Times Cryptic Jumbo 1556 – large, friendly letters

Hello one and all.  This is my first blog on the new site and because of the timing of these things I’m the only blogger who didn’t get the chance to do a parallel run while this site was in development and the old site was still going.  So this could all go horribly wrong, especially as I think I’m the only blogger who uses a Mac.

Onto the puzzle, and I found it pretty hard, but very enjoyable.  What did you think?

First in was ANGORA and last was TAM O’SHANTER.

If any of my explanations don’t make sense then feel free to ask for further elucidation.

The technical stuff:

Clues are in blue with the definition undelined.  Anagram indicators are in bold italics.


DD: Double definition
CD: Cryptic definition
DDCDH: DD/CD hybrid where a straight definition is combined with a cryptic hint.

&Lit: “all in one” where the entire clue is both definition and wordplay.

(fodder)* denotes an anagram of the letters in the brackets.

Rounded brackets are also used to add further clarity

Squiggly brackets {} indicate parts of a word not used

Deletions are struck out

Square brackets [] expand an abbreviation or shortening like Y[ankee]

1 Reg maybe backing Paul the physicist (5)
DIRAC – Reversal of CAR I.D. (reg being short for registration number.  A neat start.
4 Yankee after arrest to be sick as a parrot? (7)
COPYCAT – Y[ankee] after COP, CAT (in its verbal meaning of to vomit). Lucas the Kop Cat, of Course, is the Leeds United Mascot.
8 Symbol from memory needed on most of elite kit (9)
PICTOGRAM – R[andom] A[ccess] M[emory] on (after) PIC{k}, TOG (tog and kit can both mean an item o
13 Leaving it to fuzz? One presumably isn’t (9)
VIGILANTE – (leaving it)*.  For our foreign cousins, the fuzz is UK slang for the police.
14 A welcome game of cricket forces our Elizabeth to stop arguing? (5,2,6)
AGREE TO DIFFER – A, GREET, O[ne] D[ay] I[nternational], F[orce] x2, E[lizabeth] R[egina]
15 A little foreign cash needs dispatched to auditor, as I see it (7)
CENTIMO – homophone of SENT, I[n] M[y] O[pinon]
16 Compounds skill fabulously with a touch of aplomb (7)
ALKALIS – (skill)* + A{plomb}
17 Haze from rear crossing unobstructed, largely (3,4)
SEA FRET -SEAT around FRE{e}
18 Explain I must have quiet at rave (4,7,4,3)
21 After first of January, pub serves spirits (4)
JINN – J{anuary}, INN. It’s a plural noun.
23 A large Lowry? Remarkable Irish drawing (3,6)
25 Twig gate’s not closing right (6)
WICKER – WICKEt, R[ight]
26 Space probe that’s reached across third of universe (6)
GIOTTO – GOT TO around {un}I{verse}
28 Aim to put on air transport (7,5)
EXPRESS TRAIN – TRAIN (aim as in gun, for example) on (after in an across clue) EXPRESS (air as in view, for example).  What’s yellow and white and travels at 125mph?
30 To perform, men getting in camera (6-4)
CLOSED-DOOR – CLOSED (to, as in door), DO, O[ther] R[anks].
33 Updates record, having finally included it in a bizarre ritual (5,5)
AUDIT TRAIL – {include}D, IT in A, (ritual)*.  Updates record here is a noun.
34 Place for one of the cabal, later evacuated frantically (8,4)
BACHELOR FLAT – (of the cabal LateR)*
37 Help to push horse back: that’s painful, indeed! (3,3)
AND HOW – HAND with H{orse} moved to the back, OW!
39 Some inside sang — or applauded yarn (6)
ANGORA – hidden (either side of the dash)
40 Unwrapped afternoon treat carried by mother: the perfect combination! (5,4)
42 You might catch one at sea, or catch one at the piano (4)
TUNA – sounds like TUNER
43 Warning people passed on should be believed? (4,3,4,2,5)
46 One’s more ineffectual executioner? (7)
47 Education publication’s, I hesitate to say, a little square (7)
TESSERA – T[imes] E[ducation] S[upplement]’S, ER, A
48 First taxi maybe about to drive brother from Spain? (7)
CARAMBA – CAB A around RAM.  Brother as in gor blimey guv’nor.
50 Miscreant errs with abandon in Mormon city (3,10)
SAN BERNARDINO – (errs abandon in)*
51 Private network, small one, not English, is being moved (2,7)
IN TRANSIT – INTRANET with S[mall] I replacing E[nglish]
52 PC meeting army officers? It’s a small world! (9)
MICROCOSM – MICRO, C[ommanding] O[fficer], S[ergeant] M[ajor]
53 Cheat Harry getting into row (7)
54 Wash thoroughly and comb (5)


1 Within Homer’s house perhaps there’s name for later poet’s (4,7)
DOVE COTTAGE – DDCDH.  Yer man Wordsworth.
2 Ungrateful daughter of stage manager’s showing up (5)
REGAN – reverse hidden.  Yer woman from King Lear.
3 All fashionable ladies’ hats eclipsed by suit, without a doubt (4,4,8)
4 Being open, willing and positive, game turned around (7)
CANDOUR – CAN DO, reversal of R[ugby] U[nion]
5 Rash more manageable on reflection, with no spots around (9)
6 Be suddenly assertive in finally mastering that dessert recipe? (5,3,4)
7 Sweater something the unfortunate canoeist may turn down (10)
8 Supports old ploughman in work (5)
PIERS – DD, Piers the Ploughman.  A medieval poem.  I don’t do the research so you have to.
9 Part of goal put out by legal people generally (8)
10 Round holiday time carrying one’s “bag for life”? (6)
OVISAC – O, VAC[ation] around I’S
11 One who’d make improvements dealing with health first (9)
REFORMIST -RE, FORM (good form / good health), IST
12 Battle site’s ruins by chance not recalled (7,4)
MARSTON MOOR -MARS by ROOM NOT reversed.  I was helped by Mrs Penfold recently working in offices at Marston Moor Business Park.
19 Pal idly twisting leaf (4,3)
LILY PAD – (pal idly)*
20 Cautious movement — fraction of half-inch as it were? (7)
STEALTH – A quirly one.  half-inch is CRS for pinch = steal, a fraction of STEAL would be a stealTH, I suppose.
22 Dramatise larkish, unconventional trilogy (3,4,9)
HIS DARK MATERIALS – (dramatise larkish)*
24 Sailor in Camargue on delta, a long way from sound (6)
ABSURD – AB[le bodied seaman], SUR, D[elta]
27 Drug dealer’s confession for old Irish lover (6)
29 Was boss fired again after losing it? (7)
31 Boring advice to stop squeaking? (3,4)
32 What Rover might do pointlessly in one’s parking place? (3,2,3,4)
BAY AT THE MOON – CD, presumably based around a BAY and a parking place being the same thing and Rover being a car or archetypal dog’s name.  Is that it?
33 Scottish actor’s intention to catch LA flight (8,3)
35 Poem that’s more a novel primarily, somehow (3,8)
TAM O’SHANTER – (that’s more a N{ovel})*
36 Very fed up as British radicals quarrel about nothing (5,5)
BORED STIFF – B[ritish] REDS, TIFF around O
38 Remain calm about unsuitable acknowledgement returned (4,5)
DONT PANIC – reversal of C[irca], INAPT, NOD.
40 Part of maybe Mirage’s rising light over time inspiring wonderment (5,4)
DELTA WING – LED reversed, T[ime], AWING.  I was helped by having received as a child an Airfix-style kit / model of a Dassault Mirage as a Christmas gift from French friends.
41 Drop liking for attack (4,4)
44 Make out payment finally? That is for some clothing (7)
NECKTIE – NECK, {paymen}T, I.E.
45 Game that’s played could end in stalemate (6)
CLUEDO – (could {stalemat}E)*
47 Tattoo of weaver’s remains? (5)
THRUM – DD.  One of them is “the end of a weaver’s thread”.  Does that actually need a name?  It’s like The Meaning of Liff in reverse.
49 At least three notes to get wrong (5)
MISDO – MIS (an indeterminate quantity of the note mi), DO.  One of those words that doesn’t look like a real word until you pronounce it correctly.


10 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1556 – large, friendly letters”

  1. I didn’t do this puzzle, I’m posting a comment as a test for penfold61 to see if the ‘no email’ system works.

  2. I didn’t work this puzzle either. Just wanted to say that I use a Mac too. Are we really the only two?

  3. I’ve a note on my printout to say this was the hardest Jumbo I can remember tackling, though I’ve only been doing them regularly since the first lockdown. I managed most of it over several sessions and more than one day without resorting to aids, but in the end I gave in and sought help with 4 remaining answers in the extreme NW corner. I NHO the physicist at 1ac, for example, and didn’t find the wordplay of any help. I think I was just a bit tired of the puzzle by then although I had enjoyed the challenge up to a point.

  4. Yes, found this tough but clever. It took me a while to see it but I think in BAY AT THE MOON ‘in one’s parking place’ signifies ‘at the moon’ being where you’d park a lunar rover, as used by some Apollo missions.

    1. I think you’ve nailed it. “One” as in Lunar Rover. I even had a Dinky model of one. Thanks!

  5. Looking back, I see I did 12 per cent of this Jumbo and the clock shows more than 12 hours 20 minutes. That can’t be right but I can agree this was a hard one

  6. Firstly, many congratulations to all those who made the new site possible: it just keeps getting better.
    Secondly, in 12 dn, I don’t see how CHANCE becomes ROOM. What am I missing?
    Thirdly, how can San Bernardino be described as a Mormon city? As a Brit I’d never heard of the place (no surprise there) and research tells me that although it had its beginnings as a Mormon settlement, they abandoned it in 1857. I didn’t know the physicist, either.

    1. Hi Jeffrey, thanks for commenting.

      The 4th definition of ROOM in my Chambers app is “opportunity, scope of occasion” which I reckon is close enough to chance. I was thinking of phrases like “room for improvement”.

      As for San Bernadino, I didn’t know it either, so the Mormon bit didn’t help. I just pieced together a likely-looking City name from the wordplay and checked the details before writing up the blog.

      1. Greetings Penfold, and thanks for replying. I still think ROOM for CHANCE is the loosest of loose synonyms. To me “room for improvement” means something is sub-standard, with the hope or possibility of betterment. Anyway, you’ve relieved my mind that I wasn’t really missing anything and the battle certainly couldn’t’ve been anything else. All the best,

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