Jumbo 678/Jan 6 – Black and white

Solving time: 17:01

I think my best time for the Jumbo is somewhere in the region 15-17 mins, so this was a pretty quick one. Enough slowness on my part that I’m a bit disappointed not to have beaten 15 mins – I spent too long trying to work out wordplays in clues where the answer was clear from the definition and checking letters.

This post is a little late, for which my apologies: the extra Jumbos over Christmas meant that this came round much sooner than I was expecting.

4 DUTCH (= wife) + T[h]REAT – a Dutch treat is an event where everyone pays for themselves, so I think the ‘definition’ reading of this &lit suggests that the husband may have only sufficient cash to pay for himself. A bit vague but I like this clue, it’s got a question mark, correctly, and anyway &lits generally deserve a bit of licence.
14 PUFFIN-ESS – nice pun but I abhor ‘of’ as a link word.
15 PRESSURE (= P) + POINT (= E[ast]) – apparently ‘shiatsu’ is ‘treatment of symptoms by applying pressure with the fingers to specific pressure points on the body‘.
18 E[ntertain] + QUE(R)RY – partly solved via ‘queen’ = Q, which isn’t in fact the case here.
19 P(ROLE)T + ARIA + N(IS)ATION – P-O… gave the start of this word away, but ‘country’ = ‘nation’ was a big help to work out how it finished.
21 ASHE[s] – in 1975, Arthur Ashe became the first black player to win the Wimbledon men’s singles title.
29 SKY-BLUE PINK; (BUY KELP)* in SINK – an imaginary colour: some history of this word is here.
32 CAR-BOOT SALE (cryptic definition)
47 PUR[e] + LOIN
51 PRACTICAL JOKE; (JAPE A COOL TRICK)* without O (= nothing) – excellent & lit.
52 OPERATIVE (double definition) – I wasted so much time on this clue looking for wordplay. In fact, ‘operative’ can mean ‘a worker, especially one with a special skill‘ (Collins).
53 SW (= South West = Cornish part) + EAR (= part of corn)
54 [b]EASTS + US + SEX

1 GO (= try) + PI[t]TA + PAT (= a little butter) – the first clue I solved, but it took me a while to get it right: I tried ‘pa rum-a-pum’ first, probably thanks to having seen Bing and Bowie revived over Christmas.
5 UP (= at an end) + SET (= put) – and PUT = ‘set’ is used in 40ac.
6 CAP (= better) T(A + INC.)OOK – couldn’t work out the wordplay at the time but the definition was enough. This is actually a very good clue, now I understand it.
7 TRES (= ‘very’ in French) + PASSING
9 THREESOME; T + rev. of SEER inside HOME (= in); a difficult wordplay, with ‘houses’ being the container indicator. I’ve just deleted a long spiel about Sir Martin Rees and a query about Times policy on living people, having now re-read the clue more carefully…
11 CHIAROSCURO; (RICH COLOURS – L + A)* – my last entry and another of those anagrams where you just seem to end up flinging vowels around and seeing where they land. I managed to get this right, which was mostly luck, though I was assisted at least subliminally by the link between -OSCURO and ‘obscure’. In fact the word (meaning a bold contrast in art) comes from chiaro and oscuro, the Italian words for ‘light’ and ‘dark’ respectively.
13 RE + ENG[ineers] + A + GE(MEN)T – ‘circling’ is often a reversal indicator, but here it’s a container.
20 INIMICAL; rev. of MINI + I + CAL[m]
23 BRI[t]’S BANE – scene of England’s calamitous start to the recent Ashes series.
25 FA(L(C)ONE)R – ‘a lot’ = FAR in the sense of ‘far worse’. Another wordplay I didn’t get while solving.
29 SICKER + T – straightforward wordplay to a new artist for me, Walter Sickert.
31 STERN-WHEELER; HEELER (= one that tips) after RN (= Royal Navy) in rev. of WETS (= waters) – according to Collins, ‘a vessel, esp a riverboat, propelled by a large paddle wheel at the stern‘ as opposed to a ‘sidewheeler’. I didn’t know this word but guessed it early on from the wordplay.
34 EXPRESS (= specific) + IONS (= bond-holders) – when solving I assumed this was a double definition, and have only just realised the wordplay. I suppose an ‘ion’ does hold bonds; this is certainly better than ‘charge’.
35 S(LEND (= sub) + ERNES (= marine hunters))S – subconsciously I think I saw the plural ‘hunters’ and ‘inside ship’ (= put inside ‘SS’) and deduced the -NESS ending, then solved from the definition. ‘Sub’ is subtly included and ‘marine hunter’ is fair for ERNE (a kind of sea eagle), and misleading as ‘marine’ is often ‘RM’, but as in 14ac I’m put off this clue by the link word ‘of’.
41 PEKINGESE – KING inside (P[orridg]E E[pisode]S) + [ronni]E – very clever definition (‘Barker’) and a well-constructed clue.
42 K + NO WALLS – I liked this one! The question mark is justified because knowalls are ‘experts’ rather than experts.

One comment on “Jumbo 678/Jan 6 – Black and white”

  1. Using word-origin stuff for spelling confirmation can pay off. It. oscuro and our obscure must both come from Lat. obscurus. Ditto chiaro, clear and clarus I should think. Once in the Times championship, “La Gioconda” – Italian for “Mona Lisa” – took many wickets with an unchecked O matching an unstressed vowel sound – “Giaconda” was a popular wrong choice. Making the connection with “jocund” was one way of saving the day.

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