Another medium strength puzzle, and another good ‘un for my money. I’m a sucker for a well-worked anagram and there were a few to savour here.
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 returned from Glastonbury, having last week nicked your tickets to get there, and brought half of Glastonbury back with it 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 thoughts of other solvers once the dust settles. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.
- Shot capturing old John looking white on top (10)
Answer: SNOWCAPPED (i.e. of mountains “looking white on top”). Solution is SNAPPED (i.e. “shot” or having taken a photograph) wrapped around or “capturing” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and WC (i.e. “john” – ignore the misleading capitalisation, this is US slang for a toilet or Water Closet), like so: SN(O-WC)APPED.
- Making awfully decent 500, cracking cricketer and I celebrate (12)
Answer: BOWDLERISING (i.e. “making awfully decent”, usually unnecessarily. Named after Dr Thomas Bowdler, who published a sanitised version of Shakespeare’s works in 1818. If someone published an anti-Bowdlerised version just keeping all the gory and unsavoury stuff and cutting out all the waffle then perhaps I’d be tempted pick up a copy). Solution is D (i.e. “[Roman numeral] 500”) placed in or “cracking” BOWLER (i.e. “cricketer”) and followed by I, then SING (i.e. “celebrate”), like so: BOW(D)LER-I-SING.
- What could season finally do, ass being sent westward (7)
Answer: OREGANO (i.e. “what could season”). Solution is O (i.e. “finally do”, i.e. the last letter of “do”) followed by ONAGER (i.e. “ass” – over to Chambers: “the wild ass of Central Asia”. I’m saying nothing…) once reversed (indicated by “being sent westward” – this being an across clue), like so: O-REGANO.
- Worst thing family of British statesmen said (3,4)
Answer: THE PITS (i.e. “worst thing”). “Said” indicates homophone. When expressed as THE PITTS the solution also satisfies “family of British statesmen”, referencing William Pitt the Elder and his son William Pitt the Younger.
- Attractive female’s left an impression (7)
Answer: ETCHING (i.e. “an impression”). Solution is FETCHING (i.e. “attractive”) with the F removed (indicated by “female’s left” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “female”).
- Donkey jacket of gentleman containing double zip (4)
Answer: GOON (i.e. “donkey”, both referencing a stupid person). Solution is GN (i.e. “jacket of gentleman”, i.e. the first and last letters of “gentleman”) wrapped around or “containing” OO (i.e. “double zip” – “zip” being US slang for zero), like so: G(OO)N.
- Inch between both sides in books (6)
Answer: LEDGER (i.e. “books”, financially speaking). Solution is EDGE (i.e. to move slowly or “inch”) placed “between” L and R (i.e. “both sides”, being recognised abbreviations of left and right respectively), like so: L-(EDGE)-R.
- Report of US capital’s rapid transport once (8)
Answer: CONCORDE (i.e. “rapid transport once”). “Report of” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of CONCORD, the “US [state] capital” of New Hampshire.
- Pat, say, hastens shakily to a chemist with case of nightmarish nerves (11,2,3,7)
Answer: BUTTERFLIES IN THE STOMACH (i.e. “nerves”). Solution is BUTTER (i.e. “pat, say” being a small soft mass) followed by FLIES (i.e. “hastens”) and an anagram (indicated by “shakily”) of TO A CHEMIST and NH (i.e. “case of nightmarish”, i.e. the first and last letters of “nightmarish”), like so: BUTTER-FLIES-INTHESTOMACH. Nicely done.
- Mostly explosive area in island state (7)
Answer: GRENADA (i.e. “island state”). Solution is GRENADE (i.e. “explosive”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), like so: GRENAD-A.
- See sheltering flower in wind (8)
Answer: EASTERLY (i.e. “wind”). Solution is ELY (i.e. “see”, specifically a diocese in the east of England popular with crossword setters) wrapped around or “sheltering” ASTER (i.e. “flower”), like so: E(ASTER)LY.
- Explicit communication about man of the church (6)
Answer: SEXTON (i.e. “man of the church”, who does a bit of bell ringing and a bit of gravedigging. Quite the gamut of skills there). Solution is SEXT (i.e. “explicit communication”, a conflation of “sex” and “text”. My dictionaries are all wearing beige slacks on this one, but newer editions may list it) followed by ON (i.e. regarding or “about”).
- Assembly place for one crossing Channel maybe surfing (10,4)
Answer: PRODUCTION LINE (i.e. “assembly place”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed between or “crossing” PRO (i.e. “for” or in favour of), DUCT (i.e. “channel” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and ONLINE (i.e. “maybe surfing” – other online activities are available), like so: PRO-DUCT-(I)-ONLINE.
- Where Americans shop, if not around island (8)
Answer: MALLORCA (i.e. “island”). Solution is MALL (i.e. “where Americans shop”) followed by OR (i.e. “if not”) and CA (i.e. “around”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”).
- Squad gathering soldiers for inconspicuous entry (4,4)
Answer: SIDE DOOR (i.e. “inconspicuous entry”). Solution is SIDE (i.e. “squad”) followed by DO (i.e. “gathering” or party) and OR (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army).
- Pass met with costlier blundering is something for the keeper? (10,4)
Answer: COLLECTOR’S ITEM (i.e. “something for the keeper”). Solution is COL (i.e. a mountain “pass” popular with setters) followed by an anagram (indicated by “blundering”) of MET and COSTLIER, like so: COL-LECTORSITEM. Another well-worked clue.
- Gifts suffice, wrapped by quartet each getting a hand (6)
Answer: ENDOWS (i.e. “gifts”, as a verb). Solution is DO (i.e. “suffice”) placed in or “wrapped by” ENWS (i.e. “quartet each getting a hand [of cards]” – this a reference to bridge, where players comprise the points of the compass, in this case East, North, West and South), like so: EN(DO)WS.
- Seedy food found in grape arbour? (5-3)
Answer: SPLIT-PEA (i.e. “seedy food” – peas are seeds, so…) The remainder of the clue plays on how PEA can be found SPLITTING the letters of GRA(PE A)RBOUR.
- Canaries and sick crow in hospital (7)
Answer: NORWICH (i.e. “Canaries”, the nickname of Norwich City Football Club). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sick”) of CROW IN and H (a recognised abbreviation of “hospital” used on maps). (Waves hi from Norwich.)
- Game finished with odd word utterable in song (6,4,8,5)
Answer: BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER (i.e. “song” by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel). Solution is BRIDGE (i.e. card “game”) followed by OVER (i.e. “finished”) and an anagram (indicated by “odd”) of WORD UTTERABLE, like so: BRIDGE-OVER-TROUBLEDWATER.
- Organised a repeatedly decent, demure event (3,5)
Answer: TEA DANCE (i.e. “demure event”, also called the dansant, being formerly “a dance held in the summer or autumn from 4 to 7 p.m. in the English countryside”. That’s off of Wikipedia, by the way. My Chambers basically said “dansant, innit” and left it at that. My Oxford and even my Brewer’s drew a blank. Anyway, it all sounds a bit too Jane Austen for me. I’ll take the Dennis Wheatley version, thanks). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “organised”) of AA (i.e. “a repeatedly”) and DECENT.
- TV consumption cut by ambassador given steer (3,3)
Answer: THE BOX (i.e. “TV”). Solution is TB (i.e. “consumption”, short for tuberculosis) wrapped around or “cut by” HE (i.e. “ambassador”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of His Excellency uttered amid your bowing and scraping) and followed by OX (i.e. “steer” or cattle), like so: T(HE)B-OX.
- Audibly check piece of stone by the way (4)
Answer: KERB (i.e. “stone by the way” or at the roadside). “Audibly” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of CURB (i.e. to limit or “check”).
- What makes unsightly emblem is hideous borders (7)
Answer: BLEMISH (i.e. “what makes unsightly”). “Borders” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: EM(BLEM IS H)IDEOUS. Nicely done.
- Hemlock periodically secretes a fizzy white fluid (7)
Answer: ELASTIC (i.e. flexible or “fluid”). Solution is ELC (i.e. “hemlock periodically”, i.e. every other letter of HEMLOCK) wrapped around or “secreting” ASTI (i.e. “a fizzy white” wine), like so: EL(ASTI)C.
- Specialist in furniture stores to disallow oriental art (7)
Answer: IKEBANA (i.e. “oriental art” – over to Chambers again: “the Japanese art of flower arranging”). Solution is IKEA (i.e. “specialist in furniture” – ker-ching, setter?) wrapped around or “storing” BAN (i.e. “to disallow”), like so: IKE(BAN)A. One nailed from the wordplay, if I’m honest.
- Strongly opposed to acting, as in plays (12)
Answer: ANTAGONISTIC (i.e. “strongly opposed”). “Plays” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO ACTING AS IN.
- Deploy cast with Lear performed (4-6)
Answer: ROLE-PLAYED (i.e. “performed”). “Cast” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DEPLOY and LEAR.
- Scrounge black and silver traveller’s pouch (6,3)
Answer: SPONGE BAG (i.e. “traveller’s pouch”). Solution is SPONGE (i.e. “scrounge”) followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) and AG (chemical symbol of “silver”).
- American novel about drug, favouring more alcohol (3,3,3,4)
Answer: ONE FOR THE ROAD (i.e. “more alcohol”). Solution is ON THE ROAD (i.e. “American novel” by Jack Kerouac) wrapped “about” E (i.e. “drug”, specifically a slang name for “ecstasy”) and FOR (i.e. “favouring”), like so: ON-(E-FOR)-THE-ROAD.
- Modelling material German artist picked up (4)
Answer: CLAY (i.e. “modelling material”). “Picked up” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of Paul KLEE (i.e. “German artist” – no, me neither).
- It must be less than one moral Republican in party (6,8)
Answer: PROPER FRACTION (i.e. “it must be less than one”). Solution is PROPER (i.e. “moral”) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”) once placed “in” FACTION (i.e. “party”), like so: PROPER-F(R)ACTION.
- Amphibian in web version of newspaper? (3)
Answer: EFT (i.e. an “amphibian”). When written as E-FT the solution playfully satisfies “web version of newspaper”, specifically the Financial Times. The prefix E- is often added to denote an electronic version of something.
- Late notice, perhaps, over quantity of information (4)
Answer: OBIT (i.e. “late notice, perhaps”, short for obituary). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket) followed by BIT (i.e. “quantity of information”, specifically a value of 0 or 1 used in computing).
- Record-keeper in nightspot with drug in abundance (10)
Answer: DISCOPHILE (i.e. “record-keeper”). Solution is DISCO (i.e. “nightspot”) followed by H (i.e. “drug”, specifically slang for “heroin”) once placed “in” PILE (i.e. “abundance”), like so: DISCO-P(H)ILE.
- Work out problem (8)
Answer: EXERCISE. Solution satisfies “work out” and “problem”, the latter perhaps referring to “(in chess) an arrangement of pieces in which the solver has to achieve a specific result” (Oxford).
- Elected officer’s clothing style ultimately immaterial (11)
Answer: INCORPOREAL (i.e. “immaterial”). Solution is IN (i.e. “elected”) followed by CORPORAL (i.e. “officer”) once wrapped around or “clothing” E (i.e. “style ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “style”), like so: IN-CORPOR(E)AL.
- One can mouth off about eastern nomad (9)
Answer: ITINERANT (i.e. “nomad”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by TIN (i.e. “can”) and RANT (i.e. “mouth off”) all wrapped “about” E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”), like so: I-TIN-(E)-RANT.
- Enthusiastic silence by front of auditorium (4)
Answer: GAGA (i.e. “enthusiastic”). Solution is GAG (i.e. “silence”) followed by A (i.e. “front [letter] of audience”).
- Complex crime on the rise to steal money (8)
Answer: NEUROSIS (i.e. “complex”). Solution is SIN (i.e. “crime”) reversed (indicated by “on the rise” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “stealing” EUROS (i.e. “money”), like so: N(EUROS)IS. Very nicely worked.
- Scotsman’s good editor raised game, one trained to lead (5,3)
Answer: GUIDE DOG (i.e. “one trained to lead”). Solution is GUID (i.e. “Scotsman’s good”, i.e. the Scots form of “good”) followed by ED (short for “editor”) and GO (i.e. an ancient “game”) once reversed (indicated by “raised” – again this being a down clue), like so: GUID-ED-OG.
- Shivering, Jude admits a very uncanny feeling (4,2)
Answer: DÉJÀ VU (i.e. “uncanny feeling”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “shuddering”) of JUDE wrapped around or “admitting” A and V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”), like so: DEJ(A-V)U.
- Conclude computer network’s flipping awful (8)
Answer: INFERNAL (i.e. “awful”). Solution is INFER (i.e. “conclude”) followed by LAN (i.e. “computer network”, specifically a Local Area Network) once reversed (indicated by “flipping”), like so: INFER-NAL. Another nicely worked clue.
- Leader around English county bottling a spirit (8)
Answer: PHANTASM (i.e. “spirit”). Solution is PM (i.e. “leader”, specifically a Prime Minister) wrapped “around” HANTS (i.e. “English county”, short for Hampshire) once this has itself been wrapped around or “bottling” A, like so: P-(HANT(A)S)-M.
- Boy in year in Rome lifted phone, ringing European number from Italy (2,5,1,6)
Answer: LA DONNA È MOBILE (i.e. “number from Italy”, specifically from Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto. One of those you’ll know within seconds of hearing it). Solution is LAD (i.e. “boy”) followed by ANNO (i.e. “year in Rome”, i.e. the Italian for “year”) once reversed (indicated by “lifted” – this being a down clue), and MOBILE (i.e. “phone”) all wrapped around or “ringing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: LAD-ONNA-(E)-MOBILE. Nicely worked, but to be honest I typed in LA DON into Google and let it do the rest. I have no shame.
- Wages securing southern European one present by chance (8)
Answer: PASSERBY (i.e. “one present by chance”). Solution is PAY (i.e. “wages”) wrapped around or “securing” S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) and SERB (i.e. “European”, a Serbian national), like so: PA(S-SERB)Y.
- Investigate swag bags family now uncovered (4,4)
Answer: LOOK INTO (i.e. “investigate”). Solution is LOOT (i.e. “swag”) wrapped around or “bagging” KIN (i.e. “family”) and followed by O (i.e. “now uncovered”, i.e. the word “now” with its first and last letters removed), like so: LOO(KIN)T-O.
- Splurging foolishly hit payer later (6,7)
Answer: RETAIL THERAPY (i.e. “splurging”). “Foolishly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HIT PAYER LATER. Another very nicely worked clue.
- Mob following extremely specific game with words (8)
Answer: SCRABBLE (i.e. “game with words”). Solution is RABBLE (i.e. “mob”) placed after or “following” SC (i.e. “extremely specific”, i.e. the first and last letters of “specific”), like so: SC-RABBLE.
- Demoting ex-student admitted to Cambridge college (11)
Answer: DOWNGRADING (i.e. “demoting”). Solution is GRAD (i.e. “ex-student”, short for “graduate”) placed in “admitted to” DOWNING (i.e. “Cambridge college”), like so: DOWN(GRAD)ING. Took a shufti in Bradford’s to shift.
- Calculating width in tiny amount (6)
Answer: SHREWD (i.e. “calculating”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “width”) placed “in” SHRED (i.e. “tiny amount”), like so: SHRE(W)D.
- Talks about daughter and son quickly seeking mates? (5,5)
Answer: SPEED CHESS (i.e. “quickly seeking mates”, as opposed to playing the game while absolutely ripped to the tits). Solution is SPEECHES (i.e. “talks”) wrapped “about” D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) and followed by S (ditto “son”), like so: SPEE(D)CHES-S.
- Most refined duke at houses wearing neckwear (9)
Answer: DAINTIEST (i.e. “most refined”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “duke”) and AT wrapped around or “housing” IN TIES (i.e. “wearing neckwear”), like so: D-A(IN-TIES)T.
- Trouble with this may give a man the urge to go anti-private sector? (8)
Answer: PROSTATE (i.e. “trouble with this may give a man the urge to go” use the facilities, take a tinkle, see a man about a dog, drain the lizard, strain the taties, go for a wet, point Percy at porcelain, amid many other favourite euphemisms). When written as PRO-STATE the solution also playfully satisfies “anti-private sector”.
- Nearly spoil fancy bra with odd, cheap material (9)
Answer: HARDBOARD (i.e. “cheap material”). Solution is HARM (i.e. “spoil”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “nearly”) and the remainder followed by an anagram (indicated by “fancy”) of BRA and ODD, like so: HAR-DBOARD.
- Hebrew prophet drinking tea loudly with an apple (8)
Answer: JONATHAN (i.e. a variety of “apple” over in the US apparently. I guess “Alan” had already been taken). Solution is JONAH (i.e. “Hebrew prophet”) wrapped around or “drinking” T (i.e. “tea loudly”, i.e. a homophone of T) and followed by AN, like so: JONA(T)H-AN. Bradford’s all the way with this one.
- Originally attacking Bonaparte, British army group associated with Waterloo (4)
Answer: ABBA (i.e. pop “group associated with Waterloo”). “Originally” indicates the solution is derived from the initial letters of Attacking Bonaparte British Army.
- Old lady and man serving Christmas visitors (4)
Answer: MAGI (i.e. “Christmas visitors”, also known as The Three Wise Men). Solution is MA (i.e. “old lady”, both references to “mother”) followed by GI (i.e. “man serving”, or an army type over in the US).
- List man’s going to read out (4)
Answer: HEEL (i.e. to “list” or lean). “To read out” indicates homophone, specifically of HE’LL, a contraction of HE WILL (i.e. “man’s going to”).
- Bill’s partner not quite hip (3)
Answer: COO (i.e. “bill’s partner” – a new one on me, the phrase to “bill and coo” is “to kiss and talk intimately together” (Chambers)). Solution is COOL (i.e. “hip”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “not quite”).