Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1362 – 12th January

I ground to a halt about 2 thirds of the way through this with the LHS proving somewhat recalcitrant. In the end, though, I finished in under an hour, so on the whole it’s not too hard (there are plenty of clues visiting from Quick Cryptic land). I started to worry that I was going to stay stuck and struggle to complete the puzzle… and the blog, but a couple of penny-drops saw me home. One or two clues still have me a little puzzled, though. [Edit: I Finally saw the one that I didn’t understand at all – 30D only in my last edit before publishing]. Comments to help unbefuddle me welcome! There are several lovely clues and smooth surfaces to enjoy. In addition to that troublesome 30D, I liked  25A, 38A, 12D and 15D , but, best of all, the concise and witty 23D. Thanks for the entertainment, setter! How did you all get on?

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, deletions like this, and “other indicators like this”.

1 Backed pound like this economist (7)
MALTHUS – MAL (lam = pound, reversed) THUS (like this). (Thomas) Robert Malthus was an English cleric and scholar, influential in the fields of political economy and demography.
5 Group of Scouts put on uniform for assembly (4-4)
FLAT-PACK – PACK (Group of Scouts) “put on” – i.e. after, FLAT (uniform). Do they have a badge for assembling flat-packs, I wondered? I looked, and found this.
9 Stay in contention with endlessly enthusiastic whippersnapper (4,2)
KEEP UP – KEEn (enthusiastic, without its end) PUP (whippersnapper).
13 Unfairly achieve desired results on woodwork placement scheme? (4,3,9)
MOVE THE GOALPOSTS – Whimsically cryptic second definition. If your shot is just off target and hits the goalposts you are said to hit the woodwork. If you moved them, it might have gone in. Goal! That’s unfair on the poor goalie!
14 Skimpy costume a greatcoat conceals (6)
MEAGRE – Hidden in costuME A GREatcoat. Nice surface. It brought to mind putting a coat on over your pyjamas for the school run – not that I ever did that. Also, according to the Uxbridge English Dictionary it means I’m a little bit cross.
16 Broadcast for church service (3,5)
AIR FORCE – Not Songs of Praise, but AIR (broadcast) FOR CE (Church of England).
17 Points for attention if holding company changes direction (4)
FOCI – Insert CO (company) in IF and it all “changes direction”. The alternative plural of ‘focus’ to focuses.
18 What’s techy up to, struggling to input data quickly? (5-4)
TOUCH-TYPE – (techy up to)* “struggling”. About time I learnt to do this.
20 Capital street parking wholly in front of shopping centre (4,4)
PALL MALL – P (parking) ALL (wholly) MALL (shopping centre). Seen here recently, the street is named after a game that was played in it,
21 Chance event in which criminal traps one lot of detectives and headless coppers (11)
COINCIDENCE – Take CON (criminal) and trap I (one) inside and add CID (detectives) and pENCE (“headless” coppers).
24 A universal god: that nameless thing with unknown power (9)
AUTHORITY – This took me ages to get, largely because I thought it must start with PAN. It’s A U (universal) THOR (god) IT (that nameless thing) Y (unknown).
25 Deacon is excited to become a bishop (8)
DIOCESAN – (Deacon is)* “excited”. A lovely surface.
26 Urge that man to chase wife (4)
WHIM – W (wife) chased by HIM (that man).
29 Film Queen Elizabeth II? (7,4)
LEADING LADY – Double definition.
31 Pass round semi cooked goose (6,5)
SIMPLE SIMON – The pass is the famous SIMPLON pass. Put it round (semi)* “cooked”. I wasn’t aware of the meaning of goose as a stupid, silly person.
33 Let out advance payment to shrink (11)
SUBCONTRACT – SUB (advance payment) CONTRACT (shrink).
36 Heard course of travel cut short, not having a spanner under one’s car? (11)
WEIGHBRIDGE – WEIGH (sounds like WAY, course of travel) aBRIDGE (cut short, “not having a”) and a cryptic definition.
38 Monster? Er… Run in the opposite direction! (4)
OGRE – Take ER and GO (run) and reverse them. That made me chuckle.
39 Audible row avoided: a source of visible upset (4,4)
TEAR DUCT – Sounds like TIER (row) DUCKED (avoided) and another cryptic definition
41 Joiner placing typical suburban house by cut-off settlement (9)
SEMICOLON – SEMI (typical suburban house); COLONy (settlement, “cut off” – without the last letter).
44 Police fine deceitful son brought to court (6,5)
FLYING SQUAD – Another that took me a while to spot. F (fine) LYING (deceitful) S (son) QUAD (court, as in courtyard).
45 Encourage users with ear twists (8)
REASSURE – (users ear)* “twists”. Ear twisting used to be a school punishment. It is not allowed these days.
48 Old king’s private, large hotel for taking in Olympics? (9)
GILGAMESH – Take GI (private) and L (large) and  H (hotel) and insert GAMES (Olympics). I was pleased to remember this old king. I’m not sure where from, though.
49 WC Fields’s first turns as comedian (4)
FOOL – LOO (WC) F (Fields’s first letter) all “turns”.
50 Potentially dangerous competition that sounds like a charity fun run! (4,4)
ARMS RACE – Sounds like ALMS (charity) and RACE (fun run). I thought the whole idea of a fun run was that it wasn’t a race, but never mind – it makes a good surface.
52 Woman’s pro-European statement? (6)
EUNICE – If she was pro-Europe she might say the EU is NICE.
53 Smash hit at concert hall to arrive at club (8,8)
CHARLTON ATHLETIC – “Smash” (hit at concert hall)* to get the South-East London football team, currently doing well in the EFL League One, and known as the Addicks, as in ‘addick and chips as the fish&chip shop order is pronounced in those parts.
54 Now end is in sight for inequality at last (6)
TRENDY – Take the last letters of sighT foR inequalitY and insert END. Now as a definition of trendy, feels a bit loose to me.
55 Inactivity that may follow love-in (8)
IDLENESS – This had me puzzled until I found that “love-in-idleness” is an alternative name for the Viola flower (we’ve got lots of them brightening up our wintery garden). It is also, I found, the name of a play by Terence Rattigan.
56 A little laughter observed about bishop in yesterday’s news (3-4)
HAS-BEEN – HA (a little laughter) and SEEN (observed) “about” B (bishop).

1 Mark a short distance in front of a large animal (6)
MAMMAL – M (mark) A MM (short distance) A L (large).
2 After lie, briefly show true colours (6)
LIVERY – My Second last one in. I think it is LIe (briefly) VERY (true). The “show” had me baffled. Is it just filling?
3 Stew over answer to a contentious question (3,6)
HOT POTATO – HOTPOT (stew) A (answer) TO A. Nothing contentious about that parsing, I hope.
4 Drawing with help from supporter, keeping client involved (11)
STENCILLINGwith help from is just padding for the surface. Thanks to ‘anon’ for correcting me. The correct definition is ‘Drawing with help’. The supporter is a SLING. “keeping” – i.e. insert (client)* “involved”.
5 Regularly fall over some ice (4)
FLOE – Alternate letters (“regularly”) of FaLl OvEr.
6 Feast loudly with salsa dancing (3,5,3)
ALL SOULS DAY – (loudly salsa)* “dancing”. Preceded by Halloween, when all manner of creatures dance, as depicted in this famous piece by Camille Saint-Saëns.
7 In favour of miscellaneous couple going topless with me and others? (11)
PROMISCUOUS – An &lit, I think. PRO (in favour of) MISC (miscellaneous) dUO (couple without the first letter – “going topless”) with US (me and others). A bit of a tenuous definition, though. Or have I misunderstood this?
8 Arrive in the nick of time and make the grade all right! (3,2,4)
CUT IT FINE – CUT IT (make the grade) FINE (all right).
10 Europeans holding positive vote retained something like CAP (8)
EYESHADE – I think this is E and E (Europeans) “holding” YES (positive vote) HAD (retained).Another slightly odd definition, but it makes a great misdirecting surface.
11 Children’s game that may hint at golf? (5,2,3,6)
PIGGY IN THE MIDDLE – The middle of PIGGY is G – “golf” in the NATO phonetic alphabet.
12 Pave the way for power with revolutionary decree (7)
PRECEDE – P (power) (decree)* “revolutionary”. Another neat surface.
15 Caught in fight after turning up for boozy event (3-5)
PUB-CRAWL – If you just biffed this, here’s how it goes. Start with “turning” up to get PU. Then insert C (caught) “in” BRAWL (fight). Yet another very nice surface.
19 Top year rearing horse, the largest animal of its kind (8)
CAPYBARA – No problem with this as we had it as recently as Jumbo 1359. CAP (top) Y (year) with ARAB (horse) reversed [rearing]. The largest living rodent. Read all about it here.
22 Two different rings encircling first moon of Jupiter (8)
CALLISTO – This one had me thrashing about for ages. Eventually I got it… The “two different rings” are CALL and O. Use them to “encircle” IST (first) to get this moon of Jupiter. Sadly for the surface, it is the second rather than first largest of the moons.
23 Red-light woman? (10,6)
STRAWBERRY BLONDE – Cryptic definition. And what a beaut! Needless to say it took me nearly all the checkers to spot her. My clue of the year (so far).
27 Artist to become held up by unexpected gift (8)
MANTEGNA – GET (to become) “held up by” (i.e.reversed and inserted into) MANNA (unexpected gift – from heaven). Read about the 15th C artist here.
28 Powerful leader celebrity’s half upset (4)
TSAR – The celebrity is a STAR. “Upset” the first half.
30 Forge bars or girders, primarily, yielding this metal in different form? (4)
IRON – It is only when editing my blog entry again before publishing that I finally worked this out. It is quite clever. Take ForgE and remove (“bars”) OR and Girders (“primarily”). You are left with Fe, the chemical symbol.  Then “in different form” means find another word for Fe: IRON. Phew!
32 Piece of rigging from sea holiday? (8)
MAINSTAY – MAIN (sea) STAY (holiday). A stay that extends from the maintop to the foot of the foremast of a sailing ship.
34 Series of trees (3,5)
THE ASHES – A cryptic definition. The trees are ashes and the series is a series of cricket Test Matches between England and Australia, the next one being in England this summer.
35 Great success due to Republican’s New Model Army (4,2,5)
TOUR DE FORCE – Take the R for republican and add to ‘due to’ and create an anagram (“New Model”)… (due to r)* and add FORCE (Army). That was a bit tricky!
36 Canteen dining attendant clearing out last of scampi with courage (5,6)
WATER BOTTLE – The last of scampi is “i”. Remove it from the dining attendant… WAiTER and add BOTTLE (courage).
37 Presenter entertaining me with gag in the final stage (4,7)
HOME STRETCH – The presenter is a HOST. Include (“entertaining”) ME and add RETCH (gag).
40 I don’t like that second husband coming in back door in nonslip footwear (9)
ROUGHSHOD – UGH (I don’t like that) S (second) H (husband) “in” ROOD (door “reversed”).
42 Kit’s packaging lays prepared for future skipper, perhaps (9)
CHRYSALIS – CHRIS (another abbreviation for Christopher is Kit) “packaging”  (i.e. inserting) (lays)* “prepared”. A Skipper is a sort of butterfly.
43 Improved aim, seizing opportunity after dismissing opener (8)
ENHANCED –  END (aim)  “seizing” (i.e. including) opportunity – cHANCE – “dismissing” the “opener” (first letter).
44 Fancy a fruit Tango opened by servants (7)
FIGMENT – Another that took me a while to spot. The fruit is a FIG. Add T (Tango) and insert (“opened by”) MEN (servants).
46 Fellow accepting National Trust’s role of responsibility (6)
MANTLE – MALE (Fellow) “accepting” NT (National Trust).
47 Live current activated signal (6)
BEACON -BE (live) AC (alternating current) ON (activated).
51 Hotels in opposite directions (4)
INNS – IN N (north) S (south) – “opposite directions”.

14 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1362 – 12th January”

  1. I finally managed to complete a Jumbo cryptic without a typo or error! Seems like weeks since that happened. IRON was my LOI but I didn’t really parse it at the time. On reading your header, I went back and looked at the clue again and saw it immediately. How clever! I didn’t understand SIMPLE SIMON until coming here. I needed aids for GILGAMESH. Pleased to finish in 1:31:10. Thanks setter and John.
  2. I was looking forward to this blog, as there were a couple of clues I couldn’t work out, although I did manage to get the right answers: IRON, for one, PIGGY IN THE MIDDLE (DNK, or maybe met it once here), ARMS RACE (I was wondering if RMS stood for some charitable society; the homophony of arms/alms was totally lost on rhotic me). DNK FLAT-PACK, CHARLTON ATHLETIC, skipper. LOI MANTEGNA. Love-in-idleness is the flower Oberon uses in ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’. As Bruce says, lots of nice clues and smooth surfaces.
  3. Unusually I made a special note to check 55ac, which made no sense at the time. Thanks for clearing that up, but – bah – another botanical unknown!
  4. Was pleased to remember love-in-idleness from somewhere; no idea what it would look like though. The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest book ever written. And is surprisingly readable, though not very long
      1. Ha, for some reason I am strangely drawn to ridiculously long books Kevin .. almost finished In Search of Lost Time, previously read 10 volumes of Pepys Diary, all of Gibbon’s Decline & Fall, Life of Johnson, Tale of Genji etc etc.. Hornblower, Heyer, also quite long viewed as a series
        1. Wow! I look on you, to quote Noddy Boffin–who bought ‘The Decline and Fall Off the Rooshian Empire’ to be read to from–with hadmiration amounting to hawe. I did do Genji, both Waley and Seidensticker, but I don’t like the weight on my sternum.
  5. Disagree that “with help” is just padding in 4d. Stencilling is drawing with help (from a stencil). Also, the explanation for 41a needs a slight edit.
  6. Re the definition in 54a, I think NOW = TRENDY comes from the expression “It’s very now”.

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