May 29th, 2021

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1498 - 15 May 2021

Hello again. This Jumbo I thought was extremely straightforward, solved in a single session (unusually for me) in maybe 20 mins.  But it has some extremely neat surface readings and constructions, so I still enjoyed it a lot.. 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 the standard TfTT conventions like underlining the definition, CD for cryptic definition, DD for a double one, *(angarma) and so forth. Nho = "not heard of" .. see the glossary, for other abbreviations and a generally fascinating read ..

1 Description of safety measure wound up reactionary (13)
PRECAUTIONARY - *(UP REACTIONARY) A very neat surface reading and anagram to start us off
8 Chose an Oxford college reportedly containing paintings (9)
PICTORIAL - Sounds like "PICKED ORIEL." Oriel claims to be the oldest royal foundation in Oxford, though it didn't admit undergraduates until c16th
13 Retired cleric dips into Holy Writ? That’s obvious (5)
OVERT - REV (cleric) reversed in OT (holy writ).
14 Neurotic boss vies madly with European leader (9)
15 Young hare loses head, circling top of snowy mountain (7)
EVEREST - S(nowy) in (l)EVERET. A fine mountain, though almost sunk under the weight of being our highest. Like Ben Nevis, Snowdon, Whernside and others.
16 Old person, not heretical, receiving a senior officer (12)
NONAGENARIAN - A GEN(eral) inside NON-ARIAN (not heretical). Arianism is an obscure early religious doctrine, not to be confused with Aryan, that Hitler was a fan of
17 A couple of Charlies, 31, somehow gaining promotion (10)
COMMERCIAL - *(MEMORIAL + CC), a reference to 31ac, and the surface sort of works, just that most of the others seem better
18 Greet son introducing a plucked instrument (6)
19 Hairstyle associated with Exmoor, perhaps? It depends (8)
PONYTAIL - A cd. The reference to Exmoor is to Exmoor ponies, and "It depends" is neat and deliberately ambigous, referring both to hanging down, which is what ponytails do, and to the fact that others have ponytails beside ponies.. a really nice clue.
21 Two graduates fencing in old black African tree (6)
BAOBAB - O(ld) B(lack) inside BA and AB, our two graduates. A lovely tree, your baobab. African originally but well spread now. when I went to Qatar, they had loads.
24 Briefly visit Greek island, securing current writing-desk (10)
SECRETAIRE - AIR (current, as in breeze) inside SE(e) CRETE, briefly visit Greek island
26 Day soldiers agree about uniform — hugely! (12)
MONUMENTALLY - U(niform) inside MON(day) + MEN (soldiers) + TALLY (agree).
29 The grand total, do we hear? Only part (4)
SOME - sounds like "SUM" (grand total)
30 Insect beginning to hover, knowing about river (8)
HOUSEFLY - OUSE (river, one of many in England) inside H(over) + FLY (knowing)
31 Commemorative dinner, say, to entertain poll organisers (8)
MEMORIAL - MORI (poll organisers) inside MEAL (dinner, say). Bob Worcester, the Kansan founder of MORI, made enough money from it to buy Allington Castle, just up the road from me here in Kent. Met him (briefly) and his wife, fine people. Bob is that very rare thing, an American-born Knight of the Realm.
34 Visionary that is inspiring a famous boxer (8)
IDEALIST - ALI, the world's only famous boxer, inside ID EST, which is ie in full
35 Precisely define form of identification required by head (8)
PINPOINT - PIN (form of identification) + POINT (head)
36 Put up with pain in the neck (4)
39 Introducing one-eyed giant mostly, I need a new reference book (12)
ENCYCLOPEDIA - CYCLOP(s) (one-eyed giant, mostly) inside *(I NEED A). Possibly not the slickest surface reading today.
40 Defrayal of expenses in colony (10)
43 Religious festival always involving a saint (6)
EASTER - A ST inside EER  (ever, always)
44 Appropriate commercial vehicle again hired out externally (8)
RELEVANT - VAN in RELET (hired out again)
45 Animal cry disturbed by commotion in grassy area (6)
MEADOW - ADO (commotion) inside MEW, our animal cry
49 One easily taken in by prophet’s light material (10)
SEERSUCKER - SEER (prophet) + SUCKER, one easily taken in
51 Obstinacy ultimately gets container delivered at cape (12)
STUBBORNNESS - a charade clue, one of my favourite types: (get)S + TUB (container) + BORN (delivered) + NESS (cape)
53 Sit back with priest before Mass? It’s favouring the chosen (7)
ELITISM - ELI (the go-to priest for setters, for as long as I can remember) + TIS (sit back) + M(ass). Neat.
54 A woman absurdly into love (9)
55 View end of croft in pass (5)
VISTA - crof(T) inside VISA, a pass
56 Listener a woman will be fond of? (5-4)
SHELL-LIKE - SHE'LL LIKE .. the neat surface of this clue
57 Man on board’s new wife crossing grand London street (13)
KNIGHTSBRIDGE - KNIGHT'S (man on board's) + G(rand) inside BRIDE (new wife)

1 Lied maybe about first of inaccuracies in expert’s medical prediction? (9)
PROGNOSIS - SONG (lied, maybe) reversed, + I(naccuracies), all inside PRO'S (expert's). Patient: “Doctor, are the test results ready yet? I’m dying of curiosity!” Doctor: “Heh… and not only from curiosity.”
2 Ten real reforms going on for ever (7)
3 Regularly fail to understand that woman completely (10)
ALTOGETHER - fAiL, + TO GET (to understand) + HER, our woman
4 Prickly bush’s last cutting lacerated youth leader (6)
THORNY - bus(H) inside TORN (lacerated) + Y(outh)
5 Drunk sups root beer, becoming rough and rowdy (12)
OBSTREPEROUS - *(SUPS ROOT BEER). I wrote in "Obstreporous," but fortunately it didn't seem to look quite right.
6 Sailor overcomes slurs — eschews alcoholic drink (8)
ABSTAINS - AB (sailor) + STAINS (slurs). This being a down clue, "overcomes" works OK. i had a bit of a MER at stains = slurs but I guess that works too, one can leave court without a stain on one's character. And Collins has stain as a synonym of slur
7 Contribution to early wisdom? Certainly, once (4)
YWIS - hidden in earlY WISdom. Not sure where I knew this from but fortunately I did; it is hardly common nowadays.. the earliest mention in the OED is from 888 AD, which is impressive. The last, (as i wis) 1865 in a quotation from Swinburne.
8 Treasured child only initially held to be advanced (10)
PRECOCIOUS - C(hild) O(nly), inside PRECIOUS (treasured)
9 Rich, smooth top of cake a girl’s taken in about (6)
CREAMY - RE (about) inside C(ake) + AMY, a girl. Winehouse maybe, or Johnson ..
10 Exaggerated response of old cleric upset about lawsuit (12)
OVERREACTION - another charade: O(ld) + VER (cleric, upset) + RE (about) + ACTION (lawsuit).
11 Tribe observed, so to speak, in two islands (5)
ICENI - CEN, which is to sound like seen ie observed, in two I(slands). The tribe that Boudicca, or if you prefer Boadicea, led to ultimate defeat against the Romans. Though not before capturing and burning both Colchester and London.
12 Decidedly underage university sportsman in nursery rhyme? (6,3,4)
LITTLE BOY BLUE - a CD I suppose, a blue being what Oxford and Cambridge call those who represent them at certain sports. Annoyingly (for me), chess is not one of them.
20 Register held by leading English novelist (8)
TROLLOPE - ROLL (register) in TOP (leading) + E(nglish). Anthony Trollope, one of our more readable classical novelists.
22 Maryland port using Indian food to a greater extent (9)
BALTIMORE - BALTI + MORE. I was going to say Baltimore is the only place in Maryland I had heard of, but I vaguely recall the state capital, Annapolis.
23 Manliness of American chap and his way of doing things (8)
MACHISMO - MAC (American chap) + HIS MO (modus operandi, way of doing things)
25 Begins statements, sacrificing time for church (9)
COMMENCES - COMMENTS (statements), with the T(ime) replaced by CE (church of England)
27 Like the sloth displayed in garden and gallery (8)
EDENTATE - EDEN (garden) + TATE (gallery). A word meaning toothless, as one might guess. The order Edentata no longer exists, as some of its members were found to be essentially unrelated. Sloths for example are now in the order Xenarathra. I tried to read more, but kept falling asleep ..
28 Bloke touring India with the writer’s case (8)
GENITIVE - I(ndia) inside GENT (bloke) + I'VE (the writer's). Finally, my three year struggle with Latin begins to pay back..
29 Cowardly attitude not associated with porcupines! (13)
SPINELESSNESS - .. porcupines being notably spiny.
32 Instrument from single EP playing outside bar (12)
GLOCKENSPIEL - LOCK (bar) inside *(SINGLE EP). An instrument similar to a xylophone.
33 To depose his best lad is misguided (12)
DISESTABLISH - *(HIS BEST LAD IS). When I was a boy disestablishmentarianism was said to be the longest word in the English language., though longer words have since been found. Some, much longer.
37 Decline of French commander briefly travelling east at the front (10)
DEGENERATE - DE (French for "of") + GENERA(l) (commander, briefly) + T(ravelling) E(ast)
38 Tyneside vicar upset about French writer’s method of payment (5-5)
NEVER-NEVER - (Jules) VERNE, inside NE (Tyneside) + VER (vicar upset). When I was a child it was common to buy things on hire purchase, aka the never-never, but the advent of credit cards pretty much put a stop to that because unlike with hp, the purchase becomes your property immediately. It still happens with motor vehicles; though they see the term hp as derogatory and prefer to call it a finance agreement, instead ..
41 Prefect finally acknowledges head’s view of urban scene (9)
TOWNSCAPE - (prefec)T + OWNS (acknowledges) + CAPE (head)
42 Smoked beef I associated with former music academy? (8)
PASTRAMI - I suppose it is the Royal Academy of Music that is referred to here, so PAST RAM + I. I dislike pastrami, and indeed all forms of preserved smoked meats, which is fine since supposedly, they are bad for you now
46 Lined up and put on clothes (7)
DRESSED - DD. A line of soldiers dresses by the right, to get themselves looking neat
47 Con over a lot of baked food and Norway lobsters (6)
SCAMPI - SCAM (con) + PI(e), a lot of baked food. Apparently Norway lobster, Dublin Bay prawn, and langoustine, are all the same thing. They feed on worms, which may give you pause for thought next time you have some. How they batter themselves and end up in a basket is a mystery
48 Limits of ties university accepted (6)
BOUNDS - U(niversity) in BONDS (ties)
50 Former partner yours truly will reportedly banish (5)
EXILE - Sounds like EX I'LL
52 Cut weedy plant (4)
DOCK - DD. Docks, like sorrels, form part of the huge genus Rumex. They are edible, useful and innocuous, and can only be considered a weed in that dismissive sense that humans reserve for everything and anything they didn't actually plant themselves

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27984 - Saturday, 22 May 2021. Geographically challenged.

I was stumped by 12ac. The rest was Saturday standard. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. How did you all get on?

[Read more ...]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.

1 Famous European family retreating in food resort hotel (8)
HAPSBURG – GRUB + SPA + H for hotel, all “retreating”.
5 State offers something worth having — it's right to join in (6)
ASSERT – R for right, in ASSET.
10 Horrible attritional aims in dictatorship? (15)
11 It's an arm, not the head, that adapts slowly (7)
EVOLVER – drop the first letter from rEVOLVER.
12 Ornament in part of south London by road junction (7)
MORDENT – ornament is a musical term, new to me, of which MORDENT is a type. MORDEN is in South London, T junctions are everywhere. I didn’t know either the answer or the district, so I had no hope of getting this one.
13 Man bound by special call connected with the priesthood? (8)
CLERICAL – ERIC is today’s man. Put him in an anagram (special) of CALL.
15 Mother performing as a legendary friend (5)
DAMON – DAM + ON. A reference to the legend of Damon and Pythias.
18 One's crossing river to see lots of territory? (5)
ACRES – ACE’S, crossing R for river.
20 Clear one bad clue may get this! (8)
RIDICULE – RID=clear + I=one, then an anagram (bad) of CLUE.
23 Weird globules, finally fading away — able to break down in water? (7)
SOLUBLE – anagram (weird) of GLOBULES, after removing a G=fading, finally.
25 Short communication about a daughter being not the sort you want? (7)
LADETTE – LETTEr around A+D.
26 Awkwardly cope with music centre that features modern electronics (8,7)
COMPUTER SCIENCE – anagram (awkwardly) of COPE MUSIC CENTRE.
27 Poor-quality pitch — what's unusual in that? (6)
SHODDY – ODD=unusual in SHY=pitch.
28 Pieces of artwork Greek character inscribed in gents naughtily (8)
ETCHINGS – CHI in anagram (naughtily) of GENTS.

1 Conditions for favourable growth? It means one shouldn't have cold feet (6)
HOTBED - double definition, the second fanciful. I didn’t know the literal meaning of this word. It turns out to be a bed of earth heated by fermenting manure, for raising or forcing plants.
2 Grim-faced worker penning book — something to earn fast buck? (9)
POTBOILER – PO + TOILER penning B for book.
3 Wild animal mostly existing in captivity to make money (7)
BOLIVAR – BOAR “captivating” LIVe.
4 Part of machine soldiers set up on pile of rocks (5)
ROTOR – RO=OR ‘set up’ + TOR = pile of rocks.
6 Disfigured king, frightened to go about (7)
SCARRED – SCARED ‘about’ R=king.
7 Chosen group among the literati (5)
ELITE – hidden answer.
8 Worker in the office for a while — smart, not initially alluring (8)
TEMPTING – TEMP, sTING=smart (not initially).
9 Conservative was first to hold seat and was overcome? (8)
CRUMPLED – C + LED, holding RUMP.
14 Circle is not put in a difficult situation (8)
CORNERED – double definition. Unlike squares, circles don’t have corners.
16 What could produce ailment? No hormone (9)
MELATONIN – anagram (could produce) of AILMENT NO.
17 A hundred cushions in East End churches? They are hung up in the vestry (8)
CASSOCKS – C=Roman numeral for one hundred. HASSOCKS=cushions. Drop the aitch, as per crossword convention.
19 Dull sort of editor failed to get to grips with English (7)
SUBDUED – SUB-editor, DUD holding E=English.
21 Like a rogue in the money, did wrong, getting imprisoned (7)
CADDISH – anagram (wrong) of DID, in CASH.
22 Petition park to rear type of cactus (6)
CEREUS – SUE + REC “to rear”=written upwards, not downwards.
24 Dance to get leg under or leg over? (5)
25 Composer that’s unknown’s turning up in reading material (5)
LISZT – Z in LIST On edit: Elly's comment suggests a better parsing ... Z'S in LIT for literature, all reading upwards.