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Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1397 - 24th August

Hello to all you pachydermophiles. Compared to last week's, this was a rather more straightforward Jumbo, with little to cause bemusement, taking me just over 36 minutes. There were, however, a few clues that induced a MER (minor eyebrow raise); 21A, 32A, 39A and 44A. I'm sure if I've got the wrong-end of the stick anywhere you commenters will set me straight. An interesting mix of general knowledge including an ancient oracle, a couple of archaic telecoms expressions, a 17th-century marionette, an ancient book of stories from the time of the Black Death, a method of film-making and a Dutch explorer.  There were some fun clues too.  Favourites for me include 27A, 40A, 43A, 3D, 12D and 13D Thank-you setter. How did you all like it?

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, deletions and [] other indicators.

Across
1 Father occupying lively Roman Catholic office (6)
PAPACY - PA (father) [occupying] PACY (lively).
4 Spurious damage, first to last, will have you embarrassed (10)
SHAMEFACED - SHAM (spurious) DEFACE (damage) [first to last] -> EFACED.
10 Forecaster is backing Times line (5)
SIBYL - Is [backing] -> SI BY (times) L (line). The Sibyls were oracles in Ancient Greece. But you probably knew that.
14 Not initially allowed to interrupt dispersal of halon? It’s not going to kill anyone (3-6)
NON-LETHAL - Not [initially] LET (allowed) inside [to interrupt] [dispersal of] (halon)*. It may be unreactive but it would still kill you if it displaced all the air you were breathing.
15 Young fellow bound to have smart range of knowledge (6,7)
SPRING CHICKEN - SPRING (bound) CHIC (smart) KEN (knowledge). I've only every heard it used with "no" on the front.
16 A doctor will accept present disciple (7)
ADHERER - A DR (doctor) outside [will accept] HERE (present)
17 Excessive, on reflection, to embrace that woman with ecstasy in addition (7)
THERETO - OTT (excessive) [on reflection] -> TTO outside [to embrace] HER (that woman) E (ecstasy; the drug). Odd to see "here" in two answers in a row,
18 No turning back, engaged in troop movement for King? (7)
MONARCH - NO [turning back] -> ON inside [engaged in] MARCH (troop movement).
19 Stuff in computer mars democracy — omens looking bad (6,6,6)
RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY - (mars democracy - omens)* [looking bad]. I had a little chuckle at the surface reading. Yes I work in IT in Cambridge, but I have nothing to do with Cambridge Analytica!
21 Stage return of favourite items (4)
STEP - [return of] PETS (favourite items)  -> STEP. MER at "items" for pets. Would you refer to to your favourite stamps in your collection as your pets, for instance? Animals or schoolchildren (i.e. teacher's pet) would work better for me.
24 Doctor, one avoiding study of something in dentistry (5)
MOLAR - MO (Medical Officer; doctor) LAiR (study) [one avoiding], i.e. without the I (one).
26 Dull information’s about old features of castle? (8)
DUNGEONS - DUN (dull) GEN'S (information's) [about] O (old).
27 American treated privately (2,6)
IN CAMERA - (American)* [treated]. Admirably concise.
29 Difference after electrical failure? Don’t give full details (5-6)
SHORT-CHANGE - CHANGE (difference) [after] SHORT (electrical failure).
30 Sender of information runs into TV playwright (11)
TELEPRINTER - R (runs) [into] TELE (TV) PINTER (playwright). Did you know Harold Pinter was a Nobel prize winner? I remember when the Saturday football results came in via the teleprinter to Grandstand. Are they used any more?  This article says they are, but not much.
32 Example of a shift in thinking? (11)
TELEKINESIS - Cryptic definition. I'm not sure why "Example of a" is needed. Without it, that would be my COD!
35 Woman capturing mole before long in artistic medium (6-5)
PAPIER-MACHE - PAM (random woman's name) [capturing] PIER (mole) [before] ACHE (long).
37 Diver’s gold snaffled by a financial analyst (8)
AQUANAUT - AU (gold) inside [snaffled by] A QUANT (financial analyst). A new word on me, but if you can get astronauts, why not aquanauts?
39 Get boost from facing the batting where the batsman stands (8)
INCREASE -  This doesn't make sense to me. IN CREASE (where the batsman stands) is OK, although sometimes a batsman stands out of his crease, but what's "facing the batting" doing in here? "facing the bowling" instead might give IN (facing the bowling) CREASE (where the batsman stands). What have I missed?
40 Describing hooter or some siren as “alarm” (5)
NASAL - Hidden in sireN AS ALarm. I liked this one.
43 End-product of, say, finishing-school, place that’s home to daughter (4)
LADY - LAY (place) outside [home to] D (daughter). I liked this too.
44 Computer program misled, following topic embraced by arts graduates — this is a scientific discipline (7,11)
APPLIED MATHEMATICS - APP (computer program) LIED (misled) and THEMATIC (following topic) [embraced by] MAS (arts graduates). A slight grimace at "scientific discipline" as the definition, it is more a separate supporting discipline, but maybe I'm being a bit picky today.
47 Still swaddled in former baby clothing (7)
LAYETTE - YET (still) [swaddled in] LATE (former).
48 US lawyer with a French degree initially on the ball? (7)
ATTUNED - ATT (attorney; US lawyer) UNE (a, in French) Degree [initially].
50 Sporting boss, chap with a basic idea? Not entirely (7)
MANAGER - MAN (chap) A GERm (basic idea) [not entirely]
51 Putting up with individual cordoning off street’s archaeological feature (8,5)
STANDING STONE - STANDING (putting up with) ONE (individual) outside [cordoning off] ST (street)
52 Botanical trips I skipped involving a water vessel (5-4)
CANAL-BOAT - Remove the I [I skipped] to get (Botnical)* [trips] [involving] A.
53 Spoke, neglecting America, over the wireless (5)
RADIO - RADIus (spoke of a wheel) [neglecting] US (America) O (over). Does anybody call a radio a "wireless" any more? This article says that radio replaced the term in the 1920s. I can only ever remember hearing my grandparents use the term.
54 Protection for locks? Cheated about last of these four, perhaps (10)
HEADSQUARE - HAD (cheated) [about] [last of] thesE, SQUARE (four, perhaps; two squared).
55 Political party to welcome mostly opposing points (6)
GREENS - GREEt (welcome) [mostly] N and S (opposing points of the compass).
Down
1 Star shape to identify sheep behind fold (9)
PENTAGRAM - TAG (identify) RAM (sheep) [behind] PEN (fold)
2 Historic theatrical character to strike O’Neill differently (11)
PUNCHINELLO - PUNCH (strike) (O'Neill)* [differently]. Not a name I was familiar with, although I did know the more common version, Pulcinella from the ballet and suite of music by Igor Stravisnky. It is the origin of the British puppet character, Mr. Punch.
3 See you offer support, with elevated call for attention (7)
CHEERIO - Cheeky definition! CHEER (offer support) [with] OI (call for attention) [elevated] -> IO.
5 Menial worker much in demand around US railroad (5)
HELOT - HOT (much in demand) [around] EL (moniker for the elevated railway in Chicago).
6 I observed series of clues curtailed in the writer’s approach to filming (4,2,5)
MISE EN SCENE - I SEEN (observed) SCENt (series of clues) [curtailed] in ME (the writer). "When applied to the cinema, mise-en-scène refers to everything that appears before the camera and its arrangement—composition, sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting."
7 Fashion workers enthralled by child’s flower (6-2-3)
FORGET-ME-NOT - FORGE (fashion) and MEN (workers) [enthralled by] TOT (child).
8 Fail to study everything around start of McGill’s first course? (8)
CONSOMME - If you don't study everything you might CON SOME. Put it [around] [start of] McGill
9 Many stories of French began around centre of Paris (9)
DECAMERON - DE (french for of) CAME ON (began) [around] [centre of] PaRis. The Decameron is "a collection of novellas by the 14th-century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375). The book is structured as a frame story containing 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the Black Death, which was afflicting the city."
10 Pub in elevated region having had little in the way of food? (6)
SKINNY - INN (pub) [in] SKY (elevated region).
11 One using oven’s ash, say, to get source of tar for road (5,6)
BAKER STREET - BAKER'S (one using oven's) TREE (ash) [source of] Tar.  A bit of poetic licence in the surface from our setter here. You don't get tar from ash (the combustion product or the tree), although you do get wood tar from pine. Deciduous trees like ash produce methanol and charcoal. See here to read all about it.
12 Start to skip a meal (5)
LUNCH - Lovely concise clue. LaUNCH (start) [to skip] a, i.e. without the a.
13 Curiously, not the opposite of “here and now” (5,3,4)
THERE AND THEN - Cryptic definition. Nice one!
20 Unknown writer is entering church to add to sacred list (8)
CANONISE - ANON (unknown write) IS [entering] C.E. (church of england).
22 Plain attitude that is supporting promotional work (7)
PRAIRIE - AIR (attitude) I.E. (id est; that is) [supporting] PR (public relations; promotional work).
23 Half like being overwhelmed by Dutch sailor’s charm (8)
TALISMAN - [Half] LIke [overwhelmed by] TASMAN (Dutch sailor). Abel Tasman "was the first known European explorer to reach the islands of Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) and New Zealand, and to sight the Fiji islands".
25 Again catching great plays about family (8)
RETAKING - (great)* [plays] [about] KIN (family).
28 Disrespectful cheek — fine to gasp about that (8)
FLIPPANT - LIP (cheek), inside F (fine)  and PANT (gasp) [about that]
29 Leave port: prepares beer when speaking (3,4)
SET SAIL - SETS (prepare) AIL, sounds like ALE (beer) [when speaking].
31 Decide in advance animal at home should possess brightly-coloured fur (12)
PREDETERMINE - PET (animal at home) outside [should possess] RED (brightly coloured), ERMINE (fur).
33 Ruddy animal upset cleaner (7-4)
LAUNDRY-MAID - (Ruddy animal)* [upset].
34 Aware I ignored reminders to pay, in brief (11)
SENTENTIOUS - SENTiENT (aware) without the I [I ignored] IOUS (reminders to pay). I wasn't aware of that meaning of sententious.
35 Alcoholic drink and non-alcoholic drink consumed by soccer team in the case (11)
PORTMANTEAU - PORT (alcoholic drink) and TEA (non-alcholic drink) [consumed by] MAN U. (soccer team).
36 Actors against entering bar? Last of troupe is the decider (7,4)
CASTING VOTE - CAST (actors), V (against) [entering] INGOT (bar), [last of] troupE.
38 Put the men to work well down the order (9)
UMPTEENTH - (put the men)* [to work].
41 Girl accepting uninspired services at the end (4,5)
LAST RITES - LASS (girl) [accepting] TRITE (uninspired).
42 Everyone on boats needing directional assistance? (3,2,3)
ALL AT SEA - ALL (everyone) AT SEA (on boats).
45 Set aside half of area in the shape of a ring (7)
ANNULAR - ANNUL (set aside) [half of] ARea.
46 Boss, one beginning to operate film company (6)
STUDIO - STUD (boss) I (one) [beginning to] Operate.
47 Beam, having upheld most of later transaction (5)
LASER - [most of] RESALe (later transaction) reversed [upheld] -> LASER.
49 Staff upset about city scenery (5)
DECOR - ROD (staff) [upset] -> DOR [about] EC (city).

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
z8b8d8k
Sep. 7th, 2019 09:30 am (UTC)
This was a real whizz through, taking just a few seconds longer than the same day's 15x15.
Your comment on wireless sent me scurrying to the field of wireless networking and the realisation that I had no idea (other than the wrong one) why Wi-Fi is called Wi-Fi. I should have known "Wi-Fi is simply a trademarked phrase that means IEEE 802.11x". Ah, so it does (not in any way I can translate).
I think you're right that the INCREASE clue is a boo-boo, nd shoud read facing the bowling.
And thanks for the exposition on DECAMERON, prompting memories of the days when Pasolini and others could make films in naughty Italian with copious full nudal frontitty. BBC 2 did it about the same time in English with the equivalent Canterbury Tales. Liberty!

Edited at 2019-09-07 09:31 am (UTC)
johninterred
Sep. 7th, 2019 11:10 am (UTC)
Wi-Fi
Interesting. I'd always assumed it was a a sort of back-formation from Hi-Fi. I found this here... that explains "Phil Belanger, a founding member of the Wi-Fi Alliance who presided over the selection of the name "Wi-Fi", has stated that Interbrand invented Wi-Fi as a pun on the word hi-fi (high fidelity), a term for high-quality audio technology"
john_dun
Sep. 7th, 2019 09:32 am (UTC)
I completed this correctly in 47:13, so a relatively easy puzzle. I had PUCHINELLA until SHORT CHANGE came along and corrected me. IN CAMERA has been embedded in my brain by recent crosswords, along with the Radcliffe Camera. MISE EN SCENE rang a faint bell, but I looked it up to be sure. Thanks setter and John.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )