Not so good this week, for me, thanks mainly to the setter playing a little too loose with the clues. We’ve certainly seen worse, mind. 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.
Some me-time before we begin: you can find a bunch of previous solutions on my Just For Fun page, some book reviews here (still not reading, work still mental) and a story I did a while ago here. Go show them some love.
See you in a few days. Keep well, and I hope you are getting through this lockdown as best you can.
1. Calculates total, coming round to disagreeing (2,4)
Answer: AT ODDS (i.e. “disagreeing”). Solution is ADDS (i.e. “calculates total”) wrapped “round” TO, like so: A(TO)DDS.
5. Complex character is up for review by reference book (7)
Answer: OEDIPUS (i.e. “complex character”, referring to the Oedipus complex which sees people have the hots for their mum and bear ill-will toward their father). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “for review”) of IS UP placed after or “by” OED (i.e. “reference book”, specifically the Oxford English Dictionary), like so: OED-IPUS.
9. Rock tune, say, keeping daughter rocking (8)
Answer: UNSTEADY (i.e. “rocking”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rock”) of TUNE, SAY which is wrapped around D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”), like so: UNSTEA(D)Y.
13. Who were the two in the green cornfield, Will? (One not a large donkey!) (2,3,1,5,3,3,4)
Answer: IT WAS A LOVER AND HIS LASS, a line from a song in “Will” Shakespeare’s As You Like It. With a hey and a ho and a hey nonino; That o’er the “green cornfield” did pass. And so on. I guess the “large donkey” refers to L-ASS (L being a recognised abbreviation of “large”), but beyond that I don’t really care enough for Shakespeare to dig any deeper. Apologies to any Bard groupies out there.
14. Behind, race along, protected by this? (4,4)
Answer: SEAT BELT (i.e. “protected by this”, the clue suggesting we’re in a car race). Solution is SEAT (i.e. “behind”, i.e. the seat of one’s pants) followed by BELT (i.e. “race along”).
15. The speck of land to amaze the world (7)
Answer: ROCKALL, an uninhabitable islet out in the North Atlantic Ocean (i.e. “speck of land”). Solution is ROCK (i.e. “to amaze”) followed by ALL (i.e. “the world”). The perfect place from which to launch my plans for world domination, then.
16. Almost get up to peer (6)
Answer: ARISTO (i.e. “peer”, an abbreviated form of aristocrat). Solution is ARISE (i.e. “get up”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and followed by TO, like so: ARIS-TO.
17. Cleans up with win here (10)
Answer: SWEEPSTAKE, a form of gambling one can “win”. Clue riffs on how a SWEEP “cleans up”. You get the idea.
20. At start of month, advice about offering from restaurant range (8,4)
Answer: MARITIME ALPS (i.e. “range”, being the southern bit of the Alps). Solution is MAR I (i.e. “start of month”, i.e. March 1st) followed by TIPS (i.e. “advice”) once it has been wrapped “about” MEAL (i.e. “offering from restaurant”), like so: MAR-I-TI(MEAL)PS.
23. Heartless Scotsman playing, a seaside feature (4)
Answer: PIER (i.e. “seaside feature”). Solution is PIPER (i.e. “Scotsman playing”) with the middle letter removed (indicated by “heartless”).
24. Greedyguts extremely glad about the chap waiting on us? (8)
Answer: GOURMAND (i.e. “greedyguts”). Solution is G and D (i.e. “extremely glad”, i.e. the first and last letters of “glad”) wrapped “about” OUR MAN (i.e. “chap waiting on us”), like so: G(OUR-MAN)D.
26. Was a Provost in Cambridge giving orders? (8)
Answer: RANKINGS (i.e. “orders”). When read as RAN KINGS the solution also satisfies “was a Provost in Cambridge”, a provost being someone running things, and Kings being a college at Cambridge University. Took a while to twig this, but I like it.
29. Reason for acquittal? The cynical moving to secure it (12)
Answer: TECHNICALITY (i.e. “reason for acquittal”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “moving”) of THE CYNICAL wrapped around or “securing” IT, like so: TECHNICAL(IT)Y. Well played.
30. Old writer intended to be unbiased (4-6)
Answer: OPEN-MINDED (i.e. “unbiased”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by PEN (i.e. “writer”) and MINDED (i.e. “intended”).
32. Imaginary benefits of luxury items? (5,5)
Answer: FANCY GOODS (i.e. “luxury items”). Solution is FANCY (i.e. “imaginary”) followed by GOODS (i.e. “benefits”).
34. Counterpart of electric blue? (8,4)
Answer: SHOCKING PINK. Clue plays on how “electricity” can be SHOCKING and how “blue” and PINK are “counterparts” on a snooker table, balls valued at 5 and 6 points respectively. Yep. That’s definitely it. Definitely snooker. Nothing here about gender stereotypes, internet, move along please. (Looks left) (Looks right) Phew, that was a close one, folks. Do not feed the zealots.
36. Uniform for boys’ clubs perhaps – observe back first (4,4)
Answer: ETON SUIT (i.e. “uniform for boys’ clubs”, in case you’d forgotten the elitism that courses through each of these puzzles). Solution is SUIT (i.e. “clubs, perhaps”, referring to one of the suits in a pack of playing cards) with NOTE (i.e. “observe”) reversed (indicated by “back”) and placed “first”, like so: ETON-SUIT.
38. Heraldic motto, one accepted by a king (8)
Answer: ARMORIAL (i.e. “heraldic”). Solution is MORAL (i.e. “motto” – to be filed under “yeah, kinda“) wrapped around or “accepting” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and then placed after or “by” A and R (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of Rex, Latin for “king”), like so: A-R-MOR(I)AL.
39. With no hesitation rejected what’s a tiny bit elementary (4)
Answer: MUON, a subatomic particle (i.e. “a tiny bit elementary” – atoms being the smallest particle of an “element”). Solution is NO and UM (i.e. “hesitation”) both reversed (indicated by “rejected”), like so: MU-ON.
41. Out of doors show resolute mien wavering (3,2,7)
Answer: SON ET LUMIERE (i.e. “out of doors show” – think images projected on buildings or landmarks). “Wavering” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RESOLUTE MIEN. I only got this as it also featured in a book of crosswords I’d picked up recently to fill a spare five minutes. I’ll probably see it half a dozen times throughout the week now.
43. A short Aussie bloke is caustic (10)
Answer: ASTRINGENT (i.e. “caustic”). Solution is A and STRINE (i.e. “Aussie”, over to my Chambers for this one: “a jocular name given to Australian English”. Okay, if you say so…) with its last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and then followed by GENT (i.e. “bloke”), like so: A-STRIN-GENT.
44. Mush! – but not moving (6)
Answer: STATIC. Solution satisfies “mush”, referring to white noise you used to get on TVs before things got digital – another one for the “yeah, kinda” file, I reckon – and “not moving”.
46. A run forward in wood left one shaken (7)
Answer: TIMBREL, a kind of tambourine (i.e. “one shaken”). Solution is TIMBER (i.e. “wood”) with the R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in several ball games) brought “forward” a notch, and then followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”), like so: TIMBRE-L.
48. These days I sleep rough outside, under them? (8)
Answer: PLEIADES, stars located in the constellation of Taurus (i.e. “sleep rough outside under them”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rough”) of I SLEEP wrapped around or “outside of” AD (i.e. “these days”, i.e. Anno Domini), like so: PLEI(AD)ES. The wordplay was pretty obvious but took a quick Google to get the right spelling, not to mention what exactly the clue was referring to!
50. Filling belt, not easy at first if expanded (5,7,3,6)
Answer: BACON LETTUCE AND TOMATO (i.e. “[sandwich] filling”). Solution is BELT with the E removed (indicated by “not easy at first”, i.e. the first letter of “easy”). The remainder, BLT, is an abbreviation which when “expanded” gets you the solution.
51. Some religious worries overwhelming rector finally (8)
Answer: BROTHERS (i.e. “some religious”). Solution is BOTHERS (i.e. “worries”) wrapped around or “overwhelming” R (i.e. “rector finally”, i.e. the last letter of “rector”), like so: B(R)OTHERS.
52. Spiritual authority has no solid ground, we hear (4,3)
Answer: HOLY SEE (i.e. “spiritual authority”). “We hear” indicates homophone. When written as HOLY SEA the solution also satisfies “has no solid ground”, inferring a seabed full of holes.
53. Goodness less than nothing for bloke (6)
Answer: GEEZER (i.e. “bloke”). Solution is GEE (i.e. “goodness”, both exclamations) followed by ZERO (i.e. “nothing”) with the last letter removed (indicated cheekily by “less than”), like so: GEE-ZER.
2. Sudden pain not good for one stranded (5)
Answer: TWINE (i.e. “one stranded”, referring to strands of a rope). Solution is TWINGE (i.e. “sudden pain”) with the G removed (indicated by “not good”, G being a recognised abbreviation of “good”).
3. Sensible, where the fox goes to sleep? (4-2-5)
Answer: DOWN-TO-EARTH. Solution satisfies “sensible” and “where the fox goes to sleep”.
4. Such an account makes one nervous? (8)
Answer: SUSPENSE (i.e. type of “account”). Solution also satisfies “makes one nervous”.
5. Anything to protect wings of little nestling (5)
Answer: OWLET, a young owl (i.e. “little nestling”). Solution is OWT (i.e. “anything”) wrapped around or “protecting” LE (i.e. “wings of little”, i.e. the first and last letters of “little”), like so: OW(LE)T.
6. Welshman recited poetry of all kinds (7)
Answer: DIVERSE (i.e. “of all kinds”). Solution is DI (i.e. “Welshman recited”, i.e. a homophone of DAI) followed by VERSE (i.e. “poetry”).
7. Separate, if not entirely firm (4,7)
Answer: PART COMPANY (i.e. “separate”). Solution is PART (i.e. “not entirely”) followed by COMPANY (i.e. “firm”).
8. From clinic, volunteers get man sacked (5)
Answer: SANTA (i.e. “man sacked”, as in that jolly fellow who visited every house toward the end of 2019 leaving presents for everyone to find. See, conspiracy nuts, Covid-19 was Santa’s fault all along. It had nothing to do with 5G masts, you utter, utter pillocks.) Solution is SAN (i.e. “clinic”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “sanatorium”) followed by TA (i.e. “volunteers”, specifically the Territorial Army).
9. Pad out raised armrest (9)
Answer: UPHOLSTER (i.e. “pad out”). Solution is UP (i.e. “raised”) followed by HOLSTER (i.e. “armrest” – a bit of a stretch, another for the “yeah, kinda” file).
10. Russian band covers area (5)
Answer: SASHA (i.e. a “Russian” forename). Solution is SASH (i.e. “band [of fabric]”) followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”).
11. Old people receive a note to get check-up (11)
Answer: EXAMINATION (i.e. “check-up”). Solution is EX (i.e. “old”) and NATION (i.e. “people”) wrapped around or “receiving” A and MI (i.e. “note” in the do-ray-mi style), like so: EX-(A-MI)-NATION.
12. Sat around to receive equipment, missing one item for office (7)
Answer: DESKTOP (i.e. “item for office”). Solution is POSED (i.e. “sat”) which is reversed (indicated by “around”) and then wrapped around or “receiving” KIT (i.e. “equipment”) once its I has been removed (indicated by “missing [Roman numeral] one”), like so: DES(KT)OP.
18. Fish: I help, turning and cutting a little piece (9)
Answer: WHITEBAIT (i.e. “fish”). Solution is I and ABET (i.e. “help”), which is reversed (indicated by “turning”). These are then placed in or “cutting” WHIT (i.e. “a little piece”, literally the smallest particle imaginable), like so: WH(I-TEBA)IT.
19. A case, half the same fruit (7)
Answer: AVOCADO (i.e. “fruit”). Setter wins. I’ve not got a hook on this, so watch out. If I have a brainwave overnight or if some kind soul stops by with the answer then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Nailed this one, finally. The solution is A followed by VOCATIVE (i.e. “case” – over to Chambers: “the case of a word when a person or thing is addressed”) chopped in “half” and followed by DO (a recognised abbreviation of “ditto”), like so: A-VOCA-DO. Chalk one to my Bradfords for the “case” bit. – LP]
21. Broadcaster ignoring us spoke about forty-five minutes? (5,4)
Answer: RADIO FOUR (i.e. “broadcaster”). Solution is RADIUS (i.e. “spoke” of a wheel) with the US removed or “ignored”, then followed by OF (i.e. “about”) and OUR (i.e. “forty-five minutes”, cunningly the last three-quarters of an HOUR), like so: RADI-OF-OUR.
22. Greek character buried in second tomb (8)
Answer: MONUMENT (i.e. “tomb”). Solution is NU (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet) placed or “buried in” MOMENT (i.e. a “second”), like so: MO(NU)MENT.
25. Put back in control over country (9)
Answer: REINSTATE (i.e. “put back in”). Solution is REIN (i.e. “control”) placed ahead or “over” – this being a down clue – STATE (i.e. “country”).
27. One naïve politician that’s heard out hunting (9)
Answer: GREENHORN (i.e. “one naïve”). Solution is GREEN (i.e. “politician”) followed by HORN (i.e. “that’s heard out hunting”).
28. Can opener call with advantage? (4-4)
Answer: RING-PULL (i.e. “can opener”). Solution is RING (i.e. “call”) followed by PULL (i.e. “advantage”).
31. Mystic theologian the rack tortured (7)
Answer: Meister ECKHART (i.e. “mystic theologian” – yeah, me neither). “Tortured” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THE RACK.
33. Join one group of workers up in state (11)
Answer: CONNECTICUT (i.e. “[US] state”). Solution is CONNECT (i.e. “connect”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and TUC (i.e. “group of workers”, being the Trades Union Congress) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: CONNECT-I-CUT.
34. Regular disorder in city slammer (11)
Answer: SYMMETRICAL (i.e. “regular”). “Disorder” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CITY SLAMMER. Nicely done.
35. Little dog beginning to examine stone, say, in fruit (11)
Answer: POMEGRANATE (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is POM (i.e. “little dog”, specifically a Pomeranian) followed by E (i.e. “beginning to examine”, i.e. the first letter of “examine”) and GRANATE (i.e. a homophone – indicated by “say” – of GRANITE, i.e. “stone”).
37. Femme fatale sovereign arrests time after time (9)
Answer: TEMPTRESS (i.e. “femme fatale”). Solution is EMPRESS (i.e. “sovereign”) wrapped around or “arresting” T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and then placed “after” T (ditto), like so: T-EMP(T)RESS.
40. Pound grand for penning one criminal without end (8)
Answer: LIFELONG (i.e. “without end” – I don’t agree with the setter on this one. Lifelong is not the same as endless, given that its predicated on the length of someone or something’s lifespan. That’s too many fouls, setter. (Points to all the “yeah, kinda” clues one by one.) (Wafts yellow card.)) Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of a “pound” of weight) and G (a recognised abbreviation of “grand”) wrapped around or “penning” I (i.e “[Roman numeral] one”) and FELON (i.e. “criminal”), like so: L-(I-FELON)-G.
42. Be stopping spin expert, heading off for Number Ten in a year (7)
Answer: OCTOBER (i.e. “Number Ten in a year”, referring to the tenth month of a calendar year). Solution is BE placed in or “stopping” DOCTOR (i.e. “spin expert”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “heading off”), like so: OCTO(BE)R. A clue that scans rather well.
43. Very attentive king, visiting too briefly (3,4)
Answer: ALL EARS (i.e. “very attentive”). Solution is LEAR (i.e. “king”, referring to Shakespeare’s play) placed in or “visiting” ALSO (i.e. “too”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: AL(LEAR)S.
45. Happy to ignore good books for short story (5)
Answer: CONTE (i.e. “short story”). Solution is CONTENT (i.e. “happy”) with the final NT removed (indicated by “ignore good books”, NT being the New Testament of the Bible).
47. Equal contest that’s ready to ignite (5)
Answer: MATCH. Solution satisfies “equal” and “that’s ready to ignite”.
48. Minister to go quietly over brief at intervals (5)
Answer: PADRE (i.e. “minister”). Solution is PAD (i.e. “to go quietly”) which is followed by or placed “over” – this being a down clue – RE (i.e. “brief at intervals”, i.e. every other letter of the word BRIEF), like so: PAD-RE.
49. Be worn out before swallowing possibly lethal quantity (5)
Answer: ERODE (i.e. “be worn our” – wouldn’t this be “eroded”? (Feels for second yellow…)). Solution is ERE (i.e. poetic form of “before”) wrapped around or “swallowing” OD (i.e. “possibly lethal quantity”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of an “overdose”), like so: ER(OD)E.