Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1567

A medium-strength Jumbo this week and while this one offered the steady(ish) progression I often like, combined with some fine misdirection, it didn’t ‘alf get up my nose in places.

As might come across in what follows. You know what I’m like at times.

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 is in heat and oh god that poor cat next door then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of them. Elsewhere there are usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared with these things. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.


Across clues

  1. Secretly listen to dad turning back on women’s group (7)

Answer: WIRETAP (i.e. “secretly listen to”). Solution is PATER (i.e. “dad”) reversed (indicated by “turning back”) and placed “on” or after WI (i.e. “women’s group”, specifically the Women’s Institute), like so: WI-RETAP.

  1. Destroyed city conveyance horse brought in (8)

Answer: CARTHAGE (i.e. ancient “destroyed city”). Solution is CARTAGE (i.e. “conveyance” or the act of carting) wrapped around or having “brought in” H (i.e. “horse”, both slang terms for heroin), like so: CART(H)AGE.

  1. Neighbour’s a music maker performing around India (6)

Answer: ADJOIN (i.e. to “neighbour”). Solution is A followed by DJ (i.e. “music maker”, specifically a Disk Jockey) and ON (i.e. “performing”) once wrapped “around” I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: A-DJ-O(I)N.

  1. Deep, airy complex piece of music: A Dreamy Event (5,3,8)

Answer: RAPID EYE MOVEMENT (i.e. “a dreamy event” – ignore the misleading formatting). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “complex”) of DEEP AIRY followed by MOVEMENT (i.e. “piece of music”), like so: RAPIDEYE-MOVEMENT.

  1. Weekend service cut aid for travellers (3,3)

Answer: SAT NAV (i.e. “aid for travellers”, short for Satellite Navigation). Solution is SAT (i.e. a day of the “weekend”) followed by NAVY (i.e. “service”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “cut”).

  1. Perfect croupier’s CV condensed? (5)

Answer: IDEAL (i.e. “perfect”). When written as I DEAL the solution also playfully satisfies “croupier’s CV condensed”.

  1. Difficult to criticise what gardeners avoid (7)

Answer: HARDPAN (i.e. “what gardeners avoid”, a hard layer found beneath the surface soil). Solution is HARD (i.e. “difficult”) followed by PAN (i.e. “to criticise”).

  1. We love users willy-nilly (9)

Answer: OURSELVES (i.e. “we”). “Willy-nilly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LOVE USERS.

  1. Great faith sacrificing first sporting success (5,4)

Answer: GRAND SLAM (i.e. “sporting success”). Solution is GRAND (i.e. “great”) followed by ISLAM (i.e. a “faith”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “sacrificing first”).

  1. Pig’s surplus weight (7)

Answer: GLUTTON (i.e. “pig”). Solution is GLUT (i.e. “surplus”) followed by TON (i.e. “weight”). Simple, but nicely worked.

  1. Shut up Polish plant (5)

Answer: SHRUB (i.e. “plant”). Solution is SH! (i.e. “shut up”) followed by RUB (i.e. to “polish” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

  1. Slender female in river, doing backstroke? (5)

Answer: ELFIN (i.e. “slender”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) placed “in” NILE (i.e. a “river”) once reversed (indicated by “doing backstroke”), like so: EL(F)IN. Yet. Again. Regular readers of these posts will know I often take the piss out of setters when they keep cranking up the office Marconi GridFill 4000™ rather than, oh I don’t know, exert a modicum of effort in their grids. Sometimes it’s so obvious it’s embarrassing. You can call me a big old cynic, that with umpteen Times setters some are bound to tread on each other’s toes every once in a while, but this is the fifth time ELFIN has appeared in the last 100 Jumbo cryptics I’ve covered. There are comfortably over 10,000 five-letter words out there to choose from, and that’s even before you even get to crap like people and places, so it’s obvious the algorithm is finding this word far more useful when its composing a grid than others. Curiously, the word pool available to the algorithm seems to get tweaked every time I call out its weaknesses (e.g. RAITA, a recentish offender, and Max ERNST, who practically had a residency in Jumbos – both now absent for a while), so lets hope the same fate befalls ELFIN, eh? Meanwhile, yes: cost of living, Russia invading Ukraine, covid etc. I’m not a complete monster.

Also, I’ve now pretty much guaranteed RAITA and ERNST appear in next week’s Jumbo. If only my small controlling forces worked on lottery numbers.

  1. Punter, jobless, securing one in Greece (9)

Answer: GONDOLIER (i.e. “punter”). Solution is ON DOLE (i.e. “jobless”) wrapped around or “securing” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) while itself being placed “in” GR (country code of “Greece”), like so: G(ON-DOL(I)E)R.

  1. Start to pen letter, a gratifying one (7)

Answer: PLEASER (i.e. “a gratifying one”). Solution is P (i.e. “start to pen”, i.e. the first letter of “pen”) followed by LEASER (i.e. “letter” or landlord).

  1. Nearly despatch old carrier’s measure once (9)

Answer: KILOCYCLE (i.e. “measure once”, nowadays known as kilohertz). Solution is KILL (i.e. “despatch”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “nearly”) and the remainder followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and CYCLE (i.e. “carrier” or means of transport), like so: KIL-O-CYCLE.

31.Bird stalks parasite that may be piercing cherry (8,5)

Answer: COCKTAIL STICK (i.e. “that may be piercing cherry” – other spikeworthy comestibles are available). Solution is COCK (i.e. “bird”) followed by TAILS (i.e. “stalks”) and TICK (i.e. “parasite”).

  1. Fair act that needs some looking into? (7,6)

Answer: CRYSTAL GAZING (i.e. “fair act”). Clue plays on how the solution involves a fortune teller “looking into” a crystal ball and telling you that you’ll meet a tall dark stranger within the next fifty years. One who has one arm, or maybe even two-oooooo. (Makes mystical hand movements.)

  1. Call Italian husband a father of IT? (9)

Answer: Herman HOLLERITH (i.e. “a father of IT” and punched-card pioneer. No, me neither, and I’m supposed to know about ‘pooters and stuff). Solution is HOLLER (i.e. “call”) followed by IT (country code of “Italy”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”).

  1. Berlin quartet visiting inlet’s coastal area (7)

Answer: RIVIERA (i.e. “coastal area”). Solution is VIER (i.e. “Berlin quartet”, i.e. the German for “four”) placed in or “visiting” RIA (i.e. “inlet” – over to Chambers: “a normal drowned valley”. Another new one on me), like so: RI(VIER)A.

  1. Stepping around hot sewer’s work (9)

Answer: THREADING (i.e. “sewer’s work”). Solution is TREADING (i.e. “stepping”) wrapped “around” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot” used on taps), like so: T(H)READING.

  1. Nigerian bread not available without strain (5)

Answer: NAIRA (i.e. “Nigerian bread”, or its currency). Solution is N/A (i.e. “not available”) wrapped around or placed “without” AIR (i.e. “strain”, both musical references), like so: N(AIR)A.

  1. Driver’s unlimited theatre activity (5)

Answer: URGER (i.e. “driver”). Solution is SURGERY (i.e. “theatre activity”) with its first and last letters removed (indicated by “unlimited”).

  1. Leaves silver in fit of insanity (7)

Answer: FOLIAGE (i.e. “leaves”). Solution is AG (chemical symbol of “silver”) placed “in” FOLIE (i.e. “fit of insanity” – another new one, but hardly surprising given it’s a French word that was stuck in an English dictionary once upon a time and promptly never used again. Le sigh…), like so: FOLI(AG)E.

  1. Fuelled tanks in city out of necessity (9)

Answer: NEEDFULLY (i.e. “out of necessity”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “tanks”) of FUELLED placed “in” NY (i.e. “city”, in this case New York), like so: N(EEDFULL)Y.

  1. Sailor spoils hotel and marine grassland (4,5)

Answer: SALT MARSH (i.e. “marine grassland”). Solution is SALT (i.e. “sailor”) followed by MARS (i.e. “spoils”) and H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Old car, one of many sent out by local star (7)

Answer: SUNBEAM. Solution satisfies “old car” – take your pick: it’s been a British car company and a model name used by Chrysler and Talbot, apparently – and “one of many sent out by local star”.

  1. Glossy material from head of news area (5)

Answer: NACRE (i.e. “glossy material”, also called mother-of-pearl). Solution is N (i.e. “head of news”, i.e. the first letter of “news”) followed by ACRE (i.e. “area”).

  1. Set of nine English notes repaid regularly (6)

Answer: ENNEAD (i.e. “set of nine”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by N and N (both “notes”, N being a recognised abbreviation thereof) and EAD (i.e. “repaid regularly”, i.e. every other letter of REPAID).

  1. During beating, writer settled for paying too much (16)

Answer: OVERCOMPENSATING (i.e. “paying too much”). Solution is OVERCOMING (i.e. “beating”) wrapped around or having “during” PEN (i.e. “writer”) and SAT (i.e. “settled”), like so: OVERCOM(PEN-SAT)ING.

  1. Go round to dispose of deal (6)

Answer: TREATY (i.e. “deal”). Solution is TRY (i.e. “go”) wrapped “round” EAT (i.e. “to dispose of”), like so: TR(EAT)Y.

  1. Perhaps bowler owned equipment to conserve energy (8)

Answer: HEADGEAR (i.e. “perhaps bowler”, other hats are available). Solution is HAD (i.e. “owned”) and GEAR (i.e. “equipment”) all wrapped around or “conserving” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: H(E)AD-GEAR.

  1. Head of engineering impressed by modest digital skill (7)

Answer: SLEIGHT (i.e. “skill” – minor quibble: the presence of “digital” here suggests the setter has been swayed by the phrase “sleight of hand”; I’d argue the solution has broader scope than that suggested). Solution is E (i.e. “head of engineering”, like with “head of news” five clues earlier this is the first letter of “engineering”) placed in or “impressed by” SLIGHT (i.e. “modest”), like so: SL(E)IGHT.

Down clues

  1. Queen’s in Surrey town with tiny king for what’s five days typically (7,4)

Answer: WORKING WEEK (i.e. “what’s five days typically”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “Queen”, specifically the Latin Regina) placed “in” WOKING (i.e. “Surrey town”) and followed by WEE (i.e. “tiny”) and K (a recognised abbreviation of “king” used in chess), like so: WO(R)KING-WEE-K.

  1. Resistance, with Europeans acquiring dearer unit in Delhi (5)

Answer: RUPEE (i.e. monetary “unit in Delhi”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”), E and E (both “Europeans”, E being a recognised abbreviation thereof) all wrapped around or “acquiring” UP (i.e. “dearer”), like so: R-(UP)-EE.

  1. Strolled to outskirts of Deptford with light (7)

Answer: TODDLED (i.e. “strolled”). Solution is TO followed by DD (i.e. “outskirts of Deptford”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Deptford”), then LED (i.e. “light”, specifically a Light Emitting Diode).

  1. Nut with natural poison yielding in eastern battle of wits? (13,7)

Answer: PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE (i.e. “battle of wits”). Solution is PSYCHO (i.e. “nut”) followed by LOGICAL (i.e. “natural”), then WARFARIN (i.e. “poison”) once the IN has been removed (indicated by “yielding in”), and finally E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”), like so: PSYCHO-LOGICAL-WARFAR-E.

  1. Shooter arrived with press article (9)

Answer: CAMERAMAN (i.e. “shooter”). Solution is CAME (i.e. “arrived”) followed by RAM (i.e. to “press”) and AN (i.e. “article”, being a word like a, an or the).

  1. Accelerate sketch show briefly: put on pressure (3,2)

Answer: REV UP (i.e. “accelerate”). Solution is REVUE (i.e. “sketch show”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder followed by P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”), like so: REVU-P.

  1. Weird Munch oil engages posh people like the Borrowers? (9)

Answer: HOMUNCULI (i.e. “people like the Borrowers”, specifically tiny ‘uns. Plural of homunculus). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “weird”) of MUNCH OIL wrapped around or “engaging” U (i.e. “posh”, being a recognised abbreviation of the upper class you rarely see used outside of cryptic crosswords), like so: HOM(U)NCULI.

  1. Armed vessel’s tackle snaring a French sub finally (7)

Answer: GUNBOAT (i.e. “armed vessel”). Solution is GO AT (i.e. “tackle”) wrapped around or “snaring” UN (i.e. “a French”, i.e. the French for “a”) and B (i.e. “sub finally”, i.e. the last letter of “sub”), like so: G(UN-B)O-AT.

  1. Raise small prize bloomers (7)

Answer: DRAWERS (i.e. “bloomers”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and REWARD (i.e. “prize”) all reversed (indicated by “raise” – this being a down clue), like so: DRAWER-S.

  1. Old customs involving French wine recalled: we like to taste it all! (9)

Answer: OMNIVORES (i.e. “we like to taste it all”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by MORES (i.e. “customs”) once wrapped around or “involving” VIN (i.e. “French wine”, i.e. the French for “wine”) once reversed (indicated by “recalled”), like so: O-M(NIV)ORES.

  1. After November, ski with Boris potentially here? (11)

Answer: NOVOSIBIRSK, the most populous city in Siberia it says here. No, me neither. Solution is NOV (short for “November”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “potentially”) of SKI and BORIS. Wordplay was reasonably obvious but here’s a pro tip, setters: clueing up general knowledge bullshit solutions like this using anagrams is about as much use to solvers as tits on a fish. It doesn’t matter how many letters you fill in, unless you know the solution outright you’re pretty much screwed. So where’s the fun in that? “Oh look, turns out the solution was something I’m neither going to remember nor give a shit about in future. Yay?” Ugh. Back to setter school with you. Needless to say this was solved by sticking “city novo” into Google and seeing what was suggested. Not worthy of my time any other way.

(Also, what’s with setters’ current penchant for all things Russia? I don’t want to get all Senator McCarthy on their asses but, sheesh, rein it in, ya goddam pinkos.)

(To be fair, the same could be said for the number of Americanisms that have crept into recent Jumbos. [Says something-something-failed-western-democracies-yada-yada-don’t-mention-the-war-blah-blah in Russian to help even things up.])

  1. New mate and sleeping partner, having united, draw these up? (10,10)

Answer: PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS (i.e. “draw these up” in context of the clue, which leans into marriage and such). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “new”) of MATE and SLEEPING PARTNER all wrapped around or “having” U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”). After ripping into the setter just then, it’s only right that I should highlight a genuinely well-worked clue. Probably the best of the puzzle.

  1. Legally going topless a lot (7)

Answer: AWFULLY (i.e. “a lot”). Solution is LAWFULLY (i.e. “legally”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “going topless”).

  1. Cut African flower up on Greek character’s Italian food (7)

Answer: GNOCCHI (i.e. “Italian food”). Solution is CONGO (i.e. “African flower”, i.e. the river Congo, as in how a river flows) with its last letter removed (indicated by “cut”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue). This is then followed by CHI (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet), like so: GNOC-CHI.

  1. American wears this nearly new kit specially in church (7)

Answer: NECKTIE (i.e. “American wears this”). Solution is NE (i.e. “nearly new”, i.e. “new” with its last letter removed) followed by an anagram (indicated by “specially”) of KIT once placed “in” CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: NE-C(KTI)E.

  1. Gag miserable type abandoning wife (5)

Answer: RETCH (i.e. to “gag”). Solution is WRETCH (i.e. “miserable type”) with the W removed (indicated by “abandoning wife” – W being a recognised abbreviation of “wife”).

  1. Oriental festival at end of autumn (7)

Answer: EASTERN (i.e. “oriental”). Solution is EASTER (i.e. “festival”) followed by N (i.e. “end [letter] of autumn”).

  1. Old key put on a pedestal (5)

Answer: EXALT (i.e. “put on a pedestal”). Solution is EX (i.e. “old” or former) followed by ALT (a “key” on a keyboard).

  1. Related measure about to split Anglicans (7)

Answer: COGNATE (i.e. “related”). Solution is TANGO (i.e. “measure”, both slow dances apparently. Another new one on me re: “measure”, but fair do) reversed (indicated by “about”) and placed in or “splitting” CE (i.e. “Anglicans”, our Church of England lot again), like so: C(OGNAT)E.

  1. Sign at the start (7)

Answer: INITIAL. Solution satisfies to “sign” and “at the start”.

  1. Wary maiden in big top show reportedly kissed (11)

Answer: CIRCUMSPECT (i.e. “wary”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of a “maiden” over used in cricket) placed “in” CIRCUS (i.e. “big top show”) and followed by a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of PECKED (i.e. “kissed”), like so: CIRCU(M)S-PECT.

  1. Hefty boxer, and why he gave it up (11)

Answer: HEAVYWEIGHT. A triple-header, perhaps, in that the solution satisfies “hefty”, “boxer” (and both together, obvs) and, playfully, an anagram (indicated by “up”) of WHY HE GAVE IT.

  1. Old poet loses right before local amateur cop (9)

Answer: VIGILANTE (i.e. “local amateur cop”). Solution is VIRGIL (i.e. “old poet”) with the R removed (indicated by “loses right” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and the remainder followed by ANTE (a prefix denoting “before”), like so: VIGIL-ANTE.

  1. Encouraged study involving ship on river (9)

Answer: REASSURED (i.e. “encouraged”). Solution is READ (i.e. “study”) wrapped around or “involving” SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “steamship”) and URE (i.e. a “river”), like so: REA(SS-URE)D.

  1. Mine host’s cool northern ring (9)

Answer: INNKEEPER (i.e. “mine host”, a reference to landlords often said in humour). Solution is IN (i.e. “cool”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “northern”) and KEEPER (i.e. a guard “ring” used to keep another from slipping off – another new one for me. Seems the setter was hellbent on going deep into the dictionary definitions this week, which, despite my earlier grumblings, is fine by me).

  1. Standing up, rave about a politician (7)

Answer: RAMPANT (i.e. rearing or “standing up”. Could also be a heraldry thing meaning much the same thing because, you know, it’s The Times…). Solution is RANT (i.e. “rave”) wrapped “about” A and MP (i.e. “politician”, specifically a Member of Parliament), like so: R(A-MP)ANT.

  1. Composer drinks vodka primarily with last of white port (2,5)

Answer: LE HAVRE (i.e. French “port”). Solution is Franz LEHAR (i.e. “composer” – we saw him a few weeks ago in another Jumbo) wrapped around or “drinking” V (i.e. “vodka primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “vodka”) and followed by E (i.e. “last [letter] of white”), like so: LEHA(V)R-E. Hmm. Let me see. A clue that starts with “composer” and finishes with “port”. Regular readers won’t be surprised at how quickly I reached for my Bradford’s here; perhaps almost as quickly as the setter had reached for their GridFill 4000™. Hardly any thought ever gets applied to made-to-fit rubbish like this so why waste your time? Be a big cheating bastard like me and get on with your weekend.

(I realise the irony of saying this on a page that has all the answers on it, but you get the idea.)

  1. Flourish what supporter eats? (7)

Answer: FANFARE (i.e. a “flourish”). When written as FAN FARE the solution also playfully satisfies “what supporter eats”.

  1. Daughter leaves knotty loop in rope (5)

Answer: NOOSE (i.e. “loop in rope”). Solution is NODOSE (i.e. “knotty”) with the D removed (indicated by “daughter leaves” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”).

  1. Stick around with Heather (5)

Answer: CLING (i.e. to “stick”). Solution is C (i.e. “around”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) followed by LING (i.e. “heather” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

7 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1567

  1. Thanks, Lucian. Re 37a, you’d be familiar with the word ‘ria’ if you’d spent holidays in the South West. Cornwall and South Devon have them, as do Brittany and North West Spain, I think. They are flooded river valleys and reward exploration by boat. There is a joke involving a homophone of this word but I don’t consider it appropriate for this forum. Cheers

  2. Completely agree – generally good but bad in parts. I liked the clue for REM. But not impressed with ‘measure’ for ‘dance’. When it’s the 16th meaning in the dictionary and says “(archaic)”.

    My IT career started in the era of punched-cards, so I recalled that Hollerith devised the punched cards – used for a US census in the 1890’s. They were 80 columns wide, which is why computer screens were 80 columns wide right into the 1980’s. Fascinating, innit?

  3. Interesting crossword this week. I delayed myself with 4d (PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE) as when I first put the dividing line into the grid, I was one out, so instead of 13,7, I was looking for 12,8. The answer was eventually obvious.
    A few more comments:
    – 9a (ADJOIN): the clue includes a spurious possessive – i.e. “neighbour’s”, whereas it should just be “neighbour”.
    17a (HARDPAN): I always refer to my gardening-expert wife, but she had never heard of hardpan. OK, it was deducible.
    35a (HOLLERITH); Unlike Lucian, I had heard of this chap from when I started my career in computing in the 1960s. But I would take issue with the setter. There was no such thing as IT in those days; it was Data Processing.
    12d (NOVOSIBIRSK): well, what can I say? Hardly a well known holiday destination and only solvable once the intersecting letters were all in place.
    Thanks as ever to Lucian for all the parsing.

    1. Ah yes, good old DP. In the constant circle of life, IT then became ICT to clarify the inclusion of communications technology. So old farts like me sigh and say, yes, that why it changed from DP. Kids nowadays, etc.

    2. 9A The apostrophe “s” is for “is”: not spurious as it acts as a link word between the definition and the wordplay.

  4. I knew of the Siberian city because it rang a very faint bell and here’s why.
    The Novosibirsk Report was a document that helped provide the technical background for Gorbachev’s perestroika policy.
    Thanks to Google but many more to you Lucian.

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