Jumbo 726 – unknown element trouble

Solving time: 24:25, one wrong answer

A fairly challenging puzzle, which stumped me at the end with one of those toss-up anagrams for a word I didn’t know. It’s another appearance for one of those jumbo grids I don’t see the point of – no entry exceeds 15 letters.

5 P(H)AGES – short for bacteriophages – viruses that destroy bacteria. Being married to an immunologist, I checked the use of bacteria and virus, which people mix up so often. The clue is exactly right.
14 DIA=aid rev.,CRITICAL=very ill – the names for characters like accents, umlauts, tildes, hačeks and so on.
17 MASSE,(yo)UR – massé is the spectacular snooker/billards stroke that involves striking a ball directly downwards and off-centre, to send it in a semi-circle around the snookering ball to strike the object ball on the other side … and probably ripping the cloth if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. Third in a set of three clues with medical surfaces, which I didn’t notice until after I’d picked them to include here.
18 NEODYMIUM = (me mind you)*. This is the one that foxed me – I went for neomydium, not having heard of this element (nor the related didymium or praseodymium). A look at the Chambers appendix on chemical elements reveals lots of others I don’t know – possibly worth a browse sometime.
28 PARALLELEPIPED – all in (red apple pie)* – another new word but once you had the parallel part and checking letters, you only had to choose between -PIPED, -PIDEP and -DIPEP as the back end.
30 A,(CHIL(d))LEA
32 NITROGEN – which with oxygen makes nitrous oxide (laughing gas) = NO in chemistry notation
34 O.(LIVE)R.,C.R.,O.M.,WELL. Fiendish construction with active=LIVE, soldiers = O.R., him (the King) = C.R. = Carolus Rex, order = O.M., properly = WELL
37 TIP,I – variant sp. of te(e)pee
39 CALIPHATES = (this palace)*
43 NO.,”MAN IS AN ISLAND” = obvious geographical statement
45 GRAN,TEE = a T-shaped mark, and a (golfing) peg. Classic example of the Times rules about permitting unnecessary capitals.
1 HIDEOUT = “high doubt”
2 TEAS(TRAIN)ER – very good stuff, this one.
12 HANDMADE = “handmaid”
13 (p)ACES
24 RECORDING STUDIO = (duo sing, director)*
29 LAOTIAN = ((n)ational)* – careful analysis needed here, the def. being just “Asian” rather than “Asian national”.
36 GIANTE=eating*,(a)SSES
40 HEAD’S,TALL – the part of a bridle round the horse’s head – equestrian vocab new to me.
42 CARLISLE = (Thomas) “Carlyle”
46 EX-,PI,ATE = Gk. goddess of mischief

6 comments on “Jumbo 726 – unknown element trouble”

  1. It certainly helped to be a chemist… neodymium, nitrogen and field hospital (which has popped up in here recently) going in quickly helped take care of the grid quickly. I don’t time myself on jumbos, but this was a rare one I finished off in one sitting.
  2. Enjoyable puzzle, which I found on the easy side. Trickiest: METIER where ‘senior’ tempted for a while. Took me ages to see where the CR came in OLIVER CROMWELL but I did in the end.
  3. Having been a fan of Tom Lehrer since the 50s I must have heard his song The Elements a thousand times and much of its lyric has stuck in my head. It has helped me out of many a tight corner in crosswords.

  4. My wife does the Times2 Jumbo, which uses the same grid as the main Jumbo, and by coincidence the answer to 34A in both was Oliver Cromwell. And there have been other cases of similar words in the two puzzles in the same place. Are the setters the same? Or is it just coincidence?

    Harry Shipley

    1. My understanding is that John Grimshaw produces all the Times Two puzzles, and as far as I know that includes jumbos. He’s also on the cryptic setting team, and I’m pretty sure he does some of the jumbos. My guess is that when doing both, he might write the T2 puzzle first, spot a few words for which he can think of a good cryptic clue, and keep these answers in the same place.
  5. Take it from me that JG didn’t set this particular cryptic jumbo. My guess is that he didn’t see the solution — otherwise I guess he would have tried to avoid the coincidence.

Comments are closed.