Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1549

Privet, tovarishch. It would appear this week’s Jumbo hasn’t been too badly affected by the Russian sanctions, what with a salvo of three Russian references barely a quarter of the way into the puzzle. It was a weird one to solve, too, given it also contained solutions like INFAMOUS, NOTORIOUS, SCANDAL, OUTCRY, STEAL and MARCHING ORDERS, not to mention things like BELLIGERENCE, SENILE, PROPAGANDIST and LUDICROUS that could be used to sum up Putin and his cronies. Probably a coincidence, given these things are often compiled months in advance, but still.

Anyway, setting the awfulness of the situation in Ukraine to one side for a moment, you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has secretly smeared aniseed all over your shoes and you’re wondering why stray dogs keep chasing you then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear how fellow solvers fared once they set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Quiet expert aboard vessel, stylish craft (9)

Answer: SPACESHIP (i.e. “craft”). Solution is P (i.e. “quiet”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano” used in musical lingo) and ACE (i.e. “expert”) both placed in or “aboard” SS (i.e. “vessel”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a steamship) and followed by HIP (i.e. “stylish”), like so: S(P-ACE)S-HIP.

  1. Book hotel accommodation with flash support for cleaner (10)

Answer: BROOMSTICK (i.e. “support for cleaner”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) followed by ROOMS (i.e. “hotel accommodation”) and TICK (i.e. “flash” – no clue why, though. My Chambers and Oxford don’t seem overly willing to support this one, but it is listed in my Bradford’s).

[EDIT: Thanks to Michael in the comments for clarifying that TICK and “flash” were both short measures of time. Cheers, Michael! – LP]

  1. Opera item limitless selection getting cheers (7)

Answer: ARIETTA (i.e. “opera item” – over to Chambers: “a little aria or air”). Solution is VARIETY (i.e. “selection”) with its first and last letters removed (indicated by “limitless”) and the remainder followed by TA (i.e. “thanks”), like so: ARIET-TA.

  1. Figure in Russian history circling European border – this one? (9)

Answer: PERIMETER (i.e. “border”). Solution is PETER the Great (i.e. “figure in Russian history”) wrapped around or “circling” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) and RIM (i.e. “border”), like so: P(E-RIM)ETER.

  1. French town displays with no end of luxury (5)

Answer: ARRAS (i.e. “French town”). Solution is ARRAYS (i.e. arranges or “displays”) with the Y removed (indicated by “with no end of luxury”, i.e. the last letter of “luxury”). (cough)-made-to-fit-(cough)…

  1. Representative uncovered person circling a lake in Colorado initially (12)

Answer: NATURALISTIC (i.e. “representative”). Solution is NATURIST (i.e. “uncovered person”) wrapped around or “circling” A and L (a recognised abbreviation of “lake”), then followed by I and C (i.e. “in Colorado initially”, i.e. the first letters of “in” and “Colorado”), like so: NATUR(A-L)IST-I-C.

  1. Support English account penned by academic and cleric (10)

Answer: ARCHDEACON (i.e. “cleric”). Solution is ARCH (i.e. “support”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and AC (ditto “account”) once both are placed in or “penned by” DON (i.e. “academic”), like so: ARCH-D(E-AC)ON.

  1. Good worker getting corporation to invest in Russian currency in scramble (5-3-6)

Answer: ROUGH-AND-TUMBLE (i.e. “scramble”). Solution is G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), HAND (i.e. “worker”) and TUM (i.e. “corporation” – setters love using a variant meaning of the word, being a pot belly) all placed “in” ROUBLE (i.e. “Russian currency”), like so: ROU(G-HAND-TUM)BLE.

  1. I sense accommodating half of family would be shocking (8)

Answer: INFAMOUS (i.e. “shocking”). Solution is I and NOUS (i.e. common “sense”) wrapped around or “accommodating” FAM (i.e. first “half of family”), like so: I-N(FAM)OUS.

  1. Kings besetting oil producers for a small amount (6)

Answer: KOPECK (i.e. “small amount”, specifically “a Russian coin, the hundredth part of a rouble, no longer having any significant worth” (Chambers)). Solution is K and K (both “kings”, a recognised abbreviation used in chess) wrapped around or “besetting” OPEC (i.e. “oil producers”, specifically the Organization of the Petroleum-Exporting Countries), like so: K(OPEC)K.

  1. GP producing notes after key treatment? (5,5)

Answer: GRAND PIANO. Clue plays on G being a recognised abbreviation of “grand” and P being a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, and also how you’d play “notes” on one in a musical “key”. You get the idea. Nicely worked.

  1. Nice retired performer? (5)

Answer: EXACT (i.e. “nice” – over to Chambers: “done with great care and exactness, accurate”). When written as EX-ACT the solution also satisfies “retired performer”.

  1. Not often put forward or what’s recalled in another area (4)

Answer: RARE (i.e. “not often put forward“). “What’s…in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “recalled” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: ANOTH(ER AR)EA.

[EDIT: Thanks to Louise in the comments for cleaning this one up. I hadn’t spotted that the solution exists both “put forward” and backwards within the clue, i.e. ANOTH(ER AR)EA and ANOTHE(R ARE)A. Cheers, Louise! – LP]

  1. Very sweet article for cake decoration (8)

Answer: ANGELICA (i.e. “cake decoration” – again to Chambers: “a genus of umbelliferous plants with large leaves and double-winged fruit…; its candied leaf-stalks and midribs, used as a decoration for cakes etc”). Solution is ANGELIC (i.e. “very sweet”) followed by A (i.e. “article”, being a word like a, an or the).

  1. Absurd address to judge is keeping most of court in uproar (9)

Answer: LUDICROUS (i.e. “absurd”). Solution is LUD (i.e. informal “address to judge”) followed by IS once wrapped around or “keeping” an anagram (indicated by “in uproar”) of COURT once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “most of…”), like so: LUD-I(CROU)S.

  1. Openings channelling right warm material to fire (9)

Answer: GRAPESHOT (i.e. “material to fire” from a gun). Solution is GAPES (i.e. “openings”) wrapped around or “channelling” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) and followed by HOT (i.e. “warm”), like so: G(R)APES-HOT.

  1. Composer butchers composition (8)

Answer: Franz SCHUBERT (i.e. “composer”). “Composition” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BUTCHERS. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Virile male, not clever, not very good (4)

Answer: STUD (i.e. “virile male”). Solution is STUPID (i.e. “not clever”) with the PI removed (indicated by “not very good” – PI being a recognised abbreviation of pious).

  1. Tom’s first in to clinch bargain (5)

Answer: STEAL (i.e. a “bargain”). Solution is T (i.e. “Tom’s first” letter) placed “in” SEAL (i.e. “to clinch” or secure), like so: S(T)EAL.

  1. Father got bigger, ditching uniform that’s in pieces (10)

Answer: FRAGMENTED (i.e. “in pieces”). Solution is FR (a recognised abbreviation of the title “Father”) followed by AUGMENTED (i.e. “got bigger”) once the U has been removed (indicated by “ditching uniform” – “uniform” being U in the phonetic alphabet), like so: FR-AGMENTED.

  1. Former Israeli leader penning second lot of reminiscences (6)

Answer: MEMOIR (i.e. “lot of reminiscences”). Solution is Golda MEIR (i.e. “former Israeli leader” – no, me neither) wrapped around or “penning” MO (short for a moment, i.e. “second”), like so: ME(MO)IR.

  1. Yes, a cuckoo with a limp is an obvious target (4,4)

Answer: EASY GAME (i.e. “obvious target”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cuckoo”) of YES A followed by GAME (i.e. “with a limp” – Chambers offers a variant meaning: “lame”).

  1. Old place, perhaps not upright, containing a lot of buddleia, rampant (6,8)

Answer: LISTED BUILDING (i.e. “old place”). Solution is LISTING (i.e. “perhaps not upright”) wrapped around or “containing” an anagram (indicated by “rampant”) of BUDDLEIA once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “a lot of…”), like so: LIST(EDBUILD)ING.

  1. Source of milk and bread you wheeled round? (3-7)

Answer: TEA-TROLLEY. The solution satisfies the clue as a whole, but also comprises TEAT (i.e. “source of milk”), ROLL (i.e. “bread”) and YE (olde form of “you”) once reversed (indicated by “wheeled round”), like so: TEAT-ROLL-EY. Another well-worked clue.

  1. One promoting heathen Greek god suppressed by Protestant (12)

Answer: PROPAGANDIST (i.e. “one promoting”). Solution is PAGAN (i.e. “heathen”) and DIS (i.e. “Greek god”, another name for Pluto) both placed in or “suppressed by” PROT (a recognised abbreviation of “Protestant”), like so: PRO(PAGAN-DIS)T.

  1. Keep at the instructions, say, extracting energy or gas (5)

Answer: RADON (i.e. “gas”). Solution is READ ON (i.e. “keep at the instructions, say”) with the E removed (indicated by “extracting energy” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy”).

  1. Women’s greeting given to both sides before game – it’s revolutionary (9)

Answer: WHIRLPOOL (i.e. “it’s revolutionary”). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “women”) followed by HI (i.e. “greeting”), then RL (i.e. “both sides”, being recognised abbreviations of “right” and “left”), then POOL (i.e. “game”).

  1. Better work on industrial efficiency in the field? (7)

Answer: OUTDOOR (i.e. “in the field”). When written as OUTDO O.R. the solution also satisfies “better work on industrial efficiency”. O.R. is a recognised abbreviation of “operations research”, which covers that kind of thing.

  1. MI5 boss possibly securing shelter for one about to go off? (10)

Answer: SLEEPYHEAD (i.e. “one about to go off”). Solution is SPY HEAD (i.e. “MI5 boss possibly”) wrapped around or “securing” LEE (i.e. “shelter”), like so: S(LEE)PY-HEAD.

  1. What sounds like very much a routine wine? (9)

Answer: SAUTERNES (i.e. “wine”). “What sounds like” indicates the solution comprises homophones of SO (i.e. “very much”) and TURN (i.e. “a routine” or act). Took a small brute force of my Chambers, me not being much of a wine buff.

Down clues

  1. Metal embedded in stone? That’s some effort (5)

Answer: STINT (i.e. a work shift or “some effort”). Solution is TIN (i.e. “metal”) placed or “embedded in” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “stone”), like so: S(TIN)T.

  1. Dessert served with sweet wine in later upheaval (10)

Answer: AFTERSHOCK (i.e. “later upheaval” from an earthquake). Solution is AFTERS (i.e. “dessert”) followed by HOCK (i.e. “sweet wine”).

  1. Daughter avoiding carefully describing online business (1-7)

Answer: E-TAILING (i.e. “online business”). Solution is DETAILING (i.e. “carefully describing”) with the D removed (indicated by “daughter avoiding” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”).

  1. Anticipates chap’s securing work (5)

Answer: HOPES (i.e. “anticipates”). Solution is HE’S (i.e. “chap’s”) wrapped around or “securing” OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”), like so: H(OP)E’S.

  1. Fruit I’m beginning to munch, being outside (9)

Answer: PERSIMMON (i.e. a plum-like “fruit”). Solution is I’M and M (i.e. “beginning to munch”, i.e. the first letter of “munch”) with PERSON (i.e. “being”) placed “outside”, like so: PERS(I’M-M)ON.

  1. Put out male entering bar, falling over (4)

Answer: BUMP (i.e. to jolt or “put out”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “male”) placed in or “entering” PUB (i.e. “bar”) once reversed (indicated by “falling over”), like so: BU(M)P.

  1. Dismissed odd bits of curry? Uproar (6)

Answer: OUTCRY (i.e. “uproar”). Solution is OUT (i.e. “dismissed”, say, in a ball game) followed by CRY (i.e. “odd bits of curry”, i.e. the odd letters of CURRY).

  1. Head of monastery bending religious rule will get dismissal (8,6)

Answer: MARCHING ORDERS (i.e. “dismissal”). Solution is M (i.e. “head of monastery”, i.e. the first letter of “monastery”) followed by ARCHING (i.e. “bending”) and ORDERS (i.e. “religious rule”).

  1. Holiday firm can get excited about composer anniversary finally (6,6)

Answer: TRAVEL AGENCY (i.e. “holiday firm”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “excited”) of CAN GET wrapped “about” Maurice RAVEL (i.e. “composer”) and followed by Y (i.e. “anniversary finally”, i.e. the last letter of “anniversary”), like so: T(RAVEL)AGENC-Y.

  1. Copper pulled up a vehicle over booze (7)

Answer: CURACAO (i.e. a liqueur or “booze”). Solution is CU (chemical symbol or “copper”) followed by A CAR (i.e. “a vehicle”) once reversed (indicated by “pulled up” – this being a down clue), then O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket), like so: CU-(RAC-A)-O

  1. Subordinate cracked – runs for moneylender (10)

Answer: PAWNBROKER (i.e. “moneylender”). Solution is PAWN (i.e. “subordinate”) followed by BROKE (i.e. “cracked”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games).

  1. Demo is kept up around America: a bit of a headache generally (9)

Answer: SINUSITIS (i.e. “a headache generally”). Solution is SIT-IN (i.e. “demo”) and IS all reversed (indicated by “kept up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped “around” US (i.e. “America”), like so: SI-N(US)I-TIS.

  1. Friends turned up a little hastily (8)

Answer: SLAPDASH (i.e. “hastily”). Solution is PALS (i.e. “friends”) reversed (indicated by “turned up” – again, this being a down clue) and followed by DASH (i.e. “a little” measurement of, say, an ingredient or condiment), like so: SLAP-DASH.

  1. What’s in the overhead locker? (5,4)

Answer: UPPER CASE. Solution playfully satisfies the clue as a whole, taking CASE to be an item of luggage and UPPER being its situation in an “overhead locker”. Not getting much else from this one, though, so I’m probably missing something clever. Might be a caps lock thing, but this feels too weak.

[EDIT: Thanks to Rachel in the comments for clearing this one up. Turns out the clue was misprinted in the newspaper and ought to have been all in capital letters. Makes a lot more sense now. Cheers, Rachel! – LP]

  1. Cost of hiring hill maybe involving one is falling fast? (10)

Answer: TORRENTIAL (i.e. of rain “falling fast”). Solution is TOR RENTAL (i.e. “cost of hiring hill maybe”) wrapped around or “involving” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: TOR-RENT(I)AL.

  1. Newspaper and book to peruse: that’ll keep you going (5,5)

Answer: DAILY BREAD (i.e. “that’ll keep you going”). Solution is DAILY (i.e. “newspaper”) followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) and READ (i.e. “to peruse”).

  1. Excellent soldiers I placed around castle, with stronger reason (1,8)

Answer: A FORTIORI (i.e. “with stronger reason” in Latin). Solution is AI (i.e. “excellent”, i.e. A1, using it’s Roman numeral equivalent), OR (i.e. “soldiers”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) and I all placed “around” FORT (i.e. “castle”), like so: A(FORT)I-OR-I. One remembered through its frequent appearance in previous Jumbos.

  1. Expecting providing obstruction will restrict the line (2,3,6,3)

Answer: IN THE FAMILY WAY (i.e. pregnant or “expecting”). Solution is IN THE WAY (i.e. “providing obstruction”) wrapped around or “restricting” FAMILY (i.e. “line”), like so: IN-THE-(FAMILY)-WAY. Another remembered from a previous puzzle.

  1. Very good to engage in popular craze, eradicating a problem with sleeping (8)

Answer: INSOMNIA (i.e. “problem with sleeping”). Solution is SO (i.e. “very” – I guess “good” is there to make the clue scan better) placed between or “engaged in” IN (i.e. “popular”) and MANIA (i.e. “craze”) once the A has been removed (indicated by “eradicating a”), like so: IN-(SO)-MNIA.

  1. Aggression erupting in Greece following alarm (12)

Answer: BELLIGERENCE (i.e. “aggression”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “erupting”) of IN GREECE placed after or “following” BELL (i.e. “alarm”), like so: BELL-IGERENCE.

  1. Spectators run to embrace tennis great – it expresses warmth (3,6)

Answer: GAS HEATER (i.e. “spectators”). Solution is GATE (i.e. “spectators” at an event) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “run”, covered earlier) wrapped around Arthur ASHE (i.e. “tennis great”), like so: G(ASHE)ATE-R. Another of those solutions where you’re lucky I don’t set these things.

  1. Join Labour, say, upset over a right-winger being insulting (10)

Answer: DEROGATORY (i.e. “insulting”). Solution is GO RED (i.e. “join Labour, say”, a reference to the colour used to represent the political party) reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue) and followed by A TORY (i.e. “a right-winger”), like so: (DER-OG)-A-TORY. Another good clue.

  1. New Zealand city very familiar with good fashion (10)

Answer: WELLINGTON (i.e. “New Zealand city”). Solution is WELL (i.e. “very” or in a thorough manner) followed by IN (i.e. “familiar” – presumably taken to mean “much in use (as in in-word, in-thing)” (Chambers)), then G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”) and TON (i.e. “fashion” – a variant meaning of the word you pretty much only ever see used in cryptic crosswords).

  1. Disreputable number taking top prize, eliminating first three (9)

Answer: NOTORIOUS (i.e. “disreputable”). Solution is NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) followed by VICTORIOUS (i.e. “taking top prize”) once the “first three” letters have been removed or “eliminated”, like so: NO-TORIOUS.

  1. Bribe for radio announcer not reduced? It should be stopped (8)

Answer: BUNGHOLE (i.e. “it should be stopped”). Solution is BUNG (i.e. “bribe”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “for radio announcer”) of WHOLE (i.e. “not reduced”), like so: BUNG-HOLE.

  1. Possibly not full scale outrage (7)

Answer: SCANDAL (i.e. “outrage”). When written as SC AND AL the solution cryptically satisfies “possibly not full scale”, i.e. descriptive of the first four letters of “scale”, being SC and AL.

  1. Weak with age, from date around zero? (6)

Answer: SENILE (i.e. “weak with age”). Solution is SEE (i.e. to “date” someone) wrapped “around” NIL (i.e. “zero”), like so: SE(NIL)E.

  1. A sauce served up with Uruguay’s foremost rice dish (5)

Answer: PILAU (i.e. “rice dish”). Solution is A and LIP (i.e. “sauce” or impudence) all reversed (indicated by “served up” – this being a down clue) and followed by U (i.e. “Uruguay’s foremost” letter), like so: (PIL-A)-U.

  1. Only partially fair on soccer clubs (5)

Answer: IRONS (i.e. golf “clubs”). “Only partially” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: FA(IR ON S)OCCER.

  1. Happy head of BBC is upset about French article (4)

Answer: GLAD (i.e. “happy”). Solution is DG (a recognised abbreviation of “Director General”, i.e. “head of BBC”) reversed (indicated by “upset” – again, this being a down clue) and wrapped “about” LA (i.e. “French article”, i.e. the French feminine form of “the” – an article being a word like a, an or the), like so: G(LA)D.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1548

Stinker time!!! For the most part this was a good ‘un with plenty of misdirection and inventive wordplay, though was slightly marred for me by a handful of scruffy or overly-shoehorned clues. A few recent repeats didn’t help. Still, this was an entertaining workout overall.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has ordered twenty skips and had them all delivered to your house then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the buggers. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear how fellow solvers fared once their pens have been stilled. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Doddery ex-judge with SUV, one safe to take a chance at the wheel! (6,3,4)

Answer: FAITES VOS JEUX (i.e. “to take a chance at the wheel” – and off to Chambers we go: “place your stakes eg in roulette”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “doddery”) of EX-J (J being a recognised abbreviation of “judge”), SUV, I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and SAFE TO. Never heard of it, but then I’m not exactly the betting type.

  1. Yankee in game show to disregard the score? (4,2,3)

Answer: PLAY BY EAR (i.e. “disregard the [musical] score”). Solution is Y (“Yankee” in the phonetic alphabet) placed “in” PLAY (i.e. to “game”) and BEAR (i.e. “show”), like so: PLAY-B(Y)EAR.

  1. Clients American and Irish mostly (5)

Answer: USERS (i.e. “clients”). Solution is US (i.e. “American”) followed by ERSE (i.e. “Irish”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: US-ERS.

  1. After adjusting VAT, I agree to diversify (9)

Answer: VARIEGATE (i.e. “to diversify”). “After adjusting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of VAT I AGREE.

  1. What gets viewers streaming talk on race? (7)

Answer: TEARGAS (i.e. “what gets viewers streaming”). Solution is GAS (i.e. to “talk”) placed “on” or after TEAR (i.e. to “race” around), like so: TEAR-GAS.

  1. Agitator close to corrupt and profitable St Petersburg concern? (12)

Answer: TROUBLEMAKER (i.e. “agitator”). Solution is T (i.e. “close to corrupt”, i.e. the last letter of “corrupt”) followed by ROUBLE-MAKER (i.e. “profitable St Petersburg concern”, playfully).

  1. Alaskan native, one captured by camera naked, we understand (6,4)

Answer: KODIAK BEAR (i.e. “Alaskan native”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed in or “captured by” KODAK (i.e. “camera” brand) and followed by a homophone (indicated by “we understand”) of BARE (i.e. “naked”), like so: KOD(I)AK-BEAR.

  1. Don’t have your fare home? (3,3)

Answer: EAT OUT. Clue plays on “fare” being taken to mean food. You get the idea.

  1. A short journey by about six with a pilot (8)

Answer: AVIATRIX (i.e. “pilot”). Solution is A, TRI (i.e. “short journey”, i.e. the word TRIP with its last letter removed) and X (i.e. “by”, i.e. the multiplication symbol) all wrapped “about” VI (i.e. “six” in Roman numerals) and A, like so: A-(VI-A)-TRI-X.

  1. All closed following digging? (2,4)

Answer: IN TOTO (i.e. “all”). Solution is TO (i.e. “closed”, as in a door being closed to) placed after or “following” INTO (i.e. liking or “digging”), like so: INTO-TO.

  1. Fielder is behind boundary (6,4)

Answer: SECOND SLIP (i.e. “fielder” in cricket). Solution is SECONDS (i.e. backing or “is behind”) followed by LIP (i.e. “boundary”).

  1. One taking on fancy goods? (7,5)

Answer: IMPULSE BUYER. Clue plays on “fancy” being taken to mean impulsive, or as takes one’s fancy.

  1. White pawn (4)

Answer: HOCK. Solution satisfies “white” wine and to “pawn” goods. Very nicely worked.

  1. Fancy swimmer’s former, cracking girlfriend, rather! (8)

Answer: GOLDFISH (i.e. “swimmer” – not sure what makes them “fancy”, though). Solution is OLD (i.e. “former”) placed in or “cracking” GF (a recognised abbreviation of “girlfriend” – Chambers doesn’t want to know, but my Oxford backs it up) and followed by ISH (i.e. “rather”), like so: G(OLD)F-ISH.

  1. Suggestion from local United goal offside, initially (8)

Answer: INNUENDO (i.e. “suggestion”). Solution is INN (i.e. “local” or hostelry) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “United”), then END (i.e. “goal”) and O (i.e. “offside, initially”, i.e. the first letter of “offside”).

  1. In vain, go off to find John in Rome? (8)

Answer: GIOVANNI (i.e. “John in Rome”, i.e. the Italian form of “John”). “Off” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN VAIN GO.

  1. Readily supplied with pet for FBI agent (5-3)

Answer: SPOON-FED (i.e. “readily supplied”). Solution is SPOON (i.e. to “pet” or “behave in an amorous way” (Oxford)) followed by FED (i.e. slang for an “FBI agent”). The redundant “for” was a tad misleading.

  1. Reptiles biting tail off crow (4)

Answer: BOAS (i.e. “reptiles”). Solution is BOAST (i.e. to “crow”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “biting tail off…”).

  1. Bloomer, one by boy per year is disturbing (5-7)

Answer: LADY’S-SLIPPER (i.e. flower or “bloomer”). Solution is LAD’S SLIP (i.e. “one by boy”, with reference to the “bloomer” of the clue, this time as an error) and PER wrapped around or “disturbed” by Y (a recognised abbreviation of “year”), like so: LAD(Y)’S-SLIP-PER.

  1. Career criminal enters without being spotted (10)

Answer: FLAWLESSLY (i.e. “without being spotted” or marked). Solution is FLY (i.e. to “career” or race about) wrapped around or “entered” by LAWLESS (i.e. “criminal”), like so: F(LAWLESS)LY.

  1. Reminders, such as demand for payment, returned by Society (6)

Answer: NUDGES (i.e. “reminders”). Solution is EG (i.e. “such as” or for example) and DUN (i.e. “demand for payment” – a variant meaning of the word we’ve seen in a previous Jumbo) all reversed (indicated by “returned”) and followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “Society”, as seen in things like the RSPB), like so: (NUD-GE)-S.

  1. Expected more care for one stretched on couch? (8)

Answer: LIKELIER (i.e. an outcome “expected more”). Solution is LIKE (i.e. “care for”) followed by LIER (i.e. “one stretched on couch”, playfully, hence the riddly question mark. That said, Chambers supports the usage). A horror-show of a clue given you only have _I_E_I_R to work with.

  1. Maximum to be got from cashpoint – large amount, ultimately (2,4)

Answer: AT MOST (i.e. “maximum to be got”). Solution is ATM (i.e. “cashpoint”, short for an Automated Teller Machine) followed by OS (i.e. “large”, short for outsized) and T (i.e. “amount, ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “amount”).

  1. Index reference in German on Italian writer (10)

Answer: FOREFINGER (i.e. “index”). Solution is REF (short for “reference”), IN and GER (a recognised abbreviation of “German”) all placed “on” or after Dario FO (i.e. “Italian writer” – no, me neither), like so: FO-(REF-IN-GER).

  1. One calling round as hotel bar runs check on reservation (5,7)

Answer: CRASH BARRIER (i.e. central “reservation” on a motorway). Solution is CRIER (i.e. “one calling”) wrapped “round” AS, H (“hotel” in the phonetic alphabet), BAR and R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in several ball games), like so: CR(AS-H-BAR-R)IER.

  1. Constituent, one left to enter popular objection (7)

Answer: INBUILT (i.e. “constituent”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) placed in or “entering” IN (i.e. “popular”) and BUT (i.e. “objection”), like so: IN-BU(I-L)T.

  1. Ruined are our wet waterproofs, etc (9)

Answer: OUTERWEAR (i.e. “waterproofs, etc”). “Ruined” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ARE OUR WET.

  1. On reflection, claim amusement displays taste (5)

Answer: UMAMI (i.e. “taste” we’ve also seen in a relatively recent Jumbo). “Displays” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “on reflection” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: CLA(IM AMU)SEMENT.

  1. Bird with old bit of gold and blueish plumage, brown at the ends (6,3)

Answer: GUINEA HEN (i.e. “bird”). Solution is GUINEA (i.e. “old bit of gold” – “bit” can be taken to mean a coin) followed by HEN (i.e. “blueish plumage, brown at the ends”, i.e. the last letters of “blueisH“, “plumagE” and “browN“).

  1. When feverish at home, you briefly prepare tonic (1,4,2,3,3)

Answer: A SHOT IN THE ARM (i.e. “tonic”). Solution is AS (i.e. “when”) followed by HOT (i.e. “feverish”), then IN (i.e. “at home”), then THEE (i.e. “you”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), then ARM (i.e. to “prepare” an explosive device), like so: AS-HOT-IN-THE-ARM.

Down clues

  1. Vain female of no fixed abode, reportedly (9)

Answer: FRUITLESS (i.e. in “vain”). Solution is F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”) followed by a homophone (indicated by “reportedly”) of ROOTLESS (i.e. “of no fixed abode”).

  1. Vessel’s chief engineer stole aboard it (7)

Answer: ICEBOAT (i.e. “vessel”). Solution is CE (a recognised abbreviation of “chief engineer”) and BOA (i.e. garment or “stole”) both placed in or “aboard” IT, like so: I(CE-BOA)T.

  1. To be sure, an unusual resort! (10)

Answer: EASTBOURNE (i.e. “resort”). “Unusual” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO BE SURE AN.

  1. Tested by speaking through journalist, maintaining volume (6)

Answer: VIVAED (i.e. “tested by speaking” – a viva is an oral exam). Solution is VIA (i.e. “through”) and ED (i.e. “journalist” – short for an editor) wrapped around or “maintaining” V (a recognised abbreviation of “volume”), like so: VI(V)A-ED.

  1. Girl about to drain a stream to find plant root (12)

Answer: SARSAPARILLA (i.e. “plant root”). Solution is SARA (i.e. “girl’s” name) wrapped “about” SAP (i.e. “to drain”), A and RILL (i.e. “stream”), like so: SAR(SAP-A-RILL)A.

  1. Out of The Times, text (English) gets its interpretation (8)

Answer: EXEGESIS (i.e. “interpretation”). Solution is TEXT, E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and GETS ITS once all the Ts have been removed (indicated by “out of the times” – ignoring the misleading capitalisation and taking T to be a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: (T)EX(T)-E-GE(T)S-I(T)S => EX-E-GES-IS.

  1. Picture accompanied by an echo in Cineplex? (4)

Answer: XRAY (i.e. “accompanied by an echo in Cineplex” – “Xray” is X in the phonetic alphabet, meanwhile “echo” is E. The two letters can be found side-by-side at the end of “Cineplex”, so you could say the X is “accompanied by an” E or “echo”). When written as X-RAY the solution also satisfies “picture”.

  1. Occupier not normally dealt with so blooming early! (10)

Answer: PRECOCIOUS (i.e. of early development or “blooming early”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “not normally dealt”) of OCCUPIER and SO.

  1. Clip with article on Irish town (6)

Answer: ANTRIM (i.e. “Irish town”). Solution is TRIM (i.e. “clip”) placed after or “with” AN (i.e. “article” – an article is a word like a, an or the), like so: AN-TRIM.

  1. Pair of shades a boxer gets after fight? (5-3-4)

Answer: BLACK-AND-BLUE (i.e. “a boxer gets after flight”, being an informal description of bruising). When written as BLACK AND BLUE the solution also satisfies “pair of shades” or colours.

  1. Coup on course, finally, since junta taking full charge (5)

Answer: EAGLE (i.e. “coup on [golf] course”, clearing a hole two strokes under par). “Finally” indicates the solution is formed from the last letters of “sincE“, “juntA“, “takinG“, “fulL” and “chargE“.

  1. Picture of mine follows (9,4)

Answer: RESERVOIR DOGS (i.e. a motion “picture”, Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut). Solution is RESERVOIR (i.e. “mine” – too loose for me) followed by DOGS (i.e. “follows”).

  1. Period assigned by group (4,4)

Answer: TIME SLOT (i.e. “period assigned”). Solution is TIMES (i.e. multiplied “by”) followed by LOT (i.e. “group”).

  1. What experts know about “unknowns” – answer: they’re negative! (9)

Answer: OXYANIONS (i.e. “they’re negative”, I guess. Chambers has nothing, but my Oxford offers this: “an anion containing one or more oxygen atoms bonded to another element (as in the sulphate and carbonate ions)”. One of those everyday words then). Solution is ONIONS (i.e. “what experts know”, proverbially speaking) wrapped “about” X and Y (i.e. “unknowns” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as “unknowns”) and A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A), like so: O(XY-A)NIONS. Bloody hell…

  1. Imaginary line bats also go in (8)

Answer: ISOGONAL (i.e. “imaginary line”, I guess again. Chambers has this: “an isogonic line or contour line of magnetic declination”. Ohhh-kay then. (Looks to camera)). “Bats” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ALSO GO IN. Hell’s teeth, setter…

  1. Cheated-on duke seen in mostly foolish light (9)

Answer: CUCKOLDED (i.e. “cheated-on”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “duke”) placed “in” CUCKOO (i.e. “foolish”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), and LED (i.e. “light”, specifically a Light Emitting Diode), like so: CUCKO-L(D)ED.

  1. Give time to son to finish drink (4,4)

Answer: SEND DOWN (i.e. to sentence or “give [prison] time to”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by END (i.e. “to finish”) and DOWN (i.e. to “drink”).

  1. Love to meet with tart in uniform (2,1,5)

Answer: OF A PIECE (i.e. alike or “uniform”). Solution is O (i.e. “love”, being a zero score in tennis) followed by FACE (i.e. “to meet”) once wrapped around or having “in” PIE (i.e. “tart”), like so: O-FA(PIE)CE.

  1. Find oneself shy following school dance (8,5)

Answer: HIGHLAND FLING (i.e. “dance”). Solution is LAND (i.e. to “find oneself”, e.g. landing oneself in trouble) and FLING (i.e. to “shy”, a variant meaning of the word) both placed after or “following” HIGH (i.e. “school”), like so: HIGH-(LAND-FLING).

  1. Serializes broadcast about football managers without interference (7-5)

Answer: LAISSEZ-FAIRE (i.e. “without interference” or letting things take their course). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “broadcast”) of SERIALIZES wrapped “about” FA (i.e. “football managers”, specifically the Football Association), like so: LAISSEZ(FA)IRE.

  1. Bursting with energy, following fine learning guide (12)

Answer: EFFLORESCENT (i.e. blooming or “bursting”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) followed by F (ditto “following”), then F (ditto “fine”, used in grading pencils), then LORE (i.e. “learning”) and SCENT (i.e. a “guide”, e.g. to someone’s whereabouts).

  1. Cheerful party assessed finally to have flipped (6,4)

Answer: UPSIDE DOWN (i.e. “flipped”). Solution is UP (i.e. “cheerful”) followed by SIDE (i.e. “party”), then D (i.e. “assessed finally”, i.e. the last letter of “assessed”), then OWN (i.e. “to have”).

  1. Revealing bishop’s responsibility at an end (3-7)

Answer: SEE-THROUGH (i.e. “revealing”). Solution is SEE (i.e. “bishop’s responsibility” or jurisdiction) followed by THROUGH (i.e. finished or “at an end”).

  1. Metal club Yorkshireman holds back symbolically (9)

Answer: YTTERBIUM (i.e. “metal”). Clue plays on how the solution’s chemical “symbol”, Yb, has been hidden in the clue (indicated by “holds”) and reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: CLU(B Y)ORKSHIREMAN. Took a while to twig.

  1. Welcome not often seen for rising church priest (8)

Answer: HIERARCH (i.e. “priest”). Solution is HI (i.e. “welcome”) followed by RARE (i.e. “not often seen”) once reversed (indicated by “for rising” – this being a down clue) and CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”), like so: HI-ERAR-CH.

  1. Island abroad where Scot’s entire family at home? (7)

Answer: OKINAWA (i.e. “island abroad” over in Japan). When written as O KIN AWA the solution playfully satisfies “Scot’s entire family at home”, taking O to mean zero, KIN to mean “family” and AWA as a Scot’s form of “away”. If no kin are away then one can assume they are all at home. Another that took a while to decode.

  1. Grass verges on Severn are dying (6)

Answer: SNITCH (i.e. to “grass” someone up). Solution is SN (i.e. “verges on Severn”, i.e. the first and last letters of “Severn”) followed by ITCH (i.e. “are dying” – dying and itch can both mean a strong desire).

  1. Fairy’s loose garment moving right down leg (6)

Answer: OBERON (i.e. king of the “fairies”). Solution is ROBE (i.e. “loose garment”) with the R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”) “moved” to the end or “down” – this being a down clue – and followed by ON (i.e. “leg” side in cricket), like so: (R)OBE-ON => OBE(R)-ON.

  1. Go on before the end to become a minister (5)

Answer: RABBI (i.e. “minister” – I thought this was more a Christian thing, but Chambers offers “the head, or assistant to the head, of certain religious orders”). Solution is RABBIT (i.e. to “go on” or talk a lot) with the last letter removed (indicated by “before the end”).

  1. Walk that’s covered three fifths of Spain? (4)

Answer: STOA (i.e. a colonnade or “walk that’s covered”). When written as S TO A the solution also playfully satisfies “three fifths of Spain”, i.e. the letters S TO A within the five-letter word “Spain”. Sneaky.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1547

A relatively straightforward one this week. While I had a couple of disagreements here and there, this was for the most part excellent entertainment, peppered with well worked, witty clues and offering the kind of steady progression I like.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has not only failed to put away any of the felt-tipped pens it was using but left all the lids off too then you might find my Just For Fun page of benefit, where you’ll find links to solutions to hundreds of the buggers. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of fellow solvers once their pens are stilled. If you’ve recently discovered my little corner of the interwebs then welcome aboard, the more the merrier! Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Unsuccessful with money? This’ll get you a raise! (9)

Answer: SOURDOUGH (i.e. “this’ll get you a raise”, as in how bread rises when being baked). Solution is SOUR (i.e. bad or “unsuccessful”) followed by DOUGH (i.e. slang for “money”).

  1. One’s back with writer touring about in hired vehicle (7)

Answer: MINICAB (i.e. “hired vehicle”). Solution is I’M (i.e. “one is”, specifically a contraction of I AM) reversed (indicated by “back”) and followed by NIB (i.e. “writer”) once wrapped around or “touring” CA (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), like so: M’I-NI(CA)B.

  1. Start in college of western America where pupils are trained? (5)

Answer: FOCUS (i.e. “where pupils are trained”). Solution is C (i.e. “start in college”, i.e. the first letter of “college”) and OF all reversed (indicated by “western” – this being an across clue), then followed by US (i.e. “American”), like so: (FO-C)-US.

  1. Possessing joint, tested nudge theory, perhaps (7)

Answer: ELBOWED. Solution satisfies “possessing joint” and, playfully, “tested nudge theory”.

  1. Punishment not unknown in west country town (7)

Answer: PENANCE (i.e. “punishment”). Solution is PENZANCE (i.e. “west country town”) with the Z removed (indicated by “not unknown in…” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns).

  1. Regarding who sits on the throne? (7)

Answer: LOOKING (i.e. “regarding”). When written as LOO KING the clue playfully satisfies “who sits on the throne” – throne can be a slang word for a toilet or LOO. Great clue! Still makes me laugh.

  1. It’s made in lab, I tell agency cryptically (11,8)

Answer: GENETICALLY MODIFIED (i.e. “it’s made in lab”). The remainder of the clue plays on how the solution “cryptically” satisfies “I tell agency”, in that it is the word “GENETICALLY” MODIFIED or made into an anagram. Nicely played.

  1. Island floors (3)

Answer: KOS (i.e. Greek “island”). Solution also satisfies “floors”, as in a recognised abbreviation of “knocks out”.

  1. Refuse tablets to take orally (6)

Answer: ESCHEW (i.e. “refuse”). Solution is ES (i.e. “tablets” – a reference to ecstasy, its street name being E) followed by CHEW (i.e. “to take orally”).

  1. Exhausted, due to change in unique selling point (4,2)

Answer: USED UP (i.e. “exhausted”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to change”) of DUE placed “in” USP (a recognised abbreviation of “unique selling point”), like so: US(EDU)P.

  1. Prisoner, not “caught” in a manner of speaking, in nick (9)

Answer: CONDITION (i.e. “nick”, as in being in good nick). Solution is CON (i.e. slang for a “prisoner”) followed by DICTION (i.e. “manner of speaking”) once the C has been removed (indicated by “not ‘caught’” – C being a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in a number of ball games), like so: CON-DITION.

  1. Two US states beset by inconsistent man’s rule (10)

Answer: PATRIARCHY (i.e. “man’s rule”). Solution is RI and AR (i.e. “two US states” abbreviations, specifically Rhode Island and Arkansas respectively) both placed in or “beset by” PATCHY (i.e. “inconsistent”), like so: PAT(RI-AR)CHY.

  1. Cough and rasp, as unwell? A case for mummy! (11)

Answer: SARCOPHAGUS (i.e. “a case for mummy”). “Unwell” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of COUGH and RASP AS.

  1. Appeal of returning to low pub (5)

Answer: OOMPH (i.e. “appeal”). Solution is MOO (i.e. “low”, a variant meaning being the noise a cow makes) reversed (indicated by “returning”) and followed by PH (i.e. “pub”, specifically a Public House), like so: OOM-PH.

  1. Objections got well covered up (8)

Answer: OBSCURED (i.e. “covered up”). Solution is OBS (i.e. “objections” – over to Chambers, an ob is: “an objection (in the phrase ob and sol objection and solution). [From the marginal note ob in old books of controversial divinity]”) followed by CURED (i.e. “got well”).

  1. Strand marine creature, last but one straying westward (8)

Answer: SEASHORE (i.e. “strand”, a variant meaning of the word). Solution is SEAHORSE (i.e. “marine creature”) with the penultimate letter or “last but one” advancing a few notches or “straying westward” – this being an across clue), like so: SEAHOR(S)E => SEA(S)HORE.

  1. What’ll make for tidy life? Not messing around! (8)

Answer: FIDELITY (i.e. “not messing around”). “What’ll make” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TIDY LIFE. Nicely done.

  1. Implying only one gender counts, consciousness-wise? (8)

Answer: MENTALLY (i.e. “consciousness-wise”). When written as MEN TALLY the solution playfully satisfies “implying only one gender counts”.

  1. A bit of work that’s key for raising capital? (5)

Answer: SHIFT. Solution satisfies “a bit of work” and “key for raising capital” on a keyboard. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Criminal I arrested on purpose (6,5)

Answer: RAISON D’ÊTRE (i.e. “purpose”). “Criminal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of I ARRESTED ON.

  1. Customer’s out of line, though outwardly so rational (10)

Answer: SCIENTIFIC (i.e. “rational”). Solution is CLIENT (i.e. “customer”) with the L removed (indicated by “out of line” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “line”) and the remainder placed with IF (i.e. “though” – can be interchangeable in a sentence starting “it’s not as if/though…”) in or having “outwardly” SIC (i.e. Latin for “so” or thus), like so: S(CIENT-IF)IC.

  1. Pooh Bear in plastic, not right being on novelty watch? (9)

Answer: NEOPHOBIA (the fear of new things, which might playfully place one on “novelty watch”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “plastic”) of POOH BEAR IN once the R has been removed (indicated by “not right” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “right”).

  1. Company’s importing sound equipment for stand-ups (6)

Answer: COMICS (i.e. “stand-ups”). Solution is CO’S (a recognised abbreviation of “company” with a contraction of is) wrapped around or “importing” MIC (i.e. “sound equipment”, short for a microphone), like so: CO(MIC)’S.

  1. Show audience programme beforehand (6)

Answer: APPEAR (i.e. “show”). Solution is EAR (i.e. “audience”) placed after or having “beforehand” APP (i.e. short for application or computer “programme” – I disagree. When it comes to computing the American spelling, program, should be used), like so: APP-EAR.

  1. Beverage to take in back to front (3)

Answer: TEA (i.e. “beverage”). Solution is EAT (i.e. “to take in”) with the last letter placed at the beginning (indicated by “back to front”), like so: EA(T) => (T)EA.

  1. Under the circumstances, I’m open to offers! (3,6,10)

Answer: ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Solution satisfies “under the circumstances” and, playfully, “I’m open to offers”. Cleverly done.

  1. National symbol that can get you down (7)

Answer: THISTLE. Solution satisfies “national symbol” of Scotland and “that can get you down”, referring to the fluff you can get on thistle heads.

  1. One to bat – watch stroke (7)

Answer: EYELASH (i.e. “one to bat” – another I’d disagree with. I thought one batted eyelids or eyes, not eyelashes). Solution is EYE (i.e. “watch”) followed by LASH (i.e. “stroke” of a whip).

  1. During work duties, I carouse (7)

Answer: ROISTER (i.e. “carouse”). Solution is ROSTER (i.e. “work duties”) “during” which is placed I, like so: RO(I)STER.

  1. Stopped working around mid-evening and had a meal (5)

Answer: DINED (i.e. “had a meal”). Solution is DIED (i.e. “stopped working”) wrapped “around” N (i.e. “mid-evening”, i.e. the middle letter of “evening”), like so: DI(N)ED.

  1. Miss Haversham’s dresses tell all when discovered (7)

Answer: ESTELLA (i.e. “Miss Haversham’s” first name, from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations). “Discovered” suggests the solution has been hidden in the clue, i.e. by uncovering DRESS(ES TELL A)LL.

  1. Mark house and pass on (9)

Answer: SEMICOLON (i.e. punctuation “mark”). Solution is SEMI (i.e. “house”) followed by COL (a mountain “pass” often seen in cryptic crosswords) and ON.

Down clues

  1. Band who had Christmas hit broadcast rode with Santa? (8)

Answer: SLEIGHED (i.e. “rode with Santa”). “Broadcast” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SLADE (i.e. “band who had Christmas hit”).

  1. Head covering, apparently worn on top in city (5)

Answer: URBAN (i.e. “city”). Solution is TURBAN (i.e. “head covering”) with the first letter removed or the “top” “worn” away.

  1. Sensible, with gravity? (4-2-5)

Answer: DOWN-TO-EARTH. Solution satisfies “sensible” and is descriptive of “gravity”.

  1. Jack abandoning boat and gathering up fish to leave port (6)

Answer: UNDOCK (i.e. “to leave port”). Solution is JUNK (i.e. “boat”) with the J removed (indicated by “jack abandoning…” – J is a recognised abbreviation of “jack” used on playing cards) and the remainder wrapped around or “gathering” COD (i.e. “fish”) once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: UN(DOC)K.

  1. Flailing about, loses speech – a non-starter (8,4)

Answer: HOPELESS CASE (i.e. “non-starter”). “Flailing about” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LOSES SPEECH A.

  1. Sun follower looked rich (7)

Answer: MONEYED (i.e. “rich”). Solution is MON (i.e. “Sun follower”, taking Sun as a shortened form of “Sunday”) followed by EYED (i.e. “looked”).

  1. Officer and soldiers confined to station – one’s gone upstairs (3,6,6)

Answer: NON COMPOS MENTIS (i.e. not being sound of mind or “gone upstairs”). Solution is NON-COM (i.e. “officer”, short for a non-commissioned officer) followed by MEN (i.e. “soldiers”) once placed in or “confined to” POST, then I’S (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one’s”), like so: NON-COM-POS(MEN)T-I’S.

  1. Trust one in suit to have means of paying (6,4)

Answer: CREDIT CARD (i.e. “means of paying”). Solution is CREDIT (i.e. “trust”) followed by CARD (i.e. “one in suit” of playing cards).

  1. Taurus and Leo displaying common character? Solid gold! (7)

Answer: BULLION (i.e. “solid gold”). Solution is BULL and LION (i.e. symbolising astrological signs “Taurus and Leo” respectively) joined together and sharing an L (indicated by “displaying common character”), like so: BUL[L]ION.

  1. Banishes darkness from swamp lands (11)

Answer: FLOODLIGHTS (i.e. “banishes darkness”). Solution is FLOOD (i.e. to “swamp”) followed by LIGHTS (i.e. comes down from or “lands”).

  1. Hang around sides of playing surface for curling (9)

Answer: CRINKLING (i.e. “curling”). Solution is CLING (i.e. “hang around”) wrapped around or forming the “sides of” RINK (i.e. “playing surface”), like so: C(RINK)LING.

  1. Registers omen hanging over child (5,2)

Answer: SIGNS ON (i.e. “registers”). Solution is SIGN (i.e. “omen”) followed by SON (i.e. “child”).

  1. Alleged medical blunders (7)

Answer: CLAIMED (i.e. “alleged”). “Blunders” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MEDICAL.

  1. Eddy, rejecting kiss in embrace of rascal, was frolicking (8)

Answer: CAVORTED (i.e. “was frolicking”). Solution is VORTEX (i.e. whirlpool or “eddy”) with the X removed (indicated by “rejecting kiss”) and the remainder placed “in embrace of” CAD (i.e. “rascal”), like so: CA(VORTE)D.

  1. I’m not sure this is a secret (3,5,3,4)

Answer: YOU NEVER CAN TELL. Solution satisfies “I’m not sure” and “this is a secret”. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Unaccompanied royal’s autobiography? (3,2,3)

Answer: ONE BY ONE. Solution satisfies “unaccompanied” and, playfully, “royal’s autobiography”, riffing on how royals stereotypically refer to themselves as “one” and how autobiographies are written by the subject themselves. An excellent clue, and another that still makes me laugh now. Very well played.

  1. Detective’s dodgy hustle (6)

Answer: SLEUTH (i.e. “detective”). “Dodgy” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HUSTLE.

  1. Chest – one troubled by it, audibly? (6)

Answer: COFFER (i.e. “chest”). “Audibly” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of COUGHER (i.e. “one troubled by [chest]”). Again, nicely done.

  1. First of rods I dropped into frozen hole (7)

Answer: ORIFICE (i.e. “hole”). Solution is R (i.e. “first [letter] of rods”) and I both placed or “dropped into” OF ICE (descriptive of “frozen”), like so: O(R-I)F-ICE.

  1. Without uniform level, ambassador’s surrounded by fools (12)

Answer: PLAINCLOTHES (i.e. “without uniform”). Solution is PLAIN (i.e. “level”) followed by HE (i.e. “ambassador”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of His Excellency) once placed in or “surrounded by” CLOTS (i.e. “fools”), like so: PLAIN-CLOT(HE)S.

  1. Told tale about tipsy male, cunning and bold (11)

Answer: LIONHEARTED (i.e. “bold”). Solution is LIED (i.e. “told tale”) wrapped “about” ON (i.e. “tipsy”), HE (i.e. “male”) and ART (i.e. “cunning”), like so: LI(ON-HE-ART)ED.

[EDIT: clarifying “ON”, Chambers offers this definition: “on the way to being drunk (slang)“]

  1. Puck’s back issue? (7,4)

Answer: SLIPPED DISC. Solution satisfies “back issue” and, playfully, a “puck” used in ice hockey, ice being slippery n’ all.

  1. What may be achieved by nail file (10)

Answer: ATTACHMENT. Solution satisfies “what may be achieved by nail” and “file” – think email attachments.

  1. Number one coming up with sequence of three notes penned in quarantine (9)

Answer: ISOLATION (i.e. “quarantine”). Solution is NO (a recognised abbreviation of “number”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) reversed (indicated by “coming up” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “penning” SO LA TI (i.e. “sequence of three notes” in the sol-fa notation), like so: I-(SO-LA-TI)-ON.

  1. Framework for crossword – hard pitch in US (8)

Answer: GRIDIRON (i.e. “pitch in US”, specifically an American football field). Solution is GRID (i.e. “framework for crossword”) followed by IRON (i.e. “hard” – I guess suggestive of something stern or inflexible. A bit of a stretch for me, but my Bradford’s backs it up).

  1. No fan of rock and roll, presumably, on paper? (7)

Answer: NOTATED (i.e. “on paper”). When written as NOT A TED the solution also satisfies “no fan of rock and roll, presumably” – a Ted being a shortened form of Teddy boy.

  1. Busy person’s picked up mask inside to buy (7)

Answer: BELIEVE (i.e. “to buy” into something claimed). Solution is BEE (i.e. “busy person”) wrapped around or having “inside” VEIL (i.e. “mask”) once reversed (indicated by “picked up” – this being a down clue), like so: BE(LIEV)E.

  1. Mother’s covered a mark with make-up (7)

Answer: MASCARA (i.e. “make-up”). Solution is MA (i.e. “mother”) wrapped around or “covering” A and SCAR (i.e. “mark”), like so: M(A-SCAR)A.

  1. Retreat from remains of cigarette butt (6)

Answer: ASHRAM (i.e. a “retreat” for a religious community, often in India). Solution is ASH (i.e. “remains of cigarette”) followed by RAM (i.e. to “butt”).

  1. Mammal after a time switching sides (5)

Answer: RATEL (i.e. “mammal”). Solution is LATER (i.e. “after a time”) with the first and last letters or “sides” “switched”, like so: (L)ATE(R) => (R)ATE(L).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1546

For the most part this was a relatively straightforward puzzle spiced up with a few toughies and some good cluing to enjoy.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has playfully destroyed the entire downstairs of your house after huffing too much elephantnip then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the blighters. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

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

LP

Across clues

  1. Jailer might carry this barrel around your home (3,4)

Answer: KEY RING (i.e. “jailer might carry this”). Solution is KEG (i.e. “barrel”) wrapped “around” YR (a recognised abbreviation of “your”) and IN (i.e. at “home”), like so: KE(YR-IN)G.

  1. Obliged to live with mature fowl outside (8)

Answer: BEHOLDEN (i.e. “obliged to”). Solution is BE (i.e. “to live”) followed by OLD (i.e. “mature”) once having “outside” HEN (i.e. “fowl”), like so: BE-H(OLD)EN.

  1. It’s used in school periods with ruler (6)

Answer: ERASER (i.e. “it’s used in school”). Solution is ERAS (i.e. “periods”) followed by ER (i.e. “ruler”, specifically Elizabeth Regina). Nicely worked.

  1. Spirituality of poetry in different spheres? (16)

Answer: OTHERWORLDLINESS (i.e. “spirituality”). Solution is LINES (i.e. “poetry”) placed “in” OTHER (i.e. “different”) and WORLDS (i.e. “spheres”), like so: OTHER-WORLD(LINES)S.

  1. Maureen struggles to make films (6)

Answer: MOVIES (i.e. “films”). Solution is MO (shortened form of “Maureen”) followed by VIES (i.e. “struggles”).

  1. Bring round popular award for tearful woman (5)

Answer: NIOBE (i.e. “tearful woman” – in Greek mythology Niobe was a mother whose overbearing pride in her children saw them murdered. Then, in her grief, Niobe was turned to stone because Greek mythology). Solution is IN (i.e. “popular”) reversed (indicated by “bring round”) and followed by OBE (i.e. “award”, specifically an Order of the British Empire), like so: NI-OBE. One remembered from a bygone Jumbo.

  1. Delay American writer in South Dakota (7)

Answer: SUSPEND (i.e. “delay”). Solution is US (i.e. “American”) and PEN (i.e. “writer”) both placed “in” SD (US state abbreviation of “South Dakota”), like so: S(US-PEN)D.

  1. What peers undergo in French with no jewellery (9)

Answer: ENNOBLING (i.e. “what peers undergo”). Solution is EN (i.e. “in French”, i.e. the French for “in”) followed by NO and BLING (i.e. “jewellery”).

  1. Stray Italian in politician’s domain (9)

Answer: TERRITORY (i.e. “domain”). Solution is ERR (i.e. to “stray”) and IT (a recognised abbreviation of “Italian”) both placed “in” TORY (i.e. “politician”), like so: T(ERR-IT)ORY.

  1. Study 100 in Spain filling southern church (7)

Answer: SCIENCE (i.e. academic “study”). Solution is CIEN (i.e. “100 in Spain”, i.e. the Spanish for “hundred” – thank you, Google Translate) placed in or “filling” S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) and CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England), like so: S-(CIEN)-CE.

  1. Young reporter probing South Africa’s submarine tanks (5)

Answer: SCUBA (i.e. “submarine [air] tanks” used by divers). Solution is CUB (i.e. “young reporter”) placed in or “probing” SA (a recognised abbreviation of “South Africa”), like so: S(CUB)A.

  1. Suggest leader should leave basically (5)

Answer: IMPLY (i.e. “suggest”). Solution is SIMPLY (i.e. “basically”) with its initial letter removed (indicated by “leader should leave…”).

  1. English Daisy, say, initially getting spring treat? (6,3)

Answer: EASTER EGG (i.e. “spring treat”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by ASTER (i.e. “daisy” – ignore the misleading capitalisation), then EG (i.e. “say”, or for example) and G (i.e. “initially getting”, i.e. the first letter of “getting”).

  1. Liberal lots of foreign cash for rock attraction (7)

Answer: LORELEI (i.e. “rock attraction” – over to Chambers: “in German legend, a siren of the Rhine who lured sailors to their death”. She was perched on a rock, presumably after finding all the deckchairs had been reserved. [Joke © the 1980s]). Solution is L (a recognised abbreviation of “Liberal”) followed by ORE and LEI (i.e. “lots of foreign cash” – the former of assorted Scandinavian countries, the latter of Romania and Moldova).

  1. Short Swedish girl in 49 is making complaint (9)

Answer: GASTRITIS (i.e. medical “complaint”). Solution is ASTRID (i.e. “Swedish girl’s” name) with its last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder placed “in” GT (i.e. “49” – the solution to 49a is SPORTS CAR; GT is short for gran turismo, “a motor car designed for touring in luxury and at high speed” (Chambers) – also Gran Turismo, a once great video game series(*) on PlayStation that has been reduced to yet another microtransaction-focused grindathon. To illustrate, in the newly released Gran Turismo 7 the most expensive car in the game costs 12,000,000 in-game credits. Following a recent update most races only offer a much-reduced 10,000 to 50,000 credits per win. Given each race lasts 5-10 minutes, that’s a lot of racing to grind through just to earn one car, and there are plenty other expensive cars in the game to earn. Of course, you could just get your credit card out and buy those in-game credits. Who cares that you’ve already spent £70 buying the game itself? Welcome to modern gaming, folks…), and followed by IS, like so: G(ASTRI)T-IS.

(*) Well, the first three games were pretty good, anyway.

  1. Tweedledee, say, twirling in twilit dance (9,4)

Answer: IDENTICAL TWIN (i.e. “Tweedledee, say” – other examples of identical twins are available). “Twirling” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN TWILIT DANCE.

  1. Melbourne barrister? (6,7)

Answer: QUEEN’S COUNSEL (i.e. “barrister”). I don’t get it.

[EDIT: Sue has added in the comments: “A barrister is a QC (Queen’s Counsel). Lord Melbourne was Prime Minister (and adviser – hence COUNSEL) to Queen Victoria.” Cheers, Sue! – LP]

  1. Don’t use compass to find this loyal PM (4,5)

Answer: TRUE NORTH (“the direction of the north pole, opposite to magnetic north” (Chambers), i.e. “don’t use compass to find this”). Solution is TRUE (i.e. “loyal”) followed by Frederick NORTH (i.e. “PM” or Prime Minister between 1770 and 1782).

  1. It cuts chips oddly in gold circles (7)

Answer: INCISOR (i.e. “it cuts”). Solution is CIS (i.e. “chips oddly”, i.e. every other letter of CHIPS) placed in or “circled” by IN and OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry), like so: IN-(CIS)-OR.

  1. Play down grand muffler? (4,5)

Answer: SOFT PEDAL. Solution satisfies to “play down” and “grand [piano] muffler”.

  1. Declining job in printers, maybe, with no energy required (5)

Answer: DYING (i.e. “declining”). Solution is DYEING (i.e. “job in printers, maybe”) with the E removed (indicated by “no energy required” – E being a recognised abbreviation of “energy”).

  1. Runs into small bucket in retreat (5)

Answer: MEETS (i.e. “runs into”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and TEEM (i.e. to “bucket” with rain) all reversed (indicated by “in retreat”), like so: MEET-S.

  1. Exhaust patience at first, cutting scrub (7)

Answer: DEPLETE (i.e. “exhaust”). Solution is P (i.e. “patience at first”, i.e. the first letter of “patience”) placed in or “cutting” DELETE (i.e. to “scrub”), like so: DE(P)LETE.

  1. Workers breach a keen contract (9)

Answer: AGREEMENT (i.e. “contract”). Solution is MEN (i.e. “workers” – I hope the weather’s nice for you all the way back there in the 19th century, setter) placed in or “breaching” A and GREET (i.e. “keen” – a variant Scottish meaning of the word is to weep or “keen”), like so: A-GREE(MEN)T.

  1. Son left mark, driving this? (6,3)

Answer: SPORTS CAR (i.e. “driving this”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”) followed by PORT (i.e. “left” in sailor-speak) and SCAR (i.e. “mark”).

  1. Repeated statement quietly, causing pitfall (7)

Answer: MANTRAP (i.e. “pitfall”). Solution is MANTRA (i.e. “repeated statement”) followed by P (i.e. “quietly”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “piano” in musical lingo).

  1. Stop patient swallowing tablet (5)

Answer: CEASE (i.e. “stop”). Solution is CASE (i.e. “patient”) wrapped around or “swallowing” E (i.e. “tablet” – E taken to be the street name of the drug ecstasy), like so: C(E)ASE.

  1. One leaving home before boxing fighter (6)

Answer: ÉMIGRÉ (i.e. “one leaving home”). Solution is ERE (poetic form of “before”) wrapped around or “boxing” MIG (i.e. “fighter” jet plane), like so: É(MIG)RÉ.

  1. Having travelled so far, Susan grasps marsh plant (5-2-9)

Answer: GRASS-OF-PARNASSUS (i.e. “marsh plant”). “Having travelled” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SO FAR SUSAN GRASPS.

  1. Former nurse welcomes a day in the country (6)

Answer: SWEDEN (i.e. “country”). Solution is SEN (i.e. “former nurse”, specifically the now defunct State Enrolled Nurse) wrapped around or “welcoming” WED (i.e. “day”, specifically a shortened form of “Wednesday”), like so: S(WED)EN.

  1. His pony’s faltered under such treatment (8)

Answer: HYPNOSIS (i.e. “treatment” – “under” is also a nod to this). “Faltered” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of HIS PONY’S.

  1. Rail worker and crew following cart about (7)

Answer: YARDMAN (i.e. “rail worker”). Solution is MAN (i.e. “crew” – can be used as a verb, taken to mean manning a ship) placed after or “following” DRAY (i.e. “cart”) once reversed (indicated by “about”), like so: YARD-MAN.

Down clues

  1. Ignoramus working with nerd lifted object (4-7)

Answer: KNOW-NOTHING (i.e. “ignoramus”). Solution is ON (i.e. operational or “working”) and WONK (i.e. “nerd”) both reversed (indicated by “lifted” – this being a down clue) and followed by THING (i.e. “object”), like so: (KNOW-NO)-THING.

  1. Swift creature loves fodder to be flipped (5)

Answer: YAHOO (i.e. Jonathan “Swift creature” in his novel, Gulliver’s Travels). Solution is O and O (i.e. “loves” – being zero scores in tennis) and HAY (i.e. “fodder”) all reversed (indicated by “to be flipped”), like so: YAH-O-O.

  1. One crazy king’s over supporting current ME citizen (7)

Answer: ISRAELI (i.e. “ME citizen” – ME being Middle East). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by LEAR’S (i.e. “crazy king’s”, specifically from William Shakespeare’s King Lear) reversed (indicated by “over”), then I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics), like so: I-S’RAEL-I.

  1. Household effluent potentially a measure of economy? (5,8,7)

Answer: GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT. Solution playfully satisfies “household effluent potentially” and also “a measure of economy”. I’ll admit this raised a smile when I twigged it.

  1. Good shots which are aimed at cow? (5-4)

Answer: BULLS-EYES (i.e. “good shots” in assorted sports). When written as BULL’S EYES the solution also playfully satisfies “which are aimed at cow”.

  1. Very healthy hedges split down the middle (5)

Answer: HALVE (i.e. “split down the middle”). Solution is HALE (i.e. “healthy”) wrapped around or “hedging” V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”), like so: HAL(V)E.

  1. Baseball shot bordered stream briefly (4,5)

Answer: LINE DRIVE (i.e. a powerful “baseball shot” driven low to the ground – not one Chambers supports, but my Oxford lists it). Solution is LINED (i.e. “bordered”) followed by RIVER (i.e. “stream”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: LINED-RIVE. New MLB season starts 7th April on BT Sport, baseball fans. (Or there’s Spring Training coverage from Monday, if you’re really keen.)

  1. Oriental plant occupying narrow space (7)

Answer: EASTERN (i.e. “oriental”). Solution is ASTER (i.e. “plant”) placed in or “occupying” EN (i.e. “narrow space” – in printing, an en is a space the width of a lower case n), like so: E(ASTER)N. A significantly easier get considering the lion’s share of the solution is found in 25a.

  1. Old doctor in mad rush to obtain lozenge (7)

Answer: RHOMBUS (i.e. a “lozenge” shape). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and MB (i.e. “doctor” of medicine or Medicinae Baccalaureus) both placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “mad”) of RUSH, like so: RH(O-MB)US. One I knew, weirdly.

  1. Singular religious ceremony’s song? (9)

Answer: SPIRITUAL (i.e. “song”, specifically “a black American religious song” (Chambers)). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “singular”) followed by PI (i.e. “religious”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “pious”) and RITUAL (i.e. “ceremony”).

  1. Acceptance of the inevitable departure from office (11)

Answer: RESIGNATION. Solution satisfies “acceptance of the inevitable” and “departure from office”.

  1. It may be patent where academic lives? (12,8)

Answer: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (i.e. “patent”). Clue plays on academics being INTELLECTUAL and people living in PROPERTIES. Another that made me smile.

  1. Sally’s part of speech originally stopping ceremony (7)

Answer: RIPOSTE (i.e. “sally”). Solution is POS (i.e. “part of speech originally”, i.e. the first letters of “part”, “of” and “speech”) placed in or “stopping” RITE (i.e. “ceremony”), like so: RI(POS)TE.

  1. Sort of agents casing city (7)

Answer: SPECIES (i.e. “sort”). Solution is SPIES (i.e. “agents”) wrapped around or “casing” EC (i.e. “city”, specifically the City of London’s postcode area. ‘s a London paper, innit, guvnor, so wot yer gonna do?), like so: SP(EC)IES.

  1. After close of play, faces male supporter (1-6)

Answer: Y-FRONTS (i.e. “male supporter”). Solution is Y (i.e. “close of play”, i.e. the last letter of “play”) followed by FRONTS (i.e. “faces”).

  1. Mean character invested in slick wheels (3,2)

Answer: GET AT (i.e. “mean”). Solution is ETA (i.e. “character”, specifically the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet) placed “in” GT (i.e. “slick wheels” – our gran turismo from 29a again. Which leads me back to the sad old world of Gran Turismo 7. Recall I mentioned how a recent update to the game changed the entire in-game economy mere weeks after its release. Creators Polyphony Digital made damn sure they secured decent review scores on Metacritic (average 8.7/10) before issuing that update. Because reviewers might not have looked so kindly upon the game had they known it was really going to be a grindathon. Comically, the excuse Polyphony Digital gave for changing the game’s economy was so players would feel a greater sense of achievement and value in the cars they unlock – which would be fine were it not for those ever-present microtransactions patiently awaiting your credit card. “Cynical” barely covers it, as the somewhat less favourable user reviews on Metacritic can testify (average 2.5/10). Modern gaming, folks… Honestly, you’re better off picking up a book), like so: G(ETA)T.

  1. Checked about learner given new inside cover (7)

Answer: RELINED (i.e. “given new inside cover”). Solution is REINED (i.e. “checked” or brought into line) wrapped around L (a recognised abbreviation of “learner”), like so: RE(L)INED.

  1. Society party’s completely rejected chip suppliers (5)

Answer: SPUDS (i.e. “chip suppliers”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “society”) and DUP’S (i.e. “party’s”, specifically the Democratic Unionist Party) all reversed (indicated by “rejected”), like so: S’PUD-S.

  1. Obscure bits of film hidden in engine casing (7)

Answer: ECLIPSE (i.e. to “obscure”). Solution is CLIPS (i.e. “bits of film”) placed or “hidden in” EE (i.e. “engine casing”, i.e. the first and last letters of “engine”), like so: E(CLIPS)E.

  1. Give out bitter sent over when conflict’s raging (7)

Answer: WARTIME (i.e. “when conflict’s raging”). Solution is EMIT (i.e. “give out”) and RAW (i.e. “bitter” or freezing) all reversed (indicated by “sent over”), like so: WAR-TIME.

  1. Which French unknown beats posers? (11)

Answer: QUIZMASTERS (i.e. “posers”, i.e. those posing questions). Solution is QUI (i.e. “which French”, i.e. the French for “which”) followed by Z (i.e. “unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in solutions as unknowns) and MASTERS (i.e. “beats”).

  1. Drug stolen from summit: motive for serious crime (4,7)

Answer: HIGH TREASON (i.e. “serious crime”). Solution is HEIGHT (i.e. “summit”) with the E removed (indicated by “drug stolen from…” – reference to ecstasy again) and the remainder followed by REASON (i.e. “motive”), like so: HIGHT-REASON.

  1. Monk taking care of snack, holding one up (9)

Answer: COENOBITE (i.e. “monk”). Solution is C/O (short for “care of”) and BITE (i.e. “snack”) both wrapped around or “holding” ONE reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: C/O-(ENO)-BITE. A win for my Bradford’s. Me and religion: like oil and water.

  1. Order member’s forenames to be broadcast (9)

Answer: FREEMASON (i.e. “order member”). “To be broadcast” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FORENAMES.

  1. Paris had resolved to import first of German copiers (9)

Answer: DIAGRAPHS (i.e. “copiers”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “resolved”) of PARIS HAD wrapped around or “importing” G (i.e. “first of German”, i.e. the initial letter of “German”), like so: DIA(G)RAPHS.

  1. Release TV for nothing (3,4)

Answer: SET FREE (i.e. “release”). Solution is SET (i.e. “TV”) followed by FREE (i.e. “for nothing”).

  1. Paint wine with fish (7)

Answer: PORTRAY (i.e. to “paint”). Solution is PORT (i.e. fortified “wine”) followed by RAY (i.e. “fish”).

  1. Decrypted name in patisserie (2,5)

Answer: EN CLAIR (i.e. “deciphered”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “name”) placed “in” ÉCLAIR (i.e. “patisserie” – can refer to the shop and also its wares), like so: E(N)CLAIR.

  1. Poles surround old fine bays? (5)

Answer: NOOKS (i.e. “bays”). Solution is N and S (i.e. “poles”, recognised abbreviations of north and south respectively) wrapped around or “surrounding” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and OK (i.e. “fine”), like so: N(O-OK)S.

  1. Tea service brought up after start of autumn (5)

Answer: ASSAM (i.e. “tea”). Solution is MASS (i.e. religious “service”) reversed (indicated by “brought up” – this being a down clue) and placed “after” A (i.e. “start of autumn”, i.e. the first letter of “autumn”), like so: A-SSAM.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1545

A medium strength offering this week, and one where solvers had to take the rough with the smooth. There were plenty of well worked clues to enjoy, but the setter was at times too loose with their definitions.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a recent Jumbo has rolled itself up in toilet tissue and ran throughout the house, then you might find my Just For Fun page of help, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Go to enlist jockeys surrounding horse race expert (11)

Answer: ETHNOLOGIST (i.e. “race expert”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “jockeys”) of GO TO ENLIST wrapped around or “surrounding” H (i.e. “horse”, both street names for heroin), like so: ET(H)NOLOGIST.

  1. A benefit, with view to invest around development stage (11)

Answer: ADOLESCENCE (i.e. “development stage”). Solution is A followed by DOLE (i.e. “benefit”), then SCENE (i.e. “view”) once wrapped around or “investing” C (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), like so: A-DOLE-SCEN(C)E.

  1. Get lost in Amerindian territory’s westernmost part (3,2)

Answer: HOP IT (i.e. “get lost”). Solution is HOPI (i.e. “Amerindian” – over to Chambers: “a Pueblo people living chiefly in NE Arizona”) followed by T (i.e. “territory’s westernmost part”, i.e. the first letter of “territory” – this being an across clue).

  1. Abnormal beginnings of delirium tremens, drinking water (7)

Answer: DEVIANT (i.e. “abnormal”). Solution is D and T (i.e. “beginnings of delirium tremens”, i.e. the first letters of “delirium” and “tremens”) wrapped around or “drinking” EVIAN (i.e. “water”), like so: D-(EVIAN)-T. Nicely worked.

  1. Outrageous quality of criminal across the Channel, it’s suggested? (9)

Answer: FLAGRANCE (i.e. “outrageous quality”). Solution is LAG (i.e. “criminal”) placed in or “across” FRANCE (i.e. “across the Channel”), like so: F(LAG)RANCE.

  1. Converted barn unfortunately bagging zero profit (4-5)

Answer: BORN-AGAIN (i.e. “converted”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unfortunately”) of BARN wrapped around or “bagging” O (i.e. “zero”) and followed by GAIN (i.e. “profit”), like so: B(O)RNA-GAIN.

  1. One makes request flexibly, mostly? It’s beyond me (10)

Answer: SUPPLICANT (i.e. “one makes request”). Solution is SUPPLY (i.e. “flexibly”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by I CAN’T (i.e. “it’s beyond me”), like so: SUPPL-I-CAN’T.

  1. Rang about Republican getting provoked (7)

Answer: TROLLED (i.e. “provoked”, usually online). Solution is TOLLED (i.e. “rang”) wrapped “about” R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”), like so: T(R)OLLED.

  1. Shady way of working from the east, I sense (7)

Answer: OMINOUS (i.e. sinister or “shady” – too loose for my liking). Solution is MO (i.e. “way of working” or Modus Operandi) reversed (indicated by “from the east” – this being an across clue), followed by I and NOUS (i.e. good “sense”).

  1. Clean frames using computers to make image (7)

Answer: PICTURE (i.e. “image”). Solution is PURE (i.e. “clean”) wrapped around or “framing” ICT (i.e. “computers”, a recognised abbreviation of Information and Communication Technology), like so: P(ICT)URE.

  1. In power lighting once again, it’s lacking (8)

Answer: REIGNING (i.e. “in power”). Solution is REIGNITING (i.e. “lighting once again”) with the IT removed (indicated by “it’s lacking”).

  1. No cooler aboard vessel, touring delta in uncertain venture (1,4,2,3,4)

Answer: A SHOT IN THE DARK (i.e. “uncertain venture”). Solution is AS HOT IN THE ARK (i.e. “no cooler aboard vessel”) wrapped around or “touring” D (“delta” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: AS-HOT-IN-THE-(D)-ARK.

  1. Crooks in a car dropping back on motorway (5)

Answer: MAFIA (i.e. “crooks”). Solution is A followed by FIAT (i.e. “car” make) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “dropping back”). These are then placed “on” or after M (a recognised abbreviation of “motorway”), like so: M-(A-FIA).

  1. Taps in bathrooms turned for group under water (6)

Answer: SCHOOL (i.e. “group under water”). Solution is C and H (i.e. “taps”, specifically recognised abbreviations of “Cold” and “Hot”) placed “in” LOOS (i.e. “bathrooms”) once reversed (indicated by “turned”), like so: S(CH)OOL.

  1. Brought down personnel blocking public grant (10)

Answer: OVERTHROWN (i.e. “brought down”). Solution is HR (i.e. “personnel”, or Human Resources) placed in or “blocking” OVERT (i.e. “public”) and OWN (i.e. “grant”, both taken to mean an admission of something), like so: OVERT-(HR)-OWN. A bit of a swine, this one.

  1. Foolishly ennoble any wife at court (4,6)

Answer: ANNE BOLEYN (i.e. “wife at court” of Henry VIII. Not sure “wife at court” is a strong enough nod to Henry VIII. That said, given my relative lack of interest in history, I’m hardly the best judge). “Foolishly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ENNOBLE ANY.

  1. Jack getting together with Elizabeth’s sister (6)

Answer: ABBESS (i.e. “sister”). Solution is AB (i.e. “Jack” – both terms for a sailor) followed by BESS (i.e. shortened form of “Elizabeth”). Made significantly easier after BESS appeared in a Jumbo a few weeks ago.

  1. Publication with The Times is for enchanting fellow (5)

Answer: MAGUS (i.e. “enchanting fellow”). Solution is MAG (i.e. “publication”, short for magazine) followed by US (i.e. “The Times”, being the paper hosting the crossword).

  1. Likely to drop billions, say, implicated in crime (14)

Answer: BUTTERFINGERED (i.e. “likely to drop”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “billions”) followed by UTTER (i.e. “say”) and FINGERED (i.e. “implicated in crime”).

  1. We’re told superior room is suitable for priests (8)

Answer: HIERATIC (i.e. “suitable for priests”). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “we’re told”) of HIGHER (i.e. “superior”) and ATTIC (i.e. “room”). One nailed through the wordplay.

  1. Not as engaging setter working for one with pride (7)

Answer: LIONESS (i.e. “one with pride” – pride being a collective noun for a group of lions). Solution is LESS (i.e. “not as” much) wrapped around or “engaging” I (i.e. “setter”, from the point of view of the setter) and ON (i.e. “working” or operational), like so: L(I-ON)ESS.

  1. One who throws out European champion (7)

Answer: EVICTOR (i.e. “one who throws out”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”) followed by VICTOR (i.e. “champion”).

  1. Winger to tip over, getting hold of small right back (7)

Answer: KESTREL (i.e. “winger” or bird). Solution is KEEL (i.e. “tip over”) wrapped around or “getting hold of” S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and RT (ditto “right”) once the latter as been reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: KE(S-TR)EL.

  1. Appoint entertaining quartet, as the case may be (10)

Answer: NOMINATIVE (i.e. “as the case may be” – a reference to nominative case, one of many cases found in the dry and joyless world of grammar). Solution is NOMINATE (i.e. “appoint”) wrapped around or “entertaining” IV (i.e. “quartet”, specifically 4 expressed in Roman numerals), like so: NOMINAT(IV)E.

  1. An evil is ultimately forgiven – it could be this one? (6,3)

Answer: VENIAL SIN (i.e. within the context of the clue: “it could be this one”, in this case a sin that’ll be forgiven by Him Upstairs when you snuff it). “It could be” also acts as an anagram indicator. Solution is an anagram of AN EVIL IS and N (i.e. “ultimately forgiven”, i.e. the last letter of “forgiven”). Nicely worked, but another clue made somewhat easier by the solution’s relatively recent appearance in another Jumbo.

  1. Supply fashionable and French fabric (9)

Answer: STOCKINET (i.e. “fabric”). Solution is STOCK (i.e. “supply”) followed by IN (i.e. “fashionable”) and ET (i.e. “and French”, i.e. the French for “and”).

  1. Clear a bishop found with crack (7)

Answer: ABSOLVE (i.e. “clear”). Solution is A followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess) and SOLVE (i.e. “crack”).

  1. Rubbish military decoration initially five times greater (5)

Answer: DROSS (i.e. “rubbish”). Solution is CROSS (i.e. “military decoration”) with the “initial” letter made “five times greater”, i.e. going from C, the Roman numeral for 100, to D (500), like so: (C)ROSS => (D)ROSS.

  1. Bachelor’s serious kind of crime in Washington? (5-6)

Answer: FIRST-DEGREE (i.e. “serious kind of crime in Washington” – the US recognises various degrees of murder within its legal system). When written without the hyphen the solution also satisfies “bachelor”, being the first university degree one attains.

  1. Man picked up drink for hotel employee (5,6)

Answer: NIGHT PORTER (i.e. “hotel employee”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “picked up”) of KNIGHT (a chess piece; chess pieces are sometimes referred to as “men”) followed by PORTER (i.e. “drink”).

Down clues

  1. Boxer hit out, punched by one in shower (9)

Answer: EXHIBITOR (i.e. “shower” or one who shows). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “out”) of BOXER HIT wrapped around or “punched by” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: EXH(I)BITOR.

  1. Cosh, say, with excessive force and fake fervour (10,8)

Answer: HYPERBOLIC FUNCTION (i.e. “cosh”, a mathematical abbreviation of a hyperbolic cosine, a trigonometric function). Solution is HYPERBOLIC (i.e. “excessive”) followed by F (a recognised abbreviation of “force”) and UNCTION (i.e. “fake fervour”). Nicely worked.

  1. East German capital erected in ancient Roman port (5)

Answer: OSTIA (i.e. “ancient Roman port”). Solution is OST (i.e. “east German”, i.e. the German for “east”) followed by AI (i.e. “capital” – A1 can refer to something that is excellent) once reversed (indicated by “erected” – this being a down clue), like so: OST-IA. Straight to Bradford’s the moment I saw “port”. Life’s too short to waste on made-to-fit rubbish.

  1. Diverse articles coming from curious object in beach (4,3,4)

Answer: ODDS AND ENDS (i.e. “diverse articles”). Solution is ODD (i.e. “curious”) followed by END (i.e. aim or “object”) once placed “in” SANDS (i.e. “beach”), like so: ODD-SAND(END)S.

  1. Bell, perhaps gold, under cool air (8)

Answer: INVENTOR (i.e. Alexander Graham “Bell, perhaps” – other inventors are available). Solution is OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry) placed after or “under” – this being a down clue – IN (i.e. “cool” or fashionable) and VENT (i.e. to “air”), like so: (IN-VENT)-OR.

  1. Tutors lacking current goal in broadcast (12)

Answer: TRANSMISSION (i.e. “broadcast”). Solution is TRAINS (i.e. “tutors”) with the I removed (indicated by “lacking current” – I is a recognised abbreviation of an electrical current used in physics) and the remainder followed by MISSION (i.e. “goal”), like so: TRANS-MISSION.

  1. Particle, not ion, with part spinning round (10)

Answer: ANTIPROTON (i.e. “particle”). “Spinning round” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NOT ION and PART.

  1. Tripe found by ancient king on line (5)

Answer: OFFAL (i.e. “tripe”). Solution is OFFA (i.e. an “ancient king”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “line”).

  1. A romance to spread around, one ruling out bondage? (11)

Answer: EMANCIPATOR (i.e. “one ruling out bondage”, inferring one freeing from slavery). “Spread around” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A ROMANCE TO.

  1. Record lasting lifetime, but only the covers (9)

Answer: CHRONICLE (i.e. “record”). Solution is CHRONIC (i.e. “lasting”) followed by LE (i.e. “lifetime, but only the covers”, i.e. the first and last letters of “lifetime”).

  1. Lacking class, like New Yorker’s behaviour? (3-1)

Answer: NON-U (i.e. “lacking class” – U denotes the upper class, should you choose to observe such constructs). The remainder of the clue plays on how Americans (indicated by “New Yorker”) drop Us from their words, reducing “behaviour” to “behavior”. Good grief, this took a while to twig! Well played.

  1. Something that happens briefly in flat (4)

Answer: EVEN (i.e. “flat”). Solution is EVENT (i.e. “something that happens”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”).

  1. Get to the point that may make saga sag? (3,1,4,5,5)

Answer: CUT A LONG STORY SHORT (i.e. “get to the point”). The solution cryptically fulfils “that may make saga sag”, i.e. how “saga” (i.e. “A LONG STORY”) is CUT SHORT to get “sag”. Nicely done.

  1. What gardener does without knowledge in time off (8)

Answer: WEEKENDS (i.e. “time off”). Solution is WEEDS (i.e. “what gardener does”) wrapped around or placed “without” KEN (i.e. “knowledge”), like so: WEE(KEN)DS.

  1. Old fashioned script politician keeps close (6,1)

Answer: LINEAR B (i.e. “old fashioned script” – over to Chambers: “an ancient script (c. 1400BC) found in Crete, deciphered as a form of Greek seven centuries earlier than any previously known”). Solution is LIB (i.e. “politician”, short for a Liberal) wrapped around or “keeping” NEAR (i.e. “close”), like so: LI(NEAR)B. One I remembered from a previous Jumbo, if I’m honest.

  1. More than one domestic goes AWOL around six (8)

Answer: SKIVVIES (i.e. “more than one domestic” – a skivvy is “a disrespectful name for a (especially female) domestic servant” (Chambers)). Solution is SKIVES (i.e. “goes AWOL”) wrapped “around” VI (i.e. “six” in Roman numerals), like so: SKIV(VI)ES.

  1. Asian bread eaten by socialist born in US capital (8)

Answer: CHEYENNE (i.e. “US capital”, specifically the state capital of Wyoming). Solution is YEN (i.e. “Asian bread” or money) placed in or “eaten by” CHE Guevara (i.e. “socialist”) and NÉ (i.e. “born” – over to Chambers again! “(of a man) born, used in giving the original name of a titled man”, from the French), like so: CHE-(YEN)-NÉ.

  1. Tiring complaint where one sees dancers mince (8)

Answer: MEATBALL (i.e. “mince” – I mean, one begets the other but I’d struggle to argue they’re the same). Solution is ME (i.e. “tiring complaint”, short for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) followed by AT BALL (i.e. “where one sees dancers”).

  1. Contact sport breaking philosopher’s bone (7)

Answer: HUMERUS (i.e. “bone”). Solution is RU (i.e. “contact sport”, short for Rugby Union) placed in or “breaking” David HUME’S (i.e. “philosopher’s”), like so: HUME(RU)’S.

  1. Don’t protect so much about perfect example (6,6)

Answer: OBJECT LESSON (i.e. “perfect example”). Solution is OBJECT LESS (i.e. “don’t protest so much”) followed by ON (i.e. regarding or “about”).

  1. After sentence, con abandons morality for zoology? (4,7)

Answer: LIFE SCIENCE (i.e. “zoology”). Solution is LIFE (i.e. prison “sentence”) followed by CONSCIENCE (i.e. “morality”) once the CON has been removed (indicated by “con abandons”).

  1. Possible pet to shove among group of extremists (5,6)

Answer: STICK INSECT (i.e. “possible pet”). Solution is STICK (i.e. “to shove” – again, too loose for me. The closest I can get is “to thrust”) followed by IN (i.e. “among”) and SECT (i.e. “group of extremists”).

  1. Run over India and China is sensible (10)

Answer: LEGITIMATE (i.e. “sensible” – and, again, much too loose and an absolute horror show of a clue when you only have vowels to work with. Poor grid awareness, or a setter playing nasty? You decide). Solution is LEG IT (i.e. “run”) followed by I (“India” in the phonetic alphabet) followed by MATE (i.e. “China”, after the cockney rhyming slang “china plate”).

  1. I heard hit film is one that grips the viewer (3,6)

Answer: EYE SOCKET (i.e. “that grips the viewer”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “heard”) of “I”, followed by SOCK (i.e. to “hit”) and ET (i.e. “film”, specifically ET: The Extra-Terrestrial). Nicely done.

  1. Criminal in cooler’s one appropriating territory (9)

Answer: COLONISER (i.e. “one appropriating territory”). “Criminal” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of IN COOLER’S.

  1. Composer’s brought in to good account of American abroad? (8)

Answer: TRAVELOG (i.e. “account of American abroad” – we would spell the word with a UE on the end – not a Jumbo for those annoyed by Americanisms!) Solution is Maurice RAVEL (i.e. “composer”) “brought in” between TO and G (a recognised abbreviation of “good”), like so: T(RAVEL)O-G.

  1. Tail of sea bird moving around (5)

Answer: ASTIR (i.e. “moving around”). Solution is A (i.e. “tail of sea”, i.e. the last letter of “sea”) followed by STIR (i.e. “bird”, both taken to mean stretches in prison). That said, it seems Chambers disagrees on this one, suggesting that STIR is merely slang for a prison, not a stretch inside of one.

  1. Car wheel is sound (5)

Answer: AUDIO (i.e. “sound”). Solution is AUDI (i.e. “car” make) followed by O (i.e. “wheel”). Simple, but nicely done.

  1. A hand almost raised? Pull the other one (2,2)

Answer: AS IF (i.e. “pull the other one”). Solution is A followed by FIST (i.e. “hand”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “almost”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “raised” – this being a down clue), like so: A-SIF.

  1. Show derision before king, one wanting culture (4)

Answer: BOOR (i.e. a coarse, ill-mannered person or “one wanting culture”). Solution is BOO (i.e. “show derision”) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “king”, specifically the Latin Rex).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1544

A relatively straightforward Jumbo this week with some nicely worked clues and the kind of steady progression I like.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a recent Jumbo invited all his Jumbo pals over to watch the elephant polo game last night and left peanut shells absolutely everywhere then you might find my Just For Fun page of help, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the blighters. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the comments and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there, folks.

LP

Across clues

  1. Woman wrapping a sort of porcelain bird (8)

Answer: FLAMINGO (i.e. “bird”). Solution is FLO (i.e. “woman’s” name, short for Florence) “wrapped” around A and MING (i.e. “sort of porcelain”), like so: FL(A-MING)O.

  1. Generous offering to retired judge securing whiskey (6)

Answer: TWOFER (i.e. “generous offer”, informal shortening of “two-for-one” – my Chambers doesn’t want to know, but my Oxford backs it up). Solution is TO and REF (i.e. “judge”, short for referee), the latter reversed (indicated by “retired”) and all wrapped around or “securing” W (“whiskey” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: T(W)O-FER.

  1. Medication supplied by a police department worker perhaps first (7)

Answer: ANTACID (i.e. “medication”). Solution is A and CID (i.e. “police department”, specifically the Criminal Investigation Department) both placed after or having “first” ANT (i.e. “worker perhaps” – other flavours of ant are available), like so: ANT-(A-CID).

  1. Sport Alicia developed, devoted to fishing (11)

Answer: PISCATORIAL (i.e. “devoted to fishing”). “Developed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SPORT ALICIA.

  1. Regret accepting delicate material primarily meant for substitution (11)

Answer: REPLACEMENT (i.e. “substitution”). Solution is REPENT (i.e. “regret”) wrapped around or “accepting” LACE (i.e. “delicate material”) and M (i.e. “primarily meant”, i.e. the first letter of “meant”), like so: REP(LACE-M)ENT.

  1. Is it not commonly a lodging place with appeal? (5)

Answer: INNIT (i.e. “is it not commonly”). Solution is INN (i.e. “lodging place”) followed by IT (i.e. “appeal”, as in having it about oneself).

  1. Baroque composer my girl briefly identifies (7)

Answer: Arcangelo CORELLI (i.e. “baroque composer”). Solution is COR (i.e. “my”, both exclamations) followed by ELLIE (i.e. “girl’s” name) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: COR-ELLI.

  1. One speculates over blocking particular part of stair (9)

Answer: THEORISER (i.e. “one speculates”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket) placed in or “blocking” THE RISER (i.e. “particular part of stair”), like so: THE-(O)-RISER.

  1. Report of fellow not so lacking in colourfulness (7)

Answer: HUELESS (i.e. “lacking in colourfulness”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “report of”) of HUGH (i.e. “fellow’s” name) followed by LESS (i.e. “not so”), like so: HUE-LESS.

  1. It identifies something specific? Sure thing (8,7)

Answer: DEFINITE ARTICLE (i.e. “it defines something specific”). Solution is DEFINITE (i.e. “sure”) followed by THING (i.e. “article”).

  1. Principal items of bedding sometimes used on sailing vessels (10)

Answer: MAINSHEETS (i.e. “used on sailing vessels”). Solution is MAIN (i.e. “principal”) followed by SHEETS (i.e. “items of bedding”).

  1. Join with enthusiastic females at first, and gush (6)

Answer: EFFUSE (i.e. “gush”). Solution is FUSE (i.e. “join”) placed after or “with” E and F (i.e. “enthusiastic females at first”, i.e. the first letters of “enthusiastic” and “females”), like so: (E-F)-FUSE.

  1. Time not a single person gives up MDMA (4)

Answer: NOON (i.e. a “time” of day). Solution is NO-ONE (i.e. “not a single person”) with the E removed (indicated by “gives up MDMA”, commonly known as ecstasy or E).

  1. Funny about men with sons oddly showing practical wisdom (14)

Answer: COMMONSENSICAL (i.e. “showing practical wisdom”). Solution is COMICAL (i.e. “funny”) wrapped “about” an anagram (indicated by “oddly”) of MEN and SONS, like so: COM(MONSENS)ICAL.

  1. Composer possibly going about church in heatwave (8)

Answer: SCORCHER (i.e. “heatwave”). Solution is SCORER (i.e. “composer possibly”, as in one writing a musical score) wrapped “about” CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”), like so: SCOR(CH)ER.

  1. Former publication initially allowed to be bawdy (8)

Answer: EXPLICIT (i.e. “bawdy”. Chambers doesn’t agree, but my Oxford backs the setter up). Solution is EX (i.e. “former”) followed by P (i.e. “publication initially”, i.e. the first letter of “publication”) and LICIT (i.e. “allowed”).

  1. Learning about her acts, agitatedly examining own feelings (5-9)

Answer: HEART-SEARCHING (i.e. “examining own feelings”). Solution is HEARING (i.e. “learning” of, say, the news) wrapped “about” an anagram (indicated by “agitatedly”) of HER ACTS, like so: HEAR(TSEARCH)ING.

  1. Part of opera in which woman is beheaded (4)

Answer: ARIA (i.e. “part of opera”). Solution is MARIA (i.e. “woman’s” name – quite a few this week already) with the first letter removed (indicated by “beheaded”).

  1. What youth leader accommodates paintings of a crude nature? (6)

Answer: EARTHY (i.e. “of a crude nature”). Solution is EH (i.e. “what”, pardon or come again) and Y (i.e. “youth leader”, i.e. the first letter of “youth”) all wrapped around or “accommodating” ART (i.e. “paintings”), like so: E(ART)H-Y.

  1. E.g. pigeon enthusiasts keeping trendy gnomes (10)

Answer: FINANCIERS (i.e. “gnomes”, a facetious name for bankers). Solution is FANCIERS (i.e. “pigeon enthusiasts”) wrapped around or “keeping” IN (i.e. “trendy”), like so: F(IN)ANCIERS.

  1. Lacking status in spite of everything (15)

Answer: NOTWITHSTANDING (i.e. “in spite of everything”). When written as NOT WITH STANDING the solution also satisfies “lacking status”. Nicely worked.

  1. Here begins chapter one, page one, in current set of books (7)

Answer: INCIPIT (i.e. “here begins” – over to Chambers: “(Latin) (here) begins (commonly used as an introduction in medieval manuscripts)”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “chapter”), I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), P (a recognised abbreviation of “page”) and I (again, “one”) all placed “in” I (a recognised abbreviation of an electric “current” used in physics) and NT (i.e. “set of books”, specifically the New Testament of The Bible), like so: I-N(C-I-P-I)T. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Device driving ship, suitable for touring European lakes (9)

Answer: PROPELLER (i.e. “device driving ship”). Solution is PROPER (i.e. “suitable”) wrapped around or “touring” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), L and L (ditto “lake”, of which we have two), like so: PROP(E-L-L)ER.

  1. Board in Parisian school (7)

Answer: ENTRAIN (i.e. to “board” a train). Solution is EN (i.e. “in Parisian”, i.e. the French for “in”) followed by TRAIN (i.e. to “school”).

  1. Become confused, seeing theologian overcome by drink (5)

Answer: ADDLE (i.e. “become confused”). Solution is DD (i.e. “theologian”, specifically a Doctor of Divinity or Divinitatis Doctor that we’ve seen a number of times in recent Jumbos) placed in or “overcome by” ALE (i.e. “drink”), like so: A(DD)LE.

  1. Politician breaking Irish law I briefly dub unrealistic (11)

Answer: IMPRACTICAL (i.e. “unrealistic”). Solution is MP (i.e. “politician”, specifically a Member of Parliament) placed in or “breaking” IR (a recognised abbreviation of “Irish”) and followed by ACT (i.e. “law”), then I and CALL (i.e. “dub”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: I(MP)R-ACT-I-CAL.

  1. Strand property ultimately built with alacrity (11)

Answer: THREADINESS (i.e. “strand property” – nicely disguised). Solution is T and H (i.e. “ultimately built with”, i.e. the last letters of “built” and “with”) followed by READINESS (i.e. “alacrity”).

  1. Entertain, offering port (7)

Answer: HARBOUR. Solution satisfies “entertain” and “port”.

  1. Fat English king’s place for storing food (6)

Answer: LARDER (i.e. “place for storing food”). Solution is LARD (i.e. “fat”) followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and R (ditto “king”, specifically the Latin Rex).

  1. Framework of ode finally penned by Tudor court poet (8)

Answer: SKELETON (i.e. “framework”). Solution is E (i.e. “ode finally”, i.e. the last letter of “ode”) placed in or “penned by” John SKELTON (i.e. “Tudor court poet”), like so: SKEL(E)TON.

Down clues

  1. Work quietly dividing seafood, like a dandy (7)

Answer: FOPPISH (i.e. “like a dandy”). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) and P (ditto “quietly”, specifically “piano” in musical lingo) both placed in or “dividing” FISH (i.e. “seafood”), like so: F(OP-P)ISH.

  1. A charge that’s inappropriate for the present? (11)

Answer: ABSENTEEISM (i.e. “charge”). Clue plays on “present” being taken to mean those in attendance. You get the idea.

  1. Unsuitability of fashionable head drinking a pint (9)

Answer: INAPTNESS (i.e. “unsuitability”). Solution is IN (i.e. “fashionable”) and NESS (i.e. “head”, both geographical features) wrapped around or “drinking” A and PT (a recognised abbreviation of “pint”), like so: IN-(A-PT)-NESS.

  1. County changing ends of council house register (15)

Answer: GLOUCESTERSHIRE (i.e. “county”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “changing”) of CL (i.e. “ends of council”, i.e. the first and last letters of “council”) and HOUSE REGISTER.

  1. Aspect of nature, one Lord Liverpool originally introduced to spouse (8)

Answer: WILDLIFE (i.e. “aspect of nature”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), LD (a recognised abbreviation of “Lord”) and L (i.e. “Liverpool originally”, i.e. the first letter of “Liverpool”) all placed in or “introduced to” WIFE (i.e. “spouse”), like so: W(I-LD-L)IFE.

  1. Far off Nigeria’s complex overseas relations (7,7)

Answer: FOREIGN AFFAIRS (i.e. “overseas relations”). “Complex” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of FAR OFF NIGERIA’S.

  1. Opera company employee regarding small ancient city (10)

Answer: REPETITEUR (i.e. “opera company employee”, a coach or tutor). Solution is RE (i.e. “regarding” – think email replies) followed by PETITE (i.e. “small”) and UR (i.e. an “ancient city” you often see in cryptic crosswords).

  1. A Buddhist monk embracing top journalist in tree-lined walk (7)

Answer: ALAMEDA (i.e. “tree-lined walk”). Solution is A and LAMA (i.e. “Buddhist monk”) wrapped around or “embracing” ED (i.e. “top journalist”, specifically an editor), like so: A-LAM(ED)A.

  1. Belonging to those people in that place, so to speak (5)

Answer: THEIR (i.e. “belonging to those people”). “So to speak” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of THERE (i.e. “in that place”).

  1. Loosely woven material possibly used around Leicester? (11)

Answer: CHEESECLOTH (i.e. “loosely woven material”). Clue plays on Leicester being a variety of cheese. Made somewhat easier after last week’s Jumbo also referred to Leicester in this way.

  1. Retired man slipped up, being discouraged (8)

Answer: DETERRED (i.e. “discouraged”). Solution is TED (i.e. “man’s” name, again with the names!) reversed (indicated by “retired”) and followed by ERRED (i.e. “slipped up”), like so: DET-ERRED.

  1. Fulminate over this retailer of pork pies (4)

Answer: LIAR (i.e. “retailer of pork pies”, referring to the cockney rhyming slang for “lies”). Solution is RAIL (i.e. “fulminate”) reversed (indicated by “over”).

  1. Devoted pet possibly carrying can (6)

Answer: DOTING (i.e. “devoted”). Solution is DOG (i.e. “pet possibly” – other pets are available) wrapped around or “carrying” TIN (i.e. “can”), like so: DO(TIN)G.

  1. Like Hindu movement’s instant riches? Not entirely (7)

Answer: TANTRIC (i.e. “like Hindu movement”). “Not entirely” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, stripping away the ends of INS(TANT RIC)HES.

  1. Debunkers may take it for a celluloid mouse (6)

Answer: MICKEY. Solution satisfies “debunkers may take it” and Walt Disney’s “celluloid mouse”.

  1. Misguidedly mix and talk on camera! (11,4)

Answer: EXCLAMATION MARK (i.e. “!”). “Misguidedly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of MIX and TALK ON CAMERA.

  1. Top academic’s opportunity to stop corruption: set up register (4,10)

Answer: VICE CHANCELLOR (i.e. “top academic”). Solution is CHANCE (i.e. “opportunity”) placed between or “stopping” VICE (i.e. “corruption”) and ROLL (i.e. “register”) once this latter has been reversed (indicated by “set up” – this being a down clue), like so: VICE-(CHANCE)-LLOR.

  1. Black floor coverings seen around east European city (6)

Answer: BRUGES (i.e. “European city”). Solution is B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess) followed by RUGS (i.e. “floor coverings”) once wrapped “around” E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”), like so: B-RUG(E)S.

  1. Old European capital starts to maintain its Japanese craft (7)

Answer: ORIGAMI (i.e. “Japanese craft”). Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by RIGA (i.e. “European capital” of Latvia), then M and I (i.e. “starts to maintain its”, i.e. the first letters of “maintain” and “its”).

  1. Inquiring how Olivier appeared in Richard III (6)

Answer: ASKING (i.e. “inquiring”). When written as AS KING the solution also satisfies “how Olivier appeared in Richard III”.

  1. Airborne soldier’s accepted standard, a staunch colleague, they say (11)

Answer: PARATROOPER (i.e. “airborne soldier”). Solution is PAR (i.e. “accepted standard”) followed by A, then a homophone (indicated by “they say”) of TROUPER (i.e. “staunch colleague”), like so: PAR-A-TROOPER.

  1. Dash in in hurry? Mostly unsuitable (11)

Answer: INEXPEDIENT (i.e. “unsuitable”). Solution is EN (i.e. “dash” – an en-dash is a printing term for a dash the width of the letter n) placed “in” IN and EXPEDITE (i.e. “hurry”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: IN-EXPEDI(EN)T.

  1. Like rhetoric or logic principally involving parts of Croatia (10)

Answer: ORATORICAL (i.e. “like rhetoric”). Solution is OR and L (i.e. “logic principally”, i.e. the first letter of “logic”) wrapped around or “involving” an anagram (indicated by “parts of”) CROATIA, like so: OR-(ATORICA)-L.

  1. East End mate, male, about to draw parrot (9)

Answer: COCKATIEL (i.e. “parrot”). Solution is COCK (i.e. “East End mate”) followed by AL (i.e. “male” name – more names!!) once wrapped “about” TIE (i.e. “to draw” a game), like so: COCK-A(TIE)L.

  1. Irritable foreign character in photo, Sarah’s first husband (8)

Answer: SNAPPISH (i.e. “irritable”). Solution is PI (i.e. “foreign character”, specifically the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet) placed “in” SNAP (i.e. “photo”), S (i.e. “Sarah’s first”, i.e. the first letter of “Sarah”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “husband”), like so: SNAP-(PI)-S-H.

  1. Wrongly identify thin fog – it upset the Spanish (8)

Answer: MISTITLE (i.e. “wrongly identify”). Solution is MIST (i.e. “thin fog”) followed by IT and EL (i.e. “the Spanish”, i.e. the Spanish for “the”) once this latter has been reversed (indicated by “upset” – this being a down clue), like so: MIST-IT-LE.

  1. Ultimately foolish senior citizen losing daughter’s leather case (7)

Answer: HOLSTER (i.e. “leather case”). Solution is H (i.e. “ultimately foolish”, i.e. the last letter of “foolish”) followed by OLDSTER (i.e. “senior citizen”) once the D has been removed (indicated by “losing daughter” – D being a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”), like so: H-OLSTER.

  1. Time and justification for crime against the state (7)

Answer: TREASON (i.e. “crime against the state”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) followed by REASON (i.e. “justification”).

  1. Source of inspiration provided by lecturer at Oxford (5)

Answer: ERATO (i.e. “source of inspiration”, being one of the Greek muses). “Provided by” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: LECTUR(ER AT O)XFORD.

  1. Live outside key Israeli port (4)

Answer: ACRE (i.e. “Israeli port” – chalk one to my Bradford’s). Solution is ARE (i.e. “live”) wrapped around or “outside” of C (i.e. musical “key”), like so: A(C)RE.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1543

A medium strength offering this week. While I like my Jumbos to keep me camped in my reference books – and this was certainly one of them – this one wasn’t entirely satisfying. Perhaps it was a little too scruffy here and there, perhaps there were one too many repeats or one too many exotic clues shoehorned in to fill an awkward space. Whatever it was, it didn’t really grab me, despite some good clueing.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them useful. If a recent Jumbo has grown bored of hiding under your bed and is now ensconced in your shower, silently judging all who use the toilet, then you might find my Just For Fun page of help, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the things. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks as ever for the kind words and input. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of fellow solvers once they’ve set down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Choose a poor sounding instrument (7)

Answer: PICCOLO (i.e. “instrument”). “Sounding” indicates the solution comprises homophones of PICK (i.e. “choose”), A and LOW (i.e. “poor”).

  1. Understanding silly mix-up about hubby on vacation (8)

Answer: SYMPATHY (i.e. “understanding”). “On vacation” indicates the solution is derived by taking all the middle letters from the words SILLY MIX-UP ABOUT HUBBY.

  1. Protecting side of ditch holding last of large and small fish (6)

Answer: ESCARP (i.e. “protecting side of ditch” against a rampart, supposedly). Solution is E (i.e. “last [letter] of large”) followed by S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”) and CARP (i.e. “fish”).

  1. Mariner that’s experienced abominable deed as drifting (4-6,6)

Answer: ABLE-BODIED SEAMAN (i.e. “mariner that’s experienced”). “Drifting” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ABOMINABLE DEED AS.

  1. Foil container for food (6)

Answer: HAMPER. Solution satisfies to “foil” and “container for food”.

  1. Pit dog against prey regularly (8)

Answer: COLLIERY (i.e. “pit”). Solution is COLLIE (i.e. “dog”) followed by RY (i.e. “prey regularly”, i.e. every other letter of PREY).

  1. Girl wanting one to get in close (4)

Answer: ENID (i.e. “girl’s” name). Solution is END (i.e. to finish or “close”) wrapped around or “getting in” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: EN(I)D.

  1. Physicist discovered in small lake something repelling water? (9)

Answer: TARPAULIN (i.e. “something repelling water”). Solution is Wolfgang PAULI (i.e. “physicist”) placed or “discovered in” TARN (i.e. “small lake”), like so: TAR(PAULI)N. Made a hell of a lot easier by pretty much the same clue appearing last month. Seems like The Times is cracking out their Marconi GridFill 4000TM again to autopopulate the grids.

  1. What rank is there for chief Greek commander? (8)

Answer: TAXIARCH (i.e. “Greek commander” – a taxis was a division of an ancient Greek army). Wow, I nearly made that sound like I knew what I was talking about. Pfff! No chance. Bradford’s to the rescue, as per usual. The clue was just too flimsy and tenuous for my idiot brain, particularly given only the even letters of the word to work with. Anyway, TAXIs of the sit-in-the-back-and-hope-the-driver-doesn’t-speak-to-you variety congregate at “ranks”, while “chief” gets you ARCH.

  1. Wizard new city love affair with rand (11)

Answer: NECROMANCER (i.e. “wizard”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) followed by EC (i.e. “city” – basically the City of London’s postcode area. Yeah, I know: London, London, London, but the national press is pretty much all London-centric so what can the 90% of us living outside of the M25 do? Petition setters to also adopt DH for Durham, NR for Norfolk and so on? Don’t give them ideas!), then ROMANCE (i.e. “love affair”) and R (a recognised abbreviation of “rand”, South Africa’s currency).

  1. Rosy glow is divine in developing sunrise (9)

Answer: RUDDINESS (i.e. “rosy glow”). Solution is DD (i.e. “divine”, specifically a Doctor of Divinity or Divinitatis Doctor we’ve seen a few times recently in Jumbos) placed “in” an anagram (indicated by “developing”) of SUNRISE, like so: RU(DD)INESS.

  1. Aware of work to finish trapping flock of pheasants (4-4)

Answer: OPEN-EYED (i.e. “aware”). Solution is OP (i.e. “work”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “opus”) followed by END (i.e. “to finish”) once wrapped around or “trapping” EYE (i.e. “a flock of pheasants” – a new one on me), like so: OP-EN(EYE)D.

  1. Force to discard diamonds (4)

Answer: BIND (i.e. “force” or “to impose an obligation on” (Chambers)). Solution is BIN (i.e. “to discard”) followed by D (a recognised abbreviation of “diamonds” used in card games).

  1. Notice she’ll fancy device to keep washing up (11)

Answer: CLOTHESLINE (i.e. “device to keep washing up” – I’d have had this as two separate words. As a single word this is a wrestling move. Scruffy.) “Fancy” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of NOTICE SHE’LL.

  1. Game and slightly drunken signs of affection (11)

Answer: TIDDLYWINKS (i.e. “game”). Solution is TIDDLY (i.e. “slightly drunken”) followed by WINKS (i.e. “signs of affection”).

  1. Place with space shows flat with central hall, having set back at front? (11)

Answer: PLANETARIUM (i.e. “place with space shows”). Solution is PLANE (i.e. “flat”) followed by ATRIUM (i.e. “central hall”) once its T (i.e. “set back”, i.e. the last letter of “set”) has been moved to the “front”, like so: PLANE-A(T)RIUM => PLANE-(T)ARIUM.

  1. No profligate equality between Leicester, say, and Elizabeth I (11)

Answer: CHEESEPARER (i.e. “no profligate”, or miser). Another win for my Bradford’s. I’d honestly lost interest by this point. Solution is PAR (i.e. “equality”) placed “between” CHEESE (i.e. “Leicester, say”) and ER (i.e. “Elizabeth I”, or Elizabeth Regina), like so: CHEESE-(PAR)-ER.

  1. Dry when eating a rook pie (4)

Answer: TART (i.e. “pie”). Solution is TT (i.e. “dry”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of teetotal) wrapped around or “eating” A and R (a recognised abbreviation of “rook” used in chess), like so: T(A-R)T.

  1. Small arboreal creature of tailless rodent class (8)

Answer: MARMOSET (i.e. “small arboreal creature”). Solution is MARMOT (i.e. “rodent”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “tailless”) and the remainder followed by SET (i.e. “class”), like so: MARMO-SET. Strange that the answer for 15d would appear in the clue. Again, scruffy.

  1. Game bird related to the dodo (9)

Answer: SOLITAIRE. Solution satisfies “game” and “bird related to the dodo”, apparently a gigantic flightless pigeon that has been extinct since the 18th century. For all my assorted gripes with this week’s puzzle, this was a genuinely interesting clue.

  1. What helps small company’s host record it for broadcast, one’s assumed (11)

Answer: MICROCREDIT (i.e. “what helps small company”, apparently small business loans to those with little or no income). Solution is MC (i.e. “host” or Master of Ceremonies) wrapped around I (indicated by “[Roman numeral] one’s assumed”), followed by an anagram (indicated by “broadcast”) of RECORD IT, like so: M(I)C-ROCREDIT. I’d like to think at this stage of my life that I knew my way around the financial pages, following with interest stories such as NatWest’s disgraceful and outright predatory handling of small businesses in the aftermath of the 2008 credit crunch – no, really, I rock – but I can honestly say I’d never heard of this term until today. Not as interesting as SOLITAIRE, though, sadly.

  1. Material for arms has not satisfied in coat of girl (8)

Answer: GUNMETAL (i.e. “material for arms”). Solution is UNMET (i.e. “not satisfied”) placed “in coat of” GAL (i.e. “girl”), like so: G(UNMET)AL. Spend too long wondering where the hell the A fitted into this one? Yup. Me too.

  1. Cool in a way – with English habitual response (9)

Answer: APATHETIC (i.e. “cool”). Solution is A followed by PATH (i.e. “way”), then E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and TIC (i.e. “habitual response”).

  1. What’s replaced our ultimately unreliable currency (4)

Answer: EURO (i.e. “currency”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “what’s replaced”) of OUR and E (i.e. “ultimately unreliable”, i.e. the last letter of “unreliable”).

  1. Pasture’s fit and available for rent (8)

Answer: LEASABLE (i.e. “available for rent”). Solution is LEA’S (i.e. “pasture’s”) followed by ABLE (i.e. “fit”).

  1. Obtain what can make a tattoo at college (4,2)

Answer: DRUM UP (i.e. “obtain”). Solution is DRUM (i.e. “what can make a tattoo”) followed by UP (i.e. “at college” – quite often pops up in Jumbos).

  1. Uncle sins with novices badly showing lack of resolution (16)

Answer: INCONCLUSIVENESS (i.e. “lack of resolution”). “Badly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of UNCLE SINS and NOVICES.

  1. One calling for substitute horse in race (6)

Answer: RINGER. Solution satisfies “one calling” and “substitute horse in race”, usually a superior one surreptitiously swapped in to help dastardly types clean up at the bookies.

  1. Note about large number sick in a number of ships (8)

Answer: FLOTILLA (i.e. “a number of ships”). Solution is FA (i.e. “note” in the sol-fa notation, or doh-ray-me) wrapped “about” LOT (i.e. “large number”) and ILL (i.e. “sick”), like so: F(LOT-ILL)A.

  1. Making arrangement to train as skilled worker (7)

Answer: ARTISAN (i.e. “skilled worker”). “Making arrangement to” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TRAIN AS.

Down clues

  1. Fish in a particular locality around island (6)

Answer: PLAICE (i.e. “fish”). Solution is PLACE (i.e. “particular locality”) wrapped “around” I (a recognised abbreviation of “island”), like so: PLA(I)CE.

  1. Colonel duly banning uniform with reserve (6)

Answer: COLDLY (i.e. “with reserve”). Solution is COL (a recognised abbreviation of “colonel”) followed by DULY once the U has been removed (indicated by “banning uniform” – U being “uniform” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: COL-DLY.

  1. A big bolt I deployed for parts not to be removed (9)

Answer: OBBLIGATI (i.e. “parts not to be removed” in a musical piece). “Deployed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of A BIG BOLT I.

  1. Organisation’s instructions about policies (11)

Answer: ORDERLINESS (i.e. “organisation”). Solution is ORDERS (i.e. “instructions”) wrapped “about” LINES (i.e. “policies”), like so: ORDER(LINES)S.

  1. Expensive losing tons in leak (4 – not 6 as printed in the paper. Scruffy!)

Answer: SEEP (i.e. “leak”). Solution is STEEP (i.e. “expensive”) with the T removed (indicated by “losing tons” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “tons”).

  1. Notes insect run in dream – not a social one (11)

Answer: MISANTHROPE (i.e. “not a social one”). Solution is MIS (i.e. “notes”, again in the sol-fa notation – can be spelled me or mi) followed by ANT (i.e. “insect”), then R (a recognised abbreviation of “run” used in a number of ball games) once placed “in” HOPE (i.e. “dream”), like so: MIS-ANT-H(R)OPE.

  1. Marooning a group over crew beginning to thieve (11)

Answer: ABANDONMENT (i.e. “marooning”). Solution is A followed by BAND (i.e. “group”), then ON (i.e. “over”), then MEN (i.e. “crew”) and T (i.e. “beginning [letter] to thieve”).

  1. Try short facial hair in despair (9)

Answer: HEARTACHE (i.e. “despair”). Solution is HEAR (i.e. “try” in court) followed by TACHE (i.e. “short facial hair”, i.e. shortened form of the word “moustache”).

  1. Making rapid progress with a route following river (8)

Answer: SOARAWAY (i.e. “making rapid progress”). Solution is A and WAY (i.e. “route”) both placed after or “following” SOAR (i.e. “river” in Leicestershire – another win for the Bradford’s), like so: SOAR-(A-WAY).

  1. Dismay with a red wine unfinished on bar the American way? (11,5)

Answer: APPALACHIAN TRAIL (i.e. “American way” or route). Solution APPAL (i.e. “dismay”) followed by A, then CHIANTI (i.e. “red wine”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “unfinished”), then RAIL (i.e. “bar”), like so: APPAL-A-CHIANT-RAIL.

  1. Associate parish divided up (7)

Answer: PARTNER (i.e. “associate”). Solution is PAR (a recognised abbreviation of “parish”) followed by RENT (i.e. torn or “divided”) once reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: PAR-TNER.

  1. Of trees, not all are of a post-glacial period (8)

Answer: ARBOREAL (i.e. “of trees”). Solution is ARE with its last letter removed (indicated by “not all…”) and the remainder followed by BOREAL (i.e. “of a post-glacial period” – hardly what you would call common knowledge, but made a little easier to deduce if you’d already solved 39a).

  1. Tonic, sir? Mixed hors d’oeuvres? (8)

Answer: CROSTINI (i.e. “hors d’oeuvres”, specifically “small pieces of toasted or fried bread with a savoury topping” (Chambers)). “Mixed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TONIC SIR. Wordplay was obvious, but took a little brute-forcing of the anagram to nail.

  1. Attempt snooker shot that’s completely impracticable (8)

Answer: CRACKPOT (i.e. “completely impracticable”). Solution is CRACK (i.e. an “attempt”) followed by POT (i.e. “snooker shot”).

  1. Music hall – a bygone vessel for lyric verse (3,2,1,7,3)

Answer: ODE ON A GRECIAN URN (i.e. “lyric verse” by John Keats). Solution is ODEON (i.e. “music hall”) followed by A, then GRECIAN (i.e. “bygone”) and URN (i.e. “vessel”). One remembered from its last appearance, making for a much easier get. Interestingly this solution is placed in the exact same place of the exact same grid layout as that puzzle. I guess the office GridFill 4000TM has only half a dozen solutions it can comfortably fit there before tying itself in knots.

  1. Warranted daughter retiring without resistance (8)

Answer: DESERVED (i.e. “warranted”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by RESERVED (i.e. “retiring”) once its first R has been removed (indicated by “without resistance” – R being a recognised abbreviation of “resistance”), like so: D-ESERVED.

  1. Fool swallowing whiskey substitute (4)

Answer: SWAP (i.e. to “substitute”). Solution is SAP (i.e. “fool”) wrapped around or “swallowing” W (i.e. “whiskey” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: S(W)AP.

  1. Pay attention to male editor (4)

Answer: HEED (i.e. “pay attention to”). Solution is HE (i.e. “male”) followed by ED (shortened form of “editor”).

  1. Fertiliser that’s put on salad plants? (8)

Answer: DRESSING. Solution satisfies “fertiliser” and “that’s put on salad plants”. Vital that one doesn’t get the two mixed up, I feel.

  1. Briskness of Alabama river in metropolis (8)

Answer: ALACRITY (i.e. “briskness”). Solution is ALA (recognised abbreviation of “Alabama”) followed by CITY (i.e. “metropolis”) once wrapped around or having “in” R (a recognised abbreviation of “river”), like so: ALA-C(R)ITY.

  1. Lose an opportunity with girl with fur during the tango (4,3,4)

Answer: MISS THE BOAT (i.e. “lose an opportunity”). Solution is MISS (i.e. “girl”) followed by BOA (i.e. “fur” worn round the neck) once placed in or “during” THE and T (“tango” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: MISS-THE-(BOA)-T.

  1. Definite about court case involving separated self and Charlie (11)

Answer: CATEGORICAL (i.e. “definite”). Solution is CA (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) followed by TRIAL (i.e. “court case”) once wrapped around or “involving separately” both EGO (i.e. “self”) and C (“Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: CA-T(EGO)RI(C)AL.

  1. Collecting tray, for instance, during a hymn (5,6)

Answer: SALVE REGINA (i.e. “hymn” that doesn’t appear in any of my reference books so far as I can see. Just goes to show how many of them there are, really, especially considering most hymns are mere variations of “Oh God and those connected to Him; you’re great, thanks for existence and all that; we’re not worthy; Amen”. The sheer number of them makes me wonder whether they were all spawned from some annual Eurovision Hymn Contest centuries ago, presumably with the Church of England finishing last every year). Solution is SALVER (i.e. “collecting tray”) followed by EG (i.e. “for instance” or for example), then IN (i.e. “during”) and A.

  1. Award includes decoration mostly for healing (9)

Answer: MEDICINAL (i.e. “healing”). Solution is MEDAL (i.e. “award”) wrapped around or “including” ICING (i.e. cake “decoration”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: MED(ICIN)AL.

  1. Passing trains running extended new timetable at first (9)

Answer: TRANSIENT (i.e. “passing”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “running”) of TRAINS followed by ENT (i.e. “extended new timetable at first”, i.e. the first letters of “extended”, “new” and “timetable”), like so: TRANSI-ENT.

  1. Put out about hog running wild in kennel (8)

Answer: DOGHOUSE (i.e. “kennel”). Solution is DOUSE (i.e. “put out” a fire) wrapped “about” an anagram (indicated by “running wild”) of HOG, like so: D(OGH)OUSE.

  1. Miserable and visibly embarrassed over wind (7)

Answer: MEANDER (i.e. to “wind”). Solution is MEAN (i.e. “miserable”) followed by RED (i.e. “visibly embarrassed”) once reversed (indicated by “over”), like so: MEAN-DER.

  1. A couple of bishops with letter for convent’s head (6)

Answer: ABBESS (i.e. “convent’s head”). Solution is A followed by B and B (each a recognised abbreviation of “bishop” used in chess), then ESS (i.e. “letter”, specifically the letter S).

  1. Admiral seen in hold? (6)

Answer: NELSON. Solution satisfies “Admiral” Horatio Nelson, and a “hold” in wrestling.

  1. Subtle quality of girl going topless (4)

Answer: AURA (i.e. “subtle quality”). Solution is LAURA (i.e. “girl’s” name) once the first letter has been removed (indicated by “going topless”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1542

A relatively straightforward one this week, spiced up with a handful of tough clues and a healthy dose of well-worked ones. A good ‘un, then.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo, having last week taken to hiding under your bed, now trumpets the very moment you fall asleep then you might find my Just For Page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the buggers. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and feedback. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put down their pens. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Official agreement to accompany law (7)

Answer: COMPACT (i.e. “official agreement”). Solution is COMP (i.e. “to accompany” musically) followed by ACT (i.e. “law”).

  1. Shore warning, perhaps about century’s future claim (8)

Answer: PROPHECY (i.e. “future claim”). Solution is PROP (i.e. to “shore” up) followed by HEY! (i.e. a “warning”) once wrapped “about” C (a recognised abbreviation of “century”), like so: PROP-HE(C)Y.

  1. Pacific protester’s not all shouting and histrionic (6)

Answer: Mahatma GANDHI (i.e. peaceful or “pacific protester”). “Not all” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: SHOUTIN(G AND HI)STRIONICS. Nicely worked.

  1. Discord in note splits bronze bell’s sound (16)

Answer: MISUNDERSTANDING (i.e. “discord”). Solution is MI (i.e. musical “note” in the doh-ray-mi style) followed by SUNDERS (i.e. “splits”), then TAN (i.e. “bronze”) and DING (i.e. “bell’s sound”).

  1. Glasses containing potassium in tiny amounts (6)

Answer: SPECKS (i.e. “tiny amounts”). Solution is SPECS (i.e. “glasses” or spectacles) wrapped around or “containing” K (chemical symbol of “potassium”), like so: SPEC(K)S.

  1. Definitely having no end of petulance? (5)

Answer: SURLY (i.e. “petulance”). Solution is SURELY (i.e. “definitely”) with the E removed (indicated by “having no end of petulance”, i.e. the last letter of “petulance”). Nice bit of recycling there.

  1. I’m bored hearing of dry grass and weed (5-2)

Answer: HEIGH-HO (i.e. “I’m bored” or an expression of weariness). “Hearing of” indicates homophones. Solution comprises homophones of HAY (i.e. “dry grass”) and HOE (i.e. to “weed”).

  1. Stiff, high-quality polythene, maybe hiding leads (9)

Answer: INELASTIC (i.e. “stiff”). Solution is FINE (i.e. “high-quality”) and PLASTIC (i.e. “polythene, maybe” – other plastics are available) each with their initial letters removed (indicated by “hiding leads”), like so: INE-LASTIC.

  1. My complexion’s purplish around half-hidden cheek (9)

Answer: IMPUDENCE (i.e. “cheek”). Solution is I’M PUCE (i.e. “my complexion’s purplish”) wrapped “around” DEN (i.e. “half-hidden”, i.e. the last half of the word “hidden”), like so: I’M-PU(DEN)CE.

  1. Gas bothered baby (7)

Answer: NEONATE (i.e. “baby”). Solution is NEON (i.e. “gas”) followed by ATE (i.e. “bothered” or worried, as in “what’s eating you?”).

  1. City shop selling special meat including horse (5)

Answer: DELHI (i.e. “city”). Solution is DELI (i.e. “shop selling special meat”) wrapped around or “including” H (i.e. “horse”, both street names for “heroin”), like so: DEL(H)I.

  1. Shade and air conditioning, plainly in regular use at the front (5)

Answer: LILAC (i.e. colour or “shade”). Solution is AC (a recognised abbreviation of “air conditioning”) with LIL (i.e. “plainly in regular use”, i.e. every other letter of PLAINLY) placed “at the front”, like so: LIL-AC.

  1. Country home’s secure life, but not if keeping video system back (9)

Answer: NASHVILLE (i.e. “country home”, or the home of country music, y’all). Solution is NAIL (i.e. to “secure”) and LE (i.e. “life, but not if”, i.e. the word LIFE with the IF removed) all wrapped around or “keeping” VHS (i.e. “video system”) once reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: NA(SHV)IL-LE.

  1. Men win nothing in classic feminist book (7)

Answer: ORLANDO (i.e. “classic feminist book” by Virginia Woolf). Solution is OR (i.e. “men”, specifically the Other Ranks of the British Army) followed by LAND (i.e. to “win”) and O (i.e. “nothing”). Nicely done.

  1. Scottish novelist welcomes review of outstanding graft (9)

Answer: SPADEWORK (i.e. “graft”). Solution is Muriel SPARK (i.e. “Scottish novelist”) wrapped around or “welcoming” OWED (i.e. “outstanding”) once reversed (indicated by “review of”, as in a look back over), like so: SPA(DEWO)RK.

  1. Happier times left people equable, somehow forgetting pressure (2,5,6)

Answer: LA BELLE EPOQUE (i.e. “happier times”, apparently ended by World War I). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “somehow”) of L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”), PEOPLE and EQUABLE once one of the Ps has been removed (indicated by “forgetting pressure” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “pressure”). I often roll my eyes when setters shoehorn foreign phrases into grids, but at least this was an interesting one.

  1. Set in views produced from colourful yarn (4-2-3-4)

Answer: DYED-IN-THE-WOOL (i.e. “set in views”). Solution also playfully satisfies “colourful yarn”.

  1. Second Pimm’s you mixed for classic drinking party (9)

Answer: SYMPOSIUM (i.e. “drinking party”, historically speaking (hence “classic”)). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “mixed”) of S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”), PIMM’S and YOU. Another nicely worked clue.

  1. Be forward, moving almost half to the middle or top (7)

Answer: SUPREME (i.e. “top”). Solution is PRESUME (i.e. “be forward”) with the PRE (i.e. “almost half”, specifically the first half of the word) “moved…to the middle”, like so: (PRE)SUME => SU(PRE)ME.

  1. Put right and put down, ace took public transport (9)

Answer: DISABUSED (i.e. corrected or “put right”). Solution is DIS (i.e. “put down” or disrespect) followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used on playing cards), then BUSED (i.e. “took public transport”).

  1. Bigwig missing the opening, too (5)

Answer: SWELL (i.e. “bigwig”, apparently both slang words for a member of the governing class. I could think of a few more). Solution is AS WELL (i.e. “too”) with the first letter removed or “missing the opening”.

  1. River out of place in trivial talk – but not in Stirling (5)

Answer: FORTH (i.e. “river” that runs through “Stirling”). Solution is FROTH (i.e. “trivial talk”) with the R (a recognised abbreviation of “river) “out of place”, like so: F(R)OTH => FO(R)TH.

  1. Mundane truth without content breaking too soon (7)

Answer: EARTHLY (i.e. “mundane”). Solution is TH (i.e. “truth without content”, i.e. the word “truth” with its middle letters removed) placed in or “breaking” EARLY (i.e. “too soon”), like so: EAR(TH)LY.

  1. Engineer in European carmaker retracted protective gear (4,5)

Answer: OVEN GLOVE (i.e. “protective gear”). Solution is ENG (a recognised abbreviation of “engineer”) placed “in” E (ditto “European”) and VOLVO (i.e. “carmaker”) once reversed (indicated by “retracted”), like so: OV(ENG)LOV-E.

  1. Trades are pending in endless glut (9)

Answer: EXCHANGES (i.e. “trades”). Solution is HANG (i.e. “are pending”) once placed “in” EXCESS (i.e. “glut”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “endless”), like so: EXC(HANG)ES.

  1. Divine poetry’s always to follow regarding woodland creature (3,4)

Answer: RED DEER (i.e. “woodland creature”). Solution is DD (i.e. “divine”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Divinitatis Doctor or Doctor of Divinity we’ve seen a few times in Jumbos) followed by E’ER (i.e. “poetry’s always”, i.e. poetic form of “ever”) all placed after or “following” RE (i.e. “regarding” – think email replies), like so: RE-(DD-E’ER).

  1. After drama, approves cosy spots (5)

Answer: NOOKS (i.e. “cosy spots”). Solution is NO (i.e. Japanese “drama”, also spelled noh) followed by OKS (i.e. “approves”).

  1. In centre of stye, it’s sore and easily irritated (6)

Answer: TOUCHY (i.e. “easily irritated”). Solution is TY (i.e. “centre of stye”, i.e. the middle letters of “stye”) with OUCH (i.e. “it’s sore”!) placed “in” it, like so: T(OUCH)Y. Getting the TY was easy enough, but good grief it took forever to twig OUCH. Sometimes I just don’t see ‘em.

  1. Round trip’s constant touring via manic scrambling (16)

Answer: CIRCUMNAVIGATION (i.e. “round trip”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “scrambling”) of C (a recognised abbreviation of “constant”) and TOURING VIA MANIC.

  1. Dull, humourless organ stops (6)

Answer: DREARY (i.e. “dull”). Solution is DRY (i.e. “humourless”) wrapped around or “stopped” by EAR (i.e. “organ”), like so: DR(EAR)Y.

  1. Spilt oil sadly is treacherous (8)

Answer: DISLOYAL (i.e. “treacherous”). “Spilt” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of OIL SADLY.

  1. One needing sanctuary from match official and United man (7)

Answer: REFUGEE (i.e. “one needing sanctuary”). Solution is REF (i.e. “match official”, short for referee) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “United”) and GEE (i.e. “man”, both expressions of surprise).

Down clues

  1. Food arrives on slates, say, black on the inside (11)

Answer: COMESTIBLES (i.e. “food”). Solution is COMES (i.e. “arrives”) followed by TILES (i.e. “slates, say”) once wrapped around or having “on the inside” B (a recognised abbreviation of “black” used in chess), like so: COMES-TI(B)LES.

  1. I’m keen on saving time away from man’s address (5)

Answer: MISER (i.e. “I’m keen on saving”). Solution is MISTER (i.e. “man’s address”) with the T removed (indicated by “time away from…” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

  1. Anodyne wavering was vexing (7)

Answer: ANNOYED (i.e. “was vexing”). “Wavering” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ANODYNE.

  1. Slim people conclude frequently split lip is what may lead to something worse (3,4,3,2,3,5)

Answer: THE THIN END OF THE WEDGE (i.e. “what may lead to something worse”). Solution is THE THIN (i.e. “slim people”) followed by END (i.e. “conclude”), then OFT (i.e. “frequently”), then HEW (i.e. “split”) and EDGE (i.e. “lip”).

  1. Aggressive ambition is conspicuous in the matter (9)

Answer: PUSHINESS (i.e. “aggressive ambition”). Solution is SHINES (i.e. “is conspicuous”) placed “in” PUS (i.e. “matter”), like so: PU(SHINES)S.

  1. Some from a ghost town in Tyrone (5)

Answer: OMAGH (i.e. “town in Tyrone”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: FR(OM A GH)OST.

  1. Fast boat’s extremely heavy devourer of fuel (9)

Answer: HYDROFOIL (i.e. “fast boat”). Solution is HY and DR (i.e. “extremely heavy devourer”, i.e. the first and last letters of “heavy” and “devourer”) followed by OF, then OIL (i.e. “fuel”). Nicely worked.

  1. Wine shop has metal container in place with miraculous wine production (7)

Answer: CANTINA (i.e. “wine shop”). Solution is TIN (i.e. “metal container”) placed “in” CANA (i.e. “place with miraculous wine production”, a reference to the Marriage at Cana at which Christ turned water into wine), like so: CAN(TIN)A.

  1. Cheer answer with very faint praise (7)

Answer: APPLAUD (i.e. “cheer”). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “answer”, as in Q&A) followed by PP (i.e. “very faint”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of pianissimo used in musical lingo) and LAUD (i.e. “praise”).

  1. Heat and cold spoiled new combination of events (9)

Answer: DECATHLON (i.e. “combination of events”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “combination” – more recycling “spoiled”) of HEAT and COLD, followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”), like so: DECATHLO-N.
[EDIT: Thanks to Chris in the comments for repairing this one. I’d missed “spoiled” as the anagram indicator. Cheers, Chris! – LP]

  1. Belonging to extreme group, I have to eat alternatively: only invertebrates for me! (11)

Answer: INSECTIVORE (i.e. “only invertebrates for me!”). Solution is IN SECT (i.e. “belonging to extreme group”) followed by I’VE (a contraction of “I have”) once wrapped around or “eating” OR (i.e. “alternatively”), like so: IN-SECT-I’V(OR)E.

  1. Crafty explanation of time-saving (5,3,1,4,7)

Answer: HERE’S ONE I MADE EARLIER. Clue plays on a phrase used by Blue Peter presenters when “crafting” some item, for example a Large Hadron Collider made with papier-mâché, cereal boxes and empty washing-up bottles, handily skipping over to a ready-made version in order to “save time” waiting for the glue to dry. Of course, in these eco-conscious times we should be recycling all these things, so kids now have to make do constructing the International Space Station out of old paint cans, bits of leftover carpet and claggy hair fished out of the plughole.

  1. Turned up, holding son, dead beat (7)

Answer: PULSATE (i.e. “beat”). Solution is UP reversed (indicated by “turned”) followed by LATE (i.e. “dead”) once wrapped around or “holding” S (a recognised abbreviation of “son”), like so: PU-L(S)ATE.

  1. New look for writer of musicals (7)

Answer: Ivor NOVELLO (i.e. “writer of musicals”). Solution is NOVEL (i.e. “new”) followed by LO (i.e. “look”, as in lo and behold).

  1. Last in line for end of lab worker’s shift (7)

Answer: CHEMISE (i.e. “shift”). Solution is CHEMIST (i.e. “lab worker”) with the last letter or “end” swapped “for” E (i.e. “last in line”, i.e. the last letter of “line”), like so: CHEMIS(T) => CHEMIS(E).

  1. With iron-hard casing, this wicked genie would be a bit frail (5)

Answer: EBLIS (i.e. “wicked genie”, or, as Chambers has it: “a Muslim name for the devil”). The solution, when wrapped in or “cased” with FE (chemical symbol of “iron”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard”), like so: FE-(EBLIS)-H, gets you a word meaning “a bit frail”. One nailed solely through the wordplay.

  1. Hacks besetting suitable computers (7)

Answer: LAPTOPS (i.e. “computers”). Solution is LOPS (i.e. “hacks”) wrapped around or “besetting” APT (i.e. “suitable”), like so: L(APT)OPS. Another good ‘un.

  1. Press call for auditor (5)

Answer: KNEAD (i.e. “press”). “For auditor” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of NEED (i.e. “call”, as in “was there any call for that?”).

  1. Semi-bold in bulging front page (7)

Answer: BELLBOY (i.e. “page”). Solution is BO (i.e. “semi-bold”, specifically the first half of “bold”) placed “in” BELLY (i.e. “bulging front”), like so: BELL(BO)Y.

  1. I agree S American capital must import French art (5,2)

Answer: QUITE SO (i.e. “I agree”). Solution is QUITO (i.e. “S American capital”, specifically that of Ecuador) wrapped around or “importing” ES (i.e. “French art” – we’ve seen this a few times in Jumbos now; “art” is taken as an old form of “are”, the French of which is “es”), like so: QUIT(ES)O.

  1. Alienated duke has an artificial manner (11)

Answer: DISAFFECTED (i.e. “alienated”). When written as D IS AFFECTED the solution also satisfies “duke has an artificial manner”, taking D as a recognised abbreviation of “duke”.

  1. Doctor cans a female for misdeed in office (11)

Answer: MALFEASANCE (i.e. “misdeed in office”). “Doctor” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CANS A FEMALE.

  1. Secretary with career, involving small building’s canopy (9)

Answer: PARACHUTE (i.e. “canopy”). Solution is PA (i.e. “secretary” or Personal Assistant) followed by RACE (i.e. to “career” about the place) once wrapped around or “involving” HUT (i.e. “small building”), like so: PA-RAC(HUT)E.

  1. Share clip that’s tossed round (9)

Answer: SPHERICAL (i.e. “round”). “That’s tossed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SHARE CLIP.

  1. Block street mostly lacking bidirectional traffic lines (9)

Answer: STONEWALL (i.e. to “block”). Solution is ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”) followed by ONE-WAY (i.e. “lacking bidirectional traffic”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), then L and L (i.e. “lines” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “line”), like so: ST-ONE-WA-LL.

  1. Perhaps one putting away knife, having cut small shrub (7)

Answer: HEATHER (i.e. “shrub”). Solution is SHEATHER (i.e. “one putting away knife”; “perhaps” is an admission you’re not exactly going to see this derivative form of “sheathe” in the dictionary) with the S removed (indicated by “having cut small” – S being a recognised abbreviation of “small”).

  1. Second violinist’s bow preparation carries opening of intermezzo for composer (7)

Answer: Gioachino ROSSINI (i.e. “composer”). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “second”) placed in or “carried” by ROSIN (i.e. “violinist’s bow preparation” – over to Chambers: “a resin … for preparing the bows used to play stringed musical instruments”) and followed by I (i.e. “opening of intermezzo”, i.e. the first letter of “intermezzo”), like so: RO(S)SIN-I.

  1. Signal raised to gather together with wizard (7)

Answer: GANDALF (i.e. “wizard” in JRR Tolkien’s books). Solution is FLAG (i.e. “signal”) reversed (indicated by “raised” – this being a down clue) and wrapped around or “gathering” AND (i.e. “together with”), like so: G(AND)ALF.

  1. Squat resembling a rubbish tip? (5)

Answer: DUMPY. Solution satisfies “squat” and, playfully, “resembling a rubbish tip”.

  1. Unsettled score for the opponents limits victory (5)

Answer: OWING (i.e. “unsettled”). Solution is OG (i.e. “score for the opponents”, or an Own Goal) wrapped around or “limiting” WIN (i.e. “victory”), like so: O(WIN)G.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1541

Another medium strength puzzle this week, peppered with a decent helping of well-worked clues and the kind of steady progression I like. Except for BESS. That was a proper swine.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If a recent Jumbo has taken to hiding under your bed, forcing you to climb up a ladder each night just to get some sleep, then you might find my Just For Fun page of use, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the buggers. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks again for the kind words and feedback. It’s always interesting to hear how other solvers fared once the dust settles. Till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. One has Bond smashing luge into pieces (9)

Answer: SUPERGLUE (i.e. “one has bond” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is SUPER (i.e. “smashing”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “into pieces”) of LUGE, like so: SUPER-GLUE.

  1. Appeal forces landowner to regenerate location in Essex (7,6)

Answer: SAFFRON WALDEN (i.e. “location in Essex”). Solution is SA (i.e. “appeal”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Sex Appeal you see more in cryptic crosswords than in real life) followed by F and F (i.e. “forces” – F being a recognised abbreviation of “force”), then an anagram (indicated by “to regenerate”) of LANDOWNER, like so: SA-FF-RONWALDEN.

  1. Dramatist in one book Sterne regularly shunned (5)

Answer: Henrik IBSEN (i.e. “dramatist”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) followed by B (a recognised abbreviation of “book”) then SEN (i.e. “Sterne regularly shunned”, i.e. every other letter of STERNE).

  1. Turn up with ace band feeling triumphant (4-1-4)

Answer: COCK-A-HOOP (i.e. “feeling triumphant”). Solution is COCK (i.e. “turn up”, as in cocking an ear) followed by A (a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used on playing cards) and HOOP (i.e. “band”).

  1. Vehicle is heap – pity me having to leave (7)

Answer: RICKSHA (i.e. “vehicle”, a variant spelling of rickshaw). Solution is RICK (i.e. “heap”) followed by SHAME (i.e. “pity”) once the ME has been removed (indicated by “me having to leave”), like so: RICK-SHA.

  1. Photograph enrages sheik when developed – it’s really small (4-4,2,1,11)

Answer: KNEE-HIGH TO A GRASSHOPPER (i.e. “it’s really small”). “When developed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PHOTOGRAPH ENRAGES SHEIK. An easier get due to it being a recentish repeat.

  1. Feats from retired airmen one moved along (8)

Answer: EXPLOITS (i.e. “feats”). Solution is EX-PILOTS (i.e. “retired airmen”) with the I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) “moved along”, like so: EX-P(I)LOTS => EX-PLO(I)TS.

  1. Boatman who has secret watch with silver lining (8)

Answer: VOYAGEUR (i.e. “boatman”). Solution is VOYEUR (i.e. “who has secret watch”) wrapped around or “lined” with AG (chemical symbol of “silver”), like so: VOY(AG)EUR. One nailed solely from the wordplay.

  1. Rabbit meat paste right to be eaten (5)

Answer: PRATE (i.e. to “rabbit” or talk a lot). Solution is PATE (i.e. “meat paste”) wrapped around or “eating” R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”), like so: P(R)ATE.

  1. Daughter seen with runner in club (6)

Answer: DRIVER (i.e. a golf “club”). Solution is D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) followed by RIVER (i.e. “runner”, as in how a river runs).

  1. Excellent returns by accounts in plant (6)

Answer: ACACIA (i.e. “plant”). Solution is AI (i.e. “excellent”, i.e. A1 with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent) reversed (indicated by “returns”) and placed after or “by” AC and AC (i.e. “accounts”, AC being a recognised abbreviation of “account”), like so: (AC-AC)-IA.

  1. One dancing graduate touring Ireland in its entirety? (9)

Answer: BALLERINA (i.e. “one dancing”). Solution is BA (i.e. “graduate”, specifically a Bachelor of Arts) wrapped around or “touring” ALL ERIN (i.e. “Ireland in its entirety”), like so: B(ALL-ERIN)A.

  1. Inseparable Bury ladies – five not married (10)

Answer: INTERWOVEN (i.e. “inseparable”). Solution is INTER (i.e. “bury” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) followed by WOMEN (i.e. “ladies”) once the M (a recognised abbreviation of “married”) has been swapped for V (i.e. “[Roman numeral] five”), like so: INTER-WO(M)EN => INTER-WO(V)EN.

  1. Lizzy in addition wants fish chucked out (4)

Answer: BESS (i.e. “Lizzy”, both shortened forms of Elizabeth). Solution is BESIDES (i.e. “in addition”) with the IDE removed (indicated by “fish chucked out”).

  1. Skirt appearing in G&S finds justification (7)

Answer: GROUNDS (i.e. “justification”). Solution is ROUND (i.e. to avoid or “skirt”) placed “in” between G and S, like so: G(ROUND)S.

  1. Bouncy castle melting when current passed through (7)

Answer: ELASTIC (i.e. “bouncy” – a bit of a stretch, if you’ll forgive the pun). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “melting”) of CASTLE wrapped around or having “passed through” I (a recognised abbreviation of an electrical “current” used in physics), like so: ELAST(I)C.

  1. Conservative newspaper makes rough projection (4)

Answer: CRAG (i.e. “rough projection”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”) followed by RAG (slang for a “newspaper”).

  1. Spinner uses heavy atmosphere against one in the middle (10)

Answer: CENTRIFUGE (i.e. “spinner”). Solution is FUG (i.e. “heavy atmosphere”) placed after or “against” I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), and all placed “in” CENTRE (i.e. “the middle”), like so: CENTR(I-FUG)E.

  1. Band’s regular engagement in leader’s office, but no piano (9)

Answer: RESIDENCY (i.e. “band’s regular engagement”). Solution is PRESIDENCY (i.e. “leader’s office”) with the P removed (indicated by “but no piano” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “piano” used in musical lingo).

  1. Maybe Chesterfield group should meet golfing supporter (6)

Answer: SETTEE (i.e. “maybe Chesterfield”). Solution is SET (i.e. “group”) followed by TEE (i.e. “golfing supporter”).

  1. Unqualified one must abandon English course (6)

Answer: ENTRÉE (i.e. dinner “course”). Solution is ENTIRE (i.e. “unqualified”) with the I removed (indicated by “[Roman numeral] one must abandon”) and the remainder followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”), like so: ENTRE-E.

  1. Ship loads drink that’s brought back strength (5)

Answer: ASSET (i.e. “strength”). Solution is SS (i.e. “ship”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “steamship”) placed in or “loading” TEA (i.e. “drink”) once reversed (indicated by “that’s brought back”), like so: A(SS)ET.

  1. Cat chasing dog seizes old clothing item (8)

Answer: TAILCOAT (i.e. “clothing item”). Solution is CAT placed after or “chasing” TAIL (i.e. to “dog”) and wrapped around or “seizing” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”), like so: TAIL-C(O)AT.

  1. Slip on mountain pass and fall down (8)

Answer: COLLAPSE (i.e. “fall down”). Solution is LAPSE (i.e. “slip”) placed “on” or after COL (i.e. “mountain pass” – one we’ve seen a few times in Jumbos), like so: COL-LAPSE.

  1. Computer thought certificate illegal twice in requiring regulation (10,12)

Answer: ARTIFICAL INTELLIGENCE (i.e. “computer thought”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “requiring regulation”) of CERTIFICATE ILLEGAL and IN IN (i.e. “twice in”).

  1. Turning dark and damp around South American region (7)

Answer: MIDWEST (i.e. “American region”). Solution is DIM (i.e. “dark”) reversed (indicated by “turning”) and followed by WET (i.e. “damp”) once wrapped “around” S (a recognised abbreviation of “south”), like so: MID-WE(S)T.

  1. I’m obliged to exercise caution, handling large knives etc (9)

Answer: TABLEWARE (i.e. “knives etc”). Solution is TA (i.e. “I’m obliged”, both forms of expressing thanks) followed by BEWARE (i.e. “exercise caution”) once wrapped around or “handling” L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), like so: TA-B(L)EWARE.

  1. Build up initially appalling service (5)

Answer: AMASS (i.e. “build up”). Solution is A (i.e. “initially appalling”, i.e. the first letter of “appalling”) followed by MASS (i.e. religious “service”).

  1. Valuable box certain to be found among the crates at sea (8,5)

Answer: TREASURE CHEST (i.e. “valuable box”). Solution is SURE (i.e. “certain”) placed in or “found among” an anagram (indicated by “at sea”) of THE CRATES, like so: TREA(SURE)CHEST.

  1. Philosopher and some things to mark his birthday? (9)

Answer: Rene DESCARTES (i.e. French “philosopher”). When written as DES CARTES the solution satisfies “some things to mark his birthday”, specifically “cards” in French. Nicely done.

Down clues

  1. Close result – disastrous conclusion (6,3)

Answer: STICKY END (i.e. “disastrous conclusion”). Solution is STICKY (i.e. humid or “close”) followed by END (i.e. “result”).

  1. Online contributor on beer absorbing a creative product (6,5)

Answer: POSTER PAINT (i.e. “creative product”). Solution is POSTER (i.e. “online contributor”) followed by PINT (i.e. “beer”) once wrapped around or “absorbing” A, like so: POSTER P(A)INT.

  1. Academician and Knight Companion arriving at farm (5)

Answer: RANCH (i.e. “farm”). Solution is RA (i.e. “academician”, specifically a Royal Academician) followed by N (a recognised abbreviation of “knight” used in chess) and CH (i.e. “companion”, specifically a Companion of Honour).

  1. Opening yard by church good for carrying in deceased (8)

Answer: LYCHGATE (i.e. “opening” specifically “a roofed churchyard gate” (Chambers)). Solution is Y (a recognised abbreviation of “yard”), CH (ditto “church”) and G (ditto ditto “good”) all placed “in” LATE (i.e. “deceased”), like so: L(Y-CH-G)ATE.

  1. Thrill having caught the thing in Devon river (6)

Answer: EXCITE (i.e. “thrill”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “caught” used in ball games) and IT (i.e. “the thing”) both placed “in” EXE (i.e. “Devon river”), like so: EX(C-IT)E.

  1. Stigma – a mark that hurt blustery old coward (10)

Answer: SCARAMOUCH (i.e. “blustery old coward”). Solution is SCAR (i.e. “stigma”) followed by A, then M (a recognised abbreviation of “mark”, the former German currency) and OUCH! (i.e. “that hurt”).

  1. One supervising Sellers in Goon realm, far gone (5,7)

Answer: FLOOR MANAGER (i.e. “one supervising sellers” in a department store – ignore the misleading capitalisation). “Gone” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GOON REALM FAR.

  1. East German comes in ready to make swift reply (7)

Answer: RIPOSTE (i.e. “swift reply”). Solution is OST (i.e. “east German”, i.e. the German for “east”) placed “in” RIPE (i.e. “ready”), like so: RIP(OST)E.

  1. Celestial phenomenon stars follow and not sailors? (8,6)

Answer: NORTHERN LIGHTS (i.e. “celestial phenomenon”). Solution is LIGHTS (i.e. “stars”) placed after or “following” NOR (i.e. “and not”) and THE RN (i.e. “sailors”, specifically the Royal Navy”), like so: (NOR-THE-RN)-LIGHTS.

  1. Firm accessing a large population provides drink (7)

Answer: ALCOPOP (i.e. “drink”). Solution is CO (a recognised abbreviation of “company”) placed in or “accessing” A, L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and POP (ditto “population”), like so: A-L-(CO)-POP.

  1. Man facing surgery has nothing to lose in hopeless state (11)

Answer: DESPERATION (i.e. “hopeless state”). Solution is DES (i.e. a “man’s” name) followed by OPERATION (i.e. “surgery”) once the first O has been removed (indicated by “has nothing to lose”), like so: DES-PERATION.

  1. Accessible content of online article (4)

Answer: NEAR (i.e. “accessible”). “Content of” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: ONLI(NE AR)TICLE.

  1. See tailless canine hero, one revered as god (8)

Answer: Haile SELASSIE (i.e. “one revered as god” by Rastafarians). Solution is SE (i.e. “see tailless”, i.e. the word “see” with its last letter removed) and the remainder followed by LASSIE (i.e. “canine hero”). I was more of a Littlest Hobo fan.

  1. Ended unreliable trade given excessive merit (9)

Answer: OVERRATED (i.e. “given excessive merit”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “ended”) followed by an anagram (indicated by “unreliable”) of TRADE, like so: OVER-RATED.

  1. Shrill native Americans getting through school year (8)

Answer: SCREECHY (i.e. “shrill”). Solution is CREE (i.e. “native Americans”) placed in or “getting through” SCH (a recognised abbreviation of “school”) and Y (ditto “year”), like so: S(CREE)CH-Y.

  1. Top banana regarded as not looking straight (4-4)

Answer: BOSS-EYED (i.e. “not looking straight”). Solution is BOSS (i.e. the “top banana” of an organisation) followed by EYED (i.e. “regarded”).

  1. Schmaltzy book about Scottish island on loch (9)

Answer: EMOTIONAL (i.e. “schmaltzy”). Solution is TOME (i.e. “book”) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by IONA (i.e. “Scottish island”), then L (a recognised abbreviation of “loch”), like so: EMOT-IONA-L.

  1. Wild thing preferring squash to snakebite? (3,11)

Answer: BOA CONSTRICTOR (i.e. “wild thing”). Clue plays on how the snake crushes or “squashes” the life from its prey rather than kill through a “snake bite”. Nicely done.

  1. This writer cries out on radio for scoop’s content (3,5)

Answer: ICE CREAM (i.e. “scoop’s content”). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “on radio”) of I SCREAM (i.e. “this writer cries out”, from the point of view of the setter).

  1. About to exploit star concerned with controversial issue (5,7)

Answer: CAUSE CELEBRE (i.e. “controversial issue”). Solution is CA (i.e. “about”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) followed by USE (i.e. “to exploit”), then CELEB (i.e. “star”, short for celebrity) and RE (i.e. “concerned with” – think email replies).

  1. Evaluate short game – beginners find this difficult (5,6)

Answer: ASSES BRIDGE (i.e. “beginners find this difficult” – over to Chambers: “the fifth proposition in the first book of Euclid’s Elements of geometry, as being for some an impassable barrier to further progress”). Solution is ASSESS (i.e. “evaluate”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “short”) and the remainder followed by BRIDGE (i.e. card “game”). I’ll admit I only got this after looking up asses… oh, stop it now, don’t be common, etc.

  1. Incorrigible author stops cracking rune article appearing in Times (11)

Answer: UNREPENTANT (i.e. “incorrigible”). Solution is PEN (i.e. to “author”) placed between or “stopping” an anagram (indicated by “cracking”) of RUNE and AN (i.e. “article”, i.e. a word like a, an or the) once this latter has been placed “in” T and T (i.e. “times” – ignore the misleading capitalisation, T is a recognised abbreviation of “time”), like so: UNRE-(PEN)-T(AN)T.

  1. People in dishonour finding success after effort? (10)

Answer: ATTAINMENT (i.e. “success after effort”). Solution is MEN (i.e. “people”) placed “in” ATTAINT (i.e. to “dishonour”), like so: ATTAIN(MEN)T.

  1. Snack’s good chance for tucking into pickled eels (9)

Answer: ELEVENSES (i.e. “snack”). Solution is EVENS (i.e. “good chance”) placed or “tucked into” an anagram (indicated by “pickled”) of EELS, like so: EL(EVENS)ES.

  1. Officer circling over headland finds detachment (8)

Answer: COOLNESS (i.e. “detachment”). Solution is COL (i.e. “officer”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “colonel”) wrapped around or “circling” O (a recognised abbreviation of “over” used in cricket) and followed by NESS (i.e. “headland”), like so: C(O)OL-NESS.

  1. Second case of pistols for arms contractor? (7)

Answer: TRICEPS (i.e. muscle or “arms contractor”). Solution is TRICE (i.e. “second”, both brief moments of time) followed by PS (i.e. “case of pistols”, i.e. the first and last letters of “pistols”).

  1. Ridiculous old woman having to abandon native (7)

Answer: IDIOTIC (i.e. “ridiculous”). Solution is IDIOMATIC (i.e. “native”) with MA removed (indicated by “old woman having to abandon…”).

  1. Hawk-headed god restrained outside produces trumpet (6)

Answer: HERALD (i.e. “trumpet”). Solution is RA (i.e. “hawk-headed god”) placed in or having “outside” HELD (i.e. “restrained”), like so: HE(RA)LD.

  1. Country bringing Chinese people into Georgia (5)

Answer: GHANA (i.e. “country”). Solution is HAN (i.e. “Chinese people”) placed “into” GA (US state abbreviation of “Georgia”), like so: G(HAN)A.

  1. Salacious material that has stomachs turning (4)

Answer: SMUT (i.e. “salacious material”). Solution is TUMS (i.e. “stomachs”) reversed (indicated by “turning”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1540

A medium-strength puzzle this week, and one with a mixed bag of clues. Some were very nicely constructed, while others got right up my nose. Can’t have it all, I guess.

You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. If you’ve found a recent Jumbo spent the entirety of lockdown secretly downloading eyewatering amounts of elephant porn through your Wi-Fi connection then 1) consider changing your Wi-Fi password, and 2) you might find comfort in my Just For Fun page, where you’ll find links to solutions for hundreds of the pesky buggers. Elsewhere there are the usual ancient book reviews and a story of mine.

Thanks for the kind words and feedback, folks. It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of other solvers once they’ve put down their pens. I’d have posted this a number of hours ago had I not become absorbed in the inaugural World Seniors Darts Championship. It’s been a fascinating (if glitchy) watch so far with several old favourites from the BDO and PDC playing. The semi-finals and final are on tomorrow (well, later on today now I suppose) on BBC iPlayer or BT Sport. The previous sessions are also on iPlayer, but you’ll have to go searching for them. Here’s hoping it returns again next year. Anyway, till next time, stay safe out there, kids.

LP

Across clues

  1. Not as many contracts for navigator in the past (6)

Answer: Abel Janszoon TASMAN (i.e. “navigator in the past”). “Contracts” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: NO(T AS MAN)Y. Straight to Bradford’s the moment I saw “navigator in the past” as this was obviously going to be one of those solutions solely there to plug an awkward space. Setters waste no time deploying crap like this when put into a tight spot, so why should we?

  1. Newly baked buns close to Weihnachten: a German institution! (10)

Answer: BUNDESBANK (i.e. “a German institution”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “newly”) of BAKED BUNS and N (i.e. “close to Weihnachten”, i.e. the last letter of Weihnachten).

  1. Symbol of bear seen by millions (5)

Answer: TOTEM (i.e. “symbol”). Solution is TOTE (i.e. to carry or “bear”) followed by M (a recognised abbreviation of “millions”).

  1. Girl clips rail exercising (9)

Answer: PRISCILLA (i.e. a “girl’s” name). “Exercising” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of CLIPS RAIL.

  1. A number of just people excluded from company? (4,3,6)

Answer: ONLY THE LONELY (i.e. “a number” by Roy Orbison). Solution is ONLY (i.e. “just”) followed by THE LONELY (i.e. “people excluded from company”).

  1. Want to take in film with female: a recent catch? (3,4)

Answer: WET FISH (i.e. “a recent catch”, as opposed to frozen or dried fish). Solution is WISH (i.e. “want”) wrapped around or “taking in” ET (i.e. “film”, specifically ET: The Extra Terrestrial) and F (a recognised abbreviation of “female”), like so: W(ET-F)ISH.

  1. Port to progress slowly with age (7)

Answer: INCHEON (i.e. a “port” of South Korea). Solution is INCH (i.e. “to progress slowly”) followed by EON (i.e. “age”). Again to Bradford’s for pretty much the same reason as 1a. Who cares how easy the parsing is? If you see “port” in a clue, you have my permission to be a big cheating bastard like me. Bradford’s alone lists 900 of them. Are you going to sit there and learn them all? For a crossword? Really? No, of course not. Treat it like the lazy cop-out it is, cheat and move on.

  1. One making mistake: he’s put his foot in it? (7)

Answer: SLIPPER. Solution satisfies “one making mistake” – playfully, hence the riddly question mark – and “he’s put his foot in it”.

  1. With passion, elected representative repeated lines of poetry (1,8,1,8)

Answer: I REMEMBER I REMEMBER (i.e. “lines of poetry” by Thomas Hood). Solution is IRE (i.e. “passion”) and MEMBER (i.e. “elected representative”) “repeated”.

  1. From a piece of furniture, article’s removed (2,2)

Answer: AS OF (i.e. “from”). Solution is A followed by SOFA (i.e. “piece of furniture”) once the A has been removed (indicated by “article’s removed”, an article is a word like a, an or the), like so: A-SOF.

  1. Pass out from worry (5)

Answer: EXEAT (i.e. a “pass” or “formal leave of absence, especially for a student to be out of college for more than one night” (Chambers)). Solution is EX (i.e. Latin for “out from”) followed by EAT (i.e. “worry”, as in “what’s eating you?”). Not one I’m familiar with, not being of that bracket, but nicely worked all the same.

  1. Leaves here couple on golf course for picking up? (3,5)

Answer: TEA CADDY (i.e. “leaves here”). Solution comprises homophones (indicated by “for picking up”) of TEE and CADDIE (i.e. “couple on golf course”), despite CADDY being an acceptable variant spelling of the latter.

  1. Grey exterior to tower that is becoming darker (8)

Answer: GLOOMIER (i.e. “darker”). Solution is GR (a recognised abbreviation of “grey”) wrapped around or being “exterior to” LOOM (i.e. “to tower”) and IE (i.e. “that is”, i.e. …um… i.e.!), like so: G(LOOM-IE)R.

  1. Prayer leader embracing wife with an expression of disbelief (2,1,8)

Answer: I’M A DUTCHMAN (i.e. “expression of disbelief”). Solution is IMAM (i.e. “prayer leader”) wrapped around or “embracing” DUTCH (i.e. “wife” – supposedly cockney rhyming slang after the Duchess of Fife) and followed by AN, like so: IMA(DUTCH)M-AN.

  1. Boss, after row, one getting on with staff (4,7)

Answer: LINE MANAGER (i.e. “boss”). Solution is LINE (i.e. “row”) followed by AGER (i.e. “one getting on”) once placed “on” or after MAN (i.e. to “staff” an operation), like so: LINE-(MAN-AGER).

  1. Reporters of contests involving sailors and boxer (11)

Answer: JOURNALISTS (i.e. “reporters”). Solution is JOUSTS (i.e. “contests”) wrapped around or “involving” RN (i.e. “sailors”, specifically the Royal Navy) and Muhammad ALI (i.e. “boxer”), like so: JOU(RN-ALI)STS.

  1. What spectacularly sparks love affair and also large splits (5,6)

Answer: ROMAN CANDLE (i.e. “what spectacularly sparks”). Solution is ROMANCE (i.e. “love affair”) wrapped around or “split” by AND (i.e. “also”) and L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), like so: ROMANC(AND-L)E. Nicely worked.

  1. Where US driver pulls in – and remains in pole position (4,4)

Answer: REST STOP (i.e. “where US driver pulls in”). Solution is RESTS (i.e. “remains”) followed by TOP (i.e. “in pole position”).

  1. Sword that is needed by impressionist, to cut (8)

Answer: SCIMITAR (i.e. “sword”). Solution is SC (i.e. “that is”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the Latin scilicet) followed by IMITATOR (i.e. “impressionist”) once the “TO” has been “cut”, like so: SC-IMITAR.

  1. Note is the writer’s – mostly the writer’s (5)

Answer: MINIM (i.e. musical “note”). Solution is MINE (i.e. “the writer’s” from the point of view of the setter) once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder followed by I’M (i.e. “the writer’s”, again from the point of view of the setter – this time a contraction of I AM), like so: MIN-I’M.

  1. You must not assume this at the outset (4)

Answer: DON’T (i.e. “you must not”). Solution is DON (i.e. “assume”) followed by T (i.e. “this at the outset”, i.e. the first letter of “this”).

  1. Rage, and split with the Foundation, as McCarthy did? (3,4,5,3,3)

Answer: SEE REDS UNDER THE BED (i.e. “as McCarthy did”, specifically Senator Joseph McCarthy, who had an unhealthy obsession for alleged communists in 1950s America. Thank goodness we’ll never see such craziness again in US politics. (Looks to camera)). Solution is SEE RED (i.e. “rage”) followed by SUNDER (i.e. “split”), then THE and BED (i.e. “foundation” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

  1. Host outside departs in vain for key (6,1)

Answer: MIDDLE C (i.e. musical “key”). Solution is MC (i.e. “host” or Master of Ceremonies) wrapped “outside” of D (a recognised abbreviation of “departs” used on timetables) once it as been placed “in” IDLE (i.e. “vain” – one of its lesser used meanings), like so: M(ID(D)LE)C.

  1. Stole or cape to wear if held out (7)

Answer: FILCHED (i.e. “stole”). Solution is C (a recognised abbreviation of “cape”, the geographic feature) placed in or “wearing” an anagram (indicated by “out”) of IF HELD, like so: FIL(C)HED.

  1. City of Prague I fancy (7)

Answer: PERUGIA (i.e. Italian “city”). “Fancy” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PRAGUE I.

  1. Proposal for an evening out? (3,2,8)

Answer: LAW OF AVERAGES – over to Chambers for the official word: “popularly, a proposition stating that the mean of a situation is maintained by the averaging of its extremes”, so a flattening or “evening out”. Very nicely done.

  1. Difficulty at end of term making entrance (9)

Answer: SPELLBIND (i.e. “entrance”). Solution is BIND (i.e. “difficulty”) placed after or “at end of” SPELL (i.e. “term”).

  1. Case of Arneis for one to try (5)

Answer: ASSAY (i.e. to test or “try”). Solution is AS (i.e. “case of Arneis”, i.e. the first and last letter of “Arneis”) followed by SAY (i.e. for example or “for one”).

  1. Ill-disposed to prisoner being taken in again (10)

Answer: RESORPTION (i.e. “taken in again”). “Ill-disposed” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TO PRISONER.

  1. Rubber of bridge players put in unusual on reflection (6)

Answer: ERASER (i.e. “rubber”). Solution is S and E (i.e. “bridge players”, specifically recognised abbreviations of south and east) “put in” RARE (i.e. “unusual”) once reversed (indicated by “on reflection”), like so: ERA(SE)R.

Down clues

  1. Work in office perhaps, kind laid on with ceremony (9)

Answer: TYPEWRITE (i.e. “work in office perhaps”). Solution is TYPE (i.e. “kind”) followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) and RITE (i.e. “ceremony”).

  1. Remote country doctors alienate NHS (5,6)

Answer: SAINT HELENA (i.e. “remote country”). “Doctors” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of ALIENATES NHS.

  1. Ace writer gets credit (7)

Answer: ASCRIBE (i.e. to “credit”). Solution is A (a recognised abbreviation of “ace” used on playing cards) followed by SCRIBE (i.e. “writer”).

  1. Taste something in rum amiss (5)

Answer: UMAMI (i.e. a sense of “taste”). “Something in” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: R(UM AMI)SS. One I remembered from an age-old episode of QI, to be honest.

  1. What’s released from flies that’s sweet, leading to death, mostly (4,7)

Answer: DROP CURTAIN (i.e. “what’s released from flies” – one definition of “flies” is “the large space above the proscenium in a theatre, from which the scenes, etc are controlled” (Chambers)). Solution is DROP (i.e. a “sweet”) followed by CURTAINS (i.e. “death”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”).

  1. Pirate left to cross sea with a lesser prize? (6,5)

Answer: SILVER MEDAL (i.e. “lesser prize”). I’m not going to tangle myself up in the clunky parsing here. Solution basically comprises Long John SILVER (i.e. “pirate”), MED (i.e. “sea”, specifically the Mediterranean), A and L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”).

  1. Too many beginning to unilaterally agitate for independence (8)

Answer: AUTONOMY (i.e. “independence”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “agitate”) of TOO MANY and U (i.e. “beginning [letter] to unilaterally”).

  1. Seek new, unusual lines for organ part (4-5)

Answer: KNEE-SWELL (i.e. “organ part”, of the musical instrument variety). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “unusual”) of SEEK NEW followed by L and L (i.e. “lines” – L being a recognised abbreviation of “line”), like so: KNEESWE-LL.

  1. Cheap brace, a metal mouthpiece (3-3)

Answer: TWO-BIT (i.e. “cheap”). Solution is TWO (i.e. a “brace”) followed by BIT (i.e. “a metal mouthpiece” for, say, horses).

  1. Unlawful attendance in lycée’s very short-lived (11)

Answer: TRESPASSING (i.e. “unlawful attendance”). Solution is TRES (i.e. “in lycée’s very”, basically the French for “very”) followed by PASSING (i.e. “short-lived”).

  1. Dignitary dressing right (5)

Answer: MAYOR (i.e. “dignitary”). Solution is MAYO (i.e. “dressing”, specifically mayonnaise) followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”).

  1. What order’s observed in abbey (or almost) (12)

Answer: ALPHABETICAL. Clue plays on how the letters of “abbey” and “almost” are in alphabetical order.

  1. Back in need of nurse – and doctor on the way (8)

Answer: REARMOST (i.e. “back”). Solution is REAR (i.e. to “nurse”) followed by MO (i.e. “doctor” or Medical Officer) and ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”).

  1. Wood producer not oddly seen off in retort ever (3,4)

Answer: FIR TREE (i.e. “wood producer”). “Not oddly seen” indicates we want only the even letters of OFF IN RETORT EVER.

  1. Method of delivery of bullet with gun (5-3)

Answer: ROUND-ARM (i.e. “method of delivery” of a ball). Solution is ROUND (i.e. “bullet”) followed by ARM (i.e. “gun”).

  1. Being tense when instructed to speak out by Head (8)

Answer: TAUTNESS (i.e. “being tense”). Solution is a homophone (indicated by “to speak”) of TAUGHT (i.e. “instructed”) followed by NESS (i.e. “head”, geographical features – ignore the misleading capitalisation), like so: TAUT-NESS.

  1. A button on the end, one coupled with zip? (8)

Answer: ANIMATED (i.e. “with zip”). Solution is A followed by N (i.e. “button on the end”, i.e. the last letter of “button”), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and MATED (i.e. “coupled”).

  1. Used to hold jack so unable to play? (7)

Answer: INJURED (i.e. “unable to play” sports). Solution is INURED (i.e. “used to”) wrapped around or “holding” J (a recognised abbreviation of “jack” used on playing cards), like so: IN(J)URED.

  1. Joel was one awfully hard prep monitor! (5,7)

Answer: MINOR PROPHET (i.e. “Joel was one” – I bet it didn’t say that on his business card. I bet it said “BIG ASS PROPHET” in gold lettering or something). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “awfully”) of H (a recognised abbreviation of “hard” used in grading pencils) and PREP MONITOR.

  1. At college hospital, doctor has varying fortunes (3,3,5)

Answer: UPS AND DOWNS (i.e. “varying fortunes”). Solution is UP (i.e. “at college”) followed by SAN (i.e. “hospital”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of a sanatorium) and OWNS (i.e. “has”).

  1. American stunner to perform in hit record with Queen (11)

Answer: SOCKDOLOGER (i.e. “American stunner”, specifically old US slang for a hard or decisive blow. Not a word I’ve come across, but then I haven’t read a whole lot of Twain and his ilk. Great word, though). Solution is DO (i.e. “to perform”) placed “in” between SOCK (i.e. “hit”) and LOG (i.e. “record”), and followed by ER (i.e. “queen”, specifically Elizabeth Regina), like so: (SOCK-(DO)-LOG)-ER

  1. After drink, our Henry needs a rest, they say (6,3,2)

Answer: RUMOUR HAS IT (i.e. “they say”). Solution is RUM (i.e. “drink”) followed by OUR, then H (a recognised abbreviation of “Henry”, a unit of measurement that’s been like catnip for setters this last year), then A and SIT (i.e. “rest”).

  1. Guides began to manoeuvre vehicles on beach (4,7)

Answer: DUNE BUGGIES (i.e. “vehicles on beach”). “To manoeuvre” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GUIDES BEGAN.

  1. A dozen balls to hold in clubs in Bury (9)

Answer: OVERCOVER (i.e. “bury” – ignore the misleading capitalisation). Solution is OVER and OVER (i.e. two overs or “a dozen balls” in cricket) wrapped around or “holding” C (a recognised abbreviation of “clubs” used in card games), like so: OVER-(C)-OVER.

  1. Brummie maybe in dark turning up with lighter? (9)

Answer: MIDLANDER (i.e. “Brummie maybe”). Solution is DIM (i.e. “in dark”) reversed (indicated by “turning up” – this being a down clue) and followed by LANDER (i.e. “lighter”, both vessels), like so: MID-LANDER.

  1. As we used to say, you favour writing, music, sculpture etc (3,5)

Answer: ART FORMS (i.e. “music, sculpture etc”). When written as ART FOR MS the solution satisfies “as we used to say, you favour writing”. MS is a recognised abbreviation of “manuscript”, while ART is a ye olde form of “are” that’s getting to be as overused in these Jumbos as “Henry”.

  1. Irish sportsperson eclipsing fourth-rate track athlete (7)

Answer: HURDLER (i.e. “track athlete”). Solution is HURLER (i.e. “Irish sportsman”) wrapped around or “eclipsing” D (i.e. “fourth-rate”, i.e. a D grade), like so: HUR(D)LER.

  1. Having a nap on top of yardarm is mistake (6)

Answer: FLUFFY (i.e. “having a nap” or downy covering). Solution is FLUFF (i.e. “mistake”, as in fluffing one’s lines) placed “on” or before Y (i.e. “top of yardarm”, i.e. the first letter of “yardarm”).

  1. Old singer, close to stardom, rising up to it (5)

Answer: Dame Nellie MELBA (i.e. “old singer”). Solution is M (i.e. “close to stardom”, i.e. the last letter of “stardom”) followed by ABLE (i.e. “up to it”) once reversed (indicated by “rising” – this being a down clue), like so: M-ELBA. An easier get after I somehow remembered her from her last appearance, back in grid 1488. I wonder if remembering stuff like this is why I can never remember anyone’s birthday.

  1. Lively music, remarkably taken from Revelation (5)

Answer: DISCO (i.e. “lively music”). Solution is DISCOVERY (i.e. “revelation” – ignoring the misleading capitalisation) once the VERY has been removed (indicated by “remarkably taken from…”).