Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1508

A medium strength offering that didn’t do too much for me. Could be there were one too many recent repeats in the grid, could be there was an overreliance on people’s names, but it was probably more your favourite internet nobody hitting holiday season and the summer FINALLY arriving!

So obviously I’m typing this indoors while watching the darts.

Anyway, 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 left you flummoxed then you might my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and help. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts and alternative takes of other solvers once the pens are stilled. Till next time, stay safe, get vaccinated – my 5G shots are now complete so I’ll soon be able to lick door handles again – and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.


Across clues

  1. Cricketer possibly left in ship, accompanied by valet (9)

Answer: SPORTSMAN (i.e. “cricketer possibly” – other sportspeople are available). Solution is PORT (i.e. “left” in shipspeak) placed “in” SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship) and followed by MAN (i.e. “valet”), like so: S(PORT)S-MAN.

  1. Story originally promoting farming land (7)

Answer: PARABLE (i.e. “story”). Solution is P (i.e. “originally promoting”, i.e. the first letter of “promoting”) followed by ARABLE (i.e. “farming land”).

  1. Range of knowledge inspiring a Republican woman (5)

Answer: KAREN (i.e. a “woman’s” name). Solution is KEN (i.e. “range of knowledge”) wrapped around or “inspiring” A and R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”), like so: K(A-R)EN.

  1. Team breaking up? Very funny! (4-9)

Answer: SIDE-SPLITTING (i.e. “very funny”). When written without the hyphen the solution also satisfies “team breaking up”.

  1. Peacemaking proposal NI politician associated with the Republic (9)

Answer: EIRENICON (i.e. “peacemaking proposal”). Solution is NI and CON (i.e. “politician”, specifically one of the Conservative persuasion) both placed after or “associated with” EIRE (i.e. the “republic” of Ireland), like so: EIRE-(NI-CON).

  1. Wearing down staff in key area of hospital (7)

Answer: ERODENT (i.e. “wearing down”). Solution is ROD (i.e. “staff”) placed “in” between E (i.e. a musical “key”) and ENT (i.e. “area of hospital” dealing with the Ear Nose and Throat), like so: E-(ROD)-ENT.

  1. Tuft of grass son thus dropped in food (7)

Answer: TUSSOCK (i.e. “tuft of grass”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) and SO (i.e. “thus”) both placed “in” TUCK (i.e. “food”), like so: TU(S-SO)CK.

  1. Shout of praise from house taken by woman in South Africa (7)

Answer: HOSANNA (i.e. “shout of praise”). Solution is HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”) followed by ANN (a “woman’s” name) once placed “in” SA (a recognised abbreviation of “South Africa”), like so: HO-S(ANN)A.

  1. Art involved with son’s Latin renderings (12)

Answer: TRANSLATIONS (i.e. “renderings”). “Involved” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ART and SON’S LATIN.

  1. Baker’s company probing father’s attempt very well (10)

Answer: PASTRYCOOK (i.e. “baker”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) placed in or “probing” PA’S (i.e. “father’s”), TRY (i.e. “attempt”) and OK (i.e. “very well”, both forms of reluctant assent), like so: PA’S-TRY-(CO)-OK.

  1. British composer showing ecstatic joy (5)

Answer: Arthur BLISS (i.e. “British composer” – pats Bradford’s). Solution also satisfies “ecstatic joy”.

  1. Obscure character chaps trust at first, possessing good sense (9)

Answer: JUDGEMENT (i.e. “sense”). Solution is JUDE (i.e. “obscure character”, a reference to Thomas Hardy’s novel Jude The Obscure – pats Google), MEN (i.e. “chaps”) and T (i.e. “trust at first”, i.e. the first letter of “trust”) all wrapped around or “possessing” G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: JUD(G)E-MEN-T.

  1. Humorist’s better jokes finally gaining acceptance (7)

Answer: PUNSTER (i.e. “humorist” – the word “humour” has got to be the messiest word in the entire dictionary. To U or not to U? Looking across its derivative forms, your best bet is to toss a coin. Don’t expect your spellchecker to bail you out, either). Solution is PUNTER (i.e. “better”) wrapped around or “accepting” S (i.e. “jokes finally”, i.e. the last letter of “jokes”), like so: PUN(S)TER.

  1. Doctor he met in cave exploit (11)

Answer: ACHIEVEMENT (i.e. a heroic “exploit”). “Doctor” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HE MET IN CAVE.

  1. Threaten to go out and push for sensational journalism (6,5)

Answer: GUTTER PRESS (i.e. “sensational journalism”). Solution is GUTTER (i.e. of a lit candle “threatening to go out”) followed by PRESS (i.e. to “push for”).

  1. Musical theatre employee, one who’s made a bob or two? (11)

Answer: HAIRDRESSER (i.e. “one who’s made a bob or two”, a reference to the hairstyle). Solution is HAIR (i.e. famed hippy “musical”) followed by DRESSER (i.e. “theatre employee”).

  1. Short course a choir developed in painting technique (11)

Answer: CHIAROSCURO (i.e. “painting technique”, often one produced in black and white). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “developed”) of COURSE once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”) and A CHOIR.

  1. Take clothes off washerwoman abandoning US city (7)

Answer: UNDRESS (i.e. “take clothes off”). Solution is LAUNDRESS (i.e. “washerwoman”) with the LA removed (indicated by “abandoning US city”).

  1. Irritate female, initially using limited amount of cotton? (9)

Answer: NEEDLEFUL (i.e. “amount of cotton”). Solution is NEEDLE (i.e. “irritate”) followed by F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) and UL (i.e. “initially using limited”, i.e. the first letters of “using” and “limited”).

  1. Country briefly served by European record company (5)

Answer: INDIE (i.e. “record company”). Solution is INDIA (i.e. “country”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly served”) and the remainder followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: INDI-E.

  1. Flap when English scoff excessively, gulping it back (10)

Answer: EPIGLOTTIS (i.e. anatomical “flap”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by PIG (i.e. to “scoff” or eat voraciously) and LOTS (i.e. “excessively”) once wrapped around or “gulping” IT reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: E-PIG-LOT(TI)S.

  1. Black rook on sign incorporating outsize Jurassic herbivore (12)

Answer: BRONTOSAURUS (i.e. “Jurassic herbivore”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) followed by R (ditto “rook”, again in chess), then ON and TAURUS (i.e. astrological “sign”) once wrapped around or “incorporating” OS (a recognised abbreviation of “outsize”), like so: B-R-ON-T(OS)AURUS.

  1. Attend police station, not having caught 1950s dropout (7)

Answer: BEATNIK (i.e. “1950s dropout”). Solution is BE AT NICK (i.e. “attend police station”) once the C has been removed (indicated by “not having caught” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games).

  1. Unprincipled fellow visiting gallery (7)

Answer: GODLESS (i.e. “unprincipled” – I mean, yeah, but a little high and mighty, don’t you think? How about we fast forward 50 years and see how we describe those still observing religion…) Solution is LES (a “fellow” or bloke’s name) placed in or “visiting” GODS (i.e. an informal name for a “gallery” in a theatre), like so: GOD(LES)S.

  1. Unfinished craft I found in China? (7)

Answer: PARTIAL (i.e. “unfinished”). Solution is ART (i.e. “craft”) and I both placed “in” PAL (i.e. “China” – as in the cockney rhyming slang for “mate”, a china plate. (Insert Mr Poll’s usual string of weak London stereotypes here)), like so: P(ART-I)AL.

  1. Like teaching spun out in most of Italy (9)

Answer: TUITIONAL (i.e. “like teaching”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “spun”) of OUT IN and ITALY once it’s last letter has been removed (indicated by “most of”).

  1. Novel Haitian metric calculator? (13)

Answer: ARITHMETICIAN (i.e. “calculator”). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HAITIAN METRIC.

  1. Move forward quickly, having energy after breather (5)

Answer: LUNGE (i.e. “move forward quickly”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) placed “after” LUNG (i.e. “breather”), like so: LUNG-E.

  1. Splashed out without hesitation, securing old wind instrument (7)

Answer: SERPENT (i.e. “old wind instrument”). Solution is SPENT (i.e. “splashed out”) wrapped around or placed “without” ER (i.e. an expression of “hesitation”), like so: S(ER)PENT.

  1. Come into conflict after writer produces mystic symbol (9)

Answer: PENTANGLE (i.e. “mystic symbol”). Solution is TANGLE (i.e. “come into conflict”) placed “after” PEN (i.e. “writer”), like so: PEN-TANGLE.

Down clues

  1. South American with muscle finally caught wanted man (7)

Answer: SUSPECT (i.e. “wanted man”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “south”) followed by US (i.e. “American”), then PEC (i.e. “muscle”, short for pectoral) and T (i.e. “finally caught”, i.e. the last letter of “caught”).

  1. Fussy former desire to tour Arab country (3-8)

Answer: OLD-WOMANISH (i.e. “fussy”). Solution is OLD (i.e. “former”) followed by WISH (i.e. “desire”) once wrapped around or “touring” OMAN (i.e. “Arab country”), like so: OLD-W(OMAN)ISH.

  1. Discrimination shown by third of visitors in gallery (5)

Answer: TASTE (i.e. “discrimination”). Solution is S (i.e. “third [letter] of visitors”) placed “in” TATE (i.e. a “gallery”), like so: TA(S)TE.

  1. End up arresting large Italian, leader of inept volunteer force (7)

Answer: MILITIA (i.e. “volunteer force”). Solution is AIM (i.e. “end”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “arresting”) L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), IT (ditto “Italian”) and I (i.e. “leader of inept”, i.e. the first letter of “inept”), like so: MI(L-IT-I)A.

  1. Head teachers once (3)

Answer: NUT. Solution satisfies “head” and “teachers once”, a reference to the National Union of Teachers.

  1. Space in US prepared for showjumping competition (9)

Answer: PUISSANCE (i.e. “showjumping competition” – a new one on me). “Prepared” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SPACE IN US.

  1. African river rises, engulfing centre of exposed area (6)

Answer: REGION (i.e. “area”). Solution is NIGER (i.e. “African river”) reversed (indicated by “rises” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “engulfing” O (i.e. “centre [letter] of exposed”), like so: REGI(O)N.

  1. New staff biker at fantasy film (9,2,8)

Answer: BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (i.e. “film”). “New” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of STAFF BIKER AT FANTASY.

  1. Aural range and musical discrimination’s cool! (7)

Answer: EARSHOT (i.e. “aural range”). Solution is EAR’S (i.e. “musical discrimination’s”) followed by HOT (i.e. “cool”, both taken to mean something popular).

  1. Norfolk town girl supporting college (5,4)

Answer: KING’S LYNN (i.e. “Norfolk town”). Solution is LYNN (i.e. “girl’s” name) placed after or “supporting” – this being a down clue – KINGS (i.e. a “college” at Cambridge).

  1. Case regarding scam over in compound? (11)

Answer: RECONNOITRE (i.e. to “case” a location). Solution is RE (i.e. “regarding” – think email replies) followed by CON (i.e. “scam”) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket) once placed “in” NITRE (i.e. “compound”), like so: RE-CON-N(O)ITRE.

  1. Woman receiving judge, a martial art expert (5)

Answer: NINJA (i.e. “martial art expert” and frequent visitor to these Jumbos). Solution is NINA (i.e. a “woman’s” name) wrapped around or “receiving” J (a recognised abbreviation of “judge”), like so: NIN(J)A.

  1. He, perhaps, is a fraction superior to a boy? Strange! (5,6,8)

Answer: THIRD PERSON SINGULAR (i.e. “he, perhaps” – I being first person; you being second person and he/she being third person singular). Solution is THIRD (i.e. “a fraction”, or 1/3) followed by PER SON (i.e. “to a boy”) and SINGULAR (i.e. “strange”). I guess “superior” indicates THIRD is placed above PERSON, being a down clue.

  1. Temporarily debar second writer in south of France (7)

Answer: SUSPEND (i.e. “temporarily debar”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) and PEN (i.e. “writer”) both placed “in” SUD (i.e. “south of France”, i.e. the word “south” in French), like so: SU(S-PEN)D.

  1. Clumsy northern set broke part of pavement (9)

Answer: KERBSTONE (i.e. “part of pavement”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “clumsy”) of N (a recognised abbreviation of “northern”) and SET BROKE.

  1. Be extremely lacking in courage at first, like some old Celts (6)

Answer: BELGIC (i.e. “like some old Celts” – pats Bradford’s again. Life’s too short to fart around with made-to-fit solutions). Solution is BE followed by LG (i.e. “extremely lacking”, i.e. the first and last letters of “lacking”) and IC (i.e. “in courage at first”, i.e. the initial letters of “in” and “courage”).

  1. Accommodation for outriggers primarily in city on river (9)

Answer: BOATHOUSE (i.e. “accommodation”). Solution is O (i.e. “outriggers primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “outriggers”) placed “in” BATH (i.e. “city”) and OUSE (i.e. a “river”).

  1. Barracks limiting exercise? That’s a surprise! (7)

Answer: JEEPERS! (i.e. “that’s a surprise”). Solution is JEERS (i.e. “barracks”) wrapped around or “limiting” PE (i.e. “exercise”), like so: JEE(PE)RS.

  1. Like some serous membranes – more than one, we hear (7)

Answer: PLEURAL (i.e. “like some serous membranes” – serous is a mixture of serum and pus. Lovely!) “We hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of PLURAL (i.e. “more than one”).

  1. Landscape painter and woodworker (6)

Answer: TURNER. Solution satisfies “landscape painter” – specifically Joseph TURNER – he did some cracking seascapes too – and “woodworker”, specifically a lathe operator.

  1. Stone basin initially considered fashionable in Tuscan city (7)

Answer: PISCINA (i.e. “stone basin”). Solution is C (i.e. “initially considered”, i.e. the first letter of “considered”) and IN (i.e. “fashionable”) both placed “in” PISA (i.e. “Tuscan city”), like so: PIS(C-IN)A.

  1. Unexpected aid on air in digesting new group of languages (4-7)

Answer: INDO-IRANIAN (i.e. “group of languages”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unexpected”) of AID ON AIR IN wrapped around or “digesting” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: I(N)DOIRANIAN.

  1. Damaging articles on subterranean activity (11)

Answer: UNDERMINING (i.e. “damaging”). Solution is UN and DER (i.e. “articles”, specifically words like a, an or the – this time we’re dealing with their French and German equivalents) followed by MINING (i.e. “subterranean activity”).

  1. Wild rose, say, by can in country road (9)

Answer: EGLANTINE (i.e. “wild rose”). Solution is EG (i.e. “say” or for example) followed by TIN (i.e. “can”) once placed “in” LANE (i.e. “country road”), like so: EG-LAN(TIN)E. One gotten from a shufti in Chambers for words beginning with “eg”, if I’m honest.

  1. Petty thief in Lima introducing fire raiser on radio? (9)

Answer: LARCENIST (i.e. “petty thief”). Solution is L (“Lima” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by a homophone (indicated by “on radio”) of ARSONIST (i.e. “fire raiser”), like so: L-ARCENIST.

  1. Income cheers men at the top (7)

Answer: TAKINGS (i.e. “income”). Solution is TA (i.e. “cheers”, both informal expressions of thanks) followed by KINGS (i.e. “men at the top”).

  1. Melodious phrase finally assimilated by parentless child (7)

Answer: ORPHEAN (i.e. “melodious” – in Greek myth, Orpheus was a musician who could move inanimate objects with his playing). Solution is E (i.e. “phrase finally”, i.e. the last letter of “phrase”) placed in or “assimilated by” ORPHAN (i.e. “parentless child”), like so: ORPH(E)AN.

  1. Peaceful situation for Hamlet’s rest? (7)

Answer: SILENCE (i.e. “peaceful situation”). The remainder of the clue references Hamlet’s last words in the play: “the rest is silence”.

  1. Imagine fish at bottom of lake (6)

Answer: IDEATE (i.e. “imagine”). Solution is IDE (i.e. “fish”, also spelled id) followed by AT and E (i.e. “bottom of lake”, i.e. the last letter of “lake”, being part of a down clue).

  1. Chewed leaf Henry removed from nonconformist chapel (5)

Answer: BETEL (i.e. “chewed leaf”). Solution is BETHEL (i.e. “nonconformist chapel”) with the H removed (indicated by “Henry removed from” – H is a recognised abbreviation of “Henry”, a unit of measurement).

  1. Side dish served in Agra, it appears (5)

Answer: RAITA (i.e. “side dish” popular with setters, given how often it appears here). “Served in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: AG(RA IT A)PPEARS.

  1. Trendy joint (3)

Answer: HIP. Solution satisfies “trendy” and “joint”.

4 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1508

  1. Thanks, Lucian, pretty straightforward I thought this week though I’ve never heard of the word ‘eirenicon’ & ‘ideate’ is a new one on me as well. Cheers.

  2. Quite straightforward compared with last week’s rather tricky offering. And, like Chris, I had never heard of ‘eirenicon’ nor ‘ideate’ – but neither was hard to deduce from the derivations.

    BTW, did everyone spot the letter from Wadham Sutton in Saturday’s “Letters to the Editor” (p.28)? Now aged 86, he has been compiling crosswords for “The Times” since January 1972 – and is currently working on his 1,727th daily cryptic.

    What a pity that the compilers always go unnamed, whereas those in “The Guardian” at least give their monikers. I suppose the greatest of them all was Araucaria – whose crosswords I attempted for years. A genius and a great loss when he passed away.

  3. Thanks Lucian. I’d also never heard of “eirenicon” or “ideate”, and like you I felt that this one relied too heavily on names. I’m not a fan of these types of clues, as (like deletion clues) they’re almost impossible to solve just from the wordplay.

    We weren’t convinced about PER meaning TO A (16d). Also, we felt that 23d needed a ? at the end, because an outrigger is a type of boat – so that element of the clue is used twice. And the apostrophe in BAKER’S (20a) is at best superfluous, at worst downright wrong!

    In response to sirram999 above, I read somewhere that The Times deliberately doesn’t identify its crossword compilers, in case solvers are deterred from attempting a particular crossword if they know who set it. I don’t know how true this is, but I do know that one particular Times setter is very fond of the aforementioned “deletion” clues. If I knew at the outset that this setter was responsible for this week’s crossword, I probably wouldn’t even bother buying the paper!

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  4. Nothing too exciting this week. According to my dictionary ERODENT is the thing doing the wearing down. The correct answer there should surely be erosion.
    I also loved Araucaria, always guaranteed to raise a smile.
    I also take issue with being thought unprincipled, just because I’m a devout atheist!

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