Quick Cryptic 705 by Joker

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Back to my usual numbers-ending-in-a-5 slot – thanks again to jackkt for filling in for me whilst I was away. A slightly trickier offering than usual from Joker today, I think, though my view on that may be skewed by the unconscionably long time I spent on 4D, even with most of the checkers in place. There’s nothing particularly obscure in here, with a couple of possible exceptions mentioned below. My favourite clue was 7D for its smoothness. Thanks, Joker (who I believe is currently the most prolific Quicky setter, albeit by a short head). And I shall finish with my contribution to World Hello Day – hello.

The puzzle can be found here if the usual channels are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20161121/20279/

Definitions are underlined, {} = omission

8 A PC hero disturbed thief (7)
POACHER – anagram of (disturbed) A PC HERO
9 Hunter of stars to take part in oratorio nonsense (5)
ORION – hidden in (to take part in) oratORIO Nonsense. Deceptive definition perhaps making us think he is hunting stars, rather than that he is in the stars.
10 Queen featured in silly sketch (5)
DRAFTR (Queen, i.e. short for Regina) in DAFT (silly)
11 One perhaps musing hours in mobile repairer (7)
THINKERH (hours) in TINKER (mobile repairer). For TINKER, Chambers has: “An itinerant mender of kettles, pans, etc”.
12 Quiet force keeps returning fire for officer (7)
SHERIFFSH (Quiet) + F (force), around (keeps) reversal of (returning) FIRE
14 A professional needs new protective garment (5)
APRONA + PRO (professional) + N (new)
15 Set to become adult, losing weight (5)
GROUPGRO{w} UP (to become adult, losing weight, i.e. the phrase “grow up” (to become adult) without the w (weight)). I do like clues where known phrases are used in the wordplay (in this case the deletion indicator “losing weight”).
17 Set small dwelling beside one Great Lake (7)
COTERIECOT (small dwelling) + ERIE (one Great Lake). COT is described as literary and/or poetic in the usual sources, and is seemingly short for “cottage”. COTERIE is not a word I regularly encounter in real life so this, plus the literary/poetic COT part of the wordplay, makes the clue possibly a little tricky. Having said that, the word has cropped up in the Quicky at least three times before, and ERIE is Crosswordland’s most popular Great Lake by some margin, so it would be hard to argue that the clue as a whole is getting anywhere close to unfair territory. Two clues in a row with the same definition looks a bit unusual, but maybe Joker was already on the appropriate page of his thesaurus and decided to take advantage.
19 Fool wears petulant expression to complete training (4,3)
PASS OUTASS (Fool) inside (wears) POUT (petulant expression)
20 Proposal made for unusually wrapping iron (5)
OFFER – anagram of (unusually) FOR, around (wrapping) FE (iron – the chemical symbol thereof)
22 Took action against English leather company’s product (5)
SUEDESUED (Took action against) + E (English)
23 Filthy outside broadcast location (7)
OBSCENEOB (outside broadcast) + SCENE (location). The meaning of OB in Crosswordland is heavily monopolised by Old Boy, so it’s good to get a reminder every now and then that other meanings are available, chiefly the one in this clue and also the abbreviation for the Latin obiit (he/she died).
1 NI political party’s upset Murphy (4)
SPUD – reversal (upset) of DUP’S (NI political party’s), where NI = Northern Ireland and DUP = Democratic Unionist Party (founded by Ian Paisley). DUP is worth remembering as it comes up several times a year (though has only made one previous appearance in the Quicky, I think). “Murphy” is an informal word for a potato, though I don’t know how international that usage is.
2 Friend took food for sense of taste (6)
PALATEPAL (Friend) + ATE (took food)
3 Photograph of house in street (4)
SHOTHO (house) in ST (street)
4 Start to give official approval for pleasure (13)
GRATIFICATIONG (Start to give, i.e. the first letter of the word “give”) + RATIFICATION (official approval). I spent quite a while on this one because for some reason I just wasn’t expecting that the wordplay would split the word into one letter and twelve letters. I had clearly forgotten that Joker had clued the word via a similar split (though rather different wording) in a puzzle I’d blogged just over a year ago: “A key endorsement gives pleasure”.
5 Playing badminton topless is coming to the fore (8)
DOMINANT – anagram of (Playing) {b}ADMINTON (badminton topless, i.e. the word “badminton” without its first letter). Nice clue construction and intriguing surface. Having suffered numerous sprained ankles and one extremely painful dislocated knee in my competitive badminton-playing days, I would probably have balked at adding nipple bruising to the list of potential hazards (a fast smash leaves the racket at 200mph+).
6 Argue with cyclist crossing start of cycleway (6)
BICKERBIKER (cyclist) around (crossing) C (start of cycleway, i.e. the first letter of the word “cycleway”)
7 Charm one’s way in (8)
ENTRANCE – double definition, the first a verb the second a noun. Lovely natural surface reading, though a bit of Googling shows that it has been exploited before.
12 Token job is an indicator of one’s direction of travel (8)
13 Mischievous child wandered about and made progress (8)
IMPROVEDIMP (Mischievous child) + ROVED (wandered about)
16 Awful story about English seafood (6)
OYSTER – anagram of (Awful) STORY about E (english). There was a similar clue in last December’s Quicky 452: “Wretched story about English seafood item”, though I think Joker’s version conveys the apocalyptic potential of a dodgy prawn rather better.
18 Knee-jerk reaction about electric cable (6)
REFLEXRE (about) + FLEX (electric cable)
20 Drive off from Carnoustie (4)
OUST – hidden in (from) CarnOUSTie
21 Scottish measure river fish (4)
REELR (river) + EEL (fish), with measure in this case meaning a dance, and a REEL being (Chambers) “A lively dance, esp Highland or Irish”

18 comments on “Quick Cryptic 705 by Joker”

  1. … is quite tough though much of that is due to (IMHO) wilfully obscure definitions, which is my least favourite kind of tough. As always though, attempting it will only be beneficial.
  2. Smooth going all the way today. Was lucky enough to see 4d first time through the downs, which helped going back through the acrosses. ENTRANCE seems to have been double-defined to death, but this time the clue, as Mohn says, has a lovely surface. I actually first thought of ‘ride’ at 21d, so conditioned am I by the 15x15s to think ‘ide’ when ‘fish’ shows up; but cooler heads prevailed. Biffed OBSCENE, and just as well, as I didn’t know OB in this sense.I liked THINKER, although tinkers may be pretty thin on the ground these days. 4:17.

    Edited at 2016-11-21 02:55 am (UTC)

  3. I experienced printer problems and a one second power cut so an inauspicious start to the week.

    I rated the QC as tough at 10.54 and the 15×15 Mondayish.


    Hello! Welcome back mohn – thorough blog so no moans.

  4. At 9 minutes this turned out a little easier than I had though at first glance. I needed all the checkers before solving the long 4dn as my LOI.

    On prolific setters, I have Joker on 67, Hurley Izetti Orpheus & Teazel on 65 and Mara & Tracy on 64. Everybody else is way behind them.

    1. I had a few differences (Izetti and Teazel on 64, Mara on 63) plus also Flamande on 64, but that was from searching the Quicky archive which could well contain misattributions. Either way, those eight are certainly the “regulars”.
      1. My database started from Day One so should be accurate, but it’s possible my automatic filters and subtotals may be adrift. If I’ve nothing better to do sometime I’ll check them manually. I overlooked Flamande when I posted earlier, and my subtotal for him is 64, so we completely agree on that at least!

        Edited at 2016-11-21 02:02 pm (UTC)

  5. 56 minutes. Tough but fair.

    For 17a cot for small dwelling didn’t come straight away but erie was helpful.

    Last 4 in were:

    21d reel, which I biffed, hoping eel was the right fish.

    1d, I know DUP but not murphy for spud but it doesn’t take a wild leap to get there.

    10a draft.

    23a obscene, broadcast seems to cause me problems.

    1. My immediate reaction to seeing “broadcast” in a clue is to assume that AIR will fit in the answer somewhere, so I was pretty sure I was looking for a word meaning location, with the wordplay being a word meaning filthy outside of AIR. So, so wrong …
  6. Around the 40 minute mark, although I struggled for ages on 1dn, 10ac, 23ac, 17ac, 18ac and 5dn. The penny finally dropped on 5dn when I realised “playing” denoted an anagram. I’m not sure of the definition of PASS OUT for 19ac. Is it supposed to be a joke? As in, you pass out after strenuous exercise? Gribb.
    1. Gribb – when one successfully completes one’s basic army training one ‘Passes Out’. Some spend year’s in ‘the glasshouse’.
  7. 6’14” so about average. The word BIKER to me means a motorcyclist in black leather. GROUP and COTERIE are interesting, thanks for pointing out mohn. The definition of ‘set’ is the same in each case, a collection of people, yet ‘set’ has more distinct definitions than any other word in English. Thanks mohn and Joker.
  8. I think I am (finally) getting the hang of Joker’s puzzles. I raced through the top half and was going reasonably well on the rest up to the SE corner. 17 and 23ac were my last pair, pushing me the wrong side of 30 mins, but for me that still represents a good Joker time. Invariant
  9. A lot to like in this puzzle and Sets at 15a and 17a; tricky and fun (was this a prediction of Andy Murray’s result?).
    Anyway 20 minutes to complete this puzzle. LOI was 4d, un-parsed. Also was not sure about 21d being a measure. Favourite 5d. David
  10. I thought this was a good Monday work out, with some clues that needed a lot of thought (for me) – e.g. 5d, 15 (loi) & 17a and 12d. Didn’t have a clue that Murphy was another name for potato, but the clue was fair.
    Completed in 21 mins.
  11. A harder one today, and I was off-wavelength. It definitely makes a difference if the long word is the LOI rather than the FOI!
  12. A good test for me today. Lucky to see 4d very early on. COD 17a but the SE was tricky being unsure of 21d until checkers in place. LOI 18d. FOI 8a.

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