Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1504

A medium strength puzzle this week and something of a “Greatest Hits”, what with the number of repeats. Such things usually make my teeth itch, but the setter more or less gets away with it with some good clueing. (Of course, it might be that I’ve been doing these posts for too long. Familiarity breeds contempt and all that.)

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 foxed you then you should tally-ho over to my Just For Fun page where you’ll find links to solutions for the previous 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind words (and help!). It’s always interesting to read the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put their pens down. Till next time, keep safe, mask up (for a few weeks more), get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Opener from western Irish team? (9)

Answer: CORKSCREW (i.e. “opener”). When written as CORK’S CREW the solution also satisfies “western Irish team”. A clue you see so often it could warrant its own tour T-shirt.

  1. A Soviet trying to change the nature of an inquiry (13)

Answer: INVESTIGATORY (i.e. “nature of an inquiry”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to change”) of A SOVIET TRYING.

  1. Staffs European minister’s residence (5)

Answer: MANSE (i.e. “minister’s residence”). Solution is MANS (i.e. “staffs” an outfit) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”).

  1. Advanced tango composer was conducting (9)

Answer: TRAVELLED (i.e. “advanced” or moved forward). Solution is T (“tango” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by Maurice RAVEL (i.e. “composer”) and LED (i.e. “was conducting”).

  1. Your setter’s singular attempt to pen English puzzle (7)

Answer: MYSTERY (i.e. “puzzle”). Solution is MY (i.e. “your setter’s”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”) and TRY (i.e. “attempt”) once wrapped around or “penning” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: MY-S-T(E)RY.

  1. Walk forward in organised protest unknown in the UK, say (14,8)

Answer: CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY (“a monarchy in which the power of the sovereign is defined and limited by the constitution” (Chambers), an example of which being “the UK, say”). Solution is CONSTITUTIONAL (i.e. “walk”) followed by ON (i.e. “forward”) once placed “in” MARCH (i.e. “organised protest”), then Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns), like so: CONSTITUTIONAL-M(ON)ARCH-Y.

  1. Can king and queen take against spectator? (6-2)

Answer: LOOKER-ON (i.e. “spectator”). Solution is LOO (i.e. “can”, both slang words for a toilet) followed by K (a recognised abbreviation of “king”), then ER (i.e. “queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) and ON (i.e. “against”).

  1. Free veteran beer finally does for publican (8)

Answer: TAVERNER (i.e. “publican”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “free”) of VETERAN followed by R (i.e. “beer finally”, i.e. the last letter of “beer”), like so: TAVERNE-R.

  1. Mallard, perhaps, departs with a string of carriages (5)

Answer: DRAKE (i.e. a male duck or “mallard, perhaps”. A female duck, incidentally, is a duck. Tsk, tsk. Come on naturalists, you’re not really trying…) Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “departs”) followed by RAKE (i.e. “string of carriages” – you’d be amazed how many variant meanings of “rake” there are).

  1. Crops rye fields use in the middle (6)

Answer: YIELDS (i.e. “crops”). “In the middle” indicates the solution is comprised of the centre letters of RYE FIELDS USE.

  1. Expression of surprise after TV system’s lack of colour (6)

Answer: PALLOR (i.e. “lack of colour”). Solution is LOR! (i.e. “expression of surprise”, specifically a contraction of “lord”) placed “after” PAL (i.e. “TV system”, specifically an acronym of Phase Alteration Line), like so: PAL-LOR.

  1. Interesting, a bishop leads service in west end of Glasgow (9)

Answer: ABSORBING (i.e. “interesting”). Solution is A followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess), then SORB (i.e. the “service” tree – a new one on me), then IN and G (i.e. “west end of Glasgow”, i.e. the first letter of Glasgow, this being an across clue).

  1. Gallium in star’s taken by American plant (10)

Answer: ASTRAGALUS (i.e. “plant”). Solution is GA (chemical symbol of “gallium”) placed “in” ASTRAL (i.e. “star”) and followed “by” US (i.e. “American”), like so: ASTRA(GA)L-US. For once, I didn’t go running off to my Bradford’s for this one. No, I ran off to my Chambers instead once I saw it was going to start with “astra”. Same difference.

  1. Hit band (4)

Answer: BELT. Solution satisfies to “hit” and “band”.

  1. Books one gala wrongly – pain seated near the drum! (7)

Answer: OTALGIA (i.e. “pain seated near the [ear]drum”). Solution is OT (i.e. “books”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible) followed by an anagram (indicated by “wrongly”) of I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and GALA, like so: OT-ALGIA.

  1. Threatening palomino usually keeps it captive (7)

Answer: OMINOUS (i.e. “threatening”). “Keeps it captive” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PAL(OMINO US)UALLY.

  1. Working fifty years at most (4)

Answer: ONLY (i.e. “at most”). Solution is ON (i.e. “working”) followed by L (Roman numeral for “fifty”) and Y (a recognised abbreviation of “years”).

  1. What schedules allow broadcasting screen epic? (10)

Answer: PRESCIENCE (i.e. foreknowledge or “what schedules allow”). “Broadcasting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SCREEN EPIC.

  1. Device trapping a rodent in a power discharge (9)

Answer: APPARATUS (i.e. “device”). Solution is A and RAT (i.e. “rodent”) both placed “in” A, P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) and PUS (i.e. “discharge”. Lovely!), like so: A-P-P(A-RAT)US.

  1. Abandon waterway with an area being given over to carbon energy (6)

Answer: CANCEL (i.e. “abandon”). Solution is CANAL (i.e. “waterway”) with the second A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”) replaced by or “given over to” C (chemical symbol of “carbon”) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: CAN(A)L => CAN(C-E)L.

  1. Stone knight in very good carriage (6)

Answer: STANCE (i.e. “carriage” or deportment). Solution is ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stone”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) once placed “in” ACE (i.e. “very good”), like so: ST-A(N)CE.

  1. Give a response on law that’s passed (5)

Answer: REACT (i.e. “give a response”). Solution is RE (i.e. “on” or regarding – think email replies) followed by ACT (i.e. “law that’s passed”).

  1. What batter could get used to cook eggs this way? (4,4)

Answer: EASY OVER. Solution satisfies “what batter [in cricket] could get used to” and “cook eggs this way”. Nicely done.

  1. Relating to an element of catholic church in Jerusalem, one with chapter (8)

Answer: ZIRCONIC (i.e. “relating to element”, specifically zircon). Solution is RC (i.e. “church”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “Roman Catholic”) placed “in” ZION (i.e. “Jerusalem”), followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and C (a recognised abbreviation of “chapter”), like so: ZI(RC)ON-I-C.

  1. Flat barge hailed gondola tangling lines on locking up on the Thames? (3,6,2,7,4)

Answer: THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL (by Oscar Wilde, a poem or “lines on locking up on the Thames” that has clearly left its mark on Times setters, having appeared relatively recently). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “tangling”) of FLAT BARGE HAILED GONDOLA. Of the two clues, I much prefer this one. Very nicely worked.

  1. Vigilantly team up to contain European right (7)

Answer: ALERTLY (i.e. “vigilantly”). Solution is ALLY (i.e. “team up”) wrapped around or “containing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and RT (a recognised abbreviation of “right”, e.g. Rt. Hon. for Right Honourable), like so: AL(E-RT)LY.

  1. Where one may melt things on the rocks (9)

Answer: INSOLVENT (i.e. “on the rocks”). When written as IN SOLVENT the solution also satisfies “where one may melt things”.

  1. Girl introducing a dish from India (5)

Answer: RAITA (i.e. “dish from India”). Solution is RITA (i.e. a “girl’s” name) wrapped around or “introducing” A, like so: R(A)ITA. Another popular solution for setters, it seems, having recently appeared in puzzles 1453 and 1475.

  1. Additional paper and gold currency, unknown and very unusual (13)

Answer: EXTRAORDINARY (i.e. “very unusual”). Solution is EXTRA (i.e. “additional [news]paper”) followed by OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry), then DINAR (i.e. “currency”) and Y (i.e. “unknown” – see earlier comment).

  1. Raced around clubs in Paris yesterday delivering uplighter (9)

Answer: TORCHIERE (i.e. “uplighter”). Solution is TORE (i.e. “raced”) wrapped “around” C (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games) and HIER (i.e. “in Paris yesterday”, i.e. the French for “yesterday”), like so: TOR(C-HIER)E. One gotten from deducing TORCH and looking the rest up in Chambers, if I’m honest. I’ll probably stick to calling them floor lamps.

Down clues

  1. Absurdly, company I ring is in the outskirts of Mandalay (9)

Answer: COMICALLY (i.e. “absurdly”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) followed by I and CALL (i.e. “ring”) once these latter two have been placed “in” MY (i.e. “outskirts of Mandalay”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Mandalay”), like so: CO-M(I-CALL)Y.

  1. Meet society girl with time to overspend wildly? (3,4,4)

Answer: RUN INTO DEBT (i.e. “overspend wildly”). Solution is RUN INTO (i.e. “meet”) followed by DEB (i.e. “society girl”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “debutante”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Perfume reportedly coming by mail order (5)

Answer: SCENT (i.e. “perfume”). “Reportedly” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SENT (i.e. “coming by mail order”).

  1. Regular changing of crops to set up in allotment (8)

Answer: ROTATION (i.e. “regular changing of crops”). Solution is TO reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue) and placed “in” RATION (i.e. “allotment”), like so: R(OT)ATION.

  1. Artist entering accompanied by shadowy presence (6)

Answer: WRAITH (i.e. “shadowy presence”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) placed in or “entering” WITH (i.e. “accompanied by”), like so: W(RA)ITH.

  1. The Spanish port in Italy filled with cattle being raised is irresistible (10)

Answer: INEXORABLE (i.e. “irresistible”). Solution is EL (i.e. “the Spanish”, i.e. the Spanish for “the”) followed by BARI (i.e. “port in Italy”) once wrapped around or “filled with” OXEN (i.e. “cattle”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “being raised” – this being a down clue), like so: I(NEXO)RAB-LE.

  1. Where cricketer may be revealing leg shockingly (7,5)

Answer: VILLAGE GREEN (i.e. “where cricketer may be”). “Shockingly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REVEALING LEG.

  1. Supporting band member I’d found among rising celebrities (7)

Answer: SIDEMAN (i.e. “supporting band member”). Solution is I’D placed in or “found among” NAMES (i.e. “celebrities”) once reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: S(I’D)EMAN.

  1. What limits disease running wild in some supermen (6,8)

Answer: IMMUNE RESPONSE (i.e. “what limits disease”). “Running wild” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN SOME SUPERMEN.

  1. Confident fool heading university rose? (7)

Answer: ASSURED (i.e. “confident”). Solution is ASS (i.e. “fool”) followed by U (i.e. “heading university”, i.e. the first letter of “university”) and RED (i.e. “rose”).

  1. Dining to excess, swallowing horse and heading for inflation (11)

Answer: OVERHEATING (i.e. an economy “heading for inflation”). Solution is OVEREATING (i.e. “dining to excess”) wrapped around or “swallowing” H (i.e. “horse”, both street names for heroin), like so: OVER(H)EATING.

  1. Toy boy’s taken up, abandoning tops? (2,2)

Answer: YO YO (i.e. “toy”). Solution is TOY and BOY with their first letters removed (indicated by “abandoning tops”) and the remaining letters reversed (indicated by “taken up” – this being a down clue).

  1. Be left standing in foreign city (8)

Answer: BELGRADE (i.e. “foreign city”). Solution is BE followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and GRADE (i.e. rank or “standing”).

  1. Try in speaking to finish at any time (9)

Answer: ENDEAVOUR (i.e. “try”). Solution is END (i.e. “to finish”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “in speaking”) of EVER (i.e. “at any time”). A bit clunky. Also, we already had ENDEAVOUR last week. Seems The Times have put another 50p in their Marconi GridFill 4000TM.

  1. Wonderful classic play mostly about Bulawayo, not elsewhere (8)

Answer: FABULOUS (i.e. “wonderful”). Solution is FAUST (i.e. “classic play”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder wrapped “about” BULO (i.e. “Bulawayo, not elsewhere”, i.e. the word BULAWAYO with AWAY taken out), like so: FA(BULO)US.

  1. Female gossip penning rubbish over lawyer (8)

Answer: ATTORNEY (i.e. “lawyer”). Solution is YENTA (i.e. “female gossip”, supposedly more of a US thing) wrapped around or “penning” ROT (i.e. “rubbish”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “over”), like so: AT(TOR)NEY.

  1. Is it clear – scrambled or hard-boiled? (9)

Answer: REALISTIC (i.e. “hard-boiled”). “Scrambled” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IS IT CLEAR.

  1. Source of sound fixed in pitch on record and film perhaps (8,6)

Answer: CASSETTE PLAYER (i.e. “source of sound”). Solution is SET (i.e. “fixed”) placed “in” CAST (i.e. to “pitch”) and followed by EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended Play) and LAYER (i.e. “film”), like so: CAS(SET)T-EP-LAYER. Nicely worked.

  1. Italian scientist is a very old doctor in prison endlessly (8)

Answer: Amadeo AVOGADRO (i.e. “Italian scientist”). Solution is A followed by V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”), O (ditto “old”) and DR (ditto “doctor”) once placed “in” GAOL once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endlessly”), like so: A-V-O-GA(DR)O. One gotten solely from the wordplay, TBH.

31.Left west London area in Conservative seat shortly for Essex town (7-2-3)

Answer: CLACTON-ON-SEA (i.e. “Essex town”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and ACTON (i.e. “west London area”) both placed “in” CON (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”), then followed by SEAT once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “shortly”), like so: C(L-ACTON)ON-SEA.

  1. Unusually emphatic about workers charging (11)

Answer: IMPEACHMENT (i.e. “charging”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unusually”) of EMPHATIC wrapped “about” MEN (i.e. “workers”), like so: IMPEACH(MEN)T.

  1. One in van going round with venison requiring no cutting (3-8)

Answer: NON-INVASIVE (i.e. surgery “requiring no cutting”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “going round”) of I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), VAN and VENISON. “In” is a bit misleading, but probably there to make the clue scan.

  1. Entirely popular gathering of sheep? (10)

Answer: INTEGRALLY (i.e. “entirely”). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) followed by TEG (i.e. “sheep” – you see its use in Jumbos from time to time) and RALLY (i.e. “gathering”).

  1. Free from guilt, former partner left in vessel at the end of June (9)

Answer: EXCULPATE (i.e. “free from guilt”). Solution is EX (i.e. “former partner”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) once placed “in” CUP (i.e. “vessel”), then followed by AT and E (i.e. “end of June”, i.e. the last letter of “June”), like so: EX-CU(L)P-AT-E.

  1. Who goes to service cars on time, mostly (8)

Answer: MINISTER (i.e. “who goes to [church] service”). Solution is MINIS (i.e. “cars”) followed by TERM (i.e. “time”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: MINIS-TER.

  1. Girl wanting a change of habitat (7)

Answer: TABITHA (i.e. a “girl’s” name). “A change of” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HABITAT.

  1. In central Asia, keen about hard language (7)

Answer: SWAHILI (i.e. “language”). Solution is WAIL (i.e. to “keen”) placed “about” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils). These are themselves placed “in” SI (i.e. “central Asia”, i.e. the middle letters of ASIA), like so: S(WA(H)IL)I.

  1. Beware of waste regularly found at bottom of grotto (6)

Answer: CAVEAT (i.e. “beware”). Solution is AT (i.e. “waste regularly”, i.e. every other letter of WASTE) placed after or “at bottom of” – this being a down clue – CAVE (i.e. “grotto”), like so: CAVE-AT.

  1. Saddle band? Get it round the horse at first (5)

Answer: GIRTH (i.e. “saddle band” that goes over the belly). “At first” indicates the solution is formed from the initial letters of Get It Round The Horse.

  1. British beer was something bad for one (4)

Answer: BALE (i.e. “was something bad”, referring to an archaic meaning of the word. A tad surprising, given that baleful isn’t that uncommon a word). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by ALE (i.e. “beer”). “For one” might be indicative of multiple variant meanings of BALE, or I might have gotten the wrong end of the stick.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1503

A medium strength puzzle, and another that tested the limits of some definitions. Taken as a whole, though, this was a decent challenge. 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 the slip then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions to the past 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind comments. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared once the pens have been put down. Till next time, keep safe, mask up (despite the heat), get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Plan to travel round delta area with piano (4,3)

Answer: ROAD MAP (i.e. “plan”). Solution is ROAM (i.e. “to travel”) wrapped “round” D (“delta” in the phonetic alphabet) and followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”) and P (ditto “piano”), like so: ROA(D)M-A-P.

  1. Cabinet material perhaps found in wine club (8)

Answer: ROSEWOOD (i.e. “cabinet material perhaps” – other woods are available). Solution is ROSE (i.e. “wine”) followed by WOOD (a golf “club”).

  1. Waste material in high percentage (6)

Answer: OFFCUT (i.e. “waste material”). Solution is OFF (i.e. “high” or on the turn) followed by CUT (i.e. “percentage”).

  1. Where business locates in English country on River Test (10,6)

Answer: INDUSTRIAL ESTATE (i.e. “where business locates”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and STATE (i.e. “country”) both placed “on” or after INDUS (a “river”) and TRIAL (i.e. “test” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: (INDUS-TRIAL)-E-STATE.

  1. Put on guard to protect soldiers in densely populated area (6)

Answer: WARREN (i.e. “densely populated area”). Solution is WARN (i.e. “put on guard”) wrapped around or “protecting” RE (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army), like so: WAR(RE)N.

  1. Lotion is dissolving chemical compound (8)

Answer: INOSITOL (i.e. “chemical compound” – over to Chambers: “a lipid that is essential for the formation of cell membranes”). “Dissolving” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LOTION IS. Wordplay was obvious, but it needed a shufti in Bradford’s to nail it. File under “made to fit”.

  1. Printed material endlessly creates muddle (4)

Answer: BLUR (i.e. “muddle”). Solution is BLURB (i.e. “printed material”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”).

  1. Italian boarding house run for senior citizen (9)

Answer: PENSIONER (i.e. “senior citizen”). Solution is PENSIONE (i.e. “Italian boarding house” – one meaning of “pension” is a continental boarding house, so I guess this is its Italian spelling) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games).

  1. Dandy in a vehicle on entering motorway (8)

Answer: MACARONI (i.e. an 18th century “dandy”). Solution is A, CAR (i.e. “vehicle”) and ON all placed in or “entering” MI (i.e. “motorway”, i.e. the M1 with the 1 represented by its Roman numeral), like so: M(A-CAR-ON)I.

  1. This many jails are finished, boasted incarcerating Democrat (11)

Answer: OVERCROWDED (i.e. “this many jails are” – seems Yoda has set this week’s Jumbo). Solution is OVER (i.e. “finished”) followed by CROWED (i.e. “boasted”) once wrapped around or “incarcerating” D (a recognised abbreviation of “Democrat”), like so: OVER-CROW(D)ED.

  1. Chosen person is most important after God (9)

Answer: ISRAELITE (i.e. “chosen person”, i.e. believed chosen to be in a covenant with God). Solution is IS and ELITE (i.e. “most important”) once the latter has been placed “after” RA (Egyptian sun “god”), like so: IS-(RA)-ELITE.

  1. Scorning of French on horseback (8)

Answer: DERIDING (i.e. “scorning”). Solution is DE (i.e. “of French”, i.e. the French for “of”) followed by RIDING (i.e. “on horseback”).

  1. Up north: the pub that provides lift? (1-3)

Answer: T-BAR (i.e. “that provides lift” in a structure). When written as T’ BAR, the clue also satisfies “up north: the pub”, i.e. how some up north pronounce “the” as a hard t.

  1. Point put by cleric renouncing one current Parliament (11)

Answer: WESTMINSTER (i.e. “Parliament”). Solution is WEST (i.e. “point” of a compass) followed by MINISTER (i.e. “cleric”) once one of the Is has been removed (indicated by “renouncing one current” – I is a recognised abbreviation of an electrical current used in physics), like so: WEST-MINSTER.

  1. Morse having news boss tried (11)

Answer: ENDEAVOURED (i.e. “tried”). Solution is ENDEAVOUR (Inspector “Morse’s” first name) followed by ED (i.e. “news boss”, or editor).

  1. Deal with hidden wrinkle? (5,6)

Answer: TRADE SECRET (i.e. “wrinkle” – a new one on me, a variant meaning of “wrinkle” is a valuable tip or trick. A bit loose for me, but it’s always nice to learn new stuff in these things). Solution is TRADE (i.e. “deal”) followed by SECRET (i.e. “hidden”).

  1. Divine as environment for ace crew testing position (11)

Answer: PREDICAMENT (i.e. “testing position”). Solution is PREDICT (i.e. to “divine”) wrapped around or forming an “environment” for A (a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used on playing cards) and MEN (i.e. “crew”), like so: PREDIC(A-MEN)T.

  1. English composer has no tips for singer (4)

Answer: ALTO (i.e. “singer”). Solution is William WALTON (i.e. “English composer” – thank you again, Bradford’s) with its first and last letter removed (indicated by “has no tips”).

  1. Songs at speed in controlled atmosphere? (8)

Answer: AIRSPACE (i.e. “controlled atmosphere”). Solution is AIRS (i.e. “songs”) followed by PACE (i.e. “speed”).

  1. West Country professor? One had to be given push! (4,5)

Answer: BATH CHAIR (i.e. “one had to be given push” – a Bath chair is a kind of wheelchair). Clue also plays on BATH being a city situated in the “West Country” and CHAIR being a position held by a “professor”.

  1. Fragrant one does for our arrangement (11)

Answer: ODORIFEROUS (i.e. “fragrant”). “Arrangement” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I (i.e. “Roman numeral] one”) and DOES FOR OUR.

  1. Most conservative opening to speech as with others (8)

Answer: SQUAREST (i.e. “most conservative”). Solution is S (i.e. “opening to speech”, i.e. the first letter of “speech”) followed by QUA (in Latin, “as” or “in the capacity of” (Chambers), because, you know, The Times) and REST (i.e. “others”).

  1. Lay one’s opinion to rest in this formal discussion? (9)

Answer: INTERVIEW (i.e. “formal discussion”). When written as INTER VIEW the solution also satisfies “lay one’s opinion to rest” – INTER meaning to bury something.

  1. Language teacher has again impressed, primarily (4)

Answer: THAI (i.e. “language”). “Primarily” indicates the solution is formed from the initial letters of Teacher Has Again Impressed.

  1. What attracts smokers – several outside one small building (8)

Answer: NICOTINE (i.e. “what attracts smokers”). Solution is NINE (i.e. “several”) wrapped around or placed “outside” of I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and COT (i.e. “small building” or cottage), like so: N(I-COT)INE.

  1. TV presenter to make secure (6)

Answer: ANCHOR. Solution satisfies “TV presenter” and “to make secure”.

  1. Scrutinised from here, assembled gangsters really – that’s about right (9,7)

Answer: STRANGER’S GALLERY (i.e. “scrutinised from here”, i.e. a public gallery such as the one in the House of Commons). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “assembled”) of GANGSTERS REALLY wrapped “about” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”).

  1. Demand something from vain sister (6)

Answer: INSIST (i.e. “demand”). “Something from” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: VA(IN SIST)ER.

  1. Outline Irish unionists developed (6,2)

Answer: SHAPED UP (i.e. “developed”). Solution is SHAPE (i.e. “outline”) followed by DUP (i.e. “Irish unionists”, i.e. the Democratic Unionist Party).

  1. Begin with body cavity (7)

Answer: ENTERON (i.e. “body cavity”). When written as ENTER ON the solution also satisfies “begin with”. Another win for my Bradford’s.

Down clues

  1. Fruit associated with cereal almost growing (6)

Answer: RAISIN (i.e. “fruit associated with [breakfast] cereal”). Solution is RAISING (i.e. “growing”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”).

  1. Certainly an exotic craft (3,3)

Answer: AND HOW (i.e. “certainly”). Solution is AN followed by DHOW (i.e. “exotic craft” or sailing vessel – exotic referring to where in the world you’d usually find the things).

  1. Spouse quaffs wine, about to deal with mouthful (9)

Answer: MASTICATE (i.e. “deal with mouthful”). Solution is MATE (i.e. “spouse”) wrapped around or “quaffing” ASTI (i.e. “wine”) and C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), like so: M(ASTI-C)ATE.

  1. Holes in closing remarks involving Findhorn’s leader (11)

Answer: PERFORATION (i.e. “holes” – 9 times out of 10 this ought to have an S on the end, but the solution can also refer to a series of small holes made in material to assist clean tearing. Never works on any bog roll I pick up. Streamers. Always streamers) Solution is PERORATION (i.e. “closing remarks”) wrapped around or “involving” F (i.e. “Findhorn’s leader”, i.e. the first letter of “Findhorn”), like so: PER(F)ORATION.

  1. Maybe a bay tree lacking width (4)

Answer: ROAN (i.e. “maybe a bay” – in this case a breed of horse). Solution is ROWAN (i.e. “tree”) with the W removed (indicated by “lacking width” – W being a recognised abbreviation of “width”). Again, needed my Bradford’s to nail the tree in question.

  1. Gifted orator having to read out letters in file? (11)

Answer: SPELLBINDER (i.e. “gifted orator”). When written as SPELL ‘B-I-N-D-E-R’ the solution also satisfies “read out letters in file”.

  1. Swore a truce after swimming channel (11)

Answer: WATERCOURSE (i.e. “channel”). “After swimming” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SWORE A TRUCE.

  1. Reveals quiet study that’s fully extended (9)

Answer: OUTSPREAD (i.e. “fully extended”). Solution is OUTS (i.e. “reveals”) followed by P (i.e. “quiet”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano” used in musical lingo) and READ (i.e. “study”).

  1. With which one pressed beginner to fill pastry (8)

Answer: FLATIRON (i.e. “with which one pressed”). Solution is TIRO (i.e. “beginner” – can be spelled with an I or a Y) placed in or “filling” FLAN (i.e. “pastry”), like so: FLA(TIRO)N.

  1. Playwright published in Greece by Draco unusually (6,2,8)

Answer: CYRANO DE BERGERAC (i.e. “playwright”). Solution is RAN (i.e. “published”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “unusually”) of GREECE BY DRACO, like so: CY(RAN)ODEBERGERAC.

  1. Win over university leftist with employment for life? (7)

Answer: TENURED (i.e. “with employment for life”). Solution is NET (i.e. “win”) reversed (indicated by “over”) and followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and RED (i.e. “leftist”), like so: TEN-U-RED. Nicely done.

  1. It’s said girl skinned a large reptile (8)

Answer: ANACONDA (i.e. “large reptile”). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “it’s said”) of ANNA (a “girl’s” name) and CONNED (i.e. “skinned”), followed by A, like so: ANA-COND-A.

  1. English penned by one novelist or another (8)

Answer: Cecil Scott FORESTER, “novelist” who gave us Captain Hornblower. Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) placed in or “penned by” Edward Morgan FORSTER (i.e. “another” novelist), like so: FOR(E)STER.

  1. First Nation’s leader, reportedly more senior, with a crumpled hat (8)

Answer: HIAWATHA (i.e. “First Nation’s leader”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of HIGHER (i.e. “more senior”) followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), A and an anagram (indicated by “crumpled”) of HAT, like so: HIA-W-A-THA.

  1. Incensed marker for very simple grave? (5,2,3,6)

Answer: CROSS AS TWO STICKS (i.e. “incensed” – my dictionaries differ quite a bit on this. Oxford backs up the setter, while Chambers offers “particularly perverse and disagreeable”. I couldn’t say either way, having never heard the phrase before. Apparently, according to the Code of British Lexicographers, any such disputes between adherents are traditionally resolved through a hand-to-hand fight to the death held after hours in the British Library. Seems a bit much). Clue plays on how one could make a simple cross using two sticks to mark a grave. You get the idea.

  1. Singer’s blushing debut (8)

Answer: REDSTART (i.e. “singer” or bird). Solution is RED (i.e. “blushing”) followed by START (i.e. “debut”)

  1. Travel always upset canvasser (4)

Answer: Francisco GOYA (artist or “canvasser” perhaps best known for his bleak and disturbing (and brilliant) Black Paintings). Solution is GO (i.e. “travel”) followed by AY (i.e. “always”, both taken as affirmative words) once the latter has been reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue), like so: GO-YA.

  1. Timid male reaction to mouse? (4)

Answer: MEEK (i.e. “timid”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) followed by EEK! (i.e. verbal “reaction to mouse”).

  1. 90s computer that made many checks? (4,4)

Answer: DEEP BLUE, a “90s computer” that famously beat chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1997. (He’d won their previous series.) A “check” in chess is a position in which one’s king is in immediate danger of capture. You get the idea.

  1. Half involved in Great Plague (8)

Answer: EPIDEMIC (i.e. “plague” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is DEMI (i.e. “half”) placed “in” EPIC (i.e. “great”), like so: EPI(DEMI)C.

  1. Crossing affected refugees housed here? (7,4)

Answer: TRANSIT CAMP (i.e. “refugees housed here”). Solution is TRANSIT (i.e. “crossing”) followed by CAMP (i.e. an “affected” manner).

  1. Compelled to work in Fleet Street? (5-6)

Answer: PRESS-GANGED (i.e. “compelled” into doing something, typically against one’s will). Clue plays on Fleet Street being the home of a number of national newspapers or PRESS.

  1. During semester one won’t begin to mix (11)

Answer: INTERMINGLE (i.e. “to mix”). Solution is IN TERM (i.e. “during semester”) followed by SINGLE (i.e. “one”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “won’t begin”), like so: IN-TERM-INGLE.

  1. Sample includes most excellent instrument (9)

Answer: STOPWATCH (i.e. “instrument”). Solution is SWATCH (i.e. a “sample” of fabric, carpet, etc) wrapped around or “including” TOP (i.e. “most excellent”), like so: S(TOP)WATCH.

  1. Accountant with stock containing spirit for stew (9)

Answer: CASSOULET (i.e. “stew”). Solution is CA (i.e. “accountant”, specifically of the Chartered species) followed by SET (i.e. “stock” – not backed up by my Bradford’s, and I can’t immediately think of a satisfying overlap between the two words, but there are about 4,000,000 definitions for each, so who knows) once wrapped around SOUL (i.e. “spirit”), like so: CA-S(SOUL)ET.

  1. Glassy expression’s first seen in very upset suitor (8)

Answer: VITREOUS (i.e. “glassy”). Solution is E (i.e. “expression’s first”, i.e. the first letter of “expression”) placed “in” V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”) and an anagram (indicated by “upset”) of SUITOR, like so: V-ITR(E)OUS.

  1. Oriental art fiddle old Parisian buddy conceals (7)

Answer: ORIGAMI (i.e. “oriental art”). Solution is RIG (i.e. to “fiddle” an outcome) placed in or “concealed” by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and AMI (i.e. “Parisian buddy”, i.e. the French for “friend”), like so: O-(RIG)-AMI.

  1. Like some ancient scripts amusing writer keeps at home (6)

Answer: LINEAR (i.e. “like some ancient scripts” – this is a reference to Linear A and Linear B, both ancient scripts found in Crete estimated to be from around 1400 BC). Solution is Edward LEAR (i.e. “amusing writer”) wrapped around or “keeping” IN (i.e. “at home”), like so: L(IN)EAR.

  1. Critical about Pole meeting an African (6)

Answer: KENYAN (i.e. “African”). Solution is KEY (i.e. “critical”) wrapped “about” N (i.e. “Pole”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “north”) and followed by AN, like so: KE(N)Y-AN. (Waves to Ong’ara.)

  1. Paras’ descent finding ditch (4)

Answer: DROP. Solution plays on “paras’ descent” – a reference to a parachute landing – and to “ditch” something.

No musical accompaniment this time, what with the Euros and all. It’s such a relief to learn Christian Eriksen is on the mend so soon after a truly horrifying collapse during the Denmark v Finland game. The quick thinking and actions of players, officials and medical staff was as incredible to witness as it was harrowing, especially seeing it all play out in real-time. It’s a testament to the lessons learned following Fabrice Muamba’s own collapse some years earlier. Astonishing stuff, and well done all. – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1502

A relatively straightforward puzzle this week, especially considering how many people and places had been stuffed into the solutions and clues (usually a turn-off for me). There were a couple of rough edges to smooth over, but overall this wasn’t too bad.

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 is giving you nightmares then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks for the kind words (and help!), folks. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers on these things once the dust has settled. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. In the end, indignant man right to return ticket (7)

Answer: RECEIPT (i.e. “ticket”). Solution is T (i.e. “in the end, indignant”, i.e. the last letter of “indignant”) followed by PIECE (i.e. “man” – chess pieces are sometimes referred to as “men”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “to return”), like so: R-ECEIP-T.

  1. Official dealing with grievances shoots male in Arabian country (9)

Answer: OMBUDSMAN (i.e. “official dealing with grievances”). Solution is BUDS (i.e. plant “shoots”) and M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) both placed “in” OMAN (i.e. “Arabian country”), like so: OM(BUDS-M)AN.

  1. Cry from Daffy, perhaps, being knocked about (4)

Answer: BLUB (i.e. “cry”). Solution is BULB (i.e. “daffy, perhaps” – a daffodil in this case, ignoring the misleading capitalisation) reversed (indicated by “being knocked about”).

  1. Objective lacking curiosity? (13)

Answer: DISINTERESTED. Solution satisfies being “objective” and “lacking curiosity”. Nicely worked.

  1. Plain sailing at last in peaceful movement, finally at one (9)

Answer: SERENGETI (i.e. a “plain” in Africa). Solution is G (i.e. “sailing at last”, i.e. the last letter of “sailing”) placed in SERENE (i.e. “peaceful”), followed by T (i.e. “movement, finally”, i.e. the last letter of “movement”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: SEREN(G)E-T-I.

  1. Mercury’s blasted music? (5,5)

Answer: HEAVY METAL. Solution satisfies “mercury” and “blasted music”. Exactly how it should be!

  1. Something meaty, employment register alongside it (7,4)

Answer: SAUSAGE ROLL (i.e. “something meaty”). Solution is USAGE (i.e. “employment”) and ROLL (i.e. “register”) both placed after or “alongside” SA (i.e. “it” – SA is a recognised abbreviation of “sex appeal” you pretty much only see in cryptic crosswords), like so: SA-(USAGE-ROLL).

  1. Artist drops in to see old man (5)

Answer: PATER (i.e. “old man”). Solution is PAINTER (i.e. “artist”) with the IN removed (indicated by “drops in”).

  1. Screenwriters in tears at the finale, actress in a mess (10)

Answer: SCENARISTS (i.e. “screenwriters”). Solution is S (i.e. “tears at the finale”, i.e. the last letter of “tears”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “a mess”) of ACTRESS IN, like so: S-CENARISTS.

  1. Capital where queen and the last William retired (6)

Answer: VIENNA (i.e. “capital” of Austria). Solution is ANNE (i.e. “queen”) and IV (i.e. “the last [King] William”) all reversed or “retired”, like so: VI-ENNA.

  1. Maestro to check out in India (9)

Answer: Arturo TOSCANINI (i.e. “maestro”). Solution is TO followed by SCAN (i.e. “check out”), then IN and I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Slight error losing franchise, I’m nonplussed initially (5)

Answer: ELFIN (i.e. “slight” in physique). “Initially” indicates the solution is derived from the initial letters of Error Losing Franchise, I’m Nonplussed.

  1. Articles written with skill, fundamentally (2,5)

Answer: AT HEART (i.e. “fundamentally”). Solution is A and THE (i.e. both “articles”) followed by ART (i.e. “skill”).

  1. Triumph, quick pass directed at us (6,7)

Answer: FLYING COLOURS (i.e. “triumph”). Solution is FLYING (i.e. “quick”) followed by COL (a mountain “pass”) and OURS (i.e. “directed at us”).

  1. Big ask, delivery of giraffe perhaps? (4,5)

Answer: TALL ORDER. Solution satisfies “big ask” and “delivery of giraffe perhaps”. I rather liked this one.

  1. Old pilot playing blinder starts to go higher (9)

Answer: Charles LINDBERGH (i.e. “old pilot”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “playing”) of BLINDER followed by G and H (i.e. “starts to go higher”, i.e. the initial letters of “go” and “higher”), like so: LINDBER-G-H.

  1. Spindly thing who can reach mummy’s top shelves? (5-8)

Answer: DADDY-LONGLEGS (i.e. “spindly thing”). Clue plays on mummies and daddies being part of your common or garden family setup, and how being long in the leg helps reaching them top shelves, something to which several daddies could privately attest.

  1. Bagpipe quiet, ready to be squeezed (7)

Answer: MUSETTE (i.e. a French “bagpipe”). Solution is MUTE (i.e. “quiet”) with SET (i.e. “ready”) placed or “squeezed” inside of it, like so: MU(SET)TE.

  1. Fortune teller seeing nothing in short (5)

Answer: TAROT (i.e. “fortune teller”). Solution is O (i.e. “nothing”) placed “in” TART (i.e. “short” – a scruffy one, this. I guess “short” is taken to mean being snappy toward someone, and “tart” taken to mean sharp or caustic, but I’d argue the two don’t quite overlap. “Short” could also describe a kind of pastry, but you’re going to need more than that to make a tart. Somewhat meh. Moving on…), like so: TAR(O)T.

  1. Instantly, love equally exciting (4,1,4)

Answer: LIKE A SHOT (i.e. “instantly”). Solution is LIKE AS (i.e. “love equally”) followed by HOT (i.e. “exciting”).

  1. Nod head, worried (6)

Answer: NUTATE (i.e. to “nod” – nutant describes something that is nodding or dropping). Solution is NUT (i.e. “head”) followed by ATE (i.e. “worried”).

  1. Brief task framing “50”, old model number (10)

Answer: CHLOROFORM (i.e. “number”, as in something that anaesthetises). Solution is CHORE (i.e. “task”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “brief”) and the remainder wrapped around or “framing” L (Roman numeral for “50”). These are then followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and FORM (i.e. “model”), like so: CH(L)OR-O-FORM.

  1. Mile taken in a remarkable battle (5)

Answer: SOMME (i.e. “battle”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “mile”) “taken in” to SOME (i.e. “remarkable”), like so: SOM(M)E.

  1. Company expanded central reserves? (11)

Answer: CORPORATION (i.e. “company”). The remainder of the clue plays on an alternative definition of the word, meaning a pot belly, which could be said to represent “expanded central reserves”. Like it.

  1. Details – of a day’s play at cricket? (3,3,4)

Answer: INS AND OUTS. Solution satisfies “details” and “details of a day’s play at cricket”, a game where players are put “in” to bat for the opposite team to get them “out”. You get the idea.

  1. Patriot originally inspiring a very old singer (9)

Answer: Luciano PAVAROTTI (i.e. “old singer” – a bit much given the guy died relatively recently, especially compared to some of the other notable people peppering this week’s grid. If you weren’t aware, one of the conventions adopted by The Times is to only feature people in their cryptic crosswords if they are deceased. I guess “old” is used here partly to make the clue scan, and partly to fool solvers into using “o” as a recognised abbreviation of “old”. Either way, this feels a bit naff given there are a number of better alternatives IMLTHO, e.g. “famous singer”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “originally”) of PATRIOT wrapped around or “inspiring” A and V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”), like so: P(A-V)AROTTI.

  1. Not the right idea taking snipe, comic not funny? (13)

Answer: MISCONCEPTION (i.e. “not the right idea”). “Funny” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SNIPE COMIC NOT.

  1. Tippler flourishing (4)

Answer: LUSH. Solution satisfies “tippler” and “flourishing”.

  1. Very important person has enough to prime many mousetraps? (3,6)

Answer: BIG CHEESE (i.e. “very important person”). The remainder of the clue plays on how cheese is sometimes used to prime mousetraps. Nutella is another winner.

  1. Extraordinarily angered? (7)

Answer: ENRAGED. “Extraordinarily” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ANGERED. Nicely done.

Down clues

  1. Heard of journey in IOW town (4)

Answer: RYDE (i.e. “IOW town” – IOW being the Isle of Wight). “Heard of” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of RIDE (i.e. “journey”).

  1. Tapes different test cases (9)

Answer: CASSETTES (i.e. “tapes”). “Different” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TEST CASES.

  1. Impossibly of endless drought, seemingly one black cloud after another? (2,5,5,3,2,5)

Answer: IT NEVER RAINS BUT IT POURS, describing stretches where one suffers one bad event or “black cloud” “after another”. Clue also plays on how you wouldn’t see a drought in those situations, taking the phrase literally. You get the idea.

  1. Flask in French tea service thus turned over (7)

Answer: THERMOS (i.e. “flask”). Solution is THÉ (i.e. “French tea”, i.e. the French for “tea”) followed by RM (i.e. armed “service”, specifically the Royal Marines) and SO (i.e. “thus”) reversed (indicated by “turned over” – this being a down clue), like so: THÉ-RM-OS.

  1. Finally descending past it (4,3,4)

Answer: OVER THE HILL. Solution satisfies “finally descending” and being “past it”.

  1. Dragon slayer (6-3)

Answer: BATTLE-AXE. Solution satisfies “dragon” or domineering woman, and “slayer”. Nicely played.

  1. Guys, those failing to preserve energy (5)

Answer: DUDES (i.e. “guys”). Solution is DUDS (i.e. “those failing”) wrapped around or “preserving” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: DUD(E)S.

  1. Southern capital captured by artist, very fine thing (8,3)

Answer: MOSQUITO NET (i.e. “very fine thing”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) and QUITO (i.e. “capital” of Ecuador) both placed in or “captured by” Claude MONET (i.e. “artist”), like so: MO(S-QUITO)NET.

  1. Country – I don’t believe it contains river (6)

Answer: NORWAY (i.e. “country”). Solution is NO WAY! (i.e. “I don’t believe it”) wrapped around or “containing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: NO-(R)-WAY.

  1. Story sad, drop to the floor (3,4)

Answer: LIE DOWN (i.e. “drop to the floor”). Solution is LIE (i.e. “story”) followed by DOWN (i.e. “sad”).

  1. Extremely intelligent – as is a star? (9)

Answer: BRILLIANT. Solution satisfies “extremely intelligent” and “as is a star”.

  1. Very little hope, geographer thinks, as lost (4,4,2,1,11)

Answer: KNEE HIGH TO A GRASSHOPPER (i.e. “very little”). “Lost” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HOPE GEOGRAPHER THINKS AS.

  1. Pathetic is mine: poem starts to unravel, literarily (7)

Answer: PITIFUL (i.e. “pathetic”). Solution is PIT (i.e. “mine”) followed by IF (a “poem” by Rudyard Kipling), then U and L (i.e. “starts to unravel, literarily”, i.e. the initial letters of “unravel” and “literarily”).

  1. Female in fancy undies, soaked (7)

Answer: INFUSED (i.e. “soaked”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “fancy”) of UNDIES, like so: IN(F)USED.

  1. Something perhaps caught, lift mechanism in tank (8)

Answer: BALLCOCK (i.e. “mechanism in [water] tank”). Solution is BALL (i.e. “something perhaps caught”) followed by COCK (i.e. to “lift”). Invented by Nobby Stiffington, it says here. In Penistone, no less. I never knew.

  1. Popular scoundrel, Bolshevik suffered (8)

Answer: INCURRED (i.e. “suffered”). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) followed by CUR (i.e. “scoundrel”) and RED (i.e. “Bolshevik”).

  1. First in row to leave, go off (5)

Answer: ADDLE (i.e. “go off”). Solution is PADDLE (i.e. to “row”) with the “first” letter “leaving”.

  1. A thousand years ultimately after that – a long time (5)

Answer: YONKS (i.e. “a long time”). Solution is K (a recognised abbreviation for “a thousand”, after the prefix kilo-) and S (i.e. “years ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “years”) both placed “after” YON (i.e. poetic or dialectic form of “that”), like so: (YON)-K-S.

  1. In accordance with green light, pass through (7)

Answer: UNDERGO (i.e. “pass through”). Solution is UNDER (i.e. “in accordance with”) followed by GO (i.e. “green light”).

  1. Prize wine dry and earthy at first (7)

Answer: ROSETTE (i.e. “prize”). Solution is ROSE (i.e. “wine”) followed by TT (i.e. “dry”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “teetotal”) and E (i.e. “earthy at first”, i.e. the first letter of “earthy”).

  1. Problem increasing, seeking a lift (11)

Answer: HITCHHIKING (i.e. “seeking a lift”). Solution is HITCH (i.e. “problem”) followed by HIKING (i.e. “increasing”).

  1. River Tees only low after diversion (11)

Answer: YELLOWSTONE (i.e. “river”). “After diversion” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TEES ONLY LOW.

  1. One comrade going after European city contracts in local government (9)

Answer: MUNICIPAL (i.e. “in local government”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and PAL (i.e. “comrade”) both placed “after” MUNICH (i.e. “European city”, of Germany) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “contracts”), like so: MUNIC-I-PAL.

  1. Ridiculously given smack, leaders of Uganda and Eritrea were opposed (4,5)

Answer: TOOK ISSUE (i.e. “were opposed”). Solution is TOO (i.e. overly or “ridiculously”) followed by KISS (i.e. “smack”), then U and E (i.e. “leaders of Uganda and Eritrea”, i.e. the first letters of “Uganda” and “Eritrea”).

  1. Cord bringing meat over some horses (9)

Answer: HAMSTRING (i.e. “cord”). Solution is HAM (i.e. “meat”) followed by STRING (i.e. “some horses”).

  1. Time after time, US composer prospers (7)

Answer: THRIVES (i.e. “prospers”). Solution is HR (a recognised abbreviation of “hour”) placed “after” T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and followed by Charles IVES (i.e. “US composer”), like so: T-HR-IVES.

  1. Study mounts through spy lens (7)

Answer: MONOCLE (i.e. “lens”). Solution is CON (an archaic word for “study” setters love to use) reversed (indicated by “mounts” – this being a down clue) and placed in or “through” MOLE (i.e. “spy”), like so: MO(NOC)LE.

  1. Cambridge, where taxi carries worker (6)

Answer: CANTAB (i.e. of “Cambridge”, specifically a shortened form of the Latin Cantabrigiensis virtually nobody uses). Solution is CAB (i.e. “taxi”) wrapped around or “carrying” ANT (i.e. “worker”), like so: C(ANT)AB.

  1. US state plan to oust a hot maiden (5)

Answer: NYMPH (i.e. “maiden”). Solution is NY (i.e. “US state”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of New York) followed by MAP (i.e. “plan”) once the A has been removed (indicated by “to oust a”), then H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot”), like so: NY-MP-H.

  1. Girl to take course after turning up (4)

Answer: ENID (i.e. a “girl’s” name”). Solution is DINE (i.e. “to take course”) reversed (indicated by “after turning up” – this being a down clue).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1501

A toughie to while away the Bank Holiday sun, and a good one too with lots of fine clueing to disentangle. More like this, please!

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 the slip then you might find salvation in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and comments, folks. It’s always interesting to read what others make of the Jumbos when their pens cool. Till next time, keep well, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Thanks to Chris and Steve in the comments for the correct solution for 53a

Across clues

  1. Decrepit bully gives up resistance after shake (4-5)

Answer: MOTH-EATEN (i.e. “decrepit”). Solution is THREATEN (i.e. “bully”) with the R removed (indicated by “gives up resistance” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”) and the remainder placed “after” MO (i.e. “shake” – both short spells of time, i.e. “two shakes of a lamb’s tail”), like so: MO-THEATEN.

  1. One aboard smack who performs rescue? (7)

Answer: SAVIOUR (i.e. “who performs rescue”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed in or “aboard” SAVOUR (i.e. to “smack” or taste with relish), like so: SAV(I)OUR.

  1. Dominant idea or word from French Count’s prison island (5)

Answer: MOTIF (i.e. “dominant idea”). Solution is MOT (i.e. “word from French”, i.e. the French for “word”) followed by IF (i.e. “Count’s prison island”, a reference to the Château d’If, featured in Alexandre Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo).

  1. County short by pence, Berks keeps debt record hidden (13)

Answer: SURREPTITIOUS (i.e. “hidden”). Solution is SURREY (i.e. “county”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder followed by P (a recognised abbreviation of “pence”) and TITS (i.e. “berks” – ignore the misleading capitalisation. Also, setter, bravo. I did titter a little at this) once wrapped around IOU (i.e. “debt record”), like so: SURRE-P-TIT(IOU)S.

  1. Italian port in urban area’s rejected pleasure-seeking (9)

Answer: SYBARITIC (i.e. “pleasure-seeking”). Solution is BARI (i.e. “Italian port”) placed “in” CITY’S (i.e. “urban area’s”) once reversed (indicated by “rejected”), like so: S’Y(BARI)TIC.

  1. Uneven-coloured edges of plate for old photo (7)

Answer: TINTYPE (i.e. “old photo”). Solution is TINTY (i.e. “uneven-coloured”) followed by PE (i.e. “edges of plate”, i.e. the first and last letters of “plate”).

  1. However many knobs (7)

Answer: BUTTONS (i.e. “knobs”). Solution is BUT (i.e. “however”) followed by TONS (i.e. “many”). This may have also raised a titter. I’m a massive child, really.

  1. A month back, confined to home, like tropical native (7)

Answer: IGUANAS (i.e. “tropical native” – shouldn’t that be natives?). Solution is AUG (i.e. “a month”, specifically a shortened form of August) reversed (indicated by “back”) and placed in or “confined to” IN (i.e. “home”). The whole is then followed by AS (i.e. “like”), like so: I(GUA)N-AS.

  1. Lawyer is one for admitting guilt to get prisoner released (12)

Answer: PROFESSIONAL (i.e. “lawyer is one”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “for”) followed by CONFESSIONAL (i.e. “admitting guilt”) once the CON has been removed (indicated by “to get prisoner released”), like so: PRO-FESSIONAL.

  1. Family with girlfriend: is the girl kind of blue? (10)

Answer: KINGFISHER (i.e. “kind of blue”). Solution is KIN (i.e. “family”) followed by GF (a recognised abbreviation of “girlfriend”), then IS, then HER (i.e. “the girl”).

  1. Maybe tokes from bit of grass after rolling (5)

Answer: DRAWS (i.e. “tokes”). Solution is SWARD (i.e. “bit of grass”) reversed or “rolling”. Smooth!

  1. Result united country without force or lasting power (9)

Answer: ENDURANCE (i.e. “lasting power”). Solution is END (i.e. “result”) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”) and FRANCE (i.e. “country”) once the F has been removed (indicated by “without force” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “force”), like so: END-U-RANCE.

  1. Controversial elements of boom in filming? (7)

Answer: POLEMIC (i.e. “controversial”). When written as POLE and MIC the solution also satisfies “elements of boom [microphone] in filming”. Nicely worked.

  1. Area sans valets after three identical dismissals could be this (11)

Answer: SERVANTLESS. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “could be”) of AREA SANS VALETS once three of the As have been removed (indicated by “after three identical dismissals”). In the context of the clue, getting shot of one’s valets could leave them servantless. Perhaps not a clue you’d see in The Guardian crossword.

  1. Treat oven as wrong for French toast (1,5,5)

Answer: A VOTRE SANTE (i.e. “French toast”, raise glasses). “Wrong” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TREAT OVEN AS.

  1. Virginia’s tyrant having less power – it’ll raise blood pressure (11)

Answer: VASOPRESSOR (i.e. “it’ll raise blood pressure”). Solution is VA’S (US state abbreviation of “Virginia” made possessive) followed by OPPRESSOR (i.e. “tyrant”) once one of the Ps has been removed (indicated by “having less power” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “power”), like so: VA’S-OPRESSOR. One gotten from the wordplay, to be honest.

  1. Some take up hem – I stick with aim of avoiding offence (11)

Answer: EUPHEMISTIC (i.e. “with aim of avoiding offence”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: TAK(E UP HEM – I STIC)K. Took a while to notice this one. Nicely done.

  1. Good time passed quickly in retrospect (7)

Answer: WELFARE (i.e. “good”). Solution is ERA (i.e. “time”) and FLEW (i.e. “passed quickly”) all reversed (indicated by “in retrospect”), like so: WELF-ARE.

  1. English doctor attending Bart’s last was first beset by problems (9)

Answer: EMBATTLED (i.e. “beset by problems”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by MB (i.e. “doctor”, specifically a Medicinae Baccalaureus or Bachelor of Medicine), then AT (i.e. “attending”), then T (i.e. “Bart’s last”, i.e. the last letter of “Bart”) and LED (i.e. “was first”).

  1. Part of an antler’s secured with cord (5)

Answer: TWINE (i.e. “cord”). Solution is TINE (i.e. “part of an antler”) wrapped around or “securing” W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), like so: T(W)INE.

  1. Detachment of detectives are dying to nab yours truly (10)

Answer: DISPASSION (i.e. “detachment”). Solution is DIS (i.e. “detectives”, specifically Detective Inspectors) followed by PASS ON (i.e. “dying” – a little panel-beating needed for this one, I’d say it was more PASSING ON) once wrapped around I (i.e. “yours truly”), like so: DIS-PASS-(I)-ON.

  1. Someone working in an army, possibly (12)

Answer: ARTILLERYMAN. Solution fits the clue in its entirety, but is also formed of TILLER (i.e. “someone working”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “possibly”) of AN ARMY, like so: AR(TILLER)YMAN. Very nicely worked.

  1. Measure twisting in neck muscles (7)

Answer: SCALENI (i.e. “neck muscles”). Solution is SCALE (i.e. “measure”) followed by IN reversed (indicated by “twisting”), like so: SCALE-NI. A small nod to my Bradford’s for helping nail this one.

  1. Lacking knowledge of course (not cooked, hardly cooked), with no starters (7)

Answer: UNAWARE (i.e. “lacking knowledge”). Solution is RUN (i.e. “course”), RAW (i.e. “not cooked”) and RARE (i.e. “hardly cooked”) all with their initial letters or “starters” removed, like so: UN-AW-ARE.

  1. Conservative ready to drop good occupation (7)

Answer: CALLING (i.e. “occupation”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) followed by ALL IN (i.e. “ready to drop”) for G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”).

  1. Unknown lake overlooked by wandering Brazilian islander (9)

Answer: ZANZIBARI (i.e. “islander”). Solution is Z (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns) followed by an anagram (indicated by “wandering”) of BRAZILIAN once the L has been removed (indicated by “lake overlooked” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: Z-ANZIBARI.

  1. Ill-timed article used in ceremony after I nod support (13)

Answer: INAPPROPRIATE (i.e. “ill-timed”). Solution is A (i.e. “article”, as in a word like a, an or the) placed “in” RITE (i.e. “ceremony”). These are then placed “after” I, NAP (i.e. “nod” off) and PROP (i.e. “support”), like so: (I-NAP-PROP)-R(I)ATE.

  1. Remove equipment from rocky ridge (5)

Answer: DERIG (i.e. “remove equipment from”). “Rocky” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RIDGE.

  1. Proceed to enter special haunt, such as this? (4-3)

Answer: HAND-OUT (i.e. “this” – not sure here, so watch out. My guess is this is a reference to the Jumbo appearing in the Times 2 supplement, which could be loosely described as a “release”, “sample” or hand-out. Not much cop for those doing this thing online, mind, or when this gets reprinted in a future Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword omnibus, so I might not have this right). Solution is DO (i.e. “proceed”) placed in or “entering” an anagram (indicated by “special”) of HAUNT, like so: HAN(DO)UT.
[EDIT: Scrub that. The solution is HANG-OUT, with thanks to Chris and Steve in the comments for the correction. The solution still involves an anagram of HAUNT, but is wrapped around GO (i.e. “proceed”) instead of DO, like so: HAN(GO)UT. The solution is another word for “haunt” or meeting place. Thanks, guys! – LP]

  1. Water collection taking weight off security guards in court (9)

Answer: CATCHMENT (i.e. “water collection”). Solution is WATCHMEN (i.e. “security guards”) with the W removed (indicated by “taking weight off” – W being a recognised abbreviation of “weight”) and the remainder placed “in” CT (a recognised abbreviation of “court”), like so: C(ATCHMEN)T.

Down clues

  1. Bad move to cuddle up under young woman (7)

Answer: MISSTEP (i.e. “bad move”). Solution is PET (i.e. “to cuddle”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and placed after or “under” – again being a down clue – MISS (i.e. “young woman”), like so: MISS-TEP.

  1. A boy, never to break routine, picked up an old monster (11)

Answer: TYRANNOSAUR (i.e. “old monster”). Solution is A SON (i.e. “a boy”) and NARY (i.e. “never”) all placed in or “breaking” RUT (i.e. “routine”). The whole is then reversed, like so: T(YRAN-NOS-A)UR.

  1. Artistic appreciation almost stifling member’s dismal verse (5)

Answer: ELEGY (i.e. “dismal verse”). Solution is EYE (i.e. “artistic appreciation”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder wrapped around or “stifling” LEG (i.e. “member” or limb), like so: E(LEG)Y.

  1. Spuds stuffed with last of meat scraps (7)

Answer: TATTERS (i.e. “scraps”). Solution is TATERS (i.e. “spuds”) wrapped around or “stuffed with” T (i.e. “last of meat”, i.e. the last letter of “meat”), like so: TAT(T)ERS.

  1. Butt or cask upended (3)

Answer: NUT (i.e. “[head]butt”). Solution is TUN (i.e. “cask”) reversed or “upended” – this being a down clue.

  1. It’s not shaggy or harsh: it needs grooming (9)

Answer: SHORTHAIR (i.e. “it’s not shaggy”). “Needs grooming” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OR HARSH IT.

  1. A stunner lives in number four, to the north (6)

Answer: VISION (i.e. “a stunner” – Chambers offers this: “a person or scene of great beauty”). Solution is IS (i.e. “lives”) placed “in” NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) and IV (i.e. Roman numerals for “four”), and the whole then reversed (indicated by “to the north” – this being a down clue), like so: VI-(SI)-ON.

  1. Driven to repeat possible vices, move us off (9-10)

Answer: OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE (i.e. “driven to repeat”). “Off” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of POSSIBLE VICES MOVE US.

  1. Massage giving an impression of relief? (7)

Answer: RUBBING. Solution satisfies “massage” and “giving an impression of relief”, as in how one rubs charcoal over paper placed on, say, a gravestone to obtain an impression of its surface or “relief”. Nicely worked.

  1. Animal god completed miracle, oddly ignored (9)

Answer: MARSUPIAL (i.e. “animal”). Solution is MARS (i.e. Roman “god” of war) followed by UP (i.e. “completed”) and IAL (i.e. “miracle, oddly ignored”, i.e. every other letter of MIRACLE).

  1. I disapprove Egyptian cross and I approve Egyptian king (11)

Answer: TUTANKHAMEN (i.e. “Egyptian king”). Solution is TUT (i.e. “I disapprove”) followed by ANKH (i.e. “Egyptian cross”) and AMEN (i.e. “I approve”).

  1. Fine places for the seriously ill house plant? (5)

Answer: FICUS (i.e. “plant” or fig tree). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils) followed by ICUS (i.e. “places for the serious ill”, specifically Intensive Care Units). It will perhaps come as no surprise that I reached straight for my Bradford’s the moment I saw “plant”.

  1. Unemotional spin that led to James II’s downfall (9,10)

Answer: BLOODLESS REVOLUTION (i.e. “that led to James II’s downfall”). Solution is BLOODLESS (i.e. “unemotional”) followed by REVOLUTION (i.e. “spin”).

  1. Imprint letters with press down under (7)

Answer: ENSTAMP (i.e. “imprint”). Solution is ENS (i.e. “letters”, specifically Ns) with TAMP (i.e. “press down”) placed after or “under” it – this being a down clue.

  1. European blocking repeat of republican revolutionary’s choice (9)

Answer: RECHERCHÉ (i.e. particularly “choice”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) placed in or “blocking” R (a recognised abbreviation of “republican”) and CHE Guevara (i.e. “revolutionary”) “repeated”, like so: R-(E)-CHE-R-CHE. Another nod to my Bradford’s here. I’m about as French as Marcel Wave.

  1. Operate motor, turning in to outskirts of Augsburg (6)

Answer: ENGAGE (i.e. “operate”). Solution is ENGINE (i.e. “motor”) with the IN “turned into” AG (i.e. “outskirts of Augsburg”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Augsburg”), like so: ENG(IN)E => ENG(AG)E.

  1. Denied drops of water and eggs? Vicious perhaps in retrospect (9)

Answer: DISAVOWED (i.e. “denied”). Solution is DEW (i.e. “drops of water”) followed by OVA (i.e. “eggs”) and SID (i.e. “Vicious perhaps” – other Sids are available). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “in retrospect”), like so: DIS-AVO-WED.

  1. Outermost part of Exeter sprawling across motorway (7)

Answer: EXTREME (i.e. “outermost part”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sprawling”) of EXETER wrapped around or “across” M (a recognised abbreviation of “motorway”), like so: EXTRE(M)E.

  1. By nature, I had to see streaker in shower (7)

Answer: PERSEID (i.e. “streaker in shower” – a tough bugger this, it refers to “a meteor of a swarm whose radiant is in the constellation Perseus” (Chambers)). Solution is PER SE (i.e. “by nature”) followed by I’D (a contraction of “I had”). Took some brute forcing to nail.

  1. Author someone has to plagiarise for content (6)

Answer: SCRIBE (i.e. “author”). Solution is the word SOMEONE with all its middle letters removed and the word CRIB (i.e. “to plagiarise”) stuffed inside “for content”, like so: S(OMEON)E => S(CRIB)E.

  1. Minder pocketing kilo is to flit (7)

Answer: SKITTER (i.e. “to flit”). Solution is SITTER (i.e. “minder”) wrapped around or “pocketing” K (a recognised abbreviation of “kilo”), like so: S(K)ITTER.

  1. Story of weaver furling sails and seaman skipping island (5,6)

Answer: SILAS MARNER (i.e. “story of weaver” by George Eliot). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unfurling”) of SAILS followed by MARINER (i.e. “seaman”) once its I has been removed (indicated by “skipping island” – I being a recognised abbreviation of “island”).

  1. Dismissing last pair, win against furious coalition in power (11)

Answer: TRIUMVIRATE (i.e. “coalition in power”). Solution is TRIUMPH (i.e. “win”) with the last two letters removed (indicated by “dismissing last pair”) and the remainder followed by V (i.e. “against”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “versus”) and IRATE (i.e. “furious”), like so: TRIUM-V-IRATE.

  1. A loss of energy in diminishing arousal (9)

Answer: AWAKENING (i.e. “arousal”). Solution is A followed by WEAKENING (i.e. “diminishing”) once one of the Es has been removed (indicated by “loss of energy in…” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: A-WAKENING.

  1. Word antagonistic to avoid split is “harridan” (9)

Answer: TERMAGANT (i.e. “harridan”). Solution is TERM (i.e. “word”) followed by AGAINST (i.e. “antagonistic to”) once the I and S has been removed (indicated by “avoid split is”; the “split” indicates the letters aren’t contiguous within the word AGAINST), like so: TERM-AGANT.

  1. Saint Nick embodies a noted sailor’s source of strength (7)

Answer: SPINACH (i.e. “noted sailor’s source of strength”, specifically Popeye’s favourite foodstuff). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “saint”) followed by PINCH (i.e. “nick” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) once wrapped around or “embodying” A, like so: S-PIN(A)CH.

  1. Mark end of work, ignoring top management’s action against employees (7)

Answer: LOCKOUT (i.e. “management’s action against employees”). Solution is CLOCK OUT (i.e. “mark end of work”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “ignoring top”).

  1. Gentle custom involving constant oversight (7)

Answer: NEGLECT (i.e. “oversight”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “custom”) of GENTLE wrapped around or “involving” C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”), like so: NEGLE(C)T.

  1. Plain cloth covered in mystical icons (6)

Answer: CALICO (i.e. “plain cloth”). “Covered in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: MYSTI(CAL ICO)NS.

  1. Prepared to attach paper of particular dimensions (5)

Answer: SIZED. Solution satisfies “prepared to attach [to?] paper” – a variant meaning of “size” is “a weak glue or gluey material used for stiffening paper or rendering it sufficiently water-resistant to accept printing ink without over-absorption” (Chambers) – and also satisfies “of particular dimensions”.

  1. It’s bad to be left in this list suddenly (5)

Answer: LURCH. Solution satisfies “it’s bad to be left in this” and to “list suddenly”.

  1. The writer puncturing anti-discriminatory image (3)

Answer: PIC (i.e. “image”). Solution is I (i.e. “the writer” from the point of view of the setter) placed in or “puncturing” PC (i.e. “anti-discriminatory” or Politically Correct), like so: P(I)C.

After a dip into all things goth last time around, I decided to worship at the black altar of Carpenter Brut for a decent chunk of this post, getting my rock on to his album Leather Teeth and mighty fine collection TRILOGY (featuring the peerless Turbo Killer, see below). Can’t say I’ve been too enamoured with his most recent output, but if he’s working on a sequel to Leather Teeth then I’ll be all over that like molten butter. After that, it was time to shake the foundations courtesy of my Rockchoonage playlist, as it had been a while. (Insert devil-fingers emoji here.) Laters, – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1500

An enjoyable themed puzzle this week to celebrate the Times Jumbo reaching the 1500 milestone. There were a handful of rough edges and clunkily written clues to smooth over, but overall this was a good ‘un.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. You can also find solutions to the last 10% of these things on my Just For Fun page, should a recent Jumbo have trampled your toes. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers when the dust has settled. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere. With the weather FINALLY! getting its act together, let’s hope this latest uptick of covid infections doesn’t stop us being allowed out to play. From the numerous references to operas and theatrical works in this puzzle, I imagine the setter feels the same.

Laters,

LP

Across clues

  1. MD treated November malady right (8)

Answer: MARYLAND (i.e. “MD”, its US state abbreviation). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “treated”) of N (“November” in the phonetic alphabet), MALADY and R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”).

  1. MD treated Sue in exercises not properly appreciated (14)

Answer: UNDERESTIMATED (i.e. “not properly appreciated”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “exercises”) of MD TREATED SUE IN.

  1. Game taking up half the golf course? (8)

Answer: NINEPINS (i.e. “game”). The remainder of the clue plays on games of golf spanning eighteen holes, sometimes referred to as pins. Half of eighteen… you get the idea.

  1. Ace pilot’s claims (8)

Answer: PROTESTS (i.e. “claims”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “ace” or expert) followed by TEST’S (i.e. “pilot” made possessive).

  1. Pig’s blood – extra gallon included (5)

Answer: GORGE (i.e. to “pig” out). Solution is GORE (i.e. “blood”) wrapped around or “including” G (a recognised abbreviation of “gallon”), like so: GOR(G)E.

  1. Trouble with composer ending on wrong note? (5)

Answer: GRIEF (i.e. “trouble”). Solution is Edvard GRIEG (i.e. “composer”) with the last letter changed from G to F, both musical “notes”.

  1. Like the element of chance in roulette usually: hoping, initially, and spinning! (9)

Answer: SULPHURIC (i.e. “like the element”). Solution is CIRUH (i.e. “chance in roulette usually: hoping, initially”, i.e. the first letters of “Chance”, “In”, “Roulette”, “Usually” and “Hoping”) and PLUS (i.e. “and”) all reversed (indicated by “spinning”), like so: SULP-HURIC.

  1. One’s to change position in favour? Hardly (3,4)

Answer: ILL TURN, an act of unkindness, which can said to be “hardly” a “favour”. When written as I’LL TURN the solution also satisfies “one’s to change position”.

  1. Refuse to take a punt? (3,5,4,1,9)

Answer: NOT TOUCH WITH A BARGEPOLE, “refuse”. Clue plays on “punts” being BARGEPOLES. You get the idea.

  1. Puff? Keep doing so! (6)

Answer: DRAGON (i.e. “Puff”, a magical one according to the song). When read as DRAG ON the clue also satisfies “keep doing so” when taking DRAG to mean a draw or “puff” of a cigarette.

  1. Drink of choice, quietly pushed forward (6)

Answer: POTION (i.e. “drink”). Solution is OPTION (i.e. “choice”) with the P (“quietly” in musical lingo”) “pushed forward”, like so: O(P)TION => (P)OTION.

  1. Musical work’s intricate movement heard, with which film closed (9)

Answer: RIGOLETTO (i.e. “musical work” by Giuseppe Verdi). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “heard”) of WRIGGLE (i.e. “intricate movement”) followed by ET (i.e. “film”, specifically ET: The Extra-Terrestrial) and TO (i.e. “closed”, as in a door being closed to), like so: RIGOL-ET-TO. Took a quick Google to nail the spelling.

  1. Bring up and greet guitar oddball (11)

Answer: REGURGITATE (i.e. “bring up”). “Oddball” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GREET GUITAR.

  1. Rock band, Indiana one, with track evoking memories (11)

Answer: REMINISCENT (i.e. “evoking memories”). Solution is REM (i.e. “rock band”) followed by IN (US state abbreviation of “Indiana”), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and SCENT (i.e. “trail”).

  1. 10? Do stick that number in vase! (11)

Answer: CONURBATION (i.e. “10” down, the solution of which being MEGALOPOLIS). Solution is CON (i.e. to trick or “do” someone) followed by BAT (i.e. a heavy “stick”) and IO (i.e. “that number”, referring to 10) both placed “in” URN (i.e. “vase”), like so: CON-UR(BAT-IO)N.

  1. Unstable element in short making the case for Mossad? (11)

Answer: MENDELEVIUM (i.e. “unstable element”). The remainder of the clue plays on how the chemical symbol of this is Md – fitting given the puzzle’s theme – and how they are the beginning and end letters, or “case”, of “Mossad”.

  1. One making eyes at Luis or Charlie, playfully (9)

Answer: OCULARIST (i.e. “one making [artificial] eyes”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “playfully”) of AT LUIS OR and C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Rough bits apparently swapped by carpenter? (6)

Answer: CHOPPY (i.e. “rough”). Solution is CHIPPY (informal name for a “carpenter”) with the I swapped for O (indicated by “bits…swapped” – in computing lingo, bits take values of 0 or 1), like so: CH(I)PPY => CH(O)PPY.

  1. Keen to absorb tip on jam-making, turning over notes from the WI? (6)

Answer: REGGAE (i.e. “notes from the WI” or West Indies). Solution is EAGER (i.e. “keen”) wrapped around G (i.e. “tip on jam-making”, i.e. the last letter of “jam-making”) and the whole reversed (indicated by “turning over”), like so: REG(G)AE.

  1. MD is American with VC: I however must come first (3,8,4,7)

Answer: ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED (i.e. “MD” in Roman numerals). Solution is US (i.e. “American”), AND (i.e. “with”), FIVE (i.e. the Roman numeral “V”) and HUNDRED (i.e. the Roman numeral “C”) with ONE (i.e. the Roman numeral “I”) and THO (i.e. “however”, a contraction of “though”) “coming first”, like so: (ONE-THO)-US-AND-FIVE-HUNDRED.

  1. MD eggs on flash lord (7)

Answer: MOLDOVA (i.e. “MD”, its recognised international abbreviation). Solution is OVA (i.e. “eggs”) placed “on” or after MO (i.e. “flash” – both short spells of time) and LD (a recognised abbreviation of “lord”), like so: (MO-LD)-OVA.

  1. MD with health agency programme (6,3)

Answer: DOCTOR WHO (i.e. TV “programme”). Solution is DOCTOR (i.e. “MD”, specifically Medicinae Doctor or Doctor of Medicine) followed by WHO (i.e. “health agency”, specifically the World Health Organisation). I still love how Peter Capaldi starred in the 2013 movie World War Z, cast as one of the “W.H.O. Doctors”, a year before his first appearance as Doctor Who.

  1. Helping of duck put together (2,3)

Answer: OF USE (i.e. “helping”). Solution is O (a zero score or “duck”) followed by FUSE (i.e. “put together”).

  1. Partner once visiting cooked like intelligent home help (5)

Answer: ALEXA (i.e. “intelligent home help” – other smart devices are available). Solution is EX (i.e. “partner once”) placed in or “visiting” A LA (i.e. “cooked like”), like so: A-L(EX)A.

  1. I perform myself, mostly, sort of light opera (8)

Answer: IDOMENEO (i.e. “opera” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart). Solution is I followed by DO (i.e. “perform”), then ME (i.e. “myself”) and NEON (i.e. “sort of light”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: I-DO-ME-NEO. A nod to my Bradford’s for nailing this tough bugger.

  1. Bird I couldn’t catch that circles small island (8)

Answer: WHINCHAT (i.e. “bird”). Solution is WHAT (i.e. “I couldn’t catch that”) wrapped around or “circling” INCH (i.e. a Scots word for a “small island” that you occasionally see in these things), like so: WH(INCH)AT. Another win for my Bradford’s. Life’s too short to know every species of bird. Pretty little critter, mind.

  1. Physicist has female track lookout with new satellite receiver (5,9)

Answer: HENRY CAVENDISH (i.e. eighteenth century “physicist”, among other things). Solution is HEN (i.e. “female”) followed by RY (i.e. “track”, specifically an abbreviated form or “railway”), then CAVE (i.e. “lookout”), N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and DISH (i.e. “satellite receiver”).

  1. A little lamb’s tail cut by champion dog (8)

Answer: NOISETTE (i.e. “a little [cut of] lamb”). Solution is NO I SETTER (i.e. “champion dog”) with its “tail cut” or last letter removed.

Down clues

  1. MD’s staff opposed to grand female minister (8,8)

Answer: MANAGING DIRECTOR (i.e. “MD” its recognised abbreviation). Solution is MAN (i.e. “staff”) followed by AGIN (i.e. “opposed” or against), then G (a recognised abbreviation of “grand”), then DI (i.e. “female”, basically a woman’s name) and RECTOR (i.e. “minister”).

  1. One needs to manage with corruption about to be rampant (3,4)

Answer: RUN RIOT (i.e. “to be rampant”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) with RUN (i.e. “to manage”) and ROT (i.e. “corruption”) wrapped “about” it, like so: RUN-R(I)OT.

  1. To drink nothing fine before ten, say: then it’s Victor’s round (3,2,6)

Answer: LAP OF HONOUR (i.e. “Victor’s round”). Solution is LAP (i.e. “to drink”) followed by O (i.e. “nothing”), then F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine”) and HONOUR (i.e. “ten, say” – in bridge an honour is a card such as a king, queen, jack or ten).

  1. Old model unchosen, surprisingly (8)

Answer: NONESUCH (i.e. “old model”, specifically an archaic word for something unparalleled or extraordinary). “Surprisingly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UNCHOSEN. Honestly, I was surprised to find Chambers had slapped an “archaic” indicator against this word.

  1. Viking’s neighbour’s horse: turn it loose (5,6)

Answer: NORTH UTSIRE (i.e. “Viking’s neighbour”, relating to Shipping Forecast areas). “Loose” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HORSE TURN IT. Wordplay was obvious but, not being an avid fan of the Forecast, this took a bit of finagling to get right.

  1. Diverting person from harbour: here he’s abandoned, upset (11)

Answer: ENTERTAINER (i.e. “diverting person”). Solution is ENTERTAIN (i.e. to “harbour”) followed by RE (i.e. “here he’s abandoned”, i.e. the word “here” with the “he” removed) once reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue), like so: ENTERTAIN-ER.

  1. Like pie, perhaps with tea, consuming one here? (4,5)

Answer: EASY CHAIR, the “here” of the clue. A bit wishy-washy given the solution is descriptive of a comfortable armchair, but there you go. Solution is EASY (i.e. “like pie, perhaps”, from the phrase “easy as pie”) followed by CHAR (i.e. “tea”) once wrapped around or “consuming” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: EASY-CHA(I)R.

  1. What oenophiles may hold in reserve: smart! (7)

Answer: TASTING (i.e. “what oenophiles may hold” – an oenophile is a wine lover). Solution is TA (i.e. “reserve”, specifically the Territorial Army of old) followed by STING (i.e. an acute pain or “smart”).

  1. City’s simple logo: a cuckoo (11)

Answer: MEGALOPOLIS (i.e. “city”). “Cuckoo” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SIMPLE LOGO A.

  1. British channel picked up in European port (5)

Answer: TURKU (i.e. Ukrainian “port”). Solution is UK (i.e. “British”) and RUT (i.e. “channel”) all reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue), like so: TUR-KU. Ports are nearly always used to bail setters out of a tight spot. Straight to Bradford’s here.
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for the corrections. For some unknown reason TURKU had become TURKA in my mind between solving the puzzle and writing it up. Cheers, Sue! – LP]

  1. Girl’s teacher fitting extra lesson in, finally flipping (6)

Answer: DUENNA (i.e. “girl’s teacher”). Solution is DUE (i.e. “fitting”) followed by NNA (i.e. “extra lesson in, finally flipping”, i.e. the last letters of “extrA“, “lessoN” and “iN” all reversed or “flipped”), like so: DUE-NNA. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, to be honest.

  1. Far from Fleet Street’s original base (4)

Answer: SLOW (i.e. “far from fleet” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is S (i.e. “street’s original”, i.e. the first letter of “street”) followed by LOW (i.e. “base”).

  1. Allow note to surround inscription (9)

Answer: LETTERING (i.e. “inscription”). Solution is LET (i.e. “allow”) followed by TE (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me style) and RING (i.e. “to surround”).

  1. Weaver with cold heart in the position of a crank (6,4,6)

Answer: BOTTOM DEAD CENTRE (i.e. “position of a crank”). Solution is Nick BOTTOM (i.e. “weaver” in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) followed by DEAD (i.e. “cold”) and CENTRE (i.e. “heart”).

  1. No question “lingua” can be rendered as “tongue” (9)

Answer: ALGONQUIN (i.e. “tongue”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “can be rendered as”) of NO, Q (a recognised abbreviation of “question”, as in Q&A) and LINGUA. Weirdly, I have Grand Theft Auto IV to thank for this one. I knew all those hours would pay off eventually.

  1. Browser and peripherals missing from notebook: a pity (5)

Answer: OKAPI (i.e. “browser”, or something that feeds on the shoots of plants). “Peripherals missing from” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: NOTEBO(OK A PI)TY.

  1. Jets and Sharks, say, crossing East River (6)

Answer: GANGES (i.e. “river”). Solution is GANGS (i.e. “Jets and Sharks” from West Side Story) wrapped around or “crossing” E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”), like so: GANG(E)S.

  1. I act on instinct, turning up for festival (6)

Answer: DIWALI (i.e. “festival”). Solution is I followed by LAW (i.e. “act”) and ID (i.e. “instinct” in the weird and wacky world of psychoanalysis) all reversed (indicated by “turning up” – this being a down clue), like so: DI-WAL-I.

  1. Football team facing pressure to act responsibility (3,2)

Answer: MAN UP (i.e. “act responsibly”). Solution is MAN U (i.e. “football team”, specifically Manchester United) followed by P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”).

  1. Conservative fighting in back alley (East End) (11)

Answer: REACTIONARY (i.e. “conservative”, as in how both tend to oppose political change). Solution is ACTION (i.e. “fighting”) placed “in” REAR (i.e. “back”) and Y (i.e. “alley (East End)”, i.e. the last letter of “alley”), like so: RE(ACTION)AR-Y.

  1. Precise place for exhibiting Thatcher’s material and religious beliefs (6,5)

Answer: NICENE CREED (i.e. “religious beliefs”). Solution is NICE (i.e. “precise” – Chambers offers this definition: “done with great care and exactness, accurate”) followed by NEC (i.e. “place for exhibiting”, specifically the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham) and REED (i.e. “thatcher’s material” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). I lucked out on this one as Chambers mentioned the Nicene Creed under its definition of “credo” when I was scrabbling around for clues.

  1. To expose posterior, Franc drops bloomers (11)

Answer: MOONFLOWERS (i.e. “bloomers” of the night). Solution is MOON (i.e. “to expose posterior”) followed by F (a recognised abbreviation of “franc”, the former currency of France – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and LOWERS (i.e. “drops”). One of the rare cases I was able to nail a flora-related solution without running to my Bradford’s. Go me.

  1. All leave is cancelled after six men, note, use catapults (6,5)

Answer: EXEUNT OMNES (i.e. “all leave” in theatrical lingo). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “catapults”) of MEN NOTE USE and X (i.e. “is cancelled after six”, i.e. the word “six” with the letters of “is” removed). I half-remembered this from a previous puzzle, but needed a shufti in my Chambers to get the “omnes” bit.

  1. Assessed (vehicle) outside of the standard range (4-5)

Answer: TEST DROVE (i.e. “assessed (vehicle)” – not sure why the parentheses). Solution is TE (i.e. “outside of the”, i.e. the first and last letters of “the”) followed by STD (a recognised abbreviation of “standard”) and ROVE (i.e. to “range” or gad about the place).

  1. I’m surprised to find illicit liqueur on board kid’s train (4-4)

Answer: CHOO-CHOO (i.e. “kid’s train”). Solution is COO (i.e. “I’m surprised”) wrapped around or having “on board” HOOCH (i.e. “illicit liqueur” – minor point: shouldn’t that be “liquor”? I always thought liqueurs were the fancy stuff a little less likely to blind you in one eye), like so: C(HOOCH)OO.

  1. Unusual wind removing walls from local urinal (7)

Answer: OCARINA (i.e. “unusual wind” instrument). Solution is derived from “removing walls” or the first and last letters from LOCAL URINAL.

  1. Against concealing reaction to pain, swears (4)

Answer: VOWS (i.e. “swears”). Solution is VS (i.e. “against”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “versus”) wrapped around or “concealing” OW (i.e. “reaction to pain”), like so: V(OW)S.

  1. Accept hardships hurt? I go crazy (5,2)

Answer: ROUGH IT (i.e. “accept hardships”). “Crazy” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HURT I GO.

  1. MD when visiting English hospital is one after blood much earlier (2,4)

Answer: EM DASH (i.e. “one after blood much earlier” – a reference to the clue for 15a, which employs an em dash right after the word “blood”). Solution is MD and AS (i.e. “when”) both placed between or “visiting” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and H (ditto “hospital”), like so: E-(MD-AS)-H.

  1. That is popular with lazybones, primarily? (3-2)

Answer: LIE-IN, something I can readily confirm is indeed “popular with lazybones”. Solution is IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. er… “i.e.”!) and IN (i.e. “popular”) both placed after or “with” L (i.e. “lazybones, primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “lazybones”), like so: (L)-IE-IN.

Live sport had a rare look-in this weekend with absorbing finals for the Championship Play-Offs and Champions League. What musical accompaniment was had was mostly provided by Spotify’s Dark & Gothic playlist – a very serviceable mix of goth through the ages, from Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy through to more modern outfits like Swedish gloomsters Then Comes Silence (see below). What better way to celebrate the good weather than pandering to one’s inner mope? What do you mean, “going outside and enjoying it”? Pfff. Away with you… TTFN! – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1499

A mostly straightforward puzzle this week, though a little lop-sided. The bottom-right corner seemed degrees harder than the rest of the grid. Weird how that happens sometimes. Some good clues to enjoy, though.

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 the slip then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 150-ish of these things. There are also the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the comments and kind words, everyone. It’s always interesting to hear what other solvers make of the Jumbos. Till next time, stay safe, mask up (not for much longer, one hopes!), get vaccinated and keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. After alterations our coat is really frightful (9)

Solution: ATROCIOUS (i.e. “really frightful”). “After alterations” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OUR COAT IS.

  1. Flexibility to eat cooked spleens (10)

Answer: SUPPLENESS (i.e. “flexibility”). Solution is SUP (an archaic word meaning “to eat”, as in taking supper) followed by an anagram (indicated by “cooked”) of SPLEENS, like so: SUP-PLENESS.

  1. Chap taking horse round for girl (7)

Answer: MARLENE (i.e. a “girl’s” name). Solution is LEN (i.e. a “chap’s” name) with MARE (i.e. “horse”) wrapped “round” it like so: MAR(LEN)E. I’m seldom keen when forenames are used as solutions in these things.

  1. Treasury so filled by Edomite king (9)

Answer: THESAURUS (i.e. “treasury”). Solution is THUS (i.e. “so”) wrapped around or “filled by” ESAU (i.e. “Edomite” – Esau, son of Abraham, is also known as Edom, founder of the Edomites. Yes, I looked it up) and R (i.e. “king”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Rex), like so: TH(ESAU-R)US.

  1. Reported attempt by commercial gang of criminals (5)

Answer: TRIAD (i.e. “gang of criminals”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reported”) of TRY (i.e. “attempt”) followed by AD (i.e. “commercial”), like so: TRI-AD.

  1. I’ve to replace gold in battery – it’s adding up (12)

Answer: ACCUMULATIVE (i.e. “adding up”). Solution is ACCUMULATOR (i.e. a rechargeable “battery”) with the OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry) “replaced” by I’VE, like so: ACCUMULAT(OR) => ACCUMULAT(I’VE).

  1. Proceeds to meet force: correct to be alarmed (4,6)

Answer: TAKE FRIGHT (i.e. “to be alarmed”). Solution is TAKE (i.e. gate or “proceeds”) followed by F (a recognised abbreviation of “force”) and RIGHT (i.e. “correct”).

  1. Snooty Guardian misrepresented religious occasion (8,6)

Answer: ROGATION SUNDAY (i.e. “religious occasion”). “Misrepresented” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SNOOTY GUARDIAN. One gotten from the wordplay, TBH.

  1. Shopping centre killer in holiday isle (8)

Answer: MALLORCA (i.e. “holiday isle”). Solution is MALL (i.e. “shopping centre”) followed by ORCA (i.e. “killer” whale).

  1. Seignories regularly selected by male self-interest (6)

Answer: EGOISM (i.e. “self-interest”). Solution is EGOIS (i.e. “seignories regularly”, i.e. every other letter of SEIGNORIES) followed by M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”), like so: EGOIS-M.

  1. Brown horse fed regular helpings of straw or equivalent (10)

Answer: TANTAMOUNT (i.e. “equivalent”). Solution is TAN (i.e. “brown”) and MOUNT (i.e. “horse”) wrapped around or “fed” TA (i.e. “regular helpings of straw”, i.e. every other letter of STRAW), like so: TAN-(TA)-MOUNT.

  1. Succeeded with month – after missing the first three – avoiding drink (5)

Answer: SOBER (i.e. “avoiding drink”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “succeeded”) followed by OCTOBER (i.e. “month”) “after missing the first three” letters, like so: S-OBER.

  1. Measure duration of two notes (4)

Answer: TIME. Solution satisfies to “measure duration” and, when written as TI and ME, “two notes” of the do-ray-me scale.

  1. Defence Intelligence seeing army unit (8)

Answer: DIVISION (i.e. “army unit”). Solution is DI (a recognised abbreviation of “Defence Intelligence”) followed by VISION (i.e. “seeing”).

  1. Brood about awful place without cinema (9)

Answer: MULTIPLEX (i.e. “cinema”). Solution is MULL (i.e. “brood”) wrapped “about” TIP (i.e. “awful place”) and followed by EX (i.e. “without”, the Latin ex means “from” or “out of”), like so: MUL(TIP)L-EX.

  1. Navy chiefs mostly have high opinion of a lieutenant, first in year (9)

Answer: ADMIRALTY (i.e. “navy chiefs”). Solution is ADMIRE (i.e. “have high opinion of”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by A, then LT (a recognised abbreviation of “lieutenant”) and Y (i.e. “first [letter] in year”), like so: ADMIR-A-LT-Y.

  1. Considered certain to get in alcohol (8)

Answer: MEASURED (i.e. “considered”). Solution is SURE (i.e. “certain”) placed “in” MEAD (i.e. “alcohol”), like so: MEA(SURE)D.

  1. Look pleased when son’s lost race (4)

Answer: MILE (i.e. “race”). Solution is SMILE (i.e. “look pleased”) once the S has been removed (indicated by “when son’s lost” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”).

  1. New Year in parrot country (5)

Answer: KENYA (i.e. “country”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and Y (ditto “year”) both placed “in” KEA (i.e. a large “parrot” from New Zealand it says here), like so: KE(N-Y)A.

  1. Playing tee then inn – as the golf clubhouse is considered? (10)

Answer: NINETEENTH (i.e. “as the golf clubhouse is considered”, i.e. the nineteenth hole). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “playing”) of TEE THEN INN. Nicely worked.

  1. Compensate some mature couples (6)

Answer: RECOUP (i.e. “compensate”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the solution, like so: MATU(RE COUP)LES.

  1. Drive out using oxygen for energy in military manoeuvres (8)

Answer: EXORCISE (i.e. “drive out”). Solution is EXERCISE (i.e. “military manoeuvres”) with the second E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) swapped “for” O (chemical symbol of “oxygen”), like so: EX(E)RCISE => EX(O)RCISE.

  1. Very best carbon engineers guided over a hundred engineers (5,2,2,5)

Answer: CRÈME DE LA CRÈME (i.e. “very best”). Solution is C (chemical symbol of “carbon”) followed by REME (i.e. “engineers”, specifically the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers of the British Army), then LED (i.e. “guided”) reversed (indicated by “over”), then A, then C (Roman numeral for “a hundred”), then REME (our army peeps again), like so: C-REME-DEL-A-C-REME.

  1. Top twelve deliveries or more got zero wickets (10)

Answer: OVERSHADOW (i.e. “top”). Solution is OVERS (i.e. “twelve deliveries or more” in cricket – an over being six regulation deliveries) followed by HAD (i.e. “got”), then O (i.e. “zero”) and W (a recognised abbreviation of “wickets” used in cricket). Nicely done.

  1. Insecurity sustains need, unfortunately (12)

Answer: UNSTEADINESS (i.e. “insecurity”). “Unfortunately” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SUSTAINS NEED. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Dull brownish-yellow persimmon’s hard inside (5)

Answer: KHAKI (i.e. “dull brownish-yellow”). Solution is KAKI (i.e. a Japanese plum or “persimmon”) with H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils) placed “inside” of it, like so: K(H)AKI. Someone’s showing off.

  1. I note short fir tree, one quite close to where willow’s used? (9)

Answer: INFIELDER (i.e. “one quite close to where willow’s used” – a reference to cricket bats and the wicket they are played on. An infielder would be placed quite close to this area). Solution is I followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “note”), then FIR once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”), then ELDER (i.e. “tree”), like so: I-N-FI-ELDER.

  1. Reptile tense about a rat dropping close (7)

Answer: TUATARA (i.e. “reptile”, another New Zealand inhabitant). Solution is TAUT (i.e. “tense”) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by A and RAT once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “dropping close”), like so: TUAT-A-RA. Chalk one to my Bradford’s. I give most things flora- or fauna-related short shrift. Too often they are used to bail setters out of a tight spot, and life is too short.

  1. Founder in port region, completely wrecked (10)

Answer: PROGENITOR (i.e. “founder”). “Completely wrecked” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PORT REGION.

  1. Fruit the man carried in blue van? (9)

Answer: SPEARHEAD (i.e. “van” – a sneaky one this, “van” is a recognised abbreviation of “vanguard” or those who lead the way). Solution is PEAR (i.e. “fruit”) and HE (i.e. “the man”) both placed “in” SAD (i.e. “blue”), like so: S(PEAR-HE)AD.

Down clues

  1. Pure gold at heart of EM Forster novel? (5)

Answer: AURIC (i.e. “pure gold”). The solution is found in the middle letters or “heart” of MAURICE (i.e. “EM Forster novel”).

  1. Their mum’s suffering with a painful condition (10)

Answer: RHEUMATISM (i.e. “painful condition”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “suffering”) of THEIR MUM’S and A.

  1. Welsh town mostly to respond over Christmas coming up (8)

Answer: CAERLEON (i.e. “Welsh town”). Solution is REACT (i.e. “to respond”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “over”). This is followed by NOEL (i.e. “Christmas”) also reversed (indicated by “coming up” – this being a down clue), like so: CAER-LEON. For “flora- and fauna-related”, read also “Welsh towns”. Straight to Wikipedia for this made-to-fit number.

  1. What comes from sextet, couple turning up? (5)

Answer: OCTET, a group of eight musicians. A “sextet”, meanwhile, is a group of six musicians. I’ll let you do the maths.

  1. Arm fanatic? This can create tension in turn (6,3)

Answer: SLEEVE NUT (i.e. “this can create tension in turn”). Clue plays on “sleeves” being the army parts of garments, and fanatics sometimes being described as “nuts”. You get the idea.

  1. Rascal’s endless swindle (4)

Answer: SCAM (i.e. “swindle”). Solution is SCAMP (i.e. “rascal”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endless”).

  1. Turning up road on a hill, not bad for seclusion (6)

Answer: PURDAH (i.e. “seclusion”). Solution is UP reversed (indicated by “turning”), then followed by RD (a recognised abbreviation of “road”), then A and HILL once the ILL has been removed (indicated by “not bad”), like so: PU-RD-A-H.

  1. Isles left with essential nature, managed until Europeans vacated (6,8)

Answer: LESSER ANTILLES (i.e. “isles”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) followed by ESSE (i.e. “essence”, apparently after the Latin for “to be”), then RAN (i.e. “managed”), then TILL (i.e. “until”) and ES (i.e. “Europeans vacated”, i.e. the word “Europeans” with all its middle letters removed), like so: L-ESSE-RAN-TILL-ES.

  1. A curl Titian’s represented is true to life (12)

Answer: NATURALISTIC (i.e. “true to life”). “Represented” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A CURL TITIAN’S.

  1. Informer about wife being a partner swapper (7)

Answer: SWINGER (i.e. “partner swapper”). Solution is SINGER (i.e. “informer”) wrapped “about” W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”), like so: S(W)INGER.

  1. One politician with broadcast audibly intended to show disability (10)

Answer: IMPAIRMENT (i.e. “disability”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by MP (i.e. “politician”, specifically a Member of Parliament), then AIR (i.e. to “broadcast”) and a homophone (indicated by “audibly”) of MEANT (i.e. “intended”), like so: I-MP-AIR-MENT.

  1. What can define characters of Dorothy, Matthew and Brian, say (3,6)

Answer: DOT MATRIX (i.e. “what can define characters” – a dot matrix printer would use a small grid of pins to form characters that would be punched onto paper through inked tape. I always marvelled at the tiny mechanics of them, and still do, but good grief did they make a racket). Solution is DOT (shortened form of “Dorothy”) followed by MAT (I guess an abbreviation of “Matthew”, but not one I’ve seen anywhere. There’s a Book of Matthew in The Bible, but even this gets abbreviated to “Matt”. Yellow card, setter) and “Brian” RIX, deceased English actor.

  1. Brooded over craze for place roamed by devils? (8)

Answer: TASMANIA (i.e. “place roamed by devils”, specifically Tasmanian devils). Solution is SAT (i.e. “brooded”) reversed (indicated by “over”) and followed by MANIA (i.e. “craze”), like so: TAS-MANIA.

  1. Moan about mom’s unruly wedding attendant (9)

Answer: GROOMSMAN (i.e. “wedding attendant”). Solution is GROAN (i.e. “moan”) wrapped “about” an anagram (indicated by “unruly”) of MOM’S, like so: GRO(OMSM)AN.

  1. Harshly criticising small vehicle if expiring on losing key (10)

Answer: SCARIFYING (i.e. “harshly criticising”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small” used in clothing sizes) followed by CAR (i.e. “vehicle”), then IF, then DYING (i.e. “expiring”) once the D has been removed (indicated by “on losing [musical] key”), like so: S-CAR-IF-YING.

  1. Almost certain moment United, one down, overcame (10)

Answer: SURMOUNTED (i.e. “overcame”). Solution is SURE (i.e. “certain”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder followed by MO (short for “moment”) and UNITED once the I has been removed (indicated by “[Roman numeral]] one down”), like so: SUR-MO-UNTED.

  1. Militant ringer, one very big in church (9)

Answer: BELLICOSE (i.e. “militant”). Solution is BELL (i.e. “ringer”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and OS (i.e. “very big”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “outsize”) once placed “in” CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: BELL-I-C(OS)E.

  1. What too many railway passengers are doing for supplier of fuel (7,7)

Answer: FILLING STATION. Solution satisfies “what too many railway passengers are doing” and “supplier of fuel”.

  1. Green put in prison when limiting alternative technology (8)

Answer: IMMATURE (i.e. “green”). Solution is IMMURE (i.e. “put in prison”) wrapped around or “limiting” AT (a recognised abbreviation of “alternative technology”), like so: IMM(AT)URE.

  1. Bring about old commercial pitch in putting out a programme (12)

Answer: BROADCASTING (i.e. “putting out a programme”). Solution is BRING wrapped “about” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), AD (i.e. “commercial”) and CAST (i.e. “pitch”), like so: BR(O-AD-CAST)ING.

  1. Footwear irritates continually on stone, never right (5,4)

Answer: ANKLE-SOCK (i.e. “footwear”). Solution is RANKLES (i.e. “irritates continually”) and ROCK (i.e. “stone”), both without their Rs (indicated by “never right” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: ANKLES-OCK.

  1. State reportedly to assess trunk road in the US (10)

Answer: EXPRESSWAY (i.e. “trunk road in the US”). Solution is EXPRESS (i.e. “state”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of WEIGH (i.e. “to assess”), like so: EXPRESS-WAY.

  1. Stop Act Four after what Feste repeats in Twelfth Night, perhaps (10)

Answer: DEACTIVATE (i.e. “stop”). Solution is ACT, IV (i.e. “four” in Roman numerals) both placed “after” E (i.e. “what Feste repeats”, i.e. the letter E, which appears twice in the name). These are all then placed “in” DATE (i.e. Jan 5th or “Twelfth Night, perhaps” – other dates are available), like so: D(E-ACT-IV)ATE.

  1. Vengeful trio of Brussels bureaucrats, say, having day in Rome (9)

Answer: EUMENIDES (i.e. “vengeful trio”, known also as the Furies). Solution is EU MEN (i.e. “Brussels bureaucrats, say” – other genders of bureaucrat are available) followed by IDES (i.e. “day in Rome”, a fateful one for Julius Caesar).

  1. Wild olive tree also going up the wall (8)

Answer: OLEASTER (i.e. “wild olive”). “Going up the wall” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TREE ALSO. Wordplay was fairly obvious once all the intersecting letters were in place, but needed a shufti at my Bradford’s to get me over the line.

  1. Outdoor work with English rain awful (4-3)

Answer: OPEN-AIR (i.e. “outdoor”). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and an anagram (indicated by “awful”) of RAIN, like so: OP-E-NAIR.

  1. Sweet company getting initially more healthy (6)

Answer: COMFIT (i.e. “sweet”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) followed by M (i.e. “initially more”, i.e. the first letter of “more”) and FIT (i.e. “healthy”).

  1. Morning service has Roman Catholic in support (5)

Answer: TERCE (i.e. “morning service” – over to Chambers: “one of the hours of the Divine Office … held at the third hour of the day (9am)”). Solution is RC (a recognised abbreviation of “Roman Catholic”) placed “in” TEE (i.e. “support” for a golf ball), like so: TE(RC)E. Another gotten from the wordplay.

  1. Antelope displaying vigour over days (5)

Answer: ELAND (i.e. “antelope”). Solution is ELAN (i.e. “vigour”) followed by D (a recognised abbreviation of “days”).

  1. Billions lug and carry (4)

Answer: BEAR (i.e. “carry”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “billions”) followed by EAR (i.e. “lug”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1498

Another relatively easy ride this week, albeit a slightly repetitive one. Still, it’s nice to claw back more of the weekend to follow other pursuits such as… such as…

Anyway, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. Elsewhere, on my Just For Fun page, you can find links to solutions to the last 150-ish of these things should a recent Jumbo have you stumped. There are also the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the comments and kind words, folks. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put down their pens. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated (I’m happy to report that my phone reception has gone up two full bars now I’ve had my jab – this 5G shit is great!) and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Description of safety measure wound up reactionary (13)

Answer: PRECAUTIONARY (i.e. “descriptive of safety measure”). “Wound” indicates anagram, probably as in to damage something. Solution is an anagram of UP REACTIONARY.

  1. Chose an Oxford college, reportedly containing paintings (9)

Answer: PICTORIAL (i.e. “containing paintings”). “Reportedly” indicates the solution comprises homophones of PICKED (i.e. “chose”) and ORIEL (i.e. “an Oxford college”).

  1. Retired cleric dips into Holy Writ? That’s obvious (5)

Answer: OVERT (i.e. “obvious”). Solution is REV (i.e. “cleric”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “reverend”) reversed (indicated by “retired”) and placed “into” OT (i.e. “Holy Writ”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible), like so: O(VER)T.

  1. Neurotic boss vies madly with European leader (9)

Answer: OBSESSIVE (i.e. “neurotic”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “madly”) of BOSS VIES followed by E (i.e. “European leader”, i.e. the first letter of “European”), like so: OBSESSIV-E.

  1. Young hare loses head, circling top of snowy mountain (7)

Answer: EVEREST (i.e. “mountain”). Solution is LEVERET (i.e. “young hare”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “loses head”) and the remainder wrapped around or “circling” S (i.e. “top of snowy”, i.e. the first letter of “snowy”), like so: EVERE(S)T.

  1. Old person, not heretical, receiving a senior officer (12)

Answer: NONAGENARIAN (i.e. “old person”). Solution is NON-ARIAN (i.e. “not heretical” – according to Chambers, Arianism is “the heretical doctrine of Arius, that Christ was not consubstantial with God the Father, but only the first and highest of all finite beings”. So now you know) wrapped around or “receiving” A and GEN (a recognised abbreviation of “general”, i.e. “senior officer” of the army), like so: NON-(A-GEN)-ARIAN.

  1. A couple of Charlies, 31, somehow gaining promotion (10)

Answer: COMMERCIAL (i.e. “promotion”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of CC (i.e. “a couple of Charlies” – Charlie being C in the phonetic alphabet) and MEMORIAL, the solution to “31” across in this puzzle.

  1. Greet son introducing a plucked instrument (6)

Answer: SALUTE (i.e. “greet”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by A and LUTE (i.e. “plucked instrument”).

  1. Hairstyle associated with Exmoor, perhaps? It depends (8)

Answer: PONYTAIL (i.e. a “hairstyle” that your favourite internet non-entity is dangerously close to rocking). Solution plays on Exmoor being a breed of pony. “It depends” leaves me cold. Perhaps there’s something particular to the breed and their tails. If anyone kindly furnishes me with the answer then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Thanks to burleypab, Mick and Michael for fleshing this one out. Turns out a rare usage of “depend” is “to hang down”, something descriptive of ponytails. Sneaky. I like it. Thanks, all! – LP]

  1. Two graduates fencing in old black African tree (6)

Answer: BAOBAB (i.e. “African tree”). Solution is BA and BA (i.e. “two graduates”, specifically Bachelors of Arts) wrapped around or “fencing” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and followed by B (ditto “black”, used in chess), like so: (BA-(O)-BA)-B.

  1. Briefly visit Greek island, securing current writing desk (10)

Answer: SECRETAIRE (i.e. “writing desk”). Solution is SEE (i.e. “visit”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder followed by CRETE (i.e. “Greek island”) once wrapped around or “securing” AIR (i.e. flow or “current”), like so: SE-CRET(AIR)E.

  1. Day soldiers agree about uniform – hugely! (12)

Answer: MONUMENTALLY (i.e. “hugely”). Solution is MON (i.e. “day”, specifically Monday), MEN (i.e. “soldiers”) and TALLY (i.e. “agree”) all wrapped “about” U (i.e. “uniform” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: MON-(U)-MEN-TALLY.

  1. The grand total, so we hear? Only part (4)

Answer: SOME (i.e. “part”). “So we hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SUM (i.e. “the grand total”).

  1. Insect beginning to hover, knowing about river (8)

Answer: HOUSEFLY (i.e. “insect”). Solution is H (i.e. “beginning to hover”, i.e. the first letter of “hover”) and FLY (i.e. slang for “knowing”) wrapped “about” OUSE (i.e. “river”), like so: H-(OUSE)-FLY.

  1. Commemorative dinner, say, to entertain poll organisers (8)

Answer: MEMORIAL (i.e. “commemorative”). Solution is MEAL (i.e. “dinner, say” – other meals are available) wrapped around or “entertaining” MORI (i.e. “poll organisers”), like so: ME(MORI)AL.

  1. Visionary that is inspiring a famous boxer (8)

Answer: IDEALIST (i.e. “visionary”). Solution is ID EST (i.e. “that is”, i.e. … er, i.e.!) wrapped around or “inspiring” Muhammad ALI (i.e. “a famous boxer”), like so: ID-E(ALI)ST.

  1. Precisely define form of identification required by head (8)

Answer: PINPOINT (i.e. “precisely define”). Solution is PIN (i.e. “form of identification”, specifically a Personal Identification Number) followed by POINT (i.e. “head”).

  1. Put up with pain in the neck (4)

Answer: BORE. Solution satisfies “put up with” in the past tense, and a “pain in the neck”.

  1. Introducing one-eyed giant mostly, I need a new reference book (12)

Answer: ENCYCLOPEDIA (i.e. “reference book”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “new”) of I NEED A wrapped around or “introducing” CYCLOPS (i.e. “one-eyed giant”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: EN(CYCLOP)EDIA.

  1. Defrayal of expenses in colony (10)

Answer: SETTLEMENT. Solution satisfies “defrayal of expenses” and “colony”.

  1. Religious festival always involving a saint (6)

Answer: EASTER (i.e. “religious festival”). Solution is E’ER (poetic form of ever or “always”) wrapped around or “involving” A and ST (a recognised abbreviation of “saint”), like so: E-(A-ST)-ER.

  1. Appropriate commercial vehicle again hired out externally (8)

Answer: RELEVANT (i.e. “appropriate”). Solution is VAN (i.e. “commercial vehicle”) with RE-LET (i.e. “again hired out”) placed outside of it or “externally”, like so: RE-LE(VAN)T.

  1. Animal cry disturbed by commotion in grassy area (6)

Answer: MEADOW (i.e. “grassy area”). Solution is MEW (i.e. “animal cry”) wrapped around or “disturbed by” ADO (i.e. “commotion”), like so: ME(ADO)W.

  1. One easily taken in by prophet’s light material (10)

Answer: SEERSUCKER (i.e. “light material”). Solution is SUCKER (i.e. “one easily taken in”) placed after or “by” SEER (i.e. “prophet”). One I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

  1. Obstinacy ultimately gets container delivered at cape (12)

Answer: STUBBORNNESS (i.e. “obstinacy”). Solution is S (i.e. “ultimately gets”, i.e. the last letter of “gets”) followed by TUB (i.e. “container”), then BORN (i.e. “delivered”) and NESS (i.e. “cape”, both geographic features).

  1. Sit back with priest before Mass? It’s favouring the chosen (7)

Answer: ELITISM (i.e. “favouring the chosen”). Solution is SIT reversed (indicated by “back”) and placed after or “with” ELI (i.e. “priest” you often see in these things). These are then followed by M (a recognised abbreviation of “mass”), like so: ELI-TIS-M.

  1. A woman absurdly into love (9)

Answer: ADORATION (i.e. “love”). Solution is A followed by DORA (i.e. a “woman’s” name) and an anagram (indicated by “absurdly”) of INTO, like so: A-DORA-TION.

  1. View end of croft in pass (5)

Answer: VISTA (i.e. “view”). Solution is T (i.e. “end [letter] of croft”) placed “in” VISA (i.e. “pass”), like so: VIS(T)A.

  1. Listener a woman will be fond of? (5-4)

Answer: SHELL-LIKE. Solution satisfies “listener” or ear, and when written as SHE’LL LIKE also satisfies “woman will be fond of”.

  1. Man on board’s new wife crossing grand London street (13)

Answer: KNIGHTSBRIDGE (i.e. “London street”). Solution is KNIGHT’S (i.e. “man on [chess] board’s”) followed by BRIDE (i.e. “new wife”) once wrapped around or “crossing” G (a recognised abbreviation of “grand”), like so: KNIGHT’S-BRID(G)E.

Down clues

  1. Lied maybe about first of inaccuracies in expert’s medical prediction? (9)

Answer: PROGNOSIS (i.e. “medical prediction”). Solution is SONG (i.e. “lied maybe” – a lied is a German lyric or song) reversed (indicated by “about”) and, along with I (i.e. “first [letter] of inaccuracies”), placed in PRO’S (i.e. “expert’s”), like so: PRO(GNOS-I)’S.

  1. Ten real reforms going on for ever (7)

Answer: ETERNAL (i.e. “for ever”). “Reforms” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TEN REAL.

  1. Regularly fail to understand that woman completely (10)

Answer: ALTOGETHER (i.e. “completely”). Solution is AL (i.e. “regularly fail”, i.e. every other letter of FAIL) followed by TO, then GET (i.e. “understand”) and HER (i.e. “that woman”), like so: AL-TO-GET-HER.

  1. Prickly bush’s last cutting lacerated youth leader (6)

Answer: THORNY (i.e. “prickly”). Solution is H (i.e. “bush’s last” letter) placed in or “cutting” TORN (i.e. “lacerated”) and followed by Y (i.e. “youth leader”, i.e. the first letter of “youth”), like so: T(H)ORN-Y.

  1. Drunk sups root beer, becoming rough and rowdy (12)

Answer: OBSTREPEROUS (i.e. “rough and rowdy”). “Drunk” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SUPS ROOT BEER.

  1. Sailor overcomes slurs – eschews alcoholic drink (8)

Answer: ABSTAINS (i.e. “eschews alcoholic drink”). Solution is AB (i.e. “sailor” of the Able-Bodied rating) followed by or “overcoming” – this being a down clue – STAINS (i.e. “slurs”).

  1. Contribution to early wisdom? Certainly, once (4)

Answer: YWIS (i.e. “certainly, once” – ywis or iwis is an archaic form of “certainly”). “Contribution to” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: EARL(Y WIS)DOM. One gotten solely from the wordplay, and definitely the first word the setter slotted into the grid. No doubt about it.

  1. Treasured child only initially held to be advanced (10)

Answer: PRECOCIOUS (i.e. “advanced”). Solution is PRECIOUS (i.e. “treasured”) wrapped around or “holding” C and O (i.e. “child only initially”, i.e. the first letters of “child” and “only”), like so: PRE(C-O)CIOUS.

  1. Rich, smooth top of cake a girl’s taken in about (6)

Answer: CREAMY (i.e. “rich, smooth”). Solution is C (i.e. “top of cake”, i.e. the first letter of “cake”) and AMY (i.e. a “girl’s” name) wrapped around or “taking in” RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies), like so: C-(RE)-AMY.

  1. Exaggerated response of old cleric upset about lawsuit (12)

Answer: OVERREACTION (i.e. “exaggerated response”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by REV (i.e. “cleric”, last seen in 13a) reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue), then RE (i.e. “about” – see 9d above), then ACTION (i.e. “lawsuit”).

  1. Tribe observed, so to speak, in two islands (5)

Answer: ICENI (i.e. “tribe”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “so to speak”) of SEEN (i.e. “observed”) placed “in” between I and I (i.e. “two islands”, I being a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: I-(CEN)-I.

  1. Decidedly underage university sportsman in nursery rhyme? (6,3,4)

Answer: LITTLE BOY BLUE (i.e. “nursery rhyme”). Clue plays on little boys being somewhat under the age of majority, and blues being sportsmen of Oxford or Cambridge universities. You get the idea.

  1. Register held by leading English novelist (8)

Answer: Anthony TROLLOPE (i.e. “novelist”). Solution is ROLL (i.e. “register”) placed in or “held by” TOP (i.e. “leading”) and followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: T(ROLL)OP-E.

  1. Maryland port using Indian food to a greater extent (9)

Answer: BALTIMORE (i.e. “Maryland port”). Solution is BALTI (i.e. “Indian food”) followed by MORE (i.e. “to a greater extent”). I had the pleasure of visiting Baltimore a couple of years ago by dint of attending the World Fantasy Convention and, as murder capitals of countries go, it wasn’t half bad. The bars were friendly and atmospheric, the seafood was mighty fine, plus it was interesting to visit the graves (yes, graves) of Edgar Allan Poe, but perhaps the most enduring memory of the place was this cheery chap helping to keep Baltimore’s inner harbour trash-free. (Pic courtesy of Mrs D Photographic Associates). He has a Twitter account too, as all things with googly eyes should.

  1. Manliness of American chap and his way of doing things (8)

Answer: MACHISMO (i.e. “manliness”). Solution is MAC (i.e. “American chap”, a term of address to a man whose name is not known) followed by HIS and MO (i.e. “way of doing things”, specifically a Modus Operandi).

  1. Begins statements, sacrificing time for church (9)

Answer: COMMENCES (i.e. “begins”). Solution is COMMENTS (i.e. “statements”) with the T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) swapped “for” CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: COMMEN(T)S => COMMEN(CE)S.

  1. Like the sloth displayed in garden and gallery (8)

Answer: EDENTATE (i.e. “like the sloth”, specifically how they have no teeth). Solution is EDEN (i.e. the “garden” in The Bible from which we were booted, if you believe in that kind of thing) followed by TATE (i.e. “gallery”).

  1. Bloke touring India with the writer’s case (8)

Answer: GENITIVE (i.e. “case” – in the dry and joyless world of grammar, this is “of or belonging to a case expressing origin, possession or similar relation”). Solution is GENT (i.e. “bloke”) wrapped around or “touring” I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet) and followed by I’VE (i.e. “the writer’s” from the point of view of the setter. A little misdirection is at play here in that the ‘s is taken to be a contraction of “has” rather than anything possessive – it doesn’t matter that the clue doesn’t scan properly. Contracting I HAVE gets you I’VE), like so: GEN(I)T-I’VE.

  1. Cowardly attitude not associated with porcupines! (13)

Answer: SPINELESSNESS (i.e. “cowardly attitudes”). The remainder of the clue plays on porcupines being rather spiny. You get the idea.

  1. Instrument from single EP playing outside bar (12)

Answer: GLOCKENSPIEL (i.e. “instrument”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “playing”) of SINGLE EP wrapped “outside” of LOCK (i.e. “bar”), like so: G(LOCK)ENSPIEL.

  1. To depose his best lad is misguided (12)

Answer: DISESTABLISH (i.e. “to depose”). “Misguided” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HIS BEST LAD IS.

  1. Decline of French commander briefly travelling east at the front (10)

Answer: DEGENERATE (i.e. “decline”). Solution is DE (i.e. “of French”, i.e. the French for “of”) followed by GENERAL (i.e. “commander”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder followed by T and E (i.e. “travelling east at the front”, i.e. the first letters of “travelling” and “east”), like so: DE-GENERA-T-E.

  1. Tyneside vicar upset about French writer’s method of payment (5-5)

Answer: NEVER-NEVER (i.e. “method of payment”, specifically hire purchase). Solution is NE (i.e. “Tyneside”, situated in the North East of England) and REV (i.e. “vicar”, our old friend the reverend from 13a and 10d making another appearance) reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue. Three upended members of the clergy in one crossword, what is the Church coming to?) both wrapped “about” Jules VERNE (i.e. “French writer”), like so: NE-(VERNE)-VER.

  1. Prefect finally acknowledges head’s view of urban scene (9)

Answer: TOWNSCAPE (i.e. “urban scene”). Solution is T (i.e. “prefect finally”, i.e. the last letter of “prefect”) followed by OWNS (i.e. “acknowledges”) and CAPE (i.e. “head”, like NESS in 51a, a geographic feature).

  1. Smoked beef I associated with former music academy? (8)

Answer: PASTRAMI (i.e. “smoked beef”). Solution is I placed after or “with” PAST (i.e. “former”) and RAM (i.e. “music academy”, specifically the Royal Academy of Music), like so: (PAST-RAM)-I.

  1. Lined up and put on clothes (7)

Answer: DRESSED. Solution satisfies “lined up” – one verb definition of dress is “to come into line” (Chambers) – and “put on clothes”.

  1. Con over a lot of baked food and Norway lobsters (6)

Answer: SCAMPI (i.e. “Norway lobsters”). Solution is SCAM (i.e. “con”) followed by PIE (i.e. “baked food”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “a lot of”), like so: SCAM-PI.

  1. Limits of ties university accepted (6)

Answer: BOUNDS (i.e. “limits”). Solution is BONDS (i.e. “ties”) wrapped around or “accepting” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”), like so: BO(U)NDS.

  1. Former partner yours truly will reportedly banish (5)

Answer: EXILE (i.e. “banish”). Solution is EX (i.e. “former partner”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of I’LL (i.e. “yours truly will”, i.e. a contraction of I WILL), like so: EX-ILE.

  1. Cut weedy plant (4)

Answer: DOCK. Solution satisfies “cut” and “weedy plant”.

Things took a jazzy turn for this week’s post courtesy of Barry Adamson, one-time bassist of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds who has since built up a serious body of work. Back in the late 1990s there was a fair amount of good music being used in drinks adverts, for example Leftfield’s Phat Planet (Guinness), or Rob Dougan’s superb Clubbed To Death (Caffrey’s). Another was Adamson’s The Big Bamboozle (see below), which for a time was used by Baileys in its TV spots. This brassy swaggering classic has stuck with me ever since, and so I thought I’d take a deeper dive into his stuff, particularly his album Oedipus Schmoedipus. Potted review: varied! – but when Adamson’s work flits from jazz to blues to noir to parody to who-knows-where-next, this is perhaps to be expected. If, like me, you were a fan of Chris Morris’s Blue Jam radio series around that time then you’ll recognise a few other tracks on this album, in particular the jaunty and upbeat Miles and the altogether smoother Something Wicked This Way Comes. He also contributed a fair chunk to the soundtrack of David Lynch’s Lost Highway, in case you didn’t think he was cool enough already. Give him a go, hep cats! – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1497

A relatively straightforward one this week – I don’t mind that! – and one with some nicely worked clues to ponder over. 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 you scratching your head then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where I’ve listed links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Meanwhile there are also the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and helpful comments, folks. They are always appreciated, and it’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers on these things. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated (my jab’s getting closer; at least I’m now being offered sites in the county I live in!) and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. US agent coming over to take drugs and render harmless (6)

Answer: DEFUSE (i.e. “render harmless”). Solution is FED (i.e. “US agent”) reversed (indicated by “coming over”) and followed by USE (i.e. “to take drugs”), like so: DEF-USE.

  1. Gaunt, ill-mannered chap insists on hanging round colleges (10)

Answer: CADAVEROUS (i.e. “gaunt”). Solution is CAD (i.e. “ill-mannered chap” – at your service, old thing) followed by AVERS (i.e. “insists on”) wrapped “round” OU (i.e. “colleges” – specifically Oxford University), like so: CAD-AVER(OU)S.

  1. Provide a place for a plant (5)

Answer: HOSTA (i.e. “plant”). Solution is HOST (i.e. “provide a place for”) followed by A. Gotten from the wordplay, if I’m honest.

  1. Media’s run amok – who cares? (9)

Answer: NURSEMAID (i.e. someone “who cares”). “Amok” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MEDIA’S RUN.

  1. Amazed heavy vehicle moves noisily in front (13)

Answer: THUNDERSTRUCK (i.e. “amazed”). Solution is TRUCK (i.e. “heavy vehicle”) with THUNDERS (i.e. “moves noisily”) placed “in front” of it. Here’s hoping the setter is an AC/DC fan!

  1. Drama, musical one, that’s too short? Don’t bet on it! (2-5)

Answer: NO-HOPER (i.e. “don’t bet on it”). Solution is NOH (i.e. Japanese “drama” you sometimes see in these things) followed by OPERA (i.e. “[drama,] musical one”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “that’s too short”), like so: NOH-OPER.

  1. Remove alcohol? That settles it! (7)

Answer: DECIDER (i.e. “that settles it”). When written as DE-CIDER the solution also satisfies “remove alcohol”. I admit this did raise a chuckle when I twigged it.

  1. Aspiring opener for Uruguay bowled out (5-2)

Answer: WOULD-BE (i.e. “aspiring”). Solution is U (i.e. “opener for Uruguay”, i.e. the first letter of “Uruguay”) with an anagram (indicated by “out”) of BOWLED wrapped around it (I’m guessing also indicated by “out”, i.e. the anagram being placed “outside” of the U, though this is rather flexing it), like so: WO(U)LD-BE.

  1. Spreading muck, perhaps, after heated exchange of views (5-13)

Answer: CROSS-FERTILISATION (i.e. “spreading”). Clue plays on manure or “muck” being used as fertiliser for crops, and cross being descriptive of a state of anger. You get the idea.

  1. Room in pub – Turner’s Arms? (4)

Answer: SNUG (i.e. “room in pub”). Solution is GUNS (i.e. “arms”) reversed (indicated by “turner’s”), ignoring the capitalisation all round.

  1. Abdicate, leaving son to rule (5)

Answer: REIGN (i.e. “to rule”). Solution is RESIGN (i.e. “abdicate”) with the S removed (indicated by “leaving son” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”).

  1. Make show of appreciation and mouth “rubbish!” (8)

Answer: CLAPTRAP (i.e. “rubbish”). Solution is CLAP (i.e. “make show of appreciation”) followed by TRAP (informal word for a “mouth”).

  1. Piano by ear is something that can be draining (8)

Answer: PLUGHOLE (i.e. “something that can be draining”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano” in musical lingo) followed by LUGHOLE (i.e. “ear”).

  1. Dizzy blonde? (5-6)

Answer: LIGHT-HEADED. Solution satisfies “dizzy” and “blonde” as in a light hair colour.

  1. Quantity of sugar, perhaps, thrown out of planes (11)

Answer: TEASPOONFUL (i.e. “quantity of sugar, perhaps” – other substances are available). “Thrown out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OUT OF PLANES.

  1. Depart from Heathrow, perhaps seizing moment for break (4,4,3)

Answer: TAKE TIME OFF (i.e. “break”). Solution is TAKE OFF (i.e. “depart from Heathrow, perhaps” – other airports yada-yada-yada…) wrapped around or “seizing” TIME (i.e. “moment”).

  1. Red standing for reform, filled with dread (5-6)

Answer: ANGST-RIDDEN (i.e. “filled with dread”). “For reform” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RED STANDING.

  1. Reserve money – you’ll get stick when it’s finished! (3,5)

Answer: ICE LOLLY (i.e. “you’ll get stick when it’s finished”). Solution is ICE (i.e. “reserve” or a chilly nature) followed by LOLLY (a slang word for “money”).

  1. “Read it and weep!”, cries politician (3,5)

Answer: SOB STORY (i.e. “read it and weep”). Solution is SOBS (i.e. “cries”) followed by TORY (i.e. “politician”).

  1. Long period of time, November (5)

Answer: YEARN (i.e. to “long” for). Solution is YEAR (i.e. “period of time”) followed by N (“November” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Money paid for access ending in scandal? (4)

Answer: GATE. Solution satisfies “money paid for access” and “ending in scandal”, i.e. how -GATE often gets appended to a word relative to a scandal, after Watergate.

  1. No truce can result from this papal campaign (7-11)

Answer: COUNTER-REFORMATION (i.e. “papal campaign” against the Reformation of the sixteenth century). “No truce can result from this” plays on the solution cryptically suggesting COUNTER as an anagram or REFORMATION of “no truce”.

  1. Gigantic mummy, a creature of the night (7)

Answer: MAMMOTH (i.e. “gigantic”). Solution is MAM (i.e. “mummy”, both words for mother) followed by MOTH (i.e. “a creature of the night”).

  1. No learner, comprehends hard parts of Listener (7)

Answer: INCUDES (i.e. “hard parts of Listener” – ignore the misleading capitalisation, the clue’s referring to the tiny bones found in the ear). Solution is INCLUDES (i.e. “comprehends”) with the L removed (indicated by “no learner”, as in L-plates). Another gotten from the wordplay.

  1. Number for one absorbed in Italian side (7)

Answer: INTEGER (i.e. a whole “number”). Solution is EG (i.e. “for one” or for example) placed or “absorbed in” INTER Milan (i.e. “Italian [football] side”), like so: INT(EG)ER.

  1. When everyone’s out, officers will take children’s plaything (7,6)

Answer: GENERAL STRIKE (i.e. “when everyone’s out”). Solution is GENERALS (i.e. “officers”) followed by TRIKE (i.e. “children’s plaything”).

  1. Under escort, old force surrounded by rocks listed rapidly (6,3)

Answer: REELED OFF (i.e. “listed rapidly”). Solution is LED (i.e. “under escort”), O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and F (ditto “force”) all placed in or “surrounded by” REEF (i.e. “rocks”), like so: REE(LED-O-F)F.

  1. Vigilant, one following a boat (5)

Answer: AWAKE (i.e. “vigilant”). When written as A WAKE the solution also satisfies “one following a boat”.

  1. Party ruins chips and beans? (4,6)

Answer: SIDE DISHES (i.e. “chips and beans”). Solution is SIDE (i.e. group or “party”) followed by DISHES (i.e. “ruins”).

  1. Keep smothering old woman’s style (6)

Answer: FORMAT (i.e. “style”). Solution is FORT (i.e. a “keep”) wrapped around or “smothering” MA (i.e. “old woman”, another reference to mother), like so: FOR(MA)T.

Down clues

  1. Row over caring disrupted meals-on-wheels service (6-3)

Answer: DINING-CAR (i.e. “meals-on-wheels service”). Solution is DIN (i.e. “row”) placed before or “over” – this being a down clue – an anagram (indicated by “disrupted”) of CARING, like so: DIN-INGCAR.

  1. Finishing outside podium places after switch, United failing to get ahead (11)

Answer: FORTHCOMING (i.e. “ahead”). Solution is COMING FOURTH (i.e. “finishing outside podium places”) with the words “switched” and the U removed (indicated by “United failing” – U being a recognised abbreviation of “United”).

  1. Dance moves, picked up in parts of central Asia? (7)

Answer: STEPPES (i.e. “parts of central Asia”). “Picked up” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of STEPS (i.e. “dance moves”).

  1. Plug stopped working, with no electric current attached (5)

Answer: ADDED (i.e. “attached”). Solution is AD (i.e. “plug” or advertisement) followed by DIED (i.e. “stopped working”) once the I has been removed (indicated by “with no electric current” – I is used to represent this in physics), like so: AD-DED.

  1. Spoke coherently while having a joint (11)

Answer: ARTICULATED. Solution satisfies “spoke coherently” and “having a joint”. Nicely done.

  1. Horse is beat, with end of desert no closer (11)

Answer: EQUIDISTANT (i.e. “no closer” – a bit too loose for me, but I imagine Perry Mason could make it stick). Solution is EQUID (i.e. “horse”) followed by IS, then TAN (i.e. to “beat”) and T (i.e. “end [letter] of desert”).

  1. A doubter, awfully hard to persuade (8)

Answer: OBDURATE (i.e. “hard to persuade”). “Awfully” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A DOUBTER.

  1. Blond politician on left’s test of opinion (5,4)

Answer: STRAW POLL (i.e. “test of opinion”). Solution is STRAW (i.e. “blond”, descriptive of the colour of straw) followed by POL (a recognised abbreviation of “politician”) and L (ditto “left”).

  1. Withhold Euro from abominable busker’s collection? (6)

Answer: HATFUL (i.e. “busker’s collection”). Solution is HATEFUL (i.e. “abominable”) with the E removed (indicated by “withhold Euro from”, E being a recognised abbreviation of “Euro”).

  1. Making complaint – test inaccurate (8,3)

Answer: SOUNDING OFF. Solution satisfies “making complaint” and “test inaccurate”.

  1. A new venison supplier served up joint (5)

Answer: ANKLE (i.e. “joint”). Solution is A followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and ELK (i.e. “venison supplier”) once reversed (indicated by “served up” – this being a down clue), like so: A-N-KLE. Nicely worked.

  1. Wall before elite is something offering superficial protection (7,5)

Answer: BARRIER CREAM (i.e. “something offering superficial protection” for the hands). Solution is BARRIER (i.e. “wall”) placed “before” CREAM (i.e. “elite”).

  1. Rent deduction producing show of emotion (8)

Answer: TEARDROP (i.e. “show of emotion”). Solution is TEAR (i.e. “rent”) followed by DROP (i.e. “deduction”). Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Zip-join coming up short? This could cause trouble (7)

Answer: GREMLIN (i.e. “this could cause trouble”). Solution is NIL (i.e. “zip” or nothing) and MERGE (i.e. “join”) reversed (indicated by “coming up” – this being a down clue) once the E of MERGE has been removed (indicated by “short”), like so: GREM-LIN.

  1. My ironing, not right – blasted disgrace! (8)

Answer: IGNOMINY (i.e. “disgrace”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “blasted”) of MY IRONING once the R has been removed (indicated by “not right” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”).

  1. People congregating around centre of bath taking a dip (8)

Answer: NATATION (i.e. swimming or “taking a dip”). Solution is NATION (i.e. “people”) wrapped “around” AT (i.e. “centre of bath”, i.e. the middle letters of “bath”), like so: N(AT)ATION.

  1. Dismiss howl of wolf in the end (5,3)

Answer: LAUGH OFF (i.e. “dismiss”). Solution is LAUGH (i.e. “howl”) followed by OF and F (i.e. “wolf in the end”, i.e. the last letter of “wolf”).

  1. Turner’s activity could be a Hollywood affair (7)

Answer: LATHING (i.e. “turner’s activity”). When written as LA THING the solution also satisfies “Hollywood affair”.

  1. Eccentric took Eurostar perhaps for continent, when young (5-7)

Answer: POTTY-TRAINED (i.e. “continent, when young”). Solution is POTTY (i.e. “eccentric”) followed by TRAINED (i.e. “took Eurostar perhaps”).

  1. I plan to make changes, feeling compelled to take stock? (11)

Answer: KLEPTOMANIA (i.e. “feeling compelled to take stock”). “Changes” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I PLAN TO MAKE.

  1. Sixties activist rose, perhaps, rebuked after infiltration by left (6,5)

Answer: FLOWER CHILD (i.e. “sixties activist”). Solution is FLOWER (i.e. “rose, perhaps” – other flowers are available) followed by CHID (i.e. “rebuked”) once wrapped around or “after infiltration by” L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”), like so: FLOWER-CHI(L)D.

  1. When beginning to speak to audience, you blush, acquiring confidence (11)

Answer: ASSUREDNESS (i.e. “confidence”). Solution is AS (i.e. “when”) followed by S (i.e. “beginning to speak”, i.e. the first letter of “speak”), then U (i.e. “to audience, you”, i.e. how the letter U is pronounced the same as “you”) and REDNESS (i.e. “blush”).

  1. Attractive feature of house? (7,4)

Answer: DRAWING ROOM (i.e. “feature of house”). Clue plays on DRAWING being another word for “attracting”.

  1. Kitty’s heading north on vacation, adopting English ways to escape (9)

Answer: LOOPHOLES (i.e. “ways to escape”). Solution is POOL (i.e. “kitty”) reversed (indicated by “heading north” – this being a down clue) and followed by HOLS (i.e. “vacation”) once wrapped around or “adopting” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: LOOP-HOL(E)S.

  1. Like charity that’s anti-exercise? (3-6)

Answer: NON-PROFIT (i.e. “like charity”). When written as NON-PRO-FIT the solution also playfully satisfies “anti-exercise”, assuming someone in favour of exercise would be “pro-fit”.

  1. South Asian character in fifties charged (8)

Answer: INDICTED (i.e. “charged”). Solution is INDIC (i.e. “South Asian”, specifically originating from India) followed by TED (i.e. “character in fifties”, a reference to Teddy Boys).

  1. Redcoat’s unconventional style (3,4)

Answer: ART DECO (i.e. “style”). “Unconventional” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REDCOAT.

  1. Shell company with real investment expanded initially (6)

Answer: COWRIE (i.e. “shell”, specifically that of a mollusc of the same name). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) followed by W (ditto “with”) and RIE (i.e. “real investment expanded initially”, i.e. the initial letters of “real”, “investment” and “expanded”). Chalk one to my Bradford’s here.

  1. “Flower of Pompeii” publication supported by postgraduate (5)

Answer: MAGMA (i.e. “flower of Pompeii”, as in how magma flows). Solution is MAG (i.e. “publication” or magazine) followed by MA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Master of Arts).

  1. One running through Berlin in binge (5)

Answer: SPREE. Solution satisfies “one running through Berlin”, a reference to the River Spree, and “binge”. Chalk another to my Bradford’s.

After a couple of week’s spent wallowing in nostalgia, this week’s post has been accompanied by something a little more recent. Well, this millennium at least. If you are a fan of British electronica then you’ll be familiar with Orbital, who scored hits back in the day with The Box and Satan, and whose most recent album, Monsters Exist, contains the sublime Tiny Foldable Cities and the hint-of-mad-genius that is P.H.U.K. What I didn’t realise until relatively recently, however, was that Paul Hartnoll had also created a few solo albums, the first of which, The Ideal Condition, is a fine listen. For the most part the electronica takes a backseat to elegant orchestral arrangements, and it works rather well. I swear Haven’t We Met Before? is a theme tune begging for a TV show. It even includes a Robert Smith collaboration for any Cure completionists out there. Not a bad find, all told. Go check it out. In the meantime, here’s the finest thing Orbital ever did. The tune starts at 0:51 in case all the haunted house creaking freaks you out, but, be warned, it gets no less scary after that! Such a shame this version is not on Spotify… Laters! – LP.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1496

A medium strength puzzle rather than the Bank Holiday stinker that was perhaps feared. I don’t mind that! It was a pretty decent one too, save for the traditional recent repeat. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful.

If a recent Jumbo is exhibiting a few gaps then my Just For Fun page might help you out, where I’ve compiled links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. There are also the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind words and comments, folks. They are always appreciated and are always interesting to read. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Sensible directors gathering in good source of feedback (8,5)

Answer: SOUNDING BOARD (i.e. “source of feedback”). Solution is SOUND (i.e. “sensible”) and BOARD (i.e. “directors” of a company) wrapped around or “gathering” IN and G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: SOUND-(IN-G)-BOARD.

  1. International group: evil or promoting happiness? (9)

Answer: EUDEMONIC (i.e. “promoting happiness” – over to Chambers: “a system of ethics that makes happiness the test of rectitude”). Solution is EU (i.e. “international group”, specifically the European Union) followed by DEMONIC (i.e. “evil”). Gotten from the wordplay and a look in Chambers.

  1. Explode and utter “about time!” (5)

Answer: ERUPT (i.e. “explode”). Solution is PURE (i.e. complete and “utter”) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: ERUP-T.

  1. Supply help to cynic in college (11)

Answer: POLYTECHNIC (i.e. “college”). “Supply” indicates anagram, as in being supple. Solution is an anagram of HELP TO CYNIC.

  1. Dressing in uniform, look around (5)

Answer: GAUZE (i.e. “dressing”). Solution is U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet) with GAZE (i.e. “look”) placed “around” it, like so: GA(U)ZE.

  1. Telegraph, say, to shorten piece of wire (5,4)

Answer: PRESS CLIP (i.e. “piece of wire”). Solution is PRESS (i.e. “Telegraph, say” – other newspapers are available) followed by CLIP (i.e. “to shorten”).

  1. Serving monarch in the resistance? (4)

Answer: OHMS. A bit of a guess, this, given they are units of electrical “resistance” and the word has HM or His or Her Majesty, i.e. “monarch”, in the middle. That’s about it, though. The remaining letters OS could represent an Ordinary Seaman, who could be said to “serve”, but this feels much too weak. Moving on with my life…
[EDIT: Thanks to a number of commenters for pointing out OHMS stands for On Her Majesty’s Service. Well, I was halfway there! Cheers, all! – LP]

  1. Tailor has fur with gold for her indoors (8)

Answer: HAUSFRAU (i.e. “her indoors”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “tailor”) of HAS FUR followed by AU (chemical symbol of “gold”), like so: HAUSFR-AU.

  1. Decree a home’s located east of ring road (6)

Answer: ORDAIN (i.e. “decree”). Solution is A and IN (i.e. at “home”) placed after or “located east of” – this being an across clue – O (i.e. “ring”) and RD (a recognised abbreviation of “road”), like so: (O-RD)-A-IN.

  1. Drunk person arriving without purpose, top official (4,12)

Answer: HIGH COMMISSIONER (i.e. “top official”). Solution is HIGH (i.e. “drunk”) followed by COMER (i.e. “person arriving”) once wrapped around or placed “without” MISSION (i.e. “purpose”), like so: HIGH-COM(MISSION)ER.

  1. Damage from French wine crossing lip (9)

Answer: DETRIMENT (i.e. “damage”). Solution is DE (i.e. “from French”, i.e. the French for “from”) followed by TENT (i.e. a Spanish “wine”) once wrapped around or “crossing” RIM (i.e. “lip”), like so: DE-T(RIM)ENT.

  1. Woman given lick, one who keeps the peace (7)

Answer: SHERIFF (i.e. “one who keeps the peace”). Solution is SHE (i.e. “woman”) followed by RIFF (i.e. a guitar “lick”).

  1. Scottish style nationalist party (5)

Answer: PLAID. Solution satisfies “Scottish style” and Welsh “nationalist party”.

  1. Producer of iron or slate: container with dial outside (5,7)

Answer: BLAST FURNACE (i.e. “producer of iron”). Solution is BLAST (i.e. to “slate”) followed by URN (i.e. “container”) once placed in or having “outside” FACE (i.e. “dial”), like so: BLAST-F(URN)ACE.

  1. About to clean up kinky kind of art (10)

Answer: CONCEPTUAL (i.e. “kind of art”). Solution is C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “kinky”) of TO CLEAN UP, like so: C-ONCEPTUAL.

  1. Wine single lady drinks in new decorative glass (4,6)

Answer: ROSE WINDOW (i.e. “decorative glass”). Solution is ROSE (i.e. “wine”) followed by WIDOW (i.e. “single lady”) once wrapped around or “drinking in” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: ROSE-WI(N)DOW.

  1. Kid clutching old penny supplying dancer’s gear (4,8)

Answer: BODY STOCKING (i.e. “dancer’s gear”). Solution is BOY (i.e. “kid”) wrapped around or “clutching” D (i.e. “old penny”, an abbreviation after the Latin denarius) and followed by STOCKING (i.e. “supplying”), like so: BO(D)Y-STOCKING.

  1. Group captured by Philoctetes (5)

Answer: OCTET (i.e. “group” of musicians). “Captured by” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so : PHIL(OCTET)ES.

  1. Salt receptacle returned before ceremony (7)

Answer: NITRITE (i.e. “salt”). Solution is TIN (i.e. “receptacle”) reversed (indicated by “returned”) and followed by RITE (i.e. “ceremony”), like so: NIT-RITE.

  1. Stone on shore is spread widely (9)

Answer: PROPAGATE (i.e. “spread widely”). Solution is AGATE (i.e. “stone”) placed “on” or after PROP (i.e. to “shore” up), like so: PROP-AGATE.

  1. Government crackdown can come together in safe area (8,8)

Answer: PETERLOO MASSACRE (i.e. “Government crackdown” of 1819 that left 11 demonstrators dead and hundreds others injured). Solution is LOO (i.e. “can” – both slang for a toilet) and MASS (i.e. “come together”) both placed “in” PETER (i.e. a slang word for a “safe” you sometimes see in these things) and ACRE (i.e. “area”), like so: PETER-(LOO-MASS)-ACRE.

  1. Increase exercise in places to the west (4,2)

Answer: STEP UP (i.e. “increase”). Solution is PE (i.e. “exercise”, specifically Physical Education) placed “in” PUTS (i.e. “places”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “to the west” – this being an across clue), like so: ST(EP)UP.

  1. Sent back desserts provided with unknown layer (8)

Answer: STRATIFY (i.e. to “layer”). Solution is TARTS (i.e. “desserts”) reversed (indicated by “sent back”) and followed by IF (i.e. “provided”) and Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as “unknowns”), like so: STRAT-IF-Y.

  1. Inflammation given by which end of shoe? (4)

Answer: SORE (i.e. “inflammation”). When written as S OR E the solution also satisfies “which end of shoe”, i.e. S (the start of “shoe”) OR E (the end of “shoe”).

  1. Back certain to defend Rangers’ lead, a single ball off target (9)

Answer: ERRONEOUS (i.e. “off target”). Solution is SURE (i.e. “certain”) reversed (indicated by “back”) and wrapped around or “defending” R (i.e. “Rangers’ lead”, i.e. the first letter of “Rangers”), ONE (i.e. “a single”) and O (i.e. “ball”, as in how the letter O is shaped like one), like so: ER(R-ONE-O)US.

  1. In the majority, not half unfaithful (5)

Answer: ADULT (i.e. “in the majority” – a major being an adult; a minor being a child). Solution is ADULTEROUS (i.e. “unfaithful”) with the last half lopped off (indicated by “not half”).

  1. Iron put in bar – it’s for dummy (11)

Answer: COUNTERFEIT (i.e. “dummy”). Solution is FE (chemical symbol of “iron”) “put in” COUNTER (i.e. “bar”) and IT, like so: COUNTER-(FE)-IT.

  1. Some balls heading for tennis open (5)

Answer: OVERT (i.e. “open”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “some balls”, being a set of six regulation deliveries in cricket) followed by T (i.e. “tennis open”, i.e. the first letter of “tennis”).

  1. This person blocks a helper off in passing (9)

Answer: EPHEMERAL (i.e. short-lived or “passing”). Solution is ME (i.e. “this person”) placed in or “blocking” an anagram (indicated by “off”) of A HELPER, like so: EPHE(ME)RAL.

  1. Ride boat on ocean wave? (6-7)

Answer: ROLLER-COASTER (i.e. “ride”). Solution is COASTER (i.e. “boat”) placed “on” or after ROLLER (i.e. “ocean wave”).

Down clues

  1. Pen novel, record and throw cards in (9)

Answer: SHEEPFOLD (i.e. “pen”). Solution is SHE (i.e. “novel” by H Rider Haggard) followed by EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended-Play) and FOLD (i.e. “throw cards in”).

  1. Criminal pursued and violently seized (7)

Answer: USURPED (i.e. “violently seized”). “Criminal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PURSUED. Nicely worked.

  1. Scare off car on street allowing no freedom (11)

Answer: DETERMINIST (i.e. “allowing no freedom” – determinism is the belief that everything in the future is preordained). Solution is DETER (i.e. “scare off”) followed by MINI (i.e. “car”) and ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”).

  1. Weapon, and where it was used around China (6)

Answer: NAPALM (i.e. “weapon”). Solution is NAM (i.e. “where [napalm] was used”), i.e. during the Vietnam war, once wrapped “around” PAL (i.e. “china” – ignore the misleading capitalisation; china is cockney rhymin’ slang, innit, for “mate”, as in china plate), like so: NA(PAL)M.

  1. Writer’s party drink with nothing in (9)

Answer: BALLPOINT (i.e. “writer”). Solution is BALL (i.e. “party”) followed by PINT (i.e. “drink”) once wrapped around or having “in” O (i.e. “nothing”), like so: BALL-P(O)INT.

  1. Hit spy across bum for discipline (12)

Answer: ASTROPHYSICS (i.e. “discipline”). “Bum” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HIT SPY ACROSS. With ASTROPHYSICIST appearing only three weeks ago, it appears another Times setter has cranked up the office Marconi GridFill 4000TM. Ho and hum. If you’d like to know more about the GridFill 4000, here’s a snippet from its Wikipedia page, the link for which I’ve conveniently misplaced:

Released at the height of the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, the Marconi GridFill 4000TM was the last in a line of web-enabled devices that helped crossword setters repeatedly slot the same solutions into their grids. Boasting then-revolutionary machine learning techniques, “Griddy” would examine thousands of completed grids to develop a rudimentary neural network that recorded the grid fragments surrounding each solution. The GridFill 4000 would then produce fuzzy links between the intersecting words to solutions, thus training it to stitch the same solutions into successive grids in as few moves as possible. This had the added benefit of allowing setters to squeeze more repeated solutions into their grids. The Times newspaper was an early adopter of the GridFill, going on to purchase an undisclosed number of devices with each major release. (…) The Marconi GridFill 4000TM has the distinction of holding the title of Most Spurious Web-Enabled Device in PC Pro magazine’s “A-List” for over a decade, extending some years beyond the collapse of Marconi itself. It was only recently knocked off the top spot by a succession of blockchain-enabled domestic appliances.

Interesting stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. Moving on…

  1. After month, old and new mopeds broken down (10)

Answer: DECOMPOSED (i.e. “broken down”). Solution is DEC (i.e. “month”, specifically December) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and an anagram (indicated by “new”) of MOPEDS, like so: DEC-O-MPOSED.

  1. Wise, perhaps, to release one bird (4)

Answer: ERNE (i.e. “bird”). Solution is ERNIE “Wise”, one half of comedy duo Morecambe & Wise, with the I removed (indicated by “to release [Roman numeral] one”).

  1. Making public act of worship, including students (16)

Answer: DECLASSIFICATION (i.e. “making public”). Solution is DEIFICATION (i.e. “act of worship”) wrapped around or “including” CLASS (i.e. “students”), like so: DE(CLASS)IFICATION.

  1. Time perhaps upsets heartless old priest (5)

Answer: MAGUS (i.e. “old priest”). Solution is MAG (i.e. “Time”, as in Time magazine) followed by US (i.e. “upsets heartless”, i.e. the word “upsets” with all its middle letters removed).

  1. Convict at last in cell, not one charged (7)

Answer: NEUTRON (i.e. “not one charged”). Solution is T (i.e. “convict at last”, i.e. the last letter of “convict”) placed “in” NEURON (i.e. brain “cell”), like so: NEU(T)RON.

  1. How one may pay, given warning sign in race (9,4)

Answer: CHEQUERED FLAG (i.e. “sign in race”). Solution is CHEQUE (i.e. “how one may pay”) followed by RED FLAG (i.e. “warning”).

  1. Eating everything common, regularly with cream (8)

Answer: OMNIVORY (i.e. “eating everything”). Solution is OMN (i.e. “common, regularly”, i.e. every other letter of COMMON) followed by IVORY (i.e. “cream” colour).

  1. Where drinkers are mostly parking, about to drop litter (2,3)

Answer: IN PUP (i.e. “about to drop litter”). Solution is IN PUB (i.e. “where drinkers are” – not quite yet, bloody Covid, but we’re getting there) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by P (a recognised abbreviation of “parking” used on maps and signage), like so: IN-PU-P.

  1. On stopping working, cake-maker is one announcing results (9,7)

Answer: RETURNING OFFICER (i.e. “one announcing results” of an election). Solution is RE (i.e. “on” or regarding – think email replies) followed by TURNING OFF (i.e. “stopping working”) and ICER (i.e. “cake-maker”). A female colleague at work is astonishingly good at making cakes. Like, holy-smokes-good; like you don’t want to take a knife to the things because they look incredible. Makes you wonder what’s it like to be talented!

  1. Feature about pair of Poles in shipping, say (7)

Answer: TRANSIT (i.e. “shipping, say”). Solution is TRAIT (i.e. “feature”) placed “about” NS (i.e. “pair of poles” – specifically recognised abbreviations of “north” and “south” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: TRA(NS)IT.

  1. Former student ingesting one white powder (7)

Answer: ALUMINA (i.e. “white powder”). Solution is ALUMNA (i.e. “former student”) wrapped around or “ingesting” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: ALUM(I)NA.

  1. Sentence from father’s wise for a migrant (4,2,7)

Answer: BIRD OF PASSAGE (i.e. “migrant”). Solution is BIRD (i.e. slang for a prison “sentence”) followed by OF (i.e. “from”), then PA’S (i.e. “father’s”) and SAGE (i.e. “wise”).

  1. Punctual after number twelve (8)

Answer: NOONTIME (i.e. “twelve”). Solution is ON TIME (i.e. “punctual”) placed “after” NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”), like so: (NO)-ON-TIME.

  1. A cold redhead in disguise, having many faces (12)

Answer: DODECAHEDRAL (i.e. a figure “having many faces”, twelve to be exact. Fitting, given the previous solution). “In disguise” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A COLD REDHEAD.

  1. Idler putting away small drink (5)

Answer: WATER (i.e. “drink”). Solution is WASTER (i.e. “idler”) with the S removed (indicated by “putting away small” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “small”).

  1. Speak with a thug at northerly US city (11)

Answer: CHATTANOOGA (i.e. “US city”). Solution is CHAT (i.e. “speak”) followed by A, GOON (i.e. “thug”) and AT once these latter three have been reversed (indicated by “northerly” – this being a down clue), like so: CHAT-(TA-NOOG-A).

  1. After pastries, drink wine (10)

Answer: PIESPORTER (i.e. a German “wine”). Solution is PIES (i.e. “pastries”) followed by PORTER (i.e. “drink”). Chalk one to my Bradford’s here as my knowledge of wines stops at vino collapso. I don’t think I’d trust myself to order a bottle of this after a few glasses.

  1. A Spartan is to display determination (9)

Answer: PERSEVERE (i.e. “display determination”). Solution is PER (i.e. “a”, as in “three times a year”) followed by SEVERE (i.e. “spartan” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

  1. He explains old model has bad clothing (9)

Answer: EXPOSITOR (i.e. “he explains”). Solution is EX (i.e. “old” or former) followed by SIT (i.e. to “model”) once placed in or “clothed” by POOR (i.e. “bad”), like so: EX-PO(SIT)OR.

  1. Dropping ecstasy, bad place to be after driving by (7)

Answer: THROUGH (i.e. “by”). Solution is THE ROUGH (i.e. “bad place to be after driving” or teeing off in golf) with the E removed (indicated by “dropping ecstasy” – E being a street name for the drug).

  1. Object’s round – try putting spin, perhaps, on it (7)

Answer: PROTEST (i.e. to “object”). Solution is O (i.e. “round”) and TEST (i.e. “try”) with PR (i.e. “spin” or Press Release) placed “on [top]” – this being a down clue – like so: (PR)-O-TEST.

  1. Freezing cold in large vehicle (6)

Answer: ARCTIC (i.e. “freezing”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold” used on taps) placed “in” ARTIC (i.e. “large vehicle”, short for an articulated lorry), like so: AR(C)TIC.

  1. Symbolic artefact filled scripture the wrong way (5)

Answer: TOTEM (i.e. “symbolic artefact”). Solution is MET (i.e. “filled” or satisfied) followed by OT (i.e. “scripture”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible). These are then reversed (indicated by “the wrong way”), like so: TO-TEM.

  1. Back off cow or its mate (4)

Answer: BULL, i.e. a “cow’s” “mate”. Solution is BULLY (i.e. to “cow” someone) with its last letter removed or its “back off”.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1495

Another toughie this week, and, sadly, another let-down. There were some really good clues to enjoy but the whole was marred by a setter exhibiting poor awareness of how their solutions fit together in the grid, with at least two clues leading to multiple potential solutions. Either that or they were fully aware of this and decided to stick it to solvers. Not great, either way.

As ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. If your life’s ambition is to score some sweet reference books from The Times and to see your name in print, then you might want to check back later to see if any better solutions have come to light. Meanwhile, if a recent Jumbo is looking a little gappy for you then my Just For Fun page might help, providing links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Also dotted around the place are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind comments, folks. It is always interesting to hear the hot takes from other solvers once they’ve put their pens down, and, you know, it’s never bad to have one’s ego stroked! Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated (and chuck one my way while you’re at it, please. I’m getting tired of only being offered vaccination centres that are 40-60 miles away…) and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Thanks to Sue in the comments for the correction to 50d

Across clues

  1. One’s angling positively the way to make you go off fish? (4,6)

Answer: SPIN DOCTOR (i.e. “one’s angling positively”). The solution cryptically satisfies “the way to make you go off fish”, i.e. to SPIN or reverse the word “DOCTOR” to get ROT COD.

  1. Poor duck nobody’s fed meal (2,4,6)

Answer: ON ONE’S UPPERS (i.e. “poor”). Solution is O (i.e. “duck”, i.e. a zero score in cricket) followed by NONE’S (i.e. “nobody’s”) once wrapped around or “eating” SUPPER (i.e. “meal”), like so: O-NONE(SUPPER)’S.

  1. Orangeman’s outside in de Havilland, possibly, heading off for province (7)

Answer: LIVONIA (i.e. “province” on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea). Solution is ON (i.e. “Orangeman’s outside”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Orangeman”) placed “in” OLIVIA (i.e. “de Havilland, possibly” – other famous de Havillands are available) once the first letter has been removed (indicated by “heading off”), like so: LIV(ON)IA. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here. Solutions involving place names are often there to bail the setter out of a tight spot and are seldom worth the effort.

  1. Regret insult overheard that’s repeated by players? (7)

Answer: RHUBARB (i.e. “that’s repeated by players”, a reference to how the word is uttered over and over by background actors in crowd scenes. Do they still do that?) “Overheard” indicates the solution comprises a homophone of RUE (i.e. “regret”) and BARB (i.e. “insult”), like so: RHU-BARB.

  1. Producing certain young crooner, after hit (7)

Answer: LAMBING (i.e. “producing certain young”). Solution is BING Crosby (i.e. “crooner”) placed “after” LAM (i.e. “hit”), like so: LAM-BING.

  1. Old red stain linked with kiss (4)

Answer: Karl MARX (i.e. “old red”). Solution is MAR (i.e. “stain”) followed by X (i.e. “kiss”).

  1. A year to get hold of cooker, I fear (6)

Answer: PHOBIA (i.e. “fear”). Solution is PA (i.e. “a year”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Per Annum) wrapped around or “getting hold of” HOB (i.e. “cooker”) and I, like so: P(HOB-I)A.

  1. Angel’s roused chap’s ire (8)

Answer: SERAPHIC (i.e. “angel’s” to be read as “of an angel” rather than “angel has”). “Roused” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CHAP’S IRE.

  1. Asian native with corporation, I am led to believe, stepping out of line (10,3-7,3)

Answer: VIETNAMESE POT-BELLIED PIG (i.e. “Asian native with corporation” – setters love how “corporation” is an archaic word for the gut, usually a pot-belly). “Out of line” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I AM LED TO BELIEVE STEPPING. Nicely worked.

  1. Film, slow burner at first tedious, finally entrances (7)

Answer: WICKETS (i.e. “entrances” – a wicket is a small gate). Solution is ET (i.e. “film”, specifically ET: The Extra-Terrestrial) with WICK (i.e. “slow burner”) placed “at first” and followed by S (i.e. “tedious, finally”, i.e. the last letter of “tedious”), like so: WICK-(ET)-S.

  1. Slowcoach? (5,3)

Answer: BRAKE VAN, “the carriage in which the brake is worked” (Chambers). Given coaches can also be road vehicles, I guess you could also make an argument for BRAKE PAD, but I feel BRAKE VAN is the more likely solution. I hate these indeterminate kind of clues.

  1. Sweet primrose, maybe, maiden picked for Yankee (6)

Answer: MELLOW (i.e. “sweet” – both referring to the ripening of fruit). Solution is YELLOW (i.e. “primrose, maybe”) with the Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet) swapped “for” M (a recognised abbreviation of “maiden” in cricket), like so: (Y)ELLOW => (M)ELLOW.

  1. Very hard to beat, with means to pick up (6,3,5)

Answer: HAMMER AND TONGS (i.e. “very hard”). Solution is HAMMER (i.e. “beat”) followed by AND (i.e. “with”) and TONGS (i.e. “means to pick up”).

  1. Monarch not exactly welcome around French city (7,1)

Answer: CHARLES I (i.e. “monarch”). Solution is C (i.e. “not exactly”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) followed by HI (i.e. “welcome”) once wrapped “around” ARLES (i.e. “French city”), like so: C-H(ARLES)I. Solutions like CHARLES I or HENRY V will never stop being cheesy cop-outs, but I rather liked this one.

  1. Notices singular ducks abandoning river (5,3)

Answer: SMALL ADS (i.e. “notices”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”) followed by MALLARDS (i.e. “ducks”) once the R has been removed (indicated by “abandoning river” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: S-MALLADS.

  1. Boy gets given cards from everyone: it’s a team effort (3,5,2,4)

Answer: ALL HANDS ON DECK (i.e. “it’s a team effort”). Solution is SON (i.e. “boy”) placed between or “gets given” HAND and DECK – both collections of “cards” from ALL (i.e. “everyone”), like so: ALL-HAND-(SON)-DECK.

  1. Nut dip is something for salad (6)

Answer: ENDIVE (i.e. “something for salad”). Solution is EN (i.e. “nut” – in the arcane world publishing these both describe a space the width of a lowercase n) followed by DIVE (i.e. “dip”).

  1. Feel bias after moving on (8)

Answer: FEASIBLE (i.e. possible or “on”). “After moving” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FEEL BIAS.

  1. Provokes some backtracking closeting invitees (7)

Answer: IGNITES (i.e. “provokes”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “backtracking” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: CLO(SETING I)NVITEES.

  1. Roger colours poor Henry’s leg, in a manner of speaking (8,8,7)

Answer: RECEIVED STANDARD ENGLISH (i.e. “a manner of speaking”). Solution is ROGER (i.e. “received” and understood) followed by STANDARD (i.e. flag or “colours”) and an anagram (indicated by “poor”) of H’S (a recognised abbreviation of “Henry” popular with Times setters of late, made possessive) and LEG IN.

  1. Daughter is driving, bound for American bar (8)

Answer: DRAMSHOP (i.e. “American bar”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by RAMS (i.e. “is driving” – on its own it looks a little off, like it should be RAMMING or something, but reads better in conjunction with “daughter”) and HOP (i.e. “bound” or leap).

  1. Holly, maybe, had always to be cut for religious statue (6)

Answer: BUDDHA (i.e. “religious statue”). Solution is BUDDY “Holly” and HAD both or “always” with their last letters removed (indicated by “to be cut”), like so: BUDD-HA. “Always” is an indicator I’d happily drag into the Recycle Bin.

  1. Bush on top of a ridge initially replanted (4)

Answer: AFRO (i.e. “bush on top”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “replanted”) of OF A and R (i.e. “ridge initially”, i.e. the first letter of “ridge”).

  1. Element of a character required by Greeks in a game recalled (7)

Answer: URANIUM (i.e. “element”). Solution is MU (i.e. “character required by Greeks” – mu is the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet. “Required”, though? Authors of Hellenic lipograms, rise up!) followed by IN A and RU (i.e. “game”, specifically Rugby Union) all reversed or “recalled”, like so: UR-A-NI-UM.

  1. Two ways to publicise remote region (7)

Answer: OUTPOST (i.e. “remote region”). Solution, when written as OUT and POST, satisfies “two ways to publicise” something.

  1. Maybe miss knowledge on Brussels, requiring one article (7)

Answer: EUGENIA (i.e. “maybe miss”, basically a girl’s name, though not exactly a top 10 entry. I guess this was another tricky corner for the setter to fill after their Marconi GridFill 4000TM crashed). Solution is EU GEN (i.e. “knowledge on Brussels”, the heart of the European Union) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the).

  1. Sound of bell outside oven, and separate cooking utensil (8,4)

Answer: TOASTING FORK (i.e. “cooking utensil”). Solution is TING (i.e. “sound of bell”) placed “outside” of OAST (an “oven” used to dry hops) and followed by FORK (i.e. to “separate”), like so: T(OAST)ING-FORK.

  1. With time, loosens, we understand, this fixed screw? (4,6)

Answer: WAGE FREEZE (i.e. “fixed screw” – the riddly question mark indicates we’re not exactly batting on an even wicket here. “Screw”, it transpires, is a slang word for WAGE or salary, though from where I couldn’t say). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) followed by AGE (i.e. “time”) and a homophone (indicated by “we understand”) of FREES (i.e. “loosens”).

Down clues

  1. Only around Nevada you will find crop showing serious promise (6,3)

Answer: SOLEMN VOW (i.e. “serious promise”). Solution is SOLE (i.e. “only”) followed by NV (US state abbreviation of “Nevada”) “around” which is placed MOW (i.e. to “crop”), like so: SOLE-M(NV)OW.

  1. Commandeer ITV broadcast, one of four from “Downton Abbey” (8,5)

Answer: INVERTED COMMA (i.e. one of four from “Downton Abbey”, referring to the speech marks surrounding “Downton Abbey”). “Broadcast” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of COMMANDEER ITV.

  1. Minimal knock with racket? (4)

Answer: DINK. Hooooo boy. Take your pick, here, folks. You’ve got DING, DINK or DINT: all three can be said to be “minimal knocks”, all three contain DIN (i.e. “racket”), and all you have to work with is D_N_. For what it’s worth, I’m plumping for DINK on the premise of K being a “minimal knock”, i.e. the word “knock” with most of its letters removed, but, frankly, that’s as weak as a tenth-pint piss. If someone swings by with a better solution then I’ll gladly update the post. Finally:

Dear setter,
Get knotted.
Cheerfully yours, LP.

  1. Rabbit and horse end up in wrong part of NZ (7,7)

Answer: CHATHAM ISLANDS (i.e. “part of NZ”. Interestingly, Chatham Islands has its own time zone, set 45 minutes ahead of New Zealand time because reasons). Solution is CHAT (i.e. “rabbit”) followed by H (i.e. “horse” – both street names for heroin) and LAND (i.e. “end up”) once placed “in” AMISS (i.e. “wrong”), like so: CHAT-H-AMIS(LAND)S.

  1. Hospital leaves time for us (3)

Answer: OUR (i.e. “for us”). Solution is HOUR (i.e. “time”) with the H removed (indicated by “hospital leaves” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “hospital” used on maps and stuff).

  1. Lack of response from patient boatbuilder (4)

Answer: NOAH (i.e. “boatbuilder” in The Bible). When written as NO AH the solution also satisfies “lack of response from patient”, presumably not one seeing a proctologist.

  1. For one, count palladium, ultimately, along with others (5,5)

Answer: NOBLE METAL (i.e. “for one … palladium”. A noble metal is one not readily affected by exposure to air. Gold, silver and platinum are others in the group). Solution is NOBLE (i.e. “for one, count” – other nobs are available) followed by M (i.e. “palladium, ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “palladium”) and ET AL (i.e. “along with others”). Nicely worked.

  1. One turns up in Clonmel – Ballyshannon, Cork and Naas each have one (8)

Answer: SYLLABLE (i.e. “Cork and Naas each have one”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “turns up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: CLONM(EL BALLYS)HANNON. Blimey, I wonder how long this clue took to write!

  1. He carries permit in to indulge publisher (11)

Answer: PAMPHLETEER (i.e. “publisher”). Solution is HE wrapped around or “carrying” LET (i.e. “permit”). These are then placed “in” PAMPER (i.e. “to indulge”), like so: PAMP(H(LET)E)ER.

  1. Is visiting English constable, old friend of bishop (9)

Answer: EPISCOPAL (i.e. “of bishop”). Solution is IS placed in or “visiting” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and PC (i.e. police “constable”), which are then followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and PAL (i.e. “friend”), like so: E-P(IS)C-O-PAL.

  1. What’s heaved from sling, tho’ oddly staying put (4)

Answer: SIGH (i.e. “what’s heaved”). “Oddly staying put” indicates the solution is derived from the odd letters of SLING THO.

  1. Sure a GP’s mistaken a pulse (5,3)

Answer: SUGAR PEA (i.e. “pulse”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “mistaken”) of SURE A GP followed by A, like so: SUGARPE-A.

  1. Group of police officers perhaps finding intruder (8)

Answer: BUSYBODY (i.e. a meddler in someone’s affairs or “intruder”). When written as BUSY BODY the solution also satisfies “group of police officers perhaps” – BUSY being a slang word for the rozzers, and BODY being a group of people.

  1. Year in France gone into by Times supplement (6)

Answer: ANNEXE (i.e. “supplement”). Solution is ANNEE (i.e. “year in France”, i.e. the French for “year”) wrapped around or “gone into by” X (i.e. “times”, as in the multiplication symbol – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: ANNE(X)E.

  1. Sparing no detail in conclusion (2,6)

Answer: AT LENGTH. Solution satisfies “sparing no detail” and “conclusion”, i.e. at the extent or length of something.

  1. As Golf Week’s coming round chap’s the one to beat! (8)

Answer: EGGWHISK (i.e. “one to beat”). Solution is EG (i.e. “as”, i.e. for example) followed by G (i.e. “golf” in the phonetic alphabet) and WK (a recognised abbreviation of “week”) once placed “round” HIS (i.e. “chap’s”), like so: EG-G-W(HIS)K.

  1. Food said to raise just a grin instead of a smile? (8,6)

Answer: CHESHIRE CHEESE (i.e. “food”). Clue plays on the Cheshire Cat from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which would disappear leaving its grin behind, and how photographers often ask their subjects to say CHEESE when taking a picture. You get the idea. Reminds me of the tragic story of a wedding photographer who was accidentally crushed under a ton of cheese. To be fair, the bride and groom did try to warn him…

  1. MC with Motown track and another that’s local (8)

Answer: HOSTELRY (i.e. “local” or pub). Solution is HOST (i.e. “MC”, short for Master of Ceremonies) followed by EL (i.e. “Motown track” – in the US an “el” is apparently an informal word for an elevated railroad) and RY (i.e. “another [track]”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a railway).

  1. Drug for treating the overweight – or lean – with a temperature (8)

Answer: ORLISTAT (i.e. “drug for treating the overweight”). Solution is OR followed by LIST (i.e. “lean”), then A and T (a recognised abbreviation of “temperature”). One gotten from the wordplay and a shufti in my Chambers.

  1. Security feature’s curiously eccentric feel (8,5)

Answer: ELECTRIC FENCE (i.e. “security feature”). “Curiously” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ECCENTRIC FEEL.

  1. Was wrong to pursue most of intelligence gathered (8)

Answer: INFERRED (i.e. “gathered”). Solution was ERRED (i.e. “was wrong”) placed after or “pursuing” INFO (i.e. “intelligence”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “most of”), like so: INF-ERRED.

  1. Erotic film? It’s usually blue in nature (4-2-1-4)

Answer: LOVE-IN-A-MIST (a flower that is “usually blue in nature”). Plays on MIST being a film of water, and erotic being of LOVE. You get the idea. Nicely done.

  1. Youth up a long time catching badger (6)

Answer: NONAGE (i.e. “youth”). Solution is EON (i.e. “a long time”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “catching” NAG (i.e. to “badger”), like so: NO(NAG)E.

  1. Writers switch positions after I retire (7,3)

Answer: PENSION OFF (i.e. “retire”). Solution is PENS (i.e. “writers”) followed by ON and OFF (i.e. “switch positions” once placed “after” I, like so: PENS-I-ON-OFF.

  1. Provide material to chew on: stuff accompanying a film? (9)

Answer: DOCUDRAMA (i.e. “film”). Solution is DO (i.e. “provide”) followed by CUD (i.e. “material to chew on”) then RAM (i.e. to “stuff”) and A.

  1. After throwing a wobbly, do reverse (4,4)

Answer: BODY BLOW (i.e. “reverse” or a setback – weak, but I guess it passes). “After throwing a…” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WOBBLY DO.

  1. Chose goal that’s involved years of training? (6,3)

Answer: SCHOOL AGE (i.e. “years of training”). “That’s involved” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CHOSE GOAL.

  1. Go back on first of March, as normal? One might (8)

Answer: WELSHMAN. Clue and solution play on St David’s Day being on the “first of March” every year, and St David being the patron saint of Wales. Solution is WELSH (i.e. to renege or “go back on”) followed by MAN (i.e. “first of March, as normal”, i.e. the first letters of “March”, “as” and “normal”).

  1. Kick indeed falling short (4)

Answer: PUNT (i.e. a “kick” in some ball games). That’s all I got, I’m afraid, so watch out. The remainder of the clue suggests the solution is another word or phrase with its last letter(s) removed, e.g. something like PUNTO, but I’m drawing a blank. Once again, if some kind soul furnishes me with a good solution then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: A big thank you to Sue in the comments for correcting this one. I had the right idea, but the wrong word. The solution is QUIT (i.e. to “kick” a habit, say), which is QUITE (i.e. “indeed”) with its final letter removed (indicated by “falling short”). Thanks, Sue! – LP]

  1. Lead kills vermin heading for the roof? (4)

Answer: STAR (i.e. “lead” in a movie, for example). Solution is RATS (i.e. “kills vermin” – RAT can be a verb as well as a noun) reversed (indicated by “heading for the roof” – this being a down clue).

  1. Setter’s answer – something fishy (4)

Answer: AGAR (i.e. a jelly or “setter” that cultivates bacteria, among other uses). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”) and GAR (i.e. “something fishy”. A gar is a kind of fish that’s been around for a loooooooong time).

  1. Drink brought up at the end of additional half-hour’s play? (3)

Answer: TEA (i.e. “drink”). The remainder of the clue plays on the initials AET, or After Extra Time (i.e. “at the end of additional half-hour’s play” in football) reversed (indicated by “brought up” – this being a down clue).

After a spot of nostalgia a couple of weeks ago courtesy of Krokus’s Metal RendezVous album, and after an utter horror show of a week at work, I thought I’d regress to my childhood once more for this week’s musical accompaniment. Those of you old enough and willing enough to remember the early 1980s may recall a musical group briefly doing the rounds playing classical music while wearing period costume and featureless metal masks. The imagery stuck with me over the years, along with one particular tune of theirs (see below), but it was only recently that I rediscovered them. Today’s music choice has therefore been Rondò Veneziano, specifically their albums Scaramucce, Odissea Veneziana (the title track of which was used by the BBC as its horse racing theme tune back in the day) and the eponymous Rondò Veneziano. Perfect background music after a shitty week. Enjoy! – LP