Jumbo 780 – one of the best

I posted this a week too early, if you’re wondering why early comments are a bit cryptic.

If you haven’t solved this puzzle, get yourself a copy and do so NOW – it’s packed with good clues. When I met up with Anax in the pub at Cheltenham, he was raving about this and I must admit I had some thoughts like “just another jumbo, wasn’t it?”. Wrong! My wish to solve as quickly as possible, and/or fretting about the next day, hid some marvellous work. I imagine Anax’s copy was covered in ticks.

Solving time 30:05

Across
1 SA(MO,YE)D – tick = mo = short period of time (colloq.)
5 CAP=beat=outdo,IN=popular,HAND=employee – ‘begging so’ is the def.
14 FORTUNE TELLER – good modern CD with effectively two clues – “future lady” and “encountered at the ball” (of the crystal kind)
15 VIDEOTAPE – an &lit good enough to quote – i.e. do TV broadcast copy – (i.e. do TV)*,copy = APE
16 ST. TRINIA = (artist in)*, N,S = “team bidding” (bridge) – “school in pictures” is the def. for the academic mad-house created by Ronald Searle. “In other schools girls are sent out quite unprepared into a merciless world, but when our girls leave here, it is the merciless world which has to be prepared.” – says Alistair Sim as the headmistress. Here’s a clip of Sim and a young George Cole as ‘Flash Harry’ in some shady business.
17 HAND (vb.) = deliver, CUFFING (n.) = ‘mild beating’ – an unexpected part of speech both times.
18 RODEO – CD based on “up” = riding a horse, and the high probability of ending up not riding it in this event
19 SUSPICIOUS – (American film one) = (US,PIC,I), in ‘very little money’ = SOUS (pl. of sou, small old Fr. coin)
21 P(ROMP)T. – a surface reading good enough to quote – Bang on in part about noisy game
23 DARE-DEVIL = rash. (A RED = a scarlet) in rev. of LIVED – “Was survivor’s back”, again worked into a veyr smooth surface
26 ALL-STAR – (LS = love surviving initially) in ALTAR = place of marriage.
28 OUT=expose,DAM=mother,NED’S=Kelly’s,POT=big belly – which took me ages to understand – “Mother Kelly’s big belly” refused to break up into enough parts. (Ned = Kelly from the historic Aussie hero/anti-hero.)
33 DO’S,SHO(U.S.)E
35 THROW=pitch,TOGETHER=as one
37 S(C/O)URGE – spike = (power) surge
40 LI(STE=set*)NERS – the def. is “performers of tap” – tap in the telecommunications sense. Very clever def. – too clever for me as someone in the pub had to explain it
42 NO(G)GIN – noggin = ‘a drink of beer, spirits, etc.’ which seems to cover just about everything
44 HOME=in,C.I.(NEM=men rev.)A. – another super surface reading
48 A,POLL=head,INA=girl,IRE=passion – I heard some grumbles about Ina as ‘girl’ and the difficulty of knowing that it wasn’t Ena in this Fr. poet’s name, but “Apollenaire”? Really! (And if it was that spelling, wouldn’t the clue be about hay fever?)
50 JUMP=bound,JO(C)KEY – another great surface, with a tad of coincidental irony the day before a crossword contest, and good for Cheltenham anyway (I’m sure the setter didn’t know when the puzzle would appear) National competitor bound to be funny about start of contest
53 SPITTING=throwing out,i.(MAG)e.
54 RU(D)E – a high class easy clue – Base duke getting in Napoleon’s way
56 TRAP=kisser=mouth,EZE=”ease”
 
Down
1 SI(F)T – riddle (vb.) is the def
2 MAR=ruin,YTUD=lifting tax=duty,O.R.=men
4 DUE=unsettled (settled=paid),NN = news,AS = like – duennas are governesses, stock characters in operas & old plays (apparently employed to keep girls away from boys rather than teach them anything). The ‘unsettled’ and {N=new therefore NN=news} seem nice bits of whimsical xwd logic (though in principle unsettled could be unpaid rather than worried).
6 PALES=boundaries,TIN=preserve,E=oriental. One of the best of the lot this – Boundaries preserve oriental territory under dispute – {pale = boundary} is best known from history – the ‘English Pale’ in Ireland, or the rather different Jewish Pale (a.k.a. ‘Pale of Settlement) in SW Russia.
7 NO(R)AH – gotta quote again Girl in river grabbed by lifeboatman
8 A D(VENT)URER’S – painter=(Albrecht) Durer, “23 people” = daredevil people – the def.
11 URANIUM – another little poser – Element not in favour of Americans indicates that U=Uranium is not in ‘favor’, the US version of ‘favour’
12 F(RE)IGHTER – one who opposes = fighter, on = regarding/concerning = re
22 F=following,A,BU(L,O.U.)S
24 VAN=lead,BUR(E)N – brand = burn. “Lead brand” is a nicely misleading “lift and separate”.
27 TEETH – E.T. = visitor from afar, in TEH = ‘the ground’. “force” is the def., as in ‘the new guidelines on bankers’ bonuses don’t have any teeth’
29 TASS = press people,O – TASS was the press agency of the former Soviet Union – now part of something called Itar-TASS which is no use to crossword setters so don’t bother to remember!
32 TH(R)US,TS=St. rev
34 EDITORIALLY – full marks if this anag of (Riot ideally) is new, but Riot ideally organised by leader is so good that it bears repeating occasionally if not.
36 W,ALTER=change,MITTY=’handy, as it were’
37 SUNBATHER – same comment as for 34 re “One developing burns with heat?”
39 CLIP,JOINT – a work of genius that I only understood while writing this – Bar charging extortionate rate combined with fair rate – in the wordplay CLIP=’fair rate’ – colloq. expressions for high speed,JOINT=combined. A “clip joint” is the kind of place where you sit down with a friendly lady and the bottle of champagne you order turns out to cost a four-figure sum (so I hear …).
43 GROOVED – 2 defs – “danced to music” (colloq.), and “with flutes” – flutes are grooves ‘such as on a pillar’ says Chambers
45 A(D.J.=jacket)UN(C=cape)T – looks ugly wordplay but it makes the pretty smoooth Rider’s jacket and cape gathered separately by older relative
47 IN=Hip=fashionable,DAB=expert,A=opening of arthritis. An indaba is a tribal (or Scout) conference.
49 E.P.,SOM(e) – a routine word and a simple enough treatment, but a lovely surface: Course producing record a bit short – which perfectly summarises long-distance running disappointments like this: “In 1981, Salazar set an apparent world record at the New York City Marathon of 2:08:13, surpassing the 12-year-old mark of 2:08:33 set by Australian Derek Clayton in 1969 in Antwerp, Belgium. However, the course was found on re-measurement to be about 148 meters, or about 27 seconds, short of the 26-mile, 385-yard (42.195 km) distance.” (Wikipedia) (and from memory the measurement of Clayton’s course wasn’t universally accepted either)

15 comments on “Jumbo 780 – one of the best”

  1. Well said Pete, and I’m glad it lived up to the hype!

    Of several tickables FREIGHTER and LISTENER were superb, but the URANIUM clue was simply jaw-dropping. The setter told me he’d been concerned about whether or not it was fair, but when you’re looking for the name of an element that fits U-A-I-M the choice is somewhat limited; our “passing around the suggestions hat” at the pub on Saturday evening saw one of our throng identify the wordplay after only a couple of minutes, so it can’t have been that unfair.

    Absolutely stunning piece of observation to create a memorable clue for a tricky word, a gem in a puzzle full of them.

    1. I thought the funniest part of the evening was when you tried to explain the URANIUM clue to my fiancée Sue, who was pretty drunk by then and didn’t have a clue what you were on about!
      1. Oh, I remember. And to Sue’s credit, at no point did she give me that “What are you on?” look, which is the one I usually get when trying to explain a clue, enthusing over crosswords in general or just saying hello to a lady.
      1. The clue is:

        Element not in favour of Americans (7)

        The answer URANIUM is abbreviated as U. In FAVOUR’s American spelling the U is omitted, i.e. FAVOR.

          1. If you sign up for a free LiveJournal account I can forward you a copy of this one …
  2. Hi Guys, The grid for 781 (October 18) should have blocked squares at the intersections of 7 Dn and 19 Ac, and 21 Dn and 42 Ac.

    You will then need to renumber the grid with 22 at the right of the first missing block and 23 below. Add 2 to existing 22 – 43. 46 is to the right of the second missing block and 47 below. Add 4 to existing 44 – 53.

    And may God have mercy on your soul.

  3. I don’t usually do these Jumbos because I tend to fall asleep halfway through them. However, spurred by the urging to have a go I downloaded it and started in. And I’m glad I did – it really is an exceptional solve. I agree that URANIUM is “jaw dropping” and I loved the two brilliant anagrams EDITORIALLY and particularly SUNBATHER. So thanks folks for pointing it out and thanks setter for some great work.

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