Times Cryptic Jumbo 1668 – 13 April 2024

Hello again. This Jumbo I rather took against. I thought the clues were not very concise, rather mechanical, and some of the surface readings very strange, eg 30, 32, 52 ac, 4, 6, 28, 34, 42, 47 dn. A number of others you could just about screw your imagination up to cope with. Sorry to be negative, you can’t win ’em all I suppose? What did you think?

Please, do feel free to ask questions or comment as required.

I use the standard conventions like underlining the definition, CD for cryptic definition, DD for a double one, *(anargam) and so forth. Nho = “not heard of” and in case of need the Glossary is always handy

1 Decorate missing central point — that becomes showy (6)
GARISH – GAR(n)ISH (decorate)
5 With this, evidence of engagement seen in desert? (7)
ABANDON – If you have “a band on,” it might be an engagement ring .. foreign territory for me, never worn any jewellery.. wd be gilding the lily
9 Jazz fans head-to-head with very absorbing musical instruction (8)
STACCATO – CAT (jazz fan) and again, ie: TACCAT head to head, inside SO, very.
13 Particularly demanding  aspect of ethics (11,10)
CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE – I have underlined this as a DD but sadly I am ill equipped to explain this clue … apparently it is a central concept of Kantian philosophy.
14 Cardinal put on clothes for early period (5,3)
STONE AGE – ONE (a cardinal number) in STAGE, to put on. An early period, though judging by some of the news these days you could be forgiven for thinking we were still in it
15 Politician in India two journalists obstructed (7)
IMPEDED – MP (politician) in I(ndia) + ED ED, your two journos.
16 Slogger run out — Jack intercepting whack (6)
TROJAN – R(un) O(ut) + J(ack) in TAN, whack. I work like a Trojan, or tell everyone I do, anyway.
17 Endorsement given by diva in performing with alto (10)
VALIDATION – *(DIVA IN + ALTO). One of my cats is a diva. She gives you a look, and you rush to do her bidding. I wish I knew her secret..
20 Maybe Stalin’s rule hit Castro badly, going into decline (12)
23 Society backed squeeze in political manipulation (4)
SPIN – S(ociety) + NIP (squeeze), rev.
24 Material possibly dangerous when used by top map-makers (8)
ASBESTOS – AS (when) + BEST (top) + OS, the Ordnance Survey, producers of what are still widely regarded as the world’s best maps.
26 University to put in test for learning experience (8)
TUTORIAL – U + TO in TRIAL, a test
29 Caste inside worshipped as god no longer restricted (12)
DECLASSIFIED – CLASS (caste) inside DEIFIED, worshipped as god. This crossword published on 13 April, but 28888 two days earlier had the identical word, clued as “No longer kept a secret from pupils, put on pedestal outside?” .. so using the same two elements, differently defined. Can’t say I prefer one much over the other, what do you think?

For completeness, it also appeared in 2020 clued as: “Charlie and girl adored being seen around — no longer a secret” – best of the three, imo.

30 Encouraged war reporter encircling ancient hideout one duke’s abandoned (10)
EMBOLDENED – OL(d) DEN (ancient hideout, with a D missing), in EMBED, a war reporter: “a person or thing that is embedded, esp a journalist accompanying an active military unit ” (Collins)
32 Excellent emperor on vehicle carrying British cop to Chileans (10)
CARABINERO – CAR (vehicle), + B(ritish) in AI NERO, an “excellent emperor” although contemporary accounts say differently. Presumably he would not have been so described by his mother, his wife or his step-brother, all of whom he murdered … it makes no difference to the clue, of course!

Slightly to my surprise, carabinero is in Collins, as a “Chilean police officer.”

34 Showing cheek perhaps accepting easy extra work (12)
MOONLIGHTING – LIGHT (easy) in MOONING (showing cheek perhaps.) I say, matron!
36 There’s deduction from pay with industrial action (8)
38 Suggestion from union freshly filled with purpose (8)
INNUENDO – END (purpose) inside *(UNION)
39 Writer George in Silk Road city missing an old bit of Germany (4)
SAND – S(a mark)AND. a bit of GK required here, the Uzbekistani city, the old German currency being marks, and George Sand the writer. I can see why Mme Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin de Francueil chose to write under a pseudonym.
41 French governess pressurised first person entering region round Metz (12)
MADEMOISELLE – MADE (pressurised, meaning pressured) + I (first person) in MOSELLE. A fine city, Metz. Don’t ask me why the governess bit, I even spelt it wrong to begin with: madamoiselle..
43 Zadok say: is he right, after disturbance, to seize power? (4,6)
HIGH PRIEST – P(ower) in *(IS HE RIGHT). Zadok’s name is well known thanks to the anthem by Handel.
44 Unfortunate gag we’re told (6)
WRETCH – sounds like “retch,” gag.
46 Former Conservative employer’s apologist? (7)
EXCUSER – EX (former) + C(onservative) + USER (employer)
48 Precisely locate cask in filling tankard (8)
PINPOINT – PIN (cask) + IN inside POT, a tankard
50 Delivery usually associated with an address in southern England? (8,13)
RECEIVED PRONUNCIATION – a CD, delivery meaning speech delivery
51 Clasp securing tot’s protective covering (8)
CLADDING – ADD (tot) inside CLING, clasp
52 Horse with info about duck being cooler underground? (7)
DUNGEON – DUN (horse) + O (duck) in Gen, info. Dun is a “dull, greyish brown colour,” or a horse of this colour.
53 Sorrow engulfing Miles seen before knight’s tomb (6)
DOLMEN – M (miles) inside DOLE, sorrow (as in doleful) + N, a knight esp. in modern chess notation
2 Necktie Mike pinched from mum’s bed (5)
ASCOT – (m)A’s COT (mum’s bed, without the M = mike). In England we would call it a cravat, not the Americanism “necktie.”
3 Planned in Hebridean island to accommodate wine lake (11)
INTENTIONAL – TENT (wine) in IN IONA + L(ake). Tent was a red wine from Spain, the name never used nowadays except in crosswords (or Georgette Heyer)
4 Monopolise a crowd hosting ace winter celebration? (8)
HOGMANAY – HOG (monopolise) + A(ce) in MANY, a crowd. New Year’s Eve.
5 Enjoy view in common area with endless grassy plot (5)
AGREE – A(rea) + GREE(n), a grassy plot.
6 Feature of bridge that needs care shown with maximum speed lowered (7)
AUCTION – CAUTION, with the C (speed of light, the maximum possible according to our current knowledge) moved down a bit. Not my field but I thought there were two different kinds of bridge, auction bridge and contract bridge.
7 Shabby detective I went out with, necking drink (11)
DILAPIDATED – LAP (drink), in DI I DATED. DI = detective inspector. Watch out for DS as well and occasionally even DC
8 Wanderer from Massachusetts bathed in green light (5)
NOMAD – MA(ssachusetts) in NOD, a green light
9 Strong drink consumed by son and daughter hastily (9)
STEADFAST – TEA (a drink, of sorts) in S(on) and D(aughter), + FAST (hastily)
10 Order to stop at sea a container with sulphur as cargo? (5)
AVAST –  S(ulphur) in A VAT
11 At home, nothing is to stop French sweetheart showing decorative work (11)
CHINOISERIE – IN + O IS, inside CHERIE, la sweetheart Francaise.
12 Old journeymen — those against leaving Nag’s Head? (3,4)
THE MAGI – THEM AGI(n), those against without the N(ag). I like the definition!
18 Old man recalled element, allowed for inclusion for dessert (5,4)
APPLE TART – PA (old man) rev., + LET (allowed) in PART, an element
19 Saint removed from evil church feature in fire (7)
INSPIRE – (s)IN + SPIRE, the church feature
21 Crate containing second part needed for pot (9)
CASSEROLE – ((econd) in CASE (crate) + ROLE, a part.
22 Science set down in working model (8)
ONTOLOGY – ON (working), + LOG (set down) in TOY, model. Ontology is a branch of philosophy, and thus not a science by any normal definition, at least not in my book.
25 Trade and oil supply interrupted by current leader (9)
EDITORIAL – I (current) in *(TRADE + OIL)
27 Write number appearing within a small range (9)
APENNINES – PEN (write) + NINE (number) in A S(mall)
28 East German Oscar frames a Turner, that’s continuously repeated (8)
OSTINATO – TINA (Turner), in OST (German for East) + O(scar). Nho ostinato, but not a difficult clue nevertheless, once you have the right Turner. Tina has done well, she only qualified for crossword clue a matter of months ago.
31 Cobblers pursue proctor’s attendant (7)
BULLDOG – BULL (cobblers) + DOG (pursue). I didn’t expect to have heard of a proctor’s attendant but it did ring a vague bell.
33 Employed as trainee, secretary sent back pennies — living cost frozen? (11)
APPRENTICED – PA (secretary) rev., + P(ence) + RENT ICED, living cost frozen
34 Make whole new lesson about overture to Hebrides — that was his (11)
MENDELSSOHN –  MEND (make whole) + H(ebrides) in *(LESSON). The Hebrides, an overture popularly known as Fingal’s Cave. Not quite sure what to underline!
35 Reference to ailment is revolting (11)
37 English daisy for example good seasonal item (6,3)
EASTER EGG – E(nglish) + ASTER, + EG + G(ood). Aster, a genus of c185 species including the Michaelmas Daisy.
40 European resort — watercourse rising beneath it (8)
SPANIARD – SPA (resort) + DRAIN (watercourse) rev. Drains as watercourses are common in some parts of the country, eg the fens or the Romney marshes.
42 Dawn’s answer spoken after posh reader’s introduction (7)
AURORAL – A(nswer) + U (posh) + R(eader’s) + ORAL, spoken. A tricky clue, this one. Aurora was the Roman goddess of the dawn.
43 Amply bearded king in utility vehicle he owns? (7)
HIRSUTE – R (king, rex) in HIS UTE, a utility vehicle if you are Australian.
45 Regularly harvested wheat in this Caribbean location (5)
HAITI – wHeAt In ThIs. A troubled Caribbean state.
47 God, canine, Anubis finally departing (5)
CUPID – a CUSPID, (canine tooth) without the (Anubi)S. Cupid, the Roman version of Eros.
48 Smooth-shelled nut — tropical waterfowl dropping large one (5)
49 Special occasion other than Anglican presumably? (5)
NONCE – NON CE, ie not Anglican. The only current meaning of this word that I am aware of is very different! But Collins says: “the present time or occasion (now only in the phrase for the nonce)” which is close enough, I suppose

Author: JerryW

I love The Times crosswords..

6 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo 1668 – 13 April 2024”

  1. Once again, I’ve got ‘feh’ written in the margins by a number of clues, including some Jerry singled out. I get the feeling that the setter thought of a word, thought of ways to clue parts of the word, and didn’t bother to see if linking those ways would lead to a plausible surface. ‘Old man recalled element, allowed for inclusion for dessert’, I ask you. DNK the proctor’s attendant; DNK that he had one. A NONCE word is an invented word that, for instance, might be included in a lexical decision task, where the subject has to decide whether the word is, or could be, a word of English; or in a classic experiment (the Wug test) that has been used countless times, to see if the subject can supply the appropriate derivation.

    1. Collins has an entry for nonce word: “a word coined for a single occasion.” Not sure if you can separate it out though, as a special occasion on its own ..

  2. I noted that I solved this in one session and had no queries other to check that DOLMEN and CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE existed once I had arrived at them via wordplay. I was pretty sure of DOLMEN and confirmed it has come up a few times over the years, including in a puzzle I blogged in 2022. The other answer consisted of words that fitted the checkers but I had no idea otherwise.

  3. I don’t comment that often but wanted to defend what I recall being a quite difficult but totally absorbing puzzle with many clever clues.

    I particularly liked the deceptive definitions for 5d Agree and 6d Auction (which I was convinced had arc or arch in it).

    Also loved Mendelssohn, The Magi and Cupid, with its clever link to canine, Anubis having the head of a jackal – probably obvious to all, but not pointed out in the blog.

    Thanks to the setter and Jerry.

    1. .. not mentioned in the blog, because the fact that Anubis has the head of a jackal totally passed me by! Thank you for mentioning it, and the other clues.. good to get different points of view. I agree about agree; and in my defence did say I liked the Magi!


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