Jumbo #674/23 Dec – Waxing lyrical

Posted on Categories Jumbo Cryptic

Solving time: 46:36

Since joining the blogging team, my Jumbo times have been consistently in the range of about 17 to 30 mins, so I found this significantly harder than normal. Nor was it just a handful of clues that held me up (apart from 35ac at the very end) – I’ve asterisked the last 10 or so that I solved, but even before that progress was at best steady.

I think I could probably have tackled the clues in a more sensible order – e.g. I should have revisited 1ac much sooner – but given the difficulty, I’m pretty satisfied to have completed this with (I think!) no mistakes.

* = anagram.

1 SQUASH (= press) + COURT (= date) – the inverted order “Date with press…” stopped me getting this straight away, but I should have looked again as soon as I got 1dn.
13 AISHA; AI (= crack) + (HAS)* – a cracking Top 10 hit for Death in Vegas & Iggy Pop in 2000.
15 ARCH (= teasing) + I + “BAWLED”
16 G[irl] + RAS + STREE[t] – ‘drawers’ for RAs (Royal Academicians) is clever, I think I’ve seen it before but didn’t make the connection until I’d got the answer.
20 ZER[o] + MATT – a village at the base of the Matterhorn, not known to me but clear from the wordplay.
26 TURN ON ONE’S HEEL; (ONE LONE HUNTER’S)* – this anagram suffers from having ‘one’ in both clue and answer.
29 SHOULD; ([yo]U [al]L) inside SHOD
*30 GALS (= misses) + WORTHY – a name I only vaguely knew. John Galsworthy was an English playwright whose most famous work seems to be The Forsyte Saga.
*35 W + AXING – this clue (“Increasing weight bringing down plane?”) took me about 5 mins at the end. Firstly I tried to justify ‘lading’, which is very close to ‘landing’. Then I wondered if ‘plane’ could be a tree rather than an aircraft, and (separately) if ‘weight’ could be an initial ‘W’, without putting them together. If only I had registered the cross-reference in 56ac!
39 DEAR (= ducks, as a term of endearment) + JOHN (= Bull) + LETTER – a letter in which a girl ‘chucks’ her partner. I don’t like ‘chasing’ meaning ‘placed after’ (maybe because ‘chasing’ implies motion) but I love the misleading ‘ducks’ which is almost always ‘OO’.
41 PARSIFAL; PARS + (FAIL)* – an opera by Wagner. This bit sounds familiar.
44 CURAC(AO for y)
46 [j]ULY + [a]SSES[s]
47 ISOSEISMIC (alternate letters of ‘It StOpS nEw InSoMnIaCs’) – how did the setter come up with that?!
*49 DE(DIC[t]ATE)E – yet another ‘girl’
*53 I(DEER)E + CUE – not a phrase I knew, but once I got 40dn it became clear that ‘does’ couldn’t be part of an anagram so was probably a noun, and ‘idée reçue’ (literally ‘received idea’) followed.
56 BEAUTY SALON; (UNABLE TO SAY)* – excellent anagram which fooled me on first look. Unfortunately I ignored the bit about “where 35 happens?”, or I would probably have saved 5 mins on 35ac at the end.
*57 DAM + ON RUN + Y + ON – even with all checking letters this took me a good couple of minutes to unravel; ‘performing’ looked a clear anagram lead, but I should have focused on ‘marathon’ instead of pretending that it could be abbreviated to ‘M’ which is clearly nonsense. Damon Runyon was an American writer who apparently inspired both Guys and Dolls and the first telethon.
2 UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS – when I wrote this in, I thought it was some kind of reality house renovation show. In fact it was a 1970s ITV drama.
3 S + OAKS – the Oaks is one of the 5 British horse-racing classics, the others being the 1000 and 2000 Guineas, the St Leger and the Derby.
4 CHOIR (“QUIRE”) + STALLS (= stops running) – a curious definition (“places for singing vicars”), but according to Chambers, choirstalls (one word, no singular form) are ‘fixed seats in the choir of a church’, the choir being either ‘the part of a church appropriated to the singers’ or ‘the part of a church in front of the altar’, so perhaps a vicar might sit in them. I can’t find the word in online Collins or COED. [See Peter B’s comment below for a much better explanation. Thanks Peter!]
6 T(H)OUGH + T + FULLY (= all)
10 UNI[ons] PAR[tly] OUS[ted]
11 PR + AY – not sure I like ‘voting’ for PR (proportional representation); ‘voting system’ seems needed.
12 RUDD[er]
19 P inside RELAYED (= broadcast)
21 A SUNDER[land] – a painful solve for me on 2nd Jan, having witnessed this debacle on New Year’s Day.
*23 [s]TANZ(A NI)A – got badly sidetracked by TEN(NI)SON on this clue, especially as I struggled with 30ac and 35ac. Some solvers don’t like ‘executed’ for ‘with the first letter removed’.
27 HOUNSLOW; N in (SOUL WHO)* – not sure how well known this name would be outside the UK, but the checking letters leave no alternative.
*28 JAR + N + DYCE (“DICE”) – a character in Dickens’ Bleak House which I should have read but haven’t, so I wasn’t totally confident about this answer.
34 YAH BOO SUCKS; (BUSY COOK HAS)* – apparently a catchphrase of Billy Bunter.
*36 GOA + BUNDLE + ON – didn’t know the phrase so ‘bundle’ went in late.
38 STONE + MASON – freemasons might meet in a Masonic Lodge, but I can’t find ‘lodger’ = ‘mason’ in any dictionary.
42 LIST + ENSI[g]N – ‘list’ can mean ‘border’ or ‘strip, esp one cut from an edge’.
43 STUD FARM; (TURF DAMS)* – superb clue. ‘Turf’ can mean ‘horse-racing’ or ‘the racing world’.
*51 LIMB; LIME has E changed to B (“Fruit’s other end of bare”) – an unusual device which I didn’t understand while solving.
*52 JENA (JEAN with the N ‘promoted’) – the construction here was clear but the name could have been Dean, Euan, Evan, Ewan, Jean or Sean, at least. I guessed Jena because I thought that Jean Harlow rang a vague bell, and luckily I was right.

One comment on “Jumbo #674/23 Dec – Waxing lyrical”

  1. 41A: You’ve restored some of my faith in the cultural credibility of younger solvers! If forced to choose between keeping a copy of Bleak House and the famous Knappertsbusch recording, Parsifal wins every time for me. From what I’ve read (mostly in John Culshaw’s “Ring Resounding”) “Kna” sounds rather a character – here’s the best translated sample I could find on the web:

    Knappertsbusch once went to conduct a distinctly inferior orchestra at Bochum in the Ruhr. After the concert, an enthusiastic chairman of the orchestral board engaged him in conversation. “Tell me, Maestro, when was the last time you conducted the Bochum Symphony Orchestra?” “Tonight,” he replied.

    (John Culshaw is not the impressionist, but a famous record producer. If you want to hear some thoroughly good sense about Wagner, try his talk linked at the end of the Wiki article.)

    2D: a wake-up call for setters/editors about TV references. For younger solvers Upstairs Downstairs is as obscure as Swinburne’s Atalanta in [I’ve forgotten already] as used in Times2 yesterday. But for those of the right generation, it’s a doddle, and Gordon Jackon is Hudson as much as John Thaw is Morse.

    4D: The older male singers providing the lower parts in cathedral choirs are called “vicars”, usually “lay vicars” – a phrase just waiting for Cyclops in Private Eye if he hasn’t used it already! Best recent example: the one who sang beautifully in the solo in Cornelius’s “Three Kings” in the Kings nine lessons and carols on Christmas eve.

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