Times Cryptic Jumbo 1656 – I won’t be there when you cross the road

I thought this was an excellent puzzle, full of invention and wit and plenty of the sort of clever definitions that set Times cryptics apart from other puzzles.  Thanks setter.  I took around an hour, parsing as I went, and partially distracted by other stuff, so I’d say this was just on the harder side of average.

First in was THIEVES and last was BERGMAN.

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 E[nglish]

1 Eliot accepts welcome from Adam, perhaps, and so does Nick (7)
THIEVES – T.S. (Eliot) around HI EVE.  A very clever definition featuring good use of permitted “false capitalisation”.  Hi Eve is great too, a cracking clue to start us off.
5 See head or tail of small horse obscured by pet (7)
PONTIFF – PONY with the Y “obscured by” TIFF.  Another neat definition.
9 American means to open and cancel bill (4-3)
PULL-TAB – PULL, TAB.  I think it’s what we call a ring-pull.
13 Scandal marred Legoland’s progress, somehow (6,5)
MUDDLE ALONG – MUD, (legoland)*
14 Early in the day, indeed, for broadcaster to supply something cheesy! (6,5)
15 Career endlessly, becoming exhausted (3-2)
16 Parents rating entertainer for teenager? (3,4)
17 Biscuit base is mixed (9)
HOBNOBBED – HOBNOB, BED.  Love it.  I don’t know if y’all have Hobnob cookies outside the UK.
18 One applied to head Corporate Challenge organised around English pub (21)
ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPH – (corporate challenge)* around E[nglish] P[ublic] H[ouse]
23 Exquisite present, amongst other things (8)
25 Trouble set back crook (6)
DOGLEG – DOG, reversal of GEL
27 A little embroidery more than enough to occupy sister (7)
30 Colleagues work after getting time off (5)
OPPOS – OP[us], POSt
32 Publicises furious golfer’s embarrassing error (3,4)
33 Verbal agreement to follow play without rehearsing in full (3-6)
JAM-PACKED – homophone of PACT after JAM (music)
35 Snappy banker’s line (9)
CROCODILE – DD (as we found out in yesterday’s QC, a line of schoolchildren walking somewhere is known as a crocodile)
36 Director after ale half-heartedly fed (7)
BERGMAN – BEeR, GMAN (a G-man is an FBI agent or Fed)
37 Swimmer brightly coloured alien craft circles around (5)
TETRA – E[xtra] T[errestrial] in reversal of ART
38 Scoffed as one unhorsed, as it were? (7)
DERIDED – A pun.  If you were riding a horse and fell off, one could say you’d been “de-rided”.  Ish.
40 Chief regularly had to try being casually friendly (6)
CHATTY – CH[ief], {h}A{d}T{o}T[r}Y
41 British-made — and broken! (8)
BREACHED – B[ritish], REACHED (as in made land, or a la Glen Campbell “By the time I make Albuquerque, she’ll be workin'”)
44 Stolen motorboat blonde resolved to get back no matter what (3,4,6,6,2)
BET ONES BOTTOM DOLLAR ON – (stolen motorboat blonde)*
48 Fiercest when moved to defend one’s rights (9)
RECTIFIES – (fiercest)* around I
50 Dancer pushed back against discrimination charge (7)
NUREYEV – reversal of V[ersus], EYE, RUN
53 Find fancy uniform needed by page (3,2)
DIG UP – DIG (fancy something or someone), U[niform], P[age]
54 Primitive missile part prepared for battle? (11)
55 Asian dish: one nice roasted (11)
INDOCHINESE – (dish one nice)*
56 Used to 53 thousand in hex, due to be converted (7)
EXHUMED – M (one thousand) in (hex due)*.  The answer to 53a is DIG UP, so “used to dig up” = EXHUMED
57 Request to have part of component re-attached (7)
ENTREAT – hidden
58 Major attempt to get to grips with old prejudice (7)
BIGOTRY – BIG TRY around O[ld]


1 Host poking spot on family pet? (6)
TOMCAT – MC in TO A T (spot on)
2 Scandinavian girl retaining flat mostly as favour (7)
INDULGE – INGE around DUL{l}
3 University books, always of poetry, with one of a series on offer (9)
VOLUNTEER – U[niversity], N[ew] T[estament], E’ER, with VOL[ume] on top
4 A little current beneath the bottom left quagmire (5)
SWAMP – AMP[ere] under S[outh] W[est]
5 Twin bears scorn (4-4)
POOH-POOH – (Winnie the) POOH x2
6 When it’s black, chess piece can be picked up (5)
NIGHT – homophone of KNIGHT
7 One’s just consuming small dip (7)
IMMERSE – I’M MERE around S[mall]
8 With carpeting coming, hoping to clear the bar? (3,3,4,4)
FOR THE HIGH JUMP – DDCDH.  Maybe a Britishism, but if you’re “for the high jump” you’re going to be in trouble with someone and get a telling off.  I don’t hear it much these days (not because I’m good, but because it’s a bit old-fashioned).
9 Record misfortunes involving amateur drama promoters (9)
PLAYBILLS – P[ersonal] B[est] ILLS around LAY.
10 One used to catch and miss nothing (5)
11 Picture, thus, executioner, grabbing doctor by collar (9,6)
THUMBNAIL SKETCH – THUS, KETCH around M[edicinae] B[accalaureus] NAIL.  (Jack Ketch was an infamous English executioner employed by King Charles II).
12 Measure a fraction of a loaf? (7)
BREADTH – Love this, if an nth is a fraction then why can’t a breadTH be a fraction of bread?
19 Sicilian town in a region to the north (7)
TRAPANI – reversal of IN A PART
20 Disliking the new iPhone, ordered with a slightly smaller box (9)
NEOPHOBIA – (iphone a box)*
21 Tumbler seen at different types of bar (7)
GYMNAST – CD, with misdirection relying on drinking receptacles
22 Celebrated, note, with big beam when speaking (8)
REJOICED – RE (music note) + homphone of JOIST.  What’s the difference between joist and girder? (in N.I. accent): Joist wrote Ulysses and Girder wrote Faust.
24 A pledge from the MD, not one wallowing in power! (11,4)
HIPPOCRATIC OATH – Hmm.  Hippos wallow I suppose, and one wallowing in power might be hippocratic, or something.  Maybe the intention is to make the distinction between MD as Medicinae Doctor as opposed to Managing Director.  Thanks to Zabadak and Galspray for their thoughts.
26 Time trial is hit: so copied exactly? (9)
LITERATIM – (time trial)*
28 Forest dweller on doorstep’s outside with key (3,5)
RED PANDA – RE, D{oorste}P, AND (with), A (music key)
29 Instructions for kids once put out by clubs in raw verse form (5,5,4)
GREEN CROSS CODE – CROSS by C[lubs] in GREEN ODE.  For the benefit of younger and overseas solvers, this was how children were taught to cross the road.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRUBMBi_lp4 .  There’s a free Tufty badge for the first person to tell me wht SPLINK stands for.
31 Fall from great height taking green light up mountain (7)
SNOWDON – SNOW, reversal (up) of NOD
34 For this, among relatives is boxer? (7)
MONGREL – hidden, semi &Lit.  The phrase “among relatives” boxes the answer, and a mongrel could be part-boxer dog.
39 Girl calmed down and concentrated (9)
42 Drag in big works for this? (9)
ABRIDGING – (drag in big)*.  Another semi &Lit
43 Busy, you had use of computers for work on paper (4-4)
COPY-EDIT – COP (busy being slang for police officer) YE’D, I[nformation] T[echnology]
44 Fifteenth cafe? That, for Paris, would be extravagant (7)
BAROQUE – If BAR A is the first cafe, then BAR O would be the fifteenth + QUE
45 Function female solarium won’t do? (7)
TANGENT – This made me chuckle.  A female only solarium wouldn’t TAN (a) GENT.
46 Skip unused items fall into? (7)
NEGLECT – DDCDH.  Unused items fall into neglect.
47 Female leaving to eat, stopping to observe fast (6)
SPEEDY – FEED minus F[emale] in SPY
49 One-hour drive is the habit of the pilgrim (5)
IHRAM – I H[our] RAM.  A garment worn by Muslim pilgrims to MECCA.  Initially I misremebered this as HIRAM and wondered why the ONE and HOUR were the wrong way round.
51 Hike evenly: tread in step (5)
RAISE – {t}R{e}A{d}I{n}S{t}E{p} (even letters)
52 Words of verse passed on, roughly penned (5)
VOCAB – V[erse], OB[iit] (died) penning C[irc]A.  I originally wrote in DECAD (DEAD around C[irca]) thinking “Words of verse” was the definition and a decad might be a ten-lined poem or summat.


7 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1656 – I won’t be there when you cross the road”

  1. I found this very hard but in spite of that I enjoyed it enough to stick at it and complete it in one session without resorting to aids other than to check a couple of answers existed after I had worked them out. IHRAM was one such.

    The wallowing hippo at 24 is surely a reference to the song by Flanders and Swann with its imagery of hippos wallowing in ‘glorious mud’.

  2. DNF: GREEN CROSS CODE was totally beyond me. NHO FOR THE HIGH JUMP, but guessed and looked it up. DNK the Sicilian town or IHRAM, but my E-J dictionary came through again when ODE failed me. DNK that PULL-TAB is a Murcanism. I put in BERGMAN without having a clue as to GMAN; excuse me while I slap my forehead. I wasn’t sure about the wallowing, but the definition of 24d was pretty much a gimme.

  3. I enjoyed this a lot more once I figured out ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPH. What a whopper.

    Am old enough to remember my GREEN CROSS CODE but still not sure what a SPLINK is. Any tips?

    Really liked BAROQUE. Thanks Penfold.

  4. In 1976, actor Jon Pertwee, the Third Doctor (1970 to 1974) on the television series Doctor Who, appeared in a PIF for the Green Cross Code introducing the mnemonic “SPLINK”, which stood for:[7]

    (First find a) Safe (place to cross, then stop)
    (Stand on the) Pavement (near the kerb)
    Look (all round for traffic and listen)
    If (traffic is coming, let it pass)
    (When there is) No (traffic near, walk straight across the road)
    Keep (looking and listening for traffic while you cross).

  5. FOR THE HIGH JUMP is ‘chiefly British’ in OED, but appears in Merriam-Webster without any such note, so probably not that unknown in the US. One of several favourites in a challenging puzzle jam-packed with clever deceptions and original angles. It definitely felt like one from the editor Richard Rogan, but we never know.

  6. Loved TANGENT and BREADTH but DNF as found this the hardest Saturday Jumbo in ages with lots of NHOs (FOR THE HIGH JUMP would have really helped but never come across that expression)

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