Quick Cryptic 2441 by Joker

One of those puzzles which I tried to make harder than it turned out to be. On the first run through I missed some now obvious ones, eg the 1a anagram and that old 2d double definition chestnut, but there were some more difficult ones here like the somewhat vague definition for 23a.

All told, a good QC challenge with my 12:25 time indicating I found this more difficult than average.

Thanks to Joker

Definitions underlined in bold, deletions indicated by strikethrough

1 Put out some faint indication of political intent (9)
MANIFESTO – Anagram (‘Put out’) of SOME FAINT
6 Drink — and slurp regularly (3)
SUP – Every second letter (‘regularly’) of SlUrP
8 Run across moon explorer (5)
ROVERR (‘Run’) OVER (‘across’)

I only knew about the lunar rovers on Apollo 15, 16 and 17 but there have also been non-manned rovers from China and Russia on the moon and the Chinese rover Yutu 2 is still there, which I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know about.

9 Let wine breathe for start of foreign holiday? (7)
AIRPORTAIR PORT (‘Let wine breathe’)

A less than obvious one. To AIR your PORT (type of ‘wine’) is to ‘Let (it) breathe’. The ‘start of foreign holiday?’ cryptic definition indicates an AIRPORT might (hence the question mark) be the setting off point for your trip of a lifetime to Torremolinos or Benidorm.

10 Second place to bury shard (8)
SPLINTERS (‘Second’) PL (‘place’) INTER (‘to bury’)

Back on firmer ground with this one

11 Image of veneration like Iona’s centres (4)
IKON – Middle letters (‘centres’) of ‘lIKe IONa’

The alternative, less common spelling

13 One female in very influential game of football? (9)
SEMIFINALI (‘One’) F (‘female’) contained in (‘in’) SEMINAL (‘very influential’)
16 Part you see in Hero and Leander’s union? (4)
ROLE – Hidden in HeRO LEander

‘Hero and Leander’s union?’ meaning that the two words are joined together without the intervening conjunction, with the surface alluding to the tragic ending of the Greek myth

17 Chic male wandering in compound? (8)
CHEMICAL – Anagram (‘wandering’) of CHIC MALE
20 Boat nearly departed with wrong load (7)
GONDOLAGONE (‘nearly departed’ means last letter E deleted) and anagram (‘wrong’) of LOAD
21 Food — tons ready for eating (5)
TRIPET (‘tons’) RIPE (‘ready for eating’)


22 Garment that is used after the end of August (3)
TIEIE (‘that is’=id est in full) following (‘after’) T (‘the end of August’= last letter of AugusT)
23 Looking for a vehicle with key lifetime support? (9)
AFTERCAREAFTER (‘Looking for’) CAR (‘vehicle’) E (‘key’)

AFTER for ‘Looking for’ as in “I’m after/looking for a new spade for the garden ”

This seems a bit odd. I suppose AFTERCARE as ‘lifetime support?’ meaning care provided during a particular period (time) of life, usually when recovering from an acute illness or surgery


1 Bad-tempered? More so, unfortunately (6)
MOROSE – Anagram (‘unfortunately’) of MORE SO
2 New book (5)
NOVEL – Double definition
3 For me, Ena is covered by this (8)
FORENAMEENA contained in (‘is covered by’) FOR ME

The def ‘this’ refers back to ‘Ena’ as an example of a FORENAME, but I may be missing something else here. I tried to read the whole clue as the definition, which would work for the Ena’s of this world, but not for anybody else

4 Very modern country frequently has concern for others (5,2,3,3)
STATE OF THE ARTSTATE (‘country’) OFT (‘frequently’) HEART (‘concern for others’)

HEART as in the expression “Have a heart”

5 Monster thus turned up (4)
OGRE – Reversal (‘turned up’) of ERGO (‘thus’)
6 Diving apparatus soon empty round river with a lot of kelp (7)
SNORKELSN (‘Soon empty’=only first and last letters of SooN) O (’round’) R (‘river’) KELP (‘lot of kelp’=last letter deleted)

The ‘apparatus’ part of the def made me think of SCUBA first

7 Powerful warning king must leave (6)
POTENTPORTENT (‘warning’) with deletion of R (‘king (R) must leave’)
12 Film-maker from Taormina originally (8)
ANIMATOR – Anagram (‘originally’) of TAORMINA

If I ever knew, I’d forgotten that Taormina is the site of a famous Roman amphitheatre in Sicily, overlooked by a famous crossword smoker who has appeared here very recently

13 Hush nieces playing round lake (7)
SILENCE – Anagram (‘playing’) of NIECES containing (’round’) L (‘lake’)
14 Cheerful bishop — just (6)
BRIGHTB (‘bishop’) RIGHT (‘just’)
15 Run from Conservative European swindle (6)
FLEECEFLEE (‘Run from’) C (‘Conservative’) E (‘European’)
18 Friend in the country? (5)
CHINA – Double definition

‘Friend’=mate= CHINA plate in Cockney rhyming slang

19 Fish with a tail (4)
CODACOD (‘Fish’) A (‘a’)

The completion (‘tail’) of a piece of music or story etc

70 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2441 by Joker”

  1. I enjoyed this by Joker but agree with BR that it was quite hard in several places, although I too may have made it harder than it actually was, looking back. Some clever anagrams (MANIFESTO threw me for a while) and crafty clueing like SNORKEL, GONDOLA and ROLE. But several answers took a fair degree of untangling, more than we might expect for a QC. I can’t really figure FORENAME or AFTERCARE, not sure about ‘originally’ as an anagrind and thought MOROSE meant something else. But overall a good QC challenge which took me 11.44.

  2. I took AFTERCARE to be the sort of service provided by retailer after the sale of a product. No problems that I recall. 6:50.

  3. 13:13. SEMIFINAL was my favourite. For most of my life I would have said SUP meant eat not drink but a friend enlightened me I think around the year 2000. I thought of CHEMICAL as more of a single element rather than a compound but I guess the question mark means a CHEMICAL doesn’t have to be a compound.

    1. SUP does mean “eat” as well as “drink” – hence “supper”. Hence also Revelation 3:20 in the KJV – “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

      It’s just that that meaning has become archaic.

  4. 9 minutes. I looked twice at IKON but remembered it has come up previously, although that must have been elsewhere (The Guardian?) because all of its 15 outings before today in Times puzzles have been in Mephistos or Monthly Specials which I never attempt.

  5. A slower one for me today coming in all green in 27 minutes. I would’ve been faster if I hadn’t prevaricated for quite so long over the strangely clued AIRPORT which I biffed in the end being unable to parse it. Otherwise it was a very nice puzzle, so thank you Joker, and to BR for the blog.
    Particularly satisfying clues for me today included SPLINTER, STATE OF THE ART and SILENCE. Shame about AIRPORT, but I won’t go on about it!
    That’s 2/2 for me this week so far, and the sun is shining benignly. Life is good!

  6. I found the downs easier than the acrosses but all pretty hard. Finally made it a little over 20 but with long pauses for AIRPORT (loved it), SPLINTER (should have been on to ‘inter’ quicker but liked it when it came – plus ‘silver’ fitted my checkers for a while) and AFTERCARE (tricky definition). SNORKEL made me smile – just a nice clue!

  7. 1238 Mongols sack a small village on the steppes, called Moscow

    Couldn’t see MANIFESTO although it appeared, similarly clued in the 15×15 earlier this month. Once that went in things moved fast. LOI PORTENT/AIRPORT.


  8. I found this quite tricky, and, having entered very few across answers in the top half on the initial sally, I needed a third pass through to complete it.

    I failed to spot MANIFESTO and ROVER, and looking at them afterwards I can’t see a good reason why I should have done. Must caffeinate my brain before I try the 15×15!

    TIME 4:00

  9. Tricky in places and had to think hard about my last two in – FLEECE and AFTERCARE. MOROSE went in with a shrug as I’d always thought it meant sad but Collins is clear on its full definition.
    Also got a bit bogged down trying to work out how SCUBA fitted into 6d.
    Finished in 9.07 with COD to AIRPORT for the PDM.
    Thanks to BR

  10. For me Ena makes this… 13 min. Agree aftercare brings post-op, maintenance and goods warranties to mind none of which IMHO are lifelong.
    Thanks B&J

  11. I enjoyed that, full of wit and sparkle (though like others not convinced by the definition of AFTERCARE – my LOI; the whole SE corner held me up). I loved AIRPORT, my COD.

    All done in 07:05 for 1.1K and an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks Joker and Bletchers.


  12. On the quick side for me bit still in the SCC. Seeing the Setter’s name made it a bit harder, but I enjoyed the challenge and humour after looking at the first three across clues and thinking of giving up. Hope came with FOI MOROSE, and I realised that PUT OUT in 1a was the angrind not the definition. COD SEMIFINAL, LOI FLEECE Thanks Joker and BR.

  13. A tough one, which took me 13 minutes to complete and then several more to lower the various eyebrows that had been raised in the process – rather too many clues left me saying “really?” to myself to make this a good QC IMO. Forename was an odd clue, hiding a hidden in Hero and Leander was sneaky, to call a tie a garment ditto (ties are the most useless bit of any wardrobe, and if they are anything it is an adornment not a garment – one would not call earrings garments, for example) and a couple of anagram indicators (put out (1a), originally (in 12d)) merely proved Statherby’s First Law of Crosswords that almost any word can be used as an anagrist.

    No problem with aftercare which I understand like Kevin. It reminds me of the time, many years ago, when I bought a piece of electrical equipment with a “lifetime guarantee”. It duly failed and I took it for repair on the guarantee, only to be told it was not my lifetime that the guarantee lasted for but the equipment’s, “and it’s lifetime, sir, has expired”.

    Many thanks BR for the blog

    1. Anagrind, I think? Those two terms are too similar for me to keep straight!

  14. A slow-ish start for me but I finally managed to return to fill the (too many) spaces in the top left corner. A very good QC with lots to think about and plenty of PDMs and smiles for me. Enjoyable, but it took me 2 mins over target.
    Lots of interesting bits I could comment on but any minor quibbles evaporated when the only possible answer became clear. I will keep this short.
    Thanks to Joker and BR. John M.

  15. 15m. 3/4 easy, 1/4 hard (animator, semifinal, splinter, forename, aftercare).
    COD splinter.
    LOI aftercare (makes sense after Kevin’s comment).

  16. I find myself adjacent to Templar on the leaderboard at time of completion albeit below rather than above.

    Mainly fine, though my last two took a while – POTENT and then AIRPORT.

    I liked MANIFESTO, though saw it somewhere recently, which helped a lot.


  17. 13 minutes to the second for this one, with FOI MOROSE giving a goodish start, and LOI TRIPE only revealing itself after FLEECE finally fell. Thanks BR and Joker.

  18. DNF disaster.
    Thanks vm though, BR.
    By the way, I thought Ergo meant Therefore rather than thus, splitting hairs.

    1. Wiktionary has –
      “Consequently, therefore, or thus.”
      In Descartes’ famous “cogito ergo sum” it does NOT mean “thus”, but I guess it is a flexible word.
      I would use sic for thus myself if I wanted to use Latin, so I am agreeing with you more than with Wiktionary.

  19. Challenging but enjoyable in the main- thanks all! I did think there were a few that were a bit of a stretch. My dictionary agrees with this definition of morose but I think people more tend to apply it to glumness or being miserable these days

  20. 9:41 (Rus’ – Byzantine war)

    Slow to get the across clues on first pass, but it all fell into place with the down clues. I liked the hidden hidden in 16a. LOI was AFTERCARE.

  21. Nearly 8 minutes, almost 3 minutes past
    my average, and a double Busman! Apparently he found it tricky too! Like others I’m not sure why this took its time, seemed all fair and square to me.

    Perhaps just a slow morning.

  22. I was on poor form today and made heavy weather of this finishing in 14.32. I wasn’t helped by misspelling SNORKEL by transposing the last two letters which made SEMI FINAL problematical. I also didn’t twig that ‘originally’ in 12 down was an anagram indicator.
    TRIPE at 21ac reminds me of my youth, when returning from school and walking into the house, to be overcome by the smell of tripe being cooked as a treat for my father. If there’s a more revolting smell I’d like to know what it is. The look of it alone was enough to make your stomach turn. For those who don’t know what it is, it’s the edible (really?) lining to a cows stomach. Although I gather other animals stomach linings were available!
    Apologies if anyone is about to eat!

    1. My mother cooked jugged hare once which stank the house out for days. She had to throw the pan away eventually as it was impossible to get rid of the smell which despite multiple washings returned and took over every time it was used for another purpose.

      1. Similar experience when a chum and I tried to cook up Lake Erie clams because they looked so succulent. We got in most trouble for wasting a lot of rice in the process and were banned from the cottage kitchen for the rest of the summer.

  23. 7:46

    Not a great deal in on the first pass of either acrosses or downs. Game was upped after that and the answers flowed a little more quickly. Sure I’d seen the alternative spelling IKON somewhere here before – maybe I mistakenly attempted a Monthly Club Special or a rare Mephisto. Last two holding out were AFTERCARE (from four checkers) and finally FLEECE.

    Thanks Joker and Bletch

  24. Another who found this tricky. I got bogged down several times before crawling over the line in 13:10. NOVEL was FOI and FOREMAME brought up the rear. Thanks Joker and BR.

  25. I paused aplenty in the solve today. The definition of MOROSE threw me as did the spelling of IKON. I struggled to parse ROLE. I skipped over the football clue as I thought it would be some word I was unfamiliar with which then delayed the solving of FORENAME, the simplicity of which was lost on me. I didn’t care for my LOI AFTERCARE. 10:54

  26. Eventually managed all but two: totally stumped by AFTERCARE and CODA, but also parsing of CHINA far too difficult (surprised no one else comments on that one?). Enjoyed SPLINTER and GONDOLA. Thanks to both.

    1. With your musical expertise, I’m surprised that CODA caught you out! Mind you, the last time SUBEDIT appeared, it took me ages to solve 😅
      It’s worth remembering that CHINA = MATE / FRIEND / PAL. This bit of wordplay appears pretty often. From Cockney rhyming slang – china plate.

      1. Thank you, that’s astute of you…. My only excuse for a slight MER at the triple cryptic process friend = mate = plate = china is that just the other day we had a friendly indicator “E London” pointing the way to cockney usage. This time we didn’t. But I don’t want to be churlish – must just learn.

        1. Oh yes, those crafty setters have ways of keeping us on our toes! If I remember correctly, the E London reference was to lead us towards dropping an H to make a new word (haunt, aunt was it?)
          When I lived in ‘ackney it was common enough to drop an H. Now I live in the East Midlands, and it is round ‘ere too 😅
          If the setters are hinting at CRS, they’re more likely to mention Bow or the East End or similar.

    2. China = mate (cockney rhyming slang) is pretty common in crosswordland – one to store away and remember.

      Ooops, totally crossed over with PennyB!

  27. It’s frustrating when you have one left, all the checkers, and just can’t see the answer.
    That happened today with LOI AFTERCARE. I thought it could start AUTO which did not help.
    Anyway, a proper look at the parsing gave me AFTER and I was home in 12 minutes. The rest of the puzzle went in quite easily.
    I no longer bother much about alternative spellings -just assume they are in the dictionary- so IKON was a brief MER.

  28. 14 mins…but dnf as I put “Feranome” for 3dn – which I concede isn’t a word (must have been thinking of Pheromone and being “covered” in scent).

    I wasn’t massively enamoured with 23ac “Aftercare” either, as it can mean all sorts of things.

    FOI – 1ac “Manifesto”
    LOI – 3dn “Feranome” (wrong)
    COD – 4dn “State of the Art”

    Thanks as usual!

  29. One or two tricky bits took me over my target time. I had to come back to MANIFESTO after I’d done the downs to give me some checkers and pondered on how 11A could be ICON until SNORKEL came along to show me the light. AFTERCARE took a while to come, but LOI was FLEECE thinking for too long it must start with a C. COD to the clever FORENAME. Thanks Joker and BR. 6:03.

  30. I managed to complete this one without any aids, but did not find it easy.

    I really did not like 3d at all. I only managed to answer it because of the letters already present, but even then I’m still scratching my head on this one. Did not rate this clue at all. In fact, I think it’s very poor.

    Aftercare was my last clue. I really did not know which end of the clue to look at for the definition. But in the end, after frequently trying to squeeze “auto” (vehicle) at the start, aftercare finally came to me.

  31. Thanks for the parsing of Manifesto. I never saw the anagram. I thought ‘faint indication of’ to be a valid definition, given how often parties in government depart from it!

  32. Several lengthy interruptions, so no real idea of my time, but it was certainly into the SCC even before the Potent-Fleece-Aftercare tripple lock at the end. While there were some really enjoyable clues (Semifinal and Airport fall into that category), there were a few too many convoluted (Role) and downright weird (Forename) ones for this to be a satisfying solve. Invariant

  33. I didn’t think you need to let port breathe as it’s fully fermented and oxygenated when bottled. Which is why it keeps for a few years once opened. 20 today with 5 needed for aftercare.
    A very good QC IMHO. Thx all. J

    1. I wouldn’t want to keep a bottle of non-vintage port after opening for longer than a month or so, maybe 6 weeks. It’ll turn to vinegar as will any other wine, just a little more slowly. I wouldn’t keep a vintage port for longer than 2 or 3 days. The fortification process protects the wine from degradation after opening to some extent, but it’s not a miracle worker!

      A young vintage port will definitely benefit from a good long sit in a decanter.

        1. 11:30 is a bit early, unless of course it’s a warm-up for a “proper” lunch, in which case yes please.

  34. 8.47 The top half all went straight in. There were lots of anagrams again today but they seemed more straightforward than yesterday. The SE was slower. CODA and FLEECE are the kind of clues I can stare at for ten minutes, but happily they took only a couple. TRIPE would have been slower if it hadn’t already cropped up in the last few days. Thanks to BR and Joker.

  35. Hooray! I’m still logged in – perhaps Steakcity’s hack worked 😊
    Anyway, a strange time today: just a bit over 7 minutes for everything bar one clue. After about another 5 spent on it, I was about to give up, but went away and did a load of U3A admin. Four hours later I came back, and bingo – it appeared! So close to a DNF.
    Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed this with loads of Joker’s typical clever clues and witty surfaces. I liked the unusual cluing for IKON and ROLE, and ticks went next to GONDOLA, ANIMATOR and TIE.
    FOI Sup LOI Aftercare COD Manifesto – like Traveller, I wondered whether ‘faint’ could double up in the parsing! It was closely followed by FLEECE (I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at that one)
    Thanks Joker and BR

  36. Enjoyed this even if it did take a bit of work (or maybe because it took just the right amount of work). But I dispute that TRIPE is food 😂

  37. Another day when I avoided the SCC – it’s almost becoming a habit. All green in 18:15 – Battle of Waterloo. Many of the same comments as above (AFTERCARE, IKON, TIE) but nothing more than MERs. LOI SPLINTER which took far longer to appear than it should. An enjoyable QC – thanks Joker and br for the usual excellent blog.

  38. We had a quick start in the bottom half of the puzzle, then slowed down. Enjoyed airport once the penny dropped. Nice puzzle.

  39. Slow going on this one and, as yesterday, I spent a good 5 minutes on the last couple of clues. In this case it was the 19dn/23ac intersection that caused the problem. All done and parsed (except for STATE OF THE ART) in 25 minutes. I took a long time to unravel the anagrams at 3dn and 17ac and took far too long to see CODA at 19dn. Without the first letter of 23ac but with all the other crossers I spent some time trying to understand why the answer should be motorcade, before eventually concluding that it clearly wasn’t!

    LOI – 23ac AFTERCARE
    COD – 9ac AIRPORT

    Thanks to Joker and BR

  40. Took me 28 minutes whilst waiting for a delayed Eurotunnel train. A lot of hard thinking required! LOI AFTERCARE. IKON not often seen thus.

  41. Slow today but only because I fell asleep holding a glass of wine in the late afternoon sun, after a lovely day diving the coastal lava caves in the Aegean. I might have evaded the SCC had I remained awake, but I’ll never know now. Hey-ho. First world problems.

  42. A nice workout from Joker. Several in pencil until I convinced myself they were good. Held up at the end by China/Tripe cross but really shouldn’t have been.
    FOI 1a Manifesto
    LOI 21a Tripe
    COD 9a Airport

  43. No problem with AFTERCARE as I’ve recently had ro leave my flat to pass my declining years in a care home, requiring assistance for bathing etc.

  44. For once too tired after a very long day to plug away at this quirky QC. DNF with AFTERCARE and ANIMATOR unsolved. Totally fooled by ‘originally’ as an anagram indicator. Much to like including AIRPORT (which also had me scratching my head for a while) and GONDOLA (lovely surface). Many thanks to BR and Joker.

  45. Nearly gave up after staring at 23a for about ten minutes then it fell into place for another finish.
    AFTERCARE was both my LOI and my LFC (least favourite clue)
    Thanks to Joker and BR for the parsing.

  46. I originally registered with ‘Time for the Times’ years (possibly decades) ago. I was always grateful for the enormous help provided by the blogs and the occasional personal assistance from other members – particularly in the days when the 15×15 was within my grasp (I still remember Peter Biddlecombe explaining to me why ‘i’ = ‘current’) . Over the years, my efforts have been confined to the QC and I have become merely a passive visitor to the site with, hence, no need to log in. However I decided that it was about time I registered my thanks to all bloggers and contributors once again. Failure! My efforts to log in brought up a message that I was a ‘purged account’. I seem to have got round that. So, thank you everybody. My one request: would those contributors who, sometimes vituperatively, blame the setters for requiring GK beyond that of the contributor please recognise that even a modest challenge such as a QC can still present an opportunity to learn. It’s never too late!

    1. Well said. It can’t be easy for the setters to judge the difficulty of every clue and although I sometimes get frustrated I learn something new each time.

  47. I found this more difficult than average. At the end I got Animator and Semifinal, and then stared at 23A, coming back to the crossword several times until I did an alphabet trawl of the second letter and got it. I imagined it meant a guarantee of an appliance. Not too keen on Forename, but liked Airport. Thank you Joker and BletchelyReject.

  48. 19:23

    Thought this was going to be a quick one but the first half proved much easier despite the checkers. Struggled to see AIRPORT and LOI AFTERCARE.

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