Times Quick Cryptic 2235 by Joker

Hi all.  My second Joker to blog comes directly after my first.  Is there a special name for a pair of Jokers?  Two weeks ago many of you found the puzzle very tricky and I will be interested to hear how you fared this time around.  In my case, today’s took 30 fewer seconds (or about 7% less time) and I was slower in the south than the north, ending up in the SE.  Even as I stare down into the pit, my favourite is 6d.  Thanks Joker!

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics, explicit [deletions] are in square brackets, and I’ve capitalised and emboldened letters which appear in the ANSWER.  For clarity, I omit most link words and some juxtaposition indicators.

1a Prevent young attendant’s suspension (8)
STOPPAGE STOP (prevent) + PAGE (young attendant)
5a Tom, perhaps, sent back old Mexican food (4)
TACO CAT (Tom, perhaps) reversed (sent back) + O (old)
8a Needled your MP, unfortunately not getting enough work (13)
UNDEREMPLOYED NEEDLED YOUR MP anagrammed (unfortunately)
10a Something for Sunday before Easter includes second hymn (5)
PSALM PALM (something for Sunday before Easter) contains (includes) S (second)
11a Arthur is a knight creator (7)
ARTISAN ART (Arthur) + IS + A + N (knight, chess notation)
12a Transmitted about one line without noise (6)
SILENT SENT (transmitted) around (about) I (one) and L (line)
13a Plant of marsh and lake around northeast (6)
FENNEL FEN (marsh) and L (lake) around NE (northeast)
16a Irish girl playing cello with two leading Englishmen (7)
COLLEEN — An anagram of (playing) CELLO followed by the two letters at the front of (two leading) Englishmen.  Not just a feminine name, but a word meaning a girl or an Irish girl, from the Irish word cailín
18a Turn to notable dignitary for backing (5)
PIVOT — The combination of TO and VIP (noble dignitary) is to be reversed (for backing)
20a Somehow return toll fee for one offering lots? (7-6)
FORTUNE-TELLER — An anagram of (somehow) RETURN TOLL FEE.  The definition uses lot in the sense of fortune or fate
21a Roofing material‘s to go first (4)
LEAD — Two definitions, for two meanings of the answer with two different pronunciations
22a Chap keeps mislaying list of words (8)
GLOSSARY GARY (chap) holds (keeps) LOSS (mislaying, as in “the mislaying of my brain is unfortunate on blogging day”).  An opportunity to recommend TfTT’s very own glossary to anyone not familiar with it
1d Collapse in small shapeless mass (5)
SLUMP S (small) + LUMP (shapeless mass)
2d Weird, just one of red, green, blue or black in snooker game? (7)
ODDBALL — Red, green, blue and black are examples of snooker balls – namely the odd-numbered ones (thanks Jackkt below! – so just one would be an ODD BALL
3d Case of fortified wine chap tasted initially with water in Paris (11)
PORTMANTEAU PORT (fortified wine) + MAN (chap) the first letter of (… initially) Tasted + EAU (water in Paris).  ‘Twas brillig and the slithy toves
4d What’s giving instrument mobile bearing aiding levelling, primarily (6)
GIMBAL — The answer is given by the initial letters of (… primarily) Giving Instrument Mobile Bearing Aiding Levelling
6d Fool standing about by deep chasm (5)
ABYSS ASS (fool) going around (standing about) BY
7d What could be first noise during spoken exam (7)
ORDINAL DIN (noise) inside (during) ORAL (spoken exam)
9d Character with urge for printed text (11)
LETTERPRESS LETTER (character) + PRESS (urge)
12d Dismiss half of London football team for contents of bag (7)
SACKFUL SACK (dismiss) + half of FULham (London football team)
14d Month taken over Fitzgerald story of no great length (7)
NOVELLA NOV (month) going before (taken over, in a down clue) ELLA (Fitzgerald)
15d Give stress treatment to girl Alan’s chasing (6)
ANNEAL ANNE (girl) which AL (Alan) is following (chasing)
17d Grub stored in cellar vaults (5)
LARVA — The answer is inside (stored in) celLAR VAults
19d Delay generated by rodent climbing on railway (5)
TARRY RAT (rodent) reversed (climbing) preceding (on) RY (railway)

56 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2235 by Joker”

  1. 15:52. Didn’t solve any till TARRY so worried I was in for trouble. However things picked up and even though GIMBAL was unknown and ANNEAL was a word I barely remembered everything ended happily. I went through London football teams several times before Fulham came to mind. I thought weird= odd and ODDBALL must be a specific snooker game. Thanks for clearing that up plus parsing of GLOSSARY. Enjoyed PSALM and FENNEL most.

  2. I biffed the two long acrosses without bothering to confirm that the anagrist was all there. 4:25.

  3. ODDBALL. Each of the colours mentioned is worth an odd number of points in snooker 1,3,5,7.

    12 minutes for this. GIMBAL was unknown, and although not hard to arrive at it caused confusion as I had expected the answer to be a musical instrument and there are very few of those that I haven’t heard of. This is its first appearance in the TfTT era. ANNEAL was my LOI, a word I knew, but again the definition had led me to expect something entirely different.

    1. Oh [odd]balls, thanks Jackkt! Should have twigged that, at least during the write up. Have updated the blog.

      1. Not that it has any bearing on the clue but the red and the green can be worth an even number of points if potted incorrectly i.e. minus 4, as that is the minimum penalty for a foul shot.

  4. A gimbal is used on stage and particularly in film, when shooting on the deck of a boat in high seas. I used one to make a Timberland commercial, entitled ‘Columbus’

  5. 1319 Battle of Myton: Robert the Bruce defeats an English army

    13:19, with ANNEAL LOI.

    Now that Jack explained that these colours are the “odd balls” that’s my COD. Particularly good as the extra GK is not really required, just adds to the clever construction.

    For 1D I had SMASH, then SMUSH then finally SLUMP. “Mash” and “mush” are certainly “small, shapeless mass”. Probably more.

  6. 25 minutes but seemed longer as I plodded my way through parsing as I went.
    LOI: ANNEAL after GLOSSARY as I needed the checking letters before seeing the WP.
    Favourites: COLLEEN also ABYSS.

  7. This felt tricky in places, but I had no real holdups so must have been on Joker’s wavelength. Started with STOPPAGE and finished with ANNEAL, a word that looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t have told you what it meant or why it popped into my head.
    I toyed with SATCHEL at 12d for a bit but couldn’t make sense of sat for dismiss so left it until I had more checkers which pointed me in the right direction.
    Crossed the line in 8.28. Was going to make PIVOT my favourite but can’t now choose between that and ODDBALL, since reading Jack’s full explanation.
    Thanks to Kitty

  8. A gentle start to the week form Joker, I thought. I liked ODDBALLS. LOI LEAD. Thanks Kitty and Joker 3:41.

  9. An interesting and quite testing start to the week from Joker, I thought. My progress was erratic but was more purposeful as crossers emerged. Helpfully, the long answers seemed to come to me before some of the shorter ones. My last two were ANNEAL and GIMBAL. Worth a look at Kitty’s blog to enjoy some clever clues.
    I ended up 10 seconds over my target so OK for a Monday Joker. Thanks to both, John M.

  10. Forgot to go back to try to solve ANNEAL. Found RHS more tricky than left.
    Was going through Fitzgeralds in my mind, F. Scott, Edward, but though I finally biffed NOVELLA, I hadn’t thought of the great singer, of whom I was a huge fan. ‘Every time we say goodbye’. (earworm of the day).
    Couldn’t parse GLOSSARY at first, also struggled with LETTERPRESS, FENNEL, ORDINAL – all seemed easy once I solved them. Sigh.
    Thanks vm, Kitty.

  11. No problems in the top half, but I was held up in the SW by being fixated on SATCHEL, even though CHEL is not quite half of a London side. Eventually I disentangled 20a, and it became obvious I needed FULham. By then I was over my target time. 10:42. Thanks Joker and Kitty.

    1. Very respectable time but I see that you did the 15 x 15 in a similar time. Excellent.

  12. 15 mins…

    One of the easiest Joker puzzles for a while I thought. NHO of 15dn “Anneal” nor the definition of “lots” for fortune/fate (unless it means something like “that’s your lot”).

    FOI – 1dn “Slump” – apt for our times
    LOI – 15dn “Anneal”
    COD – 2dn “Oddball”

    Thanks as usual!

  13. Not a great start to the week. My heart sinks when there are so many names in the cluing/answers although most of them were quite explicit today (Tom for cat, Art, Ella, Al) with just Colleen, Gary and Anne to work out. I wanted 12d to be satchel but like others have said it just wouldn’t parse and SACKFUL was my LOI in 10:57.

  14. 29 mins with a good 10 mins wasted on LOI ANNEAL – not part of my everyday vocabulary… Otherwise my usual steady plod. Really wanted Chelsea to be the football club and was hooked on satchel for a while. Liked GLOSSARY and NOVELLA. Thanks for the blog Kitty and thanks to Joker.

  15. 31 mins from permanent member of SCC. Very enjoyable solve today – COD to the clever ORDINAL.

    I know a gimbal is used to keep a compass level on a boat, so alighted on the answer to 4d swiftly, but there is something odd in the clueing. It’s clever in that it’s both a ‘first letter’ clue and an ‘&lit’ clue, but the sentence doesn’t really make sense the way it is written.

    I struggled to understand how ‘mislaying’ can mean ‘loss’ so thanks for the explanation, Kitty.

  16. There already seem to be a conflict with some of the regular faster solvers producing good times (for them), whilst a number of shall I say mid table solvers (to use a football analogy) producing slower times (for them).
    I certainly wouldn’t class myself as a fast solver, but for some reason did relatively well on this finishing in 8.01, two minutes inside target. I certainly thought it was on the tough side, and was surprised to find I was that quick, it seemed longer.
    My LOI was the unknown GIMBAL where I was looking for an instrument.

  17. No problems with either GIMBAL (from their use on ships compasses) or ANNEAL (I have annealed many a copper pipe in my time to relieve its brittleness from work-hardening and return it to malleability), but I was still stretched over target to 16 minutes, so not a simple QC. A good puzzle in my opinion. Thanks for the good wishes messages on Friday, I’m now feeling much less rotten from my booster last week.

  18. I was flying through the top half, but then struggled lower down the grid. Fortune-teller, despite being an anagram, needed nearly all the crossers before becoming obvious. Similarly, Glossary took longer than it should have, as I struggled with loss for mislaying. The upshot was a 20 min solve, which seems slow after such a good start. I agree with Kitty in giving CoD to 6d, Abyss, for the surface. Invariant

  19. I managed to complete this one with no aids used.

    I have never heard of ANNEAL nor PORTMANTEAU, but managed to get the answers from letters already in place.

    Good start to the week. Apart from the cat trying to eat my iPhone.

    1. “Portmanteau” comes up a lot. When I first started doing these, I’d never heard of it either.

  20. 9’28” with one NHO (and LOI guessed) ANNEAL and one almost NHO (certainly never used) in GIMBAL.

    Felt tougher than my time ended up showing and I do like very much the snooker scoring reference of ODDBALL .

    Thanks Joker and Kitty

  21. Neither easy nor hard for me, landing solidly in the upper half of my target range.

    Had forgotten ANNEAL, NHO LETTERPRESS. There seemed to be a lot of names.

    LOI was FENNEL, I quite liked PSALM, but ODDBALL gets COD.


  22. What a tremendous puzzle – every surface told a story and it was full of Joker’s trademark wit! I felt like this was back to the old Joker – I found his puzzles reasonably accessible when I first started this game, but more recently, they have been quite a bit tougher, as many have said. But having just read everyone else’s comments, I think I’m out on a limb again today.
    Everything popped into place quite quickly, so I didn’t really appreciate the quality of the cluing until I reread it all – very hard to pick a COD, but I particularly liked FENNEL ((the clue anyway – I’m not very keen on the herb!), SLUMP, PORTMANTEAU and TARRY. No problem with ANNEAL – I used to do it in jewellery making classes years ago.
    There was some great misdirection – not Arsenal, Spurs or Chelsea for the London team, not F Scott Fitzgerald (in fact, Ella was my first thought so I didn’t go down the wrong path) – and one for everyone called Gary out there in Crosswordland 😅
    All done and dusted in 7 minutes on the dot. FOI Taco LOI Glossary COD Artisan
    Many thanks Joker and Kitty

    I thought the biggie was very approachable – it took me 18 minutes.

    1. I think I may have an idea as to who you have in mind Mme B, although GLOSSARY didn’t come for me until very near the end.

  23. Progressed reasonably speedily through most of this but was left with a handful of clues which needed more thought. I was held up for a time by 20ac where (from the crossers in place) I expected the second word to be seller. I therefore ignored the quite obvious anagrist as there was no s. Eventually finished in 14 minutes, a decent time for me, with a couple unparsed.

    LOI – 15dn ANNEAL
    COD – 2dn ODDBALL

    Thanks to Joker and to Kitty for providing the missing parsings.

  24. Most went in readily but struggled with SE corner, thinking about SCOTT not ELLA Fitzgerald for a while. LETTERPRESS also held me up for some reason. NHO ANNEAL, but crossers made it obvious.

  25. 20:36

    Seemed fairly straightforward apart from the SE corner but that really did challenge me, putting another 8 minutes on the clock. Had to pencil in a few letters based on the wordplay, the NE in FENNEL, the NOV in NOVELLA before it fell into place. But never did parse GLOSSARY or LOI PIVOT.

  26. 8:54, so pleasantly in target.
    When I was a young physicist, one of my regular tasks was to anneal the Lithium Fluoride chips used for thermoluminescent dosimetry, so I had no problems with 15dn.

    1. Dosimeters, l am informed, were provided to twelve advanced paratroopers in the D-Day landings – the first time they were employed in battle. Meldrew

  27. Thinking it over I have a small quibble re lump= shapeless mass. A lump is a solid so has a definite shape albeit an irregular one. A shapeless mass to me would be semi-solid whose shape can alter somewhat making it definable as shapeless.

    1. The very first definition of ‘lump’ in SOED lets the setter off: compact, shapeless, or unshapely piece or mass.

  28. All done & parsed in 15:00 for a good Monday brain workout. Held up slightly by COLLEEN where I thought the two Englishmen would be EE, but ANNEAL gave me the N and the penny dropped. COD to ODDBALL, which made me smile.

  29. Very pleased to finish in just 27 minutes (fast for me). I was fortunate to solve the two 13-letter anagrams early and with no checkers in place. I DNK NOVELLA, was unsure about LETTER PRESS and (embarrassingly) needed all of its checkers to get PSALM. However, my LOI was ANNEAL, a word I had to dig out from the deepest recesses of my rather simple brain.

    Many thanks to Joker and Kitty.

  30. 6:34 this afternoon. Off the pace, a sluggish solve for me, one where I kept taking wrong options at the first reading of several clues. For example, at my COD 20 ac “Fortune Teller”, where I got fixated on auctioneering (strange, since I can’t stand Bargain Hunt!).
    As ever a good puzzle from Joker. Thanks to him and to Kitty for the blog

  31. A most enjoyable puzzle, with the top half fairly flying in before the lower half slowed me down. Still, just under 12 minutes which I’m happy with for a puzzle from Joker – they’ve been stiffer than that of late.

    Wasn’t sure of the meaning of either Portmanteau or Letterpress but the checkers were kind.

    Loved the snooker ball clue which is my COD.

    Many thanks to Kitty for another informative blog

  32. A fair amount of pencil work today with 5A and5D completed on first pass. Happily all the pencil was correct so a fairly quick solve, and for a Joker, for me. Lots to like about the clues today.
    FOI 5a tac
    LOI 14d Novella
    COD – too many to choose but probably 18a Pivot
    Having tackled this before supper, I can turn my attention to one of my (too) many photography projects this evening.

  33. Tricky for those of us in the SCC (or VSCC). NHO LETTERPRESS but fortunately did know ANNEAL. Not a fan of clues involving “random name”, here GARY and ANNE. Hard to build up the answer when part of it could be almost anything.

  34. Quite tough I thought. NHO ANNEAL. LOIs were 1a and 1d, which is never a good sign. Limped through in 09:40 for 2K and a Meh Day.

    Many thanks Joker and Kitty.


  35. I got away to a fast start and somehow managed to keep going. To labour the football analogy from earlier posts, I felt like a team tipped for relegation prior to the start of the season that achieves the comfort of a mid-table finish by the end of the campaign. Had it not been for 15dn (I eventually guessed Anne and got lucky), I might have been challenging for a place in Europe. Avoiding the SCC means a very satisfying start to the week.

    Thank you for the excellent blog.

  36. Anneal. I hate names in clues so 2 in 1. 😡
    Definitely gave me the stress treatment. Having studied engineering I knew the word. J

  37. I knew ANNEAL but it was still almost LOI, except that I needed it to get COLLEEN. Good puzzle.

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