Jumbo 761 (Sat 7 Jun) – Reductio ad absurdum

Posted on Categories Jumbo Cryptic
Solving time: 13:28

On the easier side of average, I thought, and perhaps I should have been faster – plenty of straightforward clues but also a few harder names and phrases. I’m not anti cryptic definitions, but I thought the ones in this puzzle were weak (e.g. 4dn, 9dn, 12dn). One stand-out clue for me (ABSURD at 20ac).

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 GENERALISSIMO; (ALSO IN REGIMES)* – a pretty good anagram but not really disguised and I got off to a good start by spotting this straight away.
8 STAR + BOARD – again, some subtlety in this clue with the definition (‘Right’), but ‘directors’ = BOARD is so hackneyed that the effect was lost.
16 PHENOMENA; P[at]H + rev. of ANEMONE – ‘of’ as a link word?
17 [h]ITCH
18 NEUTRINO; (IN OUTER)* + N (= ‘Newton’) – it didn’t occur to me when solving, but I’m not sure that ‘orbits’ really makes sense as an anagram indicator.
20 ABSURD; alternate letters of AxBC squared – brilliant clue, my favourite of the puzzle. ‘AxBC’ looked so strange that I didn’t think of trying ‘Oddly’ as meaning ‘the odd letters of’, and even once I’d seen the answer I tried to do something with ‘surd’ = ‘irrational’. A really, really picky mathematician might question what notation would allow multiplication of A by BC squared, but that would be rather ridiculous pedantry.
21 CORONATION (= ‘spectacular installation’) + STREET (= TESTER*) – I should have seen straight through ‘Soap tester’, but didn’t.
26 M(AG + NET)O
27 REBEC[ca]
29 CHILDE ROLAND; (HAD ILL END + ORC)* – a line from Shakespeare inspired this poem by Browning.
31 PERT + H[…]S + HIRE
33 INNER SPACE (double definition) – according to Chambers: the undersea region regarded as an environment; the unconscious human mind. The only time I can think of having heard this phrase was in Underworld’s Born Slippy.
35 PRINTER’S MARK – this and 12dn were my last two entries. William Caxton introduced the printing press to England in the 15th century, which I didn’t know.
42 ON ONE’S OWN ACCOUNT (double definition) – this was a pretty woolly clue, I thought, with the two definitions not that different from each other.
50 PARA + L[a]Y + S.I.S. – MI6 is comprises the Secret Intelligence Services or SIS. This appeared in the online version as ‘MI-Six’, which looked a bit silly.
53 PETER (= ‘safe’) + SIMPLE – this seems to be a character from The Merry Wives of Windsor.
54 GIG + LI[t]
56 GENERAL’S TRIKE – I groaned at this one.

1 G + OLD + PL[ace] + ATE
3 RUN TO GROUND; RUNT, + rev. of GO, + ROUND (= ‘ammunition’)
4 LOOTER (cryptic definition) – pretty transparent, I thought.
6 IMPRISONMENT; (MEN IN STIR MOP[e])* – a reasonable &lit but perhaps a little weak to have ‘stir’ meaning ‘prison’ here, given the clue to 51dn (‘Prison disturbance’ = STIR).
7 OVER + CH + [l]ARGE – to ‘rook’ someone means to fleece them.
9 AT THE END OF THE DAY (cryptic definition) – I thought this was poor, and even more of a giveaway than 4dn.
12 DOG-TOOTH CHECK (one straight, one cryptic definition) – the first two words here were obvious, but I didn’t know the third and needed all three crossing letters. The straight definition is just ‘design’, referring to the textile pattern.
19 NINETEEN; rev. of IN, + NET, + E’EN
22 TORUS, from TOURS
23 MICROPHOTOGRAPHY; (POOR HOGARTH MYOPIC)* – shouldn’t this clue have read ‘Howarth’? (Only joking, Tony…)
29 C + LIMA + TO + LOG + I + S + T – an epic charade (can you still call such a construction a charade if some of the bits are abbreviations?).
32 ARISTOTELIAN; ARISTO[crat] + T[hinker] + (ALIEN)*
34 [o]RANGE
36 SEETHE + LIGHT – “why is this ‘see red light’?”, I wondered for a good while.
37 FISCAL DRAG; (GLAD IF CARS)* – an economics term, which I didn’t know and won’t try to explain (or even understand, to be quite honest!).
40 BOND PAPER – punning on James Bond.
45 ASSEGAI; rev. of AGES in ASI[a]
46 …OR WELL – unusually worded, but I thought this was ok; some purists might object.
48 CELIA (hidden) – not sure about ‘X to be defective’ to mean ‘the answer is hidden inside X’. More Shakespeare needed for this one, this time As You Like It.

4 comments on “Jumbo 761 (Sat 7 Jun) – Reductio ad absurdum”

  1. This was the first jumbo to beat me for a while – couldn’t get 31a and that left me with no idea for the dog tooth whatsis.
  2. General’s Trike – brilliant! – hadn’t noticed it until reading the blog
    btw rescued this one from the kindling box, hasn’t really taken me 3 years to complete

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