Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1554

A relatively straightforward one for Bank Holiday Monday, though there were a couple of clues to get snagged upon. Nobody please get me a TAPIS for Christmas.

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 invented time-travel leaving you serving a race of snooty elephants all wearing top hats and monocles 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 the hot takes of other solvers. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.


Across clues

  1. Deer of exceptional bulk originally in common crowd (7)

Answer: ROEBUCK (i.e. “deer”). Solution is OEB (i.e. “of exceptional bulk originally”, i.e. the first letters of “of”, “exceptional” and “bulk”) placed “in” RUCK (i.e. “common crowd”), like so: R(OEB)UCK.

  1. Poet with high honour in extremely leafy part of Italy (8)

Answer: LOMBARDY (i.e. “part of Italy”). Solution is BARD (i.e. “poet”) placed after or “with” OM (i.e. “high honour”, specifically the Order of Merit) all “in” LY (i.e. “extremely leafy”, i.e. the first and last letters of “leafy”), like so: L(OM-BARD)Y.

  1. Declare a clear favourite at Epsom, so to speak (6)

Answer: ASSERT (i.e. “declare”). Solution is A followed by a homophone (indicated by “so to speak”) of CERT (i.e. “clear favourite at Epsom”, i.e. a dead cert).

  1. Old court officials nod, having way with smugglers (3,6,7)

Answer: BOW STREET RUNNERS (i.e. “old court officials”). Solution is BOW (i.e. to “nod”) followed by STREET (i.e. “way”) and RUNNERS (i.e. “smugglers”).

  1. Irish girl in India, accommodated by Danes, oddly (6)

Answer: SINEAD (i.e. “Irish girl’s” name). Solution is I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet) placed in or “accommodated by” an anagram (indicated by “oddly”) of DANES, like so: S(I)NEAD.

  1. Desert son in big way? (5)

Answer: SINAI (i.e. a “desert”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by IN then AI (i.e. “big way”, a playful reference to the A1 motorway with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent).

  1. Peacekeepers are able to reach New York? That’s weird (7)

Answer: UNCANNY (i.e. “weird”). Solution is UN (i.e. “peacekeepers”, specifically the United Nations) followed by CAN (i.e. “able to”) and NY (a recognised abbreviation of “New York”).

  1. Speech made in summer month by Russian river (9)

Answer: INAUGURAL (i.e. “speech”). Solution is IN followed by AUG (i.e. “summer month”, short for August) and URAL (i.e. “Russian river”).

  1. Trendy people (not us) keeping Westminster at the heart of things (2,3,4)

Answer: IN THE SWIM (i.e. “at the heart of things”). Solution is IN (i.e. “trendy”) followed by THEM (i.e. “people (not us)”) once wrapped around or “keeping” SWI (i.e. “Westminster”, specifically its post code area, again using the Roman numeral I for 1), like so: IN-THE(SWI)M.

  1. Acknowledge record bridge player holds a single time (7)

Answer: CONCEDE (i.e. “acknowledge”). Solution is CD (i.e. “record”, in this case a Compact Disc) and E (i.e. “bridge player”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “east”) all wrapped around or “holding” ONCE (i.e. “a single time”), like so: C(ONCE)D-E.

  1. Joint in the Spanish part of London (5)

Answer: ELBOW (i.e. “joint”). Solution is EL (i.e. “the Spanish”, i.e. the Spanish for “the”) followed by BOW (i.e. “part of London”).

  1. Greek character fencing in thick-skinned animal (5)

Answer: RHINO (i.e. “thick-skinned animal”). Solution is RHO (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the seventeenth letter of the Greek alphabet) wrapped around or “fencing” IN, like so: RH(IN)O.

  1. Unruly beast briefly backing universal fast (9)

Answer: TURBULENT (i.e. “unruly”). Solution is BRUTE (i.e. “beast”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “backing”), followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “universal” used in film certification) and LENT (i.e. religious “fast”), like so: TURB-U-LENT.

  1. Yesterday’s man is not entirely penniless, do we hear? (3-4)

Answer: HAS-BEEN (i.e. “yesterday’s man”). “Do we hear” indicates homophone, in this case of HAS BEAN (i.e. “is not entirely penniless” – a nod to the phrase “not having a bean to one’s name”).

  1. Basic lent meal abandoned after start of Easter (9)

Answer: ELEMENTAL (i.e. “basic”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “abandoned”) of LENT MEAL placed “after” E (i.e. “start [letter] of Easter”), like so: E-LEMENTAL.

  1. Not in school at first, dig new head’s candour (13)

Answer: OUTSPOKENNESS (i.e. “candour”). Solution is OUT (i.e. “not in”) followed by S (i.e. “school at first”, i.e. the first letter of “school”), then POKE (i.e. “dig”), then N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and NESS (i.e. “head”, the geographic feature).

  1. Expensive drink dipped into by extremely large horse (13)

Answer: STEEPLECHASER (i.e. “horse”). Solution is STEEP (i.e. “expensive”) and CHASER (i.e. “drink” had alongside another) with LE (i.e. “extremely large”, i.e. the first and last letters of “large”) “dipped in” between the two, like so: STEEP-(LE)-CHASER.

  1. Poet and prophet, connected to broadband internally (9)

Answer: SONNETEER (i.e. “poet”). Solution is SEER (i.e. “prophet”) wrapped around of having “internally” ON NET (i.e. “connected to broadband”), like so: S(ON-NET)EER.

  1. Huntsman’s cry identified by Yankee in lofty house (5-2)

Answer: TALLY-HO (i.e. “huntsman’s cry”). Solution is Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet) placed “in” TALL (i.e. “lofty”) and HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”), like so: TALL-(Y)-HO.

  1. Raise proteges away from the front (9)

Answer: REARWARDS (i.e. “away from the front”). When written as REAR WARDS the solution also satisfies “raise proteges”.

  1. Consequences? Not after a lesson at school (5)

Answer: MATHS (i.e. “a lesson at school”). Solution is AFTERMATHS (i.e. “consequences”) with the AFTER removed (indicated by “not after”).

  1. See off the composer of Perchance to Dream? That’s original (5)

Answer: NOVEL (i.e. “original”). Solution is Ivor NOVELLO (i.e. “composer of Perchance to Dream“) with the LO removed (indicated by “see off” – think “lo and behold”).

  1. More vacuous politician caught in drug row (7)

Answer: EMPTIER (i.e. “more vacuous”). Solution is MP (i.e. “politician”) placed or “caught in” E (i.e. “drug”, in this case slang for ecstasy) and TIER (i.e. “row”), like so: E-(MP)-TIER.

  1. Short-lived English friend crossing border with leading lady (9)

Answer: EPHEMERAL (i.e. “short-lived”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and PAL (i.e. “friend”) wrapped around or “crossing” HEM (i.e. “border”) and ER (i.e. “leading lady”, specifically Elizabeth Regina), like so: E-P(HEM-ER)AL.

  1. Betrayer tsar tries to reform (9)

Answer: TRAITRESS (i.e. “betrayer”). “To reform” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TSAR TRIES.

  1. Petty action involving veil regularly (7)

Answer: TRIVIAL (i.e. “petty”). Solution is TRIAL (i.e. court “action”) wrapped around or “involving” VI (i.e. “veil regularly”, i.e. every other letter of VEIL), like so: TRI(VI)AL.

  1. Twilled fabric used in coarser gear (5)

Answer: SERGE (i.e. “twilled fabric”). “Used in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: COAR(SER GE)AR.

  1. Greeting welcomed by French film director in Pacific island (6)

Answer: TAHITI (i.e. “Pacific island”). Solution is HI (i.e. “greeting”) placed in or “welcomed by” Jacques TATI (i.e. “French film director”), like so: TA(HI)TI.

  1. L, M or S on garment? You’ve got it right! (5,3,4,2,2)

Answer: THAT’S THE SIZE OF IT. Solution playfully satisfies “L, M or S on garment” and “you’ve got it right”.

  1. Trustworthy entertainer touring Tyneside (6)

Answer: HONEST (i.e. “trustworthy”). Solution is HOST (i.e. “entertainer”) wrapped around or “touring” NE (i.e. “Tyneside”, situated in North-East England), like so: HO(NE)ST.

  1. Simple-minded, not like our solvers! (8)

Answer: CLUELESS. Solution satisfies “simple-minded” and “not like our solvers”, given how crosswords comprise a series of clues.

  1. Where to see paintings? Go to Paris in good year (7)

Answer: GALLERY (i.e. “where to see paintings”). Solution is ALLER (i.e. “go to in Paris”, i.e. the French for “go to”) placed “in” between G and Y (recognised abbreviations of “good” and “year” respectively), like so: G-(ALLER)-Y.

Down clues

  1. French revolutionary formally dresses fellow countryman? (11)

Answer: Maximilien ROBESPIERRE (i.e. “French revolutionary”). Solution is ROBES (i.e. “formally dresses”) followed by PIERRE (i.e. “fellow countryman”, basically a French man’s name).

  1. Onset of ear-splitting noise overwhelming western man (5)

Answer: EDWIN (i.e. “man’s” name). Solution is E (i.e. “onset of ear-splitting”, i.e. the first letter of “ear-splitting”) followed by DIN (i.e. “noise”) once wrapped around or “overwhelming” W (a recognised abbreviation of “western”), like so: E-D(W)IN.

  1. In East London, search port, perhaps, and unwind (7)

Answer: UNTWINE (i.e. “unwind”). Solution is HUNT (i.e. “search”) once its H has been removed (indicated by “in East London”, as in ‘ow all ‘em cockneys are always droppin’ their bleedin’ aitches innit, gorblimey, apples and pears, me old china and such) and the remainder followed by WINE (i.e. “port, perhaps”), like so: ‘UNT-WINE.

  1. Strive to compete socially with Inigo’s family? (4,2,4,3,7)

Answer: KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES (i.e. “strive to compete socially”). “Inigo” JONES was a seventeenth century architect, upon whose surname the clue plays.

  1. One arrives behind time, fixing metal core (9)

Answer: LATECOMER (i.e. “one arrives behind time”). “Fixing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of METAL CORE.

  1. Keen army medic on vessel (5)

Answer: MOURN (i.e. to “keen”). Solution is MO (i.e. “army medic”, specifically a Medical Officer) followed by URN (i.e. “vessel”).

  1. Pain a canny one could become (9)

Answer: ANNOYANCE (i.e. “pain”). “Could become” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A CANNY ONE.

  1. Little creatures with sleeping place, one by church (7)

Answer: DORMICE (i.e. “little creatures”). Solution is DORM (i.e. “sleeping place”, short for a dormitory) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England).

  1. Run round hot gravelly substance on beach? (7)

Answer: SHINGLE (i.e. “substance on beach”). Solution is SINGLE (i.e. a “run” in a number of ball games) wrapped “round” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot” used on taps), like so: S(H)INGLE.

  1. Hateful big gun meeting half-hearted mob (9)

Answer: EXECRABLE (i.e. “hateful”). Solution is EXEC (i.e. “big gun” within a company, i.e. an executive) followed by RABBLE (i.e. “mob”) once one of the middle Bs has been removed (indicated by “half-hearted”), like so: EXEC-RABLE.

  1. Slightly drunk, signals conspiratorially, it’s just a game (11)

Answer: TIDDLYWINKS (i.e. “game”). Solution is TIDDLY (i.e. “slightly drunk”) followed by WINKS (i.e. “signals conspiratorially”).

  1. As army recruits would do once, getting royally rewarded? (4,3,5,8)

Answer: TAKE THE KING’S SHILLING (i.e. “as army recruits would do once” – over to Chambers: “to enlist as a soldier by accepting a recruiting officer’s shilling, a practice discontinued in 1879”). Clue plays on KINGs being “royal” and all that. You get the idea.

  1. Audible attempt by military engineers to identify ancient warship (7)

Answer: TRIREME (i.e. “ancient warship”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “audible”) of TRY followed by REME (i.e. “military engineers”, specifically the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers), like so: TRI-REME. One remembered from previous Jumbos.

  1. Company in the lead on introduction of such vouchers (7)

Answer: COUPONS (i.e. “vouchers”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) followed by UP (i.e. “in the lead”), then ON, then S (i.e. “introduction of such”, i.e. the first letter of “introduction”).

  1. Excessively reward retired minister surrounded by work always (7)

Answer: OVERPAY (i.e. “excessively reward”). Solution is REV (i.e. “minister”, short for “reverend”) reversed (indicated by “retired”) and placed in or “surrounded by” OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) and AY (i.e. “always”, both expressions of assent), like so: O(VER)P-AY.

  1. One involved in argument over carpeting (5)

Answer: TAPIS (i.e. “carpeting” – meanwhile Chambers has this: “(obsolete) a covering, hanging, etc of tapestry or the like”. Maybe the setter lives in some kind of Dr Seuss house with walls for ceilings and ceilings for walls, and doors for windows and windows for doors). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “in” SPAT (i.e. “argument”) once reversed (indicated by “over”), like so: TAP(I)S.

  1. Ray’s article going into busmen’s ill-treatment (7)

Answer: SUNBEAM (i.e. “ray”). Solution is A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) placed “into” an anagram (indicated by “ill-treatment”) of BUSMEN, like so: SUMBE(A)M.

  1. He composed some memorable harmonies (5)

Answer: Franz LEHÁR (i.e. “he composed”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: MEMORAB(LE HAR)MONIES. Wordplay was simple but still one to file under “Made To Fit”.

  1. Person who casts historical romances primarily in castle (7)

Answer: THROWER (i.e. “person who casts”). Solution is HR (i.e. “historical romances primarily”, i.e. the first letters of “historical” and “romances”) placed “in” TOWER (i.e. “castle”), like so: T(HR)OWER.

  1. One who chooses to be English reader (7)

Answer: ELECTOR (i.e. “one who chooses”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by LECTOR (i.e. a “reader” in college).

  1. Embroidery feature second little chap demonstrated first (5,6)

Answer: SATIN STITCH (i.e. “embroidery feature”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) and TITCH (i.e. “little chap”) both placed after or having “first” SAT-IN (i.e. “demonstrated”), like so: (SAT-IN)-S-TITCH.

  1. Soldiers quietly crossing island with flexibility (11)

Answer: RESILIENTLY (i.e. “with flexibility”). Solution is RE (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) followed by SILENTLY (i.e. “quietly”) once wrapped around or “crossing” I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: RE-SIL(I)ENTLY.

  1. A monster, Jacob’s son, and close by, mostly (9)

Answer: LEVIATHAN (i.e. “a monster”). Solution is LEVI (i.e. “Jacob’s son”) followed by AT HAND (i.e. “close by”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: LEVI-AT-HAN.

  1. Noble title? It’s escaped an old philosopher (9)

Answer: ARISTOTLE (i.e. “old philosopher”). Solution is ARISTO (i.e. “noble”) followed by TITLE once the IT has been removed (indicated by “it’s escaped”), like so: ARISTO-TLE.

  1. Being prepared to bring in extra energy for a shrill quality (9)

Answer: REEDINESS (i.e. “shrill quality”). Solution is READINESS (i.e. “being prepared”) with an “extra” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) being swapped in “for A”, like so: RE(A)DINESS => RE(E)DINESS.

  1. It’s no small matter, say, translating TS Eliot (7)

Answer: LITOTES (i.e. “it’s no small matter, say” – basically a phrase that expresses something through the negation of its opposite, e.g. “a not inconsiderable sum of money” or “he’s no spring chicken”). “Translating” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TS ELIOT. Another remembered from a previous Jumbo.

  1. French physicist captures hearts, relating to religious feast (7)

Answer: PASCHAL (i.e. “relating to religious feast”, specifically Passover). Solution is Blaise PASCAL (i.e. “French physicist”) wrapped around or “capturing” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hearts” used in card games), like so: PASC(H)AL.

  1. Reportedly Kentish beauty queen’s blunder at table (7)

Answer: MISDEAL (i.e. “blunder at table”). “Reportedly” indicates homophone, in this case MISS DEAL (i.e. “Kentish beauty queen” – Deal is a town in Kent).

  1. Man possibly securing top of tough fibre (5)

Answer: ISTLE (i.e. “fibre”). Solution is ISLE (i.e. “Man possibly”, i.e. the Isle of Man) wrapped around or “securing” T (i.e. “top of tough”, i.e. the first letter of “tough”), like so: IS(T)LE.

  1. Firearm common around Lima (5)

Answer: RIFLE (i.e. “firearm”). Solution is RIFE (i.e. “common”) wrapped around L (“Lima” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: RIF(L)E.

3 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1554

  1. Thanks Lucian. Not too bad this time apart from the heavy reliance on deletions.

    A couple of points:

    In your explanation of 9a, do you need to add that Epsom is a racecourse?

    Re 29a, I know it’s a fairly minor point, but when “lent” is used in a religious context it’s usually spelled with a capital L. The clue would look neater if this had been the case here.

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  2. Many thanks particularly for explanation of ‘unt’ in 3d. I NEVER think of Cockney expressions – but as one born and raised in what my Yorskhire father used to describe as North Britain I usually pick up the scotticisms more easily.

    I raise an eyebrow at 55a – surely the common usage is ‘about the size of it’? – I’ve never heard it without ‘about’ and that’s the way Brewers records it.

    Tangential thought on 26d – OED has ‘on the tapis’ meaning ‘on the table for discussion ‘ contrasted with ‘on the carpet for reprimand’ which I knew better. Apparently it meant a covering for a council table. So your allusion to carpets and wall hangings is spot on. As you might say, ‘think Vermeer’ – his pictures of Dutch people in rooms with carpeted tables!

    That’s why even a reasonably easy Jumbo is fun – a continual encouragement not to be simple-minded but to think outside and around the box long after you have the answer.

    Keep up the good work. J

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