Times Quick Cryptic 2315 by Joker

Hello everybody.  I enjoyed this puzzle, which felt trickier than my time would suggest.  As I am still collating numbers for crunching, that’s all I will say about times until next time.

My last in was 11d.  12a made me smile to solve, but not to write up in the blog!  I liked 3d because it could be very apt for anyone not a fan of the relevant wordplay.  It would also indeed be irksome if the setter tended to leave bits out of the clues.  Happily, all present and correct here – 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 A male singer having trouble with king’s diplomat (10)
AMBASSADOR A + M (male) + BASS (singer) next to (having) ADO (trouble) with R (king)
7a Little bit of time before event (5)
TRACE T (time) before RACE (event)
8a Fruit with strange lustre (6)
RESULT — The answer is made with an anagram of (strange) LUSTRE
10a Musical performance that’s not entirely enchanted (3)
RAP — This is all but the last letter of (not entirely) RAPt (enchanted)
12a Make a silly person say where were those calories you absorbed? (9)
INFATUATE IN FAT U ATE could be a way of saying where the calories you consumed came from.  Well, although “silly” turns out to be part of the definition, it definitely helped guide me to the wordplay!
13a What warms big building on Broadway initially lacking temperature (6)
HEATER — Without the first letter (… initially lacking), [t]HEATER (big building on Broadway – Broadway signposting the US spelling) + T (temperature)
14a Horseman catching a marauder (6)
RAIDER RIDER (horseman) taking in (catching) A
17a Annoyed worker eating one roll for breakfast (9)
CROISSANT CROSS (annoyed) and ANT (worker) around (eating) I (one)
19a Tear in manuscript (3)
RIP — The answer is in manuscRIPt
20a Note about one short bovine leg bone (6)
FIBULA FA (note) around (about) I (one) and BULl (bovine) without its last letter (short …)
21a Freeze a lot of what goes into hot curry? (5)
CHILL — All but the last letter of (a lot of) CHILLi (what goes into hot curry?)
23a Seven sagas about uncivilised state (10)
SAVAGENESS SEVEN SAGAS anagrammed (about)
1d What may produce staggering pudding wine from Germany (10)
AFTERSHOCK AFTERS (pudding) + HOCK (wine from Germany)
2d Supporter of British Royal Academy (3)
BRA B (British) + RA (Royal Academy).  Bra clued as a supporter is a crossword favourite, so one to remember.  If it’s not a bra, it may well be a tee
3d Unproductive anger follows setter regularly leaving bits out (7)
STERILE RILE (anger) follows SeTtEr without alternate letters (regularly leaving bits out)
4d Cut loose from a daughter over split (6)
ADRIFT A + D (daughter) preceding (over, in a down entry) RIFT (split)
5d Opening location for working film actors (5)
ONSET ON SET (location for working film actors).  On set / onset is another oft-seen device
6d Shrub planted among girasole and eryngo (8)
OLEANDER — The shrub is inside (planted among) girasOLE AND ERyngo.  I was glad I didn’t need to know anything about girasole or eryngo, but really I wasn’t worried.  Often, and certainly in a QC, unfamiliar words are likely to be fodder: to be anagrammed or to provide selected letters, or used to hide an answer as here.
9d More pilots flying in London, for instance (10)
METROPOLIS MORE PILOTS anagrammed (flying)
11d Like an old Greek place to get a soft drink (8)
PLATONIC PL (place) + A + TONIC (soft drink)
15d Diplomat having a tough time initially with pain (7)
ATTACHE A + the first letters of (… initially) Tough Time + ACHE (pain)
16d Hat a chap raised to father (6)
PANAMA A and MAN (chap) reversed (raised) going upward in the grid towards (to) PA (father)
18d A girl is after small steam room (5)
SAUNA A and UNA (girl) is after S (small)
22d Sweet that’s lovely, though not new (3)
ICE — [n]ICE (lovely) but without (though not) N (new)

65 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2315 by Joker”

  1. Submitted with RUSTLE rather than RESULT. The anguished cry of the biffer, “well, it fitted”. Was thinking maybe of russet, a potato.

    Was slow on AFTERSHOCK, thinking wine might be Asti.

    At 3d, I mis-counted the alternate letters (a habit of mine), and was looking at STR-, so STRAINS/STRAINED looked good for “leaving bits out”. I was confused because that phrase is not needed in the wordplay, “regularly” usually can do the job unaided.

    The INFATUATE clue doesn’t quite work for me.


    1. I was wondering too if rustle was an alternate form of russet – but I only knew russet apples not potatoes.

    2. I also put in RUSTLE and couldn’t quite see how it worked. I also got mixed up with my bones and somehow combined tibia and fibula and mistyped TIBULA. Oh well, pink squares everywhere. At least I finished the 15×15 all correct.

  2. 14:03. For a long time I could only see rustle as an anagram of lustre but it didn’t seem to have any connection with fruit. Fortunately RESULT eventually appeared with checkers. INFATUATE was the only answer possible but I don’t really get the definition- I must be not looking at it from the right angle!

    1. Hmm.. looking back I realize RESULT didn’t come clear with the checkers. I think I just finally saw ru was going nowhere so it had to start RE.

  3. A 13:17 DNF. I thought a “rustle” might be some sort of old apple variety; no such luck. I didn’t know the proper meaning of INFATUATE (I thought it meant to be head over heels in love with) but the wordplay was good. PLATONIC was my LOI after taking a while to think of RAP for ‘Musical performance’. I’ll go for that as COD as the surface provided a fitting description of how ‘enchanted’ I probably would have been with the ‘performance’.

    Thanks to Joker and Kitty

  4. I don’t get INFATUATE, partly no doubt because there is no such verb in my vocabulary. ‘make a person silly’? 5:49.

    1. I thought the same and was about to post agreement when I looked in SOED and found infatuate Reduce to foolishness.

      1. I actually looked at Collins before posting my comment, and was surprised to find something similar. But as I said, it’s not in my vocabulary; and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in no one else’s here. (And does it mean ‘make a silly person’?) The setter isn’t responsible for gaps in my vocabulary, of course, and it was easy enough to biff, but it doesn’t seem like QC material to me.

        1. I take the point about the word order which does seem a bit odd although I’m not sure it changes the meaning significantly. I think as setter or editor I might have felt the clue needed a rethink. On the definition I meant to say that ‘Reduce to foolishness’ is the very first listed in SOED, not an afterthought. The COED dodges it by only defining ‘be infatuated with’ but usefully adds that ‘infatuate’ is of C16 origin from the Latin infatuare ‘make foolish’.

    2. I think it is supposed to be an &lit type of clue. ‘In (the) fat u ate’ is something a silly person would say. Perhaps ‘by the sound of it’ would have worked better!

      1. I am open to being wrong (plenty of practice!) but I’m confident in saying 12a isn’t an &lit. For that the whole clue would have to function, not only as wordplay, but also as a viable (however oblique) definition. I think make [into] a silly person works, although it’s certainly not the most obvious definition.

  5. 13 minutes with one error, so into my amber zone – at least an improvement on going into the red with 16 minutes on Friday.

    I lost time on INFATUATE where I wasn’t completely sure of definition or wordplay but now think both are okay (my reply to Kevin refers). But I was stumped by 8ac where I got as far as RUSTLE as an anagram of ‘lustre’ and reluctantly accepted it as a variety of apple, perhaps akin to the russet. Obviously thinking of ‘fruit’ literally rather than figuratively. Not a good start to my QC week!

  6. Found this tough – I am not so good at clues which dock either the first or last letter, and there are several of these today. But eventually all green in 14 minutes.

    I agree with those who have flagged Infatuate as a clue worthy of comment. The wordplay is clever but the definition “Make a silly person” just doesn’t work for me. Even “Make a person silly” would not be very good (as well as ruining the surface). Not Joker’s finest in my view.

    Many thanks to Kitty for the blog

  7. 13 mins but with a big pink square with Tibula not FIBULA. – doh, I should have known to check as it’s a common mistake (for me anyway)

    For 12ac I was looking on a variation of ‘infantilise’ before seeing, or rather ‘hearing’, INFATUATE and I was too pleased with myself to question the definition or its potential obscurity.

    I was also pleased with myself for not being drawn to ‘rustle’ as a type of fruit and a in the self enforced pause for thought I saw RESULT.

    As usual with Joker a tough but fair (bar 12ac?) challenge. Thanks to Joker and Kitty too.

  8. I was another looking for the RUSTLE apple, which spoilt an otherwise good, if somewhat slow solve. Struggled with AFTERSHOCK, RAP and PLATONIC at the end.
    Thanks to Kitty

    1. So did I. 25 minutes.
      Clockwise solve to grind to a halt at the end. Where does the time go.

  9. Slooow going, but all correct in the end. Not at the races at all!

    LOI was SAVAGENESS – I totally failed to clock the anagram indicator. Avoided the RUSTLE trap. I think I liked AFTERSHOCK best.

    Double unlucky for some, and by some distance my slowest this year.


  10. Joker really had a good laugh at my expense today. I was going like an express train. Starting with AMBASSADOR, I filled in everything to the right of an imaginary diagonal from top left to bottom right of the grid without a pause. No problem with RUSTLE or INFATUATE. Then I came off the rails.
    The rest took me just over the SCC boundary. Talk about a game of two halves!
    I liked PLATONIC and, when I finally got them, AFTERSHOCK, and SAVAGENESS.
    Thanks to both. John M.

    1. Funny how it goes – I was the opposite. No answers for a long time going through the acrosses. Started to make traction only at the bottom and worked, increasingly fast, up from there. 12 minutes.

  11. Not keen on INFATUATE. Liked AFTERSHOCK, PLATONIC (my LOI) and RESULT. Still struggle to equate RAP with music, cos I iz well old innit blud.

    All done in 09:13 which is 1.8K but I’m still ranking this as a Good Day.

    Many thanks Joker and Kittykat.


  12. I was glad to see I was in good company with my pink RUSTLE. FOI BRA and LOsI were PLATONIC (COD) and then RAP, which both held me up for several minutes. I’m consoling myself with the fact that 21:32 is somewhat quicker than most of my efforts last week. Thanks Joker and Kitty.

  13. Enjoyed this overall – thanks setter and blogger! I think 12a is a bit of a stretch in the way it is worded and I found quite a few a bit chewy but it was a good workout. Thanks again!

  14. Dnf…

    28 mins for everything, but put “Rustle” for 8ac, confusing it with some form of apple (which I see above is, of course, Russet)

    I thought this was quite taxing and I found it a bit of a trudge around the grid. Some good clues though, and I particularly liked 13ac “Heater” and 1dn “Aftershock” which was my COD.

    However, wasn’t convinced about the definition for 12ac “Infatuate”.

    FOI – 2dn “Bra”
    LOI – 11dn “Platonic”
    COD – “Aftershock”

    Thanks as usual!

  15. Couldn’t finish this difficult and unenjoyable “QC”.

    To me 12a was utter nonsense. Total gibberish. Could not make head nor tail of it.

    I did answer 8a with RESULT, which seemed to catch a few people out.

    As usual I find Joker‘s “QC” to be very difficult.

  16. 21 minutes and change for a seat in the SCC again for me. I was tempted by RUSTLE, but managed to resist and waited until the other meaning of fruit presented itself for LOI. The alliterative anagram at the bottom also took some time to get despite spotting it was an anagram very quickly. I liked several of the others, but not INFATUATE. Thanks both.

  17. INFATUATED is definitely in my vocabulary, so, I thought there must also be INFATUATE, meaning something similar to what Joker intended, but it was not my favourite clue. Nevertheless, I had all the crossers except the final E. I find I am usually on Joker’s wavelength and completed this enjoyable puzzle in about average time. FOI BRA, LOI METROPOLIS, COD CROISSANT. As usual. I started with 1a and 1d, which both seemed difficult and after some time looked elsewhere. The B in BRA showed it could not be an anagram, and BASS solved the clue. Soon after, I started thinking about HOCK rather than RIESLING, and started steady progress. Wasted time on rustle and biffed RAP. Thanks J and K.

  18. Yet another RUSTLE here thinking of Russet, and also compounded the error by writing in CROSSIANT! So a double edged DNF in spite of a decent finishing time of 7.50. I’m blaming it on brain freeze, it’s certainly cold enough outside having just got in and immediately started on the crossword.

  19. AMBASSADOR to SAVAGENESS in 8:05. INFATUATE took a moment’s cogitation and induced a raised eyebrow. Thanks Joker and Kitty.

  20. Like many others I didn’t see INFATUATE at all and only got it through trial and error once all crossers were in. Similarly with RESULT, after trying all combinations of the clue! As an aged rocker, RAP did not spring to mind, either!

  21. Struggled to get going, with only a couple of the across clues going in on first read-through. Had more success with the downs but even then after 19 minutes the right-hand side was complete but the left-hand side empty! I decided to take a break at that point and come back to it. Managed to polish it off at the second attempt after another 15 minutes, so 34 minutes in total and my slowest time for a while. Saw SAUNA quickly but couldn’t parse it so didn’t put it in. Was very slow to see CROISSANT but after the rather delayed PDM both that and SAUNA opened up that side of the grid.

    FOI – 14ac RAIDER
    LOI – 11dn PLATONIC
    COD – liked 1dn AFTERSHOCK when I finally saw it. Also 15dn ATTACHE, which I saw immediately, for the surface.

    Thanks to Joker and to Kitty

  22. A 30 min dnf (Rustle) with a whopping GR for 12ac, Infatuated – a clue that should never have seen the light of day. Invariant

  23. FOI 1ac. DNF 1d. Just could not get AFTERSHOCK nor PLATONIC, nor HEATER. Even looked up RAP. Oh dear. But I now see RIP matched.
    Did manage unparsed FIBULA, and RESULT & INFATUATE. I saw You Ate and worked backwards!
    SAUNA isn’t really a steam bath, imo. It is much dryer than a Turkish bath/hammam. You don’t need to add water at all if you don’t want to.
    Thanks vm, Kitty.

  24. DNF for me

    I parsed Platonic as Plato (old Greek) and then ‘tonic’

    Thanks all. I’ve returned to the quick cryptic after some time away and forgot how much I enjoyed the mental jousting

  25. I haven’t commented on here in ages, mainly because I now run a little QC group of my own these days and can’t find the wherewithal to comment twice in one day about the same grid. However, I always read, and very much enjoy, reading the blog and comments.
    I very much enjoyed today’s QC, even though I never seem to be on joker’s wavelength. I share the frustrations expressed here over 12 across – I so much want to like it! And yet…
    My COD is 1 down, mainly because it had me rootling away in my mental wine list for a German pudding wine beginning with A.

    1. Hello Louisa and welcome back! Is it you who sometimes rates these QCs on an exasperometer? What a wonderful invention!

  26. 10:30. This was a strange one – as I worked my way through it, I didn’t really concentrate on the surfaces, and initially thought it was just OK. But now I realise there are some fun – if subtle – clues tucked away here. I particularly liked HEATER, CROISSANT, CHILL and METROPOLIS , but plenty more could have got ticks. No problem with INFATUATE as a word, and quite liked the IKEA-style structure, but agree with all the above comments that the actual definition was a bit off.
    MrB kindly prints off the crosswords for me and he was chuckling as he read 1d – unfortunately he couldn’t answer it, but I’m going to explain it now. He likes the idea of crosswords but Train Tracks is more his sort of thing.
    FOI Ambassador LOI Rap COD Aftershock
    Thanks Joker and Kitty

    I thought the biggie was quite accessible today – I did it in about 20 minutes with only a couple really causing me too many problems.

  27. Entering the arena I spotted I was up against Joker and lowered expectations. In the early days, the wordplay was too much but I’d gradually learned to overcome them. Except there was always one silly little error for a DNF. Today was to be another of these days.

    Brain was half in gear on the first pass and seemed to get a few more answers in the lower half than top. But once I began working round the grid I could see what was wanted. AFTERSHOCK was very easy given it was 1A in The Guardian Everyman just a few weeks ago. Yet I couldn’t see BRA on first pass which was typical of how I struggled with today’s definitions.

    STERILE caused me problems because firstly the definition was meh and secondly I wanted to put “IRE” instead of “RILE” and while I know what regularly indicates I didn’t understand leaving bits out.

    Another definition I didn’t and still don’t understand is ICE=sweet. This clue was also typical of the problems I had around the grid with letters needing to be dropped to make another. Those can be tough if you aren’t in the right frame of mind.

    As my pass for the SCC was validated, I had four clues left RAP / PLATONIC and ATTACHE / CHILL (plus ICE doubt). So three clues with the dropped letter and –A-O-I- not the most useful checkers!

    Finally hit the last key just after the 30-min mark for the “Unlucky” result to come up. Once again Joker had beaten me with a silly mistake. Ordinarily it would have been RuStLe but this time I was clever enough to see past it and thought my efforts had born fruit. But no, like MangoMan, I’d mixed up my FIBULA and tibia for a tIBULA. A pair of words I know full well, I even look at TIBULA and thought “What kind of note is TA, surely it should be TE” and later found myself talking to myself in the voice of the Captain in the old Douglas Adams’ Doctor Who story The Pirate Planet “Full speed ahead Mr Fibuli…” 🤬

  28. All fair in retrospect but AFTERSHOCK, RAP and PLATONIC added an age at the end. Club site crashed on my phone so my 21m is a little better than reality as the crash stopped the timer but I kept thinking during the restart!

  29. I agree with Blighter (above), who called this “a game of two halves”. 1a (AMBASSADOR) went in quite quickly and I worked my way quite smoothly around the grid in a clockwise direction. After a quarter of an hour or so, I had only 6 clues to go and was feeling quite pleased with myself. An SCC escape was possible, but anything in the 20’s for a Joker puzzle is good for me. Alas, those remaining half-dozen clues took around 25 minutes to crack. In order of solving, they were PLATONIC, HEATER, AFTERSHOCK, RAP, TRACE and SAVAGENESS. In the end, I finished in 41 minutes.

    As a (moderately OK) open-water swimmer, I am well aware of the potential dangers of AFTERSHOCK. I have been (and have seen others) caught out by one’s core body temperature continuing to drop for some time after having got out of the water, particularly at this time of year. Please beware!

    Mrs Random also found today’s QC “rather difficult”. She finished in 31 minutes, which is quite slow for her these days.

    Many thanks to Joker and Kitty.

  30. Just inside the SCC with the much-commented-about INFATUATE causing me significant problems, otherwise all seemed fair. Liked AFTERSHOCK and CROISSANT. FOI BRA. Many thanks all.

  31. I’m really not sure why I started out typing in countertenor at 1a, probably because I could see the answer had a lot of letters but thankfully not enough. I also put in RUSSET at 8a but OLEANDER made me look at it again and come up with the correct RESULT. I wanted to like INFATUATE but, as others have said, the beginning of the clue just doesn’t work. My LOI was SAVAGENESS, a word I can’t recall anyone using. 8:02 for a good day.

  32. DNF after 30 mins which is my cut off of the time available – with 1d, 11d and 10a unsolved. Didn’t appreciate the excess words in 3a (‘leaving bits out’) and thought clueing of Theatre as ‘big building on Broadway’ was clumsy.

    Thought INFATUATE was fair as it is a ‘sounds like’ clue. @Kitty – probably best not to underline ‘Make a silly person’ as the definition as I think it’s an &lit type of clue.
    Thanks Kitty for the blog.

  33. I found this tough going. Most of the left was blank after fighting my way round the rest. I found 12a amusing but not impressive. Took a long time to see how Result worked at 8a. Usual fair clues from Joker but really not fun today. Solved in fits and starts as I was baking more loaves for this week.
    FOI 14a Raider
    LOI 3d Sterile
    COD 17a Croissant

  34. We found this tricky but at least we got 8a result right, thinking fruit and result can have a similar if distant meaning.

  35. really liked infatuate as wordplay / pun as well as the angry ant
    Bit hard for a Monday

  36. I found this really hard. After fifteen minutes only two thirds were done so I went shopping. Probably half an hour in total. Worst time for a while but pleased to have completed it.

  37. My crossword-solving brain is very rusty after a week away from anything requiring reading, on doctors orders following cryotherapy to mend a torn retina.
    Todays crossword took me just under half an hour, and I was another one whose brain muddled Tibia and Fibula, causing me to enter TIBULA and so be a DNF.

  38. 22:30

    A slow start with only 3 across answers on first pass, not helped by looking for an actual fruit, then sped up as the checkers flew in on the downs before getting stuck in the top left. Took too long to decipher AFTERSHOCK and LOI TRACE

  39. A rather frustrating day. I was another member of the RUSTLE brigade. That apart, I was done and dusted in 20 mins. So near and yet so far…

    I agree with the comments on INFATUATE. For a while, I was convinced the word was INFANTILE until I got the checkers.

    Unlike some others, I quite liked this offering from arguably the hardest of the setters, which makes my one blip all the more galling.

    LOI – INFATUATE (of course)

    Thanks for the blog Kitty.

      1. Perhaps Breadman, although he has been quite tricky of late. I find them all hard, but Breadman often provides quite a few ‘simple’ ones to get you started.

        1. Thank you. In the QC book 5, puzzle 70 is by Breadman. I tackled that one this morning. Obviously I didn’t complete it, but it was good practice and I’m grateful to you for mentioning him. I’ll look for him in the other books.

  40. Thanks for your comments. I was very surprised by all the rustling – I hope it doesn’t keep you awake!

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