Note: I won’t be in a position to post solutions for the next couple of grids because lager + Bank Holiday + more lager. I’ll buy the papers and see how I get on once the DTs fade.
This was a puzzle that rather outstayed its welcome. I can appreciate the cleverness of some of the clues now that the dust has settled, but towards the end this was beginning to get on my nerves, which rather sapped the fun. Still, I think I got there in the end. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them.
As ever with these things, a spot of housekeeping before we begin. If you have a previous Times Jumbo Cryptic that’s looking a little gappy then you might be interested in my Just For Fun page. If book reviews float your boat then I have a few of them too. I’ll have a review of Best New Horror 9 up shortly. Well, shortly-ish.
And now, our feature presentation. Laters.
1. Asian deity placed river by a river in Asia (11)
Answer: BRAHMAPUTRA (i.e. “a river in Asia”. A big ‘un too, by all accounts.) Solution is BRAHMA, the Hindu Creator god (i.e. “Asian deity”) followed by PUT (i.e. “placed”) then R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”) and finally A, like so: BRAHMA-PUT-R-A. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here, as there are several hundred thousand rivers out there I’ve never heard of.
7. Battle line’s cut in retreat (6)
Answer: FLIGHT (i.e. “retreat”). Solution is FIGHT (i.e. “battle”) with L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”) “cut in” like so: F(L)IGHT.
10. With Bill following, say “I’m shocked!” (4)
Answer: EGAD (i.e. “I’m shocked!”). Solution is AD (i.e. “bill”, as in a shortened form of “advertisement” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) which is placed behind or “following” EG (i.e. “say”, as in for example), like so: EG-AD. Yes, I immediately thought of Pinky and the Brain when I got this. I am a massive child. (Thumbs nose and sticks out tongue.)
14. Worry for each kind of wine knocked back (7)
Answer: PERTURB (i.e. “worry”). Solution is PER (i.e. “for each”) followed by BRUT (i.e. “kind of wine”) reversed or “knocked back”, like so: PER-TURB.
15. Set off, with a way to cross river (7)
Answer: AROUSED (i.e. “set off”, as in to trigger rather than to launch). Solution is A followed by RD (i.e. “way”, as in a recognised abbreviation of “road”) once it has been wrapped around or “crossing” OUSE (i.e. “river”), like so: A-R(OUSE)D.
16. Steward to go off, returning on time for resolution (7)
Answer: JANITOR (i.e. “steward”). Solution is ROT (i.e. “to go off”) reversed (indicated by “returning”) and placed behind JAN I (i.e. “time for resolution”, as in New Year’s Day), like so: JAN-I-TOR.
17. Secretly touring some countries in wild fashion (13)
Answer: INCONTINENTLY (i.e. “in wild fashion” – I mean, it’s one way to describe it, I guess). Solution is INLY (i.e. “secretly” – it’s one way to describe it, I guess) wrapped around or “touring” CONTINENT (i.e. “some countries”), like so: IN(CONTINENT)LY.
18. Service dispatched, carrying ace stuff (9)
Answer: SACRAMENT (i.e. “service”, as in a ceremony). Solution is SENT (i.e. “dispatched”) wrapped around or “carrying” A (a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used on playing cards) and CRAM (i.e. “[to] stuff”), like so: S(A-CRAM)ENT.
19. House staff do twirls (5)
Answer: TUDOR (i.e. “house”, as in the dynasty of kings and queens who ruled England, Ireland and Wales between 1485 and 1603). Solution is ROD (i.e. “staff”) and UT (i.e. “do”, as in the musical note “do” or “doh”. Once upon a time this used to be “ut”, it says here), which are both reversed (indicated by “twirls”), like so: TU-DOR. One of those clues where you get the solution fairly easily and then spend ages trying to figure out what on earth the setter was playing at.
21. In the main, it’s outstanding publicity with name on the right (10)
Answer: PROMONTORY (i.e. “in the main, it’s outstanding” – setters love using “main” to mean the sea, and a promontory is a headland or cape that juts out into the sea). Not quite sure about this one, so watch out. I get that PR is “publicity”, being a recognised abbreviation of “press release”, and “on the right” gets you ON TORY (as in the right-leaning Conservative Party) but the OM bit leaves me cold. It’s a recognised abbreviation of Order of Merit, perhaps, but that’s more a title than a name. Maybe the setter is playing fast and loose here, which wouldn’t be an isolated case. Ah, sod it, I’m moving on.
23. Jet circles area, quiet or loud? (6)
Answer: FLASHY (i.e. “loud”). Solution is FLY (i.e. “[to] jet”) wrapped around or “circling” A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”) and SH (i.e. “quiet”), like so: FL(A-SH)Y.
25. Without hesitation, making free drink (8)
Answer: LIBATION (i.e. “drink”). Solution is LIBERATION (i.e. “making free”) with the ER removed (indicated by “without hesitation”).
26. Power to hurt a biologist, not European chemist (14)
Answer: PHARMACOLOGIST (i.e. “chemist”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) followed by HARM (i.e. “to hurt”) then A and then ECOLOGIST (i.e. “biologist”) once the initial E has been removed (indicated by “not European”, E being a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: P-HARM-A-COLOGIST.
29. One’s very sharp at English exam, amazingly (7)
Answer: MEATAXE (i.e. “one’s very sharp”. One is also a hyphenated word in my dictionary, but there you go). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “amazingly”) of AT EXAM and E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”).
30. Hopeless sort of computer game is included in trial (9)
Answer: PESSIMIST (i.e. “hopeless sort”). Solution is SIM (i.e. “sort of computer game”, e.g. a flight simulator) and IS placed or “included in” PEST (i.e. “trial” – the setter has gone deep into the definitions here, but a trial can be a pest or nuisance), like so: PES(SIM-IS)T.
31. Possessing urge, laugh? This creature might (5)
Answer: HYENA (i.e. “this creature might [laugh]”). Solution is YEN (i.e. “urge”) which is placed in or “possessed” by HA (i.e. “laugh”), like so: H(YEN)A.
32. Filling of jam, plenty or enough? (5)
Answer: AMPLE (i.e. “enough”). “Filling of” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: J(AM PLE)NTY.
34. Like certain characters in drug affair (5,4)
Answer: UPPER CASE (i.e. “like certain characters”). Solution is UPPER (i.e. “drug”) followed by CASE (i.e. “affair”).
37. Recover or recovered like books? (7)
Answer: REBOUND (i.e. “recover”). Solution also riffs on how books are bound in covers, so if they are re-covered, they are re-bound. Best clue of the puzzle. Very well played.
39. Caring too much to evict and reprove criminal (14)
Answer: OVERPROTECTIVE (i.e. “caring too much”). “Criminal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO EVICT and REPROVE.
41. Fashionably petite and fit one, that Parisian (8)
Answer: BOUTIQUE (i.e. “fashionably petite”). Solution is BOUT (i.e. “fit”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and QUE (i.e. “that Parisian”, i.e. the French for “that”).
43. Feel anger for one half of match, we hear? (6)
Answer: BRIDLE (i.e. “feel anger”). “We hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of BRIDAL (i.e. “one half of match” or marriage).
44. Rock star isn’t in school (2,8)
Answer: ST TRINIANS (i.e. fictitious boarding “school” created by Ronald Searle – I used to love the old St Trinians movies back when I was even more of a massive child than I am today). “Rock” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of STAR ISNT IN.
45. Follow is about right for this (5)
Answer: TRAIL. The clue riffs on how TAIL and TRAIL both satisfy “follow”, and how wrapping the former “about” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) will get you the latter. You get the idea.
48. Government supporter in charge, in fact (9)
Answer: STATISTIC (i.e. “fact”). Solution is STATIST (i.e. “government supporter”) followed by IC (a recognised abbreviation of “in charge”).
49. Stepping on court game’s dividing lines (6,7)
Answer: DOUBLE SPACING (i.e. “[gaps] dividing lines”). Solution is PACING (i.e. “stepping”) placed after or “on” DOUBLES (i.e. “[tennis] court game”).
51. Bow’s straight with recording for a dance (3-4)
Answer: ONE-STEP (i.e. “dance”). Solution is HONEST (i.e. “straight”) with the initial H removed (indicated by “Bow”, referring to how Cockneys drop their aitches – Cockneys are those born within earshot of Bow Bells) and followed by EP (i.e. “recording”, specifically an Extended Play single), like so: ONEST-EP.
52. Youngster redeveloping the London borough (7)
Answer: LAMBETH (i.e. “London borough”). Solution is LAMB (i.e. “youngster”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “redeveloping”) of THE, like so: LAMB-ETH.
53. Desire this person has to be caustic (7)
Answer: EROSIVE (i.e. “to be caustic”). Solution is EROS (i.e. “desire [is] this person”) followed by I’VE (i.e. “has”).
54. It’s formed by a group of signatories? (4)
Answer: NATO (i.e. “it’s formed by a group [of countries]”). “Of” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, likes so: SIG(NATO)RIES.
55. Caught fabric in drawer (6)
Answer: CRAYON (i.e. “drawer”, as in something used to draw stuff). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in ball games) followed by RAYON (i.e. “fabric”).
56. Person seeking return in cattle pen (11)
Answer: STOCKHOLDER. Solution satisfies “person seeking return [on investment]” and “cattle pen”, as in a STOCK HOLDER.
1. Maybe John’s fitting in again, given time (7)
Answer: BAPTIST (i.e. “maybe John”, as in John the Baptist). Solution is APT (i.e. “fitting”) placed “in” BIS (i.e. “again” – in musical lingo this indicates a section is to be repeated) and then followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: B(APT)IS-T.
2. Enchanting remark from a villain wearing a pair of undergarments (11)
Answer: ABRACADABRA (i.e. “enchanting remark”). Solution is CAD (i.e. “villain”) that is surrounded by or “wearing” “a pair of” A BRA (i.e. “undergarment”), like so: A-BRA-(CAD)-A-BRA.
3. Think of the late or early period in speech (5)
Answer: MOURN (i.e. “think of the late” – late being a way of describing someone who is deceased). “In speech” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of MORN (i.e. “early period”).
4. Clip up court robes if high official there (6,10)
Answer: PUBLIC PROSECUTOR (i.e. “[court] official”). “If high” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CLIP UP COURT ROBES.
5. Landed up penning composer’s moving account? (8)
Answer: TRAVELOG (i.e. “account”). Solution is GOT (i.e. “landed”) reversed (indicated by “up”, this being a down clue) and placed around or “penning” Maurice RAVEL (i.e. “composer” best known for his work, Bolero), like so: T(RAVEL)OG.
6. Addresses a set of lines in mail briefly (11)
Answer: APOSTROPHES (i.e. “addresses”, or, as my Chambers has it, “a sudden turning away from the ordinary course of a speech to address some person or object present or absent”. Not a definition that sprang to mind, but I like it.) Solution is A then STROPHE (i.e. “a set of lines” – off to my Chambers again: a strophe is “(in a Greek play) the song sung by the chorus as it moved to one side, answered by an exact counterpart”. So there you go) once it has been placed “in” POST (i.e. “mail”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) like so: A-PO(STROPHE)S. A clue that scans rather well once you take a step back from it.
7. Suspect roughly apprehended in case of felony (5)
Answer: FISHY (i.e. “suspect”). Solution is ISH (i.e. “roughly”) placed in or “apprehended” by FY (i.e. “case of felony”, i.e. the first and last letters of “felony”), like so: F(ISH)Y.
8. Below River Test, one last character with lots of works? (14)
Answer: INDUSTRIALIZED (i.e. “with lots of works”). Solution is INDUS (i.e. Asian “river” and another big’ un) followed by TRIAL (i.e. “test” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and ZED (i.e. “last character”), like so: INDUS-TRIAL-I-ZED. Clever, but as far as my patience was concerned, the river mini-theme had rather ran its course by this point, if you’ll forgive the pun.
9. “Hello, sailor” is appropriate (6)
Answer: HIJACK (i.e. to steal or “appropriate”). Solution is HI (i.e. “hello”) and JACK (i.e. one of many words meaning “sailor”). Another very neat clue. Well played.
11. Nearly go out and attack poor child (11)
Answer: GUTTERSNIPE (i.e. “poor child”). Solution is GUTTER (i.e. “nearly go out”) followed by SNIPE (i.e. “attack”).
12. Mimic US writer, an unknown Kansan (7)
Answer: DOROTHY (i.e. “Kansan”, specifically the main character of The Wizard of Oz). Solution is DO (i.e. “[to] mimic”) followed by Philip ROTH (i.e. “US writer” – an unwritten rule of the Times crossword is that people can only be used in clues or solutions so long as they are dead. This means setters have clues lined up for future use in much the same way as newspaper editors have pre-prepared obituaries. That’s nice, isn’t it?) and finally Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love using this to represent X, Y or Z in their solutions), like so: DO-ROTH-Y.
13. Fashionable label brought back maybe crude design (8)
Answer: INTAGLIO, which is a figure or “design” cut into any substance. Solution is IN (i.e. “fashionable”) followed by TAG (i.e. “label”) and OIL (i.e. “maybe crude”) which is reversed (indicated by “brought back”), like so: IN-TAG-LIO. One I got from the wordplay, if I’m honest.
20. Artist to draw depressing image of existence (3,4)
Answer: RAT RACE (i.e. “depressing image of existence”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) followed by TRACE (i.e. “to draw”).
22. I’m grateful to get recurrent pain in bones (5)
Answer: TARSI (i.e. “bones”, as in the plural of tarsus). Solution is TA (i.e. “I’m grateful”) followed by RSI (i.e. “recurrent pain”, specifically Repetitive Strain Injury).
24. Hospital worker puts up with wood that’s cut (11,5)
Answer: PORTERHOUSE STEAK (i.e. “cut [of meat]”). Solution is PORTER (i.e. “hospital worker”) followed by HOUSES (i.e. “puts up”) and TEAK (i.e. “wood”). As repeats go, this is a doozie. Not only did the same solution appear back in puzzle 1375 but it used the exact same wordplay in its construction (then the clue was “worker at lodge stores wood and food”) and was placed in the exact same position of a grid that used the exact same layout. Quick! Somebody call the Fortean Times! #Sarcasm
25. Smoker to get over source of discomfort (7)
Answer: LUMBAGO (i.e. “source of discomfort”). Solution is LUM, a Scottish word for a chimney (i.e. “smoker” – this word was fresh in my mind having also made an appearance in last week’s puzzle) followed by BAG (i.e. “to get”) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket).
27. Time to move inelegantly in pants (7)
Answer: TWADDLE (i.e. rubbish or “pants”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) followed by WADDLE (i.e. “to move inelegantly”).
28. I collect PayPal transfers in fury (14)
Answer: APOPLECTICALLY (i.e. “in fury”). “Transfers” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I COLLECT PAYPAL.
31. Home cover’s included fairly (7)
Answer: HABITAT (i.e. “home”). Solution is HAT (i.e. “cover”) wrapped around or “including” A BIT (i.e. “fairly”), like so: H(A-BIT)AT.
33. The last word in divine pickle (11)
Answer: PREDICAMENT (i.e. a sticky situation or “pickle”). Solution is AMEN (i.e. “the last word”) placed “in” PREDICT (i.e. “[to] divine”), like so: PREDIC(AMEN)T.
35. Judge turned up on pitch (5)
Answer: RATER (i.e. “judge”). Solution is RE (i.e. “on” or regarding something – think email replies) and TAR (i.e. “pitch”) both reversed or “turned up”, this being a down clue, like so: RAT-ER.
36. Leader of air force about to release bold lady (11)
Answer: ADVENTURESS (i.e. “bold lady”). Solution is A (i.e. “leader of air”, i.e. the first letter of “air”) and DURESS (i.e. “force”) wrapped “about” VENT (i.e. “to release”), like so: A-D(VENT)URESS.
38. Quail if nude modelling without right attributes (11)
Answer: UNQUALIFIED (i.e. “without right attributes”). “Modelling” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of QUAIL IF NUDE. A clue that scans rather well.
40. Moderate starter of pâté the only thing I consumed (8)
Answer: PALLIATE (i.e. “moderate”). Solution is P (i.e. “starter of pâté”, i.e. the first letter of “pâté”) followed by ALL (i.e. “the only thing”, as in “that is all”) then I and ATE (i.e. “consumed”).
42. Blasted husband loves making a fuss (8)
Answer: BALLYHOO (i.e. “a fuss”). Solution is BALLY (i.e. “blasted”, if you were Bertie Wooster, maybe) followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) and OO (i.e. “loves”, as in two zeroes – “love” being a zero score in tennis).
43. One’s blown bonus eating goose (7)
Answer: BASSOON (i.e. “one’s blown”). Solution is BOON (i.e. “bonus”) wrapped around or “eating” ASS (i.e. “goose”, both words for a fool), like so: B(ASS)OON. Now I’m proofreading this, I can’t believe I wrote “eating ASS” just then and didn’t snigger like… well, like a massive child. Which I am doing now, obviously.
46. Clothing on show (7)
Answer: LEGWEAR (i.e. “clothing”). Solution is LEG (i.e. the “on” side in cricket) followed by WEAR (i.e. “[to] show”).
47. Proust novel’s dull quality (6)
Answer: STUPOR (i.e. “dull quality”). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PROUST.
49. Legendary friend, one who wanders up (5)
Answer: DAMON (i.e. “legendary friend” – this refers to the legend of Damon and Pythias which illustrates the Pythagorean ideal of friendship. No, me neither). Solution is NOMAD (i.e. “one who wanders”) reversed (indicated by “up”, this being a down clue). One I got from the wordplay, clearly.
50. A couple of leaves, or as many as you want (1,4)
Answer: A GOGO. Solution satisfies “a couple of leaves”, as in A GO and GO, and “as many as you want”.