Times Cryptic Jumbo 1628 – 5 August 2023

Hello again. This Jumbo I thought was harder than average, but with some excellent clues, and no real duds. I liked it. What did you think?

Please, do feel free to ask questions or comment as required.

I use the standard 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 Excellent lesson leads to improved coursework (7)
CLASSIC – CLASS (lesson) + I(mproved) C(oursework)
5 English composer working with us going left false impression (8)
DELUSION – DELIUS, your English composer, + ON (working). the US has “gone left” ..
9 Mind games involving vacuous silly children (6)
PSYCHE – Well I see the PE (games) that we have to fill with S(ill)Y, and CH which I assume is an acceptable abbreviation for children, in some dictionary or other..
13 Suspect permit endlessly checks faculty’s composure (16)
IMPERTURBABILITY – *(PERMIT) + (c)URB(s) (checks, endlessly) + ABILITY (faculty)
14 What’s written in court to cover end of affair? (6)
PRENUP – Well it is a CD, always assuming that an affair and a marriage are the same thing; but I think it may be more: (affai)R in PEN, ie P(R)EN  + UP (in court). If a letter is penned, it is written. Still I did find this clue a little bit of a stretch.
16 Hunters dislike turning in game for the most part (8)
CHEETAHS – HATE (dislike) rev. in CHES(s)
17 Harsh sound of donkey having its tail docked (4)
BURR – BURR(o). I had not thought of someone who speaks with a burr as having a harsh sound. Quite the opposite, really.
18 Soldier rounded on marauding sailor (9)
PRIVATEER – PRIVATE (soldier) + RE (on) rev. How we miss ER, HM Queen Elizabeth..
20 Hard line adopted by patrician cast (5,3)
THROW OFF – H(ard) + ROW (line) in TOFF, a patrician, allegedly.
21 What draws a line between fiction and non-fiction? (3,8)
LIE DETECTOR – a CD it seems, as lie detectors, traditionally at least, draw a line on a paper roll. My understanding is that they are right up there with homeopathy as an effective device, but that might be a lie ..
24 Italian team involved in something bent set about Italian gang (7)
CAMORRA – ROMA, an Italian football side inside ARC, all reversed. A criminal organisation, and not a model of Toyota as you might otherwise have thought.
25 Scoff as blood-covered person dies after dropping ecstasy (10)
GORMANDISE – MAN + DI(e)S in GORE, blood. Never seen it spelled that way before, ie without a U, but apparently, you can..
26 Maintain women’s reproductive cells with revolutionary treatment (4)
AVOW – W(ith) + OVA, rev.
29 Part of weapon found in boot erupted unexpectedly (7,4)
TORPEDO TUBE – *(BOOT ERUPTED) … is a torpedo tube part of a weapon, or just one of several available launching mechanisms? Discuss.

(Hint: Bismarck was terminally crippled by torpedos dropped from planes)

31 Exactly  what must be written on envelope containing rent? (2,3,6)
TO THE LETTER – A dd, one slightly cryptic
33 Computer, like an android, holding one’s description of diet (11)
MACROBIOTIC – MAC (proprietary computer) + I in ROBOTIC. I make no comment about the benefits of such a diet, (and Wikipedia is a bit sniffy) but if they keep you out of the fast food joints, they must have some ..
36 US colony is beginning to criticise founders on purpose (11)
38 Dupe  old relative (4)
NANA – dd.
39 Problem with corruption in China? (3,7)
TEA SERVICE – TEASER (problem) + VICE (corruption).
41 Suspend commercial by paper: a line has been removed (7)
ADJOURN – AD (commercial) + JOURN(al). Neat clue.
44 Drink and moan about work trouble (11)
AMONTILLADO – *(MOAN) + TILL (work) + ADO, trouble. More of a Fino or Manzanilla man myself. A good sherry is a crashing bargain imo, compare with port .. much underrated.
45 Plant is removed from French port before strike (8)
CALABASH – CALA(is) + BASH, strike. Another very slick clue
48 List reporter’s record of karate moves? (9)
CATALOGUE – sounds like “Kata log.” Not sure what a kata actually is. If you eat rice with it, would it be a kata pilau?
49 Mountain states eliminating borders (4)
PEAK – (s)PEAK(s), to state, without borders
50 Interrupt mostly when drunk and salacious (8)
52 Spare toilet in filthy place (6)
SCANTY – CAN (American lavatory) in STY, a filthy place, allegedly. Though mostly they aren’t, pigs being the fine animals they are.
53 Ada or Ruby possibly swearing next to PC? (8,8)
COMPUTER LANGUAGE – COMPUTER (PC) + LANGUAGE, swearing. Nho Ruby as a language, but knew about Ada, named in honour of Ada Lovelace.
54 Lump from figure in plastic surgery (6)
DOLLOP – DOLL (figure in plastic) + OP, surgery
55 Popular taunt about French article is unworthy (5,3)
INFRA DIG – FR (French) + A (article), in IN (popular) DIG (taunt)
56 Long broadcast about missing hotel stationery (7)
NOTELET – TELET(h)ON, reversed. Neat!
1 Drive home from medical centre after one’s left hospital (6)
CLINCH – CLIN(i)C (medical centre) + H(ospital)
2 Tech company finally adopt program (6)
APPLET – APPLE (proprietary tech. company) + (adop)T
3 Means of conveying sick  distortion of the truth (9)
STRETCHER – a dd. I was not familiar with the second meaning, but it sounded plausible. It’s in Collins.
4 Media viewer with sluggish performance? (5,6)
COUCH POTATO – A cd. If you write your blog while watching the cricket, does that count?
5 Inverted time plot used to establish growth in arrears (4)
DEBT – T(ime) + BED (plot used to establish growth), rev.
6 Human Resources in favour of charging work colleague on vacation (6,5)
LABOUR FORCE – FOR (in favour of) inside (“Charging”) LABOUR (work) + C(olleagu)E. Another nice clue.
7 Develop filter lanes capable of autonomous operation (4-7)
8 Extend available odds indicated (9)
OUTSPREAD – OUT (available) + SP (odds) + READ (indicated).
10 Runner wanting any form of coverage? (8)
STREAKER – a CD. Erika Roe remains engraved in my memory, and that of many rugby fans …
11 Link copy-editor’s statement and vital personal material? (10,6)
CONNECTIVE TISSUE – CONNECT (link), + “I VET ISSUE,” what copy-editors do (Like Sandy/Guy du Sable?).
12 Politician implicated in key mistake following loss of second leader (7)
EMPEROR – MP (politician) in between E (key) + E(r)ROR. I might have found “Second or third leader” hard to resist..
15 Auteur’s biopic in East End, somewhat scaled down (8)
CINEASTE – hidden, fortunately for me, as above. I was handicapped by being rather unsure of the meanings of both auteur and cineaste .. and it is not clear to me from Collins, that they mean the same thing; though in each case there is a clear connection with film.
19 Yearn to match outstanding quality (4,4)
LONG SUIT – LONG (yearn) + SUIT (match)
22 National examination covers most ground (8)
SCOTSMAN – *(MOST) in SCAN, an examination. Is a Scotsman a national, or just a regional? Discuss 🙂
23 Be of calm and rational resolve to make sport (8,8)
AMERICAN FOOTBALL – *(BE OF CALM + RATIONAL). Not my long suit, these huge anagrams.
27 Upsetting argument about call involving unknown quantity (8)
WORRYING – ROW (argument) rev., + Y, an unknown, in RING (call)
28 Champion horse losing at home (4)
HERO – HERO(in), our obligatory drug reference.
30 Rare form of wood partly responsible for brittle bones (4)
EBON – another hidden. Ebon is a poetical term for ebony. As such is it all that rare? Maybe.
32 Proposal disheartened lady with a delicate manner (8)
TENDERLY – TENDER (proposal) + L(ad)Y.
34 Good yield almost changed particular way of thinking (8)
35 Cream, after separation at one point, might represent this reproductive material (6,5)
CARBON PAPER – C/REAM is the separation required – C(arbon) and paper. I liked the misleading definition too. A fine clue, imo.
36 Gossiped about problem and nasty trends regularly (11)
CHITCHATTED – C (about) + HITCH (problem) + alternate letters of nAsTy TrEnDs
37 Officer having gun compartment set down (11)
CHAMBERLAIN – CHAMBER (gun compartment) + LAIN (set down).
40 Reduce the amount of coverage for fish and fowl (5,4)
SCALE DOWN – SCALE (coverage for fish) + DOWN (coverage for fowl)
42 Perfect, if only in one direction? (4,5)
JUST RIGHT – ie not left…
43 Broken toilets blocked by tip of this shoe (8)
STILETTO – T(his) inside *(TOILETS)
44 Person charged after sending up record company outside America (7)
ACCUSED – US inside DECCA, rev. A record company, famous for failing to sign The Beatles.
46 Disrupt Queen opening parliament (6)
DERAIL – ER (queen, either of two) inside DAIL, the Irish parliament.
47 Give evidence during trial (6)
ATTEST – AT TEST, during trial..
51 What may impede defender’s comeback after leaving United? (4)
DRAG – G(u)ARD, rev.

Author: JerryW

I love The Times crosswords..

6 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1628 – 5 August 2023”

  1. I needed aids to finish off two, CAMORRA (NHO the gang and don’t know foreign football teams), and PRENUP (even with all checkers and UP as ‘in court’). After finding the answer I concluded that ‘what’s written’ might be read as ‘What has written?’ to which the answer might be PEN.

    My understanding is that a CINEASTE is someone with a particular interest in films and film-making whereas an ‘auteur’ is a film director, usually with a particular style. An auteur would surely be a cineaste but not vice versa, so in that sense the clue is correct.

  2. I think I found this quite tricky but it’s hard to say. It took many short sessions with interruptions and distractions (mrs kapietro’s niece’s wedding and associated events) and I ended up with 3 hours 20 minutes on the clock. It was hard, but not that hard.

    I too struggled to construct PRENUP but jackkt has cracked it for us. And I like a sherry, Jerry, or I used to. I don’t drink much at all nowadays. A dry AMONTILLADO sounds like it shouldn’t exist, but it does, and it’s very good.

    I had an unparsed BUCCANEER in for a while at 18ac instead of PRIVATEER, which messed things up a bit. DNK GORMANDISE until I’d written it in, and then I knew I’d seen it here before and remembered the fuss it caused then, in particular the lack of the expected U. I liked the TEASER VICE and the reversal of TELET(H)ON

  3. I too thought this harder than average taking over 57 minutes and getting very few answers on the first pass. Nice puzzle. Like others I DNK CAMORRA. COD to the clever CARBON PAPER, but I also liked GORMANDISE, AMONTILLADO, SCALE DOWN and STILETTO. I consider SCOTLAND a nation not a region and being born near Glasgow am a SCOTSMAN. As for Ruby, it is quite popular these days – the SNITCH website, for one, is built using Ruby on Rails, which is a web development framework using the Ruby language. Thanks Jerry and setter.

    1. Well the Scotland comment was just teasing really.. but the definition in the OED is notably broad. As a proud Yorkshireman, apparently Yorkshire can be a nation too:
      NATION: “A large aggregate of communities and individuals united by factors such as common descent, language, culture, history, or occupation of the same territory, so as to form a distinct people.”

  4. I agree on the harder than average assessment, though I slipped in under the hour.
    CARBON PAPER was worth the struggle of getting that far: a brilliant clue. I don’t remember worrying about PRENUP, an American/celebrity invention surely, but I agree it’s a slightly strained &lit.
    STREAKER, like naturist and similar, always seems to be clued by a CD, which is a pity given that it’s an anagram of STARKERS, changing the S to an E.

    1. Starkers is even an anagram of Erika Roe, changing the initial S and T .. I expect there is a brilliant clue hidden deep in there, somewhere ..

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