Times Quick Cryptic 2170 by Joker


I needed 12 minutes for this one, delayed by two or three clues on the RH side and difficulty parsing 4dn. A puzzle quite remarkable for containing only one very short anagram.


As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Young elephant caught with a large female (4)
C (caught – cricket), A, L (large), F (female)
4 Minute is time to get letters out? (8)
M (minute), IS, SPELL (time)
8 Ruin rolling hill, with decrease in value (8)
DOWN (rolling hill), FALL (decrease in value). There’s no shortage of downs in the south of England.
9 Scornfully reject cakes that are sent back (4)
BUNS (cakes) reversed [sent back]
10 A lot of stars cheerful about Los Angeles Times (6)
GAY (cheerful) containing [about] LA (Los Angeles) + X (times)
11 Uncertain about noisy Yankee (6)
C (about – circa), LOUD (noisy), Y (Yankee – NATO alphabet). SOED: cloudy (of ideas etc.) unclear, indistinct, vague.
12 Very latest express frequently runs in hot weather (5-2-3-3)
STATE (express), OFT (frequently), then R (runs – cricket) contained by [in] HEAT (hot weather)
16 Socially awkward cowboy never finished end of ride (6)
GAUCH{o} (cowboy) [never finished], {rid}E [end of …]
17 Upset fish in tin (6)
HAKE (fish) contained by [in] SN (tin – periodic table)
19 Manchester orchestra wants no echo where they may play (4)
HALL} (Manchester orchestra) [wants no echo – e in the  NATO alphabet]. The orchestra takes its name from its founder Sir Charles Hallé. 
20 Broadcast drunk? Beyond question (8)
AIR (broadcast), TIGHT (drunk). Often used figuratively of a legal case or argument.
21 Scope for drama, perhaps, where kids run free? (8)
PLAY (drama), ROOM (scope)
22 Regularly repairing pocket (4)
{r}E{p}A{i}R{i}N{g} [regularly].  ‘Pocket’ in this context usually carries overtones of dishonesty, but I have heard it used casually to mean earn a wage or salary.
2 Bouquet got by taking part of Figaro masterfully (5)
Hidden in [part of] {Fig}ARO MA{sterfully}
3 Devotee mostly liking everything in Frozen tremendously (13)
FAN (devotee), TAST{e} (liking) [mostly], then ALL (everything) contained by [in] ICY (frozen)
4 Gosh, about to take meal that’s substantial (5)
MY (gosh!) containing [about] EAT (take meal)
5 Very good and legitimate request (7)
SO (very good – just so), LICIT (legitimate)
6 Mailmanperhaps recovering from cuts? (4-9)
I’ve indicated this as two definitions but I think the first one wouldn’t take the hyphen so it doesn’t quite qualify, it’s more of  a helpful alternative way to the answer.
7 Clean moon vehicle carrying uranium (7)
LANDER (moon vehicle) containing [carrying] U (uranium – periodic table again)
10 Cut removing hospital oxygen, say (3)
GAS{h} (cut) [removing hospital]
13 Footpath around area — very hard work (7)
TRAIL (footpath) containing [around] A (area) + V (very)
14 A particular herb, or, for instance, a number (7)
OR, EG (for instance), A, NO (number)
15 Brown ant running (3)
Anagram [running] of ANT
17 Go away! Shout loudly to remove European (5)
SCR{e}AM (shout loudly) [remove European]
18 Anaesthetic is article in emergency room (5)
THE (definite article) contained by [in] ER (emergency room)

70 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2170 by Joker”

  1. Just under 17 min. I always expect “number “to give ETHER so anaesthetic was I guess a sign this was a QC. Thought SHAKEN would be “ide” inside “can” somehow but when that failed luckily remembered tin was SN. COD to POST -OPERATIVE. Needed blog to help parse STATE -OF-THE-ART and FANTASTICALLY- thanks for those and rest of explanations.

  2. Lots I didn’t know in this one, but I’m glad I did Chemistry at uni, lots of those today.

    I DNF, and I didn’t know
    Down = hill
    Gaucho = cowboy
    Hake = type of fish
    Halle = the Manchester orchestra
    Tight = yet another word for drunk

    I needed the blog for parsing State of the Art and I’m still not sure how ‘get letters out’ means misspell.

    I liked OREGANO a lot!

    1. If you misspell something you get the letters wrong. ‘Wrong’ and ‘out’ are synonyms in the sense of being incorrect.

  3. Biffed STATE-OF-THE-ART & FANTASTICALLY. MISSPELL took me a long time. 6:56.

  4. Just under 10 minutes for me. Should have been quicker since I don’t remember any holdups. I knew the Hallé orchestra, the only slightly obscure bit of GC.

  5. I was on the 15:45 from ROMA to LAX

    FOI 1ac CALF
    LOI 11ac CLOUDY
    WOD 16ac GAUCHE

    19ac The HALLÉ orchestra doesn’t travel well, I would imagine.

      1. Not so these days! I haven’t been outside of Shanghai for well over two years!

  6. Loved STATE-OF-THE-ART … and thanks for the Gaucho Steely Dan earworm for the rest of the day, Joker.
    Now I’ve written ‘Joker’, I’ve got the Steve Miller Band in my ear. Aargh.

    1. A top fella is Steve. Glad he didn’t go into politics like his brothers David and Ed

  7. 21 minutes.
    LOI: HALL BIFD with the help of the crossing letters; I didn’t know the orchestra. Also, BIFD GALAXY parsing post solve.
    OREGANO was a write-in for me as I had just added it to my shopping list.
    Favourite: MISSPELL as it initially had me thinking MAILSHOT which didn’t parse. Also, I did like the socially awkward cowboy.

  8. Mistyping TRAVAIL as ‘Travial’ wrecked HALL. So two errors from two pink squares. A real slog today. Only one on the first pass of acrosses. Downs were friendlier but I found this hard. I went to the University of Manchester so Halle was my first thought but I paused because it seemed a bit niche. I’d NHO the Halle when I went there and I have heard of it since. Always enjoy seeing SN for tin. Did wonder if the ‘adde’ was a fish at one point – hake took at long time to arrive but not as long as it took me to see what was going on with MISSPELL.

  9. I got stuck in the top right, thinking uranium = UR and not being able to unpick MISSPELL for a long time. Had to guess HALL. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 3 letter anagram before!

    FOI CALF, LOI LAUNDER, COD GALAXY, time 10:26 for 1.6K and a Meh Day.

    Many thanks Joker and Jack.


  10. 14:43, with much time on LOI MISSPELL.

    When an synonym for “drunk” is needed, always think of something from 50 years ago, such as “tight”, “squiffy”, “blotto” etc.


    1. I don’t know any of those ye olde words for being shitfaced, wasted, hammered or being faded


      1. NHO being ‘faded’. As for the others you mention I suspect the only one that might qualify as new(er) is the first, not because it necessarily is (I’m sure some people were saying it back in day) but until comparatively recently it was the norm for most people to express themselves using more moderate language and be a little more imaginative. So much more interesting that the now ubiquitous ‘pissed’ and ‘rat-arsed’ and worse.

        1. Tbf I think sometimes being faded is also a reference to drug use. Also I’m actually not young enough to use the new slew of words.

          I’ve never heard ‘rat arsed’ haha I like it

          1. It was mentioned here in a comment last week when the answer to a clue was RATTED for ‘drunk’. It may have been in the 15×15 puzzle.

      2. Well you’ve taught me one I didn’t know, though I must have been faded a few times over the years ! I tend towards rat-arsed, but to the oldies you can add “three sheets to the wind”.

  11. Thought Joker might be in a generous mood as CALF and AROMA went straight in but he made me work later on with MISSPELL, LOI SOLICIT and CLOUDY being slow to succumb. The long clues at 2d and 12a also needed a bit of work to sort out the parsing. Particularly enjoyed GALAXY and GAUCHE and finished in 9.08.
    Thanks to Jack

  12. We are closer to a QC today – makes quite a change. Thanks to Joker for bringing us back towards normality.
    A nice mix of easy, quirky, and more testing clues. I filled in the easy ones around the grid and certainly speeded up given a good range of (often essential) crossers. I managed to be within 5 seconds of my target (the wrong side, though) and enjoyed the outing. My COD is SHAKEN.
    I needed Jackkt’s help with parsing STATE-OF-THE-ART. Now back to the blog to enjoy a more relaxed re-run through the other clues. John M.

  13. 9.26

    Thought this was a bit chewier than normal so quite pleased to squeeze inside 10 minutes

    MISSPELL was v good and for a change I had no typos

    Thanks Jackkt and Joker

  14. DNF beaten by:
    SOLICIT (‘licit’ is one of those ‘heard/read of but never really hear used)
    LAUNDER (like Templar I too boldly placed UR in the middle scuppering any chance to solve)
    MISSPELL (great clue)
    CLOUDY (I should have worked harder)

    Thanks Joker and Jackkt

  15. Mid target range today.

    SOLICIT and then MISSPELL were the last two in.

    AIRTIGHT or POST OPERATIVE get today’s COD from me.

    Thanks Joker and Jack.


  16. I started off quickly with CALF and AROMA and then ground to a halt. I moved to the bottom of the grid and finally with some checkers in play the answers came thick and fast. There was quite a bit of biffing with GALAXY, STATE OF THE ART and OREGANO going in unparsed and I feel lucky to have crossed the line on target. LOI DOWNFALL 8:59

  17. Started ok, but got bogged down by DOWNFALL and most of the NE. MEATY finally opened it up and MISSPELL led to LAUNDER, and then CLOUDY led to LOI, SOLICIT. 12:34. Thanks Joker and Jack.

  18. 16 minutes, one over target, with LTI SCRAM and SHAKEN in that order. I usually like to solve roughly in order, top to bottom, so slowed myself down some by revisiting some of the unsolved clues in the top half, before moving south. If I were really interested in fast times, I guess this is a habit I should work to change. However, I really enjoyed the challenge – thanks J and J.

    Wishing all of our US friends a happy 4th of July.

  19. A very nice QC which took me 10 minutes. Last two were GAUCHE and SHAKEN; too many fish in the sea!
    Trademark Joker precision and fun.

  20. I seem to remember in bygone times Monday’s quick cryptic used to be generally on the easier side, but this seems to be no longer the case. I thought it was tougher than average, at least for me, as my 13.56 time would indicate. I seem to be outside my target time more often than not lately.
    I thought 19ac may pose a problem for some, as not everyone, particularly those not musically inclined, may have heard of The Halle.
    I don’t wish my aforementioned comment to be taken as negative in any way because I enjoyed the crossword, as I always do when Joker is the setter.

  21. dnf…

    25 mins for everything apart from 16ac “Gauche” which apart from being left in French passed me by. It’s one of those words that I probably should know but don’t, so even an alphabet trawl didn’t help.

    That apart, I still found the rest of it fairly tricky. All of the down clues in the NE corner took quite a bit of time to resolve, with 7dn “Launder” necessitating a variety of lunar vehicles (rover, buggy etc.).

    FOI – 1ac “Calf”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 6dn “Post Operative”

    Thanks as usual!

  22. Started fast, thought I was doing really well, but eventually used CCD for LAUNDER , then thought 4a was Misspelt as had to get T for time in somewhere. Oh dear.
    Slow on MEATY, DOWNFALL, SOLICIT too. Liked GAUCHE and SNUB, and AIRTIGHT made me smile.
    Thanks all, esp Jack. Yes, happy 4 July to US QCCrossworders🥂

  23. Slow progress throughout on this one, especially in the SE, eventually coming in at 21 minutes. Couldn’t parse everything though, so thanks for the explanations Jack. A testing QC, especially for a Monday, but most enjoyable nevertheless.

    FOI – 1ac CALF
    LOI – 21ac PLAYROOM
    COD – I originally thought that 14dn OREGANO was my favourite, but on re-reading I would have to say that 17ac SHAKEN might be even better.

  24. Another tough one which I was pleased to finish after much cogitation and a few guesses at unparsed answers -FANTASTICALLY, STATE OF THE ART, SOLICIT.

  25. I found this a mix of biffs and work-outs – like Kevin, I bunged in FANTASTICALLY and STATE OF THE ART, and struggled with MISSPELL, but, at 10 minutes, it took me a bit longer to get there.
    SHAKEN and SOLICIT took their time too. There seems to be a lot of OREGANO around at the moment – I’ve seen it at least three times in the last few days! Good on pizzas as well as in crosswords.
    The surface for 3d amused me a lot – I’m so glad my daughter is from the Beauty and the Beast generation! Lovely, witty songs – none of that shouty Let It Go stuff 😅
    FOI Calf LOI Misspell COD Post-operative
    Thanks, as ever, to Joker and Jackkt

    There’s a terrific clue at 1d in the biggie today! I always hesitate to recommend the 15×15 but, as it took me just under half an hour, there’s a good chance that others will find it doable too 😊

  26. “Be my DOWNFALL, be my great regret. Be the one girl that I’ll never forget” (Del Amitri – a sadly underrated band).

    I was flying, but MISSPELT/SOLICIT/CLOUDY took the best part of two minutes to crack, and then I couldn’t catch the fish, so bang went my target. More chip shops should offer silver HAKE – it’s excellent.

    TIME 5:41

    1. Ooh, I really like Del Amitri too, although I probably only know the hits – must search out some more. No problem with Steve Miller Band either 😊 The Joker was my first freebie when I worked at the record company!

  27. For once Kevin’s experience matched mine almost exactly – same hold-up on Misspell, same biffs. Except it took me 12 minutes not 7 to get there, and I put a T on the end of Misspelt/Misspell out of carelessness for a pink square. So in the end not very like Kevin at all!

    I agree with AndyPandy that if there ever was a time when Monday QC’s were slightly more approachable, it has long since stopped, and for me this was on the more “interesting” end of Joker’s recent offerings.

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog – needed today to unravel the longer clues. And yes, an interesting absence of anagrams.

  28. For 3d, Liking for taste doesn’t quite fit I think but guess we are in crossword land

  29. A few minutes over target, but better than the ones at the end of last week.

    LOI solicit . I had never come across SO meaning very good.


    1. I’m with you on this one, simjt. I don’t see how so = very good. I would usually defer to the blogger or the Mighty Meldrew, but I am not convinced by either. We must be missing something

  30. I managed to complete half of this before giving up. I got fantastically, post-operative and state of the art relatively quickly. But Halle (never heard of it), Gaucho for cowboy, (never heard of it ) caused me a real tough time.

  31. Rattled through at a breakneck pace heading for an unheard of sub 10 minute dash, barely pausing to parse, so confident was I.
    Carelessly dashing in LAUNDRY held me up a bit but ground to a halt chewing and spluttering backwards and forwards through the alphabet to finish with CLOUDY and MISSPELL and a tap on the door of the club on 21.00.

  32. After getting the long ones at 6d and 12a, we seemed to be slow. R Hand corner gave a lot of trouble, misspell, and solicit.

  33. Very disappointed. I tackled last Friday’s Izetti this morning, and today’s Joker this afternoon. I found both puzzles very challenging – at the outer limits of my crosswording ability, such as it is – and I spent a total of 2 hours completing both grids.

    The outcomes were:
    Izetti: DNF, 76 mins, 1 error (ROOfLET instead of ROOTLET).
    Joker: DNF, 44 mins, 1 error (MISSPELt, instead of MISSPELL).

    I now feel quite useless … but tomorrow’s another day …

    Many thanks to both setters and bloggers.

  34. Unlike almost everyone else on here today, I found this really difficult. I’m quite happy with lots of anagrams so this puzzle didn’t suit me at all.

  35. Nothing unfair, but I found this one pretty tough, in line with most of those in the last month. Came home in 33:16 but wasn’t 100% about HALL. Something in the back of my mind connected Halle and Manchester but I had no idea how or why. Anyway, LOI was SOLICIT, COD to GAUCHE. Thanks Joker and Jack.

  36. After the hellish end to last week, I enjoyed this although it was v tricky in places. I overthought some clues, probably a reaction to Friday’s travails.

    Great puzzle and blog.

  37. About 25-mins into this with a few answers in the NW and another couple in the SE, I found myself thinking “I don’t really care”. First signs of emotional burnout.

    Gave it another 25-mins and had managed 15 answers in total.

    Came back for another half hour this afternoon and added nothing.

    A final five mins this evening and I couldn’t even be bothered to look at all the unsolved clues.

    Totally beyond me. Even reading the blog, I could barely connect answers to clues without looking at the parsing.

      1. Why would I take your advice when you don’t understand why I struggle?

        When you haven’t explained specifically how your advice will help?

  38. Great wake up for the new week. 3D had to be FANTASTICALLY but I just couldn’t parse it. FOI 2D AROMA, I am very lucky to have a large vocabulary so knew all the words but totally foxed by CLOUDY which I couldn’t see at all and fixated on CAN as part of 17AC. Thanks!

      1. Oh, goodness! How long is a piece of string? Tens of thousands at a guess. I only very rarely meet a word I don’t know. My mother taught English and I have a scientific training so I am immensely fortunate to have a foot in both camps, as it were.

        1. Oh, goodness! What a Trumpian claim! Mine’s bigger than yours!? What
          intercity! Why are you not seen on the 15×15?

          1. I’m not claiming anything; you asked so I politely answered. I’m not sure what trains have to do with anything, but I am still learning a lot about deciphering clues from the QC. I do browse the 15×15 occasionally and hope in future to be good enough to finish, but one step at a time!

            1. “I am very lucky to have a large vocabulary.” I have deciphered your statement as undoubtedly a claim.
              I have further been attempting the 15×15 since 1967, with varying degrees of success over the years- modesty forbids repeating my fastest times. I look forward to your arrival on the 15×15 scene, once you master the QC.

              As you say, ‘One step at a time!’ Meldrew

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