Quick Cryptic 1177 by Joker

This one certainly fits the bill of quick cryptic. Plenty to enjoy along the way too; I would pick out the two clever anagrams at 3dn and 8dn in particular. Good to see multiple uses of the same letter or word clued in different ways (‘s’ = ‘son’ and ‘small’; ‘l’ = ‘line’ = ‘rope’) – it pays to keep multiple hypotheses alive at once when starting out. On blogging, I notice that this puzlle is also a masterclass in subtracting/replacing single letters. Thanks Joker.

Definitions underlined.

1 Undercover spy misplaced clue? It’s a little matter (8)
MOLECULE – MOLE (undercover soy) and an anagram of (misplaced) CLUE.
5 Decorates cake slices not using small lines (4)
ICES – slICES missing (not using) ‘s’ (small) and ‘l’ (line(s)).
9 Frequently become less harsh when son’s not present (5)
OFTEN – sOFTEN (become less harsh) missing (not present) ‘s’ (son).
10 Some disastrous error is appropriate (7)
TROUSER – hidden in (some) disasTROUS ERror. The definition is ‘to appropriate’ = ‘to take possession of’.
11 Worked on in secret, it becomes a road junction (12)
INTERSECTION – anagram of (worked) ON IN SECRET IT.
13 Where we are in line, following EU? (6)
EUROPE – ROPE (line) after (following) EU.
15 One who’s dubbed king before the end of the day (6)
KNIGHT – K (king) before NIGHT (the end of the day).
17 Experimental set-ups in Labour chapels (12)
LABORATORIES – LAB (labour) and ORATORIES (chapels).
20 More understandable about Shakespearean king and queen (7)
CLEARER – C (circa, about), LEAR (Shakespearean king), and ER (queen).
21 Complete tons of tests assessing liabilities at first (5)
TOTAL – first letters of (at first) Tons Of Tests Assessing Liabilities.
22 Flourish when bran’s left out for recipe (4)
DISH – branDISH (flourish) missing (left out) bran.
23 A number refuse to accept Conservative drift (8)
TENDENCY – TEN (a number), then DENY (refuse) surrounding (to accept) C (conservative).

1 Second working satellite around the earth (4)
MOON – MO (moment, second) and ON (working).
2 Language the French can put together (5)
LATIN – LA (‘the’ in french) and TIN (can).
3 Retro company needs restructuring to become this? (12)
CONTEMPORARY – anagram of (needs restructuring) RETRO COMPANY.
4 Most recent cricket match in California? (6)
LATEST – L.A. TEST (perhaps a cricket (test) match in Los Angeles, California).
6 Estimating the price of company swindle (7)
COSTING – CO (company) and STING (swindle).
7 Good quality that comes from being 8 (8)
STRENGTH – double definition. The opposite of a weakness (good quality) and what comes from being 8dn.
8 Decent carton redesigned and made stronger (12)
CONCENTRATED – anagram of (redesigned) DECENT CARTON.
12 Succeeded getting travelling salesman tied up (8)
REPLACED – REP (travelling salesman) and LACED (tied up).
14 Those who steal erasers to make one change? (7)
ROBBERS – RuBBERS (erasers) swapping the ‘u’ for an ‘O’ (making one change).
16 Look to eat little volume and go very hungry (6)
STARVE – STARE (look) surrounding (to eat) an abbreviations for (little) Volume.
18 Defeated, beheaded and consumed (5)
EATEN – bEATEN (defeated) without the first letter (beheaded).
19 A partner each and every year (4)
ALLY – ALL (each and every) and Y (year).

36 comments on “Quick Cryptic 1177 by Joker”

  1. No problems here, although I did look hard at 14d to make sure of the vowel. I didn’t notice the A problem in 19d, and it seems to me that here it’s a fairly venial sin, since it makes the reading of the clue a lot more natural. 3:50.
    1. Redundant A’s wouldn’t have occurred to me until fairly recently since our breakfast correspondent, himself a setter, raised the matter re a 15×15, and now I notice them whenever they occur. As you say, it’s not major sin, but a slight deviation from usual practice that’s worth bringing to the attention of newer solvers.
      1. Absolutely. That the the answer often begins with A if the clue does has helped me no end in the past. Thanks for pointing it out.

      2. Don’t understand why the A is redundant. An ally is ‘a partner’. If you took ‘ally’ as a verb then yes it’s redundant. Am I confused?!?
        1. True that ‘a partner’ is ‘an ally’ but the answer is ‘ally’ so the ‘a’ is not needed and ‘partner’ would have sufficed.

          Edited at 2018-09-12 01:04 pm (UTC)

  2. I needed a minute over my target 10 for this one thanks to my own carelessness in writing LATIN in the grid at 2dn so that the N looked more like a W. I later misread this when I tried to solve my LOI at 11ac. A road junction to fit -W-E-S-C-I-N was always going to be impossible. The answer was obviously an anagram but the presence of the W (as I thought) meant that ‘worked’ had to be part of the anagrist with ‘becomes’ perhaps as the anagrind. It wasn’t very long before I reassessed the situation, spotted the correct answer and therefore my misreading of the first checked letter, but the delay was enough to push my solving time to 11 minutes in all.

    I have a slight quibble with the clue at 19dn which has a redundant A at its beginning. This sort of thing is frowned upon and generally avoided by setters. But I suppose one might argue that because it creeps into clues occasionally it’s useful for newer solvers to be aware and not put off by it.

    Edited at 2018-09-12 05:05 am (UTC)

  3. Up early today and decided to solve online, so I have an exact time for this delightful Joker puzzle -9:15.
    It took me a minute to get started. FOI was Ices. No real hold-ups and finished with Laboratories.
    Enjoyed Joker’s surfaces as always. David

    Edited at 2018-09-12 06:55 am (UTC)

  4. 15 minutes today – the first few clues, bar 1a, went in very quickly and I thought a PB might be on the cards but I then found the lower half to be more challenging.
  5. DNF as I had SERENITY for 7d. I thought it was something to do with meditation. How is one supposed to know with no wordplay?
    1. Same here, Mr Chumley — I saw it as a kind of meditation, it fits and as you say, with no wordplay to go on…
      Found this pretty tough, after doing really well recently, but it seems I’m in a minority! The long anagrams at 3 and 8D took me ages and INTERSECTION almost had me beat (couldn’t work out which words to unscramble).
      Thanks Joker for the challenge, and William for making everything 20A 🙂
      1. There’s a problem with the underlining: ‘comes from being [concentrated]’ is not a definition of anything. So the underline should be extended to include ‘that’, but with a space between the underlines, to indicated two defs: ‘good quality’ (strength) and ‘that comes from being concentrated’ (strength). I don’t see how serenity comes from being concentrated.
        1. I know, Kevin, it was (yet another) clue I just couldn’t get to grips with today! I suppose I thought of it as “concentrating” rather than -ed. Mind you, I was concentrating for a long time on this puzzle and I wouldn’t say it brought serenity, grrrr 🙂
          1. ‘serenity’ here too..shame to find an error when you think you’ve nailed another decent QC!
  6. Unlike earlier posters, I found this quite demanding (but enjoyable once I stopped obsessing about my time). I don’t know why I failed to fill in the NW corner at first – it seemed straightforward when I came back to it (and had some checkers). I liked ‘trouser’ but ‘strength’ only emerged late. Laboratories threw me for a while because laboratories are not ‘experimental set-ups’ – they are places where expeimental set-ups are designed and constructed, Misleading; unusual for Joker who is normally more precise. Overall, a good quick cryptic but a dispiriting time of 22+. Perhaps I am losing it. I have never ended up so high on the Kevinometer.
    1. I think we have to grant the setter a certain latitude in his definitions, and this one seemed fine to me: a lab is a set-up–they don’t just grow, they’re established– and one does experiments there, so they’re in that sense experimental.
      Of course, there’s a certain degree of thin-edge-of-the-wedginess here; when is latitude just plain inaccuracy? A frequent irritant for me in the 15x15s is ‘college’ cluing MIT, which is a university, not a college in either the UK or the US meaning.
  7. If not really annoyed. Took 31 minutes to get everything but 22a. Thought it could be ‘dose’ but it didn’t really work and I couldn’t parse it, so I resisted putting it in for another six minutes while I did a bit of an alphabet trawl, but then gave up. Couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen dish coming from brandish when I read the blog. Lots of good clues here. I think Joker is my favourite setter if we’re allowed to have those. He (or she?) comes up with great surfaces and always seems to be fair, even when sometimes you think he hasn’t been, as when I missed the alternative reading of appropriate for trouser today. A bit of science creeps in too, which suits me. COD and FOI 1a

    With regards mrchumley’s comment about how you’re supposed to know that 7d isn’t serenity, I think there would need to be a question mark if the answer was serenity, as it is a matter of opinion as to whether that is a good quality to have, whereas a strength is definitely a good quality.

  8. This took me 5 minutes over my target 10 minutes so I was not very quick today. FOI 1d MOON and LOI 22a DISH with plenty of hopping around the grid. 7d STRENGTH was a dubious late solve and I waited until I had all but one of the checkers before solving 3d CONTEMPORARY. The 10a definition of TROUSER is a new one for me so the hidden was revealed belatedly.
  9. I solved this just inside my target time of 10 minutes, coming in at 9:45. MOON was my FOI and STRENGTH followed my penultimate, CONCENTRATED. Like oldblighter, I had an mer at the LABORATORIES definition, but shrugged and moved on. TROUSER for appropriate, caused a bit of consternation in a recent 15×15, but was a write in for me as an avid reader, in my youth, of PG Wodehouse novels, where a successful racegoer might trouser the spondulix. Thanks Joker and William.
  10. Some terrific clues and let’s make some noise for 13ac, which has a wonderful resonance in our current Brexit-ridden condition and gets my COD. Many thanks, Joker. (Though I didn’t like STRENGTH much either, I must admit.)

    A whisker under 3 Kevins, happy with that.


    1. Brexit discussions are off limits here.

      [Edit later. Sorry if that sounded abrupt, but burning political issues can divisive and are best avoided in this friendly forum].

      Edited at 2018-09-12 01:18 pm (UTC)

      1. I quite understand the rule and the reasons for it, but I absolutely deny breaking it!

        I was only pointing out that Joker’s 13ac (“Where we are in line, following EU?”) seemed to me like a clearly Brexit-related (and thus highly topical) reference, which I thought was a neat piece of work, like the recent cricket-related references during the test series.

  11. Another of my favourite setters today! No real difficulties although , dope that I am, while I knew 10 across had to be “trouser”, I couldn’t see why until I’d read the blog, at which point I gave myself a metaphorical slap! Duh! Cue a proper “of course! ” moment. I don’t know if it’s on purpose but there’s a whole narrative available here with these answers! I especially liked the way that both of the main political parties featured in 17 across, particularly as our current national direction under their care feels somewhat like an “experimental set-up”, at least with regard to 13 across. Hopefully it will get 20 across as time goes on and we won’t display a 23 across to get 10 across-ed of all that we hold dear. Fab. Thanks so much, setter and blogger.
  12. 4 down did amuse as there are some good cricket pitches in the USA. And the first ever international cricket match was played in Philadelphia between the US and Canada in 1844. Best library of cricket material? Chicago University.
  13. I have no idea how the blogger ranks this a QC. It was neither quick nor a puzzle for a beginner. I have no problem with the puzzle we need some hard ones, but maybe we should find a way to ask newbies to rank these puzzles. This was left unfinished by me after 30 minutes as that is all the time I had. Nakrian kickiat.
    1. Why not try comparing your time/struggles to, say, crispb above (or pick any other) and see if this gives you a better insight into difficulty/achievement?
  14. 8:46 here so I’d agree with William’s assessment. Enjoyed 3dn but not quite as much as cod trouser. 22ac caused a furrowed brow as I was looking to take just a B out of the answer until I realised it was the whole bran and nothing but the bran.
  15. Hurrah! A finish at last, after 2 weeks of puzzling daily and getting somewhere close. Even Monday’s QC had me stumped, but I kicked myself after reading the blog. I was unsure about 10a, but get it now, still not sure about 12d. I must be missing the meaning of “succeeded”. But it took me lunchtime and to B’ham International on the train home to complete. Finally, a benchmark. Thanks!
    1. When someone is appointed to a professional position, he/she succeeds the previous post-holder and also replaces him/her.
  16. Getting used to the quick cryptic now with this being my sixth or seventh solve. 39:52 in all.
  17. I found this one much harder than the previous puzzles this week, eventually coming in at 19.56. I think I only got 2 across clues on the first run through and I then made life more difficult for myself by having carBon for the second part of the anagram at 8d.
    I’m never quite sure with clues such as 7d whether a number in them refers to another clue or the actual number so I needed all the checkers to feel confident of the answer. Loved 10a and had a real doh moment when I worked out the definition.
    Thanks for the blog
  18. As relatively new to these cryptic puzzles i do find Joker among the doables and really enjoy the surfaces. Didn’t know trouser but saw the hidden word. Some great anagrams and majorly held up as put in Molehill for 1a until i realised the error of my ways. Thank you for the explanations – it builds my knowledge – just have to remember them now.
  19. Really enjoyed this puzzle. Never time myself and cannot compete with the solvers completing in under 10mins. Look forward to the QC and pick it up and put it down inbetween other tasks and programmes on the TV. Complete many but not all, confirm answers I’m uncertain of and appreciate the blog. Lovely pastime.

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