Another medium strength puzzle this week, and a pretty good one too. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.
You can find links to solutions for the past 100+ of these things on my Just For Fun page, should that be of any use to you. I’ve also got some mouldy old book reviews and a story of mine, should any of that appeal.
Till next time, stay safe, mask up and keep giving thumbs to NHS and key workers everywhere, especially as infections and hospital admissions continue to tick up again.
1. Liberal’s comic – phoney person who leaves the less well-off behind? (6,7)
Answer: SOCIAL CLIMBER (i.e. “person who leaves the less well-off behind”). “Phoney” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LIBERAL’S COMIC.
8. Sign of unity between partners in business, say (9)
Answer: AMPERSAND. Clue plays on how you sometimes see ampersand characters or “signs” in business names, e.g. Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Steptoe & Son etc.
13. Dog rescuers on the road carrying equipment (5)
Answer: AKITA (i.e. a breed of “dog”). Solution is AA (i.e. “rescuers on the road”, specifically the Automobile Association) wrapped around or “carrying” KIT (i.e. “equipment”), like so: A(KIT)A.
14. All decline perversely to accept large invention of physicist (7,4)
Answer: DANIELL CELL (i.e. an early innovation in battery technology and “invention of physicist” John Frederic Daniell). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “perversely”) of ALL DECLINE wrapped around or “accepting” L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), like so: DANIE(L)CELL.
15. Celebrate outside with jazzy music (5)
Answer: SWING (i.e. “jazzy music”). Solution is SING (i.e. “celebrate”) wrapped around or placed “outside” of W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), like so: S(W)ING.
16. Spiritual band? (3,6)
Answer: DOG COLLAR (i.e. “band”). Clue plays on how collars worn by the clergy are called dog collars.
17. Danger when last character comes forward presenting dagger (4)
Answer: KRIS (i.e. “dagger” with a wavy blade). Solution is RISK (i.e. “danger”) with the “last character coming forward”, like so: RIS(K) => (K)RIS.
18. A job had for one leaving the fold (8)
Answer: APOSTATE (i.e. “one leaving the fold”). Solution is A followed by POST (i.e. “job”) and ATE (i.e. “had”).
20. Least known artist ahead of others (6)
Answer: RAREST (i.e. “least known”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) followed by or placed “ahead of” REST (i.e. “others”).
21. Given a chance to do business favourably where customers come in? (2,3,6,5)
Answer: ON THE GROUND FLOOR. Solution satisfies “given a chance to do business favourably” and “where customers come in”.
24. Computer software has changed, right? We are mad (9)
Answer: SHAREWARE (i.e. “computer software” created to be shared rather than for profit). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “changed”) of HAS followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”), then another anagram (indicated by “mad”), this time of WE ARE, like so: SHA-R-EWARE.
26. Loveless city wanting end to crime – it’s hairy (7)
Answer: BRISTLE (i.e. “it’s hairy” – what, a single bristle?) Solution is BRISTOL (i.e. “city”) with the O removed (indicated by “loveless” – “love” being a zero score in tennis). The remainder is then followed by E (i.e. “end to crime”, i.e. the last letter of “crime”), like so: BRISTL-E.
27. Beliefs of left-winger disrupting firm (5)
Answer: CREDO (i.e. “beliefs”). Solution is RED (i.e. “left-winger”) placed in or “disrupting” CO (i.e. “firm”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “company”), like so: C(RED)O.
29. Once again tackling study with relish? (12)
Answer: READDRESSING (i.e. “once again tackling”). Solution is READ (i.e. “study”) and DRESSING (i.e. “relish”).
31. Woman, 51, wanting man? Lady losing heart should be taking care (10)
Answer: DILIGENTLY (i.e. “taking care”). Solution is DI (i.e. “woman”, i.e. a shortened form of a woman’s name, Diana) followed by LI (i.e. “51” in Roman numerals), then GENT (i.e. “man”) and LY (i.e. “lady losing heart”, i.e. the word “lady” with all its middle letters removed), like so: DI-LI-GENT-LY.
33. Academic Scotsman maybe joining club in European country (10)
Answer: MACEDONIAN (i.e. “in European country”, specifically Macedonia, funnily enough). Solution is DON (i.e. “academic”) and IAN (i.e. “Scotsman” – a bit of wordplay I’ve never liked) both placed behind or “joining” MACE (i.e. “club”), like so: MACE-DON-IAN.
35. Elements of opera, ballet or pantomime? (4,3,5)
Answer: SONG AND DANCE (i.e. “pantomime”, both taken to mean a right old palaver). Clue plays on how SONG is an “element” of “opera”, likewise DANCE of “ballet”.
38. Poet giving answers to binary question (5)
Answer: Alfred NOYES (i.e. “poet”). When written as NO YES the solution also satisfies “answers to binary question”.
39. Role of singer that comes in last bit of Idomeneo (7)
Answer: SECONDO (i.e. “role of singer”, specifically the lower part of a duet). When written as SECOND O, the solution also satisfies “that comes in last of Idomeneo”, i.e. how the second O of the word appears at the end.
40. Happy one, a politician mostly the combative type (9)
Answer: GLADIATOR (i.e. “combative type”). Solution is GLAD (i.e. “happy”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then A and TORY (i.e. “politician”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: GLAD-I-A-TOR.
42. High-level words of wisdom for disciples (6,2,3,5)
Answer: SERMON ON THE MOUNT. Solution satisfies “high-level words” and “words of wisdom for [Christ’s] disciples”.
44. What sounds like Cockney’s ascent of mountain in a little bath! (6)
Answer: EYECUP (i.e. “a little bath”). “What sounds like” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of HIKE UP (i.e. “ascent of mountain”) once the H has been removed (indicated by “Cockney’s”, as in how Cockneys are forever dropping their bleedin’ aitches, presumably in those gaps when they’re not eating winkles and pickled eggs.)
47. One praising international community – record is excellent ultimately (8)
Answer: EULOGIST (i.e. “one praising”). Solution is EU (i.e. “international community”, specifically the European Union) followed by LOG (i.e. “record”), then IS, and T (i.e. “excellent ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “excellent”).
49. Some aliens of Universe to go around in these? (4)
Answer: UFOS. Clue riffs on how aliens used to gad about the skies in Unidentified Flying Objects back when spotting them was an easy way to get oneself into the papers. Ah, the days. (Puts away pan lids.) “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “to go around” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: ALIEN(S OF U)NIVERSE.
50. No cure sadly – time to offer support (9)
Answer: ENCOURAGE (i.e. “to offer support”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sadly”) of NO CURE followed by AGE (i.e. “time”), like so: ENCOUR-AGE.
52. Noise of family beginning to gather (5)
Answer: CLANG (i.e. “noise”). Solution is CLAN (i.e. “family”) followed by G (i.e. “beginning to gather”, i.e. the first letter of “gather”).
53. Needless description of someone left in the lurch? (8-3)
Answer: UNCALLED-FOR (i.e. “needless”). “Lurch” can describe a whitewash or a very one-sided game. I understand a game of bridge involves calls, so I’m assuming a right thumping might leave you UNCALLED-FOR. If I’m on the wrong track and a better solution comes to the fore, I’ll update the post.
54. Wind to go suddenly, backing east (5)
Answer: TRADE (i.e. “wind” – the trade winds, blowing around the Earth’s equator, were often ridden by captains of sailing ships). Solution is DART (i.e. “to go suddenly”) reversed (indicated by “backing”) and then followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”).
55. Possible colour of water, surprisingly subtle, hiding fish (5,4)
Answer: STEEL BLUE (i.e. “possible colour of water” – I’d run the taps a little longer, setter). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “surprisingly”) of SUBTLE wrapped around or “hiding” EEL (i.e. “fish”), like so: ST(EEL)BLUE.
56. Troublemaker and others come down in street – sort of control needed (4-9)
Answer: SELF-RESTRAINT (i.e. “sort of control”). Solution is ELF (i.e. “troublemaker”), REST (i.e. “others”) and RAIN (i.e. “come down”) all placed “in” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: S(ELF-REST-RAIN)T.
1. Flags code of behaviour (9)
Answer: STANDARDS. Solution satisfies “flags” and “code of behaviour”.
2. First of children to hang around, one holding on to mum maybe? (7)
Answer: CLINGER (i.e. “one holding on to mum maybe”). Solution is C (i.e. “first of children”, i.e. the first letter of “children”) followed by LINGER (i.e. “to hang around”).
3. Terribly sad poet, alone, powerless, not sure what to do (2,1,5,3)
Answer: AT A LOOSE END (i.e. “not sure what to do”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “terribly”) of SAD POET ALONE once the P has been removed (indicated by “powerless” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “power”).
4. Old king engaging divine cook (6)
Answer: CODDLE (i.e. to “cook”). Solution is COLE (i.e. “old king”, the merry old soul) wrapped around or “engaging” DD (i.e. “divine”, one definition being a theologian. DD is a recognised abbreviation of Divinitatis Doctor or Doctor of Divinity), like so: CO(DD)LE.
5. I travel around north European country, heading off in state of bliss? (9)
Answer: IGNORANCE (i.e. “state of bliss”, as in the phrase “ignorance is bliss”). Solution is I followed by GO (i.e. “travel”) once it has been wrapped around N (a recognised abbreviation of “north”). This is then followed by FRANCE (i.e. “European country”) once the initial letter has been removed (indicated by “heading off”), like so: I-G(N)O-RANCE.
6. Use far too much bread? (5,3,4)
Answer: BREAK THE BANK (i.e. “use far too much”). Clue plays on how “bread” is an informal word for money. That’s about it, I guess.
7. Rich Greek character has new kitchen device (7,3)
Answer: ROLLING PIN (i.e. “kitchen device”). Solution is ROLLING (a slang word for “rich”, as in “rolling in it”) followed by PI (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet) and N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”).
8. Church music ignoring scripture? Excuse me! (4)
Answer: AHEM (i.e. “excuse me!”). Solution is ANTHEM (i.e. “church music”) with the NT removed (indicated by “ignoring scripture” – NT being a recognised abbreviation of the New Testament of The Bible).
9. Pre-Napoleon’s win, a terrible historical conflict (13,3)
Answer: PELOPONNESIAN WAR (i.e. “historical conflict”). “Terrible” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PRE-NAPOLEON’S WIN A. Wordplay was obvious but took a while to grind out, my knowledge of ancient Greek wars being not all that hot.
10. Cunning plans soldier finally employs (5)
Answer: RUSES (i.e. “cunning plans”). Solution is R (i.e. “soldier finally”, i.e. the last letter of “soldier” – a sneaky attempt to misdirect solvers jaded by the number of times army-related abbreviations are used in cryptic clues) followed by USES (i.e. “employs”).
11. Disturbed, thanks to being led by a soldier (7)
Answer: AGITATO (i.e. “disturbed” in musical lingo). Solution is TA (i.e. “thanks”) and TO placed after or “being led by” A and GI (i.e. “soldier”, as if to prove my point), like so: (A-GI)-TA-TO.
12. Old illustration of tragedy with Europe being torn apart (13)
Answer: DAGUERREOTYPE (i.e. “old illustration”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “being torn apart”) of TRAGEDY and EUROPE.
19. See an object bringing detestation (8)
Answer: LOATHING (i.e. “detestation”). Solution is LO (i.e. “see”, as in “lo and behold”) followed by A THING (i.e. “an object”).
22. Record poem about cult hero (5)
Answer: FICHE (i.e. “record”). Solution is IF (i.e. “poem” by Rudyard Kipling) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by CHE Guevara (i.e. “cult hero”).
23. Perform digital operation to cause somebody delight or embarrassment? (4,4,4,4)
Answer: MAKE ONE’S TOES CURL. Solution satisfies “perform digital operation” – toes being the digits of one’s feet – and “to cause somebody delight or embarrassment”.
25. Lots without leader would embrace roguish state of disorder (7)
Answer: ANARCHY (i.e. “state of disorder”). Solution is MANY (i.e. “lots”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “without leader”) and the remainder wrapped around or “embracing” ARCH (i.e. “roguish”), like so: AN(ARCH)Y.
28. Old lover with money, oddly cute and gone forever (7)
Answer: EXTINCT (i.e. “gone forever”). Solution is EX (i.e. “old lover”) followed by TIN (a slang word for “money”) and CT (i.e. “oddly cute”, i.e. every other letter of CUTE), like so: EX-TIN-CT.
29. Anecdotes consisting of touching little episodes – about a hundred (13)
Answer: REMINISCENCES (i.e. “anecdotes”). Solution is RE (i.e. “touching”, both taken to mean “regarding” – think email replies) followed by MINI (i.e. “little”) and SCENES (i.e. “episodes”) once this latter has been wrapped “about” C (i.e. “a hundred” expressed as a Roman numeral), like so: RE-MINI-SCEN(C)ES.
30. Big town faced with damage – lack of provisions (8)
Answer: SCARCITY (i.e. “lack of provisions”). Solution is CITY (i.e. “big town”) placed after or “facing” SCAR (i.e. “damage”), like so: SCAR-CITY.
32. King’s indication of approval perhaps for something in the garden? (8-4)
Answer: SOLOMON’S-SEAL (i.e. “something in the garden”). Solution is SOLOMON’S (i.e. a “king’s”) followed by SEAL (i.e. “indication of approval”).
34. Party music, something that’s found very lacking (5)
Answer: DISCO (i.e. “party music”). Solution is DISCOVERY (i.e. “something that’s found”) with the VERY removed (indicated by “very lacking”).
36. Girl possibly destined to travel by bicycle and boat to deliver bomb (5,6)
Answer: DAISY CUTTER (i.e. “bomb”). Solution is DAISY (i.e. “girl possibly destined to travel by bicycle”, a reference to the song Daisy Bell (Bicycle Made For Two), which features the famous line “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do…”) followed by CUTTER (i.e. “boat”).
37. Divine being descends from heaven in watery South American location (5,5)
Answer: ANGEL FALLS (i.e. “watery South American location”). Solution also satisfies “divine being descends from heaven”.
40. Sad end of gnu and end of tiger sought by killer? (6,3)
Answer: GUNNED FOR (i.e. “sought by killer”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sad”) of END OF GNU and R (i.e. “end of tiger”, i.e. the last letter of “tiger”).
41. Play in which one type of theatre is meeting with grudge (9)
Answer: REPRESENTS (i.e. “play”). Solution is REP (i.e. “type of theatre” – rep being short for a repertory theatre) followed by RESENT (i.e. “grudge” – wouldn’t that be “begrudge” or RESENTMENT?)
43. Announcement about rental agreement (7)
Answer: RELEASE (i.e. “announcement”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – again, think email replies) followed by LEASE (i.e. “rental agreement”).
45. Fellow at lunchtime maybe gets a bit of food (7)
Answer: CHAPATI (i.e. “bit of food”). Solution is CHAP (i.e. “fellow”) followed by AT I (i.e. “at lunchtime”, think of it as “at 1[pm]” with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent).
46. Lots of heart binding saints (6)
Answer: SCORES (i.e. “lots”). Solution is CORE (i.e. “heart”) placed in S and S (i.e. “saints”, S being a recognised abbreviation of “saint”), like so: S(CORE)S.
48. Energy and ambition having no place for a Russian author (5)
Answer: Nikolai GOGOL (i.e. “Russian author”). Solution is GO (i.e. “energy”) followed by GOAL (i.e. “ambition”) with the A removed (indicated by “having no place for a”), like so: GO-GOL.
51. Top celebrity enthralling millions (4)
Answer: ACME (i.e. “top”). Solution is ACE (i.e. “celebrity”) wrapped around or “enthralling” M (a recognised abbreviation of “millions”), like so: AC(M)E.