Jerry (jerrywh) wrote in times_xwd_times,
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Times Cryptic Jumbo 1483 - 13 February 2021

So hello, here I am again, standing in for Simon Hanson for a while. Since my first blog in November 2009, I have blogged, at one time or another, almost all of the crosswords that TfTT has to offer:  the Daily cryptic, Quick cryptic, Sunday cryptic, Mephisto, Club Monthly .. but I don't think I have ever blogged a Jumbo before. This will finally complete the set, (now that the late lamented TLS crossword is no longer freely available), so I can die happy at last.

I do recommend the Jumbo to everyone.. I do it every week, but I seldom try to do it in one session (so can give you no times). I leave it around and do a few clues here and there, when time allows.

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.

This particular jumbo I thought was nicely placed in the mid range for difficulty. Neat, concise cluing and generally good surface readings.. a sprinkling of unusual vocab., but with accessible wordplay. Altogether, a real pleasure to solve. What did you think?

I use the standard abbreviations like definition underlined, CD for cryptic definition, DD for a double one, *(anargam) and so forth. Nho = "not heard of"

Across
1 To reduce pollution / try to avoid misunderstandings (5,3,3)
CLEAR THE AIR - DD. With regard to the second definition, the misunderstandings will have already happened and now we are trying to correct them, surely ..
7 Court formality concluded with warning signal (4,7)
STAR CHAMBER - STARCH (formality) + AMBER (what traffic lights do, between stop and go). The Star Chamber was a medieval English court that became a byword for oppression and arbitrariness. But interestingly, for most of its life it had the exact opposite approach and was seen as a bulwark to prevent the rich and powerful from oppressing the poor. see the Wikipedia article
13 Response to enquiry about what can improve tonic water? Don't be unreasonable! (3,6,2,1,5)
THE ANSWER IS A LEMON - I struggled with this one. The correct answer to the enquiry is clearly "gin." The phrase itself meant nothing to me and does not appear in either Lexico or Collins, though it is in Chambers. I suspect it might be one of those Americanisms The Times so likes to foist on us unannounced these days. Google will give you a few examples
14 Instrument in Purcell overture (5)
CELLO - hidden in purcelloverture
15 Pay for / place in comfortable position (6)
SETTLE - DD
16 Man dying in bath with hot on somewhere in Greece (8)
MARATHON - MARAT + H + ON. Jean-Paul Marat was a French revolutionary, famous now mainly for being murdered in his bath. Something to think about, if you want to be remembered by posterity. Judging by his Wikipedia entry he was a sort of 18thC Trump.
17 Comic brother or sister consumed by anger (7)
RISIBLE - SIB (sibling) in RILE (anger)
19 Gradually easing glove in to soak (9)
REMITTENT - MITTEN (glove) in RET (soak). Ret is a useful word for setters, so it seems. I seldom ret.
21 Skill of a king — is taking time in effort (8)
ARTISTRY - A + R (king) + IS + T in TRY (effort) .. bit of an Ikea clue but I think I've assembled it right
23 Leader to cry when overthrown by rebels ultimately (4)
BOSS - SOB (cry) rev., + (rebel)S
25 One acting insincerely is a problem (5)
POSER - DD
27 Cheated excessively by relations (4,2)
TOOK IN - TOO + KIN
28 Drink from cask, bidding woman to follow (4,6)
PINA COLADA - PIN (cask; it is what most pub beer comes in these days) + ACOL (a bridge bidding system) + ADA (a woman.. the remarkable Ada Lovelace, if you are lucky)
30 Recluses as before having small amounts of money (8)
EREMITES - ERE + MITES.
31 A foreign school to which the girl returned and finished being “not understood” (14)
UNCOMPREHENDED - UN (a foreign, specifically French) + COMP (school) + REH (the girl, rev.) + ENDED
34 A wise confessor sorted out conflict in America (3,2,9)
WAR OF SECESSION - *(A wise confessor). What we in the old country call the war of Independence... on edit: but only if we are very ignorant, because as Kevin points out below, it was actually the American Civil War
35 Spread out sample on tissue (8)
NEOPLASM - *(sample on). Nho of this so I looked it up. You don't want one.
38 Determination in respect of letters being filled in grid? (10)
RESOLUTION - RE + SOLUTION. I liked this clue. Neat
40 Catch superior — the foreign female for Bond? (6)
COPULA - COP (catch) + U (superior. Where would setters be, without Nancy Mitford?) + LA (the, foreign, feminine). My second nho so I looked it up. Collins: "a verb, such as 'be' or 'become', which links the subject to a noun or adjective that is more informative about the subject than the verb is." In other words, what 25ac's would call a linking verb
41 Significant points made by e.g. Canterbury fellow on return journey (5)
NODES - SE (eg Canterbury) + DON (fellow), reversed.
43 Something dirty and greyish-brown, little good (4)
DUNG - DUN + G(ood)
44 Pill mum gets swallowed — something seen at meal time (5,3)
TABLE MAT - MA (mum) in TABLET
45 Cosmetic making girl yell audibly (4,5)
FACE CREAM - as in "FAY SCREAM"
48 Model no longer, having got “wide” (7)
EXAMPLE - EX (no longer) + AMPLE (wide. As with my mother-in-law's bosom, for example)
49 One in a hurry requiring second attachment to computer (8)
SPRINTER - S(econd) + PRINTER
50 Relation mostly bagging ducks with it? Hardly (6)
UNCOOL - OO (ducks) in UNCL(e) (relation, mostly)
53 Judge maybe in German city (5)
TRIER - DD. I've never been to Trier, but it is said to be Germany's oldest city and it sounds an interesting place. One day, perhaps ..
54 It's shocking — can make your hair stand on end! (6,11)
STATIC ELECTRICITY - A CD. I thought there must be something more to this clue, but if there is I can't find it.
55 Ordinary members in rows not facing each other (4,3,4)
RANK AND FILE - DD
56 Attempted to get adored venue redeveloped (11)
ENDEAVOURED - *(ADORED VENUE). I can't see endeavour(ed) without thinking of Inspector Morse..

Down
1 Disaster when going after pet? What drink's got knocked over? (11)
CATASTROPHE - CAT (pet) + AS (when) + EH (what?) and PORT (drink), reversed. Neat clueing, and the surface just about works..
2 Put up in the rectory (5)
ERECT - hidden in therectory
3 Phone one way and phone another way — it can be hairy (7)
RINGLET - RING (phone) + TEL. (phone) rev.
4 Act as a seller making one cough up (4)
HAWK - DD
5 A loveless pain in the neck fighting a release of emotional tension (10)
ABREACTION - my third nho, but perfectly gettable from the wordplay: A B(o)RE (loveless pain) + ACTION (fighting)
6 Practice of one type of religious person? Samaritan is far different (14)
RASTAFARIANISM - *(SAMARITAN IS FAR). Rastafari is a modern religion, dating back only as far the 1930s.
7 Chemical having advantage? The reverse, leading to resentment (8)
SULPHATE - PLUS (advantage) reversed, + HATE (resentment)
8 Notice minutes for business proceedings (5)
ADMIN - AD (advert, notice) + MIN(utes). For a short time many years ago I was an Admin Manager
9 Plant / urns may be stored in such places (9)
CINERARIA - a DD, and my fourth nho.. I needed all the checking letters but it was near enough to "incineration" to be workoutable
10 Bill with amount to be paid for buttonhole (6)
ACCOST - AC (account, bill) + COST (amount to be paid)
11 One blackballed don sacked, displaying signs of excommunication (4,4,3,6)
BELL BOOK AND CANDLE - *(One blackballed don). I had heard of this phrase, but had no clue what it meant. I biffed it from looking at the anagrist
12 State that would briefly provide religious instruction? (5,6)
RHODE ISLAND - Because RI can also stand for religious instruction. I went to a number of schools in my youth (parents moved about) and suffered RI, RE and RS at various different times.
18 Woman almost taken in by mischief-maker is an arty type (8)
AESTHETE - ESTHE(r) (woman, almost) in ATE. Ate is the eldest daughter of Zeus, and is the Greek goddess of mischief, delusion, ruin, and folly. She seems to have been a busy bee just recently
20 I am not involved with enterprises creating false account? (17)
MISREPRESENTATION - *(I AM NOT + ENTERPRISES). What a neat clue!
22 Elusive little son getting cheeky (6)
SLIPPY - S(on) + LIPPY
24 Folksy detective dismissing learner with a joke (8)
HOMESPUN - HO(l)MES (detective sans L(earner)) + PUN (joke). I dislike detective stories and similar books about murder, but even I have heard of this one
26 Number of cats and dogs? (8)
RAINFALL - I struggle to parse this and don't know what to underline. The answer is fairly obvious but I don't understand the clue. I assume it refers to the phrase "Raining cats & dogs" in some way .. but most rainfall doesn't. I suppose the "number" means there are lots of pets involved and the ? means it is a valid clue, but I thought it all a bit weak
29 Number behold prisoner having entered tremulously to make legal plea (4,10)
NOLO CONTENDERE - NO (number) + LO (behold) + CON (prisoner) + *(ENTERED) .. classic "charade" clue. Nolo contendere is another of those phrases I had vaguely heard of and you can sort of see that it will mean something along the lines of "no contest," or "It's a fair cop, guv." The OED says: "A plea by which a defendant in a criminal prosecution accepts conviction, as in the case of a plea of guilty, but does not admit guilt." So, more of a "It might or might not be a fair cop, guv, I couldn't say" situation, perhaps
32 Stylishness of English member, one belonging to a previous generation, not half (8)
ELEGANCE - E(nglish) LEG (member) + ANCE(stor)
33 Start back in ground that has buried “liquid gold” (6)
RECOIL - REC (-reation ground) + OIL, our buried liquid gold, or destructive fossil fuel as I prefer to think of it
34 Bowler rated “fantastic”, the best there is (5-6)
WORLD-BEATER - *(BOWLER RATED) .. bit of a gimme, that one
36 What could make me spoiled, my being in the wrong job? (11)
MISEMPLOYED - *(ME SPOILED MY) another gimme, though a nice neat surface.
37 Duck out of putting Polish high explosive in casing of metal (10)
BUFFLEHEAD - My fifth nho, rather unusually, even for a jumbo. BUFF (polish), + HE (high explosive) inside LEAD (metal). No doubt you knew, as I did not, that a bufflehead is a small American diving duck, also called a butterball. Bufflehead is a fine word which I will try to introduce into a conversation as soon as possible. Eg "What on earth made you do that, you utter bufflehead?"
39 Old rocker entertaining party-goers went over the top maybe? (9)
TRAVERSED - RAVERS (party-goers) inside TED (old rocker). I tend to think of traversing as crossing, rather than going up and over, but of course you can traverse a mountain or a massif. Done it many times.
42 Gradually pay off in a short time, extra income restricting debt finally (8)
AMORTISE - A MO (short time) + RISE (extra income, remember those?) with (deb)T inside
46 I am supporting part of hospital restricted by firm making a bit of money (7)
CENTIMO - ENT (part of hospital, specifically the Ear, Nose & Throat department) and I'M, inside CO (firm). Several countries use centimos, though far more use centavos.
47 Old city region entertained by religious group (6)
SPARTA - PART (region) inside SA (religious group, ie the Sally Army). My father, though far from religious, was nevertheless a big admirer of the Salvation Army. He said that in the war, they went everywhere and shrank from no task, however gruesome. I think they still have that aura about them.
49 Teacher went through water to land on island (5)
SWAMI - SWAM + I
51 East End dealer providing something for basket-maker? (5)
OSIER - How our lovable Cockney sparrer would pronounce Hosier, a dealer of sorts. Well, of socks mainly.
52 Covered colonnade in street area with zero occupation (4)
STOA - O (zero) in ST(reet) + A(rea). The stoa of the Athens Agora was where the philosopher Zeno taught, and the word stoicism derives from that


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