johninterred (johninterred) wrote in times_xwd_times,

Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1402 - 21st September

I think this may be the hardest Jumbo we've had for a while - well I certainly found it testing, taking about twice my usual time of 45 minutes as I struggled with some of the intricate wordplay and more than the usual smattering of words I was unfamiliar with. But that made it all the more satisfying to complete. Some cracking clues, with plenty of wit and cleverness, I particularly enjoyed 13A, 27A, 7D, 9D and, when I finally parsed it, my COD - 38D. LOI was 29A which seemed to be visiting from Mephistoland. Indeed it is to be found in the Mephisto of 29th July last year. Great stuff. Thanks setter! So, how did everyone else get on with this little big teaser?

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

1 Accomplices having fun after eleven? (9)
SIDEKICKS - KICKS (fun) [after] SIDE (eleven, as in a cricket or football side). A gentle one to start and my first one in, but there were rather fewer easier clues like this than usual and I was soon scratching my head!
6 Chose hotel on vacation, purely randomly, as temporary resting place? (4,9)
HOLY SEPULCHRE -  (Chose hotel purely)*  [randomly], with the hotel "vacated". The Holy Sepulchre was the resting place of Christ's body between the crucifixion and resurrection.
13 One who has depression after losing daughter (5)
OWNER - dOWNER (depression) [losing] the d (daughter|). Sneaky definition. I like it!
14 Chin disfigured with gunshot — or something else entirely (2,4,5)
NO SUCH THING - (Chin gunshot)* [disfigured]. The mind boggles envisaging the surface reading.
15 Preserving agent’s bulletin: it recommends contracting (5)
NITRE - Hidden in bulletiN IT REcommends [contracting]. A bit of an odd containment indicator, I thought.
16 Declaration when going to part of Sicily, for example (11)
ARRIVEDERCI - Cryptic definition. Good-bye (declaration when going to part) in Italian. No. Nothing to do with a "part of Sicily". Sneaky again.
17 General manager, at first opening in French, is puzzling people (11)
ENIGMATISTS - This had me puzzling, all right! It's GM (general manager) AT IST (first) inside [opening] EN (in, in French) IS. Someone like John Henderson, for example. By the way, is anyone else here going to his Sloggers and Betters event in York in October?
18 Gift of mobile phone, with time exchanged for pounds (7)
HANDSEL - First of my unknown words of the day. Take HANDSEt (mobile phone) and replace the T (time) with an L (pounds)."A gift given at the beginning of the year or to mark an acquisition or the start of an enterprise, supposedly to bring good luck."
20 Protective gear appropriate for post-holder (7)
MAILBAG - MAIL (protective gear) BAG (appropriate, the verb). Post-holder - ha ha, Nice definition.
21 Proceeds awkwardly, stopping for one to turn and look (7)
GLIMPSE - LIMPS (proceeds awkwardly) inside [stopping] E.G (for one) reversed [to turn].
23 No matter what is drunk with alcohol, emerge healthier (extremely) (4,4,2,4,5)
COME HELL OR HIGH WATER - (with alcohol emerge healthier)* [drunk], using only the outside letters [extremely] of healthier. My father's theory on health and weight control was to drink lots of whisky to balance out the carbohydrates... you just need to get the proportions right.
27 Little friend, we hear, to bear regret (3)
RUE - Homophone [we hear] of ROO, little friend to Pooh bear. Nice one.
28 Occasion to be poorly attended by specialist medical department (6)
ENTAIL - You need to read the definition as a verb. AIL (poorly) after [attended by] ENT (ear nose and throat, crosswordland's favourite hospital department).
29 Old African film — and welcome theatre performance (6)
ETHIOP - My LOI. ET (film) HI (welcome) OP (theatre performance), theatre being an operating theatre, of course. An escapee from Mephistoland.
31 Recruits ultimately neglectful in returning without shirts (9)
ENLISTEES - Put the end of neglectfuL (utilmately) in the [returning] SINE (latin for without) and add TEES (T-shirts). A variation on enlisters, I had to check it was a word.
34 Books and a sticker collected by mostly hard-up party organisers (9)
POLITBURO - I found this rather chewy. I was not helped by looking for a word with OT or NT in. It's LIT (books) and BUR (a sticker) inside [collected by] [mostly] POOr (hard-up).
35 Axes absorbing old reference work that’s not remained constant (2-4)
YO-YOED - Y and Y (axes) [absorbing] O (old) OED (reference work). MER at two Ys instead of X and Y for the axes.
36 Love early Dad’s Army I see in theatre (3,3)
OLD VIC - O (love) LDV (Local Defence Volunteers, the original name for the Home Guard). IC (I see). Hmm. IC?  YYUR YYUB ICUR YY4ME. I digress. See what's on there now here.
39 Succeed, after going back regularly a bit (3)
ECU - Alternate letter [regularly] of dEeCcUs, succeed [going back]. "The first écu was a gold coin (the écu d'or) minted during the reign of Louis IX of France, in 1266."
40 Fiction by people put out for religious festival (9,2,3,5)
INVENTION OF THE CROSS - Another unknown for me. INVENTION (fiction) OF (by) THE CROSS (people put out - ha ha). Gallician in origin it is celebrated on May 3, as described here.
42 Threat from deep from one football team, way back (7)
TSUNAMI - No not a giant squid, it's I (one) MAN U (football team) ST (way) all reversed [back].
43 Jewish court risked row after hours (4,3)
BETH DIN - NHO this either. BET (risked) and DIN (row) [after] H (hours). Read about it here.
45 Chap coming from game left public house after party (7)
RUDOLPH - RU (Rugby Union; game) and L (left) PH (public house) [after] DO (party).
47 Place irises all around person in a field (11)
SPECIALISER - (Place irises)* [all round]. A bit of an odd definition which made me think of a scarecrow at first.
49 Which sees gas production at its peak? (6,5)
SUMMIT TALKS - Cryptic definition. This one had me bamboozled for ages. It's TALKS (gas production) after [at] SUMMIT (peak). I'm not sure I like it.
51 Immigrant lives west of Southwark area (5)
ISSEI - Another unusual word. IS [west of] SE1 (Southwark area). "A Japanese-language term used by ethnic Japanese in countries in North America and South America to specify the Japanese people who were the first generation to immigrate there."
52 State goal of female to acquire son (11)
NETHERLANDS - NET (goal) HER (of female) LAND (acquire) S (son). Not MOTHERLANDS, as I had at first.
53 Founder of Academy of Sport, just about closed (5)
PLATO - PLAy (sport) without its last letter [just about] TO (closed, as in a door). Easily biffed, but it took me a while to see how it worked.
54 A number of just people isolated? (4,3,6)
ONLY THE LONELY - ONLY (just) THE LONELY (people isolated). The classic song from 1960 by Roy Orbison. Hear it here.
55 Coffee percolator — at last — light and modern! (6-3)
LATTER-DAY - LATTE (coffee) percolatoR [at last] DAY (light).
1 Stand with one outside hospital to make complaint (11)
STOMACHACHE - STOMACH (stand) ACE (one) [outside] H (hospital).
2 Nervy conductor in retreat, humming endlessly (7)
DENDRON - DEN (retreat) DRONe (humming) [endlessly]. DNK this word.
3 Put out verse about Irish dancers (5)
KIROV - Not Irish dancers but the Russian ballet. K.O (put out) and V (verse) [about] IR (Irish).
4 May a surrealist work fifty years to produce something blooming orange? (6,4)
CANADA LILY - CAN (may) A DALI (a surrealist work) L (fifty) Y (years). I've not come across this plant name.
5 Spies, close to cot, strange old rattle (7)
SISTRUM - SIS (Special Intelligence Service; spies) [close to] coT RUM (strange). DNK this either. Read about it here.
6 Two hotels, one mythic icon, transformed Asian port (2,3,4,4)
HO CHI MINH CITY - Anagram of (two hotels) (H H one mythic icon)* [transformed].
7 One dropping paper’s new setters? An error! (9)
LITTERBUG - LITTER (new setters; puppy dogs) BUG (an error). Lovely surface and misdirection.
8 Hold in position large drink bottles for stealing (7)
SWIPING - SWIG (large drink) contains [bottles] PIN (hold in position).
9 Irrational general secretary with power and cunning? Unlikely! (4,5,3)
PIGS MIGHT FLY - PI (the irrational number 3.1415926...) G.S. (general secretary) MIGHT (power) FLY (cunning). Nice one again!
10 Going on more trips up Rhine, get beyond lake (9)
LENGTHIER - [trips up] (Rhine get)* after [beyond] L (lake).
11 African race issue, tough to bring up every so often (5)
HUTUS - Alternate letters [every so often] in reversed [bring up] iSsUe ToUgH.
12 Quits flat, base for assignment in Rugby (4-7)
EVEN-STEVENS - EVEN (flat) and last letter of [base for] assignmenT in SEVENS (form of Rugby).
19 For old chancellor, that is hard, halfway through his time in office? Erm, no (7)
SCHMIDT - SC (scilicet; that is) H (hard) MID (halfway through) Term (time in office) without the "erm" (Erm, no). Blimey. That was a bit tricky. Helmut Schmidt was chancellor of West Germany from from 1974 to 1982.
22 OAP, overly disposed to speak French (9)
PARLEYVOO - (OAP overly)* [disposed]. This brought to mind the old song "Mademoiselle from Armentières". Here is a polite version.
24 Satisfied large cuts augur badly for popular seventies track (9)
METALGURU - And another song. MET (satisfied) and L (large) inside [cuts into] (augur)* badly. I didn't remember this, although I recognised it when I played this video. The enumeration as a single word didn't help. Surely it should be (5,4)?
25 In St Nazaire, where a couple of sailors dated (7)
OUTWORN - OU (french for where) TWO (a couple) RN (sailors).
26 From which enemy corps have we initially recoiled? (7)
WHEREOF - FOE (enemy) RE (Royal Engineers Corps) and first letters of Have We [initially] all reversed [recoiled]. Anoiher tricky one!
30 Where estate maybe would show evidence of early settlement? (3-3-7)
PAY-AND-DISPLAY - Cryptic Definition. Estate referring to an estate car and the settlement being the payment of the parking fee.
32 Wed Dec 1: records sent up (7)
SPLICED - DEC I (one) LPS (records) [sent up].
33 Under this, almost certain to conceal weapon? (12)
SURVEILLANCE - SURe [almost] (certain) VEIL (conceal) LANCE (weapon). A semi&lit. It took me ages to see this.
34 Quietly topping others, manned satellite, if you ask me, is most speedy (11)
PRESTISSIMO - P (quietly) above [topping] REST (others) ISS (International Space Station; manned satellite) IMO (in my opinion; if you ask me). You may have just biffed this, but it is my duty to explain.. and it took me a while to work it out!
37 One doctor may look up to, say, corrupted with riches (4,7)
CASE HISTORY - A cleverly concealed definition and wordplay. (to say riches)* [corrupted].
38 My old chair? That’s without doubt in the end the place to be! (5,3,2)
WHERE ITS AT - WHERE I SAT (my old chair) [without] doubT [in the end]. Very clever!
40 Creative person from newspaper opposed to blocking film (9)
IMAGINIST - I (newspaper) and AGIN (opposed to) inside [blocking] MIST (film).
41 Get involved in a day to celebrate trainee nurses (9)
INTERVENE - VE (a day to celebrate) inside INTERNE (trainee) [nurses].
43 Southern African graduates, and nothing but (7)
BASOTHO - A final unknown. BAS (graduates) and O (nothing) THO (but). Read about them here.
44 In theory plan I’m only partially up for (7)
NOMINAL - Reverse hidden in pLAN IM ONly [partially] [up].
46 Old reformist that makes me crack up and blubber (7)
LOLLARD - LOL (laugh out loud; that makes me crack) LARD (blubber). Read about lollardy here. Who was it said they thought LOL in textspeak stood for "Lots of love"? Personally, those initials make me think "little old lady". Whatevs.
48 Drawing support and comfort first from lover (5)
EASEL - A couple of easy ones to finish with... EASE (comfort) [first from] Lover.
50 Tent peg found outside gym (5)
TEPEE - TEE (peg for supporting golfball) [outside] P.E. (gym). Phew. The end of the clues. All that was a bit of a work-out (And I don't mean in the aforementioned gym).
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