February 15th, 2020

Jumbo 1423

Well that was fun! My turn to blog coincided with the publication of a Superjumbo crossword with 90 clues (normally 60 ish – do I get time and a half?) to celebrate the 90 years of the Times Crossword. There are lots of clues and solutions with references to this event, and to the subject of crosswords, throughout the puzzle, too many of them to mark individually. The marking of this anniversary made me look back to see how long I have been posting – just over 10 years is the answer, with Jumbo 838 being my first. Time flies!

Although the puzzle was certainly well constructed around the theme, in my opinion none of the clues were particularly difficult, controversial, or worthy of special mention, although I would give 43A as my favourite, followed by 13D for its cryptic definition.

I have updated the format of my blog entry to match others’ efforts, so I now have included the full clue and definitions as I see them are underlined. I hope this helps readers. Apologies for any typos I have missed. Spellcheckers are not the most helpful when one is dealing in partial words and I this was a long document.

The expanded grid seems to have caused problems for the Crossowrd Club and the puzzle cannot be solved through that route. A pdf is available here , and a solvable grid here (thanks to David Parfitt the Puzzles Editor posting these links in the Crossword Club Forum).

ACROSS
1   The number for today’s 45? (5,8,2,3)
      HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU – appropriate for a celebratory event for the puzzle
10 Ninety-ton load originally transported with great diligence (8)
      INTENTLY – (NINETY, T(on), L(oad))*
16 Miss, perhaps, loch, with fog to the west (5)
      HAZEL – HAZE = fog, L = loch
17 Came out with partner once requested? (9)
      EXCLAIMED – EX = partner once, CLAIMED = requested
18 Drag couple, pushing wife back (3)
      TOW – TWO = couple, with W = wife moved to the end of the word
19 Carbon copy perfectly covers a composition (7)
      TOCCATA – TO A T = perfectly, around C.C. = carbon copy, A
20 Times cryptic has bagged large one (9)
      MILESTONE – TIMES* around L = large, ONE
21 Piano master given one month by notorious landlord (11)
      RACHMANINOV – RACHMAN = notorious landlord, I = one, NOV = month
23 See, in singular working method, way to extend playtime (3-2)
      SLO-MO – S = singular, LO = see, M.O. = working method
24 Flash detective with Latin touch (7)
      MODICUM – MO = flash, D.I. = detective, CUM = with, in Latin
25 In short, why you can’t ring chemist (5)
      NOBEL – NO BEL(l) = why you can’t ring
26 Forward social security packs for one (5)
      SASSY – SAY = for one, around S.S. = social security
28 Advance payments: one way to get by (7)
      SUBSIST – SUBS = advance payments, I = one, ST = way
29 Meet in Colorado” — I like this clue! (4,6)
      COME ACROSS – CO = Colorado, ME = I, ACROSS = like this clue
31 Running to ground, maybe, voracious predator turning on swallow (8)
      DOWNFLOW – DOWN = swallow, FLOW = WOLF (= voracious predator), reversed
33 Grand performance's finale for circus clown (7)
      AUGUSTE – AUGUST = grand, (performance)E
35 Cricket team after hotel (5)
      INDIA – double definition, the second referring to the NATO phonetic alphabet
37 Hard test occurring at regular intervals (5)
      HORAL – H = hard, ORAL = test
38 Children’s doctor lacking energy to work out (4)
      SUSS – S(e)USS = children’s doctor
39 Touching, moving letters from dog trainer (2,6,2)
      IN REGARD TO – (DOG TRAINER)*
41 Hot, wearing kit attached to mat — it’s 90 degrees! (5-5)
      RIGHT ANGLE – RIG = kit, around H = hot, TANGLE = mat
43 Extravagant Times clue for Einstein? (7,8)
      NAUGHTY NINETIES – double definition
46 Some of our best, and biggest, friends win dosh and flourish, unexpectedly (5,10)
      IRISH WOLFHOUNDS – (WIN, DOSH, FLOURISH)*
49 Singles that are old: at least 90 (5-5)
      FORTY-FIVES – double definition, the second slightly cryptic as the plural means at least two 45s so at least 90
53 Country girl left a party held by Queen Victoria (2,8)
      EL SALVADOR – ELSA = girl, L = left, V.R. = Queen Victoria, around A DO = a party
54  What solvers are keen to fill? Not quite keen, on reflection (4)
      GRID – DIRG(e) = keen, reversed
56 Live outside Rugby by backward out-of-town area (5)
      EXURB – BE = live, around R.U. = rugby, and X = by, all reversed
58 Film for setter? (5)
      LAYER – double definition
60 For a song in Italian, what a carry on! (7)
      CHEAPLY – CHE = in Italian = what, A, PLY = carry on
62 Sanction attendant to find a place for 45, most days (4,4)
      BACK PAGE – BACK = sanction, PAGE = attendant
63 Explains and edits a clue after revision (10)
      ELUCIDATES – (EDITS A CLUE)*
66 Charged to company blessed person’s expenses! (7)
      ONCOSTS – ON = charged to, CO = company, ST’S = blessed person’s
68 Sudden attack, somewhat uncivil, ungentlemanly (5)
      LUNGE – hidden in unciviL UNGEntlemanly
70 Place mostly full of parasites to get caught in (5)
      LOCUS – LOUS(y) = full of parasites, around C = caught
71 Roughly holds sibling’s body (7)
      CHASSIS – C = roughly, HAS = holds, SIS = sibling
73 Mostly when jumbo appears easy, oddly is gratifying (5)
      SATES – SAT(urday) = mostly when Jumbo appears, odd letters in EaSy
74 It’s change you must accept from extremely lovable female carer! (5,6)
      LEGAL TENDER – L(ovabl)E, GAL = female, TENDER = carer
76 Plant from study picked up at front of shop (4,5)
      REED GRASS – REED sounds like READ = study, GRASS = shop
78 Like 9 and 0, for instanceneither one thing nor another to Shakespeare (3-4)
      ODD-EVEN – double definition
79 House-sitter concealing a plot (3)
      MAP – M.P. = house-sitter, around A
80 (Ad)dressing down? (7-2)
      TALKING TO – double definition, the first including the parenthesised prefix
82 One appearing in drag — one in Pirandello? (5)
      LUIGI – LUG = drag, around I = one, then I = one again
83 Senior women, old, long in post, going back (8)
      DOYENNES – SEND = post, reversed around O = old and YEN = long
84 What’s seen end of Romanov — our one irrefutably cryptic! (8,10)
      FEBRUARY REVOLUTION – (V, OUR ONE IRREFUTABLY)* where the V in the anagram is the end of Romanov

DOWN
1    Gases with unpleasant smell in flat (2-3)
      HO-HUM – H,O = gases, HUM = unpleasant smell
2    Revolutionary poser with unknown values being tried for Brain-teasers’ World (9)
      PUZZLEDOM – MODEL = poser, Z,Z = unknown values, UP = being tried, all reversed
3    Bag for yellow sock lay abandoned (4,3)
      YOLK SAC – (SOCK LAY)*
4    Fateful day when leader’s abandoned pair flanking demo? (4,2,5)
      IDES OF MARCH – (s)IDES OF = pair flanking, MARCH = demo
5    What could be long under end of snout (5)
      TACHE – (snou)T, ACHE = long
6    Tirade sent up charity race (8)
      DIATRIBE – DIA = AID = charity, reversed, TRIBE = race
7    Regularly sampled syrup: my, that’s tasty! (3)
      YUM – alternate letters in sYrUp My
8    What solver may refer to when looking up identical medical conditions (7)
      OEDEMAS – O.E.D. = what solver might refer to, EMAS = SAME = identical, reversed
9    Many Times newspaper plugs unsettled one (5)
      OFTEN – ONE* around F.T. = newspaper
11 Locals show up in nanoseconds! (7)
      NATIVES – NS = nanoseconds, around ATIVE = EVITA = show, reversed
12 A case perhaps for charging, out of old tax, interest on deposit (6,7)
      EXCESS BAGGAGE, EX = out of, CESS = old tax, BAG = interest, GAGE = deposit
13 Is to cease manufacturing warm coats for mothers-to-be? (3,6)
      TEA COSIES – (IS TO CEASE)*. The definition is a reference to the question “Shall I be mother?” before pouring tea.
14 1930 for Chinese show in Birmingham with parts exchanged ... (4,2,3,5)
      YEAR OF THE HORSE – HORSE OF THE YEAR = show in Birmingham, treated as the clue says
15  ... This year keen for some cricket? (6-6)
      TWENTY-TWENTY – triple definition
22 Insensitive request for a ring — receiving different sort (7)
      CALLOUS – CALL US = request for a ring, around O = different sort (of ring)
24 Host nabbing posh family to help out (4,2)
      MUCK IN – M.C. = host, around U = posh, KIN = family
25 Overheard refusals to touch kid’s hankie (4,3)
      NOSE RAG – NOSE sounds like NOES = refusals, RAG = kid
27 Only be doing this having put away volume (4)
      SOLE – SOLVE = be doing this, with V = volume removed
30 Crawling out, mostly quiet (5)
      AWASH – AWA(y) = out, SH = quiet
32 Feeds small numbers at college, in High School (4-3)
      NOSH-UPS – NOS = numbers, H.S. = High School, around UP = at college
33 The last word? Just what one needs? Yes, primarily (7)
      AMENITY – AMEN = the last word, IT = just what one needs, Y(es)
34 A game for the 45's birthday party? (6)
      CLUEDO – perhaps a CLUE DO would be an appropriate party?
36 There are stories from Welshman appearing in The Times etc (7)
      DAILIES – DAI = Welshman, LIES = stories
40 Derby game involves four sort of shooting (5-2)
      DRIVE-BY – DERBY* around IV = four
42 In turning up sibyl, a monastery’s deviant (7)
      ANOMALY – hidden reversed in sibYL A MONAstery
43 Less likely to spot one putting on one’s coat? (7)
      NONDRIP – cryptic definition around the idea of a coat of paint
44 Removed from board, sulked (6)
      HUFFED – double definition, the first connected with draughts
45 This enigmatic item's put out along with news (5,9)
      TIMES CROSSWORD – ITEMS*, CROSS = put out, WORD = news. The definition could also be just the first word of the clue
47 1930, where fifty percent of history is still (4,4,5)
      HALF PAST SEVEN – HALF = fifty percent, PAST’S = history is, EVEN = still
48 Base bachelor quite keen for 90-minute affair (8,4)
      FOOTBALL GAME – FOOT = base, B = bachelor, ALL = quite, GAME = keen
50 Disturbances after polling bringing change in Russia (7)
      ROUBLES – (t)ROUBLES = disturbances
51 Ticked over five hundred large — that is five hundred— boxes! (5)
      IDLED – I.E. = that is, around D = five hundred and L = large, then D = five hundred again
52 Emergency or upset thus besetting teacher (6)
      CRISIS – SIC = thus, around SIR = teacher, all reversed
55 Might the setters pull a fast one? (7)
      DOGSLED – cryptic definition where setters are canine
57 Stick with this gamea version you’re still saddled with? (7,4)
      BICYCLE POLO – double definition, both mildly cryptic. Perhaps elephant polo would be more appropriate for a Jumbo puzzle
59 Examine origins of special crossword at ninety (4)
      SCAN – initial letters of Special Crossword At Ninety
61 Fervently, finally celebrated elite puzzling across 90 years (9)
      EXCITEDLY – ((celebrate)D, ELITE)*, around XC = 90, Y = years
64 Conductor’s inaction’s outrageous (9)
      TOSCANINI – INACTIONS*
65 Want to leave mark on financial institutions (8)
      SCARCITY – SCAR = mark, CITY = financial insitutions
67 Offend Anglicans, passing round half of lewd gag (7)
      SILENCE – SIN = offend, around LE(wd), C.E. = Anglicans
69 Old German prince’s shocking treatment, in part after rising (7)
      ELECTOR – ELOR = ROLE = part, reversed around E.C.T. = shocking treatment
72 Writer in The Guardian, or in Le Monde (7)
      ANGELOU – ANGEL = guardian, OU = or (in French - as Le Monde is a French newspaper)
75 Drinks picked up with ear drop (5)
      LAPSE – sounds like LAPS = drinks
76 Like a difficult jumbo, not like the others? (5)
      ROGUE – double definition
77 Twig, at last, Times Cryptic Number One’s being recalled (5)
      SCION – final letters in timeS cryptic, ION = NO I = number one, reversed
81 Field of grass bound to need cutting (3)
      LEA – LEA(p) = bound
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27582 - Saturday, 08 February 2020. Oom-pah-pah.

An easy solve, finished over lunch. Always nice. I liked the appearance of the brass band instrument, but my clue of the day was the pun at 1dn. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’. Deletions are in [square brackets].
Across
1 Short match (5)
LIGHT – double definition.
4 Policeman I see dresses in fur — that sounds awful! (9)
CACOPHONY – AH (I see) ‘dresses’ COP, then all of that is ‘in’ CONY (fur).
9 French dish: temptress primarily after person in suit (9)
CASSOULET – T[-emptress] after SOUL in CASE.
10 Path with entrance to the rear, remote (5)
OUTER – ROUTE with the R at the rear.
11 In formula I get blunders: little holes in it? (9,4)
MINIATURE GOLF – (IN FORMULA I GET*), ‘blunders’. I suspect the holes are actually pretty much the normal size. The approaches are what’s little.
14 I'm going towards being doubled up, after retirement (2-2)
TA-TA – AT (towards, as in “I’m looking at/towards the end of the road”), repeated and reversed.
15 American brass cleaner welcoming American polish (10)
SOUSAPHONE – SOAP (cleaner) welcoming U.S., then HONE. A redesigned tuba for marching bands.
18 Where soldiers were ordered to go too much (4,3,3)
OVER THE TOP – another double definition.
19 That's a match, still! (4)
SNAP – and a third DD. The first as in the card game, the second as in photography.
21 US president in dispute, PM joining club (7,6)
WOODROW WILSON – ROW and (Harold) WILSON joining WOOD (golf club).
24 After a review, I declare myself the official physicist (5)
FERMI – I’M REF, reversed (reviewed). Enrico Fermi.
25 Butterfly is full colour (9)
BRIMSTONE – BRIMS (full), TONE (colour).
27 Appellation on envelope erased, send off without name (9)
ADDRESSEE – (ERASED SE-D*), ‘off’, without N for name.
28 Malevolent character, US president once on board? (5)
SIKES – IKE on board SS (ship). Bill Sikes from Oliver Twist, that will be.

Down
1 Ridiculous proposal going forward, perhaps? (10)
LOCOMOTION – indeed, a LOCO MOTION.
2 One way matter may be sorted: action group firstly set up (3)
GAS – first letters of S[-orted] A[-ction] G[-roup]! ‘set up’.
3 Chest: try stuffing instrument briefly inside (6)
THORAX – HOR[-n] inside TAX (try, as in that would try/tax anyones patience).
4 Terrorist group go down having stolen uranium compound found in plant (9)
CELLULOSE – CELL (terrorist group), LOSE (go down), having ‘stolen’ (i.e. pocketed) U.
5 Shape that is lovely (5)
CUTIE – CUT (cut into a shape), I.E. (that is).
6 Media affairs torrid under head of programming — that was careless! (5,3)
PHOTO OPS – HOT under P[-rogramming], then OOPS.
7 Forbidden, now spring's gone? (3,2,6)
OUT OF BOUNDS – now the last spring’s gone, we’re OUT OF BOUNDS.
8 House given a choice of sturdy and weak foundations? (4)
YORK – [-sturd]Y OR [-wea]K, I ask you?
12 Aberrant elder thrown in abyss (11)
NETHERWORLD – (ELDER THROWN*), ‘aberrant’.
13 Partners, one's pals worryingly vulnerable to attack? (10)
WEAPONLESS – W[-est] and E[-ast] are conventionally bridge partners, then (ONES PALL*) is ‘worrying’.
16 These days not much in some vacuous old tale (4,5)
SNOW WHITE – NOW + WHIT inside SE (‘some’, vacuous).
17 Drug in operation worked, though not the first (8)
ATROPINE – (-PERATION*), ‘worked’.
20 Wish we were here for wife (6)
MISSUS – so, do you miss us? Wish we were there, don’t you?
22 Ultimately joyous, supremely uplifting puzzle (5)
REBUS – [-joyou]S, UBER, all ‘uplifting’.
23 Old sovereign tender, by the sound of it? (4)
OFFA – what do you OFFER (tender, by the sound of it)?
26 Not so bad hugging a tree (3)
OAK – OK hugging A.

Sunday Times Cryptic 4889, 9 II 2020, by Dean Mayer — Do I have to spell it out?

Well, it never fails. My biographical note has been posted with this blog now for only a matter of some weeks, and it will soon be out of date, and in a most distressing way. A little over a week ago, I unceremoniously received the sudden, utterly unexpected and deeply disturbing news that The Nation magazine is discontinuing its crossword puzzle, a tradition since 1943, of which I have been the faithful steward for uncounted years. I entertain a slight hope (a stubbornly insistent fantasy) that the decision (an austerity measure!) will eventually be reversed… after our legions of fans, so many of whom subscribe just for Joshua and Henri’s creations, make themselves heard. (There are such people out there, I just don’t know how many…) I am still baffled by the evident lack of empathy for our readers, as well as for us, evinced by those who made this decision; initially, the puzzle creators were not even given the time (just a few more weeks) in which to arrange a graceful exit. While the puzzle has been only a very small part of my job, it was one that was dear to me, and it was especially difficult to learn of its termination via email.

So I was glad last weekend to escape from my dire meditations into this engrossing puzzle, which I thoroughly enjoyed—right up to the end, where I was disappointed to confront an unknown foreign word (clearly some bygone foreign currency…), C_U_E_R_ clued by a cryptic definition, with no wordplay assistance for filling in the blanks. (An anagram would have been super, but I also came up with another possibility, which I give below.) It’s true that one could guess that the word might begin with CRUZ and would probably end in O, so I may have been driven to use an aid mostly by fatigue.

I indicate (marangas)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

ACROSS
 1 Restraint suggested in Sydney on vacation (10)
SIMPLICITY — S(IMPLICIT)Y, since we’re to take “Sydney on vacation” to mean “Sydney vacated” (S[-ydne]Y)
 6 Was revolver 9 inches in length? (4)
SPAN — DD, but the first one’s being an archaic dialectical form may be what occasions the question mark. Of course, I had SPUN until I remembered that the whole thing had to be parsed.
 9 Frank is 16 (4-6)
FOUR-SQUARE — 42
10 Be aware, I refuse to be heard (4)
KNOW — Sounds like “no”
12 A defence of simple answers? (4)
PLEA — Hidden
13 Treasury’s former auditor given audition (9)
EXCHEQUER — EX, “former” + CHEQUER, which sounds like “checker or “auditor”
15 Longing to hug judge, acceptable here but a reason for mistrial in America (4,4)
HUNG JURY — HUNG(J)(U)RY
16 Is it a nice view if one’s never there? (6)
STANCE — Take every instance of “i” out of the phrase “Is it a nice,” and you get the answer—defined, unusually enough, only in the (exact!) middle of the clue. For its originality alone, this gets my COD award.
18 Go over what appears in eruption (6)
REHASH — R(“EH?”)ASH
20 Tabloid covers mad Zaire overlord (8)
SUZERAIN — (Zaire)* inside SUN, the notorious redtop
23 Infamy screwed up debater (3,6)
BAD REPUTE — (debater)*
24 Crack a potty (4)
GAGA — GAG, “crack” + A
26 Annoyed about name given to fountain (4)
EROS — SORE<=”about” The one in Piccadilly Circus.
27 Soft material bad for bare bum (4,6)
FOAM RUBBER — (for bare bum)*
28 Fly making use of dead wood (4)
DASH — D(ead) + ASH, “wood”
29 Does anything but order beer for charity event? (6,4)
JUMBLE SALE — JUMBLES, “Does anything but order” + ALE, “beer”

DOWN
 1 Filter paper is raised aloft (4)
SIFT — IS<=”raised” above FT, “paper” (traditional Times reference to the Financial Times)
 2 Tearful girl left at home (7)
MAUDLIN — MAUD + L + IN
 3 Failure to hold down good job in insurance (4,8)
LOSS ADJUSTER — ”Failure” is LOSER, “down” is SAD, “good” is JUST: LOS(SAD)(JUST)ER
 4 A Brazilian’s real ancestor (8)
CRUZEIRO — Nowadays Brazil uses the real. CD. But how about “Church upset over posh nonentity taking one in as Brazilian’s real ancestor”?
 5 Most of the people in an ancient kingdom (6)
THRACE — TH[-e] + RACE, “people”
 7 Bird shooter bags one seabird (7)
PENGUIN — PEN, “Bird” (specifically, a female swan) + GU(I)N
 8 City bank blocks corrupt owners (3,7)
NEW ORLEANS — (owners)* with LEAN, or “bank” inside. Merriam-Webster gives “bank” as a word “related to” LEAN but not as a synonym; but at Thesaurus dot com I found both “bank” and LEAN listed under the noun “gradient,” meaning “slope.”
11 Measure of frostiness if judge is reported (7,5)
WEATHER GAUGE — WEATHER “is reported” as (sounds like) “if” + GAUGE, “judge”
14 Desperate brothers notice biscuit (10)
SHORTBREAD — (brothers)* + AD, “notice”
17 What Spanish name confused black fairy? (5,3)
QUEEN MAB — QUE, “What [in] Spanish” + (name)* + B(lack)
19 Awful shelters—no time for them (7)
HIDEOUS — HIDEOU[-t]S
21 Garble, struggling with a branch of maths (7)
ALGEBRA — (Garble)* + A
22 Puzzle sounds oddly fair, initially unsolved (6)
SUDOKU — SUD comes from the odd letters in SoUnDs, then we have OK, “fair” + U[-unsolved]
25 I agree to be tortured regularly (4)
TRUE — Employment contract? Alternate letters in ToRtUrEd