Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1605

A half-and-half Jumbo this week: half-easy, half-toughie, as you can probably see from the grid. Too uneven for my tastes, though some good clueing made up for it. I almost forgot to finish this post as the Senior Darts this weekend has been an absorbing watch. Good to see it on national TV now, and congratulations to Leonard Gates on becoming the Champion of Champions.

Back to the Jumbo, 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 shrugging your shoulders then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, 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 other solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.


FBV (French-By-Volume): 1.6%

Across clues

  1. Belted out ditty about drink (7)

Answer: SANGRIA (i.e. “drink”). Solution is SANG (i.e. “belted out”) followed by AIR (i.e. “ditty”) once reversed (indicated by “about”), like so: SANG-RIA.

  1. Person who “liberates” a bit of Assam? (3,4)

Answer: TEA LEAF. Solution satisfies “person who ‘liberates’”, being the cockney rhyming slang for a thief, and “a bit of Assam”, being a variety of tea.

  1. Returning half-sober answer on occasion (2,5)

Answer: AT TIMES (i.e. “on occasion”). Solution is SEMI-TT (i.e. “half-sober” – TT is a recognised abbreviation of “teetotal” – not quite sure how anyone can be semi-teetotal, but never mind) and A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A) all reversed (indicated by “returning”), like so: A-TT-IMES.

  1. Very ill-informed GP rationing shot (3-8)

Answer: PIG-IGNORANT (i.e. “very ill-informed”). “Shot” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GP RATIONING.

  1. Ruthless examination for PhD? (5,6)

Answer: THIRD DEGREE (i.e. “ruthless examination”). The remainder of the clue also playfully satisfies “PhD”, much like it did a couple of months ago when this clue last appeared. Ho hum!

  1. New Year in French style for southern African native (5)

Answer: NYALA (i.e. a large antelope and “southern African native”). Solution is NY (short for “New Year”) followed by A LA (i.e. “in French style”).

  1. One putting down every single English philosopher (7)

Answer: ALLAYER (i.e. “one putting down”). Solution is ALL (i.e. “every single”) followed by (A.J.) AYER (i.e. “English philosopher” – no, me neither).

  1. Unobtrusive observation of Prince devotee by sleuth (4,2,3)

Answer: HALF AN EYE (i.e. “unobtrusive observation”). Solution is HAL (i.e. “Prince” – Prince Hal is a reference to Shakespeare’s portrayal of a young Henry V. Times setters generally have a soft-on for Shakespeare, so this is one worth keeping in mind if you’ve not come across it before) followed by followed by FAN (i.e. “devotee”) and EYE (i.e. “detective”, as in a private eye).

  1. Sort out details, and finish off letters (3,3,2,3,5,3,2)

Answer: DOT THE IS AND CROSS THE TS. Solution satisfies “sort out details” and “finish off letters”.

  1. Oddity of bachelor eschewing intemperance (8)

Answer: EERINESS (i.e. “oddity”, characteristically speaking). Solution is BEERINESS (i.e. “intemperance”) with the B removed (indicated by “bachelor eschewing…” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “bachelor”).

  1. Film about life and work in British Isles, initially convincing (6)

Answer: BIOPIC (i.e. “film about life”). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, short for “opus”) placed “in” B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) II (i.e. “isles”, I being a recognised abbreviation of “isle”) and C (i.e. “initially convincing”, i.e. the first letter of “convincing”), like so: B-I(OP)I-C.

  1. Articulate girl yearned for believer in spirits (7)

Answer: ANIMIST (i.e. “believer in spirits”). “Articulate” indicates homophone. Solution comprises homophones of ANNIE (i.e. “girl’s” name) and MISSED (i.e. “yearned”). Not from my mouth it wouldn’t, so I’ll let the setter fend for themselves on that one.

  1. Reviewed notable books in turn (5)

Answer: PIVOT (i.e. “turn”). Solution is VIP (i.e. “notable”, in this case a Very Important Person) reversed (indicated by “reviewed”, as in being looked over) and followed by OT (i.e. “books”, the Old Testament of The Bible), like so: PIV-OT.

  1. A Scottish dear concealing accident, half-cut in Corsican port (7)

Answer: AJACCIO (i.e. “Corsican port”). Solution is A and JO (i.e. “Scottish dear” or one beloved, apparently an old Scots form of “joy” – again, me neither) once wrapped around or “concealing” ACCI (i.e. “accident, half-cut”), like so: A-J(ACCI)O. Regular readers will know I treat inclusions of ports in Jumbos with significant disdain. All too often they are used when a setter is too lazy to rework an awkward spot in the grid. If they aren’t willing to put in the work, then why should we? I’m glad I reached straight for my Bradford’s on this one, too – what a horror show! If you nailed this with grey matter alone then hats off to you.

  1. Supervisory body recalling both pistol and round (9)

Answer: REGULATOR (i.e. “supervisory body”). Solution is LUGER (i.e. a variety of “pistol”) and ROTA (i.e. “round”) both reversed (indicated by “recalling”), like so: REGUL-ATOR. After slating the setter just now, it’s only fair to highlight a clue that is genuinely well-worked.

  1. Salt introduced to processed cereals and veg (9)

Answer: CALABRESE (i.e. “veg” – also the name of my go-to pizza at Pizza Express, assuming they still do it. Top nomming). Solution is AB (i.e. “salt”, both references to sailors, in this case one of the Able-Bodied persuasion) placed in or “introduced to” an anagram (indicated by “processed”) of CEREALS, like so: CAL(AB)RESE. Another toughie. The mid-left of the grid was generally a bit of a bastard.

  1. Dim male relative content to leave alligator (7)

Answer: UNCLEAR (i.e. “dim”). Solution is UNCLE (i.e. “male relative”) followed by AR (i.e. “content to leave alligator”, i.e. the word “alligator” with all its middle letters removed).

  1. Soppy people ultimately shed tears (5)

Answer: DRIPS (i.e. “soppy people”). Solution is D (i.e. “ultimately shed”, i.e. the last letter of “shed”) followed by RIPS (i.e. “tears”).

  1. Temporary Head of IT coming on board during semester (7)

Answer: INTERIM (i.e. “temporary”). Solution is I (i.e. “head of IT”, i.e. the first letter of “IT”) placed in or “coming on board” IN TERM (i.e. “during semester”), like so: IN-TER(I)M.

  1. Tell dog to follow sappers (6)

Answer: RETAIL (i.e. “tell”, in this case “to put about, hand on by report” (Chambers, deep into the definitions)). Solution is TAIL (i.e. to “dog”) placed after or “following” RE (i.e. “sappers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army), like so: RE-TAIL.

  1. Leash may wound terrier (8)

Answer: SEALYHAM (i.e. “terrier” – again, me neither. A bit of a theme this week. After doing a Google image search, I believe this is a popular breed among New Yorkers. There were loads of little white yappy things being walked about the place when She and I visited a few years ago. It was like The Stepford Dogs or something). “Wound” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LEASH MAY.

  1. Impulsive peer group producing something out of nothing (11,10)

Answer: SPONTANEOUS GENERATION (i.e. “something out of nothing”, in this case “the supposed production of living organisms from non-living matter” (Chambers)). Solution also playfully satisfies “impulsive peer group”.

  1. Weary workforce that upholds standards (9)

Answer: FLAGSTAFF (i.e. “that upholds standards” or flags). Solution is FLAG (i.e. “weary”, as an intransitive verb) followed by STAFF (i.e. “workforce”).

  1. Dickens sold in Wick without front covers (3,4)

Answer: OLD NICK (i.e. “Dickens”, both nicknames for the Devil). “Without front covers” indicates the solution is derived by removing the first letters of SOLD IN WICK.

  1. Reform in pursuit of constant faith (5)

Answer: CREDO (i.e. “faith”). Solution is REDO (i.e. “reform”) placed after or “in pursuit of” C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”), like so: C-REDO.

  1. Mysterious magician let out (11)

Answer: ENIGMATICAL (i.e. “mysterious”). “Out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MAGICIAN LET.

  1. Alcoholic beverage is found in her office, sadly (5,6)

Answer: IRISH COFFEE (i.e. “alcoholic beverage”). Solution is IS placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “sadly”) of HER OFFICE, like so: IR(IS)HCOFFEE.

  1. Provide nourishment for bear (7)

Answer: SUSTAIN. Solution satisfies “provide nourishment for” and to “bear”.

  1. Informal evening turned into regret for entourage (7)

Answer: RETINUE (i.e. “entourage”). Solution is NITE (i.e. “informal evening”, or an informal version of “night”) reversed (indicated by “turned”) and placed “into” RUE (i.e. “regret”), like so: R(ETIN)UE.

  1. Loves assimilating the lines for Shakesperean role (7)

Answer: OTHELLO (i.e. “Shakespearean role”). Solution is OO (i.e. “loves” – “love” being a zero score in tennis) wrapped around or “assimilating” THE and LL (i.e. “lines” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “line”), like so: O(THE-LL)O.

Down clues

  1. Lying on back finally makes you ache (6)

Answer: SUPINE (i.e. “lying on back”). Solution is SU (i.e. “finally makes you”, i.e. the last letter of “makes” and “you”) followed by PINE (i.e. to long for or “ache”).

  1. Daughter endlessly teasing upwardly mobile miser (7)

Answer: NIGGARD (i.e. “miser”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by RAGGING (i.e. “teasing”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “upwardly” – this being a down clue), like so: NIGGAR-D.

  1. Without introduction, congregate to play Caribbean music (9)

Answer: REGGAETON (i.e. “Caribbean music”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to play”) of CONGRETATE once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “without introduction”).

  1. Sample ultra-romantic fragrance (5)

Answer: AROMA (i.e. “fragrance”). “Sample” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: ULTR(A-ROMA)NTIC.

  1. Sustenance for tramps (5,3)

Answer: TRAIL MIX, “a mixture of pieces of dried fruit (e.g. bananas, dates, pineapples, apricots, etc) nuts and seeds eaten as a snack, originally by hikers” (Chambers). Clue plays on “tramps” being journeys made on foot.

  1. Fittingly, apartment lay empty (5)

Answer: APTLY (i.e. “fittingly”). Solution is APT (a recognised abbreviation of “apartment”) followed by LY (i.e. “lay empty”, i.e. the word “lay” with its middle letter removed).

  1. Admitted removing case of Lenten wine (7)

Answer: ENTERED (i.e. “admitted”). Solution is ENTE (i.e. “removing case of Lenten”, i.e. “Lenten” with its first and last letters removed) followed by RED (i.e. “wine”).

  1. Fine, delicate wind instrument in black box (6,8)

Answer: FLIGHT RECORDER (informally known as a “black box”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils) followed by LIGHT (i.e. “delicate”) and RECORDER (i.e. “wind instrument”).

  1. Ace sundial transformed area in Spanish autonomous community (9)

Answer: ANDALUSIA (i.e. “Spanish autonomous community”). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “ace” on playing cards) followed by an anagram (indicated by “transformed”) of SUNDIAL and A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), like so: A-NDALUSI-A.

  1. Letter and article on former reservists (5)

Answer: THETA (i.e. eighth “letter” of the Greek alphabet). Solution is THE (i.e. “article”, being a word like a, an or the) followed by TA (i.e. “former reservists”, the Territorial Army).

  1. Real men swooning over slim, wealthy film star (7,8)

Answer: MARLENE DIETRICH (i.e. “film star”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “swooning”) of REAL MEN followed by DIET (i.e. to “slim”) and RICH (i.e. “wealthy”).

  1. Prescient woman getting Victor out of harsh southern sierra (7)

Answer: SEERESS (i.e. “prescient woman”). Solution is SEVERE (i.e. “harsh”) with the V removed (indicated by “getting Victor out of…” – Victor being V in the phonetic alphabet) and the remainder followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) and S (“sierra” in the phonetic alphabet again), like so: SEERE-S-S.

  1. Unaccompanied male carrying garden tool for personal security (7)

Answer: HOSTAGE (i.e. “tool for personal security”). Solution is STAG (i.e. “unaccompanied male”) placed in or “carrying” HOE (i.e. “garden tool”), like so: HO(STAG)E.

  1. Up before the beak after a grand battle (9)

Answer: AGINCOURT (i.e. “battle”). Solution is IN COURT (i.e. “up before the beak”) placed “after” A and G (a recognised abbreviation of “grand”), like so: A-G-(IN-COURT).

  1. Ran off after Turpin regularly messed about (7)

Answer: TRIFLED (i.e. “messed about”). Solution is FLED (i.e. “ran off”) placed “after” TRI (i.e. “Turpin regularly”, i.e. every other letter of TURPIN), like so: TRI-FLED.

  1. Well-travelled Florentine gives Puccini clothes (8)

Answer: Amerigo VESPUCCI (i.e. “well-travelled Florentine” – from whose name America was supposedly named. Interesting). “Clothes” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: GI(VES PUCCI)NI.

  1. Norris and I leave out rum for rebels (15)

Answer: REVOLUTIONARIES (i.e. “rebels”). “Rum” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NORRIS and I LEAVE OUT.

  1. Professional writer in bar (9)

Answer: PROSCRIBE (i.e. to “bar”). Solution is PRO (short for “professional”) followed by SCRIBE (i.e. “writer”).

  1. Tedious book containing intellectual’s original research (8)

Answer: TIRESOME (i.e. “tedious”). Solution is TOME (i.e. “book”) wrapped around or “containing” I (i.e. “intellectual’s original”, i.e. the first letter of “intellectual”) and RES (short for “research”, apparently), like so: T(I-RES)OME.

  1. Educational functionary runs away with cake decorator (7,7)

Answer: CAREERS OFFICER (i.e. “educational functionary”). Solution is CAREERS (i.e. “runs”) followed by OFF (i.e. “away”) and ICER (i.e. “cake decorator”).

  1. Simple dons produce lace and silk (7)

Answer: TABARET (i.e. “silk”, “with alternate stripes of watered and satin surface” (Chambers)). Solution is BARE (i.e. “simple”) placed in or “donning” TAT (i.e. “produce silk”), like so: TA(BARE)T.

  1. Plant starts to grow elegant red blooms over time (7)

Answer: GERBERA (i.e. “plant”). Solution is GERB (i.e. “starts to grow elegant red blooms”, i.e. the first letters of “grow”, “elegant”, “red” and “blooms”) followed by ERA (i.e. “time”).

  1. Explosive project in part of NYC (9)

Answer: MANHATTAN. Solution satisfies “explosive project” that produced the world’s first nuclear weapons, and “part of NYC”.

  1. Left fashionable fool wearing extremely outlandish garment (9)

Answer: LOINCLOTH (i.e. “garment”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) followed by IN (i.e. “fashionable”) and CLOT (i.e. “fool”) once these have been placed in or “wearing” OH (i.e. “extremely outlandish”, i.e. the first and last letters of “outlandish”), like so: L-O(IN-CLOT)H.

  1. Royal icing (8)

Answer: REGICIDE. Clue plays on “icing” being an informal reference to killing someone. Best clue of the puzzle, for my money. Don’t read too much into that.

  1. Puts up with singular idiots losing diamonds (7)

Answer: SUFFERS (i.e. “puts up with”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”) followed by DUFFERS (i.e. “idiots”) once the D has been removed (indicated by “losing diamonds” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “diamonds”), like so: S-UFFERS.

  1. Drew attention to combat operations moving north (7)

Answer: SPOTLIT (i.e. “drew attention to”). Solution is TILT (i.e. “combat” – Chambers offers “to charge, attack (with at; literally or figuratively)”) and OPS (short for “operations”) all reversed (indicated by “moving north” – this being a down clue), like so: SPO-TLIT.

  1. Required New England Democrat to interrupt fuel supply (7)

Answer: NEEDFUL (i.e. “required”). Solution is NE (a recognised abbreviation of “New England”) followed by D (a recognised abbreviation of “Democrat”) once placed in or “interrupting” an anagram (indicated by “supply”, as in being supple) of FUEL, like so: NE-E(D)FUL.

  1. About to throw up over jacket (6)

Answer: BOLERO (i.e. “jacket”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) and LOB (i.e. “to throw”) all reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue). This is all then followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), like so: (BOL-ER)-O.

  1. Briefly spotted extinct bird in part of Polynesia (5)

Answer: SAMOA (i.e. “part of Polynesia”). Solution is SAW (i.e. “spotted”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder followed by MOA (i.e. “extinct bird”), like so: SA-MOA.

  1. Northern European’s pronounced stoop (5)

Answer: DEIGN (i.e. “stoop”). “Pronounced” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of DANE (i.e. “Northern European”).

  1. Oddly withdrawn, Warhol interrupts retired fine artist (5)

Answer: Frida KAHLO (i.e. “artist”). Solution is AHL (i.e. “oddly withdrawn, Warhol”, i.e. every other letter of WARHOL) placed in or “interrupting” OK (i.e. “fine”) once this has been reversed (indicated by “retired”), like so: K(AHL)O.

7 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1605

  1. We felt the same way! A good start with Cross the I’s and Dot the T’s … I always look for multi-word clues to start cracking the crossword and felt especially smug for getting this quickly.
    Royal Icing also stood out as our favourite clue.
    But then there were several clues which turned into a dictionary treasure hunt, which isn’t very satisfying. I’m not expecting to use Reggaeton or Sealyham in everyday conversation in the near future. But on the other hand, Vespucci was a useful reminder of something half-remembered from QI.
    Many thanks for your diligent and speedy explanations – there were a couple of clues where we thought, what, is that really it? So it’s a comfort to get your endorsement!

  2. Thanks Lucian. As you say, a bit of a mixed bag this week, with some very strange words. We finished it, but didn’t fully understand some of the parsings without your invaluable explanations. We had no idea that ICING can mean “killing” (43d), and we’d never heard of REGGAETON (3d). Signs of a sheltered middle-age, I suppose.

    Re HALF-SOBER (9a), I think the hyphen is just there to make the clue scan. If you ignore the misleading hyphen and look on it as HALF SOBER, it becomes SEMI TT, which makes much more sense.

    Two slight gripes:

    7d: in my book, ADMITTED doesn’t mean the same as ENTERED. ADMIT means ALLOW TO ENTER, whereas ENTER doesn’t necessarily require permission.

    54a: ENIGMATICALLY – is that even a word? What’s wrong with just plain ENIGMATIC? (Yes, I know that wouldn’t work for the anagram, but the words “made-to-fit” spring to mind.)

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  3. Thanks Lucian.
    Like you I had trouble with the middle left. Several words I’d never heard of. I had to resort to Google, which I regard as throwing in the towel.
    I did get Ajaccio with just the grey matter though. I worked there once long ago. Birth place of Napoleon.

  4. Thanks, Lucian. Pretty standard this week, although I couldn’t work out where the second ‘i’ in biopic came from so thanks for that. You don’t see many Sealyham terriers these days. Cheers

  5. Jo is used quite a bit in Scrabble (by us at least ) but we had never heard of Reggaeton. Suppose we should stop playing board games and doing crosswords and get out more…

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