Jumbo 703 – tough puzzle, long report

Solving time 33:50

As this took getting on for double my “Jumbo par” time and someone in comments has already mentioned its difficulty, it seems worth explaining more clues than usual. A good challenging puzzle on the whole, but there are a couple of clues that stretch things just too far for me.

13 DESERT(I’S LAND,DISC)S – there is indeed such a thing as a disc harrow.
14 MOSES – O=love replacing U=university in muses=inspiring group
15 I,CEMEN(t) – in the days before domestic fridges, an iceman was to ice as a milkman is to milk.
16 I’M PET, I GO
19 G,A(TES=set<=)HEAD
27 D(E,L)AYS – fairly fiendish wordplay with “have A shut in B” indicating B in A, but for me this is just on the right side of the line.
28 SACROSANCT – (can’t a cross)* – nicely done &lit.
31 OPPOS(IT)E(d),NUMBER – anti = opposed, freezing agent = number = something that numbs
35 REG = fellow ,AT TAS(k) = working
38 UPON MY WORD – My!=Heavens in downpour*
40 SNEEZ(y),E – Doc and Sneezy being two of Snow White’s vertically challenged pals.
48 D(N)OT I,CE – for non-Brits, a D Notice is/was some kind of govt. order making something secret or at least banning reporting.
54 A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME – M in (Dr Dolittle able, it)*
55 dEfTlY,MO(LOG)IST – roots = word derivations
1 NODDING,DOGS – if I remember rightly, carpet dogs are grippers.
2 SU(SI = is<=)E. I don’t buy this. Clue was “Girl is lining up petition”. The real wordplay is “is up, lining petition” and I can’t see that the clue’s version means the same.
3 O,ARLES’S – 35 in the clue being a cross-reference to REGATTAS
6 WINTER OLYMPICS – WIN,(policy terms)*
8 GUSTO – last letters of words in clue
11 (n)ASSAU LT.,AND BATTERY – “Bahamanian officer” = Nassau Lt.
18 HEAD,LONG – another iffy clue for me, with “covering A B” for “B covering A”.
20 THE DIARY OF A NOBODY – nice CD for this (“Journal of cipher work”)
22 ROADIE – I think this is an & lit. with aid* in roe = deer = does.
29 LOVE-IN-IDLENESS – another CD. I can never remember what this plant is, but xwd setters like it, esp. with the even letters checked.
32 EL(EVENT)H – ‘coming in last’ refers to the eleventh and last batsman in a cricket side.
33 WALRUS – morse is an old or Latin name for it, and the Lewis in the clue is not Kevin Whateley’s character but Lewis Carroll.
34 SQUARED,A(N)CE – squared = paid off, “skipping diversion” is the def.
39 WIN(NEBAG=began*)O. Probably most familiar to Brits as one of those tin caravans. Like some other American product names, it’s a word borrowed from the original inhabitants.
46 FUR(IO)S,O – “going wild” in bars = music.
47 LIBERO = boiler* – “back” as in soccer, a libero being roughly the same as a sweeper, I think.
49 B(L)IN,I – what you’re supposed to put your caviare on
51 CA.,DE(al)T
52 ADAR = R.A.D.A. <= – Adar is a Jewish calendar month, RADA = the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. As a London Univ. student you were supposed to get cheap culture by going to their theatre in Malet St. and seeing stars of the future. I never quite made it.

7 comments on “Jumbo 703 – tough puzzle, long report”

  1. I think the answer is EYE UP, but why? I guess UP=”at college”, and one of the Es is English, but the rest…..
    1. I hope you don’t mind If I use this to show what to do when you have a few promising bits of possible wordplay like these. The full clue is:

      Dated readers at college after English study (3,2). Taking your two bits of wordplay, this gives us:

      Dated readers = ?
      at college = UP
      after = ?
      English = E
      study = ?

      As you’ve found bits of wordplay, it’s almost certainly a “construction kit” clue with wordplay and separate def., so one of the three ?s above must be the definition. Taking EYE UP as our answer (I’m guessing you reasoned that little else fits E?E/?P), only “study” fits. That leaves us “Dated readers” and “after” to (a) Provide EY or YE, and (b) give us any necessary instructions to assemble the parts of the kit in the right way. “after” looks like an instruction to put something after “English”. Can “dated readers” mean “YE”? Yes – “ye” is a dated version of “you”, the readers are the solvers of the clue, and by cryptic xwd tradition (and logic – clues are written by the setter), ‘me’ is the setter and ‘you’ is the solver or solvers. So the “after” means that the (Dated readers at college) = YEUP comes after the English = E. Or:

      Dated readers at college = YE,UP
      after = {follows}
      English = E
      study = {definition}

      This method requires assuming that your possible wordplay elements are right. If they were wrong, you’d be very unlikely to be able to find a way of making the rest of the ‘equation’ work. So if you try this kind of analysis and it doesn’t work, you have to reject one or more of the bits of possible wordplay.

      (I’m also asuming that you know all the word-meanings used. If you don’t, you may be left with one thing that ‘must be true’. And of course people very rarely write out lengthy analyses like the ones above – they’re an illustration of what needs to happen in your head. Finally, we’re also assuming that the clues are written so that each word or phrase does exactly one job. Except for &lits, that’s generally true in the Times puzzle.)

  2. I found this a really challenging, enjoyable, puzzle, very satisfying to finish.

    HEADLONG “Rashly covering pine nut”,(down clue) I thought was 100% OK, it does logically tell you what to do, and I was pleased when I got it. SU(SI)E is maybe a little more borderline, but I think “is lining up” does fairly mean, in the down clue, an indication of both being contained and reversal.

  3. Excellent puzzle but slow going – managed to finish in 37’56”. Wasted quite a bit of time in the top right through a careless ‘past paper’ for TEST PAPER, and I also couldn’t see the Dr Dolittle anagram for ages, though to be honest I think this &lit is very stretched.
  4. I must say I marked this as one of my favourite clues in the puzzle, with such an apposite, amusing, answer when finally discovered. I’d never heard of Dolittle till some months ago when trying to solve another puzzle and it was all explained to me by someone more familiar with it all. So the answer came reasonably quickly this time.
  5. Definitely a tough one – 35:31 for me, so I was relieved to find you weren’t all that much quicker.

    The most dubious clue for me was 34D, since as a general rule square dancers do not skip. (I suggest the setter does a search for “square dance” on YouTube to get the flavour, or rather flavor, of the square dance. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much traditional square dancing represented, where the stepping is generally much more lively than the walking you find in Western square dancing, but even then you couldn’t possibly call it “skipping”).

    I wasn’t too keen on 2D either, but didn’t mind 18D too much, reading it as “covering pine: nut”).

  6. Dear Peter:
    Thank you for going to all that trouble, but I was kicking myself as soon as I realized why “dated readers”=YE. For some reason (and leaving aside non-agreement of tenses), I had been obsessed with EYE UP=dated!

Comments are closed.