Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1611

A relatively straightforward one this week, which is fine by me. But ohhhhhh, those repeats. Those blasted bloody repeats. I blathered a lot about them last week, so I won’t repeat myself here, suffice to say I think it’s time for a switch in style.

You see, while it’s been fun ribbing Times setters for their collective bonk-on for the French, it seems they’ve either become wise to this or have gotten a good chunk of their Francophilia out of their system – at least for now. So instead let’s start tracking how often they (or, more likely, their software) keep hitting on the same solutions.

Let’s establish some rules to keep things fair:
1) repeats older than a year don’t count
2) partial repeats don’t count, unless they’re in the same grid, and
3) derivative or variant forms of the same word or phrase do count.

To demonstrate rule 2), if we had BRAIN and BRAINS TRUST then I wouldn’t count this as a repeat unless they were both in the same grid. To demonstrate rule 3), if we had BALLOON one week and BALLOONED shortly after then I’d count it as a repeat. I appreciate there’ll be an element of subjectivity about these rules, but, again, I’ll try to be fair.

Applying these rules to this week’s Jumbo, you will see there were a heck of a lot of repeats. Even I was surprised. Now, there are over a dozen setters of the Times Jumbo Cryptic so some repeats will be unavoidable, but it’ll be interesting to see if this is a one-off or a trend. It also means I get to use a new meme. Can you guess what it’ll be?

Anyway, back to normal service. Below you’ll find my completed grid along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has rattled your cage 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.


RBV (Repeats-By-Volume): 11.7%
Pegs on noses may be necessary.

Across clues

  1. Standing out for what could be potato worker? (11)

Answer: PROTUBERANT (i.e. “standing out”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “for”) followed by TUBER (i.e. “potato”) and ANT (i.e. “worker”).

  1. Second of gumboots in template cobbled next to last (11)

Answer: PENULTIMATE (i.e. “next to last”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cobbled”) of U (i.e. “second [letter] of gumboots”) and IN TEMPLATE.

  1. No easy-going quality in exam set by one head (9)

Answer: TESTINESS (i.e. “no easy-going quality”). Solution is TEST (i.e. “exam”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and NESS (i.e. “head”, geographic features).

  1. Practicality is getting into orbit? (7)

Answer: REALISM (i.e. “practicality”). Solution is IS “getting into” REALM (i.e. “orbit”), like so: REAL(IS)M.

  1. Party reduced grass order (5)

Answer: DORIC (i.e. “order” – over to Chambers: “denoting one of the Greek orders of architecture distinguished by its simplicity and massive strength”). Solution is DO (i.e. “party”) followed by RICE (i.e. “grass”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “reduced”), like so: DO-RIC.

  1. Note gold put on ring (6)

Answer: CORDON (i.e. “ring” or barrier encircling something). Solution is C (a musical “note”) followed by OR (i.e. “gold” or yellow in heraldry) and DON (i.e. “put on”).

  1. Did badly in what thespians did, taking a lot of hits? (8)

Answer: ADDICTED (i.e. “taking a lot of [drug] hits”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “badly”) of DID placed in ACTED (i.e. “what thespians did”), like so: A(DDI)CTED.

  1. As close as any new love, but not the first (7)

Answer: NEAREST (i.e. “as close as any”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) followed by DEAREST (i.e. “love”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “but not the first”), like so: N-EAREST.

  1. Where competitors are saddled with drug tests after game (9,5,6)

Answer: BADMINTON HORSE TRIALS (i.e. “where competitors are saddled”). Solution is HORSE (i.e. “drug”, in this case slang for heroin) and TRIALS (i.e. “tests”) both placed “after” BADMINTON (i.e. “game”). Nicely done.

  1. I had first of infections of the ear, making one thick-headed (7)

Answer: IDIOTIC (i.e. “thick-headed”). Solution is I’D (a contraction of “I had”) followed by I (i.e. “first [letter] of infections”) and OTIC (i.e. “of the ear”).

  1. A grain’s processed for alcoholic drink (7)

Answer: SANGRIA (i.e. “alcoholic drink”). “Processed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A GRAIN’S. A repeat from grid 1605, only last month.

  1. Plain girl in photograph, perhaps (7)

Answer: PROSAIC (i.e. “plain”). Solution is ROSA (i.e. “girl’s” name) placed “in” PIC (i.e. “photograph”), like so: P(ROSA)IC. Oof! Another repeat so soon after the last, and this one only appeared last week. It’s almost like… hmm, now, what’s that phrase again?…

  1. Twenty-five pounds fraud when horse fails to show (4)

Answer: PONY (i.e. slang for “twenty-five pounds”). Solution is PHONY (i.e. “fraud”) once the H has been removed (indicated by “when horse fails to show”, H and “horse” being slang terms for heroin).

  1. Memory aid is classic in omen myths showing only partial recall? (8)

Answer: MNEMONIC (i.e. “memory aid” – How I Wish I Could Calculate Pi is an example – the number of letters in each word of the phrase gives you the first seven digits of pi: 3.141592. Or it would do were the next digit not 6, but what are rounding rules between friends, eh?) “Showing only partial” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “recall” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: CLASSI(C IN OMEN M)YTHS.

  1. Found where one might study (9)

Answer: INSTITUTE. Solution satisfies to “found” or establish, and “where one might study” – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example.

  1. Way of putting down surly worker (9)

Answer: SHORTHAND (i.e. “way of putting down” information). Solution is SHORT (i.e. “surly”) followed by HAND (i.e. “worker”).

  1. Polemic answer resounded in tone (8)

Answer: HARANGUE (i.e. “polemic” – harangue can be a noun as well as a verb). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A) and RANG (i.e. “resounded”) both placed “in” HUE (i.e. “tone”), like so: H(A-RANG)UE.

  1. Time fixed over trial (4)

Answer: TEST (i.e. “trial”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and SET (i.e. “fixed”) all reversed (indicated by “over”), like so: TES-T. With repeats from last month and last week already in the bank, it’s rather amusing to have a partial repeat of 13a from the same bloody grid. It’s tempting to double-meme this one, as the use of TEST and TRIAL was also used in 20a, but let’s go easy. Too many memes and this will start looking like a Goodreads review.

  1. Architect’s designed uniform new style (7)

Answer: Edwin LUTYENS (i.e. “architect”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “designed”) of U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet), N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and STYLE.

  1. Language sometimes used by setter, often before breakfast (7)

Answer: ENGLISH (i.e. “language”). The remainder of the clue plays on how you get English “setters” and English “breakfasts”. I must admit having a wry smile when I read “language sometimes used by setter”.

  1. Indicate what could be the harbour wall? (7)

Answer: PORTEND (i.e. “indicate”). When written as PORT END the solution playfully satisfies “what could be the harbour wall”. I rather liked this one.

  1. Just purchase enamel, we’re told (2,3,4,2,4,5)

Answer: BY THE SKIN OF ONE’S TEETH (i.e. “just”). “We’re told” indicates homophone, in this case of BUY (i.e. “purchase”). The rest of the solution satisfies “enamel”. Another I rather liked.

  1. Cheat careful handling business associate? (7)

Answer: CONTACT (i.e. “business associate”). Solution is CON (i.e. “cheat”) followed by TACT (i.e. “careful handling”).

  1. Irish linked with O’Casey primarily: abroad, what’s the language of Seneca? (8)

Answer: IROQUOIS (i.e. “the language of Seneca”, a Native American tribe in New York State). Solution is IR (a recognised abbreviation of “Irish”) followed by O (i.e. “O’Casey primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “O’Casey”) and QUOIS (i.e. “abroad: what”, i.e. the French for “what”). One of those “look up words beginning with IRO in the dictionary” moments.

[EDIT – A few people in the comments were correct to flag this one as being slightly off. QUOI is French for “what”. The S, meanwhile, is the contraction of “is” carrying over from “what’s” within the clue, so the solution should read as IR-O-QUOI’S. Thanks all! – LP]

  1. Endlessly short in government revenue chest (6)

Answer: THORAX (i.e. “chest”). Solution is HOR (i.e. “endlessly short”, i.e. the word “short” with both ends of the word removed) placed “in” TAX (i.e. “government revenue”), like so: T(HOR)AX.

  1. Returning bad old fruit (5)

Answer: OLIVE (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is EVIL (i.e. “bad”) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) all reversed (indicated by “returning”), like so: O-LIVE.

  1. Love like an old PM? Not that! (7)

Answer: CHERISH (i.e. “love”). Solution is THATCHERISH (i.e. “like an old PM”, Margaret Thatcher) with the THAT removed (indicated by “not that”).

  1. Mostly keen about new journey round in train (9)

Answer: ENTOURAGE (i.e. “train” or retinue). Solution is EAGER (i.e. “keen”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder wrapped “about” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and TOUR (i.e. “journey round”), like so: E(N-TOUR)AGE.

  1. Care for dog that’s eaten rook – pointer, perhaps? (11)

Answer: TRENDSETTER (i.e. “pointer, perhaps” – the riddly question mark feels like an admission that the setter is dicking around here, possibly playing on trendsetters being those at the front or on point. I really hope there’s a better solution out there, though). Solution is TEND (i.e. “care for”) and SETTER (i.e. “dog”) all wrapped around or “eating” R (a recognised abbreviation of “rook” used in chess), like so: T(R)END-SETTER.

  1. In hollow, I’m sheltering antelope that shows injury (11)

Answer: DISABLEMENT (i.e. “injury”). Solution is DENT (i.e. “hollow”) wrapped around or having “in” I’M once this is itself wrapped around or “sheltering” SABLE (i.e. “antelope”), like so: D(I(SABLE)’M)ENT.

Down clues

  1. Coup when school has placed first (6)

Answer: PUTSCH (i.e. “coup”). Solution is SCH (a recognised abbreviation of “school”) placed after or “having…first” PUT (i.e. “placed”), like so: PUT-SCH.

  1. Remark on job where one’s always on the lookout (11,4)

Answer: OBSERVATION POST (i.e. “where one’s always on the lookout”). Solution is OBSERVATION (i.e. a “remark”) followed by POST (i.e. “job”).

  1. Steadiness of university supporting dreaming Walter losing heart (10)

Answer: UNIFORMITY (i.e. “steadiness”). Solution is UNI (short for “university”) followed by FOR (i.e. “supporting”) and MITTY (i.e. “dreaming Walter”, character in James Thurber’s short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) once its middle letter has been removed (indicated by “losing heart”), like so: UNI-FOR-MITY.

  1. Flat like number ten, but not thirteen (4)

Answer: EVEN (i.e. “flat”). Clue plays on “ten” being an EVEN number. “Thirteen”, meanwhile, is “not”.

  1. Thorough idiot – I work for two – useless (9)

Answer: ASSIDUOUS (i.e. “thorough”). Solution is ASS (i.e. “idiot”) followed by I, then DUO (i.e. “work for two”, “duo” can refer to a duet), then US (i.e. “useless”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “unserviceable”).

  1. Film appearing on surface like a mountain lake, perhaps (7)

Answer: TARNISH (i.e. “film appearing on surface”). The solution also playfully satisfies “like a mountain lake, perhaps”, a mountain lake being a TARN.

  1. One with stamina in exercises beginning on ropes and one who will face walls (9)

Answer: PLASTERER (i.e. “one who will face walls” – face taken to mean “surface”). Solution is LASTER (i.e. “one with stamina”) placed “in” PE (i.e. “exercises”, or Physical Education) and R (i.e. “beginning [letter] on ropes”), like so: P(LASTER)E-R.

  1. Nymph upsetting Diana (5)

Answer: NAIAD (i.e. “nymph”). “Upsetting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DIANA. A repeat from grid 1569, back in August, so…

  1. Sweet tree just before fall (5,4)

Answer: LEMON DROP (i.e. “sweet”). Solution is LEMON (i.e. “tree”) followed by DROP (i.e. “fall”).

  1. State capital is country port of Italy south (12)

Answer: INDIANAPOLIS (i.e. “state capital” of Indiana). Solution is INDIA (i.e. “country”) followed by NAPOLI (i.e. “port of Italy”) and S (a recognised abbreviation of “south”).

  1. Broadcast not so much that’s stuffy (7)

Answer: AIRLESS (i.e. “stuffy”). Solution is AIR (i.e. “broadcast”) followed by LESS (i.e. “not so much”).

  1. Get worked up being caught by it in river (6)

Answer: EXCITE (i.e. “get worked up”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games) and IT both placed “in” EXE (i.e. “river”), like so: EX(C-IT)E. A repeat from grid 1586 back in November, so…

  1. Snake is a hoax when there’s nothing around (8)

Answer: ANACONDA (i.e. “snake”). Solution is A and CON (i.e. “hoax”) once placed in or having “around” it NADA (i.e. “nothing”), like so: A-NA(CON)DA.

  1. Great feeling when sister, say, has run away (7)

Answer: ELATION (i.e. “great feeling”). Solution is RELATION (i.e. “sister, say”) once the R has been removed (indicated by “has run away” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games).

  1. Code pact with changes agreed (8)

Answer: ACCEPTED (i.e. “agreed”). “With changes” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CODE PACT.

  1. Naughtily suggest including headless kipper? (8)

Answer: IMPISHLY (i.e. “naughtily”). Solution is IMPLY (i.e. “suggest”) wrapped around or “including” FISH (i.e. “kipper”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “headless”), like so: IMP(ISH)LY. IMPISH appeared earlier this month in grid 1607, so…

  1. Symphony penned by Beethoven in Thuringen (5)

Answer: NINTH (i.e. “symphony penned by Beethoven”). “Penned by” also indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: BEETHOVE(N IN TH)URINGEN.

  1. Criminal menaced amateurs in gaming establishment (9,6)

Answer: AMUSEMENT ARCADE (i.e. “gaming establishment”). “Criminal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MENACED AMATEURS.

  1. Patient’s admitted one day with wife – not around the weekend (7)

Answer: MIDWEEK (i.e. “not around the weekend”). Solution is MEEK (i.e. “patient”) wrapped around or “admitting” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), D (a recognised abbreviation of “day”) and W (ditto “wife”), like so: M(I-D-W)EEK.

  1. My good current dog (5)

Answer: CORGI (i.e. “dog”). Solution is COR (i.e. “my” – both exclamations) followed by G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) and I (representative of an electrical “current” in physics).

  1. Cat we have is chasing small shrew? (8)

Answer: SOURPUSS (i.e. a “shrew” or scold). Solution is OUR PUSS (i.e. “cat we have”) placed after or “chasing” S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”), like so: S-(OUR-PUSS).

  1. Where the satnav is looking greatly superior (7,5)

Answer: STREETS AHEAD. Solution satisfies “where the satnav is looking” and “greatly superior”.

  1. Energy-efficient dwelling where one goes to pot? (10)

Answer: GREENHOUSE (i.e. “where one goes to pot”). Solution is GREEN (i.e. “energy-efficient”) followed by HOUSE (i.e. “dwelling”).

  1. Display a lot of glasses (9)

Answer: SPECTACLE (i.e. “display”). Solution is SPECTACLES (i.e. “glasses”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of”).

  1. Boatman taking rest in Middle-earth kingdom (9)

Answer: GONDOLIER (i.e. “boatman”). Solution is LIE (i.e. “rest”) placed in or “taken” by GONDOR (i.e. “Middle-earth kingdom” of JRR Tolkien’s books), like so: GONDO(LIE)R. A repeat from grid 1567 back in July, so…

  1. Convenience of shandies, mixed with tip of spoon (9)

Answer: HANDINESS (i.e. “convenience”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “mixed”) of SHANDIES and N (i.e. “tip of spoon”, in this case the last letter of “spoon”).

  1. Book with story about tree blaze (7)

Answer: BONFIRE (i.e. “blaze”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) followed by ONE (i.e. “story”, as in “have you heard the one about…” – you tend to hear this usage in jokes, so “story” is a bit of a stretch here) once wrapped “about” FIR (i.e. “tree”), like so: B-ON(FIR)E.

  1. Red and juicy – satisfied eating it (7)

Answer: FLUSHED (i.e. “red”). Solution is LUSH (i.e. “juicy”) placed in or “eaten” by FED (i.e. “satisfied”), like so: F(LUSH)ED.

  1. Confront a Conservative over expense (6)

Answer: ACCOST (i.e. “confront”). Solution is A followed by C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) and COST (i.e. “expense”).

  1. Ace and ten Peter used badly (6)

Answer: EXPERT (i.e. “ace”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “used badly”) of X (i.e. “[Roman numeral] ten”) and PETER.

  1. All over the place in record time (5)

Answer: INEPT (i.e. “all over the place”). Solution is IN followed by EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended Play) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Attempt cricketers mounted (4)

Answer: STAB (i.e. “attempt”). Solution is BATS (i.e. “cricketers”) reversed (indicated by “mounted” – this being a down clue).

15 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1611

  1. Some good clues this week. 45a very clever for a long 6-word solution. Annoyed with myself for getting Thorax so late.
    I’m not joining your campaign against repeats because I see word repetition as a natural feature of the English language. As I’ve suggested before, it’s repeats of clues not solutions that we should be on the warpath against – but they are not infrequent.
    My complaint this week is against Quois (50a), which simply does not mean ‘what’ in any language known to me. So that “apostrophe s” must be doing some bilingual work here, jumping from French (or Senecan) to English. Too tricksy for my liking.

  2. Thanks Lucian. A fairly straightforward one this week, though the repeat of PROSAIC did annoy me. It isn’t even as though it’s a commonly-used word. Not in my experience, anyway. Love the new meme, though.

    Re IROQUOIS (no, me neither), I think the parsing is WHAT’S = QUOI’S. QUOI is French for WHAT, though it’s usually followed by a a question mark (in the context of, for example, “What did you say?”). If my reasoning is correct, then the parsing feels very contrived.

    But we did like STREETS AHEAD. Very clever.

    Take care, and stay safe. SB.

  3. Thanks, Lucian. Pretty straightforward offering this week. I agree with the lack of satisfaction over the s in Iroquois & not sure about one meaning story. Can’t say I really notice repeats as such but I see they get your goat (I wonder what the origin of that phrase is). Cheers

  4. Many thanks Lucian.
    Couldn’t understand how ‘one’ = ‘story’, so thanks for pointing that out.
    I agree with Sue about ‘quois’. Unless you parse it as ‘quo is’, Latin being the official language of Vatican City!
    Regarding repeats, I’d be interested to know how many would be expected by normal coincidence. There are about 60 answers per Jumbo and about 60 Jumbos a year (Saturdays + Bank Holidays). Apparently there are about 170,000 words currently in use in the English language (according to the 20 volume OED). So all we need now is a mathematician to calculate how many repeats you would expect in a year under random conditions.

    1. I asked Matt my mathematician son His reply is as follows.

      Assuming 170,000 words, 60 words per crossword (none repeating), 60 crosswords per year, in each crossword the words are picked completely at random from the 170,000 words, then I calculate roughly 37 expected duplicates per year.
      The actual number would probably be a little higher because I would imagine that the 170 thousand words are not equally likely to appear.

  5. We felt exactly the same way. Started with those two long multiword answers, both of which were nicely set. Worked steadily through from top left to bottom right, finding some nice clues along the way.
    Tarnish reminds me of the Uxbridge dictionary in ISIHAC. Sourpuss was also fun.
    But it felt like the setter was running out of steam as they got further down the grid. Nuff said about Iroquois.
    In my dictionary, sable is a marten. The colour of its fur led to sable meaning black in heraldry. The sable antelope is simply a black antelope. IMHO it’s equivalent to using “elephant” as a clue for “pink”.
    The question mark on 56A must be because Pointer is a trendsetter and a dog.

  6. Most straightforward offering for a while, I thought. Agree about what’s been said about IROQUOIS, and thanks for explaining how ‘one’ can be’ story’ in 45d, I was really scratching my head about that!

  7. The ’37 duplicates a year’ calculation doesn’t take into account the fact that many answers are more than one word, and some are phrases 🙂

    1. This is true. I only gave my son the basic facts with which to calculate it. But it does suggest there are without doubt far more repeats than there should be!

  8. Thanks as always for the parsing – ‘one’ for story resolved the single uncertainty. I didn’t have to do a dictionary prowl for 50a from words beginning ‘Iro’ ; starting the other way, definition of Seneca in Chambers took me straight there. I doubted the philosopher would even be in the dictionary, but he does at least get an entry for an adjective next after the American Indians .My blind alley was to think the clue must be connected with Stoicism!

    Yes this one was straightforward but I did feel quite pleased with doing it in one go this morning! I agree about disliking repeats to some extent, but am with Michael EI in caring less about the answers than the clues themselves. I find a way of dealing with it is also to be working through the series of collected Jumbos as I am trying to do – I find I don’t remember if a supposed repeat is from four months ago or twenty years, so I give the setter the benefit of the doubt.. Yet another advantage of age……

  9. Just recently back from France for the summer’s work after the permitted Brexit EU max of 90 days away; able to pick up Jumbo bashing again. As I don’t remotely share the Lucian antipathy to Francais, I was particularly enamoured of the need to use “quoi” in 50a. Quite welcome the full “Iroquois”, in fact. Nice breath of political correctness somehow. Mais oui.

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