Jumbo 731 (Sat Dec 15) – Neva mind

Solving time: 34 mins, one mistake (51dn)

This was a brilliant puzzle with some fantastic clues and brilliantly-worded definitions. It took me about twice as long as an ‘average’ Jumbo, but I thought I’d got it all correct until I checked 51dn and discovered a mistake.

* = anagram, “X” = ‘sounds like X’.

1 STRIN(DBE + R)G – the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. Perhaps the surface reading refers to one of his plays?
6 FO’S + BURY + FLOPS – a high-jumping technique pioneered by Dick Fosbury in 1968. I should really have seen through this definition straight away, but couldn’t, thinking that ‘Government department’ would be HO (Home Office) rather than FO (Foreign Office).
16 [c]ABER FAN
20 CYBERMAN; (BY CARMEN)* – the Cybermen were adversaries of Doctor Who.
26 INFRA DIG; (F + RAIN)* + DIG (= ‘appreciate’) – very well concealed definition (‘Below one’).
31 C + HE(YEN)N + E (= ‘last of the’)
34 HOSE REEL (cryptic definition)
36 GRID REFERENCES (cryptic definition) – it’s funny how clues about your ‘specialist subjects’ often catch you out. Football-related clues get me every time, and so did this one, purely because in reality orienteers don’t use grid references at all, or very rarely – but the question mark means it’s perfectly fair.
39 RE + SE(C)T – not a ‘-sect’ word that I can recall seeing before.
41 ZODIACAL (cryptic definition) – I liked this but felt it needed a question mark.
46 FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL – a very good cryptic definition, in which both ‘joined’ and ‘shooting’ took me in.
49 W.I. + RY
53 BA(B + BIT)T – I had to guess this from the wordplay, but apparently it’s an anti-friction alloy of tin, copper and lead.
57 SEXAGENARIAN; rev. of AXE in (EARNINGS + A)* – lovely &lit.
58 FREE SPIRIT – ‘shot for nothing’ is absolutely brilliant.

1 SPARE TYRE (double definition) – another well-crafted definition (‘Something kept for the flat’).
3 NUTS (double definition) – excellent clue ‘Is butter off trolley?’ with wording chosen to permit the question mark required by the initial ‘Is…’.
7 O + OPS – again a very subtle definition at the beginning of the clue (‘I’ve slipped [disc]…), like those in 26ac and 3dn.
8 BUDDY (= ‘Holly’) + MOV(I)E – an American term meaning a ‘film based on male camaraderie’.
10 FREEMASONRY; (FOR YEARS MEN)* – not sure about the anagram indication in this clue.
11 OFF + ENDING? – not quite sure what’s intended here (‘Death, apparently likely soon, is upsetting’).
12 SUN + K – great clue, with ‘Sent to bed’ yet another clever definition.
19 G + AS + LIGHT – a 1944 (and earlier 1940) film, for which Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar.
21 IGNITE; rev. of [me]ETING I[n] – not sure if I like this or not; ‘People abandoning’ could perhaps take a preceding adjective to indicate the split in the letters.
23 N(EARN)ESS – brilliant definition ‘neighbour’s property’.
28 WHEEL OF FORTUNE; (WHERE OFTEN FOUL)* – stunning clue, provided you accept ‘conditions’ used intransitively as an anagram indicator. I thought I did, but having consulted a couple of dictionaries I’m not so sure.
29 ASH + CROFT – English actress Dame Peggy Ashcroft.
32 NUCLEAR WINTER; (CLEAR WIN) in NUT + rev. of R.E. – complex wordplay.
35 RACE (= ‘Stock’) + WALKING – I dispute the definition (‘sport’).
37 [s]EALING
40 SQUA(WK)B + O (= ‘old’) + X (= ‘by’) – very difficult without the checking letters, unless you can produce SQUAB for ‘Young pigeon’. The words ‘old’ and ‘by’ seem harmless enough but are in fact integral to the wordplay.
45 ED + MO(NT)ON – ‘to exhibit 9’ (9 = REAR ENDS) is fantastic for MOON.
51 NEVA; N (= ‘Any amount of’) + rev. of AVE (‘hail upset’) – last time the river Lena came up I didn’t know it. This time I thought I did, except that the Lena is in Siberia, not St Petersburg! No wonder I couldn’t explain the wordplay…
52 W + HIP
53 NOR – because ‘hard’ with no ‘r’ is ‘had’.

One comment on “Jumbo 731 (Sat Dec 15) – Neva mind”

  1. I’m just catching up on some old Jumbos that I seem to have missed, and came here to see what its blogger had made of it – though I assume you’ve forgotten all about it by now.

    A tough 40:00 for me – but what a brilliant puzzle! I’m a little sad that it’s obviously far too late for whoever set it to accept my compliments, particularly as it would seem that no-one else commented; but I expect s/he appreciated your accolade.

    NEVA went in straight away (I’ve sing Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky a few times). My only slight doubt was COMICE PEAR, but it felt familiar, whereas COLICE PEAR didn’t! (As far as clues on one’s specialist subjects are concerned, I’m pleased to say that I got EALING straight away 🙂

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