Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1455

A toughie this week, or it could be that my brain really wasn’t in the mood. I got there in the end, but it’s perhaps telling that the last clue I got was COUSIN for “relative”. Sometimes I don’t see ’em, but sheeeesh, come on! A shame really because, as toughies go, this was a good ‘un with lots of well written clues.

Anyway, 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’ve come a cropper at the hands of a previous Jumbo Cryptic then my Just For Fun page could be just what you need. While you are here, I also have some dusty old book reviews and a story of mine.

Till next time, stay safe, mask up, and keep giving thanks to the NHS and key workers everywhere. In the meantime I’ll see if my brain would perhaps prefer this week’s Listener Crossword instead…

[EDIT – This week’s Listener Crossword is very good. I won’t put the solution up here, as I appreciate people keep scores on these things, suffice to say the completed message in the grid did make me laugh. Thing is, who is saying it? The setter or the solver? 😀 – LP]


Across clues

1. Fastest time: minutes? (6)

Answer: RECORD. Solution satisfies “fastest time” and “minutes” of a meeting.

4. GCSE uproar – distraught organiser at sea (10)

Answer: SUPERCARGO (i.e. “organiser at sea” – a person on a ship who is in charge of or superintends the cargo). “Distraught” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GCSE UPROAR. A rather timely clue! Cool word too.

10. Judge on Charlie’s case (5)

Answer: CRATE (i.e. “case”). Solution is C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by RATE (i.e. “judge”).

14. Best experience in stuffing gamey dish? (4,5)

Answer: HIGH POINT (i.e. “best experience”). Solution is IN placed in or “stuffing” HIGH (i.e. “gamey”) and POT (i.e. “dish”), like so: HIGH-PO(IN)T.

15. Dark, ironic quips to die for? (7,6)

Answer: GALLOWS HUMOUR (i.e. “dark, ironic”). Clue plays on how gallows are used for executing people, hence “quips to die for”. You get the idea.

16. Mature bears on island struggle (7)

Answer: AGONISE (i.e. “struggle”). Solution is AGE (i.e. to “mature”) wrapped around or “bearing” ON and IS (a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: AG(ON-IS)E.

17. Missionary position adopted by porter, perhaps (7)

Answer: APOSTLE (i.e. “missionary”). Solution is POST (i.e. job or “position”) placed in or “adopted by” ALE (i.e. “porter, perhaps” – other strong beers are available), like so: A(POST)LE.

18. Boatman’s line one’s used to drawing (7)

Answer: PAINTER. Solution satisfies “boatman’s line” – specifically “a rope for fastening a boat” (Chambers) – and “one’s used to drawing”.

19. Private house customary for top administrators? (11-7)

Answer: SECRETARIES-GENERAL (i.e. “top administrators” of an organisation). Solution is SECRET (i.e. “private”) followed by ARIES (i.e. “house” – signs of the zodiac are sometimes called houses) and GENERAL (i.e. “customary”).

21. Girl from a country wanting husband (4)

Answer: IRIS (i.e. “girl”). Solution is IRISH (i.e. “from a country” – specifically Ireland) with the H removed (indicated by “wanting husband” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “husband”).

24. Daughter revolutionised this writer’s material (5)

Answer: DENIM (i.e. “material”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by MINE (i.e. “this writer’s”, taken from the point of view of the setter) once this latter has been reversed (indicated by “revolutionised”), like so: D-ENIM.

26. Son moving to the van destroys covert operation (8)

Answer: STAKEOUT (i.e. “covert operation”). Solution is TAKES OUT (i.e. “destroys”) with the S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) placed at the front or “moving to the van” – van is a recognised abbreviation of vanguard, like so: TAKE(S)-OUT => (S)TAKEOUT.

27. Shot Aussie, going west, makes emergency exit (4,4)

Answer: FIRE DOOR (i.e. “emergency exit”). Solution is FIRED (i.e. “shot”) followed by ROO (i.e. “Aussie”, specifically a shortened form of “kangaroo”) reversed (indicated by “going west” – this being an across clue), like so: FIRED-OOR.

29. To do groundwork is boring stage for artist (11)

Answer: POINTILLIST (i.e. “artist” – one who uses dots of ink or colour in their work – Georges Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is a famous example – link takes you to image on Wikipedia). Solution is TILL (i.e. “to do groundwork”) and IS placed in or “boring” POINT (i.e. “stage”), like so: POIN(TILL-IS)T.

30. Outstanding tech agency’s designed to incorporate one (3-8)

Answer: EYE-CATCHING (i.e. “outstanding”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “designed”) of TECH AGENCY wrapped around or “incorporating” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: EYECATCH(I)NG.

32. Censorious man ultimately condemned authority (11)

Answer: CONNOISSEUR (i.e. “authority”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “condemned”) of CENSORIOUS and N (i.e. “man ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “man”).

35. Substance from choice lamb I cooked? (11)

Answer: BIOCHEMICAL (i.e. “substance”). “Cooked” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CHOICE LAMB I.

37. Regular reporter’s therapist reported (8)

Answer: ANNALIST (i.e. “regular reporter”, e.g. one writing up a year’s entry in a chronicle). “Reported” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of ANALYST (i.e. “therapist”).

39. Odour left on ditch with two channels (8)

Answer: BINAURAL (i.e. “with two channels” in the world of sound reproduction). Solution is AURA (i.e. “odour”, both taken to mean an “air” of something) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) both placed “on” or after BIN (i.e. to “ditch” something), like so: BIN-(AURA-L). A toughie, but I’m not sure I liked it. Aura = odour? (Makes so-so gesture.)

40. Medic probing group of students grows insensitive (5)

Answer: NUMBS (i.e. “grows insensitive”). Solution is MB (i.e. “medic”, specifically a Bachelor of Medicine or Medicinae Baccalaureus) placed in or “probing” NUS (i.e. “group of students”, specifically the National Union of Students), like so: NU(MB)S.

43. PM’s place of lost illusions? (4)

Answer: Sir Anthony EDEN (i.e. “PM” or Prime Minister, 1955-1957). I’m guessing “place of lost illusions” is a reference to the Garden of Eden, but cursory searches aren’t unearthing much. Moving on with my life.

44. Right turn at next junction coming up (4,5,3,6)

Answer: JUST ROUND THE CORNER (i.e. “coming up”). Solution is JUST (i.e. “right”) followed by ROUND THE CORNER (i.e. “turn at next junction”). Nicely done.

47. Festival luminary given a little bit in advance (7)

Answer: WHITSUN (i.e. “festival”). Solution is SUN (i.e. “luminary” or source of light) with WHIT (i.e. “a little bit”) placed ahead of it or “in advance”, like so: WHIT-SUN.

48. Several days where papers were originally given spineless binding (7)

Answer: MIDWEEK (i.e. “several days” – I mean, it’s just Wednesday, isn’t it? Could be acknowledging the tiresome “no, Monday is the start of the week; no, Saturday is the start of the week; no, Sunday is…” non-argument. (Shrugs)) Solution is ID (i.e. identification or “papers”) and W (i.e. “were originally”, i.e. the first letter of “were”) both placed in or “given…binding” of MEEK (i.e. “spineless”), like so: M(ID-W)EEK.

50. Time to join crowd for security (7)

Answer: HOSTAGE (i.e. a terrorist’s “security”). Solution is AGE (i.e. “time”) placed after or “joining” HOST (i.e. “crowd”, as in a host of things), like so: HOST-AGE.

51. Music from Verdi, Menotti’s arrangement (13)

Answer: DIVERTIMENTOS (i.e. “music”). “Arrangement” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of VERDI MENOTTI’S. Very nicely done. Best clue of the puzzle.

52. Significant work, musical, about to be brought back (9)

Answer: OPERATIVE (i.e. “significant”). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) followed by EVITA (i.e. “musical”) and RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) once these last two have been reversed (indicated by “to be brought back”), like so: OP-(ER-ATIVE).

53. Leader leaves at great cost, ahead of schedule (5)

Answer: EARLY (i.e. “ahead of schedule”). Solution is DEARLY (i.e. “at great cost”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “leader leaves…”).

54. Info about past regime’s guiding principle (6,4)

Answer: GOLDEN RULE (i.e. “guiding principle”). Solution is GEN (i.e. “info”) wrapped “about” OLD (i.e. “past”) and followed by RULE (i.e. “regime”), like so: G(OLD)EN-RULE.

55. Five couples commit offence, returning for court action (6)

Answer: TENNIS (i.e. “court action”). Solution is TEN (i.e. “five couples”, i.e. 5×2) followed by SIN (i.e. “commit offence”) once reversed (indicated by “returning”), like so: TEN-NIS.

Down clues

1. Communist borders slow-moving car went through (9)

Answer: REHEARSED (i.e. “went through”). Solution is RED (i.e. “communist”) wrapped around or “bordering” HEARSE (i.e. “slow-moving car”), like so: RE(HEARSE)D.

2. Niff after cocking leg occupies heartless dog experts (11)

Answer: COGNOSCENTI (i.e. “experts”). Solution is SCENT (i.e. “niff”) placed “after” ON (i.e. “leg” – in cricket, “on-side” or “leg-side” is the “half of the cricket field on the side on which the batsman stands when waiting to receive the ball” (Chambers)) once reversed (indicated by “cocking” or pulling back). These are then placed in or “occupying” CORGI (i.e. “dog”) once its middle letter has been removed (indicated by “heartless”), like so: COG(NO-SCENT)I.

3. Through raised roof, see diplodocus, maybe (7)

Answer: REPTILE (i.e. “diplodocus, maybe”). Solution is PER (i.e. “through”) reversed (indicated by “raised” – this being a down clue) and followed by TILE (i.e. “roof”), like so: REP-TILE.

5. Extremist’s last month, with troops in pursuit (5)

Answer: ULTRA (i.e. “extremist”). Solution is ULT (i.e. “last month”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “ultimo” used in formal correspondence or legalese, mostly by those keen to justify their expensive educations) followed by RA (i.e. “troops”, specifically the Royal Artillery of the British Army).

6. Obese fellows in hospital department for total immersion (11)

Answer: ENGROSSMENT (i.e. “total immersion”). Solution is GROSS (i.e. “obese”) and MEN (i.e. “fellows”) both placed “in” ENT (i.e. “hospital department”, specifically Ear Nose and Throat), like so: EN(GROSS-MEN)T.

7. Lead ring you formerly placed round cask (4,3,4)

Answer: CALL THE TUNE (i.e. “lead”). Solution is CALL (i.e. to “ring” someone on the phone) followed by THEE (i.e. “you formerly”) once “placed round” TUN (i.e. “cask”), like so: CALL-THE(TUN)E.

8. Northbound cervid crossing plain got going again (8)

Answer: REOPENED (i.e. “got going again”). Solution is DEER (i.e. “cervid” – yes, I had to look it up) reversed (indicated by “northbound” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “crossing” OPEN (i.e. “plain”), like so: RE(OPEN)ED.

9. Body parts of pig Hosea slaughtered without force (9)

Answer: OESOPHAGI (i.e. “body parts”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “slaughtered”) of OF PIG HOSEA once the F of “OF” has been removed (indicated by “without force” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “force”). Solution also recently appeared a few months ago in puzzle 1441.

10. Relative leaves home, having university to enter (6)

Answer: COUSIN (i.e. “relative”). Solution is COS (i.e. “leaves”, specifically a variety of lettuce) and IN (i.e. at “home”) all wrapped around or “having…enter” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”), like so: CO(U)S-IN.

11. Bill must have perfect gold edging, I learnt from experience (1,10)

Answer: A POSTERIORI (i.e. “learnt from experience”, from the Latin). Solution is POSTER (i.e. “bill”) placed in or “edged” by AI (i.e. “perfect”, i.e. A1 with the 1 replaced by the Roman numeral I) and OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry), then followed by I, like so: (A(POSTER)I-OR)-I. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

12. Slip nearer door, taking even steps (5)

Answer: ERROR (i.e. “slip”). “Taking even steps” indicates the solution is derived from every other letter of NEARER DOOR.

13. Butcher slices up meat, getting cans for preservation (4,8)

Answer: TIME CAPSULES (i.e. “cans for preservation”). “Butcher” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SLICES UP MEAT. Nicely done.

20. I don’t like contents of best pictures (8)

Answer: IMAGINES (i.e. “pictures”). Solution is I’M AGIN (i.e. “I don’t like”, or I’m against, agin being a dialectical form of the word) followed by ES (i.e. “contents of best”, i.e. the middle letters of “best”).

22. Bath scrubber, Roman girls worked with it (7)

Answer: STRIGIL (i.e. “bath scrubber, Roman” – also ancient Greek, if anyone’s counting: “a scraper used to clean the skin after bathing” (Chambers)). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “worked”) of GIRLS and IT. One of those rearrange-the-letters-and-see-if-it’s-in-the-dictionary moments.

23. Stalwart companion separating female from male (8)

Answer: HENCHMAN (i.e. “stalwart”). Solution is CH (i.e. “companion”, specifically a Companion of Honour) placed between or “separating” HEN (i.e. “female”) and MAN (i.e. “male”), like so: HEN-(CH)-MAN.

25. Stout, middle-aged trader cleared out just after mum (8)

Answer: MATRONLY (i.e. “stout, middle-aged”). Solution is TR (i.e. “trader cleared out”, i.e. the word “trader” with all its middle letters removed) and ONLY (i.e. “just”) both placed “after” MA (i.e. “mum”), like so: MA-TR-ONLY.

28. Party type’s contribution to star comedian’s turn? (8)

Answer: DEMOCRAT (i.e. “party type”). “Contribution to” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “turn” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: S(TAR COMED)IAN’S.

29. Rugby players get on tour, of a sort (7)

Answer: PACKAGE (i.e. “tour, of a sort”). Solution is PACK (i.e. “rugby players”) followed by AGE (i.e. “get on”).

31. A cold fish admitting woman’s his one weakness? (8,4)

Answer: ACHILLES HEEL (i.e. “his one weakness”). Solution is A CHILL EEL (i.e. “a cold fish”) wrapped around or “admitting” SHE (i.e. “woman”), like so: A-CHILL-E(SHE)EL. A rather similar clue appeared a few months ago back in puzzle 1439.

33. Infidel British priest stopping under no circumstances after denial (11)

Answer: NONBELIEVER (i.e. “infidel”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) and ELI (i.e. “priest”) placed in or “stopping” NEVER (i.e. “under no circumstances”). This is all then preceded by or placed “after” NO (i.e. “denial”), like so: NO-N(B-ELI)EVER.

34. Prime motive for being retrained so diversely? (6,5)

Answer: RAISON DETRE (i.e. “prime motive”). “Diversely” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RETRAINED SO.

35. Barrister’s case isn’t simplified when one’s ignored problem (5-6)

Answer: BRAIN-TEASER (i.e. “problem”). Solution is BR (i.e. “barrister’s case”, i.e. the first and last letters of “barrister”) followed by AINT (i.e. “isn’t”) and EASIER (i.e. “simplified”) once the I has been removed (indicated by “when [Roman numeral] one’s ignored”), like so: BR-AINT-EASER.

36. Church people with unopened post sticking together (11)

Answer: CEMENTATION (i.e. “sticking together”). Solution is CE (i.e. “church”, specifically Church of England) followed by MEN (i.e. “people” – well, 48% of them anyway) and STATION (i.e. “post”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “unopened” – nice!), like so: CE-MEN-TATION.

38. Visually challenged rugby player in scam (9)

Answer: SQUINTING (i.e. “visually challenged”). Solution is QUIN (i.e. “rugby player”, specifically one playing for Harlequins) placed “in” STING (i.e. “scam”), like so: S(QUIN)TING.

41. One’s spelling more dire penning doc’s last letter (9)

Answer: SORCERESS (i.e. “one’s spelling”, as in casting spells). Solution is SORER (i.e. “more dire”) wrapped around or “penning” C (i.e. “doc’s last”, i.e. the last letter of “doc”) and followed by ESS (i.e. “letter”, specifically the letter S), like so: SOR(C)ER-ESS.

42. Contributor to replacement therapy to control market, it’s said (4,4)

Answer: STEM CELL (i.e. “contributor to replacement therapy”). Solution is STEM (i.e. “to control”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “it’s said”) of SELL (i.e. to “market”).

45. Speculative buyer introduced to United players here? (2,5)

Answer: ON STAGE (i.e. actors or “players [found] here”). Solution is STAG (i.e. “speculative buyer” who “applies for shares in order to sell them at once for a profit” (Chambers)) placed in or “introduced to” ONE (i.e. “united” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: ON(STAG)E.

46. Raptor like this regurgitated its food (6)

Answer: OSPREY (i.e. “raptor”). Solution is SO (i.e. “like this”) reversed, brought up or “regurgitated” – this being a down clue – and then followed by PREY (i.e. “its food”), like so: OS-PREY.

47. Club with upper hand (5)

Answer: WEDGE (i.e. “[golf] club”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) followed by EDGE (i.e. “upper hand”, as in having the edge on someone).

49. Eminence Cromwell’s given after king? (5)

Answer: KNOLL (i.e. “eminence”, as in a raised piece of land). Solution is NOLL (i.e. “Cromwell” – one of his nicknames was “Old Noll”, it says here) placed “after” K (a recognised abbreviation of “king”), like so: K-NOLL. Score one to my Bradford’s for NOLL.

5 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1455

  1. Thanks Lucian. We weren’t sure about the parsing of POINTILLIST, but your explanation makes sense.

    Re 51a, I agree that VERDI MENOTTI is a very clever anagram of DIVERTIMENTO, but the answer was spoiled (for us, at least) by adding the S – presumably to make the word fit the grid. Strictly speaking, the plural of DIVERTIMENTO is DIVERTIMENTI.

    (Exit stage left, in pursuit of a life…)

    Stay safe. SB

    1. No worries, Sue. My Chambers sides with you on DIVERTIMENTOS but my Oxford lets the setter off, listing both plural forms. Of the two, though, I definitely prefer DIVERTIMENTI. Even the word sounds musical! Keep well – LP

  2. Yes, a toughie, and one that I didn’t finish, sadly. I agree re DIVERTIMENTOS although my dictionary confirmed it. Where does that leave spaghetti then? I got STRIGIL straight away, thanks to Time Team at the Roman baths😁

    1. Yeah, my Oxford bails the setter out on DIVERTIMENTOS. Weirdly, I also had the same thought re: spaghetti! Question is, am I petty enough to make myself a steaming plate of a single solitary spaghetto?

      Actually, thinking about it, I probably am. 😀 – LP

  3. 43 ac. Presumably the lost illusion was when A & E realised they were naked – though I’m not sure what illusion they were under previously. Perhaps something in the Emperor’s New Clothes line?

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