Jumbo 702 (Sat 2 Jun) – Love it or hate it

Posted on Categories Jumbo Cryptic
Solving time: 17:37

[This posting is a few days late, for which my apologies.]

Most of this was straightforward; it would have been a PB (just under 14 minutes) except for 22dn and 46dn. Some nice clues but I thought several of the cryptic definitions were very weak / transparent, though maybe others will disagree. There were (I think) nine in total; highlight to view the answers:

16ac: “Support on which one’s clean habit depends” (7,4) = CLOTHES LINE
36ac: “Player who’s at home at St Andrew’s, perhaps” (5) = FIFER
38ac: “Union expectantly formed, with threat of firing” (7,7) = SHOTGUN WEDDING
40ac: “Appeal when bail is unsupported, perhaps” (4,4) = HOW’S THAT
50ac: “Politician behind ministerial position” (11) = BACKBENCHER
9dn: “One goes home with the remaining fare” (6,3) = DOGGIE BAG
32dn: “Necessary support when pressing a suit” (7,5) = IRONING BOARD
46dn (?): “Office involved in head’s responsibility for order” (6) = ABBACY
51dn: “The thinking man’s sculptor” (5) = RODIN

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

13 VEINS; “VANES” – a much better cryptic ‘definition’ (‘wind instruments’), though here forming part of the wordplay.
19 CARL ORFF; (CAROL)* + R + FF – Orff wrote Carmina Burana, which I think of as the Marmite of classical music. I love it, but then I play the tuba.
35 TRILBY – turns out to be a novel by George du Maurier.
44 MISS U.S.
55 SHE[ep] + ARE + R
2 PHILOSOPHER’S STONE; (P[ower] + O (= ‘nothing’) + HOPELESS IN SHORT)*
12 SHREW + D – from Kate in Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’.
22 MUSIC OF THE SPHERES – not knowing this phrase was understandable; not being able to think of a word to fit S-H-R-S (other than ‘Saharas’) was not.
36 FASHIONABLE; (ABALONE + FISH)* – I don’t like the question mark here, which suggests that the clue is an &lit when in fact it is simply ‘definition (= ‘What’s in’) + wordplay’.
39 NEW[s] + YORKER – the obligatory cricket reference, and as I write things are looking rosy at Chester-le-Street.
46 ABBACY (cryptic definition?) – just a pun on ‘order’, I think (see above). I wasn’t sure about this word but it seems to be correct.

4 comments on “Jumbo 702 (Sat 2 Jun) – Love it or hate it”

  1. I guessed at HOW’S THAT from “appeal” but I don’t understand the bail reference.


    1. The bails are the bits of wood that sit on top of cricket stumps. To run out or stump a batsman the bails have to be knocked off, hence become ‘unsupported’.
  2. (Sorry for the late comment – I’ve only just got round to reading what you said.)

    To give another view on the nine cryptic definitions you found “very weak / transparent”, I found them all delightful. This sort of clue has a long history in Times puzzles and I’d hate to see it abandoned. (But then I’d be quite happy to put the clock back 30 or 40 years as far as the Times puzzle is concerned, including restoring quotations!)

    1. Maybe ‘very weak’ was uncharitable – like you, I wouldn’t want to see this type of clue abandoned, though I think cryptic definitions to obscure words / names should usually be avoided, especially in Championship puzzles.

      I think the reason I didn’t like some of the CDs in this puzzle was that my initial reading of several of them was the cryptic one and not the ‘surface’ reading, i.e. they didn’t mislead at all. This was particulary true of 32dn (‘pressing a suit’ shouted ‘ironing’ immediately), 38ac (likewise ‘union’ for ‘wedding’) and 40ac (‘appeal when bail…’ for ‘cricket’). But ‘wind instruments’ for ‘vanes’ in 13ac had me hook, line and sinker.

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