Times Cryptic Jumbo 1525 – 6th November 2021. With well-upholstered seating

Hi all.  A little bird told me that this was a piece of cake eaten on a picnic during a walk in the park.  Or words to that effect.  Consequently I decided to tackle it in one sitting (and leave it to the last minute, but that’s normal for me).  Indeed, I only needed to gather my fragmented concentration for the half hour it took to sort it all out.  The crossword was not, however, without answers for which I had to lean heavily on the wordplay, notably PICOT and IDOLA.

A fine puzzle, and I have no complaints.  I did notice quite a few negative adjectives, and perhaps they seeped into my subconscious and affected my enjoyment a smidge.  I won’t let a passing mood cause me to forget my manners, though.  Many thanks to the setter.

(And no, I did not eat that little bird!)

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics, explicit [deletions] are in square brackets, and I’ve capitalised and emboldened letters which appear in the ANSWER.  For clarity, I omit most link words and some juxtaposition indicators.

1 Bat observed by queen, possibly, in tree (5,6)
PUSSY WILLOW WILLOW (bat) seen next to (observed by) PUSSY (queen, possibly – a queen is an unspayed female cat)
7 Family member‘s move getting visitor finally into trouble (11)
STEPBROTHER STEP (move, e.g. a dance move) + the last letter of (… finally) visitoR inserted into BOTHER (trouble)
13 Mad Finn began fiddling, swearing appallingly (6,3,8)
14 Piece of information corporation attorney provided first (5)
DATUM TUM (corporation), with DA (attorney) given beforehand (provided first)
15 Harebrained son of spiteful disposition (6)
SCATTY S (son) + CATTY (of spiteful disposition)
16 Revolutionary figure recalled in register (8)
LENINIST NINE (figure) reversed inside (recalled in) LIST (register)
17 Footwear found in coach (7)
TRAINER — Double definition
19 Work with men broken by media tyrant (9)
OPPRESSOR OP (work) and OR (men) with the insertion of (broken by) PRESS (media)
21 Like some highly flavoured cake Liberal consumed with caution (8)
GINGERLY GINGERY (like some highly flavoured cake) with L (Liberal) inside (consumed)
23 Reportedly a female unit of heredity (4)
GENE — Sounds like (reportedly) JEAN (a female)
25 Severe pain encountered in French and African state (5)
EGYPT GYP (severe pain) is found inside (encountered in) ET (and, French)
27 Crustacean current lawmaker found crossing Italian river? (6)
ISOPOD I (current) + SOD (lawmaker, whimsically) found around (crossing) PO (Italian river).  My favourite subset of Sod’s Law is Muphry’s Law, which has tripped up many a contributor to crossword blogs
28 Varsity athlete with courage, a member of the constabulary (10)
BLUEBOTTLE BLUE (varsity athlete) + BOTTLE (courage)
30 Unworldly woman seen around army corps area (8)
ETHEREAL ETHEL (woman) seen around RE (army corps) and A (area)
31 Omnipresence of posh bishop I left over by American cape (14)
UBIQUITOUSNESS U (posh) + B (bishop) + I + QUIT (left) + O (old) + US (American) + NESS (cape).  Impressive!
34 Terribly idle woman is not without depth (3-11)
TWO-DIMENSIONAL — An anagram of (terribly) IDLE WOMAN IS NOT
35 Malicious goddess ensnaring old doctor (8)
VENOMOUS VENUS (goddess) enclosing (ensnaring) O (old) and MO (doctor)
38 Generous, though suffering from cardiomegaly? (3-7)
BIG-HEARTED — Definition plus a literal interpretation of the answer
40 Run into upholstered seat used by several in squat? (6)
CROUCH R (run) goes into COUCH (upholstered seat used by several)
41 Hard man repeatedly supplying meat acceptable to Muslims (5)
HALAL H (hard) + AL AL (man, repeatedly)
43 Censor both sides of agreement secured by company (4)
CATO — The outer letters of (both sides of) AgreemenT inside (secured by) CO (company).  I needed the wordplay to remember that Cato was a censor
44 European embassy, one of those we’re trying to cut? (8)
EMISSION E (European) + MISSION (embassy)
45 Role in theatrical do for men only (4,5)
STAG PARTY PART (role) in STAGY (theatrical)
48 Exceed allotted time with respect to race (7)
OVERRUN OVER (with respect to) + RUN (race)
49 Pitiful way it gets knocked back in City area (8)
PATHETIC PATH (way), then IT gets reversed inside (knocked back in) EC (City area)
50 Cross about start of feisty female’s gag? (6)
MUFFLE MULE (cross) around (about) the first letter of (start of) Feisty and F (female)
53 I visit the Hollywood area, having false notions (5)
IDOLA I + DO (visit, see the sights of) + LA (the Hollywood area)
54 Injuries shown by Scottish poet with PhD, perhaps? (6-6,5)
SECOND-DEGREE BURNS BURNS (Scottish poet) is next to (shown by) SECOND DEGREE (PhD perhaps?)
55 Remedial treatment for cutie following censure (11)
THERAPEUTIC — An anagram of (treatment for) CUTIE following THE RAP (censure)
56 Uncommon process involving fluorine becoming less dense (11)
RAREFACTION RARE (uncommon) and ACTION (process) containing (involving) F (fluorine)
1 Silence poet’s representation of a prehistoric age (11)
PLEISTOCENE SILENCE POET‘s anagram (representation)
2 Capital I invested in upholstered seat (5)
SOFIA I inserted into (invested in) SOFA (upholstered seat)
3 Dread losing son before sharp double bend: you must cross that river! (7)
YANGTZE ANG[s]T (dread) without S (losing son) before Z (sharp double bend): YE (you) goes around (must cross) that
4 Terrible ruler‘s current form of transport (4)
IVAN I (current) + VAN (form of transport)
5 New maid’s role involving old women’s retreat? (6,4)
LADIES ROOM — An anagram of (new) MAIDS ROLE containing (involving) O (old)
6 Western jazzman too biased at first over footwear (10,4)
WELLINGTON BOOT W (western) + ELLINGTON (jazzman) + the reversal of (… over) TOO and B (biased at first)
7 Feeling transmitted by head of Irish hospital department (8)
SENTIENT SENT (transmitted) + the first letter (head) of Irish + ENT (hospital department)
8 Time to get upset about Conservative decree (5)
EDICT TIDE (time) reversed (to get upset) around (about) C (Conservative)
9 Beautiful girl holding a gun? A thing of little significance (9)
BAGATELLE BELLE (beautiful girl) containing (holding) A GAT (a gun)
10 Nightmare of French exam taken externally (6)
ORDEAL DE (of, French) with ORAL (exam) around it (taken externally)
11 Very angry, like a boxer on a sweltering day? (3,5,3,6)
HOT UNDER THE COLLAR — A boxer (of the canine variety) might literally get HOT UNDER THE COLLAR when it’s very warm
12 Hard-hearted note on inspector? Not so (11)
REMORSELESS RE (note) on MORSE (inspector) + LESS (not so)
18 Evaluate French art this writer’s exhibited in gallery (8)
ESTIMATE ES (French art, art as in “thou art”) + IM (this writer’s, this writer is) inside (exhibited in) TATE (gallery)
20 Settle extortionate bill involving hooter? (3,7,3,4)
PAY THROUGH THE NOSE — Cryptic definition
22 Rich confection English girl left unfinished (6)
ÉCLAIR E (English) + CLAIRe (girl) without the final letter (left unfinished).  This will be old news to old-timers, but it may be worth mentioning the famous definition of éclair in Chambers: “a cake, long in shape but short in duration”
24 Thus otters originally plunged into river — truly (8)
FORSOOTH SO (thus) and the first letter of (… originally) Otters inserted into (plunged in) FORTH (river)
26 Name one’s used to cover extremities of these insects (8)
TERMITES TERM (name) + IS (one’s) around (to cover) the outer letters (extremities) of ThesE
29 RAF officer “S”? (8,6)
SQUADRON LEADER — Reverse clue for “S” – Squadron leader
32 Become excessively agitated about eliminating round (8)
OVERHEAT OVER (about) + HEAT (eliminating round)
33 Evaluate merchandise ultimately carried in a couple of ships (6)
ASSESS — The last letter of (… ultimately) merchandisE inside (carried in) A and SS SS (couple of ships)
34 Trader‘s con cost a bit, unfortunately (11)
TOBACCONIST CON COST A BIT anagrammed (unfortunately)
36 Poor ass is lonely — nothing much happening now (5,6)
SILLY SEASON — An anagram of (poor) ASS IS LONELY
37 Greek characters hang about, arresting duke’s malicious vilifier (10)
MUDSLINGER MUS (Greek characters – more than one μ) and LINGER (hang about) containing (arresting) D (duke)
39 Recapture thoughts about skirts causing excitement at first (9)
REMINISCE RE (about) + MINIS (skirts) + initial letters of (… at first) Causing Excitement
42 Like works of poet and philosopher briefly taking pick-me-up (8)
MILTONIC MILl (philosopher) without the last letter (briefly) + TONIC (pick-me-up)
46 Sound iron chest primarily containing lead (7)
PLUMBIC PLUMB (sound) + the first letters of (… primarily) Iron Chest
47 A jolly girl — and fleet (6)
ARMADA A + RM (jolly, slang for a Royal Marine) + ADA (girl)
49 Feature of needlework originally produced in bed (5)
PICOT — Initial letters of (originally) Produced In + COT (bed)
51 Asian language principally spoken in remote island (5)
FARSI — The first letter of (principally) Spoken in FAR (remote) and I (island)
52 Man once bound to take to the waves, do we hear? (4)
SERF — SURF (to take the waves), homophone (we hear)

14 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1525 – 6th November 2021. With well-upholstered seating”

  1. I don’t remember much about this one. I would have said that I’d never heard of EFFING AND BLINDING, but I suppose I had, since it came to me with a few checkers in. DNK IDOLA, but I thought of Bacon’s 4 idols. Nothing particularly COD-worthy.
    1. EFFING AND BLINDING is a major side effect of the ailment known as “fat finger”, from which I suffer far too frequently of late (but not on this particular puzzle).
  2. Also solved in one sitting with IDOLA unknown – didn’t know its singular ‘idolum’ either. I did know PICOT however as it has come up several times before usually with the word ‘lace’ in the clue, but mention of ‘needlework’ was enough to jog my memory. PUSSY WILLOW took forever to come to mind despite knowing it very well.
  3. 1:18:36 for my second fastest Jumbo ever. Great fun, but some sticky moments. NHO IDOLA but the wordplay led me through. I spent ages, inexplicably, on my LOI 52dn SURF. And I kept worrying at ISOPOD, not seeing SOD as a lawmaker (thinking of GOD) until the penny dropped. But with a MER; sod’s law is not named after Mr Sod. The lawmaker is not him, it’s Mr Murphy. You are being too kind, kitty. It’s not whimsical. It’s wrong. Mind you, it got me to the right answer. For COD I really liked SECOND-DEGREE BURNS
    1. I’m sure there’s no Mr Sod involved in law-making, but in my life a generic sod (the utter B’stard) has often created the rules by which Things Just Happen To P*ss Me Off. I don’t see it as a solecism. Paul Jennings (I think) coined the term Resistentialism for much the same idea: the toast always lands marmalade side down on the expensive carpet, always marmalade side up on the cheap one.
      Murphy’s Law is a variant on Sod’s: if anything can go wrong, it will. Same idea, but without the malevolence.
      1. I have *never* seen any toast land marmalade side up.
        must have expensive carpets, I suppose ..
      1. Collins says that Sods Law is another name for Murphy’s Law, which is sort of what I thought. But there’s loads of other stuff on the different names and different formulations that make it look a bit of an over simplification? There’s a transatlantic thing too, with Murphy’s Law more common in the USA and Sods Law in the UK. But no hint of Mr Sod, either as himself or as Z8’s personification. If he exists (and is not just a random part of the coarsening of language) he seems to be the one the law applies to: some poor sod
  4. I obviously wasn’t concentrating hard enough, as I had 2 careless errors. TABACCONIST and YANGTSE. Ah well better luck next time. 48:28, but. Thanks setter and Kitty.
  5. A steady 30 minute (and a bit) solve, with SECOND DEGREE BURNS raising an appreciative smile. Given the painful nature of the answer, perhaps it shouldn’t have.
  6. ….from the Times site, and the fact that Sheila had the dreaded “Strictly Come Dancing” on, my completion time of 19:28 simply says that this was an absolute cakewalk. LOI/COD YANGTZE.
  7. I don’t bother submitting cryptic jumbos any more because the prize books are no use to me (if only because I have two sets already!) .. and just as well since I see I also put Yangtse. I suppose the “sharp2 was there to show the Z. Always difficult since the actual name is in a different alphabet so transliteration into ours is a matter of interpretation or convention, at best. And a google search for “yangtse” gets nearly 3m results..
  8. I made one error, in the very last clue, not seeing SERF, I had put LEIF, as in Ericsson, a man who takes to the waves, whose name sounds like Leaf. It made more sense two weeks ago.

    COD SECOND DEGREE BURNS. but also strong mention to the seven part UBIQUITOUSNESS.

    At 37d [MUDSLINGER] I tried to fit IAGO as the only vilifier I could think of.
    I just learnt jolly=Royal Marine on a puzzle prior to this, pleased to be able to use it straight away.


  9. 24:31. Not difficult, but it took me absolutely ages to construct PLEISTOCENE from the cryptic. I knew the word so kicked myself hard when I finally succeeded.

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