Jumbo 694 (Sat 21 Apr) – REMarkable, tREMendous, supREMe

Posted on Categories Jumbo Cryptic
Solving time: 34:14, two mistakes (40ac and 6dn).

Super puzzle with some lovely definitions. My favourites were 15ac (‘leaving mark’ for EXIT WOUND), 33ac (‘Missing dope’ for UNINFORMED), 52ac (‘Devotional base’ for PRAYER MAT), 9dn (‘[…pub] crawl nude’ for SKINNY-DIP) and most of all, 12dn (‘Was Spooner’ for LADLED). On the other hand, there were several clues with less than helpful wordplays (see 40ac!), and I was not surprised to get a couple of answers wrong as there were at least five or six I was unsure of, including 21ac and 35ac for both of which I’d welcome better explanations.

Even better than the clueing, though, was the theme (asterisked clues), which I missed while solving (despite knowing all the thematic references, unless I’ve missed any – please point out any I have!). I only spotted it when blogging the clue for 5dn, and if it hadn’t been for my travails on 35ac, which caused ATHENS to stick in my head, and an R.E.M. concert from there I recorded off Radio 1 about 10 years ago, I might have missed it completely. A great tribute to a brilliant band, and my favourite Times Jumbo to date.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

Across
*1 R + EMISSION – a hidden name-check.
*6 MU + SIC
18 METH(INK)S
21 DEADLY (double definition?) – the clue is “No small bore sniper aspires to be”. I suppose a ‘deadly bore’ is the opposite of a small bore, but the first three words seem to require a noun as the answer.
*35 ATHENS – clue: “European city that stag weekend’s not targeted?”. Some pun on ‘hen’, I suppose, but I can’t make this work. It’s definitely right though, as R.E.M. were formed in Athens, Georgia.
40 RENMINBI; (M + IN BRINE)* – I’d guess that 90%+ of solvers who didn’t know this word would (like me) have guessed ‘berminni’. Apparently the renminbi is the same as the yuan, the currency of China.
42 AS + MAR + A – the capital of Eritrea, which I didn’t know, but got right because I couldn’t think of anything other than ‘MAR’ for ‘ruin’ = ?A?.
47 CHURCHGOING – which makes ‘match’ become ‘mat’ (= ‘dull’).
53 ABDOMEN; BAD OMEN with the ‘head switched’ – as in ‘one for sorrow, two for joy’ etc. One of a pair which I was very slow on, the other being 46dn.
Down
*1 ROCKS (double definition) – because you might repeatedly rock a child to make it go ‘off’, i.e. asleep. I had been primed that this was a very subtle clue, and so it proved, though while solving I wrote in the answer from ‘cocaine?’ without worrying too much about the rest of it. Put this together with 6ac to get ‘ROCK MUSIC’.
*2 MICHAELMAS DAISIES; (ISLAMICISED A SHAME)* – hidden in this clue and the next…
*3 ST + I PEN DIARY – …is the name of R.E.M.’s lead singer, Michael Stipe.
*5 (NOV for R.E.M.)EMBER – the only direct mention of the theme band. If you don’t think you’re familiar, try listening to some of their songs: Losing My Religion, The One I Love, Electrolite, Shiny Happy People, The Great Beyond, or the ones linked to in the thematic clues below.
*6 MAN ON THE MOON – I initially put ‘man in the moon’ but it has to be ‘ON’ because of Man On The Moon.
*7 SIDEWINDER; rev. of 1’S, + WIND in DEER – references The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite.
8 CHEER (double definition) – as in ‘hip, hip, hurray’.
11 A(RUB)A – I didn’t know the island Aruba and was unsure about ‘major difficulty’ = RUB. It seems to work better reading ‘major’ as ‘main’ rather than ‘big’.
18 STORM (= force ten, on the Beaufort Scale) + CUFF + S
22 LAUGH UP ONE’S SLEEVE (double definition, split between ‘this’ and ‘joke’) – and I can’t help but wonder if the setter is doing just that at the (surely deliberate) ambiguity in 6dn; the lyrics to that song include: “If you believe they put a man on the moon, man on the moon,/If you believe there’s nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool“.
24 ON A PAR WITH; hidden backwards in ‘weight I wrap an ounce’ – brilliant.
*32 OTHERWORLDLY; THE in (LORD LOWRY)* – perhaps a nod to It’s The End Of The World As We Know It? I remember this classic being played on Radio 1 during the 1999 total solar eclipse in Cornwall.
*37 STAND GUARD; AND in (AT DRUGS)* – subtly hidden here (or perhaps coincidental?) is Stand (by their standards, a bit of a mediocre track). (I know what you’re thinking – the 49dn sounds just like Going Out by Supergrass.)
*39 O + RANG + EMAN (= rev. of NAME) – is this a reference to Orange Crush? Probably not.
46 NARNIA; (AN)* + (RAIN)* – not sure about ‘an awful’ = ‘anagram of AN’, but ‘territory of Lewis’ is lovely, though shouldn’t have fooled me for as long as it did.
49 INT(R)O

9 comments on “Jumbo 694 (Sat 21 Apr) – REMarkable, tREMendous, supREMe”

  1. Firstly hats (without cats in them) off to Talbinho for spotting the theme (and half-wondering if the RADIOHEAD AMNESIAC references were ever picked up by anyone from a daily a few months ago ๐Ÿ™‚ )
    Further hats off for realising that OTHERWORLDLY and ORANGEMAN were, believe it or not, based exactly on END OF THE WORLD and ORANGE CRUSH, being the closest I could get to the originals in the grid.
    On the other hand, UP MY SLEEVE was entirely subconscious (:-) )
    One thing which alarms me is your comment on the answer to 6 down, which should be MAN IN THE MOON, as MAN ON THE MOON is not actually a recognised phrase. I realised that anyone spotting the REM connection might decide on the latter and offered to write a different clue.
    Re other queries:
    21ac: Something which is “no small bore” might be “deadly” and there is a “which” understood.
    35ac: Stag weekends aren’t targeted AT HENS
    RENMINBI: I guess a weekday puzzle might have demanded more helpful wordplay, but for a Saturday prize puzzle I assume people will be able to look things up.
  2. It’s a good thing Talbinho was writing about this – my poor rock knowledge meant the theme went right over my head. Renminbi is one of those times a bit of elementary Chinese learned on holiday helps out. In the days of the old (and frankly daft) dual currency system, RMB was “people’s money”, and it doesn’t take too much effort to learn that “Zhongguo ren” = Chinese people, and “Yinggou ren” = English people. BTW, ren doesn’t sound like “wren”, but roughly like “rรถhn” would in German.
    1. Stipe also provided part of the Nina in Times Saturday Crossword 23120 (published 2005-10-29).
    2. Well spotted that man. I hope you didn’t go trailing through all the puzzles just to find it ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I vaguely remembered the puzzle and thinking, at the time of solving, that there might be a Radiohead connection in there somewhere. After that, it was just a question of searching the blog for the word “amnesiac”.
  3. Just to add an agreement that this was indeed an enjoyable Jumbo. I’m not an REM fan, but they are one of those bands where you know their songs whether you realise it or not.
    As for Jumbos, given their size, I think it should be a rule that all Jumbos have a theme;) Not only does it create double “Oh!” moments – the first on getting the answer, the second when you realise it’s connected to the theme – but it also educates in what is probably a setters area of interest.
    Has there ever been a puzzle where all the down clues dropping from the top were themed – or even better read a sentence?

    Never got 46d, but not disappointed on having seen the answer as it’s a lovely little twist that I should have spotted.

    — Smillsy

  4. A really first-rate crossword, with some brilliant clues. However, I’d only vaguely heard of REM, and the references to their music went completely over my head. I didn’t remember RENMINBI, and stuck in BERMINNI for want of any better idea – my first mistake in a Jumbo since last June (I think, but I haven’t checked ’em all). Annoyingly I must have met the word before, since it appeared in the 5th edition of Bradford as RENNMINBI, and I’ve crossed out the second N in my copy and put in an arrow moving it from the 9-letter to the 8-letter words.
  5. I just wanted to agree belatedly with Talbinho’s opinion of this crossword, and congratulate the compiler (at whose identity I think I can make a shrewd guess). I didn’t spot absolutely all the references myself, but enough (thanks to the NOVEMBER clue) to be utterly delighted nonetheless. I might add that I crossed out each of MAN IN THE MOON and MAN ON THE MOON a number of times, before settling the right way. By the end I wasn’t able to remember whether either was a normal phrase OR the song title…

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