Times Cryptic Jumbo 1518 – 15 September 2021

Hello again. This Jumbo I really liked; it has some clever and original clues, and some well-disguised definitions. Overall mostly straightforward, though I need help with 38ac struggled with 38ac.. What did you think?

Please, do feel free to ask questions or comment as required. We are all friends here..

I use the standard TfTT 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 Small and tending to shrink, not initially appealing (9)
SEDUCTIVE – S(mall) + (r)EDUCTIVE (tending to shrink)
6 It’s played where prisoner no. 15 is kept? (5)
CELLO – CELL O, O being the 15th letter of the alphabet.
9 Endless frolic with boy provides thrill (7)
FRISSON – FRIS(k) (frolic) + SON
13 In sea abroad, this person’s one who plays dumb (5)
MIMER – ME (this person) inside MER, French for sea.
14 Set place to sleep by lake (7)
COTERIE – COT (place to sleep) + ERIE (lake, one of the great ones)
15 Shapeless, extremely posh erotic dresses (9)
AMORPHOUS – P(os)H inside AMOROUS, (erotic)
16 Like some payments in scam causing offence (11)
CONTACTLESS – CON (scam) + TACTLESS (causing offence) .. a slightly loose clue since being tactless may or may not cause offence. I have at least one friend whose habitual tactlessness is a regular source of delight. And I would not be surprised if the majority of payments (by number) nowadays are contactless, at least here in the UK; they have really taken off, in the past year or two. To the wonder and delight of banks, which cannot decide which they loathe the most, cash or cheques. And will not be happy, until they have disposed of both.
17 Rightist or leftist in the ceremony over there? (11)
THATCHERITE – CHE, your regular leftist, in THAT RITE.
18 Religious study isn’t able to change one’s mind (6)
RECANT – RE (religious study) CANT (isn’t able to)
19 Vessel more quickly filled by both taps (8)
SCHOONER – CH (both taps) inside SOONER (more quickly)
21 As arms may be in a novel covering of bamboo (6)
AKIMBO – A KIM (novel, by Rudyard Kipling) + B(ambo)O. Kipling, probably “cancelled” by now – but Kim is still a fine novel well worth reading. “Akimbo” is an ancient and interesting word.The OED takes half a page of discussion to explain that its origin is unknown.
25 Biblical figure in African land importing stuff (8)
BENJAMIN – JAM (stuff) in BENIN (African land). You have to be as old as me to remember that it used to be called Dahomey.
26 The dog doesn’t bother me, penning current acceptance speech? (1,4,4,2,1,2)
I DONT MIND IF I DO – I (current, more properly i) inside I DON’T MIND FIDO. I liked this clue, even though the phrase itself is one of the more fatuous conventional remarks.
28 Dickensian heroine uttered a mournful sound (5)
KNELL – sounds like NELL, referring to Nell Trent, heroine of The Old Curiosity Shop. That novel is awash with sentimentality, and I am always reminded of Oscar Wilde’s comment: “One must have a heart of stone to read of the death of little Nell without laughing”
29 Climate change phenomenon represented online (2,4)
EL NINO – *(ONLINE). Not to be confused with the lesser known but equally important cool phase of the Southern Oscillation, La Nina.
30 Selfish sort covering miles with a horse, a poor runner (10)
MISMANAGER – M(iles) + A NAG (a horse), inside MISER (selfish sort). Nice, well-hidden definition
33 Reckon female with record has a way to get off (5,5)
COUNT SHEEP – COUNT (reckon) + SHE (female) + EP (record)
35 What’s framed by Truffaut, European director (6)
AUTEUR – hidden in TruffAUT EURopean. An upmarket film director.
36 WC has broken? Sound not stressed (5)
SCHWA – *(WC HAS). I tried but failed to make sense of the surface reading. Someone who is entirely at ease with a broken lavatory, perhaps?
38 Party around upright man’s holiday home (8,6)
BALMORAL CASTLE – Hmm, struggling here. BAL is Lab (party) reversed; upright is MORAL. But how does man’s = CASTLE? Surely not Roy Castle.. comments welcomed. We are told a man’s home is his castle, is it a rather vague reference to that? It’s been a woman’s holiday home, since 1953.. oh, finally it dawns, a castle is a chessMAN. Though not ever in my world, it would be a rook and I would expect to wipe the floor with anyone who called it a castle.
40 King, in a certain outbuilding, flailed (8)
42 Rear end of bus driver having blemishes (6)
SCABBY – bu(S) + CABBY (driver)
43 Flora’s relative with gear past its best (8)
MARIGOLD – MA (relative) + RIG (gear) + OLD (past its best). Marigolds can mean only one thing these days: rubber gloves
44 Tailor consumed overwhelming quantity of wine? (6)
ATTUNE – TUN (quantity of wine) in ATE (consumed). The “overwhelming” is the containment indicator here, but since a tun of wine is (usually) 252 gallons, it would be that too.
47 1000 different people regretting losing good spirit (7,4)
MOTHERS RUIN – M OTHERS (1000 different people) + RUIN(g) regretting, sans G
50 Little test for phone feature (11)
TOUCHSCREEN – TOUCH (little, a smidgeon) + SCREEN (test)
52 Possessor of case of L-Dopa, new drug (9)
LANDOWNER – L(-dop)A + N(ew) + DOWNER (drug).
53 Making feeble noises, seabird is given fish (7)
MEWLING – MEW (seabird) LING (fish). Mew is just a synonym for seagull.
54 Philosopher, the French one, carrying weight (3,2)
LAO ZI – OZ (weight) inside LA (French for the) + I. Not a spelling I knew, Lao Tze or Lao Tzu being more common. The name is a honorific, not an actual name; which is apt as there quite probably was no such individual in any event..
55 Will proverbially follows and precedes this lady (7)
THERESA – A reference to “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” from which it can be seen that will does indeed both precede and follow..
56 Like painful area on foot, provoking weeping? (5)
CORNY – to me, corny means hackneyed or trite; but it does also mean mawkish, sentimental. Which might, I suppose, provoke weeping.. I find just reading the news does that.
57 Barrier revolutionary Red China put round north (9)

1 Shrubby growth, in total, a hundred (5)
SUMAC – SUM (total) + A C (a hundred)
2 Party with small amount of beer on open country (9,8)
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – DO (party) + MINI CAN (small amount of beer) + RE (on) + PUBLIC (open). A pleasing charade clue
3 Brief everyone about Peruvian’s return to stage (7,4)
CURTAIN CALL – INCA (Peruvian) inside CURT (brief) + ALL (everyone)
4 Picked up viewable Kindle (6)
INCITE – sounds like “In sight.” I never have understood why writing Kindle when you mean kindle is allowed, but writing kindle when you mean Kindle is somehow not. It seems plain wrong, to me. Strictly, the word I underlined does not mean “incite.” It means “Amazon reading thingie.”
5 Fix vent with wrench, scratching openings (8)
6 My daughter leaves gloomy person in suit (2-10)
CO-RESPONDENT – COR (my) + (d)ESPONDENT – gloomy, less D(aughter). This interesting article about co-respondents says it all ..
7 Officer in an elite unit leaving India foolishly (10)
LIEUTENANT – *(AN ELITE UNIT), except for the I(ndia)
8 American city with honour, I see (5)
OMAHA – OM (honour) + AHA (I see!). Home of the great Warren Buffet.
9 Supply info ad hoc for biological structure (4,5)
FOOD CHAIN – *(INFO AD HOC), supply being the anagrind. Somewhere, courtesy of my son, I have this T-shirt.. and you thought humans were at the top of the food chain.
10 Is minor epic novel showing looseness? (11)
11 Some in limousine going round European country there (5)
SUOMI – hidden, reversed, in lIMOUSine. The “there” indicates that it is what they call it, not what we call it. Thank heavens for stamp collecting, as a teenager..
12 Bird making its home in north-east almost back (6)
NESTER – NE + STER(n). As opposed to me for example, an empty nester..
18 Polish president receiving second baby’s toy (6,4)
RUBIKS CUBE – RUB (polish) + S(econd) and CUB (baby), inside IKE, our president. Note that in contrast to 4dn Polish meaning rub is elegantly OK, since it begins a sentence and thus has a capital letter anyway. A good clue, this.
20 One opposed to leaving duke out of balance (8)
22 Get a big hand and successful gambler may? (5,3,5,4)
BRING THE HOUSE DOWN – A DD I think, one slightly cryptic
23 Problem capturing energy using complex science (2-4)
HI-TECH – E(nergy)  in HITCH (problem)
24 Cross about name, which is grasped upon entry (10)
DOORHANDLE – ROOD (cross) rev., + HANDLE (name)
27 When schools work without firm entry system (8)
INTERCOM – CO (firm) in IN TERM (when schools work).
31 Planet: hilly, hollow and muddy (6)
MARSHY – MARS (planet) + H(ill)Y
32 Consider American serving up a brown spicy dish (12)
MULLIGATAWNY – MULL (consider) + IG (American serving, up) + A TAWNY (a brown). Curry soup, I can’t say I’ve ever had any. My loss, no doubt.
34 As I see it, seizing foreign currency is awkward (11)
TROUBLESOME – ROUBLE (foreign currency) inside TO ME (as I see it)
36 Carp at clues which could be amazing? (11)
37 Epicurean removes cap right for Hipparchus, say (10)
ASTRONOMER – (g)ASTRONOME (epicure) + R(ight). Hipparchus of Nicaea, perhaps the first ever proper astronomer.
39 Fox is by Asian country no longer (9)
41 Do well with roughly three to five divided by fifty (8)
FLOURISH – L (fifty) in FOURISH (roughly three to five). Some might quibble at this but it gave me a chuckle.. I liked it.
45 Cross at clothes fetish (6)
AMULET – MULE (cross) inside AT
46 Eastern ruler to avoid admitting defensive error (6)
SHOGUN – OG (own goal, a defensive error) inside SHUN (to avoid)
48 What indicates time is tight (5)
TENSE – a DD, the first referring to (eg) the past or future or present tenses, all of which indicate a word in relation to time.
49 Like Hungarian kind of acid, bottling gallons (5)
UGRIC – G(allons) inside URIC, that acid that we URInate. I vaguely knew Ugric, mainly a linguistic term these days.
51 Overturning water, getting wet behind the ears (5)
NAIVE – EVIAN, rev. Bit of a chestnut to finish.

Author: JerryW

I love The Times crosswords..

11 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1518 – 15 September 2021”

  1. I think this is the first Jumbo I’ve done with no DNKs. LOI AMULET, where I had difficulty seeing it as a fetish. I was glad to see a novel other than SHE, in AKIMBO. Surprised at the spelling LAO ZI (well, I suppose that was a DNK), which took NAIVE to convince me. I haven’t seen ‘fox’ before as an anagrind.
  2. I made a note on my printout that the bottom half was trickier than the top, almost as if it was by a different setter. Progress was slow there and I resorted to aids a couple of times to get things moving again. I missed the parsing of THERESA and CELLO. Wasted time on TITHE BARN at 15ac before spotting how the clue worked.
  3. Obviously I liked ASTRONOMER, but the reference to Hipparchus was a bit of a gift from my perspective. Hipparchus was certainly one of the greatest ancient astronomers but there were individuals like Aristarchus of Samos who preceded him.
  4. ….in the SW corner, before finishing in 43:12 with AMULET. I’d not thought of it as a fetish. I was also delayed by thinking “Med” instead of “mer” at 13A, and by biffing “earthy” instead of MARSHY. I was slightly thrown by BALMORAL CASTLE, since the ‘castle’ part of it is seldom mentioned.

    I thought 54A was a LAOZI clue, but I liked TOUCH SCREEN, RUBIK’S CUBE, and my COD COUNT SHEEP.

  5. I took just over an hour to get through this, but my efforts were in vain as I hadn’t heard of the philosopher and went with LE for the French. LEO ZI. Drat. BALMORAL CASTLE was my LOI with the CASTLE unparsed. Thanks setter and Jerry.
  6. Forgot to mention the incandescent colonel who used to post here, raging against CASTLE as opposed to ‘rook’! I saved this HE Bateman avatar many years ago to use in his memory. Long since departed to the Great Chessboard in the sky. I assume.
    1. I remember him! With a temper as choleric as his, I don’t see him being still with us..
      1. That’s what I figured. I can’t correct it now but I meant HM Bateman of course; I momentarily confused him with HE Bates.

        The cartoon is captioned: A quiet half-hour with The Times. The commentary beneath reads: The Colonel’s voice and temper provoked fear and trembling. Servants fled the room, wives were often reduced to tears, even rendered unconscious, so violent was the reaction to otherwise common occurrences.

        Edited at 2021-10-02 08:34 am (UTC)

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  8. Just under the allotted two hours, but I needed help with LAO ZI and UGRIC. I tried checking LEO ZI first but drew a blank. I always forget that the French is a choice of two (or three). BALMORAL CASTLE fell into place without too much difficulty. One of the advantages we non-chess-players have is we know it is called a castle. We even know where it goes on the chessboard — next to the horse. At 52ac “possessor” didn’t seem a good enough definition of LANDOWNER. Lots to like but my COD is THERESA
  9. 38ac As there are no Castles and only Rooks hereabouts — I would presume that ‘castling’ is known as ‘rooking’, or have I got the wrong.end of the schtick?
    Nice to see I am amongst friends.

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