Times Cryptic Jumbo 1630 – 19 August 2023. 37d pace

Hi all.  About 50 minutes in, my grid was still only half full and I abandoned any thoughts of a single session solve and had a rest.  The second half took a similar time, so a nice even pace even though it was a tough one.  I didn’t note the use of any aids, but writing it up now (left until the last minute again) I’m sure I looked up the 53a Siberian city so won’t claim a perfect finish.  Anyway, an enjoyable challenge.  My favourite clue has to be 43a because it took me a while to spot the comma both times around!  Thanks to the setter.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics, specified [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 Brief wrongly maligned at first performs well now (9)
MISINFORM Maligned at first + IS IN FORM (performs well now)
6a Anon book, evidently not anon, going around (2-3-2)
BY-AND-BY B (book) with BY ANDY (evidently not anon) outside (going around).
I don’t think the answer should be hyphenated with this meaning
10a Strongly recommend return of American serving in bar (3,2)
BIG UP — The reversal of (return of) GI (American serving) in PUB (bar)
13a Little people do will initially save king, sadly (7)
DWARVES — First letters of (initially) Do Will + an anagram of (… sadly) SAVE R (king)
14a What might be cultivated verse in Latin I release (5,2)
LEAVE GO LEA (what might be cultivated) + V (verse) + EGO (in Latin, I)
15a Ways of greeting information broadcast (7)
AVENUES AVE (greeting) + a homophone of (… broadcast) NEWS (information)
16a Bury agreement about putting up with different beliefs (19)
INTERDENOMINATIONAL INTER (bury) + DEAL (agreement) around (about) NOMINATION (putting up)
17a Character of old tree remains (3)
ASH — Three definitions.  The first is the Old English character æ, or the rune ᚫ
18a Community links plan backing second church with a priest, primarily (6)
ECOMAP — In reverse (backing) MO (second) and CE (church) + A + the first letter of (… primarily) Priest.  A new term for me
20a Passed girl buried in large wordbook (6)
OKAYED KAY (girl) buried in OED (large wordbook)
21a When speaking, limit what’s boring in pedestrian procedure (4,5)
KERB DRILL — A homophone of (when speaking) CURB (limit) + DRILL (what’s boring)
23a Healthy way to go! (4,3,3)
GOOD FOR YOU — A double definition
25a Adapting easily to UK, I work, play (2,3,4,2)
AS YOU LIKE IT — An anagram of (adapting) EASILY TO UK, I
29a Result — of successful pay negotiations? (5)
ARISE A RISE might be the result of successful pay negotiations
30a Exaggerate in describing remaining attraction (8)
OVERDRAW OVER (remaining) + DRAW (attraction)
31a What goes on to madden dumbfounded hosts (8)
ADDENDUM — A hidden answer, which mADDEN DUMbfounded contains (hosts)
34a Do some beer, maybe almost all for relations? (8)
CONJUGAL CON (do) + JUG (some beer, maybe) + almost ALl
36a Primate shot holding Polish off (5,3)
GREAT APE GRAPE (shot) containing (holding) EAT (polish off)
37a Straddling sharp double bend, lay a stop sign in Riyadh (5)
HAMZA — Around (straddling) Z (sharp double bend), HAM (lay – amateur) + A.  The sign used to represent the glottal stop in Arabic
39a Statement from working cashier having bother finding drink (11)
AMONTILLADO AM ON TILL (statement from working cashier) + ADO (bother)
41a Likes room to manoeuvre, taking left turn in boat (6,4)
ESKIMO ROLL LIKES ROOM anagrammed (to manoeuvre) + L (left)
43a Mix, briefly, by fireside (9)
COMMINGLE — Without the last letter (briefly) COMMa (,) + INGLE (fireside)
45a Parrot quietly nestling in tree a kilometre back (6)
KAKAPO P (quietly) nestling in the reversal of (… back) OAK (tree), A and K (kilometre)
47a Watch outside broadcast from the right pavilion (6)
GAZEBO GAZE (watch) + OB (outside broadcast) backwards (from the right)
49a Leaves, since informal function curtailed (3)
COS — Anther triple definition: lettuce; an informal short form of because; and the abbreviation of cosine
50a Russian once in charge of think tank with no on-screen broadcast (10,9)
I do remember grinding this out from the fodder and not cheating, but it took some time!
52a Recreation facility specially devised by US pal (7)
PLAYBUS — An anagram of (specially devised) BY US PAL
53a Get to river crossing close to east Siberian city (7)
IRKUTSK IRK (get to) + USK (river) around (crossing) the last letter of (close to) eatT
54a Short excursion on yours truly’s old boat (7)
TRIREME — Without the last letter (short) TRIp (excursion) + RE (on) + ME (yours truly)
55a You can take it from me, I do sympathise! (5)
THERE — A double definition
56a Chemical analyst in role of speaker (7)
ASSAYER AS SAYER (in role of speaker)
57a Singular credit given to detectives for measure (9)
YARDSTICK S (singular) + TICK (credit) by YARD (detectives)
1d Delivery agents turned up with obscure US composer (8)
MIDWIVES — Reversed (turned up) W (with) and DIM (obscure) + IVES (US composer)
2d Bare study in need of table, unfit? (5)
SCANT SCAN (study) + T[able] not ABLE (unfit?)
3d Defiant words from snowbound queen, eg, and princess (5,3,3)
NEVER SAY DIE — In NÉVÉ, and hence snowbound. is R (queen), SAY (eg) and DI (princess)
4d Gambling person’s pecuniary limits (2,4)
ON SPEC — PersONS PECuniary contains (limits) the answer
5d Not seemly, kin running amok in town (6,6)
MILTON KEYNES NOT SEEMLY, KIN anagrammed (running amok)
6d Delight with visit, providing money, finally (7)
BEATIFY BE AT (visit) + IF (providing) + moneY finally
7d London venue‘s porter getting cross — and blame falling on a doctor (9,6)
ALEXANDRA PALACE ALE (porter) + X (cross) + AND + RAP (blame) + A + LACE (doctor, verb)
8d US gadgets have no function? Game’s using one for nothing (10)
DOOHICKEYS DO O (have no function?) + H[o]CKEYS (game’s) using I in place of O (one for nothing)
9d Poor Greer, no good any longer (7)
YEARNER — An anagram of (poor) [g]REER without G (no good) and ANY
10d Initiative to support pound is a dicey affair! (6,5)
BEETLE DRIVE DRIVE (initiative) supporting BEETLE (pound).  I remember being taken to the odd beetle drive as a child but haven’t heard of these in years
11d Amino acid in excess: a rich source (9)
GLUTAMINE GLUT (excess) + A + MINE (rich source)
12d A school chum comes round for Easter (7)
PASCHAL A SCH (school); PAL (chum) surrounds (comes round)
19d With kiss between hugs, grandmother embraces one college member (7)
OXONIAN OXO (kiss between hugs), then NAN (grandmother) embraces I (one)
22d Simple track taking very little time, note, or trouble (8)
MONORAIL MO (very little time) + N (note) + OR + AIL (trouble)
24d Cavorting drunkenly round a deck, getting imprisoned (5,4,3,3)
UNDER LOCK AND KEY — An anagram of (cavorting) DRUNKENLY O (round) A DECK
26d Made turn, surprisingly, that’s not fancied (8)
UNDREAMT MADE TURN, anagrammed (surprisingly)
27d Host poking spot on pet (6)
TOMCAT MC (host) inside (poking) TO A T (spot on)
28d Band turning up almost sure to meet agents (6)
FASCIA Almost SAFe (sure) reversed (turning up …) + CIA (agents)
32d Producer of half measure of material once brought up (2,5)
DE MILLE DEMI (half) + ELL (measure of material once) reversed (brought up)
33d One pressed to retreat supports step by major (9,3)
BACKSPACE KEY BACKS (supports) + PACE (step) + KEY (major)
35d Outrageous perhaps fat cabbage containing trace of blight (11)
UNTHINKABLE UNTHIN (perhaps fat) + KALE (cabbage) containing the first letter of (trace of) Blight
37d Demanding a lounger’s callous! (4,2,5)
HARD AS NAILS HARD (demanding) + A + SNAILS (lounger’s)
38d Records judges for hangings (10)
TAPESTRIES TAPES (records) + TRIES (judges)
40d Crossing motorway, I’m wise, following line (2,7)
ON MESSAGE — Around (crossing) M (motorway), ONES (I’m) + SAGE (wise)
42d Open lock for releasing sort of collar (4-4)
POLO-NECK OPEN LOCK anagrammed (for releasing)
43d Be punished for holding barrister up in compartment (7)
COCKPIT COP IT (be punished for) holding KC (barrister) in reverse (up)
44d Glaswegian goes, lifting Cockney’s hat and hood (7)
GANGSTA GANGS (Glaswegian goes) + liftingAT (Cockney’s hat)
46d One chasing ball of wool maybe raising new jumper finally (7)
KNITTER KITTEN (one chasing ball of wool maybe) raising N (new) + jumpeR finally)
48d Almost nothing, from Le Monde, is put in shredder (6)
ZESTER Almost ZERo (nothing) with EST (from Le Monde, is) inserted (put in)
51d Marks appearing evenly on paper veil (5)
NAEVI — Even letters of (appearing evenly) oN pApEr VeIl


11 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1630 – 19 August 2023. 37d pace”

  1. I wrote ‘Bloody hard work’ on my copy. There were lots of unknowns and several answers I didn’t understand – some still so, even after reading Kitty’s excellent blog. How does pound = BEETLE, for instance? And why does OO stand for hugs?

    I finished by looking up two, DOOHICKEYS, NHO, which I would never have got, and ZESTER where I failed to spot both definition and wordplay. An alphabet trawl might have produced a result with that one, but it was my last unsolved clue and I was out of steam by then.

    1. Thanks Jackkt, you noticed my deliberate omission!

      I thought of hurrying/scurrying: to beetle or pound along, but wasn’t sure. A beetle is also a type of mallet or a utensil for mashing or beating, so if there is an associated verb (I couldn’t find one) that’s another possibility.

      XOXO or similar at the end of texts, emails and the like denotes hugs and kisses.

      1. Thanks, Kitty.

        Following on from your suggestion I found this buried in the depths of SOED: beetle beat with a beetle in order to crush, flatten, etc.
        Elsewhere it mentions beetle / mallet as a noun.

        I know very little of text-speak but I shall try to remember the hug thing.

        1. The verb is in Collins and ODE too. I’m pretty sure I’ve come across the noun but didn’t remember it when solving.

  2. First, right up front, thanks for the blog, Kitty. Never needed more. Thanks in particular for HAM, COMM and OXO.

    This took me a long time, over many visits. Sometimes reduced to putting the puzzle up on the screen, staring at it for a while, then shutting it down and saving it for later. Just staring can be a surprisingly effective strategy, but it is slow. I ended up with 3 hours 48 minutes on the clock.

    I had to use a wordsearch app to get HAMZA and COMMINGLE despite having all the crossers and the Z in the first and the INGLE in the second. I had to trust that OXO is a kiss between hugs in OXONIAN. DNK NEVE is snow but still went successfully with NEVER SAY DIE. At least I’ve been to IRKUTSK and knew that one.

    And lots to like, including SCANT, TOMCAT, BY-AND-BY and, yes, COMMINGLE now that I see it

    1. Irkutsk features prominently in Michael Strogoff by Jules Verne. Tartar hordes unsuccessfully besiege the beleaguered Russian garrison there.

  3. I found this hard and a mixture of the admirably devious and the gratuitously obscure. A ZESTER is not a shredder, for instance (at least never in British English). ‘Lay’ as a definition of HAM seems dodgy to me: I had never come across this meaning of ‘ham’ but it appears to be limited to radio operators, and unless the phrase ‘lay radio operator’ has ever been used (which I doubt) the two are not equivalent. I had to just guess the vowel there, and similarly I just bunged in BEETLE as the only word that would fit. These last few irritating clues took up a lot of time at the end and left rather spoilt what was otherwise a clever puzzle.

    1. I don’t have a problem with ZESTER defined as ‘shredder’. SOED has it as: ‘a device for shredding off the peel of an orange, lemon, etc. M20’. And both Collins and ODE mention ‘fine shreds’ in their description of its function.

      1. Ah yes fair enough. I see that the Collins definitions of ‘zester’ and ‘grate’ also use the word ‘shred’ (as a noun). I was too fixated on the Americans usage: they say ‘shred’ and ‘shredder’ for ‘grate’ and ‘grater’ but that is one that has certainly not crossed the pond!

  4. Having seen the explanation of 10dn, I had the feeling I “knew” a beetle was a mallet. I may have nailed it. Here’s Mabuse Der Spiegel blogging a 15×15 in January 2021:

    9ac When speaking, pop four pounds in (7)
    BEETLES – homophone of BEATLES [pop four]. Apparently a beetle is a mallet or a pestle; one assumes it can be a verb as well

    If that really is what I remembered I’m not quite as worried as I was about my memory

  5. I found this tricky too, taking about 1 hr 6 minutes. I didn’t help myself with an unparsed BY-THE-BY for 6A, which is what my Scottish grandparents used to say, but ALEXANDRA PALACE fixed that. Confused when trying to parse the biffed 3D thinking the snowbound queen was NEVA (apparently Snow White’s daughter) with SAY (e.g.) doing double duty. I knew that couldn’t be right! BEETLE for pound was unknown but verified in the dictionary before I submitted. COD to the clever COMMINGLE but I liked the triple ASH, AMONTILLADO and ALEXANDRA PALACE too. Thanks Kitty and setter.

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