Times Quick Cryptic No 1282 by Joker

A word to solvers looking to improve

Two weeks ago, I augmented the usual blog with a “deep dive” on several clues which had been suggested in the comments. I’d like to try that again, so please call out any clues that stumped you and I’ll be happy to describe a possible solving process!



1 Staff [of] millions given good service (4)
MACE – M (“millions”) + ACE
3 Branch not on fire (8)
9 Study sightseeing itinerary outline (7)
CONTOUR – CON (“study”) + TOUR
10 Working after university partnership (5)
UNION – ON after UNI
11 Give out everything, Genesis to Malachi initially (5)
OT = Old Testament, Genesis being its first book and Malachi its last.
12 Out of bed, terribly tired [and] optimistic (6)
14 Imprisonment [of] one contrarian upset about Church of England (13)
INCARCERATION – I (“one”) + CONTRARIAN anagrammed around C.E. (“Church of England”)
17 Shower party — much they stripped off (6)
DOUCHE – DO + (MUCH and THEY without their first and last letters)
19 Sheets purchased initially before copier? (5)
PAPER – first letter of PURCHASED + APER
For newer solvers, “ape = copy” and “aper = copier” is a crossword chestnut. (In the US, as well.)
22 Public square [in] La Paz rebuilt (5)
PLAZA – LA PAZ anagrammed
23 Came to know Shakespeare’s king Edward (7)
Sneaky, since Edward Lear is sure to come to mind!
24 Time to allay the fears of losing second prize (8)
TREASURE – T + REASSURE without one S (“second”)
25 Rules about banning European insinuation (4)
SLUR – RULES anagrammed or reversed, without E (“European”)
I find this definition to be a bit of a stretch, personally.


1 Chance I’m terrible engineer (8)
MECHANIC – CHANCE I’M anagrammed
2 Waterway [in] N America, in western US state (5)
CANAL – N.A. (“N America”) in CAL.
That is, California.
4 Visionary ruler often let broadcast (7-6)
For newer solvers, ‘broadcast’ as an anagram indicator is also a chestnut. Think, “cast, broadly” — like seeds being sown.
5 Parents’ quibble, holding this firework (5)
SQUIB – PARENTS’ QUIBBLE contains the letters of the answer
6 Japanese art [in] old Baltic capital makes impact at first (7)
ORIGAMI – O (“old”) + RIGA + (first letters of MAKES and IMPACT)
7 Care for fashion that queen’s abandoned (4)
TEND – TREND without R (“queen”)
Thanks to the commenters for catching this one.
8 Top of joint on aquatic mammal[’s] pad (6)
JOTTER – first letter of JOINT + OTTER
13 Uninvited visitor at home, tons more disrespectful (8)
INTRUDER – IN + T (“tons”) + RUDER
15 Church voiced English hymn tune (7)
CHORALE – CH (“church”) + ORAL + E (“English”)
16 A quiet set of church bells [give] enjoyment (6)
Yet another definition I’m not wild about. For newer solvers, “p = piano = quiet” from musical notation is a chestnut. ‘Quiet’ can also indicate SH or ST.
18 Credit fool with no intelligence (5)
CRASS – CR (“credit”) + ASS
20 Severely criticise the Spanish car bodywork (5)
‘El’ is Spanish for ‘the’.
21 See son with cannabis (4)
SPOT – S (“son”) + POT

62 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1282 by Joker”

  1. Isn’t OT the Old Testament (initially), which runs from Genesis to Malachi? Or was that what you meant?

    Edited at 2019-02-06 12:48 am (UTC)

  2. Another puzzle completed well within my target 10 minutes. MACE went in first and TEND was LOI after OFFSHOOT, which did delay me slightly. 7:17. Thanks Joker and Jeremy.
  3. 28 minutes.

    My 5d has 2 this’s. Parents’ quibble holds this this firework. Dnk squib for firework itself, only as a e.g bad firework damp squib or disappointing event.

    Also struggled with allot, canal, contour, offshoot, for teller, upbeat and loi treasure. Maybe it was the beer yesterday.

    Cod offshoot

    1. Ooh, yes, I didn’t notice the TEND{er} explanation when I read the blog earlier. Should have done because that was my original interpretation but spotted T{r}END as a better option on reviewing at the end.
    2. Agreed – that is certainly how I got to the answer, I would never have thought of tender.
      1. It’s just that for seasoned solvers ER is likely to be one’s first thought on seeing ‘queen’ in a clue, with R more perhaps commonly clued by ‘king’. Of course ‘tender’ for ‘fashion’ doesn’t work in the wordplay here as Jeremy noted in his comment. Another thought on seeing ‘queen’ in a clue might be a reference to female cats.
  4. I forget the exact time, but about 10 minutes. Since I work in the semiconductor industry on the edge of automotive, I can tell you that a SQUIB is also the thing in your airbag that explodes to fill it in the unlucky event that it requires inflation. I assume the extra “this” in the clue was just a typo? I did wonder for a moment whether squib also means a typo, sounds plausible, but then I realized that even if it did, it woudn’t be in the QC.
  5. Three in a row under 20 but this time a red square from ORIGAAI – looking at the keyboard I’m not sure how I managed that. Had MAID in at 1a, as well as not fitting all the clue it wrecked 2d. Once I spotted that could be CANAL 1a was corrected and LOI. Still couldn’t parse CANAL though, so thanks Jeremy. Clue seems OK in retrospect but I was nowhere near looking for a three letter abbreviation of a state.
  6. 13:40 today with LOI DOUCHE requiring a fair bit of time to unravel.I did not manage to parse everything en route. Wondered how Tender = Fashion, another delay; thanks to all for comments on that. Also I left ALLOT till the end in case something better occurred to me.
    As usual I appreciated Joker’s smooth surfaces. David
  7. No time today as, annoyingly, every attempt to enter an answer to 25a crashed the Times app on my iPad. It felt a little slow, although everything went in parsed and understood ( except SLUR for the above mentioned reason!). I agree that TEND is from T{r}END and not TEND{er}, that the double THIS looks like a typo, and regarding Anon’s comment above, the ‘about’ could indicate a reversal or an anagram for RULES. A reversal is just a rather special anagram.
      1. Me too – I was heading for quite a good time as well! Some clever clues today I thought.
    1. Me too. As a (now long-since capable software man) I’m curious as to the mechanism of such a drop-out. Common answers used to include – for example – stack overflow, or dividing by infinity (like I now do in my head . . ). But why specific to a single clue when they must all be handled the same?

      Simple answers only – I know this isn’t a forum for esoterics.


      1. Mmm, not sure and impossible to tell without looking at the code for the app. I suspect that a small bit of syntax has been affected for that one clue. The crash seemed to happen whenever I tried to enter the first missing letter, rather than when the whole answer was entered (I never got that far).

        I noticed at a friend’s house that the same numeration error (i.e. 5 letters instead of 4 for the last across answer) was also present in the paper version she was looking at. I didn’t even notice the numeration error in the app as the answer was so obvious, but I doubt that that alone would be the cause of the app crashing when trying to enter an answer for 25a.

        So, it looks like two typo errors in today’s QC, as well as an error in the app when handling the input of 25a – sloppy editing? Let’s hope it all works tomorrow when I am blogging (in just a few hours time).

    2. Me too. As a (now long-since capable software man) I’m curious as to the mechanism of such a drop-out. Common answers used to include – for example – stack overflow, or dividing by infinity (like I now do in my head . . ). But why specific to a single clue when they must all be handled the same?

      Simple answers only – I know this isn’t a forum for esoterics.


      1. Arrayindexoutofboundsexception.

        It seems they type the clues with the answer length manually and if it doesn’t match the grid, boom.

  8. 10 minutes for me – well under the norm and just a shade outside PB, but I did rather bash through a couple where the answer seemed obvious without bothering to fully check, Incarceration for instance. Enjoyed the puzzle and thanks for the blog.
  9. ….DOUCHE this. Held up slightly by that one, and my crossing LOI, but just scraped into my target zone.

    I didn’t even notice the typo at 5D as I speed through, whilst remembering my dad’s pet name for my mum was SQUIB. She was only 4’10” so he obviously thought she was a little cracker.

    COD LEARNED – nice misdirection to those who don’t know their Bard
    TIME 4:57

  10. Since Kevin has graced us with his presence but not with his time today, I’m guessing that my 9:34 was under 2 Kevins and thus that this was a Good Day.

    Agree with T(r)END not TEND(er), with the reversal of RUL(e)S and that the second “this” is a typo. That was how I saw all those issues, anyway!

    COD and LOI CHORALE. I echo what David says about Joker’s smooth surfaces – a delightful puzzle, thanks to him and to Jeremy.


  11. Slow start with few across clues going in but picked up going down for 12.57. LOI OFFSHOOT then TEND (also thought TENDER less ER). Didn’t spot the complete parsing of DOUCHE. Clever.
  12. Stopped the clock at 7:06 for this very pleasant puzzle. COD to Treasure.
    Never spotted the typo in 5d, reminds me of “Paris in the the spring”. Thanks to Jeremy and Joker.


  13. Just under 10 minutes again today with the only hold up my LOI 17a DOUCHE. I biffed 11a ALLOT so thank you for the explanation Jeremy.
  14. Didn’t parse DOUCHE. I was looking for an ER in 7dn as well. Otherwise pretty straightforward with some nice surfaces.
    COD ALLOT (I had never heard of Malachi, but assumed it must be)
  15. I enjoyed this little teaser from Joker, finishing in a respectable (for me) 24mins. Might have been a minute or two quicker, save for the SW corner where Douche took a long time to see, and even longer to parse. Mind you, I only got that because of the ‘o’ crosser from remembering the excellent French film La Chorale for 15d. Those of you with a few minutes to spare should look up the fascinating article on Squibs in Wikipedia – I’m not sure Templar will have come across Scott v Shepherd? I had Offshoot as my CoD for quite a while, but it was pipped at the post by my penultimate, 17ac Douche. Invariant
  16. Yes the app has (5) for 25a when there’s only 4 letters. This is causing the crash.
  17. I rarely do the QC, being reasonably accomplished at the 15×15, so I was very disappointed to see such a bad mistake equating the words mechanic and engineer in today’s puzzle. This would be, quite rightly, illegal in many other countries. It displays an ignorant setter and a lazy editor.

    Sorry for the rant but someone has to say it.


    1. I’m glad someone brought this up. I would have but tend to get to the blog far too late to make it worth doing.
    2. I agree with you. When our son graduated with a double first from Cambridge many years ago he looked forward to changing his car insurance from ‘student’ to ‘engineer’. The girl on the phone said, after he had explained the situation, “Oh, mechanic then.” He was not pleased!
  18. Firstly – I’d like to say that the above anon post isn’t from me. If it’s in Collins (which has engineer as the first sysnonym of mechanic) then that’s fine with me.
    A quick stroll today – a bit under 9 minutes and all rather satisfactory. Loi tend as had the ‘er’ thing nagging at me.
    1. Well said, Chris. I’m well aware of the difference between engineer and mechanic as far as professional and technical qualifications are concerned as my father was a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, but in common usage there is crossover which the dictionaries quite rightly reflect and that justifies clues like today’s 1dn. As for it being “illegal in many other countries” to write such a clue, the mind boggles!
  19. I did a double take at the typo in 5d but the answer was clear despite it and I was held up for a bit at the end by the unknown CHORALE and DOUCHE. Other than that a steady solve today, completing it in 13.06.
    Thanks for the blog
  20. What is the point in having this website if you don’t show the parsing? If it is just the answer you’re after, there are plenty of other websites that can do that (eg Danword).
    1. If there’s a particular clue that the VOLUNTEER blogger hasn’t fully explained to your satisfaction, there’s nothing to stop you making a polite request for further clarification, rather than your rather rude post. On this website we take a pride in having civilized discussions.
      1. It states at the top that a ‘deep dive’ was suggested for some clues. So why not show the process for every clue? The Quick XWD is a start off point for many beginners and as stated previously there are already several websites that just show the answers.

        As for being rude? Don’t be such a wimp!! (BTW that’s the polite version for someone like you)…

        1. My apologies that you never learned to read. I wrote in the introduction that In my last blog, I did a deep dive on several clues which were suggested by commenters, and that I would like to do that again. Not just a more thorough parsing, but an actual explanation of how to approach solving the clue. You can check yourself the post from two Wednesdays ago — such a deep dive is not possible each week for every clue.

          If I go back to more thorough parsing (which leaves literally nothing for the reader to do, not even to ask, “why does X mean Y?”), then I will have no time to do these “deeper dives” which I think in the end will be more useful to newer solvers.

          1. I would avoid any more responses Jeremy. The anonymous commentator is obviously just looking to raise hackles for his own gratification. Keep up the good work.
    2. What a nutjob. If there’s one thing I do show, it’s the parsing.

      For the first few months, I gave very explicit write-ups showing how each word of the clue links up to each part of the wordplay. After awhile, it became clear that while this was helpful, newer solvers were still struggling — they were still being bamboozled by the clues.

      So for the next few months, I simplified my solutions (clearly giving each part, each aspect of wordplay, and detailing all abbreviations in full) and focused more on the methodology of clue-solving. If parsing is what you want, parsing is there. All that remains for you to do is look at the piece of the answer and ask yourself, “What words in the clue correspond to this?”.

      For example, when I write:

      Top of joint on aquatic mammal[’s] pad (6)
      JOTTER – first letter of JOINT + OTTER

      You can conclude that “top of” must be telling you to take the ‘first letter of’ JOINT, that “on” is telling you to put the parts together, and that “aquatic mammal” gives ‘otter’.

      If you can’t see how one of the parts I’ve given lines up with the clue, just ask.

      And stop being a DOUCHE.

      1. One minute it’s don’t be rude, the next it’s insults. Fair enough;

        Wife added to shortened body-art depicts yourself (4)

        Parse that.

        1. Oh, it was john who said “don’t be rude”. I don’t mind yelling at idiots on the internet from time to time. Give me my simple pleasures!
  21. Well, I’m still very slow, but unlike my last solve at least I did this in a single sitting in much less than an hour (c. 40 minutes). Good fun, basically straightforward, COD OFFSHOOT, LOI DOUCHE. And many, many thanks to our blogger (bloggers?) plusjeremy, and all those who blog the puzzles on this site – much appreciated by me and I’m sure many others like me.
  22. Every time I tried to solve this clue , ie touching the clue to bring up the spaces, crossword disappeared!
  23. I thought this was pitched at just the right difficulty level. Thanks to the blogger for some helpful hints.

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