Times Quick Cryptic 910 by Joker

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I needed 11 minutes for this one, with most time lost unaccountably on 4ac. It seems to be a mostly straightforward puzzle but past experience tells me that one can’t always be sure, so I shall watch with interest to see what others made of it.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones].

1 Give aid to town of St Francis mostly beginning to tumble (6)
ASSIST – ASSIS{i} (town of St Francis) [mostly], [beginning to] T{umble}
4 Joint left covered in cloves, say (6)
SPLICE – L (left) contained by [covered in] SPICE (cloves, say)
9 Hanging cut short, with length being new (7)
CURTAIN – CURTAI{l} (cut short) with L (length) [being] changed to N (new)
10 Brilliant getting rid of British Conservatives? (5)
RIGHT – {b}RIGHT (brilliant) [getting rid of British – B]
11 Study you initially disprove (4)
DENY – DEN (study), Y{ou} [initially]. I’m not convinced by the definition here although there seems to be enough in the usual sources to support it. In my view to deny something is not the same as disproving it as it’s perfectly possible to deny whilst lying through one’s teeth. I have a similar problem with ‘deny/refute’ when it comes up.
12 Malign relative around at home (8)
SINISTER – SISTER (relative) contains [around] IN (at home). A meaning which survives years of prejudice against left-handed folk.
14 Receive land when suffering liberation (11)
DELIVERANCE – Anagram [when suffering] of RECEIVE LAND
18 Chap keeps losing explanatory list of words (8)
GLOSSARY – GARY (chap) contains LOSS (losing). ‘Loss’ clued by ‘losing’ seems a bit weak but perhaps not so in a Quickie.
20 Staff might be male and very good (4)
MACE – M (male), ACE (very good). Perhaps the most famous example of  ‘mace’ as a staff is the one that sits on the table in front of the Speaker in the House of Commons and is clearly visible if one watches PMQs on TV.
22 Former partner not entirely mentioned for praise (5)
EXTOL – EX (former partner), [not entirely] TOL{d} (mentioned)
23 Remarkable  / reason for eating on one’s lap? (7)
NOTABLE – A straight definition and a cryptic hint leading to the alternatively spaced NO TABLE
24 Strode around English county (6)
DORSET – Anagram [around] of STRODE. Home of our Jimbo.
25 Keen about that woman’s fruit tree (6)
CHERRY – CRY (keen) contains [about] HER (that woman)
1 Shops in a passage are without a single rat (6)
ARCADE – ARE contains [without] CAD (rat). I’m not sure why ‘single’ is included as it doesn’t seem to have a function in the wordplay and it’s perhaps too important a word to be condsidered as merely padding. I suppose it adds a bit to the surface.
2 Military test area under street is very unusual (7)
STRANGE – RANGE (military test area) under – in a Down clue – ST (street)
3 Impromptu / photograph (4)
SNAP – Two meanings. ‘Snap’ in the first sense is often used in conjunction with ‘election’ like the general one we suffered earlier this year.
5 Unfair, putting pressure on manual worker (8)
PARTISAN – P (pressure), ARTISAN (manual worker)
6 Gold bar obtained after mint is stripped of million tons (5)
INGOT – GOT (obtained) after {m}IN{t} [stripped of Million Tons]
7 Complete part of independent Ireland (6)
ENTIRE – Hidden in [part of] {independ}ENT IRE{land}
8 Devising locomotive to go on European circuit (11)
ENGINEERING – ENGINE (locomotive), E (European), RING (circuit)
13 Sid’s love unfortunately is to disappear (8)
DISSOLVE – Anagram (unfortunately) of SID’S LOVE
15 Valuable fossil material found under church hall (7)
CHAMBER – AMBER (valuable fossil material) found under CH (church)
16 A desire for wealth is not disputed (6)
AGREED – A, GREED (desire for wealth)
17 Unorthodox belief present with Syria’s leaders (6)
HERESY – HERE (present), SY{ria} [leaders]
19 Boy wizard would have power over this aquatic creature (5)
OTTER – {p}OTTER (boy wizard) [would have power over this…]
21 Female dog losing head in desire (4)
ITCH – {b}ITCH (female dog) [losing head]

24 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 910 by Joker”

  1. I had the same doubts as Jack about DENY, but it’s come up so often that I hardly noticed. I was embarrassed, given its notable resident, to have taken so much time to come up with the shire. 6:21
  2. 15:23. Only 3 Anagrams today, which is low, I believe. Enjoyed many of the alternative clue types, esp CURTAIN and NOTABLE.

  3. Glad our setter had problems with 4a, as it’s what did for me. As my finger headed toward “Submit” I had second thoughts about my hastily-thrown-in SPLINE, but I didn’t have them fast enough. More haste, less speed. Fifteen seconds more thought and I’d have got it right and still been under eleven minutes…
  4. The first pass down yielded only a few. Working up then down again magically filled them all in and I finished with ottter and loi Dorset in 8 minutes. A surprising, but very pleasing, start to the day.
  5. I made hard work for myself today by suffering from a bit of Monday morning doziness. I chucked in ‘curtail’ without reading the clue very closely which made 8d decidedly tricky. I also missed the anagram at 14a for a while which further held me up.
    Finally completed in 23 minutes with LOI 20a. Enjoyed the simplicity of 24a
  6. 20:04 today. I would have been faster had I got Engineering sooner. Notable raised a smile when I got it.
  7. I am new to crosswords so did not find this easy, but did not expect to. But I would like some advice from the more experienced solvers on a particular issue. That is grammar or the correct use of words not important when trying to solve puzzles. For example splice is not a joint but rather a word meaning to join. Sinister is not malign wrong tense in both cases. I ask this only so I know in future when trying to solve puzzles not to worry about correct English.

    Thanks in advance

    1. I find that the crossword setters are quite strict about grammar in terms of tenses and parts of speech; indeed if my answer is the wrong tense/ part of speech it is almost invariably wrong – or I’ve missed something. In the examples you give: my dictionary says that a splice is a kind af joint (as well as a verb, to split, as you say). But I might only have come across it as a verb. And sinister and malign are both adjectives, and in my dictionary they are listed as synonyms.
      Hope you enjoy your crossword learning journey -and the Times Quick Cryptic and this blog are a great help!
      1. Thanks for responding to our anon friend, pearlygait, and I agree with your explanations. Also that the Times setters are meticulous about tenses and parts of speech, and it’s very rare indeed for them to make an error on that score. If something does manage to slip through it’s much more likely to be a misprint, though those are quite rare too, thankfully.

        Definitions tend to be queried more frequently but reference to the usual sources (Collins, Chambers and Concise Oxford) will almost without exception find support for the definition used by the setter, so complaints by those who remain unconvinced need to be addressed to the lexicographers rather than the Times.

        Edited at 2017-09-04 10:08 am (UTC)

      2. Thank you for your reply. Just to be clear I was not complaining only trying to understand. I am enjoying my attempts to solve these puzzles and learn something each day through the blogs.

        I will have to get a different dictionary as my were not clear on either definition.

        Thanks again

        1. Anon, all three of the dictionaries I mentioned above have free on-line versions available that are sufficient for most Times Quick and 15×15 cryptic puzzles.

          If you want to buy a single printed dictionary I’d suggest that Collins is the probably the best for everyday use. The Concise Oxford has less content and Chambers, whilst being the most comprehensive of them, tends to be a little user-unfriendly in my view.

          Edited at 2017-09-04 05:29 pm (UTC)

      3. Thank you for your reply. Just to be clear I was not complaining only trying to understand. I am enjoying my attempts to solve these puzzles and learn something each day through the blogs.

        I will have to get a different dictionary as my were not clear on either definition.

        Thanks again

  8. This felt like more of a struggle than it proved to be. Turned out to be quite quick.
    One or two clues seemed unnecessarily padded to me. Is a single rat a CAD but a married rat not? Why is amber a “valuable” fossil material as opposed to just a fossil material?
    1. I’d guess a single person is not necessarily a cad unless they are dishonourable, in which case single rat might fit the bill?
  9. Apart from cry/keen, I was also held up by the 8d/9ac combination at the end, with far too much time spent thinking 8d began with Train. . . I think Joker was trying to be helpful by including single in 1d, otherwise some might have been looking for a four letter rat to follow re, perhaps ? Invariant
  10. Needed all the crossers to see 14a and was held up by Batman and Robin in the SW until the penny dropped, due to a wrongly remembered Boy Wonder. FOI ASSIST LOI OTTER. 9:31. Thanks Joker and Jack.
  11. Dear Anonymous: welcome to the blog. Hang out here, it’s the best way to learn.

    Please sign up for a WordPress account (it’s free) or sign your posts.

  12. If ever there was a ten minute crossword this was it.
    Some long and non too brilliant clues,I don’t think Iam a Joker fan – not jokey (joekobi?) enough!

    COD 16dn AGREED

    WOD none!

  13. Another enjoyable Joker puzzle.
    I too made my life difficult with a lazy Curtail for 9a. Fairly quickly corrected. Did not note a time. Davud

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