A toughie this week, but sadly not an enjoyable one. It seems we have that one setter who loves to stuff their grids with dead people and places. Seriously, there are over ten place names in this one, and, yes, I’m counting DRESDEN CHINA as two places! Also AFRIKA KORPS, so sue me. These might be interesting to you, setter, but they’re boring as hell to solve. As regular visitors to these pages know, I like toughies that have me buried in the pages of a dictionary, not some bloody atlas. Ho hum. Maybe next time.
Anyway, thanks for stopping by. I hope you are keeping as well as can be during the lockdown. If you’ve come a cropper with this week’s puzzle, you can find my completed grid below, along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.
While you’re here, I’ve got solutions to previous Times Jumbo Cryptic crosswords on my Just For Fun page, which you might find useful. I’ve also got some book reviews, back from when I had the time to read, and a story of mine that I put out a little while ago.
Okay, enough of me. On with the show. Stay healthy, folks. All being well, I’ll see you next time.
1. Lend dame support, see! (2,3,6)
Answer: LO AND BEHOLD (i.e. “see”). Solution is LOAN (i.e. “lend”) followed by D (a recognised abbreviation of “dame”) and BEHOLD (i.e. “support”).
[EDIT: Thanks to Andrew in the comments for clarifying that “dame” should be DBE (a recognised abbreviation of Dame of the British Empire), which then makes “support” HOLD, making the solution LOAN-DBE-HOLD. Thanks, Andrew! – LP]
7. Item for decorating bore inflammatory poster (5,6)
Answer: PAINT ROLLER (i.e. “item for decorating”). Solution is PAIN (i.e. “bore”, both words for a nuisance) followed by TROLLER (i.e. “inflammatory poster” on internet fora – surely these are just trolls, setter?)
13. Second old archbishop’s informal words (5)
Answer: SLANG (i.e. “informal words”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) followed by Cosmo LANG (i.e. “old archbishop” – we’ve seen this one before. Perhaps a tell of this particular setter).
14. About time to study alternative to spare tyre? (7)
Answer: RETREAD (i.e. “alternative to spare tyre”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and READ (i.e. “study”).
15. Woman, dismissing daughter, and in hurry to appear on stage (9)
Answer: STEPHANIE (i.e. “woman”). Solution is AND once the D has been removed (indicated by “dismissing daughter” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”), and the remainder then placed “in” HIE (i.e. to “hurry”). The whole is then preceded by or “appearing on” STEP (i.e. “stage”), like so: STEP-H(AN)IE. I doubt I am the only one who groans whenever the setter sticks a given name in their grid.
16. Prepare first off, an end to hostilities (9)
Answer: ARMISTICE (i.e. “an end to hostilities”). Solution is ARM (i.e. “prepare”) followed by IST (i.e. “first” – think of the I as a 1) and ICE (i.e. “off”, as in acting off with someone – yeah, I wasn’t keen either).
17. Readers of stuff sent out from different dime stores (10)
Answer: DOSIMETERS, which are devices used to measure radiation levels (i.e. “readers of stuff sent out”). “Different” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DIME STORES.
20. Go on board immediately after this cautiously optimistic forecast? (7)
Answer: MAYFAIR (i.e. “GO on [Monopoly] board immediately after this”). When read as MAY FAIR the solution (kind of) satisfies “cautiously optimistic forecast”.
22. Disconcert gunrunner, vetting cases (7)
Answer: UNNERVE (i.e. “disconcert”). “Cases” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: GUNR(UNNER VE)TTING.
24. For example, a back payment covers substance for lab experiment? (7)
Answer: REAGENT (i.e. “substance for lab experiment”). Solution is EG (a recognised abbreviation of the Latin exempli gratia, or “for example”) and A, both reversed (indicated by “back”) and placed in or “covered” by RENT (i.e. “payment”), like so: RE(A-GE)NT.
25. Picadors, when thrown, scattered (8)
Answer: SPORADIC (i.e. “scattered”). “When thrown” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PICADORS.
26. What’s not faked, unusually, about old Lear’s character (3,5,2,4)
Answer: THE AKOND OF SWAT (i.e. “Lear’s character” – referring to Edward Lear’s poem of the same name. No, me neither. ’s poetry, innit?) Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unusually”) of WHAT’S NOT FAKED wrapped “about” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: THEAK(O)NDOFSWAT.
28. Butcher’s with two floors, one heard (5)
Answer: DEKKO (i.e. “butcher’s”, both informal words for a look, the latter Cockney rhyming slang “butcher’s hook”). Solution is DECK and K.O. (i.e. “two floors” – the latter being a recognised abbreviation of knock out, or to “floor” someone). “One heard” indicates that for one of these, DECK, we want a homophone of the word, hence DEK-K.O. Clever, but sadly an easier get than it ought to have been having appeared in an earlier puzzle.
29. Wide crack in which to put leg (6)
Answer: GAPING (i.e. “wide”). Solution is PIN (i.e. an informal name for a “leg”) which is “put” in GAG (i.e. “crack”, both words for a joke), like so: GA(PIN)G.
30. Hides stolen picture from PC, perhaps (10)
Answer: SCREENSHOT (i.e. “picture from PC, perhaps” – the “perhaps” indicating you can take screenshots with other devices too). Solution is SCREENS (i.e. “hides”) followed by HOT (i.e. “stolen”). Nicely worked.
33. Come by before safety agency locks garden (10)
Answer: GETHSEMANE (i.e. a “garden” at the foot of the Mount of Olives). Solution is GETS (i.e. “come by”) followed by HSE (i.e. “safety agency”, specifically the Health and Safety Executive) and MANE (i.e. “locks”).
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for the typo correction. I’d erroneously had this as GETHESMANE. Cheers, Sue! – LP]
35. Fifty disembarking from transport to the French African port (6)
Answer: BISSAU (i.e. “African port”). Solution is BLISS (i.e. “transport” – as in “ecstasy, or any strong emotion” (Chambers) with the L removed (indicated by “fifty disembarking” – L being fifty in Roman numerals) and the remainder followed by AU (i.e. “to the French”, i.e. the French for “to the” I suppose), like so: BISS-AU.
37. Parties to hold in a very small Swiss resort (5)
Answer: DAVOS (i.e. “small Swiss resort”). Solution is DOS (i.e. “parties”) wrapped around or “holding” A and V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”), like so: D(A-V)OS.
39. Cap all out of place: the suit and tie back (4,3,7)
Answer: TAKE THE BISCUIT (i.e. to “cap all”). “Out of place” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THE SUIT and TIE BACK.
41. Tree from US city displayed by sticker book (8)
Answer: LABURNUM (i.e. “tree”). Solution is LA (i.e. “US city”, specifically Los Angeles) followed by BUR (i.e. “sticker” – also spelled burr, these are plant pods that cling to things that brush past them) and NUM (i.e. “book”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Book of Numbers in The Bible).
44. A New Jersey sailor visiting centre of Montserrat’s capital (3,4)
Answer: SAN JOSE (i.e. “capital” of Costa Rica). Solution is A, NJ (a recognised abbreviation of “New Jersey”) and OS (i.e. “sailor”, specifically an Ordinary Seaman) all placed in or “visiting” SE (i.e. “centre of Montserrat”, i.e. the middle two letters of MONTSERRAT), like so: S(A-NJ-OS)E.
45. Runs course on this country to the west’s language (7)
Answer: KURDISH (i.e. “language”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) and DISH (i.e. “course”) placed “on” or after UK (i.e. “this country”) once it has been reversed (indicated by “to the west” – this being an across clue), like so: KU-R-DISH.
46. In reducing mistreatment, sorted out public transport (7)
Answer: AUTOBUS (i.e. “public transport” for people who like to call prams perambulators and removal vans pantechnicons). Solution is ABUSE (i.e. “mistreatment”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “reducing”) and the remainder wrapped around an anagram (indicated by “sorted”) of OUT, like so: A(UTO)BUS.
47. Winding up following chief, hardly resting (10)
Answer: CHILLAXING (i.e. “resting” – yup, chillaxing has made it into the dictionary, folks; forever to be recognised and kept alive by the same wacky lexicographers who are keeping “felching” alive. Because they are, aren’t they? Or am I mistaken and we’re secretly a nation of felchers. Anyone? Show of hands? Oh. Once you’ve finished felching, of course. Sorry. Didn’t mean to interrupt. No, that’s fine. You, er, finish up there. With your felching. Hmm. I appear to have wandered off track…) Solution is AXING (i.e. “winding up”) placed after or “following” CH (a recognised abbreviation of “chief”) and ILL (i.e. “hardly”, as in “one could ill afford to…”), like so:
49. Old woman’s guarded on subject of sultan’s obsession (9)
Answer: MONOMANIA (i.e. “obsession”). Solution is MA (i.e. “old woman”, both taken to mean mother) wrapped around or “guarding” ON and OMANI (i.e. “subject of sultan”, specifically a citizen of Oman), like so: M(ON-OMANI)A.
53. Circle bound to be offering a variety of views? (9)
Answer: OPINIONED (i.e. “offering a variety of views”). Solution is O (i.e. “circle”) followed by PINIONED (i.e. “bound”).
54. Skilled communicator with gold stars on a roll? (7)
Answer: ORALIST (i.e. “skilled communicator”, as opposed to a felch– okay, I’ll stop now). Solution is OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry) followed by A-LIST (a bit of a double header this one, in that this fits celebrities or “stars”, and also “a roll” – a roll being a list).
55. Council not available to handle conclusion to project (5)
Answer: JUNTA (i.e. “council”). Solution is JUT (i.e. “to project”) with the last or “concluding” letter T surrounded or “handled” by N/A (a recognised abbreviation of “not available”), like so: JU-N(T)A. Can’t say I’ve seen that kind of wordplay before. Might have to keep an eye on that one.
56. Dishevelled pair close to tank ask for Rommel’s men (6,5)
Answer: AFRIKA KORPS (i.e. “Rommel’s men”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “dishevelled”) of PAIR, K (i.e. “close to tank”, i.e. the last letter of “tank”) and ASK FOR.
57. Unfit person who likes undressing, briefly caught in the act (11)
Answer: DENATURISED (i.e. made “unfit” for human consumption, e.g. like with alcohol). Solution is NATURIST (i.e. “person who likes undressing”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder placed “in” DEED (i.e. “the act”), like so: DE(NATURIS)ED.
1. Large snake, I’m afraid, cornering Mike in resort (3,6)
Answer: LAS PALMAS (i.e. “resort” and capital of Gran Canaria island of the Canary Islands). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) followed by ASP (i.e. “snake”) and ALAS (i.e. “I’m afraid”) once it has been wrapped around or “cornering” M (“Mike” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: L-ASP-AL(M)AS.
2. Saw that Tom can spy on Rex? (1,3,3,4,2,1,4)
Answer: A CAT MAY LOOK AT A KING, a phrase or “saw” meaning that even us lowly proles have rights. That’s reassuring. Clue riffs on “tom” being a male CAT – ignore the misleading capitalisation – and Rex being Latin for “king”. You get the idea.
3. Maybe take rabbit away from impressionist (5)
Answer: Edgar DEGAS (i.e. “impressionist” artist and sculptor – he had a thing for drawing ballerinas). When read as DE-GAS, the solution also jokingly satisfies “take rabbit away”, to rabbit and to gas being phrases meaning to talk a lot.
4. Forte! Is it that of a tattooist? (3-8)
Answer: EAR-PIERCING. Solution satisfies “forte” – being musical lingo for “loud” – and, given how a number of tattoo parlours also offer body piercing, “is it that of a tattooist”. Nicely played.
5. Possibly topless May Queen, one being pursued (2,3,3)
Answer: ON THE RUN (i.e. “being pursued”). Solution is MONTH (i.e. “possibly…May”, other months are available) with the first letter removed (indicated by “topless”) and the remainder followed by ER (i.e. “queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) and UN (i.e. “one” in French – I’m not keen when setters casually drop French indicators from their clues like this), like so: ONTH-ER-UN.
6. Ultimately spineless of French in short ducking a German product (7,5)
Answer: DRESDEN CHINA (i.e. “German product” – you might have seen plenty of it on twenty-episode-long binges of Bargain Hunt now that you’ve finished Netflix. #YayLockdown #NotYay). Solution is S (i.e. “ultimately spineless”, i.e. the last letter of “spineless”) and DE (i.e. “of French”, i.e. the French for “of”) placed “in” DRENCHING (i.e. “ducking” – think how they used to torture and kill
witches women accused of witchcraft) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”), and then followed by A, like so: DRE(S-DE)NCHIN-A.
7. Flat tyres one can do without! (10)
Answer: PEDESTRIAN. Solution satisfies “flat”, as in boring, and “tyres one can do without”, what with a pedestrian being on foot ‘n all.
8. American’s not always away, we hear, after all (2,3)
Answer: IN SUM (i.e. “after all”). Solution is a homophone, indicated by “we hear”, of IN SOME (i.e. at home some of the time, or “not always away”). In “America” SOME is used to describe “a good deal more” or “a large amount”, which doesn’t quite fit the clue, but I get the idea. There could be a better solution out there on this one.
9. Where council sat to go over ground (5,6)
Answer: TRENT BRIDGE (i.e. “[cricket] ground”). Not sure on this one. I guess TRENT satisfies “where council sat” somehow. Perhaps it’s a historical reference, but nothing springs to mind. Meanwhile BRIDGE satisfies “to go over”.
[EDIT: Thanks to Steve and Andrew in the comments for their help on this one. “Where council sat” refers to the Council of TRENT, a big Catholic powwow that took place between 1545 and 1563 in Trento, Italy. Thanks both! – LP]
10. Trouble and strife, maybe bad for health (5,4)
Answer: OTHER HALF (i.e. “trouble and strife, maybe” – trouble and strife being Cockney rhyming slang for “wife” – the “maybe” part indicating that OTHER HALF covers partners too). “Bad” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FOR HEALTH. Nicely worked.
11. Left one distant land for European city (4)
Answer: LINZ (i.e. “European city”, specifically the third-largest city in Austria. Okay, can you name the second-largest? Yeah, exactly. If you wanted cast-iron proof that the setter is dicking with you this week, consider how many proper words fit the letters L_N_. That the setter decided to say “sod the solvers, God I hate them, moaning at me all the time for filling my grids with place names just because I really like places and they come in really useful when I’ve buggered up the grid a bit… yeah, sod them all, I’m sticking another place name in”… it speaks volumes rather, doesn’t it?) Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and NZ (i.e. “distant land”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of New Zealand. Well, it’s distant relative to the UK, anyway…)
The second largest city in Austria, in case you wanted to know, is Graz.
12. Oscar one carried on plate overwhelms film director (4)
Answer: Nicolas ROEG (i.e. “film director”). Solution is O (“Oscar” in the phonetic alphabet) placed in or “carried on” REG (i.e. “[car number] plate”), like so: R(O)EG. “One” seems redundant in this clue, so I might not have this one quite right. Again, consider how many proper words fit the letters R_E_. This setter really, really, REALLY loves their dead people and places.
[EDIT – A quick brainwave before bedtime. “One” wasn’t redundant after all. “One carried on plate” refers to a car registration, often shortened to REG. Phew. I can sleep easier now. – LP]
18. Hands-free number? (3,2,4,2,7)
Answer: YES WE HAVE NO BANANAS, a song or “number” by Louis Prima, and the only reason I’ve not waged all-out war on this week’s setter. Solution riffs on how a hand is “a division of a bunch of bananas” (Chambers). If you need cheering up during this lockdown and fancy some upbeat, happy choons, then you could do a lot worse than firing up a bit of King Louis. Jump (jive and wail) to it!
19. Regulations and data about pick-up from Victoria? (8)
Answer: STATUTES (i.e. “regulations”). Solution is STATS (i.e. “data”) wrapped “about” UTE (i.e. “pick-up from Victoria”, an ute being what Aussies call a pick-up truck), like so: STAT(UTE)S.
21. Thrown in debt (2,1,4)
Answer: AT A LOSS. Solution satisfies “thrown”, as in confused or wrong-footed, and “in debt”.
23. Cast out to rehearse, expending energy for nothing (8)
Answer: EXORCISE (i.e. to “cast out” evil spirits and such). Solution is EXERCISE (i.e. “to rehearse”) with the middle E – a recognised abbreviation of “energy”- “expended for” or replaced by O (i.e. “nothing”), like so: EX(E)RCISE => EX(O)RCISE.
27. Singular witticisms, type occurring in yarn (4,4)
Answer: SPUN SILK (i.e. “yarn”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”) followed by PUNS (i.e. “witticisms”) and ILK (i.e. “type”).
28. Fresh id’s one I get ready for computer (8)
Answer: DIGITISE (i.e. “get ready for computer”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fresh”) of ID’S, I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and I GET.
31. Slip away carrying book, indeed (2,5)
Answer: NO DOUBT (i.e. “indeed”). Solution is NOD (i.e. “slip” – both words for a careless mistake) followed by OUT (i.e. “away”) once it has been wrapped around or “carrying” B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”), like so: NOD-OU(B)T.
32. Minister departs, placing inside contact details? (8,4)
Answer: VISITING CARD (i.e. “contact details” left in after visits. Think business cards, that kind of thing.) Solution is VICAR (i.e. “minister”) and D (a recognised abbreviation of died, i.e. “departs”) both wrapped around or having “inside” SITING (i.e. “placing”), like so: VI(SITING)CAR-D.
34. Old lady embracing English couple overheard Belgian dramatist (11)
Answer: Maurice MAETERLINCK (i.e. “Belgian dramatist” – (scans through list of works) – Nope.) Solution is MATER (i.e. “old lady”) wrapped around or “embracing” E (i.e. “English”) and then followed by a homophone (indicated by “overheard”) of LINK (i.e. “[to] couple”), like so: MA(E)TER-LINCK. Needless to say, I was straight to my Bradford’s the moment I read “Belgian dramatist”. Life is way too short to waste on solutions like this.
36. Struggling university secretary gets the bird (2,7,2)
Answer: UP AGAINST IT (i.e. “struggling”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) followed by PA (i.e. “secretary”, specifically a Personal Assistant), then GAINS (i.e. “gets”) and TIT (i.e. “bird”).
38. Foul slurs wrongly associated with curio (10)
Answer: SCURRILOUS (i.e. “foul”). “Wrongly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SLURS and CURIO.
40. Not smart enough to digest page in after-dinner article? (9)
Answer: TOOTHPICK (i.e. “after-dinner article”). Solution is TOO THICK (i.e. “not smart enough”) wrapped around or “digesting” P (a recognised abbreviation of “page”), like so: TOO-TH(P)ICK.
42. Made up much-loved account – boy’s bowled over (9)
Answer: MASCARAED (i.e. “made up” – my Chambers doesn’t want to know, but my Oxford backs this one up). Solution is DEAR (i.e. “much-loved”) followed by AC (a recognised abbreviation of “account”) and SAM (i.e. “boy”, as in a boy’s name) and the whole then reversed (indicated by “bowled over” – this being a down clue), like so: MAS-CA-RAED.
43. Back from church with claim to devotion – touching! (8)
Answer: CHAMPION (i.e. to promote or “back” something). Solution is CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) followed by AM PI (i.e. “claim to devotion” – PI is a shortened form of “pious”, so to say I AM PI is to claim one’s devotion to some god or other) and then ON (i.e. “touching”), like so: CH-AM-PI-ON.
48. One who’s left note upset timber producer (5)
Answer: ALDER (i.e. “timber producer”). Solution is RED (i.e. “one who’s left”, i.e. a socialist) and LA (i.e. “note” in the do-ray-me style) all reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue), like so: AL-DER.
50. Obliged you very informally to listen to officer (5)
Answer: MAJOR (i.e. army “officer”). “To listen to” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of both MADE (i.e. “obliged”) and YER (i.e. “you very informally”). Only just got that as I was typing this up. Not a fan.
51. Pro beginning on amateur arenas (4)
Answer: FORA (i.e. “arenas”, being a plural of “forum”). Solution is FOR (i.e. “pro”) followed by A (i.e. “beginning on amateur”, i.e. the first letter of “amateur”).
52. Revolving bar, one serving pork pies (4)
Answer: LIAR (i.e. “one serving pork pies” – more Cockney rhyming slang, in case anyone was in any doubt this is a London paper; this time “pork pies” = lies). Solution is RAIL (i.e. “bar”) reversed (indicated by “revolving”).