Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1452

Not sure whether this was a toughie, or whether my brain was not entirely on it. (I am on hols, so there’s that.) Got there eventually. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

As ever, some hawking before we jump in. You can find solutions to previous solutions on my Just For Fun page. I’ve also got some mouldy old book reviews and a story of mine.

I don’t usually produce posts for the Times crossword found in the main paper, but one clue stood out for me today (well, yesterday, I suppose): His poetry no-go, his prose uneven? (3) The solution is Edgar Allan POE, being POETRY without the TRY (hinted at by “no-go”) and all the odd or “uneven” letters of PROSE. Best clue I’ve seen for ages.

Anyway, till next time, keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere, mask-up and keep safe.


P.S. Dear WordPress, your “easier way to create posts” that you are going to eventually force upon us is a bag of balls. It’s time-consuming enough putting these posts together without some undoable bullshit editor fighting me every step of the way. Not everything that looks like a numbered list is a numbered list! I honestly couldn’t switch back to the old editor fast enough. Now please excuse me, I’ve got some looms to smash up.

Across clues

1. The essentials in underwear piles (5,5)

Answer: BRASS TACKS (i.e. “the essentials”). Solution is BRAS (i.e. “underwear”) followed by STACKS (i.e. “piles”).

6. Official voice possessed by a graduate with robe (12)

Answer: AMBASSADRESS (i.e. “official”). Solution is BASS (i.e. a singing “voice”) placed in or “possessed by” A and MA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Master of Arts) and followed by DRESS (i.e. “robe”), like so: A-M(BASS)A-DRESS.

14. Out of bed with feathers showing instability (2,3,4)

Answer: UP AND DOWN (i.e. “instability”). Solution is UP (i.e. “out of bed”) followed by AND (i.e. “with”) and DOWN (i.e. “feathers”).

15. Demon has man at heart scared (5)

Answer: AFRIT (i.e. a “demon” of Arab myth). Solution is A (i.e. “man at heart”, i.e. the middle letter of the word “man”) followed by FRIT (i.e. “scared”).

16. This person’s on army’s first vehicle in offensive (7)

Answer: ABUSIVE (i.e. “offensive”). Solution is I’VE (i.e. “this person’s” – we’ve seen this sneaky bit of wordplay recently: “this person’s” is a contraction of “this person has” (it doesn’t matter that the clue no longer scans well, so long as it disguises what the setter is playing at); from the point of view of the setter, this equates to “I have”, which contracts to I’VE) placed “on” or after A (i.e. “army’s first”, i.e. the first letter of “army”) and BUS (i.e. “vehicle”), like so: (A-BUS)-I’VE.

17. Novel states in which account may be (3,3,3,3,5)

Answer: THE RED AND THE BLACK (a “novel” by Stendhal, which “tells the story of Julien Sorel’s life in France’s rigid social structure restored after the disruptions of the French Revolution and the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte” (Wikipedia). Sounds laugh-a-minute.) Solution riffs on how bank “accounts” can be in the red (i.e. owing money) or in the black (i.e. holding money).

18. Sub officer retreating? I’m not sure (5)

Answer: LOCUM (i.e. “sub”, as in a substitute). Solution is COL (i.e. “officer”, specifically a colonel) reversed (indicated by “retreating”) and followed by UM (i.e. “I’m not sure”), like so: LOC-UM.

19. Cook fine, edible root, wanting starter (7)

Answer: FALSIFY (i.e. “cook”, as in cooking the books). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils) followed by SALSIFY (i.e. “edible root”) once the initial letter has been removed (indicated by “wanting starter”), like so: F-ALSIFY. Became obvious once I had all the intersecting letters but took a brute force of Chambers to get SALSIFY.

21. Cats track mouse heartlessly by second track (6)

Answer: MEMORY (i.e. “Cats track”, as in a song from the musical Cats). Solution is ME (i.e. “mouse heartlessly”, i.e. the word “mouse” with its middle letters removed) followed by MO (a contraction of moment, or a “second”) and RY (i.e. “track”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “railway”).

22. Fancy if I possessed lentils from the east (3-2-3)

Answer: LAH-DI-DAH (i.e. “fancy”). Solution is HAD I DHAL (i.e. “if I possessed lentils” – a dhal or dal is a pea-like plant cultivated in India) reversed (indicated by “from the east” – this being an across clue), like so: LAHD-I-DAH.

24. Whence porcelain fruit without error at the back (7)

Answer: LIMOGES (i.e. “whence porcelain”, specifically a city in France renowned for its porcelain, it says here. (Shrugs)). Solution is LIMES (i.e. “fruit”) wrapped around or placed “without” OG (i.e. “error at the back”, specifically an Own Goal), like so: LIM(OG)ES. Chalk one to my Bradfords here.

26. Almost keen on less civil, unwelcome fellow (8)

Answer: INTRUDER (i.e. “unwelcome fellow”). Solution is INTO (i.e. “keen on”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder followed by RUDER (i.e. “less civil”), like so: INT-RUDER.

27. Guide rested by reversing vehicle (6)

Answer: SATNAV (i.e. “guide”, specifically a contraction of Satellite Navigation). Solution is SAT (i.e. “rested”) followed by VAN (i.e. “vehicle”) after it has been “reversed”, like so: SAT-NAV.

30. Loudly cutting chicken, always making complaint (6,5)

Answer: YELLOW FEVER (i.e. “complaint”). Solution is F (i.e. “loudly”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “forte” in musical lingo) placed between or “cutting” YELLOW (i.e. “chicken”) and EVER (i.e. “always”), like so: YELLOW-(F)-EVER.

32. Detective on drug many rejected, one maybe fired (5,6)

Answer: HORSE PISTOL (i.e. “one maybe fired”, specifically a large pistol formerly carried by horsemen). Solution is PI (i.e. “detective”, specifically a Private Investigator) placed “on” or after HORSE (i.e. “drug”, specifically a street name for heroin) and followed by LOTS (i.e. “many”) once reversed (indicated by “rejected”), like so: HORSE-PI-STOL.

33. Like judge’s issue with one’s English in test (11)

Answer: MAGISTERIAL (i.e. “like judge”). Solution is MAG (i.e. “issue” or magazine) followed by I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”), then E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) once it has been placed “in” TRIAL (i.e. “test”), like so: MAG-I’S-T(E)RIAL.

35. Entertaining place to involve partner in match (7,4)

Answer: DRAWING ROOM (i.e. “entertaining place”, as in a place to entertain guests). Solution is DRAW IN (i.e. “to involve”) followed by GROOM (i.e. “partner in match” or wedding).

37. Substance initially becoming nitrogen gas (6)

Answer: NATTER (i.e. to “gas”). Solution is MATTER (i.e. “substance”) with the “initial” letter replaced by or “becoming” N (chemical symbol of “nitrogen”), like so: (M)ATTER => (N)ATTER.

38. Ruler at intervals moulding part of foot (8)

Answer: OLIGARCH (i.e. “ruler”). Solution is OLIG (i.e. “at intervals moulding”, i.e. every other letter of MOULDING) followed by ARCH (i.e. “part of foot”).

39. Male Greek deity knocked over dish (7)

Answer: RAMEKIN (i.e. “dish”). Solution is RAM (i.e. “male [sheep]”) followed by NIKE (i.e. “Greek deity”) reversed (indicated by “knocked over”), like so: RAM-EKIN.

42. Particular observation about banking area (8)

Answer: ESPECIAL (i.e. “particular”). Solution is ESPIAL (i.e. “observation”) wrapped “about” EC (i.e. “banking area”, specifically the postcode area of London’s Square Mile), like so: ESP(EC)IAL.

44. Manufacturer with licence (6)

Answer: WRIGHT (i.e. “manufacturer”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) followed by RIGHT (i.e. “licence”).

46. A single medic enters close to parched (4-3)

Answer: BONE-DRY (i.e. “parched”). Solution is ONE (i.e. “a single”) and DR (i.e. “medic”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of doctor) both placed in or “entering” BY (i.e. “close to”), like so: B(ONE-DR)Y.

48. Empty personnel devour tuck (5)

Answer: PLEAT (i.e. “tuck”). Solution is PL (i.e. “empty personnel”, i.e. the word “personnel” with all its middle letters removed) followed by EAT (i.e. “devour”).

49. E.g. coming here, current power to split atom (7,10)

Answer: PRESENT PARTICIPLE (i.e. “e.g. coming here” – in the dry and joyless world of grammar, a participle is “a non-finite form of a verb used to form compound tenses (eg broken in the phrase had broken) and as an adjective (eg burning in the phrase the burning bush)”, while a present participle is one “referring roughly to contemporaneous action” (both Chambers). Solution is PRESENT (i.e. “here”) followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics) and P (ditto “power”) once they have been placed in or “splitting” PARTICLE (i.e. “atom”), like so: PRESENT-PARTIC(IP)LE.

51. Mundane covers of Telegraph put in prematurely (7)

Answer: EARTHLY (i.e. “mundane”). Solution is TH (i.e. “covers of Telegraph”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Telegraph”) placed “in” EARLY (i.e. “prematurely”), like so: EAR(TH)LY.

52. So we hear, look for one in flight (5)

Answer: STAIR (i.e. “one in flight” of stairs). “So we hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of STARE (i.e. “look”).

53. Put under the rocks, wish to return (9)

Answer: ETHERISED (i.e. “put under”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rocks”) of THE followed by DESIRE (i.e. “wish”) reversed (indicated by “to return”), like so: ETH-ERISED.

54. Put down revolt to seize power? That’s bold (12)

Answer: ENTERPRISING (i.e. “bold”). Solution is ENTER (i.e. “put down”) and RISING (i.e. “revolt”) wrapped around or “seizing” P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”), like so: ENTER-(P)-RISING.

55. Person sacking porter, dead drunk (10)

Answer: DEPREDATOR (i.e. “person sacking” or plundering). “Drunk” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PORTER DEAD.

Down clues

1. Cow eating unit of bananas lavishly (11)

Answer: BOUNTIFULLY (i.e. “lavishly”). Solution is BULLY (i.e. to “cow” someone, as in causing them to cower) wrapped around or “eating” an anagram (indicated by “bananas”) of UNIT OF, like so: B(OUNTIF)ULLY.

2. Device for cooking skin of vine that’s succulent (5)

Answer: AGAVE (i.e. “succulent”). Solution is AGA (i.e. “device for cooking”) followed by VE (i.e. “skin of vine”, i.e. the first and last letters of “vine”), like so: AGA-VE.

3. Making blue design and modelling (9)

Answer: SADDENING (i.e. “making blue”). “Modelling” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DESIGN AND.

4. Clad in vinyl, a monarch’s turned up something odd (7)

Answer: ANOMALY (i.e. “something odd”). “Clad in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “turned up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: VIN(YL A MONA)RCH’S.

5. It’s involved in stocking domestic animals, say (7)

Answer: KINGDOM (i.e. “animals, say” – other kingdoms are available). “It’s involved in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: STOC(KING DOM)ESTIC.

7. Saving pound, ruin old, unrefined English town (11)

Answer: MARLBOROUGH (i.e. “English town”). Solution is LB (a recognised abbreviation of a “pound” weight, from the Latin “libra”) placed in or “saved by” MAR (i.e. “ruin”) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), followed by ROUGH (i.e. “unrefined”), like so: MAR-(LB)-O-ROUGH.

8. Off track, like cup-bearer (6)

Answer: ASTRAY (i.e. “off track”). When written as AS TRAY, the solution also satisfies “like cup-bearer”.

9. Diner’s bag filled with new piece of chocolate (5,3)

Answer: SNACK BAR (i.e. “diner”). Solution is SACK (i.e. “bag”) wrapped around or “filled with” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and followed by BAR (i.e. “piece of chocolate”), like so: S(N)ACK-BAR.

10. Manipulate and beguile old fraud (6-7)

Answer: DOUBLE-DEALING (i.e. “fraud”). “Manipulate” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AND BEGUILE OLD.

11. Shown one boy embraced by another (7)

Answer: EVINCED (i.e. “shown”). Solution is VINCE (i.e. “boy”, basically a boy’s name) placed in or “embraced by” ED (i.e. “another” boy’s name), like so: E(VINCE)D.

12. Digger’s spades and clubs found by shack (5-6)

Answer: STEAM-SHOVEL (i.e. “digger”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “spades” used in some card games) followed by TEAMS (i.e. sports “clubs”) and HOVEL (i.e. “shack”).

13. Pet around house, note, runs in part of dash (10)

Answer: TACHOMETER (i.e. “part of dash[board]” – i.e. a speedometer). Solution is CAT (i.e. “pet”) reversed (indicated by “around”) and followed by HOME (i.e. “house”), then TE (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me style) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in some ball games), like so: TAC-HOME-TE-R.

20. What brightens up endlessly bad mess (9)

Answer: LAMPLIGHT (i.e. “what brightens up”). Solution is LAME (i.e. “bad”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”) and the remainder followed by PLIGHT (i.e. “mess”), like so: LAM-PLIGHT.

23. Pull up and sell fish (8)

Answer: REPROACH (i.e. “pull [someone] up”). Solution is REP (i.e. “sell” – think sales reps) followed by ROACH (i.e. “fish”).

25. Cushion, with pins removed, spins over and over (6)

Answer: SOFTEN (i.e. “cushion”). Solution is S (i.e. “with pins removed, spins”, i.e. the word SPINS with PINS removed) followed by OFTEN (i.e. “over and over”).

26. Dishonestly persuade, given lie to spread around (8)

Answer: INVEIGLE (i.e. “dishonestly persuade”). “To spread around” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GIVEN LIE.

28. Made contacts, so it was possible to go online? (9)

Answer: NETWORKED (i.e. “made contacts”). When written as NET WORKED, the solution also satisfies “was possible to go online”.

29. Person repudiating old French bread (6)

Answer: DENIER. Solution satisfies “person repudiating” and “old French bread” – a denier was an old French coin.

31. Bird’s cry, coast there being wild (13)

Answer: OYSTERCATCHER (i.e. “bird”). “Being wild” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CRY COAST THERE.

33. Figures on board covering obstruction around shelf (11)

Answer: MANTELPIECE (i.e. “shelf”). Solution is MAN and PIECE (i.e. “figures on [chess] board” – chess pieces are sometimes referred to as “men”) wrapped around or “covering” LET (i.e. “obstruction” – an archaic meaning of the word) reversed (indicated by “around”), like so: MAN-(TEL)-PIECE.

34. Deception emerged? Nail criminal (11)

Answer: LEGERDEMAIN (i.e. “deception”). “Criminal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EMERGED NAIL.

35. Offering insults before leftist turns on rightist (10)

Answer: DEROGATORY (i.e. “offering insults”). Solution is AGO (i.e. “before”) and RED (i.e. “leftist”) both reversed (indicated by “turns”) and then followed by TORY (i.e. “rightist”), like so: (DER-OGA)-TORY.

36. Merely running with no end, he hopes to generate interest (11)

Answer: MONEYLENDER (i.e. “he hopes to generate interest”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “running”) of MERELY and NO END.

40. Chap treated by yours truly given digital upgrade (9)

Answer: MANICURED (i.e. “given digital upgrade” – riffing on the digits of one’s hands). Solution is MAN (i.e. “chap”) and CURED (i.e. “treated”) once placed after or “by” I (i.e. “yours truly”), like so: MAN-(I)-CURED.

41. Rates contributor in Times during year apt to change (8)

Answer: TAXPAYER (i.e. “rates contributor”). Solution is X (i.e. “times”, as in the multiplication symbol – ignore the misleading capitalisation) placed “during” an anagram (indicated by “to change”) of YEAR APT, like so: TA(X)PAYER.

43. Stage character to go off behind platform (7)

Answer: PIERROT (i.e. “stage character”, think sad clown) Solution is ROT (i.e. “to go off”) placed “behind” PIER (i.e. “platform”), like so: PIER-ROT.

45. Role reversed with ease, we hear, in swinger’s bar (7)

Answer: TRAPEZE (i.e. “swinger’s bar”). Solution is PART (i.e. “role”) “reversed” followed by EZE (i.e. “ease, we hear”, i.e. a homophone of “ease”), like so: TRAP-EZE.

46. Very masculine ruler in ruin (7)

Answer: BUTCHER (i.e. to “ruin”). Solution is BUTCH (i.e. “very masculine”) followed by ER (i.e. “ruler”, specifically Elizabeth Regina).

47. Count on son abandoning agreement (6)

Answer: CENSUS (i.e. a “count” held every ten years). Solution is CONSENSUS (i.e. “agreement”) with ON and S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) removed or “abandoned”, like so: C(ON-S)ENSUS => CENSUS.

50. Good health leaving queen’s place (5)

Answer: POSIT (i.e. “place”). Solution is PROSIT (i.e. “good health”, as in a toast like “cheers” or “salut” – not one I recall coming across before), with the R removed (indicated by “leaving queen” – R being a recognised abbreviation of Regina, or “queen” in Latin). Chalk one to my Bradfords here.

4 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1452

  1. Yes, quite a little toughie this week. I nearly gave up a couple of times. The biggest groan came from Cats track. I could only get MEMORY to fit but it took ages for the penny to drop.

    1. Yeah, there were a few like that. MEMORY took a while to nail, as did parsing MANTELPIECE and TACHOMETER. Thankfully the gaps and unparsables all clicked after a fresh look (or, more accurately, once I’d reached for my reference books!)

  2. Lucian – you need to get out more! Specifically to your allotment. I’ve grown salsify on mine for the last two years. It’s known as the ‘oyster plant’ because of its subtle taste of …. you guessed it.
    Luckily a German flatmate exposed me to ‘prosit!’ many decades ago at uni – so no need for Chambers there either.

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