Times Cryptic Jumbo 1653 – 6 January 2024

Hello again. This Jumbo I thought was somewhat easier than average, but none the worse for that with some very neat clues. What did you think?

Please, do feel free to ask questions or comment as required.

I use the standard conventions like underlining the definition, CD for cryptic definition, DD for a double one, *(anargam) and so forth. Nho = “not heard of” and in case of need the Glossary is always handy


1 Prime minister aboard HMS India upset sailor (10)
MIDSHIPMAN – PM (Prime Minister) in *(HMS India).
6 What tailors use to record sizes? (4,8)
TAPE MEASURES – A semi &lit, since the whole clue is the definition, but the wordplay is the last two words only: TAPE (to record) + MEASURES (sizes)
14 Formal surrender parade — not professional (7)
CESSION – (pro)CESSION. A parade
15 Common genus of flowers in picture (7)
PROSAIC – ROSA, in PIC. I’m no botanist but Rosa as a flower genus was not hard to find
16 Peer has company — note a lot of misgiving (7)
COEQUAL – CO (company) + E (a note) + QUAL(m)
17 Mostly silly about Ecstasy and unwilling to listen (4)
DEAF – E in DAF(t), mostly silly. Indeed deaf may mean unwilling to listen, or it might just mean unable to. Fortunately, on the Internet no-one can tell that you are as deaf as a post.
18 Honey bear indeed, all empty, and cross (6)
HYBRID – H(one)Y B(ea)R I(ndee)D, all empty. Neat clue
20 Make a channel carrying spring’s discharge (8)
DISPATCH – SPA (spring) in DITCH (channel). A tricky clue, since ditch can mean to discharge, as well. But I don’t see how “Make a channel” could then be the definition.
24 Self-satisfied group with upsetting intimacy and amorous latitude (6,10,7)
25 Temporarily suspended — a chance there’s no returning in it (7)
ABEYANT – NAY (no) rev., in A BET, a chance.
26 People who fight OAP protected by son run away finally (8)
SOLDIERY – OLDIE, your OAP, inside S(on) + R(un) + (awa)Y. Be sure to parse the clue, and not biff SOLDIERS!
27 Design a river flat (6)
PLANAR – PLAN (design) + A R(iver)
29 Student teacher? Pity one unfortunately covering nearly everything (4,10)
OPEN UNIVERSITY – UNIVERS(e), nearly everything, inside *(PITY ONE). A clever clue, I liked the definition, ie a teacher of students not a learner teacher as one would expect.
31 Bank installing stronghold backs updated version (8)
RETROFIT – FORT (stronghold) in TIER (bank), all rev.
34 Instruction note about US vehicle trail (8)
TUTELAGE – UTE (a US vehicle, except it isn’t, it is Australian, in origin at least) + LAG (trail) inside TE, a note (a drink with jam and bread ♪)
36 Clue, for instance, is  a curse! (4-6,4)
39 Prompt is visible to audience (6)
INCITE – “IN SIGHT,” a pretty bombproof homophone, to my ears at least
41 How one may receive holiday home which helps one slow down? (5,3)
BRAKE PAD – “BREAK PAD,” an unusual second consecutive homophone
43 Former pope from a wealthy satellite town (7)
EXURBAN – EX URBAN, one of eight popes.
46 A wonder of old tapestry with areas of flowers round fine little lake on (7,7,2,7)
HANGING GARDENS OF BABYLON – HANGING (tapestry) GARDENS (areas of flowers) O (round) F(ine) BABY L (little lake) + ON. The only one of the original seven wonders of the world, that we have no firm idea of its location, or even if it really existed.
47 A section of mascarpone pie, certainly not cut (3-5)
ONE-PIECE – hidden, as above. I do not fancy the idea of a mascarpone pie.
48 The man carries a crash helmet in compound (6)
HALIDE – A LID (crash helmet) in HE, the man.
49 Shady dealer with small celebrity backing (4)
SPIV – S(mall) + VIP, rev. Irresistible memories of Private Walker (James Beck) in Dad’s Army.
53 Opening of second of songs Mahler’s rewritten (7)
ARMHOLE – *(MAHLER + O), the O being from sOngs.
54 One may want spread here, having a spell of good luck (2,1,4)
ON A ROLL – A DD, I suppose. I tend to think of being on a roll as having a run of success, rather than good luck per se.
56 American I had over one August night for starters (7)
IDAHOAN – I + HAD rev., + O(ne) A(ugust) N(ight).
57 Improbability of oiled hunk cooking with oil? (12)
58 Dynasty left fools — they lower the level of brightness (10)
SUNGLASSES – SUNG (dynasty, 960 – 1279, aka Song Dynasty) + L(eft) + ASSES, fools.
1 Something put on road island — a tree (9)
MACADAMIA – MACADAM, tarmac, + I + A. I only think of them as nuts, but they grow on trees, evidently..
2 Lament mind-set developing destructive action (13)
3 One who succeeds is regularly cheerier (4)
4 Set on distant objects, girl cycles (5-9)
PENNY-FARTHINGS – PENNY (girl) + FAR THINGS, distant objects.
5 Intention to avoid November when climbing mountain (3)
ALP – PLA(n) rev. Ie removing N(ovember) and then making it “climb.”
7 Gelatinous substance got from a fish (4)
AGAR – A GAR. Agar, aka agar-agar, comes from seaweed I think.
8 Eastern father keeping one of Plato’s works in desk (10)
ESCRITOIRE – CRITO (a book by Plato, I discover) in E(astern) SIRE. I took the book on trust but looked it up afterwards
9 Arranged a Pisces maiden’s fantasy? (8)
10 Dazzling, like a mirror cat’s reflected in (11)
11 Not clear cut how hunger gets resolved (5-4)
ROUGH-HEWN – *(HOW HUNGER). Neat clue.
12 Meat cut up for person (4)
SELF – FLES(H) (meat cut), rev.
13 File with contents of folk’s foolish nonsense (8)
FOLDEROL – FOLDER (file) + (f)OL(k). Strange, that in the paper world file and folder are synonymous, but on my computer they are not at all.
19 Once more get control over historic London bus after missing out (8)
REMASTER – R(out)EMASTER. Ah, the Routemaster; nostalgic thoughts … a bus that you could get on and off when you wanted.
21 Fabled capital, unknown and fantastically covered in gold (6)
XANADU – X, + *(AND) in AU, gold. Where Kublai Khan decreed things, notably a stately pleasure dome. And who wouldn’t want one of those?
22 More stern and rising cruelty Cain rates regularly (8)
STRICTER – alternate letters of cruelty Cain rates, rev.
23 Given water monster on Tweed, we got away (8)
HYDRATED – HYDRA (monster) + T(we)ED. Hydra is one of the more interesting monsters.
28 Making things easy, exploit perhaps minted ring (7-7)
FEATHER-BEDDING – FEAT (exploit) + HERBED (perhaps minted) + DING, ring.
29 Totally unconscious justice (8)
OUTRIGHT – OUT (unconscious) + RIGHT, justice.
30 Customary notice on the end of the enclosure (8)
STOCKADE – STOCK (customary) + AD (notice) + (enclosur)E
32 Gambling system somewhat dependent on draws (8,5)
FOOTBALL POOLS – a CD. In my youth they were a big thing, and still may be I suppose, I wouldn’t know. Anyone remember Horace Bachelor on Radio Luxemburg? He was selling an “infallible” system for winning on the pools, and I never could work out why he needed to do that, if his system was what he claimed. Just generous, I guess..
33 Action over vote name changer? (4,4)
DEED POLL – DEED (action) + POLL (vote). The main (but not the only) use of a deed poll is to officially change one’s name.
35 Rule about dry ice or potassium structure (11)
LATTICEWORK – so .. TT (dry) + ICE, put inside LAW (rule), + OR + K (symbol for potassium). Slightly vague definition, but not hard once a checker or two is in place
37 Reportedly what sailors would take to be compass points (6)
RHUMBS – Sounds like RUMS. Always nice to see a homophone. A rhumb is just the line you take, if you keep a constant compass heading.
38 Broadcasting lots then dropping 50 per cent of all material (10)
BROADCLOTH – half of each of: BROADC(asting) + LO(ts) TH(en). Heyerites will be familiar with Superfine, which is a merino wool broadcloth.
40 As some maps are to deceive, not easy going (9)
CONFORMAL – CON (to deceive) + FORMAL, not laid back. A map projection that preserves angles but not areas or lengths
42 Quiet meal, but not opening large cask as before (8)
PUNCHEON – P (quiet) + (l)UNCHEON. Not quite sure what the “as before” is doing, it is a historic term but still in use for wine fermentation and ageing casks.
44 Church service openings can be dull occasions (3-6)
NON-EVENTS – NONE (one of the Canonical Hours) + VENTS, openings. These services are worth remembering: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. It is all go, as a monk or nun.
45 What one tries to live up to as oldie struggling with age (3,5)
EGO IDEAL – *(OLDIE + AGE). Psychobabble: “an internal ideal of personal perfection that represents what one wants to be rather than what one ought to be”
50 Military insignia university prohibited (4)
TABU – TAB (military insignia) + U(niversity)
51 Plant with corm — not a root shows (4)
TARO – hidden, as above. A root vegetable. I misread corm as corn, which caused a little puzzlement initially.
52 Religious leader hit hard over article (4)
55 Regularly clued-up and ready in Europe (3)
LEU – alternate letters of CLUED UP. No self-respecting Romanian or Moldovan would be without some. 100 bani = 1 Leu.

Author: JerryW

I love The Times crosswords..

6 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1653 – 6 January 2024”

  1. I made only three notes in the margins, two of which Jerry also picked up on: a) the potential beartrap re SOLDIERY, and b) the curious presence of ‘as before’ in the clue to PUNCHEON .

    c) was my inability to understand the reference to sailors in the clue to RHUMBS, a word I didn’t know and used aids to come up with.

    I also needed aids for the first part of BROADCLOTH, another unknown to me and the convoluted wordplay was of no help.

  2. “Be sure to parse the clue and not biff SOLDIERS,” he says. Thanks a lot, Jerry; where were you when I needed you? Some DNKs, as usual: RHUMBS, CONFORMAL, LID (helmet) & Routemaster. I had queries in the margin about ‘as before’ and ‘make’ at 20ac; is it necessary? I liked STRICTER.

    1. I guess the “make” is superfluous, but it does help the surface reading a little bit. Ditch can be a verb as well as a noun, so the clue does work.

  3. About 35 minutes for me, so a little quicker than average. 2LOI the unknown CESSION from the wordplay, once I’d fixed my misspelling of HEIR (doh!), followed by BROADCLOTH. RHUMBS, CONFORMAL and EGO IDEAL were also new to me. I liked MUTUAL ADMIRATION SOCIETY and OPEN UNIVERSITY. Thanks Jerry and setter.

  4. I found this very easy indeed (I was all but done in well under 15 minutes), but had no idea about 37dn. I considered variations on ‘rum’ but rejected the preposterous idea that RHUMBS could be a word. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway because the easiness of the rest had lulled me into biffing SOLDIERS.

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