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November 10th, 2018

Times Jumbo 1349: At A Fair Clip

Easiest Jumbo *I've* done in a while, certainly, proving all done and dusted in 12 minutes. Most of the definition parts led to exactly what you I expected them to, and were quickly substantiated by a glance at the cryptic; the wordplay is fairly homogeneous, a lot removing the first or last letter from something, inserting something into or removing something from something else. No bad thing to have a training-wheels-style Jumbo of course!

First One In 1ac, Last One In 39ac after I mentally double checked that it was a CLIP and not a FLAP... no hardened cyclist, me. Clue of the Day definitely goes to cheeky/clever &lit 5dn. Thanks setter!

1 After pressure, Democrat, implicated in US money changing, giving fake name (9)
PSEUDONYM - After P [pressure], D [Democrat] "implicated" in (US MONEY*) ["changing"]

6 Power and current provided reduction in frozen ocean (7)
PACIFIC - P [power] and AC IF [current | provided] + IC{y} ["reduction in" frozen]

10 Line taken with infant making incomprehensible sounds (5)
BABEL - L [line] taken with BABE [infant]

13 Member of House displaying a nature that's unruly (7)
TAUREAN - (A NATURE*) ["that's unruly"]. Zodiacal "house".

14 Candidate supported by me most of opposing voters will accept (7)
NOMINEE - MINE [supported by me], NOE{s} ["most of" opposing voters] will "accept"

15 Stage layout material recalled role in Hamlet (7)
LAERTES - SET REAL [stage layout | material] reversed

16 Blasé sign? It's surprisingly good (1,8,2,8)
A BLESSING IN DISGUISE - Reverse cryptic, "a blessing" being the anagrist and "in disguise" the anagrind to clue "blase sign".

17 View only 50% decent (3)
SEE - SEE{mly}

18 Brainboxes hurried to block agents (6)
CRANIA - RAN [hurried] to "block" CIA [agents]

20 Encourage a judge to tuck into cabbage (6)
CAJOLE - A J [a | judge] to "tuck into" COLE [cabbage]

21 Mostly futile cracking lock — siren results (9)
TEMPTRESS - EMPT{y} ["mostly" futile] "cracking" TRESS [lock]

23 Farm building showing several different layers? (7-3)
CHICKEN RUN - cryptic definition, the layers here being layers of eggs, i.e. hens.

25 Summons learner driver aboard vehicle in local smashes (7,4)
CLARION CALL - L [learner driver] "aboard" CAR [vehicle] + (IN LOCAL*) ["smashes"]

29 Detective's skill, containing one racket (5)
NOISE - NOSE [detective's kill], containing I [one]

30 Transfer story in article upset most of team (8)
ALIENATE - LIE [story] in AN [article] + (TEA{m}*) ["upset"]. A legal transfer, here.

31 Poorly educated fellow accepting University maltreatment (3-5)
ILL-USAGE - ILL SAGE [poorly | educated fellow] "accepting" U [university]

34 Element supporting barter economy perhaps seeing no end to trade (8)
ANTIMONY - ANTI-MON{e}Y [supporting barter economy, perhaps], minus {trad}E

36 Party functionary governed area (8)
DOMINION - DO MINION [party | functionary]

37 Parliamentarian abandoning leader? That is strange (5)
EERIE - {p}EER [parliamentarian "abandoning leader"] + I.E. [that is]

39 Appropriate speed providing security for cyclist? (7,4)
TROUSER CLIP - TROUSER [appropriate, as in "pocket"] + CLIP [speed]

41 Audio version of dark gangster title (10)
KNIGHTHOOD - homophone of NIGHT [dark] + HOOD [gangster]

43 Clears rocks behind compartment in mountain transport (5,4)
CABLE CARS - (CLEARS*) ["rocks"] behind CAB [compartment]

45 Party, only not the right wing, probed by one in Central America (6)
SOCIAL - SOL{e} [only, "not the right wing"] probed by I [one] in CA [Central America]

47 Save money? Shortening of film scenario saving millions (6)
SCRIMP - SCRIP{t} ["shortening of" film scenario] "saving" M [millions]

49 Say more days will be attached to allowance at the outset (3)
ADD - D D [(two) days] will be attached to A{llowance}

50 Assertion of solidarity with players from Broadway? (5,5,4,5)
YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE - cryptic definition I think, the players being footballers, and "Broadway" referring to the fact that the song was original in Broadway musical Carousel.

52 Exotic orchestra has scheme excluding piano (7)
GAMELAN - GAME{p}LAN [scheme, minus P for piano]

53 Attempt the black, perhaps, and fail badly (2,2,3)
GO TO POT - double def, the first half being a snooker reference

54 Lad's first to dismiss a form of winter sport (7)
BOBSLED - BOB'S LE{a}D [lad's | first "to dismiss A"]

55 What one US mayor will do in a fluid way (5)
RUNNY - RUN NY [what one US mayor (currently Bill de Blasio) will do]

56 Is content missing from Friday after next day’s content? (7)
SATISFY - IS F{rida}Y after SAT [next day (after Fri)]

57 Unconventional business involving Queen trapped by spell (9)
HETERODOX - TO-DO [business] "involving" ER [Queen], "trapped by" HEX [spell]

1 Former PM, note, engaged by expert for a small amount (8)
PITTANCE - PITT [former PM] + N [note] "engaged by" ACE [expert]

2 Peer’s endless uneasiness after end of vote (5)
EQUAL - QUAL{m} ["endless" uneasiness] after {vot}E

3 Fashion groupies, perhaps, in part of theatre (5,6)
DRESS CIRCLE - which also suggests a circle of people who are into dress, sort of

4 Ambassador’s sister ultimately ecstatic, over the moon (6)
NUNCIO - NUN [sister] + {ecstati}C, over IO [moon]

5 Blokes get on with Rosa, becoming involved with it? (6,1,5)
MENAGE A TROIS - MEN AGE [blokes | get on] + (ROSA ... IT*) ["...becoming involved with..."] &lit

6 Pepper the writer fed to horse (7)
PIMENTO - ME [the writer] "fed to" PINTO [horse]

7 Cheating king enveloped in self-assurance given approval rating (10,5)
CONFIDENCE TRICK - R [king] "enveloped" in CONFIDENCE [self-assurance] given TICK [approval rating]

8 Railway vehicle about to be surrounded by battle — no end of concern (7-3)
FREIGHT-CAR - RE [about] to be "surrounded by" FIGHT [battle] + CAR{e} ["no end of" concern]

9 Metal collected, involving one into copper (7)
CALCIUM - CALM [collected], "involving" I [one] "into" CU [copper]

10 How you should articulate of course at the Sorbonne? (4,7)
BIEN ENTENDU - cryptic definition, actually just looking for the French for "of course"

11 Biblical 21, clean, with sex appeal, ensnaring Hebrew (9)
BATHSHEBA - BATH [clean] with S.A. [sex appeal] "ensnaring" HEB [Hebrew]. 21 = 21ac's solution, temptress.

12 Follows advice when dismissing first two in combat (7)
LISTENS - {wh}EN ["dismissing first two"] in LISTS [combat]

19 One not believing in being at scene of crime (7)
ATHEIST - or, differently punctuated, AT HEIST [at scene of | crime]

22 Fee covering coach but not car ultimately (8)
RETAINER - RE [covering] + T{r}AINER [coach, but not {ca}R]

24 Rampant nepotism amongst junior officers is without reason (3,6,6)
NON COMPOS MENTIS - (NEPOTISM*) ["rampant"] amongst NON-COMS [junior officers]

26 Stage show capable of providing a lone hit (8)
IOLANTHE - (A LONE HIT*) ["capable of providing..."]

27 Art-songs remain greatly loved, bar the third (6)
LIEDER - LIE [remain] + DE{a}R [greatly loved, "bar the third"]

28 Child really should have name — not Charlie (6)
INFANT - IN FA{c->N}T [really] taking N [name] for C [Charlie]

32 Deduced time for pranks or indiscretions, primarily (1,6)
A PRIORI - APR 1 [time for pranks] + OR I{ndiscretions}

33 One won’t give you a hand for a time (7,5)
DIGITAL WATCH - cryptic def, digital watches being the type that don't tell the time using hands

35 Religious presentation having awed response? Yes, partly, after rewriting (7,4)
MYSTERY PLAY - MY! [awed response] + (YES PARTLY*) ["after rewriting"]

37 Room for reflection? (4,7)
ECHO CHAMBER - cryptic definition

38 Escape, carrying whip and torch (10)
FLASHLIGHT - FLIGHT [escape] "carrying" LASH [whip]

40 Government official starts to develop motorway in Arab state (9)
OMBUDSMAN - BUDS M [starts to develop | motorway] in OMAN [Arab state]

42 A photographer's first photographs appearing around last supplement (8)
APPENDIX - A P{hotographer} + PIX [photographs] "appearing round" END [last]

43 Electric device runs after payment (7)
CHARGER - R [runs] after CHARGE [payment]

44 Former student requiring a reduction in mass student body (7)
ALUMNUS - A + LUM{p} ["reduction in" mass] + NUS [student body]

46 Engaging ambassador, about to work for little money (7)
CHEAPLY - "engaging" H.E. [ambassador], CA PLY [about | to work]

48 Very nearly join, after intervention of Lord Lieutenant (3,3)
ALL BUT - ABUT [join], after "intervention of" LL [Lord Lieutenant]

51 Not initially filthy drunk (5)
OILED - {s}OILED ["not initially" filthy]
Well, that was a breeze. I was finished in about 30 minutes, which for me rates as a gentle canter. Perhaps they decided to give the rest of us a bit of a break, while the big guns were at the finals of the competition that weekend?

My last one in was 12ac, where I needed the helpers to get this slightly unfamiliar word. But, my last one justified was 9ac, where I didn’t understand the “sounds like” component. Is that a common expression?

My clue of the day was 18dn, for the nice combination of “twisting” and “turning”. The definitions in 10dn and 22dn were also particularly nice. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. Lots of fun all round, including more than the usual number of jocular double definitions.

Clues are in blue, with definitions underlined. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, then wordplay. (ABC*) means 'anagram of ABC', with the anagram indicator in bold italics. Deletions are in [square brackets].

1 E.g. Pancake Day hamper? (7,5)
MOVABLE FEAST: double definition: the first because Pancake Day, like Easter, is tied to lunar cycles; the second a jocular reference to picnic hampers.

8 Conclude negative vote's a disaster (7)

9 Pre-publicity on the radio increasingly highly charged? (5-2)
BUILD UP: this was a puzzle. I think the idea must be that to load charges onto a bill would be to “bill up”. If so, “billed up” would sound  like the answer we’re looking for (“on the radio”). But, is “billed up” really an expression? I couldn’t find it in the usual dictionaries.

11 Some on reflection uselessly fill unfillable void (7)
NULLIFY: backwards (“on reflection”) hidden answer (“some”).

12 Drop fowl from behind, having permit (7)
DRIBLET: BIRD (fowl) “from behind” / LET (permit). A vaguely unfamiliar word, but clear enough once I thought of it.

13 Car wheel's sound (5)
AUDIO: AUDI (car) / O (“wheel”).

14 Taking this turns friend into devil at once (5,4)
RIGHT AWAY: if you take R out of FRIEND, you get FIEND.

16 Takes cue, perhaps, and breaks down (4,2,3)
GOES TO POT: double definition, the first a jocular reference to billiards or snooker.

19 Otologist, say, finding her area of expertise dull (5)
DREAR: DR (since an otologist, say, is a doctor) / EAR (what our otologist specialises in).

21 Vegetable lacking in hotel (7)
AUBERGE: the veg is an AUBERG[in]E.

23 Stint in India ends (7)
TERMINI: TERM (stint) / IN / I[ndia].

24 Taking home Anne, girl endlessly distressed (7)
EARNING: (ANNE GIR-*). Drop the L since the girl is endless.

25 I regret that Scottish cheese covers French bread (7)
BRIOCHE: OCH in BRIE. Chambers gives “regret” as a secondary definition of “och”. New to me.

26 Gone to take corner (5,3,4)
ROUND THE BEND: another double definition, the second the jocular version this time.

1 Subdued miss was forward (7)
MUFFLED: MUFF, as in miss a shot / LED (was forward).

2 Doctor I try controls onset of rare medical condition (7)
VERTIGO: VET (doctor) “controls” R from r[are], then GO (try, as in “have a go”).

3 Bash goof up in unwelcome surprise (5,4)
BOOBY TRAP: reversal (“up”) of PARTY (bash) BOOB (goof).

4 Posh girl yours truly raised to get settled (5)
EMBED: reversal (“raised”) of DEB (your posh girl) / ME (yours truly).

5 English Literature is ultimately subject privileging the select few (7)
ELITIST: E (English) / LIT (literature) / IS / [subject]T.

6 Salad's got a bit of earth on it — proving this? (4,3)
SOD’S LAW: SOD on a SLAW, giving the thing known in my parts as Murphy’s Law.

7 Replace ageing slang with 'U' as digital expression (4,8)
SIGN LANGUAGE: (AGEING SLANG U*). Clever definition – not a computer language, after all.

10 At an early stage, continent’s bananas went by rail (5-7)
POTTY TRAINED: POTTY (bananas, as a euphemism for “mad”) / TRAINED (went by rail). And an even cleverer definition!

15 Make reservation in restaurant that's accessible (3-2-4)
GET-AT-ABLE: with a change in spacing, GET A TABLE.

17 Trade restriction scary chap lifted with business expert intervening (7)
EMBARGO: MBA “intervening” in OGRE (scary chap) backwards (“lifted”).

18 Top person's rubbish, turning and twisting (7)
TORSION: NO 1’S ROT, “turning”.

19 Room to rest together and chill — will they have nibbles? (7)
DORMICE: DORM (room to rest) / ICE (chill). I know nothing about dormice, but clearly they must be nibblers.

20 Indicated one man has kidnapped another (7)

22 Loopy figure’s importance, bypassing the Head (5)
EIGHT: [w]EIGHT. More cleverness!
* My desultory research indicates that the first citation of “It’s quiet… too quiet” may be a line in the film Drums Along the Mohawk (1939).

This was a moderately entertaining and not very difficult puzzle. Six Double Definitions (DD), nothing very convoluted. Some might even find the long anagram to be the hardest clue here, with the quite terse definition. I have no doubt about any of my interpretations and am aware of nothing that I’ve failed to parse.

…Of course, I have felt that way before, so there is still a slight, lingering fear that kevingregg and/or jackkt or another of our estimable solvers will emerge from the shadows where they are lurking to reveal fatal errors in my strategy.

I do (masangra)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clue.


 1 12 awkwardly holding cut beast (8)
ANTELOPE — (EATEN)* with LOP, “cut,” inside
 5 Fixed cause of poor reception (6)
10 Cutting ditch with worker (9)
11 Father Brown finally married a temptress (5)
SIREN — SIRE (“father”) + [brow]N. I guess the two parts could be said to be “married” here, but that’s really just for the surface. (We’ll encounter a siren again in my note to the very last clue.)
12 It’s said school for the rich scoffed (5)
EATEN — Sounds like Eton. (At last, a noncontroversial homophone.)
13 Engine put outside a drinking den (3,6)
GIN PALACE — “Gin” as in “cotton gin,” a machine or “engine” + P(A)LACE
14 Athlete on mountain eating a vegetable (6,4)
RUNNER BEAN “Athlete” is RUNNER and then you have BE(A)N
17 Talk idly about rare clothes (4)
19 Dog swallows large piece of tobacco (4)
20 Bug makes 1000 notepads run poorly (4-6)
POND-SKATER — (K [1000] + NOTEPADS + R)*
22 If returning oarsman holds record it shows strength (4-5)
FIRE-POWER — IF<— + R(EP)OWER. Recording artists still put out Extended Play vinyl discs!
24 Little container found in street (5)
26 Henry meeting his rejected wife, which might have made him look red (5)
27 A campanologist might seem familiar (4,1,4)
RING A BELL — The literal meaning of the words of the idiom then defined
28 Tenor requested to be given something to do (6)
29 Having no idea what I want to do after retirement (8)
CLUELESS — DD, one of them (I hope) a joke. I mean, it is a bit of a downer to think that, as implied by the second part, our setter (or is it the editor?) is finding the writing of clues here to be such a chore. When, in 1998, we at The Nation put on a 50th anniversary party for our crossword setter then, the former OSS cryptographer Frank W. Lewis, we learned that his payment for each puzzle had not changed in the previous five decades (he did, of course, immediately get a raise). Yet we had never heard a peep out of him about this. Apparently, his production of our puzzles was primarily a labor of love.


 1 How a race might have started, with all speed (2,3,4,2,1,3)
AT THE DROP OF A HAT — DD. I’m not sure “with all speed” captures my sense of the phrase, which is closer to “suddenly”—or, as the definition offered by Google has it, "Acting readily or on some single signal. In the 19th century it was occasionally the practice in the United States to signal the start of a fight or a race by dropping a hat or sweeping it downward while holding it in the hand.” (Not in England also?) Are the explanation of the idiom and the idiom itself really two definitions?
 2 Care for something special (5)
 3 Pub owner, perhaps, seen distressed by horrible insects (8)
LICENSEE — (seen)* next to LICE, “horrible insects”
 4 Head of Property managed end of housing crash (5)
PRANG — P[roperty] + RAN, “managed” + [housin]G
 6 Navigator takes volunteers to southern isle (6)
TASMAN — The “volunteers” are the T(erritorial) A(rmy), plus S for “southern” and the Isle of MAN
 7 Ruin a garment, beginning to tear in fury? (9)
TERMAGANT — (a garment)* + T[ear]
 8 Edit extremely early Burt Lancaster work (10,5)
 9 The usual flag (8)
15 They’re tiny and barely matter (9)
NEUTRINOS — An amusing Cryptic Definition
16 Diligent student’s grub (8)
18 Get painting from tall building right away! (8)
SKYSCAPE — SKYSC[-r]APE[-r]. The particular sort of non-Ximenean clue (wordplay + definition plus “Get”) of which I am not a great fan.
21 Old head swallows one drug to help rest (6)
23 Official carries note to do with organs (5)
RENAL — RE(N)AL. That is, to do specifically with the kidneys.
25 Ridge discovered by veteran returning after shelling (5)
ARETE — [-n]ARETE[-v]<— From Latin arista, “ear of corn, fish bone, spine.” In the famous chanson “Supplique pour être enterré à la plage de Sète,” Georges Brassens pleads to be buried, when the time comes, on the beach where he spent the best days of his youth, was initiated in the mysteries of love and avalait la première arête, “swallowed the first fishbone,” which is to say, learned that every rose has its thorns:
Auprès d’une sirène, une femme-poisson
J’ai reçu de l’amour la première leçon
Avalait la première arête
(Next to a siren, a mermaid,
I received my first lesson of love,
Swallowed the first fishbone…)