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January 19th, 2019

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1361

Happy New Year all.

On my barometer I'd say this was of average difficulty although there was one phrase I was totally unfamiliar with and I had to look it up to get it. I took me 55 minutes including parsing everything.

First in was OFF THE HOOK and last was COMMUNICATE whose definition took a bit of spotting.

Clues are in blue with the definition underlined.  Different brackets mean different things:

Square to expand a standard crossword abbreviation: L[eft]

Wiggly to denote letters not used:{afterthough}T

Rounded followed by a * to indicate anagram fodder: (forded)*

Rounded to add clarification: cool (as in trendy)

Anagram indicators in bold italics: supply

Deletions are denoted by strikeout

CD = cryptic definition, DD = double definition, I guess other stuff is spelled out for you.


Across

1

Close to the Dutch shore, not in any trouble (3,3,4)


OFF THE HOOK - Sort of DD with a straight definition and a cryptic hint.

6

Startling approach adopted by barber? (5,7)


SHOCK TACTICS - CD

14

Terrible months around zero Kelvin (7)


THOMSON - (months)* around O.  William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, after whom the temperature scale is named.  At least I assume it's him, and not the obscure former Australian politician Kelvin Thomson.

15

May beauty defeat crowd circling around (7)


BLOSSOM - LOSS inside a reversal of mob.  It'll be spring before you know it, unless you're Kelvin Thomson in which case it will soon be autumn.

16

Concerned with walrus, revealing compassion (7)


REMORSE - RE MORSE.  I didn't know morse was a word for walrus.

17

Able to hold glass at last, one’s ready for punch (4)


FIST - FIT outside {glas}S

18

Poor and simple, holding a grudge at the outset (6)


MEAGRE - MERE outside A G{rudge}

20

Going round meadows is unalloyed joy (8)


PLEASURE - Can we make it a hat-trick of insertion clues?  Yay!  PURE around LEAS.

24

What’s needed, as pharmacist, when ill? That’s rough justice (1,5,2,4,3,8)


A TASTE OF ONES OWN MEDICINE - At the risk of repeating myself, a sort of DD with a straight definition and a cryptic hint.

25

Man on board ship needs so much water? (7)


DRAUGHT - see above

26

In its turn it picks up loads regularly that trades, say, collect (8)


WINDLASS - L{o}A{d}S in WINDS

27

In no hurry to give one away, it’s plain (6)


PATENT - PATiENT

29

Ample librarian reinvented as athletic star (5,9)


PRIMA BALLERINA - (ample librarian)*  Did anyone else wonder if there was a Macedonian pole vaulter called BRIAN PARMIELLA?

31

Wander round trench, half quivering (8)


ATREMBLE - AMBLE roun TRE{nch}

34

Was dragged along by dogs and killed for crying out (8)


SLEIGHED - homophone of slayed

36

Penniless, short journeys by public transport convenient for gentleman booked (8,6)


TRISTRAM SHANDY - TRIpS, TRAMS, HANDY for him out of the books.  As eponymous literary characters go he seems to get more than his fair share of air time in crosswords.

39

Feeble Luddism a labourer embraces (6)


DISMAL - hidden in ludDISM A Labourer

41

Figure closely confined with endless pain (8)


PENTAGON - PENT, AGONy

43

In a way, keeping muscle in check (7)


INSPECT -PEC[toral] inside IN ST[reet]

46

Overreaching at law, estate lostno one understood it (4,7,2,3,7)


TWAS CAVIARE TO THE GENERAL - anagram of everything before "lost".  I'd never heard the quote from Hamlet or the expression so it was caviar (sic) to me 'n' all.

47

Great circle is right one to split in the middle (8)


MERIDIAN - R[ight] I in MEDIAN

48

Niggardly, parting with pound creates distress (6)


MISERY - MISERlY, L being pounds as in LSD / Pounds, Shillings and Pence

49

Dope back from the six counties (4)


INFO - OF N[orthern] I[reland] reversed

53

After sailor died, submariner’s return shows guts (7)


ABDOMEN - AB[le bodied seaman], D[ied], NEMO reversed

54

I despise small, cosy position (7)


SCORNER - S[mall] CORNER

56

As one in feud, I get stirred up (7)


UNIFIED - (in feud I)*

57

Having been sent to prison, going down very angry (12)


INCANDESCENT - IN CAN, DESCENT.

58

Villain with the Midas touch? (10)


GOLDFINGER - CD


Down

1

So get pet bird fed without delay? (3,2,4)


OUT OF HAND - See 1ac etc.

2

Cool about holding box by broken side? Content here is not secure (5,8)


FOOLS PARADISE - ALOOF reversed around SPAR the (side)*

3

What signifies a number to chop up (4)


HASH - DD

4

The only organised man calls round in southern town (6-2-6)


HENLEY-ON-THAMES - (the only)* inside HE NAMES

5

Eye monk up (3)


ORB - BRO reversed

7

Urgently whisper part of this speech (4)


HISS - hidden in tHIS Speech

8

Appears to admit poetry’s beauty (10)


COMELINESS - COMES around LINES

9

Look likely to have small card briefly over a higher one (8)


THREATEN - THRE{e} on A TEN

10

Take a host from kibbutz, maybe, including one pet (11)


COMMUNICATE - COMMUNE around I CAT, take as in communion

11

Tribesman is artist, top drawer (9)


ISRAELITE - IS, R[oyal] A[cademician], ELITE

12

Rank particularly cherished by soldier at first on the up (4)


STEP - reversal of PET S{oldier}

13

Anticipated wood cut has been executed (8)


FORESEEN - FORESt bEEN

19

Presumably one properly left an intangible asset (8)


GOODWILL - Almost one of those straight/whimsical DD jobbies but you have to split GOOD and WILL into two words to get the first, quirky bit.

21

A mark, good? It’s the reverse — a bad one (6)


STIGMA - reversal of A, M[ark] G[ood] IT'S

22

Spirit of country seen in vacation (8)


HOLLANDS - LAND in HOLS.  Another name for Jenever.  They make pies too.

23

Tough article in early edition (8)


LEATHERY - THE in (early)*

28

Reason to support marking familiar territory (8,6)


STAMPING GROUND - GROUND underneath STAMPING

29

Stop immediate use of information on envelope (8)


POSTDATE - DD

30

One taking part in regimental ceremonies which don’t occur often (8)


RARITIES - I in R[oyal] A[rtillery] RITES

32

Being indisposed, doctor indelibly writing “overindulgence” (5,8)


BINGE DRINKING - (being)*, D[octo]R, INKING

33

Subsidiaries of British farms (8)


BRANCHES - B[ritish] RANCHES.  In the real world a branch is usually the physical presence of a business located away from the head office rather than being a subsidiary, which would make it a separate legal entity.

35

Appalling arrogance, in which old Frenchman is showing classical influence (6-5)


GRAECO-ROMAN - (arrogance)* around O[ld] M[onsieur].  I wasn't familiar with the spelling with the E.

37

Washing down accommodation university’s not used (6)


HOSING - HOuSING

38

Ridiculously, grapes came a huge distance (10)


MEGAPARSEC - (grapes came)*. A parsec is 3.26 light years and the mega makes this a million of them so this is ceratinly a huge distance.  A lot further than Brian Parmiella can vault.

40

Detectives order fools to turn up in bursts (9)


SPASMODIC - reversal of C.I.D., M.O., SPAS

42

Look into playing on computer in the half-dark (8)


GLOAMING - LO in GAMING

44

Demand for giraffes perhaps that is hard to fulfil? (4,5)


TALL ORDER - see 1ac, 1dn etc.

45

Signs of drug depravity around where you would expect? (8)


EVIDENCE - E[cstasy] VICE around DEN

50

Dry course with a dull instructor, principally (4)


WADI - W[ith] A D{ull} I{nstructor}

51

A time to reflect, but not to change (4)


NOON - a time that reads the same backwards as forwards

52

A mouse is heard in vehicle (4)


MINI - sounds like MINNIE

55

Letter Cecil only half finished (3)


RHO - RHO{des}.  It took me too long to think of the right Cecil.  Step forward Messrs De Mille and Beaton.


There were some delights here. I loved 10ac and 24dn, but the standout for me was 15dn – the clue of the year so far for me! (That’s a small sample, it’s true.) I spent ages gazing at the helpers before I saw the answer with utter delight.

Sadly, I couldn’t finish unaided. The holdout and only disappointment was 22ac – I love obscure prophets even less than biological names and even if I’d seen the wordplay I wouldn’t feel confident of the answer. If you knew this chap, good luck to you!

Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. It might be worth repeating in response to a comment last week that we don’t discuss prize puzzles in this blog until the competition has closed. It may be frustrating sometimes, but we do it this way out of respect to the Times, who provide these delightful puzzles for us.

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

Across
1 Nose cone briefly splitting and breaking in next to no time! (10)
NANOSECOND: this is a two part anagram, signalled by “splitting” and “breaking”. Take NOSE and CON[e] “briefly”, and put (NOSE CON*) inside (AND*).

7 Hit for army band? (4)
CUFF: double definition. Either a hit (cuff over the ear) or a band, for example on a shirt sleeve.Does anyone know what the army has to do with it? On edit, why a shirt sleeve is “army” innit! (Thanks to isla2.)

9 Crust and bacon rasher together in foil cover? (8)
SCABBARD: a SCAB is a crust. A BARD is a piece of bacon or pork fat used to cover meat or game during cooking to prevent drying-out. (Thanks, Chambers.)

10 What was injurious to ’Ancock? (6)
ARMFUL: if you didn’t drop the “h”, it would be [h]ARMFUL or “injurious”. It presumably is also a reference to the line from the Hancock episode “The Blood Donor”, in which he goes to a clinic to give blood:  “A pint? Why, that's very nearly an armful!” (Thanks, Wikipedia.)

11 Dutch American expats may (6)
MISSUS: the expats may miss the U.S., of course. CRS: Duchess of Fife, wife.

13 Extensive supporting cast (8)
PROFOUND: PRO (supporting), FOUND (cast, as in a foundry).

14 Some gathered plane tickets for out-of-this-world destination (3,3,6)
THE RED PLANET: a nice hidden answer.

17 Carries out hit-and-run attack: the main details (4,3,5)
NUTS AND BOLTS: to NUT is to hit, to BOLT is to run.

20 Gym miles to the west of ruined Welsh castle (8)
PEMBROKE: P.E. / M / BROKE.

21 Method of cooking cabbage that’s caught on (6)
CREOLE: RE (on) in COLE (cabbage, as in cole slaw). I thought of kohl and kale long before I got to cole.

22 Prophet’s book, as prepared for a Mass (6)
BALAAM: B (book) / À LA (as prepared) / A / M (mass). All much too obscure for me!

23 Public’s tune did best (8)
OUTSHONE: OUT’S (public’s) / HONE (tune). I’m not sure I can think of any sentence in which you could replace “out’s” by “public’s”, so we’ll categorise this one as setter’s licence, I think.

25 Backed party, of course? (4)
FOOD: DO (party) / OF; all “backed”.

26 Knocking shop people ultimately thought to stop visiting repeatedly (3-1-3-3)
RAT-A-TAT-TAT: RAT (to shop people), then AT, AT, AT (visiting, repeatedly) “stopped by” the T at the end of [though]T.

Down
2 Mysterious girl with hat, cape and lamp (3,5)
ARC LIGHT: anagram (“mysterious”) of (GIRL HAT C*), with C for cape.

3 Sub for Palermo finally delivered up ball with cross (3)
ORB: last letters (“finally”) of the first three words, reversed (“up”). Apparently a reference to the Sovereign’s Orb.

4 Sometime earlier in the day, first of semi finals? (5)
EXAMS: I’m not clear on how to get from “sometime earlier in the day” to EX AM. Certainly AM is earlier than PM, but why the EX? Any ideas? At least the final S is clearly “the first of S[emi]”. On edit: aha - “sometime” is “ex” as in the phrase “my sometime friend”. (Thanks, Bolton Wanderer.)

5 Dictionary one lacking interest, not quite as complex? (7)
OEDIPAL: OED is the Oxford English Dictionary. Given that, the rest leaps out: I is “one”, PAL[e] is not quite “lacking interest”.

6 Road turned north past a delta — and so did railroad (9)
DRAGOONED: DR is RD “turned” / AGO is past / ONE is “a” / D is delta.

7 A natural habitat, maybe, different from new zoo, etc (7,4)
COMFORT ZONE: anagram (“different”) of (FROM N[ew] ZOO ETC*).

8 Expert in tongue disease joining hospital department (6)
FLUENT: FLU (disease) / ENT.

12 One can serve starters: seasonal food? (11)
SPRINGBOARD: SPRING (season) / BOARD (food). In the management jargon, you might want a springboard to start something new.

15 Online dealer; as announced (9)
DOTCOMMER: it’s a “sounds like” clue (“as announced”); the colon in the middle is a DOT above a COMMA.

Looking at the D and the T, I tried for a long time to think of something starting DET… Once I thought “DOT” sounds like something to do with the internet, I soon saw the answer, but it took a while to uncover the delightful role of the punctuation in the wordplay!

16 Legendary runner outwitted ace in Olympic venue (8)
ATALANTA: A for ace in ATLANTA. She was the huntress who was slowed down in a footrace by golden apples.

18 Large green stone beneath a plant (7)
ALECOST: L (large) / ECO (green) / ST (stone), all below “A”.

19 Legend in game, but not going down a treat in Milan? (6)
GELATO: TALE (legend) going up, not down, all inside GO (game).

21 Have fewer computers to manage (3,2)
CUT IT: to cut I.T. might involve fewer computers, but more likely fewer staff I would have thought.

24 Which you need a head for? (3)
HAT: obviously you need a head to put your hat on. I think the wordplay is THAT (which) without the first letter.
This was an engaging exercise, with some fine, quite deceptive surfaces. The four Double Definitions are not scintillating, but such rarely are (and the last one’s kind of fun), but a few of the Cryptic Definitions are pretty cool.

The hidden word at 17 would be very easy, if you happen to have ever heard the word that’s hid. I wonder how many people here did.

I do (sanamgar)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

ACROSS
 1 Ornament fashion designer turned into coal (9)
EMBROIDER — EMB(DIOR<—)ER
 6 After a year, certainly settle (3,2)
PAY UP — “After” is an unnecessary position indicator that helps the surface; “a year” is PA, per annum; and “certainly” is YUP.
 9 Diplomacy that keeps one silent (5)
TACIT — TAC(I)T
10 An art form (9)
SCULPTURE — DD, with the second def. meaning either the form created or the verb “to form” (though I’d prefer “sculpt”).
11 Anxiety about minute details? (6,8)
SECOND THOUGHTSOCD? CD. I saw a headline online last week saying Theresa May told MPs to “think twice” before voting on the ill-fated Brexit deal. Sound advice, but only twice? (And how many times would that make now, in toto?)
13 Information from lawyer sought by atheist? (10)
PROPAGANDA — PRO-PAGAN D.A.! Ha.
15 Head back to get a fish (4)
TUNA — NUT<— + A
17 Feeling cold in one’s hands (4)
NESH — English dialect term, as I eventually discovered. My LOI.
18 Made to air broadcast on small wireless (5,5)
STEAM RADIO — (Made to air + S)* The now-quaint “wireless” is a nicely succinct definition. Loved this one. Could be my COD!
20 A theatre’s outgoings? (9,5)
OPERATING COSTS — CD, playing on two senses of both “theatre” and “outgoings.”
23 Being hairy thanks to a natural mutation (9)
TARANTULAHypertrichosis? A hairy being, rather. TA or “thanks” + (natural)* This is the title of Bob Dylan’s first book, which is actually quite enjoyable (and I don’t care what anyone says), impressive in its untamed creativity, though it had nothing to do with his getting the Nobel Prize.
24 Smart hotel in Welsh town (5)
NEATH — NEAT + H
25 Watery stuff he found in drink (5)
RHEUM — R(HE)UM
26 Fitting, this means (9)
EXPEDIENT — DD

DOWN
 1 Almost simple to grab first of the food (4)
EATS — EAS[-y] eating T[-he]
 2 Single most relevant qualification? (9,6)
BACHELORS DEGREE — CD. It was hard to shake the feeling that there was more to this than the slightly jocular allusion to the other sense of “bachelor.” Why “most relevant”? But I guess if you’re on the dating scene as a single, it would be good to have that “qualification” firmly established, lest someone suspect you had merely slipped off your wedding ring for the night.
 3 Stone walls crushed into something extra? (8)
OPTIONAL — “Stone,” OPAL, encloses (“walls”) (into}* Not sure why the quirk.
 4 Given shot, daughter does shot (5)
DOSEDWill she be disqualified from competition? D + (does)*
 5 Pants are hiding nothing that’s nasty, I’d guess (5,4)
ROUGH IDEA — (are)* secreting O (“nothing”) UGH (“that’s nasty’) I[‘]D. Brilliant! Wait, this may be my COD…
 6 A piece of childhood memory? (6)
POPGUN — CD
 7 It’s better to give thanks (3,8,4)
YOU SHOULDNT HAVE — You shouldn’t possess, better to bestow! A CD of sorts that blends right into the straight definition. Lovely! Definitely my COD!
 8 Media mogul to continue drinking in pub (5,5)
PRESS BARON — PRESS(BAR)ON, “drinking in” here meaning subsuming
12 Drive cook to see PR expert (4,6)
SPIN DOCTOR — “Drive” = SPIN, “cook” = DOCTOR
14 Property charge (9)
ATTRIBUTE — DD
16 Used power to wrestle hooligan (3-5)
PRE-OWNED — (power)* + NED (another Britishism, but one I was reminded of here recently)
19 Bottle that may be full of slugs (6)
MAGNUM — DD
21 Hold good file (5)
GRASP — G + RASP
22 Tea time gossip (4)
CHAT — CHA + T