Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1499

A mostly straightforward puzzle this week, though a little lop-sided. The bottom-right corner seemed degrees harder than the rest of the grid. Weird how that happens sometimes. Some good clues to enjoy, though.

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 given you the slip then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 150-ish of these things. There are also the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the comments and kind words, everyone. It’s always interesting to hear what other solvers make of the Jumbos. Till next time, stay safe, mask up (not for much longer, one hopes!), get vaccinated and keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere.


Across clues

  1. After alterations our coat is really frightful (9)

Solution: ATROCIOUS (i.e. “really frightful”). “After alterations” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OUR COAT IS.

  1. Flexibility to eat cooked spleens (10)

Answer: SUPPLENESS (i.e. “flexibility”). Solution is SUP (an archaic word meaning “to eat”, as in taking supper) followed by an anagram (indicated by “cooked”) of SPLEENS, like so: SUP-PLENESS.

  1. Chap taking horse round for girl (7)

Answer: MARLENE (i.e. a “girl’s” name). Solution is LEN (i.e. a “chap’s” name) with MARE (i.e. “horse”) wrapped “round” it like so: MAR(LEN)E. I’m seldom keen when forenames are used as solutions in these things.

  1. Treasury so filled by Edomite king (9)

Answer: THESAURUS (i.e. “treasury”). Solution is THUS (i.e. “so”) wrapped around or “filled by” ESAU (i.e. “Edomite” – Esau, son of Abraham, is also known as Edom, founder of the Edomites. Yes, I looked it up) and R (i.e. “king”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Rex), like so: TH(ESAU-R)US.

  1. Reported attempt by commercial gang of criminals (5)

Answer: TRIAD (i.e. “gang of criminals”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reported”) of TRY (i.e. “attempt”) followed by AD (i.e. “commercial”), like so: TRI-AD.

  1. I’ve to replace gold in battery – it’s adding up (12)

Answer: ACCUMULATIVE (i.e. “adding up”). Solution is ACCUMULATOR (i.e. a rechargeable “battery”) with the OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry) “replaced” by I’VE, like so: ACCUMULAT(OR) => ACCUMULAT(I’VE).

  1. Proceeds to meet force: correct to be alarmed (4,6)

Answer: TAKE FRIGHT (i.e. “to be alarmed”). Solution is TAKE (i.e. gate or “proceeds”) followed by F (a recognised abbreviation of “force”) and RIGHT (i.e. “correct”).

  1. Snooty Guardian misrepresented religious occasion (8,6)

Answer: ROGATION SUNDAY (i.e. “religious occasion”). “Misrepresented” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SNOOTY GUARDIAN. One gotten from the wordplay, TBH.

  1. Shopping centre killer in holiday isle (8)

Answer: MALLORCA (i.e. “holiday isle”). Solution is MALL (i.e. “shopping centre”) followed by ORCA (i.e. “killer” whale).

  1. Seignories regularly selected by male self-interest (6)

Answer: EGOISM (i.e. “self-interest”). Solution is EGOIS (i.e. “seignories regularly”, i.e. every other letter of SEIGNORIES) followed by M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”), like so: EGOIS-M.

  1. Brown horse fed regular helpings of straw or equivalent (10)

Answer: TANTAMOUNT (i.e. “equivalent”). Solution is TAN (i.e. “brown”) and MOUNT (i.e. “horse”) wrapped around or “fed” TA (i.e. “regular helpings of straw”, i.e. every other letter of STRAW), like so: TAN-(TA)-MOUNT.

  1. Succeeded with month – after missing the first three – avoiding drink (5)

Answer: SOBER (i.e. “avoiding drink”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “succeeded”) followed by OCTOBER (i.e. “month”) “after missing the first three” letters, like so: S-OBER.

  1. Measure duration of two notes (4)

Answer: TIME. Solution satisfies to “measure duration” and, when written as TI and ME, “two notes” of the do-ray-me scale.

  1. Defence Intelligence seeing army unit (8)

Answer: DIVISION (i.e. “army unit”). Solution is DI (a recognised abbreviation of “Defence Intelligence”) followed by VISION (i.e. “seeing”).

  1. Brood about awful place without cinema (9)

Answer: MULTIPLEX (i.e. “cinema”). Solution is MULL (i.e. “brood”) wrapped “about” TIP (i.e. “awful place”) and followed by EX (i.e. “without”, the Latin ex means “from” or “out of”), like so: MUL(TIP)L-EX.

  1. Navy chiefs mostly have high opinion of a lieutenant, first in year (9)

Answer: ADMIRALTY (i.e. “navy chiefs”). Solution is ADMIRE (i.e. “have high opinion of”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by A, then LT (a recognised abbreviation of “lieutenant”) and Y (i.e. “first [letter] in year”), like so: ADMIR-A-LT-Y.

  1. Considered certain to get in alcohol (8)

Answer: MEASURED (i.e. “considered”). Solution is SURE (i.e. “certain”) placed “in” MEAD (i.e. “alcohol”), like so: MEA(SURE)D.

  1. Look pleased when son’s lost race (4)

Answer: MILE (i.e. “race”). Solution is SMILE (i.e. “look pleased”) once the S has been removed (indicated by “when son’s lost” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”).

  1. New Year in parrot country (5)

Answer: KENYA (i.e. “country”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and Y (ditto “year”) both placed “in” KEA (i.e. a large “parrot” from New Zealand it says here), like so: KE(N-Y)A.

  1. Playing tee then inn – as the golf clubhouse is considered? (10)

Answer: NINETEENTH (i.e. “as the golf clubhouse is considered”, i.e. the nineteenth hole). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “playing”) of TEE THEN INN. Nicely worked.

  1. Compensate some mature couples (6)

Answer: RECOUP (i.e. “compensate”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the solution, like so: MATU(RE COUP)LES.

  1. Drive out using oxygen for energy in military manoeuvres (8)

Answer: EXORCISE (i.e. “drive out”). Solution is EXERCISE (i.e. “military manoeuvres”) with the second E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) swapped “for” O (chemical symbol of “oxygen”), like so: EX(E)RCISE => EX(O)RCISE.

  1. Very best carbon engineers guided over a hundred engineers (5,2,2,5)

Answer: CRÈME DE LA CRÈME (i.e. “very best”). Solution is C (chemical symbol of “carbon”) followed by REME (i.e. “engineers”, specifically the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers of the British Army), then LED (i.e. “guided”) reversed (indicated by “over”), then A, then C (Roman numeral for “a hundred”), then REME (our army peeps again), like so: C-REME-DEL-A-C-REME.

  1. Top twelve deliveries or more got zero wickets (10)

Answer: OVERSHADOW (i.e. “top”). Solution is OVERS (i.e. “twelve deliveries or more” in cricket – an over being six regulation deliveries) followed by HAD (i.e. “got”), then O (i.e. “zero”) and W (a recognised abbreviation of “wickets” used in cricket). Nicely done.

  1. Insecurity sustains need, unfortunately (12)

Answer: UNSTEADINESS (i.e. “insecurity”). “Unfortunately” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SUSTAINS NEED. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Dull brownish-yellow persimmon’s hard inside (5)

Answer: KHAKI (i.e. “dull brownish-yellow”). Solution is KAKI (i.e. a Japanese plum or “persimmon”) with H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils) placed “inside” of it, like so: K(H)AKI. Someone’s showing off.

  1. I note short fir tree, one quite close to where willow’s used? (9)

Answer: INFIELDER (i.e. “one quite close to where willow’s used” – a reference to cricket bats and the wicket they are played on. An infielder would be placed quite close to this area). Solution is I followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “note”), then FIR once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”), then ELDER (i.e. “tree”), like so: I-N-FI-ELDER.

  1. Reptile tense about a rat dropping close (7)

Answer: TUATARA (i.e. “reptile”, another New Zealand inhabitant). Solution is TAUT (i.e. “tense”) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by A and RAT once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “dropping close”), like so: TUAT-A-RA. Chalk one to my Bradford’s. I give most things flora- or fauna-related short shrift. Too often they are used to bail setters out of a tight spot, and life is too short.

  1. Founder in port region, completely wrecked (10)

Answer: PROGENITOR (i.e. “founder”). “Completely wrecked” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PORT REGION.

  1. Fruit the man carried in blue van? (9)

Answer: SPEARHEAD (i.e. “van” – a sneaky one this, “van” is a recognised abbreviation of “vanguard” or those who lead the way). Solution is PEAR (i.e. “fruit”) and HE (i.e. “the man”) both placed “in” SAD (i.e. “blue”), like so: S(PEAR-HE)AD.

Down clues

  1. Pure gold at heart of EM Forster novel? (5)

Answer: AURIC (i.e. “pure gold”). The solution is found in the middle letters or “heart” of MAURICE (i.e. “EM Forster novel”).

  1. Their mum’s suffering with a painful condition (10)

Answer: RHEUMATISM (i.e. “painful condition”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “suffering”) of THEIR MUM’S and A.

  1. Welsh town mostly to respond over Christmas coming up (8)

Answer: CAERLEON (i.e. “Welsh town”). Solution is REACT (i.e. “to respond”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “over”). This is followed by NOEL (i.e. “Christmas”) also reversed (indicated by “coming up” – this being a down clue), like so: CAER-LEON. For “flora- and fauna-related”, read also “Welsh towns”. Straight to Wikipedia for this made-to-fit number.

  1. What comes from sextet, couple turning up? (5)

Answer: OCTET, a group of eight musicians. A “sextet”, meanwhile, is a group of six musicians. I’ll let you do the maths.

  1. Arm fanatic? This can create tension in turn (6,3)

Answer: SLEEVE NUT (i.e. “this can create tension in turn”). Clue plays on “sleeves” being the army parts of garments, and fanatics sometimes being described as “nuts”. You get the idea.

  1. Rascal’s endless swindle (4)

Answer: SCAM (i.e. “swindle”). Solution is SCAMP (i.e. “rascal”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endless”).

  1. Turning up road on a hill, not bad for seclusion (6)

Answer: PURDAH (i.e. “seclusion”). Solution is UP reversed (indicated by “turning”), then followed by RD (a recognised abbreviation of “road”), then A and HILL once the ILL has been removed (indicated by “not bad”), like so: PU-RD-A-H.

  1. Isles left with essential nature, managed until Europeans vacated (6,8)

Answer: LESSER ANTILLES (i.e. “isles”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) followed by ESSE (i.e. “essence”, apparently after the Latin for “to be”), then RAN (i.e. “managed”), then TILL (i.e. “until”) and ES (i.e. “Europeans vacated”, i.e. the word “Europeans” with all its middle letters removed), like so: L-ESSE-RAN-TILL-ES.

  1. A curl Titian’s represented is true to life (12)

Answer: NATURALISTIC (i.e. “true to life”). “Represented” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A CURL TITIAN’S.

  1. Informer about wife being a partner swapper (7)

Answer: SWINGER (i.e. “partner swapper”). Solution is SINGER (i.e. “informer”) wrapped “about” W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”), like so: S(W)INGER.

  1. One politician with broadcast audibly intended to show disability (10)

Answer: IMPAIRMENT (i.e. “disability”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by MP (i.e. “politician”, specifically a Member of Parliament), then AIR (i.e. to “broadcast”) and a homophone (indicated by “audibly”) of MEANT (i.e. “intended”), like so: I-MP-AIR-MENT.

  1. What can define characters of Dorothy, Matthew and Brian, say (3,6)

Answer: DOT MATRIX (i.e. “what can define characters” – a dot matrix printer would use a small grid of pins to form characters that would be punched onto paper through inked tape. I always marvelled at the tiny mechanics of them, and still do, but good grief did they make a racket). Solution is DOT (shortened form of “Dorothy”) followed by MAT (I guess an abbreviation of “Matthew”, but not one I’ve seen anywhere. There’s a Book of Matthew in The Bible, but even this gets abbreviated to “Matt”. Yellow card, setter) and “Brian” RIX, deceased English actor.

  1. Brooded over craze for place roamed by devils? (8)

Answer: TASMANIA (i.e. “place roamed by devils”, specifically Tasmanian devils). Solution is SAT (i.e. “brooded”) reversed (indicated by “over”) and followed by MANIA (i.e. “craze”), like so: TAS-MANIA.

  1. Moan about mom’s unruly wedding attendant (9)

Answer: GROOMSMAN (i.e. “wedding attendant”). Solution is GROAN (i.e. “moan”) wrapped “about” an anagram (indicated by “unruly”) of MOM’S, like so: GRO(OMSM)AN.

  1. Harshly criticising small vehicle if expiring on losing key (10)

Answer: SCARIFYING (i.e. “harshly criticising”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small” used in clothing sizes) followed by CAR (i.e. “vehicle”), then IF, then DYING (i.e. “expiring”) once the D has been removed (indicated by “on losing [musical] key”), like so: S-CAR-IF-YING.

  1. Almost certain moment United, one down, overcame (10)

Answer: SURMOUNTED (i.e. “overcame”). Solution is SURE (i.e. “certain”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder followed by MO (short for “moment”) and UNITED once the I has been removed (indicated by “[Roman numeral]] one down”), like so: SUR-MO-UNTED.

  1. Militant ringer, one very big in church (9)

Answer: BELLICOSE (i.e. “militant”). Solution is BELL (i.e. “ringer”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and OS (i.e. “very big”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “outsize”) once placed “in” CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: BELL-I-C(OS)E.

  1. What too many railway passengers are doing for supplier of fuel (7,7)

Answer: FILLING STATION. Solution satisfies “what too many railway passengers are doing” and “supplier of fuel”.

  1. Green put in prison when limiting alternative technology (8)

Answer: IMMATURE (i.e. “green”). Solution is IMMURE (i.e. “put in prison”) wrapped around or “limiting” AT (a recognised abbreviation of “alternative technology”), like so: IMM(AT)URE.

  1. Bring about old commercial pitch in putting out a programme (12)

Answer: BROADCASTING (i.e. “putting out a programme”). Solution is BRING wrapped “about” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), AD (i.e. “commercial”) and CAST (i.e. “pitch”), like so: BR(O-AD-CAST)ING.

  1. Footwear irritates continually on stone, never right (5,4)

Answer: ANKLE-SOCK (i.e. “footwear”). Solution is RANKLES (i.e. “irritates continually”) and ROCK (i.e. “stone”), both without their Rs (indicated by “never right” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: ANKLES-OCK.

  1. State reportedly to assess trunk road in the US (10)

Answer: EXPRESSWAY (i.e. “trunk road in the US”). Solution is EXPRESS (i.e. “state”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of WEIGH (i.e. “to assess”), like so: EXPRESS-WAY.

  1. Stop Act Four after what Feste repeats in Twelfth Night, perhaps (10)

Answer: DEACTIVATE (i.e. “stop”). Solution is ACT, IV (i.e. “four” in Roman numerals) both placed “after” E (i.e. “what Feste repeats”, i.e. the letter E, which appears twice in the name). These are all then placed “in” DATE (i.e. Jan 5th or “Twelfth Night, perhaps” – other dates are available), like so: D(E-ACT-IV)ATE.

  1. Vengeful trio of Brussels bureaucrats, say, having day in Rome (9)

Answer: EUMENIDES (i.e. “vengeful trio”, known also as the Furies). Solution is EU MEN (i.e. “Brussels bureaucrats, say” – other genders of bureaucrat are available) followed by IDES (i.e. “day in Rome”, a fateful one for Julius Caesar).

  1. Wild olive tree also going up the wall (8)

Answer: OLEASTER (i.e. “wild olive”). “Going up the wall” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TREE ALSO. Wordplay was fairly obvious once all the intersecting letters were in place, but needed a shufti at my Bradford’s to get me over the line.

  1. Outdoor work with English rain awful (4-3)

Answer: OPEN-AIR (i.e. “outdoor”). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and an anagram (indicated by “awful”) of RAIN, like so: OP-E-NAIR.

  1. Sweet company getting initially more healthy (6)

Answer: COMFIT (i.e. “sweet”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) followed by M (i.e. “initially more”, i.e. the first letter of “more”) and FIT (i.e. “healthy”).

  1. Morning service has Roman Catholic in support (5)

Answer: TERCE (i.e. “morning service” – over to Chambers: “one of the hours of the Divine Office … held at the third hour of the day (9am)”). Solution is RC (a recognised abbreviation of “Roman Catholic”) placed “in” TEE (i.e. “support” for a golf ball), like so: TE(RC)E. Another gotten from the wordplay.

  1. Antelope displaying vigour over days (5)

Answer: ELAND (i.e. “antelope”). Solution is ELAN (i.e. “vigour”) followed by D (a recognised abbreviation of “days”).

  1. Billions lug and carry (4)

Answer: BEAR (i.e. “carry”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “billions”) followed by EAR (i.e. “lug”).

12 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1499

  1. Many thanks Lucian. After last week, where I didn’t need your explanations at all, I needed your breakdown of 8d and 38d which I’d got right it not fully understood. I also ended with bottom right quarter succumbing last. Cheers and take care. Graham

  2. Yes, straightforward again this week, although like Lucian, I did find bottom-right a little harder than the rest.

  3. Straightforward, but I just raise a quibble over two definitions – ‘scarifying’ (21d) has nothing whatever to do with criticising; and ‘recoup’ (42a) is what I might try to do with my own losses, whereas compensate is what someone else might do for me. Also I thought it a bit lazy to have the same clue word ‘certain’ indicating the same solution ‘sure’ in both 23d and 35a, two clues that even crossed one another. No yellow card this time, setter, but kindly attend Terce next Rogation Sunday and pray for forgiveness for your mild sins.

  4. Thanks Lucian. Not too bad this week apart from the many deletions (meh) and one or two that we didn’t fully understand. I agree with Michael above about “scarifying” – isn’t it something one does to lawns? Maybe next time, instead of spending ages labouring on my grass with a special tool, I should just stand at the door and criticise it…

    Re 38d, isn’t Twelfth Night January 6th rather than January 5th? I suppose it depends when one starts counting…

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

    1. “I agree with Michael above about “scarifying” – isn’t it something one does to lawns?”

      It’s also what my wife was just now when I spilt something on the carpet 🙂
      (OK, slight exaggeration.)

  5. Very boring this week. I hate an overabundance of anagrams. To me thats just laziness on the part of the setter.
    Re: SCARIFYING. My dictionary shows one meaning of scarify as “to harrow the feelings”, so fair do’s, I thought. I agree about recoup though.

    1. In all fairness to the setter …. Whilst I share the view that my previous usage of scarify was restricted to lawns, I have to point out that my Chambers app (and I do believe Chambers is the official dictionary for Times crosswords) clearly gives the fourth definition as: ‘to criticise harshly and severely’. So, whilst it’s a less common usage he has quoted pretty much verbatim from the authorised source.

  6. Thanks, Lucian. My biggest problem with this week’s jumbo was getting a copy as I was in the Outer Hebrides & couldn’t get a Times on Saturday. No doubt it can be got on line but the information superhighway is not a strength of mine. Finally managed to get a photo of the crossword emailed to me & had the hotel print it for me. It was a terrible copy so the greatest challenge was in reading the clues & the numbers on the grid. Other than that, a pretty straightforward one this week. Favourites were tantamount & spearhead (sneaky). Cheers

    1. Thanks a lot Chris, it was actually a scanned PDF and pretty good as I thought. That’s gratitude.

  7. Kenya? Outer Hebrides? Impressively far-flung – and you are both crossword addicts to be sure!

    I can only boast the Home Counties – involving an intrepid journey along our local pot-holed and dangerous cycle-track (which, each Saturday, I continue to survive).

  8. I was a bit ‘meh’ about this one to be honest – a few too many clues that didn’t read like proper English sentences or phrases, which is a big no-no for me. No matter how ingenious the clue (and the sneakier the better), the surface reading has to make sense.
    Hoping for a good one on Saturday for #1500!

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