Times Cryptic Jumbo 1649 – 23rd December 2023

Solved in  one session I found this fairly easy apart from two very long answers at 31ac and 54ac, both of which  needed several attempts and most of their checkers before the answers were fully formed in my mind. Additionally there was one answer (24dn) where very close attention to wordplay was required in order to avoid a bear pit, but more about that later.

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.

Across
1 Worms regularly found next to pillar inside no-frills recycling facility (7,4)
COMPOST HEAP
{w}O{r}M{s} [regularly] + POST (pillar) contained by [inside] CHEAP (no-frills)
7 Strangely proper, sweet kids may exert such an influence (6,5)
PESTER POWER
Anagram [strangely] of PROPER SWEET
13 Chat show host maybe at breaks changing celebs (17)
CONVERSATIONALIST
AT contained by [breaks] CONVERSION (changing), A-LIST (celebs)
14 Extremely rare, specialist copy (5)
REPRO
R{ar}E {extremely], PRO (specialist)
15 Bad plonk, free (6)
PUTRID
PUT (plonk), RID (free)
16 Legally acquire scribes for an auditor (2,6)
BY RIGHTS
Sounds like [for an auditor] “buy” (acquire) + “writes” (scribes)
17 Flash, loose foreign police officer (7)
MOUNTIE
MO (flash – moment), UNTIE  (loose)
19 Resolved to relieve oil producer (5,4)
OLIVE TREE
Anagram [resolved] of TO RELIEVE
21 Palace staff worry endlessly about protecting carriage (8)
SERVANTS
STRES{s} (worry) [endlessly] reversed [about], containing [protecting] VAN (carriage of a train perhaps)
23 Flower seen in odd places in The Fens (4)
TEES
T{h}E {f}E{n}S [seen in odd places in…]. The River Tees.
25 Popular TV feature added to a magazine? (5)
INSET
IN (popular),  SET (TV). TVs and radios were commonly referred to as ‘sets’ at one time.
27 Dismal days breed animosity in the end (6)
DREARY
D (days), REAR (breed), {animosit}Y [in the end]
28 Neglected person recalled in novel (10)
CINDERELLA
Anagram [novel] of RECALLED IN
30 Water container covered in kind of green waste (8)
SEWERAGE
EWER (water container) contained by [covered in] SAGE (kind of green)
31 In France, a proper source of drugs is not seized (14)
UNAPPROPRIATED
UN (in France ‘a’), APPROPRIATE (proper), D{rugs} [source of …]
34 Work produced by digital artist? (6,8)
FINGER PAINTING
Cryptic
35 Takes steps to include official introductions (8)
PREFACES
PACES (takes steps) containing [to include] REF (official)
38 An elite unit lacking one injured soldier (10)
LIEUTENANT
Anagram [injured] of AN ELITE UN{i}T [lacking one – i]
40 Simple collection of data secures account (6)
FACILE
FILE (collection of data) contains [secures] AC (account)
41 Wow some vacuous fools (5)
GEESE
GEE (wow!), S{om}E [vacuous – empty]. I wasn’t sure of he definition until I thought of the expression ‘Silly goose’.
43 Unyielding, dismissing son’s argument (4)
TIFF
{s}TIFF (unyielding) [dismissing son – s]
44 Article kept in school: it’s inside, alarmed (8)
AGITATED
A (article), then IT contained by [inside] GATED (kept in school)
45 Marx perhaps had to leave when initially attacked with a weapon (9)
HARPOONED
HARPO (Marx perhaps),  O{w}NED (had) [to leave w{hen} initially]. Harpo was the brother who never spoke and played the harp.
48 Kitty grabbing hold of one large recoiling furry mammal (7)
POLECAT
POT (kitty) containing [grabbing hold of ] ACE (one) + L (large) reversed [recoiling]
49 Get support acquiring piano for musician (8)
BAGPIPER
BAG (get), PIER (support) containing [acquiring] P (piano)
50 Live around a mile beyond the eastern edge of Liverpool, still (6)
BECALM
BE (live), C (around), AL{iverpool} [eastern edge of…], M (mile)
53 English police officers rejected sergeant’s last order (5)
EDICT
E (English), CID (police officers) reversed) [rejected], {sergean}T [’s last]
54 A number of people? (17)
ANAESTHESIOLOGIST
Cryptic
55 Get mad, then settle and come to an understanding (3,3,5)
SEE THE LIGHT
SEETHE (get mad), LIGHT (settle – land)
56 Outwardly snarky new essay about revolutionary music producer (11)
SYNTHESISER
S{nark}Y [outwardly], N (new), THESIS (essay), then RE (about) reversed [revolutionary]
Down
1 Rackets created by accountant with company fraudsters (11)
CACOPHONIES
CA (accountant), CO (company), PHONIES (fraudsters)
2 Artist requiring mostly brass and tin to start with (5)
MONET
MONE{y} (brass) [mostly], T{in} [to start with]
3 Previous issue brought up I must introduce (3-4)
ONE-TIME
ONE (I), then EMIT (issue) reversed [brought up]. ‘Must introduce’ just indicates position.
4 Chore that’s beginning or ending on request (4)
TASK
T{hat} [beginning]  or  {tha}T [ending], ASK (request)
5 Basic telly never thrown out (5-5)
ENTRY-LEVEL
Anagram [thrown out] of TELLY NEVER
6 Correspondence from someone who’s shy? (10,4)
PROMISSORY NOTE
Cryptic. This can be a note (perhaps in the form of correspondence) promising to pay a debt at some point in the future. The clue suggests that it’s because the signatory is short (shy) of money, although this may not necessarily be the case, hence the question mark.
7 Thieves with craving for ultimately breaking into post offices (8)
POACHERS
ACHE (craving) + {fo}R [ultimately] contained by [breaking into] PO’S (post offices)
8 Exclusive hotel’s abandoned southern Europeans (5)
SWISS
SWIS{h} (exclusive) [hotel’s abandoned], S (southern)
9 Evaluated drug said to suppress the onsets of intense migraines (9)
ESTIMATED
E (drug), STATED (said) containing [to suppress]  I{ntense} + M{igraines} [onsets of…]
10 Each serving of coffee maybe reported to recover energy (4,2)
PERK UP
Sounds like [reported] “per cup” (each serving of coffee maybe)
11 With a time inside, escapee will then possibly make a fresh start (4,3,5,5)
WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN
A + T (time) contained by [inside] anagram [possibly] of ESCAPEE WILL THEN
12 State that is American at heart? (5,6)
RHODE ISLAND
Hidden [at heart] and abbreviated  in {Ame}RI{can}
18 Recalled piece about old commercial deficit (5,3)
TRADE GAP
PART (piece) containing [about] AGED (old) all reversed [recalled]
20 Classic Christmas movie crammed in fantastic ideas of winter (3,1,9,4)
ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE
FULL (crammed) contained by [in] anagram [fantastic] of IDEAS OF WINTER
22 Area by train lines home to birds (6)
AVIARY
A (area), VIA (by), RY (train lines)
24 Bachelor drops ciggie: it’s mental exhaustion (5,3)
BRAIN FAG
B (bachelor), RAIN (drops),  FAG (ciggie). The wordplay is easy but my problem was that I’ve never heard this term before, but I did know ‘brain fog‘ so I spent time deliberating over it, deciding eventually that the wordplay was unambiguous so I needed to accept it. On checking afterwards BRAINFAG (one word) is in Collins and BRAIN FAG (two words) is in Chambers where it’s marked obsolete. ‘Brain fog’ is in Collins Online but only in the COBUILD section. Both terms mean much the same thing as far as I can tell.
26 Floods ripped through rock formations (8)
TORRENTS
RENT (ripped) contained by [through] TORS (rock formations)
29 Bread products also found in nice shops we supply (4,10)
OPEN SANDWICHES
AND (also) contained by [found in] anagram [supply] of NICE SHOPS WE
32 Flower garden to some extent messed up when pruned (8)
PARTERRE
PART (to some extent), ERRE{d} (messed up) [when pruned]. My LOI.
33 Permit curbing pub singer? (6)
LINNET
LET (permit) containing [curbing] INN (pub). The bird gets a mention in the lyric of the old Music Hall song  Don’t Dilly Dally On The Way, sometimes referred to as  My Old Man Said Follow The Van, but its original subtitle was The Cock Linnet Song.
34 Thought advice restricts writers (4-3,4)
FELT-TIP PENS
FELT (thought), TIP (advice), PENS (restricts)
36 Silly preset mode restricting key measuring device (11)
SPEEDOMETER
Anagram [silly] of PRESET MODE containing [restricting] E (key)
37 Where to find sailors working when lots of tourists are around (4,6)
HIGH SEASON
HIGH SEAS (where to find sailors), ON (working)
39 Weird thing following everybody when it gets dark (9)
NIGHTFALL
Anagram [weird] of THING, F (following), ALL (everybody)
42 Theatre backdrop packed up in crates, e.g. at storerooms (5,3)
STAGE SET
Hidden and reversed [packed up in] {cra}TES EG AT S{torerooms}
46 Heavy, heavy blow above American boxing ring (7)
ONEROUS
ONER (heavy blow) + US (American) containing [boxing] O (ring)
47 Stop for something to drink (6)
SCOTCH
Two meanings. The first as in ‘scotch a rumour’.
49 Report about heroin and another narcotic (5)
BHANG
BANG (report) containing [about] H (heroin). Slang for cannabis.
51 First sign of tooth decay? Not the first (5)
ARIES
{c}ARIES (tooth decay) [not the first]. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac because it corresponds to the spring equinox.
52 Lucre stashed by desperados habitually (4)
DOSH
Hidden in [stashed by] {despera}DOS H{abitually}

2 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1649 – 23rd December 2023”

  1. One pink square. Not a bad time – 1 hour 24 minutes – but it left me feeling really fed up. I have never come across, and I failed to construct successfully, ANAESTHESIOLOGIST. I just got frustrated at the FAG/FOG choice. I am dismayed to discover that sewage and sewerage now mean the same. Even little things – why “Palace” in 21ac? On balance, just irritating.

    I wrote that comment at the time, so that’s how it was. Elsewhere, other Jumbos are available with happier outcomes

    1. I suppose ‘palace’ is in 21ac as the Royals are own lots of carriages, so it adds to the surface but is not needed.

Comment

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