Times Quick Cryptic 1251 by Joker

HO, HO, HOpe you all have a good day/week/year. During the last year it’s been a pleasure to see the progression of lurkers to newbies to old hands, increasing completions and shortening times. I’ve also throughly enjoyed the fun of everyone’s contributions – with a particular nod to GR (golden raspberry), SCC (Slow Coach Club) and the Kevinometer timing scale.
As for today’s crossword, I found it to be average difficulty – 9 minutes – but lacking in any obvious festive frivolity. In fact, a probably unintentional Nina (hidden message) at 2 and 18dn seems distinctly un-Christian. I prefer the alternative message at 6 and 15dn. Let me know if anyone can work out any more meaningful message.
Thanks and season’s greetings to Joker for many a smile (13 and 23ac and 15dn), and, of course, to you all.


1. PERVERSE – difficult (as in an individual). For each (PER), part of poem (VERSE).
5. OSLO – capital. A little of to(O SLO)aney.
8. RAPID – quick. Attack (RAID) seizes power (P).
9. RECORDS – registers. A lot of (RE)d, trousers (CORDS).
11. LINE MANAGER – immediate boss. Anagram (making changes to) ANGER MENIAL.
13. APEMEN – old relatives. Anagram (possibly) of MEAN to introduce exercises (PE).
14. SOMBRE – dismal. A number (SOME) holding British Rail (BR).
17. COMBINATION – alliance. Search (COMB), Island (I), people (NATION).
20. INSIGHT – innate understanding. If something is apparent it is IN SIGHT.
21. AWAKE – conscious. A (A), stir (WAKE).
22. GASP – pant. Quietly (P) after oxygen perhaps (GAS). So it turns out that this doesn’t end with _ _ SH after all.
23. BRIEFEST – most quickly. The answer is ‘got’ through French cheese event (BRIE FEST).


1. PARK – leave (we’ll park that one and come back to it later). Standard (PAR), kilometre (K).
2. REPULSE – check (an attack). Concerning (RE), heartbeat (PULSE).
3. ENDANGERING – putting at risk. Cease (END), getting (someone) annoyed (ANGERING).
4. SCRIMP – economise. Seconds (S) before squeeze (CRIMP).
6. SHRUG – used to brush (something) off. Small (S), hotel (H), carpet (RUG).
7. OBSERVER – one watching. Old (O), British (B), computer (SERVER).
10. CONSOLIDATE – fuse. Anagram (destroyed) of SECTION LOAD.
12. MARCHING – on a protest – an example of marching – hence the (?). Millions (M), rising up centrally (ARCHING – e.g. a bridge rising upwards from each end to the centre).
15. BONDAGE – slavery. Ian Fleming created the James Bond series in 1953 since when spies have lived in the BOND AGE.
16. MASTER – gain control over. Anagram (flowing) of STREAM.
18. MOSES – Jewish leader. Muslim places of worship (MOS)qu(ES) – not having question (QU). I looked it up for the blog – Collins does have question=qu.
19. NEWT – creature. Wife (W) caught in trap (NET).

22 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1251 by Joker”

  1. A couple of DNKs–LINE MANAGER and PARK– slowed me down a bit; I only put in PARK when I was forced to. I came within an ace of biffing AWARE, I’ll confess, but a little voice said to me, “What’s ware?”, and answer came there none. 5:25.
  2. 10 minutes but only just as I lost time on the long anagram at 10dn and on BONDAGE. Also 20ac didn’t leap to mind.
    1. Excellent! Seems a lot longer than the 3:41 it actually is. Whilst similar in dogged determination, I think our very own SCC wins out on style.
  3. A sluggish SCC time of 18.20 plus a careless PART for PARK. Tsk tsk. Maybe 05.30 isn’t the best time to try the QC. 13 and 23ac, 18dn particularly good. BONDAGE raised a smile, indeed, but in my book one of those clues which will not actually give you the answer because the cryptic bit is too obscure (or am I alone in not knowing when Bond started? I thought it must be something to do with the coronation). Thanks all for a witty, encouraging and helpful blog, remarkably free of the side or antagonism which so often seems a part of such things. Merry Christmas.
  4. Held up by SOMBRE, BONDAGE and AWAKE at the end, wondering how you could have a ‘stir’ after a funeral. doh. 6:21. Merry Christmas to all.
    P.S. No I couldn’t find a hidden message here either, but there is a nicely hidden one in today’s Concise.

    Edited at 2018-12-25 09:35 am (UTC)

  5. Wishing all setters, bloggers and scribblers the very best and hope all have a great time and year ahead.

    Small note the QC 1251 in the subscription version of the Times is different to the on line version! This made for some confused checking.


  6. In my online app edition of the Times, I get the Christmas Day edition of the paper, and a heading for QC 1251 by Joker, but get yesterday’s grid and clues. Anyone else had these issues?
    1. It seems that Sybar (above) also had a problem. Try going on your browser – it’s how I access the online version.
      1. Same for me. I waited until now (23.20) and it is still the previous day’s puzzle under the 1250 Teazel heading. John M.
  7. I did this after coming back to my hotel after Midnight Mass. FOI Perverse which I’d just seen elsewhere, LOI MARCHING, which held me up for a while. Liked BONDAGE which didn’t spring to mind. 8:54. Thanks Joker and Chris. Off to breakfast now, then I’ll stroll round to my brother’s house for Christmas lunch and drinks. Merry Christmas everybody.
  8. I found this quite slow going and was held up at the end by an old foe. I have a vague memory of being defeated by APEMAN as an old relative in a previous puzzle – but at least I solved it this time. Particularly enjoyed 23a andn completed in 17.02
    Thanks for the blog
    Oh and todays 15×15 seems reasonably attemptable
  9. fairly straightforward, only 12, 13, 15 & 17 slowing me down …
    13 because possibly is often not an anagram indicator, but a suggestion type.
    thanks to blogger, setter and all who contribute.
    p.s. I might give the main Cryptic a go now!
  10. Thanks Joker and a big thanks to Chris for the blog. No problems today other than with my LOI 1d PARK which just put me over the 10 mins target. 13a APEMEN required all the checkers. I must remember that possibly can also be an anagram indicator.
  11. Time not submitted as interrupted by arrival of family. BONDAGE got from checkers, as no idea of date. Thanks to bloggers and Merry Christmas to all
  12. In my online app edition of the Times, I get the Christmas Day edition of the paper, and a heading for QC 1251 by Joker, but get yesterday’s grid and clues. Anyone else had these issues?
    1. Me too. I had hoped that it would corrected during the day with a ne edition, but unhappily not
  13. 2.8 Kevins but after fizz, goose, claret, plum duff, Sauternes, cheese and port it’s a miracle I finished it at all so I’m ranking that as a Good Day!

    Merry Christmas all – and my heartfelt thanks to the expert bloggers and regulars from whom I have learned so much this year.


  14. I got to this a day late and found it very tough. Didn’t really enjoy it. Too many interruptions for a meaningful (but definitely SCC) time. John M.

Comments are closed.