Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1608

Another medium-strength Jumbo, much like Saturday’s, and another winner in my book. The clueing wasn’t quite as inventive, but there’s always something nice about concisely-written clues. (Less typing for a start.)

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 escaped you 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 their pens are stilled. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.


Across clues

  1. Provide with some flexibility (6)

Answer: SUPPLY. Solution satisfies “provide” and “with some flexibility”, as in being supple.

  1. Those spotted in historical Croatian region? (10)

Answer: DALMATIANS. Solution satisfies “those spotted”, referring to the breed of dogs, and “in historical Croatian region”, Dalmatia.

  1. Preserve licence, say, for dog (5)

Answer: CANID (i.e. “dog”). Solution is CAN (i.e. “preserve”) followed by ID (i.e. “licence, say” – I’m guessing something like a driving licence or shotgun licence).

  1. A bloke carrying boy round drink (9)

Answer: AMERICANO (i.e. coffee “drink”). Solution is A followed by MAN (i.e. “bloke”) once wrapped around or “carrying” ERIC (i.e. “boy’s” name), then O (i.e. “round”), like so: A-M(ERIC)AN-O.

  1. Godfather in agreement, perhaps, with important oil supplier (7,6)

Answer: NODDING DONKEY (i.e. “oil supplier”). Solution is DON (i.e. “godfather”, probably referring to a Mafia don) placed “in” NODDING (i.e. “agreement, perhaps”) and KEY (i.e. “important”), like so: NODDING-(DON)-KEY. Disappointing that this solution appeared only a few weeks ago in grid 1601. Conspicuous repeats like this happen way too often in Jumbos. It’s enough to get certain internet non-entities dusting off their pet conspiracy theories… rant, rave, GridFill 4000TM, froth, seethe and so forth.

  1. Disinfected blister I left to shrink (7)

Answer: STERILE (i.e. “disinfected”). “To shrink” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, stripping away the outer letters of BLI(STER I LE)FT. Nicely worked.

  1. Car manufacturer close to Oxford, one intending to import first of Ladas (7)

Answer: DAIMLER (i.e. “car manufacturer”). Solution is D (i.e. “close of Oxford”, i.e. the last letter of “Oxford”) followed by AIMER (i.e. “one intending”) once wrapped around or “importing” L (i.e. “first [letter] of Ladas”), like so: D-AIM(L)ER. There has been some interesting commentary in the main paper over the weekend about the differences between crosswords in US and British newspapers. In my (limited) experience, US crosswords are somewhat more forgiving in what they will allow in their grids: company names especially. It’s perhaps not surprising when you consider the large number of intersecting solutions in US grids, but I do prefer the relative restraint exercised by the Brits. Until this solution, anyway. Kerching!

  1. Dissertation originally by old maestro, dramatised (7)

Answer: OVERDID (i.e. “dramatised”, presumably with a ‘dying swan’ flourish). Solution is D (i.e. “dissertation originally”, i.e. the first letter of “dissertation”) placed “by” or after O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and Giuseppe VERDI (i.e. “maestro”), like so: (O-VERDI)-D.

  1. That criticism was just some advice to headgear’s buyer? (2,3,3,4,4,2)

Answer: IF THE CAP FITS WEAR IT, a phrase suggesting someone should accept an appropriate “criticism” made of them. The rest of the clue riffs on CAPS being “headwear” and so on. You get the idea.

  1. Second before now (4)

Answer: BACK. Solution satisfies “second” or to support, and “before now”.

  1. Ship returning banks on European currency (5)

Answer: KRONA (i.e. “European currency”). Solution is ARK (i.e. “ship”) reversed (indicated by “returning”) and wrapped around or “banking” ON, like so: KR(ON)A.

  1. Knowledge gathered about fall in old French province (8)

Answer: LORRAINE (i.e. “old French province”). Solution is LORE (i.e. “knowledge gathered”) wrapped “about” RAIN (i.e. “fall”), like so: LOR(RAIN)E.

  1. Slow gin, a strange motor fuel! (8)

Answer: GASOLINE (i.e. “motor fuel”). “Strange” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SLOE GIN A.

  1. Serve grotty stuff and give the game away? (4,3,4)

Answer: DISH THE DIRT. Solution playfully satisfies “serve grotty stuff” and “give the game away” – my Chambers disagrees, suggesting it’s purely about spreading malicious gossip, but my Oxford just about supports it.

  1. One’s as stupid, apparently, when news is slow (5,6)

Answer: SILLY SEASON (i.e. “when news is slow”). The first half of the clue plays on how “one’s as” is an anagram of SEASON. SILLY, meanwhile, is sometimes used as an anagram indicator; SILLY = “stupid”, you get the idea.

  1. Sticky bat compiler wielded (11)

Answer: PROBLEMATIC (i.e. “sticky”). “Wielded” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BAT COMPILER.

  1. Put down location of bench in sporting arena (6,5)

Answer: SQUASH COURT (i.e. “sporting arena”). Solution is SQUASH (i.e. extinguish or “put down”) followed by COURT (i.e. “location of bench”, legally speaking).

  1. Embarrassed: like you reportedly? (8)

Answer: SHEEPISH (i.e. “embarrassed”). The rest of the clue plays on “you” being a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of a “ewe”; like a “ewe” could be said to be SHEEPISH. Again, you get the idea.

  1. Sneakiness evident if loading lorry with last of merchandise (8)

Answer: ARTIFICE (i.e. “sneakiness”). Solution is IF is placed in or “loaded” into ARTIC (i.e. “lorry”) and E (i.e. “last [letter] of merchandise”), like so: ART(IF)IC-E.

  1. See you grabbing tail of sleek otter (5)

Answer: TARKA (i.e. “otter”, after Henry Williamson’s novel Tarka The Otter). Solution is TARA (i.e. “see you”) wrapped around or “grabbing” K (i.e. “tail of sleek”, i.e. the last letter of “sleek”), like so: TAR(K)A.

  1. Heading off, poach bird (4)

Answer: TEAL (i.e. “bird”). Solution is STEAL (i.e. “poach”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “heading off”).

  1. Exaggerate awfully witty Orwellian oath (3,2,2,4,1,6)

Answer: LAY IT ON WITH A TROWEL (i.e. “exaggerate”). “Awfully” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WITTY ORWELLIAN OATH.

  1. Emotional teacher’s first lecture (7)

Answer: TEARFUL (i.e. “emotional”). Solution is T (i.e. “teacher’s first” letter) followed by EARFUL (i.e. “lecture”).

  1. Samples in vegetables eyed, first of swedes eaten (7)

Answer: TASTERS (i.e. “samples”). Solution is TATERS (i.e. “vegetables eyed” – an “eye” can be “the seed-bud of a potato” (Chambers)) wrapped around or “eating” S (i.e. “first [letter] of swedes”), like so: TA(S)TERS.

  1. A way past disagreement on reflection, initially (2,5)

Answer: AT FIRST (i.e. “initially”). Solution is A and ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a “street”), the latter placed after or “past” RIFT (i.e. “disagreement”) once reversed (indicated by “on reflection”), like so: A-(TFIR)-ST.

  1. For each family conflict, gesture old pretender (6,7)

Answer: PERKIN WARBECK (i.e. “old pretender” – he tried to claim he was one of the two princes supposedly murdered in the Tower of London, playing on the uncertainly of the time. Can’t say I’d heard of him, but interesting all the same). Solution is PER (i.e. “for each”) followed by KIN (i.e. “family”), then WAR (i.e. “conflict”) and BECK (i.e. a nod or “gesture”).

  1. Arguably, what might grip opera lover about a show from the 80’s (5,4)

Answer: MIAMI VICE (i.e. TV “show from the 80’s”). Solution is MIMI VICE (playfully, “what might grip opera lover” – Mimi is a character from Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème. Yes, I looked it up) wrapped “about” A, like so: MI(A)MI-VICE. For much of the puzzle I’d convinced myself this was going to be THAT’S LIFE, if only so I could then post a video of that dog saying “sausages”. Such cultural highpoints will have to wait, sadly.

  1. Nothing in eastern half of country, Switzerland (5)

Answer: ZILCH (i.e. “nothing”). Solution is ZIL, the “eastern half” of Brazil (i.e. a “country”) – this being an across clue – followed by CH (country code of “Switzerland”, standing for Confoederatio Helvetica).

  1. Semi-intelligible character wanting land redistributed: do nothing about that (6,4)

Answer: DONALD DUCK (i.e. “semi-intelligible character” of Walt Disney). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “redistributed”) of LAND placed in or having “about” it DO and DUCK (i.e. “nothing”, a zero score in some sports), like so: DO-(NALD)-DUCK.

  1. Broadcast dark period piece (6)

Answer: KNIGHT (i.e. chess “piece”). “Broadcast” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of NIGHT (i.e. “dark period”).

Down clues

  1. Laugh initially nailed by halfwits, instant comedy (9)

Answer: SLAPSTICK (i.e. “comedy”). Solution is L (i.e. “laugh initially”, i.e. the first letter of “laugh”) placed in or “nailed by” SAPS (i.e. “halfwits”) and followed by TICK (i.e. an “instant”), like so: S(L)APS-TICK.

  1. High-sounding holy shrouds on canvas (11)

Answer: PRETENTIOUS (i.e. “high-sounding”). Solution is PIOUS (i.e. “holy”) wrapped around or “shrouding” RE (i.e. “on” or regarding – think email replies) and TENT (i.e. “canvas”), like so: P(RE-TENT)IOUS.

  1. Remove from church where US city is icebound (7)

Answer: LAICISE (i.e. “remove from church”). Solution is LA (i.e. “US city”, Los Angeles) followed by IS once placed in or “bound” by ICE, like so: LA-IC(IS)E.

  1. Nothing consumed by hungry duck (5)

Answer: AVOID (i.e. “duck” or dodge). Solution is O (i.e. “nothing”) placed in or “consumed by” AVID (i.e. greedily “hungry”), like so: AV(O)ID.

  1. Characteristic of chaps crossing perfect stretch of water (5,6)

Answer: MENAI STRAIT (i.e. “stretch of water” separating Anglesey and the Welsh mainland). Solution is MEN’S TRAIT (i.e. “characteristic of chaps”) wrapped around or “crossing” AI (i.e. “perfect”, i.e. A1 with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent), like so: MEN(AI)’S-TRAIT.

  1. Game involving king in victories that are tight? (11)

Answer: TIDDLYWINKS (i.e. “game”). Solution is TIDDLY WINS (i.e. “victories that are tight” – “tight” and TIDDLY being words for being drunk) wrapped around or “involving” K (a recognised abbreviation of “king” used in chess), like so: TIDDY-WIN(K)S.

  1. Song in a code relating to hives (8)

Answer: APIARIAN (i.e. “relating to [bee]hives”). Solution is ARIA (i.e. “song”) placed “in” A and PIN (i.e. “code”, or Personal Identification Number), like so: A-PI(ARIA)N.

  1. Miss warning: “broadcast on air” (9)

Answer: SIGNORINA (i.e. Italian “miss”). Solution is SIGN (i.e. “warning”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “broadcast”) of ON AIR, like so: SIGN-ORINA.

  1. Herb, Charlie and Romeo (6)

Answer: CLOVER (i.e. “herb”). Solution is C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by LOVER (i.e. “Romeo”).

  1. Women wanting fig leaves for plant (5,6)

Answer: NAKED LADIES (i.e. “plant”, albeit not one I’ll be doing a Google image search for). Solution playfully satisfies “women wanting fig leaves”, given how fig leaves were sometimes used in artworks to cover up naughty bits.

  1. Sober plug for spirit (5)

Answer: DRYAD (i.e. “spirit” or wood nymph). Solution is DRY (i.e. “sober”) followed by AD (i.e. “plug”, short for advertisement).

  1. Nine of diamonds? (8,4)

Answer: BASEBALL TEAM. Clue plays on how baseball is played on a “diamond”, and how there are “nine” players in a team. Nicely worked.

  1. Ordinal throwing relationship in river (8)

Answer: FORTIETH (i.e. “ordinal”, a word that indicates the position within a sequence). Solution is TIE (i.e. “relationship”) “thrown…into” FORTH (a “river” in Scotland), like so: FOR(TIE)TH.

  1. Holding underwater device with all toes, maybe, look up (7)

Answer: KEEPNET (i.e. “holding underwater device” used by anglers to keep their catches alive). Solution is TEN (i.e. “all toes, maybe” – well, obviously except anyone from (insert your local backwater town here)) and PEEK (i.e. “look”) all reversed (indicated by “up”- this being a down clue), like so: KEEP-NET.

  1. Current failure has United team in first position going the wrong way (5,3)

Answer: POWER CUT (i.e. electrical “current failure”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “United”) and CREW (i.e. “team”) placed “in” TOP (i.e. “first position”). This is all then reversed (indicated by “going the wrong way”), like so: PO(WERC-U)T.

  1. Insect has taken fly off gazelle, say (8)

Answer: ANTELOPE (i.e. “gazelle, say” – other antelopes are available). Solution is ANT (i.e. “insect”) followed by ELOPE (i.e. “fly off” secretly, usually to marry).

  1. Tailored suit, dull coats for musician (8)

Answer: FLAUTIST (i.e. “musician”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “tailored”) of SUIT placed in or “coated” by FLAT (i.e. “dull”), like so: FLA(UTIS)T.

  1. Matter dropped when top side hammered (7)

Answer: DEPOSIT (i.e. “matter dropped”). “Hammered” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TOP SIDE.

  1. Old Middle Eastern leader a long way off grabbed by sailor with effort, after capsizing (6,6)

Answer: YASSER ARAFAT (i.e. “old Middle Eastern leader”). Solution is AFAR (i.e. “a long way off”) placed in or “grabbed by” TAR (slang for a “sailor”) and followed by ESSAY (i.e. “effort” or to attempt). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “after capsizing” – this being a down clue), like so: YASSE-RA(RAFA)T.

  1. More than 35 imperial gallons of oil in a pickle (4,1,6)

Answer: OVER A BARREL. Solution satisfies “more than 35 imperial gallons of oil” and “in a pickle”. Love the imagery. That’s one hell of a pickle!

  1. Alloy wheels stolen, be furious! (6,5)

Answer: CARBON STEEL (i.e. “alloy”). Solution is CAR (i.e. “wheels”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “furious”) of STOLEN BE, like so: CAR-BONSTEEL.

  1. Last of vermouth in drink drunk on the rocks, perhaps? (11)

Answer: SHIPWRECKED (i.e. “on the rocks, perhaps”). Solution is H (i.e. “last [letter] of vermouth”) placed “in” SIP (i.e. “drink”) and followed by WRECKED (i.e. “drunk”), like so: S(H)IP-WRECKED.

  1. Enduring war, tragically futile (11)

Answer: UNREWARDING (i.e. “futile”). “Tragically” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ENDURING WAR.

  1. Drunk welcome beyond Devon etc (9)

Answer: SWALLOWED (i.e. “drunk”). Solution is ALLOWED (i.e. “welcome” or admitted willingly) placed after or “beyond” SW (i.e. “Devon etc”, i.e. its location in England, a recognised abbreviation of “south-west”), like so: SW-ALLOWED.

  1. Share fortune soldiers locked up with key (9)

Answer: ALLOTMENT (i.e. “share”). Solution is LOT (i.e. “fortune”) and MEN (i.e. “soldiers”, unreconstructedly) all placed in or “locked up with” ALT (i.e. a “key” on a computer keyboard), like so: AL(LOT-MEN)T.

  1. Plunge has sea bird catching a fly, say (8)

Answer: DIPTERAN (i.e. “fly, say” – the solution is a creature with two wings). Solution is DIP (i.e. “plunge”) followed by TERN (i.e. “sea bird”) once wrapped around or “catching” A, like so: DIP-TER(A)N. One recalled from a previous puzzle, eventually.

  1. Punk with green hair brushed up (7)

Answer: RUFFIAN (i.e. “punk”). Solution is NAIF (i.e. “green” or naïve) and FUR (i.e. “hair”) all reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: RUF-FIAN. Nicely worked.

  1. Piscatorial, maybe, and cold? (6)

Answer: OFFISH (i.e. “cold”). When written as OF FISH the solution also satisfies “piscatorial”. Another I rather liked.

  1. Stone to kill, sent skywards (5)

Answer: TOPAZ (i.e. “stone”). Solution is TO and ZAP (i.e. “kill”) once the latter has been reversed (indicated by “sent skywards” – this being a down clue), like so: TO-PAZ.

  1. Plant philosopher pulled up (5)

Answer: SUMAC (i.e. “plant”). Solution is Albert CAMUS (i.e. “philosopher”) once reversed (indicated by “pulled up” – again, this being a down clue).

4 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1608

  1. Thanks, Lucian. Agreed a medium-strengther but slightly easier than Saturday’s. Some good clues. I had 7d as being tiddly being small for close victories but think your drunk tiddly is right. Tiny criticism on 41d as lot & men are locked in or by alt, not with alt. Ho hum. Cheers

  2. Thanks Lucian. A bit easier than Saturday’s, we thought.

    Fun fact re 45d: NAÏF is the masculine form of NAÏVE, and is one of very few adjectives in English which vary according to gender. The only other one I’m aware of is BLOND(E), which is spelled BLOND when it refers to a male, and BLONDE for a female.

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  3. Defo easier than Saturday, and more fun. Better worded clues as well that, unlike Saturday, werent trying a bit too hard to deceive at the cost of structure, and sense.

  4. We were travelling on Monday so held onto this for a bit of holiday fun. Certainly more fun than the storms we’re currently enjoying!
    Some nice clues this time, especially the clever clue for Silly Season and a giggle when we saw Ten Peek.
    At least four clues with US references or spelling. Perhaps you could monitor this creeping Americanisation with a Doh Index?
    Shame the setter missed an opportunity for That’s Life!

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