Sunday Times Jumbo 4204/still Christmas

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
A Christmas Eve Sunday Jumbo – which was a bit hard to find online. Xmas eve puzzle with a Xmas-lite theme (pantos, reindeer, santa…) which even I didn’t find very hard. A couple of new words, a complaint about 6-letter lights with only two checked letters, and finally one (spurious) ambiguity claim.


1 P(RESENT)ATION – (in panto I)* containing RESENT. “Cast” is the anagrind.
14 ASTR+ONOM+[ma]Y – star* followed by moon* followed by Y (last letter of “may”). And ASTRONOMY (kind of “study”) is “found”. Not a bad surface (reading that is, not the moon’s).
15 ERICA – double meaning: ERICA and ling are frequent cryptic types of heather that grow on moors. The former is also a girl and the latter also a fish and thus appear frequently in double definitions.
16 ICE-LEDGE=”I sledge” – Chambers has ICE-LEDGE as an icy coast. Sledging is till Santa’s preferred form of transport – I mean why bother with the bus if your sleigh can fly?
18 CAB+AL[l] – I’m not a great fan of “X by Y” to indicate Y followed by X since you’d expect X followed by Y. Oh well.
19 RUDOLPH – Hidden in “PeRU DOLPHin”.
24 HERE+rev(“draw”) – HEREWARD was an English king who had an interesting mother (Lady Godiva). This time the wordplay explicitly states that HERE must be placed “first”. In a comment below PB notes that HEREWARD wasn’t actually a king (just a rebellious leader) but that’s what the clue says.
25 REIN+DEER=”dear” – Jokey definition of “seasonal transporter”.
30 WAIVE=”wave” – one of the last clues solved since only two crossing letters in the worse possible place for a 5 letter light: ??I?E
33 PLANTLIFE – I struggled with this: looks like it’s an anag &lit: the wordplay is (a, pf, lentil)* with PF abbrev(“perfect”) with the abbrev indicated by “small” and “form” the anagrind. The surface is reasonable since “lentil” is a “form” of PLANTLIFE.
34 GLASS CLOTHS – cryptic definition of what you use to polish your drinking glasses: where “schooners” are glasses and are meant to mislead you towards boats.
44 MEN(N)ONITE – (n, I met one)* containing N[orth]. “Traveling” is the anagrind.
48 SCOW+L – The other kind of “lower” (verb).
51 DEC+OR+O+US – I wonder about using DEC[ember] to define Yuletide since it’s pretty general (in 51D it’s used to define “end of year” which is more palatable I think). Remember OR (or au) is a standard abbrev for “gold”.
54 SACK – double meaning: that’s where Santa had your presents when he was busy sledging with Rudolph.
60 TRO(O)P – rev(port=left) with “turn” indicating reversal and O (“duck” in cricket) inside.
66 IN+CO+(got in)* – Fashionable is often cryptically IN and you’re going INCOGNITO if you’re “in disguise”.
67 pies*+L+ON – EPSILON is the Greek letter and if it’s still “attached” it’s still ON.


1 PODS – double meaning
3 EX+C+EL+S[cholar] – EX common idiom for former or “out of”. C a popular Roman numeral, EL the Spanish article.
6 OP+TIC – OP is common cryptic abbrev for “work” from opus or operation.
7 W+HOLLY – First letter of W[assailers] followed by (“sporting”) common seasonal decoration: HOLLY.
8 BOYFRIEND – (deny if Rob)*: proper names often hint at anagram fodder.
9 O+READ – I’m not very good with nymphs but I remember OREAD and naiad.
10 [evenin]G+HILL+I.E.– Scots word for professional fishing and hunting guide. “Rise” is HILL and I.E. is common idiom for Latin “that is”.
12 FOR+BIDDING – The pedant in me would say that you use eBay for buying or selling!
17 GARGOYLES – double meaning: one of the last clues: “mouthwatering” had me misled in the direction of food for a long time.
20 RE+PAST – One of the 6-letter lights with only 2 checked letters. Being of the other faith, I actually hazarded Pesach at first given ?E?A?? – it’s a “feast” and you could argue that it’s “about over” since it’s Passover in Hebrew!
21 AWL – (law*) and it’s what cobblers used when they’re working at the “last”.
23 SURPLUS=”surplice” – Not quite homophones: rhotic accent or otherwise.
24 HOS+ANNA – rev(soh=5th note) followed by an old Indian coin: ANNA.
26 N+E+PAL – “directions” are N and E, not NE (which would be singular). “Mountain state” is NEPAL – Americans might be misled into thinking of one of the mountain states (CO, ID…).
27 EARTH+Y – Not a bad surface: I like “bushy tail” yielding Y. There’s a lot of EARTH around the entrance to a foxhole (from all the digging).
32 A+FAR – This was my last clue! Both “back” and “return” can indicate reversals: in this case, it’s “return” that indicates the reversal of RAF (“service”).
35 [s]LEEK – Definition is “this vegetable”: and if you add the first letter of “sight” to it, you get a word that means “glossy”.
36 SENT(I)ENCE – the SENTENCE is the pronouncement that the judge hands down.
37 CON[i]FERS – conifers are seasonal trees.
38 OUTWITS – (us tow it)*: “at one time” indicating that “gulls” in this sense is somewhat archaic.
39 CREATE – double meaning: the “make a fuss” sense is a Britishism.
41 PRIOR=”prier” – or PRIER=”prior”. Since the 4th letter isn’t checked I believe that this clue is ambiguous since the homophone indicator is in between the two parts: “Churchman? He sounds like a peeping Tom”. I vote for the first guess since the answer corresponds to the literal reading of the surface. However, in general, X “sounds like” Y can resolved either way. In this case though — as the comment below shows — the ambiguity is only apparent: the qualification of “Churchman?” by “He” serves to emphasize that the answer refers to him and not the “peeping Tom”.
42 E(AS)Y – rev(ye=archaic “the”), with “retirement” indicating (sort of) reversal, contains AS – and it’s “child’s play” if it’s EASY.
43 S(NOW+P)LOUGH – Somewhat wishful thinking that you’d need one in England to clear the road to get to work. SLOUGH is a great word having many different pronunciations and meanings including “shed”.
45 jest*+K[ick]+I – Another 6-letter light with only 2 checking letters. I’m not wild about JETSKI defining “scooter” without being qualified (with sea or water). And I’m not sure whether qualifies as an &lit since last I used one, I didn’t need to kick-start to get it going.
47 SOUTH WIND – Last clue understood! I think this is an excellent clue (perhaps because the wordplay is so simple and well-hidden): “With sound off – it’s a breeze!”. I found myself thinking of musicals and the theatre (“sound off” hinting at “sounds off”, “The Sound of Music”, “South Pacific”) and homophones when it’s just (with sound)*! As PB said I would, I kicked myself.
50 STY – hidden &lit: “…worST Yet!”
51 DEC+EASE – DEC[ember] cropping up again – this time as end of year which is preferable.
62 SPOON – double meaning: a SPOON can “create a stir” and I’m sure golf players know it’s a three-wood “club” as well. I didn’t.
63 WRENS – My favourite clue actually: “In service at sea, odd to find them in crow’s nests?”. Nice consistent nautical surface (“at sea”, “crow’s nests”) and definition is naval-related: WRENS were women in the Royal Navy. Finally, Mother Crow might wonder about a wren appearing in her nest.
64 ON+US – the mantle of “this” ONUS can weigh heavy ON US.

4 comments on “Sunday Times Jumbo 4204/still Christmas”

  1. I read your comments at 7:04 AM on Dec. 31st, 2006 but the time of your post is given as Dec. 31st, 2006 at 7:29 AM.

    Are the times for the Times accurately timed?

    1. I suspect this is a timezone display issue… at the moment I’m at GMT+2h. (Just for fun, your comment appears to me to have been posted on Dec 30th, 11:09pm! – which I bet is Pacific Standard Time which is where livejournal probably originates).
  2. I don’t agree that the clue “Churchman? He sounds like a peeping Tom” is ambiguous. PRIOR is quite clearly correct.

    If the clue had been “Churchman sounds like a peeping Tom” then I would agree with your analysis.

    However in this clue the setter has been careful to clarify the situation and this should be acknowledged.

  3. I don’t think he was ever a king – a leader of a rebellion against a king, yes, but ultimately unsuccessful.

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