Quick Cryptic 510 by Joker

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I just scraped in under the wire with this one solved in 10 minutes, my target time which I have not achieved since last Monday. I think most of the clue construction is straightforward and there are no tricky or unfamiliar words or definitions, however past experience has proved I’m not always a good judge of that as far as others are concerned so I look forward to reading your contributions.

As usual deletions are in curly brackets and indicators in square ones. Definitions are in bold italics.


1 Limit on prison warder that could release something bottled up (5,3)
SCREW CAP – SCREW (prison warder – slang), CAP (limit)
6 Think what an entertainer could do topless (4)
MUSE – {a}MUSE (what an entertainer could do) [topless]
8 Slightly wet politician following leads of Disraeli and Asquith (4)
DAMP – D{israeli} + A{squith} [leads], MP (politician – Member of Parliament)
9 Left bringing in an informal form of teaching (8)
LEARNING – L (left), EARNING (bringing in – e.g. money). ‘Learn’ for ‘teach’ is non-standard usage – hence ‘informal’ – but it’s in all the usual sources and survives in dialect in expressions such as “that’ll larn yer”.
10 Time, perhaps, for a meaningful statement (8)
SENTENCE – Two meanings,  the first with reference to time served in prison.
11 Small sleep break (4)
SNAP – S (small), NAP(sleep)
13 Something strengthening I’d found in sympathy (13)
16 Take a bit of time restoring lake (4)
MERE – Hidden [take a bit of] in {ti}ME RE{storing}
17 Tower, military, which has two sides joined by rope (3,2,3)
TUG OF WAR – TUG (tower), OF WAR (military) – the definition is cryptic with reference to the sporting contest. We had fun with ‘tower’ meaning ‘something that tows’ only last week.
19 Falls about: sailor to do something (8)
CATARACT – CA (about – circa), TAR (sailor), ACT (do something)
21 Surprise attack like a mad dog with no heart (4)
RAID – RA{b}ID (like a mad dog – having rabies) [with no heart]
22 Object on bishop’s crook (4)
BEND – B (bishop), END (object)
23 A source of valuable metal mingled with oxygen, bizarrely (4,4)
GOLD MINE – Anagram [bizarrely] of MINGLED O (oxygen)


2 Supervise tea for each individual (9)
CHAPERONE – CHA (tea), PER (for each), ONE (individual)
3 Former partner very conveniently lives abroad (5)
EXPAT – EX (former partner), PAT (very conveniently). The definition doesn’t quite work grammatically and I think the clue would have been better as “Former partner very convenient for one who lives abroad”.
4 Column containing single officer (7)
COLONEL – COL (column) containing LONE (single)
5 Quietly delayed finding item of crockery (5)
PLATE – P (quiet – piano – music), LATE (delayed)
6 Objects to alien way of thought (7)
MINDSET – MINDS (objects to), ET (alien – Extra Terrestrial)
7 Serious error having son home (3)
SIN – S (son), IN (home)
12 Commercial speech leads to high praise (9)
ADORATION – AD (commercial – advertisement), ORATION (speech)
14 We sat about on road for event supervisor (7)
STEWARD – Anagram [about] of WE SAT, RD (road)
15 It’s not analogue, but appreciate it almost entirely (7)
DIGITAL – DIG (appreciate), IT, AL{l} (entirely) [almost]. This definition reminds me of the Blackadder episode in which Baldrick is attempting to rewrite Dr Johnson’s dictionary and defines ‘cat’ as ‘not a dog’.
17 When tops are plucked, tense wires are normally going (5)
TWANG – First letters [tops are plucked] of T{ense} W{ires} A{re} N{ormally} G{oing}. It’s very unusual these days to have a blank in a Times Crossword clue indicating a missing word that’s  the answer. It happened a lot in the past and more often than not the answer would be a word from a quotation or a title, but that’s not the case here. Also the missing word would be indicated by an underscore ( __ ) rather than an em dash ( — ) as printed in today’s puzzle, so I was confused for a moment before I realised what was going on. I’d say the definition is &lit, i.e. the whole clue leading up to the missing word.
18 Foreign Office leading odd discussion meeting (5)
FORUM – FO (Foreign Office), RUM (odd)
20 Excellent account by Bede, ultimately (3)
ACE – AC (account), {Bed}E [ultimately]

9 comments on “Quick Cryptic 510 by Joker”

  1. Although some of these were fairly transparent (SIN, FORUM, ADORATION,…), a number proved fairly recalcitrant until I got some checkers in. I didn’t register the ungrammaticality of EXPAT at the time, but I agree with Jack as to his proposed revision. I also didn’t notice the dash at 17d, and was a bit puzzled, but since I never remember what an &lit is, I thought Oh, well, it’s one of those. I’m generally slow on hidden clues, but MERE was especially long in coming. I wonder if anyone else put in ‘screw top’ at 1ac. 8:28.

    Edited at 2016-02-22 03:47 am (UTC)

  2. Yup, SCREW TOP for me too, which led to all sorts of difficulties with 4d, leading to my LOI as 10a.
    There’s actually a dashed clue in last week’s Jumbo (1192) which was in fact quite brilliant.
    A few seconds over my par time, so I rate this as a medium difficulty puzzle
  3. Yup, another SCREW TOP. And I skipped TWANG on the first pass because blanks always confuse me unless it’s a quotation in the TLS. 7.54
  4. I made a fast start on this only to be held up at the end for quite a while.
    I was very sure that Screw Top was right and so had the same problems as others. I was left with 10a and 4d. I just couldn’t see 10a so concentrated on an answer to 4d starting with T. Untroubled by Twang but took a long time to get 13a. And all done eventually. David
  5. Nothing too problematic today. Fortunately I got 4d before 1a so the cap/top issue didn’t come up for me. I saw the dash in 17d and couldn’t figure out what it meant so I ignored it as I could see the answer (ignorance is bliss as they say). 17a was made easier by the fact I was completely baffled by ‘tower’ recently and therefore the other meaning quickly came to mind today. LOI 22a. COD 1a
  6. 27 mins = medium

    4d was recalcitrant since I’d also fallen for SCREW TOP, and that cost me a few minutes.

  7. Agree completely with RobJessel. Not sure if I didn’t manage this in under an hour! Happily, went with 1a *****cap and then worked out the rest from that. For me, a good start to the week.
  8. This was a struggle for me – well over the hour mark. I’m just not on Joker’s wavelength these days. Screw top didn’t help matters either. Invariant

Comments are closed.