Times Quick Cryptic 2280 by Joker

Solving time: 11 minutes delayed at the end by the intersecting clues at 14dn and 22ac


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.

3 Greet Sir waving attendance list (8)
Anagram [waving] of GREET SIR
7 Aerial in depression ends in no functional state (6)
DIP (depression), {n}O + {functiona}L + {stat}E [ends]. SOED: An aerial composed of two equal straight rods mounted in line with one another and having an electrical connection to its centre. I only vaguely knew of this.
8 Inability to sleep at home as I’m on travels (8)
IN (at home), anagram [travels] of AS I’M ON
9 Dress of southern Asia — round India, primarily (4)
S{outhern} + A{sia} + R{ound} + I{ndia} [primarily]
10 Kill for diamonds (3)
Two meanings, both learnt from doing crosswords
11 Reporting on feature of Lulworth band (8)
COVE (feature of Lulworth), RING (band). Lulworth Cove is on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset.
13 Relax when one’s coming out of repeated exam (4)
RES{i}T (repeated exam) [one’s coming out]
15 Take a look when reversing and hold back (4)
PEEK (take a look) [when reversing]
17 Fine print is very attractive (8)
F (fine), ETCHING (print)
19 Mature herb needs head pruning (3)
{s}AGE (herb) [needs head pruning]
22 Backing war-torn country losing leader is delicate (4)
{S}YRIA (war-torn country) [losing leader] reversed [backing]. I wasn’t sure about the definition but the usual sources have it covered.
23 Chief rail route in Milan running east (8)
Anagram [running] of IN MILAN, then E (east)
24 Insect queen and what one is to drones? (6)
MOTH (insect), ER (queen). I think the whole clue is needed for the definition here.
25 Senior person’s school in America, the reverse of perfect (6-2)
HIGH (school in America), then PURE (perfect} [the reverse of]. The definition includes the apostrophe s standing for ‘is’. I don’t know whether any still exist in name but we used to have ‘high schools’ in the UK.
1 Protective garment’s key for entering wood (8)
A (key –  music) + FOR contained by [entering] PINE (wood)
2 New recruit has not any bad habit (6)
NO (not any), VICE (bad habit)
3 Check regularly offered by Armenians (4)
{A}R{m}E{n}I{a}N{s} [regularly]
4 Initially get a faint source of illumination (8)
G{et} [initially}, A, SLIGHT (faint)
5 Adder and when you’ll see one most often? (6)
A straight definition (someone who adds) and a cryptic hint referring back to adder as a snake.
6 Rising flood is to make changes here? (4)
TIDE (flood) reversed [rising]
12 Renoir if badly composed is second-rate (8)
Anagram [badly composed] of RENOIR IF
14 Unsurprising statement giving various unimportant items (8)
SUN DRIES (unsurprising statement)
16 Alcoholic drink involves a big belly (6)
PUNCH (alcoholic drink) contains [involves] A
18 Hot planet — a place that’s warming (6)
H (hot), EARTH (planet)
20 Magazine I got for visitors to Bethlehem (4)
MAG (magazine), I. The Three Wise Men.
21 Drug got from male parliamentarian (4)
HE (male), MP (parliamentarian)

54 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2280 by Joker”

    1. I sympathise, Mr G. From what I have gathered, you hail from one distant land and live in another distant land, so you are very much at a disadvantage to those of us (e.g. me) who were brought up just a few miles along the coast from Lulworth Cove.

  1. Oh, man, if ever a country were war-torn, it is Syria. Great hopes for a democratic revolution were drowned by the invasion of various jihadist groups who just wanted to seize power for themselves…
    I, like Kevin, had no idea about Lulworth, but the answer seemed obvious enough.

  2. Lulworth Cove was not trouble for a Somerset lad. We’d often ride down to Weymouth or Durdle Door in the summer months. DIPOLE on the other hand was a total unknown – a real case of trusting the cryptic. Also couldn’t make SUNDRIES make sense (thanks Jack) and took a while to see AIRY could be anything backwards. Slowed dramatically at the end to finish all green in 17.

    1. Could you please explain how ‘Unsurprising Statement’ becomes
      ‘Sun Dries’.
      I just do not get it

      1. Take a wet cloth and lay it out on your patio or washing line on a warm sunny day – it would be surprising if it didn’t dry out. Ergo, the statement that sun dries is unsurprising.

  3. DNF. Beaten by four clues:

    – NHO DIPOLE: did think it might be, but not the kind of word I’d ever biff.
    – Can see it now from the blog but would not have arrived at PINAFORE.
    – Didn’t get and don’t like AIRY – I don’t enjoy running through a list of ‘war torn countries’ to arrive at an answer. There are too many of them.
    – SUN DRIES as an unsurprising statement is just a bit too stretched for me, as, with the two words on their own it’s not a statement anyone would ever make.

    All in all a disappointing puzzle to my mind. I never have a problem with being beaten but 3 of the 4 unsolveds were rather unsatisfying for me. Maybe just grumpy this grey Monday morning. Mood subsequently lifted by a rare sub 30min finish of the biggie

    Thanks Jackkt and thanks anyway Joker

  4. 13.48

    Tough but got there. NE and SW straightforward enough. SE tough with AIRY and SUNDRIES. NW a beast for me with few helpful checking letters. Eventually teased them out with DIPOLE a very hopeful LOI even though I followed the w/p instructions.

    Thanks Joker and Jackkt

  5. 23 minutes with the SE corner causing the most problems.
    FOI: REIN.
    LOI: AIRY.
    Both AIRY and SUNDRIES BIFD and needing the blog to understand.

  6. Also beaten by a similar set: SUNDRIES, DIPOLE, NOVICE and AIRY.

    I ruled out looking for war-torn countries, as it felt like dangerous ground for the editor. I went with AWRY: WAR torn and backing (WA) country losing leader (COUNTRY- COUNT= RY).

    I guess AGE= “mature” if mature is a verb : “this cheese tastes better if you let it mature/age”. I initially ruled out SAGE as I thought only of nouns.

    Now I’ve seen the answers, SUNDRIES is a great clue. And DIPOLE isn’t.


  7. DNF here too. Couldn’t get NHO DIPOLE despite having the OLE and had no idea about Lulworth. Also couldn’t understand the biffed SUNDRIES and now I see the explanation I don’t think much of the clue. I liked MOTHER. Next!

    Many thanks Joker and Jack.


  8. Chewy in places and I went down a couple of blind alleys. I tried hard to get MIT into HIGHER-UP and had to resist the temptation to bif NOSERING once all the checkers were in place for COVERING, having never heard of the place.
    Found the NW tricky in general and eventually finished in 11.04 with PINAFORE and then the unknown DIPOLE, which I was a bit nervous about when submitting. COD to SUNDRIES.
    Thanks to Jack

  9. I started very quickly and thought I might be on for a cracking time but reality kicked in with one or two more challenging clues highlighted above.
    In the end, I was surprised to have taken 14 mins – a minute under target. LI were PINAFORE and KEEP (!). No problem with DIPOLE or LULWORTH (a tough one for non-Brits) but I biffed SUNDRIES and saw the ‘unsurprising statement’ later.
    Nice start to the week. Thanks to both. John M.

  10. Bucking the trend a bit with a fast (for me) 9 minutes solve. Lulworth Cove known, Dipole vaguely heard of and trusted the wordplay, Syria was (sadly) one of the first countries I thought of for Airy.

    High schools certainly still exist; my daughters went to Wimbledon High School (always referred to as Wimbledon High).

    A good start to the week. Many thanks to Jack for the blog.

    1. My daughter is at Wimbledon High! She joined in the final year of junior school, and just started the senior school in September.

    2. My daughter went to Aylesbury High School so the reference to ‘school in America’ was lost on me.

  11. I took a while to remember DIPOLE, but once I saw it ended in OLE the DIP got filled in. COD to MOTHER. Thank-you Joker and Jackkt. 5:44.

  12. Easier than average North but much trickier South, all enjoyed. 22a came quickly but I hesitated as I have always thought of a major railway as.a MAIN LINE, though the answer was duly confirmed by crossers. FOI REGISTER, LOI KEEP, COD SUNDRIES (cheeky!). It was a naive of Ohio who first told me that the spectacular Dorset Coast, with Lulworth at its centre is the main part of the Jurassic Coast. Thanks. J and J.

  13. Dnf…

    How annoying – at one point I thought I was on for a PB, and then I just got flummoxed by 14dn “Sundries” and 22ac “Airy”.

    I can accept that I should have got 14dn, although I’m still not sure what “Sun Dries” has got to do with it. But “Airy” for 22ac? It may be technically correct, but it’s tenuous at best in terms of definitions.

    However, I have been to Lulworth Cove many times, so 11ac not an issue – although if you’re not from the UK this could be nigh on impossible.

    FOI – 3ac “Register”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 17ac “Fetching” – I did wonder whether an etching is actually a print.

    Thanks as usual!

    1. On ‘etching’ Collins has: the art, act, or process of preparing etched surfaces or of printing designs from them.

  14. Slow, but I persevered. Same as most others, NOVICE/DIPOLE/AIRY/SUNDRIES in that order were my last four.

    When I finally got it, I liked SUNDRIES the best.


  15. 16:29 after having been delayed at the end by SUNDRIES. It required an alphabet trawl to spot the word, and a bit of thinking to spot that it made an unsurprising statement. DIPOLE had caused some delay earlier, despite being very familiar with the word.
    Thanks J and J.

  16. 18 mainly difficult minutes for me. There were a few easy ones but I finished with several unparsed and vaguely guessed. But the wordplay and some GK got me there.
    LOI PINAFORE having pencilled in DIPOLE from wordplay; I suspected DIPOLE might be a word but had no idea what it meant.
    Could not parse SUNDRIES and am not totally happy with the explanation. Have we seen this device before?
    I liked FETCHING and MAGI.

  17. When I was a student I had a summer job erecting aerials, so DIPOLE wasn’t a problem. Lulworth, on the other hand, meant nothing until I had all the crossers (and the band) when an alphabet trawl suddenly revealed the COVE. SUNDRIES took a moment or two. 7:49. Thanks Joker and Jack.

  18. 17 minutes for me which I was pleased with as I often find Joker very tricky. Everything parsed except SUNDRIES which was put in from the crossers (a very poor clue imo). DIPOLE dredged up from somewhere in the brain where words that I never use are stored! Lulworth no problem for me but I can see that it would be a major difficulty for anyone not familiar with the Dorset coast.

    FOI – 8ac INSOMNIA
    LOI – 1dn PINAFORE – nearly gave up on this due to the extremely unhelpful crossers but then it suddenly jumped out at me!
    COD – 4dn GASLIGHT and 25ac HIGHER UP

    Thanks to Joker and Jack

  19. Did well early on but, like others, took ages with AIRY and (LOI) SUNDRIES. Lulworth cove was familiar and DIPOLE too, although the latter only went in after PINAFORE was discovered. A disappointing 23:17 in the end.

  20. From the number of DNFs I see here I do not feel so bad for not finishing this QC. I’m not a fan of Joker if I’m honest. He’s QCs used to be a real joy to tackle. But over the past couple of months I’m afraid he’s fallen down in my list of favoured setters.

    I ended up with five unanswered clues. Problem is once a number of DNFs arise it really zaps my confidence.

  21. NHO DIPOLE so very much a punt in the dark.

    Not at all confident about AIRY either, but it fit.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  22. DNF. NHO DIPOLE, couldn’t see AIRY = delicate or SUNDRIES = unsurprising statement, although eventually guessed the latter from “unimportant items”.

  23. Crossed the line in 10.59 and was delayed as Jackkt was by SUNDRIES and AIRY. I thought of AIRY as a possibility fairly quickly and then dismissed it as I couldn’t parse it, and it was only after SUNDRIES was solved that I then saw how it may work.
    In spite of all that, I discover I had one wrong anyway by inventing a new aerial known as a PITOLE. Needless to say I have never heard of a DIPOLE.

    1. Hard luck, Mr Pandy. I also toyed with pItOLE, but the correct solution came to me just in time.

    2. Never thought of ‘pit’ for depression – I’d still be chewing my pencil now if I had.

  24. DNF after 30 mins with AIRY unsolved. Still not sure about definition but wordplay is clear. NHO DIPOLE and biffed SUNDRIES and HIGHER UP – thanks for the explanations. No problems with COVERING having visited Lulworth Cove as a child. COD to SUNDRIES, now that I understand it! Many thanks all.

  25. A good day here at the Randoms. Mrs R had NHO DIPOLE, but guessed correctly and finished in 26 minutes. I maintained the stability of the domestic apple cart by crossing the line one minute later in 27 minutes. I would have been quicker, but had to ponder for 3-4 minutes over ICE. Lucky I did as, not knowing kill or diamonds = ICE, I had initially entered IdE.

    My favourite clue was SUNDRIES – very clever, I thought.

    Many thanks to Joker and Jack.

    1. 👏 Well done Mr & Mrs Random! Fantastic times on a day when so many (including yours truly) didn’t do so well.

  26. Wasn’t overly impressed. Biffed SUNDRIES (thanks Jack), and struggled with my LOI (due to High schools being a reasonably common thing here in the UK), thus missing my target. I’m surprised to be in a good position on the leaderboard, probably due to a particularly high error rate. I suspect COVERING in particular.

    TIME 5:29

  27. Watched the cricket first- what a game – and then rattled through all bar three of this in 15mins. Pinafore (hesitated because I had Pin for key, so couldn’t parse) and Novice then took another five to crack, at which point loi Sundries put up an Indian style heroic defense. A brute force alphabet trawl finally produced produced Sundries, which at least fitted half the clue, but I needed the blog (thanks, Jackkt) to understand Unsurprising Statement. A clue well out of place for the QC. Invariant

  28. Finished a little outside target having guessed DIPOLE mid solve. I didn’t struggle with either SUNDRIES or AIRY. My last two were COVERING and HIGHER UP. 9:27

  29. DNF – I abandoned ship having used a life raft to see what on earth was going on at 14d. Not sure I liked that clue very much. However once I put SUNDRIES in, I found AIRY. In fact the whole thing was a bit frustrating – I had everything bar 4 done in 7 minutes and then spent another 10 on those – the others were PINAFORE and NOVICE. Doubly annoying as I’ve seen that device at 2d before, and always liked it 🙄 Hey ho, on to another day
    FOI Register LOI Novice (apart from 14d) COD Hearth – topical 😢
    Thanks Joker and Jack

    Not read comments above yet, so hope I’m not saying exactly the same as everyone else!
    Well, it turns out I was echoing everyone else 😅

    1. Mme B abandoning ship on a day that Mr R cruises home almost effortlessly? Well, I never did! Wonders will never cease. Mind you, I mustn’t crow about it too loudly, as I spent around twice as long working on it. And, I daresay I will get my comeuppance in just a few hours from now. Good luck tomorrow!

  30. At least 25 minutes. Holdups were PINAFORE, DIPOLE and HIGHER-UPS , but they came to mind eventually. Didn’t much like SUNDRIES as the “unsurprising statement” part seemed a little too general. Will have to watch out for sunbeams, raindrops, rainfalls, snowfalls,bunnyhops, etc. in future!

  31. Sorry I’m late. I came here earlier to comment on my time, replied to Chris Lan above, the forgot to give my time. I took 12 minutes, same problems as everyone else. I thought I was on for a straight run through after all the acrosses went straight in until I reached 22a. The checkers made the downs easy until 14d. Thanks, Jackkt and Joker.

  32. DNF. As I thought of Spinney, I don’t know why I didn’t get PINAFORE. Failed on NOVICE too. I did biff a v. doubtful DIPOLE but NHO. As for SUNDRIES, I agree with the protestors.
    Managed COVERING, Lulworth being quite well known in the South of England. Also managed AIRY by thinking about wars.
    It was hard to biff today as many crossers were just vowels. Not a very enjoyable QC, but thanks for much needed blog, Jack.

  33. 27:14

    Well that started ok but was hard graft to finish the last few, especially AIRY, FETCHED and LOI COVERING.

  34. Gave up after alphabet trawling DIPOLE for the better part of 45-mins – meh. Was messing with HOLE as a depression but also saw the possible -OLE ending from the clue. But what to do with the clue never really was clear. Have vaguely heard of DIPOLE.

    Anyway, turns out Korea (and therefore AERO) isn’t wartorn enough these days.

    Big meh at SUNDRIES.

    Fortunate to live down the road from Lulworth so an easy one there.

    Overall unenjoyable with 8 left at my first stoppage at 30-mins.

  35. Total nightmare quite frankly.

    Took about an hour to finish and felt like I was wading through treacle much of the time.

    I really thought I was getting better at these things but today suggests otherwise. Firmly put in my place at the very back of the SCC.

    Thanks for the blog.

  36. 15:41 here but with a typo, dang it. Like others, not keen on SUNDRIES, but surprised that NOVICE hasn’t been praised more, as that was my COD. Thanks to Joker & Jackkt.

  37. A dnf. Even a very late last minute attempt was no good.
    But liked some of the clues. Thought 13a REST was very clever.
    Thanks setter and blogger.

  38. DNF – some unfair clues.
    PINAFORE could not be parsed by anyone who is not an expert in the 15×15.
    DIPOLE very hard too.
    Syria is a war torn country- but what happens if this is published in a book in years to come.
    A Parson’s egg of a puzzle

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