Quick Cryptic 2414 by Joker

A below-target 5.45 for me, which suggests it’s on the easy side. A few chestnuts in there alongside some nice surfaces. COD has to be 9ac.

1 Account to employ for press charges (6)
4 Trouble experienced when returning garden plant (6)
DAHLIA – AIL HAD all backwards
8 Difficult keeping old squirrel away (5)
HOARD – HARD with O for old inside
9 Come again? What’s the vicar’s title? (7)
REVISIT – “Rev, is it?” Nice.
10 Going back, pinch small brooch (3)
PIN – NIP backwards
11 Miss nearly given one new class to lead up the garden path (9)
12 Wandering snail died in area surrounded by water (6)
ISLAND – anagram (‘wandering’) of SNAIL + D
13 Fungal disease coating southeastern variety of apple (6)
RUSSET – RUST is the fungal disease, with SE inside
16 What might ring old fortified site beside a river in Africa (9)
CAMPANILE – I guess CAMP is old fortified site, next to A NILE. Strictly speaking a campanile doesn’t ring, the bell inside it does. The inverse of the Big Ben/Elizabeth Tower thing.
18 Element always present with platinum (3)
TIN – hidden word: plaTINum
19 Thinking dear former partner has departed (7)
20 Outstanding round part of plane (5)
22 Fur of decapitated rats, perhaps eastern (6)
ERMINE – VERMIN minus the first letter + E
23 Summit ending for Noah and boat (6)
HEIGHT – H (end of NOAH) + EIGHT. In rowing an eight is a type of boat.
1 Residue from burning tree (3)
ASH – double definition
2 Perhaps stream TV station (7)
CHANNEL – double definition
3 Net inside moat shifts accumulated mud (13)
SEDIMENTATION – anagram (‘shifts’) of NET INSIDE MOAT
5 Daring raves mounted rolling with Ecstasy (13)
ADVENTURESOME – anagram (‘rolling’) of RAVES MOUNTED, plus E for ecstasy.
6 Cowcatcher as thus placed under front of locomotive (5)
LASSO – AS SO under L
7 Robot car running round to man (9)
AUTOMATON – AUTO (car) + anagram (‘running round’) of TO MAN
9 Wine increased in value (4)
ROSE – double definition. Though the wine should have an accent so it isn’t really.
10 Governing rule college head’s spoken of (9)
PRINCIPLE – sounds like ‘principal’
14 Going down hard, object’s losing height (7)
SETTING – SET (hard, as in concrete that is no longer liquid) + THING minus H for height
15 Line in dossier (4)
FILE – double definition
17 Note small car on motorway (5)
MINIM – MINI + M. A minim is worth two crotchets or half a semibreve
21 Feed to excess ignoring large stomach (3)
GUT – GLUT minus L

78 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2414 by Joker”

  1. 10 minutes with minor hold-ups over three answers. GUT because I’m not sure I have met ‘glut’ as a verb before. HEIGHT because although I associate ‘eight’ with a rowing crew, I don’t think I knew it as a boat. PIN because surely it couldn’t be the answer whilst the word ‘pinch’ is in the clue could it, even in a Quick Cryptic? Double-takes use up time.

    1. I was similarly held up on 3d as I know no verb associated with sediment. Collins doesn’t give one either but does acknowledge sedimentable and SEDIMENTATION.

  2. 11mins but with a pink for ‘sitting’ not SETTING. I wavered between the two recognising possibly hard = set but unable to reconcile ‘setting’ with ‘going down’ better than ‘sitting’ with ‘going down hard’ – neither satisfactory but with hindsight I was settling (now there was a thought – but it didn’t fit) on the wrong one.

    PENSIVE the only other that had me thinking. (BoomBoom)

    Enjoyed REVISIT, very clever. Does ‘come again’ work both ways there? VERY VERY clever.

    Thanks Joker and Excurarist

  3. This took me longer than it should have, and I can’t remember why. I don’t think I ever parsed AUTOMATON. 7:28.

  4. 7:44, very much on the easy side, in fact I had to double check that it wasn’t the Concise puzzle.

    Liked REVISIT.

  5. I’m out of step here, finding it hard. Coming in over 20 for a second day in a row. Started well with ACCUSE going straight in at 1a but it took a lot of checkers to get ADVENTURESOME, a stroke of luck to bring DAHLIA to mind and then see it parsed, NHO CAMPANILE, took a while to see ‘to man’ had to be anagramed at the end of AUTOMATON and not just appear in the middle and thought TIN was going to need to use PT. Glad to get over the line to end a tricky crosswording week for me.

  6. I too put SITTING instead of SETTING so once again got a pink square. A nice puzzle though coming in at around 20 minutes, so not bad for me.
    As a regular visitor to Lucca in Tuscany, a town full of bell towers, I especially liked CAMPANILE. I liked MISINFORM too. ADVENTURESOME – a strange word – took a little while, as did HEIGHT, my last one in.
    So, not a great week for me on the QC front with a few near misses and no totally greens. I put it down to a combination this ‘Phew, what a scorcher!’ weather and my fretting about my parched allotment. (On the other hand my new solar panels are really rocking, so every cloud….!)
    Enjoy your weekend y’all. 🌞

  7. You know you’re in trouble when you open the blog and find the blogger got a breezy 5.45 and those filing in his wake were 5+ faster than your 12.46 which you initially thought was ok. Well done Excuriast et al, I agree this wasn’t particularly difficult but on the other hand I didn’t think it was THAT easy. It took a while for me to get going at the top, should have got ACCUSE immediately but didn’t, and the two long downward anagrams needed quite a few crossers before revealing themselves. REVISIT was a very neat and clever little clue.

  8. It wasn’t a sitter for me, and I missed my target. I agree with Curarist that the clue for CAMPANILE isn’t technically correct, although that wasn’t a problem in solving it. I was slowed down three or four times, mostly by “eight = boat” rather than the crew thereof, and by my COD – a delightful PDM. I crossed my fingers with my LOI.

    TIME 5:16

    1. I’m not sure that I’d agree with Curarists’s point about CAMPANILE since a campanile is by definition a bell tower and as such, bells are an intrinsic part of its design and construction. If we don’t allow that it can ring then we shouldn’t allow that a telephone can ring either.

  9. Mainly straightforward but then got very breezeblocked at the end.
    Initially put PRECEDENT in at at 10d thinking that with the right accent it might work as a dodgy homophone. Quickly realised it didn’t work and then had a brain freeze over what should have been a simple clue. PENSIVE also had me running up some blind alleys and the less said about my attempts to get LOI SETTING the better (eventually needed an alpha trawl and never did parse it).
    Finished over target in 10.31
    Thanks to Excurarist.

    1. Precedent / President is a good answer. Homophone works for me, and many colleges have a President in charge (eg President of the Royal College of Surgeons), and Precedent for Governing rule is also a fine definition.

      1. Surely they’re not even dodgy homophones, because the C in Precedent is always pronounced like an S, and the S in President is always pronounced like a Z. Certainly whenever I’ve heard either word said…

  10. 10 minutes for me, helped by getting the two long anagrams relatively early, and thus completing a strange week where Monday’s and Friday’s puzzles fair flew in and the middle of the week was decidedly more challenging. No real hold-ups, though with just the last letter T in as a checker I did wonder if the summit ending for Noah could even be Ararat. Decided against as that would hardly be cryptic at all, and soon found height despite sharing the minor concern that the “eight” is the crew (who are in fact 9 of course) not the boat itself.

    Many thanks Excurarist, and a good weekend to all

    1. As someone connected to the world of rowing (via my daughter), I can definitely confirm that an “eight” can refer to the boat itself, as well as to the crew. For example, a boat club might buy a new eight.

  11. 16:11 – struggled in the SE. Wanted to bif GUT but as couldn’t parse it didn’t and had to wait for OWING then SETTING and HEIGHT (LOI) to finish off. Also a little stuck with CAMPANILE (vaguely heard of), PENSIVE, FILE and the ending of ADVENTURESOME.

    That completes an excellent week (15:16, 14:59, 21:37, 13:44, 16:11) for a 1hr22 total – smashing 30mins off previous best. Just one fault highlighted by the examiner with Hurley’s Wednesday but she said I’d done enough to pass 🎉

    Edit: forgot to say – have a good weekend everybody 👍

      1. Thanks Mr Random 👍 While I know you’ve had some struggles recently, I believe you’re achieving SCC escapes more frequently than you were. I seem to recall it was a 1-every-6 weeks average back in Feb which you’re easily beating now.

      1. Thank-you! I knew it was going to cause issues to change identity …

    1. Love the new name, although the week you have had suggests that you are now a highly skilled driver (perhaps you might have used the name of the anonymous racing driver that was on Top Gear – Stig or something like that).

      You have definitely made the breakthrough that all SCC members crave. In golfing terms, you’ve dropped down to a single figure handicap very quickly in the last week or two. Times like that show that you are now on the wavelength with a variety of setters. Keep it up!


      1. Not quite sure whether the step up is improved solving or change of technique. I have started going round the grid organically feeding off one answer to the next rather than doing a first pass of them all. Think that’s knocked off some time. Checkers are so valuable. Good solvers don’t realise how much not having them causes newbies to struggle.

        Thanks for your support GA 👍

        1. I might try that approach and see how I get on. I tend to panic if the first pass yields less answers than I usually get.

      2. Congratulations to exLP, now ND, but I am very much of the SCC and crave nothing more than to enjoy the journey, not to race the clock. Each to their own of course, but speed isn’t everyone’s motivation.

        1. Thanks Plymouthian. I agree with your “each to their own” sentiments.

          I do other crosswords without recording the details. Some I time, others I don’t.

          It’s only this site combined with the “Quick” title and a timer led me to turn this into a competitive (with myself) thing. And that has been useful as I might never have continued on through the early months when I was staring blankly for 2-3 hrs per winter’s day.

          Deep down, I am more interested in the process of how we improve and what is going on than times will ever provide. Just trying to be the best solver I can be.

  12. Hurrah, another solve on target. A bit stickier than yesterday, but a good puzzle.

    Bottom left was where I had to think a bit, with PRINCIPLE last in after finally getting how PENSIVE worked. CAMPANILE word of the day, and was a neat clue as well. I liked ERMINE too.


  13. I find myself agreeing with most comments that this was on the easier side. However, as a tyro a few weeks in, I’m still building up my general knowledge (eg NHO EIGHT as a boat), and my understanding of cryptic references, though nascent, is growing. Still firmly in the SCC, but I have sneaked a few chairs closer to the door.
    A quick question: Are there any rules (written or unwritten) around the use of aids such as anagram solvers, thesauruses (thesauri?), etc? Are these things anathema to the crossword solver? I am just asking for a friend…

    1. If it helps you solve, it helps you solve! It’s your puzzle and enjoyment.

      One of the solvers here , allows (or used to) themselves 3 “lives” where they could use an aid.

      1. Many thanks for the reply. That makes a lot of sense to me, er, to my friend, I mean.

    2. I agree with hopkin – puzzles are for pleasure, so if getting a bit of help from an aid means you’ll get more pleasure, do it!

      For example, I’ve become reasonably brisk at these QCs but I’m really not very good at the 15×15 – I just don’t seem to be able to make the step up. So I do those puzzles not through the Club site, but just on the ordinary Times app where you can “check” a word once you’ve put it in and see if it’s right (or even “reveal” the answer if you’re completely stuck!). It’s like riding a bike with stabilisers and I enjoy it more that way.

      [On edit – my only “rule” is that you mustn’t claim to have finished a puzzle unaided if you used an aid. That’s not cricket. I just don’t understand the “neutrinos” on the Club leaderboard.]

      1. Thank you for the reply – you have eased my friend’s mind.
        I can’t make any headway on the 15×15. When I read the blog on it, I’m sometimes left scratching my head as to how anyone could connect the clue with the answer, without the explanation. Hey-ho. I’ll just enjoy the QCC and hopefully get better at it.
        Agree re the Neutrinos – seems pointless to me other than someone seeking bragging rights about their digital dexterity.

    3. Welcome, Snail!
      Yes, my friend used to consult (and still sometimes does) the Chambers Crossword Dictionary, hardback. And even one of the experts said they occasionally use an anagram solver on line.

      1. The guardian puzzle has a helpful shuffle feature which I use when solving there. You enter the anagrist, and press shuffle as much as you like. No different to writing it out in lots of different ways, just quicker.

    4. I say set your own rules / standard – this ain’t the World Championships. Just be honest about what you do, if you’re reporting them on here. Everybody’s times are taken on trust and there isn’t anything to be gained by bigging yourself up. But, as you likely know, you don’t have to state your time.

      Welcome 🐌 and happy solving … or in my case, the occasionally grumpy outburst! 🤣

    5. Hi Snail,

      I used a list of common abbreviations when I started as this is a good way to learn. I eventually got to the point where I found I could do without them. You’ll know when that time comes. It’s now an article of faith for me that I do the QC unaided, but it’s very much a matter of personal choice. As others have said, do whatever gives you most enjoyment/satisfaction.

  14. A mostly straightforward solve with the exception of the interconnecting AUTOMATON, TIN, and SETTING. TIN came first and then I could parse AUTOMATON. I got SETTING from the idea of the sun going down. My LOI was DAHLIA and COD to REVISIT. 8:02

  15. Seeing Merlin’s comment on the concise above – I went and had a go – I’ve been doing a few recently to improve my synonym spotting, and I think that’s the closest I’ll ever get to Verlaine at only 32 seconds slower.

  16. Much to enjoy in a puzzle most of which went in as fast as I could write, but a few were more challenging. FOI ACCUSE! LOI HEIGHT, with the dodgy boat sesigned for NINE people, of whom only one sits in the direction of travel. COD must be REVISIT’ but I had a good snigger at the surface of ISLAND! Thanks Joker and Excurarist.

  17. I am out of step on this fine Friday morning. I was surprised to see how simple most people found it. I thought so at first when I completed the whole of the LH half (apart from 22a) in double-quick time. However, I was slowed by some chewier clues in the other half. I managed them all and returned to 22a. It took a while to realise that I had entered principal for 10d in my unseemly haste.
    What a nana. Once the penny dropped, I saw ERMINE and kicked myself for rushing and allowing carelessness to drag me close to the SCC.
    Thanks to Joker for a good puzzle with some clever clues. COD for me was REVISIT. I think that some later posters may well express some surprise at how ‘easy’ some of the early brethren found it.
    John M.

  18. 8.42

    Liked REVISIT a lot and generally a solid MoR puzzle for me

    Thanks all

  19. LHS seemed easy, easier than the right, but I should have tackled 5d earlier, been more ADVENTURESOME.
    FOI ASH and that corner, LOI DAHLIA, latter unparsed.
    Liked CAMPANILE, LASSO, OWING, RUSSET, REVISIT (COD). Groaned when I finally saw ROSE.
    I expect I have told you before I once saw a live ERMINE outside my window in a ski resort. Brother stoats in the garden less beautiful.
    Thanks vm, Excurarist.

  20. I liked that and was amazed to find it’s a Joker, who’s given me a really hard time lately. Would have been really fast but hesitated between AUTOMATON and “automatic”; missed TIN first time (thought PT for platinum was going to be involved); needed all the checkers for both ERMINE and DAHLIA; and tried really hard to make SETTING into “sinking”.

    Clocked in at 07:02 – which is a sub-K for two days in a row for the first time ever, so I’m calling this a Champagne Day.

    Jolly Friday fun and many thanks to Joker and TAFKAcurarist.


  21. Not too difficult (by Joker’s standards), but I still drifted a minute or two into the SCC thanks to loi Dahlia, which I only got once I gave up looking for a six letter trouble to reverse. Campanile was only vaguely remembered, but it certainly helped in the SW. As for 7d, I parsed this at the time as Auto (car) with Man running round To – Ma to n. I still think it’s a plausible solution. Like others, CoD to 9ac, Revisit. Invariant

    1. That was how I parsed it too (but I must admit that curarist’s version is neater).

  22. DNF for me, couldn’t get DAHLIA, MISINFORM, CAMPANILE, HEIGHT or SETTING. Will attribute it to too much ale at the local beer fesitval last night!

    Have a good weekend all


  23. DNF…

    16 mins, but then found my answer for 14dn “Sitting” was incorrect. Have to admit, I wasn’t particularly happy with my parsing, and now I see why.

    Other than that, an enjoyable puzzle which was definitely on the easier side.

    FOI – 1ac “Accuse”
    LOI – 19ac “Pensive”
    COD – 19ac “Pensive”

    Thanks as usual!

  24. I got on well with this one finishing in 7.54. The only thing that held me up to any degree was trying to sort out the lengthy anagrams. Three solves under target this week with a total solve time of 49.02, giving a daily average of 9.48, just inside target. This makes up for a really poor week last week, where I seemed to lose the plot altogether

  25. 5:41

    No big issues here. Both long anagrams at 3d and 5d came quickly with just a few checkers in place, but themselves giving plenty of fodder for other clues. Needed both checkers to be sure that LOI TIN was what was required at 18a, having filled in SETTING moments before.

    Thanks Joker and Excurarist

  26. A bit over 11 minutes. Worth doing for REV IS IT alone and some other good ones including CAMPANILE made for an enjoyable end to the week.

    Thanks to Joker and Excurarist

  27. Started with ACCUSE, finished with REVISIT. No dramas. 7:19. Thanks Joker and Excurarist.

  28. Given the setter, I was very pleased with my time of 26 minutes today. I particularly like DAHLIA, although it took a while to get, and I awarded a smiley face to REVISIT. I didn’t properly parse AUTOMATON or EIGHT until after I had finished, and I DNK the word CAMPANILE (although I did know campanology/campanologist). SETTING and TIN also gave me some problems.

    Mrs Random took a few moments off from her gardening to knock this one out in 19 minutes, and then followed up by dashing off yesterday’s Mara in just 12 minutes. Her efforts mean that, despite having completed yesterday’s and today’s QCs in only 41 minutes (very fast for me), I failed to secure the family point on either day.

    Many thanks to Joker and Excurarist.

    1. How unsporting of Mrs R to deprive you of the laurels on both days 🤣🤣

  29. Enjoyed this one. As others have noted, the left hand side went in faster than the right. No problems with CAMPANILE (dredged up from somewhere in the recesses) or with eight being a boat – my father used to row and I was brought up in boat houses.
    9AC was very good, but for me, just outdone by 8AC and the elderly squirrel!
    Thanks to Joker and Excurarist.

    1. I wondered why your user name is in blue. It makes it clickable, but the link only goes to the TfTT front page. Very odd!

  30. How the blogger can even begin to suggest this QC was easy I’ll never know. 🧐 I found it to be the most difficult of the week.

    I answered perhaps 2/3 of the clues. I feel that this QC was too difficult to be classed as a QC.

  31. 10.03 with a pink square. I typed COMPONILE, which is plainly wrong and made SEDIMENTOTION, which is even more obvious. More than two minutes at the end were spent trying to decide between SETTING and SITTING. I chose correctly from the cryptic but it wasn’t until I’d finished that I twigged that it was referring to the sun. It was an enjoyable end to the week though.

      1. Chabudno, if you are a registered TfTT user you should be able to correct typos or edit generally for up to 24 hours after posting.

        1. I normally browse with JavaScript disabled so I’d never seen an edit link. Thanks for the heads up.

  32. Finished all correct in 25 mins. Not too bad by my standards. Was hoping to do better when I had the LHS all finished in 10.
    Liked the ROSÉ, and the clue was pretty good as well.

  33. 12:15. Really liked REVISIT, but also VERMIN and LASSO (for its “cowcatcher”definition).

      1. Hmm, this is very similar to the arcane comparison metric L-P and I employed. Wait, now I get it- from learner to full-fledged road warrior!

  34. Anyone remember the ITV regional channel called Channel, beamed to the Channel Islands? Faux cryptic?
    Solved on the phone today in target 25 so surprised to see it was a Joker in the blog.
    Cheers. J

  35. We made hard work of this one. Putting Al at the end of 10d did not help with the SE corner. We got there in the end, so pleased with that.

  36. Solved steadily, but with some pauses for thought. COD REVISIT, LOI HEIGHT & FILE.

  37. Aaargh!!

    Finished what I thought was an extremely hard QC (I can understand PW’s comments) in 19 mins. Delighted to have escaped the SCC and achieved my weekly target with such a difficult puzzle.

    But then I came on here. Totally deflated to see how easy most people found it. It’s very dispiriting to think you’ve had a great day and then find it was nothing special and rather mediocre.

    Massive hat tip to New Driver on his truly awesome week.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

    Thanks for the very informative blog.

    1. My 16mins isn’t that far ahead of you GA. I didn’t think it was *that* easy especially in the areas I outlined above. I felt quite pleased with myself to figure out HOARD, ERMINE and DAHLIA on the first pass among others.

      And doesn’t 19mins scrape you in under the mythical 2hr barrier? Doesn’t matter how we get there (i.e. no Izetti for 3 weeks) – if you achieve your goal, it’s worth celebrating.

      Reinflate yourself and hope you have a good weekend of walking planned 👍

      1. Thanks New Driver. Reinflation underway!! Yes, I did get under 2 hours (by a single minute).

        Well done on getting ERMINE on the first pass. I needed the checkers for that one.

        Walking in the Yorkshire Dales on Sunday, although storms are forecast.

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