Times Quick Cryptic 1327 by Joker

Joker continues this week’s run of mid-difficulty puzzles. Nothing jumped out to start with in the NW, so my FOI was 4dn, but one clue led to another nicely after that. I was thrown off by the lack of capitalisation at 19dn (unless I’m ignorant of a valid abbreviation for the religious ceremony), and had to check that the carpet at 12ac was a thing (it is, though usually called a rug). The surface readings are nice and witty, as is usual with this setter, so difficult to choose a CoD; I’m going to plump for 7ac. On edit: it turns out I got stuck in a mental cul-de-sac at 19dn; see Kevin’s comment below.

Definitions underlined.

7 Unattached ladies and gents couple finally (5)
LOOSE – LOOS (ladies and gents) with the last letter of (finally) couplE.
8 Chap after info that’s comprehensive (7)
GENERIC – ERIC (chap) after GEN (info).
10 Sloth I train to run with energy (7)
INERTIA – anagam of (to run) I TRAIN and E (energy).
11 Taxi home: there’s room (5)
CABIN – CAB (taxi) and IN (home).
12 Realistic carpet made from fabric strips in picture (9)
PRAGMATIC – RAG MAT (carpet made from fabric strips) inside (in) PIC (picture).
14 Form of enemy, primarily (3)
FOE – first letters of (primarily) Form Of Enemy.
15 Rubbish to run over (3)
ROT – TO and R (run) all reversed (over).
16 High on drugs, son walked some distance (6,3)
SPACED OUT – S (son) and PACED OUT (walked some distance).
18 A fade out in the middle is so long (5)
ADIEU – A, DIE (fade), and the middle letter of (in the middle) oUt.
20 What reminds me to get men in (7)
MEMENTO – ME and TO with MEN inside.
22 Farm vehicle having rubbish to carry about (7)
TRACTOR – ROT (rubbish) and CART (to carry) all reversed (about).
23 Letter of thanks after article (5)
THETA – TA (thanks) after THE (article).

1 Crucial one million left with social worker after everything (3-9)
ALL-IMPORTANT – I (one), M (million), PORT (left) and ANT (social worker), after ALL (everything).
2 Prediction of rising changed in form (8)
FORECAST – OF reversed (rising), then RECAST (changed in form).
3 Sensed the texture of soft material (4)
FELT – double definition.
4 Some fleabag has them horrified (6)
AGHAST – hidden in (some) fleabAG HAS Them.
5 What’s tricky to keep balanced in university round? (8)
UNICYCLE – UNI (university) and CYCLE (round).
6 Lacking brightness, poet is sent up (4)
DRAB – BARD (poet) reversed (sent up).
9 Orthodox religious community on Iona left (12)
CONVENTIONAL – CONVENT (religious community), IONA and L (left).
13 Fly Ecuadorean capital after some uprising doesn’t end (8)
MOSQUITO – QUITO (Ecuadorean capital) after a reversal of (uprising) SOMe without the last letter (doesn’t end).
14 Get into difficulties and go down outside loch (8)
FLOUNDER – FOUNDER (go down) surrounding (outside) L (loch).
17 Warmly approve of Merida when travelling (6)
ADMIRE – anagram of (when travelling) MERIDA.
19 I’m holding mass as prayer leader (4)
IMAMI’M surrounding (holding) MA (Mass., as in Massacheusets). I AM (I’m) surrounding (holding) M (mass).
21 Don’t start to hit small child (4)
MITE – sMITE (to hit) missing the first letter (don’t start).

30 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1327 by Joker”

  1. This went quickly, but then I biffed several: 12ac, 22ac, 1d, 2d. Actually, I biffed IMAM too, and only parsed it when reading the blog. 4:37.
  2. Somewhere between parsing and the page my brain managed to change MEMENTO to MOMENTO, so a red square, but done in 13m. Thought some of these clues were more cryptic than usual, so pleased to make such rapid progress. Seems others found it less taxing than me though. Didn’t know Quito was the capital so fly held me up, as did LOI MITE.
  3. 9 minutes. Not being in full blogging mode today, I didn’t spot the absence of capital M for Mass(achusetts) in 19dn which breaks one of the rules or conventions of Times crosswords. I shall try to find out from the current editor whether it’s still supposed to appply. For anyone not familiar with it, it’s this: Words that require capital letters in the cryptic reading must have them.
  4. I knew Quito but had never heard of Merida, which didn’t matter. Two lots of ROT to chuck out today, it’s our bin day here. I was going a mite too quickly so pencilled in General at 8a with a mental note to check later. This led to 9d being LOI as I was looking at something starting with L. But I still got home in 9:27. David
  5. Just under 15 mins including a check for typos.

    Loi 16a, where I was a bit stoned out.

    Only parsing trouble was founder for go down, then i remembered as in a ship foundering. Otherwise plain sailing.

    Cod loose or spaced out.

  6. I found this one difficult and finished in 33 minutes, well over my 20 minute target. Most of my problems were with the wordplay and I still had several un-parsed at the end, so it may have just been me being stupid.
    Thanks for the very helpful blog.


  7. Joker has given me problems before so a near PB of 8.31 very pleasing. COD to 10d.
  8. So pleased with today because I felt a bit thick after my difficulties yesterday. I know this won’t be fast compared to the experienced solvers but I completed this in 10 minutes which is the speediest I’ve ever managed. I usually find that I’m on the same wavelength as Joker and such was the case today, too. Unusually also was that I seemed to be able to answer them more or less linearly. That means that my COD is also my FOI – 1 across. Thanks, Joker, for a super start to the day and, thanks, too, to William for a really helpful blog.
      1. No! I don’t believe it! Well, I’m going to enjoy the moment because it’s unlikely to ever happen again! How very kind and generous of you to tell me this. Thank you!
  9. 13m today, with no particular difficulties, although I did pause over the equivalence of GENERIC and COMPREHENSIVE. The former has always meant ‘of a particular class or type’ to me, and doesn’t imply comprehensiveness in my mind. My Chambers app seems to agree with me, or am I missing something?
    1. A generic drug is one which treats a class of complaints, so it’s comprehensive in the sense that it replaces any of a group of proprietary ones.
      1. A generic drug is a medication created to be the same as an existing approved brand-name drug in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, and performance characteristics. Generic medicines work the same as brand-name medicines.
  10. ….and that’s why I took so long !

    My slowest QC solve in some while. I parsed the “rag mat” after completion, but thanks to William for sorting out ADIEU, which I just didn’t get.

    Further to 4D, I watched “Fleabag” a week or so back. What’s all the fuss about ? I barely smiled. Chacon a son gout I suppose.

    TIME 5:48

  11. I trotted happily through this one in 6:38. FOI, LOOSE, LOI MITE. No problems. Nice puzzle. Thanks Joker and William.
  12. Started well in the NW and progressed steadily, but needed a second sitting to get the last 4 or 5 in the SE corner. Spent too long trying to fit OR (men/other ranks) into 20ac, and couldn’t see 9d for ages as well. In the end, just grateful to finish. Quite liked the surface of 23ac, so that gets my CoD vote. Invariant
  13. Held up, but only marginally, by MOSQUITO (having forgotten what the capital was) and PRAGMATIC, my LOI. COD to SPACED OUT. 5:15.
  14. I may have been quicker if the keyboard attached to my iPad functioned but at sub 10 minutes (just) I am not complaining. I am not always on wavelength with Joker and today I biffed two, namely FORECAST and ADIEU. I genuinely couldn’t see where the U came from in the parsing! Thanks for the explanation in the blog. The inclusion of Quito in the grid has reminded me that I need to fill in some travel forms for my trip to there and the Galápagos Islands in May. 9:37
  15. I usually struggle with Joker but this was all pretty straightforward. Maybe it’s the sea breeze in sunny Whitby, or just having a break. Only a few to fill in after the first pass. Struggled to parse 18d with Mass. but accepted the wordplay – so thanks to the blog for tidying that up. COD for the imagery of 16a.
  16. I came to this after a busy day and was just not on Joker’s wavelength, I’m afraid. This is not unusual. I biffed FORECAST and FLOUNDER but was slow to parse them. I thought UNICYCLE and LOOSE were clever. A little over 20 mins and I’m not happy with that. Thanks to Joker, though, and I’m grateful to William for help parsing a couple including PRAGMATIC (rag mat indeed!). John M.
  17. A bit of a double take over the ROT appearing twice but other than that this went in without too many issues, although I only parsed IMAM and FORECAST after biffing. Completed in 8.59 with LOI LOOSE.
    Thanks for the blog

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