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February 17th, 2018

Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1307 - 3 Feb 18

Following my previous New Year's Day Jumbo to blog, which was an absolute cracker, I find I once again have a great crossword to decipher and comment on. It took me about an hour, which is well over average, but that was just about a perfectly satisfying level of challenge. Fortunately there were a few (but not too many) easier clues to get us going, but some nice chewy ones too. Some lovely deceptive definitions and noun phrases meant you had to take each word on its merits and challenge any word combinations. Some enjoyable surfaces and some belters of clues. 6d is my favourite, if only because it took me a while to recognise the significance of the number.. which was not a cross-reference to another clue. All in all, a great example of the art of compiling and a lot of fun to solve. So many thanks to our setter. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. Give me another one soon! How did you get on with it?

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.
See the answers here...Collapse )
For me this puzzle was hard to start, but once I had a foothold it flowed fairly smoothly. Once I saw 1dn, the NW corner gave up its secrets easily. Hardest was probably the long word at 4dn, where I needed all the helpers to see the answer. Solving online makes anagrams and the like much harder, I find! Overall, about 45 minutes.

Several of the clues had nicely disguised definitions, including 8ac, 17ac, and 3dn. My clue of the day was 11ac, for the musical sound of the answer! Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Clues are in blue, with definitions underlined. Anagram indicators are in bold italics. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, followed by the wordplay. (ABC*) means 'anagram of ABC', deletions are in {curly brackets}.

Across
1 Island commander sports angry wound (10)
MADAGASCAR: MAD (angry) SCAR (wound) around AGA (commander).
6 God shows an interest? Not at first! (4)
ARES: take C off CARES to get the Greek god of war.
8 One taking in study connected with old Babylonian region (8)
CONSUMER: CON (study) SUMER (old Babylonian region). Definition relates to taking in food, for example, rather than shopping.
9 Attack same point twice that's on chin (6)
GOATEE: GO AT (attack), then E (east) twice. The chin in question is certainly not mine.
10 Kitchen heater tested in couple's absence (4)
OVEN: take the leading couple of letters off PROVEN. On edit: several commenters point out that the couple of letters removed are PR, short for “pair”=“couple”.
11 Nothing stops rioting in US coastal city (10)
TUSCALOOSA: (US COASTAL*) with another O (nothing) inside. Tuscaloosa is in Alabama, and of course isn’t coastal.
12 Port road morning mist envelops (9)
AMSTERDAM: AM (morning) STEAM (mist) around RD (road).
14 Scotsman involved with extremely datable woman (5)
DIANE: IAN (our canonical Scotsman) inside D{atabl}E.
17 Remaining quietly hidden takes trouble and effort (5)
DOGGO: DOG (to trouble) GO (effort).
19 Shoot at stoat going round at rear of building (9)
GERMINATE: G (rear of “building”), then ERMINE (stoat) going round AT.
22 Stay with drinker for meal before suffering (4,6)
LAST SUPPER: LAST (stay) SUPPER (drinker).
23 Notice me preparing small silver tray for starters (4)
PSST: first letters (starters) of each word. I’ve seen this recently, and both times found it hard to imagine a vowelless answer!
24 Old Cretan at home tucking into grouse (6)
MINOAN: MOAN (grouse) around IN (at home). Minos was the first king of Crete.
25 Badge one gains in manoeuvres (8)
INSIGNIA: I (one) (GAINS IN*). A pedant might observe that “insignia” is plural!
26 Monk secures poor grade in spelling competition (4)
BEDE: D (poor grade) inside BEE (spelling competition).
27 Introducing hard line, write rubbish about athletic contest (10)
PENTATHLON: PEN (write) TAT (rubbish) H (hard) L (line) ON (about).

Down
1 Old farmer's waterproof put on sick lad (9)
MACDONALD: MAC (waterproof) DON (put on) (LAD*).
2 Sheridan version features sinister housekeeper (7)
DANVERS: hidden answer. From the Daphne du Maurier novel Rebecca.
3 Artist comes up with sensible framework (8)
ARMATURE: RA (RA=artist, written upwards) MATURE (sensible). If you’d given me ten shots at giving a one-word definition for “armature”, “framework” wouldn’t have been close to making the list!
4 Church and priest hail new sect member (15)
CHRISTADELPHIAN: CH (church) (AND PRIEST HAIL*).
5 Kid left an overcoat (6)
RAGLAN: RAG (kid) L (left) AN.
6 Stagger endlessly on in surrounding area of rainforest (9)
AMAZONIAN: AMAZ{e} (stagger), ON, IN surrounding A (area).
7 Writer's the writer powerless character inspires (7)
EMERSON: ME (the writer) inside {p}ERSON, dropping P for power.
13 Guy following drunk's perilous route (9)
TIGHTROPE: TIGHT (drunk), ROPE (guy).
15 Irritation right inside retina needing treatment (9)
EYESTRAIN: YES (right) inside (RETINA*).
16 More than reasonable fare to Jupiter or Mars? (8)
AMBROSIA: cryptic definition, referring to the food/drink of the Greek gods.
18 Whitish individual tours China and India (7)
OPALINE: ONE (individual) around PAL (China plate=mate) and I (India, in the phonetic alphabet).
20 Stadium beside lake accommodates second team (7)
ARSENAL: ARENA (stadium) L (lake) around S (second).
21 Convert smallest amount for vegetable (6)
TURNIP: TURN (convert) 1P (smallest unit of currency).