Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1497

A relatively straightforward one this week – I don’t mind that! – and one with some nicely worked clues to ponder over. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

If a recent Jumbo has you scratching your head then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where I’ve listed links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Meanwhile there are also the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

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

LP

Across clues

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

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

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

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

  1. Provide a place for a plant (5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Room in pub – Turner’s Arms? (4)

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

  1. Abdicate, leaving son to rule (5)

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Dizzy blonde? (5-6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Reserve money – you’ll get stick when it’s finished! (3,5)

Answer: ICE LOLLY (i.e. “you’ll get stick when it’s finished”). Solution is ICE (i.e. “reserve” or a chilly nature) followed by LOLLY (a slang word for “money”).

  1. “Read it and weep!”, cries politician (3,5)

Answer: SOB STORY (i.e. “read it and weep”). Solution is SOBS (i.e. “cries”) followed by TORY (i.e. “politician”).

  1. Long period of time, November (5)

Answer: YEARN (i.e. to “long” for). Solution is YEAR (i.e. “period of time”) followed by N (“November” in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Money paid for access ending in scandal? (4)

Answer: GATE. Solution satisfies “money paid for access” and “ending in scandal”, i.e. how -GATE often gets appended to a word relative to a scandal, after Watergate.

  1. No truce can result from this papal campaign (7-11)

Answer: COUNTER-REFORMATION (i.e. “papal campaign” against the Reformation of the sixteenth century). “No truce can result from this” plays on the solution cryptically suggesting COUNTER as an anagram or REFORMATION of “no truce”.

  1. Gigantic mummy, a creature of the night (7)

Answer: MAMMOTH (i.e. “gigantic”). Solution is MAM (i.e. “mummy”, both words for mother) followed by MOTH (i.e. “a creature of the night”).

  1. No learner, comprehends hard parts of Listener (7)

Answer: INCUDES (i.e. “hard parts of Listener” – ignore the misleading capitalisation, the clue’s referring to the tiny bones found in the ear). Solution is INCLUDES (i.e. “comprehends”) with the L removed (indicated by “no learner”, as in L-plates). Another gotten from the wordplay.

  1. Number for one absorbed in Italian side (7)

Answer: INTEGER (i.e. a whole “number”). Solution is EG (i.e. “for one” or for example) placed or “absorbed in” INTER Milan (i.e. “Italian [football] side”), like so: INT(EG)ER.

  1. When everyone’s out, officers will take children’s plaything (7,6)

Answer: GENERAL STRIKE (i.e. “when everyone’s out”). Solution is GENERALS (i.e. “officers”) followed by TRIKE (i.e. “children’s plaything”).

  1. Under escort, old force surrounded by rocks listed rapidly (6,3)

Answer: REELED OFF (i.e. “listed rapidly”). Solution is LED (i.e. “under escort”), O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and F (ditto “force”) all placed in or “surrounded by” REEF (i.e. “rocks”), like so: REE(LED-O-F)F.

  1. Vigilant, one following a boat (5)

Answer: AWAKE (i.e. “vigilant”). When written as A WAKE the solution also satisfies “one following a boat”.

  1. Party ruins chips and beans? (4,6)

Answer: SIDE DISHES (i.e. “chips and beans”). Solution is SIDE (i.e. group or “party”) followed by DISHES (i.e. “ruins”).

  1. Keep smothering old woman’s style (6)

Answer: FORMAT (i.e. “style”). Solution is FORT (i.e. a “keep”) wrapped around or “smothering” MA (i.e. “old woman”, another reference to mother), like so: FOR(MA)T.

Down clues

  1. Row over caring disrupted meals-on-wheels service (6-3)

Answer: DINING-CAR (i.e. “meals-on-wheels service”). Solution is DIN (i.e. “row”) placed before or “over” – this being a down clue – an anagram (indicated by “disrupted”) of CARING, like so: DIN-INGCAR.

  1. Finishing outside podium places after switch, United failing to get ahead (11)

Answer: FORTHCOMING (i.e. “ahead”). Solution is COMING FOURTH (i.e. “finishing outside podium places”) with the words “switched” and the U removed (indicated by “United failing” – U being a recognised abbreviation of “United”).

  1. Dance moves, picked up in parts of central Asia? (7)

Answer: STEPPES (i.e. “parts of central Asia”). “Picked up” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of STEPS (i.e. “dance moves”).

  1. Plug stopped working, with no electric current attached (5)

Answer: ADDED (i.e. “attached”). Solution is AD (i.e. “plug” or advertisement) followed by DIED (i.e. “stopped working”) once the I has been removed (indicated by “with no electric current” – I is used to represent this in physics), like so: AD-DED.

  1. Spoke coherently while having a joint (11)

Answer: ARTICULATED. Solution satisfies “spoke coherently” and “having a joint”. Nicely done.

  1. Horse is beat, with end of desert no closer (11)

Answer: EQUIDISTANT (i.e. “no closer” – a bit too loose for me, but I imagine Perry Mason could make it stick). Solution is EQUID (i.e. “horse”) followed by IS, then TAN (i.e. to “beat”) and T (i.e. “end [letter] of desert”).

  1. A doubter, awfully hard to persuade (8)

Answer: OBDURATE (i.e. “hard to persuade”). “Awfully” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A DOUBTER.

  1. Blond politician on left’s test of opinion (5,4)

Answer: STRAW POLL (i.e. “test of opinion”). Solution is STRAW (i.e. “blond”, descriptive of the colour of straw) followed by POL (a recognised abbreviation of “politician”) and L (ditto “left”).

  1. Withhold Euro from abominable busker’s collection? (6)

Answer: HATFUL (i.e. “busker’s collection”). Solution is HATEFUL (i.e. “abominable”) with the E removed (indicated by “withhold Euro from”, E being a recognised abbreviation of “Euro”).

  1. Making complaint – test inaccurate (8,3)

Answer: SOUNDING OFF. Solution satisfies “making complaint” and “test inaccurate”.

  1. A new venison supplier served up joint (5)

Answer: ANKLE (i.e. “joint”). Solution is A followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and ELK (i.e. “venison supplier”) once reversed (indicated by “served up” – this being a down clue), like so: A-N-KLE. Nicely worked.

  1. Wall before elite is something offering superficial protection (7,5)

Answer: BARRIER CREAM (i.e. “something offering superficial protection” for the hands). Solution is BARRIER (i.e. “wall”) placed “before” CREAM (i.e. “elite”).

  1. Rent deduction producing show of emotion (8)

Answer: TEARDROP (i.e. “show of emotion”). Solution is TEAR (i.e. “rent”) followed by DROP (i.e. “deduction”). Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Zip-join coming up short? This could cause trouble (7)

Answer: GREMLIN (i.e. “this could cause trouble”). Solution is NIL (i.e. “zip” or nothing) and MERGE (i.e. “join”) reversed (indicated by “coming up” – this being a down clue) once the E of MERGE has been removed (indicated by “short”), like so: GREM-LIN.

  1. My ironing, not right – blasted disgrace! (8)

Answer: IGNOMINY (i.e. “disgrace”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “blasted”) of MY IRONING once the R has been removed (indicated by “not right” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”).

  1. People congregating around centre of bath taking a dip (8)

Answer: NATATION (i.e. swimming or “taking a dip”). Solution is NATION (i.e. “people”) wrapped “around” AT (i.e. “centre of bath”, i.e. the middle letters of “bath”), like so: N(AT)ATION.

  1. Dismiss howl of wolf in the end (5,3)

Answer: LAUGH OFF (i.e. “dismiss”). Solution is LAUGH (i.e. “howl”) followed by OF and F (i.e. “wolf in the end”, i.e. the last letter of “wolf”).

  1. Turner’s activity could be a Hollywood affair (7)

Answer: LATHING (i.e. “turner’s activity”). When written as LA THING the solution also satisfies “Hollywood affair”.

  1. Eccentric took Eurostar perhaps for continent, when young (5-7)

Answer: POTTY-TRAINED (i.e. “continent, when young”). Solution is POTTY (i.e. “eccentric”) followed by TRAINED (i.e. “took Eurostar perhaps”).

  1. I plan to make changes, feeling compelled to take stock? (11)

Answer: KLEPTOMANIA (i.e. “feeling compelled to take stock”). “Changes” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I PLAN TO MAKE.

  1. Sixties activist rose, perhaps, rebuked after infiltration by left (6,5)

Answer: FLOWER CHILD (i.e. “sixties activist”). Solution is FLOWER (i.e. “rose, perhaps” – other flowers are available) followed by CHID (i.e. “rebuked”) once wrapped around or “after infiltration by” L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”), like so: FLOWER-CHI(L)D.

  1. When beginning to speak to audience, you blush, acquiring confidence (11)

Answer: ASSUREDNESS (i.e. “confidence”). Solution is AS (i.e. “when”) followed by S (i.e. “beginning to speak”, i.e. the first letter of “speak”), then U (i.e. “to audience, you”, i.e. how the letter U is pronounced the same as “you”) and REDNESS (i.e. “blush”).

  1. Attractive feature of house? (7,4)

Answer: DRAWING ROOM (i.e. “feature of house”). Clue plays on DRAWING being another word for “attracting”.

  1. Kitty’s heading north on vacation, adopting English ways to escape (9)

Answer: LOOPHOLES (i.e. “ways to escape”). Solution is POOL (i.e. “kitty”) reversed (indicated by “heading north” – this being a down clue) and followed by HOLS (i.e. “vacation”) once wrapped around or “adopting” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: LOOP-HOL(E)S.

  1. Like charity that’s anti-exercise? (3-6)

Answer: NON-PROFIT (i.e. “like charity”). When written as NON-PRO-FIT the solution also playfully satisfies “anti-exercise”, assuming someone in favour of exercise would be “pro-fit”.

  1. South Asian character in fifties charged (8)

Answer: INDICTED (i.e. “charged”). Solution is INDIC (i.e. “South Asian”, specifically originating from India) followed by TED (i.e. “character in fifties”, a reference to Teddy Boys).

  1. Redcoat’s unconventional style (3,4)

Answer: ART DECO (i.e. “style”). “Unconventional” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REDCOAT.

  1. Shell company with real investment expanded initially (6)

Answer: COWRIE (i.e. “shell”, specifically that of a mollusc of the same name). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) followed by W (ditto “with”) and RIE (i.e. “real investment expanded initially”, i.e. the initial letters of “real”, “investment” and “expanded”). Chalk one to my Bradford’s here.

  1. “Flower of Pompeii” publication supported by postgraduate (5)

Answer: MAGMA (i.e. “flower of Pompeii”, as in how magma flows). Solution is MAG (i.e. “publication” or magazine) followed by MA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Master of Arts).

  1. One running through Berlin in binge (5)

Answer: SPREE. Solution satisfies “one running through Berlin”, a reference to the River Spree, and “binge”. Chalk another to my Bradford’s.

After a couple of week’s spent wallowing in nostalgia, this week’s post has been accompanied by something a little more recent. Well, this millennium at least. If you are a fan of British electronica then you’ll be familiar with Orbital, who scored hits back in the day with The Box and Satan, and whose most recent album, Monsters Exist, contains the sublime Tiny Foldable Cities and the hint-of-mad-genius that is P.H.U.K. What I didn’t realise until relatively recently, however, was that Paul Hartnoll had also created a few solo albums, the first of which, The Ideal Condition, is a fine listen. For the most part the electronica takes a backseat to elegant orchestral arrangements, and it works rather well. I swear Haven’t We Met Before? is a theme tune begging for a TV show. It even includes a Robert Smith collaboration for any Cure completionists out there. Not a bad find, all told. Go check it out. In the meantime, here’s the finest thing Orbital ever did. The tune starts at 0:51 in case all the haunted house creaking freaks you out, but, be warned, it gets no less scary after that! Such a shame this version is not on Spotify… Laters! – LP.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1496

A medium strength puzzle rather than the Bank Holiday stinker that was perhaps feared. I don’t mind that! It was a pretty decent one too, save for the traditional recent repeat. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful.

If a recent Jumbo is exhibiting a few gaps then my Just For Fun page might help you out, where I’ve compiled links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. There are also the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind words and comments, folks. They are always appreciated and are always interesting to read. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Sensible directors gathering in good source of feedback (8,5)

Answer: SOUNDING BOARD (i.e. “source of feedback”). Solution is SOUND (i.e. “sensible”) and BOARD (i.e. “directors” of a company) wrapped around or “gathering” IN and G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: SOUND-(IN-G)-BOARD.

  1. International group: evil or promoting happiness? (9)

Answer: EUDEMONIC (i.e. “promoting happiness” – over to Chambers: “a system of ethics that makes happiness the test of rectitude”). Solution is EU (i.e. “international group”, specifically the European Union) followed by DEMONIC (i.e. “evil”). Gotten from the wordplay and a look in Chambers.

  1. Explode and utter “about time!” (5)

Answer: ERUPT (i.e. “explode”). Solution is PURE (i.e. complete and “utter”) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: ERUP-T.

  1. Supply help to cynic in college (11)

Answer: POLYTECHNIC (i.e. “college”). “Supply” indicates anagram, as in being supple. Solution is an anagram of HELP TO CYNIC.

  1. Dressing in uniform, look around (5)

Answer: GAUZE (i.e. “dressing”). Solution is U (“uniform” in the phonetic alphabet) with GAZE (i.e. “look”) placed “around” it, like so: GA(U)ZE.

  1. Telegraph, say, to shorten piece of wire (5,4)

Answer: PRESS CLIP (i.e. “piece of wire”). Solution is PRESS (i.e. “Telegraph, say” – other newspapers are available) followed by CLIP (i.e. “to shorten”).

  1. Serving monarch in the resistance? (4)

Answer: OHMS. A bit of a guess, this, given they are units of electrical “resistance” and the word has HM or His or Her Majesty, i.e. “monarch”, in the middle. That’s about it, though. The remaining letters OS could represent an Ordinary Seaman, who could be said to “serve”, but this feels much too weak. Moving on with my life…

  1. Tailor has fur with gold for her indoors (8)

Answer: HAUSFRAU (i.e. “her indoors”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “tailor”) of HAS FUR followed by AU (chemical symbol of “gold”), like so: HAUSFR-AU.

  1. Decree a home’s located east of ring road (6)

Answer: ORDAIN (i.e. “decree”). Solution is A and IN (i.e. at “home”) placed after or “located east of” – this being an across clue – O (i.e. “ring”) and RD (a recognised abbreviation of “road”), like so: (O-RD)-A-IN.

  1. Drunk person arriving without purpose, top official (4,12)

Answer: HIGH COMMISSIONER (i.e. “top official”). Solution is HIGH (i.e. “drunk”) followed by COMER (i.e. “person arriving”) once wrapped around or placed “without” MISSION (i.e. “purpose”), like so: HIGH-COM(MISSION)ER.

  1. Damage from French wine crossing lip (9)

Answer: DETRIMENT (i.e. “damage”). Solution is DE (i.e. “from French”, i.e. the French for “from”) followed by TENT (i.e. a Spanish “wine”) once wrapped around or “crossing” RIM (i.e. “lip”), like so: DE-T(RIM)ENT.

  1. Woman given lick, one who keeps the peace (7)

Answer: SHERIFF (i.e. “one who keeps the peace”). Solution is SHE (i.e. “woman”) followed by RIFF (i.e. a guitar “lick”).

  1. Scottish style nationalist party (5)

Answer: PLAID. Solution satisfies “Scottish style” and Welsh “nationalist party”.

  1. Producer of iron or slate: container with dial outside (5,7)

Answer: BLAST FURNACE (i.e. “producer of iron”). Solution is BLAST (i.e. to “slate”) followed by URN (i.e. “container”) once placed in or having “outside” FACE (i.e. “dial”), like so: BLAST-F(URN)ACE.

  1. About to clean up kinky kind of art (10)

Answer: CONCEPTUAL (i.e. “kind of art”). Solution is C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “kinky”) of TO CLEAN UP, like so: C-ONCEPTUAL.

  1. Wine single lady drinks in new decorative glass (4,6)

Answer: ROSE WINDOW (i.e. “decorative glass”). Solution is ROSE (i.e. “wine”) followed by WIDOW (i.e. “single lady”) once wrapped around or “drinking in” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: ROSE-WI(N)DOW.

  1. Kid clutching old penny supplying dancer’s gear (4,8)

Answer: BODY STOCKING (i.e. “dancer’s gear”). Solution is BOY (i.e. “kid”) wrapped around or “clutching” D (i.e. “old penny”, an abbreviation after the Latin denarius) and followed by STOCKING (i.e. “supplying”), like so: BO(D)Y-STOCKING.

  1. Group captured by Philoctetes (5)

Answer: OCTET (i.e. “group” of musicians). “Captured by” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so : PHIL(OCTET)ES.

  1. Salt receptacle returned before ceremony (7)

Answer: NITRITE (i.e. “salt”). Solution is TIN (i.e. “receptacle”) reversed (indicated by “returned”) and followed by RITE (i.e. “ceremony”), like so: NIT-RITE.

  1. Stone on shore is spread widely (9)

Answer: PROPAGATE (i.e. “spread widely”). Solution is AGATE (i.e. “stone”) placed “on” or after PROP (i.e. to “shore” up), like so: PROP-AGATE.

  1. Government crackdown can come together in safe area (8,8)

Answer: PETERLOO MASSACRE (i.e. “Government crackdown” of 1819 that left 11 demonstrators dead and hundreds others injured). Solution is LOO (i.e. “can” – both slang for a toilet) and MASS (i.e. “come together”) both placed “in” PETER (i.e. a slang word for a “safe” you sometimes see in these things) and ACRE (i.e. “area”), like so: PETER-(LOO-MASS)-ACRE.

  1. Increase exercise in places to the west (4,2)

Answer: STEP UP (i.e. “increase”). Solution is PE (i.e. “exercise”, specifically Physical Education) placed “in” PUTS (i.e. “places”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “to the west” – this being an across clue), like so: ST(EP)UP.

  1. Sent back desserts provided with unknown layer (8)

Answer: STRATIFY (i.e. to “layer”). Solution is TARTS (i.e. “desserts”) reversed (indicated by “sent back”) and followed by IF (i.e. “provided”) and Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as “unknowns”), like so: STRAT-IF-Y.

  1. Inflammation given by which end of shoe? (4)

Answer: SORE (i.e. “inflammation”). When written as S OR E the solution also satisfies “which end of shoe”, i.e. S (the start of “shoe”) OR E (the end of “shoe”).

  1. Back certain to defend Rangers’ lead, a single ball off target (9)

Answer: ERRONEOUS (i.e. “off target”). Solution is SURE (i.e. “certain”) reversed (indicated by “back”) and wrapped around or “defending” R (i.e. “Rangers’ lead”, i.e. the first letter of “Rangers”), ONE (i.e. “a single”) and O (i.e. “ball”, as in how the letter O is shaped like one), like so: ER(R-ONE-O)US.

  1. In the majority, not half unfaithful (5)

Answer: ADULT (i.e. “in the majority” – a major being an adult; a minor being a child). Solution is ADULTEROUS (i.e. “unfaithful”) with the last half lopped off (indicated by “not half”).

  1. Iron put in bar – it’s for dummy (11)

Answer: COUNTERFEIT (i.e. “dummy”). Solution is FE (chemical symbol of “iron”) “put in” COUNTER (i.e. “bar”) and IT, like so: COUNTER-(FE)-IT.

  1. Some balls heading for tennis open (5)

Answer: OVERT (i.e. “open”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “some balls”, being a set of six regulation deliveries in cricket) followed by T (i.e. “tennis open”, i.e. the first letter of “tennis”).

  1. This person blocks a helper off in passing (9)

Answer: EPHEMERAL (i.e. short-lived or “passing”). Solution is ME (i.e. “this person”) placed in or “blocking” an anagram (indicated by “off”) of A HELPER, like so: EPHE(ME)RAL.

  1. Ride boat on ocean wave? (6-7)

Answer: ROLLER-COASTER (i.e. “ride”). Solution is COASTER (i.e. “boat”) placed “on” or after ROLLER (i.e. “ocean wave”).

Down clues

  1. Pen novel, record and throw cards in (9)

Answer: SHEEPFOLD (i.e. “pen”). Solution is SHE (i.e. “novel” by H Rider Haggard) followed by EP (i.e. “record”, specifically an Extended-Play) and FOLD (i.e. “throw cards in”).

  1. Criminal pursued and violently seized (7)

Answer: USURPED (i.e. “violently seized”). “Criminal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PURSUED. Nicely worked.

  1. Scare off car on street allowing no freedom (11)

Answer: DETERMINIST (i.e. “allowing no freedom” – determinism is the belief that everything in the future is preordained). Solution is DETER (i.e. “scare off”) followed by MINI (i.e. “car”) and ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”).

  1. Weapon, and where it was used around China (6)

Answer: NAPALM (i.e. “weapon”). Solution is NAM (i.e. “where [napalm] was used”), i.e. during the Vietnam war, once wrapped “around” PAL (i.e. “china” – ignore the misleading capitalisation; china is cockney rhymin’ slang, innit, for “mate”, as in china plate), like so: NA(PAL)M.

  1. Writer’s party drink with nothing in (9)

Answer: BALLPOINT (i.e. “writer”). Solution is BALL (i.e. “party”) followed by PINT (i.e. “drink”) once wrapped around or having “in” O (i.e. “nothing”), like so: BALL-P(O)INT.

  1. Hit spy across bum for discipline (12)

Answer: ASTROPHYSICS (i.e. “discipline”). “Bum” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HIT SPY ACROSS. With ASTROPHYSICIST appearing only three weeks ago, it appears another Times setter has cranked up the office Marconi GridFill 4000TM. Ho and hum. If you’d like to know more about the GridFill 4000, here’s a snippet from its Wikipedia page, the link for which I’ve conveniently misplaced:

Released at the height of the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, the Marconi GridFill 4000TM was the last in a line of web-enabled devices that helped crossword setters repeatedly slot the same solutions into their grids. Boasting then-revolutionary machine learning techniques, “Griddy” would examine thousands of completed grids to develop a rudimentary neural network that recorded the grid fragments surrounding each solution. The GridFill 4000 would then produce fuzzy links between the intersecting words to solutions, thus training it to stitch the same solutions into successive grids in as few moves as possible. This had the added benefit of allowing setters to squeeze more repeated solutions into their grids. The Times newspaper was an early adopter of the GridFill, going on to purchase an undisclosed number of devices with each major release. (…) The Marconi GridFill 4000TM has the distinction of holding the title of Most Spurious Web-Enabled Device in PC Pro magazine’s “A-List” for over a decade, extending some years beyond the collapse of Marconi itself. It was only recently knocked off the top spot by a succession of blockchain-enabled domestic appliances.

Interesting stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. Moving on…

  1. After month, old and new mopeds broken down (10)

Answer: DECOMPOSED (i.e. “broken down”). Solution is DEC (i.e. “month”, specifically December) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and an anagram (indicated by “new”) of MOPEDS, like so: DEC-O-MPOSED.

  1. Wise, perhaps, to release one bird (4)

Answer: ERNE (i.e. “bird”). Solution is ERNIE “Wise”, one half of comedy duo Morecambe & Wise, with the I removed (indicated by “to release [Roman numeral] one”).

  1. Making public act of worship, including students (16)

Answer: DECLASSIFICATION (i.e. “making public”). Solution is DEIFICATION (i.e. “act of worship”) wrapped around or “including” CLASS (i.e. “students”), like so: DE(CLASS)IFICATION.

  1. Time perhaps upsets heartless old priest (5)

Answer: MAGUS (i.e. “old priest”). Solution is MAG (i.e. “Time”, as in Time magazine) followed by US (i.e. “upsets heartless”, i.e. the word “upsets” with all its middle letters removed).

  1. Convict at last in cell, not one charged (7)

Answer: NEUTRON (i.e. “not one charged”). Solution is T (i.e. “convict at last”, i.e. the last letter of “convict”) placed “in” NEURON (i.e. brain “cell”), like so: NEU(T)RON.

  1. How one may pay, given warning sign in race (9,4)

Answer: CHEQUERED FLAG (i.e. “sign in race”). Solution is CHEQUE (i.e. “how one may pay”) followed by RED FLAG (i.e. “warning”).

  1. Eating everything common, regularly with cream (8)

Answer: OMNIVORY (i.e. “eating everything”). Solution is OMN (i.e. “common, regularly”, i.e. every other letter of COMMON) followed by IVORY (i.e. “cream” colour).

  1. Where drinkers are mostly parking, about to drop litter (2,3)

Answer: IN PUP (i.e. “about to drop litter”). Solution is IN PUB (i.e. “where drinkers are” – not quite yet, bloody Covid, but we’re getting there) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by P (a recognised abbreviation of “parking” used on maps and signage), like so: IN-PU-P.

  1. On stopping working, cake-maker is one announcing results (9,7)

Answer: RETURNING OFFICER (i.e. “one announcing results” of an election). Solution is RE (i.e. “on” or regarding – think email replies) followed by TURNING OFF (i.e. “stopping working”) and ICER (i.e. “cake-maker”). A female colleague at work is astonishingly good at making cakes. Like, holy-smokes-good; like you don’t want to take a knife to the things because they look incredible. Makes you wonder what’s it like to be talented!

  1. Feature about pair of Poles in shipping, say (7)

Answer: TRANSIT (i.e. “shipping, say”). Solution is TRAIT (i.e. “feature”) placed “about” NS (i.e. “pair of poles” – specifically recognised abbreviations of “north” and “south” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: TRA(NS)IT.

  1. Former student ingesting one white powder (7)

Answer: ALUMINA (i.e. “white powder”). Solution is ALUMNA (i.e. “former student”) wrapped around or “ingesting” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: ALUM(I)NA.

  1. Sentence from father’s wise for a migrant (4,2,7)

Answer: BIRD OF PASSAGE (i.e. “migrant”). Solution is BIRD (i.e. slang for a prison “sentence”) followed by OF (i.e. “from”), then PA’S (i.e. “father’s”) and SAGE (i.e. “wise”).

  1. Punctual after number twelve (8)

Answer: NOONTIME (i.e. “twelve”). Solution is ON TIME (i.e. “punctual”) placed “after” NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”), like so: (NO)-ON-TIME.

  1. A cold redhead in disguise, having many faces (12)

Answer: DODECAHEDRAL (i.e. a figure “having many faces”, twelve to be exact. Fitting, given the previous solution). “In disguise” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A COLD REDHEAD.

  1. Idler putting away small drink (5)

Answer: WATER (i.e. “drink”). Solution is WASTER (i.e. “idler”) with the S removed (indicated by “putting away small” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “small”).

  1. Speak with a thug at northerly US city (11)

Answer: CHATTANOOGA (i.e. “US city”). Solution is CHAT (i.e. “speak”) followed by A, GOON (i.e. “thug”) and AT once these latter three have been reversed (indicated by “northerly” – this being a down clue), like so: CHAT-(TA-NOOG-A).

  1. After pastries, drink wine (10)

Answer: PIESPORTER (i.e. a German “wine”). Solution is PIES (i.e. “pastries”) followed by PORTER (i.e. “drink”). Chalk one to my Bradford’s here as my knowledge of wines stops at vino collapso. I don’t think I’d trust myself to order a bottle of this after a few glasses.

  1. A Spartan is to display determination (9)

Answer: PERSEVERE (i.e. “display determination”). Solution is PER (i.e. “a”, as in “three times a year”) followed by SEVERE (i.e. “spartan” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

  1. He explains old model has bad clothing (9)

Answer: EXPOSITOR (i.e. “he explains”). Solution is EX (i.e. “old” or former) followed by SIT (i.e. to “model”) once placed in or “clothed” by POOR (i.e. “bad”), like so: EX-PO(SIT)OR.

  1. Dropping ecstasy, bad place to be after driving by (7)

Answer: THROUGH (i.e. “by”). Solution is THE ROUGH (i.e. “bad place to be after driving” or teeing off in golf) with the E removed (indicated by “dropping ecstasy” – E being a street name for the drug).

  1. Object’s round – try putting spin, perhaps, on it (7)

Answer: PROTEST (i.e. to “object”). Solution is O (i.e. “round”) and TEST (i.e. “try”) with PR (i.e. “spin” or Press Release) placed “on [top]” – this being a down clue – like so: (PR)-O-TEST.

  1. Freezing cold in large vehicle (6)

Answer: ARCTIC (i.e. “freezing”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold” used on taps) placed “in” ARTIC (i.e. “large vehicle”, short for an articulated lorry), like so: AR(C)TIC.

  1. Symbolic artefact filled scripture the wrong way (5)

Answer: TOTEM (i.e. “symbolic artefact”). Solution is MET (i.e. “filled” or satisfied) followed by OT (i.e. “scripture”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible). These are then reversed (indicated by “the wrong way”), like so: TO-TEM.

  1. Back off cow or its mate (4)

Answer: BULL, i.e. a “cow’s” “mate”. Solution is BULLY (i.e. to “cow” someone) with its last letter removed or its “back off”.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1495

Another toughie this week, and, sadly, another let-down. There were some really good clues to enjoy but the whole was marred by a setter exhibiting poor awareness of how their solutions fit together in the grid, with at least two clues leading to multiple potential solutions. Either that or they were fully aware of this and decided to stick it to solvers. Not great, either way.

As ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. If your life’s ambition is to score some sweet reference books from The Times and to see your name in print, then you might want to check back later to see if any better solutions have come to light. Meanwhile, if a recent Jumbo is looking a little gappy for you then my Just For Fun page might help, providing links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Also dotted around the place are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind comments, folks. It is always interesting to hear the hot takes from other solvers once they’ve put their pens down, and, you know, it’s never bad to have one’s ego stroked! Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated (and chuck one my way while you’re at it, please. I’m getting tired of only being offered vaccination centres that are 40-60 miles away…) and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Thanks to Sue in the comments for the correction to 50d

Across clues

  1. One’s angling positively the way to make you go off fish? (4,6)

Answer: SPIN DOCTOR (i.e. “one’s angling positively”). The solution cryptically satisfies “the way to make you go off fish”, i.e. to SPIN or reverse the word “DOCTOR” to get ROT COD.

  1. Poor duck nobody’s fed meal (2,4,6)

Answer: ON ONE’S UPPERS (i.e. “poor”). Solution is O (i.e. “duck”, i.e. a zero score in cricket) followed by NONE’S (i.e. “nobody’s”) once wrapped around or “eating” SUPPER (i.e. “meal”), like so: O-NONE(SUPPER)’S.

  1. Orangeman’s outside in de Havilland, possibly, heading off for province (7)

Answer: LIVONIA (i.e. “province” on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea). Solution is ON (i.e. “Orangeman’s outside”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Orangeman”) placed “in” OLIVIA (i.e. “de Havilland, possibly” – other famous de Havillands are available) once the first letter has been removed (indicated by “heading off”), like so: LIV(ON)IA. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here. Solutions involving place names are often there to bail the setter out of a tight spot and are seldom worth the effort.

  1. Regret insult overheard that’s repeated by players? (7)

Answer: RHUBARB (i.e. “that’s repeated by players”, a reference to how the word is uttered over and over by background actors in crowd scenes. Do they still do that?) “Overheard” indicates the solution comprises a homophone of RUE (i.e. “regret”) and BARB (i.e. “insult”), like so: RHU-BARB.

  1. Producing certain young crooner, after hit (7)

Answer: LAMBING (i.e. “producing certain young”). Solution is BING Crosby (i.e. “crooner”) placed “after” LAM (i.e. “hit”), like so: LAM-BING.

  1. Old red stain linked with kiss (4)

Answer: Karl MARX (i.e. “old red”). Solution is MAR (i.e. “stain”) followed by X (i.e. “kiss”).

  1. A year to get hold of cooker, I fear (6)

Answer: PHOBIA (i.e. “fear”). Solution is PA (i.e. “a year”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Per Annum) wrapped around or “getting hold of” HOB (i.e. “cooker”) and I, like so: P(HOB-I)A.

  1. Angel’s roused chap’s ire (8)

Answer: SERAPHIC (i.e. “angel’s” to be read as “of an angel” rather than “angel has”). “Roused” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CHAP’S IRE.

  1. Asian native with corporation, I am led to believe, stepping out of line (10,3-7,3)

Answer: VIETNAMESE POT-BELLIED PIG (i.e. “Asian native with corporation” – setters love how “corporation” is an archaic word for the gut, usually a pot-belly). “Out of line” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I AM LED TO BELIEVE STEPPING. Nicely worked.

  1. Film, slow burner at first tedious, finally entrances (7)

Answer: WICKETS (i.e. “entrances” – a wicket is a small gate). Solution is ET (i.e. “film”, specifically ET: The Extra-Terrestrial) with WICK (i.e. “slow burner”) placed “at first” and followed by S (i.e. “tedious, finally”, i.e. the last letter of “tedious”), like so: WICK-(ET)-S.

  1. Slowcoach? (5,3)

Answer: BRAKE VAN, “the carriage in which the brake is worked” (Chambers). Given coaches can also be road vehicles, I guess you could also make an argument for BRAKE PAD, but I feel BRAKE VAN is the more likely solution. I hate these indeterminate kind of clues.

  1. Sweet primrose, maybe, maiden picked for Yankee (6)

Answer: MELLOW (i.e. “sweet” – both referring to the ripening of fruit). Solution is YELLOW (i.e. “primrose, maybe”) with the Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet) swapped “for” M (a recognised abbreviation of “maiden” in cricket), like so: (Y)ELLOW => (M)ELLOW.

  1. Very hard to beat, with means to pick up (6,3,5)

Answer: HAMMER AND TONGS (i.e. “very hard”). Solution is HAMMER (i.e. “beat”) followed by AND (i.e. “with”) and TONGS (i.e. “means to pick up”).

  1. Monarch not exactly welcome around French city (7,1)

Answer: CHARLES I (i.e. “monarch”). Solution is C (i.e. “not exactly”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) followed by HI (i.e. “welcome”) once wrapped “around” ARLES (i.e. “French city”), like so: C-H(ARLES)I. Solutions like CHARLES I or HENRY V will never stop being cheesy cop-outs, but I rather liked this one.

  1. Notices singular ducks abandoning river (5,3)

Answer: SMALL ADS (i.e. “notices”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”) followed by MALLARDS (i.e. “ducks”) once the R has been removed (indicated by “abandoning river” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: S-MALLADS.

  1. Boy gets given cards from everyone: it’s a team effort (3,5,2,4)

Answer: ALL HANDS ON DECK (i.e. “it’s a team effort”). Solution is SON (i.e. “boy”) placed between or “gets given” HAND and DECK – both collections of “cards” from ALL (i.e. “everyone”), like so: ALL-HAND-(SON)-DECK.

  1. Nut dip is something for salad (6)

Answer: ENDIVE (i.e. “something for salad”). Solution is EN (i.e. “nut” – in the arcane world publishing these both describe a space the width of a lowercase n) followed by DIVE (i.e. “dip”).

  1. Feel bias after moving on (8)

Answer: FEASIBLE (i.e. possible or “on”). “After moving” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FEEL BIAS.

  1. Provokes some backtracking closeting invitees (7)

Answer: IGNITES (i.e. “provokes”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “backtracking” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: CLO(SETING I)NVITEES.

  1. Roger colours poor Henry’s leg, in a manner of speaking (8,8,7)

Answer: RECEIVED STANDARD ENGLISH (i.e. “a manner of speaking”). Solution is ROGER (i.e. “received” and understood) followed by STANDARD (i.e. flag or “colours”) and an anagram (indicated by “poor”) of H’S (a recognised abbreviation of “Henry” popular with Times setters of late, made possessive) and LEG IN.

  1. Daughter is driving, bound for American bar (8)

Answer: DRAMSHOP (i.e. “American bar”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by RAMS (i.e. “is driving” – on its own it looks a little off, like it should be RAMMING or something, but reads better in conjunction with “daughter”) and HOP (i.e. “bound” or leap).

  1. Holly, maybe, had always to be cut for religious statue (6)

Answer: BUDDHA (i.e. “religious statue”). Solution is BUDDY “Holly” and HAD both or “always” with their last letters removed (indicated by “to be cut”), like so: BUDD-HA. “Always” is an indicator I’d happily drag into the Recycle Bin.

  1. Bush on top of a ridge initially replanted (4)

Answer: AFRO (i.e. “bush on top”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “replanted”) of OF A and R (i.e. “ridge initially”, i.e. the first letter of “ridge”).

  1. Element of a character required by Greeks in a game recalled (7)

Answer: URANIUM (i.e. “element”). Solution is MU (i.e. “character required by Greeks” – mu is the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet. “Required”, though? Authors of Hellenic lipograms, rise up!) followed by IN A and RU (i.e. “game”, specifically Rugby Union) all reversed or “recalled”, like so: UR-A-NI-UM.

  1. Two ways to publicise remote region (7)

Answer: OUTPOST (i.e. “remote region”). Solution, when written as OUT and POST, satisfies “two ways to publicise” something.

  1. Maybe miss knowledge on Brussels, requiring one article (7)

Answer: EUGENIA (i.e. “maybe miss”, basically a girl’s name, though not exactly a top 10 entry. I guess this was another tricky corner for the setter to fill after their Marconi GridFill 4000TM crashed). Solution is EU GEN (i.e. “knowledge on Brussels”, the heart of the European Union) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the).

  1. Sound of bell outside oven, and separate cooking utensil (8,4)

Answer: TOASTING FORK (i.e. “cooking utensil”). Solution is TING (i.e. “sound of bell”) placed “outside” of OAST (an “oven” used to dry hops) and followed by FORK (i.e. to “separate”), like so: T(OAST)ING-FORK.

  1. With time, loosens, we understand, this fixed screw? (4,6)

Answer: WAGE FREEZE (i.e. “fixed screw” – the riddly question mark indicates we’re not exactly batting on an even wicket here. “Screw”, it transpires, is a slang word for WAGE or salary, though from where I couldn’t say). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) followed by AGE (i.e. “time”) and a homophone (indicated by “we understand”) of FREES (i.e. “loosens”).

Down clues

  1. Only around Nevada you will find crop showing serious promise (6,3)

Answer: SOLEMN VOW (i.e. “serious promise”). Solution is SOLE (i.e. “only”) followed by NV (US state abbreviation of “Nevada”) “around” which is placed MOW (i.e. to “crop”), like so: SOLE-M(NV)OW.

  1. Commandeer ITV broadcast, one of four from “Downton Abbey” (8,5)

Answer: INVERTED COMMA (i.e. one of four from “Downton Abbey”, referring to the speech marks surrounding “Downton Abbey”). “Broadcast” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of COMMANDEER ITV.

  1. Minimal knock with racket? (4)

Answer: DINK. Hooooo boy. Take your pick, here, folks. You’ve got DING, DINK or DINT: all three can be said to be “minimal knocks”, all three contain DIN (i.e. “racket”), and all you have to work with is D_N_. For what it’s worth, I’m plumping for DINK on the premise of K being a “minimal knock”, i.e. the word “knock” with most of its letters removed, but, frankly, that’s as weak as a tenth-pint piss. If someone swings by with a better solution then I’ll gladly update the post. Finally:

Dear setter,
Get knotted.
Cheerfully yours, LP.

  1. Rabbit and horse end up in wrong part of NZ (7,7)

Answer: CHATHAM ISLANDS (i.e. “part of NZ”. Interestingly, Chatham Islands has its own time zone, set 45 minutes ahead of New Zealand time because reasons). Solution is CHAT (i.e. “rabbit”) followed by H (i.e. “horse” – both street names for heroin) and LAND (i.e. “end up”) once placed “in” AMISS (i.e. “wrong”), like so: CHAT-H-AMIS(LAND)S.

  1. Hospital leaves time for us (3)

Answer: OUR (i.e. “for us”). Solution is HOUR (i.e. “time”) with the H removed (indicated by “hospital leaves” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “hospital” used on maps and stuff).

  1. Lack of response from patient boatbuilder (4)

Answer: NOAH (i.e. “boatbuilder” in The Bible). When written as NO AH the solution also satisfies “lack of response from patient”, presumably not one seeing a proctologist.

  1. For one, count palladium, ultimately, along with others (5,5)

Answer: NOBLE METAL (i.e. “for one … palladium”. A noble metal is one not readily affected by exposure to air. Gold, silver and platinum are others in the group). Solution is NOBLE (i.e. “for one, count” – other nobs are available) followed by M (i.e. “palladium, ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “palladium”) and ET AL (i.e. “along with others”). Nicely worked.

  1. One turns up in Clonmel – Ballyshannon, Cork and Naas each have one (8)

Answer: SYLLABLE (i.e. “Cork and Naas each have one”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “turns up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: CLONM(EL BALLYS)HANNON. Blimey, I wonder how long this clue took to write!

  1. He carries permit in to indulge publisher (11)

Answer: PAMPHLETEER (i.e. “publisher”). Solution is HE wrapped around or “carrying” LET (i.e. “permit”). These are then placed “in” PAMPER (i.e. “to indulge”), like so: PAMP(H(LET)E)ER.

  1. Is visiting English constable, old friend of bishop (9)

Answer: EPISCOPAL (i.e. “of bishop”). Solution is IS placed in or “visiting” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and PC (i.e. police “constable”), which are then followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and PAL (i.e. “friend”), like so: E-P(IS)C-O-PAL.

  1. What’s heaved from sling, tho’ oddly staying put (4)

Answer: SIGH (i.e. “what’s heaved”). “Oddly staying put” indicates the solution is derived from the odd letters of SLING THO.

  1. Sure a GP’s mistaken a pulse (5,3)

Answer: SUGAR PEA (i.e. “pulse”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “mistaken”) of SURE A GP followed by A, like so: SUGARPE-A.

  1. Group of police officers perhaps finding intruder (8)

Answer: BUSYBODY (i.e. a meddler in someone’s affairs or “intruder”). When written as BUSY BODY the solution also satisfies “group of police officers perhaps” – BUSY being a slang word for the rozzers, and BODY being a group of people.

  1. Year in France gone into by Times supplement (6)

Answer: ANNEXE (i.e. “supplement”). Solution is ANNEE (i.e. “year in France”, i.e. the French for “year”) wrapped around or “gone into by” X (i.e. “times”, as in the multiplication symbol – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: ANNE(X)E.

  1. Sparing no detail in conclusion (2,6)

Answer: AT LENGTH. Solution satisfies “sparing no detail” and “conclusion”, i.e. at the extent or length of something.

  1. As Golf Week’s coming round chap’s the one to beat! (8)

Answer: EGGWHISK (i.e. “one to beat”). Solution is EG (i.e. “as”, i.e. for example) followed by G (i.e. “golf” in the phonetic alphabet) and WK (a recognised abbreviation of “week”) once placed “round” HIS (i.e. “chap’s”), like so: EG-G-W(HIS)K.

  1. Food said to raise just a grin instead of a smile? (8,6)

Answer: CHESHIRE CHEESE (i.e. “food”). Clue plays on the Cheshire Cat from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which would disappear leaving its grin behind, and how photographers often ask their subjects to say CHEESE when taking a picture. You get the idea. Reminds me of the tragic story of a wedding photographer who was accidentally crushed under a ton of cheese. To be fair, the bride and groom did try to warn him…

  1. MC with Motown track and another that’s local (8)

Answer: HOSTELRY (i.e. “local” or pub). Solution is HOST (i.e. “MC”, short for Master of Ceremonies) followed by EL (i.e. “Motown track” – in the US an “el” is apparently an informal word for an elevated railroad) and RY (i.e. “another [track]”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a railway).

  1. Drug for treating the overweight – or lean – with a temperature (8)

Answer: ORLISTAT (i.e. “drug for treating the overweight”). Solution is OR followed by LIST (i.e. “lean”), then A and T (a recognised abbreviation of “temperature”). One gotten from the wordplay and a shufti in my Chambers.

  1. Security feature’s curiously eccentric feel (8,5)

Answer: ELECTRIC FENCE (i.e. “security feature”). “Curiously” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ECCENTRIC FEEL.

  1. Was wrong to pursue most of intelligence gathered (8)

Answer: INFERRED (i.e. “gathered”). Solution was ERRED (i.e. “was wrong”) placed after or “pursuing” INFO (i.e. “intelligence”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “most of”), like so: INF-ERRED.

  1. Erotic film? It’s usually blue in nature (4-2-1-4)

Answer: LOVE-IN-A-MIST (a flower that is “usually blue in nature”). Plays on MIST being a film of water, and erotic being of LOVE. You get the idea. Nicely done.

  1. Youth up a long time catching badger (6)

Answer: NONAGE (i.e. “youth”). Solution is EON (i.e. “a long time”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “catching” NAG (i.e. to “badger”), like so: NO(NAG)E.

  1. Writers switch positions after I retire (7,3)

Answer: PENSION OFF (i.e. “retire”). Solution is PENS (i.e. “writers”) followed by ON and OFF (i.e. “switch positions” once placed “after” I, like so: PENS-I-ON-OFF.

  1. Provide material to chew on: stuff accompanying a film? (9)

Answer: DOCUDRAMA (i.e. “film”). Solution is DO (i.e. “provide”) followed by CUD (i.e. “material to chew on”) then RAM (i.e. to “stuff”) and A.

  1. After throwing a wobbly, do reverse (4,4)

Answer: BODY BLOW (i.e. “reverse” or a setback – weak, but I guess it passes). “After throwing a…” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WOBBLY DO.

  1. Chose goal that’s involved years of training? (6,3)

Answer: SCHOOL AGE (i.e. “years of training”). “That’s involved” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CHOSE GOAL.

  1. Go back on first of March, as normal? One might (8)

Answer: WELSHMAN. Clue and solution play on St David’s Day being on the “first of March” every year, and St David being the patron saint of Wales. Solution is WELSH (i.e. to renege or “go back on”) followed by MAN (i.e. “first of March, as normal”, i.e. the first letters of “March”, “as” and “normal”).

  1. Kick indeed falling short (4)

Answer: PUNT (i.e. a “kick” in some ball games). That’s all I got, I’m afraid, so watch out. The remainder of the clue suggests the solution is another word or phrase with its last letter(s) removed, e.g. something like PUNTO, but I’m drawing a blank. Once again, if some kind soul furnishes me with a good solution then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: A big thank you to Sue in the comments for correcting this one. I had the right idea, but the wrong word. The solution is QUIT (i.e. to “kick” a habit, say), which is QUITE (i.e. “indeed”) with its final letter removed (indicated by “falling short”). Thanks, Sue! – LP]

  1. Lead kills vermin heading for the roof? (4)

Answer: STAR (i.e. “lead” in a movie, for example). Solution is RATS (i.e. “kills vermin” – RAT can be a verb as well as a noun) reversed (indicated by “heading for the roof” – this being a down clue).

  1. Setter’s answer – something fishy (4)

Answer: AGAR (i.e. a jelly or “setter” that cultivates bacteria, among other uses). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”) and GAR (i.e. “something fishy”. A gar is a kind of fish that’s been around for a loooooooong time).

  1. Drink brought up at the end of additional half-hour’s play? (3)

Answer: TEA (i.e. “drink”). The remainder of the clue plays on the initials AET, or After Extra Time (i.e. “at the end of additional half-hour’s play” in football) reversed (indicated by “brought up” – this being a down clue).

After a spot of nostalgia a couple of weeks ago courtesy of Krokus’s Metal RendezVous album, and after an utter horror show of a week at work, I thought I’d regress to my childhood once more for this week’s musical accompaniment. Those of you old enough and willing enough to remember the early 1980s may recall a musical group briefly doing the rounds playing classical music while wearing period costume and featureless metal masks. The imagery stuck with me over the years, along with one particular tune of theirs (see below), but it was only recently that I rediscovered them. Today’s music choice has therefore been Rondò Veneziano, specifically their albums Scaramucce, Odissea Veneziana (the title track of which was used by the BBC as its horse racing theme tune back in the day) and the eponymous Rondò Veneziano. Perfect background music after a shitty week. Enjoy! – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1494

A tougher challenge this week, though sadly one that wasn’t especially enjoyable. A combination of an overreliance on riddly clueing, solutions slotted into the grid simply because nothing else would fit, and the trademark repeated solutions that plague these Jumbos conspired to sap the fun from this by the end. Ugh.

Grumpiness aside, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. You can also find links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things on my Just For Fun page, should that help you plug any historic gaps. There are also the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind feedback, folks. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared in these things. Till next time, keep safe, mask up, get vaccinated (if you can. Every time I try to book an appointment my nearest vaccination centre gets further and further away. My nearest one is now in Ipswich. I live in Norwich. That’s the distance between Manchester and Liverpool and then some!) and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Moral support needed by one who reigns (6)

Answer: PROPER (i.e. “moral”). Solution is PROP (i.e. “support”) followed by ER (i.e. “one who reigns”, specifically Elizabeth Regina).

  1. Difficult time getting to work in car (7)

Answer: HARDTOP (i.e. “car”). Solution is HARD (i.e. “difficult”) followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”). Nicely worked.

  1. Vicar maybe showing power, one arriving at target? (8)

Answer: PREACHER (i.e. “vicar maybe”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) followed by REACHER (i.e. “one arriving at target”).

  1. Bless a grandparent, then, when messing up American poem? (3,4-8,6)

Answer: THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER (i.e. “American poem”). “When messing up” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BLESS A GRANDPARENT THEN.

  1. Wood contains unknown clear liquid with strong smell (8)

Answer: PYRIDINE (i.e. “liquid with strong smell”). Solution is PINE (i.e. “wood”) wrapped around or “containing” Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as “unknowns”) and RID (i.e. to “clear”), like so: P(Y-RID)INE. One gotten from the wordplay and a check in Chambers.

  1. Old sailor making a speech (7)

Answer: ORATING (i.e. “making a speech”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by RATING (i.e. “sailor”, specifically a non-commissioned sailor in the navy. And, yes, I did remember this from last week).

  1. Dream may get one flapping a bit (6)

Answer: EYELID. The intersecting letters E_E_I_ also fit EDENIC (which could describe “dream”), but I can’t make the rest of the clue fit so I’m plumping for EYELID. Can’t say I’m entirely happy with it, though. I mean, who the hell’s eyelids flap when they sleep? Sure, the eyeballs have a rolling good time beneath them, but the lids remain shut throughout. They don’t flap. Good grief, just thinking about it is pure nightmare fuel. I have enough demons keeping me awake at night without thoughts of flappy eyelids as well. Huuuurghhh… What’s that? The clue might also be riffing on eyelids being flaps of skin, you say? Too late. Flappy eyelids. The horror. I’m never sleeping again.

  1. Date – something girlfriend hopes for? (10)

Answer: ENGAGEMENT. Solution satisfies “date” and “something girlfriend hopes for”. What a quaint world the setter lives in.

  1. Well-informed, as one who has auditioned successfully for film will be (2,3,7)

Answer: IN THE PICTURE. Solution satisfies “well-informed” and “as one who has auditioned successfully for film will be”.

  1. Head may have one (4)

Answer: TOPI, a hat worn especially in India. Clue plays on how a “head may have one”. Solution also comprises TOP (i.e. “head”) and I (i.e. Roman numeral “one”).

  1. Be relatively unobservant as a totally innocent person (8)

Answer: SPOTLESS (i.e. “totally innocent person”). When written as SPOT LESS the solution also satisfies “be relatively unobservant”.

  1. Rants disclosed half-formed aspirations (8)

Answer: DECLAIMS (i.e. “rants”). Solution is DECLARED (i.e. “disclosed”) with the latter half chopped off (indicated by “half-formed”) and the remainder followed by AIMS (i.e. “aspirations”), like so: DECL-AIMS.

  1. One may go out to get such psychological treatment (12)

Answer: HYPNOTHERAPY (i.e. “psychological treatment”). Clue plays on how such therapy requires their subjects to be put under or “out”.

  1. Record left by journalist found unexpectedly? (10)

Answer: DISCOVERED (i.e. “found unexpectedly”). Solution is DISC (i.e. “record”) followed by OVER (i.e. “left” or remaining) and ED (i.e. “journalist”, specifically a shortened form of “editor”).

  1. Sing bosh and go wild as one making contribution to Mass (5,5)

Answer: HIGGS BOSON (i.e. “one making contribution to mass” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wild”) of SING BOSH and GO.

  1. Greek character with inclination mostly is male showing lowbrow outlook (12)

Answer: PHILISTINISM (i.e. “lowbrow outlook”). Solution is PHI (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet) followed by LISTING (i.e. “with inclination”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”). These are then followed by IS and M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”), like so: PHI-LISTIN-IS-M. Ho hum. PHILISTINE last week, PHILISTINISM this week. The Marconi GridFill 4000TM strikes again!

  1. Half of those people not well sending a message (8)

Answer: EMAILING (i.e. “sending a message”). Solution is THEM (i.e. “those people”) with its first “half” removed and the remainder followed by AILING (i.e. “not well”), like so: EM-AILING.

  1. Where road signs are often visible, incidentally (2,3,3)

Answer: BY THE WAY. Solution satisfies “where road signs are often visible” and “incidentally”.

  1. Note in second book in a series (4)

Answer: MARK. Solution satisfies “note” and “second book in a series”, specifically the Book of Mark, second book of the Gospels of the New Testament of The Bible.

  1. Bird gone I’m hoping will deviate appropriately? (6,6)

Answer: HOMING PIGEON (i.e. “bird”). “Will deviate appropriately” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GONE I’M HOPING.

  1. The beginning and end of pop that’s scarcely audible? (10)

Answer: PIANISSIMO (i.e. “that’s scarcely audible” in musical lingo). The clue plays on PP being a recognised abbreviation of pianissimo, the letters of which being “the beginning and end of ‘pop’”.

  1. Figure one boy needs inner vitality (6)

Answer: ISOGON (i.e. a “figure” or polygon with equal angles). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by SON (i.e. “boy”) wrapped around or having “inner” GO (i.e. “energy”), like so: I-SO(GO)N.

  1. Garments for female toys (7)

Answer: TEDDIES. Solution satisfies “garments for female” and “toys”.

  1. Head’s getting chap troubled with lice (8)

Answer: CEPHALIC (i.e. of or belonging to the “head”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “troubled”) of CHAP and LICE.

  1. Ever impractical, I go and eat out as a matter of principal (11,10)

Answer: CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE (i.e. “a matter of principal” – over to Chambers: “in the ethics of Kant, the absolute unconditional command of the moral law, irrespective of every ulterior end or aim, obliging people to act responsibly”. Yeah, good luck with that, Kantians). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of EVER IMPRACTICAL I GO and EAT. Given the context of our times, with the Government’s “Eat Out To Help Out” initiative of last year recently blamed in part for seeding the second wave of Covid, this is a very nicely worked clue.

  1. Sent out offspring half-heartedly around island (8)

Answer: SECRETED (i.e. “sent out”). Solution is SEED (i.e. “offspring”) with one of the middle Es removed (indicated by “half-heartedly”) and the remainder wrapped “around” CRETE (i.e. “island”), like so: SE(CRETE)D.

  1. Place enthusiastic about strike (3,4)

Answer: LAY INTO (i.e. “strike”). Solution is LAY (i.e. “place”) followed by INTO (i.e. “enthusiastic about”).

  1. Each nincompoop losing heart in an uncomplicated manner (6)

Answer: EASILY (i.e. “in an uncomplicated manner”). Solution is EA (a recognised abbreviation of “each”) followed by SILLY (i.e. “nincompoop”) with its middle letter removed (indicated by “losing heart”), like so: EA-SILY.

Down clues

  1. Bad-tempered fellow seizes sporting trophy (5)

Answer: RATTY (i.e. “bad-tempered”). Solution is RAY (i.e. “fellow”, basically a bloke’s name) wrapped around or “seizing” TT (i.e. “sporting trophy”, specifically the Isle of Man TT or Tourist Trophy), like so: RA(TT)Y.

  1. Logical assertion comes with forecast – umbrella finally needs to be carried (11)

Answer: PREDICATION (i.e. “logical assertion” – ah this takes me back to the days studying predicate logic at uni. And playing pool. Okay, mostly playing pool). Solution is PREDICTION (i.e. “forecast”) wrapped around or “carrying” A (i.e. “umbrella finally”, i.e. the last letter of “umbrella”), like so: PREDIC(A)TION.

  1. Shopkeeper, offering fashion again, we hear? (8)

Answer: RETAILER (i.e. “shopkeeper”). “We hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of RE-TAILOR (i.e. “offering fashion again” – the riddly question mark is an admission this isn’t really something you’re going to find in the dictionary).

  1. Army in hellish ordeal (5)

Answer: HORDE (i.e. “army”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: HELLIS(H ORDE)AL.

  1. Understanding rebuke given to the Left (7)

Answer: RAPPORT (i.e. “understanding”). Solution is RAP (i.e. “rebuke”) followed by PORT (i.e. “left” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

  1. Four in temporary shelter at Cambridgeshire location when feeling unsettled? (11)

Answer: TENTATIVELY (i.e. “when feeling unsettled”). Solution is IV (i.e. “four” in Roman numerals) placed “in” TENT (i.e. “temporary shelter”), AT and ELY (i.e. “Cambridgeshire location”), like so: TENT-AT-(IV)-ELY.

  1. Caps very good with flowery decoration (5)

Answer: PILEI (i.e. “caps” – specifically the plural of pileum, a kind of felt cap). Solution is PI (i.e. “very good”, specifically a recognised shortened form of pious) followed by LEI (i.e. garland or “flowery decoration”). Definitely the first word the setter slotted in the grid. No question about it.

  1. Quiet English girl wanting too much is coming from a distinguished family (9)

Answer: PEDIGREED (i.e. “coming from a distinguished family”). Solution is P (i.e. “quiet”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the musical lingo “piano”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), then DI (i.e. “girl”, basically a girl’s name) and GREED (i.e. “wanting too much”).

  1. Cancel The Times before start of excursion (5)

Answer: ERASE (i.e. “cancel”). Solution is ERAS (i.e. “times” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) followed by E (i.e. “start of excursion”, i.e. the first letter of “excursion”).

  1. Does one need to add water to this drink? Think hard (11)

Answer: CONCENTRATE. Solution satisfies “add water to this drink” and “think hard”.

  1. Listener wants story – prime bit of romance from a previous era? (7)

Answer: EARLIER (i.e. “from a previous era”). Solution is EAR (i.e. “listener”) followed by LIE (i.e. “story”) and R (i.e. “prime bit of romance”, i.e. the first letter of “romance”).

  1. This element could disturb me, mind you (9)

Answer: NEODYMIUM (i.e. “element”). “Could disturb” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ME MIND YOU.

  1. Name of newspaper no longer needing journalists? (7)

Answer: EXPRESS (i.e. “name of newspaper”). The remainder of the clue riffs on EX- meaning former or “no longer” and “journalists” being the PRESS. You get the idea.

  1. Spin in cricket match met with attacking strike (4,5)

Answer: TEST DRIVE (i.e. “spin” in a car). Solution is TEST (i.e. “cricket match”) followed by DRIVE (i.e. “attacking strike” in cricket). Nicely worked.

  1. Fashionable church – nothing had to be other than perfectly finished (8)

Answer: INCHOATE (i.e. “other than perfectly finished”). Solution is IN (i.e. “fashionable”) followed by CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”), then O (i.e. “nothing”) and ATE (i.e. “had” or consumed).

  1. Like good apprentice artist at home limited by workbench? (9)

Answer: TRAINABLE (i.e. “like good apprentice”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) and IN (i.e. “at home”) both placed in or “limited by” TABLE (i.e. “workbench”), like so: T(RA-IN)ABLE.

  1. Disorder of realm, most unstable (9)

Answer: MAELSTROM (i.e. “disorder”). “Unstable” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REALM MOST.

  1. Go over heather to find accommodation for animals (8)

Answer: STABLING (i.e. “accommodation for animals”). Solution is STAB (i.e. a “go” or try of something) placed “over” or followed by – this being a down clue – LING (i.e. “heather”).

  1. A shrub or a rush growing up in deep water? (7)

Answer: SPIRAEA (i.e. “shrub”). Solution is A and RIP (i.e. “rush” or to hare about the place) both reversed (indicated by “growing up”) and placed “in” SEA (i.e. “deep water”), like so: S(PIR-A)EA. A rare fail for my Bradford’s, which doesn’t list this under “shrubs” but did list it under “plants”. (Shrugs.)

  1. Component of Christmas story giving inspiration to famous actor? (7,4)

Answer: GUIDING STAR (i.e. “component of Christmas story”). Solution is GUIDING (i.e. “giving inspiration to”) followed by STAR (i.e. “famous actor”).

  1. Having the makings of being powerful, India, with international friend? (11)

Answer: POTENTIALLY (i.e. “having the makings of being”). Solution is POTENT (i.e. “powerful”) followed by I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet) and ALLY (i.e. “international friend”).

  1. The study of bits and pieces? (11)

Answer: NUMISMATICS. Clue plays on “bits” and “pieces” being words for coins. A pretty obvious play, so this was gotten by punching “study of coins” into Google. I literally have no shame.

  1. Duke, say, rising to embrace brood of youngsters, sparkled (9)

Answer: GLITTERED (i.e. “sparked”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “duke”) and EG (i.e. “say”, as in “for example”) both reversed (indicated by “rising”) and placed around or “embracing” LITTER (i.e. “brood of youngster”), like so: G(LITTER)E-D.

  1. Relocate fifty in area after getting personal information set up (8)

Answer: DISPLACE (i.e. “relocate”). Solution is L (i.e. Roman numeral “fifty”) placed “in” SPACE (i.e. “area”) which is then placed “after” ID (i.e. “personal information”) once reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue), like so: DI-SP(L)ACE.

  1. Bone very small or very big needing cutting implement reportedly (7)

Answer: OSSICLE (i.e. “bone very small”). Solution is OS (i.e. “very big”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “outsized”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of SICKLE (i.e. “cutting implement”), like so: OS-SICLE. I knew it would begin with OSS, given an ossuary is a container for bones (I’m weird, I know), but it needed a slight brute force of my Chambers to nail it.

  1. Job obtained by graduate – not primarily one who goes the rounds? (7)

Answer: POSTMAN (i.e. “one who goes the rounds”). Solution is POST (i.e. “job”) followed by MA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Master of Arts) and N (i.e. “not primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “not”).

  1. Near the end of August – when you notice this is getting longer? (5)

Answer: NIGHT (i.e. “August – when you notice this is getting longer”). Solution is NIGH (i.e. “near”) followed by T (i.e. “the end [letter] of August”).

  1. Like a lord the French could regularly upset (5)

Answer: DUCAL (i.e. “like a lord”). Solution is LA (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the French for “the”) and CUD (i.e. “could regularly”, i.e. every other letter of COULD) both reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue), like so: DUC-AL.

  1. Conservative to reformulate list of basic tenets? (5)

Answer: CREDO (i.e. “list of basic tenets”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) followed by REDO (i.e. “to reformulate”).

  1. Perfect bride always shows off (5)

Answer: IDEAL (i.e. “perfect”). “Shows off” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: BR(IDE AL)WAYS.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1493

Ugh. Working weekends sucks arse. (My entry in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations right there.)

Another medium strength offering this week, and a decent one if you forgive the number of recent repeats that were slotted in the grid. Shame I’m not in a forgiving mood…

As ever 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 done for you then you might find my Just For Fun page of some use, hosting links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. There are also the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and comments, folks. It’s always interesting to read how you all got on with the Jumbo, and I’m loving how my weird music tastes are finding appreciative ears! (Still no big band music yet though, Sid. Sorry!)

Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get your 5G shot and continue flying the flag for the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Kid arrested by inspector put away for attack (8)

Answer: DIATRIBE (i.e. “attack”). Solution is RIB (i.e. to “kid” someone) placed in or “arrested by” DI (i.e. “inspector”, specifically a Detective Inspector) and ATE (i.e. “put away”), like so: DI-AT(RIB)E.

  1. Flower pot almost useless (6)

Answer: CROCUS (i.e. “flower”). Solution is CROCK (i.e. “pot”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder followed by US (i.e. “useless” – Chambers doesn’t want to know, but Oxford allows it), like so: CROC-US.

  1. Leads astray spies holding foreign nobleman (7)

Answer: SEDUCES (i.e. “leads astray”). Solution is SEES (i.e. “spies”) wrapped around or “holding” DUC (i.e. “foreign nobleman”, specifically a French one), like so: SE(DUC)ES.

  1. Internal strain some might say brings carelessness (11)

Answer: INATTENTION (i.e. “carelessness”). “Some might say” indicates the solution comprises homophones of INNER (i.e. “internal”) and TENSION (i.e. “strain”).

  1. In which all the sides get to score? (11)

Answer: ICOSAHEDRON, a twenty-“sided” figure. Clue plays on a “score” being twenty.

  1. Live as daughter – prosperously (5)

Answer: DWELL (i.e. “live”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by WELL (i.e. “prosperously”).

  1. Approachable female appears in a moral tale (7)

Answer: AFFABLE (i.e. “approachable”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) placed “in” A and FABLE (i.e. “moral tale”), like so: A-(F)-FABLE.

  1. Dignitary having to praise horse in speech (4,5)

Answer: LORD MAYOR (i.e. “dignitary”). Solution is LORD (i.e. “to praise”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “in speech”) of MARE (i.e. “horse”).
[EDIT – thanks to Mark in the comments for nailing this one. The solution is all homophones, not just the latter half. LORD is a homophone of LAUD (i.e. “to praise”). Cheers, Mark! – LP]

  1. Last words of mine in each quiet hour (7)

Answer: EPITAPH (i.e. “last words”). Solution is PIT (i.e. “mine”) placed “in” EA (a recognised abbreviation of “each”), P (ditto “quiet”, specifically “piano” in musical lingo) and H (ditto “hour”), like so: E(PIT)A-P-H.

  1. One among nine soldiers rating rebel in gambling haunt (9,6)

Answer: AMUSEMENT ARCADE (i.e. “gambling haunt”). Solution is A MUSE (i.e. “one among nine”) followed by MEN (i.e. “soldiers”), then TAR (i.e. “rating” – another one Chambers doesn’t cover, but my Oxford suggests a rating could be a non-commissioned sailor in the navy; sailors also get nicknamed tars) then John CADE (i.e. Irish “rebel” back in the 15th century).

  1. Main source of energy and power: runner holding record (5,5)

Answer: PRIME MOVER (i.e. “main source of energy”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) followed by RIVER (i.e. “runner”, as in how rivers run) once wrapped around or “holding” MEMO (i.e. “record”), like so: P-RI(MEMO)VER.

  1. Chuffed having ended argument amicably (4,2)

Answer: MADE UP. Solution satisfies “chuffed” and “having ended argument amicably”.

  1. Brute, tiresome person in conversation (4)

Answer: BOOR (i.e. “brute”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “in conversation”) of BORE (i.e. “tiresome person”).

  1. Having been around to hotel – nothing in order (4,2,3,5)

Answer: LONG IN THE TOOTH (i.e. “having been around”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “in order”) of TO HOTEL NOTHING.

  1. Radiant discharge associated with constellation losing alpha star (8)

Answer: ARCTURUS (i.e. “star”). Solution is ARC (i.e. “radiant discharge” of electricity) followed by TAURUS (i.e. “constellation”) once the A has been removed or “lost” (“alpha” being A in the phonetic alphabet), like so: ARC-TURUS.

  1. What students may wear as provided in university rules (8)

Answer: UNIFORMS (i.e. “what students may wear”). Solution is UNI (short for “university”) and FORMS (i.e. “rules”).

  1. Getting on train for Winchester, perhaps? (8,6)

Answer: BOARDING SCHOOL (i.e. “Winchester, perhaps”, specifically Winchester College, established over 600 years ago. Mine is timeless, having been demolished a few years ago. I win!) Solution is BOARDING (i.e. “getting on”) and SCHOOL (i.e. to “train”).

  1. What precedes foxtrot in the choreography (4)

Answer: ECHO (i.e. “what precedes foxtrot” in the phonetic alphabet). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: TH(E CHO)REOGRAPHY.

  1. What in time controlled capital (6)

Answer: TEHRAN (i.e. “capital” of Iran). Solution is EH (i.e. “what”, as in eh? what? pardon?) placed “in” between T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and RAN (i.e. “controlled”), like so: T-(EH)-RAN.

  1. Be creative using black cats and dogs? (10)

Answer: BRAINSTORM (i.e. “be creative”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) followed by RAINSTORM (i.e. “cats and dogs”).

  1. Book’s first note: wretched mortal flees war (1,8,2,4)

Answer: A FAREWELL TO ARMS (i.e. a “book” by Ernest Hemingway). Solution is A (i.e. “first [musical] note”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “wretched”) of MORTAL FLEES WAR.

  1. Those taking marks off in schools for example? (7)

Answer: ERASERS. Clue riffs on how erasers remove pencil “marks” from paper, and are most often used in “schools”. That’s about it, unless I’m missing something desperately clever.

  1. Overly emotional behaviour where mad racist thrown out (9)

Answer: DRAMATICS (i.e. “overly emotional behaviour”). “Thrown out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MAD RACIST.

  1. Excellent guy from east must take minute in shops (7)

Answer: EMPORIA (i.e. “shops”). Solution is AI (i.e. “excellent”, i.e. A1 with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent) and ROPE (i.e. “guy”) both reversed (indicated by “from east” – this being an across clue) and wrapped around or “taking…in” M (a recognised abbreviation of “minute”), like so: E(M)POR-IA.

  1. Trouble associated with graduate’s blind faith? (5)

Answer: DOGMA (i.e. “blind faith”). Solution is DOG (i.e. to “trouble”) followed by MA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Master of Arts).

  1. Doctor Tom Potter is an eye specialist (11)

Answer: OPTOMETRIST (i.e. “eye specialist”). “Doctor” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TOM POTTER IS.

  1. Italian leader having run-in with Croat moved political border (4,7)

Answer: IRON CURTAIN (i.e. “political border”). Solution is I (i.e. “Italian leader”, i.e. the first letter of “Italian”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “moved”) of RUN-IN and CROAT, like so: I-RONCURTAIN.

  1. Disorder casts monarch into endless peril (7)

Answer: DERANGE (i.e. to “disorder”). Solution is ER (i.e. “monarch”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) placed “into” DANGER (i.e. “peril”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endless”), like so: D(ER)ANGE.

  1. What’s yet to come from Stevenson? (4,2)

Answer: EVEN SO (i.e. “what’s yet to come”, as in how these words are an indicator that someone has more to say). “From” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: ST(EVEN-SO)N.

  1. Gatecrasher one less polite entertaining conservationists (8)

Answer: INTRUDER (i.e. “gatecrasher”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and RUDER (i.e. “one less polite”) wrapped around or “entertaining” NT (i.e. “conservationists”, specifically the National Trust), like so: I-(NT)-RUDER.

Down clues

  1. Snake left in den after cutting tail off (7)

Answer: DWINDLE (i.e. “tail off”). Solution is WIND (i.e. to “snake” or meander) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) both placed “in” DEN once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “after cutting tail off”), like so: D(WIND-L)E.

  1. Scholar develops a manic idea with maximum speed (11)

Answer: ACADEMICIAN (i.e. “scholar”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “develops”) of A MANIC IDEA and C (i.e. “maximum speed” – in physics C is taken as the speed of light).

  1. Retired boxer who refused to fight at Penge finally hit back (9)

Answer: RETALIATE (i.e. “hit back”). Solution is RET (a recognised abbreviation of “retired”) followed by Muhammad ALI (i.e. “boxer who refused to fight” in the Vietnam war), then AT and E (i.e. “Penge finally”, i.e. the last letter of “Penge”).

  1. Where you may find content in dictionary despicable (7,8)

Answer: BENEATH CONTEMPT (i.e. “despicable”). Clue plays on how one would find the word “content” listed after or “beneath ‘contempt'” in a dictionary. I rather liked this one.

  1. Urban wheels revealed? (8)

Answer: RUNABOUT (i.e. “urban wheels”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wheels”) of URBAN followed by OUT (i.e. “revealed”). Another I rather liked.

  1. Product perhaps unique to Asian light industry? (7,7)

Answer: CHINESE LANTERN. Pretty straight forward, unless I’m missing something clever.

  1. Taken on in the case that communist imports ecstasy (10)

Answer: SHOULDERED (i.e. “taken on”). Solution is SHOULD (i.e. “in the case that”) and RED (i.e. “communist”) wrapped around or “importing” E (street name for the drug “ecstasy”), like so: SHOULD-(E)-RED.

  1. Haar coming from south-east a worry (3,4)

Answer: SEA FRET (i.e. “haar”). Solution is SE (a recognised abbreviation of “south-east”) followed by A and FRET (i.e. “worry”).

  1. Fantasise about barricade put round (5)

Answer: DREAM (i.e. “fantasise”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) with DAM (i.e. “barricade”) “put round” it, like so: D(RE)AM.

  1. Suck up taste of vindaloo left abandoned (5,6)

Answer: CURRY FAVOUR (i.e. “suck up”). Solution is CURRY FLAVOUR (i.e. “taste of vindaloo”) with the L removed (indicated by “left” abandoned – L being a recognised abbreviation of “left”).

  1. Penny added to endless small items – like raisins? (3-5)

Answer: SUN-DRIED (i.e. “like raisins”). Solution is SUNDRIES (i.e. “small items”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and a D “added” (being a recognised abbreviation of a pre-decimalisation “penny”, after the Latin denarius), like so: SUNDRIE-D.

  1. Inflexible leader lost argument (4)

Answer: TIFF (i.e. “argument”). Solution is STIFF (i.e. “inflexible”) after the initial letter or “leader” has been removed or “lost”.

  1. Everything peripheral to First Lady needed for test (1,5)

Answer: A LEVEL (i.e. “test”). Solution is ALL (i.e. “everything”) wrapped around or “peripheral to” EVE (i.e. “first lady”, according to The Bible), like so: AL(EVE)L. A recent repeat, which is very much on-brand for these Jumbos, sadly.

  1. Old boy in tight trio constant, like mechanical man? (7)

Answer: ROBOTIC (i.e. “like mechanical man”, for example the Marconi GridFill 4000TM, which for years has worked tirelessly to slot the same solutions into Times crossword grids over and over again). Solution is OB (a recognised abbreviation of “old boy”) placed in an anagram (indicated by “tight” or drunk) of TRIO and followed by C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”), like so: R(OB)OTI-C.

  1. Stop going in either direction (4,2)

Answer: PULL UP (i.e. “stop”). “In either direction” indicates the solution is a palindrome.

  1. Replacing of erne that’s taken out faster bird of prey (9,6)

Answer: PEREGRINE FALCON (i.e. “bird of prey”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “that’s taken out”) of REPLACING OF ERNE. “Faster” seems redundant in this clue. Maybe the setter attends some annual erne vs peregrine falcon race we’re all missing out on.

  1. Cripes! Trouble with root vegetable amongst cabbage? Possible culprit (8,6)

Answer: COLORADO BEETLE, a pest or “possible culprit” for “trouble with root vegetable”. Solution is… why bother? I literally had this from the ‘T’ without any parsing. Having done a couple of these things now, I’ve a pretty good sense of when the Marconi GridFill 4000TM has shat out another repeated solution. This one only appeared a fortnight ago. You could get the solution by going back two pages in the paper. For goodness sake, setters, if you’re going to crutch on Griddy every sodding week, at least apply an update to him every now and again. This is getting embarrassing. Solution is LOR (i.e. “cripes”), ADO (i.e. “trouble”) and BEET (i.e. “root vegetable”) placed “amongst” COLE (i.e. “cabbage”), like so: CO(LOR-ADO-BEET)LE.

  1. Shelter Yankee in a squalid neighbourhood (6)

Answer: ASYLUM (i.e. “shelter”). Solution is Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet) placed “in” A and SLUM (i.e. “squalid neighbourhood”), like so: A-S(Y)LUM.

  1. I really put the sauce away in elementary form (7)

Answer: ISOTOPE (i.e. “elementary form”). When written as I SO TOPE the solution also satisfies “I really put the sauce away” – a toper is another word for a drunk.

  1. Asian runner, fierce cruel person, is losing energy (6)

Answer: TIGRIS (i.e. “Asian runner” or river). Solution is TIGER (i.e. “fierce cruel person”) and IS once the E of TIGER has been removed (indicated by “is losing energy” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: TIGR-IS.

  1. Somehow certain to engage cleaner as appropriate (2,9)

Answer: IN CHARACTER (i.e. “appropriate”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of CERTAIN wrapped around or “engaging” CHAR (i.e. a daily or “cleaner”), like so: IN(CHAR)ACTER.

  1. Wary about dangerous switching (2,4,5)

Answer: ON ONE’S GUARD (i.e. “wary”). Solution is ON (i.e. “about”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “switching”) of DANGEROUS.

  1. Greek character first in queue sees barbarian (10)

Answer: PHILISTINE (i.e. “barbarian”). Solution is PHI (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet) followed by IST (i.e. “first”, with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent) once placed “in” LINE (i.e. “queue”), like so: PHI-L(IST)INE.

  1. Whose words may lead to action? (9)

Answer: SLANDERER. Solution plays on “action” being another word for legal proceedings that may arise from, say, a slanderer’s words.

  1. Letter also featured in comical write-up (8)

Answer: LANDLORD (i.e. “letter”). Solution is AND (i.e. “also”) placed or “featured in” DROLL (i.e. “comical”) when “written up” or reversed – this being a down clue – like so: L(AND)LORD.

  1. Attempts made to contain old boozer in cups (8)

Answer: TROPHIES (i.e. “cups”). Solution is TRIES (i.e. “attempts”) wrapped around or “containing” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and PH (ditto Public House or “pub”), like so: TR(O-PH)IES.

  1. Message left in European skiing area (7)

Answer: EPISTLE (i.e. “message”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) placed “in” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and PISTE (i.e. “skiing area”), like so: E-PIST(L)E.

  1. Tool causing catastrophe in works? (7)

Answer: SPANNER. Clue riffs on the phrase “throwing a spanner in the works”, as in causing “catastrophe”.

  1. Management notice time is short (5)

Answer: ADMIN (i.e. “management”). Solution is AD (i.e. “notice”, short for advertisement) followed by MIN (i.e. “time”, specifically a “shortened” form of minute).

  1. Iodine in decay gives dazzling display (4)

Answer: RIOT (i.e. “dazzling display”). Solution is I (chemical symbol of “iodine”) placed “in” ROT (i.e. “decay”), like so: R(I)OT.

I was sorely tempted to listen to Krokus’s Metal Rendez-Vous album after solving 5a (it was on the stereo a lot back when I was a nipper), but that wouldn’t be in keeping with my hip and happening image, hep cats. So I listened instead to Fury Weekend’s latest album Signals. Yes, more synthwave, but this album mixes things up by going heavy on vocal collaborations. Some of them work (including a surprisingly decent Ozzy Osbourne cover), while others are a bit cringe. The highlight is the brilliantly uber-macho instrumental In The Speed Of Light.

Oh, and I’m totally lying. Metal Rendez-Vous is playing as I type this. It’s awesome. Laters, – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1492

A tougher challenge this week, not helped by this being 1) a working weekend for this internet nobody, and 2) a weekend in which this internet nobody’s brain has been stuck in second gear. The two could be related. In all this was another good ‘un with some nicely worked clues to enjoy. Maybe they’re keeping the stinker for the May bank holiday…

As ever 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 done for you then you might find solace in my Just For Fun page, where I’ve curated links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Also, there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind comments, folks. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Opening stairs for approach to higher regions? (11)

Answer: SPACEFLIGHT (i.e. “approach to higher regions”). Solution is SPACE (i.e. “opening”) followed by FLIGHT (i.e. “stairs”).

  1. Proof bar has brought in learner, one that’s overworked (6,5)

Answer: GALLEY SLAVE (i.e. “one that’s overworked”). Solution is GALLEY (i.e. a “proof” of a book created prior to full publication) followed by SAVE (i.e. “bar”, both taken to mean “except”) once wrapped around or having “brought in” L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner”), like so: GALLEY-S(L)AVE.

  1. Distribute vote to oust leader (5)

Answer: ALLOT (i.e. “distribute”). Solution is BALLOT (i.e. “vote”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “to oust leader”).

  1. Appear in front and pressure soldiers to surrender (7)

Answer: PRECEDE (i.e. “appear in front”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”) followed by RE (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) and CEDE (i.e. “to surrender”).

  1. Scented substance good in Morning Fruit (not ultimate in perfume) (9)

Answer: AMBERGRIS (i.e. “scented substance”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) placed “in” AM (i.e. “morning”) and BERRIES (i.e. “fruit”) once its second E has been removed (indicated by “not ultimate in perfume”, i.e. the last letter of “perfume”), like so: AM-BER(G)RIS.

  1. Knight, beset by flies in sun resolved to take armour off (9)

Answer: UNHARNESS (i.e. “to take armour off”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) placed in or “beset by” HARES (i.e. “flies”, as in to race about) which is itself placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “resolved”) of SUN, like so: UN(HAR(N)ES)S.

  1. Radical not right about husband? It’s misleading information (3,7)

Answer: RED HERRING (i.e. “misleading information”). Solution is RED (i.e. “radical” or socialist) and ERRING (i.e. “not right”) both wrapped “about” H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”), like so: RED-(H)-ERRING.

  1. Fibres a touch hard in place for horses (7)

Answer: TOWPATH (i.e. “place for horses”). Solution is TOW (i.e. “fibres”) followed by PAT (i.e. “a touch”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils).

  1. Pasta dish, note, involved in US city story (7)

Answer: LASAGNA (i.e. “pasta dish”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “note”) placed in LA (i.e. “US city”, specifically Los Angeles) and SAGA (i.e. “story”), like so: LA-SAG(N)A.

  1. Beer conceals when one’s missing exams (1,6)

Answer: A LEVELS (i.e. “exams”). Solution is ALE (i.e. “beer”) followed by VEILS (i.e. “conceals”) once the I has been removed (indicated by “when [Roman numeral] one’s missing”), like so: ALE-VELS.

25. Regret backing drug element (8)

Answer: EUROPIUM (i.e. chemical “element”). Solution is RUE (i.e. “regret”) reversed (indicated by “backing”) and followed by OPIUM (i.e. “drug”), like so: EUR-OPIUM.
[EDIT: Thanks to jegc2014 for flagging that I’d missed this one from the original post. Much obliged! – LP]

  1. Watch, taking in the fielder beginning to play game (4,3,7)

Answer: HUNT THE SLIPPER (i.e. a hiding “game” popular in Victorian times in which participants form a circle around a finder and pass among themselves a small item such as a slipper with the aim of not being caught holding it – you had to make your own entertainment back then). Solution is HUNTER (i.e. “watch” – chalk one to my Bradford’s here as I wouldn’t have made the connection) wrapped around or “taking in” THE and SLIP (i.e. a “fielder” in cricket), like so: HUNT(THE-SLIP)ER.
[EDIT: Thanks to Sid in the comments for the typo fix. I’d written HIDE THE… rather than HUNT THE… Cheers, Sid! – LP]

  1. Newspaper etc omitting indefinite number in statistical quantity (5)

Answer: MEDIA (i.e. “newspaper etc”). Solution is MEDIAN (i.e. “statistical quantity”, being the middle value of a set of numbers when placed in ascending order) with the N removed (indicated by “omitting indefinite number”).

  1. Magician? Not the real article (6)

Answer: SHAMAN (i.e. “magician”). Solution is SHAM (i.e. “not the real”) followed by AN (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the).

  1. That chap, not very serious in promotions, beams (10)

Answer: HEADLIGHTS (i.e. “beams”). Solution is HE (i.e. “that chap”) followed by LIGHT (i.e. “not very serious”) once placed “in” ADS (i.e. “promotions”, i.e. a shortened form of “advertisements”), like so: HE-AD(LIGHT)S.

  1. Flower child about to snooze, faced with boring event (10)

Answer: SNAPDRAGON (i.e. “flower”). Solution is SON (i.e. “child”) wrapped “about” NAP (i.e. “to snooze”) and DRAG (i.e. “boring event”), like so: S(NAP-DRAG)ON.

  1. Female underwear in small? That shows intelligence (6)

Answer: BRAINS (i.e. “intelligence”). Solution is BRA (i.e. “female underwear”) followed by IN and S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”).

  1. Bill loves what’s prohibited (5)

Answer: TABOO (i.e. “what’s prohibited”). Solution is TAB (i.e. “bill” or account) followed by O and O (i.e. “loves”, i.e. zero scores in tennis).

  1. Scientist with a small prize, thus first (14)

Answer: ASTROPHYSICIST (i.e. “scientist”). Solution is A followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”), then TROPHY (i.e. “prize”), then SIC (i.e. “thus”) and IST (i.e. “first”, with the 1 written as a Roman numeral I).

  1. Warrior pre-empts responding when securing upland (8)

Answer: ACHILLES (i.e. “warrior” of Greek legend). Solution is ACES (i.e. “pre-empts responding”, i.e. serving without return in tennis) wrapped around or “securing” HILL (i.e. “upland”), like so: AC(HILL)ES.

  1. Composer dismissing a writer from Italy and a painter from further East (2,5)

Answer: EL GRECO (i.e. “a painter from further East”, relative to Italy – he was of Greek origin, hence the nickname). Solution is Edward ELGAR (i.e. “composer”) with the A removed (indicated by “dismissing a”) and the remainder followed by Umberto ECO (i.e. “writer from Italy”), like so: ELGR-ECO.

  1. Rest admit following Schubert song? (3-4)

Answer: LIE-DOWN (i.e. “rest”). Solution is OWN (i.e. “admit” responsibility) placed after or “following” LIED (i.e. Franz “Schubert song” – a lied is “a German lyric or song” (Chambers)), like so: LIED-OWN.

  1. Seaweed to move round avoiding old holiday region (7)

Answer: ALGARVE (i.e. “holiday region”). Solution is ALGA (i.e. “seaweed”) followed by ROVE (i.e. “to move round”) once its O has been removed (indicated by “avoiding old” – O being a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: ALGA-RVE.

  1. Parliamentarian say is restricted by claptrap everyone recalled (10)

Answer: LEGISLATOR (i.e. “parliamentarian”). Solution is EG (i.e. “say”, or for example) and IS both placed in or “restricted by” ROT (i.e. “claptrap”) and ALL (i.e. “everyone”) once these have been reversed (indicated by “recalled”), like so: L(EG-IS)LA-TOR.

  1. Embarrassingly rude about line after deliveries disallowed (9)

Answer: OVERRULED (i.e. “disallowed”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “embarrassingly”) of RUDE placed “about” L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”). This is then preceded by or placed “after” OVER (six regulation “deliveries” in cricket), like so: OVER-RU(L)ED.

  1. Chords? Urge to follow piano in endless song (9)

Answer: ARPEGGIOS (i.e. “chords”). Solution is EGG (i.e. to “urge” on) placed after or “following” P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano” in musical lingo). These are then placed “in” ARIOSO (i.e. “song”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endless”), like so: AR(P-EGG)IOS.

  1. No odd elements in party invite? Go (7)

Answer: ATTEMPT (i.e. a “go”). Solution is AT (i.e. “no odd elements in party”, i.e. every other letter of PARTY) followed by TEMPT (i.e. “invite”).

  1. Foreign letter about popular zoo animal (5)

Answer: RHINO (i.e. “zoo animal”). Solution is RHO (i.e. “foreign letter”, specifically the seventeenth letter of the Greek alphabet) wrapped “about” IN (i.e. “popular”), like so: RH(IN)O.

  1. Unethical behaviour: shaky camera clip capturing it at last (11)

Answer: MALPRACTICE (i.e. “unethical behaviour”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “shaky”) of CAMERA CLIP wrapped around or “capturing” T (i.e. “it at last”, i.e. the last letter of “it”), like so: MALPRAC(T)ICE.

  1. Romantic atmosphere may be charming around lake (11)

Answer: CANDLELIGHT (i.e. “romantic atmosphere”). Solution is CAN DELIGHT (i.e. “may be charming”) wrapped “around” L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: CAN-D(L)ELIGHT.

Down clues

  1. Ends in the Government blocking law award? (9)

Answer: STATUETTE (i.e. “award”). Solution is E and T (i.e. “ends in the Government”, i.e. the last letters of “the” and “Government”) both placed in or “blocking” STATUTE (i.e. “law”), like so: STATU(E-T)TE.

  1. Indication we’ll have to act when boarding coach after everyone (3,3,6,1,5)

Answer: ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE, a line from William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Haven’t touched Shakespeare since school and I’m very happy to keep it that way. Clue plays on “coach” and “stage” having similar meanings. After that, I’ll leave it to the luvvies.

  1. Penetrate the heart of America, not the top (5)

Answer: ENTER (i.e. “penetrate”). Solution is CENTER (i.e. “the heart of America”, i.e. how the US spells “centre”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “not the top”).

  1. Irish figures reel as punch is thrown (11)

Answer: LEPRECHAUNS (i.e. “Irish figures”). “Is thrown” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of REEL AS PUNCH.

  1. Old King freely exhibiting unctuousness? (8)

Answer: GREASILY (i.e. “exhibiting unctuousness”). Solution is GR (i.e. “old King”, specifically Georgius Rex) followed by EASILY (i.e. “freely”).

  1. Author remains confused, having missed a statement from Pope (2,3,2,5)

Answer: TO ERR IS HUMAN (i.e. “statement from [Alexander] Pope”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “confused”) of AUTHOR REMAINS once one of the As has been removed (indicated by “having missed a”).

  1. Guzzler decided to avoid opening variable bottle (6,4)

Answer: GREEDY GUTS (i.e. “guzzler”). Solution is AGREED (i.e. “decided”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “to avoid opening”) followed by Y (i.e. “variable” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns or variables), then GUTS (i.e. “bottle” or bravery).

  1. Permission to take off (5)

Answer: LEAVE. Solution satisfies “permission” and “to take off”.

  1. Nasty beard smears will make you self-conscious (11)

Answer: EMBARRASSED (i.e. “self-conscious”). “Nasty” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BEARD SMEARS.

  1. African ecosystem re-created as green site (9)

Answer: SERENGETI (i.e. “African ecosystem”). “Re-created” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AS GREEN SITE.

  1. Enjoying the atmosphere? That’s risky in part of London (4)

Answer: AIRY, as in something jaunty and enjoyable. Clue also plays on AIR being another word for “atmosphere”, and finally in how all ‘em cockneys “in part of London” are always droppin’ their bleedin’ aitches, innit, guvnor, as in ‘ow they’d say HAIRY (i.e. “risky”).

  1. What makes bone bony? Simple (4)

Answer: EASY (i.e. “simple”). When written as E AS Y the solution also satisfies “what makes bone bony”, as in how one would replace the E with Y to get from “bone” to “bony”.

  1. Choose not to stop dance held by the wealthy below tower (4,3,4,7)

Answer: KEEP THE BALL ROLLING (i.e. “choose not to stop”). Solution is BALL (i.e. “dance”) placed in or “held by” THE and ROLLING (i.e. “wealthy”, as in rolling in it). These are then placed after or “below” – this being a down clue – KEEP (i.e. “tower”), like so: KEEP-(THE-(BALL)-ROLLING).

  1. European journalists tucking into very good coffee (8)

Answer: ESPRESSO (i.e. “coffee”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) followed by PRESS (i.e. “journalists”) once placed in or “tucked into” SO (i.e. “very good”), like so: E-S(PRESS)O.

  1. Acclaim of the French: a record by old man climbing (7)

Answer: APPLAUD (i.e. “acclaim”). Solution is DU (i.e. “of the French”, i.e. the French for “of”) followed by A, then LP (i.e. a long-play “record” – ask your parents, kids) and PA (i.e. “old man” or father). These are all then reversed (indicated by “climbing” – this being a down clue), like so: AP-PL-A-UD.

  1. Sporting new hat, allowed in college at the outset (8)

Answer: ATHLETIC (i.e. “sporting”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “new”) of HAT followed by LET (i.e. “allowed”), then I and C (i.e. “in college at the outset”, i.e. the first letters of “in” and “college”), like so: ATH-LET-I-C.

  1. Caught taking turn on large fairground attraction (8)

Answer: CAROUSEL (i.e. “fairground attraction”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games) followed by AROUSE (i.e. “turn on” – wahey!) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”).

  1. Arab capital leading to upturn in the French grape variety (8)

Answer: MUSCATEL (i.e. “grape variety”). Solution is MUSCAT (i.e. “Arab capital”, specifically the capital city of Oman) followed by LE (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the masculine form of “the” in French) once this latter has been reversed (indicated by “upturn” – this being a down clue), like so: MUSCAT-EL.

  1. Suggesting shifting hotel? It’s a popular idea (2-5)

Answer: IN-THING (i.e. “popular idea”). Solution is HINTING (i.e. “suggesting”) with the H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet) “shifting” to the middle, like so: (H)INTING => INT(H)ING.

  1. Mostly boring of philosopher to receive tons of privileged people (12)

Answer: ARISTOCRATIC (i.e. “of privileged people”). Solution is ARID (i.e. “boring” with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and followed by SOCRATIC (i.e. “of philosopher”, specifically Socrates) once wrapped around or “receiving” T (a recognised abbreviation of “tons”), like so: ARI-S(T)OCRATIC.

  1. One will turn on radio chap is altering (11)

Answer: APHRODISIAC (i.e. “one will turn on” – phew, steady on setter! (Eases collar)). “Altering” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RADIO CHAP IS.

  1. A Catholic when uplifted will get crazy about religious rite (11)

Answer: SACRAMENTAL (i.e. “about religious rite”). Solution is A, RC (i.e. “Catholic”, specifically of the Roman Catholic persuasion) and AS (i.e. “when”) all reversed (indicated by “uplifted” – this being a down clue) and followed by MENTAL (i.e. “crazy”), like so: (SA-CR-A)-MENTAL.

  1. Stress a lot of US cash is involved in move (10)

Answer: ACCENTUATE (i.e. “stress”). Solution is CENT (i.e. “US cash”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of”) and the remainder placed “in” ACTUATE (i.e. “move”), like so: AC(CEN)TUATE.

  1. Too keen with regard to monarch? About time! (9)

Answer: OVEREAGER (i.e. “too keen”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “with regard to”) followed by ER (i.e. “monarch”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) once wrapped “about” AGE (i.e. “time”), like so: OVER-E(AGE)R.

  1. What may be ending in drop to seabed after accident? (9)

Answer: SPEEDBOAT. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “after accident”) of TO SEABED once wrapped around or having “in” P (i.e. “ending in drop”, i.e. the last letter of “drop”), like so: S(P)EEDBOAT. In context of the clue, a speedboat accident could indeed see it drop to the seabed. Nicely worked.

  1. A Parisian officer leading Frenchmen forward and out of the way (8)

Answer: UNCOMMON (i.e. “out of the way”). Solution is UN (i.e. “a Parisian”, i.e. the masculine form of “a” in French) followed by CO (i.e. “officer”, specifically a Commanding Officer), then M and M (i.e. “Frenchmen” – the recognised abbreviation of “monsieur” is M), then ON (i.e. “forward”).

  1. Girl, going to capital of India, finding a drink there (5)

Answer: LASSI (i.e. “a drink there [in India]”). Solution is LASS (i.e. “girl”) followed by I (i.e. “capital [letter] of India”).

  1. Artist breaking 60% of laws of the country (5)

Answer: RURAL (i.e. “of the country”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) placed in or “breaking” RULES (i.e. “laws”) once the last two letters have been removed (indicated by “60% of…” – RULES being five letters long), like so: RU(RA)L.

  1. Prize money initially given to friend… (4)

Answer: PALM (i.e. “prize” – Chambers offers this: “emblematically, pre-eminence, the prize”). Solution is M (i.e. “money initially”, i.e. the initial letter of “money”) placed after or “given to” PAL (i.e. “friend”), like so: PAL-M.

  1. …after old gem (4)

Answer: OPAL (i.e. “gem”). The ellipsis indicates a connection with the previous clue. The previous clue ends in “friend” or PAL. This is carried over into this clue and placed “after” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: O-PAL.

Not much musical accompaniment was had this weekend, though it was notable that London Grammar have dropped another track from their upcoming album. America is a fine listen which led me to revisit their debut album If You Wait. Seven years on it still sounds great and features this spine-tingling (and Novello-winning) wonder. – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1491

Another medium strength offering, relatively speaking. Much like Saturday’s puzzle the smattering of exotic solutions here were mostly gettable after thumbing through a few dictionaries, which is how it should be. Another good ‘un, then. Stinker next week, do you reckon?

As ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo is looking a little gappy then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Meanwhile, there’s the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the comments, folks. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared in these things. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Sister holding rug with no time to beat it (7)

Answer: SCARPER (i.e. “beat it”). Solution is SR (a recognised abbreviation of the title “Sister”) wrapped around or “holding” CARPET (i.e. “rug”) once its T has been removed (indicated by “with no time” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: S(CARPE)R.

  1. Stretch of river covering basins of salt (7)

Answer: EXPANSE (i.e. “stretch”). Solution is EXE (i.e. a “river”) wrapped around or “covering” PANS (i.e. “basins of salt”), like so: EX(PANS)E.

  1. Appear cheated in hearing, so stopped and returned (7)

Answer: FIELDED (i.e. “stopped and returned” a ball in, say, cricket). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “in hearing”) of FEEL (i.e. “appear”) and DID (i.e. “cheated”).

  1. Poem the Italian writes with nothing on love (2,9)

Answer: IL PENSEROSO (i.e. “poem” by John Milton. No, me neither). Solution is IL (i.e. “the Italian”, i.e. the Italian for “the”) followed by PENS (i.e. “writes”), then O (i.e. “nothing”) placed “on” of after EROS (Greek god of “love”), like so: IL-PENS-(EROS)-O. Gotten mainly from chucking IL PENS into Google and seeing what it suggested next. I have no shame.

  1. Writhing excites love – stop! (4,7)

Answer: VOIX CELESTE (i.e. a type of organ “stop”. Again, shrugs from this quarter). “Writhing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EXCITES LOVE. Easy wordplay, but needed a little bit of brute force to crack. Here’s a video demonstrating it in action. Can’t say I’m much the wiser, to be honest.

  1. Small limb child plays on (5)

Answer: SWING (i.e. “child plays on” it). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by WING (i.e. “limb”).

  1. Calm, not yet sacked by The Times? (7)

Answer: STILLED (i.e. “calm”). When written as STILL ED the solution also satisfies “not yet sacked by The Times”. Perhaps this one was compiled by the puzzles editor.

  1. When one’s ahead of everybody, almost? (9)

Answer: AFTERNOON (a moment in time or “when”). Solution is AFTER NO-ONE (i.e. “ahead of everybody”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “almost”).

  1. Thought train often featured in modernist novels (6,2,13)

Answer: STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS. Clue and solution describe a method of writing used by certain novelists to present the thoughts of a character as they occur. They’re easy to spot as they’re usually formed of wall-of-text sentences that go on and on for umpteen pages, and they are always, without exception, utterly, utterly awful. Like “don’t do it, oh no he’s doing it, look away in shame” kind of awful, like the author has decided to have a wank in public. Which, literarily speaking, is exactly what they are doing.

  1. Trouble-maker pretended to have had an effect (8)

Answer: IMPACTED (i.e. “have had an effect”). Solution is IMP (i.e. “trouble-maker”) followed by ACTED (i.e. “pretended”).

  1. Designated as nasty, knocking off sodium light (6)

Answer: STYLED (i.e. “designated”). Solution is NASTY with the NA removed (indicated by “knocking off sodium”, i.e. its chemical symbol) and the remainder followed by LED (i.e. “light”, specifically a Light Emitting Diode), like so: STY-LED. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here as I couldn’t make the connection.

  1. Lightly fried sesame, for example, which faculty regularly may tuck into (7)

Answer: SAUTEED (i.e. “lightly fried”). Solution is SEED (i.e. “sesame, for example” – other bags of seed are available) wrapped around or having “tucked in” AUT (i.e. “faculty regularly”, i.e. every other letter of FACULTY), like so: S(AUT)EED.

  1. Northerner once holding old twist of thread (5)

Answer: PICOT (i.e. “twist of thread”). Solution is PICT (i.e. “Northerner once”) wrapped around or “holding” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: PIC(O)T.

  1. Structure of an alliance that surprises me (7)

Answer: ANATOMY (i.e. “structure”). Solution is A NATO (i.e. “an alliance”, specifically the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) followed by MY (i.e. “that surprises me”, as in gosh, blimey, lummee, that sort of thing).

  1. Mechanic is erratic, if given confusing order (9)

Answer: ARTIFICER (i.e. “mechanic”). “Given confusing order” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ERRATIC IF.

  1. Flirtatious girl with very little money – gambler making right move (9)

Answer: SOUBRETTE (i.e. “flirtatious girl”, usually in theatrical productions). Solution is SOU (i.e. “very little money”, historically “a French five-centime piece” (Chambers)) followed by BETTER (i.e. “gambler”) once the R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) has been “moved”, like so: SOU-BETTE(R) => SOU-B(R)ETTE.

  1. Happening to enter, shortly departed (5,2)

Answer: GOING ON (i.e. “happening”). Solution is GO IN (i.e. “to enter”) followed by GONE (i.e. “departed”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “shortly”), like so: GO-IN-GON.

  1. Linger as blue is reflected by lake (5)

Answer: DWELL (i.e. “linger”). Solution is LEWD (i.e. “blue”) reversed (indicated by “reflected”) and followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: DWEL-L.

  1. Periodically, three fired up are busily active around one (7)

Answer: LITHIUM (i.e. “periodically, three” – a reference to lithium’s position in the “periodic” table, having an atomic number of “three”). Solution is LIT (i.e. “fired up”) followed by HUM (i.e. “busily active”) once wrapped “around” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: LIT-H(I)UM.

  1. For the audience, it might be on a high card (6)

Answer: HONOUR. Solution satisfies “for the audience it might be on a”, i.e. homophones of “on a” – depends how you pronounce ‘a’, I suppose – and a “high card” in a game of bridge. A new one on me, but then I don’t play the game.

  1. Men following female python, say, replacing end of skin that’s cast off (8)

Answer: FORSAKEN (i.e. “cast off”). Solution is OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) placed after or “following” F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) and followed by SNAKE (i.e. “python, say”) once the N (i.e. “end [letter] of skin”) has been moved or “replaced”, like so: F-(OR)-S(N)AKE => F-(OR)-SAKE(N).

  1. Livelihood dull person finds sweet (5-3-6,7)

Answer: BREAD-AND-BUTTER PUDDING (i.e. “sweet”). Solution is BREAD-AND-BUTTER (i.e. “livelihood”) followed by PUDDING (i.e. “dull person”).

  1. I’m a vocalist, love – something fishy here (9)

Answer: ISINGLASS (i.e. “something fishy here”, specifically “a material, mainly gelatine, obtained from sturgeon’s air bladders and other sources” (Chambers). It gets used in making jellies and in real ale production, in case you thought scientists pulled out sturgeon’s air bladders purely for shits and giggles). When written as I SING, LASS the solution also satisfies “I’m a vocalist, love”. Weirdly one I knew.

  1. Care worker shows a lot of cash in both hands (7)

Answer: ALMONER (i.e. “care worker”). Solution is A followed by MONEY (i.e. “cash”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of…”) once placed between or “in” L and R (i.e. “both hands”, i.e. recognised abbreviations of “left” and “right”), like so: A-L-(MONE)-R. One of those “make up a word and check in the dictionary” moments.

  1. Flirt with the lassies on and off (5)

Answer: TEASE (i.e. “flirt with”). “On and off” indicates the solution is derived from every other letter of THE LASSIES.

  1. Get don back somehow in headcount reduction? Fanciful (4-3-4)

Answer: COCK-AND-BULL (i.e. “fanciful”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of DON BACK placed “in” CULL (i.e. “headcount reduction”), like so: C(OCKANDB)ULL.

  1. Feature of phone to be delayed, interrupting profession (4,7)

Answer: CALL-WAITING (i.e. “feature of phone”). Solution is WAIT (i.e. “to be delayed”) placed in or “interrupting” CALLING (i.e. “profession”), like so: CALL-(WAIT)-ING.

  1. Catch some veterans newly returned (7)

Answer: ENSNARE (i.e. “catch”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “returned” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: VET(ERANS NE)WLY.

  1. Argument fills feeble football feature (5-2)

Answer: THROW-IN (i.e. “football feature”). Solution is ROW (i.e. “argument”) placed in or “filling” THIN (i.e. “feeble”), like so: TH(ROW)IN.

  1. Some err, generating this? (7)

Answer: REMORSES. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “generating”) of SOME ERR. In the context of the clue, some who err may indeed feel some remorse.

Down clues

  1. Most devious way to conceal concoctions (6)

Answer: SLIEST (i.e. “most devious” – can be spelled slyest or sliest). Solution is ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”) wrapped around or “concealing” LIES (i.e. “concoctions”), like so: S(LIES)T.

  1. Taking fruit round one makes a request (7)

Answer: APPLIES (i.e. “makes a request”). Solution is APPLES (i.e. “fruit”) wrapped “round” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: APPL(I)ES.

  1. In terror, grey with worry making public oration (9)

Answer: PANEGYRIC (i.e. “public oration”). Solution is PANIC (i.e. “terror”) wrapped around or having “in” an anagram (indicated by “with worry”) of GREY, like so: PAN(EGYR)IC.

  1. Judges restricting European banks (5)

Answer: REEFS (i.e. “banks”). Solution is REFS (i.e. “judges”, short for referees) wrapped around or “restricting” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: R(E)EFS.

  1. Expressive face, having picked up book I pore over (8)

Answer: EMOTICON (i.e. “expressive face” – or pint glass, multiple pint glasses, pizza slice or eight ball if my text messages are anything to go by). Solution is TOME (i.e. “book”) reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue) and followed by I and CON (i.e. “pore over” – con is an archaic word for study, which setters love), like so: EMOT-I-CON.

  1. Patrol runs into would-be escapee? Back to cell (5)

Answer: PROWL (i.e. “patrol”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in several ball games) placed “into” POW (i.e. “would-be escapee”, specifically a Prisoner Of War) and followed by L (i.e. “back of cell”, i.e. the last letter of “cell”), like so: P(R)OW-L.

  1. Statesman, one that runs through St. Petersburg, and collapses (7)

Answer: NEVADAN (i.e. US “statesman”, an inhabitant of Nevada). Solution is NEVA (i.e. “one that runs through St. Petersburg” – referring to the River Neva) followed by an anagram (indicated by “collapses”) of AND, like so: NEVA-DAN.

  1. Poussin’s work I decorate again, stupidly (2,2,7,3)

Answer: ET IN ARCADIA EGO (i.e. Nicolas “Poussin’s work”). “Stupidly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I DECORATE AGAIN. This would have been a lot more difficult had this exact same solution not already appeared in a recent-ish Jumbo. You might want to shake up that auto-fill word pool again, setters. Either that or Times setters are strangely attracted to this one painting. Don’t know why. I mean, there’s nothing all that special about it; nothing religious or mystical, for example, at least to this internet nobody. It merely depicts a scene in which three builders are pointing out the shoddy handiwork of whichever cowboys the woman had in last. Happened all the time back then. Next painting, please.

  1. Turbulent, consuming energy without serious purpose (9)

Answer: FACETIOUS (i.e. “without serious purpose”). Solution is FACTIOUS (i.e. “turbulent”) wrapped around or “consuming” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: FAC(E)TIOUS.

  1. Oriental potentate dismissing head mathematician (5)

Answer: Leonhard EULER (i.e. “mathematician”). Solution is E (i.e. “Oriental”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”) followed by RULER (i.e. “potentate”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “dismissing head”), like so: E-ULER.

  1. Board manoeuvre brought to light audit (10,5)

Answer: DISCOVERED CHECK (i.e. “board manoeuvre”, specifically “in chess, a check produced by moving a piece to leave a second piece attacking the opponent’s king” (Chambers) – I’m not a chess man, but I rather like the concept). Solution is DISCOVERED (i.e. “brought to light”) followed by CHECK (i.e. “audit”).

  1. Chaperone expected small girl to stand up (7)

Answer: DUENNAS (i.e. “chaperones” over in Spain). Solution is DUE (i.e. “expected”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and ANN (i.e. “girl” – basically a girl’s name) once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “to stand up” – this being a down clue), like so: DUE-(NNA-S). Chalk another one to my Bradford’s here.

  1. One never cracking up with a long period to survive (7)

Answer: AGELAST (i.e. a miseryguts or “one never cracking up”). Marked as a rarely used word in Chambers, but I rather like it. Solution is AGE (i.e. “a long period”) followed by LAST (i.e. “to survive”).

  1. Machine removing seeds from bed: nothing wrong displacing horse (6,3)

Answer: COTTON GIN (i.e. “machine removing seeds” from cotton fibres). Solution is COT (i.e. “bed”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “wrong”) of NOTHING once the H as been removed (indicated by “displacing horse” – H and “horse” are both street names for heroin), like so: COT-TONGIN. Another new one on me, but not one I imagine remembering much beyond the end of this sentence.

  1. Filled with second bunch of grass, we hear (7)

Answer: STUFFED (i.e. “filled with”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “we hear”) of TUFT (i.e. “bunch of grass”).

What the hell is a cotton gin?

  1. Face accepting concessions in return for sale (8)

Answer: DISPOSAL (i.e. “sale”). Solution is DIAL (i.e. “face”) wrapped around or “accepting” SOPS (i.e. “concessions”) once reversed (indicated by “in return”), like so: DI(SPOS)AL.

  1. Acquire certain guns to restore equilibrium (4,2,3,6)

Answer: PICK UP THE PIECES (i.e. “restore equilibrium”). Clue also plays on PIECES being slang for “guns” and how one would acquire or PICK them UP. Excuse me while I Smashie and Nicey a little…

  1. Substitute for model terribly ugly, I fear (3,6)

Answer: LAY FIGURE (i.e. “substitute for model”, specifically a wooden jointed figure used by artists). “Terribly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UGLY I FEAR.

  1. In the night, king embraced by beloved (8)

Answer: DARKLING (i.e. “in the night”). Solution is K (a recognised abbreviation of “king”) placed in or “embraced by” DARLING (i.e. “beloved”), like so: DAR(K)LING.

  1. Surpass everything by eating a rich tea? (4,3,7)

Answer: TAKE THE BISCUIT. Solution satisfies “surpass everything” and “eating a rich tea”.

  1. Waited, having had a go at crossing a river (7)

Answer: TARRIED (i.e. “waited”). Solution is TRIED (i.e. “having had a go”) wrapped around or “crossing” A and R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: T(A-R)RIED.

  1. Brown went for a small child, possibly, and danced (7)

Answer: TANGOED (i.e. “danced”). Solution is TAN (i.e. “brown”) followed by GOED (i.e. “went for a small child, possibly”, i.e. how a young child might say “goed” as a past tense of “go” rather than saying “went”).

  1. Violently grab principal knob, dropping one (9)

Answer: MANHANDLE (i.e. “violently grab”). Solution is MAIN HANDLE (i.e. “principal knob” – titter ye not) with the I removed (indicated by “dropping [Roman numeral] one”).

  1. In religion, suggestion to follow saint is in order (9)

Answer: SHINTOISM (i.e. “religion”). Solution is HINT (i.e. “suggestion”) placed after or “following” S (a recognised abbreviation of “saint” – can be S or St) and followed by IS once placed “in” OM (i.e. “order”, specifically an Order of Merit), like so: S-HINT-O(IS)M.

  1. Start to design type of work area (4-4)

Answer: OPEN-PLAN (i.e. “type of work area”). Solution is OPEN (i.e. “start”) followed by PLAN (i.e. “to design”).

  1. With enthusiasm shortly get teeth into roll (7)

Answer: BRIOCHE (i.e. “roll”). Solution is BRIO (i.e. “with enthusiasm”) followed by CHEW (i.e. “get teeth into”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “shortly”), like so: BRIO-CHE.

  1. One that’s behind advertisement (7)

Answer: TRAILER. Solution satisfies “one that’s behind” and “advertisement” for, say, a movie.

  1. Frozen creeper finally dying, more delicate (7)

Answer: GLACIER (i.e. “frozen creeper”). Solution is G (i.e. “finally dying”, i.e. the last letter of “dying”) followed by LACIER (i.e. “more delicate”).

  1. Bond to some extent while a guest (6)

Answer: LEAGUE (i.e. “bond”). “To some extent” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: WHI(LE A GUE)ST.

  1. Gather for hearing in the country (5)

Answer: GHANA (i.e. “country”). “For hearing” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of GARNER (i.e. “gather”).

  1. Bird about to disappear into gullet (5)

Answer: MACAW (i.e. “bird”). Solution is CA (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) placed “into” MAW (i.e. “gullet”), like so: MA(CA)W.

  1. Quarrelsome sportsman? (5)

Answer: ROWER (i.e. “sportsman”). Clue plays on how a ROW can be a “quarrel”. You get the idea.

No musical accompaniment today, unless you count the rhythmic beat of my tumble drier. (Had to keep the house warm somehow.) – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1490

Another medium strength offering this week, relatively speaking, with the more exotic solutions gettable after a bit of dictionary wrangling. One of the better ones, all told.

As ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has foxed you then my Just For Fun page might be just the ticket, listing solutions to the last 100+ of these things. Also, there’s the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and comments, folks. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared. Till the next one, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Indecent girl’s legwear (4,5)

Answer: BLUE JEANS (i.e. “legwear”). Solution is BLUE (i.e. “indecent”) followed by JEAN’S (i.e. “girl’s” – basically a girl’s name made possessive).

  1. Racing once condemned harmful substance (10)

Answer: CARCINOGEN (i.e. “harmful substance”). “Condemned” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RACING ONCE.

  1. Everyone, say, runs over briskly (7)

Answer: ALLEGRO (i.e. “briskly” in musical lingo). Solution is ALL (i.e. “everyone”) followed by EG (i.e. “say”, i.e. for example), then R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket).

  1. Lively old punk tours Virginia (9)

Answer: VIVACIOUS (i.e. “lively”). Solution is Sid VICIOUS (i.e. “old punk”) wrapped around or “touring” VA (US state abbreviation of “Virginia”), like so: VI(VA)CIOUS.

  1. Officer in charge evincing problem with wind (5)

Answer: COLIC (i.e. “problem with wind”). Solution is COL (i.e. “officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “colonel”) followed by IC (a recognised abbreviation of “in charge”).

  1. Midshipman Easy’s job? (5,7)

Answer: PLAIN SAILING (i.e. “easy”). Clue plays on the solution’s nautical theme in referencing Frederick Marryat’s 1836 novel Mr Midshipman Easy. You get the idea. As an aside, it’s worth noting some setters will reference EASY in their solutions as “midshipman”, because we’ve obviously all read the novel.

  1. Court order one in residence to be moved (6,4)

Answer: DECREE NISI (i.e. “court order”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “to be moved”) of RESIDENCE, like so: DECREEN(I)SI.

  1. State vehicle that ruins crops (8,6)

Answer: COLORADO BEETLE (a pest “that ruins crops” of potatoes). Solution is COLORADO (i.e. US “state”) followed by BEETLE (i.e. “vehicle”, specifically one of the Volkswagen variety).

  1. New troops joining the navy in higher latitudes (8)

Answer: NORTHERN (i.e. “in higher latitudes”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) followed by OR (i.e. “troops”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army), then THE and RN (i.e. “navy”, specifically the Royal Navy).

  1. Metal, iodine and copper blocking miners (6)

Answer: INDIUM (i.e. “metal”). Solution is I (chemical symbol of “iodine”) and DI (i.e. “copper”, specifically a Detective Inspector) once placed in or “blocking” NUM (i.e. “miners”, specifically the National Union of Miners), like so: I-N(DI)UM.

  1. Starts with each child’s unrestricted period for game (4,6)

Answer: OPEN SEASON (i.e. “unrestricted period for [shooting] game”). Solution is OPENS (i.e. “starts”) followed by EA (a recognised abbreviation of “each”) and SON (i.e. “child”).

  1. Walk – with or without runs? (5)

Answer: AMBLE. Clue plays on how RAMBLE and AMBLE can mean “walk” and how you can get from one word to the other by removing the R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in ball games).

  1. Ladies missing whiskey could be a bad sign (4)

Answer: OMEN (i.e. “could be a bad sign”). Solution is WOMEN (i.e. “ladies”) with the W removed (indicated by “missing whiskey” – “whiskey” is W in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Fortunate having sanction limiting old bomb (8)

Answer: ENVIABLE (i.e. “fortunate”). Solution is ENABLE (i.e. “sanction”) wrapped around or “limiting” VI (i.e. “old bomb”, specifically a V1 with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent), like so: EN(VI)ABLE.

  1. Ruler quit, ignoring British excise (9)

Answer: ERADICATE (i.e. “excise”). Solution is ER (i.e. “ruler”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) followed by ABDICATE (i.e. “quit”) once the B has been removed (indicated by “ignoring British” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “British”), like so: ER-ADICATE.

  1. Dopey old men disheartened in IoW waters (9)

Answer: SOMNOLENT (i.e. “dopey”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and MN (i.e. “men disheartened”, i.e. the word “men” with its middle letter removed) both placed “in” SOLENT (i.e. “IoW waters”, i.e. the strait between the Isle of Wight and mainland Britain), like so: S(O-MN)OLENT.

  1. Regularly call on pretty woman to restrain quiet fool (8)

Answer: CLODPOLL (i.e. “fool”). Solution is CLO (i.e. “regularly call on”, i.e. every other letter of CALL ON) followed by DOLL (i.e. “pretty woman”) once wrapped around or “restraining” P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano” or “quiet” in musical lingo), like so: CLO-D(P)OLL. A new one on me. This particular Poll likes it.

  1. Like hoarding papers that are helpful (4)

Answer: AIDS (i.e. things “that are helpful”). Solution is AS (i.e. “like”) wrapped around or “hoarding” ID (i.e. “papers”), like so: A(ID)S.

  1. US cheat returns iron and silver engraved with name (5)

Answer: GANEF (i.e. “US cheat” – my Chambers didn’t want to know, but my Oxford bears this one out). Solution is FE and AG (chemical symbols of “iron” and “silver” respectively) reversed (indicated by “returns”) and wrapped around or “engraved with” N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”), like so: GA-(N)-EF. One gotten from the wordplay, to be honest.

  1. Free love in Little Rock (10)

Answer: PERIDOTITE (i.e. “rock”). Solution is RID (i.e. “free”) and O (i.e. “love”, i.e. a zero score in tennis) both placed “in” PETITE (i.e. “little), like so: PE(RID-O)TITE.

  1. Dance when tiddly, leaving tango to the end (6)

Answer: MINUET (i.e. “dance”). Solution is MINUTE (i.e. “tiddly” or small) with the T (“tango” in the phonetic alphabet) moved “to the end”, like so: MINU(T)E => MINUE(T).

  1. Make ugly girl initially hug primate (8)

Answer: MISSHAPE (i.e. “make ugly”). Solution is MISS (i.e. “girl”) followed by H (i.e. “initially hug”, i.e. the first letter of “hug”) and APE (i.e. “primate”).

  1. Fiddling finance firm pocketing a grand (6,8)

Answer: MONKEY BUSINESS (i.e. “fiddling”). Solution is MONEY (i.e. “finance”) and BUSINESS (i.e. “firm”) placed around or “pocketing” K (i.e. “grand”, both referencing 1,000), like so: MON(K)EY-BUSINESS.

  1. Boulders and tree reduced seafood (4,6)

Answer: ROCK SALMON (i.e. “seafood”). Solution is ROCKS (i.e. “boulders”) followed by ALMOND (i.e. “tree”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “reduced”), like so: ROCKS-ALMON.

  1. Letters, awfully cagey and tense about reserves (6,6)

Answer: ESTATE AGENCY (i.e. “letters” of property). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “awfully”) of CAGEY and TENSE wrapped “about” TA (i.e. “reserves”, specifically the Territorial Army), like so: ES(TA)TEAGENCY.

  1. Ruin ground packed with phosphorous (5)

Answer: SPOIL (i.e. “ruin”). Solution is SOIL (i.e. “ground”) wrapped around or “packed with” P (chemical symbol of “phosphorous”), like so: S(P)OIL.

  1. Trombonist’s eatery in the Open (3,6)

Answer: TEA GARDEN (i.e. “eatery in the open” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). When written as Jack TEAGARDEN the solution also satisfies US jazz “trombonist”. Not one I was familiar with.

  1. Berliner’s one to consume ultimate protein (7)

Answer: ELASTIN (i.e. “protein”). Solution is EIN (i.e. “Berliner’s one”, i.e. the German for “one”) wrapped around or “consuming”) LAST (i.e. “ultimate”), like so: E(LAST)IN. One gotten solely from the wordplay.

  1. Angry force stripped of uniform put on “different” clothes? (5-5)

Answer: CROSS-DRESS (i.e. “put on ‘different’ clothes”). Solution is CROSS (i.e. “angry”) followed by DURESS (i.e. “force”) once the U has been removed (indicated by “stripped of uniform” – “uniform” is U in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Sell coal off Republican imported, using this instead? (5,4)

Answer: SOLAR CELL. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “off”) of SELL COAL wrapped around or “importing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”), like so: SOLA(R)CELL. Clue plays on the solution and “coal” both being energy sources and how one could be used instead of the other. You get the idea.

Down clues

  1. Light timber a hunk hauled up (5)

Answer: BALSA (i.e. “light timber”). Solution is A and SLAB (i.e. “hunk”) both reversed (indicated by “hauled up” – this being a down clue), like so: BALS-A.

  1. Injured unsung heroes, wings clipped, giving little away (10)

Answer: UNGENEROUS (i.e. “giving little away”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “injured”) of UNSUNG and EROE (i.e. “heroes, wings clipped”, i.e. the word “heroes” with its first and last letters removed).

  1. Risk heading off big cat in jungly banks (8)

Answer: JEOPARDY (i.e. “risk”). Solution is LEOPARD (i.e. “big cat” – also by some distance the best below-average streamer on Twitch, a service you should definitely not watch, especially if you are a gamer, as it’s crack cocaine for the eyeballs. Oh wait, Covid-19 has rendered all of time meaningless, hasn’t it? Silly me. Go crazy y’all, knock yourselves out…) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “heading off”) and the remainder placed “in” J and Y (i.e. “jungly banks”, i.e. the first and last letters of “jungly”), like so: J(EOPARD)Y.

Lep’s reaction to dying for the 43rd time (go to 9:47) is how I sound all throughout gaming. I’m terrible.
  1. Number 5 in trouble? Smith beats it (5)

Answer: ANVIL (i.e. “smith beats it”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) and V (i.e. “[Roman numeral] five”) both placed “in” AIL (i.e. “trouble”), like so: A(N-V)IL.

  1. A number observed fencing incident (9)

Answer: SEVENTEEN (i.e. “a number”). Solution is SEEN (i.e. “observed”) wrapped around or “fencing” EVENT (i.e. “incident”).

  1. Get ready to fire farmyard boss? (4)

Answer: COCK. (Fnar!) Solution satisfies “get ready to fire” and “farmyard boss”, at least in the henhouse.

  1. Make a fresh start, dealing with old writer (6)

Answer: REOPEN (i.e. “make a fresh start”). Solution is RE (i.e. regarding or “dealing with” – think email replies) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and PEN (i.e. “writer”).

  1. Mare perhaps that can be covered outside? Impossible (14)

Answer: INSURMOUNTABLE (i.e. “impossible”). Solution is MOUNT (i.e. “mare perhaps” – other flavours of horse are available) placed in or having “outside” INSURABLE (i.e. “can be covered”), like so: INSUR(MOUNT)ABLE.

  1. Part of theatre box found in odd Scottish mine (9,3)

Answer: ORCHESTRA PIT (i.e. “part of theatre”). Solution is CHEST (i.e. “box”) placed “in” ORRA (“Scottish” word for “odd”, as in spare, unmatched or left over – a new one on me) and followed by PIT (i.e. “mine”), like so: OR(CHEST)RA-PIT.

  1. Fancy avoiding start that’s slippery (3-4)

Answer: EEL-LIKE (i.e. “slippery”). Solution is FEEL LIKE (i.e. “fancy”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “avoiding start”).

  1. Mafia boss welcomes composer briefly for a drink (10)

Answer: CAPPUCCINO (i.e. “drink”). Solution is CAPO (i.e. “Mafia boss”) wrapped around or “welcoming” Giacomo PUCCINI (i.e. “composer”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: CAP(PUCCIN)O.

  1. Tell niece about regular customers (9)

Answer: CLIENTELE (i.e. “regular customers”). “About” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TELL NIECE.

  1. Hyde for one has to change, say, before first of outings (5,3)

Answer: ALTER EGO (i.e. “Hyde for one” – a reference to Edward Hyde, alter-ego of Dr Henry Jekyll in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde). Solution is ALTER (i.e. “to change”) followed by EG (i.e. “say”, i.e. for example) and O (i.e. “first [letter] of outings”).

  1. Romeo expires visiting city worker (6,3)

Answer: LADIES MAN (i.e. “Romeo”). Solution is DIES (i.e. “expires”) placed in or “visiting” LA (i.e. “city”, specifically Los Angeles) and MAN (i.e. “worker”), like so: LA-(DIES)-MAN.

  1. Section of Church Times about a mad priest, close to arrest (10)

Answer: BAPTISTERY (i.e. “section of church” in which baptisms are performed). Solution is BY (i.e. “times” as in multiplication – ignore the misleading capitalisations) wrapped “about” an anagram (indicated by “mad”) of A PRIEST and T (i.e. “close to arrest”, i.e. the last letter of “arrest”), like so: B(APTISTER)Y.

  1. Note old way into very big Yankee’s joint exercises? (10)

Answer: OSTEOPATHY (i.e. “joint exercises”). Solution is TE (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me scale, can also be spelled TI), O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and PATH (i.e. “way”) all placed “in” OS (i.e. “very big”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “out-sized”) and Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: OS-(TE-O-PATH)-Y.

  1. Ecstasy? Consume it in Cornish resort (9)

Answer: BEATITUDE (i.e. “ecstasy”). Solution is EAT (i.e. “consume”) and IT both placed “in” BUDE (i.e. “Cornish resort”), like so: B(EAT-IT)UDE.

  1. With few folk around, waved to welcome HM with dad (14)

Answer: UNDERPOPULATED (i.e. “with few folk around”). Solution is UNDULATED (i.e. “waved”) wrapped around or “welcoming” ER (i.e. “HM”, both references to the Queen, the first Elizabeth Regina, the second Her Majesty) and POP (i.e. “dad”, both words for father), like so: UND(ER-POP)ULATED.

  1. Sneaky cryptic clue for cross? (8)

Answer: BACKDOOR (i.e. “sneaky”). When written as BACK DOOR the solution also satisfies a “cryptic clue for cross”: a word for Christ’s cross is ROOD, the reverse or BACK of which is DOOR.

  1. Run up with less crude appreciative noises (4-8)

Answer: WOLF-WHISTLES (i.e. “appreciative noises”, though not necessarily ones appreciated). Solution is FLOW (i.e. “run”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and followed by an anagram (indicated by “crude”) of WITH LESS.

  1. Epic tales about additional US chiefs (9)

Answer: SAGAMORES (i.e. “US [Native American] chiefs”). Solution is SAGAS (i.e. “epic tales”) placed “about” MORE (i.e. “additional”), like so: SAGA(MORE)S. Another gotten from the wordplay.

  1. Rewarding school test is quick (there’s no Latin at first) (10)

Answer: SATISFYING (i.e. “rewarding”). Solution is SAT (i.e. “school test”) followed by IS and FLYING (i.e. “quick”) once the L has been removed (indicated by “there’s no Latin at first”, referring to the first letter of “Latin”), like so: SAT-IS-FYING.

  1. Fifty-four at home pledge to protect with adequate pay (6,4)

Answer: LIVING WAGE (i.e. “adequate pay”). Solution is LIV (i.e. “fifty-four” in Roman numerals) followed by IN (i.e. “at home”) and GAGE (i.e. an archaic word for “pledge” – another new one on me) once placed around or “protecting” W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), like so: LIV-IN-G(W)AGE.

  1. Study teams – and support one of them? (4,5)

Answer: TAKE SIDES (i.e. “support one of them [teams]”). Solution is TAKE (i.e. “study”, e.g. taking geography) followed by SIDES (i.e. “teams”).

  1. Train driver, old character, given licence at any time (8)

Answer: MULETEER (i.e. “train driver” – a train in this case being a bunch of mules). Solution is MU (i.e. “old character”, specifically the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet) followed by LET (i.e. “given licence”) and E’ER (poetic form of “ever”, i.e. “at any time”). I, on the other hand, with my luscious lockdown locks, am chief mulleteer.

  1. Help one who’s easily taken in by the sound of it (7)

Answer: SUCCOUR (i.e. “help”). “By the sound of it” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SUCKER (i.e. “one who’s easily taken in”).

  1. Very old yacht’s first mature trip (6)

Answer: VOYAGE (i.e. “trip”). Solution is V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”) followed by O (ditto “old”), then Y (i.e. “yacht’s first [letter]”) and AGE (i.e. to “mature”).

  1. Cancel plant overlooking area (5)

Answer: ANNUL (i.e. “cancel”). Solution is ANNUAL (i.e. “plant”) with its second A removed or “overlooked” – A being a recognised abbreviation of “area”.

  1. Old province where charlatan, wanting tea, turns up (5)

Answer: NATAL (i.e. “old province”). Solution is CHARLATAN with the CHAR removed (indicated by “wanting tea”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “turning up” – this being a down clue).

  1. Main resident’s instrument (4)

Answer: BASS. Solution satisfies “main resident” – the sea is sometimes referred to as the main, especially in cryptic crosswords – and a musical “instrument”.

Another dive into synthwave was had this week, this time focusing on a few albums:
Magic SwordEndless – there’s a slight whiff of prog rock to Magic Sword’s sound, but don’t let that put you off. Their latest album is a solid listen throughout, but the highlight for me is the first track Depths of Power.
Zombie HyperdriveImperium – silly name, yes, but this is an album I often come back to. Same goes for their previous album Hyperion, but Imperium has stronger hooks. Awakening is a goosebump-raiser.
Le MatosJoin Us – a belter of an album that hardly puts a foot wrong, and one with a brilliantly chilling cover image. They’ve since moved onto horror movie soundtracks, but I hope they’ll return to this kind of stuff in future. Montrose is perhaps the stand-out track.
Laters, taters! – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1489

After last week’s puzzle went mad for people’s names, it seems this week’s effort went for a mini-theme of animals and, er, bits of animals, what with JACKDAWs, SKYLARKs and BIG CATs with their TALONs, OXTAILs and TENDERLOINs. Overall this was on the easier end of the Jumbo scale – I don’t mind that! – but at least there were a number of well-crafted clues for solvers to enjoy.

As ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a recent Jumbo has given you night sweats then you might find salvation in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions to the last 100+ of these things. Meanwhile, there’s the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and well wishes. They are always appreciated. Thanks are restored to WordPress for switching back once again to a more readable editing font. I get the feeling they’re making changes off the cuff, which isn’t exactly a good sign. That’s what test servers are for, peeps. You shouldn’t be dicking around with your production environment. (Wags finger authoratively authoritatly authoritatively…)

Anyway, till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere. Meanwhile, I’ll be counting down the days till the pubs open again. One year on, I’m a bit parched.

LP

Across clues

  1. Sizable hat, roomy but not special (9)

Answer: CAPACIOUS (i.e. “sizable”). Solution is CAP (i.e. “hat”) followed by SPACIOUS (i.e. “roomy”) once the SP has been removed (indicated by “but not special” – SP being a recognised abbreviation of “special”), like so: CAP-ACIOUS.

  1. Bird’s bill knocked empty, grabbed by rabbit (7)

Answer: JACKDAW (i.e. “bird”). Solution is AC (i.e. “bill”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “account”) and KD (i.e. “knocked empty”, i.e. the word “knocked” with all its middle letters removed) both placed in or “grabbed by” JAW (i.e. to “rabbit” or talk a lot), like so: J(AC-KD)AW.

  1. Car crash driver’s ending in sudden pain (5)

Answer: PRANG (i.e. “car crash”). Solution is R (i.e. “driver’s ending”, i.e. the last letter of “driver”) placed “in” PANG (i.e. “sudden pain”), like so: P(R)ANG.

  1. Top partnership’s victory in cricket match over (7)

Answer: TWINSET (i.e. “top partnership”, being “a cardigan and jumper made more or less to match” (Chambers)). Solution is WIN (i.e. “victory”) placed “in” TEST (i.e. “cricket match”) once reversed (indicated by “over”), like so: T(WIN)SET.

  1. Deadly killer of toxin in jam (5)

Answer: NINJA (i.e. “deadly killer”). “Of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: TOXI(N IN JA)M.

  1. How baleen may be put another way (9)

Answer: WHALEBONE. “Put another way” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HOW BALEEN. Baleen, according to Chambers, is “whalebone, horny plates growing from the palate of certain whales”. Very nicely worked.

  1. Steal from faculty division after head of profession’s function (11,12)

Answer: PROBABILITY DISTRIBUTION (i.e. a statistical “function”). Solution is ROB (i.e. “steal from”), ABILITY (i.e. “faculty”) and DISTRIBUTION (i.e. “division”) all placed “after” P (i.e. “head of professor”, i.e. the first letter of “professor”), like so: P-(ROB-ABILITY-DISTRIBUTION).

  1. Bird settled on quiet lake (6)

Answer: PLOVER (i.e. “bird”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “settled” or finished) placed “on” or after P (i.e. “quiet”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano” in musical lingo) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), like so: P-L-(OVER).

  1. Belt trio out in vital part of opera (8)

Answer: LIBRETTO (i.e. “vital part of opera”, technically a book of the text or words of a musical production). “Out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BELT TRIO.

  1. Managed a wicket after at least twelve balls (7)

Answer: OVERSAW (i.e. “managed”). Solution is A and W (a recognised abbreviation of “wicket” used in cricket) both placed “after” OVERS (i.e. “at least twelve balls” – an over in cricket comprising six regulation deliveries), like so: OVERS-A-W. Nicely done.

  1. Symbolic when he turns to his dissenting (10)

Answer: SCHISMATIC (i.e. “dissenting”). Solution is SCHEMATIC (i.e. “symbolic”) with the HE “turned into” HIS, like so: SC(HE)MATIC => SC(HIS)MATIC. Twigging this one led me to solve 8d.

  1. Tool with sharpness Henry concealed in prison (12)

Answer: SLEDGEHAMMER (i.e. “tool”). Solution is EDGE (i.e. “sharpness”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “Henry”, a unit of measurement setters have been crutching on this last year) both “concealed in” SLAMMER (i.e. slang for “prison”), like so: SL(EDGE-H)AMMER.

  1. Set fire to church on hill (5)

Answer: TORCH (i.e. “set fire to”). Solution is CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) placed “on” or after TOR (i.e. “hill”), like so: TOR-CH.

  1. Air play about high-flying singer (7)

Answer: SKYLARK (i.e. “high-flying singer” or bird). Solution is SKY (i.e. “air”) followed by LARK (i.e. “play about”).

  1. Capital is destroyed when idle (3,5)

Answer: NEW DELHI (i.e. “capital” of India). “Is destroyed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WHEN IDLE.

  1. Man’s man, perhaps, is left to drift without wife (8)

Answer: ISLANDER (i.e. “Man’s man, perhaps” – taken to mean a male inhabitant of the Isle of Man). Solution is IS followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and WANDER (i.e. “to drift”) once the W has been removed (indicated by “without wife” – W being a recognised abbreviation of “wife), like so: IS-L-ANDER.

  1. Woman wrapped up with a cause of death? (7)

Answer: BANSHEE, a “woman” or female spirit whose shrieks are said to presage a death in the household. The clue generally riffs on this, but is also formed by SHE (i.e. that “woman”) being placed or “wrapped up” in BANE (i.e. “a cause of death”), like so: BAN(SHE)E.

  1. Belief Spanish wine is cut with ecstasy (5)

Answer: TENET (i.e. “belief”). Solution is TENT (i.e. “Spanish wine”) wrapped around or “cut with” E (street name of the drug “ecstasy”), like so: TEN(E)T.

  1. Weapon photographing by press (8,4)

Answer: SHOOTING IRON (i.e. “weapon”). Solution is SHOOTING (i.e. “photographing”) followed by IRON (i.e. to “press” clothes).

  1. Offer line round at home in dodgy district in America (10)

Answer: TENDERLOIN (i.e. “dodgy district in America”, specifically one where police corruption is rife. A new one on me, but interesting. I like it). Solution is TENDER (i.e. “offer”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”), O (i.e. “round”) and IN (i.e. “at home”).

  1. Canter wildly round course finally to go through again (2-5)

Answer: RE-ENACT (i.e. “to go through again”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wildly”) of CANTER placed “round” E (i.e. “course finally”, i.e. the last letter of “course”), like so: RE(E)NACT.

  1. Working bakery introduces rounds for regular output (8)

Answer: YEARBOOK (i.e. “regular output”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “working”) of BAKERY wrapped around or “introducing” O and O (both “rounds”), like so: YEARB(OO)K.

  1. Orders half of paramedics to embrace training at the start (6)

Answer: EDICTS (i.e. “orders”). Solution is EDICS (i.e. latter “half of paramEDICS”) wrapped around or “embracing” T (i.e. “training at the start”, i.e. the first letter of “training”), like so: EDIC(T)S.

  1. Daily puff in secret? (10,13)

Answer: CLASSIFIED ADVERTISMENT, the kind one often finds in “daily” newspapers. Clue plays on “puff” being self-promotion or ADVERTISMENT, and CLASSIFIED being “in secret”. You get the idea.

  1. Cut? Refrain from using bars (5,4)

Answer: SPARE RIBS (i.e. “cut” of meat. Well, bone, mainly, but you know what I mean). Solution is SPARE (i.e. “refrain from using”) followed by RIBS (i.e. “bars” used to strengthen structures).

  1. Ring mother about a hotel in US city (5)

Answer: OMAHA (i.e. “US city”). Solution is O (i.e. “ring”) and MA (i.e. “mother”) wrapped “about” A and H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: O-M(A-H)A.

  1. Wealth from a mine in California (7)

Answer: CAPITAL (i.e. “wealth”). Solution is A and PIT (i.e. “mine”) both placed “in” CAL (a recognised abbreviation of “California”), like so: C(A-PIT)AL. Nicely done.

  1. Poet’s love interest without name (5)

Answer: DANTE Alighieri (i.e. “poet”). Solution is DATE (i.e. “love interest”) placed around or “without” N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”), like so: DA(N)TE.

  1. Polite Liberal is after general support (7)

Answer: GENTEEL (i.e. “polite”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “Liberal”) placed “after” GEN (a recognised abbreviation of “general”) and TEE (i.e. a “support” used in golf), like so: (GEN-TEE)-L.

  1. Think about record beat surrounding one (9)

Answer: ENTERTAIN (i.e. “think about”). Solution is ENTER (i.e. to “record” information) followed by TAN (i.e. to “beat”) once wrapped around or “surrounding” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: ENTER-TA(I)N.

Down clues

  1. Upset dice (3,2)

Answer: CUT UP. Solution satisfies “upset” and to “dice”.

  1. Mill’s thing for grinding? It’s what many have sought (12,5)

Answer: PHILOSOPHER’S STONE (i.e. “it’s what many have sought”, being a stone or compound said to transform other metals into gold). Solution is PHILOSOPHER’S (i.e. John Stuart “Mill’s”) followed by STONE (i.e. “thing for grinding”).

  1. Go fishing with sons in Spanish sound? (9)

Answer: CASTANETS (i.e. clickety-clackety “Spanish sound”). Solution is CAST A NET (i.e. “go fishing”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “sons”).

  1. Type of soup unknown in Old Testament, innards in yak milk (6)

Answer: OXTAIL (i.e. “type of soup”). Solution is X (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z as unknowns) placed “in” OT (a recognised abbreviation of “Old Testament”) and followed by A and IL (i.e. “innards in yak milk”, i.e. the middle letters of “yak” and “milk”), like so: O(X)T-A-IL.

  1. Reforming Sybil ties in as a subject of English novel (11)

Answer: SENSIBILITY (i.e. “subject of English novel”, specifically Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility). “Reforming” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SYBIL TIES IN.

  1. Drug addict on a road where there’s little of value (8)

Answer: JUNKYARD (i.e. “where there’s little of value”). Solution is JUNKY (i.e. “drug addict” – can be spelled junkie or junky) followed by A and RD (a recognised abbreviation of “road”).

  1. Carriage central heating behaving uncontrollably (7)

Answer: CHARIOT (i.e. “carriage”). Solution is CH (a recognised abbreviation of “central heating”) followed by ARIOT (i.e. “behaving uncontrollably”).

  1. Oppressed staff study for working in unreal stately home (11)

Answer: DOWNTRODDEN (i.e. “oppressed”). Solution is DOWNTON (i.e. “unreal stately home”, a reference to TV drama Downton Abbey) with the ON (i.e. “working”) swapped “for” ROD (i.e. “staff”) and DEN (i.e. “study”), like so: DOWNT(ON) => DOWNT(ROD-DEN).

  1. Trying, we come to light embracing sacred mantra (9)

Answer: WEARISOME (i.e. “trying”). Solution is WE followed by ARISE (i.e. “come to light”) once wrapped around or “embracing” OM (i.e. “sacred mantra” of Buddhists), like so: WE-ARIS(OM)E.

  1. Right to avoid following piano piece by Chopin, perhaps (7)

Answer: PRELUDE (i.e. “piece by Chopin, perhaps” – other composers are available). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and ELUDE (i.e. “to avoid”) both placed after or “following” P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano”), like so: P-(R-ELUDE).

  1. Some filo I asked to be rolled in seasoned sauce (5)

Answer: AIOLI (i.e. “seasoned sauce” – essentially garlicky mayo). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “to be rolled” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: F(ILO I A)SKED.

  1. Verdant area with gardeners working (10)

Answer: GREENSWARD (i.e. “verdant area”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “working”) of GARDENERS and W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”). One I got largely thanks to being subscriber to PS Publishing’s weekly newsletter, in which owner Pete Crowther often signs off with well wishes from the greensward. Rather spooky considering I’ve just today taken receipt of my signed copy of Best New Horror 30 from the same publisher! (Cue Twilight Zone music.)

  1. It is work put up in advance (5)

Answer: POSIT (i.e. to put forward or “advance” an argument). Solution is TIS (i.e. “it is”) and OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) all reversed (indicated by “put up” – this being a down clue), like so: PO-SIT.

  1. Performers of dreadful pathos and corny rhymes (8,9)

Answer: SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (i.e. “performers”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “dreadful”) of PATHOS and CORNY RHYMES. Nicely done.

  1. Congratulated when having lack of parking brought up (6)

Answer: RAISED (i.e. “brought up”). Solution is PRAISED (i.e. “congratulated”) once the P has been removed (indicated by “lack of parking” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “parking” used on maps and signage).

  1. Weakness left current head of state (6)

Answer: LIKING (i.e. having a fondness or “weakness” for something). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics) and KING (i.e. “head of state”).

  1. Advise caution right after beer (5)

Answer: ALERT (i.e. “advise caution”). Solution is RT (a recognised abbreviation of “right”, often used in titles like Rt Hon) placed “after” ALE (i.e. “beer”), like so: ALE-RT.

  1. Grass skirts from Burma, low around back initially (6)

Answer: BAMBOO (i.e. “grass”). Solution is BA (i.e. “skirts from Burma”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Burma”) followed by MOO (i.e. “low” – one of the word’s meanings is a cow’s mooing sound) once wrapped “around” B (i.e. “back initially”, i.e. the first letter of “back”), like so: BA-M(B)OO.

  1. Detect beat finally in this? (5)

Answer: HEART, upon which the clue largely riffs. The solution is HEAR (i.e. to “detect”) followed by T (i.e. “beat finally”, i.e. the last letter of “beat”).

  1. Uses little energy in remote area (6)

Answer: WIELDS (i.e. “uses”). Solution is E (a “little” (i.e. recognised abbreviation of) “energy”) placed “in” WILDS (i.e. “remote area”), like so: WI(E)LDS.

  1. Monsoon ruined anyone’s sari (5,6)

Answer: RAINY SEASON (i.e. “monsoon”). “Ruined” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ANYONE’S SARI.

  1. Steady loss putting one into red? (11)

Answer: HAEMORRHAGE. Clue plays on the solution being a sustained or “steady loss” of blood (i.e. “red”). You get the idea, but this was a sod to get.

  1. City has close to eight educational establishments (5)

Answer: TUNIS (i.e. “city” of Tunisia). Solution is T (i.e. “close to eight”, i.e. the last letter of “eight”) followed by UNIS (i.e. “educational establishments”, short for universities).

  1. Banished old vehicles coming up on off side? (10)

Answer: OSTRACISED (i.e. “banished”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by CARTS (i.e. “vehicles”) once reversed (indicated by “coming up” – this being a down clue) and an anagram (indicated by “off”) of SIDE, like so: O-STRAC-ISED.

  1. Telling number forming a knot around one female (9)

Answer: NOTIFYING (i.e. “telling”). Solution is NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) followed by TYING (i.e. “forming a knot”) once placed “around” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”), like so: NO-T(I-F)YING.

  1. Soundly studied book on pig in something like a scotch bonnet? (3,6)

Answer: RED PEPPER (i.e. “something like a scotch bonnet”). “Soundly” indicates the solution is formed of homophones of READ (i.e. “studied book”) and PEPPA (i.e. “pig”, as in kids TV show Peppa the Pig).

  1. Sailor almost in charge of everyone, primarily (5,3)

Answer: ABOVE ALL (i.e. “primarily”). Solution is AB (i.e. “sailor”, specifically one of Able-Bodied rank) followed by OVER ALL (i.e. “in charge of everyone”) once the last letter of OVER has been removed (indicated by “almost” – can’t say I was too keen on this usage, if I’ve got it right), like so: AB-(OVE-ALL).

  1. All Ulster, note, contains not a single lough grave (7)

Answer: AUSTERE (i.e. “grave”). Solution is ALL ULSTER and E (i.e. musical “note”) once all the Ls have been removed (indicated by “contains not a single lough” – lough is an Irish word for “lake”, a recognised abbreviation of which is L), like so: A(LL)-U(L)STER-E => AUSTER-E.

  1. Seafood, dab and sole – though last of cod is gone (7)

Answer: ABALONE (i.e. “seafood”). Solution is DAB and ALONE (i.e. “sole”) once the D has been removed (indicated by “though last [letter] of cod is gone”).

  1. Piece about George Cross being taken by a top killer (3,3)

Answer: BIG CAT (i.e. “top killer”). Solution is BIT (i.e. “piece”) placed “about” GC (a recognised abbreviation of “George Cross”) and A (the “being taken by” bit I’m taking to mean “place alongside”), like so: BI(GC-A)T.

  1. Locally not in favour of protecting area once more (5)

Answer: AGAIN (i.e. “once more”). Solution is AGIN (i.e. “locally not in favour”, in this case a Scots form of the word “against”) wrapped around or “protecting” A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), like so: AG(A)IN.

  1. Volunteers half of the City’s stock (5)

Answer: TALON (i.e. “stock” – both taken to mean the remaining undealt cards in a card game. Another new one on me). Solution is TA (i.e. “volunteers”, specifically the Territorial Army) followed by LON (i.e. “half of the City”, i.e. the first half of LONdon).

UNKLE is back with a new album, and rather good it is too – If We Don’t Make It is an instant toe-tapper – but this week’s post was mostly soundtracked courtesy of Cheerzo’s enormous and really rather good Retrowave/Synthwave playlist. Lacquer your lockdown mullet, pop on your all-round shades and roll up your jacket sleeves. It’s party time. Laters! – LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1488

Anyone looking for baby names at the moment could have saved themselves a tenner on a book and done this week’s Jumbo instead. Holy crap, there were a lot of them. Setting those aside, this week’s puzzle wasn’t too bad, leavened with a sprinkling of exotic solutions and a couple of spicy clues.

You can find my completed solution below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo is looking a little gappy for you then you might find my Just For Fun page a useful resource, containing links to solutions for the last 100+ of these things. Also ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind comments. They are much appreciated. A big raspberry, however, to whichever poison dwarf at WordPress decided to not only revert back to a tiny serif font when editing posts (and so soon after switching to one that was so much easier to read), but to then also tighten the spaces between the lines. You utter, utter sadist. It’d be nice if software designers – oh, I don’t know – perhaps used their own products every once in a while?

Anyway, enough of my bellyaching. Till next time, stay safe, mask up, get vaccinated and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

  1. Vague private record company reportedly put an end to (13)

Answer: INDETERMINATE (i.e. “vague”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of INDIE (i.e. “private record company”) followed by TERMINATE (i.e. “put an end to”), like so: INDE-TERMINATE.

  1. See man on board, mostly very funny (9)

Answer: BISHOPRIC (i.e. “see” or diocese). Solution is BISHOP (i.e. “man on [chess] board”) followed by RICH (i.e. “very funny” – Chambers offers “full of comic potential” as a definition) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: BISHOP-RIC.

  1. Old Ottoman governor’s remains buried in Pennsylvania (5)

Answer: PASHA (i.e. “old Ottoman governor”). Solution is ASH (i.e. “remains”) placed or “buried in” PA (US state abbreviation of “Pennsylvania”), like so: P(ASH)A.

  1. Like a flat some fellows used in a short story (11)

Answer: APARTMENTAL (i.e. “like a flat”). Solution is PART (i.e. “some”) and MEN (i.e. “fellows”) both placed “in” A and TALE (i.e. “story”) once it’s last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”), like so: A-(PART-MEN)-TAL.

  1. Capital invested in Durham mansions (5)

Answer: AMMAN (i.e. “capital” city of Jordan). “Invested in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: DURH(AM MAN)SIONS.

  1. Bubbly lass finally leaving car round back of hotel (9)

Answer: SPARKLING (i.e. “bubbly”). Solution is S (i.e. “lass finally”, i.e. the last letter of “lass”) followed by PARKING (i.e. “leaving car”) once placed “round” L (i.e. “back of hotel”, i.e. the last letter of “hotel”), like so: S-PARK(L)ING.

  1. Tiny child – a pest! (4)

Answer: MITE. Solution satisfies “tiny child” and “a pest” or parasite.

  1. Detectives can, at court – that’s clear (8)

Answer: DISTINCT (i.e. “clear”). Solution is DIS (i.e. “detectives”, specifically Detective Inspectors) followed by TIN (i.e. “can”) and CT (a recognised abbreviation of “court”).

  1. Fury when king escapes power breakdown (6)

Answer: OUTAGE (i.e. “power breakdown”). Solution is OUTRAGE (i.e. “fury”) once the R has “escaped” or been removed – R being a recognised abbreviation of Rex, Latin for “king”.

  1. Expert custodians, about fifty, engaging female Scottish lawyer (10,6)

Answer: PROCURATOR FISCAL (i.e. “Scottish lawyer” – in Scotland a fiscal is “an officer who prosecutes in criminal cases in local and inferior courts” (Chambers)). Solution is PRO (i.e. “expert”) followed by CURATORS (i.e. “custodians”), then CA (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) and L (i.e. “[Roman numeral] fifty”). The whole is then placed around or “engaging” FI (i.e. “female” – basically a woman’s name, short for Fiona), like so: PRO-CURATOR(FI)S-CA-L.

  1. Repudiation of girl’s article I, for one, read out (9)

Answer: DISAVOWAL (i.e. “repudiation”). Solution is DI’S (i.e. “girl’s” – again a girl’s name, this time short for Diana) followed by A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) and a homophone (indicated by “read out”) of VOWEL (i.e. “I, for one” – other vowels are available), like so: DI’S-A-VOWAL.

  1. Embarks on journey: TV’s not on (4,3)

Answer: SETS OFF (i.e. “embarks on”). When written as SET’S OFF the solution also satisfies “TV’s not on”.

  1. Nutty substance primarily produced in my area (5)

Answer: COPRA (i.e. “nutty substance”). Solution is P (i.e. “primarily produced”, i.e. the first letter of “produced”) placed “in” COR (i.e. “my” – both taken as expressions of surprise) and A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), like so: CO(P)R-A. A short brute force of my Chambers was needed here.

  1. Over vivid in exam about mapping of mountains (12)

Answer: OROGRAPHICAL (i.e. “about mapping of mountains”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket) and GRAPHIC (i.e. “vivid”) both placed “in” ORAL (i.e. “exam”), like so: OR(O-GRAPHIC)AL.

  1. Recurring passages and runs spoilt trio Melba cut short (10)

Answer: RITORNELLI (i.e. musical lingo describing short “recurring passages” in a vocal work). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) followed by an anagram (indicated by “spoilt”) of TRIO, then Dame NELLIE “Melba”, famed soprano of the late Victorian era – yeah, me neither – once the last letter has been trimmed (indicated by “cut short”), like so: R-ITOR-NELLI.

  1. First of two mistakes about small dwelling’s earthenware (10)

Answer: TERRACOTTA (i.e. “earthenware”). Solution is T (i.e. “first [letter] of two”) and ERRATA (i.e. “mistakes”) once placed “about” COT (i.e. an archaic and poetic word for a “small dwelling” or cottage), like so: T-ERRA(COT)TA.

  1. Intrepid Reds unexpectedly dominated by clergy (6-6)

Answer: PRIEST-RIDDEN (i.e. “dominated by clergy” – perhaps less so once the results of today’s census is published). “Unexpectedly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INTREPID REDS.

  1. Old man going around with bearlike mammal (5)

Answer: PANDA (i.e. “bearlike mammal”). Solution is PA (i.e. “old man” or father) wrapped “around” AND (i.e. “with”), like so: P(AND)A.

  1. Go back in panic, carrying Mike’s powerful light (3,4)

Answer: FOG LAMP (i.e. “powerful light”). Solution is GO reversed (indicated by “back”) and placed “in” FLAP (i.e. “panic”) once wrapped around or “carrying” M (“Mike” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: F(OG)LA(M)P.

  1. Clubs formerly accommodating Laurel’s girl (9)

Answer: CONSTANCE (i.e. “girl” – more girl’s names. Are you spotting a theme?) Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in some card games) followed by ONCE (i.e. “formerly”) once wrapped around or “accommodating” STAN (i.e. “Laurel” – Stan Laurel was one half of famed comedy duo Laurel & Hardy), like so: C-ON(STAN)CE.

  1. Man harbouring yen to have wee drink before a play (7,4,5)

Answer: KITCHEN SINK DRAMA (i.e. “play”). Solution is KEN (i.e. “man” – a man’s name this time) wrapped around or “harbouring” ITCH (i.e. “yen” or yearning), then followed by SINK DRAM (i.e. “to have wee drink”) and A, like so: K(ITCH)EN-SINK-DRAM-A.

  1. Sort of meal friends recalled at university? (4-2)

Answer: SLAP-UP (i.e. “sort of meal”). Solution is PALS (i.e. “friends”) reversed (indicated by “recalled”) and followed by UP (i.e. “at university” – usage you see far more commonly in cryptic crosswords than you do in real life).

  1. Writer’s catalogue appearing after fifteen days? (8)

Answer: NOVELIST (i.e. “writer”). Solution is LIST (i.e. “catalogue”) placed “after” the first half of NOVEMBER – being thirty days in length, hence the “fifteen days” bit – like so: NOVE-LIST.

  1. Asian’s formal wear mentioned in speech (4)

Answer: THAI (i.e. “Asian”). “Mentioned in speech” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of TIE (i.e. “formal wear”).

  1. Difference in short seen … differently (9)

Answer: OTHERNESS (i.e. “difference”). “Differently” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SHORT SEEN.

  1. Wading bird biting head off rue (5)

Answer: EGRET (i.e. “wading bird”). Solution is REGRET (i.e. “rue”) with it’s “head” or first letter removed or “bitten off”.

  1. Senators met at sea, closest to where the sun rises (11)

Answer: EASTERNMOST (i.e. “closest to where the sun rises”). “At sea” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SENATORS MET.

  1. She’s back, wearing man’s close-fitting cap (5)

Answer: BERET (i.e. “close-fitting cap”). Solution is E (i.e. “she’s back”, i.e. the last letter of “she”) placed in or “wearing” BERT (i.e. “man” – yet more names), like so: BER(E)T.

  1. Fit for the main Home Counties area, value unknown (9)

Answer: SEAWORTHY (i.e. “fit for the main” – the main being another word for the sea). Solution is SE (i.e. “Home Counties”, referring to the South East of England) followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”), then WORTH (i.e. “value”) and Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y and Z as unknowns).

  1. Trek there and sell reconditioned fairground ride (6-7)

Answer: HELTER-SKELTER (i.e. “fairground ride”). “Reconditioned” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TREK THERE and SELL.

Down clues

  1. In the compiler’s ancient dictionary it’s “with paint thickly applied” (9)

Answer: IMPASTOED (i.e. “with paint thickly applied”). Solution is I’M (i.e. “compiler’s” taken from the point of view of the setter, and taken as a contraction of “compiler is” or I AM, rather than its possessive form) followed by PAST (i.e. “ancient”) and OED (i.e. “dictionary” – specifically the Oxford English Dictionary). Nicely worked.

  1. Musical line a chap is unable to compose (7)

Answer: DESCANT (i.e. “musical line”). Solution is DES (i.e. “chap” – yet, yet more names) and CAN’T (i.e. “is unable”) put together or “composed”.

  1. Appreciative type, Kev, travelling with his grant (11)

Answer: THANKSGIVER (i.e. “appreciative type”). “Travelling” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of KEV and HIS GRANT.

  1. Something fishy about a girl band’s travel organiser (6)

Answer: ROADIE (i.e. “band’s travel organiser” – a very loose definition, but if you really contort the words then the setter just about gets away with it. Only just, mind…). Solution is ROE (i.e. “something fishy” – roe being fish eggs) wrapped “about” A and DI (i.e. “girl”, short for Diana – yet, yet, yet more names), like so: RO(A-DI)E.

  1. Speech delivered during summer month on Russian river (9)

Answer: INAUGURAL (i.e. “speech”). Solution is IN (i.e. “during”) followed by AUG (i.e. “summer month”, specifically a shortened form of August) and URAL (i.e. “Russian river”).

  1. Chair-covering a northern man, Charlie, carried in a vehicle (12)

Answer: ANTIMACASSAR (i.e. “chair-covering” used to protect upholstery from macassar and pomade and other such manly hair gunk). Solution is A followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “northern”), then TIM (i.e. “man” – yet, yet, yet, yet more names) and ASS (i.e. “Charlie” or fool) once placed in or “carried” in A CAR (i.e. “a vehicle”), like so: A-N-TIM-A-C(ASS)AR.

  1. Reader dined with English voters (10)

Answer: ELECTORATE (i.e. “voters”). Solution is LECTOR (i.e. “reader”) and ATE (i.e. “dined”) both placed after or “with” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: E-(LECTOR-ATE).

  1. Time to probe extra unit of data (4)

Answer: BYTE (i.e. “unit of data”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) placed in or “probing” BYE (an “extra” run in cricket, being those not directly scored), like so: BY(T)E.

  1. Mercenary desperate for oldies with big money (7,2,7)

Answer: SOLDIER OF FORTUNE (i.e. “mercenary”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “desperate”) of FOR OLDIES followed by FORTUNE (i.e. “big money”).

  1. Choose to frame rising academician’s abstract work (2,3)

Answer: OP ART (i.e. “abstract work”). Solution is OPT (i.e. “choose”) wrapped around or “framing” RA (i.e. “academician”, specifically a Royal Academician) once reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: OP(AR)T.

  1. Like some languages partly for Omani citizens? (7)

Answer: ROMANIC (i.e. “like some languages”). “Partly” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: FO(R OMANI C)ITZENS.

  1. Tory woman surprisingly into stars (13)

Answer: CONSTELLATION (i.e. “stars”). Solution is CON (i.e. “Tory”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) followed by STELLA (i.e. “woman” – yet, yet, yet, yet, yet more names) and an anagram (indicated by “surprisingly”) of INTO, like so: CON-STELLA-TION.

  1. Poisonous alkaloid from a harbour over in East (8)

Answer: ATROPINE (i.e. “poisonous alkaloid” found in deadly nightshade). Solution is A followed by PORT (i.e. “harbour”) reversed (indicated by “over” – this being a down clue), then IN and E (a recognised abbreviation of “East”), like so: A-TROP-IN-E. One gotten solely from the wordplay.

  1. Like some old Peruvians serving prison sentences? (5)

Answer: INCAN (i.e. “like some old Peruvians”). When written as IN CAN the solution also satisfies “serving prison sentences” – CAN being slang for a prison.

  1. Filled with enthusiasm, but brought down to earth, perhaps? (5,3,4,4)

Answer: SWEPT OFF ONES FEET. Solution satisfies “filled with enthusiasm” and “brought down to earth, perhaps” describing the scene if one took the phrase literally.

  1. Endlessly regretful about quietly getting a new pouch (7)

Answer: SPORRAN (i.e. “pouch”). Solution is SORRY (i.e. “regretful”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”) and the remainder wrapped “about” P (i.e. “quietly”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the musical lingo “piano”), followed by A and N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: S(P)ORR-A-N.

  1. Knight errant’s son in physical discomfort (7)

Answer: PALADIN (i.e. “knight errant”). Solution is LAD (i.e. “son”) placed “in” PAIN (i.e. “physical discomfort”), like so: PA(LAD)IN.

  1. Those not elected dig new head’s frank manner (13)

Answer: OUTSPOKENNESS (i.e. “frank manner”). Solution is OUTS (i.e. “those not elected”) followed by POKE (i.e. “dig”), then N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and NESS (i.e. “head”, as in the geographical feature).

  1. Trendy label, behold, around one engraved figure (8)

Answer: INTAGLIO (i.e. “engraved figure”). Solution is IN (i.e. “trendy”) followed by TAG (i.e. “label”), then LO (i.e. “behold”, as in lo and…) once wrapped “around” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: IN-TAG-L(I)O. Another gotten mostly from the wordplay.

  1. Accomplished gangster accepting fate? It’s comparable (12)

Answer: PROPORTIONAL (i.e. “comparable”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “accomplished”) and AL (i.e. “gangster”, specifically Al Capone, a favourite of several setters) wrapped around or “accepting” PORTION (i.e. “fate” – Chambers backs this up, though I can’t bring to mind an example of its use in this way), like so: PRO-(PORTION)-AL.

  1. An attempt to embarrass? (5)

Answer: ABASH (i.e. “to embarrass”). When written as A BASH the solution also satisfies “an attempt”.

  1. Unbearable to the French mob, a bishop having gone in first (11)

Answer: INTOLERABLE (i.e. “unbearable”). Solution is TO followed by LE (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the masculine form of “the” in French) and RABBLE (i.e. “mob”) once one of the Bs has been removed (indicated by “a bishop having gone” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess). The whole is then preceded (indicated by “first”) by IN, like so: IN-(TO-LE-RABLE).

  1. Support novel French art, ultimately with a little cash out East (10)

Answer: BACKSHEESH (i.e. “a little cash out East”, specifically a gift or gratuity or tip, also spelled backshish, bakhshish or baksheesh). Solution is BACK (i.e. “support”) followed by SHE (i.e. “novel” by H. Rider Haggard – another favourite of some setters), then ES (i.e. “French art” – another favourite of setters, “art” is taken to be a ye olde form of “are”, the French of which is ES) and H (i.e. “ultimately with”, i.e. the last letter of “with”).

  1. Naval officer’s chest of drawers containing gold (9)

Answer: COMMODORE (i.e. “naval officer”). Solution is COMMODE (i.e. “chest of drawers”) wrapped around or “containing” OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry), like so: COMMOD(OR)E.

  1. One who explains riots stirred up after trade fair (9)

Answer: EXPOSITOR (i.e. “one who explains”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “stirred up”) of RIOTS placed “after” EXPO (i.e. “trade fair”), like so: EXPO-SITOR.

  1. A French writer briefly visiting army eating-place (7)

Answer: TAVERNA (i.e. “eating-place”). Solution is A and Jules VERNE (i.e. “French writer”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”). These are then placed in or “visit” TA (i.e. “army”, specifically the Territorial Army), like so: T(A-VERN)A.

  1. Seaside entertainer perhaps – and what might cause his downfall? (7)

Answer: PIERROT (i.e. a clown or “seaside entertainer perhaps”). When written as PIER ROT the solution cryptically satisfies “what might cause his downfall”.

  1. Naval NCOs collecting raunchy snaps (6)

Answer: PHOTOS (i.e. “snaps”). Solution is POS (i.e. “naval NCOs”, specifically Petty Officers) wrapped around or “collecting” HOT (i.e. “raunchy”), like so: P(HOT)OS.

  1. Bachelor leaves in drunken state for game (5)

Answer: LOTTO (i.e. “game”). Solution is BLOTTO (i.e. “drunken state”) with the B (a recognised abbreviation of “bachelor”) removed (indicated by “leaves”).

  1. Greyish, like Henry on the outside (4)

Answer: ASHY (i.e. “greyish”). Solution is AS (i.e. “like”) followed by HY (i.e. “Henry on the outside”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Henry”).

Fleet Foxes are back! Yay! Their new album Shore made for a very pleasant first listen, so it wasn’t much of a stretch for me to return to the band’s back catalogue. King of the crop is still their eponymous debut album, the best known song from which you can find below. If lush, folksy Beach Boys-style close harmony is your thing then you’ll lap this up. Enjoy! – LP