Times Cryptic Jumbo 1588 – 10 December 2022

Hello again. This Jumbo I thought was definitely harder than average, but I have been bugridden this week so it might be just me. I did think it was rather splendid, with some really neat clues, definitions and surfaces. Thank you, setter! I hope Santa brings you everything you want.

I ploughed steadily through most of it, but was left with a little group down South (42, 46, 47, 57) that resisted for quite a time. I don’t like to cheat to solve a crossword I’m blogging (or at all, really), and fortunately I did get there in the end, using the old put-it-to-one-side-and-forget-it-for-a-while technique..

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 Left-leaning character supports corporal punishment (9)
BACKSLASH – BACKS (supports) + LASH (what I had at school once, and at home quite a lot, not at all justified, carry a grudge to this day)
6 Some of the French match that we hope to avoid (7)
DESPAIR – DES (some, in French, as in “Des Derrières”) + PAIR (match).
10 Start of first introduction in garden (still unchanged on reflection) (5)
MADAM – A reference to “Madam I’m Adam,” a simple palindrome of obscure origin and doubtful veracity
13 Error by defence — rotting in gaol now (3,4)
OWN GOAL – *(GAOL NOW). Is “rotting” an adequate anagrind?
14 Second contest for Ali or Rocky, say (5)
MOVIE – MO (second) + VIE, contest, as a verb. I assume Ali and Rocky are the names of films, haven’t checked or seen either of them.
15 Hero, for example, meddles with heroine in Wessex (9)
PRIESTESS – PRIES (meddles) + TESS, she of the d’Urbervilles. Hero was a virgin priestess of Aphrodite, which however didn’t stop Leander from getting his leg over.
16 Shakespearean duo in scene of Romeo and Juliet (3,3,9,2,6)
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA – A CD. A play by Shakespeare, set in the same location as Romeo & Juliet.
17 Like voyage in storm (6)
ASSAIL – AS SAIL, ie like a voyage.
18 French scorer’s side grabbing point in return (8)
MASSENET – NESS (point, as in Orford Ness) inside TEAM (side), then all reversed. I had vaguely heard of him.
19 Reform repeals act that made thing worse again (7)
RELAPSE – *(REPEALS). A neat clue
22 Old vehicle with new driver exposed as public nuisance (6,4)
LITTER LOUT – LITTER (old vehicle, basically a portable bed) + L (new driver) + OUT, exposed.
23 Info, including something to do with key and pitch for instrument (12)
GLOCKENSPIEL – LOCK (something to do with a key) inside GEN (info) + SPIEL, a pitch, usually a sales pitch. A glockenspiel is similar to a xylophone but has metal bars not wooden ones
27 Capital single person, we hear (5)
SEOUL – A homophone for SOLE. This was news to me – but Collins online’s pronunciation is bang on, I  must have been pronouncing it wrong all these years ..
29 European’s in danger in that situation (7)
THEREAT – E(uropean) in THREAT (danger)
30 Use prior not in order as head of religious house (8)
SUPERIOR – *(USE PRIOR). A slightly strange surface reading but it makes sense given that Priors are male and Superiors female.
32 With a single alteration, roomy? Not true (8)
SPECIOUS – SPACIOUS (roomy) with a letter altered. I was confused by this, as specious IS , with spaciousa single alteration ..
34 Tool prodigal female returned (7)
FRETSAW – WASTER (prodigal) + F(emale), rev. We’ve all got one somewhere, in the workshop, haven’t we?
36 Face Republican in Georgia or Alabama, say (5)
FRONTR(epublican) in FONT, which both Georgia and Alabama turn out to be. Alabama is a strange modern rather fancy font. This particular clue I have written in Georgia, which is quite nice really, don’t you think?

Anything is better, mind you, than the confusing, eye-straining font The Times uses for its crossword clues.

39 Force largely destroyed accommodation for journalists (5,7)
PRESS GALLERY – PRESS (force) + *(LARGELY). I must have seen largely/gallery before, but don’t remember it..
41 Finish after short day with vessel, something mates enjoy (10)
FRIENDSHIP – FRI (short day) + END (finish) + SHIP
44 One that slips easily into operas performing dance (7)
REELING – a slippery EEL, inside RING, an impenetrable cycle of operas.

I remember going to see the Highland Games at Braemar, many years ago. They had seven or eight stages, each with highland dancing on for the whole day long from 8am. Twosomes, foursomes, eightsomes, strathspeys … one after the other and all marked out of ten or whatever, all highly competitive. And don’t even mention all the bagpiping 🙂

46 It’ll transform us into a superpower (5,3)
SHIFT KEY – This took me a while. The shift key transforms us into US, your superpower still.
48 Person taking a lot of interest in you, reportedly less unreliable (6)
USURER – U “you” + SURER, more reliable if you ignore the double negative
50 Toast for campers with goals, virtually (2,3,7,3,8)
TO ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES – A toast “To all in tents,” AND PURPOSES (goals)
53 Church’s assent required before one joins services (9)
AMENITIES – AMEN (church’s assent) + I (one) + TIES (joins)
54 Feature of poetry when recited — it’s read (5)
METER – sounds like METRE, a feature of poetry or so they say, I have a tin ear for that sort of thing. And for the present, most meters are read but increasingly, they just send off their readings electronically..
55 Heard I’m a highflier, with different stress? Not a pretty sight (7)
EYESORE – Sounds like I SOAR. Kind of the setter to point out the different stress, many wouldn’t ..
56 Relating to part of limb or part of organ (5)
PEDAL – a DD, one relating to feet and one relating to an actual organ
57 Free home featured in fourth of March issue (7)
AMNESTY – another tricky one: NEST (home) in AMY, who is the fourth and youngest of the March sisters in Little Women. A book I have never read, and most likely never will, but the other three, Meg, Jo and Beth have all turned up in crosswords at some time or another, so be warned ..
58 Newcomer to society replacing front of clothing that’s exclusive (9)
DEBARMENT – GARMENT, with the G replaced by DEB, once a newcomer to society. Hopefully this upmarket marriage mart is behind us now.


1 Cure a disease of livestock (5)
BLOAT – A dd, neither definition being in any way edifying. Google it if you must.. I had heard of bloaters though, a cured herring.
2 Focus of discussion, changing clothes at announcement of truce (12,5)
CONVERSATION PIECE – AT, in CONVERSION (changing) + PIECE, sounds like peace. Another very neat clue!
3 Ring is in news, with awfully “woke” princess (4,5)
SNOW WHITE – O (ring) in *(NEWS WITH). Best clue yet?
4 Flip two parts of legal point, making claim (6)
ALLEGE – LEGAL, with a bit of flipping to get to ALLEG, + E, a point of the compass
5 German writer with a short act kept in shade: influence on our acting (5,6)
HUMAN NATURE – MANN + A TUR(n), in HUE, a shade. We all know Thomas Mann I expect, Death in Venice and all that.. and a Nobel Laureate
6 Indeed, evil is hidden herein (8)
DEVILISH – hidden, in indeedevilishidden. Hidden in hidden, hmm.. I love the clue, but was not sure what to underline!
7 Angler letting first two go, in general (7)
SHERMAN – (fi)SHERMAN. General William Tecumseh Sherman, a senior US civil war general, sadly best known for having a tank named after him.
8 Climber’s helpers in Nepal mishandled punishing situation (11)
ALPENSTOCKS – *(NEPAL) + STOCKS, that folk once were put into as a punishment. A forerunner of the ice-axe
9 Check behind church’s buttress (9)
REINFORCE – REIN (check) + FOR (behind) + CE (church, of England)
10 Married ladies stirred up trouble for people holding hands (7)
MISDEAL – M(arried) + *(LADIES)
11 Because of work one can’t perform, nothing ensues (3,2)
DUE TO – DUET, a work one probably can perform but it wouldn’t be easy, + O
12 In error, not clear about broken ankle (10)
MISTAKENLY – *(ANKLE) in MISTY, not clear
17 Finally cut world record? (5)
ATLAS – AT LAS(t). A neat definition!
20 False prophet — he is no loss as maker of miraculous conversions? (12,5)
PHILOSOPHERS STONE – *(PROPHET HE IS NO LOSS). Still looking for this ..
21 Part of job lot — tomatoes, canned or pickled (6)
BLOTTO – hidden, in job lot tomatoes. What none of us would ever admit to being.
24 Coffee — third of morning, or second (6)
LATTER – LATTE (coffee) + (mo)R(ning)
25 Refinement of character is inspiring when taken up (5)
SERIF – FIRES (is inspiring), reversed. A serif is a small addition to letters, I would give an example but TfTT only recognises sans serif fonts like this one. Google Garamond, for a stylish serif font. On edit, Kevin points out that this blog is written (36ac apart) in a serif font. The font, it turns out, is called “Serif,” which perhaps should have given me a hint.. but even so, I cannot see any actual serifs. The Wiki article is clearer about what is or isn’t a serif…
26 One of the herd, person needing will to succeed without extra teaching (6)
HEIFER – FE in HEIR. The heir needs a will in order to succeed, and I am guessing that FE might stand for further education.
28 Danger to crops when temperature’s dropped in place (5)
31 Cosmetic daughter kept in cube, for example (6)
POWDER – D(aughter) in POWER. A cube is a number raised to the power of three
33 Representative having small drinks for each boy (11)
35 Conceded blunder when upset in split (11)
SURRENDERED – ERR (blunder), reversed in SUNDERED (split)
37 Nocturnal mammal I caught in diabolical trap (5)
TAPIR – I in *(TRAP). Tapirs are rather sweet little animals, like a small pig with a long nose. I had not realised they are nocturnal, more or less, though like my cats they are also crepuscular, one of my very favourite words.
38 It illuminates page after page in terrible mistrial (6,4)
SPIRIT LAMP – P(age) in *(MISTRIAL) + P(age)
40 Run into spy in a foreign country (9)
42 Since I had turned up, pianos and organ fade away (9)
DISAPPEAR – AS I’D (since I had) rev., + PP (pianos) + EAR, an organ
43 Bargain with what used to be your secret (8)
STEALTHY – STEAL (a bargain) with THY, “your” in ye olden days
45 Start of my statement of intent repeated after women’s animosity (3,4)
ILL WILL – I’LL twice, with W(omens) in the middle.
47 Ideology so affected by mass movement in Panama, say (7)
ISTHMUS – One of my tricky ones, partly because I had a Panama hat fixation. It is ISM (an ideology) + THUS (so), with the M for mass moved down a bit.
49 Magnificent, this owl watched by millions in US? (6)
SUPERB – SUPERB(owl), an event watched by millions, presumably because they don’t televise the cricket over there
51 A point each, otherwise leading (5)
AHEAD – A HEAD (point, as in Dunnet Head or Flamborough Head, with a choice of definition
52 Fish detected under bridge? (5)
SMELT – A smelt is one of various different small fish, and something sniffed is smelt, using the business end of a nose, under the bridge..

Author: JerryW

I love The Times crosswords..

13 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1588 – 10 December 2022”

  1. I seem to have found this difficult, although I ultimately parsed all the clues except HEIFER. DNK that Alabama was a type face (this blog is written in a serif font, Jerry; except for the title). DNK either meaning of BLOAT.

    1. It is, except for 36ac which is in Georgia. Sorry if that wasn’t clear, I have amended the text. The fonts are rather similar, have to say I slightly prefer Georgia.
      … Oh, and now I see you were referring to 25dn. Yes, not sure what happened there! Will correct..

  2. I never time Jumbos and can’t recall whether I found this particularly difficult, but the lack of comments on my print-out suggests it didn’t present me with any major problems.

    Re 3dn, sadly the “woke” princess is already here as a new Disney film of Snow White is in post-production and awaiting release next year or 2024. No prince, no dwarfs.

  3. ”Surely” said I “surely that is
    Something at my window lattice;
    Let me see, then, what thereat is,
    and this mystery explore –

    Nice one. Just within the allotted two hours. Several where I couldn’t pin the parsing down at first – including MADAM, MOVIE, HUMAN NATURE – but enjoyed belated PDMs after submission and from the blog. Many thanks. I was flummoxed for ages by the SUPERB American OWL.

    Were you, Jerry, being coyly cryptic about Sherman – what he is sadly best known for? His tank is, of course, CRS. The March sisters were a sequence in Only Connect last night enabling me to astonish mrs k with my literature GK.

    I was shocked to realise I knew nothing about Snow White apart from the dwarfs. I did not know (I had forgotten, I assume) that she was a princess, or how she came to live happily ever after. I liked 17dn ATLAS (world record) but COD to 46ac SHIFT KEY and WOD to 29ac THEREAT, one of my favourite rhymes in poetry

  4. Thanks for the blog Jerry. I had lots of question marks in my notes but on second reading it all seems fairly straightforward. Maybe I too was still suffering from the various bugs I’ve had recently as my time of 1:31:50 was quite a bit slower than usual.

  5. One pink square for me for a carelessly biffed MASSINET and not paying enough attention to the wordplay. This crossword (and the comments) contains one of my pet peeves since I worked in printing as a teenager. What is called a “font” in this crossword (and on computers) is actually a “typeface”. A font is a typeface + a point size + whether it is bold or italic etc. So “10pt Helvetica bold” is a font. In letterpress days, it was actually a drawer of type and you couldn’t change from 10pt to 12pt simply by changing a value. I just checked and Chambers still has only this definition, and doesn’t admit to “font” being used for “typeface” as it mostly is these days. At 57ac I had to reverse engineer that there must be a character called Amy in Little Women and she must have been the fourth daughter (I’ve never read the book either, and I don’t expect I will).

    Sherman is pretty famous for the “march to the sea” and burning Atlanta in Gone with the Wind.

    1. Well, that is an interesting point, and one can certainly see the logic of distinguishing between a font and a typeface. I will remember that, and thank you for pointing it out. I see Collins and Dictionary.com also adhere to that definition..
      I blame Microsoft (not for the first time), for confusing the issue ..
      Since you clearly know your stuff, is this a serif typeface? It is called serif, but I don’t see any.. comment welcomed

      1. This is a serif typeface. The serifs are the tiny little protrusions at the bottom of letters. In a sans-serif (without serif) typeface, for example, an upper-case I is a straight vertical bar. With serifs, it is like a very squashed H on its side. Look at the I here and you can see the serifs. Maybe you are looking for something else.

        Oh, and I think it was actually Apple (or maybe Xerox PARC) that confused the issue. And that’s even with Steve Jobs having studied typography.

          1. Ah, I hadn’t thought of that. It is “serif” (either Times Roman or close) on my browserl

Comments are closed.