Jumbo 779 – one of the worst?

In past weeks I’ve been extolling the virtues of the Saturday Jumbo and recommending people find time to have a go. I hope that this wasn’t the one that you good people decided to start Jumbo solving. I think you would be very disappointed. It may just be me being in a bad mood but I don’t think I’ve ever come across a set of clues so uninspiring as these. I struggled to find anything whatsoever to say. I believe the next one to be blogged (No 780) is much, much better.

1 Big sum of money almost everyone put on race – this one? (5,8)
  GRAND,NATION,AL[-l]a nice, easy start
8 Writer introducing western poetry to audience (9)
13 Soldier in the main rejected support (5)
  AEgIS- being GI in SEA rev
14 Scribbled angry notes about new homes (6,5)
  GRANNY FLATS – (Angry)* around N + Flats
15 Little mites causing endless worry, getting stuck in road (5)
  A(CAR[-e])I – a group of arachnids containing ticks and mites
16 Declaring vessel is grounded in Tangier after a storm (9)
  ASSERTING – SS in (Tangier)*
17 Swallow displaying feathers (4)
  Down – doubly defined
18 Plant discovered by grown-up explorer (8)
20 Close attention given to British in New York (6)
21 Music recital for people taking place after a month? Sure thing (9,7)
  PRO MEN  A DE/C ON CERT – I’m a sucker for long build-ups. Not a single unused word
24 Not completely literate, I’m struggling in test (4,5)
  TIME TRIAL – (literat[-e] I’M)*
26 Soap requested at end of meal? (3,4)
  The Bill – Double def. Steady on with your 21st Century cultural refs!
27 Celebration precedes Tokyo’s last sumo event (5)
  BASH [toky]O
29 Tape machine’s in position in court (12)
  RECORDER’S HIP – so soon after a 21st century ref, we have a 40 year old word for “In”, man. How groovy
31 Special day in which a teacher (retired) hides years no longer? (10)
  SEXAGESIMA – (A  MISS) rev around EX AGE. Nothing to do with sex with a wimpish mother but the eighth Sunday before Easter and the second before Lent.
33 One getting acquittal gives V-sign (10)
35 Display grudge entering part of garden at noon (12)
38 Romance about say old lord (5)
39 Teams’ kits (7)
  OUTFITS – pretty poor double def
40 Pointer to “hunt the thimble” location in the end? (9)
  FINGERTIP – is it me or is this pants?
42 Alternately go round in circles? (4,3,4,5)
  TURN AND TURN ABOUT – a hat trick of poorness
44 One looking after diamonds in their original setting, right? (6)
  MIN(D)E R – that’s better
47 Leave behind on view, going to undress (8)
49 Operator restricted by house rules (4)
  USER – included in hoUSE Rules.
50 Wrote furiously, penning script for play with small cast (3,6)
  TWO HANDER being (WROTE)* around HAND
52 Sort of entertainment that’s popular with drivers round about (2,3)
  IN CAR – CAR being RAC rev
53 I’m parking on drive, breaking end off carport – so careless (11)
54 Swimmer you see turning back beyond cape (5)
  COLEY – C + (YE LO) rev
55 Class-A drug passed round leads to a trip (3,6)
56 They’re entitled to employ worker at cricket ground, before test (5,8)
  LORDS TEMP ORAL – well that’s the across clues done. I hope the downs give me a bit more to write about

1 Resist advances when in clutches of lecherous man (2,7)
2 City sounds more imposing (7)
  AUGUSTA – which doesn’t sound like “auguster”
3 Dealer supplying component for engine (11)
  DISTRIBUTOR – double def
4 Like some seaweed? Try diving into a pool, there’s nothing to lose (6)
  ALGOID – A L(GO)ID[-o] – seaweed is marine alga
5 Address during summer month, north of river in Russia (9)
  IN,AUG,URAL – not much to write about this week, is there.
6 Record I hand over is carrying religious canticle (4,8)
  NUN ,C D,I,MITT,IS – the prayer of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32). Not only is this a ludicrous phrase clued in a ludicrous fashion, it also requires that “religious” and “nun” are synonymous, whcih they clearly aren’t
7 Team player, one of the Reds (4-6)
  LEFT WINGER – was it the setter’s day off?
8 What’s best for mark on skin? (4)
  WEAL – I think, can’t see anything other than “mark on skin”
9 Form of study prepared nine lads in GCE art (8,8)
  DISTANCE LEARNING – (nine lads in gce art)*
10 Keep ring in solid container (5)
11 A struggle in some sand – leader falls unconscious (7)
  [d]UN(A WAR)E
12 Mentioned changes to principal right of government (7,6)
  EMINENT DOMAIN – (MENTIONED)* + MAIN. Eminent domain is compulsory purchase in America
19 Newly-married bliss, ultimately, for lovers (8)
  ADMIRERS – (MARRIED)* + [blis]S
22 Head engraved on pound – English coin (5)
23 Taken well out of public view and thrashed (5,1,4,6)
  GIVE A GOOD HIDING – two definitions (just)
25 The place I like to be, say: extremely agreeable old city (7)
  MYCENAE – “my scene” + A[greeabl]E
28 Riddle about short skirt – one can ride up here (3,4)
29 Clergyman is filled with joy, getting close to devout believer (13)
  REV,ELATION, IS T – T being [devou]T
30 Number one route for saving time (5,3)
  SHORT CUT – at last a good clue! “Number one” is the hair clipper’s attachment which gives the shortest cut
32 Reckless, heading for bend in lorry? This might get damaged (5,7)
  CRASH BARRIER – C(RASH B[end])ARRIER – this is probably a good clue, but I’m losing interest now
Foreign woman some admire, naturally (5)
  IRENA – hidden and obviously so
36 Terribly scarce puma one’s carried in as trophy (8,3)
  AMERICAS CUP – anagram of “sticks out like a sore thumb”
37 Key player parks behind here (5,5)
  PIANO STOOL – cryptic definition
40 Such an unhealthy diet failing to achieve the desired results (9)
  FRUITLESS – double def
41 Painting shows beam of light passing through gateway (9)
43 To ensure tax rise is limited, remonstrate about a penny being added (4,3)
45 Swindler cheated wastrel out of one (7)
46 Article supporting good old English writer (6)
48 Two learners in a state (5)
51 Reacted contemptuously in quarrel (4)
  SPAT – double def. Thank goodness that’s over

3 comments on “Jumbo 779 – one of the worst?”

  1. It seems to me that you’re being unduly harsh about this puzzle, which I found quite pleasant.

    I don’t understand your objection to 6D since neither the phrase nor the clue seems ludicrous to me. Also, if you’d bothered to look up “religious” in Chambers (2003), you’d have found “a person bound by monastic vows” (which is perhaps applied more often to nuns than to monks, at least in my experience).

  2. My “objection” to 6D was that I’d never heard of it (sorry, D.M.), but I don’t think I would have gotten it without Chambers Word Wizards. I didn’t find this too bad, there’s some nice use of long words that wouldn’t fit in the daily, and 45D made me smile. as did 12D.
  3. 8D: Weal also means “a state of wellness” – in a fairly general sense – weal and the wealth in commonwealth are the same thing, so “what’s best” seems OK. At 6D, Collins and COD as well as Chambers have ‘religious’ as the necessary noun. It was new to me too, but the first reaction to a ‘wrong’ meaning should be to check the dicitonary.

    I can’t honestly remember whether I solved this now, but I found quite a few clues that I liked while reading this. I think you were in a bad mood and/or a bit too swayed by some of the easier clues. There’s no requirement to write about all the clues in a jumbo – I usually cover around 20 and save extensive treatment for ones that I think are exceptionally good.

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