Times Cryptic Jumbo 1530 – 11th December 2021. Sloop John B

A Very Happy Christmas to you all, whether you are celebrating that, something else or nothing.  (For me it’s Catmas, natch, or rather the great Boxing Day Eve.)  I hope that you are safe, well, and enjoying your preferred amount of merriment.

30 minutes into this I was sailing along merrily with much of the grid filled, but I needed half that time again to sort out a few in the SW and a few more in the NW.  My last in was actually REGALE because I had a complete mental block beyond the RE part.  In the end, I put it in and hoped, and only later sorted out how it worked.  Sometimes it’s the simple things that get you.

The other thing I failed to do was note down a favourite clue, so would like to invite you to rectify my omission.  Thank you in advance – and thanks, of course, to the setter!

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 Striking Tories perhaps without qualification (8)
OUTRIGHT OUT (striking) + RIGHT (Tories perhaps)
5 Argument stated, reserve knocked over (4-2)
BUST-UP PUT (stated) + SUB (reserve) all reversed (knocked over)
9 Considerate deed farthest off you feel, always ending on the periphery (7)
TACTFUL ACT (deed), with all the last letters of (… always ending) farthesT ofF yoU feeL around it (on the periphery)
14 Sending out chef, start on breakfast (6,5)
FRENCH TOAST — An anagram of (sending out) CHEF START ON
15 Runs bagged, another top ground for cricket perhaps (11)
ORTHOPTERAN — With R inserted (runs bagged), an anagram of (… ground) ANOTHER TOP
16 Bring joy to conclusion of life story’s retrospective? (5)
ELATE — The last letter (conclusion) of lifE and TALE (story), all of which is reversed (retrospective)
17 Time Carol is knocking off (7)
ERASING ERA (time) + SING (carol)
18 Trouble’s back: certainly coach seeing problem (9)
EYESTRAIN — TroublE’s last letter (back) + YES (certainly) + TRAIN (coach)
19 Somewhat hot here, torrid coming to that (7)
THERETO Somewhat hoT HERE TOrrid
20 Allowing for changes, autumn mist is tad different (7,8)
22 Sound of rapper, villain penning all the best dross (3-1-3-3)
RAT-A-TAT-TAT RAT (villain) around (penning) TATA (all the best) + TAT (dross)
23 Entertain Royal Engineers, primarily (6)
REGALE REGAL (royal) + the first letter of (… primarily) Engineers
25 You and I see, certainly (4)
YEAH YE (you) and AH (I see)
28 Recover after a mauling when lioness won and duck lost (4,4,6)
LICK ONES WOUNDS — An anagram of (… lost) LIONESS WON and DUCK
30 Girl, she’s drunk a huge amount of water (5,3)
IRISH SEA IRIS (girl) + SHE anagrammed (drunk) + A
32 Particular things, matches involving French team? (8)
NICETIES NICE TIES could be matches or ties involving a French team
34 Blue fluff on one’s tongue, perhaps? (4,2,3,5)
DOWN IN THE MOUTH — Definition plus a literal interpretation of the answer, with down = fluff
37 Arsenal, looking back, compact and organised (4)
SNUG GUNS (arsenal) reversed (looking back)
38 Loyal subject ultimately out of practice (6)
TRUSTY — The last letter of (… ultimately) subjecT + RUSTY (out of practice)
39 Relevant where taper’s heading? (2,3,5)
TO THE POINT — Another definition plus literal interpretation
43 Purplish, purplis and purpli mouse? (9,6)
SHRINKING VIOLET — Purplish (VIOLET) is SHRINKING by losing a letter each time.  I had assumed when solving that purplis and purpli would be real words, but they aren’t
45 Holidaymaker, one freaking out? (7)
TRIPPER — Double definition
47 Nation, one entertained by an American refrain (9)
AUSTRALIA I (one) in (entertained by) A US (an American) and TRALA (refrain)
49 What’s lost, finding a way to cut pay (7)
WASTAGE A ST (way) inside (to cut) WAGE (pay)
51 Sign on end of rope, near hole in the middle (5)
ENROL — The last letter (end) of ropE + NR (near) + the central letters of (… in the middle) hOLe
52 Puzzle isn’t a doddle, unfinished brother admits (11)
BRAINTEASER AINT EASy (isn’t a doddle) without the last letter (unfinished), which BRER (brother) contains (admits)
53 Telling stories is generally nice, all kicking off should I be unable to do so (11)
SIGNIFICANT — All the initial letters of (… all kicking off) Stories Is Generally Nice + IF I CANT (should I be unable to do so)
54 Sponges in sediment mopping up last bits of classic French wine (7)
LEECHES LEES (sediment) around (mopping up) the final letters (last bits) of classiC FrencH winE
55 Some hollow fruit collected (6)
SEDATE SomE without its inner letters (hollow) + DATE (fruit)
56 It having broken ornamental stone, daughter upset (8)
AGITATED IT inside (having broken) AGATE (ornamental stone) + D (daughter)
1 On holiday, whip is eccentric (7)
OFFBEAT OFF (on holiday) + BEAT (whip)
2 Remedial teacher I put in a spin (11)
THERAPEUTIC TEACHER I PUT anagrammed (in a spin)
3 Harsh material’s ending in secure boxes (9)
INCLEMENT — MateriaL’s ending, which IN plus CEMENT (secure) contains (boxes)
4 Play dirty with handle on weapon, bet the elbow bent going in? (3,5,3,4)
HIT BELOW THE BELT HILT (handle on weapon) with an anagram of (… bent) BET THE ELBOW inserted (going in)
6 Separating foolish peacekeepers, head of security puts things straight (8)
UNTWISTS — Inside (separating) UN TWITS (foolish peacekeepers) is the first letter (head) of Security
7 Improbable cerebral talent, however pedestrian activity (7-7)
THOUGHT-READING THOUGH (however) + TREADING (pedestrian activity)
8 Snooker player’s stick somewhere in Hertfordshire (7,3)
POTTERS BAR POTTERS (snooker player’s) + BAR (stick)
9 American writer you no longer read briefly visits (7)
THOREAU THOU (you no longer), which REAd without its last letter (briefly) goes inside (visits)
10 How to make something smaller succeed (3,2)
CUT IT — To make something smaller you could CUT IT
11 Appropriate to charge? I’m not sure it’s an offence in rugby (7,4)
FORWARD PASS FOR (appropriate to) + WARD (charge) + PASS (I’m not sure)
12 Revolutionary figure in register — such as him? (8)
LENINIST — The reversal of (revolutionary) NINE (figure) in LIST (register)
13 A laugh arising in story (4)
SAGA A + GAS (laugh) reversed (arising)
20 Pet sounds mellow if allowed on woman’s sofa, initially (6)
MIAOWS — First letters of (… initially) Mellow If Allowed On Woman’s Sofa
21 Plant a feature of Italy’s summer (7)
ALYSSUM — The answer is contained within (a feature of) ItALYS SUMmer
22 Verdict going straight across the page? (6)
RULING — Two definitions, the second by example
24 Remarkable piece of jewellery? That’s the unusual set inside? (5-10)
EARTH-SHATTERING EARRING (piece of jewellery) with an anagram of (… unusual) THATS THE inserted (set inside)
26 Great extra-terrestrial (3,2,4,5)
OUT OF THIS WORLD — Another double definition
27 Reportedly walk while swaying — something saucy in that? (6)
SACHET — Sounds like (reportedly) SASHAY (walk while swaying)
29 Odd bits erased, touch label on figure (7)
OCTAGON — Without the odd letters (odd bits erased), tOuCh + TAG (label) + ON
31 Walking, where mule should be? (2,4)
ON FOOT — Two definitions; the mule is a shoe
33 Focus of attention being cold main dish, male tucking in (6,5)
CENTRE STAGE C (cold) + ENTRÉE (main dish*) with STAG inserted (tucking in).  *In the US anyway.  I’d eat my hat – for starters – if I came across that usage over here
35 Chap drinking wine in one measure — not worth mentioning (11)
UNIMPORTANT MAN (chap) around (drinking) PORT (wine), all inside (in) UNIT (one measure)
36 A solution to a glaring problem? (10)
SUNGLASSES — Cryptic definition
40 Tariff triples unfortunately, tying in one client originally (5,4)
PRICE LIST TRIPLES anagrammed (unfortunately) containing (tying in) I (one) and the first letter of (… originally) Client
41 Where sultan, I suspect, had embraced capital in Byzantium? (8)
ISTANBUL — In which SULTAN I anagrammed (suspect) is around (had embraced) the first letter of (capital in) Byzantium
42 In secret, someone’s outside, not far apart (5-3)
CLOSE-SET In CLOSET is SomeoneE’s outer letters (outside)
44 Almost selling out, society in disorder (7)
ILLNESS Almost SELLINg anagrammed (out) + S (society)
46 Similar sore, evidently, behind cuts (7)
RELATED RED (sore, evidently), which LATE (behind) goes inside (cuts)
48 Farm office locally not opening (5)
RANCH — bRANCH (office locally) without the first letter (not opening)
50 Back circling river, mythical ship (4)
ARGO AGO (back) around (circling) R (river)

9 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1530 – 11th December 2021. Sloop John B”

  1. I gave up with REGALE and POTTERS BAR unsolved. Like Kitty I came up with REGALE, but couldn’t see how it worked. I would have flung it in if I had had POTTERS BAR, but there wasn’t a chance in hell of my getting that one: NHO, NHO POTTER (I know nothing of snooker). Biffed FORWARD PASS and RAT-A-TAT-TAT. I spent some time fruitlessly taking (cerebral talent) as anagrist. PDM at SHRINKING VIOLET (You’ve got a typo, Kitty: purple is a word!) I’m surprised the setter defined ENTREE that way, especially as ‘main’ wasn’t necessary.
  2. I struggled with solving this over countless sessions, eventually ending with 7 clues unparsed. I’m sure I could have whittled these down if I’d revisited them and applied my mind to the task but TBH I was simply thankful to have the grid filled and put it aside.

    I don’t think there was anything wrong with the clues but perhaps I wasn’t in the right frame of mind when I started on it and on every return I became more discouraged when the answers refused to flow.

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  4. ….and needed a second session to finish it. My timer says I took over 3 hours, but I was doing other stuff. Unfortunately I had ‘mutatus’ at 20A, so it was a waste of time really. COD YEAH.
  5. A satisfying solve in around an hour and a half (about par). Had no trouble with Potters Bar. Many many years ago my dentist, Uncle Oswald, lived there. I liked EARTH-SHATTERING and BRAINTEASER and the clever little 25ac YEAH. Merry Christmas to all
  6. 30ac
    Answer: IRISH SEA

    Blogger’s explanation: IRIS + an anagram of SHE’S

    but HSEA is NOT an anagram of SHE’s
    HSEA is an anagram of ‘SHE’ followed by the ‘A’ in the clue (which is NOT part of the definition which is ‘Large body of Water)

    1. Thank you for your correction, Anonymous – these are always welcome. Blogger has updated the post.
  7. Enjoyed this.
    Mutatis mutandis is my cod, it is one of those phrases where if someone uses it in conversation, I automatically bow to their superior command of English… SO much better than my “Well, who knows, innit?” would be

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