Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1537

Oof! I feel sorry for any solvers who attempted to start this one from the top. Take a look at the first six across solutions and compare them to the rest of the grid. Why on earth do setters do this? Why do they designate a certain area of the grid for markedly harder clues or exotic solutions? Has this ever resulted in a satisfying solve? This happens enough to make me suspect it could be a particular setter’s calling card. If so, I’d quite happily see them dropped from the roster. It’s not as if I’d miss their uninspired clueing.

So, yeah, you could say this one pissed me off. Not that it was particularly hard, just that it was so uneven. To be fair, it could also be because this is a working weekend for your favourite internet nobody, which does little to improve the mood. If you can forgive my grumpiness, you’ll 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 accused you of attending a Downing Street lockdown knees-up then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the buggers. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and input. They are always appreciated and it’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared. Till next time, mask up, get jabbed and stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Note orbiting traveller here? (6)

Answer: PHOBOS, a moon or “orbiter” of Mars. Solution is PS (i.e. “note”, short for a postscript) wrapped around or “orbiting” HOBO (i.e. “traveller”), like so: P(HOBO)S.

  1. Star about to introduce a new work (7)

Answer: CANOPUS (i.e. “star”, supposedly the second brightest in the night sky). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “circa”, i.e. “about”) followed by A, then N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and OPUS (i.e. “work”). Chalk one to my Bradford’s.

  1. Hint of consternation with horse facing a huge buffalo (8)

Answer: CARABAOS (i.e. “buffalo”). Solution is C (i.e. “hint of consternation”, I guess meaning the first letter of “consternation” – can’t say I’m keen) followed by ARAB (i.e. a breed of “horse”), then A and OS (i.e. “huge”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “outsizes”). Another nod to Bradford’s. As you may have gathered from my intro, I’d lost all patience by this point.

  1. Enter drudge – he wrote one novel, a Victorian story (5,3,9,4)

Answer: UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE (i.e. “a Victorian story”, specifically Thomas Hardy’s second novel). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ENTER DRUDGE HE WROTE ONE. An underwhelming anagram of a minor novel few could give a shit about.

  1. This writer with acidity – it is something with a nasty smell (8)

Answer: MEPHITIS (i.e. “a nasty smell”). Solution is ME (i.e. “this writer” from the point of view of the setter) followed by PH (i.e. “acidity” …or alkalinity depending which way you swing) and IT IS. One nailed solely through the wordplay, but at least the solution was in some way interesting.

  1. Insecticide desperate man put down in row (7)

Answer: LINDANE (i.e. “insecticide”). Solution is DAN (i.e. “desperate man”, specifically Dandy comic’s cover star Desperate Dan) placed “in” LINE (i.e. “row”), like so: LIN(DAN)E. I was straight to Bradford’s again the moment I saw “insecticide”, especially after the disgraceful made-to-fit bullshit that was pulled in grid 1509’s “LINU RON”. There are literally a million things more worthy of my time than knowing every insecticide out there. Also, if you wanted proof the setter is being a [lady’s naughty bits] simply for the sake of it, consider the other words that could have fitted the intersecting letters.

  1. Despises saints penning hackneyed stuff (6)

Answer: SCORNS (i.e. “despises”). Solution is S and S (both recognised abbreviations of “saint”) wrapped around or “penning” CORN (i.e. “hackneyed stuff”), like so: S(CORN)S.

  1. Fellow with a bit of an edge you’d rather not meet? (4,6)

Answer: GRIM REAPER. Clue plays on how the Grim Reaper is often depicted carrying a scythe and that “you’d rather not meet” him, seeing that’d be the end of you.

  1. Fellow losing head, writer with position that you wouldn’t have anticipated (12)

Answer: HAPPENSTANCE (i.e. “that you wouldn’t have anticipated”). Solution is CHAP (i.e. “fellow”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “losing head”) and the remainder followed by PEN (i.e. “writer”) and STANCE (i.e. “position”), like so: HAP-PEN-STANCE.

  1. Help here, off and on, to provide sword (4)

Answer: EPEE (i.e. “sword”). “Off and on” indicates the solution is derived from every other letter of HELP HERE.

  1. Creative type in firm, initially managing problem (8)

Answer: COMPOSER (i.e. “creative type”). Solution is CO (i.e. “firm”, short for company) followed by M (i.e. “initially managing”, i.e. the first letter of “managing”) and POSER (i.e. “problem”).

  1. Drinks with sharp content with making of new businesses (8)

Answer: STARTUPS (i.e. “new businesses”). Solution is SUPS (i.e. “drinks”) wrapped around or having “content” of TART (i.e. “sharp”), like so: S(TART)UPS.

  1. A controversy about extension to home? (12)

Answer: CONSERVATORY (i.e. “extension to home”). “About” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A CONTROVERSY. Another underwhelming anagram.

  1. Rambling as miserable person, the German in Germany’s capital (10)

Answer: MEANDERING (i.e. “rambling”). Solution is MEAN (i.e. “as miserable person”) followed by DER (i.e. “the German”, i.e. the German for “the”), then IN and G (i.e. “Germany’s capital”, i.e. the first letter of “Germany”).

  1. Work backstage maybe and create a fuss (4,1,5)

Answer: MAKE A SCENE. Solution satisfies “work backstage maybe” and “create a fuss”.

  1. Bishop, say, wanting whisky and something sweet (12)

Answer: BUTTERSCOTCH (i.e. “sweet”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess) followed by UTTER (i.e. “say”) and SCOTCH (i.e. “whisky”).

  1. Resolves to conceal one’s actions to destroy gods (8)

Answer: DEICIDES (i.e. “actions to destroy gods”). Solution is DECIDES (i.e. “resolves”) wrapped around or “concealing” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: DE(I)CIDES.

  1. Number to be found in old city entertained by crazy fellow (4,4)

Answer: CUBE ROOT (i.e. “number”). Solution is BE placed or “found in” UR (i.e. “old city” – a favourite of many setters) which is itself then placed in or “entertained by” COOT (i.e. “crazy fellow”, like so: C(U(BE)R)OOT.

  1. Feathered friend turning, finding very little (4)

Answer: DRIB (i.e. “very little”). Solution is BIRD (i.e. “feathered friend”) reversed (indicated by “turning”).

  1. French lass produced white wine around lunchtime? (12)

Answer: MADEMOISELLE (i.e. “French lass”). Solution is MADE (i.e. “produced”) and MOSELLE (i.e. “white wine”) once wrapped “around” I (i.e. “lunchtime” – basically one expressed as a Roman numeral. The riddly question mark tries to excuse the rather poor wordplay), like so: MADE-MO(I)SELLE.

  1. A guy to care inordinately and behave maturely! (3,4,3)

Answer: ACT YOUR AGE (i.e. “behave maturely”). “Inordinately” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A GUY TO CARE. I thought use of YOUR in Times crossword solutions was discouraged in favour of ONE’S. This has happened a couple of times recently so maybe it isn’t a hard and fast rule. (Shrugs.)

  1. Something loopy that can be a pain (6)

Answer: STITCH. Solution satisfies “something loopy” and “a pain”.

  1. A bit of money, gold, right for one in fabled race (7)

Answer: CENTAUR (i.e. “one in fabled race”). Solution is CENT (i.e. “a bit of money” – a bit can refer to a coin) followed by AU (chemical symbol of “gold”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”). This reminded me of a great short story by Stephen Graham Jones called When Swords Had Names. It was published by The Dark magazine a few years ago. If dark fantasy floats your boat then you can read the story in full here:

  1. Looking smart, attractive girl keeps within reach (in want of husband) (8)

Answer: DANDYISH (i.e. “looking smart”). Solution is DISH (i.e. “attractive girl”) wrapped around or “keeping” HANDY (i.e. “within reach”) with the H removed (indicated by “in want of husband” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “husband”), like so: D(ANDY)ISH.

  1. Does the business, vote by vote, and shows little enthusiasm (4,7,3,7)

Answer: GOES THROUGH THE MOTIONS (i.e. “shows little enthusiasm”). Clue plays on MOTIONS being orders of “business”, perhaps of a kind that a board may “vote” on. Something like that, anyway.

  1. Gets hold of bits of music (8)

Answer: SNATCHES. Solution satisfies “gets hold of” and “bits of music”.

  1. Start to swim as a boat may be ruined (7)

Answer: SCREWED (i.e. “ruined”). Solution is S (i.e. “start to swim”, i.e. the first letter of “swim”) followed by CREWED (i.e. “as a boat may be”).

  1. World of mum, at home after party (6)

Answer: DOMAIN (i.e. “world”). Solution is MA (i.e. short form of “mother”) and IN (i.e. “at home”) both placed “after” DO (i.e. “party”), like so: DO-(MA-IN).

Down clues

  1. Husband with zero value in his home? (5)

Answer: HOUSE (i.e. “home”). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) followed by O (i.e. “zero”) and USE (i.e. “value”).

  1. Educationist joins dictionary publisher in special rooms (11)

Answer: BEDCHAMBERS (i.e. “special rooms” – a bit random calling them special, but I suppose they are “confined or mainly applied to a particular subject” (Chambers). Like most rooms, then). Solution is BED (i.e. “educationalist”, specifically a Bachelor of Education”) followed by CHAMBERS (i.e. “dictionary publisher”).

  1. Support the heartless king who walks as if he owns the place? (8)

Answer: STRUTTER (i.e. “who walks as if he owns the place”). Solution is STRUT (i.e. “support”) followed by TE (i.e. “the heartless”, i.e. the word “the” with its middle letter removed) and R (i.e. “king”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Rex).

  1. Fish and lettuce, nothing hard to be swallowed (5)

Answer: COHOS (i.e. “fish”, specifically Pacific salmon). Solution is COS (i.e. variety of “lettuce”) wrapped around or “swallowing” O (i.e. “nothing”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils), like so: C(O-H)OS.

  1. Woman ultimately one to laugh, not the first critical soul (7)

Answer: NIGGLER (i.e. “critical soul”). Solution is N (i.e. “woman ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “woman”) followed by GIGGLER (i.e. “one to laugh”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “not the first”), like so: N-IGGLER.

  1. Hot food on plane? That’s unrealistic (3,2,3,3)

Answer: PIE IN THE SKY (i.e. “unrealistic”). Clue plays on PIE being a variety of “hot food”. Food on a “plane” tends to be served once it’s IN THE SKY. You get the idea.

  1. Delivery man, worker perhaps in African country, initially (5)

Answer: SANTA Claus (i.e. “delivery man”). Solution is ANT (i.e. “worker perhaps”, other flavours of ant are available) placed “in” SA (i.e. “African country, initially”, i.e. the initial letters of South Africa), like so: S(ANT)A.

  1. Neighbourhood of Bishop Bill provides intimacy (9)

Answer: CLOSENESS (i.e. “intimacy”). Solution is CLOSE (i.e. “neighbourhood of bishop”) followed by NESS (i.e. “bill” – ignore the misleading capitalisation, this is a geographic feature, specifically a sharp promontory).

  1. Some crossed Iran making return journeys (5)

Answer: RIDES (i.e. “journeys”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “making return” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: CROS(SED IR)AN.

  1. Mayor taking umbrage, sort to get upset (11)

Answer: BURGOMASTER (i.e. “mayor” in certain European countries). “To get upset” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UMBRAGE SORT.

  1. Huge canoe at sea – Channel Islands coming up (7)

Answer: OCEANIC (i.e. “huge”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “at sea”) of CANOE followed by CI (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of the “Channel Islands”) once this has been reversed (indicated by “coming up” – this being a down clue), like so: OCEAN-IC.

  1. Unscrupulous person in respect of procedure relating to will? (9)

Answer: REPROBATE (i.e. “unscrupulous person”). Solution is RE (i.e. “in respect of” – think email replies) followed by PROBATE (i.e. “procedure relating to will”).

  1. Gaseous fuel, on paper, looking bad (7)

Answer: PROPANE (i.e. “gaseous fuel”). “Looking bad” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ON PAPER.

  1. Soldier was introduced to Her Majesty – something definitive (9)

Answer: PARAMETER (i.e. “something definitive”, likely a defined value, e.g. a delivery date input into a supermarket app). Solution is PARA (i.e. “soldier”, short for paratrooper) followed by MET (i.e. “was introduced to”) and ER (i.e. “Her Majesty”, specifically Elizabeth Regina).

  1. Hit and run in careless manner (8)

Answer: SLAPDASH (i.e. careless manner”). Solution is SLAP (i.e. “hit”) followed by DASH (i.e. “run”).

  1. French native shown to have endless serenity (9)

Answer: PROVENCAL (i.e. “French native” of Provence). Solution is PROVEN (i.e. “shown”) followed by CALM (i.e. “serenity”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endless”), like so: PROVEN-CAL.

  1. Ruler kept under by deity in charge is showing fear (9)

Answer: PANICKING (i.e. “showing fear”). Solution is KING (i.e. “ruler”) placed after or “under” – this being a down clue – PAN (i.e. “deity”, specifically the Greek god of the woods) and IC (a recognised abbreviation of “in charge”), like so: (PAN-IC)-KING.

  1. Live mostly in very good old military post (8)

Answer: PRESIDIO (i.e. “military post”). Solution is RESIDE (i.e. “live…in”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder placed “in” PI (i.e. “very good”, short for pious) and followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: P(RESID)I-O.

  1. Plant giving a closet a new look (7)

Answer: ALECOST (i.e. “plant” used in flavouring beer). Solution is A followed by an anagram (indicated by “a new look”) of CLOSET, like so: A-LECOST.

  1. Procedure with unclaimed property in small estate – deceive fellows involved (11)

Answer: ESCHEATMENT (i.e. “procedure with unclaimed property”, often turned over to the state). Solution is EST (i.e. “small estate”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “estate”) wrapped around or “involving” CHEAT (i.e. “deceive”) and MEN (i.e. “fellows”), like so: ES(CHEAT-MEN)T.

  1. Hard-hitting speaker booked to give message? (5-6)

Answer: BIBLE-BASHER. Clue plays on someone “hard-hitting” being a BASHER and a BIBLE being a “book”. You get the idea.

  1. Where officers meet – evidently not a mess! (7,4)

Answer: ORDERLY ROOM (i.e. “where officers meet”). Clue plays on how ORDERLY can mean something is in order, hinting that such a ROOM is “not a mess”. You get the idea.

  1. Son has funny trousers – they have weights attached (4,5)

Answer: SASH CORDS (i.e. “they have weights attached” – over to Chambers: “a cord attaching a weight to a sash in order to hold it open at any height”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “funny”) of HAS, then CORDS (i.e. “trousers”, short for corduroy), like so: S-ASH-CORDS.

  1. Little boy preceded by French maid in ribboned headgear (8)

Answer: BONNETED (i.e. “in ribboned headgear”). Solution is TED (i.e. “little boy”, I guess being a shortened form of Edward) placed after or “preceded by” BONNE (i.e. “French maid”), like so: BONNE-TED.

  1. Opposing dope as substance to fight off disease (7)

Answer: ANTIGEN (i.e. “substance to fight off disease”). Solution is ANTI (i.e. “opposing”) followed by GEN (i.e. “dope” or knowledge).

  1. A demonstration with heads held high? (3,4)

Answer: AIR SHOW (i.e. “demonstration”). Clue plays on how, in order to observe said show, you’d need your “head held high”.

  1. Come out in church with mitre on? (5)

Answer: HATCH (i.e. “come out”). Solution is CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) with HAT (i.e. “mitre”) placed “on” top, this being a down clue, like so: HAT-CH.

  1. Words showing intelligence – any number thrown in (5)

Answer: NOUNS (i.e. “words”). Solution is NOUS (i.e. “intelligence”) wrapped around or having “thrown in” N (i.e. “any number”, or an indefinite number used in maths), like so: NOU(N)S.

  1. Like St Paul’s march maybe Dean originally set up (5)

Answer: DOMED (i.e. “like St Paul’s” Cathedral). Solution is DEMO (i.e. “march maybe” – other forms of demonstration are available) followed by D (i.e. “Dean originally”, i.e. the first letter of “dean”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue), like so: D-OMED.

  1. Food gives us hiccups? Only a bit! (5)

Answer: SUSHI (i.e. “food”). “Only a bit” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: GIVE(S US HI)CCUPS.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1536

A toughie after a couple of relatively straightforward Jumbos. This was one of those that leaned a little too far into general knowledge for my liking. It was okay, but I usually prefer to camp out in my dictionaries during these things, not Google. We’ve seen a lot worse, to be fair.

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 pulled your pants down in front of the vicar of all people then you might find my Just For Fun page of help, where you’ll find links to solutions to a couple hundred of them. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks for the kind words and good wishes. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, mask up, get jabbed and stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Cover for head of state overturning treaty (4,3)

Answer: FLAT CAP (i.e. “cover for head”). Solution is FLA (i.e. “state”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Florida) followed by PACT (i.e. “treaty”) once reversed or “overturned”, like so: FLA-TCAP.

  1. Dives underworld figure runs guarded by animal (9)

Answer: PLUTOCRAT (i.e. “Dives” – one for the theologians, this was apparently a rich man at whose gate Lazarus lay. A plutocrat, meanwhile, is a person who is powerful through their wealth. If those two sufficiently dovetail then happy days. If not, write with righteous fury to The Times). Solution is PLUTO (i.e. “underworld figure”) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) once placed in or “guarded by” CAT (i.e. “animal”), like so: PLUTO-C(R)AT.

  1. Article on pop art movement (4)

Answer: DADA (i.e. “art movement” of the 1920s). Solution is A (i.e. “article”, being a word like a, an or the) placed “on” or after DAD (i.e. “pop”, both words for father), like so: DAD-A.

  1. Potentially cheater, with envy, is feeling this? (5-4.4)

Answer: SEVEN-YEAR ITCH (i.e. “feeling this”, in reference to the “cheater” of the clue. The solution is a fancy for infidelity supposedly after seven years of marriage). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “potentially”) of CHEATER and ENVY IS.

  1. Better housing one’s to throw together (9)

Answer: IMPROVISE (i.e. “throw together”). Solution is IMPROVE (i.e. “better”) wrapped around or “housing” I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”), like so: IMPROV(I’S)E.

  1. Country club perhaps fools around with no tension (10)

Answer: UNSTRESSED (i.e. “with no tension”). Solution is UN (i.e. “country club”, specifically the United Nations) followed by DESSERTS (i.e. “perhaps fools” – other desserts are available) once reversed (indicated by “around”), like so: UN-STRESSED.

  1. Area of science involving endless loop and geometry (11)

Answer: METEOROLOGY (i.e. “area of science”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “involving”) of LOO (i.e. “endless loop”, i.e. the word “loop” with its last letter removed) and GEOMETRY.

  1. Don’t stick tip of spear into Josh (5)

Answer: TWIST (i.e. “don’t stick”, or to draw another card in a game of blackjack or pontoon). Solution is S (i.e. “tip of spear”, i.e. the first letter of “spear”) placed “into” TWIT (i.e. “josh” – ignore the misleading capitalisation; apparently one can twit or taunt another), like so: TWI(S)T.

  1. What musicians learn about second note in number (10)

Answer: THREESCORE (i.e. “number”, specifically sixty). Solution is THE SCORE (i.e. “what musicians learn”) wrapped “about” RE (i.e. “second note” in the sol-fa notation, i.e. do-RE-me… – can be spelled re or ray), like so: TH(RE)E-SCORE.

  1. Penning note, a manager cut further documentation (6)

Answer: ANNEXE (i.e. “further documentation”). Solution is AN EXEC (i.e. “a manager” or executive) with the last letter removed (indicated by “cut”) and the remainder wrapped around or “penning” N (a recognised abbreviation of “note”), like so: AN-(N)-EXE.

  1. This person twice burying Asian invader’s bones (9)

Answer: METATARSI (i.e. “bones”). Solution is ME and I (i.e. “this person twice”, from the point of view of the setter) wrapped around or “burying” TATAR’S (i.e. “Asian invader’s”, “any of the Mongol, Turkish and other warriors who swept over Asia and Europe” (Chambers)), like so: ME-(TATAR’S)-I.

  1. Hard worker set off to unload goods (5)

Answer: TRIER (i.e. “hard worker”). Solution is TRIGGER (i.e. “set off”) with the Gs removed (indicated by “unload goods” – G being a recognised abbreviation of “good”).

  1. Great genes uncovered of both sexes (7)

Answer: EPICENE (i.e. “of both sexes”). Solution is EPIC (i.e. “great”) followed by GENES once its first and last letters have been removed (indicated by “uncovered”), like so: EPIC-ENE.

  1. Helping to hold one after old rugby player’s seizure (13)

Answer: EXPROPRIATION (i.e. “seizure” of property). Solution is RATION (i.e. serving or “helping”) wrapped around or “holding” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and placed “after” EX (i.e. “old”) and PROP (i.e. “rugby player”), like so: (EX-PROP)-R(I)ATION.

  1. Those with swag bag’s contents? (3,6)

Answer: TEA LEAVES (i.e. “bag’s contents”). Clue plays on how TEA LEAF is cockney rhyming slang for “thief”, who you might stereotypically find carrying a “swag bag”. You get the idea.

  1. Physicist entering lake in waterproof covering (9)

Answer: TARPAULIN (i.e. “waterproof covering”). Solution is Wolfgang PAULI (i.e. “physicist” – no, me neither) placed in or “entering” TARN (i.e. a small mountain “lake”), like so: TAR(PAULI)N. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here.

  1. Making uneasy old Austrian ready to accept deal? (5-8)

Answer: SPINE-CHILLING (i.e. “making uneasy”). Solution is SCHILLING (i.e. “old Austrian ready”, or currency) wrapped around or “accepting” PINE (i.e. “deal”, specifically a board of pine that we’ve seen a few times in Jumbos now), like so: S(PINE)CHILLING.

  1. Scholar’s problems returning after many years (7)

Answer: Desiderius ERASMUS (i.e. Dutch “scholar” of the 15th century). Solution is SUMS (i.e. mathematical “problems” – another we’ve seen a few times in Jumbos) reversed (indicated by “returning”) and placed “after” ERA (i.e. “many years”), like so: ERA-SMUS.

  1. Leaves hotel to be hosted by queen, say (5)

Answer: CHARD (i.e. “leaves”). Solution is H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet) placed in or “hosted by” CARD (i.e. “queen, say” – other playing cards are available), like so: C(H)ARD. Make easier by CHARD being part of a solution in a recent Jumbo.

  1. One who orders programmer to engage male staff (9)

Answer: COMMANDER (i.e. “one who orders”). Solution is CODER (i.e. “programmer”) wrapped around M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) and MAN (i.e. to “staff” or provide with a worker), like so: CO(M-MAN)DER.

  1. Learned person stayed put without vehicle (6)

Answer: SAVANT (i.e. “learned person”). Solution is SAT (i.e. “stayed put”) placed around or “without” VAN (i.e. “vehicle”), like so: SA(VAN)T.

  1. Clean items smashed in a hundred pieces (10)

Answer: CENTESIMAL (i.e. “in a hundred pieces”). “Smashed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CLEAN ITEMS.

  1. Offer to host games for baddie in Animal Farm? (5)

Answer: BIPED (i.e. “baddie in Animal Farm“, basically the humans in the story). Solution is BID (i.e. “offer”) wrapped around or “hosting” PE (i.e. “games”, specifically Physical Education), like so: BI(PE)D.

  1. Some power to keep ruler near throne room (5,6)

Answer: WATER CLOSET (i.e. toilet or, playfully, “throne room”). Solution is WATT (i.e. “some power”) wrapped around or “keeping”) ER (i.e. “ruler”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) and CLOSE (i.e. “near”), like so: WAT(ER-CLOSE)T.

  1. Preacher in say one part of church spinning record (10)

Answer: EVANGELIST (i.e. “preacher”). Solution is EG (i.e. “say” or for example) and NAVE (i.e. “one part of church”) both reversed (indicated by “spinning”) and followed by LIST (i.e. “record”), like so: (EVAN-GE)-LIST.

  1. Care to play what sounds like harsh Stradivarius? (9)

Answer: RACEHORSE (i.e. “Stradivarius” – I’m not a betting man, so this needed a quick Google to confirm. I was genuinely surprised to find he’s still going strong. I was expecting him to have been some mega-famous racehorse during the 1950s or something, known today solely to the types of wrinkly old men who have every edition of Racing Post ever printed. Apparently Stradivarius won the Goodwood Cup a record four years in a row in 2020 and the Ascot Gold Cup a bunch of times. Is that enough to immortalise him? Will non-horsey types come to The Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword Book 25 in the years to come and immediately think “ah, yes, good old Stradivarius. Bloody good horse, that…”? Hmm. We’ll see). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to play”) of CARE followed by a homophone (indicated by “what sounds like”) of HOARSE (i.e. “harsh”), like so: RACE-HORSE.

  1. Woman drinking beer and spirit is game for romance (4,3,6)

Answer: SPIN THE BOTTLE (i.e. “game for romance” – Tsk! Bottles are for drinking, you bloody heathens. What’s wrong with Postman’s Knock? Oh, wait, that’s right, its not the 80s any more. Don’t answer that…) Solution is SHE (i.e. “woman”) wrapped around or “drinking” PINT (i.e. “beer”) and followed by BOTTLE (i.e. courage or “spirit”), like so: S(PINT)HE-BOTTLE.

  1. Scuppered French quintet in audition? (4)

Answer: SANK (i.e. “scuppered”). “In audition” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of CINQ (i.e. “French quintet”, i.e. the French for “five”).

  1. Like unhealthy foods around large mouth, mostly? (9)

Answer: CALORIFIC (i.e. “like unhealthy foods”). Solution is CA (i.e. “around”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and ORIFICE (i.e. “mouth”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: CA-L-ORIFIC.

  1. Performed some opera, wanting a drink (7)

Answer: SANGRIA (i.e. “drink”). Solution is SANG ARIA (i.e. “performed some opera”) with one of the As removed (indicated by “wanting a”), like so: SANG-RIA.

Down clues

  1. Maiden losing heart for one of the dukes (4)

Answer: FIST (i.e. “one of the dukes” – slang for one’s fists). Solution is FIRST (i.e. “maiden”) with the middle letter removed (indicated by “losing heart”).

  1. Believer very entertained by a person putting on braces? (9)

Answer: ADVENTIST (i.e. “believer”). Solution is V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”) placed in or “entertained by” A DENTIST (i.e. “a person putting on braces”), like so: A-D(V)ENTIST.

  1. In which one’s king is in check? (14,8)

Answer: CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY, “in which the power of the sovereign is defined and limited by the constitution” (Chambers), or, in other words, keeping “one’s king in check”.

  1. Parking message again, perhaps, in dodgy grounds (7)

Answer: PRETEXT (i.e. “dodgy grounds”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “parking” used in signage) followed by RE-TEXT (i.e. “message again”).

  1. Israeli politician joining triumvirate for reform (11)

Answer: PERESTROIKA (i.e. “reform” undertaken in 1980s Soviet Russia). Solution is Shimon PERES (i.e. “Israeli politician”) followed by TROIKA (i.e. “triumvirate”).

  1. Least smart lingerie? Time to gather it up (9)

Answer: UNTIDIEST (i.e. “least smart”). Solution is UNDIES (i.e. “lingerie”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) wrapped around or “gathering” IT once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: UN(TI)DIES-T.

  1. Error of player, one who overplays old characters (5)

Answer: OGHAM (i.e. “old characters”, specifically “an ancient alphabet used in Celtic and Pictish inscriptions” (Chambers)). Solution is OG (i.e. “error of player”, specifically an Own Goal) followed by HAM (i.e. “one who overplays”). One solved solely through the wordplay.

  1. Alter view of it and repent half of errors anew (11)

Answer: REINTERPRET (i.e. “alter view”). “Anew” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IT, REPENT and ERR (i.e. “half of errors”, specifically the first half).

  1. Singer grasping piano composition in class (6)

Answer: TIPTOP (i.e. “class” or excellent). Solution is TIT (i.e. a songbird or “singer”) wrapped around or “grasping” P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano” used in musical lingo) and followed by OP (i.e. “composition”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”), like so: TI(P)T-OP.

  1. Model needing to follow a diet, not half fat (7)

Answer: ADIPOSE (i.e. “fat”). Solution is POSE (i.e. to “model”) placed after or “following” A and DI (i.e. “diet, not half”, specifically the first half of “diet”), like so: (A-DI)-POSE.

  1. In one fancy net, see rising gas (9)

Answer: ACETYLENE (i.e. “gas”). Solution is ACE (i.e. “one” in playing cards) followed by an anagram (indicated by “fancy”) of NET wrapped around or having “in” ELY (i.e. “see”, specifically a diocese in East Anglia that is a popular go-to for Times setters) once reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: ACE-T(YLE)NE.

  1. Divine hosts have a clue party with nothing on is to prove a flop (2,4,4,1,4,7)

Answer: GO DOWN LIKE A LEAD BALLOON (i.e. “prove a flop”). Solution is GODLIKE (i.e. “divine”) wrapped around or “hosting” OWN (i.e. to “have”) and followed by A, then LEAD (i.e. “clue”), then BALL (i.e. “party”), then O (i.e. “nothing”) and ON, like so: GOD(OWN)LIKE-A-LEAD-BALL-O-ON.

  1. Art employed briefly in play’s titular event (7)

Answer: TEMPEST (i.e. “play’s titular event”, referencing William Shakespeare’s The Tempest). I’m not 100% sure about this one, but I reckon when written as TEMP EST the solution satisfies “art employed briefly”. Several setters have recently used “art” as a ye olde form of “are”, the French for which being “es” or “est”. Trouble is there is no ye olde indicator in the clue, nor a French indicator. A bit of a dog’s dinner if I’ve got this right. If I’ve not, and if some kind soul swings by with a better explanation, then I’ll update the post.

[EDIT: As mentioned by a few in the comments, the clue uses the tiresome ye olde device often employed by setters when their solution ends in -EST. For some reason I hadn’t twigged that “art” was the ye olde indicator. Ugh. I blame the lurgy. If there’s one type of wordplay I’d happily drown in a lake it’s this one. Thanks all for helping! – LP]

  1. Lesbian character ill-disposed to wine (7)

Answer: CHIANTI (i.e. “wine”). Solution is CHI (i.e. “Lesbian character”, basically the twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet. Lesbos, meanwhile, is a Greek island) followed by ANTI (i.e. “ill-disposed to”). Imagine my Google search history before I twigged this one.

  1. Mash ripe bananas – they’re heavenly! (8)

Answer: SERAPHIM (i.e. “they’re heavenly”). “Bananas” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MASH RIPE.

  1. Render bucolic river with hill around it (8)

Answer: RURALISE (i.e. “render bucolic”). Solution is URAL (i.e. Russian “river”) placed in or having “around it” RISE (i.e. “hill”), like so: R(URAL)ISE.

  1. How poem ends in unbroken voice (5)

Answer: ENVOI (i.e. “how poem ends”, also spelled envoy – a new one on me either way). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: BROK(EN VOI)CE.

  1. Serving man dressing king in jacket (5)

Answer: PARKA (i.e. “jacket”). Solution is PARA (i.e. “serving man”, specifically a paratrooper) wrapped around or “dressing” K (a recognised abbreviation of “king” used in chess), like so: PAR(K)A.

  1. Sort of coffee colour seen during this month (7)

Answer: INSTANT (i.e. “sort of coffee”). Solution is TAN (i.e. “colour”) placed in or “during” INST (i.e. “this month” – a shortened form of “instant” used in formal correspondence), like so: INS(TAN)T.

  1. Effuse endlessly about a wine that’s sweet (7)

Answer: SUGARED (i.e. “sweet”). Solution is GUSH (i.e. “effuse”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “about”), followed by A and RED (i.e. “wine”), like so: SUG-A-RED.

  1. Strong metal peg left after change in America (6,5)

Answer: NICKEL STEEL (i.e. “strong metal”). Solution is TEE (i.e. “peg”) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) both placed “after” NICKELS (i.e. “change in America”), like so: NICKELS-(TEE-L).

  1. Praising cosmetician after a make-over (11)

Answer: ENCOMIASTIC (i.e. “praising”). “After a make-over” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of COSMETICIAN. One I remembered from the very first Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword, which I covered last Christmas. Very nicely worked. Probably my favourite clue of the puzzle.

  1. A property manager’s moving ecstasy to China, say (9)

Answer: EASTWARDS (i.e. “to China, say” – other easterly destinations are available). Solution is A STEWARD’S (i.e. “a property manager’s”) with the E (street name of the drug “ecstasy”) “moved” to the beginning, like so: A-ST(E)WARD’S => (E)A-STWARD’S.

  1. Criticise and contradict female for doubting (9)

Answer: DISBELIEF (i.e. “doubting”). Solution is DIS (i.e. “criticise” – can be spelled with one or two Ss) followed by BELIE (i.e. “contradict”) and F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”).

  1. One having an account in prose? Do badly with it (9)

Answer: DEPOSITOR (i.e. “one having an account”). “Badly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PROSE DO and IT.

  1. Two vessels touring isle that’s a sacred place (7)

Answer: VATICAN (i.e. “a sacred place”). Solution is VAT and CAN (i.e. “two vessels”) wrapped around or “touring” I (a recognised abbreviation of “isle”), like so: VAT-(I)-CAN.

  1. Three sheets to the wind on the French steamer (7)

Answer: LEGLESS (i.e. pissed, or flying “three sheets to the wind”). Solution is LEG (i.e. “on” side in cricket) followed by LE (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the masculine French form of “the”) and SS (i.e. “steamer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “steamship”).

  1. Like secretary’s work, dropping a line for father? (6)

Answer: CLERIC (i.e. religious type or “father”). Solution is CLERICAL (i.e. “like secretary’s work”) with the A and L removed (indicated by “dropping a line” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “line”).

  1. Stunner was a model once more, making a comeback (5)

Answer: TASER (i.e. “stunner” device). Solution is RE-SAT (i.e. “was a model once more”) reversed (indicated by “making a comeback”).

  1. Star not quite following a strict diet (4)

Answer: VEGA (i.e. “star” in the constellation of Lyra). Solution is VEGAN (i.e. “following a strict diet”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “not quite”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1535

A busy time for Jumbos comes to a close with another relatively simple puzzle. Some nicely worked clues to enjoy, though, and a few new words and definitions to keep in mind for future.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has used up the last of your toilet roll then you might find solace in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions to hundreds of them. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and good wishes. All being well I’ll be lurgy-free by the next Jumbo. Till then, mask up, get jabbed and keep safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Small home in the middle of Glamorgan (5)

Answer: MINOR (i.e. “small”). Solution is IN (i.e. at “home”) placed “in” MOR (i.e. “the middle [letters] of GlaMORgan”), like so: M(IN)OR.

  1. I am leading queen into tea – an impossible dream (7)

Answer: CHIMERA (i.e. “an impossible dream”). Solution is I’M (a contraction of “I am”) and ER (i.e. “queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) both placed “into” CHA (i.e. “tea”), like so: CH(I’M-ER)A.

  1. Cruel oppressor of soldiers trapped between hills (9)

Answer: TORMENTOR (i.e. “cruel oppressor”). Solution is MEN (i.e. “soldiers”) placed in or “trapped between” TOR and TOR (i.e. “hills”), like so: TOR-(MEN)-TOR.

  1. Aware of arguments against Conservative debt records (9)

Answer: CONSCIOUS (i.e. “aware”). Solution is CONS (i.e. “arguments against”) followed by C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) and IOUS (i.e. “debt records”).

  1. Go-cart happily crashed? Concerning how this looks (13)

Answer: TYPOGRAPHICAL (i.e. “concerning how this looks”, given the clue is made up of lettering). “Crashed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GO CART HAPPILY.

  1. Ham left unused by function (7)

Answer: OVERACT (i.e. “ham” it up). Solution is OVER (i.e. “left unused”) followed by ACT (i.e. “function”).

  1. What measures flow encountered in a lake mostly (7)

Answer: AMMETER (i.e. “what measures flow” of electricity). Solution is MET (i.e. “encountered”) placed “in” A and MERE (i.e. “lake”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: A-M(MET)ER.

  1. Worked in steel able to be drawn into wire (7)

Answer: TENSILE (i.e. “able to be drawn into wire”). “Worked” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN STEEL.

  1. Fruitful interaction smashing socialist frontiers (5-13)

Answer: CROSS-FERTILISATION (i.e. “fruitful interaction” – a play on this being sexy times for differing varieties of fruit). “Smashing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SOCIALIST FRONTIERS.

  1. Accommodation in archaeological sites (4)

Answer: DIGS. Solution satisfies “accommodation” and “archaeological sites”.

  1. Mine utterly, I admitted, is in a poor way (9)

Answer: PITIFULLY (i.e. “in a poor way”). Solution is PIT (i.e. “mine”) and FULLY (i.e. “utterly”) both wrapped around or “admitting” I, like so: PIT-(I)-FULLY.

  1. The setter after knowledge – nothing for recipe for life, perhaps (6)

Answer: GENOME (i.e. “recipe for life, perhaps”). Solution is ME (i.e. “the setter”, from the point of view of the setter) placed “after” GEN (i.e. “knowledge”) and O (i.e. “nothing”), like so: (GEN-O)-ME.

  1. Chaperone expected girl back (6)

Answer: DUENNA (i.e. Spanish “chaperone”). Solution is DUE (i.e. “expected”) followed by ANN (i.e. a “girl’s” name) once reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: DUE-NNA. One remembered from a previous puzzle. This one in fact, in which a near carbon-copy appears.

  1. One whose pics are grotesque and scare rich naturists when stripped (12)

Answer: CARICATURISTS (i.e. “one whose pics are grotesque”). “When stripped” indicates the solution is derived by removing the first and last letters of SCARE RICH NATURISTS.

  1. Hurry pudding perhaps where plates can be taken by fast finishers? (10)

Answer: RACECOURSE (i.e. “where plates can be taken by fast finishers” – I guess this refers to trophies, but I could be missing something clever). Solution is RACE (i.e. “hurry”) followed by COURSE (i.e. “pudding perhaps”, other courses are available (though not as nom-nom)).

  1. London, say, is Marx’s first subject of his book (10)

Answer: CAPITALISM (i.e. “subject of [Marx’s] book”). Solution is CAPITAL (i.e. “London, say” – other capital cities are available) followed by IS and M (i.e. “Marx’s first”, i.e. the first letter of “Marx”).

  1. Again give out warning sign one second before salute (12)

Answer: REDISTRIBUTE (i.e. “again give out”). Solution is RED (i.e. “warning sign”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) and TRIBUTE (i.e. “salute”).

  1. Optical lab equipment – number dead to be returned (6)

Answer: ETALON (i.e. “optical lab equipment” – over to Chambers: “an interferometer used to measure wavelengths, consisting of an air film enclosed between half-silvered plane-parallel glass or quartz plates”. Phew, I’m glad the setter didn’t just reach for any old shit in the dictionary there to make it fit the grid…) Solution is NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) and LATE (i.e. “dead”) all reversed (indicated by “to be returned”), like so: ETAL-ON.

  1. Attitude of man heading up church (6)

Answer: STANCE (i.e. “attitude”). Solution is STAN (i.e. a “man’s” name) followed by CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England).

  1. Formatted text in page before a newspaper strike had advert removed (9)

Answer: PARAGRAPH (i.e. “formatted text”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “page”) followed by A, then RAG (slang for a “newspaper”), then RAP (i.e. “strike”) and H (i.e. “had advert removed”, i.e. the word “had” with “ad” removed – “ad” being a recognised abbreviation of an advertisement), like so: P-A-RAG-RAP-H.

  1. Scruff needing new mirror (4)

Answer: NAPE (i.e. “scruff” of the neck). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) followed by APE (i.e. to copy or “mirror”).

  1. Banned chemical initially shared with Chelsea Football Club? (18)

Answer: CHLOROFLUOROCARBON (i.e. “banned chemical”). The remainder of the clue plays on its more well-known abbreviation, CFC, which shares the same “initials” as “Chelsea Football Club”.

  1. Try catching the ling (7 – not 4 as printed in the paper)

Answer: HEATHER (i.e. “ling”). Solution is HEAR (i.e. to “try” in court) wrapped around or “catching” THE, like so: HEA(THE)R.

  1. Obsessive, yes, suffering break down (7)

Answer: ANALYSE (i.e. “break down”). Solution is ANAL (i.e. “obsessive”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “suffering”) of YES, like so: ANAL-YSE.

  1. Agency transport (7)

Answer: VEHICLE. Solution satisfies “agency” and “transport”.

  1. See company returning a small sofa, in short a thing to watch (5,8)

Answer: VIDEO CASSETTE (i.e. “a thing to watch”). Solution is VIDE (i.e. Latin for “see”) followed by CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) reversed (indicated by “returning”), then A, then S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and SETTEE (i.e. “sofa”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “in short”), like so: VIDE-OC-A-S-SETTE.

  1. Very urgent, I have to accept court order (9)

Answer: DIRECTIVE (i.e. “order”). Solution is DIRE (i.e. “very urgent”) and I’VE (a contraction of “I have”) wrapped around or “accepting” CT (a recognised abbreviation of “court”), like so: DIRE-(CT)-I’VE.

  1. Say, Oregon and Washington’s net worth’s staggering! (9)

Answer: NORTHWEST (i.e. “Oregon and Washington”, the two most north-westerly states of the US). “Staggering” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NET WORTH’S.

  1. Perhaps club losing three seconds cost series (7)

Answer: COTERIE (i.e. clique or “club”). “Losing three seconds” indicates the solution can be derived by removing the three Ss – S being a recognised abbreviation of “second” – from COST SERIES.

  1. Smallest son seen in millstream (5)

Answer: LEAST (i.e. “smallest”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) placed or “seen in” LEAT (i.e. “millstream” – a new one on me), like so: LEA(S)T.

Down clues

  1. Routines on computer busy with integrated circuit, as may easily be seen (11)

Answer: MACROSCOPIC (i.e. “as may easily be seen”). Solution is MACROS (i.e. “routines on computer”) followed by COP (i.e. “busy”, a slang word) and IC (a recognised abbreviation of an “integrated circuit”). This nerd approves.

  1. No new cents and euros initially coined for a specific occasion (5)

Answer: NONCE (i.e. “a specific occasion”). Solution is NO followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), C (ditto “cents”) and E (i.e. “euros initially”, i.e. the first letter of “euros”).

  1. Putting in a new order clarifies actions unusually (16)

Answer: RECLASSIFICATION (i.e. “putting in a new order”). “Unusually” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CLARIFIES ACTIONS.

  1. Laugh as little time left in tedious job (7)

Answer: CHORTLE (i.e. “laugh”, possibly “laugh as little”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and L (ditto “left”) both placed “in” CHORE (i.e. “tedious job”), like so: CHOR(T-L)E.

  1. Where many Falklanders are missing English, tons invading at once (9)

Answer: INSTANTLY (i.e. “at once”). Solution is IN STANLEY (i.e. “where many Falklanders are”) with the E removed (indicated by “missing English” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and the remainder wrapped around or being “invaded” by T (a recognised abbreviation of “tons”), like so: IN-STAN(T)LY.

  1. Who might study moths flying on gloomiest night, ultimately (12)

Answer: ENTOMOLOGIST (i.e. “who might study moths”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “flying”) of ON GLOOMIEST and T (i.e. “night, ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “night”).

  1. Yum-Yum, a favourite I perform in operetta after pressure (10)

Answer: APPETISING (i.e. “yum-yum”). Solution is A followed by PET (i.e. “favourite”) and I SING (i.e. “I perform in operetta”) once these last few have been placed “after” P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”), like so: A-P-(PET-I-SING).

  1. Dynamic individual initially got involved in row (5)

Answer: TIGER (i.e. “dynamic individual”). Solution is G (i.e. “initially got”, i.e. the first letter of “got”) placed or “involved in” TIER (i.e. “row”), like so: TI(G)ER.

  1. Feedback concerning first part of play being performed (8)

Answer: REACTION (i.e. “feedback”). Solution is RE (i.e. “concerning” – think email replies) followed by ACT I (i.e. “first part of play” – I being a Roman numeral one) and ON (i.e. “being performed”).

  1. Gas more than ever needs to be produced (6)

Answer: ETHANE (i.e. “gas”). “Needs to be produced” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, though you’d be forgiven for wondering why. Anyway, here it is: MOR(E THAN E)VER. I’m beginning to think this clue should have ended “needs to be reduced“…

  1. Careful planner’s account on getting into wreck of Titanic (9)

Answer: TACTICIAN (i.e. “careful planner”). Solution is AC (a recognised abbreviation of “account”) placed “into” an anagram (indicated by “wreck of”) of TITANIC, like so: T(AC)TICIAN.

  1. Wheeling smoothly, this bird gets fish (6,5)

Answer: ROLLER SKATE (i.e. to be “wheeling smoothly”). Solution is ROLLER (i.e. “bird” – apparently a canary-like songbird) followed by SKATE (i.e. “fish”).

  1. What sticks up on land? Blooming oil-seed rape, perhaps (7)

Answer: OUTCROP (i.e. “what sticks up on land”). Solution is OUT (i.e. of flowers “blooming”) followed by CROP (i.e. “oil-seed rape, perhaps” – other crops are available). A recent repeat, which made this an easier get.

  1. Instrument I’m cutting in a part that’s turned up (7)

Answer: TIMPANI (i.e. “instrument”). Solution is I’M placed in or “cutting” IN A PT (a recognised abbreviation of “part”) once reversed (indicated by “turned up” – this being a down clue), like so: T(I’M)P-A-NI.

  1. Like books originally set out by subject? (16)

Answer: AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL. Clue plays on how such books are usually “set out” in bookshops in order of the people they are about. I might be splitting hairs here, but wouldn’t the clue have been more fitting for biographies than autobiographies?

  1. Small fib about not drinking before start of lunch (6)

Answer: LITTLE (i.e. “small”). Solution is LIE (i.e. “fib”) wrapped “about” TT (i.e. “not drinking”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of teetotal) and L (i.e. “start of lunch”, i.e. the first letter of “lunch”), like so: LI(TT-L)E.

  1. Delicious drink at hand keeping cold temperature (6)

Answer: NECTAR (i.e. “delicious drink”). Solution is NEAR (i.e. “at hand”) wrapped around C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”) and T (ditto “temperature”), like so: NE(C-T)AR.

  1. Italian dish with crisp bottom but not the sides (7)

Answer: RISOTTO (i.e. “Italian dish”). “But not the sides” indicates the solution is derived by removing the first and last letters of CRISP BOTTOM.

  1. One of the docks runs pub in central region (7)

Answer: RHUBARB (i.e. “one of the docks”, as in the plant variety). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs”) followed by BAR (i.e. “pub”) once placed “in” HUB (i.e. “central region”), like so: R-HU(BAR)B.

  1. Poem tenderly composed – a moving undertaking? (12)

Answer: REDEPLOYMENT (i.e. “a moving undertaking”). “Composed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of POEM TENDERLY. Nicely worked.

  1. Vulgar lad seen regularly outside inclines to be barefaced (5-6)

Answer: CLEAN-SHAVEN (i.e. “to be barefaced”). Solution is CHAV (i.e. “vulgar lad”) and EN (i.e. “regularly seen”, i.e. every other letter of SEEN) all placed “outside” LEANS (i.e. “inclines”), like so: C(LEANS)HAV-EN. Very good clue.

  1. Eastern and northern Chinese people unite for beneficial change (11)

Answer: ENHANCEMENT (i.e. “beneficial change”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”) followed by N (ditto “northern”), then HAN (i.e. “Chinese people”) and CEMENT (i.e. to “unite”).

  1. Not loving one Italian grabbing queen wildly excited about tango (10)

Answer: UNROMANTIC (i.e. “not loving”). Solution is UNO (i.e. “one Italian”, i.e. the Italian for “one”) wrapped around or “grabbing” R (i.e. “queen”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Regina) and followed by MANIC (i.e. “wildly excited”) once this has been wrapped “about” T (“tango” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: UN(R)O-MAN(T)IC.

  1. One showing appreciation of a very quiet music hall comedian (9)

Answer: APPLAUDER (i.e. “one showing appreciation”). Solution is A followed by PP (a recognised abbreviation of “pianissimo”, or “very quiet” in musical lingo) and Harry LAUDER (i.e. Scottish “music hall comedian” of yesteryesteryear).

  1. Food aerated by yeast perhaps rose up (9)

Answer: PROVENDER (i.e. animal “food”). Solution is PROVEN (i.e. “aerated by yeast perhaps” – over to Chambers for this definition for PROVE: “(of dough) to rise” – another new one on me) followed by RED (i.e. “rose”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) like so: PROVEN-DER.

  1. Want game for children in beach area (8)

Answer: SHORTAGE (i.e. “want”). Solution is TAG (i.e. “game for children”) placed “in” SHORE (i.e. “beach area”), like so: SHOR(TAG)E.

  1. Heads of old British poetry (7)

Answer: OBVERSE (i.e. “heads” on a coin). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by B (ditto “British”) and VERSE (i.e. “poetry”).

  1. Noisy movement beginning with horns over oboes sounding harshly (6)

Answer: WHOOSH (i.e. “noisy movement”). “Beginning” indicates the solution is derived from the initial letters of With Horns Over Oboes Sounding Harshly.

  1. Something valuable in a small collection (5)

Answer: ASSET (i.e. “something valuable”). Solution is A followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and SET (i.e. “collection”).

  1. Country in feature article (5)

Answer: CHINA (i.e. “country”). Solution is CHIN (i.e. facial “feature”) followed by A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1534

A relatively straightforward one after a couple of chewy puzzles. I don’t mind that!

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has snaffled all your cold turkey sandwiches then you might find comfort in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions to (most of) the last 180+ of them. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and help. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once the dust settles. Till next time, mask up, get jabbed and stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Producer of purchase initially causing argument at pub (7)

Answer: CROWBAR (i.e. “producer of purchase” in gaining entry). Solution is C (i.e. “initially causing”, i.e. the first letter of “causing”) followed by ROW (i.e. “argument”) and BAR (i.e. “pub”).

  1. Fellow lodger, Aussie native, beginning to make tea (8)

Answer: ROOMMATE (i.e. “fellow lodger”). Solution is ROO (i.e. “Aussie native”, short for a kangaroo) followed by M (i.e. “beginning to make”, i.e. the first letter of “make”) and MATE (i.e. “tea” – Chambers offers this variant meaning: “a S American species of holly; an infusion of its leaves and green shoots, Paraguay tea”).

  1. Frenzied bully in charge replacing certain soldiers (6)

Answer: HECTIC (i.e. “frenzied”). Solution is HECTOR (i.e. to “bully”) with the OR (i.e. “certain soldiers”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) “replaced” by IC (a recognised abbreviation of “in charge”), like so: HECT(OR) => HECT(IC).

  1. Expose oneself to danger as a tortoise might do? (5,4,4,3)

Answer: STICK ONE’S NECK OUT. Solution satisfies “expose oneself to danger” and “as a tortoise might do”.

  1. Match ending with half of team in cell! (6)

Answer: GAMETE (i.e. a sexual reproductive “cell”). Solution is GAME (i.e. “match”) followed by TE (i.e. “half of team”, specifically the first half).

  1. Doctor going over Lake Poet’s early life (8)

Answer: GIRLHOOD (i.e. “early life”). Solution is RIG (i.e. to “doctor”) reversed (indicated by “going over”) and followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”) and Thomas HOOD (i.e. “poet”), like so: GIR-L-HOOD.

  1. Cleaning mop primarily serving businesses around Washington (4)

Answer: SWAB (i.e. “cleaning mop”). Solution is S and B (i.e. “primarily serving businesses”, i.e. the first letters of “serving” and “businesses”) wrapped “around” WA (US state abbreviation of “Washington”), like so: S(WA)B.

  1. Reportedly made it to vessel in time for wooing (9)

Answer: COURTSHIP (i.e. “wooing”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of CAUGHT (i.e. “made it … in time”) followed by SHIP (i.e. “vessel”).

  1. Method of payment connected with American car and aircraft (8)

Answer: AUTOGIRO (i.e. “aircraft” – think Little Nellie in You Only Live Twice. Solution can be spelled with an I or a Y). Solution is GIRO (i.e. “method of payment”) placed after or “connected with” AUTO (i.e. “American car”), like so: AUTO-GIRO.

  1. Officer’s position originally taken by English girl with place in Paris (11)

Answer: LIEUTENANCY (i.e. “officer’s position”). Solution is T (i.e. “originally taken”, i.e. the first letter of “taken”), E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and NANCY (i.e. a “girl’s” name) all placed after or “with” LIEU (i.e. “place in Paris”, i.e. the French for “place”), like so: (LIEU)-T-E-NANCY.

  1. Directions given by the Spanish, no less, producing refreshments (9)

Answer: ELEVENSES (i.e. “refreshments”). Solution is SES (i.e. “directions”, specifically recognised abbreviations of south, east and south) placed after or “with” EL (i.e. “the Spanish”, i.e. the Spanish for “the”) and EVEN (i.e. “no less”), like so: (EL-EVEN)-SES

  1. Vegetation identified by retired Frenchman in drab clothing (8)

Answer: GREENERY (i.e. “vegetation”). Solution is RENE (i.e. a “Frenchman’s” name) reversed (indicated by “retired”) and placed in or “clothed” by GREY (i.e. “drab”), like so: GRE(ENER)Y.

  1. Dish moderate Tories sent back (4)

Answer: STEW (i.e. “dish”). Solution is WETS (i.e. “moderate Tories” – not one that sprang immediately to mind, I’ll admit) reversed (indicated by “sent back”).

  1. Lisa’s thirty, surprisingly: she’s probably made a bob or two (11)

Answer: HAIRSTYLIST (i.e. “she’s probably made a bob or two”, a reference to the hairstyle). “Surprisingly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LISA’S THIRTY.

  1. Speedy field trip excluding North America (11)

Answer: EXPEDITIOUS (i.e. “speedy”). Solution is EXPEDITION (i.e. “field trip”) with the N removed (indicated by “excluding North”, N being a recognised abbreviation of “north”) and the remainder followed by US (i.e. “America”), like so: EXPEDITIO-US.

  1. Outlet Lara and I manufactured for vegetable casserole (11)

Answer: RATATOUILLE (i.e. “vegetable casserole”). “Manufactured” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OUTLET LARA I.

  1. Soldiers in Irish story beyond rectification (11)

Answer: IRREPARABLE (i.e. “beyond rectification”). Solution is RE (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) placed “in” between IR (a recognised abbreviation of “Irish”) and PARABLE (i.e. “story”), like so: IR-(RE)-PARABLE.

  1. Part of Iceland’s style and vigour (4)

Answer: ELAN (i.e. “style and vigour”). “Part of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: IC(ELAN)D.

  1. Report from crime investigator’s area (8)

Answer: DISPATCH (i.e. “report”). When written as DI’S PATCH the solution also satisfies “crime investigator’s area” – a DI being a Detective Inspector.

  1. Sow efficiently, protecting head of pretty plant (9)

Answer: SPEEDWELL (i.e. “plant”). Solution is SEED WELL (i.e. “sow efficiently”) wrapped around or “protecting” P (i.e. “head of pretty”, i.e. the first letter of “pretty”), like so: S(P)EED-WELL.

  1. Strange thing, Queen holding drink for hotel employee (5,6)

Answer: NIGHT PORTER (i.e. “hotel employee”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “strange”) of THING and ER (i.e. “Queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) wrapped around or “holding” PORT (i.e. “drink”), like so: NIGHT-(PORT)-ER.

  1. Cut back on fish, consuming roasts principally (8)

Answer: RETRENCH (i.e. “cut back”). Solution is RE (i.e. “on” or regarding – think email replies) followed by TENCH (i.e. “fish”) once wrapped around or “consuming” R (i.e. “roasts principally”, i.e. the first letter of “roasts”), like so: RE-T(R)ENCH.

  1. Criminal type, one-time complier (9)

Answer: CONFORMER (i.e. “complier”). Solution is CON (i.e. “criminal type”) followed by FORMER (i.e. “one-time”).

  1. Culturally pretentious leader banished from political group (4)

Answer: ARTY (i.e. “culturally pretentious”). Solution is PARTY (i.e. “political group”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “leader banished from…”).

  1. Policeman needing dope, carrying weapon back to front (8)

Answer: GENDARME (i.e. French “policeman”). Solution is GEN (i.e. knowledge or “dope”) followed by ARMED (i.e. “carrying weapon”) once its last letter has been placed first (indicated by “back to front”), like so: GEN-ARME(D) => GEN-(D)ARME.

  1. Grand way to replace one pound in cash (6)

Answer: LORDLY (i.e. “grand”). Solution is LOLLY (i.e. slang for “cash”) with one of the Ls (indicated by “one pound” – L being a recognised abbreviation of a “pound” weight, after the Latin libra) “replaced” by RD (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a “road”), like so: LO(L)LY => LO(RD)LY.

  1. Talk of something else, as composers of variations do (6,3,7)

Answer: CHANGE THE SUBJECT. Solution satisfies “talk of something else”, and “as composers of variations do” – Chambers offers this for SUBJECT: “a theme or phrase around which a movement of music is built”.

  1. Attempt to cross French island, a source of baked clay (6)

Answer: TILERY (i.e. “a source of baked clay”). Solution is TRY (i.e. “attempt”) wrapped around or “crossing” ILE (i.e. “French island”, i.e. the French for “island”), like so: T(ILE)RY.

  1. Confine mischievous child no teacher backed (8)

Answer: IMPRISON (i.e. “confine”). Solution is IMP (i.e. “mischievous child”) followed by NO and SIR (i.e. form of address to a “teacher”) once these last two have been reversed (indicated by “backed”), like so: IMP-(RIS-ON).

  1. Person domiciled at first with Tony or Sam? (7)

Answer: DWELLER (i.e. “person domiciled”). Solution is D (i.e. “domiciled at first”, i.e. the first letter of “domiciled” – a spot of recycling there) followed by WELLER (i.e. “Tony or Sam” – characters in Charles Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers).

Down clues

  1. Jointly authorise mathematician’s function, do we hear? (6)

Answer: COSIGN (i.e. “jointly authorise”). “Do we hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of COSINE (i.e. “mathematician’s function”).

  1. Willow patch of great size that is overlooking railway (6)

Answer: OSIERY (i.e. “willow patch”). Solution is OS (i.e. “of great size”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “outsized”) followed by IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of its Latin equivalent id est) and RY (a recognised abbreviation of “railway”).

  1. Abuse OK, he recollected, where bloomers are often made (9)

Answer: BAKEHOUSE (i.e. “where bloomers are often made” – a bloomer in this case being a breadstuff). “Recollected” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ABUSE OK HE.

  1. Managed business appallingly sourly, with malicious resentfulness (11)

Answer: RANCOROUSLY (i.e. “with malicious resentfulness”). Solution is RAN (i.e. “managed”) followed by CO (i.e. “business”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a “company”) and an anagram (indicated by “appallingly”) of SOURLY, like so: RAN-CO-ROUSLY.

  1. Hasten to remove initiator of crime from crowd (4)

Answer: RUSH (i.e. “hasten”). Solution is CRUSH (i.e. “crowd”) with the C removed (indicated by “remove initiator of crime from…”, i.e. the first letter of “crime”).

  1. Agitated wife in excessively tough time (11)

Answer: OVERWROUGHT (i.e. “agitated”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) placed “in” OVER (i.e. “excessively”), ROUGH (i.e. “tough”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: OVER-(W)-ROUGH-T.

  1. Fantasy force crushing Adam and Eve? (4-7)

Answer: MAKE-BELIEVE (i.e. “fantasy”). Solution is MAKE (i.e. to “force” someone) followed by BELIEVE (i.e. “Adam and Eve” – its cockney rhyming slang equivalent). I guess “crushing” refers to this being a down clue, i.e. how MAKE sits atop of BELIEVE.

  1. Current member finally has meal, missing starter, in club (9)

Answer: TRUNCHEON (i.e. “club”). Solution is T and R (i.e. “current member finally”, i.e. the last letters of “current” and “member”) followed by LUNCHEON (i.e. “meal”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “missing starter”), like so: TR-UNCHEON.

  1. Demanding divorcee possibly treading the boards (8)

Answer: EXACTING (i.e. “demanding”). Solution is EX (i.e. “divorcee possibly” – other embittered former partners are available) followed by ACTING (i.e. “treading the boards”).

  1. Initial problems with canine development? (8,8)

Answer: TEETHING TROUBLES (i.e. “initial problems”). The remainder of the clue plays on how “canines” can refer to teeth. You get the idea.

  1. Fellow left city at last, securing drug at little cost (7)

Answer: CHEAPLY (i.e. “at little cost”). Solution is CHAP (i.e. “fellow”), L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and Y (i.e. “city at last”, i.e. the last letter of “city”) all wrapped around or “securing” E (i.e. street name of the “drug” ecstasy), like so: CH(E)AP-L-Y.

  1. Collected condiment? You might pick that up (8)

Answer: MUSTERED (i.e. “collected”). “You might pick that up” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of MUSTARD (i.e. “condiment”).

  1. Tamworth’s desire for kitchen scraps? (8)

Answer: PIGSWILL (i.e. “kitchen scraps”). Solution is PIG’S (i.e. “Tamworth’s”, a breed of pig made possessive) followed by WILL (i.e. “desire”).

  1. When speaking, observe husky, an upright swimmer (8)

Answer: SEAHORSE (i.e. “upright swimmer”). “When speaking” indicates homophone. Solution comprises homophones of SEE (i.e. “observe”) and HOARSE (i.e. “husky”),

  1. Hospital doctor and senior officer meeting census organiser (9,7)

Answer: REGISTRAR GENERAL (i.e. “census organiser”). Solution is REGISTRAR (i.e. “hospital doctor” in one of the intermediate grades (Chambers)) followed by GENERAL (i.e. “senior officer”).

  1. Wind wildly lashing yews at first around compound (8)

Answer: WESTERLY (i.e. “wind”). Solution is W, L and Y (i.e. “wildly lashing yews at first”, i.e. the first letters of “wildly”, “lashing” and “yews”) wrapped “around” ESTER (i.e. a “compound”), like so: W(ESTER)LY.

  1. E.g. Marilyn Monroe’s heavenly body? (4)

Answer: STAR. Solution satisfies “e.g. Marilyn Monroe” – other well-known bods are available – and “heavenly body”.

  1. Established retreat ultimately where badgers are found (4)

Answer: SETT (i.e. “where badgers are found”). Solution is SET (i.e. “established”) followed by T (i.e. “retreat ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “retreat”).

  1. Hanger-on where airborne soldiers may be billeted (8)

Answer: PARASITE (i.e. “hanger-on”). When written as PARA SITE the solution also satisfies “where airborne soldiers may be billeted”.

  1. Prescribed clothes a French class is without (8)

Answer: UNIFORMS (i.e. “prescribed clothes”). Solution is UN (i.e. “a French”, i.e. the masculine French word for “a”) followed by FORM (i.e. school “class”) once placed in or having “without” IS, like so: UN-I(FORM)S.

  1. Comedian, possibly, throwing a party? (11)

Answer: ENTERTAINER. Solution satisfies “comedian, possibly” – other breeds of entertainers are available – and, playfully, someone “throwing a party”, i.e. hosting or entertaining friends.

  1. Trendy woman’s current hair feature, one that succeeds (11)

Answer: INHERITRESS (i.e. “one that succeeds”). Solution is IN (i.e. “trendy”) followed by HER (i.e. “woman’s”), then I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics) and TRESS (i.e. “hair feature”).

  1. Went before exercises ended, carrying snooker ball (11)

Answer: PREDECEASED (i.e. “went before”). Solution is PE (i.e. “exercises”, specifically Physical Education) and CEASED (i.e. “ended”) all wrapped around or “carrying” RED (i.e. “snooker ball”), like so: P(RED)E-CEASED.

  1. Noble securing fifth of wealth with bogus corded fabric (9)

Answer: PETERSHAM (i.e. “corded fabric”). Solution is PEER (i.e. “noble”) wrapped around or “securing” T (i.e. “fifth [letter] of wealth”) and followed by SHAM (i.e. “bogus”), like so: PE(T)ER-SHAM.

  1. Detectives in Bedale bust? That’s possible to determine (9)

Answer: DECIDABLE (i.e. “possible to determine”). Solution is CID (i.e. “detectives”, specifically the Criminal Investigation Department of the police force) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “bust”) of BEDALE, like so: DE(CID)ABLE.

  1. Casual walker’s posh car at end of street (8)

Answer: STROLLER (i.e. “casual walker”). Solution is ROLLER (i.e. “posh car”, slang for a Rolls Royce) placed after or “at end of” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: ST-ROLLER.

  1. Canoodle, meeting obstruction, a simple pendant (7)

Answer: NECKLET (i.e. “a simple pendant”). Solution is NECK (i.e. “canoodle”) followed by LET (i.e. “obstruction” – an archaic definition of the word we’ve seen a few times in Jumbos).

  1. Trying experience of French in viva voce (6)

Answer: ORDEAL (i.e. “trying experience”). Solution is DE (i.e. “of French”, i.e. the French for “of”) placed “in” ORAL (i.e. “viva voce” – an oral testimony or examination), like so: OR(DE)AL.

  1. Guide taking soldiers to river (6)

Answer: MENTOR (i.e. “guide”). Solution is MEN (i.e. “soldiers”) followed by TO and R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”).

  1. Evade the drill sergeant’s command? (4)

Answer: SHUN. Solution satisfies “evade” and “the drill sergeant’s command”, being an informal military abbreviation of “attention”.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1533

Happy New Year, peeps! I hope you all had a fine Christmas and that the start of your 2022 has been a good one. It’s not been the greatest of times in Poll Towers, sadly, after yours truly acquired an unwelcome passenger. Yuck. It says something to the transmissibility of the Omicron variant when it can even infect no-names on the internet.

Meanwhile it appears puzzle 1532 was an online-only affair so we’ll skip straight onto 1533, a toughie that weirdly felt like one of those “greatest hits” puzzles while I was solving it. For the most part, though, it was a good ‘un with some nicely worked clues and the kind of steady progression I like.

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 pulled all of your Christmas crackers and sat on your presents then you might find some joy in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find solutions to (most of) the last 180+ of them. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind comments and help. It’s always appreciated, and it’s always interesting to read the thoughts of other solvers once their pens are stilled. Till next time, mask up, get jabbed and stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Sensational experience where island girl drinks punch (9)

Answer: ITCHINESS (i.e. “sensational experience”). Solution is I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”) and TESS (a “girl’s” name) wrapped around or “drinking” CHIN (i.e. to “punch”), like so: I-T(CHIN)ESS.

  1. Dog biting that is to be retired (4,3)

Answer: SHAR PEI (i.e. “dog”). Solution is SHARP (i.e. “biting”) followed by IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. is the abbreviated form of its Latin equivalent id est) reversed (indicated by “to be retired”), like so: SHARP-EI. I knew from a previous puzzle this was going to be “something” PEI, but needed my Bradford’s to get me over the line.

  1. Artist first person admitted to cricket club in good time (5)

Answer: CRAIC (i.e. “good time”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) and I (i.e. “first person” – first person is “I”, second person is “you” and third person is “they”) both placed in or “admitted to” CC (a recognised abbreviation of “cricket club”), like so: C(RA-I)C.

  1. Something to stop worker on main line? (7)

Answer: SEALANT (i.e. “something to stop” leaks). Solution is ANT (i.e. “worker”) placed “on” or after SEA (i.e. the “main” – a favourite usage of most setters) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”), like so: (SEA-L)-ANT.

  1. Grand used by Scottish group making harsh sound (5)

Answer: CLANG (i.e. “harsh sound”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “grand”) placed after or “by” CLAN (i.e. “Scottish group”), like so: CLAN-G.

  1. No-one stressed is returning for work (9)

Answer: SITUATION (i.e. “work”). Solution is NO followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then TAUT (i.e. “stressed”) and IS all reversed (indicated by “returning”), like so: SI-TUAT-I-ON.

  1. Ridiculously arrogant liar potentially faces hanging here? (8,8,7)

Answer: NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY (i.e. “faces hanging here”). “Ridiculously” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ARROGANT LIAR POTENTIALLY. Nicely worked.

  1. Church added to substantial harvest crop (6)

Answer: CEREAL (i.e. “crop”). Solution is CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England) followed by REAL (i.e. “substantial”).

  1. Princess cool patriarch backed to dismiss bishop (8)

Answer: MAHARANI (i.e. “princess”). Solution is IN (i.e. “cool”) followed by ABRAHAM (i.e. biblical “patriarch”) once the B has been removed (indicated by “dismiss bishop” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess) and the whole then reversed (indicated by “backed”), like so: MAHARA-NI.

  1. Coffee discontented barista knocked over, helping criminal (7)

Answer: ABETTAL (i.e. “helping criminal”). Solution is LATTE (i.e. “coffee”) followed by BA (i.e. “discontented barista”, i.e. the word “barista” with all its middle letters removed), all reversed (indicated by “knocked over”), like so: AB-ETTAL.

  1. Sacred text to which Citizen Dave’s Talmud owes much (4-6)

Answer: ZEND-AVESTA (i.e. “sacred text”). “To which…owes much” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: CITI(ZEN DAVE’S TA)LMUD. Wordplay was pretty obvious but took a shufti in my swish new Brewer’s to confirm.

  1. Undisciplined alumnus fronts corrupt superstore (12)

Answer: OBSTREPEROUS (i.e. “undisciplined”). Solution is OB (i.e. “alumnus”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Old Boy) followed by an anagram (indicated by “corrupt”) of SUPERSTORE, like so: OB-STREPEROUS.

  1. Eccentric commander taking lead in William’s place? (5)

Answer: OCCAM (i.e. “William’s place”, refencing fourteenth century philosopher and friar William of Ockham). A guess, this one, so watch out. You can almost see the letters of the solution in the first words of clue, but I’m getting nothing else on this one.

[EDIT: Thanks to Chris in the comments for clearing this one up. The solution is CAM (i.e. “eccentric” – according to my Chambers a variant spelling of CAM is KAM or KAMME, a ye olde Shakespearean word for “awry”) with OC (i.e. “commander”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Officer Commanding or Officer in Charge) placed before it or “taking lead”, like so: OC-CAM. Cheers, Chris! – LP]

  1. Fruit here sourced as an alternative with green vegetable (7)

Answer: ORCHARD (i.e. “fruit here sourced”). Solution is OR (i.e. “an alternative”) followed by CHARD (i.e. “green vegetable”).

  1. Rail service to take in Jura at last (8)

Answer: COMPLAIN (i.e. to “rail” against something). Solution is COMPLIN (i.e. a religious “service”, specifically the last hours of the Divine Office, also known as night prayer, if that means anything to anybody) wrapped around or “taking in” A (i.e. “Jura at last”, i.e. the last letter of “Jura”), like so: COMPL(A)IN. Nicely worked, but religious clues don’t half make me come out in a rash.

  1. Second one exits African countries to avoid duty (8)

Answer: MALINGER (i.e. “to avoid duty”). Solution is MALI and NIGER (i.e. “African countries”) with the “second [Roman numeral] one” or I “exiting”, like so: MALI-N(I)GER => MALI-NGER.

  1. Pressure on after time in war zone (7)

Answer: THEATRE (i.e. “war zone”). Solution is HEAT (i.e. “pressure”) and RE (i.e. “on” or regarding – think email replies) both placed “on” or after T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: T-(HEAT-RE).

  1. Fish starters in top restaurant forbidden (5)

Answer: TROUT (i.e. “fish”). Solution is TR (i.e. “starters in top restaurant”, i.e. the first letters of “top” and “restaurant”) followed by OUT (i.e. “forbidden”).

  1. Slab with key in slate together found outside 24’s lodgings (7,5)

Answer: ROSETTA STONE (i.e. “slab with key” – the stone features three versions of a decree across its surface, which proved key to deciphering Egyptian scripts). Solution is ROAST (i.e. to criticise or “slate”) and ONE (i.e. united or “together”) both wrapped “outside” of SETT (i.e. “24’s lodgings” – the solution to 24d is BADGER), like so: RO(SETT)AST-ONE.

  1. Absurd, a vehicle powered with LPG perhaps in the country (10)

Answer: MADAGASCAR (i.e. “country”). Solution is MAD (i.e. “absurd”) followed by A GAS CAR (i.e. “a vehicle powered with LPG perhaps” – LPG is liquid petroleum gas).

  1. Look closely at pressure encountered in cricket? (7)

Answer: INSPECT (i.e. “look closely at”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”) placed or “encountered in” INSECT (i.e. “cricket”), like so: INS(P)ECT.

  1. Game over between league’s leading pair (8)

Answer: LACROSSE (i.e. “game”). Solution is ACROSS (i.e. “over” something) placed in “between” L and E (i.e. “league’s leading pair”, i.e. the first two letters of “league”), like so: L(ACROSS)E.

  1. Vicious with ram brought inside? That’s mindless (6)

Answer: STUPID (i.e. “mindless”). Solution is SID (i.e. “Vicious” of the Sex Pistols) wrapped around or having “brought inside” TUP (i.e. “ram”, both words for a male sheep), like so: S(TUP)ID.

  1. Public agency rearranged trips: we voice our concerns (5,11,7)

Answer: CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE (i.e. “public agency”). “Rearranged” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TRIPS WE VOICE OUR CONCERNS.

  1. Friend from Bow behind elected party in Asian peninsula (9)

Answer: INDOCHINA (i.e. “Asian peninsula”). Solution is CHINA (i.e. “friend from Bow” – a reference to the cockney rhyming slang: china plate => mate) placed “behind” IN (i.e. “elected”) and DO (i.e. “party”), like so: (IN-DO)-CHINA.

  1. Old king from India wheeled carriage round (5)

Answer: PRIAM (i.e. “old king” of Troy in Greek mythology). Solution is I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet) placed in or having “round” PRAM (i.e. “wheeled carriage”), like so: PR(I)AM.

  1. Without the use of which one might drop dead? (7)

Answer: RIPCORD. Clue plays on how the failure of one during a parachute “drop” will likely result in “death”. One could argue that the landing would bear more of the responsibility than the drop itself…

  1. Day was one to have men coming into the underworld (5)

Answer: DORIS (i.e. “Day was one”, referring to screen icon and singer Doris Day). Solution is OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) placed “into” DIS (i.e. the infernal world or “underworld”), like so: D(OR)IS.

  1. Villainous group in secret outrageously seizing power (7)

Answer: SPECTRE (i.e. “villainous group” that pops up in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “outrageously”) of SECRET wrapped around or “seizing” P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”), like so: S(P)ECTRE. One of the things that instantly amused me watching No Time To Die was how it used the exact same plot device as that in Spectre, i.e. Bond finding all the bad guys of SPECTRE in the same room at the same time. I got the impression the organisation all went on holiday together too, and perhaps even lived cheek-by-jowl in a big SPECTRE house, like some weird reality TV show. Wasn’t exactly great writing though, was it?

  1. House needs rice that’s for cooking (9)

Answer: RESIDENCE (i.e. “house”). “That’s for cooking” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NEEDS RICE.

Down clues

  1. Dramatist in Swinburne’s biography on the rise (5)

Answer: Henrik IBSEN (i.e. “dramatist”). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “on the rise” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: SWINBUR(NE’S BI)OGRAPHY.

  1. Young women talking idly around clubs educated people? (10,7)

Answer: CHATTERING CLASSES (i.e. “educated people”). Solution is CHATTERING LASSES (i.e. “young women talking idly”) wrapped “around” C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games), like so: CHATTERING-(C)-LASSES.

  1. Lover a Catholic picked up in Italian area (9)

Answer: INAMORATA (i.e. “lover”). Solution is A and ROMAN (i.e. “Catholic”) reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue) and placed “in” IT (a recognised abbreviation of “Italian”) and A (ditto “area”), like so: I(NAMOR-A)T-A. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, which made it an easier get.

  1. Short team-mate soars to find net (6)

Answer: ENTRAP (i.e. “net”). Solution is PARTNER (i.e. “team-mate”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “soars” – this being a down clue).

  1. Obsequious son City chap sacked (11)

Answer: SYCOPHANTIC (i.e. “obsequious”). “Sacked” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SON CITY CHAP.

  1. Fish from cutter before noon circling close to cape (3,5)

Answer: SEA BREAM (i.e. “fish”). Solution is SABRE (i.e. “cutter”) and AM (i.e. “before noon”) wrapped around or “circling” E (i.e. “close to cape”, i.e. the last letter of “cape”), like so: S(E)ABRE-AM.

  1. Germany in trouble over supporting a republic (7)

Answer: ALGERIA (i.e. “republic”). Solution is GER (a recognised abbreviation of “Germany”) placed “in” AIL (i.e. “trouble”) and A once reversed (indicated by “over”) like so: A-L(GER)IA.

  1. Training revolutionary girl I remain mostly gloomy about future (11)

Answer: PESSIMISTIC (i.e. “gloomy about future”). Solution is PE (i.e. “training” or Physical Education) followed by MISS (i.e. “girl”) reversed (indicated by “revolutionary”), then I and STICK (i.e. “remain”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: PE-SSIM-I-STIC.

  1. End segregation: we target N Ireland, somewhat upset (9)

Answer: INTEGRATE (i.e. “end segregation”). “Somewhat” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “upset” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: W(E TARGET N I)RELAND. Nicely worked.

  1. Daily with story for idiot (7)

Answer: CHARLIE (i.e. “idiot”). Solution is CHAR (i.e. a cleaner or “daily”) followed by LIE (i.e. “story”).

  1. Four getting stuck into the drink – it’s bubbly (5)

Answer: ALIVE (i.e. “bubbly”). Solution is IV (i.e. “four” expressed in Roman numerals) placed or “getting stuck into” ALE (i.e. “drink”), like so: AL(IV)E.

  1. Café regularly meeting cost to cover boy’s confection (10)

Answer: CANDYFLOSS (i.e. “confection”). Solution is CF (i.e. “café regularly”, i.e. every other letter of CAFÉ) and LOSS (i.e. “cost”) all wrapped around or “covering” ANDY (i.e. a “boy’s” name), like so: C(ANDY)F-LOSS.

  1. Zulu impressed by copper company in Peruvian location (5)

Answer: CUZCO (i.e. “Peruvian location”). Solution is Z (“Zulu” in the phonetic alphabet) placed in or “impressed by” CU (chemical symbol of “copper”) and CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”), like so: CU-(Z)-CO. You have my personal guarantee that this was the first clue placed in the grid by the setter. No doubt about it.

  1. Miller’s Tale having a certain degree of latitude throughout? (6,2,9)

Answer: TROPIC OF CAPRICORN (i.e. Henry “Miller’s Tale”). Clue plays on the solution also being one of the tropics or imaginary lines of “latitude” marking “where the sun turns on reaching its greatest declination north or south” (Chambers).

  1. Solecistic declaration from ape-king in Asian river? (6)

Answer: MEKONG (i.e. “Asian river”). When written as ME KONG the solution also satisfies “solecistic declaration from ape-king”.

  1. Evil microbe nearly accounts for hound (6)

Answer: BADGER (i.e. to harass or “hound”). Solution is BAD (i.e. “evil”) and GERM (i.e. “microbe”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “nearly”), like so: BAD-GER.

  1. Ostentation came initially in story read the other way (5)

Answer: ECLAT (i.e. “ostentation”). Solution is C (i.e. “came initially”, i.e. the first letter of “came”) placed “in” TALE (i.e. “story”) once reversed (indicated by “read the other way”), like so: E(C)LAT.

  1. Insincere talk about administrative division (6)

Answer: CANTON (i.e. “administrative group” in some European countries). Solution is CANT (i.e. “insincere talk”) followed by ON (i.e. regarding or “about”).

  1. Damp fog in which nothing is visible (5)

Answer: MOIST (i.e. “damp”). Solution is MIST (i.e. “fog”) wrapped around or having “in” O (i.e. “nothing”), like so: M(O)IST. Simple, but elegant.

  1. Female inducted by frantic bacchante (6)

Answer: MAENAD (i.e. “bacchante” or female follower of Bacchus). I’m not 100% on this one, but I guess this is ENA (i.e. a “female’s” name, though hardly a common one) placed in or “inducted by” MAD (i.e. “frantic”), like so: MA(ENA)D. Elizabeth Hand wrote a great short horror story in the early 1990s that offered a modern spin on the legend, called The Bacchae. It ruffled a few feathers at the time, attracting unfounded accusations of misandry. Nightmare Magazine republished the story a few years ago, which you can read here:

The Bacchae

  1. Serpent appears as dissolute man, talents cunningly concealed (11)

Answer: RATTLESNAKE (i.e. “serpent”). Solution is RAKE (i.e. “dissolute man”) wrapped around or “concealing” an anagram (indicated by “cunningly”) of TALENTS, like so: R(ATTLESN)AKE.

  1. Electromagnetic device right answer according to the writer, interrupting treasurer (11)

Answer: TRANSFORMER (i.e. “electromagnetic device”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) followed by ANS (ditto “answer”) and FOR ME (i.e. “according to the writer”, from the point of view of the setter) all placed in or “interrupting” TR (a recognised abbreviation of “treasurer” in my Collins Concise – my Chambers and Oxford don’t want to know), like so: T(R-ANS-FOR-ME)R.

  1. Couple having lost energy “bloody exhausted”! (5)

Answer: TIRED (i.e. “exhausted”). Solution is TIE (i.e. to “couple”) with the E removed (indicated by “having lost energy” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) and the remainder followed by RED (i.e. “bloody”), like so: TI-RED.

  1. Idea showers – cold and hot – should be taken in Berlin daily (10)

Answer: BRAINCHILD (i.e. “idea”). Solution is RAIN (i.e. “showers”), C and H (recognised abbreviations of “cold” and “hot” respectively) all placed “in” BILD (i.e. “Berlin daily” newspaper), like so: B(RAIN-C-H)ILD.

  1. Radio sets modified for travellers in space (9)

Answer: ASTEROIDS (i.e. “travellers in space”). “Modified” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RADIO SETS.

  1. Non-university man: old school insect? (9)

Answer: ARTHROPOD (i.e. “insect”). Solution is ARTHUR (i.e. a “man’s” name) with the U removed (indicated by “non-university” – U being a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and the remainder followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and POD (i.e. “school” of fish), like so: ARTHR-O-POD. One made a little easier by the umpteen unsuccessful anagram attempts I’d made before finally cracking 15a in grid 1530 two weeks ago. It’s weird what I remember.

  1. Reptile in wrong French river (8)

Answer: TORTOISE (i.e. “reptile”). Solution is TORT (i.e. “wrong French”, i.e. the French for “wrong” – not one that’s stuck with me from school, to be honest) followed by OISE (i.e. French “river” – another win for my Bradford’s).

  1. Did they care for sultanas not being whole? (7)

Answer: EUNUCHS. Clue playfully references the wives of sultans, and the castrated fellas charged with their safety.

  1. Mate at the outset possible: it shows position on board (7)

Answer: COCKPIT (i.e. “shows position on board” an aeroplane – well, its instruments do, I suppose). Solution is COCK (i.e. “mate”, both familiar forms of address) followed by P (i.e. “at the outset possible”, i.e. the first letter of “possible”) and IT. Rather amusing considering the previous clue…

  1. Very upset, Henry should flee national underworld boss (6)

Answer: OSIRIS (i.e. “underworld boss” of Egyptian myth). Solution is SO (i.e. “very”) reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue) and followed by IRISH (i.e. “national”) once the H has been removed (indicated by “Henry should flee” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “Henry”, a unit of measurement), like so: OS-IRIS.

  1. Group under religious rule right to dam German river (5)

Answer: ORDER (i.e. “group under religious rule”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) placed in or “damming” ODER (i.e. a “German river”), like so: O(R)DER.

  1. Supply, needing to last, runs out (5)

Answer: ENDUE (i.e. “supply”). Solution is ENDURE (i.e. “to last”) with the R removed (indicated by “runs out” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1531

Stinker time! You can tell because it’s that one setter who likes to use every letter of the alphabet in the grid. That, and, you know, all the clues are nails. Good, though, in the main. For a puzzle so peppered with exotic solutions, it was weird that it took me so long to figure out TEST-FLEW. Go figure.

Anyway, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has run off with your washing line, bras and all, then you might find solace in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 180+ of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks as ever for the kind words and input, folks. They are much appreciated and it’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once their pens are stilled. As the next Jumbo won’t be till 27th Dec, let me take the opportunity to wish you a safe and happy Christmas. I’ll probably be a little late in posting the next one, assuming they haven’t closed all the pubs by then. (Bloody Omicron.) Anyhoo, have a good ‘un, keep well and I’ll see you soon.

LP

With thanks to Sue in the comments for the fix to 7d

Across clues

  1. Gold tooth maybe is one doing the rounds? (7)

Answer: ORBITER (i.e. “one doing the rounds”). Solution is OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry) followed by BITER (i.e. “tooth maybe” – other nibblers are available).

  1. Tendency to escape from unhealthy air associated with a metropolis (8)

Answer: FUGACITY (i.e. “tendency to escape”). Solution is FUG (i.e. “unhealthy air”) followed by A and CITY (i.e. “metropolis”).

  1. Record performance by musicians that’s not at all moving (6)

Answer: LOGJAM (i.e. “not at all moving”). Solution is LOG (i.e. “record”) followed by JAM (i.e. “performance by musicians”).
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for the typo fix. I’d accidentally written JOGJAM, which brings to mind a thick immobile cluster of irate joggers all getting angry with one another. Drivers rejoice! Cheers, Sue! – LP]

  1. Soft, expensive cape wrapping about neck (16)

Answer: PRESUMPTUOUSNESS (i.e. brass, nerve or “neck”). Solution is P (i.e. “soft”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano” in musical lingo), SUMPTUOUS (i.e. “expensive”) and NESS (i.e. “cape”, both geographical features) all “wrapped” around RE (i.e. regarding or “about” – think email replies), like so: P-(RE)-SUMPTUOUS-NESS.

  1. Where police may be disposing of old drug (6)

Answer: STATIN (i.e. “drug”). Solution is STATION (i.e. “where police may be”) with the O removed (indicated by “dropping old” – O being a recognised abbreviation of “old”).

  1. A number, it’s assumed, evens out (5)

Answer: ISSUE (i.e. “a numbered” magazine or newspaper). “Evens out” indicates the solution is derived from every other letter of IT’S ASSUMED.

  1. Clouds of blue an expansion initially sent out (7)

Answer: NEBULAE (i.e. “clouds”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sent out”) of BLUE AN and E (i.e. “expansion initially”, i.e. the first letter of “expansion”).

  1. Awful, violent crime: men torn apart (9)

Answer: ABHORRENT (i.e. “awful”). Solution is ABH (i.e. “violent crime”, specifically Actual Bodily Harm) followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) and RENT (i.e. “torn apart”).

  1. Most exclusive clubs left: in Paris, who’s admitting one? (9)

Answer: CLIQUIEST (i.e. “most exclusive”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and QUI EST (i.e. “in Paris, who’s”, i.e. the French for “who is”) all wrapped around or “admitting” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: C-L-(I)-QUI-EST.

  1. Sales pitch, outwardly well done, just empty talk? (7)

Answer: BRAVADO (i.e. “empty talk”). Solution is AD (i.e. “sales pitch” or advertisement) placed in or having “outwardly” BRAVO (i.e. “well done”), like so: BRAV(AD)O.

  1. What helps to make a hip drinking venue, one’s concluding (5)

Answer: PUBIS (i.e. a bone that “helps to make a hip” joint). Solution is PUB (i.e. “drinking venue”) followed by I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”).

  1. Note a lot of Liverpool fans after return game (5)

Answer: POKER (i.e. “game”). Solution is RE (i.e. “note” in the sol-fa notation) and KOP (i.e. “a lot of Liverpool fans”, referring to the Kop end of Anfield football stadium) all reversed (indicated by “after return”), like so: POK-ER.

  1. Chocolate was not consumed after devouring snail (9)

Answer: SLOWCOACH (i.e. “snail”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “devouring” – not one I’m keen on. Digesting, yes; devouring, no) of CHOCOLATE WAS once the ATE has been removed (indicated by “not consumed”).

  1. Fare from Italy to drop, with channel crossing (7)

Answer: LASAGNE (i.e. “fare from Italy”). Solution is SAG (i.e. “to drop”) placed in or “crossed by” LANE (i.e. “channel”), like so: LA(SAG)NE.

  1. Your setter cried allowed, getting stared at (9)

Answer: EYEBALLED (i.e. “stared at”). I suspect “allowed” in the clue was supposed to be “aloud”, indicating a homophone. That way the solution comprises homophones of I (i.e. “your setter”, from the point of view of the setter) and BAWLED (i.e. “cried”).

  1. The butt’s a part of a rifle that goes on without a problem (8,5)

Answer: LAUGHING STOCK (i.e. “the butt” of the joke). Solution is STOCK (i.e. “part of a rifle”) placed “on” or after LAUGHING (i.e. “without a problem”).

  1. Inferring from Irangate plot times are a-changing! (13)

Answer: EXTRAPOLATING (i.e. “inferring from”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “are a-changing”) of IRANGATE PLOT and X (i.e. “times”, as in the multiplication symbol).

  1. Churchgoer’s spirits at last excellent after taking in cricket match (9)

Answer: METHODIST (i.e. “churchgoer”). Solution is METHS (i.e. “spirits”) and T (i.e. “at last excellent”, i.e. the last letter of “excellent”) all wrapped around or “taking in” ODI (i.e. “cricket match”, specifically a One Day International), like so: METH(ODI)S-T.

  1. With river advancing, beneath vessel, prepare to swim? (7)

Answer: UNDRESS (i.e. “prepare to swim”). Solution is UNDER (i.e. “beneath”) with the R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”) brought forward a notch (indicated by “advancing”). This is then followed by SS (i.e. “vessel”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship), like so: UNDE(R)-SS => UND(R)E-SS.

  1. Short quote from champ appearing on channel (9)

Answer: SOUNDBITE (i.e. “short quote”). Solution is BITE (i.e. to “champ”) placed “on” or after SOUND (i.e. “channel”, referring to the geographical features), like so: SOUND-BITE.

  1. Idiot to cancel final – a sort of football revolution! (5)

Answer: TWIRL (i.e. “revolution”). Solution is TWIT (i.e. “idiot”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “to cancel final”) and the remainder followed by RL (i.e. “a sort of football”, specifically Rugby League), like so: TWI-RL.

  1. Pet for children’s party going without meat? Unknown! (5)

Answer: DOGGY (i.e. “pet for children”, i.e. a child’s word for a dog). Solution is DO (i.e. “party”) followed by GG (i.e. “going without meat”, i.e. the word “going” with all its middle letters removed) and Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns).

  1. Glaswegian’s protracted attempt to find old actress (7)

Answer: Lillie LANGTRY (i.e. “old actress”). Solution is LANG (i.e. “Glaswegian’s protracted”, i.e. the Scots form of “long”) followed by TRY (i.e. “attempt”).

  1. Call I answer after day in German state (9)

Answer: THURINGIA (i.e. “German state”). Solution is RING (i.e. “call”), I and A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A) all placed “after” THU (i.e. “day”, specifically a shortened form of Thursday), like so: (THU)-RING-I-A. The wordplay came to the rescue here. I struggle enough with local geography.

  1. Crime by one with posh hairdo inside car (9)

Answer: SUPERMINI (i.e. a “car” allegedly somewhere “between a mini-car and a small saloon” (Chambers). Sounds more like a sales gimmick to me). Solution is SIN (i.e. “crime”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) all wrapped around or having “inside” U (i.e. “posh”, being a recognised abbreviation of the upper classes if you observe such distinctions) and PERM (i.e. “hairdo”), like so: S(U-PERM)IN-I.

  1. American actor’s spoken line of Shakespeare? (7)

Answer: Jason ROBARDS (i.e. “American actor” who starred in movies such as All The Presidents Men and Once Upon A Time In The West. I couldn’t place him, to be honest. One for the cineastes, perhaps). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “spoken”) of ROW (i.e. “line”) followed by BARD’S (i.e. “of Shakespeare”), like so: RO-BARD’S.

  1. Depression has so far not entirely regressed (5)

Answer: FOSSA (i.e. a pit or “depression”). “Not entirely” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “regressed” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: H(AS SO F)AR. One of those nailed through the wordplay and a quick check of my Chambers.

  1. Niche firm in East London’s cut by 50 per cent (6)

Answer: ALCOVE (i.e. “niche”). Solution is CO (i.e. “firm”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “company”) placed in ‘ALVE (i.e. “East London’s cut”, i.e. the word HALVE with its H removed, as in ‘ow all ‘em cockneys are always dropping their bleedin’ aitches, inney? That and letting serial killers into their fictional streets whenever the viewing figures take a dip), like so: ‘AL(CO)VE.

  1. To get nowhere is to be sufficient with pop groups (2,5,2,7)

Answer: GO ROUND IN CIRCLES (i.e. “to get nowhere”). Solution is GO ROUND (i.e. “be sufficient”) followed by IN (i.e. “pop” or popular) and CIRCLES (i.e. “groups”).

  1. All there is to follow vermouth, flipping fruit tea! (6)

Answer: TISANE (i.e. “fruit tea” – chalk one to my Bradford’s here). Solution is SANE (i.e. “all there”) placed after or “following” IT (i.e. “vermouth”, short for Italian vermouth apparently – another win for the Bradford’s) once it has been reversed (indicated by “flipping”), like so: (TI)-SANE.

  1. For trial, took up with Left: set to agitate (4-4)

Answer: TEST-FLEW (i.e. “for trial, took up” an aircraft). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to agitate”) of W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), LEFT and SET.

  1. Cheat also, it’s said, getting prison sentence (3-4)

Answer: TWO-TIME (i.e. to “cheat” on one’s other half). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “it’s said”) of TOO (i.e. “also”) followed by TIME (i.e. “prison sentence”).

Down clues

  1. Following rule, cricket league stops pop star joining cricket side (2,9)

Answer: ON PRINCIPLE (i.e. “following rule”). Solution is IPL (i.e. “cricket league”, specifically the Indian Premier League) placed in or “stopping” PRINCE (i.e. “pop star”). This is all then placed after or “joining” ON (i.e. “cricket side” – being “the side on which the batsman stands when waiting to receive the ball” (Chambers)), like so: (ON)-PRINC(IPL)E.

  1. British not so in favour (5)

Answer: BLESS (i.e. to approve or “favour”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by LESS (i.e. “not so” much).

  1. Briefly tense after interruption from impolite old prime minister (7)

Answer: Pierre TRUDEAU (i.e. “old prime minister” of Canada, and Justin’s dad). Solution is TAUT (i.e. “tense”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder wrapped around or being “interrupted” by RUDE (i.e. “impolite”), like so: T(RUDE)AU.

  1. Fresh from southern Oz, Liverpudlian poets do get back from across the channel (8,3,4,5)

Answer: REPONDEZ S’IL VOUS PLAIT (i.e. RSVP or “do get back from across the channel”, as in this being a French phrase). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “fresh”) of S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) and OZ LIVERPUDLIAN POETS.

  1. Piece of timber: product that’s a cube? (4-2-3)

Answer: FOUR-BY-TWO (i.e. “piece of timber”). Solution also satisfies “product that’s a cube”, taking “product” to mean multiplication. 4×2 gets you 8, which happens to be a “cube” number: being 2^3 or 2x2x2.

  1. Large English egg chopped up hardly appetising fare (5)

Answer: GRUEL (i.e. “hardly appetising fare”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), E (ditto “English”) and URGE (i.e. to “egg” on) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “chopped”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: GRU-E-L.

  1. Train ran once a month originally for remote Irish destination (9)

Answer: CONNERAMA CONNEMARA (i.e. “remote Irish destination”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “train”) of RAN ONCE A and M (i.e. “month originally”, i.e. the first letter of “month” – a rare bone thrown by the setter, I think, given M is a recognised abbreviation of “month”. The clue would have worked without “originally”). Another deduced from the wordplay, but only once all the intersecting letters had been filled in.
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for repairing this one. I’d gotten the M and R the wrong way around, like a berk. Told you I was rubbish at geography! Cheers, Sue! – LP]

  1. Mexican meal from hopper covering stone article (7)

Answer: TOSTADA (i.e. “Mexican meal”). Solution is TOAD (i.e. “hopper”) wrapped around or “covering” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stone”) and followed by A (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the), like so: TO(ST)AD-A.

  1. Rock one can see on sale at bird food store (7)

Answer: OUTCROP (i.e. “rock one can see” – over to Chambers again: “an exposed edge of rock or of a mineral vein at ground surface”). Solution is OUT (i.e. “on sale”) followed by CROP (i.e. “bird food store” – I guess this generally means grain-producing plants, but I could be missing something clever).
[EDIT: Sue adds more meat to this solution, pointing out that a CROP is another word for a craw, being “the throat or first stomach of fowls” (Chambers). Thanks again, Sue! – LP]

  1. Pitcher containing beer moving bishop to dance! (9)

Answer: JITTERBUG (i.e. “dance”). Solution is JUG (i.e. “pitcher”) wrapped around or “containing” BITTER (i.e. “beer”) once the B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess) has been “moved” along, like so: J((B)ITTER)UG => J(ITTER(B))UG.

  1. Notes type of wood cut for table (6,5)

Answer: MINUTE STEAK (i.e. meat “cut for table”). Solution is MINUTES (i.e. “notes” of a meeting) followed by TEAK (i.e. “type of wood”).

  1. Work of member of Parliament admired by the queen (3,3,3,3,8)

Answer: THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT (i.e. “work” by Edward Lear). The clue plays on the collective noun for an owl being a parliament, and a queen being a female cat. “Member of Parliament” therefore gets you THE OWL – ignoring the misleading capitalisation – while “the queen” gets you THE PUSSYCAT. Not sure where “admired by” fits into all this though.
[EDIT: Thanks again to Sue in the comments for clarifying the “admired by” part of the clue. In the poem the pair generally chat each other up during their trip and agree to marry. Apparently there was an unfinished sequel to this where the pair have kids. Paging Doctor Moreau… – LP]

  1. Varied content of skip, etc, is most revolting (7)

Answer: ICKIEST (i.e. “most revolting”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “varied”) of KI (i.e. “content of skip”, i.e. the middle letters of “skip”), ETC and IS.

  1. Letters on French wine included in unwelcome post? One cause for complaint! (7)

Answer: BACILLI (i.e. “cause for complaint” or disease). Solution is AC (i.e. “letters on French wine”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of appellation contrôlée, which is “a guarantee that the product conforms to certain specified conditions of origin, strength etc” (Chambers). I’ve learned something today. Shame I don’t drink much French wine) placed “in” BILL (i.e. “unwelcome post”) and followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: B(AC)ILL-I.

  1. Maybe stout resistance met by each trio omitting Les? (4,3)

Answer: REAL ALE (i.e. “maybe stout” – other varieties of fally-down juice are available). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”) followed by EA (ditto “each”) and LA and LE (i.e. “trio omitting Les” – ignore the misleading capitalisation, this is a play on the three French forms of the word “the”: LA (female), LE (male) and LES (collective). A bit naughty of the setter to omit a French indicator from the clue, if I have this right).

  1. Flat or house? I’m not sure (2-3)

Answer: HO-HUM (i.e. “flat”). Solution is HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”) followed by HUM (i.e. “I’m not sure”). Probably my favourite clue of the puzzle.

  1. Crack alarms us – so utilise clamps (4,3)

Answer: SUSS OUT (i.e. “crack”). “Clamps” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: ALARM(S US SO UT)ILISE.

  1. Guts shown by inexperienced visiting CID officer (5)

Answer: DRAWS (i.e. “guts”, as in hang, draw and quarter). Solution is RAW (i.e. “inexperienced”) placed in or “visiting” DS (i.e. “CID officer”, specifically a Detective Sergeant), like so: D(RAW)S.

  1. Silly young lad’s outside far too early (7)

Answer: UNGODLY (i.e. “far too early”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “silly”) of YOUNG and LD (i.e. “lad’s outside”, i.e. the first and last letter of “lad”).

  1. Declaring cipher secure, up to date, and good (7)

Answer: OPINING (i.e. “declaring”). Solution is O (i.e. “cipher” – another win for my Bradford’s. Over to Chambers again, a cipher can be “formerly, the character 0” in mathematics. No, me neither) followed by PIN (i.e. to “secure”), then IN (i.e. fashionable or “up to date”) and G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”).

  1. Just as far behind horse, perhaps, first soldier? (11)

Answer: EQUIDISTANT (i.e. “just as far”). Solution is EQUID (i.e. “horse”) followed by IST (i.e. “first”, with the 1 represented by its Roman numeral equivalent) and ANT (i.e. “soldier”).

  1. Unlikely to start August: gets to visit American capital (11)

Answer: TALLAHASSEE (i.e. “American capital” of Florida). Solution is TALL (i.e. “unlikely”) followed by A (i.e. “to start August”, i.e. the first letter of “August”), then HAS (i.e. “gets”) and SEE (i.e. “to visit”).

  1. Said PC could be moved with 1kg boxes (9)

Answer: DIGIPACKS (i.e. paperboard-bound “boxes” for compact discs – ask your grandparents, kids). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “moved”) of SAID PC and IKG – 1 again replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent.

  1. What the keenest do to win a speaking competition? (9)

Answer: UTTERMOST (i.e. “what the keenest do”). When written as UTTER MOST the solution also playfully satisfies “to win a speaking competition”.

  1. Audience were mostly thrilled with invite (9)

Answer: INTERVIEW (i.e. an “audience” with someone). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “thrilled”) of WER (i.e. “were mostly”, i.e. the word “were” with its last letter removed) and INVITE.

  1. City, years before, leading division (7)

Answer: YEREVAN (i.e. capital “city” of Armenia). Solution is Y (a recognised abbreviation of “years”) followed by ERE (poetic form of “before”) and VAN (i.e. “leading division”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “vanguard”). Another nailed through the wordplay, if I’m honest.
[EDIT: Thanks to Neil in the comments for repairing this one. I’d misspelled YEREVAN, writing YEREVEN instead. Cheers, Neil! – LP]

  1. A few with premier going on offensive (7)

Answer: NOISOME (i.e. “offensive”). Solution is SOME (i.e. “a few”) placed “on” or after NO I (i.e. leading or “premier” – again with use of the Roman numeral I), like so: (NO-I)-SOME.

  1. Reason acceptable for raising hell (7)

Answer: INFERNO (i.e. “hell”). Solution is INFER (i.e. to “reason”) followed by ON (i.e. “acceptable”) once reversed (indicated by “raising” – this being a down clue), like so: INFER-NO.

  1. Don’t permit anything short to be worn (5)

Answer: BANAL (i.e. cliched, tired or “worn”). Solution is BAN ALL (i.e. “don’t permit anything”) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “short”).

  1. Was once successful in sales – making money no longer (5)

Answer: SOLDI (i.e. “money no longer”, specifically an old Italian coin). When written as SOLD I the solution also satisfies “was once successful in sales”, i.e. having sold one, using the Roman numeral I to represent “one”.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1530

For the most part this was a relatively straightforward puzzle. Unless you tried starting the thing in the top-right-hand corner, in which case… well, that noise mechanics make when you ask how the MOT went? Yeah, that noise. Ouch. I rarely enjoy uneven puzzles and this didn’t do much to buck the trend. Still, at least there were a few nicely disguised clues to enjoy.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a recent Jumbo has stolen all your currant buns then you might find solace in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to the last 180 of them. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind words and input. They’re much appreciated, and it’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers. Till next time, mask up and stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Striking Tories perhaps without qualification (8)

Answer: OUTRIGHT (i.e. absolute or “without qualification”). Solution is OUT (i.e. noticeable or “striking”) followed by RIGHT (i.e. “Tories perhaps”, politically speaking).

  1. Argument stated, reserve knocked over (4-2)

Answer: BUST-UP (i.e. “argument”). Solution is PUT (i.e. “stated”) and SUB (i.e. “reserve”, short for substitute) all reversed (indicated by “knocked over”), like so: BUS-TUP.

  1. Considerate deed farthest off you feel, always ending on the periphery (7)

Answer: TACTFUL (i.e. “considerate”). Solution is ACT (i.e. “deed”) placed in or having “on the periphery” TFUL (i.e. “farthest off you feel, always ending”, i.e. the last letters of “farthesT“, “ofF“, “yoU” and “feeL“), like so: T(ACT)FUL.

  1. Sending out chef, start on breakfast (6,5)

Answer: FRENCH TOAST (i.e. “breakfast”). “Sending out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CHEF START ON.

  1. Runs bagged, another top ground for cricket perhaps (11)

Answer: ORTHOPTERAN (i.e. “cricket perhaps” – other such insects are available). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs”) placed in or “bagged” by an anagram (indicated by “ground”) of ANOTHER TOP, like so: O(R)THOPTERAN. The wordplay was reasonably obvious but good grief this took some dictionary wrangling!

  1. Bring joy to conclusion of life story’s retrospective? (5)

Answer: ELATE (i.e. “bring joy to”). Solution is E (i.e. “conclusion of life”, i.e. the last letter of “life”) followed by TALE (i.e. “story”) all reversed (indicated by “retrospective”), like so: ELAT-E.

  1. Time Carol is knocking off (7)

Answer: ERASING (i.e. “knocking off”). Solution is ERA (i.e. “time”) followed by SING (i.e. to “carol” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

  1. Trouble’s back: certainly coach seeing problem (9)

Answer: EYESTRAIN (i.e. “seeing problem”). Solution is E (i.e. “trouble’s back”, i.e. the last letter of “trouble”) followed by YES (i.e. “certainly”) and TRAIN (i.e. “coach”).

  1. Somewhat hot here, torrid coming to that (7)

Answer: THERETO (i.e. “coming to that”). “Somewhat” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: HO(T HERE TO)RRID.

  1. Allowing for changes, autumn mist is tad different (7,8)

Answer: MUTATIS MUTANDIS (i.e. “allowing for changes” in Latin, because, you know, The Times). “Different” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AUTUMN MIST IS TAD. Another where the wordplay was fairly obvious, and another that took some dictionary thumbing to get.

  1. Sound of rapper, villain penning all the best dross (3-1-3-3)

Answer: RAT-A-TAT-TAT (i.e. “sound of rapper” or one knocking). Solution is RAT (i.e. “villain”) wrapped around or “penning” TATA (i.e. farewell or “all the best”) and followed by TAT (i.e. “dross”), like so: RA(TATA)T-TAT.

  1. Entertain Royal Engineers, primarily (6)

Answer: REGALE (i.e. “entertain”). Solution is REGAL (i.e. “royal” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and E (i.e. “engineers, primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “engineers”).

  1. You and I see, certainly (4)

Answer: YEAH (i.e. “certainly”). Solution is YE (i.e. “you”) followed by AH (i.e. “I see”).

  1. Recover after a mauling when lioness won and duck lost (4,4,6)

Answer: LICK ONE’S WOUNDS (i.e. “recover after a mauling”). “Lost” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LIONESS WON and DUCK.

  1. Girl, she’s drunk a huge amount of water (5,3)

Answer: IRISH SEA (i.e. “huge amount of water”). Solution is IRIS (i.e. a “girl’s” name) followed by an anagram (indicated by “drunk”) of SHE, then A, like so: IRIS-HSE-A.

  1. Particular things, matches involving French team? (8)

Answer: NICETIES (i.e. “particular things”). When written as NICE TIES the solution also satisfies “matches involving French team”.

  1. Blue fluff on one’s tongue, perhaps? (4,2,3,5)

Answer: DOWN IN THE MOUTH. Solution satisfies “blue” or feeling low, and “fluff on one’s tongue, perhaps”, fluff being all downy and that.

  1. Arsenal, looking back, compact and organised (4)

Answer: SNUG (i.e. “compact and organised”). Solution is GUNS (i.e. “arsenal”) reversed (indicated by “looking back”).

  1. Loyal subject ultimately out of practice (6)

Answer: TRUSTY (i.e. “loyal”). Solution is T (i.e. “subject ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “subject”) followed by RUSTY (i.e. “out of practice”).

  1. Relevant where taper’s heading? (2,3,5)

Answer: TO THE POINT. Solution satisfies “relevant” and “where taper’s heading”.

  1. Purplish, purplis and purpli mouse? (9,6)

Answer: SHRINKING VIOLET (i.e. a timid person or “mouse”). The first part of the clue plays on how PURPLISH (i.e. “violet”) is seen to SHRINK one letter at a time.

  1. Holidaymaker, one freaking out? (7)

Answer: TRIPPER. Solution satisfies “holidaymaker” and “one freaking out”.

  1. Nation, one entertained by an American refrain (9)

Answer: AUSTRALIA (i.e. “nation”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed in or “entertained by” A US (i.e. “an American”) and TRA-LA (i.e. a simple song or “refrain”), like so: A-US-TRA-L(I)A.

  1. What’s lost, finding a way to cut pay (7)

Answer: WASTAGE (i.e. “what’s lost”). Solution is A and ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”) both placed in or “cutting” WAGE (i.e. “pay”), like so: W(A-ST)AGE.

  1. Sign on end of rope, near hole in the middle (5)

Answer: ENROL (i.e. “sign on”). Solution is E (i.e. “end of rope”, i.e. the last letter of “rope”) followed by NR (a recognised abbreviation of “near”) and OL (i.e. “hole in the middle”, i.e. the middle letters of “hole”).

  1. Puzzle isn’t a doddle, unfinished brother admits (11)

Answer: BRAINTEASER (i.e. “puzzle”). Solution is AIN’T EASY (i.e. “isn’t a doddle”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “unfinished”) and the remainder placed in or “admitted” by BRER (i.e. “brother” in Southern US dialect), like so: BR(AIN’T-EAS)ER.

  1. Telling stories is generally nice, all kicking off should I be unable to do so (11)

Answer: SIGNIFICANT (i.e. “telling”). Solution is SIGN (i.e. “stories is generally nice, all kicking off”, i.e. the first letters of “Stories”, “Is”, “Generally” and “Nice”) followed by I and CAN’T (i.e. “be unable to do so”).

  1. Sponges in sediment mopping up last bits of classic French wine (7)

Answer: LEECHES (i.e. “sponges” off of). Solution is LEES (i.e. “sediment”) wrapped around or “mopping up” CHE (i.e. “last bits of classic French wine”, i.e. the last letters of “classiC“, “FrencH” and “winE“), like so: LEE(CHE)S.

  1. Some hollow fruit collected (6)

Answer: SEDATE (i.e. “collected”). Solution is SE (i.e. “some hollow”, i.e. “some” with its middle letters removed) followed by DATE (i.e. “fruit”).

  1. It having broken ornamental stone, daughter upset (8)

Answer: AGITATED (i.e. “upset”). Solution is IT placed in or “breaking” AGATE (i.e. “ornamental stone”) and followed by D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”), like so: AG(IT)ATE-D.

Down clues

  1. On holiday, whip is eccentric (7)

Answer: OFFBEAT (i.e. “eccentric”). Solution is OFF (i.e. “on holiday”) followed by BEAT (i.e. “whip”).

  1. Remedial teacher I put in a spin (11)

Answer: THERAPEUTIC (i.e. “remedial”). “In a spin” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TEACHER I PUT.

  1. Harsh material’s ending in secure boxes (9)

Answer: INCLEMENT (i.e. “harsh”). Solution is IN and CEMENT (i.e. “secure”) wrapped around or “boxing” L (i.e. “material’s ending”, i.e. the last letter of “material”), like so: IN-C(L)EMENT.

  1. Play dirty with handle on weapon, bet the elbow bent going in? (3,5,3,4)

Answer: HIT BELOW THE BELT (i.e. “play dirty”). Solution is HILT (i.e. “handle on weapon”) wrapped around or having “in” an anagram (indicated by “bent”) of BET THE ELBOW, like so: HI(TBELOWTHEBE)LT.

  1. Separating foolish peacekeepers, head of security puts things straight (8)

Answer: UNTWISTS (i.e. “puts things straight”). Solution is S (i.e. “head of security”) placed in or “separating” UN TWITS (i.e. “foolish peacekeepers”, UN being the United Nations), like so: UN-TWI(S)TS.

  1. Improbable cerebral talent, however pedestrian activity (7-7)

Answer: THOUGHT-READING (i.e. “improbable cerebral talent”). Solution is THOUGH (i.e. “however”) followed by TREADING (i.e. “pedestrian activity”).

  1. Snooker player’s stick somewhere in Hertfordshire (7,3)

Answer: POTTER’S BAR (i.e. “somewhere in Hertfordshire”). Solution is POTTER’S (i.e. “snooker player’s”) followed by BAR (i.e. “stick”).

  1. American writer you no longer read briefly visits (7)

Answer: Henry David THOREAU (i.e. “American writer”). Solution is THOU (i.e. “you no longer”, i.e. ye olde form of “you”) wrapped around or “visited” by REA (i.e. “read briefly”, i.e. “read” with its last letter removed), like so: THO(REA)U.

  1. How to make something smaller succeed (3,2)

Answer: CUT IT. Solution satisfies “how to make something smaller” and “succeed”.

  1. Appropriate to charge? I’m not sure it’s an offence in rugby (7,4)

Answer: FORWARD PASS (i.e. “it’s an offence in rugby”). Not one I’m 100% on. I guess “appropriate to charge” gets you FORWARD, with the riddly question mark suggesting something clever is afoot. Search me. You can “charge” forward, but the rest of it? Pfffff. “I’m not sure”, meanwhile, nets you PASS, which is exactly what I’m going to do.

[EDIT: Thanks to sirram999 in the comments for clearing this one up. “Appropriate to” gets you FOR, while “charge” gets you WARD, e.g. a child placed in care. Cheers, S! – LP]

  1. Revolutionary figure in register – such as him? (8)

Answer: LENINIST (i.e. “him”, in relation to the “revolutionary figure” at the start of the clue). Solution is NINE (i.e. “figure” or number) reversed (indicated by “revolutionary”) and placed “in” LIST (i.e. “register”), like so: L(ENIN)IST. Pretty much the exact same clue appeared only a few weeks ago in grid 1525. Ugh.

  1. A laugh arising in story (4)

Answer: SAGA (i.e. “story”). Solution is A GAS (i.e. “a laugh”) all reversed (indicated by “arising” – this being a down clue).

  1. Pet sounds mellow if allowed on woman’s sofa, initially (6)

Answer: MIAOWS (i.e. “pet sounds”). “Initially” indicates the solution is derived from the initial letters of “Mellow”, “If”, “Allowed”, “On”, “Woman’s” and “Sofa”.

  1. Plant a feature of Italy’s summer (7)

Answer: ALYSSUM (i.e. “plant”). “A feature of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: IT(ALY’S SUM)MER.

  1. Verdict going straight across the page? (6)

Answer: RULING. Solution satisfies “verdict” and lines “going straight across the page”.

  1. Remarkable piece of jewellery? That’s the unusual set inside? (5-10)

Answer: EARTH-SHATTERING (i.e. “remarkable”). Solution is EARRING (i.e. “piece of jewellery”) wrapped around or having “set inside” an anagram (indicated by “unusual”) of THAT’S THE, like so: EAR(THSHATTE)RING.

  1. Great extra-terrestrial (3,2,4,5)

Answer: OUT OF THIS WORLD. Solution satisfies “great” and “extra-terrestrial”.

  1. Reportedly walk while swaying – something saucy in that? (6)

Answer: SACHET (i.e. “something saucy in that”). “Reportedly” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SASHAY (i.e. “walk while swaying”).

  1. Odd bits erased, touch label on figure (7)

Answer: OCTAGON (i.e. a shape or “figure”). Solution is OC (i.e. “odd bits erased, touch”, i.e. every other letter of TOUCH) followed by TAG (i.e. “label”) and ON.

  1. Walking, where mule should be? (2,4)

Answer: ON FOOT. Solution satisfies “walking” and “where mule should be” – a variant meaning of the word is “a backless slipper or shoe” (Chambers).

  1. Focus of attention being cold main dish, male tucking in (6,5)

Answer: CENTRE STAGE (i.e. “focus of attention”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”) followed by ENTRÉE (i.e. “main dish”) once wrapped around or having “tucked in” STAG (i.e. “male”), like so: C-ENTRÉ(STAG)E.

  1. Chap drinking wine in one measure – not worth mentioning (11)

Answer: UNIMPORTANT (i.e. “not worth mentioning”). Solution is MAN (i.e. “chap”) wrapped around or “drinking” PORT (i.e. “wine”) while itself placed “in” UNIT (i.e. “one measure”), like so: UNI(M(PORT)AN)T.

  1. A solution to glaring problem? (10)

Answer: SUNGLASSES. Clue plays on how “glaring” can mean to dazzle and to refer to something obvious.

  1. Tariff triples unfortunately, tying in one client originally (5,4)

Answer: PRICE LIST (i.e. “tariff”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unfortunately”) of TRIPLES wrapped around or “tying in” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and C (i.e. “client originally”, i.e. the first letter of “client”), like so: PR(I-C)ELIST.

  1. Where sultan, I suspect, had embraced capital in Byzantium? (8)

Answer: ISTANBUL (i.e. “capital in Byzantium” – technically Constantinople, which was then renamed Istanbul in 1930). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “suspect”) of SULTAN I wrapped around or “embracing” B (i.e. “capital [letter of] Byzantium”), like so: ISTAN(B)UL.

  1. In secret, someone’s outside, not far apart (5-3)

Answer: CLOSE-SET (i.e. “not far apart”). Solution is CLOSET (i.e. “secret”) wrapped around or having “in” SE (i.e. “someone’s outside”, i.e. the first and last letters of “someone”), like so: CLOSE(SE)T.

  1. Almost selling out, society in disorder (7)

Answer: ILLNESS (i.e. “disorder”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of SELLING once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “almost”), followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “society”), like so: ILLNES-S.

  1. Similar sore, evidently, behind cuts (7)

Answer: RELATED (i.e. “similar”). Solution is RED (i.e. “sore, evidently”) wrapped around or being “cut” by LATE (i.e. lagging “behind”), like so: RE(LATE)D.

  1. Farm office locally not opening (5)

Answer: RANCH (i.e. “farm”). Solution is BRANCH (i.e. “office locally”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “not opening”).

  1. Back circling river, mythical ship (4)

Answer: ARGO (i.e. “mythical ship” that carted Jason from one Ray Harryhausen spectacle to the next). Solution is AGO (i.e. “back”) wrapped around or “circling” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: A(R)GO.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1529

A tougher offering this week filled with a good number of well-crafted clues. I rather liked this one, though I didn’t help myself much in originally having GIDDY HEIGHTS for 6 down.

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 stolen your identity and established a life for itself in the south of France, savouring the local food and taking in the sights, perhaps driving from place to place in a trusty little Renault 5, then 1) you might want to get in touch with your bank, and 2) you might also find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions to the last 170+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once more for the kind words and input, everyone. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared, or if there are alternative solutions to some clues. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Flap of avian’s wings captured by photo (5)

Answer: PANIC (i.e. “flap”). Solution is AN (i.e. “avian’s wings”, i.e. the first and last letter of “avian”) placed in or “captured by” PIC (i.e. “photo”), like so: P(AN)IC.

  1. Removed inedible parts of fish, putting in pinch of dill, and plunged into hot water (7)

Answer: SCALDED (i.e. “plunged into hot water”). Solution is SCALED (i.e. “removed inedible parts of fish”) wrapped around or having “put in” D (i.e. “pinch of dill”, i.e. the first letter of “dill” – can’t say I’m a fan of the wordplay), like so: SCAL(D)ED.

  1. Snake shredded salmon in wetland (9)

Answer: BOOMSLANG (i.e. a highly venomous tree “snake” – chalk one to my Bradford’s here). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “shredded”) of SALMON placed “in” BOG (i.e. “wetland”), like so: BO(OMSLAN)G.

  1. Soviet city tending to ignore a radical (9)

Answer: LENINGRAD (i.e. “Soviet city”). Solution is LEANING (i.e. “tending to”) with the A removed (indicated by “ignore a”) and the remainder followed by RAD (a recognised abbreviation of “radical” in politics), like so: LENING-RAD.

  1. With this you will find medicine most effective, not suffering at all (4,9)

Answer: ZERO TOLERANCE. Solution satisfies “with this you will find medicine most effective” and “not suffering [fools] at all”

  1. Old flame, generous type (7)

Answer: EXAMPLE (i.e. “type”). Solution is EX (i.e. “old flame”) followed by AMPLE (i.e. “generous”).

  1. Leaderless group’s OK to make return journey (7)

Answer: ODYSSEY (i.e. “journey”). Solution is BODY’S (i.e. “group’s”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “leaderless”) and the remainder followed by YES (i.e. “OK”) once reversed (indicated by “to make return”), like so: ODY’S-SEY.

  1. Is mother following Virginia’s nervous disorder? (7)

Answer: VAPOURS (i.e. “nervous disorder”). Solution is POURS (i.e. “is mother”, after the phrase “shall I be mother” when pouring a cuppa for someone) placed after or “following” VA (US state abbreviation of “Virginia”), like so: VA-POURS.

  1. Booking essential in advance for middle-of-the-road locale (7,11)

Answer: CENTRAL RESERVATION (i.e. “middle-of-the-road locale”). Solution is RESERVATION (i.e. “booking”) with CENTRAL (i.e. “essential”) placed before it or “in advance” of it.

  1. Part of cruise missile housing unit (4)

Answer: SEMI (i.e. “housing unit”). “Part of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: CRUI(SE MI)SSILE.

  1. Expose a fruit tree, trimming end around hives (9)

Answer: URTICARIA (i.e. nettle rash or “hives”). Solution is AIR (i.e. “expose”) followed by A, then CITRUS (i.e. “fruit tree”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “trimming end”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “around”), like so: URTIC-A-RIA. One nailed through the wordplay but only once I had all the intersecting letters.

  1. Assurance supported by quite a few pints (6)

Answer: GALLON (i.e. “quite a few pints”). Solution is GALL (i.e. “assurance”) followed by ON (i.e. on top of or “supported by”).

  1. Illegal act to west of key peninsula (6)

Answer: CRIMEA (i.e. “peninsula”). Solution is CRIME (i.e. “illegal act”) placed before or “to west of” – this being an across clue – A (i.e. musical “key”).

  1. Very keen, doubling the score (6-6)

Answer: TWENTY-TWENTY. Solution satisfies “very keen” vision, and “doubling the score”, a score being twenty.

  1. Donkeys’ fur that may be valued (10)

Answer: ASSESSABLE (i.e. “may be valued”). Solution is ASSES (i.e. “donkeys”) followed by SABLE (i.e. “fur”).

  1. Formal restraint – a peck? (3,7)

Answer: DRY MEASURE (“a peck” is one example of such). Solution is DRY (i.e. “formal”) followed by MEASURE (i.e. “restraint”, as in taking a measured approach).

  1. Department of Defence head once struggling to contain resistance is figure with Pentagon on side? (12)

Answer: DODECAHEDRON (i.e. “figure with pentagon on side” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is DOD (short for “Department of Defence”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “struggling”) of HEAD ONCE once wrapped around or “containing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”), like so: DOD-ECAHED(R)ON.

  1. Device to catch trespassers falls short, it’s said repeatedly (6)

Answer: MANTRA (i.e. “it’s said repeatedly”). Solution is MANTRAP (i.e. “device to catch trespassers”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “falls short”).

  1. Satisfied with what’s useful for bricklayer’s technique (6)

Answer: METHOD (i.e. “technique”). Solution is MET (i.e. “satisfied”) followed by HOD (i.e. “what’s useful for bricklayer”).

  1. Florida’s shaken by new shark warning? (6,3)

Answer: DORSAL FIN (i.e. “shark warning”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “shaken”) of FLORIDA’S followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: DORSALFI-N.

  1. Verbally expresses regret about trick (4)

Answer: RUSE (i.e. “trick”). “Verbally” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of RUES (i.e. “expresses regret”).

  1. Long-established and generally accepted as Chair? (4,2,3,9)

Answer: PART OF THE FURNITURE (i.e. “long-established”). Clue plays on how a chair is an example of, or part of, furniture.

  1. Neglected what could make play pay? (4,3)

Answer: LEFT OUT (i.e. “neglected”). Solution also cryptically satisfies “what could make play pay”, i.e. removing the L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) from “play” to get “pay”.

  1. Solitary saint coming in to write this again? (7)

Answer: RECLUSE (i.e. “solitary”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “saint”) placed “in” RECLUE (i.e. for the setter “to write this [clue] again”).

  1. Overlay with gold and even out (7)

Answer: PLATEAU (i.e. “even out”). Solution is PLATE (i.e. “overlay with”) followed by AU (chemical symbol of “gold”).

  1. Trial audience audibly yawning? (8,5)

Answer: SOUNDING BOARD (i.e. “trial audience”). The remainder of the clue plays on how BOARD is a homophone (indicated by “audibly”) of BORED. If you are “yawning” then you are SOUNDING BORED. You get the idea.

  1. Foodie finding new oral gratification ultimately in larva! (3,6)

Answer: BON VIVANT (i.e. “foodie”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), VIVA (i.e. “oral” exam, often taken when a student is on the cusp of a higher final grade) and N (i.e. “gratification ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “gratification”) all placed “in” BOT (i.e. “larva” of a botfly) like so: BO(N-VIVA-N)T.

  1. Only one of this pair will emerge from secret meeting taking seconds (9)

Answer: DUELLISTS. The clue basically describes a duel, given they were held in “secret”, how duellists were assisted by “seconds”, and how “only one of [them] will emerge” at the end of it.

  1. Looked for provision in favour of elderly (7)

Answer: FORAGED (i.e. “looked for provision”). When written as FOR AGED the clue also satisfies “in favour of elderly”.

  1. Clear article on reflection’s got great depth (5)

Answer: NADIR (i.e. a “great depth”). Solution is RID (i.e. to “clear”) and AN (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) all reversed (indicated by “on reflection”), like so: NA-DIR.

Down clues

  1. Election meeting rejecting queen – expect a reaction when this is raised! (6,5)

Answer: POLLEN COUNT (i.e. “expect a reaction when this is raised”). Solution is POLL (i.e. “election”) followed by ENCOUNTER (i.e. “meeting”) once the ER has been removed (indicated by “rejecting queen” – ER being short for Elizabeth Regina), like so: POLL-ENCOUNT.

  1. Contradictory responses from Bonn after expulsion of eastern spy (5)

Answer: NINJA (i.e. “spy”). Solution is NEIN and JA (i.e. “contradictory responses from Bonn”, i.e. “no” and “yes” in German) once the E has been removed (indicated by “after expulsion of eastern” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”), like so: NIN-JA. Nicely worked.

  1. Conservative illegally recording another, ringing chap who suspects a plot? (10,6)

Answer: CONSPIRACY THEORY (i.e. which “suspects a plot”). Solution is CONS (a recognised abbreviation of “conservative”) followed by PIRACY (i.e. “illegally recording”) and TORY (i.e. “another [conservative]”) wrapped around or “ringing” HE (i.e. “chap”), like so: CONS-PIRACY-T(HE)ORY.

  1. Fantastic county’s tailender getting out on a half century (7)

Answer: SURREAL (i.e. “fantastic”). Solution is SURREY (i.e. “county”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “tailender getting out”) and the remainder followed by A, then L (i.e. “half century” expressed as a Roman numeral), like so: SURRE-A-L.

  1. Stars with old city lawyer in Hollywood? (9)

Answer: ANDROMEDA (i.e. “stars”). Solution is AND (i.e. “with”) followed by ROME (i.e. “old city”) and DA (i.e. “lawyer”, specifically a District Attorney).

  1. Swimming teams in water sport taking lead in honours – the pinnacle of success (5,7)

Answer: DIZZY HEIGHTS (i.e. “the pinnacle of success”). Solution is DIZZY (i.e. where one’s head is “swimming”) and EIGHTS (i.e. “teams in water sport”, most likely rowing teams) wrapped around or “taking” H (i.e. “lead in honours”, i.e. the first letter of “honours”), like so: DIZZY-(H)-EIGHTS.

  1. Delivery is walloped with contempt (10)

Answer: DERISIVELY (i.e. “with contempt”). “Walloped” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DELIVERY IS.

  1. Non-drinker coming in to purchase snack (5)

Answer: BUTTY (i.e. “snack”). Solution is TT (i.e. “non-drinker”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a teetotaller) placed “in” BUY (i.e. “to purchase”), like so: BU(TT)Y.

  1. Hobbit turning up having lost head is disappearing from sight in obscurity (8)

Answer: OBLIVION (i.e. “obscurity”). Solution is BILBO Baggins (i.e. “hobbit”) reversed (indicated by “turning up” – this being a down clue) and its initial letter removed (i.e. “having lost head”). This is then followed by VISION (i.e. “sight”) with the IS removed (indicated by “is disappearing from”), like so: OBLI-VION.

  1. Hole, namely source of oil (6)

Answer: SCRAPE (i.e. an uncomfortable situation or “hole”). Solution is SC (i.e. “namely”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin scilicet) followed by RAPE (i.e. “source of oil”).

  1. A North American outwardly amused, cracking up to a tedious degree (2,7)

Answer: AD NAUSEAM (i.e. “to a tedious degree”). Solution is A followed by NA (a recognised abbreviation of “North American”) once placed in or having “outwardly” an anagram (indicated by “cracking up”) of AMUSED, like so: A-D(NA)USEAM.

  1. Shot of visitor touring southern India and China (11)

Answer: GUESSTIMATE (i.e. a “shot”). Solution is GUEST (i.e. “visitor”) wrapped around or “touring” S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) and followed by I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet) and MATE (i.e. “China”, cockney rhyming slang for MATE, after “china plate”), like so: GUE(S)ST-I-MATE.

  1. Try oven out a bit (3,4)

Answer: NOT VERY (i.e. “a bit”). “Out” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TRY OVEN.

  1. Comedy film for kids, something digital? (7)

Answer: TOOTSIE. Solution satisfies a “comedy film” from the 80s starring Dustin Hoffman, and “for kids, something digital”, i.e. a childish name for a toe.

  1. Questioning the job of a ballot scrutineer? (5-11)

Answer: CROSS-EXAMINATION. Solution satisfies “questioning” and, playfully, “the job of a ballot scrutineer”, given how an X is drawn in the box of your least-worst candidate.

  1. Check over notes on principles of string theory (6)

Answer: RETEST (i.e. to recheck or “check over”). Solution is RE and TE (i.e. “notes” in sol-fa notation) followed by ST (i.e. “principles of string theory”, i.e. the first letters of “string” and “theory”).

  1. Marry again in resort (6)

Answer: REPAIR (i.e. to “resort”). When written as RE-PAIR the solution also satisfies “marry again”.

  1. Advance payment you deserve no longer, perhaps (7)

Answer: EARNEST. Solution satisfies an “advance payment” and “deserve no longer, perhaps”, i.e. a playful ye-olde take on the word EARN. A rather similar clue appeared a few weeks ago in puzzle 1523, to much commentary!

  1. Zoonotic disease – one of chickens came home to roost, might one say? (4,3)

Answer: BIRD FLU (i.e. “zoonotic disease”). Solution is BIRD (i.e. “one of chickens”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “might one say”) of FLEW (i.e. “[bird] came home to roost”).

  1. Spurn leftover joint? (4,8)

Answer: COLD SHOULDER. Solution satisfies to “spurn” and, playfully, “leftover joint”, given how leftover meat is served cold.

  1. Dispirited protest assembled around 50 (11)

Answer: DEMORALISED (i.e. “dispirited”). Solution is DEMO (i.e. “protest”, short for demonstration) followed by RAISED (i.e. “assembled”) once wrapped “around” L (i.e. “[Roman numeral] 50”), like so: DEMO-RA(L)ISED.

  1. Remark that’s inappropriate and awfully risqué to nun (3,8)

Answer: NON-SEQUITUR (i.e. “remark that’s inappropriate”). “Awfully” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RISQUE TO NUN.

  1. Material that’s fine, but not on rubbish singer (10)

Answer: CHIFFCHAFF (i.e. a warbler bird or “singer”). Solution is CHIFFON (i.e. “material that’s fine”) with the ON removed (indicated by “but not on”) and the remainder followed by CHAFF (i.e. “rubbish”), like so: CHIFF-CHAFF.

  1. Instrument of tuneless, unending jangling (4,5)

Answer: NOSE FLUTE (i.e. “instrument”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “jangling”) of OF TUNELESS once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “unending”).

  1. No good climbing bit of wall for sack of salt? (6,3)

Answer: DUFFEL BAG (i.e. “sack for salt” or sailor). Solution is DUFF (i.e. “no good”) followed by GABLE (i.e. “bit of wall”) reversed (indicated by “climbing” – this being a down clue), like so: DUFF-ELBAG.

  1. Seaside town is blessed with container with gas on outskirts (8)

Answer: HASTINGS (i.e. “seaside town”). Solution is HAS (i.e. “is blessed with”) followed by TIN (i.e. “container”) and GS (i.e. “gas on outskirts”, i.e. the first and last letter of “gas”).

  1. Rent, having space for parking developed (7)

Answer: RIPENED (i.e. “developed”). Solution is RIPPED (i.e. “rent”) with the second P (a recognised abbreviation of “parking”) swapped “for” EN (a “space” in printing that is half the width of a lowercase m), like so: RIP(P)ED => RIP(EN)ED.

  1. Verse taken out of Decameron deleted (6)

Answer: RONDEL (i.e. “verse”). “Taken out of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: DECAME(RON DEL)ETED.

  1. Enigma dealing with U-boat surfacing (5)

Answer: REBUS (i.e. a picture puzzle or “enigma”). Solution is RE (i.e. regarding or “dealing with” – think email replies) followed by SUB (i.e. “U-boat” or submarine) once reversed (indicated by “resurfacing”, given this is a down clue and how U-boats rise to the surface), like so: RE-BUS.

  1. Antelope’s rump pierced by flea regularly (5)

Answer: ELAND (i.e. “antelope”). Solution is END (i.e. “rump”) wrapped around or “pierced by” LA (i.e. “flea regularly”, i.e. every other letter of FLEA), like so: E(LA)ND.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1528

Another relatively straightforward puzzle this week, albeit one spoiled by a couple of scruffy clues. A shame as several of the other clues were well worked. Could just be me.

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 pilfered your peanuts then you might find my Just For Fun page useful, where you’ll find links to solutions for the last 170+ of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks once again for the kind comments and help. They are always appreciated, and it’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared. Till next time, stay safe out there kids.

LP

With thanks to Iain MacG in the comments for fixing 47a

Across clues

  1. Open to change of plan, a motorway that may be stopped (9)

Answer: AMENDABLE (i.e. “open to change of plan”). Solution is A followed by M (a recognised abbreviation of “motorway”) and ENDABLE (i.e. “that may be stopped”).

  1. Wondered if icehouse is outside this building (7)

Answer: EDIFICE (i.e. “building”). “Is outside this” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: WONDER(ED IF ICE)HOUSE.

  1. Little time to pursue study (5)

Answer: SCANT (i.e. “little”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) placed after or “pursuing” SCAN (i.e. to “study” something), like so: SCAN-T.

  1. Stay-at-home wanting run out used van freely (13)

Answer: UNADVENTUROUS (i.e. “stay-at-home”). “Freely” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RUN OUT USED VAN.

  1. Reprimand about Italian wine scandal? (9)

Answer: CASTIGATE (i.e. “reprimand”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “circa”, i.e. “about”) followed by ASTIGATE (i.e. “Italian wine scandal” – the riddly question mark acknowledges the playful use of the prefix -GATE, referencing a scandal. ASTI, meanwhile, is an “Italian wine”).

  1. Loose garment needing close fastening (7)

Answer: NIGHTIE (i.e. “loose garment”). Solution is NIGH (i.e. “close” or nearby) followed by TIE (i.e. “fastening”). Nicely worked.

  1. Hard lump inside a bone (7)

Answer: STERNUM (i.e. a “bone”). Solution is STERN (i.e. “hard”) followed by UM (i.e. “lump inside”, i.e. the middle letters of “lump”).

  1. Warmongers regularly, I note, show an ignorance of the past (7)

Answer: AMNESIA (i.e. “ignorance of the past”, often one’s own). Solution is AMNES (i.e. “warmongers regularly”, i.e. every other letter of WARMONGERS) followed by I and A (i.e. musical “note”).

  1. Personally wrapped up small brownie getting taken in (4-8)

Answer: SELF-ABSORBED (i.e. “personally wrapped up”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by ELF (i.e. “brownie” – over to Chambers: “a benevolent creature who may secretly help with domestic work”. Could do with a few myself), then ABSORBED (i.e. “taken in”).

  1. Attachment finishes on Friday – start to cheer (10)

Answer: FRIENDSHIP (i.e. “attachment”). Solution is ENDS (i.e. “finishes”) placed “on” or after FRI (shortened form of “Friday”) and followed by HIP (i.e. “start to cheer”, as in the first word of “hip hip hooray”), like so: FRI-ENDS-HIP.

  1. Stuff fish with ten capers to begin with and do well (5)

Answer: EXCEL (i.e. “do well”). Solution is EEL (i.e. “fish”) wrapped around or “stuffed” with X (i.e. “[Roman numeral] ten”) and C (i.e. “capers to begin with”, i.e. the first letter of “capers”), like so: E(X-C)EL.

  1. Pearl such as the last across clue? (9)

Answer: THIRTIETH (i.e. “pearl”, traditional gift for a 30th wedding anniversary). The remainder of the clue references how there are thirty across clues in this week’s puzzle.

  1. I am a fool cutting exercise in standstill (7)

Answer: IMPASSE (i.e. “standstill”). Solution is I’M (a contraction of “I am”) followed by ASS (i.e. “fool”) once it has been placed in or “cutting” PE (i.e. “exercise”, specifically Physical Education), like so: I’M-P(ASS)E.

  1. Sender of message left pager there carelessly (11)

Answer: TELEGRAPHER (i.e. “sender of message”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “carelessly”) of L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and PAGER THERE.

  1. Allied prisoner given food by English judge (11)

Answer: CONFEDERATE (i.e. “allied”). Solution is CON (i.e. “prisoner”) followed by FED (i.e. “given food”), then E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and RATE (i.e. to “judge”).

  1. Drunken duke on floor is not expected (8-3)

Answer: UNLOOKED-FOR (i.e. “not expected”). “Drunken” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DUKE ON FLOOR.

  1. Flower mostly invaded by return of weed with couple often returning (11)

Answer: REITERATIVE (i.e. “often returning”). Solution is RIVER (i.e. “flower”, as in how it flows) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder wrapped around or “invaded by” TARE (i.e. a kind of “weed”) and TIE (i.e. to “couple”) once these have been reversed (indicated by “return of”), like so: R(EIT-ERAT)IVE.

  1. Gatecrash home rightly without key (7)

Answer: INTRUDE (i.e. “gatecrash”). Solution is IN (i.e. at “home”) followed by TRUE (i.e. “rightly”) once wrapped around or placed “without” D (i.e. musical “key”), like so: IN-TRU(D)E.

  1. Band introduces person who finishes performance (9)

Answer: RENDERING (i.e. “performance”). Solution is RING (i.e. “band”) wrapped around or “introducing” ENDER (i.e. “person who finishes”), like so: R(ENDER)ING.

  1. I mostly speed round motorway and drive on (5)

Answer: IMPEL (i.e. “drive on”). Solution is I followed by PELT (i.e. “speed”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”). These are then placed “round” M (a recognised abbreviation of “motorway”), like so: I-(M)-PEL.

  1. Narcissistic socialite is distraught about blog’s ending (10)

Answer: EGOISTICAL (i.e. “narcissistic”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “is distraught”) of SOCIALITE wrapped “about” G (i.e. “blog’s ending”, i.e. the last letter of “blog”), like so: E(G)OISTICAL.

  1. I sensed vices destroyed ability to resolve issues (12)

Answer: DECISIVENESS (i.e. “ability to resolve issues”). “Destroyed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I SENSED VICES.

  1. Stamp I invent without head of poor queen (7)

Answer: IMPRINT (i.e. “stamp”). Solution is I followed by MINT (i.e. to “invent”) wrapped around or placed “without” P (i.e. “head of poor”, i.e. the first letter of “poor”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of Regina, Latin for “queen”), like so: I-M(P-R)INT.

  1. Where wild animals live, see, with many close together (7)

Answer: DENSELY (i.e. “with many close together”). Solution is DENS (i.e. “where wild animals live”) followed by ELY (i.e. “see” or a diocese in East Anglia popular with setters).

  1. Money to get in heroin using sharp runners (7)

Answer: SHAVING (i.e. “using sharp runners”). I’m not 100% on this one, so watch out. I guess the solution is SAVING (i.e. “money”) wrapped around or “getting in” H (i.e. street name of “heroin”), like so: S(H)AVING. Two things: I’d argue money ought to be “savings” not “saving”, and I believe runners refer to blades of, say, an ice skate rather than the cosmetic type. If this is indeed the solution then bleaurgh. Not keen. Alternatively, the solution could be S-HAVING with S being a recognised abbreviation of shilling or “money” and HAVING being “to get in”, but this then leaves “heroin” redundant. Alternatively alternatively, the solution could be SKATING, which then satisfies “using sharp runners”, but I can’t make the solution fit the rest of the clue. A bit of a shitshow, this one, and possibly a cock-up. If anyone swings by with a better solution then I’ll update the post.

[EDIT: Thanks to Iain MacG in the comments for clearing this one up. The solution turned out to be SKATING after all, i.e. “using sharp runners”, formed of TIN (i.e. slang for “money”) placed “in” SKAG (i.e. slang for “heroin”), like so: SKA(TIN)G. Cheers, Iain! – LP]

  1. Always famous piece by Handel ends transposed and too broad? (9)

Answer: OVERLARGE (i.e. “too broad”). Solution is EVER (i.e. “always”) and LARGO (i.e. “famous piece by Handel” – I mean, it’s pleasant enough but you’re not missing much) with the “ends transposed”, like so: (E)VER-LARG(O) => (O)VER-LARG(E).

  1. Stablemen worked with this organisation (13)

Answer: ESTABLISHMENT (i.e. “organisation”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “worked”) of STABLEMEN and THIS.

  1. Give up bear cave and return (5)

Answer: YIELD. A quadruple header, I believe, satisfying “give up”, to produce or “bear”, to “cave” in and a “return” on investment. We had another quadruple header a few weeks ago. If this is the setters’ latest trend then I approve.

  1. Get hands confused? Mix-up initially is costly putting left for right (7)

Answer: MISDEAL (i.e. “get hands [of cards] confused”). Solution is M (i.e. “mix-up initially”, i.e. the first letter of “mix-up”) followed by IS, then DEAR (i.e. “costly”) once the R has been swapped “for” L (indicated by “putting left for right”, R and L being recognised abbreviations of “right” and “left” respectively), like so: M-IS-DEA(R) => M-IS-DEA(L).

  1. Jealous of three points accepted by ageing editor (5-4)

Answer: GREEN-EYED (i.e. “jealous”). Solution is EEN (i.e. “three points” on a compass, basically recognised abbreviations of East, East and North respectively) placed in or “accepted by” GREY (i.e. “ageing”) and followed by ED (a recognised abbreviation of “editor”), like so: GR(EEN)EY-ED.

Down clues

  1. Former pupil from university having months in a large student body (7)

Answer: ALUMNUS (i.e. “former pupil”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and M (a recognised abbreviation of “months”) both placed “in” A, L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and NUS (i.e. “student body”, specifically the National Union of Students), like so: A-L-(U-M)-NUS.

  1. Fervent believer calling Eve a silly (11)

Answer: EVANGELICAL (i.e. “fervent believer”). “Silly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CALLING EVE A.

  1. What club might raise to video rise to the top (5)

Answer: DIVOT (i.e. “what [golf] club might raise”). Solution is TO and VID (shortened form of “video”) all reversed (indicated by “rise to the top” – this being a down clue), like so: DIV-OT.

  1. Crazy financiers with nothing for answer (7)

Answer: BONKERS (i.e. “crazy”). Solution is BANKERS (i.e. “financiers”) with the A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A) swapped “for” O (i.e. “nothing”), like so: B(A)NKERS => B(O)NKERS.

  1. Bird always present where one sees lemurs (3)

Answer: EMU (i.e. “bird”). “Always present where one sees” rather elaborately indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: L(EMU)RS. Could be I’ve missed something clever, though.

  1. Work in gold, perhaps running off with a ring? (9)

Answer: ELOPEMENT (i.e. “running off with a ring”, i.e. running off to marry). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) placed “in” ELEMENT (i.e. “gold, perhaps” – other chemical elements are available), like so: EL(OP)EMENT.

  1. Silly eating seconds, quite mad (6)

Answer: INSANE (i.e. “quite mad”). Solution is INANE (i.e. “silly”) wrapped around or “eating” S (a recognised abbreviation of “seconds”), like so: IN(S)ANE.

  1. Inhibit compiler’s yen to work for obscurity (19)

Answer: INCOMPREHENSIBILITY (i.e. “obscurity”). “To work” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INHIBIT COMPILER’S YEN.

  1. Subject redness regularly to wash (7)

Answer: ENSLAVE (i.e. to “subject”… (makes so-so gesture)). Solution is ENS (i.e. “redness regularly”, i.e. every other letter of REDNESS) followed by LAVE (i.e. “to wash”).

  1. Uncovered dive, possibly with big rubbish container outside pub yard (6-3)

Answer: SKINNY-DIP (i.e. “uncovered dive”). Solution is SKIP (i.e. “big rubbish container”) placed “outside” of INN (i.e. “pub”) and YD (a recognised abbreviation of “yard”), like so: SK(INN-YD)IP.

  1. Effect of drugs upset Sean taking article in eastern continent (11)

Answer: ANAESTHESIA (i.e. “effect of drugs”). Solution is SEAN reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue) and THE (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) both placed “in” ASIA (i.e. “eastern continent”) like so: A(NAES-THE)SIA

  1. Character of those who’d volunteer to fight? (5)

Answer: THETA (i.e. “character”, specifically the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet). When written as THE TA the solution also satisfies “those who’d volunteer to fight”, i.e. the Territorial Army.

  1. Father’s rating swords forged for quality of child’s play (19)

Answer: STRAIGHTFORWARDNESS (i.e. “quality of child’s play”). “Forged” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FATHER’S RATING SWORDS.

  1. The whole lot eat a lot on getting up? Not good – rather fast (7)

Answer: ALLEGRO (i.e. “rather fast” in musical lingo). Solution is ALL (i.e. “the whole lot”) followed by GORGE (i.e. “eat a lot”) once reversed (indicated by “getting up” – this being a down clue) and one of its Gs removed (indicated by “not good” – G being a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: ALL-EGRO.

  1. Alexander’s Feast, say, after composition with parts coming separately (9)

Answer: PIECEMEAL (i.e. “with parts coming separately”). Solution is MEAL (i.e. “Alexander’s Feast, say” – probably referencing the event itself rather than the musical work by Handel. I guess the setter fancied another reference to Handel in the puzzle) placed “after” PIECE (i.e. musical “composition”), like so: PIECE-MEAL.

  1. What airlines put on for safety – one cent in the buck? (2-4)

Answer: DE-ICER (i.e. “what airliners put on for safety”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and C (a recognised abbreviation of “cent”) both placed “in” DEER (i.e. “buck”), like so: DE(I-C)ER.

  1. Former partner faithfully guarding son, four, like a rock? (9)

Answer: EXTRUSIVE (i.e. “like a rock” formed from magma). Solution is EX (i.e. “former partner”) and TRUE (i.e. “faithfully”) wrapped around or “guarding” S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) and IV (i.e. “four” expressed in Roman numerals), like so: EX-TRU(S-IV)E.

  1. Swing component up over centre of retaining ring (7)

Answer: TRAPEZE (i.e. “swing”). Solution is PART (i.e. “component”) reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue) and followed by the “centre” letters of BEZEL (i.e. “retaining ring”), like so: TRAP-EZE.

  1. Person that’s reserved lettuce (7)

Answer: ICEBERG. Solution satisfies “person that’s reserved” and a variety of “lettuce”.

  1. Run a group full of enthusiasm (6)

Answer: RARING (i.e. “full of enthusiasm”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games) followed by A and RING (i.e. “group”).

  1. Tricky rescue set up I have to follow (7)

Answer: EVASIVE (i.e. “tricky”). Solution is SAVE (i.e. “rescue”) reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue) and followed by I’VE (a contraction of “I have”), like so: EVAS-I’VE.

  1. Set fire to hospital – now a shell on which we build (11)

Answer: LITHOSPHERE (an example being the earth’s crust, or “a shell on which we build”). Another I’m not 100% about. I think this could be another cock-up. My solution, for what it’s worth, is LIT (i.e. “set fire to”) followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “hospital”) and HERE (i.e. “now”). This leaves OSP unaccounted for, however. None of my dictionaries support HOSP as a recognised abbreviation of “hospital” and I don’t see how the clue invites solvers to cut the word “hospital” in half. Again, if anyone offers the correct solution for this then I’ll update the post.

  1. Slimy recipe cooked with little attention to detail (11)

Answer: IMPRECISELY (i.e. “with little attention to detail”). “Cooked” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SLIMY RECIPE. I mean, the irony of this solution after a couple of scruffy clues isn’t lost on me.

  1. Incompetent United Nations gets head of state murdered (9)

Answer: UNSKILLED (i.e. “incompetent”). Solution is UN (i.e. “United Nations”) followed by S (i.e. “head of state”, i.e. the first letter of “state”) and KILLED (i.e. “murdered”).

  1. Basic cheese the French used for a month (9)

Answer: ELEMENTAL (i.e. “basic”). Solution is EMMENTAL (i.e. “cheese”) with one of the Ms (referenced by “a month” – M being a recognised abbreviation) swapped “for” LE (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the masculine form of “the” in French), like so: E(M)MENTAL => E(LE)MENTAL.

  1. Acting, I am following playwright with no pressure (7)

Answer: INTERIM (i.e. “acting”). Solution is I’M (a contraction of “I am”) placed after or “following” Harold PINTER (i.e. “playwright”) once the P has been removed (indicated by “no pressure”, P being a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”), like so: INTER-I’M.

  1. Encourage one new father to carry progeny at the outset (7)

Answer: INSPIRE (i.e. “encourage”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and SIRE (i.e. to “father”) once wrapped around or carrying P (i.e. “progeny at the outset”, i.e. the first letter of “progeny”), like so: I-N-S(P)IRE.

  1. Sounded relieved about temperature observed (7)

Answer: SIGHTED (i.e. “observed”). Solution is SIGHED (i.e. “sounded relieved”) wrapped “about” T (a recognised abbreviation of “temperature”), like so: SIGH(T)ED.

  1. A sign of some irritation with son having joints reportedly (6)

Answer: SNEEZE (i.e. “a sign of some irritation”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of KNEES (i.e. “joints”), like so: S-NEEZE.

  1. What’s produced by jumbo engine over years? (5)

Answer: IVORY (i.e. “what’s produced by jumbo”). Solution is IVOR (i.e. “engine”, after Oliver Postgate’s animated series, Ivor The Engine) followed by Y (a recognised abbreviation of “years”).

  1. Looking sick like when losing wicket (5)

Answer: ASHEN (i.e. “looking sick”). Solution is AS (i.e. “like”) followed by WHEN once the W has been removed (indicated by “losing wicket”, i.e. W being a recognised abbreviation of “wicket” used in cricket), like so: AS-HEN.

  1. Ancient fortress abandoning resistance in error (3)

Answer: BUG (i.e. “error”). Solution is BURG (i.e. “ancient fortress”) with the R removed (indicated by “abandoning resistance” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1527

A relatively easy puzzle this week, which is fine by me, especially when accompanied by some nicely worked clues. (And especially especially when said clues make the exotic solutions easier to get.)

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has trampled all over your flowers then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions to the last 170+ of these things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and help, folks. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve set down their pens. And what’s this I see? Normal sized text in WordPress’s editor? Praise be! If anyone is in the market for a second-hand microfiche reader, let me know. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. A new coin eclipsing one from long ago (7)

Answer: ANCIENT (i.e. “from long ago”). Solution is A followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and CENT (i.e. “coin”) once wrapped around or “eclipsing” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: A-N-C(I)ENT.

  1. This writer’s finished old painting (7)

Answer: IMPASTO (i.e. “painting” style, where you stick great gobs of the stuff onto the canvas). Solution is I’M (i.e. “this writer’s”, i.e. a contraction of “this writer is” taken from the point of view of the setter, i.e. “I am”) followed by PAST (i.e. “finished”) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”).

  1. Yearbook article stored in a large computer (7)

Answer: ALMANAC (i.e. “yearbook”). Solution is AN (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) placed or “stored in” A, L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and MAC (i.e. a line of “computers” manufactured by Apple, short for Macintosh), like so: A-L-M(AN)AC.

  1. Head office used Rover for training course (4,7)

Answer: HORS D’OUEVRE (i.e. meal “course”). Solution is HO (a recognised abbreviation of “head office”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “for training”) of USED ROVER, like so: HO-RSDOEUVRE. If someone could hack into The Times‘ puzzle style guide and add “Thou muft indicateth the proper length of apoftrophifed folutionf verily: HORS D’OEUVRE (4,1’6)” that would be lovely, thanks.

  1. Fish circles one very loud tug, an engineering marvel (6,5)

Answer: EIFFEL TOWER (i.e. “engineering marvel”). Solution is EEL (i.e. “fish”) wrapped around or “circling” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and FF (i.e. “very loud”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “fortissimo” used in musical lingo), then followed by TOWER (i.e. “tug”, a reference to how it tows other boats behind it).

  1. Victor leaves club towel perhaps (5)

Answer: DRIER (i.e. “towel perhaps” – other methods of drying are available. You could stick your wet plates on a warm radiator for example. #LifeHacks). Solution is DRIVER (a golf “club”) with the V removed (indicated by “Victor leaves…” – Victor is V in the phonetic alphabet).

  1. Well-known extract in English books (7)

Answer: EMINENT (i.e. “well-known”). Solution is MINE (i.e. to “extract”) placed “in” between E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and NT (i.e. “books”, specifically the New Testament of The Bible), like so: E-(MINE)-NT.

  1. Pick up article about current distress (9)

Answer: HEARTACHE (i.e. “distress”). Solution is HEAR (i.e. “pick up”) followed by THE (i.e. “article”, as already covered) once wrapped “about” AC (i.e. a recognised abbreviation of alternating “current”), like so: HEAR-T(AC)HE.

  1. Unexpectedly, Nepal is reconstructing IT hub (7,10,4)

Answer: CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT (the heart of electronic computers. You could also call it a centre of activity or “hub”. I couldn’t possibly comment). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unexpectedly”) of NEPAL IS RECONSTRUCTING followed by IT.
[EDIT: Thanks to Natalie in the comments for repairing this one. I nearly had it. The anagram is merely of NEPAL IS RECONSTRUCTING, making the solution an “IT hub”. Cheers, Natalie! – LP]

  1. Sheep enclosure by church that’s not worth much (8)

Answer: TUPPENCE (i.e. “not worth much”). Solution is TUP (i.e. a ram or “sheep” – we’ve seen this usage a couple of times in Jumbos) followed by PEN (i.e. “enclosure”), then CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England).

  1. Old firm collecting tax returns book (6)

Answer: OCTAVO (i.e. “book” printed on sheets folded in such a way to produce eight leaves per sheet rather than four). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by CO (ditto “company”) once wrapped around or “collecting” VAT (i.e. “tax”, specifically Value Added Tax) once this has been reversed (indicated by “returns”), like so: O-C(TAV)O. One cracked via the wordplay.

  1. Daisy reorganised beer garden having removed study (7)

Answer: GERBERA (i.e. colourful “daisy”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “reorganised”) of BEER GARDEN once the DEN or “study” has been “removed”.

  1. Fertilise a lot to protect first of lettuce (5)

Answer: MULCH (i.e. “fertilise” – can be used in verb form). Solution is MUCH (i.e. “a lot”) wrapped around or “protecting” L (i.e. “first [letter] of lettuce”), like so: MU(L)CH.

  1. Old PM hugs a secretary, fluttering (7)

Answer: PITAPAT (i.e. “fluttering” – can refer to “a palpitating sensation” (Chambers)). Solution is PITT (i.e. “old PM” or Prime Minister) wrapped around or “hugging” A and PA (i.e. “secretary” or Personal Assistant), like so: PIT(A-PA)T.

  1. One’s utmost – or even better! (5,4)

Answer: LEVEL BEST (i.e. “one’s utmost”). Solution is LEVEL (i.e. “even”) followed by BEST (i.e. to “better” someone). Simple, but nicely done.

  1. Reportedly only Mike defends American tunes (4,5)

Answer: SOUL MUSIC (i.e. “tunes”). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “reportedly”) of SOLE (i.e. “only”) and MIKE wrapped around or “defending” US (i.e. “American”), like so: SOUL-M(US)IC.

  1. Couple arranged to house new Gallic barman (7)

Answer: Francis POULENC (i.e. French composer or “barman”, given music comprises bars and such). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “arranged”) of COUPLE wrapped around or “housing” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: POULE(N)C. One of those to file under “made to fit”, but mercifully made easier by the wordplay.

  1. A drunkard devours cold course (5)

Answer: ASCOT (i.e. “course” for horse racing). Solution is A followed by SOT (i.e. “drunkard”) once wrapped around or “devouring” C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”), like so: A-S(C)OT.

  1. Obliterate some Parisian system of weights (7)

Answer: DESTROY (i.e. “obliterate”). Solution is DES (i.e. “some Parisian”, i.e. the French for “some”) followed by TROY (i.e. “system of weights”).

  1. Try to catch each cook swigging whiskey (6)

Answer: EARWIG (i.e. to eavesdrop or “try to catch”). Solution is EA (a recognised abbreviation of “each”) followed by RIG (i.e. to “cook”, manipulate or falsify) once wrapped around or “swigging” W (i.e. “whiskey” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: EA-R(W)IG.

  1. Put emphasis on sweets going west (8)

Answer: STRESSED (i.e. “put emphasis on”). Solution is DESSERTS (i.e. “sweets”) reversed (indicated by “going west” – this being an across clue).

  1. Instinctive broadcast that assists motorists (9,12)

Answer: AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION (i.e. “that assists motorists”). Solution is AUTOMATIC (i.e. “instinctive”) followed by TRANSMISSION (i.e. “broadcast”).

  1. Bans speaker backing target limits (9)

Answer: MORATORIA (i.e. “bans”). Solution is ORATOR (i.e. “speaker”) placed in or “limited” by AIM (i.e. “target”) once this has been reversed (indicated by “backing”), like so: M(ORATOR)IA.

  1. Rewrite medical lecture (7)

Answer: DECLAIM (i.e. to harangue or “lecture”). “Rewrite” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MEDICAL.

  1. Heroin features in cocaine gag (5)

Answer: CHOKE (i.e. to “gag”). Solution is H (i.e. street name for “heroin”) placed or “featured in” COKE (ditto “cocaine”), like so: C(H)OKE.

  1. Associate to bury china with foreign article (11)

Answer: INTERMINGLE (i.e. to “associate”). Solution is INTER (i.e. “to bury”) followed by MING (i.e. “china” or porcelain) and LE (i.e. “foreign article”, i.e. the French for “the”).

  1. Like top man and his unnamed son giving cost before haggling (6,5)

Answer: ASKING PRICE (i.e. “cost before haggling”). Solution is AS (i.e. “like”) followed by KING (i.e. “top man”) and PRINCE (i.e. “his…son”, in reference to KING) once the N has been removed (indicated by “nameless” – N being a recognised abbreviation of “name”), like so: AS-KING-PRICE.

  1. Colt maybe raised wretchedly by side of mountain (7)

Answer: SIDEARM (i.e. “Colt maybe” – other gun manufacturers are available). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wretchedly”) of RAISED followed by M (i.e. “side of mountain”, i.e. the first letter of “mountain”), like so: SIDEAR-M.

  1. Delay writer following our group in South Dakota (7)

Answer: SUSPEND (i.e. “delay”). Solution is PEN (i.e. “writer”) placed after or “following” US (i.e. “our group”). These are then placed “in” SD (US state abbreviation of “South Dakota”), like so: S(US-PEN)D.

  1. Slander constant smoker in a city (7)

Answer: CALUMNY (i.e. “slander”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”) followed by LUM (i.e. a chimney or “smoker” – we’ve also seen this usage a couple of times in Jumbos) once placed “in” between A and NY (i.e. “city”, specifically New York), like so: C-A-(LUM)-NY.

Down clues

  1. A research graduate’s catching current pests (6)

Answer: APHIDS (i.e. “pests”). Solution is A followed by PHD’S (i.e. “research graduate’s”) once wrapped around or “catching” I (a recognised abbreviation of an electric “current” used in physics), like so: A-PH(I)D’S.

  1. Club maybe regularly finance person with pump problem? (7)

Answer: CARDIAC (i.e. someone with cardiac disease or “person with pump problem”). Solution is CARD (i.e. “club maybe” – other suits are available) followed by IAC (i.e. “regularly finance”, i.e. every other letter of FINANCE).

  1. Finish university event around north showing stamina? (9)

Answer: ENDURANCE (i.e. “stamina”). Solution is END (i.e. “finish”) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and RACE (i.e. athletic “event”) once wrapped “around” N (a recognised abbreviation of “north”), like so: END-U-RA(N)CE.

  1. Second person once arresting male subject (5)

Answer: THEME (i.e. “subject”). Solution is THEE (i.e. “second person once”, i.e. ye olde form of “you”: first person being “I”, second person being “you”, third person being “they”) wrapped around or “arresting” M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”), like so: THE(M)E.

  1. Dupe wearing mask takes in good European (8)

Answer: INVEIGLE (i.e. “dupe”). Solution is IN VEIL (i.e. “wearing mask”) wrapped around or “taking in” G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) and followed by E (ditto “European”), like so: IN-VEI(G)L-E.

  1. Part of receipt sent up with margins trimmed (5)

Answer: PIECE (i.e. “part”). Solution is RECEIPT with its first and last letters or “margins” removed or “trimmed”, and the remainder reversed (indicated by “sent up” – this being a down clue), like so: R(ECEIP)T => ECEIP => PIECE.

  1. One who has doubts about filling sort of tank (7)

Answer: SCEPTIC (i.e. “one who has doubts”). Solution is SEPTIC (i.e. “sort of tank”) wrapped around or “filled” by C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), like so: S(C)EPTIC.

  1. Bid to secure article ought to be somewhat revealing (3-3-8)

Answer: OFF-THE-SHOULDER (i.e. “somewhat revealing”). Solution is OFFER (i.e. “bid”) wrapped around or “securing” THE (i.e. “article”, already discussed) and SHOULD (i.e. “ought to be”), like so: OFF(THE-SHOULD)ER.

  1. State becoming older, losing energy and getting mean (9)

Answer: AVERAGING (i.e. mathematical “mean”). Solution is AVER (i.e. to “state”) followed by AGEING (i.e. “becoming older”) once the E has been removed (indicated by “losing energy” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: AVER-AGING.

  1. Books in opera house for choral piece (5)

Answer: MOTET (i.e. “choral piece”). Solution is OT (i.e. “books”, this time the Old Testament of The Bible) placed “in” MET (i.e. “opera house”, specifically the Metropolitan Opera House in New York), like so: M(OT)ET.

  1. Where reporters gather fresh small pears (4,11)

Answer: NEWS CONFERENCES (i.e. “where reporters gather”). Solution is NEW (i.e. “fresh”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and CONFERENCES (i.e. variety of “pears”).

  1. County right concerning court rebuke (7)

Answer: CORRECT (i.e. “rebuke”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “county”) followed by R (ditto “right”), then RE (i.e. “concerning” – think email replies) and CT (a recognised abbreviation of “court”).

  1. Distributed precise formulae (7)

Answer: RECIPES (i.e. “formulae”). “Distributed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PRECISE.

  1. Initially roll then twice decorate bakery item (4,5)

Answer: RICE PAPER (i.e. “bakery item”). Solution is R (i.e. “initially roll”, i.e. the first letter of “roll”) followed by ICE and PAPER (i.e. “twice decorate” – the former being to decorate a cake, the latter to decorate a room).

  1. In Indian state burn primate (7)

Answer: GORILLA (i.e. “primate”). Solution is GOA (i.e. “Indian state”) wrapped around or having “in” RILL (i.e. “burn” – both being small waterways), like so: GO(RILL)A.

  1. Like fine spray, so made it elsewhere (8)

Answer: ATOMISED (i.e. “like fine spray”). “Elsewhere” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SO MADE IT.

  1. Sort of fat old college with room for more students? (15)

Answer: POLYUNSATURATED (i.e. “sort of fat”). The clue plays on a POLY or polytechnic being an “old college”. The rest, I guess, playfully riffs on SAT tests and whether potential students are U-RATED, taking U to be a recognised abbreviation of “university”. UN- being a negating prefix would then suggest said POLY is lacking in suitable applicants. Something along those lines, anyway. Could be I’ve missed something devious, though.

[EDIT: As a few commenters have pointed out, the UNSATURATED part of the solution satisfies how said POLY hasn’t yet reached saturation point, or “has room for more students”. Thanks all! – LP]

  1. Old king’s from day one into knitwear! (9)

Answer: ARTHURIAN (i.e. “old king’s”, taken to mean “of an old king”, specifically King Arthur). Solution is THUR (i.e. “day” of the week, short for Thursday) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) both placed “into” ARAN (i.e. style of “knitwear”), like so: AR(THUR-I)AN.

  1. A quiet bird you’d heard displaying flair (8)

Answer: APTITUDE (i.e. “flair”). Solution is A followed by P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano” or “quiet” in musical lingo), then TIT (i.e. “bird”) and a homophone (indicated by “heard”) of “you’d”, like so: A-P-TIT-UDE.

  1. Routine chats where bulls and bears gather (5,9)

Answer: STOCK EXCHANGES (i.e. “where bulls and bears gather”, bulls and bears symbolising trading on rising and falling share prices). Solution is STOCK (i.e. mundane or “routine”) followed by EXCHANGES (i.e. “chats”).

  1. Dull sound made by certain workers on cylinder (7)

Answer: HUMDRUM (i.e. “dull”). Solution is HUM (i.e. “sound made by certain workers”, in this case worker bees) followed by DRUM (i.e. “cylinder”).

  1. Relinquishes duty importing a hundred tablets (7)

Answer: VACATES (i.e. “relinquishes”). Solution is VAT (i.e. “duty”, Value Added Tax again) wrapped around or “importing” A and C (i.e. “[Roman numeral] hundred”) and followed by ES (i.e. “tablets” of ecstasy, E being its street name), like so: V(A-C)AT-ES.

  1. Addition to table Betty Muir designed (9)

Answer: YTTERBIUM (i.e. chemical element or “addition to [periodic] table”). “Designed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BETTY MUIR.

  1. Bishop’s huge stone embodying saint (9)

Answer: EPISCOPAL (i.e. “bishop’s”, read as belonging to bishops). Solution is EPIC (i.e. “huge”) and OPAL (i.e. “stone”) wrapped around or “embodying” S (a recognised abbreviation of “saint”), like so: EPI(S)C-OPAL.

  1. Got on British vessel in eastern sea (8)

Answer: EMBARKED (i.e. “got on”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) and ARK (i.e. “vessel”) both placed “in” E (a recognised abbreviation of “eastern”) and MED (i.e. “sea”, short for Mediterranean), like so: E-M(B-ARK)ED.

  1. Hairy locations where weapons are hidden? (7)

Answer: ARMPITS (i.e. “hairy locations”). The remainder plays on ARMS being a word for “weapons”. I guess you could hide them in PITS. Inactive volcano bases are another option for budding supervillains.

  1. Engineers line up compensation (7)

Answer: REDRESS (i.e. “compensation”). Solution is RE (i.e. “engineers”, specifically the Royal Engineers of the British Army) followed by DRESS (i.e. to “line up” – usage I remembered from a recent puzzle, if I’m honest).

  1. Metal miners employ old boy in islands (7)

Answer: NIOBIUM (i.e. “metal”). Solution is NUM (i.e. “miners”, specifically the National Union of Miners) wrapped around or “employing” OB (a recognised abbreviation of “old boy”) once this has itself been placed “in” between I and I (i.e. “islands”, I being a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: N(I(OB)I)UM.

  1. Plant that would need IT installed to generate speed (6)

Answer: CELERY (i.e. “plant”). After IT has been “installed” within the solution you get CELER(IT)Y, another word for “speed”.

  1. Land legally grabbed by Walter Raleigh (5)

Answer: TERRA (i.e. “land legally”, a comment on how the word is used in legalese). “Grabbed by” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: WAL(TER RA)LEIGH.

  1. First of couturiers to flatten fashion (5)

Answer: CRAZE (i.e. “fashion”). Solution is C (i.e. “first [letter] of couturiers”) followed by RAZE (i.e. to “flatten” a building).

  1. Demented bloke in charge (5)

Answer: MANIC (i.e. “demented”). Solution is MAN (i.e. “bloke”) followed by IC (a recognised abbreviation of “in charge”).