Times Cryptic Jumbo 1619 (03 June 2023)


I found this quite easy for the most part and completed it in a single session but there are a couple of answers I haven’t been able to explain to my own  satisfaction so I’d welcome your suggestions. About half-a-dozen clues resisted repeated attempts to solve them and held out until the very end; one of them, to my chagrin, being the hidden answer at 27dn.

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 Done — as a present? (7,2)
Literal with a cryptic hint
6 Trading place accommodating a subject of David (5)
MART (trading place) containing [accommodating] A. Jean-Paul Marat was the subject of an apparently famous painting by the apparently famous artist Jacques-Louis David. Revolutionary stuff! I didn’t know any of this but the answer was inevitable from wordplay and checkers.
9 Distinguishing feature in religious group, fancy (7)
USP (distinguishing feature – Unique Selling Point) contained by [in] SECT (religious group). I fancied there was a problem with the definition here but on reflection  my suspicions proved ill-founded.
13 Board game   goes quickly (5)
Two meanings. Oh, that sort of board game!
14 Heavy metal   singer (7)
Two meanings. A singer who was unknown to me until his death hit the headlines.
15 Still at the crease, an opener for India and companion (9)
IN (at the crease – batting / cricket), AN, I{ndia} [opening], MATE (companion)
16 Shift altering when amended, chaps going in (11)
MEN (chaos) contained by [going in] anagram [when amended] of ALTERING
17 Dimmer say, speller given hints earlier (5,6)
LIGHTS (hints), WITCH (speller). Chambers Crossword Dictionary lists ‘hint’ under ‘light’ but gives no context. I can see an association between the words but have been unable to think of an example in which they can be substituted. Over to you…
18 Losing tie, I didn’t get that secured (6)
EH (I didn’t get that) contained [secured] by BIND (tie)
19 Line of waiters in country kitchen originally passing test (4,4)
TAX (test), IRAN (country),  K{itchen} [originally].  ‘Passing’ indicates the position of TAX.
21 Server of hot food, carver? (6)
Two definitions of slang words. The first refers to a ‘fish & chip’ shop, and the second is a carpenter who  I suppose could get to do some carving in his line of work .
25 Prison guards beginning to unlock very strong fastener (8)
CLINK (prison) contains [guards] U{nlock} [beginning] + FF (very strong – fortissimo, in music). The prison actually existed in Southwark but its name has survived as the slang for prison more generally.
26 Equally true, perhaps, depending on circumstances? (2,3,4,3,2)
Two perhaps opposite things may be equally true, depending on the circumstances, but that’s just a single straight definition so I assume something else is intended. Possibly if one splits fine hairs there are two meanings here? Over to you again…
28 Cuckoo, well onto perch? (5)
BAR (perch), MY (well!)
29 Legendary character, I dealt in drugs (6)
I SOLD E (I dealt in drugs)
30 Top dog say, isn’t she out in front? (4,2,4)
Anagram [out] of ISN’T SHE contained by [in] BOW (front of ship). It’s a prize category at Cruft’s Dog Show amongst others, I assume.
33 Slave driver’s preview having to pack in a second kilometre! (10)
TASTER (preview) containing [having to pack in] A + S (second) + KM (kilometre)
35 Only chastity, apparently, for apprentice (6)
NO VICE (only chastity, apparently)
36 Polish tart filled with cream, primarily (5)
SOUR (tart) containing [filled with] C{ream} [primarily]
38 Where the metacarpus is    almost blue (4,3,7)
Two meanings. The metacarpus is the skeleton of the hand consisting of 5 bones between wrist and fingers. ‘Blue’ means ‘obscene and ‘near the knuckle’ means not quite there.
40 With Great Grimsby initially held, poor result for Labour (8)
Anagram [poor] of RESULT contains [with…held] G{reat} + G{rimsby} [initially]
42 Singer who was artist abandoning lead for silver (6)
{s}ARGENT (artist) [abandoning lead]. John Singer Sargent (1856 – 1925) was American born but lived in England for much of his life. Amongst other things, argent means silver or white in heraldry.
43 White, wavy lines in costume (8)
Anagram [wavy] of LINES contained by [in] RIG (costume). This one gave me a lot of trouble as I failed to think of ‘white’ as wine until very late in the proceedings and ‘rig’ for ‘costume’ is somewhat old-fashioned.
44 Instrument plucked, one of the strings pulled back coming free (6)
SITAR (instrument plucked) + G (one of the strings) reversed [pulled back]. Another troublesome one. I thought of ‘guitar’ early on and had difficulty thinking past it. Eventually I biffed GRATIS and worked backwards from there.
47 Anger ending in men, I like people to contain it (11)
I + DIG (like) + NATION (people) containing {me}N [ending]
50 Two kisses very close together (4,3,4)
NECK AND NECK (two kisses)
52 Dog: is it you that’s cut out to be feline killer? (9)
CUR (dog), anagram [out] of IS IT YO{u} [cut]. With reference to the old saying.
53 Half of capital city beyond river, most profound (7)
DEE (river), {Buda}PEST (capital city) [half]
54 Organ containing old rope (5)
NOSE (organ) containing O (old)
55 Club sliced apart by twisting the knife (7)
MACE (club) containing [sliced apart] by anagram [twisting] of THE
56 That is picked out from candy in lounges (5)
LOLL{ie}S (candy) [that is – i.e. – picked out]
57 Pelted with rocks and seemingly scalped — the result? (5-4)
STONED (pelted with rocks), {h}EAD (seemingly scalped – top of  head removed). The definition is reflexive.
1 Winger‘s boot (5)
Two meanings
2 Welcome change, constitutional perhaps? (1,6,2,5,3)
Two meanings. A ‘constitutional’ is a walk taken regularly for the sake of one’s health or well-being. People about to set out on one may well announce that they are going for ‘a breath of fresh air’.
3 Religious performance appals noisy delinquent (7,4)
Anagram [delinquent] of APPALS NOISY
4 Old pianist    spotted playing piece? (6)
Two meanings. The old pianist is Fats Domino. Here he is singing one of his biggest hits Blueberry Hill.
5 Cheese sandwich initially eaten by average couple? (8)
S{andwich} [initially] contained [eaten] by PAR + MEAN (average couple – two words for ‘average’)
6 Big slope in Estonia spattered with mud (12)
Anagram [spattered] of IN ESTONIA MUD
7 Blue blood vessel? (5,5)
Cryptic with reference to Royals being said to have ‘blue blood’
8 Bag that’s easily ripped, tearing finally (5)
THIN (easily ripped), {tearin}G [finally]. Something that’s not ‘my bag’ or ‘my thing’ doesn’t interest me.
9 Gladiator fight cheers Caesar initially and people over here (9)
SPAR (fight), TA (cheers – thank you),  C{aesar} [initially], US (people over here)
10 Yodeller adds fine touch to piece (4,7)
SLIM (fine), WHIT (touch – tiny quantity), MAN (piece – chess). Goodness me, I wonder how many people know of this country singer. Fortunately I did. Here’s his song Cattle Call.
11 Retired performers, to be precise? (5)
EX-ACT (retired performers)
12 Peg and article form part of a new set? (6)
TEE (peg – golf), THE (definite article)
18 Drop in support for unpleasant gossip (10)
BIT (drop – small quantity) contained by [in] BACKING (support)
20 Broke down, or began to work? (6,2)
Two meanings
22 Lay out too much — as will hay fever sufferer? (3,7,3,4)
To pay out too much money for goods or service. The hay fever reference helps us think of ‘nose’ but otherwise I can’t quite see how the second part of the clue fits the answer. Perhaps you can?
23 Son fixes French dish (6)
S (son), NAILS (fixes)
24 Garments on, with limbs retaining temperature better, ultimately (10)
LEG (on – cricket), W (with), ARMS (limbs) containing [retaining] {temperatur}E + {bette}R [ultimately]. I was tempted to count this as &lit but I don’t think it quite qualifies.
27 Leader presiding over Norwegian banks (8)
{presidin}G OVER NOR{wegian} contains [banks] the answer
31 Time passed, years those Rip Van Winkle spent sleeping (6)
T (time), WENT (passed), Y (years). I knew the story of RVW but not the number of years he slept for. Again the answer is reflexive.
32 Mistress somewhere in Northern Europe in novel (4,8)
 MOLL (mistress), FLANDERS (somewhere in Northern Europe – a bit vague!). It’s by Daniel Defoe.
34 Different egg ultimately incubated by animal in panto (6,5)
OTHER (different) + {eg}G [ultimately] contained [incubated] by MOOSE (animal)
36 Activity at social event where Conservative has punched traditional European (6,5)
C (Conservative) contained by [has punched] SQUARE (traditional) + DANE (European)
37 Awfully sincere, old movie star (6,4)
Anagram [awfully] of SINCERE OLD
39 Deport one treated badly having stolen kiss (9)
Anagram [badly] of I (one) + TREATED containing [having stolen] X (kiss)
41 Rats in underwear? (8)
Two meanings. ‘Rats’ and ‘knickers’ are both interjections that can  express annoyance, but they are not always interchangeable.
45 Friends, for example, meet groom briefly (6)
SIT (meet as a committee does), COM{b}(groom) [briefly]
46 Personal image, rubbish moreover (6)
TAT (rubbish), TOO (moreover)
48 British physicist running current through heart, say, from below (5)
I (current) contained by [running…through] CARD (heart, say] reversed [from below]
49 Funny gags dully vacuous for Eden (5)
ILL (feeling funny) contains [gags] D{ull}Y [vacuous]. Both idyll and Eden can mean a delightful place.
51 Reported requirement for work as a baker? (5)
Sounds like [reported] “need” (requirement)

13 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1619 (03 June 2023)”

  1. DNF
    NHO the yodeller, and the wordplay didn’t help (whit=touch). Knew CHIPPY, but didn’t know it applied to a fish and chips shop, nor was it suggested by ‘carver’. I didn’t know DIRAC was British; thought he was French. Didn’t care much for this one.

    1. A Bristolian, bless him, and a very interesting man. He was clearly on the autistic spectrum:
      “After he presented a lecture at a conference, one colleague raised his hand and said: “I don’t understand the equation on the top-right-hand corner of the blackboard”. After a long silence, the moderator asked Dirac if he wanted to answer the question, to which Dirac replied: “That was not a question, it was a comment.”
      I feel a kinship with him..

  2. Completed comfortably within the allotted 2 hours, with 9 minutes to spare, but still – like our blogger – finished at a crawl with the last half dozen or so. Struggled with the USP in SUSPECT, forgot that “white”could be a white wine, and DNK DIRAC so had to get DORIC out of my head before seeing that the wordplay was actually very clear.
    Crossword clues are (or were?) sometimes called lights, so I was happy with hints=lights. Thanks for the Slim Whitman number. The name rang a bell once I had it; SLIM was the last of the three components to fall. There is a nice collection of whatever you’d call them: My! Well! Rats! Eh?
    I liked THING and the average couple in PARMESAN

      1. I had always assumed the clues were the “lights” because they throw light on the unknown. Mr Google tells me that “lights” are the series of white squares in the crossword grid, into which the answers are entered. As opposed the the darks, I suppose. So, no help to jackkt

        1. To be honest I’ve never really understood exactly what ‘light’ refers to: I thought it was the opposite of ‘dark’, but it often seems to be used to refer to the answer, or sometimes part of the answer (a letter) and the Collins and Chambers definitions reflect this. The one thing I’m reasonably confident of is that it’s not the clue!

          1. I’ve never been sure but assumed it was somehow connected with light meaning a window.

            I found this on the web which looks vaguely authoritative so may be of interest.

            1. I have always understood “Lights” to refer to the spaces into which you insert the answer to the clue.
              I think that is right, but i don’t quite know why, and having read your link I have decided to leave matters be 🙂

  3. Fairly straightforward. Mostly.
    NHO the yodeller, but somehow managed to construct him from wordplay. Fingers crossed though.
    I think 26ac is AS (equally), THE CASE (true), MAY BE (perhaps).
    I can’t help with hints = LIGHTS. No idea. Edit: I now see that Chambers has ‘a hint, clue or help towards understanding’, and OED ‘a suggestion or help to the solution of a puzzle’.

  4. Jackkt, surely you (or Mrs J?) have had blonde lights/hints in your hair at some point?
    My best guess, anyway..

  5. Thanks for the blog Jack. I took 22d to mean “pay” as in “suffer” (“I’ll make you pay for that”). Being in the midst of the worst ever pollen season it makes sense to me!

    It probably doesn’t matter, but there’s possibly a bit more to 53a. PEST isn’t just half of the word BUDAPEST, but is (roughly) half of the city, which comprises Buda to the west of the Danube and Pest to the east. The two were formally merged shortly after the construction of the Chain Bridge in the middle of the 19th century.

    1. Thanks for pay/suffer, Mr C. That makes sense!

      Yes, I realised there was more significance in ‘half of capital city’ but I wasn’t sure of the detail and with a whole Jumbo to blog I let it pass. Thanks for filling it in.

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