Quick Cryptic 501 by Joker

Distractions meant that I jumped in and out of this which can sometimes help but in this case caused incorrect entries at 9 and 20ac. Unraveling all this together with long anagrams gave me a good crossword work out. Given all this I’d judge it as hard but if you didn’t have my problems you may disagree – do let us know.


1. Twilight – early evening. TIGHT around (WIL)d.
5. Boas – snakes. Crow is BOASt with its tail missing.
8. Motet – anthem. Second (MO), note (TE), time (T). A motet is a polyphonic choral composition used as an anthem in the Roman Catholic Church (just in case you’d forgotten the finer details).
9. Ourself – how the queen might refer to her being (herself). Anagram (shaking) of SORE FLU. After having biffed ‘oneself’, correcting and now blogging I find this a great clue and award it COD.
11. Roller skate – runner. Waves (ROLLERS), KATE.
13. Dreary – showing dullness. Joker is asking us to put back (REAR) instead of the middle letter of DaY.
14. Module – independent unit. OD inside MULE.
16. Chambermaid – hotel worker. Anagram (about) of I AM CHARMED inside which is Bishop (B).
18. Trident – weapon. ID inside TRENT.
19. Inner – close to the centre of power. w(INNER).
20. Sink – ruin. Small (S), tattoo (INK). For no good reason I had ‘scar’ at first.
21. Reinvent – again to design. REIN, VENT.


1. Tame – not very adventurous. Thanks (TA), Joker referring to him/herself (ME).
2. Interrelation – correspondence. INTER, RELATION.
3. Intolerable – insufferable. Anagram (worked up) of NEO-LIBERAL around (T)ory.
4. Hoover – vacuum. House (HO), OVER.
6. Overabundance – too much of a good thing. Anagram (involved) of UNCOVERED A BAN.
7. Softener – treatment for washing. Son (S), OFTENER.
10. Restoration – type of comedy. Cease to work (REST), formal speech (ORATION).
12. Educates – teaches. Link together – European (E), gold coin (DUCAT), English (E), shillings (S).
15. Writer – squirm uncomfortably. WRIT, HE.
18. Trot – run. Temperature (T), ROT.

16 comments on “Quick Cryptic 501 by Joker”

  1. I’d agree this was at the harder end of the spectrum and I needed to jump around a lot in order to establish some sort of flow around the grid. 13 minutes.

    I imagine few contributors will be looking back at yesterday’s blog so I’m reproducing here a comment added this morning by the Times Crossword Editor himself:

    From the Editor

    On the occasion of QC 500 just a word of thanks from me for the sterling work of the bloggers here who complement these puzzles with explanations for beginners (and others).

    Hearing that people are now tackling the Jumbo as a result of starting off with the Quick is also gratifying.

    It was unfortunate that SECOND READING should appear again so soon, but the later puzzle was rather an immovable feast. And at least the phrase in context was rather appropriate 🙂


    Edited at 2016-02-09 09:49 am (UTC)

    1. Did this across a couple of meetings so no time, but found it ok. Was also caught by biffing 9a as oneself, in spite of noticing the anagram, so especially stupid. Consequently got held up on 10d until the penny dropped.

      Nice note from the editor. I am one of those who started crosswords with this blog and the quick cryptic and I now find I can usually finish or nearly finish the jumbo before resorting to aids. Have to say that the main puzzle is usually beyond me, unless it is deemed particularly easy by the regulars.

  2. Interested to see 2 comments about the difficulty here as I found it the easiest for a long time. Fell into place over a slice of toast and a cup of coffee. Maybe I just had a good day.
    Particularly enjoyed the construction of 13ac. Not come across that one before.
  3. This seemed easy after yesterday (and particularly after trying Saturday’s impossible Times crossword -I am looking forward to the blog on that).
    Anyway,back to today:I started at 1a for a change, got it straightaway and then continued in pretty much the same vein. Less than 15 minutes, which for me is probably a record although I never record times exactly.Looking back it was I think exactly what a QC should be, clear directions and reasonable vocabulary. I did not know Motet but it was very clear from the clue. David
  4. Hi – new joiner but been reading this blog for a while.

    I finished this one today, which isn’t always the case and I’m certainly not going to report times yet as I usually need to put it down for a while and come back to it.

    The blog is great for a beginner like me, explaining some of the more unusual aspects so thank you.

    On that subject, I’ve got a couple of questions from today:

    How does second lead to MO? (8ac)

    What does ‘entertaining’ add in the clue to 16ac?

    1. Welcome quizshark! Very happy to take such questions – it’s the heart of the blog.

      A second is a moment – shortened to mo – I’ll be back in a mo.

      Entertaining means that the other letters are playing host to the ‘b’ of bishop. So the ‘b’ is inside the anagram of the other letters.

      Keep ’em coming – there are NO silly questions.

      1. Thanks Chris

        Mo – of course, I was definitely over-thinking that!

        As for 16ac, I’d interpreted ‘about’ as the reason to have b inside the anagram, but now I can see that if that had been the case, there would be no anagram indicator.

        Thanks for the help.

  5. I, for one, thought this was very difficult. Took several goes during the day and I only persevered because it was Joker. Even so, the enjoyment begins to fade after the first hour or so. Quite a contrast to yesterday’s entertaining QC from Corelli. Invariant
  6. I also thought this was really difficult and had a DNF with 8a unsolved. I couldn’t get it even after running through all the combinations of vowels with checkers in place – sometimes you just don’t know the word. 1a was unparsed, but seems obvious now and I’ve not heard that definition of correspondence in 2d before or come across restoration comedy for that matter. Oh well I live and learn.
  7. Point of order on 15 dn – a writ is not a Court order. It is (or was, before it was replaced by the more prosaic “Claim Form”) merely the document by which a legal action is commenced. Issuing a writ (back when you could) didn’t mean that the Court was ordering anyone to do anything: it just got the ball rolling.

    Anyway, more importantly – how come I pretty much invariably knock off the QC in 10-15 mins and thoroughly enjoy it, but can’t do the Big Boy Crossword for love nor money?! They just seem light years apart and I’m beginning to feel really useless!

    1. I agree there is a big gap between the two. However the Monday 15×15 has been ‘slightly’ easier of late, (at least cf the rest of the week), and Olivia’s tip from 2 weeks ago that Rufus in Monday’s 15×15 Guardian is worth a go is good advice. Invariant
    2. It seems the dictionaries have got it all wrong then…


      SOED: A formal document; a legal instrument; spec. (Law) (a) a written command or order issued in the name of a sovereign, court, state, or other competent authority, directing a specified person or persons to act or refrain from acting in a specified way.

      COED: Form of written command in the name of a court or other legal authority to do or abstain from doing a specified act.

      Collins: (formerly) a document under seal issued in the name of the Crown or a court commanding the person it is addressed to do or abstain from doing a specified act.

      Oxford English Dictionary: 3b. Law. A written command, precept, or formal order issued by a court in the name of the sovereign, state, or other competent legal authority, directing or enjoining the person or persons to whom it is addressed to do or refrain from doing some act specified therein.

      Edited at 2016-02-09 11:15 pm (UTC)

  8. Been doing the qc three or four times a week since it launched, this blog has been brilliant help so thanks everyone! Thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s offering but got quite stuck today. 11ac and 6dn i didnt get til i came here. Easyyoke
  9. Found this quite tricky, but finished it in a couple of sessions for just under an hour total, and with a bit of going through the alphabet for WRITHES and BOAS (needing to go further for the former than the latter!). MOTET was in the back of my mind somewhere so I put it in, though I couldn’t parse it.

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