Another comparatively easy ride this week, which rather raises the chances (hopes for some!) of a stinker come Boxing Day. There was some good clueing to enjoy this time around, plus a couple of new things learned, which can’t be bad.
As ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has left you jiggered then you can find links to solutions to the last 100+ of these things on my Just For Fun page. There’s also the usual dusty old book reviews and a story of mine.
Till next time, hunker down, stay safe, mask up and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere. In the meantime I’m off to secure a year’s supply of hermetically-sealed body condoms, as that seems to be the way things are heading. If you see a man-sized amoeba shambling about the place on your travels, stop and say hi.
- Rex one with physic cured fast (10)
Answer: HYPERSONIC (i.e. “fast”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cured”) of R (a recognised abbreviation of “Rex”, Latin for “king”), ONE and PHYSIC.
- Cut dead polar bear (4-8)
Answer: COLD-SHOULDER (i.e. to “cut dead”). Solution is COLD (i.e. “polar”) followed by SHOULDER (i.e. to “bear”).
- Fix again with reference to a parking place (9)
Answer: REAPPOINT (i.e. “fix again”). Solution is RE (i.e. “with reference to” – think email replies) followed by A, then P (a recognised abbreviation of “parking”, used on maps and signage) and POINT (i.e. “place”).
- Example given in current understanding (5)
Answer: IDEAL (i.e. “example”, e.g. setting an example for someone). Solution is I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current”) followed by DEAL (i.e. “understanding”, both taken as a formal or informal agreement).
- Checked where gold tester initially had it outside (7)
Answer: AUDITED (i.e. “checked”). Solution is AU (chemical symbol of “gold”) followed by T (i.e. “tester initially”, i.e. the first letter of “tester”) once DIED (i.e. “had it”) has been placed “outside” of it, like so: AU-DI(T)ED.
- Crime a seaman mentioned with one charged (7,3,7)
Answer: ASSAULT AND BATTERY (i.e. “crime”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “mentioned”) of A SALT (i.e. “a sailor”) followed by AND (i.e. “with”) and BATTERY (i.e. “one charged” with electricity).
- Thick-skinned sort making cash (5)
Answer: RHINO. Solution satisfies “thick-skinned sort” and “cash” – a variant meaning of RHINO is an archaic slang word for money. A new one on me.
- Old diet adjusted to create muscle (7)
Answer: DELTOID (i.e. “muscle”). “Adjusted” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OLD DIET.
- British bombshell in France and county here (6)
Answer: DORSET (i.e. “county here” – The Times being a British newspaper). Solution is Diana DORS (i.e. “British bombshell”) followed by ET (i.e. “in France and”, i.e. the French for “and”).
- Decorative tiles made by girl, given time and energy (8)
Answer: TESSERAE (i.e. “decorative tiles”). Solution is TESS (i.e. “girl’s” name) followed by ERA (i.e. “time”) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”).
- Cosy situation Johnson accepts in human rights group (7)
Answer: AMNESTY (i.e. “human rights group”). Solution is NEST (i.e. “cosy situation”) placed in or “accepted” by AMY “Johnson”, famed aviatrix and the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia, like so: AM(NEST)Y.
- Be marked, cut by one Bavarian with sword (8)
Answer: SCIMITAR (i.e. “sword”). Solution is SCAR (i.e. “be marked” – an intransitive verb definition is “to become scarred” (Chambers), but don’t ask me to put it into a sentence!) wrapped around or “cut by” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and MIT (i.e. “Bavarian with”, i.e. the German for “with”), like so: SC(I-MIT)AR.
- Alfresco meal and walk in park (6)
Answer: PICNIC. Solution satisfies “alfresco meal” and “walk in park”, as in something that’s really easy.
- Present ploy at last decisive in long-term investment (6,5)
Answer: TROJAN HORSE (i.e. “present ploy” – present as in a gift). The remainder of the clue refers to how the Trojan Horse wheeze was the breakthrough needed to end a ten-year siege by the Greeks upon the city of Troy. I guess after that length of time you’d try anything.
- One likely to behave unpredictably in firing-line? (5,6)
Answer: LOOSE CANNON (i.e. “one likely to behave unpredictably”). Chambers continues, “like a cannon that may discharge unpredictably and cause damage to one’s own side”.
- Volatile Scot in Irish melodrama (11)
Answer: HISTRIONICS (i.e. “melodrama”). “Volatile” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SCOT IN IRISH.
- Unselfish in good position in box (11)
Answer: CONSIDERATE (i.e. “unselfish”). Solution is ONSIDE (i.e. “in good position”) placed “in” CRATE (i.e. “box”), like so: C(ONSIDE)RATE. Nicely done.
- Soak companion after anorak returned (6)
Answer: DRENCH (i.e. “soak”). Solution is CH (i.e. “companion”, specifically a Companion of Honour) placed “after” NERD (i.e. geek or “anorak”) once reversed (indicated by “returned”), like so: DREN-CH.
- Shabby old magistrate a revolutionary (3-5)
Answer: DOG-EARED (i.e. “shabby”). Solution is DOGE (i.e. “magistrate”, specifically “formerly the title of the chief magistrate in republican Venice or Genoa” (Chambers)) followed by A and RED (i.e. “revolutionary” or, variously, socialists, communists, anarchists or anyone demanding radical changes of government).
- Rubber man shot approaching ancient city (7)
Answer: MASSEUR (i.e. “rubber man” – rubber as in one who rubs; “man” seems surplus to requirements). Solution is MASSE (i.e. “shot” in snooker, where one hits the cue ball from above to achieve strong swerving spin. The kind of shot guaranteed to see me ruin the cue, rip the baize, pot the white and get me barred from the place) followed by UR (i.e. “ancient city” – a favourite of setters everywhere).
- Switch positions occasionally (3,3,2)
Answer: OFF AND ON. Solution satisfies “switch positions” and “occasionally”.
- Staff without rupees suffer from hunger (6)
Answer: STARVE (i.e. “suffer from hunger”). Solution is STAVE (i.e. “staff”) wrapped around or placed “without” R (a recognised abbreviation of “rupees”), like so: STA(R)VE.
- Blaze contained in mile radius ultimately circulates (7)
Answer: MINGLES (i.e. “circulates”). Solution is INGLE (i.e. “blaze” – an ingle is a Scots word for a fireplace. While to some degree fire and fireplace are interchangeable, I’m not sure that would extend to synonyms of fire, such as “blaze”. Could just be me) placed between or “contained” by M (a recognised abbreviation of “mile”) and S (i.e. “radius ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “radius”), like so: M-(INGLE)-S.
- Language used by Magwich in Dickens (5)
Answer: HINDI (i.e. “language”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: MAGWIC(H IN DI)CKENS.
- Government department troubled over idealistic Conservative MP (10,7)
Answer: DIPLOMATIC SERVICE (i.e. “government department”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “troubled”) of OVER IDEALISTIC, C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) and MP. Nicely worked.
- Points raised badly needing to be accepted by Scottish bank (7)
Answer: BRAILLE (i.e. “points raised”). Solution is ILL (i.e. “badly”) placed in or “accepted by” BRAE (i.e. “Scottish bank”, as in a Scots word for a sloping bank), like so: BRA(ILL)E.
- Pleased haze at last is clearing (5)
Answer: GLADE (i.e. “clearing”). Solution is GLAD (i.e. “pleased”) followed by E (i.e. “haze at last”, i.e. the last letter of “haze”).
- Aggressor making trouble between two creatures (9)
Answer: ASSAILANT (i.e. “aggressor”). Solution is AIL (i.e. “trouble”) placed “between” ASS and ANT (i.e. “two creatures”), like so: ASS-(AIL)-ANT.
- Poetic technique nothing but repeats (12)
Answer: ALLITERATION (i.e. “poetic technique”). When written as ALL ITERATION the solution also satisfies “nothing but repeats”. Nicely worked, considering alliteration is the same initial sound used in quick succession, as in “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”.
- Printed notepaper? (5,5)
Answer: SHEET MUSIC. Clue plays on musical “notes”, and sheet music being “printed” on “paper”. Simple, but nicely done.
- Not moving like cannonball (4,3,4)
Answer: HARD AND FAST. Solution satisfies “not moving” and “like cannonball”, when fired.
- Mountain up north on small maps (5)
Answer: PLANS (i.e. “maps”). Solution is ALP (i.e. “mountain”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “north”) and S (ditto “small”), like so: PLA-N-S.
- Exalted god, universal, seen in Proust reworked (9)
Answer: RAPTUROUS (i.e. “exalted”). Solution is RA (i.e. Egyptian sun “god”) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “universal”, used in film certification) once placed in an anagram (indicated by “reworked”) of PROUST, like so: RA-PT(U)ROUS.
- Hand detected in reference work is overlooked (7)
Answer: OMITTED (i.e. “overlooked”). Solution is MITT (i.e. “hand”) placed “in” OED (i.e. “reference work”, specifically the Oxford English Dictionary), like so: O(MITT)ED.
- Sang canticle as passionate about Scots hooligan (7)
Answer: INTONED (i.e. “sang canticle”). Solution is INTO (i.e. “passionate about”) followed by NED (i.e. “Scots [slang for] hooligan”).
- Past it and into next valley? (4,3,4)
Answer: OVER THE HILL. Solution satisfies “past it” and “into next valley”.
- Trick left soldiers in prehistoric tomb (6)
Answer: DOLMEN (i.e. “prehistoric tomb”). Solution is DO (i.e. to “trick”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and MEN (i.e. “soldiers”).
- Mesomorphic villain on stage (8)
Answer: HEAVYSET (i.e. “mesomorphic” or strongly built. Surprisingly HEAVYSET isn’t recognised by Chambers, but is listed in my Oxford). Solution is HEAVY (i.e. “villain”) followed by SET (i.e. “stage”).
- Erudite men sat around – judge not well? (13)
Answer: UNDERESTIMATE (i.e. “judge not well”). “Around” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ERUDITE MEN SAT.
- Party time – couple runs for more nuts (7)
Answer: DOTTIER (i.e. “more nuts”). Solution is DO (i.e. “party”) followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), then TIE (i.e. to “couple”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games).
- Do anaerobic exercises – one knows where one is with it (5,6)
Answer: RADIO BEACON (i.e. “one knows where one is with it”). “Exercises” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DO ANAEROBIC.
- Capital the enemy surrounds in woodland boundary (10)
Answer: TIMBERLINE (i.e. “woodland boundary”). Solution is BERLIN (i.e. “capital” of Germany) placed in or “surrounded” by TIME (i.e. “enemy”, as in the phrase “time is the enemy” – something we’ve seen a couple of times in recent grids), like so: TIM(BERLIN)E.
- Good drive out in Channel to find shellfish (9)
Answer: LANGOUSTE (i.e. “shellfish”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) and OUST (i.e. “drive out”) both placed “in” LANE (i.e. “channel” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: LAN(G-OUST)E.
- Distress signal used by news boss in isolated position (8)
Answer: MAROONED (i.e. “in isolated position”). Solution is MAROON (i.e. “distress signal” – over to Chambers: “a detonating firework, especially one used as a distress signal”. Another new one on me) followed by ED (i.e. “news boss”, i.e. a shortened form of “editor”).
- Louts still heading north – Soho in uproar (6)
Answer: YAHOOS (i.e. “louts”). Solution is AY (i.e. “still” – ay or aye can be taken to mean ever or always) reversed (indicated by “heading north” – this being a down clue) followed by an anagram (indicated by “in uproar”) of SOHO, like so: YA-HOOS.
- Path round assumed by sun that’s sweet (8)
Answer: SORBITOL (a substance derived from sugar, i.e. “that’s sweet”). Solution is ORBIT (i.e. “path round”) placed in or “assumed by” SOL (i.e. “sun”), like so: S(ORBIT)OL.
- Man, carrying on, average or unique? (9)
Answer: NONPAREIL (i.e. “unique”). Solution is NEIL (i.e. “man”, basically a man’s name) wrapped around or “carrying” ON and PAR (i.e. “average”), like so: N(ON-PAR)EIL.
- This writer slow to introduce uniform method (6)
Answer: MEDIUM (i.e. “method”). Solution is ME (i.e. “this writer”, taken from the point of view of the setter) followed by DIM (i.e. “slow”) once wrapped around or “introducing” U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: ME-DI(U)M.
- Moor for example with nameless wild plant (7,6)
Answer: AFRICAN VIOLET (i.e. “plant”). Solution is AFRICAN (i.e. “moor for example”) followed by VIOLENT (i.e. “wild”) once the N has been removed (indicated by “nameless” – N being a recognised abbreviation of “name”).
- Work hard on magic to stop monster showing an aversion (11)
Answer: HYDROPHOBIA (i.e. “aversion” to water). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”), H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in pencil gradings) and OBI (i.e. “magic”, specifically a form of witchcraft practiced in the W Indies) all placed in or “stopping” HYDRA (i.e. mythical “monster”), like so: HYDR(OP-H-OBI)A.
- Tuber thus contains little tasteless stuff going round belly (5,6)
Answer: SWEET POTATO (i.e. “tuber”). Solution is SO (i.e. “thus”) wrapped around or “containing” WEE (i.e. “little”) and TAT (i.e. “tasteless stuff”) once this latter has itself been wrapped “round” POT (i.e. “belly”), like so: S(WEE-T(POT)AT)O.
- Nurse without fear obtains security device (4,6)
Answer: CARD READER (i.e. “security device”). Solution is CARER (i.e. “nurse”) placed around or “without” DREAD (i.e. “fear”), like so: CAR(DREAD)ER.
- Cup tie score excited one not keen on Union (11)
Answer: EUROSCEPTIC (i.e. “one not keen on [European] Union”). “Excited” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CUP TIE SCORE.
- My singers resolved to show effective integration (9)
Answer: SYNERGISM (i.e. “effective integration”). “Resolved” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MY SINGERS. I’d have had a homophonic field day with this one, which is perhaps why I should never be allowed to set these things.
- Cherish husband, an elderly person (4,4)
Answer: HOLD DEAR (i.e. “cherish”). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) followed by OLD DEAR (i.e. “an elderly person”).
- Cool guy mentioned letters from admirers (3,4)
Answer: FAN MAIL (i.e. “letters from admirers”). Solution is FAN (i.e. to “cool”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “mentioned”) of MALE (i.e. “guy”).
- Final word mine in each pub (7)
Answer: EPITAPH (i.e. “final word”). Solution is PIT (i.e. “mine”) placed “in” EA (a recognised abbreviation of “each”), followed by PH (i.e. “pub” or Public House), like so: E(PIT)A-PH.
- Stone in French museum not to be missed (4-3)
Answer: MUST-SEE (i.e. “not to be missed”). Solution is ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stone”) placed “in” MUSEE (i.e. “French museum”, i.e. the French for “museum”), like so: MU(ST)SEE.
- Tap on barrel from glutton feeding drunk (6)
Answer: SPIGOT (i.e. “tap on barrel”). Solution is PIG (i.e. “glutton”) placed in or “feeding” SOT (i.e. “drunk”), like so: S(PIG)OT.
- Geordie mother is taken round to see holy men (5)
Answer: IMAMS (i.e. “holy men”). Solution is MAM (i.e. “Geordie mother”) placed in IS or “having IS taken round”, like so: I(MAM)S.
No musical accompaniment this week. So… much… darts! – LP