April 3rd, 2021

Times Cryptic Jumbo No. 1488 - 20 March 2021

Hello again. This Jumbo I thought was a really good one, with a number of imaginative clues and a lot of very nice surface readings, which I always like. I found it mostly straightforward, though with a couple of tricky clues and some unusual vocab, especially around the waistline area. Also an amazing number of random people: Des, Ken, Kev, Bert, Fi, Di, Tim, Stella, not to mention the more specific Nellie and Stan ... So, what did you think?

Because the Jumbo is a big beast of a crossword, some of my comments below may be a bit terse but please, do feel free to ask questions or comment as required. We are all friends here..

I use mostly the standard conventions like underlining the definition, CD for cryptic definition, DD for a double one, *(anargam) and so forth. Nho = "not heard of"

Across
1 Vague private record company reportedly put an end to (13)
INDETERMINATE - INDE (sounds like "Indie," a type of record company, as all hep cats know) + TERMINATE (put an end to)
8 See man on board, mostly very funny (9)
BISHOPRIC - BISHOP (man on board) + RIC(h) (mostly funny)
13 Old Ottoman governor’s remains buried in Pennsylvania (5)
PASHA - ASH (remains) in PA (Penn etc). The OED says "A Turkish officer of high rank, as a military commander or a provincial governor. Now historical."
14 Like a flat some fellows used in a short story (11)
APARTMENTAL - PART + MEN (some + men) in A TAL(e), a short story. Not a word I remember seeing before, but an easy extend from, say, departmental
15 Capital invested in Durham mansions (5)
AMMAN - hidden in DurhAM MANsions
16 Bubbly lass finally leaving car round back of hotel (9)
SPARKLING - (las)S + (hote)L in PARKING (leaving car). Clever clue! I've always disliked carbonated drinks, including champagne .. beer excepted, of course
17 Tiny childa pest! (4)
MITE - DD. Mites are tiny arachnidae, and utterly fascinating. Eg, from wikipedia: "The tropical species Archegozetes longisetosus is one of the strongest animals in the world, relative to its mass (100 μg): It lifts up to 1,182 times its own weight, over five times more than would be expected of such a minute animal. A mite also holds a speed record: for its length, Paratarsotomus macropalpis is the fastest animal on Earth."
18 Detectives can, at court — that’s clear (8)
DISTINCT - DIS (detective inspectors) + TIN (can) + C(our)T
20 Fury when king escapes power breakdown (6)
OUTAGE - OUT(r)AGE. Had an electricity one only a couple of days ago; having to reset all the timers afterwards reminded me why my electricity bill is so high
21 Expert custodians, about fifty, engaging female Scottish lawyer (10,6)
PROCURATOR FISCAL - FI (female) in PRO CURATORS (expert custodians) + C(irc)A  L (about fifty).  I  remembered the lawyer from the 1960s Dr Finlay's Casebook, he consulted them all the time. Which surprised me, given that I usually can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday (it was muesli, but you catch the drift).
24 Repudiation of girl’s article I, for one, read out (9)
DISAVOWAL - DI'S (girls) A (article) + VOWAL, sounds like vowel (I, for one). Another neat clue
26 Embarks on journey: TV’s not on (4,3)
SETS OFF - leave you to work that one out
27 Nutty substance primarily produced in my area (5)
COPRA - P(roduced) in COR (my!) + A(rea). Copra is the edible flesh of a coconut, usu. dried. Apparently it is classed as dangerous goods and cannot be carried by air, because it is known to spontaneously combust..
29 Over vivid in exam about mapping of mountains (12)
OROGRAPHICAL - My first NHO. O(ver) + GRAPHIC (vivid), all in ORAL (exam). I managed to construct it OK, but I did look it up before pressing "submit."
31 Recurring passages and runs spoilt trio Melba cut short (10)
RITORNELLI - R(uns) + *(TRIO) + NELLI(e) .. ie Dame Nellie Melba, of whom everybody has heard but few know the first thing about. Fun facts: no less than four different foods bear her name. Her picture is on the A$100 bill. Melba is just a stage name, from Melbourne, her birthplace. She wasn't Nellie, either, but Helen.
33 First of two mistakes about small dwelling’s earthenware (10)
TERRACOTTA - T(wo) + COT (small dwelling) in ERRATA (mistakes). another fine construction. One of my favourite pubs, now sadly shut forever, was at a place in Kent, deep in the countryside, called "Cotman's Ash"
35 Intrepid Reds unexpectedly dominated by clergy (6-6)
PRIEST-RIDDEN - *(INTREPID REDS). A pungent comment about RC clergy comes to mind, but I forbear.
38 Old man going around with bearlike mammal (5)
PANDA - AND (with) in PA (old man). The red variety, besides being unbearably cute, (ha!) is not a panda, but also is not a bear. It was classed as such for a long time but now has a taxonomic class all to itself. Our setter is precise in saying "bear-like"
39 Go back in panic, carrying Mike’s powerful light (3,4)
FOG LAMP - OG (go back) in FLAP (panic), also containing M (Mike, NATO alphabet)
40 Clubs formerly accommodating Laurel’s girl (9)
CONSTANCE - STAN (Laurel) in C ONCE (clubs formerly). I was worried that botanical knowledge might be needed here, but no, it is prewar comedians we are after. I know little of either, sadly but have heard of Stan and Ollie
42 Man harbouring yen to have wee drink before a play (7,4,5)
KITCHEN SINK DRAMA - ITCH (yen) in KEN (man), + SINK DRAM (have wee drink) + A. Now malt whisky I do know a fair bit about. Once upon a time I used occasionally to get 1dn on it, but not nowadays.
44 Sort of meal friends recalled at university? (4-2)
SLAP-UP - PALS (friends) rev. + UP (at Uni. Where you get sent down from, if found out)
47 Writer’s catalogue appearing after fifteen days? (8)
NOVELIST - NOVE(mber) + LIST. Half a month, clever
49 Asian’s formal wear mentioned in speech (4)
THAI - sounds like "tie." All the easier, because a similar clue for the same word popped up only the day before.
50 Difference in short seen … differently (9)
OTHERNESS - *(SHORT SEEN)
52 Wading bird biting head off rue (5)
EGRET - (r)EGRET (rue), for a favourite crossword bird.
53 Senators met at sea, closest to where the sun rises (11)
EASTERNMOST - *(SENATORS MET)
54 She’s back, wearing man’s close-fitting cap (5)
BERET - The answer was obvious, but could I parse it? Eventually: it is (sh)E (she's back) in BERT (the eponymous man, not to be confused with Ken, above).
55 Fit for the main Home Counties area, value unknown (9)
SEAWORTHY - SE (home counties) + A(rea) + WORTH (value) + Y (unknown, but not X or Z)
56 Trek there and sell reconditioned fairground ride (6-7)
HELTER-SKELTER - *(TREK THERE + SELL) reconditioned, a nice anagrind. My sort of fairground ride, less keen on being scared witless as is the modern fashion.

Down
1 In the compiler’s ancient dictionary it’s “with paint thickly applied” (9)
IMPASTOED - I'm (the compiler's) + PAST (ancient) + OED (dictionary, the best one there is). Incidentally, if you have a library card there is a good chance you can access the online OED without a subscription as the majority of UK county libraries have a block subscription. Here in Kent we can access all sorts of reference materials, all of the Oxford reference library, even daily papers and various magazines. Our overseas cousins may not be so fortunate but if you are, eg, an alumnus of somewhere, they may subscribe. Might be worth a look ..
2 Musical line a chap is unable to compose (7)
DESCANT - DES CAN'T .. our third eponymous bloke.
3 Appreciative type, Kev, travelling with his grant (11)
THANKSGIVER - *(KEV + HIS GRANT) .. and the fourth
4 Something fishy about a girl band’s travel organiser (6)
ROADIE - A DI (a girl) in ROE (something fishy)
5 Speech delivered during summer month on Russian river (9)
INAUGURAL - IN AUG (during summer month) + URAL, one of the few Russian rivers I know. Today's clandestine Americanism. Collins: "a speech made at an inauguration, esp by a president of the US." We tend not to have them here in England, we just cut the tape with scissors and declare the supermarket duly open.
6 Chair-covering a northern man, Charlie, carried in a vehicle (12)
ANTIMACASSAR - A + N(orthern) + TIM (yet another random man), + ASS (Charlie) in CAR. An antimacassar is a piece of cloth placed to stop macassar oil transferring from one's hair onto the upholstery. Or onto your uniform if you are a sailor, because that is what the flap behind their neck is for.
7 Reader dined with English voters (10)
ELECTORATE - E(nglish) LECTOR (reader) + ATE (dined). The only lector I knew was Hannibal, but still managed to shuffle it all into order
8 Time to probe extra unit of data (4)
BYTE - T(ime) in BYE (extra, our first and only cricket reference)
9 Mercenary desperate for oldies with big money (7,2,7)
SOLDIER OF FORTUNE - *(FOR OLDIES) + FORTUNE (big money)
10 Choose to frame rising academician’s abstract work (2,3)
OP ART - RA (Royal Academician, ie a member of the Royal Academy of Arts, a private club in London limited to no more than 80 of only the right sort of artist. No Jack Vettrianos here) rev. in OPT (choose)
11 Like some languages partly for Omani citizens? (7)
ROMANIC - hidden, in foR OMANI Citizens. The Romance languages include Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan ...
12 Tory woman surprisingly into stars (13)
CONSTELLATION - CON STELLA (Tory woman) + *(INTO). Here is a very beautiful one, Andromeda - actually only the galaxy, but within the constellation of the same name. Does it make you feel small? It should
19 Poisonous alkaloid from a harbour over in East (8)
ATROPINE - A + TROP (port, over) IN E(ast). The deadly part of deadly nightshade; like many poisons, it is also a medicine
22 Like some old Peruvians serving prison sentences? (5)
INCAN - IN CAN, ho ho.
23 Filled with enthusiasm, but brought down to earth, perhaps? (5,3,4,4)
SWEPT OFF ONES FEET - a DD I suppose, one a bit fanciful
25 Endlessly regretful about quietly getting a new pouch (7)
SPORRAN - P (quietly, short for piano, rather confusingly) in SORR(y) (endlessly regretful) + A N(ew). A Scotsman's equivalent of a handbag.
28 Knight errant’s son in physical discomfort (7)
PALADIN - LAD (son) inside PAIN
29 Those not elected dig new head’s frank manner (13)
OUTSPOKENNESS - OUTS (those not elected) + POKE (dig) + N(ew) + NESS (head). Someone who is either refreshingly honest or disgustingly rude, depending on whether you agree with them or not
30 Trendy label, behold, around one engraved figure (8)
INTAGLIO - IN TAG (trendy label) + I in LO (behold)
32 Accomplished gangster accepting fate? It’s comparable (12)
PROPORTIONAL - PRO AL (accomplished gangster) containing PORTION (fate). "Portion: a person's lot or destiny" (Collins)
34 An attempt to embarrass? (5)
ABASH - Well.. A BASH, an attempt
36 Unbearable to the French mob, a bishop having gone in first (11)
INTOLERABLE - IN TO LE RA(b)BLE. Cue topical EU vaccine joke..
37 Support novel French art, ultimately with a little cash out East (10)
BACKSHEESH - BACK (support) SHE (a novel) + ES (French art) + (wit)H. This might cause some problems since you need to know two different crossword staples. SHE, the novel by rider Haggard and ES, a word never used (in this meaning) except in crosswords. I would spell it baksheesh, but Collins gives both.
40 Naval officer’s chest of drawers containing gold (9)
COMMODORE - OR (gold) in COMMODE. Indeed a commode can be a chest of drawers, but that is not what one first thinks of.. as for Commodore, "The Commodore" is one of the great novels of the 20th century, CS Forester at his best. An excellent read.
41 One who explains riots stirred up after trade fair (9)
EXPOSITOR - EXPO (trade fair) + *(RIOTS)
43 A French writer briefly visiting army eating-place (7)
TAVERNA - A VERN(e) in TA (army). Jules Verne, I enjoyed his books as a schoolboy, not sure if I could cope nowadays with the primitive science they contained.  The Territorial Army sadly is no more, but lives on happily enough in crosswordland.
45 Seaside entertainer perhaps — and what might cause his downfall? (7)
PIERROT - another whimsical DD.. PIER ROT, an expensive problem to have in this day and age. All our remaining piers are listed, and some of them are listing as well ..
46 Naval NCOs collecting raunchy snaps (6)
PHOTOS - HOT (raunchy) in POS, petty officers
48 Bachelor leaves in drunken state for game (5)
LOTTO - (b)LOTTO
51 Greyish, like Henry on the outside (4)
ASHY - AS (like) + H(enr)Y
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27936 - Saturday, 27 March 2021. New and different?

This Crossword had a very fresh feel to it. Was it a new or different setter, I wonder? I got though it very quickly but paused to admire clue after clue as I went. I particularly liked the clue with Mrs Thatcher, and that with the Indian statesman, but my standout was the alphabet trickery at 16ac and 6dn. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. How did you all get on?

Notes for newcomers: The Times offers prizes for Saturday Cryptic Crosswords. This blog is posted a week later, after the competition closes. So, please don’t comment here on the current Saturday Cryptic.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Deletions are struck through.

[Read more ....]
Across
1 Firearm found in river collected by police (6)
MUSKET – USK collected by the MET.
4 Take apart a French car, there being little left inside (8)
UNCOUPLE – UN, COUPÉ with L inside.
9 Swimmer in drink gets shock (5,2)
SHAKE UP – HAKE in SUP.
11 Permission from top Indian statesman? (2-5)
GO-AHEAD – GOA is the Indian State, HEAD is top. So, he’s the top Goan, not a statesman of the Thatcher calibre, as if that were possible!
12 Bar's very popular, understood? (5)
INGOT – IN is popular, GOT is understood.
13 British prime minister once suppressing a vote — description of Thatcher? (6-3)
BATTLE-AXE – B for British. ATTLEE was PM once, and here he suppresses A+X.
14 At the end of dance, it's amusing to squeeze leg — careful! (10)
ECONOMICAL – E is end of dance. COMICAL is amusing, and it has to squeeze ON or leg.
16 Vehicle, one I would precede, on which to go around (4)
JEEP – I precedes J in the alphabet, then reverse PEE=go.
19 Large spruce (4)
TIDY – double definition. Neat and tidy, or a tidy sum.
20 Love to leave bouquet with new charity that's concerned with mental issues (10)
PSYCHIATRY – take O=love out of PoSY, then add an anagram (new) of CHARITY.
22 One's beaten on points by ace — hit back (5,4)
SNARE DRUM – S and N are compass points, A is ace, then MURDER=hit is backwards to give REDRUM.
23 Tough soldier goes around back of tank to get coat (5)
PARKA – PARA goes round the K from the back of tank.
25 Visiting worker being accommodated in one US city or another (7)
ATLANTA – AT is visiting. ANT is the worker, in LA.
26 Turned around in back row, tending to form new contacts! (7)
NETWORK – a backwards hidden answer, in bacK ROW TENding.
27 Work miles away, close to Dutch port (8)
PLYMOUTH – PLY is to work, M is miles, OUT is away, H is the close/last letter of dutcH.
28 Whiskey, right? That gets mistaken for scotch (6)
THWART – anagram (mistaken) of W R THAT, using one-letter abbreviations for the first two words..

Down
1 Send wrong credits: I’m confused (9)
MISDIRECT – anagram (confused) of CREDITS IM.
2 In manner of speaking, was grass laid around lake? (5)
SLANG – L for lake in SANG=grassed/informed.
3 Working out if, given immunity, Republican replaces representative (8)
EXERTION – EXEMPTION would be immunity. Replace MP by R for Republican.
5 Playing ninth match — a good wicket for late starter? (13)
NIGHTWATCHMAN – anagram (playing) of NINTH MATCH A G W, using one-letter abbreviations for the last two words.
6 Sage the most common ingredient in tagliatelle eaten by old people (6)
ORACLE – O for old, RACE of people. Add an L, the only letter which occurs three times in tagliatelle. (Very original).
7 Pressure on clergyman before a religious festival is common (9)
PREVALENT – P for pressure, REV is the clergyman, A, LENT is the religious festival.
8 Last, not penultimate gift (5)
ENDUE – to ENDURE is to last. Remove the penultimate letter.
10 Government official's initially nervous when entering seedy private clubs (6,7)
PUBLIC SERVANT – N from nervous goes into an anagram (seedy) of PRIVATE CLUBS.
15 Former gangster admitting one crime finally put inside by court (3,6)
OLD BAILEY – OLD is former. Then put I=one inside AL=the gangster, append E as the last letter of crimE, and put all that inside BY, and there by magic is the answer.
17 Yes, crowd invested in favourite — there's money in it (3,6)
PAY PACKET – AY is yes, PACK is the crowd. Put that inside PET.
18 Murder in area covered by senior detective? (8)
DISPATCH – it’s the DI’S PATCH, isn’t it?
21 Slowly clads a building (4-2)
LEAN-TO – LENTO is the musical instruction for slowly. Put in an A.
22 Went through water, parking in boggy area (5)
SWAMP – SWAM, P for parking.
24 Wine and port on top of unfinished beer (5)
RIOJA – RIO is the port, a JAr is a beer.