Quick Cryptic 86 by Joker

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
My Times subscription expired last week though my Crossword Club sub didn’t, leaving me in the situation where I can access all the puzzles … except the one that I need to blog. As such, I will have to buy the paper first thing in the morning in order to access/solve/blog the puzzle. I should be able to get something out before 9AM UK time but my apologies in advance to the early birds. I suspect that by the time my next blogging stint rolls around I will have renewed my Times subscription.

Edit: Many thanks to jackkt for saving me a plod through the mean streets of early morning Northallerton.

This is Joker’s ninth puzzle and his/her previous offerings have generally met with approval from solvers old and new. I would rate this as being harder than average (and in fact arguably harder than today’s main cryptic), with none of the long answers (bar 19A) immediately springing to mind and some of the constructions being relatively complex – please ask in the comments if any of the explanations aren’t clear. I’ll award my COD to DEATH BLOW, with an honourable mention to INDUSTRIALIST.

Definitions are underlined.

1 Fool has trouble following attack (6)
ASSAILAIL (trouble) after (following) ASS (fool)
4 Eccentric map includes a federal area for Washington (6)
MADCAPMAP around (includes) A + DC (District of Columbia, i.e. federal area for Washington). It took me a while to see this, as even though it seemed likely that DC must be in there somewhere, it’s not a common letter combination
9 Makes a loud noise with lorry being severely shaken (13)
THUNDERSTRUCKTHUNDERS (Makes a loud noise) + TRUCK (lorry)
10 Send back rotten fish (3)
DAB – reversal (Send back) of BAD (rotten). Similar to a plaice and often found in the seas surrounding Crosswordland
11 Mixed school’s PE displays a Greek character (9)
SOPHOCLES – anagram (Mixed) of SCHOOL’S PE. Usually such a definition would mean one of the letters of the Greek alphabet but in this case it refers to the playwright who specialised in tragedies, in particular crossword setter’s favourite Antigone
12 Light in the sky – gold in atmosphere (6)
AURORAOR (heraldic term for gold) inside AURA (atmosphere). Perhaps best known in combination with either borealis or australis to refer to the Northern or Southern Lights respectively, auroras are caused by charged particles colliding with the upper atmosphere to create astoundingly colourful displays in the sky. One of nature’s most impressive phenomena
13 Church celebration that is held during fast, strangely (6)
FIESTAIE (that is, or i.e.) inside (held during) an anagram of FAST. I wouldn’t have objected if “Church” had been left out of the clue, as “fiesta” is often used simply to mean a (secular) party of some description
16 Lab heater running to produce hot infusion (6,3)
HERBAL TEA – anagram (running) of LAB HEATER. You might want to have your herbal tea with some sliced bread, which was first sold this day in 1928
18 Supernatural creature nearly flew over (3)
ELF – reversal (over) of most of (nearly) FLEw
19 Polite woman working in restaurant trade – one serving the Queen (4-2-7)
LADY-IN-WAITINGLADY (Polite woman) + IN WAITING (working in restaurant trade). A helpful enumeration
21 Some swarm that appears for summery weather (6)
WARMTH – hidden in (Some) sWARM THat
22 Take in with humorous effect that’s pronounced (6)
INGEST – homophone (that’s pronounced) of IN JEST (with humorous effect)
1 A small part is suitable (3)
APTA + PT (small part, i.e. abbreviation for part)
2 Move slowly and awkwardly following small sleep (7)
SLUMBERLUMBER (Move slowly and awkwardly) after (following) S (small)
3 Pakistan’s river experiment is on time for manufacturer (13)
INDUSTRIALISTINDUS (Pakistan’s river) + TRIAL (experiment) + IS + T (time)
5 Inflexible writer needs IT in a particular house for March-April (6)
AUTHORITARIANAUTHOR (writer) + IT + ARIAN (in a particular house for March-April, i.e. of the sign of the zodiac Aries, 21st March to 19th April)
6 Regret cutting first half of clue, causing distress (5)
CRUELRUE (Regret) inside (cutting) CL (first half of CLue)
7 Old handle for blade of voracious fish workers (9)
PIKESTAFFPIKE (voracious fish) + STAFF (workers). Literally the staff (handle) of a pike (old spear-like weapon), though perhaps more commonly encountered nowadays in the expression “plain as a pikestaff” to mean “perfectly clear”
8 Have hallucinations with eastern food (5)
TRIPETRIP (Have hallucinations) + E (eastern). Though I’ve blogged tripe twice in recent times, I’ve only eaten it once in real life, courtesy of seeing the symbol for lamb on a menu in a town in northwest China and not bothering to dig out my dictionary to figure out what all the other symbols meant
10 Fatal buffet dished up old wheat, black inside (5,4)
DEATH BLOW – anagram (dished up) of OLD WHEAT with B (black) inside. The buffet referred to here is not of the all-you-can-eat variety, but a word meaning a strike with the hand or fist. Very deceptive surface reading
14 Moving set with needle is unproductive (7)
STERILE – anagram (Moving) of SET + RILE (needle)
15 Cooks sweets up half-heartedly (5)
STEWS – anagram (up) of SWEeTS (sweets … half-heartedly, i.e. with only one of the two Es at the centre)
17 Surprise attacker has lost a horseman (5)
RIDERRaIDER (Surprise attacker) without its (has lost) A
20 Turning over towing vessel in a narrow strait (3)
GUT – reversal (Turning over) of TUG (towing vessel). I’m maybe missing something here but even though Chambers has “a narrow passage; a strait or channel” among its definitions for gut, I can’t say that’s a usage I’ve ever heard before, though it certainly justifies the surface reading. I originally thought the reference was to the alimentary canal but strait seems an odd word to use for that, especially in a Quick Cryptic.

15 comments on “Quick Cryptic 86 by Joker”

      1. You’re welcome. The Times had the Quickie button pointing at the correct crossword possibly for the first time ever on a Monday (other than Day 1) so that’s a cause for celebration only slightly marred by the “back door” code number having leapt forward from #199 to #205 which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that they have things under control at last. Still as long as the button works correctly we won’t need the back door route, so fingers crossed.
  1. This is the second time today that I’ve had to log in for some reason; but I digress. 7:15, which I guess is on the fast side for me. I can’t remember if there were specific clues that were especially difficult, although I did think, with Mohn, that GUT was rather an esoteric word for a Quickie–although with checkers one didn’t have much choice. It just occurred to me now that a jest need not, alas, have a humorous effect; intent, si, effect, no.
  2. I have never managed a Joker puzzle in <10 minutes and indeed their first 3 took me more than 15 so this one at 13 was a middling effort as far as I was concerned.

    12ac was a bit tricky to solve and parse with both AU and OR as possible abbreviations for gold and only one of them applicable. GUT for “narrow strait” is way out of Quickie league and possibly a bit obscure even for a 15×15 I’d have thought. I had to check that FIESTA had religious connotations as I didn’t know that. I assume LADY for “polite woman” refers to the manner of address rather than suggesting that a Lady is necessarily polite as I’d certainly have some doubts about that!

    Edited at 2014-07-07 07:00 am (UTC)

    1. I suppose “Polite woman” could be read either way – Chambers has among its definitions for lady “any woman with refined manners and instincts” which I suppose covers polite, but I’m also used to my mother describing any female human as a lady, whether they’re refined or not.

      I had a rummage on Google for gut and found this real-world example though I would definitely agree that it’s an obscure usage.

  3. I did find this harder than the main today. In fact it was a DNF for me because of TRIPE. I think Joker sets tricky clues. Does he or she tend to put the definition part of the clue at the end more often than other setters?
    1. As opposed to at the beginning? I hadn’t noticed, though I’m so used to it being one or the other that I don’t think a bias towards one would even register with me.
      1. Yes I meant as opposed to at the beginning. I tend to find clues with the definition at the front easier to solve for some reason that is probably linked to my difficulty with getting sucked into the surface meaning.
  4. 6 mins, and in terms of the average time I spent on each clue I would agree that this was definitely trickier than today’s main puzzle. AUTHORITARIAN was my LOI after SOPHOCLES.
  5. At one stage I thought I was going to solve less than half but as is the way with crosswords, if you can get one, just one , more solution then that leads to others. Ended uo not getting ingest (v poor at homophones) and tripe where I thought I wanted e???? meaning see pink elephants.
  6. Well I’m feeling quite proud of myself. Managed about two-thirds today. It took ages but when I read that some of you clever crossworders found it quite difficult, perhaps there’s hope for me yet. Didn’t get aurora and am mad that I didn’t solve authoritarian.
    Look forward to tomorrow…K
  7. DNF again but if it reckoned hard then that’s ok. Loved 3dn! FOI 19ac just leapt out. Some I really ought to have got but that’s inexperience I guess! Looking forward to tomorrow.
  8. I enjoyed the puzzle because it was accessible yet challenging for this beginner. I missed out on ASSAIL, MADCAP, FIESTA, ELF and CRUEL, PIKESTAFF, STERILE and it’s not as though those words were unknown to me just that the clues were tricky. When the next puzzle is available I’ve decided it’s time to look up the answers, read the blog, and learn from my mistakes.

    As an aside, is anyone else having trouble with Chrome browser on Android making this blog text too small to read easily?

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