Times Cryptic Jumbo 1595 – 14 January 2023. Macing the kut

Hi all.  No time to report as I solved over several sessions, but I was certainly not fast.  I had also, in 15a, plumped for a K where the solution demanded a C.  Not being familiar with the word I simply assumed that I had made a wrong guess, but later discovered that my answer is a valid spelling.  I won’t get my knikcers in a twist over it though.

I enjoyed it all very much while solving.  We have a few old friends, a generous helping of anagrams (and some good ones in the mix – but not that one of CARTHORSE!) plus a fair bit of cutting going on, both in the clue surfaces and wordplay deletions.  I tried to pick out some highlights but couldn’t cut my long list down to size.

Thanks setter!

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics, explicit [deletions] are in square brackets, and I’ve capitalised and emboldened letters which appear in the ANSWER.  For clarity, I omit most link words and some juxtaposition indicators.

1a Some hippopotamuses provoke mirth (5)
AMUSE Some hippopotAMUSEs
4a Briefly support a SE Asian fish product (7)
BACALAO — Without the last letter (briefly), BACk (support) + A + LAO (SE Asian).  Dried and salted cod, new to me so I was pleased to fish him out of the wordplay
8a Robs stoned mariners (9)
HIGHJACKS HIGH (stoned) + JACKS (mariners)
13a Jobless socialist worker possibly hoarding unlimited funds (9)
REDUNDANT RED (socialist) and ANT (worker possibly) around (hoarding) fUNDs without the outer letters (unlimited …)
14a Managed Habitat order book (6,7)
15a Lacking self-discipline, Australia’s opener picked up more nuts (7)
ACRASIA Australia’s first letter (opener) + what sounds like (picked up) CRAZIER (more nuts)
16a A way to stop crackpot, a bit of a pig (7)
LARDOON A and RD (way) to go inside (to stop) LOON (crackpot).  I’d never seen this spelled with two Os before
17a Ah well“, she sighs, missing sons and house (5-2)
HEIGH-HO — [s]HE [s]IGH[s], without any instances of S (missing sons) + HO (house)
18a A medal that’s for those with room for improvement? (8,10)
INTERIOR DECORATION — A medal is a decoration …
21a Excellent case of rioja brought back for a song (4)
ARIA AI (excellent) and the outer letters of (case of) RiojA, all reversed (brought back)
23a Three-legged race (9)
TRIATHLON — A cryptic definition, where the legs are stages
25a Start to burn coal, ditching oil at last (6)
IGNITE — [l]IGNITE (coal) removing (ditching) the final letter of (… at last) oiL
26a Dutch painter apparently covering room with new gloss (6)
VENEER VE[rm]EER (Dutch painter) with RM replaced with N (apparently covering room with new)
28a Ballet expert to choose girl to dance (12)
CHOREOLOGIST TO CHOOSE GIRL anagrammed (to dance)
30a Breaking law, can lose benefits (10)
ALLOWANCES — An anagram of (breaking) LAW CAN LOSE
33a Insult full of emotion causes estrangement (10)
DISAFFECTS DISS (insult) containing (full of) AFFECT (emotion)
34a Orchid spray spilled all over the place (5,7)
LADY’S SLIPPER SPRAY SPILLED anagrammed (all over the place)
37a Introverts love being in railway society (6)
LONERS O (love) being in LNER (railway, London North Eastern Railway) + S (society)
39a Commander-in-Chief with programming language for drone producer (6)
CICADA CIC (Commander-in-Chief) + ADA (programming language)
40a Babies annoy anti-social type (9)
LITTERBUG LITTER (babies) + BUG (annoy)
42a Eggs on northern star (4)
NOVA OVA (eggs) next to (on) N (northern)
43a Frenchmen and I dissent furiously about a removal of rights (18)
DISENFRANCHISEMENT FRENCHMEN and I DISSENT anagrammed (furiously) around (about) A
46a English composer ultimately made poor case for piece (7)
HOLSTER HOLST (English composer) + the last letters of (ultimately) madE pooR
47a Political enforcer saying this inflicts cuts (7)
WHIPSAW WHIP (political enforcer) + SAW (saying)
48a President of India introduced to foolish boy (7)
MADISON I (India) placed in (introduced to) MAD (foolish) and SON (boy)
50a Camel tottered, moving treasure hunter’s gear (5,8)
51a Matchless version of rap online (9)
NONPAREIL — An anagram of (version of) RAP ONLINE
52a Stem of asparagus with excellent herb (9)
SPEARMINT SPEAR (stem of asparagus) + MINT excellent
53a Theatre is sued after shrinking further publication (7)
REISSUE — The answer is hidden in theatRE IS SUEd and thus found after shrinking, or removing some of the surrounding letters
54a Going west, overdrawn nation finally loses credit (5)
KUDOS — Reversed (going west, in an across entry), OD (overdrawn) and UK (nation), followed by the last letter of (finally) loseS
1d Perhaps Berber in Barnet area is a silly jerk (4-7)
AFRO-ASIATIC AFRO (barnet) + A (area) an anagram of (… silly) IS A + TIC (jerk)
2d Lower parts unclothed (5)
UNDER — sUNDERs (parts) without the outer letters (unclothed)
3d Serious, outspoken book about retired president, winner of Nobel Prize (6,10)
ERNEST RUTHERFORD — A homophone of (… outspoken) EARNEST (serious) + RUTH (book) + the reversal of (… retired) RE (about) + FORD (president)
4d Cheer for female act in show of boldness (7)
BRAVADO BRAVA (cheer for female) + DO (act)
5d Content of seed bed beguiled after years (9)
COTYLEDON COT (bed) + LED ON (beguiled) after Y (years).  One constructed entirely from wordplay (with a little help from my friendly checkers, of course)
6d Peculiar lens adjusted for astronomical event (5,7)
LUNAR ECLIPSE PECULIAR LENS anagrammed (adjusted)
7d Trip going around bucket, causing flood (10)
OUTPOURING OUTING (trip) going around POUR (bucket)
8d About to stalk female bird (5)
HERON ON (about) going after (to stalk) HEN (female)
9d Early years of Liberal doctor raised by mobster (8)
GIRLHOOD L (Liberal) and RIG (doctor) reversed (raised) next to (by) HOOD (mobster)
10d In France I go with priest (6)
JESUIT JE (in France, I) + SUIT (go with)
11d Spooner’s deer track in Clydesdale? (9)
CARTHORSE — A spoonerism of (Spooner’s) HART (deer) and COURSE (track)
12d Old creature is half-cut and goes unsteadily into the Bull (11)
STEGOSAURUS — With half removed (half-cut), iS, followed by GOES anagrammed (unsteadily) which goes into TAURUS (the Bull)
19d Then woman leaves, and seamen, heading off in cutters (7)
TAILORS T[hen] when HEN (woman) leaves + sAILORS (seamen) without the first letter (heading off)
20d Quite small person, completely unknown (7)
TOTALLY TOT (small person) + ALL (completely) + Y (unknown)
22d No charge imposed on duke by stern regulatory system (8,8)
NEGATIVE FEEDBACK NEGATIVE (no) + FEE (charge) + D (duke) + BACK (stern)
24d Laughing out loud, went ahead and sprawled (6)
LOLLED LOL (laughing out loud) + LED (went ahead)
27d Stays gracious and formal (6)
CORSET COR (gracious, interjection) + SET (formal)
29d Guests’ whimsies on a regular basis, leading to tumble? (3,4)
GET WISE GuEsTs’ WhImSiEs, alternate letters (on a regular basis)
31d Competent guy embracing dad (7)
CAPABLE CABLE (guy) around (embracing) PA (dad)
32d Moving home, oddly sneers at one old inn (12)
CARAVANSERAI CARAVAN (moving home) + odd letters of (oddly) SnEeRs At + I (one)
33d Haydn almost battered poet (5,6)
DYLAN THOMAS — An anagram of (… battered) HAYDN ALMOST
35d Heard sardonic arguments in corners of square (5,6)
RIGHT ANGLES — Sound like (heard) WRY (sardonic) + TANGLES (arguments)
36d Doctor first heals relative (4-6)
HALF-SISTER — Make an anagram of (doctor) FIRST HEALS
38d Writing note over letter without any resistance (9)
NOVELETTE N (note) + OVE[r] LETTE[r] with each R removed (without any resistance)
40d Netting wound over top of shrubs as protection against aphids? (9)
LACEWINGS LACE (netting) + WING (wound, verb) preceding (over, in a down entry) the first letter of (top of) Shrubs
41d PM of Middle Eastern country supporting Democrat (8)
DISRAELI ISRAELI (of Middle Eastern country) underneath (supporting) D (Democrat)
44d Massive blokes invading one’s space “discontentedly” (7)
IMMENSE MEN (blokes) going into (invading) IM (one’s) and SpacE without its inner letters (“discontentedly”)
45d Less original story swallowed by senior (6)
STALER TALE (story) inside (swallowed by) SR (senior)
47d Cultivated grass with passion (5)
WHEAT W (with) + HEAT (passion)
49d Time to break young horse (5)
STEED T (time) inserted in (to break) SEED (young)

5 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1595 – 14 January 2023. Macing the kut”

  1. I found this very hard work and heavy-going with many an unknown answer or reference to contend with. I think the effort of coping with it must have worn me down eventually because my solving notes record that the only word I used aids to find was NONPAREIL as my LOI, yet it’s a word I know well (apart from anything else it’s the title of a Scot Joplin rag), and it was an anagram clearly signalled in the clue. I must have been impatient to finish and go and do something else.

  2. DNK ACRASIA, and fortunately didn’t think of K. Ironically, ODE refers from ‘acrasia’ to ‘akrasia’; while Collins has both, without any cross-reference. DNK BACALAO, but I knew, and have eaten, (Portuguese) bacalhão. NHO LNER, so I was at a loss to explain the it-had-to-be LONERS. Also didn’t understand how LACEWINGS worked. I liked CORSET.

  3. I’m another with a pink square for AKRASIA, my LOI, which is the spelling that came up when I tried a wordfind for a word to fit the checkers. Equally valid as an answer, methinks. BACALAO, LARDOON, AFRO-ASIATIC and COTYLEDON were all also unknowns for me but solved from the wordplay. KOD to METAL-DETECTOR. Just under 40 minutes for me with the one afore-mentioned cheat. Thanc-you Citty and setter, but a big Golden Raspberry to 15A for having two valid answers!

  4. 1 hour 42 minutes but, like Johninterred, with one pink square for AKRASIA having looked it up in a wordsearch. I also had to look up BACALAO; I only know salt cod as baccala and that just confused me. At 54ac KUDOS, I didn’t recognise OD as an abbreviation of overdrawn. My bank uses DR (I believe). Still good fun. I liked TRIATHLON, which looked like it might be a chestnut but I’ve not seen it before. I do, of course, second the Golden Raspberry

  5. I didn’t actually do this jumbo (trying to cut down in January 🙂 but it seems I dodged quite a tricky one!
    Acrasia is obscure and akrasia looks just as valid to me.
    Bacalao is a common dish, especially in Spain & Portugal. There are far better ways of preserving fish these days, and preparing it; it survives purely on tradition. Whenever I have eaten it I have wanted to explain to the provider, the benefits of refrigeration …

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