Times Cryptic Jumbo 1639 – 14 October 2023


An enjoyable Jumbo solved over two sessions with only a couple of unknown words or meanings. One little niggle is that 21 of the clues end with a question mark and at least 10 of them didn’t need one in my view. 


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 Delightful sight in club’s centre? (5,4)
SWEET (delightful), SPOT (sight). The centre area of a racket, golf club, etc, from which the cleanest shots are made.
6 View gold for Clementine’s father? (10)
PROSPECT (view), OR (gold)
In a cavern, in a canyon
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner forty-niner
And his daughter, Clementine
12 Article concealed by players before a game (7)
AN (indefinite article) contained [concealed] by CAST (players), A
13 Finish sign by trail: all detailed to show distance? (9)
KIL{l} (finish) + OME{n} (sign) + TRE{k} (trail) [all de-tailed]
14 Racket of number one seed snapped in middle (5)
NO 1 (number one), SE{ed} [snapped in middle]
16 Produce result of love? (7,5)
Cryptic with ‘produce’ to be taken as a noun
17 Does anything but order beer for trading event (6,4)
JUMBLES (does anything but order), ALE (beer)
19 Guns, large supply, packed by huntress: do they offer protection? (8,6)
Anagram [supply] of GUNS LARGE containing [packed by] DIANA (huntress)
22 Norwegian fish needs British wine, not European (8)
B (British), RI{e}SLING (wine) [not European]. Another name for the sprat.
24 Two answers given about unknown meadow plant (6)
A+A (two answers) containing [about] Z (unknown), then LEA (meadow)
25 Embellished pieces from officer with deserter in our area (10)
COL (office), then RAT (deserter) contained by [in] OURA (area). Florid passages in vocal music, with runs, trills, etc, and sung very high. Here’s an example.
26 Yellowish-orange Republican in line for missile launch? (5)
R (Republican) contained by [in] OCHE (line for missile launch). The oche is the line behind which dart players stand as they throw at the dartboard.
29 Scot seen here and there in Beausaint (4)
Hidden [in] {b}E{a}U{s}A{i}N{t} [here and there]. The Monday after this puzzle appeared the Scotsman turned up in the 15×15 spelt ‘Ewan’.
30 Westminster denizen‘s game up? One jerk to be put inside (8)
I (one) + TIC (jerk) contained by [put inside] POLO (game up – played on horseback)
32 Feeling that causes great excitement (9)
Two meanings
34 Serve drink after drug fix, not gallons, in fragrant mixture (9)
POT (drug), POUR (serve drink), RI{g} (fix) [not gallons]
35 Rogue charged, in a dock having left hospital (8)
RAN (charged) contained by [in] A + BERT{h} (dock) [having left hospital]
36 Indifferent over after spinner on song initially (2-2)
S{pinner} + O{n} + S{ong} [initially], O (over)
39 Sailor Yates at the margins marks depth (5)
AB (sailor), Y{ate}S [at the margins], M (marks). I so nearly put ‘abyss’ here as I don’t recall meeting ‘abysm’ before, but the wordplay made me think again and I remembered ‘abysmal’ which gave me the confidence to go with it.
40 Subdue popular Greek goddess at later stage in play? (10)
IN (popula), ACT IV  ATE (Greek goddess at later stage in play). There’s no containment indicator so the second and third elements of wordplay need to be taken together to make sense despite being apparently out of sequence. ATE turns up a lot, usually clued with reference to mischief.
42 Party repelled masses in vote (6)
LAB (Labour party) reversed [repelled], LOT (masses). ‘A lot’ or ‘the lot’ might stand for ‘masses’ but I’m not sure that ‘lot’ on its own can.
44 House representative‘s brilliant crime netting grand (4,4)
STAR (brilliant – e.g. star performer), SIN (crime) containing [netting] G (grand). In astrology ‘Signs of the Zodiac’ represent ‘Houses’.
46 Salt needed — I could dish more out (6,8)
Anagram [out] of I COULD DISH MORE. I suppose ‘needed’ counts as a link word but it seems a bit intrusive.
48 You are stopping boyfriend about to divulge secrets: that’s official! (10)
U R (you are in text-speak) contained by [stopping] BEAU (boyfriend), C (about), RAT (divulge secrets)
49 Restore IT to US centre ransacked (12)
Anagram [ransacked] of IT TO US CENTRE
53 The Doldrums as Lennon put it, oddly dismissive? (5)
{l}E{n}N{o}N {p}U{t} I{t} [oddly dismissive]. Ennui is boredom.
54 Beyond silly covering banker’s last debt (9)
OVER (beyond), DAFT (silly) containing [covering] {banke}R [last]
55 Substance from cinchona tree — one of five in east (7)
QUIN (one of five – a quintuplet), IN, E (east)
56 Small volume‘s middle covering current literature (10)
CENTRE (middle) containing [covering] I (current) + LIT (literature)
57 Such a person is male and flirtatious? (6,3)
Anagram [flirtatious] of IS MALE AND
1 Martians at last in American airspace (5)
{martian}S [at last], IN, US (American)
2 Time at home in seaside resort — distant location? (4,6)
T (time) + IN (at home) contained by [in] anagram [resort] of SEASIDE
3 Casey Jones to give instruction to staff? (8)
TRAIN (give instruction to), MAN (staff). A reference that may be obscure to some but not to this fan of TV Westerns in the 1950s, one of which was named after the railroad engineer, Casey Jones. You can read about the real man here.
4 Metal rod for this hand-to-hand engagement? (5)
A straight definition followed by a cryptic hint with reference to the card game
5 Learner brought in becoming fond of lecture (7,2)
L (learner) contained by [brought in] TAKING TO (becoming fond of). This is a lecture in the sense of a telling off.
6 Display anti-aircraft gun having disregarded second order (4)
POMP{om} (anti-aircraft gun) [having disregarded second order – OM = Order of Merit]. I gather this type of anti-aircraft gun is/was used on ships.
7 Best known champion shearer down under? (6)
OUT (known), GUN (champion shearer down under). SOED: gun  – a person expert at an activity, esp. sheep-shearing. Austral. & NZ. I’ve a vague recollection of ‘gun’ appearing with this meaning on a previous occasion.
8 Old man keeps the French lawyers winning in legal practice (4,10)
PA old man) containing [keeps] LE (the, French), BAR (lawyers), GAINING (winning). More about this here.
9 Sin here acknowledged dreadful lesson of Cain (12)
Anagram [dreadful] of LESSON OF CAIN
10 Asian craft capsized one mile south of old Baltic port (7)
O (old), RIGA (Baltic port), then  I (one) + M (mile) reversed [capsized]
11 Margaret embraced by gangster eschewing force, the rascal (10)
PEG (Margaret) contained [embraced] by SCAR{f}ACE (gangster) [eschewing force]. SOED: scapegrace – a mischievous or wayward person, esp. a young person or child. I dredged this unusual word up from the back of my mind, only just remembered from its last appearance 4 years ago.
15 Laurel perhaps remaining fresh and vital (9)
EVER (remaining), GREEN (fresh and vital)
18 Fish from Scotland — central region? (8)
ALBA (Scotland), CORE (central region). ALBACORE rang no bells whatsoever, however it has appeared several times in daily puzzles including a Quick Cryptic and another blogged by me when the clue was remarkably similar to today’s: Fish from Scotland served with heart. I got it today from wordplay as I know ALBA as Mr Salmond’s political party and the name of BBC TV’s Gaelic channel.
20 Worker beset by terrible malady relentlessly (9)
ANT (worker) contained [beset] by anagram [terrible] of MALADY
21 A bachelor, eccentric, having lived in the country from the start (10)
A, B (bachelor), ORIGINAL (eccentric)
23 Replace dogs brought round to guard artist in foundation (10)
SUB (replace) then MUTTS (dogs) reversed [brought round] containing [to guard] RA (artist)
27 Home Office head blocking one hundred and one commoners? (3,6)
HO (Home Office), then POLL (head) contained by [blocking] 101 (one hundred and one)
28 Where children are taught to get on? (8,6)
Cryptic with reference to schools and transport
31 Doing nothing in group when leader vanishes (8)
IN, {f}ACTION (group) [when leader vanishes]. Rather unfortunate to have this answer crossing INACTIVATE in the grid, I thought.
33 Military supplier‘s aromatic cooking drawing in young woman (12)
Anagram [cooking] of AROMATIC containing MISS (young woman). I knew the word but not its exact meaning. It’s the military department that deals with food supplies.
34 Reasonable advantage retaining a religious work, not the first (9)
PLUS (advantage) containing [retaining] A, then {b}IBLE (religious work) [not the first]
37 Not inclined to be fair (2,3,5)
Two meanings
38 Upright character must stop malign duo, criminal element (10)
I (upright character) contained by [must stop] anagram [criminal] of MALIGN DUO. ‘Upright character’ came easily to mind as I remember Sir Humphrey in Yes, Prime Minister in one of his grandiloquent circumlocutions referring to ‘ I ‘ as ‘the perpendicular pronoun’. I knew the element from the Tom Lehrer song:

There’s yttrium, ytterbium, actinium, rubidium,
And boron, gadolinium, niobium, iridium,
There’s strontium and silicon and silver and samarium,
And bismuth, bromine, lithium, beryllium, and barium.

41 Immoral habit by newspaper keeping old phone messages (9)
VICE (immoral habit) + MAIL (newspaper) containing [keeping] O (old)
43 Feeling of anger going round confused shy figure (8)
PIQUE (feeling of anger) containing [going round] anagram [confused] of SHY
45 Settle musical scores? (7)
I tried to make a double definition of this but I think it has to be &lit
47 Ability explosive: is it drink-fuelled? (6)
TNT (explosive) containing [fuelled by] ALE (drink)
50 Repetitious complaint about old volunteers in four pairs? (5)
OCD  (repetitious complaint – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) containing [about] TA (old volunteers – Territorial Army, now called the Army Reserve)
51 Confederacy or those who opposed it? (5)
A confederacy is a union but the second part of the clue is a reference to the American Civil War in which the Confederacy (the South) fought the Union (the North).
52 Grunge band, unconvincing here, finally shows bite (4)
{grung}E + {ban}D + {unconvincin}G + {her}E [finally]

4 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1639 – 14 October 2023”

  1. I never got OUTGUN; NHO GUN. I looked up GADOLINIUM, as I couldn’t decide on the right distribution of G,D,L, N among the unches. Among the deficiencies in his military knowledge (“…my military knowledge, though I’m plucky and adventury/ Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century”), Major-General Stanley mentions COMMISSARIAT:
    When such affairs as sorties and surprises I’m more wary at,
    And when I know precisely what is meant by ‘commissariat’ …
    I liked ALBACORE.

  2. 2hrs 19mins, but with some help on two clues. Not one of my fastest. Slow in the South and West. LOI CENTILITRE.

    At 7dn I toyed with OUTGUN and OUTRUN. GUN seemed the most likely Australian champion sheep-shearing word, and I should have just plumped for it. But I looked it up to check.

    DNK GADOLINIUM and the crossers weren’t much help sorting out the anagram. I had a go and looked it up to check. No. Google re-directed me to the right answer.

    NHO SCAPEGRACE; I found LADIES MAN a surprisingly hard anagram; I liked BOARDING SCHOOL.

    I enjoyed this one. Thank you setter, and blogger

  3. Thanks for the blog Jack. I flew through this in just under 47 minutes, although I failed to parse 7d, which went in with fingers crossed.

    COD 6a for the connection (nicely highlighted in the blog) to my favourite NFL team, who are named after the 1849 gold rush miners.

  4. I did put “abyss” (silly me) which slowed me down at the end until I spotted my error.

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