Times Quick Cryptic No 1186 by Joker

Happy to be doing a guest blog on an off night. Just came from rehearsal for my barbershop quartet, so my mind was a bit distracted, but nevertheless I finished in 11’40” while simultaneously discussing with my wife how to better persuade our 2 1/2 year old to eat actual food — which, thankfully, he loves. An enjoyable puzzle with several answers unknown to me, and some really excellent wordplay.


7 Boyfriend outside university runs office (6)
BUREAU – BEAU (“boyfriend”) around (“outside”) U (“university”) + R (“runs”)
8 A sunny land (6)
ALIGHT – A (“a”) + LIGHT (“sunny”)
Delightfully misleading. One of my last in.
9 London borough losing billions [in] income from tenants (4)
RENT – BRENT (“London borough”) without (“losing”) B (“billions”)
Didn’t know the borough, but it was easy enough to get from the definition.
10 Girl[’s] troubled life before London, perhaps (8)
FELICITY – anagrammed (“troubled”) LIFE (“life”) + (“before”) CITY (“London, perhaps”)
I always enjoy interesting names being worked into crossword puzzles.
11 Consecrated building that’s large and outstanding (8)
HALLOWED – HALL (“building that’s large”) + (“and”) OWED (“outstanding”)
Speaking of outstanding, this was one of my favorite clues. Wonderfully hidden definition.
13 Good fortune daring to sacrifice pawn (4)
LUCK – PLUCK (“daring”) without (“to sacrifice”) P (“pawn”)
15 Error starting the yearbook’s print output (4)
TYPO – first letters of (“starting”) THE YEARBOOK’S PRINT OUTPUT (“the yearbook’s print output”)
16 Large hat [with] dark brow lacking covering (8)
SOMBRERO – SOMBRE (“dark”) + BROW (“brow”) without first and last letters (“lacking covering”)
Didn’t get the wordplay until typing up the blog. Of course, the US spelling is ‘somber’.
18 Better public school around West African city (4,4)
CAPE TOWN – CAP (“better”) + ETON (“public school”) outside (“around”) W (“west”)
Also didn’t get the wordplay while solving, although I suspected Eton.
20 Some metal creates fine powder (4)
TALC – letters inside (“some”) METAL CREATES (“metal creates”)
21 Stand lazily round during fencing thrust (6)
LOUNGE – O (“round”) in (“during”) LUNGE (“fencing thrust”)
22 An idiot backed hard bathroom sponge (6)
LOOFAH – A FOOL (“an idiot”) reversed (“backed”) + H (“hard”)


1 Amusing time on railway marking those passing? (8)
FUNERARY – FUN (“amusing”) + ERA (“time”) + (“on”) RY (“railway”)
Didn’t know this word but I knew it had to start FUN–.
2 Have nothing to do [in] strike? A WC needs sorting out (2,2,1,5,3)
BE AT A LOOSE END – BEAT (“strike”) + A (“a”) + LOO (“WC”) + NEEDS (“needs”) anagrammed (“sorting out”)
Didn’t know this expression. Boy I must seem pretty dumb.
3 Not many will follow dog when one’s told to stay in (6)
CURFEW – FEW (“not many”) after (“will follow”) CUR (“dog”)
4 Everything’s thrown into awful song (6)
BALLAD – ALL (“everything”) in (“‘is thrown into”) BAD (“awful”)
5 Spot old Liberal interrupting record speech (13)
DISCOLORATION – O (“old”) + L (“liberal”) in (“interrupting”) DISC (“record”) + ORATION (“speech”)
This must be a chestnut, but I found it delightful.
6 Small and crudely built house [is] closed (4)
SHUT – S (“small”) + (“and”) HUT (“crudely built house”)
12 For instance, Oscar [is] a big personality (3)
EGO – E.G. (“for instance”) + O (“Oscar”, in radio alphabet)
14 Computer-aided design incorporates art, see, [in] large amount (8)
CARTLOAD – CAD (“computer-aided design”) outside (“incorporates”) ART (“art”) + LO (“see”)
I’m a ‘buttload’ sort of guy, myself.
16 Years attached to shop floor (6)
STOREY – Y (“years”) next to (“attached to”) STORE (“shop”)
US spelling is ‘story’.
17 Blend mix of gin and lemon? That’s not on (6)
MINGLE – anagram of (“mix of”) GIN (“gin”) + (“and”) LEMON (“lemon”) without (“that’s not”, that has not) ON (“on”)
19 Article with no name? [Then it’s] this (4)
ANON – A (“article”) + (“with”) NO (“no”) + N (“name”)
That is, ‘anonymous’.

15 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1186 by Joker”

  1. Luckily, I knew the UK version of ‘be at loose ends’, and LOO gave me enough to biff. DNK CAD, so 14d took a bit of time, as did 5d, which wasn’t a chestnut for me, anyway. I love clues like 8ac; economical and natural. 6:34.
  2. 11 minutes with time lost finding STOREY as my LOI and double-checking the parsing on the two long Down answers. I knew FUNERARY but wondered if others would. Loofahs and sponges are not the same thing but they share characteristics (such as being able to soak up and retain liquids), and uses (e.g. at bathtime) and it’s this that justifies the definition here. SOED for example has ‘loofah’ as ‘a coarse sponge…’.

    Edited at 2018-09-25 04:40 am (UTC)

    1. Sponges are sea creatures, of which the loofah (no idea of botanical name) is one example. What are commonly called sponges are lumps of petroleum based foam designed to loosely emulate the sea creature
      1. I’m no expert but my understading is that a sponge is a sea creature but loofah is a plant, a variety of gourd.
  3. I very much like Joker’s crosswords and this was no exception even though it took me 40 minutes to complete! The tricky ones for me – they took me ages! – were 8 across (LOI) and 5 down. In both instances, the key words were deceptive, with “spot” meaning “flaw ” rather than “catch sight of “, and “land ” meaning “arrive on ” rather than “earth”. Even though I kind of suspected that this would be the case, it still took me a good ten minutes to accept it and get my head around the play! Great stuff. Thank you so much, setter and blogger.
  4. A good QC with a few unusual and unexpected clues to slow me down (as usual from Joker). Discoloration took a minute or two to click but that plus Cartload) opened up Sombrero (why wasn’t that a write-in for me?) then Storey and Cape Town (LOI, another doh moment). 3 Kevins (which is becoming pretty standard these days for me). Nice one, Joker. John M.
  5. FOI BUREAU, LOI STOREY. Penny drop moments with ALIGHT, HALLOWED and DISCOLORATION. Nice puzzle. 8:00. Thanks Joker and Jeremy.
  6. I found this quite difficult, one of Joker’s harder puzzles I think.
    Not having first letters always seems to hold me up unduly. And I went down some wrong paths: I wanted 5d to start Vince .. (old Liberal) but realised that was probably too contemporary. At 16a I could only think of Homburg -I had the M- as it was the last thing I listened to last night (Procol Harum).
    Anyway after about 20 minutes I needed 16d, 19d and 18a. LOI was Storey after I reckon about 26 minutes, so much longer than my recent solves.
    As ever some great surfaces from Joker -7a my favourite. David
    1. Yes, he’d have to be actually dead (other than politically) to be eligible for inclusion in a weekday Times puzzle.
  7. I don’t have an accurate time, because of interruptions, but around the 30 mins mark. My last two in, 7ac and 21ac (!), were responsible for about 5 of those. Some really nice clues, 3d and 18ac for example, but my favourite today was 19d, Anon. Invariant
  8. About 16 minutes with pen and paper. FOI was ALIGHT and LOI DISCOLORATION. No biffing required today so a very enjoyable solve.
  9. A bit of a sting in the tail today. I was pottering through this quite nicely and then got stuck on 18a, 16 and 14d. LOI 14 started to make more sense when I stopped trying to think of graphics etc. and looked at the back end of the clue for the definition.
    Completed in 13.45.
    Thanks for filling in plusjeremy
  10. A bit lacklustre for me more of a trek than a pleasure. Some dodgy clues for me 11a the that’s large is superfluous and large compared to what? An aircraft hanger? The Empire State Building? Ah I forgot we are rooted in 19th century when a hall is large. Ditto Talc which is rock and comes in whacking great chunks, then grounded into talcum powder, abbreviated to talc I suppose. As for discoloration, firstly it has a U this side of the pond, and secondly it means a fading or reduction of colour (OED), surely a spot would be an addition of colour?
  11. I thought it was an excellent crossword and was heading for a good time when I came to a grinding halt with four clues to go 1, 9, 16 and 18. They took another 10 minutes (that includes solving the Suko to give my brain a change!) I have no idea why I found these so tough. Anyway total time was 30 minutes and COD goes to 2d. I love the piece together clues! MM

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