers) (i.e. “it never needs charging”). Solution is PERM (i.e. “make [hair] arrangements”) followed by ANENT (a Scots word for “concerning”) then MAG (short for “magazine”, i.e. “publication”) and NET (i.e. “after tax”). Phew, what a stinker!
26. Let’s set to work with essentials to make an alloy (9,5)
Answer: STAINLESS STEEL (i.e. “an alloy”). “Set to work” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LETS and ESSENTIALS.
27. Drawer made of carbon fibre (6)
Answer: CRAYON (i.e. “drawer”). Solution is C (chemical symbol of “carbon”) followed by RAYON (i.e. “[man-made] fibre”). Cool clue.
29. Man’s wicked deed invites a sacking (7)
Answer: HESSIAN (i.e. “sacking”). Solution is HE’S (i.e. “man’s”) followed by SIN (i.e. “wicked deed”) once it has been wrapped around or “inviting” A, like so: HE’S-SI(A)N.
31. Remains fine, work list not quite complete (3,3)
Answer: FAG END (i.e. “remains”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine”) followed by AGENDA (i.e. “work list”) once it’s last letter has been removed (indicated by “not quite complete”), like so: F-AGEND.
33. Fray garment that collapses in bits (11)
Answer: FRAGMENTARY (i.e. “in bits”). “That collapses” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FRAY GARMENT.
35. In A&E, suffering debilitating condition, try a hymn (5,4,2)
Answer: ABIDE WITH ME (i.e. “hymn”). Solution is A and E followed by WITH M.E. (i.e. “suffering debilitating condition”, i.e. an illness that causes extreme fatigue in its sufferers) all wrapped around BID (i.e. “try”), like so: A(BID)E-WITH-ME.
36. My brain won’t work? Absolutely not (1,4,5)
Answer: I DON’T THINK. Solution satisfies “my brain won’t work” and “absolutely not”.
40. More grown up? Extremely eager cheat (9)
Answer: ADULTERER (i.e. “cheat”). Solution is ADULTER (i.e. “more grown up”) followed by ER (i.e. “extremely eager”, i.e. the first and last letters of “eager”).
41.Extremely popular health centre laid on diets from time to time (2,6)
Answer: IN SPADES (i.e. “extremely”). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) followed by SPA (i.e. “health centre”) and DES (i.e. “diets from time to time”, i.e. every other letter of DIETS), like so: IN-SPA-DES.
42. Soldier turned out of New York for a day; was he corrupting the others? (3,5)
Answer: BAD APPLE (i.e. “was he corrupting the others”). Solution is BIG APPLE (i.e. “New York”) with the IG (i.e. “soldier turned out”, i.e. the initials GI reversed) replaced by A and D (a recognised abbreviation of “day”), like so: B(IG)-APPLE => B(A-D)-APPLE.
44. Central European translating English novels (7)
Answer: SLOVENE (i.e. “Central European”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “translating”) of E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and NOVELS.
46. Take a turn around shelter and miss breakfast? (5,2)
Answer: SLEEP IN (i.e. “miss breakfast”). Solution is SPIN (i.e. “take a turn”) placed “around” LEE (i.e. “shelter”), like so: S(LEE)PIN.
48. Crack up without reversal of fortune (5)
Answer: EXTOL (i.e. to praise or “crack up” – a definition that’s supported in Chambers but not in my shiny new Oxford). Solution is EX (i.e. outside of or “without” in Latin) followed by LOT (i.e. “fortune”) once it has been reversed (indicated by… um… “reversal of”), like so: EX-TOL.
50. Almost cutting island (4)
Answer: SARK (i.e. “island”). Solution is SARKY (i.e. being sarcastic or “cutting”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “almost”).