A relatively straightforward puzzle this week, helped by a few solutions that I remembered from previous grids. A pleasant enough run out, all told.
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 picked your pockets then you might find some use from my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 170+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.
Thanks again for the kind words and help. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared. A significant boo and hiss, however, to WordPress, who can’t stop dicking around with their site. It was bad enough when we were all forced onto a retrograde editor, but can you jokers please just find a clean editing font and stick with it? Is that seriously too much to ask? After chopping and changing the font so often these last couple of months you now want us to use some 8pt serif horror show? Well, thanks a bunch. It’s just as well I write the body of these posts elsewhere otherwise I’d have no eyesight left by now. What a shambles.
Ugh. Anyway, rant over. Till the next one, stay safe out there kids.
- Libellous attack in letter: “Two fools, one leading country” (9,13)
Answer: CHARACTER ASSASSINATION (i.e. “libellous attack”). Solution is CHARACTER (i.e. “letter”) followed by ASS and ASS (i.e. “two fools”), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and NATION (i.e. “country”).
- Go after contract, keeping united (6)
Answer: PURSUE (i.e. “go after”). Solution is PURSE (i.e. to “contract” one’s lips) wrapped around or “keeping” U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”), like so: PURS(U)E.
- Some children love one to make lines on paper (3,4)
Answer: RAG DOLL (i.e. “some children love one”). Solution is DO (i.e. “to make”) and LL (i.e. “lines” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “line”) both placed “on” or after RAG (i.e. “[news]paper”), like so: RAG-(DO-LL).
- In church, a simple minister (8)
Answer: CHAPLAIN (i.e. “minister”). Solution is CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) followed by A, then PLAIN (i.e. “simple”).
- One put on a few pounds: one result of major operation that should get my vote (5-4,4)
Answer: THREE-LINE WHIP (i.e. “that should get my vote”). Solution is THREE (i.e. “one put on a few”, if you take “few” to mean two – perhaps would have been better phrased as “one put on a couple”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “pounds”, after the Latin libra), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then NEW HIP (i.e. “result of major operation”).
- Boat needing coat of paint perhaps round front of hull (6)
Answer: DINGHY (i.e. “boat”). Solution is DINGY (i.e. “needing coat of paint perhaps”) wrapped “round” H (i.e. “front [letter] of hull”), like so: DING(H)Y.
- Damaged sheet not soft, extremely thin? (3-7)
Answer: SEE-THROUGH (i.e. “extremely thin”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “damaged”) of SHEET followed by ROUGH (i.e. “not soft”), like so: SEETH-ROUGH.
- Finally suffered deportation, after fiddling financial product (6,6)
Answer: TRADED OPTION (i.e. “financial product”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “after fiddling”) of D (i.e. “finally suffered”, i.e. the last letter of “suffered”) and DEPORTATION.
- Hymn garden, briefly maintained by corporation (2,4)
Answer: TE DEUM (i.e. “hymn”). Solution is EDEN (i.e. “garden” of The Bible) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder placed in or “maintained by” TUM (i.e. “corporation” – setters love riffing on an alternative meaning of the word, that being a pot-belly), like so: T(EDE)UM. I couldn’t reach for my Bradford’s quick enough the moment I saw “hymn”, especially after last week’s Godathon. You wouldn’t believe the amount of sin and debauchery I had to subject myself to in order to redress the balance. Frankly, it’s a wonder I have the energy left to type this.
- Delicate fabric, price cut (8)
Answer: LACERATE (i.e. “cut”). Solution is LACE (i.e. “delicate fabric”) followed by RATE (i.e. “price”).
- Study a line of ten (6)
Answer: DENARY (i.e. “ten”). Solution is DEN (i.e. “study”) followed by A and RY (i.e. “line”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a railway).
- Sort of bomber whose failing is to attract all attention (5,3,4)
Answer: STEAL THE SHOW (i.e. “to attract all attention”). Solution is STEALTH (i.e. “sort of bomber”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “failing”) of WHOSE, like so: STEALTH-ESHOW.
- Arrange where to get train after opening tree nursery (10)
Answer: PLANTATION (i.e. “tree nursery”). Solution is PLAN (i.e. “arrange”) followed by STATION (i.e. “where to get train”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “after opening”, i.e. the letters that follow the opening letter), like so: PLAN-TATION.
- In which one may rally to transport the Beaujolais Nouveau? (7,3)
Answer: VINTAGE CAR (i.e. “in which one may rally”). Clue plays on “transport” being CAR and “Beaujolais Nouveau” being a VINTAGE. I’m taking the setter’s word for it. My knowledge of wine doesn’t spread much beyond whatever fally-down juice is on offer this week.
- Short story The Monarch is first for TV debaters? (7,5)
Answer: TALKING HEADS (i.e. “TV debaters”). Solution is TALE (i.e. “story”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder followed by KING (i.e. “the monarch” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and HEADS (i.e. “is first”), like so: TAL-KING-HEADS.
- As it were, not merely wrong? (6)
Answer: UNJUST (i.e. “wrong”). Solution playfully satisfies “as it were, not merely”, if you take JUST to reference a small or “mere” amount, and UN- as a negating prefix.
- Team I must leave, out of practice and deceitful (8)
Answer: UNTRUSTY (i.e. “deceitful”). Solution is UNIT (i.e. “team”) with the I removed (indicated by “I must leave”) and the remainder followed by RUSTY (i.e. “out of practice”), like so: UNT-RUSTY.
- Dreadful ordeal put back in memory? (6)
Answer: RELOAD (i.e. “put back into [computer] memory”). “Dreadful” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ORDEAL.
- Swap confidences that are kept out of “any other business” (5,7)
Answer: TRADE SECRETS. Solution satisfies “swap confidences” and “that are kept out of any other business”, ignoring the speech marks in the clue.
- Conveyance, not for women, green, inadequately long (10)
Answer: STAGECOACH (i.e. “conveyance”). Solution is STAG (i.e. a do that is “not for women”) followed by ECO (i.e. “green”) and ACHE (i.e. to yearn or “long” for) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “inadequately”), like so: STAG-ECO-ACH.
- Cut – disrespected, having name ignored (6)
Answer: SCORED (i.e. “cut”). Solution is SCORNED (i.e. “disrespected”) once the N has been “ignored”, N being a recognised abbreviation of “name”.
- WW1 version of Dig for Victory? (6,7)
Answer: TRENCH WARFARE. Clue plays on the trenches famously dug during the Battle of the Somme, a major battle of “WW1”. You get the idea.
- Deduce sodium light’s beginning to be obnoxious (8)
Answer: INFERNAL (i.e. “obnoxious”). Solution is INFER (i.e. “deduce”) followed by NA (chemical symbol of “sodium”) and L (i.e. “light’s beginning [letter]”).
- Sound of bouncing around fine? Caution! (7)
Answer: BOOKING (i.e. yellow card or “caution”). Solution is BOING (i.e. “sound of bouncing”) wrapped “around” OK (i.e. “fine”), like so: BO(OK)ING.
- Run, in a feigned retreat (6)
Answer: ASHRAM (i.e. a place of “retreat” for a religious community). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games) placed “in” A and SHAM (i.e. “feigned”), like so: A-SH(R)AM. Took a brute force of my Chambers as I couldn’t make the connection.
- Cat and goat, perhaps, alert insect (13,9)
Answer: TORTOISESHELL BUTTERFLY (i.e. “insect”). Solution is TORTOISESHELL (i.e. variety of domestic “cat”) followed by BUTTER (i.e. “goat, perhaps”, as in how they are known to headbutt stuff) and FLY (i.e. knowing or “alert”).
- Loot is from big house, according to informer (4)
Answer: HAUL (i.e. “loot”). “According to informer” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of HALL (i.e. “big house”).
- Be tempted, but risk being hooked? (4,2,3,4)
Answer: RISE TO THE BAIT. Solution satisfies “be tempted” and “risk being hooked” if you happen to be a fish. If you do happen to be a fish, let me take this opportunity to say “blub-bub-bubl-bub-blubl-bub”.
- Bank is less foggy (7)
Answer: CLEARER. Solution satisfies “bank”, as in how they clear cheques and stuff, and “less foggy”.
- Lug some extra equipment around (3)
Answer: EAR (i.e. “lug”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “around” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: EXT(RA E)QUIPMENT.
- Distress as pine loses its top (7)
Answer: ANGUISH (i.e. “distress”). Solution is LANGUISH (i.e. to “pine”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “loses its top”).
- A short distance north-west, so get moving (6,5)
Answer: STONE’S THROW (i.e. “a short distance”). “Get moving” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NORTH-WEST SO.
- Pretty girl extremely shy at large pub (5)
Answer: SYLPH (i.e. “pretty girl”. Not really backed up by my Chambers, but there you go). Solution is SY (i.e. “extremely shy”, i.e. the first and last letters of “shy”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and PH (i.e. “pub”, short for a Public House).
- Taken in with poor deception, nothing less (8)
Answer: INCEPTED (i.e. “taken in”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “poor”) of DECEPTION once the O has been removed (indicated by “nothing less”).
- Died after a military operation, getting VC perhaps (5)
Answer: AWARD (i.e. “VC perhaps” – other awards are available). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “died”) placed “after” A and WAR (i.e. “military operation”), like so: (A-WAR)-D.
- Is fish not brought up here in London? (9)
Answer: ISLINGTON (i.e. some place “in London”). Solution is IS followed by LING (i.e. a “fish” popular with setters) and NOT reversed (indicated by “brought up” – this being a down clue), like so: IS-LING-TON.
- Security association say no British spy can keep covering for us (13,5)
Answer: NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH (i.e. “security association”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “say”) of NAY (i.e. “no”) followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) and WATCH (i.e. “spy”) once wrapped around or “keeping” OUR HOOD (i.e. “covering for us”), like so: NEIGH-B-(OUR-HOOD)-WATCH.
- High spirits of persecutors almost squashed by barrier female dropped (10)
Answer: EBULLIENCE (i.e. “high spirits”). Solution is BULLIES (i.e. “persecutors”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder placed in or “squashed by” FENCE (i.e. “barrier”) once the F has been removed (indicated by “female dropped” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “female”), like so: E(BULLIE)NCE.
- Inspect red carpet in newly traffic-free zone (10,8)
Answer: PEDESTRIAN PRECINCT (i.e. “traffic-free zone”). “Newly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INSPECT RED CARPET IN.
- Opposed places prejudiced against some Europeans? (9)
Answer: ANTIPOLES (i.e. “opposed places”). When written as ANTI-POLES the solution also satisfies “prejudiced against some Europeans”.
- Experienced person collapsing alerts dog (3,6)
Answer: OLD STAGER (i.e. “experienced person”). “Collapsing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ALERTS DOG.
- Within college confines, one softens (9)
Answer: MITIGATES (i.e. “softens”). Solutions is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “within” MIT GATES (i.e. “college confines”, MIT being the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), like so: MIT-(I)-GATES.
- Consistency in this place in chapter not repeated? (9)
Answer: COHERENCE (i.e. “consistency”). Solution is HERE (i.e. “in this place”) placed “in” C (a recognised abbreviation of “chapter”) and ONCE (i.e. “not repeated”), like so: C-O(HERE)NCE.
- Novel sort of case for lady, blonde (6,4)
Answer: VANITY FAIR (i.e. “novel” by William Makepeace Thackeray). Solution is VANITY (i.e. “sort of case for lady”) followed by FAIR (i.e. “blonde”).
- In which exposed state athlete got beaten by some woman (3,10)
Answer: THE ALTOGETHER (i.e. “exposed state”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “beaten”) of ATHLETE GOT followed by HER (i.e. “some woman”), like so: THEALTOGET-HER.
- May she make poets richer? Not her art-form (11)
Answer: TERPSICHORE (i.e. a dancer: “poetry” hence “not her art-form”). “Make” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of POETS RICHER. One of those words I remembered from a previous puzzle, making this an easier get.
- Don’t get enough use out of some of one’s clothes? (9)
Answer: UNDERWEAR (i.e. “some of one’s clothes”). When read as UNDER-WEAR the solution also satisfies the clue in its entirety.
- Baskets of small molluscs (8)
Answer: SCUTTLES (i.e. “baskets”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by CUTTLES (i.e. “molluscs”). A solution from last week’s grid seemingly so good it had to make an appearance in this week’s grid. I’m sure this is just a one-off, though. I can’t imagine an esteemed newspaper such as The Times would cheapen the quality of their world-famous crossword puzzles by habitually allowing repeated solutions into the grids.
- Spotted demand for money? Duck! (7)
Answer: SAWBILL (i.e. “duck”). Solution is SAW (i.e. observed or “spotted”) followed by BILL (i.e. “demand for money”).
- Shocking recording upset social worker (7)
Answer: EPATANT (i.e. “shocking”). Solution is TAPE (i.e. “recording”) reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue) and followed by ANT (i.e. “social worker”, ants being social insects), like so: EPAT-ANT. One I got from the wordplay, if I’m honest.
- I can’t help you press for money, indeed not (5)
Answer: DUNNO (i.e. “I can’t help you”). Solution is DUN (i.e. to “press for money” – a variant meaning I wasn’t aware of. Interesting) followed by NO (i.e. “indeed not”).
- Pay my fare, turning to climb aboard (5)
Answer: EMBUS (i.e. “to climb aboard” a bus, unsurprisingly). Solution is SUB ME (i.e. “pay my fare”) reversed (indicated by “turning”), like so: EM-BUS.
- Part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the fourth often referred to in theatre? (4)
Answer: WALL. Solution satisfies “part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “the fourth often referred to in theatre” – the fourth wall being the imaginary one between the stage and the audience.
- African creature just born, it’s properly announced (3)
Answer: GNU (i.e. “African creature”). “It’s properly announced” indicates homophone – “properly” as the word can be humorously pronounced with a hard g. Solution is a homophone of NEW (i.e. “just born”).