Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1589

A medium strength Jumbo this week, and another I could happily chip away at during the day. A good ‘un, then. I might not have thought the same a couple of years ago, but I’m a little wiser now to some of the obscure stuff that crops up in these things.

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 got your goat then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of ’em.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve set down their pens. I’ll be away from the keyboard over Christmas but, all being well, I’ll be back before the New Year. Till then have a Merry Christmas, wrap up well and stay safe out there, kids.


FBV (French-By-Volume): 1.7%

Across clues

  1. Fabric cut in back and put on view (6)

Answer: MOHAIR (i.e. “fabric” – can cover the goat hair or the material eventually made from it). Solution is HOME (i.e. “in”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “cut”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “back”). This is then followed by AIR (i.e. “view”), like so: MOH-AIR.

  1. Vase from Parma smashed outside little house (7)

Answer: AMPHORA (i.e. “vase”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “smashed”) of PARMA wrapped around or placed “outside” of HO (i.e. “little house”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “house”), like so: AMP(HO)RA.

  1. Performance tribal leader captured initially in recording (3,5)

Answer: TAP DANCE (i.e. “performance”). Solution is DAN (i.e. “tribal leader”, referring to the Tribe of Dan, one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Took a while to remember this from a previous Jumbo) and C (i.e. “captured initially”, i.e. the first letter of “captured”) both placed “in” TAPE (i.e. “recording”), like so: TAP(DAN-C)E.

  1. Individual in grotty aerodrome who contrived to be short-lived (4,5,4,8)

Answer: HERE TODAY GONE TOMORROW (i.e. “short-lived”, unlike Sir John Nott’s response to the line). Solution is ONE (i.e. “individual”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “contrived”) of GROTTY AERODROME WHO, like so: HERETODAYG(ONE)TOMORROW.

  1. Retired Hull partner’s holding tax for return (8)

Answer: EMERITUS (i.e. “retired”). Solution is EMU’S (i.e. “Hull partner’s”, referring to Rod Hull and Emu. I made a dig a few weeks ago about how popular culture for Times setters seemed to end in the 1970s. I take it all back) wrapped around or “holding” TIRE (i.e. to “tax” or burden upon) once reversed (indicated by “for return”), like so: EM(ERIT)U’S.

  1. Love doctor, Nancy’s friend, modelling in paper (7)

Answer: ORIGAMI (i.e. “modelling in paper”). Solution is O (i.e. “love”, a zero score in tennis) followed by RIG (i.e. to “doctor” something) and AMI (i.e. “Nancy’s friend”, i.e. the French for “friend”; Nancy is a city in France).

  1. Quarrel coming after fine for litter (6)

Answer: FARROW (i.e. a “litter” of pigs). Solution is ARROW (i.e. “quarrel” – a variant meaning is a square-headed arrow, apparently) placed “after” F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils), like so: F-ARROW.

  1. Visits duke declined (4,2,4)

Answer: GOES TO SEED (i.e. “declined”). Solution is GOES TO SEE (i.e. “visits”) followed by D (a recognised abbreviation of “duke”).

  1. Ridiculously lively press surrounding English or US icon (5,7)

Answer: ELVIS PRESLEY (i.e. “US icon”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “ridiculously”) of LIVELY PRESS wrapped around or “surrounding” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: ELVISPR(E)SLEY.

  1. Wine in a small container any number refused (4)

Answer: ASTI (i.e. “wine”). Solution is A followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and TIN (i.e. “container”) once the N has been removed (indicated by “any number refused” – in maths, n is used to represent any number), like so: A-S-TI.

  1. One active in small hours close to lough, drinking whiskey (5,3)

Answer: NIGHT OWL (i.e. “one active in small hours”). Solution is NIGH (i.e. “close”), TO and L (a recognised abbreviation of “lough”, loch or lake) wrapped around or “drinking” W (“whiskey” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: NIGH-TO-(W)-L.

  1. Assess empty learner replacing academic at last (8)

Answer: EVALUATE (i.e. “assess”). Solution is EVACUATE (i.e. to “empty”) with L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner”, e.g. L-plates) “replacing” C (i.e. “academic at last”, i.e. the last letter of “academic”), like so: EVA(C)UATE => EVA(L)UATE.

  1. Spice received by South American celebrity (6,6)

Answer: GINGER ROGERS (i.e. “American celebrity”). Solution is GINGER (i.e. “spice”) followed by ROGER (i.e. acknowledged or “received” in radio comms lingo) and S (a recognised abbreviation of “south”).

  1. Opposition from MI6 on a new tax (10)

Answer: ANTITHESIS (i.e. “opposition”). Solution is SIS (i.e. “MI6”, also known as the Secret Intelligence Service) placed “on” or after A, N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and TITHE (i.e. “tax”), like so: (A-N-TITHE)-SIS.

  1. CIA ensnaring fool, minor poet occasionally following stars (10)

Answer: CASSIOPEIA (i.e. “stars” or constellation). Solution is CIA wrapped around or “ensnaring” ASS (i.e. “fool”) and IOPE (i.e. “minor poet occasionally”, i.e. every other letter of MINOR POET), like so: C-(ASS-IOPE)IA. One nailed from the wordplay, unsurprisingly.

  1. Eventually stop throat gland twitching – after one’s swallowed? (5,2,1,4)

Answer: GRIND TO A HALT (i.e. “eventually stop”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “twitching”) of THROAT GLAND once wrapped around or “swallowing” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: GR(I)NDTOAHALT.

  1. Changes appearance of tyres given new tread (8)

Answer: REMOULDS. Solution satisfies “changes appearance” and “tyres given new tread”.

  1. Conservative having to accept Liberal’s acting the fool (8)

Answer: CLOWNING (i.e. “acting the fool”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) and OWNING (i.e. “having”) all wrapped around or “accepting” L (a recognised abbreviation of “Liberal”), like so: C-(L)-OWNING.

  1. Not seen: heard in fog (4)

Answer: MIST. Solution satisfies a homophone (indicated by “heard”) of MISSED (i.e. “not seen”), and also satisfies “fog”.

  1. Story always having to go round for cheque’s intended recipient (7,5)

Answer: ACCOUNT PAYEE (i.e. “cheque’s intended recipient”). Solution is ACCOUNT (i.e. “story”) and AY (i.e. poetic form of “always”) once placed in or “having…round” PEE (i.e. “to go”), like so: ACCOUNT-P(AY)EE.

  1. Avoidance, or non-appearance, to include time at home? (10)

Answer: ABSTINENCE (i.e. “avoidance”). Solution is ABSENCE (i.e. “non-appearance”) wrapped around or “including” T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and IN (i.e. “home”), like so: ABS(T-IN)ENCE.

  1. Endlessly dreadful meat that makes change in Casablanca? (6)

Answer: DIRHAM (i.e. “change in Casablanca”, or Moroccan currency). Solution is DIRE (i.e. “dreadful”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”) and the remainder followed by HAM (i.e. “meat”), like so: DIR-HAM.

  1. Egyptian god leaving horse outside pub with eastern bard (7)

Answer: ORPHEUS (i.e. “bard” of Greek myth). Solution is HORUS (i.e. “Egyptian god”) with the H removed (indicated by “leaving horse” – H and “horse” are both slang references to heroin) and the remainder placed “outside” of PH (i.e. “pub”, specifically Public House) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”), like so: OR(PH-E)US.

  1. Important way alpha male does twirl wearing women’s clothes (4,4)

Answer: MAIN DRAG (i.e. “important way” or the main street of a town, mainly a US thing). Solution is A (“alpha” in the phonetic alphabet) and M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) reversed (indicated by “does twirl”) and followed by IN DRAG (i.e. “wearing women’s clothes” within the context of the clue), like so: M-A-(IN-DRAG).

  1. Easiest way Allies often organised underground fighters (4,2,5,10)

Answer: LINE OF LEAST RESISTANCE (i.e. “easiest way”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “organised”) of ALLIES OFTEN followed by RESISTANCE (i.e. “underground fighters”).

  1. Lock spring breaks to give uninvited access (8)

Answer: TRESPASS (i.e. “uninvited access”). Solution is TRESS (i.e. “lock” of hair) wrapped around or “broken” by SPA (i.e. water “spring”), like so: TRES(SPA)S.

  1. On about knight buried in card player’s grave (7)

Answer: EARNEST (i.e. over-serious or “grave”). Solution is RE (i.e. “on” or regarding – think email replies) wrapped “about” N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) and the whole placed “in” EAST (i.e. “card player” in a game of bridge), like so: EA(R(N)E)ST.

  1. Debauched son initially hooked on strong Levantine booze (6)

Answer: RAKISH (i.e. “debauched”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) and H (i.e. “initially hooked”, i.e. the first letter of “hooked”) both placed “on” or after RAKI (i.e. “strong Levantine booze”), like so: (RAKI)-S-H.

Down clues

  1. Celtic characters in hotel try rolls before noon (5)

Answer: OGHAM (i.e. “Celtic characters” or alphabet). Solution is H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet) and GO (i.e. attempt or “try”) all reversed (indicated by “rolls”) and followed by AM (i.e. “before noon”), like so: (OG-H)-AM. One remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

  1. Sailor in a hurry to accommodate Irish, improving image (11)

Answer: AIRBRUSHING (i.e. “improving image”). Solution is AB (i.e. “sailor”, specifically one of Able-Bodied rank) and RUSHING (i.e. “in a hurry”) all wrapped around or “accommodating” IR (a recognised abbreviation of “Irish”), like so: A(IR)B-RUSHING.

  1. Run over by Hulot’s creator on cycle (8)

Answer: ROTATION (i.e. “cycle”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games), O (ditto “over”, this time in cricket), then Jacques TATI (i.e. “Hulot’s creator”) and ON.

  1. Vikings heading down to the middle Peak District (5)

Answer: ANDES (i.e. “peak district” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is DANES (i.e. “Vikings”) with the D (its “heading”) placed “down to the middle”, like so: (D)ANES => AN(D)ES.

  1. Board has power replacing leading trio in film industry (7)

Answer: PLYWOOD (i.e. “board”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) “replacing” HOL (i.e. “leading trio in film industry”, i.e. the first three letters of HOLLYWOOD), like so: (HOL)LYWOOD => (P)LYWOOD.

  1. Pleasant-smelling rose our Fido chewed (11)

Answer: ODORIFEROUS (i.e. “pleasant-smelling”). “Chewed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ROSE OUR FIDO.

  1. Stories about sappers in scene of conflict (5)

Answer: ARENA (i.e. “scene of conflict”). Solution is ANA (i.e. “stories” – over to Chambers: “a collection of someone’s table talk or of gossip, literary anecdotes or possessions”. A useful one to keep in mind as it crops up from time to time in cryptic clues) wrapped “about” RE (i.e. “sappers”, in this case the Royal Engineers of the British Army), like so: A(RE)NA.

  1. Disagreed also with a thousand children (4,5)

Answer: TOOK ISSUE (i.e. “disagreed”). Solution is TOO (i.e. “also”) followed by K (i.e. “a thousand”, short for “kilo”) and ISSUE (i.e. “children”).

  1. Page covering mathematical sequence (5)

Answer: PROOF (i.e. “mathematical sequence” – oof, just had a flashback to A-level calculus. I could have done without that…) Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “page”) followed by ROOF (i.e. “covering”).

  1. Surprise with ear affected when this changes? (3,8)

Answer: AIR PRESSURE. The solution satisfies the clue taken as a whole, but also comprises an anagram (indicated by “affected”) of SURPRISE and EAR.

  1. Ranch hand from old west quietly immersed in drink (7)

Answer: COWPOKE (i.e. “ranch hand” over in the US). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), W (ditto “west”) and P (ditto-ish “quietly”, being “piano” in music lingo) all placed or “immersed in” COKE (i.e. “drink”), like so: C(O-W-P)OKE.

  1. Stubborn stain to be treated (9)

Answer: OBSTINATE (i.e. “stubborn”). “Treated” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of STAIN TO BE.

  1. Example chapter taken from long story book (7)

Answer: EPITOME (i.e. “example”). Solution is EPIC (i.e. “long story”) with the C (a recognised abbreviation of “chapter”) “taken away” and the remainder followed by TOME (i.e. “book”) like so: EPI-TOME.

  1. Philistine victory over European initially reduced (9)

Answer: VULGARIAN (i.e. “philistine”). Solution is V (a recognised abbreviation of “victory”, e.g. in V-day; weirdly, Chambers doesn’t explicitly support V on its own for “victory”) followed by BULGARIAN (i.e. “European”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “initially reduced”), like so: V-ULGARIAN.

  1. Editor’s job to conceal Democrat opposition to political change (8)

Answer: REACTION (i.e. “opposition to political change” – again, not explicitly supported by Chambers, but falls under a more general definition of “an action or change in an opposite direction”). Solution is REDACTION (i.e. “editor’s job”) with the D (a recognised abbreviation of “Democrat”) removed or “concealed”.

  1. Superior-sounding structure unknown in priesthood (9)

Answer: HIERARCHY (i.e. “priesthood”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “sounding”) of HIGHER (i.e. “superior”) followed by ARCH (i.e. “structure”) and Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in clues as unknowns), like so: HIER-ARCH-Y.

  1. Drink repercussions disheartened sleuth must accept (6,3)

Answer: TRIPLE SEC (i.e. “drink”). Solution is RIPPLES (i.e. “repercussions”) with the middle letter removed (indicated by “disheartened”) and the remainder placed in or “accepted” by TEC (i.e. “sleuth”, short for “detective”), like so: T(RIPLES)EC.

  1. Bear left turning for city and borough there? (8)

Answer: BROOKLYN (i.e. “borough” of New York). Solution is BROOK (i.e. to “bear”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and NY (a recognised abbreviation of “New York”, the “city” in question) once the latter has been reversed (indicated by “turning”), like so: BROOK-L-YN.

  1. News items Henry substituted with primitive thoughts (7)

Answer: TIDINGS (i.e. “news”). Solution is THINGS (i.e. “items”) with the H (a recognised abbreviation of “Henry”, a unit of measurement that’s proven popular of late among setters) “substituted with” ID (i.e. “primitive thoughts” in the realm of psychology), like so: T(H)INGS => T(ID)INGS.

  1. Vote to have cards on display? (4,2,5)

Answer: SHOW OF HANDS. Solution satisfies “vote” and, playfully, “have [playing] cards on display”.

  1. Board game – single punter to excel (2,3,6)

Answer: GO ONE BETTER (i.e. “to excel”). Solution is GO (i.e. “board game”) followed by ONE (i.e. “single”) and BETTER (i.e. “punter”).

  1. Composer one carrying can ultimately appearing in Private Eye (11)

Answer: Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (i.e. “composer”). Solution is HUMPER (i.e. “one carrying”) followed by N (i.e. “can ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “can”) once placed “in” DICK (i.e. “private eye” – ignore the misleading capitalisation, both are informal references to private investigators), like so: HUMPER-DI(N)CK.

  1. Playwright parking in London area, indications centrally ignored (9)

Answer: SOPHOCLES (i.e. ancient Greek “playwright”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “parking” used in signage) placed “in” SOHO (i.e. “London area”) and followed by CLUES (i.e. “indications”) once its middle letter has been removed (indicated by “centrally ignored”), like so: SO(P)HO-CLES.

  1. Left for Romans, most of Greek wine is revolting (8)

Answer: SINISTER (i.e. “left for Romans”, i.e. the Latin for “left”). Solution is RETSINA (i.e. “Greek wine”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “most of”) and the remainder followed by IS. The whole is then reversed (indicated by “revolting”, as in an uprising – this being a down clue), like so: SI-NISTER.

  1. German poet loses head, seeing horror film (7)

Answer: CHILLER (i.e. “horror film”). Solution is Friedrich SCHILLER (i.e. “German poet”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “loses head”).

  1. True: sea can be cold (7)

Answer: AUSTERE (i.e. “cold” and unforgiving). “Can be” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TRUE SEA.

  1. Low note in brass (5)

Answer: MOOLA (i.e. “brass”, both slang terms for money). Solution is MOO (i.e. “low”, or the noise a cow makes) followed by LA (a “note” in the sol-fa notation).

  1. Silver penny no longer in circulation? (5)

Answer: PLATE (i.e. “silver”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “penny”) followed by LATE (i.e. deceased or “no longer in circulation”, playfully referencing one’s circulatory system).

  1. First and second swapping places, getting damp (5)

Answer: MOIST (i.e. “damp”). Solution is IST (i.e. “first”, with the 1 replaced with its Roman numeral equivalent) and MO (i.e. “second”, short for a “moment”) “swapping places”, like so: MO-IST.

  1. States not entirely hostile (5)

Answer: AVERS (i.e. “states”). Solution is AVERSE (i.e. “hostile”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “not entirely”).

11 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1589

  1. Thanks Lucian. A bit of a mixed bag this week, we thought. Some clever clues, but also some pretty obscure stuff, and a few too many deletions and substitutions for our liking.

    Take care, stay safe, and have a wonderful Christmas. SB

  2. Phew. An enjoyable and doable puzzle after a couple of harder weeks. Didn’t spot the desperate tribe clue DAN in 9a so thanks for that Lucian, and wishing all a happy midwinter.

  3. One wrong- I guessed at VO(a)LBANIAN, which could have been right given some of the other words that were hit and hope such as DIRHAM, COWPOKE, CASSIOPEIA. Thanks as ever for the blog.

  4. Thanks, Lucian. A good one this week. Favourite was Emeritus. I wonder if Michael Parkinson does the jumbo. Cheers

  5. Not too easy, not too hard, not too many obscurities – so that ticks the boxes!
    We didn’t fully understand the parsing of Mohair or Account Payee until you showed us the way, thank you.
    My Collins has Moolah with an H (which I’m sure is the way Arthur Daley would spell it).
    We thought Air Pressure was rather clever.
    Enjoy your Christmas break! Do hurry back to put us out of our misery with the Crimbo Jumbo specials!

  6. Re: 4d: (Ans. = ROTATION), I did see many years ago “Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot” in a cinema in Croydon. It was the funniest film and the whole audience were splitting their sides, laughing. So many great visual jokes.

    Have a look if you can find it on YouTube. In these depressed times, I promise that you will have a good laugh.

    1. Ah yes! My local station used to play a game, telling everyone on platform 1 their train would arrive on platform 5. Then when 200 commuters had made their way across, another announcement, sorry, it will be platform 1.
      Exactly the same at the start of M. Hulot’s holiday.

  7. Enjoyed 14a Emeritus, also 9d Took issue, and 33d Show of hands (I always like the succinct clues best, ideally shorter than the solution). Thank you Lucian as ever for the parsings, many of which I completely miss. Thanks also sirram999 for the reminder of ‘Monsieur Hulot’s Holidays’, one of my father’s favourite films, which I have indeed found on YouTube and intend to savour again one of these long dark evenings.

    1. It’s a wonderful film. A few months ago, during a visit to France, we found the station where the opening sequence was filmed. It’s in Dol-de-Bretagne. The station is a bit smaller now than it was in 1951, but the whole of the underpass is still there.

      Another interesting piece of trivia: the “Jaws” scene was a much later addition.

  8. Yay! I finished one. A rare event. Only ever do these with the knowledge I have and making up words I’ve never heard of from the clue. Confirming their validity (however obscure they seem) online. Then I need the fabulous Lucian😇 to establish the logic for which I am grateful.
    Merry Xmas all. Be well.

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