Quick cryptic No 683 by Joker

I don’t mind admitting that this took me 24 minutes this morning, so is far more difficult than usual, or my mind has been stolen by someone.  It might also be due to the large proportion (60%) of clues where the definition comes at the end, rather than the beginning.  If you can cope with this without aids, then I’d say that you are ready and able to have a good crack at the 15 x 15 most days.  Nothing too oblique though, all fairly clued and not a great call on general knowledge (except, perhaps for 14a).  Excellent puzzle Joker

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated by [square brackets] and deletions with {curly ones}

1  Introduce article by church eminence (10)
IMPORTANCE – To IMPORT is to introduce, AN is the article and CE for the church most often applied in crosswordland
8  Backing for cutting mines financial yields (7)
PROFITS – FOR reversed (backing) and inserted (cutting) inside PITS (mines)
9  Mostly cold European country (5)
CHILE – nice misdirection putting European next to the definition, but CHIL{l} is mostly cold, with mostly indicating that the last letter is dropped, and E{uropean} providing the replacement letter
10  Useful piece of advice about river journey (4)
TRIP – TIP is the useful advice, about R{iver}
11  Pair given permission to form band (8)
BRACELET – BRACE is the pair, added to (given) LET (permission).  Brace is usually applied to pairs of birds after they have been shot.
13  Poach small duck (5)
STEAL – S{mall} and TEAL.  Again, misdirection.  Hands up if you were looking for a cooking answer.  The definition of poach needed here is ‘to take illegally, usually from another person’s land’ rather than ‘cooking slowly in simmering liquid’
14  River creature Jeremy Fisher’s creator topped (5)
OTTER – this is much easier to answer if you happen to know that Jeremy Fisher is one of the books written by Beatrix {P}OTTER.  I didn’t, but easy enough to guess with all the checkers in place, hence my last one in.
16  Go off a conservative politician in revolution (8)
ROTATORY – ROT is to go off, A is a, and a conservative politician is of course a TORY
17  Have a quick look back (4)
KEEP – A quick look is a PEEK, reversed (back)
20  Captain’s beginning injury appeal (5)
CHARM – C{aptain’s} beginning (first letter) and HARM (injury)
21  Work at home unit and on view (7)
OPINION – A flat pack assembly clue.  Work is OP, at home is IN, unit is I, and ON is on to give OPINION
22  Typical revolutionary interrupting artistic friend(10)
ARCHETYPAL – Revolutionary in crosswords is usually either RED or CHE, in this case the latter.  An artistic friend might be referred to as an ARTY PAL.  Insert (interrupt) CHE for the answer


Where power enters unit possibly (5)

INPUT – a combination clue, the whole clue forming the definition (an &lit), with P{ower} being inserted into an anagram (possibly) of UNIT
2  Supply translation of Latin – auspicious (12)
PROVIDENTIAL – Supply is to PROVIDE followed by an anagram (translation) of [LATIN]
3  Mind missing British weather (4)
RAIN – Mind missing B{ritish} is {B}RAIN.  I’m not sure where my brain was this morning – this was my LOI (last one in) shortly after getting OTTER
Maintain right to divide valuable item (6)
ASSERT – ASSET is the valuable item, divided by R{ight}
When one might wake up with two birds (8)
COCKCROW – I shouldn’t need to identify the two birds, but my dictionary hyphenates the word and defines COCK-CROW as ‘early morning, when cocks crow’.
6  Article hidden in tree is perhaps initially a hard thing to reach (4,1,3,4)
WILL ‘O THE WISP – The article is THE hidden in WILLOW (tree) and followed by IS (is) and P{erhaps} (initially) to give the answer.  WILL ‘O THE WISP is defined as either ‘ignis fatuus’ (also called friar’s lantern. A flitting phosphorescent light seen at night, chiefly over marshy ground), or as ‘any elusive or deceptive person or thing’, hence hard to reach.
7  Make rude remarks about good man Joker (6)
JESTER – To make rude remarks is to JEER, and this surrounds (about) good man S{ain}T.  Clever of Joker to include himself as a definition in his own crossword.  For a while I thought he had included me as blogger as well, when I looked at the checkers for 14a and saw O_T_R one of the options I considered was ROTTER.
12  Veteran told emir off (3,5)
OLD TIMER – straightforward anagram (off) of [TOLD EMIR]
13  Tidy one part of forest? (6)
SPRUCE – Double definition, the second one slightly cryptic in that a SPRUCE might be in a forest
15  Ornamental clasp open on the ear (6)
BROOCH – homophone clue, sounds like broach, which is to open up or begin, as in ‘to broach the subject’.  I’m not personally a big fan of homophone clues because of variations in pronunciation, but this one works ok.
18  Criticise middle two of twelve jurymen? (5)
PANEL – To criticise is to PAN with the middle two letters of {tw}EL{ve}
19  Intelligence about Liberal collapse (4)
WILT – WIT is intelligence around (about) L{iberal}

36 comments on “Quick cryptic No 683 by Joker”

  1. A struggle today, over an hour including a few interruptions. I did it in two sittings and the second was much more fruitful than the first.

    LOI was 13d spruce. I was also a little unsure at first with some of the parsing:
    17a: have = keep
    21a: unit = I
    1d: &lit ?
    6d: willow the wisp = hard thing to reach?
    Cleared up from the blog so thanks.

    Finished so fairly happy!

    Edited at 2016-10-20 09:09 am (UTC)

    1. The term & lit. is a contraction of “and literally so”. It refers to a special type of cryptic clue – one which consists of a cryptic indication of the solution but which contains no definition part. Instead, the clue as a whole functions as the definition.

      Google &lit and I’m sure you can find some other examples.

      I also questioned the ‘have’ ‘keep’ relationship, but it is fair enough. My Chambers lists 31 meanings for the transitive verb ‘have’, the second of which is ‘to keep’.

      The same dicionary gives ‘One’ as the first definition of the noun ‘Unit’.

      Well done for finishing – I suspect that many won’t.

      1. Thanks, I presumed it was an &lit, I was just trying to list some of the things that held me up.

        Willo the wisp was just a character in a cartoon for me!

  2. Well, this week is the week of thinking I’ve finished but haven’t. Completed in 20 mins, but had CLAIM at 20ac. Was “laim” some archaic word for injury, I thought. Obviously not. I thought this was a great croosword, though. Gribb.
    1. Yes! So that’s two I got wrong haha. Just assumed it was a “can be read back to front” clue.
  3. “Peep” instead of KEEP? Yes, Rita, that was me too. I just knew it wasn’t quite right but I failed to think of anything better, so in it went and stayed there – a very rare error from me on submission of a QC.

    In solidarity with our fortnightly Wednesday blogger I am not currently posting QC solving times, but this one was definitely harder than average for me, quite apart from my error.

    I thought 1dn was an absolutely brilliant little clue.

    1. I understand your support of bloggers not putting times and I uphold and respect bloggers not adding times if they wish but please post your times.

      We use your times as an indication of difficulty, if your over 10 we know it is edging to the hard end end and ever you go over 13 to the difficult. It also allows us to be smugg if we get close to 30 and you were over 10, that’s a success for us.

      Out of all bloggers and contributors you are the most consistent yard stick.

      Here’s hoping for your times returning


      1. Thanks for your kind comments, Sybar, in view of which I shall revert to posting my times – 13 minutes for this one (QC 683).
  4. Astonishingly, and after a poor couple of weeks where I’ve been as likely not to finish as to finish, I got through this in about 15 minutes – beat the blogger for the first time!

    A great puzzle, this one; first glance told me I’d be lucky to get half the grid filled in, but I seemed to be in the zone and I steadily filled the blanks.

    As regards the 15×15, it’s well worth other QCers approaching this every day. The satisfaction of getting one or two clues is worthwhile enough – getting half the grid is very pleasing – and there’s no shame in cheating a bit with a thesaurus or even nabbing an answer off the blog.

    Thanks rotter and Joker

    1. I normally get roughly a quarter of the 15×15. I think psychologically I give up too easy because some of the clues/vocab are too hard and so it’s easy to assume all clues are difficult.

      I really appreciate it when one of the normal solvers points out an easy/easier main crossword day.

  5. Well, I finished this, fully parsed, in 50 mins and thought that was a poor time for a Joker QC. So you have cheered me up, Rotter, with your assessment of today’s puzzle. It’s still once in a blue moon for a 15×15 finish though. Invariant
  6. I found this the hardest for quite some time particularly with the SE corner. Brooch is one of those words I always mispell so that held me up for some time. Finally I was just left with 13d which I gave up on after my 3rd sitting. It was doubly annoying because I’ve a feeling a very similar clue has come up before.
    COD 5d for making me smile
  7. This took me two sessions. The second far more successful than the first. I always find it difficult to get onto Joker’s wavelength. Overall toughest challenge of the week so far.
    Not sure about rotatory/revolution. One an adjective one a noun?
    Thought 9ac and 1dn were neat.
    1. I think the difference is that the definition is ‘in rotation’ as indicated by the underlining in the blog above. Whilst rotation is a noun, ‘In rotation’ is describing an action, so is adjectival. I’m no English grammarian though, so could be wrong.
    1. You cant see very clearly in the blog, but my parsing was CHILL is mostly cold, as in ‘I caught a chill’ or ‘I caught a cold’. I think you have misread my L for an I.

      ‘Mostly’ is mostly used as an indicator to drop one (usually the last) letter from the target word, so ‘mostly cold’ would be unlikely to clue CHIL{ly}, at least in my limited experience.

      1. I have seen “mostly” used to indicate more than half the letters. So chill = mostly chilly.
      2. I take your point, but on my iPad it came out like this: ‘but CHIL{l} is mostly cold,’ hence the minor confusion. (Of course if it’s to do with how characters are displayed then it might look like an ‘L’ to you anyway!)
        1. …..and now I realise that a lower case L – l, and an upper case i – I, both look the same on my iPad. How confusing! Anyway I think you are right that ‘mostly’ would normally indicate only one letter dropped.
    1. I very much doubt this would occur in a Times puzzle and I agree with therotter’s comment that “mostly” here indicates the removal of a single letter. In any case “chill” can substitute for “cold” as explained in his comment above, so we don’t need to delete more than the one letter. Having said that, the most important thing is to arrive at the correct answer so if one thought of “chilly” first and got to it via that route, then that’s perfectly valid for those not on blogging duty.
  8. Yesterday I found myself doing the 15×15 by mistake thinking it was the Quickie and puzzling over why it was taking me so long. Today I did the Quickie but had to check I wasn’t in fact doing the 15×15! Definitely the hardest of the week (almost 15 minutes). I’m glad I’m not the only one to have struggled with this one.
    Well done Rotter.
  9. Trickier for me too. After 20 mins on the computer, I gave up and printed it out with 4 outstanding.

    And actually 16 ac, 2dn and 1ac slipped in easily once i could see them.

    But had Assort for 4dn and didn’t know why and also the Peep mistake.

    Off to try the 15×15….

  10. I solved this in 21 minutes. I thought it was an excellent puzzle with the exception of 17a where I put Peep (as others did I see) and, having seen the blog, I think it’s a superior answer. But of course that’s a matter of opinion. I did find the NW difficult and took ages to get 1a which then opened it up.
    And I confidently put in Cockatoo at 5d on first pass which held me up a little whileon Bracelet. But I agree Cockcrow is better. David
  11. Came to this late in the day and found it slightly tougher – but under ten – 9.45.



  12. A massive DNF today but I glad to see it rated as difficult. I also came to it late rather than early which didn’t help.
    I try the 15×15 3 or 4 times a week when I have time. Half of the puzzles I get 30 to 60% of the answers,, the rest I get between 0 and 2 clues but I’ll keep trying.
  13. Big time failure with just under half completed before I threw in the towel. If I had persevered I might have got another handful but no way of completing this on before retiring. I did cotton on to the importance of the clue endings but this only confused me further by wondering which might be the exceptions! In a couple of years of these, I suspect this one of the toughest. But not complaining – it wasn’t unfair, I just wasn’t up to it this evening.
  14. Big time failure with just under half completed before I threw in the towel. If I had persevered I might have got another handful but no way of completing this on before retiring. I did cotton on to the importance of the clue endings but this only confused me further by wondering which might be the exceptions! In a couple of years of these, I suspect this one of the toughest. But not complaining – it wasn’t unfair, I just wasn’t up to it this evening.

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