Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1581

A toughie this week and one that dipped too deeply into general knowledge for my liking. I mean, just look at some of the stuff in the grid. Oof. Still, there were several well-crafted clues to enjoy so it wasn’t too bad in the end. Kudos too for including a modern hit novel in the grid.

Speaking of which, 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 you jiggered 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 input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts and opinions of other solvers once their pens are silenced. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.


FBV (French-By-Volume): 8.3% – a fruity Cassel with a slightly acidic aftertaste. Short of a full-bodied Depardieu, but a pokey little number nonetheless. Serve with fish or white meat, and preferably a Gauloises.

Across clues

  1. Vessel recently found complete united country without force (9)

Answer: ENDURANCE (i.e. “vessel recently found”, referring to Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the finding of which made the news a few months ago. It’s unusual to find a time-sensitive clue in a Jumbo. I wonder if the ship’s discovery will be as memorable and as relevant in a few years’ time when this puzzle gets republished in the annual Jumbo Cryptic book). Solution is END (i.e. “complete”) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”) and FRANCE (i.e. “country”) once the F has been removed (indicated by “without force” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “force”), like so: END-U-RANCE.

  1. Vicious perhaps to return letter showing no consideration (10)

Answer: DISMISSIVE (i.e. “showing no consideration”). Solution is SID (i.e. “Vicious perhaps” – other Sids are available) reversed (indicated by “to return”) and followed by MISSIVE (i.e. “letter”), like so: DIS-MISSIVE.

  1. Gold rush associated with area in city (7)

Answer: AUGUSTA (i.e. “city” in the US state of Georgia). Solution is AU (chemical symbol of “gold”) followed by GUST (i.e. “rush” of wind) and A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”).

  1. Stay with European supporter in residence (9)

Answer: LODGEPOLE (i.e. “supporter in residence”, in this case a pole used in a Native American lodge). Solution is LODGE (i.e. “stay with”) followed by POLE (i.e. “European”). One solved from the wordplay, to be honest.

  1. Indispensable as in pen that’s disposable? (5)

Answer: BASIC (i.e. essential or “indispensable”). Solution is AS placed “in” BIC (i.e. “pen that’s disposable”, or a Bic biro), like so: B(AS)IC.

  1. Old actress banking money woman needed for anniversary (12)

Answer: TERCENTENARY (i.e. 300th “anniversary”). Solution is Dame Ellen TERRY (i.e. “old actress” – no, me neither. Chalk this one to my Bradford’s. She has appeared in Jumbos before, but not since 2018) wrapped around or “banking” CENT (i.e. “money”) and ENA (i.e. “woman’s” name), like so: TER(CENT-ENA)RY.

  1. Simple stone containing ash say in comfortable position (4,6)

Answer: EASY STREET (i.e. “comfortable position”). Solution is EASY (i.e. “simple”) followed by ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stone” weight) once wrapped around or “containing” TREE (i.e. “ash say” – other trees are available), like so: EAST-S(TREE)T.

  1. Cardinal interrupting terribly stubborn ass commits irrevocably (5,4,5)

Answer: BURNS ONE’S BOATS (i.e. “commits irrevocably”, a variant form of ‘burns one’s bridges’). Solution is ONE (i.e. “cardinal” – basically a number) placed in or “interrupting” an anagram (indicated by “terribly”) of STUBBORN ASS, like so: BURNS(ONE)SBOATS.

  1. Express affection introducing fancy bun to Wine Society (3,5)

Answer: RUB NOSES (i.e. how Eskimos “express affection”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fancy”) of BUN placed in or “introduced…to” ROSÉ (i.e. variety of “wine”) and S (a recognised abbreviation of “society”), like so: R(UBN)OSÉ-S.

  1. Native British soldiers needing hotel accommodation? (6)

Answer: INBORN (i.e. “native”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) and OR (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) both placed in or “accommodated by” INN (i.e. “hotel”), like so: IN(B-OR)N.

  1. Journey quickly to France – via a number of stations? (7-3)

Answer: CHANNEL-HOP. Solution satisfies “journey quickly to France” and “via a number of [TV or radio] stations”.

  1. One tooth Queen wanted out? GP was seen here (5)

Answer: IMOLA (i.e. “GP was seen here”, the solution being a race track in Italy and a GP being Grand Prix). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by MOLAR (i.e. “tooth”) once the R has been removed (indicated by “Queen wanted out” – R being a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Regina), like so: I-MOLA.

  1. Nothing fixes a fixer (4)

Answer: NAIL (i.e. “fixer”). Solution is NIL (i.e. “nothing”) wrapped around or “fixing” A, like so: N(A)IL.

  1. Dead? He died alone, note (8)

Answer: OBSOLETE (i.e. “dead”). Solution is OB (i.e. “died”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of the Latin obiit) followed by SOLE (i.e. “alone”) and TE (i.e. “note” in the sol-fa notation, i.e. doh-ray-me etc).

  1. Island within French sea board having value (9)

Answer: MERITABLE (i.e. “having value”). Solution is I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”) placed “within” MER (i.e. “French sea”, i.e. the French for “sea”) and TABLE (i.e. “board”, “a table around which committee meetings are held” (Chambers)), like so: MER-(I)-TABLE.

  1. Smooth and white – a plant undergoing tests? (9)

Answer: ALABASTER (i.e. “smooth and white”). When written as A LAB ASTER the solution also playfully satisfies “a plant undergoing tests”.

  1. Perhaps a Floridian can? (8)

Answer: RESTROOM. Clue plays on “can” being slang for the toilet, and how Americans call their toilets “restrooms”. That’s about all, I guess.

  1. Prejudice shown in twice concealing answer (4)

Answer: BIAS (i.e. “prejudice”). Solution is BIS (i.e. “twice” in musical lingo) wrapped around or “concealing” A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”), like so: BI(A)S.

  1. Idea from police about seize heroin and ecstasy (5)

Answer: THEME (i.e. “idea”). Solution is MET (i.e. “police”, short for the London Metropolitan Police) reversed (indicated by “about”) and wrapped around or “seizing” H (slang name for “heroin”). This is all then followed by E (ditto “ecstasy”), like so: T(H)EM-E.

  1. Meal Spartan’s taken round lake or region by river (10)

Answer: FLOODPLAIN (i.e. “region by river”). Solution is FOOD (i.e. “meal”) and PLAIN (i.e. “spartan” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) wrapped or “taken round” L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: F(L)OOD-PLAIN.

  1. Girl invited to garden embraces academician Harry (6)

Answer: MARAUD (i.e. to plunder or “harry” – again, ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is MAUD (i.e. “girl invited to garden” – apparently a reference to Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem Maud, containing the line: “Come into the garden, Maud”. Again, me neither) wrapped around or “embracing” RA (i.e. “academician”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a Royal Academician), like so: MA(RA)UD. Another win for the Bradford’s.

  1. Negative decisions on row involving city backed (8)

Answer: REFUSALS (i.e. “negative decisions”). Solution is RE (i.e. “on” or regarding – think email replies) and FUSS (i.e. “row” or bother) wrapped around or “involving” LA (i.e. “city”, specifically Los Angeles) once reversed (indicated by “backed”), like so: RE-FUS(AL)S.

  1. Work that’s current seen in West London landscape? (6,8)

Answer: ACTION PAINTING (i.e. “work” – specifically the kind of thing Jackson Pollock did). Solution is I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics) placed “in” ACTON (area of “West London”) and PAINTING (i.e. “landscape”), like so: ACT(I)ON-PAINTING.

  1. Language of actor, sober, unusually (5-5)

Answer: SERBO-CROAT (i.e. “language”). “Unusually” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ACTOR SOBER.

  1. Put a message about India’s holy day (12)

Answer: SEPTUAGESIMA (i.e. “holy day”, supposedly the third Sunday before Lent. I distinctly remember WH Smiths being fresh out of Septuagesima cards this year, so that’s them damned for all eternity). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of PUT A MESSAGE wrapped “about” I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: SEPTUAGES(I)MA. Sounds more like a nasty skin infection to me.

  1. Small instrument not in tune (5)

Answer: SHARP (i.e. “not in tune” – over to Chambers: “high in pitch, or too high (music)”, among other definitions). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by HARP (i.e. “instrument”).

  1. Swamp predator stopped by boy – one brave fighter (9)

Answer: GLADIATOR (i.e. “brave fighter”). Solution is GATOR (i.e. “swamp predator”, short for alligator) wrapped around or “stopped by” LAD (i.e. “boy”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: G(LAD-I)ATOR.

  1. Eccentric learner one in Paris with a nervous twitch (7)

Answer: LUNATIC (i.e. “eccentric” – I mean, okay, but that word is having to do some serious heavy-lifting in this clue. Call a serial killer ‘lunatic’? Sure, why not, they’re nuts. Call them ‘eccentric’? Well, I suppose it’s possible they might spend a weird amount of effort arranging all the human heads in their fridge so their noses touch, but surely first principles would apply here?! Anyway…) Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner”) followed by UN (i.e. “one in Paris”, i.e. the French for “one”), then A and TIC (i.e. “nervous twitch”).

  1. Bargain rates for exchange in large company (5-5)

Answer: HORSE-TRADE (i.e. to “bargain”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “for exchange”) of RATES placed “in” HORDE (i.e. “large company”), like so: HOR(SETRA)DE.

  1. Compensates and changes gear? (9)

Answer: REDRESSES. Solution satisfies “compensates” and “changes gear”.

Down clues

  1. Dying bird deserted by large rook (5)

Answer: EAGER (i.e. “dying” or yearning). Solution is EAGLE (i.e. “bird”) with the L removed (indicated by “deserted by large” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and the remainder followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “rook” used in chess), like so: EAGE-R.

  1. Medical provider from Galashiels at last writes in Daily Record (10)

Answer: DISPENSARY (i.e. “medical provider”). Solution is S (i.e. “Galashiels at last”, i.e. the last letter of “Galashiels”) and PENS (i.e. “writes”) both placed “in” DIARY (i.e. “daily record” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: DI(S-PENS)ARY.

  1. Course ends prematurely with smart lecture (8)

Answer: ROASTING (i.e. a telling-off or “lecture”). Solution is ROAD (i.e. “course”) with the last letter missing (indicated by “ends prematurely”) and the remainder followed by STING (i.e. “smart” or hurt), like so ROA-STING.

  1. Only worked with new material (5)

Answer: NYLON (i.e. “material”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “worked”) of ONLY followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: NYLO-N.

  1. Colour that is reflected on blue cover (9)

Answer: EIDERDOWN (i.e. bed “cover”). Solution is RED (i.e. “colour”) and IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. “i.e.”!) both reversed (indicated by “reflected”) and followed by DOWN (i.e. “blue”), like so: (EI-DER)-DOWN.

  1. Bottomless river with source in Pennines? (4)

Answer: DEEP (i.e. “bottomless”). Solution is DEE (i.e. “river”) followed by P (i.e. “source in Pennines”, i.e. the first letter of “Pennines”).

  1. Labour worker can’t finish campaign line (6)

Answer: SLOGAN (i.e. “campaign line”). Solution is SLOG (i.e. “labour”) followed by ANT (i.e. “worker”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “can’t finish”), like so: SLOG-AN.

  1. What was that personal request for absolution? (1,3,4,6)

Answer: I BEG YOUR PARDON. Solution satisfies “what was that” and, playfully, “personal request for absolution”.

  1. Give support for healthy, mostly those on vacation (12)

Answer: SUBSTANTIATE (i.e. “give support for”). Solution is SUBSTANTIAL (i.e. “healthy” or considerable) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by TE (i.e. “those on vacation”, i.e. the word “those” with all its middle letters removed), like so: SUBSTANTIA-TE.

  1. Service scooters from Italy as discussed? (7)

Answer: VESPERS (i.e. evening “service”). “As discussed” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of VESPAS (i.e. a brand of “scooters from Italy”).

  1. Spanish speaker is unable to answer very naughty boy? (10)

Answer: CANTABRIAN (i.e. “Spanish speaker” – Cantabria is a region of north Spain). Solution is CAN’T (i.e. “is unable to”) followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A) and BRIAN (i.e. “very naughty boy”, a reference to the famous line from Monty Python’s Life Of Brian – I very much approve!)

  1. Attic style not left out in Carthage? (4,5)

Answer: CITY STATE (i.e. “Carthage” – I’ll take the setter’s word for it. I’ve had my fill of general knowledge for this week). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of ATTIC STYLE once the L has been removed (indicated by “not left” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “left”).

  1. Metropolis ultimately associated with the glass? (2,6)

Answer: ST HELENS (i.e. a “metropolis”, being the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens). Solution is S (i.e. “metropolis ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “metropolis”) followed by THE and LENS (i.e. “glass”).

  1. Scottish poet keeping books outside a religious office (9)

Answer: RABBINATE (i.e. “religious office”). Solution is RABBIE Burns (i.e. “Scottish poet”) wrapped around or “keeping” NT (i.e. “books”, specifically the New Testament of The Bible) once this has itself been wrapped around or placed “outside” A, like so: RABBI(N(A)T)E.

  1. Here one learns son in space retains height (10)

Answer: SCHOOLROOM (i.e. “here one learns”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by COOL (i.e. “in” or popular) and ROOM (i.e. “space”) all wrapped around or “retaining” H (a recognised abbreviation of “height”), like so: S-C(H)OOL-ROOM.

  1. Story involving astronauts that remain, somehow (3,7)

Answer: THE MARTIAN (i.e. “story involving astronauts”, being a 2011 science fiction novel by Andy Weir that was turned into a hit 2015 movie directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. Respect to the setter here. I was getting fed up with how each novel featured in a Jumbo was usually some dusty old thing from over a hundred years ago, as if setters all thought the author had to be dead before they could reference their work. This was therefore rather refreshing to solve. More, please! Obviously I’ll beat the drum for more genre fiction bestsellers, but there’s decades of literary prize-winning chin-strokers that could feature too). “Somehow” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THAT REMAIN.

  1. Essential passages in blog a bit rambling, indulged at first (9)

Answer: OBBLIGATI (i.e. “essential passages” in musical lingo). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rambling”) of BLOG A BIT followed by I (i.e. “indulged at first”, i.e. the first letter of “indulged”), like so: OBBLIGAT-I.

  1. First person to succumb saved by a radiant, alluring individual (1,3,2,3,5)

Answer: A BIT OF ALL RIGHT (i.e. “alluring individual”). Solution is I (i.e. “first person” – “I” being first person, “you” being second person, “they” being third person), TO and FALL (i.e. “succumb”) both placed in or “saved by” A and BRIGHT (i.e. “radiant”), like so: A-B(I-TO-FALL)RIGHT.

  1. Regret after sending up chance to protect unknown wife snake bit (8)

Answer: EURYDICE (i.e. “wife snake bit” in Greek mythology. A recent repeat from grid 1562, so I won’t repeat myself here). Solution is RUE (i.e. “regret”) reversed (indicated by “after sending up” – this being a down clue) along with DICE (i.e. “chance”) all wrapped around or “protecting” Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as “unknowns”), like so: EUR-(Y)-DICE.

  1. Writ has to integrate Lincoln with another Oxford college? (6,6)

Answer: HABEAS CORPUS (i.e. a “writ” “to a jailer to produce a prisoner in person, and to state the reasons for detention” (Chambers)). Solution is HAS wrapped around or “integrating” ABE (i.e. “Lincoln”) followed by CORPUS (i.e. “Oxford college”, informal name of Corpus Christi), like so: H(ABE)AS-CORPUS. While it’s tempting to make fun of such a rah-rah-rah clue, I have to admit this was very nicely worked.

  1. Skier sat in a daze, beginning to see stars (9)

Answer: ASTERISKS (i.e. “stars”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “in a daze”) of SKIER SAT followed by S (i.e. “beginning to see”, i.e. the first letter of “see”), like so: ASTERISK-S. Another excellent clue.

  1. Angular look two men for example introduced (4,6)

Answer: SIDE GLANCE (i.e. “angular look”). Solution is SID and LANCE (i.e. “two men’s” names) wrapped around or “introducing” EG (i.e. “for example”, after the Latin exempli gratia), like so: SID-(EG)-LANCE.

  1. Mown area with slip catch that turns game (4,6)

Answer: LAWN TENNIS (i.e. “game”). Solution is LAWN (i.e. “mown area”) followed by SIN (i.e. “slip” or error) and NET (i.e. “catch”) once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “that turns”), like so: LAWN-(TEN-NIS).

  1. Take oblique look round cool street in city (9)

Answer: LEICESTER (i.e. “city”). Solution is LEER (i.e. “take oblique look”) wrapped “round” ICE (i.e. “cool”) and ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: LE(ICE-ST)ER.

  1. Common people using hammer to open cold beer? (8)

Answer: CANAILLE (i.e. “common people”, and not an especially kindly reference). Solution is NAIL (i.e. “using hammer”) placed in or “opening” C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold” used on taps) and ALE (i.e. “beer”), like so: C-A(NAIL)LE. One remembered from a previous puzzle if I’m honest. It’s from the French too, so you know what that means…

  1. Variety of stuff from newspaper appearing in Algarve city (7)

Answer: FARRAGO (i.e. “variety of stuff”). Solution is RAG (i.e. “newspaper”) placed “in” FARO (i.e. “Algarve city”), like so: FAR(RAG)O.

  1. Prospect with gold disappearing in country with canal (6)

Answer: PANAMA (i.e. “country with canal”). Solution is PANORAMA (i.e. view or “prospect”) with the OR removed (indicated by “with gold disappearing” – OR being “gold” or yellow in heraldry).

  1. Ready to drop on coming in half-drunk (5)

Answer: TIRED (i.e. “ready to drop”). Solution is RE (i.e. “on” – already covered in 44 across) placed or “coming in” TIDDLY (i.e. “drunk”) once the last “half” has been chopped off, like so: TI(RE)D.

  1. Stroke, fantastic cut, is making boundary (5)

Answer: ICTUS (i.e. “stroke” or sudden attack, medically). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fantastic”) of CUT placed in or having as it’s “boundary” IS, like so: I(CTU)S. Another that had me rolling my eyes initially – Times setters sure love their Latin – but, again, I have to admit this was another well-crafted clue.

  1. Price increase in March? (4)

Answer: HIKE. Solution satisfies “price increase” and “march” – ignoring the misleading capitalisation.

8 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1581

  1. Thanks Lucian. Some pretty dubious definitions this week. LUNATIC (55a) is definitely not the same as ECCENTRIC, DEEP (6d) doesn’t necessarily mean BOTTOMLESS, and LEER (41d) has a much nastier connotation than TAKE OBLIQUE LOOK.

    Too many deletions and names for my liking. As you know, I’m no fan of these types of clues because they’re impossible to solve just from the wordplay. And don’t get me started on the Americanisms. As I’ve commented previously, if I want American words in my crossword I’ll buy an American paper. I notice you’ve started keeping a tally of French-By-Volume, so just out of interest, could you also do the same for American-By-Volume?

    In the paper edition, the clue for 26a was missing the length indicator. So we had no idea whether the answer was (5), (1,4), (2,3), (3,2) or (4,1). I suppose we should be grateful that it wasn’t a 17-letter answer with infinite possibilities…

    One tiny quibble: in your explanation of 51d, it should be “its boundary” not “it’s boundary”. Blame the dreaded autocorrect!

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  2. Re: 18d, St Helens. Home to Pilkington Glass, world renowned etc, so quite a clever clue.
    There aren’t many upsides to being old but I don’t have a problem with Ellen Terry, Carthage or septuagesima!

  3. Really satisfying. Some lovely clues, and 34down is an absolute cracker – reminding me why I enjoy cryptic crosswords so much.

  4. Had a bit of trouble spelling SEPTUAGESIMA and put in “rise” for HIKE.
    Must agree with Mick Scott about the consequences of aging, a further downside is my post pub lunch “forty winks” is now more like a hundred and forty, so solving the Jumbo is extended to Monday’s morning coffee.
    Thanks for all your good work Lucien

  5. Another good, and tough, crossword. I’d not heard of CANAILLE (43d) but, with all the interlocking letters in place, it could be deduced. But I did have to look it up on the Internet to be sure. I always hate that.

    STOP PRESS – I have just checked and CANAILLE does appear in my Collins dictionary, albeit in italics – so definitely a foreign word. Times crossword setters should stick to English answers please.

  6. Many thanks for the elucidations. There were two answers we’d filled in without fully understanding the logic!
    Not at all keen on Lodgepole, surely a word chosen in desperation. We had Bathroom and Washroom before we got Restroom, which I blame on a weak clue rather than our weak brains.
    But gold stars for ‘I Beg Your Pardon’ and Cantabrian.

  7. Better French loanwords than ghastly American impositions! A matter of culture, perhaps: Sartre or Trump? Septics (rhyming slang) seem happy to shoot each other with abandon yet are so sensitive they need washroom, bathroom and restroom (finally got there to complete 35a) for “khazi”, to cite another fine loan. Some of us deliberately avoid trashy modern ‘novels’ and blockbusters like The Martian so had to work it out from the anagram; the crossword convention that literary references should have weight and history should not be contravened! Sorry, I’m off on one – away all week (not in France, helas) and only completed 1581 today. Can now look at yesterday’s 1582 at last. Welcome to verdammte Greenwich Mean Time, one and all. It’s still light at 18.00hrs over la manche!

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