Quick Cryptic 1304 by Joker

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
So I’m in another French alpine hotel with sub-dialup WiFi speed, and because the Times page took so long to refresh I almost ended up blogging yesterday’s, which would have been interesting. Another straightforward one, 6 minutes for me. Not sure about 2dn, but everything else is pretty fair.


1 So a post office for each area is a drama? (4,5)
SOAP OPERA –  SO + A + PO (post office) + PER (for each) + A (area)
6 Down south in these times (3)
SAD – S (south) + AD (these times, anno domini)
8 Completely correct Conservatives (5)
RIGHT – triple definition. And these days, an oxymoron. (ooh, bit of politics…)
9 Close up by one concerning marine mammal (3,4)
SEA LION – SEAL (close up) + I + ON
10 Lift a lever to reset (8)
ELEVATOR – Anangram (“reset”) of A LEVER TO
11 Armada stopped early to run away (4)
FLEE – FLEET without the T
13 Prestige suits — and what paid for them? (6,5)
CREDIT CARDS – CREDIT (prestige) + CARDS (suits)
17 500 sheets? Manufacturer backed turning out a thousand (4)
REAM – Manufacturer is MAKER, write backwards, take out K (a thousand)
18 Newspaper writer on beer (8)
REPORTER – RE (on) + PORTER (beer). I don’t think I knew what porter was until I started doing crosswords. No one seems to drink the stuff these days.
21 Three linked works I record in test (7)
TRILOGY – I LOG (record) inside TRY
22 Little time after incentive to put on a burst of speed (5)
SPURT – Incentive is SPUR, little time is T
23 Catch a number returning (3)
NET – TEN backwards
24 Wretchedly unhappy blame rise in disorder (9)
MISERABLE – Anangram (“in disorder”) of BLAME RISE

1 Observed holding chromium mask (6)
SCREEN – SEEN with Cr (Cromium) inside
2 Butcher takes head off fish (5)
ANGLE – I’m guessing this is MANGLE without the first letter, but I’m not sure that’s a particlarly satisfactory synonym for butcher
3 Public rooms in hospital away from the centre (8)
4 Pretty lenient on you in the past, certainly (4,2,3,4)
EASY ON THE EYES – EASY ON (lenient) + THEE (‘you’ in the past) + YES
5 Just open a container (4)
AJAR – self explanatory
6 Second murdered expert (7)
7 Idiot‘s guide provided by university lecturer (6)
12 Drunken reveller changing side finally on merry-go-round (8)
CAROUSER – CAROUSEL changing the L to R, i.e. changing side
14 One with no illusions is alert to change (7)
REALIST – Anangram (“to change”) of IS ALERT
15 Expert needs weight for elementary particle (6)
PROTON – PRO (expert) + TON
16 Twist and turn to set down outside hotel (6)
WRITHE – Set down is WRITE with H inside
19 Request a free ride in Northumbria (5)
THUMB – Hidden word NorTHUMBria
20 Market upsurge or crash? (4)
BOOM – double definition

36 comments on “Quick Cryptic 1304 by Joker”

  1. I almost went through the clues in order, something I’ve never done. I took it on faith that Cr=chromium; and I assumed that ANGLE came from ‘mANGLE’, which seemed fine to me for ‘butcher’. Curarist, you’ve got a typo at 7d. 3:51, probably a PB for me, and exactly the time it took me on today’s Concise.
  2. I struggled to get started on this one – no idea why in retrospect – but I needed 12 minutes to complete the grid, missing my target by 2 minutes. But perhaps if I’d remembered ‘chromium’ as ‘cr’ instead of ‘ch’ I might have got a firmer foothold in the NW and things would have flowed more smoothly from there. I also parsed 2dn as {m}ANGLE but then did a complete alphabet trawl in the hope of finding a better alternative. I now see it works though.
  3. I started quickly,pausing briefly to consider ANGLE-as others have noted. I was pleased to get REAM quickly which I think could hold some people up. My last two were 6a and 7d. I had put SET for 6a thinking it a hidden. I then spent at least a minute trying the many possibilities for 7d before reconsidering.
    13:24 in the end. David
  4. Joker always trips me up and today was no exception with a slowest of the week, but enjoyable, 18.49. Didn’t see AD for IN THESE TIMES, so that neat clue took ages. CREDIT CARDS was clever and I kept thinking HANDS for the second word. AJAR (that oldest of riddles, bravo Joker) unaccountably eluded me awhile. LOI BOOM (smart) and COD DONKEY which made me laugh.
  5. 9 minutes for me which is an extremely rare foray into sub ten minute land and well under the usual 20 so I think today was probably an easy offering – interested to see how others got on.
  6. Typical Joker – never easy for me but a good puzzle. I can only echo sonofjim’s comments above – my experience almost exactly (including my LOI) although I needed the checkers for SEA LION. Very similar time for me, too at 18.27. Thanks to Joker and Curarist. John M.

    Edited at 2019-03-08 09:41 am (UTC)

  7. Train to London today so didn’t do this with coffee first thing but saved for the journey – I may actually prefer solving on the laptop to paper. Didn’t think I say that a while ago. No time but took two stops – I also has SAD and DONKEY as last ones in. REPORTER also took a while for no clear reason. Good end to the week. See you Monday via Telegraph prize puzzle.
  8. Lots of very clever and enjoyable stuff here. I think there is a similarity in mangling or butchering in the sense of destroying something. 500 sheets had to be ream but I couldn’t make sense of the rest – thanks for the explanation.
  9. Zipped through that sub-10 which is very unusual for me on a Joker, but still 2.5 Kevins so can only rate as a Decent Day, I think. (Well done on the PB, Kevin.)

    I have never come across the phrase as “easy on the eyes”, only as “easy on the eye”. Got stuck on REAM because although I had parsed it correctly I was taking out the M for a thousand not the K! So I ended up with REKA which didn’t make sense. Got there in the end. No problems with “butcher” for “mangle”, seems fine to me.

    Great fun puzzle and blog, thanks Joker and curarist.


    1. You beat me to it on that one. Chambers concurs. Can anyone give a valid source for the plural usage please ?
  10. 19 minutes for me so just within target. I thought at the beginning I might be in for a fast time but I got a bit caught up in the SE corner which held me up considerably for no apparent reason. Some entertaining clues today.
  11. Off the wavelength for this one, but I was on the outside of a cheeky bottle of red when I attempted it. Over 12 minutes to get all bar DONKEY and then another 7 minutes staring at it before I gave up and used a word finder. DONKEY for IDIOT, just didn’t trigger my synapses. 19:42 WIC. Thanks Joker and Curarist.
  12. ….while compiling this ? SAD and MISERABLE in the Eastern corners ? I recommend playing TRILOGY by Emerson, Lake & Palmer to blow those blues away !

    Apart from my earlier post concerning the plural usage at 4D I found this a good challenge.

    TIME 4:02

  13. A gentle finish to the week, which I completed in 7:31. I biffed 4d, so needed the blog to parse it. Thanks to Curarist and Joker.


  14. 14m with some of the same problems that others have reported. SET for SAD, alphabet trawl for mANGLE, is a thousand M or K, I saw merry-go-round initially as the definition and put in CAROUSEL rather than the reveller in this reversible clue, and CH or CR for chromium. All the above added to my time, but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.
  15. 23 minutes so just over target for an excellent puzzle with the usual smooth surfaces from Joker. I was held up by my LOI SEA LION which I thought of first time through but couldnt parse as I could only think of the photograpic meaning of CLOSE UP. In the end I biffed it and relied on the ever-helpful blog to cure my word blindness
    1. My lazy and inadequate google research (ie looking at the first few hits on page 1) showed “easy on the eyes” as being US usage only (Merriam-Webster and Collins). Which may explain why Phil and I had never heard of it.
  16. I was absolute pants today. I was stymied in the SE with very few checkers to work with. WRITHE, REPORTER, CAROUSER and LOI SPURT resulted in a solve lasting 29 mins. Thanks to the Joker for the workout and curarist for the blog.

    Edited at 2019-03-08 02:01 pm (UTC)

  17. If you’ve mangled something you could be said to have butchered it. I thought that was fair enough common parlance.
  18. Two sessions for me, with SAD and DONKEY holding me up. Thought CREDIT = ‘prestige’ a bit of a stretch. Quite happy with mangle = butcher, although not the most obvious synonym perhaps. Bit of a challenge and good fun.
    COD CAROUSER – enjoyed ‘changing side’
  19. I got held up on Donkey which probably makes me one. A frustrating solve making for a way over pb of 93 seconds.
  20. Just under our target of 30m so happy with that. Took time to unravel 21a, thinking of trinity as well as trilogy, but got it right in the end. Otherwise a steady solve. Thanks to Joker and blog.
  21. A butcher who mangled a carcase would soon be out of a job. The essence of the skill is cutting neatly and economically.
    1. But you have to consider figurative usage as well as possible literals.

      Collins has:

      4. a person who destroys, ruins, or bungles something
      7. to make a mess of; botch; ruin

      1. to mutilate, disfigure, or destroy by cutting, crushing, or tearing
      2. to ruin, spoil, or mar

      Edited at 2019-03-08 05:40 pm (UTC)

      1. You just reminded me of a nice example from a paper on sentence stress in English:
        A: Where did you get that haircut?
        B: Don’t talk to me about it; I’d like to kill the butcher.
        Putting the stress on ‘butcher’ renders the dialog nonsense; putting the stress on ‘kill’ makes it natural, and ‘butcher’ of course refers to the barber.
  22. Around 25 mins with most time on sad and donkey.
    Key for guide is a bit of a stretch.

    Angle was unparsed.

    Cod sad.

    1. A Woodruff key is a D shaped piece of metal which fits into a slot in a shaft for the purpose of guiding and retaining a pulley/cog in the correct orientation on the shaft.
  23. I’m another who (slightly unconfidently) put in SET at 6a and then got very stuck on LOI DONKEY. Also got a bit muddled by trying to take an M out of REAM. Other than that a relatively straightforward solve, although the bottom half went in first. Completed in 12.01
    Thanks for the blog
  24. A successful one for me by my rookie standards, only stumped by four today. Gradually finding my way a week into my introduction to the world of cryptics. Looking forward to continuing to develop my understanding. James
  25. That’s good progress! It was months before I could get that close to completing a QC.
    Slogged over the line eventually today; thanks to setter and blogger.
    Tim (not that Tim).
  26. For those that enjoyed the Nina with the chemical elements you might like to know that the QC was upstage by the New Scientist crossword where the answers were composed in their entirety of chemical symbols, using 2letters in one square where necssary

    Edited at 2019-03-08 09:49 pm (UTC)

  27. Came to this very late in the day, and I hope that was the reason why I staggered across the line north of 30mins. Set/sad and Donkey were responsible for a chunk of those, but no excuses realy. Invariant
    1. I came to it very late too and like you it took me just over 30 minute. I am happy to make exhaustion my excuse! It was my slowest of the week by far. I refused SET because I was convinced it was wrong, but my L2I in were still SAD and DONKEY.COD 13A. MM

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