Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1592 – 31st December

This was the gentlest of Jumbos among the herd to be found at this time of year. I don’t keep a record of my Jumbo times, but this may have been my quickest ever at just over 23 minutes – about 1/2 my average time and faster than the same day’s 15×15. Just a couple of unknowns which were easy to find from the wordplay.  I liked 31A, 50A and 40D best. Thank-you setter. How did you all get on?

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

1 Islander ’s husband cross with old servant, perhaps (9)
MANXWOMANMAN (husband) X (cross) W (with) O (old) MAN (servant, perhaps). A 5-part construction to start with.
6 Vulgar noise surrounding bachelor, one with uncultivated tastes (7)
LOWBROWLOW (vulgar) ROW (noise) [surrounding] B (bachelor).
10 Free passage originally secured by a Parisian, say (5)
UNPEGP{assage} [originally] in UN (a in French; a Parisian) EG (say).
13 Bizarre county briefly attracting Capone (7)
SURREALSURRE{y} (county) [briefly], AL (Capone).
14 Football team divided by a new food flavouring (7)
VANILLAA N (new) in VILLA (football team).
15 Copy head of icon in this writer’s gallery (7)
IMITATEI’M (this writer is) [head of] I{con} TATE (gallery).
16 Novel thing that killed the cat in photos held for developing (3,3,9,4)
THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOPCURIOSITY (thing that killed the cat) [in] ( photos held )* [for developing]. The novel by Charles Dickens. No I haven’t read it, but you shouldn’t be surprised if you are regular reader of my blogs as I’m a bit of a philistine when it comes to classic literature.
17 Type of drama one of Mitford’s aristos backed (3)
NOH – HON. (aristo) [backed] -> NOH. Nancy Mitford wrote several novels about upper-class life, but I’m not sure why the Hon. title for an aristo needs a reference to her. I wonder if this the same setter that gave us a similar bit of wordplay in this crossword? [Update: See Kevin’s comment. I had the wrong Miford sister – Jessica Mitford wrote Hons and Rebels.]
18 Possible Florentine workers’ groups’ preserve (6)
TUSCANTUS (workers’ groups’) CAN (preserve).
20 Extremely rich, fanciful myth Gershwin got? (6)
RHYTHM – [extremely] RicH, [fanciful] (myth)*. Referring to Gershwin’s  song “I got rhythm”.
21 Greeting returned by scholar in rear, one who cultivates molluscs (9)
OYSTERMAN – YO (greeting) [returned] -> OY, MA (scholar) [in] STERN (rear). I didn’t know there was such a profession.
23 Big city’s sole import, surprisingly (10)
METROPOLIS – (sole import)* [surprisingly].
25 Loose stonework, the concern of men in lodges (11)
FREEMASONRYFREE (loose) MASONRY (stonework).
29 Confuse most of the queue (5)
THROW – [most of] TH{e} ROW (queue).
30 Instrument for which classy old sailors will frame tango (8)
POSTHORNPOSH (classy) O (old) RN (sailors) including, [will frame], T (Tango in the NATO phonetic alphabet).
31 Lie in bed suffering — having had such food? (8)
INEDIBLE – (lie in bed)* [suffering]. Nice surface. My COD.
34 Fuel father principally raised a stink about (8)
PARAFFINPA [principally] R{aised} A,  NIFF (stink) [about] -> FFIN.
36 Lowest extremes of doubt about personal doctors (8)
DOWNMOST – [Extremes of] D{oub}T [about] OWN (personal) MOS (doctors).
37 Harass participant in hunt, perhaps (5)
HOUND – Double definition.
39 Entice newlywed where guests may be assembled (7,4)
DRAWING ROOMDRAW IN (entice) GROOM (newlywed).
41 Study of working conditions — once so grim, unfortunately (10)
ERGONOMICS – (once so grim)* [unfortunately].
43 A quiet man carrying one’s hors d’oeuvre, say (9)
APPETISERA P (piano; quiet) PETER (man) outside I’S (one’s).
45 Hare-brained son of spiteful nature (6)
SCATTYS (son) CATTY (of spiteful nature).
47 Stab leader of rabble during scrap (6)
PIERCE – [Leader of] R{abble} in PIECE [scrap].
49 Injure horse, cutting off tail (3)
MARMAR{e} (horse) [cutting off tail].
50 Possibly he’s the last musketeer? Remarkable! (5,6,8)
THIRD PERSON SINGULARTHIRD PERSON (last musketeer), with the ? indicating a definition by example,  SINGULAR (remarkable). Nice one.
52 Allure of girl disheartened by affair (7)
GLAMOURG{a}L (girl) [disheartened; without the middle letter] AMOUR (affair).
53 Greek character opposed to alcoholic drink (7)
CHIANTICHI (Greek character; letter) ANTI (opposed to).
54 Clubs reportedly subject to breaches — like many exclusive groups (7)
CLIQUEYC (clubs; the suit at cards) LIQUEY, sounds like, [reportedly], LEAKY (subject to breaches).
55 Newlyweds heading off for equestrian activities (5)
RIDES – {b}RIDES (newlyweds) without the first letter, [heading off]. We had GROOM earlier. Has there been/will there be a wedding in our setter’s family recently or due imminently?
56 Exercise equipment: finally determine satellite’s point in orbit (7)
PERIGEEPE (exercise) RIG (equipment) [finally] {determin}E {satellit}E. Of course it is astronomical equipment that’s exercised. PERIGEE is the lowest point in the orbit of something (e.g. a satellite) about its primary body. Its opposite (the farthest point) is called the APOGEE …but I’m sure you knew that already.
57 Good Scottish prince left touring large municipal building (9)
GUILDHALLGUID (good in scottish dialect) HAL (prince) L (left) outside L (large).
1 Falsely represent security organisation’s circumstances (8)
MISSTATEMI’S (security organisation’s; MI5 or MI6) STATE (circumstances).
2 Scandinavian language — and not this one, ultimately (5)
NORSENOR (and not) {this}S {on}E [ultimately].
3 Small cart boy keeps right by shoe repair place (11)
WHEELBARROWWOW! (boy) outside HEEL BAR (shoe repair place) R (right). Easier to biff than to parse, so I only worked it out when doing the blog.
4 Married woman showing spite (6)
MALICEM (married) ALICE (woman).
5 Sadly her vet’s seen pocketing pounds just the same (12)
NEVERTHELESS – [Sadly] (her vet’s seen)* [pocketing] L (pounds; as in LSD – pounds shillings and pence)
6 Oik hiding in English rugby formation (4-3)
LINE-OUTLOUT (oik) [hiding] IN E (English).
7 Bad moral failing we observed at first in 17th-cent king (7,2,6)
WILLIAM OF ORANGE – Another one more easily biffed with some checkers. It’s [bad] (moral failing we o{bserved} [at first])*.
8 Individual in motor yacht willing at first to supply cash (5,5)
READY MONEYREADY (willing), ONE (individual) [in] MY (motor yacht).
9 Heavy objects initially wearying rowing crews (7)
WEIGHTS – [initially] W{earying} EIGHTS (rowing crews).
10 Not forced into service, having unfavourable view? (11)
UNIMPRESSED – Double definition with the first a cryptic hint – UN (not) IMPRESSED (press ganged; forced into service).
11 Cheyenne, for example, proposes to keep current staff (9)
PLAINSMANPLANS (proposes) outside I (current in equations like V = IR), MAN (staff). I wondered about whether the ending was MAN or MEN as both Cheyenne and staff could both be plural, but the clue says “proposes” not “propose”.
12 Game bird in putting area outside youth hostel (7)
GREYHENGREEN (putting area) [outside] YH (Youth Hostel). I’d not heard this term for the female black grouse.
19 Farm employee, unqualified, crossing a river (7)
SHEARERSHEER (unqualified) [crossing] A R (river).
22 Gain height fast, going to London before season? (8)
UPSPRINGUP (going TO London), SPRING (season).
24 Group of swimmers becoming proficient in teacher’s job (15)
SCHOOLMASTERINGSCHOOL (group of swimmers) MASTERING (becoming proficient).
26 Dullness of small number splitting second theatre award (8)
MONOTONYNO (small number) between MO (second) and TONY (theatre award).
27 Crops unknown English lord planted in island (6)
YIELDSY (unknown), E (English) LD (lord) [in] IS (island).
28 Silly fellow keeping sheep (6)
STUPIDSID (fellow; random man’s name) [keeping] TUP (sheep).
32 Club employee’s dishonoured cheque? (7)
BOUNCER – Double definition, the second a cryptic hint.
33 Time-honoured urge to secure stall (4-8)
LONG-STANDINGLONGING (urge) outside STAND (stall).
35 Upset tourist — fail to be coquettish (11)
FLIRTATIOUS – [Upset] (tourist fail)*.
37 Flyer’s busily active spell in jail (11)
HUMMINGBIRDHUMMING (busily active) BIRD (spell in jail).
38 Fellow director of company more red-faced about staff? (10)
COPRODUCERCO (company) PUCER (more red-faced) [about] ROD (staff).
40 Read an MP’s reforms — and sign? (9)
AMPERSAND – (read an MP’s)* [reforms]. Nice definition.
42 Disloyalty of a couple of chaps holding up wager (8)
BETRAYALBET (wager) on top of RAY and AL (a couple of chaps).
43 Military man in branch number one upset (7)
ARMIGER – I didn’t know this word for a person entitled to bear (heraldic) arms. ARM (branch), REG (number; registration number) I (one) [upset] -> IGER. Hmm. I remain unconvinced by the definition.
44 Agitation in the saddle about rider’s first piece of tack (7)
STIRRUPSTIR (agitation) UP (in the saddle) [about] R{ider} [‘s first].
46 Nonappearance of Norwegian playwright beheaded in a church (7)
ABSENCE – {I}BSEN (Norwegian playwright) [beheaded], in  A CE (church).
48 Chinese fruit landed on character abroad (6)
LITCHILIT (landed) CHI (character in Greek alphabet). I spell the fruit lychee.
51 Female artist supporting US city university (5)
LAURARA (artist) under LA (US city) U (university). We finish with a call out to the elder of my two daughters. She was staying at the the and I asked her if she could solve the clue… but she couldn’t!

18 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1592 – 31st December”

  1. DNK ‘HEEL BAR’, LINE-OUT, & GREYHEN. DNK ARMIGER, either, and it looks like the setter didn’t either. I’ve never read THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP, and never will. It’s best known for the quip attributed to Oscar Wilde, “One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing.”

  2. A one session job for me, which is rare for a Jumbo puzzle. Unknowns such as GREYHEN and ARMIGER had helpful wordplay, so didn’t delay me unduly. I didn’t get the first bit of wordplay in THIRD PERSON SINGULAR and having read the explanation I don’t think much of it even as a DOB.

  3. 57:41 – Yay – the first time I’ve ever completed a Jumbo in less than an hour. Nicely straightforward. NHO GREYHEN, UPSPRING or LITCHI (spelled like that) but they were helpfully clued. And looking things up afterwards it was good to be introduced to Mr and Mrs B Grouse, known to their friends as Blackcock and Greyhen. LOI the unknown ARMIGER; I thought it would rob me of my PB until I saw number=REG and it fell into place. A military man, perhaps. using the second definition in Collins: a squire carrying the armour of a medieval knight? I liked THIRD PERSON SINGULAR and WHEELBARROW

    1. ARMIGER. Thanks. I was still a bit dubious with that second definition, but now I’ve thought of “man” as in “man’s man” or butler… albeit in a military sense, it works better.

  4. Held up at the end by putting ENAMOUR instead of GLAMOUR, the first two letters being HEN without the H (disheartened). That meant I couldn’t find anything for 43D. Then once I realized GLAMOUR fitted better than ENAMOUR, I still couldn’t get it at first since I’ve never heard of ARMIGER. Eventually I worked it out and crossed my fingers. I agree it seems a bit of a stretch from being able to bear a coat of arms to “military man” once I looked it up after I’d finished. For a time I wanted it to be ARMORER but that didn’t quite work, plus I realized that was the US spelling.

  5. Nothing to do with this crossword but, just in case you don’t get the puzzle editor’s weekly email, Jack and Kevin, you have been mentioned in despatches (so to speak)!

      1. See here. You can sign up for the newsletter following the “newsletters” link from the footer of the online site. (Sorry. I said “subscriptions” originally).

          1. Still not getting every notification to my posts, but thought I’d check in this evening, so have just seen Kevin’s query!
            Have you got the necessary info now, Kevin? Various Times editors send out weekly newsletters, inc Mick Hodgkin, which you can sign up to via your account. Below is an excerpt from this week’s email.

            Sorry to confuse you. Hope I’m not just repeating what John said 😊 P

            Take Albert Einstein. Or Al, as I like to call him. Among the clues Patrick (a correspondent) objected to was this, from last Thursday’s puzzle: “Uranium for example opposed by Einstein potentially (5)”. The answer is METAL, formed from MET (opposed) by AL (“Einstein potentially”)

            This also occasioned the odd MER (Mild Eyebrow Raise, remember) on the Times for The Times blog. “Really?” remarked an unimpressed jackkt. “Was he ever referred to as Al? I doubt it very much.” To which Kevin Gregg replied: “Well, it does say ‘potentially’; and at least it’s a change from ‘gangster’. But I did raise an eyebrow.”

            And therein lies the compiler’s dilemma. The desire to break free of crossword cliché comes up against the limits of what the solver considers fair and reasonable. Some things are capable of arbitration via the dictionary but whether we are happy to subject Einstein to the Paul Simon treatment comes down to individual preference.

  6. Thanks for the blog. This was definitely on the gentle side. 34:16, beating my previous PB (set on Christmas Eve) by 2 secs. And with a prize for the Boxing Day puzzle it was a good run, which came to an end the day after!

  7. A good completion, but a couple of pinks, I think. And a few that needed help from the Blog. Like most NHO ARMIGER or GREYHEN, but I got those.

    17A I had NTH rather than the NHO NOH. My thinking was that something to the Nth degree was drama.
    30a POSTHORN, could nor parse this one. The “will frame” is a new device for me
    50A “Possibly he”, great definition for THIRD PERSON SINGULAR
    54A I had CLIQUES for a long time before changing to CLIQUEY
    1D MIS= MI5, is that because a 5 looks like an S?
    48D, KIMCHI also fitted, and not many things did. I’ve always known it as a lychee.

    1. MIS. Possibly. I parsed it as I did as other security organisations were available (see here) and to take account of the “‘s”.

  8. Pretty straightforward, this, the latest jumbo I have done. I’m always a week or three behind with them these days. Lots of biffing and indeed in some cases just bunging in without reference to the clue once I had enough checkers.
    NHO ARMIGER and I did worry that it might be ARMAGER. Unfortunate ambiguity for such an obscure word.

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