For the most part a medium strength offering that was spoiled by a couple too many exotic solutions. I’m rarely keen on uneven puzzles like these, as they often smack of a setter struggling to fill the grid. Onto the next one, I guess.
You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a recent Jumbo is giving you night sweats then my Just For Fun page might be a help, listing solutions to the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.
Thanks again for the help and kind words, folks. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers when the dust settles. Till next time, stay safe, mask up (for the next fortnight, anyway), get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.
- Abandoned like person in tree escaping flood? (4,3,3)
Answer: HIGH AND DRY. Solution satisfies “abandoned” and “like person in tree escaping flood”.
- Trade modest? This could make you stop (7,5)
Answer: TRAFFIC LIGHT (i.e. “this could make you stop”). Solution is TRAFFIC (i.e. “trade” or goods transported along a route) followed by LIGHT (i.e. “modest”).
- Lords call, forgetting it matters (9)
Answer: VISCOUNTS (i.e. “lords”). Solution is VISIT (i.e. “call”) with the IT removed (indicated by “forgetting it”) and the remainder followed by COUNTS (i.e. “matters”), like so: VIS-COUNTS.
- One hurrying about to get vehicle reversing (5)
Answer: RACER (i.e. “one hurrying”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” or regarding – think email replies) and CAR (i.e. “vehicle”) all “reversed”, like so: RAC-ER.
- Tot tucked into Eastern meat dish having no yen for fruit (7)
Answer: SATSUMA (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is SUM (i.e. to “tot” up) placed or “tucked into” SATAY (i.e. “Eastern meat dish”) once the Y has been removed (indicated by “having no yen” – Y being a recognised abbreviation of the Japanese currency), like so: SAT(SUM)A.
- Missing letters (8,9)
Answer: ABSENTEE LANDLORDS (i.e. “letters” who live away from their properties). Clue plays on “missing” being another word for ABSENTEE.
- Problems bringing horse aboard ship (5)
Answer: SNAGS (i.e. “problems”). Solution is NAG (i.e. “horse”) placed in or “aboard” SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship), like so: S(NAG)S.
- Diplomacy is restricting Conservative plans (7)
Answer: TACTICS (i.e. “plans”). Solution is TACT (i.e. “diplomacy”) followed by IS once wrapped around or “restricting” C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”), like so: TACT-I(C)S.
- Daughter in the role of the female who is in a hurry? (6)
Answer: DASHER (i.e. “who is in a hurry”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by AS HER (i.e. “in the role of the female”).
- Foreign girl working in a store (8)
Answer: SENORITA (i.e. “foreign girl”). “Working” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN A STORE.
- Record kept by good Parisian coming to a city in Italy (7)
Answer: BOLOGNA (i.e. “city in Italy”). Solution is LOG (i.e. “record”) placed in or “kept by” BON (i.e. “good Parisian”, i.e. the French for “good”) and followed by A, like so: BO(LOG)N-A.
- Offer applause, then mouth “rubbish!” (8)
Answer: CLAPTRAP (i.e. “rubbish”). Solution is CLAP (i.e. “offer applause”) followed by TRAP (i.e. a slang word for “mouth”). Pretty much the same clue appeared a couple of months ago in puzzle 1497, which is a little disappointing.
- Get angry about very loud activity at card table? (6)
Answer: RIFFLE (i.e. “activity at card table” – over to Chambers: “to shuffle by allowing the corner of a card from one part of the pack to fall alternately with that of a card in the other”). Solution is RILE (i.e. “get angry”) wrapped “about” FF (i.e. “very loud”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of fortissimo used in musical lingo), like so: RI(FF)LE.
- What insistent disputant wants? Amen! (3,4,4)
Answer: THE LAST WORD. Solution satisfies “what insistent disputant wants” and “amen”.
- Crucially influential period in America’s capital in the Depression (11)
Answer: DETERMINANT (i.e. “crucially influential”). Solution is TERM (i.e. “period”) IN and A (i.e. “America’s capital”, i.e. the first letter of “America”) all placed “in” DENT (i.e. “depression”), like so: DE(TERM-IN-A)NT.
- The French girl, kind-hearted, providing money (5,6)
Answer: LEGAL TENDER (i.e. “money”). Solution is LE (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the masculine form of “the” in French) followed by GAL (i.e. “girl”) and TENDER (i.e. “kind-hearted”).
- Professional in finance, fellow with silver, invested in what looks like a winner (4,7)
Answer: BANK MANAGER (i.e. “professional in finance”). Solution is MAN (i.e. “fellow”) and AG (chemical symbol of “silver”) both placed or “invested in” BANKER (i.e. “what looks like a winner”), like so: BANK(MAN-AG)ER.
- Game needing energy – boy doesn’t give up (4,2)
Answer: GOES ON (i.e. “doesn’t give up”). Solution is GO (i.e. “game”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) and SON (i.e. “boy”).
- People looking to buy something? Time for hard plugs maybe (8)
Answer: STOPPERS (i.e. “plugs”). Solution is SHOPPERS (i.e. “people looking to buy something”) with the H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard”) swapped “for” T (ditto “time”), like so: S(H)OPPERS => S(T)OPPERS.
- Brief month left – try to make a protest maybe? (7)
Answer: DECLAIM (i.e. “protest”). Solution is DEC (i.e. “brief month”, specifically an abbreviation of December) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and AIM (i.e. “try to”).
- One unpleasant woman backing revolution, not saying much (8)
Answer: TACITURN (i.e. “not saying much”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and CAT (i.e. “unpleasant woman”) both reversed (indicated by “backing”) and followed by TURN (i.e. “revolution”), like so: (TAC-I)-TURN.
- Feature of progressive female seen as fearsome (6)
Answer: OGRESS (i.e. “female seen as fearsome”). “Feature of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PR(OGRESS)IVE.
- Blessing I found in Oxford RAF location (7)
Answer: BENISON (i.e. “blessing”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “in” BENSON (i.e. “Oxford RAF location” – some everyday knowledge right there), like so: BEN(I)SON. A nod to my Bradford’s here.
- Pike ultimately bound to get away (5)
Answer: ELOPE (i.e. “get away”). Solution is E (i.e. “pike ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “pike”) followed by LOPE (i.e. “bound”).
- Exploiting something, being top earner? Nothing suitable (6,3,4,2,2)
Answer: MAKING THE MOST OF IT (i.e. “exploiting something”). Solution is MAKING THE MOST (i.e. “being top earner”) followed by O (i.e. “nothing”) and FIT (i.e. “suitable”).
- Indian sage, one with new order (7)
Answer: GOANESE (i.e. “Indian”, specifically one from Goa). “With new order” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SAGE ONE.
- Saw maiden forming an attachment with German guy? (5)
Answer: MOTTO (i.e. “saw” or saying). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “maiden” used in cricket) followed by OTTO (i.e. “German guy[‘s name]”).
- First person among new leaders is a female (9)
Answer: ESMERELDA (i.e. “female”, basically a woman’s name). Solution is ME (i.e. I or the “first person”) placed in or “among” an anagram (indicated by “new”) of LEADERS, like so: ES(ME)RELDA. Variants of the name, ESMIRELDA and ESMERALDA, also fit the intersecting letters but I think a stronger case is made for ESMERELDA. Not the best grid awareness from the setter IMLTHO.
- Heaven as specified aim of the proverbial chicken? (3,5,4)
Answer: THE OTHER SIDE. Solution satisfies “heaven” and “specified aim of the proverbial chicken”, as in the old joke “Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side”.
- Look at oneself, seeing bad points, etc, with anger finally admitted (10)
Answer: INTROSPECT (i.e. “look at oneself”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “bad”) of POINTS ETC wrapped around or “admitting” R (i.e. “anger finally”, i.e. the last letter of “anger”), like so: INT(R)OSPECT.
- Try approach with murderous intent? (4,1,4,2)
Answer: HAVE A STAB AT. Solution satisfies “try” and “approach with murderous intent”.
- Sudden winds coming in August sometimes (5)
Answer: GUSTS (i.e. “sudden winds”). “Coming in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: AU(GUST S)OMETIMES.
- A background support is coming (9)
Answer: AMOUNTING (i.e. “coming” – one meaning of amount is “to come in meaning or substance (with ‘to’)” (Chambers). A bit naughty to leave the “to” out of the clue, but then the clue perhaps wouldn’t have scanned as well). Solution is A followed by MOUNTING (i.e. “background support” for, say, an artwork).
- Fellows accommodating indispensable animals (7)
Answer: DONKEYS (i.e. “animals”). Solution is DONS (i.e. “fellows”) wrapped around or “accommodating” KEY (i.e. “indispensable”), like so: DON(KEY)S.
- What old shoes may be – disposed of in charity shop, we hear? (7)
Answer: RESOLED (i.e. “what old shoes may be”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “we hear”) of RESOLD (i.e. “disposed of in charity shop”).
- Called to mind being embarrassed about evensong’s opening prayer (11)
Answer: RECOLLECTED (i.e. “called to mind”). Solution is RED (i.e. “being embarrassed”) wrapped “about” E (i.e. “evensong’s opening”, i.e. the first letter of “evensong”) and COLLECT (i.e. “prayer” – once more to Chambers: “a short prayer, specific to the liturgies of the Western Church, consisting of one sentence, conveying one main petition”), like so: R(E-COLLECT)ED.
- Coat with valuable material is craze (6)
Answer: FURORE (i.e. “craze”). Solution is FUR (i.e. “coat”) followed by ORE (i.e. “valuable material”).
- At home, female family member is one who won’t give way (8)
Answer: INSISTER (i.e. “one who won’t give way”). Solution is IN (i.e. “at home”) followed by SISTER (i.e. “female family member”).
- I sit up on stool – alternative configuration for meditation? (5,8)
Answer: LOTUS POSITION (i.e. “configuration for meditation”). “Alternative configuration” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I SIT UP ON STOOL.
- Fish and fleshy fruit French friend’s obtained for start of dinner (7)
Answer: GOURAMI (i.e. “fish”). Solution is GOURD (i.e. “fleshy fruit”) with the D (i.e. “start of dinner”, i.e. the first letter of “dinner”) swapped “for” AMI (i.e. “French friend”, i.e. the French for “friend”), like so: GOUR(D) => GOUR(AMI). One gotten from the wordplay, if I’m honest.
- One leaving school unwanted books, easy to read? (11)
Answer: TRANSPARENT (i.e. “easy to read”). Solution is TRAIN (i.e. “school”) with the I removed (indicated by “[Roman numeral] one leaving”) and the remainder followed by SPARE (i.e. “unwanted”) and NT (i.e. “books”, specifically the New Testament of The Bible), like so: TRAN-SPARE-NT.
- Wonderful batting partnership – view it from here? (10)
Answer: GRANDSTAND (i.e. “view [batting partnership] from here”). Solution is GRAND (i.e. “wonderful”) followed by STAND (i.e. “batting partnership” in cricket).
- Fellow army officer getting about three miles further south (9)
Answer: COLLEAGUE (i.e. “fellow” or someone on the same team). Solution is COL (i.e. “army officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “colonel”) followed by LEAGUE (i.e. “about three miles”). The “further south” bit relates to this being a down clue, requiring solvers place LEAGUE after or beneath COL.
- Warren maybe in seaside location (8)
Answer: HASTINGS. Solution satisfies “Warren maybe” – Warren Hastings was a Governor-General of India during the 18th century – and “seaside location”, referring to the town of Hastings in East Sussex.
- Something “flowery” in which wild animal conceals head (6)
Answer: ANTHER (i.e. “something ‘flowery’”, specifically a part of the stamen of a flower that produces pollen – another of those everyday words forever dropped into conversations. It’s maddening, really. Try to talk about the weather and all you get is “anther this” and “anther that”. Engage someone in the etiquette of queuing and it quickly dissolves into a discussion about anthers. Always bloody anthers! Anthers! Anthers!! Anthers!!! When will we ever talk about house prices again?) Solution is PANTHER (i.e. “wild animal”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “conceals head”). If you used a crossword solver to nail this one, you weren’t alone.
- Certain animals in endless routine task – information held in computer? (8)
Answer: CHORDATA (i.e. “certain animals”, specifically “a phylum of the animal kingdom, including the vertebrates and protochordates, animals possessing a notochord at some stage of their development” (Chambers). And what happens when you finally exhaust someone of their knowledge and opinions of anthers? They turn to sodding chordates! “Isn’t it a wonder of nature?” they’ll say, and that’s it, they’re off on chordates for an hour and a half. I swear it’s like we’re a nation of David Bleedin’ Attenboroughs. When will we ever talk about the flawless execution and brilliant success/abject failure and economic Armageddon/nope that’s it there’s absolutely nothing in-between, that is Brexit?) Solution is CHORE (i.e. “routine task”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder followed by DATA (i.e. “information held in computer”), like so: CHOR-DATA. One gotten from the wordplay and a shufti in Chambers.
- RAF signal confusingly given in a mixture of languages (9)
Answer: FRANGLAIS (i.e. “a mixture of languages” – hands up who likes hybrid words such as this? Hmm. Let’s try “ginormous.” How about now? Okay, a few less hands there. How about “chillax”? Ah, nobody. I thought as much). “Confusingly given” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RAF SIGNAL.
- Proper journalist should get put in the picture (6)
Answer: PRIMED (i.e. “put in the picture” – to prime can mean to coach or inform someone). Solution is PRIM (i.e. “proper”) followed by ED (i.e. “journalist”, a shortened form of “editor”).
- Everyone supporting the old Greek city lost ultimately, bringing the most desirable outcome (3,3,3,4)
Answer: ALL FOR THE BEST (i.e. “the most desirable outcome”). Solution is ALL (i.e. “everyone”) followed by FOR (i.e. “supporting”), then THEBES (i.e. “old Greek city”) and T (i.e. “lost ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “lost”).
- Land and stop to be heard, becoming frivolous (11)
Answer: LIGHTWEIGHT (i.e. “frivolous”). Solution is LIGHT (i.e. to “land”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “to be heard”) of WAIT (i.e. “stop”), like so: LIGHT-WEIGHT.
- Agent opposing a former gang member being given new ID in book? (11)
Answer: REPAGINATED (i.e. “given new ID in book”, referring to page numbers). Solution is REP (i.e. “agent”) followed by AGIN (i.e. “opposing”), then A and TED (i.e. “former gang member”, referring to Teddy Boys).
- Extra reading for one filling empty seat? (2-8)
Answer: BY-ELECTION (i.e. “one filling empty seat”). Solution is BYE (i.e. an “extra” run awarded in cricket for errors committed by the bowling side) followed by LECTION (i.e. “reading”). Topical, given the recent by-election in Batley and Spen.
- One admonishes soldiers on battle site having rushed into middle of battle (11)
Answer: REMONSTRANT (i.e. “one admonishes”). Solution is RE (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) followed by MONS (i.e. First World War “battle site” in Belgium) and RAN (i.e. “having rushed”) once placed “into” TT (i.e. “middle [letters] of baTTle”), like so: RE-MONS-T(RAN)T.
- Bands with recent music horrible – forget ‘em! (9)
Answer: CINCTURES (i.e. girdles, belts or “bands”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “horrible”) of RECENT MUSIC once the E and M have been removed (indicated by “forget ‘em”). Wordplay was fairly obvious but needed a brute force of my Chambers to nail.
- Significant performance, very good, that’s included rapid sort of movement before (8)
Answer: PREMIERE (i.e. “significant performance”). Solution is PI (i.e. “very good”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “pious”) wrapped around or “including” REM (i.e. “rapid sort of movement”, specifically the Rapid Eye Movement that takes place during sleep) and followed by ERE (i.e. poetic form of “before”), like so: P(REM)I-ERE.
- Test said to lie within revolutionary piece of church music (7)
Answer: CHORALE (i.e. “piece of church music”). Solution is ORAL (i.e. “test said” or spoken examination) placed or “lying within” CHE Guevara (i.e. “revolutionary”), like so: CH(ORAL)E.
- Ambassador and bishop getting observed outside drinking establishment (7)
Answer: SHEBEEN (i.e. illicit “drinking establishment”). Solution is HE (i.e. “ambassador”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of His Excellency) and B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop”) with SEEN (i.e. “observed”) placed “outside” of them, like so: S(HE-B)EEN. One I knew thanks to a trunk novel I put together a (long) while ago. Ah, the days.
- Possibly Amelia’s mistake (7)
Answer: BLOOMER. Solution satisfies “possibly Amelia” – referring to Amelia Bloomer, a women’s rights campaigner after whom the undergarments were nicknamed – and “mistake”.
- Is sparing politician to visit runners (6)
Answer: SKIMPS (i.e. “is sparing”). Solution is MP (i.e. “politician”, specifically a Member of Parliament) placed in or “visiting” SKIS (i.e. “runners”), like so: SKI(MP)S.
- Phoney female heading a London school (5)
Answer: FALSE (i.e. “phoney”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) followed by A and LSE (i.e. “London school”, specifically the London School of Economics).
A wee bit of music was had in the gaps afforded between the Euros and the England v Sri Lanka ODI courtesy of Gaspard Augé, one half of French dance act Justice. If you’ve been enjoying the opening titles of the BBC’s coverage of the Euros then you might be interested to find the theme tune on his debut solo album, Escapades. (Seek ye Force majeure.) While the album isn’t as tight as Justice’s best work, it’s still a solid listen that doesn’t outstay its welcome. And if you aren’t familiar with Justice, then check out this fun video from their debut album. How many logos can you recognise? Laters, – LP