Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1607 – 8th April

This was, I think, the trickiest, but also most fun, Jumbo for quite a while. Lots of witty, deceptive and whimsical definitions and wordplay made for an entertaining tussle that took me an hour and 12 minutes – more than twice as long as the previous week’s. Chuckles abounded right from 1A and it’s hard to choose a favourite clue, so I won’t. Thank-you setter! How did you all get on?

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

1 Incorrect statement about Disney character, about right for tycoon? (9)
PLUTOCRATPLUTO CAT (incorrect statement about Disney character – Pluto is a dog) about R (right). Ha ha!
6 Bout follows live match (5)
BEFITBE (live) FIT (bout of illness)
9 Henry returning to pay in haste (7)
HOTFOOTH (Henry, the SI Unit of electrical inductance), [returning] TO -> OT, FOOT (pay the bill).
13 Thus overlooked, boy did play, strangely (5)
ODDLY – Every second letter (oddly  overlooked) of bOyDoDpLaY. Clever clue that uses the answer in the wordplay.
14 Not the clergy’s records being recalled in particular (7)
SPECIAL – LAIC (not the clergy) EPS (Extended Plays; records) all reversed -> SPECIAL.
15 Had food finally landed in appropriate place, at long last? (9)
BELATEDLYATE landeD [finally] in BELLY (appropriate place for food to land!). Nice one.
16 Wide river: manage to cross it in pain (3-8)
FAR-REACHINGR (river) in FARE (manage; e.g. fare OK at), ACHING (in pain).
17 Suffering from cold several times bonfires must be built (11)
FROSTBITTEN -(bonfires t t t)* [built], with the T T T for (several times). More cleverness in the wordplay.
18 Bounded around home, healthy, and with energy (6)
FINITEFIT (healthy) around IN (home), E (energy).
19 Both mum and aunt finally, sadly, showing little character (3,5)
TOM THUMB – (both mum {aunt}t)* [sadly].
21 Disturbance over waiter’s tip, followed by row (6)
UPROARUP (over; finished) {waite}R [‘s tip] OAR (row). Yes OAR can be a verb – we had it in another crossword recently.
25 Stud resembling star affixed to cape (8)
CASANOVAC (cape) AS A NOVA (resembling star).
26 Be received by television station’s original founder (2,4,3,5)
GO DOWN THE TUBESGO DOWN (be received; e.g. went down well) THE TUBE (television) S{tation} [‘s original]. Nicely disguised definition requiring you to separate “original founder”.
28 Settlements: a single one ultimately that hurt the Poles (5)
TOWNS – More tricky wordplay. Take the last letter, [ultimately] of settlemenT, [a single one] of “settlements”, OW (that hurt), NS (North and South poles).
29 Musical works tell a story, radical on reflection (6)
LIEDERLIE (tell a story), RED (radical) [on reflection] -> DER.
30 Titled lord, frightfully musical! (2,8)
DR DOLITTLE – (Titled lord)* [frightfully].
33 Shopkeeper with quiet way of working getting in touch (10)
FISHMONGERSH (quiet) MO (Modus Operandi; way of working) in FINGER (touch).
35 Old dictator seeing money accrued after election is endless (3,3)
POL POTPOL{l} (election) [endless] POT (money accrued, e.g. in a pension pot).
36 Kid is very loud after tea (5)
CHAFFCHA (tea)  FF (fortissimo; very loud). Kid the verb.
38 Nonsense about basic fitness of course good reason for scepticism (11,3)
CREDIBILITY GAPCRAP (nonsense) about EDIBILITY (basic fitness of course) G (good). The naughty word is in neither the clue nor the answer so it might not get noticed except by successful solver and blogger.
40 For physicist, a very disastrous error having a doctor round (8)
AVOGADROA V (very) OG (Own Goal; disastrous error) A DR (doctor) O (round letter). A rare clue with the definition not quite at the beginning (or end) starting with the link word between wordplay and definition and the wordplay moved to the end to make the surface work.
42 One going left hot drink close to pram: naughty! (6)
IMPISHI (one), H (hot) SIP (drink) [close to] praM, all reversed [going left] -> MPISH.
43 Shrink understood Leo — only for so long (6-2)
TOODLE-OO – Hidden in, [shrink], undersTOOD LEO Only. I’ve not seen that ‘hidden’ indicator before. Sneaky!
44 What bishops may grasp about different men (6)
CROOKSC (about) ROOKS (different chess pieces from bishops; different men).
47 Soft and runny porridge: that is a French dish (8,3)
PERIGORD PIEP (soft) [runny] (porridge)* I.E. (that is). A gourmet pie made with meat and truffles. I’d never heard of it. Has anyone here had any?
50 Something deceptive in the case of latest Mob suspect (5,6)
FALSE BOTTOM – (of latest Mob)* [suspect].
52 Notwithstanding popular image, enemy in retreat (2,5,2)
IN SPITE OFIN (popular) SPIT (image, as in spitting image) FOE (enemy) [in retreat] -> EOF.
53 Wind got of husband’s casual reference to couple? (7)
MEANDER – Double definition, the second a cryptic hint “Me and ‘er”,
54 Chap fifty yards back, bang in the middle (5)
DYLAN – L (fifty) YD (yards) [back] -> DYL, bANg [in the middle].
55 Camel at the back, one with humps, for example, not unnaturally (7)
LITOTES – CameL [at the back] I (one) TOTES (carries; humps). A double negative, which our clue gives an example of.
56 Four German couples appearing at end of Huckleberry Finn? (5)
YACHT – [end of] HuckleberrY, ACHT (eight in German, or 4 x 2 (couples)). Sneakily hidden definition that is a definition by example – Finn is a class of yachts used in yacht racing.
57 Festival queen, depressed, finding comfort in retirement (9)
EIDERDOWNEID (festival) ER (queen) DOWN (depressed). Another witty definition.
1 What demonstrates strength of spirit (5)
PROOF – Double definition
2 Very young infants have small playgroup, independently (5,4,3,5)
UNDER ONE’S OWN STEAMUNDER ONES (very young infants) OWN (have) S (small) TEAM (playgroup). Hmm. “playgroup” for TEAM is a bit cheeky, but it makes a nice surface.
3 Neat Yankee fellow seen with medical department’s hospital equipment (6,5)
OXYGEN TENTSOX (neat) Y (Yankee) GENT (fellow) ENT’S (Ear Nose and Throat’s; medical department’s).
4 For these jobs the academic not always in the end cut out (6)
RESECT – Last letters of foR thesE jobS thE academiC noT [always in the end]. Not a word I knew. It’s a surgical term, apparently.
5 Bash we do with champagne (3,5)
THE WIDOW – (we do with)* [bash]. The inventor of Champagne who gave her name to the Champagne Veuve Cliquot. Read about her here.
6 Link with firms keeping judge and journalist in work (7,5)
BRIDGET JONESBRIDGE (link), TONES (firms) [keeping] J (judge). Journalist as in someone who keeps a journal (or diary). Ha ha!
7 Conflict with rank in decline, mostly (4,4,2)
FALL FOUL OFFOUL (rank) in FALL OF{f} (decline) [mostly].
8 Disapproved of cheers? The opposite! (5)
TABOOTA (thanks; cheers) BOO (the opposite of a cheer).
9 Deception lethal, FT ruthlessly demonstrates (4-5)
HALF-TRUTH – Hidden in letHAL FT RUTHlessly.
10 Sound disapproving note about one franc confection (5,6)
TUTTI FRUTTITUT-TUT (sound disapproving) TI (note) about I (one) FR (franc).
11 Report of case for Oxonian: E Morse? (2,3)
ON DIT – Outside letters of OxonioN, DIT (. ; E in morse code). French for “One says” that has crept into English. Very clever wordplay. I loved those detective series.
12 Object after husband’s made track difficult (6)
TRYINGT{h}ING (object) replacing the H (husband) with RY (railway; track) -> TRYING. More clever wordplay.
18 Expert’s characteristic, confrontational position (4,2,4)
FACE TO FACEFACET (characteristic) OF ACE (expert’s). Nice one.
20 Stony ridge linked to football training (8)
BANKRUPTBANK (ridge) RU (Rugby Union; Rugby football) PT (physical training). Stony broke, that it.
22 Poor old constable to bat, getting a pair — that was funny! (6,3,8)
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO – (old constable to bat)* [poor]. Lovely deceptive surface.
23 What you see before eruption upset island paradise (6)
AVALON – NO LAVA (what you see before eruption) written upwards, [upset[, -> AVALON. The legendary island of Celtic mythology, where, according to some sources, King Arthur’s Excalibur sword was forged. It is also the place where the mythical king was taken, fatally wounded, to meet his death. Avalon is a utopian paradise where the legends of English knights and political wholeness unite in a kingdom lost in the mists of time. Read more about it here.
24 Life’s good for flourishing South London area (4,2,4)
ISLE OF DOGS – (life’s good)* [flourishing], S (South). Not a South London area, of course. Lift and separate.
27 Old monk’s high point joining order (8)
BENEDICTBEN (high point in Scotland) EDICT (order).
31 Old firm keeping tax returns in book (6)
OCTAVO – VAT (tax) [returns] -> TAV, in O (old) CO (firm; company).
32 What’s Easter — and Lent — without a taste of eggs! (7,5)
MOVABLE FEAST – Like Easter, Lent is movable…. hence a MOVABLE FAST, outside, [without], the first letter [a taste] of Eggs. Very droll.
34 Millions, unhealthy and lean, are those up for spam? (7,4)
MAILING LISTM (millions) AILING (unhealthy) LIST (lean, like a ship). Another witty definition.
36 Red oligarch’s broadcast one offering a mouthpiece for Havana? (5,6)
CIGAR HOLDER – (Red oligarch)* [broadcast].
37 Promoter with loudspeaker outside party, back to get under one’s skin (10)
HYPODERMIC – DO (party) [back] -> OD, in HYPER (promoter) MIC (loudspeaker). Hmm. I’m not convinced by MIC = loudspeaker. A microphone converts sound into an electrical signal. You need the speaker to convert it back into sound.
39 Ann with shires working thus? (2,7)
IN HARNESS – (Ann shires)* [working]. A neat semi-&lit.
41 US president collected papers for one from the South (8)
COOLIDGECOOL (collected) ID (papers) E.G. (for one) [from the South -> GE.
45 University fellow stretched, evidently, to a higher level (6)
UPHILLU (University) PHIL (fellow) [stretched] -> PHILL.
46 Old-fashioned daughter walked on over (6)
RETRODRETRO (old-fashioned) D (daughter). Another whimsical definition.
48 Put back a class of biblical scholars? (5)
RESET – Double definition with the second a cryptic hint – RE (Religious Education) SET (class), i.e. (biblical scholars).
49 Having the effects of inflation drag on years (5)
PUFFYPUFF (drag on a cigarette) Y (years).
51 Opera that’s performed in French but not in Italian (5)
MANONMA NON (but not, in Italian). The Puccini opera Manon Lescaut.

5 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1607 – 8th April”

  1. Well, I got them all, but in some cases didn’t know why: DNK BRIDGET JONES, for instance, or that a FINN was a kind of yacht; wasn’t sure where the T came from in TOWNS; didn’t parse MOVABLE FEAST. I agree with John that this was the most enjoyable Jumbo in quite a while.

  2. I had a few queries noted on my print-out but some of them were resolved after the event. The ones remaining were MIC as ‘loudspeaker’ which is surely a bad error, the T in TOWNS, and the wordplay in MOVABLE FEAST. The opera at 51 was unknown to me .

  3. Two hours 24 minutes in total. Nice one, but with one pink square for ON DOT at 11dn – totally meaningless, but it fitted the wordplay so well (I thought) that I just went with it. I liked the retro daughter RETROD, one of my last ones in, and many others

  4. This was definitely hard but I didn’t enjoy it at all. It all had to be ground out and there was an awful lot of ‘well I suppose so if you really insist’ rather than ‘eureka’. The wordplay is particularly convoluted and (to me) often rather forced. Seems to be just me though!

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