Times Cryptic Jumbo 1644 – 18th November 2023


I solved this in one session. Much of it was plain-sailing but there were some choppy waters along the way especially in the top half and the NW corner. The lower half seemed easier.

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 Big belts? (9)
Two definitions, the second by example
6 Game to show quantity of film a film idol trimmed (7)
CAN (quantity of film), A, STA{r} (film idol) [trimmed]
10 Promotional material backing corporation statistic (5)
AD (promotional material) reversed [backing], TUM (corporation – a protruding or prominent abdomen)
13 Repartee of comedienne, perhaps, becomes wasted (7)
WIT (repartee), HERS (of comedienne, perhaps)
14 Late, with daughter slipping out and son coming in? It’s a strain (7)
D (daughter) slips out of OVER{d}UE (late) and S (son) comes in to make OVERUSE
15 Insects, not beginning to circulate disease (7)
{c}RICKETS (insects) [not beginning to circulate]
16 Soon relieved with riddles worked out? Their successes aren’t remembered (3,8,5,3)
Anagram [worked out] of SOON RELIEVED RIDDLES. I puzzled over the definition here because it seems I have never understood this expression correctly. It comes from a British army song and its extended title is ‘Old soldiers never die, they simply fade away’. Apparently this means that although soldiers may live into old age, their lives and accomplishments fade into oblivion. The setter’s definition reflects this as applied in more general terms.
17 Punt to end of line (3)
TO, {lin}E [end]. This was not obvious to me but I gather that in sport both ‘toe’ and ‘punt’ can mean ‘kick’.
18 Medicine man apparently not the real article (6)
SHAM (not…real), AN (article)
20 Train stops working when given to US railway (6)
DIES (stops working), EL (US elevated railway)
21 Attempt to restrain tutor, heading off betrayal (9)
TRY (attempt) containing [to restrain] {t}EACHER (tutor) [heading off]
23 Query from rabbit had put cows out (5,2,3)
Anagram [out] of HAD PUT COWS. What’s Up, Doc? is a Looney Tunes cartoon from 1950 featuring  Bugs Bunny.
25 Crown and money absorbing a wicked Biblical King, a tragic character (7,4)
CAP (crown), TIN (money) containing [absorbing] A, then AHAB (wicked Biblical King). I take on trust that the king was wicked.
29 A pair one left for over four weeks (5)
A, PR (pair), I (one), L (left)
30 Flower, one adapted to the desert, to weaken after setback (8)
CAMEL (one adapted to the desert), then AIL (weaken) reversed [after setback]
31 Certainly needing pen to depict classic Western scene (2,6)
OK (certainly), CORRAL (livestock pen). The famous gunfight at the OK Corral of 1881 celebrated in film and song took place nearby and not actually within its bounds as portrayed in the film.
34 Song session interrupted by a waster (8)
LAY (song) + BOUT (session_ containing [interrupted by] A
36 Council worker, say, finding waste outside old chemical company (8)
OFFAL (waste) containing [outside] ICI (old chemical company – Imperial Chemical Industries). ‘Offal’ has a number of meanings most of which can be interpreted as waste matter, although it is also used for internal organs of animals that can be served deliciously as food.
37 Animated film and book having curtailed range (5)
B (book), AMBI{t} (range) [curtailed]
39 Tweet about more efficient way to keep Tube open? (4,7)
PIPE (tweet), C (about), LEANER (more efficient)
41 Fastener twisted round tree — a point one observes (10)
TIE (fastener) reversed [twisted] containing [round] YEW (tree), NESS (point – headland)
43 France formerly curtailed expression of affection in Paris — it’s socially awkward (9)
GAU{l} (France formerly) [curtailed], CHERIE (expression of affection in Paris)
45 Nearly all soccer team appearing amongst international set (6)
TEN (nearly all soccer team  – 11 on the pitch), contained by [appearing amongst] INT (international). One can be set / intent on doing something. I made heavy weather of parsing this. Having learnt from crosswords that there is a football team called ‘Inter’, I originally had INTE{r} (soccer team) [nearly] and was left wondering how to account for NT.
47 Entertained two Americans with edition (6)
AM + US (two Americans) , ED (edition)
49 Eggs on, very assiduously at first (3)
O{n} + V{ery} + A{ssiduously} [at first]
50 Romantic comedy about sex involving four? It regularly takes over part of London (7,4,8)
NOTTING HILL (romantic comedy), CARNAL (about sex) containing [involving] IV (four)
52 Cut short attempt to confiscate weapon? One can’t be serious (7)
TR{y} (attempt) [cut short] containing [to confiscate] RIFLE (weapon)
53 Very long time to accept Scottish mountain plant (7)
V (very), ERA (long time) containing [to accept] BEN (Scottish mountain)
54 Jazz music with German backing is in fashion (7)
MIT (with in German) reversed [backing] contained by [is in] RAGE (fashion). Here’s a nicely restrained performance of Scott Joplin’s Ragtime Dance that perfectly captures the authentic style of the time.
55 Stop Frenchmen entering company area (5)
M + M (Frenchmen –messieurs ) contained by [entering] CO (company) + A (area). More of a pause than a stop but we’ve had this definition before.
56 Pedants possibly man rebuffed in places (7)
SIR (man) reversed [rebuffed] contained by [in] PUTS (places)
57 Ill-repute that is close to merit, embraced by committed left-winger? (9)
IE (that is) + {meri}T [close to…] contained [embraced] by NO TORY (committed left-winger?)
1 Wood’s supporter saying supplier of water needed around middle of April (8)
SAW (saying), then HOSE (supplier of water) containing [around] {ap}R{il} [middle]
2 Cheers up, with Republican around, becoming valued (5)
RED (Republican) containing [around] TA (cheers!) reversed [up]. I gather that the colour Red has become associated with the US Republican Party over the last 20 years or so, but I think this may be the first time it has appeared in a Times crossword. Usually we have R or GOP.
3 Flying creature that could shift to protect lady (11)
Anagram [shift] of PROTECT LADY
4 Imprisoned those who could all be on strike? (6)
In cricket, ‘all’ players IN the SIDE that’s batting will likely be ‘on strike’ (facing the bowler) at some point in the game. This may apply in other sports for all I know – perhaps baseball? Edit: Please see Kapietro’s comment below for a detail of parsing  I missed at the time.
5 Some go and decide to change efficient structure (8,4)
Anagram [change] of SOME GO DECIDE. I didn’t know this but worked it out eventually from anagrist and checkers. I was amazed to discover that the only appearance of GEODISIC in recent years was in a Quick Cryptic set by Corelli in November 2018. On that occasion it was defined as ‘type of survey’ but the duty blogger mentioned Geodesic domes with reference to those at the Eden project in Cornwall. Prior to that in the TfTT era it had appeared once in 2007, a few days before I contributed my first blog.
6 Doubles up regarding participating in court events (7)
RE (regarding) contained by [participating in] CASES (court events)
7 Lively Nice venue with soul I start to like for the food there? (8,7)
Anagram [lively] of  NICE VENUE SOUL I L{ike} [start]. The definition refers back to Nice, suggesting a French expression.
8 Unfairly classify as not having a single-track mind? (10)
STEREO (not having a single-track), TYPE (mind). I’m struggling to think of an example where ‘type’ and ‘mind’ are synonymous. All contributions welcome.
9 Cut a passage in middle of movement (7)
A, BRIDGE (passage in middle of movement). In music a bridge passage forms a link between larger sections of a movement.
10 A month ultimately for key conclusion: none softening (11)
DEC (a month), {fo}R [ultimately], ESC (key), END (conclusion), 0 (none). The opposite of crescendo / getting louder. An alternative to diminuendo.
11 Leader in Times left the I upset? Just a fraction (9)
T{imes} [leader], WENT (left), then anagram [upset] of THE I
12 My pen’s written about former monarch, an inscrutable figure (7)
MY, STY (pen) containing [written about] ER (former monarch)
19 Wrong to seal off hot waste receptacle (7)
ASTRAY (wrong) containing [to seal off] H (hot)
22 Constant routine kept up in month: a critical moment (8)
C (constant) then RUT (routine) reversed [up] both contained by [kept…in] JUNE (month)
24 Beach Boys song is fair carolling when broadcast (10,5)
Anagram [broadcast] of IS FAIR CAROLLING. My first answer in as the clue caught my eye as I was printing my copy.
26 Caffeine, say — help keeping all OK, if stimulated (8)
AID (help) containing [keeping] anagram [stimulated] of ALL OK
27 Island keeping temperature in cold sea (6)
BALI  (island) containing [keeping…in] T (temperature), C (cold)
28 Race involving everyone amongst Republicans (6)
ALL (everyone) contained by [amongst] GOP (Republicans – as per my comment at 2dn!)
32 Rebels to replace one with a ME king (7)
When R{i}SES (rebels) replaces I (one) with A + ME we get RAMESES, any of 12 kings of ancient Egypt. This spelling is missing from those listed in Wiki but is in Collins as an alternative to Ramses.
33 Benefit from experience, as it happens, with large gain (4,3,5)
LIVE (as it happens), AND (with), L (large), EARN (gain)
35 Composer doubling third part, obsessing over one A — wild songs etc (11)
BAC(C)H (composer) [doubling third part – third letter], ANAL (obsessing), I (one), A. Drunken revelry in which music is probably the ingredient least essential to the participants as they would be more interested in the et cetera!
37 One offering account from row thirteen, possibly: a person getting on? (4,7)
BANK M (row thirteen, possibly), AN (a), AGER (person getting on). I am a little surprised to find that AGER exists in its own right as it would usually only be encountered as the second element of a compound word such as ‘teenager’.
38 A French minister, upset, about to contradict atheist (10)
UN (a – French), BELIE (contradict), REV (minister) reversed [upset]. ‘About’ indicates’ enclosure.
40 Artist with a lot of inclination to participate in exclusive mingling of styles? (9)
RA (artist) + LIS{t} (inclination) [a lot of…] contained by [to participate in] PLUM (exclusive)
42 Praise overlooking a railway affair? (8)
ADUL{a}TE (praise) [overlooking a], RY (railway)
43 Knowing tune’s picked up with habitual response (7)
SONG (tune) reversed [picked up], TIC (habitual response)
44 Not fully a sailor, being bowled over in restrictive situation (3,4)
PART (not fully) + TAR (sailor) reversed [being bowled over]
46 Instant power provided by small muscle (7)
TRICE (instant), P (power), S (small)
48 One copying standard hill climbing (6)
PAR (standard), then TOR (hill) reversed [climbing]
51 Gripping item, involving old singer (5)
VICE (gripping item) containing [involving] O (old singer)

4 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1644 – 18th November 2023”

  1. Odd; I wrote a comment this morning. Maybe I forgot to submit it; I wouldn’t put it past me.
    Anyway, DNF: I never got WITHERS or SAWHORSE. An MER at ‘knowing’=GNOSTIC.
    WHAT’S UP, DOC? was Bugs Bunny’s trademark line; I’m sure it shows up in many of his cartoons. I didn’t know OLD SOLDIERS was a song, let alone a British one; I (and I suspect most Murcans) associate it with/attribute it to General MacArthur. AHAB was definitely a nasty (married, as I recall, to Jezebel, another one). In Moby-Dick, Ishmael (and the reader) is surprised that there would be a person named Ahab. Whether or not ‘track’=’mind’ in some sense, I don’t see how ‘stereo’ means ‘two (or more) tracks’.

    1. It’s a while since I wrote the blog so I come to it with a fresh outlook. Re 8dn ‘mind / TYPE’, I suppose one might say that people who have a similar outlook or attitude are of the same type or mind. You put ‘two (or more) tracks’ in quotations, but it’s not the sub-definition in the clue which is ‘not having a single track’. A stereo recording has two independent tracks. Or have I misunderstood your query on this?

  2. I had problems doing this one electronically at the time so I did it on a printout. Found it a bit odd; I’m not used to it. I didn’t keep track of the time but comfortably within the two hours, I reckon.

    Nice straightforward Jumbo. Vocab and GK all within reach. STEREOTYPE didn’t alarm me at the time. I didn’t even think mind/type needed to be synonyms – just that we were looking for the TYPE of person with that sort of MIND – but you, jackkt, have cracked it by finding the match.

    I think SAWHORSE caused me the most trouble. FOI GEODESIC DOME, LOI TRIFLER, COD EYEWITNESS.

    Just a quibble, but in your parsing of INSIDE you don’t quite say that the side that is batting is “in” – they are the IN SIDE – so a bit more than IN the SIDE. OK. I need to find myself something to do. Many thanks for the blog

    1. Thanks for the comments. Yes, you’re right that I missed the full significance of ‘in’ in my explanation of the parsing of INSIDE. It hadn’t occurred to me at the time.

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