Times Cryptic Jumbo 1583 – 5 November 2022

Hello again. When I printed out this crossword and looked at 1ac, immediately I thought, “I’m in safe hands here.” And so it proved. I thought this crossword delightful, with a lot of invention, good surface readings and best of all, one or two slightly dodgy homophones. Well done, setter.

Even to solve or to blog these jumbo crosswords can start to drag, never mind having to set them. One can only applaud their dedication. Though unlike us they are paid, I suppose 🙂

Please, do feel free to ask questions or comment as required.

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 Simple bit of comeback for those who love Legolas etc (7)
SNAFFLE – ELF FANS, rev. Happy to count myself amongst their number, though more Tolkienesque than the Hollywood end of things.
5 Junior reporter left in cool office space? (7)
CUBICLE – CUB (junior reporter) + L in ICE, cool. Mainly a US idea I’m pleased to say, office cubicles, though we do have a few no doubt.
9 Get right through one’s last run and see notice in gym (7)
PERVADE – (on)E + R(un) + V (see) + AD (notice), all inside PE (gym). The sort of clue that is a write-in for us grizzled veterans, but must surely perplex anyone nearer the newbie end of things.

V = see is interesting, and I am never quite certain what is intended. V is a recognised abbreviation for the Vatican City, which is a see, and a holy one to boot. But also it can mean vide, which is latin for see. As in QV, “which see.” Perhaps it doesn’t really matter which..

13 I’ll squeeze old ruler that contains mark of error, wrong unit in two forms (11)
EXTORTIONER – We have ER = ruler. Inside it we have XTORTIONE, which is X (mark of error) + TORT (wrong) + I and ONE, a unit either way.. a tricky definition, and maybe not the best surface reading today, to put it mildly
14 In no way depends on installing Nan’s first and second vacuum (11)
NOTHINGNESS – NOT (in no way) + N(an) in HINGES + S(econd). I confess I biffed this and only now parsed it ..
15 Capital has some regressive decision ahead (5)
HANOI – Hidden, rev., in decisION AHead.
16 Supporter allowed to take a break after cycling (7)
TRESTLE – REST (to take a break) in TLE,  ie let after cycling, anagrammised .. this is actually a fine clue, that looks a bit dodgy initially but in fact is absolutely kosher (depending on your point of view, see comments!) and has a fine surface reading.
17 A pita isn’t out of place for snacks (9)
18 Misfit awkwardly cornered? (6,3,2,1,5,4)
SQUARE PEG IN A ROUND HOLE – I think this is just a cd. If you happen to be in a round hole, having corners is less than ideal..
23 The guy succeeded according to American star of Twilight (8)
HESPERUS – HE + S + PER (according to) + US (American). The Greek representation of Venus, the evening star. The Roman equivalent is Vesper, hence vespers, the church service..
25 Returning home, one’s to use a specific case in house (6)
GEMINI – IN (home) + IM (I’m, ie one’s) + EG, all rev. The astrological signs are called houses, if you are polite; or superstitious piffle, if you aren’t ..
27 Shock of singular small filled pastry left unfinished (7)
STARTLE – S + TART (small filled pastry) + LE(ft), though you would think it might more likely be LEF(t) .. on edit: as Jackkt points out, it is TARTLE(t) a tartlet, left unfinished.
30 Rocket consumes last of fuel, using sustainable power (5)
SOLAR – (fue)L in SOAR, to rocket.
32 Usual dithering about mean, heartless old boy (7)
ALUMNUS – M(ea)N inside *(USUAL)
33 Not taking drink away, keeping can (9)
35 Somewhat timeless series of clues, still (9)
QUIESCENT – QUI(t)E (somewhat, timeless) + SCENT, a series of clues as in, I suppose, “On the scent of,” a la Sherlock H
36 Something with pith and a little weight on record (7)
EPIGRAM – EP (record) + I GRAM, a little weight.
37 Brush tones lacking colour for the ears (5)
GRAZE – sounds like “greys.” Good homophone!
38 Letter printer provides ruler (7)
EMPRESS – EM (letter) + PRESS (printer)
40 Place long recalled as starting point of boat race (6)
PUTNEY – PUT (place) + YEN (long), rev. The Varsity boat race goes from Putney to Mortlake.
41 Actors to keep line out of score, which may provoke a reaction (8)
CATALYST – TAL(l)Y, score with a L missing, inside CAST, your actors. I would say a catalyst assists, facilitates or speeds up a reaction rather than actually provoking it..
44 Without commitments, descriptions of change in (of/to) reef (9,3,5-4)
FOOTLOOSE AND FANCY-FREE – *(of/to), + *(REEF). Clever! of/to is changed, and reef is “fancy.”
48 Run, everyone, after some deliveries go too far (9)
OVERREACH – OVER (some deliveries) + R(un) + EACH (everyone)
50 Reversal of intention to stop widespread lunacy (7)
MADNESS – END (intention) rev. in MASS, widespread, as in eg mass hysteria
53 Sons stand to emulate troopers? (5)
SWEAR – S(ons) + WEAR (stand, put up with)
54 Turning over vermouth, vent and take place inside pub, being sozzled (11)
INEBRIATION – so, the pub is an INN. Inside it, reversed, we have O(ver) + IT (vermouth) AIR (vent) and BE (take place).

“It” is short for Italian vermouth, ie Martini, in “Gin & it.”

55 Mother moves without agency, accepting article’s core subject (11)
MATHEMATICS – THE (article) in MAMA (mother) + TICS, moves with without agency, ie involuntary ones.
56 Twitchy condition of failed UN state (7)
TETANUS – *(UN STATE). Muscle spasms are a main symptom of tetanus. About 10% of cases are fatal, and the infrequency of deaths in the UK is mainly due to vaccination.
57 Quizzical archer? (7)
EYEBROW – If you arch a brow you are quizzical, so it appears. I’m not strong on body language
58 Doctor wraps right side for bottom scraper (7)
DREDGER – R(ight) + EDGE (side) in DR.
1 Boil or spot next to be reduced (6)
SEETHE – SEE (spot) + THE(n), next, reduced.
2 A nondrinker stops and comes to (7)
ATTENDS – A + TT (teetotaller) + ENDS (stops)
3 Guts misshaped red outfit (9)
4 Are southern breaks way out? (5)
EXIST – S(outhern) in EXIT (way out)
5 Tory to invite disrespect (8)
CONTEMPT – CON (tory) + TEMPT, to invite
6 Loose lid stripped without force? (5)
BERET – BERE(f)T, stripped
7 As soon as in credit, taking on new business (7)
CONCERN – ONCE (as soon as) inside CR(edit) + N(ew)
8 Heading north, before crossing Iowa, northern Idaho, shout: Texas is outstanding (14)
EXTRAORDINAIRE – another one I biffed. Reverse all of the following, inside ERE (before): IA + N + ID + ROAR + TX. Got all that? Three states.. I’m taking the abbreviations on trust!
9 Head of research keen on cutting phrases for paper copies (9)
PRINTOUTS – R(esearch) +INTO (keen on), inside PUTS, phrases, as in “She phrases/puts it very neatly”
10 Patch together little dog one runs over (3,2)
RIG UP –  PUG (small, unattractive dog) + I + R , all reversed
11 Negative conditioning, a type someone nonbinary is about to criticise (8,7)
AVERSION THERAPY – A + VERSION (type) + RAP (to criticise) in THEY (someone). I shall ignore the superfluous “nonbinary.”
12 Result takes in sexual activity connected to bedroom (2,5)
EN SUITE – IT (sexual activity) in ENSUE (result)
19 Menu item available after scrolling? (7)
ROULADE – processed food, arranged in a roll and sliced.
20 Dan’s inferior defence against sprawl? (5,4)
GREEN BELT – well, a green belt is one of the lower judo and karate belts, well below the Bruce Lee level. It is the third level in judo, and the fifth in karate. Also it is an increasingly ineffective and unsuccessful attempt to restrain urban development. So I am assuming that is what the “inferior” refers to
21 Sketch en travesti is a triumph (7)
DRAWING – WIN (triumph) in DRAG, en travesti, which is the coy term used for drag in theatre, opera and ballet.
22 Constitution of champagne, I’m afraid to say (8)
PHYSIQUE – sounds like “Fizz eek!” How I do love a dodgy homphone
24 Small mischievous pair roam with guys, not ultimately becoming better (4-11)
SELF-IMPROVEMENT – S(mall) + ELF + IMP (mischievous pair) + ROVE + MEN + (no)T. Slightly dodgy surface, but overall a very neat clue, this
26 Notwithstanding retreat of enemy, warns part of UK (2,5,2)
IN SPITE OF – all reversed: FOE (enemy) TIPS (warns) NI (part of UK, though not Britain)
28 Request admission, to dine inside (8)
ENTREATY – EAT (to dine) in ENTRY (admission)
29 Product of top quality with limited options (8-6)
MULTIPLE-CHOICE – MULTIPLE (product, as in the product of 3×4 is 12
31 Republican America to win acceptance of British philosopher (7)
RUSSELL – R + US + SELL. A reference to Bertrand, 3rd Earl Russell, philosopher and Nobel Laureate.
34 Brief report of hot weather on radio (7)
SUMMARY – sounds like “Summery.” Another homophone! Feeling spoiled  today 🙂
39 People looking for a secret passage? (9)
STOWAWAYS – A CD, and rather a good one ..
42 Aviation industry and beyond love boarding quickly (9)
AEROSPACE – another one I biffed, and now am having trouble parsing. I see EROS inside APACE (quickly). But how is EROS “beyond love?” I thought it was his raison d’etre, pretty much. Comments welcomed.

On edit: as Kevin says, we must expand the definition, leaving us with EROS (love) inside APACE (quickly). Nice to have that sorted..

43 Low current turned off with zero watts (8)
44 Run joint without any women’s bloomers supplied by me (7)
FLORIST – FLO(w) (run) + (w)RIST (joint), with the W for women’s removed
45 Has-been, I’m one in part up as Oscar candidate? (7)
NOMINEE – hidden, rev., in HAS-BEEN I’M ONE
46 Late PM’s unlimited revenge, staying elected (7)
EVENING – IN (elected), inside (r)EVENG(e)
47 When signature’s ending in slip, use this? (6)
ERASER – AS (when) + (signatur)E inside ERR (slip)
49 Leading couple in repertory theatre season’s show again (5)
RERUN – RE(pertory) + RUN, a theatre season
51 Below delta there’s uncapped bone object (5)
DEMUR – D (delta) + (f)EMUR
52 Await settlement after small outlay (5)
SPEND – S(mall) + PEND, await settlement, perhaps in a PENDing tray

Author: JerryW

I love The Times crosswords..

14 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1583 – 5 November 2022”

  1. AEROSPACE: I think the definition is ‘Aviation industry and beyond’, aviation being Earth-bound.

  2. At 16ac I have misgivings because it involves an indirect anagram which I have always understood is not allowed in The Times puzzles and indeed one blogger earlier in the week referred to it as ‘verboten’.

    1. Cycling could also mean placing the last letter first, ie LET becomes TLE. Would that help you, I wonder?
      I never much care about rules I can’t even see. The clue was solvable and fair, which is all that really matters to me.

      1. Yes, that was the way I justified it when solving but I wasn’t entirely convinced.

        I feel less constricted by rules since I started solving Guardian puzzles where it seems almost anything goes but I think when The Times appears to go against long-standing rules or conventions it needs to be commented on. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect the letters of an anagram to appear somewhere in the clue.

        1. For 16ac the intended wordplay is LET + REST (allowed + to take a break), all cycled, which I think is less dodgy than “X to take Y after cycling (of X)”.
          In either case, it’s not an indirect anagram, which means an unknown permutation of unknown letters. Here, the permutation is described fairly clearly.

  3. FOI 18ac SQUARE PEG ETC. Among my notes I find “[expletive deleted] surfaces’. I didn’t notice the problem with TRESTLE, but I agree with Jack. I’ve also never seen a clue like ‘left unfinished’, with 2 final letters deleted. Is there something about a BERET that makes it looser than, say, a fedora? I had no idea what was going on with PHYSIQUE, and now I see why. I don’t see anything particularly dodgy about the homophony. I did like FOOTLOOSE ETC.

    1. Well I can help with STARTLE. It’s S (singular), TARTLE{t} (small filled pastry) [left unfinished].

  4. Dan is generally used in martial arts to refer to levels of black belts so I think the first definition for 20D is “Dan’s inferior”.

  5. A fun Jumbo with several ticks on my copy completed in about 45 minutes, so in the goldilocks zone of difficulty for me. LOI GEMINI, being slow to remember ‘house’ = ‘sign of the zodiac’. My favourite was the Fizz Eek homophone. I parsed 20D as “Bruce Lee” did above. Thanks Jerry and setter.

    1. I like “Goldilocks zone” 🙂
      But I’m not convinced that really was Bruce Lee commenting (inverted commas noted!). Is TfTT connected to the hereafter?

      1. Alas connecting the site to the hereafter is beyond my coding skills. Of course lurking visitors to the site can comment with any name they like without registering. I somehow doubt that an email to the email address of our commenter, “bruce@lee.com” will elicit a response. But it’s harmless and all part of the fun of the blog, to my mind. Rather that than be plagued by botspam!

        1. Yes indeed … but, perhaps the hereafter is connected to us? I know that if I end up there, I would miss TfTT, and would want something done about it..

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