Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1433

Not so good this week, for me, thanks mainly to the setter playing a little too loose with the clues. We’ve certainly seen worse, mind. As ever, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful.

Some me-time before we begin: you can find a bunch of previous solutions on my Just For Fun page, some book reviews here (still not reading, work still mental) and a story I did a while ago here. Go show them some love.

See you in a few days. Keep well, and I hope you are getting through this lockdown as best you can.


Across clues

1. Calculates total, coming round to disagreeing (2,4)

Answer: AT ODDS (i.e. “disagreeing”). Solution is ADDS (i.e. “calculates total”) wrapped “round” TO, like so: A(TO)DDS.

5. Complex character is up for review by reference book (7)

Answer: OEDIPUS (i.e. “complex character”, referring to the Oedipus complex which sees people have the hots for their mum and bear ill-will toward their father). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “for review”) of IS UP placed after or “by” OED (i.e. “reference book”, specifically the Oxford English Dictionary), like so: OED-IPUS.

9. Rock tune, say, keeping daughter rocking (8)

Answer: UNSTEADY (i.e. “rocking”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rock”) of TUNE, SAY which is wrapped around D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”), like so: UNSTEA(D)Y.

13. Who were the two in the green cornfield, Will? (One not a large donkey!) (2,3,1,5,3,3,4)

Answer: IT WAS A LOVER AND HIS LASS, a line from a song in “Will” Shakespeare’s As You Like It. With a hey and a ho and a hey nonino; That o’er the “green cornfield” did pass. And so on. I guess the “large donkey” refers to L-ASS (L being a recognised abbreviation of “large”), but beyond that I don’t really care enough for Shakespeare to dig any deeper. Apologies to any Bard groupies out there.

14. Behind, race along, protected by this? (4,4)

Answer: SEAT BELT (i.e. “protected by this”, the clue suggesting we’re in a car race). Solution is SEAT (i.e. “behind”, i.e. the seat of one’s pants) followed by BELT (i.e. “race along”).

15. The speck of land to amaze the world (7)

Answer: ROCKALL, an uninhabitable islet out in the North Atlantic Ocean (i.e. “speck of land”). Solution is ROCK (i.e. “to amaze”) followed by ALL (i.e. “the world”). The perfect place from which to launch my plans for world domination, then.

16. Almost get up to peer (6)

Answer: ARISTO (i.e. “peer”, an abbreviated form of aristocrat). Solution is ARISE (i.e. “get up”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and followed by TO, like so: ARIS-TO.

17. Cleans up with win here (10)

Answer: SWEEPSTAKE, a form of gambling one can “win”. Clue riffs on how a SWEEP “cleans up”. You get the idea.

20. At start of month, advice about offering from restaurant range (8,4)

Answer: MARITIME ALPS (i.e. “range”, being the southern bit of the Alps). Solution is MAR I (i.e. “start of month”, i.e. March 1st) followed by TIPS (i.e. “advice”) once it has been wrapped “about” MEAL (i.e. “offering from restaurant”), like so: MAR-I-TI(MEAL)PS.

23. Heartless Scotsman playing, a seaside feature (4)

Answer: PIER (i.e. “seaside feature”). Solution is PIPER (i.e. “Scotsman playing”) with the middle letter removed (indicated by “heartless”).

24. Greedyguts extremely glad about the chap waiting on us? (8)

Answer: GOURMAND (i.e. “greedyguts”). Solution is G and D (i.e. “extremely glad”, i.e. the first and last letters of “glad”) wrapped “about” OUR MAN (i.e. “chap waiting on us”), like so: G(OUR-MAN)D.

26. Was a Provost in Cambridge giving orders? (8)

Answer: RANKINGS (i.e. “orders”). When read as RAN KINGS the solution also satisfies “was a Provost in Cambridge”, a provost being someone running things, and Kings being a college at Cambridge University. Took a while to twig this, but I like it.

29. Reason for acquittal? The cynical moving to secure it (12)

Answer: TECHNICALITY (i.e. “reason for acquittal”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “moving”) of THE CYNICAL wrapped around or “securing” IT, like so: TECHNICAL(IT)Y. Well played.

30. Old writer intended to be unbiased (4-6)

Answer: OPEN-MINDED (i.e. “unbiased”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by PEN (i.e. “writer”) and MINDED (i.e. “intended”).

32. Imaginary benefits of luxury items? (5,5)

Answer: FANCY GOODS (i.e. “luxury items”). Solution is FANCY (i.e. “imaginary”) followed by GOODS (i.e. “benefits”).

34. Counterpart of electric blue? (8,4)

Answer: SHOCKING PINK. Clue plays on how “electricity” can be SHOCKING and how “blue” and PINK are “counterparts” on a snooker table, balls valued at 5 and 6 points respectively. Yep. That’s definitely it. Definitely snooker. Nothing here about gender stereotypes, internet, move along please. (Looks left) (Looks right) Phew, that was a close one, folks. Do not feed the zealots.

36. Uniform for boys’ clubs perhaps – observe back first (4,4)

Answer: ETON SUIT (i.e. “uniform for boys’ clubs”, in case you’d forgotten the elitism that courses through each of these puzzles). Solution is SUIT (i.e. “clubs, perhaps”, referring to one of the suits in a pack of playing cards) with NOTE (i.e. “observe”) reversed (indicated by “back”) and placed “first”, like so: ETON-SUIT.

38. Heraldic motto, one accepted by a king (8)

Answer: ARMORIAL (i.e. “heraldic”). Solution is MORAL (i.e. “motto” – to be filed under “yeah, kinda“) wrapped around or “accepting” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and then placed after or “by” A and R (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of Rex, Latin for “king”), like so: A-R-MOR(I)AL.

39. With no hesitation rejected what’s a tiny bit elementary (4)

Answer: MUON, a subatomic particle (i.e. “a tiny bit elementary” – atoms being the smallest particle of an “element”). Solution is NO and UM (i.e. “hesitation”) both reversed (indicated by “rejected”), like so: MU-ON.

41. Out of doors show resolute mien wavering (3,2,7)

Answer: SON ET LUMIERE (i.e. “out of doors show” – think images projected on buildings or landmarks). “Wavering” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RESOLUTE MIEN. I only got this as it also featured in a book of crosswords I’d picked up recently to fill a spare five minutes. I’ll probably see it half a dozen times throughout the week now.

43. A short Aussie bloke is caustic (10)

Answer: ASTRINGENT (i.e. “caustic”). Solution is A and STRINE (i.e. “Aussie”, over to my Chambers for this one: “a jocular name given to Australian English”. Okay, if you say so…) with its last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and then followed by GENT (i.e. “bloke”), like so: A-STRIN-GENT.

44. Mush! – but not moving (6)

Answer: STATIC. Solution satisfies “mush”, referring to white noise you used to get on TVs before things got digital – another one for the “yeah, kinda” file, I reckon – and “not moving”.

46. A run forward in wood left one shaken (7)

Answer: TIMBREL, a kind of tambourine (i.e. “one shaken”). Solution is TIMBER (i.e. “wood”) with the R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in several ball games) brought “forward” a notch, and then followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”), like so: TIMBRE-L.

48. These days I sleep rough outside, under them? (8)

Answer: PLEIADES, stars located in the constellation of Taurus (i.e. “sleep rough outside under them”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rough”) of I SLEEP wrapped around or “outside of” AD (i.e. “these days”, i.e. Anno Domini), like so: PLEI(AD)ES. The wordplay was pretty obvious but took a quick Google to get the right spelling, not to mention what exactly the clue was referring to!

50. Filling belt, not easy at first if expanded (5,7,3,6)

Answer: BACON LETTUCE AND TOMATO (i.e. “[sandwich] filling”). Solution is BELT with the E removed (indicated by “not easy at first”, i.e. the first letter of “easy”). The remainder, BLT, is an abbreviation which when “expanded” gets you the solution.

51. Some religious worries overwhelming rector finally (8)

Answer: BROTHERS (i.e. “some religious”). Solution is BOTHERS (i.e. “worries”) wrapped around or “overwhelming” R (i.e. “rector finally”, i.e. the last letter of “rector”), like so: B(R)OTHERS.

52. Spiritual authority has no solid ground, we hear (4,3)

Answer: HOLY SEE (i.e. “spiritual authority”). “We hear” indicates homophone. When written as HOLY SEA the solution also satisfies “has no solid ground”, inferring a seabed full of holes.

53. Goodness less than nothing for bloke (6)

Answer: GEEZER (i.e. “bloke”). Solution is GEE (i.e. “goodness”, both exclamations) followed by ZERO (i.e. “nothing”) with the last letter removed (indicated cheekily by “less than”), like so: GEE-ZER.

Down clues

2. Sudden pain not good for one stranded (5)

Answer: TWINE (i.e. “one stranded”, referring to strands of a rope). Solution is TWINGE (i.e. “sudden pain”) with the G removed (indicated by “not good”, G being a recognised abbreviation of “good”).

3. Sensible, where the fox goes to sleep? (4-2-5)

Answer: DOWN-TO-EARTH. Solution satisfies “sensible” and “where the fox goes to sleep”.

4. Such an account makes one nervous? (8)

Answer: SUSPENSE (i.e. type of “account”). Solution also satisfies “makes one nervous”.

5. Anything to protect wings of little nestling (5)

Answer: OWLET, a young owl (i.e. “little nestling”). Solution is OWT (i.e. “anything”) wrapped around or “protecting” LE (i.e. “wings of little”, i.e. the first and last letters of “little”), like so: OW(LE)T.

6. Welshman recited poetry of all kinds (7)

Answer: DIVERSE (i.e. “of all kinds”). Solution is DI (i.e. “Welshman recited”, i.e. a homophone of DAI) followed by VERSE (i.e. “poetry”).

7. Separate, if not entirely firm (4,7)

Answer: PART COMPANY (i.e. “separate”). Solution is PART (i.e. “not entirely”) followed by COMPANY (i.e. “firm”).

8. From clinic, volunteers get man sacked (5)

Answer: SANTA (i.e. “man sacked”, as in that jolly fellow who visited every house toward the end of 2019 leaving presents for everyone to find. See, conspiracy nuts, Covid-19 was Santa’s fault all along. It had nothing to do with 5G masts, you utter, utter pillocks.) Solution is SAN (i.e. “clinic”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “sanatorium”) followed by TA (i.e. “volunteers”, specifically the Territorial Army).

9. Pad out raised armrest (9)

Answer: UPHOLSTER (i.e. “pad out”). Solution is UP (i.e. “raised”) followed by HOLSTER (i.e. “armrest” – a bit of a stretch, another for the “yeah, kinda” file).

10. Russian band covers area (5)

Answer: SASHA (i.e. a “Russian” forename). Solution is SASH (i.e. “band [of fabric]”) followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”).

11. Old people receive a note to get check-up (11)

Answer: EXAMINATION (i.e. “check-up”). Solution is EX (i.e. “old”) and NATION (i.e. “people”) wrapped around or “receiving” A and MI (i.e. “note” in the do-ray-mi style), like so: EX-(A-MI)-NATION.

12. Sat around to receive equipment, missing one item for office (7)

Answer: DESKTOP (i.e. “item for office”). Solution is POSED (i.e. “sat”) which is reversed (indicated by “around”) and then wrapped around or “receiving” KIT (i.e. “equipment”) once its I has been removed (indicated by “missing [Roman numeral] one”), like so: DES(KT)OP.

18. Fish: I help, turning and cutting a little piece (9)

Answer: WHITEBAIT (i.e. “fish”). Solution is I and ABET (i.e. “help”), which is reversed (indicated by “turning”). These are then placed in or “cutting” WHIT (i.e. “a little piece”, literally the smallest particle imaginable), like so: WH(I-TEBA)IT.

19. A case, half the same fruit (7)

Answer: AVOCADO (i.e. “fruit”). Setter wins. I’ve not got a hook on this, so watch out. If I have a brainwave overnight or if some kind soul stops by with the answer then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Nailed this one, finally. The solution is A followed by VOCATIVE (i.e. “case” – over to Chambers: “the case of a word when a person or thing is addressed”) chopped in “half” and followed by DO (a recognised abbreviation of “ditto”), like so: A-VOCA-DO. Chalk one to my Bradfords for the “case” bit. – LP]

21. Broadcaster ignoring us spoke about forty-five minutes? (5,4)

Answer: RADIO FOUR (i.e. “broadcaster”). Solution is RADIUS (i.e. “spoke” of a wheel) with the US removed or “ignored”, then followed by OF (i.e. “about”) and OUR (i.e. “forty-five minutes”, cunningly the last three-quarters of an HOUR), like so: RADI-OF-OUR.

22. Greek character buried in second tomb (8)

Answer: MONUMENT (i.e. “tomb”). Solution is NU (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet) placed or “buried in” MOMENT (i.e. a “second”), like so: MO(NU)MENT.

25. Put back in control over country (9)

Answer: REINSTATE (i.e. “put back in”). Solution is REIN (i.e. “control”) placed ahead or “over” – this being a down clue – STATE (i.e. “country”).

27. One naïve politician that’s heard out hunting (9)

Answer: GREENHORN (i.e. “one naïve”). Solution is GREEN (i.e. “politician”) followed by HORN (i.e. “that’s heard out hunting”).

28. Can opener call with advantage? (4-4)

Answer: RING-PULL (i.e. “can opener”). Solution is RING (i.e. “call”) followed by PULL (i.e. “advantage”).

31. Mystic theologian the rack tortured (7)

Answer: Meister ECKHART (i.e. “mystic theologian” – yeah, me neither). “Tortured” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THE RACK.

33. Join one group of workers up in state (11)

Answer: CONNECTICUT (i.e. “[US] state”). Solution is CONNECT (i.e. “connect”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and TUC (i.e. “group of workers”, being the Trades Union Congress) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: CONNECT-I-CUT.

34. Regular disorder in city slammer (11)

Answer: SYMMETRICAL (i.e. “regular”). “Disorder” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CITY SLAMMER. Nicely done.

35. Little dog beginning to examine stone, say, in fruit (11)

Answer: POMEGRANATE (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is POM (i.e. “little dog”, specifically a Pomeranian) followed by E (i.e. “beginning to examine”, i.e. the first letter of “examine”) and GRANATE (i.e. a homophone – indicated by “say” – of GRANITE, i.e. “stone”).

37. Femme fatale sovereign arrests time after time (9)

Answer: TEMPTRESS (i.e. “femme fatale”). Solution is EMPRESS (i.e. “sovereign”) wrapped around or “arresting” T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and then placed “after” T (ditto), like so: T-EMP(T)RESS.

40. Pound grand for penning one criminal without end (8)

Answer: LIFELONG (i.e. “without end” – I don’t agree with the setter on this one. Lifelong is not the same as endless, given that its predicated on the length of someone or something’s lifespan. That’s too many fouls, setter. (Points to all the “yeah, kinda” clues one by one.) (Wafts yellow card.)) Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of a “pound” of weight) and G (a recognised abbreviation of “grand”) wrapped around or “penning” I (i.e “[Roman numeral] one”) and FELON (i.e. “criminal”), like so: L-(I-FELON)-G.

42. Be stopping spin expert, heading off for Number Ten in a year (7)

Answer: OCTOBER (i.e. “Number Ten in a year”, referring to the tenth month of a calendar year). Solution is BE placed in or “stopping” DOCTOR (i.e. “spin expert”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “heading off”), like so: OCTO(BE)R. A clue that scans rather well.

43. Very attentive king, visiting too briefly (3,4)

Answer: ALL EARS (i.e. “very attentive”). Solution is LEAR (i.e. “king”, referring to Shakespeare’s play) placed in or “visiting” ALSO (i.e. “too”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: AL(LEAR)S.

45. Happy to ignore good books for short story (5)

Answer: CONTE (i.e. “short story”). Solution is CONTENT (i.e. “happy”) with the final NT removed (indicated by “ignore good books”, NT being the New Testament of the Bible).

47. Equal contest that’s ready to ignite (5)

Answer: MATCH. Solution satisfies “equal” and “that’s ready to ignite”.

48. Minister to go quietly over brief at intervals (5)

Answer: PADRE (i.e. “minister”). Solution is PAD (i.e. “to go quietly”) which is followed by or placed “over” – this being a down clue – RE (i.e. “brief at intervals”, i.e. every other letter of the word BRIEF), like so: PAD-RE.

49. Be worn out before swallowing possibly lethal quantity (5)

Answer: ERODE (i.e. “be worn our” – wouldn’t this be “eroded”? (Feels for second yellow…)). Solution is ERE (i.e. poetic form of “before”) wrapped around or “swallowing” OD (i.e. “possibly lethal quantity”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of an “overdose”), like so: ER(OD)E.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1432

A pretty good puzzle this week, I thought, despite a red-card offence committed by the setter. You can find my completed solution below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

Some housekeeping before we begin, as ever. My Just For Fun page has links to solutions for the last eighty-odd Times Jumbo Cryptic puzzles, which you might find useful. I’ve also got some other stuff knocking about the place in the shape of a bunch of book reviews and the odd story. Once I’ve properly broken this shit run of 16-hour workdays, I hope to get back to some reading again!

Anyway, that’s enough of my problems. I hope you are all trucking on as well as you can out there. Till next time, stay safe. I’m off to scoff a stinking-hot Bolognese for supper.


With thanks to Andrew in the comments for the correction to 24a

Across clues

1. Opportunity to alter putting clubs for golf (6)

Answer: CHANCE (i.e. “opportunity”). Solution is CHANGE (i.e. “to alter”) with the G (“golf” in the phonetic alphabet) replaced with C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” in card games), like so: CHAN(G)E => CHAN(C)E.

4. Shorten and reduce, holding one part of speech back (10)

Answer: ABBREVIATE (i.e. “shorten”). Solution is ABATE (i.e. “reduce”) wrapped around or “holding” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and VERB (i.e. “part of speech”) once they have both been reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: AB(BREV-I)ATE.

10. Pressure to mount gay festival? (5)

Answer: PRIDE (i.e. “gay festival”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”) followed by RIDE (i.e. “to mount”).

14. Unfashionable clothing worn by queen – coat, perhaps (9)

Answer: OUTERWEAR (i.e. “coat, perhaps”). Solution is OUT (i.e. “unfashionable”) and WEAR (i.e. “clothing”) wrapped around or “worn by” ER (i.e. “queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina), like so: OUT-(ER)-WEAR.

15. What could make teen go wild with Gran, pa and I? (10,3)

Answer: GENERATION GAP. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wild”) of TEEN GO, GRAN, PA and I. The clue riffs on the differences of opinion and ideals between each generation, the so-called generation gap. Nicely played.

16. Division of FBI agents in position (7)

Answer: SEGMENT (i.e. “division”). Solution is G-MEN (i.e. “FBI agents”) placed “in” SET (i.e. “position”), like so: SE(G-MEN)T.

17. Dithering about nothing, is turning and twisting (7)

Answer: TORSION (i.e. “twisting”). Solution is TORN (i.e. “dithering”) placed around O (i.e. “nothing”) and IS once they’ve both been reversed (indicated by “turning”), like so: TOR(SI-O)N.

18. Oil many misused in maintenance (7)

Answer: ALIMONY (i.e. “maintenance”). “Misused” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OIL MANY.

19. Note father drive round isle in Lesbos to shock society? (6,3,9)

Answer: EPATER LES BOURGEOIS – over to my Oxford for this one: “…shock people who have attitudes or views perceived and conventional or complacent”, i.e. “to shock society”. Solution is E (i.e. “[musical] note”) followed by PATER (i.e. “father”) – URGE (i.e. “drive”), O (i.e. “round”) and I (a recognised abbreviation of “isle”) are then placed in LESBOS, like so: E-PATER-LESBO(URGE-O-I)S. Flippin’ eck!

21. Metal necklace, not entirely light (4)

Answer: TORC (i.e. “metal necklace”). Solution is TORCH (i.e. “light”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “not entirely”).

24. Chord one’s found in jazz? (5)

Answer: THIRD (i.e. “chord”). The “one’s found in jazz” seems to relate to jazz chords, but I’m far from the expert on music needed to expand further on this one. Seriously, I took a look and I may as well have been reading a different language.
[EDIT: I’m changing the answer for this to TRIAD following Andrew’s kind input in the comments. A TRIAD is a “chord” of three notes; TRAD is a form of “jazz”, put “[Roman numeral] one” into TRAD, like so: TR(I)AD. See, I told you I was no expert! Thanks, Andrew! – LP]

26. Bother to supply water – that takes time where there’s gallons (8)

Answer: IRRITATE (i.e. “bother”). Solution is IRRIGATE (i.e. “to supply water”) with the T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) being replaced by G (a recognised abbreviation of “gallons”), like so: IRRI(G)ATE => IRRI(T)ATE.

27. Dangerous fairy, mostly very bad (8)

Answer: PERILOUS (i.e. “dangerous”). Solution is PERI (i.e. “fairy” from Persian mythology) followed by LOUSY (i.e. “very bad”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: PERI-LOUS.

29. Press Association’s to act as informant about some current growth in South America (6,5)

Answer: PAMPAS GRASS (i.e. “growth in South America”). Solution is PA’S (a recognised abbreviation of “Press Association”, along with ‘s – a contraction of “is”) and GRASS (i.e. “to act as informant”) wrapped “about” AMP (i.e. “some current”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of ampere) like so: P(AMP)A’S-GRASS.

30. Like financial modelling worked out core income with time (11)

Answer: ECONOMETRIC (i.e. “like financial modelling”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “worked out”) of CORE INCOME and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

32. All too graphic, young mink caught what’s in chicken’s pen? (7,4)

Answer: KITCHEN SINK (i.e. “all too graphic” – referring to films etc that focus on banal or sordid real-life situations). Solution is KIT (i.e. “young mink”) and C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games) followed by HEN’S INK (i.e. “what’s in chicken’s pen”).

35. See badly disliked people returning after revolutionary party fare (6,5)

Answer: CHEESE STRAW (i.e. “party fare”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “badly”) of SEE, then WARTS (i.e. slang for “disliked people”) reversed (indicated by “returning”). These are then both placed “after” CHE Guevara (i.e. “revolutionary”), like so: CHE-ESE-STRAW.

37. How to keep wild goose in pen? (8)

Answer: HOOSEGOW (i.e. “pen”, i.e. a US slang term for a prison). Solution is HOW wrapped around or “keeping” an anagram (indicated by “wild”) of GOOSE, like so: H(OOSEG)OW.

39. English National Opera gets by over interval (8)

Answer: SEMITONE (i.e. a kind of “interval” in musical lingo). Solution is ENO (i.e. “English National Opera”) and TIMES (i.e. “[multiply] by”) both reversed (indicated by “over”), like so: SEMIT-ONE.

40. Monster public protest before noon (5)

Answer: DEMON (i.e. “monster”). Solution is DEMO (i.e. “public protest”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “noon”).

43. Seaweed backed as vital component of diet (4)

Answer: IRON (i.e. “vital component of diet”). Solution is RONI (i.e. “seaweed” – a new one on me, but it’s there in the dictionary) reversed (indicated by “backed”).

44. Dull prior to time guarding top commander in restricted zone (10,8)

Answer: PEDESTRIAN PRECINCT (i.e. “restricted zone” – basically a pedestrianised street). Solution is PEDESTRIAN (i.e. “dull”) followed by PRE (i.e. “prior to”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) wrapped around or “guarding”) C-IN-C (i.e. “top commander”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “commander-in-chief”), like so: PEDESTRIAN-PRE-(C-IN-C)-T.

47. Tall sedge of Pennsylvania pear genus (7)

Answer: PAPYRUS (i.e. “tall sedge”). Solution is PA (a recognised abbreviation of the US state “Pennsylvania”) followed by PYRUS (i.e. “pear genus” – another new one on me – quite the botanical adventure we’re on this week!).

48. Order of butterfly, new discovery initially (7)

Answer: COMMAND (i.e. “order”). Solution is COMMA (i.e. a kind of “butterfly”) followed by N and D (i.e. “new discovery initially”, i.e. the first letters of “new” and “discovery”).

50. Hardy councillor eclipses minor (7)

Answer: COLLIER (i.e. “minor” – no, setter, you’re not getting away with this one. “Minor” is not the same as a “miner”, not without some kind of homophone indicator at least. And don’t try to blame this on a typo either, as the E key is a fair old distance away from the O. To the setter sinbin with you…) Solution is OLLIE (i.e. “Hardy”, specifically Oliver Hardy, one half of Laurel & Hardy) placed in or “eclipsed by” CR (a recognised abbreviation of “councillor”), like so: C(OLLIE)R.

51. Too passionate in general, mostly about European proposal (13)

Answer: OVEREMOTIONAL (i.e. “too passionate”). Solution is OVERALL (i.e. “in general”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder wrapped “about” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and MOTION (i.e. “proposal”), like so: OVER(E-MOTION)AL.

52. Small step initially taken in moon EVA which holds us all (5-4)

Answer: SPACE-TIME (i.e. “which holds us all”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by PACE (i.e. “step”), then T, I, M and E (i.e. “initially taken in moon EVA”, i.e. the initial letters of Taken In Moon EVA).

53. Found in tel, Egyptian poem (5)

Answer: ELEGY (i.e. “poem”). “Found in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: T(EL EGY)PTIAN. What a weird clue!

54. Treeware material perhaps re-distributed as download (10)

Answer: SANDALWOOD (i.e. “treeware material perhaps” – a riddly reference to how sandals are “worn”). “Re-distributed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AS DOWNLOAD.

55. Saint accommodated in particular part of church (6)

Answer: VESTRY (i.e. “part of church”). Solution is ST (a recognised abbreviation of “saint”) placed or “accommodated in” VERY (i.e. “particular”), like so: VE(ST)RY.

Down clues

1. Carbon oars fit within another part of ship (5,4)

Answer: CROWS NEST (i.e. “part of ship”). Solution is C (chemical symbol of “carbon”) followed by ROWS (i.e. “oars”) and NEST (i.e. “fit within another”).

2. Vision problem: a mist developed after sparkling wine, GM (11)

Answer: ASTIGMATISM (i.e. “vision problem”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “developed”) of A MIST which is placed “after” ASTI (i.e. “sparkling wine”) and GM, like so: ASTI-GM-ATISM.

3. Sheep carried in basic train (7)

Answer: CORTEGE (i.e. “train”). Solution is TEG (i.e. “sheep” – one I remembered from a previous puzzle) placed or “carried in” CORE (i.e. “basic”), like so: COR(TEG)E.

5. Chap holding eastern headgear (5)

Answer: BERET (i.e. “headgear”). Solution is BERT or BRET (i.e. “chap”, whichever takes your fancy) wrapped around or “holding” E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”), like so: B(E)RET; BER(E)T.

6. I got mirrors out, but there’s no signs of breathing here (5,6)

Answer: RIGOR MORTIS (i.e. “there’s no signs of breathing here”). “Out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I GOT MIRRORS.

7. Dressing in very fashionable plumed headdress (11)

Answer: VINAIGRETTE (i.e. “dressing”). Solution is V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”) followed by IN (i.e. “fashionable”) and AIGRETTE (i.e. “plumed headdress” – not something in my wardrobe that I can lay my hands on at the moment, I must confess).

8. Fixer’s rage after arrival (8)

Answer: ARRANGER (i.e. “fixer”). Solution is ANGER (i.e. “rage”) placed “after” ARR (a recognised abbreviation of “arrival”), like so: ARR-ANGER.

9. Another go locking up tons to send home (9)

Answer: EXTRADITE (i.e. “to send home”). Solution is EXTRA (i.e. “another”) and DIE (i.e. “go”) wrapped around or “locking up” T (a recognised abbreviation of “tons”), like so: EXTRA-DI(T)E.

10. Perceived horror occasioned by irrational aversion, primarily? (6)

Answer: PHOBIA, which satisfies pretty much the whole clue. “Primarily” indicates the solution is derived by the initial letters of Perceived Horror Occasioned By Irrational Aversion. Brilliant clue! Okay, setter, you can come out of the sinbin now.

11. Surrounded by sentiment: dead bird, cut short, our much loved (2,4,5)

Answer: IN GOOD ODOUR (i.e. “much loved” – a new phrase on me. I love it! Though, I must confess, after two weeks of being locked down, I’m not bodily in good odour…) Solution is IN (i.e. “surrounded by”) followed by GOO (i.e. “sentiment”), then DODO (i.e. “dead bird”) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “cut short”), and finally followed by OUR, like so: IN-GOO-DOD-OUR.

12. English politician, vacant Tory with nothing inside (5)

Answer: EMPTY (i.e. “with nothing inside”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by MP (i.e. “politician”, specifically a Member of Parliament) and TY (i.e. “vacant Tory”, i.e. the word “Tory” with all the middle letters removed).

13. Fire tender serving vital fluid (6,6)

Answer: VESTAL VIRGIN (i.e. “fire tender” – I guess we’re equating “fire” to lust here, but all my interpretations of “fire tender” lead me to someone who takes care of one’s lust, not a woman of spotless chastity! But then my grotty mind does often languish in the gutter…) “Fluid” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SERVING VITAL.
[EDIT: Andrew also helpfully fleshes this one out: “[the] vestal virgins’ job was to maintain the sacred fire in the temples so they were fire tenders”. Thanks again, Andrew! – LP]

20. Composer and writer mostly keeping a home (8)

Answer: Alexander SCRIABIN (i.e. “composer”). Solution is SCRIBE (i.e. “writer”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder wrapped around or “keeping” A. This is then followed by IN (i.e. “[at] home”), like so: SCRI(A)B-IN. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here as I was in no mood to spend any time farting about deciphering yet another sodding composer.

22. Good earner’s to brag after market slump – that’s never right (4,3)

Answer: CASH COW (i.e. “good earner”). Solution is CROW (i.e. “to brag”) placed “after” CRASH (i.e. “market slump”), and then both Rs removed (indicated by “that’s never right” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: C(R)ASH C(R)OW => CASH COW.

23. Australian crook perished crossing oceans (8)

Answer: DISEASED (i.e. “Australian crook”, as in “G’day, Bruce. I’m feeling proper crook with this drongo plague. Throw another shrimp on the barbie, will you, sport…” Something like that, anyway. I can’t do the accent.) Solution is DIED (i.e. “deceased”) wrapped around or “crossing” SEAS (i.e. “oceans”), like so: DI(SEAS)ED.

25. Curtains on floor – it’s impossible to get one up from here (8)

Answer: DEATHBED (i.e. “it’s impossible to get one up from here” – not the cheeriest of solutions, given present circumstances). Solution is DEATH (i.e. “curtains”, as in “Haha! It’s curtains for you, Hippopotaman!” – a quote, I believe, from the last Marvel Avengers movie) followed by BED (i.e. “floor”).

28. Blackhead – with new sense of disappointment (8)

Answer: COMEDOWN (i.e. “sense of disappointment”). Solution is COMEDO (i.e. “blackhead” – chalk another one to my Bradford’s here) followed by W and N (recognised abbreviations of “with” and “new” respectively).

29. Father has carp stuffed with cold and hot cabbage (3,4)

Answer: PAK CHOI (i.e. “cabbage”). Solution is PA (i.e. “father”) followed by KOI (i.e. “carp”) wrapped around or “stuffed” with C and H (recognised abbreviations of “cold” and “hot” respectively), like so: PA-K(C-H)OI.

31. Midwife, 42, confused with bits? (12)

Answer: OBSTETRICIAN (i.e. “midwife”). The solution to 42d is REACTION. The solution is an anagram (indicated by “confused”) of REACTION and BITS.

33. Low air of old harbour set up on field (11)

Answer: TROPOSPHERE (i.e. “low air”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and PORT (i.e. “harbour”) both reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue) and followed by SPHERE (i.e. “field”, both terms for an area of something), like so: TROP-O-SPHERE.

34. Detained Arab outside Lima with a thievish nature (11)

Answer: KLEPTOMANIA (i.e. “with a thievish nature”). Solution is KEPT (i.e. “detained”) and OMANI (i.e. “Arab”, specifically one from Oman) wrapped around or placed “outside” of L (“Lima” in the phonetic alphabet), and then followed by A, like so: K(L)EPT-OMANI-A.

35. Awl, perhaps, that’s used in constructing case? (8,3)

Answer: CRIMINAL LAW (i.e. “that’s used in constructing case”). “Awl, perhaps” indicates the solution is itself a cryptic clue, specifically that “awl” is an anagram (indicated by “CRIMINAL”) of “LAW”.

36. Human habitual response is to interrupt rubbish Chopin? (11)

Answer: ROMANTICIST (i.e. “Chopin” – crikey, not much to go on here, was there?!) Solution is MAN (i.e. “human”), TIC (i.e. “habitual response”) and IS all placed in or “interrupting” ROT (i.e. “rubbish”), like so: RO(MAN-TIC-IS)T.

38. What can conceal feet Horace and Ovid initially used in old poetry (9)

Answer: OVERSHOES (i.e. “what can conceal feet”). Solution is H and O (i.e. “Horace and Ovid initially”, i.e. the first letters of “Horace” and “Ovid”) placed “in” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and VERSES (i.e. “poetry”), like so: O-VERS(H-O)ES.

41. Bad reputation’s not unknown round most of Conservatives (9)

Answer: NOTORIETY (i.e. “bad reputation”). Solution is NOT and Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in their solutions as “unknowns”) wrapped “around” TORIES (i.e. “Conservatives”) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “most of”), like so: NO(TORIE)T-Y.

42. Response of engineers leading to conflict (8)

Answer: REACTION (i.e. “response”). Solution is RE (i.e. “engineers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) followed by ACTION (i.e. “conflict”).

45. Sheepdog, for example for one private school? (7)

Answer: COLLEGE (i.e. “private school”). Solution is COLLIE (i.e. “sheepdog”) with the I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) replaced by EG (i.e. “for example”), like so: COLL(I)E => COLL(EG)E.

46. Wanting a lot of good grass before day’s ending (6)

Answer: GREEDY (i.e. “wanting a lot”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) followed by REED (i.e. “grass”) and Y (i.e. “day’s ending”, i.e. the last letter of “day”). A clue that scans rather well. Keep rolling, stoners.

47. Some writing quietly got more intense? (5)

Answer: PROSE (i.e. “some writing”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, or “quietly” in musical lingo) followed by ROSE (i.e. “got more intense”).

49. Club is beginning to close, disrupting party (5)

Answer: DISCO (i.e. “club”). Solution is IS and C (i.e. “beginning to close”, i.e. the first letter of “close”) place in or “disrupting” DO (i.e. “party”), like so: D(IS-C)O.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1431

A slightly easier one this week. Pretty good too, though ATLANTIC STANDARD TIME has left me somewhat nonplussed. [EDIT – thanks to Steve in the comments for clearing this one up in double quick time. – LP] You can find my completed solution below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

Some housekeeping: my Just For Fun page hosts solutions for the last eighty-odd Times Jumbo Cryptic crosswords should that appeal, my Reviews page is there to show this blog is occasionally about things other than crosswords, and there’s a story of mine floating around here too.

Stay safe, folks. Looks like we’re all going to be in this viral lockdown for the long haul.


Across clues

1. Restricts little person that’s a bit of a jumper? (11)

Answer: CHAINSTITCH (i.e. “that’s a bit of a jumper”). When read as CHAINS TITCH, the solution also satisfies “restricts little person”.

7. A learner needing a supporter is hugged by maidens saying the wrong thing (11)

Answer: MALAPROPISM (i.e. “saying the wrong thing”). Solution is A, L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner”), A, PROP (i.e. “supporter”) and IS all placed between or “hugged by” M and M (recognised abbreviations of a “maiden” over in cricket), like so: M-(A-L-A-PROP-IS)-M.

13. Establishing standard old room in local (9)

Answer: NORMATIVE (i.e. “establishing standard”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and RM (ditto “room”) both placed “in” NATIVE (i.e. “local”), like so: N(O-RM)ATIVE.

14. No time for speech with men showing fatigue (7)

Answer: LANGUOR (i.e. “fatigue”). Solution is LANGUAGE (i.e. “speech”) with the AGE removed (indicated by “no time”) and the remainder followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army), like so: LANGU-OR.

15. Rows of headless corpses (5)

Answer: TIFFS (i.e. “rows”). Solution is STIFFS (i.e. “corpses”) with the initial letter removed (indicated by “headless”). If you were listening carefully around 2pm this afternoon you’d have heard me groan loudly when I finally twigged this one. Like it!

16. Soldier and reformer meeting a king (6)

Answer: HUSSAR (i.e. “solider”). Solution is Jan HUSS (i.e. “reformer” – no, me neither) followed by A and R (a recognised abbreviation of Rex, Latin for “king”).

17. Behavioural science Hoyle got wrong (8)

Answer: ETHOLOGY (i.e. “behavioural science”). “Wrong” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HOYLE GOT.

18. Rage, having to eat a dry fish (3-4)

Answer: RAT-TAIL (i.e. “fish” – an ugly bugger too). Solution is RAIL (i.e. “[to] rage”) wrapped around or “eating” A and TT (a recognised abbreviation of teetotal, i.e. “dry”), like so: R(A-TT)AIL.

20. In Barbados, say, how you’d get the measure of the enemy? (8,8,4)

Answer: ATLANTIC STANDARD TIME (i.e. “in Barbados, say”). Don’t know what the setter’s playing at here, nor am I in much of a mood to go hunting high and low across the internet for an explanation. Sorry, peeps.
[EDIT: A nod to Steve in the comments, who highlighted that “time is the enemy” – a phrase I’ll admit didn’t spring to mind. Thanks, Steve! – LP]

23. Steps to keep the Queen uncontaminated (7)

Answer: STERILE (i.e. “uncontaminated”). Solution is STILE (i.e. “steps”) wrapped around or “keeping” ER (i.e. “the Queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina), like so: ST(ER)ILE.

24. Pioneer crossword compiler entertains only third of solvers (7)

Answer: SETTLER (i.e. “pioneer”). Solution is SETTER (i.e. “crossword compiler”) wrapped around or “entertaining” L (i.e. “third [letter] of solvers”), like so: SETT(L)ER.

26. Research specialist only half way through stories (7)

Answer: EXPLORE (i.e. “research”). Solution is EXPERT (i.e. “specialist”) with the last half lopped off (indicated by “only half way through”) and followed by LORE (i.e. “stories”), like so: EXP-LORE.

28. Light colour of old city church to the west (4)

Answer: ECRU (i.e. “light colour”). Solution is UR (i.e. “old city” – a bit of a favourite of setters) and CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England) both reversed (indicated by “to the west”, this being an across clue), like so: EC-RU. One gotten through the wordplay.

29. Girl’s best friend in a suit? (8)

Answer: DIAMONDS. Solution satisfies “girl’s best friend” – referring to the song Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – and “in a suit [of playing cards]”.

32. Biblical tribe, possible adherents of a god of wealth, dismissing leader (9)

Answer: AMMONITES (i.e. “Biblical tribe”). Solution is MAMMONITES (i.e. “possible adherents of a god of wealth”) with the initial letter removed (indicated by “dismissing leader”). Score one for the Bradford’s here.

35. Community travel entangled after reversing set of instructions (9)

Answer: DECALOGUE, relating to the Ten Commandments in The Bible (i.e. “set of instructions”). Solution is EU (i.e. “community”, specifically the European Union) followed by GO (i.e. “travel”) and LACED (i.e. “entangled”) all “reversed”, like so: DECAL-OG-UE. Got the DECAL bit but had to brute force Chambers for the rest.

36. Papa dislikes aspects of birthday celebrations (8)

Answer: PRESENTS (i.e. “aspects of birthday celebrations”). Solution is P (i.e. “Papa” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by RESENTS (i.e. “dislikes”).

37. A guerrilla gets hurt (4)

Answer: ACHE (i.e. “hurt”). Solution is A followed by CHE Guevara (i.e. “guerrilla”).

39. Uses swearword when coming across cat (7)

Answer: CUSTOMS (i.e. “uses”). Solution is CUSS (i.e.” swearword”) wrapped around or “coming across” TOM (i.e. “cat”), like so: CUS(TOM)S.

41. Walked, bumping into Peg in the tube (7)

Answer: TETRODE (i.e. a kind of valve or vacuum “tube”). Solution is TROD (i.e. “walked”) placed or “bumped into” TEE (i.e. “peg” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: TE(TROD)E. Another nod to my Bradford’s.

44. Onion in English allotment (7)

Answer: SHALLOT (i.e. “onion”). “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: ENGLI(SH ALLOT)MENT.

45. Like good guys supporting the LA baseball team? (2,3,4,2,3,6)

Answer: ON THE SIDE OF THE ANGELS. Solution satisfies “like good guys” and “supporting the LA baseball team”, referring to the Los Angeles Angels. Use of “the” in the clue might be stretching it a bit for any Dodgers fans out there… (puts away Cody Bellinger Dodgers shirt).

49. Something frightening, British, and not half unattractive to put up with (7)

Answer: BUGBEAR (i.e. “something frightening”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by UGLY (i.e. “unattractive”) with the last half removed (indicated by “not half”) and then BEAR (i.e. “to put up with”), like so: B-UG-BEAR.

50. Car well able to convey limited number, offering independence (8)

Answer: AUTONOMY (i.e. “independence”). Solution is AUTO (i.e. “car”) and MY (i.e. “well”, both expressions of astonishment) wrapped around or “conveying” ONE (i.e. “number”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “limited”), like so: AUT(ON)O-MY. You could also argue “limited number” means a recognised abbreviation of “number”, which would make the solution AUTO-(NO)-MY. I prefer the former explanation.

51. Fashionable philosopher put to rest? (6)

Answer: INHUME (i.e. “put to rest”). Solution is IN (i.e. “fashionable”) followed by David HUME (i.e. “philosopher”). A nod to Monty Python’s Philosophers Song for that one.

53. Turmoil when duke meets a divine being in India (5)

Answer: DRAMA (i.e. “turmoil”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “duke”) followed by RAMA (i.e. “divine being in India”).

54. What get hot and black: ships carrying fuel (7)

Answer: BOILERS (i.e. “what get hot”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) followed by OILERS (i.e. “ships carrying fuel”).

55. Arguing about a boy, one no good (9)

Answer: REASONING (i.e. “arguing”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) followed by A, then SON (i.e. “boy”), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then N (a recognised abbreviation of “no”) and G (ditto “good”), like so: RE-A-SON-I-N-G.

56. What is evident in weighty section of song (6,5)

Answer: MIDDLE EIGHT (i.e. “section of song”). “What is evident in weighty” refers to how EIGHT forms the MIDDLE of the word “weighty”.

57. Heeding Lent, possibly, being wise? (11)

Answer: ENLIGHTENED (i.e. “being wise”). “Possibly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HEEDING LENT.

Down clues

1. Study church with a shell-like structure (6)

Answer: CONCHA (i.e. “shell-like structure”). Solution is CON (i.e. an archaic word for “study” that setters like to use in their clues) followed by CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) and A. One gotten through the wordplay and a quick check in Chambers, if I’m honest.

2. Where naughty children run riskily in slum area (6,3,6)

Answer: ACROSS THE TRACKS. Solution satisfies “where naughty children run riskily” and “in slum area”.

3. A peasant organised home to be very clean and tidy (4,2,1,3)

Answer: NEAT AS A PIN (i.e. “very clean and tidy”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “organised”) of A PEASANT followed by IN (i.e. “[at] home”), like so: NEATASAP-IN.

4. Holiday mishap (4)

Answer: TRIP. Solution satisfies “holiday” and “mishap”.

5. Don’t move into these inadequate rural areas (3,6)

Answer: THE STICKS (i.e. “rural areas”). Solution is STICK (i.e. “don’t move”) placed into THESE once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “inadequate”), like so: THE(STICK)S.

6. Assist goddess with petulant expression (4,3)

Answer: HELP OUT (i.e. “assist”). Solution is HEL (i.e. Norse “goddess” of death) followed by POUT (i.e. “petulant expression”).

7. Rainy season’s coming before long in Mediterranean country? No thanks! (9)

Answer: MONSOONAL (i.e. “rainy season”). Solution is ON SOON (i.e. “coming before long”) placed in MALTA (i.e. “Mediterranean country”) once the TA has been removed (indicated by “No thanks!”), like so: M(ON-SOON)AL.

8. Envy destroying three leading characters? That’s very bad (5)

Answer: LOUSY (i.e. “that’s very bad”). Solution is JEALOUSY (i.e. “envy”) with the first three letters removed (indicated by “destroying three leading characters”).

9. Some game requiring quiet skill, game without leader (9)

Answer: PARTRIDGE (i.e. “some game [bird]”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of piano, i.e. “quiet” in music lingo) followed by ART (i.e. “skill”) and BRIDGE (i.e. “game”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “without leader”), like so: P-ART-RIDGE.

10. Surpassing dodgy dealers, first to last? Excellent! (12)

Answer: OUTSTRIPPING (i.e. “surpassing”). Solution is TOUTS (i.e. “dodgy dealers”) with the first letter placed at the end (indicated by “first to last”). This is then followed by RIPPING (i.e. “excellent”), like so: OUTST-RIPPING.

11. Extend home and start to fall behind schedule (7)

Answer: INFLATE (i.e. “extend”). Solution is IN (i.e. “[at] home”) followed by F (i.e. “start to fall”, i.e. the first letter of “fall”) and LATE (i.e. “behind schedule”).

12. Menu’s beginning with a cold dish, mostly spicy stuff (6)

Answer: MASALA (i.e. “spicy stuff”). Solution is M (i.e. “menu’s beginning”, i.e. the first letter of “menu”) followed by A and SALAD (i.e. “cold dish”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: M-A-SALA.

19. Male talking thus may be grumbling (8)

Answer: UTTERING. Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) which, when placed before the solution, UTTERING, gets you M-UTTERING (i.e. “grumbling”).

21. Floridly rhetorical poet given honour, not the first (7)

Answer: AUREATE (i.e. “floridly rhetorical”). Solution is LAUREATE (i.e. “poet given honour”) with the initial letter removed (indicated by “not the first”).

22. Man joining the girl in risky enterprise that may help the rest (8)

Answer: BEDSHEET (i.e. “that may help the rest” – “rest” as in sleep). Solution is ED (i.e. “man”, i.e. a shortened form of Edward) and SHE (i.e. “the girl”) placed “in” BET (i.e. “risky venture”), like so: B(ED-SHE)ET.

23. Bird, needing drink, had to go inside (8)

Answer: SHELDUCK (i.e. “bird”). Solution is SUCK (i.e. “drink”) wrapped around or having “inside” HELD (i.e.” had”), like so: S(HELD)UCK.

25. Not, we may deduce, travelling quickly (3-2)

Answer: TON-UP (i.e. “travelling quickly”, i.e. over 100mph). “We may deduce” indicates the solution is itself a cryptic clue, describing “not”, i.e. the word “ton” in reverse (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue).

27. Political lion somehow traps you and me – it’s not what is seems (7,8)

Answer: OPTICAL ILLUSION (i.e. “it’s not what it seems”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of POLITICAL LION wrapped around or “trapping” US (i.e. “you and me”), like so: OPTICALILL(US)ION.

30. Prominent men wanting girl to undress (not showing bottom though) (7)

Answer: MAESTRI (i.e. “prominent men”, plural of maestro). Solution is MAE STRIP (i.e. “girl to undress”) with the last letter of STRIP removed (indicated by “not showing bottom though”), like so: MAE-STRI.

31. Old-fashioned office worker, good person one upset (5)

Answer: STENO (i.e. “old-fashioned office worker”, specifically an abbreviated form of stenographer). Solution is ST (i.e. “good person”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “saint”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “upset”) of ONE, like so: ST-ENO.

33. Wasn’t Emu naughty bird? (4,4)

Answer: MUTE SWAN (i.e. “bird”). “Naughty” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WASN’T EMU. Nicely worked.

34. Secret observer won’t half yell when rumbled (3,2,3,4)

Answer: FLY ON THE WALL (i.e. “secret observer”). “When rumbled” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WON’T HALF YELL.

38. Displaying message opposing capital punishment? (7,3)

Answer: HANGING OUT. Solution satisfies “displaying” – we’ve all been there, love – and “message opposing capital punishment”.

40. Always kept in outhouse, as car needs to be (9)

Answer: STEERABLE (i.e. “as car needs to be”). Solution is E’ER (poetic form of ever, i.e. “always”) placed or “kept in” STABLE (i.e. “outhouse”), like so: ST(E’ER)ABLE.

42. Discussion of tricky matter with Treebeard? (9)

Answer: TREATMENT (i.e. “discussion”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “tricky”) of MATTER followed by ENT (i.e. “Treebeard” – one for Tolkien fans, Ents were living trees, one of whom was called Treebeard), like so: TREATM-ENT.

43. Terrible male here should keep quiet, being “here today, gone tomorrow” (9)

Answer: EPHEMERAL (i.e. “here today, gone tomorrow”). Solution is an anagram (indicate by “terrible”) of MALE HERE wrapped around or “keeping” P (a recognised abbreviation of piano, i.e. “quiet” in music lingo), like so: E(P)HEMERAL.

45. Vigilant when a ground can get out of control (2,5)

Answer: ON GUARD (i.e. “vigilant”). “Can get out of control” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A GROUND.

46. Expression of disgust about head’s artifice (7)

Answer: FINESSE (i.e. “artifice”). Solution is FIE (i.e. “expression of disgust”) wrapped “about” NESS (i.e. “head”, as in a geographical feature), like so: FI(NESS)E.

47. This writer’s about to wait in the same location (6)

Answer: IBIDEM (i.e. Latin for “in the same location” – if you ever see “ibid” in a footnote of some text, it’s a way of not having to repeat references to the same source all the time). Solution is I’M (i.e. “this writer’s”, i.e. a contraction of “this writer is”, or “I am” taken from the point of view of the setter) wrapped “about” BIDE (i.e. “to wait”), like so: I(BIDE)’M. Nicely done.

48. “Deeply” powerful male? (3,3)

Answer: SEA GOD (i.e. “powerful male”). The “deeply” bit qualifies this particular god to be one from the seas.

50. Imitating a sort of sound (5)

Answer: APING (i.e. “imitating”). When written as A PING the solution also satisfies “a sort of sound”.

52. Made a call, cutting row short (4)

Answer: RANG (i.e. “made a call”). Solution is RANGE (i.e. “row”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “cutting…short”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1430

A toughie this week. Either that or this is a setter I’m not immediately in tune with, which happens. I think I got there in the end. You can find my completed solution below along with explanations of my answers where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

Some housekeeping before we begin. If you’ve got a recent Times Jumbo Cryptic that’s showing a gap or two then my Just For Fun page could be just the thing. I’ve also got book reviews and a free story leavening all the crossword stuff. Not much reading is getting done at the moment, sadly, as the day job has gone nuts. It’s nothing compared to the challenges faced by our incredible NHS workers, delivery drivers and everyone else keeping the country ticking over during the plague, and for whom we should all be thankful – panic-buyers especially. Still a bugger, though. To help keep me sane, I put together a Spotify playlist that’s seen some heavy clog this last week. If you’d like a gander through the music that has accompanied the production of this blog post, or if you like your music generally on the loud side, then check it out thisaway: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4CElDK4KESn0rh7oIhWMAF?si=RK4zKznCSrO45i03HJ0i3w

Anyway, on with the show. Stay well, peeps.


Across clues

1. Rustic made a difference saving one tree, looking back (11)

Answer: COUNTRIFIED (i.e. “rustic”). Solution is COUNTED (i.e. “made a difference”) wrapped around or “saving” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and FIR (i.e. “tree”) once they’ve been reversed (indicated by “looking back”), like so: COUNT(RIF-I)ED.

7. Care for doctor taking unexpected dip? (6)

Answer: FOSTER. Solution satisfies “care for” and “doctor taking unexpected dip”, referring to the old rhyme “Doctor Foster went to Gloucester in a shower of rain; he stepped in a puddle right up to his middle and never went there again”.

10. Stick one in a suit? (4)

Answer: CLUB. Solution satisfies “stick” and “one in a suit” of playing cards.

14. Top Liberal has resolved to bear left (7)

Answer: Herbert Henry ASQUITH, Liberal politician who served as UK Prime Minister from 1908 to 1916 (i.e. “top Liberal”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “resolved”) of HAS which is wrapped around or “bearing” QUIT (i.e. “left”), like so: AS(QUIT)H.

15. Connect English books, red or white? (7)

Answer: ENTWINE (i.e. “connect”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by NT (i.e. “books”, specifically the New Testament of The Bible) and WINE (i.e. “red or white”).

16. Companion, character on the right? (7)

Answer: CONSORT (i.e. “companion”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “companion”, such as a Companion of Honour which is sometimes abbreviated to CH). This is followed by SORT (i.e. “character”) once ON has been placed “on the right” of it, like so: C-ON-SORT.

17. Bold supporter about to stand up and resist (13)

Answer: SWASHBUCKLING (i.e. “bold”). Solution is SLING (i.e. “supporter”) which is wrapped around or placed “about” WASH (i.e. “to stand up [to scrutiny]”) and BUCK (i.e. “resist”, i.e. buck the trend), like so: S(WASH-BUCK)LING.

18. Good way to screen film – Billy Elliot might do it (9)

Answer: PIROUETTE (i.e. “Billy Elliot might do it”, referring to the hit film about a schoolboy who takes up ballet dancing). Solution is PI (i.e. “good”, being a recognised abbreviation of “pious” that we haven’t seen for a while) followed by ROUTE (i.e. “way”) once it has been wrapped around or “screening” ET (i.e. “film”, specifically ET: The Extra-Terrestrial), like so: PI-ROU(ET)TE.

19. Sound hooter, one squeezed (5)

Answer: NOISE (i.e. “sound”). Solution is NOSE (i.e. “hooter”) wrapped around or “squeezing” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: NO(I)SE. For some reason this took me bloody ages to twig. Sometimes you just don’t see them.

21. i sign here? (6,4)

Answer: DOTTED LINE. Solution satisfies “sign here” and “i”, referring to how the character is formed by a vertical line dotted at the top. A relatively quick get, but I rather liked this one.

23. Turkish report leads in foreign news broadcast (6)

Answer: STREWN (i.e. “broadcast”). Solution is T and R (i.e. “Turkish report leads”, i.e. the first letter of “Turkish” and “report”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “foreign”) of NEWS, like so: S(TR)EWN.

25. Certain winner right after neat header in “game of two halves”, say? (8)

Answer: CLINCHER (i.e. “certain winner”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) placed “after” N (i.e. “neat header”, i.e. the first letter of “neat”) once it has been placed “in” CLICHÉ (i.e. “’game of two halves’, say” – other clichés are available), like so: CLI(N)CHE-R. As examples of misdirection go, this clue was a bit of a sod!

26. Horse knocking second wife from fruit tree (10,4)

Answer: STRAWBERRY ROAN (i.e. breed of “horse”). Solution is STRAWBERRY (i.e. “fruit”) and ROWAN (i.e. “tree”) once the “second” W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) has been “knocked” out. One of those “I think it begins with ‘strawberry’ so let’s see what Chambers says” moments, if I’m honest.

29. Suffer junior to work (7)

Answer: UNDERGO (i.e. “suffer”). Solution is UNDER (i.e. “junior”) followed by GO (i.e. “to work”).

30. Concealing face, house flirt uncomfortable (3,2,4)

Answer: ILL AT EASE (i.e. “uncomfortable”). Solution is VILLA (i.e. “house”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “concealing face”) and followed by TEASE (i.e. “flirt”), like so: ILLA-TEASE.

31. One going after Oscar with something fruity (5)

Answer: PAPAW (i.e. “fruity”). Solution is PAPA (i.e. “one going after Oscar” in the phonetic alphabet, “Oscar” being O, “Papa” being P) followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”).

32. Piece of embroidery – officer breaking mine (5)

Answer: PICOT (i.e. “piece of embroidery”). Solution is CO (i.e. “officer”, specifically a Commanding Officer – a bit too loose for my liking, FWIW) placed in or “breaking” PIT (i.e. “mine”), like so: PI(CO)T.

34. Dealing with very minor blow, profits held by university (2,7)

Answer: UP AGAINST (i.e. “dealing with”). Solution is PAT (i.e. “very minor blow”) wrapped around or “holding” GAINS (i.e. “profits”). The whole is then placed after or “by” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”), like so: U-PA(GAINS)T.

37. Ultimately impressive, fine story expressible in words once (7)

Answer: EFFABLE (i.e. “expressible in words”; “once” refers to how this is an archaic word). Solution is E (i.e. “ultimately expressive”, i.e. the last letter of “impressive”) followed by F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine”, used in pencil grading) and FABLE (i.e. “story”).

39. Detective in clapped-out motor, trouble for man in the street (3,4,2,5)

Answer: TOM DICK OR HARRY (i.e. “man in the street”). Solution is DICK (i.e. “detective”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “clapped-out”) of MOTOR and then followed by HARRY (i.e. “[to] trouble”), like so: TOM(DICK)OR-HARRY.

41. Compassionate male confronting diabolical Lucifer (8)

Answer: MERCIFUL (i.e. “compassionate”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “diabolical” – a nice touch there, setter) of LUCIFER, like so: M-ERCIFUL.

43. Pour water over some children, childishly (6)

Answer: DRENCH (i.e. “pour water over”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: CHIL(DREN CH)ILDISHLY.

44. Line observed in theatre drama, Igor recreated after Charlie (10)

Answer: CARDIOGRAM (i.e. “line observed in [operating] theatre”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “recreated”) of DRAMA IGOR placed “after” C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: C-ARDIOGRAM.

45. In having abandoning state, Artemis in Rome? (5)

Answer: DIANA (i.e. “Artemis in Rome” – over to Chambers for this one: “Artemis: the Greek virgin goddess of the moon, identified by the Romans with Diana”). Solution is INDIANA (i.e. “[US] state”) with the IN removed (indicated by “in having [been] abandoned”).

48. Something taken with a lot of money to sabotage another’s image (9)

Answer: PHOTOBOMB (i.e. “to sabotage another’s image”, often a selfie). Solution is PHOTO (i.e. “something taken”) followed by BOMB (i.e. “a lot of money”, as in something costing a bomb).

49. Point of procedure on which to put one’s foot down? (8,5)

Answer: STEPPING STONE. Solution satisfies “point of procedure” and “on which to put one’s foot down”. Also (nearly) a tremendous piece of 1970s jazz funk by Johnny Harris that you will almost certainly have heard before without perhaps knowing what it was. Here’s a YouTube link for you to strut your funky stuff: https://youtu.be/iyR6rzx6XJY

51. Those just round the corner are in home (7)

Answer: NEAREST (i.e. “those just around the corner”). Solution is ARE placed “in” NEST (i.e. “home”), like so: NE(ARE)ST.

52. Open late, not closing, church seen after one in Paris (7)

Answer: UNLATCH (i.e. “open”). Solution is LATE with the last letter removed (indicated by “not closing”) and CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) both placed “after” UN (i.e. “one in Paris”, i.e. the French for “one”), like so: UN-LAT-CH.

53. It’s inverted, passing flavour around using tongue (7)

Answer: TASTING (i.e. “using tongue”). Solution is IT’S reversed (indicated by “inverted”) and placed (indicate by “passing…around”) in TANG (i.e. “flavour”), like so: TA(S’TI)NG.

54. Sign of my evil nature, all kicking off (4)

Answer: OMEN (i.e. “sign”). “All kicking off” indicates the solution is derived from the initial letters of OF MY EVIL NATURE.

55. Kind of sweet (6)

Answer: PRETTY. Solution satisfies “kind of” and “sweet”.

56. Provide table for upright creature (11)

Answer: CATERPILLAR (i.e. “creature”). Solution is CATER (i.e. “provide table for”) followed by PILLAR (i.e. “upright”).

Down clues

1. Number of the French holidaymakers originally aboard vessel, relative (7)

Answer: CHANSON (i.e. “number of the French”; “number” in this case referring to a song). Solution is H (i.e. “holidaymakers originally”) placed in or “aboard” CAN (i.e. “vessel”) and followed by SON (i.e. “relative”), like so: C(H)AN-SON.

2. Complete amateur, possibly? (11)

Answer: UNQUALIFIED. Solution satisfies “complete”, as in an unqualified success, and “amateur, possibly”.

3. Bit of a chicken wanting time off (5)

Answer: THIGH (i.e. “bit of a chicken”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) followed by HIGH (i.e. “off”, referring to food that’s gone off).

4. Pop success, really? (1,6,2,2,5)

Answer: I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY, a “pop success” from Stock Aitken and Waterman. (Checks notes.) Oh, and Kylie Minogue too. Solution also satisfies the sarcastically put “really?”

5. Fitting Cinderella originally, eek! It’s a lost slipper? (3,5)

Answer: ICE SKATE. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fitting”) of C (i.e. “Cinderella originally”, i.e. the first letter of Cinderella), EEK and IT’S A. “Lost slipper” refers, I guess, to the glass slipper Cinderella loses in the fairy story. I’m wondering if it’s also referring to skate fish, which usually swim in warm waters, so an ICE SKATE could be said to be lost. I can’t readily find a reference linking skates to slippers, so I could be overthinking it.
[EDIT: Thanks to Andrew in the comments for offering a clearer explanation. “Lost” can also be an anagram indicator, which would then make “slipper” an ice skate, in that an ice skate lets you slip and slide about an ice rink. “Fitting” indicates the C of Cinderella is slotted into the anagram of EEK IT’S A, like so: I(C)ESKATE. Thanks, Andrew! – LP]

6. Damaging tooth, base of blade cut into it (11)

Answer: DETRIMENTAL (i.e. “damaging”). Solution is DENTAL (i.e. “tooth”) wrapped around or having E (i.e. “base of blade”, i.e. the last letter of “blade”) and TRIM (i.e. “cut”) placed “into it”, like so: D(E-TRIM)ENTAL.

7. Try brief relationship (5)

Answer: FLING. Solution satisfies “try” and “brief relationship”.

8. Dish stirred by spooner? (8,6)

Answer: SLEEPING BEAUTY (i.e. “dish stirred” – in the fairy story, Sleeping Beauty is brought from her eternal slumber, or “stirred”, by Prince Charming; “dish” in this instance is another word for “beauty”). I haven’t twigged the “spooner” bit. Sleeping Beauty doesn’t strike me as a title that lends itself to a Spoonerism, so there’s likely some other reference I’m missing. If I have a brainwave or some kind commenter swings by with the lowdown, I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Thanks again to Andrew in the comments for his insight on this one. “Spooner” could be descriptive of Prince Charming, i.e. one born with a silver “spoon” in his mouth. (Tips hat Andrewards.) – LP]

9. Evidently north leads with heart again! (6)

Answer: ENCORE (i.e. “again!”). Solution is E and N (i.e. “evidently north leads”, i.e. the first letters of “evidently” and “north”) followed by CORE (i.e. “heart”).

11. Game to go up, the ladies possibly beginning to perform aerobatic stunt (4,3,4)

Answer: LOOP THE LOOP (i.e. “aerobatic stunt”). Solution is POOL (i.e. “game”) reversed (indicated by “to go up”, this being a down clue) followed by THE LOO (i.e. “the ladies possibly” – other flavours of toilet are available) and P (i.e. “beginning to perform”, i.e. the first letter of “perform”), like so: LOOP-THE-LOO-P.

12. Risk small pants in the middle splitting (7)

Answer: BETWEEN (i.e. “splitting”). Solution is BET (i.e. “risk”) followed by WEE (i.e. “small”) and N (i.e. “pants in the middle”, i.e. the middle letter of “pants”).

13. Work to find sample at bottom of river (8)

Answer: INDUSTRY (i.e. “work”). Solution is TRY (i.e. “sample”) placed after or “at bottom of” (this being a down clue) the “River” INDUS, like so: INDUS-TRY.

20. A bit cold in river, rather parky today at first (7)

Answer: EXCERPT (i.e. “a bit”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”) placed in the “River” EXE and followed by the initial letters (indicated by “at first”) of RATHER PARKY TODAY, like so: EX(C)E-R-P-T.

22. Vaulted ceilings in labour exchange fitting? (5)

Answer: LEAPT (i.e. “vaulted”). Solution is L and E (i.e. “ceilings in labour exchange”, i.e. the first letters of “labour” and “exchange”) followed by APT (i.e. “fitting”).

24. Envy author over some trendy novel (5-4,7)

Answer: GREEN-EYED MONSTER (i.e. “envy”). Solution is Graham GREENE (i.e. “author”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “novel”) of SOME TRENDY, like so: GREENE-YEDMONSTER.

25. Breakfast item member found in little bottle (7)

Answer: CRUMPET (i.e. “breakfast item”). Solution is MP (i.e. “member [of Parliament]”) placed or “found in” CRUET (i.e. “little bottle”), like so: CRU(MP)ET.

27. Roosevelt’s baby, swimmer without trunks, reportedly? (3,4)

Answer: NEW DEAL (i.e. “Roosevelt’s baby”, referring to the US president’s big policies and reforms of the 1930s). “Reportedly” indicates homophone. When heard as NUDE EEL the solution also satisfies “swimmer without trunks”.

28. Cramming in five hundred, terribly irrational bus conductor (3,6,5)

Answer: SIR ADRIAN BOULT (i.e. “conductor” – a fair trawl of Wikipedia was undertaken for this one once the wordplay and sufficient intersecting letters became clear, given the guy died when I was (uses fingers: one, two, three, three and a half)… I was young, anyway). Solution is D (i.e. “[Roman numerals] five hundred”) placed or “crammed in” an anagram (indicated by “terribly”) of IRRATIONAL BUS, like so: SIRA(D)RIANBOULT.

31. Serious, as looking to cross river in Turin? (2-5)

Answer: PO-FACED (i.e. “serious”). Given that the “River” PO flows through “Turin”, the solution also satisfies “looking to cross [or FACING] river in Turin”.

33. Remember to have order on note in box (11)

Answer: COMMEMORATE (i.e. “remember”). Solution is OM (i.e. “order”, specifically the Order of Merit) and MEMO (i.e. “note”) placed “in” CRATE (i.e. “box”), like so: C(OM-MEMO)RATE.

35. Give king a lot of money bags (5)

Answer: AWARD (i.e. “give”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of Rex, Latin for “king”) placed in or being “bagged” by A WAD (i.e. “a load of money”), like so: A-WA(R)D.

36. Unstable particle on top of cliff, one likely to drop off? (11)

Answer: NARCOLEPTIC (i.e. “likely to drop off” to sleep). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unstable”) of PARTICLE ON placed ahead of or “on” (this being a down clue) C (i.e. “top of cliff”, i.e. the first letter of “cliff”), like so: NARCOLEPTI-C. A nice bit of recursion, there.

38. US showman in New York city owed money (7,4)

Answer: BUFFALO BILL (i.e. “US showman”). Solution is BUFFALO (i.e. “New York city”, as in the city of Buffalo in the state of New York) followed by BILL (i.e. “money”).

40. After wings clipped, bird with mate doing well (2,6)

Answer: IN CLOVER (i.e. “doing well”). Solution is FINCH (i.e. “bird”) with the first and last letters removed (indicated by “after wings clipped”) and followed by LOVER (i.e. “mate”), like so: INC-LOVER.

42. Surgery inspired by doctor’s passionate, delicate touch (4-4)

Answer: DROP-SHOT (i.e. “delicate touch” in tennis, making the ball drop soon after passing the net). Solution is OP (i.e. “surgery”, short for “operation”) placed in or “inspired by” DR’S (i.e. “doctor’s”) and HOT (i.e. “passionate”), like so: DR(OP)’S-HOT.

43. Draw upon horse I had mounted first (3,4)

Answer: DIP INTO (i.e. “draw upon”). Solution is PINTO (i.e. breed of “horse”) with I’D (a contraction of “I had”) reversed (indicated by “mounted” – this being a down clue) and placed before it or “first”, like so: D’I-PINTO.

46. Person seeking retribution in Newhaven, Germanic (7)

Answer: AVENGER (i.e. “person seeking retribution”). “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: NEWH(AVEN, GER)MANIC.

47. Chopper, one managing to collect tartar, primarily (6)

Answer: COPTER (i.e. “chopper”, both informal words for a helicopter). Solution is COPER (i.e. “one managing”) wrapped around or “collecting” T (i.e. “tartar, primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “tartar”), like so: COP(T)ER.

49. Offensive joke (5)

Answer: SALLY. Solution satisfies “[military] offensive” and “joke”.

50. Short girl eating hot Japanese food (5)

Answer: SUSHI (i.e. “Japanese food”). Solution is SUSIE (i.e. “girl”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder wrapped around or “eating” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot”), like so: SUS(H)I.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1429

A decent puzzle this week, which I’d have cracked sooner had I spelt FLUORESCE correctly. Oh well, there are more important things going on in the world at the moment. If you are reading this while in self-imposed exile or, worse still, suffering the effects of coronavirus, hang in there. On the other hand, if you are reading this while sitting on furniture made entirely of bags of rice and pasta because there’s literally nowhere else left in your house to stuff them, consider donating a few bags of your newfound wealth to a local food bank to even up the score a little. Score a few karma points, eh?

Okay, preachy public service announcement over. Now for some me-time. If you’ve got a recent Times Jumbo Cryptic that’s got you jiggered, then my Just For Fun page could be just the thing you need. While you’re here, I’ve got a bunch of book reviews should you suddenly find yourself with a lot of time on your immaculately clean hands. If you’d like to give an old alter-ego a boost, then I’ve also got a story of mine over thisaway.

Alrighty then. To the answers! Keep well, peeps.


P.S. A big thank you to Sue and Steve, both regulars in the comments, for clearing up the mystery behind 1426’s clue for 17a. Turns out the printed clue was incorrect, and the editor was rather perplexed as to how it happened!

Across clues

1. Unreliable old man nicks tune we added (4-7)

Answer: FAIR-WEATHER (i.e. “unreliable”). Solution is FATHER (i.e. “old man”) wrapped around or “nicking” AIR (i.e. “tune”) and WE, like so: F(AIR-WE)ATHER.

7. Holland House fuel extract (6,5)

Answer: ORANGE JUICE (i.e. “extract”). Solution is ORANGE (i.e. “Holland [royal] House”) followed by JUICE (i.e. “fuel”).

13. One daughter inspires tango performed on stage (5)

Answer: ACTED (i.e. “performed on stage”). Solution is ACE (i.e. “one” in playing cards) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) wrapped around or “inspiring” T (“tango” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: AC(T)E-D.

14. Risk grabbing Romeo’s ulcer (7)

Answer: CHANCRE (i.e. “ulcer”). Solution is CHANCE (i.e. “risk”) wrapped around or “grabbing” R (“Romeo” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: CHANC(R)E. One gotten from the wordplay and a quick brute force of my Chambers.

15. Dodging a very old paper ball (9)

Answer: AVOIDANCE (i.e. “dodging”). Solution is A followed by V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”), then O (ditto “old”), then I (i.e. “[British news]paper”) and finally DANCE (i.e. “ball”).

16. Scary spinner’s natural bent among reserves (9)

Answer: TARANTULA (i.e. “scary spinner”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “bent”) of NATURAL which is placed “among” TA (i.e. “reserves”, specifically the Territorial Army), like so: T(ARANTUL)A.

17. One large boy struggled to suppress second rash (3-7)

Answer: ILL-ADVISED (i.e. “rash”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), then LAD (i.e. “boy”), then VIED (i.e. “struggled”) once it has been wrapped around or “suppressing” S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”), like so: I-L-LAD-VI(S)ED.

20. Right court for controlling scrap – thanks to this (4,3)

Answer: RIOT ACT (i.e. “controlling scrap – thanks to this”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and CT (ditto “court”) wrapped around or “controlling” IOTA (i.e. “scrap”), like so: R-(IOTA)-CT.

22. Leaves after wasted meal (4,3)

Answer: HIGH TEA (i.e. “meal”). Solution is TEA (i.e. “leaves”) placed “after” HIGH (i.e. “wasted”, as in a drug high).

24. European allowed to conceal crew’s hint (7)

Answer: ELEMENT (i.e. “hint”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and LET (i.e. “allowed”) once it has been wrapped around or “concealed” MEN (i.e. “crew”), like so: E-LE(MEN)T.

25. Weakling must have very little money in principle (8)

Answer: RUDIMENT (i.e. “principle”). Solution is RUNT (i.e. “weakling”) wrapped around or “having” DIME (i.e. “very little money”), like so: RU(DIME)NT.

26. Harry Potter hurt nine, which drivers sometimes can do (5-5,4)

Answer: THREE-POINT TURN (i.e. “which drivers sometimes can do”). “Harry” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of POTTER HURT NINE.

28. What scouts do in playground before church (5)

Answer: RECCE (i.e. “what scouts do”). Solution is REC (i.e. “playground”) followed by CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England).

29. Trained pupil briefly to stop the old city slicker (6)

Answer: YUPPIE (i.e. “city slicker”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “trained”) of PUPIL once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), which is then placed in or “stopping” YE (i.e. “the old”, as in ye olde “the”), like so: Y(UPPI)E.

30. Star Glaswegian recalled fine area around Halifax (4,6)

Answer: NOVA SCOTIA (i.e. “area around Halifax” – Halifax being its capital). Solution is NOVA (i.e. “star”) followed by SCOT (i.e. “Glaswegian”) and AI (i.e. excellent or “fine”, i.e. A1), the latter reversed (indicated by “recalled”), like so: NOVA-SCOT-IA.

33. It helps in speech to emphasise saint (6,4)

Answer: STRESS MARK (i.e. “it helps in speech”). Solution is STRESS (i.e. “to emphasise”) followed by MARK (i.e. “saint”).

35. A sample of polar Canada’s secrets (6)

Answer: ARCANA (i.e. “secrets”). “A sample of” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: POL(AR CANA)DA’S.

37. Peace advocate captivates Republican horde (5)

Answer: DROVE (i.e. “horde”). Solution is DOVE (i.e. “peace advocate”) wrapped around or “captivating” R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”), like so: D(R)OVE.

39. Spreading scandal, excited at telling it three times (6-8)

Answer: TITTLE-TATTLING (i.e. “spreading scandal”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “excited”) of AT TELLING IT and, T, T and T (i.e. “three times” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

41. Archipelago short of popular pineapples (8)

Answer: GRENADES (i.e. “pineapples”, given their resemblence). Solution is GRENADINES (i.e. “archipelago”) with the IN removed (indicated by “short of popular”).

44. It’s a pride issue, working with copper in library (4,3)

Answer: LION CUB (i.e. “it’s a pride issue” – a pack of lions being a “pride”, and “issue” taken to mean young offspring). Solution is ON (i.e. “working”) and CU (chemical symbol of “copper”) placed “in” LIB (a recognised abbreviation of “library”), like so: LI(ON-CU)B.

45. Intended fund without name ending in failure (7)

Answer: FIANCEE (i.e. one’s “intended” in marriage). Solution is FINANCE (i.e. “fund”) with the first N removed (indicated by “without name”, N being a recognised abbreviation of “name”) and the remainder followed by E (i.e. “ending in failure”, i.e. the last letter of “failure”), like so: FIANCE-E.

46. Cutting tree I found in British Columbia (7)

Answer: ACERBIC (i.e. “cutting”). Solution is ACER (i.e. “tree”) followed by I once it has been placed or “found in” BC (a recognised abbreviation of “British Columbia”), like so: ACER-B(I)C.

47. Like some bread with jam and seeds (10)

Answer: WHOLEGRAIN (i.e. “like some bread”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) followed by HOLE (i.e. “jam”, both taken to mean bad situations) and GRAIN (i.e. “seeds”).

49. Cleaner not able initially to charge about one pound (9)

Answer: NAILBRUSH (i.e. “cleaner”). Solution is N and A (i.e. “not able to begin with”, i.e. the first letters of “not” and “able”) and RUSH (i.e. “charge”) placed “about” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and LB (a recognised abbreviation of a “pound” of weight), like so: N-A-(I-LB)-RUSH.

53. Send out light roasted course: fabulous being back to eat it! (9)

Answer: FLUORESCE (i.e. “send out light”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “roasted”) of COURSE which is placed in or “eaten” by ELF (i.e. “fabulous being”) once it has been reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: FL(UORESC)E.

54. Star gets into bed for a smoke (7)

Answer: CHEROOT (i.e. “a smoke”). Solution is HERO (i.e. “star”) which is placed or “gets into” COT (i.e. “bed”), like so: C(HERO)OT.

55. Swimmer’s about to perish, heading west (5)

Answer: EIDER (i.e. “swimmer” – a little too far down the role profile for my liking, but heigh-ho). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) and DIE (i.e. “to perish”) both reversed (indicated by “heading west” – this being an across clue), like so: EID-ER.

56. Enthuses, perhaps evading gym and old dishes Henry left (11)

Answer: RHAPSODIES (i.e. “enthuses”). Solution is PERHAPS with the PE removed (indicated by “evading gym” – PE being a recognised abbreviation of Physical Education) and the remainder followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and DISHES once the H has been removed (indicated by “Henry left” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “Henry”, a measurement that’s currently flavour of the month for setters), like so: RHAPS-O-DISES.

57. Ditch tongue, heading off for Happy Eater? (11)

Answer: TRENCHERMAN (i.e. “happy eater” – a trencher is a plate or platter). Solution is TRENCH (i.e. “ditch”) followed by GERMAN (i.e. language or “tongue”) with the initial letter removed (indicated by “heading off”), like so: TRENCH-ERMAN. Not a word I’m familiar with, despite my Mr Creosote-esque appetite. I like it.

Down clues

1. Note shorter, less singular person using flannel (9)

Answer: FLATTERER (i.e. “person using flannel” – an informal word for flattery). Solution is FLAT (i.e. “note”) followed by TERSER (i.e. “shorter”) once the S has been removed (indicated by “less singular” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “singular”), like so: FLAT-TERER.

2. Job for painter inside 8 (8,10)

Answer: INTERIOR DECORATION (i.e. “job for painter”). The solution to 8d is AWARD. The solution is INTERIOR (i.e. “inside”) followed by DECORATION (i.e. “award”).

3. Extra new stretch (5)

Answer: WIDEN (i.e. “stretch”). Solution is WIDE (i.e. “extra” run in cricket awarded when the bowler buggers up) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”).

4. Story by some about constant profession (11)

Answer: ACCOUNTANCY (i.e. “profession”). Solution is ACCOUNT (i.e. “story”) followed by ANY (i.e. “some”) once it has been placed “about” C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”), like so: ACCOUNT-AN(C)Y.

5. Each had awful athlete’s foot and pain at the other end (8)

Answer: HEADACHE (i.e. “pain at the other end” of the body from the feet). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “awful”) of EACH HAD followed by E (i.e. “athlete’s foot”, i.e. the last letter of “athlete”), like so: HEADACH-E.

6. Relax here, startling boss (7,5)

Answer: ROCKING CHAIR (i.e. “relax here”). Solution is ROCKING (i.e. “startling”) followed by CHAIR (i.e. “boss” of a committee).

7. Expose what’s in envelope that’s given to the press (4,6)

Answer: OPEN LETTER. Solution satisfies “expose what’s in envelope” and “that’s given to the press”.

8. Place for nursing trophy (5)

Answer: AWARD (i.e. “trophy”). When written as A WARD the solution also satisfies “place for nursing”.

9. I love angler somehow catching large marine creature (11)

Answer: GLOBIGERINA (i.e. “marine creature”, and a little diddy one too). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of I, O (i.e. “love”, i.e. a zero score in tennis) and ANGLER all wrapped around or “catching” BIG, like so: GLO(BIG)ERINA. The wordplay was reasonably clear, but needed most of the intersecting letters completed and a quick brute force of Chambers to nail it.

10. Reason obscure hero hoards brilliant books? (9)

Answer: JUDGEMENT (i.e. “reason”). Solution is JUDE (“obscure hero”, Saint Jude I guess – one for the theologians) wrapped around or “hoarding” GEM (i.e. “brilliant”) and followed by NT (i.e. “books”, specifically the New Testament of The Bible), like so: JUD(GEM)E-NT.
[EDIT: Thanks to Mick in the comments for clearing up JUDE, being a reference to Thomas Hardy’s novel Jude the Obscure. – LP]

11. Where to find barmen of different types? (4)

Answer: INNS (i.e. “where to find barmen”). A guess, if I’m honest, as I can’t figure “of different types” at the moment. If I or a kind commenter has a brainwave then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Thanks to Mrs D and Mick for quickly clarifying this one. “Barmen” refers to barristers who are called to the English bar when they qualify and join one of the four INNS of Court. Thanks both! – LP]

12. River’s banks eroded constantly (4)

Answer: EVER (i.e. “constantly”). Solution is the “River” SEVERN with the first and last letters removed (indicated by “banks eroded”).

18. Quirky odd bureaucrat is almost silent proof of falsehood (8,2,8)

Answer: REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM (i.e. “proof of falsehood”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “quirky”) of ODD BUREAUCRAT IS followed by DUMB (i.e. “silent”) once its final letter has been removed (indicated by “almost”), like so: REDUCTIOADABSUR-DUM. Not being a Latin scholar, this took a number of intersecting letters solving before I had enough hooks to perform another quick brute force of my Chambers.

19. Very old joke packs theatre (5,3)

Answer: STONE AGE (i.e. “very old”). Solution is ONE (i.e. “joke”, as in “did you hear the one about…”) placed in or “packing” STAGE (i.e. “theatre”), like so: ST(ONE)AGE.

21. Idle, the writer’s tucking into drink with sons (7)

Answer: AIMLESS (i.e. “idle”). Solution is I’M (i.e. “the writer is”, taken from the point of view of the setter) “tucked into” ALE (i.e. “drink”) and followed by S and S (i.e. “two sons”, S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”), like so: A(I’M)LE-S-S.

23. Software run at cricket ground’s OK (8)

Answer: APPROVAL (i.e. “OK”). Solution is APP (i.e. “software”) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” in a number of ball games) and OVAL (i.e. “cricket ground”).

27. Impressionist, perhaps one able to lift drink (8)

Answer: APERITIF (i.e. “drink”). Solution is APER (i.e. “impressionist, perhaps”, as in one who apes another) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and FIT (i.e. “able”) once it has been reversed (indicated by “to lift” – this being a down clue), like so: APER-I-TIF.

28. Engineers resolve to move (8)

Answer: RESETTLE (i.e. “to move”). Solution is RE (i.e. “engineers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) followed by SETTLE (i.e. “resolve”).

31. Measure port imbibed by conservative Anglicans (7)

Answer: CADENCE (i.e. “measure”). Solution is ADEN (i.e. “port” – chalk one to my Bradfords here as there are thousands of ports to choose from) which is placed in or “imbibed by” C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) and CE (i.e. “Anglicans”, specifically the Church of England), like so: C-(ADEN)-CE.

32. Sublime climb across middle of liner in river (12)

Answer: TRANSCENDENT (i.e. “sublime”). Solution is ASCEND (i.e. “climb”) wrapped around or placed “across” N (i.e. “middle [letter] of liner”) and then itself placed “in” TRENT (i.e. “river”), like so: TR(A(N)SCEND)ENT.

34. Broken down? Police stopped, after spending hours (11)

Answer: METABOLISED (i.e. digested or “broken down”). Solution is MET (i.e. “police”, specifically the Metropolitan Police Service of London) followed by ABOLISHED (i.e. “stopped”) once the H has been removed (indicated by “spending hours” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “hours”), like so: MET-ABOLISED.

36. Answer cut from article about avoiding “hippy” type of language (4-7)

Answer: AFRO-ASIATIC (i.e. “type of language”). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”) followed by FROM once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “cut”), then A (i.e. “article”, such as words like ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’), then SCIATIC (i.e. “hippy” type – a sneaky one, this, “hippy” referring to the area of the body – the sciatic nerve stems from the base of the spine. I’m not keen, but my Bradfords wins out on this one) once the first C has been removed (indicated by “about avoiding” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “circa”, or “about”), like so: A-FRO-A-SIATIC. Phew!

38. 150 eastern experts accepting smuggled licences (10)

Answer: CLEARANCES (i.e. “licences”). Solution is CL (i.e. “[Roman numerals] 150”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”), then ACES (i.e. “experts”) once it has been wrapped around or “accepted” RAN (i.e. “smuggled”, think gun-running), like so: CL-E-A(RAN)CES.

40. Do battle to secure instruments (4,5)

Answer: LOCK HORNS. Solution satisfies “do battle” and “to lock [musical] instruments”.

42. Cash in car interpreted as sweetener (9)

Answer: SACCHARIN (i.e. “sweetener” – can be spelled with or without an ‘e’). “Interpreted” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CASH IN CAR.

43. Head man from Krakow’s supporter in plot (8)

Answer: BEANPOLE (i.e. “supporter in [garden] plot”). Solution is BEAN (i.e. “head”, an informal name backed up by my Chambers) followed by POLE (i.e. “man from Krakow”). Not an easy one when you’ve got _E_N_O_E to work with.

48. Fancy patrons wasting time! (5)

Answer: GUESS (i.e. “fancy”). Solution is GUESTS (i.e. “patrons”) with the T removed (indicated by “wasting time” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”). Another win for my Bradfords as my brain could not equate “fancy” to “guess”. Still doesn’t, if I’m honest. It’s getting late, that’s my excuse.

50. Part of speech backed up English note (5)

Answer: BREVE (i.e. “[musical] note”). Solution is VERB (i.e. “part of speech”) reversed (indicated by “backed up” – this being a down clue) and followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: BREV-E.

51. Starts to approach from access road a long way off (4)

Answer: AFAR (i.e. “a long way off”). “Starts to” indicates the solution is derived by taking the initial letters of APPROACH FROM ACCESS ROAD.

52. Each year involves leading intermediate stage (4)

Answer: PUPA (i.e. “intermediate stage”). Solution is PA (i.e. “each year”, being a recognised abbreviation of “per annum”) wrapped around or “involving” UP (i.e. “leading”), like so: P(UP)A.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1428

If last week’s puzzle had a people and places mini-theme going on, this week’s seems to be flora and fauna. Well, fruits and birds. And colours. Anyway, an easier time of it was had, which made for a decidedly less grumpy alter-ego.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. If you’ve got previous Jumbos that have given you grief, then my Just For Fun page might help you. I’ve got some other odds and ends knocking around, so it’s not all crosswords, crosswords, crosswords. If book reviews are your thing, then I’ve got a few over thisaway. If you’d like a story of mine to get you through a spare half hour, then head over thataway.

In the meantime, we’ll head to the answers. TTFN.


Across clues

1. Singer, one acknowledging applause before time? (9)

Answer: BOWERBIRD (i.e. “singer”. It’s a bird, but I can’t see much to qualify it as a songbird.) Solution is BOWER (i.e. “one acknowledging applause”) followed by BIRD (i.e. “time [spent in prison]”).

6. Soft cheese a woman takes in bed (7)

Answer: RICOTTA (i.e. “soft cheese”). Solution is RITA (i.e. “woman”) wrapped around or “taking in” COT (i.e. “bed”), like so: RI(COT)TA.

10. Ways a girl possibly sought at first to capture hearts (5)

Answer: PATHS (i.e. “ways”). Solution is PAT (i.e. “a girl possibly”, specifically a shortened form of Patricia. The “possibly” bit indicates that Pat can also be short for Patrick, a boy’s name) and S (i.e. “sought at first”, i.e. the first letter of  “sought”) wrapped around or “capturing” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hearts” used in some card games), like so: PAT-(H)-S.

13. Vehicle I’d used to carry books? It carries blood! (7)

Answer: CAROTID (i.e. “it carries blood”). Solution is CAR (i.e. “vehicle”) and I’D wrapped around or “carrying” OT (i.e. “books”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible), like so: CAR-(OT)-I’D.

14. Shade encountered in Milanese piazzas (5)

Answer: SEPIA (i.e. “shade”). “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: MILANE(SE PIA)ZZAS.

15. Old boxer given permit that’s legally transferrable (9)

Answer: ALIENABLE (i.e. “that’s legally transferrable”). Solution is Muhammad ALI (i.e. “old boxer”) followed by ENABLE (i.e. “permit”).

16. It’s unremarkable, but prep school pupils feared having it? (7,2,5,4,5)

Answer: NOTHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT. Solution satisfies “unremarkable” and “prep school pupils feared having it”.

17. Run into pole – fast! (6)

Answer: STARVE (i.e. “fast”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games) placed “into” STAVE (i.e. “pole”), like so: STA(R)VE.

18. Projecting column I coated in stucco (8)

Answer: PILASTER (i.e. “projecting column”). Solution is I placed or “coated in” PLASTER (i.e. “stucco”), like so: P(I)LASTER.

19. No one’s pad in Albert Square is so disgusting (7)

Answer: NOISOME (i.e. “disgusting”). Solution is NO followed by I’S (i.e “[Roman numeral] one” made possessive) and ‘OME (i.e. “pad in Albert Square”, i.e. the word HOME with the aitch dropped like what them cock-er-neys on EastEnders do, innit?).

22. Money suitable for securing game and starchy food (10)

Answer: BREADFRUIT (i.e. “starchy food”). Solution is BREAD (i.e. “money”) followed by FIT (i.e. “suitable”) once it has been wrapped around or “securing” RU (i.e. “game”, specifically Rugby Union), like so: BREAD-F(RU)IT.

23. European woman, one coming ashore with bag (12)

Answer: NETHERLANDER (i.e. “European”). Solution is HER (i.e. “woman”) and LANDER (i.e. “one coming ashore”) placed after NET (i.e. “bag”, both words for obtaining stuff), like so: NET-HER-LANDER.

27. Place where a stripper briefly appears? (5)

Answer: LOCUS (i.e. “place”). Solution is LOCUST (i.e. “stripper”) with the last letter trimmed (indicated by “briefly appears”).

29. Caustic wordplay by man of breeding (7)

Answer: PUNGENT (i.e. “caustic”). Solution is PUN (i.e. “wordplay”) followed by GENT (i.e. “man of breeding”).

30. Prevent retiring daughter concealing her archaeological find (8)

Answer: POTSHERD, which are shards of old pottery (i.e. “archaeological find”). Solution is STOP (i.e. “prevent”) reversed (indicated by “retiring”) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) wrapped around or “concealing” HER, like so: POTS-(HER)-D. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, making this an easier get.

32. A French lad ringing about a lack of logical thinking (8)

Answer: UNREASON (i.e. “lack of logical thinking”). Solution is UN (i.e. “A French”, i.e. the masculine form of “a” in French) and SON (i.e. “lad”) wrapped around or “ringing” RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) and A, like so: UN-(RE-A)-SON.

34. Cooked most tropical fruit (7)

Answer: APRICOT (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cooked”) of TROPICAL once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “most”).

36. Strip firearm (5)

Answer: RIFLE. Solution satisfies “[to] strip” and “firearm”.

39. Vehicle thief collects favourite political candidate from afar? (12)

Answer: CARPETBAGGER (i.e. “political candidate from afar” – Donald Trump would be a good example of one, given he isn’t really seen as a Republican). Solution is CAR (i.e. “vehicle”) and BAGGER (i.e. “thief”) wrapped around or “collecting” PET (i.e. “favourite”), like so: CAR-(PET)-BAGGER.

41. Belittled and frustrated, the writer’s at home in this (10)

Answer: DIMINISHED (i.e. “belittled”). Solution is DISHED (i.e. “frustrated”, as in having outwitted or defeated an opponent) wrapped around (indicated by “…in this”) I’M IN (i.e. “the writer’s at home”, taken from the point of view of the setter), like so: D(I’M-IN)ISHED.

44. Liberal academic given employment (7)

Answer: PROFUSE (i.e. “liberal”). Solution is PROF (i.e. “academic”, specifically a shorted form of “professor”) followed by USE (i.e. “employment”).

46. The domain one abandoned sadly for Macbeth’s Cawdor? (8)

Answer: THANEDOM (i.e. “the domain… [of] …Macbeth’s Cawdor). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sadly”) of THE DOMAIN once the I has been removed (indicated by “[Roman numeral] one abandoned”). Nicely worked.

48. Present old footballer with ring in retirement (6)

Answer: BESTOW (i.e. “present”). Solution is George BEST (i.e. “old footballer”) followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) and O (i.e. “ring”) once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “in retirement”), like so: BEST-O-W.

50. Become agitated carelessly removing one’s clothing from washing machine? (3,4,8,2,1,5)

Answer: GET ONES KNICKERS IN A TWIST. Solution satisfies “become agitated” and “carelessly removing one’s clothing from washing machine”. Also descriptive of me most weekends when I’m putting these posts together.

53. Surprisingly happy with old car and rejected books (9)

Answer: APOCRYPHA (i.e. “rejected books”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “surprisingly”) of HAPPY, O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and CAR.

54. Hang about in south east resort before run (5)

Answer: HOVER (i.e. “hang about”). Solution is HOVE (i.e. “south east resort”) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games).

55. Popular view voiced by Republican, a provoker of action (7)

Answer: INCITER (i.e. “provoker of action”). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) followed by CITE (i.e. “view voiced”, i.e. a homophone of SIGHT) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”).

56. High-flyer changes sides – what a bore (5)

Answer: EAGRE (i.e. a “bore” or sudden rise of the tide in a river). Solution is EAGLE (i.e. “high-flyer”) with the L replaced with R (indicated by “changes sides”, L and R being recognised abbreviations of “left” and “right” respectively).

57. For a seamstress they’re not entirely unnecessary (7)

Answer: NEEDLES. Solution is NEEDLESS (i.e. “unnecessary”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “not entirely”).

58. Assuasive English gang girl that is not without heart (9)

Answer: EMOLLIENT (i.e. “assuasive”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by MOLL (i.e. “gang girl”) then IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. …um… “i.e.”) and NT (i.e. “not without heart”, i.e. the word NOT with the middle letter removed).

Down clues

1. Meaty product of Berkshire philosopher? (5)

Answer: BACON. Solution satisfies “meaty product” and “Berkshire philosopher”, namely Francis BACON.

2. Best to reconnoitre plot? Nothing could be more awful (5-4,8)

Answer: WORST-CASE SCENARIO (i.e. “nothing could be more awful”). Clue plays on how “reconnoitring” something is to CASE it, and how a “plot” can be a SCENARIO. Within the context of the clue, if “nothing could be more awful” when reconnoitring a plot, it could be described as a WORST-CASE SCENARIO. Clunky, but you get the idea. Ish.

3. Recovered stored information? It’s what the Lab did? (9)

Answer: RETRIEVED. Solution satisfies “recovered stored information” and “what the Lab did”. A bit sneaky from the setter here. “Lab” is a recognised abbreviation of the Canadian region of Labrador. You also get Labrador retrievers. Join the dots.

4. Once disgraceful gibe delivered in pub (6)

Answer: INDIGN (i.e. a poetic or archaic word (indicated by “once”) for “disgraceful”). Solution is DIG (i.e. “gibe”) placed or “delivered” in INN, like so: IN(DIG)N.

5. Girl’s status and character (11)

Answer: DISPOSITION (i.e. “character”). When written as DI’S POSITION, the solution also satisfies “girl’s status”.

6. Final send-off for heretic connected with bank (8)

Answer: RIPARIAN (i.e. “connected with [river] bank”). Solution is RIP (i.e. “final send-off”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Rest In Peace) followed by ARIAN (i.e. “heretic”). Not a word that leapt out at me. A brute force of my Chambers was needed once I’d gotten all the intersecting letters.

7. Bird identified by lieutenant, one wearing outdoor garment (4,3)

Answer: COAL TIT (i.e. “bird”). Solution is LT (a recognised abbreviation of “lieutenant”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed in or “wearing” COAT (i.e. “outdoor garment”), like so: COA(LT-I)T.

8. Her chap set out to secure current post at school (11)

Answer: TEACHERSHIP (i.e. “post at school”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of HER CHAP SET wrapped around or “securing” I (a recognised abbreviation of “[electrical] current”), like so: TEACHERSH(I)P.

9. A former country with popular old king? It’s what Anatolia was (4,5)

Answer: ASIA MINOR (i.e. “it’s what Anatolia was”). Solution is A followed by SIAM (i.e. “former country”), then IN (i.e. “popular”), then O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and R (ditto Rex, i.e. “king”).

10. Judge given notes in largely Carthaginian language (7)

Answer: PUNJABI (i.e. “language”). Solution is J (a recognised abbreviation of “judge”) and A and B (i.e. both musical “notes”) placed “in” PUNIC (i.e. “Carthaginian”) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “largely”), like so: PUN(J-A-B)I.

11. Forbidden book, not acceptable in Chinese philosophy (5)

Answer: TABOO (i.e. “forbidden”). Solution is BOOK with the OK removed (indicated by “not acceptable”) and the remainder placed “in” TAO (i.e. “Chinese philosophy”), like so: TA(BO)O.

12. Lover demanding attention in parts of the West (10)

Answer: SWEETHEART (i.e. “lover”). Solution is EAR (i.e. “attention”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “parts of”) of THE WEST, like so: SWEETH(EAR)T.

17. Prophetess lives over by the lake (5)

Answer: SIBYL (i.e. “prophetess”). Solution is IS (i.e. “lives”) reversed (indicated by “over”) and followed by BY, then L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: SI-BY-L.

20. A Scottish honour, tho Forester held it, unexpectedly (5,2,3,7)

Answer: ORDER OF THE THISTLE (i.e. “a Scottish honour”). “Unexpectedly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THO FORESTER HELD IT.

21. Loses footing absorbing last of info for Cambridge exam (6)

Answer: TRIPOS (i.e. “Cambridge exam”). Solution is TRIPS (i.e. “loses footing”) wrapped around or “absorbing” O (i.e. “last of info”, i.e. the last letter of “info”), like so: TRIP(O)S.

24. Secure by intimidation in text or tweet (6)

Answer: EXTORT (i.e. “secure by intimidation”). “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: T(EXT OR T)WEET.

25. Hate airline coming over house by river (5)

Answer: ABHOR (i.e. “hate”). Solution is BA (i.e. “airline”, specifically British Airways) reversed (indicated by “coming over”) and followed by HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”) and R (ditto “river”), like so: AB-HO-R.

26. Lavishly supply short man with alcoholic drink (6)

Answer: REGALE (i.e. “lavishly supply”). Solution is REG (i.e. “short man”, specifically a shortened form of Reginald) followed by ALE (i.e. “alcoholic drink”).

28. Kid influenced by power or moral force, we hear (5)

Answer: SUEDE (i.e. “kid [leather]”). “We hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SWAYED (i.e. “influenced by power or moral force”).

31. Shabby-sounding provider of starch in Scotland (6)

Answer: TATTIE (i.e. “provider of starch in Scotland”, namely a Scots word for potato). “Sounding” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of TATTY (i.e. “shabby”).

33. Singer’s dark period buffeted by wind (11)

Answer: NIGHTINGALE (i.e. “singer” – birds again, but at least this one is known for its song). Solution is NIGHT (i.e. “dark period”) followed by IN GALE (i.e. “buffeted by wind”).

35. Decorative work of one in hard-wearing trousers on lake (11)

Answer: CHINOISERIE (i.e. “decorative work”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “in” CHINOS (i.e. “hard-wearing trousers”) and followed by ERIE (one of the Great “Lakes”), like so: CHINO(I)S-ERIE. Another I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest, making this an easier get than it ought to have been.

37. Finance demise that hurt (5)

Answer: ENDOW (i.e. “finance”). Solution is END (i.e. “demise”) followed by OW! (i.e. “that hurt”).

38. Rascal initially scaring head girl? (10)

Answer: SCAPEGRACE (i.e. “rascal”). Solution is S (i.e. “initially scaring”, i.e. the first letter of “scaring”) followed by CAPE (i.e. “head”, as in the geographical feature) and GRACE (i.e. “girl”). Can’t say I’ve seen this word out in the wild. I like it!

40. British painter’s fancy brooch (9)

Answer: BREASTPIN (i.e. “brooch”). Solution is BR (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “fancy”) of PAINTER’S, like so: BR-EASTPIN.

42. The writer would clean it out just the same (9)

Answer: IDENTICAL (i.e. “just the same”). Solution is I’D (i.e. “the writer would”, taken from the point of view of the setter) followed by an anagram (indicated by “out”) of CLEAN IT, like so: I’D-ENTICAL.

43. Books about court actions? (8)

Answer: RESERVES (i.e. “books” a table in a restaurant, for example). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – again, think email replies) followed by SERVES (i.e. “[tennis] court actions”).

45. Disconcert peacekeepers, at no time raising resistance (7)

Answer: UNNERVE (i.e. “disconcert”). Solution is UN (i.e. “peacekeepers”, specifically the United Nations) followed by NEVER (i.e. “at no time”) once the R (a recognised abbreviation of electrical “resistance”) has been “raised” a couple of notches, this being a down clue, like so: UN-NERVE.

47. Everyone taking in salmon and strong drink (7)

Answer: ALCOHOL (i.e. “strong drink”). Solution is ALL (i.e. “everyone”) wrapped around or “taking in” COHO (i.e. a Pacific “salmon”), like so: AL(COHO)L.

49. A shade 4, changing second name to Oscar (6)

Answer: INDIGO (i.e. “a shade”). The solution to 4d is INDIGN. Solution is 4d with the “second” N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”) changed to O (“Oscar” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: INDIG(N) => INDIG(O).

51. Heavyweight key locking up husband’s skimpy beachwear (5)

Answer: THONG (i.e. “skimpy beachwear”). Solution is TON (i.e. “heavyweight”) and G (a musical “key”) wrapped around or “locking up” H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”), like so: T(H)ON-G. I’m more of a mankini fella myself, being a little self-conscious.

52. Card call-girl carries round (5)

Answer: TAROT (i.e. “card”). Solution is TART (i.e. “call-girl”) wrapped around or “carrying” O (i.e. “round”), like so: TAR(O)T.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1427


Links: Just For Fun. Some book reviews. Story.


Across clues

1. Defenceless but not hurt when horse flees (7)

Answer: UNARMED (i.e. “defenceless”). Solution is UNHARMED (i.e. “not hurt”) once the H has been removed (indicated by “when horse flees” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “horse”).

5. Romp curtailed by French girlfriend in city (7)

Answer: LARAMIE (i.e. a “city” in Wyoming, USA. A city with a population of barely 30,000 people according to the last census.) Solution is LARK (i.e. “romp”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “curtailed”) and followed by AMIE (i.e. “French girlfriend”, i.e. the French for “girlfriend”), like so: LAR-AMIE. A sign of the rubbish to come.

9. Friend across pond welcomes celebrated flyer (7)

Answer: BUSTARD (i.e. “flyer”). Solution is BUD (i.e. “friend across pond”, referring to how Americans stereotypically call their friends buds or buddies) wrapped around or “welcoming” STAR (i.e. “celebrated”), like so: BU(STAR)D.

13. Maiden is deity accepting writer not well directed (11)

Answer: MISGOVERNED (i.e. “not well directed”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “maiden” used in cricket) followed by IS, then GOD (i.e. “deity”) once it has been wrapped around or “accepting” Jules VERNE (i.e. “writer”), like so: M-IS-GO(VERNE)D.

14. Back in first of several additional residences (6,5)

Answer: SECOND HOMES (i.e. “additional residences”). Solution is SECOND (i.e. to “back”) followed by HOME (i.e. “in”, i.e. “at home”) and S (i.e. “first of several”, i.e. the first letter of “several”).

15. Rocket incorporating new submarine detection system (5)

Answer: SONAR (i.e. “submarine detection system”). Solution is SOAR (i.e. “rocket”) wrapped around or “incorporating” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: SO(N)AR.

16. Composer admits small offence to French king (7)

Answer: Gioachino ROSSINI (i.e. “composer”). Solution is ROI (i.e. “French king”, i.e. the French for “king”) wrapped around or “admitting” S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and SIN (i.e. “offence”), like so: RO(S-SIN)I.

17. Russian empress one departing Mediterranean port (9)

Answer: ALEXANDRA Feodorovna (i.e. “Russian empress”). Solution is ALEXANDRIA (i.e. “Mediterranean port”) with the I removed (indicated by “[Roman numeral] one departing…”).

18. Anxious to enjoy a drama by Williams (4,1,3,2,1,3,3,4)

Answer: LIKE A CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF. Solution satisfies “anxious” and “enjoy a drama by [Tennessee] Williams”.

23. Evil claims a cleaner in church property (8)

Answer: VICARAGE (i.e. “church property”). Solution is VICE (i.e. “evil”) wrapped around or “claiming” A and RAG (i.e. “cleaner”), like so: VIC(A-RAG)E.

25. Boy and girl love workroom (6)

Answer: STUDIO (i.e. “workroom”). Solution is STU and DI (i.e. “boy and girl”, respective shortened forms of Stuart and Diana) followed by O (i.e. “love”, i.e. a zero score in tennis).

27. Fuel can very hot inside (7)

Answer: GASOHOL (i.e. “fuel”). Solution is GAOL (i.e. “can”) with SO (i.e. “very”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot”) placed “inside”, like so: GA(SO-H)OL.

30. One wearing black recalled proud mother (5)

Answer: NIOBE. One solely for the classicists, it seems. In Greek mythology Niobe was a mother whose overbearing pride in her children saw them murdered. Then, in her grief, Niobe was turned to stone. Those Greeks, eh? Fun. Chalk one to my Bradfords here, which listed Niobe as a “mourner”. “One wearing black” is tenuous if you ask me. If I’m missing something in Homer’s Iliad that qualifies this then blame my decidedly non-classical education.
[EDIT: Thanks to Andrew in the comments for clarifying this one. “One wearing black recalled” is the Roman numeral I (i.e. “one”) placed in or “wearing” EBON (i.e.”black”) and the whole reversed (indicated by “recalled”), like so: N(I)OBE. Cheers, Andrew! – LP]

32. Knitted footwear allowing stars to conserve energy (7)

Answer: BOOTEES (i.e. “knitted footwear”). Solution is BOOTES (a constellation, i.e. “stars”) wrapped around or “conserving” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: BOOT(E)ES.

33. One to examine tickets for theatrical caller? (9)

Answer: INSPECTOR. Solution satisfies “one to examine tickets” and “theatrical caller”, referring to the stage play An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley.

35. Divert sports team approaching course (9)

Answer: SIDETRACK (i.e. “divert”). Solution is SIDE (i.e. “sports team”) followed by TRACK (i.e. “course”).

36. Openings in colonnade showing dull interior (7)

Answer: STOMATA (i.e. “openings”). Solution is STOA (i.e. “colonnade”) wrapped around MAT (i.e. “dull” – can be spelled “matte”, “matt” or “mat”), like so: STO(MAT)A.

37. Woman, fantastic, needing time to appear earlier (5)

Answer: GRETA (i.e. “woman”). Solution is GREAT (i.e. “fantastic”) with the T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) moved back a notch (indicated by “…to appear earlier”).

38. Train ferries coin between terminals in Stoke and Carlisle (7)

Answer: EDUCATE (i.e. “train”). Solution is DUCAT (i.e. “coin”) placed “between” E and E (i.e. “terminals in Stoke and Carlisle”, i.e. the last letters of “Stoke” and “Carlisle”), like so: E-(DUCAT)-E.

40. Over there participating in activity on Derwent (6)

Answer: YONDER (i.e. “over there”). “Participating in” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: ACTIVIT(Y ON DER)WENT.

41. Dump Beethoven’s Fifth amid unknown music (8)

Answer: ANTIPHON (i.e. “music”). Solution is TIP (i.e. “dump”) and H (i.e. “Beethoven’s fifth”, i.e. the fifth letter of “Beethoven”, ignoring the misleading capitalisation) placed “amid” ANON (i.e. “unknown”, i.e. an abbreviated form of “anonymous”), like so: AN(TIP-H)ON. This has appeared a few times now, making this one an easier get than it ought to have been.

44. Tackle problem resolutely – emulate matador’s hands-on approach? (4,3,4,2,3,5)

Answer: TAKE THE BULL BY THE HORNS. Solution satisfies “tackle problem resolutely” and “emulate matador’s hands-on approach”.

48. Citadel with excellent fencing or one with stronger premises (1,8)

Answer: A FORTIORI (Latin for “with stronger premises”). Solution is FORT (i.e. “citadel”) placed in or being “fenced” by AI (i.e. “excellent”, i.e. A1 with the 1 replaced by the Roman numeral I) and then followed by OR and I (i.e. another Roman numeral “one”), like so: A(FORT)I-OR-I. More for the classicists, there.

50. Piece in good works about divine persons (7)

Answer: ODDMENT (i.e. “piece”). Solution is OT (i.e. “good works”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible) wrapped “about” DD (i.e. “divine”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “Divinitatus Doctor” I’ve seen used in a few puzzles recently) and MEN (i.e. “persons”), like so: O(DD-MEN)T.

53. Far side of the lake is spooky (5)

Answer: EERIE (i.e. “spooky”). Solution is E (i.e. “far side of the”, i.e. the last letter of “the”) followed by the Great “Lake” ERIE. Horror writer Steve Rasnic Tem would be proud.

54. Nausea presumably coming in waves (11)

Answer: SEASICKNESS. Clue riffs on how “waves” can also mean the waves of the sea. You get the idea.

55. Legendary abductor greeting solitary king and churchgoer (11)

Answer: PARISHIONER (i.e. “churchgoer”). Solution is PARIS (i.e. “legendary abductor” of Helen of Troy in Greek mythology – yet more for the classicists) followed by HI (i.e. “greeting”) then ONE (i.e. “solitary”) and R (i.e. “king”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “Rex”).

56. Most neat, one passes on dry clothes (7)

Answer: TIDIEST (i.e. “most neat”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and DIES (i.e. “passes on”) placed in or being “clothed” by TT (i.e. “dry”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “tee-total”), like so: T(I-DIES)T.

57. Secret repositioning with parking reserved for staff (7)

Answer: SCEPTRE (i.e. “staff”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “repositioning”) of SECRET wrapped around or “reserving” P (a recognised abbreviation of “parking” used in signage), like so: SCE(P)TRE.

58. Sound advice to boating companion, graceful creature (3,4)

Answer: ROE DEER (i.e. “graceful creature”). “Sound” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of ROW DEAR (i.e. “advice to boating companion”).

Down clues

1. Bare man thrown in Welsh river (6)

Answer: UNMASK (i.e. “[to] bare”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “thrown”) of MAN placed “in” USK (i.e. “Welsh river”), like so: U(NMA)SK.

2. Club in weapons collection (7)

Answer: ARSENAL. Solution satisfies “[football] club” and “weapons collection”.

3. Sail low – new angle right (9)

Answer: MOONRAKER (i.e. “sail”). Solution is MOO (i.e. to “low” – setters love referring to cows as “lowers” in their clues) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), then RAKE (i.e. “angle” – one of several of rake’s definitions) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”).

4. Gloomy doctor given attention (5)

Answer: DREAR (i.e. “gloomy”). Solution is DR (a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”) followed by EAR (i.e. “attention”).

5. Official verses and unfinished scores (8)

Answer: LINESMAN (i.e. “official” of some sports games). Solution is LINES (i.e. “verses”) followed by MANY (i.e. “scores”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “unfinished”), like so: LINES-MAN.

6. Almost set one, maybe two bones? (5)

Answer: RADII (i.e. “maybe two bones”, referring to the plural form of a “radius” bone). Solution is RADIO (i.e. device or “set”) with the final letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: RADI-I.

7. Shambles in area in Sicilian city (7)

Answer: MESSINA (i.e. “Sicilian city”). Solution is MESS (i.e. “shambles”) followed by IN and A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”).

8. Demented alcoholic stage concerned with final events (14)

Answer: ESCHATOLOGICAL (i.e. “concerned with final events” in theology). “Demented” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ALCOHOLIC STAGE.

9. Sweet roll with chopped dates good for diet (9)

Answer: BUNDESTAG (i.e. “diet” – a diet can mean parliament, in this case the one in Germany). Solution is BUN (i.e. “sweet roll”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “chopped”) of DATES, then G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: BUN-DESTA-G.

10. Unstressed syllable in school was cut (5)

Answer: SCHWA (i.e. “unstressed syllable”). Solution is SCH (a recognised abbreviation of “school”) followed by WAS once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “cut”), like so: SCH-WA. Made-to-fit rubbish to help the setter out of a tight spot, but thankfully the wordplay was pretty obvious.

11. Prepared for war theatre, MOD ordered choppers (5,2,3,5)

Answer: ARMED TO THE TEETH (i.e. “prepared for war”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “ordered”) of THEATRE MOD followed by TEETH (i.e. “choppers”), like so: ARMEDTOTHE-TEETH.

12. Female following obese man sent north (7)

Answer: DISTAFF (i.e. “female” side of a family, it says here. The male side, in case you were wondering, is the spear side). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female” – a bit of recursion there) followed by FAT SID (i.e. “obese man”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “sent north” – this being a down clue), like so: DIS-TAF-F.

19. Subject of ace supporter nursing broken leg (7)

Solution: ALGEBRA (i.e. “subject”). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used on playing cards) and BRA (i.e. “supporter”) wrapped around or “nursing” an anagram (indicated by “broken”) of LEG, like so: A-(LGE)-BRA.

20. Some elite academic betrayal, maybe, better for logic? (9)

Answer: OUTREASON (i.e. “[to] better [someone] for logic”). The solution, as far as I can make out, when read as OU TREASON, kind-of-perhaps-maybe-ish satisfies “some elite academic betrayal, maybe” – OU being the Open University. Not 100% sure, if I’m honest, given that the three dictionaries I have (Chambers, Oxford and an old Collins Concise) do not accept outreason as a word. Nor does Microsoft Word by the looks of it. If this turns out to be the solution, then, frankly, what a crock of shit.
[EDIT: Thanks to Mick and Sue in the comments for highlighting that OU is more likely to be Oxford University given the mention of “elite”. That’s not to belittle anyone bettering themselves through the Open University, mind. It’s just the prejudice of this particular setter. – LP]

21. Obtains inside information given rise in savings (4,3)

Answer: NEST EGG (i.e. “savings”). Solution is GETS (i.e. “obtains”) placed “inside” of GEN (i.e. “information”) and the whole then reversed (indicated by “given rise” – this being a down clue), like so: NE(STEG)G. A rare clue in this puzzle that scans really well.

22. Welshman, embracing English church, to disappear slowly (8)

Answer: EVANESCE (i.e. “to disappear slowly”). I’m not 100% sure but my solution is EVAN (i.e. “Welshman”) followed by a possessive E’S (i.e. “embracing English”), then CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England). I sincerely hope a better solution comes to light because, as it stands, this is another clue to file under “crock of shit”.
[EDIT: Thanks to Steve in the comments for nailing this one. Welshman is EVANS, not EVAN. When wrapped around E for “English”, and followed by CE as described, you get EVAN(E)S-CE. Cheers, Steve! – LP]

24. Mad about noisy estate outside fantasy realm (5-6-4)

Answer: CLOUD-CUCKOO-LAND (i.e. “fantasy realm”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of circa, i.e. “about”), LOUD (i.e. “noisy”) and LAND (i.e. “estate”) all placed “outside” of CUCKOO (i.e. “mad”), like so: C-LOUD-(CUCKOO)-LAND.

26. Find nightclub dead (9)

Answer: DISCOVERY (i.e. “find”). Solution is DISCO (i.e. “nightclub”) followed by VERY (i.e. “dead” as in being dead tired of this setter already).

28. Whence one cross, in traditional tales, drops from sky (8)

Answer: LORRAINE, referring to a two-barred “cross” used in heraldry. LORRAINE is also a region of France from “whence” it came. Solution is RAIN (i.e. “drops from sky”) placed “in” LORE (i.e. “traditional tales”), like so: LOR(RAIN)E.

29. Company after £500 in shady deal (6,8)

Answer: MONKEY BUSINESS (i.e. “shady deal”). Solution is BUSINESS (i.e. “company”) placed “after” MONKEY (i.e. “£500” in Cockneyland).

31. Perhaps wide court passage (7)

Answer: EXTRACT (i.e. “passage”). Solution is EXTRA (i.e. “perhaps wide”, referring to an extra run given in cricket for wide deliveries, among other things) followed by CT (a recognised abbreviation of “court”).

34. Plug firm (7)

Answer: STAUNCH. Solution satisfies “plug” as in to staunch bleeding and “firm” as in a staunch believer of something.

39. Energy indeed has missile right out in orbit (3,6)

Answer: EYE SOCKET (i.e. “orbit”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) followed by YES (i.e. “indeed”) and ROCKET (i.e. “missile”) once the R has been removed (indicated by “right out”, R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: E-YES-OCKET.

42. Hebrew king brought up in island location (9)

Answer: ISRAELITE (i.e. “Hebrew”). Solution is LEAR (i.e. “king”, i.e. Shakespeare’s King Lear) which is reversed (indicated by “brought up” – this being a down clue) and placed “in” I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”) and SITE (i.e. “location”), like so: I-S(RAEL)ITE.

43. Sandalwood used for this stretcher? (8)

Answer: SHOETREE, a support placed in shoes to help keep their shape, i.e. “stretcher”. Clue riddles on how “sandals” are a kind of SHOE and “wood” comes from a TREE. You get the idea.

44. Bird coming round managed second journey (7)

Answer: TRANSIT (i.e. “journey”). Solution is TIT (i.e. “bird”) wrapped or “coming round” RAN (i.e. “managed”) and S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”), like so: T(RAN-S)IT.

45. Gander appears with eagle’s wings (4-3)

Answer: LOOK-SEE (i.e. “gander”). Solution is LOOKS (i.e. “appears”) followed by E and E (i.e. “eagle’s wings”, i.e. the first and last letters of “eagle”).

46. One in medical administration’s year with cartel in south east (7)

Answer: SYRINGE (i.e. “one [used] in medical administration” of, say, a vaccine). Solution is Y (a recognised abbreviation of “year”) and RING (i.e. “cartel”) both placed “in” SE (a recognised abbreviation of “south east”), like so: S(Y-RING)E.

47. Monkey’s mistake, sheltering under tree top (6)

Answer: TERROR (i.e. “monkey”, as in a scamp or rascal). Solution is ERROR (i.e. “mistake”) “sheltering under” T (i.e. “tree top”, i.e. the first letter of “tree”), like so: T-ERROR.

49. Material either of two writers sent up (5)

Answer: TOILE (i.e. “material”). Solution is ELIOT (i.e. “either of two writers”, being George and T.S.) reversed (indicated by “sent up” – this being a down clue).

51. Tyrant dropping sulphur in warehouse (5)

Answer: DEPOT (i.e. “warehouse”). Solution is DESPOT (i.e. “tyrant”) with the S removed (indicated by “dropping sulphur” – S being the chemical symbol of “sulphur”).

52. Stunner posed again looking northward (5)

Answer: TASER (i.e. “stunner”). Solution is RESAT (i.e. “posed again”) reversed (indicated by “looking northward” – this being a down clue).

Review: Best New Horror 13

(If you would like to read reviews of previous books in the Best New Horror series, jump over to my Reviews page for links.)

And so we reach book 13, a number that is close to my heart! This chunky entry in the Best New Horror series was a book of two halves. For the first couple hundred pages I thought we were on for one of the strongest books in the series, but then the good stories started to peter out. There were no stinkers fouling up the place, but a few of the longer stories were guilty of overstretching themselves. All in all, this book just scrapes a 4/5.

Best New Horror 13 contains twenty-three stories published during 2001 and runs as follows:

Mark of the Beast – Chico Kidd (4/5 – Luis Da Silva is a Portuguese sea-captain cooped up in a sweltering Indian port around the turn of the twentieth century. A deep unease has settled among the townsfolk. Rumour has it that a werewolf is in their midst, slaughtering young and old alike. While Da Silva waits for the necessary palms to be greased that will allow him to set sail again, a shipping agent puts him in touch with an American sailor, Harris, who is looking for work. The two men meet and agree terms. While they await permission to leave port, Harris frets inwardly about how long he’ll be at sea. He wonders how he’ll be able to restrain himself come the next full moon, and whether Captain Da Silva has picked up on his lycanthropy. This was a really good ripping yarn spoiled only by an excess of run-on sentences and the kind of overwriting that makes your teeth itch, for instance:

“Da Silva had already made up his mind not to beat about the bush by skirting around the topic.”

Nnggnnggggnnnn! I suspect this may have been intentional, as if Kidd had adopted a verbose style more becoming of the age, but I wished a strong editor had intervened. This is still very much worth a read, I should stress, thanks to the magnetic Captain Da Silva and his resourceful teenage son, Ze. Another Da Silva story lies in wait at the end of this book.)

Also collected in Fowler’s “The Devil In Me”

Crocodile Lady – Christopher Fowler (4/5 – A teacher returns to the profession after an absence of several years. She is immediately thrown in at the deep end, helping to shepherd a class of young children on a school outing to the London Zoological Gardens. She effortlessly slips back into the role. Her experience lets her quickly identify the usual suspects, from the troublemakers of the class to the quiet boy she’ll need to keep an eye on. As the class’s regular teacher stands around craving cigarettes and scowling openly over her charges, Miss efficiently organises the children into crocodile formation ahead of a chaotic commute through the London Underground. When the quiet kid goes missing at one of the stops, Miss immediately takes it upon herself to track him down. This un-Fowler-like story may have resulted from a previous desire of his to depart the horror scene. It’s good stuff either way, giving us a flavour of what goes on in a schoolteacher’s noggin (courtesy of fellow author and former schoolteacher Joanne Harris, according to the introduction). But where this story really succeeds – and what qualifies its inclusion in a horror anthology – is the queasy sense of panic Fowler creates as crowds of passengers bustle onto the train at each stop, threatening to break up the kids. Good stuff!)

Also collected in Campbell’s “Told By The Dead”

All For Sale – Ramsey Campbell (4/5 – This deliciously mean Venus Flytrap of a story sees three young men having it large in an unnamed Mediterranean town, hitting the bars within seconds of dropping their bags off at their hotel. Barry wakes the next morning with thoughts of a girl he’d met the night before, and a hum of activity outside the hotel room. Looking out the window he finds a market has sprung up below, large enough to occupy the streets. Leaving his mates to their inevitable hangovers, he sets out to explore the market, hoping somebody can direct him to the girl’s hotel. A misunderstanding with one of the stallholders leads to an argument which attracts the attention of the local police. Barry is sent on his way and soon finds himself getting lost in the seemingly endless market. Everything is for sale, from the mundane to the obscene, the legit, the stolen and everything in between. Everyone in town has a stake in the market, it seems. Even the hotel owner. You may wonder at times where Campbell is going with this story but stick with it because the ending is stone-cold brilliant.)

Also collected in McAuley’s “A Very British History”

The Two Dicks – Paul McAuley (4/5 – We’re in an alternative 1974 where Bob Dylan has been killed in his prime, where President Nixon is eyeing a third term in office and where Philip K Dick is incandescent with rage after being asked to sign a pirated copy of The Man in the High Castle. The novel should never have been released but was leaked into the grey market. In the eyes of Dick’s agent, Anthony Emmet, the novel was another of his client’s embarrassing forays into science fiction that should never have been written. Dick wants to nail the fiends who had so flagrantly pirated his work, and soon concludes the only way to do this is by obtaining an FBI badge. He takes it upon himself to not only write a letter requesting such of the President of the United States of America, but also to deliver the letter in person to The White House. To Emmet’s astonishment, Dick’s gambit pays off, and a meeting is pencilled in with POTUS. This was a great read from beginning to end. I get the impression McAuley had a lot of fun putting this story together. The scene in which Dick and Nixon meet, both chaperoned by their respective representatives, is a wonderfully observed slice of comedy. Trouble is it’s not a horror story. Not a single word of it.)

Also collected in Smith’s “Chimerascope”

By Her Hand, She Draws You Down – Douglas Smith (4/5 – Cath and Joe are scraping a living on the coast, moving from one vacation spot to the next. Cath sets up shop with her paper and pencils and draws portraits of passing holidaymakers. Joe meanwhile maintains a constant and thinly veiled dread of her. It’s not that Cath is unskilled in her art that unsettles him. Her portraits are often uncannily lifelike. No, what really creeps Joe is what Cath does with the portraits, when the inhuman hunger possessing her demands to be fed, and what happens to the unfortunate souls she has portrayed. Another good story, this. It’s an interesting slant on the vampire myth which takes a pleasingly dark turn the moment the true dynamic between Cath and Joe is revealed. You might see the ending coming a few pages early, but this is still well worth a look.)

Also collected in Brite’s “The Devil You Know”

O Death, Where Is Thy Spatula? – Poppy Z. Brite (4/5 – Brite pulls on the coroner’s gloves to become his alter ego, Dr Brite: epicure extraordinaire! (Re “his”: Brite identifies as a man, Billy Martin, these days. Back in 2001, he was Poppy Brite. The character of Dr Brite is a woman, and so female pronouns lie ahead…) The good doctor Brite is in awe of restauranteur Devlin Lemon. His dishes send her taste buds into raptures every time, and she is a near-permanent fixture in his restaurant. While examining a recent homicide, Brite realises the gunshot victim before her is Devlin, deceased only hours earlier. Bereft, she refuses to process Devlin’s corpse, instead stuffing him into a mortuary cooler while she considers her next move. While she cannot deny the human tragedy of Devlin’s murder, she feels an equal if not greater tragedy in no longer being able to savour his food, and so a traipse around the voodoo shops of New Orleans beckons. As you may have gathered from the title, this is a story brimming with humour and wit. And food. And body parts. It’s a really good read, and a precursor to a series of dark comedy novels set in the New Orleans restaurant world. Even more books to add to my nascent to-be-read pile, it seems…)

Also collected in Etchison’s “Gotta Kill Them All and Other Stories”

Got To Kill Them All – Dennis Etchison (3/5 – Ray Lowndes is a game show host driving home through Los Angeles after making a quick stop at his local hardware store. With a bag full of murder gear in the back seat of his car and a head full of ideas about his adulterous wife, he slowly ticks over the facts of her infidelity, gameshow style, as he makes slow progress home. He berates someone at a crosswalk after they stop and sit in front of his car. The sitter instantly recognises Ray from the TV and soon talks his way into riding shotgun, in more ways than one. This was okay but didn’t really do it for me. The story was written at a time when Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was ruling the gameshow airwaves, and, as the title would suggest, a time when Pokémon was all the rage, but these elements feel like they’ve been shoehorned into the story solely to give it some pizazz. I’m not sure it needed it. Worth a read if you fancy a quick burst of Americana.)

No More A-Roving – Lynda E. Rucker (3/5 – Paul is a seasoned globetrotter who has lost track of Alyssa, a girl with whom he’d been travelling. Believing Alyssa to have moved on to Ireland, he follows suit, eventually heading to The Seagull Hostel out on the coast. He wakes one night to see a dinghy out among the waves. He fears for the safety of whoever is out there, but reasons there’s little he can do, being holed up in a hostel high upon the cliffs. The next day he sees the boat, empty but intact, secured down by the shore. As his stay goes on, Paul notices some of his fellow backpackers have taken to exploring a nearby cliff, sometimes never returning. He thinks nothing much of it, what with them being travellers and all. All that changes when he realises Mrs Ryan, the owner of The Seagull, is wearing the same scarf that Alyssa had worn. This was okay, with Rucker aiming to produce a Robert Aickman-style story (The Hospice springs to mind) and succeeding to some extent thanks to an eclectic bunch of guests. It’s just a shame I didn’t feel much of anything for Paul. Like Alyssa, I too would have left him behind at the earliest opportunity. I appreciate Rucker was trying to portray a person who had grown jaded of travelling, but it felt to me like the guy had never liked travelling in the first place.)

Also collected in “25 Years in the Word Mines – The Best Short Fiction of Graham Joyce”

First, Catch Your Demon – Graham Joyce (4/5 – Joyce gets his writerly oats in an erotically charged story – another of his set in Greece – where a grouchy writer wakes one night to find a bunch of scorpions clinging to the wall above him. He splats a couple of the little buggers but is unable to snuff out a third before it scuttles off into the walls. Wide awake now and baking hot, despite the hour, he steps out to the lakeside near his house to find – can you believe it? – a naked woman. Always happens. The woman’s name is Sasha. She was out swimming in the lake along with her two sisters but has since become separated from them. She stays with our man, exhibiting as much of an interest in his arachnoid houseguests as she has of bonking his brains out. All of which is lovely, but this is a horror story and you can’t go splatting helpless scorpions and expect to get your dick sucked every day. Things inexorably go south for our man the moment Sasha “introduces” him to the hallucinogenic effects of scorpion venom. This is a pretty good read once you’ve coughed and ahemed your way through the shagging. It doesn’t rank among Joyce’s best work, but it’s more accessible than some of his other stories. Worth a look, and perhaps a cold shower afterwards.)

Pump Jack – Donald R. Burleson (3/5 – Cal Withers is driving to the middle of the New Mexico desert, tasked with clearing out Uncle Bill and Aunt Clara’s house now that they’ve passed on. He passes a number of pump jacks on his approach, their metal heads serenely nodding as they scrape the last drops of oil out of the ground. The sight of the pumps doesn’t exactly fill Cal with much peace. He remembers a scary story Uncle Bill would tell when Cal was little, that of a rogue pump jack that stalked the night, preying on naughty children. When Cal gets lost in the pitch-black darkness of the desert, he bumps against the railings of a stilled pump jack that ought not to be there. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? You’d be right, but then Burleson has form when it comes to sprinkling horror dust over the most mundane things. Back in Best New Horror 8, for example, he damn near tied himself in knots trying to make us believe a game of hopscotch was scary. He doesn’t lay on the atmosphere quite as thick this time, thankfully, and even manages to raise a couple of hairs by the end of this tale. But still, silly.)

Outfangthief – Gala Blau (3/5 – Sarah is on the run with her teenage daughter, Laura. She flees a ruthless enforcer, Malcolm Manser, whom she suspects of brutally murdering her husband when he was unable to pay a significant debt. Sarah is keen to place as much distance as possible between Manser and her daughter, knowing the man has a deeply unhealthy interest in the child. In her haste, she pushes her stolen Alfa Romeo too far, crashing it along a country lane. She wakes to find Laura missing and the vestiges of a dreamlike memory that her daughter may have been spirited away to a nearby country house. Meanwhile Manser is hot on their trail, relishing the plans he has for Laura, plans that are far more horrifying than Sarah could ever have feared. Conrad Williams cheekily scores a second story in this book: Blau being a pseudonym of his, and his story City in Aspic appearing a little later. Fun fact: this story was originally published in The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories by Women. 2001 must have been one of those rare years in which so many horror stories by women were being published that some of them had to be written by men pretending to be women. Weird how I don’t remember that… Anyway, the story itself was okay, scoring points for not skimping on the claret and for not being at all protective of any of its characters. A big problem, however, lies in Manser. For the first half Williams absolutely nails him, presenting a nasty piece of work who leaves you genuinely fearful for Sarah and Laura’s safety. And then… well, I can only imagine Williams set this to one side for an evening and watched Snatch because for some ungodly reason Manser suddenly morphs into a fist-bitingly awful cross between Brick Top and whatever character Vinnie Jones played. This might have read better back in 2001, when Guy Ritchie was at the top of his game, but, two decades on, this reeks of a Lock Stock knock-off.)

Also collected in Lane’s “The Lost District”

The Lost District – Joel Lane (4/5 – Lane brings us more from the bleak streets of Birmingham. It’s 1979: a time of change as the governing Labour Party faces losing power to the Tories. Simon is in his fifth and final year of secondary school and is about to undergo a change of his own. He meets a girl, Nicola, sitting on a park bench. She leaves him with a kiss and an offer to show him around her hometown of Clayheath, a marginal area of Birmingham wholly unfamiliar to Simon. It’s a place where nothing changes, where no-one ever visits and where no-one ever leaves. Simon travels to Clayheath, finding Nicola waiting for him. She pops his cherry, which is nice, and a good way to keep him coming back for more. But with each successive visit to Clayheath Simon finds a little more of the area opening up to him: its abandoned buildings, its people and some truly disturbing sights. This was another good read from Lane that packs a lot into its short runtime. For the most part the imagery within the story plays on subconscious fears of teenage pregnancy after Simon has unprotected sex with Nicola. The other theme of the story, that of change, isn’t handled with quite the same artistry. The shock ending, once you think it through, reveals more about Lane’s politics than it does about his central character, which perhaps wasn’t intentional.)

Also collected in Lupoff’s “Visions”

Simeon Dimsby’s Workshop – Richard A. Lupoff (4/5 – Lupoff charts the steady rise of Regis Hardy, a struggling short story writer who eventually finds success and recognition late in life. Regis is quietly committed to his craft, dedicating an hour every morning, lunchtime and evening to writing stories alongside his regular job. He sends stories to various publications and receives rejection slips for his trouble. His wife, Helena, is wholly supportive of Regis’s quest for that first elusive sale. Someday soon, they know he’ll happen across the right combination of words and phrases that will unlock literary greatness. It takes six years for Regis to sell his first story, and he slowly builds his oeuvre from there. When Regis hits retirement age he believes he has enough stories to warrant publication of a collection, something he believes would nicely cap off his literary career. He is contacted by a new firm, Mantigore Press, whose proprietor, Auric Mantigore, is interested in publishing Regis’s collection, and has lined up none other than famed cover artist Simeon Dimsby to create the artwork. Regis is thrilled at the prospect, and in his excitement arranges for Helena and himself to travel across the country to visit upon Mantigore and Dimsby, a hasty act he might live to regret. This is a really good read that acts both as a rallying call to struggling writers to never give up hope, and as a cautionary tale about not jumping into bed with the first publisher that’ll have you. Lupoff was letting off a bit of steam about a number of unprofessional small presses, it seems. Plus ça change in light of the recent furore surrounding ChiZine Publications’ treatment of its authors.)

Also collected in Ligotti’s “Teatro Grottesco”

Our Temporary Supervisor – Thomas Ligotti (3/5 – Ligotti continues a mini-theme of corporate horror (following his book, My Work Is Not Yet Done), this time presenting a tale where workers aren’t so much individuals as citizens of the companies they work for. We follow one such worker as he spends mind-numbing hours every day standing at his assembly block slotting bits of metal together, never knowing their actual function. The supervisor occupies an office at the corner of the shop floor, its frosted glass walls preventing a clear view inside. When the supervisor falls ill, the workers are informed of a temporary replacement, but none of the workers ever see him, only shapes and dark shadows moving behind the glass. When a colleague, Blecher, can take no more of the job our man watches him storm into the corner office and confront the supervisor. Soon Blecher is running screaming from the factory, and is found dead shortly afterwards, an apparent suicide. A replacement for Blecher is transferred in from another factory, a man whose furious work ethic forces everyone to up their game. This is a good read but doesn’t give us anything we haven’t seen before. Come to this story for another opportunity to rage at the corporate mindset, but stay for the sumptuous writing.)

Whose Ghosts These Are – Charles L. Grant (4/5 – Hugh Cabot is a retired beat cop struggling to fill his days. He visits the Caulberg Luncheonette for a bite to eat and to chat with Lana, a waitress there. Lana and Hugh were once lovers, but that was a long time ago. Lana still feels enough for Hugh to worry whenever he doesn’t show at the diner for a while, especially when the local news is filled with stories of a serial killer on the loose, nicknamed The Ghost. Hugh spends a day visiting the city museum, which is hosting an exhibition entitled The Museum of Horror Presents. He browses a number of glass cases that supposedly house the preserved bodies of murderers. He eventually finds an empty case, simply labelled “The Ghost”. A sick joke from the curators, or could there be something more sinister going on? Grant was known as a master of quiet horror, and this effective little chiller is another quality offering. I’d strongly recommend skipping over Grant’s spoilerific introduction, though.)

Shite Hawks – Muriel Gray (4/5 – Gray detonates most of Best New Horror’s C-bombs for this book and a few more to come in a disturbing and volcanically sweary (and also very good) story centred on a Scottish rubbish tip. A small crew of men tend the tip: the simple-minded Spanner, the gruff foreman Belcher and the youngest member of the crew, The Kid. They bicker and fuss among themselves as they go about their work, but all three are focused on the next Rising. Previous Risings have seen the men getting a small wish of theirs granted, but only in exchange for a living sacrifice. The gulls are long gone, the rats along with them. No tramp or pisshead has tried walking across the tip in a while and, much to Belcher’s fury, someone has repaired a child-sized hole in the fence. The Kid knows why Belcher is so angry about the fence being fixed. The man’s wish is immense, surely much too big for the Rising to grant. And what is left around the tip for them to sacrifice? This is one of those stories that works entirely within its own rules. Immerse yourself in this gritty slice of weirdness, however, and you’ll be rewarded with a mighty fine read. Gray is better known as a broadcaster and journalist, but she also wrote a handful of horror novels in the mid-to-late-90s. The publication of this story heralded a lengthy stretch away from the horror genre, from which she has thankfully returned, contributing the odd story to anthologies such as Horrorology and New Fears (both of which wait patiently in my to-be-read pile). I look forward to reading them.)

Also collected in Chislett’s “In The City Of Ghosts”

Off the Map – Michael Chislett (3/5 – Fletcher is proud of his knowledge of London, believing there to be no stretch of the Big Smoke he has not explored. That is until a friend, Mathews, describes an incredible view of London he’d once enjoyed from a small secluded area tucked up a hill overlooking Mabbs End. It’s a spot that Fletcher cannot place. Could there be a nook he’d missed? One that offered an unrivalled view of London, no less? When our man later finds himself near Mabbs End he soon locates the path Mathews had described. As he takes a twisting route up through interminable backstreets he finds the houses around him getting increasingly taller. He meets a number of people along the way. Some cannot say what lies at the end of the path despite having lived in the area for decades. Others don’t seem to care much for what’s up there at all. When Fletcher finally makes it to the top he finds an entirely different view to that which he was expecting. This story is an object lesson in why you should never waste the reader’s time at the beginning of a story. Valuable pages are spent on dull and largely inconsequential waffle between two old London bores. Who honestly cares about the precise location of Mabbs End? Can we not start the story now, please? Things improve once we’re out and about in London, but, with a good chunk of my goodwill spent by that point, I honestly didn’t care one way or the other what Fletcher would find.)

Also collected in Link’s “Stranger Things Happen”

Most of My Friends Are Two-Thirds Water – Kelly Link (4/5 – Link writes herself and a friend, Jak, into a bizarre story in which the world is in the middle of an invasion by an alien species of blonde women who all smell of Lemon Fresh Joy and look like Sandy Duncan. (Checks Wikipedia. Shrugs.) We glean snippets of the situation through intermittent conversations. How Jak had followed an elevator full of Sandy Duncans up to the top floor of a building, for example, only to find it empty and under construction. Or how a new neighbour Jak once accidentally stalked had forgotten about the whole incident, instead coming on strong, with one thing leading to another, leading to a very strange revelation indeed! This was a lot of fun. Link has a gift for comedy, setting up zingers and dropping them at just the right moment for maximum effect. Even during a re-read I found myself laughing at all the same jokes. Matters are helped by Link’s conversational style, a slacker vibe that makes the story so easy to read it’s like not reading at all. It won’t be to everyone’s tastes, and certainly not something to recommend to your parents – goodness me, no – but for me this was probably the best story in the book.)

Also collected in Williams’s “One Once, Then Destroy”

City in Aspic – Conrad Williams (3/5 – For Williams’ second story in BNH13 we’re checking in on Massimo as he winds down the Hotel Europa for the winter months. He’s agreed to play caretaker during the off-season but is none too chipper about the arrangement. The hotel was once his birthright but had to be sold to fund his ailing father’s treatment. While on his rounds he finds a ladies glove on the lobby staircase and sets it aside for safekeeping. Later he escapes to a nearby trattoria and catches sight of a one-handed woman through the window. He soon realises her other hand is gloved. He hastens to her location on the off-chance she’d lost the glove he’d found, but is too late to catch her. The next morning Massimo is shaken to learn someone had been murdered in the area during the night, and that the hand of the corpse had been skinned. To say Williams had never been to Venice at the time of writing this story, he does a bang-up job of transporting us there, or at least to a romanticised version of it. Chalk one for atmosphere, then. Now if only Williams had spent the same amount of effort on the story. The plot is a house of cards that expects the reader to accept a number of large contrivances. For instance, we are expected to believe Massimo can dial someone without thinking (no mobile phones here, kids) and be connected to a friend he hasn’t spoken to since his teenage years. Massimo, it should be said, is in his mid-forties. It gets worse. The ending asks us to accept Massimo had not only forgotten the horrible incident during his childhood that sets up the entire story, but had also conveniently erased from memory the friend to whom it happened. Frankly, Bobby Ewing may as well have stepped out of the shower at that point.)

Also collected in Lee’s “Sounds and Furies”

Where All Things Perish – Tanith Lee (3/5 – A chance sighting of dull old Mr Polleto calls to mind an unusual episode in Frederick’s life. He remembers how the old man had once lived in the same quaint English village as Aunt Alice, whom Frederick would often visit. During one such visit Frederick walks past Josebaar Hawkins’s old country pile. The house has been abandoned for a long time, ever since Hawkins was hanged for bricking up his wife in the attic, murdering her. The sight of an attic window, then, seems unusual. Frederick digs a little deeper into the Hawkins place during subsequent visits to his aunt, finding the condition of the house noticeably deteriorating each time, with carpets of ivy peeling away from the walls, and patches of earth emerging where there was once thick vegetation. He spies a ghostly figure standing at the attic window, a catalyst it seems for an accelerated growth of whatever malaise is afflicting the Hawkins house. Lee packs an awful lot of story into this novelette. And backstory. And back-backstory. It borders on explainitis after a while, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing provided there is enough good stuff to keep the reader invested. Sadly, that was not the case here.)

Also collected in “The Two Sams: Ghost Stories”

Struwwelpeter – Glen Hirshberg (3/5In this World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novella we’re in the company of troubled teen genius Peter Andersz. He’s the kind of kid who can ace a half-hour test in five minutes. He’s also a kid who’ll sometimes burn his father’s belongings apropos of nothing. He can be cold and distant to his dwindling circle of friends, occasionally snapping at them. He sometimes backchats his father, swearing at him, calling him Dipshit Dad. When Peter gets like this, Mr Andersz refers to his son as Struwwelpeter (after the German children’s story, Shock-Haired Peter). So, yeah, not a happy household. Peter and his friend, Andrew, head out to old man Paars’ house accompanied by the Mack sisters. Peter is keen to show the Macks a large bell he and Andrew had found hanging in Paars’ garden, dead centre of a large eye motif cut into the grass. The bell, when rung, is said to wake the dead. I can’t say I was bowled over by this one. It’s as if the story doesn’t know what it wants to be. The first half illustrates a killer in the making, then gets bored of all that and becomes a spooky house story instead. The story picks up steam once we get into old man Paars’ house, but far too many pages are spent getting there. Your mileage may vary – it was up for a gong after all – but this won’t be a story I’ll be rushing back to re-read.)

Also collected in Hand’s “Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories”

Cleopatra Brimstone – Elizabeth Hand (3/5Puberty brings about something strange in Janie. Nowhere in her books do they mention the growth of three remarkably long hairs at the inside of each eyebrow. She plucks out the hairs and gets on with her life. At university she studies entomology, specialising in moths and butterflies, and is utterly absorbed in the subject. One night on campus she is attacked and raped while returning to her room, her rapist urging her: “try to escape”. Janie returns home to her parents to recover, where she is soon offered to housesit across the pond in London. She accepts, and swiftly undergoes a butterfly-like transformation of her own. Her eyebrow hairs grow back, now incredibly sensitive, delivering a lightning bolt of pleasure and pain at their touch. Her confidence returns in spades, sufficient to see her get her head shaved and undertake a complete overhaul of her wardrobe. She visits fetish shops to rig the bed with chains and cuffs. She steps out into the night as Cleopatra Brimstone, looking for a man to bring home, to tie to her bed, to urge them: “try to escape”. This novella, like Struwwelpeter, was nominated for a World Fantasy award back in the day, and went on to win an International Horror Critics Guild award for long fiction. Sadly this was another well-regarded story that didn’t really do it for me. There’s good stuff to be had in places, but the story is overlong, focused on a character who wasn’t terribly likeable and lumped with an ending so naff I damn near dropped the book. Again, your mileage may vary.)

Cats and Architecture – Chico Kidd (3/5Jo Da Silva is seeking some writerly inspiration in Venice. Getting nowhere, she steps to the window and looks down on a small piazza outside her apartment. She detects movement in an old building across the way, an apparition at a loosely shuttered window. She shakes it off, blaming a head full of other people’s ghost stories when she ought to be writing her own. She later receives a mysterious phone call, asking: “Are you coming?”, then “If you don’t come to see me, I’ll come to you”. Or was it just a waking dream? When a key is left on her desk, a key she knows will open the building opposite, it seems as if someone, or something, is very keen for her to take a look. There are a few stories in this book which are guilty of trying too hard. The stories tend to be written in service of a cool idea the author had at the outset. Sometimes they get away with it. Other times, the story fails to convince. Guess which category this story falls into. It’s a shame because when Cats and Architecture is able to unshackle itself of all the scene-setting and is finally allowed to flow, it can be pretty absorbing stuff. A scene in which Jo steps into the afters of a summoning ritual, for example, is a gruesome delight. We also get to meet Jo’s (maybe-)ancestor Captain Da Silva during a flashback, and discover how the man lost his eye. You might not get this far, though, after a first half spent making its rather silly premise believable. If you can suspend your disbelief for twenty minutes, give this one a whirl.)

And so ends another monster review of Best New Horror. As with previous volumes of the series, if any of the stories tickle your fancy then you shouldn’t have too much trouble tracking down a second-hand copy on the interwebs. Failing that you can purchase an eBook copy from most outlets for a few quid. As with previous reviews, the book images will take you to their respective pages on Goodreads should you want to explore an author’s work a little deeper.

Thanks for reading! Swing by again for Best New Horror 14, why don’t you?


Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1426

A noticeable dip in quality this week. Had to happen at some point. You can find my completed grid for what it’s worth, along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. Some are flakier than a le[REDACTED IN THE INTEREST OF GOOD TASTE]ck, so watch out.

Before all that nonsense, some me-time. If you’ve got a Times Jumbo Cryptic that is showing a few gaps then check out my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find posts covering the last 70-odd puzzles. While you’re buggering about the place, take a butchers at my Reviews page. I’m slowly working my way through the Best New Horror series, and will chuck a fresh review on here shortly. There’s even a story of mine knocking around here somewhere, just to show it’s not all crosswords here. (Okay, okay, it’s mostly crosswords.)

Anyway, enough of the guff. To (some of) the answers!


Corrected grid now the solution has been published.

Across clues

1. Regarding meals, grand and rather more than substantial! (13)

Answer: GASTRONOMICAL (i.e. “regarding meals”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “grand”) followed by ASTRONOMICAL (i.e. “rather more than substantial”).

8. Circulating air is linked to expert forecast (9)

Answer: PROGNOSIS (i.e. “forecast”). Solution is SONG (i.e. “air”) reversed (indicated by “circulating”) and IS both placed after (weakly indicated by “linked to”) PRO (i.e. “expert”), like so: PRO-GNOS-IS.

13. Tailor inclined to get behind promotional material (5)

Answer: ADAPT (i.e. “tailor”). Solution is APT (i.e. “inclined”, as in “he was apt to say boo to geese as he was a bit weird like that”) placed “behind” AD (i.e. “promotional material”), like so: AD-APT.

14. Awkward behaviour necessarily limiting fellow (11)

Answer: PERFORMANCE (i.e. “awkward behaviour”). Solution is PERFORCE (i.e. “necessarily”) wrapped around or “limiting” MAN (i.e. “fellow”), like so: PERFOR(MAN)CE. Not a classic.

15. Computer component absorbing programmer’s latest tweet (5)

Answer: CHIRP (i.e. “tweet”). Solution is CHIP (i.e. “computer component”) wrapped around or “absorbing” R (i.e. “programmer’s latest”, i.e. the last letter of “programmer”), like so: CHI(R)P.

16. Equivocal with celebrity heading off to accept major opening in university (9)

Answer: AMBIGUOUS (i.e. “equivocal”). Solution is FAMOUS (i.e. “celebrity”) with the initial letter removed (indicated by “heading off”) and the remainder wrapped around or “accepting” BIG (i.e. “major”) and U (i.e. “opening in university”, i.e. the first letter of “university”), like so: AM(BIG-U)OUS.

17. Rebellion? Show hesitation, deposing leading pair (4)

Answer: TEND. This is a complete guess, I’m afraid. The clue seems to suggest the solution is derived by removing or “deposing” the first two letters or “leading pair” of a six-letter word meaning “show hesitation” which fits the letters **T*N*. The best I’ve got at the moment is EXTEND, but I can’t square TEND with “rebellion”. Also, if the solution was TEND then its proximity to the similar-sounding TENDER IS THE NIGHT would suggest poor grid construction from the setter. So, yeah, this is very likely incorrect. If some kind soul swings by with the proper solution then I’ll update the post, but for now I’m going to get on with my weekend.
[EDIT: The solution to this one was TINY, as suggested by a number of commenters. That would be MUTINY (i.e. “rebellion”) with the “leading pair” of letters “deposed”. I’m still none the wiser why this would be “show hesitation”, though. – LP]
[FURTHER EDIT: A big thank you to Sue and Steve in the comments for clearing this one up. It seems the clue was incorrect and should have been: Small-scale rebellion, deposing leading pair (4)”. This then gives you MUTINY, from which you then remove the “leading pair” of letters, MU, to leave TINY, i.e. “small-scale” – LP]

18. Criminal bid to secure target (8)

Answer: OFFENDER (i.e. “criminal”). Solution is OFFER (i.e. “bid”) wrapped around or “securing” END (i.e. “target”), like so: OFF(END)ER.

20. Over a year to adopt updated description of some streets? (3-3)

Answer: ONE-WAY (i.e. “description of some streets”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), A and Y (ditto “year”) wrapped around or “adopting” NEW (i.e. “updated”), like so: O-(NEW)-A-Y.

21. Novel proposal – this thing is dodgy, involving energy (6,2,3,5)

Answer: TENDER IS THE NIGHT (i.e. “novel” by F. Scott Fitzgerald). Solution is TENDER (i.e. “proposal”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “is dodgy”) of THIS THING once it has been wrapped around or “involving” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: TENDER-ISTH(E)NIGHT.

24. Payment seeing English name in memorial replaced by Latin (9)

Answer: EMOLUMENT (i.e. “payment”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by MONUMENT (i.e. “memorial”) once the first N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”) has been “replaced by” L (ditto “Latin”), like so: E-MO(N)UMENT => E-MO(L)UMENT.

26. Tinkers reduced thoughtless cries, making no repetition (7)

Answer: RASCALS (i.e. “tinkers”). Solution is RASH (i.e. “thoughtless”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “reduced”) and followed by CALLS (i.e. “cries”) once one of the Ls has been removed (indicated by “making no repetition”), like so: RAS-CALS.

27. Teaching graduate recalled it in a change to account (5)

Answer: DEBIT (i.e. “a change to account”). Solution is BED (i.e. “teaching graduate”, specifically a Bachelor of Education) reversed (indicated by “recalled”) and followed by IT, like so: DEB-IT.

29. A wonderful time with colourful characters? (3-6,3)

Answer: RED-LETTER DAY (i.e. “a wonderful time”). Solution riffs on how red letters can be described as “colourful characters”. A recent repeat.

31. Money went quickly leading to return of extravagant artist (10)

Answer: Jacopo TINTORETTO (i.e. “artist”). Solution is TIN (a slang word for “money”) followed by TORE (i.e. “went quickly”) and OTT (i.e. “extravagant”, i.e. an abbreviation of “over the top”) once it has been reversed (indicated by “return of…”), like so: TIN-TORE-TTO. Chalk one to by Bradfords here, as there have been a few artists over the years.

33. Illuminated slab, though not one to carry representation of constellation (6,4)

Answer: LITTLE BEAR (i.e. “constellation”). Solution is LIT (i.e. “illuminated”) followed by TILE (i.e. “slab”) once the I has been removed (indicated by “though not [Roman numeral] one”), and then BEAR (i.e. “to carry”), like so: LIT-TLE-BEAR.

35. Examination body in good successful result means to get on (8,4)

Answer: BOARDING PASS (i.e. “means to get on” a plane). Solution is BOARD (i.e. “examination body”) followed by IN, then G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) and PASS (i.e. “successful result”).

38. English education requirements including nothing wrong (5)

Answer: ERROR (i.e. “wrong”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by RRR (i.e. “education requirements”, being the three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic – the fact only one of those words ever began with an R still bugs the shit out of me today. Yes, I’m weird…) once it is wrapped around or “including” O (i.e. “nothing”), like so: E-RR(O)R.

39. Take clothing off, having kinky fun with popular music (7)

Answer: UNFROCK (i.e. “take clothing off”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “kinky”) of FUN followed by ROCK (i.e. “popular music”), like so: UNF-ROCK.

40. Strategic manœuvring after losing lead to European is a fag (9)

Answer: CIGARETTE (i.e. “fag”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “manœuvring”) of STRAGETIC once the S has been removed (indicated by “after losing head”), and followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: CIGARETT-E.

42. Participant in trial answers architect after demolition (9,7)

Answer: CHARACTER WITNESS (i.e. “participant in trial”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “after demolition”) of ANSWERS ARCHITECT.

44. What cuts up first bit of coal brought in by coal supplier? (6)

Answer: MINCER (i.e. “what cuts up”). Solution is C (i.e. “first bit of coal”, i.e. the first letter of “coal”) placed “in” MINER (i.e. “coal supplier”), like so: MIN(C)ER.

47. What viola uses, upset at cello getting loud (4,4)

Answer: ALTO CLEF (i.e. “what viola uses”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “upset”) of AT CELLO followed by F (a recognised abbreviation of fortissimo or “loud” in musical lingo), like so: ALTOCLE-F.

49. Pellet or its victim? (4)

Answer: SLUG. Solution satisfies “pellet” and “[pellet’s] victim”.

50. Giving energy to an island marriage (9)

Answer: ANIMATING (i.e. “giving energy to”). Solution is AN, then I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”) and MATING (i.e. “marriage”).

52. Walk miles, getting snared (5)

Answer: TRAMP (i.e. “walk”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “miles”). “Getting snared” indicates this is placed amid a TRAP, like so: TRA(M)P.

53. Vehicle getting a run in University bus service is blue (11)

Answer: ULTRAMARINE (i.e. “blue”). Solution is TRAM (i.e. “vehicle”), A and R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games) all placed “in” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and LINE (i.e. “bus service”), like so: U-L(TRAM-A-R)INE.

54. US lawyer in one US state almost backing another (5)

Answer: IDAHO (i.e. “another [US state]”). Solution is DA (i.e. “US lawyer”, specifically a District Attorney) placed in OHIO (i.e. “US state”) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “backing”), like so: I(DA)HO.

55. Amateur behind nonsense seen by that woman in town (9)

Answer: ROTHERHAM (i.e. “town”). Solution is HAM (i.e. “amateur”) placed “behind” ROT (i.e. “nonsense”) and HER (i.e. “that woman”), like so: ROT-HER-HAM.

56. Sonatina tunes broadcast with no delay (13)

Answer: INSTANTANEOUS (i.e. “with no delay”). “Broadcast” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SONATINA TUNES.

Down clues

1. Hispanic dish about to be introduced to Pacific island with cheer from Spain (9)

Answer: GUACAMOLE (i.e. “Hispanic dish”). Solution is CA (i.e. “about”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) placed in or “introduced to” GUAM (i.e. “Pacific island”) and then followed by OLE (i.e. “cheer from Spain”), like so: GU(AC)AM-OLE.

2. Feign anger, dismissing one in drag? (7)

Answer: SHAMBLE (i.e. “drag”, as in to move laboriously). Solution is SHAM (i.e. “feign”) followed by BILE (i.e. “anger”) once the I has been removed (indicated by “dismissing [Roman numeral] one”), like so: SHAM-BLE.

3. Upset over our rag including first sight of this photo print (11)

Answer: ROTOGRAVURE (i.e. “photo print”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “upset”) of OVER OUR RAG wrapped around or “including”) T (i.e. “first sight of this”, i.e. the first letter of “this”), like so: RO(T)OGRAVURE. Another nod to my Bradfords. The wordplay was obvious, but so was the fact this was going to be a shitty word I didn’t know. I’ll probably now see this in everything I read for the next three weeks.

4. No pressure in seizing power in uprising in Asian country (6)

Answer: NIPPON (i.e. “Asian country”, i.e. Japan). Solution is NO, P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”) and IN all wrapped around or “seizing” P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”), like so: NI-(P)-P-ON.

5. Steersman, confused – one’s not worth following up (5-4)

Answer: MARE’S-NEST, which is “a supposedly worthwhile discovery that turns out to have no real value” (Chambers) (i.e. “one’s not worth following up”). “Confused” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of STEERSMAN.

6. The fool Edward, overlooking the best treat in Devon (7,5)

Answer: CLOTTED CREAM (i.e. “treat in Devon”). Solution is CLOT (i.e. “the fool”) followed by TED (shortened form of “Edward”) both placed above or “overlooking” – this being a down clue – CREAM (i.e. “the best”).

7. Girl holding overturned garden ornament beginning to revive plant (5,5)

Answer: LEMON GRASS (i.e. “plant”). Solution is LASS (i.e. “girl”) wrapped around or “holding” GNOME (i.e. “garden ornament”) once it has been reversed (indicated by “overturned”) and R (i.e. “beginning to revive”, i.e. the first letter of “revive”), like so: L(EMONG-R)ASS.

8. Mount is fraudulent, having no height (4)

Answer: PONY (i.e. a horse or “mount”). Solution is PHONY (i.e. “fraudulent”) with the H removed (indicated by “having no height”, H being a recognised abbreviation of “height”).

9. Unavoidable item yonder? (3,2,5,6)

Answer: ONE OF THOSE THINGS. Solution satisfies “unavoidable” and “item yonder”.

10. Hot in Mediterranean resort? It’s not for everyone (5)

Answer: NICHE (i.e. “it’s not for everyone”). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot”) placed in NICE (i.e. “Mediterranean resort”), like so: NIC(H)E.

11. Party to appreciate after quiet home (7)

Answer: SHINDIG (i.e. “party”). Solution is DIG (i.e. “to appreciate”) placed “after” SH (i.e. “quiet”) and IN (i.e. at “home”), like so: SH-IN-DIG.

12. Our site’s up – it’s running? Keeping fingers crossed, perhaps (13)

Answer: SUPERSTITIOUS (i.e. “keeping fingers crossed, perhaps”). “Running” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OUR SITE’S UP IT’S.

19. French are less sanguine about one garden feature (8)

Answer: ESPALIER (i.e. “garden feature”). Solution is ES (i.e. “French are”, i.e. the French for “are”) followed by PALER (i.e. “less sanguine”) once it has been placed “about” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: ES-PAL(I)ER. One that needed a bit of brute force using my Chambers.

22. Managed to turn up without detective – a low point (5)

Answer: NADIR (i.e. “a low point”). Solution is RAN (i.e. “managed”) reversed (indicated by “to turn up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “without” DI (i.e. “detective”, specifically a Detective Inspector), like so: NA(DI)R.

23. Avoid the issue, something commoner amongst rural constabulary? (4,5,3,4)

Answer: BEAT ABOUT THE BUSH (i.e. “avoid the issue”). Solution riffs on how a constabulary’s patch is called a “beat”. You might find a “bush” on a common. Something like that, anyway. Not a classic.

25. One more mature Democrat brought in support for weaponry? Not initially (7)

Answer: OLDSTER (i.e. “one more mature”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “Democrat”) “brought in” to HOLSTER (i.e. “support for weaponry”) once the initial letter has been removed (indicated by “not initially”), like so: OL(D)STER.

28. Only took in some small feature of film (3,4)

Answer: BIT PART. Solution satisfies “only took in some” and “small feature of film”.

29. Unsettling transport provided by smart car and boat (6-7)

Answer: ROLLER-COASTER (i.e. “unsettling transport”). Solution is ROLLER (i.e. “smart car”, specifically a Rolls Royce) followed by COASTER (i.e. “boat”).

30. Again declare English will invest in service company (8)

Answer: REAFFIRM (i.e. “again declare”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) placed or “invested” in RAF (i.e. “service”, specifically the Royal Air Force) and followed by FIRM (i.e. “company”), like so: R(E)AF-FIRM.

32. It reflects visit on schooner around capital of Greece (7-5)

Answer: LOOKING-GLASS (i.e. “it reflects”). Solution is LOOK IN (i.e. “visit”) and GLASS (i.e. “schooner” – can mean a drinking glass or a boat) placed “around” G (i.e. “capital of Greece”, i.e. the first letter of “Greece”), like so: LOOK-IN-(G)-GLASS.

34. The French artist captures very insectile form (5)

Answer: LARVA (i.e. “insectile form”). Solution is LA (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the French for “the”) and RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) placed around or “capturing” V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”), like so: LA-R(V)A.

36. Some will leave country, one country in process of growth (11)

Answer: GERMINATION (i.e. “process of growth”). Solution is GERMANY (i.e. “country”) with the ANY (i.e. “some”) removed (indicated by “will leave”), and the remainder followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and NATION (i.e. “country”), like so: GERM-I-NATION.

37. Second criticism before I pin up Italian artist (10)

Answer: Amedeo MODIGLIANI (i.e. “Italian artist”). Solution is MO (i.e. “second”, both referring to a short period of time) followed by DIG (i.e. “criticism”, as in a dig in the ribs). These are then followed by and I and NAIL (i.e. “pin”) once they have been reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: MO-DIG-LIAN-I. Another success for my Bradfords. What’s better than one dead Italian artist in a crossword grid? Two dead Italian artists, of course! Actually, no. No it isn’t, setter.

40. Fellow performer I caught going to a country in the Americas (5,4)

Answer: COSTA RICA (i.e. “country in the Americas”). Solution is CO-STAR (i.e. “fellow performer”) followed by I, then C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games) and A.

41. Outrageous for one holy man to spurn sources of lechery and immorality (9)

Answer: EGREGIOUS (i.e. “outrageous”). Solution is EG (i.e. “for one”, i.e. “e.g.”) followed by RELIGIOUS (i.e. “holy man”) once the L and first I have been removed (indicated by “to spurn sources of lechery and immorality”, i.e. the first letters of “lechery” and “immorality”), like so: EG-REGIOUS.

43. Evoke rising cheers over region (7)

Answer: ATTRACT (i.e. “evoke”). Solution is TA (i.e. “cheers”, both forms of thanks) which is reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue) and followed by TRACT (i.e. “region”), like so: AT-TRACT.

45. Marx enthralling a head of Government in US city (7)

Answer: CHICAGO (i.e. “US city”). Solution is CHICO, one of The “Marx” Brothers, wrapped around or “enthralling” A and G (i.e. “head of Government”, i.e. the first letter of “Government”), like so: CHIC(A-G)O.

46. Distract pickpocket before start of theft (6)

Answer: DIVERT (i.e. “distract”). Solution is DIVER (i.e. “pickpocket”, as in one who dives in pockets) placed “before” T (i.e. “start of theft”, i.e. the first letter of “theft”), like so: DIVER-T.

48. Taking up spades, manages small wood (5)

Answer: COPSE (i.e. “small wood”). Solution is COPES (i.e. “manages”) with the S (a recognised abbreviation of “spades” used in card games) nudged or “taken up” a notch – this being a down clue.

51. Support couple leaving island, adopting son (4)

Answer: STEM (i.e. “support”). Another guess, I’m afraid. There are a handful of words that fit the letters *T*M, but this seems the most likely. Could also be ITEM for a “couple”, but this seems less likely otherwise “couple” would be the first word of the clue. Again, if someone wanders by shedding light on this clue then I’ll update the post. Until then, I’m outta here.
[EDIT: Back again! Thanks to zouzoulap in the comments for clearing this one up. I was on the right lines, but didn’t really join the dots, to mix my metaphors. The solution is ITEM (i.e. “couple”) with the I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”) replaced by S (ditto “son”), like so: (I)TEM => (S)TEM. Thanks, Z! – LP]

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1425

A pretty good one this week that I’d have cracked a lot sooner had I not written GLISTER when I’d meant GLISTEN. (Shakes head at previous me.) As ever, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful.

Some housekeeping, if you’ll forgive the intrusion. If you’ve got a previous Times Jumbo Cryptic that’s been giving you sleepless nights then you’ll find links to a whole bunch of solutions on my Just For Fun page. While you’re here, I’ve also got a bunch of book reviews to shove under your nose. All being well I’ll have a review of Best New Horror 13 up shortlyish, you lucky, lucky people. If you’d like a half-hour diversion, I’ve also got a story of mine knocking about the place for you. Generous to a fault, me, I know, I know.

Right then, to the answers!

Yours in cruciverbalism,


Across clues

1. Pompous worker chasing two mischievous children in class (4-9)

Answer: SELF-IMPORTANT (i.e. “pompous”). Solution is ANT (i.e. “worker”) placed after or “chasing” ELF and IMP (i.e. “two mischievous children”) once they have been placed “in” SORT (i.e. “class”), like so: S(ELF-IMP)ORT-ANT.

8. Soldier’s one bloodsucker, mostly – like this? (9)

Answer: PARASITIC (i.e. “bloodsucker…like this”). Solution is PARA’S (i.e. “soldier’s”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and TICK (i.e. “bloodsucker”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: PARA’S-I-TIC.

13. A long letter (5)

Answer: AITCH (i.e. the “letter” H). Solution is A followed by ITCH (i.e. to “long” for).

14. Anger about recurrent motif in press writing (9)

Answer: REPORTAGE (i.e. “press writing”). Solution is RAGE (i.e. “anger”) placed “about” TROPE (i.e. “motif”) once it has been reversed (indicated by “recurrent” – one of the word’s lesser-used meanings), like so: R(EPORT)AGE.

15. Shine, displaying knowledge about series of items (7)

Answer: GLISTEN (i.e. “shine”). Solution is GEN (i.e. “knowledge”) placed “about” LIST (i.e. “series of items”), like so: G(LIST)EN.

16. Man can live ultimately on fish oil (12)

Answer: BRILLIANTINE (i.e. “[hair] oil”). Solution is IAN (i.e. “man”), TIN (i.e. “can”) and E (i.e. “live ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “live”) placed “on” or after BRILL (i.e. “fish”), like so: BRILL-IAN-TIN-E.

17. Exercises calm about time for deadly epidemic (10)

Answer: PESTILENCE (i.e. “deadly epidemic”). Solution is PE (i.e. “exercises”, specifically Physical Education), followed by SILENCE (i.e. “calm”) once it has been placed “about” T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: PE-S(T)ILENCE.

18. Scoffed about long time to pump in gas (6)

Answer: AERATE (i.e. “to pump in gas”). Solution is ATE (i.e. “scoffed”) placed “about” ERA (i.e. “long time”), like so: A(ERA)TE.

19. Tiny edit affected equation (8)

Answer: IDENTITY (i.e. an “equation” true for all values of the symbols involved (Chambers)). “Affected” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TINY EDIT.

21. Appoint a small board to give public information (6)

Answer: ASSIGN (i.e. “appoint”). Solution is A then S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and SIGN (i.e. “board to give public information”).

24. Improbity in the synod is out of order (10)

Answer: DISHONESTY (i.e. “improbity”). “Out of order” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THE SYNOD IS.

26. Sloshed inebriate outside reception room, forgetting name? (5,2,1,4)

Answer: DRUNK AS A LORD (i.e. “sloshed”). Solution is DRUNKARD (i.e. “inebriate”) wrapped around or “outside” of SALON (i.e. “reception room”) once the N has been removed (indicated by “forgetting name”, N being a recognised abbreviation of “name”), like so: DRUNKA(SALO)RD.

29. Contest unpaid pounds (4)

Answer: DUEL (i.e. “contest”). Solution is DUE (i.e. “unpaid”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “pounds” of weight).

30. Basil, say, a sentimental lover missing the point? (8)

Answer: AROMATIC (i.e. “basil, say”, as in an aromatic herb). Solution is A ROMANTIC (i.e. “a sentimental lover”) once the N has been removed (indicated by “missing the [compass] point”, N being a recognised abbreviation of “north”).

31. What’s fallen out of second sack (8)

Answer: SPILLAGE (i.e. “what’s fallen out”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) followed by PILLAGE (i.e. “[to] sack”).

34. Relating to courts female emperor overturned thus (8)

Answer: FORENSIC (i.e. “relating to courts”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) followed by NERO (i.e. “emperor”) once it has been reversed (indicated by “overturned”), then followed by SIC (i.e. “thus”), like so: F-OREN-SIC.

35. Broadcast by queen holds nothing about what took her abroad? (8)

Answer: AIRLINER (i.e. “what took her abroad”). Solution is AIR (i.e. “broadcast”) and ER (i.e. “queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) wrapped around or “holding” NIL (i.e. “nothing”) once it has been reversed (indicated by “about”), like so: AIR-(LIN)-ER.

36. Desire Shakespeare casually expressed (4)

Answer: WILL. Solution satisfies “desire” and “Shakespeare casually expressed”, being a shortened form of William.

39. English farm animals and cat I’m making upset – briefly amusing (12)

Answer: EPIGRAMMATIC (i.e. “amusing”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by PIG and RAM (i.e. “farm animals”) and an anagram (indicated by “making upset”) of CAT I’M, like so: E-PIG-RAM-MATIC.

40. Relaxed about wet weather that’s rather cold (10)

Answer: RESTRAINED (i.e. “rather cold” in demeanour). Solution is RESTED (i.e. “relaxed”) placed “about” RAIN (i.e. “wet weather”), like so: REST(RAIN)ED.

43. Area of ten by ten in the middle of cemetery (6)

Answer: EXTENT (i.e. “area”). Solution is X (i.e. the first “ten” of the clue) and TEN placed “in” ET (i.e. “the middle of cemetery”, i.e. the middle two letters of “cemetery”), like so: E(X-TEN)T.

44. Act roughly in factory dance (8)

Answer: WORKSHOP (i.e. “act roughly”, as in to work through something by trying stuff out, a bit like sandboxing in computing). Solution is WORKS (i.e. “factory”) followed by HOP (i.e. “dance”).

45. Fool holding gang’s possessions (6)

Answer: ASSETS (i.e. “possessions”). Solution is ASS (i.e. “fool”) wrapped around or “holding” SET (i.e. “gang”), like so: AS(SET)S.

49. Reprimand tons with cheap disposal not having succeeded (7-3)

Answer: TELLING-OFF (i.e. “reprimand”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “tons”) followed by SELLING OFF (i.e. “cheap disposal”) once the S has been removed (indicated by “not having succeeded”, S being a recognised abbreviation of “succeeded”), like so: T-ELLING-OFF.

51. Stadium boxer swinging, using both left and right (12)

Answer: AMBIDEXTROUS (i.e. “using both left and right” hands). “Swinging” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of STADIUM BOXER. Excellent clue!

53. One cruelly killed a long time after deed (7)

Answer: ACTAEON (i.e. “one cruelly killed” in Greek mythology, when he was turned into a stag and torn to pieces by his frenzied hounds. Lovely.) Solution is A and EON (i.e. “long time”) placed “after” ACT (i.e. “deed”), like so: ACT-A-EON. One gotten from the wordplay.

54. Bolshevik cunning is possessed by worker (9)

Answer: ANARCHIST (i.e. “Bolshevik”). Solution is ARCH (i.e. “cunning”) and IS placed in or “possessed by” ANT (i.e. “worker”), like so: AN(ARCH-IS)T.

55. Like some yoghurt to follow over fruit? (5)

Answer: OLIVE (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is LIVE (i.e. “like some yoghurt”) placed after or “following” O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), like so: O-LIVE.

56. Turn out upper-class in gallery after literary evening (9)

Answer: EVENTUATE (i.e. “turn out”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “upper-class”) placed “in” TATE (i.e. “gallery”) and the whole then placed “after” EVEN (i.e. a poetic or “literary [form of] evening”), like so: EVEN-T(U)ATE.

57. Spiritual awakening is nettling he-men, unfortunately (13)

Answer: ENLIGHTENMENT (i.e. “spiritual awakening”). “Unfortunately” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NETTLING HE-MEN.

Down clues

1. Climbing rodents get on ship to leave port? (9)

Answer: STARBOARD (i.e. “to leave port” – a commenter on a previous post made the point that “not port” on a ship needn’t automatically mean “starboard”. You’ve got midships, for example. He wasn’t keen on a clue that tried to get away with this, so I reckon he won’t be too impressed by this one either!) Solution is RATS (i.e. “rodents”) reversed (indicated by “climbing”, this being a down clue) followed by BOARD (i.e. “get on ship”), like so: STAR-BOARD.

2. Religious reformer imprisons one who will fret? (7)

Answer: LUTHIER (i.e. “who will fret” – a luthier is a maker of guitars and lutes, instruments with fretboards). Solution is Martin LUTHER (i.e. “religious reformer”) wrapped around or “imprisoning” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: LUTH(I)ER.

3. Inspiration Henry found in island race (10)

Answer: INHALATION (i.e. “inspiration”, as in to breathe in). Solution is HAL (an alternative form of “Henry”) placed or “found in” I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”) and NATION (i.e. “race”), like so: I-N(HAL)ATION.

4. Hard up, wretched in seclusion (6)

Answer: PURDAH (i.e. “seclusion”). “Wretched” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HARD UP.

5. What’s pirate suffering splitting share being brought home? (12)

Answer: REPATRIATION (i.e. “being brought home”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “suffering”) of PIRATE placed in or “splitting” RATION (i.e. “share”), like so: R(EPATRI)ATION.

6. Deliverer of order arrives carrying cooker (8)

Answer: ARRANGER (i.e. “deliverer of order”). Solution is ARR (a recognised abbreviation of “arrives” seen on timetables) wrapped around or “carrying” RANGE (i.e. “cooker”), like so: AR(RANGE)R.

7. Horses harnessed together: the second is out of energy (4)

Answer: TEAM (i.e. “horses harnessed together”). Solution is STEAM (i.e. “energy”) with the S removed (indicated by “the second is out of…” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “second”).

8. Oddly need priest to get ordained in advance (10)

Answer: PREDESTINE (i.e. “get ordained in advance”). “Oddly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NEED PRIEST.

9. Not quite in line with the latest ideas, okay? (6)

Answer: RIGHTO (i.e. “okay”). Solution is RIGHT ON (i.e. “in line with the latest ideas”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “not quite”).

10. Indecision of foolish girl embracing Henry more than once (12)

Answer: SHILLYSHALLY (i.e. “indecision”). Solution is SILLY (i.e. “foolish”) and SALLY (i.e. “girl”) once they have both (indicated by “more than once”) been wrapped around or “embracing” H (a recognised abbreviation of “Henry”, a unit of measurement that seems to be flavour of the month for setters), like so: S(H)ILLY-S(H)ALLY.

11. Giant bird sank, lacking wings (5)

Answer: TITAN (i.e. “giant”). Solution is TIT (i.e. “bird”) followed by AN (i.e. “sank, lacking wings”, i.e. the word “sank” with the first and last letters removed).

12. Abode ripe for demolition? Felon might hang about here? (9,4)

Answer: CONDEMNED CELL. Solution riffs on how “condemned” can describe a building earmarked for “demolition” as well as a “felon” awaiting execution, punningly referenced by “might hang about here”. You get the idea.

20. Go quickly up, sick over a Spanish omelette (8)

Answer: TORTILLA (i.e. “Spanish omelette”). Solution is TROT (i.e. “go quickly”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and followed by ILL (i.e. “sick”) and A, like so: TORT-ILL-A.

22. One remedy that has answer for universal solitude (9)

Answer: ISOLATION (i.e. “solitude”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by SOLUTION (i.e. “remedy”) once the U (a recognised abbreviation of “universal” used in film certification) has been replaced by (indicated by “has…for”) A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A), like so: I-SOL(U)TION => I-SOL(A)TION

23. Millions lost by metal plant (8)

Answer: GERANIUM (i.e. “plant”). Solution is GERMANIUM (i.e. “metal”) once the middle M has been removed (indicated by “millions lost”, M being a recognised abbreviation of “millions”).

25. Succeeded with fruit as new flavour (9)

Answer: SPEARMINT (i.e. “flavour”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “succeeded”) followed by PEAR (i.e. “fruit”) and MINT (i.e. “as new”).

27. With which Hook starts in the role of buccaneer (8)

Answer: ASPIRATE, which is to pronounce one’s aitches (i.e. “with which Hook starts”). When read as AS PIRATE the solution also satisfies “in the role of buccaneer”.

28. Reptile is back, large one coming in to lie in the sun (8)

Answer: BASILISK (i.e. “reptile”). Solution is IS reversed (indicated by “back”), L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), placed “in” BASK (i.e. “to lie in the sun”), like so: BA(SI-L-I)SK.

29. Distinguish if iron ripped apart with current in time (13)

Answer: DIFFERENTIATE (i.e. “distinguish”). Solution is IF, FE (chemical symbol for “iron”), RENT (i.e. “ripped apart”) and I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics) all placed “in” DATE (i.e. “time”), like so: D(IF-FE-RENT-I)ATE.

32. Determined current passing round grid, initially (12)

Answer: INTRANSIGENT (i.e. “determined”). Solution is I (a recognised abbreviation of “current” as we’ve just covered) followed by TRANSIENT (i.e. “passing”) once it has been placed “round” G (i.e. “grid, initially”, i.e. the first letter of “grid”), like so: I-TRANSI(G)ENT.
[EDIT: Thanks to Richard in the comments for correcting this one. “Current” is IN, not I, so the solution is IN-TRANSI(G)ENT. Time was getting on when I wrote this bit! Thanks again, Richard! – LP]

33. Change ringers, inept and full of boldness (12)

Answer: ENTERPRISING (i.e. “full of boldness”). “Change” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RINGERS INEPT.

37. Came across old uniform cloth for staff in military design (10)

Answer: CAMOUFLAGE (i.e. “military design”). Solution is CAME wrapped around or placed “across” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet) and FLAG (i.e. “cloth for staff”), like so: CAM(O-U-FLAG)E.

38. Instrument surgeon initially inserted in low spine (6,4)

Answer: BASSET HORN (i.e. “instrument”). Solution is S (i.e. “surgeon initially”, i.e. the first letter of “surgeon”) placed “in” BASE (i.e. “low”) and followed by THORN (i.e. “spine”), like so: BA(S)SE-THORN. One gotten from the wordplay.

41. Cover song about street woman (9)

Answer: DUSTSHEET (i.e. “cover”). Solution is DUET (i.e. “song”) placed “about” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”) and SHE (i.e. “woman”), like so: DU(ST-SHE)ET.

42. Caught Michael shaking for addictive drug (8)

Answer: CHEMICAL (i.e. “addictive drug”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games) followed by an anagram (indicated by “shaking”) of MICHAEL, like so: C-HEMICAL.

46. European cause is possibly controversial (7)

Answer: EMOTIVE (i.e. “possibly controversial”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) followed by MOTIVE (i.e. “cause”).

47. As told, look after united country (6)

Answer: UGANDA (i.e. “country”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “as told”) of GANDER (i.e. “look”) placed “after” U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”), like so: U-GANDA.

48. Let It Be holds record for group (6)

Answer: SEPTET (i.e. “group” of seven). Solution is STET (i.e. “let it be” – when you cross something out you didn’t mean to, you’d write STET to show this) wrapped around or “holding” EP (i.e. an Extended Play “record”), like so: S(EP)TET. A clue that scans rather well.

50. Left one article in moving supply (5)

Answer: LITHE (i.e. “moving supply” – supply being the adverb form of “supple”. Sneaky, yes?). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and THE (i.e. “article”).

52. Record finish for a race (4)

Answer: TAPE. Solution satisfies “record”, as in to tape something, and “finish for a race”.