Quick Cryptic 642 by Joker

An elegant puzzle today from Joker, a delightful man I had the pleasure of meeting at the TfTT anniversary shindig last November. A couple of bits of GK required (nothing too taxing, I’d have thought) but – even if you did not know the name of Darwin’s ship the associated wordplay was generous and could lead you quite easily to the answer.

5d was the stand-out clue for me, but several other delightful surfaces and constructions. Many thanks to our setter.

Definitions underlined: DD = double definition: anagrams indicated by *(–)

1 Stiffener for fabric of structure to right of street (6)
STARCH – ARCH (structure) follows (to the right of – in an Across clue) ST (street)
4 Company returning mongrels is found to exist (6)
OCCURS – OC (CO – Company – reversed – returning) + CURS (mongrels)
8 Reliable writer I rubbish? I have (13)
AUTHORITATIVE – AUTHOR (writer) + I + TAT (rubbish) + I’VE (I have). Neat word sum.
10 Toxic gas round area (5)
OZONE – O (round) + ZONE (area)
11 Burn wooden case outside empty emporium (7)
CREMATE – CRATE (wooden case) goes round (outside) EM (empty EmporiuM)
12 Hate picture designed so as to have a healing effect (11)
THERAPEUTIC – *(HATE PICTURE) with “designed” as the anagrind
16 Ribbon development of street naught will interrupt (7)
ROSETTE – *(STREET) – with “development of” as the anagrind – and O also thrown into the mix (naught will interrupt)
17 Work very hard to put money aside when about fifty (5)
SLAVE – SAVE (put money aside) goes around (about) L (Roman 50)
18 Gold strong box has sailor planning behind the scenes (13)
ORCHESTRATING – OR (abbrev. gold) + CHEST (strong box) + RATING (sailor).
19 Therefore tops must be three-dimensional figures (6)
SOLIDS – SO (therefore) LIDS (tops)
20 Bad cut given by key (6)
SEVERE – SEVER (cut) + E (musical key)
1 Follow famous Irish playwright around party (6)
SHADOW – SHAW (famous Irish playwright) goes ‘around’ DO (party)
2 Say a rich plot’s needing development, like properties of the
ASTROPHYSICAL – *(SAY A RICH PLOTS) with “needing development” as the anagrind
3 First among chefs to be very fond of a piece of garlic (5)
CLOVE – C (first letter of Chefs) + LOVE (be very fond of)
5 Two forms of Assam, say, served by upper-class French
CHATEAU – CHA + TEA (two types of tea – ‘Assam, say’) with U (upper class – as opposed to ‘non-U’). Super clue, I thought – elegant, inventive and very neat surface.
6 Dull local is led by university wise men (13)
UNIMAGINATIVE – NATIVE (local) preceded by (led by) UNI (university) + MAGI (wise men).
7 Run through botanic gardens amid heads of some English roses (6)
SKEWER – KEW (botanic gardens) inside (amid) first letters (heads) of Some English Roses
9 In Channel Islands, inept manoeuvring just beginning (9)
INCIPIENT – IN CI (In Channel Islands) + *(INEPT) with “manoeuvring” as the anagrind
13 Consult text again about temperature for remoulded tyre (7)
RETREAD – REREAD (consult text again) around (about) T (temperature)
14 Good accommodation for those looking after horses (6)
GROOMS – G (good) + ROOMS (accommodation)
15 British bird of prey on which Darwin worked (6)
BEAGLE – B (British) + EAGLE (bird of prey) giving us HMS Beagle, the ship on which Darwin sailed and conducted much of the work that enabled him to develop his theories
17 Point seen in last agenda (5)
STAGE – Hidden in (indicated by ‘seen in’) laST AGEnda

21 comments on “Quick Cryptic 642 by Joker”

  1. Bad typing didn’t help much, as I twice had to return to the grid after being told “not quite right” and search for another typo. And the long anagrams, which I persisted in trying to work out without pen and paper, did their part in slowing me down. Typical of me that I biffed STAGE without spotting the hidden. 7:09.
  2. Considering I’d solved 1dn immediately on catching a glimpse whilst printing, this took me a disappointing 15 minutes – the first time in 10 puzzles I’ve missed my 10-minute target, and my worst solving-time in 34!

    It was the two long Down clues that gave most trouble, with ASTROPHYSICAL not a word I come across very often, and 5dn with its seven checking letters, all vowels, hampering my attempts at biffing.

    No complaints though. The puzzle was an excellent workout.

    Edited at 2016-08-24 08:06 am (UTC)

  3. Another excellent puzzle with great surfaces. I finished under my 30 minute target for the second day in a row with 20A LOI – it’s a bit unfair to have all three checkers “E”!

  4. I must have spent nearly as long on 6d as the rest of the puzzle. Looking back, I don’t know why, as the wording is quite reasonable. That pushed me out to 45 minutes, completely undoing the quick answers to the other long clues. Invariant
  5. The long answers were really helpful again, biffed UNIMAGINATIVE and then parsed it, misspelt AUTHORITATIVE but quickly corrected, similarly had ORCHESTRATION before correct parsing with the sailor. Must slow down… 5’26” today, thanks Joker and nick.
  6. I completed this in a very enjoyable 17 minutes only to find out that I’d messed up my LOI 20a, so a DNF today. I was a bit stumped by in it so lobbed in ‘delete’ as in a keyboard key and you might delete something if you cut it badly from a document – it sounds even more tenuous in writing than it did in my head!
    1. I couldn’t choose between severe and delete but luckily opted for severe for no good reason! 3 excellent puzzles so far this week.
  7. This felt like a grown-up challenge after the last two days.
    I was solving this on a very hot train to London earlier and fell asleep so time was an approximate 25 minutes. Each clue took some work and my LOI was 7d. COD to Chateau. David
  8. Thanks Joker for a typically enjoyable puzzle with nice surfaces. Thanks Jack for, as always, an excellently presented blog.
    1. Thanks for your kind comments, landlover, Chris, but this excellently presented blog was by Nick the Novice, not by me.
  9. i am also not convinced that stage and point are very impressive bedfellows in what has been praised as an excellently surfaced crossword – OK but not great
  10. a severe judge might punish a paedophile rapist murderer with the gallows but many would argue that he was good, not bad!
  11. Anon, the idea is to look for contexts in which words can mean the same thing, not for instances where they may mean something different, and your ‘bad/severe storm’ example clearly justifies the clue at 20a. ‘Stage’ and ‘point’ can also mean exactly the same: ‘At what stage/point in the proceedings did you realise you were going to lose?’, for example.
  12. So sorry Nick! Not sure how that happened. Anyway the formatting and style of your blog was perfect.
    1. No problem Chris – the important thing is you found it useful! (But thanks anyway)

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