Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1599

A medium strength offering this week, which is probably just as well after last week’s stinker. 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 foxed you then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, were you’ll find links to hundreds of the things.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once the dust settles. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.


FBV (French-By-Volume): 5%

Across clues

  1. Great country ready at last stages event (8,5)

Answer: HIGHLAND GAMES (i.e. “event”). Solution is HIGH (i.e. “great”, e.g. high office) followed by LAND (i.e. “country”), then GAME (i.e. “ready”, as in I’m game) and S (i.e. “at last stages”, i.e. the last letter of “stages”).

  1. Just one Roman poet absorbing pressure (9)

Answer: IMPARTIAL (i.e. “just”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and MARTIAL (i.e. “Roman poet”) once wrapped around or “absorbing” P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”), like so: I-M(P)ARTIAL.

  1. Introduction to Aida expanded in accompaniment (5)

Answer: ALONG (i.e. “in accompaniment”). Solution is A (i.e. “introduction to Aida“, i.e. the first letter of “Aida”) followed by LONG (i.e. “expanded” or far-extended).

  1. Heroic drunkard not so wild about love and blunt refusal? (3,1,7)

Answer: TAM O’ SHANTER (i.e. Robert Burns’ “heroic drunkard”). Solution is TAMER (i.e. “not so wild”) wrapped “about” O (i.e. “love”, a zero score in tennis) and SHAN’T (i.e. “blunt refusal”, a contraction of shall not), like so: TAM(O-SHAN’T)ER. In the previous two occasions this solution has appeared in Jumbos it has been listed as (3,8) and (3-1-7). Is it any wonder solvers get frustrated with O’ solutions?

  1. Make fuss when avoiding a Greek island (5)

Answer: CRETE (i.e. “Greek island”). Solution is CREATE (i.e. slang for “make fuss”) with the A removed (indicated by “avoiding a”).

  1. Woolly bear changing to me: right! (5,4)

Answer: TIGER MOTH (i.e. “woolly bear”, it’s hairy caterpillar form). “Changing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO ME RIGHT.

  1. Kiln tested in pair’s absence (4)

Answer: OVEN (i.e. “kiln”). Solution is PROVEN (i.e. “tested”) with the PR removed (indicated by “in pair’s absence” – PR being a recognised abbreviation of “pair”).

  1. Send some French dressing (8)

Answer: DESPATCH (i.e. “send”). Solution is DES (i.e. “some French”, i.e. the French for “some”) followed by PATCH (i.e. “dressing”).

  1. Varnish from sweetheart: old sweetheart in retirement (6)

Answer: ENAMEL (i.e. “varnish”). Solution is E (i.e. “sweetheart”, i.e. the middle letter of “sweet”) followed by LEMAN (i.e. “old sweetheart”, an archaic term for a lover) once reversed (indicated by “in retirement”), like so: E-NAMEL.

  1. Saddle high and yet slipping for potential killer (6,10)

Answer: DEADLY NIGHTSHADE (i.e. “potential killer”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “slipping”) of SADDLE HIGH AND YET.

  1. At first those recruits helped and worked hard (9)

Answer: TRAVAILED (i.e. “worked hard”). Solution is T and R (i.e. “at first those recruits”, i.e. the first letters of “those” and “recruits”) followed by AVAILED (i.e. “helped”).

  1. Similar drinks put together with classy French wine (7)

Answer: CHATEAU (i.e. “French wine”). Solution is CHA and TEA (i.e. “similar drinks”, the former being slang for the latter) followed by U (i.e. “classy”, supposedly a recognised abbreviation of the upper classes).

  1. Like this young woman from East African port (5)

Answer: LAGOS (i.e. “African port”). Solution is SO (i.e. “like this”) and GAL (i.e. “young girl”) all reversed (indicated by “from east”, ignoring the misleading capitalisation and this being an across clue), like so: LAG-OS.

  1. Taking cautious approach, apply constant force to bull neutered in Crosby? (6,6)

Answer: BOXING CLEVER (i.e. “taking cautious approach”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”) and LEVER (i.e. to “force”) “applied…to” or placed after OX (i.e. “bull neutered”) once this has been placed “in” BING “Crosby”, like so: B(OX)ING-(C-LEVER).

  1. Up close and personal truth about drug of winner (4,2,4)

Answer: FACE TO FACE (i.e. “up close and personal”). Solution is FACT (i.e. “truth”) wrapped “about” E (i.e. “drug”, slang for ecstasy) and followed by OF, then ACE (i.e. “winner”), like so: FAC(E)T-OF-ACE.

  1. Ford’s meeting with British colonialist said to be turning point (10)

Answer: CROSSROADS (i.e. “turning point”). Solution is CROSS (i.e. to “ford”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “said”) of Cecil RHODES (i.e. “British colonialist”), like so: CROSS-ROADS.

  1. Charming women’s group granted cracking location in London (6,6)

Answer: COVENT GARDEN (i.e. “location in London”). Solution is COVEN (i.e. “charming women’s group”, referring to a gathering of witches) followed by an anagram (indicated by “cracking”) of GRANTED, like so: COVEN-TGARDEN.

  1. In sober company Thomas Stearns Eliot initially confused (2,3)

Answer: AT SEA (i.e. “confused”). Solution is TSE (i.e. “Thomas Stearns Eliot initially”, i.e. the first letters of “Thomas”, “Stearns” and “Eliot”) placed “in” AA (i.e. “sober company”, being Alcoholics Anonymous), like so: A(TSE)A.

  1. A staff with stone inlaid for Bartholomew? (7)

Answer: APOSTLE (i.e. Saint “Bartholomew”). Solution is A followed by POLE (i.e. “staff”) once “inlaid” with ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stone”), like so: A-PO(ST)LE.

  1. Caution cleaner in vessel carrying ecstasy (9)

Answer: CHARINESS (i.e. “caution”). Solution is CHAR (i.e. a “cleaner”) followed by IN and SS (i.e. “vessel”, being a recognised abbreviation of a steamship) once they are wrapped around or “carrying” E (slang for “ecstasy”, covered earlier), like so: CHAR-IN-(E)-SS.

  1. Writer, barbarian coming in to duel crazily with Harry (6,5,5)

Answer: ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE (i.e. “writer”). Solution is CONAN (i.e. Robert E Howard’s “barbarian”) placed or “coming in” an anagram (indicated by “crazily”) of TO DUEL and HARRY.

  1. Zoom lens? (6)

Answer: WEBCAM. Clue plays on “Zoom” being a video conferencing platform. You get the idea.

  1. Climate measure: one representing sun in autumn? (8)

Answer: RAINFALL (i.e. “climate measure”). Solution is RA (i.e. “one representing sun” in Ancient Egypt) followed by IN and FALL (i.e. “autumn”).

  1. Close to piano bar in whisky town (4)

Answer: OBAN (i.e. Scottish “whisky town”). Solution is O (i.e. “close to piano”, i.e. the last letter of “piano”) followed by BAN (i.e. to “bar”).

  1. Communist power avoided by extremely smart mountaineer (9)

Answer: STALINIST (i.e. “communist”). Solution is ST (i.e. “extremely smart”, i.e. the first and last letters of “smart”) and ALPINIST (i.e. “mountaineer”) once the P has been removed (indicated by “power avoided by…” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “power”), like so: ST-ALINIST.

  1. Soak leaving biscuits for Cremonese craftsman (5)

Answer: AMATI (i.e. “Cremonese craftsman” – (cough) – made to fit – (cough)). Solution is AMARETTI (i.e. almond “biscuits”) with the RET (i.e. to “soak”) removed or “leaving”.

  1. Cutting down on waste, mince is no-go for cooking (11)

Answer: ECONOMISING (i.e. “cutting down on waste”). “For cooking” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MINCE IS NO-GO.

  1. Henry with a dark film genre shortly generates capital (5)

Answer: HANOI (i.e. “capital” of Vietnam). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “Henry”, a unit of electrical inductivity) followed by A and NOIR (i.e. “dark film genre”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “shortly”), like so: H-A-NOI.

  1. Joining programme in French, large team coming into decline (9)

Answer: ENROLMENT (i.e. “joining programme”). Solution is EN (i.e. “in French”, i.e. the French for “in”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and MEN (i.e. “team” – you know, I could have sworn we had women’s sports these days. Shows what I know) once both placed “into” ROT (i.e. “decline”), like so: EN-RO(L-MEN)T.

  1. Not demanding numbers for an audience? (4,9)

Answer: EASY LISTENING. Solution satisfies the clue as a whole, being musical “numbers” of a more gentle persuasion. It also comprises EASY (i.e. “not demanding”) and LISTENING (i.e. “for an audience”, in a hand-wavy don’t-look-too-closely kind of way).

Down clues

  1. Sincerely believed explosive material about creative works (9)

Answer: HEARTFELT (i.e. “sincerely believed”). Solution is HE (i.e. “explosive”, specifically High Explosive) and FELT (i.e. “material”) wrapped “about” ART (i.e. “creative works”), like so: HE-(ART)-FELT.

  1. Country girl in state (7)

Answer: GEORGIA. A triple-header this one, satisfying “country”, a “girl’s” name and a US “state”.

  1. Enigma resolved with elder’s magical skill (11)

Answer: LEGERDEMAIN (i.e. “magical skill” or sleight of hand). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “resolved”) of ENIGMA and ELDER. Disappointing to see the same solution repeated a week later, and the third time in under a year. Come on, setters, step away from your GridFill 4000™s once in a while. Algorithmic word selection serves to narrow choice. Do you think an algorithm is going to select a word like XYLEM in the early stages of a grid fill? Of course not. You’re more likely to see XYLEM on the edges of a grid as the algorithm gets further away from its start point (or from whichever seed words and phrases the setter places in the grid at the beginning). An algorithm is always going to favour words with high proportions of popular letters to help increase its potential pool of intersecting words, which is why we keep seeing the same solutions crop up again and again (see ERNST, ELFIN and RAITA, previous bugbears of mine).

  1. People’s knight fighting to oust Camelot’s leader (6)

Answer: NATION (i.e. “people”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) followed by ACTION (i.e. “fighting”) once the C has been removed (indicated by “to oust Camelot’s leader”, i.e. the first letter of “Camelot”), like so: N-ATION.

  1. Glue’s thought to secure one that protects pugilist (9)

Answer: GUMSHIELD (i.e. “one that protects pugilist”). Solution is GUM’S (i.e. “glue’s”) followed by HELD (i.e. “thought”) once wrapped around or “securing” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: GUM’S-H(I)ELD.

  1. Professional negligence news boss managed badly (12)

Answer: MISCONDUCTED (i.e. “managed badly”). Solution is MISCONDUCT (i.e. “professional negligence”) followed by ED (i.e. “news boss”, short for editor).

  1. Get out fast packaging cold ready-cooked chicken? (7-3)

Answer: SCAREDY-CAT (i.e. “chicken” or coward). Solution is SCAT (i.e. “get out fast”) wrapped around or “packaging” C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold” sometimes used on taps) and an anagram (indicated by “cooked”) of READY, like so: S(C-AREDY)CAT.

  1. First nine letters here sent north and one abroad? (4)

Answer: IOTA (i.e. “one [letter] abroad”, specifically the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet). Solution is A TO I (i.e. “first nine letters”) reversed (indicated by “sent north” – this being a down clue), like so: I-OT-A.

  1. Choice cut doorman criminally takes outside hostelry (11,5)

Answer: PORTERHOUSE STEAK (i.e. “choice cut” of meat). Solution is PORTER (i.e. “doorman”) and an anagram (indicated by “criminally”) of TAKES wrapped around or placed “outside” of HOUSE (i.e. “hostelry”), like so: PORTER-(HOUSE)-STEAK.

  1. Duke leaves MP to state main points again (5)

Answer: RECAP (i.e. “state main points again”). Solution is RED CAP (i.e. “MP”, in this case a Military Policeman) with the D (a recognised abbreviation of “duke”) removed or “leaving”.

  1. Laziness in monarch Spanish aunt supports (7)

Answer: INERTIA (i.e. “laziness”). Solution is IN followed by ER (i.e. “monarch”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) and TIA (i.e. “Spanish aunt”, i.e. the Spanish for “aunt”).

  1. Right to hold authentic beer mug in small 4 (13)

Answer: LIECHTENSTEIN (i.e. a “small 4” – the answer to 4d being NATION). Solution is LIEN (i.e. a legal “right”) wrapped around or “holding” ECHT (i.e. “authentic”, from the German) and followed by STEIN (i.e. “beer mug”), like so: LI(ECHT)EN-STEIN.

  1. Deliver large carpet around one (8)

Answer: LIBERATE (i.e. “deliver”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and BERATE (i.e. to “carpet” someone) wrapped “around” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: L-(I)-BERATE.

  1. Portuguese saint swallowing fifty-five shots (5)

Answer: SALVO (i.e. “shots”). Solution is SÃO (i.e. “Portuguese saint”, i.e. the Portuguese for “saint”) wrapped around or “swallowing” LV (i.e. “fifty-five” expressed in Roman numerals), like so: SÃ(LV)O.

  1. Voters’ group not yet in, real cool, relaxed, on making entry (9,7)

Answer: ELECTORAL COLLEGE (i.e. “voters’ group”). Solution is ELECT (i.e. “not yet in” office) followed by an anagram (indicated by “relaxed”) of REAL COOL once wrapped around or being “entered” by LEG (i.e. “on” side in cricket), like so: ELECT-ORALCOL(LEG)E.

  1. In a practical sense, team hardly careless (7)

Answer: ANXIOUS (i.e. “hardly careless”). Solution is A and NOUS (i.e. “practical sense”) wrapped around or having “in” XI (i.e. “team”, or eleven in Roman numerals), like so: A-N(XI)OUS.

  1. Matriarch perhaps on river, well-respected person (7)

Answer: GRANDEE (i.e. “well-respected person”). Solution is GRAN (i.e. “matriarch”) followed by DEE (i.e. Scottish “river”).

  1. Writer crowned after graduate, with two Cs, getting a degree (13)

Answer: BACCALAUREATE (i.e. “degree”). Solution is LAUREATE (i.e. “writer crowned”, the latter playing on being crowned with a laurel) placed “after” BA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Bachelor of Arts), CC (i.e. “two Cs”) and A, like so: (BA-CC-A)-LAUREATE.

  1. In Row D? (3-2-3)

Answer: END-TO-END. Solution satisfies “in row” and, cryptically, “D”, being the last letter or the END TO the word “END”. Nicely done.

  1. In company with relatives leaving a prosperous region (4,8)

Answer: HOME COUNTIES (i.e. “prosperous region” of England). Solution is HOME (i.e. “in”, or at home) followed by CO (short for “company”) and AUNTIES (i.e. “relatives”) once the A has been removed (indicated by “leaving a”), like so: HOME-CO-UNTIES.

  1. Mayhem: United supporters up for it? (5)

Answer: SNAFU (i.e. “mayhem”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “United”) and FANS (i.e. “supporters”) all reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: SNAF-U.

  1. Traditional hymn not Garbo’s likely choice? (5,4,2)

Answer: ABIDE WITH ME (i.e. “traditional hymn”). The remainder of the clue plays on the opposite of a famous line ascribed to Greta “Garbo”, being “I want to be alone”.

  1. Way old New York dealer briefly becomes hard up (5-5)

Answer: STONY-BROKE (i.e. “hard up”). Solution is ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”) followed by O (ditto “old”) and NY (ditto ditto “New York”), then BROKER (i.e. “dealer”) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: ST-O-NY-BROKE.

  1. Heavenly Satie composition? Little room to accommodate it (9)

Answer: CELESTIAL (i.e. “heavenly”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “composition”) of SATIE placed in or “accommodated” by CELL (i.e. “little room”), like so: CEL(LESTIA)L.

  1. Song George Harrison wrote, part obsession (9)

Answer: SOMETHING (i.e. Beatles “song George Harrison wrote”, appearing on the Abbey Road album). Solution is SOME (i.e. “part”) and THING (i.e. “obsession”, as in having a thing for something).

  1. Into which one may disappear – on high Himalayan slopes? (4,3)

Answer: THIN AIR. Solution satisfies “into which one may disappear” and something found “on high Himalayan slopes”.

  1. Red from Italy greeting worker in Channel Islands (7)

Answer: CHIANTI (i.e. “red from Italy”). Solution is HI (i.e. “greeting”) and ANT (i.e. “worker”) both placed “in” CI (short for the “Channel Islands”), like so: C(HI-ANT)I.

  1. Criminal bands imprisoning English banker (6)

Answer: GANGES (i.e. “banker” or river, as in how they have riverbanks). Solution is GANGS (i.e. “criminal bands”) wrapped around or “imprisoning” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: GANG(E)S.

  1. Force over channel is gathering (5)

Answer: FRILL (i.e. a “gathering” or ruffle). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “force”) followed by RILL (i.e. “channel” or stream).

  1. Vampire maybe seizing type of blood vessel (4)

Answer: BOAT (i.e. “vessel”). Solution is BAT (i.e. “vampire maybe”) wrapped around or “seizing” O (i.e. “type of blood”), like so: B(O)AT.

7 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1599

  1. Good fun this week, despite the puzzling repeat of Legerdemain and a couple of loosey goosey clues.
    I got off to a bad start because ‘heroic drunk’ immediately made me think of Rab C Nesbitt (3,1,7) and it took a while to shake that thought out of my head.
    By the way, is Oban a “whisky town”? It is a bustling port. There is a distillery but then there are hundreds around.
    Heartfelt appreciation of your good work Lucian!

  2. Thanks, Lucian. Agreed much easier than last week’s. Re 26a Chateau, I don’t remember ever hearing a French wine referred to as a chateau. Chateau Latour or Chateau Yquem, for instance (rarely obviously) but never simply chateau. Cheers

  3. Given 12d, I am looking forward to seeing your ‘German by volume’ gif 😉

    I found this very enjoyable – just the right level of difficulty- although I share the raised eyebrow at 14a letter indicators.

    And it occurred to me that we (ie us comment contributors) spend a lot of time pointing out where setters play a little too fast and loose with conventions but (just in case any setters did happen upon this obscure corner of the internet) I would like to say that any frustrations pale in comparison to the enjoyment I get from the many hours I spend each weekend on the jumbo (even when it’s more hours than I would like). So, dear setters, thank you, thank you 🙏. We’ll try to keep you honest. It may be that our gratitude is clearly implied from the fact that we regularly end up here on a Sunday evening, but sometimes these things need to be said explicitly.

  4. Joining Dooj’s heartfelt thanks to our setters. We know from his weekly emails that Richard Rogan (Times Crossword editor) and his Sunday Times oppo do take notice of solvers’ feedback on various websites. If you chance upon this, Richard: we love you, keep up the consistency that keeps bringing me back to the Jumbo as my puzzle of choice.
    On 26a, chateau bottled would be a common appellation for such a wine (which would likely be from France), so fair enough.
    On 52a, Lucian was attacked by the coughs, but musicians the world over admire the name Amati, associate it with Cremona, and wouldn’t see see it as ‘made to fit’. We cannot have it both ways: objecting to inevitable repetitions (doubtless from different setters, who can’t control the sequence of publication of their work), yet also objecting to solutions deemed too obscure.
    The clues I like best are the succinct, witty and contemporary ones, eg ‘Zoom lens’ for Webcam. Even better if the clue is shorter than its solution, eg ‘In Row D?’ for End-to-end. And I do like a bit of pop culture along the way, eg Beatles songs, Bing Crosby and Garbo. And foreign lingos other than French (Gernman and even Portuguese this week, and not too obscure when you think of São Paulo).
    Basically, anything that makes me smile once I twig.

  5. I second the comments about negative and positive praise for setters. We all have different strong and weak areas of knowledge, so it’s impossible to satisfy everyone.
    That said, I enjoyed this puzzle as a goodish mix of clues. As usual, I’m grateful Lucian for explaining some of the parsing. I didn’t spot the leg/on in 23d. Maybe you tempted Les Deux by missing legerdemain last week in the FBV, so we got it again. Cheers all -Graham

  6. Thanks Lucian. This was a walk in the park compared to last week, despite the repeat of LEGERDEMAIN (good point, Graham!) and the combination of an obscurity and a sneaky multiple deletion in 52a. I realised fairly early on that it must be AMATI, but it was my husband who worked out the parsing.

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  7. Dear Lucien, SNAFU, 34 down, is a true acronym: Situation Normal, All Fucked Up. It is usually credited as being a US Armed Forces expression from WWll, and was adopted by our servicemen and women. It means any cock-up, not just mayhem, as anyone who has served, knows.

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