Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1504

A medium strength puzzle this week and something of a “Greatest Hits”, what with the number of repeats. Such things usually make my teeth itch, but the setter more or less gets away with it with some good clueing. (Of course, it might be that I’ve been doing these posts for too long. Familiarity breeds contempt and all that.)

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 you should tally-ho over to my Just For Fun page where you’ll find links to solutions for the previous 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind words (and help!). It’s always interesting to read the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put their pens down. Till next time, keep safe, mask up (for a few weeks more), get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.


Across clues

  1. Opener from western Irish team? (9)

Answer: CORKSCREW (i.e. “opener”). When written as CORK’S CREW the solution also satisfies “western Irish team”. A clue you see so often it could warrant its own tour T-shirt.

  1. A Soviet trying to change the nature of an inquiry (13)

Answer: INVESTIGATORY (i.e. “nature of an inquiry”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to change”) of A SOVIET TRYING.

  1. Staffs European minister’s residence (5)

Answer: MANSE (i.e. “minister’s residence”). Solution is MANS (i.e. “staffs” an outfit) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”).

  1. Advanced tango composer was conducting (9)

Answer: TRAVELLED (i.e. “advanced” or moved forward). Solution is T (“tango” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by Maurice RAVEL (i.e. “composer”) and LED (i.e. “was conducting”).

  1. Your setter’s singular attempt to pen English puzzle (7)

Answer: MYSTERY (i.e. “puzzle”). Solution is MY (i.e. “your setter’s”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”) and TRY (i.e. “attempt”) once wrapped around or “penning” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: MY-S-T(E)RY.

  1. Walk forward in organised protest unknown in the UK, say (14,8)

Answer: CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY (“a monarchy in which the power of the sovereign is defined and limited by the constitution” (Chambers), an example of which being “the UK, say”). Solution is CONSTITUTIONAL (i.e. “walk”) followed by ON (i.e. “forward”) once placed “in” MARCH (i.e. “organised protest”), then Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns), like so: CONSTITUTIONAL-M(ON)ARCH-Y.

  1. Can king and queen take against spectator? (6-2)

Answer: LOOKER-ON (i.e. “spectator”). Solution is LOO (i.e. “can”, both slang words for a toilet) followed by K (a recognised abbreviation of “king”), then ER (i.e. “queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) and ON (i.e. “against”).

  1. Free veteran beer finally does for publican (8)

Answer: TAVERNER (i.e. “publican”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “free”) of VETERAN followed by R (i.e. “beer finally”, i.e. the last letter of “beer”), like so: TAVERNE-R.

  1. Mallard, perhaps, departs with a string of carriages (5)

Answer: DRAKE (i.e. a male duck or “mallard, perhaps”. A female duck, incidentally, is a duck. Tsk, tsk. Come on naturalists, you’re not really trying…) Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “departs”) followed by RAKE (i.e. “string of carriages” – you’d be amazed how many variant meanings of “rake” there are).

  1. Crops rye fields use in the middle (6)

Answer: YIELDS (i.e. “crops”). “In the middle” indicates the solution is comprised of the centre letters of RYE FIELDS USE.

  1. Expression of surprise after TV system’s lack of colour (6)

Answer: PALLOR (i.e. “lack of colour”). Solution is LOR! (i.e. “expression of surprise”, specifically a contraction of “lord”) placed “after” PAL (i.e. “TV system”, specifically an acronym of Phase Alteration Line), like so: PAL-LOR.

  1. Interesting, a bishop leads service in west end of Glasgow (9)

Answer: ABSORBING (i.e. “interesting”). Solution is A followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess), then SORB (i.e. the “service” tree – a new one on me), then IN and G (i.e. “west end of Glasgow”, i.e. the first letter of Glasgow, this being an across clue).

  1. Gallium in star’s taken by American plant (10)

Answer: ASTRAGALUS (i.e. “plant”). Solution is GA (chemical symbol of “gallium”) placed “in” ASTRAL (i.e. “star”) and followed “by” US (i.e. “American”), like so: ASTRA(GA)L-US. For once, I didn’t go running off to my Bradford’s for this one. No, I ran off to my Chambers instead once I saw it was going to start with “astra”. Same difference.

  1. Hit band (4)

Answer: BELT. Solution satisfies to “hit” and “band”.

  1. Books one gala wrongly – pain seated near the drum! (7)

Answer: OTALGIA (i.e. “pain seated near the [ear]drum”). Solution is OT (i.e. “books”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible) followed by an anagram (indicated by “wrongly”) of I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and GALA, like so: OT-ALGIA.

  1. Threatening palomino usually keeps it captive (7)

Answer: OMINOUS (i.e. “threatening”). “Keeps it captive” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PAL(OMINO US)UALLY.

  1. Working fifty years at most (4)

Answer: ONLY (i.e. “at most”). Solution is ON (i.e. “working”) followed by L (Roman numeral for “fifty”) and Y (a recognised abbreviation of “years”).

  1. What schedules allow broadcasting screen epic? (10)

Answer: PRESCIENCE (i.e. foreknowledge or “what schedules allow”). “Broadcasting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SCREEN EPIC.

  1. Device trapping a rodent in a power discharge (9)

Answer: APPARATUS (i.e. “device”). Solution is A and RAT (i.e. “rodent”) both placed “in” A, P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) and PUS (i.e. “discharge”. Lovely!), like so: A-P-P(A-RAT)US.

  1. Abandon waterway with an area being given over to carbon energy (6)

Answer: CANCEL (i.e. “abandon”). Solution is CANAL (i.e. “waterway”) with the second A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”) replaced by or “given over to” C (chemical symbol of “carbon”) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: CAN(A)L => CAN(C-E)L.

  1. Stone knight in very good carriage (6)

Answer: STANCE (i.e. “carriage” or deportment). Solution is ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stone”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) once placed “in” ACE (i.e. “very good”), like so: ST-A(N)CE.

  1. Give a response on law that’s passed (5)

Answer: REACT (i.e. “give a response”). Solution is RE (i.e. “on” or regarding – think email replies) followed by ACT (i.e. “law that’s passed”).

  1. What batter could get used to cook eggs this way? (4,4)

Answer: EASY OVER. Solution satisfies “what batter [in cricket] could get used to” and “cook eggs this way”. Nicely done.

  1. Relating to an element of catholic church in Jerusalem, one with chapter (8)

Answer: ZIRCONIC (i.e. “relating to element”, specifically zircon). Solution is RC (i.e. “church”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “Roman Catholic”) placed “in” ZION (i.e. “Jerusalem”), followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and C (a recognised abbreviation of “chapter”), like so: ZI(RC)ON-I-C.

  1. Flat barge hailed gondola tangling lines on locking up on the Thames? (3,6,2,7,4)

Answer: THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL (by Oscar Wilde, a poem or “lines on locking up on the Thames” that has clearly left its mark on Times setters, having appeared relatively recently). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “tangling”) of FLAT BARGE HAILED GONDOLA. Of the two clues, I much prefer this one. Very nicely worked.

  1. Vigilantly team up to contain European right (7)

Answer: ALERTLY (i.e. “vigilantly”). Solution is ALLY (i.e. “team up”) wrapped around or “containing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and RT (a recognised abbreviation of “right”, e.g. Rt. Hon. for Right Honourable), like so: AL(E-RT)LY.

  1. Where one may melt things on the rocks (9)

Answer: INSOLVENT (i.e. “on the rocks”). When written as IN SOLVENT the solution also satisfies “where one may melt things”.

  1. Girl introducing a dish from India (5)

Answer: RAITA (i.e. “dish from India”). Solution is RITA (i.e. a “girl’s” name) wrapped around or “introducing” A, like so: R(A)ITA. Another popular solution for setters, it seems, having recently appeared in puzzles 1453 and 1475.

  1. Additional paper and gold currency, unknown and very unusual (13)

Answer: EXTRAORDINARY (i.e. “very unusual”). Solution is EXTRA (i.e. “additional [news]paper”) followed by OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry), then DINAR (i.e. “currency”) and Y (i.e. “unknown” – see earlier comment).

  1. Raced around clubs in Paris yesterday delivering uplighter (9)

Answer: TORCHIERE (i.e. “uplighter”). Solution is TORE (i.e. “raced”) wrapped “around” C (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games) and HIER (i.e. “in Paris yesterday”, i.e. the French for “yesterday”), like so: TOR(C-HIER)E. One gotten from deducing TORCH and looking the rest up in Chambers, if I’m honest. I’ll probably stick to calling them floor lamps.

Down clues

  1. Absurdly, company I ring is in the outskirts of Mandalay (9)

Answer: COMICALLY (i.e. “absurdly”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) followed by I and CALL (i.e. “ring”) once these latter two have been placed “in” MY (i.e. “outskirts of Mandalay”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Mandalay”), like so: CO-M(I-CALL)Y.

  1. Meet society girl with time to overspend wildly? (3,4,4)

Answer: RUN INTO DEBT (i.e. “overspend wildly”). Solution is RUN INTO (i.e. “meet”) followed by DEB (i.e. “society girl”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “debutante”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Perfume reportedly coming by mail order (5)

Answer: SCENT (i.e. “perfume”). “Reportedly” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SENT (i.e. “coming by mail order”).

  1. Regular changing of crops to set up in allotment (8)

Answer: ROTATION (i.e. “regular changing of crops”). Solution is TO reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue) and placed “in” RATION (i.e. “allotment”), like so: R(OT)ATION.

  1. Artist entering accompanied by shadowy presence (6)

Answer: WRAITH (i.e. “shadowy presence”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) placed in or “entering” WITH (i.e. “accompanied by”), like so: W(RA)ITH.

  1. The Spanish port in Italy filled with cattle being raised is irresistible (10)

Answer: INEXORABLE (i.e. “irresistible”). Solution is EL (i.e. “the Spanish”, i.e. the Spanish for “the”) followed by BARI (i.e. “port in Italy”) once wrapped around or “filled with” OXEN (i.e. “cattle”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “being raised” – this being a down clue), like so: I(NEXO)RAB-LE.

  1. Where cricketer may be revealing leg shockingly (7,5)

Answer: VILLAGE GREEN (i.e. “where cricketer may be”). “Shockingly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REVEALING LEG.

  1. Supporting band member I’d found among rising celebrities (7)

Answer: SIDEMAN (i.e. “supporting band member”). Solution is I’D placed in or “found among” NAMES (i.e. “celebrities”) once reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: S(I’D)EMAN.

  1. What limits disease running wild in some supermen (6,8)

Answer: IMMUNE RESPONSE (i.e. “what limits disease”). “Running wild” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN SOME SUPERMEN.

  1. Confident fool heading university rose? (7)

Answer: ASSURED (i.e. “confident”). Solution is ASS (i.e. “fool”) followed by U (i.e. “heading university”, i.e. the first letter of “university”) and RED (i.e. “rose”).

  1. Dining to excess, swallowing horse and heading for inflation (11)

Answer: OVERHEATING (i.e. an economy “heading for inflation”). Solution is OVEREATING (i.e. “dining to excess”) wrapped around or “swallowing” H (i.e. “horse”, both street names for heroin), like so: OVER(H)EATING.

  1. Toy boy’s taken up, abandoning tops? (2,2)

Answer: YO YO (i.e. “toy”). Solution is TOY and BOY with their first letters removed (indicated by “abandoning tops”) and the remaining letters reversed (indicated by “taken up” – this being a down clue).

  1. Be left standing in foreign city (8)

Answer: BELGRADE (i.e. “foreign city”). Solution is BE followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and GRADE (i.e. rank or “standing”).

  1. Try in speaking to finish at any time (9)

Answer: ENDEAVOUR (i.e. “try”). Solution is END (i.e. “to finish”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “in speaking”) of EVER (i.e. “at any time”). A bit clunky. Also, we already had ENDEAVOUR last week. Seems The Times have put another 50p in their Marconi GridFill 4000TM.

  1. Wonderful classic play mostly about Bulawayo, not elsewhere (8)

Answer: FABULOUS (i.e. “wonderful”). Solution is FAUST (i.e. “classic play”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder wrapped “about” BULO (i.e. “Bulawayo, not elsewhere”, i.e. the word BULAWAYO with AWAY taken out), like so: FA(BULO)US.

  1. Female gossip penning rubbish over lawyer (8)

Answer: ATTORNEY (i.e. “lawyer”). Solution is YENTA (i.e. “female gossip”, supposedly more of a US thing) wrapped around or “penning” ROT (i.e. “rubbish”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “over”), like so: AT(TOR)NEY.

  1. Is it clear – scrambled or hard-boiled? (9)

Answer: REALISTIC (i.e. “hard-boiled”). “Scrambled” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IS IT CLEAR.

  1. Source of sound fixed in pitch on record and film perhaps (8,6)

Answer: CASSETTE PLAYER (i.e. “source of sound”). Solution is SET (i.e. “fixed”) placed “in” CAST (i.e. to “pitch”) and followed by EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended Play) and LAYER (i.e. “film”), like so: CAS(SET)T-EP-LAYER. Nicely worked.

  1. Italian scientist is a very old doctor in prison endlessly (8)

Answer: Amadeo AVOGADRO (i.e. “Italian scientist”). Solution is A followed by V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”), O (ditto “old”) and DR (ditto “doctor”) once placed “in” GAOL once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endlessly”), like so: A-V-O-GA(DR)O. One gotten solely from the wordplay, TBH.

31.Left west London area in Conservative seat shortly for Essex town (7-2-3)

Answer: CLACTON-ON-SEA (i.e. “Essex town”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and ACTON (i.e. “west London area”) both placed “in” CON (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”), then followed by SEAT once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “shortly”), like so: C(L-ACTON)ON-SEA.

  1. Unusually emphatic about workers charging (11)

Answer: IMPEACHMENT (i.e. “charging”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unusually”) of EMPHATIC wrapped “about” MEN (i.e. “workers”), like so: IMPEACH(MEN)T.

  1. One in van going round with venison requiring no cutting (3-8)

Answer: NON-INVASIVE (i.e. surgery “requiring no cutting”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “going round”) of I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), VAN and VENISON. “In” is a bit misleading, but probably there to make the clue scan.

  1. Entirely popular gathering of sheep? (10)

Answer: INTEGRALLY (i.e. “entirely”). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) followed by TEG (i.e. “sheep” – you see its use in Jumbos from time to time) and RALLY (i.e. “gathering”).

  1. Free from guilt, former partner left in vessel at the end of June (9)

Answer: EXCULPATE (i.e. “free from guilt”). Solution is EX (i.e. “former partner”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) once placed “in” CUP (i.e. “vessel”), then followed by AT and E (i.e. “end of June”, i.e. the last letter of “June”), like so: EX-CU(L)P-AT-E.

  1. Who goes to service cars on time, mostly (8)

Answer: MINISTER (i.e. “who goes to [church] service”). Solution is MINIS (i.e. “cars”) followed by TERM (i.e. “time”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: MINIS-TER.

  1. Girl wanting a change of habitat (7)

Answer: TABITHA (i.e. a “girl’s” name). “A change of” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HABITAT.

  1. In central Asia, keen about hard language (7)

Answer: SWAHILI (i.e. “language”). Solution is WAIL (i.e. to “keen”) placed “about” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils). These are themselves placed “in” SI (i.e. “central Asia”, i.e. the middle letters of ASIA), like so: S(WA(H)IL)I.

  1. Beware of waste regularly found at bottom of grotto (6)

Answer: CAVEAT (i.e. “beware”). Solution is AT (i.e. “waste regularly”, i.e. every other letter of WASTE) placed after or “at bottom of” – this being a down clue – CAVE (i.e. “grotto”), like so: CAVE-AT.

  1. Saddle band? Get it round the horse at first (5)

Answer: GIRTH (i.e. “saddle band” that goes over the belly). “At first” indicates the solution is formed from the initial letters of Get It Round The Horse.

  1. British beer was something bad for one (4)

Answer: BALE (i.e. “was something bad”, referring to an archaic meaning of the word. A tad surprising, given that baleful isn’t that uncommon a word). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by ALE (i.e. “beer”). “For one” might be indicative of multiple variant meanings of BALE, or I might have gotten the wrong end of the stick.

8 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1504

  1. Nothing too taxing this week although I did have to look a couple of things up (eg. YENTA as part of 25d, SORB in 25a).

    Worryingly, my brain went blank when I realised I had forgotten how to spell PALLOR (24a). I knew the answer but poor brain kept saying PALOUR. Worrying!

    And I had certainly never heard of the plant ASTRAGALUS (28a), although it wasn’t too hard to deduce with part of it requiring GA (Gallium) and ending in US (American).

    Thanks Lucian as ever for your sterling work.

  2. Thanks Lucian. Not too bad overall, but one or two dubious definitions. I’ve never come across ONLY being a synonym for “at most” (34a), and I’ve always thought eggs are cooked OVER EASY, not the other way round (45a). And isn’t YO YO (12d) usually written with a hyphen?

    I had a bit of a false start with 1d. I originally had MAGICALLY, which bizarrely also fits with the wordplay – AG (which stands for Aktien Gesellschaft) is a standard abbreviation for “company” in Germany. Knowing the setters’ collective fondness for including foreign terms, I thought this was perfectly feasible.

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  3. Yes, mostly straightforward with my fav trio of beer/cricket/lefties featuring again. I agree with the opinion that 45a should be Over Easy, buy hey ho. Needed your zeroing in on the full explanation for the Monarchy bit of 16a and the Cassette in 27d so thanks, as ever. Cheers Graham

  4. Thanks, Lucian. Only one comment; it’s a lot easier when sober. Rattled through it this morning and the handwriting is far clearer than the few clues got last night. Cheers

  5. Also, to be picky, isn’t astral an adjective and star is a noun/verb?

    I am not sure if astral ever equals star. ‘Star-like’ or ‘of the stars’ perhaps.

    Foxed me for a while as a result.

  6. Good point, Tony and I took “star’s” to be “of a star”, i.e. possessive/genitive so “astral” is ok I think. Cheers

  7. Late to the game this week but agree fairly straightforward when we got round to it.. Went down a blind alley on 47a zirconic as I had aniconic first – being a bit muddled about the various differences in observing rules about idols and images in various religions. Only (not ‘at most!) realising in the end that 42 d had to be ‘minister’ not ‘enlister’ brought me to my senses.
    One last thought – couldn’t 29a equally well be ‘beat ‘ as ‘belt’? I thought that had a pleasingly cryptic touch for the ‘band’ part..
    Thanks again for the detaled explanations. Good fun.

  8. Didn’t like 53 across too much. Conflating melt with dissolve (entirely different processes) wasn’t too clever I thought.

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