Times Bank Holiday Cryptic Jumbo 1618 – 29 May 2023

Hello again. This Jumbo I thought fair, but a bit harder than average.
I did think there was a strong “deja vu” feel about it, too. I wonder if the combination of using the same grid for more than one crossword, coupled with the grid contents nowadays being filled by software, has something to do with it.

Please, do feel free to ask questions or comment as required.

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


1 Extraordinary achiever, ultimately faithful and gallant (9)
CHEVALIER – *(ACHIEVER + L) .. the L being from (faithfu)L.
6 Plant put down by small pasture on level (3-7)
COW-PARSLEY – COW (put down) + PAR (level) + S + LEY (small pasture). One of my later ones in, just because putting it all in the right order is not straightforward. Another name for cow parsley is Queen Anne’s Lace, which I prefer because actually it is a rather lovely plant, gracing many of our rural lanes and hedgerows
12 Like a belief that has died, first one held (7)
DEISTIC – IST + I in DEC(eased). Like one particular sort of belief, anyway.
13 Exercises serve my needs most of the time: measure of my progress? (9)
PEDOMETER – PE (exercises) + DO ME (serve my needs) + TER(m). I wear a step counter every day. Mostly, it tells me I need to get out more ..
14 Appropriate uniform on French page (5)
USURP – U(niform) + SUR (French for on) + P(age)
16 Four lovable OAPS primarily out for pleasure, purely? (6,2,4)
17 Brochure for goggles to be worn by group of workers (10)
PROSPECTUS – PRO (for) + TU (workers) in SPECS.
19 Emotional person full of joy — and one using head: it’s different (14)
SENTIMENTALIST – SENT (full of joy) + I + MENTAL (using head) + *(ITS)
22 King once originally legally installed in eastern bankrupt state? (8)
ETHELRED – E(astern), + L(egally) in THE RED, a state which many would say is far from bankrupt. “If you owe the bank £100, that is your problem. If you owe the bank £1m, that is their problem.”
24 Cut out for duty? (6)
EXCISE – DD .. don’t talk to me about excise duty  .. I live in Kent and visit France regularly
25 Band of rock found in sea? Elaborate! (4,6)
DEEP PURPLE – DEEP (sea) + PURPLE (elaborate) .. well, the deeps can be the ocean, and purple prose is elaborate prose. I thought this clue was stretching the definitions, a little bit, but all is forgiven because they were a part of my adolescence .. I would be hard pushed to name one track, but i do have my LP of Shades of Deep Purple squirreled away, somewhere. Happy days … a great decade, the 1960s 🙂
26 Rumour of some preconditions (2,3)
ON DIT – hidden in the clue, you will see where, if you look. Want me to do all the work?
29 Shut pipe down, finding rot (4)
TOSH – TO (shut .. “the door is to”) + SH, pipe down. Shades of Alexei Sayle
30 Poet’s singular book on drink, so short (8)
GINSBERG – GIN (drink) + S(ingular) + B(ook) + ERG(o), so .. not my cup of tea, Ginsberg.
32 As a man, like ties often? (3-6)
TWO-LEGGED – a DD I suppose, since football ties are often in two legs, home and away. I suppose we should say “As a person” now?
34 Split kebab containing first class spread (2,1,6)
DO A RUNNER – Hmm, well I see DONER, that hugely unappetising rotating  left over minced meat stuff that kebab shops have in the window, that some (but not me) buy. What does it contain? A (first class) + RUN, spread – as in “I really thought the paint was OK, but it seems to have run/spread.” Been there
35 Go after eg turning on my devices (8)
GADGETRY – so .. GAD (my, at least if you are Sir Francis Drake) GE (eg rev.) + TRY (go.). I know I shouldn’t love gadgets, but I do …
36 Pupils no longer putting heads together making error (4)
BOOB – OB, old boys, (old schoolpersons?) with their heads together. Making boob, a tricky word in itself, these days, no doubt
39 Staunch flow to bypass patient’s glands: every second counts! (5)
LOYAL – the second letters of “flow to bypass patient’s glands.”
40 Powerful salesperson, flash, not stopped by Glasgow cops (10)
MONOPOLIST – MO (flash), + POLIS (Glasgow police, apparently) in NOT
42 Reportedly, need to pay does maybe shame (2,4)
OH DEAR – OWE DEER, reportedly..
44 Japanese writing welcome newspaper anecdotes (8)
HIRAGANA – HI (welcome) + RAG (The Times) + ANA (anecdotes). A form of Japanese writing that I am far from qualified to comment on (over to you, Kevin?!). English is far from perfect but at least it makes do with only the one alphabet..
46 Novel mug excited connoisseur (8,6)
ROBINSON CRUSOE – ROB (mug) + *(CONNOISSEUR) .. a neat clue!
48 Number of hooters perhaps around one as traffic is queuing? (4,2,4)
NOSE TO TAIL – I in NOSE TOTAL (number of hooters). Heaven knows why but I put in NOSE TO NOSE originally, which held up not just the traffic, but also my solving ..
49 What’s done to cow’s carcass, etc: it’s awful (5,7)
53 Spitfire having right to open vintage display (5)
SHREW – SHEW, how we used to spell show, with R(ight) in it
54 Loving to add to volume, becoming noisy (9)
CLAMOROUS – CL, centilitre, a measure of volume which took me a while to spot, + AMOROUS, loving
55 Expert on old card game subject to sanction (2,5)
ON APPRO – O(ld) NAP (card game for simpletons) + PRO, an expert; or more accurately, someone who gets paid for doing what they do. “On appro” means subject to approval.
56 Site of monastery one’s visiting announced quite secure (4,6)
HOLY ISLAND – IS (one’s) in “HOLY,” sounds like wholly/quite, I suppose, as in “She was quite/wholly stoned .. ” + LAND, secure
57 Wind up in hospital with child and dependants (7-2)
HANGERS-ON – ANGER (wind up) inside H(ospital) + SON


1 Traces of clay left in model built to scale (5)
CLIMB – The first letters of “clay left in model built”
2 Gent, unclothed: so I like time in the buff! (10)
ENTHUSIAST – (g)EN(t) + THUS (so) + I + AS T(ime). Intriguing surface! Why have only one entendre, when you could have a double one?
3 Once hard, melting fast (8)
ANCHORED – *(ONCE HARD). Fast as in “stuck fast.” Or “fastened,” come to think of it
4 Big map we all used off and on for drive (5)
IMPEL –  alternate letters of “big map we all.” What, another one?!
5 Republican first lady turned politician is convert (9)
REDEVELOP – I’m not sure about this. Surely a RED is a communist? Possibly American ones have a colour attached, but how would that be relevant to an English crossword? Anyway, it seems to be RED + EVE (first lady) + POL(itician), rev. A bad clue, imo, especially since redevelop is no great synonym for “convert.”
6 Tease band releasing second disc (4)
COMB – COMB(O). As in “The Beatles apparently are a popular musical combo, M’lud.” As for tease, “to separate the fibres of; comb; card” (Collins)
7 Alert when keeping note of liquid? (6)
WATERY – TE (a drink with jam and bread, as per Julie Andrews) in WARY, alert
8 Comprehensive answer put out by directors (6-3-5)
ACROSS-THE-BOARD – A(nswer) + CROSS (put out) + THE BOARD, your directors.
9 Music makers got in fights with girlfriend? (7-5)
SQUEEZE-BOXES – Squeeze (girlfriend) + BOXES, fights. Always reminds me of this fine cartoon. I have my issues with the US of A occasionally, don’t we all, but anywhere that can produce someone as talented as Gary Larson is basically OK with me.
10 Circle line is failing even at peak (7)
EQUATOR – EQUA(l) + TOR, a peak, if we’re being kind..
11 Youth with a mean statement from NY benefit office? (10)
ADOLESCENT – A + DOLE’S CENT, I presume. I thought the dole was uniquely British, but apparently not .. Slightly duff clue anyway, imo. One cent is what they would say..
15 Seen to go with the job, as cheque might be? (9)
POSTDATED – POST (job) + DATED (seen, going out together). Good luck postdating a cheque, it must be years since any paying bank official has even laid eyes on a cheque for less than £1m. The receiving cashier might, (remember cashiers?) but won’t be, or at least shouldn’t be, interested.
18 Relieved seeing that wise daughter protects you (8)
ASSUAGED – AS (seeing that) + U (you, in textspeak) in SAGE + D(aughter)
20 Moving scenery as required (9)
NECESSARY – *(SCENERY AS). Very neat clue.. might be a chestnut but if so I didn’t remember it
21 Ultimately not inspiring confidence when Society’s lost saving! (10)
TREASURING – (no)T + REAS(s)URING. The surface very nearly works ..
23 Highpoint in resort is teashop opening on the front (10)
APOTHEOSIS – *(IS TEASHOP + O), the O coming from O(pening)
27 Well they mean to follow instructions — with one difference (2-7)
DO-GOODERS – DOG (to follow) + OODERS, ie ORDERS with one difference
28 Flavoursome stuff from old poet at battle scene, seconds later (8,6)
CINNAMON STICKS – CINNA (old poet) + MONS (battle, a dreadful one at that) + TICK, seconds. Roman poets by no means my strong suit, I assume it is a reference to Helvius Cinna, an unlucky man by any standards, it is not everyone who is accidentally lynched ..
31 What’s laid on the table? That’s also what it’s for (3,5)
EGG SPOON – I’m not sure I quite fathom the workings of this. An egg is laid, for sure, but it is the spoon that’s on the table apparently. And what it is for is eating an egg…  I solved it, best one can say..
33 Make hot and spicy one, starter for guests, a brown colour? (12)
MULLIGATAWNY – and another one, presumably intended to be an &lit, as all of it is wordplay: MULL (make hot & spicy) + I + G(uests) + A TAWNY.
34 Stars using key to open public house across the pond (9)
 DEL (key) + PH (public house) + IN US (across the pond). The dolphin, a star system that looks nothing like one. The Chinese call it “The Black Tortoise of the North” apparently.. rest my case.
37 As unaccompanied groupone might keep Pole outside? (10)
BARBERSHOP – a DD. The red and white barber’s pole is said to indicate that they did surgical operations too, god help us. With scissors? And did there have to be that much red? My local gents hairdressers, Ali Barbers, I can’t even begin to imagine them breaking into song, as they operate…
38 Evidently inferior charts slid off the wall (5-5)
THIRD-CLASS – *(CHARTS SLID). A better surface reading this time. It reminds me of an exchange in “The Years with Ross.” Thurber’s editor is being harangued by his publisher: “And it beats me, why you even employ a fifth-rate writer like Thurber.” “Third rate” said, Ross, leaping immediately to my defence ..
41 Male garment and watch included with eighth sale item? (9)
LOINCLOTH – LO (watch) + INC(luded) + LOT H, assuming lots were lettered and not numbered, as all the ones I have ever seen were
43 Personal chaperone, too near hosts (3-2-3)
ONE-TO-ONE – hidden, in (chaper)ONE TOO NE(ar)
45 Before ten, mostly unusual to consume very large port (7)
ROSARIO – OS (outsize, very large) in RAR(e) (mostly unusual) + IO, which looks a little like 10. A city I hadn’t heard of, on the Parana river in Argentina
47 Rogue agents have pinched bug with drone (6)
CICADA – CAD (rogue) in CIA (agents)
50 Touching what’s potentially deadly sticky stuff (5)
RESIN – RE (touching) + SIN (as in deadly sin.) A debatable description. I bet simple inattention has caused far more fatalities over the years than, say, envy
51 One very quietly performing winning move (5)
IPPON – I + PP + ON.
52 Not exactly getting on, being unfriendly (4)
COLD – C (about, ie not exactly) + OLD, getting on. You are as getting on as you feel …

Author: JerryW

I love The Times crosswords..

10 comments on “Times Bank Holiday Cryptic Jumbo 1618 – 29 May 2023”

  1. DNF; NHO ROSARIO, and NHO HOLY ISLAND, which I just now learned is another name for Lindisfarne, which I did know. I wondered about REDEVELOP, automatically taking ‘Republican’ to be R; but here, it’s RED: somehow the color has become associated with Republicans, and blue with Democrats, so e.g. California is a blue state. Japanese has two syllabaries (the equivalent of an alphabet, but representing syllables), hiragana and katakana. ‘Hiragana’ looks like this in hiragana ひらがな(hi-ra-ga-na) and like this in katakana ヒラガナ. Unlike English spelling, Japanese is almost always unambiguous.

  2. I found this somewhat harder than the previous Saturday Jumbo with several unknown words or meanings and a couple of queries not resolved, even after reading the blog in the case of EGG SPOON, as like Jerry, although I sort of see what’s supposed to be going on I still can’t quite nail it.

    With REDEVELOP I got the reference to Republicans being ‘red’, just as Tories are ‘blue’ in the UK, but I don’t recall seeing POL as an abbreviation for ‘politician’ before despite having been interested in politics for most of my life and at one time very active in the field.

    Having arrived at the answers via wordplay I was pleased to find that IPPON and HIRAGANA existed.

    1. Your comment made me look up POL, and I see that ODE marks it as an Americanism.

      1. Yes, Collins has that too and I thought at least it’s in keeping with the surface of the clue. I later found that Chambers has it with no such qualification.

  3. I didn’t find this too difficult but I see I had to alpha trawl for SENTIMENTALIST and TREASURING. I see also I had a typo in transcribing from paper to online (DEEP PURPEE). Grr! I sometimes wonder why I bother entering the competition instead of just doing it on paper if I don’t have to blog it. I couldn’t fathom EGG SPOON either. I’m another who DNK ROSARIO. I liked the NOSE TOTAL best. Thanks Jerry and setter.

  4. I struggled with this one. I think 31d means an egg spoon is laid on the table and it’s for “what’s laid” (an egg) when on the table. Which probably adds nothing to the discussion.

    I think the definition of 25a should be “band of rock” rather than just “band” by the way, but I rather suspect you knew that.

    Ta for the blog.

    1. My pleasure.. and I have amended the underlining for 25ac because you are quite right.
      As for 31dn, less said the better 🙂

  5. I wrote ‘moderate to hard’ after eventually completing this one. EGG SPOON a bit of a puzzle. Liked OH DEAR and NOSE TO TAIL. Thanks as always.

  6. I found this very tough. I think Mr Chumley is right, what an EGG SPOON is for is what’s laid on the table. Although that’s not where they’re usually laid. An odd clue for sure.
    It’s counter-intuitive for a Brit that the Republicans are the red party and the Democrats the blue, but that’s the way it is.

  7. “with the grid contents nowadays being filled by software”

    Er, not so! I don’t think any crossword setter trusts a computer to fill their grid for them. On the other hand, without the computer to suggest words to use I think there’d be a lot more repetition, not less.
    With the EGG SPOON clue, the spoon is laid on the table and is used for something that’s laid (ie an egg) which is on the table.
    That’s all there is to it.


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