A medium strength puzzle this week, which was a bit of a relief after last week’s stinker. This was a decent run out with some well worked clues, if a tad scruffy in places. 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 you beating the ground asking why? Why? WHYYYYY??!?! 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 again for the input and kind words, all. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared, or if there’s something I’ve overlooked. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids. I’ll see you soon.
- Little woman pregnant – me too! (4,3,4)
Answer: JOIN THE CLUB (i.e. “me too”). When written as JO IN THE CLUB the solution also satisfies “little woman pregnant” – JO March being a character in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and IN THE CLUB being an informal phrase for being pregnant.
- Turner exhibition here? (11)
Answer: PLANETARIUM. Clue plays on planets being “turners”, and how their orbits can be demonstrated or “exhibited” in planetariums. Nicely played.
- Put on a brave face and continue to attend regularly? (4,2,11)
Answer: KEEP UP APPEARANCES. Solution satisfies “put on a brave face” and “continue to attend regularly”.
- Gross wreck (5)
Answer: TOTAL. Solution satisfies “gross” and to “wreck”.
- Score when expected to get a century, after setback (6)
Answer: NOTATE (i.e. “score”). Solution is ETA (i.e. “when expected”, specifically an Estimated Time of Arrival) and TON (i.e. informal reference to “a century”) all reversed (indicated by “after setback”), like so: NOT-ATE.
- Picture teacher’s stolen (8)
Answer: HEADSHOT (i.e. “picture”). Solution is HEAD’S (i.e. “teacher’s”) followed by HOT (i.e. “stolen”).
- Drink, case of which is important (7)
Answer: WHISKEY (i.e. “drink”). Solution is WH (i.e. “case of which”, i.e. the first and last letters of “which”) followed by IS, then KEY (i.e. “important”).
- A charity preserving woodland briefly mentioned earlier (9)
Answer: AFORESAID (i.e. “mentioned earlier”). Solution is A and AID (i.e. “charity”) wrapped around or “preserving” FOREST (i.e. “woodland”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: A-(FORES)-AID.
- Time that’s nervous for a batsman, intense I suspect (8)
Answer: NINETIES (i.e. “time that’s nervous for a batsman” in cricket, as they approach a century score). “Suspect” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INTENSE I.
- Undesirable order, some Christmas boxes (4)
Answer: ASBO (i.e. “undesirable order”, i.e. an Antisocial Behaviour Order). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: CHRISTM(AS BO)XES.
- Spy a lady’s partner? (5)
Answer: AGENT (i.e. “spy”). When written as A GENT the solution also satisfies “a lady’s partner”.
- European was obliged to admit error when turned over (6)
Answer: DANISH (i.e. “European”). Solution is HAD (i.e. “was obliged”, or had to) wrapped around or “admitting” SIN (i.e. “error”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “when turned over”), like so: DA(NIS)H.
- As beer may be from Barcelona, Man United importing English (4,6)
Answer: HOME-BREWED (i.e. “as beer may be”). Solution is HOMBRE (i.e. “Barcelona man”, i.e. the Spanish for “man” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and WED (i.e. “united” – again, ignoring the capitalisation) wrapped around or “importing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: HOM(E)BRE-WED.
- Exchange rate isn’t something to toy around with (5,3)
Answer: TRAIN SET (i.e. “something to toy around with”). “Exchange” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RATE ISN’T. Nicely worked.
- Commercial building that could be very quiet? (8,6)
Answer: SHOPPING CENTRE (i.e. “commercial building”). The remainder of the clue plays on how PP (a recognised abbreviation of pianissimo or “very quiet” in musical lingo) lies at the CENTRE of “SHOPPING”.
- O, I can help everyone! (9,5)
Answer: UNIVERSAL DONOR (i.e. blood group “O”). Over to Chambers: “a person whose blood is of group O, which can therefore be transfused into persons of other blood groups”. And so: “I can help everyone”.
- Dope found in lorry containing certain type of silver (10)
Answer: ARGENTIC (i.e. “containing certain type of silver”). Solution is GEN (i.e. “dope” or knowledge) placed “in” ARTIC (i.e. “lorry”, short for articulated), like so: AR(GEN)TIC. Argent is silver in heraldry, so you can derive the solution from it in a hand-wavy, don’t-look-too-closely kind of way. It’s just a shame the word isn’t explicitly supported by my Chambers, Oxford or Collins Concise. Thumbs down, setter.
- Not entirely comfortable in bind where pointed items inserted (10)
Answer: PINCUSHION (i.e. “where pointed items inserted”). Solution is CUSHY (i.e. “comfortable”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “not entirely”) and the remainder placed “in” PINION (i.e. “bind”), like so: PIN(CUSH)ION.
- Lovely guess (6)
Answer: DIVINE. Solution satisfies “lovely” and “guess”.
- First degree – that’s invigorating (5)
Answer: TONIC. Solution satisfies “first degree” – over to Chambers again: “of or being the first note of a scale (music)” – and “that’s invigorating”.
- Group of girls drink loudly (4)
Answer: BEVY. Solution satisfies “group of girls” and “drink”. I’m guessing “loudly” is a homophone indicator, but Chambers allows both BEVY and BEVVY as informal words for “beverage”. I might have missed something clever, though.
- Rise unexpectedly in simple psalm (8)
Answer: MISERERE (i.e. “psalm”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unexpectedly”) of RISE placed “in” MERE (i.e. “simple”), like so: M(ISER)ERE. One gotten from the wordplay, though I needed a push from my Bradford’s to get MERE.
- Author has last character poking succulent fruit on the turn (5,4)
Answer: EMILE ZOLA (i.e. “author”). Solution is Z (i.e. “last character” of the alphabet) placed in or “poking” ALOE (i.e. “succulent”) and LIME (i.e. “fruit”) once they’ve been reversed (indicated by “on the turn”), like so: EMIL-E(Z)OLA. Zola’s novel Germinal was a solution in one of these things a while ago. It’s weird what I remember.
- Direct effects on raids carrying on (7)
Answer: INROADS (i.e. “raids”). Can’t say I follow what the setter is up to here. To me, INROADS are “raids” or invasions. “Making inroads” can mean to make progress, but this is also wide of the mark. I believe the solution is an anagram (indicated by “carrying on”) of ON RAIDS, but as for the “direct effects” bit, who knows?
- Wet earth beside river rounded by runner perhaps on some island (8)
Answer: BERMUDAN (i.e. “on some island”). Solution is MUD (i.e. “wet earth”) placed after or “beside” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”). These are then placed in or “rounded by” BEAN (i.e. “runner perhaps”, as in runner beans), like so: BE(R-MUD)AN.
- Free, escape into Parisian street (6)
Answer: RESCUE (i.e. to “free”). Solution is ESC (i.e. the “escape” key on a computer keyboard) placed “into” RUE (i.e. “Parisian street”, i.e. the French for “street”), like so: R(ESC)UE.
- Expression of triumph after question voiced in furore (3-2)
Answer: HOO-HA (i.e. “furore”). Solution is HA (i.e. “expression of triumph”) placed “after” a homophone (indicated by “voiced”) of WHO? (i.e. a “question”). A naff clue, all told.
- Rotten article finished, watch Far From The Madding Crowd? (3,3,6,5)
Answer: OFF THE BEATEN TRACK (i.e. “Far From The Madding Crowd” – can be a reference to Thomas Hardy’s novel, set in a farming community, or to a general sense of the phrase). Solution is OFF (i.e. “rotten”) followed by THE (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the), then BEATEN (i.e. “finished”) and TRACK (i.e. to “watch” closely).
- Old comedian imagined heathland near Wolverhampton in conversation? (6,5)
Answer: DUDLEY MOORE (i.e. “old comedian”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “in conversation”) of DUDLEY MOOR (i.e. “imagined heathland near Wolverhampton” – “imagined” because Dudley is a large industrialised town). Why “old” though? People don’t appear in Times crosswords unless they are dead. I’d argue we’re a bit beyond “old” by that point.
- Explain disastrous realisation (11)
Answer: RATIONALISE (i.e. “explain”). “Disastrous” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REALISATION.
- Nudge inspiring family to take a role seriously (6,5)
Answer: JOKING APART (i.e. “seriously”). Solution is JOG (i.e. “nudge”) wrapped around or “inspiring” KIN (i.e. “family”) and followed by A, then PART (i.e. “role”), like so: JO(KIN)G-A-PART.
- Still batting forward, opener dismissed (5)
Answer: INERT (i.e. “still”). Solution is IN (i.e. “batting” in a number of ball games) followed by PERT (i.e. “forward” or cheeky) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “opener dismissed”), like so: IN-ERT.
- 25 across, one of eighteen of course concealing decay (7)
Answer: TRUSTEE (i.e. “25 across”, the solution of which being AGENT). Solution is TEE (i.e. “one of eighteen of [golf] course” – not if I’m playing, there isn’t!) wrapped around or “concealing” RUST (i.e. “decay”), like so: T(RUST)EE.
- Biblical character entering battle, Saul (4)
Answer: ESAU (i.e. “Biblical character”). “Entering” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: BATTL(E SAU)L.
- Observation of speech in border town in England (3-7)
Answer: LIP-READING (i.e. “observation of speech”). Solution is LIP (i.e. “border”) followed by READING (i.e. “town in England”).
- Getting on train, issue remaining there? (8,6)
Answer: BOARDING SCHOOL (i.e. “issue remaining there” – “issue” being another word for “offspring”). Solution is BOARDING (i.e. “getting on”) followed by SCHOOL (i.e. to “train”).
- Illegal practice cooking eggs (8)
Answer: POACHING. Solution satisfies “illegal practice” and “cooking eggs”.
- Royal meeting lucky person, topless (5)
Answer: ASCOT (i.e. “royal [race] meeting”). Solution is MASCOT (i.e. “lucky person”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “topless”).
- Wheels going spare – before being absent (9)
Answer: ELSEWHERE (i.e. “absent”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “going spare”) of WHEELS followed by ERE (i.e. poetic form of “before”), like so: ELSEWH-ERE.
- Star key, look (6)
Answer: ALTAIR (i.e. “star”). Solution is ALT (another “key” on a computer keyboard) followed by AIR (i.e. the appearance or “look” of something).
- Responsibility must be shared for why one can’t dance? (2,5,3,2,5)
Answer: IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO. Solution satisfies “responsibility must be shared” and “why one can’t dance”.
- Spoil girl and cook (11)
Answer: MOLLYCODDLE (i.e. to over-indulge or “spoil”). Solution is MOLLY (i.e. a “girl’s” name) followed by CODDLE (i.e. “cook”).
- Post penetrating block from below, smooth quality (8)
Answer: BALDNESS (i.e. “smooth quality”). Solution is SEND (i.e. to “post”) placed in or “penetrating” SLAB (i.e. “block”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “from below” – this being a down clue), like so: BAL(DNES)S.
- Surgeon may go home? Gosh that signified a battle! (9,8)
Answer: OPERATION OVERLORD (i.e. “that signified a battle” – specifically the codename for the Battle of Normandy in World War Two). Solution is OPERATION OVER (i.e. after which “surgeon may go home”) followed by LORD (i.e. “gosh”, both expressions of surprise). This is another of those solutions popular with Times setters, having recently appeared a couple of times. While this is a little disappointing, it does at least give me another chance to point readers to one of my favourite coincidences, which saw a setter for the Telegraph having his collar felt by military intelligence when a startling number of military codewords started appearing in his puzzles. Here’s a Wikipedia article on it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-Day_Daily_Telegraph_crossword_security_alarm
- Lousy dunce punched by alumnus (3-3)
Answer: TWO-BIT (i.e. “lousy”). Solution is TWIT (i.e. “dunce”) wrapped around or “punched by” OB (i.e. “alumnus”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “old boy”), like so: TW(OB)IT.
- Most ephemeral celebration of cheese? (8)
Answer: BRIEFEST (i.e. “most ephemeral”). When written as BRIE FEST the solution also satisfies “celebration of cheese”. I’ll admit this one did raise a smile when I twigged it.
- Drunk taken out before party (6,2)
Answer: TANKED UP (i.e. “drunk”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out” – one of the word’s many definitions is “away from the original or normal position or state” (Chambers)) of TAKEN followed by DUP (i.e. “party”, specifically the Democratic Unionist Party), like so: TANKE-DUP.
- Person with similar job in house across the street? (8,6)
Answer: OPPOSITE NUMBER. Solution satisfies “person with similar job” and “house across the street”, as in how house numbers often alternate back and forth along properties on opposite sides of a street.
- Plant that’s red again going to seed (8)
Answer: GARDENIA (i.e. “plant”). “Going to seed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RED AGAIN.
- Recess cold, a pet’s wrapped up (6)
Answer: ALCOVE (i.e. “recess”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”) placed or “wrapped up” in A and LOVE (i.e. “pet”), like so: A-L(C)OVE.
- Novel bluish, end up without an outlet for it? (11)
Answer: UNPUBLISHED (i.e. “without an outlet for [novel]”). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BLUISH END UP.
- Reportedly, canine unreliable for soup (4-1-6)
Answer: COCK-A-LEEKIE (i.e. “soup”). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “reportedly”) of COCKER (i.e. “canine”) and LEAKY (i.e. “unreliable”).
- Nowhere near lama, priest lost (5,5)
Answer: MILES APART (i.e. “nowhere near”). “Lost” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LAMA PRIEST.
- Welcome attack in shower of pellets (9)
Answer: HAILSTORM (i.e. “shower of pellets”). Solution is HAIL (i.e. “welcome”) followed by STORM (i.e. “attack”).
- Check my clothes, I’m clueless! (6,2)
Answer: SEARCH ME. Solution satisfies “check my clothes” and “I’m clueless”.
- Choose artist, complex woman (7)
Answer: ELECTRA (i.e. “complex woman”, a reference to Electra complex, where a woman has a strong emotional attachment to her father). Solution is ELECT (i.e. “choose”) followed by RA (i.e. “artist”). I think this one appeared in the regular Times crossword recently, which made it an easier get.
- Scene around a large residence (6)
Answer: PALACE (i.e. “large residence”). Solution is PLACE (i.e. “scene”) wrapped “around” A, like so: P(A)LACE.
- Quite yellow, old comic (5)
Answer: BUFFO (i.e. a “comic” actor in an opera). Solution is BUFF (i.e. “quite yellow”) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”).
- American animal, fleece on one (5)
Answer: COATI (i.e. “American animal”). Solution is COAT (i.e. “fleece”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”).
- Third note, second note (4)
Answer: MEMO (i.e. “note”). Solution is ME (i.e. “third note” in the doh-ray-me scale) followed by MO (i.e. “second”, both short spells of time). Nicely done.