A medium strength puzzle that offered the kind of steady progression I like. There were a handful of scruffy clues conspiring to spoil the party but, overall, this was an improvement on recent weeks.
You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has picked your pockets then you can find links to solutions to the last 160+ of them on my Just For Fun page. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.
Thanks once more for the kind words and insights, folks. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put down their pens. Till next time, stay safe and keep supporting the NHS and key workers everywhere.
- Dig first for peat, a feature of Ireland (6)
Answer: PLOUGH (i.e. “dig”). Solution is P (i.e. “first for peat”, i.e. the first letter of “peat”) followed by LOUGH (i.e. “a feature of Ireland”, specifically a geographic feature, in this case the Irish for a lake).
- For heathen, lawyer produces publicity (10)
Answer: PROPAGANDA (i.e. “publicity”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “for”) followed by PAGAN (i.e. “heathen”) and DA (i.e. “lawyer”, specifically a District Attorney).
- Nobel author removing one line further on in the text (5)
Answer: BELOW (i.e. “further on in the text”). Solution is Saul BELLOW (i.e. “Nobel author”) with one of the Ls removed (indicated by “removing one line” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “line”).
- More crazy to drop initial promise – end of story (9)
Answer: AFTERWORD (i.e. “end of story”). Solution is DAFTER (i.e. “more crazy”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “to drop initial”) and the remainder followed by WORD (i.e. “promise”, as in “my word is my bond”), like so: AFTER-WORD.
- Drop lifeless: for example, a coffin must follow (4,6,3)
Answer: DEAD LETTER BOX (i.e. “drop”, specifically a location in which spies dunk sensitive information to be picked up by another). Solution is DEAD (i.e. “lifeless”) followed by LETTER (i.e. “for example, a” – other letters are available) and BOX (i.e. “coffin”).
- Displacing son during excursion (7)
Answer: OUSTING (i.e. “displacing”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) placed “during” OUTING (i.e. “excursion”), like so: OU(S)TING.
- Golf club admitting West and North African (7)
Answer: RWANDAN (i.e. “African”). Solution is R AND A (i.e. “golf club”, specifically the R&A, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews) wrapped around or “admitting” W (a recognised abbreviation of “west”) and followed by N (ditto “north”), like so: (R-(W)-AND-A)-N
- At sea, declare how weather has improved (7)
Answer: CLEARED (i.e. “how weather has improved”). “At sea” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DECLARE.
- OK to develop preparation for each task (8,10)
Answer: PLANNING PERMISSION (i.e. “OK to develop”). Solution is PLANNING (i.e. “preparation”) followed by PER (i.e. “for each”) and MISSION (i.e. “task”).
- Key mistake admitted by party-pooper (4)
Answer: TYPO (i.e. “key mistake” referring to the keys of a keyboard). “Admitted by” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PAR(TY-PO)OPER.
- Hard, unresponsive, not feminine (5)
Answer: RIGID (i.e. “hard”). Solution is FRIGID (i.e. “unresponsive”) with the F removed (indicated by “not feminine”, F being a recognised abbreviation of “feminine”).
- In quarrel rod snapped off on top of head (8)
Answer: DOMESTIC (i.e. “quarrel”). Solution is STICK (i.e. “rod”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “snapped off”) and the remainder placed “on” or after DOME (i.e. “top of head”), like so: DOME-STIC.
- Send for engineers to achieve objective (3,5)
Answer: GET THERE (i.e. “achieve objective”). When written as GET THE RE the solution also satisfies “send for engineers” – RE being the Royal Engineers of the British Army.
- Appear, since having resolved dangers (11)
Answer: EMERGENCIES (i.e. “dangers”). Solution is EMERGE (i.e. “appear”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “having resolved”) of SINCE, like so: EMERGE-NCIES.
- Sterile land treated and brought back into use (11)
Answer: REINSTALLED (i.e. “brought back into use”). “Treated” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of STERILE LAND.
- Interior desperate for nourishment, introduced directly (11)
Answer: INTRAVENOUS (i.e. “introduced directly” into the bloodstream). Solution is INT (a recognised abbreviation of “interior”) followed by RAVENOUS (i.e. “desperate for nourishment”).
- Doing nothing wrong, sample food that’s aesthetically pleasing (2,4,5)
Answer: IN GOOD TASTE (i.e. “aesthetically pleasing”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wrong”) of DOING and O (i.e. “nothing”) followed by TASTE (i.e. “sample food”), like so: INGOOD-TASTE.
- In short have half of gorge to cross (8)
Answer: TRAVERSE (i.e. “to cross”). Solution is RAV (i.e. “half of gorge”, i.e. the first half of RAVINE) placed “in” TERSE (i.e. “short”), like so: T(RAV)ERSE.
- Not all were wrong to waste day in garden (8)
Answer: PARTERRE (i.e. “garden” – over to Chambers: “a formal arrangement of flower beds”). Solution is PART (i.e. “not all”) followed by ERRED (i.e. “were wrong”) with the D removed (indicated by “to waste day” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “day”), like so: PART-ERRE. A new one on me. I figured the solution would end in ERRE but could I hell get PART. (Pats Bradford’s.)
- Obstruct seat (5)
Answer: STALL. Solution satisfies “obstruct” and “seat”.
- Comfortable with trigonometrical expression (4)
Answer: COSY. Solution satisfies “comfortable” and, when written as COS Y, “trigonometrical expression”, i.e. the cosine of a variable, Y.
- Journalist died, Times agree, in early spring? (5,13)
Answer: LOBBY CORRESPONDENT (i.e. a “journalist” on parliamentary affairs). Solution is OB (i.e. “died”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin, obit), BY (i.e. “times”, as in multiplication – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and CORRESPOND (i.e. “agree”) all placed “in” LENT (i.e. “early spring”), like so: L(OB-BY-CORRESPOND)ENT.
- Most tedious journey, in a way (7)
Answer: ARIDEST (i.e. “most tedious” – Chambers disagrees, but my Oxford backs it up. Ish.) Solution is RIDE (i.e. “journey”) placed “in” A and ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: A-(RIDE)-ST.
- After meal, perform music, not serious (7)
Answer: TEASING (i.e. “not serious” – hmm, not really. The closest I can get is to playfully make fun of someone, but this is hardly satisfying). Solution is SING (i.e. “perform music”) placed “after” TEA (i.e. “meal”), like so: TEA-SING.
- Wizard goes on curious search (7)
Answer: RUMMAGE (i.e. “search”). Solution is MAGE (i.e. “wizard”) placed “on” or after RUM (i.e. “curious”), like so: RUM-MAGE.
- Holder of secure government post abroad (10,3)
Answer: DIPLOMATIC BAG, a “holder of secure government post” or mail over in the US (i.e. “abroad”).
- Lear’s companion offered to drink last of strong mineral (5,4)
Answer: FOOL’S GOLD (i.e. “mineral”). Solution is FOOL (i.e. “Lear’s companion” in Shakespeare’s King Lear) followed by SOLD (i.e. “offered”) once wrapped around or “drinking” G (i.e. “last of strong”, i.e. the last letter of “strong”), like so: FOOL-S(G)OLD.
- Indicate approval, having cleaned out dirty seabird (5)
Answer: NODDY (i.e. “seabird”). Solution is NOD (i.e. “indicate approval”) followed by DY (i.e. “cleaned out dirty”, i.e. the word “dirty” with all its middle letters removed), like so: NOD-DY. One gotten from the wordplay, if I’m honest.
- In barrel, see brewing gallons – of these? (5,5)
Answer: LAGER BEERS (i.e. “of these”, referring to the kind of stuff you might see brewing in barrels, referenced in the clue). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “brewing”) of BARREL SEE wrapped around or having “in” G (a recognised abbreviation of “gallons”), like so: LA(G)ERBEERS.
- Like some kings to take power ahead of time (6)
Answer: PEARLY (i.e. “like some kings” dahn in ahld Lahndan taaaaaahn, innit, guvnah? Wotcha, gorbimey and much thumbing of braces). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”) followed by EARLY (i.e. “ahead of time”).
- Veg sounding wonderful, but we see nothing in it? (3-6)
Answer: PEA-SOUPER (i.e. “we see nothing in it”, pea-souper being an informal reference to thick fog). Solution is PEA (i.e. “veg”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “sounding”) of SUPER (i.e. “wonderful”).
- Stupid view? It’s more than right (6,5)
Answer: OBTUSE ANGLE (i.e. “it’s more than right [angle]”). Solution is OBTUSE (i.e. “stupid”) followed by ANGLE (i.e. “view”).
- Proceed with angular measure ignoring a sort of knot (7)
Answer: GORDIAN (i.e. “knot” of legend, supposedly impossible to undo, so Alexander the Great simply sliced through it). Solution is GO (i.e. “proceed”) followed by RADIAN (i.e. “angular measure”) once one of the As has been removed (indicated by “ignoring a”), like so: GO-RDIAN.
- Less polished diamonds accepted by king perhaps for pounds (5)
Answer: RUDER (i.e. “less polished”). Solution is RULER (i.e. “king perhaps” – other varieties of ruler are available) with the L (a recognised abbreviation of “pounds”, from the Latin, Libra) swapped “for” D (a recognised abbreviation of “diamonds” used in card games), like so: RU(L)ER => RU(D)ER.
- Footmen work over time to get covered by chroniclers (11)
Answer: PODIATRISTS (i.e. “footmen”, i.e. those specialising in the care of feet). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) reversed (indicated by “over”) and followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) once placed in or “covered by” DIARISTS (i.e. “chroniclers”), like so: PO-DIA(T)RISTS.
- Old prime minister that is twice introduced to supreme king (5,6)
Answer: GRAND VIZIER (i.e. “old prime minister” post in pre-Republican Turkey). Solution is VIZ and IE (both recognised abbreviations of “that is”: viz being short for the Latin videlicet – “to wit, namely”; i.e. being short for the Latin id est – “that is, that is to say” (both from Chambers)) both placed in or “introduced to” GRAND (i.e. “supreme”) and R (i.e. “king”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin Rex), like so: GRAND-(VIZ-IE)-R. One for the classicists.
- In drowsy state, daughter gives way to new invalid condition (8)
Answer: NULLNESS (i.e. “invalid condition”). Solution is DULLNESS (i.e. “drowsy state”) with the D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) replaced by or “giving way to” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: (D)ULLNESS => (N)ULLNESS.
- Are you one to have problems eating this? (9)
Answer: ARTICHOKE (i.e. “this”, the thing you might eat within the context of the clue). Solution is ART (i.e. ye olde “are”, or more likely “are you” in the clue) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and CHOKE (i.e. “to have problems eating”).
- Supplier of pub provides empty bar with jug (6)
Answer: BREWER (i.e. “supplier of pub”). Solution is BR (i.e. “empty bar”, i.e. the word “bar” with its middle letter removed) followed by EWER (i.e. “jug”).
- Cheek ring, a symbol of independence (7,4)
Answer: LIBERTY BELL (i.e. “symbol of independence” located in Philadelphia). Solution is LIBERTY (i.e. “cheek”, as in taking liberties) followed by BELL (i.e. to “ring”).
- Having grown, wood’s first to be cut down (5)
Answer: WAXED (i.e. “having grown”, often paired with waned). Solution is W (i.e. “wood’s first [letter]”) followed by AXED (i.e. “cut down”).
- Fuss, having to swap foot-and-mouth activities (4,3,5)
Answer: SONG AND DANCE (i.e. “fuss”). Clue plays on these being “activities” that are performed using the “mouth” and “foot” respectively, and how these are “swapped” to get you the solution.
- Page unfinished judge takes on to work out (4,4)
Answer: PUMP IRON (i.e. “work out”). Solution is P (a recognised abbreviation of “page”) followed by UMPIRE (i.e. “judge”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “unfinished”), then ON, like so: P-UMPIR-ON.
- Old vegetation river leaves behind (7)
Answer: OVERDUE (i.e. “behind” schedule). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by VERDURE (i.e. “vegetation”) once one of the Rs has been removed (indicated by “river leaves”, R being a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: O-VERDUE.
- At length, opponents destroyed continent (8)
Answer: ATLANTIS (i.e. “destroyed continent”). Solution is AT followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “length”) and ANTIS (i.e. “opponents”).
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for the typo fix. I’d written ALTANTIS, like a fool. Cheers, Sue! – LP]
- Shabby magistrate read poorly (3-5)
Answer: DOG-EARED (i.e. “shabby”). Solution is DOGE (i.e. former “magistrate” in Republican Venice and Genoa, it says here) followed by an anagram (indicated by “poorly”) of READ, like so: DOGE-ARED.
- Clothes hang on one end of line (8)
Answer: LINGERIE (i.e. “clothes”). Solution is LINGER (i.e. “hang on”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and E (i.e. “end [letter] of line”).
- Typical – only the second half is quarrelsome (7)
Answer: ERISTIC (i.e. “quarrelsome” – a new one on me). Solution is taken from the “second half” of CHARACTERISTIC (i.e. “typical”). While I love learning new things in these Jumbos, getting solvers to deduce a lesser-known solution from the arse-end of a 14-letter word is a bit much, don’t you think?
- Sponsor keeps changing representative (12)
Answer: SPOKESPERSON (i.e. “representative”). “Changing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SPONSOR KEEPS. Very nicely worked. Probably my favourite clue of the puzzle.
- Put into new vessel, stuck, having broken shin inside (11)
Answer: TRANSHIPPED (i.e. “put into new [sailing] vessel”). Solution is TRAPPED (i.e. “stuck”) wrapped around or “having…inside” an anagram (indicated by “broken”) of SHIN, like so: TRA(NSHI)PPED.
- Court formality, a warning sign (4,7)
Answer: STAR CHAMBER (i.e. English “court” that was charged with keeping powerful folk in check). Solution is STARCH (i.e. stiffness or “formality”) followed by AMBER (i.e. “a warning sign”).
- Blend is endless, good for a book (11)
Answer: INTERMINGLE (i.e. “blend”). Solution is INTERMINABLE (i.e. “endless”) with the A and B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) swapped “for” G (ditto “good”), like so: INTERMIN(A-B)LE => INTERMIN(G)LE.
- It doesn’t pay to divert a bus, overall (5,6)
Answer: SLAVE LABOUR (i.e. “it doesn’t pay”). “To divert” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A BUS OVERALL.
- Deficiency the result of extended summer? (9)
Answer: SHORTFALL (i.e. “deficiency”). When written as SHORT FALL the solution also satisfies “result of extended summer”, FALL being another word for autumn more regularly used in North America.
- Modern sort of saint? (6-3)
Answer: LATTER-DAY. Solution satisfies “modern” and a “sort of saint” associated with Mormonism.
- Being right up close, a knocking of heads (8)
Answer: ABUTTING (i.e. “being right up close”). When written as A BUTTING the solution also satisfies “a knocking of heads”.
- Greeting famous person, receiving answer, extremely short (7)
Answer: NAMASTE (i.e. a “greeting” in India). Solution is NAME (i.e. “famous person”) wrapped around or “receiving” A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, e.g. in Q&A) and ST (i.e. “extremely short”, i.e. the first and last letters of “short”), like so: NAM(A-ST)E.
- Venture money to win unknown plant (6)
Answer: BETONY (i.e. “plant”). Solution is BET ON (i.e. “venture money to win”) followed by Y (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z as “unknowns”). Another gotten solely from the wordplay.
- Incompetent teacher has mislaid book supplement (3-2)
Answer: ADD-ON (i.e. “supplement”). Solution is BAD DON (i.e. “incompetent teacher”) with the B removed (indicated by “has mislaid book” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “book”).
- Achieve much travel with reduced ticket price (2,3)
Answer: GO FAR (i.e. “achieve much”). Solution is GO (i.e. “travel”) followed by FARE (i.e. “ticket price”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “reduced”).