Times Cryptic Jumbo 1646 – Hip-to-lazed crazed abstractionists

A perfectly acceptable puzzle of mid-level difficulty, IMHO.  A couple of chestnuts balanced with a lot of neat touches, but a bit of controversy arpund 28a.

First in was HIPPOCAMPUS and last was JUNE.

If any of my explanations don’t make sense then feel free to ask for further elucidation.

The technical stuff:

Clues are in blue (unless you’re in dark mode) with the definition underlined.  Anagram indicators are in bold italics.


DD: Double definition
CD: Cryptic definition
DDCDH: DD/CD hybrid where a straight definition is combined with a cryptic hint.

&Lit: “all in one” where the entire clue is both definition and wordplay.

(fodder)* denotes an anagram of the letters in the brackets.

Rounded brackets are also used to add further clarity

Squiggly brackets {} indicate parts of a word not used

Deletions are struck out

Square brackets [] expand an abbreviation or shortening like P[arking]

1 Part of brain from large mammal found in front of learning centre (11)
7 Leading positions in profession or craft after tide turned (11)
13 Cutting ends off pendant or charm (9)
TRENCHANT – {pendan}T, {o}R, ENCHANT
14 Since parking, stop — perhaps on this (7)
ASPHALT – AS, P[arking], HALT
15 Before close of play, big match is liable to boil over (5)
TESTY – {pla}Y after TEST
16 Make defensive move as learner in class (6)
CASTLE – L[earner driver] in CASTE.  Chess move.
17 Lip in great pain, working in a filthy plant (8)
AGRIMONY – RIM in AGONY and ON in A GRIMY.  An interesting double wordplay / single definition combo.
18 Power behind punt, say, that’s in beastly kicker’s leg (7)
PASTERN – P[ower], ASTERN (behind any kind of boat).  The part of a horse’s foot from the fetlock to the hoof.  I’m not sure what the reference to kicking is there for.
20 Early cross-channel fare, somewhat reduced? (11,9)
CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST – CD, based on a continental breakfast generally being a less extensive offering than the full buffet or whatever.
23 Collectively backs excuse (7)
DEFENCE – DD, the first relating to ball games like football.
24 Cunning about what, oddly, could be “across” clue (7)
ATHWART – ART around (what)*.  ATHWART could be a definition type clue for ACROSS.
26 Observed how plain such a cake is (7)
NOTICED – A plain cake might be NOT ICED
28 Assumed choice of directions (4)
WORN – W[est] OR N[orth].  WORE would be an equally valid answer (maybe even better) but will have shown as an error if that’s what you went with.  Not great.
29 Careless hit-and-run (8)
32 Remove ends from bin and show price, see (9)
BISHOPRIC – BI{n} SHO{w} PRIC{e}.  Nice one.
35 Conservative on offer as candidate (9)
36 Holds working meeting with partners — they’re past it (3-5)
HAS-BEENS – HAS, BEE, N[orth}, S[outh] (bridge partners)
37 Major component of body paint, as you can hear (4)
LIMB – sounds like LIMN
39 Female player’s phrase for county official (7)
41 Priestess in play producing model scene (7)
44 Start working, seeing expert about strained back (7)
ACTUATE – ACE around TAUT reversed
45 Novel tool for fixing moccasins? (3,4,2,3,8)
49 Ignore young woman that’s found in sailor’s arms (7)
CUTLASS – CUT, LASS, arms as in weapons
50 A monarch in state you reportedly banished? Just the opposite (8)
CONTRARY – A, R (rex or regina) in COUNTRY without U (you reportedly)
51 Achieves satisfaction succeeding king, making fortune (6)
KISMET – IS MET after K[ing]
53 Published chapter for Animal Farm? (5)
54 Run in a person who’s brutish in a row (7)
55 Depressed surface for putting on mix of colours (4-5)
BLUE-GREEN – BLUE (depressed), GREEN (surface for putting in golf)
56 Cool stall in Billingsgate once? (11)
STANDOFFISH – STAND OF FISH (Billingsgate was a fish market in London.)  A bit of a chestnut now but a pleasing clue device when you first encouner it.
57 With excessive publicity, head lost in passion, was lying about kiss? (11)


1 Snag about English becoming advanced in scientific applications (2-4)
HI-TECH – HITCH around E[nglish]
2 Way to get pear juice for newsworthy event (5,10)
PRESS CONFERENCE – DDCDH, conference being a pear variety (know any others?)
3 Being romantic and madly nostalgic about university (10)
OSCULATING – (nostalgic)* around U[niversity]
4 Being raised from bed, we hear, not at home (4)
AWAY – sounds like AWEIGH
5 Simplistic and muddled again about old part of South America (9)
PATAGONIA – PAT, (again)* around O[ld]
6 Taken in by host, am I naming what allows me to stay? (7)
STAMINA – hidden
7 Plant motivation for Brexit? That’s about right (9)
EUPHORBIA – E[uropean] U[nion] PHOBIA around R[ight]
8 Wine country including even parts of rift valley (5)
ITALY – {r}I{f}T{v}A{l}L{e}Y
9 Vociferous striker’s dismissal announced (9)
10 Contentment is found in assembled clique (12)
11 Test cricket, for instance, includes pressure (7)
INSPECT – INSECT around P[ressure].  Another chestnutty device.
12 Saw, for example, what Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is (6)
SAYING – SAY (for example) IN G ( EKN is also known as Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major).
19 Convertible used lane that’s not closed (8)
UNSEALED – (used lane)*
21 Each piece of furniture that’s OK to demolish (7)
22 Finish off puzzle with bad clue, somehow open to improvement (8)
EDUCABLE – ({puzzl}E bad clue)*.  Cross reference to 28?
23 County players directed towards ground (8)
25 Former political leader seen in the Athenaeum (5)
HEATH – hidden.  My dazzling &Lit clue for this word didn’t even get a mention in the ST clue writing comp a few years ago: Conservative leader ousted after Thatcher uncovered cracks.
27 Religious leader with holy book, as opposed to ordinals (8,7)
30 Deliver ring covered by favourite semi-precious mineral (7)
31 Book whose author shows off (5)
HOSEA – hidden.
33 Newspaper articles about British lie exposed? (8)
SUNBATHE – (The) SUN, A, THE around B[ritish]
34 Newspaper holding its boss up longed for some sort of accommodation (4-8)
SEMI-DETACHED – reversal of ED[itor] in TIMES, ACHED
38 Ready for seasonal deliveries, replenishing store (8,2)
STOCKING UP – DDCDH, “Are you hanging up your stockings on the wall…”
40 Employees supporting plant that upholds standards (9)
FLAGSTAFF – STAFF under FLAG (an iris)
42 German who scored away excited a bench (9)
OFFENBACH – OFF, (a bench)*
43 Exemplary commander whose conclusion is framed in British English (9)
ADMIRABLE – ADMIRAL with the L sandwiched between B[ritish] E[nglish]
45 Famous liner docked — a queen (7)
46 Character of Hamlet seen in his first speech, mainly (7)
HORATIO – H{amlet}, ORATIO{n}
47 One great singer cut short as victim of aerial tragedy (6)
ICARUS – I, (Enrico) CARUSo
48 In early afternoon, daughter made up (6)
ATONED – AT ONE, D[aughter]
50 Right in the middle of tooth, one kind of canine (5)
CORGI – R[ight] in COG, I
52 Last girl in a series named annually (4)
JUNE – I assume this refers to JUNE being the last (proper) girls’ name in the months of the year (April and May being first and second I guess), but you never know these days.


17 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1646 – Hip-to-lazed crazed abstractionists”

  1. JUNE was my LOI, too. A fairly humdrum Jumbo, I thought. Except for WORN/WORE. I don’t submit my Jumbos for the leaderboard, so it’s no skin off my nose, but it’s really shocking that both setter and editor missed this.

    1. Thanks for the comment but that can’t be the case.

      Something like “his first”, “the first” or “our first” wouldn’t be used in a Times puzzle to clue H, T or O. That doesn’t work cryptic grammar wise, it would have to be “first of his” or whatever.

      So in this case “his” has to refer back to the “he” in question, being Hamlet. So “his first” = Hamlet’s first, = H.

      1. I was going to make the same comment as you: but couldn’t e.g. “Bob’s first” (not “Bob first”) indicate B? And if so, why not ‘his’ or ‘our’ (but not ‘the’)?

        1. “Bob’s first” can mean “the first letter of Bob”. “His first” can’t mean “the first letter of his”: it would have to be “his’s first”.

  2. Another one session job, so evidently I found it reasonably straightforward.

    Add me to the list of solvers who had JUNE as their LOI but I’m not sure now whether I ever understood the cryptic.

    I don’t recall seeing LIMN before but an archive search reveals a number of previous appearances.

    On the HORATIO debate I’d say either interpretation is fine if it gets you to the correct answer but H{amlet} is far neater than H{is} so I’d guess that’s what our skilled setter intended.

    1. I saw the H coming from his as neater because that gave a clear separation between definition, ” Character from Hamlet” and wordplay, “seen in his first speech, mainly”. To take the H from Hamlet seems to muddle the two parts of the clue. Oh well, if the “his first” giving H is not done, as Penfold says, then of course I stand down.

      1. I see what you mean, but setters often use a reflexive construction in wordplay (‘his’ in this case, referring back to Hamlet) that makes the clue as a whole more coherent.

  3. 1 hour 22 minutes. Pretty good for me. NHO PASTERN but the wordplay was clear and I was more confident with it than with LIMB where i’d never heard of the paint needed for the homophone. No problem with KISMET although I can’t quite see that “achieves satisfation” actually gives “is met”. And I thought “somewhat reduced” was a bit odd for clueing the CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST.

    I had WORN because I saw it first and didn’t pursue it any more. If I had seen WORE I would have gone for it. I agree it’s better.

    I struggled with AGRIMONY with the definition and two sets of wordplay. There just seemed to be too much going on. A device that is impressive but perhaps rather more annoying. I also struggled with DEFENCE, INSPECT and JUNE but enjoyed all three when the answers clicked.

    So mostly straightforward but nothing wrong with that. Many thanks for the blog

  4. Straightforward 20-minuter but with WORE. Irritating, and I’m also surprised this wasn’t noticed.
    Penfold definitely has it right about H for Hamlet. You’ll never see ‘his first’ indicating H in a Times crossword.

  5. Another WORE, which is definitely a much better answer, but I was a bit over my target 40 mins so I wasn’t too fussed.

    Does KISMET, HORATIO and a clue base on Admiral constitute a mini-nina? Probably not.

    You have a typo at 40a Penfold, although your meaning is clear. Thanks as always for the blog.

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