Times Quick Cryptic 2211 by Joker


I got off to a good start with 1ac and then just about kept going, although it seemed rather sticky. I finished in the SE with 22dn just on 9 minutes. Looking back this seems like a pretty decent time. Having now had time to appreciate the complexity of the clues and the smoothly polished surfaces, I do congratulate Joker for a great puzzle.

Definitions are underlined in bold italics.

1 Who’ll do supper for Meryl’s shows? (9)
PERFORMER – I rather surprised myself by seeing the hidden straight off (shows – as in shown in) in su(PER FOR MER)yl.
6 Down south and missing north (3)
SAD – south (S), (A)n(D) without ‘n’ for north.
8 One small seabird beside cold reservoir (7)
CISTERN – one (I), small (S) and seabird (TERN) beside cold (C).
9 What makes dad a native of China? (5)
PANDA – I think this is what makes (PAN – as in one makes things in a pan), dad (DA). The ‘and’ in the middle of ‘pa’ gives me pause for thought though. With thanks to Kevin – what’s makes Dad (PA) is (P and A).
10 Eg, a loincloth is out of order in referring to peoples and cultures (12)
ETHNOLOGICAL – anagram (is out of order) of EG A LOINCLOTH.
12 Swindle involving one currency item (4)
COIN – swindle (CON) involving one (I).
13 Sadly, a girl loses her last son (4)
ALAS – a (A), girl (LAS)s losing her last son – ‘s’.
17 Pirate upset splitting share getting sent home (12)
REPATRIATION – anagram (upset) of PIRATE splitting (inside) share (RATION).
20 Innocent I has divided part of church (5)
NAIVE – I (I) divided (inside) part of church (NAVE). The one surface not quite a smooth as the rest.
21 Bind queen’s lavender, stripping outer pieces (7)
ENSLAVE – take off the outside of que(ENS LAVE)nder.
23 Great success with hospital information technology (3)
HIT – Hospital (H), information technology (IT).
24 Sweetheart low with start of new period after wedding (9)
HONEYMOON – sweetheart (HONEY), low (MOO), (N)ew. Virtually every surface is slick and smooth today – I think this one and 14dn ‘take the biscuit’.
1 A quantity of pickled peppers picked to nibble (4)
PECK – an impressive double definition.
2 Dish to stir, mixing round (7)
RISOTTO – anagram (mixing) of TO STIR, round (O).
3 Lyric poem found in Hesiod especially (3)
ODE – inside Hesi(OD E)specially. Hesiod btw was an Ancient Greek poet.
4 Masculine outlook is butcher (6)
MANGLE – Masculine (M), outlook (ANGLE).
5 Ruling about turning up is unacceptable (9)
REPUGNANT – ruling (REGNANT – as in a monarch) about up turning upwards (PU).
6 Game hedgehog going at some speed (5)
SONIC – double definition.
7 Departs before time and at great cost (6)
DEARLY – departs (D), before time (EARLY).
11 Anniversary — then tie-in needs developing (9)
NINETIETH – anagram (needs developing) of THEN TIE IN. I tried to hammer nineteenth in to start with.
14 One green and largely stoned in a mostly noisy party? (7)
AVOCADO – a (A), mostly noisy (VOCA)l, party (DO). Brilliant.
15 Bishop managed church division (6)
BRANCH – Bishop (B), managed (RAN), church (CH).
16 Bird, one good in open flying (6)
PIGEON – one (I) and good (G) inside an anagram (flying) of OPEN. Strange what sticks with you. I had always been tempted to add a ‘D’ into pigeon until Manuel in Fawlty Towers wondered what a PIG E ON was – thinking it had something to do with Oink.
18 Photo of queen included in volume (5)
PRINT – Queen (R) inside volume (PINT).
19 Plant in river amid wetland (4)
FERN – river (R) amid wetland (FEN).
22 It’s artful and crafty, ultimately (3)
SLY – an &lit to finish a very polished QC – it(S) artfu(L) craft(Y).


64 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2211 by Joker”

  1. I was having trouble concentrating for some reason, so much longer than I should have been. I thought the surface for 20ac was quite nice: (Pope) Innocent I etc. I think PANDA has to be P AND A; ‘what makes’ is ungrammatical, and a PAN doesn’t make anything. 7:13.

  2. 19:23 I thought it was just P and A make Pa (or Dad). I didn’t see hidden PERFORMER or fully understand PECK. I had ensnare for a while before I saw hidden ENSLAVE. Didn’t like definitions for SONIC(speed part) or NINETIETH(anniversary) but they must work. Meryl Streep, Gregory Peck, and Walter Pigeon are the PERFORMERs who got nods today!

    1. ODE, sv ‘sonic’: ‘denoting or having a speed equal to that of sound’. As Chris notes, the definition, or one of them, is ‘going at some speed’.

      1. Yes,of course, thanks. Just because I only think of the connection to sound and not also to speed doesn’t mean that the latter’s not perfectly valid!

    2. PECK is the quantity from the tongue-twister: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers!

      1. Yes indeed thanks for reminding me,takes me back to childhood with stories of annoyed oysters, the girl who marketed seashore seashells, woodchucks doing something with wood etc!

      1. My mother would have not been pleased with me for misspelling the name of her favourite movie heartthrob!

  3. I thought I’d take my time today and stop being so impatient. So I finished this, hurrah! No difficult vocab, except maybe ‘nave’ but I remembered it from a list of church words someone commented recently lol

    I was able to parse everything except PANDA.. (I think it’s P and A makes dad), REPUGNANT and I just did not see PERFORMER… It was my second last in and I think there were more than usual hiddens so I didn’t even look! I spent so long on it!

  4. I’m relieved to find that a couple of other experienced solvers found this on the tricky side as I needed 11 minutes to complete it, missing my target 10 minutes for the sixth consecutive time. I haven’t managed to achieve it since Monday of last week. That aside, this was an excellent and very enjoyable puzzle and I was pleased to remember the hedgehog who was unknown to me until a puzzle several weeks ago.

  5. Greetings from the Isle of Wight. Didn’t know what Peter Piper picked but knew what it sounded like so went for PiCK wondering about using the definition in the clue as I entered it. So not all green in a 22m solve on a phone with many interruptions from talking to fellow campers’ kids.

  6. 6.52

    On the wavelength for this excellent puzzle. SAD was very neat and AVOCADO amusing.

    Thanks Joker and Chris

  7. Greetings from an uncharacteristically cloudy Andalucia.

    Slowed by using my phone, but an enjoyable way to start the day.

    Totally missed the hidden PERFORMER. I enjoyed the schismatic NAIVE. LOI was ALAS for no particular reason.


  8. I found this quite chewy not getting my FOI until COIN.
    Like Vinyl the hiddens proved tricky today, with 1a sending me down a blind alley or two – in desperation I even tried to anagram ‘for Meryls’ at one point🤦‍♂️ – and I toyed with ENSNARE at 21a.
    Top quality puzzle with the standout clues for me being AVOCADO, PECK and SONIC. Completed in 11.18.
    Thanks to Chris

  9. The usual entertaining and neat puzzle from Joker (apart from 20A, as Chris also notes). I liked the reference to Peter Piper, P AND A, but my COD was SAD, which could describe me. Thanks Joker and Chris. 4:55.

    1. What a coincidence! I bumped into one of your SAD ex-colleagues from ERS today! I wonder if your paths would have crossed – he was there from the mid-70s.

      1. Hi Penny. Interesting. It’s maybe unlikely he would know me as I was pretty junior at the time… there from about 1983 to 1987, initially in the corrosion lab working for Colin Argent alongside Bob Greenwood, Tesh Kokoshka and Mike Dale and then in the “Advanced IT Group” working with Tom Reynolds (aka the crossword compiler Kruger these days) under Mile Sporton. He’s more likely to remember my late father-in-law, Peter Jepson…. his daughter Dawn got a placement from her degree course at Teesside University working in the corrosion lab… we’ve now been married 32 years. Gulp!

  10. A complete disaster for me. Just not on wavelength. I managed to finish but asked myself why I persevered. Strange that some puzzles just don’t gel (for me).
    Strangely, I did yesterday’s DT cryptic in around half the time. John M.

  11. What an excellent puzzle. Hard but fair, lots of wit and sparkle. Joker on top form.

    Completely done by the two hiddens, of all things!

    FOI PECK, LOI ENSLAVE, COD MANGLE, time 11:35 for 1.8K and an Undistinguished Day.

    Many thanks Joker and Chris.


  12. I found myself having to concentrate to extract the definitions from a lot of the clues. I often find Joker one of the trickier setters. Took me a moment to remember the tongue twister, and a while to to see the hidden at 1a. FOI was ODE, and ENSLAVE finished the job. 8:17. Thanks Joker and Chris.

  13. Missed until the last the hidden in 1ac and so gave and received big shin kick.

    Irrelevant anyway as pink square delivered by ‘ethna…’ instead of ETHNOLOGICAL.

    Both shins now bruised.

    I enjoyed RISOTTO and HONEYMOON.

    Didn’t really enjoy NINETIETH or NAIVE (although missed and still don’t fully appreciate the Pope Innocent I element)

    Thanks still to Joker and Chris.

  14. 20a is an excellent surface if “Innocent I” is read as Pope Innocent I (AD 401-417), he dealt with the many heresies of the time, and was pontiff during the Sack of Rome, 410.
    Sadly 4:10 is way beyond my PB so I never reference these times in my postings.

    1. My gripe was the ‘I has’ part of the surface. If the clue had been ‘Innocent the first has divided part of the church’ I’d have been very happy.

  15. DNF and SCC with DEADLY (=at great cost) for DEARLY, my LOI.

    Really struggled today, and made better progress with the 15×15, which is definitely on the easier side today, and felt about the same level of difficult as Joker today.

    I never recovered from starting 10a with “ethnic-“ and trying all formulations from there.


  16. A slowish solve, with the Repugnant Panda pairing putting paid (😉) to any hopes of a sub-20. Panda may well be a chestnut, but that didn’t stop it being pretty difficult this first time round. I also struggled along the way with Mangle before the pdm. Like others, CoD to 14d, Avocado, just ahead of 6ac, Sad. Invariant

  17. Finished and enjoyed. FOI PECK (of pickled pepper, as said above) Also “ I love you a bushel and a peck” , or lyrics to that effect. (Doris Day!)
    LOI MANGLE, PDM about parsing after solving.
    Luckily we had low=moo at the weekend.
    Least favourite clue PIGEON as several bushels of them live in this garden.
    Thanks vm , Chris.

  18. 13 minutes with LOI ETHNOLOGICAL. I was stuck on anthropology for too long.
    I had ENSNARE too but did not put it in; a sign of maturity. ENSLAVE went in late after careful parsing.
    I thought NAIVE was rather good along with many other clues. Joker on form.

    1. Delighted to spot PANDA quickly!

      Stumped by PECK and pedantically Chambers says formerly a measure for dried goods. Pickled peppers sound moist to me!

      1. It seems they still use bushels (and pecks?) for dry goods in the US. But the weight used to be used for liquid measuring too here, apparently.
        Now gather a peck is two gallons – more than I thought.

  19. Couldn’t complete this one. Too difficult for me. Got about 2/3 through before giving up. Didn’t enjoy it at all.

    1. DNF for me as well. Just couldn’t see MANGLE or ENSLAVE. Biffed a few others without being able to parse them.

  20. Well over target, but short of the SCC at 18 minutes and change. Some great stuff here. Thanks both.

  21. Finally finished well inside the SCC today. Didn’t spot the hidden in PERFORMER (really wanted Streep to go in somewhere) and MANGLE took forever. Otherwise a steady if very slow solve with much to like but also some serious head-scratching (including a major PDM with ALAS). Liked SONIC, PECK, NAIVE (brilliant surface) and SAD. Many thanks Chris and Joker.

  22. Tried to put in ninteenth, and tied myself in knots with it- I built 8A from the wordplay which is always v satisfying- thanks Joker and Chris- off to try the 15×15 now and thanks too to Merlin for the heads up!

  23. Really liked this offering from Joker, which like others I felt was tougher than the average. Had to go down to 12ac COIN before finding one to put in, and as usual completely missed the hidden PERFORMER and ENSLAVE. 4dn MANGLE was my LOI once I had worked out 1ac. In the end I was just 2 seconds inside target at 9.58, and quite happy with that.

  24. Finished in 14 but only after a real struggle in the NE corner. Panda may be a chestnut but as Invariant observes, it’s a tough one if you are meeting it for the first time, and only after getting it did I tentatively put in my LOI Sonic, where I still have no idea what is going on. What have hedgehogs to do with it, I ask?

    Many thanks to Chris for the blog

    1. Sonic the Hedgehog is a staple video game character from Sega since… The 80s? 90s? He is blue and spikey and is also in popular movies and cartoons.

      He’s also very very very fast.

      1. Thank you both! A clear case of “never heard of it”, which certainly made the clue more challenging, but all now explained. At least there weren’t many options for words going S-N-C!

        1. We’d never heard of Sonic the hedgehog either, glad to hear we weren’t the only ones.

  25. 6:48 this morning, the sharpness of yesterday seems to have evaporated.
    Not an easy QC, with typical Joker fare, well constructed clues and witty surfaces at times.
    Seem to be getting worse at spotting “hiddens”, as my prolonged head scratching at 1 ac “performer” exemplified. Always good to come to this site and realise that others have had the same experience.
    COD 6 ac “sad”, neat and concise.
    Thanks to Chris and Joker

  26. Very pleased to overcome Joker in just 25 minutes, which is very fast for me (especially with this setter). I found the lower half of the grid more accessible, so it was a case of working back up from the bottom.

    My LOsI were in the NW corner – CISTERN, PERFORMER and MANGLE. I didn’t work out ANGLE for ‘outlook’ until after I’d found MANGLE through an alphabet search, and I didn’t see the hidden PERFORMER until after I had put down my pencil and was on my way here.

    Many thanks to Joker and Chris.

  27. I found this difficult, and had to put it down incomplete, while I went to the garage.
    Just finished. Took probably an hour or so. I liked the hidden clues, and the surfaces generally were excellent.
    Thanks for the blog.

  28. Just a couple of seconds slower than Pitcaithlie and a few seconds faster than Kevin makes this an Excellent Day 😊 I’ve been finding Joker quite tough too, but somehow everything just clicked today. Having said that, I think I may have missed some of his subtleties – I had to read several clues more than once later on to get the full effect.
    I did like 20a – I sort of biffed and parsed it at the same time. I did see that it was Innocent the First, but thanks to Merlin’s fuller explanation, I can see it’s an even better clue! A few were a little melancholic though – ALAS, SAD and HONEYMOON. Perhaps its the effect of impending autumn.
    A surprising number of hidden today, I thought.
    FOI Performer LOI Repugnant 7 minutes
    Thanks Joker and Chris

  29. 29 mins…just a minute away from my cut off.

    Thought there were some tricky and clever clues in this with lots of potential misdirection. Main hold up was the SW corner where I stupidly biffed Parish without looking at it properly. Never did see the hidden word in 1ac, so bravo for that.

    FOI – 3dn “Ode”
    LOI – 14dn “Avocado”
    COD – 6ac “Sad” – although it could have been a number.

    Thanks as usual!

  30. Very happy to finish this in 9:33. Lots of very neat clues, I particularly liked NAIVE, MANGLE and DEARLY, but can’t choose a favourite today. Like others, I totally missed the hidden PERFORMER and ENSLAVE, so needed the blog to show me what was going on.
    Thanks to Joker & Chris.

  31. Made slow but steady progress. FOI – CISTERN. Liked HONEYMOON and REPATRIATION. Biffed PANDA (but reading the blog, what a lovely clue); completely missed PERFORMER but, when spotted, that gave me LOI – MANGLE. I also was trying to get Streep into 1A somewhere.
    Thanks to Joker and Chris.

  32. An excellent if tricky puzzle which I was pleased to complete earlier today in 22:37. Didn’t see either of the hiddens before I stopped my watch, but ENSLAVE was my LOI and I parsed it afterwards. COD to MANGLE. Thanks Joker and Chris.

  33. Another day, another struggle. Glad to finish but never really got going as I would like . Too embarrassed to give a time. Thanks for the blog which I needed for parsing a couple.

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