Times Bank Holiday Cryptic Jumbo 1533 – 27 December 2021

Hello again. I made steady progress through this Jumbo, somewhere around medium difficulty I thought.  There are a couple of clues I biffed rather than parsed but no doubt it will all come out in the blogging wash. What did you think?

Please, do feel free to ask questions or comment as required. This blog might be a little bit terse as I somehow managed to lose half of it and had to redo .. grrr.

I use the standard TfTT conventions like underlining the definition, CD for cryptic definition, DD for a double one, *(anargma) and so forth. Nho = “not heard of” and in case of need the Glossary is always handy

1 Sensational experience where island girl drinks punch (9)
ITCHINESS – I(sland) + CHIN (punch) in TESS (random girl)
6 Dog biting that is to be retired (4,3)
SHAR PEI – SHARP ( ) + IE (that is) rev. I am sure they are lovely dogs, but by golly, they do look strange.
10 Artist first person admitted to cricket club in good time (5)
CRAIC – RA (artist) + I(st person) in CC. Brits are allowed to say CRACK, according to Collins
13 Something to stop worker on main line? (7)
SEALANT – SEA (main, as in Spanish) + L(ine) + ANT, your worker. Sealant can (for example) stop a leak, or stop a hole
14 Grand used by Scottish group making harsh sound (5)
CLANG – CLAN (Scottish group, not to be confused with Clannad, an Irish one) + G(rand). By virtue of my Scottish granny, apparently I am a member of the Gunn clan. No, I hadn’t heard of it either. They hung out in Caithness, and were mostly at war with the Keiths.
15 No-one stressed is returning for work (9)
SITUATION – All reversed: NO + I (No-one) + TAUT) + IS. “Situation” is a rather old-fashioned term for a position, esp. as a servant in a household
16 Ridiculously arrogant liar potentially faces hanging here? (8,8,7)
17 Church added to substantial harvest crop (6)
CEREAL – CE (Church) + REAL (substantial, ie having substance)
18 Princess cool patriarch backed to dismiss bishop (8)
MAHARANI – reversed, IN (cool) + A(b)RAHAM, patriarch. A Maharajah’s wifey.
19 Coffee discontented barista knocked over, helping criminal (7)
ABETTAL – reversed LATTE (coffee) + B(arist)A ie “dis-contented.” Not a word in everyday use, in our household at least.
22 Sacred text to which Citizen Dave’s Talmud owes much (4-6)
ZEND-AVESTA – hidden, in citiZEN DAVES TAlmud. According to this almost incomprehensible (to me) Wiki article, the term Zend-Avesta is a mistake, a misnomer for a Zoroastrian text. I expect you all spotted that howler..
23 Undisciplined alumnus fronts corrupt superstore (12)
OBSTREPEROUS – OB (alumnus, old boy) + *(SUPERSTORE)
27 Eccentric commander taking lead in William’s place? (5)
OCCAM – OC (commander) + CAM, an eccentric. Collins: “eccentric: a device for converting rotary motion to reciprocating motion.” William of Ockham/occam/ocham an interesting character.
29 Fruit here sourced as an alternative with green vegetable (7)
ORCHARD – OR CHARD. Chard not my favourite vegetable, like many that are supposed to be good for you. Except sprouts of course, the king of vegetables
30 Rail service to take in Jura at last (8)
COMPLAIN – (jur)A, in COMPLIN, one of the divine offices, which I would normally spell as Compline.
Several others of the divine offices appear from time to time – matins, nones, vespers etc etc and are worth remembering.
32 Second one exits African countries to avoid duty (8)
MALINGER – MALI + N(i)GER. “Avoid duty” meaning shirking work, not smuggling..
34 Pressure on after time in war zone (7)
THEATRE – T(ime) + HEAT (pressure) + RE (on). With my engineer’s hat on, I would regard heat and pressure as very different things, but in a general sense they are interchangeable)
36 Fish starters in top restaurant forbidden (5)
TROUT – T(op) + R(estaurant) + OUT (forbidden)
39 Slab with key in slate together found outside 24’s lodgings (7,5)
ROSETTA STONE – SETT (24dn’s lodgings) inside ROAST (slate, ie dress down) + ONE (together, united). We have two badger setts in our garden and although I like badgers they can be a flaming nuisance, at times.
41 Absurd, a vehicle powered with LPG perhaps in the country (10)
MADAGASCAR – MAD (absurd) + A GAS CAR. The Democratic Republic of Madagascar. Following the universal rule that any country with “democratic” in its name isn’t, Madagascar isn’t; and has not had a convincing or undisputed democratic election since independence in 1960, though it appears to be less despotic than a number of other African countries.
44 Look closely at pressure encountered in cricket? (7)
INSPECT – P(ressure) inside INSECT, which a cricket is. So, not that game which one should never play against Australia, then..
46 Game over between league’s leading pair (8)
LACROSSE – ACROSS (over) inside LE(ague)
48 Vicious with ram brought inside? That’s mindless (6)
STUPID – TUP (an uncastrated male sheep) inside SID, as in Sid Vicious (Simon Ritchie, late former member of a now defunct, uncouth popular music combo known as the Sex Pistols, M’Lud)
50 Public agency rearranged trips: we voice our concerns (5,11,7)
CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE – *(TRIPS WE VOICE OUR CONCERNS). These huge anagrams seem rather easier to produce than to solve, to me, though it is a good surface read. I usually wait for a few crossers and then biff them…
53 Friend from Bow behind elected party in Asian peninsula (9)
INDOCHINA – IN (elected) + DO (party) + CHINA, yer cockney pal. From CRS: China plate = mate
54 Old king from India wheeled carriage round (5)
PRIAM – I (India, in the NATO alphabet) in PRAM, a wheeled carriage once used for transporting infants but nowadays replaced by complicated devices that transform into several different things, if you can manage to work them, which I usually can’t.
55 Without the use of which one might drop dead? (7)
RIPCORD – an &lit, referring to unfortunate parachute-related events which have in fact happened more than once, at my local airfield. The one that landed on top of a helicopter didn’t end well, either
56 Day was one to have men coming into the underworld (5)
DORIS – OR (men, ie other ranks) inside DIS, Roman equivalent of Hades. Doris Day a fine actress, underappreciated through being somewhat typecast into lightweight roles.
57 Villainous group in secret outrageously seizing power (7)
SPECTRE – P(ower) in *(SECRET). A fictional group, continually unable to best James Bond
58 House needs rice that’s for cooking (9)

1 Dramatist in Swinburne’s biography on the rise (5)
IBSEN – hidden, rev., in SwinburNES BIography
2 Young women talking idly around clubs educated people? (10,7)
CHATTERING CLASSES – C(lubs) in CHATTERING LASSES, your young women talking idly. I am not sure how accurate the definition is, and so welcomed the ?
3 Lover a Catholic picked up in Italian area (9)
INAMORATA – A ROMAN (catholic) rev. inside I(talian) A(rea)
4 Short team-mate soars to find net (6)
ENTRAP – PARTNE(r), or team-mate, rev.
5 Obsequious son City chap sacked (11)
6 Fish from cutter before noon, circling close to cape (3,5)
SEA BREAM – (cap)E inside SABRE (cutter) + AM (before noon)
7 Germany in trouble over supporting a republic (7)
ALGERIA – A + GER(many) inside AIL rev. Another supposedly “democratic” state, the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
8 Training revolutionary girl I remain mostly gloomy about future (11)
PESSIMISTIC – PE (training, but isn’t that PT?) + MISS (girl) rev., I + STIC(k) (remain, mostly)
9 End segregation: we target N Ireland, somewhat upset (9)
INTEGRATE – another reverse hidden, in wE TARGET N Ireland
10 Daily with story for idiot (7)
CHARLIE – CHAR (daily cleaner) + LIE, a story.
11 Four getting stuck into the drink — it’s bubbly (5)
ALIVE – IV (four) inside ALE (drink)
12 Café regularly meeting cost to cover boy’s confection (10)
CANDYFLOSS – ANDY (random boy) inside CaFe (cafe regularly) + LOSS (cost)
17 Zulu impressed by copper company in Peruvian location (5)
CUZCO – Z (Zulu, in NATOspeak) inside CU (copper) + CO (company).
Cu comes from cuprum, Latin for copper. It is a metal with a long history
20 Miller’s Tale having a certain degree of latitude throughout? (6,2,9)
TROPIC OF CAPRICORN – a DD. I remember copies of this being passed around when at school, very popular though not so much for their literary qualities
21 Solecistic declaration from ape-king in Asian river? (6)
MEKONG – “ME KONG,” As King Kong might have said. If he weren’t fictional. And unable to speak.
The Mekong is the world’s 12th longest river, running through seven countries from the Tibetan plateau to Vietnam.
24 Evil microbe nearly accounts for hound (6)
BADGER – BAD (evil) + GER(m) (microbe, nearly)
25 Ostentation came initially in story read the other way (5)
ECLAT – C(ame), inside TALE (story) rev. I would tend to think of eclat as being a little more complimentary than that. Verve, flair, that sort of thing.
26 Insincere talk about administrative division (6)
CANTON – CANT (insincere talk) + ON (about)
28 Damp fog in which nothing is visible (5)
MOIST – O in MIST (fog). Strange word, moist..
31 Female inducted by frantic bacchante (6)
MAENAD – ENA (random female) inside MAD (frantic)
33 Serpent appears as dissolute man, talents cunningly concealed (11)
RATTLESNAKE – *(TALENTS) inside RAKE (dissolute man)
35 Electromagnetic device right answer according to the writer, interrupting treasurer (11)
TRANSFORMER – R ANS FOR ME (right answer, according to the writer) inside TR(easurer)
37 Couple having lost energy “bloody exhausted!” (5)
TIRED – TI(e) (couple) + RED (exhausted)
38 Idea showers — cold and hot — should be taken in Berlin daily (10)
BRAINCHILD – RAIN (showers) + CH (cold & hot) inside BILD, the Berlin newspaper which has Europe’s largest daily circulation.
40 Radio sets modified for travellers in space (9)
42 Non-university man: old-school insect? (9)
ARTHROPOD – ARTH(u)R (non-university random man) + O(ld) + POD (school). More than 80% of all animal species are arthropods. If they are invertebrate, most likely they are one.
43 Reptile in wrong French river (8)
TORTOISE – TORT (a legal wrong) + OISE (a French river that rises in Belgium, then flows through France to join the Seine at Paris)
45 Did they care for sultanas not being whole? (7)
EUNUCHS – CD. In charge of the harem, a job I would covet were it not for the qualifications required
47 Mate at the outset possible: it shows position on board (7)
COCKPIT –  COCK (mate) + P(ossible) + IT. A cockpit being a place on a boat, as well as a plane
49 Very upset, Henry should flee national underworld boss (6)
OSIRIS – SO (very) rev. + IRISH with the H(enry) removed.
Osiris was god of the Egyptian underworld, as well as of quite a few other things
51 Group under religious rule right to dam German river (5)
ORDER – R(ight) inside ODER (German river, though 90% of it is actually within Poland)
52 Supply, needing to last, runs out (5)
ENDUE – ENDURE (to last) with the R(uns) removed

Author: JerryW

I love The Times crosswords..

7 comments on “Times Bank Holiday Cryptic Jumbo 1533 – 27 December 2021”

  1. I was impressed by the long anagrams, although like Jerry I tend to biff them. Unlike most Jumbi, there was only one DNK, ABETTAL, which fills a much-needed gap in my vocabulary. No problem with THEATRE; put pressure/the heat on someone. I had the same MER as Jerry with ECLAT; ‘ostentation’ seems quite wide of the mark. Nice to see William of Occam, he of the famous razor. COD to RIPCORD.
  2. Middle-of the road puzzle. The crossing of CUZCO with ZEND-AVESTA had the potential to cause trouble but the clueing could hardly have been more generous.
    I take the same approach with long anagrams but I’m not sure I’d call it ‘biffing’: I know it’s an anagram (so I’m not just bunging in from definition) and it’s just more efficient to wait until you have checkers. I take this approach with all anagrams, to a greater or lesser degree.
    1. As I believe you remarked the other day, ‘biff’ has shifted in meaning so that ‘from definition’ is not necessarily part of the definition. We needed a word, if not ‘biff’, to cover e.g. bunging in from checkers or enumeration without considering the definition.
      1. But is that what you do with these long anagrams? What I do is 1) spot that it’s an anagram 2) see if I can identify something that fits the definition and enumeration with an eye to the anagram fodder then 3) (assuming I fail on 2) move on until I’ve got a few checking letters and then try 2 again. So I’m using a combination of wordplay, definition and help from the enumeration/checkers. I’m not sure we need a new word for this: I would call it ‘solving’!
        1. ‘Solving’, eh? It’s a crazy idea, but it just might work. I can’t remember what I did with these long anagrams, but ‘spot that it’s an anagram’ would be optimistic; ‘guess that it’s an anagram’ more likely. But I was thinking of other cases of (my, anyway) ‘biffing’, e.g. where I’ve got 2 or 3 checkers and just see, often in the absence of the clue, what might fit.
          1. I can’t see it catching on, myself 😉
            Yes I do this bunging-in-without-reference-to-the-clue from time to time, but not with these long anagrams. I find it’s usually quite obvious what they are. In 16ac ‘ridiculously’, in 50ac ‘rearranged’, in each case followed by a slightly forced expression of about the right number of letters.
  3. Well, Collins online (in British English) has
    2. showy display; ostentation
    though no form of the word “ostentation” is found at Lexico.

Comments are closed.