Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1585

Another grind, pretty much the same as last week. I mean, look at some of the trash in the grid. Pff. I might think differently tomorrow, or at least be more forgiving, but for now I’m just glad to have this one out of the way.

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 flummoxed then you might find some solace in my Just For Fun page, 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 of solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, wrap up well and stay safe out there, kids.


FBV (French-By-Volume): 3.3%

Across clues

  1. Youngster initially enthused by Indonesian climber (5)

Answer: CUBEB (i.e. “Indonesian climber” – Chambers offers this: “the dried berry of Piper cubeba, an Indonesian climbing pepper shrub, formerly used as a drug to treat infections of the urinary tract”). Solution is CUB (i.e. “youngster”) followed by E and B (i.e. “initially enthused by”, i.e. the first letters of “enthused” and “by”). Made-to-fit rubbish.

  1. Struck, holding wife inside animal shelter (7)

Answer: COWSHED (i.e. “animal shelter”). Solution is COSHED (i.e. “struck”) wrapped around or “holding” W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”), like so: CO(W)SHED.

  1. Stew made by shy Liverpudlian (9)

Answer: LOBSCOUSE (i.e. “stew” – and again to Chambers: “a stew or hash with vegetables or biscuit, a sea dish”). Solution is LOB (i.e. “shy” or throw) followed by SCOUSE (i.e. “Liverpudlian”). Never heard of it.

  1. Book of words governor’s kept in house (9)

Answer: THESAURUS (i.e. “book of words”). Solution is HE’S (i.e. “governor’s”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of His Excellency, if you go in for all that bowing and scraping) placed “in” TAURUS (i.e. “house” or sign of the zodiac), like so: T(HE’S)AURUS.

  1. Where courses may be provided along certain lines (10,3)

Answer: RESTAURANT CAR. Clue plays on railway “lines” and a train carriage in which food is served. That’s about it, I guess.

  1. Owns gallery shaped like a spear (7)

Answer: HASTATE (i.e. “shaped like a spear”). Solution is HAS (i.e. “owns”) followed by TATE (i.e. an art “gallery” in London). A new one on me. Apparently from the Latin hasta, meaning spear.

  1. British soldiers given pay for preparing drinks (7)

Answer: BREWAGE (i.e. “preparing drinks”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by RE (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) and WAGE (i.e. “pay”).

  1. Happiest, surprisingly, when son leaves grave message (7)

Answer: EPITAPH (i.e. “grave message”, or tombstone inscription). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “surprisingly” of HAPPIEST once the S has been removed (indicated by “when son leaves” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”).

  1. Face a hard task? As a popular journalist one might (4,4,4,3,3)

Answer: HAVE ONE’S WORK CUT OUT. Solution satisfies “face a hard task” and “as a popular journalist one might”, referring to press cuttings.

  1. Tyneside graduate goes west? So be it (4)

Answer: AMEN (i.e. “so be it”). Solution is NE (i.e. “Tyneside”, or the North-East of England) and MA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Master of Arts) all reversed (indicated by “goes west” – this being an across clue), like so: AM-EN.

  1. Sailor originally involved in Beds town’s cleaning process (9)

Answer: ABLUTIONS (i.e. “cleaning process”). Solution is AB (i.e. “sailor”, specifically one of Able-Bodied rank) followed by I (i.e. “originally involved”, i.e. the first letter of “involved”) once placed “in” LUTON’S (i.e. “Beds town’s”), like so: AB-LUT(I)ON’S.

  1. Extend downward dimension of enclosure by river (6)

Answer: DEEPEN (i.e. “extend downward dimension”). Solution is PEN (i.e. “enclosure”) placed after or “by” DEE (i.e. “river”), like so: DEE-PEN.

  1. Medic swallowed by big fish in Arctic territory (6)

Answer: TUNDRA (i.e. “Arctic territory”). Solution is DR (i.e. “medic”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”) placed in or “swallowed by” TUNA (i.e. “big fish”), like so: TUN(DR)A.

  1. Broken hearts originally haunting a ruler of great importance (12)

Answer: EARTHSHAKING (i.e. “of great importance”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “broken”) of HEARTS followed by H (i.e. “originally haunting”, i.e. the first letter of “haunting”), then A and KING (i.e. “ruler”), like so: EARTHS-H-A-KING.

  1. Final Greek poet beheaded in confines of bare cell (10)

Answer: BLASTOMERE (i.e. “cell” – and to Chambers once more: “one of the cells formed in an early stage of the cleavage of a fertilized ovum”. Another everyday word, then). Solution is LAST (i.e. “final”) and HOMER (i.e. “Greek poet”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “beheaded”) all placed “in” BE (i.e. “confines of bare”, i.e. the first and last letters of “bare”), like so: B(LAST-OMER)E.

  1. Give excessive work to old priest returning cross (10)

Answer: OVERBURDEN (i.e. “give excessive work to”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by REV (i.e. “priest”, in this case a shortened form of “reverend”) reversed (indicated by “returning”), then BURDEN (i.e. “cross”, as in one’s cross to bear), like so: O-VER-BURDEN.

  1. Endless moral rectitude concerning ship’s owner (12)

Answer: PROPRIETRESS (i.e. “owner”). Solution is PROPRIETY (i.e. “moral rectitude”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder followed by RE (i.e. “concerning” – think email replies) and SS (i.e. “ship”, a recognised abbreviation of a steamship), like so: PROPRIET-RE-SS.

  1. Partner finally secures employment on European river (6)

Answer: SPOUSE (i.e. “partner”). Solution is S (i.e. “finally secures”, i.e. the last letter of “secures”) followed by USE (i.e. “employment”) once it has first been placed “on” or after PO (a “river” in Italy), like so: S-(PO)-USE.

  1. Property in East, say (6)

Answer: ESTATE (i.e. “property”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”) followed by STATE (i.e. “say”).

  1. European prince, carrying cape, left social venue (9)

Answer: DANCEHALL (i.e. “social venue”). Solution is DANE (i.e. “European”) and HAL (i.e. “prince” – a reference to Shakespeare’s portrayal of a young King Henry V. This is a useful one to keep in mind because short obscure word + Shakespeare reference = catnip for cryptic crossword setters) all wrapped around or “carrying” C (a recognised abbreviation of “cape”, the geographic feature). This is all then followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”), like so: (DAN(C)E-HAL)-L

  1. Relax, having letters read aloud (4)

Answer: EASE. Solution satisfies “relax” and “having letters read aloud”, in this case a homophone of plural E.

  1. Part of US which briefly employs leaders in Denver, Colorado (8,2,8)

Answer: DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (i.e. “part of US”, these days better known as Washington D.C.). The remainder of the clue plays on how the initials D.C. are also the “leaders in Denver, Colorado”, or the first letters of “Denver” and “Colorado”.

  1. Reportedly regret dig in simulated conversation (7)

Answer: RHUBARB (i.e. “simulated conversation”, referring to a word extras mutter in the background of film or TV scenes in lieu of actual conversation). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of RUE (i.e. “regret”) followed by BARB (i.e. “dig” or criticism), like so: RHU-BARB.

  1. Verse in ancient language also inspiring a NE European (7)

Answer: LATVIAN (i.e. “NE European”). Solution is V (a recognised abbreviation of “verse”) placed “in” LATIN (i.e. “ancient language”) along with, separately, (indicated by “also inspiring”) A, like so: LAT(V)I(A)N.

  1. Officers with notices, in French to begin with (7)

Answer: ENSIGNS (i.e. army “officers”). Solution is SIGNS (i.e. “notices”) with EN (i.e. “in French”, i.e. the French for “in”) placed “to begin with”, like so: EN-SIGNS.

  1. French writer, chap with castle at end of wood (13)

Answer: François-René de CHATEAUBRIAND (i.e. “French writer”). Solution is BRIAN (i.e. “chap’s” name) placed after or “with” CHATEAU (i.e. “castle”) and followed by D (i.e. “end of wood”, i.e. the last letter of “wood”), like so: CHATEAU-BRIAN-D. Never heard of him, nor anything in his oeuvre, but I guess it helps the setter meet the minimum French quota this week. Wait, did I say “oeuvre” just then in my withering dig at the Frenchness of Jumbos? Zut alors! L’ironie…

  1. Plotter, one who fascinates? (9)

Answer: INTRIGUER. Solution satisfies “plotter” and “one who fascinates”.

  1. Modern way to dip into coffee? Certainly (6-3)

Answer: LATTER-DAY (i.e. “modern”). Solution is RD (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a “road”) placed “into” LATTE (i.e. “coffee”) and AY (i.e. “certainly”, poetically), like so: LATTE-(RD)-AY.

  1. US city taking ages to accept a British monarch (7)

Answer: YONKERS (i.e. “US city” in New York State). Solution is YONKS (i.e. “ages”) wrapped around or “accepting” ER (i.e. “a British monarch”, specifically Elizabeth Regina), like so: YONK(ER)S.

  1. Perceived as only a subsidiary journalist? (5)

Answer: NOTED (i.e. “perceived”). When written as NOT ED the solution playfully satisfies “only a subsidiary journalist”, i.e. not the editor.

Down clues

  1. Net wears thin, we hear? It’s something often delivered (11)

Answer: CATCHPHRASE (i.e. a saying that’s “often delivered”). Solution is CATCH (i.e. to “net”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “we hear”) of FRAYS (i.e. “wears thin”).

  1. Consecrate land originally held by good queen (5)

Answer: BLESS (i.e. “consecrate”). Solution is L (i.e. “land originally”, i.e. the first letter of “land”) placed in or “held by” BESS (i.e. “good queen”, Good Queen Bess being a byname of Elizabeth I, apparently), like so: B(L)ESS.

  1. Prevaricate, but attend a fight over the Aussie outback (4,5,3,4)

Answer: BEAT ABOUT THE BUSH (i.e. “prevaricate”). Solution is BE AT A BOUT (i.e. “attend a fight”) followed by THE BUSH (i.e. “Aussie outback”).

  1. Funeral procession my sheep ultimately impede (7)

Answer: CORTEGE (i.e. “funeral procession”). Solution is COR (i.e. “my”, both exclamations) followed by TEG (a “sheep” in its second year, apparently) and E (i.e. “ultimately impede”, i.e. the last letter of “impede”).

  1. Used to be game, installing hotel’s facilities for 23 (9)

Answer: WASHBOWLS (i.e. “facilities for 23” – the solution to 23a being ABLUTIONS). Solution is WAS (i.e. “used to be”) and BOWLS (i.e. “game”) all wrapped around or “installing” H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: WAS-(H)-BOWLS.

  1. Hard bargaining involving Arabs and Andalusians, perhaps? (5,7)

Answer: HORSE-TRADING (i.e. “hard bargaining”). Clue plays on “Arabs” and “Andalusians” being breeds of horses. The latter is also a chicken, so make sure you’ve got the correct riding gear before mounting one.

  1. Underworld boss having quick fix is bumped off (10)

Answer: DISPATCHED (i.e. “bumped off”). Solution is DIS (i.e. “underworld boss”, also known as Pluto. Another useful one to keep in mind because short obscure word + classics reference = Viagra for cryptic crossword setters. Well, the male ones anyway…) followed by PATCHED (i.e. “having quick fix”).

  1. Give up holiday (5)

Answer: LEAVE. Solution satisfies “give up” and “holiday”.

  1. Pub sign covering live outdoor meal (8)

Answer: BARBECUE (i.e. “outdoor meal”). Solution is BAR (i.e. “pub”) and CUE (i.e. “sign”, theatrically speaking) all wrapped around or “covering” BE (i.e. “live”), like so: BAR-(BE)-CUE.

  1. Plain as peel may be, releasing energy (6)

Answer: CANDID (i.e. “plain”). Solution is CANDIED (i.e. “as peel may be”) once the E has been removed (indicated by “releasing energy” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy”).

  1. Object taken in by pawnbroker, note, awaiting applicant (9)

Answer: UNCLAIMED (i.e. “awaiting applicant”). Solution is AIM (i.e. “object”) placed “in” UNCLE (slang for a “pawnbroker”) and D (a musical “note”), like so: UNCL(AIM)E-D.

  1. Turbulent weather near pottery (11)

Answer: EARTHENWARE (i.e. “pottery”). “Turbulent” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WEATHER NEAR.

  1. Woman heading for vessel on a large lake (7)

Answer: VALERIE (i.e. “woman’s” name). Solution is V (i.e. “heading for vessel”, i.e. the first letter of “vessel”) followed by A, then L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”) and ERIE (one of the Great “Lakes” of North America).

  1. Part of pedal pilot used going north round City (7)

Answer: TOECLIP (i.e. “part of [bicycle] pedal” designed to keep the foot in place). Solution is PILOT reversed (indicated by “going north” – this being a down clue) and wrapped “round” EC (i.e. “city”, basically the postcode area for the City of London. Another useful one to keep in mind for future as obscure short word + London reference = cocaine for Jumbo setters, given The Times is predominantly a London newspaper), like so: TO(EC)LIP.

  1. Impossible? Not in the search I mount regularly (3,2,3,8)

Answer: OUT OF THE QUESTION (i.e. “impossible”). Solution is OUT OF (i.e. “not in”) followed by THE, then QUEST (i.e. “search”), then I and ON (i.e. “mount regularly”, i.e. every other letter of MOUNT).

  1. Neat woman’s daughter, an animal minder (6)

Answer: OXHERD (i.e. “animal minder”). Solution is OX (i.e. “neat”, a variant meaning of the word is an archaic term for livestock) followed by HER (i.e. “woman’s”) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”).

  1. A function for the speaker to fix (6)

Answer: ASSIGN (i.e. “to fix”). Solution is A followed by a homophone (indicated by “for the speaker”) of SINE (i.e. a trigonometric “function”).

  1. Joints English rejected, laid for foreign parliament (7)

Answer: KNESSET (i.e. “foreign parliament”, specifically of Israel). Solution is KNEES (i.e. “joints”) with one of the Es removed (indicated by “English rejected” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and the remainder followed by SET (i.e. “laid”), like so: KNES-SET.

  1. Prize possession we associated with English essayist (3-4)

Answer: EWE-LAMB (i.e. “prize possession” of a pauper, apparently a Biblical reference). Solution is WE placed after or “associated with” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and followed by Charles LAMB (i.e. “essayist”), like so: E-(WE)-LAMB.

  1. Fisherman’s club freed study dominated by ministers (6-6)

Answer: PRIEST-RIDDEN (i.e. “dominated by ministers”). Solution is PRIEST (i.e. “fisherman’s club” or mallet for killing fish – a new one on me, but interesting) followed by RID (i.e. “freed”) and DEN (i.e. “study”).

  1. Like the treatment of those expecting somehow to steal crib (11)

Answer: OBSTETRICAL (i.e. “like the treatment of those expecting” babies). “Somehow” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO STEAL CRIB.

  1. Confident lasses Freud mismanaged (4-7)

Answer: SELF-ASSURED (i.e. “confident”). “Mismanaged” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LASSES FREUD.

  1. Wise men initially supporting female law administrators collectively (10)

Answer: MAGISTRACY (i.e. “law administrators collectively”). Solution is MAGI (i.e. “wise men”) followed by S (i.e. “initially supporting”, i.e. the first letter of “supporting”) and TRACY (i.e. “female’s” name).

  1. Alumni blunt about an opposer of enlightenment (9)

Answer: OBSCURANT (i.e. “opposer of enlightenment”). Solution is OBS (i.e. “alumni”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Old Boy made plural) followed by CURT (i.e. “blunt”) once wrapped “about” AN, like so: OBS-CUR(AN)T.

  1. Protective of duck crossing eastern marshes (9)

Answer: DEFENSIVE (i.e. “protective”). Solution is DIVE (i.e. “duck”) wrapped around or “crossing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”) and FENS (i.e. “marshes”), like so: D(E-FENS)IVE.

  1. Detectives certain to be removed from cover (8)

Answer: DISBOUND (i.e. “removed from cover” in relation to books – not a word explicitly supported by Chambers but Oxford backs it up). Solution is DIS (i.e. “detectives”, specifically Detective Inspectors) followed by BOUND (i.e. “certain”, as in “bound to be” some outcome).

  1. Mycenaean prince of old relaxes, conserving energy (7)

Answer: ORESTES (i.e. “Mycenaean prince” of Greek mythology, son of Agamemnon). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by RESTS (i.e. “relaxes”) once wrapped around or “conserving” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: O-REST(E)S.

  1. Flower cluster European male kept in stock (7)

Answer: RACEME (i.e. “flower cluster” – and to Chambers once more: “an inflorescence in which stalked flowers are borne in acropetal succession on a main stalk or lateral branches”. Glad that’s been cleared up, then). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and M (ditto “male”) both placed “in” RACE (i.e. “stock” – Chambers supports it, albeit deep into its definitions), like so: RAC(E-M)E.

  1. Truck, possibly, taking parrot across river (5)

Answer: LORRY (i.e. “truck”). Solution is LORY (a kind of “parrot”) wrapped around or placed “across” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: LO(R)RY.

  1. Scrawny relative holding up beginning of game (5)

Answer: GAUNT (i.e. “scrawny”). Solution is AUNT (i.e. “relative”) placed after or “holding up” G (i.e. “beginning [letter] of game”), like so: G-AUNT.

13 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1585

  1. Thanks Lucian. As you say, a load of made-to-fit rubbish this week, plus some very obscure stuff. Mercifully low on deletions, but the setter made up for that by including a few “name” clues – which, like deletions, are impossible to to solve just from the wordplay. I couldn’t be bothered working out the percentages.

    Just one thing: in your explanation of 24d you have OXHIDE rather than OXHERD. Presumably a slip of the keyboard, because it’s correct in the grid.

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  2. No two-answer clues this week so happy I didn’t waste time down a trap. Too much Chambers trawling though eg Cubeb . I quite liked a few clues though eg 34 Proprietress so okish overall. As ever, thx Lucian.

  3. Completely agree with your summary! Less of a crossword, more of a treasure hunt to find weird words in the dictionary.
    But Have One’s Work Cut Out was nice.

  4. Phew, I sort of enjoyed this one – in that I finished it, unlike last week’s which went in the bin. Funnily enough I don’t think any of it was particularly obscure which is the reason why I’ve finished it before Friday afternoon! Incidentally, you’re clearly unused to northern cuisine Lucian, having never heard of Lobscouse. Scousers get their name from eating the stuff but round these parts we call it Lobby.
    Take care all.

  5. Agree with you all – some ridiculous words! When would Brewage or Obscurant would ever be used (where beverage or obscurer/obfuscator wouldn’t work better)? Disbound – what is it, a verb, noun, adjective? Rhubarb was nice though; also Lobscouse, which took me back to childhood meals at my aunt’s in Liverpool. Chateaubriand I think of as a marvellous steak (and now a world class Paris bistro) more than the forgotten writer. But I liked the idea of ‘chap’ being defined as Brian, as in ‘Life of..’ Thanks, as ever, Lucian for your patiently explained parsings – there are always a few that had passed me by.

  6. Some quite obscure answers again, albeit the clues were generally fair, with some quite clever ones.

    But besides the obscurity in places, I got delayed by the eleven lettered “Catchphrase” at 1d. I have never known it as a single word (although hyphenated perhaps). Collins gives it as two separate words under the letter “C”: “Catch” and “Phrase”, with not even a hyphen.

    Then we have 4a “Cowshed”, This word isn’t in Collins at all. One can find “Cow” under “C” and “Shed” under “S” of course but, according to Collins, there is no such word as “Cowshed”.

    Also, no such word as “Dancehall” (40d) nor “Toeclip” (20d) in Collins.

    Admittedly, my edition of Collins was printed in 1987 – but wouldn’t it be nice if setters mentioned which dictionary their answers came from?

    I haven’t checked my “Oxford Shorter” dictionary but would expect to find the same problems there as well.

    1. I’m a bit confused why anyone would actually look up ‘Catchphrase’ , ‘Dancehall’ or ‘Cowshed’ at all, unless they thought these were clearly made up words and better solutions were available…

      1. No. I didn’t catch on to them as I had no idea that they are now single words. So I knew it was “Catch …” something, but no single valid word sprang to mind.

      2. I used to have three goldfish called Catchphrase, Dancehall & Cowshed. What are the chances of that?!

  7. Thanks, Lucian. I thought this was ok. Did quite a bit of it in Saint Peter’s basilica in Rome which was different. Cheers

  8. No idea that CHATEAUBRIAND was a real writer, would have guessed it a made up in name in a Tintin story.
    Otherwise a pretty straightforward puzzle not deserving quite so much opprobrium as others have found perhaps? Apart from DISBOUND that is, which though valid is sadly ugly.
    Thanks Lucien for putting on your brave face and wading through the ordure set before you.
    Its a man’s work and you do it so well!

  9. First one I’ve been able to finish in a while (unlike last week’s which I also tossed in frustration) but I agree that some of the answers were beyond obscure. Oh well. Bradford’s, as always, came to the rescue a few times. Can now take the rest of the week off!

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