Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1523

A medium strength puzzle this week pepped up with some cunning wordplay. I’ll admit I wasn’t gushing with praise while solving the thing but, on reflection, this was a good one (recentish repeats aside).

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 succour in 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 much appreciated and it’s always interesting to hear how other solvers got on. Meanwhile, boos and hisses continue toward WordPress, who must think we all edit blog posts on 65 inch screens. This has gone on for a while, which probably means all the humans have left WordPress and the site is now being maintained by a couple of CAPTCHA bots. Nice to know they’ve finally figured out what a fire hydrant looks like, eh?

Any road, till next time, stay safe out there kids.


Across clues

  1. Blood component: paternal grandmother stores litres (6)

Answer: PLASMA (i.e. “blood component”). Solution is PA’S MA (i.e. “paternal grandmother”) wrapped around or “storing” L (a recognised abbreviation of “litres”), like so: P(L)A’S-MA.

  1. Distinctive little car reversed, then one put forward (10)

Answer: INIMITABLE (i.e. “distinctive”). Solution is MINI (i.e. “little car”) “reversed” and followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then TABLE (i.e. to “put forward” a proposal), like so: INIM-I-TABLE.

  1. Irrational to be covered with deep brown colour (5)

Answer: SEPIA (i.e. “brown colour”). Solution is PI (i.e. an “irrational” number, i.e. a number that cannot be expressed as a fraction where the numerator and denominator are whole numbers) placed in or “covered by” SEA (i.e. the “deep”), like so: SE(PI)A.

  1. Popular as soldiers showing hypocrisy? (9)

Answer: INSINCERE (i.e. “showing hypocrisy”). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) followed by SINCE (i.e. “as”) and RE (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army).

  1. Tropical hunter in sight departs, subdued, moving left to right (10,3)

Answer: SPECTACLED OWL (i.e. “tropical hunter” – did a Google Image search. Ooooh, pretty. No spectacles, though). Solution is SPECTACLE (i.e. “sight”) followed by D (a recognised abbreviation of “departs”) and LOW (i.e. “subdued”) once the L – a recognised abbreviation of “left” – has been placed “to [the] right”, like so: SPECTACLE-D-(L)OW => SPECTACLE-D-OW(L).

  1. Somewhere to sleep on Spring day in the shade? (7)

Answer: APRICOT (i.e. “shade” or colour). Solution is COT (i.e. “somewhere to sleep”) placed “on” or after APR I (i.e. “Spring day”, read as April 1st), like so: (APR-I)-COT.

  1. Ghastly building the writer spotted in broadcast (7)

Answer: EYESORE (i.e. “ghastly building”). “In broadcast” indicates homophone. Solution is comprised of homophones of I SAW (i.e. “the writer spotted”, taken from the point of view of the setter).

  1. Art making money, maybe, for Frank? (7)

Answer: EARNEST (i.e. “frank” – the riddly question mark suggests to me that the setter is stretching things a smidge. There’s a variant meaning of “earnest” being “a payment given to confirm a contract” (Chambers). A “frank” can describe indication of payment of carriage or postage. Blur your eyes enough and you can just about see the connection. Or a sailing boat). Solution is one of those groaners that plays on “art” being a ye olde indicator. So, for “making money”, imagine some RSC luvvie in period costume saying some twaddle like “Stole it? Why no, good sir knight. Verily I did earnest this meagre loaf etc etc”. Yeah I know, I know…

  1. Creature changing supply date with account at zero (4-6,8)

Answer: DUCK-BILLED PLATYPUS (i.e. “creature”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “changing”) of SUPPLY DATE placed “with” or after DUCK BILL (i.e. “account at zero” – duck being a zero score in cricket), like so: (DUCK-BILL)-EDPLATYPUS.

  1. Poor to welcome Liberal found wanting in Barnet? (4)

Answer: BALD (i.e. “found wanting in barnet” or hair – ignore the misleading capitalisation – barnet is cockney rhyming slang, it says here, after Barnet Fair, a famous racehorse back in the day). Solution is BAD (i.e. “poor”) wrapped around or “welcoming” L (a recognised abbreviation of “Liberal”), like so: BA(L)D.

  1. Hawk-headed god is here ultimately to give boost (5)

Answer: RAISE (i.e. “boost”). Solution is RA (i.e. “hawk-headed god”) followed by IS, then E (i.e. “here ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “here”).

  1. Eleanor clenches fist having knocked out posh outlaw (3,5)

Answer: NED KELLY (i.e. famous Australian “outlaw”). Solution is NELLY (i.e. shortened form of “Eleanor”) wrapped around or “clenching” DUKE (i.e. “fist”, as in putting up one’s dukes) once the U has been removed (indicated by “knocked out posh” – U indicates the “upper class”, something you see significantly more in cryptic crosswords than in real life), like so: NE(DKE)LLY.

  1. Song about knave, knight and rustic (8)

Answer: ARCADIAN (i.e. “rustic”). Solution is ARIA (i.e. “song”) placed “about” CAD (i.e. “knave” or bounder) and followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess), like so: AR(CAD)IA-N.

  1. Prisoner taking small measure into port finds useful device (11)

Answer: CONVENIENCE (i.e. “useful device”). Solution is CON (i.e. “prisoner”) followed by EN (i.e. “small measure” – a printing term used to describe a space that is half the width of a lowercase m) once placed “into” VENICE (i.e. “port”), like so: CON-VENI(EN)CE.

  1. Justification for being in Paris? (6,5)

Answer: RAISON DETRE (i.e. purpose or “justification for being”). Clue plays on the phrase being French. Simple, but nicely done.

  1. American comic keeping coins in supplies to audience (4,7)

Answer: PHIL SILVERS (i.e. “American comic”). Solution is SILVER (i.e. “coins”) placed in a homophone (indicated by “to audience”) of FILLS (i.e. “supplies”), like so: PHIL(SILVER)S. I used to love watching The Phil Silvers Show when I was (checks imaginary watch) considerably younger. His comic timing and delivery was perfection every time. (Checks to see if It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is available to stream.)

  1. Sarah is backing craftsman sending out current work (5,6)

Answer: SILAS MARNER (i.e. a novel or “work” by George Eliot). Solution is SAL (shortened form of “Sarah”) and IS both reversed (indicated by “backing”) and followed by MARINER (i.e. “craftsman” – with “craft” taken to mean a sea vessel) once the I has been removed (indicated by “sending out current” – I is a recognised abbreviation of an electrical current used in physics), like so: (SI-LAS)-MARNER. A recentish repeat from back in May, making this an easier get.

  1. Drunk round Dorset town turns and leaps on ice (3,5)

Answer: TOE LOOPS (i.e. “leaps on ice”). Solution is SOT (i.e. “drunk”) placed “round” POOLE (i.e. “Dorset town”) and the whole reversed (indicated by “turns”), like so: TO(ELOOP)S.

  1. Divine topped flan sent over with meal one quietly leaves (8)

Answer: SUPERNAL (i.e. “divine”). Solution is FLAN with the first letter removed (indicated by “topped”) and the remainder reversed or “sent over”. This is then placed after or “with” SUPPER (i.e. “meal”) once “one” of the Ps has been removed (indicated by “quietly leaves” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “piano” or quietly in musical lingo), like so: SUPER-NAL.

  1. Gallantry award announced for show director (5)

Answer: EMCEE (i.e. “show director” or Master of Ceremonies). “Announced” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of MC or Military Cross (i.e. “gallantry award”).

  1. Christmas without the Spanish? (4)

Answer: NOEL (i.e. “Christmas”). When written as NO EL the solution also satisfies “without the Spanish” – EL being Spanish for “the”.

  1. Deathly reminder left with estate in Usk unfortunately peeved surgeon (5,3,10)

Answer: SKULL AND CROSSBONES (i.e. “deathly reminder” used on signage and warning labels). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and LAND (i.e. “estate”) both placed “in” between an anagram (indicated by “unfortunately”) of USK, CROSS (i.e. “peeved”) and BONES (informal name for a “surgeon”), like so: SKU-(L-LAND)-CROSS-BONES.

  1. Exploit quality of rocks but not diamonds? (7)

Answer: HARNESS (i.e. to “exploit”). Solution is HARDNESS (i.e. “quality of rocks”) with the D removed (indicated by “not diamonds” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “diamonds” used in card games).

  1. Elite news boss beaten (7)

Answer: CREAMED (i.e. “beaten”). Solution is CREAM (i.e. “elite”) followed by ED (i.e. “news boss”, short for an editor).

  1. Mean church in Ely cleaned out diocese (7)

Answer: EPARCHY (i.e. “diocese”). Solution is PAR (i.e. average or “mean”) and CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) both placed “in” EY (i.e. “Ely cleaned out”, i.e. “Ely” with its middle letter removed), like so: E(PAR-CH)Y. Chalk one to my Bradford’s. To be honest I’d grown sick of all the religious stuff infesting recent Jumbos. I just couldn’t be arsed with it any more.

  1. Listing for balance – something pronounced on slope? (4,9)

Answer: BANK STATEMENT (i.e. “listing for [bank] balance”). Solution is STATEMENT (i.e. “something pronounced”) placed “on” or after BANK (i.e. “slope”).

  1. Small character parts for those on the rise? (9)

Answer: ASCENDERS. Solution satisfies “small character parts” – ascenders is a printing term: “(the upper part of) a letter such as b, d, h, k” (Chambers). Nope, me neither – and “those on the rise”.

  1. Flower rook dropped into red wine (5)

Answer: TRENT (i.e. a river or “flower”, i.e. something that flows). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “rook” used in chess) placed or “dropped into” TENT (i.e. a Spanish “red wine” you often see in these things), like so: T(R)ENT.

  1. Unrevised version opening with American conscript (5,5)

Answer: FIRST DRAFT (i.e. “unrevised version”). Solution is FIRST (i.e. “opening”) followed by DRAFT (i.e. “American conscript”).

  1. Those bringing rain in unknown quantity entering Hell (6)

Answer: HYADES (i.e. “those bringing rain” – over to Chambers again: “a cluster of five stars in the constellation of the Bull, supposed by the ancients to bring rain when they rose with the sun”. Hmm. I’d say there’s a fair difference between “supposed” and the definite nature expressed in the clue. Dick move, setter). Solution is Y (i.e. “unknown quantity” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as “unknowns”) placed in or “entering” HADES (i.e. “Hell”), like so: H(Y)ADES. One gotten from the wordplay, you’ll be unsurprised to learn.

Down clues

  1. Fool around Greek character on spacecraft (9)

Answer: PHILANDER (i.e. “fool around”). Solution is PHI (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet) followed by LANDER (i.e. “spacecraft”).

  1. Movement encapsulating summertime with artist in reverie (11)

Answer: ABSTRACTION (i.e. absent-mindedness or “reverie”). Solution is ACTION (i.e. “movement”) wrapped around or “encapsulating” BST (a recognised abbreviation of British “Summertime”) and RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician), like so: A(BST-RA)CTION.

  1. ICBM in a modified personnel carrier (7)

Answer: MINICAB (i.e. “personnel carrier”). “Modified” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ICBM IN A.

  1. Relative close to collapse in French city (5)

Answer: NIECE (i.e. “relative”). Solution is E (i.e. “close to collapse”, i.e. the last letter of “collapse”) placed “in” NICE (i.e. “French city”), like so: NI(E)CE.

  1. Great work in spare time transformed church (11)

Answer: MASTERPIECE (i.e. “great work”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “transformed”) of SPARE TIME followed by CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England).

  1. Sports supporter, over the summer, getting no supper? (11)

Answer: TEETOTALLER (i.e. “no supper” – sup being to drink). Solution is TEE (i.e. “sports supporter”, specifically one used to prop up a golf ball) followed by TOTALLER (i.e. “summer”, or one who sums).

  1. In passing through on vacation, we’re going outside? (2,3,3)

Answer: BY THE BYE (i.e. “in passing”). Solution is TH (i.e. “through on vacation”, i.e. the word “through” with all its middle letters removed) with BYE BYE (i.e. “we’re going”) placed “outside” of it, like so: BY(TH)E-BYE. Another recent repeat. Ho hum.

  1. Funds erstwhile auditor needed for hearing (9)

Answer: EXCHEQUER (i.e. “funds”). Solution is EX (i.e. former or “erstwhile”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “for hearing”) of CHECKER (i.e. “auditor”), like so: EX-CHEQUER.

  1. Fortified wine gets female on right lines (6)

Answer: SHERRY (i.e. “fortified wine”). Solution is SHE (i.e. “female”) placed “on” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) followed by RY (i.e. “lines”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a railway).

  1. Person regularly given rope to restrain alien workers (11)

Answer: PROLETARIAT (i.e. “workers”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “person regularly”, i.e. every other letter of PERSON) followed by LARIAT (i.e. lasso or “rope”) once wrapped around or “restraining” ET (i.e. “alien” or Extra-Terrestrial), like so: PRO-L(ET)ARIAT.

  1. Give out scores on radio? (5)

Answer: ALLOT (i.e. “give out”). “On radio” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of A LOT (i.e. many or “scores”).

  1. Pressure at variance in satellite is causing trouble (12)

Answer: PESTILENTIAL (i.e. “causing trouble”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “at variance”) of IN SATELLITE, like so: P-ESTILENTIAL.

  1. Put at risk peace-making counsel? (8)

Answer: ENDANGER (i.e. “put at risk”). When written as END ANGER the solution also satisfies “peace-making counsel”, as in what may be said to Yosemite Sam types when they blow their tops.

  1. Desperate character sure to look silly as ballet performer (7)

Answer: DANSEUR (i.e. male “ballet performer” – a new one on me, but then I’m not the balletgoing type). Solution is DAN (i.e. “desperate character”, specifically Desperate Dan from The Dandy comic. Ah, the days) followed by an anagram (indicated by “to look silly”) of USER, like so: DAN-SEUR.

  1. Island explorer discovers magical plant (8)

Answer: MANDRAKE (i.e. “magical plant”, supposedly due to the humanlike appearance of its root – think Pan’s Labyrinth). Solution is MAN (i.e. “island”, specifically the Isle of Man) followed by Sir Francis DRAKE (i.e. “explorer”).

  1. Rising sound involving rock band is coming out (8)

Answer: EMERSION (i.e. “coming out”). Solution is NOISE (i.e. “sound”) wrapped around or “involving” REM (i.e. “rock band”) and the whole reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: E(MER)SION.

  1. Underground worker nursing unfortunate fashion designer (8)

Answer: MILLINER (i.e. “fashion designer”). Solution is MINER (i.e. “underground worker”) wrapped around or “nursing” ILL (i.e. “unfortunate”), like so: M(ILL)INER.

  1. One used to wind and sunburn after eclipses (7)

Answer: CAPSTAN (i.e. “one used to wind” heavy ropes or cables). Solution is TAN (i.e. “sunburn”) placed “after” CAPS (i.e. exceeds or “eclipses”), like so: CAPS-TAN.

  1. Alumnus, only one lacking in discipline, gets redundancy (12)

Answer: OBSOLESCENCE (i.e. “redundancy”). Solution is OB (i.e. “alumnus”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of an “old boy”) followed by SOLE (i.e. “only”) and SCIENCE (i.e. profession or “discipline”) once the I has been removed (indicated by “[Roman numeral] one lacking in…”), like so: OB-SOLE-SCENCE.

  1. One freelanced working in European location (3-2-6)

Answer: ILE-DE-FRANCE (i.e. “European location” – guess where). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “working”) of FREELANCED, like so: I-LEDEFRANCE.

  1. South African custom satisfied when eating a seasoned product (7,4)

Answer: SAUSAGE MEAT (i.e. “seasoned product”). Solution is SA (a recognised abbreviation of “South African”) followed by USAGE (i.e. “custom”) and MET (i.e. “satisfied”) once wrapped around or “eating” A, like so: SA-USAGE-ME(A)T.

  1. Saint Peter housing Eastern Hemisphere’s clock (11)

Answer: SPEEDOMETER (i.e. “clock”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “saint”) followed by PETER once wrapped around or “housing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “Eastern”) and DOME (i.e. “hemisphere”), like so: S-PE(E-DOME)TER.

  1. Point RC overturned in precise obligation to give liturgical statement (6,5)

Answer: NICENE CREED (i.e. “liturgical statement”). Solution is E (i.e. compass “point”, specifically east) and RC both reversed (indicated by “overturned”) and placed “in” NICE (i.e. “precise”) and NEED (i.e. “obligation”), like so: NICE-NE(CR-E)ED. More religious stuff, this one made easier by being another recentish repeat. All my favourite things!

  1. Fish on Welsh river after son provides rod (9)

Answer: PIKESTAFF (i.e. “rod”). Solution is PIKE (i.e. “fish”) placed “on” TAFF (i.e. “Welsh river”) once this latter has been placed “after” S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”), like so: PIKE-(S-TAFF).

  1. Bacon and the like to try in stews, then soups to start with (9)

Answer: ESSAYISTS (i.e. Francis “Bacon and the like”). Not 100% on this one, so watch out. I guess ESSAY is “to try” or attempt, and the last S can be “soups to start with”, i.e. the first letter of “soups”, but I’m not sparking anything for IST or “in stews”. If some kind soul swings by with the solution then I’ll update the post.

[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for clearing this one up. Turns out I wasn’t looking close enough. “To start with” refers to the initial letters of In Stews Then Soups, making the solution ESSAY-ISTS. Cheers, Sue! – LP]

  1. Signal after bombing everyone understood (3,5)

Answer: ALL CLEAR (i.e. “signal after bombing”). Solution is ALL (i.e. “everyone”) followed by CLEAR (i.e. “understood”).

  1. Flattering words from lovelorn boy touring Antrim town (7)

Answer: BLARNEY (i.e. “flattering words”). Solution is BY (i.e. “lovelorn boy”, i.e. the word “boy” with the O removed – O being a zero score in tennis), wrapped around or “touring” LARNE (i.e. “Antrim town” – yes, I looked it up), like so: B(LARNE)Y.

  1. Appeal after county provides little accommodation (6)

Answer: BEDSIT (i.e. “little accommodation”). Solution is IT (i.e. sex “appeal”, or having it about oneself) placed “after” BEDS (i.e. “county”, short for Bedfordshire), like so: BEDS-IT.

  1. Hot needing rather loose garment (5)

Answer: HABIT (i.e. “loose garment”). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot”) followed by A BIT (i.e. quite or “rather”).

  1. Character of no great stature in Cold War fiction (5)

Answer: DWARF (i.e. “character of no great stature”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: COL(D WAR F)ICTION. Nicely disguised.

19 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1523

  1. Thanks Lucian. We thought this was a bit mixed, though redeemed to some extent by its comparative lack of deletions.

    Re 21a, I’ve always understood that BARNET is rhyming slang for hair (“Barnet Fair” = hair). Thus: “lacking in Barnet” = bald.

    Re 41d, I think ISTS represents the first letters of In Stews Then Soups.

    Hope this helps.

    Take care, and stay safe. Cheers, Sue

    1. Re: 41d, ah, of course! I think my brain had turned to mush by that point. Thanks for that. I’ve now updated the post. I’ve also made a minor tweak to 21a to clarify what the rhyming slang refers to. Keep well! – LP

  2. Oh, one other thing: strictly speaking, 30a should be RAISON D’ÊTRE (note the apostrophe after the D, and the accent over the first E). I particularly dislike the tendency to ignore apostrophes in the word breaks – this also occurs all too often when “o’clock” is shown as (6j rather than (1,5).

    I’ll get my coat.

  3. Hi Lucian and thank you. I wonder whether 18 across is meant to be an archaic way of saying “is making money” with the “maybe” reflecting the fact that you can earn other things like respect or a promotion…?

      1. I saw this as old Northern (Yorkshire?) dialect.
        “How’s thee doin’ Lucian?
        Art meckin’ money?
        Earnest? (Are you earning?)

  4. I was convinced that 27a was agrarian, which held me up for a while. I couldn’t parse it, but then, I can’t parse half of the clues so I plough on anyway (unintended pun!). Finally got 9d, which put me on the right track.
    Like everyone else EARNEST had me puzzled so thanks for explaining that. On the whole, not a bad puzzle this week, with a welcome appearance by Sergeant Bilko.

  5. Re: 21a, I had cause to get out at Barnet Station (N. London) quite some years ago, and there was a hairdresser there called “New Barnet”. No idea if still there, but it seemed witty at the time.

  6. 18a Seemed fair to me, I think someone who is straightforward could be described as either Frank or Earnest (as in the importance of).
    Boo for 11d … lariat being a North American word, only found in dictionaries and crossword puzzles.
    Boo for 53a … tent also being a word only found in dictionaries and crossword puzzles.
    Hooray for Bank Statement and for Teetotaller – nice clues!

  7. Although I commented earlier on “Barnet”, I’ve only just actually finished the puzzle. Very enjoyable. My wife cooked Toad in the Hole for lunch and, being somewhat bloated (she is indeed a fantastic cook), I didn’t get back to the puzzle until just now. The couple of glasses of wine probably didn’t help.

    I’m sorry, Lucian, about your WordPress problems. [for the uninitiated, WordPress is probably the most used website development software in the world]. I wasn’t clear what your problems are. For my own sins, I am webmaster of two sites: our local history website (https://www.hatfieldhistory.uk/) and my own family history website [https://www.marrisfamilyhistory.uk/].

    I seem to recall you migrated to the dreaded WordPress “block” editor. I couldn’t figure it out when it first appeared so am continuing with the original user-friendly editor.

    Apologies to all you crossword solvers for this “off topic” post, but I suspect Lucian is as much a techie as me – besides being a crossword fan.

    And thanks Lucian, as ever, for your well crafted solution grid and explanations.

  8. Thank you, Lucian, particularly for your amusing explanation of 18a, Earnest. I was reminded of the hamming actors in the hilarious tv sitcom, Upstart Crow. Keep up the good work. Cheers.

  9. I have an even twiddlier thought about 18a which will probably get shot down. ‘Art’ is an archaic form of ‘is’, which in French is ‘est’, and Frank is an archaic term for a Frenchman, so Frank could be working a double-shift. Too much?

    1. A bit too twiddly for me!
      Personally I think ‘frank’ is a near-synonym of ‘earnest’. (‘Frank’ means ‘candid and direct’; ‘earnest’ means ‘serious, honest and intense’.)
      And ‘art making money’ = ‘earnest’ (verb).
      As in: ‘thou art making money’ = ‘thou earnest’.

    2. Precisely same thought ocurred to me re 18a but mainly prompted by the fact that I’d already established e-r-e-t and assumed that “making money” implied “earn”. Thus I needed some explanation of “est” to justify “earnest”. Couldn’t really credit that French (Frank) conjugation of etre could be right but it allowed me to go with “earnest” which indeed turned out to be correct.

      My one mistake was elsewhere – went with “exarchy” rather than “eparchy” for 50a because I knew the word “exarch” and presumed he would surely have an “exarchy”. Too quick to jump, alas!

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