June 12th, 2021

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1500 - 29th May 2021. Much Difficulty

Hello everybody.  For the third time in a row my blogging day fell on the Saturday before a bank holiday; this time, however, there is a special occasion to mark — and marked it is with a theme.  It was a bit of a beast which I did not quite finish off without aids but did enjoy the wrestle.  I perhaps got a little cranky in a couple of places due to lack of knowledge, but when trying to identify my top clues I found too many to list.  Plus I very much enjoyed the MD clues.  So a big thanks to the setter!


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  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27996 - Saturday, 5 June 2021. Can Scrabble champions jet through crosswords?

My major blockage with this one was the Brazilian jet. 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.

Across
1 Those employing ramp turn left on returning aboard (9)
SWINDLERS – WIND=turn + L=left + ER=re(=on) ‘returning’. Put all of that in SS, or in other words on board ship’.
9 Arriviste from north in disorderly rave-up (7)
PARVENU – N + RAVE UP ‘disorderly’.
10 Employer drained after working away for purchase (2,5)
ON OFFER – ON=working, OFF=away, EmployeR drained’.
11 Pulp novel changing hands (5)
FLESH – FRESH, changing R to L.
12 Doctor bitten by crow sick at heart and windy (9)
BOMBASTIC – MB=doctor inside BOAST=crow, then sICk ‘at heart’.
13 Seafood from Bali cooked in cabin (7)
HALIBUT – BALI ‘cooked’ in HUT.
15 A little garlic in cold relish (5)
CLOVE – C=cold, LOVE=relish.
17 Fly westward, say, with poor illumination (5)
MIDGE – EG=say, DIM=poor illumination, all ‘westward’.
18 Steal very small amount (5)
PINCH – double definition.
19 Satisfactory cuts for every card game (5)
POKER – OK ‘cuts’ PER.
20 Subordinate to remain without water, close to death (7)
BENEATH – BE=remain + NEAT=without water (whisky, perhaps) + H=‘close’ to deatH.
23 Hang about like security service intercepting notes (9)
ASSOCIATE – AS=like, CIA=security service; add in a SO and a TE as required.
25 Draw involving clubs proceeds without honour? (5)
LUCRE – LURE ‘involving’ C=clubs.
27 Plot to trap seal thwarted (7)
BLOCKED – BED ‘trapping’ LOCK.
28 Ferocious marine syndicate (7)
SEARING – SEA=marine, RING=syndicate.
29 Money initially denied to servicemen restored from then on (4,5)
EVER SINCE – SERVICEmEN minus its ‘M, ‘restored’ as an anagram.

Down
1 Block times for visit (4,2)
STOP BY – STOP=block, BY=times.
2 Press, first alternative to rack? (4,6)
IRON MAIDEN – IRON=press, MAIDEN=first. Maiden appearance, for example.
3 Provocation of French intended (8)
DEFIANCE – DE=of in French, FIANCÉ=intended (husband).
4 Bird turned up covered in detergent (5)
EGRET – backwards hidden answer.
5 Roadside police may carry out this arrest after jam (4,5)
SPOT CHECK – SPOT=jam, CHECK=arrest.
6 Drawing energy released by power source can be tricky (6)
ARTFUL – ART=drawing, possibly + FUeL ‘releasing’ E.
7 Announcement of grain yield (4)
CEDE – sounds like SEED.
8 Bird to emerge from shell, head first (8)
NUTHATCH – NUT=head + HATCH=emerge from shell.
14 Mad family a potential cause of embarrassment (6,4)
BANANA SKIN – BANANAS=mad, KIN.
16 Hospital expert tipped to run leaderless institution (9)
ORPHANAGE – H=hospital + PRO=expert, all ‘tipped up’. Then, mANAGE=run is ‘leaderless’.
17 One's invested in phone for rally (8)
MOBILISE – 1’S in MOBILE.
18 Valuable source I abandoned under pressure (8)
PRECIOUS – SOURCE I is ‘abandoned’, after P=pressure.
21 A male, or sometimes a female, team getting in beers (6)
ALEXIS – XI=team in ALES.
22 Buyer's limit included in letter (6)
VENDEE – END=limit, in VEE. Not a common word, but since a VENDOR sells, obviously a VENDEE buys. Nothing to do with the French department, in the Pays de la Loire.
24 Jet from Brazil unloaded in small enclosure (5)
SABLE – BL=Brazil ‘unloaded’. S.A.E.=self-addressed envelope, or in other words a small enclosure. Nothing to do with the Sabre jet fighters of the 1950s then, even though the country code for Brazilian cars is BR! But, the thought of the jet did give me the S.A.E.
26 Scrabble champion's prime rule (4)
CLAW – C=champion’s ‘prime’ + LAW=rule.
Penf

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1501 - egg egg egg egg egg Florentine

Well what do you know, the third consecutive bank holiday jumbo falls into my blogging lap.  Last time out, to avoid pushing in front of Kitty's blog, I published some time on the Saturday afternoon and managed to amass three comments, one of which was me, replying to the first.  So if you happen to be passing this way, drop a line so I know someone's reading.

Any road up, let's get onto the puzzle, which was appropriately tricky for a holiday, with plenty of funny words and intricate wordplay.  It probably took me an hour and a half all told to unravel everything which suggests this was firmly on the harder side.  I don't know if it was a false impression but there seemed to be an awful lot of reversing going on.

First in was SHORTHAIR and last was UNAWARE

If any of my explanations don't make sense then feel free to ask for further elucidation.

Clues are in blue with the definition undelined.  Anagram indicators are in bold italics.

Notation:

DD: Double definition

CD: Cryptic definition

DDCDH: DD/CD hybrid where a straight definition is combined with a cryptic hint.

&Lit: "all in one" where the entire clue is both definition and wordplay.

(fodder)* denotes an anagram of the letters in the brackets.

Rounded brackets are also used to add further clarity

Squiggly brackets {} indicate parts of a word not used

Deletions are struck out

Square brackets [] expand an abbreviation or shortening like P[ence]



Across

1

Decrepit bully gives up resistance after shake (4-5)


MOTH-EATEN - THREATEN without R[esistance] after MO[ment]

6

One aboard smack who performs rescue? (7)


SAVIOUR - I in SAVOUR

10

Dominant idea or word from French Count’s prison island (5)


MOTIF - MOT, IF (the island where the Count of Monte Cristo was banged up)

13

County short by pence, Berks keeps debt record hidden (13)


SURREPTITIOUS - SURRE{y}, P[ence], TITS around IOU

14

Italian port in urban area’s rejected pleasure-seeking (9)


SYBARITIC - BARI in CITY reversed.  Some solvers will know BARI from Football Italia but it also seems to be a bit of a crossword favourite.

15

Uneven-coloured edges of plate for old photo (7)


TINTYPE - TINTY, P{late}E

16

However many knobs (7)


BUTTONS - BUT, TONS

17

A month back, confined to home, like tropical native (7)


IGUANAS - AUG[ust] reversed in IN AS

18

Lawyer is one for admitting guilt to get prisoner released (12)


PROFESSIONAL - PRO, conFESSIONAL

20

Family with girlfriend: is the girl kind of blue? (10)


KINGFISHER - KIN, G[irl]F[riend], IS, HER

23

Maybe tokes from bit of grass after rolling (5)


DRAWS - SWARD reversed

24

Result united country without force or lasting power (9)


ENDURANCE - END, U[nited], FRANCE with F[orce] removed

25

Controversial elements of boom in filming? (7)


POLEMIC - POLE MIC[rophone]

26

Area sans valets after three identical dismissals could be this (11)


SERVANTLESS - (area sans valets)* without 3 x A

28

Treat oven as wrong for French toast (1,5,5)


A VOTRE SANTE - (treat oven as)*

30

Virginia’s tyrant having less power — it’ll raise blood pressure (11)


VASOPRESSOR - V[irgini]A'S OPPRESSOR with one P[ower] (take your pick) removed.

32

Some take up hem — I stick with aim of avoiding offence (11)


EUPHEMISTIC - hidden

34

Good time passed quickly in retrospect (7)


WELFARE - ERA FLEW reversed

36

English doctor attending Bart’s last was first beset by problems (9)


EMBATTLED - E[nglish], M[edical]

38

Part of an antler’s secured with cord (5)


TWINE - TINE around W[ith]

39

Detachment of detectives are dying to nab yours truly (10)


DISPASSION - D[etective] I[nspector]S PASS ON around I

41

Someone working in an army, possibly (12)


ARTILLERYMAN - TILLER in (an army)*.  Lovely &Lit.

45

Measure twisting in neck muscles (7)


SCALENI - SCALE, IN reversed

46

Lacking knowledge of course (not cooked, hardly cooked), with no starters (7)


UNAWARE - rUN, rAW, rARE

47

Conservative ready to drop good occupation (7)


CALLING - C[onservative], ALL IN, G[ood]

49

Unknown lake overlooked by wandering Brazilian islander (9)


ZANZIBARI - Z, (Brazilian)* without L[ake]

50

Ill-timed article used in ceremony after I nod support (13)


INAPPROPRIATE - A in RITE after I, NAP, PROP

52

Remove equipment from rocky ridge (5)


DERIG - (ridge)*

53

Proceed to enter special haunt, such as this? (4-3)


HANG-OUT - GO in (haunt)*

54

Water collection taking weight off security guards in court (9)


CATCHMENT - WATCHMEN minus W[eight] in C[our]T


Down

1

Bad move to cuddle up under young woman (7)


MISSTEP - PET reversed under MISS

2

A boy, never to break routine, picked up an old monster (11)


TYRANNOSAUR - reversal of A, SON, NARY in RUT

3

Artistic appreciation almost stifling member’s dismal verse (5)


ELEGY - EY{e} around LEG

4

Spuds stuffed with last of meat scraps (7)


TATTERS - TATERS around {mea}T

5

Butt or cask upended (3)


NUT - TUN reversed, butt as in headbutt, also known as nut.

6

It’s not shaggy or harsh: it needs grooming (9)


SHORTHAIR - (or harsh it)*

7

A stunner lives in number four, to the north (6)


VISION - reversal of IS in NO IV (or, indeed, IS in the other bits reversed)

8

Driven to repeat possible vices, move us off (9-10)


OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE - (possible vices move us)*

9

Massage giving an impression of relief? (7)


RUBBING - DD (brass rubbing)

10

Animal god completed miracle, oddly ignored (9)


MARSUPIAL - MARS, UP, {m}I{r}A{c}L{e}

11

I disapprove Egyptian cross and I approve Egyptian king (11)


TUTANKHAMEN - TUT, ANKH, AMEN.  It appears there are no rules on how to spell this.  I spell it lion, water, leg, bird, arm, twisted flax, eye of horus, feather, arm. horned viper.

12

Fine places for the seriously ill house plant? (5)


FICUS - F[ine], I[ntensive] C[are] U[nits].  See fig 1.

16

Unemotional spin that led to James II’s downfall (9,10)


BLOODLESS REVOLUTION - two-word charade for a history thing I'd never heard of.

19

Imprint letters with press down under (7)


ENSTAMP - ENS on top of TAMP

21

European blocking repeat of republican revolutionary’s choice (9)


RECHERCHE - R[epublican] CHE x2 with a E[uropean] wedged in there somewhere

22

Operate motor, turning in to outskirts of Augsburg (6)


ENGAGE - ENGINE with IN changed to A{ugsber}G

23

Denied drops of water and eggs? Vicious perhaps in retrospect (9)


DISAVOWED - reversal of DEW, OVA, SID (of Sex Pistols fame).  He was a rubbish musician by all accounts but central to the band's image.

24

Outermost part of Exeter sprawling across motorway (7)


EXTREME - (Exeter)* around M[otorway]

25

By nature, I had to see streaker in shower (7)


PERSEID - PER SE, I'D.  Great definition.

27

Author someone has to plagiarise for content (6)


SCRIBE - CRIB in S{omeon}E.  I can't find any support for SE being an abbreviation for someone so I think it's just the case that the content (i.e. everything but the first and last letters) of the word is replaced by CRIB.

29

Minder pocketing kilo is to flit (7)


SKITTER - SITTER around K[ilo]

31

Story of weaver furling sails and seaman skipping island (5,6)


SILAS MARNER - (sails)*, MARINER with no I[sland].  By George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Anne Hobbs, the 6 Music DJ.

33

Dismissing last pair, win against furious coalition in power (11)


TRIUMVIRATE - TRIUMph, V[ersus], IRATE

35

A loss of energy in diminishing arousal (9)


AWAKENING - A, WeAKENING

37

Word antagonistic to avoiding split is “harridan” (9)


TERMAGANT - TERM, AGAiNsT.  The "split IS" device is clever

40

Saint Nick embodies a noted sailor’s source of strength (7)


SPINACH - S[aint], PINCH around A.  The sailor in question being Popeye of course.  It's always a surprise when he buys some because no one expects the spinach acquisition.

42

Mark end of work, ignoring top management’s action against employees (7)


LOCKOUT - cLOCK OUT

43

Gentle custom involving constant oversight (7)


NEGLECT - (gentle)* around C[onstant]

44

Plain cloth covered in mystical icons (6)


CALICO - hidden

45

Prepared to attach paper of particular dimensions (5)


SIZED - DD, the first being what you do to walls before putting up wallpaper

48

It’s bad to be left in this list suddenly (5)


LURCH - DD

51

The writer puncturing anti-discriminatory image (3)


PIC - I in P[olitically] C[orrect]