Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1637 – 30 September

This entertaining Jumbo was cracked in a slow-quick-slow manner in just under 49 minutes finishing in the NW corner.  It was only when doing the blog that I discovered an irritating typo. Grr. I liked the dreadful homophone at 1D, the wing-walker and the “one not taken seriously”. Thank-you setter. How did you all get on?

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

1 River jumper, game (4,7)
7 Predictor: function beyond clear? (7,4)
CRYSTAL BALLCRYSTAL (clear) BALL (function).
13 Insect’s leg in pain with dart (9)
DRAGONFLYON (leg) in DRAG (pain) FLY (dart).
14 Fuddy-duddy scrubbing back, look in to observe filth (7)
SQUALORLO (look) in SQUAR{e} (fuddy-duddy) without the last letter.
15 Deadbrown bread (5)
TOAST – Double definition.
16 Cut on old dictator (6)
REDUCERE (on) DUCE (old dictator)
17 The last new year characterised by secrecy (8)
STEALTHY – (The last)* [new] Y (year).
18 Finished, fly in swamp (7)
OVERRUNOVER (finished) RUN (fly).
20 Misreported note, a sort terribly offensive in the Middle East (9,6,5)
OPERATION DESERT STORM – (Misreported note a sort)* [terribly].
23 Forget swimming round lake, little swimmer (7)
FROGLETL (lake) in (forget)* [swimming].
24 European thoroughfare on island reaches a Baltic country (7)
ESTONIAE (European) ST (street; thoroughfare) ON I (island) A. I remain unconvinced as to the geographic feasibility of the surface.
26 Top leaders from Tunisia and Egypt in breach of promise (7)
SWEATERT{unisia} E{gypt} [leaders] in [in breach of] SWEAR (promise).
28 Wind not imagined: you can hear that! (4)
REEL – Sounds like REAL (not imagined).
29 A little valley to the west brushed with snow? (8)
WHITENEDWHIT (a little) DENE (little valley) reversed -> ENED.
32 Uncivil in reversal of politesse, let’s attack (9)
TASTELESS – Reverse hidden in politeSS LETS ATtack.
35 Girl takes issue ultimately with bucket put on mattress (9)
PAILLASSEPAIL (bucket) LASS (girl) issuE [ultimately]. Ah. That’s how you spell it. I thought the word was PALLIASSE.
36 Choler surrounds classic tailoring business (3,5)
RAG TRADETRAD (classic) in RAGE (choler).
37 Norse god, malice at the core about right (4)
LOKIOK (right) in maLIce [at the core]. Did you, like me, Ninja Turtle this from the Marvel character?
39 Securing device, one crazy enough to walk on flying aeroplane? (4,3)
WING NUT – Double definition, the second a cryptic hint.
41 Feature in something soft and brown, hot sauce (7)
MUSTARDSTAR (feature) in MUD (something soft and brown).
44 Chuck in river lecture given online (7)
WEBINARBIN (chuck) in WEAR (river in County Durham).
45 This could imply the end of the setter’s undue influence? (3,4,7,3,3)
THE TAIL WAGGING THE DOG – Cryptic definition.
49 Pilfer fresh cut, hindquarters of meat (7)
PURLOINPUR{e} (fresh) without the last letter, LOIN (hindquarters of meat).
50 Massive college that is accommodating unknown character (4-4)
KING-SIZE –  KINGS (college), Z (unknown character) in I.E. (that is).
51 Pen, one wrapped by this writer in foil (6)
STYMIESTY (pen), I (one) in ME (this writer).
53 I cope, having erased an icon (5)
IMAGEI M{an}AGE (cope) without the AN.
54 Country I soundly defeat after revolution has international peacekeepers intervening (7)
BURUNDI – I DRUB (soundly defeat) reversed -> BURDI, including UN (international peacekeepers).
55 Ordinary people being idiots, those ones in the vanguard (3,6)
THE MASSESTHEM (those ones) ASSES (idiots).
56 Betting game where woman lost? (4,3,4)
FIND THE LADY – Double definition, the second a cryptic hint.
57 Thriving — as is traveller? (5,6)
GOING PLACES – Double definition, the second a cryptic hint.
1 House members hearing lecturers at Harvard? (6)
TUDORS – Sounds like, in an American accent [hearing… at Harvard], TUTORS (lecturers). One of those homophones that is so cringeworthy it is excellent!
2 Hold water company ultimately responsible in poor admin — one not taken seriously? (5-2,8)
STAND-UP COMEDIANSTAND UP (hold water) CO (company), last letter of responsiblE in [poor] (admin)*. Bravo for the Ikean construction and stretchy definition.
3 Deceptive pattern in group after group (4,6)
CROP CIRCLE – Oh no! I had a transcription error on entering online after solving paper, typing CROP CIRCLES, with the E becoming and S. Grr. CROP (group, as in the current crop of graduates) CIRCLE (group). My first thought was CROW D as the first group.
4 Uncertain in second, having lost lead (4)
IFFY – {j}IFFY (second) without the initial letter.
5 Chief prosecutor’s back in West Midlands city, pressing action (9)
KEYSTROKEKEY (chief), last letter in prosecutoR in STOKE (West Midlands city).
6 Frenchwoman whose people are still needing time, American and Middle Easterner unfinished (7)
TUSSAUDT (time) US (American) SAUD{i} [unfinished]. Great definition.
7 Mistress unfortunately cares not about you when texting (9)
COURTESANU (you when texting) in (cares not)* [unfortunately].
8 Couple overheard with yen to be like soldiers later? (5)
YOLKYYOLK sounds like YOKE (couple), Y (yen). Toast soldiers, of course.
9 Animals, so otters, I suspect (9)
TORTOISES – (so otters I)* [suspect].
10 Blunted blade with which character takes batter (6,6)
LETTER OPENERLETTER (character) OPENER (batter; or batsman as I still think except in a ladies’ game). No not BOTTLE OPENER which I had originally.
11 Teardrop of predator, for example (7)
ANAGRAM – Cryptic definition. (predator)* = (teardrop)*.
12 Money entering country mostly, Mexican now in the US, say (6)
LATINOTIN (money) in LAO{s} (country) [mostly].
19 Starter of salmon and shrimps fits (8)
STITCHES – First letter of Salmon, TITCHES (shrimps). This seems a bit of a stretch… if you get a pain on your side while running (a stitch) that could just about be describe as a fit, I suppose. Or have I missed something? Edit: Yes I did. See branch’s comments. It’s fits as in fits of laughter that can leave you in stitches.
21 Source of energy, English player under restraint at first (7)
REACTORR{estraint} [at first] E (English) ACTOR (player).
22 More energetic person slipping down towards end of week? (8)
FRISKIERFRI (towards he end of the week) SKIER (person slipping down a ski-slope).
23 POWs fear moving a couple of feet from cat? (8)
FOREPAWS – (POWs fear)* [moving].
25 Sense voice (5)
TENOR – Double definition.
27 Picture note? (3,5,2,5)
THE SOUND OF MUSIC – Double definition, the second a cryptic hint.
30 King in approach to Palace, not entirely warm (7)
THERMALR (King) in THE MAL{l} (approach to palace) [not entirely].
31 Follow and master principles (5)
DOGMADOG (follow) MA (Master of Arts).
33 Support team having intelligence: Hearts (4,4)
SIDE WITHSIDE (team) WIT (intelligence) H (Hearts suit in bridge).
34 Mental lapse, fair point (6,6)
BLONDE MOMENT – Double definition, the second a cryptic hint. Hmm.  Surely a non-PC expression these days? If I were blonde I might find it offensive. But I don’t think there’s a protest group for blondes… the B in LGBT+ doesn’t stand for blonde.
38 Disagree with party in red, often? (6,4)
OBJECT BALLOBJECT (disagree) BALL (party). The red ball in snooker is often the one aimed at as there are 15 of them to pot.
40 Willing to learn, shower introduced to systematic arrangement (9)
TRAINABLERAIN (shower) in TABLE (systematic arrangement of data).
42 Vegetation male found north of French city (9)
STAGNANCYSTAG (male) NANCY (French city). As in the condition of vegetating.
43 Dozen changes divided by one, then two times one for scorer (9)
DONIZETTII (one) in (dozen)* [changes], T T (time) [two time] I (one). Scorer meaning composer.
45 One bird burying another, shortly, in ground (7)
TERRAINRAI{l} (bird) [shortly], in TERN (bird).
46 Developing winger given trial on pitch (7)
GOSLINGGO (trial) SLING (throw; pitch). Winger meaning something that has wings.
47 Leave, briefly, very loud joint (6)
SPLIFFSPLI{t} (leave) [briefly], FF (fortissimo; very loud).
48 Up against stupidity primarily, certainly very upset about that (6)
VERSUS – SURE (certainly) V (very) reversed -> VERUS, about S{tupidity} [primarily].
50 First of meat placed in African instrument for Asian dish (5)
KORMAM{eat} in KORA (African instrument).
52 End of four months good for Austrian composer (4)
BERG – SeptemBER, OctoBER, NovemBER or DecemBER (end of four months), G (good).


8 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1637 – 30 September”

  1. At 19dn, I think the stitches are “fits of laughter”. Thank you for TUTORS – didn’t get the wordplay at all!

    1. Thanks for the help with 19d. I knew I must have missed something. Will update the blog.

  2. I gave up on this fairly early on. Lots of DNKs: FIND THE LADY, STOKE, BLONDE MOMENT (happy not to have known that one), OBJECT BALL, SPLIFF, KORMA & KORA. (I also didn’t know the Marvel character Loki, only the god.) Some dubious definitions: uncivil does not mean tasteless, pure does not mean fresh, a tutor is not a lecturer. The setter has an unfortunate predilection for initial/final letters: 2d ultimately, 19d starter of salmon, 50d first of meat, 35ac issue ultimately, 48d stupidity primarily, 26ac leaders from Tunisia and Egypt, 21d restraint at first. And a plethora of rebarbative surfaces: what does e.g. ‘Norse god, malice at the core about right’ mean? ‘Uncivil in reversal of politesse, let’s attack’? ‘Dead–brown bread’?

    1. I too thought some of the definitions a bit of a stretch but didn’t mention it in the blog as I thought I had just been a bit grumpy when solving. But it all came good in the end.

    2. Unknowns we shared were LOKI, BLONDE MOMENT and KORA but the others on your list are in common use. KORMA, for instance, is one of a range of pre-prepared curry dishes that are on offer in almost any UK supermarket – like Jalfrezi which came up recently. Korma is at the opposite end of heat scale, as it’s very mild.

      On the synonyms, I thought uncivil and tasteless can both mean offensive or lacking in refinement so there’s overlap there. Tutor and lecturer may be a UK thing as they can be interchangeable here although there may be subtle differences of ranking in snobby educational circles. SOED has fresh 5 Esp. of air or water: pure, untainted, cool, refreshing, invigorating. LME. Both words are favoured by advertisers ranging from those promoting fabric conditioners to mentholated cigarettes in the days when they were allowed to be advertised.

      I agree with your first two example of bad surfaces, but the third one is redeemed in my view by ‘brown bread’ being CRS for ‘dead.

      More generally I found the puzzle reasonably straightforward and unusually for me for a Jumbo, I solved it in one session.

      Footnote on BLONDE MOMENT: Having just checked on this, it’s not in Collins but I was surprised to find it has its own separate entry in the usually more staid ODE.

      1. I hasten to say that I was not criticizing the use of terms, like KORMA, that I didn’t know; what I don’t know is my problem, not the setter’s. Also DNK the CRS ‘brown bread’ (or indeed, most CRS terms).

  3. Another Jumbo that took a long time – 2 hours 25 minutes – but a particularly good one, I thought, perhaps because I wasn’t confronted with lots of DNKs. No problem with any of Kevin’s list (except KORA). I liked the puzzle because there wasn’t any difficult vocab or GK, just splendidly deceptive clues. In that frame of mind I was happy to live with the odd dodgy definition or surface.

    The most dodgy thing of all was the homophone in 1dn. Great stuff. And I loved 15ac with the CRS (already pointed out by jackkt) giving a kind of three-way double definition where dead = toast = brown bread = dead.

    I’m with the blogger on the spelling of PALLIASSE. It’s a difficult word to have mastered and I’m not going to change now. LOI the wonderful YOLKY.

    Many thanks to setter blogger and all

  4. Quite a tricky one, and I enjoyed it apart from the rather surprising casual sexism in 34dn.

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