Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1490

Another medium strength offering this week, relatively speaking, with the more exotic solutions gettable after a bit of dictionary wrangling. One of the better ones, all told.

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 foxed you then my Just For Fun page might be just the ticket, listing solutions to the last 100+ of these things. Also, there’s the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and comments, folks. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared. Till the next one, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere.


Across clues

  1. Indecent girl’s legwear (4,5)

Answer: BLUE JEANS (i.e. “legwear”). Solution is BLUE (i.e. “indecent”) followed by JEAN’S (i.e. “girl’s” – basically a girl’s name made possessive).

  1. Racing once condemned harmful substance (10)

Answer: CARCINOGEN (i.e. “harmful substance”). “Condemned” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RACING ONCE.

  1. Everyone, say, runs over briskly (7)

Answer: ALLEGRO (i.e. “briskly” in musical lingo). Solution is ALL (i.e. “everyone”) followed by EG (i.e. “say”, i.e. for example), then R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket).

  1. Lively old punk tours Virginia (9)

Answer: VIVACIOUS (i.e. “lively”). Solution is Sid VICIOUS (i.e. “old punk”) wrapped around or “touring” VA (US state abbreviation of “Virginia”), like so: VI(VA)CIOUS.

  1. Officer in charge evincing problem with wind (5)

Answer: COLIC (i.e. “problem with wind”). Solution is COL (i.e. “officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “colonel”) followed by IC (a recognised abbreviation of “in charge”).

  1. Midshipman Easy’s job? (5,7)

Answer: PLAIN SAILING (i.e. “easy”). Clue plays on the solution’s nautical theme in referencing Frederick Marryat’s 1836 novel Mr Midshipman Easy. You get the idea. As an aside, it’s worth noting some setters will reference EASY in their solutions as “midshipman”, because we’ve obviously all read the novel.

  1. Court order one in residence to be moved (6,4)

Answer: DECREE NISI (i.e. “court order”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “to be moved”) of RESIDENCE, like so: DECREEN(I)SI.

  1. State vehicle that ruins crops (8,6)

Answer: COLORADO BEETLE (a pest “that ruins crops” of potatoes). Solution is COLORADO (i.e. US “state”) followed by BEETLE (i.e. “vehicle”, specifically one of the Volkswagen variety).

  1. New troops joining the navy in higher latitudes (8)

Answer: NORTHERN (i.e. “in higher latitudes”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) followed by OR (i.e. “troops”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army), then THE and RN (i.e. “navy”, specifically the Royal Navy).

  1. Metal, iodine and copper blocking miners (6)

Answer: INDIUM (i.e. “metal”). Solution is I (chemical symbol of “iodine”) and DI (i.e. “copper”, specifically a Detective Inspector) once placed in or “blocking” NUM (i.e. “miners”, specifically the National Union of Miners), like so: I-N(DI)UM.

  1. Starts with each child’s unrestricted period for game (4,6)

Answer: OPEN SEASON (i.e. “unrestricted period for [shooting] game”). Solution is OPENS (i.e. “starts”) followed by EA (a recognised abbreviation of “each”) and SON (i.e. “child”).

  1. Walk – with or without runs? (5)

Answer: AMBLE. Clue plays on how RAMBLE and AMBLE can mean “walk” and how you can get from one word to the other by removing the R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in ball games).

  1. Ladies missing whiskey could be a bad sign (4)

Answer: OMEN (i.e. “could be a bad sign”). Solution is WOMEN (i.e. “ladies”) with the W removed (indicated by “missing whiskey” – “whiskey” is W in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Fortunate having sanction limiting old bomb (8)

Answer: ENVIABLE (i.e. “fortunate”). Solution is ENABLE (i.e. “sanction”) wrapped around or “limiting” VI (i.e. “old bomb”, specifically a V1 with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent), like so: EN(VI)ABLE.

  1. Ruler quit, ignoring British excise (9)

Answer: ERADICATE (i.e. “excise”). Solution is ER (i.e. “ruler”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) followed by ABDICATE (i.e. “quit”) once the B has been removed (indicated by “ignoring British” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “British”), like so: ER-ADICATE.

  1. Dopey old men disheartened in IoW waters (9)

Answer: SOMNOLENT (i.e. “dopey”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and MN (i.e. “men disheartened”, i.e. the word “men” with its middle letter removed) both placed “in” SOLENT (i.e. “IoW waters”, i.e. the strait between the Isle of Wight and mainland Britain), like so: S(O-MN)OLENT.

  1. Regularly call on pretty woman to restrain quiet fool (8)

Answer: CLODPOLL (i.e. “fool”). Solution is CLO (i.e. “regularly call on”, i.e. every other letter of CALL ON) followed by DOLL (i.e. “pretty woman”) once wrapped around or “restraining” P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano” or “quiet” in musical lingo), like so: CLO-D(P)OLL. A new one on me. This particular Poll likes it.

  1. Like hoarding papers that are helpful (4)

Answer: AIDS (i.e. things “that are helpful”). Solution is AS (i.e. “like”) wrapped around or “hoarding” ID (i.e. “papers”), like so: A(ID)S.

  1. US cheat returns iron and silver engraved with name (5)

Answer: GANEF (i.e. “US cheat” – my Chambers didn’t want to know, but my Oxford bears this one out). Solution is FE and AG (chemical symbols of “iron” and “silver” respectively) reversed (indicated by “returns”) and wrapped around or “engraved with” N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”), like so: GA-(N)-EF. One gotten from the wordplay, to be honest.

  1. Free love in Little Rock (10)

Answer: PERIDOTITE (i.e. “rock”). Solution is RID (i.e. “free”) and O (i.e. “love”, i.e. a zero score in tennis) both placed “in” PETITE (i.e. “little), like so: PE(RID-O)TITE.

  1. Dance when tiddly, leaving tango to the end (6)

Answer: MINUET (i.e. “dance”). Solution is MINUTE (i.e. “tiddly” or small) with the T (“tango” in the phonetic alphabet) moved “to the end”, like so: MINU(T)E => MINUE(T).

  1. Make ugly girl initially hug primate (8)

Answer: MISSHAPE (i.e. “make ugly”). Solution is MISS (i.e. “girl”) followed by H (i.e. “initially hug”, i.e. the first letter of “hug”) and APE (i.e. “primate”).

  1. Fiddling finance firm pocketing a grand (6,8)

Answer: MONKEY BUSINESS (i.e. “fiddling”). Solution is MONEY (i.e. “finance”) and BUSINESS (i.e. “firm”) placed around or “pocketing” K (i.e. “grand”, both referencing 1,000), like so: MON(K)EY-BUSINESS.

  1. Boulders and tree reduced seafood (4,6)

Answer: ROCK SALMON (i.e. “seafood”). Solution is ROCKS (i.e. “boulders”) followed by ALMOND (i.e. “tree”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “reduced”), like so: ROCKS-ALMON.

  1. Letters, awfully cagey and tense about reserves (6,6)

Answer: ESTATE AGENCY (i.e. “letters” of property). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “awfully”) of CAGEY and TENSE wrapped “about” TA (i.e. “reserves”, specifically the Territorial Army), like so: ES(TA)TEAGENCY.

  1. Ruin ground packed with phosphorous (5)

Answer: SPOIL (i.e. “ruin”). Solution is SOIL (i.e. “ground”) wrapped around or “packed with” P (chemical symbol of “phosphorous”), like so: S(P)OIL.

  1. Trombonist’s eatery in the Open (3,6)

Answer: TEA GARDEN (i.e. “eatery in the open” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). When written as Jack TEAGARDEN the solution also satisfies US jazz “trombonist”. Not one I was familiar with.

  1. Berliner’s one to consume ultimate protein (7)

Answer: ELASTIN (i.e. “protein”). Solution is EIN (i.e. “Berliner’s one”, i.e. the German for “one”) wrapped around or “consuming”) LAST (i.e. “ultimate”), like so: E(LAST)IN. One gotten solely from the wordplay.

  1. Angry force stripped of uniform put on “different” clothes? (5-5)

Answer: CROSS-DRESS (i.e. “put on ‘different’ clothes”). Solution is CROSS (i.e. “angry”) followed by DURESS (i.e. “force”) once the U has been removed (indicated by “stripped of uniform” – “uniform” is U in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Sell coal off Republican imported, using this instead? (5,4)

Answer: SOLAR CELL. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “off”) of SELL COAL wrapped around or “importing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”), like so: SOLA(R)CELL. Clue plays on the solution and “coal” both being energy sources and how one could be used instead of the other. You get the idea.

Down clues

  1. Light timber a hunk hauled up (5)

Answer: BALSA (i.e. “light timber”). Solution is A and SLAB (i.e. “hunk”) both reversed (indicated by “hauled up” – this being a down clue), like so: BALS-A.

  1. Injured unsung heroes, wings clipped, giving little away (10)

Answer: UNGENEROUS (i.e. “giving little away”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “injured”) of UNSUNG and EROE (i.e. “heroes, wings clipped”, i.e. the word “heroes” with its first and last letters removed).

  1. Risk heading off big cat in jungly banks (8)

Answer: JEOPARDY (i.e. “risk”). Solution is LEOPARD (i.e. “big cat” – also by some distance the best below-average streamer on Twitch, a service you should definitely not watch, especially if you are a gamer, as it’s crack cocaine for the eyeballs. Oh wait, Covid-19 has rendered all of time meaningless, hasn’t it? Silly me. Go crazy y’all, knock yourselves out…) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “heading off”) and the remainder placed “in” J and Y (i.e. “jungly banks”, i.e. the first and last letters of “jungly”), like so: J(EOPARD)Y.

Lep’s reaction to dying for the 43rd time (go to 9:47) is how I sound all throughout gaming. I’m terrible.
  1. Number 5 in trouble? Smith beats it (5)

Answer: ANVIL (i.e. “smith beats it”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) and V (i.e. “[Roman numeral] five”) both placed “in” AIL (i.e. “trouble”), like so: A(N-V)IL.

  1. A number observed fencing incident (9)

Answer: SEVENTEEN (i.e. “a number”). Solution is SEEN (i.e. “observed”) wrapped around or “fencing” EVENT (i.e. “incident”).

  1. Get ready to fire farmyard boss? (4)

Answer: COCK. (Fnar!) Solution satisfies “get ready to fire” and “farmyard boss”, at least in the henhouse.

  1. Make a fresh start, dealing with old writer (6)

Answer: REOPEN (i.e. “make a fresh start”). Solution is RE (i.e. regarding or “dealing with” – think email replies) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and PEN (i.e. “writer”).

  1. Mare perhaps that can be covered outside? Impossible (14)

Answer: INSURMOUNTABLE (i.e. “impossible”). Solution is MOUNT (i.e. “mare perhaps” – other flavours of horse are available) placed in or having “outside” INSURABLE (i.e. “can be covered”), like so: INSUR(MOUNT)ABLE.

  1. Part of theatre box found in odd Scottish mine (9,3)

Answer: ORCHESTRA PIT (i.e. “part of theatre”). Solution is CHEST (i.e. “box”) placed “in” ORRA (“Scottish” word for “odd”, as in spare, unmatched or left over – a new one on me) and followed by PIT (i.e. “mine”), like so: OR(CHEST)RA-PIT.

  1. Fancy avoiding start that’s slippery (3-4)

Answer: EEL-LIKE (i.e. “slippery”). Solution is FEEL LIKE (i.e. “fancy”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “avoiding start”).

  1. Mafia boss welcomes composer briefly for a drink (10)

Answer: CAPPUCCINO (i.e. “drink”). Solution is CAPO (i.e. “Mafia boss”) wrapped around or “welcoming” Giacomo PUCCINI (i.e. “composer”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: CAP(PUCCIN)O.

  1. Tell niece about regular customers (9)

Answer: CLIENTELE (i.e. “regular customers”). “About” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TELL NIECE.

  1. Hyde for one has to change, say, before first of outings (5,3)

Answer: ALTER EGO (i.e. “Hyde for one” – a reference to Edward Hyde, alter-ego of Dr Henry Jekyll in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde). Solution is ALTER (i.e. “to change”) followed by EG (i.e. “say”, i.e. for example) and O (i.e. “first [letter] of outings”).

  1. Romeo expires visiting city worker (6,3)

Answer: LADIES MAN (i.e. “Romeo”). Solution is DIES (i.e. “expires”) placed in or “visiting” LA (i.e. “city”, specifically Los Angeles) and MAN (i.e. “worker”), like so: LA-(DIES)-MAN.

  1. Section of Church Times about a mad priest, close to arrest (10)

Answer: BAPTISTERY (i.e. “section of church” in which baptisms are performed). Solution is BY (i.e. “times” as in multiplication – ignore the misleading capitalisations) wrapped “about” an anagram (indicated by “mad”) of A PRIEST and T (i.e. “close to arrest”, i.e. the last letter of “arrest”), like so: B(APTISTER)Y.

  1. Note old way into very big Yankee’s joint exercises? (10)

Answer: OSTEOPATHY (i.e. “joint exercises”). Solution is TE (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me scale, can also be spelled TI), O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and PATH (i.e. “way”) all placed “in” OS (i.e. “very big”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “out-sized”) and Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: OS-(TE-O-PATH)-Y.

  1. Ecstasy? Consume it in Cornish resort (9)

Answer: BEATITUDE (i.e. “ecstasy”). Solution is EAT (i.e. “consume”) and IT both placed “in” BUDE (i.e. “Cornish resort”), like so: B(EAT-IT)UDE.

  1. With few folk around, waved to welcome HM with dad (14)

Answer: UNDERPOPULATED (i.e. “with few folk around”). Solution is UNDULATED (i.e. “waved”) wrapped around or “welcoming” ER (i.e. “HM”, both references to the Queen, the first Elizabeth Regina, the second Her Majesty) and POP (i.e. “dad”, both words for father), like so: UND(ER-POP)ULATED.

  1. Sneaky cryptic clue for cross? (8)

Answer: BACKDOOR (i.e. “sneaky”). When written as BACK DOOR the solution also satisfies a “cryptic clue for cross”: a word for Christ’s cross is ROOD, the reverse or BACK of which is DOOR.

  1. Run up with less crude appreciative noises (4-8)

Answer: WOLF-WHISTLES (i.e. “appreciative noises”, though not necessarily ones appreciated). Solution is FLOW (i.e. “run”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and followed by an anagram (indicated by “crude”) of WITH LESS.

  1. Epic tales about additional US chiefs (9)

Answer: SAGAMORES (i.e. “US [Native American] chiefs”). Solution is SAGAS (i.e. “epic tales”) placed “about” MORE (i.e. “additional”), like so: SAGA(MORE)S. Another gotten from the wordplay.

  1. Rewarding school test is quick (there’s no Latin at first) (10)

Answer: SATISFYING (i.e. “rewarding”). Solution is SAT (i.e. “school test”) followed by IS and FLYING (i.e. “quick”) once the L has been removed (indicated by “there’s no Latin at first”, referring to the first letter of “Latin”), like so: SAT-IS-FYING.

  1. Fifty-four at home pledge to protect with adequate pay (6,4)

Answer: LIVING WAGE (i.e. “adequate pay”). Solution is LIV (i.e. “fifty-four” in Roman numerals) followed by IN (i.e. “at home”) and GAGE (i.e. an archaic word for “pledge” – another new one on me) once placed around or “protecting” W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), like so: LIV-IN-G(W)AGE.

  1. Study teams – and support one of them? (4,5)

Answer: TAKE SIDES (i.e. “support one of them [teams]”). Solution is TAKE (i.e. “study”, e.g. taking geography) followed by SIDES (i.e. “teams”).

  1. Train driver, old character, given licence at any time (8)

Answer: MULETEER (i.e. “train driver” – a train in this case being a bunch of mules). Solution is MU (i.e. “old character”, specifically the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet) followed by LET (i.e. “given licence”) and E’ER (poetic form of “ever”, i.e. “at any time”). I, on the other hand, with my luscious lockdown locks, am chief mulleteer.

  1. Help one who’s easily taken in by the sound of it (7)

Answer: SUCCOUR (i.e. “help”). “By the sound of it” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SUCKER (i.e. “one who’s easily taken in”).

  1. Very old yacht’s first mature trip (6)

Answer: VOYAGE (i.e. “trip”). Solution is V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”) followed by O (ditto “old”), then Y (i.e. “yacht’s first [letter]”) and AGE (i.e. to “mature”).

  1. Cancel plant overlooking area (5)

Answer: ANNUL (i.e. “cancel”). Solution is ANNUAL (i.e. “plant”) with its second A removed or “overlooked” – A being a recognised abbreviation of “area”.

  1. Old province where charlatan, wanting tea, turns up (5)

Answer: NATAL (i.e. “old province”). Solution is CHARLATAN with the CHAR removed (indicated by “wanting tea”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “turning up” – this being a down clue).

  1. Main resident’s instrument (4)

Answer: BASS. Solution satisfies “main resident” – the sea is sometimes referred to as the main, especially in cryptic crosswords – and a musical “instrument”.

Another dive into synthwave was had this week, this time focusing on a few albums:
Magic SwordEndless – there’s a slight whiff of prog rock to Magic Sword’s sound, but don’t let that put you off. Their latest album is a solid listen throughout, but the highlight for me is the first track Depths of Power.
Zombie HyperdriveImperium – silly name, yes, but this is an album I often come back to. Same goes for their previous album Hyperion, but Imperium has stronger hooks. Awakening is a goosebump-raiser.
Le MatosJoin Us – a belter of an album that hardly puts a foot wrong, and one with a brilliantly chilling cover image. They’ve since moved onto horror movie soundtracks, but I hope they’ll return to this kind of stuff in future. Montrose is perhaps the stand-out track.
Laters, taters! – LP

9 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1490

  1. Not a bad workout this week with some good clues and enough tricks to keep you interested. I thought BACKDOOR was especially sneaky! Didn’t take long to get most of it done then a couple of headscratchers stopped me dead.
    Thanks for the parsing. I couldn’t see how NATAL worked out but I knew it was right. I don’t know how you do it!

  2. I though this was one was excellent: not only some really good clueing (on the upside) but also, perhaps more importantly, a lack of any bad clueing (ie little downside).
    Or at least I had ZERO clues with question marks where the parsing was so obscure or annoying I had marked them to check here… it wasn’t that they were easy (there was some good vocabulary required here and some obscurity) but well worked.

    Very consistent. Bravo setter!

    1. Annul, ganef, monkey business, ladies man, take sides and others. I’m probably seeing a theme where there isn’t one!

      1. Interesting theory! I must admit this setter isn’t very high on my list of favourite people. He/she shows an unhealthy fondness for “deletion” clues – those where a letter is removed from a word (usually a synonym of something in the clue) to provide all or part of the answer. As Lucian well knows, I detest this type of clue because it’s almost impossible to solve just from the wordplay. The same is true of “boy/girl” clues, where the answer includes a name. In both cases you have to guess the answer then work backwards. Grrr!

  3. Broad Thoughts From A Home – you say ‘he/she’ for the setter but I’m pretty sure it’s a chap: I don’t think any woman would call wolf-whistles appreciative noises!

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