Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1588

A toughie after last week’s stinker, and seemingly one for the culture vultures. Despite the at-times aching worthiness of some of the clues and solutions, this was a pretty good Jumbo offering for the most part the kind of steady progression I like. Except for the bottom-middle (SHIFT KEY, ISTHMUS and AMNESTY). That bit was a swine.

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 my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things.

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


FBV (French-By-Volume): 3.2%

Across clues

  1. Left-leaning character supports corporal punishment (9)

Answer: BACKSLASH (i.e. “left-leaning character” on a keyboard). Solution is BACKS (i.e. “supports”) followed by LASH (i.e. “corporal punishment”).

  1. Some of the French match that we hope to avoid (7)

Answer: DESPAIR (i.e. something “that we hope to avoid”). Solution is DES (i.e. “some of the French”, i.e. the word “some” in French) followed by PAIR (i.e. to “match”).

  1. Start of first introduction in garden (still unchanged on reflection) (5)

Answer: MADAM. Clue plays on the famous palindrome MADAM I’M ADAM (playfully, what could be the “first introduction in [the] Garden” of Eden; Adam and Eve and all that Bible stuff) taking the “start” of it. The solution is itself a palindrome (hence the “still unchanged on reflection” bit).

  1. Error by defence – rotting in gaol now (3,4)

Answer: OWN GOAL (i.e. “error by defence” in a game of football). “Rotting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GAOL NOW.

  1. Second contest for Ali or Rocky, say (5)

Answer: MOVIE (i.e. “Ali or Rocky, say” – other boxing movies are available). Solution is MO (i.e. “second”, short for “moment”) followed by VIE (i.e. “contest”).

  1. Hero, for example, meddles with heroine in Wessex (9)

Answer: PRINCESS (i.e. “Hero, for example”, referring to a character in William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing). [EDIT: Scratch that. I’d misread this one in the time between completing the grid and writing it up. The solution is PRIESTESS. In Greek mythology, she was a priestess of Aphrodite. Thanks to all in the comments for flagging this! – LP] Solution is PRIES (i.e. “meddles”) followed by TESS (i.e. “heroine in Wessex”, this time referring to the lead character in Thomas Hardy’s Tess Of The D’Urbervilles).

  1. Shakespearean duo in scene of Romeo and Juliet (3,3,9,2,6)

Answer: THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (i.e. titular “Shakespearean duo”). “Romeo and Juliet”, meanwhile, is set in Verona, so I guess there’s a scene in the play between Romeo and some other bloke. Shakespeare tends to bring me out in a rash – blame it on a disastrous and fist-bitingly awful attempt to make us all read The Merchant of Venice at school – so I’ll leave this one at that.

  1. Like voyage in storm (6)

Answer: ASSAIL (i.e. to attack or “storm”). Solution is AS (i.e. “like”) followed by SAIL (i.e. “voyage”).

  1. French scorer’s side grabbing point in return (8)

Answer: Jules MASSENET (i.e. “French scorer” or composer). Solution is TEAM (i.e. “side”) wrapped around or “grabbing” NESS (i.e. “point”, both geographic features). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “in return”), like so: MA(SSEN)ET. One nailed from the wordplay.

  1. Reform repeals act that made thing worse again (7)

Answer: RELAPSE (i.e. “that made thing worse again”). “Reform” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REPEALS.

  1. Old vehicle with new driver exposed as public nuisance (6,4)

Answer: LITTER LOUT (i.e. “public nuisance”). Solution is LITTER (i.e. “old vehicle”) followed by L (i.e. “new driver”, referring to L-plates), then OUT (i.e. “exposed”).

  1. Info, including something to do with key and pitch for instrument (12)

Answer: GLOCKENSPIEL (i.e. “instrument”). Solution is GEN (i.e. “info”) wrapped around or “including” LOCK (i.e. “something to do with key”) and followed by SPIEL (i.e. “pitch”), like so: G(LOCK)EN-SPIEL.

  1. Capital single person, we hear (5)

Answer: SEOUL (i.e. “capital” of South Korea). “We hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SOLE (i.e. “single person”). Possibly SOUL. You could make an argument for either.

  1. European’s in danger in that situation (7)

Answer: THEREAT (i.e. “in that situation”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) placed “in” THREAT (i.e. “danger”), like so: TH(E)REAT.

  1. Use prior not in order as head of religious house (8)

Answer: SUPERIOR (i.e. “head of religious house”). “Not in order” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of USE PRIOR.

  1. With a single alteration, roomy? Not true (8)

Answer: SPECIOUS (i.e. “not true”). Solution is SPACIOUS (i.e. “roomy”) with “a single alteration”, in this case changing the A to an E, like so: SP(A)CIOUS => SP(E)CIOUS.

  1. Tool prodigal female returned (7)

Answer: FRETSAW (i.e. “tool”). Solution is WASTER (i.e. “prodigal”) and F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) all reversed (indicated by “returned”), like so: F-RETSAW.

  1. Face Republican in Georgia or Alabama, say (5)

Answer: FRONT (i.e. “face”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”) placed “in” FONT (i.e. “Georgia or Alamaba, say” – other typefaces are available. That said, I had to Google Image search Alabama. Not a font I recognise. Maybe it’s a Mac thing), like so: F(R)ONT.

  1. Force largely destroyed accommodation for journalists (5,7)

Answer: PRESS GALLERY (i.e. “accommodation for journalists”). Solution is PRESS (i.e. “force” or urge) followed by an anagram (indicated by “destroyed”) of LARGELY.

  1. Finish after short day with vessel, something mates enjoy (10)

Answer: FRIENDSHIP (i.e. “something mates enjoy”). Solution is END (i.e. “finish”) placed “after” FRI (i.e. “short day”, in this case a short form of “Friday”) and followed by SHIP (i.e. “vessel”), like so: ((FRI)-END)-SHIP.

  1. One that slips easily into operas performing dance (7)

Answer: REELING (i.e. “performing dance”). Solution is EEL (i.e. “one that slips easily”) placed “into” RING (i.e. “operas” – I’m not seeing anything deep into the definitions, so I’m assuming the setter is referring to Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle here. Is RING on its own enough, though?), like so: R(EEL)ING.

  1. It’ll transform us into a superpower (5,3)

Answer: SHIFT KEY. Clue plays on how one could use a shift key on a keyboard to “transform” “us” into the upper-case “US” (i.e. “a superpower”, specifically the United States).

  1. Person taking a lot of interest in you, reportedly less unreliable (6)

Answer: USURER (i.e. “person taking a lot of interest”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of U (i.e. “you”) followed by SURER (i.e. “less unreliable”).

  1. Toast for campers with goals, virtually (2,3,7,3,8)

Answer: TO ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES (i.e. “virtually”). Solution is TO ALL IN TENTS (i.e. “toast for campers”) followed by AND (i.e. “with”) and PURPOSES (i.e. “goals”).

  1. Church’s assent required before one joins services (9)

Answer: AMENITIES (i.e. “services”). Solution is AMEN (i.e. “church’s assent”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and TIES (i.e. “joins”).

  1. Feature of poetry when recited – it’s read (5)

Answer: METER (i.e. “it’s read”). “When recited” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of METRE (i.e. “feature of poetry”).

  1. Heard I’m a highflier, with different stress? Not a pretty sight (7)

Answer: EYESORE (i.e. “not a pretty sight”). “Heard” indicates homophone. Solution comprises homophones of I and SOAR (i.e. “I’m a highflier”). “With different stress” leaves me cold. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no way of saying I SOAR without also saying EYESORE. Could be a tense thing. It might yet be a phonological thing, but after my swing-and-a-miss in this area last week I’m leaving this part well alone!

  1. Relating to part of limb or part of organ (5)

Answer: PEDAL. Solution satisfies “relating to part of limb” in this case the foot, and “part of organ”, the musical instrument.

  1. Free home featured in fourth of March issue (7)

Answer: AMNESTY (i.e. “free”). Solution is NEST (i.e. “home”) placed or “featured in” AMY (i.e. “fourth of March issue”, a reference to the character Amy March in Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women, Amy being the youngest of the four March sisters), like so: AM(NEST)Y.

  1. Newcomer to society replacing front of clothing that’s exclusive (9)

Answer: DEBARMENT (i.e. “exclusive”, or the act of exclusion). Solution is DEB (i.e. “newcomer to society”, short for “debutante”) which “replaces” the first letter or “front” of GARMENT (i.e. “clothing”), like so: (G)ARMENT => (DEB)ARMENT.

Down clues

  1. Cure a disease of livestock (5)

Answer: BLOAT. Solution satisfies to “cure” or dry fish, and a “disease of livestock”.

  1. Focus of discussion, changing clothes at announcement of truce (12,5)

Answer: CONVERSATION PIECE (i.e. “focus of discussion”). Solution is CONVERSION (i.e. “changing”) wrapped around or “clothing” AT and followed by a homophone (indicated by “announcement of”) of PEACE (i.e. “truce”), like so: CONVERS(AT)ION-PIECE.

  1. Ring is in news, with awfully “woke” princess (4,5)

Answer: SNOW WHITE (i.e. “’woke’ princess”, referring to how in the fairy tale she is brought out from her poisoned-apple-induced slumber by Prince Charming). Solution is O (i.e. “ring”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “awfully”) of NEWS WITH, like so: SN(O)WWHITE.

  1. Flip two parts of legal point, making claim (6)

Answer: ALLEGE (i.e. “claim”). Solution is LEGAL with the last “two” letters or “parts” “flipped” to the front and the whole then followed by E (i.e. “point” of the compass, short for “east”), like so: LEG(AL)-E => (AL)LEG-E.

  1. German writer with a short act kept in shade: influence on our acting (5,6)

Answer: HUMAN NATURE (i.e. “influence on our acting”). Solution is Thomas MANN (i.e. “German writer”), A and TURN (i.e. “act”) once the latter’s last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”). This is all then placed “in” HUE (i.e. “shade”), like so: HU(MANN-A-TUR)E.

  1. Indeed, evil is hidden herein (8)

Answer: DEVILISH. The solution satisfies the clue as a whole, but “herein” also indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: INDEE(D EVIL IS H)IDDEN.

  1. Angler letting first two go, in general (7)

Answer: William SHERMAN (i.e. famed “general” of the US Civil War). Solution is FISHERMAN (i.e. “angler”) with the “first two” letters removed or “gone”.

  1. Climber’s helpers in Nepal mishandled punishing situation (11)

Answer: ALPENSTOCKS (i.e. “climber’s helpers” – over to Chambers: “a mountain traveller’s long spiked staff”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “mishandled”) of NEPAL followed by STOCKS (i.e. “punishing situation”), like so: ALPEN-STOCKS. One nailed with a little help from my Chambers.

  1. Check behind church’s buttress (9)

Answer: REINFORCE (i.e. “buttress”). Solution is REIN (i.e. to “check” or restrict) followed by FOR (i.e. “behind” or in favour of) and CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England).

  1. Married ladies stirred up trouble for people holding hands (7)

Answer: MISDEAL (i.e. “trouble for people holding hands” of cards). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “married”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “stirred up”) of LADIES, like so: M-ISDEAL.

  1. Because of work one can’t perform, nothing ensues (3,2)

Answer: DUE TO (i.e. “because of”). Solution is DUET (i.e. “work one can’t perform”) followed by O (i.e. “nothing”). Very nicely played.

  1. In error, not clear about broken ankle (10)

Answer: MISTAKENLY (i.e. “in error”). Solution is MISTY (i.e. “not clear”) wrapped “about” an anagram (indicated by “broken”) of ANKLE, like so: MIST(AKENL)Y.

  1. Finally cut world record? (5)

Answer: ATLAS (i.e. “world record”, playfully). Solution is AT LAST (i.e. “finally”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “cut”), like so: AT-LAS.

  1. False prophet – he is no loss as maker of miraculous conversions? (12,5)

Answer: PHILOSOPHERS STONE (i.e. “maker of miraculous conversions”; legend had it the thing could convert metals into gold). “False” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PROPHET HE IS NO LOSS.

  1. Part of job lot – tomatoes, canned or pickled (6)

Answer: BLOTTO (i.e. “canned or pickled”, all slang words for “drunk”). “Part of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: JO(B LOT TO)MATOES.

  1. Coffee – third of morning, or second (6)

Answer: LATTER (i.e. the “second” of two things). Solution is LATTE (i.e. “coffee”) followed by R (i.e. “third [letter] of morning”).

  1. Refinement of character is inspiring when taken up (5)

Answer: SERIF (i.e. “refinement of character”, referring to the decorative feet stuck on the ends of characters in some typefaces). Solution is FIRES (i.e. “is inspiring”, as in firing someone up) reversed (indicated by “taken up” – this being a down clue).

  1. One of the herd, person needing will to succeed without extra teaching (6)

Answer: HEIFER (i.e. “one of the herd”, a young cow). Solution is HEIR (i.e. “person needing will to succeed”) wrapped around or placed “without” FE (i.e. “extra teaching”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Further Education), like so: HEI(FE)R.

  1. Danger to crops when temperature’s dropped in place (5)

Answer: LOCUS (i.e. “place”). Solution is LOCUST (i.e. “danger to crops”) with the T removed (indicated by “when temperature’s dropped” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “temperature”).

  1. Cosmetic daughter kept in cube, for example (6)

Answer: POWDER (i.e. “cosmetic”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) placed “in” POWER (i.e. “cube, for example”, being a number to the power of 3), like so: POW(D)ER.

  1. Representative having small drinks for each boy (11)

Answer: SALESPERSON (i.e. “representative”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by ALES (i.e. “drinks”), then PER (i.e. “for each”) and SON (i.e. “boy”).

  1. Conceded blunder when upset in split (11)

Answer: SURRENDERED (i.e. “conceded”). Solution is ERR (i.e. “blunder”) reversed (indicated by “when upset” – this being a down clue) and placed “in” SUNDERED (i.e. “split”), like so: SU(RRE)NDERED.

  1. Nocturnal mammal I caught in diabolical trap (5)

Answer: TAPIR (i.e. “nocturnal mammal”). Solution is I placed or “caught in” an anagram (indicated by “diabolical”) of TRAP, like so: TAP(I)R.

  1. It illuminates page after page in terrible mistrial (6,4)

Answer: SPIRIT LAMP (i.e. “it illuminates”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “page”) placed “after” P (ditto) once it has been put “in” an anagram (indicated by “terrible”) of MISTRIAL, like so: S(P)IRITLAM-P.

  1. Run into spy in a foreign country (9)

Answer: ARGENTINA (i.e. “foreign country” – unless you’re reading this in Argentina, of course). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games) placed “into” AGENT (i.e. “spy”) and followed by IN A, like so: A(R)GENT-IN-A.

  1. Since I had turned up, pianos and organ fade away (9)

Answer: DISAPPEAR (i.e. “fade away”). Solution is AS (i.e. “since”) and I’D (a contraction of “I had”) all reversed (indicated by “turned up” – this being a down clue). This is then followed by P and P (“pianos” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “piano” used in musical lingo), and EAR (i.e. “organ”), like so: (D’I-SA)-PP-EAR.

  1. Bargain with what used to be your secret (8)

Answer: STEALTHY (i.e. “secret”). Solution is STEAL (i.e. “bargain”, as in something being an absolute steal) followed by THY (i.e. “what used to be your”, i.e. ye olde form of “your”).

  1. Start of my statement of intent repeated after woman’s animosity (3,4)

Answer: ILL WILL (i.e. “animosity”). Solution is I’LL (i.e. “start of my statement of intent”, a contraction of I WILL) which is “repeated” after W (a recognised abbreviation of “woman”), like so: I’LL-(W)-I’LL.

  1. Ideology so affected by mass movement in Panama, say (7)

Answer: ISTHMUS (i.e. “Panama, say” – an isthmus is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger bodies of land. Panama is situated on the isthmus between North and South America). Solution is ISM (i.e. “ideology”) and THUS (i.e. “so”) once the M (a recognised abbreviation of “mass”) has been “moved”, like so: IS(M)-THUS => IS-TH(M)US.

  1. Magnificent, this owl watched by millions in US? (6)

Answer: SUPERB (i.e. “magnificent”). Clue plays on SUPERBOWL (i.e. a sporting event “watched by millions in US”) being written as SUPERB “OWL”, getting you the “this” of the clue. Interesting wordplay.

  1. A point each, otherwise leading (5)

Answer: AHEAD. A triple-header, I believe, satisfying “a point” when written as A HEAD, “each” again when written as “A HEAD” and “leading” when written as AHEAD.

  1. Fish detected under bridge? (5)

Answer: SMELT (i.e. a kind of “fish”). The remainder of the clue plays on the solution being the past tense of SMELL, and the “bridge” being part of one’s nose.

19 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1588

  1. Good work Lucian, thank you.

    We liked this one, found it reasonably challenging and thought all the clues were fair. Smiles for the ‘toast for campers’, especially because it took a while to twig.

    We didn’t spot the Amy March connection, so thank you for solving that mystery.

    Verona is well worth visiting, but the best advice is don’t bother paying to see Juliet’s balcony.

    My Collins lists Hero as “a priestess of Aphrodite, who killed herself when her lover Leander drowned while swimming the Hellespont to visit her”.

  2. Thanks, as ever. For 55a I would say that in ” I saw” the second word tends to be stressed more tnan the first, and in “eyesore” the first syllable tends to be stressed more…?

  3. Thanks Lucian. As you say, one which relies pretty heavily on general knowledge. I must admit I couldn’t quite bring myself to fill in MADAM until I’d confirmed all the letters, as it also requires the background knowledge of the “Madam, I’m Adam” story.

    Re 16a, yes, there are several scenes in R&J featuring Romeo and various other male characters, but I think the “scene” in the clue refers to a line in the prologue:

    “Two households, both alike in dignity,
    In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…”

    The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a different play entirely.

    Hope this helps. Take care, and stay safe. SB

  4. Thanks, Lucian. I enjoyed this one, some good clues I thought. Favourite was probably shift key and smelt was good too. Re 10a I had never heard of your madam I’m Adam palindrome so thanks for that. On the subject of palindromes, my favourite is “ A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.” Cheers

  5. As ever, thanks Lucian. I’d given up on the three beasts at the bottom you mentioned – glad you put me out of my misery.
    As often the case, I created my own problem. For 32a I had SPURIOUS (not true) which then stopped me getting LOCUS 28d. I had Spacious, and as that needed 2 changes to get Spurious, I reasoned the clue “a single alteration … Not true” was telling me a double alteration was needed. Ho hum. Cheers Graham

  6. Also, Ring is spot on for Operas as it is a cycle or collection of 4 operas.
    Re Will, I was so lucky to have Henry V at O level – perfect for a boy in those days. Also has Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea – short, simple, another ‘easy’ text for an exam.

  7. Thanks Lucian. Some imaginative clueing in this one I thought.
    I agree with Steve that ‘I soar’ has the stress on the second syllable whereas ‘eyesore’ has the stress on the first syllable.
    I’m surprised no one has mentioned that 6a. ‘Some of the French match we hope to avoid’ (Answer: ‘Despair’) was sadly appropriate this weekend.

  8. As an aside, I recall reading of a journalist’s original review of one of Wagner’s operas. It was “Die Walküre” if I recall. The Opera started at 6 p.m. and after three hours, the hapless reviewer found it was still only half past six.

    Even better, after the first performance of The Rite of Spring, another journalist gave it as “Le Massacre Du Printemps”.

    Anyway, I enjoyed this week’s jumbo. Clues were reasonably fair.

    1. In a similar vein Rossini is supposed to have said ‘Wagner has some marvellous moments but some dreadful quarters of an hour’.

      1. Hilarious, even if we do digress. There are some wonderful musical anecdotes. The late great Thomas Beecham, on being asked if he had ever conducted any Schoenberg, replied “No; but I once stepped in some.” On another occasion, being asked by a mother for a simple instrument for her child to learn, Beecham replied the bagpipes as they sound just the same when you have finished learning them as when you started.

        Time for another G&T I think – while I await next Saturday’s Jumbo challenge.

  9. Enjoyed this one – just the right level of difficulty and some good wordplay. Quite heavy snow today, so was glad to stay home and have something to tussle with.

    1. I’d wondered about that too. I don’t know what it says in the online edition, but in the paper edition it definitely says “Captial”, which doesn’t appear in my edition of Chambers. The answer suggests that it must be a misprint.

  10. Thank you Lucian.
    14a I considered that “Rocky, say” could also mean; liable to move, ie move-ey. A bit weak if true but perhaps the setter wasn’t completely bound to boxing

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