Stinker time! And probably the nastiest one we’ve had for a while too. Not exactly the thing I wanted straight after three days spent catching up on recent Jumbos, but there you go. (A quick shout out to my crossword spy for securing me the goods in my absence.)
By and large the clueing for this one was really good, though, as you’ll see, the setter’s heavy use of misdirection has left plenty of areas of doubt, so expect red bits. You might therefore want to return later to see if a kind soul in the comments has bailed me out.
For now, 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 eluded you, then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 160+ 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, folks. I might need them a little more this week! It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers got on, so do pop in. Till next time, stay safe out there and I’ll see you soon.
With thanks to Grins in the comments for nailing 16a.
- As some guns may be for concealment, small wonder shed is needed (5-3)
Answer: SAWED-OFF (i.e. “as some guns may be for concealment” beneath a large overcoat, say). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by AWE (i.e. “wonder”) and DOFF (i.e. to “shed”).
- Gas piping with vent (3,3)
Answer: HOT AIR (i.e. “gas” or waffle). Solution is HOT (i.e. “piping”) followed by AIR (i.e. to “vent” or ventilate some place). Nicely done.
- One called on jockey to hold place (7)
Answer: VISITEE (i.e. “one called on”). Solution is VIE (i.e. to contest or “jockey”) wrapped around or “holding” SITE (i.e. “place”), like so: VI(SITE)E.
- As may be, possibly, a perfect health report? (3,4,4)
Answer: ALL VERY WELL. Solution satisfies “as may be” and “a perfect health report”.
- One involved with rector in case (11)
Answer: RECONNOITRE (i.e. to “case” a location). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “involved”) of ONE and RECTOR IN.
- Thus case made for cable transport (5)
BRIGS (i.e. prison ships or “transport”). Utter guess, if I’m honest, so watch out. I can just about link “cable” to RIG. The word RIG can be said to be “cased” inside of B(RIG)S, but I can’t make the leap of BS being “thus”. As with rather a lot of this week’s post, if some kind soul swings by with the right answer, I’ll edit and update.
[EDIT: Many thanks to Grins in the comments for saving the day. The solution is BLISS (i.e. “transport” – Chambers has this noun definition: “ecstasy, or any strong emotion”. I think this usage has foxed me before). When written as BL IS S the solution also cryptically satisfies “thus case made for cable”, i.e. how “BL” IS substituted in “cable” with an “S” to get you “case”. A disgusting clue, in all. Cheers, Grins! – LP]
- What hunter does is behind the times (7)
Answer: FORAGES (i.e. “what hunter does”). Solution is FOR (i.e. backs or “is behind”) followed by AGES (i.e. “the times”).
- Pointing out plates might be false type in need of replacing (5,4)
Answer: SPLAY FEET (i.e. “pointing out plates” – plates being cockney rhyming slang for feet, i.e. “plates of meat”). “In need of replacing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FALSE TYPE.
- Letter from Greek quartermaster, with Britain’s backing, bearing fruit (7)
Answer: KUMQUAT (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is TAU (i.e. the nineteenth “letter from [the] Greek” alphabet) followed by QM (a recognised abbreviation of “quartermaster”) and UK (i.e. “Britain” or the United Kingdom). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “backing”), like so: KU-MQ-UAT.
- Send out bowler to get ready? (4,3,3,5)
Answer: PASS THE HAT ROUND. Clue plays on “bowler” being a type of HAT, and how the solution describes a collection passed round for money or “ready”. You get the idea.
- What we basically learn from article: agricultural machinery cuts belt up (3,5,2)
Answer: THE THREE RS (i.e. “what we basically learn”, i.e. reading, riting and rithmetic. If only “spelling” had an R in it, eh?) Solution is THE (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, and or the) followed by THRESHERS (i.e. “agricultural machinery”) once the SH has been removed (indicated by “cuts belt up”, “belt up” being an expression for someone to keep quiet), like so: THE-THRE(SH)ERS => THE-THREERS.
- Mock old nurse in front of Irish politicians (4,2)
Answer: SEND UP (i.e. “mock”). Solution is SEN (i.e. “old nurse”, specifically a State Enrolled Nurse) followed by DUP (i.e. “Irish politicians”, specifically the Democratic Unionist Party).
- Something on stave almost split (4)
Answer: CLEF (i.e. “something on a stave”, i.e. those curly symbols seen at the beginning of sheet music, and whose meaning is lost to… (counts on fingers) everyone. Yep, everyone. Still, they look nice, don’t they?) Solution is CLEFT (i.e. “split”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”).
- Kid to remove quickly on being constrained by age (4,1,4,3,2)
Answer: PULL A FAST ONE ON (i.e. to “kid” or have on). Solution is PULL (i.e. “remove”) followed by FAST (i.e. “quickly”) and ON once they been placed in or “constrained by” AEON (i.e. “age”), like so: PULL-A(FAST-ON)EON.
- Weapon I fear I left close to mirror carelessly (3,5)
Answer: AIR RIFLE (i.e. “weapon”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “carelessly”) of I FEAR I, L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and R (i.e. “close to mirror”, i.e. the last letter of “mirror”).
- A record-breaking fizzy drink with energy gets award (8)
Answer: ACCOLADE (i.e. “award”). Solution is A followed by COLA (i.e. “fizzy drink”) once placed in or “breaking” CD (i.e. a “record” or Compact Disc), and followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: A-C(COLA)D-E.
- Detective woman with right advice for combating break-ins, we understand? (8,6)
Answer: SHERLOCK HOLMES (i.e. “detective”). Solution is SHE (i.e. “woman”) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and then a homophonic phrase (indicated by “we understand”) of LOCK HOMES (i.e. “advice for combating break-ins”).
- Some power I apply to wheel brace (4)
Answer: PAIR (i.e. two or a “brace”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “to wheel” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: POWE(R I AP)PLY.
- Old Dutch XI few English fancy (2-4)
Answer: EX-WIFE (i.e. “old Dutch” – more cockney rhyming slang, this time allegedly after the Duchess of Fife). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fancy”) of XI FEW and E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”). Nicely worked.
- Stole a piece of bread, and intended to tuck in? (10)
Answer: WRAPAROUND (i.e. a garment or “stole”). A bit of a guess, this. I’m taking A ROUND to be “a piece of bread” and assume the remainder of the clue refers to wraps, i.e. flatbreads/tortillas that are wrapped around a filling. Again, if a better solution comes to the fore, I’ll update the post.
- Associate with endless video game to a negligible degree (15)
Answer: INFINITESIMALLY (i.e. “to a negligible degree”). Solution is ALLY (i.e. “associate”) placed after or “with” INFINITE (i.e. “endless”) and SIM (i.e. “video game” or simulation), like so: (INFINITE-SIM)-ALLY.
- Close relation around one in retirement? (7)
Answer: NIGHTIE (i.e. a garment “around one in retirement” or sleeping). Solution is NIGH (i.e. “close”) followed by TIE (i.e. “relation”).
- When thousands beheaded – and character abroad the opposite, by mistake (3,6)
Answer: THE TERROR (i.e. a period “when thousands [were] beheaded” during the French Revolution). Solution is THETA (i.e. “character abroad”, specifically the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet) followed by ERROR (i.e. “mistake”). I guess “the opposite” is to stop us from mistakenly taking the first letter off of THETA. Who knows?
[EDIT: Thanks to Michael in the comments for correcting this one. I’d misread the clue, like a buffoon. The clue asks us to clip the end from THETA, which is the opposite of beheading it. This, combined with ERROR, then gives you THET-ERROR. Cheers, Michael! – LP]
- Cafeteria finally leaving rolls out for lunch (7)
Answer: LUNCHES. Another guess, but only because I can’t shift the notion that someone at The Times has buggered up and accidentally plonked the answer in the clue. (Paging Jim Bowen, come in Jim Bowen…) To me it looks like the solution is LAUNCHES (i.e. “rolls out”) with the A removed (indicated by “cafeteria finally leaving”, A being the last letter of “cafeteria”). Again, if someone swings by with the right answer, I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for confirming this was indeed a misprint. Good to know! – LP]
- Observe plot in segments? (5)
Answer: LOBED (i.e. “in segments”). Solution is LO (i.e. “observe”, as in lo and behold) followed by BED (i.e. “plot”).
- Ruins suffer when entered by heavy metal plant (5,6)
Answer: MARSH MALLOW (i.e. a “plant” akin to the hollyhock, it says here). Solution is MARS (i.e. “ruins”) and ALLOW (i.e. to permit or “suffer”) wrapped around or “entered by” HM (a recognised abbreviation of “heavy metal” music – not recognised by Chambers, but is backed up by my Oxford), like so: MARS-(HM)-ALLOW.
- A seal with teeth eats fern after chewing on a duck (3,8)
Answer: ZIP FASTENER (i.e. “a seal with teeth” – splitting hairs, you could argue the fastener itself doesn’t have teeth, rather the zip it’s applied to). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “chewing”) of EATS FERN placed “on” or after ZIP (i.e. “a duck” or zero score).
- Investigating officers confronting evasive traveller (7)
Answer: DIDICOY (i.e. “traveller” – over to Chambers: “an itinerant tinker or scrap dealer, not a true gypsy (Romany)“). Solution is DI and DI (i.e. “investigating officers”, specifically Detective Inspectors) followed by COY (i.e. “evasive”). Took a little brute force of my Chambers to nail. Interesting word I’ve not come across before, which means I’ll probably now see it peppered through everything I read this week.
- Solution’s framed in a way that’s most cunning (6)
Answer: SLYEST (i.e. “most cunning”). Solution is LYE’S (i.e. chemical “solution”, read as a contraction of LYE IS) placed or “framed in” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: S(LYE’S)T. I much prefer this spelling to SLIEST, which was featured a few grids ago.
- Supported allowing bishop out of bed, but keeping her indoors? (8)
Answer: ESPOUSED (i.e. “supported”). Solution is BED with the B removed (indicated by “bishop out of…” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess) and the remainder wrapped around or “keeping” SPOUSE (i.e. “her indoors”), like so: E(SPOUSE)D.
- Whip initially should be fine for containing crowd (7)
Answer: SJAMBOK (i.e. a South African “whip”. I mean, with a name like that could have come from anywhere else?) Solution is S and B (i.e. “initially should be”, i.e. the first letters of “should” and “be”), and OK (i.e. “fine”) all wrapped around or “containing” JAM (i.e. a “crowd”), like so: S(JAM)B-OK. If, while walking the dog this afternoon, you caught a faint but distinct string of strong sexual swear words coming roughly from the east, that was me opening my Bradford’s and seeing this bullshit made-to-fit solution. Ugh.
- Is one to reveal all about a married man endangering son? (7,4)
Answer: WILLIAM TELL (i.e. “man endangering son” in shooting an apple off the lad’s head. He’s a Swiss hero, sure, but ask yourself how many sons he went through before he got it right…) Solution is WILL I TELL (i.e. “is one to reveal all”) wrapped “about” A and M (a recognised abbreviation of “man”), like so: WILL-I-(A-M)-TELL.
- Controversially up the dose for certain states (4,5)
Answer: DEEP SOUTH (i.e. “certain states” in the US). “Controversially” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UP THE DOSE.
- Smart of newspaper chap to deal with rage (3,3,3,6)
Answer: FLY OFF THE HANDLE (i.e. “rage”). Solution is FLY (i.e. knowing or “smart”) followed by OF, then FT (i.e. “newspaper”, specifically the Financial Times), then HE (i.e. “chap”) and HANDLE (i.e. “to deal with”).
- “I am the egg man” John reflected has zero meaning (8)
Answer: OOLOGIST (i.e. “I am the egg man”, i.e. a specialist in eggs). Solution is LOO (i.e. “john”, both informal words for a toilet) reversed (indicated by “reflected”) and followed by O (i.e. “zero”) and GIST (i.e. “meaning”), like so: OOL-O-GIST. An excellent clue, the best for ages.
- A vote by directors affecting everyone (6-3-5)
Answer: ACROSS-THE-BOARD (i.e. “affecting everyone”). Solution is A followed by CROSS (i.e. “vote”), then THE BOARD (i.e. “directors” of a company).
- Music that’s slow to produce yet sad? (10)
Answer: ROCKSTEADY (i.e. a 1960s style of “music” from Jamaica “that’s slow”). When written as ROCK STEADY the solution is a cryptic reference to STEADY being an anagram (indicated by “ROCK” or “production”) of “yet sad”.
- Reduced rainfall in a valley – rising in plain (7)
Answer: VANILLA (i.e. “plain”). “Reduced” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “rising” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue, like so: RAINF(ALL IN A V)ALLEY.
- Broke pen after sticking leg in (5)
Answer: STONY (i.e. “broke” or brassic). Solution is STY (i.e. pig “pen”) wrapped around or “sticking in” ON (i.e. “leg” side in cricket), like so: ST(ON)Y.
- Throwing the FT out, one finds phrase linked with financial sums (2,3,4,2)
Answer: TO THE TUNE OF (i.e. “phrase linked with financial sums”). “Throwing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THE FT OUT ONE.
- A couple of “drawings”, one only spoken of late in the day (8)
Answer: EVENTIDE (i.e. “late in the day”). Solution is formed of EVEN and a homophone (indicated by “only one spoken”) of TIED, both of which are “drawings”. Given the setter’s predilection for misdirection, I’m surprised “drawings” was placed in quotes.
- Attention given to women’s sport (4)
Answer: WEAR (i.e. to “sport”). Solution is EAR (i.e. “attention”) placed after or “given to” W (a recognised abbreviation of “women”), like so: W-EAR.
- Not being spotted in Ruth, city appearing in Genesis (6)
Answer: PURITY (i.e. “not being spotty”). Solution is PITY (i.e. mercy or “ruth” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) wrapped around or having “in” UR (i.e. “city appearing in Genesis” – I’ll have to take the setter’s word for it. Every Bible I hold bursts into flames), like so: P(UR)ITY.
- Bible teaching by eccentric old Italian, perhaps (7)
Answer: RICARDO (i.e. “Italian, perhaps” – basically an Italian bloke’s name. Oof, setter. Did you really just do that?) Solution is RI (i.e. “Bible teaching”, specifically Religious Instruction) followed by CARD (i.e. an “eccentric” person) and O (i.e. “old”).
- Bang on about pub’s formal dress requirement? (3,3)
Answer: TOP HAT (i.e. “formal dress requirement”). Solution is TO A T (i.e. exact or “bang on”) wrapped “about” PH (i.e. “pub”, specifically a Public House), like so: TO-(PH)-A-T. Another nicely worked clue.
- Attend to harvest one’s corn, perhaps, crossing river (5,2,4,4)
Answer: PRICK UP ONE’S EARS (i.e. “attend to” or to focus attention on). Solution is PICK UP ONE’S EARS (i.e. “harvest one’s corn, perhaps”, given you get EARS of “corn”) wrapped around or “crossing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”, like so: P(R)ICK UP ONE’S EARS.
- Expecting relations to stop being obstructive (2,3,6,3)
Answer: IN THE FAMILY WAY (i.e. euphemistically “expecting” or pregnant). Solution is FAMILY (i.e. “relations”) placed in or “stopping” IN THE WAY (i.e. “being obstructive”), like so: IN-THE-(FAMILY)-WAY. Sounds like one of those phrases I ought to have heard before, but nope.
- Ate together with doctor, being invited in (6)
Answer: MESSED (i.e. “ate together” – think army catering, for example). Solution is MD (i.e. “doctor”, specifically a Medicinae Doctor or Doctor of Medicine) wrapped around or “inviting in” ESSE (i.e. “being” or the essence of living), like so: M(ESSE)D.
- Maybe one having trouble performing, in a flap (7)
Answer: AILERON (i.e. “flap”). Solution is AILER (i.e. “maybe one having trouble”) followed by ON (i.e. “performing”).
- Top that’s short and light? It can go with hips (6)
Answer: HOORAY (i.e. “it can go with hips”, i.e. hip-hip-hooray!) Solution is HOOD (i.e. a garment or “top”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “that’s short”) and the remainder followed by RAY (i.e. “light”), like so: HOO-RAY.
- Drove kid around university, and cardinal across much of Europe (11)
Answer: CHAUFFEURED (i.e. “drove” someone). Solution is CHAFF (i.e. to “kid” or tease) wrapped “around” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”), and RED (i.e. “cardinal”) all wrapped around or “across” EU (i.e. “much of Europe”, specifically the European Union), like so: CHA(U)FF-(EU)-RED.
- Swindlers establish facilities for online saving? (11)
Answer: MOUNTEBANKS (i.e. “swindlers”). Solution is MOUNT (i.e. “establish”, e.g. mounting an investigation) followed by E-BANKS (i.e. “facilities for online saving”, a play on how “e-” is tacked onto some stuff to show they’re online).
- After race, car’s cylinders to be put away (5,5)
Answer: SWISS ROLLS (i.e. “cylinders to be put away” or eaten). Solution is SWISS (i.e. “race” –Chamber’s offers this definition: “a class or group, defined otherwise than by descent”. It also offers this: “the descendants of a common ancestor”. So that’s everyone covered then) followed by ROLLS (i.e. “car”, specifically a Rolls Royce).
- Got it wrong with role for opera (9)
Answer: RIGOLETTO (i.e. “opera” by Giuseppe Verdi). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wrong”) of GOT IT and ROLE.
- Unseasonable fog descending on island at sea (8)
Answer: MISTIMED (i.e. “unseasonable”). Solution is MIST (i.e. “fog”) followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”) and MED (i.e. “sea”, specifically the Mediterranean). Another well worked clue.
- Pancakes with black dressing and chopped orange peel (8)
Answer: BLINTZES (i.e. “pancakes”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) followed by LINT (i.e. “dressing”) and ZEST (i.e. “orange peel”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “chopped”), like so: B-LINT-ZES. Chalk another to my Bradford’s here. I wouldn’t have got this in a month of Sundays.
- Husky which is outside runs round front of yurt (7)
Answer: THROATY (i.e. “husky”). Solution is THAT (i.e. “which”) wrapped “outside” of R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) and O (i.e. “round”), then followed by Y (i.e. “front of yurt”, i.e. the first letter of “yurt”), like so: TH(R-O)AT-Y.
- Goal by United Liverpool player let happen? (7)
Answer: ENDURED (i.e. “let happen”). Solution is END (i.e. aim or “goal”) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”), then RED (i.e. “Liverpool player”, after the colour of the football kit).
- Ideal Burgundy and something drinker goes after? (5)
Answer: ETHIC (i.e. “ideal”). Solution is ET (i.e. “Burgundy and”, i.e. the word “and” in French) followed by HIC (i.e. “something drinker does after”, i.e. hiccup, a stereotypical sign of drunkenness).
- Jabber, endless overpromotion coming to nothing (4)
Answer: HYPO (i.e. “jabber” or hypodermic needle). Solution is HYPE (i.e. “overpromotion”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder followed by O (indicated by “coming to nothing”), like so: HYP-O.
Having gorged on live sports in recent weeks, it was time to dive back into some choonage. One album I’ve frequently played this year is Jim Davies’s’s’ses’s(es’s) Headwars.
“Who he?” you might ask. Good question. You’re most likely to have heard his guitar-wangling on some Prodigy tracks, perhaps most famously his riff on Firestarter. So him, then.
Now, while Headwars is a solid listen and well worth your time, it’s the remixes album that often tickles my interest. Techno, dubstep, electronica: it’s all represented in a tight 40 minutes, but Prodigy completionists may be interested in a couple of very good remixes by Empirion (who made a mighty fine remix of Firestarter back in the day and seem to be rebuilding their following after a lengthy hiatus) and, perhaps the best of the bunch, a remix by one Leeroy Thornhill. Yes, that Leeroy. If that sounds like your bag, go check it out. As usual the link will take you to Spotify.
After all that Prodigy old-boy stuff, the only decent thing left to do was to listen to Music For The Jilted Generation. Still a masterpiece. Laters! – LP