Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1372

This was a mercifully gentler affair after last week’s horror show. My aching brain appreciates it! You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them.

If you have a recent puzzle knocking about for which you’d like the answers, then you might find my Just For Fun page useful. In the meantime, I’ll continue work on my review of Best New Horror 4. (You can see reviews of the first three books in my Reviews page, should you fancy a gander.)

Right then. In the immortal words of Nicolas Cage: “NOT THE BEES!” “Let’s ride”.

LP

Across clues

1. Trip merrily in dance music of the 1990s (7)

Answer: BRITPOP (i.e. “music of the 1990s”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “merrily”) of TRIP placed “in” BOP (i.e. “dance”), like so: B(RITP)OP.

5. Men pulling trains, perhaps? You’ll find them in Scotland (8)

Answer: HEBRIDES. Solution satisfies “men pulling trains, perhaps” (i.e. HE BRIDES, as oxymoronic as it sounds – “trains” being those dirty great back-ends of wedding dresses) and “you’ll find them in Scotland”.

9. Dance spotted in puzzle (6)

Answer: JIGSAW (i.e. “puzzle”). Solution is JIG (i.e. “dance”) followed by SAW (i.e. “spotted”).

13. Talc’s article wanted for such attention, in brief? (6,6,4)

Answer: TENDER LOVING CARE. Solution is TALC with the A – an article – removed (i.e. “talc’s article removed”). This gives you TLC, which is a recognised abbreviation (indicated by “in brief”) of Tender Loving Care (i.e. “attention”).

14. Party politics at sea moving ahead, so all concluding (4,2)

Answer: STAG GO (i.e. “party”). “All concluding” indicates that the solution is derived from the final letters of POLITICS AT SEA MOVING AHEAD SO.

16. Conservative PM once lacking leadership, old Con cross (8)

Answer: ORTHODOX (i.e. “conservative”, as in one’s views). Solution is Lord Frederick NORTH, British Prime Minister 1770-1782 (i.e. “PM once”) with the initial letter removed (i.e. “lacking leadership”), and followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), DO (to cheat, i.e. “con”) and X (i.e. “cross”), like so: ORTH-O-DO-X.

17. Miles away from a ranch – miles away! (4)

Answer: AFAR (i.e. “miles away”). Solution is A FARM (i.e. “a ranch”) with the M removed (i.e. “miles away”, M being a recognised abbreviation of “miles”).

18. Done in accessing corner in this domestic chore (9)

Answer: HOOVERING (i.e. “domestic chore”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “done”) and IN placed in, or “accessing” HOG (i.e. “[to] corner [something]”), like so: HO(OVER-IN)G.

20. Hunk of sweetmeat? (8)

Answer: BEEFCAKE. Solution satisfies “hunk” and, cryptically, “sweetmeat” (as in a BEEF CAKE).

21. Change about a hundred for a difference (11)

Answer: ALTERCATION (which is to dispute something heatedly, i.e. “a difference”). Solution is C (Roman numeral for “a hundred”) placed in ALTERATION (i.e. “change”), like so: ALTER(C)ATION.

24. Shape central, eg quadrilateral (9)

Answer: RECTANGLE (i.e. “quadrilateral”). “Shape” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CENTRAL EG.

25. Flower, grey lines perhaps round the edge (8)

Answer: PRIMROSE (i.e. “flower”). Solution is PROSE (i.e. “grey lines perhaps” – “prose” can mean non-poetic text, or something that’s boring and grey) placed “round” RIM (i.e. “the edge”), like so: P(RIM)ROSE.

26. A welcome shower? (4)

Answer: HAIL. Solution satisfies “a welcome” and “shower”.

29. Hammer close to a bar for field event? (3,4,4)

Answer: CAR BOOT SALE (i.e. “field event”). “Hammer” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CLOSE TO A BAR.

31. Details causing much head scratching? Then tough! (5-6)

Answer: NITTY-GRITTY (i.e. “details”). Solution is NITTY (i.e. “causing much head scratching”) “then” GRITTY (i.e. “tough”). A solution that appeared a few weeks ago.

33. Greek philosophy derived from pagan theory (11)

Answer: PYTHAGOREAN (i.e. “Greek philosophy”). “Derived from” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PAGAN THEORY.

36. Idle barge, one taking extra work (11)

Answer: MOONLIGHTER (i.e. “one taking extra work”). Solution is MOON (i.e. “[to] idle”) and LIGHTER (i.e. “[a] barge”).

38. Youth centres in Leicestershire and Kent (4)

Answer: TEEN (i.e. “youth”). Solution is derived from the “centres” of LeicesTErshire and KENt.

39. One criticising salesman and traveller (8)

Answer: REPROVER (i.e. “one criticising”). Solution is REP (i.e. “salesman”) followed by ROVER (i.e. “traveller”).

41. Mediator has to try and gamble – little point (2-7)

Answer: GO-BETWEEN (i.e. “mediator”). Solution is GO (i.e. “to try”) then BET (i.e. “gamble”) then WEE (i.e. “little”) and N (i.e. “point”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “north” on a compass), like so: GO-BET-WEE-N.

44. Fire at bird, producing lead (5,1,5)

Answer: BLAZE A TRAIL (i.e. “[to] lead”). Solution is BLAZE (i.e. “fire”) followed by AT and then RAIL (i.e. “bird” – did a Google Image search – meh, random).

45. Possible boiler trouble (3,5)

Answer: HOT WATER. Solution satisfies “possible boiler” (other boiling liquids may be available) and “trouble”.

48. Inspired by crude matter, newspaper producing four-letter word (9)

Answer: TETRAGRAM (i.e. “four-letter word”). Solution is RAG (i.e. “newspaper”) “inspired” into an anagram (indicated by “crude”) of MATTER, like so: TET(RAG)RAM.

49. Author unknown, all works lacking initial (4)

Answer: ANON (i.e. “author unknown”). Solution is CANON (i.e. “all works”) with the first letter removed (i.e. “lacking initial”).

50. Support overwhelming seed in West London contest? (4,4)

Answer: BOAT RACE (i.e. a “West London contest” which will be on in a couple of weeks). Solution is OAT (i.e. “seed”) being “overwhelmed” by BRACE (i.e. “support”), like so: B(OAT)RACE.

52. Backtracking southeast European runs off (6)

Answer: ELOPES (i.e. “runs off”). Solution is SE (a recognised abbreviation of “southeast”) and POLE (i.e. “European”), and the whole lot reversed (indicated by “backtracking”), like so: ELOP-ES.

53. A bigot retired with game of rugby in a mess (2,5,3,6)

Answer: AT SIXES AND SEVENS (i.e. “in a mess”). Solution is A, then SEXIST (i.e. “bigot”) reversed (indicated by “retired”), then followed by AND (i.e. “with”) and SEVENS (i.e. “game of rugby”), like so: A-TSIXES-AND-SEVENS.

54. Never what the bold show (2,4)

Answer: NO FEAR. Solution satisfies an exclamatory “never” that you don’t hear so much these days, and “what the bold show”.

55. Poets, say, in European catalogues (8)

Answer: ELEGISTS (i.e. “poets”). Solution is EG (i.e. “say”, as in “for example”) placed “in” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and LISTS (i.e. “catalogues”), like so: E-L(EG)ISTS.

56. Weary old bowler, perhaps, trapping us (7)

Answer: EXHAUST (i.e. “weary” – though I’d question the tense here). Solution is EX-HAT (i.e. “old bowler, perhaps”) “trapping” US, like so: EX-HA(US)T.

Down clues

1. Base saw British uprising (6)

Answer: BOTTOM (i.e. “base”). Solution is MOTTO (i.e. “saw” – an alternative meaning of “saw” is a saying or phrase) and B (a recognised abbreviation of British) reversed (indicated by “uprising” – this being a down clue), like so: B-OTTOM.

2. Light lifted in fleeting image (6)

Answer: IGNITE. “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, while “lifted” indicates the solution is reversed, again this being a down clue, like so: FLE(ETING I)MAGE.

3. They happen to see father embracing females only, zero males (9)

Answer: PHENOMENA (i.e. “they happen to [be] see[n]”). Solution is PA (i.e. “father”) “embracing” HEN O MEN (i.e. “females only, zero males” – a bit weak, but you know what I mean), like so: P(HEN-O-MEN)A.

4. Series of cushioned blows? (6,5)

Answer: PILLOW FIGHT. Solution riffs on how one involves fighting with pillows, which, of course, are a kind of cushion. Another clue that featured in a recent puzzle.

5. Queen’s residence, where Welsh corgi ends on covers of Vogue (4)

Answer: HIVE (i.e. “queen [bee]’s residence”). Solution is H and I (i.e. “Welsh corgi ends”, i.e. the last letters of WELSH and CORGI) placed “on” VE (i.e. “covers of Vogue”, i.e. the first and last letters of “vogue”). I rather liked this clue.

6. Censorship withdrawn, intro cut from film perhaps that’s sentimental and sweet (8,3)

Answer: BANOFFEE PIE (i.e. “[a] sweet”). Solution is BAN (i.e. “censorship”) then OFF (i.e. “withdrawn”) then WEEPIE (i.e. “film perhaps that’s sentimental”) with its “intro cut”, like so: BAN-OFF-EEPIE.

7. Existence driving people? (11)

Answer: INCARNATION (i.e. “existence”). “Driving people” also suggests this may be an IN-CAR NATION.

8. Soil brilliant thing for fungus (9)

Answer: EARTHSTAR, a very cool-looking “fungus”. Solution is EARTH (i.e. “soil”) and STAR (i.e. “brilliant thing”).

10. Current fashion to stop river causing a blockage (2,3,3)

Answer: IN THE WAY (i.e. “causing a blockage”). Solution is IN (i.e. “current”) and THE WAY (i.e. “[a] fashion”). Not sure what the “to stop river” bit relates to. If you call a river a “way”, then the solution would satisfy that as well, I guess.

11. Husband, perhaps, provided in Antichrist gone mad! (11,5)

Answer: SIGNIFICANT OTHER (i.e. “husband, perhaps”). Solution is IF (i.e. “provided”, as in “you can do something provided you do something else”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “mad”) of ANTICHRIST GONE, like so: SIGN(IF)ICANTOTHER.

12. Villain picked up weapon that’s about right (5,2)

Answer: WRONG UN (i.e. “villain”). I’m not 100% sure, but I reckon the solution might be WON (i.e. “picked up”, albeit rather weakly) and GUN (i.e. “weapon”) placed “about” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) like so: W(R)ON-GUN.

15. Try out travels around islands popular with holidaymakers (8)

Answer: TOURISTY (i.e. “popular with holiday makers”). Solution is IS (a recognised abbreviation of “islands”) with an anagram (indicated by “travels”) of TRY OUT placed “around” it, like so: TOUR(IS)TY.

19. Material cost is cut (8)

Answer: LACERATE (i.e. “cut”). Solution is LACE (i.e. “material”) and RATE (i.e. “cost”).

22. Mad to split prize (8)

Answer: CRACKPOT (i.e. “mad”). Solution is CRACK (i.e. “to split”) and POT (i.e. “prize”).

23. Frighten – leaving one embarrassingly exposed? (5,3,5,3)

Answer: SCARE THE PANTS OFF (i.e. “frighten”). In the context of the solution, one might well be embarrassingly exposed having had their pants scared off – particularly if one has gone commando.

27. Putting down sheets, fifty certainly sound (8)

Answer: LAYERING (i.e. “putting down sheets”). Solution is L (Roman numeral for “fifty”), then AYE (i.e. an affirmatory “certainly”) and RING (i.e. “sound”).

28. Dress up for game (4)

Answer: BRAG (i.e. “[card] game”). Solution is GARB (i.e. “dress”) reversed (indicated by “up”, this being a down clue).

30. Nation in love with king, perhaps (4)

Answer: OMAN (i.e. “nation”). Solution is O (i.e. “love”, i.e. a zero score in tennis) followed by MAN (i.e. “king, perhaps”).

32. Ideas, however, tactless in the extreme (8)

Answer: THOUGHTS (i.e. “ideas”). Solution is THOUGH (i.e. “however”) followed by TS (i.e. “tactless in the extreme”, i.e. the first and last letters of “tactless”).

34. Capsize transparent vessel (8)

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

35. Church body doing little to contain downward acceleration, in self-contemplation (5-6)

Answer: NAVEL-GAZING (i.e. “self-contemplation”). Solution is NAVE (i.e. “church body”) followed by G (i.e. “downward acceleration”, i.e. “g”, a recognised value representing gravity in umpteen physics-based equations) “contained” by LAZING (i.e. “doing little”), like so: NAVE-L(G)AZING.

36. Tramp, prowler doffing cap, is noble (11)

Answer: MARCHIONESS (i.e. “noble”). Solution is MARCH (i.e. “tramp”) followed by LIONESS (i.e. “prowler”) without its initial letter (indicated by “doffing cap”), like so: MARCH-IONESS.

37. After party, artist has to sketch a cross (11)

Answer: LABRADOODLE (i.e. “a cross [breed of dog]”). Solution is LAB (i.e. “party”) with RA (a recognised abbreviation of “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) placed “after” it and then followed by DOODLE (i.e. “sketch”), like so: LAB-RA-DOODLE.

40. The way repairer mends a leotard with marks in it (4,5)

Answer: ROAD METAL, which are broken stones used for roads (i.e. “the way repairer”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “mends”) of A LEOTARD with M (a recognised abbreviation of “marks”, the former currency of Germany) placed “in it”, like so: ROAD(M)ETAL.

42. Ordinal with tenet that’s controversial (9)

Answer: TWENTIETH (i.e. “ordinal”). “Controversial” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WITH TENET.

43. Victory secured by leader, a terrible old Irish statesman (2,6)

Answer: Éamon DE VALERA (i.e. “old Irish statesman”. No, me neither.) Solution is V (a recognised abbreviation of “victory”) placed in an anagram (indicated by “terrible”) of LEADER A, like so: DE(V)ALERA.

44. Freezing point for bird (7)

Answer: BITTERN (i.e. “bird”). Solution is BITTER (i.e. “freezing”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “north”, a “point” on a compass).

46. Opener taking gold – that’s rich! (6)

Answer: GATEAU (i.e. “[a cake] that’s rich”). Solution is GATE (i.e. “opener”) followed by AU (chemical symbol of “gold”).

47. Guy heading for Tianjin in China (3,3)

Answer: TEA SET (i.e. “china” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is TEASE (i.e. “[to] guy”) followed by T (i.e. “heading for Tianjin”, i.e. the first letter of Tianjin).

51. Route I don’t know (4)

Answer: PASS. Solution satisfies “route” and “I don’t know”.

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Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1371

After a few relatively easy puzzles I suppose we were due another stinker, and this week’s puzzle certainly warrants the title. Once again we have a setter using the dick move of plugging half a dozen dead people into the grid to help bail themselves out of a tricky spot. Ugh. And don’t even get me started on some of the other solutions. You’ll see what I mean.

This also felt like a “greatest hits” puzzle at times, with several solutions being repeated from recent grids. I appreciate there are several setters of these puzzles behind the scenes but having also seen recent repeats in last week’s puzzle it does feel like an editor fail. I mean, the setters clearly have no means of communicating with one another – for that we would need some kind of massively interconnected network of some description. Hmm… Anyway, world keeps spinning, as they say.

A little bit of housekeeping: if you’d like to see completed (and occasionally bitchy) solutions for recent other Times Jumbo Cryptic puzzles then check out my Just For Fun page. If you’ve a hankering for reviews of decades-old horror short stories (because of course you have – you haven’t come here just to nick my answers have you? 😉 ) then check out my Reviews page. I should have a monster review for Best New Horror 3 along in the next day or two.

Anyhoo, on with the show. Here’s my completed grid, along with solutions where I have them. Enjoy!

LP

Across clues

1. Old dictator to be in one’s part-time army (7)

Answer: Fulgencio BATISTA, US-backed authoritarian ruler of Cuba in the 1950s. Solution is BAT (i.e. “to be in”, i.e. at bat) followed by IS (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”) and TA (i.e. “part-time army”, specifically the Territorial Army). Ugh. A shape of the things to come in this puzzle.

5. Regulated eg, thus – or most inaccurate (8)

Answer: ROUGHEST (i.e. “most inaccurate”). “Regulated” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EG THUS OR.

9. Bones and Sulu, only half accepted by the ship’s crew? (6)

Answer: TARSUS, which is a cluster of “bones” in your foot. Solution is SU (i.e. “Sulu, only half”, specifically the first half) being “accepted by” TARS (i.e. “ship’s crew” – a tar is another word for sailor which is popular with crossword setters), like so: TAR(SU)S.

13. Jumbo’s sound and not forced: that’s music to our ears! (7,9)

Answer: TRUMPET VOLUNTARY (i.e. “music to our ears”). Not a term I was familiar with, I’ll admit. Do a search on YouTube for “Prince of Denmark’s March” for an example of one you might have heard. Anyway, solution is TRUMPET (i.e. “Jumbo’s sound”) followed by VOLUNTARY (i.e. “not forced”).

14. Get back from park, all down? (6)

Answer: RECOUP (i.e. “get back”). Solution is REC (i.e. “park”, short for “recreation area”) followed by O UP (i.e. “all down” – if all are down then we assume zero are up, or O UP).

16. You troublemakers, partly responsible for closing bars! (5)

Answer: OUTRO (i.e. “closing bars [of a tune]”). “Partly” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: Y(OU TRO)UBLEMAKERS.

17. Land to the west excellent – north west? (7)

Answer: ESTONIA (i.e. “land”). This took some figuring, but essentially the solution is AI (i.e. “excellent” – with I representing 1 in A1) followed by NOT SE (i.e. “north west”, as in the opposite of south-east) and the whole lot reversed (indicated by “to the west”, this being an across clue), like so: ES-TON-IA.

18. National reserve network with warning light coming back on? (9)

Answer: ICELANDER (i.e. “national”). Solution is ICE (i.e. “reserve”, as in having an icy nature) then LAN (i.e. “network”, specifically a Local Area Network in computing – ask your parents, kids) and RED (i.e. “warning light”) reversed (indicated by “coming back on”), like so: ICE-LAN-DER.

19. Lots of French who drink fine English whiskey (5,1,3)

Answer: QUITE A FEW (i.e. “lots”). Solution is QUI (i.e. “French who” – the French for “who” is “qui”) followed by TEA (i.e. “drink”) then F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading lead pencils) then E (ditto “English”, except for the pencils bit, natch) then W (which is “whiskey” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: QUI-TEA-F-E-W.

21. One might ask caddie to get this put right (4,3)

Answer: IRON OUT. Solution satisfies both “one might ask caddie to get this” and “put right”.

22. Two, having change of heart, bringing about thaw? (2-3)

Answer: DE-ICE (i.e. “bringing about thaw”). Solution is DEUCE (i.e. a “two” in cards or dice) with the middle letter changed to I (i.e. “change of heart)”.

23. Insect with a soft skin, mostly (5)

Answer: APHID (i.e. “insect” – and right sods for my chilli plants they are too). Solution is A, then P (i.e. “soft”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano” in musical lingo), then HIDE (i.e. “skin”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: A-P-HID.

25. Psychiatrist, Regional Health Authority chief, hosting old Shakespearean actors (9)

Answer: RORSCHACH (i.e. “psychiatrist” – he of the inkblot test and, a mere four weeks since I last made it official, still everyone’s favourite character in Watchmen. Don’t lie.) Solution is RHA (i.e. the now defunct “Regional Health Authority”) and CH (a recognised abbreviation of “chief”) “hosting” O (ditto “old”) and RSC (i.e. “Shakespearean actors”, specifically the Royal Shakespeare Company), like so: R(O-RSC)HA-CH.

27. Say something cheeky, pinching girlfriend’s drink (3-4)

Answer: EGG FLIP, a “drink” made of ale, wine, spirits or milk, with eggs, sugar, spice etc. Sounds positively vile. Solution is EG (i.e. “say”, as in “for example”) and LIP (i.e. “something cheeky”) “pinching” GF (a recognised abbreviation of “girlfriend”), like so: EG-(GF)-LIP.

29. Passes over spare golf pants (9)

Answer: LEAPFROGS (i.e. “passes over”). “Pants” (as in rubbish) indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SPARE GOLF.

31. Be not totally penniless, reportedly, after power failure? (5-4-4)

Answer: MIGHT-HAVE-BEEN (i.e. “failure”). Solution is HAVE BEEN (i.e. “be not totally penniless, reportedly”, i.e. homophone of “have bean”) placed “after” MIGHT (i.e. “power”).

34. Centre of stilton to keep getting softer, cut with harsh sound (6,7)

Answer: MELTON MOWBRAY (i.e. “centre of stilton” – stilton is said to have originated near there). Solution is MELTON (i.e. “keep getting softer” as in “melting”. I could be wrong here as I would have expected a homophone indicator of some description) followed by MOW (i.e. “cut”) and BRAY (i.e. “harsh sound”).

35. Animated character with old coin after cake (9)

Answer: SPONGEBOB SquarePants (i.e. “animated character”). Solution is BOB (i.e. “old coin” as in a slang term for a shilling) placed “after” SPONGE (i.e. “cake”), like so: SPONGE-BOB.

37. Failed to follow suit, minister agreed (7)

Answer: REVOKED (i.e. “failed to follow suit [in a game of cards]”). Solution is REV (i.e. “minister”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “reverend”) followed by OKED (i.e. “agreed”).

39. Picked up something to go with roll, a square cheese (9)

Answer: ROQUEFORT (i.e. “cheese”). Solution is ROQUE (i.e. “picked up something to go with roll”, i.e. a homophone of “rock” as in “rock and roll”) followed by FORT (i.e. “a square” – a weak one, this, unless I’m missing something blindingly obvious.)

42. Daughter, standing, gets knocked back (5)

Answer: DRANK (i.e. “knocked back”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by RANK (i.e. “standing”).

43. City’s matches: one’s been put back (5)

Answer: PARIS (i.e. “city”). Solution is PAIRS (i.e. “matches”) with the I (Roman numeral “one”) “put back” a notch.

45. Plant that’s simple and exotic we adore (7)

Answer: OARWEED, a type of seaweed (i.e. “[a] plant that’s simple”). “Exotic” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WE ADORE.

47. Eccentric went for early bath? (4-5)

Answer: LEFT-FIELD. Solution satisfies both “eccentric” and “went for early bath”.

49. Show where the food’s kept: about time! (9)

Answer: PAGEANTRY (i.e. “show”). Solution is PANTRY (i.e. “where the food’s kept”) placed “about” AGE (i.e. “time”), like so: P(AGE)ANTRY.

50. Recalled hotel late in the day closing early in ME city once (7)

Answer: NINEVEH, which was an ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia (i.e. “ME city once” – ME being a recognised abbreviation of Middle East). Solution is H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by EVENING (i.e. “late in the day”) with the last letter removed (i.e. “closing early”) and the whole lot reversed (indicated by “recalled”), like so: NINEVE-H.

52. French philosopher’s pained conclusion to testimonial (5)

Answer: Georges SOREL (i.e. “French philosopher” – more dead people!). Solution is SORE (i.e. “pained”) followed by L (i.e. “conclusion to testimonial”, i.e. the last letter of “testimonial”).

54. Complaint viewer has first off is recorded? Correct! (6)

Answer: IRITIS, which is an inflammation of the iris (i.e. “complaint viewer has”). I’d do a Google Image search but… no. Solution is IR (i.e. “first off is recorded”, i.e. the first letters of “is” and “recorded”) followed by IT IS (i.e. “correct”).

55. Fair number to be found in magazine? (6,10)

Answer: BLONDE BOMBSHELLS. One of those slightly airy-fairy solutions which riffs on how fair-haired people are referred to as BLONDE, and how you could store a “number” of BOMBSHELLS in a “magazine”; also, how you may find blonde bombshells in certain magazines. I’m told.

56. The latest, hard, fashionable, Times puzzle setter (6)

Answer: SPHINX, a monster in Greek mythology who proposed riddles to travellers and strangled whoever was unable to solve them. Which sounds a bit mean. Anyway: “puzzle setter”. Solution is SP (i.e. “the latest”, i.e. an abbreviation of “Stop Press” used in newspaper offices, albeit one that doesn’t feature in my Chambers – your dictionary may differ) followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils) then IN (i.e. “fashionable”) and X (i.e. “Times”, as in the multiplication symbol), like so: SP-H-IN-X.

57. They make better notes – doesn’t respond to them? (8)

Answer: REMEDIES (i.e. “they make [one] better”). Solution is RE and ME (i.e. “notes” in the do-re-me scale – these are always a bit of a ball-ache as there are so many variant spellings of each one) followed by DIES (i.e. “doesn’t respond to them” – within the context of the solution, if one doesn’t respond to a remedy they could die).

58. Kindly leave the car running after parking, finally (7)

Answer: GERTCHA, a slang contraction of “get out of it you” made famous by Chas and Dave (again, ask your parents, kids). In other words, “kindly leave”. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “running”) of THE CAR placed “after” G (i.e. “parking, finally”, i.e. the last letter of the word “parking”), like so: G-ERTCHA.

Down clues

1. One’s often up in the air, however not turning to shrink (6,5)

Answer: BUTTON QUAIL (i.e. “one’s often up in the air”). Done a Google Image search – aaaaaaaaahhh, cute. Solution is BUT (i.e. “however”) followed by NOT reversed (indicated by “turning”) and then QUAIL (i.e. “to shrink”).

2. Barb’s letter from Kefalonia – not on vacation (5)

Answer: TAUNT (i.e. “barb”). Solution is TAU (i.e. “letter from Kefalonia” – Kefalonia being one of around four billion Greek islands, and tau being the nineteenth letter of the Greek alphabet) followed by NT (i.e. “not on vacation”, i.e. the word “not” with the middle letter removed).

3. Judge has way of sitting after drink (7)

Answer: SUPPOSE (i.e. “[to] judge”).  Solution is POSE (i.e. “way of sitting”) placed “after” SUP (i.e. “drink”), like so: SUP-POSE. For too long I had this down as “Rumpole” until I remembered he was a barrister, not a judge. Don’t worry pole-sitters, I’m sure you’ll get a nod in a future puzzle.

4. Wartime lines repeated do haunt memory of the wounded (6,3,6,5)

Answer: ANTHEM FOR DOOMED YOUTH, a poem by Wilfred Owen (i.e. “wartime lines”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wounded”) of DO and DO (i.e. “repeated do”) and HAUNT MEMORY OF THE.

5. Oarsman to do exercises inside part of church (4-5)

Answer: ROOD-TOWER (i.e. “part of church”, specifically the steeple and tower over the crossing of a church, so now you know). Solution is ROWER (i.e. “oarsman”) with an anagram (indicated by “exercises”) of TO DO placed “inside”, like so: RO(ODTO)WER.

6. What future holds: new and drastic change (1-4)

Answer: U-TURN (i.e. “drastic change”). Solution is the middle letters of FUTURE (i.e. “what future holds”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: UTUR-N.

7. A certain posturing no longer holds a Spanish artist up (5,4)

Answer: HATHA YOGA (i.e. “a certain posturing”). Solution is HATH (i.e. “no longer holds”, i.e. an archaic variation of the word “has”) followed by A GOYA (i.e. “a Spanish artist”) reversed (indicated by “up”, this being a down clue), like so: HATH-AYOG-A.

8. Short withered crack masking very good condition of skin (7)

Answer: SERPIGO, which is a spreading skin disease, particularly ringworm, i.e. “condition of skin”. I have literally no idea what the setter is on here, even after having slept on it, so watch out.
[EDIT: A big thank you to Clive in the comments for helping to clear this one up. The solution is SERE (an alternative form of the word “sear”, which is itself a poetic word for dry and “withered”) with its final letter removed (indicated by “short”) and GO (i.e. “[a] crack [at something]”) “masking” PI (i.e. “very good”, an alternative meaning of “pi” is a pious person), like so: SER-(PI)-GO. This was comfortably one of the toughest clues I’ve seen in these puzzles. Still, at least I now know what to call that big rash that covers 75% of my body.]
[FURTHER EDIT: 76% now.]

10. Brother murdered by a doctor turned theologian in France (7)

Answer: Peter ABELARD (i.e. a “theologian in France” from around 900 years ago whose love affair with Héloïse d’Argenteuil became legendary, it says here. Uh-huh, if you say so.) Solution is ABEL (i.e. “brother murdered [by Cain]”) then A then DR (a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”) reversed (indicated by “turned”), like so: ABEL-A-RD.

11. Hummingbird that’s flown high we hear and notice (9)

Answer: SWORDBILL (i.e. a kind of “hummingbird” with a looooooong beak). Solution is SWORD (i.e. “that’s flown high we hear”, i.e. a homophone of “soared”) followed by BILL (i.e. “notice”).

12. A new purpose for developing devastating missile perhaps (11)

Answer: SUPERWEAPON (i.e. “devastating missile perhaps”). “Developing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A NEW PURPOSE.

15. Tell Tom off as a result? (3,3,3,3,2,3,3)

Answer: LET THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG. Solution satisfies both “tell” and, within the context of the clue, “Tom off as a result”. Another solution repeated from a recent puzzle, this time from the start of the year.

20. Sort of parent, the Spanish patriarch (7)

Answer: ISHMAEL (i.e. “patriarch”). Solution is ISH (i.e. “sort of”) followed by MA (i.e. “parent”) and EL (i.e. “the Spanish”, the Spanish for “the” being “el”). Another recent solution, appearing only a couple of weeks ago.

21. New entrant’s pay ultimately fair (7)

Answer: INCOMER (i.e. “new entrant”). Solution is INCOME (i.e. “pay”) followed by R (i.e. “ultimately fair”, i.e. the last letter of the word “fair”).

24. Take orders from wizard perched on stone (7)

Answer: DEFROCK (i.e. “take orders [away] from [a priest]”). Solution is DEF (i.e. excellent or “wizard”) followed by or “perched on” ROCK (i.e. “stone”).

26. Can’t stand up in corset a hindrance (5)

Answer: HATES (i.e. “can’t stand [something]”). “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, while “up” indicates the solution is reversed, this being a down clue, like so: COR(SET A H)INDRANCE.

28. Old actor appreciated on tours one reflected (7)

Answer: Sir John GIELGUD, luvvie, i.e. “old actor”. Another where the setter has gone off on their own. I get that DUG is “appreciated”, that I is “one” and “reflected” indicates some or all of the elements are reversed, but I can’t visualise the rest so I’m moving on with my life.
[EDIT: Thanks to Grindrod in the comments for the speedy clarification: the solution is G(I)EL-GUD, being DUG then LEG (i.e. “on” in cricket) wrapped around or “touring” I and then the whole lot reversed.]

30. Broadcaster of the truth used to be cut short (5)

Answer: SOWER (i.e. “broadcaster”). Solution is SO (i.e. “of the truth”) followed by WERE (i.e. “used to be”) with the last letter removed (i.e. “cut short”), like so: SO-WER.

32. R-refuse to admit Grace possibly upset county (7)

Answer: GWYNEDD (i.e. “county”). Solution is D-DENY (i.e. “r-refuse”) followed by WG (i.e. “Grace possibly”, specifically the cricketer WG Grace), and then the whole lot reversed (indicated by “upset”) like so: GW-YNED-D.

33. In which host briefly holds British artist? (7)

Answer: EMBRACE. Solution is EMCE (i.e. “host”, i.e. a Master of Ceremonies) “holding” B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) and RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) like so: EM(B-RA)CE. Within the context of the clue, one may be said to hold someone in an embrace.
[EDIT: On a re-read I’ve realised I missed a bit. “Host briefly” should be EMCEE with the final E removed.]

34. Nursemaid’s extraordinary parsimony, saving pennies (4,7)

Answer: MARY POPPINS (i.e. a fictional “nursemaid”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “extraordinary”) of PARSIMONY wrapped around or “saving” P and P (recognised abbreviations of a couple of “pennies”), like so: MARYPO(P-P)INS.

36. Dessert poor, sadly, containing essence of weakened spirit (5,6)

Answer: BAKED ALASKA (i.e. “dessert”). Solution is BAD (i.e. “poor”) and ALAS (i.e. “sadly”) “containing” KE (i.e. “essence of weakened”, i.e. the middle two letters of the word “weaKEned”) and then followed by KA (i.e. “spirit”), like so: BA(KE)D-ALAS-KA. Not a classic.

38. Through journey is hard, crossing river like the Amazon? (9)

Answer: VIRAGOISH (i.e. “like the amazon” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is VIA (i.e. “through”) then GO (i.e. “[to] journey”), IS and H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard”), all wrapped around or “crossing” R (ditto “river”), like so: VI(R)A-GO-IS-H. This was the last clue I solved and what a fart-on it was.

40. Strange, tailless goat, mostly seen over Eastern China (5,4)

Answer: QUEEN ANNE (i.e. “china” – again, ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is QUEER (i.e. “strange”) with the last letter removed (i.e. “tailless”) and followed by NANNY (i.e. “goat”) also trimmed of it’s last letter (indicated by “mostly”) and finished with E (a recognised abbreviation of “Eastern”), like so: QUEE-NANN-E.

41. Plain clothes police at centre totally in the dark? (9)

Answer: OBLIVIOUS (i.e. “totally in the dark”). Solution is OBVIOUS (i.e. “clear”) which “clothes” LI (i.e. “police at centre”, i.e. the middle two letters of “poLIce”), like so: OB(LI)VIOUS.

44. Stop and figure it out? Not at first (7)

Answer: STATION (i.e. “[train or bus] stop”). Solution is STAT (i.e. “figure”) followed by I O and N (i.e. “it out not at first”, i.e. the first letters of “it”, “out” and “not”) like so: STAT-I-O-N.

46. What would be for Queen Elizabeth I? (5,2)

Answer: ROYAL WE. Within the context of the clue, the Queen would use the Royal We rather than referring to herself as “I”.

48. Champion mater and pater, with Independent Schools Council for a time! (7)

Answer: Bobby FISCHER, former US chess grandmaster (i.e. “champion mater”). Solution is FATHER (i.e. “pater”) with the A and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) replaced by ISC (i.e. “Independent Schools Council”).

51. Patches of red and green, last three to turn up (5)

Answer: NAEVI. A naevus is a birthmark, and its plural is “naevi”, i.e. “patches of red”. Solution is NAÏVE (i.e. “green”) with the last three letters reversed (i.e. “last three to turn up”, this being a down clue).

53. Survivor’s ordeal: his CD Ignoring the Odds (5)

Answer: RELIC (i.e. “survivor”). “Ignoring the odds” indicates the solution is derived by removing the odd letters of ORDEAL HIS CD.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1370

I had an easier time with today’s puzzle, hence the rather early post. A couple of good clues and equally good solutions made it a pleasant puzzle to complete. You can find my completed grid below, along with explanations of my solutions where I have them.

If you have an oldish puzzle knocking about, then I have solutions for the previous twenty or so grids on my Just For Fun page.

My review of Best New Horror 3 is ongoing. It’s proving to be just as much of a monster as my review of book 2. You can jump into them on my Reviews page, if horror fiction is your thing.

And now, food. TTFN!

LP

Across clues

1. Mutton stew from heated container served in churches (10)

Answer: HOTCHPOTCH (i.e. “mutton stew”). Solution is HOT (i.e. “heated”) followed by POT (i.e. “container”) “served in” CH and CH (recognised abbreviations of “church”), like so: HOT-CH-(POT)-CH.

6. Failing in tense Irish leader meeting cricket side (12)

Answer: IMPERFECTION (i.e. “[a] failing”). Solution is IMPERFECT (i.e. “[a grammatical] tense” – unless you are an ardent grammarian you can forgive me for not giving two shits about providing an explanation) followed by I (i.e. “Irish leader”, i.e. the first letter of “Irish”) and ON (i.e. “cricket side” – also known as “leg side”).

14. Muscle that’s required on farm vehicle (9)

Answer: RETRACTOR (i.e. a “muscle” responsible for drawing in parts of the body). Solution is RE (i.e. “that’s required” I guess, but I can’t quite visualise how) followed by TRACTOR (i.e. “farm vehicle”).

15. Very cold, as eels may be, roughly speaking (5)

Answer: GELID. Solution satisfies “very cold” and “as eels may be, roughly speaking” i.e. a rough homophone of “jellied”.

16. Vanity of one replacing conductor finally in Prom? (7)

Answer: CONCEIT (i.e. “vanity”). Solution is CONCERT (i.e. “Prom”) with the R (i.e. “conductor finally”, i.e. the last letter of “conductor”) “replaced” by I (Roman numeral “one”).

17. Situation regarding barrister’s least successful action? (5,4,8)

Answer: WORST CASE SCENARIO. Solution satisfies both “situation” and “barrister’s least successful action”. One that made me smile when I clocked it.

18. Prepared to make money (5)

Answer: READY. Solution satisfies both “prepared” and “money” as in readies.

19. Catastrophic game in old America (7)

Answer: RUINOUS (i.e. “catastrophic”). Solution is RU (i.e. “game”, specifically Rugby Union) followed by IN then O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) then US (i.e. “America”).

21. Incisive magazine once taken by youth leader (6)

Answer: PUNCHY (i.e. “incisive”). Solution is PUNCH (i.e. “magazine”) followed “by” Y (i.e. “youth leader”, i.e. the first letter of “youth”).

22. Nit-picker in Paris who the French resistance provided with books (8)

Answer: QUIBBLER (i.e. “nit-picker”). Solution is QUI (i.e. “in Paris who” – the French for “who” being “qui”), LE (i.e. “the French”, ditto “the” being “le”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of electrical “resistance”) “provided with” B and B (both ditto “books”), like so: QUI-(B-B)-LE-R.

24. Madcap result of strike at end of match? (7)

Answer: HOTHEAD (i.e. “madcap”). Solution satisfies both “madcap” and “result of strike at end of match”.

26. Time to abandon the human condition for ethical conduct (8)

Answer: MORALITY (i.e. “ethical conduct”). Solution is MORTALITY (i.e. “human condition”) with the first T removed (being a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

27. French island you ultimately aren’t going to (6)

Answer: USHANT (i.e. a “French island” with a population of 862. Hey, perhaps my postcode will be a solution in next week’s puzzle.) Solution is U (i.e. “you ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “you”) followed by SHANT, a contraction of “shall not” (i.e. “aren’t going to”). One I thankfully got fairly quickly through the wordplay and a quick Google.

30. Itinerant agent returning, one sad to abandon husband (11)

Answer: PERIPATETIC (i.e. walking about, or “itinerant”). Solution is REP (a recognised abbreviation of “representative”, i.e. “agent”) reversed (indicated by “returning”) and then followed by I (Roman numeral “one”) and PATHETIC (i.e. “sad”) with the H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) removed, like so: PER-I-PATETIC.

32. Study of wrongdoing, or logic, in my broadcast (11)

Answer: CRIMINOLOGY (i.e. “study of wrongdoing”). “Broadcast” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OR LOGIC IN MY.

33. Widespread longing to follow Republican in charge (3-8)

Answer: FAR-REACHING (i.e. “widespread”). Solution is ACHING (i.e. “longing [for]”) “following” FARE (i.e. a fee or “charge”) wrapped around R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”), like so: FAR(R)E-ACHING.

35. Edged forward with courage, like some dolphins (6-5)

Answer: BOTTLE-NOSED. Solution satisfies both “edged forward” – i.e. nosed [ahead] – “with courage” – i.e. bottle, and “like some dolphins”.

37. Continue to have part-time soldiers in control (6)

Answer: RETAIN – if a someone retains their championship then they “continue” to be the best. Solution is TA (i.e. “part-time soldiers”, specifically the Territorial Army) placed in REIN (i.e. “control”), like so: RE(TA)IN.

38. In Irish county, loon regularly belted farm animal (8)

Answer: GALLOWAY, a breed of large black hornless cattle (i.e. “farm animal”). Solution is GALWAY (i.e. “Irish county”) wrapped around or “belting” LO (i.e. “loon regularly”, i.e. every other letter of the word LOON), like so: GAL(LO)WAY.

39. Diplomacy originally improving Civil Service procedures (7)

Answer: TACTICS (i.e. “procedures”). Solution is TACT (i.e. “diplomacy”) followed by I (i.e. “originally improving”, i.e. the first letter of “improving”) and CS (short for “Civil Service”).

42. Ill-mannered urchin drunk in Dover from time to time (8)

Answer: IMPOLITE (i.e. “ill-mannered”). Solution is IMP (i.e. “urchin”) followed by LIT (i.e. “drunk”) placed “in” OE (i.e. “Dover from time to time”, i.e. regular letters of DOVER), like so: IMP-O(LIT)E.

44. Growth more than once of old college irrational (6)

Answer: POLYPI (i.e. “growth more than once” – a polypus is a tumour that grows on the mucous membrane (you sometimes hear of singers having to have them removed), and the plural of polypus is polypi). Solution is POLY (i.e. “old college”, i.e. a recognised short form of “polytechnic”) followed by PI (an “irrational” number, being a number that cannot be expressed as a fraction with integer numerator and denominator). A good clue this!

46. Blushing politician touring Borders? (7)

Answer: CRIMSON (i.e. “blushing”). Solution is CON (i.e. “politician”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a member of the Conservative Party) “touring” RIMS (i.e. “borders”), like so: C(RIMS)ON.

48. Stabbing sword held by toughest occupant (5)

Answer: ESTOC (i.e. a short “stabbing sword”. Lovely.) “Held by” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: TOUGH(EST OC)CUPANT. Another one I got mercifully quickly through the wordplay and a quick dip into my Chambers.

49. Settle extortionate charge, using the beak as go-between? (3,7,3,4)

Answer: PAY THROUGH THE NOSE. Solution satisfies both “settle extortionate charge” and, within the context of the solution, “using the beak as go-between”. Another that made me smile when I got it.

51. Immortal Oriental bird beside a lake (7)

Answer: ETERNAL (i.e. “immortal”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “Eastern”, i.e. “Oriental”) followed by TERN (i.e. “bird”) then A and then L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”).

52. Half a dozen mostly supreme sensations (5)

Answer: VIBES (i.e. “sensations”). Solution is VI (i.e. “half a dozen” in Roman numerals) followed by BES (i.e. “mostly supreme”, i.e. the word “best” with the last letter removed).

53. Remove bird dipping into cream (9)

Answer: ELIMINATE (i.e. “remove”). Solution is MINA (i.e. “bird”, a variant spelling of mynah) “dipping into” ELITE (i.e. “cream [of the crop]”), like so: ELI(MINA)TE.

54. Nab treasure finally seen drifting beneath the waves (12)

Answer: SUBTERRANEAN (I’d always considered this to mean “beneath the earth” – a typo perhaps?) Solution is an anagram (indicated by “drifting”) of NAB TREASURE followed by N (i.e. “finally seen”, i.e. the last letter of “seen”).

55. Harsh line adopted by a hospital department (10)

Answer: ASTRINGENT (i.e. “harsh”). Solution is STRING (i.e. “line”) “adopted by” A and ENT (i.e. “hospital department”, specifically Ear Nose and Throat), like so: A-(STRING)-ENT.

Down clues

1. Idolise offender initially imprisoned by female judge? (4-7)

Answer: HERO-WORSHIP (i.e. “idolise”). Solution is O (i.e. “offender initially”, i.e. the first letter of “offender”) “imprisoned by” HER WORSHIP (i.e. “female judge”), like so: HER(O)WORSHIP.

2. Expression of impatience over heartless college teacher (5)

Answer: TUTOR (i.e. “teacher”). Solution is TUT (i.e. “expression of impatience”) placed “over” (this being a down clue) OR (i.e. “heartless college”, i.e. the word “order” with the middle letters removed. There might be an actual college beginning with O and ending in R but I’m not aware of one).

3. Grieving Scottish football team – or English? (9)

Answer: HEARTSORE (i.e. “grieving”). Solution is HEARTS (i.e. “Scottish football team”, specifically Heart of Midlothian) followed by OR and then E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”).

4. Fugitives? The opposite to the spouse’s family, we hope! (7)

Answer: OUTLAWS (i.e. “fugitives”). Solution riffs on this being “the opposite” of in-laws (i.e. “the spouse’s family”).

5. Warning about right to increase distribution of booty (5-2)

Answer: CARVE-UP (i.e. “distribution of booty”). Solution is CAVE (an alternative meaning of this is to beware, i.e. “warning”) placed “about” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and followed by UP (i.e. “increase”), like so: CA(R)VE-UP.

7. Habitually dejected, connecting fruit with abdominal pain, say? (11)

Answer: MELANCHOLIC (i.e. “habitually dejected”). “Say” indicates the solution is made up of homophones of “melon” (i.e. “fruit”) and “colic” (i.e. “abdominal pain”).

8. Last to invest, holding fourth of shares (6)

Answer: ENDURE (i.e. “[to] last”). Solution is ENDUE (i.e. “to invest”) “holding” R (i.e. “fourth of shares”, i.e. the fourth letter of “shares”), like so: ENDU(R)E.

9. Dogsbody’s feat in setting up of corporation (8)

Answer: FACTOTUM (i.e. “dogsbody”). Solution is ACT (i.e. “feat”) placed “in” OF reversed (indicated by “setting up”, this being a down clue) and then followed by TUM (an alternative meaning of “corporation” is a belly, especially a pot-belly – a new one on me, but I rather like it), like so: F(ACT)O-TUM.

10. Instrument graduate introduced to old Nicaraguan guerrillas, before long (13)

Answer: CONTRABASSOON (i.e. “instrument”). Solution is BA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Bachelor of Arts) “introduced to” CONTRAS (i.e. “old Nicaraguan guerrillas”) and followed by SOON (i.e. “before long”), like so: CONTRA(BA)S-SOON.

11. Face slipping in hostile part of glacier (7)

Answer: ICEFALL (i.e. “part of glacier”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “slipping”) of FACE placed “in” ILL (i.e. “hostile”), like so: I(CEFA)LL.

12. Practical details in Kitty’s rhymes? (5-6)

Answer: NITTY-GRITTY (i.e. “practical details”). Solution riffs on how the words rhyme with Kitty. I wonder if she was a fan of 80s pop sensations, Scritti Politti.

13. Self-absorbed chap possessing energy and money (10)

Answer: EGOCENTRIC (i.e. “self-absorbed”). Solution is ERIC (i.e. “chap”) “possessing” GO (i.e. “energy”) and CENT (i.e. “money”), like so: E(GO-CENT)RIC.

20. Bury hamster, say, across river – and explain (9)

Answer: INTERPRET (i.e. “explain”). Solution is INTER (i.e. “bury”) followed by PET (i.e. “hamster, say”) placed “across” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: INTER-P(R)ET.

23. Popularly a TV series, to be completely accurate (8)

Answer: STRICTLY. Solution satisfies “popularly a TV series” i.e. BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, which is informally known as “Strictly”, and “to be completely accurate”, as in strictly speaking.

25. Do what Morse did, failing to get time for female (6)

Answer: DETECT (i.e. “do what [Inspector] Morse did”). Solution is DEFECT (i.e. “failing”) with the F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) replaced by T (ditto “time”).

26. New laic term describing some psalm translations (8)

Answer: METRICAL, which describes a work that consists of verses (i.e. “describing some psalm translations”). “New” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LAIC TERM.

28. Characteristic of auditorium requiring sound judgement (9)

Answer: ACOUSTICS. Solution satisfies “characteristic of auditorium” and “sound judgement”.

29. Little creature retired doctor allowed to go around island (6)

Answer: PIGLET (i.e. “little creature”). Solution is GP (i.e. “doctor”, specifically a General Practitioner) reversed (indicated by “retired”) and “going around” I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”), then followed by LET (i.e. “allowed”), like so: P(I)G-LET.

31. Relaxation of rules applying to linesmen? (6,7)

Answer: POETIC LICENCE. Solution satisfies the clue, with “linesmen” being a cryptic reference to poets.

33. Pardon woman brought up in smithy north of loch (11)

Answer: FORGIVENESS (i.e. “pardon”). Solution is VI (i.e. “woman”, short for Vivienne, I guess) reversed (indicated by “brought up”, this being a down clue) and placed in FORGE (i.e. “smithy”), which is then placed ahead of (i.e. “north of”, again this being a down clue) NESS (i.e. “loch”), like so: FORG(IV)E-NESS.

34. Nice people, even, may suffer such national prejudice (11)

Answer: GALLOPHOBIA, which is a dislike of the French (i.e. “national prejudice”). Solution riffs on how people of Nice, a city on the French Riviera, may also suffer this.

35. Doctor who used bay’s place of ill repute (10)

Answer: BAWDYHOUSE (i.e. “place of ill repute”). “Doctor” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WHO USED BAY. The possessive ‘s is ignored.

36. Dig up French art treasures initially displaying impartiality (11)

Answer: DISINTEREST (i.e. “displaying impartiality”). Solution is DISINTER (i.e. “dig up”) followed by ES (i.e. “French art” – in this case “art” is ye olde for “is”, and the French for “is” is “es”) and T (i.e. “treasures initially”, i.e. the first letter of “treasures”).

40. Standard review by key writer ultimately upset no one (9)

Answer: CRITERION (i.e. “[a] standard”). Solution is CRIT (a recognised informal abbreviation of “criticism”, i.e. “review”) followed “by” E (i.e. “[musical] key”) then R (i.e. “writer ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “writer”) then the reversal (indicated by “upset”) of NO and I (i.e. Roman numeral “one”), like so: CRIT-E-R-I-ON.

41. Dotty drawer’s son, one who takes alcohol regularly (8)

Answer: STIPPLER (i.e. “dotty drawer”, or a pointillist if you’d rather. #ShowingOff). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by TIPPLER (i.e. “one who takes alcohol regularly”).

43. Paperback covering alternative source of flavouring, perhaps (7)

Answer: POTHERB (i.e. “source of flavouring, perhaps”). Solution is PB (a recognised abbreviation of “paperback”) “covering” OTHER (i.e. “alternative”), like so: P(OTHER)B.

45. French painter’s entry (7)

Answer: INGRESS (i.e. “entry”). Solution is Jean-Auguste-Dominique INGRES (i.e. “French painter”, and very good he was too. Check him out.) when considering the ‘s as possessive, i.e. INGRES’S.

46. Start of terrible row after accountant becomes more spiteful (7)

Answer: CATTIER (i.e. “more spiteful”). Solution is T (i.e. “start of terrible”, i.e. the first letter of “terrible”) and TIER (i.e. “row”) placed “after” CA (a recognised abbreviation for a Chartered “Accountant”), like so: CA-T-TIER.

47. Living in woods, son left vehicle outside rear of bothy (6)

Answer: SYLVAN (i.e. “living in woods”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son” again), L (ditto “left”) and VAN (i.e. “vehicle”), placed “outside” of Y (i.e. “rear of bothy”, i.e. the last letter of “bothy”) like so: S-(Y)-L-VAN. I didn’t get this from the old Sylvanian Families range of toys. No, I was much too old for that kind of thing. And a bloke. (Looks to camera.)

50. Decorated knight on board leaving to make a speech (5)

Answer: ORATE (i.e. “to make a speech”). Solution is ORNATE (i.e. “decorated”) with the N (i.e. “knight on board”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) removed.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1369

Here’s my completed grid for this week’s Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword. You’ll find explanations of my solutions below where I have them. Despite a handful of weird and wonderful words, this one didn’t take too long for me to complete. I guess I hit lucky on most of the awkward ones.

Right then, on with my review of Best New Horror 3. (Checks imaginary watch.) Or bed. Yes, that’s probably more sensible.

LP

Across clues

1. Entirely at home with Dorothy’s best friend (2,4)

Answer: IN TOTO, which is Latin for “entirely”. Solution is IN (i.e. “at home”) followed by TOTO (i.e. “Dorothy’s best friend” from L Frank Baum’s The Wizard Of Oz).

5. Fancy trousers, back to front and extremely ticklish (7)

Answer: STREWTH, an Aussie version of “fancy [that]”. Solution is TREWS (i.e. a slang term for “trousers”) with the final letter placed first (i.e. “back to front”) and followed by TH (i.e. “extremely ticklish”, i.e. the first and last letters – or extremes – of the word “ticklish”), like so: STREW-TH.

9. Literary marquis (not duke) embracing top adventure (8)

Answer: ESCAPADE (i.e. “adventure”). Solution is DE SADE (i.e. “literary marquis” and famed grubby bugger) with the first D removed (i.e. “not duke” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “duke”) and then “embracing” CAP (i.e. “top”), like so: ES(CAP)ADE.

13. Mathematical statements confusing fifteen old antiquaries (12,9)

Answer: DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS (i.e. “mathematical statements”). “Confusing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FIFTEEN OLD ANTIQUARIES. I rather liked the elegance of differential equations back in my A-level days, but adaptive memory has since seen much of the knowledge overwritten by episodes of Rick and Morty. I can live with that.

14. Shout about rough Australian pots (8)

Answer: CROCKERY (i.e. “pots”). Solution is CRY (i.e. “shout”) placed “about” OCKER (i.e. “rough Australian”), like so: CR(OCKER)Y.

15. Face of incredulity quiet chap, reportedly Abraham’s son (7)

Answer: ISHMAEL (i.e. “Abraham’s son” – there were enough of them, the big stud). Solution is I (i.e. “face of incredulity”, i.e. the first letter of the word “incredulity”) followed by SH (i.e. “quiet”) and MAEL (i.e. “chap, reportedly” – the setter has cheated here in my less-than-humble opinion, as MAEL is not a word (according to my Chambers, at least), which rather disqualifies it as a homophone of “male”. Meanwhile the world keeps spinning.)

16. Dull second mate with primitive instincts (6)

Answer: STUPID (i.e. “dull”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “stupid” [EDIT: or of “second”, even. Thanks to Winston in the comments for the correction.]) followed by TUP (i.e. “[to] mate [sheep]”) and ID, the part of one’s personality said to be responsible for “primitive instincts”.

17. Fellow Estonian perhaps exhaled audibly in shade (6,4)

Answer: COBALT BLUE (i.e. a colour or “shade”). Solution is CO-BALT (i.e. “fellow Estonian perhaps”, “Balt” being a word describing someone from the Baltic provinces) followed by BLUE (i.e. “exhaled audibly”, i.e. a homophone of “blew”).

20. Port in India surrounded by jade, iron ore, bananas (3,2,7)

Answer: RIO DE JANEIRO (i.e. “port”). Solution is I (i.e. “India” in the phonetic alphabet) placed in an anagram (indicated by “bananas”) of JADE IRON ORE, like so: R(I)ODEJANEIRO.

23. Man perhaps lives vacuous life (4)

Answer: ISLE (i.e. “Man perhaps” as in the Isle of Man). Solution is IS (i.e. “lives”) followed by LE (i.e. “vacuous life”, i.e. the word “life” emptied of its middle letters).

24. Use blades, decapitating delightful fish (3,5)

Answer: ICE SKATE (i.e. “use blades”). Solution is NICE (i.e. “delightful”) with the first letter removed (i.e. “decapitated”) and followed by SKATE (i.e. “fish”).

26. Draw on book jacket of “Candide” for entertainment (3,5)

Answer: TAP DANCE (i.e. “entertainment”). Solution is TAP (i.e. “draw on”) followed by DAN (i.e. “book”, specifically a recognised abbreviation for the Book of Daniel in the Bible) and CE (i.e. “jacket of ‘Candide’, i.e. the first and last letters of “Candide”).

29. Pension off screwed up Teresa, a nun (12)

Answer: SUPERANNUATE (i.e. “pension off”). “Screwed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UP TERESA A NUN.

30. Cut tax allowance after European liberality (10)

Answer: TOLERATION (i.e. “liberality”). Solution is TOLL (i.e. “tax”) with the final letter removed (i.e. “cut”) then followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and RATION (i.e. “allowance”), like so: TOL-E-RATION.

32. Lover ditches the setter behind the main sewer (10)

Answer: SEAMSTRESS (i.e. “sewer”). Solution is MISTRESS (i.e. “lover”) with the I removed (i.e. “ditches the setter”, think about it from the point of the view of the setter) and placed “behind” SEA (one of several meanings of “main”), like so: SEA-MSTRESS.

34. Describe carer ethic as amazing (12)

Answer: CHARACTERISE (i.e. “describe”). “Amazing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CARER ETHIC AS.

36. Toddler wrapped in flag by ace Bulgarian copper (8)

Answer: STOTINKA, which is one hundredth of a Bulgarian lev (i.e. “Bulgarian copper”). Solution is TOT (i.e. “toddler”) “wrapped in” SINK (i.e. “flag”) and followed by A (i.e. an “ace” in playing cards), like so: S(TOT)INK-A. My Chambers came to the rescue here rather than any deep knowledge of the minor denominations of other countries’ currencies. I suspected this would start with STOT, and thankfully there it was.

38. Pub regulars in Lucerne make insinuation (8)

Answer: INNUENDO (i.e. “insinuation”). Solution is INN (i.e. “pub”) followed by the “regular” letters of LUCERNE and then DO (i.e. “[to] make”), like so: INN-UEN-DO. Also my favourite Queen track, because you needed to know that.

39. Ghastly Hanoverian king, first of many (4)

Answer: GRIM (i.e. “ghastly”). Solution is GRI (i.e. “Hanoverian king”, specifically Georgius Rex Imperator – or in English – George, King and Emperor) followed by M (i.e. “first of many”, i.e. the first letter of the word “many”).

41. Polish-Irish writer accepting brother as impartial mediator (6,6)

Answer: HONEST BROKER (i.e. “impartial mediator”). Solution is HONE (i.e. “[to] polish”) followed by Bram STOKER (i.e. “Irish writer”) “accepting” BR (a recognised abbreviation of the title “Brother”) like so: HONE-ST(BR)OKER. This was on the tip of my tongue for ages. I had “broker” but couldn’t for the life of me think what the rest of the solution could be. Eventually I was saved by the wordplay. A good one, this.

43. Awful acts in urban areas after matron sheds clothing (10)

Answer: ATROCITIES (i.e. “awful acts”). Solution is CITIES (i.e. “urban areas”) placed “after” ATRO (i.e. “matron sheds clothing”, i.e. the word “matron” with the first and last letters removed).

44. Oppressive temperature in cupboard (6)

Answer: CLOSET (i.e. “cupboard”). Solution is CLOSE (i.e. “oppressive”, as in humid weather) followed by T (a recognised abbreviation of “temperature”).

46. Spoke highly of lift in Palladium (7)

Answer: PRAISED (i.e. “spoke highly of”). Solution is RAISE (i.e. “lift”) placed “in” PD (chemical symbol of “palladium”), like so: P(RAISE)D.

48. Middle part that fits into socket (8)

Answer: EYEPIECE. Solution satisfies both “middle” – i.e. eye [of a storm] – “part” – i.e. piece, and “fits into socket”.

50. Last words seen by proofreader? (4,4,13)

Answer: QUOD ERAT DEMONSTRANDUM. In English this means “which was to be proved”. In the context of the clue, one could say these were the last words seen by a proof reader. Sound familiar? This was also in puzzle 1351 last November. Seems a popular solution among setters.

51. Kind look for Baskerville, perhaps (8)

Answer: TYPEFACE, of which “Baskerville” is one. Solution is TYPE (i.e. “[a] kind”) followed by FACE (i.e. “[to] look”).

52. Beset by strain, Mary’s mum hides here (7)

Answer: TANNERY (i.e. “[animal] hides here”). Solution is TRY (i.e. “strain”) “besetting” Queen ANNE (i.e. “Mary’s mum” – a bit of a guess as none of her children lived for very long, but with The Favourite winning Oscars recently this is what I’m plumping for) like so: T(ANNE)RY.

53. Suppress a retired magistrate in Rome (6)

Answer: AEDILE, an office of the Roman Republic (i.e. “magistrate in Rome”). Solution is ELIDE (i.e. to abridge or “suppress”) followed by A and then the whole lot reversed (indicated by “retired”), like so: A-EDILE. A word I had to look up.

Down clues

2. Lowest point of rebellious playwright after female disappears (5)

Answer: NADIR (i.e. “lowest point”). Solution is Richard Brinsley SHERIDAN (i.e. “playwright”) with the SHE removed (i.e. “after female disappears”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “rebellious”, as in an uprising – this being a down clue).

3. Formal language changing if I lose face (11)

Answer: OFFICIALESE (i.e. “formal language”). “Changing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IF I LOSE FACE.

4. Smashed eggs over non-drinker in brawl (8)

Answer: OMELETTE (i.e. “smashed eggs”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), then TT (ditto teetotaller, or “non-drinker”) placed “in” MELEE (i.e. “brawl”) like so: O-MELE(TT)E.

5. Disreputable bishop’s office, disturbingly empty (5)

Answer: SEEDY (i.e. “disreputable”). Solution is SEE (i.e. “bishop’s office”) followed by DY (i.e. “disturbingly empty”, i.e. the word “disturbingly” with all the middle letters removed).

6. Row after sailor climbs part of rigging (7)

Answer: RATLINE (i.e. “part of rigging”). Solution is LINE (i.e. “[a] row”) placed “after” TAR (a word for “sailor” rather popular with crossword setters) reversed (indicated by “climbs” – this being a down clue) like so: RAT-LINE.

7. Brave tenor on radio, one unsettled by wind (7,4)

Answer: WEATHER VANE (i.e. “one unsettled by wind”) .Solution is WEATHER (i.e. “brave”) followed by VANE (i.e. “tenor on radio” – i.e. a homophone of “vein” (tenor as in “the general purport or drift of something”)).

8. Why we leave wife with an upset animal (5)

Answer: HYENA (i.e. “animal”). Solution is derived by removing W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) from WHY and WE, then following it with AN reversed (indicated by “upset”), like so: HY-E-NA.

9. Exuberant cows briefly entering hospital department (9)

Answer: EBULLIENT (i.e. “exuberant”). Solution is BULLIES (i.e. “cows” – to cow someone is to bully them) with the final letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and placed in ENT (i.e. “hospital department”, specifically Ear Nose and Throat), like so: E(BULLIE)NT.

10. Smart girls shunning drug for skin (5)

Answer: CUTIS (i.e. “skin”). Solution is CUTIES (i.e. “smart girls” – yes, the noise you heard there was my skin crawling) with the E (a recognised abbreviation of ecstasy, i.e. “drug”) removed (i.e. “shunned”).

11. Proud, angry words in favour of public transport (11)

Answer: PROTUBERANT. Solution satisfies both “proud” and “angry words in favour of public transport”, i.e. PRO TUBE RANT.

12. Tramp clutching paper documents (7)

Answer: DOSSIER (i.e. “documents”). Solution is DOSSER (i.e. “tramp”) “clutching” I (i.e. “[news]paper”), like so: DOSS(I)ER.

18. Extremely dim old boy sat on the outside eating kippers, say (9)

Answer: OBSCUREST (i.e. “extremely dim”). Solution is OB (a recognised abbreviation of “old boy”) followed by ST (i.e. “sat on the outside”, i.e. the first and last letters of the word “sat”) “eating” CURES (i.e. “[to] kipper”), like so: OB-S(CURES)T.

19. Allow parasites to bite rear of passionate non-smoker (7)

Answer: LICENSE (i.e. “allow”). Solution is LICE (i.e. “parasites”) “biting” E (i.e. “rear of passionate”, i.e. the last letter of the word “passionate”) and NS (a recognised abbreviation of “non-smoker”), like so: LIC(E-NS)E.

21. Make business error, partially backing failed art revolution (9)

Answer: OVERTRADE (i.e. “make business error”). “Partially” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, while “backing” indicates the solution is reversed, like so: FAIL(ED ART REVO)LUTION.

22. Asks half-cut buccaneer to inhale (8)

Answer: ASPIRATE (i.e. “to breathe”). Solution is AS (i.e. “asks half-cut”, i.e. the first half of the word “asks”) followed by PIRATE (i.e. “buccaneer”).

25. Mates turned up with glue for knockabout comedy (9)

Answer: SLAPSTICK (i.e. “knockabout comedy”). Solution is PALS (i.e. “mates”) reversed (indicated by “turned up” – this being a down clue) and followed by STICK (i.e. “[to] glue”), like so: SLAP-STICK.

27. Mix force and fury in fierce exchange (9)

Answer: CROSSFIRE (i.e. “fierce exchange”). Solution is CROSS (i.e. “mix”) followed by F (a recognised abbreviation of “force”) and IRE (i.e. “fury”).

28. Appallingly trite man, strict disciplinarian (8)

Answer: MARTINET (i.e. “strict disciplinarian”). “Appallingly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TRITE MAN.

31. Hero’s mate is slim, revolutionary communist (7)

Answer: LEANDER. Solution refers to the Greek myth of Hero and Leander, though, if I’m honest, I got this through a fairly obscure game on the Commodore Amiga. You have your methods, I have mine. Solution is LEAN (i.e. “slim”) followed by RED (i.e. “communist”) reversed (indicated by “revolutionary”).

33. Club members awaiting deliveries (7-2-2)

Answer: MOTHERS-TO-BE. Solution riffs on how expectant mothers – i.e. those “awaiting deliveries” – are said to be “members” of the pudding “club”.

34. Carmen snogs vile US politician (11)

Answer: CONGRESSMAN (i.e. “US politician”). “Vile” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CARMEN SNOGS.

35. Just cared, having moral sense (5-6)

Answer: RIGHT-MINDED (i.e. “having moral sense”). Solution is RIGHT (i.e. “just”) followed by MINDED (i.e. “cared”).

37. Originally advising extensive repair work on road in Lancashire? (9)

Answer: AEROPLANE (i.e. “Lancashire [bomber]”). Solution is A, E and R (i.e. “originally advising extensive repair” – i.e. the first letters of “advising”, “extensive” and “repair”) followed by OP (a recognised abbreviation of operation, i.e. “work”) and LANE (i.e. “road”). [EDIT: Should have been “Lancaster” bomber, not Lancashire. Thanks to Winston in the comments for the correction.]

40. Plans novel e-cash ATM (8)

Answer: SCHEMATA (i.e. “plans”). “Novel” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of E CASH ATM.

42. Censure unruly yob grabbing two thirds of fruit (7)

Answer: OBLOQUY (i.e. “censure”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unruly”) of BOY “grabbing” the first “two thirds of” LOQUAT (i.e. “fruit”), like so: OB(LOQU)Y.

43. Bald men, scratching heads, finally taught me how to cook pasta (2,5)

Answer: AL DENTE (i.e. “how to cook pasta”). Solution is derived by removing the initial letters (indicated by “scratching heads”) of BALD MEN and then following it with the “final” letters of “taught” and “me” like so: ALD-EN-T-E. Another good one, this.

45. Cheers supporting article and letter (5)

Answer: THETA (i.e. “[Greek] letter”). Solution is TA (i.e. thanks, or “cheers”) “supporting” (this being a down clue) THE (i.e. “article”), like so: THE-TA.

47. Initially act upon Morse’s sound assessment (5)

Answer: AUDIT (i.e. “assessment”). Solution is A and U (i.e. “initially act upon”, i.e. the initial letters of “act” and “upon”) followed by DIT (i.e. “Morse {code}’s sound”).

48. Guard neglecting southern gate? (5)

Answer: ENTRY (i.e. “gate”). Solution is SENTRY (i.e. “guard”) removing, or “neglecting”, the S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”).

49. Arrived on back of doleful quadruped (5)

Answer: CAMEL (i.e. “quadruped”). Solution is CAME (i.e. “arrived”) placed “on [the] back of” L (i.e. “back of doleful”, i.e. the last letter of the word “doleful”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1368

Another Saturday, another Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword! I liked this one, with only one clue jiggering me. You’ll find my completed grid below, along with explanations of my solutions where I have them.

Before we get to that, a question. The Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword offers a prize each week to a winner drawn from all the correct entries they receive, usually a couple of weeks after publication. I don’t enter my solutions, but others obviously do. A few people have passed comment on previous solutions of mine, with opinion reasonably split between those who would rather I didn’t post these solutions so soon after publication (as it gives subscribers to my blog and anyone hitting my site the opportunity to cheat and a chance to win), and those who are pretty relaxed about it. My view is that the challenge of solving the puzzle trumps the chance of seeing my name in print, and I often see comments online from people wishing The Times and other newspapers would print explanations of their solutions. What do you think? Should I hang fire publishing these solutions until after the competition closes, or would you rather find the answer to those last couple of awkward clues and get on with your week?

Feel free to leave a comment. The comments on my blog are moderated to prevent spamming, but I’ll approve all genuine comments, good or bad, as soon as I can.

Onwards!

LP

P.S. I know I’ve said this the last couple of weeks, but my review of Best New Horror 2 will be published soon, honest guv! I know you can’t wait. Anyway, onwards again!

Across clues

1. Swapping a couple of letters, person traducing editor skived off (10)

Answer: MALINGERED (i.e. “skived off” – one of those words you feel ought to describe something else). Solution is MALIGNER (i.e. “one traducing”) with the G and N swapped around, and then followed by ED (a recognised abbreviation of “editor”), like so: MALINGER-ED.

6. Bank holiday fare stolen, to thwart any number boarding bus (3,5,4)

Answer: HOT CROSS BUNS (i.e. “Bank holiday fare”). Solution is HOT (i.e. “stolen”) followed by CROSS (i.e. “to thwart”) then N (i.e. “any number”) “boarding” BUS, like so: HOT-CROSS-BU(N)S.

14. Player very much at sea, I admitted (7)

Answer: SOLOIST (i.e. “player”). Solution is SO LOST (i.e. “very much at sea”) “admitting” I, like so: SOLO(I)ST.

15. Model agent, fifty one or thereabouts (7)

Answer: REPLICA (i.e. “model”). Solution is REP (a recognised abbreviation of a representative, or an “agent”) followed by LI (i.e. “fifty one” in Roman numerals) and CA (a recognised abbreviation of circa, i.e. “thereabouts”).

16. Risk heading for location where sanctuary may be found (7)

Answer: CHANCEL, which is the eastern part of a church (i.e. “where sanctuary may be found”). Lord help anyone seeking sanctuary from the north, south or west sides, it seems. Solution is CHANCE (i.e. “risk”) followed by L (i.e. “heading for location”, i.e. the first letter of the word “location”).

17. Remained at home east of US city (4)

Answer: LAIN (i.e. “remained”). Solution is IN (i.e. “at home”) placed “east of” LA (i.e. “US city”), like so: LA-IN.

18. Flip through report of summits (6)

Answer: BROWSE. Solution satisfies both “flip through” and “report of summits” i.e. a homophone of “brows”.

20. Blue, westbound river pure at its banks (8)

Answer: CERULEAN (i.e. “blue” – I admit it. I got this from the intro to “Pusher”, one of my favourite X-Files episodes.) Solution is URE (i.e. a “river” in North Yorkshire) reversed (indicated by “westbound”) and placed in CLEAN (i.e. “pure”), like so: C(ERU)LEAN.

24. Owner-occupier’s cover isn’t arranged for movers in many cases (5,11,7)

Answer: CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE (i.e. “movers in many [legal] cases”). “Arranged” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OWNER OCCUPIERS COVER ISNT.

25. Wind, filling out in valleys, takes some time to go (7)

Answer: DAWDLES (i.e. “takes some time to go”). Solution is WD (i.e. “wind, filling out”, i.e. the word “wind” with the middle letters removed) placed “in” DALES (i.e. “valleys”), like so: DA(WD)LES.

26. Laces ten mixed drinks (8)

Answer: ENTWINES (i.e. “laces”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “mixed”) of TEN followed by WINES (i.e. “drinks”), like so: ENT-WINES.

27. Extremely wayward overs after England’s first (4,2)

Answer: EVER SO (i.e. “extremely”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wayward”) of OVERS placed “after” E (i.e. “England’s first”, i.e. the first letter of “England”), like so: E-VERSO.

29. Possibly switch components specified in house guides (14)

Answer: SEMICONDUCTORS (i.e. “possibly switch components”). Solution is SEMI (i.e. “house”) and CONDUCTORS (i.e. “guides”).

31. Words sent round in Twitter bilingually (8)

Answer: LIBRETTI, which is the plural form of “libretto”, which is the text of an opera, i.e. “words”. “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, while “round” indicates the word has been reversed, like so: TW(ITTER BIL)INGUALLY.

34. Is dog able, no longer quiet, to be pet? (8)

Answer: CANOODLE (i.e. “to pet”). Solution is CAN POODLE (i.e. “is dog able”) with the P removed (i.e. “no longer quiet” – P is a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, which is “quiet” in musical lingo).

36. Doing survey in street, wishing to restrict parking bays initially, maybe (6-8)

Answer: WINDOW-SHOPPING (i.e. “doing survey in street”). To be honest the setter has me here, so watch out. I can see WISHING in beginning, middle and end of the solution, and I guess PP represents “parking bays”, but I can’t make the leap.

39. Caught in gateway, ensign’s opening fire (6)

Answer: EXCITE (i.e. to “fire”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in cricket and other ball games) placed “in” EXIT (i.e. “gateway”) and then followed by E (i.e. “ensign’s opening”, i.e. the first letter of the word “ensign”), like so: EX(C)IT-E.

41. Believer keen to get instrument to play (4,4)

Answer: JEWS HARP (i.e. “instrument to play”). Solution is JEW (i.e. “believer”) followed by SHARP (i.e. “keen”).

43. Just not grand? (7)

Answer: UPRIGHT. Solution satisfies both “just” and “not grand” (as in grand pianos vs upright pianos).

46. Economic tenet is recalled after wife stops kneaded loaf sinking (3,2,11,7)

Answer: LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS (i.e. “economic tenet”). Solution is RETURNS (i.e. “is recalled”) placed “after” an anagram (indicated by “kneading”) of LOAF wrapped around (i.e. being “stopped” by) W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) and DIMINISHING (i.e. “sinking”), like so: LA(W)OF-DIMINISHING-RETURNS.

47. Vagrant originally staying in digs (8)

Answer: ROOTLESS (i.e. “vagrant” – I must have had four different answers for this until I finally solved 35d). Solution is S (i.e. “originally staying”, i.e. the first letter of the word “staying”) “staying in” ROOTLES (which is to grub or turn up like a pig, i.e. “digs”), like so: ROOTLE(S)S.

48. Part of marshy estuary shrinking the most? (6)

Answer: SHYEST (i.e. “shrinking the most”). “Part of” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: MAR(SHY EST)UARY.

49. Greek character, a fine singer (4)

Answer: Edith PAIF (i.e. “a fine singer” – go on, admit it, at some point in your life you’ve had a go singing Non Je Ne Regrette Rien while pinching and wiggling your throat. If you haven’t then you were drunk and can’t remember it.) Solution is PI (i.e. “Greek character”) followed by A and F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine”).

53. French city’s local plane transporting German on vacation (7)

Answer: AVIGNON (i.e. “French city” – one I had to look up). Solution is AVION (i.e. “local plane” – the French for “plane”) “transporting” GN (i.e. “German on vacation”, i.e. the word “German” with all its middle letters removed) like so: AVI(GN)ON.

54. Threatening end for Romeo without embracing love (7)

Answer: OMINOUS (i.e. “threatening”). Solution is O (i.e. “end for Romeo”, i.e. the last letter of “Romeo”) followed by MINUS (i.e. “without”) “embracing” O (i.e. “love”, as in the tennis score for nil), like so: O-MIN(O)US.

56. Mineral in concrete roof tile going west (7)

Answer: REALGAR (i.e. “mineral” – a new one on me, not being a keen geologist). Solution is REAL (i.e. “concrete”) followed by RAG (i.e. “roof tile” – one of the variant forms of the word “rag” is “a large rough slate”) reversed (indicated by “going west”, this being an across clue), like so: REAL-GAR.

57. Petition to drop one source of official news (5,7)

Answer: PRESS RELEASE. Solution satisfies “petition” – i.e. press – “to drop” – i.e. release, and “one source of official news”.

58. Carried in liquid that could make tea browner (10)

Answer: WATERBORNE (i.e. “carried in liquid”). “Could make” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TEA BROWNER.

Down clues

1. Mike has qualified for a medal, perhaps unwisely given (9)

Answer: MISPLACED (i.e. “perhaps unwisely given”). Solution is M (i.e. “Mike” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by IS PLACED (i.e. “has qualified for a medal”).

2. Child leader from Kojak’s favourite western state (8,5)

Answer: LOLLIPOP WOMAN (i.e. “child leader”). Solution is LOLLIPOP (i.e. “Kojak’s favourite”) followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “western”) and OMAN (i.e. “state”).

3. Green area seized by N European briefly given up (4)

Answer: NAIF, an alternative spelling of naïve (i.e. “green”). Not one I was familiar with. Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”) placed in FIN (i.e. “N European briefly”, i.e. the word “Finn” with the final letter removed) reversed (indicated by “given up”, this being a down clue), like so: N(A)IF.

4. Arrive alone around mid-April showing initiative (14)

Answer:  ENTERPRISINGLY (i.e. “showing initiative”). Solution is ENTER SINGLY (i.e. “arrive alone”) “showing” PRI (i.e. “mid-April”, i.e. the middle three letters of “April”), like so: ENTER-(PRI)-SINGLY.

5. Stray bearer regularly unemployed (3)

Answer: ERR (i.e. to “stray”). “Regularly unemployed” indicates that the solution is derived by removing every other letter of the word BEARER.

7. Old coin gaining appreciation in media? (4)

Answer: OBIT, a recognised short form of obituary, i.e. “appreciation in media”. Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by BIT (i.e. “coin”, e.g. a thrupenny bit).

8. Protected deposed president, last of three in African republic (10)

Answer: CHAPERONED (i.e. “protected”). Solution is Juan PERON (i.e. “deposed president”) and E (i.e. “last of three”, i.e. the last letter of the word “three”) placed “in” CHAD (i.e. “African republic”), like so: CHA(PERON-E)D.

9. Here find students going the right way (2,6)

Answer: ON COURSE. Solution satisfies both “here find students” and “going the right way”.

10. Learner going in rescued runner’s sweater (5-6)

Answer: SLAVE-DRIVER (i.e. “sweater” – think about it). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner”) “going in” SAVED (i.e. “rescued”) and followed by RIVER (i.e. “runner” – as in a river running), like so: S(L)AVED-RIVER.

11. Stranger taking up control after unfortunate king beheaded (9)

Answer: UNCANNIER (i.e. “stranger”). I had this solved way before figuring out the wordplay. Solution is DUNCAN (i.e. the “unfortunate king” in Shakespeare’s Macbeth) with the initial letter removed (i.e. “beheaded”) and followed by REIN (i.e. “control”) reversed (indicated by “taken up”, this being a down clue), like so: UNCAN-NIER.

12. Spades of considerable age traded in (4)

Answer: SOLD (i.e. “traded in”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “spades” used in playing cards) followed by OLD (i.e. “of considerable age”).

13. Stimulant nicked? Take it on the chin! (8)

Answer: UPPERCUT. Solution satisfies both “stimulant” – i.e. upper –”nicked” – i.e. cut, and “take it on the chin”.

19. Finished, as restaurant’s dishes should be? (6-2)

Answer: WASHED-UP. Solution satisfies both “finished” and “as restaurant’s dishes should be”.

21. First couple of blokes inside set up bollard together (2,4)

Answer: EN BLOC (i.e. “together”). Solution is BL (i.e. “first couple [of letters] of blokes”) placed “inside” CONE (i.e. “bollard”) reversed (indicated by “set up”, this being a down clue) like so: EN(BL)OC.

22. Son walked, admitting strain that grips runner? (5-3)

Answer: STAIR-ROD, which is a rod that holds a stair carpet in place (i.e. “that grips runner” – I guess a carpet would run if it wasn’t an inanimate object. Hmm…) Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by TROD (i.e. “walked”) “admitting” AIR (i.e. a musical “strain”), like so: S-T(AIR)ROD.

23. Turning left, ruler’s withdrawing (8)

Answer: REVOKING (i.e. “withdrawing”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “left [remaining]”) reversed (indicated by “turning”) and followed by KING (i.e. “ruler”), like so: REVO-KING.

28. Not using book to the fullest extent (7,7)

Answer: WITHOUT RESERVE. Solution (kind of) satisfies “not using book” and “to the fullest extent”.

29. Office worker left for a run on the quiet (8)

Answer: SECRETLY (i.e. “on the quiet”). Solution is SECRETARY (i.e. “office worker”) with the letters AR towards the end of the word (i.e. “a run” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in various ball games) being replaced by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”).

30. Disturbed at crisis of great antiquity (8)

Answer: TRIASSIC (i.e. “of great antiquity”). “Disturbed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AT CRISIS.

32. Texas’s top oil worker finally appearing in better index? (7,6)

Answer: TRIGGER FINGER (i.e. “index”). Solution is T (i.e. “Texas’s top”, i.e. the first letter of “Texas”) followed by RIGGER (i.e. “oil worker”), then G (i.e. “finally appearing”, i.e. the last letter of the word “appearing”) placed “in” FINER (i.e. “better”), like so: T-RIGGER-FIN(G)ER.

33. Worthless pony went astray (8)

Answer: TWOPENNY (i.e. “worthless”, with apologies on behalf of the setter to all Pennys out there). “Astray” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PONY WENT.

35. Uniform that’s donned without ties is taboo (3,2,6)

Answer: OUT OF BOUNDS. Solution satisfies “uniform that’s donned without ties” i.e. it does not have bounds, and “taboo”.

37. I must stop litigant getting equal treatment (6)

Answer: PARITY (i.e. “equal treatment”). Solution is PARTY (i.e. a “litigant” in law) being “stopped” by I, like so: PAR(I)TY.

38. As inflexible as Excalibur? (3,2,5)

Answer: SET IN STONE. Solution satisfies “inflexible” and “as Excalibur”.

40. Spineless character, one originally called Ernest by dramatist (9)

Answer: COWARDICE (i.e. “spineless [in] character”). Solution is Noel COWARD (i.e. “dramatist”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and CE (i.e. “originally called Ernest”, i.e. the first letters of “called” and “Ernest”).

42. Grip had loosened lifting racket (8)

Answer: ADHESION (i.e. “grip”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “loosened”) of HAD followed by NOISE (i.e. “racket”) reversed (indicated by “lifting”, this being a down clue), like so: ADH-ESION.

44. Squad for undertaking civil engineer’s job? (4,5)

Answer: TASK FORCE (i.e. “squad”). Solution is FOR and CE (a recognised abbreviation for a “civil engineer”) “undertaking” (i.e. placed under, this being a down clue) TASK (i.e. “job”), like so: TASK-FOR-CE.

45. Passion in love troubled church (8)

Answer: VIOLENCE (i.e. “passion”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “troubled”) of IN LOVE followed by CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: VIOLEN-CE.

50. Flyer, a type dominant over the pond (4)

Answer: WASP. Solution satisfies “flyer” and “a type dominant over the pond”, specifically a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, a sometimes-derogatory term used to describe the upper crust of American society.

51. Long to see girl (4)

Answer: MISS. Solution satisfies both “long to see” and “girl”.

52. Line of verse in the writer’s book (4)

Answer: IAMB, a prosodic term meaning “a foot (a division of a line of poetry) of two syllables, a short followed by a long, or an unstressed by a stressed”, i.e. “line of verse”. You’re welcome. I can think of less wanky words fitting the letters _A_B, but there you go. Solution is I AM (i.e. “the writer’s” – think of it in terms of “the writer is” from the point of view of the setter) followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”).

55. US state’s half forgotten music (3)

Answer: SKA (i.e. “music”). Solution is ALASKA (i.e. “US state”) with the first “half forgotten”, i.e. removed.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1367

Ah, this is more my speed! After a gruelling couple of puzzles the last couple of weeks we have something a little gentler. Here’s my solution to this week’s puzzle, along with explanations of my solutions where I have them.

If you have a recent puzzle you are missing a few solutions for then my Just For Fun page might help you. In the meantime, I’m still working on my review of Best New Horror 2 (it’s a biggie). If you’d like a shufti at book one, head yonself here.

And now on with the show…

LP

Across clues

1. Unforeseen problem mostly became wearisome, with outgoing leader booed (9)

Answer: CATCALLED (i.e. “booed”). Solution is CATCH (i.e. “unforeseen problem”) with the last letter removed (i.e. “mostly”) followed by PALLED (i.e. “became wearisome”) with its initial letter removed (i.e. “with outgoing leader”), like so: CATC-ALLED.

6. Result of pig-shooting finally reported in online forum (8,5)

Answer: BULLETIN BOARD, which was an early type of online forum back in the days when there were no web browsers, and, if I recall correctly, they were used mainly to pirate and distribute cracked Amiga games. (Ask your parents, kids.) Anyway, the solution is BULLET IN BOAR (i.e. “result of pig-shooting”) followed by D (i.e. “finally reported”, i.e. the final letter of the word “reported”).

13. Put out something evasive about Times page (5)

Answer: EXPEL (i.e. “put out”). Solution is EEL (i.e. “something evasive”, as in “slippery as an…”) placed “about” X (i.e. “Times”, as in the multiplication sign) and P (a recognised abbreviation of “page”), like so: E(X-P)EL.

14. Cavalry not deployed to arrest one visionary (11)

Answer: CLAIRVOYANT (i.e. “visionary”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “deployed”) of CAVALRY NOT, wrapped around I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: CLA(I)RVOYANT.

15. Loves to embrace a measure of hardness? (5)

Answer: NAILS (i.e. “a measure of hardness”). Solution is NILS (i.e. “loves” being zero scores in tennis) “embracing” A like so: N(A)ILS.

16. Baggage French friend brought back includes section of building (11)

Answer: IMPEDIMENTA (i.e. “baggage”). Solution is AMI (i.e. “French friend”, the French for “friend” being “ami”) reversed (i.e. “brought back”) and “including” PEDIMENT (which is a triangular structure crowning the front of a building, i.e. “section of building”), like so: IM(PEDIMENT)A. Nice word, I like it.

17. Jaunty clarinet air affecting many people (11)

Answer: INTERRACIAL (i.e. “affecting many people”). “Jaunty” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CLARINET AIR.

18. Image formed by etching? Left no copper in it (7)

Answer: LINOCUT, which is “a design cut in relief in linoleum” (i.e. “image formed by etching”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) followed by IT placed around NO and CU (chemical symbol for “copper”), like so: L-I(NO-CU)T.

20. Works function edgy? Not very (7)

Answer: TANNERY (i.e. a “works”). Solution is TAN (i.e. “function”, short for “tangent”, one of the six trigonometric functions of an angle) followed by NERVY (i.e. “edgy”) with the V removed (i.e. “not very” – V being a recognised abbreviation of “very”), like so: TAN-NERY.

21. Puzzles returned unchanged, including snare (7)

Answer: ENIGMAS (i.e. “puzzles”). Solution is the reverse (indicated by “returned”) of SAME (i.e. “unchanged”) “including” GIN (i.e. “snare” – one of umpteen variant definitions of the word “gin”), like so: E(NIG)MAS.

23. Play having significant dealings with love? (4,3,5,7)

Answer: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. Solution satisfies both a “play” by William Shakespeare and “have significant dealings with love” – as mentioned earlier, “love” in tennis is a zero score, i.e. nothing.

27. Beer jugs all round at the outset (3)

Answer: JAR (i.e. “beer”, as in having a few jars). “At the outset” indicates we need to take the initial letters of JUGS ALL ROUND.

28. Some latitude is right in subject matter (6)

Answer: TROPIC (i.e. “some latitude”, as in the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) placed “in” TOPIC (i.e. “subject matter”), like so: T(R)OPIC.

29. Kidnap son of course (6)

Answer: SNATCH (i.e. “kidnap”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) and NATCH (i.e. “of course”, as in a slang variation of “naturally”).

31. Appreciate sources of Roman activities in Roman God’s festival (5,4)

Answer: MARDI GRAS (i.e. “festival”). Solution is MARS (i.e. the “Roman God” of war) placed around DIG (i.e. “appreciate”) and the initial letters (or “sources”) of “Roman activities”, like so: MAR(DIG-R-A)S.

34. Northern town, before change, displaying earlier time (9)

Answer: PRESTWICH (i.e. “Northern town”). Solution is PRE (i.e. “before”) and SWITCH with the T promoted a few places (i.e. “displaying earlier time” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: PRE-STWICH.

35. Take stock of troops taking battle west (6)

Answer: REVIEW (i.e. “take stock”). Solution is RE (i.e. “troops”, specifically Royal Engineers) followed by VIE (i.e. “battle”) and W (a recognised abbreviation of “west”).

36. Talk at length about source of recent growth (6)

Answer: SPROUT (i.e. “growth”). Solution is SPOUT (i.e. “talk at length”) placed “about” R (i.e. “source of recent”, i.e. the first letter of the word “recent”), like so: SP(R)OUT.

39. Papers supplied by a musical princess (3)

Answer: Princess IDA, a comic opera by Gilbert & Sullivan. Solution is ID (i.e. “papers”) followed by A.

40. Thinking to crush observatory equipment (10,9)

Answer: REFLECTIVE TELESCOPE. Solution satisfies “observatory equipment” and “thinking” i.e. reflective, and “to crush”, i.e. telescope – think how you’d “crush” a telescopic aerial into place. (Again, kids, ask your parents.)

42. Salesman in European capital recalled title (7)

Answer: EMPEROR (i.e. “title”). Solution is REP (i.e. “salesman”) placed “in” ROME (i.e. “European capital” of Italy) and the whole lot reversed (indicated by “recalled”), like so: EM(PER)OR.

43. Copying, one’s satisfied, picked up by microphone (7)

Answer: MIMETIC (i.e. “copying”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and MET (i.e. “satisfied”) “picked up by” MIC (a recognised abbreviation of “microphone”), like so: M(I-MET)IC.

45. Tests, though without opening locks (7)

Answer: TRESSES (i.e. “locks”, as in hair). Solution is STRESSES (i.e. “tests”) with the initial letter removed (i.e. “though without opening”).

47. The Spanish soccer team, working to block easy victory, lacking ultimate in discipline (4-7)

Answer: SELF-CONTROL (i.e. “discipline”). Solution is EL (i.e. “the Spanish”, the Spanish for “the” being “el”), FC (i.e. “soccer team”, specifically Football Club) and ON (i.e. “working”) placed in STROLL (i.e. “easy victory”) with the last letter removed (i.e. “lacking ultimate”), like so: S(EL-FC-ON)TROL.

49. One million taking security measure, avoiding uranium blast? (11)

Answer: IMPRECATION (i.e. to curse, or a little weakly here, to “blast”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), M (a recognised abbreviation of “million”) and PRECAUTION (i.e. “taking security measure”) with the U (chemical symbol of “uranium”) removed, like so: I-M-PRECATION.

51. “Far in” translated as “further on” in Latin (5)

Answer: INFRA (i.e. “further on” in Latin). “Translated” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FAR IN.

52. Ergonomic reforms roused certain wage earners (6,5)

Answer: INCOME GROUP (i.e. “certain wage earners”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “reforms”) of ERGONOMIC followed by UP (i.e. “roused”), like so: INCOMEGRO-UP.

53. Beat bowler initially after return from fielder has missed wicket (5)

Answer: THROB (i.e. “beat”). Solution is B (i.e. “bowler initially”, i.e. the initial letter of the word “bowler”) placed “after” THROW (i.e. “return from fielder”) with W removed (i.e. “has missed wicket” – W being a recognised abbreviation of “wicket” in cricket), like so: THRO-B.

54. No right place to assemble Queen and fashionable set in Yorkshire town (13)

Answer: NORTHALLERTON (i.e. “Yorkshire town”). Solution is NO, then RT (a recognised abbreviation of “right”, as in “the Right Honourable”), then HALL (i.e. “place to assemble”), then ER (i.e. “Queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina) and finally TON (i.e. “fashionable set” – a variant definition has “ton” as “fashion, or people of fashion”, so there you go).

55. Five getting stuck into easy job? It has its ups and downs (4,5)

Answer: SINE CURVE, which does indeed “have its ups and downs”. Solution is V (i.e. “[Roman numeral] five”) placed in SINECURE (i.e. “easy job”), like so: SINECUR(V)E. I rather liked this one.

Down clues

1. How much you believe you can spend? (6,5)

Answer: CREDIT LIMIT. Solution riffs on “credit” meaning both “a sum placed at a person’s disposal in a bank, up to which they may draw” and “to believe”. Another one I liked.

2. Feature of bowling takes prize money, with a twist (7)

Answer: TOPSPIN, which can be applied to a ball when struck in order to influence its speed and travel. Solution is POT (i.e. “prize money”) reversed (indicated by “with a twist”) and followed by SPIN (i.e. “feature of bowling”), like so: TOP-SPIN.

3. Felt bad, being unsuccessful in ousting leader (5)

Answer: AILED (i.e. “felt bad”). Solution is FAILED (i.e. “being unsuccessful”) with the initial letter removed (i.e. “in ousting leader”).

4. Old dance is crazy subject for discussion (10)

Answer: LOCOMOTION (i.e. an “old dance”, which was brought back into the public consciousness by pop starlet Kylie Minogue back in… kids, go ask your parents again). Solution is LOCO (i.e. which is Spanish for “crazy”) followed by MOTION (i.e. “subject for discussion”).

5. Newspaper, note, blocking detective in police operation (4-3)

Answer: DRAG-NET (i.e. “police operation”). Solution is RAG (i.e. “newspaper”) and N (a recognised abbreviation of “note”) “blocking” DET (ditto “detective”), like so: D(RAG-N)ET.

6. Unearthing bra, slashed? That’s for me! (7-6)

Answer: BARGAIN-HUNTER. Solution riffs on how someone finding, or “unearthing” a bra “slashed” in price would be one. “Slashed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UNEARTHING BRA.

7. Caledonia in a storm? It’s not precisely warm (9)

Answer: LAODICEAN, which, it says here, is “a person who is lukewarm or half-hearted, especially in religion, like the Christians of Laodicea”, i.e. “it’s not precisely warm”). “In a storm” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CALEDONIA.

8. Demand and get lavatory emptied on the spot (7)

Answer: EXACTLY (i.e. “on the spot”). Solution is EXACT (i.e. “demand”) and LY (i.e. “lavatory emptied”, i.e. the word “lavatory” emptied of all its middle letters).

9. Negotiator, during legal sessions, beginning to edit record (12)

Answer: INTERMEDIARY (i.e. “negotiator”). Solution is IN TERM (i.e. “during legal sessions” – in law, a “term” is a period of sittings) followed by E (i.e. “beginning to edit”, i.e. the first letter of the word “edit”) and DIARY (i.e. “record”).

10. Providing cover for group nearing retirement? (9)

Answer: BANDAGING (i.e. “providing cover”). Solution is BAND (i.e. “group”) and AGING (i.e. “nearing retirement”).

11. Some sibilance picked up in “suspect’s story” (5)

Answer: ALIBI (i.e. “suspect’s story”). “Some” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, and “picked up” indicates the solution is reversed – this being a down clue – like so: S(IBILA)NCE.

12. They reveal daughter is accepting second way to resolve trauma? (11)

Answer: DISCLOSURES (i.e. “they reveal”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by IS “accepting” S (ditto “second”, as in the measure of time) and CLOSURE (i.e. “way to resolve trauma”), like so: D-I(S-CLOSURE)S.

19. Church having disturbance involving a former military vehicle (7)

Answer: CHARIOT (i.e. “former military vehicle”). Solution is CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) and RIOT (i.e. “disturbance”) “involving” A, like so: CH-(A)-RIOT.

22. Household official overturned difficulty or changed mood (5-4)

Answer: MAJOR DOMO (i.e. “household official”). Solution is JAM (i.e. “difficulty”) reversed (indicated by “overturned”) then followed by OR and an anagram (indicated by “changed”) of “mood”, like so: MAJ-OR-DOMO.

24. Sanctioned interrupting winner? It makes for an unpleasant atmosphere (9)

Answer: CHOKEDAMP, which is a suffocating gas such as carbon dioxide found in mines, i.e. “it makes for an unpleasant atmosphere”. A good word, this, if rather grim. Solution is OKED (i.e. “sanctioned”) “interrupting” CHAMP (i.e. “winner”), like so: CH(OKED)AMP.

25. Sign of imminent death? Refuses to allow reduction in care (7)

Answer: BANSHEE, a female spirit in Irish folklore who wails before a death in the household (i.e. “sign of imminent death”). Solution is BANS (i.e. “refuses to allow”) and HEED (i.e. to “care”) with the last letter removed (i.e. “reduction in…”), like so: BANS-HEE.

26. Satisfied with upset, blight or storm (7)

Answer: TEMPEST (i.e. “storm”). Nice how this solution hangs off of “Much Ado About Nothing”. Anyway, solution is MET (i.e. “satisfied with”) reversed (indicated by “upset”) and followed by PEST (i.e. “blight”), like so: TEM-PEST.

30. Be free, if barely? (4,7,2)

Answer: HAVE NOTHING ON. Solution satisfies both “be free [of things to do]” and “barely”. Yes, this did make me smile.

32. I’m no longer popular – there’s no getting around it (7)

Answer: IMPASSE (i.e. “there’s no getting around it”). Solution is IM followed by PASSE (i.e. “no longer popular”).

33. Dead, and unexpectedly in afterlife? There’s a measure of variation (12)

Answer: DIFFERENTIAL (i.e. “measure of variation”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “dead”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “unexpectedly”) of IN AFTERLIFE.

34. Victorian novel, mostly simple, covered by two N Europeans, one heard (7,4)

Answer: PHINEAS FINN, a novel by Anthony Trollope (i.e. “Victorian novel”). Solution is PHIN and FINN (i.e. “two N Europeans, one heard” – this is a bit of a cheat in my less-than-humble opinion as homophones ought to be words found in the dictionary rather than something that merely sounds the same) “covering” EASY (i.e. “simple”) with the final letter removed (i.e. “mostly”), like so: PHIN-EAS-FINN.

37. Source of this sound giving people away (11)

Answer: TREASONABLE (i.e. “giving people away” – a bit weak, this). Solution is T (i.e. “source of this”, i.e. the first letter of the word “this”) followed by REASONABLE (i.e. “sound”).

38. Company engaging large actor needing a fix for costume (7-3)

Answer: CLOTHES-PIN (i.e. “fix for costume”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) “engaging” L (ditto “large”) and followed by THESPIAN (i.e. “actor”) with the A removed (i.e. “needing a”), like so: C(L)O-THESPIN.

40. Artist at church, welcoming soldiers and school test creator (9)

Answer: RORSCHACH, inventor of the “ink blot” test (i.e. “test creator”) and probably everybody’s favourite character in Watchmen. Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) and CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) “welcoming” OR (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Other Ranks of the army) and SCH (a recognised abbreviation of “school”), like so: R(OR-SCH)A-CH.

41. US magazine was illuminating about one month deadline (4,5)

Answer: TIME LIMIT (i.e. “deadline”). Solution is TIME (i.e. “US magazine”) followed by LIT (i.e. “was illuminating”) wrapped “about” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and M (a recognised abbreviation of “month”), like so: TIME-L(I-M)IT.

43. Length in major road race is something amazing (7)

Answer: MIRACLE (i.e. “something amazing”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “length”) placed “in” MI (i.e. “major road”, i.e. the M1 motorway) and RACE, like so: MI-RAC(L)E.

44. Mostly shy and maybe saying prayers in abundance (7)

Answer: COPIOUS (i.e. “in abundance”). Solution is COY (i.e. “shy”) with the final letter removed (i.e. “mostly”) and followed by PIOUS (i.e. “maybe saying prayers”), like so: CO-PIOUS.

46. One making solution perhaps for troublemaker (7)

Answer: STIRRER. Solution satisfies both “one making solution perhaps” and “troublemaker”.

48. Curtailment of second drink upset prisoner (5)

Answer: LIFER (i.e. “prisoner”). Solution is REFILL (i.e. “second drink”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “curtailment”) and reversed (indicated by “upset”).

50. High level of trainee fliers taking it up (5)

Answer: ATTIC (i.e. a “high level” in a building such as a house). Solution is ATC (i.e. “trainee fliers”, specifically the Air Training Corps) “taking” IT reversed (indicated by “up”, this being a down clue), like so: AT(TI)C.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1366

There are times when you come across a cryptic crossword that makes you wonder why you bother doing them; a puzzle that tries so hard to throw you off the scent with iffy clue construction or an overreliance on places and names, or one that just seems out to piss you off. Last week’s puzzle was a bit like that, but this week?! Forget about it! Let’s put it this way, if I’d chosen these last couple of weeks to chance my arm at a cryptic crossword then I’d have laughed and given the whole thing the middle finger instead. Sheesh!

So, yeah, this was a tough one. If you can endure my frequent bitching then you will find my completed grid below along with explanations of the solutions where I have them.

If you’d like to read something a little less bitchy, however, then I am currently putting together my review of Best New Horror 2 which should follow shortly(ish). If you’re interested, you can find my review of book 1 here or on my Reviews page. If you’ve got a relatively recent jumbo cryptic knocking about for which you’d like the answers, then my “Just For Fun” page might help. (Speech marks added for sarcastic effect.)

Anyway – deep breaths, now – and onwards!

Across clues

1. Members bound to keep to themselves, even? (7)

Answer: HOGTIED, which is where the arms and legs – which can be collectively termed “members” – are tied to prevent any movement (i.e. “members bound”). Solution is HOG (i.e. “keep to themselves”) and TIED (i.e. “even”).

5. Gradually, Post Office couple refusing to serve grasping pensioner (4,1,4)

Answer: POCO A POCO, which is Spanish or Italian for “little by little” (i.e. “gradually”). Here’s the first one where the setter loses me, so be warned. I get that PO is “Post Office” and OAP is “pensioner”, and that “grasping” could suggest OAP is slotted in somewhere, but the rest is a mystery. I’m guessing the solution is intended to be along the lines of PO-C(OAP)OCO, but I can’t visualise how COCO would be “couple refusing to serve”. [UPDATE: Check out the comments to this post where Clive clears this one up. Thanks, Clive!]

10. Undergarment picked up for revel (4)

Answer: BASK (i.e. to “revel” in something). “Picked up” indicates the solution is a homophone of “basque” (i.e. “undergarment”).

14. Groom footballer for award? (3,2,3,5)

Answer: MAN OF THE MATCH. Solution satisfies both “groom” – “match” being another word for “wedding” – and “footballer for award”. I didn’t get this till late on, which is rather embarrassing as I had the footie on in the background all the while!

15. Smart men dressed down – one found in bed? (3,6)

Answer: FLY ORCHID (i.e. “one found in [flower] bed”). Solution is FLY (i.e. “smart”), then OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the army), then CHID (i.e. “dressed down” – “chid” is a recognised variant of “chided”).

16. Depleted after too many catches dropped by some cricket girl (10)

Answer: OVERFISHED (i.e. “depleted after too many catches”). Solution is SHED (i.e. “dropped”) placed after OVER (i.e. “some cricket”) and FI (i.e. “girl”, short for Fiona), like so: OVER-FI-SHED.

17. After skirmishing ok – the rest on stretchers (11)

Answer: TENTERHOOKS, which are sharp hooks on frames used to stretch cloth (i.e. “stretchers”). “After skirmishing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OK THE REST ON.

18. With this tweet, mean to be heard? (5)

Answer: CHEEP (i.e. “tweet”). “To be heard” indicates the solution is a homophone of “cheap” (i.e. “mean”).

19. See tailless sloth’s burying its head in squalor (10)

Answer: SLEAZINESS (i.e. “squalor”). Solution is SE (i.e. “see tailless”, i.e. the word “see” with the final letter removed) wrapped around the first letter of LAZINESS (i.e. “sloth”) with the remainder of the word following thereafter, like so: S(L-)E-AZINESS.

21. A month from Quebec to the Alaskan port (6)

Answer: JUNEAU, port and capital of Alaska. Solution is JUNE (i.e. “a month”) followed by AU (i.e. “from Quebec to the” – Quebec being a French speaking area, “to the” in French is “au”).

23. A way to colour match – with pronounced finish (3-3-3)

Answer: TIE-AND-DYE (i.e. “a way to colour”). Solution is TIE (i.e. “match”) followed by AND (i.e. “with”) and DYE (i.e. “pronounced finish”, i.e. a homophone of “die”).

25. Villain’s Irish accent putting off British (5)

Answer: ROGUE (i.e. “villain”). Solution is BROGUE (i.e. “Irish accent”) with the B removed (“B” being a recognised abbreviation of “British”).

26. Peter out of luck at first, if at races (4,3)

Answer: TAIL OFF (i.e. “peter out”). “Races” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OF, L (i.e. “luck at first”, i.e. the first letter of “luck”) and IF AT.

28. Old single guys dig tarts bursting with pizzazz in the East End (5,8)

Answer: ZIGGY STARDUST (i.e. “old single”). “Bursting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GUYS DIG TARTS and Z (i.e. “pizzazz in the East End”, i.e. the last letter of “pizzazz” – this being an across clue).

31. After present, left watch for sculptor (9)

Answer: DONATELLO (i.e. “sculptor” – No Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles references here. Except for that one.) Solution is DONATE (i.e. “present”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and LO (i.e. “watch”, as in “lo and behold”).

33. In theory, little time to intercept an enemy, presumably (9)

Answer: NOMINALLY (i.e. “in theory”). Solution is NO ALLY (i.e. “an enemy, presumably”) being “intercepted” by MIN (i.e. “little time”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “minute”), like so: NO-(MIN)-ALLY.

35. Baker in a suit (5,2,6)

Answer: QUEEN OF HEARTS. Solution satisfies “in a suit [of cards]” but can I hell figure how this relates to “baker”. [UPDATE: I’m reliably informed by the mysterious She that a Queen of Hearts is a kind of cake, hence “baker”.] [UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: And Clive in the comments even more reliably informs me this was from a famous rhyme. Thanks again, Clive!]

37. She’s example of one backing demise of world body? (7)

Answer: PRONOUN (i.e. the “she” of “she’s [an] example of one”). Solution is PRO (i.e. “backing”) and NO UN (i.e. “demise of world body”, specifically the United Nations).

38. Roughly, American grabs one Ancient jurist (5)

Answer: CAIUS (i.e. “Ancient [Roman] jurist”). Solution is CA (i.e. “roughly”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) and US (i.e. “American”) “grabbing” I (i.e. Roman numeral “one”), like so: CA-(I)-US. One I got from the wordplay than any real knowledge of classical history.

40. Pressing obsession to contain evil spoken of (9)

Answer: THRONGING (i.e. “pressing”). Solution is THING (i.e. an informal term for a slight “obsession”) “containing” RONG (i.e. “evil spoken of”, i.e. a homophone of “wrong” – the setter just about gets away with this; “rong” does exist in the dictionary but only as an obsolete past tense form of “ring”), like so: TH(RONG)ING.

42. Son in light blue tee, crouching (6)

Answer: ASQUAT (i.e. “crouching”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) placed “in” AQUA (i.e. “light blue”) and followed by T (i.e. “tee”), like so: A(S)QUA-T.

44. Declare capital of Venezuela just the thing for royal assignment? (5,5)

Answer: STATE VISIT (i.e. “royal assignment”). Solution is STATE (i.e. “declare”) followed by V (i.e. “capital [letter] of Venezuela”) and IS IT (i.e. “just the thing”).

46. European champion missing out on gold is put out (5)

Answer: EVICT (i.e. “put out”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) followed by VICTOR (i.e. “champion”) with the OR removed (i.e. “missing out on gold” – “or” is “gold” in heraldry).

48. Confusion resulting from action of forge what’s new? (3,3,2,3)

Answer: THE FOG OF WAR (i.e. “confusion resulting from [military] action”). “New” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OF FORGE WHAT. This took me bloody ages to get but seems so simple now. Touché, setter.

50. That familiar person, embraced by Tokyo, UK, now wholly (3-4-3)

Answer: YOU-KNOW-WHO (i.e. “that familiar person”). “Embraced” indicates the solution is hidden in the solution, like so: TOK(YO UK NOW WHO)LLY.

52. City once through hesitation allowing unknown enemy to enter (9)

Answer: BYZANTIUM, an Ancient Greek colony (i.e. “city once”). Solution is BY (i.e. “through”) and UM (i.e. “hesitation”) “allowing” Z (i.e. “unknown” – setters like using this to represent X, Y or Z in their solutions) and ANTI (i.e. “enemy”), like so: BY-(Z-ANTI)-UM.

53. One providing a flavour of scripture lessons with Irish in school (9,4)

Answer: CORIANDER SEED (i.e. “one providing a flavour”). This took some getting, but the solution is COED (i.e. “school”) wrapped around RI (i.e. “scripture lessons”, specifically Religious Instruction) AND (i.e. “with”) ERSE (“a name sometimes used for Irish Gaelic as opposed to Scottish Gaelic” it says here, i.e. “Irish”), like so: CO(RI-AND-ERSE)ED.

54. Had lilies regularly dropped round for girl (4)

Answer: ELLA (i.e. “girl” – whenever I see a first name used as a solution it suggests a setter struggling to get the job done, evidence of which abounds in this puzzle). “Regularly” indicates the solution is derived by removing every other letter from HAD LILIES. “Round” then indicates those letters should be reversed.

55. Crustacean’s shortened tongue put out, briefly (9)

Answer: LANGOUSTE, a small lobster (i.e. “crustacean”). Solution is LANG (i.e. “shortened tongue”, i.e. the first half of the word “language”) and OUTSE (i.e. “put out, briefly”, i.e. the word “ousted” with the last letter removed).

56. Criticise “daft” clothes? They might (7)

Answer: NUDISTS. Solution is DIS (i.e. “criticise”) being “clothed” by NUTS (i.e. “daft”), like so: NU(DIS)TS. Within the context of the clue, nudists might well criticise clothes as being daft. Another that took a while for me to twig the construction, but is a good ‘un.

Down clues

1. In Ancient Greek, no end of grammar (4)

Answer: HOME (i.e. at home is to be “in”). Solution is HOMER (i.e. “Ancient Greek”) with R removed (i.e. “no end of grammar”, R being the last letter of the word “grammar”).

2. Lady jockey in the news, almost always (9)

Answer: GENEVIEVE (i.e. “lady”). Solution is VIE (i.e. “jockey”) placed “in” GEN (i.e. “news”) and EVE (i.e. “almost always”, i.e. the word “ever” with the last letter removed), like so: GEN-E(VIE)VE.

3. No half measures from lowdown artist, female, and lowdown artist poet (2,3,1,5,2,3,1,5)

Answer: IN FOR A PENNY IN FOR A POUND (i.e. “no half measures”). Solution is INFO (i.e. “lowdown”), RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician), PENNY (i.e. “female”), INFO (i.e. “lowdown” again), RA (i.e. “artist” again) and Ezra POUND (i.e. “poet”).

4. Spanker, maybe, was made to pull up bloomers (7)

Answer: DAHLIAS (i.e. “bloomers”). Solution is SAIL (i.e. “spanker, maybe”, i.e. a sail on the aftermost mast of a ship – I’ll leave any sailor jokes up to you) and HAD (which, I guess, is “was made to pull”, though I can’t figure out what the setter is doing here). “Up” instructs us to reverse the two, this being a down clue, like so: DAH-LIAS.

5. One doing handouts allowed in chap to feed baby (11)

Answer: PAMPHLETEER (i.e. “one doing handouts”). Solution is LET (i.e. “allowed”) placed “in” HE (i.e. “chap”), which is in turn placed in (i.e. “feeding”) PAMPER (i.e. to “baby”), like so: PAMP(H(LET)E)ER.

6. Nice area where young retire in western Europe: endless astonishment (4,5)

Answer: COTE D’AZUR (i.e. “nice area”). Solution is COT (i.e. “where young retire”) followed by EUR (i.e. “western Europe”, i.e. the left-hand half of “Europe” – part of me would argue this should be “northern Europe” given this is a down clue, but whatever…) with DAZ (i.e. “endless astonishment”, i.e. the word “daze” with the last letter removed) placed “in”, like so: COT-E(DAZ)UR. Not a classic clue by any stretch.

7. Dish when warm emits aromas at the outset (5)

Answer: ASHET. What a shitty clue this is. I’m not 100% sure what the setter is playing at here, but my guess is the solution satisfies “dish”  (because an ASHET is one), “when warm” (i.e. AS HET – “het” being a past participle of “hot” – yes, I agree “warm” is not the same as “hot”, unless you are a snowman) and “emits aromas at the outset” which could suggest an anagram, indicated by “emits”, of AS (i.e. the first and last letters of “aromas”) and THE. Ugh, back to setter school with you! [UPDATE: Clive comes to the rescue again in the comments with a faultless explanation. Thanks, Clive!]

8. Switch positions with English girl: promotion wasted (3,4,4)

Answer: OFF ONES HEAD (i.e. “wasted”). Solution is OFF and ON (i.e. “switch positions”), then E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) then SHE (i.e. “girl”) and AD (i.e. “promotion”).

9. It’s a gas using axes to slice melon! (6)

Answer: OXYGEN (i.e. “it’s a gas”). Solution is XY (i.e. the x and y “axes” of a graph) “slicing” OGEN (a kind of “melon”) like so: O(XY)GEN.

11. Pay to have hotel for vacation in Irish town (7)

Answer: ATHLONE (i.e. “Irish town” – a solution I have no regrets in looking up, my knowledge of every single town in the UK and Ireland with populations of less than 30,000 not being all that great.) Solution is ATONE (i.e. “pay”) “having” HL (i.e. “hotel for vacation”, i.e. the word “hotel” with all of its middle letters removed), like so: AT(HL)ONE.

12. Issue pack that’s easily handled (4,5)

Answer: KIDS STUFF (i.e. “that’s easily handled”). Solution is KIDS (i.e. “issue”, a slightly more formal word for sprogs) and STUFF (i.e. to “pack”).

13. Out-of-tune shepherd tenor would ruin opera (7,2,3,10)

Answer: ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD (i.e. “opera”, and one I actually knew too! Don’t ask me to hum it, though.) “Out-of-tone” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SHEPHERD TENOR WOULD RUIN.

18. Native of Channel Islands, note, descending on Japanese school (7)

Answer: CITIZEN (i.e. “native”). Solution is CI (a recognised abbreviation of the “Channel Islands”) followed by TI (i.e. “note” in the do-ray-me stylee) and ZEN (i.e. a “Japanese school” of Buddhism).

20. Skimpy attire Keith gingerly covers up (7)

Answer: NIGHTIE (i.e. “skimpy attire”). “Covers” suggests the solution is hidden in the clue and “up” suggests the solution is reversed, this being a down clue, like so: K(EITH GIN)GERLY.

22. Remain behind brook (5,3)

Answer: STAND FOR (i.e. to “brook”, or to bear or endure). Solution is STAND (i.e. “remain”) and FOR (i.e. to be “behind” something).

24. Journalist’s heading to court on business (8)

Answer: DATELINE (which is a line in a newspaper giving the date and location, i.e. “journalist’s heading”). Solution is DATE (i.e. “to court” someone) and LINE (i.e. “[line of] business”).

27. One staring too long; will he disappear, finally? (5)

Answer: OGLER (i.e. “one staring”). “Finally” indicates the solution is derived by the last letters of TOO LONG WILL HE DISAPPEAR.

29. Patois of old boy one had easily picked up (5)

Answer: GUMBO, which is “a patois spoken by blacks and Creoles in Louisiana, etc”. So there you go. Solution is OB (a recognised abbreviation of “old boy”) and MUG (i.e. “one had easily”) all reversed, indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue – like so: GUM-BO.

30. Restless energy in reverse kicking action? (7)

Answer: UNQUIET (i.e. “restless”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) placed in UNQUIT (i.e. “reverse kicking action”, a weak pun on how resuming a habit once kicked would be to “unquit” it), like so: UNQUI(E)T.

32. Hosting plays at time of presentation (2,5)

Answer: ON SIGHT (i.e. “at time of presentation”). “Plays” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HOSTING.

34. Sailor on watch may start to sleep, outrageously (11)

Answer: YACHTSWOMAN (i.e. “sailor”). “Outrageously” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ON WATCH MAY and S (i.e. “start to sleep”, i.e. the first letter of the word “sleep”).

36. Alternative to banger, maybe displaying zip (3,1,7)

Answer: NOT A SAUSAGE. Solution satisfies both “alternative to banger, maybe” and “zip” i.e. nothing.

37. Proposal by board that can be put to bed? (9)

Answer: PLANTABLE (i.e. “that can be put to [flower] bed”). Solution is PLAN (i.e. “proposal”) followed by TABLE (i.e. a “board” or committee).

39. After short taste of Broadway, courts certain opera lovers (9)

Answer: SAVOYARDS (i.e. “opera lovers”). My guess here is the setter is playing on how Broadway is a large parish in the Cotswolds near Stratford-on-AVOn, and that SAVO might be a taste of that, but, frankly, I’m clutching at straws. Anyway, that’s followed by YARDS (i.e. “courts”) to get a word meaning a devotee of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas performed at the Savoy Theatre. Ugh. Moving on… [UPDATE: Check out the comments, where Clive clears this one up admirably.]

41. Flag Nazi’s stolen originally now national property (9)

Answer: IRISHNESS (i.e. “national property”). Solution is IRIS (one of the alternative meanings of “flag” is an iris, or reed grass) followed by Rudolph HESS (i.e. “Nazi”) “stealing” N (i.e. “originally now”, i.e. the first letter of the word “now”) like so: IRIS-H(N)ESS.

43. Bright bird one missed from different late quiz shows (7)

Answer: QUETZAL (i.e. “bright bird” – just done a Google image search and they’re not kidding. Very pretty.) Solution is an anagram (indicated by “different”) of LATE QUIZ once the I has been removed (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one missed from…”).

45. Departs from New Zealand port after time, having found the station? (5,2)

Answer: TUNED IN (i.e. “having found the station”). Solution is DUNEDIN (a “New Zealand port”) with the first D removed (i.e. “departs from”, “d” being a recognised abbreviation of “depart”) and the remainder placed “after” T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: T-UNEDIN.

47. Cheerful girl, by and large (6)

Answer: JOVIAL (i.e. “cheerful”). Solution is JO (i.e. “girl”) followed by VIA (i.e. “by”) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”).

49. No leaves left? Park closed (5)

Answer: RECTO, which is a printing term meaning the right-hand page of an open book. So if you had no pages, or “leaves”, to the left then you would have only those to the right, i.e. “recto”. Solution is REC (a recognised abbreviation of a recreation area or “park”) followed by TO (i.e. of, say, a door in a “closed” or fastened position).

51. The likelihood of only smaller bras being available? (4)

Answer: ODDS (i.e. “likelihood”). Within the context of the clue, the solution plays on the stated lack of large bras, specifically double-D size, i.e. O DDS. Hilarious.

Anyway, thank goodness that’s over with, eh? Till next time (if there is one)!

LP

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1365

Though not quite as harsh as the Boxing Day puzzle, there was still a load of farting about going on here. A grid that employs four plants, five dead people(*) and a half-dozen words from those hard-to-reach places of the dictionary suggests a setter having trouble getting the job done. The saving graces of this puzzle are a handful of these esoteric solutions being rather cool words.

(*) It’s an unwritten rule that The Times only allow people to be used as solutions in their crosswords if they are no longer living.

Anyway, enough bitching from me. Here’s my completed grid along with solutions where I have them. Hope this helps!

Across clues

1. Toast to show support, perhaps, then drink (7,2)

Answer: BOTTOMS UP (i.e. “toast”). Solution is BOTTOM (i.e. “support, perhaps”) “then” SUP (i.e. “drink”). One of the best episodes of “Bottom” too!

6. Scare makes close friend conceal identity (10)

Answer: INTIMIDATE (i.e. “scare”). Solution is INTIMATE (i.e. “close friend”) “concealing” ID (i.e. “identity”) like so: INTIM(ID)ATE.

12. Sketch by artist depicts hurly-burly of competitive work (3,4)

Answer: RAT RACE (i.e. “hurly-burly of competitive work”). Solution is TRACE (i.e. “sketch”) placed “by” RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician), like so: RA-TRACE.

13. Girl I love close by, not a type to preach at people? (9)

Answer: MISSIONER, a person in charge of parochial missions (i.e. “not a type to preach at people”). Solution is MISS (i.e. “girl”), then I, then O (i.e. “love”, i.e. zero in tennis) then NER (i.e. “close by, not a”, i.e. the word “near” with the letter “a” removed), like so: MISS-I-O-NER.

14. Nick turning a hundred, in need of companion (5)

Answer: NOTCH (i.e. “nick”). Solution is TON (i.e. “a hundred”) reversed (indicated by “turning”) and followed by CH (i.e. “companion”, specifically a Companion of Honour), like so: NOT-CH.

16. Comprehensive cellar big man organised (3-9)

Answer: ALL-EMBRACING (i.e. “comprehensive”). “Organised” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CELLAR BIG MAN.

17. Avoid getting drunk with beer when entertaining university philosopher (2,8)

Answer: Simone DE BEAUVOIR (i.e. “philosopher”. I have no shame in looking this one up as, frankly, there are more philosophers than people who have read them.) Solution is an anagram (indicated by “getting drunk”) of AVOID and BEER wrapped around (i.e. “entertaining”) U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”), like so: DEBEA(U)VOIR.

19. Financial process (singular, not variable, internally) that makes some characters look big (14)

Answer: CAPITALISATION. Solution satisfies both “financial process (singular, not variable, internally)” – both “capitalisation” and “capitalization” exist in the dictionary, so the part in brackets tells us to use S, a recognised abbreviation of “singular”, instead of Z (setters love using “unknown” or “variable” to represent X, Y or Z in their clues) – and “that makes some characters look big”.

22. Supports British activity in court (8)

Answer: BRACKETS (i.e. “supports”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by RACKETS (i.e. “activity in [tennis] court”).

24. Dissonant composer is not consistent, leaving out one note (6)

Answer: Edgard VARESE (i.e. “dissonant composer” – another one I looked up as composers are also ten-a-penny). Solution is VARIES (i.e. “is not consistent”) with I removed (i.e. “leaving out [Roman numeral] one”) and followed by E (i.e. a musical “note”).

25. Bitter speeches an encouragement to audience, accompanied by illustrations (10)

Answer: PHILLIPPICS (i.e. “bitter speeches” – this is a new one on me, but I rather like it). Solution is PHILLIP (i.e. “an encouragement to audience”, i.e. a homophone of “fillip”) followed by PICS (i.e. “accompanied by illustrations”).

26. Fellow must keep quiet in wood (5)

Answer: MAPLE (i.e. “wood”). Solution is MALE (i.e. “fellow”) “keeping” P (a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, a musical term for “quiet”), like so: MA(P)LE.

29. Man in game is cheat (4)

Answer: ROOK. Solution satisfies both “man in game” i.e. a chess piece, and “cheat” (a rook is a card sharp).

30. Headline: “Ship has crossed river” (8)

Answer: STREAMER (i.e. a large, bold “headline”). Solution is STEAMER (i.e. “ship”) wrapped around (i.e. “has crossed”) R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: ST(R)EAMER.

32. Identification of woman, ‘orrible one, no relation (9)

Answer: DIAGNOSIS (i.e. “identification”). Solution is DI (i.e. a “woman’s” name) followed by AG (i.e. “’orrible one”, the apostrophe indicates that the initial “h” of “hag” – a horrible woman – should be dropped) then NO and SIS (i.e. “relation”, short for “sister”).

34. Conservative politician hiding nothing and within the law or guilty with others? (9)

Answer: COMPLICIT (i.e. “guilty with others”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) and MP (i.e. “politician”, specifically a Member of Parliament) “hiding” O (representative of “nothing”) and then followed by LICIT (i.e. “within the law”), like so: C-(O)-MP-LICIT.

35. Importance of small foreign church (8)

Answer: SALIENCE (i.e. “importance”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by ALIEN (i.e. “foreign”) then CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England).

36. Artist of major importance making comeback (4)

Answer: Joan MIRO (i.e. “artist” – as composers, ditto artists). “Of” suggests the solution is hidden in the clue and “making a comeback” suggests the solution is reversed, like so: MAJ(OR IM)PORTANCE.

39. Excellence of top female in American university (5)

Answer: MERIT (i.e. “excellence”). Solution is ER (i.e. “top female”, i.e. the word “her” with the first letter removed) placed “in” MIT (i.e. “American university”, specifically the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), like so: M(ER)IT.

40. One can detect a certain amount of bluster (10)

Answer: ANEMOMETER, a wind gauge. An oddly uncryptic clue, this, with a minimum of wordplay.

42. Sports official from West ‘am’s annoyance and anger (6)

Answer: UMPIRE (i.e. “sports official”). Solution is UMP (i.e. “West ‘am’s annoyance”, i.e. the word “hump” with the letter “h” dropped, as them West ‘am types are forever dropping their aitches) followed by IRE (i.e. “anger).

44. Getting on, accepting the conclusions of proper debate? (8)

Answer: AGREEING. Solution plays on how it satisfies both “accepting” and “getting on”, and how AGEING – another meaning of “getting on” – can be transformed into the solution by adding the final letters – or “conclusions” – of the words “proper debate”, like so: AG(RE)EING. Something like that, anyway.

46. Number half-resigned after change offering words of reconciliation (2,4,8)

Answer: NO HARD FEELINGS (i.e. “words of reconciliation”). Solution is NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “after change”) of HALF-RESIGNED.

48. What parliamentary candidate can lose almost? Politician maybe safe (10)

Answer: DEPOSITORY (i.e. “safe”). Solution is DEPOSIT (i.e. “what parliamentary candidate can lose”) with the final letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and then followed by TORY (i.e. “politician”).

49. William and I broadcasting news periodically – we’ve made a packet? (12)

Answer: BILLIONAIRES (i.e. “we’ve made a packet”). Solution is BILL (i.e. alternative form of “William”) followed by I, then ON AIR (i.e. “broadcasting”) then ES (i.e. “news periodically”, i.e. alternate letters of the word NEWS).

53. Gentleman returning, greeting wise man (5)

Answer: RISHI, a Sanskrit word for a sage (i.e. “wise man”). Solution is SIR (i.e. “gentleman”) reversed (indicated by “returning”) and followed by HI (i.e. “greeting”), like so: RIS-HI.

54. This writer’s book of sayings – no book for those not yet perfect! (9)

Answer: IMPROVERS (i.e. “those not yet perfect”). Solution is IM (i.e. “the writer’s” – from the perspective of the setter, “the writer is” becomes “I am”, the contraction of which is “I’m”) followed by PROVERBS (i.e. “book of sayings”) with the B removed (i.e. “no book” – “b” being a recognised abbreviation of “book”).

55. Anecdotes by this fellow full of energy in Californian city (7)

Answer: ANAHEIM (i.e. “Californian city”). Solution is ANA (i.e. “anecdotes” – not a word I was familiar with, if I’m honest) followed by HIM (i.e. “this fellow”) wrapped around E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”), like so: ANA-H(E)IM.

56. No good territory for Scot to occupy – so he emigrates to here? (3,7)

Answer: NEW ENGLAND. Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “no”), G (ditto “good”) and LAND (i.e. “territory”), wrapped around EWEN (i.e. “Scot to occupy”), like so: N-(EWEN)-G-LAND.

57. Like some dates ending in kiss? Lacking style (9)

Answer: STONELESS (i.e. “like some dates”). Solution is S (i.e. “ending in kiss”, i.e. the last letter of the word “kiss”) followed by TONELESS (i.e. “lacking style”).

Down clues

1. Something risky – the Spanish people may chew on it (5)

Answer: BETEL, a chewable leaf (i.e. “people may chew on it”). Solution is BET (i.e. “something risky”) followed by EL (i.e. “the Spanish” – the Spanish for “the” is “el”).

2. What could make one irate: smut – a shock (10)

Answer: TRAUMATISE (i.e. to “shock”). “What could make” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IRATE SMUT A.

3. Don’t allow botanical body to admit blunder (8)

Answer: OVERRULE (i.e. “don’t allow”). Solution is OVULE (i.e. “botanical body”) “admitting” ERR (i.e. “blunder”), like so: OV(ERR)ULE.

4. Tree French author climbs (5)

Answer: SUMAC (i.e. “tree” – I only know this because I’ve seen a clue very much like it rather recently). Solution is a reversal (indicated by “climbs”) of Albert CAMUS (i.e. “French author”).

5. Job somewhere in Africa in a time of new life (9)

Answer: POSTNATAL (i.e. “time of new life”). Solution is POST (i.e. “job”) followed by NATAL (i.e. “somewhere in Africa”).

6. Two islands in river (4)

Answer: ISIS, an alternative name of the River Thames (i.e. “river”). Solution is IS (a recognised abbreviation of “island”) repeated (i.e. “two islands”).

7. Offer facility for steam train (6)

Answer: TENDER. Solution satisfies both “offer” and “facility for steam train” – a tender is a train carriage containing fuel and water.

8. Car makers there organised test of customers’ requirements (6,8)

Answer: MARKET RESEARCH (i.e. “test of customers’ requirements”). “Organised” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CAR MAKERS THERE.

9. Knight about to enter final scene, saying something’s wrong (12)

Answer: DENOUNCEMENT (i.e. “saying something’s wrong”). Solution is DENOUEMENT (i.e. “final scene”) with N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) and C (a recognised abbreviation of “circa”, i.e. “about”), like so: DENOU(N-C)EMENT.

10. Walked with external support, a bit of electronic apparatus (7)

Answer: TETRODE (i.e. “a bit of electronic apparatus”). Solution is TROD (i.e. “walked”) placed inside (indicated by “external”) TEE (i.e. a golf “support”), like so: TE(TROD)E.

11. Come out with holiday insurance (5,5)

Answer: BREAK COVER (i.e. “come out”). Solution is BREAK (i.e. “holiday”) followed by COVER (i.e. “insurance”).

15. Troublesome types rush around a ship, taking risk regularly (9)

Answer: HARASSERS (i.e. “troublesome types”). Solution is HARE (i.e. “rush”) placed “around” SS (a recognised abbreviation of a steamship, i.e. “ship”) and then followed by RS (i.e. “risk regularly”, i.e. every other letter of the word RISK), like so: HARA(SS)E-RS.

18. My friend entertaining soldiers is one of them? (8)

Answer: CORPORAL. Solution is COR (i.e. an exclamatory “my!” as in “cor blimey!”) followed by PAL (i.e. “friend”) wrapped around (i.e. “entertaining”) OR (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Other Ranks of the army), like so: COR-P(OR)AL. Within the context of the clue, the solution is “one of them [soldiers]”.

20. Agent set up yesteryear’s entertainer? (9)

Answer: PERFORMER (i.e. “entertainer”). Solution is REP (short for “representative”, i.e. “agent”) reversed (indicated by “up”, this being a down clue) and followed by FORMER (i.e. “yesteryear’s”), like so: PER-FORMER.

21. The crew is shipwrecked with last character aboard a theologian (10)

Answer: Albert SCHWEITZER (i.e. “theologian”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “shipwrecked”) of THE CREW IS wrapped around Z (i.e. “with last character aboard” – Z being the last letter of the alphabet), like so: SCHWEIT(Z)ER. I admit I got this purely through the wordplay rather than any real knowledge of theologians.

23. Leader of orchestra, one may surmise, is young and green (10)

Answer: FIDDLEHEAD, the edible curled frond of some ferns, it says here. So more bloody plants, then! Solution plays on how a FIDDLE HEAD may be the “leader of [an] orchestra”.

27. Rider to send wild beast across island (9)

Answer: POSTILION, someone who guides posthorses by riding on one of them (i.e. “rider”). No, me neither. Solution is POST (i.e. “to send”) then I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”) and LION (i.e. “wild beast”).

28. Thinking to act’s tricky – keep trying (5,2,7)

Answer: STICK AT NOTHING (i.e. “keep trying”). “Tricky” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THINKING TO ACT’S.

31. Big beast gets post keeping little old fellow under (8)

Answer: MASTODON (i.e. “big beast”). Solution is MAST (i.e. “post”) with O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and DON (i.e. “fellow”) “kept under”, like so: MAST-O-DON.

33. Brats and the like spouting nonsense (12)

Answer: BLATHERSKITE, a garrulous talker of “nonsense” – I have never seen, heard or come close to this word in all my eighteen-and-a-bit-and-a-bit years. I really like it!). “Spouting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BRATS and THE LIKE.

34. Arrive, having ditched English chap, to meet the German boss (9)

Answer: COMMANDER (i.e. “boss”). Solution is COME (i.e. “arrive”) with the E removed (i.e. “having ditched English” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “English”), followed by MAN (i.e. “chap”) and DER (i.e. “the German” – the German for “the” is “der”), like so: COM-MAN-DER.

37. Key command in move against thieves (4,6)

Answer: OPEN SESAME. In Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, the door to the thieves’ den is opened by these words, i.e. “key command”.

38. Mix in a Spanish city, having abandoned a friend (10)

Answer: AMALGAMATE (i.e. “mix”). Solution is A, then MALAGA (i.e. “Spanish city”) with its middle A removed (i.e. “having abandoned a”), then MATE (i.e. “friend”), like so: A-MALGA-MATE.

41. Former French friend observed turning up – they’d have testing time (9)

Answer: EXAMINEES (i.e. “they’d have a testing time”). Solution is EX (i.e. “former”) then AMI (i.e. “French friend” – the French for “friend” is “ami”) then SEEN (i.e. “observed”) reversed (indicated by “turning up” – this being a down clue), like so: EX-AMI-NEES.

43. Move of company northwards noted in chronicle (8)

Answer: RELOCATE (i.e. “move”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) reversed (indicated by “northwards” – this being a down clue) and placed in RELATE (i.e. “chronicle”, albeit rather weakly), like so: REL(OC)ATE.

45. Ceremony embracing sailor’s swift comeback (7)

Answer: RIPOSTE (i.e. “swift comeback”). Solution is RITE (i.e. “ceremony”) “embracing” POS (i.e. “sailors”, specifically Petty Officers), like so: RI(POS)TE.

47. Spirit of good old man accepting modern style of music (6)

Answer: GRAPPA (i.e. “spirit”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) and PA (i.e. “old man”) “accepting” RAP (i.e. “modern style of music”), like so: G-(RAP)-PA.

50. What cowboy uses, see, for catching animal (5)

Answer: LASSO. At first it looks like a strangely uncryptic clue, but solution is LO (i.e. “see”, as in “lo and behold”) “catching” ASS (i.e. “animal”), like so: L(ASS)O.

51. Music-makers overwhelmed by greed sometimes (5)

Answer: REEDS (i.e. “music-makers”). “Overwhelmed” (as in “swamped by”) indicates the solution is hidden within the clue, like so: G(REED S)OMETIMES.

52. Proceed with commercial that provides motivation (4)

Answer: GOAD (i.e. “provides motivation”). Solution is GO (i.e. “proceed”) followed by AD (i.e. “commercial”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1364

Okay, that’s me back up to date again. Here’s my completed grid for the latest Times Jumbo Cryptic puzzle, along with explanations where I have them.

Okay, now I promise to post something a little more readable. Scout’s honour, guv!

LP

Across clues

1. Vessel has slate on lip (8)

Answer: SAUCEPAN (i.e. “vessel”). Solution is SAUCE (i.e. “lip”) then PAN (i.e. to “slate” something).

5. Settle down in Arsenal’s opening match (6)

Answer: ALIGHT (i.e. “settle down”). Solution is A (i.e. “Arsenal’s opening”, i.e. the first letter of “Arsenal”) followed by LIGHT (i.e. “match”).

9. Calm down, please: official’s inside (4,3)

Answer: EASE OFF (i.e. “calm down”). “Inside” suggests the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: PL(EASE OFF)ICIAL.

14. Modish poem contains a line on worker, perhaps without style (11)

Answer: INELEGANTLY (i.e. “without style”). Solution is IN (i.e. popular, trendy or “modish”) followed by ELEGY (i.e. “poem”) “containing” ANT (i.e. “worker”) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”), like so: IN-ELEG(ANT-L)Y.

15. Doctor knocked back drink, once again dispatched everywhere (11)

Answer: OMNIPRESENT (i.e. “everywhere”). Solution is OM (i.e. “doctor knocked back”, i.e. the initial letters of Medical Officer reversed) followed by NIP (i.e. “drink”) and RESENT (i.e. “once again dispatched”).

16. Confidence bound to be picked up (5)

Answer: TRUST (i.e. “confidence”). “To be picked up” suggests the solution is a homophone of “trussed” (i.e. “bound”).

17. Clouds having been formed containing radioactive element, note (7)

Answer: NEBULAE (i.e. “clouds”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “formed”) of BEEN “containing” U (i.e. “radioactive element”, specifically the chemical symbol for uranium) and LA (i.e. “note”, as in the do-ray-me scale), like so: NEB(U-LA)E.

18. Novel with fantastic genre to flog in bulletin (9)

Answer: NEWSFLASH (i.e. “bulletin”). Solution is NEW (i.e. “novel”) followed by SF (i.e. “fantastic genre”, specifically Science Fiction) and LASH (i.e. “to flog”).

19. Abnormal sort of water in Derwent’s banks (7)

Answer: DEVIANT (i.e. “abnormal”). Solution is EVIAN (i.e. “sort of water”) placed “in” DT (i.e. “Derwent’s banks”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Derwent”), like so: D(EVIAN)T.

20. Send on deployment of troops, say, following Thirty Years War? (4-11)

Answer: POST-REFORMATION (i.e. “following Thirty Years War”). Solution is POST (i.e. “send”) followed by RE (i.e. “on”, as in “regarding”) and FORMATION (i.e. “deployment of troops”).

22. Used to give support, at first (6-4)

Answer: SECOND-HAND (i.e. “used”). I’m a little wobbly on this. I get that SECOND is “to give support”, and you might perhaps do so by raising your hand, but to be honest I’m not quite tuned into what the setter’s doing here. I doubt I’ll miss any sleep over it.

23. Depict resistance fighters on edge, retreating (6)

Answer: MIRROR (i.e. “depict”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation for electrical “resistance”) followed by OR (i.e. “fighters”, specifically the Other Ranks of the army) and RIM (i.e. “edge”) all reversed (i.e. “retreating”), like so: MIR-RO-R.

25. Condescend to listen to EU citizen (4)

Answer: DANE (i.e. “EU citizen”). “To listen” suggests the solution is a homophone of “deign” (i.e. “condescend”).

28. Crazy whirl upstaging enchanting event? (9,5)

Answer: WALPURGIS NIGHT, the night in German folklore when witches get down with the devil (i.e. “enchanting event”). “Crazy” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WHIRL UPSTAGING.

30. A lot of craft to satisfy a welcoming crowd (8)

Answer: FLOTILLA (i.e. “a lot of [sea]craft”). This one’s a mess, but I think the solution is LOT being “welcomed” into FILL (i.e. “to satisfy”) and A like so: F(LOT)ILL-A. Not a classic clue by any means.

32. Venomous man, a day tripper (8)

Answer: ACIDHEAD (i.e. “tripper”). Solution is ACID (i.e. “venomous”) followed by HE (i.e. “man”) then A and D (a recognised abbreviation of “day”).

34. Hinder false advertiser, one offering advice (4-4,6)

Answer: BACK-SEAT DRIVER (i.e. “one offering advice”). Solution is BACK (i.e. to “hinder” or hold back) followed by an anagram (indicated by “false”) of “advertiser”.

37. Make unclear, short publicity text (4)

Answer: BLUR (i.e. “make unclear”. Solution is BLURB (i.e. “publicity text”) with the last letter removed (i.e. made “short”).

38. Heartless fool screening film in old age (6)

Answer: NINETY (i.e. “in old age”). Solution is NINNY (i.e. “fool”) with the middle letter removed (i.e. “heartless”) and wrapped around (i.e. “screening”) ET (i.e. “film”), like so: NIN(ET)Y.

39. Admitting depression, crooks joining church recover (10)

Answer: CONVALESCE (i.e. “recover”). Solution is CONS (i.e. “crooks”) “admitting” VALE (i.e. “depression”) and then followed by CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: CON(VALE)S-CE.

43. Subject promises to settle coastal area, being quarrelsome (15)

Answer: CONTENTIOUSNESS (i.e. “quarrelsome”). Solution is CONTENT (i.e. “subject”) followed by IOUS (i.e. “promises to settle”) and NESS (which is another word for headland, i.e. “coastal area”).

45. Vain Englishman and American crossing river (7)

Answer: POMPOUS (i.e. “vain”). Solution is POM (i.e. “Englishman”) and US (i.e. “American”) placed around, or “crossing”, PO (i.e. a “river” in Italy), like so: POM-(PO)-US.

47. Mobile phone with charm and a reluctance to innovate (9)

Answer: NEOPHOBIA, a fear of new things (i.e. “reluctance to innovate”). Solution is NEOPH, an anagram (indicated by “mobile”) of “phone”, followed by OBI (a kind of “charm”) and A.

49. Agreement to embrace John? Nothing is impossible (2,3,2)

Answer: NO CAN DO (i.e. “impossible”). Solution is NOD (i.e. “agreement”) “embracing” CAN (i.e. “John”, as in a toilet) and followed by O (i.e. “nothing”), like so: NO(CAN)D-O.

51. Crustacean luckily protecting back bones (5)

Answer: ULNAE (i.e. “bones”). “Protecting” suggests the solution is hidden in the clue, and “back” suggests the clue is hidden backwards, like so: CRUSTAC(EAN LU)CKILY.

52. It’s almost the end in sentence (4,7)

Answer: HOME STRETCH (i.e. “it’s almost the end”). Solution is HOME (i.e. “in”) and STRETCH (i.e. a prison “sentence”).

53. The writer’s to offer books without forethought (11)

Answer: IMPROVIDENT (i.e. “without forethought”). Solution is IM (i.e. “the writer’s” – from the setter’s point of view “the writer is” becomes “I am”, which is contracted to I’M) followed by PROVIDE (i.e. “to offer”) and NT (i.e. “books”, specifically the New Testament).

54. Singular art including most blue (7)

Answer: SADDEST (i.e. “most blue”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”). The rest of the clue will take some explaining. “Art including” should be read as ye olde “[Someone] art including [something]”, i.e. read as “is including”. To include something is to “add” it. Keeping it all ye olde, “art including” therefore becomes something like “Lucian ADDEST another reader to his blog”. So, the solution is S-ADDEST. I like and despise this clue in equal measure.

55. Person managing to seize one unoriginal type (6)

Answer: COPIER (i.e. “unoriginal type”). Solution is COPER (i.e. “person managing”) “seizing” I (Roman numeral “one”), like so: COP(I)ER.

56. Kid by cool water experiencing heat (2,6)

Answer: IN SEASON (i.e. “experiencing heat”). Solution is SON (i.e. “kid”) placed “by” IN (i.e. “cool”) and SEA (i.e. “water”), like so: IN-SEA-SON.

Down clues

1. Awkward son went off the straight and narrow (7)

Answer: STILTED (i.e. “awkward”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by TILTED (i.e. “went off the straight and narrow”).

2. A French ass, say, mostly loud and clear (11)

Answer: UNEQUIVOCAL (i.e. “clear”). Solution is UN (i.e. “a French”, as in the French for “a”) followed by EQUI (i.e. “ass, say, mostly”, i.e. the word “equid” – which describes horses, zebras and asses – with the final letter removed) and VOCAL (i.e. “loud”).

3. Reader’s issue with English agreed by school (9)

Answer: EYESTRAIN (i.e. “reader’s issue”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by YES (i.e. “agreed”) and TRAIN (i.e. to “school” someone).

4. Unnatural profit, in a way, with vodka and beer (7,3,5)

Answer: AGAINST THE GRAIN (i.e. “unnatural”). Solution is A GAIN (i.e. “profit”) followed by ST (i.e. “a way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”) and THE GRAIN (i.e. “vodka and beer” I guess).

6. No republican initially changing sides? He won’t (8)

Answer: LOYALIST. Solution is ROYALIST (i.e. “no republican”) with the first letter R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) switched for L (ditto “left”) i.e. “initially changing sides”. In the context of the clue, a loyalist is someone who won’t change sides.

7. Blooming head of theatre and choir take off (5,9)

Answer: GLOBE ARTICHOKE (i.e. “blossoming head”). Solution is GLOBE (i.e. the famous Shakespearean “theatre” in London) followed by an anagram (indicated by “off”) of CHOIR TAKE.

8. It helps musician to grin, with funk playing (6,4)

Answer: TUNING FORK (i.e. “it helps musician”). “Playing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO GRIN and FUNK.

9. Entitle army corps to pull back holding detainee (7)

Answer: EMPOWER (i.e. “entitle”). Solution is REME (i.e. “army corps”, specifically the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) reversed (i.e. “pulled back”) and then “holding” POW (i.e. “detainee”), like so: EM(POW)ER.

10. Note what’s up in the papers? (5)

Answer: SHEAF (i.e. “papers”). Solution is FA (i.e. “note”, as in the do-ray-me scale) and EHS (i.e. “what’s”, as in “eh, what was that?”) all reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: SHE-AF.

11. Frank, mostly sensible, is running (11)

Answer: OPERATIONAL (i.e. “is running”). Solution is OPE (i.e. “frank, mostly”, i.e. the word “open” with the last letter removed) followed by RATIONAL (i.e. “sensible”).

12. Pretty female making an impression (8)

Answer: FETCHING (i.e. “pretty”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female” followed by ETCHING (i.e. “making an impression”).

13. Go crazy, in a spin (4)

Answer: STAB (as in to have an attempt, or a “go”, at something). Solution is BATS (i.e. “crazy”) reversed (i.e. “in a spin”).

20. Castigate attempt at humour, to a degree (6)

Answer: PUNISH. Solution satisfies “castigate” and “attempt at humour, to a degree” i.e. not quite a pun.

21. Go off northwards after car, I hear (7)

Answer: AUDITOR (i.e. “I hear”, as opposed to the ever-increasing number of firms found to be skilled at overlooking corporate financial mismanagement and white-collar crime). Solution is ROT (i.e. “go off”) reversed (indicated by “northwards” – this being a down clue) and placed after AUDI (i.e. “car”) like so: AUDI-TOR.

22. I’m not interested in female item of clothing (2,4)

Answer: SO WHAT (i.e. “I’m not interested”). Solution is SOW (i.e. “female”) and HAT (i.e. “item of clothing”).

24. Maybe what could make inventor pour ale (8,7)

Answer: RELATIVE PRONOUN, which, I guess, is the word “what” in the clue (i.e. “Maybe what”). “Could make” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INVENTOR POUR ALE.

26. Inclusive approach gets old man aboard Britain’s new vessel (14)

Answer: BIPARTISANSHIP (i.e. “inclusive approach”). Solution is PA (i.e. “old man”) placed “aboard” an anagram (indicated by “new”) of BRITAINS and followed by SHIP (i.e. “vessel”), like so: BI(PA)RTISAN-SHIP.

27. Children’s writer’s block has no end (6)

Answer: [J. M.] BARRIE, author of Peter Pan (i.e. “children’s writer”). Solution is BARRIER (i.e. “block”) with “no end”, i.e. the last letter removed.

29. Throw up, at first, on new drug (7)

Answer: UNHORSE (i.e. “throw”). Solution is U (i.e. “up, at first”, i.e. the first letter of the word “up”) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and HORSE (i.e. “drug”, specifically a slang word for heroin).

31. Goddess, we’re told, is like a carrier of blood (6)

Answer: VENOUS. Solution satisfies both “goddess, we’re told” – i.e. a homophone of “Venus” – and “like a carrier of blood”. Think of intravenous drips in hospitals.

33. One learner guided around in class is ignorant (3-8)

Answer: ILL-INFORMED (i.e. “ignorant”). Solution is I (i.e. Roman numeral “one”) then L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner”) and LED (i.e. “guided”) placed “around” IN FORM (i.e. “in class”), like so: I-L-L(IN-FORM)ED.

35. Loveless letters penned by thick aristocrat (11)

Answer: VISCOUNTESS (i.e. “aristocrat”). Solution is NOTES (i.e. “letters”) with the O removed (i.e. “loveless” – “love” being a zero score in tennis) and placed in VISCOUS (i.e. “thick”), like so: VISCOU(NTES)S.

36. Pragmatic criminal in court takes fellow in (10)

Answer: UNROMANTIC (i.e. “pragmatic”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “criminal”) of IN COURT “taking in” MAN (i.e. “fellow”), like so: UNRO(MAN)TIC.

40. Echo behind cattle car (9)

Answer: LIMOUSINE (i.e. “car”). Solution is E (“echo” in the phonetic alphabet) placed “behind” LIMOUSIN (a breed of “cattle”), like so: LIMOUSIN-E.

41. Kind of leaves a prison in this way (8)

Answer: ACANTHUS (i.e. “kind of leaves”). Solution is A CAN (i.e. “a prison”) followed by THUS (i.e. “in this way”).

42. Responding with original, moving chapter (8)

Answer: REACTIVE (i.e. “responding”). Solution is CREATIVE (i.e. “original”) with C moved down a couple of notches (i.e. “moving chapter” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “chapter”).

44. Not dressed in rubbish fabric (7)

Answer: TABARET (i.e. “fabric”). Solution is BARE (i.e. “not dressed”) placed “in” TAT (i.e. “rubbish”), like so: TA(BARE)T. I admit I got this one purely by the wordplay.

46. Two versions of small figure to placate (7)

Answer: SWEETEN (i.e. “to placate”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small” used in clothing) and WEE (giving us “two versions of small”) followed by TEN (i.e. “figure”).

48. Eats meal briefly, in rush (5)

Answer: HASTE (i.e. “in rush”). Solution is HAS TEA (i.e. “eats”) with the final letter removed from “tea” (indicated by “briefly”).

50. Regularly in toupee? You must be joking (4)

Answer: NOPE (i.e. “you must be joking”). “Regularly” suggests the solution is derived by taking every other letter of IN TOUPEE.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1363

Here’s my solution to last Saturday’s puzzle, along with explanations where I have them. This was another to file under “Not A Classic”, especially if my mood by the end of the puzzle was any judge. Then again, I have been a right grumpy sod these last few weeks…

Anyway, on with the solution:

Across clues

1. Very bad – being sanctioned, losing head (5)

Answer: AWFUL (i.e. “very bad”). Solution is LAWFUL (i.e. “sanctioned”) with the first letter removed (i.e. “losing head”).

4. Caught in withdrawal with English soldiers – time for agitation (10)

Answer: EXCITEMENT (i.e. “agitation”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in cricket) placed “in” EXIT (i.e. “withdrawal”) and then followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), MEN (i.e. “soldiers”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: EX(C)IT-E-MEN-T.

9. Think about new name for herb (6)

Answer: FENNEL (i.e. “herb”). Solution is FEEL (i.e. “think”) placed “about” N and N (both recognised abbreviations of “new” and “name”), like so: FE(N-N)EL.

14. Only crag around that’s home to fine raptor (9)

Answer: GYRFALCON, a bird of prey (i.e. “raptor”). Did a Google Image search – oooh, pretty. Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used when grading pencils) placed in an anagram (indicated by “around”) of ONLY CRAG, like so: GYR(F)ALCON.

15. Remarkably ungodly Titans must be destroyed (13)

Answer: OUTSTANDINGLY (i.e. “remarkably”). “Must be destroyed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UNGODLY TITANS. This took me longer than it should as I couldn’t look past “astoundingly” even though I knew it didn’t have enough Ts. Stoopid brain.

16. Press function that’s very crowded (7)

Answer: SQUEEZE. Okay, here’s the first solution I’m not 100% sure about, so watch out. I’m going for “squeeze” being another word for “press”, but the rest of the clue has me flummoxed. Moving on with my life…

17. Tangle of limbs – frogs slip, now shedding skins (9)

Answer: IMBROGLIO (i.e. “tangle”). “Shedding skins” suggests we remove the first and last letters of the words LIMBS, FROGS, SLIP and NOW.

18. Woodworker hasn’t to criticise log (5)

Answer: ENTER (i.e. to “log”). Solution is CARPENTER (i.e. “woodworker”) with CARP removed (i.e. “hasn’t to criticise”).

19. Influence of Austen novel not working? See “Sense” rewritten (14)

Answer: PERSUASIVENESS (i.e. “influence”). A bit of a stinker this. Solution is PERSUASION (i.e. “Austen novel”) with ON removed (i.e. “not working”), then followed by V (i.e. “see” – V is a recognised abbreviation of “vide”, which is Latin for “see”… I know, I know…) and an anagram (indicated by “rewritten”) of SENSE, like so: PERSUASI-V-ENESS. Sheesh!

22. Spotted millions too much under control (7)

Answer: MOTTLED (i.e. “spotted”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “millions”) followed by OTT (i.e. “too much”, or Over The Top – which, coincidentally, was the first film I saw at the cinema. Don’t judge me; we had the choice of either that or Mannequin) and LED (i.e. “under control”).

25. Make new assessment concerning girl dead after eating uranium (2-8)

Answer: RE-EVALUATE (i.e. “make new assessment”). Solution is RE (i.e. “concerning”) followed by VAL (i.e. “girl”) and LATE (i.e. “dead”) wrapped around, or “eating”, U (chemical symbol of “uranium”) like so: RE-EVA-L(U)ATE.

27. After stone’s removed, red guy perhaps is infectious (12)

Answer: COMMUNICABLE (i.e. “infectious”). Solution is COMMUNIST (i.e. “red”) with ST removed (i.e. “after stone’s removed”) and then followed by CABLE (i.e. a “guy”), like so: COMMUNI-CABLE.

30. Importance of manservant being reduced outside upper class (5)

Answer: VALUE (i.e. “importance”). Solution is VALET (i.e. “manservant”) with the final letter removed (i.e. “reduced”) and remainder placed around U (a recognised abbreviation used to denote the “upper class”), like so: VAL(U)E.

31. Wizard’s more angry about church resistance (8)

Answer: SORCERER (i.e. “wizard”). Solution is SORER (i.e. “more angry”) placed “about” CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England) and R (a recognised abbreviation for electrical “resistance”), like so: SOR(CE-R)ER.

32. Battle’s appeal perhaps is a test of strength (3-2-3)

Answer: TUG-OF-WAR. Solution satisfies both “battle’s appeal” and “test of strength”.

35. Generosity of Ayrshire town about English home Counties (8)

Answer: LARGESSE (i.e. “generosity”). Solution is LARGS (i.e. “Ayrshire town” – not one I’m familiar with, if I’m honest) placed “about” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and followed by SE (i.e. “home Counties”, or, generally, the South East), like so: LARG(E)SSE.

36. Keeping French company in hand with a big Spanish house (8)

Answer: HACIENDA (i.e. “big Spanish house”). Solution is CIE (i.e. “French company” – while we abbreviate “company” to “co.”, the French abbreviate “compagnie” to “cie”, so now you know) being “kept” in HAND and then followed by A, like so: HA(CIE)ND-A.

37. Show contempt for society and banal sentimentality (5)

Answer: SCORN (i.e. “show contempt”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “society”) followed by CORN (i.e. “banal sentimentality”).

39. Magnanimous in one’s real nature, beset by selfish desire (5-7)

Answer: GREAT-HEARTED (i.e. “magnanimous”). Solution is AT HEART (i.e. “one’s real nature”) “beset by” GREED (i.e. “selfish desire”), like so: GRE(AT HEART)ED.

41. Energy in river gets less after its start, characteristic of the plain (10)

Answer: SEVERENESS (i.e. “characteristic of the plain”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) placed “in” SEVERN (i.e. “river”) and followed by ESS (i.e. “less after it’s start”, i.e. the letters following the initial letter of the word “less”), like so: SEVER(E)N-ESS.

43. Former role in Goethe, hard for female to get everything out of (7)

Answer: EXHAUST (i.e. “to get everything out of”). Solution is EX (i.e. “former”) followed by HAUST (i.e. “role in Goethe, hard for female”, i.e. “Faust” with F replaced by H, both being recognised abbreviations of “female” and “hard” respectively).

45. Making up earlier public relations lie about ecstasy (14)

Answer: PREFABRICATION (i.e. “making up earlier”). Solution is PR (short for “public relations”) and FABRICATION (i.e. “lie”) placed “about” E (being a recognised abbreviation of “ecstasy”), like so: PR-(E)-FABRICATION.

48. Husband’s in French resort area with specialised group (5)

Answer: NICHE (i.e. “specialised group”). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) placed “in” NICE (i.e. “French resort”), like so: NIC(H)E.

49. Horseman heard to pine from day to day? (9)

Answer: NIGHTLONG. Solution satisfies both “horseman heard” – suggesting a homophone of “knight” – “to pine” i.e. long, and “from” i.e. between “day to day”. A curious omission from my Chambers, this one.

51. Some wire electrician put in again (2-5)

Answer: RE-ELECT (i.e. “put in again”). “Some” suggests the solution is hidden within the clue, like so: WI(RE ELECT)RICIAN.

53. Elegant literature allowed in ghastly best seller? (6-7)

Answer: BELLES LETTRES (i.e. “elegant literature” – probably not something you’d find on my bookshelves). Solution is LET (i.e. “allowed”) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “ghastly”) of “best seller”, like so: BELLES (LET)TRES.

54. It went with the need to recompose at the end of a score (9)

Answer: TWENTIETH (i.e. “at the end of a score”). “Recompose” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IT WENT and THE.

55. Youthful bachelor, rather bashful, avoiding clubs (6)

Answer: BOYISH (i.e. “youthful”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “bachelor”) followed by OYISH (i.e. “rather bashful, avoiding clubs”, i.e. the word “coyish” with the letter C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games) removed), like so: B-OYISH.

56. Barbican may defend this sketch by English composer (10)

Answer: DRAWBRIDGE (i.e. “Barbican may defend this” – a barbican is a fortified outpost). Solution is DRAW (i.e. “sketch”) followed by Frank BRIDGE (i.e. “English composer”).

57. One who travels up Amazon, say, but velocity’s small (5)

Answer: RISER (i.e. “one who travels up”). Solution is RIVER (i.e. “Amazon, say”) with V (a recognised abbreviation of “velocity”) replaced by S (ditto “small”).

Down clues

1. Gold rush in the air for part of the summer (6)

Answer: AUGUST (i.e. “part of the summer”). Solution is AU (chemical symbol of “gold”) followed by GUST (i.e. “rush in the air”).

2. Bank employee follows mint guide to future developments (7,6)

Answer: FORTUNE TELLER (i.e. “guide to future developments”). Solution is TELLER (i.e. “bank employee”) “following” FORTUNE (i.e. “mint”).

3. Pull out a lot of pages (5)

Answer: LEAVE. And here’s the next solution I’m not 100% on, so, again, be careful here. I’m going for “leave” being another word for “pull out”, but, frankly the setter has left me stone cold after that.

4. Excellent rate when moving waste (7)

Answer: EXCRETA (i.e. “waste”). Solution is EXC (a recognised abbreviation of “excellent”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “when moving”) of RATE, like so: EXC-RETA.

5. Shout about arranged coalition bringing parties together (12)

Answer: CONCILIATORY (i.e. “bringing parties together”). Solution is CRY (i.e. “shout”) placed “about” an anagram (indicated by “arranged”) of COALITION, like so: C(ONCILIATO)RY.

6. Worried nearly all fish escaped into surrounding area (8)

Answer: TROUBLED (i.e. “worried”). Solution is TROUT with the final letter removed (i.e. “nearly all fish”) followed by BLED (i.e. “escape into surrounding area”).

7. Sailor losing pounds eating unknown biscuit (5)

Answer: MATZO, a Jewish unleavened flatbread eaten during Passover (i.e. “biscuit” – albeit veeeeery loosely). Solution is MATLO (a slang word for “sailor” I wasn’t familiar with) with L removed (i.e. “losing pounds”, L being a recognised abbreviation of “pounds”) and the remainder “eating” Z (i.e. “unknown” – setters love using this to represent the letters X, Y or Z), like so: MAT(Z)O.

8. Ordering of ten omelets is annoying (10)

Answer: NETTLESOME (i.e. “annoying” – a bit like some of the clues in this puzzle). “Ordering of” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TEN OMELETS.

10. Demanding information during flight? (7)

Answer: EXIGENT (i.e. urgent, pressing, or “demanding”). Solution is GEN (i.e. “information”) placed “during” EXIT (i.e. “flight”) like so: EXI(GEN)T. Nice word. I suspect I’ll see it several times over the coming weeks.

11. Almost one hundred and fifty in boat’s cabaret (9)

Answer: NIGHTCLUB (i.e. “cabaret”). Solution is NIGH (i.e. “almost”) followed by TUB (i.e. “boat”) wrapped around CL (Roman numerals for “one hundred and fifty”), like so: NIGH-T(CL)UB.

12. Killer beheaded hen (5)

Answer: LAYER (i.e. “hen”). Solution is SLAYER (i.e. “killer”) with its first letter removed (i.e. “beheaded”).

13. Insane commuter upset out of all proportion (14)

Answer: INCOMMENSURATE (i.e. “out of all proportion”). “Upset” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INSANE COMMUTER.

20. Announcement broadcast about gallery being given millions (9)

Answer: STATEMENT (i.e. “announcement”). Solution is SENT (i.e. “broadcast”) placed “about” TATE (i.e. “gallery”) and M (a recognised abbreviation of “millions”), like so: S(TATE-M)ENT.

21. Note: habitual drunkard chap is known to a few (8)

Answer: ESOTERIC (i.e. “known [only] to a few”). Solution is E (i.e. a musical “note”) followed by SOT (i.e. “habitual drunkard”) and ERIC (i.e. “chap”).

23. Eats last of meals outside back in gloom (10)

Answer: DREARINESS (i.e. “gloom”). Solution is DINES (i.e. “eats”) and S (i.e. “last of meals”, i.e. the last letter of the word “meals”) placed “outside” of REAR (i.e. “back”), like so: D(REAR)INES-S.

24. Composer with work mounted in Tuesday’s programme (10)

Answer: TRAVELOGUE (i.e. “programme”). Solution is RAVEL (i.e. “composer” – him what done “Bolero”, like) and OG (i.e. “work mounted”, i.e. the word “go” reversed) all placed in TUE (short for “Tuesday”), like so: T(RAVEL-OG)UE.

26. Naively unsure, but not about small muscle smarting (14)

Answer: UNSUSPECTINGLY (i.e. “naively unsure”). Solution is UNSURE with RE removed (i.e. “but not about”, RE being often used to denote “about” or “regarding”), followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”), PEC (i.e. “muscle”) and TINGLY (i.e. “smarting”), like so: UNSU-S-PEC-TINGLY.

28. What will support some fliers showing signs of ageing (5-4)

Answer: CROWS FEET. Solution satisfies both “what will support some fliers” and “signs of ageing”.

29. Everyone initially pursuing beer in pins in contract wording? (8)

Answer: LEGALESE (i.e. “contract wording”). Solution is LEGS (i.e. “pins”) placed around ALE (i.e. “beer”) and followed by E (i.e. “everyone initially”, i.e. the first letter of the word “everyone”), like so: LEG(ALE)S-E.

33. Unity keeps a number in good condition (13)

Answer: WHOLESOMENESS (i.e. “in good condition”). Solution is WHOLENESS (i.e. “unity”) “keeping” SOME (i.e. “a number”) like so: WHOLE(SOME)NESS.

34. Teenage drugs circulating in one group (12)

Answer: UNSEGREGATED (i.e. “in one group”). “Circulating” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TEENAGE DRUGS.

38. Hold up a reptile – one giving birth? (10)

Answer: PROPAGATOR (i.e. “one giving birth”). Solution is PROP (i.e. “hold up”) followed by A GATOR (i.e. “a reptile”).

40. Properly European count seen around this in Rome? (9)

Answer: ETHICALLY (i.e. “properly”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) followed by TALLY (i.e. “count”) wrapped “around” HIC (i.e. “this in Rome” – the Latin for “this” is “hic”), like so: E-T(HIC)ALLY.

42. Driver having to go round old noisy drinker (8)

Answer: CAROUSER (i.e. “noisy drinker”). Solution is CAR USER (i.e. “driver”) placed “round” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: CAR-(O)-USER.

44. Having no home, the first two thrown out will be idle (7)

Answer: USELESS (i.e. “idle”). Solution is HOUSELESS (i.e. “having no home”) with the “first two [letters] thrown out”.

46. Obtain returns in main train (7)

Answer: CORTEGE (i.e. “train”). Solution is GET (i.e. “obtains”) reversed (i.e. “returns”) and placed “in” CORE (i.e. “main”), like so: COR(TEG)E.

47. And expensive in Paris for one who’s eating out (6)

Answer: ETCHER (i.e. “one who’s eating out” material with acid). Solution is ET CHER (i.e. “and expensive in Paris”, i.e. the French for “and” and “dear”).

48. Nick? He died an important person (5)

Answer: NABOB (i.e. “an important person”). Solution is NAB (i.e. “nick”) followed by OB (a recognised abbreviation of the Latin word “obiter”, meaning “died”).

50. Cast line after tench, missing those in the middle (5)

Answer: THROW (i.e. “cast”). Solution is ROW (i.e. “line”) placed “after” TH (i.e. “tench, missing those in the middle”, i.e. the word “tench” with the middle letters removed), like so: TH-ROW.

52. County town demolishing church compound (5)

Answer: ESTER (i.e. “compound”). Solution is CHESTER (i.e. “county town”) with CH removed (i.e. “demolishing church”, CH being a recognised abbreviation of “church”).

One more to go and we’ll be up to speed.

LP