Times Quick Cryptic 2072 by Joker


7:09, with some tricky bits!



1   Avoid cold and fever? (5)
Maybe as in, like, ‘cheat death’?

7   In peril at disturbing snake, perhaps (9)

9   Small step — and where a famous one took place? (5)
As opposed to a giant leap.

10   Deficit reduced some months before winter (9)

11   Individual running with energy (3)
ONE = ON + E

12   Plane’s instrument’s date shown during change (9)

14   Fungus — a lot stood all around (9)

16   Clubs winning trophy (3)
CUP = C + UP
“Up by three”.

18   Oddity of new dress I reworked (9)

20   Unfavourably review / list of candidates (5)
SLATE = double definition

21   Have discussions about a key overseas office (9)
Didn’t parse this.

22   Used pound found in street (5)


1   About to go wrong initially over gaming house (6)
CASINO = CA + SIN + first letter of OVER

2   Treated oxen parasite causing irritation (12)

3   Insert spring into lock for unlawful entry (8)

4   Shoot rook in stream (6)

5   Ale? Mine’s got nitrogen in (4)
PINT = PIT around N

6   One with corner on river? (6)
All-in-one clue.

8   Halting in truck before you finally departed (12)
INARTICULATE = IN + ARTIC + last letter of YOU + LATE

13   What’s sweet moment with girls (8)

14   Hit seen at No.1 among the hits which are considered key (6)
Didn’t parse this at all and it was very fooling.

15   Stage works composed as per Ring (6)
OPERAS = anagram of AS PER O

17   Service provider enquires intrusively over time (6)
Cute definition.

19   Barrel containing last of methylated spirit (4)

47 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2072 by Joker”

  1. I can never remember how to spell ‘weird’, and sure enough I wrote in WIERDNESS, which sure enough I corrected with 2d. THWACK is a lovely example of an initial/terminal letter clue, which are generally pretty easy. I had an MER at CHEAT; I can’t do better than Jeremy’s example, but even there it doesn’t really work. Jeremy, you forgot the underlines for 14d and 9ac. 5:55.
  2. 22 minutes all parsed other than THWACK which went in on definition and checking letters. Although I should have seen how it worked and I thought it was my LOI until I spotted a gaping hole at 6dn ANGLER.
    I remembered MOLASSES from my farm days so that’s my WOD.

    Edited at 2022-02-16 06:52 am (UTC)

  3. Lots to enjoy, especially in retrospect. All green in 16 with some tussles along the way. Biggest groan for SHORTFALL which held out longer than it should due to a failure to see beyond autumn for the months before winter, especially daft as the short part was pretty clear by then. Also enjoyed PINT for the surface and had unncessary anguish over whether “I met” could mean date — all I had to do was see how else the ‘alter’ in ALTIMETER could have been split. Spotted SPENT quickly but took an age for my brain to justify ‘pound’ for ‘pen’ — of all the occassions I’ve heard that usage 99% or more must have been in American films and always to do with dogs.
  4. 10 minutes. I also often have a problem spelling ‘weird’ but not today as the I-checker was in place before I got to the clue.

    I don’t understand the misgivings about cheating/avoiding death, it even has its own entry in Collins:

    cheat death
    If you say that someone cheats death, you mean they only just avoid being killed.


    1. That definition is, I assume, from COBUILD, a dictionary for non-native speakers, where they tend, justifiably, to skip nuances and complications. The clue simply says ‘avoid’, and I find it hard to equate avoiding X with cheating X, other than Jeremy’s example.
      1. Do we need more than one example?

        If Collins Cobuild isn’t good enough, how about Collins printed dictionary which has: 3: to escape or avoid (something unpleasant) by luck or cunning: to cheat death

        1. I agree re having no issues with CHEAT and have also heard it used with regard to queues as an alternative to ‘jump’ and to traffic as an alternative to ‘beat’

          Edited at 2022-02-16 09:05 am (UTC)

  5. Made harder work of this than I should have done due to misspelling WIERD and having a complete brainfreeze over LOI SPACE, despite immediately thinking about Mr Armstrong’s famous quote.
    THWACK took and age to parse and the PDM was swiftly followed by my hand inadvertently connecting with my forehead.
    A tough but enjoyable challenge from Joker, completed in 13.38 with COD to SHORTFALL.
    Thanks to Jeremy
  6. Maybe I’m just having an off period but this was another tough quickie this week for me, going over 20mins with very few flying in. I very much enjoyed THWACK both as clued here and the word itself. Thanks Jeremy for the sparse James Ellroy style blog and Joker for the puzzle.
  7. CASINO FOI, DRUM LOI. Took a moment to see how THWACK worked. 8:19. Thanks Joker and Jeremy.
  8. I went with the I before E except after C spelling of WIERD too, but it looked WEIRD. Two hold ups today. I wanted 1a to be ‘crave’ and I had to do a long alphabet trawl for my LOI PRIEST which also gets my COD. 10:54

    Edited at 2022-02-16 09:26 am (UTC)

  9. Twelve minutes, FOI reptilian, LOI drum. Did not parse trespass. Thanks, Jeremy, and Joker.
  10. After yesterday’s biff fest, today was a purposefull stroll through the grid to completion in 22 leisurely minutes, all parsed, even my pet hate of the key of E in CONSULATE. LOI THWACK which with SHORTFALL were my JCODs.
    Thanks Joker and Jeremy
  11. … and struggled to a completion in 17 minutes. Several clues left me feeling a little underwhelmed — in 1A Cheat, it wasn’t so much cheat = avoid that caused me to pause as heat = fever: they are not really synonyms are they? 9A Space — is the Moon in Space? I suppose so, in the same sense that the Earth is too, but I don’t myself often think of it as such. 6D Angler — didn’t know how to characterise this clue. Corner on River clearly gives ANGLE+R, but “One with”? Is the whole clue the definition, and then some parts of the clue doing double duty as the construction?

    I was also held up on 19D Drum, where “containing” completely confused me and I was looking for a three letter word meaning barrel that I could insert a D into to make a word meaning spirit. One up to Joker on that one! On the other hand, 14D Thwack did not delay me as a surface this convoluted always makes me check for initial or final letter clues. And 21A Consulate, my COD, I parsed as Consult around A and then the Key is the E.

    So, a bit of a curate’s egg in my view. But solved eventually.

    Many thanks to Jeremy for the blog

    1. Cedric, ‘fever heat’ is a common enough expression.

      One of goals of the ‘Space Race’ between the USSR and USA which began in the late 1950’s was to land a man on the moon.

      The key feature of &lit (all-in-one) clues such as 6dn is that the words in the clue serve both as wordplay and definition. The usual rule/convention about double duty does not apply.

      Hope this helps.

      Edited at 2022-02-16 06:32 pm (UTC)

  12. Too much biffing then rubbing out.
    FOI CASINO, unparsed initially. LOI THWACK, unparsed. I was rather pleased with biffing Djin but had to change to DRUM. A PDM with SHORTFALL helped.
    MOLASSES was also a help as I crawled around the grid. POI SLATE.
    Liked ANGLER, TOADSTOOL, TRESPASS, tho last two were guesses.
    Thanks for much needed blog, Jeremy.
  13. LOI CHEAT after several looks. Prior to that THWACK.
    I enjoyed this. Precise clueing but with some tricks and traps. COD to PRIEST.
    I must have been on the wavelength as I finished in 08:51 including a longish look at CHEAT where the definition was cleverly, but fairly, hidden.
  14. 17 minutes, taken 2 over target by my LOI SLATE, where I just couldn’t equate the answer with the second definition for some reason, so spent a long time trying to justify it. I also considered SEARE and SHAME as possible candidates, but I eventually plumped for the right answer. Thanks J and J.
  15. A lot of “2 Down” with this offering and somewhat of a
    “10 Across” in completed clues after the first 15 minutes but managed to finish correctly in 25 minutes without any
    “1 Across”-ing.

    With 2 out of 3 QCs completed correctly this week I am flying high ; I must check my “12 Across”.

    Regards All.

  16. I suspect I am half beaten before I start with a Joker puzzle these days — this one certainly did nothing to change my view of his position in the pecking order of difficulty, yet I see others coasting along. Stopped four short after 30mins for a cup of tea, but even then loi Angler took an alphabet trawl. CoD to 17d, Priest. Invariant
  17. Lots of misdirections here for me: Thinking ‘pound’ was the money, not the pen; thinking ‘mine’s’ to do with my, not the pit. All good clues.
    Am still unclear about 8D – why is ‘truck’ ‘arctic’? I had an articulated lorry on the brain so biffed it though.
    A relief after yesterday’s big DNF
        1. Yes, that was toe-curling, wasn’t it? And not forgetting the penguin inhabitants!

          Edited at 2022-02-16 01:59 pm (UTC)

          1. Considering the contestants are running their own “successful” businesses, the standard is depressingly poor. I’m sure the BBC weed out the better applicants before the series starts, on the basis that the failures, like this one, are comedy gold.
            1. The daughter of a friend of mine went for an audition and described it to me, when she got back. There were lots of team-building, simple tasks.
              She was in the top ten for team rapport, skills and outcomes.
              However, the candidates who were selected were of a particular personality type, they played up to the cameras and were outrageous, at times. Sulky, etc.
              I said, do you mean showoffs and prima donnas? She said that they were. So, you’re right.
  18. A worrying recurrence of tiredness means no time to report, but at least 30 minutes.
    Very tricky today but stuck at it and completed it!
    LOI Sprout
    Many caused anguish as Consulate, Priest, Drum etc
    Enjoyed Space and Thwack particularly.
    Thanks all
  19. A small step into the SCC as I completed this in 21 mins.

    Overall, I enjoyed it — although I had to think twice about a few definitions (1ac “Cheat” and 20ac “Slate” come to mind) and probably a few more seconds wasted thinking about whether the before mentioned small step was actually in space (or on the moon).

    FOI — 1dn “Casino”
    LOI — 4dn “Sprout”
    COD — 17dn “Priest” — very neat clue.

    Thanks as usual!

  20. I started last week with two DNFs, but then fought back strongly to end the week 3-2 up. By close of play yesterday I was again 0-2 down, and once again I have started to claw my way back into contention with a 31 minute finish today.

    A slow start to this morning’s puzzle did not bode well, but the lower half of the grid came to my rescue and I gradually worked my way back up from there. Each time I suspected I had ground to a halt the next solution somehow popped into my head, seemingly from absolutely nowhere. How does that happen? What goes on in the brain?

    My last three in were SHORTFALL (I couldn’t get ‘shortage’ out of my head), ANGLER and SPACE (my LOI). I particularly liked THWACK, although it didn’t come quickly.

    Mrs Random crossed the line in 23 minutes, and was pleasantly surprised that I had done well today. She doesn’t understand why I struggle when she and most others find it relatively easy, and I almost sail through on more tricky days. I wish I knew the answer.

    Many thanks to Joker and Jeremy.

    Edited at 2022-02-16 11:36 am (UTC)

  21. About half of this went in fairly easily in about 12 minutes, but then I just ground to a complete halt for over 20 minutes. I just couldn’t work out anything, but I couldn’t believe that many clues could defeat me, so I had to press on. The breakthrough came when I started experimenting with putting letters in the the EXASPERATION anagram, which I should have done earlier, as, once I’d seen it probably ended -ATION, it wasn’t difficult. After that it was still a grind, but they slowly went in and I finished, after 55:47 on THWACK. No problem with any of the clues now I can see them, but Joker certainly led me a merry dance today. COD to ANGLER. Thanks Jeremy and Joker.
    1. … I do sympathise, as one of those is an all too common experience for this member of the Random household. I think they’re even harder to break out of if you still have several clues remaining. More difficult to focus, perhaps?
  22. 9:47, although timer did not start until FOI (PINT) after a couple of minutes of increasing panic.

    Like others, mis-spelt WIERD, did not think the moon is in “in space”, and took ages to see pen=pound.

    COD PRIEST (“Service Provider”).

    1. Dear Merlin,
      May I respectfully enquire as to the whereabouts of the moon if it’s not in ‘space’? Come to think of it though, I seem to remember seeing it in the ‘sky’ from time to time.

      Edited at 2022-02-16 03:17 pm (UTC)

  23. Very tricky or not on the wavelength or both. Eventually finished in 27 mins but several were biffs (thanks for untangling these for me Jeremy). Lots to like in here but in my opinion Joker’s offerings are definitely becoming more difficult.

    FOI – 9ac SPACE
    LOI – 14dn THWACK
    COD – 17dn PRIEST

  24. We really enjoyed today’s puzzle — some very clever clueing. Steed spotted THWACK and parsed it and we had no trouble with WEIRD but it took us ages to get PRIEST. We finished in 15 minutes.


    Thanks Jeremy and Joker.

  25. …so a vast improvement over last week’s efforts. FOI CASINO, LOI SHORTFALL (searched fruitlessly for a shortened synonym of deficit for quite some time). COD PRIEST 😆 Many thanks Joker and Jeremy.
  26. Held up by 8d inarticulate, also slate at 20a, forgetting its use as a list. Quite tricky overall pushing us beyond our 30m target.
  27. ….despite which I never felt that I was progressing smoothly. I very carelessly entered an unparsed “thwart” and lost time backing it out once my LOI jumped out at me.

    TIME 4:07

  28. FOI CHEAT = avoid – as explained by Jack & Co



    WOD 14dn THWACK

    Roll on Thursday.

  29. my previous ‘gentle’ approach did not work too well today, I needed to think harder. 38 min but 2 total fails and 2 slipped under the parse barrier. Sprout(s) we eat, and enjoy shoots in the garden these Spring days, but failed to get it. Thwack is nice to know but quite obtuse before you see it. Slate and Spent eventual had-to-be’s. Appreciated.
  30. I am away from home and only started this at 5pm. I managed to finish it despite some annoying connection difficulties (Wi-Fi that is). I shared many of the problems mentioned above. Some quite demanding clues, I thought.
    No meaningful time, thanks to disconnections but I am sure I was over target.
    Hope for better connectivity tomorrow. John M.
  31. An hour this morning had the top half done (except SPROUT)
    An hour and a half this evening didn’t add much more.

    Turns out the reason I couldn’t quite parse TOADSTOOL is because it’s not spelled toadstall ! That held me up on OPERAS.

    Took an age to sort the WEIRDNESS anagram but that gave me MOLASSES, SLATE and DRUM.

    Couldn’t figure out SPROUT, PRIEST or THWACK so had to give up at that point.

    LOI CONSULATE (of those done)

  32. Took an age to decipher INARTICULATE and then foolishly biffed LOI SLEPT when SPENT was obvious with a little more thought. The clock had already hit 25 minutes so a bad day anyway.
  33. I was going well until 17dn which I was puzzling over for longer than I care to admit. Back in the SCC today as a result. Frustrating as I had spotted most of the other misdirections. A very clever QC.

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