Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1479

Blimey, there were so many deletions involved in this week’s puzzle it began to make Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree Of Codes look positively amateurish. Reductio ad absurdum, perhaps, if I knew what any of that meant. Otherwise, this was another medium strength offering with decent progression throughout.

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. My Just For Fun page offers links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things, should a recent Jumbo have you stumped. Meanwhile there’s the usual dusty old book reviews and a story of mine.

Till next time, keep safe, keep your pecker up (masked, obviously), keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere, and – most importantly – keep buggering on. We’ll get to the end of this rotten plague eventually. Also, the nights are (slowly) drawing back again, which is always nice.


Across clues

  1. Advance across delta by small boat (9)

Answer: OVERDRAFT (i.e. a cash “advance”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “across”) followed by D (“delta” in the phonetic alphabet) and RAFT (i.e. “small boat”).

  1. Maybe US criminals had briefly to be imprisoned (7)

Answer: PERHAPS (i.e. “maybe”). Solution is PERPS (i.e. “US criminals”, short for perpetrators) wrapped around or “imprisoning” HAD once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: PER(HA)PS.

  1. To start with alibi for example is a defence (5)

Answer: AEGIS (i.e. a shield or “defence”). Solution is A (i.e. “to start with alibi”, i.e. the first letter of “alibi”) followed by EG (i.e. “for example”) and IS.

  1. Distance often affected a proclamation from the French (5,2,6)

Answer: EDICT OF NANTES (i.e. a sixteenth century “proclamation from the French”). “Affected” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DISTANCE OFTEN.

  1. Uncomfortable with allies failing to eat meal (3,2,4)

Answer: ILL AT EASE (i.e. “uncomfortable”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “failing”) of ALLIES wrapped around or “eating” TEA (i.e. “meal”), like so: ILLA(TEA)SE.

  1. Glass changing hands in this checkout cart (7)

Answer: TUMBREL (i.e. “checkout cart” – they were used to transport people to be executed. Also dung, just to rub it in). Solution is TUMBLER (i.e. “glass”) with the L and R swapped (indicated by “changing hands” – L and R being recognised abbreviations of “left” and “right”), like so: TUMB(L)E(R) => TUMB(R)E(L).

  1. Working twenty-four hours? At first no – twelve (7)

Answer: NOONDAY (i.e. “twelve”). Solution is ON (i.e. “working”) and DAY (i.e. “twenty-four hours”) with NO placed “at first”, like so: NO-(ON-DAY).

  1. Put down duke, a powerful ruler, to be unmarried (7)

Answer: DEPRESS (i.e. “put down”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “duke”) followed by EMPRESS (i.e. “powerful ruler”) once the M has been removed (indicated by “unmarried” – M being a recognised abbreviation of “married”), like so: D-EPRESS.

  1. Relaxed, one’s agent finally very adequate (12)

Answer: SATISFACTORY (i.e. “adequate”). Solution is SAT (i.e. “relaxed”) followed by I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”), then FACTOR (i.e. “agent”) and Y (i.e. “finally very”, i.e. the last letter of “very”).

  1. Wickedness in dog suggested? (10)

Answer: WRONGDOING (i.e. “wickedness”). The remainder of the clue plays on the solution, when written as WRONG DOING, being cryptic in itself, i.e. how DOING is an anagram (indicated by “WRONG”) of “in dog”.

  1. He gambles debtor is concealing reserve (5)

Answer: DICER (i.e. “he gambles”). Solution is DR (a recognised abbreviation of “debtor”) wrapped around or “concealing” ICE (i.e. a chilly nature or “reserve”), like so: D(ICE)R.

  1. Leap to one’s feet and refuse to move (5,4)

Answer: STAND FAST. Solution satisfies “leap to one’s feet” and “refuse to move”. Nicely worked.

  1. Old woman’s herbal therapy? (7)

Answer: MASSAGE (i.e. “therapy”). When written as MA’S SAGE the solution also playfully satisfies “old woman’s herbal”.

  1. Bill tends to cry, in comprehensive victory (1,5,5)

Answer: A CLEAN SWEEP (i.e. “comprehensive victory”). Solution is AC (i.e. “bill”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “account”) followed by LEANS (i.e. “tends to”) and WEEP (i.e. “cry”).

  1. Unwise to fail to fill in old exercise books (11)

Answer: INEXPEDIENT (i.e. “unwise”). Solution is DIE (i.e. “to fail”) placed in or “filling” IN, EX (i.e. “old”), PE (i.e. “exercise”, specifically Physical Education) and NT (i.e. “books”, specifically the New Testament of The Bible), like so: IN-EX-PE-(DIE)-NT.

  1. Being August, start to sweat on US borders (11)

Answer: STATELINESS (i.e. “being august” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is S (i.e. “start to sweat”, i.e. the first letter of “sweat”) placed “on” or after STATE LINES (i.e. “US borders”), like so: STATE-LINES-S.

  1. Thoroughly learn something for party that is of top quality (11)

Answer: MASTERPIECE (i.e. “that is of top quality”). When written as MASTER PIECE the solution also satisfies “thoroughly learn something for party” – referring to someone’s party piece.

  1. Each group of diners wants food so (7)

Answer: EATABLE (i.e. “wants food so”). Solution is EA (a recognised abbreviation of “each”) followed by TABLE (i.e. “group of diners”).

  1. Brave daughter, relatively short? (9)

Answer: DAUNTLESS (i.e. “brave”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by AUNTLESS (i.e. “relatively short”, a play on how one maybe has an aunt missing).

  1. Busy giving the pot this? (5)

Answer: ASTIR (i.e. “busy”). When written as A STIR the solution also satisfies “giving the pot this”.

  1. Judge member of cast going through lines uncooperative (10)

Answer: REFRACTORY (i.e. “uncooperative”). Solution is REF (i.e. “judge”, specifically a shortened form of “referee”) followed by ACTOR (i.e. “member of cast”) once placed in or “through” RY (i.e. “lines”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “railway”), like so: REF-R(ACTOR)Y.

  1. Before Mailer, nothing American is unbelievable (12)

Answer: PREPOSTEROUS (i.e. “unbelievable”). Solution is PRE (i.e. “before”) followed by POSTER (i.e. “mailer” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), then O (i.e. “nothing”) and US (i.e. “American”).

  1. In defence, good for the French to drink wine (7)

Answer: BASTION (i.e. “defence”). Solution is BON (i.e. “good for the French”, i.e. the French for “good”) wrapped around or “drinking” ASTI (i.e. “wine”), like so: B(ASTI)ON.

  1. Reveller losing head: he’s waking others? (7)

Answer: AROUSER (i.e. “he’s waking others”). Solution is CAROUSER (i.e. “reveller”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “losing head”).

  1. Farm workers ending in embarrassment, colouring (7)

Answer: PIGMENT (i.e. “colouring”). Solution is PIG-MEN (i.e. “farm workers”) followed by T (i.e. “ending in embarrassment”, i.e. the last letter of “embarrassment”).

  1. Unworldly, one union trapped in cycle of decline? (9)

Answer: SPIRITUAL (i.e. “unworldly”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and TU (i.e. “union”, specifically a Trade Union) both placed or “trapped in” SPIRAL (i.e. “cycle of decline”), like so: SPIR(I-TU)AL.

  1. See lecturer in swimming pool here? (7,6)

Answer: LEISURE CENTRE (i.e. “swimming pool here”). “Swimming” also indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SEE LECTURER IN.

  1. Departs school, coming back famous (5)

Answer: NOTED (i.e. “famous”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “departs”) and ETON (i.e. “school”) all reversed (indicated by “coming back”), like so: NOTE-D.

  1. Compel men for cell to be stripped (7)

Answer: ENFORCE (i.e. “compel”). “Stripped” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, revealed by stripping the surrounding letters of M(EN FOR CE)LL.

  1. Oliver’s horse has smooth flanks (9)

Answer: IRONSIDES (i.e. “Oliver [Cromwell]’s horse” – “horse” can collectively refer to a cavalry, a new one on me). Solution is IRON (i.e. to “smooth”) and SIDES (i.e. “flanks”).

Down clues

  1. Greek character and others one’s assumed nameless (7)

Answer: ORESTES (i.e. “Greek character” who avenged the murder of his father by killing his mother. Games night was rough back then). Solution is REST (i.e. “others”) placed in or “assumed” by ONE’S once the N has been removed (indicated by “nameless” – N being a recognised abbreviation of “name”), like so: O(REST)E’S. One gotten from the wordplay, if I’m honest.

  1. Magician left without female contrived to be mystifying (11)

Answer: ENIGMATICAL (i.e. “mystifying”). Solution is an anagram of MAGICIAN LEFT once the F has been removed (indicated by “without female” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “female”). Nicely worked.

  1. Put off find (not mine) (5)

Answer: DETER (i.e. “put off”). Solution is DETERMINE (i.e. “find”) with the MINE removed (indicated by “not mine”).

  1. Two equal parts? Not hard at all, with a fodder plant (7)

Answer: ALFALFA (i.e. “fodder plant”). Solution is HALF and HALF (i.e. “two equal parts”) with the Hs removed (indicated by “not hard at all” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils) and the remainder followed by A, like so: ALF-ALF-A.

  1. Drop of water shortly for plant (3)

Answer: TEA (i.e. “plant”). Solution is TEAR (i.e. “drop of water”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “shortly”).

  1. City in revolution at first pretty backward, rejecting both sides (9)

Answer: PETROGRAD (i.e. Russian “city in revolution”, now known as Saint Petersburg, via Leningrad). Solution is P (i.e. “at first pretty”, i.e. the first letter of “pretty”) followed by RETROGRADE (i.e. “backward”) once its first and last letters have been removed (indicated by “rejecting both sides”), like so: P-ETROGRAD.

  1. Live on the edge (6)

Answer: RESIDE (i.e. “live”). Solution is RE (i.e. “on the” or regarding – think email replies) followed by SIDE (i.e. “edge”). Simple, but neatly done.

  1. First Murderer’s speech: I make peers sick, drinking my soup – and the monarch (2,1,2,8,6)

Answer: AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER? (response from Cain, “first murderer” in The Bible, when asked by God for Abel’s whereabouts after he’d done him in). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sick”) of I MAKE PEERS wrapped around or “drinking” MY, BROTH (i.e. “soup”) and ER (i.e. “the monarch”, specifically Elizabeth Regina), like so: AMI(MY-BROTH-ER)SKEEPER.

  1. Shame about horrible noise in tank (7)

Answer: SALADIN (i.e “tank” created in the mid-1950s – more an armoured car with a turret stuck on top. Perfect for the school run). This took a while to twig, but the solution is ALAS (i.e. “shame”) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by DIN (i.e. “horrible noise”), like so: SALA-DIN.

  1. Coming across page, not fond of Shelley? The exact opposite (9)

Answer: ANTIPODES (i.e. “the exact opposite”). Solution is ANTI-ODES (i.e. “not fond of [romantic poet Percy] Shelley”) wrapped around or “coming across” P (a recognised abbreviation of “page”), like so: ANTI-(P)-ODES.

  1. Serious wizard in Tyrone, say, worshipped figure (6,5)

Answer: GRAVEN IMAGE (i.e. “worshipped figure”). Solution is GRAVE (i.e. “serious”) followed by NI MAGE (i.e. “wizard in Tyrone, say” – County Tyrone being in Northern Ireland, or NI).

  1. Maybe young member of family has not got on flight (5)

Answer: STEPS (i.e. “flight” of stairs). Solution is STEPSON (i.e. “maybe young member of family”) with the ON removed (indicated by “has not got on”).

  1. Fail to understand why coin toss doesn’t produce result? (3,4,4,2,4,2)

Answer: NOT MAKE HEAD OR TAIL OF. Solution satisfies “fail to understand” and “why coin toss doesn’t produce result”.

  1. Regain consciousness, nearly safe following powerful shot? (7)

Answer: SURFACE (i.e. “regain consciousness”). Another that took a while to twig. Solution is SURE (i.e. “safe”) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “nearly”) and the remainder followed by F (a recognised abbreviation of “following”) and ACE (i.e. “powerful shot” in tennis), like so: SUR-F-ACE.

  1. Spooner’s finest clothes not regularly seen at the bar (5,4)

Answer: GUEST BEER (i.e. “not regularly seen at the bar”). “Spooner’s” indicates the solution is a Spoonerism of BEST GEAR (i.e. “finest clothes”).

  1. One is taken in by a most peculiar philosophy (6)

Answer: TAOISM (i.e. “philosophy”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed or “taken in by” an anagram (indicated by “peculiar”) of A MOST, like so: TAO(I)SM.

  1. Tug on left side circling southern approaches (5,4)

Answer: DRAWS NEAR (i.e. “approaches”). Solution is DRAW (i.e. “tug”) and NEAR (i.e. “on left side” with reference to vehicles on roads, supposedly) wrapped around or “circling” S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”), like so: DRAW-(S)-NEAR.

  1. Sort of wave, going round one way in chapel (7)

Answer: SISTINE (i.e. a “chapel”). Solution is SINE (i.e. “sort of wave”) wrapped or “going round” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: S(I-ST)INE.

  1. Trees start off sale, unplanned? (7)

Answer: MAPLESS (i.e. “unplanned”, playing on maps being plans). Solution is MAPLES (i.e. “trees”) followed by S (i.e. “start off [of] sale”, i.e. the first letter of “sale”).

  1. Creature pouched in the afternoon biting us, very upset (6)

Answer: POSSUM (i.e. “creature pouched”). Solution is PM (i.e. “in the afternoon”) wrapped around or “biting” US and SO (i.e. “very”) once reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue), like so: P(OS-SU)M. “Biting” is pushing it a little, IMLTHO.

  1. Corrupt sheriff’s assistant half-cut at wild party (7)

Answer: DEPRAVE (i.e. “corrupt”). Solution is DEPUTY (i.e. “sheriff’s assistant”) “half-cut”, making DEP. This is followed by RAVE (i.e. “wild party”), like so: DEP-RAVE.

  1. Probable left-winger’s broadcast is fantastic (11)

Answer: ANTIFASCIST (i.e. “probable left-winger”). “Broadcast” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IS FANTASTIC.

  1. Turned out and applied to keep most of treasure (11)

Answer: EXTROVERTED (i.e. “turned out”). Solution is EXERTED (i.e. “applied”) wrapped around or “keeping” TROVE (i.e. “treasure”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “most of”), like so: EX(TROV)ERTED.

  1. Made happy to have meal, if I must be in the garden (9)

Answer: BEATIFIED (i.e. “made happy”). Solution is EAT (i.e. “to have meal”) and IF I all placed “in” BED (i.e. “garden”), like so: B(EAT-IF-I)ED.

  1. Act with elegance on the radio, one admits (9)

Answer: TURNSTILE (i.e. “one admits”). Solution is TURN (i.e. performer or “act”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “on the radio”) of STYLE (i.e. “elegance”), like so: TURN-STILE.

  1. Large amount, definitely brother’s cut (7)

Answer: TONSURE (i.e. a friar or “brother’s [hair]cut”). Solution is TON (i.e. “large amount”) followed by SURE (i.e. “definitely”).

  1. Drink more extravagantly as commander (7)

Answer: SUPREMO (i.e. “commander”). Solution is SUP (i.e. “drink”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “extravagantly”) of MORE, like so: SUP-REMO.

  1. Subjects for painting that shouldn’t be dropped (7)

Answer: SITTERS. Solution satisfies “subjects for painting” and, I guess, “that shouldn’t be dropped”. One I’m not 100% on, as SITTERS in my view (and that of Chambers) are easy shots such as open goals in football, i.e. something that requires an offensive action. I’m not convinced that the word extends to ball games that involve catching, e.g. fly balls in baseball or in cricket. I don’t know, maybe Bumble said it once.
[EDIT: My Oxford expands on Chambers, defining a sitter as an easy shot or catch. Thanks to all the commenters below for baring their souls. 😀 For the record, I have all the hand-eye coordination of Captain Hook on a trampoline. – LP]

  1. Monkey’s mistake (6)

Answer: HOWLER. Solution satisfies “monkey”, specifically one found in South America, and “mistake”. Chalk one to my Bradford’s.

  1. Perhaps Higgs’ two children, one missing a sex chromosome (5)

Answer: BOSON (i.e. “perhaps Higgs’” – referring to the Higgs Boson, sometimes referred to as “the God particle”). Solution is BOY and SON (i.e. “two children”) with the Y removed (indicated by “one missing a sex chromosome”).

  1. Assume visitors are short of time (5)

Answer: GUESS (i.e. “assume”). Solution is GUESTS (i.e. “visitors”) once the T has been removed (indicated by “short of time” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Someone other than me, as it were, educated here? (3)

Answer: UNI (i.e. “educated here”, a shortened form of “university”). When read as UN-I the solution also satisfies “someone other than me, as it were”, UN- being a prefix denoting “not”. Not-I, un-I, you get the I-dea.

No musical accompaniment this week as proper live footie had returned. (Cue single firework.) Any other neutrals losing interest? It’s weird, as it’s one of the most open seasons for years and yet… meh. The lack of crowd, the lack of atmosphere, the surfeit of mostly dull matches, the recent interruptions through Covid, the FA Cup (and Amazon)… it’s hard to care any more. My Fantasy team has still got Bruce Grobbelaar in goal, it hasn’t been checked for so long. Weird. Anyway, TTFN! – LP

12 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1479

  1. Thanks, Lucian. Re 43d, I think you have a point. I’d say a sitter in cricket is a dolly.
    Enjoyed this week’s. At first I found it hard to get going & thought we were in for a long day in the field but once the top third was done it progressed quite steadily. Favourite clues were 7d Reside, as you say simple but neatly done and 40d Tonsure. I spent a while trying to take br or fr out of several words before twigging.
    January half done; roll on Spring!

  2. Thanks, as ever. I also started slowly but then quickly did bottom half . I think sitter is fine for an easy catch – I’ve heard it a fair bit.
    Didn’t like spiral being decline – one can spiral up as well – think of gliders in a thermal updraft.
    Saladin def not a tank – free. Stay safe – Graham

  3. Took me a while to get going. Thought I’d never cracked the top left hand. All in all a good workout this week, apart from 16 down, which I thought was an ugly solution. The answer as a phrase just sounds awkward to me. And shouldn’t it be “head NOR tail…”?
    Rant over. Thanks for the parsing, as ever. Couldn’t see how to construct SALADIN or SURFACE, but guessed they were correct.
    Keep well, all. It’ll soon be over. (Sigh).

  4. Thanks Lucian. I guessed 22d must be TAOISM but couldn’t figure out why. And I decided 9d must be SALADIN (having worked out the wordplay), but couldn’t find any reference to it being a tank. [Waves yellow card in general direction of setter.]

    Don’t get me started on deletions [waves red card in general direction of setter], or we’ll be here all day and probably most of tomorrow. Suffice it to say that I counted at least 20 of them (if you include those clues where more than one letter is missing). Yes, that’s how sad I am…

    I think I now know why The Times does not identify its crossword compilers. There appears to be one setter who is unhealthily fond of deletion clues. If I knew in advance that a crossword had come out of this particular stable, I probably wouldn’t even bother buying the paper.

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  5. 43d Have to agree with Graham Davey about “sitter”, presumably short for “sitting catch”. Very commonly used when I last played cricket 55 years ago, especially if it was me who dropped it. An all too common event!
    Thanks for efforts as always.

    1. Yes, that’s it exactly – ‘he dropped a sitter’. Maybe derives from a ball ‘sitting up nicely, for an easy catch’ ? We could challenge TMS during the second Test at Gallle to see if they know. Cheers Grsham

      1. Or perhaps simply by analogy with “sitting duck”? I can find no evidence for this inspired deduction!

  6. I expect that’s right & the origin of each of these is that of a sitting duck for the hunter being a sitter & henceforth an open goal at football or an easy catch at cricket is a sitter too. I wonder if next Saturday’s jumbo will be a sitter

  7. I had more gaps in this than I’ve had for a long time – mostly in the top third. Pleased I gave in when I did as I’d never have got most of them.
    I agree that ‘sitter’ was a very common adjective for an easy catch at cricket in my younger days and I’m sure I’ve heard Bloers and Aggers use it many times since.
    One answer I object to is the misspelling of ‘extrovert’. For sure it should for preference be ‘extravert’. I know from a previous occurrence that LP prefers the O but my old prof (who later became Principal of Dundee University so shouldn’t be ignored) used to insist on the A if we were writing up a personality assessment – so there! Chambers gives the game away: “ ORIGIN: L extrā outside, and vertere to turn; spelling influenced by analogy with introvert” … note ‘influenced by analogy with’ – in other words ‘mistakenly confused by’?
    Rant over

  8. I wasn’t sure about ‘sitters’ but am happy to accept the views of experienced cricketers. FWIW, I assumed it derived from ‘…such an easy chance they could have scored/caught that sitting down…’

  9. As ever, huge thanks Lucian for your parsings, there is always at least one I haven’t seen. Still, I am in waspish and pedantic mood over this puzzle and feel that the setter has played too fast and loose with many definitions, eg: 35d ‘beatified’ has a precise meaning which is not “made happy”; 21d ‘guest beer’ is a precise term to do with Thatcherite legislation (allowing tied pubs to offer one brand of alcohol not from the owners’ own stable), and has nothing to do an irregular visitor to the bar because that brand becomes a permanent fixture; ‘surface’ does not mean “regain consciousness” (though I might allow that ‘resurface’ could have that meaning). 31d ‘anti-fascist’ really can’t be spelt without the hyphen, at least not in Chambers, OED etc. Quite agree with Mick, 16d is a vile phrase, that has never been uttered or written down. On the other hand, “checkout cart” for a tumbrel is a brilliant definition that made me gasp out loud.

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