Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1520

A medium strength puzzle artificially made tougher by the number of exotic solutions in the grid. At least on this occasion their presence was mostly justified rather than being there to cynically fill an awkward space. While I can’t say I was a fan of the clunky phrasing in some of the clues, I did like how the setter had started each solution of each row with the same letter, at least for the across clues. If this is the calling card of this particular setter, then I’ve not noticed it before.

Anyhoo, 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 bamboozled then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 170 or so of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind words and help. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers got on. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.


Across clues

  1. Religious claim is thrown out (7)

Answer: ISLAMIC (i.e. “religious”). “Thrown out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CLAIM IS.

  1. Where one may find hot spices – hot not cold – readily (2,1,5)

Answer: IN A HURRY (i.e. “readily”). Solution is IN A CURRY (i.e. “where one may find hot spices” – nom, nom, nom!) with the C replaced by H (indicated by “hot not cold” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “hot”, C “cold”), like so: IN-A-(C)URRY => IN-A-(H)URRY.

  1. Weaken one politician with broadcast (6)

Answer: IMPAIR (i.e. “weaken”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by MP (i.e. “politician”, specifically a Member of Parliament) and AIR (i.e. to “broadcast”).

  1. What leads to colours in fall? Crown cover around New York has northeast eclipsing south (16)

Answer: TRIPHENYLMETHANE (i.e. “what leads to colours” – the stuff is used in the making of dyes). Solution is TRIP (i.e. “fall”) followed by HELMET (i.e. “crown cover”, specifically the crown of one’s head) once wrapped around NY (a recognised abbreviation of “New York”), then HAS once the S has been replaced by NE (indicated by “northeast eclipsing south” – NE being a recognised abbreviation of “northeast”; S “south”), like so: TRIP-HE(NY)LMET-HA(S) => TRIP-HE(NY)LMET-HA(NE).

  1. Hearing organ’s part in tango make sweet backing (6)

Answer: TRAGUS (i.e. “hearing organ’s part”). Solution is T (“tango” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by SUGAR (i.e. “sweet”) once reversed (indicated by “backing”), like so: T-RAGUS. One nailed from the wordplay and a shufti in Chambers.

  1. Rascal with Irish accent, not British (5)

Answer: ROGUE (i.e. “rascal”). Solution is BROGUE (i.e. “Irish accent”) with the B removed (indicated by “not British” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “British”).

  1. Managed most of palace retinue’s resentment (7)

Answer: RANCOUR (i.e. “resentment”). Solution is RAN (i.e. “managed”) followed by COURT (i.e. “palace’s retinue”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “most of”), like so: RAN-COUR.

  1. One only separating in Louisiana to annoy Louis XIV (3,6)

Answer: ROI SOLEIL (i.e. “Louis XIV”, aka the Sun King). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and SOLE (i.e. “only”) both placed “in” ROIL (i.e. “in Louisiana to annoy”, as in how the word is more of an Americanism), like so: RO(I-SOLE)IL.

  1. Bury Malian unclothed among other things (5,4)

Answer: INTER ALIA (i.e. “among other things”). Solution is INTER (i.e. to “bury”) followed by ALIA (i.e. “Malian unclothed”, i.e. the word “Malian” with its first and last letter removed).

  1. Current EU politician getting round popular old chancellor (7)

Answer: IMHOTEP (i.e. “old chancellor” in ancient Egypt). Solution is I (a recognised abbreviation of an electric “current” used in physics) followed by MEP (i.e. “EU politician”, specifically a Member of the European Parliament) once wrapped “round” HOT (i.e. “popular”), like so: I-M(HOT)EP. Did I get this one from The Mummy films? Mayyyyyyyyybe…

  1. Playwright capturing all the rage about mad cow disease (5)

Answer: Henrik IBSEN (i.e. “playwright”). Solution is IN (i.e. “all the rage”) once wrapped “about” BSE (i.e. bovine spongiform encephalopathy, more commonly known as “mad cow disease”), like so: I(BSE)N.

  1. After a change to the final ordering, goes out live (5)

Answer: EXIST (i.e. “live”). Solution is EXITS (i.e. “goes out”) “after a change to the final ordering”, specifically the last two letters.

  1. Typical EU out of control – they have branches in Australia (9)

Answer: EUCALYPTI (i.e. “they have branches in Australia”). “Out of control” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EU TYPICAL.

  1. Hertfordshire village a short way east of railway (7)

Answer: ELSTREE (i.e. “Hertfordshire village”). Solution is STREET (i.e. “way”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder placed after or “east of” – this being an across clue – EL (i.e. “railway”, specifically an informal reference to an elevated railway over in the US), like so: EL-STREE.

  1. Dog – retired always going after right one (9)

Answer: RETRIEVER (i.e. “dog”). Solution is RET (a recognised abbreviation of “retired”) and EVER (i.e. “always”) once the latter has been placed “after” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: RET-(R-I)-EVER.

  1. Check bank document’s replacement (13)

Answer: REINSTATEMENT (i.e. “replacement”). Solution is REIN (i.e. to stem or “check”) followed by STATEMENT (i.e. “bank document”).

  1. Still show nave vault a bit damaged (7,6)

Answer: TABLEAU VIVANT (i.e. a living picture or “still show”, often depicting a historic scene). “Damaged” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NAVE VAULT A BIT.

  1. Work on and off switch for siren (9)

Answer: TEMPTRESS (i.e. “siren”). Solution is TEMP (i.e. to “work on and off”) followed by TRESS (i.e. “switch”, or a false lock of hair).

  1. Note falsehoods going about like false names (7)

Answer: ALIASES (i.e. “false names”). Solution is A (i.e. “[musical] note”) followed by LIES (i.e. “falsehoods”) once wrapped “about” AS (i.e. akin to or “like”), like so: A-LI(AS)ES.

  1. Civil engineer needs resistance in a soil to settle (9)

Answer: ASCERTAIN (i.e. “to settle”). Solution is CE (a recognised abbreviation of “civil engineer”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”) both placed “in” A and STAIN (i.e. to “soil”), like so: A-S(CE-R)TAIN.

  1. Make amends towards an individual (5)

Answer: ATONE (i.e. “make amends”). When written as AT ONE the solution also satisfies “towards an individual”).

  1. Woollen footwear perhaps is striking (5)

Answer: SOCKS. Solution satisfies “woollen footwear perhaps” and “is striking”.

  1. Son Tommy upset about papa’s sign of disease (7)

Answer: SYMPTOM (i.e. “sign of disease”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “upset”) of TOMMY once wrapped “about” P (“papa” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: S-YM(P)TOM.

  1. Thrilled about a ram for religious ritual (9)

Answer: SACRAMENT (i.e. “religious ritual”). Solution is SENT (i.e. “thrilled” – one of the definitions of “send” is “(orig of jazz) to rouse (someone) to ecstasy” (Chambers)) wrapped “about” A and CRAM (i.e. to stuff or “ram”), like so: S(A-CRAM)ENT.

  1. Point to a missile advanced across river bank (9)

Answer: ARROWHEAD (i.e. “point to a missile”). Solution is AHEAD (i.e. “advanced”) wrapped around or placed “across” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”) and ROW (i.e. a line or “bank”), like so: A(R-ROW)HEAD.

  1. A very dishonourable man in the centre of Wood Green (7)

Answer: AVOCADO (i.e. a “green” colour). Solution is A followed by V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”) and CAD (i.e. “dishonourable man”) once placed “in” OO (i.e. “centre [letters] of wood”), like so: A-V-O(CAD)O.

  1. Old Mexican investigator chasing a final letter (5)

Answer: AZTEC (i.e. “old Mexican”). Solution is TEC (i.e. “investigator”, specifically a shortened form of “detective”) placed after or “chasing” A and Z (i.e. “final letter”), like so: (A-Z)-TEC.

  1. Inflammation is rife in tissue in spleen, primarily (6)

Answer: IRITIS (i.e. “inflammation” of the iris). “Primarily” indicates the solution is derived from the initial letters of Is Rife In Tissue In Spleen.

  1. Plant type of breakfast perhaps coming from Asia to Europe (16)

Answer: INTERCONTINENTAL (i.e. “perhaps coming from Asia to Europe”). Solution is INTER (i.e. to bury or “plant”) followed by CONTINENTAL (i.e. “type of breakfast”).

  1. What fool called Lear’s sister and called regularly (6)

Answer: NUNCLE (i.e. “what fool called Lear”, apparently a contraction of “mine uncle”). Solution is NUN (i.e. “sister”) followed by CLE (i.e. “called regularly”, i.e. every other letter of CALLED).

  1. No saint – certainly Romeo, though this one might deny it (8)

Answer: NAYSAYER (i.e. “this one might deny it”). Solution is NAY (i.e. “no”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “saint”), then AYE (i.e. “certainly”) and R (“Romeo” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Tubercular university lecturer returning with a lot of fat (7)

Answer: NODULAR (i.e. “tubercular”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) followed by DON (i.e. “lecturer”) all reversed (indicated by “returning”) and followed by LARD (i.e. “fat”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “a lot of…”), like so: (NOD-U)-LAR.

Down clues

  1. Written avoiding rules? Trainee penning lie mostly needs attention (11)

Answer: INTERLINEAR (i.e. “written avoiding rules” – as in ruled lines on paper). Solution is INTERN (i.e. “trainee”) wrapped around or “penning” LIE once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”) and followed by EAR (i.e. “attention”), like so: INTER(LI)N-EAR.

  1. Remaining airlines’ business losing following (5)

Answer: LYING (i.e. “remaining”). Solution is FLYING (i.e. “airlines’ business”) once the F has been removed (indicated by “losing following” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “following”).

  1. Preserved meat given up by one who can tell the future is fish (7)

Answer: MAHSEER (i.e. “fish”). Solution is HAM (i.e. “preserved meat”) reversed (indicated by “given up” – this being a down clue) and followed by SEER (i.e. “one who can tell the future”), like so: MAH-SEER. Another nailed from the wordplay.

  1. Principal uneasy over scheme, something governing body moves (7,7,6)

Answer: CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (i.e. “something governing body moves”). Solution is CENTRAL (i.e. “principal”) followed by NERVOUS (i.e. “uneasy”) and SYSTEM (i.e. “scheme”).

  1. Cardinal’s twiddling a sort of chain (6,3)

Answer: ISLAND ARC (i.e. “sort of chain”, as in the geographic feature). “Twiddling” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CARDINAL’S.

  1. Attacked caterpillar always will escape the onset initially (5)

Answer: AWETO (i.e. “attacked caterpillar”, supposedly one infected with a parasitic fungus and destined to be used as a pigment. Poor little bugger). “Initially” indicates the solution is derived from the first letters of Always Will Escape The Onset. Another nailed solely from the wordplay. Interesting though.

  1. I shush rep being unruly in director’s office (9)

Answer: USHERSHIP (i.e. “director’s office”). “Being unruly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I SHUSH REP.

  1. Potato disease resistance in being acquired protects tuber finally (4,3)

Answer: RING ROT (i.e. “potato disease”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”) followed by IN, then GOT (i.e. “acquired”) once wrapped around or “protecting” R (i.e. “tuber finally”, i.e. the last letter of “tuber”), like so: R-IN-G(R)OT.

  1. Inventor surrounded by old stuff set up (7)

Answer: Guglielmo MARCONI (i.e. “inventor”). Solution is IN (i.e. “surrounded by”) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and CRAM (i.e. to “stuff”) all reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue), like so: MARC-O-NI.

  1. Gross rage is out of order for assailant (9)

Answer: AGGRESSOR (i.e. “assailant”). “Is out of order” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GROSS RAGE.

  1. Brilliant place to finish in here, avoiding pressure (11)

Answer: RESPLENDENT (i.e. “brilliant”). Solution is PL (a recognised abbreviation of “place”) and END (i.e. “to finish”) both placed “in” PRESENT (i.e. “here”) once the P has been removed (indicated by “avoiding pressure” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”), like so: RES(PL-END)ENT.

  1. Clear damage on electronic component with direct oscillation (6,8,6)

Answer: SIMPLE HARMONIC MOTION (i.e. “oscillation”). Solution is SIMPLE (i.e. “clear”) followed by HARM (i.e. “damage”), then ON, then IC (i.e. “electronic component”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of an Integrated Circuit), then MOTION (i.e. to gesture or “direct”).

  1. Time to acquire? Save up for washing machine (4-3)

Answer: TWIN-TUB (i.e. “washing machine”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) followed by WIN (i.e. “to acquire”) and BUT (i.e. except for or “save”) once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue).

  1. Balkan region once badly run with imam regularly ignored (7)

Answer: ILLYRIA (i.e. “Balkan region once”). Solution is ILLY (i.e. “badly”) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games) and IA (i.e. “imam regularly ignored”, i.e. every other letter of IMAM).

  1. Falls around church? It can put one’s arm out (7)

Answer: TRICEPS (i.e. a muscle that “can put one’s arm out”). Solution is TRIPS (i.e. “falls”) wrapped “around” CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: TRI(CE)PS.

  1. Included map showing home station (5)

Answer: INSET (i.e. “included map”). Solution is IN (i.e. at “home”) followed by SET (i.e. to place or “station”).

  1. Carpets woven in ranges of colour (7)

Answer: SPECTRA (i.e. “ranges of colour”). “Woven” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CARPETS. Nicely played.

  1. Indian dish of husked bran with fat (5)

Answer: RAITA (i.e. “Indian dish” – the fifth time in just over a year that this has appeared in Jumbo cryptics. I’ve ranted about the prevalence of this solution before, obviously to no avail. Maybe I’m missing something here. Maybe this is a Derren Brown thing that Times setters are all in on. Maybe you are being softened up for some unnecessarily dangerous magic show based entirely around veggie yoghurt-based dishes. I’d pay attention this next week or two if I was you. If every busker you walk past is clunkily working “raita” into their lyrics, or you start seeing RAITA!!! subliminally flash on the screen during Gogglebox, or if you wake up one morning to find the word RAITA has been written backwards across your forehead, don’t be surprised. And if that does happen and you find yourself starring in the next Derren Brown TV special, imperilled by raita in some way, just remember I bloody well told you so). “Husked” indicates the solution is derived by removing the first and last letters of BRAN WITH FAT.

  1. Fit to grasp English acting (7)

Answer: INTERIM (i.e. “acting”). Solution is IN TRIM (i.e. “fit”) wrapped around or “grasping” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: IN-T(E)RIM.

  1. Perhaps blight turned some of the rose yellow (7)

Answer: EYESORE (i.e. “perhaps blight”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “turned” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: TH(E ROSE YE)LLOW.

  1. An exchange of words travelling on last train (11)

Answer: TRANSLATION (i.e. “an exchange of words” from one language to another). “Travelling” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ON LAST TRAIN.

  1. Grand mushrooms rising broad and flat, billions must be about (11)

Answer: SPECTACULAR (i.e. “grand”). Solution is CEPS (i.e. “mushrooms”) reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue) and followed by TABULAR (i.e. “broad and flat”) once the B (a recognised abbreviation of “billions”) has been replaced by C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), like so: SPEC-TA(B)ULAR => SPEC-TA(C)ULAR.

  1. Raid home with dogs inside having eaten nought (9)

Answer: INCURSION (i.e. “raid”). Solution IN (i.e. at “home”) followed by CURS (i.e. “dogs”), then IN (i.e. “inside”) once wrapped around or “having eaten” O (i.e. “nought”), like so: IN-CURS-I(O)N.

  1. Round to harvest green buds (3,6)

Answer: CUT CAPERS (i.e. to gambol or “bound” – a new one on me). Solution is CUT (i.e. “to harvest”) followed by CAPERS (i.e. “green buds” used in cuisine). A nod to my Bradford’s for getting CAPERS. I couldn’t make the connection.

  1. Rain beats violently, but one’s staying dry (9)

Answer: ABSTAINER (i.e. “one’s staying dry” of alcohol). “Violently” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RAIN BEATS.

  1. Noticed millions doing evil in place of deal making? (7)

Answer: SAWMILL (i.e. “place of deal making” – one of the variant meanings of “deal” is “a fir or pine board of a standard size” (Chambers). I’ve a feeling we’ve had this one before). Solution is SAW (i.e. “noticed”) followed by M (a recognised abbreviation of “millions”) and ILL (i.e. “evil”).

  1. Fanatical about knight with a female to worship (7)

Answer: MADONNA (i.e. “female to worship”). Solution is MAD ON (i.e. “fanatical about”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess), then A.

  1. Spider scuttled to end up under article (7)

Answer: ARANEID (i.e. a “spider”). Solution is RAN (i.e. “scuttled”) followed by DIE (i.e. “to end”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue). These are then placed after or “under” (again, down clue) A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the), like so: A-(RAN-EID).

  1. Female novelist, note, unknown years after men (5)

Answer: Baroness Emma (and about 20 middle names) ORCZY (i.e. “female novelist” who gave us The Scarlet Pimpernel). Solution is C (i.e. “[musical] note”) followed by Z (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns) and Y (a recognised abbreviation of “years”). These are then all placed “after” OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army), like so: OR-(C-Z-Y).

  1. Measure a line integral (5)

Answer: TOTAL (i.e. “integral”). Solution is TOT (i.e. “measure”) followed by A and L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”).

11 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1520

  1. Thanks Lucian. We finished this but there were a few that we didn’t fully understand, so your explanations are much appreciated.

    Am I alone in thinking that the ‘s in 56a is at best redundant, at worst downright wrong?

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

    1. Cheers, Sue. Happy to help. Re: 56a, I think the ‘s is a contraction of “is”, so the clue then reads: what fool called Lear is ((parseable part of clue)). I admit I have a soft spot for ‘s, particularly when the clue scans well across either interpretation. Keep well, – LP

  2. Thanks as always. I must admit that “cut capers” eluded us. You did well to solve – even by brute forcing – given the number of potential words that could have fitted the second word, and that green buds was pretty vague for “capers”!

    Also slightly waylaid since managed to fit “laicism” in 1A: the only other anagram of “claim is” (but what my brain went for!) and with a double meaning it fits pretty well given it is the very philosophy/political system in which religion (and therefore a “religious claim”) is thrown out!?

  3. Thanks, Lucian, good spot with the across solutions beginning with the same letter. Overall, a medium-strengther. My favourite was spectacular. Re cut capers, I am informed by her indoors that they were forever cutting capers in the Patrick O’Brien naval novels. Cheers.

  4. Thanks, as ever, for your explanations Lucian. 13a took me ages, and was amused by 50a. Hadn’t spotted the same start letters – I wonder why the setter went to all that trouble?

  5. Solvable but strangely not particularly enjoyable this week (for me at least). I don’t know why.

    One thing though. I live in Hertfordshire yet 27a (Elstree) was the very last clue I solved. I kept running through all the Herts. villages I could think of (and there are lots), but it simply didn’t come to mind – not helped of course by not spotting the “stree” part of the answer.

  6. I agree with sirram999 above… not a particularly enjoyable solve. Too many bizarre words for my liking. We also failed to spot the matching initial letters. Perhaps the setter was too focussed on that at the expense of other matters.
    BTW Does anyone else query the definition of ‘ascertain’ as ‘settle’? 39ac

    1. Collins (ed. 1987) defines “ascertain” as “to determine or discover definitively” – also “(archaic) to make certain”. So, I did feel that “settle” as in “settle the matter” seemed OK.

      But all of my dictionaries are 30-40 years old, and I wouldn’t know what the modern editions say.

  7. Took “electronic component” in 15d to indicate “onic”, which is indeed a component of the word “electronic”. Your explanation is surely the correct one but this one thankfully stll worked. Spent a week puzzling over this unsatisfying Jumbo. Admittedly, grabbing a short holiday at last, we were climbing hills and mountains every day and drinking quantities of red each night.

  8. This was hard! So many strange words – aweto, triphenylmethane, mahseer etc! Better than too easy however, thanks Lucian

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