Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1549

Privet, tovarishch. It would appear this week’s Jumbo hasn’t been too badly affected by the Russian sanctions, what with a salvo of three Russian references barely a quarter of the way into the puzzle. It was a weird one to solve, too, given it also contained solutions like INFAMOUS, NOTORIOUS, SCANDAL, OUTCRY, STEAL and MARCHING ORDERS, not to mention things like BELLIGERENCE, SENILE, PROPAGANDIST and LUDICROUS that could be used to sum up Putin and his cronies. Probably a coincidence, given these things are often compiled months in advance, but still.

Anyway, setting the awfulness of the situation in Ukraine to one side for a moment, 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 secretly smeared aniseed all over your shoes and you’re wondering why stray dogs keep chasing you then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear how fellow solvers fared once they set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.


Across clues

  1. Quiet expert aboard vessel, stylish craft (9)

Answer: SPACESHIP (i.e. “craft”). Solution is P (i.e. “quiet”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano” used in musical lingo) and ACE (i.e. “expert”) both placed in or “aboard” SS (i.e. “vessel”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship) and followed by HIP (i.e. “stylish”), like so: S(P-ACE)S-HIP.

  1. Book hotel accommodation with flash support for cleaner (10)

Answer: BROOMSTICK (i.e. “support for cleaner”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) followed by ROOMS (i.e. “hotel accommodation”) and TICK (i.e. “flash” – no clue why, though. My Chambers and Oxford don’t seem overly willing to support this one, but it is listed in my Bradford’s).

[EDIT: Thanks to Michael in the comments for clarifying that TICK and “flash” were both short measures of time. Cheers, Michael! – LP]

  1. Opera item limitless selection getting cheers (7)

Answer: ARIETTA (i.e. “opera item” – over to Chambers: “a little aria or air”). Solution is VARIETY (i.e. “selection”) with its first and last letters removed (indicated by “limitless”) and the remainder followed by TA (i.e. “thanks”), like so: ARIET-TA.

  1. Figure in Russian history circling European border – this one? (9)

Answer: PERIMETER (i.e. “border”). Solution is PETER the Great (i.e. “figure in Russian history”) wrapped around or “circling” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and RIM (i.e. “border”), like so: P(E-RIM)ETER.

  1. French town displays with no end of luxury (5)

Answer: ARRAS (i.e. “French town”). Solution is ARRAYS (i.e. arranges or “displays”) with the Y removed (indicated by “with no end of luxury”, i.e. the last letter of “luxury”). (cough)-made-to-fit-(cough)…

  1. Representative uncovered person circling a lake in Colorado initially (12)

Answer: NATURALISTIC (i.e. “representative”). Solution is NATURIST (i.e. “uncovered person”) wrapped around or “circling” A and L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), then followed by I and C (i.e. “in Colorado initially”, i.e. the first letters of “in” and “Colorado”), like so: NATUR(A-L)IST-I-C.

  1. Support English account penned by academic and cleric (10)

Answer: ARCHDEACON (i.e. “cleric”). Solution is ARCH (i.e. “support”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and AC (ditto “account”) once both are placed in or “penned by” DON (i.e. “academic”), like so: ARCH-D(E-AC)ON.

  1. Good worker getting corporation to invest in Russian currency in scramble (5-3-6)

Answer: ROUGH-AND-TUMBLE (i.e. “scramble”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), HAND (i.e. “worker”) and TUM (i.e. “corporation” – setters love using a variant meaning of the word, being a pot belly) all placed “in” ROUBLE (i.e. “Russian currency”), like so: ROU(G-HAND-TUM)BLE.

  1. I sense accommodating half of family would be shocking (8)

Answer: INFAMOUS (i.e. “shocking”). Solution is I and NOUS (i.e. common “sense”) wrapped around or “accommodating” FAM (i.e. first “half of family”), like so: I-N(FAM)OUS.

  1. Kings besetting oil producers for a small amount (6)

Answer: KOPECK (i.e. “small amount”, specifically “a Russian coin, the hundredth part of a rouble, no longer having any significant worth” (Chambers)). Solution is K and K (both “kings”, a recognised abbreviation used in chess) wrapped around or “besetting” OPEC (i.e. “oil producers”, specifically the Organization of the Petroleum-Exporting Countries), like so: K(OPEC)K.

  1. GP producing notes after key treatment? (5,5)

Answer: GRAND PIANO. Clue plays on G being a recognised abbreviation of “grand” and P being a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, and also how you’d play “notes” on one in a musical “key”. You get the idea. Nicely worked.

  1. Nice retired performer? (5)

Answer: EXACT (i.e. “nice” – over to Chambers: “done with great care and exactness, accurate”). When written as EX-ACT the solution also satisfies “retired performer”.

  1. Not often put forward or what’s recalled in another area (4)

Answer: RARE (i.e. “not often put forward“). “What’s…in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “recalled” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: ANOTH(ER AR)EA.

[EDIT: Thanks to Louise in the comments for cleaning this one up. I hadn’t spotted that the solution exists both “put forward” and backwards within the clue, i.e. ANOTH(ER AR)EA and ANOTHE(R ARE)A. Cheers, Louise! – LP]

  1. Very sweet article for cake decoration (8)

Answer: ANGELICA (i.e. “cake decoration” – again to Chambers: “a genus of umbelliferous plants with large leaves and double-winged fruit…; its candied leaf-stalks and midribs, used as a decoration for cakes etc”). Solution is ANGELIC (i.e. “very sweet”) followed by A (i.e. “article”, being a word like a, an or the).

  1. Absurd address to judge is keeping most of court in uproar (9)

Answer: LUDICROUS (i.e. “absurd”). Solution is LUD (i.e. informal “address to judge”) followed by IS once wrapped around or “keeping” an anagram (indicated by “in uproar”) of COURT once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “most of…”), like so: LUD-I(CROU)S.

  1. Openings channelling right warm material to fire (9)

Answer: GRAPESHOT (i.e. “material to fire” from a gun). Solution is GAPES (i.e. “openings”) wrapped around or “channelling” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and followed by HOT (i.e. “warm”), like so: G(R)APES-HOT.

  1. Composer butchers composition (8)

Answer: Franz SCHUBERT (i.e. “composer”). “Composition” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BUTCHERS. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Virile male, not clever, not very good (4)

Answer: STUD (i.e. “virile male”). Solution is STUPID (i.e. “not clever”) with the PI removed (indicated by “not very good” – PI being a recognised abbreviation of pious).

  1. Tom’s first in to clinch bargain (5)

Answer: STEAL (i.e. a “bargain”). Solution is T (i.e. “Tom’s first” letter) placed “in” SEAL (i.e. “to clinch” or secure), like so: S(T)EAL.

  1. Father got bigger, ditching uniform that’s in pieces (10)

Answer: FRAGMENTED (i.e. “in pieces”). Solution is FR (a recognised abbreviation of the title “Father”) followed by AUGMENTED (i.e. “got bigger”) once the U has been removed (indicated by “ditching uniform” – “uniform” being U in the phonetic alphabet), like so: FR-AGMENTED.

  1. Former Israeli leader penning second lot of reminiscences (6)

Answer: MEMOIR (i.e. “lot of reminiscences”). Solution is Golda MEIR (i.e. “former Israeli leader” – no, me neither) wrapped around or “penning” MO (short for a moment, i.e. “second”), like so: ME(MO)IR.

  1. Yes, a cuckoo with a limp is an obvious target (4,4)

Answer: EASY GAME (i.e. “obvious target”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cuckoo”) of YES A followed by GAME (i.e. “with a limp” – Chambers offers a variant meaning: “lame”).

  1. Old place, perhaps not upright, containing a lot of buddleia, rampant (6,8)

Answer: LISTED BUILDING (i.e. “old place”). Solution is LISTING (i.e. “perhaps not upright”) wrapped around or “containing” an anagram (indicated by “rampant”) of BUDDLEIA once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “a lot of…”), like so: LIST(EDBUILD)ING.

  1. Source of milk and bread you wheeled round? (3-7)

Answer: TEA-TROLLEY. The solution satisfies the clue as a whole, but also comprises TEAT (i.e. “source of milk”), ROLL (i.e. “bread”) and YE (olde form of “you”) once reversed (indicated by “wheeled round”), like so: TEAT-ROLL-EY. Another well-worked clue.

  1. One promoting heathen Greek god suppressed by Protestant (12)

Answer: PROPAGANDIST (i.e. “one promoting”). Solution is PAGAN (i.e. “heathen”) and DIS (i.e. “Greek god”, another name for Pluto) both placed in or “suppressed by” PROT (a recognised abbreviation of “Protestant”), like so: PRO(PAGAN-DIS)T.

  1. Keep at the instructions, say, extracting energy or gas (5)

Answer: RADON (i.e. “gas”). Solution is READ ON (i.e. “keep at the instructions, say”) with the E removed (indicated by “extracting energy” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy”).

  1. Women’s greeting given to both sides before game – it’s revolutionary (9)

Answer: WHIRLPOOL (i.e. “it’s revolutionary”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “women”) followed by HI (i.e. “greeting”), then RL (i.e. “both sides”, being recognised abbreviations of “right” and “left”), then POOL (i.e. “game”).

  1. Better work on industrial efficiency in the field? (7)

Answer: OUTDOOR (i.e. “in the field”). When written as OUTDO O.R. the solution also satisfies “better work on industrial efficiency”. O.R. is a recognised abbreviation of “operations research”, which covers that kind of thing.

  1. MI5 boss possibly securing shelter for one about to go off? (10)

Answer: SLEEPYHEAD (i.e. “one about to go off”). Solution is SPY HEAD (i.e. “MI5 boss possibly”) wrapped around or “securing” LEE (i.e. “shelter”), like so: S(LEE)PY-HEAD.

  1. What sounds like very much a routine wine? (9)

Answer: SAUTERNES (i.e. “wine”). “What sounds like” indicates the solution comprises homophones of SO (i.e. “very much”) and TURN (i.e. “a routine” or act). Took a small brute force of my Chambers, me not being much of a wine buff.

Down clues

  1. Metal embedded in stone? That’s some effort (5)

Answer: STINT (i.e. a work shift or “some effort”). Solution is TIN (i.e. “metal”) placed or “embedded in” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stone”), like so: S(TIN)T.

  1. Dessert served with sweet wine in later upheaval (10)

Answer: AFTERSHOCK (i.e. “later upheaval” from an earthquake). Solution is AFTERS (i.e. “dessert”) followed by HOCK (i.e. “sweet wine”).

  1. Daughter avoiding carefully describing online business (1-7)

Answer: E-TAILING (i.e. “online business”). Solution is DETAILING (i.e. “carefully describing”) with the D removed (indicated by “daughter avoiding” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”).

  1. Anticipates chap’s securing work (5)

Answer: HOPES (i.e. “anticipates”). Solution is HE’S (i.e. “chap’s”) wrapped around or “securing” OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”), like so: H(OP)E’S.

  1. Fruit I’m beginning to munch, being outside (9)

Answer: PERSIMMON (i.e. a plum-like “fruit”). Solution is I’M and M (i.e. “beginning to munch”, i.e. the first letter of “munch”) with PERSON (i.e. “being”) placed “outside”, like so: PERS(I’M-M)ON.

  1. Put out male entering bar, falling over (4)

Answer: BUMP (i.e. to jolt or “put out”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) placed in or “entering” PUB (i.e. “bar”) once reversed (indicated by “falling over”), like so: BU(M)P.

  1. Dismissed odd bits of curry? Uproar (6)

Answer: OUTCRY (i.e. “uproar”). Solution is OUT (i.e. “dismissed”, say, in a ball game) followed by CRY (i.e. “odd bits of curry”, i.e. the odd letters of CURRY).

  1. Head of monastery bending religious rule will get dismissal (8,6)

Answer: MARCHING ORDERS (i.e. “dismissal”). Solution is M (i.e. “head of monastery”, i.e. the first letter of “monastery”) followed by ARCHING (i.e. “bending”) and ORDERS (i.e. “religious rule”).

  1. Holiday firm can get excited about composer anniversary finally (6,6)

Answer: TRAVEL AGENCY (i.e. “holiday firm”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “excited”) of CAN GET wrapped “about” Maurice RAVEL (i.e. “composer”) and followed by Y (i.e. “anniversary finally”, i.e. the last letter of “anniversary”), like so: T(RAVEL)AGENC-Y.

  1. Copper pulled up a vehicle over booze (7)

Answer: CURACAO (i.e. a liqueur or “booze”). Solution is CU (chemical symbol or “copper”) followed by A CAR (i.e. “a vehicle”) once reversed (indicated by “pulled up” – this being a down clue), then O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), like so: CU-(RAC-A)-O

  1. Subordinate cracked – runs for moneylender (10)

Answer: PAWNBROKER (i.e. “moneylender”). Solution is PAWN (i.e. “subordinate”) followed by BROKE (i.e. “cracked”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games).

  1. Demo is kept up around America: a bit of a headache generally (9)

Answer: SINUSITIS (i.e. “a headache generally”). Solution is SIT-IN (i.e. “demo”) and IS all reversed (indicated by “kept up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped “around” US (i.e. “America”), like so: SI-N(US)I-TIS.

  1. Friends turned up a little hastily (8)

Answer: SLAPDASH (i.e. “hastily”). Solution is PALS (i.e. “friends”) reversed (indicated by “turned up” – again, this being a down clue) and followed by DASH (i.e. “a little” measurement of, say, an ingredient or condiment), like so: SLAP-DASH.

  1. What’s in the overhead locker? (5,4)

Answer: UPPER CASE. Solution playfully satisfies the clue as a whole, taking CASE to be an item of luggage and UPPER being its situation in an “overhead locker”. Not getting much else from this one, though, so I’m probably missing something clever. Might be a caps lock thing, but this feels too weak.

[EDIT: Thanks to Rachel in the comments for clearing this one up. Turns out the clue was misprinted in the newspaper and ought to have been all in capital letters. Makes a lot more sense now. Cheers, Rachel! – LP]

  1. Cost of hiring hill maybe involving one is falling fast? (10)

Answer: TORRENTIAL (i.e. of rain “falling fast”). Solution is TOR RENTAL (i.e. “cost of hiring hill maybe”) wrapped around or “involving” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: TOR-RENT(I)AL.

  1. Newspaper and book to peruse: that’ll keep you going (5,5)

Answer: DAILY BREAD (i.e. “that’ll keep you going”). Solution is DAILY (i.e. “newspaper”) followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) and READ (i.e. “to peruse”).

  1. Excellent soldiers I placed around castle, with stronger reason (1,8)

Answer: A FORTIORI (i.e. “with stronger reason” in Latin). Solution is AI (i.e. “excellent”, i.e. A1, using it’s Roman numeral equivalent), OR (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) and I all placed “around” FORT (i.e. “castle”), like so: A(FORT)I-OR-I. One remembered through its frequent appearance in previous Jumbos.

  1. Expecting providing obstruction will restrict the line (2,3,6,3)

Answer: IN THE FAMILY WAY (i.e. pregnant or “expecting”). Solution is IN THE WAY (i.e. “providing obstruction”) wrapped around or “restricting” FAMILY (i.e. “line”), like so: IN-THE-(FAMILY)-WAY. Another remembered from a previous puzzle.

  1. Very good to engage in popular craze, eradicating a problem with sleeping (8)

Answer: INSOMNIA (i.e. “problem with sleeping”). Solution is SO (i.e. “very” – I guess “good” is there to make the clue scan better) placed between or “engaged in” IN (i.e. “popular”) and MANIA (i.e. “craze”) once the A has been removed (indicated by “eradicating a”), like so: IN-(SO)-MNIA.

  1. Aggression erupting in Greece following alarm (12)

Answer: BELLIGERENCE (i.e. “aggression”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “erupting”) of IN GREECE placed after or “following” BELL (i.e. “alarm”), like so: BELL-IGERENCE.

  1. Spectators run to embrace tennis great – it expresses warmth (3,6)

Answer: GAS HEATER (i.e. “spectators”). Solution is GATE (i.e. “spectators” at an event) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “run”, covered earlier) wrapped around Arthur ASHE (i.e. “tennis great”), like so: G(ASHE)ATE-R. Another of those solutions where you’re lucky I don’t set these things.

  1. Join Labour, say, upset over a right-winger being insulting (10)

Answer: DEROGATORY (i.e. “insulting”). Solution is GO RED (i.e. “join Labour, say”, a reference to the colour used to represent the political party) reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue) and followed by A TORY (i.e. “a right-winger”), like so: (DER-OG)-A-TORY. Another good clue.

  1. New Zealand city very familiar with good fashion (10)

Answer: WELLINGTON (i.e. “New Zealand city”). Solution is WELL (i.e. “very” or in a thorough manner) followed by IN (i.e. “familiar” – presumably taken to mean “much in use (as in in-word, in-thing)” (Chambers)), then G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) and TON (i.e. “fashion” – a variant meaning of the word you pretty much only ever see used in cryptic crosswords).

  1. Disreputable number taking top prize, eliminating first three (9)

Answer: NOTORIOUS (i.e. “disreputable”). Solution is NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) followed by VICTORIOUS (i.e. “taking top prize”) once the “first three” letters have been removed or “eliminated”, like so: NO-TORIOUS.

  1. Bribe for radio announcer not reduced? It should be stopped (8)

Answer: BUNGHOLE (i.e. “it should be stopped”). Solution is BUNG (i.e. “bribe”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “for radio announcer”) of WHOLE (i.e. “not reduced”), like so: BUNG-HOLE.

  1. Possibly not full scale outrage (7)

Answer: SCANDAL (i.e. “outrage”). When written as SC AND AL the solution cryptically satisfies “possibly not full scale”, i.e. descriptive of the first four letters of “scale”, being SC and AL.

  1. Weak with age, from date around zero? (6)

Answer: SENILE (i.e. “weak with age”). Solution is SEE (i.e. to “date” someone) wrapped “around” NIL (i.e. “zero”), like so: SE(NIL)E.

  1. A sauce served up with Uruguay’s foremost rice dish (5)

Answer: PILAU (i.e. “rice dish”). Solution is A and LIP (i.e. “sauce” or impudence) all reversed (indicated by “served up” – this being a down clue) and followed by U (i.e. “Uruguay’s foremost” letter), like so: (PIL-A)-U.

  1. Only partially fair on soccer clubs (5)

Answer: IRONS (i.e. golf “clubs”). “Only partially” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: FA(IR ON S)OCCER.

  1. Happy head of BBC is upset about French article (4)

Answer: GLAD (i.e. “happy”). Solution is DG (a recognised abbreviation of “Director General”, i.e. “head of BBC”) reversed (indicated by “upset” – again, this being a down clue) and wrapped “about” LA (i.e. “French article”, i.e. the French feminine form of “the” – an article being a word like a, an or the), like so: G(LA)D.

16 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1549

  1. 29 across
    I think it means you can read RARE both backwards and forwards.
    Anoth(er ar)ea
    Anothe(r are)a
    ( Can I also ask you, Lucian, what the times eg 12 minutes mean in your comments? Surely you don’t finish it that quickly?? )

    1. Louise is spot on about 29a.
      6a: TICK seems reasonable, eg “be there in a tick” = flash.
      You acknowledge not being a wine buff but this setter even less so: “hock” (2d) simply means (or meant) wine from the Rhineland, which is seldom sweet (apart from rare Auslesen) – normally 2-3 on a 10-point sweetness scale, whereas Sauternes (57a) would always be a 9 or10!
      Like you I felt dissatisfied by the clue for Upper Case (20d): “locker” just isn’t enough to signal capital letters, and I can’t make anything of “What’s in..”. So pending some clever interpretation, surely the setter needed something involving “shift” or “caps” to make this word-play work.
      But overall, a satisfying puzzle, if pretty straightforward.

      1. Ah, of course, I see what you mean re: TICK. Good point. I’ve now updated the post. Thanks for the help, Michael! It’s always interesting to read your insight and thoughts. – LP

    2. Good point, Louise. I hadn’t noticed that, so thanks for the correction. I’ve now updated the post. The “12 minutes” thing is something WordPress adds to my posts to show how long they take to read. Sadly I’ve not found a way to switch them off. I reckon I spent around 4-5 hours chipping away at this week’s Jumbo between chores and stuff. Thanks again for the help! – LP

  2. Thanks Lucian. A few too many deletions for my liking, and some of them were unnecessarily complicated.

    Re 20d, I might be overthinking this, but I wonder if it’s a reference to the origins of typesetting. In the early days of printing, the capital letters and the small letters were stored in two separate cases – the capitals in the higher (or upper) case, and the small letters in the lower case. This is believed to be the origin of the terms “upper case” and “lower case” that are still in use today.

    I’m not convinced about SINUSITIS (15d), which I think is too specific a condition to be used to refer to a headache in general. And (at the risk of again being accused of slinging mud at the setter) I don’t agree with PAGAN being used as a synonym for HEATHEN (49a). They don’t mean the same thing.

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  3. Thanks, Lucian. Not much to say about this one except that it was a good deal easier than the last one. I too noticed the Russian/Putin references. I wonder. Favourite was scandal. Cheers.

  4. Not happy about 21d – ‘TORRENTIAL’ – doesn’t this refer to amount rather than speed? -although I suppose you do get wet quicker! A good puzzle, no need for a stack of dictionaries

  5. Not sure how 20 across is printed in the paper but I print mine from the website and the clause is written in capital letters – ie upper case.

    1. Ah, that makes more sense. The version in the paper was printed with normal sentence casing. I’ve updated the post to clarify this. Thanks for your help! – LP

  6. My only observation on this crossword is the number of usages that are only ever found in crosswords (corporation for belly, ton for fashion, pi for very good). They’re so outdated I’d ban them if I was crossword editor..

  7. Always interesting to get your insights, thank you, and also to learn from others solvers – I’d never realised the origins of Upper Case before, despite having visited a print shop in my youth, when letters were still inserted by hand into a matrix (blimey I feel old now).
    That was a good puzzle, several admirable clues and nothing too contrived. I especially liked Derogatory and Schubert.

  8. Always appreciate your understated assessments of the Jumbo Cryptics Lucian, and the clarifications from other regulars here.
    A somewhat tardy comment regarding 38 d; I believe the ‘well’ and ‘in’ are intended to be taken together as a term which resolves to ‘very familiar with’ i.e. being ‘well in’ with something/someone.
    Collins (within The Free Dictionary – online) offers this:
    well in [informal – often followed by ‘with’]: on good terms or favourably placed (with)

  9. A real pedantic comment – in 55 across you say ‘ O.R. is a recognised abbreviation of “operations research”, which covers that kind of thing.’ In the UK the correct term (historically) is operational research which was developed by a bunch of British scientists and mathematicians in WW2 who developed various methods to improve operations eg determining best depth charge setting to maximise likelihood of destroying U boats. Operations research was the US term – why did they change it?

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