Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1580

Another toughie this week. For the most part this was an enjoyable one to chip away at during the day, though I did think the setter would run out of homophone indicators at one point! A couple of clues also relied on definitions that could be described as “distant cousins” of their solutions at best. Still, taken as a whole this one was pretty good.

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 left you scratching your head then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things.

Thanks again for the kind words and help. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.


FBV (French-By-Volume): 3.3%

Across clues

  1. In vain, still awaiting service from bartender, allowing round character to push in? (9)

Answer: POINTLESS (i.e. “in vain”). Solution is PINTLESS (i.e. “still awaiting service from bartender”) wrapped around or having O (i.e. “round character”) “push in”, like so: P(O)INTLESS.

  1. Reservists accessing land from the East after deposing leader in country (5)

Answer: QATAR (i.e. “country”). Solution is TA (i.e. “reservists”, specifically the Territorial Army) placed in or “accessing” IRAQ (i.e. “land”) once reversed (indicated by “from the East” – this being an across clue) and it’s first letter removed (indicated by “after deposing leader”), like so: QA(TA)R.

  1. A doctor getting around predicament, gallant (7)

Answer: ADMIRER (i.e. “gallant”). Solution is A and DR (a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”) wrapped “round” MIRE (i.e. “predicament”), like so: A-D(MIRE)R.

  1. Odd bits removed from boiled rice, wrinkly (5)

Answer: OLDIE (i.e. “wrinkly”). “Odd bits removed from” indicates the solution is derived from every other letter of BOILED RICE.

  1. Scene I love in theatrical piece (7)

Answer: DIORAMA (i.e. “scene”). Solution is I and O (i.e. “love”, a zero score in tennis) both placed “in” DRAMA (i.e. “theatrical piece”), like so: D(I-O)RAMA.

  1. Communicate anger initially in rage (3,6)

Answer: GET ACROSS (i.e. “communicate”). Solution is A (i.e. “anger initially”, i.e. the first letter of “anger”) placed “in” GET CROSS (i.e. “rage”), like so: GET-(A)-CROSS.

  1. Criminal, harmless beauty (11)

Answer: SAFECRACKER (i.e. “criminal”). Solution is SAFE (i.e. “harmless”) followed by CRACKER (i.e. “beauty”).

  1. One revealing all as tapestries unravelled, beginning on reconstruction (11)

Answer: STRIPTEASER (i.e. “one revealing all”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unravelled”) of TAPESTRIES followed by R (i.e. “beginning [letter] on reconstruction”), like so: STRIPTEASE-R.

  1. Maestro in control, by the sound of it? (6)

Answer: George Frideric HANDEL (i.e. “maestro”). “By the sound of it” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of HANDLE (i.e. “control”).

  1. Idyllic Scottish isle inspiring painting by Pissarro, originally (8)

Answer: UNSPOILT (i.e. “idyllic”). Solution is UNST (i.e. “Scottish isle” – no, me neither) wrapped around or “inspiring” OIL (i.e. “painting”) once first placed after or “by” P (i.e. “Pissarro, originally”, i.e. the first letter of “Pissarro”), like so: UNS(P-OIL)T.

  1. African really, African land (6)

Answer: SOMALI (i.e. “African”). Solution is SO (i.e. “really”) followed by MALI (i.e. “African land”).

  1. Avian selection from menu: that chicken? (8)

Answer: NUTHATCH (i.e. bird or “avian”). “Selection from” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: ME(NU THAT CH)ICKEN.

  1. Note, I falter after passing motorway (14)

Answer: DEMISEMIQUAVER (i.e. musical “note”). Solution is I and QUAVER (i.e. “falter”) both placed “after” DEMISE (i.e. “passing”) and M (a recognised abbreviation of “motorway”), like so: (DEMISE-M)-I-QUAVER.

  1. Fermentation ingredient for instance fuelling still (5)

Answer: YEAST (i.e. “fermentation ingredient”). Solution is AS (i.e. “for instance”) placed in or “fuelling” YET (i.e. “still”), like so: YE(AS)T.

  1. Cub that is beside man (6)

Answer: ROOKIE (i.e. “cub”, both referring to beginners). Solution is IE (i.e. “that is”) placed after or “beside” ROOK (i.e. “man” – sometimes chess pieces are referred to as men), like so: ROOK-IE.

  1. Through taking leave, work at getting around puzzlement (10)

Answer: PERPLEXITY (i.e. “puzzlement”). Solution is PER (i.e. “through”) followed by EXIT (i.e. “leave”) once placed in or “getting around” it PLY (i.e. “work at”), like so: PER-PL(EXIT)Y.

  1. Quick way golden tortilla stuffed with last of cheddar (10)

Answer: AUTOSTRADA (i.e. “quick way”, or a motorway in Italy). Solution is AU TOSTADA (i.e. “golden tortilla” – AU being the chemical symbol of gold) wrapped around or “stuffed with” R (i.e. “last [letter] of cheddar”), like so: AU-TOST(R)ADA. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here. I couldn’t think beyond taco for “tortilla”.

  1. Month before king of France backed youth (6)

Answer: JUNIOR (i.e. “youth”). Solution is JUN (i.e. “month”, short for June) followed by ROI (i.e. “king of France”, i.e. the French for “king”) once reversed (indicated by “backed”), like so: JUN-IOR.

  1. In declaration, acquire land (5)

Answer: GHANA (i.e. “land”). “In declaration” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of GARNER (i.e. “acquire”).

  1. Blow that may have loosened dentures? (4,2,3,5)

Answer: KICK IN THE TEETH (i.e. “blow”). Solution also satisfies the clue as a whole.

  1. One couldn’t translate last part of poem, too long for translation (8)

Answer: MONOGLOT (i.e. “one couldn’t translate” – a monoglot is someone who only knows one language). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “for translation”) of M (i.e. “last part of poem”, i.e. the last letter of “poem”) and TOO LONG.

  1. Leading to end of obstruction, mostly healthy (6)

Answer: LETHAL (i.e. “leading to end”). Solution is LET (i.e. “obstruction”, a variant meaning of the word we’ve seen in a couple of Jumbos) followed by HALE (i.e. “healthy”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: LET-HAL.

  1. Animal’s oink best neglected (8)

Answer: STEINBOK (i.e. “animal”). “Neglected” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OINK BEST. A brute force of my Chambers was needed here.

  1. Spring when fellow overheard? (6)

Answer: GEYSER (i.e. “spring”). “When…overheard” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of GEEZER (i.e. “fellow”).

  1. As, for example, planes run well during first minutes of flight? (11)

Answer: ARBORESCENT (i.e. tree-like, or “as, for example, planes” – one of the definitions of “plane” is a kind of tree). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in some ball games) and BORE (i.e. “well”) both placed “during” ASCENT (i.e. “first minutes of flight”), like so: A(R-BORE)SCENT.

  1. Token: give fourth out, banking first of cash (4,7)

Answer: GIFT VOUCHER (i.e. “token”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of GIVE FOURTH wrapped around or “banking” C (i.e. “first [letter] of cash”), like so: GIFTVOU(C)HER.

  1. Socially distancing in a fog (6,3)

Answer: SPACED OUT. Solution satisfies “socially distancing” and mentally “in a fog”.

  1. Girl wearing old fifties garment (7)

Answer: OVERALL (i.e. “garment”). Solution is VERA (i.e. “girl’s” name) placed in or “wearing” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and LL (i.e. “fifties” – L being the Roman numeral for fifty), like so: O-(VERA)-LL. I rather liked this one.

  1. Stout or plonk? (5)

Answer: PLUMP. Solution satisfies “stout” or to “plonk”.

  1. Doing a twirl in dress, it amuses artist (7)

Answer: Henri MATISSE (i.e. “artist”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “doing a twirl” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: DR(ESS IT AM)USES.

  1. Sticky stuff, make error again? (5)

Answer: RESIN (i.e. “sticky stuff”). When written as RE-SIN the solution also satisfies “make error again”.

  1. Care when mate tumbles into river (9)

Answer: TREATMENT (i.e. “care”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “tumbles”) of MATE placed “into” TRENT (i.e. “river”), like so: TRE(ATME)NT.

Down clues

  1. Churchgoing liberal missing company initially (5)

Answer: PIOUS (i.e. “churchgoing”). Solution is COPIOUS (i.e. “liberal”) with the CO removed (indicated by “missing company” – CO being a recognised abbreviation of “company”).

  1. What might be an incident I felt I messed up, having trapped organ (10,7)

Answer: INDEFINITE ARTICLE (i.e. “what might be ‘an’”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “messed up”) of INCIDENT I FELT I wrapped around or “having trapped” EAR (i.e. “organ”), like so: INDEFINIT(EAR)TICLE.

  1. Sweet nurse containing spillage of claret (7,4)

Answer: TREACLE TART (i.e. “sweet”). Solution is TREAT (i.e. “nurse”) wrapped around or “containing” an anagram (indicated by “spillage of…”) of CLARET, like so: TREA(CLETAR)T.

  1. Draw? Result needing attention (6)

Answer: ENDEAR (i.e. to appeal to, or “draw”). Solution is END (i.e. “result”) followed by EAR (i.e. “attention”). I originally had this as LUSTRE, being an anagram of “result”. It didn’t help, as you can imagine.

  1. Awful taking belt out to constrict part of leg (8)

Answer: SHOCKING (i.e. “awful”). Solution is SING (i.e. “belt out”) wrapped around or “constricting” HOCK (i.e. “part of leg” in quadrupeds, apparently), like so: S(HOCK)ING.

  1. As subversive on pier had, seaside picture (12)

Answer: QUADROPHENIA (i.e. “seaside picture”. The film depicts the dust-ups between the mods and rockers on Brighton beach). Solution is QUA (i.e. “as” in Latin – an indicator would have been nice) followed by an anagram (indicated by “subversive”) of ON PIER HAD.

  1. In conversation pour liquor, as unifying resolution (4,6)

Answer: TEAM SPIRIT (i.e. “unifying resolution”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “in conversation”) of TEEM (i.e. to “pour” – Chambers allows it with and without “down”) followed by SPIRIT (i.e. “liquor”).

  1. I’ve got that man (5)

Answer: ROGER. Solution satisfies “I’ve got that” in radio communications, and a “man’s” name.

  1. Pour in an Italian drink for starters (9)

Answer: ANTIPASTI (i.e. “starters”). Solution is TIP (i.e. “pour”, or to empty by tilting) placed “in” AN and ASTI (i.e. “Italian drink”), like so: AN-(TIP)-ASTI.

  1. Audio equipment important, computer accessory unimportant (6,5)

Answer: MICKEY MOUSE (i.e. “unimportant”). Solution is MIC (i.e. “audio equipment”, short for microphone) followed by KEY (i.e. “important”) and MOUSE (i.e. “computer accessory”).

  1. Cultural identity courses discussed? (5)

Answer: ROOTS (i.e. “cultural identity”). “Discussed” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of ROUTES (i.e. “courses”).

  1. Place for break from teaching bible class (6)

Answer: RESORT (i.e. “place for break”). Solution is RE (i.e. “teaching bible”, short for Religious Education) followed by SORT (i.e. “class”).

  1. Something up sleeve, natural killer initially charging money for mischief (5-5)

Answer: HANKY-PANKY (i.e. “mischief”). Solution is HANKY (i.e. “something up sleeve” – if you do this, kindly keep away from me) followed by N and K (i.e. “natural killer initially”, i.e. the first letters of “natural” and “killer”) once both placed in or “charging” PAY (i.e. “money”), like so: HANKY-PA(N-K)Y.

  1. Unusual instrument just spinning in gossamer (8)

Answer: THEREMIN (i.e. “unusual instrument”). Solution is MERE (i.e. “just”) reversed (indicated by “spinning”) and placed “in” THIN (i.e. “gossamer” – can be used as an adjective for light and flimsy), like so: TH(EREM)IN.

  1. Be vulnerable to damage by stick – as might be tomato plant? (4,2,1,5,5)

Answer: LIVE IN A GLASS HOUSE. Solution satisfies “be vulnerable to damage” and “as might be tomato plant”. “By stick” feels superfluous, so I might not have this completely right.

  1. Recorder, one making music? (6)

Answer: SCORER. Solution satisfies “recorder”, or one keeping score, and, playfully, “one making music”.

  1. Common sense to carry weight under horse (4,6)

Answer: GREY MATTER (i.e. “common sense”). Solution is MATTER (i.e. “weight”) placed after or “under” – this being a down clue – GREY (i.e. a kind of “horse”).

  1. My nutritional value (8)

Answer: GOODNESS. Solution satisfies the exclamatory “my” and “nutritional value”.

  1. Copy the sixth of Henry’s books (6)

Answer: PARROT (i.e. “copy”). Solution is Catherine PARR (i.e. “the sixth of Henry’s”, referring to the wives of Henry VIII) followed by OT (i.e. “books”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible).

  1. Placing coin, there’s a hole in it (7,5)

Answer: PUTTING GREEN (i.e. “there’s a hole in it”). Solution is PUTTING (i.e. “placing”) followed by GREEN (i.e. “coin” – green is slang for money, though I would argue it’s really more to do with folding money than for coins).

  1. Little bits present in mess tin, gone off (11)

Answer: SMITHEREENS (i.e. “little bits”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “gone off”) of MESS TIN wrapped around or having “in” HERE (i.e. “present”), like so: SMIT(HERE)ENS.

  1. Entertainer on hand? (5,6)

Answer: GLOVE PUPPET. Solution satisfies the clue as a whole.

  1. Cryptic inspected, filled with old tricks (10)

Answer: DECEPTIONS (i.e. “tricks”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cryptic”) of INSPECTED wrapped around or “filled with” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: DECEPTI(O)NS.

  1. Concertina reflecting instrument? (9)

Answer: TELESCOPE (i.e. “reflecting instrument”). Sorry, but I really don’t think a concertina and a telescopic action are the same thing. Fold back and forth along a strip of paper and you get a concertina effect. A telescope, meanwhile, is “to collapse part in part” (Chambers), like an old school radio aerial. There’ll no doubt be some dictionary that bails the setter out, but this still feels jarringly wrong to me.

  1. Style in Versailles, period trousers unfashionable after revolution (8)

Answer: BOUFFANT (i.e. “style in Versailles”). Solution is BOUT (i.e. spell or “period”) wrapped around or “trousering” NAFF (i.e. “unfashionable”) once reversed (indicated by “after revolution”), like so: BOU(FFAN)T. The clue was very nicely worked, but utterly evil to be given only the even letters to work with.

  1. Reportedly fine coach (6)

Answer: HANSOM (i.e. “coach”). “Reportedly” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of HANDSOME (i.e. “fine”).

  1. Sophisticated Soviet letter, every other part redacted (6)

Answer: SVELTE (i.e. “sophisticated” – another not really backed up by my Chambers, but there’s probably a looser dictionary out there that allows it. Either way, I still disagree). “Every other part redacted” indicates the solution is derived by taking every other letter of SOVIET LETTER.

  1. Devil, since secured by stake (5)

Answer: BEAST (i.e. “devil”). Solution is AS (i.e. “since” or because of) placed in or “secured by” BET (i.e. “stake”), like so: BE(AS)T.

  1. Key – what to do with it? (5)

Answer: ENTER. Solution satisfies “key” on a computer keyboard, and also the clue as a whole.

  1. Again, plant that’s lush coming up (5)

Answer: REPOT (i.e. “again, plant”). Solution is TOPER (i.e. “lush” or drunk) reversed (indicated by “coming up” – this being a down clue).

16 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1580

  1. Thanks Lucian. We finished this but didn’t understand some of the parsings, so thanks, as ever, for your explanations.

    As you say, some of the definitions are dubious at best. We’ve never come across GREEN as a synonym for COIN (32d), and even our edition of Bradford’s, which rarely if ever lets us down, draws a blank with this one. I’ve always understood MICKEY MOUSE (10d) to mean USELESS or UNPROFESSIONAL rather than UNIMPORTANT, though my Chambers does bail the setter out here. Chambers defines SVELTE (46d) as “attractively slim; slender and graceful; lesson, lithe” – whilst for SOPHISTICATED it says “very refined and subtle; devoid or deprived of natural simplicity, complex; with qualities produced by special knowledge and skill; (of a person) accustomed to an elegant, cultured way of life”. The two do not mean the same at all. Setter, take an early bath.

    Re 41d, we started out by thinking this was CULOTTES, and was a reference to the SANSCULOTTES in the French Revolution. Nice idea, and (given the setter’s fondness for all things French) fairly convincing – except that it completely messed up everything that intersects with it…

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

      1. If GREEN is US English it has no place in a UK English crossword. If I want American words in my crossword I’ll buy an American paper.

        But in any case, shouldn’t a synonym relate directly to a word which appears in the clue, rather than having two words which aren’t synonyms of any word in the clue – or indeed of each other? Seems like a sneaky trick to me.

      2. There is a type of cryptocurrency called a greencoin. If as suggested further down the comments it is cheating to look things up on the Internet, I confess that I cheated.

  2. Thanks Lucian,
    Quite enjoyed it but a few quibbles.
    Agree with you about 22d. The phrase is ‘people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’ so the stick reference seems a bit strange.
    Like you, I wasn’t sure about 39d. I suppose concertina in the clue is meant as a verb, so maybe it makes sense.
    Re 54a. I didn’t know ‘plump’ was a synonym of ‘plonk’. I thought to plump for something is to choose, whereas to plonk is to put something down heavily.

  3. Same here! Several good clues, like Ghana – got the answer but took a while to twig why, and then it’s obvious.
    Spoiled a bit by the wobbly glass house answer – one of those where you can only pencil it in because it doesn’t seem quite right.
    Quadrophonia did have some action in Brighton, but much of it was in London. Could do better!

  4. Just to add: having gone through life never having heard of a theremin, today not only is it in the crossword but earlier in the Saturday Review -under ‘The instrument I wish I’d learnt’ – Natalie Imbruglia says she’d love to play the theremin!

  5. Quite enjoyed this one (once I’d finally worked out ‘Quadrophenia’), but I fail to see how ‘neglected’ can be an anagram indicator in 43 across.

  6. Thanks, Lucian. Quite tricky this week with some good clues. Last one I got was Arborescent which I thought was a very cleverly worded clue. Very cryptic which I suppose is the general idea. Not sure about plump for plonk in 54a. Cheers

  7. I wouldn’t call this one a stinker. It was fairly easy to whittle away at the (pleasurably) well-crafted clues while sipping a G&T before dinner over the last couple of days.

    But there was one obscure answer. Despite my being a Grade-8 musician (albeit of modest talents), I had never heard of a musical instrument called a THEREMIN. My Collins English Dictionary (1,771 pages) doesn’t mention it, nor does my huge two-volume Shorter Oxford Dictionary (which weighs in at a whopping 2,672 pages).

    I hate having to search the Internet as it always feels like cheating.

  8. Hi Lucian, re the glass house clue at 22d. It has crossed my mind that the stick comes from the saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’ . The saying ‘ people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’ thus leaves them only vulnerable to damage by stick. Maybe thinking to deep but like you can not find any other connection.

  9. Re: my earlier comment about never having heard of a musical instrument called a theremin, I have just been reading the rest of last Saturday’s “Review” section, which always includes some pretty good book reviews.

    On page 14 (“My Culture Fix”) the woman featured is Natalie Imbruglia (whom I confess I had never heard of). She says the instrument she wished she had learnt was the “theremin”.

    I must be getting old.

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