Times Quick Cryptic 2520 by Joker


Solving time: 6 minutes

Mostly straightforward I thought although there were a couple in the lower half that required a return visit with checkers for the answer to come to mind, most notably INTERCHANGE.

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 Very old canine suffering with temperature (7)
Anagram [suffering] of CANINE, T (temperature)
5 Enormous vessel containing sulphur (4)
VAT (vessel) containing S (sulphur)
7 Concerned with couple in fix (6)
RE (concerned with), PAIR (couple)
8 Line on chart is old watering-hole (6)
IS, O (old), BAR (watering-hole – jocular for pub)
9 Mackerel apt to be ruined where it might be sold outdoors (11)
Anagram [ruined] of MACKERAL APT
10 Food stolen by pet, perhaps (3,3)
HOT (stolen), DOG (pet, perhaps)
12 Very keen backing to include good Caribbean music (6)
EAGER (very keen) reversed [backing] containing [to include] G (good)
14 Bury some money where roads meet (11)
INTER (bury). CHANGE (some money). There are many words for where roads meet but this one didn’t come readily to mind. It feels as if it has been invented to sound modernistic when an older word such as ‘junction’ would serve just as well.
17 Corn, emmer, rice, einkorn — all look initially this? (6)
C{orn} + E {mmer} + R{ice} + E{inkorn} + A{ll} + L{ook} [initially] Emmer and Einkorn are both types of wheat.
18 One appointed to see  man on board (6)
The clergyman and the chess piece
20 Second-hand American edition (4)
US (American), ED (edition)
21 Worker with tsarina in revolution (7)
Anagram [in revolution] of TSARINA
1 Grow old with silver mane finally (3)
AG (silver), {man}E [finally]
2 Cleaner looking embarrassed how something might be burnt? (7)
CHAR (cleaner), RED (looking embarrassed)
3 European Great Lake? That’s strange (5)
E (European), ERIE (Great Lake)
4 Tourist has time with Jack in Whitechapel, perhaps (7)
T (time), RIPPER(Jack in Whitechapel, perhaps). Eleven ‘Whitechapel murders’ took place over three years 1888-1891 and all of them at one time or another have been ascribed to the unknown serial killer nicknamed ‘Jack the Ripper’.
5 Small plant — six round large area (5)
VI (six), O (round), L (large), A (area). As far as I can make out ‘viola’ refers to a whole genus of small plants of which the violet is just one example.
6 Spooner’s masculine nation, which goes nowhere? (9)
As Spooner would say “Male state” (masculine nation)
9 Dominoes played with son in a sullen manner (9)
Anagram [played] of DOMINOES, S (son)
11 Big ape seen in stream in state in India (7)
RILL (stream) contained by [in] GOA (state in India)
13 Beginning a book (7)
This is the first book of the Bible but more widely it can mean the beginning or origin of anything
15 Take care of introducing right general direction (5)
TEND (take care of) containing [introducing] R (right)
16 Two blood groups included in drug dose addiction (5)
A + B (two blood groups) contained by [included in] HIT (drug dose)
19 What’s now unfortunately personal (3)
Anagram [unfortunately] of NOW

102 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2520 by Joker”

  1. 4:23. It’s been awhile since I’ve had any time to do a puzzle other than my blog puzzle, and even then I don’t really feel like I have the time. I’ve missed it, so I made sure to spend some time tonight, and I’m glad I did.

    I think I was helped here by ISOBAR, GENESIS, and others I’ve come across recently in puzzles so they weren’t as fooling as they might have been.

  2. Absolute PB by a long shot at 12:21! 🎇 Completely parsed as well.

    I think it was a combination of it being fairly easy (no new vocab here) and also me finally absorbing all the words I’ve learned since starting these – inter meaning bury, a holy see, char, the lake Erie etc

    I freaked out at the Spoonerism but it ended up being alright when I broke it down (I figured masculine had to be male went went from there) and BISHOP took be by far the longest

    I like Mondays. They make up for Fridays.

  3. Straightforward enough, but it felt slow. I didn’t know that the murders took place in Whitechapel, but tourist=tripper came to mind quickly enough. 5:56.

  4. 9:25. No big holdups. I guess TRIPPER took the longest because I thought Whitechapel meant there was something London East End in the wordplay-dropped H or rhyming slang- before I finally remembered Whitechapel was the haunt of the notorious miscreant. I think old words for road crossings call up mainly simple images whereas INTERCHANGE suggests better the modern convoluted highspeed connections.

  5. 7.09, with 2+ spent trying to figure out STALEMATE which turned out to be perfectly straightforward for anyone prepared to put a bit of thought into it. Started off well getting all the acrosses in order (including MARKETPLACE) until stymied by BISHOP, and the downs flowed smoothly except for the aforementioned LOI which turned the dream of a potential new PB into a nightmare. Thank you J and J, enjoyable puzzle.

  6. DNF. 7 mins for 96% of it then 10 more on the Spoonerism clue. Which I gave up on. I kept trying MAN for masculine, then thought maybe I don’t know the code for these damn clues, and the definition comes first followed by the spoonerism, so looked for 9 letter words meaning masculine. The checkers gave quite a lot of possibilities.

    Didn’t like VIOLA where the setter chose a deliberately obscure “plant” definition.


    1. Hello Merlin. I sympathise with your struggles. I had a similar experience – 23 clues in 10 minutes, then another 28 minutes on STALEMATE. Galling!

  7. A nice gentle start to the week coming in all green at around 17 minutes. No real stand out clues, although STALEMATE slowed me down (I always panic at spoonerisms) and TRIPPER took longer than it should have. BISHOP should’ve been quicker but I unfailingly fail to see ‘board’ as linked to chess until afterwards. Doh!
    Thank you Joker and Jackkt for a pleasant start to to the week.

  8. Held up at the end by STALEMATE even with all the checkers. Particularly enjoyed ISOBAR (that geography degree keeps paying dividends) HOT DOG and REGGAE on the way to a rate sub-10 solve. All green in 9.

  9. Gentle going but missed out on a rare sub 5 minute solve due to STALEMATE (pesky spoonerisms!), INTERCHANGE and LOI HABIT. Particularly enjoyed the imagery of MOODINESS.
    Finished in 5.31
    Thanks to Jack

  10. Almost a straight top to bottom solve. The only clue I had to go back to was 14A, where I had INTER and just needed the rest. My first sub 3 minute solve for quite some time.

    TIME 2:46

  11. Relatively easy (as Mondays tend to be), all in finished in 12 minutes as stuck for 5 on stalemate which I put in the end only from the definition and not from the cryptic clue. I actually still don’t understand it!
    COD: habit, thought it was very cleverly constructed.

    1. Man on board = chess piece = BISHOP

      In the church a vicar is appointed in charge of a parish and a bishop is appointed to be in charge of a larger area that’s called a ‘see’.

    2. A spoonerism is named after Reverend Spooner I think, who allegedly often swapped the first sounds of two words around in speech.
      So in this case a Masculine Nation is a Male State
      If you swap the first sounds, Male State = Stale Mate

      We don’t get a lot of them in Quick Crossword I think, cos they’re kinda tricky imo, but they’re always clearly marked with Spooner in the clue

  12. 5.52

    Thought this was a lovely crossword with some nice surfaces, a few misdirections but all very doable.

    Interesting to see how many folks struggle with the spoonerisms. I like ‘em (dare I say find them quite solvable) but have a similar sense of panic at the two word DD (and any cryptic)

    Thanks Jackkt (excellent blog as always) and Joker

  13. INTERCHANGE is surely a station where different train lines meet (e.g. Kings Cross or Crewe); is it ever used to refer to roads?
    OK, sorry … stand corrected. (NHO the three cited below, but have now.)
    TRIPPER easy enough, but found the crossers for the spoonerism (S_A_E_A_E) just too unhelpful.

    1. It’s more of an Americanism but you do get places like the Thorney Interchange


      Spoonerisms are always an “oh blimey” when I get to them, fortunately was able to begin to see “state” in the top set of checkers and then get to the answer. I find Down clues problematic for filling in from checkers, so have to waste time rewriting them horizontally

      1. Gravelly Hill Interchange is famous on the M6 in BrummieJum – or Spaghetti Junction as it’s otherwise known.

    2. The Peartree Interchange is on the A34 near Oxford and is regularly on the travel news due to hold ups.

  14. A good start to the week which was on track to be very good until held up by LOI Bishop. I always forget that board can mean chessboard, and it blew a potential 6 minute solve out to closer to 9.

    That apart, briefly held up by Stalemate (not good at Spoonerisms, and this one requires one to switch two letters for one), and Viola (not known and put in from the – admittedly very clear – wordplay). I wonder why setters so often choose a completely niche meaning for a word when there is a perfectly good and very common one available instead – it didn’t even have the saving grace of leading to a smooth surface this time.

    Many thanks Jack for the blog.

    1. Yet I came up with two small plants VIOLA and VIncA but only one fitted the wordplay!

    2. I personally don’t consider viola at all obscure, they are all over the place in season – not just in garden centres but B&Q, supermarkets etc, v common pot and bedding plants. Just shows that GK can be quite individual !

  15. 7:56 for a PB (49secs quicker). Spent last minute or so on STALEMATE and ARTISAN – the latter where I was trying to do something with AnT-. The SE was a wasteland until BISHOP opened up it up – good clue in its use of “see”.

    I enjoy Joker’s puzzles – rarely a word in there you won’t know although emmer and einkorn in the cereal clue are new to me, not that it mattered 👍

    1. Well done, LP! 3 mins quicker than me on first 23 clues. 27 mins quicker on STALEMATE.

  16. A gentle warm-up in 6.44, Generally, I like Spooner clues, especially if they give the setter a chance to amuse. This one threw me, though, because a male nation otherwise is STAGNATION, also going nowhere. Doesn’t fit, and stagnates doesn’t work, but with the mind pushed down that track it’s tricky to return to the INTERCHANGE.

    1. I was distracted by that too, seeing stagnation as much closer to the “going nowhere” meaning than STALEMATE.

  17. 6’05” held up for a little while only by ISOBAR the solution for which I was searching in a completely arse-about-face manner to include ‘oasis’ somewhere. All else was (rarely for Joker) relatively straightforward.

    Thanks Joker and Jackkt.

  18. Well well, despite my coffee-less state that flew in – 04:53. I’m pretty sure that’s a PB, though I don’t keep records. Anyway it’s my first sub-K for yonks so it’s a Red Letter Day! Can’t believe it was on a Joker – good job I was solving on phone so couldn’t see his name and be intimidated.

    I know that Spooner clues are marmite but I like them – they’re quirky.

    I now need this train to hurry up so I can get an espresso.

    Many thanks to the two Js.


    PS on edit – of the 63 reference solvers on the Quitch when I looked just now, 62 have beaten their average time. The exception is some chump called Verlaine, who only managed a pitiful 02:42 against his average of 02:38. What a mug!

  19. 7 mins…

    I think this may be a PB – I will have to check. Either way, it was probably one of the more straight forward (dare I say easiest) QC’s in quite a while.

    Only slight hesitation was 6dn “Stalemate” which needed a few checkers to see.

    FOI – 1dn “Age”
    LOI – 18ac “Bishop”
    COD – 16dn “Habit”

    Thanks as usual!

      1. They are few and far between 😀 – I will now look forward to the inevitable run of poor form.

  20. Accidentally revealed BISHOP , so DNF.
    Otherwise did pretty well considering I don’t usually solve on line.
    Thanks vm, Jack.

  21. It should have been a sub 5 minutes finish but like many others here I got held up by the Spoonerism. Still, my time of 6:15 scores as an excellent day. COD to ISOBAR

  22. A gentle solve for me too. Like others I’m anxious about spoonerisms. That was my LOI today and even then I had to use Crossword Solver to give me ideas – I couldn’t get spacerace out of my mind could that be something going nowhere? … oh well you can’t win ‘em all.

    Thanks Joker and Jack.

  23. A welcome 16min solve after Friday’s little horror story. Might even have been a little quicker, but when you actually write in Placemarket before thinking no, that really doesn’t look right, you quickly realise that you are not going to zoom through this one. Loi, and eventual CoD, Artisan was another Ant + something else timewaster, until I realised it was just (Tsarina)* Invariant

  24. Congrats to the PB achievers!

    No such luck for me – a little stodgy, with LOI ARTISAN being a prime example – I had to write out the anagrist.


  25. 7:22 (Britons of Cornwall defeat unspecified enemies at the battle of Hehil)

    Almost a top to bottom solve. The only one I did not get on first pass was ARTISAN.

    Thanks Joker and Jack

  26. 9 minutes for me. It did not seem as easy to me as comments above suggest.
    LOI ISOBAR after time sorting out the Spooner clue; I assumed MALE had to be one half and that got me there.
    A good QC; no single clue stood out for me.

  27. I was also heading for a sub-10 PB when I got stuck on the spoonerism and after a further ten minutes it ended in a stalemate. Hey ho, very enjoyable QC all the same and almost a top to bottom solve which is unusual for me. I normally go where I have the most checkers.
    Does anyone actually call a chess piece a ‘man’?

  28. Just sub-10 by a few seconds, with Joker at his most amenable. Hats off to all the PBs and red letter day solvers, I’m afraid that such heroics are behind me these days, but I did enjoy this. Like others, held up by the Rev and ARTISAN with BISHOP LOI after HABIT occurred to me. Thanks Joker and Jackkt.

  29. 14 minutes here. Couldn’t parse Bishop until I got here despite it now being obvious. I’m still at the solving stage where getting it all green is a result so happy with that.

    Did my usual on the Spoonerism – read the first word and left it until I had crossers. Also slow on the interchange as I’d usually interpret that as somewhere mixed transport modes meet; at The Hard Interchange in Portsmouth, you have buses, trains and ferries.

  30. 1. M4/M25 interchange (approx. 361,350 vehicles per day)
    2. M25/M1 interchange (approx. 324,700 vehicles per day)
    3. M6/M62 interchange (approx. 312,100 vehicles per day)
    4. M60/M62 interchange (approx. 305,450 vehicles per day)
    5. M6/M1 interchange (approx. 276,100 vehicles per day)
    6. M4/M5 interchange (approx. 268,350 vehicles per day)
    The above from a very long list on Wiki. The busiest interchanges in England.

  31. For those interested in the background to the Ripper’s victims I heartily recommend The Five by Hallie Reunbenhold. Their life stories are fascinating and tragic.

  32. There seem to be a lot of PBs flying around today, so well done to those that achieved it. I was a long way from my best though finishing in 8.35. I was held up for over a minute at the end by Spooner as usual, before staggering over the line.

  33. 11:56
    A PB for me too 😁
    I thought I was going to be under 10mins when, at 8mins, I ground to a panicky halt with my LOI STALEMATE. I don’t know what it is about spoonerisms, probably just fear for me.
    As with Jack and others, needed the checkers for the back half of INTERCHANGE.
    Thanks to Jack and Joker.

  34. The across clues just flew in and I thought I might be on for a PB. All except 3 done in probably around 7 minutes. The 3 were 11dn GORILLA where I was looking at the wrong end of the clue for the definition, 18ac BISHOP where I failed to consider the right sort of board and never did understand the significance of ‘see’ so couldn’t parse it even when I solved it and 6dn STALEMATE which I never did solve, despite knowing what was required. The crossers weren’t helpful but even so I should have got it. After staring at it for at least 5 minutes I decided I wasn’t going to get it and resorted to crosswordsolver. Disappointing!

    FOI – 1ac ANCIENT
    LOI – DNF
    COD – liked ANCIENT for the surface and CEREAL for the brilliant enumeration of the various types.

  35. I fear the buns in the SCC may go stale today, with most of us regulars having a day outside its hallowed portals. About 1 Tina for me today!
    LOI was BISHOP, which I liked very much once the light dawned. A bit of panic with so few helpful checkers on the Spoonerism, but a bit of logic helped unravel it. All good fun for a happy Monday.

    1. I greedily stuffed myself on the SCC buns. No doubt I’ll pay for it tomorrow.

      On edit:
      Just realised I should have replied with “By the time I arrived the SCC buns had gone STALE, MATE”.

      On 2nd edit:
      It’s amazing how time heals. I can joke about it now, but was definitely not in the mood earlier in the day.

      1. 🤣. There is much worse in life than a visit to the SCC even if at the time it is frustrating. I’m about to try todays puzzle so I may be there early to see what is left over!

  36. My only holdup today was MOODINESS, where I needed the crossers to untangle it properly. If I’d seen it staright away I’d have dipped under 5 minutes. MALE was the first thing I thought of for the Spoonerism and with the crossers I had, STALEMATE sprang into view. FOI AGE, LOI MOODINESS. 5:01. Thanks Joker and Jack.

  37. 11.38 I was rattling through this but I was held up for several minutes at the end by STALEMATE and the excellent BISHOP. Thanks to Jack and Joker.

  38. Very gentle QC today. STALEMATE deliberately left until last to both savour (spoonerisms are my most favourite type of clue, with homophones a close second) and make use of the crossers. VIOLA seems a common plant to me proving just how subjective GK is. Liked TRIPPER very much. Many thanks for the blog and thanks to Joker.

  39. 4:34

    Nothing to scare the horses though did take a good 30 seconds to come up with STALEMATE.

    INTERCHANGE only half went in first time round – cleared up once checkers in place.

    Thanks Joker and Jack

  40. Well I was outside by 20 minute target today, having romped through most of the clues but then took a long time to see STALEMATE and BISHOP which I only put in without parsing as I had forgotten they were appointed. Obviously not quite on the right wavelength today! Thanks to Joker and Jackkt.

  41. Thank you – managed this in under 20 minutes while eating my lunch. FOI ANCIENT, LOI USED. I particularly enjoyed ISOBAR and MARKETPLACE

  42. 13/24. Time to give up for good and admit defeat. Many thanks to all that have tried to help me. Best wishes to other newbies and learners. Congratulations to Joker for finally ending my desire to succeed with the QC.

    1. I wonder whether you’re expecting too much too soon Ian? You’re obviously beginning to get the hang of QCs as you managed over half the clues today. It honestly took me years of practice to be able to complete one regularly, only then was I brave enough to post anything 😃 I imagine many who post are rather seasoned QC-ers and some are also 15 x 15 solvers… just a thought

    2. Don’t give up Ian.

      I know how you feel. I’ve been doing these QCs for almost three years now, I think, and I still get days where I get absolutely nowhere.

      At first I was lucky if I was able to answer two or three clues. These days I more often than not complete it. Though I admit that sometimes I need my cat to give me some extra hints.

    3. Solving any single clue is a small win. Doing them all is better, of course, but when I battle with the 15×15 I am pleased with whatever I get, even if it is only a few. If you get enjoyment from what you do complete, don’t give up yet. However, if that’s not enough, fair enough to find something else. It is good of you to have joined in the chatter here either way. If it was only the supersolvers commenting it would be less of an interesting community.

  43. This was a PB puzzle through and through ………. until the final clue, that is. 10 minutes would have been a new PB for me and I needed to solve the Spoonerism clue in about 30 seconds to achieve that landmark. I got ‘male’ for masculine straight away, but ‘state’ for nation required a maddening 28-minute trawl. So, in the end it was just another somewhat dispiring day at the Random office. Total time = 38 minutes.

    Mrs Random proceed at a much more leisurely pace and finished with the same clue. It came to her in 30 seconds and she crossed the line in 27 minutes, thereby snatching the family point from my grasp yet again.

    Many thanks to Joker and Jack.

    P.S. Does anyone else experience single-clue half-hour brain freezes? It’s a worryingly common occurrence for me. Should I seek professional help?

    1. Yes, it’s a very common experience called a Breezeblock and is a recent addition to our Glossary available on the Help Menu and under ‘Useful Links’

      It’s defined as:

      Breezeblock (or breeze-block, breeze block) – a term for that situation where you have breezed through most of a crossword, only to come to a grinding halt with one (or two, or three) clues left to solve.

  44. I normally find Joker difficult but managed a clean sweep today. STALEMATE took a long time but having got so far I was happy to take my time.

    COD Hot Dog

  45. Oh happy day! Thank you Joker and I wish I had timed carefully, I may have escaped the SCC. A novel experience! In spite of being an Anglican, it took a while to think of “see” as a Bishop’s domain. And maybe one day I’ll get Spoonerisms.

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