Jumbo 723 (Sat 20 Oct) – Return of the Space Capsule

Posted on Categories Jumbo Cryptic
Solving time: About 50 mins in two sessions; four missing (asterisked below).

I found this very tough, mostly because I didn’t know some of the harder words / phrases; anyone who did would probably say this was no harder than an ordinary Jumbo. In the end I gave up on two pairs, though none of the four words was impossible to work out as commented on below.

Music (49ac): Kiss From A Rose by Seal.

* = anagram.

1 SPACE CAPSULES; rev. of SU(LE)S + PACE + CAPS – very very difficult, especially given the oblique definition (‘Vehicles’). Even with most of the letters, ‘Vehicles reversing’ looked likely to give ‘smart’ (rev. of ‘trams’) as the first word. Eventually I got this by looking at the clues for 3dn and 4dn (both unsolved) and postulating that they might start with ‘E’ (‘Point’) and ‘A’ respectively. Luckily this worked, and brought to mind Jamiroquai’s Return of the Space Cowboy.
14 HYPOTHERMIA; “HIGH” + POT (= ‘skunk’) + HERMIA – Hermia is an Athenian character from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tough wordplay, even once you’ve got the answer.
*16 BART (= ‘baronet’) + HOLD + I – unknown to me but I can’t claim Bartholdi is obscure as he produced the Statue of Liberty. I thought of ‘baron’ for ‘title’ but not ‘Bart.’, and was too fixated on a ‘-LLI’ ending to produce HOLD for ‘to have’.
18 CAUCASIA; “CAULK” + ASIA – straightforward definition but a devilish, though perfectly fair, homophone which took me a long time to work out after solving.
20 ARNOLD – Matthew Arnold the poet and Arnold Bennett the novelist,
31 ALL(HALL)OW + S – not sure I like ‘A B out’ to mean ‘put B around A’.
49 ROSE (double definition) – if this clue (“Left one’s bed in the pink”) had appeared in an ‘easy’ cryptic I’d probably have got it straight away. As it was I tried to make ‘Left’ = L and ‘in the pink’ mean ‘in perfect health’, and this was one of the last clues I solved, quickly folowed by the two answers that crossed it (37dn and 32dn).
53 OP + ERASING + ER – possibly Clara Butt, although according to Wikipedia she only ever appeared in two operatic productions. The ‘put to’ in this clue is a bit questionable, but I suppose you could read it as an imperative ‘put’ followed by ‘to’ meaning ‘next to’ (i.e. “put to A B” meaning “put B next to A”). Maybe.
*55 TURK’S HEAD – I knew what to do with this but didn’t know the phrase and couldn’t come up with ‘Turk’. Unlike with 1ac, trying to work out the missing crossing letter from 43dn was a hindrance rather than a help as I thought ‘I’ was the most likely letter.

2 AILER + ON – ‘One suffering’ = AILER is fairly hackneyed, but nonetheless this took me an age – there were just so many wordplay possibilities, e.g. (A/I + LEG IN A)*. I think the real problem, though, was the question mark, which made the clue read as an &lit or semi-&lit, and I’m not sure why it was included; perhaps because most aircraft have separate parts called flaps as well as ailerons, the compiler wanted to emphasise the distinction.
*3 E + PITH + A + LAMIA – lack of the crossing ‘H’ from 16ac was a hindrance, but this is another very tough clue; I didn’t know the word, or lamia for ‘witch’. Having said that I have seen the word ‘thalami’ (from the same root, the Greek thalamos meaning a (bridal) chamber) clued in daily cryptics (almost always as a lisping homophone for “SALAMI”, usually with a rather unjustified ‘look-at-me-what-a-clever-clue-I-am’ exclamation mark), so can’t claim this didn’t give the solver a chance.
4 A + W(H)ILE – like 49ac, not difficult but I couldn’t crack this until I was certain of the starting ‘A’.
9 BEAT ABOUT THE BUSH – I don’t fully understand this clue (“Enter hedge – people working on shoot must”). I think the definition might be ‘Enter hedge’, i.e. ‘take up a position of hedging one’s bets’, and maybe the second part refers to a shooting expedition in the bush, but I’m not sure.
25 CO(U)VERT – a French word meaning a cover, i.e. setting for one person, at a table, hence ‘place’.
32 FREEWHEELING; (WHERE)* in FEELING – I misinterpreted this clue for a long time; having been unable to work ‘feeling’ into the answer I wrongly supposed that ‘unrestrained’ must give FREE.
37 PLESIOSAUR; (OUR LAPSE IS)* – guessed correctly once I had all the crossing letters.
*43 AL + M(ONE)R – just couldn’t unravel this. ‘Social worker’ = ‘ant’ was one of many red herrings, but taking ‘I’ at face value was probably my main problem. Like 16ac, the ‘title’ in the clue was an abbreviated version of a term of address; maybe if I’d got one, I’d have got the other.
46 JAR + R,A,H – an Australian tree.

6 comments on “Jumbo 723 (Sat 20 Oct) – Return of the Space Capsule”

  1. The published solution to 34D is SERVE. Can someone explain it please? I see “supply” but not “answer”.

    My wrong guess at this, SOLVE, prevented me getting 38A which turns out to be (T)ASTER.

    1. RULES: Also I don’t understand the football reference in this clue, which doesn’t really surprise me as I don’t follow the game.
      1. 34dn: I’m not sure about this one either. Initially I thought this came from the meaning in which a worker might ‘serve’ or ‘answer to’ his boss, but that doesn’t quite work. I suppose ‘serve a purpose’ = ‘answer a purpose’ (given in Chambers under ‘serve’) is the explanation.

        48dn: Here ‘football’ means ‘Australian rules football’, or ‘Rules’ for short. I should probably have included this clue above.

  2. I think that the answer is “Beat about the bush”, and the clue is a double definition of sorts. One of the definitions of hedge in Collins is “a cautious or evasive statement”, which you could make if you were to beat about the bush. “People working on a shoot” refers to the beaters who rouse the wild game from the undergrowth by beating about the bush.


    1. Thanks, that makes sense for the second part. Maybe “Enter” is an imperative, so the first bit can be read as “Enter [a word for] ‘hedge'”. ‘Bear’ was a typo! (Now corrected above.)

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