Quick Cryptic 2204 by Joker

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic

An odd one this. Two snakes, three birds and a dog. Largely straightforward with a few of chewy ones at the end, one of which I still haven’t parsed satisfactorily. I shall look forward to the TftT hive mind providing the penny-drop moment in the comments. 8 minutes for me.

1 Joke about girl being straitlaced (7)
5 Chess player losing learner’s support (4)
BACK – BLACK minus the L for learner
7 Snake initially makes a move, biting anything (5)
MAMBA – initial letters of Makes A Move Biting Anything
8 Shame a Christmas stealer is promoting church? (7)
CHAGRIN – A GRINCH with the CH for church ‘promoted’, i.e. brought to the front
10 Spirit’s good, burning like a fire (3)
GIN – G for good, plus IN. Huh? Does ‘in’ mean ‘burning like a fire’? What am I missing?
11 Regularly encountering waves restyled as a fringe (9)
SEAFARING – anagram (‘restyled’) of AS A FRINGE
13 Street is a place for activity (6)
14 One playing instrument made from old French wood — tango? (6)
OBOIST – O + BOIS (‘wood’ in French) + T
17 Chaps taking time following a labyrinth in confusion (9)
19 Serious error getting second home (3)
SIN – S + IN
20 Annoyed with daughter after Henry’s middle age (7)
ENRAGED – ENR (middle of hENRy) + AGE + D
22 What’s sung with love for each note (5)
23 Small pale bird (4)
24 Rest live around university (7)
RESIDUE – RESIDE around U for university
1 Fruit with many seeds oddly taken to mean grape (11)
POMEGRANATE – anagram (‘oddly taken’) of TO MEAN GRAPE
2 Mysterious quality of classical Italian church (7)
3 Change trains, missing one and not getting to express? (9)
4 Delicious drink, new crate sent round (6)
NECTAR – N + anagram (‘sent round’) of CRATE
5 Snake regularly hiding in baobab (3)
BOA – alternate letters of BAOBAB
6 Dog is company — right good one (5)
CORGI – CO + R + G + I
9 Songbird, black, in wind (11)
12 Big sea birdthere’s three fewer than expected on the green (9)
ALBATROSS – double definition, the second a golfing term for three under par.
15 An edit’s rewritten as an alternative (7)
INSTEAD – anagram (‘rewritten’) of AN EDITS
16 Affectionate proposal (6)
TENDER – double definition
18 Burial mound yielding up British weapon (5)
ARROW – BARROW is a burial mound, minus B for British
21 What may apply grease and a lot of gooey stuff (3)
GUN – GUN{k}, I imagine.

69 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2204 by Joker”

  1. A relatively steady plod taking me all over the grid for 11’1” all parsed bar GRINCH – thanks Curarist and Joker.

  2. A little more challenging but not excessively so.
    Struggled to parse GIN. Was it something to do with removing (Fire) from Burn and then anagram ING? I wondered about Gin as in Rummy but couldn’t make that work either.
    DNK Barrow was a burial mound.
    CsOD ALBATROSS & CHAGRIN. 24:02 for a faster than expected burst to be first in to grab my usual corner chair.
    Have a good weekend. Thanks Joker and Curarist.

  3. 26 minutes and several BIFD sorting the WP post solve other than CHAGRIN and GIN left to their definitions.
    Struggled with having TRANSLATE for 3dn until AVENUE arrived then changed to TRANSMUTE.

  4. A fire being ‘in’ when alight seems familiar, certainly it wouldn’t be burning if it were out?

  5. I found this slow going, taking 15 minutes in all, though having finished it I’m not quite sure what took the time as many of the clues were on reflection relatively straightforward. Not all though, and I needed Curarist’s blog to explain Chagrin, and like him have no idea how Gin is constructed. I also thought Gun a poor clue – my reading was that it was Gun{ge} not Gun{k} but either way, not exactly a contender for COD.

    LOI was Oboist; the range of French vocabulary we need for these QCs seems to be expanding! As well as Collins I might soon need a Larousse …

    Many thanks to Curarist for the blog and a good weekend to all.

    1. Agreed that BOIS does seem like a very specific piece of French vocabulary – I only knew it because there’s a town nearby called Chesham Bois (pronounced boys).

      1. I bought my first house in Chesham Bois* in 1978 (it was virtually a wreck).
        * back then it was called Chesham Saplings.

        1. Theydon Bois has a rather quirky golf club, where I used to take a Society to play now and again.

  6. A puzzle of two halves for me with the SE half being relatively straightforward but I had a shocker in the NW. It felt like getting blood out of a stone until I finally got PURITAN which opened things up. I then got completely stumped by LOI AVENUE because I’d stuck t transLATE into 3d (I’d gone down the route of being late for an express train 🤦‍♂️).
    No idea what was going on with GIN but other than that everything was fair, so well done to Joker for outplaying me.
    Crossed the line in 15.30
    Thanks to Curarist

  7. Had no problem with GIN (hic) as IN is an expression my family use.
    It is the 2oth definition of IN in Collins:
    20. British
    (of a fire) alight

      1. If the QC is intended to prepare newbies for the 15×15 then a fire being ‘in’ meaning alight or burning is something to be remembered. Similarly ‘to’ with reference to doors, and one can spend hours here comparing notes with others as to whether it means closed or ajar.

        1. Christmas Cracker: When is a door not a door?
          When it’s ajar! I’ll fetch me coat!

  8. Not my finest 25mins, but then I have found Joker a bit of a struggle lately. Most of this went in without too much trouble, but Seafaring, Romance and especially loi Transmute all took ages. Wrong end of the clue issues with Transmute and Seafaring, and mysterious quality seems an odd way to describe Romance. The only way I could parse Gin was on the basis that ‘in’ was the opposite of the fire’s ‘out’. . . ? Invariant

  9. A funny one. Slow start, rapid acceleration, slow finish. I finished with NIGHTINGALE (obvious when checkers emerged), SEAFARING, and my LOI TRANSMUTE. Some very contrived clues (see blog posts above) and add CHAGRIN. I, too, needed the blog to parse the latter (the grinch was never on my reading list). No problem with GIN. GUN came to mind at once but I only entered it when I managed to think of ‘gunk’.
    There were some very cute ones, though – I liked OBOIST and RESIDUE. I finished teetering on the edge of the SCC with a sigh.
    Not one of Joker’s best IMO but thanks anyway. Thanks to Curarist for a helpful blog. John M.

  10. Not many clues on first pass, but the right hand side down clues gave me a purchase, and then it all came together.
    I got GUN from definition, but didn’t twig about GUNK, so thanks for the blog.

  11. Plodded through. Pleased to finish. Couldn’t parse GIN, but now concede one talks about keeping a fire IN, but more normally Going. l do speak French luckily – maybe setter thought most people would know the Bois de Boulogne (“with an independent air” – The Man who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo, circa 1930 which would be a suitable era for crossword vocab)
    Liked SEAFARING, once I had worked it out, ditto RESIDUE, AMAZEMENT.
    POMEGRANATE and PURITAN went in straight away but didn’t lead to immediate solves on LHS. Did not think of Grinch, but like the word CHAGRIN.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.

  12. I got it done in 37-1/2mins but I didn’t enjoy it at all. The last few answers I simply biffed in without caring enough to parse. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.

    Struggled to get going. Smacking my forehead at how I put ABB for snake on the regular BAOBAB. It took me until ALBATROSS to get my first correct answer which as an ex-golfer was a gimmie. Then AMAZEMENT went in which was disbelief for it meaning “confusion”. Likewise ROMANCE for a “mysterious quality”. Couldn’t see why the second half of GUN was so and, as others have said, GIN. Haven’t studied French since mid-1980s so BOIS=wood was unknown and I wanted to spell OBOeIST. Couldn’t rearrange INSTEAD, SEAFARING, NECTAR. Didn’t get NIGHTINGALE quickly even though seen it before like wise B-ARROW – think we’ve had the discussion before on whether an arrow is a weapon. POMEGRANATE held out until the end.

    The one thing I liked was TENDER.

    Thanks to Curarist for the blog. I’m not sure I can even bring myself to read through it which I really should if I’m to improve. Maybe this one evoked stronger reactions than indifference after all 🙂

      1. Indeed, it’s a familiar name, possibly out in the Purbecks.

        Just reread my comment where I implied I didn’t get it. Now edited as I did. Seem to recall a previous clue about “British missile” circa February. And my days of reading Lord of the Rings recalled the barrow wights.

  13. I needed an all-barriers busting 18 minutes for this, but I’ve no idea why apart from it being trickier than yer average QC. The GRIN{ch} thing was one source of delay. For some reason I’ve never associated AMAZEMENT with confusion but of course it’s logical, just not used that way much, at least in my experience.

  14. I liked TRANSMUTE and SEAFARING, still don’t really get GIN or GUN. Thanks to Joker and Curarist.

  15. 15 minutes exactly, but CHAGRIN unparsed – thanks for that. No problem with GIN – when I were a lad on fire-lighting duty on cold mornings, we used to say ‘has it caught?’ or ‘is it in?’, but that was a long time ago, pre-central-heating and with cold Lino floors. Transpose, translate, transport were some of the many options considered for 3d until AVENUE fixed the correct answer. Thanks Joker and Curarist.

  16. I typed in CHAGRIN which my 11yo son then parsed for me. We don’t get many of those ‘move letters along the word’ type clues in the QC, I’m always thrilled to see them

    I never would have thought ‘regularly encountering waves’ was the definition and ended up RIAH Seafaring and therefore DNF. I really should have kept at it when I had all the checkers!

    I really disliked GIN

    We had the barrow/arrow clue before which is the only reason I got it

    And pls tell me I don’t actually have to commit ‘bois’ to memory! (I guess it’s close enough to arbor maybe I might remember it) Why is it always French/Spanish/German words? Are they usually the languages one learns at school in England?

    Anyway, took a while to get going but I appreciated the different sorts of clues!

    1. Certainly when I was in school the usual languages on the curriculum were French and German.

  17. No papers here today so had to go online. The clock says 18:18;happily all correct.
    I struggled with OPERA and also ROMANCE because I had put GAS at 11a -“good, burning like a fire ” led me to the wrong answer.
    3/4 minutes of my time were spent unravelling that. I was aware that IN could describe a fire, but it wasn’t one of the first fifteen meanings I thought of.
    A slightly quirky puzzle for Joker. I did not parse everything whilst solving but I liked OBOIST.

  18. Many thanks for the blog – would never have parsed GIN without it – 19 mins which is about average here. No real trouble with GUN though as I thought ‘gooey stuff’ referred to glue, and hence (glue) GUN as the resolution of the second half of the clue.

  19. Definitely a cut above the rest of the week, missing my target for the first time.

    I liked CHAGRIN. ALBATROSS was parsed post submission and was also v neat. LOI was GIN, after ROMANCE and PURITAN. A mer at GIN, until someone pointed out above that if a fire is not “in”, then it’s “out”, which cleared it up for me (along with definition number 20!).


  20. Finished in around 25 but, as others, GIN and GUN were unparsed. Took ages with TRANSMUTE as I didn’t see ‘change’ as the definition at first… A right old slog today… liked CHAGRIN (when I’d worked it out that is!), otherwise a bit underwhelmed. Thanks for the blog – essential reading as always, and for all the comments.

  21. Found it v hard, not sure why.
    NHO Grinch. But it has a big lot in Wiktionary, so it is def now a word.
    Wanted to spell it POMEGRANITE (like the stone) so missed the anagram for a while.
    ALBATROSS was the only possible fitting word and I stupidly forgot all about golfing so couldn’t parse it. DOH!

  22. 9:10.
    I couldn’t parse CHAGRIN as I am too old to have read or seen The Grinch but the solution was obvious from the crossers.

    I didn’t have a problem with ‘in’ for the fire as, like The Rotter, we too used to light our coal fire with firelighters and my mother would constantly ask ‘is it in yet?’. What happy days of window panes frozen on the inside in winter and electric blankets to keep us warm in bed.

    Couldn’t parse GUN but put it in with fingers crossed as GIN had already gone at 10A and I assumed there were no such words as GAN or GON and GEN just didn’t fit.

    An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to Joker and The Curarist.

  23. Hello everyone. I am a long term lurker and appreciate the blogs and comments posted.
    Last week I updated the app on my iPad. Of the last 5 QCs I have received two “Unlucky” screens on completing the grid. When “Reveal:grid” is clicked 1 or 2 of the letters have been highlighted in red even though the spellings were correct. After overtyping the red squares I received “Congratulations”.
    Am I alone in this experience?
    I thought today’s offering was a typical Joker QC.
    Thanks to all and especially to the setter and blogger.

    1. Welcome! That error is really odd and I don’t recall anyone commenting on it before. Maybe someone else can help with an explanation.

  24. Oh, gunk! Stuck in GUN remembering many happy holiday job hours greasing nipples on heavy plant – when not buying concrete for the seven bridges between Mere and Wincanton on the A303. Didn’t understand GIN either. Never thought about a fire being in if it’s not out. A lucky all green in 17. Not for the first time didn’t see how ROMANCE worked.

  25. 7.51

    Nothing more to add. Didn’t parse CHAGRIN so thanks Curarist for that and Joker for the puzzle


  26. A tough test from The Joker and I was relatively pleased to finish in 11.15, although outside my target. I thought the parsing of 10ac with ‘in’ relating to a fire would puzzle quite a few, but those of us of a certain age who had coal fires in our parents houses, would undoubtedly have heard the expression used by our mums.

  27. A bit of a struggle today. Not many of the across clues on the first pass but I had better luck with the downs especially on the right hand side. The SW corner fell fairly soon after that, leaving the NW which turned out to be quite a trial. Several parsed after completion and never did manage to parse either CHAGRIN or GIN. NHO a fire being “in” to mean alight. Eventually finished in 21 minutes.

    FOI – 5ac BACK
    LOI – 11ac SEAFARING
    COD – 12dn ALBATROSS

    Thanks to Curarist for the blog and to Joker for a proper Friday tussle!

  28. Found it a real struggle and guessed 3 unparsed: GIN, CHAGRIN, GUN. Only saw TRANSMUTE once I’d got AVENUE. Found the NW section hard going.

  29. Managed to complete without aids, but I really think Joker was scraping the bottom of the barrel with his “IN” meaning burning like a fire. Sorry Joker, but I felt that to be a very poor clue. Likewise with Bois. How many people are going to know the French word for wood without looking it up? Again another poor clue from Joker. He needs to go have a word with himself. 🤣

    I didn’t see the anagram for 1d, but managed to guess the answer from the letters already in place.

    Took me a while but I completed it in the end.

  30. As above! 10:23 – I timed myself precisely today. Not my favourite Joker puzzle, I’m afraid. I got CHAGRIN, and saw grinch was there, but didn’t fully parse it. Nice word though. I also put a question mark next to 10a GIN- it does make sense now, so thanks to all youthful firelighters. I used to do that too, but never heard the phrase. We just said: Is it lit yet?
    FOI Boa LOI Tender
    Thanks Joker and Curarist

  31. Only two to get as I entered the SCC (astonishing progress for me with Joker), but I threw in the towel 20 minutes later. TRANSMUTE took several minutes to crack, but I had Gas for GIN at 10a. This left R_M_S_E at 2d and all of my subsequent efforts were of course fruitless. I’m still struggling to connect ‘Mysterious quality’ with ROMANCE.

    So, my QC week ended with a 40-minute DNF. Definitely one to forget.

    Many thanks anyway to Joker, and of course to Curarist.

    1. I had Gas to start with, but wasn’t happy with it, so when left with an unlikely R*m*s*e I knew where to look. Mysterious Quality, though, is a really weird definition. Commiserations.

      1. Second definition in Lexico:

        A quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.

  32. All went pleasingly fast until ran aground on SEAFARING (trying to make an anagram out of the wrong part of the clue) and ROMANCE (GAS in for GIN didn’t help, especially as I forgot my ? on the answer, biffed GIN). Got there in the end. FOI – MAMBA, LOI – ROMANCE (DNK it was a mysterious quality). Liked OBOIST, AMAZEMENT and ENRAGED. Somewhat puzzled by IN for burning like a fire, as were others, but now see the connection. One for the notes.
    Thanks, Joker and Curarist

  33. 17 mins…

    I didn’t mind this from Joker. DNK “in” for fire, but at least it was fairly easy. Still not sure about 21dn “Gun” though – might be being thick but can’t see what it has to do with grease.

    Only other hold up was debating whether 3dn could be “Transpose”.

    FOI – 5dn “Boa”
    LOI – 10ac “Gin”
    COD – 8ac “Chagrin”

    Thanks as usual!

  34. 19:24 Lost a lot of time on SEAFARING until I saw it was an anagram. I have trouble with compound words as I just seem to look at the letters and blanks and try to find a simple non- compound word to go in. I saw the Grinch and church moving okay but never thought of CHAGRIN as shame, rather just as sadness. I remember the “in” for a lit fire as it was discussed a few months ago. Similarly liked the wordplay for ENRAGED but thought the definition “annoyed” was stretching the point. Also AMAZEMENT for confusion seemed questionable but then I thought a maze is at the core of the word so probably that was the original connotation. All in all very thought- provoking-thanks to setter and blogger!

  35. Had two bites at this one. East side went in reasonably quickly, no troubles with CHAGRIN which I saw straight away. However I struggled to get a foothold on the west side, even with 1D answered, until I manage to twig 17A. Like others I had a MER at ROMANCE being a mysterious quality. GUN went in with a shrug from the first half of the clue and I needed the blog to make sense of the second part. I certainly needed the blog to understand my LOI, 10A GIN which I’d only got from having G-N and there being spirits in the clue. Not one of Joker’s better ones, I feel.

  36. 15.51. Hesitated on GIN but reckoned that if a fire goes out, the opposite of that must be that it’s “in”. (Though electric fires go on and off.) As always, I struggled with the anagrams and had to write them out rather than solve them in my head, which slowed me down a bit. Thanks to Joker and Curarist.

  37. Chagrin would be tough for the main crossword, Gin likewise. Quick? – the author is well named!.

  38. Plodded through this in about 40m. Saw gin at 10a and albatross at 12d straightaway but took an age to sort them out. Bois appeared eventually to us as wood in french, oboist being one of the last in. Felt quite tough from Joker. Our new avatar is our new lurcher pup, Seren. Her ears seem to be extended in the picture!

  39. I enjoyed this though it was tough enough for me to guess the setter as Wurm (you can’t see the setter solving on your phone). Never parsed GIN and if that’s what you need for the 15×15 no wonder I stick to the QC!

    COD CHAGRIN. 08:38

    Many thanks Joker and curarist


  40. Bois. In French as in English means both the substance eg timber and also a large group of trees (not sure where a wood ends and a forest starts). But I can’t think of any bois derivatives in English. German is different. J

    1. Well, after much reflection I thought I agreed with you that there were no bois derivatives in English but then – wait a minute!- what about oboe(from hautbois) discussed here above?

  41. Back to a post-supper solve, but at least I’ve caught up with my backlog… NHO Grinch so had to work it out some other way. As a non-golfer I didn’t ‘get’ the second part of the clue at 12d but couldn’t see any alternative to Albatross.
    FOI 7a Mamba
    LOI 3d Transmute
    COD – none worthy!

    Anyone able to help our new contributor with their iPad/on-line oddity?

  42. I knew I was in for a struggle when my first pass through the acrosses only gave me two answers. And sure enough, it didn’t get much easier. Finally limped across the line in 36 minutes or so, but needed help with the anagram for SEAFARING, which just would not come to mind. Echo all the other comments about not having heard of “in” to mean “alight”. Favorite clue AVENUE, simple and neat.

  43. Thank you so much for this site. First time commenter here (and relative cryptic newbie), comforted somewhat to see others struggle with GIN. I did get BOIS but I found it a bit much for a quick cryptic.

  44. I quite enjoyed this although didn’t parse gin. Stupidly held myself up by misspelling pomegranate with an ‘I’ for the second ‘a’. Knew the Grinch but took ages to see how the clue worked. Somewhere around 30 mins at a guess which, by my standards and taking into account the other comments, I am happy with.

    Thanks for the blog.

  45. 25 minutes for me. I didn’t understand gin or gun at the time of completion but do now so thanks all.

    FOI Amazement
    LOI Avenue
    COD Chagrin and nightingale

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