Another medium strength offering, relatively speaking. Much like Saturday’s puzzle the smattering of exotic solutions here were mostly gettable after thumbing through a few dictionaries, which is how it should be. Another good ‘un, then. Stinker next week, do you reckon?
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 is looking a little gappy then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Meanwhile, there’s the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.
Thanks again for the comments, folks. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared in these things. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.
- Sister holding rug with no time to beat it (7)
Answer: SCARPER (i.e. “beat it”). Solution is SR (a recognised abbreviation of the title “Sister”) wrapped around or “holding” CARPET (i.e. “rug”) once its T has been removed (indicated by “with no time” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: S(CARPE)R.
- Stretch of river covering basins of salt (7)
Answer: EXPANSE (i.e. “stretch”). Solution is EXE (i.e. a “river”) wrapped around or “covering” PANS (i.e. “basins of salt”), like so: EX(PANS)E.
- Appear cheated in hearing, so stopped and returned (7)
Answer: FIELDED (i.e. “stopped and returned” a ball in, say, cricket). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “in hearing”) of FEEL (i.e. “appear”) and DID (i.e. “cheated”).
- Poem the Italian writes with nothing on love (2,9)
Answer: IL PENSEROSO (i.e. “poem” by John Milton. No, me neither). Solution is IL (i.e. “the Italian”, i.e. the Italian for “the”) followed by PENS (i.e. “writes”), then O (i.e. “nothing”) placed “on” of after EROS (Greek god of “love”), like so: IL-PENS-(EROS)-O. Gotten mainly from chucking IL PENS into Google and seeing what it suggested next. I have no shame.
- Writhing excites love – stop! (4,7)
Answer: VOIX CELESTE (i.e. a type of organ “stop”. Again, shrugs from this quarter). “Writhing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EXCITES LOVE. Easy wordplay, but needed a little bit of brute force to crack. Here’s a video demonstrating it in action. Can’t say I’m much the wiser, to be honest.
- Small limb child plays on (5)
Answer: SWING (i.e. “child plays on” it). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by WING (i.e. “limb”).
- Calm, not yet sacked by The Times? (7)
Answer: STILLED (i.e. “calm”). When written as STILL ED the solution also satisfies “not yet sacked by The Times”. Perhaps this one was compiled by the puzzles editor.
- When one’s ahead of everybody, almost? (9)
Answer: AFTERNOON (a moment in time or “when”). Solution is AFTER NO-ONE (i.e. “ahead of everybody”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”).
- Thought train often featured in modernist novels (6,2,13)
Answer: STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS. Clue and solution describe a method of writing used by certain novelists to present the thoughts of a character as they occur. They’re easy to spot as they’re usually formed of wall-of-text sentences that go on and on for umpteen pages, and they are always, without exception, utterly, utterly awful. Like “don’t do it, oh no he’s doing it, look away in shame” kind of awful, like the author has decided to have a wank in public. Which, literarily speaking, is exactly what they are doing.
- Trouble-maker pretended to have had an effect (8)
Answer: IMPACTED (i.e. “have had an effect”). Solution is IMP (i.e. “trouble-maker”) followed by ACTED (i.e. “pretended”).
- Designated as nasty, knocking off sodium light (6)
Answer: STYLED (i.e. “designated”). Solution is NASTY with the NA removed (indicated by “knocking off sodium”, i.e. its chemical symbol) and the remainder followed by LED (i.e. “light”, specifically a Light Emitting Diode), like so: STY-LED. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here as I couldn’t make the connection.
- Lightly fried sesame, for example, which faculty regularly may tuck into (7)
Answer: SAUTEED (i.e. “lightly fried”). Solution is SEED (i.e. “sesame, for example” – other bags of seed are available) wrapped around or having “tucked in” AUT (i.e. “faculty regularly”, i.e. every other letter of FACULTY), like so: S(AUT)EED.
- Northerner once holding old twist of thread (5)
Answer: PICOT (i.e. “twist of thread”). Solution is PICT (i.e. “Northerner once”) wrapped around or “holding” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: PIC(O)T.
- Structure of an alliance that surprises me (7)
Answer: ANATOMY (i.e. “structure”). Solution is A NATO (i.e. “an alliance”, specifically the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) followed by MY (i.e. “that surprises me”, as in gosh, blimey, lummee, that sort of thing).
- Mechanic is erratic, if given confusing order (9)
Answer: ARTIFICER (i.e. “mechanic”). “Given confusing order” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ERRATIC IF.
- Flirtatious girl with very little money – gambler making right move (9)
Answer: SOUBRETTE (i.e. “flirtatious girl”, usually in theatrical productions). Solution is SOU (i.e. “very little money”, historically “a French five-centime piece” (Chambers)) followed by BETTER (i.e. “gambler”) once the R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) has been “moved”, like so: SOU-BETTE(R) => SOU-B(R)ETTE.
- Happening to enter, shortly departed (5,2)
Answer: GOING ON (i.e. “happening”). Solution is GO IN (i.e. “to enter”) followed by GONE (i.e. “departed”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “shortly”), like so: GO-IN-GON.
- Linger as blue is reflected by lake (5)
Answer: DWELL (i.e. “linger”). Solution is LEWD (i.e. “blue”) reversed (indicated by “reflected”) and followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: DWEL-L.
- Periodically, three fired up are busily active around one (7)
Answer: LITHIUM (i.e. “periodically, three” – a reference to lithium’s position in the “periodic” table, having an atomic number of “three”). Solution is LIT (i.e. “fired up”) followed by HUM (i.e. “busily active”) once wrapped “around” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: LIT-H(I)UM.
- For the audience, it might be on a high card (6)
Answer: HONOUR. Solution satisfies “for the audience it might be on a”, i.e. homophones of “on a” – depends how you pronounce ‘a’, I suppose – and a “high card” in a game of bridge. A new one on me, but then I don’t play the game.
- Men following female python, say, replacing end of skin that’s cast off (8)
Answer: FORSAKEN (i.e. “cast off”). Solution is OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) placed after or “following” F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) and followed by SNAKE (i.e. “python, say”) once the N (i.e. “end [letter] of skin”) has been moved or “replaced”, like so: F-(OR)-S(N)AKE => F-(OR)-SAKE(N).
- Livelihood dull person finds sweet (5-3-6,7)
Answer: BREAD-AND-BUTTER PUDDING (i.e. “sweet”). Solution is BREAD-AND-BUTTER (i.e. “livelihood”) followed by PUDDING (i.e. “dull person”).
- I’m a vocalist, love – something fishy here (9)
Answer: ISINGLASS (i.e. “something fishy here”, specifically “a material, mainly gelatine, obtained from sturgeon’s air bladders and other sources” (Chambers). It gets used in making jellies and in real ale production, in case you thought scientists pulled out sturgeon’s air bladders purely for shits and giggles). When written as I SING, LASS the solution also satisfies “I’m a vocalist, love”. Weirdly one I knew.
- Care worker shows a lot of cash in both hands (7)
Answer: ALMONER (i.e. “care worker”). Solution is A followed by MONEY (i.e. “cash”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of…”) once placed between or “in” L and R (i.e. “both hands”, i.e. recognised abbreviations of “left” and “right”), like so: A-L-(MONE)-R. One of those “make up a word and check in the dictionary” moments.
- Flirt with the lassies on and off (5)
Answer: TEASE (i.e. “flirt with”). “On and off” indicates the solution is derived from every other letter of THE LASSIES.
- Get don back somehow in headcount reduction? Fanciful (4-3-4)
Answer: COCK-AND-BULL (i.e. “fanciful”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of DON BACK placed “in” CULL (i.e. “headcount reduction”), like so: C(OCKANDB)ULL.
- Feature of phone to be delayed, interrupting profession (4,7)
Answer: CALL-WAITING (i.e. “feature of phone”). Solution is WAIT (i.e. “to be delayed”) placed in or “interrupting” CALLING (i.e. “profession”), like so: CALL-(WAIT)-ING.
- Catch some veterans newly returned (7)
Answer: ENSNARE (i.e. “catch”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “returned” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: VET(ERANS NE)WLY.
- Argument fills feeble football feature (5-2)
Answer: THROW-IN (i.e. “football feature”). Solution is ROW (i.e. “argument”) placed in or “filling” THIN (i.e. “feeble”), like so: TH(ROW)IN.
- Some err, generating this? (7)
Answer: REMORSES. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “generating”) of SOME ERR. In the context of the clue, some who err may indeed feel some remorse.
- Most devious way to conceal concoctions (6)
Answer: SLIEST (i.e. “most devious” – can be spelled slyest or sliest). Solution is ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”) wrapped around or “concealing” LIES (i.e. “concoctions”), like so: S(LIES)T.
- Taking fruit round one makes a request (7)
Answer: APPLIES (i.e. “makes a request”). Solution is APPLES (i.e. “fruit”) wrapped “round” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: APPL(I)ES.
- In terror, grey with worry making public oration (9)
Answer: PANEGYRIC (i.e. “public oration”). Solution is PANIC (i.e. “terror”) wrapped around or having “in” an anagram (indicated by “with worry”) of GREY, like so: PAN(EGYR)IC.
- Judges restricting European banks (5)
Answer: REEFS (i.e. “banks”). Solution is REFS (i.e. “judges”, short for referees) wrapped around or “restricting” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: R(E)EFS.
- Expressive face, having picked up book I pore over (8)
Answer: EMOTICON (i.e. “expressive face” – or pint glass, multiple pint glasses, pizza slice or eight ball if my text messages are anything to go by). Solution is TOME (i.e. “book”) reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue) and followed by I and CON (i.e. “pore over” – con is an archaic word for study, which setters love), like so: EMOT-I-CON.
- Patrol runs into would-be escapee? Back to cell (5)
Answer: PROWL (i.e. “patrol”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in several ball games) placed “into” POW (i.e. “would-be escapee”, specifically a Prisoner Of War) and followed by L (i.e. “back of cell”, i.e. the last letter of “cell”), like so: P(R)OW-L.
- Statesman, one that runs through St. Petersburg, and collapses (7)
Answer: NEVADAN (i.e. US “statesman”, an inhabitant of Nevada). Solution is NEVA (i.e. “one that runs through St. Petersburg” – referring to the River Neva) followed by an anagram (indicated by “collapses”) of AND, like so: NEVA-DAN.
- Poussin’s work I decorate again, stupidly (2,2,7,3)
Answer: ET IN ARCADIA EGO (i.e. Nicolas “Poussin’s work”). “Stupidly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I DECORATE AGAIN. This would have been a lot more difficult had this exact same solution not already appeared in a recent-ish Jumbo. You might want to shake up that auto-fill word pool again, setters. Either that or Times setters are strangely attracted to this one painting. Don’t know why. I mean, there’s nothing all that special about it; nothing religious or mystical, for example, at least to this internet nobody. It merely depicts a scene in which three builders are pointing out the shoddy handiwork of whichever cowboys the woman had in last. Happened all the time back then. Next painting, please.
- Turbulent, consuming energy without serious purpose (9)
Answer: FACETIOUS (i.e. “without serious purpose”). Solution is FACTIOUS (i.e. “turbulent”) wrapped around or “consuming” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: FAC(E)TIOUS.
- Oriental potentate dismissing head mathematician (5)
Answer: Leonhard EULER (i.e. “mathematician”). Solution is E (i.e. “Oriental”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”) followed by RULER (i.e. “potentate”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “dismissing head”), like so: E-ULER.
- Board manoeuvre brought to light audit (10,5)
Answer: DISCOVERED CHECK (i.e. “board manoeuvre”, specifically “in chess, a check produced by moving a piece to leave a second piece attacking the opponent’s king” (Chambers) – I’m not a chess man, but I rather like the concept). Solution is DISCOVERED (i.e. “brought to light”) followed by CHECK (i.e. “audit”).
- Chaperone expected small girl to stand up (7)
Answer: DUENNAS (i.e. “chaperones” over in Spain). Solution is DUE (i.e. “expected”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and ANN (i.e. “girl” – basically a girl’s name) once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “to stand up” – this being a down clue), like so: DUE-(NNA-S). Chalk another one to my Bradford’s here.
- One never cracking up with a long period to survive (7)
Answer: AGELAST (i.e. a miseryguts or “one never cracking up”). Marked as a rarely used word in Chambers, but I rather like it. Solution is AGE (i.e. “a long period”) followed by LAST (i.e. “to survive”).
- Machine removing seeds from bed: nothing wrong displacing horse (6,3)
Answer: COTTON GIN (i.e. “machine removing seeds” from cotton fibres). Solution is COT (i.e. “bed”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “wrong”) of NOTHING once the H as been removed (indicated by “displacing horse” – H and “horse” are both street names for heroin), like so: COT-TONGIN. Another new one on me, but not one I imagine remembering much beyond the end of this sentence.
- Filled with second bunch of grass, we hear (7)
Answer: STUFFED (i.e. “filled with”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “we hear”) of TUFT (i.e. “bunch of grass”).
What the hell is a cotton gin?
- Face accepting concessions in return for sale (8)
Answer: DISPOSAL (i.e. “sale”). Solution is DIAL (i.e. “face”) wrapped around or “accepting” SOPS (i.e. “concessions”) once reversed (indicated by “in return”), like so: DI(SPOS)AL.
- Acquire certain guns to restore equilibrium (4,2,3,6)
Answer: PICK UP THE PIECES (i.e. “restore equilibrium”). Clue also plays on PIECES being slang for “guns” and how one would acquire or PICK them UP. Excuse me while I Smashie and Nicey a little…
- Substitute for model terribly ugly, I fear (3,6)
Answer: LAY FIGURE (i.e. “substitute for model”, specifically a wooden jointed figure used by artists). “Terribly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UGLY I FEAR.
- In the night, king embraced by beloved (8)
Answer: DARKLING (i.e. “in the night”). Solution is K (a recognised abbreviation of “king”) placed in or “embraced by” DARLING (i.e. “beloved”), like so: DAR(K)LING.
- Surpass everything by eating a rich tea? (4,3,7)
Answer: TAKE THE BISCUIT. Solution satisfies “surpass everything” and “eating a rich tea”.
- Waited, having had a go at crossing a river (7)
Answer: TARRIED (i.e. “waited”). Solution is TRIED (i.e. “having had a go”) wrapped around or “crossing” A and R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: T(A-R)RIED.
- Brown went for a small child, possibly, and danced (7)
Answer: TANGOED (i.e. “danced”). Solution is TAN (i.e. “brown”) followed by GOED (i.e. “went for a small child, possibly”, i.e. how a young child might say “goed” as a past tense of “go” rather than saying “went”).
- Violently grab principal knob, dropping one (9)
Answer: MANHANDLE (i.e. “violently grab”). Solution is MAIN HANDLE (i.e. “principal knob” – titter ye not) with the I removed (indicated by “dropping [Roman numeral] one”).
- In religion, suggestion to follow saint is in order (9)
Answer: SHINTOISM (i.e. “religion”). Solution is HINT (i.e. “suggestion”) placed after or “following” S (a recognised abbreviation of “saint” – can be S or St) and followed by IS once placed “in” OM (i.e. “order”, specifically an Order of Merit), like so: S-HINT-O(IS)M.
- Start to design type of work area (4-4)
Answer: OPEN-PLAN (i.e. “type of work area”). Solution is OPEN (i.e. “start”) followed by PLAN (i.e. “to design”).
- With enthusiasm shortly get teeth into roll (7)
Answer: BRIOCHE (i.e. “roll”). Solution is BRIO (i.e. “with enthusiasm”) followed by CHEW (i.e. “get teeth into”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “shortly”), like so: BRIO-CHE.
- One that’s behind advertisement (7)
Answer: TRAILER. Solution satisfies “one that’s behind” and “advertisement” for, say, a movie.
- Frozen creeper finally dying, more delicate (7)
Answer: GLACIER (i.e. “frozen creeper”). Solution is G (i.e. “finally dying”, i.e. the last letter of “dying”) followed by LACIER (i.e. “more delicate”).
- Bond to some extent while a guest (6)
Answer: LEAGUE (i.e. “bond”). “To some extent” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: WHI(LE A GUE)ST.
- Gather for hearing in the country (5)
Answer: GHANA (i.e. “country”). “For hearing” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of GARNER (i.e. “gather”).
- Bird about to disappear into gullet (5)
Answer: MACAW (i.e. “bird”). Solution is CA (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) placed “into” MAW (i.e. “gullet”), like so: MA(CA)W.
- Quarrelsome sportsman? (5)
Answer: ROWER (i.e. “sportsman”). Clue plays on how a ROW can be a “quarrel”. You get the idea.
No musical accompaniment today, unless you count the rhythmic beat of my tumble drier. (Had to keep the house warm somehow.) – LP