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Times Jumbo 1067

A shade under 45 minutes, which rightly suggests a tougher than usual challenge. One or two question marks, which were more than outweighed by the ticks. Warning: this puzzle, and by extension blog, contains spoilers for the original Star Wars trilogy. Also wordplay tricks which might be considered virtually Guardian-ish by more austere solvers. You have been warned.

With Jumbos, which attract a far smaller audience than daily puzzles, I generally confine myself to discussion of answers which I think are a) less straightforward for inexperienced or non-UK based solvers, or b) especially elegant / questionable. In other words, unless it's an exceptionally interesting puzzle, the coverage is unlikely to be 100%; however, as always, if a particular clue is not discussed, please feel free to raise it in comments for explanation or discussion.

Across
1MICKEY MOUSE - double def. Not sure why "Mickey Mouse" came to mean "second rate" or "laughably amateur" given the global dominance of the Disney behemoth he represents...
7ACCORD - COR (as seen elsewhere in the orchestra in "cor anglais") in A CD.
14NANKEEN - NAN (bread) + KEEN("biting"); a tough fabric which occurs far more often in crosswords than in my daily life.
17PRAYING MANTIS - PRAYING MAN (who might be a religious Father or Brother), 'TIS. The praying mantis is one of several creatures where pretty much the only thing most people know about it relates to the female's predilection for post-coital killing.
19ELIOT - (TOILET) rev. Little words like "can" have the capacity to trip up a solver who ignores them as mere padding (as I did to begin with).
23ENIGMA - (INGAME)*. Lovely surface means that what might otherwise be a really obvious anagram doesn't leap off the page.
29TWEETER - double def.; these days Twitter is a pretty regular source of clues.
30ANDANTINO - it took me (considerably) longer to parse this than to solve it. It's Daughter ANTI("rival") ANN("woman"), O("round"). The musical direction for a particular speed, lighter and quicker than "andante", which isn't very fast. I wasn't entirely convinced by ANTI="rival" until I thought of the Antipope.
31GULAG - fUlL ("off and on"=alternate letters) in GAG.
32APPLY - playful double def in the vein of STICKY="a bit like a stick".
34COLERIDGE - COLE is a version of KALE, so from the COLE RIDGE you'd have a good view of your cabbage.
39SHERWOOD FOREST - (Christopher) ISHERWOOD, FOREST. Forest is "one side of Nottingham" in terms of professional football, Notts County being the other.
41ABSORBED - ABS, OR BED.
44COLLARLESS - referencing the collar of a shirt, and the collar worn by a dog to which the lead is attached.
51TWINNED - studenT, WINNED, being an ungrammatical, if perfectly conceivable, past tense of the verb WIN.
52EQUALLY - English QUALITY, replacing the IT with Liberal.
54LOOT - (TOOL)rev. I left this till the end, to make sure no better alternative suggested itself; TOOL="means" is not obvious, but acceptable (e.g. "interest rates are the tool by which the bank of England attempts to control inflation"), and after all, there's no obligation on the setter to use the most obvious definitions.
55DRY ROT - (TORY RD.)rev. I wasn't familiar with the idea that "dry rot" could be seen as a moral failing rather than a fungal infection, but you live and learn.
56DIRTY TRICKS - where "tricks" can be the ones played in card games, of course. I had a vague feeling that this didn't quite work without being able to put my finger on the reason why.
 
Down
1MANIPLE - NIP(as in "nip and tuck") in MALE.
3ELEMI - reverse hidden in tIME LEaking. The resin is another of those substances which features far more in crosswords than in my daily life; inventive use of "towards the canopy" to indicate the need to read "upwards", as this is a down clue; see also 27 down.
4MANAGING DIRECTOR - AGING in (MINDERACTOR)*; the surface suggests an unexpected turn in the career of Dennis Waterman or George Cole.
5UNCHASTE - UNCLE,HASTE without LE("the" in French).
11NOTTING HILL - (NIGHT)* in NOT ILL (i.e. "well").
12BOLOGNA - another which took far longer to parse than it took to reach an answer: [LOG("enter"), N] in BOA("strangler").
24I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY - depends on the knowledge that Lucky is one of the characters in Waiting for Godot. I was lucky enough (I've just seen what I did there) to see the current production starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, which was every bit as good as the publicity claims.
27NIGGARD - (DRAGGIN')rev. Once more the reversal takes the word upwards, in this case expressed as "towards God"), another conceit that is new, or to be precise, new to me.
28CAULIFLOWER EAR - (AWFULECOLI)*, REAR. As seen attached to the heads of many a notable former rugby player or boxer - it's where the blood vessels have been damaged by repeated violent contact, causing the organ to swell in unpleasant fashion.
31GASEOUS - (USAGESO)*. I love a clue which references the art of setting a clue in some way, even if it's only in the surface reading. Nicely done.
33PRESTISSIMO - (MISS,I)rev. in PRESTON. To go with the more stately ANDANTINO above.
36DISGRUNTLED - more playful defining at work: if you stopped a pig making the traditional piggy noise, you might be said to be dis-gruntling it.
40WARPLANE - WARP, LANE, as in the WWII bomber.
46TRELLIS - sneakeR in TELL, IS.
47EVADER - nice Biblical deception in the surface; the actual answer is apostlE, VADER - in the Star Wars universe, villain Darth Vader turns out to be (SPOILERS) hero Luke Skywalker's father.
49GAUNT - Gaffe, AUNT. At first I once more raised an eyebrow at the definition, thinking "gaunt" is more "emaciated", but as I said before, the setter is quite entitled to pick a synonym from way down Roget's list if it suits him or her.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
dereklam
Dec. 29th, 2013 07:32 am (UTC)
A question before the blog
I think the Crossword Club finishes in a couple of days so I am looking for the cheapest Times subscription which will give access to the crossword.

The Web-pack claims to be the cheapest subscription at GBP2 per week (1-month rolling) while the Digital pack is GBP1 for 30 days ( but no mention of what happens after that period.

I'm confused. Could other non- UK solvers suggest the best ( ie cheapest) subscription and their experience? Thank you.

To save cluttering up the blog, it might be better to send me a LJ message.

Edited at 2013-12-29 07:33 am (UTC)
topicaltim
Dec. 29th, 2013 11:06 am (UTC)
Re: A question before the blog
Derek, afraid I'm not an expert on the Times subscriptions (I can't remember the details, but as far as I remember, mine continues past New Year because of where the renewal date fell, though I should probably check that).

More to the point, the traffic for the weekend puzzles is very much lower than daily cryptics, so I suspect you'll almost certainly get a better response if you post the same query nice and early on tomorrow's blog...
dereklam
Dec. 29th, 2013 12:03 pm (UTC)
Re: A question before the blog
Yes thank you Tim. It was only after posting that I realised this was a Jumbo blog. I'll post tomorrow.
jerrywh
Dec. 29th, 2013 02:24 pm (UTC)
Re: A question before the blog
However the general forum of the crossword club has a recent thread on this that will tell you all you need to know: £2/mth for the cheapest digital version, reduced for ex-crossword club members to only £1/mth for the first three months. phone the no. quoted on the thread or use the live chat help function on the Times website..
(Anonymous)
Jan. 22nd, 2014 05:27 pm (UTC)
Where are 7 8 and 9 down?
topicaltim
Jan. 22nd, 2014 05:40 pm (UTC)
See paragraph 2 of the introduction.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )