Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1460

This was probably the easiest Jumbo Cryptic since I started doing these posts. By the time I’d finished it I was surprised to find no scribbles or workings dotted around the grid. Not that I’m complaining, mind. It’s nice to have a good chunk of Saturday left!

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 cryptic has gotten the better of you, then you might be interested in my Just For Fun page, which has links to the last 100+ of these things. Meanwhile, there are also some book reviews and a story of mine.

Till next time, keep well, mask up, and keep flying the flag for NHS and key workers everywhere. Let’s hope another lockdown doesn’t come to pass.

LP

Across clues

1. Note on flying mammals incorporating first of innovative material (7)

Answer: BATISTE (i.e. “material”). Solution is TE (i.e. “note”, in the do-ray-me style) placed “on” or after BATS (i.e. “flying mammals”) once it has been wrapped around or “incorporating” I (i.e. “first of innovative”, i.e. the first letter of “innovative”), like so: BAT(I)S-TE.

5. Married man goes round introducing current yearbook (7)

Answer: ALMANAC (i.e. “yearbook”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “married”) with ALAN (i.e. “man”) placed “round” it, and then followed by AC (i.e. “[alternating] current”), like so: AL(M)AN-AC.

9. One who butts in, talking of rosaceous tree (7)

Answer: MEDDLER (i.e. “one who butts in”). “Talking of” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of MEDLAR (i.e. “rosaceous tree”).

13. Appallingly great van tax: it’s extortionate! (11)

Answer: EXTRAVAGANT (i.e. “extortionate”). “Appallingly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of GREAT VAN TAX.

14. Eminent university entertained by bad American music groups (11)

Answer: ILLUSTRIOUS (i.e. “eminent”). Solution is U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) placed in or “entertained by” ILL (i.e. “bad”), US (i.e. “American”) and TRIOS (i.e. “groups”), like so: ILL-US-TRIO(U)S.

15. Admitted being possessed (5)

Answer: OWNED. Solution satisfies “admitted [being]” and “possessed”.

16. South Carolina celebrity digesting Berlioz’s last piece (7)

Answer: SCHERZO (i.e. a lively “[musical] piece”). Solution is SC (state abbreviation of “South Carolina”) followed by HERO (i.e. “celebrity”) once it has been wrapped around or “digesting” Z (i.e. “Berlioz’s last”), like so: SC-HER(Z)O.

17. Doctor regularly quelled barmen that can be counted (9)

Answer: NUMERABLE (i.e. “can be counted”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “doctor”) of ULE (i.e. “regularly quelled”, i.e. every other letter of QUELLED) and BARMEN.

18. Warning describing fate of inquisitive Somali? (9,6,3,3)

Answer: CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT (i.e. “warning”). Clue plays on how Somali can describe a breed of cat, not just a Somali national. You get the idea.

23. Booked, being unforthcoming (8)

Answer: RESERVED. Solution satisfies “booked” and “unforthcoming”.

25. He abandons the city man’s Asian headdress (6)

Answer: TURBAN (i.e. “man’s Asian headdress”). Solution is T (i.e. “he abandons the”, i.e. the word THE without the HE) followed by URBAN (i.e. “the city”).

27. Middle East scholar taken at first with trailing plant (7)

Answer: ARABIST (i.e. “Middle East scholar”). Solution is T (i.e. “taken at first”, i.e. the first letter of “taken”) placed after or “with” ARABIS (i.e. “trailing plant”).

30. Fruit pie originally making us podgy (5)

Answer: PLUMP (i.e. “podgy”). Solution is PLUM (i.e. “fruit”) followed by P (i.e. “pie originally”, i.e. the first letter of “pie”).

32. One leaves Moroccan port carrying a N American singer (7)

Answer: TANAGER (i.e. “N American singer” – a bird). Solution is TANGIER (i.e. “Moroccan port”) with the I removed (indicated by “[Roman numeral] one leaves…”) and the remainder wrapped around or “carrying” A, like so: TAN(A)GER. One I remembered from a previous puzzle, if I’m honest.

33. Report of husky animal producing material for violin bows (9)

Answer: HORSEHAIR (i.e. “material for violin bows”). Solution is formed of homophones (indicated by “report of”) of HOARSE (i.e. “husky”) and HARE (i.e. “animal”).

35. New paperback briefly covering large variety of fruit (4,5)

Answer: CRAB APPLE (i.e. “variety of fruit”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “new”) of PAPERBACK once the last letter has been removed (indicated by “briefly”), wrapped around or “covering” L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), like so: CRABAPP(L)E.

36. Greek hero’s article initially edited in S America (7)

Answer: THESEUS (i.e. “Greek hero”). Solution is THE (i.e. “article”, as in a word like a, an or the) followed by E (i.e. “initially edited”, i.e. the first letter of “edited”) once it has been placed “in” S and US (i.e. “America”), like so: THE-S-(E)-US.

37. Spot where builders work, so to speak (5)

Answer: SIGHT (i.e. “spot”). “So to speak” indicates homophone. Solution is an homophone of SITE (i.e. “where builders work”).

38. Pull fish back on the sheltered side (7)

Answer: LEEWARD (i.e. “on the sheltered side”). Solution is DRAW (i.e. “pull”) and EEL (i.e. “fish”) all reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: LEE-WARD.

40. Way to go on horseback, or walk with long steps? (6)

Answer: STRIDE (i.e. “walk with long steps”). Solution is ST (i.e. “way”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “street”) followed by RIDE (i.e. “to go on horseback”).

41. Musician married in centre of Boston – about fifty (8)

Answer: MINSTREL (i.e. “musician”). Solution is M (a recognised abbreviation of “married”) followed by IN, then ST (i.e. “centre of Boston”, i.e. the middle letters of BOSTON), then RE (i.e. “about” – think email replies) and L (i.e. “[Roman numeral] fifty”).

44. Regimental NCO’s favour given to leading cloth-worker? (13-8)

Answer: QUARTERMASTER-SERGEANT (i.e. “regimental NCO” or Non-Commanding Officer). Solution is QUARTER (i.e. “favour”) followed by MASTER (i.e. “leading”), then SERGE (i.e. “cloth”) and ANT (i.e. “worker”).

48. Naughtily bend a rule? That can be tolerated (9)

Answer: ENDURABLE (i.e. “that can be tolerated”). “Naughtily” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of BEND A RULE.

50. Bill a continental noble rings about (7)

Answer: ACCOUNT (i.e. “bill”). Solution is A then COUNT (i.e. “continental noble”) once it has been wrapped around or “ringed” C (i.e. “about”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of “circa”), like so: A-C(C)OUNT.

53. Operatic princess with house in US state (5)

Answer: IDAHO (i.e. “US state”). Solution is IDA (i.e. “operatic princess” from Gilbert & Sullivan’s Princess Ida) followed by HO (a recognised abbreviation of “house”).

54. Clear water flowing round managed health resort (11)

Answer: TRANSPARENT (i.e. “clear”). Solution is [River] TRENT (i.e. “water”) wrapped or “flowing around” RAN (i.e. “managed”) and SPA (i.e. “health resort”), like so: T(RAN-SPA)RENT.

55. Medallist initially whips ring with pronounced force (11)

Answer: PRIZEWINNER (i.e. “medallist”). Solution is W (i.e. “initially whips”, i.e. the first letter of “whips”) and INNER (i.e. “ring” around a bullseye) placed after or “with” a homophone (indicated by “pronounced”) of PRISE (i.e. to “force [open]”), like so: PRIZE-(W-INNER).

56. Tried again to pick up daughter after scripture lesson (7)

Answer: REHEARD (i.e. “tried again” in court). Solution is HEAR (i.e. “pick up”) and D (a recognised abbreviation of “daughter”) both placed “after” RE (i.e. “scripture lesson”, specifically Religious Education), like so: RE-(HEAR-D).

57. Turtle abandoning quiet tract of land (7)

Answer: TERRAIN (i.e. “tract of land”). Solution is TERRAPIN (i.e. “turtle”) once the P has been removed (indicated by “abandoning quiet” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, or quiet in musical lingo).

58. Doctor in broadcast regularly riled Lanarkshire town (7)

Answer: AIRDRIE (i.e. “Lanarkshire town”). Solution is DR (a recognised abbreviation of “doctor”) placed “in” AIR (i.e. “broadcast”) and IE (i.e. “regularly riled”, i.e. every other letter of RILED), like so: AIR-(DR)-IE.

Down clues

1. Rupees invested in wager relating to French national (6)

Answer: BRETON (i.e. “French national”). Solution is R (i.e. “Rupees”) placed or “invested” in BET (i.e. “wager”) and followed by ON (i.e. “relating to”), like so: B(R)ET-ON.

2. Giant bird with bill seen around part of UK (7)

Answer: TITANIC (i.e. “gigantic”). Solution is TIT (i.e. “bird”) followed by AC (i.e. “bill”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “account”) once wrapped “around” NI (i.e. “part of UK”, i.e. Northern Ireland), like so: TIT-A(NI)C.

3. One defaming Cuban perhaps, ignoring tip with hesitation (9)

Answer: SLANDERER (i.e. “one defaming”). Solution is ISLANDER (i.e. “Cuban perhaps” – other islands are available) with the first letter removed (indicated by “ignoring tip”) and the remainder followed by ER (i.e. “hesitation”), like so: SLANDER-ER.

4. English vehicle primarily serving Welshman (5)

Answer: EVANS (i.e. “Welshman”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) followed by VAN (i.e. “vehicle”) and S (i.e. “primarily serving”, i.e. the first letter of “serving”).

5. Arthropod from Irish islands I’d seen outside church (8)

Answer: ARACHNID (i.e. “arthropod”). Solution is ARAN (i.e. “Irish islands”) and I’D placed “outside” of CH (a recognised abbreviation of “church”), like so: ARA(CH)N-I’D.

6. It measures oxygen escaping from shooting star? (5)

Answer: METER (i.e. “it measures”). Solution is METEOR (i.e. “shooting star”) with the O removed (indicated by “oxygen escaping” – O being the chemical symbol of oxygen).

7. Toff, one breathing in ozone in African capital (7)

Answer: NAIROBI (i.e. “African capital”). Solution is NOB (i.e. “toff”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) wrapped around or “breathing in” AIR (i.e. “ozone”), like so: N(AIR)OB-I.

8. Man guarding only boss in honorary military rank (7-2-5)

Answer: COLONEL-IN-CHIEF (i.e. “honorary military rank”). Solution is COLIN (i.e. “man” – basically a man’s name) wrapped around or “guarding” LONE (i.e. “only”) and followed by CHIEF (i.e. “boss”), like so: CO(LONE)LIN-CHIEF.

9. Communicators collectively aimed to disperse after service (4,5)

Answer: MASS MEDIA (i.e. “communicators collectively”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “to disperse”) of AIMED placed “after” MASS (i.e. “[religious] service”).

10. Ancient city adopted by the German engraver (5)

Answer: Albrecht DURER (i.e. “engraver”). Solution is UR (i.e. “Ancient city” often used by setters in their solutions) placed in or “adopted by” DER (i.e. “the German”, i.e. the German for “the”), like so: D(UR)ER.

11. Play what irate motorists do perhaps when tailgated? (4,4,2,5)

Answer: LOOK BACK IN ANGER. Solution satisfies a “play” by John Osborne, and “what irate motorists do perhaps when tailgated”.

12. Particular deference (7)

Answer: RESPECT. Solution satisfies “particular” (as in “with respect to”) and “deference” (as in “have respect for”).

19. Excel with regard to start of this surgical procedure (7)

Answer: OVERTOP (i.e. “excel”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “with regard to”) followed by T (i.e. “start of this”, i.e. the first letter of “this”) and OP (i.e. “surgical procedure”).

20. Engineer urges on extremely tardy kid (9)

Answer: YOUNGSTER (i.e. “kid”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “engineer”) of URGES ON and TY (i.e. “extremely tardy”, i.e. the first and last letters of “tardy”).

21. Archbishop initially overwhelmed by male archdeacon’s goodness (7)

Answer: HEAVENS (i.e. “goodness” – both taken as exclamations). Solution is A (i.e. “archbishop initially”, i.e. the first letter of “archbishop”) placed in or “overwhelmed by” HE (i.e. “male”) and VEN’S (i.e. “archdeacon’s” – VEN being a recognised abbreviation of “venerable”), like so: HE-(A)-VEN’S.

22. Republican in sun hat, mostly relaxed and very hot (8)

Answer: TROPICAL (i.e. “very hot”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”) placed “in” TOPI (i.e. “sun hat”) and followed by CALM (i.e. “relaxed”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: T(R)OPI-CAL.

24. Outside America, herb served at first with mother’s hot food (8,3,4)

Answer: SAUSAGES AND MASH (i.e. “food”). Solution is US (i.e. “America”) with SAGE (i.e. “herb”) placed “outside” of it, then S (i.e. “served at first”, i.e. the first letter of “served”), then AND (i.e. “with”), then MA’S (i.e. “mother’s”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “hot”), like so: SA(US)GE-S-AND-MA’S-H.

26. Man involved in drinking spree, a pub employee (9)

Answer: BARTENDER (i.e. “pub employee”). Solution is ART (i.e. “man”, specifically a shortened form of Arthur) placed or “involved in” BENDER (i.e. “drinking spree”), like so: B(ART)ENDER.

28. Device controlling flow of fuel – or choke? (8)

Answer: THROTTLE. Solution satisfies “device controlling flow of fuel” and “choke”.

29. European articles on country gents ultimately apt for playing down (14)

Answer: UNDERSTATEMENT (i.e. “playing down”). Solution is UN and DER (i.e. “European articles”, i.e. the French for “a” and the German for “the”) followed by STATE (i.e. “country”), then MEN (i.e. “gents”) and T (i.e. “ultimately apt”, i.e. the last letter of “apt”).

31. Country bumpkin’s pulse a surgeon felt in the end (7)

Answer: PEASANT (i.e. “country bumpkin”). Solution is PEAS (i.e. “pulse”) followed by A, then N and T (i.e. “surgeon felt in the end”, i.e. the last letters of “surgeon” and “felt”).

34. Harsh call arresting Cleopatra’s killer (7)

Answer: RASPING (i.e. “harsh”). Solution is RING (i.e. “call”) wrapped around or “arresting” ASP (i.e. “Cleopatra’s killer”), like so: R(ASP)ING.

39. Necessity for game identified by river managers (9)

Answer: DARTBOARD (i.e. “necessity for game [of darts]”). Solution is DART (i.e. “river” in Devon) followed by BOARD (i.e. “managers”).

42. Alarm if one is kept ultimately for a soil loosener (9)

Answer: SCARIFIER (i.e. “soil loosener”). Solution is SCARE (i.e. “alarm”) wrapped around or “keeping” IF and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), and then followed by R (i.e. “ultimately for”, i.e. the last letter of “for”), like so: SCAR(IF-I)E-R.

43. Native of Lima perhaps, salesman turning up with one in posh vehicle (8)

Answer: PERUVIAN (i.e. “native of Lima perhaps”). Solution is REP (i.e. “salesman”) reversed (indicated by “turning up” – this being a down clue) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) once placed “in” U (i.e. “posh” – U being an abbreviation used to describe the upper class) and VAN (i.e. “vehicle”), like so: PER-U-V(I)AN.

44. One searching for game in macaque’s territory (7)

Answer: QUESTER (i.e. “one searching for game” – a quest is a variant spelling of queest, a kind of wood pigeon). “In” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: MACA(QUE’S TER)RITORY.

45. Kitchen device misplaced at store (7)

Answer: TOASTER (i.e. “kitchen device”). “Misplaced” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AT STORE.

46. Item of footwear found in coach? (7)

Answer: TRAINER. Solution satisfies “item of footwear” and “coach”.

47. Origin of condiment, reportedly (6)

Answer: SOURCE (i.e. “origin”). “Reportedly” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of SAUCE (i.e. “condiment”).

49. One adheres to WI religion – partly, for a start (5)

Answer: RASTA (i.e. “one adheres to WI religion”). “Partly” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: FO(R A STA)RT.

51. Dried kernels represented by Constable, the artist? (5)

Answer: COPRA (i.e. “dried kernels” of coconuts). Solution is COP (i.e. “constable” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) followed by RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician).

52. Governor dipping into Times – a character! (5)

Answer: THETA (i.e. “a character” of the Greek alphabet). Solution is HE (i.e. “governor” – a recognised abbreviation of His Excellency) placed “into” T and T (recognised abbreviations of “time”, i.e. “times” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) and followed by A, like so: T(HE)T-A.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1459

Another medium strength puzzle this week, and a pretty good one too. You can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful.

You can find links to solutions for the past 100+ of these things on my Just For Fun page, should that be of any use to you. I’ve also got some mouldy old book reviews and a story of mine, should any of that appeal.

Till next time, stay safe, mask up and keep giving thumbs to NHS and key workers everywhere, especially as infections and hospital admissions continue to tick up again.

LP

Across clues

1. Liberal’s comic – phoney person who leaves the less well-off behind? (6,7)

Answer: SOCIAL CLIMBER (i.e. “person who leaves the less well-off behind”). “Phoney” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of LIBERAL’S COMIC.

8. Sign of unity between partners in business, say (9)

Answer: AMPERSAND. Clue plays on how you sometimes see ampersand characters or “signs” in business names, e.g. Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Steptoe & Son etc.

13. Dog rescuers on the road carrying equipment (5)

Answer: AKITA (i.e. a breed of “dog”). Solution is AA (i.e. “rescuers on the road”, specifically the Automobile Association) wrapped around or “carrying” KIT (i.e. “equipment”), like so: A(KIT)A.

14. All decline perversely to accept large invention of physicist (7,4)

Answer: DANIELL CELL (i.e. an early innovation in battery technology and “invention of physicist” John Frederic Daniell). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “perversely”) of ALL DECLINE wrapped around or “accepting” L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), like so: DANIE(L)CELL.

15. Celebrate outside with jazzy music (5)

Answer: SWING (i.e. “jazzy music”). Solution is SING (i.e. “celebrate”) wrapped around or placed “outside” of W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”), like so: S(W)ING.

16. Spiritual band? (3,6)

Answer: DOG COLLAR (i.e. “band”). Clue plays on how collars worn by the clergy are called dog collars.

17. Danger when last character comes forward presenting dagger (4)

Answer: KRIS (i.e. “dagger” with a wavy blade). Solution is RISK (i.e. “danger”) with the “last character coming forward”, like so: RIS(K) => (K)RIS.

18. A job had for one leaving the fold (8)

Answer: APOSTATE (i.e. “one leaving the fold”). Solution is A followed by POST (i.e. “job”) and ATE (i.e. “had”).

20. Least known artist ahead of others (6)

Answer: RAREST (i.e. “least known”). Solution is RA (i.e. “artist”, specifically a Royal Academician) followed by or placed “ahead of” REST (i.e. “others”).

21. Given a chance to do business favourably where customers come in? (2,3,6,5)

Answer: ON THE GROUND FLOOR. Solution satisfies “given a chance to do business favourably” and “where customers come in”.

24. Computer software has changed, right? We are mad (9)

Answer: SHAREWARE (i.e. “computer software” created to be shared rather than for profit). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “changed”) of HAS followed by R (a recognised abbreviation of “right”), then another anagram (indicated by “mad”), this time of WE ARE, like so: SHA-R-EWARE.

26. Loveless city wanting end to crime – it’s hairy (7)

Answer: BRISTLE (i.e. “it’s hairy” – what, a single bristle?) Solution is BRISTOL (i.e. “city”) with the O removed (indicated by “loveless” – “love” being a zero score in tennis). The remainder is then followed by E (i.e. “end to crime”, i.e. the last letter of “crime”), like so: BRISTL-E.

27. Beliefs of left-winger disrupting firm (5)

Answer: CREDO (i.e. “beliefs”). Solution is RED (i.e. “left-winger”) placed in or “disrupting” CO (i.e. “firm”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “company”), like so: C(RED)O.

29. Once again tackling study with relish? (12)

Answer: READDRESSING (i.e. “once again tackling”). Solution is READ (i.e. “study”) and DRESSING (i.e. “relish”).

31. Woman, 51, wanting man? Lady losing heart should be taking care (10)

Answer: DILIGENTLY (i.e. “taking care”). Solution is DI (i.e. “woman”, i.e. a shortened form of a woman’s name, Diana) followed by LI (i.e. “51” in Roman numerals), then GENT (i.e. “man”) and LY (i.e. “lady losing heart”, i.e. the word “lady” with all its middle letters removed), like so: DI-LI-GENT-LY.

33. Academic Scotsman maybe joining club in European country (10)

Answer: MACEDONIAN (i.e. “in European country”, specifically Macedonia, funnily enough). Solution is DON (i.e. “academic”) and IAN (i.e. “Scotsman” – a bit of wordplay I’ve never liked) both placed behind or “joining” MACE (i.e. “club”), like so: MACE-DON-IAN.

35. Elements of opera, ballet or pantomime? (4,3,5)

Answer: SONG AND DANCE (i.e. “pantomime”, both taken to mean a right old palaver). Clue plays on how SONG is an “element” of “opera”, likewise DANCE of “ballet”.

38. Poet giving answers to binary question (5)

Answer: Alfred NOYES (i.e. “poet”). When written as NO YES the solution also satisfies “answers to binary question”.

39. Role of singer that comes in last bit of Idomeneo (7)

Answer: SECONDO (i.e. “role of singer”, specifically the lower part of a duet). When written as SECOND O, the solution also satisfies “that comes in last of Idomeneo”, i.e. how the second O of the word appears at the end.

40. Happy one, a politician mostly the combative type (9)

Answer: GLADIATOR (i.e. “combative type”). Solution is GLAD (i.e. “happy”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then A and TORY (i.e. “politician”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”), like so: GLAD-I-A-TOR.

42. High-level words of wisdom for disciples (6,2,3,5)

Answer: SERMON ON THE MOUNT. Solution satisfies “high-level words” and “words of wisdom for [Christ’s] disciples”.

44. What sounds like Cockney’s ascent of mountain in a little bath! (6)

Answer: EYECUP (i.e. “a little bath”). “What sounds like” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of HIKE UP (i.e. “ascent of mountain”) once the H has been removed (indicated by “Cockney’s”, as in how Cockneys are forever dropping their bleedin’ aitches, presumably in those gaps when they’re not eating winkles and pickled eggs.)

47. One praising international community – record is excellent ultimately (8)

Answer: EULOGIST (i.e. “one praising”). Solution is EU (i.e. “international community”, specifically the European Union) followed by LOG (i.e. “record”), then IS, and T (i.e. “excellent ultimately”, i.e. the last letter of “excellent”).

49. Some aliens of Universe to go around in these? (4)

Answer: UFOS. Clue riffs on how aliens used to gad about the skies in Unidentified Flying Objects back when spotting them was an easy way to get oneself into the papers. Ah, the days. (Puts away pan lids.) “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “to go around” indicates the solution has been reversed, like so: ALIEN(S OF U)NIVERSE.

50. No cure sadly – time to offer support (9)

Answer: ENCOURAGE (i.e. “to offer support”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sadly”) of NO CURE followed by AGE (i.e. “time”), like so: ENCOUR-AGE.

52. Noise of family beginning to gather (5)

Answer: CLANG (i.e. “noise”). Solution is CLAN (i.e. “family”) followed by G (i.e. “beginning to gather”, i.e. the first letter of “gather”).

53. Needless description of someone left in the lurch? (8-3)

Answer: UNCALLED-FOR (i.e. “needless”). “Lurch” can describe a whitewash or a very one-sided game. I understand a game of bridge involves calls, so I’m assuming a right thumping might leave you UNCALLED-FOR. If I’m on the wrong track and a better solution comes to the fore, I’ll update the post.

54. Wind to go suddenly, backing east (5)

Answer: TRADE (i.e. “wind” – the trade winds, blowing around the Earth’s equator, were often ridden by captains of sailing ships). Solution is DART (i.e. “to go suddenly”) reversed (indicated by “backing”) and then followed by E (a recognised abbreviation of “east”).

55. Possible colour of water, surprisingly subtle, hiding fish (5,4)

Answer: STEEL BLUE (i.e. “possible colour of water” – I’d run the taps a little longer, setter). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “surprisingly”) of SUBTLE wrapped around or “hiding” EEL (i.e. “fish”), like so: ST(EEL)BLUE.

56. Troublemaker and others come down in street – sort of control needed (4-9)

Answer: SELF-RESTRAINT (i.e. “sort of control”). Solution is ELF (i.e. “troublemaker”), REST (i.e. “others”) and RAIN (i.e. “come down”) all placed “in” ST (a recognised abbreviation of “street”), like so: S(ELF-REST-RAIN)T.

Down clues

1. Flags code of behaviour (9)

Answer: STANDARDS. Solution satisfies “flags” and “code of behaviour”.

2. First of children to hang around, one holding on to mum maybe? (7)

Answer: CLINGER (i.e. “one holding on to mum maybe”). Solution is C (i.e. “first of children”, i.e. the first letter of “children”) followed by LINGER (i.e. “to hang around”).

3. Terribly sad poet, alone, powerless, not sure what to do (2,1,5,3)

Answer: AT A LOOSE END (i.e. “not sure what to do”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “terribly”) of SAD POET ALONE once the P has been removed (indicated by “powerless” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “power”).

4. Old king engaging divine cook (6)

Answer: CODDLE (i.e. to “cook”). Solution is COLE (i.e. “old king”, the merry old soul) wrapped around or “engaging” DD (i.e. “divine”, one definition being a theologian. DD is a recognised abbreviation of Divinitatis Doctor or Doctor of Divinity), like so: CO(DD)LE.

5. I travel around north European country, heading off in state of bliss? (9)

Answer: IGNORANCE (i.e. “state of bliss”, as in the phrase “ignorance is bliss”). Solution is I followed by GO (i.e. “travel”) once it has been wrapped around N (a recognised abbreviation of “north”). This is then followed by FRANCE (i.e. “European country”) once the initial letter has been removed (indicated by “heading off”), like so: I-G(N)O-RANCE.

6. Use far too much bread? (5,3,4)

Answer: BREAK THE BANK (i.e. “use far too much”). Clue plays on how “bread” is an informal word for money. That’s about it, I guess.

7. Rich Greek character has new kitchen device (7,3)

Answer: ROLLING PIN (i.e. “kitchen device”). Solution is ROLLING (a slang word for “rich”, as in “rolling in it”) followed by PI (i.e. “Greek character”, specifically the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet) and N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”).

8. Church music ignoring scripture? Excuse me! (4)

Answer: AHEM (i.e. “excuse me!”). Solution is ANTHEM (i.e. “church music”) with the NT removed (indicated by “ignoring scripture” – NT being a recognised abbreviation of the New Testament of The Bible).

9. Pre-Napoleon’s win, a terrible historical conflict (13,3)

Answer: PELOPONNESIAN WAR (i.e. “historical conflict”). “Terrible” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of PRE-NAPOLEON’S WIN A. Wordplay was obvious but took a while to grind out, my knowledge of ancient Greek wars being not all that hot.

10. Cunning plans soldier finally employs (5)

Answer: RUSES (i.e. “cunning plans”). Solution is R (i.e. “soldier finally”, i.e. the last letter of “soldier” – a sneaky attempt to misdirect solvers jaded by the number of times army-related abbreviations are used in cryptic clues) followed by USES (i.e. “employs”).

11. Disturbed, thanks to being led by a soldier (7)

Answer: AGITATO (i.e. “disturbed” in musical lingo). Solution is TA (i.e. “thanks”) and TO placed after or “being led by” A and GI (i.e. “soldier”, as if to prove my point), like so: (A-GI)-TA-TO.

12. Old illustration of tragedy with Europe being torn apart (13)

Answer: DAGUERREOTYPE (i.e. “old illustration”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “being torn apart”) of TRAGEDY and EUROPE.

19. See an object bringing detestation (8)

Answer: LOATHING (i.e. “detestation”). Solution is LO (i.e. “see”, as in “lo and behold”) followed by A THING (i.e. “an object”).

22. Record poem about cult hero (5)

Answer: FICHE (i.e. “record”). Solution is IF (i.e. “poem” by Rudyard Kipling) reversed (indicated by “about”) and followed by CHE Guevara (i.e. “cult hero”).

23. Perform digital operation to cause somebody delight or embarrassment? (4,4,4,4)

Answer: MAKE ONE’S TOES CURL. Solution satisfies “perform digital operation” – toes being the digits of one’s feet – and “to cause somebody delight or embarrassment”.

25. Lots without leader would embrace roguish state of disorder (7)

Answer: ANARCHY (i.e. “state of disorder”). Solution is MANY (i.e. “lots”) with the first letter removed (indicated by “without leader”) and the remainder wrapped around or “embracing” ARCH (i.e. “roguish”), like so: AN(ARCH)Y.

28. Old lover with money, oddly cute and gone forever (7)

Answer: EXTINCT (i.e. “gone forever”). Solution is EX (i.e. “old lover”) followed by TIN (a slang word for “money”) and CT (i.e. “oddly cute”, i.e. every other letter of CUTE), like so: EX-TIN-CT.

29. Anecdotes consisting of touching little episodes – about a hundred (13)

Answer: REMINISCENCES (i.e. “anecdotes”). Solution is RE (i.e. “touching”, both taken to mean “regarding” – think email replies) followed by MINI (i.e. “little”) and SCENES (i.e. “episodes”) once this latter has been wrapped “about” C (i.e. “a hundred” expressed as a Roman numeral), like so: RE-MINI-SCEN(C)ES.

30. Big town faced with damage – lack of provisions (8)

Answer: SCARCITY (i.e. “lack of provisions”). Solution is CITY (i.e. “big town”) placed after or “facing” SCAR (i.e. “damage”), like so: SCAR-CITY.

32. King’s indication of approval perhaps for something in the garden? (8-4)

Answer: SOLOMON’S-SEAL (i.e. “something in the garden”). Solution is SOLOMON’S (i.e. a “king’s”) followed by SEAL (i.e. “indication of approval”).

34. Party music, something that’s found very lacking (5)

Answer: DISCO (i.e. “party music”). Solution is DISCOVERY (i.e. “something that’s found”) with the VERY removed (indicated by “very lacking”).

36. Girl possibly destined to travel by bicycle and boat to deliver bomb (5,6)

Answer: DAISY CUTTER (i.e. “bomb”). Solution is DAISY (i.e. “girl possibly destined to travel by bicycle”, a reference to the song Daisy Bell (Bicycle Made For Two), which features the famous line “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do…”) followed by CUTTER (i.e. “boat”).

37. Divine being descends from heaven in watery South American location (5,5)

Answer: ANGEL FALLS (i.e. “watery South American location”). Solution also satisfies “divine being descends from heaven”.

40. Sad end of gnu and end of tiger sought by killer? (6,3)

Answer: GUNNED FOR (i.e. “sought by killer”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sad”) of END OF GNU and R (i.e. “end of tiger”, i.e. the last letter of “tiger”).

41. Play in which one type of theatre is meeting with grudge (9)

Answer: REPRESENTS (i.e. “play”). Solution is REP (i.e. “type of theatre” – rep being short for a repertory theatre) followed by RESENT (i.e. “grudge” – wouldn’t that be “begrudge” or RESENTMENT?)

43. Announcement about rental agreement (7)

Answer: RELEASE (i.e. “announcement”). Solution is RE (i.e. “about” – again, think email replies) followed by LEASE (i.e. “rental agreement”).

45. Fellow at lunchtime maybe gets a bit of food (7)

Answer: CHAPATI (i.e. “bit of food”). Solution is CHAP (i.e. “fellow”) followed by AT I (i.e. “at lunchtime”, think of it as “at 1[pm]” with the 1 replaced by its Roman numeral equivalent).

46. Lots of heart binding saints (6)

Answer: SCORES (i.e. “lots”). Solution is CORE (i.e. “heart”) placed in S and S (i.e. “saints”, S being a recognised abbreviation of “saint”), like so: S(CORE)S.

48. Energy and ambition having no place for a Russian author (5)

Answer: Nikolai GOGOL (i.e. “Russian author”). Solution is GO (i.e. “energy”) followed by GOAL (i.e. “ambition”) with the A removed (indicated by “having no place for a”), like so: GO-GOL.

51. Top celebrity enthralling millions (4)

Answer: ACME (i.e. “top”). Solution is ACE (i.e. “celebrity”) wrapped around or “enthralling” M (a recognised abbreviation of “millions”), like so: AC(M)E.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1458

A medium strength puzzle this week for those able to get their hands on a copy following Extinction Rebellion’s protest. While a mere crossword is of course literally nothing compared to the fate of the planet, let alone the news itself, it does seem this particular protest was less about the damage we are doing to the environment and more how 80%+ of our national newspapers are owned by just three companies, News UK Newspapers, part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, being the largest. This is without doubt a poor state of affairs but blocking the newspapers you don’t like doesn’t feel like much of a solution, at least to this pseudonymous nobody. More worrying for XR perhaps is how their cause is increasingly being piggybacked by other agendas which, while undoubtedly important and justified, risk turning the group into merely another unfocused hard-left outfit.

Anyway, putting real life to one side for ten minutes (or 4-5 hours, if you’re me typing this) here’s my solution for this week’s puzzle for anyone who does their Jumbo Cryptics online, or who were able to get a copy (hat-tip to my local corner shop, who very kindly let me have the parts of the paper that did arrive), or for those who are curious of what they missed, or for those who have bought The Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword Book 23 in 2024 and are wondering 1) why it’s 40°C outside in September, 2) whatever happened to Extinction Rebellion, and 3) how on earth 10a is ABBOT.

As ever you can find my completed grid below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. Meanwhile, there’s other stuff knocking about the place: further solutions can be found on my Just For Fun page, there’s some dusty old book reviews and a story of mine.

Till next time (which will be a few days late as I’ll be away from my laptop next weekend, lockdowns permitting), take care, mask up and keep the flag flying for NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

1. Biting as Arctic’s winds (9)

Answer: SARCASTIC (i.e. “biting”). “Winds” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of AS ARCTIC’S. Nicely worked.

6. Supplier of ecstasy to be our sponsor, it’s said (7)

Answer: BACCHUS (i.e. “supplier of ecstasy”, specifically, according to Wikipedia, “the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre”… that’s one hell of a business card). “It’s said” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of BACK US (i.e. “be our sponsor”).

10. Superior rating given to second-rate back (5)

Answer: ABBOT (i.e. “superior” in charge of an abbey). Solution is AB (i.e. “rating”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of Able-Bodied, a rating given to skilled sailors marking them above ordinary sailors) followed by TO and B (i.e. “second-rate”, or B-grade) once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “back”), like so: AB-(B-OT).

13. With energy, note, old German chaser’s a stayer (7)

Answer: ENDURER (i.e. “stayer”). Solution is E (a recognised abbreviation of “energy”) followed by N (ditto “note”) and Albrecht DURER (i.e. “old German” artist and theorist). I believe “chaser” merely means DURER is placed after E and N, but I might have missed something clever.
[EDIT: Ong’ara comes up with the goods in the comments, highlighting that an alternative meaning of “chase” is to decorate by engraving, a discipline that Durer had dabbled in. Thanks, Ong’ara! – LP]

14. Explosive start setting one back a bit (5)

Answer: NITRO (i.e. “explosive”). Solution is INTRO (i.e. “start”) with the I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) moved “back a bit”, like so: (I)NTRO => N(I)TRO.

15. Close one’s rubbish bin – huge odour after emptying! (9)

Answer: NEIGHBOUR (i.e. “close one”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rubbish”) of BIN HUGE and OR (i.e. “odour after emptying”, i.e. the word “odour” with all its middle letters removed).

16. Seize chance to stop working with metal piping? (6,5,3,4,2,3)

Answer: STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT (i.e. “seize chance”). Solution is STRIKE (i.e. “to stop working”) followed by WHILE THE IRON IS HOT (i.e. “with metal piping [hot]”).

17. Big cat seeing gap, quietly escaping into yard, briefly (6)

Answer: COUGAR (i.e. “big cat”). Solution is GAP with the P removed (indicated by “quietly escaping” – P being a recognised abbreviation of “piano”, or quietly in musical lingo) placed into COURT (i.e. “yard”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “briefly”), like so: COU(GA)R.

18. Old statesman rarely any take to at first (8)

Answer: Jomo KENYATTA, former Prime Minister and President of Kenya (i.e. “old statesman”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “rarely”) of ANY TAKE and T (i.e. “to at first”, i.e. the first letter of “to”).

19. One selling joints in bar in Montmarte, not cheap (7)

Answer: BUTCHER (i.e. “one selling joints” of meat). Solution is BUT (i.e. “bar”, as in “best bar none”) followed by CHER (i.e. “in Montmarte, not cheap”, i.e. the French for “dear” – the use of other languages by setters to get the job done gets a bit tiresome in these things from time to time, but this is at least a word supported by my Chambers. Not sure I’m pretentious enough to use it, mind).

22. Lots of ladies, perhaps, one visiting old grandmother of Samuel (10)

Answer: JOHNSONIAN (i.e. “of [Dr] Samuel” Johnson, lexicographer and memorable guest star of Blackadder The Third). Solution is JOHNS (i.e. “lots of ladies, perhaps” – other flavours of toilet are available) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) once it has been placed in or “visiting” O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) and NAN (i.e. “grandmother”), like so: JOHNS-O-N(I)AN.

23. Bearing wine: unfamiliar accompaniment to duty-free purchase? (7,5)

Answer: AIRPORT NOVEL (i.e. “accompaniment to duty-free purchase”). Solution is AIR (i.e. “bearing”) followed by PORT (i.e. “wine”) and NOVEL (i.e. “unfamiliar”).

27. Foreign drama that’s painful under any circumstances (5)

Answer: NOHOW (i.e. “under any circumstances” – the definition for this is “in no way”, which seems entirely the opposite, but then my brain isn’t especially great at double-negatives). Solution is NOH (i.e. “foreign drama”, specifically a traditional Japanese drama) followed by OW (i.e. “that’s painful”).

29. In line, getting reading to be picked up (7)

Answer: QUEUING (i.e. “in line”). “Picked up” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of CUEING. I can’t help thinking there’s a typo in this clue; that it should read “getting ready” rather than “getting reading”. Happy to be corrected otherwise.

30. Motivating force behind religious teaching one runs in SE Asia (3,5)

Answer: RED RIVER (i.e. “one runs in SE Asia”, and most other parts of the world it seems). Solution is RE (i.e. “religious teaching”, i.e. a recognised abbreviation of Religious Education”) with DRIVER (i.e. “motivating force”) placed “behind” it, like so: RE-DRIVER.

32. Capital Radio presenter blocking call and not available (8)

Answer: NDJAMENA (i.e. “capital” of Chad). Solution is DJ (i.e. “radio presenter” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) placed in or “blocking” NAME (i.e. “call”) and followed by N/A (i.e. “not available), like so: N(DJ)AME-N/A.

34. Be effective after all, maybe, protecting large layer of skin (7)

Answer: CUTICLE (i.e. “layer of skin”). Solution is CUT ICE (i.e. “be effective after all, maybe” – the phrase “cut no ice” means to be ineffective) wrapped around or “protecting” L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”), like so: CUT-IC(L)E.

36. Students gathering for one drink (5)

Answer: NEGUS (i.e. “drink”, specifically “a drink of port or sherry mixed with hot water, sweetened and spiced” (Chambers)). Solution is NUS (i.e. “students” – specifically the National Union of Students) wrapped around or “gathering” EG (i.e. “for one”, as in “for example”), like so: N(EG)US.

39. Folk with primitive homes: all deserve modernising with WC (4-8)

Answer: CAVE-DWELLERS (i.e. “folk with primitive homes”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “modernising”) of ALL DESERVE and WC.

41. One in haste cut sticks to deliver huge blows (10)

Answer: HURRICANES (i.e. “huge blows”). Solution is I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) placed “in” between HURRY (i.e. “haste”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “cut”) and CANES (i.e. “sticks”), like so: HURR-(I)-CANES.

44. Writer embracing year performing as poet (7)

Answer: BYRONIC (i.e. “as poet”, specifically as Lord Byron). Solution is BIC (i.e. “writer”, i.e. a Bic biro) wrapped around or “embracing” YR (a recognised abbreviation of “year”) and ON (i.e. “performing”), like so: B(YR-ON)IC.

46. Appropriate to put on a very loud alarm (8)

Answer: AFFRIGHT (i.e. “alarm”). Solution is RIGHT (i.e. “appropriate”) placed “on” or after A and FF (i.e. “very loud”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “fortissimo” in musical lingo), like so: A-FF-RIGHT.

48. Soft, ultimately tuneless humming (6)

Answer: SPONGY (i.e. “soft”). Solution is S (i.e. “ultimately tuneless”, i.e. the last letter of “tuneless”) followed by PONGY (i.e. “humming”).

50. Do colours? I polish crucifix ring fits inside, to be exact (3,4,2,3,5,4,2)

Answer: DOT ONES IS AND CROSS ONES TS (i.e. “to be exact”). Solution is DO followed by TONES (i.e. “colours”), then I, then SAND (i.e. “polish”), then CROSS (i.e. “crucifix”), then O (i.e. “ring”) and NESTS (i.e. “fits inside”), like so: DO-TONES-I-SAND-CROSS-O-NESTS. Blimey!

53. Rocket, perhaps, that has wartime success within reach? (9)

Answer: VEGETABLE (i.e. “rocket, perhaps”). Solution is VE (i.e. “wartime success”, specifically Victory in Europe) followed by GETABLE (i.e. “within reach”).

54. Triumphant cry on clinching record, that’s followed by “Bravo” (5)

Answer: ALPHA (i.e. “that’s followed by “Bravo”” in the phonetic alphabet). Solution is AHA (i.e. “triumphant cry”) wrapped around or “clinching” LP (i.e. “record”), like so: A(LP)HA.

55. Shakespearean jester, one sharing top billing with duke (7)

Answer: COSTARD (i.e. “Shakespearean jester”, specifically a comic figure in Love’s Labour’s Lost who, incidentally, uses the word honorificabilitudinitatibus in Act V – another reason why I’ll never make it as a stage actor). Solution is CO-STAR (i.e. “one sharing top billing”) followed by D (a recognised abbreviation of “duke”).

56. Period before series concluded (3-2)

Answer: RUN-UP (i.e. “period before”). Solution is RUN (i.e. “series”) followed by UP (i.e. “concluded”).

57. Repeat xray that’s distorted on one side (2,5)

Answer: EX PARTE (i.e. “on one side” only, from the Latin and used in legalese). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “that’s distorted”) of REPEAT and X (i.e. “xray” in the phonetic alphabet”).

58. Vanquish, having finished with commanding position (9)

Answer: OVERWHELM (i.e. “vanquish”). Solution is OVER (i.e. “having finished”) followed by W (a recognised abbreviation of “with”) and HELM (i.e. “commanding position”).

Down clues

1. Mends fencing in king’s colours (5)

Answer: SKEWS (i.e. “colours”). Solution is SEWS (i.e. “mends”) wrapped around or “fencing in” K (a recognised abbreviation of “king”), like so: S(K)EWS.

2. To be cavalier with good horse, very hurried training required (4,9,4)

Answer: RIDE ROUGHSHOD OVER (i.e. “to be cavalier with”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “training required”) of GOOD HORSE, V (a recognised abbreviation of “very”) and HURRIED.

3. Language review is a frank assessment, primarily (9)

Answer: AFRIKAANS (i.e. “language”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “review”) of IS A FRANK and A (i.e. “assessment, primarily”, i.e. the first letter of “assessment”).

4. Reading, perhaps, absorbing personnel in cast (6)

Answer: THROWN (i.e. “cast”). Solution is TOWN (i.e. “Reading, perhaps”) wrapped around or “absorbing” HR (i.e. “personnel”, i.e. Human Resources), like so: T(HR)OWN.

5. Kind of legal position for player in case (11)

Answer: CONSIDERATE (i.e. “kind”). Solution is ONSIDE (i.e. “legal position for player”) placed “in” CRATE (i.e. “case”), like so: C(ONSIDE)RATE.

6. I’ll be seeing you around Thursday, in passing (2,3,3)

Answer: BY THE BYE (i.e. “in passing” – can be spelled BY or BYE). Solution is BYE-BYE (i.e. “I’ll be seeing you”) wrapped “around” TH (a recognised abbreviation of “Thursday”), like so: BY(TH)E-BYE.

7. Way to make up yarn of note, not the first time (7)

Answer: CROCHET (i.e. “way to make up yarn”). Solution is CROTCHET (i.e. “[musical] note”) with the first T removed (indicated by “not the first time” – T being a recognised abbreviation of “time”).

8. Deliver one international player to each sporting official (11)

Answer: HANDICAPPER (i.e. “sporting official”). Solution is HAND (i.e. “deliver”) followed by I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), then CAP (i.e. “international player”) and PER (i.e. “to each”).

9. One visibly upset crossing mountain, meeting British person descending it? (9)

Answer: SKIBOBBER (i.e. “person descending [mountain]”). Solution is SOBBER (i.e. “one visibly upset”) wrapped around KI (i.e. “mountain”, specifically K1 in Pakistan with the 1 replaced by I) and B (a recognised abbreviation of “British”), like so: S(KI-B)OBBER.

10. Seeing a crime being committed possibly, but not believing (7)

Answer: ATHEIST (i.e. “not believing”). When written as AT HEIST, the solution also satisfies “seeing a crime being committed possibly”.

11. Some raised cash to oblige assassin (5)

Answer: John Wilkes BOOTH (i.e. “assassin” who killed Abraham Lincoln). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, while “raised” indicates the solution has been reversed – this being a down clue – like so: CAS(H TO OB)LIGE.

12. Act utterly crazily – not unknown to be upset (4,6)

Answer: TURN TURTLE (i.e. “to be upset”, as in turning a turtle over onto its shell, rendering it helpless). Solution is TURN (i.e. “act” or performance) followed by an anagram (indicated by “crazily”) of UTTERLY once the Y has been removed (indicated by “not unknown” – setters love referring to X, Y or Z in their solutions as unknowns).

17. One living in southern US around early summer (5)

Answer: CAJUN (i.e. “one living in southern US”). Solution is CA (i.e. “around”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “circa”) followed by JUN (i.e. “early summer”, as in a shortened form of June).

20. Individual’s own urge to confront hosts gets to look stupid (4,3,2,4,4)

Answer: HAVE EGG ON ONES FACE (i.e. “look stupid”). A bit of a clunky mess, this one. Rather than follow the phrasing of the clue, I’ll merely point out the individual bits, i.e. HAVE (i.e. “hosts”), EGG ON (i.e. “urge”), ONE’S (i.e. “own”) and FACE (i.e. “to confront”).

21. Where we learn which of our neighbours is special (6)

Answer: UNIQUE (i.e. “special”). Solution is UNI (i.e. “where we learn”, as in a shortened form of university) followed by QUE (i.e. “which of our neighbours”, i.e. the French for “which”).

24. Leave time to visit trendy, small bars (6)

Answer: INGOTS (i.e. “bars”). Solution is GO (i.e. “leave”) and T (a recognised abbreviation of “time”) placed in or “visiting” IN (i.e. “trendy”) and S (a recognised abbreviation of “small”), like so: IN-(GO-T)-S.

25. New, excellent service gets you to Scottish destination (5)

Answer: NAIRN (i.e. a “Scottish destination”). Solution is N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) followed by AI (i.e. “excellent”, i.e. A1 with the 1 replaced by I) and RN (i.e. “service”, specifically the Royal Navy).

26. Wheels put together with track one assembled (3,3)

Answer: KIT CAR (i.e. “wheels put together”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “assembled”) of TRACK and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”).

28. Open country show – hope grandma will attend, finally (5)

Answer: WEALD (i.e. “open country”). “Finally” indicates that the solution is derived from the last letters of SHOW HOPE GRANDMA WILL ATTEND.

31. Flat, shell-like blocks in need of water? (6)

Answer: DREARY (i.e. “flat”). Solution is EAR (i.e. “shell-like”) placed in or “blocking” DRY (i.e. “in need of water”), like so: DR(EAR)Y.

33. Winning the lot, Bill tends to get emotional (1,5,5)

Answer: A CLEAN SWEEP (i.e. “winning the lot”). Solution is AC (i.e. “bill”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of “account” – ignore the misleading capitalisation) followed by LEANS (i.e. “tends”) and WEEP (i.e. “to get emotional”).

35. Shiftless viewer specifically into You Tubers? (5,6)

Answer: COUCH POTATO (i.e. “shiftless viewer”). Not fully on board with this one, I’m afraid. I get that tubers gets you POTATO, but that’s about it from me.
[EDIT: Upon reflection, I think there’s nothing more to this one than potatoes = tubers and that the setter is merely cracking wise. (Sighs. Shrugs shoulders.) – LP]

37. Weakling is first, say? Nothing odd in that (5)

Answer: SISSY (i.e. “weakling”). “Nothing odd in that” indicates the solution can be derived by taking every other letter of IS FIRST SAY.

38. Copper, corrupt, one has arrested by senior underworld investigator in suit? (5,5)

Answer: SCUBA DIVER (i.e. “underworld investigator in suit”). Solution is CU (chemical symbol of “copper”), BAD (i.e. “corrupt”) and I’VE (i.e. “one has”, i.e. a contraction of “I have”) all placed in or “arrested by” SR (a recognised abbreviation of “senior”), like so: S(CU-BAD-I’VE)R.

40. Sporting saxe blue cape not such a crime! (9)

Answer: EXCUSABLE (i.e. “not such a crime”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “sporting”) of SAXE BLUE and C (a recognised abbreviation of “Cape”).

42. Wife, under arrest in Grammar School, with a sharp object (6,3)

Answer: COPING SAW (i.e. “a sharp object” used to cut curves). Solution is W (a recognised abbreviation of “wife”) placed after or “under” – this being a down clue – COP (i.e. “arrest”), IN, GS (a recognised abbreviation of “Grammar School”), W (ditto “with”) and A, like so: (COP-IN-GS-A)W.

43. A viewer of EastEnders Christmas special? (5,3)

Answer: MINCE PIE. Solution satisfies “Christmas special” and “a viewer of EastEnders”, as in the cockney rhyming slang for “eye”. Nicely worked.

45. Reflected on points put by, say, Cork Express (7)

Answer: NONSTOP (i.e. “express”). Solution is NO (i.e. “reflected on”, i.e. the word “on” reversed) followed by NS (i.e. “points”, specifically recognised abbreviations of north and south) and TOP (i.e. “cork” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

47. Stuff in the end not just a source of amusement (7)

Answer: FUNFAIR (i.e. “a source of amusement”). Solution is F (i.e. “stuff in the end”, i.e. the last letter of “stuff”) followed by UNFAIR (i.e. “not just”).

49. Autopsy check’s far from complete, mind (6)

Answer: PSYCHE (i.e. “mind”). “Far from complete” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: AUTO(PSY CHE)CK.

51. Cross when hearing match lost (5)

Answer: TIGON (i.e. a “cross” between a tiger and lion created purely because some heartless sods thought “why not?”. Ditto ligers.) “When hearing” indicates homophone. Solution is a homophone of TIE GONE (i.e. “match lost”).

52. Instant good advice to follow up in place of evil? (5)

Answer: SODOM (i.e. “place of evil”). Solution is MO (i.e. “instant” or moment) followed by DOS (i.e. “good advice”, as in dos and don’ts). The whole is then reversed (indicated by “to follow up” – this being a down clue”), like so: SOD-OM.

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1457

Not the Bank Holiday stinker that was feared. A pretty average strength puzzle in the end, which is all fine and dandy with me. All the more time to get other things done!

As ever, you can find my completed solution below along with explanations of my solutions where I have them. I hope you find them helpful. Posts covering the previous 100+ of these things can be accessed via my Just For Fun page. Meanwhile, I’ve also got some dusty old book reviews and a story of mine.

Till next time, keep safe, mask up and continue to support the NHS and key workers everywhere.

LP

Across clues

1. Go away, packing some current toiletry (7)

Answer: SHAMPOO (i.e. “toiletry”). Solution is SHOO (i.e. “go away”) wrapped around or “packing” AMP (i.e. “some [electrical] current”), like so: SH(AMP)OO.

5. Show sheet of stamps left ready (5,4)

Answer: PANEL GAME (i.e. “[TV or radio] show”). Solution is PANE (i.e. a large “sheet of stamps” issued by the Post Office) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “left”) and GAME (i.e. “ready”).

10. A lot of well-rounded fruit (4)

Answer: PLUM. A triple-header, I believe, in that the solution satisfies “a lot” – a plum, according to my Chambers, is an old word for £100,000 – also “well-rounded” and “fruit”.
[EDIT: Thanks to Ong’ara in the comments for providing a much better solution to this, being PLUMP (i.e. “well-rounded”) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of”). Much obliged, Ong’ara! – LP]

14. Nice jumper, perhaps needed for game (6,7)

Answer: FRENCH CRICKET (i.e. “game”, specifically one where “players throw a ball at a batsman from the place where it is fielded, the batsman being out if the ball strikes his or her leg below the knee.” (Chambers) – it’ll never catch on). Solution plays on how “Nice” is a FRENCH city, and a CRICKET is a “jumping” insect. You get the idea.

15. South American owl’s cries, communicating in concealment (2,7)

Answer: IN CAHOOTS (i.e. “communicating in concealment”). When written as INCA HOOTS the solution also satisfies “South American owl’s cries”.

16. Peacekeepers with move to East Darfur – initially not costed (10)

Answer: UNBUDGETED (i.e. “not costed”). Solution is UN (i.e. “peacekeepers”, specifically the United Nations) followed by BUDGE (i.e. “move”) and T E and D (i.e. “to East Darfur – initially”, i.e. the initial letters of “to”, “East” and “Darfur”).

17. Again plan to improve university gets behind schedule (11)

Answer: REFORMULATE (i.e. “again plan”). Solution is REFORM (i.e. “improve”) followed by U (a recognised abbreviation of “university”) and LATE (i.e. “behind schedule”).

18. All-female church – for this reason (5)

Answer: HENCE (i.e. “for this reason”). Solution is HEN (i.e. “female”) followed by CE (i.e. “church”, specifically the Church of England).

19. Dogfish is tender, Harry (10)

Answer: NURSEHOUND (i.e. “dogfish”). Solution is NURSE (i.e. “tender”) followed by HOUND (i.e. “[to] harry” – ignore the misleading capitalisation).

21. Indian Statesman with horse protected by solider (6)

Answer: Rajiv GANDHI (i.e. “Indian Statesman”). Solution is AND (i.e. “with”) and H (a recognised abbreviation of “horse”) both placed in or “protected by” GI (i.e. “soldier”), like so: G(AND-H)I.

23. Overturned ruler, a distant one? (3,6)

Answer: RAS TAFARI (i.e. “overturned ruler”, also known as Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia who was overthrown in a military coup in the mid-1970s). Thanks to a spot of recycling the solution is TSAR (i.e. “ruler”) reversed (indicated by “overthrown”) and followed by AFAR (i.e. “distant”) and I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”), like so: RAST-AFAR-I. Nicely worked.

25. What improves flow of southern wine from Spain (5)

Answer: STENT (i.e. “what improves flow” of blood). Solution is S (a recognised abbreviation of “southern”) followed by TENT (i.e. “wine from Spain”).

26. Difficult Republican pair in Australia (7)

Answer: ARDUOUS (i.e. “difficult”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “Republican”) and DUO (i.e. “pair”) both placed “in” AUS (a recognised abbreviation of “Australia”), like so: A(R-DUO)US.

28. Easy, cheap bake cooked in area rich with seafood (10,3)

Answer: CHESAPEAKE BAY (i.e. “[US] area rich with seafood”). “Cooked” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EASY CHEAP BAKE.

31. Penny-pinching sets back head of Treasury’s check on finances (5,4)

Answer: MEANS TEST (i.e. “check on finances”). Solution is MEAN (i.e. “penny-pinching”) followed by SETS reversed (indicated by “back”) and T (i.e. “head of Treasury”, i.e. the first letter of “Treasury”), like so: MEAN-STES-T.

33. Wrecks – and what might cause them? (9)

Answer: TORPEDOES. Clue plays on how the solution can be a noun and a verb, i.e. how to TORPEDO something can be said to “wreck” it. You get the idea.

35. Position-finding in Lima, say calling to drop off Victor (13)

Answer: RADIOLOCATION (i.e. “position-finding”). Solution is RADIO L (i.e. “Lima, say” – Lima is L in the phonetic alphabet, used to clearly spell stuff over radio or other audio communications) followed by VOCATION (i.e. “calling”) with the V removed (indicated by “to drop off Victor” – “Victor” being V in the phonetic alphabet), like so: RADIO-L-OCATION.

37. Assorted charms seen around European border region (7)

Answer: MARCHES (i.e. “border region”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “assorted”) of CHARMS wrapped “around” E (a recognised abbreviation of “European”), like so: MARCH(E)S.

38. Expert at getting round odd parts of Dieppe (5)

Answer: ADEPT (i.e. “expert”). Solution is AT wrapped “round” every other letter of DIEPPE (indicated by “odd parts of…”), like so: A(DEP)T.

40. Poor quality trader hit badly (5-4)

Answer: THIRD-RATE (i.e. “poor quality”). “Badly” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of TRADER HIT.

42. Organ installed in new empty baptistry not far away (6)

Answer: NEARBY (i.e. “not far away”). Solution is EAR (i.e. “organ”) placed or “installed in” N (a recognised abbreviation of “new”) and BY (i.e. “empty baptistry”, i.e. the word “baptistry” with all its middle letters removed), like so: N-(EAR)-BY.

44. Female working to run large outfit in recession (6,4)

Answer: CAREER GIRL (i.e. “female working” – blimey, what century is this from?). Solution is CAREER (i.e. “to run”) followed by L (a recognised abbreviation of “large”) and RIG (i.e. “outfit”) once these latter two have been reversed (indicated by “in recession”), like so: CAREER-(GIR-L).

46. Some pyromaniac – Nero, perhaps (5)

Answer: ROMAN (i.e. “Nero, perhaps”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: PY(ROMAN)IAC. Nicely worked.

48. Get hold of the wrong end of the stick in row chasing male dog (4,7)

Answer: BULL TERRIER (i.e. “dog”). Solution is ERR (i.e. “get hold of the wrong end of the stick”) placed “in” TIER (i.e. “row”) and preceded by or “chasing” BULL (i.e. “male”), like so: BULL-T(ERR)IER.

50. Old writers have English with identical style of spelling (4,6)

Answer: OPEN SESAME (i.e. “spelling”, as in how the words would open the forty thieves’ cave in One Thousand and One Nights – now if only the words would work on peel-and-reseal packaging: surely the biggest lie that has been fed the British public in decades. (Checks all lies fed to British public over several decades.) Yup. Definitely the biggest. Thank goodness for knives, I say. It’s the only way to get into the bloody things. Of course, then you’ve got to get the cling film out to wrap the now-mutilated packaging, instantly doing away with the environmental benefits of having it resealable in the first place. I mean, why? (Drops to knees) Why?!? WWHHYYY??!! In fact, why aren’t we protesting this? Action is surely needed to stop… wait, I appear to have gone off track.) Solution is O (a recognised abbreviation of “old”) followed by PENS (i.e. “writers”), then E (a recognised abbreviation of “English”) and SAME (i.e. “identical”).
[EDIT: Thanks to Sue in the comments for the typo fix. O is a recognised abbreviation of “old”, not “open”. Cheers, Sue! – LP]

52. Impression capital is a cause of fall in aviation industry (3,6)

Answer: AIR POCKET (i.e. “cause of fall in aviation industry” – sick bags at the ready!). Solution is AIR (i.e. “impression”) followed by POCKET (i.e. “capital” – one definition of “pocket” is “one’s personal stock of money”).

53. Empire’s in trim with stirring leader (5,8)

Answer: PRIME MINISTER (i.e. “leader”). “With stirring” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of EMPIRE’S IN TRIM.

54. Man cried (4)

Answer: CREW. Solution satisfies to “man” a boat and “cried”, i.e. the past tense of “crow”.

55. Make union once more upset centre about Conservative (9)

Answer: RECONNECT (i.e. “make union once more”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “upset”) of CENTRE wrapped “about” CON (a recognised abbreviation of “Conservative”), like so: RE(CON)NECT.

56. Cosmonaut a bit mad at urine being uncovered (7)

Answer: Yuri GAGARIN (i.e. “cosmonaut”). Solution is GAGA (i.e. “a bit mad”) followed by RIN (i.e. “urine being uncovered”, i.e. the word “urine” with it’s first and last letters removed), like so: GAGA-RIN.

Down clues

1. Some works of art in Chesterfield (4)

Answer: SOFA (i.e. “Chesterfield”). “Some” indicates the solution has been hidden in the clue, like so: WORK(S OF A)RT.

2. Key coins used around northern Italian region (9)

Answer: APENNINES (i.e. “Italian region”). Solution is A (i.e. “[musical] key”) followed by PENNIES (i.e. “coins”) wrapped “around” N (a recognised abbreviation of “northern”), like so: A-PENNI(N)ES.

3. Work in concert to imagine the devil showing off (8,2,2,10)

Answer: PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION (i.e. “work in concert” by Modest Mussorgsky). Solution is PICTURE (i.e. “to imagine”) followed by SATAN (i.e. “the devil”) and EXHIBITION (i.e. “showing off”).

4. Reason for growth projection in unit over November (7)

Answer: ONCOGEN (i.e. “reason for growth”, specifically an agent causing the formation of cancerous tumours). Solution is COG (i.e. “projection” – can refer to the tooth of a cog as well as the thing itself) placed “in” ONE (i.e. “unit”) and followed by N (“November” in the phonetic alphabet), like so: ON(COG)E-N. Another of those make-up-a-word-and-see-if-it’s-in-the-dictionary moments.

5. What publisher uses to improve look about reset insert (8,3)

Answer: PRINTERS INK (i.e. “what publisher uses”). Solution is PRINK (i.e. “to improve look” – not a word I can imagine myself using: “Yeah, mate, I’ll be right there. I’m just having a little prink first…”) wrapped “about” an anagram (indicated by “reset”) of INSERT, like so: PRIN(TERSIN)K.

6. Snakes end writhing, having shed skins? (9)

Answer: NAKEDNESS (i.e. “having shed skins” – a bit Hellraiser if you ask me, but okay). “Writhing” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SNAKES END.

7. Roofer starting late and after some time (5)

Answer: LATER (i.e. “after some time”). Solution is SLATER (i.e. “roofer”) with the initial letter removed (indicated by “starting late”). Naff that the solution is a variant form of another word used in the clue.

8. A noise, loud one, mostly rising up to the furthest distance (2,9)

Answer: AD INFINITUM (i.e. “to the furthest distance”). Solution is A followed by DIN (i.e. “noise”), then F (i.e. “loud”, specifically a recognised abbreviation of the musical term “forte”), then I (i.e. “[Roman numeral] one”) and MUTINY (i.e. “rising up”) once its last letter has been removed (indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder reversed (indicated by “up” – this being a down clue), like so: A-DIN-F-I-NITUM.

9. Space centre’s to give work once more (6)

Answer: ENCORE (i.e. “to give work once more”). Solution is EN (i.e. “space” – a printer’s term denoting half an “em”, a space the width of the letter “m” – if you ever see “space” in a clue, keep EM and EN in mind) followed by CORE (i.e. “centre”).

11. Man running in open land and road (7)

Answer: LEONARD (i.e. “man”, basically a man’s name). Solution is ON (i.e. “running” or switched on) placed “in” LEA (i.e. “open land” or meadow) and followed by RD (a recognised abbreviation of “road”), like so: LE(ON)A-RD.

12. Tons in row following my puzzles? (9)

Answer: MYSTERIES (i.e. “puzzles”). Solution is T (a recognised abbreviation of “tons”) placed in SERIES (i.e. “row”) and the whole then placed after or “following” MY, like so: MY-S(T)ERIES.

13. A suggestion of “misrobing”? This might go with green items (8,6,8)

Answer: THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING (i.e. “this might go with green items”, i.e. salad). Not on the same page as the setter on this one, I’m afraid. I get the DRESSING = “robing” part but I cannot parse the rest satisfactorily. “A suggestion of” could hint that the solution itself, when written a certain way, represents a cryptic clue, but nothing is sparking. Alternatively, you could write it as THOU SAND IS LAND DRESSING, which, while true, doesn’t speak much of a “misrobing” to me. Meh. Whatever. If I have a brainwave or if a kind commenter swings by with the solution I’ll update the post.
[EDIT: Dr John wins the internet after clearing this one up, pointing out that “misrobing” gets you the solution when it’s broken down as follows: M (i.e. “[Roman numeral] THOUSAND), IS (a recognised abbreviation of ISLAND) and ROBING (i.e. DRESSING).
I echo his “Phew!” in the comments! Cheers, Doc! – LP] 

18. Bin last trio of artichokes and cook another vegetable (7)

Answer: HARICOT (i.e. “vegetable”). Solution is an anagram (indicated by “cook”) of ARTICHOKES once the last three letters or “last trio” have been removed or “binned”.

20. Unable to appreciate stereo unit, watch end of DVD (3-4)

Answer: ONE-EYED (i.e. “unable to appreciate stereo” vision – unless some weird synaesthesia is going on). Solution is ONE (i.e. “unit”) followed by EYE (i.e. “watch”) and D (i.e. “end of DVD”, i.e. the last letter of “DVD”).

22. Lover of fine dressing for pasta (8)

Answer: MACARONI. Solution satisfies “lover of fine dressing”, i.e. a dandy, and “pasta”.

24. Mike leaves fraternity residence for pub (8)

Answer: ALEHOUSE (i.e. “pub”). Solution is MALE HOUSE (i.e. “fraternity”) once the M has been removed (indicated by “Mike leaves” – M being “Mike” in the phonetic alphabet).

27. Signs of dodgy passages round Bethel, I have article stolen (5)

Answer: OBELI (i.e. “signs of dodgy passages”, an obelus is “a – or † used in ancient manuscripts to mark suspected, corrupt of spurious words and passages” (Chambers)). Solution is O (i.e. “round”), BETHEL and I once the THE of BETHEL has been removed (indicated by “…have article stolen” – an article being a word like a, an or the), like so: O-BE(THE)L-I => O-BEL-I. Tough bugger.

29. Fear losing first letter in misprint, perhaps (5)

Answer: ERROR (i.e. “misprint, perhaps”). Solution is TERROR (i.e. “fear”) after “losing [its] first letter”.

30. See Brum’s obscure language (7)

Answer: BURMESE (i.e. “language”). “Obscure” indicates anagram. Solution is an anagram of SEE BRUM’S.

32. Can bird feature in Wordsworth poem? (7)

Answer: TINTERN (i.e. “feature in Wordsworth poem”, specifically Lines Written A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey). Solution is TIN (i.e. “can”) followed by TERN (i.e. “bird”). One of those make-up-a-word-and-search-Google moments. I have no shame.

34. Bogus article is stripped stick of a witch doctor (11)

Answer: SHAMANISTIC (i.e. “witch doctor”). Solution is SHAM (i.e. “bogus”) followed by AN (i.e. “article” – see 27d, above), then IS and TIC (i.e. “stripped stick”, i.e. the word “stick” with the first and last letter removed), like so: SHAM-AN-IS-TIC.

36. Revealed team went for a winger (7-4)

Answer: OUTSIDE-LEFT (i.e. “a winger”, as in a position on a football field). Solution is OUT (i.e. “revealed”) followed by SIDE (i.e. “team”) and LEFT (i.e. “went”).

37. A lot of March, say, mostly clear and cold for skiing area? (4,5)

Answer: MONT BLANC (i.e. “skiing area”). Solution is MONTH (i.e. “March, say” – other months are available) with its last letter removed (indicated by “a lot of…”) and the remainder followed by BLANK (i.e. “clear”), again with its last letter removed (this time indicated by “mostly”) and the remainder this time followed by C (a recognised abbreviation of “cold”), like so: MONT-BLAN-C.

39. King with gold I sheltered in brief scare (9)

Answer: TERRORISE (i.e. “scare”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of Rex, or “King” in Latin), OR (i.e. “gold” in heraldry) and I all placed in or “sheltered” by TERSE (i.e. “brief”), like so: TER(R-OR-I)SE.

41. Old school needs to adjust about a couple of degrees (4,5)

Answer: ALMA MATER (i.e. “old school”, from the Latin for “benign mother”). Solution is ALTER (i.e. “to adjust”) wrapped “about” MA and MA (i.e. “a couple of degrees”, specifically Masters of Arts), like so: AL(MA-MA)TER.

43. Belted earl with tag on the run (2,5)

Answer: AT LARGE (i.e. “on the run”). “Belted” indicates anagram, as in giving something a whack. Solution is an anagram of EARL and TAG.

45. Author with official approval, not British (7)

Answer: Doris LESSING (i.e. “author”). Solution is BLESSING (i.e. “official approval”) with the B removed (indicated by “not British” – B being a recognised abbreviation of “British”).

47. Runs after ruined trader (6)

Answer: BROKER (i.e. “trader”). Solution is R (a recognised abbreviation of “runs” used in a number of ball games) placed “after” BROKE (i.e. “ruined”), like so: BROKE-R.

49. Rent concerning for northern city (5)

Answer: RIPON (i.e. “northern city”). Solution is RIP (i.e. “rent”) followed by ON (i.e. “concerning”).

51. Land in the centre of Albania’s capital (4)

Answer: IRAN (i.e. “land”). Solution is the middle letters or “centre of” TIRANA (i.e. “Albania’s capital”).

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1456

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

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

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

LP

Across clues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14. Comic’s funny stagger (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20. Colour left on stick (6)

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

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

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

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

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

25. Cheating gangster to achieve checkmate? (11)

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

29. Piece attached to heel is hanging (5)

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

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

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

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

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

34. Dictatorial boss of car firm? (8)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

49. Port or bitter picked up? (3)

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

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

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

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

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

53. Turned up by chance in court (7)

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

54. Strong cloth fine in warm wind (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Down clues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. My old folk in exalted ceremony (10)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. Creatures put on islands (7)

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

19. Attempt place in event (4,3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

32. Regularly fear I invite disaster (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

46. Manoeuvre bin (7)

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

48. Agree to study dog (6)

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

51. Patriarch backing solid husband (5)

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

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1455

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

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

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

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

LP

Across clues

1. Fastest time: minutes? (6)

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

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

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

10. Judge on Charlie’s case (5)

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

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

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

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

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

16. Mature bears on island struggle (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21. Girl from a country wanting husband (4)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

32. Censorious man ultimately condemned authority (11)

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

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

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

37. Regular reporter’s therapist reported (8)

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

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

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

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

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

43. PM’s place of lost illusions? (4)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

50. Time to join crowd for security (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Down clues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

23. Stalwart companion separating female from male (8)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

38. Visually challenged rugby player in scam (9)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

46. Raptor like this regurgitated its food (6)

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

47. Club with upper hand (5)

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

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

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

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1454

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

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

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

LP

Across clues

1. French scientist rotating resin and juice (6)

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

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

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

9. Discard black metal boxes thus (8)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

23. Bird caught in bigger net (4)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tiddles rocks, by the way.

32. Blast misses lifting equipment (10)

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

34. Single state prison hosted dances (12)

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

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

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

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

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

39. Picture that’s a match! (4)

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

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

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

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

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

44. Red powder recalled around red cut (6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

52. Gem maiden pockets while taking ring (7)

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

53. North Africans are in small boat (6)

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

Down clues

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Stick English after History (5)

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

6. He wears clown’s outfit (7)

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

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

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

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

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

9. Cricket supporter Down Under? (9)

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

10. Note a reviver? (5)

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

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

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

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

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

18. What Amundsen was wearing on travels (9)

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

19. By implication, retain more pants (7)

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

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

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

22. Second burglar 7 down (8)

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

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

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

27. Far from simple to explain (9)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

47. Villain to throttle in execution (5)

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

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

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

49. Faithful story, genuine case (5)

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

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1453

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

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

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

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

LP

Across clues

1. Opener in Irish county’s team (9)

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

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

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

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

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

13. Confines or rather restricts maiden (5)

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

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

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

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

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

16. Vanishing cream consumer? (8,3)

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

17. Untimely error a Cornishman corrected (11)

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

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

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

19. Hard material found in two clubs (8)

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

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

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

25. One mistakenly printed in bold (8)

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

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

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

28. Fat politician consumed by booze (5)

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

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

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

30. Inside spread little money about congregation (10)

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

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

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

35. Heard musical bouzouki playing here? (6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

44. Right to support monarch (6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

53. Fruit when cut keeps good colour (7)

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

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

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

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

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

56. Persecuted boffin abandons grand Italian location (5)

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

57. Harbour man soaked (9)

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

Down clues

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Improvement achieved in Bible class? (6)

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

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

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

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

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

7. Mathematician to say graph needs modification (10)

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

8. Artist consuming little island dish (5)

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

9. One can wind up eating this (9)

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

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

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

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

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

12. Continue to suppose parking unavailable (6)

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

18. Dressing to conceal equipment constitutes crime (10)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

31. Vatican right about small shock (6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

41. Distinctive theory about alternative meteorological line (8)

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

45. Leads to instrument found in ship (6)

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

46. Spread in book complete (6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1452

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

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

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

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

TTFN – LP

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

Across clues

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

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

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

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

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

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

15. Demon has man at heart scared (5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27. Guide rested by reversing vehicle (6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

37. Substance initially becoming nitrogen gas (6)

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

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

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

39. Male Greek deity knocked over dish (7)

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

42. Particular observation about banking area (8)

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

44. Manufacturer with licence (6)

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

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

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

48. Empty personnel devour tuck (5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

55. Person sacking porter, dead drunk (10)

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

Down clues

1. Cow eating unit of bananas lavishly (11)

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

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

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

3. Making blue design and modelling (9)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. Shown one boy embraced by another (7)

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

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

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

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

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

20. What brightens up endlessly bad mess (9)

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

23. Pull up and sell fish (8)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29. Person repudiating old French bread (6)

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

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

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

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

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

34. Deception emerged? Nail criminal (11)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

46. Very masculine ruler in ruin (7)

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

47. Count on son abandoning agreement (6)

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

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

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

Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword 1451

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

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

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

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

LP

Across clues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

26. Allow financial computer to become deadly (6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

37. Westerly to dry fish (6)

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

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

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

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

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

42. Relative’s ‘angout (4)

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

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

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

46. Helping of coffee airline sent back (7)

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

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

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

48. Potato pest perhaps keeping its distance (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

53. Content fits badly in Express (7)

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

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

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

Down clues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Persisted rudely holding Conservative in contempt (10)

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

8. Edited Times articles (5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

40. Deer at the bottom becomes motionless (9)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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