Jumbo 1215

Posted on Categories Jumbo Cryptic
I thought this was one of the trickier puzzles we’ve had in the last few months, with a selection of unknowns and barely knowns in the answers, not to mention a good wodge of misdirection in the clues, e.g. words that were different parts of speech in the definition/wordplay compared with the surface reading, hard-to-find definitions, etc. Best of all, though, it was enjoyable to solve, which is not a property I often find in these harder puzzles – in particular, the surface readings were in the main very good. So thanks, setter.

* = anagram, dd = double definition, cd = cryptic definition, {} = omission

1 Made a nuisance of oneself with Poles in a hostile place (5,4)
WASPS NESTWAS PEST (Made a nuisance of oneself) around SN (Poles)
6 Permissible to have left off pants (5)
AWFUL – {l}AWFUL (Permissible to have left off)
9 Swimming best in a French resort (7)
13 Appropriate planting kiss on Queen (5)
ANNEXANNE (Queen) + X (kiss)
14 Our XI thrashed by almost all of the Dutch (7)
UXORIAL – (OUR XI)* + AL{l} (almost all), where Dutch is used in the slang sense of wife
15 Wife of Douglas? Outspoken Salford native is she? (9)
MANXWOMAN – homophone of MANC’S WOMAN, with Douglas referring to the capital of the Isle of Man
16 Teacher suspended after taking money in poaching activity (11)
HEADHUNTINGHEAD (Teacher) + HUNG (suspended) around TIN (money)
17 Part of body of dead bird, perhaps: a tragic part (8,3)
EXTERNAL EAREXTERN (dead bird, perhaps) + A + LEAR (tragic part, i.e. King Lear)
18 Fancy group knowing another language! (6)
DIGLOTDIG (Fancy) + LOT (group). Not a word I knew but it seemed reasonable that there would exist words similar to polyglot.
19 Way of getting back voting system one’s not imagined being without (8)
REPRISALPR (voting system, i.e. proportional representation) + I’S (one’s), inside REAL (not imagined)
21 Sponsored youth who’s joined performing to the gallery (6)
GODSONGODS (the gallery, i.e. in a theatre) + ON (performing)
25 Essential element of old bomb soldiers sometimes guard (7,1)
VITAMIN DVI (old bomb) + TA (soldiers sometimes) + MIND (guard)
26 Nice cataract on rocks producing a lot of water (9,5)
28 Curious article about Belgian province (5)
NAMUR – reversal of RUM (Curious) + AN (article). Helpful wordplay for the province (also a city with the same name) that has come up here before but which hadn’t stayed around in my brain. Home of the Parliament of Wallonia.
29 Noble element shielding a French linesman (6)
ARAGONARGON (Noble element) around A, for the French poet Louis Aragon. Like Namur, he has cropped up a couple of times before – also like Namur, I’d forgotten him.
30 Young journalist sending spy after Pope (6,4)
ADRIAN MOLEMOLE (spy) after ADRIAN (Pope, any one of six), the definition a reference to the main character in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4
33 Rope: highly unusual symbol (10)
35 Singular, blue twinkling effect used in film (4-2)
SLOW-MOS (Singular) + LOW (blue) + MO (twinkling, i.e. a short period, as in the twinkling of an eye)
36 Is seeing TV commercial the wrong way (5)
DATES – reversal of SET (TV) + AD (commercial)
38 Jack and I, solicitor general and girl, drink to celebrate (5,4,5)
RAISE ONES GLASSRAISE (Jack, as in lift) + ONE (I) + SG (solicitor general) + LASS (girl)
40 Good the writer’s keen on humour? (4,2,2)
GIVE IN TOG (Good) + I’VE (the writer’s) + INTO (keen on), where the definition needs to be read as a verb
42 Food container for one with British beef (3,3)
EGG BOXEG (for one) + GB (British) + OX (beef)
43 Scot’s drunk small dram and promises to pay (8)
STOTIOUSS (small) + TOT (dram) + IOUS (promises to pay). Not a word I knew, and it seems to be the first time it’s appeared in a Times puzzle in recent years, but the wordplay was fortunately unambiguous.
44 Girl’s inducement to hurry once (6)
SOPHIESOP (inducement) + HIE (to hurry once, i.e. an archaic word for “to hurry”)
47 Why dwell on old, inaccurate description of some companies? (6-5)
WHOLLY-OWNED – (WHY DWELL ON O (old))*, which Chambers has as “Describing a company all of whose shares are owned by another company”
50 Overheard wine-drinker’s declared preference for area of UK (4,2,5)
ISLE OF WIGHT – this is a homophone of something meaning “wine-drinker’s declared preference” but I’m not entirely sure what that something is. The candidates are i) I’LL’VE WHITE (good homophone, at least in my English, but I’m not sure if anyone would use this construction), ii) I’LL ‘AVE WHITE (not such a good homophone but the construction is fine), and iii) I LOVE WHITE (good homophone but doesn’t necessarily indicate a preference). I don’t personally need supposed homophones to be 100% indistinguishable so I’m plumping for option ii, I think. Thoughts?
52 Pitcher and barrel in Greek embassy emptied (6-3)
TUNING-KEYTUN (barrel) + IN + GK (Greek) + E{mbass}Y (embassy emptied). Two words in all of the usual online sources.
53 Note that Saxon king has entered Burgundy perhaps (3,4)
RED WINERE (Note) around EDWIN (Saxon king). With no crossing letters in place and no Saxon kings readily coming to mind, I pondered whether RED or WINE would be the container here, not even thinking that RED WINE might be the actual answer. Edwin ruled what is now Northumbria about 1,500 years ago and is famous(-ish) for converting to Christianity and subsequently being sainted.
54 Right oven for pan (5)
ROASTR (Right) + OAST (oven)
55 One past it, but still in possession of pulse, audibly (3-4)
HAS-BEEN – homophone of HAS BEAN (pulse). Nice surface.
56 Drastically affect completed objective (5)
UPENDUP (completed) + END (objective)
57 Sporting attendance dropped around a Northern town (9)
GATESHEADGATE (Sporting attendance) + SHED (dropped) around A
1 Why cut across desert in great heat? (5)
WRATHWH{y} (Why cut) around RAT (desert)
2 Smart newspaper, working to cover book and film (6-2-2-7)
SUNDAY-GO-TO-MEETINGSUNDAY (newspaper) + GOING (working) around TOME (book) + ET (film). Not an expression I’d heard of, meaning (Chambers) “Appropriate to Sunday and churchgoing”. The newspaper meaning (Chambers: “A newspaper published on Sundays”) may not be familiar to all either.
3 Pupil seen initially sometime after nine, Thursday (5-6)
SIXTH-FORMERS (seen initially) + FORMER (sometime) after XI (nine) + TH (Thursday)
4 Horse covered in spangles obscuring head and tail (6)
EQUINE – {s}EQUINE{d} (covered in spangles obscuring head and tail)
5 Is unfaithful by supporting cardinal (3-5)
TWO-TIMESTIMES (by) under TWO (cardinal)
6 Bomb for delivery by Royalists? (1,5,6)
A KINGS RANSOM – dd, the first an informal expression for a lot of money, the second cryptic in the sense that Royalists would be likely to pay a ransom if the captive was the King
7 Mass of algae sent far? All wrong (6,4)
FALLEN STAR – (SENT FAR ALL)* Didn’t know this but it seemed the only likely arrangement of the letters. Chambers: “A gelatinous mass of cyanobacteria (Nostoc, etc) once popularly thought to be of meteoric origin”
8 Bound books concealing note (5)
LIMITLIT (books) around MI (note)
9 Names in a region somehow in time related to monarch (4,5)
ANNO REGNINN (Names) in (A REGION)* Didn’t know this but put it in on the assumption that it was analogous to anno domini.
10 Locals and others who’ve come up with rhyme (4,3,4)
TOWN AND GOWN – cryptic definition, referring to (Chambers) “The general community of a place and the members of its university respectively”, where “others who’ve come up” obliquely references the students.
11 Start on brandy then ring gong for dessert (5)
BOMBEB (Start on brandy) + O (ring) + MBE (gong)
12 Rants and raves more than is necessary for a girl (6)
SANDRA – hidden in RantS AND RAves
18 Unexpectedly, she drove in place of Duke, historically (10)
DEVONSHIRE – (SHE DROVE IN)* Wikipedia tells me that the Duke of Devonshire is a title held by the Cavendish family. Devonshire is an archaic word for Devon, though of course the Duke’s estates are predominantly in Derbyshire and include Chatsworth House.
20 Coil on sink is security measure (8)
22 TV show a forerunner to Six Feet Under? (3,4,2,3,5)
ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE – extended definition, referring to those with one foot in the grave not yet being six feet under. Not too difficult to solve even if you’ve never heard of either show.
23 Previously almost everyone available (2,4)
ON CALLONC{e} (Previously almost) + ALL (everyone)
24 Being still a teenager maybe means stress (10)
UNDERSCORE – if you are UNDER SCORE (i.e. twenty years of age) then you may still be a teenager
27 Grounds for learning about politician’s motives (8)
CAMPUSESCA (about) + MP (politician) + USES (motives)
31 Wryly amusing press piece oddly ignored (6)
IRONICIRON (press) + {p}I{e}C{e} (piece oddly ignored)
32 Announcement about girl provided, that is, by parent (10,2)
CLASSIFIED ADC (about) + LASS (girl) + IF (provided) + IE (that is) + DAD (parent)
34 Tip from spear below finished off graduate (11)
OVERBALANCELANCE (spear), below OVER (finished off) + BA (graduate)
36 Council meeting habitual early birds might enjoy? (4,2,5)
DIET OF WORMS – dd, the first an assembly of the Holy Roman Empire called in response to the actions of Martin Luther, the second cryptic and a reference to the phrase “The early bird catches the worm”
37 Remote land specially prepared for nut producer (6-4)
39 Token fix affected point nearest people (4,2,3)
NEXT OF KIN – (TOKEN FIX)* + N (point)
41 Items associated with the Pope in the public arena (8)
BULLRING – a BULL is a papal edict, and a part of the Pope’s regalia is the RING of the Fisherman, which is often kissed by those who have an audience with him
45 One may be off school gathering intelligence (6)
SWITCHSCH (school) around WIT (intelligence)
46 See one at bridge very close to the ground (6)
LOWESTLO (See) + WEST (one at bridge, i.e. a player in a game of bridge)
48 Writing material evidently having run out, grunts (5)
OINKS – if you have no writing material, then you have O INKS
49 Liqueur that turned up gold (5)
NOYAU – reversal of YON (that), + AU (gold). Another word that has appeared in these parts before but which had escaped my mind. Chambers: “A liqueur made from brandy flavoured with bitter almonds or peach kernels”
51 Bore counted on taking time out (5)
TOTEDTOT{t}ED (counted on taking time out)

13 comments on “Jumbo 1215”

  1. I recall thinking, “Give me a break!” when I finally got 50ac. I assumed it was “I’ll have white”, didn’t even think of “I love white”, which is a homophone for me where the former isn’t; but as Mohn says, that doesn’t really indicate a preference. Oh, well. SUNDAY-GO-TO-MEETING surprised me, as I had thought (correctly?) that it was an Americanism; I associate the term with clothes specifically. (Monday in the US is traditionally laundry day, because Sunday was the day one bathed and changed clothes.) I got 15ac from ‘Douglas’, but had no idea what Salford was doing there; my British geography is not up to snuff. Slowed down at 8d by persisting in looking for OxxxT or NxxxT, and at 37d by the hyphen. Really slowed down trying to parse 1d, my COD.
    1. Collins (though neither Chambers nor Oxford) has “US informal” in its entry for SUNDAY-GO-TO-MEETING.

      Sorry about not mentioning that Salford is part of Greater Manchester – I do try to remember when writing the blogs that not all readers/commenters are necessarily in the UK, but occasionally stuff slips through. In this case, it was probably because I’ve been to Salford quite a few times and, as one does, extrapolated from this to assuming that everyone else has been there too.

      1. There I go again – I should also have added that Manc is short for Mancunian, meaning someone from Manchester (it can also be used as an adjective).
  2. Yes, I remember this one took me a while…
    I was pretty sure the intended homophone was “I love white,” which certainly seemed to indicate a liking if not an actual preference. A slightly alcoholic puzzle with red wine and noyau elsewhere. I was given a bottle of noyau about twenty years ago and still have half of it, which tells you all you need to know..
    1. There’s a shelf in a cupboard under the stairs at my mother’s house that is filled with a selection of horrendous liqueurs, mainly gifts from my sister from her various wanderings around Europe in the last 30 years (my sole contribution being a bottle of ouzo from a holiday to Rhodes in 1998). No-one likes the taste of any of them, and my mother has a thing about never throwing away presents, so they will continue to sit there unloved for the foreseeable future.
      1. Yes Kevin, mainly through a process of offering it to friends who hadn’t previously tried it .. watching their expressions, a source of some amusement 🙂
  3. Re the homophone I never thought beyond (ii)when solving but (iii) seems to work just as well. Thanks for blog. Good puzzle, quite tough.
  4. Biffed 15ac immediately but returning to it later I had absolutely no idea what the second half was about. I know Salford is part of Manchester but even if I’d got from that to Mancunian (which I also know) I’d never have thought of Manc. Do the natives actually call their city Manc and themselves Mancs then? If so it seems a bit unfortunate in view of the only other similar sounding words I can think of.
    1. Sorry for the late reply, John. No idea whether Mancunians call themselves Mancs, but I don’t think Manc can be used to mean the city itself – it’s either a noun meaning an inhabitant of Manchester, or an adjective meaning relating to Manchester. I certainly remember at university that Manc Land was used as an informal expression to mean the city itself, though perhaps not surprisingly there’s no support for that in any of the usual dictionaries.
  5. Got MANXWOMAN purely from checkers.This was a tough one but pleased to have completed it.Can’t see blog for 1214,please provide link if available.(Chadwick Ong’ara,Nairobi,Kenya)

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