Times Cryptic Jumbo Special. Published Sunday 17 September 2023 in the GOOD UNIVERSITY GUIDE supplement


Solving time: 40 minutes.

I don’t usually record my solving time for Jumbo puzzles because I tend to work on them over several sessions, but this one was an exception. Once I’d started I found I was making good progress and getting the answers at the first or second attempt so I worked straight through until it was all done. As might have been expected in a University Guide Supplement there is an educational theme running throughout. There are also a number of references to computer technology, again to be expected in a puzzle aimed at a younger target-audience. There’s very little on pop-culture though, for which I was glad because I might have struggled with it, but George Michael in 1ac did not present a problem.

On a slightly negative point, I noticed when blogging but not whilst solving that there are no fewer than 18 anagrams or partial anagrams. I think this is somewhat excessive as by way of comparison the last regular Jumbo I blogged had only 8. Also I think we have an error in the clue at 43ac.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 False hair George Michael’s band picked up in Amerindian tent (6)
WIG (false hair),  then WAM sounds like [picked up] “Wham!” (George Michael’s band)
5 Shoe I’d changed, holding old school leavers’ sweatshirts (7)
Anagram [changed] of SHOE I’D containing [holding] O (old)
9 Singing badly? Oxford University toff mostly critical (3,2,3)
OU (Oxford University), TOF{f} [mostly], KEY (critical)
13 Nitwit or bad teacher I’ve confused – you might see this in the classroom (11,10)
Anagram [confused] of NITWIT OR BAD TEACHER I’VE
14 Bournemouth FC – they might get stoned! (8)
I didn’t know the nickname but the cryptic hint helped
15 Go wrong showing number of people attending event (7)
TURN (go), OUT (wrong). I lost a little time here trying to fit ‘gate’ into the answer.
16 Exam in All about Eve (1,5)
ALL containing [about] EVE
17 Amended blog so it is for life scientists (10)
Anagram [amended] of BLOG SO IT IS
20 Doctor nurses beasts in obscurity (12)
Anagram [doctor] of NURSES BEASTS
23 University admissions service in Caucasia (4)
Hidden [in] {Ca}UCAS{ia}
24 Intensively studying the speed of light, computer memory and a Chinese dynasty (8)
C (speed of light), RAM (computer memory), MING (Chinese dynasty)
26 See terms differently, or one term at uni (8)
Anagram [differently] of SEE TERMS
29 One country accepting delay for apparatus put in place (12)
I (one), NATION (country) containing [accepting] STALL (delay)
30 Incredible student, losing time, more upset (10)
Anagram [upset] of STUDEN{t} MORE [losing time]
32 Dwell by small river, getting internet broadcast (4,6)
LIVE (dwell), STREAM (small river)
34 Original eastern skewer prepared for uni induction period (8,4)
FRESH (original), E (eastern) then anagram [prepared] of SKEWER
36 Ticks off  university lessons (8)
Two meanings
38 Call team right next to the arena (8)
RING (call), SIDE (team)
39 What many students get, which generates interest? (4)
I’ve taken this as an all-in-one cryptic
41 When school ends, desire to keep IT there working (4,8)
YEARN (desire) containing [to keep] anagram [working] of IT THERE
43 How one should travel fast, ready to move around Oman’s capital (4,6)
Anagram [move] of FAST READY containing [around] O{man’s} [capital letter]. Try as I might I can’t make the definition fit the answer. When solving I was distracted thinking that ‘How one should travel’ might be SAFELY but that doesn’t work either. Have I missed something or is the clue an error?
44 Prepare for an exam, returning some volumes I’ve read (6)
Reversed [returning] and hidden in (some] {volum}ES I’VE R{ead}
46 Strengthen huge swings caught by heavyweight? (7)
Anagram [swings] of HUGE, hidden in [caught by] TON  (heavyweight)
48 Be a stoic, perhaps, in vehicles for wintry weather (8)
Anagram [perhaps] of BE A STOIC
50 Become independent – don’t crawl on all fours? (5,2,4,3,3,4)
A definition and a cryptic hint with additional help from the enumeration
51 Mashed dinner up, getting support (8)
Anagram [mashed] of DINNER UP
52 Reagan, say, has nothing for footballing giant (7)
RONALD (Reagan, say), 0 (nothing)
53 Abandon pudding, not having seconds (6)
DES{s}ERT (pudding) [not having seconds]
2 Sunak finally moving from Dublin, say (5)
When the final letter of RISHI (Sunak) moves we get IRISH. There is nothing in the clue to indicate where the ‘I’ moves to, which seems to be something of an oversight. The Rishi/Irish device has become a bit of a chestnut already and occurred in a Guardian puzzle only last week.
3 Drink and finish tea, it’s said, in the loo (5,6)
WATER (drink), CLOSE (finish), then T sounds like [it’s said] “tea”
4 What sleepyheads hate – periods of sorrow, we’ re told (8)
Sounds like [we’re told] “mournings” (periods of sorrow). ‘Mourning’ in this sense is a mass noun and cannot be pluralised.
5 Clever tips from journalists (5)
Two meanings. I was thrown by the first for a moment but it’s a noun derived from ‘hack’ meaning to manipulate a computer program to one’s advantage.
6 Drugs I took during operations (7)
I + ATE (took) contained by [during] OPS (operations)
7 Silly Etonian I rib for drunkenness (11)
Anagram [silly] of ETONIAN I RIB
8 Idiot missing half of school and more (5)
SCH{ool} + MO{re} [each missing half]
9 Faces down and exposes sailors swallowing ecstasy (9)
OUTS (exposes), TARS (sailors) containing [swallowing] E (ecstasy)
10 Artificial intelligence data about part of the leg (5)
AI (Artificial intelligence) + BIT (data) reversed [about]
11 Socialised with refined star, going wild (11)
Anagram [going wild] of REFINED STAR
12 Having no friends, Friday’s going to be tediously long (7)
{Fri}ENDLESS (having no friends) [Friday’s going]
18 At home, given a little US money, I have motivation (9)
IN (at home), CENT (a little US money), I’VE (I have)
19 Top expert at riding the waves (7)
SURF ACE satisfies the cryptic hint in the clue
21 Does some tourism in location with oceans, we hear (9)
Sounds like [we hear] “site” (location) + “seas” (oceans)
22 After reflection, you might get this topic studied in maths? (8)
A barely cryptic hint precedes the main definition
25 Meme a girl reinvented showing computing procedure (4,5)
Anagram [reinvented] of MEME A GIRL.
27 Joyful old taxi company worker, say (9)
EX (old), UBER (taxi company), ANT (worker, say)
28 Extremely pitiful, uptight, amateur, churlish Greek writer (8)
P{itifu}L + U{ptigh}T + A{mateu}R + C{hurlis}H [extremely]
31 Insectivorous animal unfortunately chained (7)
Anagram [unfortunately] of CHAINED. Our old friend the spiny anteater.
33 Foolishly enter exam – it shows what a Dalek says (11)
Anagram [foolishly] of ENTER EXAM IT
34 Summer frolics – or tabloid newspaper entertainment (3,2,3,3)
The tabloid newspaper in the cryptic hint is The Sun. I don’t know this as a lexical expression or the title of anything in particular as I would normally expect of a grid entry, but going by the number of random hits on Google it seems to be something that’s out there.
35 Very shy people making bloomers? (11)
Two meanings
37 Trouble or tension? This neurotransmitter regulates mood (9)
Anagram [trouble] of OR TENSION
40 What a bodybuilder might take to get heavenly body (8)
A STEROID satisfies the cryptic hint in the clue
42 Blasphemers once hosting American writer (7)
Hidden in [hosting] {blasph}EMERS ON{ce}
43 Descartes, say, with revolutionary rule for modernisation (7)
RENE (Descartes, say), then LAW (rule) reversed [revolutionary]
45 Finish in French party in Ulster (3,2)
EN (‘in’ French), DUP (party in Ulster)
47 Somewhat painful narrowing of arm bones (5)
Hidden in [somewhat] {painf}UL NAR{rowing}
48 Keen on catching right song’s opening (5)
INTO (keen on) containing [catching] R (right)
49 Expression of disapproval by our heartless uni teacher (5)
TUT (expression of disapproval), O{u}R [heartless]

12 comments on “Times Cryptic Jumbo Special. Published Sunday 17 September 2023 in the GOOD UNIVERSITY GUIDE supplement”

  1. From curryowen:
    20 September 2023 at 2:37 AM

    Pretty straightforward- slowed down by YEAR THIRTEEN, UCAS and INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARD but they went in eventually along with everything else. Probably around 25 minutes.

  2. From Countrywoman1:
    23 September 2023 at 11:39 AM

    Completed but not altogether easy. Rather too many anagrams, as far as I was concerned. LOI SYMMETRY. Liked UNDERPIN, WIGWAM, RENEWAL.

    Quite difficult for a student, perhaps. Though in the sixties I remember a young chap who would do the whole Telegraph cryptic in his head on a short tube journey.
    Thanks all.

  3. From L-Plates:
    20 September 2023 at 3:16 PM

    I quite enjoyed that taking around 49mins with one mis-spelling . As to whether it will appeal to students, I’m not sure. While I got the first two across clues and the first down – I didn’t really get going until the last few lines of the grid and the ones in the NE were last in. I’m not sure whether 18-year-old me would have been willing to go all the way through the clues with that lack of success.

    Letter to the editor may be required for referring to my local team AFC Bournemouth as “Bournemouth FC”. Back in 1971 they changed name from Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic to the AFC version in the expectation it would put them ahead of Arsenal and Aston Villa when it came to any index of Football League teams! Sadly no-one ever complies with this.

  4. From Martinů:
    21 September 2023 at 4:27 PM
    Some easy, many enjoyable – think I must pass on four (including 14a, no help from L-Plates above!) which I hope isn’t too bad. NHO 25d, I think? MER at 9a, COD 13a, very clever. Hope no spoilers there. Thank you, John, for the heads-up (learnt that phrase in a QC some months ago).

    From Martinů:
    22 September 2023 at 10:36 PM

    Down to two now, though NHO 14a or 8d (comments will follow). Still stuck on 41 and 42.

  5. This was OK. Not our usual fare, but it’s not meant to be. Still, like L-Plates, I wonder if it will appeal to the younger set. Well worth a try. I learned to do the Telegraph crossword when I was at school. (No. I’m certainly not the young chap Countrywoman remembers).

    A confused start with the access issues, some progress on screen, then a switch to a paper print-out, so I’m not sure about my time. I reckon between 45 and 50 minutes which is a personal best for me for a Jumbo by 5 minutes or more.

    Not totally sraightforward though. For example, I didn’t know what the “school leavers” were doing there in the HOODIES clue. TREMENDOUS took ages to emerge, despite the clear anagram. Does anyone say WATER CLOSET nowadays? SYMMETRY, my LOI, must have taken 5 minutes at the end.

    At 43ac (ROAD SAFETY) I wondered if “fast” should be part of the definition – How one should travel fast – where “fast” means secure and by extension safe. That’s a bit of a stretch, though, and “fast” is anyway part of the wordplay. So yes, it looks like something’s wrong.

    I always enjoy the ones like A STEROID and SURF ACE. I also liked OUTSTARES and ENDLESS and my favourite the EX UBER ANT

  6. I think I’m now allowed to post my comments! Got those last two eventually, so solving time = nearly a week. NHO connexion between HOODIES and school leavers, but Mrs M had, so ok. Ditto RAM (24), HACKS and MAIL MERGE. But we both NHO SCHMO – sounds Yiddish, but I see this is disputed – certainly US, anyway; nor CHERRIES (is that really GK???); but both had to be.
    FOI INCENTIVE, LOI EMERSON, “liberated by” (to borrow LindsayO’s phrase in the QC today) POI YEAR THIRTEEN. Lots of fun here – thank you, setter.
    Must record one MER: you can say “off key” or “out of tune”, but OUT OF KEY does not exist.

    1. Heaven knows why I, a football nescient, knew that the Bournemouth team are known as The Cherries – it could be from my occasional days working for the BBC 5Live sports team – but I dredged it up from somewhere and was absurdly pleased with myself for doing so! Agree with OUT OF KEY…

    2. I had similar misgivings over ‘out of key’ but it returns many hits on Google including several in reputable dictionaries, if not the ones that we usually rely on as Times sources.

  7. I don’t normally do the Jumbos, as I spend enough time on the daily ones to make me feel guilty about further procrastination, but Jackkt’s heads up encouraged me to have a go. And it was indeed quick – quicker, on average, than most of my daily cryptic times. Only unknown was SCHMO, which really couldn’t be anything else, but I’ve always known the term as ‘schmuck’ in Yiddish. I assumed it was a ‘youth’ thing. INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARD was, thank goodness, an anagram, or would have taken a lot longer. Mostly I worked down from top to bottom. I did have a bit of a MER at ROAD SAFETY and isn’t RONALDO still alive? Ah, but I see it came out on a Sunday, so presumably OK then. Fun, and encouraging, hopefully for its target solvers, too.

  8. Very enjoyable and hopefully will serve as an encouraging introduction to more young people. Had to work at some of the more contemporary terms eg Schmo and fell into a few traps eg 1a toupee but couldn’t parse until a PDM came; 50a your/ones; 41a I had thirteen but couldn’t figure out why that was right, but I’m def out of touch with contemporary education; and missed the hidden in 42d which would have helped!

  9. Thank you for drawing my attention to this. I have never done a Jumbo before…. they always look far too hard for me…. but I completed this in 1:08:26. That may sound a long time to most but it made me very happy!! I struggled most with “Year Thirteen” despite working in a school for years and having a granddaughter who has just completed it and gone off to uni. MM

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