Sunday Times Jumbo Cryptic No. 5038 by Robert Price

I don’t have a time for this gloriously tricky puzzle. I had completed the grid, but was scratching my head trying without success to justify my last entry – AUDEN – and then got distracted by something else and left the timer running. When I returned to it later I still couldn’t see how the wordplay worked and had to phone a friend. The other one that gave me a lot of trouble was DERBY WINNER, where my horse racing knowledge wasn’t up to the task. I got there eventually, and there is a lot of wit in these clues, as well as a couple of spectacular anagrams. How did you get on?

Edit: I have learned from the comments that I had misspelled AFFIDAVIT, not for the first time, so I have a pink square. Drat.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.

1 Hard ground where Santa might land
4 London Eye is a treat this time of year
MINCE PIE – DD, the first Cockney rhyming slang.
9 Boozy event with donkey trouble
13 Recycling green energy, mostly termed “Seasonal Work”
15 Team driver starting on pole
SANTA CLAUS – CD. The surface reading relates to motor racing.
16 Base for light work, more distant from Spooner
CANDLE HOLDER – “handle colder”.
19 Declaration made by a very loud girl to five relations
AFFIIT – A, FF, IDA, V, IT (that kind of ‘relations’, nudge wink). Not AFFADAVIT, as I put, which fits the wordplay but is not how you spell it.
21 Part of a carol strongly opposed
22 Trimming books, one turned to gold
BAUBLE – BIBLE with I changed to AU (gold).
25 Lyrical work due for recital
ODE – sounds like ‘owed’.
26 Plausible food contains nut
TENABLE – T(EN)ABLE. ‘Nut’ is another word for ‘en’, which is a printing term for unit of measurement equal to half an em.
27 Leaves before show becomes a ritual
TEA CEREMONY – TEA (leaves), CEREMONY (show).
28 Sweet little toy
TRIFLE – triple definition.
29 Delightful singing by chaps leaving Mass
31 Almost perfect belief
34 Current festive season ending?
TIDE – I guess the second half of the clue here is just a reference to the second half of the word ‘yuletide’.
35 Regular date returning, cook a day in advance
GIRLFRIEND – reversal of RIG, L(FRI)END.
38 Party wrong to turn on a pretty boy
ADONIS – A, DO, reversal of SIN.
41 Parts of vintage TV are cleaner, but regularly less funny
VACUUM TUBES – VACUUM (cleaner), (BUT lEsS)*.
42 Close to Bethlehem, a relic exciting wonder
MIRACLEbethleheM, (A RELIC)*.
43 Couple you distrust around sandwiches
DUO – contained reversed in ‘you distrust’.
44 Rob has no hesitation eating a fine dish
45 Particular eastern king’s introduction to a subject
46 Allowed papers after university dons agreed special Times
48 A carol riddled with impish small-mindedness
50 Scrooge giving away his last coin, needed by English school badly
53 Regal English thanks heard broadcast in song
55 Lectures from courses about a king from the east
TIRADES – TIDES containing AR reversed.
56 Musicians who might create a racket
FIDDLERS – a racket being a sort of con or fiddle.
57 Maybe panto backer’s high spirits?
ANGELS – a theatrical ‘angel’ being one who finances productions.
1 Going to support the main holiday period?
HIGH SEASON – ON (going in the sense of a machine being on/going) under (supporting) HIGH SEAS (the main).
2 Poet’s house having chunks of ice removed
AUDEN – AUDiENce. A strange clue, this. I guess ‘chunks of ice’ is supposed to indicate that the word ICE is broken up before being removed but it doesn’t quite work for me.
3 Drink what’s left after pieces of cake?
THE HARD STUFF – because if you’ve done the easy stuff (pieces of cake)…
5 Certain tune with ice-ball involved
6 Chop topped with cold champ
7 Stable, swell for a do
8 Ingredient of cake with a feathery layer
9 Spend part of the year with a club in Italy
10 Market with nothing on video, stuck with reels of film
11 A jolly chap checking articles in paper packing?
ARMED – A, RM (Royal Marine, jolly), ED (editor, chap checking articles in paper).
12 Irregular Wren ran a Yule celebration in Asia
14 Preachers settle wrangles about a Greek composer
TELEVANGELISTS – (SETTLE)* containing VANGELIS, composer most famous for the Chariots of Fire theme.
17 Pour drink trapping small section of air
DESCANT – DE(S)CANT. ‘A decorative counterpoint added above a basic melody’ (Collins_. That sort of air!
18 Spirit uplifted through church providing Christmas fare
CAKE – reversal of KA (spirit) in CE. A spirit in Ancient Egypt.
20 Caught messing with a fir dealer? One may be unstable
23 Dame didn’t like being tolerant
BROAD-MINDED – BROAD (dame) MINDED (didn’t like).
24 Part of Cambridge unfamiliar with northern meat shank in cabbage
30 Festive wit one got from a poster
CHRISTMAS CARD – a greeting card or a Yuletide joker.
32 Top-of-the-range garment for a snowman?
STOVEPIPE HAT – a CD, I think based on the idea that a STOVEPIPE would be on top of a cooker (range).
33 Scientist needing mug enters messily eating cake
ROBERT BUNSEN – ROB (mug), (ENTERS)* containing BUN.
36 Lavish party no longer free
LIBERAL – triple definition.
37 Classic film director — eg 15A in 1964
DERBY WINNER – DERBY (classic horse race), Michael WINNER. SANTA CLAUS was a racehorse.
39 Tofu and decafs somehow struggled to inspire
40 Duck butchers getting articulated vehicles
BOBSLEIGHS – BOB (duck), sounds like ‘slays’.
42 Couple missing the middle part in a nativity play
47 One behind Rudolph’s girls being spiteful
VIXENS – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and…
49 Less familiar reindeer are rejecting harnesses
RARER – contained in ‘reindeer are rejecting’.
51 Service vessel dropping off companion for tea party guest
52 Star magi could finally see rising
IDOLmagI, coulD, reversal of LO.
54 A number of Germans help at the North Pole
ELF – DD. ELF is German for eleven of course.

24 comments on “Sunday Times Jumbo Cryptic No. 5038 by Robert Price”

  1. I had to cheat for DERBY WINNER.
    The two 15-letter ones were sooo easy… but I hesitated to put in ANGELS again, right below its first appearance.

    1. Sellotape is a TM, but tends to be used, like Hoover for vacuum cleaner, for any sticky tape, or indeed to indicate the act of sticking, as here.

      1. You probably know this, but in the States it’s Scotch (brand) Tape – each of the varieties (pull off, clear, frosted, etc) has a different colour plaid on the container.

      2. The BBC wouldn’t (maybe still doesn’t) allow trade names to be used. So Valerie Singleton on Blue Peter in the 1960s would have to say “sticky-backed plastic” when she was showing us how to make something, which I had no idea what she meant since, as pointed out already, in the UK, everyone just says “sellotape”.

  2. I’m sorry keriothe but when I saw it was a Jumbo I rather lost interest, even though I completed it; but it did take over 2hrs. After that, any puzzle where I have to wait more than a week for the solution, I lose all interest in. I do hope, though, you get enough responders to make it worthwhile for you to go to the effort of compiling this blog.

  3. No errors, but a couple of clues I didn’t understand: AUDEN, MINCE PIE (guessed it was CRS), TELEVANGELISTS (guessed there was a composer named VANGELIS; if he’s best known for the theme of Chariots of Fire, I’m not surprised I never heard of him), GIRLFRIEND, DERBY WINNER. The two anagrams are amazing.

    1. ‘Best known’ should perhaps be ‘only known’, but the piece itself is very famous. Still.
      Happy new year Kevin.

    2. If only I’d needed to work out the anagrams for the two long answers! That would have been fun. Have a great 2023, Kevin!

      1. あけましておめでとうございます。今年もよろしくお願いします。(Likewise to you. I was going to reply, “Thanks, but I’ve made other plans”, but thought better of it. )

  4. Super crossword. Too many good clues to mention but I particularly enjoyed AUDEN and GIRLFRIEND.

    Happy New Year to everyone on this site.

    Thanks, as always, to Robert and keriothe

  5. This was a pleasant diversion over several days of the Christmas holiday. I did parse AUDEN eventually but not my LOI BAUBLE which I did not equate with TRIMMING; however it turned out to be right and was a better bet than MARBLE which was waiting in the wings.
    Hard to pick a COD, as noted above, but I do like the word WASSAIL.
    HNY to all on this site.

  6. Umm, for 19a my wiktionary says AFFADAVIT is a misspelling of AFFIDAVIT so the random girl could have been IDA rather that Ms Ada Lovelace.

    1. Agreed. Surely this is ‘affidavit’ with the girl being Ida. The Latin word concerns a declaration of faith, and comes from ‘fides’.

    2. You’re right, I will amend the blog. I should have realised this because it’s a word I always misspell, and when I’ve been caught out by it in the past I have told myself (without success, evidently) to remember that it means a pledge of faith and comes from the same Latin root as ‘fidelity’.

  7. Well, I really enjoyed the challenge of the two consecutive Sunday Jumbo cryptics, both of them easier than I feared, but both solvable with enough time and patience. My first in was PILAFF, which was encouragingly easy, my LOI was 50A, hampered by my stubborn refusal to read the clue in any alternative way. (In fact, I doubt if I would have got it at all if we hadn’t finally bifd DERBY WINNER, impossible to get from the cross-reference if you hadn’t heard of the horse!) That made me look again at short MISE[R] and suddenly the penny dropped. Brilliant. Liked the clue for Part of Cambridge, though COLLEGE was a giveaway. Whenever I see Scientist in a clue I’m like Astro_Nowt is with birds, but fortunately, although I hadn’t heard of the bloke, I did remember Bunsen burners. Everything else was GK though I couldn’t parse AUDEN to save my life, so thanks for that, Keriothe, and HNY to all of you on the site!

  8. Happy New Year, keriothe, and all others (including especially the Ed and Mr Price). I got all the way there except for Derby Winner – where I never got around to doing the cheating I personally would have needed to fill in the unchs. The 59/60ths I did properly fill in were enjoyable. I didn’t notice the choir of angels – I did notice a lot of cake in the clues and the answers

  9. I never finished this in my first sitting, so put it to one side. But with the holidays and the seemingly endless parade of jumbo crosswords, I forgot to go back. Some of the answers I’d missed seem really obvious now I know them…but isn’t that always the way with crosswords. It is often hard to work out what made it so hard (if it’s not obscure poets or composers where I know just why I failed).

  10. Couldnt get ANGELS at the end nor parse a few including BAUBLE but a v enjoyable 90 minutes or so

    Fantastic puzzle as always and agree with all the comments. And a great blog too of course.

    Belated festive and NY greetings to all

  11. Thanks Robert and keriothe
    This puzzle wasn’t available here until after the Christmas / New Year period, so had to fit it in to the normal working weeks – spent a bit over 2 hours to complete the grid across 4-5 elapsed days and then a bit longer to make sense of all of the parsing of the clues. There were only three that I didn’t get the word play for – DUO (the cunning hidden), BAUBLE (the cunning substitution in the Book) and PRIMER (got side-tracked with EMIR being a ‘king’).
    Found the rest of the puzzle an entertaining solve with a great mix of clues and some further general knowledge gained in the process. PILAFF was a new spelling, TELEVANGELIST was a new term (a good effort to fit a full composer’s name in), NEWNHAM COLLEGE needed to be looked up post word play, AUDEN had turned up recently elsewhere and was my clue of the day – do especially like subtraction clues and a credit that he was able to have ICE in the correct order and nicely clued as ‘chunks of ice’, didn’t know Michael WINNER and had to remember about SELLOTAPE from deep memory. That was my penultimate entry with that BAUBLE the last one in.
    An excellent holiday puzzle which would have been better had it been available during the holidays.

Comments are closed.