Times Cryptic Jumbo 1596 – Though our health we drank a thousand times

I needed over an hour to plough through this but looking back on the clues while writing up the blog I’m not sure what held me up.  That said, there a a few places where I’m not 100% that it all works as expected (see write-up for details) so maybe I hesitated here and there when puzzled.

First in was RALLIED and last was FOCSLES.

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

The technical stuff:

Clues are in blue (unless you’re in dark mode) with the definition underlined.  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 G[rand]

1 Shape of playing area a complication (9)
RECTANGLE – REC (as in recreation ground), TANGLE.  Some solvers might be irked by the dangling A.
6 Recovered and exchanged shots (7)
RALLIED – DD (tennis in the case of the second)
10 One whistling loudly back, drowning one military bandsman? (5)
FIFER – reversal of REF[eree] F[orte] around I
13 Lead pipe fitted on the right (7)
CONDUCT – DUCT on CON[servative]
14 Feeling light-headed in the saddle? Get along! (5-2)
15 Provisional home — limited period one is in occupation (7)
16 Break the ice and lead off first dance, drunk (5,3,4,7)
17 Barbarian ending chase early (3)
18 Skips exercise, sitting in carriages (6)
CAPERS – P[hysical] E[ducation]
20 The German war machine makes an explosive return with grand incursion (6)
ENIGMA – A MINE reversed around G[rand].  It took me a while to realise we weren’t looking for the name of a tank or similar, and I was playing with variations on HE, TNT etc.
21 Created row, eating last of chocolate cake (9)
MADELEINE – MADE LINE around {chocolat}E
23 Pudding was observed to follow (7,3)
SPOTTED DOG – SPOTTED, DOG.  What you now have to call spotted dick.
25 Fancy Mrs Gandhi touring a new royal estate (11)
SANDRINGHAM – (Mrs Ghandi)* around A N[ew]
29 Asked, was against leaving work (5)
30 Ruthless leader reversing corruption among detectives (8)
DICTATOR – reversal of ROT AT CID.  At = among?  Hmmm. If you’re at (the) CID you’re among detectives. Thanks Kevin.
31 Gibbon perhaps eating bit of melon with frenzy for amount of juice (8)
AMPERAGE – APE around M{elon}, RAGE
34 Relevant software round web pages (8)
36 Side unfortunate after hard battle (8)
EDGEHILL – EDGE, ILL after H[ard].  A 1642 Engliah Civil War battle in Warwickshire.
37 Keats’s pot boy, son in bar for cricketers (5)
BASIL – Happy to be corrected but I think this is two definitions plus wordplay.  The wordplay is S[on] in BAIL. There’s a KEATS narrative poem called Isabella or the Pot Of Basil.  Basil in that instance is the plant not a boy, so I think boy on its own is one def, leaving Keats’s pot as the other.  I don’t see how that works really.  Or is it one crypticky def?
39 No profit on so-called fish? Not often (3,3,5)
NOW AND AGAIN – NO WANDA GAIN.  Ho ho. (Everyone knows the film A Fish called Wanda yeah?)
41 “Chicken heart” maybe a “foul” reprimand (6,4)
YELLOW CARD – YELLOW, CARD.  Think football refs.
43 Given back, restore centre of room perhaps (9)
45 Stump I replace, partly removed? (6)
UMPIRE – hidden, &Lit
47 Put down in writing refusal of the French flag (6)
49 Bill’s companion’s surprised expression (3)
50 Shocking remark broadcast presents provocation (12,7)
CONVERSATION STOPPER – (presents provocation)*
52 Having longer limbs, man recruited to enter race — no saint (7)
LEGGIER – G.I. in ST. LEGER without the S[ain]T
53 Windier, becoming braver as time advances (7)
GUTSIER – GUSTIER with the T[ime] shunted forward.  An unusual case of the definition appearing in the middle of the clue.
54 One snooker shot secures quiet stalemate (7)
IMPASSE – I, MASSE around P[iano].  A massé is one of those near-vertical swerve shots that is bound to result in a torn cloth if you aren’t a pro.  I haven’t yet learned how to embed links on the new site but you might care to check out Jimmy White massé on the old YouTube.
55 Small spray of flowers, a number out of season (5)
56 Record relating to part of the digestive system (7)
ENTERON – ENTER, ON.  It’s the alimentary canal, especially of an embryo.
57 After exercise they dread becoming dry (9)
DEHYDRATE – (they dread)*


1 Holder going on back in fight to cause devastation (8)
RUCKSACK – RUCK, SACK.  Nice definition.
2 Against finally joining a line dance (5)
CONGA – CON, {joinin}G, A
3 Meaning of X once maintaining drug is “cut” (11)
4 Been given tea? You’ve been tricked! (6)
5 Encourages saying of grace, leaving one working breakfast in America? (4,8)
EGGS BENEDICT – EGGS, BENEDICTion. This is my benchmark breakfast dish when trying out a new café or restaurant.  Whilst it was popularised in New York City I think it’s sufficiently well known here not to need the US indicator.  Maybe the setter is a Supertramp fan.  I can’t make much sense of the surface reading either way.
6 Left flyer advancing the progress of the nascent car industry? (3,4)
RED FLAG – I see this as a DDCDH based on the early automobiles having to have a man with a red flag walking in front.
7 Greatly value hypermarket in small car park (3,5,5,2)
LAY GREAT STORE BY – GREAT STORE in LAY-BY.  This cropped in a daily cryptic after this puzzle was published and I’d already forgotten whether the idiom begins lay / put / set and ends by / on / in. The wordplay here is more helpul than it was there.
8 Naughty child with mild illness heard spitting (10)
IMPALEMENT – IMP + homophone of AILMENT. Spitting as in putting on a spit I guess.
9 Made an idol facing in two directions (7)
DEIFIED – palindrome
10 Work such as Watteau’s seen surprisingly in teenage flat (4,7)
FETE GALANTE – (teenage flat)*. A category of painting specially created by the French Academy in 1717 to describe Antoine Watteau’s (1684–1721) variations on the theme of the fête champêtre (continued on page 74). Cue (justified) complaints about obscure foriegn terms clued as anagrams.
11 We hear out of place jokes at hotel straightaway (9)
FORTHWITH – sounds like FOURTH (i.e. not placed in a race), WIT, H[otel]
12 Tale of chivalry from Catholic church (7)
ROMANCE – ROMAN, C[hurch of] E[ngland]
19 Interjects “Something to smoke and drink?” (5,2)
22 Surgeon accepts death, thanks to bad blood (8)
24 Heresy hunter once resorted to ordaining right squit (5,10)
GRAND INQUISITOR – (ordaining R[ight] squit)*
26 Quietly persist with mule, born wild (6,2)
RUMBLE ON – (mule born)*. I can’t quite work out if “with” is a link word or part of the definition.
27 Every few days, head apparently turning around submissively here (6)
MEEKLY – WEEKLY with the W inverted to make an M.
28 Artist interrupting what Turner does? That’s a wrench (6)
SPRAIN – R[oyal] A[cademician] in SPIN
32 Too controlled, one not earning any prizes (4-3)
33 Column fought across river in the shade (6-3,3)
35 Roughly dismissed to prepare for holiday? (4,7)
37 Clapboard he fitted to small home? (8,3)
BACHELOR PAD – (clapboard he)*.  Thoughts on the anagram indicator?
38 Unimportant person having to shed pounds to qualify for bout? (10)
MAKEWEIGHT – DDCDH based on not being too heavy for your weight category in boxing.
40 Aggressor is angry over ass losing area (9)
WARMONGER – WARM (is that really angry?) + ONaGER.
42 Recalls to prison, do you say? Relent! (8)
UNFREEZE – Sounds like unfrees.
43 Concentration, not universal, on the French decks (7)
FOCSLES – FOCuS, LES.  In full, FO’C’S’LE, being short for forecastle, but in practice the third apostrophe is often ditched.
44 Course of Arabic for starters that’s got off the ground? (7)
46 Prophecy extremely slight, receiving answer of the oracle (7)
PYTHIAN – P{rophecy}Y, THIN around A[nswer].  I’ll let you have the pleasure of doing your own research if, like me, you were baffled by the definition.
48 Plum character parking son with German husband (6)
PSMITH – P[arking], S[on], MIT, H[usband].  Plum being PG Wodehouse, of course (I couldn’t believe that of 6 contestants on a recent episode of Only Connect not a one of them knew that PG’s nickname was Plum).
51 Cop ashamed to arrest Ottoman officer (5)
PASHA – hidden.


11 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1596 – Though our health we drank a thousand times”

  1. Several DNKs:FETE GALANTE, EDGEHILL, ENTERON, Keats’s poem–and the clue still doesn’t seem to work. Didn’t think of EGGS BENEDICT as American. 8d didn’t think an ailment is necessarily mild (Penfold, you’ve omitted the explanation). 45d: ‘prophecy extremely’ is PY.
    PS: If you’re at the CID, you’re among detectives, no?

  2. Another who didn’t associate EGGS BENEDICT with the USA but the Wiki article is specific on this point and states that it originated in NYC.

    Also another who queried ‘angry / WARM’.

    I thought the clue to MAKEWEIGHT was below par.

    An enjoyable puzzle apart from these minor gripes.

  3. I was confused by ‘put great store by’ having ‘greatly’ in the clue. Surely another word would have been more appropriate?

  4. Steady solve. Liked AINTREE but nothing really stood out.
    Had heard of eggs benedict, no idea as to provenance. Having read the Wiki article I don’t expect I shall be ordering them any time soon..

    I see I can’t print out today’s jumbo 1598, which I am supposed to be blogging. Earlier it would print but with most of the clues missing, which makes for a challenging solve. Now it won’t print at all. Fortunately there is time, no doubt it will be sorted out idc. Not so keen on solving online

    1. I just printed out 1598, with all (I trust) its clues. As usual, no reply from the editor to my query on the forum.

  5. This took me 1 hour 44 minutes and caused me much more trouble than it should have, looking back. I had two pink squares: one for FATE nstead of FETE in the unknown FETE GALANTE and a silly D instead of the T in SENT PACKING. And I just ran into the sand at the end. I had to look up my last three: the crossing ADULTERATED and CONDUCT and UNFREEZE.

    I still liked lots: GOTCHA and FOCSLES and GUTSIER, with the definition in the middle, but it was not my finest moment. Many thanks for the blog

  6. I enjoyed this two weeks ago . I usually finish them in an hour or so but can’t really get into today’s. Without giving anything away there is at least one obscure and non UK phrase. I wish The Times would forget about prizes ( it’s too easy to cheat) and concentrate on giving the readers a puzzle to enjoy at the weekend!

  7. Mostly plain sailing but I slowed down a lot at the end of my solve, and then discovered a silly mistake on submission. 🙁
    Same reaction as others to ‘in America’. EGGS BENEDICT is ubiquitous here these days.

  8. Completed, but needed help with ENTERON and slow to See AINTREE. Had to check existence of the NHO FETE GALANTE and PSMITH. NHO of Bill and COO, in fact I though Bills companion was sure to be Ben.

    My COD was NOW AND AGAIN, but for 50a I wanted the shocking remark to be “Marmalade Dropper”, which almost fitted. Just the kind of phrase to appear in an Jumbo Cryptic.

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