Another medium strength offering this week, though thankfully one with tidier clueing. Another decent one, all told, despite a few niggly repeats. You can find my competed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has done for you, then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where I’ve links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Meanwhile there are the usual dusty old book reviews and a story of mine.
Thanks again for the kind comments, folks. They are much appreciated, and it’s always interesting to hear other solvers’ experiences or takes on these things. Till next time, keep safe, wrap up well and keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere.
(Thanks to Barry in the comments for the spelling fix)
- To reduce pollution try to avoid misunderstandings (5,3,3)
Answer: CLEAR THE AIR. Solution satisfies “to reduce pollution” and “try to avoid misunderstandings”. A bit clunky, IMLTHO. Chambers offers this: “to simplify the situation and relieve tension”.
- Court formality concluded with warning signal (4,7)
Answer: STAR CHAMBER (i.e. English “court” sitting between 1487 and 1641). Solution is STARCH (i.e. stiffness or “formality”) followed by AMBER (i.e. “warning signal”).
- Response to enquiry about what can improve tonic water? Don’t be unreasonable! (3,6,2,1,5)
Answer: THE ANSWER IS A LEMON. Solution satisfies “response to enquiry about what can improve tonic water” and, supposedly, “don’t be unreasonable”. Chambers offers this definition: “(inf) one is given an unsatisfactory answer or no answer at all”. Not quite making the connection there, if I’m honest. Maybe that’s the point.
- Instrument in Purcell overture (5)
Answer: CELLO (i.e. musical “instrument”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PUR(CELL O)VERTURE.
- Pay for place in comfortable position (6)
Answer: SETTLE. Solution satisfies “pay” and “place in comfortable position”.
- Man dying in bath with hot on somewhere in Greece (8)
Answer: MARATHON. Solution is Jean-Paul MARAT, a key player of the French Revolution who was assassinated and left “dying in bath”, followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot”) and ON. The frequent use of repeated solutions in these things doesn’t half get on my wick. This solution appeared only a few weeks ago in 1477. It also appeared a little further back in 1450 with a very similar clue. The irony of me repeating a recent moan about recent repeats is not lost on me.
- Comic brother or sister consumed by anger (7)
Answer: RISIBLE (i.e. “comic”). Solution is SIB (a recognised abbreviation of “sibling”, i.e. “brother or sister”) placed in or “consumed by” RILE (i.e. to “anger”), like so: RI(SIB)LE.
- Gradually easing glove in to soak (9)
Answer: REMITTENT (i.e. “gradually easing”). Solution is MITTEN (i.e. “glove”) placed “in” RET (i.e. “to soak”), like so: RE(MITTEN)T.
- Skill of a king – is taking time in effort (8)
Answer: ARTISTRY (i.e. “skill”). Solution is A followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Rex, meaning “king”) followed by IS and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) once both placed “in” TRY (i.e. “effort”), like so: A-R-T(IS-T)RY.
- Leader to cry when overthrown by rebels ultimately (4)
Answer: BOSS (i.e. “leader”). Solution is SOB (i.e. “to cry”) reversed (indicated by “overthrown” – works better in down clues, but okay) and followed “by” S (i.e. “rebels ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “rebels”), like so: BOS-S.
- One acting insincerely is a problem (5)
Answer: POSER. Solution satisfies “one acting insincerely” and “problem”.
- Cheated excessively by relations (4,2)
Answer: TOOK IN (i.e. “cheated”). Solution is TOO (i.e. “excessively”) followed by KIN (i.e. “relations”).
- Drink from cask, bidding woman to follow (4,6)
Answer: PINA COLADA (i.e. “drink”). Solution is PIN (i.e. “cask”) followed by ACOL (a system or “bidding” in a game of bridge (thank you, Chambers)) and ADA (i.e. “woman”, basically a woman’s name).
- Recluses as before having small amounts of money (8)
Answer: EREMITES (i.e. “recluses”). Solution is ERE (poetic form of “before”) followed by MITES (i.e. “small amounts of money” – one definition of the word is “an old Flemish coin of very little value” (Chambers again)).
- A foreign school to which the girl returned and finished being “not understood” (14)
Answer: UNCOMPREHENDED (i.e. “not understood”). Solution is UN (i.e. “a foreign”, i.e. the word “a” in French) followed by COMP (i.e. “school”, specifically a shortened form of “comprehensive”), then HER (i.e. “the girl”) once reversed (indicated by “returned”), and finally ENDED (i.e. “finished”), like so: UN-COMP-REH-ENDED.
- A wise confessor sorted out conflict in America (3,2,9)
Answer: WAR OF SECESSION (i.e. “conflict in America”, another name for the American Civil War of the 1860s). “Sorted out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A WISE CONFESSOR.
[EDIT: Thanks to Barry in the comments for the fix. I’d written CESESSION, which clearly ain’t right. Cheers, Barry! – LP]
- Spread out sample on tissue (8)
Answer: NEOPLASM (i.e. a morbid new growth of “tissue” (Chambers)). “Spread out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SAMPLE ON.
- Determination in respect of letters being filled in grid? (10)
Answer: RESOLUTION (i.e. “determination”). Solution is RE (i.e. “in respect of” – think email replies) followed by SOLUTION (i.e. “letters being filled in [crossword] grid”).
- Catch superior – the foreign female for Bond? (6)
Answer: COPULA (i.e. to join or “bond” – ignore the misleading capitalisation. It’s from this word we get “copulate”, fnar, fnar). Solution is COP (i.e. “catch”, as in “cop a load of this”) followed by U (i.e. “superior” – U is a somewhat overworked abbreviation used to denote the upper class) and LA (i.e. “the foreign female”, i.e. the feminine form of “the” in French, the masculine form being “le”).
- Significant points made by eg Canterbury fellow on return journey (5)
Answer: NODES (i.e. “significant points”). Solution is SE DON (i.e. “eg Canterbury fellow”, SE being a recognised abbreviation of “south-east”, the area of England in which you’d find Canterbury) reversed (indicated by “on return journey”), like so: NOD-ES.
- Something dirty and greyish-brown, little good (4)
Answer: DUNG (i.e. “something dirty”). Solution is DUN (i.e. “greyish-grown”) followed by G (a recognised abbreviation or “little” form of “good”).
- Pill mum gets swallowed – something seen at meal time (5,3)
Answer: TABLE MAT (i.e. “something seen at meal time”) Solution is TABLET (i.e. “pill”) wrapped around or “swallowing” MA (i.e. “mum”), like so: TABLE(MA)T.
- Cosmetic making girl yell audibly (4,5)
Answer: FACE CREAM (i.e. “cosmetic”). “Audibly” indicates homophone. Solution comprises homophones of FAY (i.e. “girl”, basically a girl’s name) and SCREAM (i.e. “yell”).
- Model no longer, having got “wide” (7)
Answer: EXAMPLE (i.e. “model”). Solution is EX (i.e. “no longer”) followed by AMPLE (i.e. “having got ‘wide’” – are you calling me fat, setter?!). More repeats (chunter, mumble, grumble…)
- One in a hurry requiring second attachment to computer (8)
Answer: SPRINTER (i.e. “one in a hurry”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) followed by PRINTER (i.e. “attachment to computer”).
- Relation mostly bagging ducks with it? Hardly (6)
Answer: UNCOOL (i.e. “…with it? Hardly”) Solution is UNCLE (i.e. “relation”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder wrapped around or “bagging” OO (i.e. “ducks” – a duck is a zero batting score in cricket), like so: UNC(OO)L.
- Judge maybe in German city (5)
Answer: TRIER. Solution is “judge maybe”, as in how criminals are tried in court, and “German city”.
- It’s shocking – can make your hair stand on end! (6,11)
Answer: STATIC ELECTRICITY. Solution satisfies “it’s shocking” and “can make your hair stand on end”.
- Ordinary members in rows not facing each other (4,3,4)
Answer: RANK AND FILE. Solution satisfies “ordinary members” and “rows not facing each other”.
- Attempted to get adored venue redeveloped (11)
Answer: ENDEAVOURED (i.e. “attempted”). “Redeveloped” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ADORED VENUE.
- Disaster when going after pet? What drink’s got knocked over? (11)
Answer: CATASTROPHE (i.e. “disaster”). Solution is AS (i.e. “when”) placed “after” CAT (i.e. “pet”). This is then followed by EH (i.e. “what”, as in eh? what? pardon?) and PORT (i.e. “drink”) once reversed (indicated by “knocked over” – this being a down clue), like so: CAT-AS-(TROP-HE).
- Put up in the rectory (5)
Answer: ERECT (i.e. “put up”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: TH(E RECT)ORY.
- Phone one way and phone another way – it can be hairy (7)
Answer: RINGLET (i.e. “it can be hairy”). Solution is RING (i.e. “phone”) and TEL (a recognised abbreviation of “telephone”, i.e. “phone”). The “one way”/”another way” bits comment on how TEL is reversed while RING is not, making RING-LET.
- Act as a seller making one cough up (4)
Answer: HAWK. Solution satisfies “act as a seller” and “cough up”.
- A loveless pain in the neck fighting a release of emotional tension (10)
Answer: ABREACTION (i.e. “a release of emotional tension”, specifically “the resolution of a neurosis by reviving forgotten or repressed ideas of the event first causing it” (Chambers)). Solution is A followed by BORE (i.e. “pain in the neck”) once the O has been removed (indicated by “loveless” – “love” being a zero score in tennis), then ACTION (i.e. “fighting”), like so: A-BRE-ACTION. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here.
- Practice of one type of religious person? Samaritan is far different (14)
Answer: RASTAFARIANISM (i.e. “practice of one type of religious person”). “Different” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SAMARITAN IS FAR.
- Chemical having advantage? The reverse, leading to resentment (8)
Answer: SULPHATE (i.e. “chemical”). Solution is PLUS (i.e. “advantage”) “reversed” and followed by HATE (i.e. “resentment”), like so: SULP-HATE.
- Notice minutes for business proceedings (5)
Answer: ADMIN (i.e. “business proceedings”). Solution is AD (i.e. “notice”, shortened form of “advertisement”) followed by MIN (a recognised abbreviation of “minutes”).
- Plant urns may be stored in such places (9)
Answer: CINERARIA. Solution satisfies “plant” and cremation “urns may be stored in such places”. Nice work, but it took my Bradford’s to help nail this one.
- Bill with amount to be paid for buttonhole (6)
Answer: ACCOST (i.e. to “buttonhole”, as in detaining someone with talk). Solution is AC (i.e. “bill”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “account”) followed by COST (i.e. “amount to be paid”).
- One blackballed don sacked, displaying signs of excommunication (4,4,3,6)
Answer: BELL BOOK AND CANDLE. Over to Chambers yet again: “a phrase popularly used in reference to a form of excommunication ending, ‘Do to (i.e. shut) the book, quench the candle, ring the bell’.” “Sacked” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ONE BLACKBALLED DON.
- State that would briefly provide religious instruction (5,6)
Answer: RHODE ISLAND (i.e. US “state”). Clue plays on how its state abbreviation, RI, is itself a recognised abbreviation of “religious instruction”.
- Woman almost taken in by mischief-maker is an arty type (8)
Answer: AESTHETE (i.e. “arty type”). Solution is ESTHER (i.e. “woman”, basically a woman’s name) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder placed or “taken in” to ATE (Greek goddess of mischief, i.e. “mischief-maker”), like so: A(ESTHE)TE.
- I am not involved with enterprises creating false account? (17)
Answer: MISREPRESENTATION (i.e. “false account”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “involved”) of I AM NOT and ENTERPRISES.
- Elusive little son getting cheeky (6)
Answer: SLIPPY (i.e. “elusive”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation or “little” form of “son”) followed by LIPPY (i.e. “cheeky”).
- Folksy detective dismissing learner with a joke (8)
Answer: HOMESPUN (i.e. “folksy”). Solution is Sherlock HOLMES (i.e. “detective”) with the L removed (indicated by “dismissing learner” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “learner” used on driver L-plates) and the remainder followed by PUN (i.e. “joke”), like so: HOMES-PUN.
- Number of cats and dogs? (8)
Answer: RAINFALL (i.e. raining “cats and dogs”). No idea on “number”, though. Could be a musical “number”, but I often file “musicals” under “Things I’d Rather Not Experience, Thanks” along with “sandpapering my eyeballs”. If anyone sheds light on this one then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Thanks to Chris in the comments for cracking this one. It seems the setter is trying to be clever (hence the riddly question mark), playing on how “footfall” is a way of describing the number of people entering a premises. A tumbleweed clue if there ever was one. Cheers, Chris! – LP]
- Number behold prisoner having entered tremulously to make legal plea (4,10)
Answer: NOLO CONTENDERE (i.e. “legal plea” where someone agrees to do the time but not admit to the crime). Solution is NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) followed by LO (i.e. “behold”, as in “lo and behold”), then CON (i.e. “prisoner”) and an anagram (indicated by “tremulously”) of ENTERED, like so: NO-LO-CON-TENDERE.
- Stylishness of English member, one belonging to a previous generation, not half (8)
Answer: ELEGANCE (i.e. “stylishness”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by LEG (i.e. “member”) and the first “half” of ANCESTOR (i.e. “one belonging to a previous generation”), like so: E-LEG-ANCE.
- Start back in ground that has buried “liquid gold” (6)
Answer: RECOIL (i.e. “start back”). Solution is REC (shortened form of a recreational “ground”) with OIL (i.e. “liquid gold”) following or “buried” beneath it – this being a down clue.
- Bowler rated “fantastic”, the best there is (5-6)
Answer: WORLD-BEATER (i.e. “the best there is”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fantastic”) of BOWLER RATED.
- What could make me spoiled, my being in the wrong job? (11)
Answer: MISEMPLOYED (i.e. “being in the wrong job”). “What could make” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ME SPOILED MY.
- Duck out of putting Polish high explosive in casing of metal (10)
Answer: BUFFLEHEAD (i.e. a “duck” found over in North America. Also a stupid fellow, apparently. I’ll have to remember that one). Solution is BUFF (i.e. “polish” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) followed by HE (a recognised abbreviation of “high explosive”) once placed “in” LEAD (i.e. “metal”), like so: BUFF-LE(HE)AD.
- Old rocker entertaining party-goers went over the top maybe? (9)
Answer: TRAVERSED (i.e. “went over the top [of something] maybe”). Solution is TED (i.e. “old rocker”, aka a Teddy boy) wrapped around or “entertaining” RAVERS (i.e. “party-goers”), like so: T(RAVERS)ED.
- Gradually pay off in a short time, extra income restricting debt finally (8)
Answer: AMORTISE (i.e. “gradually pay off”). Solution is A followed by MO (i.e. “short time”), then RISE (i.e. “extra income”) once wrapped around or “restricting” T (i.e. “debt finally”, i.e. the last letter of “debt”), like so: A-MO-R(T)ISE.
- I am supporting part of hospital restricted by firm making a bit of money (7)
Answer: CENTIMO (i.e. “a bit of money” – a bit can refer to a coin). Solution is I’M (a contraction of “I am”) placed after or “supporting” – this being a down clue – ENT (i.e. “part of hospital”, specifically Ear Nose and Throat). These are then placed in or “restricted by” CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”, i.e. “firm”), like so: C(ENT-I’M)O.
- Old city region entertained by religious group (6)
Answer: SPARTA (i.e. “old city”). Solution is PART (i.e. “region”) placed in or “entertained by” SA (i.e. “religious group”, specifically the Salvation Army), like so: S(PART)A.
- Teacher went through water to land on island (5)
Answer: SWAMI (i.e. a Hindu “teacher”). Solution is SWAM (i.e. “went through water”) followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”).
- East End dealer providing something for basket-weaver? (5)
Answer: OSIER (i.e. a willow whose twigs are used to make baskets, so “something for basket-weaver”). Solution is HOSIER (i.e. “dealer” of knitted goods and grundies) with the H removed (indicated by “East End” – as in ‘ow all ‘em Cockneys are always droppin’ their bleedin’ aitches, innit, QueenMumGawwwBlessah).
- Covered colonnade in street area with zero occupation (4)
Answer: STOA (i.e. “covered colonnade”). Solution is ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”) and A (ditto “area”) wrapped around or “occupied” by O (i.e. “zero”), like so: ST-(O)-A. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.