Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1336 – 4th August

When this was published, I was in the middle of a trienniel reunion with friends who started singing together over 40 years ago, meeting for a few days to sing at the services in Southwell Minster. A couple of my fellow singers said they did the Jumbo every week and had tried this and found it hard to get started. Oo er, I thought. Then I came to solve it a couple of days later. Yes it took me a while to get started too, but in the end it was not too much harder than average, taking me a little over an hour. There is a good smattering of clever clues that were fun to decipher. COD goes to SCHILLING for the nicely misdirecting definition “out-of-date bread“. So thank-you setter for an enjoyable puzzle. How did you all find it? Which clues delighted or frustrated you?

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Shock delivery including City trader’s envelope (13)
ELECTROCUTION – ELOCUTION (delivery) [including] EC (city) + T{rade}R ([envelope] = outside letters). Did the envelope contain a P45? That would be a shock!
8 One in two pubs writing about cruelty (9)
BARBARISM – BAR + BAR (two pubs) + SM (ManuScript) backwards [about] with I (One) [in]. Lucky writer to have 2 locals with all the pub closures that are happening these days.
13 Plunderer striking a traveller (5)
RIDER – R{a}ider (Plunderer) [striking] the “a”. Stand and deliver!
14 Outraged like old lady after cool temperature (9)
INDIGNANT – IN (cool) with DIG (like) + NAN (old lady) [after] + T (temperature). As she would be if someone hadn’t fixed the heating properly.
15 Sense invading bear returns in high spirits (7)
GLEEFUL – LUG (bear) with FEEL (Sense) inside [invading], all backwards – [returns].
16 Do-gooder‘s husband and mother housed by kind of Christian (12)
HUMANITARIAN – H (husband) + MA (mother) [housed by] UNITARIAN (kind of Christian)… such as Mother Theresa, perhaps?
17 The fashionable label backed, eclipsing rubbish one (10)
GLITTERATI – TAG [backed] including [eclipsing] LITTER (rubbish) + I (one)…. “The Glitterati consists of fashion label owners, celebrity socialites, actors and actresses and other useless leaches on society“, as the Urban dictionary (almost) says.
18 Person walking miles leaves old soldier (6)
ARCHER – {m}ARCHER (Person walking) without m (miles) [leaving]. A real expert one of these might be known as a toxophilite. Well you do crosswords to learn new words, don’t you?
19 Traitor from the east used a general’s clothing (8)
RENEGADE – Reverse hidden in usED A GENERal.
21 Key Greek character where Greeks lived (6)
DELPHI – DEL (delete key) + PHI (Greek character), giving us the place “famous as the ancient sanctuary that grew rich as the seat of Pythia, the oracle who was consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world.“.
24 Make feeble argument about current books etc. (10)
DEBILITATE – DEBATE (argument) [about] I + LIT (..erature – books etc). It was tempting to consider ‘Make feeble argument’ as the definition.
26 Wrestling Teheran, USA in anxious condition once (12)
NEURASTHENIA – [Wrestling] (Teheran USA in)*, a new word on me, meaning “an ill-defined medical condition characterized by lassitude, fatigue, headache, and irritability, associated chiefly with emotional disturbance“. It sounds a bit like a hangover.
29 Food just on the tongue (4)
FARE – sounds like [on the tongue] FAIR (just) .
30 Most suspicious southern soldier tires out (8)
LEERIEST – LEE (southern soldier) + (tires)* [out]. Robert E. Lee was an American and Confederate soldier, best known as a commander of the Confederate States Army.
31 Fix a drink, wanting cold dish from Italy (8)
RIGATONI – RIG (Fix) + A + TONI{c} (drink) [wanting] c – cold, to get the tube-shaped pasta that is larger than penne.
34 Weary partner for rave is glaring (8)
FLAGRANT – FLAG (Weary) + RANT (“partner” as in ‘rant and rave’). Obvious, isn’t it?
35 Perennial crop fully returned (8)
PRUNELLA – PRUNE (crop) + ALL (fully) reversed [returned], to get the “genus of herbaceous plants in the family Lamiaceae, also known as self-heals, heal-all, or allheal for their use in herbal medicine.
36 Lapse besetting good clue (4)
SIGN – SIN (Lapse)  [besetting] G (good). I can see no lapses in this clue.
39 Henry gets amazing loafers, save for being tight (4-4-4)
HALF-SEAS-OVER – H (Henry) + [amazing] (loafers save)*. A rather nice description of being slightly drunk, amusingly described here and illustrated by the ditty…

If maid or widow you would win,And wear your wished-for treasure,You’ll find it best to fill your skinWith just the proper measure.With less than that to feed your flame,You’ll prove too cold a lover:While more might overshoot your aim;So woo her-half-seas over

40 Major preceding brutal soldiers is a cheat (10)
ADULTERESS – ADULT (Major) + ERE (preceding) + SS (brutal soldiers), as in Major Margaret J “Hot Lips” Houlihan, perhaps?
43 Equip to cross river or brook (6)
ENDURE – ENDUE (Equip) outside [to cross] R (river) – to tolerate or allow (something, typically dissent or opposition).
44 Toy provides instruction, and in French (5,3)
TRAIN SET – TRAINS (provides instruction) + ET (and in French). Mine is a 3-rail Hornby OO.
45 Ready to tour Basra, not content in Arab city area (6)
CASBAH – CASH (Ready) outside. [to tour]. the outer letters, [not content], of B{asr}A –  to get an old market-place roofed by arches in an Arab town.
49 Awkward in buff, nude cavorting around (10)
UNPOLISHED – POLISH (buff) inside (nude)* –  [cavorting about]. No I do not cavort around in the nude. Scary thought!
51 Orthodox duke replaced by Poles with changes afoot? (12)
TRANSITIONAL – TRA{d}ITIONAL replacing the D (duke) by NS (poles). Hmm. I wonder if any Poles have been ennobled in the UK?
53 What mums do in the evening, bored by routine (7)
LACTATE – LATE (in the evening) [bored by] – i.e. outside, ACT (routine – as in in that of a stand-up comedian).
54 Not wholly damning old Conservative fit for service (9)
EXCUSABLE – EX (old) + C (Conservative) + USABLE (fit for service). A bit of a whimsical definition.
55 Sailor turning around island gets help for summer (5)
ABACI – AB (Sailor) + [turning] CA (around) -> AC + I (island), getting the plural of abacus. Why an arithmetician would need more than one, I don’t know.
56 Agreement count must bear son off (9)
CONSENSUS – the parsing of this one had had me head scratching, but I eventually got it… the count is CENSUS. Insert [bear]  (son)* [off].
57 Daydreaming earl’s back in court party (13)
WOOLGATHERING – WOO (court) + GATHERING (party) has {ear}L’s last letter [back] inserted [in].

1 Hard water running to the ground (9)
EARTHWARD – (Hard water)* [running]. Like falling hailstones.
2 Kind of ailment almost finished off Mike (7)
ENDEMIC – ENDE{d} (finished off) [almost] + MIC (Mike – an alternative abbreviation of microphone) describing a disease that’s regularly found among particular people or in a certain area.
3 I’m leaving state in North America for a dance (10)
TARANTELLA – TARA (I’m leaving… so goodbye) + TELL (state) [in] N.A. (North America) to get the lively dance characterized by light, quick steps and teasing, flirtatious behaviour between partners.
4 Narcotic ring spread round tip for imports (6)
OPIATE – O (ring) + PÂTÉ (spread) [round] [tip for] I{mports}.
5 Covered legal order stopping in single figures (12)
UNDERWRITTEN – WRIT inside, [stopping], UNDER TEN (in single figures – haha)
6 Impresses with coating of salt? (8)
INGRAINS – double definition – if your peanuts are salted, they might be in grains of salt.
7 Northern gorge without water, say (4)
NEAT – N (Northern) + EAT (gorge).
8 Fought men over drug racket (10)
BATTLEDORE – BATTLED (Fought) + OR (men) [over] E (drug) to get the racket from the early form of badminton.
9 Fine English seaside resort out of bounds (6)
RIGHTO – [out of bounds] here referring to removing the outside letters from {B}RIGHTO{n}.
10 A terrible hotel, entering late: the work of Iris! (1,7,4)
A SEVERED HEAD – A + SEVERE (terrible) + H (hotel in the NATO phonetic alphabet) inside [entering] DEAD (late), giving us the novel by Iris Murdoch. I’ve not read it? Have you? Is it one I should put on my must-read-some-time list?
11 Sign of a road intermittently appearing below (5)
INFRA – Alternate letters (intermittently) of sIgN oF a RoAd
12 £50 in change for daughter, calming down (13)
MOLLIFICATION – The change is a MODIFICATION. Take the D (daughter) and replace with £L (£50). Calm down, dear.
20 Increasing slipperiness of glacier’s sides needs alleviating (8)
GREASING – G{lacie}R’s [sides] + EASING (alleviating), as one might  be doing with an axle to make things turn on it more freely.
22 Criticise the writer’s book covers as dumb entertainment (9)
PANTOMIME – PAN (Criticise) + TOME (book) outside, [covers], I’M (the writer is). The definition relates to “a dramatic entertainment, originating in Roman mime, in which performers express meaning through gestures accompanied by music.” rather than the modern British use to describe “theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas“.
23 Capital city inhabited by a reluctant wife (8)
ATALANTA – ATLANTA (Capital of Georgia) [inhabited by] A to get the virgin huntress of Greek mythology
25 Maybe like old ship poet keeps clean, surprisingly (9)
BARNACLED – BARD (poet) outside, [keeps], (clean)* [surprisingly].
27 Fit clothing, a dirty uniform getting cast off (8)
SUITABLE – SUIT (clothing) + A + BL{u}E (dirty)  removing the U from the NATO phonetic alphabet ([uniform getting cast off])… I think that’s how it works. Any better ideas?
28 Lead on Dutch national statesman (8)
DISRAELI – Take the first letter of, [Lead on], D{utch} + ISRAELI (national).
29 European state‘s dominant troops and people (5,8)
FIFTH REPUBLIC – FIFTH (dominant, as in musical chord based on the 5th note of the scale) + RE (Royal Engineers – troops) + PUBLIC (people). Refers to France’s current constitution which was introduced in 1958.
32 Announcement to urge on contract (5,7)
PRESS RELEASE – PRESS (urge) + RE (on) + LEASE (contract).
33 Happy to land, storing weight in luggage (9,3)
GLADSTONE BAG – GLAD (Happy) + BAG (to land – as in killing or catching an animal) outside, [storing], STONE (weight).
37 Rough quality of bay maybe around a cape (10)
HOARSENESS – HORSE (bay maybe) [around] A + NESS (cape), to get something I acquired with all the singing I did in the days up to after the day this crossword was published.
38 I strolled around arty venue, getting to take top off? (10)
DECAPITATE – I + PACED (strolled) reversed, [around], + TATE (arty venue) and use the guillotine, perhaps.
41 Carol eating cold, out-of-date bread (9)
SCHILLING – A bit of a whimsical definition here… This is SING (Carol) outside, [eating], CHILL (cold) to get the former currency of Austria.
42 European media thus covers something stimulating (8)
ESPRESSO – Another allusory definition… E (European) +SO (thus) outside, [covers], PRESS (media) to get a strong cup of coffee.
46 Asian island embracing English language (7)
BENGALI – The Asian island is BALI. It takes ENG (English) inside [embracing] to get “the official and most widely spoken language of Bangladesh and second most widely spoken of the 22 scheduled languages of India, behind Hindi.
47 Cost of a female equid? (6)
ASSESS – Double definition – second a cheeky neologism (I can’t find it in the dictionary). Some may quibble about the “of” in the clue when the answer to the first definition is a verb not a noun, but I am not that pernickety.
48 Strip joint’s close behind dodgy venues (6)
DIVEST – DIVES (dodgy venues) with {join}T’s [close] after, [behind].
50 Cape Canaveral’s secluded tree (5)
PECAN – The tree (and its eponymous nut) is a hidden word [secluded] in CaPE CANaveral.
52 Almost lower boat (4)
SCOW – To lower [Almost] is to SCOW{l}.

8 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1336 – 4th August”

  1. I see that I never did parse 14ac, 3d, or 27d, so thanks John for enlightening me. I don’t suppose it’s significant that we have A SEVERED HEAD and DECAPITATE in the same puzzle. (I’m reminded of a Japanese translation of a book on Tamerlane, where the author evidently says that Tamerlane had 200 soldiers buried alive after having their heads cut off; neat trick. What the original text said was, “after they had capitulated”.)
    1. I did wonder if the setter had considered linking the two clues and then thought the better of it. As for lost in translation, I’m reminded of this…
      ‘In China, there is a restaurant called “Translate server error”. The owner attempted to translate the Chinese word for restaurant into English but the machine translation produced an error. Not knowing the difference, the restaurant printed the error out in English and used it for their sign.’
  2. Struggled through this and so nearly completed it but for some reason DECAPITATE eluded me so I ended up resorting to aids for that one. I don’t know what went wrong as I had considered TATE as ‘arty venue’ but I suspect I had simply run out of steam by that time.

    I just noticed I had also used aids earlier for the unknown ATALANTA

    1. She was unknown to me too – I only got ATALANTA from the wordplay and had to look her up for the blog.
  3. FOI the easy PECAN. Remember my maths teacher making us come with ABACI to school when l was in std 1 in 1972. COD NEAT for its elegant surface.
  4. Hi John,

    Thanks for doing (and remembering) the swap. I just finished solving this so that I’d be able to add a comment. It took me close to an hour so I must have found bits of it tricky. There was some neat stuff for sure.

    I had a few QMs, such as adult/major, the RELEASE part of PRESS RELEASE where I didn’t consider ON as a wordplay element so was wondering how RELEASE and CONTRACT might be synonymous, and act/routine.

  5. Thanks for dropping by. Some good points. I just equated adult with “majority”, but Chambers has for major “a person of full legal age” so I think that’s OK. As for “re” for “about” I think I’ve seen that recently in other crosswords. Checking with Chambers again, I see (commercial jargon) prep “concerning, with reference to”, so thumbs up to our setter. Enjoy blogging last week’s
    1. I don’t have a problem with on/re at all, it’s just that during the solving process I didn’t consider ON being anything other than a positional indicator. Silly really.

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