A relatively straightforward one this week – I don’t mind that! – and one with some nicely worked clues to ponder over. 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 you scratching your head then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where I’ve listed links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Meanwhile there are also the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.
Thanks once more for the kind words and helpful comments, folks. They are always appreciated, and it’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers on these things. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated (my jab’s getting closer; at least I’m now being offered sites in the county I live in!) and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.
- US agent coming over to take drugs and render harmless (6)
Answer: DEFUSE (i.e. “render harmless”). Solution is FED (i.e. “US agent”) reversed (indicated by “coming over”) and followed by USE (i.e. “to take drugs”), like so: DEF-USE.
- Gaunt, ill-mannered chap insists on hanging round colleges (10)
Answer: CADAVEROUS (i.e. “gaunt”). Solution is CAD (i.e. “ill-mannered chap” – at your service, old thing) followed by AVERS (i.e. “insists on”) wrapped “round” OU (i.e. “colleges” – specifically Oxford University), like so: CAD-AVER(OU)S.
- Provide a place for a plant (5)
Answer: HOSTA (i.e. “plant”). Solution is HOST (i.e. “provide a place for”) followed by A. Gotten from the wordplay, if I’m honest.
- Media’s run amok – who cares? (9)
Answer: NURSEMAID (i.e. someone “who cares”). “Amok” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MEDIA’S RUN.
- Amazed heavy vehicle moves noisily in front (13)
Answer: THUNDERSTRUCK (i.e. “amazed”). Solution is TRUCK (i.e. “heavy vehicle”) with THUNDERS (i.e. “moves noisily”) placed “in front” of it. Here’s hoping the setter is an AC/DC fan!
- Drama, musical one, that’s too short? Don’t bet on it! (2-5)
Answer: NO-HOPER (i.e. “don’t bet on it”). Solution is NOH (i.e. Japanese “drama” you sometimes see in these things) followed by OPERA (i.e. “[drama,] musical one”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “that’s too short”), like so: NOH-OPER.
- Remove alcohol? That settles it! (7)
Answer: DECIDER (i.e. “that settles it”). When written as DE-CIDER the solution also satisfies “remove alcohol”. I admit this did raise a chuckle when I twigged it.
- Aspiring opener for Uruguay bowled out (5-2)
Answer: WOULD-BE (i.e. “aspiring”). Solution is U (i.e. “opener for Uruguay”, i.e. the first letter of “Uruguay”) with an anagram (indicated by “out”) of BOWLED wrapped around it (I’m guessing also indicated by “out”, i.e. the anagram being placed “outside” of the U, though this is rather flexing it), like so: WO(U)LD-BE.
- Spreading muck, perhaps, after heated exchange of views (5-13)
Answer: CROSS-FERTILISATION (i.e. “spreading”). Clue plays on manure or “muck” being used as fertiliser for crops, and cross being descriptive of a state of anger. You get the idea.
- Room in pub – Turner’s Arms? (4)
Answer: SNUG (i.e. “room in pub”). Solution is GUNS (i.e. “arms”) reversed (indicated by “turner’s”), ignoring the capitalisation all round.
- Abdicate, leaving son to rule (5)
Answer: REIGN (i.e. “to rule”). Solution is RESIGN (i.e. “abdicate”) with the S removed (indicated by “leaving son” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”).
- Make show of appreciation and mouth “rubbish!” (8)
Answer: CLAPTRAP (i.e. “rubbish”). Solution is CLAP (i.e. “make show of appreciation”) followed by TRAP (informal word for a “mouth”).
- Piano by ear is something that can be draining (8)
Answer: PLUGHOLE (i.e. “something that can be draining”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano” in musical lingo) followed by LUGHOLE (i.e. “ear”).
- Dizzy blonde? (5-6)
Answer: LIGHT-HEADED. Solution satisfies “dizzy” and “blonde” as in a light hair colour.
- Quantity of sugar, perhaps, thrown out of planes (11)
Answer: TEASPOONFUL (i.e. “quantity of sugar, perhaps” – other substances are available). “Thrown out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OUT OF PLANES.
- Depart from Heathrow, perhaps seizing moment for break (4,4,3)
Answer: TAKE TIME OFF (i.e. “break”). Solution is TAKE OFF (i.e. “depart from Heathrow, perhaps” – other airports yada-yada-yada…) wrapped around or “seizing” TIME (i.e. “moment”).
- Red standing for reform, filled with dread (5-6)
Answer: ANGST-RIDDEN (i.e. “filled with dread”). “For reform” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RED STANDING.
- Reserve money – you’ll get stick when it’s finished! (3,5)
Answer: ICE LOLLY (i.e. “you’ll get stick when it’s finished”). Solution is ICE (i.e. “reserve” or a chilly nature) followed by LOLLY (a slang word for “money”).
- “Read it and weep!”, cries politician (3,5)
Answer: SOB STORY (i.e. “read it and weep”). Solution is SOBS (i.e. “cries”) followed by TORY (i.e. “politician”).
- Long period of time, November (5)
Answer: YEARN (i.e. to “long” for). Solution is YEAR (i.e. “period of time”) followed by N (“November” in the phonetic alphabet).
- Money paid for access ending in scandal? (4)
Answer: GATE. Solution satisfies “money paid for access” and “ending in scandal”, i.e. how -GATE often gets appended to a word relative to a scandal, after Watergate.
- No truce can result from this papal campaign (7-11)
Answer: COUNTER-REFORMATION (i.e. “papal campaign” against the Reformation of the sixteenth century). “No truce can result from this” plays on the solution cryptically suggesting COUNTER as an anagram or REFORMATION of “no truce”.
- Gigantic mummy, a creature of the night (7)
Answer: MAMMOTH (i.e. “gigantic”). Solution is MAM (i.e. “mummy”, both words for mother) followed by MOTH (i.e. “a creature of the night”).
- No learner, comprehends hard parts of Listener (7)
Answer: INCUDES (i.e. “hard parts of Listener” – ignore the misleading capitalisation, the clue’s referring to the tiny bones found in the ear). Solution is INCLUDES (i.e. “comprehends”) with the L removed (indicated by “no learner”, as in L-plates). Another gotten from the wordplay.
- Number for one absorbed in Italian side (7)
Answer: INTEGER (i.e. a whole “number”). Solution is EG (i.e. “for one” or for example) placed or “absorbed in” INTER Milan (i.e. “Italian [football] side”), like so: INT(EG)ER.
- When everyone’s out, officers will take children’s plaything (7,6)
Answer: GENERAL STRIKE (i.e. “when everyone’s out”). Solution is GENERALS (i.e. “officers”) followed by TRIKE (i.e. “children’s plaything”).
- Under escort, old force surrounded by rocks listed rapidly (6,3)
Answer: REELED OFF (i.e. “listed rapidly”). Solution is LED (i.e. “under escort”), O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and F (ditto “force”) all placed in or “surrounded by” REEF (i.e. “rocks”), like so: REE(LED-O-F)F.
- Vigilant, one following a boat (5)
Answer: AWAKE (i.e. “vigilant”). When written as A WAKE the solution also satisfies “one following a boat”.
- Party ruins chips and beans? (4,6)
Answer: SIDE DISHES (i.e. “chips and beans”). Solution is SIDE (i.e. group or “party”) followed by DISHES (i.e. “ruins”).
- Keep smothering old woman’s style (6)
Answer: FORMAT (i.e. “style”). Solution is FORT (i.e. a “keep”) wrapped around or “smothering” MA (i.e. “old woman”, another reference to mother), like so: FOR(MA)T.
- Row over caring disrupted meals-on-wheels service (6-3)
Answer: DINING-CAR (i.e. “meals-on-wheels service”). Solution is DIN (i.e. “row”) placed before or “over” – this being a down clue – an anagram (indicated by “disrupted”) of CARING, like so: DIN-INGCAR.
- Finishing outside podium places after switch, United failing to get ahead (11)
Answer: FORTHCOMING (i.e. “ahead”). Solution is COMING FOURTH (i.e. “finishing outside podium places”) with the words “switched” and the U removed (indicated by “United failing” – U being a recognised abbreviation of “United”).
- Dance moves, picked up in parts of central Asia? (7)
Answer: STEPPES (i.e. “parts of central Asia”). “Picked up” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of STEPS (i.e. “dance moves”).
- Plug stopped working, with no electric current attached (5)
Answer: ADDED (i.e. “attached”). Solution is AD (i.e. “plug” or advertisement) followed by DIED (i.e. “stopped working”) once the I has been removed (indicated by “with no electric current” – I is used to represent this in physics), like so: AD-DED.
- Spoke coherently while having a joint (11)
Answer: ARTICULATED. Solution satisfies “spoke coherently” and “having a joint”. Nicely done.
- Horse is beat, with end of desert no closer (11)
Answer: EQUIDISTANT (i.e. “no closer” – a bit too loose for me, but I imagine Perry Mason could make it stick). Solution is EQUID (i.e. “horse”) followed by IS, then TAN (i.e. to “beat”) and T (i.e. “end [letter] of desert”).
- A doubter, awfully hard to persuade (8)
Answer: OBDURATE (i.e. “hard to persuade”). “Awfully” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A DOUBTER.
- Blond politician on left’s test of opinion (5,4)
Answer: STRAW POLL (i.e. “test of opinion”). Solution is STRAW (i.e. “blond”, descriptive of the colour of straw) followed by POL (a recognised abbreviation of “politician”) and L (ditto “left”).
- Withhold Euro from abominable busker’s collection? (6)
Answer: HATFUL (i.e. “busker’s collection”). Solution is HATEFUL (i.e. “abominable”) with the E removed (indicated by “withhold Euro from”, E being a recognised abbreviation of “Euro”).
- Making complaint – test inaccurate (8,3)
Answer: SOUNDING OFF. Solution satisfies “making complaint” and “test inaccurate”.
- A new venison supplier served up joint (5)
Answer: ANKLE (i.e. “joint”). Solution is A followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and ELK (i.e. “venison supplier”) once reversed (indicated by “served up” – this being a down clue), like so: A-N-KLE. Nicely worked.
- Wall before elite is something offering superficial protection (7,5)
Answer: BARRIER CREAM (i.e. “something offering superficial protection” for the hands). Solution is BARRIER (i.e. “wall”) placed “before” CREAM (i.e. “elite”).
- Rent deduction producing show of emotion (8)
Answer: TEARDROP (i.e. “show of emotion”). Solution is TEAR (i.e. “rent”) followed by DROP (i.e. “deduction”). Another nicely worked clue.
- Zip-join coming up short? This could cause trouble (7)
Answer: GREMLIN (i.e. “this could cause trouble”). Solution is NIL (i.e. “zip” or nothing) and MERGE (i.e. “join”) reversed (indicated by “coming up” – this being a down clue) once the E of MERGE has been removed (indicated by “short”), like so: GREM-LIN.
- My ironing, not right – blasted disgrace! (8)
Answer: IGNOMINY (i.e. “disgrace”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “blasted”) of MY IRONING once the R has been removed (indicated by “not right” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”).
- People congregating around centre of bath taking a dip (8)
Answer: NATATION (i.e. swimming or “taking a dip”). Solution is NATION (i.e. “people”) wrapped “around” AT (i.e. “centre of bath”, i.e. the middle letters of “bath”), like so: N(AT)ATION.
- Dismiss howl of wolf in the end (5,3)
Answer: LAUGH OFF (i.e. “dismiss”). Solution is LAUGH (i.e. “howl”) followed by OF and F (i.e. “wolf in the end”, i.e. the last letter of “wolf”).
- Turner’s activity could be a Hollywood affair (7)
Answer: LATHING (i.e. “turner’s activity”). When written as LA THING the solution also satisfies “Hollywood affair”.
- Eccentric took Eurostar perhaps for continent, when young (5-7)
Answer: POTTY-TRAINED (i.e. “continent, when young”). Solution is POTTY (i.e. “eccentric”) followed by TRAINED (i.e. “took Eurostar perhaps”).
- I plan to make changes, feeling compelled to take stock? (11)
Answer: KLEPTOMANIA (i.e. “feeling compelled to take stock”). “Changes” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I PLAN TO MAKE.
- Sixties activist rose, perhaps, rebuked after infiltration by left (6,5)
Answer: FLOWER CHILD (i.e. “sixties activist”). Solution is FLOWER (i.e. “rose, perhaps” – other flowers are available) followed by CHID (i.e. “rebuked”) once wrapped around or “after infiltration by” L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”), like so: FLOWER-CHI(L)D.
- When beginning to speak to audience, you blush, acquiring confidence (11)
Answer: ASSUREDNESS (i.e. “confidence”). Solution is AS (i.e. “when”) followed by S (i.e. “beginning to speak”, i.e. the first letter of “speak”), then U (i.e. “to audience, you”, i.e. how the letter U is pronounced the same as “you”) and REDNESS (i.e. “blush”).
- Attractive feature of house? (7,4)
Answer: DRAWING ROOM (i.e. “feature of house”). Clue plays on DRAWING being another word for “attracting”.
- Kitty’s heading north on vacation, adopting English ways to escape (9)
Answer: LOOPHOLES (i.e. “ways to escape”). Solution is POOL (i.e. “kitty”) reversed (indicated by “heading north” – this being a down clue) and followed by HOLS (i.e. “vacation”) once wrapped around or “adopting” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: LOOP-HOL(E)S.
- Like charity that’s anti-exercise? (3-6)
Answer: NON-PROFIT (i.e. “like charity”). When written as NON-PRO-FIT the solution also playfully satisfies “anti-exercise”, assuming someone in favour of exercise would be “pro-fit”.
- South Asian character in fifties charged (8)
Answer: INDICTED (i.e. “charged”). Solution is INDIC (i.e. “South Asian”, specifically originating from India) followed by TED (i.e. “character in fifties”, a reference to Teddy Boys).
- Redcoat’s unconventional style (3,4)
Answer: ART DECO (i.e. “style”). “Unconventional” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REDCOAT.
- Shell company with real investment expanded initially (6)
Answer: COWRIE (i.e. “shell”, specifically that of a mollusc of the same name). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) followed by W (ditto “with”) and RIE (i.e. “real investment expanded initially”, i.e. the initial letters of “real”, “investment” and “expanded”). Chalk one to my Bradford’s here.
- “Flower of Pompeii” publication supported by postgraduate (5)
Answer: MAGMA (i.e. “flower of Pompeii”, as in how magma flows). Solution is MAG (i.e. “publication” or magazine) followed by MA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Master of Arts).
- One running through Berlin in binge (5)
Answer: SPREE. Solution satisfies “one running through Berlin”, a reference to the River Spree, and “binge”. Chalk another to my Bradford’s.
After a couple of week’s spent wallowing in nostalgia, this week’s post has been accompanied by something a little more recent. Well, this millennium at least. If you are a fan of British electronica then you’ll be familiar with Orbital, who scored hits back in the day with The Box and Satan, and whose most recent album, Monsters Exist, contains the sublime Tiny Foldable Cities and the hint-of-mad-genius that is P.H.U.K. What I didn’t realise until relatively recently, however, was that Paul Hartnoll had also created a few solo albums, the first of which, The Ideal Condition, is a fine listen. For the most part the electronica takes a backseat to elegant orchestral arrangements, and it works rather well. I swear Haven’t We Met Before? is a theme tune begging for a TV show. It even includes a Robert Smith collaboration for any Cure completionists out there. Not a bad find, all told. Go check it out. In the meantime, here’s the finest thing Orbital ever did. The tune starts at 0:51 in case all the haunted house creaking freaks you out, but, be warned, it gets no less scary after that! Such a shame this version is not on Spotify… Laters! – LP.