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December 1st, 2018

So here it is my turn again to blog the Jumbo. Hooray! On the plus side, I get 2 weeks to complete the blog. On the minus side, I do the blog not knowing if I've got everything correct... 100% submitted, but will I get the dreaded "With errors" tag? Lol. I hope not, but I got this response with all 3 other prize crosswords I entered the weekend this was published!  Today's (or maybe 2 weeks ago's as you read this) was nicely positioned as not too hard so that people run out of energy or time and give up (which has occasionally happened to me), but with plenty of sweet nougat to savour*. I had to trust to the wordplay for 1A, but otherwise there no unknowns - just some tricky clues. I liked 24A, 52A, 2D, 12D and 23D, but my COD goes to my last one in - 22D. VIP... what a brilliant bit of wordplay! Thanks to our setter for 49 minutes (for me) of entertainment. How did you all like it?

*I'm in trouble. The Missus left a box of nougat which I thought she had aready opened on the desk in the study and I had some while composing this blog. Apparently it was a meant to be a present for an elderly relative! Oops!

Read all about it...Collapse )
This was fun. I worked steadily up and across from the bottom right until I found myself gazing at 1ac, 1dn and 4dn. All done over lunch, as is normal now daylight saving has arrived in this hemisphere. So, not too hard, but definitely a good workout!

My clue of the day and LOI was 4dn. Even though I wrote the actual answer on the side well before the end, the smooth surface of the clue distracted me for ages from finding the anagram indicator. Well done, setter! Thanks for a very enjoyable puzzle.

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].

Across
1 Hot tunes please old setter (4,5)
HAIR SPRAY: H (hot) / AIRS (tunes) / PRAY (old word for please).

6 Soprano’s target, maybe, capturing current theme? (5)
TOPIC: our soprano might reach high C. Insert “i”, the symbol for electrical current.

9 Soldier meets retiring girl, dish perhaps (7)
ANTENNA: ANT (soldier) / ANNE retiring (girl).

10 Public relations broadcast that is plain (7)
PRAIRIE: P.R. / AIR / I.E.

11 Horse unseats one big bird (5)
HERON: “horse” might be HERO[i]N; unseat the “I”. Is a heron “big”? Well, compared with what? It might be.

12 Large family member goes to welcome British crew (9)
TRIBESMAN: TRIES (goes) welcomes B (British), followed by MAN (crew, as a verb).

13 He brings up English cases to run through (8)
REHEARSE: REARS (brings up) and E (English) “casing” HE.

14 Back a selection of good numbers to release (4)
UNDO: reversed hidden answer.

17 Churchill for one smelt bad with no lead on (4)
TANK: [s]TANK. I had a faint memory that there might have been a tank named after the great man, and so there was.

18 Raises squad to cross river nearer its source (8)
UPSTREAM: UPS / TEAM “crossing” R.

21 Popular English stage worker perhaps lacking grace (9)
INELEGANT: IN / E / LEG / ANT.

22 Display university books on way to work? (5)
MOUNT: MO (modus operandi – literally translates as “way to work”) / U / NT (books).

24 Dynamic six support conservationists (7)
VIBRANT: VI / BRA / NT (National Trust).

25 Old and anxious but not very demanding (7)
ONEROUS: O / NER[v}OUS. Drop V=very.

26 It may indicate a cold part of house, I hear (5)
RHEUM: sounds like ROOM.

27 One who competes to deceive nurse (9)
CONTENDER: CON / TENDER.

Down
1 Erica has no longer to conserve energy (5)
HEATH: HATH (archaic form of “has”), around E (energy). I knew “heather” could be “ling” or “erica”; surprised to find “heath” is another option!

2 Their angle can be adjusted to be identical, possibly (15)
INTERCHANGEABLE: (THEIR ANGLE CAN BE*).

3 Family member working in US city in southwest (3-2-3)
SON-IN-LAW: ON (working) / IN / LA, all in SW.

4 To check vehicle, engineer started lapping ring (4-4)
ROAD TEST: (STARTED*) around O (ring). As mentioned above, the lovely surface of the clue steered me away from seeing how it worked.

5 I agree: food fit for an ambitious young man (6)
YUPPIE: YUP / PIE.

6 Dealer turned up paintings from the communist era? (6)
TRADER: RED ART “turned up”.

7 Left instruction involving gown in motel, say (11,4)
PORTMANTEAU WORD: MANTEAU (gown) in PORT (left) / WORD (order).

8 Order to teenager that's essential for chip maker (5,4)
CLEAN ROOM: double definition, the first a triumph of hope over experience.

13 Steep watercourse engulfs European dog (9)
RETRIEVER: RET (steep) / RIVER (watercourse) “engulfing” E (European).

15 Hawk's target before long includes PM (8)
SPITTOON: SOON “including” PITT. That sort of hawking!

16 Charge printed on back of envelope (8)
STAMPEDE: STAMPED / [envelop]E.

19 Make still from bits of alembic I discarded (6)
BECALM: (ALEMB-C*). Discard the “I” before doing the anagram. Sadly, I didn’t look up the meaning of “alembic”!

20 Asian dish, cold, very cold (6)
BALTIC: BALTI / C.

23 Stunner took exam again, having been laid up (5)
TASER: RESAT backwards.