Times Cryptic Jumbo 1561 – light the blue touch paper

I found parts of this quite tricky.  Definitely a two pipe problem, especially towards the bottom where I had to apply my sleuthing skills diligently.  What about you?.

First in was PRESENT ARMS and last was APOCRYPHA.

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 T[ime]

1 In position with weapons for military command (7,4)
7 Say what I saw and heard, naked man in court (4,7)
13 No piffling oration broadcast, but something of enduring value (9-8)
INFLATION-PROOFING – (no piffling oration)*.  I think the definition just about works if you squint at it.
14 Fields for example almost all next to sea (5)
MEDAL – AL{l} by MED.  The Fields Medal is a mathematics prize.
15 Macbeth’s life a brief one, but a measure of a certain intensity (6)
CANDLE – DD.  A reference to a quote in Shakespeare and an old unit of luminous intensity.
16 Heavenly group beg one to interrupt less regularly (8)
PLEIADES – PLEAD around I (Yoda grammar), {l}E{s}S.  You don’t need me to tell you that the Pleiades is an asterism and an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars in the north-west of the constellation Taurus.
17 Material can appeal to the left, and in France to the right (7)
SATINET – TIN bordered by S[ex] A[ppeal] and ET.
19 Excellent month with a brilliant sight (9)
21 Bond linking animal to one insect (8)
ASSIGNAT – ASS, I, GNAT.  A monetary instrument from the time of the French Revolution.
23 Jump out of plane tree in the end (4)
JETE – JET, {tre}E.  Ballet.
25 Indian sage’s last to lead islanders (5)
IRISH – RISHI with the I moved to the front.
27 Odds on at first, nonetheless (4,2)
28 Water and a leek vegan digested (4,6)
LAKE GENEVA – (a leek vegan)*
30 Sweet ban rejected: a handout all round (8)
ADORABLE – reversal of BAR in A DOLE
31 They distrust all sportsmanship: it flourished only without pressure (14)
MISANTHROPISTS – (sportsmanship it)* without P[ressure]
34 Baronet is concealing difficult time, old flame discovered (7,2,5)
BROUGHT TO LIGHT – B[arone]T wround ROUGH T[ime], O[ld] LIGHT
35 In Rome, building stone dries up, but not out (2,6)
ST PETERS – ST[one], PETERS out.  Yoda giving us the definition this time.
38 Soldiers love armoured vehicles to capture so-called German (5,5)
OTHER RANKS – O, TANKS around HERR.  How refreshing to see OR as a definition rather than a hackneyed wordplay indicator for MEN.
40 Heart is troublesome, somewhat, for performer (6)
ARTIST – hidden
41 Captain engaging Mike to do a rush job (5)
SKIMP – SKIP around M[ike].  SKIP would work as both noun and verb.
43 In inaccessible place I lost Jane (4)
44 Artist and minor comic (8)
MONDRIAN – (and minor).  Even if you don’t think you’ve heard of him you’d recognise his works.
45 A “dispiriting” worker, tax inspector finally traps men (9)
EXORCISER – EXCISE, {inspecto}R around O[rdinary] R[anks].  Well that didn’t last long.
48 Wounded hare — it’s less speedy? (7)
HASTIER – (hare it’s)*.  The definition relies on the “more haste, less speed” adage.
49 Angry way we must enter lawless zone (4,4)
WILD WEST – WILD ST[reet] around WE
50 Hard work with a new catchphrase (6)
53 A poem in part of cell (5)
ANODE – AN ODE.  The only thing I can tell you about an anode is that it’s not a cathode.
54 Most substantial course is something involving blackbirds? Allow opposition (5,2,10)
55 No one more important than Cassius once? (3,8)
THE GREATEST – CD based on Muhammad Ali’s nickname and original name.
56 Three or four days perhaps a short space to penetrate obscure knowledge (4,7)
LONG WEEKEND – EN in (knowledge)*


1 Operetta ticket costs around November said to fluctuate (8,3)
PRINCESS IDA – PRICES around N[ovember], (said)*
2 The end, in two languages, is delicate in another (5)
ELFIN – EL (Spanish for the), FIN (French for end).
3 People being leaderless, competent king is creator of opportunities (7)
4 Fight’s ending with victory for Tweedledum — or Tweedledee? (4)
TWIN – {figh}T, WIN
5 Remarkably rare day round fireplace for head of gang (10)
RINGLEADER – (rare D[ay])* round INGLE
6 Cleaner, or theatre ghost? (8,6)
SURGICAL SPIRIT – DDCDH, think operating theatre
7 Most general doubts are resolved after leaving university (8)
BROADEST – (doubts are)* without U[niversity]
8 Briefly, a storyteller’s other name (5)
ALIAS – A, LIA{r}, ‘S.  Tricky to parse because you have to separate the storyteller from the ‘s.
9 Employee carries on, clean (4,5)
10 Drum almost filled with a fruit (6)
TOMATO – TOM TO{m} around A
11 Animals in group on the way out? (10,7)
12 Profit from ID document, and betray trust (4,3,4)
SELL THE PASS – DDCDH.  I didn’t know the phrase.
18 Charlie admitted too many tenants: one’s on the bed (8)
20 For example, Plato’s gall-bladder problem that has a transforming effect? (12,5)
PHILOSOPHERS STONE – DDCDH.  The expression / mythic substance dates back to ancient Greece but we non-classicists are content to ninja-turtle it from Harry Potter.
22 Short performance by little creatures and big ones (6)
24 Wanting assistance from power in underworld, minutes away from tricky situation (8)
HELPLESS – P[ower] in HELL, MESS without M[inutes]
26 Senior pupil hid lager to distribute (4,4)
HEAD GIRL – (hid lager)*
29 Vehicle fitted with the one replacement body part that sparkles in its turn (9,5)
CATHERINE WHEEL – CAR around THE, I, NEW, HEEL.  I haven’t seen one for years.  Health and safety gone mad.  Wikipedia will tell you about its etymology, physics and largest example.  It’s probably called something else in other parts of the world.
32 In regular succession go off people, forgetting first name (8)
ROTATION – ROT, NATION missing the first N[ame]
33 Shown a cardtaken (6)
BOOKED – DDSorry, this table, taxi, whatever is booked / taken.
34 Penniless, taking new courage, loving disaster? (6,5)
BROKEN HEART – BROKE, N[ew], HEART.  (A) loving disaster as a noun.
36 Really, really mean to take charge (11)
37 Man of the cinema shot tennis, I see (10)
EISENSTEIN – (tennis I see)*
39 For Judith and others, a call father accepts with cry of delight (9)
APOCRYPHA – A, CRY in POP, HA.  The book of Judith is/was an apocryphal work excluded from the Hebrew and Protestant biblical canons.  This will easily have been blogger Keriothe’s favourite clue in this puzzle.  You hardly ever see a “link” word in front of the definition at the start of the clue.
42 Being most stupid, is buried in wet earth (8)
SILLIEST – LIES (here lies old whatshisname) in SILT.  As I was saying, “link” words in front of the definition at the start of the clue are all the rage this season.
46 Writer leaves joint epistle unfinished (7)
COLETTE – I think “leaves” is a link word so it’s CO- (joint wrietr or whatever), LETTEr
47 Long and very narrow lake I approach (6)
LINEAR – L[ake], I NEAR.  You hear of linear parks, created on old railway lines.
49 Expression of delight about examiner’s last question (5)
WHERE – WHEE around {examine}R
51 Messy stuff runs out of some rock (5)
GUNGE – R[uns] removed GRUNGE (rock music, think Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam)
52 Inspection of car that is held (4)
VIEW – VW around I.E.  I don’t need to expand either of those contractions for you do I?



14 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1561 – light the blue touch paper”

  1. Finally got everything in around 90 minutes over several sessions. Didn’t know ASSIGNAT, SATINET, CATHERINE WHEEL, or SELL THE PASS but was able to enter because of hints in clues and because they looked plausible. Really needed blog for clarification- thanks.

  2. DNK SURGICAL SPIRIT, SELL THE PASS, ASSIGNAT, LUG, BOOK in the ‘shown a card’ sense. MONDRIAN took me a long time because I thought he had two A’s; as in fact he had, originally. I don’t recall anything particularly COD-worthy.

    1. Kevin, the “target” word in a recent ST clue writing contest was YELLOW CARD and several entries, including mine, had BOOK as the definition.

  3. I didn’t recall KEY RING or LORELEI probably because they’ve escaped from Jumbo 1546. This one wasn’t too hard and I finished in 39 minutes but… lazily not parsing CATHERINE WHEEL I ended with a pink square in CATHARINE. Grr. I didn’t know SELL THE PASS. SILLIEST was my LOI and I particularly liked HASTIER, LONG WEEKEND and OTHER RANKS. Thanks Penfold and setter.

  4. 1:25:29. I’m happy with that, except for one silly error – spelling RESISTANCE with an E. So once again, to claim success, I have to invoke kapietro’s law which says that one pink square is perfectly OK in a Jumbo. I wrote in IRISH and MEDAL without knowing why so thanks for the blog for these and all the rest. I liked SURGICAL SPIRIT but COD to LORELEI

  5. Oh you’re all so funny.

    Apologies for that, LORELEI and KEY RING were ghosts from a previous blog.

  6. Thanks to the setter for both PLEIADES and SUPERNOVA.

    Noting Penfold’s reference to the fact that the PLEIADES are near Taurus, next time you see that marvellous cave painting from Lascaux showing the bull, note also the little cluster of black dots above it. These are thought to be the PLEIADES, and the composition as a whole is thought to relate to the night sky. This implies that the astrological association of those stars with the shape of a bull goes back a very long way indeed

  7. A decent workout at 54.20 with nothing tempting me to look up answers. Mind you, I thought SELL THE PASS was something to do with chasing the leather orb, so was not helped much by the definition here.
    I chuckled at Plato’s gall bladder, which can’t happen that often.

  8. As has become my habit, I waited for the blog to solve this, so it’s fresh in my memory. I was therefore a bit baffled at first by the references to LORELEI and KEY RING.
    For me this was one of those that felt much harder than it was. There are a lot of rather obscure words and references, and some of the wordplay is tricky, but somehow I did it in a little under 20 minutes.
    I struggle to see how the definition in 13ac works. ‘Something of enduring value’ has to be an object, which INFLATION-PROOFING isn’t, however hard you squint.
    My last in was – you guessed it – APOCRYPHA. Judith is a very biblical-sounding name so I quickly figured out that I was after some variety of mumbo-jumbo.

    1. I think I just about justified it on the basis that the act of inflation-proofing (something) is a thing to do that has enduring value.

      1. Hmm. It creates enduring value, it imparts enduring value but does it have value itself? You must be a bit better than me at squinting!

  9. I liked this one, hard but not too hard. I agree with Keriothe about 13ac, a bit iffy.
    A day late coming here, so appear to have avoided loreleigate..

Comments are closed.