Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1610

A medium strength offering this week. It was okay, but a bit scruffy in places. My biggest beef, as will become apparent, lies perhaps more with the editor than with the setter.

It is common knowledge that some setters use software to help construct their grids – what I jokingly call the office GridFill 4000™ – but the number of times this results in solutions being repeated mere weeks apart is getting beyond a joke. Long-time readers will know this has been a near-constant theme of my posts since the beginning, and are probably as tired of me bleating about it as I am.

There are around 16 Times Jumbo setters so some repetition is understandable, but I do wonder whether a stronger editor ought to start laying down the law. If a setter is known to use software then place moratoria on certain solutions being used, or better still request certain grids be reworked, if the algorithm keeps picking the same solution each time. At the very least, space out the repeats a little more. The editor has that power at least.

Anyway, if you can stomach an internet loudmouth’s occasional grousing then you’ll 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 eluded you then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions to hundreds of the things.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. They do make these posts worthwhile, especially when a Jumbo grinds my gears. As ever, it’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.


FBV (French-By-Volume): 3.3%

With thanks to Mick Scott et al in the comments for repairing 16a

Across clues

  1. Mundane arguments for backing organization of agents (7)

Answer: PROSAIC (i.e. “mundane”). Solution is PROS (i.e. “arguments for”) followed by CIA (i.e. “organisation of agents”, specifically the Central Intelligence Agency) once reversed (indicated by “backing”), like so: PROS-AIC.

  1. More than one error in small volume is infuriating (8)

Answer: CLANGERS (i.e. “more than one error”). Solution is CL (i.e. “small volume”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a centilitre) followed by ANGERS (i.e. “is infuriating”).

  1. Penny taken in by French writer’s university position (6)

Answer: CAMPUS (i.e. “university position”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of a “penny”) placed “in” Albert CAMUS (i.e. “French writer”), like so: CAM(P)US.

  1. As result of performance on this, I queue in audition? (12,4)

Answer: INTELLIGENCE TEST. “In audition” indicates homophone, in this case “I queue” being heard as IQ, or Intelligence Quotient. An IQ is the “result of performance” in such a test. You get the idea.

  1. Demon capturing rook, leading to mate (6)

Answer: FRIEND (i.e. “mate”). Solution is FIEND (i.e. “demon”) wrapped around or “capturing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “rook” in chess), like so: F(R)IEND.

  1. Caught out in the open? Just the opposite (8)

Answer: COVERALL, a state of “covering or including everything” or, alternatively, “a one-piece garment for babies, covering arms, legs and body” (both Chambers). Given those options I suspect the setter is hinging this on the former definition rather than the latter, probably forming the solution from C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games) and OVER ALL (i.e. “out in the open” if you really, really, really squint your eyes). Good grief I hope a better explanation exists out there, otherwise someone needs to alert the RSPCCCC (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Cryptic Crossword Clues).

[EDIT: I was right to be suspicious as I’d ballsed this one up good and proper. Thanks to Mick Scott and others in the comments for pointing out this should have been COVERTLY, being C as described followed by OVERLY (i.e. “out in the open”). Thanks all! – LP]

  1. Combined centres in almost accidental way (4)

Answer: MODE (i.e. “way” or manner). Solution comprises the “combined centres” of ALMOST and ACCIDENTAL.

  1. Like some music that, with initial repetitions, may be adapted for harpsichord (9)

Answer: RHAPSODIC (i.e. “like some music”). Another where I take issue with the setter. The idea is that the letters of the solution form an anagram, indicated by “adapted”, of the word “harpsichord” if the first two letters, supposedly the “initial” part of the solution, are “repeated”. That’s a nope from me. I would argue an “initial” is a “letter beginning a word” (Chambers), not however many letters it takes to make a crossword clue work. Sloppy.

  1. Classify as invalid after I had turned unhealthy-looking (8)

Answer: DISALLOW (i.e. “classify as invalid”). Solution is I’D (a contraction of “I had”) reversed (indicated by “turned”) and followed by SALLOW (i.e. “unhealthy-looking”).

  1. Holder of position replaced, reprocessed, reorganized (11)

Answer: PREDECESSOR (i.e. “holder of position replaced”). “Reorganized” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REPROCESSED.

  1. Philosopher and noble talked intermittently (9)

Answer: ARISTOTLE (i.e. “philosopher”). Solution is ARISTO (i.e. “noble”, short for aristocrat) followed by TLE (i.e. “talked intermittently”, i.e. every other letter of TALKED).

  1. In backward class, join top performers (8)

Answer: MAESTROS (i.e. “top performers”). Solution is SORT (i.e. “class”) and SEAM (i.e. “join”) all reversed (indicated by “backward”), like so: MAES-TROS. Come on, this is the third time MAESTRO or MAESTROS has appeared in Jumbos in little over three months. Maybe it’s time to retire it from the GridFill 4000™’s word pool for a while, huh?

  1. Family with daughter, good-natured sort (4)

Answer: KIND (i.e. “good-natured sort”). Solution is KIN (i.e. “family”) followed by D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”). The first clue containing all or part of the previous solution. Not sure if that was intentional.

  1. Specialist knowing how to treat elders, for example (4,7)

Answer: TREE SURGEON. Clue plays on “elders” being a variety of TREE. You get the idea.

  1. Doctor to charge NHS, be less than honest? (11)

Answer: SHORTCHANGE (i.e. “be less than honest”). “Doctor” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO CHARGE NHS. Chambers suggests this solution ought to have been hyphenated. Poor show.

  1. As far as possible, coat flask ahead of time (11)

Answer: FURTHERMOST (i.e. “as far as possible”). Solution is FUR (i.e. “coat”) followed by THERMOS (i.e. “flask”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Rapid succession of passes that may lead to scoring goal? (5,6)

Answer: SPEED DATING, “the practice of attending an organized social event during which people have a series of short meetings (speed dates) with potential romantic partners” (Chambers). Ask your parents, kids – speed dating went out of fashion about the same time as Burberry and tribal band tattoos. Anyway, the clue plays on “passes” being amorous advances such as one might endure during the event, and “scoring” being slang for pulling some hot piece of ass. Or whoever was left at the end.

  1. As part of architectural essentials, what’s more? (4)

Answer: LESS. Clue plays on a motto of minimalist “architect” Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: “less is more”. Of course I looked it up. “As part of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: ARCHITECTURA(L ESS)ENTIALS.

  1. Uniform officer put together for fellow sharing quarters (8)

Answer: FLATMATE (i.e. “fellow sharing quarters”). Solution is FLAT (i.e. “uniform”) followed by MATE (i.e. ship’s “officer”).

  1. One whose home is in a state, surrounded by water (9)

Answer: TASMANIAN. Clue plays on how TASMANIA is an island “state” of Australia and is thus “surrounded by water”.

  1. Without wife, at sixes and sevens? Not eating enough (11 – not 10 as printed)

Answer: UNDERWEIGHT (i.e. “not eating enough”). Solution is UNDER EIGHT (i.e. “at sixes and sevens”, given they are both less than eight) wrapped around or placed “without” W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”), like so: UNDER-(W)-EIGHT.

  1. Concert I watch as person entitled to expect something (8)

Answer: PROMISEE (i.e. “person entitled to expect something”). Solution is PROM (i.e. “concert”) followed by I and SEE (i.e. “watch”).

  1. Behind pool of money: let it be split, at last! (9)

Answer: FUNDAMENT (i.e. “behind” or arse, facetiously). Solution is FUND (i.e. “pool of money”) followed by AMEN (i.e. “let it be”) and T (i.e. “split, at last”, i.e. the last letter of “split”).

  1. One feature of skirt that attracts attention (4)

Answer: AHEM (i.e. “that attracts attention”). When written as A HEM the solution also satisfies “one feature of skirt”.

  1. Abraham Lincoln, initially, rebuilt palace (8)

Answer: ALHAMBRA (i.e. “the ‘palace’ of the Moorish kings of Granada in Spain” (Chambers)). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rebuilt”) of ABRAHAM and L (i.e. “Lincoln, initially”, i.e. the first letter of “Lincoln”).

  1. Starting point for big win, though lacking leaders (6)

Answer: ORIGIN (i.e. “starting point”). Solution is formed from FOR BIG WIN once their first letters have been removed (indicated by “lacking leaders”).

  1. Important IT role is new for teenager given new order (8,8)

Answer: SOFTWARE ENGINEER (i.e. “important IT role”). “Given new order” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IS NEW FOR TEENAGER.

  1. Facility in middle of hospital entrance (6)

Answer: TALENT (i.e. “facility”). “In middle of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: HOSPI(TAL ENT)RANCE.

  1. Does, for example, have it in leather (8)

Answer: DEERSKIN. Solution satisfies “leather” and “does, for example, have it”. Nicely disguised.

  1. Like fingers, but without hands passing over face (7)

Answer: DIGITAL (i.e. “like fingers”). The rest of the clue plays on DIGITAL clocks not having “hands” or “faces”. A recent repeat from grid 1597, making this an easy get.

Down clues

  1. One likely to succeed, when finally put in charge (6)

Answer: PRINCE (i.e. “one likely to succeed”, regally speaking). Solution N (i.e. “when finally”, i.e. the last letter of “when”) placed “in” PRICE (i.e. cost or “charge”), like so: PRI(N)CE.

  1. Size of a book, a volume penned by doctor, extremely abridged (6)

Answer: OCTAVO (i.e. “size of a book”). Hells bells, these constant repeats are getting ridiculous. You can literally go back two pages in the Saturday Review supplement and see OCTAVO in the solution to grid 1607. Before that: grid 1584, mere months ago. Ugh. Could this be another solution to remove from the GridFill 4000™’s word pool? I’d say so. If this keeps happening then you may as well ask ChatGPT to solve the Jumbo for you, as it’ll soon have enough permutations of clues to the same solutions to piece it all together. Then it’ll start wanging on about GridFill 4000™s, because, you know, plagiarism. Anyway, bear with me while I disdainfully copy and paste the definition from a couple of weeks ago: OCTAVO – “adjective: having eight leaves to the sheet; (conventionally) of a size so obtained, whether so folded or not. noun: a book printed on sheets so folded; (conventionally) a book of such a size…” (Chambers). Solution is A and V (a recognised abbreviation of “volume”) both placed in or “penned by” DOCTOR once the first and last letters have been removed (indicated by “extremely abridged”), like so: OCT(A-V)O.

  1. Medical practitioner needs to go to France with substance (9)

Answer: ALLERGIST (i.e. “medical practitioner”). Solution is ALLER (i.e. “go to France”, i.e. the French for “go”) followed by GIST (i.e. “substance”).

  1. Measure of coolness about female player securing prominence (5,6)

Answer: CHILL FACTOR (i.e. “measure of coolness”). Solution is C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) and ACTOR (i.e. “player”) all wrapped around or “securing” HILL (i.e. a “prominence”), like so: C-(HILL)-F-ACTOR.

  1. Rubbed it in hands (4)

Answer: CREW. Solution satisfies “rubbed it in”, past tense of crow, and “hands” of a ship.

  1. Presenters with a warning about food king’s tucked into (11)

Answer: ANCHORWOMEN (i.e. “presenters”). Solution is AN OMEN (i.e. “a warning”) wrapped “about” CHOW (i.e. “food”), which is itself wrapped around or having “tucked in” R (i.e. “king”, a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Rex), like so: AN-(CHO(R)W)-OMEN.

  1. With leader in Guardian, say, crush inferior competition (6,5)

Answer: GUTTER PRESS (i.e. “inferior competition” to The Times. Shots fired!) Solution is G (i.e. “leader [letter] in Guardian”) followed by UTTER (i.e. “say”) and PRESS (i.e. “crush”).

  1. Reviving spiritual instruction’s pressing (9)

Answer: RESURGENT (i.e. “reviving”). Solution is RE’S (i.e. “spiritual instruction’s”, specifically Religious Education made possessive) followed by URGENT (i.e. “pressing”). The second clue containing all or part of the previous solution. Maybe it was intentional after all.

  1. Ran in and stopped (8)

Answer: ARRESTED. Solution satisfies “ran in” and “stopped”.

  1. Mixing up of insecticides is not empirically based (16)

Answer: PSEUDOSCIENTIFIC (i.e. fake science that “is not empirically based”). “Mixing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UP OF INSECTICIDES.

  1. Attachment to vehicle that’s sped and is overturned (7)

Answer: SIDECAR (i.e. “attachment to vehicle”). Solution is RACED (i.e. “sped”) and IS all reversed or “overturned” – this being a down clue – like so: SI-DECAR.

  1. Our confidant reveals end of scandal over job (8)

Answer: GATEPOST (i.e. “our confidant”, after the phrase “between you, me and the gatepost”). Solution is GATE (i.e. “end of scandal”, as in how -GATE gets slapped on the end of words to denote a scandal, after the Watergate scandal that did for Richard Nixon) followed by POST (i.e. “job”).

  1. Intimate location for marriage announced, say, with love (5,3)

Answer: ALTER EGO (an internal or “intimate” self). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “announced”) of ALTAR (i.e. “location for marriage”) followed by EG (i.e. “say”, or for example) and O (i.e. “love”, a zero score in tennis).

  1. Prodigal’s faults we must change (8)

Answer: WASTEFUL (i.e. “prodigal”). “Must change” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FAULTS WE.

  1. Like top US deputy, having evil power in relation to housing (4-12)

Answer: VICE-PRESIDENTIAL (i.e. “like top US deputy”). Solution is VICE (i.e. an “evil”) followed by P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) and RESIDENTIAL (i.e. “in relation to housing”).

  1. Moving cautiously after doctor, getting up from bed (8)

Answer: DREGDING (i.e. “getting up from [river] bed”). Solution is EDGING (i.e. “moving cautiously”) placed “after” DR (a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”), like so: DR-EDGING.

  1. Which person covering area gives order to stop? (4)

Answer: WHOA (i.e. “order to stop”). Solution is WHO (i.e. “which person”) followed by or “covering” – this being a down clue – A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”).

  1. Part of our capital also hoarded, but only part (4)

Answer: SOHO (i.e. “part of our capital” – The Times being a London newspaper). “But only part” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: AL(SO HO)ARDED.

  1. Passed, having finished and understood (8)

Answer: OVERTOOK (i.e. “passed”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “finished”) followed by TOOK (i.e. “understood”, as in took onboard).

  1. Repeated experience swallowing stimulant makes one carefree (8)

Answer: RELIEVED (i.e. “carefree”). Solution is RELIVED (i.e. “repeated experience”) wrapped around or “swallowing” E (i.e. “stimulant”, slang for the drug ecstasy), like so: RELI(E)VED.

  1. In ideal way, mother embracing two sons as leader of tributes (11)

Answer: TOASTMASTER (i.e. “leader of tributes”). Solution is TO A T (i.e. “in an ideal way”) and MATER (i.e. “mother”) all wrapped around “two” separate Ss (S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”), like so: TO-A-(S)-T-MA(S)TER.

  1. His job allows him to overlook church (11)

Answer: STEEPLEJACK. Clue plays on STEEPLES being part of churches, and how STEEPLEJACKS climb tall structures. You get the idea.

  1. Record on one page how paper may be controlled (11)

Answer: DISCIPLINED (i.e. “controlled”). Solution is DISC (i.e. “record”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then P (a recognised abbreviation of “page”) and LINED (i.e. “how paper may be”).

  1. Highly-strung supporter of one kind of artist (9)

Answer: TIGHTROPE. Clue plays on the solution often being “strung” “high” above the ground, and tightrope walkers being a “kind of artist”.

  1. Finding 17 or 51 in state becoming more mature (9)

Answer: AVERAGING (i.e. “17 or 51”, the solutions to 17a and 51d being MODE and MEAN respectively. Another I’d have taken issue with, as MODE is the most common value of a series of numbers and therefore different to the MEAN or AVERAGE… however, Chambers does offer this definition: “loosely, an ordinary or typical value, common run”. You win this one, setter). Solution is AVER (i.e. to “state”) followed by AGING (i.e. “becoming more mature”).

  1. World’s response when Conservative rises to the top (8)

Answer: CREATION (i.e. “world” – the godless heathen in me would suggest the world happened rather than was created). Solution is REACTION (i.e. “response”) with the C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) “risen to the top” – this being a down clue – like so: REA(C)TION => (C)REATION.

  1. Frank’s father coming in immediately after time (7)

Answer: UPFRONT (i.e. “frank”). Solution is FR (a recognised abbreviation of the title “father”) placed “in” UPON (i.e. “immediately”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: UP(FR)ON-T.

  1. Protest appearing in article, differently stressed (6)

Answer: OBJECT. Solution satisfies “protest” and “article”. The “differently stressed” part plays on how the word is said slightly differently between the two meanings, or at least by some. I reckon I say them the same, but that might be my accent.

  1. Pub count incomplete – one can hold many pints (6)

Answer: BARREL (i.e. “one can hold many pints”). Solution is BAR (i.e. “pub”) followed by RELY (i.e. “count” on) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “incomplete”), like so: BAR-REL.

  1. Represent base (4)

Answer: MEAN. Solution satisfies to “represent”, and “base” or reprehensible.

10 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1610

  1. I’ve quite enjoyed the last couple of crosswords. Difficult without being impossible.
    I’ve got 16a as COVERTLY, which is caught (C) followed by overtly (out in the open) giving the opposite.
    41d TASMANIAN. I parsed it as Tasman (Sea) surrounding IN A. We got there different ways. Not the best worded clue.
    I agree about the repeats. I got that without even bothering to read the rest of the clue.
    Thanks for parsing the others, a joy as always!

  2. Well we liked this one, despite a couple of repeats. That’s one advantage of having the memory of a goldfish!
    For 16A we had Covertly which is pretty neat.
    For 18A we thought the R and H were the initial letters of the anagram and the result. Maybe trying to be too clever?
    About averages … the mean, mode and median are all valid ways to describe average, although Mean is the arithmetical average.
    We weren’t too sure about Tasmanian, but it answers the riddle and we couldn’t think of another island state that would fit.
    Underweight was nicely done, also it took us ages to spot Crew and then it seemed completely obvious. That’s the best type of clue!
    Overall, we thought this one was firm but fair.

  3. Thanks Lucian. Another vote for COVERTLY, though to be fair we also started off wondering about COVERALL.

    Agree about OCTAVO. Shall we open a bet on how soon it comes up again? Mesdames et Messieurs, faites vos jeux!

    Not too happy about ALTER EGO being used as a synonym for INTIMATE. Can any of your dictionaries confirm it?

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  4. Enjoyed this one, and thought it pretty fair and some great clues. Loved CREW, also ‘represent base’ for MEAN, and DEERSKIN.
    The initials of RHAPSODIC are r and h and when these are repeated and adapted we get harpsichord.
    I don’t mind repeats; they are inevitable. Each setter is unique, creating their puzzle alone, maybe months in advance, having no control over when it will be published; why should they take account of anyone else? Can’t find it in my heart to blame the editor either. Nor the software – there are only so many interesting 6-letter words ending in O available! What would be unacceptable would be identical clues – but we haven’t really suffered from that.
    However, your yellow card for SHORTCHANGE is definitely upheld. Noway can this be oneword.

  5. As I understand it, I am with Lucian on Rhapsodic.

    The initial of Rhapsodic is R. The first two letters are Rh. It does not have initials, it has one. “Initial repetitions” would be two extra R’s for me.

    Also, Speed Dating? I think possibly the worst clue for some time but then there was some good stuff so overall a pass for the setter!

    1. I hear what you (and Lucian) say, but to me ‘initial repetitions’ can reasonably mean repetition of more than one letter, not just the first. Like January 1st to say 7th are still the initial days of the year. Thus repeating each of your initials once would give AMJAMJ, but ‘initial repetitions’ of Anthony could fairly give ANAN.
      Agree with you on Speed Dating – a terrible clue on every level. Doubt whether many passes were ever made let alone goals scored through this absurd process, luckily killed off by the internet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.