Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1512

A medium strength puzzle that offered the kind of steady progression I like. There were a handful of scruffy clues conspiring to spoil the party but, overall, this was an improvement on recent weeks.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has picked your pockets then you can find links to solutions to the last 160+ of them on my Just For Fun page. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and insights, folks. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put down their pens. Till next time, stay safe and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Dig first for peat, a feature of Ireland (6)

Answer: PLOUGH (i.e. “dig”). Solution is P (i.e. “first for peat”, i.e. the first letter of “peat”) followed by LOUGH (i.e. “a feature of Ireland”, specifically a geographic feature, in this case the Irish for a lake).

  1. For heathen, lawyer produces publicity (10)

Answer: PROPAGANDA (i.e. “publicity”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “for”) followed by PAGAN (i.e. “heathen”) and DA (i.e. “lawyer”, specifically a District Attorney).

  1. Nobel author removing one line further on in the text (5)

Answer: BELOW (i.e. “further on in the text”). Solution is Saul BELLOW (i.e. “Nobel author”) with one of the Ls removed (indicated by “removing one line” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “line”).

  1. More crazy to drop initial promise – end of story (9)

Answer: AFTERWORD (i.e. “end of story”). Solution is DAFTER (i.e. “more crazy”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “to drop initial”) and the remainder followed by WORD (i.e. “promise”, as in “my word is my bond”), like so: AFTER-WORD.

  1. Drop lifeless: for example, a coffin must follow (4,6,3)

Answer: DEAD LETTER BOX (i.e. “drop”, specifically a location in which spies dunk sensitive information to be picked up by another). Solution is DEAD (i.e. “lifeless”) followed by LETTER (i.e. “for example, a” – other letters are available) and BOX (i.e. “coffin”).

  1. Displacing son during excursion (7)

Answer: OUSTING (i.e. “displacing”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) placed “during” OUTING (i.e. “excursion”), like so: OU(S)TING.

  1. Golf club admitting West and North African (7)

Answer: RWANDAN (i.e. “African”). Solution is R AND A (i.e. “golf club”, specifically the R&A, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews) wrapped around or “admitting” W (a recognised abbreviation of “west”) and followed by N (ditto “north”), like so: (R-(W)-AND-A)-N

  1. At sea, declare how weather has improved (7)

Answer: CLEARED (i.e. “how weather has improved”). “At sea” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DECLARE.

  1. OK to develop preparation for each task (8,10)

Answer: PLANNING PERMISSION (i.e. “OK to develop”). Solution is PLANNING (i.e. “preparation”) followed by PER (i.e. “for each”) and MISSION (i.e. “task”).

  1. Key mistake admitted by party-pooper (4)

Answer: TYPO (i.e. “key mistake” referring to the keys of a keyboard). “Admitted by” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PAR(TY-PO)OPER.

  1. Hard, unresponsive, not feminine (5)

Answer: RIGID (i.e. “hard”). Solution is FRIGID (i.e. “unresponsive”) with the F removed (indicated by “not feminine”, F being a recognised abbreviation of “feminine”).

  1. In quarrel rod snapped off on top of head (8)

Answer: DOMESTIC (i.e. “quarrel”). Solution is STICK (i.e. “rod”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “snapped off”) and the remainder placed “on” or after DOME (i.e. “top of head”), like so: DOME-STIC.

  1. Send for engineers to achieve objective (3,5)

Answer: GET THERE (i.e. “achieve objective”). When written as GET THE RE the solution also satisfies “send for engineers” – RE being the Royal Engineers of the British Army.

  1. Appear, since having resolved dangers (11)

Answer: EMERGENCIES (i.e. “dangers”). Solution is EMERGE (i.e. “appear”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “having resolved”) of SINCE, like so: EMERGE-NCIES.

  1. Sterile land treated and brought back into use (11)

Answer: REINSTALLED (i.e. “brought back into use”). “Treated” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of STERILE LAND.

  1. Interior desperate for nourishment, introduced directly (11)

Answer: INTRAVENOUS (i.e. “introduced directly” into the bloodstream). Solution is INT (a recognised abbreviation of “interior”) followed by RAVENOUS (i.e. “desperate for nourishment”).

  1. Doing nothing wrong, sample food that’s aesthetically pleasing (2,4,5)

Answer: IN GOOD TASTE (i.e. “aesthetically pleasing”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wrong”) of DOING and O (i.e. “nothing”) followed by TASTE (i.e. “sample food”), like so: INGOOD-TASTE.

  1. In short have half of gorge to cross (8)

Answer: TRAVERSE (i.e. “to cross”). Solution is RAV (i.e. “half of gorge”, i.e. the first half of RAVINE) placed “in” TERSE (i.e. “short”), like so: T(RAV)ERSE.

  1. Not all were wrong to waste day in garden (8)

Answer: PARTERRE (i.e. “garden” – over to Chambers: “a formal arrangement of flower beds”). Solution is PART (i.e. “not all”) followed by ERRED (i.e. “were wrong”) with the D removed (indicated by “to waste day” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “day”), like so: PART-ERRE. A new one on me. I figured the solution would end in ERRE but could I hell get PART. (Pats Bradford’s.)

  1. Obstruct seat (5)

Answer: STALL. Solution satisfies “obstruct” and “seat”.

  1. Comfortable with trigonometrical expression (4)

Answer: COSY. Solution satisfies “comfortable” and, when written as COS Y, “trigonometrical expression”, i.e. the cosine of a variable, Y.

  1. Journalist died, Times agree, in early spring? (5,13)

Answer: LOBBY CORRESPONDENT (i.e. a “journalist” on parliamentary affairs). Solution is OB (i.e. “died”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin, obit), BY (i.e. “times”, as in multiplication – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and CORRESPOND (i.e. “agree”) all placed “in” LENT (i.e. “early spring”), like so: L(OB-BY-CORRESPOND)ENT.

  1. Most tedious journey, in a way (7)

Answer: ARIDEST (i.e. “most tedious” – Chambers disagrees, but my Oxford backs it up. Ish.) Solution is RIDE (i.e. “journey”) placed “in” A and ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: A-(RIDE)-ST.

  1. After meal, perform music, not serious (7)

Answer: TEASING (i.e. “not serious” – hmm, not really. The closest I can get is to playfully make fun of someone, but this is hardly satisfying). Solution is SING (i.e. “perform music”) placed “after” TEA (i.e. “meal”), like so: TEA-SING.

  1. Wizard goes on curious search (7)

Answer: RUMMAGE (i.e. “search”). Solution is MAGE (i.e. “wizard”) placed “on” or after RUM (i.e. “curious”), like so: RUM-MAGE.

  1. Holder of secure government post abroad (10,3)

Answer: DIPLOMATIC BAG, a “holder of secure government post” or mail over in the US (i.e. “abroad”).

  1. Lear’s companion offered to drink last of strong mineral (5,4)

Answer: FOOL’S GOLD (i.e. “mineral”). Solution is FOOL (i.e. “Lear’s companion” in Shakespeare’s King Lear) followed by SOLD (i.e. “offered”) once wrapped around or “drinking” G (i.e. “last of strong”, i.e. the last letter of “strong”), like so: FOOL-S(G)OLD.

  1. Indicate approval, having cleaned out dirty seabird (5)

Answer: NODDY (i.e. “seabird”). Solution is NOD (i.e. “indicate approval”) followed by DY (i.e. “cleaned out dirty”, i.e. the word “dirty” with all its middle letters removed), like so: NOD-DY. One gotten from the wordplay, if I’m honest.

  1. In barrel, see brewing gallons – of these? (5,5)

Answer: LAGER BEERS (i.e. “of these”, referring to the kind of stuff you might see brewing in barrels, referenced in the clue). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “brewing”) of BARREL SEE wrapped around or having “in” G (a recognised abbreviation of “gallons”), like so: LA(G)ERBEERS.

  1. Like some kings to take power ahead of time (6)

Answer: PEARLY (i.e. “like some kings” dahn in ahld Lahndan taaaaaahn, innit, guvnah? Wotcha, gorbimey and much thumbing of braces). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) followed by EARLY (i.e. “ahead of time”).

Down clues

  1. Veg sounding wonderful, but we see nothing in it? (3-6)

Answer: PEA-SOUPER (i.e. “we see nothing in it”, pea-souper being an informal reference to thick fog). Solution is PEA (i.e. “veg”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “sounding”) of SUPER (i.e. “wonderful”).

  1. Stupid view? It’s more than right (6,5)

Answer: OBTUSE ANGLE (i.e. “it’s more than right [angle]”). Solution is OBTUSE (i.e. “stupid”) followed by ANGLE (i.e. “view”).

  1. Proceed with angular measure ignoring a sort of knot (7)

Answer: GORDIAN (i.e. “knot” of legend, supposedly impossible to undo, so Alexander the Great simply sliced through it). Solution is GO (i.e. “proceed”) followed by RADIAN (i.e. “angular measure”) once one of the As has been removed (indicated by “ignoring a”), like so: GO-RDIAN.

  1. Less polished diamonds accepted by king perhaps for pounds (5)

Answer: RUDER (i.e. “less polished”). Solution is RULER (i.e. “king perhaps” – other varieties of ruler are available) with the L (a recognised abbreviation of “pounds”, from the Latin, Libra) swapped “for” D (a recognised abbreviation of “diamonds” used in card games), like so: RU(L)ER => RU(D)ER.

  1. Footmen work over time to get covered by chroniclers (11)

Answer: PODIATRISTS (i.e. “footmen”, i.e. those specialising in the care of feet). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) reversed (indicated by “over”) and followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) once placed in or “covered by” DIARISTS (i.e. “chroniclers”), like so: PO-DIA(T)RISTS.

  1. Old prime minister that is twice introduced to supreme king (5,6)

Answer: GRAND VIZIER (i.e. “old prime minister” post in pre-Republican Turkey). Solution is VIZ and IE (both recognised abbreviations of “that is”: viz being short for the Latin videlicet – “to wit, namely”; i.e. being short for the Latin id est – “that is, that is to say” (both from Chambers)) both placed in or “introduced to” GRAND (i.e. “supreme”) and R (i.e. “king”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Rex), like so: GRAND-(VIZ-IE)-R. One for the classicists.

  1. In drowsy state, daughter gives way to new invalid condition (8)

Answer: NULLNESS (i.e. “invalid condition”). Solution is DULLNESS (i.e. “drowsy state”) with the D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) replaced by or “giving way to” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: (D)ULLNESS => (N)ULLNESS.

  1. Are you one to have problems eating this? (9)

Answer: ARTICHOKE (i.e. “this”, the thing you might eat within the context of the clue). Solution is ART (i.e. ye olde “are”, or more likely “are you” in the clue) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and CHOKE (i.e. “to have problems eating”).

  1. Supplier of pub provides empty bar with jug (6)

Answer: BREWER (i.e. “supplier of pub”). Solution is BR (i.e. “empty bar”, i.e. the word “bar” with its middle letter removed) followed by EWER (i.e. “jug”).

  1. Cheek ring, a symbol of independence (7,4)

Answer: LIBERTY BELL (i.e. “symbol of independence” located in Philadelphia). Solution is LIBERTY (i.e. “cheek”, as in taking liberties) followed by BELL (i.e. to “ring”).

  1. Having grown, wood’s first to be cut down (5)

Answer: WAXED (i.e. “having grown”, often paired with waned). Solution is W (i.e. “wood’s first [letter]”) followed by AXED (i.e. “cut down”).

  1. Fuss, having to swap foot-and-mouth activities (4,3,5)

Answer: SONG AND DANCE (i.e. “fuss”). Clue plays on these being “activities” that are performed using the “mouth” and “foot” respectively, and how these are “swapped” to get you the solution.

  1. Page unfinished judge takes on to work out (4,4)

Answer: PUMP IRON (i.e. “work out”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “page”) followed by UMPIRE (i.e. “judge”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “unfinished”), then ON, like so: P-UMPIR-ON.

  1. Old vegetation river leaves behind (7)

Answer: OVERDUE (i.e. “behind” schedule). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by VERDURE (i.e. “vegetation”) once one of the Rs has been removed (indicated by “river leaves”, R being a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: O-VERDUE.

  1. At length, opponents destroyed continent (8)

Answer: ATLANTIS (i.e. “destroyed continent”). Solution is AT followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “length”) and ANTIS (i.e. “opponents”).
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for the typo fix. I’d written ALTANTIS, like a fool. Cheers, Sue! – LP]

  1. Shabby magistrate read poorly (3-5)

Answer: DOG-EARED (i.e. “shabby”). Solution is DOGE (i.e. former “magistrate” in Republican Venice and Genoa, it says here) followed by an anagram (indicated by “poorly”) of READ, like so: DOGE-ARED.

  1. Clothes hang on one end of line (8)

Answer: LINGERIE (i.e. “clothes”). Solution is LINGER (i.e. “hang on”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and E (i.e. “end [letter] of line”).

  1. Typical – only the second half is quarrelsome (7)

Answer: ERISTIC (i.e. “quarrelsome” – a new one on me). Solution is taken from the “second half” of CHARACTERISTIC (i.e. “typical”). While I love learning new things in these Jumbos, getting solvers to deduce a lesser-known solution from the arse-end of a 14-letter word is a bit much, don’t you think?

  1. Sponsor keeps changing representative (12)

Answer: SPOKESPERSON (i.e. “representative”). “Changing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SPONSOR KEEPS. Very nicely worked. Probably my favourite clue of the puzzle.

  1. Put into new vessel, stuck, having broken shin inside (11)

Answer: TRANSHIPPED (i.e. “put into new [sailing] vessel”). Solution is TRAPPED (i.e. “stuck”) wrapped around or “having…inside” an anagram (indicated by “broken”) of SHIN, like so: TRA(NSHI)PPED.

  1. Court formality, a warning sign (4,7)

Answer: STAR CHAMBER (i.e. English “court” that was charged with keeping powerful folk in check). Solution is STARCH (i.e. stiffness or “formality”) followed by AMBER (i.e. “a warning sign”).

  1. Blend is endless, good for a book (11)

Answer: INTERMINGLE (i.e. “blend”). Solution is INTERMINABLE (i.e. “endless”) with the A and B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) swapped “for” G (ditto “good”), like so: INTERMIN(A-B)LE => INTERMIN(G)LE.

  1. It doesn’t pay to divert a bus, overall (5,6)

Answer: SLAVE LABOUR (i.e. “it doesn’t pay”). “To divert” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A BUS OVERALL.

  1. Deficiency the result of extended summer? (9)

Answer: SHORTFALL (i.e. “deficiency”). When written as SHORT FALL the solution also satisfies “result of extended summer”, FALL being another word for autumn more regularly used in North America.

  1. Modern sort of saint? (6-3)

Answer: LATTER-DAY. Solution satisfies “modern” and a “sort of saint” associated with Mormonism.

  1. Being right up close, a knocking of heads (8)

Answer: ABUTTING (i.e. “being right up close”). When written as A BUTTING the solution also satisfies “a knocking of heads”.

  1. Greeting famous person, receiving answer, extremely short (7)

Answer: NAMASTE (i.e. a “greeting” in India). Solution is NAME (i.e. “famous person”) wrapped around or “receiving” A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, e.g. in Q&A) and ST (i.e. “extremely short”, i.e. the first and last letters of “short”), like so: NAM(A-ST)E.

  1. Venture money to win unknown plant (6)

Answer: BETONY (i.e. “plant”). Solution is BET ON (i.e. “venture money to win”) followed by Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z as “unknowns”). Another gotten solely from the wordplay.

  1. Incompetent teacher has mislaid book supplement (3-2)

Answer: ADD-ON (i.e. “supplement”). Solution is BAD DON (i.e. “incompetent teacher”) with the B removed (indicated by “has mislaid book” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “book”).

  1. Achieve much travel with reduced ticket price (2,3)

Answer: GO FAR (i.e. “achieve much”). Solution is GO (i.e. “travel”) followed by FARE (i.e. “ticket price”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “reduced”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1511

One of those medium strength puzzles artificially made more difficult by crowbarring in a few too many exotic solutions. You can tell these a mile off when you sail through most of the puzzle and are left wondering from which circle of hell the setter got the remaining solutions. It’s a cheap way of upping the difficulty level and nearly always results in an uneven and dissatisfying solution. The best Jumbos for me are the ones that offer steady progression, whether that’s an easy one that can be blazed through in double-quick time or a stinker that can be chipped away at throughout the day. Maybe next week, eh?

Anyway, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has left you flummoxed then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 160+ of these things. Elsewhere you can find the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and insights, folks. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers get on with these things, and to hear alternative takes on the clues. Till next time, stay safe and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Prize money to be shared? It could be topped, in case? (7)

Answer: CUPCAKE (i.e. “it could be topped, in case”, referring to icing and a paper bun case). Solution is CUP (i.e. “prize”) followed by CAKE (i.e. “money to be shared” – not according to Chambers, but my Oxford backs this one up: “(the cake) Brit. The amount of money or assets available to be divided up or shared.”)

  1. Subordinate topic (7)

Answer: SUBJECT. Solution satisfies “subordinate” – imagine some high and mighty type lording over their subjects – and “topic”.

  1. Bubble car, say, son has taken over from husband (7)

Answer: VESICLE (i.e. a “bubble” in the medical world: “a small globule, bladder, sac, blister, cavity, or swelling” (Chambers)). Solution is VEHICLE (i.e. “car, say” – other flavours of vehicle are available) with the H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) replaced or “taken over” by S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”), like so: VE(H)ICLE => VE(S)ICLE.

  1. Interrupting ignoring introductions on a January day’s end? (11)

Answer: INTERVENING (i.e. “interrupting”). Solution is WINTER EVENING (i.e. “January day’s end”) with the first letter removed from each word (indicated by “ignoring introductions”).

  1. Every Charlie sitting in plane gives a big wave (11)

Answer: BEACHCOMBER (i.e. “big wave”). Solution is EACH (i.e. “every”) and C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet) both placed or “sitting in” BOMBER (i.e. “plane”), like so: B(EACH-C)OMBER.

  1. Lovely entertaining European relative (5)

Answer: NIECE (i.e. “relative”). Solution is NICE (i.e. “lovely”) wrapped around or “entertaining” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: NI(E)CE.

  1. Kitchen device rotates cooking (7)

Answer: TOASTER (i.e. “kitchen device”). “Cooking” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ROTATES. Nicely done.

  1. Mother is holding capital back together with notes (9)

Answer: MEMORANDA (i.e. “notes”). Solution is MA (i.e. “mother”) wrapped around or “holding” ROME (“capital” city of Italy) reversed (indicated by “back”) and AND (i.e. “together with”), like so: M(EMOR-AND)A.

  1. Time to cut opening photo session in golf contest – the lot (3,5,8,5)

Answer: THE WHOLE SHOOTING MATCH (i.e. “the lot”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) followed by HEW (i.e. “to cut”), then HOLE (i.e. “opening”), then SHOOT (i.e. “photo session”), then IN, then G (“golf” in the phonetic alphabet”) and finally MATCH (i.e. “contest”). Phew!

  1. Capsize open vessel (8)

Answer: OVERTURN (i.e. “capsize”). Solution is OVERT (i.e. “open”) followed by URN (i.e. “vessel”). Nicely worked.

  1. French city’s name is translated (6)

Answer: AMIENS (i.e. “French city”). “Translated” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NAME IS.

  1. Note just what one is looking for in offensive academic? (7)

Answer: ERUDITE (i.e. “academic”). Solution is E (a musical “note”) followed by IT (i.e. “just what one is looking for”) once placed “in” RUDE (i.e. “offensive”), like so: E-RUD(IT)E.

  1. Broken up getting back into narcotic shrub (5)

Answer: KAPUT (i.e. “broken”). Solution is UP reversed (indicated by “getting back”) and placed “into” KAT (i.e. “narcotic shrub”, also spelled khat), like so: KA(PU)T.

  1. Composer of substance I will back (7)

Answer: Arcangelo CORELLI (i.e. “composer”). Solution is CORE (i.e. the “substance” of something) followed by I’LL (a contraction of “I will”) once reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: CORE-LL’I.

  1. Check performance of screen and computer peripheral (4-5)

Answer: TEST-DRIVE (i.e. “check performance”). Solution is TEST (i.e. to “screen” job candidates, for example) followed by DRIVE (i.e. “computer peripheral”).

  1. Beguiling scheme to sharpen up returned Labour? (9)

Answer: HONEYTRAP (i.e. “beguiling scheme”). Solution is HONE (i.e. “to sharpen up”) followed by PARTY (i.e. “Labour” – the question mark hints other political parties are available) reversed (indicated by “returned”), like so: HONE-YTRAP.

  1. Thoroughly search around university and see charging unit (7)

Answer: COULOMB (i.e. “charging unit”, i.e. a unit of electrical charge). Solution is COMB (i.e. “thoroughly search”) wrapped “around” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and LO (i.e. “see”, as in lo and behold), like so: CO(U-LO)MB. The component parts were reasonably easy to deduce, but the whole needed a push from my Chambers to nail. A solution to file under “Made to Fit”.

  1. Bad-tempered note about not drinking (5)

Answer: RATTY (i.e. “bad-tempered”). Solution is RAY (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me style) wrapped “about” TT (i.e. “not drinking”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “teetotal”), like so: RA(TT)Y.

  1. Place crate with working parts for harpsichords (7)

Answer: PLECTRA (i.e. “parts for harpsichords”, i.e. its plucky bits – plural of plectrum). Solution is PL (a recognised abbreviation of “place”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “with working”) of CRATE, like so: PL-ECTRA.

  1. Move in the middle of keen game (6)

Answer: ECARTE (a card “game”). Solution is CART (i.e. to transport or “move”) placed “in” EE (i.e. “the middle [letters] of keen”), like so: E(CART)E. Chalk one to my Bradford’s.

  1. Group of planes singular chap planted around court (8)

Answer: SQUADRON (i.e. “group of planes”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”) and RON (i.e. “chap”, basically a bloke’s name) all wrapped or “planted around” QUAD (i.e. “court”) like so: S-(QUAD)-RON.

  1. Healthy calories and more PE sorted out cause of blocked arteries (21)

Answer: HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA (i.e. “cause of blocked arteries”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sorted out”) of HEALTHY CALORIES and MORE PE. Very nicely worked.

  1. Food of poor quarter in land round Madrid neither finished (9)

Answer: SPAGHETTI (i.e. “food”). Solution is GHETTO (i.e. “poor quarter”) placed “in” SPAIN (i.e. “land round Madrid”) once the last letter has been removed from both (indicated by “neither finished”), like so: SPA(GHETT)I.

  1. Road user growth swelled by 151 (7)

Answer: CYCLIST (i.e. “road user”). Solution is CYST (i.e. “growth”) wrapped around or “swelled by” CLI (i.e. “151” in Roman numerals), like so: CY(CLI)ST.

  1. Fur bought initially during offer period (5)

Answer: SABLE (i.e. “fur”). Solution is B (i.e. “bought initially”, i.e. the first letter of “bought”) placed in or “during” SALE (i.e. “offer period”), like so: SA(B)LE.

  1. Go beyond one small tango in unfashionable foxtrot? (11)

Answer: OUTDISTANCE (i.e. “go beyond”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and T (“tango” in the phonetic alphabet) all placed “in” OUT (i.e. “unfashionable”) and DANCE (i.e. “foxtrot” – again the question mark indicates there are other dances out there such as… such as… hmm. I appear to have drawn a blank. Bear with me while I find another one…), like so: OUT-D(I-S-T)ANCE.

Ah, here we go. A classic Mediterranean dance performed in traditional costume. Lovely.

  1. Hillary perhaps organising team reunion (11)

Answer: MOUNTAINEER (i.e. “[Edmund] Hillary perhaps”). “Organising” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TEAM REUNION.

  1. Believing in an illusion of Christ, refer to fish being turned (7)

Answer: DOCETIC (i.e. “believing in an illusion of Christ”). Solution is CITE (i.e. “refer to”) and COD (i.e. “fish”) all reversed (indicated by “turned”), like so: DOC-ETIC. Another one for the “made to fit” file.

  1. Carbuncle, gemstone in the end certainly something from a mine (7)

Answer: EYESORE (i.e. “carbuncle”). Solution is E (i.e. “gemstone in the end”, i.e. the last letter of “gemstone”) followed by YES (i.e. “certainly”) and ORE (i.e. “something from a mine”).

  1. Foul fiend featured in sermon’s terrifying (7)

Answer: MONSTER (i.e. “foul fiend”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: SER(MON’S TER)RIFYING.

Down clues

  1. Dependant court accepts right to hold another’s property (6)

Answer: CLIENT (i.e. “dependant”). Solution is CT (a recognised abbreviation of “court”) wrapped around or “accepting” LIEN (i.e. “right to hold another’s property”), like so: C(LIEN)T.

  1. Invalid’s conspicuous around unit (7)

Answer: PATIENT (i.e. “invalid”). Solution is PATENT (i.e. “conspicuous”) wrapped “around” I (i.e. “unit” or the Roman numeral for 1), like so: PAT(I)ENT.

  1. Contract aide initially to welcome outside people (9)

Answer: AGREEMENT (i.e. “contract”). Solution is A (i.e. “aide initially”, i.e. the first letter of “aide”) followed by GREET (i.e. “to welcome”) once wrapped around or placed “outside” of MEN (i.e. “people”), like so: A-GREE(MEN)T.

  1. Get up before chalet emptied (5)

Answer: ERECT (i.e. “get up”). Solution is ERE (poetic form of “before”) followed by CT (i.e. “chalet emptied”, i.e. the word “chalet” with all its middle letters removed). Fnar, fnar.

  1. Appropriate uniform I used in firm (8)

Answer: SUITABLE (i.e. “appropriate”). Solution is U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet) and I both placed “in” STABLE (i.e. “firm”), like so: S(U-I)TABLE.

  1. Wreck’s left out in wide bay (5)

Answer: BIGHT (i.e. “wide bay”). Solution is BLIGHT (i.e. “wreck”) once the L has been removed (indicated by “left out” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “left”).

  1. Turn up to get my attention over bar (7)

Answer: EMBARGO (i.e. to block or “bar”). Solution is GRAB ME (i.e. “get my attention”) reversed (indicated by “turn up” – this being a down clue) and followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), like so: (EM-BARG)-O. Took most of the puzzle to decrypt this one. Sometimes you just don’t see ‘em.

  1. Am anti-tourist flying round area is shocking experience (14)

Answer: TRAUMATISATION (i.e. “shocking experience”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “flying”) of AM ANTI-TOURIST wrapped “round” A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), like so: TR(A)UMATISATION.

  1. Passion of macho types in Italian city, missing Northern Ireland (9)

Answer: VEHEMENCE (i.e. “passion”). Solution is HE-MEN (i.e. “macho types”) placed “in” VENICE (i.e. “Italian city”) once the NI has been removed (indicated by “missing Northern Ireland”), like so: VE(HE-MEN)CE.

  1. Thoroughly search tart concealing cents (5)

Answer: SCOUR (i.e. “thoroughly search”). Solution is SOUR (i.e. “tart”) wrapped around or “concealing” C (a recognised abbreviation of “cents”), like so: S(C)OUR.

  1. Best incriminate revolutionary member of the government (7,8)

Answer: CABINET MINISTER (i.e. “member of the government”). “Revolutionary” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BEST INCRIMINATE.

  1. Nag party, supporting willingness to listen (7)

Answer: EARBASH (i.e. “nag”). Solution is BASH (i.e. “party”) placed after or “supporting” – this being a down clue – EAR (i.e. “willingness to listen”).

  1. Greeting speed merchant turning up in rented vehicle (4,3)

Answer: HIRE CAR (i.e. “rented vehicle”). Solution is HI (i.e. “greeting”) followed by RACER (i.e. “speed merchant”) once reversed (indicated by “turning up” – this being a down clue), like so: HI-RECAR.

  1. Images from staggering musical artist (9)

Answer: SIMULACRA (i.e. “images”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “staggering”) of MUSICAL followed by RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician), like so: SIMULAC-RA.

  1. Perhaps one making cast slowly break down (7)

Answer: MOULDER. Solution satisfies “one making cast” or mould – the “perhaps” indicates we’re straying a little outside the dictionary here – and to “slowly break down”.

  1. Sliced meat – either end of pack hard work to keep cold (4,4)

Answer: PORK CHOP (i.e. “sliced meat”). Solution is P OR K (i.e. “either end of pack”, i.e. descriptive of the beginning/end letters of “pack”), H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils) and OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) all wrapped around or “keeping” C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”), like so: (P-OR-K)-(C)-H-OP.

  1. When it’s transported, did as plan except for packaging material (8,7)

Answer: EXPANDED PLASTIC (i.e. a mesh-like “packaging material”). “When it’s transported” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DID AS PLAN EXCEPT.

  1. Tchaikovsky’s Sixth loses its way, dry eastern form (9)

Answer: ETIQUETTE (i.e. “form”). Solution is PATHETIQUE (i.e. “Tchaikovsky’s Sixth” – of course I looked it up. What did you expect?) with the PATH removed (indicated by “loses its way”) and the remainder followed by TT (i.e. “dry”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “teetotal”) and E (ditto “eastern”), like so: ETIQUE-TT-E.

  1. The whole world always has that energy (8)

Answer: EVERYONE (i.e. “the whole world”). Solution is EVER (i.e. “always”) followed by YON (i.e. poetic form of “that”) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”).

  1. Stumble on loyal Scots with English about to fix up coalition (6,8)

Answer: TRIPLE ALLIANCE (i.e. a “coalition” of countries formed in opposition to another state – there appear to have been a few of these throughout history). Solution is TRIP (i.e. “stumble”) followed by LEAL (i.e. “Scots” poetic form of “loyal” – my Oxford agrees, but Chambers suggests the word is Old French), then E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), C (i.e. “about”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) and NAIL (i.e. “to fix”) once these latter three have been reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: TRIP-LEAL-(LIAN-C-E). Bloody hell.

  1. One of two meeting to attempt to control eliminating ecstasy (7)

Answer: TRYSTER (i.e. “one of two meeting”). Solution is TRY (i.e. “attempt”) followed by STEER (i.e. “to control”) once one of the Es has been removed (indicated by “eliminating ecstasy” – E being a street name for the drug), like so: TRY-STER. What a naff word.

  1. Underwater clubs abandoning diving apparatus on wharf endlessly (7)

Answer: SUBAQUA (i.e. “underwater”). Solution is SCUBA (i.e. “diving apparatus”) once the C has been removed (indicated by “clubs abandoning” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games) and the remainder followed by QUAY (i.e. “wharf”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endlessly”), like so: SUBA-QUA.

  1. Writhing unnaturally sorted out itch at toe (9)

Answer: ATHETOTIC (i.e. “writhing unnaturally”, usually the fingers and toes). “Sorted out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ITCH AT TOE. Wordplay was fairly obvious but took a brute force of my Chambers. Another for the ‘Made to Fit’ file.

  1. Recognition of a key assignment (9)

Answer: ADMISSION (i.e. “recognition”). Solution is A followed by D (a musical “key”) and MISSION (i.e. “assignment”).

  1. Note settled puddles regularly in deserted location (8)

Answer: SOLITUDE (i.e. “deserted location”). Solution is SO (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me style) followed by LIT (i.e. landed or “settled”) and UDE (i.e. “puddles regularly”, i.e. every other letter of PUDDLES).

  1. Like ordinary tissue hospital is to establish the identity of (7)

Answer: HISTOID (i.e. “like ordinary tissue”). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “hospital”) followed by IS TO and ID (i.e. “establish the identity of”). One gotten from the wordplay, to be honest.

  1. Hide in empty structure on Mediterranean island (7)

Answer: SECRETE (i.e. “hide”). Solution is SE (i.e. “empty structure”, i.e. the word “structure” with all of its middle letters removed) followed by CRETE (i.e. “Mediterranean island”).

  1. Going round one hospital department after a doctor (7)

Answer: AMBIENT (i.e. “going round”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by ENT (i.e. “hospital department”, specifically one dealing with the Ear Nose and Throat) both placed “after” A and MB (i.e. “doctor”, specifically a Medicinae Baccalaureus or Bachelor of Medicine), like so: (A-MB)-I-ENT.

  1. Who carries the ale round topless bar? (6)

Answer: BEARER (i.e. “who carries”). Solution is BEER (i.e. “ale”) placed “round” BAR once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “topless”), like so: BE(AR)ER.

  1. Robbery losing support from Jewish expert (5)

Answer: HEIST (i.e. “robbery”). Solution is HEBRAIST (i.e. “Jewish expert”) with the BRA removed (indicated by “losing support”).

  1. Senior director holds a minute or very small role (5)

Answer: CAMEO (i.e. “very small role”). Solution is CEO (i.e. “senior director”, specifically a Chief Executive Officer) wrapped around or “holding” A and M (a recognised abbreviation of “minute”), like so: C(A-M)EO.

  1. Found part of Bible set up as a revered item (5)

Answer: TOTEM (i.e. “revered item”). Solution is MET (i.e. “found”) followed by OT (i.e. “part of Bible”, specifically the Old Testament) all reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue), like so: TO-TEM.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1510

A medium strength offering this week with a few nicely worked clues. Not much I can add, really, though it was nice to find RAPSCALLION in the grid. Here’s hoping we’ll see some scallywags, perishers and jackanapes in future puzzles.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a recent Jumbo has you jiggered, then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and help. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts and alternative takes from other solvers once their pens are stilled. Till next time, stay safe and keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Fruit producer’s problem with cooling system (5)

Answer: SUMAC (i.e. “fruit producer”). Solution is SUM (i.e. an arithmetic “problem”) followed by AC (i.e. “cooling system”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “air conditioning”).

  1. What cricketer did, bagging half century, is strove (7)

Answer: BATTLED (i.e. “strove”). Solution is BATTED (i.e. “what cricketer did”) wrapped around or “bagging” L (i.e. “half century”, specifically the Roman numeral for 50, L), like so: BATT(L)ED.

  1. Subject oneself to debts free of interest (9)

Answer: INCURIOUS (i.e. “free of interest”). Solution is INCUR (i.e. “subject oneself to”) followed by IOUS (i.e. “debts”). Nicely worked.

  1. Pit in grounds not ultimately a watering hole (9)

Answer: ESTAMINET (i.e. “watering hole”, a small bar or café, from the French). Solution is MINE (i.e. “pit”) placed “in” ESTATE (i.e. “grounds”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “not ultimately”), like so: ESTA(MINE)T. A new one on me, gotten mostly from the wordplay and a shufti in my Bradford’s.

  1. Not a chime of gold, but one’s highly decorated (5,8)

Answer: NOBEL LAUREATE (i.e. “one’s highly decorated”). Solution is NO BELL (i.e. “not a chime”) followed by AUREATE (i.e. gilded or “of gold”).

  1. Inspire to show clothes very well (7)

Answer: PROVOKE (i.e. “inspire”). Solution is PROVE (i.e. “to show”) wrapped around or “clothing” OK (i.e. “very well”, both taken as expressions of reluctant assent), like so: PROV(OK)E.

  1. A team mate around the Central Line? (7)

Answer: AXIALLY (i.e. “around the central line”). Solution is A followed by XI (i.e. football “team”, i.e. Roman numerals for eleven) and ALLY (i.e. “mate”).

  1. Fishing boat, one with sharp point crossing river (7)

Answer: DRAGGER (i.e. “fishing boat” – though not one explicitly acknowledged in any of my reference books. A definition for “drag” is a net that is pulled through the water, so you could extend from there, but this seems to be more of a North American term. Can’t say I’m keen). Solution is DAGGER (i.e. “one with sharp point”) wrapped around or “crossing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: D(R)AGGER.

  1. The Book of Numbers? (8,6-4)

Answer: NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR (a “book” by George Orwell). Clue plays on how the title of the book comprises all “numbers”. Nicely worked.

  1. This person’s a leader of Muslims (4)

Answer: IMAM (i.e. “leader of Muslims”). Solution is I’M (i.e. “this person’s” taken as a contraction of “this person is”) followed by A and M (i.e. “leader of Muslims”, i.e. the first letter of “Muslims”). Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Periodical fashion magazine one’s found in cell (9)

Answer: ORGANELLE (i.e. “one’s found in cell”). Solution is ORGAN (i.e. “periodical”) followed by ELLE (i.e. a “fashion magazine”). One gotten from the wordplay, if I’m honest.

  1. A little food consumption limited by it both ways (6)

Answer: TITBIT (i.e. “a little food”). Solution is TB (i.e. “consumption” or tuberculosis) placed between or “limited by” TI and IT (i.e. “it both ways”), like so: TI-(TB)-IT.

  1. Did carp stew done with a starter of mussels (6)

Answer: MOANED (i.e. “did carp”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “stew”) of DONE, A and M (i.e. “starter of mussels”, i.e. the first letter of “mussels”).

  1. Silly if neat pants, including the lady’s underwear (12)

Answer: FEATHERBRAIN (i.e. “silly”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “pants” or rubbish) of IF NEAT wrapped around or “including” HER (i.e. “the lady’s”) and BRA (i.e. “underwear”), like so: FEAT(HER-BRA)IN.

  1. Extra property of fruit ingested by Frenchman (4-1-5)

Answer: PIED-A-TERRE (i.e. “extra property”). Solution is DATE (i.e. “fruit”) placed in or “ingested by” PIERRE (i.e. “Frenchman”), like so: PIE(DATE)RRE.

  1. Criminal sent down, stealing muggins’s funds (10)

Answer: ENDOWMENTS (i.e. “funds”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “criminal”) of SENT DOWN wrapped around or “stealing” ME (i.e. “muggins”), like so: ENDOW(ME)NTS.

  1. Set supervisor in two different coaches (5,7)

Answer: STAGE MANAGER (i.e. “set supervisor”). Solution comprises “two different” words for “coach”.

  1. One’s time off drinks counter (6)

Answer: RESIST (i.e. to “counter”). Solution is I’S (i.e. a Roman numeral “one” made possessive) placed in or “drunk” by REST (i.e. “time off”), like so: RES(I’S)T.

  1. Make settlement affected by opponents at table (6)

Answer: ENCAMP (i.e. “make settlement”). Solution is CAMP (i.e. an “affected” manner) placed after or “by” E and N (i.e. “opponents at table”, specifically East and North in a game of bridge), like so: E-N-(CAMP).

  1. Prepare to fire a round really high (4-1-4)

Answer: COCK-A-HOOP (i.e. very happy or “really high”). Solution is COCK (i.e. “prepare to fire” a gun) followed by A and HOOP (i.e. “round”).

  1. Big promotion secured by pushy person (4)

Answer: HYPE (i.e. “big promotion”). “Secured by” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PUS(HY PE)RSON.

  1. Enlarge works – an artistic number (7,11)

Answer: GENERAL ANAESTETIC (i.e. “number”, as in how it numbs). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “works”) of ENLARGE followed by AN and AESTHETIC (i.e. “artistic”).

  1. About a pair of French words for the drink… (4,3)

Answer: REAL ALE (i.e. “drink”). Solution is RE (i.e. regarding or “about” – think email replies) followed by A, then LA and LE (both “French words for ‘the’” – female and male forms respectively).

  1. …which is given name for bird (7)

Answer: BITTERN (i.e. “bird”). Previous solution, REAL ALE, feeds into this clue. Another word for REAL ALE is BITTER, which is followed by or “given” N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”).

  1. Doughnut present in, e.g. breakfast foodstuff (7)

Answer: OATMEAL (i.e. “foodstuff”). Solution is O (i.e. “doughnut”) followed by AT (i.e. “present”) and MEAL (i.e. “e.g. breakfast”, other mealtimes are available).

  1. Clowning around, I twice do superman routine (5,8)

Answer: MODUS OPERANDI (i.e. “routine”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “clowning around”) of I, DO, DO (i.e. “twice do”) and SUPERMAN.

  1. An indication with wine courses (9)

Answer: ANTIPASTI (i.e. “courses”). Solution is AN followed by TIP (i.e. hint or “indication”) and ASTI (i.e. “wine”).

  1. After a kind of sleep, make time for artist (9)

Answer: REMBRANDT (i.e. “artist”). Solution is REM (i.e. “a kind of sleep”, short for Rapid Eye Movement) followed by BRAND (i.e. “make”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Cover old song, done at first (7)

Answer: OVERLAY (i.e. “cover”). Solution is LAY (i.e. “old song”) with OVER (i.e. “done”) placed “at first”, like so: OVER-LAY.

  1. Fabric cape taken out of drawer? (5)

Answer: RAYON (i.e. “fabric”). Solution is CRAYON (i.e. a “drawer”) with the C removed (indicated by “cape taken out of…” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “cape”).

Down clues

  1. Confounded pest to write and devour novel (11)

Answer: STEPPENWOLF (i.e. “novel” by Hermann Hesse). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “confounded”) of PEST followed by PEN (i.e. “to write”) and WOLF (i.e. to “devour”), like so: STEP-PEN-WOLF.

  1. Marks higher than a German, as a rule (5)

Answer: MOTTO (i.e. “rule”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “marks”, the old German currency) followed by OTTO (i.e. “German”, basically a German bloke’s name).

  1. What the Great Ouse will do, finally, is to be known (4,3,2,3,4)

Answer: COME OUT IN THE WASH. Solution satisfies “what the Great Ouse will do, finally” and “to be known”.

  1. Solvent German car maker on principle losing outside races (7)

Answer: BENZENE (i.e. “solvent”). Solution is BENZ (i.e. “German car maker”) followed by TENET (i.e. “principle”) once the T and T on the “outside” have been removed or “lost”. TT is also a famous motorbike “race” held on the Isle of Man.

  1. Four empty theatres without a seat (4-1-4)

Answer: TETE-A-TETE (i.e. “seat”, specifically an S-shaped sofa designed to bring sitters face to face). Solution is TE, TE, TE and TE (i.e. “four empty theatres”, i.e. the word “theatre” with all its middle letters removed and repeated four times) all wrapped around or placed “without” A, like so: TE-TE-(A)-TE-TE.

  1. Bagging sportswear one may take off here (7,5)

Answer: LANDING STRIP (i.e. “one may take off here”). Solution is LANDING (i.e. “bagging”) followed by STRIP (i.e. “sportswear”). You could also tack on “one may take off” to further underline STRIP.

  1. Make feeble argument defending current books (10)

Answer: DEBILITATE (i.e. “make feeble”). Solution is DEBATE (i.e. “argument”) wrapped around or “defending” I (a recognised abbreviation of an electric “current” used in physics) and LIT (i.e. “books”, short for literature), like so: DEB(I-LIT)ATE.

  1. Murderer’s confession somewhere in Scotland (5)

Answer: ISLAY (i.e. “somewhere in Scotland”). When written as I SLAY the solution also satisfies “murderer’s confession”.

  1. 150 cars bearing uniform for fratricidal ruler (8)

Answer: CLAUDIUS (i.e. “fratricidal ruler”). Solution is CL (i.e. “150” in Roman numerals) followed by AUDIS (i.e. “cars”) once wrapped around or “bearing” U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: CL-AUDI(U)S.

  1. Theology’s double bill for study again (6)

Answer: REREAD (i.e. “study again”). Solution is RE and RE (i.e. “theology’s double”, i.e. Religious Education repeated) followed by AD (i.e. “bill”, notice or advertisement).

  1. Protestant country suppressing wild anger (9)

Answer: ORANGEMAN (i.e. “protestant”). Solution is OMAN (i.e. “country”) wrapped around or “suppressing” an anagram (indicated by “wild”) of ANGER, like so: O(RANGE)MAN.

  1. Range Rover’s tail with car forced to go around (6,5)

Answer: SIERRA MADRE (i.e. a Mexican mountain “range”). Solution is R (i.e. “Rover’s tail”, i.e. the last letter of “Rover”) placed in or having “around” SIERRA (i.e. a Ford-flavoured “car”) and MADE (i.e. “forced”), like so: SIERRA-MAD(R)E.

  1. Crawl along with booze up? One is tight (7)

Answer: NIGGARD (i.e. “one is tight” or miserly). Solution is DRAG (i.e. “crawl along”) and GIN (i.e. “booze”) all reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: NIG-GARD.

  1. What secretary does, fixing a flaw (7)

Answer: FAILING (i.e. a “flaw”). Solution is FILING (i.e. “what secretary does”) wrapped around or “fixing” A, like so: F(A)ILING.

  1. Short figure gets meat and warm egg on the side (9,7)

Answer: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (i.e. “side” or football team). Solution is TOT (i.e. “short” or measure of strong drink) followed by TEN (i.e. “figure” or number), then HAM (i.e. “meat”), then HOT (i.e. “warm”) and SPUR (i.e. “egg on”).

  1. One adding embellishment perhaps in food store (6)

Answer: LARDER. Solution satisfies “food store” and “one adding embellishment” – one definition of “lard” is to “garnish or strew” (Chambers). “Perhaps” indicates the latter meaning of LARDER suggested in the clue isn’t exactly one you’re going to find in the dictionary.

  1. Not entirely bad: amicable like the first person (6)

Answer: ADAMIC (i.e. “like the first person” in The Bible). “Not entirely” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: B(AD AMIC)ABLE.

  1. In street abroad, European can train (7)

Answer: RETINUE (i.e. entourage or “train”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and TIN (i.e. “can”) both placed “in” RUE (i.e. “street abroad”, specifically France), like so: R(E-TIN)UE.

  1. Tease wife getting nothing right, one with yellow bloomers (7)

Answer: RAGWORT (i.e. “one with yellow flowers”). Solution is RAG (i.e. “tease”) followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”), then O (i.e. “nothing”) and RT (a recognised abbreviation of “right”, e.g. the Rt Hon Lucian Poll MP. Kindly address all bungs to my constituency office).

  1. Block some text, sentence in final part of play (8,4)

Answer: STOPPAGE TIME (i.e. “final part of play”, often in a game of football). Solution is STOP (i.e. “block”) followed by PAGE (i.e. “some text”) and TIME (i.e. a prison “sentence”).

  1. Quake there, with mortar exploding (5,6)

Answer: EARTH TREMOR (i.e. “quake”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “exploding”) of THERE and MORTAR.

  1. Rogue is to knock salad ingredient (11)

Answer: RAPSCALLION (i.e. “rogue”). Solution is RAP (i.e. “to knock”) followed by SCALLION (i.e. “salad ingredient”, specifically a leek or spring onion). A great word I’ve not heard for a while.

  1. Working on sonata in US city (3,7)

Answer: SAN ANTONIO (i.e. “US city”). “Working” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ON SONATA IN.

  1. Ethnic group’s record tough to keep in game (9)

Answer: SEPHARDIM (i.e. “ethnic group”, specifically “the Jews of Spanish, Portuguese or N African descent” (Chambers)). Solution is EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended Play) and HARD (i.e. “tough”) both placed “in” SIM (i.e. “game”, short for simulation), like so: S(EP-HARD)IM. Not one I was going to get from shallow pool of general knowledge I possess, so had to get this largely from the wordplay.

  1. Protection of Earl Grey, say, featured by tabloid (5,4)

Answer: CHAIN MAIL (i.e. “protection”). Solution is CHA (i.e. “Earl Grey, say” – other teas or cups of cha are available) followed by IN (i.e. “featured by”) and the Daily MAIL (i.e. “tabloid”).

  1. Fabulously young fellow’s safe shot (5,3)

Answer: PETER PAN (i.e. “fabulously young fellow” – “fabulous” referencing the fantastic nature of the story). Solution is PETER (a slang word for a “safe”, rather popular with Times setters) followed by PAN (i.e. a cinematic camera “shot”)

  1. Soldiers backing officer brought in retiring soon (7)

Answer: SHORTLY (i.e. “soon”). Solution is OR (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) and LT (i.e. “officer”, short for lieutenant) reversed (indicated by “backing”) and both placed “in” SHY (i.e. “retiring”), like so: SH(OR-TL)Y.

  1. Parent, one having recourse to, e.g. speed gun (6)

Answer: MAUSER (i.e. “gun”, specifically a German rifle). Solution is MA (i.e. “parent”) followed by USER (i.e. “one having recourse to, e.g. speed” – speed being a drug in this case).

  1. Topping for a French loaf? (5)

Answer: BERET. Clue plays on the item of headwear or “topping” being something you’d associate with “France”, and how “loaf” is a slang word for the head. You get the idea.

  1. Leaders in Evening Standard and Express paper (5)

Answer: ESSAY (i.e. “paper”). Solution is ES (i.e. “leaders in Evening Standard”, i.e. the first letters of “Evening” and “Standard”) followed by SAY (i.e. to “express” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1509

A medium-strength offering this week marred by a setter playing nasty. Well, two can play at that game, chum.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip, then you might find enlightenment in my Just For Fun page, where I’ve chucked together links to solutions for the past 150+ of these things. Elsewhere you can find the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind words and help, folks, and a special hat-tip to those who have purchased my stuff in recent months. I purposely avoid the hard sell in these posts, so it’s really nice to see the sales when they ping into my inbox. Thank you. Till next time, stay safe, mask up when asked, and continue giving props to the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Sailor and solider regularly unload arthropod (9)

Answer: TARANTULA (i.e. “arthropod”, or critters with segmented bodies and the like). Solution is TAR (i.e. informal word for a “sailor”) followed by ANT (i.e. “solider”) and ULA (i.e. “regularly unload”, i.e. every other letter of UNLOAD).

  1. Quiet American, sick with hatred, takes in old and timid (13)

Answer: PUSILLANIMOUS (i.e. “timid”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, i.e. “quiet” in musical lingo) followed by US (i.e. “American”), then ILL (i.e. “sick”) and ANIMUS (i.e. hostility or “hatred”) once wrapped around or “taking in” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: P-US-ILL-ANIM(O)US.

  1. A bunch of well-read librarians wing it (2-3)

Answer: AD-LIB (i.e. “wing it”). “A bunch of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: WELL-RE(AD LIB)RARIANS.

  1. Victory impresses more trendy assistant in hunt (7-2)

Answer: WHIPPER-IN (i.e. “assistant in hunt” who looks after the hounds, it says here). Solution is WIN (i.e. “victory”) wrapped around or “impressing” HIPPER (i.e. “more trendy”), like so: W(HIPPER)IN.

  1. Author about to block old censor and senator finally (7)

Answer: CREATOR (i.e. “author”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) placed in or “blocking” CATO the Elder (i.e. “old censor” – he was also known as Cato the Censor) and followed by R (i.e. “senator finally”, i.e. the last letter of “senator”), like so: C(RE)ATO-R.

  1. The incredible awareness at the heart of Shakespeare (12,10)

Answer: EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION (i.e. “incredible awareness”). Clue plays on how the initials ESP can be found “at the heart of ShakESPeare”.

  1. Idiots undermine bills ambassador introduced (8)

Answer: SAPHEADS (i.e. “idiots”). Solution is SAP (i.e. to “undermine”) and ADS (i.e. “bills” or advertisements) both wrapped around or “introducing” HE (i.e. “ambassador”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “His Excellency”), like so: SAP-(HE)-ADS.

  1. Bizarre account involving old form of fruit (8)

Answer: COCOANUT (i.e. “form of fruit” – Chambers just about tolerates the variant spelling). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “bizarre”) of ACCOUNT wrapped around or “involving” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: COC(O)ANUT.

  1. A lot of sailors grasping firm bit of mast (5)

Answer: ACORN (i.e. “bit of mast” – a variant meaning of “mast” is the fruit of assorted trees, oaks included, upon which pigs feed). Solution is A and RN (i.e. “lot of sailors”, specifically the Royal Navy) wrapped around or “grasping” CO (i.e. “firm”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a “company”), like so: A-(CO)-RN.

  1. Notice present then past feature in playground (6)

Answer: SEESAW (i.e. “feature in playground”). Solution is SEE (i.e. “notice” in the “present” tense) followed by SAW (i.e. “notice” in the “past” tense).

  1. Wet blanket near person at end of day (6)

Answer: MISERY (i.e. a “wet blanket”). Solution is MISER (i.e. “near person” – one definition of “near” is an informal word for being stingy) followed by Y (i.e. “end of day”, i.e. the last letter of “day”).

  1. Fleet Street record dance (9)

Answer: QUICKSTEP (i.e. “dance”). Solution is QUICK (i.e. “fleet”) followed by ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”) and EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended Play).

  1. Calm down one in a key state after rioting (4,2,4)

Answer: TAKE IT EASY (i.e. “calm down”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “after rioting”) of A KEY STATE wrapped around or taking “in” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: TAKE(I)TEASY.

  1. “Cicero is an orator first and foremost!” Roman cheers (4)

Answer: CIAO (i.e. “Roman cheers”, i.e. an Italian salutation or valediction. I’m guilty of signing off emails with “cheers” from time to time). “First and foremost” indicates the solution comprises the initial letters of Cicero Is An Orator.

  1. Couple hold nerve withdrawing farm job (7)

Answer: TILLAGE (i.e. “farm job”). Solution is TIE (i.e. to “couple”) wrapped around or “holding” GALL (i.e. “nerve”) once reversed (indicated by “withdrawing”), like so: TI(LLAG)E.

  1. This writer’s probing unfit revolutionary instruments (7)

Answer: TIMPANI (i.e. “instruments”). Solution is I’M (i.e. “this writer’s”, taken as a contraction of “this writer is” from the point of view of the setter) placed in or “probing” INAPT (i.e. “unfit”) once reversed (indicated by “revolutionary”), like so: T(I’M)PANI.

  1. Flat sporting occasion curtailed (4)

Answer: EVEN (i.e. “flat”). Solution is EVENT (i.e. “sporting occasion”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “curtailed”).

  1. In Arctic ground I had added corrosive chemical (6,4)

Answer: NITRIC ACID (i.e. “corrosive chemical”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “ground”) of IN ARCTIC followed by I’D (a contraction of “I had”), like so: NITRICAC-I’D.

  1. Large snake in garden initially gives problem with hose (9)

Answer: LADDERING (i.e. “problem with hose”, i.e. tights). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) followed by ADDER (i.e. “snake”), then IN and G (i.e. “garden initially”, i.e. the first letter of “garden”).

  1. French president takes off glove for trip (6)

Answer: ERRAND (i.e. “trip”). Solution is François MITTERRAND (i.e. “French president”) with the MITT removed (indicated by “takes off glove”).

  1. Small extremely clumsy article one’s used for cutting (6)

Answer: SCYTHE (i.e. “one’s used for cutting”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by CY (i.e. “extremely clumsy”, i.e. the first and last letters of “clumsy”), then THE (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the).

  1. It secures victory in time that’s empty (5)

Answer: TWINE (i.e. “it secures”). Solution is WIN (i.e. “victory”) once placed “in” TE (i.e. “time that’s empty”, i.e. the word “time” with its middle letters removed), like so: T(WIN)E.

  1. Is blinking big cat occasionally caught in rump? (8)

Answer: NICTATES (i.e. “is blinking” – I’ve tried, like really really hard, to twist the phrasing this way and that, but can only arrive at something ending in -ing, not -s). Solution is ICT (i.e. “big cat occasionally”, i.e. every other letter of BIG CAT) placed or “caught in” NATES (i.e. anatomical term for the buttocks or “rump”), like so: N(ICT)ATES. Clunky.

  1. Ten tucked into beer with lime, say, in bar on coach (8)

Answer: AXLETREE (i.e. “bar on coach” – a new one on me, but not one I think will live long in the memory). Solution is X (i.e. Roman numeral for “ten”) placed or “tucked into” ALE (i.e. “beer”) and followed by TREE (i.e. “lime, say” – other flavours of tree are available), like so: A(X)LE-TREE. One gotten by looking up words beginning with AXLE, if I’m honest.

  1. Relish standardising nosh cooked with dulse (8,6,8)

Answer: THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING (i.e. “relish” – and one so popular with Times setters it has appeared four times since I started doing these Jumbo posts. Either that or it’s the same setter each time and they’re utterly besotted with the stuff. Like, open any cupboard or drawer in their house and you’ll find nothing but jars and jars of Thousand Island dressing. Wardrobe: ditto. Box room: chock-a-block with it. Turn on the taps: Thousand Island dressing oozes out. Flush the toilet: Thousand Island dressing. Good grief, there are even jars of it stuffed into the cistern. These Times setters really, really love their Thousand Island dressing! I prefer hummus, personally). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cooked”) of STANDARDISING NOSH and DULSE.

  1. Antarctic explorer in India? Tell composer (7)

Answer: Gioachino ROSSINI (i.e. “Tell composer”, i.e. him wot wrote The Lone Ranger theme tune the William Tell Overture). Solution is John ROSS (i.e. “Antarctic explorer”) followed by IN and I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Poor state university function in deficit (9)

Answer: LOUSINESS (i.e. “poor state”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and SINE (i.e. trigonometrical “function”) both placed “in” LOSS (i.e. “deficit”), like so: LO(U-SINE)SS.

  1. Collapsing out of bounds, exhausted (3,2)

Answer: ALL IN (i.e. “exhausted”). Solution is FALLING (i.e. “collapsing”) with its first and last letters removed (indicated by “out of bounds”).

  1. Enlarging vein somehow the result of using needle (4,9)

Answer: LINE ENGRAVING (i.e. “result of using needle”). “Somehow” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ENLARGING VEIN. Nicely worked.

  1. Dealing online, English come across German car (1-8)

Answer: E-COMMERCE (i.e. “dealing online”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by COME once wrapped around or placed “across” MERC (i.e. “German car”, short for Mercedes), like so: E-COM(MERC)E.

Down clues

  1. Crosses put up around Republican states (9)

Answer: TRAVERSES (i.e. “crosses”). Solution is SET (i.e. to “put” in place) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped “around” R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”) and AVERS (i.e. “states”), like so: T(R-AVERS)ES.

  1. Bureau Trollope’s crazy daughter put in at end of week (4-3,4)

Answer: ROLL-TOP DESK (i.e. “bureau”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “crazy”) of TROLLOPE’S wrapped around or having “put in” D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) and followed by K (i.e. “end of week”, i.e. the last letter of “week”), like so: ROLLTOP(D)ES-K.

  1. Old part of Africa now under boats in Aswan primarily (5)

Answer: NUBIA (i.e. “old part of Africa” along the Nile). “Primarily” indicates the solution comprises the initial letters of Now Under Boats In Aswan.

  1. Peace-keepers, furious about eastern Yankee, hard to handle (8)

Answer: UNWIELDY (i.e. “hard to handle”). Solution is UN (i.e. “peace-keepers”, specifically the United Nations) followed by WILD (i.e. “furious”) once wrapped “about” E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”) and followed by Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: UN-WI(E)LD-Y.

  1. Surrounded by 500 in a film (6)

Answer: AMIDST (i.e. “surrounded by”). Solution is D (Roman numeral for “500”) placed “in” A and MIST (i.e. “film”), like so: A-MI(D)ST.

  1. Decorate unit inspired by my notes (5,5)

Answer: PAPER MONEY (i.e. “notes”). Solution is PAPER (i.e. to “decorate”) followed by ONE (i.e. “unit”) once placed in or “inspired by” MY, like so: PAPER-M(ONE)Y.

  1. My nicest port dissolved drug (12)

Answer: STREPTOMYCIN (i.e. “drug”). “Dissolved” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MY NICEST PORT. I knew strepto- from my sepia-tinged school days, so a quick shufti in Chambers got me over the line.

  1. Herbicide used up in kindergarten or uni lawns (4,3)

Answer: LINU RON (i.e. a “herbicide” no longer for sale owing to its effects on wildlife. Hoo boy, where to start with this beauty? First: the compound is not listed in any dictionary I own – certainly worthy of a caution, right there. Second: the most cursory glance online reveals it’s actually one word, not two. How on earth did you figure this was a two-worder, setter? Did Chemical John get you a cheap bottle of Soviet-era Linu Яon™ down the pub one day? Definite yellow card. Third: if you find you have painted yourself into a corner and have to resort to made-to-fit bullshit solutions like this, consider reworking the grid. It’s really not that difficult. Second yellow. Back to setter school with you). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: KINDERGARTE(N OR UNI L)AWNS.

  1. Old standard bearer fellow’s one on the right: we all know that? (7,7)

Answer: ANCIENT HISTORY (i.e. “we all know that” – Chambers offers this definition for the phrase: “news or gossip which, contrary to the expectations of the teller, one is already well aware of (inf, fig)“). Solution is ANCIENT (i.e. “old standard bearer”, an obsolete variant meaning of the word) followed by HIS (i.e. “fellow’s”) and TORY (i.e. “one on the right” of politics).

  1. Sloth’s favourite time to eat it up (7)

Answer: INERTIA (i.e. “sloth”). Solution is IN (i.e. popular or “favourite”) followed by ERA (i.e. “time”) once wrapped around or “eating” IT once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: IN-ER(TI)A.

  1. Somehow drain tooth around hole, using this treatment? (11)

Answer: ORTHODONTIA (i.e. “[tooth] …treatment”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of DRAIN TOOTH wrapped “around” O (i.e. “hole”), like so: ORTH(O)DONTIA.

  1. Gershwin’s pulled up long garment (4)

Answer: SARI (i.e. “long garment”). Solution is IRA’S (i.e. “Gershwin’s” – his first name) reversed (indicated by “pulled up” – this being a down clue).

  1. A thousand raised fibres and tiny diamonds found in plant (8)

Answer: KNAPWEED (i.e. “plant”). Solution is K (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “a thousand”) followed by NAP (i.e. “raised fibres”), then WEE (i.e. “tiny”) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “diamonds” used in card games).

  1. Remove European judge jailing a lot of sleuths from the south (9)

Answer: ERADICATE (i.e. “remove”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and RATE (i.e. to “judge”) wrapped around or “jailing” A and CID (i.e. “lot of sleuths”, specifically the Criminal Investigation Department of the police force) both reversed (indicated by “from the south” – this being a down clue), like so: E-RA(DIC-A)TE.

  1. US poet drinks with Austrian composer (8)

Answer: Allen GINSBERG (i.e. “US poet”). Solution is GINS (i.e. “drinks”) followed by Alban BERG (i.e. “Austrian composer”).

  1. Result of division not quite worked out (8)

Answer: QUOTIENT (i.e. “result of division”). “Worked out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NOT QUITE.

  1. Old unit look into mountain bike (9)

Answer: KILOCYCLE (i.e. “old unit”, these days known as kilohertz). Solution is LO (i.e. “look”, as in lo and behold) placed “into” KI (i.e. “mountain”, specifically K1 with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent) and CYCLE (i.e. “bike”), like so: KI-(LO)-CYCLE.

  1. Comedian is trained by top man for ref’s job (8-6)

Answer: DECISION-MAKING (i.e. “ref’s job”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “trained”) of COMEDIAN IS followed by KING (i.e. “top man”), like so: DECISIONMA-KING.

  1. The whole lot write off leaderless City (8)

Answer: TOTALITY (i.e. “the whole lot”). Solution is TOTAL (i.e. to “write off” a motor vehicle) followed by CITY with its first letter removed (indicated by “leaderless”), like so: TOTAL-ITY.

  1. Ace Joss and I wrestling with equine’s indefinable quality (2,2,4,4)

Answer: JE NE SAIS QUOI (i.e. “indefinable quality”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wrestling”) of A (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used in card games), JOSS, I and EQUINE.

  1. Send up dull latest edition of paper? Poles enjoy it for 6 months (8,3)

Answer: MIDNIGHT SUN (i.e. “[north and south] poles enjoy it for 6 months”). Solution is DIM (i.e. “dull”) reversed (indicated by “send up” – this being a down clue) and followed by NIGHT SUN (i.e. playfully, the “latest edition of paper”).

  1. Maybe track flier eventually (11)

Answer: CATERPILLAR. Solution satisfies “maybe track”, such as the kind you’d find on tanks, and “flier eventually”.

  1. Taking Charlie to empty place for washing gear primarily (10)

Answer: FREEBASING (i.e. “taking Charlie”, an informal name for cocaine – freebasing is when you smoke the stuff). Solution is FREE (i.e. “to empty”) followed by BASIN (i.e. “place for washing”) and G (i.e. “gear primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “gear”).

  1. Coming out, soldiers picked up some DNA around clubs (9)

Answer: EMERGENCE (i.e. a “coming out”). Solution is REME (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue) and followed by GENE (i.e. “some DNA”) once wrapped “around” C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games), like so: EMER-GEN(C)E.

  1. Old hacks taking old drink (8)

Answer: EXPRESSO (i.e. “drink” – can be spelled with an X or an S). Solution is EX-PRESS (i.e. “old hacks” or journalists) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”).

  1. Hard to find our lot in East, as it happens (7)

Answer: ELUSIVE (i.e. “hard to find”). Solution is US (i.e. “our lot”) placed “in” E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”) and LIVE (i.e. “as it happens”), like so: E-L(US)IVE.

  1. What leads to some hissing when you call “garçon”? (7)

Answer: CEDILLA, the ‘z’-like tail beneath the ç of “garçon”. Clue plays on the “hissing” sound this represents in the word’s pronunciation. That’s it, I guess, unless I’ve missed something clever.

  1. Attach poster before bringing in horse (6)

Answer: ADHERE (i.e. “attach”). Solution is AD (i.e. “poster” or advertisement) and ERE (poetic form of “before”) wrapped around or “bringing in” H (i.e. “horse”, both street names for heroin), like so: AD-(H)-ERE.

  1. Host guru briefly collecting rupees (5)

Answer: SWARM (i.e. a “host” or lot of something). Solution is SWAMI (i.e. “guru”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder wrapped around or “collecting” R (a recognised abbreviation of “rupees”), like so: SWA(R)M.

  1. Flower in the countryside opening out (4)

Answer: URAL (i.e. a river or “flower” – think about it). Solution is RURAL (i.e. “countryside”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “opening out”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1508

A medium strength offering that didn’t do too much for me. Could be there were one too many recent repeats in the grid, could be there was an overreliance on people’s names, but it was probably more your favourite internet nobody hitting holiday season and the summer FINALLY arriving!

So obviously I’m typing this indoors while watching the darts.

Anyway, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has left you flummoxed then you might my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and help. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts and alternative takes of other solvers once the pens are stilled. Till next time, stay safe, get vaccinated – my 5G shots are now complete so I’ll soon be able to lick door handles again – and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Cricketer possibly left in ship, accompanied by valet (9)

Answer: SPORTSMAN (i.e. “cricketer possibly” – other sportspeople are available). Solution is PORT (i.e. “left” in shipspeak) placed “in” SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship) and followed by MAN (i.e. “valet”), like so: S(PORT)S-MAN.

  1. Story originally promoting farming land (7)

Answer: PARABLE (i.e. “story”). Solution is P (i.e. “originally promoting”, i.e. the first letter of “promoting”) followed by ARABLE (i.e. “farming land”).

  1. Range of knowledge inspiring a Republican woman (5)

Answer: KAREN (i.e. a “woman’s” name). Solution is KEN (i.e. “range of knowledge”) wrapped around or “inspiring” A and R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”), like so: K(A-R)EN.

  1. Team breaking up? Very funny! (4-9)

Answer: SIDE-SPLITTING (i.e. “very funny”). When written without the hyphen the solution also satisfies “team breaking up”.

  1. Peacemaking proposal NI politician associated with the Republic (9)

Answer: EIRENICON (i.e. “peacemaking proposal”). Solution is NI and CON (i.e. “politician”, specifically one of the Conservative persuasion) both placed after or “associated with” EIRE (i.e. the “republic” of Ireland), like so: EIRE-(NI-CON).

  1. Wearing down staff in key area of hospital (7)

Answer: ERODENT (i.e. “wearing down”). Solution is ROD (i.e. “staff”) placed “in” between E (i.e. a musical “key”) and ENT (i.e. “area of hospital” dealing with the Ear Nose and Throat), like so: E-(ROD)-ENT.

  1. Tuft of grass son thus dropped in food (7)

Answer: TUSSOCK (i.e. “tuft of grass”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) and SO (i.e. “thus”) both placed “in” TUCK (i.e. “food”), like so: TU(S-SO)CK.

  1. Shout of praise from house taken by woman in South Africa (7)

Answer: HOSANNA (i.e. “shout of praise”). Solution is HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”) followed by ANN (a “woman’s” name) once placed “in” SA (a recognised abbreviation of “South Africa”), like so: HO-S(ANN)A.

  1. Art involved with son’s Latin renderings (12)

Answer: TRANSLATIONS (i.e. “renderings”). “Involved” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ART and SON’S LATIN.

  1. Baker’s company probing father’s attempt very well (10)

Answer: PASTRYCOOK (i.e. “baker”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) placed in or “probing” PA’S (i.e. “father’s”), TRY (i.e. “attempt”) and OK (i.e. “very well”, both forms of reluctant assent), like so: PA’S-TRY-(CO)-OK.

  1. British composer showing ecstatic joy (5)

Answer: Arthur BLISS (i.e. “British composer” – pats Bradford’s). Solution also satisfies “ecstatic joy”.

  1. Obscure character chaps trust at first, possessing good sense (9)

Answer: JUDGEMENT (i.e. “sense”). Solution is JUDE (i.e. “obscure character”, a reference to Thomas Hardy’s novel Jude The Obscure – pats Google), MEN (i.e. “chaps”) and T (i.e. “trust at first”, i.e. the first letter of “trust”) all wrapped around or “possessing” G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: JUD(G)E-MEN-T.

  1. Humorist’s better jokes finally gaining acceptance (7)

Answer: PUNSTER (i.e. “humorist” – the word “humour” has got to be the messiest word in the entire dictionary. To U or not to U? Looking across its derivative forms, your best bet is to toss a coin. Don’t expect your spellchecker to bail you out, either). Solution is PUNTER (i.e. “better”) wrapped around or “accepting” S (i.e. “jokes finally”, i.e. the last letter of “jokes”), like so: PUN(S)TER.

  1. Doctor he met in cave exploit (11)

Answer: ACHIEVEMENT (i.e. a heroic “exploit”). “Doctor” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HE MET IN CAVE.

  1. Threaten to go out and push for sensational journalism (6,5)

Answer: GUTTER PRESS (i.e. “sensational journalism”). Solution is GUTTER (i.e. of a lit candle “threatening to go out”) followed by PRESS (i.e. to “push for”).

  1. Musical theatre employee, one who’s made a bob or two? (11)

Answer: HAIRDRESSER (i.e. “one who’s made a bob or two”, a reference to the hairstyle). Solution is HAIR (i.e. famed hippy “musical”) followed by DRESSER (i.e. “theatre employee”).

  1. Short course a choir developed in painting technique (11)

Answer: CHIAROSCURO (i.e. “painting technique”, often one produced in black and white). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “developed”) of COURSE once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”) and A CHOIR.

  1. Take clothes off washerwoman abandoning US city (7)

Answer: UNDRESS (i.e. “take clothes off”). Solution is LAUNDRESS (i.e. “washerwoman”) with the LA removed (indicated by “abandoning US city”).

  1. Irritate female, initially using limited amount of cotton? (9)

Answer: NEEDLEFUL (i.e. “amount of cotton”). Solution is NEEDLE (i.e. “irritate”) followed by F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) and UL (i.e. “initially using limited”, i.e. the first letters of “using” and “limited”).

  1. Country briefly served by European record company (5)

Answer: INDIE (i.e. “record company”). Solution is INDIA (i.e. “country”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly served”) and the remainder followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: INDI-E.

  1. Flap when English scoff excessively, gulping it back (10)

Answer: EPIGLOTTIS (i.e. anatomical “flap”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by PIG (i.e. to “scoff” or eat voraciously) and LOTS (i.e. “excessively”) once wrapped around or “gulping” IT reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: E-PIG-LOT(TI)S.

  1. Black rook on sign incorporating outsize Jurassic herbivore (12)

Answer: BRONTOSAURUS (i.e. “Jurassic herbivore”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) followed by R (ditto “rook”, again in chess), then ON and TAURUS (i.e. astrological “sign”) once wrapped around or “incorporating” OS (a recognised abbreviation of “outsize”), like so: B-R-ON-T(OS)AURUS.

  1. Attend police station, not having caught 1950s dropout (7)

Answer: BEATNIK (i.e. “1950s dropout”). Solution is BE AT NICK (i.e. “attend police station”) once the C has been removed (indicated by “not having caught” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games).

  1. Unprincipled fellow visiting gallery (7)

Answer: GODLESS (i.e. “unprincipled” – I mean, yeah, but a little high and mighty, don’t you think? How about we fast forward 50 years and see how we describe those still observing religion…) Solution is LES (a “fellow” or bloke’s name) placed in or “visiting” GODS (i.e. an informal name for a “gallery” in a theatre), like so: GOD(LES)S.

  1. Unfinished craft I found in China? (7)

Answer: PARTIAL (i.e. “unfinished”). Solution is ART (i.e. “craft”) and I both placed “in” PAL (i.e. “China” – as in the cockney rhyming slang for “mate”, a china plate. (Insert Mr Poll’s usual string of weak London stereotypes here)), like so: P(ART-I)AL.

  1. Like teaching spun out in most of Italy (9)

Answer: TUITIONAL (i.e. “like teaching”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “spun”) of OUT IN and ITALY once it’s last letter has been removed (indicated by “most of”).

  1. Novel Haitian metric calculator? (13)

Answer: ARITHMETICIAN (i.e. “calculator”). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HAITIAN METRIC.

  1. Move forward quickly, having energy after breather (5)

Answer: LUNGE (i.e. “move forward quickly”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) placed “after” LUNG (i.e. “breather”), like so: LUNG-E.

  1. Splashed out without hesitation, securing old wind instrument (7)

Answer: SERPENT (i.e. “old wind instrument”). Solution is SPENT (i.e. “splashed out”) wrapped around or placed “without” ER (i.e. an expression of “hesitation”), like so: S(ER)PENT.

  1. Come into conflict after writer produces mystic symbol (9)

Answer: PENTANGLE (i.e. “mystic symbol”). Solution is TANGLE (i.e. “come into conflict”) placed “after” PEN (i.e. “writer”), like so: PEN-TANGLE.

Down clues

  1. South American with muscle finally caught wanted man (7)

Answer: SUSPECT (i.e. “wanted man”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “south”) followed by US (i.e. “American”), then PEC (i.e. “muscle”, short for pectoral) and T (i.e. “finally caught”, i.e. the last letter of “caught”).

  1. Fussy former desire to tour Arab country (3-8)

Answer: OLD-WOMANISH (i.e. “fussy”). Solution is OLD (i.e. “former”) followed by WISH (i.e. “desire”) once wrapped around or “touring” OMAN (i.e. “Arab country”), like so: OLD-W(OMAN)ISH.

  1. Discrimination shown by third of visitors in gallery (5)

Answer: TASTE (i.e. “discrimination”). Solution is S (i.e. “third [letter] of visitors”) placed “in” TATE (i.e. a “gallery”), like so: TA(S)TE.

  1. End up arresting large Italian, leader of inept volunteer force (7)

Answer: MILITIA (i.e. “volunteer force”). Solution is AIM (i.e. “end”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “arresting”) L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), IT (ditto “Italian”) and I (i.e. “leader of inept”, i.e. the first letter of “inept”), like so: MI(L-IT-I)A.

  1. Head teachers once (3)

Answer: NUT. Solution satisfies “head” and “teachers once”, a reference to the National Union of Teachers.

  1. Space in US prepared for showjumping competition (9)

Answer: PUISSANCE (i.e. “showjumping competition” – a new one on me). “Prepared” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SPACE IN US.

  1. African river rises, engulfing centre of exposed area (6)

Answer: REGION (i.e. “area”). Solution is NIGER (i.e. “African river”) reversed (indicated by “rises” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “engulfing” O (i.e. “centre [letter] of exposed”), like so: REGI(O)N.

  1. New staff biker at fantasy film (9,2,8)

Answer: BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (i.e. “film”). “New” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of STAFF BIKER AT FANTASY.

  1. Aural range and musical discrimination’s cool! (7)

Answer: EARSHOT (i.e. “aural range”). Solution is EAR’S (i.e. “musical discrimination’s”) followed by HOT (i.e. “cool”, both taken to mean something popular).

  1. Norfolk town girl supporting college (5,4)

Answer: KING’S LYNN (i.e. “Norfolk town”). Solution is LYNN (i.e. “girl’s” name) placed after or “supporting” – this being a down clue – KINGS (i.e. a “college” at Cambridge).

  1. Case regarding scam over in compound? (11)

Answer: RECONNOITRE (i.e. to “case” a location). Solution is RE (i.e. “regarding” – think email replies) followed by CON (i.e. “scam”) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket) once placed “in” NITRE (i.e. “compound”), like so: RE-CON-N(O)ITRE.

  1. Woman receiving judge, a martial art expert (5)

Answer: NINJA (i.e. “martial art expert” and frequent visitor to these Jumbos). Solution is NINA (i.e. a “woman’s” name) wrapped around or “receiving” J (a recognised abbreviation of “judge”), like so: NIN(J)A.

  1. He, perhaps, is a fraction superior to a boy? Strange! (5,6,8)

Answer: THIRD PERSON SINGULAR (i.e. “he, perhaps” – I being first person; you being second person and he/she being third person singular). Solution is THIRD (i.e. “a fraction”, or 1/3) followed by PER SON (i.e. “to a boy”) and SINGULAR (i.e. “strange”). I guess “superior” indicates THIRD is placed above PERSON, being a down clue.

  1. Temporarily debar second writer in south of France (7)

Answer: SUSPEND (i.e. “temporarily debar”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) and PEN (i.e. “writer”) both placed “in” SUD (i.e. “south of France”, i.e. the word “south” in French), like so: SU(S-PEN)D.

  1. Clumsy northern set broke part of pavement (9)

Answer: KERBSTONE (i.e. “part of pavement”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “clumsy”) of N (a recognised abbreviation of “northern”) and SET BROKE.

  1. Be extremely lacking in courage at first, like some old Celts (6)

Answer: BELGIC (i.e. “like some old Celts” – pats Bradford’s again. Life’s too short to fart around with made-to-fit solutions). Solution is BE followed by LG (i.e. “extremely lacking”, i.e. the first and last letters of “lacking”) and IC (i.e. “in courage at first”, i.e. the initial letters of “in” and “courage”).

  1. Accommodation for outriggers primarily in city on river (9)

Answer: BOATHOUSE (i.e. “accommodation”). Solution is O (i.e. “outriggers primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “outriggers”) placed “in” BATH (i.e. “city”) and OUSE (i.e. a “river”).

  1. Barracks limiting exercise? That’s a surprise! (7)

Answer: JEEPERS! (i.e. “that’s a surprise”). Solution is JEERS (i.e. “barracks”) wrapped around or “limiting” PE (i.e. “exercise”), like so: JEE(PE)RS.

  1. Like some serous membranes – more than one, we hear (7)

Answer: PLEURAL (i.e. “like some serous membranes” – serous is a mixture of serum and pus. Lovely!) “We hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of PLURAL (i.e. “more than one”).

  1. Landscape painter and woodworker (6)

Answer: TURNER. Solution satisfies “landscape painter” – specifically Joseph TURNER – he did some cracking seascapes too – and “woodworker”, specifically a lathe operator.

  1. Stone basin initially considered fashionable in Tuscan city (7)

Answer: PISCINA (i.e. “stone basin”). Solution is C (i.e. “initially considered”, i.e. the first letter of “considered”) and IN (i.e. “fashionable”) both placed “in” PISA (i.e. “Tuscan city”), like so: PIS(C-IN)A.

  1. Unexpected aid on air in digesting new group of languages (4-7)

Answer: INDO-IRANIAN (i.e. “group of languages”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unexpected”) of AID ON AIR IN wrapped around or “digesting” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: I(N)DOIRANIAN.

  1. Damaging articles on subterranean activity (11)

Answer: UNDERMINING (i.e. “damaging”). Solution is UN and DER (i.e. “articles”, specifically words like a, an or the – this time we’re dealing with their French and German equivalents) followed by MINING (i.e. “subterranean activity”).

  1. Wild rose, say, by can in country road (9)

Answer: EGLANTINE (i.e. “wild rose”). Solution is EG (i.e. “say” or for example) followed by TIN (i.e. “can”) once placed “in” LANE (i.e. “country road”), like so: EG-LAN(TIN)E. One gotten from a shufti in Chambers for words beginning with “eg”, if I’m honest.

  1. Petty thief in Lima introducing fire raiser on radio? (9)

Answer: LARCENIST (i.e. “petty thief”). Solution is L (“Lima” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by a homophone (indicated by “on radio”) of ARSONIST (i.e. “fire raiser”), like so: L-ARCENIST.

  1. Income cheers men at the top (7)

Answer: TAKINGS (i.e. “income”). Solution is TA (i.e. “cheers”, both informal expressions of thanks) followed by KINGS (i.e. “men at the top”).

  1. Melodious phrase finally assimilated by parentless child (7)

Answer: ORPHEAN (i.e. “melodious” – in Greek myth, Orpheus was a musician who could move inanimate objects with his playing). Solution is E (i.e. “phrase finally”, i.e. the last letter of “phrase”) placed in or “assimilated by” ORPHAN (i.e. “parentless child”), like so: ORPH(E)AN.

  1. Peaceful situation for Hamlet’s rest? (7)

Answer: SILENCE (i.e. “peaceful situation”). The remainder of the clue references Hamlet’s last words in the play: “the rest is silence”.

  1. Imagine fish at bottom of lake (6)

Answer: IDEATE (i.e. “imagine”). Solution is IDE (i.e. “fish”, also spelled id) followed by AT and E (i.e. “bottom of lake”, i.e. the last letter of “lake”, being part of a down clue).

  1. Chewed leaf Henry removed from nonconformist chapel (5)

Answer: BETEL (i.e. “chewed leaf”). Solution is BETHEL (i.e. “nonconformist chapel”) with the H removed (indicated by “Henry removed from” – H is a recognised abbreviation of “Henry”, a unit of measurement).

  1. Side dish served in Agra, it appears (5)

Answer: RAITA (i.e. “side dish” popular with setters, given how often it appears here). “Served in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: AG(RA IT A)PPEARS.

  1. Trendy joint (3)

Answer: HIP. Solution satisfies “trendy” and “joint”.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1507

A toughie this week and, barring a couple of scrappy clues, a really good one with lots of well crafted clues to chew on and slow but steady progress throughout.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has trampled your toes then you might find some relief in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

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

LP

Across clues

  1. Broadcaster cut unserviceable operating area (6)

Answer: RADIUS (i.e. “operating area” – a fairly loose take on an already loose definition of the word: “a distance from a centre, conceived as limiting an area or range” (Chambers). Hmm. Not keen.) Solution is RADIO (i.e. “broadcaster”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “cut”) and the remainder followed by US (a recognised abbreviation of “unserviceable”), like so: RADI-US.

  1. Head across pond east – better fish all round (4,3)

Answer: CAPE COD (i.e. “head across pond”, a head or cape is a geographical feature, and Cape Cod is found in the US, often referred to as being “across the pond”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”) with CAP (i.e. to “better” something) and COD (i.e. “fish”) placed “all round” it, like so: CAP-(E)-COD.

  1. Tools this waster fecklessly holds the wrong way (8)

Answer: FRETSAWS (i.e. “tools”). “Holds” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “the wrong way” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: THI(S WASTER F)ECKLESSLY.

  1. Be widely involved with filling in index? The reverse? (4,1,6,2,5,3)

Answer: HAVE A FINGER IN EVERY PIE (i.e. “be widely involved with”). Clue plays on index fingers and pie fillings. Not a classic.

  1. Man’s setting off as he pursues girl (5,3)

Answer: IRISH SEA (i.e. Isle of “Man’s setting”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “off”) of AS HE placed after or “pursuing” IRIS (i.e. a “girl’s” name), like so: IRIS-HSEA.

  1. Philosopher to talk up article carrying little weight (7)

Answer: Baruch SPINOZA (i.e. “philosopher”). Solution is SPIN (i.e. “to talk up”) and A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) wrapped around or “carrying” OZ (i.e. “little weight”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of an “ounce”), like so: SPIN-(OZ)-A. Straight to Bradford’s for this one, it won’t surprise you to learn. There have been as many philosophers throughout history as those who have read them.

  1. Discontinued your following something corny and crude (6)

Answer: EARTHY (i.e. “crude”). Solution is THY (i.e. “discontinued your”, i.e. a ye olde form of “your”) placed after or “following” EAR (i.e. “something corny”, as in an ear of corn), like so: EAR-THY.

  1. Feature otherwise put out endlessly? Not true! (10)

Answer: TRAITOROUS (i.e. “not true”, presumably to a cause. Another loose one, for me). Solution is TRAIT (i.e. “feature”) followed by OR (i.e. “otherwise”) and OUST (i.e. “put out”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endlessly”), like so: TRAIT-OR-OUS.

  1. Compulsion’s growing ultimately to broadcast celebrity feature (6,6)

Answer: GOSSIP COLUMN (i.e. “celebrity feature”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to broadcast”) of COMPULSION’S and G (i.e. “growing ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “growing”).

  1. Six go for the French test (4)

Answer: VIVA (i.e. an oral “test”). Solution is VI (i.e. Roman numerals for “six”) followed by VA (i.e. “go for the French”, i.e. the French for “go”).

  1. Refuse to handle – leading to trouble for dumps (5,3)

Answer: BLACK DOG (i.e. “dumps”, both descriptive of low spirits). Solution is BLACK (i.e. to boycott, ban or “refuse to handle”) followed by DOG (i.e. “to trouble” someone).

  1. Fish face being devoured by rats in east End (8)

Answer: EELPOUTS (i.e. “fish”). Solution is POUT (i.e. a “face” or facial expression) placed in or “devoured by” HEELS (i.e. “rats”, cads, bounders and other such Terry Thomas characters) once the H has been removed (indicated by “east End”, as in ‘ow all ‘em cockneys are forever droppin’ their bleedin’ aitches, inney, grubby urchins the lot of ‘em, gawblessem, guvnah and so forth), like so: EEL(POUT)S.

  1. Leaves unresolved job for decorator (12)

Answer: PAPERHANGING (i.e. “job for decorator”). Solution is PAPER (i.e. “leaves” of a book, for example) followed by HANGING (i.e. “unresolved”). Nicely worked.

  1. Bloomer when at least three detectives prematurely ended ambush? (10)

Answer: ASPIDISTRA (i.e. “bloomer”). Solution is AS (i.e. “when”) followed by PI and DIS (i.e. “at least three detectives”, specifically a Private Investigator and some Detective Inspectors), then TRAP (i.e. “ambush”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “prematurely ended”), like so: AS-PI-DIS-TRA. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Motor part that needs wound daily (4,6)

Answer: WING MIRROR (i.e. “motor [car] part”). Solution is WING (i.e. to “wound”) followed by MIRROR (i.e. “daily” newspaper). Another good ‘un!

  1. Blood group O? (6,6)

Answer: FAMILY CIRCLE. Clue plays on a few things, such as “blood” being another word for FAMILY (as in the phrase “blood is thicker than water”) and “group” being another word for a CIRCLE of people. The character O also represents a CIRCLE. You get the idea. Another one I rather liked once I twigged it.

  1. Obsessed with old goal – a form of torture (3-5)

Answer: ONE-TRACK (i.e. “obsessed”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by NET (i.e. “goal” in a number of ball games) and RACK (i.e. “a form of torture”).

  1. What’s at the heart of propaganda, Leninist, he composed (8)

Answer: Niccolò PAGANINI (i.e. “he composed”). “What’s at the heart of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the middle letters of proPAGAnda and LeNINIst. One I got without running to Bradford’s, though the wordplay was fairly obvious.

  1. Cold joint and a little potato (4)

Answer: CHIP (i.e. “a little potato”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”) followed by HIP (i.e. “joint”). This took way longer to nail than it ought to have done. Sometimes I just don’t see ‘em.

  1. Excitedly greet learned old author’s salutation (6,6)

Answer: GENTLE READER (i.e. a general “old author’s salutation” found in assorted prefaces). “Excitedly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GREED LEARNED.

  1. Suffer soreness, having caught illness: good thing you can drive (5,5)

Answer: BEACH BUGGY (i.e. “thing you can drive”). Solution is BE ACHY (i.e. “suffer soreness”) wrapped around or “catching” BUG (i.e. “illness”) and G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: BE-ACH(BUG-G)Y.

  1. Wine requirement has not exactly sunk in (6)

Answer: MUSCAT (i.e. “wine”). Solution is MUST (i.e. a “requirement”) wrapped around or “having” CA (i.e. “not exactly”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), like so: MUS(CA)T.

  1. Secretly backing America, others on the fringes in support (3,4)

Answer: SUB ROSA (i.e. “secretly” – the rose was once a symbol of secrecy, it says here; the Latin SUB ROSA translates as “under the rose”, hence “secretly”). Solution is US (i.e. “America”) reversed (indicated by “backing”) and followed by OS (i.e. “others on the fringes”, i.e. the first and last letters of “others”) once placed “in” BRA (i.e. “support”), like so: SU-BR(OS)A.

  1. House police hold in native settlement (8)

Answer: HOMETOWN (i.e. “native settlement”). Solution is HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”) followed by MET (i.e. “police”, short for the London Metropolitan Police) and OWN (i.e. “hold”)

  1. A moment of extreme agitation in Leicester? (3,6,2,1,5,4)

Answer: TWO SHAKES OF A LAMB’S TAIL (i.e. “a moment”). Clue plays on SHAKING being a form of “extreme agitation”, and “Leicester” being a breed of sheep. That’s about it, unless I’ve missed something clever.

  1. Headless corpse has finally cut down children’s writer’s hero (8)

Answer: ODYSSEUS (i.e. “hero” of Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey). Solution is BODY (i.e. “corpse”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “headless”) and the remainder followed by S (i.e. “has finally”, i.e. the last letter of “has”) and Dr SEUSS (i.e. “children’s writer”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “cut down”), like so: ODY-S-SEUS.

  1. Jack in Tyne and Wear metro, perhaps, arriving at factory (7)

Answer: CANNERY (i.e. a kind of “factory”). Solution is CAN (i.e. to “jack in”) followed by NE (i.e. “Tyne and Wear”, located in the North East of England) and RY (i.e. “metro, perhaps”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of a railway). Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Steal what player booked for dissent gave back? (6)

Answer: PILFER (i.e. “steal”). When the solution is reversed (indicated by “back”) and written as REF LIP, it also satisfies “what player booked for dissent gave”.

Down clues

  1. With minor injuries, men are unable to stand (5)

Answer: ABHOR (i.e. “unable to stand”). Solution is ABH (i.e. “with minor injuries” or Actual Bodily Harm) followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army).

  1. Wearing top I keep in school study (11)

Answer: INVESTIGATE (i.e. “study”). Solution is IN VEST (i.e. “wearing top”) followed by I and GATE (i.e. to “keep in school” as a punishment).

  1. It’s the same vaccination method, still (8)

Answer: SNAPSHOT (i.e. a “still” or photograph). Solution is SNAP (i.e. “it’s the same”) followed by SHOT (i.e. “vaccination method” – three days till my 5G implant is complete, all being well!)

  1. Friend’s twentieth anniversary (5)

Answer: CHINA. Solution satisfies “friend”, i.e. the cockney rhyming slang “china plate” for “mate”, and a traditional “twentieth [wedding] anniversary” gift. Apparently the modern-day equivalent for a twentieth anniversary is platinum. “Piss” and “off” spring to mind!

  1. Stars stick with a controversial old law (7)

Answer: PEGASUS (i.e. a constellation or “stars”). Solution is PEG (i.e. “stick”) followed by A and SUS (i.e. “controversial old law” – over to Chambers: sus or suss laws were “laws allowing a person to be arrested on suspicion of having committed a crime”. A new one on me. Interesting.)

  1. Herbie for one was furious about one blunder a best friend spotted (8,3)

Answer: CARRIAGE DOG, another name for a Dalmatian or “best friend spotted”. Another new one on me. Solution is CAR (i.e. “Herbie for one” – other sentient motor vehicles are available) followed by RAGED (i.e. “was furious”) once wrapped “about” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then OG (i.e. “blunder”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of an “own goal”), like so: CAR-R(I)AGED-OG.

  1. Casually pass dark horse with raised leg (5)

Answer: DUNNO (i.e. “casually pass”, i.e. a casual form of saying “I don’t know”). Solution is DUN (i.e. a “dark horse”, or horse of dun colour) followed by ON (i.e. “leg” side in cricket) once reversed (indicated by “raised” – this being a down clue) like so: DUN-NO.

  1. Smaller sport fund initially one has in reserve (4-1-4)

Answer: FIVE-A-SIDE (i.e. “smaller sport”, relative to a full-size football team of eleven). Solution is F (i.e. “fund initially”, i.e. the first letter of “fund”) followed by I’VE (a contraction of I have, or “one has”) and ASIDE (i.e. “in reserve”).

  1. Remote spot Yankee’s found in going to N Ireland (5)

Answer: EYRIE (i.e. “remote spot”). Solution is Y (i.e. “Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet) placed “in” EIRE (i.e. “Ireland”) once reversed (indicated by “N”, a recognised abbreviation of “northern” – this being a down clue), like so: E(Y)RIE.

  1. Disparate bits in use – plus four to spare (11)

Answer: SUPERFLUOUS (i.e. “spare”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “disparate bits in”) of USE PLUS FOUR.

  1. Welsh borough’s auditor’s being their… (7)

Answer: WREXHAM (i.e. “Welsh borough”). “Auditor” indicates homophone. Solution comprises homophone’s of WRECKS ‘EM (i.e. “being their…undoing” from 18d).

  1. …undoing, going with mounting resistance (9)

Answer: RUINATION (i.e. “undoing”). Solution is URINATION (i.e. “going”) with the R shifted along one (indicated by “mounting resistance” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “resistance” and this being a down clue), like so: U(R)INATION => (R)UINATION. This one took a sleep, a shower and a few meals besides before I finally twigged it. Very nicely played.

  1. Surfer enjoying a cruise? (7)

Answer: ONLINER (i.e. “surfer” – look, it’s in the dictionary, but I agree with you: who, outside of the 19th century, has ever referred to someone online as an “onliner”? Probably the same people who refer to mechanics as “garagists”). When written as ON LINER the solution also satisfies “enjoying a cruise”.

  1. Large gas main interfered with new naval transmitter (9)

Answer: SIGNALMAN (i.e. “naval transmitter”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “interfered with”) of L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), GAS MAIN and N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”).

  1. Sparkling wine reserved to have with dip (4,4)

Answer: COLD DUCK (i.e. “sparkling wine”, specifically a half-n’-half drink of champagne and burgundy. Sounds like something I’d find in a P.G. Wodehouse novel). Solution is COLD (i.e. “reserved” in nature) followed by DUCK (i.e. “dip”).

  1. “Rebuked for holding bishop up” Echo tweeted (9)

Answer: CHIRRUPED (i.e. “tweeted”). Solution is CHID (i.e. “rebuked”) wrapped around or “holding” RR (i.e. “bishop”, specifically a Right Reverend), UP and E (“echo” in the phonetic alphabet – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: CHI(RR-UP-E)D.

  1. Object to nurse running water, getting you worked up (9)

Answer: THRILLING (i.e. “getting you worked up”). Solution is THING (i.e. “object”) wrapped around or “nursing” RILL (i.e. a small stream or “running water”), like so: TH(RILL)ING.

  1. Mushroom to eat: keep mum two as a starter (8)

Answer: SHIITAKE (i.e. “mushroom”). Solution is TAKE (i.e. “to eat”) with SH (i.e. shush or “keep mum”) and II (i.e. “two” in Roman numerals) placed before it or “as a starter”, like so: (SH-II)-TAKE.

  1. Milk needing Spanish approval for one’s porridge abroad (7)

Answer: POLENTA (i.e. “porridge abroad”). Solution is PINTA (i.e. an informal word for a pint of “milk”) with the I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) swapped “for” OLE (i.e. “Spanish [word of] approval”), like so: P(I)NTA => P(OLE)NTA.

  1. Make start on this puzzle? Without time to explain (3,2,6)

Answer: GET IT ACROSS (i.e. “to explain”). Solution is GET I ACROSS (i.e. “make start on this puzzle” – the I being 1 as a Roman numeral) wrapped around or placed “without” T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: GET-I(T)-ACROSS.

  1. One mocked judge, no longer on world body (6,2,3)

Answer: FIGURE OF FUN (i.e. “one mocked”). Solution is FIGURE (i.e. to “judge”) followed by OFF (i.e. “no longer on”) and UN (i.e. “world body”, specifically the United Nations).

  1. Court proceedings in which race question all but resolved (11)

Answer: RACQUETBALL (i.e. “court proceedings”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “resolved”) of RACE, Q (a recognised abbreviation of “question”) and ALL BUT. Very nicely played. Probably my favourite clue of the puzzle.

  1. Board ship, clutching regular selection of tackier souvenirs (9)

Answer: KEEPSAKES (i.e. “souvenirs”). Solution is KEEP (i.e. “board” or rent money) followed by SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship) once wrapped around or “clutching” AKE (i.e. “regular selection of tackier”, i.e. every other letter of TACKIER), like so: KEEP-S(AKE)S. Another good ‘un.

  1. Matter raised after hitch gets approval (6,2)

Answer: THUMBS UP (i.e. “approval”). The remainder of the clue, and probably the whole clue in question, seem to play on the act of hitchhiking, in which one would stick out a thumb to oncoming drivers to flag them down for a lift. A bit of a guess, really, as I wouldn’t know. I’ve never really had the jaw muscles for hitchhiking.
[EDIT: Thanks to Louise in the comments for a better take on this one. Solution is PUS (i.e. biological “matter”) reversed (indicated by “raised” – this being a down clue) and placed “after” THUMB (i.e. to “hitch” a ride), like so: THUMB-SUP. Cheers, Louise! – LP]

  1. Deer, put in strange setting, broke out (7)

Answer: ERUPTED (i.e. “broke out”). “In strange setting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DEER PUT.

  1. Letters felt to be poorly received by Scottish bank (7)

Answer: BRAILLE (i.e. raised “letters” on a page or surface so that the blind may read them). Solution is ILL (i.e. “to be poorly”) placed in or “received by” BRAE (i.e. “Scottish bank”), like so: BRA(ILL)E. Another excellent clue.
[EDIT: A quick edit to mention the solution better satisfies “letters felt” than just “letters” – LP]

  1. Busy with pulling up weed in lake (5)

Answer: TAHOE (i.e. “lake” between California and Nevada). Solution is AT (i.e. “busy with”) reversed (indicated by “pulling up” – this being a down clue) and followed by HOE (i.e. to “weed”), like so: TA-HOE.

  1. Simple precis, abridged, shows up (5)

Answer: BASIC (i.e. “simple”). “Shows” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue, like so: PRE(CIS AB)RIDGED.

  1. Exaggerated negative impact when wife is absent (5)

Answer: HAMMY (i.e. “exaggerated”). Solution is WHAMMY (i.e. “negative impact”) with the W removed (indicated by “when wife is absent” – W being a recognised abbreviation of “wife”).

  1. Wit not contained in speech (5)

Answer: Oscar WILDE (i.e. “wit”). “In speech” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of WILD (i.e. “not contained”).

This week’s musical accompaniment saw an airing for my Electrochoonage playlist, where I’ve plonked a selection of the synthwave stuff I’ve liked over the last couple of years. After that I thought I’d explore some of Uppermost’s work, having recently come across his magnificent album closer, Uprising. The album itself, Perseverance, is a fine listen throughout with a chillout vibe I’ll definitely want to return to, but hot damn that closer! Imagine the kind of punishing beats you’d find in an old school Chemical Brothers track, fused with a soaring loop reminiscent of Daft Punk’s Da Funk and fleshed out with Rob Dougan’s Clubbed To Death. It’s an absolute monster. Check out the video below with one simple instruction: play it LOUD!

Also: come on England and all that! Laters, – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1506

For the most part a medium strength offering that was spoiled by a couple too many exotic solutions. I’m rarely keen on uneven puzzles like these, as they often smack of a setter struggling to fill the grid. Onto the next one, I guess.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a recent Jumbo is giving you night sweats then my Just For Fun page might be a help, listing solutions to the last 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the help and kind words, folks. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers when the dust settles. Till next time, stay safe, mask up (for the next fortnight, anyway), get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Abandoned like person in tree escaping flood? (4,3,3)

Answer: HIGH AND DRY. Solution satisfies “abandoned” and “like person in tree escaping flood”.

  1. Trade modest? This could make you stop (7,5)

Answer: TRAFFIC LIGHT (i.e. “this could make you stop”). Solution is TRAFFIC (i.e. “trade” or goods transported along a route) followed by LIGHT (i.e. “modest”).

  1. Lords call, forgetting it matters (9)

Answer: VISCOUNTS (i.e. “lords”). Solution is VISIT (i.e. “call”) with the IT removed (indicated by “forgetting it”) and the remainder followed by COUNTS (i.e. “matters”), like so: VIS-COUNTS.

  1. One hurrying about to get vehicle reversing (5)

Answer: RACER (i.e. “one hurrying”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” or regarding – think email replies) and CAR (i.e. “vehicle”) all “reversed”, like so: RAC-ER.

  1. Tot tucked into Eastern meat dish having no yen for fruit (7)

Answer: SATSUMA (i.e. “fruit”). Solution is SUM (i.e. to “tot” up) placed or “tucked into” SATAY (i.e. “Eastern meat dish”) once the Y has been removed (indicated by “having no yen” – Y being a recognised abbreviation of the Japanese currency), like so: SAT(SUM)A.

  1. Missing letters (8,9)

Answer: ABSENTEE LANDLORDS (i.e. “letters” who live away from their properties). Clue plays on “missing” being another word for ABSENTEE.

  1. Problems bringing horse aboard ship (5)

Answer: SNAGS (i.e. “problems”). Solution is NAG (i.e. “horse”) placed in or “aboard” SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship), like so: S(NAG)S.

  1. Diplomacy is restricting Conservative plans (7)

Answer: TACTICS (i.e. “plans”). Solution is TACT (i.e. “diplomacy”) followed by IS once wrapped around or “restricting” C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”), like so: TACT-I(C)S.

  1. Daughter in the role of the female who is in a hurry? (6)

Answer: DASHER (i.e. “who is in a hurry”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by AS HER (i.e. “in the role of the female”).

  1. Foreign girl working in a store (8)

Answer: SENORITA (i.e. “foreign girl”). “Working” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN A STORE.

  1. Record kept by good Parisian coming to a city in Italy (7)

Answer: BOLOGNA (i.e. “city in Italy”). Solution is LOG (i.e. “record”) placed in or “kept by” BON (i.e. “good Parisian”, i.e. the French for “good”) and followed by A, like so: BO(LOG)N-A.

  1. Offer applause, then mouth “rubbish!” (8)

Answer: CLAPTRAP (i.e. “rubbish”). Solution is CLAP (i.e. “offer applause”) followed by TRAP (i.e. a slang word for “mouth”). Pretty much the same clue appeared a couple of months ago in puzzle 1497, which is a little disappointing.

  1. Get angry about very loud activity at card table? (6)

Answer: RIFFLE (i.e. “activity at card table” – over to Chambers: “to shuffle by allowing the corner of a card from one part of the pack to fall alternately with that of a card in the other”). Solution is RILE (i.e. “get angry”) wrapped “about” FF (i.e. “very loud”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of fortissimo used in musical lingo), like so: RI(FF)LE.

  1. What insistent disputant wants? Amen! (3,4,4)

Answer: THE LAST WORD. Solution satisfies “what insistent disputant wants” and “amen”.

  1. Crucially influential period in America’s capital in the Depression (11)

Answer: DETERMINANT (i.e. “crucially influential”). Solution is TERM (i.e. “period”) IN and A (i.e. “America’s capital”, i.e. the first letter of “America”) all placed “in” DENT (i.e. “depression”), like so: DE(TERM-IN-A)NT.

  1. The French girl, kind-hearted, providing money (5,6)

Answer: LEGAL TENDER (i.e. “money”). Solution is LE (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the masculine form of “the” in French) followed by GAL (i.e. “girl”) and TENDER (i.e. “kind-hearted”).

  1. Professional in finance, fellow with silver, invested in what looks like a winner (4,7)

Answer: BANK MANAGER (i.e. “professional in finance”). Solution is MAN (i.e. “fellow”) and AG (chemical symbol of “silver”) both placed or “invested in” BANKER (i.e. “what looks like a winner”), like so: BANK(MAN-AG)ER.

  1. Game needing energy – boy doesn’t give up (4,2)

Answer: GOES ON (i.e. “doesn’t give up”). Solution is GO (i.e. “game”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) and SON (i.e. “boy”).

  1. People looking to buy something? Time for hard plugs maybe (8)

Answer: STOPPERS (i.e. “plugs”). Solution is SHOPPERS (i.e. “people looking to buy something”) with the H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard”) swapped “for” T (ditto “time”), like so: S(H)OPPERS => S(T)OPPERS.

  1. Brief month left – try to make a protest maybe? (7)

Answer: DECLAIM (i.e. “protest”). Solution is DEC (i.e. “brief month”, specifically an abbreviation of December) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and AIM (i.e. “try to”).

  1. One unpleasant woman backing revolution, not saying much (8)

Answer: TACITURN (i.e. “not saying much”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and CAT (i.e. “unpleasant woman”) both reversed (indicated by “backing”) and followed by TURN (i.e. “revolution”), like so: (TAC-I)-TURN.

  1. Feature of progressive female seen as fearsome (6)

Answer: OGRESS (i.e. “female seen as fearsome”). “Feature of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PR(OGRESS)IVE.

  1. Blessing I found in Oxford RAF location (7)

Answer: BENISON (i.e. “blessing”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “in” BENSON (i.e. “Oxford RAF location” – some everyday knowledge right there), like so: BEN(I)SON. A nod to my Bradford’s here.

  1. Pike ultimately bound to get away (5)

Answer: ELOPE (i.e. “get away”). Solution is E (i.e. “pike ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “pike”) followed by LOPE (i.e. “bound”).

  1. Exploiting something, being top earner? Nothing suitable (6,3,4,2,2)

Answer: MAKING THE MOST OF IT (i.e. “exploiting something”). Solution is MAKING THE MOST (i.e. “being top earner”) followed by O (i.e. “nothing”) and FIT (i.e. “suitable”).

  1. Indian sage, one with new order (7)

Answer: GOANESE (i.e. “Indian”, specifically one from Goa). “With new order” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SAGE ONE.

  1. Saw maiden forming an attachment with German guy? (5)

Answer: MOTTO (i.e. “saw” or saying). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “maiden” used in cricket) followed by OTTO (i.e. “German guy[‘s name]”).

  1. First person among new leaders is a female (9)

Answer: ESMERELDA (i.e. “female”, basically a woman’s name). Solution is ME (i.e. I or the “first person”) placed in or “among” an anagram (indicated by “new”) of LEADERS, like so: ES(ME)RELDA. Variants of the name, ESMIRELDA and ESMERALDA, also fit the intersecting letters but I think a stronger case is made for ESMERELDA. Not the best grid awareness from the setter IMLTHO.

  1. Heaven as specified aim of the proverbial chicken? (3,5,4)

Answer: THE OTHER SIDE. Solution satisfies “heaven” and “specified aim of the proverbial chicken”, as in the old joke “Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side”.

  1. Look at oneself, seeing bad points, etc, with anger finally admitted (10)

Answer: INTROSPECT (i.e. “look at oneself”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “bad”) of POINTS ETC wrapped around or “admitting” R (i.e. “anger finally”, i.e. the last letter of “anger”), like so: INT(R)OSPECT.

Down clues

  1. Try approach with murderous intent? (4,1,4,2)

Answer: HAVE A STAB AT. Solution satisfies “try” and “approach with murderous intent”.

  1. Sudden winds coming in August sometimes (5)

Answer: GUSTS (i.e. “sudden winds”). “Coming in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: AU(GUST S)OMETIMES.

  1. A background support is coming (9)

Answer: AMOUNTING (i.e. “coming” – one meaning of amount is “to come in meaning or substance (with ‘to’)” (Chambers). A bit naughty to leave the “to” out of the clue, but then the clue perhaps wouldn’t have scanned as well). Solution is A followed by MOUNTING (i.e. “background support” for, say, an artwork).

  1. Fellows accommodating indispensable animals (7)

Answer: DONKEYS (i.e. “animals”). Solution is DONS (i.e. “fellows”) wrapped around or “accommodating” KEY (i.e. “indispensable”), like so: DON(KEY)S.

  1. What old shoes may be – disposed of in charity shop, we hear? (7)

Answer: RESOLED (i.e. “what old shoes may be”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “we hear”) of RESOLD (i.e. “disposed of in charity shop”).

  1. Called to mind being embarrassed about evensong’s opening prayer (11)

Answer: RECOLLECTED (i.e. “called to mind”). Solution is RED (i.e. “being embarrassed”) wrapped “about” E (i.e. “evensong’s opening”, i.e. the first letter of “evensong”) and COLLECT (i.e. “prayer” – once more to Chambers: “a short prayer, specific to the liturgies of the Western Church, consisting of one sentence, conveying one main petition”), like so: R(E-COLLECT)ED.

  1. Coat with valuable material is craze (6)

Answer: FURORE (i.e. “craze”). Solution is FUR (i.e. “coat”) followed by ORE (i.e. “valuable material”).

  1. At home, female family member is one who won’t give way (8)

Answer: INSISTER (i.e. “one who won’t give way”). Solution is IN (i.e. “at home”) followed by SISTER (i.e. “female family member”).

  1. I sit up on stool – alternative configuration for meditation? (5,8)

Answer: LOTUS POSITION (i.e. “configuration for meditation”). “Alternative configuration” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I SIT UP ON STOOL.

  1. Fish and fleshy fruit French friend’s obtained for start of dinner (7)

Answer: GOURAMI (i.e. “fish”). Solution is GOURD (i.e. “fleshy fruit”) with the D (i.e. “start of dinner”, i.e. the first letter of “dinner”) swapped “for” AMI (i.e. “French friend”, i.e. the French for “friend”), like so: GOUR(D) => GOUR(AMI). One gotten from the wordplay, if I’m honest.

  1. One leaving school unwanted books, easy to read? (11)

Answer: TRANSPARENT (i.e. “easy to read”). Solution is TRAIN (i.e. “school”) with the I removed (indicated by “[Roman numeral] one leaving”) and the remainder followed by SPARE (i.e. “unwanted”) and NT (i.e. “books”, specifically the New Testament of The Bible), like so: TRAN-SPARE-NT.

  1. Wonderful batting partnership – view it from here? (10)

Answer: GRANDSTAND (i.e. “view [batting partnership] from here”). Solution is GRAND (i.e. “wonderful”) followed by STAND (i.e. “batting partnership” in cricket).

  1. Fellow army officer getting about three miles further south (9)

Answer: COLLEAGUE (i.e. “fellow” or someone on the same team). Solution is COL (i.e. “army officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “colonel”) followed by LEAGUE (i.e. “about three miles”). The “further south” bit relates to this being a down clue, requiring solvers place LEAGUE after or beneath COL.

  1. Warren maybe in seaside location (8)

Answer: HASTINGS. Solution satisfies “Warren maybe” – Warren Hastings was a Governor-General of India during the 18th century – and “seaside location”, referring to the town of Hastings in East Sussex.

  1. Something “flowery” in which wild animal conceals head (6)

Answer: ANTHER (i.e. “something ‘flowery’”, specifically a part of the stamen of a flower that produces pollen – another of those everyday words forever dropped into conversations. It’s maddening, really. Try to talk about the weather and all you get is “anther this” and “anther that”. Engage someone in the etiquette of queuing and it quickly dissolves into a discussion about anthers. Always bloody anthers! Anthers! Anthers!! Anthers!!! When will we ever talk about house prices again?) Solution is PANTHER (i.e. “wild animal”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “conceals head”). If you used a crossword solver to nail this one, you weren’t alone.

  1. Certain animals in endless routine task – information held in computer? (8)

Answer: CHORDATA (i.e. “certain animals”, specifically “a phylum of the animal kingdom, including the vertebrates and protochordates, animals possessing a notochord at some stage of their development” (Chambers). And what happens when you finally exhaust someone of their knowledge and opinions of anthers? They turn to sodding chordates! “Isn’t it a wonder of nature?” they’ll say, and that’s it, they’re off on chordates for an hour and a half. I swear it’s like we’re a nation of David Bleedin’ Attenboroughs. When will we ever talk about the flawless execution and brilliant success/abject failure and economic Armageddon/nope that’s it there’s absolutely nothing in-between, that is Brexit?) Solution is CHORE (i.e. “routine task”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder followed by DATA (i.e. “information held in computer”), like so: CHOR-DATA. One gotten from the wordplay and a shufti in Chambers.

  1. RAF signal confusingly given in a mixture of languages (9)

Answer: FRANGLAIS (i.e. “a mixture of languages” – hands up who likes hybrid words such as this? Hmm. Let’s try “ginormous.” How about now? Okay, a few less hands there. How about “chillax”? Ah, nobody. I thought as much). “Confusingly given” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RAF SIGNAL.

  1. Proper journalist should get put in the picture (6)

Answer: PRIMED (i.e. “put in the picture” – to prime can mean to coach or inform someone). Solution is PRIM (i.e. “proper”) followed by ED (i.e. “journalist”, a shortened form of “editor”).

  1. Everyone supporting the old Greek city lost ultimately, bringing the most desirable outcome (3,3,3,4)

Answer: ALL FOR THE BEST (i.e. “the most desirable outcome”). Solution is ALL (i.e. “everyone”) followed by FOR (i.e. “supporting”), then THEBES (i.e. “old Greek city”) and T (i.e. “lost ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “lost”).

  1. Land and stop to be heard, becoming frivolous (11)

Answer: LIGHTWEIGHT (i.e. “frivolous”). Solution is LIGHT (i.e. to “land”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “to be heard”) of WAIT (i.e. “stop”), like so: LIGHT-WEIGHT.

  1. Agent opposing a former gang member being given new ID in book? (11)

Answer: REPAGINATED (i.e. “given new ID in book”, referring to page numbers). Solution is REP (i.e. “agent”) followed by AGIN (i.e. “opposing”), then A and TED (i.e. “former gang member”, referring to Teddy Boys).

  1. Extra reading for one filling empty seat? (2-8)

Answer: BY-ELECTION (i.e. “one filling empty seat”). Solution is BYE (i.e. an “extra” run awarded in cricket for errors committed by the bowling side) followed by LECTION (i.e. “reading”). Topical, given the recent by-election in Batley and Spen.

  1. One admonishes soldiers on battle site having rushed into middle of battle (11)

Answer: REMONSTRANT (i.e. “one admonishes”). Solution is RE (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) followed by MONS (i.e. First World War “battle site” in Belgium) and RAN (i.e. “having rushed”) once placed “into” TT (i.e. “middle [letters] of baTTle”), like so: RE-MONS-T(RAN)T.

  1. Bands with recent music horrible – forget ‘em! (9)

Answer: CINCTURES (i.e. girdles, belts or “bands”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “horrible”) of RECENT MUSIC once the E and M have been removed (indicated by “forget ‘em”). Wordplay was fairly obvious but needed a brute force of my Chambers to nail.

  1. Significant performance, very good, that’s included rapid sort of movement before (8)

Answer: PREMIERE (i.e. “significant performance”). Solution is PI (i.e. “very good”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “pious”) wrapped around or “including” REM (i.e. “rapid sort of movement”, specifically the Rapid Eye Movement that takes place during sleep) and followed by ERE (i.e. poetic form of “before”), like so: P(REM)I-ERE.

  1. Test said to lie within revolutionary piece of church music (7)

Answer: CHORALE (i.e. “piece of church music”). Solution is ORAL (i.e. “test said” or spoken examination) placed or “lying within” CHE Guevara (i.e. “revolutionary”), like so: CH(ORAL)E.

  1. Ambassador and bishop getting observed outside drinking establishment (7)

Answer: SHEBEEN (i.e. illicit “drinking establishment”). Solution is HE (i.e. “ambassador”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of His Excellency) and B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop”) with SEEN (i.e. “observed”) placed “outside” of them, like so: S(HE-B)EEN. One I knew thanks to a trunk novel I put together a (long) while ago. Ah, the days.

  1. Possibly Amelia’s mistake (7)

Answer: BLOOMER. Solution satisfies “possibly Amelia” – referring to Amelia Bloomer, a women’s rights campaigner after whom the undergarments were nicknamed – and “mistake”.

  1. Is sparing politician to visit runners (6)

Answer: SKIMPS (i.e. “is sparing”). Solution is MP (i.e. “politician”, specifically a Member of Parliament) placed in or “visiting” SKIS (i.e. “runners”), like so: SKI(MP)S.

  1. Phoney female heading a London school (5)

Answer: FALSE (i.e. “phoney”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) followed by A and LSE (i.e. “London school”, specifically the London School of Economics).

A wee bit of music was had in the gaps afforded between the Euros and the England v Sri Lanka ODI courtesy of Gaspard Augé, one half of French dance act Justice. If you’ve been enjoying the opening titles of the BBC’s coverage of the Euros then you might be interested to find the theme tune on his debut solo album, Escapades. (Seek ye Force majeure.) While the album isn’t as tight as Justice’s best work, it’s still a solid listen that doesn’t outstay its welcome. And if you aren’t familiar with Justice, then check out this fun video from their debut album. How many logos can you recognise? Laters, – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1505

A toughie this week, but then I often struggle when these things lean a little harder into general knowledge. Passing off O’TOOLE as a six letter word didn’t help matters either. A mixed bag, in all.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip then you can find links to solutions for the last 150+ of the buggers on my Just For Fun page. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and comments, folks. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put down their pens. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Restraint of article covered by feature (5)

Answer: CHAIN (i.e. “restraint”). Solution is A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) placed in or “covered by” CHIN (i.e. facial “feature”), like so: CH(A)IN.

  1. Makes alterations to speed up current measures (7)

Answer: REVAMPS (i.e. “makes alterations”). Solution is REV (i.e. “speed up”) followed by AMPS (i.e. “current measures”).

  1. Composer in peril goes mad (9)

Answer: Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (i.e. “composer”). “Goes mad” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PERIL GOES. Wordplay was obvious, but needed a shufti in Bradford’s to shift. If you are a fan of The Thick Of It and its spinoff movie In The Loop, my view of opera has been known to align with that of Jamie Macdonald, the crossest man in Scotland.

  1. Queen’s responsibility to force back men (4,5)

Answer: MARY TUDOR (i.e. “queen”). Solution is DUTY (i.e. “responsibility”) and RAM (i.e. “to force”) all reversed (indicated by “back”) and followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army), like so: (MAR-YTUD)-OR.

  1. Gathering technique in racing, and a problem with it? (7,6)

Answer: RUNNING STITCH (i.e. “gathering technique” in embroidery). Solution is RUNNING (i.e. “racing”) followed by STITCH (i.e. “a problem with [running]”).

  1. Country eggs faced with American fungus (7)

Answer: MOLDOVA (i.e. “country”). Solution is OVA (i.e. “eggs”) placed after or “facing” MOLD (i.e. “American fungus”, as in how the US spells “mould”), like so: MOLD-OVA.

  1. Metal I deliver; I am shielding uranium (7)

Answer: IRIDIUM (i.e. “metal”). Solution is I followed by RID (i.e. to free or “deliver”), then I’M (a contraction of “I am”) once wrapped around or “shielding” U (chemical symbol of “uranium”), like so: I-RID-I’(U)M.

  1. Apprentice, one paid in sterling? (7)

Answer: LEARNER (i.e. “apprentice”). “One paid” is an EARNER, but I hope the setter isn’t trying to pass the L off as a recognised abbreviation of “sterling”, as that only applies to pounds of weight, after the Latin libra. Yellow card if that is the case. My nerdy mind likes to think there may be a spot of recursion at play here, i.e. L being a recognised abbreviation of the solution itself, combined with EARNER to make the solution, but that would leave “in sterling” redundant. A naff clue, all told.
[EDIT – Thanks to Mick in the comments for prompting another look in my Chambers, where L was indeed shown as an abbreviation of sterling. I take it all back. Chambers can be a tricky thing to read at times, m’lud. For instance, here are the first 9 entries listed under “L”, each with their own lists of definitions: L1 or l, L2, L or L., L, L, Ľ, L-, l or l., and l. That’s an ‘ell of a lot of Ls! Cheers, Mick! – LP]

  1. Grotesque to be wholly dissatisfied with the planet (4,7,2,5)

Answer: LIKE NOTHING ON EARTH. Solution satisfies [descriptive of a] “grotesque” and “to be wholly dissatisfied with the planet”.

  1. Flag officer chasing limited intelligence (4)

Answer: WILT (i.e. to “flag”). Solution is LT (i.e. “officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “lieutenant”) placed after or “chasing” WIT (i.e. “intelligence”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “limited”), like so: WI-LT.

  1. To settle the furore, time for some music (5-4)

Answer: THREE-FOUR (i.e. “time for some music”, specifically “three crotchets to the bar” (Chambers)). “To settle” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THE FURORE.

  1. Maybe father’s missing annual payment (6)

Answer: RENTAL (i.e. “payment”). Solution is PARENTAL (i.e. “maybe father” – other flavours of parent are available) with the PA removed (indicated by “missing annual”, PA being a recognised abbreviation of “per annum”).

  1. Associate lout with upper class type (6)

Answer: HOBNOB (i.e. to mingle or “associate”). Solution is HOB (i.e. “lout”) followed by NOB (i.e. “upper class type”).

  1. Mark stores one’s address (12)

Answer: APOSTROPHISE (i.e. “address” – a variant meaning of “apostrophe” is (deep breath) “a sudden turning away from the ordinary course of a speech to address some person or object present or absent” (Chambers)). Solution is APOSTROPHE (i.e. typographical “mark”) wrapped around or “storing” I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”), like so: APOSTROPH(I’S)E. The variant meaning rings a bell but this needed a raid of my Bradford’s.

  1. Is concerned in resentment of rogue’s adventures (10)

Answer: PICARESQUE (i.e. “of rogue’s adventures”). Solution is CARES (i.e. “is concerned”) placed “in” PIQUE (i.e. “resentment”), like so: PI(CARES)QUE.

  1. Poem from Perth in translation: avoid (3,7)

Answer: THE PRELUDE (i.e. a “poem” by William Wordsworth – his life’s work, you could say). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “in translation”) of PERTH followed by ELUDE (i.e. “avoid”), like so: THEPR-ELUDE.

  1. In which rebels are resisting furiously? (6,6)

Answer: EASTER RISING, an armed rebellion against British rule that took place in Ireland during Easter week in 1916. “Furiously” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ARE RESISTING. Nicely worked.

  1. Father punching a fairy in brawl (6)

Answer: AFFRAY (i.e. “brawl”). Solution is FR (a recognised abbreviation of the title “Father”) placed in or “punching” A and FAY (i.e. “fairy”), like so: A-F(FR)AY.

  1. Carpenter’s mate recalling almost unquestionable rule (6)

Answer: WALRUS (i.e. “Carpenter’s mate” in Lewis Carroll’s poem The Walrus and the Carpenter). Solution is SURE (i.e. “unquestionable”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and followed by LAW (i.e. “rule”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “recalling”), like so: WAL-RUS.

  1. Love guide’s more composed speaking, with skill taking us back (4,5)

Answer: KAMA SUTRA (i.e. “love’s guide”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “speaking”) of CALMER (i.e. “more composed”) followed by ART (i.e. “skill”) and US once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: KAMA-(SU-TRA).

  1. Type that’s deficient, lacking height (4)

Answer: SORT (i.e. “type”). Solution is SHORT (i.e. “deficient”) with the H removed (indicated by “lacking height” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “height”).

  1. Leave cathedral precincts – time to reveal oneself (4,3,2,3,6)

Answer: COME OUT OF THE CLOSET (i.e. “to reveal oneself”). Solution is COME OUT OF (i.e. “leave”) followed by CLOSE (i.e. “cathedral precincts”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Revered figure honoured at last in poem we wrote (3,4)

Answer: OUR LADY (i.e. “revered figure”). Solution is D (i.e. “honoured at last”, i.e. the last letter of “honoured”) placed in OUR LAY (i.e. “poem we wrote”), like so: OUR-LA(D)Y.

  1. A little blue scarf, divine one stored away (7)

Answer: SADDISH (i.e. “a little blue”). Solution is SASH (i.e. “scarf”) wrapped around or “storing away”) DD (i.e. “divine”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Divinitatis Doctor or Doctor of Divinity) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: SA(DD-I)SH.

  1. Where treasure may be found at royal city (7)

Answer: CHESTER (i.e. “city”). Solution is CHEST (i.e. “where treasure may be found”) followed by ER (i.e. “royal”, specifically Elizabeth Regina).

  1. Crisis rarely experienced by habitual liar? (6,2,5)

Answer: MOMENT OF TRUTH (i.e. “crisis” or decisive moment). Clue plays on how habitual liars aren’t known for telling the truth. You get the idea.

  1. Beautiful boy is dodgy, seen by drugs officer (9)

Answer: NARCISSUS (i.e. “beautiful boy”). Solution is IS and SUS (i.e. “dodgy”, a shortened form of “suspect”) both placed after or “by” NARC (i.e. “drugs officer”), like so: NARC-(IS-SUS).

  1. Swimmer on river crazy to knock back port (9)

Answer: ROTTERDAM (i.e. “port”). Solution is OTTER (i.e. “swimmer”) placed “on” or after R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”) and followed by MAD (i.e. “crazy”) once reversed (indicated by “knock back”), like so: (R-OTTER)-DAM.

  1. Having made definite opening in railings, followed round (7)

Answer: ENSURED (i.e. “having made definite”). Solution is R (i.e. “opening in railings”, i.e. the first letter of “railings”) with ENSUED (i.e. “followed”) placed “round” it, like so: ENSU(R)ED.

  1. A month back, a lack of fertiliser (5)

Answer: GUANO (i.e. “fertiliser”). Solution is AUG (i.e. “a month”, specifically a shortened form of August) reversed (indicated by “back”) and followed by NO (i.e. “a lack of”), like so: GUA-NO.

Down clues

  1. I came to meal drunk, though not on this (8,3)

Answer: CAMOMILE TEA. “Drunk” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I CAME TO MEAL. Clue plays on how you’re not going to get mullered on camomile tea.

  1. Heading off from Med island, left such a fool (5)

Answer: APRIL (i.e. “fool”). Solution is CAPRI (i.e. “Med island”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “heading off”) and the remainder followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”), like so: APRI-L.

  1. Hard to deceive, but still awaiting delivery? (3,4,9)

Answer: NOT BORN YESTERDAY. Solution satisfies “hard to deceive” and “still awaiting delivery”.

  1. One that’s left service; time for a new plan (7)

Answer: REDRAFT (i.e. “a new plan”). Solution is RED (i.e. “one that’s left” in their politics) followed by RAF (i.e. “service”, specifically the Royal Air Force) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Auditor saves shillings for linesman (9)

Answer: VERSIFIER (i.e. one who produces verse or a “linesman”). Solution is VERIFIER (i.e. “auditor”) wrapped around or “saving” S (a recognised abbreviation of “shillings”), like so: VER(S)IFIER.

  1. What may be needed for wedding, or for widow (not uniform) (7,5)

Answer: MORNING DRESS (i.e. “what may be needed for wedding”). Clue plays on a “widow’s” MOURNING, and how you’d remove the U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet) to get MORNING. You get the idea.

  1. Dismissing first of batsmen after error, his knock shortened (3-7)

Answer: SIN-BINNING (i.e. “dismissing” in a number of contact sports). Solution is B (i.e. “first [letter] of batsman”) placed “after” SIN (i.e. “error”) and followed by INNINGS (i.e. a “knock” in cricket) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “shortened”), like so: SIN-(B)-INNING.

  1. Proper to capture a besieged king (5)

Answer: PRIAM (i.e. king of Troy in Greek myth, i.e. “besieged king”). Solution is PRIM (i.e. “proper”) wrapped around or “capturing” A, like so: PRI(A)M. One gotten from the wordplay, TBH.

  1. Condition requiring a measure of gravity, in actual fact? (8)

Answer: REGALITY. Solution is G (i.e. “a measure of gravity”, specifically the acceleration it causes, roughly 9.8m/s2) placed “in” REALITY (i.e. “actual fact”). Clue plays on “gravity” taken to mean solemnity or seriousness, a requirement of royalty when representing their country’s concern in certain weighty matters. That, and waving a lot.

  1. Format with parts swapped creates expense (6)

Answer: OUTLAY (i.e. “expense”). Solution is LAYOUT (i.e. “format”) with its two halves or “parts” swapped around.

  1. Is it built without nerves? (9)

Answer: EXTENSION, something that is “built”. When written as EX TENSION the clue also playfully satisfies “without nerves”, ex being “without” or “outside of” in Latin.

  1. Available to leave in that ship, perhaps, I board (11)

Answer: INHERITABLE (i.e. “available to leave” or bequeath). Solution is IN followed by HER (i.e. “that ship, perhaps”, as in how vehicles large or small are often referred to using a female pronoun), then I and TABLE (i.e. “board”, in reference to the table a board or committee may sit around).

  1. Sing-song raises spirit with fine energy (7)

Answer: KARAOKE (i.e. “sing-song”). Solution is ARAK (an old spelling of “arrack”, i.e. “spirit”) reversed (indicated by “raises” – this being a down clue) and followed by OK (i.e. “fine”) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: KARA-OK-E.

  1. Foreign expert almost mad, in a way (7)

Answer: ARABIST (i.e. “foreign expert”). Solution is RABID (i.e. “mad”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder placed “in” between A and ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: A-(RABI)-ST.

  1. Pretty girls apparently cut flower (4-4-8)

Answer: LOVE-LIES-BLEEDING (i.e. “flower”). Solution is LOVELIES (i.e. “pretty girls”) followed by BLEEDING (i.e. “apparently cut”).

  1. Actor also overwhelmed by shout of applause (6)

Answer: Peter O’TOOLE (i.e. “actor”). Solution is TOO (i.e. “also”) placed in or “overwhelmed by” OLE (i.e. “shout of applause”), like so: O(TOO)LE. Bloody hell, would it really have killed the setter to list this as (1’5)? I mean, how would they have listed TWO O’CLOCK or JACK-O’-LANTERN? Back in the early days of the Jumbo the convention was to treat ‘s as a separate word in a solution, so THAT’S RIGHT would be (4,1,5). Clearly that’s an arse way of going about things, so THAT’S RIGHT would these days be listed as (5,5). But it’s a hell of a leap to then go and list O’TOOLE as a (6). One to file under “dick move”.

  1. Lotion always found in second city (3,3)

Answer: BAY RUM (i.e. “lotion”). Solution is AY (i.e. “always”, both expressions of agreement) placed “in” BRUM (i.e. a nickname of Birmingham, our “second city”), like so: B(AY)RUM.

  1. Thready pulses? Have a drink (7)

Answer: HYDRATE (i.e. “have a drink”). “Pulses” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THREADY.

  1. Passing peaceful, America (7)

Answer: QUIETUS (i.e. dying or “passing”). Solution is QUIET (i.e. “peaceful”) followed by US (i.e. “America”).

  1. Such as the Cinderella story: makes fun of her stoic suffering… (4-2-6)

Answer: RAGS-TO-RICHES (i.e. “such as the Cinderella story”). Solution is RAGS (i.e. “makes fun of”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “suffering”) of HER STOIC, like so: RAGS-TORICHES.

  1. …missing one, practices former role of her fairy godmother? (11)

Answer: TRANSFORMER (i.e. “role of [Cinderella’s] fairy godmother”). Solution is TRAINS (i.e. “practices”) with the I removed (indicated by “missing [Roman numeral] one”) and the remainder followed by FORMER, like so: TRANS-FORMER.

  1. Using mortar repaired car (4,7)

Answer: GRAN TURISMO (i.e. “car”). “Repaired” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of USING MORTAR.

  1. Basic procedure, putting bullet in Luger to be fired (6,4)

Answer: GROUND RULE (i.e. “basic procedure”). Solution is ROUND (i.e. “bullet”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “to be fired”) of LUGER, like so: G(ROUND)RULE. Nicely worked.

  1. Completely uninvolved in the computer business? On the contrary (3,4,2)

Answer: FAR FROM IT. Solution satisfies “completely uninvolved in the computer business”, taking IT to be an abbreviation of Information Technology, and “on the contrary”.

  1. To encourage talking on equipment, installing new military commander (9)

Answer: Lord Herbert KITCHENER (i.e. “military commander” and sporter of the most famous moustache in British military history). Solution is CHEER (i.e. “to encourage”) placed after or “taking on” KIT (i.e. “equipment”) and placed around or “installing” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: KIT-CHE(N)ER.

  1. Christmas decoration basic, some say, for palace (8)

Answer: HOLYROOD (i.e. “palace”). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “some say”) of HOLLY (i.e. “Christmas decoration”) and RUDE (i.e. “basic”), like so: HOLY-ROOD. Chalk one to my Bradford’s, here. I would never have made the connection.

  1. In death, heart wanted again (7)

Answer: ENCORED (i.e. “wanted again”). Solution is CORE (i.e. “heart”) placed “in” END (i.e. “death”), like so: EN(CORE)D.

  1. Native American moneylender? (6)

Answer: PAWNEE. Solution satisfies “Native American” and “moneylender”. Another win for my Bradford’s.

  1. High tension, oppressed by total quiet (5)

Answer: SHTUM (i.e. “quiet”). Solution is HT (a recognised abbreviation of “high tension”, apparently an indicator of high voltage) placed in or “oppressed by” SUM (i.e. “total”), like so: S(HT)UM.

  1. Opera to study briefly (5)

Answer: TOSCA (i.e. “opera” by Giacomo Puccini). Solution is TO followed by SCAN (i.e. “study”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: TO-SCA.

To accompany this week’s post I dived into the synthwaves once more, stumbling across French artist M.A.D.E.S. and rather enjoying his albums Motor and Arrival, not to mention the superb single, Return (see below). I’m a massive sucker for any piece of music that is shamelessly overblown, so Return was right up my alley. After that, the volume was cranked up several notches courtesy of Finnish industrial outfit RTPN, whose album Pathogen is a fine way to get one’s grrrrrr on. Mute is a particular highlight. Give ’em a spin if that’s your thing. Laters, – LP.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1504

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

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has foxed you then you should tally-ho over to my Just For Fun page where you’ll find links to solutions for the previous 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

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

LP

Across clues

  1. Opener from western Irish team? (9)

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

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

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

  1. Staffs European minister’s residence (5)

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

  1. Advanced tango composer was conducting (9)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Hit band (4)

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

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

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

  1. Threatening palomino usually keeps it captive (7)

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

  1. Working fifty years at most (4)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Stone knight in very good carriage (6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Girl introducing a dish from India (5)

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

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

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

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

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

Down clues

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

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

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

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

  1. Perfume reportedly coming by mail order (5)

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

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

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

  1. Artist entering accompanied by shadowy presence (6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Confident fool heading university rose? (7)

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Be left standing in foreign city (8)

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Female gossip penning rubbish over lawyer (8)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Unusually emphatic about workers charging (11)

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

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

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

  1. Entirely popular gathering of sheep? (10)

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Girl wanting a change of habitat (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1503

A medium strength puzzle, and another that tested the limits of some definitions. Taken as a whole, though, this was a decent challenge. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has given you the slip then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions to the past 150+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

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

LP

Across clues

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

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

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

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

  1. Waste material in high percentage (6)

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Lotion is dissolving chemical compound (8)

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

  1. Printed material endlessly creates muddle (4)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Scorning of French on horseback (8)

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Morse having news boss tried (11)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Fragrant one does for our arrangement (11)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. TV presenter to make secure (6)

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

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

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

  1. Demand something from vain sister (6)

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

  1. Outline Irish unionists developed (6,2)

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

  1. Begin with body cavity (7)

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

Down clues

  1. Fruit associated with cereal almost growing (6)

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

  1. Certainly an exotic craft (3,3)

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Maybe a bay tree lacking width (4)

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

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

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

  1. Swore a truce after swimming channel (11)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Singer’s blushing debut (8)

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

  1. Travel always upset canvasser (4)

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

  1. Timid male reaction to mouse? (4)

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

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

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

  1. Half involved in Great Plague (8)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Sample includes most excellent instrument (9)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Critical about Pole meeting an African (6)

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

  1. Paras’ descent finding ditch (4)

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

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