Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1556

A decent enough stinker with some clever misdirection and fine clueing to decode, though its reliance on general knowledge and a few made-to-fit solutions made it drag after a while. My Bradford’s was rather warm by the end of it.

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 ran off with your £184,000,000 EuroMillions jackpot-winning ticket – yours as well, huh? – then you might find solace in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers when their pens are stilled. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Reg maybe backing Paul the physicist (5)

Answer: DIRAC (i.e. “Paul the physicist”). Solution is CAR ID (i.e. “reg maybe”, a playful reference to a car registration) reversed (indicated by “backing”). Made. To. Fit.

  1. Yankee after arrest to be sick as a parrot? (7)

Answer: COPYCAT (i.e. to “parrot”). Solution is Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet) placed “after” COP (i.e. to “arrest”) and followed by CAT (i.e. “to be sick” – can’t place the usage, but Chambers backs it up), like so: COP-(Y)-CAT.

  1. Symbol from memory needed on most of elite kit (9)

Answer: PICTOGRAM (i.e. “symbol”). Solution is RAM (i.e. computer “memory”, specifically Random Access Memory) placed “on” or after PICK (i.e. “elite”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “most of…”) and TOG (i.e. “kit”, both words for clothing), like so: (PIC-TOG)-RAM.

  1. Leaving it to fuzz? One presumably not (9)

Answer: VIGILANTE. Clue plays on “fuzz” being a slang word for the police, and how vigilantes act outside of the law. Not picking much else up from this one, to be honest. I could be missing something clever.

  1. A welcome game of cricket forces our Elizabeth to stop arguing? (5,2,6)

Answer: AGREE TO DIFFER (i.e. “stop arguing”). Solution is A followed by GREET (i.e. “welcome”), then ODI (i.e. “game of cricket”, specifically a One Day International), then F and F (recognised abbreviations of “force”), then ER (i.e. “our Elizabeth”, i.e. the Queen, or Elizabeth Regina).

  1. A little foreign cash needs dispatched to auditor, as I see it (7)

Answer: CENTIMO (i.e. “a little foreign cash”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “to auditor”) of SENT (i.e. “dispatched”) followed by IMO (i.e. “as I see it”, specifically an abbreviation of In My Opinion), like so: CENT-IMO.

  1. Compounds skill fabulously with a touch of aplomb (7)

Answer: ALKILIS (i.e. “compounds”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fabulously”) of SKILL, A and A (i.e. “a touch of aplomb”, i.e. the first letter of “aplomb”).

  1. Haze from rear crossing unobstructed, largely (3,4)

Answer: SEA FRET (i.e. “haze”). Solution is SEAT (i.e. “rear”) wrapped around or “crossing” FREE (i.e. “unobstructed”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “largely”), like so: SEA(FRE)T.

  1. Explain I must have quiet at rave (4,7,4,3)

Answer: TALK THROUGH ONE’S HAT (i.e. “rave” or talk insensibly). Solution is TALK THROUGH (i.e. “explain”) followed by ONE (i.e. “I”, its Roman numeral equivalent), then SH (i.e. “quiet”) and AT.

  1. After first of January, pub serves spirits (4)

Answer: JINN (i.e. “spirits”). Solution is J (i.e. “first [letter] of January”) followed by INN (i.e. “pub”).

  1. A large Lowry? Remarkable Irish drawing (3,6)

Answer: ALL SQUARE (i.e. “drawing”). Solution is A followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) followed by LS (initials of artist “Lowry”), then QUARE (i.e. “remarkable Irish”, i.e. a dialectical variation of QUEER).

  1. Twig gate’s not closing right (6)

Answer: WICKER (i.e. “twig”). Solution is WICKET (i.e. “gate”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “not closing”) and the remainder followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: WICKE-R.

  1. Space probe that’s reached across third of universe (6)

Answer: GIOTTO (i.e. “space probe” used to observe Halley’s comet up close in the mid-1980s). Solution is GOT TO (i.e. “reached”) wrapped around or placed “across” I (i.e. “third [letter] of universe”), like so: G(I)OT-TO. Made. To. Fit.

  1. Aim to put on air transport (7,5)

Answer: EXPRESS TRAIN (i.e. “transport”). Solution is TRAIN (i.e. to “aim”) placed “on” or after EXPRESS (i.e. to “air”, say, an opinion).

  1. To perform, men getting in camera (6-4)

Answer: CLOSED-DOOR (i.e. “in camera”, or in secret). Solution is CLOSED (as in a door being closed “to”) followed by DO (i.e. “perform”) and OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army).

  1. Updates record, having finally included it in a bizarre ritual (5,5)

Answer: AUDIT TRAIL (i.e. “updates record”). Solution is D (i.e. “finally included”, i.e. the last letter of “included”) and IT both placed “in” A and an anagram (indicated by “bizarre”) of RITUAL, like so: A-U(D-IT)TRAIL.

  1. Place for one of the cabal, later evacuated frantically (8,4)

Answer: BACHELOR FLAT (i.e. “place for one”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “frantically”) of OF THE CABAL and LR (i.e. “later evacuated”, i.e. the word “later” with all its middle letters removed).

  1. Help to push horse back: that’s painful, indeed! (3,3)

Answer: AND HOW (i.e. “indeed!”). Solution is HAND (i.e. “help”) with the H (i.e. “horse”, both slang words for heroin) “pushed…back” and followed by OW (i.e. “that’s painful”), like so: (H)AND-OW => AND(H)-OW.

  1. Some inside sang – or applauded yarn (6)

Answer: ANGORA (i.e. “yarn”). “Some inside” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: S(ANG OR A)PPLAUDED.

  1. Unwrapped afternoon treat carried by mother, the perfect combination! (5,4)

Answer: DREAM TEAM (i.e. “the perfect combination”). Solution is CREAM TEA (i.e. “afternoon treat”) with the first and last letters removed (indicated by “unwrapped”) and the remainder placed in or “carried by” DAM (i.e. “mother”, a cattle-related usage we’ve seen occasionally in Jumbos), like so: D(REAM-TE)AM.

  1. You might catch one at sea, or catch one at the piano (4)

Answer: TUNA (i.e. “you might catch one at sea”). The solution is a homophone (indicated by “catch” or to hear) of TUNER (i.e. “one at the piano”).

  1. Warning people passed on should be believed? (4,3,4,2,5)

Answer: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES (i.e. a “warning”). Clue plays on DEAD MEN being “people passed on” and how TALES are often referred to as lies. If one TELLS NO TALES then they “should be believed”. You get the idea.

  1. One’s more ineffectual executioner? (7)

Answer: IMPALER (i.e. “executioner”). When written as I’M PALER the solution also satisfies “one’s more ineffectual”.

  1. Education publication’s, I hesitate to say, a little square (7)

Answer: TESSERA (i.e. a “little square” used in a mosaic). Solution is TES’S (i.e. “education publication’s”, specifically the Times Educational Supplement) followed by ER (i.e. “I hesitate to say”) and A.

  1. First taxi maybe about to drive brother from Spain? (7)

Answer: CARAMBA (i.e. “brother from Spain”, playing on “brother” being an exclamation). Solution is CAB A (i.e. “first taxi maybe”) wrapped “about” RAM (i.e. “to drive” into something), like so: CA(RAM)B-A.

  1. Miscreant errs with abandon in Mormon city (3,10)

Answer: SAN BERNARDINO (i.e. “Mormon city”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “miscreant”) of ERRS and ABANDON IN.

  1. Private network, small one, not English, is being moved (2,7)

Answer: IN TRANSIT (i.e. “being moved”). Solution is INTRANET (i.e. “private network”) with the E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) swapped for (indicated by “not”) S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: INTRAN(E)T => INTRAN(S-I)T.

  1. PC meeting army officers? It’s a small world! (9)

Answer: MICROCOSM (i.e. “it’s a small world”). Solution is MICRO (i.e. computer or “PC”) followed by CO and SM (both “army officers”, a Commanding Officer and a Sergeant Major respectively).

  1. Cheat Harry getting into row (7)

Answer: FINAGLE (i.e. “cheat”). Solution is NAG (i.e. to “harry” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) placed “into” FILE (i.e. a line or “row”), like so: FI(NAG)LE.

  1. Wash thoroughly and comb (5)

Answer: SCOUR. Solution satisfies “wash thoroughly” and to “comb” or search.

Down clues

  1. Within Homer’s house perhaps there’s name for later poet’s (4,7)

Answer: DOVE COTTAGE (i.e. a “house” in which the “poet” William Wordsworth lived). Solution is DOVECOTE (i.e. “homer’s house” – ignore the misleading capitalisation, this is a reference to homing birds) wrapped around or having “within” TAG (i.e. “name”), like so: DOVECOT(TAG)E.

  1. Ungrateful daughter of stage manager’s showing up (5)

Answer: REGAN (i.e. “ungrateful daughter of stage”, specifically in William Shakespeare’s King Lear). “Showing” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue, like so: MA(NAGER).

  1. All fashionable ladies’ hats eclipsed by suit, without a doubt (4,4,8)

Answer: CALL INTO QUESTION (i.e. “doubt”). Solution is ALL, IN (i.e. “fashionable”) and TOQUES (i.e. “ladies’ hats”) all placed in or “eclipsed by” ACTION (i.e. legal “suit”) once the A has been removed (indicated by “without a”), like so: C(ALL-IN-TOQUES)TION.

  1. Being open, willing and positive, game turned around (7)

Answer: CANDOUR (i.e. “being open”). Solution is CAN DO (i.e. “willing and positive”) followed by RU (i.e. “game”, specifically Rugby Union) reversed (indicated by “turned around”), like so: (CAN-DO)-UR.

  1. Rash more manageable on reflection, with no spots around (9)

Answer: PREMATURE (i.e. “rash”). Solution is TAMER (i.e. “more manageable”) reversed (indicated by “on reflection”) and placed in or having “around” PURE (i.e. “no spots”), like so: P(REMAT)URE.

  1. Be suddenly assertive in finally mastering that dessert recipe? (5,3,4)

Answer: CRACK THE WHIP. Solution satisfies “be suddenly assertive” and, playfully, “finally mastering that dessert recipe”. I rather liked this one.

  1. Sweater something the unfortunate canoeist may turn down (10)

Answer: TURTLENECK (i.e. “sweater”). Solution is TURTLE (i.e. “something the unfortunate canoeist may turn”) followed by NECK (i.e. to “down” a drink).

  1. Supports old ploughman in work (5)

Answer: PIERS. Solution satisfies “supports” and “old ploughman in work”, a reference to a fourteenth century poem called Piers The Ploughman ascribed to William Langland. A new one on me. Chalk one to my Bradford’s.

  1. Part of goal put out by legal people generally (8)

Answer: CROSSBAR (i.e. “part of goal”). Solution is CROSS (i.e. angered or “put out”) followed by BAR (i.e. “legal people generally”).

  1. Round holiday time carrying one’s “bag for life”? (6)

Answer: OVISAC (i.e. “bag for life”, or egg capsule). Solution is O (i.e. “round”) followed by VAC (i.e. “holiday time”, short for vacation) once wrapped around or “carrying” I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”), like so: O-V(I’S)AC.

  1. One who’d make improvements dealing with health first (9)

Answer: REFORMIST (i.e. “one who’d make improvements”). Solution is RE (i.e. “dealing with” – think email replies) followed by FORM (i.e. “health”) and IST (i.e. “first”, with I being a Roman numeral one).

  1. Battle site’s ruins by chance not recalled (7,4)

Answer: MARSTON MOOR (i.e. “battle site”). Solution is MARS (i.e. “ruins”) followed by ROOM (i.e. “chance” – over to Chambers: “opportunity, scope or occasion”) and NOT once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “recalled”), like so: MARS-(TON-MOOR).

  1. Pal idly twisting leaf (4,3)

Answer: LILY PAD (i.e. “leaf”). “Twisting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PAL IDLY.

  1. Cautious movement – fraction of half-inch as it were? (7)

Answer: STEALTH (i.e. “cautious movement”). The remainder of the clue plays on “half-inch” being cockney rhyming slang for pinch, or to STEAL, and TH being a suffix denoting a “fraction” of something.

  1. Dramatise larkish, unconventional trilogy (3,4,9)

Answer: HIS DARK MATERIALS (i.e. “trilogy” of books by Philip Pullman). “Unconventional” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DRAMATISE LARKISH.

  1. Sailor in Camargue on delta, a long way from sound (6)

Answer: ABSURD (i.e. “a long way from sound”). Solution is AB (i.e. a “sailor” of Able-Bodied rank) followed by SUR (i.e. “in Carmague on”, i.e. the French for “on”) and D (“delta” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Drug dealer’s confession for old Irish lover (6)

Answer: ISOLDE (i.e. “old Irish lover”, from the legend of Tristan and Isolde). When written as I SOLD E the solution also satisfies “drug dealer’s confession”. Nicely done.

  1. Was boss fired again after losing it? (7)

Answer: REIGNED (i.e. “was boss”). Solution is REIGNITED (i.e. “fired again”) with the IT removed (indicated by “after losing it”).

  1. Boring advice to stop squeaking? (3,4)

Answer: OIL WELL. Solution satisfies a “boring” and, playfully, “advice to stop squeaking”.

  1. What Rover might do pointlessly in one’s parking place? (3,2,3,4)

Answer: BAY AT THE MOON (i.e. a futile or “pointless” gesture). Clue plays on how you might find a lunar “rover” on THE MOON, and how “parking places” are sometimes referred to as BAYS. Nicely worked.

  1. Scottish actor’s intention to catch LA flight (8,3)

Answer: ALASTAIR SIM (i.e. “Scottish actor”). Solution is AIM (i.e. “intention”) wrapped around or “catching” LA and STAIRS (i.e. “flight”), like so: A(LA-STAIRS)IM. Another great clue.

  1. Poem that’s more a novel primarily, somehow (3,8)

Answer: TAM O’SHANTER (i.e. a “poem” by Robert Burns). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of THAT’S MORE A and N (i.e. “novel primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “novel”).

  1. Very fed up as British radicals quarrel about nothing (5,5)

Answer: BORED STIFF (i.e. “very fed up”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”), REDS (i.e. “radicals”) and TIFF (i.e. “quarrel”) all wrapped “about” O (i.e. “nothing”), like so: B-(O)-REDS-TIFF.

  1. Remain calm about unsuitable acknowledgement returned (4,5)

Answer: DON’T PANIC (i.e. “remain calm”). Solution is C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), INAPT (i.e. “unsuitable”) and NOD (i.e. “acknowledgement”) all reversed (indicated by “returned”), like so: DON-TPANI-C.

  1. Part of maybe Mirage’s rising light over time inspiring wonderment (5,4)

Answer: DELTA WING (i.e. “part of maybe Mirage”, a reference to a variety of French fighter jets). Solution is LED (i.e. “light”, specifically a Light Emitting Diode) reversed (indicated by “over”) and followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and AWING (i.e. “inspiring wonderment”), like so: DEL-T-AWING. Took a brute force of my Chambers after I twigged the first few letters.

  1. Drop liking for attack (4,4)

Answer: TEAR INTO (i.e. “attack”). Solution is TEAR (i.e. a “drop” of water) followed by INTO (i.e. “liking”).

  1. Make out payment finally? That is for some clothing (7)

Answer: NECKTIE (i.e. “some clothing”). Solution is NECK (i.e. “make out” or smoochies) followed by T (i.e. “payment finally”, i.e. the last letter of “payment”) and IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. “i.e.” – an abbreviation of the Latin id est).

  1. Game that’s played could end in stalemate (6)

Answer: CLUEDO (i.e. “game”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “that’s played”) of COULD and E (i.e. “end [letter] in stalemate”).

  1. Tattoo of weaver’s remains? (5)

Answer: THRUM. Solution satisfies a “tattoo” or drumming sound, and “weaver’s remains”, a variant meaning. Another new one on me.

  1. At least three notes to get wrong (5)

Answer: MISDO (i.e. “to get wrong”). When written as MIS and DO the solution also satisfies “at least three notes”, MI and DO being part of the sol-fa notation, MI in this case being plural.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1555

A medium strength Jumbo this week, with a sprinkling of toughies to spice things up. Good clueing too, in the main.

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 been looking for Dominator tractors on your mobile phone (perhaps via expertsexchange.com, penisland.com and susanalbumparty.com) then you might find solace in my Just For Fun page where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the little perishers. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. I’m sure I can whizz through elevated motorway (2,7)

Answer: NO PROBLEM (i.e. “I’m sure I can”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “whizz” or expert) placed in or “through” NOBLE (i.e. “elevated”) and M (a recognised abbreviation of “motorway”), like so: NO(PRO)BLE-M.

  1. Noise made tapping bread and butter (3-1-3)

Answer: PIT-A-PAT (i.e. “noise made tapping”). Solution is PITA (i.e. “bread”, also spelled with a double-T) followed by PAT (i.e. a chunk of “butter”).

  1. Says good things about somewhat grouchy pessimist (5)

Answer: HYPES (i.e. “says good things about”). “Somewhat” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: GROUC(HY PES)SIMIST.

  1. Photo session at farm? There’ll be sniping here (8,5)

Answer: SHOOTING RANGE (i.e. “there’ll be sniping here”). Solution is SHOOTING (i.e. “photo session”) followed by RANGE (i.e. “farm”).

  1. Mainly during classes, before end of school (2,7)

Answer: IN GENERAL (i.e. “mainly”). Solution is IN (i.e. “during”) followed by GENERA (i.e. “classes”) and L (i.e. “end of school”, i.e. the last letter of “school”).

  1. Badly hit area is old Roman province (7)

Answer: RHAETIA (i.e. “old Roman province”). “Badly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HIT AREA. Another of those made-to-fit solutions. Good clue, though.

  1. Taps into theatre to make money once (7)

Answer: DRACHMA (i.e. “money once”, specifically the former currency of Greece). Solution is C and H (i.e. “taps”, specifically recognised abbreviations of “cold” and “hot”) placed “into” DRAMA (i.e. “theatre”), like so: DRA(CH)MA.

  1. Shabbily treated compiler’s going to America with his boss (3-4)

Answer: ILL-USED (i.e. “shabbily treated”). Solution is I’LL (i.e. “compiler’s going to” from the point of view of the setter, a contraction of “I will”) followed by US (i.e. “America”) and ED (i.e. “[compiler’s] boss”, i.e. the newspaper editor).

  1. Novel generated unpleasant whiff around America, needing change (6,6)

Answer: MADAME BOVARY (i.e. “novel” by Gustave Flaubert). Solution is MADE BO (i.e. “generated unpleasant whiff” or Body Odour) wrapped “around” AM (a recognised abbreviation of “America”, e.g. in Trans-Am) and followed by VARY (i.e. “change”), like so: (MAD(AM)E-BO)-VARY.

  1. Cavorting belle – a dish in scantily clad state (10)

Answer: DÉSHABILLÉ (i.e. “scantily clad state”). “Cavorting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BELLE A DISH. Wordplay was obvious, but can’t say I’ve ever seen the word before.

  1. British cooking ingredient for American cook (5)

Answer: BROIL (i.e. “American [word for] cook” or to grill). Solution is BR (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by OIL (i.e. “cooking ingredient”).

  1. Peacenik, observe: doctor, Scot or Latin type (9)

Answer: COLOMBIAN (i.e. “Latin [American] type”). Solution is CO (i.e. “peacenik”, specifically a Conscientious Objector) followed by LO (i.e. “observe”, as in “lo and behold”), then MB (i.e. “doctor”, specifically a Doctor of Medicine or Medicinae Baccalaureus), then IAN (i.e. “Scots” man’s name – this wordplay still makes my teeth itch whenever I see it).

  1. You said cleric punches good swimmer? That’s bizarre (7)

Answer: SURREAL (i.e. “bizarre”). Solution is U (i.e. “you said”, i.e. a homophone of “you”) and RR (i.e. “cleric”, or Right Reverend) both placed in or “punching” SEAL (i.e. “good swimmer”), like so: S(U-RR)EAL.

  1. Wife irrational after drink, in a state (11)

Answer: MISSISSIPPI (i.e. US “state”). Solution is MISSIS (i.e. “wife”) and PI (i.e. an “irrational” number) once the latter has been placed “after” SIP (i.e. “drink”), like so: MISSIS-(SIP)-PI.

  1. It gets oxygen round big home refurbished with loan (11)

Answer: HAEMOGLOBIN (i.e. “it gets oxygen round” the bloodstream). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “refurbished”) of BIG HOME and LOAN.

  1. Not feeling popular, one overwhelmed by life? (11)

Answer: INSENTIENCE (i.e. “not feeling”). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) once placed in or “overwhelmed by” SENTENCE (i.e. “life”, i.e. a prison sentence), like so: IN-SENT(I)ENCE.

[EDIT: Thanks to Bertie in the comments for cleaning this one up. I’d written INSENTIENT for some reason. Cheers, Bertie! – LP]

  1. Safe time to welcome teacher, a Potter character (5,6)

Answer: PETER RABBIT (i.e. “a [Beatrix] Potter character”). Solution is PETER (a slang word for “safe” and something we’ve seen in a few Jumbos now) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) all wrapped around or “welcoming” RABBI (i.e. “teacher”), like so: PETER-(RABBI)-T.

  1. Westerly Parisian street contains place to sleep over in trip that won’t cost the earth (7)

Answer: ECOTOUR (i.e. “trip that won’t cost the earth” – Chambers doesn’t want to know, but the solution is backed up by my Oxford and Collins Concise. I’m with Chambers on this one, to be honest.) Solution is RUE (i.e. “Parisian street”, i.e. the French for “street”) reversed (indicated by “westerly” – this being an across clue) and wrapped around or “containing” COT (i.e. “place to sleep”) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), like so: E(COT-O)UR.

  1. Costly sparkler is what malingerer has picked up? (9)

Answer: CHAMPAGNE (i.e. “costly sparkler”). “Has picked up” indicates homophone. Solution comprises homophones of SHAM and PAIN (i.e. “what malingerer has”, being someone who feigns sickness to bunk off work). Clever. I like it.

  1. Empty delta with dropping water (5)

Answer: DRAIN (i.e. to “empty”). Solution is D (“delta” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by RAIN (i.e. “dropping water”).

  1. Cash for Roman trustees I’m moving around (10)

Answer: SESTERTIUM (i.e. “cash for Roman”). “Moving around” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TRUSTEES I’M. One nailed from the wordplay and a short brute force of my Chambers.

  1. Old King Edward, say, cuts caper, getting bump (12)

Answer: PROTUBERANCE (i.e. “bump”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and TUBER (i.e. “King Edward, say” – other varieties of potato are available) both placed in or “cutting” PRANCE (i.e. to “caper” about), like so: PR(O-TUBER)ANCE.

  1. Boozing, wanting constant stimulation (7)

Answer: AROUSAL (i.e. “stimulation”). Solution is CAROUSAL (i.e. “boozing”) with the C removed (indicated by “wanting constant” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “constant”).

  1. Indian’s oven has brown opening (7)

Answer: TANDOOR (i.e. “Indian oven”). Solution is TAN (i.e. “brown”) followed by DOOR (i.e. “opening”).

  1. Fish submerged in drink in sea-change (5-2)

Answer: SHAKE-UP (i.e. “sea-change”). Solution is HAKE (i.e. “fish”) placed or “submerged in” SUP (i.e. to “drink”), like so: S(HAKE)UP.

  1. Sausage course sandwiched by Italian beer (9)

Answer: PEPPERONI (i.e. “sausage”). Solution is PPE (i.e. “course” – over to Chambers: “Philosophy, Politics and Economics, as a university school or course of study”. Never heard of it) placed in or “sandwiched by” PERONI (i.e. “Italian beer”, and very nice it is too. (Awaits free promotional crate of Peroni)), like so: PE(PPE)RONI.

  1. Assistant crime-fighter engaged by PM, with boy ludicrously involved (5,8)

Answer: HEATH ROBINSON (i.e. “ludicrously involved”, after the artist famous for drawing ridiculously complicated devices. Perhaps this ought to have been hyphenated to separate it from the man himself.) Solution is ROBIN (i.e. “assistant crime-fighter” to Batman) placed in or “engaged by” Edward HEATH (i.e. “PM”, or former Prime Minister) and SON (i.e. “boy”), like so: HEATH-(ROBIN)-SON. I often love these drawings, probably thanks to programs like The Great Egg Race. Rube Goldberg was also famous for similar such pictures in the US.

  1. What indicates requirement of energy in old vehicle (5)

Answer: CARET (i.e. “what indicates” a position in a document, e.g. in proofreading). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) placed “in” CART (i.e. “old vehicle”), like so: CAR(E)T.

[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for cleaning this one up. The object of the clue ought to be “what indicates requirement”, given, when proofreading, a caret indicates where some text is needed. Cheers, Sue! – LP]

  1. Earn dime? I’m going to work in restaurant (7)

Answer: DESERVE (i.e. “earn”). Solution is DE (i.e. “dime … I’m going”, i.e. the word DIME with the IM removed) followed by SERVE (i.e. “to work in restaurant”).

  1. Charlie maybe playing golf in crowd (9)

Answer: CONCOURSE (i.e. “crowd” or “an assembly of people for an event” (Chambers)). Solution is C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by ON COURSE (i.e. “maybe playing golf”).

Down clues

  1. Treatment for the gullible son, excluding alcohol bottles (7)

Answer: NOSTRUM (i.e. “treatment for the gullible”, e.g. snake oil). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) placed in or “bottled” by NOT RUM (i.e. “excluding alcohol”), like so: NO(S)T-RUM.

  1. Something to weigh up for Polish politicians (4,3,4)

Answer: PROS AND CONS (i.e. “something to weigh up”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “for” or in favour of something) followed by SAND (i.e. to “polish” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), then CONS (i.e. “politicians”, specifically Conservatives).

  1. Group turned around business before the New Year (5)

Answer: OCTET (i.e. “group” of eight musicians). Solution is CO (i.e. “business”, short for company) reversed (indicated by “turned around”) and followed by TET (the Vietnamese lunar “new year” festival – another new one on me), like so: OC-TET.

  1. Some dialogue on item of unmentionables turned up in old script (6,1)

Answer: LINEAR B (i.e. “script”, specifically “an ancient script (c. 1400BC) found in Crete, deciphered as a form of Greek seven centuries earlier than any previously known” (Chambers)). Solution is LINE (i.e. “some dialogue”) followed by BRA (i.e. “item of unmentionables”) once reversed (indicated by “turned up” – this being a down clue), like so: LINE-ARB. A recent-ish repeat, making this an easier get.

  1. Damage in memory on the rise (3)

Answer: MAR (i.e. “damage”). Solution is RAM (i.e. “memory”, specifically Random Access Memory found in a computer) reversed (indicated by “on the rise” – again this being a down clue).

  1. Write name on sign, a mystical symbol (9)

Answer: PENTAGRAM (i.e. “mystical symbol”). Solution is PEN (i.e. to “write”) followed by TAG (i.e. “name”) and RAM (i.e. “sign” of the zodiac, specifically Aries – a bit of a stretch, but Bradford’s backs it up).

  1. What toddlers do, having temperature: get angry, losing head (6)

Answer: TEETHE (i.e. “what toddlers do”). Solution is SEETHE (i.e. “get angry”) wrapped around or “having” T (a recognised abbreviation of “temperature”) and the first letter then removed (indicated by “losing head”), like so: (T)EETHE. Valid but unsatisfying clueing.

  1. Soldier to seek returns on gold, holding one piece? He’ll do some probing (7,12)

Answer: PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR (i.e. “he’ll do some probing”). Solution is PRIVATE (i.e. “soldier”) followed by INVEST (i.e. “to seek returns”) and OR (i.e. “gold” colour in heraldry) once wrapped around or “holding” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and GAT (i.e. “piece”, both slang words for a gun), like so: PRIVATE-INVEST-(I-GAT)-OR.

  1. Ferociously catty Middle Eastern runner gets hot (7)

Answer: TIGRISH (i.e. “ferociously catty”). Solution is TIGRIS (i.e. “Middle Eastern runner” or river, as in how a river runs) followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot”, as covered earlier).

  1. What rider needs to deal with some pressure (9)

Answer: HANDLEBAR (i.e. “what rider needs” on a bike). Solution is HANDLE (i.e. “to deal with”) followed by BAR (i.e. a measure of “some pressure”).

  1. Initially very brash, Pearl somehow gets to chill out, for example (7,4)

Answer: PHRASAL VERB (i.e. “chill out, for example” – in the dry and joyless world of grammar, this is “a phrase, consisting of a verb and an adverb or preposition, or both, having the function of a verb, e.g. blow over, sift through, put up with(Chambers)). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of V (i.e. “initially very”, i.e. the first letter of “very”) and BRASH PEARL.

  1. Arsenal gutted, overrun by blue side (5)

Answer: SALAD (i.e. “side” dish). Solution is AL (i.e. “arsenal gutted”, i.e. the word “arsenal” with all its middle letters removed) placed in or “overrun by” SAD (i.e. “blue”), like so: S(AL)AD.

  1. What may create neurotics in India and Pakistan? (10,9)

Answer: DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (i.e. “India and Pakistan” as examples). “What may create” is a nod to how the solution cryptically describes “neurotics”, i.e. as an anagram, indicated by DEVELOPING, of the word COUNTRIES. Again, clever.

  1. I continue to ponder frames for part of window (7)

Answer: MULLION (i.e. “part of window”, specifically “an upright division between the panes or casements of a window” (Chambers)). Solution is I placed in or “framed” by MULL ON (i.e. “continue to ponder”), like so: MULL-(I)-ON.

  1. Duke topped another one (9)

Answer: ELLINGTON (i.e. “Duke”, the jazz musician and composer). Solution is WELLINGTON (i.e. “another [duke]”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “topped”). A similar clue appeared in grid 1525.

  1. Happening upon dance music style (3-3)

Answer: HIP-HOP (i.e. “music style”). Solution is HIP (i.e. “happening”, for all you hep cats and daddios) followed by HOP (i.e. a “dance”).

  1. Uneven quality of sponges covering trees (9)

Answer: BUMPINESS (i.e. “uneven quality”). Solution is BUMS (i.e. “sponges” or begs for money) wrapped around or “covering” PINES (i.e. “trees”), like so: BUM(PINES)S.

  1. Fire, or what’s left of it that is in hollow container (7)

Answer: CASHIER (i.e. to “fire” or “dismiss from a post, especially in the armed forces” (Chambers). Another new one on me.) Solution is ASH (i.e. “what’s left of [fire]”) and IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. …um… “i.e.”!) all placed “in” CR (i.e. “hollow container”, i.e. the word “container” with all its middle letters removed), like so: C(ASH-IE)R.

  1. Flog small bottle after removing article (7)

Answer: SCOURGE (i.e. to whip or “flog”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by COURAGE (i.e. “bottle”) once the A has been removed (indicated by “removing article” – an “article” being a word such as a, an or the), like so: S-COURGE.

  1. Current coating of cheese gets better – it shouldn’t be melting! (3,3)

Answer: ICE CAP (i.e. “it shouldn’t be melting”). Solution is I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics) followed by CE (i.e. “coating of cheese”, i.e. the first and last letters of “cheese”), then CAP (i.e. to “better” something).

  1. Perhaps one inclined to embrace daughter’s lover (7)

Answer: LEANDER (i.e. “lover”, from the Greek myth of Hero and Leander). Solution is LEANER (i.e. “perhaps one inclined” – an acknowledgement the word isn’t exactly one you’re going to find in the dictionary) wrapped around or “embracing” D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”), like so: LEAN(D)ER. One remembered from a previous Jumbo, if I’m honest.

  1. Broadcast capturing hearts? Bung in a crowd-pleaser (4-7)

Answer: SHOW-STOPPER (i.e. “crowd-pleaser”). Solution is SOW (i.e. to scatter or “broadcast”) wrapped around or “capturing” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hearts” used in card games) and followed by STOPPER (i.e. “bung”), like so: S(H)OW-STOPPER.

  1. Crazily, Eritrea bans the crossword puzzle, perhaps (5-6)

Answer: BRAIN-TEASER (i.e. “crossword puzzle, perhaps”). “Crazily” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ERITREA BANS.

  1. Tardily woke Liberal seen in month in public (9)

Answer: OVERSLEPT (i.e. “tardily woke”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “Liberal”) placed or “seen in” SEP (a recognised abbreviation of “September”, i.e. “month”) which is itself placed “in” OVERT (i.e. “public”), like so: OVER(S(L)EP)T.

  1. Attendant admitting illicit act in holy residence (9)

Answer: PARSONAGE (i.e. “holy residence”). Solution is PAGE (i.e. a boy “attendant”) wrapped around or “admitting” ARSON (i.e. “illicit act”), like so: P(ARSON)AGE.

  1. Having lifted obstacle, go across new town (7)

Answer: TELFORD (i.e. one of England’s “new towns”). Solution is LET (an archaic word for “obstacle” that we’ve seen a few times in Jumbos) reversed (indicated by “having lifted” – this being a down clue) and followed by FORD (i.e. to “go across” a river at a shallow point), like so: TEL-FORD.

  1. One’s blown asset, allowing idiot in (7)

Answer: BASSOON (i.e. “one’s blown”, i.e. a woodwind instrument). Solution is BOON (i.e. “asset”) wrapped around or “allowing … in” ASS (i.e. “idiot”), like so: B(ASS)OON.

  1. Charge made by swans in river (7)

Answer: EXPENSE (i.e. “charge”). Solution is PENS (i.e. female “swans” I remembered from the very first Jumbo) placed “in” EXE (i.e. a “river”), like so: EX(PENS)E.

  1. An unending job for fixer, in the main (6)

Answer: ANCHOR (i.e. “fixer, in the main” or the sea). Solution is AN followed by CHORE (i.e. “job”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “unending”), like so: AN-CHOR.

  1. Gelatinous substance not quite a flavour enhancer (5)

Answer: ASPIC (i.e. “gelatinous substance”). Solution is A SPICE (i.e. “a flavour enhancer”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “not quite”).

  1. Fighter entering a ring in China (5)

Answer: AMIGO (i.e. “china”, cockney rhyming slang for a friend or mate, after china plate). Solution is MIG (i.e. “fighter” jet plane) placed in or “entering” A and O (i.e. a “ring”), like so: A-(MIG)-O.

  1. Noise made by drunk here, classically (3)

Answer: HIC. Solution satisfies “noise made by drunk” and “here, classically”, i.e. the Latin for “here”.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1554

A relatively straightforward one for Bank Holiday Monday, though there were a couple of clues to get snagged upon. Nobody please get me a TAPIS for Christmas.

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 invented time-travel leaving you serving a race of snooty elephants all wearing top hats and monocles then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the hot takes of other solvers. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Deer of exceptional bulk originally in common crowd (7)

Answer: ROEBUCK (i.e. “deer”). Solution is OEB (i.e. “of exceptional bulk originally”, i.e. the first letters of “of”, “exceptional” and “bulk”) placed “in” RUCK (i.e. “common crowd”), like so: R(OEB)UCK.

  1. Poet with high honour in extremely leafy part of Italy (8)

Answer: LOMBARDY (i.e. “part of Italy”). Solution is BARD (i.e. “poet”) placed after or “with” OM (i.e. “high honour”, specifically the Order of Merit) all “in” LY (i.e. “extremely leafy”, i.e. the first and last letters of “leafy”), like so: L(OM-BARD)Y.

  1. Declare a clear favourite at Epsom, so to speak (6)

Answer: ASSERT (i.e. “declare”). Solution is A followed by a homophone (indicated by “so to speak”) of CERT (i.e. “clear favourite at Epsom”, i.e. a dead cert).

  1. Old court officials nod, having way with smugglers (3,6,7)

Answer: BOW STREET RUNNERS (i.e. “old court officials”). Solution is BOW (i.e. to “nod”) followed by STREET (i.e. “way”) and RUNNERS (i.e. “smugglers”).

  1. Irish girl in India, accommodated by Danes, oddly (6)

Answer: SINEAD (i.e. “Irish girl’s” name). Solution is I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet) placed in or “accommodated by” an anagram (indicated by “oddly”) of DANES, like so: S(I)NEAD.

  1. Desert son in big way? (5)

Answer: SINAI (i.e. a “desert”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by IN then AI (i.e. “big way”, a playful reference to the A1 motorway with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent).

  1. Peacekeepers are able to reach New York? That’s weird (7)

Answer: UNCANNY (i.e. “weird”). Solution is UN (i.e. “peacekeepers”, specifically the United Nations) followed by CAN (i.e. “able to”) and NY (a recognised abbreviation of “New York”).

  1. Speech made in summer month by Russian river (9)

Answer: INAUGURAL (i.e. “speech”). Solution is IN followed by AUG (i.e. “summer month”, short for August) and URAL (i.e. “Russian river”).

  1. Trendy people (not us) keeping Westminster at the heart of things (2,3,4)

Answer: IN THE SWIM (i.e. “at the heart of things”). Solution is IN (i.e. “trendy”) followed by THEM (i.e. “people (not us)”) once wrapped around or “keeping” SWI (i.e. “Westminster”, specifically its post code area, again using the Roman numeral I for 1), like so: IN-THE(SWI)M.

  1. Acknowledge record bridge player holds a single time (7)

Answer: CONCEDE (i.e. “acknowledge”). Solution is CD (i.e. “record”, in this case a Compact Disc) and E (i.e. “bridge player”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “east”) all wrapped around or “holding” ONCE (i.e. “a single time”), like so: C(ONCE)D-E.

  1. Joint in the Spanish part of London (5)

Answer: ELBOW (i.e. “joint”). Solution is EL (i.e. “the Spanish”, i.e. the Spanish for “the”) followed by BOW (i.e. “part of London”).

  1. Greek character fencing in thick-skinned animal (5)

Answer: RHINO (i.e. “thick-skinned animal”). Solution is RHO (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the seventeenth letter of the Greek alphabet) wrapped around or “fencing” IN, like so: RH(IN)O.

  1. Unruly beast briefly backing universal fast (9)

Answer: TURBULENT (i.e. “unruly”). Solution is BRUTE (i.e. “beast”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “backing”), followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “universal” used in film certification) and LENT (i.e. religious “fast”), like so: TURB-U-LENT.

  1. Yesterday’s man is not entirely penniless, do we hear? (3-4)

Answer: HAS-BEEN (i.e. “yesterday’s man”). “Do we hear” indicates homophone, in this case of HAS BEAN (i.e. “is not entirely penniless” – a nod to the phrase “not having a bean to one’s name”).

  1. Basic lent meal abandoned after start of Easter (9)

Answer: ELEMENTAL (i.e. “basic”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “abandoned”) of LENT MEAL placed “after” E (i.e. “start [letter] of Easter”), like so: E-LEMENTAL.

  1. Not in school at first, dig new head’s candour (13)

Answer: OUTSPOKENNESS (i.e. “candour”). Solution is OUT (i.e. “not in”) followed by S (i.e. “school at first”, i.e. the first letter of “school”), then POKE (i.e. “dig”), then N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and NESS (i.e. “head”, the geographic feature).

  1. Expensive drink dipped into by extremely large horse (13)

Answer: STEEPLECHASER (i.e. “horse”). Solution is STEEP (i.e. “expensive”) and CHASER (i.e. “drink” had alongside another) with LE (i.e. “extremely large”, i.e. the first and last letters of “large”) “dipped in” between the two, like so: STEEP-(LE)-CHASER.

  1. Poet and prophet, connected to broadband internally (9)

Answer: SONNETEER (i.e. “poet”). Solution is SEER (i.e. “prophet”) wrapped around of having “internally” ON NET (i.e. “connected to broadband”), like so: S(ON-NET)EER.

  1. Huntsman’s cry identified by Yankee in lofty house (5-2)

Answer: TALLY-HO (i.e. “huntsman’s cry”). Solution is Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet) placed “in” TALL (i.e. “lofty”) and HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”), like so: TALL-(Y)-HO.

  1. Raise proteges away from the front (9)

Answer: REARWARDS (i.e. “away from the front”). When written as REAR WARDS the solution also satisfies “raise proteges”.

  1. Consequences? Not after a lesson at school (5)

Answer: MATHS (i.e. “a lesson at school”). Solution is AFTERMATHS (i.e. “consequences”) with the AFTER removed (indicated by “not after”).

  1. See off the composer of Perchance to Dream? That’s original (5)

Answer: NOVEL (i.e. “original”). Solution is Ivor NOVELLO (i.e. “composer of Perchance to Dream“) with the LO removed (indicated by “see off” – think “lo and behold”).

  1. More vacuous politician caught in drug row (7)

Answer: EMPTIER (i.e. “more vacuous”). Solution is MP (i.e. “politician”) placed or “caught in” E (i.e. “drug”, in this case slang for ecstasy) and TIER (i.e. “row”), like so: E-(MP)-TIER.

  1. Short-lived English friend crossing border with leading lady (9)

Answer: EPHEMERAL (i.e. “short-lived”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and PAL (i.e. “friend”) wrapped around or “crossing” HEM (i.e. “border”) and ER (i.e. “leading lady”, specifically Elizabeth Regina), like so: E-P(HEM-ER)AL.

  1. Betrayer tsar tries to reform (9)

Answer: TRAITRESS (i.e. “betrayer”). “To reform” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TSAR TRIES.

  1. Petty action involving veil regularly (7)

Answer: TRIVIAL (i.e. “petty”). Solution is TRIAL (i.e. court “action”) wrapped around or “involving” VI (i.e. “veil regularly”, i.e. every other letter of VEIL), like so: TRI(VI)AL.

  1. Twilled fabric used in coarser gear (5)

Answer: SERGE (i.e. “twilled fabric”). “Used in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: COAR(SER GE)AR.

  1. Greeting welcomed by French film director in Pacific island (6)

Answer: TAHITI (i.e. “Pacific island”). Solution is HI (i.e. “greeting”) placed in or “welcomed by” Jacques TATI (i.e. “French film director”), like so: TA(HI)TI.

  1. L, M or S on garment? You’ve got it right! (5,3,4,2,2)

Answer: THAT’S THE SIZE OF IT. Solution playfully satisfies “L, M or S on garment” and “you’ve got it right”.

  1. Trustworthy entertainer touring Tyneside (6)

Answer: HONEST (i.e. “trustworthy”). Solution is HOST (i.e. “entertainer”) wrapped around or “touring” NE (i.e. “Tyneside”, situated in North-East England), like so: HO(NE)ST.

  1. Simple-minded, not like our solvers! (8)

Answer: CLUELESS. Solution satisfies “simple-minded” and “not like our solvers”, given how crosswords comprise a series of clues.

  1. Where to see paintings? Go to Paris in good year (7)

Answer: GALLERY (i.e. “where to see paintings”). Solution is ALLER (i.e. “go to in Paris”, i.e. the French for “go to”) placed “in” between G and Y (recognised abbreviations of “good” and “year” respectively), like so: G-(ALLER)-Y.

Down clues

  1. French revolutionary formally dresses fellow countryman? (11)

Answer: Maximilien ROBESPIERRE (i.e. “French revolutionary”). Solution is ROBES (i.e. “formally dresses”) followed by PIERRE (i.e. “fellow countryman”, basically a French man’s name).

  1. Onset of ear-splitting noise overwhelming western man (5)

Answer: EDWIN (i.e. “man’s” name). Solution is E (i.e. “onset of ear-splitting”, i.e. the first letter of “ear-splitting”) followed by DIN (i.e. “noise”) once wrapped around or “overwhelming” W (a recognised abbreviation of “western”), like so: E-D(W)IN.

  1. In East London, search port, perhaps, and unwind (7)

Answer: UNTWINE (i.e. “unwind”). Solution is HUNT (i.e. “search”) once its H has been removed (indicated by “in East London”, as in ‘ow all ‘em cockneys are always droppin’ their bleedin’ aitches innit, gorblimey, apples and pears, me old china and such) and the remainder followed by WINE (i.e. “port, perhaps”), like so: ‘UNT-WINE.

  1. Strive to compete socially with Inigo’s family? (4,2,4,3,7)

Answer: KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES (i.e. “strive to compete socially”). “Inigo” JONES was a seventeenth century architect, upon whose surname the clue plays.

  1. One arrives behind time, fixing metal core (9)

Answer: LATECOMER (i.e. “one arrives behind time”). “Fixing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of METAL CORE.

  1. Keen army medic on vessel (5)

Answer: MOURN (i.e. to “keen”). Solution is MO (i.e. “army medic”, specifically a Medical Officer) followed by URN (i.e. “vessel”).

  1. Pain a canny one could become (9)

Answer: ANNOYANCE (i.e. “pain”). “Could become” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A CANNY ONE.

  1. Little creatures with sleeping place, one by church (7)

Answer: DORMICE (i.e. “little creatures”). Solution is DORM (i.e. “sleeping place”, short for a dormitory) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England).

  1. Run round hot gravelly substance on beach? (7)

Answer: SHINGLE (i.e. “substance on beach”). Solution is SINGLE (i.e. a “run” in a number of ball games) wrapped “round” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot” used on taps), like so: S(H)INGLE.

  1. Hateful big gun meeting half-hearted mob (9)

Answer: EXECRABLE (i.e. “hateful”). Solution is EXEC (i.e. “big gun” within a company, i.e. an executive) followed by RABBLE (i.e. “mob”) once one of the middle Bs has been removed (indicated by “half-hearted”), like so: EXEC-RABLE.

  1. Slightly drunk, signals conspiratorially, it’s just a game (11)

Answer: TIDDLYWINKS (i.e. “game”). Solution is TIDDLY (i.e. “slightly drunk”) followed by WINKS (i.e. “signals conspiratorially”).

  1. As army recruits would do once, getting royally rewarded? (4,3,5,8)

Answer: TAKE THE KING’S SHILLING (i.e. “as army recruits would do once” – over to Chambers: “to enlist as a soldier by accepting a recruiting officer’s shilling, a practice discontinued in 1879”). Clue plays on KINGs being “royal” and all that. You get the idea.

  1. Audible attempt by military engineers to identify ancient warship (7)

Answer: TRIREME (i.e. “ancient warship”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “audible”) of TRY followed by REME (i.e. “military engineers”, specifically the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers), like so: TRI-REME. One remembered from previous Jumbos.

  1. Company in the lead on introduction of such vouchers (7)

Answer: COUPONS (i.e. “vouchers”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) followed by UP (i.e. “in the lead”), then ON, then S (i.e. “introduction of such”, i.e. the first letter of “introduction”).

  1. Excessively reward retired minister surrounded by work always (7)

Answer: OVERPAY (i.e. “excessively reward”). Solution is REV (i.e. “minister”, short for “reverend”) reversed (indicated by “retired”) and placed in or “surrounded by” OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) and AY (i.e. “always”, both expressions of assent), like so: O(VER)P-AY.

  1. One involved in argument over carpeting (5)

Answer: TAPIS (i.e. “carpeting” – meanwhile Chambers has this: “(obsolete) a covering, hanging, etc of tapestry or the like”. Maybe the setter lives in some kind of Dr Seuss house with walls for ceilings and ceilings for walls, and doors for windows and windows for doors). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “in” SPAT (i.e. “argument”) once reversed (indicated by “over”), like so: TAP(I)S.

  1. Ray’s article going into busmen’s ill-treatment (7)

Answer: SUNBEAM (i.e. “ray”). Solution is A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) placed “into” an anagram (indicated by “ill-treatment”) of BUSMEN, like so: SUMBE(A)M.

  1. He composed some memorable harmonies (5)

Answer: Franz LEHÁR (i.e. “he composed”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: MEMORAB(LE HAR)MONIES. Wordplay was simple but still one to file under “Made To Fit”.

  1. Person who casts historical romances primarily in castle (7)

Answer: THROWER (i.e. “person who casts”). Solution is HR (i.e. “historical romances primarily”, i.e. the first letters of “historical” and “romances”) placed “in” TOWER (i.e. “castle”), like so: T(HR)OWER.

  1. One who chooses to be English reader (7)

Answer: ELECTOR (i.e. “one who chooses”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by LECTOR (i.e. a “reader” in college).

  1. Embroidery feature second little chap demonstrated first (5,6)

Answer: SATIN STITCH (i.e. “embroidery feature”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) and TITCH (i.e. “little chap”) both placed after or having “first” SAT-IN (i.e. “demonstrated”), like so: (SAT-IN)-S-TITCH.

  1. Soldiers quietly crossing island with flexibility (11)

Answer: RESILIENTLY (i.e. “with flexibility”). Solution is RE (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) followed by SILENTLY (i.e. “quietly”) once wrapped around or “crossing” I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: RE-SIL(I)ENTLY.

  1. A monster, Jacob’s son, and close by, mostly (9)

Answer: LEVIATHAN (i.e. “a monster”). Solution is LEVI (i.e. “Jacob’s son”) followed by AT HAND (i.e. “close by”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: LEVI-AT-HAN.

  1. Noble title? It’s escaped an old philosopher (9)

Answer: ARISTOTLE (i.e. “old philosopher”). Solution is ARISTO (i.e. “noble”) followed by TITLE once the IT has been removed (indicated by “it’s escaped”), like so: ARISTO-TLE.

  1. Being prepared to bring in extra energy for a shrill quality (9)

Answer: REEDINESS (i.e. “shrill quality”). Solution is READINESS (i.e. “being prepared”) with an “extra” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) being swapped in “for A”, like so: RE(A)DINESS => RE(E)DINESS.

  1. It’s no small matter, say, translating TS Eliot (7)

Answer: LITOTES (i.e. “it’s no small matter, say” – basically a phrase that expresses something through the negation of its opposite, e.g. “a not inconsiderable sum of money” or “he’s no spring chicken”). “Translating” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TS ELIOT. Another remembered from a previous Jumbo.

  1. French physicist captures hearts, relating to religious feast (7)

Answer: PASCHAL (i.e. “relating to religious feast”, specifically Passover). Solution is Blaise PASCAL (i.e. “French physicist”) wrapped around or “capturing” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hearts” used in card games), like so: PASC(H)AL.

  1. Reportedly Kentish beauty queen’s blunder at table (7)

Answer: MISDEAL (i.e. “blunder at table”). “Reportedly” indicates homophone, in this case MISS DEAL (i.e. “Kentish beauty queen” – Deal is a town in Kent).

  1. Man possibly securing top of tough fibre (5)

Answer: ISTLE (i.e. “fibre”). Solution is ISLE (i.e. “Man possibly”, i.e. the Isle of Man) wrapped around or “securing” T (i.e. “top of tough”, i.e. the first letter of “tough”), like so: IS(T)LE.

  1. Firearm common around Lima (5)

Answer: RIFLE (i.e. “firearm”). Solution is RIFE (i.e. “common”) wrapped around L (“Lima” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: RIF(L)E.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1553

A tricky one this week. On the whole this was good with some inventive clueing to decipher, though I didn’t quite think so at the time. (34d certainly didn’t help!) I often make fun of setters in these posts when it seems they’ve all queued up to use the office GridFill 4000TM, so it’s only right to credit setters when they’ve clearly made an effort. It was refreshing to find so many long ‘uns in the grid. In fact, I counted only two phrases among the solutions. Nicely done.

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 stolen your book of naughty Jumbo anecdotes, leaving you with an awkward space to fill in your blog this week, then you might find my Just For Fun page of help, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers got on, or if they have alternative takes for any of the clues. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Provider of social introductions to a smart set possibly (11)

Answer: TOASTMASTER (i.e. “provider of social introductions”). “Possibly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO A SMART SET. Nicely played.

  1. Turning Mossad’s core agents – note about four likely to join up (11)

Answer: ASSOCIATIVE (i.e. “likely to join up”). Solution is OSSA (i.e. “Mossad’s core”, i.e. the middle letters of “Mossad”) reversed (indicated by “turning”) and followed by CIA (i.e. “agents”, specifically the Central Intelligence Agency) and TE (i.e. “note” in the sol-fa notation) once wrapped “about” IV (i.e. “four” expressed in Roman numerals), like so: ASSO-CIA-T(IV)E.

  1. Cut up over doctrine being changed – it’s not helpful (17)

Answer: COUNTERPRODUCTIVE (i.e. “not helpful”). “Being changed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CUT UP OVER DOCTRINE.

  1. Put in type of small English ram (3,2)

Answer: SET UP (i.e. “put in”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and TUP (i.e. a “ram”). “Type of” seems redundant phrasing, but I could be missing something.

  1. Volunteers chess piece for capturing (6)

Answer: TAKING (i.e. “capturing”). Solution is TA (i.e. “volunteers”, specifically the Territorial Army) followed by KING (i.e. “chess piece”).

  1. Large car going back into advanced plant for restorative action? (8)

Answer: CAMOMILE (i.e. “plant for restorative action”). Solution is LIMO (i.e. “large car”, short for a limousine) reversed (indicated by “going back”) and placed “into” CAME (i.e. having “advanced”), like so: CAM(OMIL)E.

  1. Club perhaps losing several seconds cost series (7)

Answer: COTERIE (i.e. “club”). Solution is COST SERIES with the Ss removed (indicated by “losing several seconds” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “second”), like so: CO(S)T-(S)ERIE(S) => COT-ERIE.

  1. Set up the brim of sombrero initially to tease dandy (9)

Answer: COCKSCOMB (i.e. “dandy” – Chambers and Oxford offer no real overlap between the two that I can see, however my Collins Concise backs the setter up with “a conceited dandy”). Solution is COCK (i.e. to “set up the brim of”) followed by S (i.e. “sombrero initially”, i.e. the first letter of “sombrero”) and COMB (i.e. “to tease”).

  1. Allowing girl showy jewellery (8)

Answer: ENABLING (i.e. “allowing”). Solution is ENA (i.e. “girl’s” name) followed by BLING (i.e. “showy jewellery”).

  1. House in Home Counties close to motorway (4)

Answer: SEMI (i.e. “house”). Solution is SE (i.e. “Home Counties”, also known as the South East of England) followed by MI (i.e. “motorway”, specifically the M1 with the 1 swapped for its Roman numeral equivalent).

  1. What can raise lumps needing at first to be covered by clothing (5)

Answer: TONGS (i.e. “what can raise [sugar] lumps”). Solution is N (i.e. “needing at first”, i.e. the first letter of “needing”) placed in or “to be covered by” TOGS (slang for “clothing”), like so: TO(N)GS.

  1. Compelled civil engineer to split crossing (6)

Answer: FORCED (i.e. “compelled”). Solution is CE (a recognised abbreviation of “civil engineer”) placed in or “splitting” FORD (i.e. river “crossing”), like so: FOR(CE)D.

  1. Bigoted and enthusiastic about right in unrewarding time (10)

Answer: INTOLERANT (i.e. “bigoted”). Solution is INTO (i.e. “enthusiastic about”) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) once placed “in” LEAN (i.e. “unrewarding”), then T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: INTO-LE(R)AN-T.

  1. Deplore pay scale for top management? (8)

Answer: EXECRATE (i.e. “deplore”). When written as EXEC RATE the solution also satisfies “pay scale for top management”, i.e. executives.

  1. Property cleaner cries with attic having to be reorganised (14)

Answer: CHARACTERISTIC (i.e. attribute or “property”). Solution is CHAR (i.e. a “cleaner”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “to be reorganised”) of CRIES and ATTIC, like so: CHAR-ACTERISTIC.

  1. Sobriety at business? Some getting drunk (14)

Answer: ABSTEMIOUSNESS (i.e. “sobriety”). “Getting drunk” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AT BUSINESS SOME.

  1. Lover of the beautiful with a short girl, note (8)

Answer: AESTHETE (i.e. “lover of the beautiful”). Solution is A followed by ESTHER (i.e. “girl’s” name) with its last letter removed (indicated by “short”), then TE (i.e. “note”, again in the sol-fa notation), like so: A-ESTHE-TE.

  1. Ceasing to be home for artist in removal (10)

Answer: EXTINCTION (i.e. “ceasing to be”). Solution is EXTRACTION (i.e. “removal”) with the RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) swapped “for” IN (i.e. at “home”), like so: EXT(RA)CTION => EXT(IN)CTION.

  1. Species at this point forms social class (6)

Answer: SPHERE (i.e. “social class”). Solution is SP (a recognised abbreviation of “species”) followed by HERE (i.e. “at this point”).

  1. Gauleiter, losing province after return, secure again (5)

Answer: RETIE (i.e. “secure again”). Solution is GAULEITER with the GAUL removed (indicated by “losing province” – Gaul being an ancient province covering modern-day France and a bit more beyond) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “after return”).

  1. Second person once seen wearing socks in hothouse? (4)

Answer: THOU (i.e. “second person one” – first person is I, second person is you, third person is them; “you” in ye olde speak is THOU). The remainder of the clue plays on how THOU can be found in HO(THOU)SE, wrapped within the letters of HOSE (i.e. hosiery or “socks”).

  1. Means to choose short film (4,4)

Answer: FREE WILL (i.e. “means to choose”). Solution is FREE WILLY (i.e. “film”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “short”).

  1. George displaying gold helmet piece for auction (9)

Answer: AUTOPILOT (i.e. “George”, apparently RAF slang for the device). Solution is AU (chemical symbol of “gold”) followed by TOPI (i.e. a pith “helmet”) and LOT (i.e. “piece for auction”).

  1. Hedging put back: sound cut by a small volume (7)

Answer: EVASION (i.e. “hedging”). Solution is NOISE (i.e. “sound”) wrapped around A and V (i.e. “small volume”, i.e. the recognised abbreviation of “volume”) and all reversed (indicated by “put back”), like so: E(V-A)SION.

  1. Certain South Pacific needs a change of key (8)

Answer: SPECIFIC (i.e. “certain”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “south”) followed by “PACIFIC” with the A swapped for an E (indicated by “needs a change of [musical] key”), like so: S-P(A)CIFIC => S-P(E)CIFIC.

  1. Military show inking on skin (6)

Answer: TATTOO. Solution satisfies “military show” and “inking on skin”.

  1. Returning to identify one’s dope (5)

Answer: IDIOT (i.e. “dope”). Solution is TO followed by ID (short for “identify”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) all reversed (indicated by “returning”), like so: I-DI-OT.

  1. Actually, “nymphet” is misused and not in a kind way (17)

Answer: UNSYMPATHETICALLY (i.e. “not in a kind way”). “Misused” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ACTUALLY NYMPHET IS.

  1. Endlessly prolong situation not having to settle in mitigation (11)

Answer: EXTENUATION (i.e. “mitigation”). Solution is EXTEND (i.e. “prolong”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”) and the remainder followed by SITUATION once the SIT has been removed (indicated by “not having to settle”), like so: EXTEN-UATION.

  1. Middle of Kent county, nice and never one inconvenience (11)

Answer: ENCUMBRANCE (i.e. “inconvenience”). Solution is EN (i.e. “middle [letters] of Kent”) followed by CUMBRIA (i.e. “county”) and NICE once the Is have been removed (indicated by “never [Roman numeral] one”), like so: EN-CUMBRA-NCE.

Down clues

  1. Moment to change direction to start to exploit game (4-4-3)

Answer: TICK-TACK-TOE (i.e. “game” of noughts and crosses in the US). Solution is TICK (i.e. “moment”) followed by TACK (i.e. “to change direction” in general), then TO and E (i.e. “start to exploit”, i.e. the first letter of “exploit”).

  1. Millions in NZ city lacking land in a violent rage (5)

Answer: AMUCK (i.e. “violent rage”, a variant spelling of amok). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “millions”) placed “in” AUCKLAND (i.e. “NZ city”) once the LAND has been removed (indicated by “lacking land”), like so: A(M)UCK.

  1. Prolonged muscle contraction set tuna swimming (7)

Answer: TETANUS (i.e. “prolonged muscle contraction”). “Swimming” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SET TUNA.

  1. Cautious when getting head down and twisted to one side (4)

Answer: AWRY (i.e. “twisted to one side”). Solution is WARY (i.e. “cautious”) with the first letter or “head” taken “down” a notch – this being a down clue – like so: (W)ARY => A(W)RY.

  1. A number holding promotion by pub is shabby (10)

Answer: THREADBARE (i.e. “shabby”). Solution is THREE (i.e. “a number”) wrapped around or “holding” AD (i.e. “promotion” or advertisement) and BAR (i.e. “pub”), like so: THRE(AD-BAR)E.

  1. He led operation to scramble communication device (14)

Answer: RADIOTELEPHONE (i.e. “communication device” working over radio waves). “Scramble” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HE LED OPERATION.

  1. Knife found in dried up sea is kept for the record (8)

Answer: ARCHIVAL (i.e. “kept for the record”). Solution is CHIV (i.e. “knife”) placed “in” ARAL (i.e. “dried up sea” between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan – a new one on me, but interesting given this particular sea began shrinking in the 1960s and was all but gone by the 2010s), like so: AR(CHIV)AL.

  1. Succeeded with fish spear (5)

Answer: SPIKE (i.e. “spear”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “succeeded”) followed by PIKE (i.e. “fish”).

  1. High point of belief about church held by Poles (9)

Answer: CRESCENDO (i.e. “high point”). Solution is CREDO (i.e. “belief”) wrapped “about” CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England) once this has been placed in or “held by” S and N (i.e. “poles”, specifically recognised abbreviations of south and north respectively), like so: CRE(S(CE)N)DO.

  1. For instance, radios and televisions can be valuable items (6)

Answer: ASSETS (i.e. “valuation items”). Solution is AS (i.e. “for instance”) followed by SETS (i.e. “radios and televisions”).

  1. I’m talented partner working between government ministries (17)

Answer: INTERDEPARTMENTAL (i.e. “between government ministries”). “Working” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I’M TALENTED PARTNER.

  1. Dickens is so naff, too (11)

Answer: EUPHEMISTIC. A euphemism is a word or phrase used in place of something decidedly worse, so I reckon the clue is playing on how “dickens” and “naff” are euphemisms, respectively another word for the devil and an acronym for – smelling salts at the ready – Not Available for Fucking or Fornication. (Thank you, Chambers.) The clue could therefore be read as “dickens is so; naff, too”.

  1. Paper coming down on newly-formed union (8)

Answer: CONFETTI. Solution pretty much sums up the clue, taking “newly-formed union” to be a wedding. Nicely worked.

  1. One whose speciality is dialogue in awkward voice translations (17)

Answer: CONVERSATIONALIST (i.e. “one whose speciality is dialogue”). “Awkward” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of VOICE TRANSLATIONS. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Great folly girl’s built in northern area (6)

Answer: LUNACY (i.e. “great folly”). Solution is LUCY (i.e. “girl’s” name – another one) wrapped around or having “built in” N (a recognised abbreviation of “northern”) and A (ditto “area”), like so: LU(N-A)CY.

  1. Arbitrator set up duty list the same (8)

Answer: MEDIATOR (i.e. “arbitrator”). Solution is ROTA (i.e. “duty list”) and IDEM (Latin for “the same”) all reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue), like so: MEDI-ATOR.

  1. Policeman dispatched without right equipment endlessly (8)

Answer: SERGEANT (i.e. “policeman”). Solution is SENT (i.e. “dispatched”) wrapped around or placed “without” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and GEAR (i.e. “equipment”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endlessly”), like so: SE(R-GEA)NT.

  1. What insects can do to mongrel and parrot at home upset (5-9)

Answer: CROSS-POLLINATE (i.e. “what insects can do”, specifically giving plants the sexy times). Solution is CROSS (i.e. “mongrel”) followed by POLL (i.e. a “parrot”), then IN (i.e. “at home”) and ATE (i.e. being “upset”, as in “what’s eating you?” – too loose for my liking within the phrasing of this clue, but then it is a bit of a dog’s dinner anyway).

  1. The Spanish race has horse coming after ten others (8)

Answer: ELEVENTH (i.e. “coming after ten others”). Solution is EL (i.e. “the Spanish”, i.e. the word “the” in Spanish) followed by EVENT (i.e. “race”) and H (i.e. “horse” – both informal names for heroin).

  1. Excitement on account of European seen around old city (6)

Answer: FURORE (i.e. “excitement”). Solution is FOR (i.e. “on account of”) and E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) all wrapped “around” UR (i.e. an “old city” often used in cryptic crosswords), like so: F(UR)OR-E.

  1. American put out in a cosy home – eastern spot European husband set up (11)

Answer: ANESTHETIZE (i.e. “American put out”, i.e. the American spelling of anaesthetise). Solution is A followed by NEST (i.e. “cosy home”). This is then followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”), ZIT (i.e. “spot”), E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and H (ditto “husband”) once these have all been reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue), like so: A-NEST-(H-E-TIZ-E). Bloody hell, I’m fairly inured to Americanisms but even I have to admit this was a proper WTF? when I finally twigged it.

  1. Choose yttrium component finally in part for battery fluid (11)

Answer: ELECTROLYTE (i.e. “battery fluid”). Solution is ELECT (i.e. “choose”) followed by Y (chemical symbol of “yttrium”) and T (i.e. “component finally”, i.e. the last letter of “component”) once these are placed “in” ROLE (i.e. acting “part”), like so: ELECT-ROL(Y-T)E.

  1. A prized stone set up, literally this, classically? (10)

Answer: MEGALITHIC. The solution (kind of) satisfies the clue as a whole, but also comprises A and GEM (i.e. “prized stone”) once these have been reversed (indicated by “set up” – again this being a down clue), followed by LIT (a recognised abbreviation of “literally”) and HIC (i.e. “this, classically”, i.e. the Latin for “this”), like so: (MEG-A)-LIT-HIC.

  1. Big spider scuttled into rubbish, oddly ugly, note (9)

Answer: TARANTULA (i.e. “big spider”). Solution is RAN (i.e. “scuttled”) placed “into” TAT (i.e. “rubbish”) and followed by UL (i.e. “oddly ugly”, i.e. the odd letters of UGLY), then A (i.e. “[musical] note”), like so: TA(RAN)T-UL-A.

  1. Cable installers converted Nine Elms (8)

Answer: LINESMEN (i.e. “cable installers”). “Converted” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NINE ELMS.

  1. Managed cold inside for every reindeer active in winter (7)

Answer: PRANCER (i.e. “reindeer active in winter”, pulling Santa’s sleigh). Solution is RAN (i.e. “managed”) and C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold” used on taps) placed “inside” of PER (i.e. “for every”), like so: P(RAN-C)ER.

  1. Cat family includes the tigers, though two in three are gone (6)

Answer: KITTEN (i.e. “cat”). Solution is KIN (i.e. “family”) wrapped around or “including” THE TIGERS once “two in three [letters] are gone”, i.e. (T)HE-(T)IG(E)RS, like so: KI(TTE)N.

  1. Girl’s not finished eating hot Japanese food (5)

Answer: SUSHI (i.e. “Japanese food”). Solution is SUSIE (i.e. “girl’s” name, yet another one) with its last letter removed (indicated by “not finished”) and the remainder wrapped around or “eating” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot”, also used on taps), like so: SUS(H)I.

  1. Stock a line in fashionable style (5)

Answer: TALON (i.e. “stock” or “cards remaining after the deal” (Chambers) – I have a faint memory of this from a previous Jumbo). Solution is A and L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”) both placed “in” TON (i.e. “fashionable style”, an archaic variant meaning I’ve only ever seen used in cryptic crosswords), like so: T(A-L)ON.

  1. Staunch supporter (4)

Answer: STEM. Solution satisfies to “staunch” or restrict flow, and “supporter”, e.g. for a wineglass.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1552

A relatively straightforward puzzle this week for the most part. There were a couple of sticky patches that slightly held up the kind of steady progression I like, but there were some good clues to compensate.

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 used its height advantage to Sellotape all of your shoes to the ceiling then you might find solace in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Tiny warship and its type of weaponry? (9)

Answer: SUBATOMIC (i.e. “tiny”). Solution is SUB (i.e. “warship”, short for submarine) followed by ATOMIC (i.e. “its type of weaponry”, referencing atomic bombs). Not a prescient clue, I hope.

  1. Grunt by my pet (5)

Answer: CORGI (i.e. “pet”). Solution is GI (i.e. “grunt” or US solider) placed after or “by” COR (i.e. “my”, both exclamations), like so: COR-GI.

  1. Starts to steal drink (5,2)

Answer: TAKES UP (i.e. “starts”). Solution is TAKE (i.e. “to steal”) followed by SUP (i.e. “drink”).

  1. Make one’s way into international bar (5)

Answer: INGOT (i.e. metal “bar”). Solution is GO (i.e. “make one’s way”) placed “into” INT (a recognised abbreviation of “international”), like so: IN(GO)T.

  1. Novelist’s card nobody returned (7)

Answer: Georges SIMENON (i.e. “novelist”, writer of the Maigret novels and plenty more besides). Solution is SIM (i.e. mobile phone “card”) followed by NONE (i.e. “nobody”) once reversed (indicated by “returned”), like so: SIM-ENON.

  1. Suggestion of anger in such farm birds? (4-5)

Answer: FREE-RANGE (i.e. “farm birds”). Solution cryptically satisfies “suggestion of anger” in how FREE is an anagram indicator and how RANGE is an anagram of “anger”.

  1. Serious in backing sorcerer to make idol (6,5)

Answer: GRAVEN IMAGE (i.e. “idol”). Solution is GRAVE (i.e. “serious”) followed by IN once reversed (indicated by “backing”), then MAGE (i.e. “sorcerer”), like so: GRAVE-NI-MAGE.

  1. Like balls from pace bowler to be inflexible (4-3-4)

Answer: HARD-AND-FAST (i.e. “inflexible”). When written without hyphens the solution also satisfies “like balls from pace bowler”.

  1. Out of order, the black sheep of the aircraft industry? (6)

Answer: RAMJET (i.e. a type of engine “of the aircraft industry”). Solution is JET (i.e. “black”) and RAM (i.e. “sheep”) placed “out of order”, like so: RAM-JET.

  1. Nine most extraordinary remarks (8)

Answer: MENTIONS (i.e. “remarks”). “Extraordinary” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NINE MOST.

  1. Painter rejecting objections, and eviscerating them (6)

Answer: George STUBBS (i.e. eighteenth century “painter” famous for painting horses). Solution is BUTS (i.e. “objections”) reversed (indicated by “rejecting”) and followed by BS (i.e. “eviscerating them” in reference to BUTS, i.e. removing the middle letters of BUTS), like so: STUB-BS.

  1. Make people a gift (8)

Answer: DONATION (i.e. “gift”). Solution is DO (i.e. to “make” or accomplish) followed by NATION (i.e. “people”).

  1. Weakling’s outsize piece of school uniform? (3,5,6)

Answer: BIG GIRL’S BLOUSE. Solution satisfies “weakling” and “outsize piece of school uniform”.

  1. Basket-maker more comfy when free of cold (5)

Answer: OSIER (i.e. “basket-maker”). Solution is COSIER (i.e. “more comfy”) with the C removed (indicated by “when free of cold” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “cold” used on taps).

  1. Check on drunkard, swallowing last of alcoholic drink (6)

Answer: SCOTCH (i.e. “drink”). Solution is CH (a recognised abbreviation of “check”) placed “on” or after SOT (i.e. “drunkard”) once wrapped around or “swallowing” C (i.e. “last of alcoholic”, i.e. the last letter of alcoholic”), like so: S(C)OT-CH.

  1. Blue-eyed pet I put in invariable chair suffering constant interruption (7,3)

Answer: SIAMESE CAT (i.e. “blue-eyed pet”). Solution is I “put in” SAME (i.e. “invariable”) and followed by SEAT (i.e. “chair”) once wrapped around or “interrupted” by C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”), like so: S(I)AME-SE(C)AT.

  1. In hotel, a little soldier is resident (10)

Answer: INHABITANT (i.e. “resident”). Solution is IN followed by H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet), then A BIT (i.e. “a little”) and ANT (i.e. “soldier”).

  1. A special gift of story books, good ones (6)

Answer: TALENT (i.e. “a special gift”). Solution is TALE (i.e. “story”) followed by NT (i.e. “books, good ones”, i.e. the New Testament of The Bible).

  1. Hood not the ultimate in official dress, I note (5)

Answer: ROBIN (i.e. “Hood”, of legend). Solution is ROBE (i.e. “official dress”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “not the ultimate”) and the remainder followed by I and N (a recognised abbreviation of “note”), like so: ROB-I-N.

  1. Some of a cyclone caused devastation: one way to reduce cost? (7,2,5)

Answer: ECONOMY OF SCALE (i.e. “one way to reduce cost”, specifically “a reduction in unit cost that occurs as more of a commodity is produced” (Chambers)). “Caused devastation” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SOME OF A CYCLONE.

  1. Takes in better paper (8)

Answer: FOOLSCAP (i.e. “paper”). Solution is FOOLS (i.e. “takes in”) followed by CAP (i.e. to “better” something).

  1. Assassin, vicious type, finally replaced by our side (6)

Answer: BRUTUS (i.e. “assassin”, one who stuck a knife into Julius Caesar). Solution is BRUTE (i.e. “vicious type”) with its “final” letter “replaced by” US (i.e. “our side”), like so: BRUT(E) => BRUT(US).

  1. How eleven may appear, but not all at once (3,2,3)

Answer: ONE BY ONE. Solution satisfies “how eleven may appear” and “not all at once”.

  1. Vehicle returns to collect Australian and Austrian (6)

Answer: Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (i.e. “Austrian”). Solution is TRAM (i.e. “vehicle”) reversed (indicated by “returns”) and wrapped around or “collecting” OZ (i.e. informal word for an “Australian”), like so: M(OZ)ART.

  1. Criminal dealing, mere trickery (11)

Answer: LEGERDEMAIN (i.e. “trickery”). “Criminal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DEALING MERE.

  1. Please don’t die, right? Plot surprise for young hero (6,5)

Answer: OLIVER TWIST (i.e. “young hero”). Solution is O LIVE! (i.e. “please don’t die” in your best am-dram voice) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and TWIST (i.e. “plot surprise”).

  1. Candidate’s proposal taken to study (9)

Answer: CONTENDER (i.e. “candidate”). Solution is TENDER (i.e. “offer”) placed after or “taken to” CON (an archaic word for “study” often seen in cryptic crosswords), like so: CON-TENDER.

  1. Not following, escape from gang, having unpleasant expression (7)

Answer: LEERING (i.e. “unpleasant expression”). Solution is FLEE RING (i.e. “escape from gang”) with the F removed (indicated by “not following” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “following”).

  1. Head off trouble that’s afoot in marriage (5)

Answer: UNION (i.e. “marriage”). Solution is BUNION (i.e. “trouble that’s afoot”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “head off”).

  1. Embarrassed about skin blemish: it’s not at all fair (7)

Answer: SWARTHY (i.e. “not at all fair”, with reference to skin colour). Solution is SHY (i.e. “embarrassed”) wrapped “about” WART (i.e. “skin blemish”), like so: S(WART)HY.

  1. Indecisive poet? (5)

Answer: Alfred NOYES (i.e. “poet”). When written as NO YES the solution playfully satisfies “indecisive”.

  1. From detectives, a couple of observations: watched but not followed (9)

Answer: DISOBEYED (i.e. of instructions “not followed”). Solution is DIS (i.e. “detectives”, specifically Detective Inspectors) followed by OB (i.e. “a couple of observations”, specifically the first two letters of “observations”) then EYED (i.e. “watched”).

Down clues

  1. Almost mean to wound (5)

Answer: STING (i.e. “wound”). Solution is STINGY (i.e. “mean”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “almost”).

  1. Game British land forces shielding bomb, our hydrogen being explosive (6,2,9)

Answer: BEGGAR MY NEIGHBOUR (i.e. “game”, specifically one “that goes on until one player has gained all the others’ cards” (Chambers, which also suggests this ought to be hyphenated)). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) and ARMY (i.e. “land forces”) wrapped around or “shielding” EGG (slang for a “bomb” or mine), and followed by an anagram (indicated by “explosive”) of OUR, H (chemical symbol of “hydrogen”) and BEING, like so: B-(EGG)-ARMY-NEIGHBOUR.

  1. Man allowed to feature in reel, in full detail (2,3,6)

Answer: TO THE LETTER (i.e. “in full detail”). Solution is HE LET (i.e. “man allowed”) placed or “featuring in” TOTTER (i.e. “reel”), like so: TOT(HE-LET)TER.

  1. Eccentric is on attack, holding up motorway (6)

Answer: MISFIT (i.e. “eccentric”). Solution is IS and FIT (i.e. an “attack”) both placed after or “holding up” – this being a down clue – M (a recognised abbreviation of “motorway”), like so: M-(IS-FIT).

  1. One with teeth a bear was fighting (8)

Answer: COMBATED (i.e. “was fighting”). Solution is COMB (i.e. “one with teeth”) followed by A and TED (i.e. teddy “bear”).

  1. Standard of performance of clubs right after a single time at ground (7,5)

Answer: CONCERT PITCH (i.e. “standard of performance” – over to Chambers again: “a standard of pitch that has varied considerably during musical history, but is now internationally standardized so that A above middle C has a frequency of 440 hertz”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in some card games) followed by RT (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) once placed “after” ONCE (i.e. “a single time”), then GROUND (i.e. sporting arena or “pitch”), like so: C-(ONCE)-RT-PITCH.

  1. Hurry over to practice (3,7)

Answer: RUN THROUGH (i.e. “practice”). Solution is RUN (i.e. “hurry”) followed by THROUGH (i.e. finished or “over”).

  1. Conclude announcer’s wearing mink (5)

Answer: INFER (i.e. “conclude”). “Announcer’s” indicates homophone. Solution is IN (i.e. “wearing”) followed by a homophone of FUR (i.e. “mink”).

  1. Subject nearly fools ordinary folk (3,6)

Answer: THE MASSES (i.e. “ordinary folk”). Solution is THEME (i.e. “subject”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “nearly”) and the remainder followed by ASSES (i.e. “fools”).

  1. Actor also dug ground after church (4,7)

Answer: KIRK DOUGLAS (i.e. “actor”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “ground”) of ALSO DUG placed “after” KIRK (i.e. Scottish word for a “church”).

  1. Night visitor’s pleasant attitude diminished (5)

Answer: SANTA Claus (i.e. “night visitor”). “Diminished” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PLEA(SANT A)TTITUDE.

  1. City finally failing to give instruction to players (6)

Answer: PRESTO (i.e. “instruction to players”, specifically musical lingo for “very quick”). Solution is PRESTON (i.e. “city”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “finally failing”).

  1. As editor, I’m to relaunch magazine (5,5)

Answer: RADIO TIMES (i.e. “magazine”). “To relaunch” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AS EDITOR I’M.

  1. One coming in with tea tray has shoes back to front (8)

Answer: STRAINER (i.e. “one coming in with tea tray”). Solution is TRAINERS (i.e. “shoes”) with the last letter placed at the front (indicated by “back to front”).

  1. Resilience of black cat, getting home again with skill (17)

Answer: BOUNCEBACKABILITY (i.e. “resilience” – Chambers doesn’t want to know (though it might be in a later edition than the one I have) but my Oxford lists it). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) followed by OUNCE (i.e. “cat”, another name for a snow leopard), then BACK (i.e. “home again”) and ABILITY (i.e. “skill”). Nicely worked. Perhaps the setter is a Soccer AM fan.

  1. Stays firm, determined to maintain resistance (6)

Answer: CORSET (i.e. “stays” – a variant meaning of stay is a support in a corset). Solution is CO (i.e. “firm”, short for a company) and SET (i.e. “determined”) wrapped around or “maintaining” R (a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”), like so: CO-(R)-SET.

  1. In general mix-up, English officer breaks valuable Chinese vase (7,3)

Answer: MELTING POT (i.e. “general mix-up”, probably “a place characterized by the intermixing of several races or cultures” (Chambers)). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and LT (i.e. “officer”, short for a lieutenant) placed in or “breaking” MING POT (i.e. “valuable Chinese vase”), like so: M(E-LT)ING-POT.

  1. As it swings, shut gate for drunk (2,3,3)

Answer: TO AND FRO (i.e. “as it swings”). Solution is TO (i.e. state of a “shut” door) followed by AND (i.e. a “gate” in electronic circuitry) and an anagram (indicated by “drunk”) of FOR.

  1. Meat making anything but stomach turn? (6)

Answer: MUTTON (i.e. “meat”). Solution is NOT (i.e. “anything but”) and TUM (i.e. “stomach”) all reversed (indicated by “turn”), like so: MUT-TON.

  1. A comedy of defective-sounding breakdown crew? (6,6)

Answer: FAWLTY TOWERS (i.e. TV “comedy”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “sounding”) of FAULTY (i.e. “defective”) followed by TOWERS (i.e. “breakdown crew”, as in how they might tow vehicles).

  1. With surprising expression, settled across compact extra cushion (7,4)

Answer: BOOSTER SEAT (i.e. “extra cushion”). Solution is BOO (i.e. “surprising expression”) followed by SAT (i.e. “settled”) once wrapped around or placed “across” TERSE (i.e. “compact”), like so: BOO-S(TERSE)AT.

  1. Practical instruction for securing a lift? (4,2,5)

Answer: RULE OF THUMB (i.e. a “practical” method of getting something done). Solution playfully satisfies “instruction for securing a lift”, given how hitchhikers thumb lifts. You get the idea.

  1. Politicians welcoming Indian to set down specifications for picture (10)

Answer: SCREENPLAY (i.e. “specifications for [motion] picture”). Solution is SNP (i.e. “politicians”, specifically the Scottish National Party) wrapped around or “welcoming” CREE (i.e. “Indian”, specifically a Native American “living in Montana and parts of Canada” (Chambers)) and followed by LAY (i.e. “set down”), like so: S(CREE)NP-LAY.

  1. Out of sea, dry yet? Not now (9)

Answer: YESTERDAY (i.e. “not now”). “Out of” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SEA DRY YET.

  1. Freed to seize power, one is treated heartlessly perhaps (8)

Answer: UNPITIED (i.e. “treated heartlessly perhaps”). Solution is UNTIED (i.e. “freed”) wrapped around or “seizing” P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: UN(P-I)TIED.

  1. In physical geographic, upward slope (6)

Answer: GLACIS (i.e. a gentle “slope”, supposedly in fortification). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “upward” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: PHY(SICAL G)EOGRAPHIC. One solved solely from the wordplay.

  1. Shakespearean constable and a couple by the roadside? (6)

Answer: VERGES. Solution satisfies “Shakespearean constable” from Much Ado About Nothing – of course I looked it up – and “a couple by the roadside”.

  1. Cake, a single gram brought up (5)

Answer: GENOA (a kind of “cake”). Solution is A, ONE (i.e. “single”) and G (a recognised abbreviation of “gram”), all reversed (indicated by “brought up”), like so: G-ENO-A.

  1. Island is notorious if temperature drops (5)

Answer: ARRAN (i.e. “island” in Scotland). Solution is ARRANT (i.e. “notorious”) with the T removed (indicated by “if temperature drops” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “temperature”).

  1. Tough to keep one properly adjusted (5)

Answer: TUNED (i.e. “properly adjusted”). Solution is TED (i.e. “tough”, a reference to the Teddy boys of the 1950s) wrapped around or “keeping” UN (i.e. “one”, as in a good ‘un), like so: T(UN)ED.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1551

A medium strength offering for Easter Monday. I wasn’t so keen while solving it, but having given myself a few hours’ distance before writing this up I guess it wasn’t too bad. I still think the setter ought to have eased up on the office GridFill 4000TM, though.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has set up a crystal meth lab at the bottom of your garden and not sought planning permission for it then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the buggers. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fare with these things. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Solid shape of Cheddar one chopped up (10)

Answer: DECAHEDRON (i.e. “solid shape”). “Chopped up” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CHEDDAR ONE.

  1. Bring East and West together maybe to achieve financial viability (4,4,4)

Answer: MAKE ENDS MEET. Solution playfully satisfies “bring East and West together maybe” and “achieve financial viability”.

  1. Footballers, grumblers abandoning hotel (7)

Answer: WINGERS (i.e. “footballers”). Solution is WHINGERS (i.e. “grumblers”) with the H removed (indicated by “abandoning hotel” – hotel being H in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Share accommodation with husband, not much company to begin with (7)

Answer: COHABIT (i.e. “share accommodation”). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) and A BIT (i.e. “not much”) all proceeded by CO (indicated by “company to begin with” – CO being a recognised abbreviation of “company”), like so: CO-(H-A-BIT).

  1. Warning light at the back of church room (7)

Answer: CHAMBER (i.e. “room”). Solution is AMBER (i.e. “warning light”) placed “at the back of” CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”), like so: CH-AMBER.

  1. Rain sees gathering retreating (4)

Answer: TEEM (i.e. “rain”). Solution is MEET (i.e. “gathering”) reversed (indicated by “retreating”).

  1. Wreath with unusual name covering notice (6)

Answer: ANADEM (i.e. “wreath”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unusual”) of NAME wrapped around or “covering” AD (i.e. “notice”, short for advertisement), like so: AN(AD)EM. One nailed pretty much through the wordplay.

  1. Writer penning a miserable article somewhere in California (8)

Answer: PASADENA (i.e. “somewhere in California”). Solution is PEN (i.e. “writer”) wrapped around or “penning” A and SAD (i.e. “miserable”), then followed by A (i.e. “article”, being a word like a, an or the), like so: P(A-SAD)EN-A. Meanwhile in 1991…

  1. Hate the sound of revenge? No, resolved to be realistic (4,4,4,2,3,6)

Answer: HAVE ONE’S FEET ON THE GROUND (i.e. “be realistic”). “Resolved” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HATE THE SOUND OF REVENGE NO.

  1. More irritable artist close to portrait row (7)

Answer: RATTIER (i.e. “more irritable”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) followed by T (i.e. “close to portrait”, i.e. the last letter of “portrait”) and TIER (i.e. “row”).

  1. Trophy one had to hold small yellow spittoon (8)

Answer: CUSPIDOR (i.e. “spittoon”). Solution is CUP (i.e. “trophy”) and I’D (a contraction of I had or “one had”) wrapped around or “holding” S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and followed by OR (i.e. “yellow” or gold in heraldry), like so: CU(S)P-I’D-OR. Took a small brute force of my Chambers once I’d had enough letters filled in.

  1. Bright and bouncy? Not yours truly in the morning! (6)

Answer: AGLEAM (i.e. “bright”). Solution is AGILE (i.e. “bouncy”) with the I removed (indicated by “not yours truly”) and the remainder followed by AM (i.e. “in the morning”), like so: AGLE-AM. Took a while to twig.

  1. Bit of a state (4,2,3,5)

Answer: COIN OF THE REALM. Solution satisfies the clue as a whole, taking “bit” as another word for COIN (e.g. thrupenny bit) and “state” being a country or REALM. Nicely played. Probably my favourite clue of the puzzle.

  1. Agreement opposing religious document (8)

Answer: CONTRACT (i.e. “agreement”). Solution is CON (i.e. “opposing”, as in pros and cons) followed by TRACT (i.e. “religious document”).

  1. Quietly showing initiative, providing legal statement (8)

Answer: PLEADING (i.e. “providing legal statement”). Solution is P (i.e. “quietly”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano” used in musical lingo) followed by LEADING (i.e. “showing initiative”).

  1. Health problem – is it sore throat possibly? (14)

Answer: OSTEOARTHRITIS (i.e. “health problem”). “Possibly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IS IT SORE THROAT.

  1. Author’s old set of books in prominent position (6)

Answer: Truman CAPOTE (i.e. “author”). Solution is OT (i.e. “old set of books”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible) placed “in” CAPE (i.e. “prominent position”, a reference to the geographical feature), like so: CAP(OT)E.

  1. Insects in season win out against arachnids (8)

Answer: TERMITES (i.e. “insects”). Solution is WINTER (i.e. “season”) with the WIN removed (indicated by “win out”) and the remainder followed by MITES (i.e. “arachnids”), like so: TER-MITES. Another that took a while to twig.

  1. What farmer harvests – fellow getting top award? (7)

Answer: MANGOLD (i.e. “what harmer harvests”, apparently a beet used for animal feed). Solution is MAN (i.e. “fellow”) followed by GOLD (i.e. “top award”). Another nailed from the wordplay.

  1. A saint isn’t a saint to blurt out “I hold traditional Catholic belief” (23)

Answer: TRANSUBSTANTIATIONALIST (i.e. “I hold traditional Catholic belief” – over to Chambers: “the doctrine that, or the mystical process by which, in the consecration of the elements of the Eucharist, the whole substance of the bread and wine is converted into Christ’s body and blood, only the appearances of bread and wine remaining”). “Out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A SAINT ISN’T A SAINT TO BLURT. A word I knew, believe it or not. It was also the first solution I entered into the grid, give or take a few syllables.

  1. I took food, having arrived earlier, turning waste away? (8)

Answer: EMACIATE (i.e. “waste away”). Solution is I and ATE (i.e. “took food”) placed after or “having…earlier” CAME (i.e. “arrived”) once reversed (indicated by “turning”), like so: (EMAC)-I-ATE.

  1. Music maker spilled oil in French wine (6)

Answer: VIOLIN (i.e. “music maker”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “spilled”) of OIL placed “in” VIN (i.e. “French wine”, i.e. the French for “wine”), like so: V(IOL)IN.

  1. Important Indian seen as unharmonious on reflection (4)

Answer: RAJA (i.e. “important Indian” or ruler). Solution is AJAR (a variant meaning of the word being “unharmonious”, although this should really be “inharmonious”) reversed (indicated by “on reflection”).

  1. Getting rid of time to celebrate (7)

Answer: ERASING (i.e. “getting rid of”). Solution is ERA (i.e. period of “time”) followed by SING (i.e. “to celebrate”).

  1. One area to the east of one country and another (7)

Answer: NIGERIA (i.e. “another” country, within the context of the clue). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”) both placed after or “to the east of” – this being an across clue – NIGER (i.e. a “country”), like so: NIGER-(I-A).

  1. In a very cold region with no hint of sun? Yes and no! (7)

Answer: IBERIAN (i.e. “in a very cold region…no!” – Iberia being Spain and Portugal). Solution is SIBERIAN (i.e. “in a very cold region”) with the S removed (indicated by “with no hint of sun”, or in other words the first letter of “sun”). Can’t say I was a fan of this one.

  1. One who may be up for a job in the medical profession (6,6)

Answer: FLYING DOCTOR. Clue plays on how said doctors can be found “up” in the air. That’s about it, really.

  1. Put in the correct position in resting place, cheered up (10)

Answer: BRIGHTENED (i.e. “cheered up”). Solution is RIGHTEN (i.e. “put in the correct position”) placed “in” BED (i.e. “resting place”), like so: B(RIGHTEN)ED.

Down clues

  1. Bird with irritation when grasped by performer (9)

Answer: DOWITCHER (i.e. “bird” – did a Google Image search. Meh. Random.) Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) and ITCH (i.e. “irritation”) both placed in or “grasped by” DOER (i.e. “performer”), like so: DO(W-ITCH)ER.

  1. Rare voices not messed about with in music school? (13)

Answer: CONSERVATOIRE (i.e. “music school”). “Messed about with” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RARE VOICES NOT.

  1. German philosopher, no good – a baddie (4)

Answer: HEEL (i.e. “baddie”). Solution is Georg Wilhelm Friedrich HEGEL (i.e. “German philosopher”) with the G removed (indicated by “no good” – G being a recognised abbreviation of “good”).

  1. Criminal in dirtiest gang is collapsing (14)

Answer: DISINTEGRATING (i.e. “collapsing”). “Criminal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN DIRTIEST GANG.

  1. Monster some sailor caught (3)

Answer: ORC (i.e. “monster”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: SAIL(OR C)AUGHT.

  1. First maiden to be chucked off dance platform (4)

Answer: AMBO (i.e. “platform”, specifically “an early Christian raised reading-desk or pulpit” (Chambers)). Solution is MAMBO (i.e. “dance”) with the “first” M (a recognised abbreviation of “maiden” used in cricket) removed or “chucked off”. Cough-(made-to-fit)-cough!

  1. Family of lover no longer having grip (10)

Answer: EXTRACTION (i.e. lineage or “family”). Solution is EX (i.e. “lover no longer”) followed by TRACTION (i.e. “grip”).

  1. Winks from Conservative arts donor in rising scandal (8)

Answer: NICTATES (i.e. “winks”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) and Henry TATE (i.e. sugar daddy and “arts donor”) both placed “in” SIN (i.e. “scandal”) once it has been reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: NI(C-TATE)S.

  1. Great fights erupting – an unwelcome experience in the theatre (5,6)

Answer: STAGE FRIGHT (i.e. “an unwelcome experience in the theatre”). “Erupting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GREAT FIGHTS.

  1. Medic in time certain to find an opening (9)

Answer: EMBRASURE (i.e. an “opening” through which to fire a cannon). Solution is MB (i.e. “medic”, specifically a Bachelor of Medicine or Medicinae Baccalaureus) placed “in” ERA (i.e. period of “time”) and followed by SURE (i.e. “certain”), like so: E(MB)RA-SURE.

  1. Weed in derelict area (4)

Answer: TARE (i.e. a “weed”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: DERELIC(T ARE)A.

  1. Fizzy drink in cold picnic baskets (8)

Answer: CHAMPERS (i.e. “fizzy drink”, an informal word for champagne). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold” used on taps) followed by HAMPERS (i.e. “picnic baskets”).

  1. Weighted down by imperfection, journalist left the country (8)

Answer: DEFECTED (i.e. “left the country”). Solution is DEFECT (i.e. “imperfection”) followed by ED (i.e. “journalist”, specifically an editor). The whole “weighted down by” bit is a reference to this being a down clue, i.e. how ED is placed under DEFECT in the grid.

  1. Party child loses footing – one to fall over? (6)

Answer: DOMINO (i.e. “one to fall over”). Solution is DO (i.e. “party”) followed by MINOR (i.e. “child”) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “loses footing”), like so: DO-MINO.

  1. What’s said to be pleasant meadow for a refreshing drink? (5,3)

Answer: ROSIE LEE (i.e. “refreshing drink”, specifically cockney rhyming slang for a cup of tea. A new one on me, but Chambers supports it). “What’s said” indicates homophones. Solution comprises homophones of ROSY (i.e. “pleasant”) and LEA (i.e. “meadow”).

  1. Poem about tiny people, members of a tribe (8)

Answer: EDOMITES (i.e. “members of a tribe” – over to Chambers again: “people of the ancient kingdom of Edom, south of the Dead Sea”). Solution is ODE (i.e. “poem”) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by MITES (i.e. “tiny people”), like so: EDO-MITES.

  1. Study music speed increasing, getting with it? (14)

Answer: CONTEMPORISING (i.e. bringing up to date or “getting with it”). Solution is CON (archaic word for “study” often used in cryptic crosswords) followed by TEMPO (i.e. “music speed”) and RISING (i.e. “increasing”).

  1. Size of a large conurbation? There’s an upper limit (8)

Answer: CAPACITY (i.e. “size”). Solution is A and CITY (i.e. “large conurbation”) placed after or having “upper” of it – this being a down clue – CAP (i.e. “limit”), like so: (CAP)-A-CITY.

  1. Legal entitlement this person in senate renegotiated (8)

Answer: EASEMENT (i.e. “legal entitlement”). Solution is ME (i.e. “this person”, from the point of view of the setter) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “renegotiated”) of SENATE, like so: EASE(ME)NT.

  1. Writer, Italian heretic who brooks no opposition? (13)

Answer: AUTHORITARIAN (i.e. “who brooks no opposition”). Solution is AUTHOR (i.e. “writer”) followed by IT (a recognised abbreviation of “Italian”) and ARIAN (i.e. “heretic” – once more to Chambers, Arianism is “the heretical doctrine of Arius, that Christ was not consubstantial with God the Father, but only the first and highest of all finite beings”).

  1. Voice of a Liberal in loud row (8)

Answer: FALSETTO (i.e. singing “voice”). Solution is A and L (a recognised abbreviation of “Liberal”) both placed “in” F (i.e. “loud”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “fortissimo” used in musical lingo) and SET TO (i.e. “row” or argument), like so: F-(A-L)-SET-TO.

  1. Hatred of English assessment – a time I get kept in by lecturer? (11)

Answer: DETESTATION (i.e. “hatred”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), TEST (i.e. “assessment”), A, T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and I all “kept in” DON (i.e. “lecturer”), like so: D(E-TEST-A-T-I)ON.

  1. Method at bottom of ladder that may be needed to go up (6)

Answer: RUNWAY (i.e. “that may be needed to go up”). Solution is WAY (i.e. “method”) placed after or “at bottom of” – this being a down clue – RUN (i.e. a “ladder” in some tights), like so: RUN-WAY.

  1. Writer cheers invigorating person with five notes (10)

Answer: PENTATONIC (i.e. “with five notes” in music). Solution is PEN (i.e. “writer”) followed by TA (i.e. “thanks”) and TONIC (i.e. “invigorating person”).

  1. Flier to wait, having lost heart as orbital traveller (9)

Answer: PLANETARY (i.e. “as orbital traveller”). Solution is PLANE (i.e. a “flier”, short for aeroplane) followed by TARRY (i.e. “to wait”) once its middle letter has been removed (indicated by “having lost heart”), like so: PLANE-TARY.

  1. This curtailed each criminal’s activity (8)

Answer: THIEVERY (i.e. “criminal’s activity”). Solution is THIS with its last letter removed (indicated by “curtailed”) and the remainder followed by EVERY (i.e. “each”), like so: THI-EVERY.

  1. Investigator came down and stepped onto platform? (9)

Answer: DETRAINED (i.e. having disembarked from a train or “stepped onto platform”). Solution is DET (i.e. “investigator”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “detective”) followed by RAINED (i.e. “came down”).

  1. Knight escapes from a Welsh town diminished (8)

Answer: ABRIDGED (i.e. “diminished”). Solution is A followed by BRIDGEND (i.e. “Welsh town”) once the N has been removed (indicated by “knight escapes from…” – N being a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess), like so: A-BRIDGED.

  1. Lowly worker mostly impudent when turning up (4)

Answer: SERF (i.e. “lowly worker”). Solution is FRESH (i.e. “impudent”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “when turning up” – this being a down clue).

  1. Nigerian leads off immigrant grabbed by officer (4)

Answer: IGBO (i.e. East “Nigerian”). “Leads off” indicates the solution is derived from the initial letters of Immigrant Grabbed By Officer. Another solved from the wordplay.

  1. Minimal money about to be given to hospital department (4)

Answer: CENT (i.e. “minimal money”). Solution is C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) followed by ENT (i.e. “hospital department”, specifically one dealing with the Ear, Nose and Throat).

  1. Song is heard in this Scottish town (3)

Answer: AYR (i.e. “Scottish town”). “Is heard” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of AIR (i.e. “song”). You could feasibly work this the other way and have AIR as the solution, but I reckon the use of “this” steers us towards AYR. I could be wrong, though.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1550

I’m seldom a fan of Jumbos that lean too much into general knowledge, and this was no exception. There were some nicely worked clues, but there were too many that relied on stuff you’re either going to know or not give a stuff about. Your mileage may vary.

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 won a super-injunction against your blog preventing you from revealing their [REDACTED] [REDACTED] with [REDACTED] then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the [REDACTED]. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared once their pens have been stilled. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Blue stone circles to incorporate flint in middle (5)

Answer: LAPIS (i.e. “blue stone”, specifically lapis lazuli. My Oxford allows it, but Chambers begs to differ, suggesting the solution merely means “a stone”). Solution is LAPS (i.e. “circles” – Chambers offers “a round of anything coiled”; Bradford’s also backs up the usage) wrapped around or “incorporating” I (i.e. “flint in middle”, i.e. the middle letter of “flint”), like so: LAP(I)S.

  1. One’s RADA friend ushered in before noon (7)

Answer: ACRONYM (i.e. “one’s RADA”, as an example). Solution is CRONY (i.e. “friend”) placed “in” AM (i.e. “before noon”), like so: A(CRONY)M.

  1. Instrument initially supplied with fish from trawler? (9)

Answer: CASTANETS (i.e. “instrument”). Solution is S (i.e. “initially supplied”, i.e. the first letter of “supplied”) placed on or “with” CAST A NET (i.e. to “fish from trawler”), like so: (CAST-A-NET)-S.

  1. Mountain animal in North America on level (9)

Answer: PARNASSUS (i.e. Greek “mountain” range). Solution is ASS (i.e. “animal”) placed “in” between N (a recognised abbreviation of “north”) and US (i.e. “America”) once placed “on” or after PAR (i.e. “level”), like so: PAR-(N-(ASS)-US). A win for the Bradford’s.

  1. Men in retreat, Dicky for one has to abandon front in corrupt constituency (6,7)

Answer: ROTTEN BOROUGH (i.e. “corrupt constituency” – over to Chambers: “one of the boroughs, all abolished in 1832, which still returned members to parliament although the constituency had disappeared”). Solution is OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) reversed (indicated by “in retreat”) and followed by ATTENBOROUGH (i.e. “Dicky for one”; David for another) with its first letter removed (indicated by “to abandon front”), like so: RO-TTENBOROUGH.

  1. Intelligent swimmer home after hard trudge back (7)

Answer: DOLPHIN (i.e. “intelligent swimmer”). Solution is IN (i.e. at “home”) placed “after” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils) and PLOD (i.e. “trudge”) once these have been reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: (DOLP-H)-IN.

  1. Technique required in piece written with quavers? (7)

Answer: TREMOLO, “a tremulous effect as by a rapid succession of the same note or of two notes at least a third apart” (Chambers). Clue plays on “quaver” meaning tremulous. You get the idea. I could be missing something clever, though.

  1. About to crack the clues: determination needed (7)

Answer: RESOLVE (i.e. “determination”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) followed by SOLVE (i.e. “to crack the clues”).

  1. Cool with literal cryptic anagrams designed to avoid offence (11,7)

Answer: POLITICALLY CORRECT (i.e. “designed to avoid offence”). Solution is an “anagram” of COOL and LITERAL CRYPTIC.

  1. 2 is just too much for fairy (4)

Answer: PERI (i.e. “fairy”). Solution is PERIL (the solution to “2” down) with its last letter removed (indicated by “…is just too much”).

  1. Those signalling when soldiers could proceed to invade shelled area? (3,6)

Answer: EGG TIMERS. Clue plays on devices that “signal” when an egg is done boiling, eggs having “shells”, “soldiers” being strips of bread dipped in a soft-boiled egg, and so on. You get the idea.

  1. Locks procedure trapping one in harsh and unpleasant Jobcentre? (6)

Answer: HAIRDO (i.e. “locks procedure”, as in locks of hair). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed in or “trapped” by HARD (i.e. “harsh and unpleasant”) and followed by O (i.e. “Jobcentre”, i.e. the middle letter of “job”), like so: HA(I)RD-O.

  1. Make joke about time needed to produce identification (3,3)

Answer: DOG TAG (i.e. “identification” worn by soldiers). Solution is DO GAG (i.e. “make joke”) wrapped “about” T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: DO-G(T)AG.

  1. Old system in Japanese film is generic, strangely? (6,6)

Answer: ANCIEN RÉGIME (i.e. “old system”, French for “the old order (especially before the French Revolution)” (Chambers)). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “strangely”) of GENERIC placed “in” ANIME (i.e. “Japanese film”), like so: AN(CIENREG)IME.

  1. Secret affair an elusive universal presence (4,6)

Answer: DARK MATTER (i.e. “elusive universal presence”). Solution is DARK (i.e. “secret”) followed by MATTER (i.e. “affair”).

  1. Old college article is seen by male as eg Hindu doctrine? (10)

Answer: POLYTHEISM (i.e. “eg Hindu doctrine” – I’ll take the setter’s word for it. Me and religion, you know… (makes so-so gesture)). Solution is POLY (i.e. “old college”, short for polytechnic) followed by THE (i.e. “article”, being a word like a, an or the), then IS and M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”).

  1. One prepared to provide care for small charge? (6,6)

Answer: FOSTER PARENT. Clue plays on “charge” being “the person or thing in one’s care or custody” (Chambers) and how foster parents “provide care” for children, the small charges in question. You get the idea.

  1. Tyre tracks partially traced back, arriving at main road (6)

Answer: ARTERY (i.e. “main road”). “Partially” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “back” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: T(YRE TRA)CKS. Nicely worked.

  1. Gambling perhaps without ace, so folding (6)

Answer: PLYING (i.e. “folding”). Solution is PLAYING (i.e. “gambling perhaps”) with the A removed (indicated by “without ace” – A being a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used on playing cards). Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Slight anger associated with malfunctioning iPads (9)

Answer: DISPARAGE (i.e. to “slight”). Solution is RAGE (i.e. “anger”) placed after or “associated with” an anagram (indicated by “malfunctioning”) of IPADS, like so: DISPA-RAGE.

  1. Frost no longer seen, the fellow having played Morse? (4)

Answer: THAW. Solution satisfies “frost no longer seen” and, as John THAW, “the fellow having played [Inspector] Morse”. Another nicely played clue.

  1. Ordinary hybrid, one no good, or one done up like zebra? (10,8)

Answer: PEDESTRIAN CROSSING (i.e. “one done up like zebra”, a comment on its black and white stripes). Solution is PEDESTRIAN (i.e. “ordinary”) followed by CROSS (i.e. “hybrid”), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then N (a recognised abbreviation of “no”) and G (ditto “good”).

  1. King George, one defined by appetite, having increased size? (7)

Answer: GREATER (i.e. “having increased size”). Solution is GR (i.e. “King George”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Georgius Rex) followed by EATER (i.e. “one defined by appetite”).

  1. Throttle needed where rubbish blocks entrance (7)

Answer: GAROTTE (i.e. “throttle”). Solution is ROT (i.e. “rubbish”) placed in or “blocking” GATE (i.e. “entrance”), like so: GA(ROT)TE.

  1. Embarrassed when no professional leader at News? (7)

Answer: ASHAMED (i.e. “embarrassed”). When written as A SHAM ED the solution also playfully satisfies “no professional leader at News” – ED being short for an editor.

[EDIT: Suzannah has an alternative take for this in the comments which is probably more in line with what the setter had in mind, comprising AS for “when”, HAM for “no professional” and ED (i.e. “leader at news”, i.e. an editor). Cheers, Suzannah! – LP]

  1. In London, landmark and singular article put on hold (7,6)

Answer: NELSON’S COLUMN (i.e. “in London, landmark”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”) and COLUMN (i.e. “article”, say, in a newspaper) both placed “on” or after NELSON (a “hold” in wrestling), like so: NELSON-(S-COLUMN).

  1. Your compiler can be silenced, not susceptible to change (9)

Answer: IMMUTABLE (i.e. “not susceptible to change”). When written as I’M MUTABLE the solution also satisfies “your compiler can be silenced”, from the point of view of the setter.

  1. Expression silver worker used for brawling woman (9)

Answer: TERMAGANT (i.e. “brawling woman”). Solution is TERM (i.e. “expression”) followed by AG (chemical symbol of “silver”) and ANT (i.e. “worker”).

  1. Sea nymph previously nameless provided with an identity (7)

Answer: OCEANID (i.e. “sea nymph” of Greek mythology). Solution is ONCE (i.e. “previously”) with the N removed (indicated by “nameless” – N being a recognised abbreviation of “name”) and the remainder followed by AN and ID (a recognised abbreviation of “identity”), like so: OCE-AN-ID.

  1. Summons the entire population in Lewis? (5)

Answer: CALLS (i.e. “summons”). Solution is ALL (i.e. “the entire population”) placed “in” CS (i.e. “Lewis”, as in the author of the Narnia books), like so: C(ALL)S.

Down clues

  1. Order including monarchs potentially applied to ER (11)

Answer: LEPIDOPTERA (i.e. biological “order including monarchs”, i.e. butterflies and moths). “Potentially” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of APPLIED TO ER.

  1. Two school lessons taken by learner in danger (5)

Answer: PERIL (i.e. “danger”). Solution is PE and RI (i.e. “two school lessons”, specifically Physical Education and Religious Instruction) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner”).

  1. Present – with stage having collapsed – film produced for fewer dollars? (9,7)

Answer: SPAGHETTI WESTERN (i.e. “film produced for fewer dollars” – probably a nod to Sergio Leone’s “Dollars” Trilogy as well as the films’ low budgets). “Collapsed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PRESENT WITH STAGE.

  1. As more highly ranked, soldiers dropped in line (7)

Answer: ARSENIC (i.e. “As”, its chemical symbol). Solution is SENIOR (i.e. “more highly ranked”) with the OR removed (indicated by “soldiers dropped” – specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) and the remainder placed “in” ARC (i.e. “line”), like so: AR(SENI)C.

  1. Makes new home, having thing about Yorkshire market town (9)

Answer: RESETTLES (i.e. “makes new home”). Solution is RES (Latin for “thing” apparently, though my dictionaries don’t want to know) wrapped “about” SETTLE (i.e. “Yorkshire market town”), like so: RE(SETTLE)S.

  1. Tender lines by Frost quoted in simple verse (7,5)

Answer: NURSERY RHYME (i.e. “simple verse”). Solution is NURSE (i.e. “tender”) followed by RY (i.e. “lines”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “railway”) and a homophone (indicated by “quoted”) of RIME (i.e. “frost” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

  1. Mice emptied place for grain left over in big city (10)

Answer: METROPOLIS (i.e. “big city”). Solution is ME (i.e. “mice emptied”, i.e. the word “mice” with its middle letters removed) followed by SILO (i.e. “place for grain”) and PORT (i.e. “left” in shipspeak) once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “over”), like so: ME-(TROP-OLIS).

  1. Cynical to start with concerning party dogma (5)

Answer: CREDO (i.e. “dogma”). Solution is C (i.e. “cynical to start with”, i.e. the first letter of “cynical”) followed by RE (i.e. “concerning” – again, think email replies) and DO (i.e. “party”).

  1. Sinking boat reportedly shadowed in dock (8)

Answer: SUBTRACT (i.e. to “dock” pay, for example). Solution is SUB (i.e. “sinking boat”, short for submarine) followed by a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of TRACKED (i.e. “shadowed”), like so: SUB-TRACT.

  1. Annoyed by anagrams at first? That’s not down to solvers (6)

Answer: ACROSS (i.e. “that’s not down to [crossword] solvers”). Solution is CROSS (i.e. “annoyed”) placed after or “by” A (i.e. “anagrams at first”, i.e. the first letter of “anagrams”), like so: A-CROSS.

  1. Thrown out, but Nellie irrepressible (9)

Answer: EBULLIENT (i.e. “irrepressible”). “Thrown out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BUT NELLIE.

  1. School chorister accommodating the French film director (11)

Answer: John SCHLESINGER (i.e. “film director”). Solution is SCH (a recognised abbreviation of “school”) and SINGER (i.e. “chorister”) wrapped around or “accommodating” LE (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the masculine form of “the” in French), like so: SCH-(LE)-SINGER.

  1. Coherent infantryman going into pub (7)

Answer: LOGICAL (i.e. “coherent”). Solution is GI (i.e. US “infantryman”) placed “into” LOCAL (i.e. “pub”), like so: LO(GI)CAL.

  1. Brilliant point in tirade about charity sent up (7)

Answer: RADIANT (i.e. “brilliant point”, being “a point from which rays emanate” (Chambers)). Solution is RANT (i.e. “tirade”) wrapped “about” AID (i.e. “charity”) once reversed (indicated by “sent up” – this being a down clue), like so: RA(DIA)NT.

  1. Limited number catch on, ill at ease when manipulated (5,11)

Answer: LOCAL ANAESTHETIC (i.e. “limited number”, as in how anaesthetic numbs). “When manipulated” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CATCH ON ILL AT EASE.

  1. Attention Scots hooligan deserved (6)

Answer: EARNED (i.e. “deserved”). Solution is EAR (i.e. “attention”) followed by NED (i.e. “Scots hooligan”).

  1. Drink in street with son in women’s clothes (6)

Answer: SKIRTS (i.e. “women’s clothes”). Solution is KIR (i.e. “drink”) placed “in” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”) and followed by S (ditto “son”), like so: S(KIR)T-S.

  1. One’s captivated by set the French needed for ballet (7)

Answer: GISELLE (i.e. a “ballet”). Solution is I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”) placed in or “captivated by” GEL (i.e. to “set”) and followed by LE (i.e. “the French”, as covered in 12d), like so: G(I’S)EL-LE.

  1. Those people getting silver? One lot bringing gold (3,4)

Answer: THE MAGI (i.e. “lot bringing gold”, specifically the Three Wise Men of the nativity of Jesus Christ). Solution is THEM (i.e. “those people”) followed by AG (chemical symbol of “silver”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”).

  1. Race such as this never having close finish? (4-8)

Answer: LONG-DISTANCE (i.e. “race”). Clue plays on “close” not exactly being descriptive of the solution. I’d hope there’s more to it than that, though.

  1. Spies coming together to protect English royal line (11)

Answer: PLANTAGENET (i.e. “royal line”). Solution is PLANT and AGENT (both “spies”) wrapped around or “protecting” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: PLANT-AGEN(E)T. Nicely done.

  1. Actor man seated in gallery sees one such as Druantia (4-7)

Answer: TREE-GODDESS (i.e. “one such as Druantia”, a hypothetical tree-goddess proposed by Robert Graves in his essay The White Goddess. Of course I looked it up. You should know what I’m like by now). Solution is Sir Herbert Beerbohm TREE (i.e. “actor” – no, me neither. Apparently he was Oliver Reed’s granddad, which rather dates him) followed by DES (i.e. “man’s” name) once placed “in” GODS (i.e. “gallery”, as in the phrase “up in the gods”), like so: TREE-GOD(DES)S.

  1. Press entertained by one successful old writer (6,4)

Answer: VICTOR HUGO (i.e. “writer”). Solution is HUG (i.e. to clasp or “press”) placed in or “entertained by” VICTOR (i.e. “one successful”) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: VICTOR-(HUG)-O.

  1. Clerk touring French department picked up sales agent (9)

Answer: TRAVELLER (i.e. “sales agent” on the road). Solution is TELLER (i.e. “clerk”) wrapped around or “touring” VAR (i.e. “French department” situated at the far south of the country) once reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue), like so: T(RAV)ELLER.

  1. Book by food shop on wine-producing plant (9)

Answer: DANDELION (i.e. “wine-producing plant”). Solution is DAN (a recognised abbreviation of “Daniel”, a “book” of The Bible) followed by DELI (i.e. “food shop”, short for delicatessen) and ON.

  1. State banks are reorganising (8)

Answer: NEBRASKA (i.e. US “state”). “Reorganising” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BANKS ARE.

  1. Set up marine area with new weapons? (7)

Answer: REARMED (i.e. “with new weapons”). Solution is REAR (i.e. to “set up” or set upright) followed by MED (i.e. “marine area”, short for the Mediterranean Sea).

  1. Saint needs gypsy man to provide biological tissue (6)

Answer: STROMA (i.e. “biological tissue” – over to Chambers again: “a supporting framework of connective tissue”). Solution is ST (a recognised abbreviation of “saint”) followed by ROMA (i.e. “gypsy man”).

  1. Good media personality shows spirit (5)

Answer: GHOST (i.e. “spirit”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) followed by HOST (i.e. “media personality”).

  1. Male murder victim’s name (5)

Answer: MABEL (i.e. woman’s “name”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) followed by ABEL (i.e. “murder victim” of The Bible).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1549

Privet, tovarishch. It would appear this week’s Jumbo hasn’t been too badly affected by the Russian sanctions, what with a salvo of three Russian references barely a quarter of the way into the puzzle. It was a weird one to solve, too, given it also contained solutions like INFAMOUS, NOTORIOUS, SCANDAL, OUTCRY, STEAL and MARCHING ORDERS, not to mention things like BELLIGERENCE, SENILE, PROPAGANDIST and LUDICROUS that could be used to sum up Putin and his cronies. Probably a coincidence, given these things are often compiled months in advance, but still.

Anyway, setting the awfulness of the situation in Ukraine to one side for a moment, 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 secretly smeared aniseed all over your shoes and you’re wondering why stray dogs keep chasing you then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear how fellow solvers fared once they set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Quiet expert aboard vessel, stylish craft (9)

Answer: SPACESHIP (i.e. “craft”). Solution is P (i.e. “quiet”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano” used in musical lingo) and ACE (i.e. “expert”) both placed in or “aboard” SS (i.e. “vessel”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship) and followed by HIP (i.e. “stylish”), like so: S(P-ACE)S-HIP.

  1. Book hotel accommodation with flash support for cleaner (10)

Answer: BROOMSTICK (i.e. “support for cleaner”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) followed by ROOMS (i.e. “hotel accommodation”) and TICK (i.e. “flash” – no clue why, though. My Chambers and Oxford don’t seem overly willing to support this one, but it is listed in my Bradford’s).

[EDIT: Thanks to Michael in the comments for clarifying that TICK and “flash” were both short measures of time. Cheers, Michael! – LP]

  1. Opera item limitless selection getting cheers (7)

Answer: ARIETTA (i.e. “opera item” – over to Chambers: “a little aria or air”). Solution is VARIETY (i.e. “selection”) with its first and last letters removed (indicated by “limitless”) and the remainder followed by TA (i.e. “thanks”), like so: ARIET-TA.

  1. Figure in Russian history circling European border – this one? (9)

Answer: PERIMETER (i.e. “border”). Solution is PETER the Great (i.e. “figure in Russian history”) wrapped around or “circling” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and RIM (i.e. “border”), like so: P(E-RIM)ETER.

  1. French town displays with no end of luxury (5)

Answer: ARRAS (i.e. “French town”). Solution is ARRAYS (i.e. arranges or “displays”) with the Y removed (indicated by “with no end of luxury”, i.e. the last letter of “luxury”). (cough)-made-to-fit-(cough)…

  1. Representative uncovered person circling a lake in Colorado initially (12)

Answer: NATURALISTIC (i.e. “representative”). Solution is NATURIST (i.e. “uncovered person”) wrapped around or “circling” A and L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), then followed by I and C (i.e. “in Colorado initially”, i.e. the first letters of “in” and “Colorado”), like so: NATUR(A-L)IST-I-C.

  1. Support English account penned by academic and cleric (10)

Answer: ARCHDEACON (i.e. “cleric”). Solution is ARCH (i.e. “support”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and AC (ditto “account”) once both are placed in or “penned by” DON (i.e. “academic”), like so: ARCH-D(E-AC)ON.

  1. Good worker getting corporation to invest in Russian currency in scramble (5-3-6)

Answer: ROUGH-AND-TUMBLE (i.e. “scramble”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), HAND (i.e. “worker”) and TUM (i.e. “corporation” – setters love using a variant meaning of the word, being a pot belly) all placed “in” ROUBLE (i.e. “Russian currency”), like so: ROU(G-HAND-TUM)BLE.

  1. I sense accommodating half of family would be shocking (8)

Answer: INFAMOUS (i.e. “shocking”). Solution is I and NOUS (i.e. common “sense”) wrapped around or “accommodating” FAM (i.e. first “half of family”), like so: I-N(FAM)OUS.

  1. Kings besetting oil producers for a small amount (6)

Answer: KOPECK (i.e. “small amount”, specifically “a Russian coin, the hundredth part of a rouble, no longer having any significant worth” (Chambers)). Solution is K and K (both “kings”, a recognised abbreviation used in chess) wrapped around or “besetting” OPEC (i.e. “oil producers”, specifically the Organization of the Petroleum-Exporting Countries), like so: K(OPEC)K.

  1. GP producing notes after key treatment? (5,5)

Answer: GRAND PIANO. Clue plays on G being a recognised abbreviation of “grand” and P being a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, and also how you’d play “notes” on one in a musical “key”. You get the idea. Nicely worked.

  1. Nice retired performer? (5)

Answer: EXACT (i.e. “nice” – over to Chambers: “done with great care and exactness, accurate”). When written as EX-ACT the solution also satisfies “retired performer”.

  1. Not often put forward or what’s recalled in another area (4)

Answer: RARE (i.e. “not often put forward“). “What’s…in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “recalled” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: ANOTH(ER AR)EA.

[EDIT: Thanks to Louise in the comments for cleaning this one up. I hadn’t spotted that the solution exists both “put forward” and backwards within the clue, i.e. ANOTH(ER AR)EA and ANOTHE(R ARE)A. Cheers, Louise! – LP]

  1. Very sweet article for cake decoration (8)

Answer: ANGELICA (i.e. “cake decoration” – again to Chambers: “a genus of umbelliferous plants with large leaves and double-winged fruit…; its candied leaf-stalks and midribs, used as a decoration for cakes etc”). Solution is ANGELIC (i.e. “very sweet”) followed by A (i.e. “article”, being a word like a, an or the).

  1. Absurd address to judge is keeping most of court in uproar (9)

Answer: LUDICROUS (i.e. “absurd”). Solution is LUD (i.e. informal “address to judge”) followed by IS once wrapped around or “keeping” an anagram (indicated by “in uproar”) of COURT once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “most of…”), like so: LUD-I(CROU)S.

  1. Openings channelling right warm material to fire (9)

Answer: GRAPESHOT (i.e. “material to fire” from a gun). Solution is GAPES (i.e. “openings”) wrapped around or “channelling” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and followed by HOT (i.e. “warm”), like so: G(R)APES-HOT.

  1. Composer butchers composition (8)

Answer: Franz SCHUBERT (i.e. “composer”). “Composition” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BUTCHERS. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Virile male, not clever, not very good (4)

Answer: STUD (i.e. “virile male”). Solution is STUPID (i.e. “not clever”) with the PI removed (indicated by “not very good” – PI being a recognised abbreviation of pious).

  1. Tom’s first in to clinch bargain (5)

Answer: STEAL (i.e. a “bargain”). Solution is T (i.e. “Tom’s first” letter) placed “in” SEAL (i.e. “to clinch” or secure), like so: S(T)EAL.

  1. Father got bigger, ditching uniform that’s in pieces (10)

Answer: FRAGMENTED (i.e. “in pieces”). Solution is FR (a recognised abbreviation of the title “Father”) followed by AUGMENTED (i.e. “got bigger”) once the U has been removed (indicated by “ditching uniform” – “uniform” being U in the phonetic alphabet), like so: FR-AGMENTED.

  1. Former Israeli leader penning second lot of reminiscences (6)

Answer: MEMOIR (i.e. “lot of reminiscences”). Solution is Golda MEIR (i.e. “former Israeli leader” – no, me neither) wrapped around or “penning” MO (short for a moment, i.e. “second”), like so: ME(MO)IR.

  1. Yes, a cuckoo with a limp is an obvious target (4,4)

Answer: EASY GAME (i.e. “obvious target”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cuckoo”) of YES A followed by GAME (i.e. “with a limp” – Chambers offers a variant meaning: “lame”).

  1. Old place, perhaps not upright, containing a lot of buddleia, rampant (6,8)

Answer: LISTED BUILDING (i.e. “old place”). Solution is LISTING (i.e. “perhaps not upright”) wrapped around or “containing” an anagram (indicated by “rampant”) of BUDDLEIA once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “a lot of…”), like so: LIST(EDBUILD)ING.

  1. Source of milk and bread you wheeled round? (3-7)

Answer: TEA-TROLLEY. The solution satisfies the clue as a whole, but also comprises TEAT (i.e. “source of milk”), ROLL (i.e. “bread”) and YE (olde form of “you”) once reversed (indicated by “wheeled round”), like so: TEAT-ROLL-EY. Another well-worked clue.

  1. One promoting heathen Greek god suppressed by Protestant (12)

Answer: PROPAGANDIST (i.e. “one promoting”). Solution is PAGAN (i.e. “heathen”) and DIS (i.e. “Greek god”, another name for Pluto) both placed in or “suppressed by” PROT (a recognised abbreviation of “Protestant”), like so: PRO(PAGAN-DIS)T.

  1. Keep at the instructions, say, extracting energy or gas (5)

Answer: RADON (i.e. “gas”). Solution is READ ON (i.e. “keep at the instructions, say”) with the E removed (indicated by “extracting energy” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy”).

  1. Women’s greeting given to both sides before game – it’s revolutionary (9)

Answer: WHIRLPOOL (i.e. “it’s revolutionary”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “women”) followed by HI (i.e. “greeting”), then RL (i.e. “both sides”, being recognised abbreviations of “right” and “left”), then POOL (i.e. “game”).

  1. Better work on industrial efficiency in the field? (7)

Answer: OUTDOOR (i.e. “in the field”). When written as OUTDO O.R. the solution also satisfies “better work on industrial efficiency”. O.R. is a recognised abbreviation of “operations research”, which covers that kind of thing.

  1. MI5 boss possibly securing shelter for one about to go off? (10)

Answer: SLEEPYHEAD (i.e. “one about to go off”). Solution is SPY HEAD (i.e. “MI5 boss possibly”) wrapped around or “securing” LEE (i.e. “shelter”), like so: S(LEE)PY-HEAD.

  1. What sounds like very much a routine wine? (9)

Answer: SAUTERNES (i.e. “wine”). “What sounds like” indicates the solution comprises homophones of SO (i.e. “very much”) and TURN (i.e. “a routine” or act). Took a small brute force of my Chambers, me not being much of a wine buff.

Down clues

  1. Metal embedded in stone? That’s some effort (5)

Answer: STINT (i.e. a work shift or “some effort”). Solution is TIN (i.e. “metal”) placed or “embedded in” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stone”), like so: S(TIN)T.

  1. Dessert served with sweet wine in later upheaval (10)

Answer: AFTERSHOCK (i.e. “later upheaval” from an earthquake). Solution is AFTERS (i.e. “dessert”) followed by HOCK (i.e. “sweet wine”).

  1. Daughter avoiding carefully describing online business (1-7)

Answer: E-TAILING (i.e. “online business”). Solution is DETAILING (i.e. “carefully describing”) with the D removed (indicated by “daughter avoiding” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”).

  1. Anticipates chap’s securing work (5)

Answer: HOPES (i.e. “anticipates”). Solution is HE’S (i.e. “chap’s”) wrapped around or “securing” OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”), like so: H(OP)E’S.

  1. Fruit I’m beginning to munch, being outside (9)

Answer: PERSIMMON (i.e. a plum-like “fruit”). Solution is I’M and M (i.e. “beginning to munch”, i.e. the first letter of “munch”) with PERSON (i.e. “being”) placed “outside”, like so: PERS(I’M-M)ON.

  1. Put out male entering bar, falling over (4)

Answer: BUMP (i.e. to jolt or “put out”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) placed in or “entering” PUB (i.e. “bar”) once reversed (indicated by “falling over”), like so: BU(M)P.

  1. Dismissed odd bits of curry? Uproar (6)

Answer: OUTCRY (i.e. “uproar”). Solution is OUT (i.e. “dismissed”, say, in a ball game) followed by CRY (i.e. “odd bits of curry”, i.e. the odd letters of CURRY).

  1. Head of monastery bending religious rule will get dismissal (8,6)

Answer: MARCHING ORDERS (i.e. “dismissal”). Solution is M (i.e. “head of monastery”, i.e. the first letter of “monastery”) followed by ARCHING (i.e. “bending”) and ORDERS (i.e. “religious rule”).

  1. Holiday firm can get excited about composer anniversary finally (6,6)

Answer: TRAVEL AGENCY (i.e. “holiday firm”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “excited”) of CAN GET wrapped “about” Maurice RAVEL (i.e. “composer”) and followed by Y (i.e. “anniversary finally”, i.e. the last letter of “anniversary”), like so: T(RAVEL)AGENC-Y.

  1. Copper pulled up a vehicle over booze (7)

Answer: CURACAO (i.e. a liqueur or “booze”). Solution is CU (chemical symbol or “copper”) followed by A CAR (i.e. “a vehicle”) once reversed (indicated by “pulled up” – this being a down clue), then O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), like so: CU-(RAC-A)-O

  1. Subordinate cracked – runs for moneylender (10)

Answer: PAWNBROKER (i.e. “moneylender”). Solution is PAWN (i.e. “subordinate”) followed by BROKE (i.e. “cracked”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games).

  1. Demo is kept up around America: a bit of a headache generally (9)

Answer: SINUSITIS (i.e. “a headache generally”). Solution is SIT-IN (i.e. “demo”) and IS all reversed (indicated by “kept up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped “around” US (i.e. “America”), like so: SI-N(US)I-TIS.

  1. Friends turned up a little hastily (8)

Answer: SLAPDASH (i.e. “hastily”). Solution is PALS (i.e. “friends”) reversed (indicated by “turned up” – again, this being a down clue) and followed by DASH (i.e. “a little” measurement of, say, an ingredient or condiment), like so: SLAP-DASH.

  1. What’s in the overhead locker? (5,4)

Answer: UPPER CASE. Solution playfully satisfies the clue as a whole, taking CASE to be an item of luggage and UPPER being its situation in an “overhead locker”. Not getting much else from this one, though, so I’m probably missing something clever. Might be a caps lock thing, but this feels too weak.

[EDIT: Thanks to Rachel in the comments for clearing this one up. Turns out the clue was misprinted in the newspaper and ought to have been all in capital letters. Makes a lot more sense now. Cheers, Rachel! – LP]

  1. Cost of hiring hill maybe involving one is falling fast? (10)

Answer: TORRENTIAL (i.e. of rain “falling fast”). Solution is TOR RENTAL (i.e. “cost of hiring hill maybe”) wrapped around or “involving” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: TOR-RENT(I)AL.

  1. Newspaper and book to peruse: that’ll keep you going (5,5)

Answer: DAILY BREAD (i.e. “that’ll keep you going”). Solution is DAILY (i.e. “newspaper”) followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) and READ (i.e. “to peruse”).

  1. Excellent soldiers I placed around castle, with stronger reason (1,8)

Answer: A FORTIORI (i.e. “with stronger reason” in Latin). Solution is AI (i.e. “excellent”, i.e. A1, using it’s Roman numeral equivalent), OR (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) and I all placed “around” FORT (i.e. “castle”), like so: A(FORT)I-OR-I. One remembered through its frequent appearance in previous Jumbos.

  1. Expecting providing obstruction will restrict the line (2,3,6,3)

Answer: IN THE FAMILY WAY (i.e. pregnant or “expecting”). Solution is IN THE WAY (i.e. “providing obstruction”) wrapped around or “restricting” FAMILY (i.e. “line”), like so: IN-THE-(FAMILY)-WAY. Another remembered from a previous puzzle.

  1. Very good to engage in popular craze, eradicating a problem with sleeping (8)

Answer: INSOMNIA (i.e. “problem with sleeping”). Solution is SO (i.e. “very” – I guess “good” is there to make the clue scan better) placed between or “engaged in” IN (i.e. “popular”) and MANIA (i.e. “craze”) once the A has been removed (indicated by “eradicating a”), like so: IN-(SO)-MNIA.

  1. Aggression erupting in Greece following alarm (12)

Answer: BELLIGERENCE (i.e. “aggression”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “erupting”) of IN GREECE placed after or “following” BELL (i.e. “alarm”), like so: BELL-IGERENCE.

  1. Spectators run to embrace tennis great – it expresses warmth (3,6)

Answer: GAS HEATER (i.e. “spectators”). Solution is GATE (i.e. “spectators” at an event) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “run”, covered earlier) wrapped around Arthur ASHE (i.e. “tennis great”), like so: G(ASHE)ATE-R. Another of those solutions where you’re lucky I don’t set these things.

  1. Join Labour, say, upset over a right-winger being insulting (10)

Answer: DEROGATORY (i.e. “insulting”). Solution is GO RED (i.e. “join Labour, say”, a reference to the colour used to represent the political party) reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue) and followed by A TORY (i.e. “a right-winger”), like so: (DER-OG)-A-TORY. Another good clue.

  1. New Zealand city very familiar with good fashion (10)

Answer: WELLINGTON (i.e. “New Zealand city”). Solution is WELL (i.e. “very” or in a thorough manner) followed by IN (i.e. “familiar” – presumably taken to mean “much in use (as in in-word, in-thing)” (Chambers)), then G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) and TON (i.e. “fashion” – a variant meaning of the word you pretty much only ever see used in cryptic crosswords).

  1. Disreputable number taking top prize, eliminating first three (9)

Answer: NOTORIOUS (i.e. “disreputable”). Solution is NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) followed by VICTORIOUS (i.e. “taking top prize”) once the “first three” letters have been removed or “eliminated”, like so: NO-TORIOUS.

  1. Bribe for radio announcer not reduced? It should be stopped (8)

Answer: BUNGHOLE (i.e. “it should be stopped”). Solution is BUNG (i.e. “bribe”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “for radio announcer”) of WHOLE (i.e. “not reduced”), like so: BUNG-HOLE.

  1. Possibly not full scale outrage (7)

Answer: SCANDAL (i.e. “outrage”). When written as SC AND AL the solution cryptically satisfies “possibly not full scale”, i.e. descriptive of the first four letters of “scale”, being SC and AL.

  1. Weak with age, from date around zero? (6)

Answer: SENILE (i.e. “weak with age”). Solution is SEE (i.e. to “date” someone) wrapped “around” NIL (i.e. “zero”), like so: SE(NIL)E.

  1. A sauce served up with Uruguay’s foremost rice dish (5)

Answer: PILAU (i.e. “rice dish”). Solution is A and LIP (i.e. “sauce” or impudence) all reversed (indicated by “served up” – this being a down clue) and followed by U (i.e. “Uruguay’s foremost” letter), like so: (PIL-A)-U.

  1. Only partially fair on soccer clubs (5)

Answer: IRONS (i.e. golf “clubs”). “Only partially” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: FA(IR ON S)OCCER.

  1. Happy head of BBC is upset about French article (4)

Answer: GLAD (i.e. “happy”). Solution is DG (a recognised abbreviation of “Director General”, i.e. “head of BBC”) reversed (indicated by “upset” – again, this being a down clue) and wrapped “about” LA (i.e. “French article”, i.e. the French feminine form of “the” – an article being a word like a, an or the), like so: G(LA)D.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1548

Stinker time!!! For the most part this was a good ‘un with plenty of misdirection and inventive wordplay, though was slightly marred for me by a handful of scruffy or overly-shoehorned clues. A few recent repeats didn’t help. Still, this was an entertaining workout overall.

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 ordered twenty skips and had them all delivered to your house then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the buggers. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear how fellow solvers fared once their pens have been stilled. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Doddery ex-judge with SUV, one safe to take a chance at the wheel! (6,3,4)

Answer: FAITES VOS JEUX (i.e. “to take a chance at the wheel” – and off to Chambers we go: “place your stakes eg in roulette”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “doddery”) of EX-J (J being a recognised abbreviation of “judge”), SUV, I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and SAFE TO. Never heard of it, but then I’m not exactly the betting type.

  1. Yankee in game show to disregard the score? (4,2,3)

Answer: PLAY BY EAR (i.e. “disregard the [musical] score”). Solution is Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet) placed “in” PLAY (i.e. to “game”) and BEAR (i.e. “show”), like so: PLAY-B(Y)EAR.

  1. Clients American and Irish mostly (5)

Answer: USERS (i.e. “clients”). Solution is US (i.e. “American”) followed by ERSE (i.e. “Irish”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: US-ERS.

  1. After adjusting VAT, I agree to diversify (9)

Answer: VARIEGATE (i.e. “to diversify”). “After adjusting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of VAT I AGREE.

  1. What gets viewers streaming talk on race? (7)

Answer: TEARGAS (i.e. “what gets viewers streaming”). Solution is GAS (i.e. to “talk”) placed “on” or after TEAR (i.e. to “race” around), like so: TEAR-GAS.

  1. Agitator close to corrupt and profitable St Petersburg concern? (12)

Answer: TROUBLEMAKER (i.e. “agitator”). Solution is T (i.e. “close to corrupt”, i.e. the last letter of “corrupt”) followed by ROUBLE-MAKER (i.e. “profitable St Petersburg concern”, playfully).

  1. Alaskan native, one captured by camera naked, we understand (6,4)

Answer: KODIAK BEAR (i.e. “Alaskan native”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed in or “captured by” KODAK (i.e. “camera” brand) and followed by a homophone (indicated by “we understand”) of BARE (i.e. “naked”), like so: KOD(I)AK-BEAR.

  1. Don’t have your fare home? (3,3)

Answer: EAT OUT. Clue plays on “fare” being taken to mean food. You get the idea.

  1. A short journey by about six with a pilot (8)

Answer: AVIATRIX (i.e. “pilot”). Solution is A, TRI (i.e. “short journey”, i.e. the word TRIP with its last letter removed) and X (i.e. “by”, i.e. the multiplication symbol) all wrapped “about” VI (i.e. “six” in Roman numerals) and A, like so: A-(VI-A)-TRI-X.

  1. All closed following digging? (2,4)

Answer: IN TOTO (i.e. “all”). Solution is TO (i.e. “closed”, as in a door being closed to) placed after or “following” INTO (i.e. liking or “digging”), like so: INTO-TO.

  1. Fielder is behind boundary (6,4)

Answer: SECOND SLIP (i.e. “fielder” in cricket). Solution is SECONDS (i.e. backing or “is behind”) followed by LIP (i.e. “boundary”).

  1. One taking on fancy goods? (7,5)

Answer: IMPULSE BUYER. Clue plays on “fancy” being taken to mean impulsive, or as takes one’s fancy.

  1. White pawn (4)

Answer: HOCK. Solution satisfies “white” wine and to “pawn” goods. Very nicely worked.

  1. Fancy swimmer’s former, cracking girlfriend, rather! (8)

Answer: GOLDFISH (i.e. “swimmer” – not sure what makes them “fancy”, though). Solution is OLD (i.e. “former”) placed in or “cracking” GF (a recognised abbreviation of “girlfriend” – Chambers doesn’t want to know, but my Oxford backs it up) and followed by ISH (i.e. “rather”), like so: G(OLD)F-ISH.

  1. Suggestion from local United goal offside, initially (8)

Answer: INNUENDO (i.e. “suggestion”). Solution is INN (i.e. “local” or hostelry) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “United”), then END (i.e. “goal”) and O (i.e. “offside, initially”, i.e. the first letter of “offside”).

  1. In vain, go off to find John in Rome? (8)

Answer: GIOVANNI (i.e. “John in Rome”, i.e. the Italian form of “John”). “Off” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN VAIN GO.

  1. Readily supplied with pet for FBI agent (5-3)

Answer: SPOON-FED (i.e. “readily supplied”). Solution is SPOON (i.e. to “pet” or “behave in an amorous way” (Oxford)) followed by FED (i.e. slang for an “FBI agent”). The redundant “for” was a tad misleading.

  1. Reptiles biting tail off crow (4)

Answer: BOAS (i.e. “reptiles”). Solution is BOAST (i.e. to “crow”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “biting tail off…”).

  1. Bloomer, one by boy per year is disturbing (5-7)

Answer: LADY’S-SLIPPER (i.e. flower or “bloomer”). Solution is LAD’S SLIP (i.e. “one by boy”, with reference to the “bloomer” of the clue, this time as an error) and PER wrapped around or “disturbed” by Y (a recognised abbreviation of “year”), like so: LAD(Y)’S-SLIP-PER.

  1. Career criminal enters without being spotted (10)

Answer: FLAWLESSLY (i.e. “without being spotted” or marked). Solution is FLY (i.e. to “career” or race about) wrapped around or “entered” by LAWLESS (i.e. “criminal”), like so: F(LAWLESS)LY.

  1. Reminders, such as demand for payment, returned by Society (6)

Answer: NUDGES (i.e. “reminders”). Solution is EG (i.e. “such as” or for example) and DUN (i.e. “demand for payment” – a variant meaning of the word we’ve seen in a previous Jumbo) all reversed (indicated by “returned”) and followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “Society”, as seen in things like the RSPB), like so: (NUD-GE)-S.

  1. Expected more care for one stretched on couch? (8)

Answer: LIKELIER (i.e. an outcome “expected more”). Solution is LIKE (i.e. “care for”) followed by LIER (i.e. “one stretched on couch”, playfully, hence the riddly question mark. That said, Chambers supports the usage). A horror-show of a clue given you only have _I_E_I_R to work with.

  1. Maximum to be got from cashpoint – large amount, ultimately (2,4)

Answer: AT MOST (i.e. “maximum to be got”). Solution is ATM (i.e. “cashpoint”, short for an Automated Teller Machine) followed by OS (i.e. “large”, short for outsized) and T (i.e. “amount, ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “amount”).

  1. Index reference in German on Italian writer (10)

Answer: FOREFINGER (i.e. “index”). Solution is REF (short for “reference”), IN and GER (a recognised abbreviation of “German”) all placed “on” or after Dario FO (i.e. “Italian writer” – no, me neither), like so: FO-(REF-IN-GER).

  1. One calling round as hotel bar runs check on reservation (5,7)

Answer: CRASH BARRIER (i.e. central “reservation” on a motorway). Solution is CRIER (i.e. “one calling”) wrapped “round” AS, H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet), BAR and R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in several ball games), like so: CR(AS-H-BAR-R)IER.

  1. Constituent, one left to enter popular objection (7)

Answer: INBUILT (i.e. “constituent”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) placed in or “entering” IN (i.e. “popular”) and BUT (i.e. “objection”), like so: IN-BU(I-L)T.

  1. Ruined are our wet waterproofs, etc (9)

Answer: OUTERWEAR (i.e. “waterproofs, etc”). “Ruined” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ARE OUR WET.

  1. On reflection, claim amusement displays taste (5)

Answer: UMAMI (i.e. “taste” we’ve also seen in a relatively recent Jumbo). “Displays” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “on reflection” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: CLA(IM AMU)SEMENT.

  1. Bird with old bit of gold and blueish plumage, brown at the ends (6,3)

Answer: GUINEA HEN (i.e. “bird”). Solution is GUINEA (i.e. “old bit of gold” – “bit” can be taken to mean a coin) followed by HEN (i.e. “blueish plumage, brown at the ends”, i.e. the last letters of “blueisH“, “plumagE” and “browN“).

  1. When feverish at home, you briefly prepare tonic (1,4,2,3,3)

Answer: A SHOT IN THE ARM (i.e. “tonic”). Solution is AS (i.e. “when”) followed by HOT (i.e. “feverish”), then IN (i.e. “at home”), then THEE (i.e. “you”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), then ARM (i.e. to “prepare” an explosive device), like so: AS-HOT-IN-THE-ARM.

Down clues

  1. Vain female of no fixed abode, reportedly (9)

Answer: FRUITLESS (i.e. in “vain”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of ROOTLESS (i.e. “of no fixed abode”).

  1. Vessel’s chief engineer stole aboard it (7)

Answer: ICEBOAT (i.e. “vessel”). Solution is CE (a recognised abbreviation of “chief engineer”) and BOA (i.e. garment or “stole”) both placed in or “aboard” IT, like so: I(CE-BOA)T.

  1. To be sure, an unusual resort! (10)

Answer: EASTBOURNE (i.e. “resort”). “Unusual” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO BE SURE AN.

  1. Tested by speaking through journalist, maintaining volume (6)

Answer: VIVAED (i.e. “tested by speaking” – a viva is an oral exam). Solution is VIA (i.e. “through”) and ED (i.e. “journalist” – short for an editor) wrapped around or “maintaining” V (a recognised abbreviation of “volume”), like so: VI(V)A-ED.

  1. Girl about to drain a stream to find plant root (12)

Answer: SARSAPARILLA (i.e. “plant root”). Solution is SARA (i.e. “girl’s” name) wrapped “about” SAP (i.e. “to drain”), A and RILL (i.e. “stream”), like so: SAR(SAP-A-RILL)A.

  1. Out of The Times, text (English) gets its interpretation (8)

Answer: EXEGESIS (i.e. “interpretation”). Solution is TEXT, E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and GETS ITS once all the Ts have been removed (indicated by “out of the times” – ignoring the misleading capitalisation and taking T to be a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: (T)EX(T)-E-GE(T)S-I(T)S => EX-E-GES-IS.

  1. Picture accompanied by an echo in Cineplex? (4)

Answer: XRAY (i.e. “accompanied by an echo in Cineplex” – “Xray” is X in the phonetic alphabet, meanwhile “echo” is E. The two letters can be found side-by-side at the end of “Cineplex”, so you could say the X is “accompanied by an” E or “echo”). When written as X-RAY the solution also satisfies “picture”.

  1. Occupier not normally dealt with so blooming early! (10)

Answer: PRECOCIOUS (i.e. of early development or “blooming early”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “not normally dealt”) of OCCUPIER and SO.

  1. Clip with article on Irish town (6)

Answer: ANTRIM (i.e. “Irish town”). Solution is TRIM (i.e. “clip”) placed after or “with” AN (i.e. “article” – an article is a word like a, an or the), like so: AN-TRIM.

  1. Pair of shades a boxer gets after fight? (5-3-4)

Answer: BLACK-AND-BLUE (i.e. “a boxer gets after flight”, being an informal description of bruising). When written as BLACK AND BLUE the solution also satisfies “pair of shades” or colours.

  1. Coup on course, finally, since junta taking full charge (5)

Answer: EAGLE (i.e. “coup on [golf] course”, clearing a hole two strokes under par). “Finally” indicates the solution is formed from the last letters of “sincE“, “juntA“, “takinG“, “fulL” and “chargE“.

  1. Picture of mine follows (9,4)

Answer: RESERVOIR DOGS (i.e. a motion “picture”, Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut). Solution is RESERVOIR (i.e. “mine” – too loose for me) followed by DOGS (i.e. “follows”).

  1. Period assigned by group (4,4)

Answer: TIME SLOT (i.e. “period assigned”). Solution is TIMES (i.e. multiplied “by”) followed by LOT (i.e. “group”).

  1. What experts know about “unknowns” – answer: they’re negative! (9)

Answer: OXYANIONS (i.e. “they’re negative”, I guess. Chambers has nothing, but my Oxford offers this: “an anion containing one or more oxygen atoms bonded to another element (as in the sulphate and carbonate ions)”. One of those everyday words then). Solution is ONIONS (i.e. “what experts know”, proverbially speaking) wrapped “about” X and Y (i.e. “unknowns” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as “unknowns”) and A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A), like so: O(XY-A)NIONS. Bloody hell…

  1. Imaginary line bats also go in (8)

Answer: ISOGONAL (i.e. “imaginary line”, I guess again. Chambers has this: “an isogonic line or contour line of magnetic declination”. Ohhh-kay then. (Looks to camera)). “Bats” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ALSO GO IN. Hell’s teeth, setter…

  1. Cheated-on duke seen in mostly foolish light (9)

Answer: CUCKOLDED (i.e. “cheated-on”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “duke”) placed “in” CUCKOO (i.e. “foolish”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), and LED (i.e. “light”, specifically a Light Emitting Diode), like so: CUCKO-L(D)ED.

  1. Give time to son to finish drink (4,4)

Answer: SEND DOWN (i.e. to sentence or “give [prison] time to”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by END (i.e. “to finish”) and DOWN (i.e. to “drink”).

  1. Love to meet with tart in uniform (2,1,5)

Answer: OF A PIECE (i.e. alike or “uniform”). Solution is O (i.e. “love”, being a zero score in tennis) followed by FACE (i.e. “to meet”) once wrapped around or having “in” PIE (i.e. “tart”), like so: O-FA(PIE)CE.

  1. Find oneself shy following school dance (8,5)

Answer: HIGHLAND FLING (i.e. “dance”). Solution is LAND (i.e. to “find oneself”, e.g. landing oneself in trouble) and FLING (i.e. to “shy”, a variant meaning of the word) both placed after or “following” HIGH (i.e. “school”), like so: HIGH-(LAND-FLING).

  1. Serializes broadcast about football managers without interference (7-5)

Answer: LAISSEZ-FAIRE (i.e. “without interference” or letting things take their course). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “broadcast”) of SERIALIZES wrapped “about” FA (i.e. “football managers”, specifically the Football Association), like so: LAISSEZ(FA)IRE.

  1. Bursting with energy, following fine learning guide (12)

Answer: EFFLORESCENT (i.e. blooming or “bursting”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) followed by F (ditto “following”), then F (ditto “fine”, used in grading pencils), then LORE (i.e. “learning”) and SCENT (i.e. a “guide”, e.g. to someone’s whereabouts).

  1. Cheerful party assessed finally to have flipped (6,4)

Answer: UPSIDE DOWN (i.e. “flipped”). Solution is UP (i.e. “cheerful”) followed by SIDE (i.e. “party”), then D (i.e. “assessed finally”, i.e. the last letter of “assessed”), then OWN (i.e. “to have”).

  1. Revealing bishop’s responsibility at an end (3-7)

Answer: SEE-THROUGH (i.e. “revealing”). Solution is SEE (i.e. “bishop’s responsibility” or jurisdiction) followed by THROUGH (i.e. finished or “at an end”).

  1. Metal club Yorkshireman holds back symbolically (9)

Answer: YTTERBIUM (i.e. “metal”). Clue plays on how the solution’s chemical “symbol”, Yb, has been hidden in the clue (indicated by “holds”) and reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: CLU(B Y)ORKSHIREMAN. Took a while to twig.

  1. Welcome not often seen for rising church priest (8)

Answer: HIERARCH (i.e. “priest”). Solution is HI (i.e. “welcome”) followed by RARE (i.e. “not often seen”) once reversed (indicated by “for rising” – this being a down clue) and CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”), like so: HI-ERAR-CH.

  1. Island abroad where Scot’s entire family at home? (7)

Answer: OKINAWA (i.e. “island abroad” over in Japan). When written as O KIN AWA the solution playfully satisfies “Scot’s entire family at home”, taking O to mean zero, KIN to mean “family” and AWA as a Scot’s form of “away”. If no kin are away then one can assume they are all at home. Another that took a while to decode.

  1. Grass verges on Severn are dying (6)

Answer: SNITCH (i.e. to “grass” someone up). Solution is SN (i.e. “verges on Severn”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Severn”) followed by ITCH (i.e. “are dying” – dying and itch can both mean a strong desire).

  1. Fairy’s loose garment moving right down leg (6)

Answer: OBERON (i.e. king of the “fairies”). Solution is ROBE (i.e. “loose garment”) with the R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) “moved” to the end or “down” – this being a down clue – and followed by ON (i.e. “leg” side in cricket), like so: (R)OBE-ON => OBE(R)-ON.

  1. Go on before the end to become a minister (5)

Answer: RABBI (i.e. “minister” – I thought this was more a Christian thing, but Chambers offers “the head, or assistant to the head, of certain religious orders”). Solution is RABBIT (i.e. to “go on” or talk a lot) with the last letter removed (indicated by “before the end”).

  1. Walk that’s covered three fifths of Spain? (4)

Answer: STOA (i.e. a colonnade or “walk that’s covered”). When written as S TO A the solution also playfully satisfies “three fifths of Spain”, i.e. the letters S TO A within the five-letter word “Spain”. Sneaky.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1547

A relatively straightforward one this week. While I had a couple of disagreements here and there, this was for the most part excellent entertainment, peppered with well worked, witty clues and offering the kind of steady progression I like.

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 not only failed to put away any of the felt-tipped pens it was using but left all the lids off too then you might find my Just For Fun page of benefit, where you’ll find links to solutions to hundreds of the buggers. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of fellow solvers once their pens are stilled. If you’ve recently discovered my little corner of the interwebs then welcome aboard, the more the merrier! Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Unsuccessful with money? This’ll get you a raise! (9)

Answer: SOURDOUGH (i.e. “this’ll get you a raise”, as in how bread rises when being baked). Solution is SOUR (i.e. bad or “unsuccessful”) followed by DOUGH (i.e. slang for “money”).

  1. One’s back with writer touring about in hired vehicle (7)

Answer: MINICAB (i.e. “hired vehicle”). Solution is I’M (i.e. “one is”, specifically a contraction of I AM) reversed (indicated by “back”) and followed by NIB (i.e. “writer”) once wrapped around or “touring” CA (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), like so: M’I-NI(CA)B.

  1. Start in college of western America where pupils are trained? (5)

Answer: FOCUS (i.e. “where pupils are trained”). Solution is C (i.e. “start in college”, i.e. the first letter of “college”) and OF all reversed (indicated by “western” – this being an across clue), then followed by US (i.e. “American”), like so: (FO-C)-US.

  1. Possessing joint, tested nudge theory, perhaps (7)

Answer: ELBOWED. Solution satisfies “possessing joint” and, playfully, “tested nudge theory”.

  1. Punishment not unknown in west country town (7)

Answer: PENANCE (i.e. “punishment”). Solution is PENZANCE (i.e. “west country town”) with the Z removed (indicated by “not unknown in…” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns).

  1. Regarding who sits on the throne? (7)

Answer: LOOKING (i.e. “regarding”). When written as LOO KING the clue playfully satisfies “who sits on the throne” – throne can be a slang word for a toilet or LOO. Great clue! Still makes me laugh.

  1. It’s made in lab, I tell agency cryptically (11,8)

Answer: GENETICALLY MODIFIED (i.e. “it’s made in lab”). The remainder of the clue plays on how the solution “cryptically” satisfies “I tell agency”, in that it is the word “GENETICALLY” MODIFIED or made into an anagram. Nicely played.

  1. Island floors (3)

Answer: KOS (i.e. Greek “island”). Solution also satisfies “floors”, as in a recognised abbreviation of “knocks out”.

  1. Refuse tablets to take orally (6)

Answer: ESCHEW (i.e. “refuse”). Solution is ES (i.e. “tablets” – a reference to ecstasy, its street name being E) followed by CHEW (i.e. “to take orally”).

  1. Exhausted, due to change in unique selling point (4,2)

Answer: USED UP (i.e. “exhausted”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to change”) of DUE placed “in” USP (a recognised abbreviation of “unique selling point”), like so: US(EDU)P.

  1. Prisoner, not “caught” in a manner of speaking, in nick (9)

Answer: CONDITION (i.e. “nick”, as in being in good nick). Solution is CON (i.e. slang for a “prisoner”) followed by DICTION (i.e. “manner of speaking”) once the C has been removed (indicated by “not ‘caught’” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games), like so: CON-DITION.

  1. Two US states beset by inconsistent man’s rule (10)

Answer: PATRIARCHY (i.e. “man’s rule”). Solution is RI and AR (i.e. “two US states” abbreviations, specifically Rhode Island and Arkansas respectively) both placed in or “beset by” PATCHY (i.e. “inconsistent”), like so: PAT(RI-AR)CHY.

  1. Cough and rasp, as unwell? A case for mummy! (11)

Answer: SARCOPHAGUS (i.e. “a case for mummy”). “Unwell” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of COUGH and RASP AS.

  1. Appeal of returning to low pub (5)

Answer: OOMPH (i.e. “appeal”). Solution is MOO (i.e. “low”, a variant meaning being the noise a cow makes) reversed (indicated by “returning”) and followed by PH (i.e. “pub”, specifically a Public House), like so: OOM-PH.

  1. Objections got well covered up (8)

Answer: OBSCURED (i.e. “covered up”). Solution is OBS (i.e. “objections” – over to Chambers, an ob is: “an objection (in the phrase ob and sol objection and solution). [From the marginal note ob in old books of controversial divinity]”) followed by CURED (i.e. “got well”).

  1. Strand marine creature, last but one straying westward (8)

Answer: SEASHORE (i.e. “strand”, a variant meaning of the word). Solution is SEAHORSE (i.e. “marine creature”) with the penultimate letter or “last but one” advancing a few notches or “straying westward” – this being an across clue), like so: SEAHOR(S)E => SEA(S)HORE.

  1. What’ll make for tidy life? Not messing around! (8)

Answer: FIDELITY (i.e. “not messing around”). “What’ll make” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TIDY LIFE. Nicely done.

  1. Implying only one gender counts, consciousness-wise? (8)

Answer: MENTALLY (i.e. “consciousness-wise”). When written as MEN TALLY the solution playfully satisfies “implying only one gender counts”.

  1. A bit of work that’s key for raising capital? (5)

Answer: SHIFT. Solution satisfies “a bit of work” and “key for raising capital” on a keyboard. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Criminal I arrested on purpose (6,5)

Answer: RAISON D’ÊTRE (i.e. “purpose”). “Criminal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I ARRESTED ON.

  1. Customer’s out of line, though outwardly so rational (10)

Answer: SCIENTIFIC (i.e. “rational”). Solution is CLIENT (i.e. “customer”) with the L removed (indicated by “out of line” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “line”) and the remainder placed with IF (i.e. “though” – can be interchangeable in a sentence starting “it’s not as if/though…”) in or having “outwardly” SIC (i.e. Latin for “so” or thus), like so: S(CIENT-IF)IC.

  1. Pooh Bear in plastic, not right being on novelty watch? (9)

Answer: NEOPHOBIA (the fear of new things, which might playfully place one on “novelty watch”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “plastic”) of POOH BEAR IN once the R has been removed (indicated by “not right” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”).

  1. Company’s importing sound equipment for stand-ups (6)

Answer: COMICS (i.e. “stand-ups”). Solution is CO’S (a recognised abbreviation of “company” with a contraction of is) wrapped around or “importing” MIC (i.e. “sound equipment”, short for a microphone), like so: CO(MIC)’S.

  1. Show audience programme beforehand (6)

Answer: APPEAR (i.e. “show”). Solution is EAR (i.e. “audience”) placed after or having “beforehand” APP (i.e. short for application or computer “programme” – I disagree. When it comes to computing the American spelling, program, should be used), like so: APP-EAR.

  1. Beverage to take in back to front (3)

Answer: TEA (i.e. “beverage”). Solution is EAT (i.e. “to take in”) with the last letter placed at the beginning (indicated by “back to front”), like so: EA(T) => (T)EA.

  1. Under the circumstances, I’m open to offers! (3,6,10)

Answer: ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Solution satisfies “under the circumstances” and, playfully, “I’m open to offers”. Cleverly done.

  1. National symbol that can get you down (7)

Answer: THISTLE. Solution satisfies “national symbol” of Scotland and “that can get you down”, referring to the fluff you can get on thistle heads.

  1. One to bat – watch stroke (7)

Answer: EYELASH (i.e. “one to bat” – another I’d disagree with. I thought one batted eyelids or eyes, not eyelashes). Solution is EYE (i.e. “watch”) followed by LASH (i.e. “stroke” of a whip).

  1. During work duties, I carouse (7)

Answer: ROISTER (i.e. “carouse”). Solution is ROSTER (i.e. “work duties”) “during” which is placed I, like so: RO(I)STER.

  1. Stopped working around mid-evening and had a meal (5)

Answer: DINED (i.e. “had a meal”). Solution is DIED (i.e. “stopped working”) wrapped “around” N (i.e. “mid-evening”, i.e. the middle letter of “evening”), like so: DI(N)ED.

  1. Miss Haversham’s dresses tell all when discovered (7)

Answer: ESTELLA (i.e. “Miss Haversham’s” first name, from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations). “Discovered” suggests the solution has been hidden in the clue, i.e. by uncovering DRESS(ES TELL A)LL.

  1. Mark house and pass on (9)

Answer: SEMICOLON (i.e. punctuation “mark”). Solution is SEMI (i.e. “house”) followed by COL (a mountain “pass” often seen in cryptic crosswords) and ON.

Down clues

  1. Band who had Christmas hit broadcast rode with Santa? (8)

Answer: SLEIGHED (i.e. “rode with Santa”). “Broadcast” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SLADE (i.e. “band who had Christmas hit”).

  1. Head covering, apparently worn on top in city (5)

Answer: URBAN (i.e. “city”). Solution is TURBAN (i.e. “head covering”) with the first letter removed or the “top” “worn” away.

  1. Sensible, with gravity? (4-2-5)

Answer: DOWN-TO-EARTH. Solution satisfies “sensible” and is descriptive of “gravity”.

  1. Jack abandoning boat and gathering up fish to leave port (6)

Answer: UNDOCK (i.e. “to leave port”). Solution is JUNK (i.e. “boat”) with the J removed (indicated by “jack abandoning…” – J is a recognised abbreviation of “jack” used on playing cards) and the remainder wrapped around or “gathering” COD (i.e. “fish”) once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: UN(DOC)K.

  1. Flailing about, loses speech – a non-starter (8,4)

Answer: HOPELESS CASE (i.e. “non-starter”). “Flailing about” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LOSES SPEECH A.

  1. Sun follower looked rich (7)

Answer: MONEYED (i.e. “rich”). Solution is MON (i.e. “Sun follower”, taking Sun as a shortened form of “Sunday”) followed by EYED (i.e. “looked”).

  1. Officer and soldiers confined to station – one’s gone upstairs (3,6,6)

Answer: NON COMPOS MENTIS (i.e. not being sound of mind or “gone upstairs”). Solution is NON-COM (i.e. “officer”, short for a non-commissioned officer) followed by MEN (i.e. “soldiers”) once placed in or “confined to” POST, then I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”), like so: NON-COM-POS(MEN)T-I’S.

  1. Trust one in suit to have means of paying (6,4)

Answer: CREDIT CARD (i.e. “means of paying”). Solution is CREDIT (i.e. “trust”) followed by CARD (i.e. “one in suit” of playing cards).

  1. Taurus and Leo displaying common character? Solid gold! (7)

Answer: BULLION (i.e. “solid gold”). Solution is BULL and LION (i.e. symbolising astrological signs “Taurus and Leo” respectively) joined together and sharing an L (indicated by “displaying common character”), like so: BUL[L]ION.

  1. Banishes darkness from swamp lands (11)

Answer: FLOODLIGHTS (i.e. “banishes darkness”). Solution is FLOOD (i.e. to “swamp”) followed by LIGHTS (i.e. comes down from or “lands”).

  1. Hang around sides of playing surface for curling (9)

Answer: CRINKLING (i.e. “curling”). Solution is CLING (i.e. “hang around”) wrapped around or forming the “sides of” RINK (i.e. “playing surface”), like so: C(RINK)LING.

  1. Registers omen hanging over child (5,2)

Answer: SIGNS ON (i.e. “registers”). Solution is SIGN (i.e. “omen”) followed by SON (i.e. “child”).

  1. Alleged medical blunders (7)

Answer: CLAIMED (i.e. “alleged”). “Blunders” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MEDICAL.

  1. Eddy, rejecting kiss in embrace of rascal, was frolicking (8)

Answer: CAVORTED (i.e. “was frolicking”). Solution is VORTEX (i.e. whirlpool or “eddy”) with the X removed (indicated by “rejecting kiss”) and the remainder placed “in embrace of” CAD (i.e. “rascal”), like so: CA(VORTE)D.

  1. I’m not sure this is a secret (3,5,3,4)

Answer: YOU NEVER CAN TELL. Solution satisfies “I’m not sure” and “this is a secret”. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Unaccompanied royal’s autobiography? (3,2,3)

Answer: ONE BY ONE. Solution satisfies “unaccompanied” and, playfully, “royal’s autobiography”, riffing on how royals stereotypically refer to themselves as “one” and how autobiographies are written by the subject themselves. An excellent clue, and another that still makes me laugh now. Very well played.

  1. Detective’s dodgy hustle (6)

Answer: SLEUTH (i.e. “detective”). “Dodgy” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HUSTLE.

  1. Chest – one troubled by it, audibly? (6)

Answer: COFFER (i.e. “chest”). “Audibly” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of COUGHER (i.e. “one troubled by [chest]”). Again, nicely done.

  1. First of rods I dropped into frozen hole (7)

Answer: ORIFICE (i.e. “hole”). Solution is R (i.e. “first [letter] of rods”) and I both placed or “dropped into” OF ICE (descriptive of “frozen”), like so: O(R-I)F-ICE.

  1. Without uniform level, ambassador’s surrounded by fools (12)

Answer: PLAINCLOTHES (i.e. “without uniform”). Solution is PLAIN (i.e. “level”) followed by HE (i.e. “ambassador”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of His Excellency) once placed in or “surrounded by” CLOTS (i.e. “fools”), like so: PLAIN-CLOT(HE)S.

  1. Told tale about tipsy male, cunning and bold (11)

Answer: LIONHEARTED (i.e. “bold”). Solution is LIED (i.e. “told tale”) wrapped “about” ON (i.e. “tipsy”), HE (i.e. “male”) and ART (i.e. “cunning”), like so: LI(ON-HE-ART)ED.

[EDIT: clarifying “ON”, Chambers offers this definition: “on the way to being drunk (slang)“]

  1. Puck’s back issue? (7,4)

Answer: SLIPPED DISC. Solution satisfies “back issue” and, playfully, a “puck” used in ice hockey, ice being slippery n’ all.

  1. What may be achieved by nail file (10)

Answer: ATTACHMENT. Solution satisfies “what may be achieved by nail” and “file” – think email attachments.

  1. Number one coming up with sequence of three notes penned in quarantine (9)

Answer: ISOLATION (i.e. “quarantine”). Solution is NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) reversed (indicated by “coming up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “penning” SO LA TI (i.e. “sequence of three notes” in the sol-fa notation), like so: I-(SO-LA-TI)-ON.

  1. Framework for crossword – hard pitch in US (8)

Answer: GRIDIRON (i.e. “pitch in US”, specifically an American football field). Solution is GRID (i.e. “framework for crossword”) followed by IRON (i.e. “hard” – I guess suggestive of something stern or inflexible. A bit of a stretch for me, but my Bradford’s backs it up).

  1. No fan of rock and roll, presumably, on paper? (7)

Answer: NOTATED (i.e. “on paper”). When written as NOT A TED the solution also satisfies “no fan of rock and roll, presumably” – a Ted being a shortened form of Teddy boy.

  1. Busy person’s picked up mask inside to buy (7)

Answer: BELIEVE (i.e. “to buy” into something claimed). Solution is BEE (i.e. “busy person”) wrapped around or having “inside” VEIL (i.e. “mask”) once reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue), like so: BE(LIEV)E.

  1. Mother’s covered a mark with make-up (7)

Answer: MASCARA (i.e. “make-up”). Solution is MA (i.e. “mother”) wrapped around or “covering” A and SCAR (i.e. “mark”), like so: M(A-SCAR)A.

  1. Retreat from remains of cigarette butt (6)

Answer: ASHRAM (i.e. a “retreat” for a religious community, often in India). Solution is ASH (i.e. “remains of cigarette”) followed by RAM (i.e. to “butt”).

  1. Mammal after a time switching sides (5)

Answer: RATEL (i.e. “mammal”). Solution is LATER (i.e. “after a time”) with the first and last letters or “sides” “switched”, like so: (L)ATE(R) => (R)ATE(L).