johninterred (johninterred) wrote in times_xwd_times,

Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1417 - 28th December

You know how some dishes, like a good curry, become more tasty after keeping for a bit? Well that's what I found with this Jumbo, solving on the day and then revisiting over a few sessions to do the blog. In all it took me about 50 minutes to solve, which is just a little over average for me for a Jumbo, I think, so we are in the goldilocks zone of difficulty if my experience is anything to go by. There are plenty of tasty morsels to tickle the tastebuds that I only really savoured properly on a second helping. Witty surfaces, wordplay and sneaky definitons abound, yet there are plenty of easily digestible appetiser clues to whet the appetite and get your juices flowing for the chewier bits. Some favourite bonbons for me were the "unmarried mum" at 21A, the "former queen" at 43A , the "bones" at 52A, "being liable to change" at 1D, the topical Test Match reference at 2D and, for afters, the pasteurised cheese at 40D (although I'd have preferred some Stilton). Lovely stuff. Thanks you setter, and more like this, please, editor. So how did you all get on? And what were your favourites?

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

1 Desolate region with a wild animal guarding street (9)
WASTELAND - W (with) A ELAND (wild animal) outside [guarding] ST (street). Know your deer, dear? This is an Eland.

Picture by  Yathin S Krishnappa
6 Graduate absorbed in Sanskrit works comes to island (7)
SUMATRA - MA (Graduate) [absorbed in] SUTRA (Sanskrit works). "Sutra in Indian literary traditions refers to an aphorism or a collection of aphorisms in the form of a manual or, more broadly, a condensed manual or text. " They come in flavours other than Kama, then.
10 Children that might be taken in disagreement? (5)
ISSUE - Double definition. Second as in "Take issue with".
13 Withdraw renegade's empty pamphlet (7)
RETRACT - Outside letters of RenegadE [empty] TRACT (pamphlet).
14 Determined Armada man took ships (7)
ADAMANT - Hidden in ArmAD MAN Took [ships]. Sneaky containment indicator. Mind you. most of the world's ship cargo is in containers these days.
15 Feline in tattered coat gives touching display (7)
TOCCATA - CAT (feline) [in] [tattered] (coat)*. A slightly odd definition, but... "A toccata is a virtuoso piece of music typically for a keyboard or plucked string instrument featuring fast-moving, lightly fingered or otherwise virtuosic passages or sections, with or without imitative or fugal interludes, generally emphasizing the dexterity of the performer's fingers." From Italian toccare, to touch. So I guess that's OK.
16 In crisis having finished fast food meal? (4,3,5,3,4)
WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN - Double definition, second whimsically cryptic.
17 For Inquisition, the one priest (3)
ELI - Nobody expects... think Spanish Inquisition. Then "the" becomes EL. Add I (one) to get crosswordland's favourite priest.
18 Begin meal without starter of anchovy (6)
LAUNCH - I'd a little giggle at this one. LUNCH (meal) [without] i.e. outside... "There is a Green Hill Far Away..." [start of] Anchovy.
20 Wild and free in Spanish city (6)
MADRID - MAD (wild) RID (free). Simples.
21 Unmarried mum sensible under different conditions (9)
OTHERWISE - mOTHER (mum) [unmarried] without the leading M for married (nice one). WISE (sensible).
23 Horsemen completely irritated returning by taxi (10)
CABALLEROS - ALL (completely) SORE (irritated) [returning -> EROS after [by] CAB (taxi). Did they get saddle-sore, then?
25 Person met in travelling everywhere at once (11)
OMNIPRESENT - (Person met in)* [travelling].
29 Tried to get boss across river (5)
HEARD - HEAD (boss) outside [across] R (river). As tried in a criminal court, m'lud.
30 Tool one wants repaired (5,3)
TENON SAW - (one wants)* [repaired].
31 Luminous discharge — constellation losing alpha star (8)
ARCTURUS - ARC (luminous discharge) TaURUS (constellation) [losing] A (alpha). A Red Giant and the brightest star in the constellation Boötes (the herdsman). I looked it up to check... shame it isn't actually in Taurus.
34 Female cross going round wide forest (8)
SHERWOOD - SHE (female) ROOD (cross) [going round] W (wide). She being Maid Marian perhaps.
36 Scots banker detains Welshman having caught partner previously (8)
DIVORCEE - The river DEE (Scots "banker") outside [detains] IVOR (Welshman) [having] C (caught).
37 Hollow black blocks arrive (5)
COMBE - B (black) inside [blocks] COME (arrive).
39 Ancient power revealed in deconstructing mariner poem (5,6)
ROMAN EMPIRE - [deconstructing] (mariner poem)*. No nothing to do with the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, as I was tempted to think initially.
41 Parisian is involved in supporting tight budget (10)
SHOESTRING - EST (french; Parisian for is) [involved in] SHORING (supporting).
43 Vivacious former queen? (9)
EXUBERANT - Another bit of whimsy. A Queen ant might be an UBER-ANT. Prepend with EX (former).
45 Count shocked King Edward (6)
NUMBER - NUMB (shocked) E.R (Edward Rex; King Edward)
47 No spring chicken, alumnus about to show concern for alcohol (6)
BODEGA - A bit of a sneaky definition, needing to separate "show concern". AGED (No spring chicken) O.B. (old boy; alumnus), all reversed [about] ->BODEGA.
49 Female finished where any number disqualified (3)
DOE - DOnE (finished) wit the N (any number)  removed [disqualified]
50 Explore specific proposals, though somewhat mechanically (2,7,3,7)
GO THROUGH THE MOTIONS - Semi-&lit. GO THROUGH (explore) THE MOTIONS (specific proposals).
52 Boy consuming egg and bones (7)
SURGEON - Another sneaky definition, which raised a smile. SON (boy) [consuming] URGE (egg, as in egg on). Bones as in Dr McCoy. Love it!
53 Copper outside a college finds plant extract (7)
CATECHU - I can usually rely on a Jumbo containing at least one word I've never heard of. This is one for today. CU (chemical symbol for copper) [outside] A TECH (college). "Catechu is an extract of acacia trees used variously as a food additive, astringent, tannin, and dye." So now I know, and you do too, or did you know it already?
54 Retired clergyman comes in to put an end to bondage (7)
SLAVERY - Neat surface. The clergyman is REV, but being [retired] is VER [in] SLAY (to put an end to).
55 Become ready to eat beef — no good before noon (5)
RIPEN - gRIPE (beef) without the g [no good] [before] N (noon).
56 Indonesian fellow pens a poem sung (7)
MALAYAN - MAN (fellow) outside [pens] A LAY (poem sung).
57 Memorable revolutionary character (3-6)
RED-LETTER - From QC-land... RED (revolutionary) LETTER (character).
1 Our lot are blooming revolting, being liable to change (8)
WEREWOLF - Another nice one. WE (our lot) FLOWER (are blooming) [revolting], i.e. reversed -> REWOLF, to get the changeable being.
2 Scorer required in Johannesburg match? (5)
SATIE - S.A. (South Africa; Johannesburg) TIE (match). The "scorer" being Eric Satie, composer of sets of Gymnopedies and Gnossienes, among other pieces. A favourite piano composer of mine - very relaxing to play and listen to. As for the surface, well the Boxing Day Test Match between England and South Africa, being played when this was published, was at the Centurion Ground which, I think, is closer to Pretoria than Jo'burg, but it's close enough for me to tip my hat to our setter's cleverness.
3 Office item least suitable one accepted by city group (7,4)
ELASTIC BAND - LAST (least suitable) I (one) inside [accepted by] EC (City of London postcode) BAND (group).
4 Learnt to play the horn (6)
ANTLER - Another beaut. (learnt)* [to play].
5 Dispatch order? (5,7)
DEATH WARRANT - Lovely little cryptic definition.
6 Small mobile home or Beetle? (7)
SCAMPER - S (small) CAMPER (mobile home). Beetle the verb, of course.
7 Key elements in data one top team's manipulated (4,3,8)
MEAT AND POTATOES - (data one top team's)* [manipulated]. I don't think our SNITCHy pal Starstruck does the Jumbos, but this is a clue for him!
8 What's rude about article becomes relevant (2,3,5)
TO THE POINT - I hope you were brought up properly and taught it's rude TO POINT. Put that [about] THE (article). Another smiley face on my paper copy.
9 Sacred place — it faces north in an old church (7)
ANTIOCH - IT reversed [faces north in a down clue] -> TI [in] AN O (old) CH (church). The "cradle of christianity".
10 Elected Tory chap round Rugby not compatible (11)
INCONGRUENT - IN (elected) CON (Tory) GENT (chap) [round] RU (Rugby (Union)).
11 Mixed drink traitor served with a little food (9)
SNAKEBITE - SNAKE (traitor) BITE (a little food). 'A snakebite is an alcoholic drink from the UK. Traditionally, in the United Kingdom it is made with equal parts of lager and cider. If a dash of blackcurrant cordial is added, it is known as a "snakebite & black", a "diesel", or a "purple nasty"'. I seem to recall it had a reputation for making people aggressive.
12 Study what was formerly a bomb? (7)
EXAMINE - EX (formerly) A MINE (bomb). Simple but neat.
19 Ignorant girl fighting anyone in the end (7)
UNAWARE - UNA (girl) WAR (fighting) anyonE [in the end].
22 Raised floor in factory unable to retain new mould (8)
PLATFORM - PLAnT (factory) without the [unable to retain] N (new) FORM (mould).
24 Daily surfacing of fish on River Test produces new business (7,8)
SUNRISE INDUSTRY - Another neat surface and a lovely 4 part charade SUN (daily newspaper) RISE (surfacing of fish) [on] INDUS (River) TRY (test).
26 Peculiar proposal for paying poets? (8)
PERVERSE - Double definition, second a cryptic hint.
27 Examiner perhaps coming in quite stern (6)
TESTER - Hidden in [coming in] quiTE STERn.
28 Drink from tea service? No crime in that! (6)
CHASER - CHA (tea) SERvice, without the "vice" (no crime in that). Another witty bit of wordplay.
32 Churches in schism in medieval narrative? (7)
ROMANCE - This is a bit of a tricky one. Do correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it works like this... The English Reformation in medieval times was the schism between Catholic and Protestant churches - i.e. ROMAN and CE (Church of England). Combine them to get the medieval story-telling literary genre (narrative). [Edit: Thanks, Kevin for putting me straight on this - see comments].
33 Hours, each horrendous, where writer entertained thinker (12)
SCHOPENHAUER - (hours, each)* [horrendous] outside PEN (writer) [where.. entertained]. I always thought the line was "David Hume could out-consume Schopenhauer and Hegel", but this tells me I am wrong. Apologies, Bruces.
35 Wife put in ground viridescent shrub (11)
WINTERGREEN - W (wife) INTER (put in ground) GREEN (viridescent).
37 Sellers here driven to make money? (3,4,4)
CAR BOOT SALE - Cryptic definition. Ho ho.
38 Welcome state getting to grips with riots mishandled in the past (10)
HISTORICAL - HI (Welcome) CAL (California; state) outside [getting to grips with] (riots)* [mishandled].
40 Working method Pasteur devised for cheese (9)
MOUSETRAP - M.O. (modus operandi; working method) (Pasteur)* [devised]. Nice surface again. Is mousetrap cheese pasteurised? I guess it probably is.
42 One obstinate and indeed singular philosopher (8)
NAYSAYER - Another philosopher... NAY (indeed) S (singular) AYER (philosopher). Did you know  A J Ayer was a proponent of logical positivism? I didn't until I looked him up.
43 Frenchman taking in French south upset ultimate consumer (3,4)
END USER - RENE (Frenchman; 'Allo 'Allo?) [taking in] SUD (French for south) all reversed [upset].
44 Great lover married? The opposite! (7)
ANTONYM - ANTONY (great lover of cleopatra) M (married).
46 Complaint made about this classical style (7)
MOHICAN - MOAN (complaint) [about] HIC (this classical; i.e. in Latin). Not a hair style I've ever sported.
48 Made to smile with a thought (6)
AMUSED - A MUSED (thought; past participle not noun). Very neat.
51 No secret hole on green (5)
OVERT - O (round-shaped hole) [on] VERT (green).
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