Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1584

A toughie this week. While this had a decent dollop of inventive wordplay and sneaky misdirection, I’m reluctant to call it a stinker due to the prevalence of exotic solutions. It’s just too easy for a setter to stuff a grid with esoterica in order to boost its difficulty. If you’re the kind of solver who likes to flex their general knowledge then fair enough, but, for me, by the end, this was done solely to get it done.

Anyway, bellyaching aside, 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 given you the slip then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things.

Thanks again for the kind comments and input. 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): 5%

Across clues

  1. No tough guy, Mike’s given kind of concession (7)

Answer: MILKSOP (i.e. “no tough guy”). Solution is M (“Mike” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by ILK (i.e. type or “kind”) and SOP (i.e. “concession”).

  1. Hesitation backing scams in political campaigning (8)

Answer: HUSTINGS (i.e. “political campaigning”). Solution is UH (i.e. “hesitation”) reversed (indicated by “backing”) and followed by STINGS (i.e. “scams”), like so: HU-STINGS.

  1. Sacred instrument up to now has captured hearts (6)

Answer: SHOFAR (i.e. “sacred instrument” – and so to Chambers for the first of many visits this week: “a wind instrument made from a ram’s horn, blown in Jewish religious ceremonies and in ancient times as a call to battle, etc”). Solution is SO FAR (i.e. “up to now”) wrapped around or “capturing” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hearts” used in card games), like so: S(H)O-FAR. A win for my Bradford’s, it may come as no surprise. I’d grown rather bored of this Jumbo by the time I reached the top-right corner of the grid.

  1. Day PC stops keen hunters giving fictional account (5,11)

Answer: DAVID COPPERFIELD (i.e. “fictional account”, or a novel by Charles Dickens). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “day”) followed by COPPER (i.e. “PC”) once it has been placed in or “stopping” AVID (i.e. “keen”) and FIELD (i.e. “hunters”), like so: D-(AVID-(COPPER)-FIELD).

  1. Zero tax returns in company book (6)

Answer: OCTAVO (i.e. “book” – and to Chambers again. Pick the bones out of this lot: “adjective: having eight leaves to the sheet; (conventionally) of a size so obtained, whether so folded or not. noun: a book printed on sheets so folded; (conventionally) a book of such a size…”). Solution is O (i.e. “zero”) followed by VAT (i.e. “tax”, specifically Value-Added Tax) once reversed (indicated by “returns”) and placed “in” CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”), like so: O-C(TAV)O. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

  1. Prior and head of abbey inside, saving face (8)

Answer: ANTERIOR (i.e. before or “prior”). Solution is A (i.e. “head of abbey”, i.e. the first letter of “abbey”) followed by INTERIOR (i.e. “inside”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “saving face”), like so: A-NTERIOR.

  1. Telegraph lowbrow’s right wing rage (4)

Answer: WIRE (i.e. “telegraph”). Solution is W (i.e. “lowbrow’s right wing”, i.e. the last letter of “lowbrow”) followed by IRE (i.e. “rage”).

  1. He or I, say, without work, running off (9)

Answer: ELOPEMENT (i.e. “running off”). Solution is ELEMENT (i.e. “He or I, say”, in this case the symbols of chemical elements helium and iodine) wrapped around or placed “without” OP (i.e. “work”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “opus”), like so: EL(OP)EMENT.

  1. Authorised rubbish tours here in Provence (8)

Answer: OFFICAL (i.e. “authorised”). Solution is OFFAL (i.e. “rubbish”) wrapped around or “touring” ICI (i.e. “here in Provence”, i.e. the French for “here”), like so: OFF(ICI)AL.

  1. Leftist put off after brief time in game (6,2,3)

Answer: CHEMIN DE FER (i.e. “game” – and to Chambers again: “a variety of baccarat”). Solution is CHE Guevara (i.e. “leftist”) and DEFER (i.e. “put off”) once the latter has been placed “after” MIN (i.e. “brief time”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a minute), like so: CHE-(MIN)-DEFER. Another win for the Bradford’s. The moment I saw the middle word began with ‘D’ was when I knew not to waste any more time on it.

  1. Enchanting figure, entering bank, is less relaxed (9)

Answer: TWITCHIER (i.e. “less relaxed”). Solution is WITCH (i.e. “enchanting figure”) placed in or “entering” TIER (i.e. “bank”), like so: T(WITCH)IER.

  1. Charlie never on rocking chair (8)

Answer: CONVENER (i.e. “chair” of a meeting). Solution is C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by an anagram (indicated by “rocking”) of NEVER ON.

  1. Auntie going back and forth? (4)

Answer: BEEB (i.e. “Auntie”, both nicknames of the BBC). The remainder of the clue plays on how the solution is a palindrome.

  1. Wanting bottle, paid for peanuts (7,4)

Answer: CHICKEN FEED (i.e. “peanuts”, both informal references to low pay). Solution is CHICKEN (i.e. cowardly or “wanting bottle”) followed by FEED (i.e. “paid” – the verb form means to pay a fee).

  1. One showing property of say a boring English fellow (6,5)

Answer: ESTATE AGENT (i.e. “one showing property”). Solution is STATE (i.e. “say”) and A placed in or “boring” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and GENT (i.e. “fellow”), like so: E-(STATE-A)-GENT.

  1. Reason I’m going to start to imitate street artist (11)

Answer: POINTILLIST (i.e. “artist” painting in dots). Solution is POINT (i.e. “reason” – Chambers offers “a clearly defined aim, object, or reason” deep into its definitions) followed by I’LL (i.e. “I’m going to”, i.e. a contraction of “I will”), then I (i.e. “start [letter] to imitate”) and ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”).

  1. Calling up troops with little sense (11)

Answer: REMINISCENT (i.e. recollecting or “calling up”). Solution is RE (i.e. “troops”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) followed by MINI (i.e. “little”) and SCENT (i.e. a trace or “sense” of something).

  1. Reported section of fork in river (4)

Answer: TYNE (i.e. “river”). “Reported” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of TINE (i.e. “section of fork”).

  1. Grams not working as a unit of measurement (8)

Answer: ANGSTROM (i.e. “unit of measurement” of wavelengths). “Working” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GRAMS NOT.

  1. Finish second, then second again, in rallies (9)

Answer: COMEBACKS (i.e. “rallies”). Solution is COME (i.e. “finish”, as in coming first, second, etc) followed by BACK (i.e. to “second” a proposal) and S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”).

  1. Steer cars, let in English region (11)

Answer: OXFORDSHIRE (i.e. “English region”). Solution is OX (i.e. “steer”) followed by FORDS (i.e. make of “car” made plural) and HIRE (i.e. “let”, as in a To Let sign).

  1. Knight, rider lacking height, is a medieval invader (8)

Answer: NORSEMAN (i.e. “medieval invader”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) followed by HORSEMAN (i.e. “rider”) once the H has been removed (indicated by “lacking height” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “height”), like so: N-ORSEMAN.

  1. Giving out piece scoffing sandwiches (9)

Answer: EMANATING (i.e. “giving out”). Solution is MAN (i.e. chess “piece”) placed in or “sandwiched” by EATING (i.e. “scoffing”), like so: E(MAN)ATING.

  1. Maybe a saxophone key with round shape (4)

Answer: ALTO (i.e. “maybe a saxophone” – other instruments are available). Solution is ALT (i.e. “key” on a computer keyboard) followed by O (i.e. “round shape”).

  1. Little piece of grass, possibly sleek tip (8)

Answer: SPIKELET (i.e. “little piece of grass”). “Possibly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SLEEK TIP.

  1. Nothing left over in wine-producing area (6)

Answer: OPORTO (i.e. “wine-producing area”, probably better known as Porto. I’ll have to take the setter’s word for it. A cursory gawp at Google seems to suggest the actual winey parts are a distance away from the place). Solution is O (i.e. “nothing”) followed by PORT (i.e. “left” in shipspeak) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket). Cough!-(made-to-fit-rubbish)-Cough!

  1. Maybe glamping staycation in town with mud opera star organised (11,5)

Answer: PORTMANTEAU WORDS (i.e. “maybe glamping [and] staycation”, both examples of such contractions). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “organised”) of TOWN and MUD OPERA STAR.

  1. Meat packing sector ultimately provides revelatory career! (6)

Answer: STREAK (i.e. a “revelatory career”, playfully describing nuddy folk running onto sports pitches). Solution is STEAK (i.e. “meat”) wrapped around or “packing” R (i.e. “sector ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “sector”), like so: ST(R)EAK.

  1. Sensible having Democrat ousted by Republican, one of a salacious nature (8)

Answer: PRURIENT (i.e. “of a salacious nature”). Solution is PRUDENT (i.e. “sensible”) with the D removed (indicated by “Democrat ousted” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “Democrat”) and replaced by R (ditto “Republican”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: PRU(D)ENT => PRU(R-I)ENT.

  1. Rejecting tango dancing, shun cute, ineffectual types (7)

Answer: EUNUCHS (i.e. “ineffectual types”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “dancing”) of SHUN CUTE once the T has been removed (indicated by “rejecting tango” – “tango” being T in the phonetic alphabet).

Down clues

  1. Place where Muslims learn, briefly, to make spicy food (6)

Answer: MADRAS (i.e. “spicy food”). Solution is MADRASA (i.e. “place where Muslims learn”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”).

  1. Appeal to block tax, showing good cheer (6)

Answer: LEVITY (i.e. “good cheer”). Solution is IT (i.e. popularity or “appeal”, as in having “it”) placed in or “blocking” LEVY (i.e. “tax”), like so: LEV(IT)Y.

  1. Men in south of France providing case of ipecac or diaphoretic (9)

Answer: SUDORIFIC (i.e. “diaphoretic”, descriptive of causing one to sweat. Everyday words, then!) Solution is OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) placed “in” between SUD (i.e. “south of France”, i.e. the French for “south”), IF (i.e. conditional upon or “providing”) and IC (i.e. “case of ipecac”, i.e. the first and last letters of “ipecac”), like so: SUD-(OR)-IF-IC. One nailed solely from the wordplay. If only I’d looked up “diaphoretic” in my Chambers, as the solution was sitting right next to it!

  1. Possible spin by party out of office, lacking power, it’s suggested (11)

Answer: PROPOSITION (i.e. “it’s suggested”). Solution is PR (i.e. “spin”, short for Public Relations) followed by OPPOSITION (i.e. political “party out of office”) once one of the Ps has been removed (indicated by “lacking power” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “power”), like so: PR-OPOSITION.

  1. Market, upon vacation, holiday games (4)

Answer: HYPE (i.e. to “market” a product). Solution is HY (i.e. “upon vacation, holiday”, i.e. the word “vacation” with all its middle letters removed) followed by PE (i.e. “games”, specifically Physical Education).

  1. Proper quality extremely special plates served well (6-5)

Answer: STRAIT-LACED (i.e. prim and “proper”). Solution is TRAIT (i.e. “quality”) placed in or “plated” by SL (i.e. “extremely special”, i.e. the first and last letters of “special”) and followed by ACED (i.e. “served well” in a game of tennis), like so: S(TRAIT)L-ACED.

  1. I travel about amid landscape having shifting colours (11)

Answer: IRIDESCENCE (i.e. “having shifting colours”). Solution is I followed by RIDE (i.e. “travel”), then C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) once placed “amid” SCENE (i.e. “landscape”), like so: I-RIDE-SCEN(C)E.

  1. Duck spinning bit of timber with hole I picked up (9)

Answer: GOLDENEYE (i.e. a variety of “duck”). Solution is LOG (i.e. “bit of timber”) reversed (indicated by “spinning”) followed by DEN (i.e. animal home, often a “hole”) and a homophone (indicated by “picked up”) of I, like so: GOL-DEN-EYE. Another win for the Bradford’s.

  1. Fencing off nice ground, possessed a large house (8)

Answer: HACIENDA (i.e. “large house” in Spain). Solution is HAD (i.e. “possessed”) and A both wrapped around or “fencing off” an anagram (indicated by “ground”) of NICE, like so: HA(CIEN)D-A. Another remembered from a previous puzzle.

  1. What gives RE basic criteria for judgment (5,2,9)

Answer: FRAME OF REFERENCE (i.e. “criteria for judgment”). The first half of the clue plays on how the solution cryptically satisfies “RE”, i.e. being the first and last letter or FRAME of the word REFERENCE.

  1. Male boxer’s ending with another jab, losing head (7)

Answer: ROOSTER (i.e. “male” bird). Solution is R (i.e. “boxer’s ending” letter) followed by BOOSTER (i.e. “another jab” or hypodermic injection) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “losing head”), like so: R-OOSTER.

  1. Chirpy Antipodean ex-president in new role, given time (8)

Answer: LORIKEET (i.e. “chirpy Antipodean” bird). Solution is Dwight D. Eisenhower, nicknamed IKE (i.e. “ex-president”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “new”) of ROLE and followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: LOR(IKE)E-T. The wordplay was reasonably obvious but I still reached for the Bradford’s the moment I figured this was going to be a bird. Made-to-fit solutions aren’t worth anyone’s time, least of all mine.

  1. Statesman departs with countryman? (8)

Answer: Benjamin DISRAELI (i.e. “statesman”, former Prime Minister of Great Britain). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “departs”) followed by ISRAELI (i.e. “countryman”).

  1. What a drug dealer might do, getting kitchen item (8)

Answer: STOCKPOT (i.e. “kitchen item”). When written as STOCK POT the solution also satisfies “what a drug dealer might do”.

  1. Papers written up on party’s view for working arrangement (8,2,6)

Answer: DIVISION OF LABOUR (i.e. “working arrangement”). Solution is ID (i.e. identity “papers”) reversed (indicated by “written up” – this being a down clue) and followed by VISION OF LABOUR (i.e. political “party’s view”), like so: DI-(VISION-OF-LABOUR).

  1. Something of no value: drug ingested in worst trial (4-4)

Answer: BETA-TEST (i.e. “trial”). Solution is TAT (i.e. “something of no value”) and E (i.e. “drug”, slang for ecstasy) both placed or “ingested in” BEST (i.e. “worst” – over to Chambers: “to get the better of in a contest; to defeat”. I can confidently say I’ve never heard anyone say “Ha! I completely worsted you”, but there you go), like so: BE(TAT-E)ST.

  1. Quantity of harissa’s served in sauce from the US (4)

Answer: SASS (i.e. lip or “sauce from the US”). “Quantity of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: HARIS(SA’S S)ERVED.

  1. One’s flown east with equipment earlier (4)

Answer: KITE (i.e. “one’s flown”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”) with KIT (i.e. “equipment”) placed before it or “earlier”, like so: KIT-E.

  1. What convict does with joker, one getting punched (8)

Answer: TIMECARD (i.e. “one getting punched”). Solution is TIME (i.e. “what convict does”) followed by CARD (i.e. “joker”).

  1. Strength of pine on part of deck (4,4)

Answer: LONG SUIT (i.e. talent or “strength” – a new one on me). Solution is LONG (i.e. to yearn or “pine”) followed by SUIT (i.e. “part of deck” of cards).

  1. With energy dropping in that place, control ship (5-6)

Answer: THREE-MASTER (i.e. “ship”). Solution is THERE (i.e. “that place”) with the first E “dropped” a notch – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy” and this being a down clue – followed by MASTER (i.e. “control”), like so: TH(E)RE-MASTER => THR(E)E-MASTER.

  1. What protesters do right before topless show (11)

Answer: REMONSTRATE (i.e. “what protesters do”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) followed by DEMONSTRATE (i.e. “show”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “topless”), like so: R-EMONSTRATE.

  1. Feeling less pressure, old Reg is found here (11)

Answer: NUMBERPLATE (i.e. “reg is found here” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is NUMBER (i.e. “feeling less”) followed by P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”) and LATE (i.e. “old”, as in the phrase “of old”).

  1. With jazzy style, note covers from Oliver! entrance (5,4)

Answer: SWING DOOR (i.e. “entrance”). Solution is SWING (i.e. “jazzy style”) followed by DO (i.e. “note” in the sol-fa notation, also spelled ‘doh’) and OR (i.e. “covers from Oliver!”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Oliver”).

  1. Bishop hasn’t white pen, perhaps (5,4)

Answer: BLACK SWAN (i.e. “pen, perhaps” – a pen is a female swan). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess) followed by LACKS (i.e. “hasn’t”) and WAN (i.e. “white”).

  1. Maiden brought in to make a light repast (5,3)

Answer: CREAM TEA (i.e. “light repast”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “maiden” used in cricket) placed or “brought in to” CREATE (i.e. “make”) and followed by A, like so: CREA(M)TE-A.

  1. Demanding responsibility, saving deposit up (7)

Answer: ONEROUS (i.e. “demanding”). Solution is ONUS (i.e. “responsibility”) wrapped around or “saving” ORE (i.e. “deposit”) once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: ON(ERO)US.

  1. One’s part of cloth weaving circle (6)

Answer: CLERIC (i.e. “one’s part of the cloth”, an informal reference to the clergy). “Weaving” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CIRCLE.

  1. Society led by police state ruling out change (6)

Answer: STASIS (i.e. a constant state or “ruling out change”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “society”) placed after or “led by” STASI (i.e. “police state”), like so: STASI-S.

  1. Ace flier doing that activity (2,2)

Answer: AT IT (i.e. “doing that activity”, fnar, fnar). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used in playing cards) followed by TIT (i.e. bird or “flier”, also fnar, fnar).

9 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1584

  1. Phew. Agree on toughie – bottom left and top right corner took a while to fall
    Interestingly, I got 2d Levity by Levy (appeal) blocking (surrounding) the tax ie IT income tax. I wonder which the setter intended as both ways work.
    As usual I find a hole to fall in and slow me, going first for Wealsman for 19d. That’s the statesman (thanks Chambers – took a bettering this week) with D departs linking the countryman or Wealsman. Ho hum
    Really appreciate your comments and humour. Cheers Graham

  2. Thanks Lucian. We finished this, but it wasn’t enjoyable. We’ve never come across WORST (27a) as a synonym for BEST. And outside the world of crosswords, I very much doubt that we will again.

    Though I did like STREAK. Nicely worked.

    Deletions By Volume: 11.6%.

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  3. And, I forgot another mistake – as RE is the front, or point, of Reference, I started with Point of reference for 11d.
    That was two clues with alternative correct (I think) possible answers. Grrrrrr ….

  4. Overall the clueing was clever and witty. Some of the words were arcane but I wouldn’t agree exotic. Shofar is really important for even non-religious Jews once a year; sudorific was the only word I’d never encountered but to be fair the setter gave the exact synonym within the clue. Medium strenth for me, with plenty of smiles when I twigged a well crafted clue.

  5. Tough going, but some neat clues in the mix … I liked Division of Labour and Elopement.
    Not impressed by Beta Test … in my Collins that was the 19th definition of Best with the 12th definition of Worst.
    At least two US words too, which don’t sit easily.
    Anyway, we really appreciate getting your swift explanations to confirm (or deny) our guesswork!

  6. Always enjoy reading your opinions when I’ve completed the Jumbo. Not sure the solutions were that exotic. Only ‘shofar’ and ‘sudorific’ were unknown to me. Personally, I enjoy a couple of exotics if they can be derived from the clues. My pet hate is obscure words which are clued as anagrams and should be banned. Not sure how you make that judgement though – one man’s esoterica is another man’s general knowledge.

  7. Medium strength for me this week. It took a while to get into it and I found I firstly had most of the RH side done before hardly any on the LH side. Working right to left in a crossword is always slower.

    My only problem was with the “Chirpy Antipodean” in 15d. It wasn’t a hard clue but I carelessly misspelt one of the interlocking across clues (25a) as “Convenor” instead of “Convener”.

    Lots of good clues this week and I thought the clueing was clever but fair.

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