Times Cryptic Jumbo 1553 – 30 April 2022

Hello again. This Jumbo I thought was rather more straightforward than average, with no unknowns and only one spelling issue (at 34dn). Certainly a great deal easier than the beast that was 1548, the last one I blogged. There seemed to be a lot of girls (Ena,  Esther, Lucy, Susie) and quite a lot of extremely long single words clued with anagrams. What did you think?

By the time you read this, I shall be far away on the shores of the Mediterranean. Difficult timing in some ways, with so much exciting work going on at TfTT to get our wonderful new website rolling. Prepare to be amazed, if you haven’t been already…

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 Provider of social introductions to a smart set possibly (11)
TOASTMASTER – *(to a smart set)
7 Turning Mossad’s core agents – note about four likely to join up (11)
ASSOCIATIVE – (m)OSSA(d) rev., + CIA (agents) + IV inside TE, a note.
13 Cut up over doctrine being changed — it’s not helpful (17)
COUNTERPRODUCTIVE – *(CUT UP OVER DOCTRINE). The first one of a number of humungous anagrams. Mostly I biffed them and cannot swear to the accuracy of the anagrist in every case ..
14 Put in type of small English ram (3,2)
SET UP – S(mall) E(nglish) + TUP, your ram. “Our Yorkshire Farm,” Channel 5’s most popular series ever, is my go-to source for tups, tegs, yows and all related farming vocabulary. If you haven’t watched it you have a real treat in store.
15 Volunteers chess piece for capturing (6)
TAKING – TA (the Territorial Army, now called the Army Reserve) + KING, a chess piece.
16 Large car going back into advanced plant for restorative action? (8)
CAMOMILE – LIMO (large car) rev., in CAME, advanced. Its restorative powers are unproven. It is being investigated for possibly helping to relieve anxiety. In which case it is probably best not to read the Wiki article
17 Club perhaps losing several seconds costs series (7)
COTERIE – COSTS SERIES, with all of its Ss removed. Clever.
19 Set up the brim of sombrero initially to tease dandy (9)
COCKSCOMB – COCK (set up the brim of) + S(ombrero) + COMB (to tease)
21 Allowing girl showy jewellery (8)
23 House in Home Counties close to motorway (4)
SEMI – SE (South East, your home counties) + M1
25 What can raise lumps needing at first to be covered by clothing (5)
TONGS – N(eeding) in TOGS, ie clothing. Tricksy definition..
27 Compelled civil engineer to split crossing (6)
FORCED – CE (civil engineer) in FORD, a crossing
28 Bigoted and enthusiastic about right in unrewarding time (10)
INTOLERANT – INTO (enthusiastic) + R(ight) in LEAN (unrewarding) + T(ime)
30 Deplore pay scale for top management? (8)
EXECRATE – a cd, EXEC RATE being top management’s pay scale
31 Property cleaner cries with attic having to be reorganised (14)
34 Sobriety at business? Some getting drunk (14)
35 Lover of the beautiful with a short girl, note (8)
AESTHETE – A ESTHE(r), the short girl, + TE, a note. TE, a drink with jam and bread
38 Ceasing to be home for artist in removal (10)
EXTINCTION – EXTRACTION, with the RA (artist, Royal Academician) being replaced by IN (home).
40 Species at this point forms social class (6)
SPHERE – SP(ecies) + HERE. Not an abbreviation I was familiar with.
41 Gauleiter, losing province after return, secure again (5)
RETIE – (Gaul)EITER, rev. Gaul has not been a province for quite a while, but it was big in its day
43 Second person once seen wearing socks in hothouse? (4)
THOU – hoTHOUse, ie wearing hose, or socks
44 Means to choose short film (4,4)
FREE WILL – a reference to a 1993 film, Free Willy, about an orca in an amusement park. Not seen it,but I vaguely remembered the title. Pleasingly, the orca that played Willy was in fact rehabilitated and returned to the wild, as a direct result of the film.
45 George displaying gold helmet piece for auction (9)
AUTOPILOT – AU (gold) + TOPI (helmet) + LOT, a piece for auction. George as a name for an autopilot dates from the 1930s, origin unclear…
48 Hedging put back: sound cut by a small volume (7)
EVASION – A V(olume) inside NOISE (sound), all reversed.
49 Certain South Pacific needs a change of key (8)
SPECIFIC – S PACIFIC, with the A changed to the (key of) E.
50 Military show inking on skin (6)
TATTOO – a DD. There can’t be many words with two such different meanings..
53 Returning to identify one’s dope (5)
IDIOT – TO ID I, rev.
54 Actually, “nymphet” is misused and not in a kind way (17)
55 Endlessly prolong situation not having to settle in mitigation (11)
EXTENUATION – EXTEN(d) (endlessly, prolong) +  (sit)UATION.
56 Middle of Kent county, nice and never one inconvenience (11)
ENCUMBRANCE – (k)EN(t) (middle of Kent, where I live) + CUMBRIA NICE, with all the Is removed. Quite a neat clue!


1 Moment to change direction to start to exploit game (4-4-3)
TICK-TACK-TOE – TICK (a moment) + TACK (to change direction. Watch out for the boom coming across) + TO + E(xploit). US version of noughts and crosses.
2 Millions in NZ city lacking land in a violent rage (5)
AMUCK – M(illions) in AUCK(land), a NZ city I have never visited.
3 Prolonged muscle contraction set tuna swimming (7)
4 Cautious when getting head down and twisted to one side (4)
AWRY – WARY (cautious) with the W moved down..
5 A number holding promotion by pub is shabby (10)
THREADBARE – AD (promotion) + BAR (pub, though I would not say they were the same thing) inside THREE, your number,
6 He led operation to scramble communication device (14)
7 Knife found in dried up sea is kept for the record (8)
ARCHIVAL – The ARAL sea is, sadly, no more. Once the fourth largest lake in the world, it is now, in one of our largest environmental tragedies, the Aralkum desert. For the purposes of this clue it contains CHIV, which is slang for a knife. Nho, but did know chivvy, which has the same root.
8 Succeeded with fish spear (5)
SPIKE – S + PIKE, a fish, and not a very friendly one, by all accounts
9 High point of belief about church held by Poles (9)
CRESCENDO – SCEN (church “held by poles”) in CREDO (belief)
10 For instance, radios and televisions can be valuable items (6)
ASSETS – AS (for instance) + SETS (radios & TVs)
11 I’m talented partner working between government ministries (17)
INTERDEPARTMENTAL – *(I’M TALENTED PARTNER). A DBE as lots of organisations have departments
12 Dickens is so naff, too (11)
EUPHEMISTIC – a CD. Dickens being a euphemism for the devil, and naff for, well, as in “Naff off.” The OED says that the adjective, as in “That’s a bit naff” is unrelated to the verb and gives both uses as being of unknown origin.
18 Paper coming down on newly-formed union (8)
CONFETTI – Another CD, A eference to the littering that often takes place as the happy couple emerge from the church, or registry office.
20 One whose speciality is dialogue in awkward voice translations (17)
22 Great folly girl’s built in northern area (6)
LUNACY – N(orthern) A(rea) in another girl, this time LUCY
24 Arbitrator set up duty list the same (8)
MEDIATOR – ROTA + IDEM, all reversed. Idem is Latin for “the same,” often used in book references.
26 Policeman dispatched without right equipment endlessly (8)
SERGEANT – R(ight) + GEA(r) inside SENT (dispatched)
29 What insects can do to mongrel and parrot at home upset (5-9)
CROSS-POLLINATE – CROSS (mongrel) + POLL (parrot) + IN (at home) + ATE (upset, as in “his failure ate away at his confidence” or similar)
32 The Spanish race has horse coming after ten others (8)
ELEVENTH – EL (the, in Spanish) + EVENT (race) + H(orse)
33 Excitement on account of European seen around old city (6)
FURORE – UR (old city) inside FOR (on account of) + E(uropean). Ur was an ancient Sumerian city on the banks of the Euphrates, in what is now Southern Iraq.
34 American put out in a cosy home — eastern spot European husband set up (11)
ANESTHETIZE – A NEST (a cosy home), with, all reversed:  E(astern) + ZIT (spot) + E(uropean) + H(usband). Golly! And, hands up if like me, you put anesthetise, spotting SITE for spot but not the missing E that would entail..
36 Choose yttrium component finally in part for battery fluid (11)
ELECTROLYTE – ELECT (choose), + Y(ttrium) and (componen)T inside ROLE, a part.
37 A prized stone set up, literally this, classically? (10)
MEGALITHIC – An &lit, constructed as follows: A GEM (prized stone set up, ie MEG A) + LIT(erally) + HIC, Latin for “This.”
39 Big spider scuttled into rubbish, oddly ugly, note (9)
TARANTULA – Yet another tricky construction: RAN (scuttled) inside TAT (rubbish), + U(g)L(y) + A, a musical note.
42 Cable installers converted Nine Elms (8)
LINESMEN – *(NINE ELMS), a blessedly simple anagram
46 Managed cold inside for every reindeer active in winter (7)
PRANCER – RAN + C(old) inside PER (for each, every). Prancer supposedly being one of Santa’s reindeer.
47 Cat family includes the tigers, though two in three are gone (6)
KITTEN – T(he)T(ig)E(rs), inside KIN (family). These “take certain letters but not necessarily alternately” clues seem to be on the increase.
49 Girl’s not finished eating hot Japanese food (5)
SUSHI – H(ot) in SUSI(e), unfinished girl.
51 Stock a line in fashionable style (5)
TALON – A L(ine) in TON, fashionable style as any Heyerite will know. The talon is, I vaguely knew, the stock of cards remaining, after a deal
52 Staunch supporter (4)
STEM – DD. Staunching a wound, supporting a flower..


Author: JerryW

I love The Times crosswords..

4 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1553 – 30 April 2022”

  1. DNK CHIV, only ‘shiv’; DNK TALON, GEORGE. And DNK the verb ‘naff’, only the adjective, so I had some difficulty in making sense of the clue. Liked COTERIE.
  2. Popping in only to have my customary moan about CRESCENDO being clued as ‘high point’. Unfortunately there’s enough support for it now in reputable dictionaries to let the setter off the hook, but at least Collins has the decency to be sniffy about it by prefacing most of its entries that support it with ‘some people say’. If we’re going to stray from its actual meaning there’s a perfectly logical argument to be made that when you ‘reach a crescendo’ you are at its lowest point and are about to begin getting louder.

    Edited at 2022-05-14 05:33 am (UTC)

  3. Not too hard but I also put ANESTHETISE with exactly the same logic. Drat.
  4. Another ANESTHETISE, same logic. Should really have remembered that the Americans not only miss out the A, but prefer the Zee at the end. Got the first, thought that was it.

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