Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1509

A medium-strength offering this week marred by a setter playing nasty. Well, two can play at that game, chum.

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 enlightenment in my Just For Fun page, where I’ve chucked together links to solutions for the past 150+ of these things. Elsewhere you can find the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind words and help, folks, and a special hat-tip to those who have purchased my stuff in recent months. I purposely avoid the hard sell in these posts, so it’s really nice to see the sales when they ping into my inbox. Thank you. Till next time, stay safe, mask up when asked, and continue giving props to the NHS and key workers everywhere.


Across clues

  1. Sailor and solider regularly unload arthropod (9)

Answer: TARANTULA (i.e. “arthropod”, or critters with segmented bodies and the like). Solution is TAR (i.e. informal word for a “sailor”) followed by ANT (i.e. “solider”) and ULA (i.e. “regularly unload”, i.e. every other letter of UNLOAD).

  1. Quiet American, sick with hatred, takes in old and timid (13)

Answer: PUSILLANIMOUS (i.e. “timid”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, i.e. “quiet” in musical lingo) followed by US (i.e. “American”), then ILL (i.e. “sick”) and ANIMUS (i.e. hostility or “hatred”) once wrapped around or “taking in” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: P-US-ILL-ANIM(O)US.

  1. A bunch of well-read librarians wing it (2-3)

Answer: AD-LIB (i.e. “wing it”). “A bunch of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: WELL-RE(AD LIB)RARIANS.

  1. Victory impresses more trendy assistant in hunt (7-2)

Answer: WHIPPER-IN (i.e. “assistant in hunt” who looks after the hounds, it says here). Solution is WIN (i.e. “victory”) wrapped around or “impressing” HIPPER (i.e. “more trendy”), like so: W(HIPPER)IN.

  1. Author about to block old censor and senator finally (7)

Answer: CREATOR (i.e. “author”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) placed in or “blocking” CATO the Elder (i.e. “old censor” – he was also known as Cato the Censor) and followed by R (i.e. “senator finally”, i.e. the last letter of “senator”), like so: C(RE)ATO-R.

  1. The incredible awareness at the heart of Shakespeare (12,10)

Answer: EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION (i.e. “incredible awareness”). Clue plays on how the initials ESP can be found “at the heart of ShakESPeare”.

  1. Idiots undermine bills ambassador introduced (8)

Answer: SAPHEADS (i.e. “idiots”). Solution is SAP (i.e. to “undermine”) and ADS (i.e. “bills” or advertisements) both wrapped around or “introducing” HE (i.e. “ambassador”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “His Excellency”), like so: SAP-(HE)-ADS.

  1. Bizarre account involving old form of fruit (8)

Answer: COCOANUT (i.e. “form of fruit” – Chambers just about tolerates the variant spelling). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “bizarre”) of ACCOUNT wrapped around or “involving” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: COC(O)ANUT.

  1. A lot of sailors grasping firm bit of mast (5)

Answer: ACORN (i.e. “bit of mast” – a variant meaning of “mast” is the fruit of assorted trees, oaks included, upon which pigs feed). Solution is A and RN (i.e. “lot of sailors”, specifically the Royal Navy) wrapped around or “grasping” CO (i.e. “firm”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a “company”), like so: A-(CO)-RN.

  1. Notice present then past feature in playground (6)

Answer: SEESAW (i.e. “feature in playground”). Solution is SEE (i.e. “notice” in the “present” tense) followed by SAW (i.e. “notice” in the “past” tense).

  1. Wet blanket near person at end of day (6)

Answer: MISERY (i.e. a “wet blanket”). Solution is MISER (i.e. “near person” – one definition of “near” is an informal word for being stingy) followed by Y (i.e. “end of day”, i.e. the last letter of “day”).

  1. Fleet Street record dance (9)

Answer: QUICKSTEP (i.e. “dance”). Solution is QUICK (i.e. “fleet”) followed by ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”) and EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended Play).

  1. Calm down one in a key state after rioting (4,2,4)

Answer: TAKE IT EASY (i.e. “calm down”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “after rioting”) of A KEY STATE wrapped around or taking “in” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: TAKE(I)TEASY.

  1. “Cicero is an orator first and foremost!” Roman cheers (4)

Answer: CIAO (i.e. “Roman cheers”, i.e. an Italian salutation or valediction. I’m guilty of signing off emails with “cheers” from time to time). “First and foremost” indicates the solution comprises the initial letters of Cicero Is An Orator.

  1. Couple hold nerve withdrawing farm job (7)

Answer: TILLAGE (i.e. “farm job”). Solution is TIE (i.e. to “couple”) wrapped around or “holding” GALL (i.e. “nerve”) once reversed (indicated by “withdrawing”), like so: TI(LLAG)E.

  1. This writer’s probing unfit revolutionary instruments (7)

Answer: TIMPANI (i.e. “instruments”). Solution is I’M (i.e. “this writer’s”, taken as a contraction of “this writer is” from the point of view of the setter) placed in or “probing” INAPT (i.e. “unfit”) once reversed (indicated by “revolutionary”), like so: T(I’M)PANI.

  1. Flat sporting occasion curtailed (4)

Answer: EVEN (i.e. “flat”). Solution is EVENT (i.e. “sporting occasion”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “curtailed”).

  1. In Arctic ground I had added corrosive chemical (6,4)

Answer: NITRIC ACID (i.e. “corrosive chemical”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “ground”) of IN ARCTIC followed by I’D (a contraction of “I had”), like so: NITRICAC-I’D.

  1. Large snake in garden initially gives problem with hose (9)

Answer: LADDERING (i.e. “problem with hose”, i.e. tights). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) followed by ADDER (i.e. “snake”), then IN and G (i.e. “garden initially”, i.e. the first letter of “garden”).

  1. French president takes off glove for trip (6)

Answer: ERRAND (i.e. “trip”). Solution is François MITTERRAND (i.e. “French president”) with the MITT removed (indicated by “takes off glove”).

  1. Small extremely clumsy article one’s used for cutting (6)

Answer: SCYTHE (i.e. “one’s used for cutting”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by CY (i.e. “extremely clumsy”, i.e. the first and last letters of “clumsy”), then THE (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the).

  1. It secures victory in time that’s empty (5)

Answer: TWINE (i.e. “it secures”). Solution is WIN (i.e. “victory”) once placed “in” TE (i.e. “time that’s empty”, i.e. the word “time” with its middle letters removed), like so: T(WIN)E.

  1. Is blinking big cat occasionally caught in rump? (8)

Answer: NICTATES (i.e. “is blinking” – I’ve tried, like really really hard, to twist the phrasing this way and that, but can only arrive at something ending in -ing, not -s). Solution is ICT (i.e. “big cat occasionally”, i.e. every other letter of BIG CAT) placed or “caught in” NATES (i.e. anatomical term for the buttocks or “rump”), like so: N(ICT)ATES. Clunky.

  1. Ten tucked into beer with lime, say, in bar on coach (8)

Answer: AXLETREE (i.e. “bar on coach” – a new one on me, but not one I think will live long in the memory). Solution is X (i.e. Roman numeral for “ten”) placed or “tucked into” ALE (i.e. “beer”) and followed by TREE (i.e. “lime, say” – other flavours of tree are available), like so: A(X)LE-TREE. One gotten by looking up words beginning with AXLE, if I’m honest.

  1. Relish standardising nosh cooked with dulse (8,6,8)

Answer: THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING (i.e. “relish” – and one so popular with Times setters it has appeared four times since I started doing these Jumbo posts. Either that or it’s the same setter each time and they’re utterly besotted with the stuff. Like, open any cupboard or drawer in their house and you’ll find nothing but jars and jars of Thousand Island dressing. Wardrobe: ditto. Box room: chock-a-block with it. Turn on the taps: Thousand Island dressing oozes out. Flush the toilet: Thousand Island dressing. Good grief, there are even jars of it stuffed into the cistern. These Times setters really, really love their Thousand Island dressing! I prefer hummus, personally). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cooked”) of STANDARDISING NOSH and DULSE.

  1. Antarctic explorer in India? Tell composer (7)

Answer: Gioachino ROSSINI (i.e. “Tell composer”, i.e. him wot wrote The Lone Ranger theme tune the William Tell Overture). Solution is John ROSS (i.e. “Antarctic explorer”) followed by IN and I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Poor state university function in deficit (9)

Answer: LOUSINESS (i.e. “poor state”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and SINE (i.e. trigonometrical “function”) both placed “in” LOSS (i.e. “deficit”), like so: LO(U-SINE)SS.

  1. Collapsing out of bounds, exhausted (3,2)

Answer: ALL IN (i.e. “exhausted”). Solution is FALLING (i.e. “collapsing”) with its first and last letters removed (indicated by “out of bounds”).

  1. Enlarging vein somehow the result of using needle (4,9)

Answer: LINE ENGRAVING (i.e. “result of using needle”). “Somehow” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ENLARGING VEIN. Nicely worked.

  1. Dealing online, English come across German car (1-8)

Answer: E-COMMERCE (i.e. “dealing online”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by COME once wrapped around or placed “across” MERC (i.e. “German car”, short for Mercedes), like so: E-COM(MERC)E.

Down clues

  1. Crosses put up around Republican states (9)

Answer: TRAVERSES (i.e. “crosses”). Solution is SET (i.e. to “put” in place) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped “around” R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”) and AVERS (i.e. “states”), like so: T(R-AVERS)ES.

  1. Bureau Trollope’s crazy daughter put in at end of week (4-3,4)

Answer: ROLL-TOP DESK (i.e. “bureau”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “crazy”) of TROLLOPE’S wrapped around or having “put in” D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) and followed by K (i.e. “end of week”, i.e. the last letter of “week”), like so: ROLLTOP(D)ES-K.

  1. Old part of Africa now under boats in Aswan primarily (5)

Answer: NUBIA (i.e. “old part of Africa” along the Nile). “Primarily” indicates the solution comprises the initial letters of Now Under Boats In Aswan.

  1. Peace-keepers, furious about eastern Yankee, hard to handle (8)

Answer: UNWIELDY (i.e. “hard to handle”). Solution is UN (i.e. “peace-keepers”, specifically the United Nations) followed by WILD (i.e. “furious”) once wrapped “about” E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”) and followed by Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: UN-WI(E)LD-Y.

  1. Surrounded by 500 in a film (6)

Answer: AMIDST (i.e. “surrounded by”). Solution is D (Roman numeral for “500”) placed “in” A and MIST (i.e. “film”), like so: A-MI(D)ST.

  1. Decorate unit inspired by my notes (5,5)

Answer: PAPER MONEY (i.e. “notes”). Solution is PAPER (i.e. to “decorate”) followed by ONE (i.e. “unit”) once placed in or “inspired by” MY, like so: PAPER-M(ONE)Y.

  1. My nicest port dissolved drug (12)

Answer: STREPTOMYCIN (i.e. “drug”). “Dissolved” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MY NICEST PORT. I knew strepto- from my sepia-tinged school days, so a quick shufti in Chambers got me over the line.

  1. Herbicide used up in kindergarten or uni lawns (4,3)

Answer: LINU RON (i.e. a “herbicide” no longer for sale owing to its effects on wildlife. Hoo boy, where to start with this beauty? First: the compound is not listed in any dictionary I own – certainly worthy of a caution, right there. Second: the most cursory glance online reveals it’s actually one word, not two. How on earth did you figure this was a two-worder, setter? Did Chemical John get you a cheap bottle of Soviet-era Linu Яon™ down the pub one day? Definite yellow card. Third: if you find you have painted yourself into a corner and have to resort to made-to-fit bullshit solutions like this, consider reworking the grid. It’s really not that difficult. Second yellow. Back to setter school with you). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: KINDERGARTE(N OR UNI L)AWNS.

  1. Old standard bearer fellow’s one on the right: we all know that? (7,7)

Answer: ANCIENT HISTORY (i.e. “we all know that” – Chambers offers this definition for the phrase: “news or gossip which, contrary to the expectations of the teller, one is already well aware of (inf, fig)“). Solution is ANCIENT (i.e. “old standard bearer”, an obsolete variant meaning of the word) followed by HIS (i.e. “fellow’s”) and TORY (i.e. “one on the right” of politics).

  1. Sloth’s favourite time to eat it up (7)

Answer: INERTIA (i.e. “sloth”). Solution is IN (i.e. popular or “favourite”) followed by ERA (i.e. “time”) once wrapped around or “eating” IT once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: IN-ER(TI)A.

  1. Somehow drain tooth around hole, using this treatment? (11)

Answer: ORTHODONTIA (i.e. “[tooth] …treatment”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of DRAIN TOOTH wrapped “around” O (i.e. “hole”), like so: ORTH(O)DONTIA.

  1. Gershwin’s pulled up long garment (4)

Answer: SARI (i.e. “long garment”). Solution is IRA’S (i.e. “Gershwin’s” – his first name) reversed (indicated by “pulled up” – this being a down clue).

  1. A thousand raised fibres and tiny diamonds found in plant (8)

Answer: KNAPWEED (i.e. “plant”). Solution is K (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “a thousand”) followed by NAP (i.e. “raised fibres”), then WEE (i.e. “tiny”) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “diamonds” used in card games).

  1. Remove European judge jailing a lot of sleuths from the south (9)

Answer: ERADICATE (i.e. “remove”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and RATE (i.e. to “judge”) wrapped around or “jailing” A and CID (i.e. “lot of sleuths”, specifically the Criminal Investigation Department of the police force) both reversed (indicated by “from the south” – this being a down clue), like so: E-RA(DIC-A)TE.

  1. US poet drinks with Austrian composer (8)

Answer: Allen GINSBERG (i.e. “US poet”). Solution is GINS (i.e. “drinks”) followed by Alban BERG (i.e. “Austrian composer”).

  1. Result of division not quite worked out (8)

Answer: QUOTIENT (i.e. “result of division”). “Worked out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NOT QUITE.

  1. Old unit look into mountain bike (9)

Answer: KILOCYCLE (i.e. “old unit”, these days known as kilohertz). Solution is LO (i.e. “look”, as in lo and behold) placed “into” KI (i.e. “mountain”, specifically K1 with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent) and CYCLE (i.e. “bike”), like so: KI-(LO)-CYCLE.

  1. Comedian is trained by top man for ref’s job (8-6)

Answer: DECISION-MAKING (i.e. “ref’s job”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “trained”) of COMEDIAN IS followed by KING (i.e. “top man”), like so: DECISIONMA-KING.

  1. The whole lot write off leaderless City (8)

Answer: TOTALITY (i.e. “the whole lot”). Solution is TOTAL (i.e. to “write off” a motor vehicle) followed by CITY with its first letter removed (indicated by “leaderless”), like so: TOTAL-ITY.

  1. Ace Joss and I wrestling with equine’s indefinable quality (2,2,4,4)

Answer: JE NE SAIS QUOI (i.e. “indefinable quality”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wrestling”) of A (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used in card games), JOSS, I and EQUINE.

  1. Send up dull latest edition of paper? Poles enjoy it for 6 months (8,3)

Answer: MIDNIGHT SUN (i.e. “[north and south] poles enjoy it for 6 months”). Solution is DIM (i.e. “dull”) reversed (indicated by “send up” – this being a down clue) and followed by NIGHT SUN (i.e. playfully, the “latest edition of paper”).

  1. Maybe track flier eventually (11)

Answer: CATERPILLAR. Solution satisfies “maybe track”, such as the kind you’d find on tanks, and “flier eventually”.

  1. Taking Charlie to empty place for washing gear primarily (10)

Answer: FREEBASING (i.e. “taking Charlie”, an informal name for cocaine – freebasing is when you smoke the stuff). Solution is FREE (i.e. “to empty”) followed by BASIN (i.e. “place for washing”) and G (i.e. “gear primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “gear”).

  1. Coming out, soldiers picked up some DNA around clubs (9)

Answer: EMERGENCE (i.e. a “coming out”). Solution is REME (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue) and followed by GENE (i.e. “some DNA”) once wrapped “around” C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games), like so: EMER-GEN(C)E.

  1. Old hacks taking old drink (8)

Answer: EXPRESSO (i.e. “drink” – can be spelled with an X or an S). Solution is EX-PRESS (i.e. “old hacks” or journalists) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”).

  1. Hard to find our lot in East, as it happens (7)

Answer: ELUSIVE (i.e. “hard to find”). Solution is US (i.e. “our lot”) placed “in” E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”) and LIVE (i.e. “as it happens”), like so: E-L(US)IVE.

  1. What leads to some hissing when you call “garçon”? (7)

Answer: CEDILLA, the ‘z’-like tail beneath the ç of “garçon”. Clue plays on the “hissing” sound this represents in the word’s pronunciation. That’s it, I guess, unless I’ve missed something clever.

  1. Attach poster before bringing in horse (6)

Answer: ADHERE (i.e. “attach”). Solution is AD (i.e. “poster” or advertisement) and ERE (poetic form of “before”) wrapped around or “bringing in” H (i.e. “horse”, both street names for heroin), like so: AD-(H)-ERE.

  1. Host guru briefly collecting rupees (5)

Answer: SWARM (i.e. a “host” or lot of something). Solution is SWAMI (i.e. “guru”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder wrapped around or “collecting” R (a recognised abbreviation of “rupees”), like so: SWA(R)M.

  1. Flower in the countryside opening out (4)

Answer: URAL (i.e. a river or “flower” – think about it). Solution is RURAL (i.e. “countryside”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “opening out”).

10 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1509

  1. I could see linuron in the clue but ignored it because LINU RON is not in any dictionary I possess and didn’t come up as such when googled. Dumb and dumberer.
    The rest of the crossword was reasonably good. I got off to a flyer then suddenly and unexpectedly got bogged down. Can’t argue with that, though.
    Thanks for the parsings, some of which I really couldn’t see at all. Took a long time for freebasing to click. Nictates I got quickly, then went the same route as you, trying to shoehorn nictating. I suppose “Is blinking” can be construed as “He nictates”, at a stretch…

  2. Thanks Lucian. Very rarely reply on here but the parsing is very much appreciated and the jokes even more so. A few I did not get Freebasing took me ages and LinuRon I saw as one word on line and so I did get it. Acorn and Cato the censor were new to me. So some easy clues mixed with harder ones making it a good test. Still my favourite crossword !

  3. Thanks Lucian.

    I agree that the setter played a few nasty tricks here. We got LINURON (which we’d never heard of before yesterday) just from the wordplay, but all the sources we consulted confirm that it’s definitely one word not two. I can’t help wondering if this is the same setter who, on a previous occasion, had METAL GURU (song by T Rex) as one word when it should have been two? We couldn’t understand the reasoning behind NICTATES, for the same reason as you. Elsewhere, purists would scream at the spelling of what should rightly be called ESPRESSO (42d), and strictly speaking the “old unit” in 26d should be KILOCYCLE PER SECOND, not just KILOCYCLE.

    Re 46d, it’s all to do with pronunciation. As a general rule, a C is hard before A, O or U, but soft before E or I. The function of the cedilla is to soften a C which would normally be hard. Without the cedilla, the word in question would be pronounced GARKON. Doesn’t quite have the same JE NE SAIS QUOI, does it? Hope this helps.

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  4. 45a I didn’t see so much of a problem with “is blinking” being equivalent to “(he) blinks”.
    46d I imagine the setter intended us get “hissing” from the effect of the cedilla on the letter “c”, turning it from a possible “k” to a certain “ss” sound.
    8d The only virtue of this awful clue was that it provided your spleen with a chance to have a proper workout, and didn’t it just! You did yourself and us full untempered justice. Bless you.
    49a I’ll always have a soft spot for “Thousand Island Dressing” since you awarded me the entire Internet for finally parsing a previous, much more elegant clue some while ago. My daughter was very impressed at the time.
    Thanks so much for keeping going with your blog, it always provides insights and frequently delights.

  5. Thanks, Lucian. I enjoyed this week’s & saw nictates as the same as is nictating (i.e. not interrogative, though there is a question mark in the clue tbf). I liked the e.s.p. clue but think we’ve had it before. Ciao

  6. I would have really struggled with nictates, freebasing, cedilla and Linu Ron! I’m (almost) glad I’ve given up my Times subscription due to the bizarre moderation of online comments which amounted to either lunacy or deliberate throttling of opinions contrary to The Times “line”. The Saturday crossword is one of the things I have missed since then 😟 but I still check out your posts. Thanks as ever for your parsing and comments.

  7. Me too too!.

    As it happens, my on-line subscription is to the Daily Telegraph but I buy a paper copy of The Times on Saturdays, mainly for its excellent puzzle pages.

  8. I think the problem with 8D is that (4,3) is an error: it should have been (7). LINURON appears in Collins Dictionary.

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