A tougher challenge this week, though sadly one that wasn’t especially enjoyable. A combination of an overreliance on riddly clueing, solutions slotted into the grid simply because nothing else would fit, and the trademark repeated solutions that plague these Jumbos conspired to sap the fun from this by the end. Ugh.
Grumpiness aside, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. You can also find links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things on my Just For Fun page, should that help you plug any historic gaps. There are also the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.
Thanks again for the kind feedback, folks. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared in these things. Till next time, keep safe, mask up, get vaccinated (if you can. Every time I try to book an appointment my nearest vaccination centre gets further and further away. My nearest one is now in Ipswich. I live in Norwich. That’s the distance between Manchester and Liverpool and then some!) and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.
- Moral support needed by one who reigns (6)
Answer: PROPER (i.e. “moral”). Solution is PROP (i.e. “support”) followed by ER (i.e. “one who reigns”, specifically Elizabeth Regina).
- Difficult time getting to work in car (7)
Answer: HARDTOP (i.e. “car”). Solution is HARD (i.e. “difficult”) followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”). Nicely worked.
- Vicar maybe showing power, one arriving at target? (8)
Answer: PREACHER (i.e. “vicar maybe”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) followed by REACHER (i.e. “one arriving at target”).
- Bless a grandparent, then, when messing up American poem? (3,4-8,6)
Answer: THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER (i.e. “American poem”). “When messing up” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BLESS A GRANDPARENT THEN.
- Wood contains unknown clear liquid with strong smell (8)
Answer: PYRIDINE (i.e. “liquid with strong smell”). Solution is PINE (i.e. “wood”) wrapped around or “containing” Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as “unknowns”) and RID (i.e. to “clear”), like so: P(Y-RID)INE. One gotten from the wordplay and a check in Chambers.
- Old sailor making a speech (7)
Answer: ORATING (i.e. “making a speech”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by RATING (i.e. “sailor”, specifically a non-commissioned sailor in the navy. And, yes, I did remember this from last week).
- Dream may get one flapping a bit (6)
Answer: EYELID. The intersecting letters E_E_I_ also fit EDENIC (which could describe “dream”), but I can’t make the rest of the clue fit so I’m plumping for EYELID. Can’t say I’m entirely happy with it, though. I mean, who the hell’s eyelids flap when they sleep? Sure, the eyeballs have a rolling good time beneath them, but the lids remain shut throughout. They don’t flap. Good grief, just thinking about it is pure nightmare fuel. I have enough demons keeping me awake at night without thoughts of flappy eyelids as well. Huuuurghhh… What’s that? The clue might also be riffing on eyelids being flaps of skin, you say? Too late. Flappy eyelids. The horror. I’m never sleeping again.
- Date – something girlfriend hopes for? (10)
Answer: ENGAGEMENT. Solution satisfies “date” and “something girlfriend hopes for”. What a quaint world the setter lives in.
- Well-informed, as one who has auditioned successfully for film will be (2,3,7)
Answer: IN THE PICTURE. Solution satisfies “well-informed” and “as one who has auditioned successfully for film will be”.
- Head may have one (4)
Answer: TOPI, a hat worn especially in India. Clue plays on how a “head may have one”. Solution also comprises TOP (i.e. “head”) and I (i.e. Roman numeral “one”).
- Be relatively unobservant as a totally innocent person (8)
Answer: SPOTLESS (i.e. “totally innocent person”). When written as SPOT LESS the solution also satisfies “be relatively unobservant”.
- Rants disclosed half-formed aspirations (8)
Answer: DECLAIMS (i.e. “rants”). Solution is DECLARED (i.e. “disclosed”) with the latter half chopped off (indicated by “half-formed”) and the remainder followed by AIMS (i.e. “aspirations”), like so: DECL-AIMS.
- One may go out to get such psychological treatment (12)
Answer: HYPNOTHERAPY (i.e. “psychological treatment”). Clue plays on how such therapy requires their subjects to be put under or “out”.
- Record left by journalist found unexpectedly? (10)
Answer: DISCOVERED (i.e. “found unexpectedly”). Solution is DISC (i.e. “record”) followed by OVER (i.e. “left” or remaining) and ED (i.e. “journalist”, specifically a shortened form of “editor”).
- Sing bosh and go wild as one making contribution to Mass (5,5)
Answer: HIGGS BOSON (i.e. “one making contribution to mass” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wild”) of SING BOSH and GO.
- Greek character with inclination mostly is male showing lowbrow outlook (12)
Answer: PHILISTINISM (i.e. “lowbrow outlook”). Solution is PHI (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet) followed by LISTING (i.e. “with inclination”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”). These are then followed by IS and M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”), like so: PHI-LISTIN-IS-M. Ho hum. PHILISTINE last week, PHILISTINISM this week. The Marconi GridFill 4000TM strikes again!
- Half of those people not well sending a message (8)
Answer: EMAILING (i.e. “sending a message”). Solution is THEM (i.e. “those people”) with its first “half” removed and the remainder followed by AILING (i.e. “not well”), like so: EM-AILING.
- Where road signs are often visible, incidentally (2,3,3)
Answer: BY THE WAY. Solution satisfies “where road signs are often visible” and “incidentally”.
- Note in second book in a series (4)
Answer: MARK. Solution satisfies “note” and “second book in a series”, specifically the Book of Mark, second book of the Gospels of the New Testament of The Bible.
- Bird gone I’m hoping will deviate appropriately? (6,6)
Answer: HOMING PIGEON (i.e. “bird”). “Will deviate appropriately” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GONE I’M HOPING.
- The beginning and end of pop that’s scarcely audible? (10)
Answer: PIANISSIMO (i.e. “that’s scarcely audible” in musical lingo). The clue plays on PP being a recognised abbreviation of pianissimo, the letters of which being “the beginning and end of ‘pop’”.
- Figure one boy needs inner vitality (6)
Answer: ISOGON (i.e. a “figure” or polygon with equal angles). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by SON (i.e. “boy”) wrapped around or having “inner” GO (i.e. “energy”), like so: I-SO(GO)N.
- Garments for female toys (7)
Answer: TEDDIES. Solution satisfies “garments for female” and “toys”.
- Head’s getting chap troubled with lice (8)
Answer: CEPHALIC (i.e. of or belonging to the “head”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “troubled”) of CHAP and LICE.
- Ever impractical, I go and eat out as a matter of principal (11,10)
Answer: CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE (i.e. “a matter of principal” – over to Chambers: “in the ethics of Kant, the absolute unconditional command of the moral law, irrespective of every ulterior end or aim, obliging people to act responsibly”. Yeah, good luck with that, Kantians). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of EVER IMPRACTICAL I GO and EAT. Given the context of our times, with the Government’s “Eat Out To Help Out” initiative of last year recently blamed in part for seeding the second wave of Covid, this is a very nicely worked clue.
- Sent out offspring half-heartedly around island (8)
Answer: SECRETED (i.e. “sent out”). Solution is SEED (i.e. “offspring”) with one of the middle Es removed (indicated by “half-heartedly”) and the remainder wrapped “around” CRETE (i.e. “island”), like so: SE(CRETE)D.
- Place enthusiastic about strike (3,4)
Answer: LAY INTO (i.e. “strike”). Solution is LAY (i.e. “place”) followed by INTO (i.e. “enthusiastic about”).
- Each nincompoop losing heart in an uncomplicated manner (6)
Answer: EASILY (i.e. “in an uncomplicated manner”). Solution is EA (a recognised abbreviation of “each”) followed by SILLY (i.e. “nincompoop”) with its middle letter removed (indicated by “losing heart”), like so: EA-SILY.
- Bad-tempered fellow seizes sporting trophy (5)
Answer: RATTY (i.e. “bad-tempered”). Solution is RAY (i.e. “fellow”, basically a bloke’s name) wrapped around or “seizing” TT (i.e. “sporting trophy”, specifically the Isle of Man TT or Tourist Trophy), like so: RA(TT)Y.
- Logical assertion comes with forecast – umbrella finally needs to be carried (11)
Answer: PREDICATION (i.e. “logical assertion” – ah this takes me back to the days studying predicate logic at uni. And playing pool. Okay, mostly playing pool). Solution is PREDICTION (i.e. “forecast”) wrapped around or “carrying” A (i.e. “umbrella finally”, i.e. the last letter of “umbrella”), like so: PREDIC(A)TION.
- Shopkeeper, offering fashion again, we hear? (8)
Answer: RETAILER (i.e. “shopkeeper”). “We hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of RE-TAILOR (i.e. “offering fashion again” – the riddly question mark is an admission this isn’t really something you’re going to find in the dictionary).
- Army in hellish ordeal (5)
Answer: HORDE (i.e. “army”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: HELLIS(H ORDE)AL.
- Understanding rebuke given to the Left (7)
Answer: RAPPORT (i.e. “understanding”). Solution is RAP (i.e. “rebuke”) followed by PORT (i.e. “left” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).
- Four in temporary shelter at Cambridgeshire location when feeling unsettled? (11)
Answer: TENTATIVELY (i.e. “when feeling unsettled”). Solution is IV (i.e. “four” in Roman numerals) placed “in” TENT (i.e. “temporary shelter”), AT and ELY (i.e. “Cambridgeshire location”), like so: TENT-AT-(IV)-ELY.
- Caps very good with flowery decoration (5)
Answer: PILEI (i.e. “caps” – specifically the plural of pileum, a kind of felt cap). Solution is PI (i.e. “very good”, specifically a recognised shortened form of pious) followed by LEI (i.e. garland or “flowery decoration”). Definitely the first word the setter slotted in the grid. No question about it.
- Quiet English girl wanting too much is coming from a distinguished family (9)
Answer: PEDIGREED (i.e. “coming from a distinguished family”). Solution is P (i.e. “quiet”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the musical lingo “piano”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), then DI (i.e. “girl”, basically a girl’s name) and GREED (i.e. “wanting too much”).
- Cancel The Times before start of excursion (5)
Answer: ERASE (i.e. “cancel”). Solution is ERAS (i.e. “times” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) followed by E (i.e. “start of excursion”, i.e. the first letter of “excursion”).
- Does one need to add water to this drink? Think hard (11)
Answer: CONCENTRATE. Solution satisfies “add water to this drink” and “think hard”.
- Listener wants story – prime bit of romance from a previous era? (7)
Answer: EARLIER (i.e. “from a previous era”). Solution is EAR (i.e. “listener”) followed by LIE (i.e. “story”) and R (i.e. “prime bit of romance”, i.e. the first letter of “romance”).
- This element could disturb me, mind you (9)
Answer: NEODYMIUM (i.e. “element”). “Could disturb” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ME MIND YOU.
- Name of newspaper no longer needing journalists? (7)
Answer: EXPRESS (i.e. “name of newspaper”). The remainder of the clue riffs on EX- meaning former or “no longer” and “journalists” being the PRESS. You get the idea.
- Spin in cricket match met with attacking strike (4,5)
Answer: TEST DRIVE (i.e. “spin” in a car). Solution is TEST (i.e. “cricket match”) followed by DRIVE (i.e. “attacking strike” in cricket). Nicely worked.
- Fashionable church – nothing had to be other than perfectly finished (8)
Answer: INCHOATE (i.e. “other than perfectly finished”). Solution is IN (i.e. “fashionable”) followed by CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”), then O (i.e. “nothing”) and ATE (i.e. “had” or consumed).
- Like good apprentice artist at home limited by workbench? (9)
Answer: TRAINABLE (i.e. “like good apprentice”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) and IN (i.e. “at home”) both placed in or “limited by” TABLE (i.e. “workbench”), like so: T(RA-IN)ABLE.
- Disorder of realm, most unstable (9)
Answer: MAELSTROM (i.e. “disorder”). “Unstable” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REALM MOST.
- Go over heather to find accommodation for animals (8)
Answer: STABLING (i.e. “accommodation for animals”). Solution is STAB (i.e. a “go” or try of something) placed “over” or followed by – this being a down clue – LING (i.e. “heather”).
- A shrub or a rush growing up in deep water? (7)
Answer: SPIRAEA (i.e. “shrub”). Solution is A and RIP (i.e. “rush” or to hare about the place) both reversed (indicated by “growing up”) and placed “in” SEA (i.e. “deep water”), like so: S(PIR-A)EA. A rare fail for my Bradford’s, which doesn’t list this under “shrubs” but did list it under “plants”. (Shrugs.)
- Component of Christmas story giving inspiration to famous actor? (7,4)
Answer: GUIDING STAR (i.e. “component of Christmas story”). Solution is GUIDING (i.e. “giving inspiration to”) followed by STAR (i.e. “famous actor”).
- Having the makings of being powerful, India, with international friend? (11)
Answer: POTENTIALLY (i.e. “having the makings of being”). Solution is POTENT (i.e. “powerful”) followed by I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet) and ALLY (i.e. “international friend”).
- The study of bits and pieces? (11)
Answer: NUMISMATICS. Clue plays on “bits” and “pieces” being words for coins. A pretty obvious play, so this was gotten by punching “study of coins” into Google. I literally have no shame.
- Duke, say, rising to embrace brood of youngsters, sparkled (9)
Answer: GLITTERED (i.e. “sparked”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “duke”) and EG (i.e. “say”, as in “for example”) both reversed (indicated by “rising”) and placed around or “embracing” LITTER (i.e. “brood of youngster”), like so: G(LITTER)E-D.
- Relocate fifty in area after getting personal information set up (8)
Answer: DISPLACE (i.e. “relocate”). Solution is L (i.e. Roman numeral “fifty”) placed “in” SPACE (i.e. “area”) which is then placed “after” ID (i.e. “personal information”) once reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue), like so: DI-SP(L)ACE.
- Bone very small or very big needing cutting implement reportedly (7)
Answer: OSSICLE (i.e. “bone very small”). Solution is OS (i.e. “very big”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “outsized”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of SICKLE (i.e. “cutting implement”), like so: OS-SICLE. I knew it would begin with OSS, given an ossuary is a container for bones (I’m weird, I know), but it needed a slight brute force of my Chambers to nail it.
- Job obtained by graduate – not primarily one who goes the rounds? (7)
Answer: POSTMAN (i.e. “one who goes the rounds”). Solution is POST (i.e. “job”) followed by MA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Master of Arts) and N (i.e. “not primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “not”).
- Near the end of August – when you notice this is getting longer? (5)
Answer: NIGHT (i.e. “August – when you notice this is getting longer”). Solution is NIGH (i.e. “near”) followed by T (i.e. “the end [letter] of August”).
- Like a lord the French could regularly upset (5)
Answer: DUCAL (i.e. “like a lord”). Solution is LA (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the French for “the”) and CUD (i.e. “could regularly”, i.e. every other letter of COULD) both reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue), like so: DUC-AL.
- Conservative to reformulate list of basic tenets? (5)
Answer: CREDO (i.e. “list of basic tenets”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) followed by REDO (i.e. “to reformulate”).
- Perfect bride always shows off (5)
Answer: IDEAL (i.e. “perfect”). “Shows off” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: BR(IDE AL)WAYS.