Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1612

A mostly straightforward Jumbo though uneven in places, particularly around the bottom-right of the grid. As for those pesky repeats, you’ll see there are rather a lot of them. So many in fact that I felt I ought to add a fourth rule to be fairer to setters.

To recap, my rules for flagging repeated solutions are:
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.

I’ll add: 4) a repeat will not count if the intersecting letters differ to those of its previous appearance.

So if ANIMATE appears in one grid as A_I_A_E and as _N_M_T_ in another then I won’t count it as a repeat. On this occasion, this reduces the number of repeats from 9 to 7, which is still rather excessive. Carry on like this and I’ll have Michael Palin’s agent bending my ear.

Anyway, back to the script. 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 given you grief then you might find solace in my Just For Fun page, 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 and opinions of solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.


RBV (Repeats-By-Volume): 11.7%

Across clues

  1. Former press baron enthralled by light rustic composition (9)

Answer: PASTORALE (i.e. “rustic composition”). Solution is David ASTOR (i.e. “former press baron” – he used to edit The Observer during the 50s and 60s, apparently) placed in or “enthralled by” PALE (i.e. “light”), like so: P(ASTOR)ALE.

  1. English youth cutting borders in Florida marshes (10)

Answer: EVERGLADES (i.e. “Florida marshes”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by LAD (i.e. “youth”) once placed in or “cutting” VERGES (i.e. “borders”), like so: E-VERG(LAD)ES.

  1. Part of plane where feathers once flew? (7)

Answer: COCKPIT. Solution satisfies “part of plane” and “where feathers once flew”, at least until the sport was outlawed.

  1. Retired worker involved in dealing with mail after delivery (9)

Answer: POSTNATAL (i.e. “after delivery” of child). Solution is ANT (i.e. “worker”) reversed (indicated by “retired”) and placed in or “involved in” POSTAL (i.e. “dealing with mail”), like so: POS(TNA)TAL.

  1. House built by Republican in Galician port (5)

Answer: VIRGO (i.e. “house” – signs of the zodiac are sometimes called houses). Solution is VIGO (i.e. “Galician port” – straight to Bradford’s here. Regular readers will know I can’t be arsed when setters crutch on ports and place names to get the job done) wrapped around or having “in” R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”), like so: VI(R)GO.

  1. Questioner initially rather near riot got roughed up (12)

Answer: INTERROGATOR (i.e. “questioner”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “roughed up”) of R (i.e. “initially rather”, i.e. the first letter of “rather”) and NEAR RIOT GOT.

  1. Incarceration of hospital doctor (name concealed by police) (10)

Answer: INTERNMENT (i.e. “incarceration”). Solution is INTERN (i.e. “hospital doctor”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”) once placed in or “concealed by” MET (i.e. London “police”), like so: INTERN-ME(N)T.

  1. Reptile crook of sterner disposition reportedly stole first (3,11)

Answer: BOA CONSTRICTOR (i.e. “reptile”). Solution is CON (i.e. “crook”) and a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of STRICTER (i.e. “of sterner disposition”) both placed after or having “first” BOA (i.e. “stole”, garment), like so: BOA-(CON-STRICTOR).

  1. Athlete from south runs into English dramatist (8)

Answer: SPRINTER (i.e. “athlete”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “south”) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in some ball games) once placed “into” Harold PINTER (i.e. “English dramatist”), like so: S-(P(R)INTER).

  1. Introduce batting, however briefly (6)

Answer: INSTIL (i.e. “introduce”). Solution is IN (i.e. “batting” in some ball games) followed by STILL (i.e. “however”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: IN-STIL.

  1. Water bear’s slow step heard (10)

Answer: TARDIGRADE (i.e. “water bear” – no, me neither). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “heard”) of TARDY (i.e. “slow”) and GRADE (i.e. “step”), like so: TARDI-GRADE.

  1. Operatic princess with house in northwestern state (5)

Answer: IDAHO (i.e. “northwestern state” of the US). Solution is IDA (i.e. “operatic princess”, from the comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan) followed by HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”).

  1. Inappropriate reaction of daughter finally involved in mother’s ruin! (4)

Answer: GRIN (i.e. “inappropriate reaction”). Solution is R (i.e. “daughter finally”, i.e. the last letter of “daughter”) placed “in” GIN (i.e. “mother’s ruin”, slang thereof), like so: G(R)IN.

  1. Get on well round the rightful Duke of Milan (8)

Answer: PROSPERO (i.e. “rightful Duke of Milan” from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest). Solution is PROSPER (i.e. “get on well”) followed by O (i.e. “round”).

  1. Stunt paid for refurbishment, one argues (9)

Answer: DISPUTANT (i.e. “one argues”). “For refurbishment” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of STUNT PAID.

  1. Kentish port’s very steep headland (9)

Answer: SHEERNESS (i.e. “Kentish port”). Solution is SHEER (i.e. “very steep”) followed by NESS (i.e. “headland”).

  1. Boards in French schools (8)

Answer: ENTRAINS (i.e. “boards” a train). Solution is EN (i.e. “in French”, i.e. the French for “in”) followed by TRAINS (i.e. “schools”).

  1. Smile broadly, supporting member perhaps (4)

Answer: BEAM. Solution satisfies “smile broadly” and “supporting member” of a structure.

  1. Obtained hotel accommodation at first in Thuringian town (5)

Answer: GOTHA (i.e. “Thuringian town”). Solution is GOT (i.e. “obtained”) followed by H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet) and A (i.e. “accommodation at first”, i.e. the initial letter of “accommodation”). One nailed from the wordplay.

  1. Reader worried by European voters (10)

Answer: ELECTORATE (i.e. “voters”). Solution is LECTOR (i.e. “reader” at a church service) and ATE (i.e. “worried”, as in what’s eating you?) both placed after or “by” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: E-(LECTOR-ATE).

  1. Superficial façade always associated with cleric (6)

Answer: VENEER (i.e. “superficial façade”). Solution is E’ER (poetic form of “always”) placed after or “with” VEN (i.e. “cleric”, short for the honorific “venerable”), like so: VEN-E’ER. A repeat from grid 1595 back in January, also intersecting on even letters, so…

  1. Routine move to divide cost (8)

Answer: PRACTICE (i.e. “routine”). Solution is ACT (i.e. “move”) placed in or “dividing” PRICE (i.e. “cost”), like so: PR(ACT)ICE.

  1. Ill-fated priest’s unexpected ally is crowned outside area (8,6)

Answer: CARDINAL WOLSEY (i.e. “ill-fated priest” who felt Henry VIII’s wrath after failing to negotiate an annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unexpected”) of ALLY IS CROWNED wrapped around or placed “outside” of A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), like so: CARDIN(A)LWOLSEY.

  1. Lacking formal tuition damaged the fat slug! (4-6)

Answer: SELF-TAUGHT (i.e. “lacking formal tuition”). “Damaged” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THE FAT SLUG.

  1. Duke in West Indies standing by a big tree (12)

Answer: WELLINGTONIA (i.e. “big tree”, a sequoia). Solution is ELLINGTON (i.e. “Duke”, famed jazz composer) placed “in” WI (short for “West Indies”) and followed “by” A, like so: W(ELLINGTON)I-A.

  1. Powered brake mechanism installed in lesser Volvos (5)

Answer: SERVO (i.e. “powered brake mechanism”). “Installed in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: LES(SER VO)LVOS.

  1. Male animal in box, possibly, by front of this siege engine (9)

Answer: TREBUCKET (i.e. “siege engine” – my Chambers and Oxford don’t support this variant spelling of trebuchet, but, surprise, surprise, my Collin’s Concise is more than happy to back this one up). Solution is BUCK (i.e. “male animal”) placed “in” TREE (i.e. “box, possibly” – other flavours of tree are available) and followed by T (i.e. “front of this”, i.e. the first letter of “this”), like so: TRE(BUCK)E-T.

  1. Solitary person’s responsibility, in East End principally (7)

Answer: EREMITE (i.e. “solitary person”, or hermit). Solution is REMIT (i.e. “responsibility”) placed “in” E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”) and E (i.e. “end principally”, i.e. the first letter of “end”), like so: E-(REMIT)-E.

  1. Old office requisite – sort more suitable for auditors? (10)

Answer: TYPEWRITER (i.e. “old office requisite”). Solution is TYPE (i.e. “sort”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “for auditors”) of RIGHTER (i.e. “more suitable” – the question mark is a tacit admission from the setter that you’re not exactly going to find this in the dictionary, or at least under this definition).

  1. Provided with glosses – and at Eton, somehow (9)

Answer: ANNOTATED (i.e. “provided with glosses” – a variant meaning of gloss is “an explanation given in a margin or between lines, e.g. of an obscure or unusual word” (Chambers)). “Somehow” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AND AT ETON.

Down clues

  1. Mine includes firm loops in ornamental edging (5)

Answer: PICOT (i.e. “loops in ornamental edging”). Solution is PIT (i.e. “mine”) wrapped around or “including” CO (i.e. “firm”, short for company), like so: PI(CO)T. A repeat from grid 1576 back in September, also intersecting on odd letters, so…

  1. Note from police officer to man ultimately in charge (10)

Answer: SUPERTONIC (i.e. musical “note” – over to Chambers: “the second degree of the diatonic scale, e.g. D in the scale of C”). Solution is SUPER (i.e. “police officer”, short for superintendent) followed by TO, then N (i.e. “man ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “man”) and IC (a recognised abbreviation of “in charge”). This would have been a repeat from grid 1557, but on that occasion it intersected on even letters.

  1. Shed you once observed engulfed by river (8)

Answer: OUTHOUSE (i.e. “shed”). Solution is THOU (i.e. “you once”, i.e. ye olde “you”) placed in or “engulfed by” OUSE (i.e. “river”), like so: OU(THOU)SE.

  1. Record held by a hospital, a mark of high achievement (5)

Answer: ALPHA (i.e. “a mark of high achievement”). Solution is LP (i.e. “record”, specifically a Long Play) placed in or “held by” A, H (a recognised abbreviation of “hospital” used on maps) and A, like so: A-(LP)-H-A.

  1. Firmly settled aim to keep clubs in doughy cake (9)

Answer: ENSCONCED (i.e. “firmly settled”). Solution is END (i.e. “aim”) wrapped around or “keeping” C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games) once first placed “in” SCONE (i.e. “doughy cake”), like so: EN(SCON(C)E)D.

  1. Energy used by soldier, possibly, climbing mountain (4)

Answer: ETNA (i.e. “mountain”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) followed by ANT (i.e. “solder, possibly” – other varieties of ant are available) once the latter has been reversed (indicated by “climbing” – this being a down clue), like so: E-TNA.

  1. Surviving former partner beat time (6)

Answer: EXTANT (i.e. “surviving”). Solution is EX (i.e. “former partner”) followed by TAN (i.e. to “beat”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Info about elderly rustic housing horse and bird (6,8)

Answer: GOLDEN PHEASANT (i.e. “bird”). Solution is GEN (i.e. “info”) wrapped “about” OLD (i.e. “elderly”) and followed by PEASANT (i.e. “rustic”) once this is itself wrapped around or “housing” H (i.e. “horse”, both slang for heroin), like so: G(OLD)EN-P(H)EASANT.

  1. Appearing unexpectedly in church season, it promises to pay (12)

Answer: ADVENTITIOUS (i.e. “appearing unexpectedly”). Solution is ADVENT (i.e. “church season”) followed by IT and IOUS (i.e. “promises to pay”).

  1. Fellow accepting a down payment (7)

Answer: EARNEST (i.e. “down payment” – a variant meaning is “payment given to confirm a contract” (Chambers)). Solution is ERNEST (i.e. “fellow’s” name) wrapped around or “accepting” A, like so: E(A)RNEST. A repeat from grid 1589 back in December, also intersecting on odd letters, so…

  1. Son copying work outside back of school, writing carelessly (10)

Answer: SCRIBBLING (i.e. “writing carelessly”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by CRIBBING (i.e. “copying”) once wrapped around or placed “outside” of L (i.e. “back of school”, i.e. the last letter of “school”), like so: S-CRIBB(L)ING. SCRIBBLE appeared in grid 1609 last month, but on odd intersecting letters.

  1. Tom’s route travelling farthest from the centre (9)

Answer: OUTERMOST (i.e. “farthest from the centre”). “Travelling” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TOM’S ROUTE.

  1. Pine club lying around old ship’s vessel (8)

Answer: LONGBOAT (i.e. “ship’s vessel”, specifically the “largest and strongest boat of a ship” (Chambers)). Solution is LONG (i.e. “pine” or yearn) followed by BAT (i.e. “club”) once wrapped “around” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: LONG-B(O)AT.

  1. Teetotal surgeon in a hospital department carrying can (9)

Answer: ABSTINENT (i.e. “teetotal”). Solution is BS (i.e. “surgeon”, specifically a Bachelor of Surgery) placed in or “carried” by A and ENT (i.e. “hospital department”, specifically Ears, Nose and Throat), once these are also wrapped around or having “in” TIN (i.e. “can”), like so: A-(BS)-(TIN)-ENT. A repeat from grid 1583 back in November, also intersecting on odd letters, so…

  1. Again evaluated beasts of burden kept in deer’s ground (10)

Answer: REASSESSED (i.e. “again evaluated”). Solution is ASSES (i.e. “beasts of burden”) placed in or “kept in” an anagram (indicated by “ground”) of DEER’S, like so: RE(ASSES)SED. REASSESS appeared in grid 1571 back in August, also intersecting on odd letters, so…

  1. Polish saint, one possibly sheltering on river bank (4,6)

Answer: SAND MARTIN (i.e. “one possibly sheltering on river bank”). Solution is SAND (i.e. “polish”) followed by MARTIN (i.e. a “saint”).

  1. Insight of a retired nurse once dividing goods for sale (9)

Answer: AWARENESS (i.e. “insight”). Solution is A followed by SEN (i.e. “nurse once”, specifically a State-Enrolled Nurse) reversed (indicated by “retired”) once placed in or “dividing” WARES (i.e. “goods for sale”), like so: A-WARE(NES)S.

  1. Film made by barrister in Parisian bar (5,9)

Answer: BRIEF ENCOUNTER (i.e. 1945 “film”). Solution is BRIEF (i.e. “barrister”) followed by EN (i.e. “in Parisian”, i.e. the French for “in”) and COUNTER (i.e. “bar”).

  1. Ultimate opening grabbed by English university man (8)

Answer: EVENTUAL (i.e. “ultimate”). Solution is VENT (i.e. “opening”) placed in or “grabbed by” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), U (ditto “university”) and AL (i.e. a “man’s” name), like so: E-(VENT)-U-AL.

  1. Swimming movement of animal crossing river with oarsman? (12)

Answer: BREASTSTROKE (i.e. “swimming movement”). Solution is BEAST (i.e. “animal”) wrapped around or “crossing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”) and followed by STROKE (i.e. “oarsman”), like so: B(R)EAST-STROKE.

  1. Indicators of wrongdoing restricting good jobs (9)

Answer: SIGNPOSTS (i.e. “indicators”). Solution is SIN (i.e. “wrongdoing”) wrapped around or “restricting” G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) and followed by POSTS (i.e. “jobs”), like so: SI(G)N-POSTS.

  1. Arrive at bar at last, supporting tipsy reveller (10)

Answer: MERRYMAKER (i.e. “reveller”). Solution is MAKE (i.e. “arrive”, probably best followed with “it”) and R (i.e. “bar at last”, i.e. the last letter of “bar”) both placed after or “supporting” – this being a down clue – MERRY (i.e. “tipsy”), like so: MERRY-(MAKE-R).

  1. Extradite soldiers at front of this carriage (10)

Answer: DEPORTMENT (i.e. “carriage” or demeanour). Solution is DEPORT (i.e. “extradite”) followed by MEN (i.e. “soldiers”) and T (i.e. “front of this”, i.e. the first letter of “this”).

  1. Plant from brook in Airedale primarily associated with tailless fish (9)

Answer: RUDBECKIA (i.e. “plant” – another swift visit to Bradford’s was made here. I have the same disdain for plants as I do place names when it comes to Jumbos. They are seldom worth your time). Solution is BECK (i.e. “brook” or stream) and IA (i.e. “in Airedale primarily”, i.e. the first letters of “in” and “Airedale”) both placed after or “with” RUDD (i.e. a variety of “fish”, apparently) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “tailless”), like so: RUD-(BECK-IA). What on earth is this doing in a comparatively straightforward Jumbo? Entirely valid, yes, but this is the kind of trash you’d normally see in a stinker.

  1. Mournful brass hat visiting factory (8)

Answer: PLANGENT (i.e. resounding “mournfully”). Solution is GEN (i.e. “brass hat”, specifically a general) placed in or “visiting” PLANT (i.e. “factory”), like so: PLAN(GEN)T.

  1. The whole work unit overcomes variable hypersensitivity (7)

Answer: ALLERGY (i.e. “hypersensitivity”). Solution is ALL (i.e. “the whole”) followed by ERG (i.e. “work unit”, apparently 10-7 joules. Not much work, then!) and Y (i.e. “variable” – setters more often refer to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns, but this works too).

  1. Risk onset of hail disrupting outing, perhaps (6)

Answer: THREAT (i.e. “risk”). Solution is TREAT (i.e. “outing, perhaps” – I’d say it was a stretch, but my Bradford’s supports it) wrapped around or being “disrupted” by H (i.e. “outset of hail”, i.e. the first letter of “hail”), like so: T(H)REAT.

  1. Tongue served in hotel at Inverness (5)

Answer: LATIN (i.e. “tongue” or language). “Served in” indicates the solution has been hidden in HOTE(L AT IN)VERNESS.

  1. Start to need help capturing a water nymph (5)

Answer: NAIAD (i.e. “water nymph”). Solution is N (i.e. “start to need”, i.e. the first letter of “need”) and AID (i.e. “help”) wrapped around or “capturing” A, like so: N-AI(A)D. And for the second Jumbo running we have a repeat from the previous puzzle. And you wonder why I despair. Looks like NAIAD is another one to file alongside ERNST, RAITA and ELFIN. As this also appeared in grid 1569 back in August, have a double meme…

  1. Make contented noises, setting up rights at university (4)

Answer: PURR (i.e. “make contented noises”). Solution is RR (i.e. “rights”, R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and UP (i.e. “at university”) all reversed (indicated by “setting up” – this being a down clue), like so: PU-RR.

4 thoughts on “Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1612

  1. Thanks Lucian. Not too bad overall, but we weren’t altogether happy with SAND being used as a synonym for POLISH (23d). In my experience, sanding is something which is done before polishing. They aren’t the same thing at all.

    And we’ve never ever seen TREBUCHET spelled with K instead of H (54a). Is it a coincidence that the only dictionary to support this alternative spelling is the same one which is offered as a prize? Though come to think of it, if you need the Collins Dictionary in order to solve the puzzle in the first place, what’s the point in entering anyway if the prize is a book you already own? Am I missing something obvious here?

    Take care, and stay safe. SB

  2. Yep, we felt the same way.
    Haven’t we seen Tardigrade recently? And Entrains?
    But there were some nice clues, like the brass hat in Plangent.
    It must be hard for the setter to anticipate how difficult it will be for the solvers. I think they got this one just right for a bank holiday!

  3. Thanks, Lucian. Another easyish offering for the bank holiday. I too thought we’d had tardigrade recently. Apparently they are also known as moss piglets which sounds rather endearing. Re Rudbeckia, it’s a very common garden perennial & not at all obscure if you’re into that kind of thing, which I assume you’re not. Cheers

  4. Re 23 d I did not really mind the polish for ‘sand’ but saint as a clue for ‘Martin’ ?? Many other saints are available.
    Quite glad though that it was a straightforward one for the Bank Holiday, though.

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