Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1456

A tricky one this week that required a little more patience in places than I was willing to give. General knowledge is not a high priority of mine, as will become apparent in some of my answers. My Bradford’s is taking a well earned breather, cooling off in the fridge.

Anyway, enough blathering. You are here for the answers, and as ever you’ll find mine below along with explanations where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a previous Times Jumbo Cryptic has done for you, then my Just For Fun page might help you, with links to the last 100+ of these things. While you are here I’ve got some dusty old book reviews and a story of mine knocking about the place too.

Till next time, stay safe, mask up and keep flying the flag for the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

1. Channels in motorway area provide equine with water, not fresh (4,5)

Answer: MASS MEDIA (i.e. “channels”). Solution is MI (i.e. “motorway”, specifically the M1 with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent) and A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”) wrapped around or “providing” ASS (i.e. “equine”) and MED (i.e. “water, not fresh”, i.e. the Mediterranean Sea – seas being a smidge saltier than fresh water rivers and streams), like so: M(ASS-MED)I-A.

6. What may be read in a church in the country? (7)

Answer: The Book of MALACHI (i.e. “what may be read in a church”). Solution is A and CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) placed “in” MALI (i.e. “country”), like so: MAL(A-CH)I.

10. Shut up, being a century old (5)

Answer: CAGED (i.e. “shut up”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “century”) followed by AGED (i.e. “old”).

13. Make lace to cover plain silk fabric (7)

Answer: TABARET (i.e. “silk fabric”). Solution is TAT (i.e. “make lace”) wrapped around or “covering” BARE (i.e. “plain”), like so: TA(BARE)T.

14. Comic’s funny stagger (7)

Answer: GAGSTER (i.e. “comic”). “Funny” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of STAGGER.

15. One may stand for this new idea, not local (7)

Answer: OVATION (i.e. “one may stand for this”). Solution is INNOVATION (i.e. “new idea”) with the INN removed (indicated by “not local”).

16. Suggesting diner thought to start well-prepared (3,3,6,7)

Answer: HIT THE GROUND RUNNING (i.e. “to start well-prepared”). “Suggesting diner thought” indicates the solution is a cryptic clue, specifically an anagram of DINER THOUGHT followed by the anagram indicator RUNNING.

17. Drop daughter off: how I refer to her? (3)

Answer: SHE (i.e. “how I refer to her”). Solution is SHED (i.e. “drop”) with the D removed (indicated by “daughter off” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”).

18. I felt that food comes first for absentee (2-4)

Answer: NO-SHOW (i.e. “absentee”). Solution is OW! (i.e. “I felt that”) with NOSH (i.e. “food”) placed “first”, like so: NOSH-OW.

20. Colour left on stick (6)

Answer: PASTEL (i.e. “colour”). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) placed “on” or after PASTE (i.e. “stick”), like so: PASTE-L.

21. Various items on table in afternoon for mother-to-be? (3,6)

Answer: TEA THINGS. Clue plays on how one takes TEA “in [the] afternoon”; also, the phrase “Shall I be mother?” which is sometimes said by one offering to pour a cuppa. You get the idea.

23. Western hero’s individualist rage (4,6)

Answer: LONE RANGER (i.e. “western hero”). Solution is LONER (i.e. “individualist”) followed by ANGER (i.e. “rage”).

25. Cheating gangster to achieve checkmate? (11)

Answer: HOODWINKING (i.e. “cheating”). Solution is HOOD (i.e. “gangster”) followed by WIN KING (i.e. “achieve checkmate” – the objective of chess being to capture your opponent’s king).

29. Piece attached to heel is hanging (5)

Answer: TAPIS (i.e. “hanging”). Solution is TAP (i.e. “piece attached to heel”) followed by IS.

30. Income, including nice car, new demand from old lover? (8)

Answer: PALIMONY (i.e. “demand from old lover” – essentially a contraction of “pal” and “alimony” applicable to cohabiting couples who did not marry). Solution is PAY (i.e. “income”) wrapped around or “including” LIMO (i.e. “nice car”) and N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: PA(LIMO-N)Y.

31. Petulant display at sea is shifty (5,3)

Answer: HISSY FIT (i.e. “petulant display”). “At sea” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IS SHIFTY.

34. Dictatorial boss of car firm? (8)

Answer: AUTOCRAT (i.e. “dictatorial boss”). Clue riffs on autos being another word for cars. That’s about it, unless I’m missing something clever.

36. Castle, otherwise trapping one knight more in the centre (8)

Answer: ELSINORE (i.e. “castle” over in Denmark). Solution is ELSE (i.e. “otherwise”) wrapped around or “trapping” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) and OR (i.e. “more in the centre”, i.e. the middle letters of “more”), like so: ELS(I-N-OR)E. Chalk one to my Bradford’s. Life’s too short to know every castle in the world.

37. Like sheep, cow loses its head (5)

Answer: OVINE (i.e. “like sheep”). Solution is BOVINE (i.e. “cow”) with its first letter removed (indicated by “loses its head”).

39. Doesn’t go across stove with jug (11)

Answer: STRANGEWAYS (i.e. “jug” – a slang word for a prison. Strangeways Prison in Manchester was the scene of a famous riot in 1990). Solution is STAYS (i.e. “doesn’t go”) wrapped around or placed “across” RANGE (i.e. “stove”) and W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), like so: ST(RANGE-W)AYS.

41. Work tongue into part of mouth and be highly successful with what I record (2,8)

Answer: GO PLATINUM (i.e. “be highly successful with what I record”). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) and LATIN (i.e. “tongue”) placed “into” GUM (i.e. “part of mouth”), like so: G(OP-LATIN)UM.

43. A mile further, surprising remote Aussie native (9)

Answer: MONOTREME (i.e. “Aussie native”, such as the platypus). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “mile”) followed by ON (i.e. “further”) and an anagram (indicated by “surprising”) of REMOTE, like so: M-ON-OTREME. One of those make-up-a-word-and-see-if-it’s-in-the-dictionary solutions.

45. Born abroad, want to be not too old (6)

Answer: NEWISH (i.e. “not too old”). Solution is NE (i.e. “born abroad” – né is “(of a man) born, used in giving the original name of a titled man” (Chambers)) followed by WISH (i.e. “want”).

47. One ruling for now: note the convenience, in short (6)

Answer: REGENT (i.e. “one ruling for now” in place of the monarch). Solution is RE (i.e. “note” in the doh-re-me scale – also anglicised as “ray”) followed by GENTS (i.e. “convenience” or loo) with its last letter removed (indicated by “in short”), like so: RE-GENT.

49. Port or bitter picked up? (3)

Answer: RYE (i.e. “port” in East Sussex). “Picked up” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of WRY (i.e. “bitter”). Chalk another one to my Bradford’s. For “castles” also see “ports”.

50. Nowhere is unimportant (7,4,3,5)

Answer: NEITHER HERE NOR THERE. Solution satisfies “nowhere” and “is unimportant”. Nicely done.

52. Asking more questions about one is not so peaceful (7)

Answer: NOISIER (i.e. “not so peaceful”). Solution is NOSIER (i.e. “asking more questions”) wrapped “about” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: NO(I)SIER.

53. Turned up by chance in court (7)

Answer: CAMELOT (i.e. “court” of King Arthur – tis a silly place). Solution is CAME (i.e. “turned up”) followed by LOT (i.e. “chance”).

54. Strong cloth fine in warm wind (7)

Answer: CHINOOK (i.e. “warm wind” over in the States). Solution is CHINO (i.e. “strong cloth”) followed by OK (i.e. “fine”). Another win for my Bradford’s. You’d be amazed how many words there are for “wind”.

55. Mischief-maker’s accent not British (5)

Answer: ROGUE (i.e. “mischief-maker”). Solution is BROGUE (i.e. “accent”) with the B removed (indicated by “not British” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “British”).

56. Painter’s assistant is second to be accepted (7)

Answer: Henri MATISSE (i.e. “painter”). Solution is MATE (i.e. “assistant”) wrapped around or “accepting” IS and S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”), like so: MAT(IS-S)E.

57. One doing exercises, but no header (9)

Answer: STRETCHER (i.e. “one doing exercises”). “Stretchers” and “headers” are terms used in bricklaying, it seems. A stretcher is one “laid horizontally with others in the forming of a wall”, while a header is one “with the short side showing on the wall surface” (both Chambers). A STRETCHER is therefore “no header”. Not being a brickie, this took some getting!

Down clues

1. Making a pair: marrying must involve church (8)

Answer: MATCHING (i.e. “making a pair”, e.g. of socks). Solution is MATING (i.e. “marrying”) wrapped around or “involving” CH (i.e. “church”), like so: MAT(CH)ING.

2. Something afoot: no time for throwing a spanner in the works? (5)

Answer: SABOT (i.e. “something afoot”, i.e. an item of footwear). Solution is SABOTAGE (i.e. “throwing a spanner in the works”) with the AGE removed (indicated by “no time”).

3. Noble big beast heading off to follow procession (11)

Answer: MARCHIONESS (i.e. “noble”). Solution is LIONESS (i.e. “big beast”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “heading off”) and preceded by or “following” MARCH (i.e. “procession”), like so: MARCH-IONESS.

4. Timid creature concealing mark that identifies when death is near (6)

Answer: DOTAGE (i.e. “identifies when death is near”). Solution is DOE (i.e. “timid creature”) wrapped around or “concealing” TAG (i.e. “mark”), like so: DO(TAG)E.

5. The equivalent of first prize for behaving well (2,4,2,4)

Answer: AS GOOD AS GOLD. Solution satisfies “the equivalent of first place” and “behaving well”.

6. One soldier embraces another, before returning to old war minister (7)

Answer: André MAGINOT (i.e. “old war minister” over in France). Solution is MAN (i.e. “one soldier”) wrapped around or “embracing” GI (i.e. “another [soldier]”) and followed by TO reversed (indicated by “returning”), like so: MA(GI)N-OT.

7. Unconventional ideas after family visits foreign parliament (7,8)

Answer: LATERAL THINKING (i.e. “unconventional ideas”). Solution is LATER (i.e. “after”) followed by KIN (i.e. “family”) once it has been placed in or “visiting” ALTHING (i.e. “foreign parliament”, specifically that of Iceland), like so: LATER-ALTHIN(KIN)G.

8. My old folk in exalted ceremony (10)

Answer: CORONATION (i.e. “exalted ceremony”). Solution is COR (i.e. “my”, both exclamations along the lines of goodness, heavens, lumme, lawks, wow, blimey, crumbs, dear me, crikey and all the sweary ones too) followed by O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and NATION (i.e. “folk”).

9. Without James I at the front, a fierce battle (3,4)

Answer: IWO JIMA (i.e. “fierce battle”). Solution is WO (a recognised abbreviation of “without”) and JIM (a contraction of “James”). I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) is then placed “at the front” of these. The whole is then followed by A, like so: I-(WO-JIM)-A.

10. Be sold as a little money passes (6,5)

Answer: CHANGE HANDS (i.e. “be sold”). Solution is CHANGE (i.e. “a little money”) followed by HANDS (i.e. “passes” to someone).

11. What involve sliding, as you will hear (9)

Answer: GLISSANDI. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “involve”) of SLIDING AS. Glissandi are series of notes achieved by, for example, sliding one’s finger across the keys of a piano. Nicely worked.

12. Creatures put on islands (7)

Answer: DONKEYS (i.e. “creatures”). Solution is DON (i.e. “put on”) followed by KEYS (i.e. “islands”, e.g. the Florida Keys).

19. Attempt place in event (4,3)

Answer: SHOT PUT (i.e. an athletics “event”). Solution is SHOT (i.e. “attempt”) followed by PUT (i.e. “place”).

22. Fighter perhaps shows such exceptional speed over track (8)

Answer: WARPLANE (i.e. “fighter perhaps” – other varieties of warplane are available, e.g. bombers). Solution is WARP (i.e. “exceptional speed”) followed by LANE (i.e. “track”).

24. Numerous murals at last honoured unusual city founders (7,3,5)

Answer: ROMULUS AND REMUS (i.e. twin wild children who eventually became “city founders” of Rome). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unusual”) of NUMEROUS MURALS and D (i.e. “at last honoured”, i.e. the last letter of “honoured”).

26. Flier needs a little speed to get up (8)

Answer: WHITECAP (i.e. “flier”). Solution is WHIT (i.e. “a little”) followed by PACE (i.e. “speed”) once this latter has been reversed (indicated by “to get up” – this being a down clue), like so: WHIT-ECAP. Another win for my Bradford’s. For “castles” and “ports”, see also “birds”.

27. One filleting fish maybe, good and thorough (6)

Answer: GUTTER (i.e. “one filleting fish maybe”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) followed by UTTER (i.e. “thorough”).

28. Secures small pieces that have sprung up (6)

Answer: STRAPS (i.e. “secures”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) followed by PARTS (i.e. “pieces”). These are then reversed (indicated by “that have sprung up” – this being a down clue), like so: STRAP-S.

32. Regularly fear I invite disaster (7)

Answer: FAILURE (i.e. “disaster” – a tad dramatic, don’t you think). Solution is FA (i.e. “regularly fear”, i.e. every other letter of FEAR) followed by I and LURE (i.e. “invite”), like so: FA-I-LURE.

33. People in a heap in the garden: one’s sane (6,6)

Answer: COMPOS MENTIS (i.e. “sane”). Solution is MEN (i.e. “people”) placed “in” COMPOST (i.e. “a heap in the garden”), followed by I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”), like so: COMPOS(MEN)T-I’S.

35. Emperor presumably less trustworthy in the West? (11)

Answer: CONSTANTINE (i.e. “emperor”). When read as CONSTANT IN E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”) the solution satisfies the riddly “presumably less trustworthy in the West”. Chalk another one to my Bradford’s. For “castles” and “ports” and “birds”, see also “emperors”.

37. No meat: bread roll for hungry boy (6,5)

Answer: OLIVER TWIST (i.e. eponymous “hungry boy” of Dickens’s novel). Solution is O (i.e. “no” or nought) followed by LIVER (i.e. “meat”) and TWIST (i.e. a variety of “bread roll”).

38. Qualify to start work as surgeon? (4,3,3)

Answer: MAKE THE CUT. Solution satisfies “qualify” and “start work as a surgeon”.

40. Queen, charming, removing a first coat (9)

Answer: RENDERING (i.e. “first coat”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of Regina, or “Queen” in Latin) followed by ENDEARING (i.e. “charming”) once the A has been removed (indicated by “removing a”), like so: R-ENDERING.

42. Fast runner who’s barely noticed? (8)

Answer: STREAKER (i.e. “fast runner”). Clue plays on how streakers are famous for shedding their clothes and running onto sports arenas, hence “who’s barely noticed”.

43. Voyager’s home, having visited part of moon at end of tour (7)

Answer: MARINER (i.e. “voyager”). Solution is IN (i.e. at “home”) placed in or “having visited” MARE (i.e. “part of moon” – specifically “any of the various darkish level areas on either the Moon or Mars” (Chambers)) and then followed by R (i.e. “end of tour”, i.e. the last letter of “tour”), like so: MAR(IN)E-R.

44. Pointed remark when one confuses rook with magpie (7)

Answer: EPIGRAM (i.e. “pointed remark”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “when one confuses”) of R (a recognised abbreviation of “rook” in chess) and MAGPIE.

46. Manoeuvre bin (7)

Answer: WHEELIE. Solution satisfies “manoeuvre” on a bike, and a type of “bin”.

48. Agree to study dog (6)

Answer: CONCUR (i.e. “agree”). Solution is CON (an archaic word for “study” often used by setters) followed by CUR (i.e. “dog”).

51. Patriarch backing solid husband (5)

Answer: ENOCH (i.e. “patriarch” and ancestor of Noah). Solution is CONE (i.e. a “solid” figure) reversed (indicated by “backing”) and followed by H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”), like so: ENOC-H.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1455

A toughie this week, or it could be that my brain really wasn’t in the mood. I got there in the end, but it’s perhaps telling that the last clue I got was COUSIN for “relative”. Sometimes I don’t see ’em, but sheeeesh, come on! A shame really because, as toughies go, this was a good ‘un with lots of well written clues.

Anyway, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If you’ve come a cropper at the hands of a previous Jumbo Cryptic then my Just For Fun page could be just what you need. While you are here, I also have some dusty old book reviews and a story of mine.

Till next time, stay safe, mask up, and keep giving thanks to the NHS and key workers everywhere. In the meantime I’ll see if my brain would perhaps prefer this week’s Listener Crossword instead…

[EDIT – This week’s Listener Crossword is very good. I won’t put the solution up here, as I appreciate people keep scores on these things, suffice to say the completed message in the grid did make me laugh. Thing is, who is saying it? The setter or the solver? 😀 – LP]

LP

Across clues

1. Fastest time: minutes? (6)

Answer: RECORD. Solution satisfies “fastest time” and “minutes” of a meeting.

4. GCSE uproar – distraught organiser at sea (10)

Answer: SUPERCARGO (i.e. “organiser at sea” – a person on a ship who is in charge of or superintends the cargo). “Distraught” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GCSE UPROAR. A rather timely clue! Cool word too.

10. Judge on Charlie’s case (5)

Answer: CRATE (i.e. “case”). Solution is C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by RATE (i.e. “judge”).

14. Best experience in stuffing gamey dish? (4,5)

Answer: HIGH POINT (i.e. “best experience”). Solution is IN placed in or “stuffing” HIGH (i.e. “gamey”) and POT (i.e. “dish”), like so: HIGH-PO(IN)T.

15. Dark, ironic quips to die for? (7,6)

Answer: GALLOWS HUMOUR (i.e. “dark, ironic”). Clue plays on how gallows are used for executing people, hence “quips to die for”. You get the idea.

16. Mature bears on island struggle (7)

Answer: AGONISE (i.e. “struggle”). Solution is AGE (i.e. to “mature”) wrapped around or “bearing” ON and IS (a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: AG(ON-IS)E.

17. Missionary position adopted by porter, perhaps (7)

Answer: APOSTLE (i.e. “missionary”). Solution is POST (i.e. job or “position”) placed in or “adopted by” ALE (i.e. “porter, perhaps” – other strong beers are available), like so: A(POST)LE.

18. Boatman’s line one’s used to drawing (7)

Answer: PAINTER. Solution satisfies “boatman’s line” – specifically “a rope for fastening a boat” (Chambers) – and “one’s used to drawing”.

19. Private house customary for top administrators? (11-7)

Answer: SECRETARIES-GENERAL (i.e. “top administrators” of an organisation). Solution is SECRET (i.e. “private”) followed by ARIES (i.e. “house” – signs of the zodiac are sometimes called houses) and GENERAL (i.e. “customary”).

21. Girl from a country wanting husband (4)

Answer: IRIS (i.e. “girl”). Solution is IRISH (i.e. “from a country” – specifically Ireland) with the H removed (indicated by “wanting husband” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “husband”).

24. Daughter revolutionised this writer’s material (5)

Answer: DENIM (i.e. “material”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by MINE (i.e. “this writer’s”, taken from the point of view of the setter) once this latter has been reversed (indicated by “revolutionised”), like so: D-ENIM.

26. Son moving to the van destroys covert operation (8)

Answer: STAKEOUT (i.e. “covert operation”). Solution is TAKES OUT (i.e. “destroys”) with the S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) placed at the front or “moving to the van” – van is a recognised abbreviation of vanguard, like so: TAKE(S)-OUT => (S)TAKEOUT.

27. Shot Aussie, going west, makes emergency exit (4,4)

Answer: FIRE DOOR (i.e. “emergency exit”). Solution is FIRED (i.e. “shot”) followed by ROO (i.e. “Aussie”, specifically a shortened form of “kangaroo”) reversed (indicated by “going west” – this being an across clue), like so: FIRED-OOR.

29. To do groundwork is boring stage for artist (11)

Answer: POINTILLIST (i.e. “artist” – one who uses dots of ink or colour in their work – Georges Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is a famous example – link takes you to image on Wikipedia). Solution is TILL (i.e. “to do groundwork”) and IS placed in or “boring” POINT (i.e. “stage”), like so: POIN(TILL-IS)T.

30. Outstanding tech agency’s designed to incorporate one (3-8)

Answer: EYE-CATCHING (i.e. “outstanding”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “designed”) of TECH AGENCY wrapped around or “incorporating” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: EYECATCH(I)NG.

32. Censorious man ultimately condemned authority (11)

Answer: CONNOISSEUR (i.e. “authority”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “condemned”) of CENSORIOUS and N (i.e. “man ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “man”).

35. Substance from choice lamb I cooked? (11)

Answer: BIOCHEMICAL (i.e. “substance”). “Cooked” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CHOICE LAMB I.

37. Regular reporter’s therapist reported (8)

Answer: ANNALIST (i.e. “regular reporter”, e.g. one writing up a year’s entry in a chronicle). “Reported” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of ANALYST (i.e. “therapist”).

39. Odour left on ditch with two channels (8)

Answer: BINAURAL (i.e. “with two channels” in the world of sound reproduction). Solution is AURA (i.e. “odour”, both taken to mean an “air” of something) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) both placed “on” or after BIN (i.e. to “ditch” something), like so: BIN-(AURA-L). A toughie, but I’m not sure I liked it. Aura = odour? (Makes so-so gesture.)

40. Medic probing group of students grows insensitive (5)

Answer: NUMBS (i.e. “grows insensitive”). Solution is MB (i.e. “medic”, specifically a Bachelor of Medicine or Medicinae Baccalaureus) placed in or “probing” NUS (i.e. “group of students”, specifically the National Union of Students), like so: NU(MB)S.

43. PM’s place of lost illusions? (4)

Answer: Sir Anthony EDEN (i.e. “PM” or Prime Minister, 1955-1957). I’m guessing “place of lost illusions” is a reference to the Garden of Eden, but cursory searches aren’t unearthing much. Moving on with my life.

44. Right turn at next junction coming up (4,5,3,6)

Answer: JUST ROUND THE CORNER (i.e. “coming up”). Solution is JUST (i.e. “right”) followed by ROUND THE CORNER (i.e. “turn at next junction”). Nicely done.

47. Festival luminary given a little bit in advance (7)

Answer: WHITSUN (i.e. “festival”). Solution is SUN (i.e. “luminary” or source of light) with WHIT (i.e. “a little bit”) placed ahead of it or “in advance”, like so: WHIT-SUN.

48. Several days where papers were originally given spineless binding (7)

Answer: MIDWEEK (i.e. “several days” – I mean, it’s just Wednesday, isn’t it? Could be acknowledging the tiresome “no, Monday is the start of the week; no, Saturday is the start of the week; no, Sunday is…” non-argument. (Shrugs)) Solution is ID (i.e. identification or “papers”) and W (i.e. “were originally”, i.e. the first letter of “were”) both placed in or “given…binding” of MEEK (i.e. “spineless”), like so: M(ID-W)EEK.

50. Time to join crowd for security (7)

Answer: HOSTAGE (i.e. a terrorist’s “security”). Solution is AGE (i.e. “time”) placed after or “joining” HOST (i.e. “crowd”, as in a host of things), like so: HOST-AGE.

51. Music from Verdi, Menotti’s arrangement (13)

Answer: DIVERTIMENTOS (i.e. “music”). “Arrangement” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of VERDI MENOTTI’S. Very nicely done. Best clue of the puzzle.

52. Significant work, musical, about to be brought back (9)

Answer: OPERATIVE (i.e. “significant”). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) followed by EVITA (i.e. “musical”) and RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) once these last two have been reversed (indicated by “to be brought back”), like so: OP-(ER-ATIVE).

53. Leader leaves at great cost, ahead of schedule (5)

Answer: EARLY (i.e. “ahead of schedule”). Solution is DEARLY (i.e. “at great cost”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “leader leaves…”).

54. Info about past regime’s guiding principle (6,4)

Answer: GOLDEN RULE (i.e. “guiding principle”). Solution is GEN (i.e. “info”) wrapped “about” OLD (i.e. “past”) and followed by RULE (i.e. “regime”), like so: G(OLD)EN-RULE.

55. Five couples commit offence, returning for court action (6)

Answer: TENNIS (i.e. “court action”). Solution is TEN (i.e. “five couples”, i.e. 5×2) followed by SIN (i.e. “commit offence”) once reversed (indicated by “returning”), like so: TEN-NIS.

Down clues

1. Communist borders slow-moving car went through (9)

Answer: REHEARSED (i.e. “went through”). Solution is RED (i.e. “communist”) wrapped around or “bordering” HEARSE (i.e. “slow-moving car”), like so: RE(HEARSE)D.

2. Niff after cocking leg occupies heartless dog experts (11)

Answer: COGNOSCENTI (i.e. “experts”). Solution is SCENT (i.e. “niff”) placed “after” ON (i.e. “leg” – in cricket, “on-side” or “leg-side” is the “half of the cricket field on the side on which the batsman stands when waiting to receive the ball” (Chambers)) once reversed (indicated by “cocking” or pulling back). These are then placed in or “occupying” CORGI (i.e. “dog”) once its middle letter has been removed (indicated by “heartless”), like so: COG(NO-SCENT)I.

3. Through raised roof, see diplodocus, maybe (7)

Answer: REPTILE (i.e. “diplodocus, maybe”). Solution is PER (i.e. “through”) reversed (indicated by “raised” – this being a down clue) and followed by TILE (i.e. “roof”), like so: REP-TILE.

5. Extremist’s last month, with troops in pursuit (5)

Answer: ULTRA (i.e. “extremist”). Solution is ULT (i.e. “last month”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “ultimo” used in formal correspondence or legalese, mostly by those keen to justify their expensive educations) followed by RA (i.e. “troops”, specifically the Royal Artillery of the British Army).

6. Obese fellows in hospital department for total immersion (11)

Answer: ENGROSSMENT (i.e. “total immersion”). Solution is GROSS (i.e. “obese”) and MEN (i.e. “fellows”) both placed “in” ENT (i.e. “hospital department”, specifically Ear Nose and Throat), like so: EN(GROSS-MEN)T.

7. Lead ring you formerly placed round cask (4,3,4)

Answer: CALL THE TUNE (i.e. “lead”). Solution is CALL (i.e. to “ring” someone on the phone) followed by THEE (i.e. “you formerly”) once “placed round” TUN (i.e. “cask”), like so: CALL-THE(TUN)E.

8. Northbound cervid crossing plain got going again (8)

Answer: REOPENED (i.e. “got going again”). Solution is DEER (i.e. “cervid” – yes, I had to look it up) reversed (indicated by “northbound” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “crossing” OPEN (i.e. “plain”), like so: RE(OPEN)ED.

9. Body parts of pig Hosea slaughtered without force (9)

Answer: OESOPHAGI (i.e. “body parts”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “slaughtered”) of OF PIG HOSEA once the F of “OF” has been removed (indicated by “without force” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “force”). Solution also recently appeared a few months ago in puzzle 1441.

10. Relative leaves home, having university to enter (6)

Answer: COUSIN (i.e. “relative”). Solution is COS (i.e. “leaves”, specifically a variety of lettuce) and IN (i.e. at “home”) all wrapped around or “having…enter” U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”), like so: CO(U)S-IN.

11. Bill must have perfect gold edging, I learnt from experience (1,10)

Answer: A POSTERIORI (i.e. “learnt from experience”, from the Latin). Solution is POSTER (i.e. “bill”) placed in or “edged” by AI (i.e. “perfect”, i.e. A1 with the 1 replaced by the Roman numeral I) and OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry), then followed by I, like so: (A(POSTER)I-OR)-I. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

12. Slip nearer door, taking even steps (5)

Answer: ERROR (i.e. “slip”). “Taking even steps” indicates the solution is derived from every other letter of NEARER DOOR.

13. Butcher slices up meat, getting cans for preservation (4,8)

Answer: TIME CAPSULES (i.e. “cans for preservation”). “Butcher” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SLICES UP MEAT. Nicely done.

20. I don’t like contents of best pictures (8)

Answer: IMAGINES (i.e. “pictures”). Solution is I’M AGIN (i.e. “I don’t like”, or I’m against, agin being a dialectical form of the word) followed by ES (i.e. “contents of best”, i.e. the middle letters of “best”).

22. Bath scrubber, Roman girls worked with it (7)

Answer: STRIGIL (i.e. “bath scrubber, Roman” – also ancient Greek, if anyone’s counting: “a scraper used to clean the skin after bathing” (Chambers)). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “worked”) of GIRLS and IT. One of those rearrange-the-letters-and-see-if-it’s-in-the-dictionary moments.

23. Stalwart companion separating female from male (8)

Answer: HENCHMAN (i.e. “stalwart”). Solution is CH (i.e. “companion”, specifically a Companion of Honour) placed between or “separating” HEN (i.e. “female”) and MAN (i.e. “male”), like so: HEN-(CH)-MAN.

25. Stout, middle-aged trader cleared out just after mum (8)

Answer: MATRONLY (i.e. “stout, middle-aged”). Solution is TR (i.e. “trader cleared out”, i.e. the word “trader” with all its middle letters removed) and ONLY (i.e. “just”) both placed “after” MA (i.e. “mum”), like so: MA-TR-ONLY.

28. Party type’s contribution to star comedian’s turn? (8)

Answer: DEMOCRAT (i.e. “party type”). “Contribution to” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “turn” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: S(TAR COMED)IAN’S.

29. Rugby players get on tour, of a sort (7)

Answer: PACKAGE (i.e. “tour, of a sort”). Solution is PACK (i.e. “rugby players”) followed by AGE (i.e. “get on”).

31. A cold fish admitting woman’s his one weakness? (8,4)

Answer: ACHILLES HEEL (i.e. “his one weakness”). Solution is A CHILL EEL (i.e. “a cold fish”) wrapped around or “admitting” SHE (i.e. “woman”), like so: A-CHILL-E(SHE)EL. A rather similar clue appeared a few months ago back in puzzle 1439.

33. Infidel British priest stopping under no circumstances after denial (11)

Answer: NONBELIEVER (i.e. “infidel”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) and ELI (i.e. “priest”) placed in or “stopping” NEVER (i.e. “under no circumstances”). This is all then preceded by or placed “after” NO (i.e. “denial”), like so: NO-N(B-ELI)EVER.

34. Prime motive for being retrained so diversely? (6,5)

Answer: RAISON DETRE (i.e. “prime motive”). “Diversely” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of RETRAINED SO.

35. Barrister’s case isn’t simplified when one’s ignored problem (5-6)

Answer: BRAIN-TEASER (i.e. “problem”). Solution is BR (i.e. “barrister’s case”, i.e. the first and last letters of “barrister”) followed by AINT (i.e. “isn’t”) and EASIER (i.e. “simplified”) once the I has been removed (indicated by “when [Roman numeral] one’s ignored”), like so: BR-AINT-EASER.

36. Church people with unopened post sticking together (11)

Answer: CEMENTATION (i.e. “sticking together”). Solution is CE (i.e. “church”, specifically Church of England) followed by MEN (i.e. “people” – well, 48% of them anyway) and STATION (i.e. “post”) once its first letter has been removed (indicated by “unopened” – nice!), like so: CE-MEN-TATION.

38. Visually challenged rugby player in scam (9)

Answer: SQUINTING (i.e. “visually challenged”). Solution is QUIN (i.e. “rugby player”, specifically one playing for Harlequins) placed “in” STING (i.e. “scam”), like so: S(QUIN)TING.

41. One’s spelling more dire penning doc’s last letter (9)

Answer: SORCERESS (i.e. “one’s spelling”, as in casting spells). Solution is SORER (i.e. “more dire”) wrapped around or “penning” C (i.e. “doc’s last”, i.e. the last letter of “doc”) and followed by ESS (i.e. “letter”, specifically the letter S), like so: SOR(C)ER-ESS.

42. Contributor to replacement therapy to control market, it’s said (4,4)

Answer: STEM CELL (i.e. “contributor to replacement therapy”). Solution is STEM (i.e. “to control”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “it’s said”) of SELL (i.e. to “market”).

45. Speculative buyer introduced to United players here? (2,5)

Answer: ON STAGE (i.e. actors or “players [found] here”). Solution is STAG (i.e. “speculative buyer” who “applies for shares in order to sell them at once for a profit” (Chambers)) placed in or “introduced to” ONE (i.e. “united” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: ON(STAG)E.

46. Raptor like this regurgitated its food (6)

Answer: OSPREY (i.e. “raptor”). Solution is SO (i.e. “like this”) reversed, brought up or “regurgitated” – this being a down clue – and then followed by PREY (i.e. “its food”), like so: OS-PREY.

47. Club with upper hand (5)

Answer: WEDGE (i.e. “[golf] club”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) followed by EDGE (i.e. “upper hand”, as in having the edge on someone).

49. Eminence Cromwell’s given after king? (5)

Answer: KNOLL (i.e. “eminence”, as in a raised piece of land). Solution is NOLL (i.e. “Cromwell” – one of his nicknames was “Old Noll”, it says here) placed “after” K (a recognised abbreviation of “king”), like so: K-NOLL. Score one to my Bradford’s for NOLL.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1454

Slightly tougher this week, but another good one on the whole, with plenty of satisfying clues (albeit some iffy ones too). But wait… is that a Bank Holiday I see on the horizon? Stinker ahoy, anyone?

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a previous Times Jumbo Cryptic has done for you in recent weeks, then you might find succour in my Just For Fun page, where I have links to solutions for the last hundred or so of these things. I also have some book reviews and a story of mine I did a while ago.

As ever, till next time, keep safe, mask up and continue to give thanks to NHS and key workers everywhere as we inch further out of lockdown.

LP

Across clues

1. French scientist rotating resin and juice (6)

Answer: Blaise PASCAL (i.e. “French scientist”). Solution is LAC (i.e. a dark-red “resin”) and SAP (i.e. “juice”) both reversed (indicated by “rotating”), like so: PAS-CAL.

5. Diver daily getting among group of whales? (7)

Answer: POCHARD (i.e. “diver” – specifically a red-headed diving duck). Solution is CHAR (i.e. “daily” – both taken to mean a cleaner) placed “among” POD (i.e. “group of whales”), like so: PO(CHAR)D. Chalk one to my Bradfords here, as I couldn’t look past daily newspapers.

9. Discard black metal boxes thus (8)

Answer: JETTISON (i.e. “discard”). Solution is JET (i.e. “black”) followed by TIN (i.e. “metal”) once it has been wrapped around or “boxing” SO (i.e. “thus”), like so: JET-TI(SO)N.

13. Where vote-counting snore is so trashy? (10,4,7)

Answer: EUROVISION SONG CONTEST. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “trashy”) of VOTE-COUNTING SNORE IS SO. Clue riffs on how countries vote for other nations’ songs in the Eurovision Song Contest. Judging from the rest of the clue I guess the setter isn’t a fan!

14. One welcomed by everyone in staff – masses (8)

Answer: CANAILLE (i.e. the “masses”, not entirely kindly). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed in or “welcomed by” ALL (i.e. “everyone”), which is itself placed “in” CANE (i.e. “staff”), like so: CAN(A(I)LL)E. Tough bugger, this one.

15. Part of arms firm seen from behind by drone (7)

Answer: HUMERUS (i.e. “parts of arms”, specifically a long bone of the upper arm). Solution is SURE (i.e. confident or “firm”) reversed (indicated by “seen from behind”) and then placed after or “by” HUM (i.e. “drone”), like so: HUM-ERUS.

16. Doctors attending function – all-star affair? (6)

Answer: COSMOS (i.e. “all-star affair”). Solution is MOS (i.e. “doctors”, specifically Medical Officers) placed after or “attending” COS (i.e. “function”, specifically one of the six trigonometric functions – cosine), like so: COS-MOS.

17. Crawling along, boundaries only required by cricket side (2,3,5)

Answer: ON ALL FOURS. Solution satisfies “crawling along” and “boundaries only required by cricket side” – a struck ball reaching the boundary scores four runs.

20. Record given free airtime when entertaining new single out (12)

Answer: DISCRIMINATE (i.e. “single out”). Solution is DISC (i.e. “record” – ask your parents, streamers) followed by an anagram (indicated by “free”) of AIRTIME once it has been wrapped around or “entertaining” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: DISC-RIMI(N)ATE. Nicely done.

23. Bird caught in bigger net (4)

Answer: ERNE (i.e. “bird”, specifically a sea eagle). “Caught in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: BIGG(ER NE)T.

24. In odd parts of the prairie, cattle finding Japanese food (8)

Answer: TERIYAKI (i.e. “Japanese food”). Solution is YAK (i.e. “cattle”) placed “in” TERII (i.e. “odd parts of the prairie”, i.e. every other letter of THE PRAIRIE.

26. Some glass bottles narrowly beat another instrument one blows across? (8)

Answer: PANPIPES (i.e. “instrument one blows across”). Solution is PANES (i.e. “some glass”) wrapped around or “bottling” PIP (i.e. “narrowly beat”), like so: PAN(PIP)ES.

29. Socialist possibly resigned, somehow not free to embrace Conservative (4-2-6)

Answer: LEFT-OF-CENTRE (i.e. “socialist possibly”). Solution is LEFT (i.e. “resigned”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of NOT FREE once it has been wrapped around or “embracing” C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”), like so: LEFT-OF(C)ENTRE.

30. Reportedly escape arrest, ring harbouring a killer? (4,6)

Answer: FLEA COLLAR (i.e. “ring harbouring a killer” – yes, that includes Tiddles. Especially Tiddles. Jesus, the stuff Tiddles does… I mean, ‘sadistic’ doesn’t even cover half of it. Even the Cenobites are wary of Tiddles. The bottom of your garden is like a scene from Ed Gein’s shed and you don’t even realise it. Instead you just let Tiddles back into the house. You let Tiddles curl up on your chest as you lie on the sofa. Tiddles watches you watching TV, riding the gentle rise and fall of your chest. Tiddles purrs as you slowly fall asleep, wondering whether tonight should be the night.) Solution is a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of FLEE (i.e. “escape”) followed by COLLAR (i.e. to “arrest” someone).

Tiddles rocks, by the way.

32. Blast misses lifting equipment (10)

Answer: WINDLASSES (i.e. “lifting equipment”). Solution is WIND (i.e. “blast”) followed by LASSES (i.e. “misses”, taken as a plural of miss).

34. Single state prison hosted dances (12)

Answer: SPINSTERHOOD (i.e. “single state”). “Dances” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PRISON HOSTED.

36. Popular Democrat in lead, dissent initially contained (8)

Answer: INCLUDED (i.e. “contained”). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) followed by D (a recognised abbreviation of “Democrat”) once it has been placed “in” CLUE (i.e. “lead”), then followed by D (i.e. “dissent initially”, i.e. the first letter of “dissent”), like so: IN-CLU(D)E-D.

38. A river running through foreign capital or British city (8)

Answer: ABERDEEN (i.e. “British city”). Solution is A followed by DEE (i.e. a “river” in Scotland, at the mouth of which Aberdeen is situated) once it has been placed in or “through” BERN (i.e. “foreign capital”, specifically the capital city of Switzerland), like so: A-BER(DEE)N.

39. Picture that’s a match! (4)

Answer: SNAP. Solution satisfies “picture” and “that’s a match”, referring to the card game, Snap.

41. Something on daddy’s face perhaps keeping Charlie and Romeo in stitches (7,5)

Answer: SHAVING CREAM (i.e. “something on daddy’s face perhaps”). Solution is HAVING (i.e. “keeping”), R and C (i.e. “Charlie and Romeo”, their respective letters in the phonetic alphabet) all placed “in” SEAM (i.e. “stitches”), like so: S(HAVING-C-R)EAM.

43. Observe God whose creation proves timely? (10)

Answer: WATCHMAKER (i.e. “whose creation proves timely”). Solution is WATCH (i.e. “observe”) followed by MAKER (i.e. “God”).

44. Red powder recalled around red cut (6)

Answer: CLARET (i.e. “red”). Solution is TALC (i.e. “powder”) reversed (indicated by “recalled”) and wrapped “around” RE (i.e. “red cut”, i.e. the word “red” with its last letter removed), like so: CLA(RE)T.

46. Last time some returning to tour Newfoundland on vacation (7)

Answer: ENDMOST (i.e. “last”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) and SOME reversed (indicated by “returning”) and then wrapped around or “touring” ND (i.e. “Newfoundland on vacation”, i.e. the word “Newfoundland” with all its middle letters removed), like so: E(ND)MOS-T.

48. Reversible bar set off at the back (8)

Answer: DORSALLY (i.e. “at the back”, as in the dorsal fins of a fish). Solution is ROD (i.e. “bar”) “reversed” and followed by SALLY (i.e. “set off”, as in to sally forth), like so: DOR-SALLY.

50. Good Lord’s miracles are eternal! (7,4,5,5)

Answer: WONDERS WILL NEVER CEASE. Solution satisfies “Good Lord”, both taken as exclamations, and “miracles are eternal”. Nicely worked.

51. Cool head in distress claiming lost here without a compass? (4-4)

Answer: FREE-HAND (i.e. “without a compass” or any other kind of drawing aid – a bit hmm for me, but there it is). Solution is FAN (i.e. to “cool” oneself) and D (i.e. “head in distress”, i.e. the first letter of “distress”) all wrapped around or “claiming” an anagram (indicated by “lost”) of HERE, like so: F(REEH)AN-D.

52. Gem maiden pockets while taking ring (7)

Answer: GIRASOL (i.e. “gem”, specifically a type of opal). Solution is GIRL (i.e. “maiden”) wrapped around or “pocketing” AS (i.e. “while”) “while [also] taking” O (i.e. “ring”), like so: GIR(AS-O)L. A sneaky bit of recycling there. Can’t say I was too keen. Chalk one to my Bradfords for getting me over the line.

53. North Africans are in small boat (6)

Answer: TUAREG (i.e. “North Africans” who mostly inhabit the Sahara). Solution is ARE placed “in” TUG (i.e. “small boat”), like so: TU(ARE)G. One I knew, weirdly.

Down clues

2. Piece of cake labelled a Kipling creation (5)

Answer: AKELA (i.e. “[Rudyard] Kipling creation”, specifically one from The Jungle Book). “Piece of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: C(AKE LA)BELLED.

3. Docking liner’s stern blocking canal, complaint follows (11)

Answer: CURTAILMENT (i.e. “docking”). Solution is R (i.e. “liner’s stern”, i.e. the last letter of “liner”) placed in or “blocking” CUT (i.e. “canal”) and then followed by AILMENT (i.e. “complaint”), like so: CU(R)T-AILMENT.

4. Record book upset on European relations? (4,4)

Answer: LOVE LIFE (i.e. “relations”). Solution is FILE (i.e. “record”) and VOL (i.e. “book”, short for volume) both reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue) and followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: (LOV-ELIF)-E.

5. Stick English after History (5)

Answer: PASTE (i.e. “stick”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) placed “after” PAST (i.e. “history”), like so: PAST-E.

6. He wears clown’s outfit (7)

Answer: CLOTHES (i.e. “outfit”). Solution is HE placed in or “wearing” CLOT’S (i.e. “clown’s”), like so: CLOT(HE)’S.

7. Have both Latin-American and Vietnamese – this alias? (7,4)

Answer: ASSUMED NAME (i.e. “alias”). Clue plays on how NAME appears in or has been ASSUMED by LatiN-AMErica and VietNAMEse. Like it.

8. Foot of salesman where it might be seen? Generous chap! (5)

Answer: DONOR (i.e. “generous chap”). Solution is N (i.e. “foot of salesman”, i.e. the last letter of “salesman”) placed in DOOR (i.e. “where [salesman’s foot] might be seen” – pushy sod), like so: DO(N)OR.

9. Cricket supporter Down Under? (9)

Answer: JOCKSTRAP, being a bit of kit that protects or “supports” a sportsman’s meat and two veg, which can be said to be “down under”. I’m not an ardent cricket fan, but I thought such things were called “boxes”. (Shrugs.)

10. Note a reviver? (5)

Answer: TONIC. Solution satisfies a musical “note” and “reviver”.

11. In tale that’s tragic, I head over the top – that’s unnecessary (11)

Answer: INESSENTIAL (i.e. “unnecessary”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “that’s tragic”) of IN TALE with I and NESS (i.e. “head”, as in the geographical feature) placed first or “over the top” – this being a down clue – like so: (I-NESS)-ENTIAL.

12. Settlement some way off in blooming job (7)

Answer: OUTPOST (i.e. “settlement some way off”). Solution is OUT (i.e. “blooming”) followed by POST (i.e. “job”).

18. What Amundsen was wearing on travels (9)

Answer: NORWEGIAN (i.e. “what Amundsen was”). “Travels” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WEARING ON. Nicely done.

19. By implication, retain more pants (7)

Answer: USELESS (i.e. “pants” or rubbish). When written as USE LESS the solution also satisfies “by implication, retain more”.

21. First wild cherry, one put in to be cooked (4-5)

Answer: STIR-FRIED (i.e. “cooked”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wild”) of FIRST followed by RED (i.e. “cherry”) once it has been wrapped around I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: STIRF-R(I)ED.

22. Second burglar 7 down (8)

Answer: MONICKER (i.e. “7 down” – the answer for which being ASSUMED NAME). Solution is MO (i.e. “second”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “moment”) followed by NICKER (i.e. “burglar”).

25. Lacking the will, or much money, not starting car (9)

Answer: INTESTATE (i.e. “lacking the will”, as in dying without a will being put in place). Solution is MINT (i.e. “much money”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “not starting”) and followed by ESTATE (i.e. “car”), like so: INT-ESTATE.

27. Far from simple to explain (9)

Answer: ELABORATE. Solution satisfies “far from simple” and “to explain”. Simple, but nicely done.

28. Occasionally switch options? (3,3,2)

Answer: OFF AND ON. Solution satisfies “occasionally” and “switch options”. Again, simple but nicely worked.

31. Point about rising energy is most straightforward (7)

Answer: EASIEST (i.e. “most straightforward”). Solution is EAST (i.e. “point” on a compass) wrapped “about” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) and IS both reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: EA(SI-E)ST.

33. Relief finding something vital under bottom of aggregate in skip (11)

Answer: DELIVERANCE (i.e. “relief”). Solution is LIVER (i.e. “something vital”, as in a vital organ) placed after or “under” – this being a down clue – E (i.e. “bottom of aggregate”, i.e. the last letter of “aggregate”) and the whole then placed “in” DANCE (i.e. “skip”), like so: D(E-LIVER)ANCE.

34. Itinerant squeezing me the wrong way, admitting a crush (11)

Answer: STEAMROLLER (i.e. “club”). Solution is STROLLER (i.e. “itinerant”) wrapped around or “squeezing” ME once it has been reversed (indicated by “the wrong way”) and itself wrapped around or “admitting” A, like so: ST(E(A)M)ROLLER.

35. Beginning in Hanoi, a chap in old Asian capital for so long (5,6)

Answer: HASTA MANANA (i.e. “so long” – literally “until tomorrow” in Spanish). Solution is H (i.e. “beginning in Hanoi”, i.e. the first letter of “Hanoi”) followed by A MAN (i.e. “a chap”) once it has been placed in ASTANA, the former name of Kazakhstan’s capital city (i.e. “old Asian capital”), like so: H-AST(A-MAN)ANA.

37. Dropped, having gone to hook bouncer finally (9)

Answer: DECREASED (i.e. “dropped”). Solution is DECEASED (i.e. “having gone”) wrapped around or “hooking” R (i.e. “bouncer finally”, i.e. the last letter of “bouncer”), like so: DEC(R)EASED.

40. Bob’s one for more efficient method (5,3)

Answer: SHORT CUT. Solution satisfies “bob’s one”, as in the hairstyle, and “more efficient method”.

42. Something cold about likely extremists, with Jihad (4,3)

Answer: HOLY WAR (i.e. “Jihad”). Solution is HOAR (i.e. “something cold”, i.e. a coating of frost) wrapped “about” LY (i.e. “likely extremists”, i.e. the first and last letters of “extremists”) and W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), like so: HO(LY-W)AR. Nicely worked.

43. See end of advert plugging alcoholic drink on ship (7)

Answer: WITNESS (i.e. “see”). Solution is T (i.e. “end of advert”) placed in or “plugging” WINE (i.e. “alcoholic drink”) and followed by SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship), like so: WI(T)NE-SS.

45. Times covering that man, a Greek character (5)

Answer: THETA (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet). Solution is T and T (i.e. “times”, i.e. recognised abbreviations of “time”) wrapped around or “covering” HE (i.e. “that man”) and followed by A, like so: T(HE)T-A.

47. Villain to throttle in execution (5)

Answer: DOING (i.e. “execution”). Solution is DOG (i.e. “villain”) wrapped around or “throttling” IN, like so: DO(IN)G.

48. Hang out first of washing in valley (5)

Answer: DWELL (i.e. to occupy or “hang out” somewhere). Solution is W (i.e. “first of washing”) placed “in” DELL (i.e. “valley”), like so: D(W)ELL.

49. Faithful story, genuine case (5)

Answer: LIEGE (i.e. “faithful”). Solution is LIE (i.e. “story”) followed by GE (i.e. “genuine case”, i.e. the first and last letters of “genuine”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1453

A medium strength puzzle this week, one offering decent progression, well-crafted clues and a spot of sneaky wordplay. A good ‘un, then.

As ever, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

Some shameless hawking while I’ve got you here. You can find links to previous solutions of these things on my Just For Fun page, or some book reviews, or a free story, cuz I’m nice like that.

Till next time, mask up, keep safe and give thumbs to NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

1. Opener in Irish county’s team (9)

Answer: CORKSCREW (i.e. “opener”). When written as CORK’S CREW the solution also satisfies “Irish county’s team”. A near carbon copy of this appeared back in puzzle 1421.

6. Marvellous evening meal down by a piano (5)

Answer: SUPER (i.e. “marvellous”). Solution is SUPPER (i.e. “evening meal”) with one of the Ps removed (indicated by “down by a piano” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “piano” used in musical lingo).

9. Gullible person said to require assistance when distressed (7)

Answer: SUCCOUR (i.e. “assistance when distressed”). “Said to be” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SUCKER (i.e. “gullible person”).

13. Confines or rather restricts maiden (5)

Answer: AMBIT (i.e. scope, limits or “confines”). Solution is A BIT (i.e. “rather”) wrapped around or “restricting” M (a recognised abbreviation of “maiden” used in cricket), like so: A-(M)-BIT.

14. Leave military formation in radioactive dust cloud (4,3)

Answer: FALL OUT (i.e. “leave military formation”). When written as FALLOUT, the solution also satisfies “radioactive dust cloud”.

15. Revolutionary princess rises up behind (2,7)

Answer: IN ARREARS (i.e. “behind”). Solution is RANI (i.e. “princess”) reversed (indicated by “revolutionary”) and followed by REARS (i.e. “rises up”), like so: INAR-REARS.

16. Vanishing cream consumer? (8,3)

Answer: CHESHIRE CAT. Clue riffs on a character from Alice in Wonderland, who would “vanish”. Cat’s are also partial to cream. You get the idea. Nicely done.

17. Untimely error a Cornishman corrected (11)

Answer: ANACHRONISM (i.e. “untimely error” – you sometimes see such bloopers in historical dramas and films, e.g. the white car briefly visible in a battle scene from Braveheart, i.e. stuff that would not have existed at the time). “Corrected” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A CORNISHMAN.

18. Savage to devour rook and chicken portion (6)

Answer: BREAST (i.e. “chicken portion”). Solution is BEAST (i.e. “savage”) wrapped around or “devouring” R (a recognised abbreviation of “rook” used in chess), like so: B(R)EAST.

19. Hard material found in two clubs (8)

Answer: IRONWOOD (i.e. “hard material”). Solution is IRON and WOOD, i.e. “two [golf] clubs”.

21. Tablet provided with article about fabulous bird (6)

Answer: TROCHE (a round medicinal “tablet”). Solution is THE (i.e. “article” – as in a word like a, an or the) wrapped “about” ROC (i.e. “fabulous bird”), like so: T(ROC)HE. One gotten purely from the wordplay.

25. One mistakenly printed in bold (8)

Answer: INTREPID (i.e. “bold”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “mistakenly”) of PRINTED, like so: I-NTREPID.

26. Faintest star is this to my knowledge (2,3,2,1,3,3)

Answer: AS FAR AS I CAN SEE. Solution satisfies “faintest star is this” and “to my knowledge”.

28. Fat politician consumed by booze (5)

Answer: AMPLE (i.e. “fat”). Solution is MP (i.e. “politician”, specifically a Member of Parliament) placed in or “consumed by” ALE (i.e. “booze”), like so: A(MP)LE.

29. Hard work associated with an identifying phrase (6)

Answer: SLOGAN (i.e. “identifying phrase”). Solution is SLOG (i.e. “hard work”) followed by or “associated with” AN.

30. Inside spread little money about congregation (10)

Answer: CENTREFOLD (i.e. “inside spread” of a magazine). Solution is CENT (i.e. “little money”) followed by RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) and FOLD (i.e. “congregation”).

33. Noblewoman about ready to reform Republican fantasist (10)

Answer: DAYDREAMER (i.e. “fantasist”). Solution is DAME (i.e. “noblewoman”) wrapped “about” an anagram (indicated by “to reform”) of READY and then followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”), like so: D(AYDRE)AME-R.

35. Heard musical bouzouki playing here? (6)

Answer: GREECE (i.e. “bouzouki playing here”). “Heard” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of GREASE (i.e. “musical”).

36. Oriental verse reporting shrill sound made by dove? (5)

Answer: HAIKU (i.e. “oriental verse”). “Reporting” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of HIGH COO (i.e. “shrill sound made by dove”).

38. Serious measure to change unpopular work period (9,5)

Answer: GRAVEYARD SHIFT (i.e. “unpopular work period”). Solution is GRAVE (i.e. “serious”) followed by YARD (i.e. “measure”) and SHIFT (i.e. “to change”).

40. Maybe oil one found in desert to harbour’s east (8)

Answer: PORTRAIT (i.e. “maybe oil [painting]”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed or “found in” RAT (i.e. to “desert”). This is then placed after or “to the east” of PORT (i.e. “harbour”), like so: PORT-RA(I)T.

42. Scottish fellow coming in shaved bald nut (6)

Answer: ALMOND (i.e. “nut”). Solution is MON (i.e. “Scottish fellow”, i.e. Scots form of the word “man”) placed “in” ALD (i.e. “shaved bald”, i.e. the word “bald” with the initial letter removed), like so: AL(MON)D.

43. What might get me in post corruptly? (8)

Answer: NEPOTISM. Solution is an anagram (indicated by “corruptly”) of ME IN POST. Nepotism is where undue favouritism is shown towards one’s family or close friends, so to be given a job or “post” in this way would be rather “corrupt”. You get the idea. Excellent clue.

44. Right to support monarch (6)

Answer: PROPER (i.e. “right”). Solution is PROP (i.e. “to support”) followed by ER (i.e. “monarch”, specifically Elizabeth Regina).

47. Chimpanzee, missing first note, so plays fiddle (5,6)

Answer: PONZI SCHEME (i.e. “fiddle”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “plays”) of CHIMPANZEE once the A has been removed (indicated by “missing first [musical] note”) and SO.

50. Say Ransome’s behind bit of capital raised (7,4)

Answer: ARTHUR’S SEAT (i.e. “bit of capital raised”, specifically a peak in Edinburgh, capital of Scotland). Solution is ARTHUR’S (i.e. “say Ransome’s” – other Arthurs are available) followed by SEAT (i.e. one’s sit-upon or “behind”).

52. Tedious don is with Greek poet wasting hour (9)

Answer: WEARISOME (i.e. “tedious”). Solution is WEAR (i.e. “don”) followed by IS, then HOMER (i.e. “Greek poet”) once the H and R have been removed (indicated by “wasting hour” – HR being a recognised abbreviation of “hour”), like so: WEAR-IS-OME.

53. Fruit when cut keeps good colour (7)

Answer: PIGMENT (i.e. “colour”). Solution is PIMENTO (i.e. “fruit”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “when cut”) and the remainder wrapped around or “keeping” G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: PI(G)MENT.

54. Note British Romeo brought to First Lady (5)

Answer: BREVE (i.e. “[musical] note”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”) followed by R (“Romeo” in the phonetic alphabet) and EVE (i.e. “first lady” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

55. Knight breaking legs in Cornish village (2,5)

Answer: ST AGNES (i.e. “Cornish village”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) placed in or “breaking” STAGES (i.e. “legs”), like so: STAG(N)ES.

56. Persecuted boffin abandons grand Italian location (5)

Answer: TURIN (i.e. “Italian location”). Solution is Alan TURING (i.e. “persecuted boffin”) with the G removed (indicated by “abandons grand” – G being a recognised abbreviation of “grand”).

57. Harbour man soaked (9)

Answer: MARINATED (i.e. “soaked”). Solution is MARINA (i.e. “harbour”) followed by TED (i.e. “man” – basically a man’s name).

Down clues

1. Fun ignoring odds: score first-class century (5)

Answer: CRAIC (i.e. “fun”). Solution is CR (i.e. “ignoring odds: score”, i.e. the even letters of SCORE) followed by AI (i.e. “first-class”, i.e. A1, using I to represent the 1) and C (a recognised abbreviation of “century”).

2. Renewed plea about property – try vainly to settle debt (3,5,2,3,4)

Answer: ROB PETER TO PAY PAUL (i.e. “try vainly to settle debt”). “Renewed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PLEA ABOUT PROPERTY. Splitting hairs: borrowing from Peter to pay Paul would be a futile method of settling debt. Robbing Peter, however, would be entirely effective so long as you don’t get caught. Morals, you say? Pfffff…

3. Arrange things on stage and explain situation (3,3,5)

Answer: SET THE SCENE. Solution satisfies “arrange things on stage” and “explain situation”.

4. Improvement achieved in Bible class? (6)

Answer: REFORM (i.e. “improvement”). When written as RE FORM the solution also satisfies “Bible class” – RE being a recognised abbreviation of Religious Education, and a FORM being another word for a class of schoolchildren.

5. Joker perhaps is match for any character (4,4)

Answer: WILD CARD. Solution satisfies “joker” in a pack of playing cards, and “perhaps is match for any character” – referring to the use of wildcards in computing, often when searching for stuff. Wildcards can vary from platform to platform: an asterisk is often used to represent any number of characters in a search, so, for example, you would use John*Smith to find all John Smiths regardless of any middle names. If you’re having trouble sleeping you could do a lot worse than reading up on regular expressions. They can get insanely complicated, especially when you start catering for upper/lower case, factoring in speech marks, commas and other separators, but they can also be strangely sat– …oh look, everyone’s buggered off.

6. One making meteoric progress – at Bisley? (8,4)

Answer: SHOOTING STAR (i.e. “one making meteoric progress”). “At Bisley” refers to Bisley Ranges in Surrey, headquarters of the UK’s National Rifle Association, and how an ace marksman there could be called a… you get the idea.

7. Mathematician to say graph needs modification (10)

Answer: PYTHAGORAS (i.e. “mathematician” who theorised that the square of the hypotenuse of a right-angle triangle was equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides… then had to spend the rest of his life explaining to people what a hypotenuse was). “Needs modification” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO SAY GRAPH.

8. Artist consuming little island dish (5)

Answer: RAITA (a Indian condiment or “dish” sometimes used to help tone down the strength of curries). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) wrapped around or “consuming” AIT (i.e. “little island”), like so: R(AIT)A. Chalk one to my Bradford’s here as I’m not usually one for toning down hot food, rrrrrrr! (Flexes freakishly large taste buds.)

9. One can wind up eating this (9)

Answer: SPAGHETTI. Clue riffs on how some people will gather or “wind up” spaghetti around their fork prior to eating it.

10. Bear out box containing Golden Fleece and ring (11)

Answer: CORROBORATE (i.e. “bear out”). Solution is CRATE (i.e. “box”) wrapped around or “containing” OR (i.e. “golden” in heraldry), ROB (i.e. to “fleece” someone) and O (i.e. “ring”), like so: C(OR-ROB-O)RATE.

11. Aleppo man in houses of certain Arabs (5)

Answer: OMANI (i.e. “certain Arabs”). “Houses” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: ALEPP(O MAN I)N.

12. Continue to suppose parking unavailable (6)

Answer: RESUME (i.e. “continue”). Solution is PRESUME (i.e. “to suppose”) with the P removed (indicated by “parking unavailable” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “parking” used on maps and signage).

18. Dressing to conceal equipment constitutes crime (10)

Answer: BRIGANDAGE (i.e. “crime”). Solution is BANDAGE (i.e. “dressing”) wrapped around or “concealing” RIG (i.e. “equipment”), like so: B(RIG)ANDAGE.

20. Network girl coming north for Circle Line? (8)

Answer: DIAMETER (i.e. “circle line”, being a line that exactly bisects a circle – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is RETE (i.e. a “network” of blood vessels or nerves – a new one on me) and MAID (i.e. “girl”) both reversed (indicated by “coming north” – this being a down clue) like so: DIAM-ETER.

22. Trojan Horse for example making one tense? (10,7)

Answer: HISTORICAL PRESENT. Solution satisfies “Trojan Horse for example” and “tense” – historical present is a style of writing written in the present tense but set historically.

23. Girl’s mother creates oppressive atmosphere (6)

Answer: MIASMA (i.e. “oppressive atmosphere”). When written as MIA’S MA the solution also satisfies “girl’s mother”.

24. Nut collector close to birch unearthed supply (4-6)

Answer: HEAD-HUNTER (i.e. “nut collector”, nut being a slang word for one’s head). Solution is H (i.e. “close to birch”, i.e. the last letter of “birch”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “supply”, as in being supple) of UNEARTHED, like so: H-EADHUNTER.

27. Sit one Oxbridge staffer in capsized ship (8)

Answer: POSEIDON (i.e. “capsized ship” of The Poseidon Adventure). Solution is POSE (i.e. “sit”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and DON (i.e. “Oxford staffer”), like so: POSE-I-DON.

31. Vatican right about small shock (6)

Answer: TREMOR (i.e. “small shock”). Solution is ROME (i.e. “Vatican”) and RT (a recognised abbreviation of “right”, often seen in parliamentary titles, e.g. Rt Hon) both reversed (indicated by “about”), like so: TR-EMOR.

32. Here’s the difference between buying and selling (6,6)

Answer: PROFIT MARGIN. Solution pretty much sums up the clue in its entirely unless I’m missing something particularly clever. (Shrugs.)

34. Right-hand men coming round to impressive speaker (11)

Answer: RHETORICIAN (i.e. “impressive speaker”). Solution is RH (a recognised abbreviation of “right-hand”), ERIC and IAN (both “men’s” names) wrapped “round” TO, like so: RH-E(TO)RIC-IAN.

36. Borscht, on us, prepared as seasonal treat (3,5,3)

Answer: HOT CROSS BUN (i.e. “seasonal treat”). “Prepared” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BORSCHT ON US.

37. Counter-agent: Napoleon’s man in England? (10)

Answer: SHOPKEEPER (i.e. “counter-agent” – as in a sales agent behind a shop counter). “Napoleon’s man in England” refers to a quote attributed to him claiming England was a nation of shopkeepers.

39. Daring disco-dancing – with au pair? (9)

Answer: AUDACIOUS (i.e. “daring”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “dancing”) of DISCO and AU twice (indicated by “au pair” – sneaky eh?)

41. Distinctive theory about alternative meteorological line (8)

Answer: ISOTHERM (i.e. “meteorological line”). Solution is ISM (i.e. doctrine or “distinctive theory”) wrapped “about” OTHER (i.e. “alternative”), like so: IS(OTHER)M.

45. Leads to instrument found in ship (6)

Answer: SPAWNS (i.e. “leads to”). Solution is PAWN (i.e. an “instrument” manipulated often unawares by another) placed “in” SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “steamship”), like so: S(PAWN)S.

46. Spread in book complete (6)

Answer: BUTTER (i.e. “spread”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) followed by UTTER (i.e. “complete”).

48. One bounds area between two American cities (5)

Answer: NYALA (i.e. “one bounds” – a nyala being a southern African antelope). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “area”) placed “between” NY and LA (i.e. “two American cities”, specifically New York and Los Angeles), like so: NY-(A)-LA. A similar clue appeared in the very first of these posts, back when I was in short pants.

49. Turn out for Louis I in European court (5)

Answer: EJECT (i.e. “turn out”). Solution is JE (i.e. “for Louis I”, i.e. the French for “I” – sneaky again!) placed “in” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and CT (ditto “court”), like so: E-(JE)-CT.

51. Be likely to cross river in general direction (5)

Answer: TREND (i.e. “general direction”). Solution is TEND (i.e. “be likely”) wrapped around or “crossing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: T(R)END.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1452

Not sure whether this was a toughie, or whether my brain was not entirely on it. (I am on hols, so there’s that.) Got there eventually. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

As ever, some hawking before we jump in. You can find solutions to previous solutions on my Just For Fun page. I’ve also got some mouldy old book reviews and a story of mine.

I don’t usually produce posts for the Times crossword found in the main paper, but one clue stood out for me today (well, yesterday, I suppose): His poetry no-go, his prose uneven? (3) The solution is Edgar Allan POE, being POETRY without the TRY (hinted at by “no-go”) and all the odd or “uneven” letters of PROSE. Best clue I’ve seen for ages.

Anyway, till next time, keep the flag flying for the NHS and key workers everywhere, mask-up and keep safe.

TTFN – LP

P.S. Dear WordPress, your “easier way to create posts” that you are going to eventually force upon us is a bag of balls. It’s time-consuming enough putting these posts together without some undoable bullshit editor fighting me every step of the way. Not everything that looks like a numbered list is a numbered list! I honestly couldn’t switch back to the old editor fast enough. Now please excuse me, I’ve got some looms to smash up.

Across clues

1. The essentials in underwear piles (5,5)

Answer: BRASS TACKS (i.e. “the essentials”). Solution is BRAS (i.e. “underwear”) followed by STACKS (i.e. “piles”).

6. Official voice possessed by a graduate with robe (12)

Answer: AMBASSADRESS (i.e. “official”). Solution is BASS (i.e. a singing “voice”) placed in or “possessed by” A and MA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Master of Arts) and followed by DRESS (i.e. “robe”), like so: A-M(BASS)A-DRESS.

14. Out of bed with feathers showing instability (2,3,4)

Answer: UP AND DOWN (i.e. “instability”). Solution is UP (i.e. “out of bed”) followed by AND (i.e. “with”) and DOWN (i.e. “feathers”).

15. Demon has man at heart scared (5)

Answer: AFRIT (i.e. a “demon” of Arab myth). Solution is A (i.e. “man at heart”, i.e. the middle letter of the word “man”) followed by FRIT (i.e. “scared”).

16. This person’s on army’s first vehicle in offensive (7)

Answer: ABUSIVE (i.e. “offensive”). Solution is I’VE (i.e. “this person’s” – we’ve seen this sneaky bit of wordplay recently: “this person’s” is a contraction of “this person has” (it doesn’t matter that the clue no longer scans well, so long as it disguises what the setter is playing at); from the point of view of the setter, this equates to “I have”, which contracts to I’VE) placed “on” or after A (i.e. “army’s first”, i.e. the first letter of “army”) and BUS (i.e. “vehicle”), like so: (A-BUS)-I’VE.

17. Novel states in which account may be (3,3,3,3,5)

Answer: THE RED AND THE BLACK (a “novel” by Stendhal, which “tells the story of Julien Sorel’s life in France’s rigid social structure restored after the disruptions of the French Revolution and the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte” (Wikipedia). Sounds laugh-a-minute.) Solution riffs on how bank “accounts” can be in the red (i.e. owing money) or in the black (i.e. holding money).

18. Sub officer retreating? I’m not sure (5)

Answer: LOCUM (i.e. “sub”, as in a substitute). Solution is COL (i.e. “officer”, specifically a colonel) reversed (indicated by “retreating”) and followed by UM (i.e. “I’m not sure”), like so: LOC-UM.

19. Cook fine, edible root, wanting starter (7)

Answer: FALSIFY (i.e. “cook”, as in cooking the books). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils) followed by SALSIFY (i.e. “edible root”) once the initial letter has been removed (indicated by “wanting starter”), like so: F-ALSIFY. Became obvious once I had all the intersecting letters but took a brute force of Chambers to get SALSIFY.

21. Cats track mouse heartlessly by second track (6)

Answer: MEMORY (i.e. “Cats track”, as in a song from the musical Cats). Solution is ME (i.e. “mouse heartlessly”, i.e. the word “mouse” with its middle letters removed) followed by MO (a contraction of moment, or a “second”) and RY (i.e. “track”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “railway”).

22. Fancy if I possessed lentils from the east (3-2-3)

Answer: LAH-DI-DAH (i.e. “fancy”). Solution is HAD I DHAL (i.e. “if I possessed lentils” – a dhal or dal is a pea-like plant cultivated in India) reversed (indicated by “from the east” – this being an across clue), like so: LAHD-I-DAH.

24. Whence porcelain fruit without error at the back (7)

Answer: LIMOGES (i.e. “whence porcelain”, specifically a city in France renowned for its porcelain, it says here. (Shrugs)). Solution is LIMES (i.e. “fruit”) wrapped around or placed “without” OG (i.e. “error at the back”, specifically an Own Goal), like so: LIM(OG)ES. Chalk one to my Bradfords here.

26. Almost keen on less civil, unwelcome fellow (8)

Answer: INTRUDER (i.e. “unwelcome fellow”). Solution is INTO (i.e. “keen on”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder followed by RUDER (i.e. “less civil”), like so: INT-RUDER.

27. Guide rested by reversing vehicle (6)

Answer: SATNAV (i.e. “guide”, specifically a contraction of Satellite Navigation). Solution is SAT (i.e. “rested”) followed by VAN (i.e. “vehicle”) after it has been “reversed”, like so: SAT-NAV.

30. Loudly cutting chicken, always making complaint (6,5)

Answer: YELLOW FEVER (i.e. “complaint”). Solution is F (i.e. “loudly”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “forte” in musical lingo) placed between or “cutting” YELLOW (i.e. “chicken”) and EVER (i.e. “always”), like so: YELLOW-(F)-EVER.

32. Detective on drug many rejected, one maybe fired (5,6)

Answer: HORSE PISTOL (i.e. “one maybe fired”, specifically a large pistol formerly carried by horsemen). Solution is PI (i.e. “detective”, specifically a Private Investigator) placed “on” or after HORSE (i.e. “drug”, specifically a street name for heroin) and followed by LOTS (i.e. “many”) once reversed (indicated by “rejected”), like so: HORSE-PI-STOL.

33. Like judge’s issue with one’s English in test (11)

Answer: MAGISTERIAL (i.e. “like judge”). Solution is MAG (i.e. “issue” or magazine) followed by I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”), then E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) once it has been placed “in” TRIAL (i.e. “test”), like so: MAG-I’S-T(E)RIAL.

35. Entertaining place to involve partner in match (7,4)

Answer: DRAWING ROOM (i.e. “entertaining place”, as in a place to entertain guests). Solution is DRAW IN (i.e. “to involve”) followed by GROOM (i.e. “partner in match” or wedding).

37. Substance initially becoming nitrogen gas (6)

Answer: NATTER (i.e. to “gas”). Solution is MATTER (i.e. “substance”) with the “initial” letter replaced by or “becoming” N (chemical symbol of “nitrogen”), like so: (M)ATTER => (N)ATTER.

38. Ruler at intervals moulding part of foot (8)

Answer: OLIGARCH (i.e. “ruler”). Solution is OLIG (i.e. “at intervals moulding”, i.e. every other letter of MOULDING) followed by ARCH (i.e. “part of foot”).

39. Male Greek deity knocked over dish (7)

Answer: RAMEKIN (i.e. “dish”). Solution is RAM (i.e. “male [sheep]”) followed by NIKE (i.e. “Greek deity”) reversed (indicated by “knocked over”), like so: RAM-EKIN.

42. Particular observation about banking area (8)

Answer: ESPECIAL (i.e. “particular”). Solution is ESPIAL (i.e. “observation”) wrapped “about” EC (i.e. “banking area”, specifically the postcode area of London’s Square Mile), like so: ESP(EC)IAL.

44. Manufacturer with licence (6)

Answer: WRIGHT (i.e. “manufacturer”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) followed by RIGHT (i.e. “licence”).

46. A single medic enters close to parched (4-3)

Answer: BONE-DRY (i.e. “parched”). Solution is ONE (i.e. “a single”) and DR (i.e. “medic”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of doctor) both placed in or “entering” BY (i.e. “close to”), like so: B(ONE-DR)Y.

48. Empty personnel devour tuck (5)

Answer: PLEAT (i.e. “tuck”). Solution is PL (i.e. “empty personnel”, i.e. the word “personnel” with all its middle letters removed) followed by EAT (i.e. “devour”).

49. E.g. coming here, current power to split atom (7,10)

Answer: PRESENT PARTICIPLE (i.e. “e.g. coming here” – in the dry and joyless world of grammar, a participle is “a non-finite form of a verb used to form compound tenses (eg broken in the phrase had broken) and as an adjective (eg burning in the phrase the burning bush)”, while a present participle is one “referring roughly to contemporaneous action” (both Chambers). Solution is PRESENT (i.e. “here”) followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics) and P (ditto “power”) once they have been placed in or “splitting” PARTICLE (i.e. “atom”), like so: PRESENT-PARTIC(IP)LE.

51. Mundane covers of Telegraph put in prematurely (7)

Answer: EARTHLY (i.e. “mundane”). Solution is TH (i.e. “covers of Telegraph”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Telegraph”) placed “in” EARLY (i.e. “prematurely”), like so: EAR(TH)LY.

52. So we hear, look for one in flight (5)

Answer: STAIR (i.e. “one in flight” of stairs). “So we hear” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of STARE (i.e. “look”).

53. Put under the rocks, wish to return (9)

Answer: ETHERISED (i.e. “put under”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rocks”) of THE followed by DESIRE (i.e. “wish”) reversed (indicated by “to return”), like so: ETH-ERISED.

54. Put down revolt to seize power? That’s bold (12)

Answer: ENTERPRISING (i.e. “bold”). Solution is ENTER (i.e. “put down”) and RISING (i.e. “revolt”) wrapped around or “seizing” P (a recognised abbreviation of “power”), like so: ENTER-(P)-RISING.

55. Person sacking porter, dead drunk (10)

Answer: DEPREDATOR (i.e. “person sacking” or plundering). “Drunk” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PORTER DEAD.

Down clues

1. Cow eating unit of bananas lavishly (11)

Answer: BOUNTIFULLY (i.e. “lavishly”). Solution is BULLY (i.e. to “cow” someone, as in causing them to cower) wrapped around or “eating” an anagram (indicated by “bananas”) of UNIT OF, like so: B(OUNTIF)ULLY.

2. Device for cooking skin of vine that’s succulent (5)

Answer: AGAVE (i.e. “succulent”). Solution is AGA (i.e. “device for cooking”) followed by VE (i.e. “skin of vine”, i.e. the first and last letters of “vine”), like so: AGA-VE.

3. Making blue design and modelling (9)

Answer: SADDENING (i.e. “making blue”). “Modelling” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DESIGN AND.

4. Clad in vinyl, a monarch’s turned up something odd (7)

Answer: ANOMALY (i.e. “something odd”). “Clad in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “turned up” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: VIN(YL A MONA)RCH’S.

5. It’s involved in stocking domestic animals, say (7)

Answer: KINGDOM (i.e. “animals, say” – other kingdoms are available). “It’s involved in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: STOC(KING DOM)ESTIC.

7. Saving pound, ruin old, unrefined English town (11)

Answer: MARLBOROUGH (i.e. “English town”). Solution is LB (a recognised abbreviation of a “pound” weight, from the Latin “libra”) placed in or “saved by” MAR (i.e. “ruin”) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), followed by ROUGH (i.e. “unrefined”), like so: MAR-(LB)-O-ROUGH.

8. Off track, like cup-bearer (6)

Answer: ASTRAY (i.e. “off track”). When written as AS TRAY, the solution also satisfies “like cup-bearer”.

9. Diner’s bag filled with new piece of chocolate (5,3)

Answer: SNACK BAR (i.e. “diner”). Solution is SACK (i.e. “bag”) wrapped around or “filled with” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and followed by BAR (i.e. “piece of chocolate”), like so: S(N)ACK-BAR.

10. Manipulate and beguile old fraud (6-7)

Answer: DOUBLE-DEALING (i.e. “fraud”). “Manipulate” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AND BEGUILE OLD.

11. Shown one boy embraced by another (7)

Answer: EVINCED (i.e. “shown”). Solution is VINCE (i.e. “boy”, basically a boy’s name) placed in or “embraced by” ED (i.e. “another” boy’s name), like so: E(VINCE)D.

12. Digger’s spades and clubs found by shack (5-6)

Answer: STEAM-SHOVEL (i.e. “digger”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “spades” used in some card games) followed by TEAMS (i.e. sports “clubs”) and HOVEL (i.e. “shack”).

13. Pet around house, note, runs in part of dash (10)

Answer: TACHOMETER (i.e. “part of dash[board]” – i.e. a speedometer). Solution is CAT (i.e. “pet”) reversed (indicated by “around”) and followed by HOME (i.e. “house”), then TE (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me style) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in some ball games), like so: TAC-HOME-TE-R.

20. What brightens up endlessly bad mess (9)

Answer: LAMPLIGHT (i.e. “what brightens up”). Solution is LAME (i.e. “bad”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “endlessly”) and the remainder followed by PLIGHT (i.e. “mess”), like so: LAM-PLIGHT.

23. Pull up and sell fish (8)

Answer: REPROACH (i.e. “pull [someone] up”). Solution is REP (i.e. “sell” – think sales reps) followed by ROACH (i.e. “fish”).

25. Cushion, with pins removed, spins over and over (6)

Answer: SOFTEN (i.e. “cushion”). Solution is S (i.e. “with pins removed, spins”, i.e. the word SPINS with PINS removed) followed by OFTEN (i.e. “over and over”).

26. Dishonestly persuade, given lie to spread around (8)

Answer: INVEIGLE (i.e. “dishonestly persuade”). “To spread around” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GIVEN LIE.

28. Made contacts, so it was possible to go online? (9)

Answer: NETWORKED (i.e. “made contacts”). When written as NET WORKED, the solution also satisfies “was possible to go online”.

29. Person repudiating old French bread (6)

Answer: DENIER. Solution satisfies “person repudiating” and “old French bread” – a denier was an old French coin.

31. Bird’s cry, coast there being wild (13)

Answer: OYSTERCATCHER (i.e. “bird”). “Being wild” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CRY COAST THERE.

33. Figures on board covering obstruction around shelf (11)

Answer: MANTELPIECE (i.e. “shelf”). Solution is MAN and PIECE (i.e. “figures on [chess] board” – chess pieces are sometimes referred to as “men”) wrapped around or “covering” LET (i.e. “obstruction” – an archaic meaning of the word) reversed (indicated by “around”), like so: MAN-(TEL)-PIECE.

34. Deception emerged? Nail criminal (11)

Answer: LEGERDEMAIN (i.e. “deception”). “Criminal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EMERGED NAIL.

35. Offering insults before leftist turns on rightist (10)

Answer: DEROGATORY (i.e. “offering insults”). Solution is AGO (i.e. “before”) and RED (i.e. “leftist”) both reversed (indicated by “turns”) and then followed by TORY (i.e. “rightist”), like so: (DER-OGA)-TORY.

36. Merely running with no end, he hopes to generate interest (11)

Answer: MONEYLENDER (i.e. “he hopes to generate interest”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “running”) of MERELY and NO END.

40. Chap treated by yours truly given digital upgrade (9)

Answer: MANICURED (i.e. “given digital upgrade” – riffing on the digits of one’s hands). Solution is MAN (i.e. “chap”) and CURED (i.e. “treated”) once placed after or “by” I (i.e. “yours truly”), like so: MAN-(I)-CURED.

41. Rates contributor in Times during year apt to change (8)

Answer: TAXPAYER (i.e. “rates contributor”). Solution is X (i.e. “times”, as in the multiplication symbol – ignore the misleading capitalisation) placed “during” an anagram (indicated by “to change”) of YEAR APT, like so: TA(X)PAYER.

43. Stage character to go off behind platform (7)

Answer: PIERROT (i.e. “stage character”, think sad clown) Solution is ROT (i.e. “to go off”) placed “behind” PIER (i.e. “platform”), like so: PIER-ROT.

45. Role reversed with ease, we hear, in swinger’s bar (7)

Answer: TRAPEZE (i.e. “swinger’s bar”). Solution is PART (i.e. “role”) “reversed” followed by EZE (i.e. “ease, we hear”, i.e. a homophone of “ease”), like so: TRAP-EZE.

46. Very masculine ruler in ruin (7)

Answer: BUTCHER (i.e. to “ruin”). Solution is BUTCH (i.e. “very masculine”) followed by ER (i.e. “ruler”, specifically Elizabeth Regina).

47. Count on son abandoning agreement (6)

Answer: CENSUS (i.e. a “count” held every ten years). Solution is CONSENSUS (i.e. “agreement”) with ON and S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) removed or “abandoned”, like so: C(ON-S)ENSUS => CENSUS.

50. Good health leaving queen’s place (5)

Answer: POSIT (i.e. “place”). Solution is PROSIT (i.e. “good health”, as in a toast like “cheers” or “salut” – not one I recall coming across before), with the R removed (indicated by “leaving queen” – R being a recognised abbreviation of Regina, or “queen” in Latin). Chalk one to my Bradfords here.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1451

A bizarre semi-stinker this week. It could be just me, but if you split the grid into two halves, north-west versus south-east, then it felt like the north-west was a piece of piss compared to the horror show opposite. I got there, I think, but good grief this was like pulling teeth, especially toward the end. Not fun. A shame, really, as there were some clues that were rather well worked. (Shrugs.)

As ever, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions. I hope you find them useful. Meanwhile, you can find previous solutions to the last couple of years’ Jumbos on my Just For Fun page. I’ve also got some book reviews and a story of mine knocking about the place.

Until next time, keep well, continue to give thanks to the NHS and all key workers as we continue to inch out of lockdown. And MASK UP! Don’t moan about it. If you can do it, then do it. This pandemic is bigger than any of us. Don’t be selfish.

Right then. Off to the answers with you while I find a way down off my high horse. Laters, taters.

LP

Across clues

1. Athlete runs and runs past point of no return (5)

Answer: RACER (i.e. “athlete”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) and a second R (“runs” again) placed after or “past” ACE (i.e. “point of no return” – referring to a tennis point scored in one hit), like so: R-ACE-R.

4. Purpose encompassed by a stick was stirring (7)

Answer: AROUSED (i.e. “was stirring”). Solution is USE (i.e. “purpose”) placed in “encompassed by” A ROD (i.e. “a stick”), like so: A-RO(USE)D.

8. Stupid to accept degree in dialect? (9)

Answer: IDIOMATIC (i.e. “in dialect”). Solution is IDIOTIC (i.e. “stupid”) wrapped around or “accepting” MA (i.e. “degree”, specifically a Master of Arts), like so: IDIO(MA)TIC.

13. What’s just the thing for the papers? It won’t detain court long! (9)

Answer: BRIEFCASE (i.e. “just the thing for the papers”). When written as BRIEF CASE the solution also satisfies “it won’t detain court long”.

14. Start off shining, having taken job in tap room? (9,4)

Answer: LISTENING POST (i.e. “tap room” – playing on how wiretaps are used to listen in on people). Solution is GLISTENING (i.e. “shining”) with the initial letter removed (indicated by “start off”) and the remainder followed by POST (i.e. “job”).

15. There’s no way out of it – this setter’s had his day (7)

Answer: IMPASSE (i.e. “there’s no way out of it”). When written as I’M PASSE, the solution also satisfies “this setter’s had his day”.

16. Spectators compete with bets, blowing silver (7)

Answer: VIEWERS (i.e. “spectators”). Solution is VIE (i.e. “compete”) followed by WAGERS (i.e. “bets”) once the AG has been removed (indicated by “blowing silver” – Ag being the chemical symbol of silver), like so: VIE-WERS.

17. “Caught in flying saucer”, he claims (7)

Answer: ACCUSER (i.e. “he claims”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “flying”) of SAUCER, like so: AC(C)USER.

18. Dog lacking ears helps in coursing (4,7,7)

Answer: KING CHARLES SPANIEL (i.e. “dog”). “Coursing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LACKING EARS HELPS IN.

21. Religion without saints returns to African nation (4)

Answer: MALI (i.e. “African nation”). Solution is ISLAM (i.e. “religion”) with the S removed (indicated by “without saints” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “saint”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “returns”).

23. Fashionable food store with non-U sort of cheese that can’t be got rid of (9)

Answer: INDELIBLE (i.e. “can’t be got rid of”). Solution is IN (i.e. “fashionable”) followed by DELI (i.e. “food store”, short for delicatessen) and BLUE (i.e. “sort of cheese”) once the U has been removed (indicated by “non-U” – whatever that’s supposed to mean. Non-Uranium, maybe, which is always reassuring when one is buying cheese), like so: IN-DELI-BLE.

25. Looking back, Gap creator sums up (6)

Answer: RECAPS (i.e. “sums up”). Solution is SPACER (i.e. “gap creator” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) reversed (indicated by “looking back”).

26. Allow financial computer to become deadly (6)

Answer: LETHAL (i.e. “deadly”). Solution is LET (i.e. “allow”) followed by HAL (i.e. “fictional computer” from Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey).

28. One on world tour putting foot on ball (12)

Answer: GLOBETROTTER (i.e. “one on world tour”). Solution is TROTTER (i.e. “[pig’s] foot”) placed “on” or after GLOBE (i.e. “ball”).

30. Sack builder who keeps lighting up compulsively? (4-6)

Answer: FIRE-RAISER (i.e. “who keeps lighting up compulsively”). Solution is FIRE (i.e. “sack”) followed by RAISER (i.e. “builder”).

33. Spoke about new education sector that’s free (10)

Answer: UNFETTERED (i.e. “free”). Solution is UTTERED (i.e. “spoke”) wrapped “about” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and FE (“education sector”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Further Education), like so: U(N-FE)TTERED.

34. Fold following disastrous collapse – it encapsulates English (4,2,6)

Answer: FALL TO PIECES (i.e. “fold”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “following” that you don’t often see, which is surprising – I suspect we might see a flurry of setters using this in the near future) followed by an anagram (indicated by “disastrous”) of COLLAPSE IT wrapped around or “encapsulating” E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: F-ALLTOPI(E)CES.

37. Westerly to dry fish (6)

Answer: TURBOT (i.e. “fish”). Solution is TO followed by BRUT (i.e. French for “dry” or unsweetened wines) all reversed (indicated by “westerly” – this being an across clue), like so: TURB-OT.

39. Cash machine charge capped to maximum (2,4)

Answer: AT MOST (i.e. “to maximum”). Solution is ATM (i.e. “cash machine”, short for Automated Teller Machine) followed by COST (i.e. “charge”) once its initial letter has been removed (indicated by “capped”), like so: ATM-OST.

40. Such as “No standing at the bottom!” in playground? Pupils understood this once! (5,4)

Answer: SLIDE RULE, a mathematical aid used before the advent of electronic calculators, i.e. “pupils understood this once”. Never had to use one in school, thankfully, so I can’t comment on whether the otherwise nonsensical “No standing at the bottom!” bit means anything in this context, other than it sounding like a rule. A quick aside: the “pupils understood this once” bit reminds me how the ones most critical of schoolkids using calculators are often the ones who didn’t have them when they were at school. Funny that.
[EDIT: Thanks to Steve and John in the comments for shedding light on this one. The “No standing at the bottom!” bit relates to playground slides, where children would be sworn off lingering around at the bottom. Cheers, both! – LP]

42. Relative’s ‘angout (4)

Answer: AUNT (i.e. “relative”). Solution is HAUNT with the H dropped (indicated by “‘angout”, as in ‘ow all ‘em cockneys would say it, dropping their bleedin’ aitches, Gordon Bennett, chim-chim cher-ee Miss Poppins, the Queen Mum gawblessah, and other playfully withering anti-London-isms).

43. Hung fire, putting life in the balance? (9,9)

Answer: SUSPENDED ANIMATION. Solution is SUSPENDED (i.e. “hung”) followed by ANIMATION (i.e. “fire”, as in being angry or animated). On the flip side, “life in the balance” riffs on how some weighing scales use a pair of “suspended” pans, with “life” taken to mean “animation”. You get the idea. Can’t say I was keen on this one. Having both halves of the clue equally cryptic and neither really relating to the solution felt a bit unfair. World keeps spinning, meanwhile…

46. Helping of coffee airline sent back (7)

Answer: ABETTAL (i.e. “helping”). Solution is LATTE (i.e. “coffee”) and BA (i.e. “airline”, specifically British Airways) all reversed (indicated by “sent back”), like so: AB-ETTAL.

47. Unleavened bread, brown, for one into self-denial? (7)

Answer: PURITAN (i.e. “one into self-denial” – Puritans are strictly moral in conduct and therefore “deny” themselves all kind of things. All the more for us heathens then…) Solution is PURI (i.e. “unleavened [Indian] bread”) followed by TAN (i.e. “brown”).

48. Potato pest perhaps keeping its distance (7)

Answer: ALOOFLY (i.e. “keeping its distance”). Solution is ALOO (a “potato” in Indian cooking – thank you, Chambers) followed by FLY (i.e. “pest perhaps” – other pests are available).

50. Would a second cup of this be appropriate? (7,6)

Answer: INSTANT COFFEE. Clue plays on how a second cup of instant coffee wouldn’t be quite as “instant” as the first. Assuming the coffee has been poured from a pot, I guess. I mean, most people would chuck instant coffee into a cup and add hot water, wouldn’t they? In other words it would always be instant. They wouldn’t make two cups of instant coffee, for example, and have one later, making it less instant, would they? Would they? No, of course not. That would be ridiculous. They’d just stick the kettle on again when they are ready to have another cup. Which would be another cup of instant coffee. To be honest, you could even argue that coffee poured from a pot is instant too, because it’s there ready to pour whenever you want it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the clue is… hello? Guys? Where’d you all go? Hello…?! Guys???

51. Make hit plays, then perform opera (3,6)

Answer: THE MIKADO (i.e. an “opera” by Gilbert & Sullivan). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “plays”) of MAKE HIT followed by DO (i.e. “perform”), like so: THEMIKA-DO.

52. Old writers include two separate notes for those providing explanation (9)

Answer: EXPONENTS (i.e. “those providing explanation”). Solution is EX (i.e. “old”) followed by POETS (i.e. “writers”) wrapped around or “including” N and N (i.e. “two separate notes” – N being a recognised abbreviation of “note” – “separate” indicates these are strewn throughout POETS, rather than sitting side-by-side), like so: EX-PO(N)E(N)TS.

53. Content fits badly in Express (7)

Answer: SATISFY (i.e. “content” – Hmm. “Contented = Satisfied”, yes, I get, but I’m struggling to think of a sentence that would allow “content” to be swapped for “satisfy”. Perhaps I’m being too fussy…) Solution is an anagram (indicated by “badly”) of FITS placed “in” SAY (i.e. “express” – ignore the misleading capitalisation and italicisation), like so: SA(TISF)Y.

54. Cultivated meadow’s beginning to go after variable output (5)

Answer: YIELD (i.e. “output”). Solution is FIELD (i.e. “cultivated meadow”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “beginning to go”) and the remainder placed “after” Y (i.e. “variable” – setters love describing X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns or variables), like so: Y-IELD.

Down clues

1. Funny parasite found under bone on fish (3-8)

Answer: RIB-TICKLING (i.e. “funny”). Solution is TICK (i.e. “parasite”) placed after or “under” – this being a down clue – RIB (i.e. “bone”) and then followed by LING (i.e. “fish”), like so: RIB-(TICK)-LING.

2. Brisk constable arresting gentleman from the south (5)

Answer: CRISP (i.e. “brisk”). Solution is PC (i.e. “constable”, specifically a Police Constable) wrapped around or “arresting” SIR (i.e. “gentleman”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “from the south” – again, this being a down clue), like so: C(RIS)P.

3. Don’t put money in plate for rubbish service (6,10)

Answer: REFUSE COLLECTION. Solution satisfies “don’t put money in [collection] plate” and “rubbish service”. Nicely worked.

4. Scared, run away onto a public walk (7)

Answer: ALAMEDA (i.e. a “public walk” in Spain). Solution is ALARMED (i.e. “scared”) with the R removed (indicated by “run away” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games) and the remainder followed by A, like so: ALAMED-A. Chalk one to my Bradfords here. I couldn’t look past AFRAID for “scared”, even when it clearly wouldn’t fit the intersecting letters.

5. Set too much store by usefulness of deliveries? (9)

Answer: OVERVALUE (i.e. “set too much store” in something). When read as OVER VALUE the solution also satisfies “usefulness of [cricket] deliveries” – six of which make an over.

6. Movie world’s barrier against old people? (6,6)

Answer: SILVER SCREEN (i.e. “movie world”). Solution also satisfies a “barrier against old people”.

7. Persisted rudely holding Conservative in contempt (10)

Answer: DISRESPECT (i.e. “contempt”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rudely”) of PERSISTED wrapped around or “holding” C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”), like so: DISRESPE(C)T.

8. Edited Times articles (5)

Answer: ITEMS (i.e. “articles”). “Edited” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TIMES. Simple, but nicely done.

9. I found a partner to adopt computer business, and took off (8)

Answer: IMITATED (i.e. “took off”). Solution is I MATED (i.e. “I found a partner”) wrapped around or “adopting” IT (i.e. “computer business”, specifically Information Technology), like so: I-M(IT)ATED.

10. Endless spiritual ceremony, involving smoke rising and charms (6)

Answer: MAGICS (i.e. “charms”). Solution is MASS (i.e. “spiritual ceremony”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder wrapped around or “involving” CIG (i.e. “smoke”, both slang words for a cigarette) once it has been reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: MA(GIC)S. Another nicely worked clue.

11. The right way is for everyone to be premier (9)

Answer: TAOISEACH (i.e. Irish Prime Minister or “premier”). Solution is TAO (i.e. “the right way” in Confucianism – thank you again, Chambers) followed by IS, then EACH (i.e. “for everyone”). A word I don’t think I’ll ever spell correctly without help. Or pronounce, for that matter.

12. Provide support in early stage of life (11)

Answer: CATERPILLAR (i.e. “early stage of life” of butterflies). Solution is CATER (i.e. “provide”) followed by PILLAR (i.e. “support”).

19. Capital movements no longer available, becomes dormant (4,3)

Answer: NODS OFF (i.e. “becomes dormant”). Solution is NODS (i.e. “capital movements” – capital taken to mean “relating to the head” (Chambers); you nod your head, it is therefore a capital movement) followed by OFF (i.e. “no longer available”).

20. Union’s a joke, mounting case with no right (7)

Answer: NUPTIAL (i.e. “union” or marriage). Solution is PUN (i.e. “a joke”) reversed (indicated by “mounting” – this being a down clue) and followed by TRIAL (i.e. “[court] case”) once the R has been removed (indicated by “no right” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: NUP-TIAL.

22. Nephew’s 21st perhaps has hallmark of largest party? (8,8)

Answer: RELATIVE MAJORITY (i.e. “hallmark of largest party”, being the seats the largest political party has over and above its nearest rival without holding an overall majority). Solution is RELATIVE (i.e. “nephew”) followed by MAJORITY (i.e. “21st perhaps” – an acknowledgement that the age of majority has historically differed in the UK). Another nicely worked clue.
[EDIT: Thanks to Mrs D for the typo fix. I’d originally written “Solution is RELATIVE (i.e. “relative”)…” – LP]

24. Indian appetizer picked up for one performing lighter work (6)

Answer: BARGEE (i.e. “one performing lighter work” – lighter taken to mean a kind of boat). “Picked up” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of BHAJI (i.e. “Indian appetizer”). Seems this setter has a thing for Indian food. I approve!

27. Oil know-how picked up in northern India (6)

Answer: NEROLI (i.e. an “oil” distilled from orange flowers, which sounds rather nice). Solution is LORE (i.e. “know-how”) reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue) and placed “in” between N (a recognised abbreviation of “northern”) and I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: N-(EROL)-I. Chalk another one to my Bradfords here. I’d rather lost the will with this puzzle by this point.

29. Picked up shirt, left around, to get crown (7)

Answer: TREETOP (i.e. “crown”). Solution is TEE (i.e. “shirt”, as in a T-shirt) with PORT (i.e. “left” in nautical lingo) placed “around” it. The whole is then reversed (indicated by “picked up” – again, being a down clue), like so: TR(EET)OP. Another score for my Bradfords here. My brain had badly wanted to do something else.

31. Devils yield to temptation, sacrificing maiden on island (7)

Answer: SUCCUBI (i.e. “devils”, a plural of succubus). Solution is SUCCUMB (i.e. “yield to temptation”) with the M removed (indicated by “sacrificing maiden” – M being a recognised abbreviation of “maiden” used in cricket to record scoreless overs) and the remainder followed by I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: SUCCUB-I.

32. Abuse of whisky to gobble up 20% of money through regular payment (12)

Answer: MALTREATMENT (i.e. “abuse”). Solution is MALT (i.e. “whisky”) followed by EAT (i.e. “gobble up”) and M (i.e. “20% of money”, specifically the first 20% of the word “money”) once these latter two have been placed in or “through” RENT (i.e. “regular payment”), like so: MALT-R(EAT-M)ENT. Another nicely worked clue.

33. Solider upholding extremist position in spectrum? (11)

Answer: ULTRAMARINE (i.e. “position in [colour] spectrum”). Solution is MARINE (i.e. “soldier”) placed below or “upholding” – this being a down clue – ULTRA (i.e. “extremist”), like so: ULTRA-MARINE.

35. Coppers getting offer in barber’s shop? (7,4)

Answer: SWEENEY TODD. Solution satisfies “coppers”, specifically the cockney rhyming slang for the Flying Squad, a branch within the London Metropolitan Police, and “offer in barber’s shop”, specifically… well… Sweeney Todd, who had a thing for “offing” customers sitting in his barber’s chair. A reminder you should tip, people!

36. Plan to invade hills in US winds up? On the contrary (10)

Answer: DOWNDRAFTS (i.e. “US winds up? On the contrary” – a bit rubbish this, but basically the solution is the opposite of “winds up”, “winds” taken to mean a breeze and using the American spelling DRAFT rather than the UK spelling DRAUGHT. I suspect this will go down like a shit sandwich with some solvers!) Solution is DRAFT (i.e. “plan”) placed in or “invading” DOWNS (i.e. “hills”), like so: DOWN(DRAFT)S.

38. Seconds of bean feast? (7-2)

Answer: RUNNERS-UP (i.e. “seconds”). Solution is RUNNER (i.e. “bean”) followed by SUP (i.e. “feast” – an archaic meaning of “sup” is to take the evening meal, or to supper).

40. Deer at the bottom becomes motionless (9)

Answer: STAGNATES (i.e. “becomes motionless”). Solution is STAG (i.e. “deer”) followed by NATES (i.e. one’s “bottom”, anatomically – you learn something new every day!)

41. Ball fired at the crease producing report (8)

Answer: BULLETIN (i.e. “report”). Solution is BULLET (i.e. “ball fired” – bullets can be round as well as conical) followed by IN (i.e. “at the crease” in cricket).

44. German spy’s confession perhaps lacking right figures of speech (7)

Answer: IMAGERY (i.e. “figures of speech”). Solution is I’M A GERRY (i.e. “German spy’s confession perhaps” – in WW2, Germans were often referred to as Jerry or Gerry. Speaks to the age of the setter, it seems, along with a number of other clues this week) with one of the Rs removed (indicated by “lacking right” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”).

45. Provincial theatre etc facing up to pressure (6)

Answer: STRAIN (i.e. “pressure”). Solution is NI ARTS (i.e. “provincial theatre etc”, taken to mean Northern Irish arts) reversed (indicated by “facing up” – this being a down clue), like so: STRA-IN.

47. Leader of prayers has obligations for devout (5)

Answer: PIOUS (i.e. “devout”). Solution is P (i.e. “leader of prayers”, i.e. the first letter of “prayers”) followed by IOUS (i.e. “obligations”, or I Owe Yous).

49. Surround female and male sheep with pen after shearing (5)

Answer: FRAME (i.e. “surround”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) followed by RAM (i.e. “male sheep”) and E (i.e. “pen after shearing”, i.e. the word “pen” with its first and last letters removed).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1450

A little later than usual (working weekend) but here’s my completed grid for this week’s Times Jumbo. It was a so-so puzzle for me, with a few good clues but a few others where I thought the setter was pushing things a little too far, particularly with homophones. Your mileage may have varied. In any case, you can find explanations for my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

As ever, I’ll hawk some other stuff while you are here. Consider it my fee. You can find previous solutions to these things on my Just For Fun page, some book reviews or a story of mine. There, that wasn’t painful, was it?

And so to the answers. Till next time, continue to give thanks to the NHS and key workers everywhere, stay safe, eat your greens and wash behind your ears.

TTFN,

LP

Across clues

1. Bloomer made by union leader surrounded by dangerous reptiles (6)

Answer: CROCUS (i.e. a flower or “bloomer”). Solution is U (i.e. “union leader”, i.e. the first letter of “union”) placed in or “surrounded by” CROCS (i.e. “dangerous reptiles”), like so: CROC(U)S.

5. Canadian law enforcer free to pursue method of working (7)

Answer: MOUNTIE (i.e. “Canadian law enforcer”). Solution is UNTIE (i.e. “free”) placed after or “pursuing” MO (i.e. “method of working”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Modus Operandi), like so: MO-UNTIE.

9. Barker put on TV with porter (8)

Answer: AIREDALE (i.e. a breed of dog, or “barker”). Solution is AIRED (i.e. “put on TV”, “put” taken as past tense) followed by ALE (i.e. “porter”, a strong beer).

13. Extremely helpful, like an English noble once? (5,4,6,2,4)

Answer: WORTH ONE’S WEIGHT IN GOLD (i.e. “extremely helpful”). “Like an English noble once” refers to a noble, an English gold coin from the fourteenth century. Nicely worked.

14. Beg last of theatre managers to manage current stars (8)

Answer: PLEIADES (i.e. a group of “stars”, visible to the naked eye). Solution is PLEAD (i.e. “beg”) and ES (i.e. “last of theatre managers”, i.e. the last letters of “theatre” and “managers”) wrapped around or “managing” I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current”), like so: PLE(I)AD-ES. One I remembered from a previous grid, to be honest, though I’ll never remember how it’s spelled.

15. Illegal enterprises involving court? (7)

Answer: RACKETS (i.e. “illegal enterprises”). “Involving court” riffs on how rackets – or racquets, both spellings are recognised – are used to play tennis.

16. Film most of pleasant outdoor meal (6)

Answer: PICNIC (i.e. “outdoor meal”). Solution is PIC (i.e. “film” – both taken to mean movies) followed by NICE (i.e. “pleasant”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “most of”), like so: PIC-NIC.

17. Plea by Liberal in Lincoln referable to higher court? (10)

Answer: APPEALABLE (i.e. “referable to higher court”). Solution is APPEAL (i.e. “plea”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “Liberal”) once it has been placed “in” ABE (i.e. Abraham “Lincoln”), like so: APPEAL-AB(L)E.

20. Pieces of fruit a presbyter conceals, some say (12)

Answer: ELDERBERRIES (i.e. “pieces of fruit”). Solution is ELDER (i.e. “a presbyter” – an elder of the Presbyterian Church) followed by a homophone (indicated by “some say”) of BURIES (i.e. “conceals”).

23. Partner? One may be a fool’s or a scholar’s (4)

Answer: MATE (i.e. “partner”). The remainder of the clue plays on chess terms: a “fool’s” mate is “the simplest of the checkmates (in two moves by each player)”, while a “scholar’s” mate is “a simple mate accomplished in four moves” (Chambers, both).

24. Lacking shape, one leaves in livery (8)

Answer: UNFORMED (i.e. “lacking shape”). Solution is UNIFORMED (i.e. “in livery”) with the I removed (indicated by “[Roman numeral] one leaves”).

26. Caustic quality potentially making crony mad (8)

Answer: MORDANCY (i.e. “caustic quality”). “Making” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CRONY MAD.

29. Reduction in level of French euphoria about southern California (2-10)

Answer: DE-ESCALATION (i.e. “reduction in level”). Solution is DE (i.e. “of French”, i.e. the French for “of”) followed by ELATION (i.e. “euphoria”) once it has been wrapped “about” S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) and CA (ditto “California”), like so: DE-E(S-CA)LATION.

30. Clearly only teacher turns out a novel (10)

Answer: COHERENTLY (i.e. “clearly”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “novel”) of ONLY TEACHER once the A has been removed (indicated by “turns out a”).

32. Eg Fowler’s old lady transfixed by married woman (10)

Answer: GRAMMARIAN (i.e. “Eg [Henry Watson or Francis George] Fowler” – the brothers worked on a number of acclaimed books in the early twentieth century, perhaps most famously A Dictionary of Modern English Usage). Solution is GRAN (i.e. “old lady”) wrapped around or “transfixed by” M (a recognised abbreviation of “married”) and MARIA (i.e. “woman”, basically a woman’s name), like so: GRA(M-MARIA)N.

34. Self-aggrandising type came out clasping female Arab (12)

Answer: MEGALOMANIAC (i.e. “self-aggrandising type”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out” – one definition of the word is “away from the original or normal position or state” (Chambers)) of CAME, wrapped around or “clasping” GAL (i.e. “female”) and OMANI (i.e. “Arab”, specifically one from Oman), like so: ME(GAL-OMANI)AC.

36. Energy invested in fellow’s joint academic office (8)

Answer: DEANSHIP (i.e. “academic office”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) placed or “invested in” DAN’S (i.e. “fellow’s”, basically a man’s name made possessive) and followed by HIP (i.e. “joint”), like so: D(E)AN’S-HIP.

38. Explosive that throws me in moat! (8)

Answer: AMMONITE. Not one I’m 100% on, but I can’t immediately see anything else that fits. The solution is an anagram (indicated by “throws”) of ME IN MOAT. An AMMONITE is an extinct marine mollusc – hardly the kind of thing you’d see bobbing around a moat. I guess the setter is riffing on AMMO being an “explosive”, but that isn’t terribly satisfactory. If someone swings by with a better solution then I’ll update the post, but as it stands this one is destined for the setters’ sin bin.
[EDIT: Thanks to a number of people in the comments for highlighting that ammonite is a form of an old high explosive called Amatol. It’s a definition that is not supported by any of the dictionaries I have, but it does get a two-line mention in some far-flung Wikipedia page for Amatol. I don’t think it’s enough to bring the setter out of the sin bin, though. Which reminds me, I didn’t leave any food or water in there. (Checks sin  bin.) Shit… – LP]

39. Alcoholic drink? Some welcome a Dubonnet (4)

Answer: MEAD (i.e. “alcoholic drink”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: WELCO(ME A D)UBONNET.

41. Contrive goals, once proper, to live within one’s means (4,4,4)

Answer: MAKE ENDS MEET (i.e. “to live within one’s means”). Solution is MAKE (i.e. “contrive”) followed by ENDS (i.e. “goals”) and MEET (i.e. “once proper” – we’ve seen this in a recent puzzle, and was brought to light by Dr John in the comments: meet is a formal or archaic word meaning qualified or fitting, an example being in the Bible quotation “Therefore it was meet and proper that that in everything he should resemble his brethren…” (Hebrews 2:17)).

43. Like moonrock brought to earth? It’s hard to credit (3-7)

Answer: FAR-FETCHED. Solution satisfies “like moonrock brought to earth” and “it’s hard to credit”.

44. Knocked back drink with spirit, engendering furore (6)

Answer: RUMPUS (i.e. “furore”). Solution is SUP (i.e. “drink”) reversed (indicated by “knocked back”) and placed after or “with” RUM (i.e. “spirit”), like so: RUM-PUS.

46. Artlessness of first-class surgeon in Newcastle area (7)

Answer: NAIVETE (i.e. “artlessness”). Solution is AI (i.e. “first-class”, i.e. A1, often taken to mean excellent – the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent) and VET (i.e. “surgeon”, specifically a common shortened form of veterinarian) both placed “in” NE (i.e. “Newcastle area”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “north-east”, as opposed to any specific area in Newcastle), like so: N(AI-VET)E.

48. Merseyside port’s guttersnipes ultimately unshod (8)

Answer: BOOTLESS (i.e. “unshod”). Solution is BOOTLE (i.e. “Merseyside port”) followed by S and S (i.e. “port’s guttersnipes ultimately”, i.e. the last letters of “port’s” and “guttersnipes”).

50. Over the moon, having sampled seasonal delights! (4,2,3,4,2,6)

Answer: FULL OF THE JOYS OF SPRING. Solution satisfies “over the moon” – both phrases meaning “very happy” – and “having sampled seasonal delights” – riffing on SPRING being one of the four seasons. Another nicely worked clue.

51. Veracious husband withdraws, holding son to be gullible (8)

Answer: TRUSTFUL (i.e. “gullible”). Solution is TRUTHFUL (i.e. “veracious”) with the H removed (indicated by “husband withdraws” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “husband”) and S slotted in (indicated by “holding son” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “son”), like so: TRUT(H)FUL => TRUTFUL => TRU(S)TFUL.

52. Outstanding aim first to be funded (7)

Answer: ENDOWED (i.e. “funded”). Solution is OWED (i.e. an amount of money “outstanding”) with END (i.e. “aim”) placed ahead of it or “first”, like so: END-OWED.

53. Make fun of carrier, a slovenly dresser (6)

Answer: RAGBAG (i.e. “a slovenly dresser”). Solution is RAG (i.e. “make fun of”) followed by BAG (i.e. “carrier”).

Down clues

2. Argument over the Spanish horseman’s spiked wheel (5)

Answer: ROWEL (i.e. “horseman’s spiked wheel [on a spur]”). Solution is ROW (i.e. “argument”) followed by EL (i.e. “the Spanish”, i.e. the Spanish for “the”).

3. Audibly damn head adopting the writer’s quality of joined-up writing (11)

Answer: CURSIVENESS (i.e. “quality of joined-up writing”). Solution is CURS (i.e. a homophone, indicated by “audibly”, of CURSE, i.e. “damn” – I’m not keen on how this setter plays fast and loose with homophones, it must be said. Reading CURS on its own, you would pronounce it differently to CURSE) and NESS (i.e. “head”, as in the geographic feature, a headland) wrapped around I’VE (i.e. “the writer’s” – a sneaky bit of wordplay, this is a contraction of “the writer has” rather than the possessive “writer’s”. It doesn’t matter that the clue doesn’t scan in this form, so long as it disguises what the setter is playing at. From the point of view of setter, “the writer has” then equates to I HAVE, or I’VE), like so: CURS-(I’VE)-NESS. Ugh…

4. Agenda of revolutionary law lord brought up in Home Counties (8)

Answer: SCHEDULE (i.e. “agenda”). Solution is CHE Guevara (i.e. “revolutionary”, and catnip for Times setters) and LUD (i.e. “law lord”, as in a facetious form of “lord” used to address judges, m’lud), the latter reversed (indicated by “brought up” – this being a down clue). These are then placed “in” SE (i.e. “Home Counties”, basically the South East of England), like so: S(CHE-DUL)E.

5. Problem about entertaining at home less (5)

Answer: MINUS (i.e. “less”). Solution is SUM (i.e. “problem” – Chambers has this definition for SUM: “a problem in addition, or in arithmetic generally”) reversed (indicated by “about”) and wrapped around or “entertaining” IN (i.e. “at home”), like so: M(IN)US.

6. Increases desire for rise (7)

Answer: UPSURGE (i.e. “rise”). Solution is UPS (i.e. “increases”) followed by URGE (i.e. “desire”).

7. Ditch Berliner possibly, losing good hearty eater (11)

Answer: TRENCHERMAN (i.e. “hearty eater”). Solution is TRENCH (i.e. “ditch”) followed by GERMAN (i.e. “Berliner possibly”) once the G has been removed (indicated by “losing good” – G being a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: TRENCH-ERMAN. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

8. Bore keen to be heard (5)

Answer: EAGRE (i.e. “bore”, specifically “a bore or sudden rise of the tide in a river” (Chambers)). “To be heard” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of EAGER (i.e. “keen”).

9. Term in USA recollecting an agent of passive immunity? (9)

Answer: ANTISERUM (i.e. “agent of passive immunity” – basically a serum that contains antibodies. Topical!) “Recollecting” indicates an anagram. Solution is an anagram of TERM IN USA.

10. Accumulate work at university (3,2)

Answer: RUN UP (i.e. “accumulate”). Solution is RUN (i.e. to operate or “work” something) followed by UP (i.e. “at university” – another that’s catnip for Times setters).

11. Make brief visit, carrying short article, a piece of stage equipment (4,7)

Answer: DROP CURTAIN (i.e. “a piece of stage equipment”). Solution is DROP IN (i.e. “make a brief visit”) wrapped around or “carrying” CURT (i.e. “short” or impatient) and A (i.e. “article”, as in a word like a, an or the), like so: DROP-(CURT-A)-IN.

12. Diluted manoeuvres for an opponent of mechanisation (7)

Answer: LUDDITE (i.e. “opponent of mechanisation”). “Manoeuvres” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DILUTED.

18. Earth, possibly, about rear of large woody plant (5,4)

Answer: PLANE TREE (i.e. “woody plant”). Solution is PLANET (i.e. “Earth, possibly” – other planets are available) followed by RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) and E (i.e. “rear of large”, i.e. the last letter of “large”), like so: PLANET-RE-E.

19. Asian girl in W African state briefly (7)

Answer: BENGALI (i.e. “Asian”). Solution is GAL (i.e. “girl”) placed “in” BENIN (i.e. “W African state”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: BEN(GAL)I.

21. Figure teacher presented about a month back (9)

Answer: DODECAGON (i.e. a twelve-sided “figure”). Solution is DON (i.e. “teacher”) wrapped around or “presented about” DEC (i.e. “a month”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of December) and AGO (i.e. “back”), like so: DO(DEC-AGO)N. Another shape-related clue, following several others in recent weeks. Definitely a theme running here!

22. Body parts a murderer’s destroyed without hesitation (8)

Answer: EARDRUMS (i.e. “body parts”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “destroyed”) of A MURDERER’S once ER has been removed (indicated by “without hesitation”).

25. Determine position of old gallery accepting nothing French (9)

Answer: ORIENTATE (i.e. “determine position”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and TATE (i.e. “gallery” – another often-used play) wrapped around or “accepting” RIEN (i.e. “nothing French”, i.e. the French for “nothing”, like so: O-(RIEN)-TATE. (Attempts to sing Edith Piaf’s, Non Je Ne Regrette Rien.) (Quickly gives up.)

27. Woman in constant fury finding cost of storing goods (9)

Answer: CELLARAGE (i.e. “cost of storing goods”). Solution is ELLA (i.e. “woman” – basically a woman’s name) placed “in” C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”) and RAGE (i.e. “fury”), like so: C-(ELLA)-RAGE.

28. French murder victim meeting death finally on race (8)

Answer: MARATHON (i.e. “race”). Solution is Jean-Paul MARAT, a key player in the French Revolution who was assassinated in his bathtub, i.e. “murder victim”, followed by H (i.e. “death finally”, i.e. the last letter of “death”) and ON, like so: MARAT-H-ON.

31. Pistol-case they regularly require at first after vacation (7)

Answer: HOLSTER (i.e. “pistol-case”). Solution is TE (i.e. “they regularly”, i.e. every other letter of THEY) and R (i.e. “require at first”, i.e. the first letter of “require”) both placed “after” HOLS (i.e. “vacation”, specifically a shortened form of “holidays”), like so: HOLS-TE-R.

33. Report of woman with a European husband leaving US city (11)

Answer: MINNEAPOLIS (i.e. “US city”). Solution is MINNE (i.e. “report of woman”, i.e. a homophone of MINNIE, a woman’s name – again the setter’s use of homophones is jarring. It’s bad enough when setters use non-existent words as homophones, but it’s something else when the homophone doesn’t work in isolation) followed by A and POLISH (i.e. “European”) once the H has been removed (indicated by “husband leaving” – H being a recognised abbreviation of “husband”), like so: MINNE-A-POLIS.

34. Old lady with weapon pinches article? Keep quiet about it! (4,3,4)

Answer: MUMS THE WORD (i.e. “keep quiet about it”). Solution is MUM (i.e. “old lady”) and SWORD (i.e. “weapon”) wrapped around or “pinching” THE (i.e. “article”, as in a word like a, an and the), like so: MUM-S(THE)WORD.

35. Identify vocation, provoking verbal abuse (4-7)

Answer: NAME-CALLING (i.e. “verbal abuse”). Solution is NAME (i.e. “identify”) followed by CALLING (i.e. “vocation”).

37. Mail old S African province following delivery (9)

Answer: POSTNATAL (i.e. “following delivery” of a baby). Solution is POST (i.e. “mail”) followed by NATAL (i.e. “old S African province”, now called KwaZulu-Natal).

40. Dancer’s work in oil company limited by drink (8)

Answer: BEBOPPER (i.e. “dancer”). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, as in a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) placed “in” BP (i.e. “oil company”, specifically British Petroleum), which is itself placed in or “limited by” BEER (i.e. “drink”), like so: BE(B(OP)P)ER.

42. Trembling female replacing Victor’s source of water (7)

Answer: AQUIFER (i.e. “source of water”). Solution is AQUIVER (i.e. “trembling”) with the V (“Victor” in the phonetic alphabet) replaced by F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”), like so: AQUI(V)ER => AQUI(F)ER.

43. Agonises over wife cut by a carpentry tool (7)

Answer: FRETSAW (i.e. “carpentry tool”). Solution is FRETS (i.e. “agonises”) and W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) wrapped around or “cut by” A, like so: FRETS-(A)-W.

45. Behave like Bunter – indulge in mockery (5)

Answer: SCOFF. Solution satisfies “behaves like [Billy] Bunter” – who liked the odd snack – and “indulge in mockery”.

47. Peaceful woman, one associated with Descartes, possibly (5)

Answer: IRENE (i.e. “woman” – the “peaceful” bit hints at a play on the word irenic or irenical). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by RENE “Descartes”. Score one to Monty Python’s Philosophers Song, here.

48. Attempt to assimilate famous poem divided into two parts (5)

Answer: BIFID (i.e. “in two parts”). Solution is BID (i.e. “bid”) wrapped around or “assimilating” IF (i.e. “famous poem” by Rudyard Kipling), like so: B(IF)ID.

49. Rise for soldier’s mother, a character in Thessaloniki (5)

Answer: SIGMA (i.e. “a character in Thessaloniki” – basically a Greek letter, Thessaloniki is Greece’s second largest city). Solution is GIS (i.e. “[US] soldiers”) reversed (indicated by “rise for…” – this being a down clue) and followed by MA (i.e. “mother”), like so: SIG-MA.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1449

A relatively gentle affair compared to last week’s stinker, and a decent puzzle to boot, offering some well worked clues and good progression throughout.

As ever, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. Over on my Just For Fun page you’ll find links to solutions for this and the previous 99 puzzles, which you might find useful. I’ve also got a bunch of book reviews and a story of mine, should any of that appeal.

Till next time, give thanks to the NHS and key workers everywhere, keep safe and all being well I’ll see you here for #101.

LP

Across clues

1. Short couple returning pawnbroker’s gem (9)

Answer: CARBUNCLE (i.e. “gem”). Solution is BRACE (i.e. “couple”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “returning”), followed by UNCLE (a slang word for a “pawnbroker”), like so: CARB-UNCLE.

6. Including a feature with note passed across counter (6,7)

Answer: ADDING MACHINE (i.e. “counter”). Solution is ADDING (i.e. “including”) followed ME (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me notation) once it has been wrapped around or “passed across” A and CHIN (i.e. “[facial] feature”), like so: ADDING-M(A-CHIN)E.

13. Rowed and yelled, losing head (5)

Answer: OARED (i.e. “rowed”). Solution is ROARED (i.e. “yelled”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “losing head”).

14. Imagined names to cover old area one’s set in (11)

Answer: NONEXISTENT (i.e. “imagined”). Solution is N and N (both recognised abbreviations of “name”) wrapped around or “covering” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and followed by EXTENT (i.e. “area”) once I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”) been “set in”, like so: N(O)N-EX(I’S)TENT.

15. Assign many, about 50 (5)

Answer: ALLOT (i.e. “assign”). Solution is A LOT (i.e. “many”) wrapped “about” L (i.e. “[Roman numeral] fifty), like so: A-(L)-LOT.

16. Love being in a strip club, dancing, hot and humid? (11)

Answer: SUBTROPICAL (i.e. “hot and humid”). Solution is O (i.e. “love”, being a zero score in tennis) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “dancing”) of STRIP CLUB, like so: SUBTR(O)PICAL.

17. One female detected hole in a jug, a Paris icon (6,5)

Answer: EIFFEL TOWER (i.e. “a Paris icon”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”), FELT (i.e. “detected”) and O (i.e. “hole” – as in the letter’s resemblance to one) all placed “in” EWER (i.e. “jug”), like so: E(I-F-FELT-O)WER.

18. Alluring type in charge of cutting record (7)

Answer: ENTICER (i.e. “alluring type”). Solution is IC (a recognised abbreviation of “in charge”) placed in or “cutting” ENTER (i.e. “[to] record”), like so: ENT(IC)ER.

20. Mole spotted everyone grabbing European (7)

Answer: SEAWALL (i.e. “mole” – one of the various meanings of the word is “a massive breakwater”). Solution is SAW (i.e. “spotted”) and ALL (i.e. “everyone”) wrapped around or “grabbing European”), like so: S(E)AW-ALL.

21. A river by old US city yields gold ring (7)

Answer: AUREOLA (i.e. a halo, corona or “gold ring”). Solution is A followed by URE (i.e. “river”), then O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and LA (i.e. “US city”, specifically Los Angeles).

23. Implying convoluted legal nicety, maybe controversially engineered? (11,8)

Answer: GENETICALLY MODIFIED (i.e. “maybe controversially engineered”). Solution cryptically satisfies “implying convoluted legal nicety”, in that “legal nicety” is an anagram or MODIFIED form of GENETICALLY.

27. One who admires fine article (3)

Answer: FAN (i.e. “one who admires”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “fine” used in grading pencils) followed by AN (i.e. “article”, being a word like a, an or the).

28. What some casual readers do? Take drugs (3-3)

Answer: DOG-EAR. Solution satisfies “what some casual readers do” – referring to the abhorrent practice of folding the corner of a page to mark one’s place in a book – and, when written as DO GEAR, also satisfies “take drugs”.

29. Yell “Clear off!”, seizing tablet (6)

Answer: SCREAM (i.e. “yell”). Solution is SCRAM (i.e. “clear off!”) wrapped around E (street name of the drug ecstasy, often taken in “tablet” form), like so: SCR(E)AM.

31. Actor’s exit stumped old men packing circle (5,4)

Answer: STAGE DOOR (i.e. “actor’s exit”). Solution is ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stumped” used in cricket) followed by AGED (i.e. “old”) and OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) wrapped around or “packing” O (i.e. “circle”), like so: ST-AGED-(O)-OR.

34. Crossing lake, supports pale Oz bird (5,4)

Answer: BLACK SWAN (i.e. “Oz bird”). Solution is BACKS (i.e. “supports”) wrapped around or “crossed” by L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”) and followed by WAN (i.e. “pale”), like so: B(L)ACKS-WAN.

35. Muscle oil company’s used to guard diamonds (6)

Answer: BICEPS (i.e. “muscle”). Solution is BP’S (i.e. “oil company’s”, specifically British Petroleum, made possessive) wrapped around or “guarding” ICE (i.e. “diamonds”), like so: B(ICE)P’S.

36. With bottle of mineral knocked back, resultant sound going about? (6)

Answer: HEROIC (i.e. “with bottle”). Solution is ORE (i.e. “mineral”) reversed (indicated by “knocked back”) and placed in, or having “about”, HIC (i.e. “resultant sound”, i.e. a hiccup, the implication being one has knocked something back a little too quickly), like so: H(ERO)IC.

39. Community gathering endless drink (3)

Answer: BEE (i.e. “community gathering”, like a sewing bee). Solution is BEER (i.e. “drink”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “endless”).

40. Everything under discussion I’ve used with our forensics nuts (8,2,9)

Answer: UNIVERSE OF DISCOURSE (i.e. “everything under discussion”). “Nuts” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I’VE USED and OUR FORENSICS.

42. Popular teams showing guts (7)

Answer: INSIDES (i.e. “guts”). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) followed by SIDES (i.e. “teams”).

43. Playwright’s very large book, one gripping queen (7)

Answer: John OSBORNE (i.e. “playwright”). Solution is OS (i.e. “very large”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “outsize”) followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) and ONE once it has been wrapped around or “gripping” R (a recognised abbreviation of Regina, Latin for “queen”), like so: OS-B-O(R)NE.

45. Weeds grow wild, eaten by rodent (7)

Answer: RAGWORT (i.e. “weeds”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “wild”) of GROW placed on or “eaten by” RAT (i.e. “rodent”), like so: RA(GWOR)T.

47. Second service stops religious breaking with tradition (11)

Answer: MODERNISTIC (i.e. “breaking with tradition”). Solution is MO (shortened form of “moment”, i.e. “second”) followed by RN (i.e. “[armed] service”, specifically the Royal Navy) once it has been placed in or “stopping” DEISTIC (i.e. “religious”), like so: MO-DE(RN)ISTIC.

49. Title associated with range in US, I’d say? (11)

Answer: APPELLATION (i.e. “title”). “I’d say” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of the APPALACHIAN mountain “range in US”.

51. Hotel in Med resort designed for specific market (5)

Answer: NICHE (i.e. “designed for specific market”). Solution is H (“Hotel” in the phonetic alphabet) placed “in” NICE (i.e. “Med resort”), like so: NIC(H)E.

52. Encouraging cool strong drink in gallons (11)

Answer: INSPIRITING (i.e. “encouraging”). Solution is IN (i.e. “cool” or popular) followed by SPIRIT (i.e. “strong drink”), then IN and G (a recognised abbreviation of “gallons”).

53. Irish oddly acquit Arab (5)

Answer: IRAQI (i.e. “Arab”). Solution is IR (a recognised abbreviation of “Irish”) followed by every other letter (indicated by “oddly”) of ACQUIT, like so: IR-AQI.

54. A girl into maths briefly disputed term in it (13)

Answer: ANTILOGARITHM (i.e. “term in [maths]”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “disputed”) of A GIRL INTO and MATHS once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”).

55. County dismisses charter (9)

Answer: YORKSHIRE (i.e. “county”). Solution is YORKS (i.e. “dismisses” a batsman in cricket with a yorker, a specific type of delivery) followed by HIRE (i.e. “[to] charter”).

Down clues

1. Like relaxed Buddhist, thwarted touring large cell (5-6)

Answer: CROSS-LEGGED (i.e. “like relaxed Buddhist”). Solution is CROSSED (i.e. “thwarted”) wrapped around or “touring” L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and EGG (i.e. “cell”), like so: CROSS(L-EGG)ED.

2. Two groups of soldiers chewed toastie (7)

Answer: RAREBIT (i.e. “toastie”). Solution is RA and RE (i.e. “two groups of soldiers”, specifically the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers of the British Army) followed by BIT (i.e. “chewed”).

3. Jack doesn’t start to shake milk container (5)

Answer: UDDER (i.e. “milk container”). Solution is JUDDER (i.e. “shake”) with the J removed (indicated by “Jack doesn’t start” – J is a recognised abbreviation of “Jack” used in playing cards).

4. Plot against second main crime (10)

Answer: CONSPIRACY (i.e. “plot”). Solution is CON (i.e. “against”, as in pros and cons) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) and PIRACY (i.e. “main crime” – setters love referring to the sea as “main”).

5. Sultan’s guards regularly return such bananas (7)

Answer: EUNUCHS (i.e. “Sultan’s guards”). Solution is every other letter (indicated by “regularly”) of RETURN followed by an anagram (indicated by “bananas”) of SUCH, like so: EUN-UCHS.

6. Will should have three examples of this (9,4)

Answer: AUXILIARY VERB. “Three examples of this” are the auxiliary verbs “will”, “should” and “have”. These are verbs which add function or grammatical meaning to a clause, e.g. “she will do something”, “she should do something” or “they have done something”.

7. Outlaw some French and English in gallery (9)

Answer: DESPERADO (i.e. “outlaw”). Solution is DES (i.e. “some French”, i.e. the French for “some”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) once it has been placed “in” PRADO (i.e. Spain’s national art “gallery”), like so: DES-P(E)RADO.

8. End fuel supply that’s essential (7)

Answer: NEEDFUL (i.e. “essential”). “Supply” indicates anagram, as in something being supple – sneaky, eh? Solution is an anagram of END FUEL.

9. Rigorous man abridged inspiring article about subject (12)

Answer: MATHEMATICAL (i.e. “rigorous”). Solution is MALE (i.e. “man”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “abridged”) and the remainder wrapped around or “inspiring” A (i.e. “article”, as in a word like a, an or the) and THEMATIC (i.e. “subject”), like so: M(A-THEMATIC)AL.

10. Like some accountants about to be drafted outside (9)

Answer: CHARTERED (i.e. “like some accountants”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) with CHARTED (i.e. “drafted”) placed “outside” of it, like so: CHARTE(RE)D.

11. Relative’s trendy wife bagging French article (2-3)

Answer: IN-LAW (i.e. “relative”). Solution is IN (i.e. “trendy”) and W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) wrapped around or “bagging” LA (i.e. “French article”, i.e. the French for “the”), like so: IN-(LA)-W.

12. Register English church composer without top performer (11)

Answer: ENTERTAINER (i.e. “performer”). Solution is ENTER (i.e. “register”) followed by Sir John STAINER (i.e. “English church composer” – no, me neither. Chalk one to my Bradfords here) with the first letter removed (indicated by “without top”), like so: ENTER-TAINER.

19. Trim copper heading to seize book (3,4)

Answer: CUT BACK (i.e. “trim”). Solution is CU (chemical symbol of “copper”) followed by TACK (i.e. “heading” or course) wrapped around or “seizing” B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”), like so: CU-T(B)ACK.

22. Sick of quartet entertaining officer (3,6)

Answer: OFF COLOUR (i.e. “sick”). Solution is OF followed by FOUR (i.e. “quartet”) wrapped around or “entertaining” COL (i.e. “officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a colonel), like so: OF-F(COL)OUR.

24. Restricted zones in Genoa or Siena, extremely mysterious (2-2,5)

Answer: NO-GO AREAS (i.e. “restricted zones”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “mysterious”) of GENOA OR and SA (i.e. “Siena, extremely”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Siena”).

25. Permit fifty-one churches to keep name (7)

Answer: LICENCE (i.e. “permit”). Solution is LI (i.e. “fifty-one” in Roman numerals) followed by CE and CE (i.e. “churches”, specifically the Church of England) wrapped around or “keeping” N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”), like so: LI-CE-(N)-CE.

26. On reflection, sauce is not ideal at first, being tasteless (7)

Answer: INSIPID (i.e. “tasteless”). Solution is DIP (i.e. “sauce”) followed by IS, then N and I (i.e. “not ideal at first”, i.e. the first letters of “not” and “ideal”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “on reflection”), like so: I-N-SI-PID.

30. Grim CIA morons spread spore maybe (5-8)

Answer: MICRO-ORGANISM (i.e. “spore maybe”). “Spread” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GRIM CIA MORONS.

32. Spanish article about golf catches on soon (7)

Answer: ERELONG (i.e. “soon”). Solution is EL (for “Spanish article”, i.e. the Spanish for “the”), ON (i.e. “about”) and G (“golf” in the phonetic alphabet) all wrapped about or “catching” RE (i.e. “on” or about – think email replies), like so: E(RE)L-ON-G. I’ve twisted over this one for a while, and this seems the best solution I can get, but I’m not exactly cock-a-hoop about it. Using ON for “about” only to then use RE for “on” feels weirdly off, like a circular reference in a spreadsheet or something. [Reads that back.] Bloody hell, I’m such a nerd…

33. Hoping to drink German wine that’s sublime (3-9)

Answer: AWE-INSPIRING (i.e. “sublime”). Solution is ASPIRING (i.e. “hoping”) wrapped around or “drinking” WEIN (i.e. “German [for] wine”), like so: A(WEIN)SPIRING.

34. I’m in Bilbao crazily nursing a passion for shelf-stacking? (11)

Answer: BIBLIOMANIA (i.e. “passion for shelf-stacking”, as in having a thing for books). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “crazily”) of I’M IN BILBAO wrapped around or “nursing” A, like so: BIBLIOM(A)NIA.

37. Helm saves energy, anxious about four covering same length (11)

Answer: COEXTENSIVE (i.e. “covering same length”). Solution is COX (i.e. “helm”) wrapped around or “saving” E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) and followed by TENSE (i.e. “anxious”) once this has been wrapped around or “covering” IV (i.e. “four” in Roman numerals), like so: CO(E)X-TENS(IV)E.

38. Star analyst runs over diary penned by Daisy (10)

Answer: ASTROLOGER (i.e. “star analyst”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games), O (a recognised abbreviation of an “over” in cricket) and LOG (i.e. “diary”) all placed in or “penned by” ASTER (i.e. “daisy” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: AST(R-O-LOG)ER.

40. Waterproof submarine, second in Clyde (9)

Answer: UNDERSEAL (i.e. “[to] waterproof”). Solution is UNDERSEA (i.e. “submarine”) followed by L (i.e. “second in Clyde”, i.e. the second letter of “Clyde”).

41. Small number possibly needing to edit screenplay perhaps (9)

Answer: SUBSCRIPT (i.e. “small number possibly” – subscripts can be text too). When read as SUB SCRIPT, the solution also satisfies “edit screenplay perhaps”.

43. Less intelligent old boy beginning to transform addict (7)

Answer: OBTUSER (i.e. “less intelligent”). Solution is OB (a recognised abbreviation of “old boy”, or alumnus) followed by T (i.e. “beginning to transform”, i.e. the first letter of “transform”) and USER (i.e. “[drug] addict”).

44. Bronte sister admits exercising with no effect (7)

Answer: EMPTILY (i.e. “with no effect”). Solution is EMILY (i.e. “Bronte sister”) wrapped around or “admitting” PT (i.e. “exercising”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Physical Training), like so: EM(PT)ILY.

46. Ring friend abroad about kit for art in Tokyo (7)

Answer: ORIGAMI (i.e. “art in Tokyo”). Solution is O (i.e. “ring”) and AMI (i.e. “friend abroad”, i.e. the French for “friend”) wrapped “about” RIG (i.e. “kit”), like so: O-(RIG)-AMI.

48. Old coin originally accepted in tube (5)

Answer: DUCAT (i.e. “old coin”). Solution is A (i.e. “originally accepted”, i.e. the first letter of “accepted”) placed “in” DUCT (i.e. “tube”), like so: DUC(A)T.

50. Section of program is simply wrong (5)

Answer: AMISS (i.e. “wrong”). “Section of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PROGR(AM IS S)IMPLY.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1448

Stinker, in word, For the most part a good one, too, though there were a few clues that were a bit hmm-worthy. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful.

Some housekeeping, as per: previous solutions to these things can be found here, I’ve got some book reviews there and a story of mine over thisaway.

Till next time, stay safe, give thanks to the NHS and all key workers, and if someone can track down the arsehole responsible for these “unseasonal” winds we’ve been getting every bloody week and give them a solid kick in the naughty bits, that would be lovely. My snapped and half-dead chilli plants thank you in advance.

Laters,

LP

Across clues

1. A certain doctor of mine, happy to celebrate (5,2,2)

Answer: WHOOP IT UP (i.e. “to celebrate”). Solution is WHO (i.e. “a certain doctor” – either BBC’s Doctor Who or from the World Health Organisation, take your pick) followed by O’ (a contraction of “of”, as in Sweet Child O’ Mine), then PIT (i.e. “mine”) and UP (i.e. “happy”).

6. Place for bluebottles in grass on top of hill? (7)

Answer: COPSHOP (i.e. “place for bluebottles” – bluebottles being a nickname for police officers). Solution is SHOP (i.e. to rat or “grass” on somebody) placed “on” or after COP (i.e. “top of hill” – one meaning of “cop” is “a top or head of anything” (Chambers). I guess the setter had to qualify that in some way to make the clue scan properly, but “top of hill” was an evil choice), like so: COP-SHOP.

10. One bachelor, if you ask me, can catch another dumb blonde? (5)

Answer: BIMBO (i.e. “dumb blonde”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “bachelor”, e.g. BSc being a Bachelor of Science) followed by IMO (i.e. “if you ask me”, being a recognised abbreviation of “in my opinion”) once this latter has been wrapped around or “catching” B (i.e. “another” bachelor, within the context of the clue), like so: B-IM(B)O.

13. Augustus was one heading off moderate men (7)

Answer: EMPEROR (i.e. “Augustus was one”). Solution is TEMPER (i.e. to “moderate”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “heading off”) and followed by OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army), like so: EMPER-OR.

14. International force cut – nothing to be sorry about (7)

Answer: EUROPOL (i.e. “international force”). Solution is LOP (i.e. “cut”) followed by O (i.e. “nothing”) and RUE (i.e. “to be sorry”). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “about”), like so: EUR-O-POL.

15. Hit song playing at presentation (2,5)

Answer: ON SIGHT (i.e. “[upon or] at presentation”). “Playing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HIT SONG.

16. Advice not to ring us, perhaps, but keep calling? (4,4,2,3,3,3)

Answer: DON’T GIVE UP THE DAY JOB. Solution satisfies “advice not to ring us” (as in the old phrase “don’t call us, we’ll call you”, which never augured well for interviewees and auditionees) and “keep calling” – taking “calling” to mean one’s profession.

17. Left wingers for instance spouting Marxist doctrine (3)

Answer: ISM (i.e. “doctrine”). “Left wingers for…” indicates the solution is formed from the initial letters of “Instance Spouting Marxist”.

18. Spin surrounding our leading female jockey (6)

Answer: Pat EDDERY (i.e. “jockey”). Solution is EDDY (i.e. “spin”, think whirlpools or waterspouts, that kind of thing) wrapped around or “surrounding” ER (i.e. “our leading lady”, i.e. the Queen, officially Elizabeth Regina), like so: EDD(ER)Y. Chalk one to my Bradfords here. I’d heard of the guy, but horse racing is not my thing.

20. It has drawn some in place of austerity (6)

Answer: SPARTA (i.e. “place of austerity”). Solution is SA (i.e. “it”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “sex appeal” that’s used a hell of a lot more in crossword puzzles than in real life) wrapped around or having “drawn” in PART (i.e. “some”), like so: S(PART)A.

21. Leading couple in formation dance swapping places an awful lot! (9)

Answer: OCTILLION (i.e. “an awful lot” – you’re not kidding either, being 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 in modern money). Solution is COTILLION (i.e. “formation dance” – another nod to my Bradfords here) with the first two letters or “leading couple” “swapping places”, like so: (CO)TILLION => (OC)TILLION.

23. Scraps with CID officers? Sit quiet, mostly (8,2)

Answer: DISPOSES OF (i.e. “scraps”). Solution is DIS (i.e. “CID officers”, specifically Detective Inspectors) followed by POSE (i.e. “sit”) and SOFT (i.e. “quiet”) once its final letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: DIS-POSE-SOF.

25. At that point would thwart international movement (3,3,5)

Answer: THE RED CROSS (i.e. “international movement”). Solution is THERE’D (i.e. “at that point would”, specifically a contraction of “there would”) followed by CROSS (i.e. to “thwart”).

29. BBC releasing article for free (5)

Answer: UNTIE (i.e. “free”). Solution is AUNTIE (an affectionate name for the “BBC”) with the A removed (indicated by “releasing article” – an article is a word like a, an or the).

30. City gent maybe sustained briefly by kebab (8)

Answer: LONDONER (i.e. “city gent maybe” – the “maybe” acknowledging the other 52% of the population). Solution is LONG (i.e. “sustained”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”) and the remainder followed by DONER (i.e. “kebab”), like so: LON-DONER.

31. Play wound up with Act I certainly would be (8)

Answer: ATYPICAL. “Wound up” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PLAY and ACT I. In the context of the clue, a play that ended after the first act would be at odds or atypical of its peers. Nicely worked.

34. Mild expletive following champion gymnast’s feat (8)

Answer: BACKFLIP (i.e. “gymnast’s feat”). Solution is FLIP (i.e. “mild expletive”) placed after or “following” BACK (i.e. “[to] champion”), like so: BACK-FLIP.

36. American’s brief rant – yet nothing gets sorted out (8)

Answer: ATTORNEY (i.e. “American’s brief” – a brief taken to mean a solicitor). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “gets sorted out”) of RANT YET and O (i.e. “nothing”).

37. Lay in cold, white shroud, close to ground (5)

Answer: HOARD (i.e. “lay in” – meaning “to get in a supply of” (Chambers)). Solution is HOAR (i.e. “cold, white shroud” – being a layer of frost) followed by D (i.e. “close to ground”, i.e. the last letter of “ground”).

39. Cut on head with stick, old sailor buckled at the knee (5,6)

Answer: BOBBY SHAFTO (i.e. “sailor buckled at the knee” – a reference to the song Bobby Shafto’s Gone To Sea, a line of which goes: “Bobby Shafto’s gone to sea, silver buckles on his knee…”. Bobby Shafto was an MP for County Durham in the eighteenth century and the rhyme was something sung at junior school, though I’ll confess only a few words survived into adulthood!) Solution is BOB (i.e. “cut on head”, specifically a hairstyle) followed by BY (i.e. “with”), then SHAFT (i.e. “stick”) and O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”). After a succession of grids that were a bit London-London-London (which I get: The Times is a London newspaper after all), it was really refreshing to see a nod to the North East. Nicely worked too.

41. You and your endless anniversaries finally must stop – with this one? (10)

Answer: THOUSANDTH. Solution is THOU AND THY (i.e. “you and your”, ye olde style) with the last letter removed (indicated by “endless”) and the remainder wrapped around or “stopped” by S (i.e. “anniversaries finally”, i.e. the last letter of “anniversaries”), like so: THOU(S)-AND-TH. Within the context of the clue, a “thousandth” can be deemed an anniversary year.

43. Appearing in court after fine is increasing (7,2)

Answer: TOPPING UP (i.e. “increasing”). Solution is UP (i.e. “appearing in court” – a usage often used by setters in their clues) placed “after” TOPPING (i.e. “fine”, as in spiffing, top-hole, absolutely capital, old thing – other Wodehousean variations are available).

45. Dinosaur in Komsomol is so far to the left (6)

Answer: FOSSIL (i.e. “dinosaur”, probably taken to mean something or someone with outdated views than the creatures themselves). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “to the left” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being an across clue – like so: KOMSOMO(L IS SO F)AR.

47. Fabulous shot, mine, rebounding (6)

Answer: TIPTOP (i.e. “fabulous”). Solution is POT (i.e. a successful “shot” in snooker, pool etc) and PIT (i.e. “mine”) both reversed (indicated by “rebounding”), like so: TIP-TOP.

49. Character needed to get the measure of acid test? (3)

Answer: PHI (i.e. “character”, specifically the twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet). When read as PH 1, the solution satisfies “the measure of acid test” – the pH scale illustrates the acidity or alkalinity of solutions. Highly acidic solutions will see a pH approaching 1.

50. Undercover work of devious EU little concerning English (19)

Answer: COUNTERINTELLIGENCE (i.e. “undercover work”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “devious”) of EU LITTLE CONCERNING and E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”).

52. A flavour of how fan gets to feed (7)

Answer: ANISEED (i.e. “a flavour”). This took some twigging, but when read as “AN” IS “EED”, the solution satisfies “how fan gets to feed”, i.e. by replacing AN in “fan” with EED.

53. Wise lady lord had never tipped to become a dancer (7)

Answer: ISADORA Duncan (i.e. a “dancer” of old). “Never tipped” indicates the solution is derived by removing the first and last letters of WISE LADY LORD HAD.

54. Bishop getting sent up and smeared? (7)

Answer: BLOBBED (i.e. “smeared”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop”) followed by LOBBED (i.e. “getting sent up” or thrown).

55. Sailor following one inside port (5)

Answer: LAGOS (i.e. “port” of Nigeria). Solution is OS (i.e. “sailor”, specifically an Ordinary Seaman) placed after or “following” LAG (i.e. “one inside”, i.e. a prisoner), like so: LAG-OS.

56. Get kitted out in vain for Strictly (7)

Answer: RIGIDLY (i.e. “strictly” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is RIG (i.e. “get kitted out”) followed by IDLY (i.e. “in vain” – one definition of “idle” is “vain”).

57. Fixture for door – superior ones for Rev Spooner? (9)

Answer: LETTERBOX (i.e. “fixture for door”). “For Rev Spooner” indicates the solution is a Spoonerism, specifically for BETTER LOCKS (i.e. “superior [fixtures] for [door]”). Nicely worked.

Down clues

1. Observe light after word initially’s got round (8)

Answer: WHEEDLED (i.e. “got round”). Solution is HEED (i.e. “observe”) and LED (i.e. “light”, specifically a Light Emitting Diode) both placed “after” W (i.e. “word initially”, i.e. the first letter of “word”), like so: W-HEED-LED.

2. Expert in Belfast perhaps turned around plant (5)

Answer: ORPIN (i.e. “plant”). Solution is NI PRO (i.e. “expert in Belfast perhaps” – NI being a recognised abbreviation of Northern Ireland) reversed (indicated by “turned around”), like so: ORP-IN. One gotten purely from the wordplay, if I’m honest.

3. Dish of steaming porridge one had in gym (8,3)

Answer: PERIGORD PIE (i.e. “dish” – specifically “a pie of partridge flavoured with truffles” (Chambers). Not one that’s ever crossed my taste buds, but I’m game, so to speak.) Solution is an anagram (indicated by “steaming”) of PORRIDGE and I both placed “in” PE (i.e. “gym”, specifically Physical Education), like so: P(ERIGORDP-I)E. A bit of a weird one given PERIGORD was already an anagram of PORRIDGE.

4. With time and human resources, one has to do well (6)

Answer: THRIVE (i.e. “do well”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) followed by HR (ditto “human resources”) and I’VE (a contraction of “I have”, i.e. “one has”).

5. Urgent to keep up, naval officer’s assuming (12)

Answer: PRESUPPOSING (i.e. “assuming”). Solution is PRESSING (i.e. “urgent”) wrapped around or “keeping” UP and PO (i.e. “naval officer”, specifically a Petty Officer), like so: PRES(UP-PO)SING.

6. Looking up schedule: old police superintendent (7)

Answer: CURATOR (i.e. “superintendent”). Solution is ROTA (i.e. “schedule”) and RUC (i.e. “old police”, specifically the now defunct Royal Ulster Constabulary) all reversed (indicated by “looking up” – this being a down clue), like so: CUR-ATOR.

7. Repair that stopped pipe getting inched out (6,2,3,4)

Answer: PIPPED AT THE POST (i.e. “inched out”). “Repair” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of THAT STOPPED PIPE.

8. Trouble-making sextet? (4-1-5)

Answer: HALF-A-DOZEN (i.e. “sextet”). The setter’s gone off on their own here. My guess is there’s a well-known phrase out there that includes the words “trouble” and “dozen”, albeit one that has escaped me, my dictionaries and the internet at large. If a kind soul swings by to shed light on this then I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Abadchap in the comments wins the internet with this one. The solution satisfies “sextet” as discussed above, but when read as HALF “ADOZEN” it also reads as an instruction, i.e. to halve the remainder of the solution, “ADOZEN”, to “make” ADO, which is another word for “trouble”. I doubt I would have ever twigged that one. Many thanks, Ab! – LP]

9. Judge involved in caress with call girl on aircraft (7)

Answer: PROPJET (i.e. “aircraft” – my Chambers suggests this ought to have been hyphenated). Solution is J (a recognised abbreviation of “judge”) placed or “involved in” PET (i.e. “caress”), which is then preceded by PRO (i.e. “call girl”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “prostitute”), like so: PRO-P(J)ET.

10. Mean to get bouncer better headgear (8,3)

Answer: BASEBALL CAP (i.e. “headgear”). Solution is BASE (i.e. “mean”, both taken to mean “reprehensible, vile, etc”) followed by BALL (i.e. “bouncer”, as in something that bounces – could also be taken to mean a type of delivery in cricket) and CAP (i.e. “[to] better”).

11. No good getting upset if I see Chairman’s collared grandee (9)

Answer: MAGNIFICO (i.e. “grandee”). Solution is NG (a recognised abbreviation of “no good”, also individually recognised abbreviations of “no” and “good”) reversed (indicated by “getting upset” – this being a down clue) and followed by IF, I and C (one definition of “see” is simply the third letter of the alphabet). These are all then wrapped in or “collared” by “Chairman” MAO, like so: MA(GN-IF-I-C)O. Chalk another to my Bradfords as I could not see beyond “dignitary” at the time. Once this dropped, so did much of the surrounding corner.

12. Outrageous female going topless, displaying chest apparently? (7)

Answer: OTTOMAN (i.e. “chest apparently” – ottomans are backless seats that can sometimes include storage space). Solution is OTT (i.e. “outrageous”) followed by WOMAN (i.e. “female”) once the first letter has been removed (indicated by “going topless”), like so: OTT-OMAN.

19. In reasoned way, religious attitude is ticking boxes (7)

Answer: DEISTIC (i.e. “in a reasoned way, religious” – a deist is “a person who believes in the existence of God, but not in a divinely revealed religion” (Chambers)). “Boxes” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: ATTITU(DE IS TIC)KING.

22. Henry left absorbed by exotic geisha girl (8)

Answer: ASHLEIGH (i.e. “girl” – basically a girl’s name). Solution is H (a recognised abbreviation of “Henry” – a unit of measurement we’ve seen a few times in previous puzzles) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) both placed in or “absorbed by” an anagram of GEISHA, like so: AS(H-L)EIGH.

24. Bow Street coming down on saucy hooker? (5-3,7)

Answer: FRONT-ROW FORWARD (i.e. a “hooker” in rugby). Solution is FRONT (i.e. “bow” of a ship) followed by ROW (i.e. “street”, as in a row of houses) both placed above or “coming down on” – this being a down clue – FORWARD (i.e. “saucy”). Nicely worked.

26. Infiltrator: hear one’s gaining access to hospital department (8)

Answer: ENTRYIST (i.e. “infiltrator”). Solution is TRY (i.e. “hear” in court) and I’S (i.e. “one’s” – with “one” represented by its Roman numeral, I) both placed in or “gaining access to” ENT (i.e. “hospital department”, specifically Ear, Nose and Throat – another pet play of setters everywhere), like so: EN(TRY-I’S)T.

27. Slashes note, one found beneath papers (6)

Answer: SOLIDI (i.e. “slashes” – a solidus is another name for a slash character ‘/’). Solution is SOL (i.e. “note” in the doh-ray-me style) followed by ID (i.e. “papers”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “identification”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed or “found beneath” it – this being a down clue – like so: SOL-ID-I.

28. Uproar when spouse gets reduced unemployment benefit at first (6)

Answer: HUBBUB (i.e. “uproar”). Solution is HUBBIE (i.e. “spouse”) with the last two letters removed (indicated by “gets reduced” – it’s not often you see multiple letters trimmed this way, it’s usually just the one) and the remainder followed by U and B (i.e. “unemployment benefit at first”, i.e. the first letters of “unemployment” and “benefit”), like so: HUBB-U-B.
[EDIT: Sue makes a good point in the comments, in that HUBBIE can also be spelled HUBBY, which means only one letter gets trimmed. Cheers, Sue! – LP]

32. Bird soaring over cape, then height almost halved (4,3)

Answer: COAL TIT (i.e. “bird”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of an “over” in cricket) and C (a recognised abbreviation of “cape”, as in the geographic feature) both reversed (indicated by “soaring” – this being a down clue) and followed by the first five letters of ALTITUDE (i.e. “height”), indicated by “nearly halved”, altitude being an eight letter word – and you thought the setter’s shenanigans in 28d were pushing it – like so: C-O-ALTIT.

33. A nation well beaten finally condemned aged Scottish defence (8,4)

Answer: ANTONINE WALL (i.e. “aged Scottish defence” – a bit like Hadrian’s Wall, but further north). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “condemned”) of A NATION WELL and N (i.e. “beaten finally”, i.e. the last letter of “beaten”).

35. Unlicensed traders throw in leaflets (11)

Answer: FLYPITCHERS (i.e. “unlicensed traders”). Solution is PITCH (i.e. “throw”) placed “in” FLYERS (i.e. “leaflets”), like so: FLY(PITCH)ERS.

37. Giving affection, being on intimate terms (4,2,5)

Answer: HAND IN GLOVE (i.e. “on intimate terms”). Solution is HANDING (i.e. “giving”) followed by LOVE (i.e. “affection”).

38. Start work on the Greens? That’s unpleasant (10)

Answer: OFFPUTTING (i.e. “unpleasant”). Solution is OFF (i.e. launch or “start”) followed by PUTTING (i.e. “work on the [golf] greens” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

40. I go after book suitable for christening (9)

Answer: BAPTIZING (i.e. “christening”). Solution is I and ZING (i.e. “go”, as in having a bit of zest and zip) both placed “after” B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) and APT (i.e. “suitable”), like so: B-APT-I-ZING.

42. A very soft goal upset team, in addition (8)

Answer: APPENDIX (i.e. “addition” to the end of a book). Solution is A followed by PP (i.e. “very soft”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “pianissimo” in musical lingo), then END (i.e. an aim or “goal”) and XI (i.e. “team”, being the Roman numerals for eleven) reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue), like so: A-PP-END-IX.

43. Trouble with polls bringing some superior canvassing? (7)

Answer: TOPSAIL (i.e. “superior canvassing” – the question mark is a riddly acknowledgement that the setter is referring to the “top sail” of a ship). Solution is AIL (i.e. “trouble”) placed after or “with” TOPS (i.e. “polls”, both taken to mean cutting the tops off of things, usually trees), like so: TOPS-AIL.

44. Awful case of gunge round sink (2,5)

Answer: GO UNDER (i.e. “sink”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “awful”) of GE (i.e. “case of gunge”, i.e. the first and last letters of “gunge”) and ROUND.

46. In senior year, one’s out of touch etc (7)

Answer: SENSORY (i.e. “touch etc”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of ONE’S placed “in” SR (a recognised abbreviation of “senior”) and Y (ditto “year”), like so: S(ENSO)R-Y.

48. Just about to vacate local when neighbour’s come round (3,3)

Answer: ALL BUT (i.e. “just about”). Solution is LL (i.e. “vacate local”, i.e. the word “local” with all its middle letters removed) with ABUT (i.e. “[to] neighbour”) wrapped “round” it, like so: A(LL)BUT.

51. Rich fellow pupil no longer under arrest (5)

Answer: NABOB (i.e. “rich fellow”). Solution is OB (a recognised abbreviation of “old boy” or alumnus, i.e. “pupil no longer”) placed “under” NAB (i.e. “arrest”) – this being a down clue – like so: NAB-OB.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1447

Not sure what to make of this week’s puzzle. I can’t say I was overly keen on the elastic wordplay on show, but there was still some good stuff to be had. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my answers where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

While you are here, I do have some non-crossword-related content somewhere around here, honest guv. There’s a dusty collection of book reviews, for example, or a story I put out a while ago. But it’s mainly crosswords at the moment, which is a bit naff. Speaking of which, if you’ve come a cropper against a recent Times Jumbo Cryptic, then my Just For Fun page might be just the tonic.

And so with the ephemeral British summer swiftly blown into the North Sea for another year, it’s on with the show. Stay safe, give thanks to the NHS and all key workers out there, and I’ll see you soon.

LP

Across clues

1. Primitive sea creature can die swimming round waving nori (10)

Answer: CRINOIDEAN (i.e. “primitive sea creature”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “swimming”) of CAN DIE wrapped around another anagram (indicated by “waving”) of NORI, like so: C(RINO)IDEAN. Wordplay was fairly obvious but needed a brute force of my Chambers to nail it.

6. Analytical way of looking at income sector? (12)

Answer: ECONOMETRICS. “Way of looking at” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INCOME SECTOR. Within the context of the clue, the solution could well be an analytical way of looking at the income sector.

14. Don’t take as much junk? (7)

Answer: USELESS (i.e. “junk”). When read as USE LESS the solution also satisfies “don’t take as much”.

15. Church primate with gold hat (7)

Answer: CHAPEAU (i.e. a French “hat”). Solution is CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”) followed by APE (i.e. “primate”) and AU (chemical symbol of “gold”).

16. Is untruthful about drink? An understatement (7)

Answer: LITOTES (i.e. “an understatement” – an example of litotes in action is saying “he was not a little drunk”, mean he was absolutlely plastered). Solution is LIES (i.e. “is untruthful”) wrapped “about” TOT (i.e. “drink”), like so: LI(TOT)ES.

17. Drugs provided by jerks after party (4)

Answer: DOPE (i.e. “drugs”). Solution is PE (i.e. “jerks” – Hmm. I’m tempted to call bullshit on this. To the best of my knowledge, jerk is a weightlifting discipline, while PE is a recognised abbreviation of “physical education”. Call me weird, but any school that puts weightlifting into their PE classes would be up for child cruelty toot sweet. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the curriculum has changed and the setter’s kids are all built like brick shithouses…) preceded by or placed “after” DO (i.e. “party”), like so: DO-PE.
[EDIT: As has been noted in a few comments, “jerks” appears to be a reference to physical education from aways-back. Chambers also has this definition: “a movement in physical exercises”. Maybe I’m from a much more cynical generation. If any PE teacher at our school asked us all to jerk for him he’d be up in front of the beak sharpish. – LP]

18. Drawing of a dandy, not American (6)

Answer: DOODLE (i.e. “drawing”). Solution is YANKEE DOODLE “DANDY”, without the YANKEE (indicated by “not American”).

20. Relax rule, we hear, and hold back (8)

Answer: RESTRAIN (i.e. “hold back”). Solution is REST (i.e. “relax”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “we hear”) of REIGN (i.e. “rule”).

24. Enter race with hooting North Eastern loco (5,4,3,4,3,4)

Answer: THROW ONES HAT INTO THE RING (i.e. “enter race”). “Loco” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of WITH HOOTING NORTH EASTERN.

25. Some just read lever here? (7)

Answer: TREADLE. “Some” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: JUS(T READ LE)VER. A treadle is a “lever” worked by the foot to work a machine.

26. Submissive old criminal about to pass on (8)

Answer: OBEDIENT (i.e. “submissive”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and BENT (i.e. “criminal”) wrapped “about” DIE (i.e. “to pass on”), like so: O-BE(DIE)NT.

27. One giving money embraces Republican appeal (6)

Answer: PRAYER (i.e. “appeal”). Solution is PAYER (i.e. “one giving money”) wrapped around or “embracing” R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”), like so: P(R)AYER.

29. Mountain cat den, strangely clean (14)

Answer: UNCONTAMINATED (i.e. “clean”). “Strangely” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MOUNTAIN CAT DEN.

31. Apple tree ain’t better if skins are removed (8)

Answer: REINETTE (i.e. a variety of “apple” – did a Google image search. Yup. Looks like an apple.) Solution is derived by removing the first and last letters (indicated by “if skins are removed”) of TREE AIN’T BETTER. One gotten purely through the wordplay, TBH.

34. Fake article providing cover under corporation, once (8)

Answer: CODPIECE (i.e. “cover under corporation, once” – “corporation” is an old word used to refer to a belly, often a pot-belly. Codpieces, meanwhile, are pouches that “cover” a chap’s bits and pieces). When read as COD PIECE, the solution also satisfies “fake article”.

36. Short testimonial that leads to another piece of work? (5-9)

Answer: CROSS-REFERENCE (i.e. “that leads to another piece of work”). Solution is CROSS (i.e. “short”, both taken to mean angry) followed by REFERENCE (i.e. “testimonial”).

39. Gurnard in pies, regularly hard to digest? (6)

Answer: UNRIPE (i.e. “hard to digest”). “Regularly” indicates the solution is derived by taking every other letter of GURNARD IN PIES.

41. National flag followed by hard crew (8)

Answer: IRISHMAN (i.e. “national”). Solution is IRIS (i.e. “flag” – one definition of “flag” is a plant of the iris family), “followed by” H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils) and MAN (i.e. “crew” – both taken as verbs, as in to man or crew something).

43. Search two New England states, united with Canadian region (7)

Answer: MANHUNT (i.e. “search”). Solution is MA and NH (i.e. “two New England states”, specifically Massachusetts and New Hampshire), followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “united”) and NT (i.e. “Canadian region”, specifically its Northwest Territories).

46. College initially incorporated by Wolseley (6,6,2,9)

Answer: LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS (i.e. “college”). “Initially incorporated by” indicates the initials of the college have been hidden in WO(LSE)LY.

47. Lively one entering the next day (8)

Answer: SPIRITED (i.e. “lively”). Solution to “the next” clue is SPRITE. “Entering” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) into this and then following it with D (a recognised abbreviation of “day”) nets you the solution, like so: SP(I)RITE-D. Took a while to twig. Sometimes you just don’t see ‘em.

48. Fairy Queen’s involved in malice (6)

Answer: SPRITE (i.e. “fairy”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of Regina, Latin for “queen”) placed or “involved” in SPITE (i.e. “malice”), like so: SP(R)ITE.

49. Pine used in trial for making tea chest? (4)

Answer: ACHE (i.e. “pine” or to long for). “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: TE(A CHE)ST. The fuller “in trial for making tea chest” riffs on how ACHE has been slotted into TEST to make “tea chest”.

53. Highest point is always estimated (7)

Answer: Mount EVEREST (i.e. “highest point”). Solution is EVER (i.e. “always”) followed by EST (a recognised abbreviation of “estimated”).

54. Stupid person wrapping present cut cigar (7)

Answer: CHEROOT (i.e. “cigar”). Solution is COOT (i.e. “stupid person”) “wrapped” around HERE (i.e. “present”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “cut”), like so: C(HER)OOT.

56. UK employment scheme in which some get their cards? (3,4)

Answer: NEW DEAL. Solution satisfies “UK employment scheme” launched by New Labour in the late 1990s, and “in which some get their [playing] cards”.

57. Aid institute to change posture (12)

Answer: ATTITUDINISE (i.e. “posture”). “To change” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AID INSTITUTE. One of those words that’d see anyone laughed out of a normal conversation, and rightly so.

58. Way of working with general builder in goldmine (10)

Answer: MONEYMAKER (i.e. “goldmine”). Solution is MO (i.e. “way of working”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Modus Operandi) followed by Michel NEY (popularly known as Marshal Ney, he was one of Napoleon’s Marshals of the Empire – a Marshal is the French equivalent of a “General” here in the UK) and MAKER (i.e. “builder”). Hello, Wikipedia!

Down clues

1. State seizure success in hoax gallery turned up (4,5)

Answer: COUP DETAT (i.e. “state seizure”). Solution is UP (i.e. “success”) placed “in” COD (i.e. “hoax”) and followed by TATE (i.e. “gallery”) once this latter has been reversed (indicated by “turned up” – this being a down clue), like so: CO(UP)D-ETAT.

2. Mostly untrained, I stop protecting chief engineer new to the job (13)

Answer: INEXPERIENCED (i.e. “new to the job”). Solution is INEXPERT (i.e. “untrained”) with the last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by I and END (i.e. “stop”) once this latter has been wrapped around or “protecting” CE (a recognised abbreviation of “chief engineer”), like so: INEXPER-I-EN(CE)D.

3. Sign name in Latin when dispatching note (4)

Answer: OMEN (i.e. “sign”). Solution is NOMEN (i.e. “name in Latin”) with the initial N removed (indicated by “when despatching note”, N being a recognised abbreviation of “note”).

4. Unfortunate innocent caused shame (14)

Answer: DISCOUNTENANCE (i.e. “shame”). “Unfortunate” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of INNOCENT CAUSED.

5. No straight line in bar code (3)

Answer: ARC (i.e. “no straight line” – an arc is a section of a circle’s circumference). “In” indicates the solution is hidden in the clue, like so: B(AR C)ODE.

7. Revolutionary women’s champ? (4)

Answer: CHEW (i.e. “champ”). Solution is CHE Guevara (i.e. “revolutionary”, and catnip for setters everywhere) followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “women”).

8. Not available, posh chairs? Disgusting (10)

Answer: NAUSEATING (i.e. “disgusting”). Solution is N/A (a recognised abbreviation of “not applicable”) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation taken to mean the “upper” class, i.e. “posh”) and SEATING (i.e. “chairs”).

9. I cheered up, friend being around to provide influence (8)

Answer: MILITATE (i.e. to have weight or “provide influence”). Solution is I and LIT (i.e. “cheered up”) both placed in MATE (indicated by “friend being around”), like so: M(I-LIT)ATE.

10. Don’t rate her out of shape figure (11)

Answer: TETRAHEDRON (i.e. “figure”). “Out of shape” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of DON’T RATE HER. A recent repeat from two weeks ago, which is disappointing. What with PENTAHEDRON last week it seems we’ve hit upon the setters’ latest mania. My vote is for CUBICUBOCTAHEDRON next week. Make it so, setters. (Claps twice for emphasis.)

11. How decades are arranged if years hot up (9)

Answer: INTENSIFY (i.e. “hot up”). Solution is IN TENS (i.e. “how decades are arranged”) followed by IF and then Y (a recognised abbreviation of “years”).

12. Frame elite regiment with heroin (4)

Answer: SASH (i.e. a window “frame”). Solution is SAS (i.e. “elite regiment”, specifically the Special Air Service) followed by H (street name of “heroin”).

13. Tree cutting behind schedule – cut deeply (8)

Answer: LACERATE (i.e. “cut deeply”). Solution is ACER (i.e. “tree”) placed in or “cutting” LATE (i.e. “behind schedule”), like so: L(ACER)ATE.

19. Oppressive awkward situation I found in December (8)

Answer: DESPOTIC (i.e. “oppressive”). Solution is SPOT (i.e. “awkward situation”) and I both placed or “found in” DEC (a recognised abbreviation of “December”), like so: DE(SPOT-I)C.

21. Country garden under sweet williams initially (6)

Answer: SWEDEN (i.e. “country”). Solution is EDEN (i.e. “garden [in The Bible]”) preceded by or “placed under” – this being a down clue – S and W (i.e. “sweet williams initially”, i.e. the first letters of “sweet” and “williams”), like so: SW-EDEN.

22. Cruel first piece in Greek Scrabble for Plato and second son (8)

Answer: PITILESS (i.e. “cruel”). Solution is PI TILE (i.e. “first piece in Greek Scrabble for Plato” – Scrabble uses lettered TILEs. The “first” letter of “Plato” is P, its equivalent being PI in the Greek alphabet) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) and S (ditto “son”).

23. Cause to resent a confused veggie eating rook (8)

Answer: AGGRIEVE (i.e. “cause to resent”). Solution is A followed by an anagram (indicated by “confused”) of VEGGIE wrapped around or “eating” R (a recognised abbreviation of “rook” used in chess), like so: A-GG(R)IEVE.

28. Male working out with fine pectorals standing proud (4-10)

Answer: SELF-IMPORTANCE (i.e. “standing proud” – Hmm. One of those where the setter’s desire to write a good clue ends up leaving considerable stretch marks on the English language). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “working out”) of M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) and FINE PECTORALS.

29. Break link with relative about publisher (8)

Answer: UNCOUPLE (i.e. “break link”). Solution is UNCLE (i.e. “relative”) wrapped “about” OUP (i.e. “publisher”, specifically the Oxford University Press), like so: UNC(OUP)LE.

30. Wearing an undergarment upside down is working (8)

Answer: ABRASION (i.e. “wearing”). Solution is A BRA (i.e. “an undergarment”) followed by IS reversed (indicated by “upside down” – this being a down clue) and ON (i.e. “working”), like so: A-BRA-SI-ON.

32. Chaincap, sausance or lipalip, say? Only joking! (6-2-5)

Answer: TONGUE-IN-CHEEK (i.e. “only joking”). Clue plays on how different languages or TONGUES have been placed IN different words for CHEEK, like so CHA(INCA)P, SAU(SAN)CE and L(IPAL)IP.

33. Regretted horse nipping queen when mounted in fine ceremony (8)

Answer: GRANDEUR (i.e. “fine ceremony”). Solution is RUED (i.e. “regretted”) followed by NAG (i.e. “horse”) wrapped around or “nipping” R (a recognised abbreviation of Regina, “queen” in Latin). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “when mounted” – this being a down clue), like so: G(R)AN-DEUR.

35. I am in favour – one day in port is wasteful (11)

Answer: IMPROVIDENT (i.e. “wasteful”). Solution is I’M (a contraction of “I am”) followed by PRO (i.e. “in favour of”) and VENT (i.e. “port”, both outlets) once this latter has been wrapped around I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “day”), like so: I’M-PRO-V(I-D)ENT.

37. Contingent charged party millions (6)

Answer: RANDOM (i.e. “contingent” – both taken to mean accidental or by chance – another I’m not entirely on board with, but then I’m just some bloke on the internet). Solution is RAN (i.e. “charged [towards something]”) followed by DO (i.e. “party”) and M (a recognised abbreviation of “millions”).

38. Cleric’s strange charade over swindle (10)

Answer: ARCHDEACON (i.e. “cleric”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “strange”) of CHARADE followed by CON (i.e. “swindle”), like so: ARCHDEA-CON.

40. More sensible about coin coming back into currency (9)

Answer: RENASCENT (i.e. “coming back into currency” – a twisty bit of wordplay by the setter, here, taking “currency” to mean the here and now. Renascent means “coming into renewed life” (Chambers)). Solution is SANER (i.e. “more sensible”) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by CENT (i.e. “coin”), like so: RENAS-CENT.

42. Space launch low over poles, hard to put up (8)

Answer: MOONSHOT (i.e. “space launch”, specifically one aiming for the moon). Solution is MOO (i.e. “low”, taken to mean the noise a cow makes – another pet play of setters) followed by NS (i.e. “poles”, i.e. recognised abbreviations of North and South), then H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard”) and TO reversed (indicated by “put up” – this being a down clue), like so: MOO-NS-H-OT.

44. Small hawk dropped in to rip in small pieces (9)

Answer: TESSELLAR (i.e. “[paving or mosaic] in small pieces”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and SELL (i.e. “[to] hawk”) “dropped into” TEAR (i.e. “to rip”) like so: TE(S-SELL)AR.
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for the typo fix. I’d ran out of Ls. – LP]

45. Helped when sister is getting over boy (8)

Answer: ASSISTED (i.e. “helped”). Solution is AS (i.e. “when”) followed by SIS (a recognised abbreviation of “sister”) and TED (i.e. “boy”, basically a boy’s name).

50. Try one’s luck with a foreign character (4)

Answer: BETA (i.e. “foreign character”, specifically the second letter of the Greek alphabet). Solution is BET (i.e. “try one’s luck”) followed by A.

51. The French succeeded not so much (4)

Answer: LESS (i.e. “not so much”). Solution is LES (i.e. “the French”, i.e. the French for “the”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “succeeded”).

52. Be immersed with wife in computer game (4)

Answer: SWIM (i.e. “be immersed with”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) placed “in” SIM (i.e. “computer game”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a “simulation”, I believe, as opposed to EA’s Sims series).

55. Pair of books about keeping whiskey (3)

Answer: TWO (i.e. “pair”). Solution is OT (i.e. “books”, specifically the Old Testament of The Bible) reversed (indicated by “about”) and wrapped around or “keeping” W (“whiskey” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: T(W)O.