Times Cryptic Jumbo 1634 and 09 September 2023


Solved in one session but I had a number of clues scattered around the grid that held out until the very end. I used aids for my LOI, the unknown word at 8dn.

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 In denial, said to speak rudely of a letter (9)
DIS (speak rudely of), A, then VOWAL sounds like [said] “vowel” (letter)
6 Enterprising few go on river after a time in December (13)
ADVENT (a time in December), URE (river), SOME (few). Advent can begin during the last few days of November but the bulk of it is in December and it always ends on Christmas Eve.
13 Champion in car is a speed merchant (5)
ACE (champion) contained by RR (car – Rolls-Royce). The abbreviation is used in the company logo.
14 Translated from the Italian side, quietly discourage going back (11)
INTER (Italian football side), P (quietly) then DETER (discourage) reversed [going back]
15 Seize up almost solid inside (5)
SUR{e} (solid – sound) [almost] contained by [inside] UP
16 Firm with people fed up about parking getting repaid (11)
CO (firm), MEN (people) + SATED (fed up) containing [about] P (parking)
17 Sort of writing: in it, learner is struggling (11)
Anagram [struggling] of IN IT LEARNER. Writing between the lines.
18 Old ass rejected a herb (7)
O (old), then ONAGER (ass) reversed [rejected]
20 Roughly cut last of cake to be handed round outside (7)
SHARED (handed round) containing [outside[ {cak}E [last of…]
21 Sibling perhaps gets free of temperature and aches (7)
TWIN (sibling perhaps), GE{t}S [free of temperature]
23 Hot in quad, fellows heartlessly tend to revise work (3,5,5,3,3)
Anagram [to revise] of HOT IN QUAD FEL{l}OWS [heartlessly] TEND. A novel by Mikhail Sholokhov about Cossacks living in the Don River valley during the early 20th century. After a long struggle I had nearly all the checkers in place and then vaguely remembered meeting this title in a previous puzzle. I thought it was in The Times quite recently, possibly even a puzzle I blogged myself, but I haven’t been able to find it in the archive.
27 Artist captures one valley (3)
RA (artist) contains [captures] I (one). It’s a coastal inlet formed by the flooding of a river valley so perhaps the one-word definition is a little loose.
28 Has TV dinner perhaps each time: wrong! (4,2)
EA (each), T (time), SIN (wrong)
29 We hear a tower is a fascinating sight (6)
Sounds like [we hear] “Eiffel” (tower)
31 Flexible about day, open to change (9)
AMENABLE (flexible) containing [about] D (day). A little unusual as the first part of the wordplay (flexible) could also define the answer.
34 Opening of story lacks tension at first for companion (9)
CHAP{t}ER ONE (opening of story) [lacks] T{ension} [at first]
35 One decidedly getting the better of someone’s communications equipment (6)
Two meanings
36 One regularly inside ordered to remove initial insulation (3,3)
{t}OLD (ordered) [to remove initial], LAG (insulation). Slang for an habitual convict. I thought the insulation was called ‘lagging’ but Collins confirms it is also called ‘lag’.
39 Dull start to good book (3)
MAT (start to good book). I assume this refers to The Gospel According to St Matthew which is the first book of the New Testament although in my experience ‘The Good Book’ always refers to the Bible as a whole, in which case its ‘start’ would be GEN (Genesis). I think all books of the Bible can be abbreviated to 3 letters.
40 Forgotten about, if not in my view (3,2,5,3,2,4)
42 I arrest criminal that lives in a tree (7)
Anagram [criminal] of I ARREST.  Various small arboreal nocturnal primates from Indonesia and thereabouts. NHO this, but checkers helped me assemble the anagrist correctly.
43 Scots own being busy, over the moon (7)
AIN (Scots ‘own’) + AT IT (being busy) reversed [over]. The largest moon of Uranus.
45 Regularly glad about a dead figure brought to life (7)
G{l}A{d} containing [about] A + LATE (dead). In Greek mythology Galatea was the statue created by Pygmalion and brought to life by Aphrodite. I’m a bit vague on most of this stuff, but I knew the name from Handel’s Acis and Galatea.
47 Fat French consumer minds being so poor at concentrating? (11)
GRAS (‘fat’ French – as in ‘foie gras’), SHOPPER (consumer)
49 Checking son gets out of bed: urgent! (11)
S (son), UP (out of bed), PRESSING (urgent)
51 Emerging adult’s single paper round (5)
1 (single), MAG (paper), O (round). The final, fully developed form of an insect after passing through all stages of metamorphosis. MER at ‘paper / MAGazine’.
52 Suitable little room head of state finds attractive (4-7)
GOOD (suitable), LOO (little room), KING (head of state). MER at ‘suitable / GOOD’ as I can think of many situations where something that’s good may not be suitable. I also looked twice at ‘little room / LOO’ .
53 In need of exercise, force contributes to one (5)
F (force) contained by [contributes to] UNIT (one)
54 Charitable undertaking, replanting lake with snowdrops (9,4)
Anagram [replanting] of LAKE SNOWDROPS. I hope they drained the lake first!
55 Hurtle around, covering the country in this? (6,3)
RACE (hurtle) reversed [around] containing [covering] STATE (country)
1 Urgent case taken round to the management (11)
DIRE (urgent), CRATE (case) containing [taken round] TO
2 Entertainer Harry becomes wild (7)
Anagram [wild] of BECOMES. Welsh singer, actor, comedian who was one of The Goons. I didn’t think he was particularly good in any of these fields and he’s largely forgotten now, but he was successful and popular in his day.
3 Caretaker trimmed edge of grass (5)
VERGE{r} (church caretaker and attendant) [trimmed]
4 Covered in panels, cart sped along, spilling nothing (10)
WAIN (cart – The Hay Wain), SCO{o}TED (sped along) [spilling nothing – o]. ‘Wainscot’ is the wooden panelling used to line the lower part of a room wall.
5 A rhetorical figure is not truthful about child (7)
LIES (is not truthful) containing [about] TOT (child). An ironical understatement.
6 War film cut excessively (1,6,3,3)
ABRIDGE (cut), TOO FAR (excessively). Made in 1977 and directed by “Darling Dickie” Attenborough.
7 Green coat of composer is patched with grey (9)
VERDI (composer) + IS, containing [patched with] GR (grey). I think gr = grey is a horse-racing abbreviation.
8 Drooped, having changed form, disregarding a stroke (7)
MUTATED (having changed form) would be NUTATED (drooped) if a writer disregarded the upward (third) stroke of a pen needed to form the letter M. Nutation is the bending of a growing plant which I suppose may correspond with drooping. I used aids for this, my LOI, as I realised I wouldn’t know the answer, and the wordplay which I have only just deciphered was of no help to me.
9 Reserves not enough rooms (12)
UNDER (not enough), STUDIES (rooms). Actors on standby.
10 Learning one of the basic lessons in Brussels’ way of speaking, caught out (9)
R (one of the basic lessons – the three Rs) contained by [in] EU (Brussels), DI{c}TION (way of speaking) [caught – c – out]
11 Valuable safety device, nothing superior (2,3)
0 (nothing), FUSE (safety device). ‘Superior’ is just a placement indicator.
12 Part of America is temperate, but that is changing (6,5)
Anagram [changing] of IS TEMPERATE.The State of New York.
19 Vehicle I have to support area offensive (7)
A (area), BUS (vehicle), I’VE (I have)
22 Biscuit I dropped in clothes store (9)
I contained by [dropped in] GARB (clothes), ALDI (store). Yes, brand names are permitted these days. The most unappetising type of biscuit I’ve ever encountered as once you know that its nicknames are ‘squashed fly’, ‘dead fly’ and ‘flies graveyard’ all chance of enjoyment is lost.  ‘Garibaldi’ is after Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian general and politician, although there seems to be no definitive answer as to why.
24 Slater’s rubbish wheeled over (9)
ROT (rubbish) + CARTED (wheeled) reversed [over]
25 Knowing possible insertion into table, but it’s blank (7)
FLY (knowing – smart, cunning), LEAF (possible insertion into table). Collins: flyleaf the inner leaf of the endpaper of a book, pasted to the first leaf. Re tables, a leaf is an additional panel that can be pulled out, raised or inserted in order to extend it.
26 Rejection of call for effort (5-2)
Two meanings. If you are sacked from a job you have been given ‘the heave-ho’.  I associate the other meaning with sailors performing strenuous tasks as in the first line of the English lyric to The Volga Boat Song: Yo, heave ho! Yo, heave ho!
30 Evidently amused by where one holds rifle: the butt (8,5)
LAUGHING (evidently amused), STOCK (where one holds rifle). The definition refers to the butt or victim of a joke.
32 Miserable, with government aid not quite generous? (7)
DOLE (government aid), FUL{l} (generous) [not quite]
33 Barrow boy needing grocer’s men to supply (12)
Anagram [supply] of GROCER’S MEN TO
34 Tackle aeroplane disaster in field with tears (4,2,5)
COMET (aeroplane), OG (disaster in field – own goal), RIPS (tears)
37 One receiving sponsorship graded tough to break (11)
Anagram [to break] of GRADED TOUGH
38 Performance nerves, losing heart as the audience left (5,5)
STAGE{f}RIGHT (performance nerves} [losing heart]. The technical term ‘stage right’ used by actors refers to the left of the stage as viewed by the audience.
40 Gaps in bulbs when young lady replaces narcissi in the front (9)
OnIONS (bulbs) becomes OMISSIONS when MISS (young lady) replaces N{arcissi} [in the front]. Onions are edible bulbs of the lily family.
41 Pause when Victor’s forgotten one answer among many (5,4)
INTER{v}AL (pause) [Victor’s forgotten  – NATO alphabet], I (one), A (answer)
43 Recommendation for our chief went forward nervously (7)
TIP (recommendation), TO ED (for our chief)
44 Inform of an award over the phone (7)
Sounds like [over the phone] “a prize” (an award)
46 Wicked stinging plant about to fell daughter (7)
TRIFFId (stinging plant) becomes TRIFFIC when C (about) demolishes [to fell]  d (daughter). I fancied I heard cries of anguish around the country at this clue! Firstly ‘Triffic’ as slang for ‘terrific’ is bad enough and not even in Chambers Slang Dictionary, but it is in Collins as an alternative to ‘triff’ which seems to be their preferred expression. Secondly, it’s defined by ‘wicked’, another of those modern usages of a word that’s now taken to mean the opposite of what it actually means; I hate these. In wordplay we have a reference to the eponymous plant life in John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, a race of locomotory stinging plants which threaten to overrun the world.
48 Mission that has infiltrated site of nuclear bomb development? (5)
More indignation now as we have an indirect concealed answer! The answer is hidden in [that has infiltrated]  {Los} ALAMO{s} (site of nuclear bomb development in New Mexico). The Alamo, site of the famous battle, is in Texas.
50 Marshal’s military order sent to the rear (5)
SHUN (military order – slang for the command ‘Attention!’), {sen}T [to the rear]. Railways have marshalling yards where goods wagons are shunted around for loading.

4 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1634 and 09 September 2023”

  1. DNF
    Never got past SUPERVISING AT 49ac (never got SHUNT, so I didn’t have the S); ‘checking’ seems like a poor definition (not that I’d defend ‘supervising’ as the definiendum, mind you). Never would have got TRIFFIC in any case. (The Maine-based store L.L. Bean uses ‘wicked’ in a way that suggests it’s an old term in those parts..) DNK SECOMBE, DNK NUTATED of course, DNK GRASSHOPPER, DNK ALDI. I had the same doubt as Jack about ‘good book’. Biffed 23ac from the D_N: I worked part-time in a branch of the SF public library as a high-school student, and the Don series (I think there were 3 novels) circulated a lot. Jack, I think the definition for DISAVOWAL is just ‘denial’, not ‘in denial’. I’m sure we’ve had LOO clued as ‘little room’ a couple of times before.

  2. A slow and steady construction job yet still satisfying to complete in an hour and three-quarters. I had ALL (not AND) QUIET FLOWS THE DON for a long while before I realised I had to change it. Confused, I guess, by the Western Front. I thought NUTATED sounded OK; can I possibly have remembered the appearance of NUTATE in a Jumbo in June 2021? Several clues that stood out dramatically from the rest: COME TO GRIPS (although i would say get to grips), STAGE RIGHT, SHUNT and my COD GARIBALDI.

    On edit, an afterthought: “the smallest room in the house” is a well known (?) euphemism for the loo

    1. Thanks. Yes, I’m familiar with ‘the smallest room / LOO’ but I’ve never heard anyone refer to it as ‘the little room’ so to arrive at LOO seems to require an extra step which I’m not sure we should be expected to take. That’s why the MER. But for all that, the clue was easily solvable anyway so it wasn’t really a gripe.

  3. A whiz through this in 35 minutes, though I don’t recall parsing GARIBALDI. Odd, really, because ALDI ran a Facebook post around the same time which was simply:
    You can imagine the fun a crossword solver can have with that!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *