Stinker time! You can tell because it’s that one setter who likes to use every letter of the alphabet in the grid. That, and, you know, all the clues are nails. Good, though, in the main. For a puzzle so peppered with exotic solutions, it was weird that it took me so long to figure out TEST-FLEW. Go figure.
Anyway, 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 run off with your washing line, bras and all, then you might find solace in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 180+ of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.
Thanks as ever for the kind words and input, folks. They are much appreciated and it’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once their pens are stilled. As the next Jumbo won’t be till 27th Dec, let me take the opportunity to wish you a safe and happy Christmas. I’ll probably be a little late in posting the next one, assuming they haven’t closed all the pubs by then. (Bloody Omicron.) Anyhoo, have a good ‘un, keep well and I’ll see you soon.
With thanks to Sue in the comments for the fix to 7d
- Gold tooth maybe is one doing the rounds? (7)
Answer: ORBITER (i.e. “one doing the rounds”). Solution is OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry) followed by BITER (i.e. “tooth maybe” – other nibblers are available).
- Tendency to escape from unhealthy air associated with a metropolis (8)
Answer: FUGACITY (i.e. “tendency to escape”). Solution is FUG (i.e. “unhealthy air”) followed by A and CITY (i.e. “metropolis”).
- Record performance by musicians that’s not at all moving (6)
Answer: LOGJAM (i.e. “not at all moving”). Solution is LOG (i.e. “record”) followed by JAM (i.e. “performance by musicians”).
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for the typo fix. I’d accidentally written JOGJAM, which brings to mind a thick immobile cluster of irate joggers all getting angry with one another. Drivers rejoice! Cheers, Sue! – LP]
- Soft, expensive cape wrapping about neck (16)
Answer: PRESUMPTUOUSNESS (i.e. brass, nerve or “neck”). Solution is P (i.e. “soft”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano” in musical lingo), SUMPTUOUS (i.e. “expensive”) and NESS (i.e. “cape”, both geographical features) all “wrapped” around RE (i.e. regarding or “about” – think email replies), like so: P-(RE)-SUMPTUOUS-NESS.
- Where police may be disposing of old drug (6)
Answer: STATIN (i.e. “drug”). Solution is STATION (i.e. “where police may be”) with the O removed (indicated by “dropping old” – O being a recognised abbreviation of “old”).
- A number, it’s assumed, evens out (5)
Answer: ISSUE (i.e. “a numbered” magazine or newspaper). “Evens out” indicates the solution is derived from every other letter of IT’S ASSUMED.
- Clouds of blue an expansion initially sent out (7)
Answer: NEBULAE (i.e. “clouds”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sent out”) of BLUE AN and E (i.e. “expansion initially”, i.e. the first letter of “expansion”).
- Awful, violent crime: men torn apart (9)
Answer: ABHORRENT (i.e. “awful”). Solution is ABH (i.e. “violent crime”, specifically Actual Bodily Harm) followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) and RENT (i.e. “torn apart”).
- Most exclusive clubs left: in Paris, who’s admitting one? (9)
Answer: CLIQUIEST (i.e. “most exclusive”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and QUI EST (i.e. “in Paris, who’s”, i.e. the French for “who is”) all wrapped around or “admitting” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: C-L-(I)-QUI-EST.
- Sales pitch, outwardly well done, just empty talk? (7)
Answer: BRAVADO (i.e. “empty talk”). Solution is AD (i.e. “sales pitch” or advertisement) placed in or having “outwardly” BRAVO (i.e. “well done”), like so: BRAV(AD)O.
- What helps to make a hip drinking venue, one’s concluding (5)
Answer: PUBIS (i.e. a bone that “helps to make a hip” joint). Solution is PUB (i.e. “drinking venue”) followed by I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”).
- Note a lot of Liverpool fans after return game (5)
Answer: POKER (i.e. “game”). Solution is RE (i.e. “note” in the sol-fa notation) and KOP (i.e. “a lot of Liverpool fans”, referring to the Kop end of Anfield football stadium) all reversed (indicated by “after return”), like so: POK-ER.
- Chocolate was not consumed after devouring snail (9)
Answer: SLOWCOACH (i.e. “snail”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “devouring” – not one I’m keen on. Digesting, yes; devouring, no) of CHOCOLATE WAS once the ATE has been removed (indicated by “not consumed”).
- Fare from Italy to drop, with channel crossing (7)
Answer: LASAGNE (i.e. “fare from Italy”). Solution is SAG (i.e. “to drop”) placed in or “crossed by” LANE (i.e. “channel”), like so: LA(SAG)NE.
- Your setter cried allowed, getting stared at (9)
Answer: EYEBALLED (i.e. “stared at”). I suspect “allowed” in the clue was supposed to be “aloud”, indicating a homophone. That way the solution comprises homophones of I (i.e. “your setter”, from the point of view of the setter) and BAWLED (i.e. “cried”).
- The butt’s a part of a rifle that goes on without a problem (8,5)
Answer: LAUGHING STOCK (i.e. “the butt” of the joke). Solution is STOCK (i.e. “part of a rifle”) placed “on” or after LAUGHING (i.e. “without a problem”).
- Inferring from Irangate plot times are a-changing! (13)
Answer: EXTRAPOLATING (i.e. “inferring from”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “are a-changing”) of IRANGATE PLOT and X (i.e. “times”, as in the multiplication symbol).
- Churchgoer’s spirits at last excellent after taking in cricket match (9)
Answer: METHODIST (i.e. “churchgoer”). Solution is METHS (i.e. “spirits”) and T (i.e. “at last excellent”, i.e. the last letter of “excellent”) all wrapped around or “taking in” ODI (i.e. “cricket match”, specifically a One Day International), like so: METH(ODI)S-T.
- With river advancing, beneath vessel, prepare to swim? (7)
Answer: UNDRESS (i.e. “prepare to swim”). Solution is UNDER (i.e. “beneath”) with the R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”) brought forward a notch (indicated by “advancing”). This is then followed by SS (i.e. “vessel”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship), like so: UNDE(R)-SS => UND(R)E-SS.
- Short quote from champ appearing on channel (9)
Answer: SOUNDBITE (i.e. “short quote”). Solution is BITE (i.e. to “champ”) placed “on” or after SOUND (i.e. “channel”, referring to the geographical features), like so: SOUND-BITE.
- Idiot to cancel final – a sort of football revolution! (5)
Answer: TWIRL (i.e. “revolution”). Solution is TWIT (i.e. “idiot”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “to cancel final”) and the remainder followed by RL (i.e. “a sort of football”, specifically Rugby League), like so: TWI-RL.
- Pet for children’s party going without meat? Unknown! (5)
Answer: DOGGY (i.e. “pet for children”, i.e. a child’s word for a dog). Solution is DO (i.e. “party”) followed by GG (i.e. “going without meat”, i.e. the word “going” with all its middle letters removed) and Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns).
- Glaswegian’s protracted attempt to find old actress (7)
Answer: Lillie LANGTRY (i.e. “old actress”). Solution is LANG (i.e. “Glaswegian’s protracted”, i.e. the Scots form of “long”) followed by TRY (i.e. “attempt”).
- Call I answer after day in German state (9)
Answer: THURINGIA (i.e. “German state”). Solution is RING (i.e. “call”), I and A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A) all placed “after” THU (i.e. “day”, specifically a shortened form of Thursday), like so: (THU)-RING-I-A. The wordplay came to the rescue here. I struggle enough with local geography.
- Crime by one with posh hairdo inside car (9)
Answer: SUPERMINI (i.e. a “car” allegedly somewhere “between a mini-car and a small saloon” (Chambers). Sounds more like a sales gimmick to me). Solution is SIN (i.e. “crime”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) all wrapped around or having “inside” U (i.e. “posh”, being a recognised abbreviation of the upper classes if you observe such distinctions) and PERM (i.e. “hairdo”), like so: S(U-PERM)IN-I.
- American actor’s spoken line of Shakespeare? (7)
Answer: Jason ROBARDS (i.e. “American actor” who starred in movies such as All The Presidents Men and Once Upon A Time In The West. I couldn’t place him, to be honest. One for the cineastes, perhaps). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “spoken”) of ROW (i.e. “line”) followed by BARD’S (i.e. “of Shakespeare”), like so: RO-BARD’S.
- Depression has so far not entirely regressed (5)
Answer: FOSSA (i.e. a pit or “depression”). “Not entirely” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “regressed” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: H(AS SO F)AR. One of those nailed through the wordplay and a quick check of my Chambers.
- Niche firm in East London’s cut by 50 per cent (6)
Answer: ALCOVE (i.e. “niche”). Solution is CO (i.e. “firm”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “company”) placed in ‘ALVE (i.e. “East London’s cut”, i.e. the word HALVE with its H removed, as in ‘ow all ‘em cockneys are always dropping their bleedin’ aitches, inney? That and letting serial killers into their fictional streets whenever the viewing figures take a dip), like so: ‘AL(CO)VE.
- To get nowhere is to be sufficient with pop groups (2,5,2,7)
Answer: GO ROUND IN CIRCLES (i.e. “to get nowhere”). Solution is GO ROUND (i.e. “be sufficient”) followed by IN (i.e. “pop” or popular) and CIRCLES (i.e. “groups”).
- All there is to follow vermouth, flipping fruit tea! (6)
Answer: TISANE (i.e. “fruit tea” – chalk one to my Bradford’s here). Solution is SANE (i.e. “all there”) placed after or “following” IT (i.e. “vermouth”, short for Italian vermouth apparently – another win for the Bradford’s) once it has been reversed (indicated by “flipping”), like so: (TI)-SANE.
- For trial, took up with Left: set to agitate (4-4)
Answer: TEST-FLEW (i.e. “for trial, took up” an aircraft). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to agitate”) of W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), LEFT and SET.
- Cheat also, it’s said, getting prison sentence (3-4)
Answer: TWO-TIME (i.e. to “cheat” on one’s other half). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “it’s said”) of TOO (i.e. “also”) followed by TIME (i.e. “prison sentence”).
- Following rule, cricket league stops pop star joining cricket side (2,9)
Answer: ON PRINCIPLE (i.e. “following rule”). Solution is IPL (i.e. “cricket league”, specifically the Indian Premier League) placed in or “stopping” PRINCE (i.e. “pop star”). This is all then placed after or “joining” ON (i.e. “cricket side” – being “the side on which the batsman stands when waiting to receive the ball” (Chambers)), like so: (ON)-PRINC(IPL)E.
- British not so in favour (5)
Answer: BLESS (i.e. to approve or “favour”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by LESS (i.e. “not so” much).
- Briefly tense after interruption from impolite old prime minister (7)
Answer: Pierre TRUDEAU (i.e. “old prime minister” of Canada, and Justin’s dad). Solution is TAUT (i.e. “tense”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder wrapped around or being “interrupted” by RUDE (i.e. “impolite”), like so: T(RUDE)AU.
- Fresh from southern Oz, Liverpudlian poets do get back from across the channel (8,3,4,5)
Answer: REPONDEZ S’IL VOUS PLAIT (i.e. RSVP or “do get back from across the channel”, as in this being a French phrase). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fresh”) of S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) and OZ LIVERPUDLIAN POETS.
- Piece of timber: product that’s a cube? (4-2-3)
Answer: FOUR-BY-TWO (i.e. “piece of timber”). Solution also satisfies “product that’s a cube”, taking “product” to mean multiplication. 4×2 gets you 8, which happens to be a “cube” number: being 2^3 or 2x2x2.
- Large English egg chopped up hardly appetising fare (5)
Answer: GRUEL (i.e. “hardly appetising fare”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), E (ditto “English”) and URGE (i.e. to “egg” on) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “chopped”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: GRU-E-L.
- Train ran once a month originally for remote Irish destination (9)
CONNERAMA CONNEMARA (i.e. “remote Irish destination”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “train”) of RAN ONCE A and M (i.e. “month originally”, i.e. the first letter of “month” – a rare bone thrown by the setter, I think, given M is a recognised abbreviation of “month”. The clue would have worked without “originally”). Another deduced from the wordplay, but only once all the intersecting letters had been filled in.
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for repairing this one. I’d gotten the M and R the wrong way around, like a berk. Told you I was rubbish at geography! Cheers, Sue! – LP]
- Mexican meal from hopper covering stone article (7)
Answer: TOSTADA (i.e. “Mexican meal”). Solution is TOAD (i.e. “hopper”) wrapped around or “covering” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stone”) and followed by A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the), like so: TO(ST)AD-A.
- Rock one can see on sale at bird food store (7)
Answer: OUTCROP (i.e. “rock one can see” – over to Chambers again: “an exposed edge of rock or of a mineral vein at ground surface”). Solution is OUT (i.e. “on sale”) followed by CROP (i.e. “bird food store” –
I guess this generally means grain-producing plants, but I could be missing something clever).
[EDIT: Sue adds more meat to this solution, pointing out that a CROP is another word for a craw, being “the throat or first stomach of fowls” (Chambers). Thanks again, Sue! – LP]
- Pitcher containing beer moving bishop to dance! (9)
Answer: JITTERBUG (i.e. “dance”). Solution is JUG (i.e. “pitcher”) wrapped around or “containing” BITTER (i.e. “beer”) once the B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess) has been “moved” along, like so: J((B)ITTER)UG => J(ITTER(B))UG.
- Notes type of wood cut for table (6,5)
Answer: MINUTE STEAK (i.e. meat “cut for table”). Solution is MINUTES (i.e. “notes” of a meeting) followed by TEAK (i.e. “type of wood”).
- Work of member of Parliament admired by the queen (3,3,3,3,8)
Answer: THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT (i.e. “work” by Edward Lear). The clue plays on the collective noun for an owl being a parliament, and a queen being a female cat. “Member of Parliament” therefore gets you THE OWL – ignoring the misleading capitalisation – while “the queen” gets you THE PUSSYCAT. Not sure where “admired by” fits into all this though.
[EDIT: Thanks again to Sue in the comments for clarifying the “admired by” part of the clue. In the poem the pair generally chat each other up during their trip and agree to marry. Apparently there was an unfinished sequel to this where the pair have kids. Paging Doctor Moreau… – LP]
- Varied content of skip, etc, is most revolting (7)
Answer: ICKIEST (i.e. “most revolting”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “varied”) of KI (i.e. “content of skip”, i.e. the middle letters of “skip”), ETC and IS.
- Letters on French wine included in unwelcome post? One cause for complaint! (7)
Answer: BACILLI (i.e. “cause for complaint” or disease). Solution is AC (i.e. “letters on French wine”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of appellation contrôlée, which is “a guarantee that the product conforms to certain specified conditions of origin, strength etc” (Chambers). I’ve learned something today. Shame I don’t drink much French wine) placed “in” BILL (i.e. “unwelcome post”) and followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: B(AC)ILL-I.
- Maybe stout resistance met by each trio omitting Les? (4,3)
Answer: REAL ALE (i.e. “maybe stout” – other varieties of fally-down juice are available). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”) followed by EA (ditto “each”) and LA and LE (i.e. “trio omitting Les” – ignore the misleading capitalisation, this is a play on the three French forms of the word “the”: LA (female), LE (male) and LES (collective). A bit naughty of the setter to omit a French indicator from the clue, if I have this right).
- Flat or house? I’m not sure (2-3)
Answer: HO-HUM (i.e. “flat”). Solution is HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”) followed by HUM (i.e. “I’m not sure”). Probably my favourite clue of the puzzle.
- Crack alarms us – so utilise clamps (4,3)
Answer: SUSS OUT (i.e. “crack”). “Clamps” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: ALARM(S US SO UT)ILISE.
- Guts shown by inexperienced visiting CID officer (5)
Answer: DRAWS (i.e. “guts”, as in hang, draw and quarter). Solution is RAW (i.e. “inexperienced”) placed in or “visiting” DS (i.e. “CID officer”, specifically a Detective Sergeant), like so: D(RAW)S.
- Silly young lad’s outside far too early (7)
Answer: UNGODLY (i.e. “far too early”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “silly”) of YOUNG and LD (i.e. “lad’s outside”, i.e. the first and last letter of “lad”).
- Declaring cipher secure, up to date, and good (7)
Answer: OPINING (i.e. “declaring”). Solution is O (i.e. “cipher” – another win for my Bradford’s. Over to Chambers again, a cipher can be “formerly, the character 0” in mathematics. No, me neither) followed by PIN (i.e. to “secure”), then IN (i.e. fashionable or “up to date”) and G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”).
- Just as far behind horse, perhaps, first soldier? (11)
Answer: EQUIDISTANT (i.e. “just as far”). Solution is EQUID (i.e. “horse”) followed by IST (i.e. “first”, with the 1 represented by its Roman numeral equivalent) and ANT (i.e. “soldier”).
- Unlikely to start August: gets to visit American capital (11)
Answer: TALLAHASSEE (i.e. “American capital” of Florida). Solution is TALL (i.e. “unlikely”) followed by A (i.e. “to start August”, i.e. the first letter of “August”), then HAS (i.e. “gets”) and SEE (i.e. “to visit”).
- Said PC could be moved with 1kg boxes (9)
Answer: DIGIPACKS (i.e. paperboard-bound “boxes” for compact discs – ask your grandparents, kids). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “moved”) of SAID PC and IKG – 1 again replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent.
- What the keenest do to win a speaking competition? (9)
Answer: UTTERMOST (i.e. “what the keenest do”). When written as UTTER MOST the solution also playfully satisfies “to win a speaking competition”.
- Audience were mostly thrilled with invite (9)
Answer: INTERVIEW (i.e. an “audience” with someone). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “thrilled”) of WER (i.e. “were mostly”, i.e. the word “were” with its last letter removed) and INVITE.
- City, years before, leading division (7)
Answer: YEREVAN (i.e. capital “city” of Armenia). Solution is Y (a recognised abbreviation of “years”) followed by ERE (poetic form of “before”) and VAN (i.e. “leading division”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “vanguard”). Another nailed through the wordplay, if I’m honest.
[EDIT: Thanks to Neil in the comments for repairing this one. I’d misspelled YEREVAN, writing YEREVEN instead. Cheers, Neil! – LP]
- A few with premier going on offensive (7)
Answer: NOISOME (i.e. “offensive”). Solution is SOME (i.e. “a few”) placed “on” or after NO I (i.e. leading or “premier” – again with use of the Roman numeral I), like so: (NO-I)-SOME.
- Reason acceptable for raising hell (7)
Answer: INFERNO (i.e. “hell”). Solution is INFER (i.e. to “reason”) followed by ON (i.e. “acceptable”) once reversed (indicated by “raising” – this being a down clue), like so: INFER-NO.
- Don’t permit anything short to be worn (5)
Answer: BANAL (i.e. cliched, tired or “worn”). Solution is BAN ALL (i.e. “don’t permit anything”) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”).
- Was once successful in sales – making money no longer (5)
Answer: SOLDI (i.e. “money no longer”, specifically an old Italian coin). When written as SOLD I the solution also satisfies “was once successful in sales”, i.e. having sold one, using the Roman numeral I to represent “one”.
13 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1531”
Thanks Lucian. What a stinker this was! We finished it, but didn’t understand some of the parsings, so your explanations are, as always, most welcome.
A couple of points:
9a: In your explanation you have JOGJAM not LOGJAM. A typo, presumably, as it’s correct in the grid.
29a: I agree that ALLOWED should be ALOUD.
7d: I think it’s CONNEMARA not CONNERAMA. I didn’t know TRAIN was an anagram indicator.
8d: Toads don’t hop. They walk. Yellow card, setter.
10d: CROP refers to part of a bird’s digestive system, where the bird stores seed before digesting it.
15d: I think ADMIRED refers to a line from the poem:
Said Puss to the Owl, “You elegant fowl; How charmingly sweet you sing.”
(Having said that, I still don’t quite see how it fits the clue.)
24d: Agreed! Second yellow card, setter. Take a early bath!
Take care, stay safe, and have a wonderful Christmas. SB
Excellent catches, all, Sue, many thanks for that. I’ve now updated the post. Keep well and have a good ‘un! – LP
Took a while to get going but worth it in the end. I do enjoy the devious puzzles. Sadly, I’m old enough to remember Jason Robards, and Lillie Langtry, come to that. Laughing Stock I think was my favourite clue.
Parsing had me flummoxed as usual, especially on Methodist and Real Ale so thanks once again for the enlightenment.
Thank you Lucian.
Yes, I found it harder than average, but enjoyable.
Good to hear Jason Robards mentioned. Nothing to do with the crossword, but ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ would probably be in my top 3 films of all time.
Just finished. Test flew was the last. Much more pain than pleasure with too many streched meanings and obscure answers for me. Hopefully more pleasure over the christmas period. Not sure whats going to happen with Christmas Day on a Saturday….
The next Jumbo will be on Monday 27th.
Thanks, Lucian. A good tough puzzle this week with some pleasing clues. I do like cockney aitch-dropping clues so I was pleased with alcove. Also tisane was good with sane for all there. Cheers
Quite tough this week, but enjoyable. I’ll be buying “The Guardian” on Christmas Eve (in the hope of one of their Bank Holiday crosswords – though those are much diminished since the passing of the great Araucaria) – and one will then head out on Bank Holiday Monday for “The Times”.
As an aside, and after another grim year, I looked through the Saturday colour supplement (“The Year in Cartoons” by Peter Brookes) and didn’t laugh at even one of them. I think the Covid depression must have got to him as his cartoons are usually both brilliant and funny.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday. And, Blimey, don’t we all need cheering up.
Either that, or Peter Brookes is as fed up with BloJob as the rest of us are…
To be serious for a moment (yes, I am capable of it occasionally), I’ve now lost the ability to laugh at political satire. It’s too painfully close to the truth.
Hi. Quite agree that it was a stinker. A shame to be defeated by last 3 clues, Roberts, Banal and Test-Flew, the latter being a disgrace!
We always enjoy your comments and thank you for your help in parsing during this awful year.
Best wishes for 2022 from John Gordon-Clark (father) and Jane Gordon-Clark (daughter)
In your explanation of clues you indicate the answer as Yereven although it is right in the grid. Struggled with test flew too
Great catch, Neil! Thanks for that. I’ve now updated the post. Cheers! – LP
Kept it back as an escape from all the wretched Christmas TV, finished the last answer (“ickiest” – a terribly lazy one) and stomped off for a wander on the fells. Still can’t contain my anger at the way the ECB have ruined domestic cricket, making Ashes debacles inevitable. But that’s quite another topic. Sorry