Times Cryptic Jumbo 1614 (Bank Holiday Monday 08 May 2023)


I have no solving time for this as I did it over more than one session, but I found it quite easy. The were two words unknown to me (at 23ac and 2dn) but I deduced them from a combination of checkers, wordplay and guesswork. Neither result looked very convincing so I was amazed afterwards to find that both were correct.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Stand in place with islands immersed in river (8)
PUT ((place) + IS (islands) contained by [immersed in] DEE (river)
5 Ocean floor beginning to enshroud sailor (6)
SEED (beginning e.g. of an idea) containing (to enshroud) AB (sailor)
9 Layer one’s rolled back in warehouse (7)
I’S (one’s) reversed [rolled back) contained by [in] DEPOT (warehouse)
14 Farmer grew worried about area becoming threat to life (4,7)
Anagram [worried] of FARMER GREW containing [about] A (area)
15 Prompt attention securing scutched fibres for such clothes? (5-2-4)
READY (prompt) + EAR (attention) containing [securing] TOW (scutched fibres). Collins: tow – the fibres of hemp, flax, jute, etc, in the scutched state, And scutch – to separate the fibres from the woody part of flax by pounding. I didn’t know any of this, but I had heard of ‘tow-coloured’ hair which is described as pale yellow, flaxen.
16 Comfort Labour’s leader drawing support (5)
EASE (comfort), L{abour} [leader]
17 Stone initially laid into box perhaps for bridge (7)
ST (stone – weight) + L{aid} [initially] contained by [into] TREE (box perhaps). I’d not heard of trestle as a bridge, but knowing it as a type of table it didn’t require a great leap of the imagination.
18 Speech by ambassador in turban for example? (9)
HE (ambassador – His/Her Excellency), ADDRESS (speech)
19 Prodigal son coming first, being submissive (7)
S (son), LAVISH (prodigal)
20 Sweet sauce, not quite cold, with some hot bananas (9,6)
Anagram [bananas] of SAUCE COL{d} [not quite] SOME HOT
22 Where standards may be set to be observed? (4,6)
Cryptic. It took me far too long to stop thinking about flagpoles andswitch to horticulture, ‘standard’ being a hybrid rose with the flowers and leaves at the top of a long upright stem.
23 Place for Cologne firm located within baker’s base? (6)
CO (firm) contained by [located within] FLAN (baker’s base). Collins: flacon – a small stoppered bottle or flask, such as one used for perfume. I constructed this from wordplay and was surprised to find it exists. Before today the word has had only a single outing in the TfTT era and that was in a Mephisto.
25 Religious portrait the writer does? (4)
I CON (the writer does – I swindle)
28 Site for oil and rubber industry? (7,7)
A great cryptic clue!
30 Eccentric American avoiding press and public (2,6)
Anagram [eccentric] of AMERICAN
32 Lines on child’s foot (8)
INFANT (child), RY (lines – railway). Historically in the military ‘infantry’ = ‘foot’ aka ‘men of foot’.
34 Corruptly helping rich to bank smallest amount, duke with impeccable morals? (4-10)
Anagram [corruptly] of HELPING RICH containing [to bank ] 1P (smallest amount), then D (duke)
37 Soothing lotion taken from royal residence for test (4)
{Balm}ORAL (royal residence) [soothing lotion taken from]. The King’s main home in Scotland.
38 Reputation British sailors have around east (6)
RN (British sailors – Royal Navy) + OWN (have) containing [around] E (east)
39 Mugs people in street for an amount to be paid (10)
ASSES (mugs – fools), then MEN (people) contained by [in] ST (street)
43 EU boss, centrist, in lather with five: is it getting in the way? (15)
Anagram [in lather] of EU BOSS CENTRIST V (five)
45 Girl crossing mountain to find plant (7)
VERA (girl) containing [crossing] BEN (Scottish mountain)
47 Really old man needing time to follow a TV show (4,5)
SO (really), A, POP (old man), ERA (time)
49 Dave’s outside, sitting in coach to make deal (5-2)
D{av}E [‘s outside] contained by [sitting in] TRAIN (coach)
51 Written in Sanskrit, he takes letter to Greeks (5)
Hidden [written in] {Sanskri}T HE TA{akes}
52 All the musicians having a rhyme for this Little Richard hit? (5,6)
TUTTI (all the musicians), FRUTTI (rhyme for tutti). ‘Tutti’ is a musical direction for all musicians in an ensemble to play together.
53 Butler say leading Mrs Barker round cabin? No spacious dwelling (6,5)
RAB (Butler say), then BITCH (Mrs Barker – female dog) containing [round] HUT (cabin). Richard Austen Butler, widely referred to as RAB, was a leading politician of his day but as he retired from politics in 1965 I doubt he’s known to most people in the UK these days. I can’t imagine why overseas solvers should be expected to know of him.
54 Plant science’s leading character featured in talk (7)
S{cience} [leading character] contained by [featured in] PARLEY (talk)
55 Communist swallowing fish eye (6)
RED (communist) containing [swallowing] GAR (fish)
56 Popular female, lightly cooked, died — it’s the radiation (8)
IN (popular), F (female) RARE (lightly cooked), D (died)
1 Wander like engineers on ship (7)
DIG (like), RE (Royal engineers), SS (ship)
2 Rhythmic motion for each one — it’s lass dancing! (11)
PER (for each), I (one) then anagram [dancing] of IT’S LASS. I didn’t know this word, and it has not appeared before in any Times puzzle in the TfTT era. Collins: peristalsis -the succession of waves of involuntary muscular contraction of various bodily tubes. I took a bit at a stab at the anagram section of the clue and managed to get it right.
3 Terry‘s thoroughly at home wearing brief Roman garment (9)
WELL (thoroughly) + IN (at home) contained by [wearing] TOG{a} (Roman garment) [brief]. A pile fabric made from cotton or linen.
4 Brick carrier one to ensure patient progress? (9-6)
STRETCHER (brick), BEARER (carrier). I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking of ‘hod’ before anything else.
6 King excluding MP from immunity in vigorous action (8)
EXEMPTION (immunity) becomes EXERTION when R (King) excludes MP
7 Amusing character all for bear-hugs when sloshed (6,2,6)
Anagram [sloshed] of ALL FOR BEAR-HUGS
8 Lookout killing first crawler (10)
DEATH (killing), WATCH (lookout). Collins confirms that ‘deathwatch’ on its own is an alternative to ‘deathwatch beetle’.
9 Supervision at certain times, or 24-hour protection? (3,4)
Two ways of interpreting the answer
10 Dig to cover radioactive metal projecting slightly (5)
PROD (dig) containing [to cover] U (radioactive metal – uranium)
11 3D viewer to see crop circles in southeast (11)
Anagram [circles] of TO SEE CROP contained by [in] SE (southeast)
12 News boss after party severely punished (8)
THRASH (party), ED (news boss)
13 Unclothed English seen after pub (4)
BAR (pub), E (English)
20 Contemporary army officer embracing Signora Peron? (6)
COL (army officer) containing [embracing] EVA (Signora Peron)
21 Eastern art fiddle old Parisian chum conceals (7)
O (old) +  AMI (Parisian chum – friend) contains [conceals] RIG (fiddle)
22 Stay on putting graduate in control (6)
MA (graduate) contained by [in] REIN (control)
24 Poor vintner not one in for abstinence on a national scale? (15)
Anagram [poor] of VINTNER NOT ONE IN
26 Freestyle swimmer seen with tired wife on break (3-2,9)
ALL-IN (tired), W (wife), REST (break), LING (swimmer – fish).  SOED: freestyle (noun) – an amateur style of wrestling with an agreed set of rules
also called all-in wrestling
27 Outlaw in Paris said to be gang member (6)
BAN (outlaw), DIT (said, in Paris – French)
29 Scrap by right boxing area in ring? (7)
ANNUL (scrap) + R (right) containing [boxing] A (area)
31 Emergency primarily concerning river: one in Oxford? (6)
C{oncerning} [primarily], R (river),  ISIS (one – river – in Oxford)
33 Arsonist needing wood works in compound (11)
FIR (wood) then ART (works) contained by [in] ESTER (chemical compound)
35 One finding romance? (3,8)
Cryptic. One definition of ‘romance’ is ‘an inventive falsehood’.
36 An old lady having giggle about mysterious substance (10)
AN, TITTER (giggle) containing [about] MA (old lady)
40 Rake perhaps one betraying revolutionary in Senior Common Room (9)
RAT (one betraying) + CHE (revolutionary ) contained by [in] SCR (Senior Common Room)
41 Employment found in sweltering work where roofer operates? (8)
USE (employment) contained by [found in] HOT, OP (work)
42 One able to fix broken marriages? (8)
‘One able to fix’ is a straight definition but there’s also a cryptic hint if the clue is taken as a whole leading to the non-existent word RE-PAIRER.
44 150 — very old without doubt (7)
CL (150), EARLY (very old)
46 Ace assaulted and embarrassed (7)
A (ace), BASHED (assaulted)
48 Four? Five? All regularly seen in window (5)
{f}O{u}R {f}I{v}E {a}L{l} [regularly]
50 Flower at first looks black in central Greece (4)
L{ooks} + B{ack} [at first]  contained by [in[ {Gr}EE{ce} [central]

4 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1614 (Bank Holiday Monday 08 May 2023)”

  1. DNK THRASH, ‘scutched’. I knew of RAB Butler by chance, which was a good thing as ‘Mrs Barker’ escaped me completely. DNK ‘standards’ in the requisite sense. I knew FLACON, which was a good thing as I didn’t understand ‘flan’ as baker’s base. DNK ‘proud’, which ODE says is (Brit.), although I did know ‘proud flesh’. Is ‘an’ necessary in 39ac? PERISTALSIS is what some laxatives are intended to stimulate. Is there some reason why Mrs. Peron is Signora not Señora?

  2. As always, tricky to remember after a lapse of time. My brief contemporaneous note suggests about average difficulty, the left easier than the right. Is 26d ‘Freestyle’ a loose definition? Enjoyed CHOCOLATE MOUSSE, TRADE-IN and LIE DETECTOR. Appreciation as always.

    1. Yes, I’d agree that ‘freestlye’ is a loose definition as it can be applied to many sports, but the wordplay and enumeration provides the means of deducing the answer. Of course it can apply to swimming so I imagine the setter couldn’t resist teasing us with a diversion.

  3. 1hr 9mins. A good straightforward one. No insurmountable unknowns. I remembered peristaltic waves from school biology. I can’t think why. It must have impressed me mightily at the time. I enjoyed SEABED, INFANTRY, DIGRESS and REPAIRER but COD to the LIE DETECTOR finding romance

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