Times Quick Cryptic No 2052 by Joker


7:39, right about my average time. This puzzle had a mix of very straightforward clueing with some real curveballs (or whatever the cricket equivalent is). I was so unsure of 13 Across that I didn’t even submit to the leaderboard.



1   Note current clergyman is a member of the board (8)
I felt sure this was going to be a chess piece, but no.

5   One bird inhabiting swamps, primarily (4)
IBIS = I + first letters of BIRD INHABITING SWAMPS

8   Foreigner wanting more rum? (8)
STRANGER = double definition
Where ‘rum’ is synonymous with ‘queer’.

9   A thousand fish in bottom of boat (4)

11   Ointment line displayed in store (5)

12   Where bishop is to supervise (7)
Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to the meaning of ‘over’ here. Does a bishop live in a high tower?

13   Unimportant point in dock, perhaps (6)
Seems okay in retrospect, but I had a hard time finding this answer.

15   Girl Ed’s flying around in plane (6)
GLIDER = anagram of GIRL ED

18   Plane, perhaps is outstanding waverider? (7)

19   Coach twenty regularly, or a somewhat smaller group (5)
OCTET = every other letter in COACH TWENTY

21   Support freshwater fish out of river (4)
BEAM = BREAM without R
I had T{r}OUT here until I saw 20 Down.

22   Be dreamily infatuated about a vehicle in light biscuit (8)

23   What follows ninth cut in canvas cover (4)
TENT = TENTH minus a letter

24   Move to live elsewhere — it’s concerning Yorkshire town (8)
Settle’s motto is “Cavendo tutus adversa sperno” (“By taking precautions, I safely despise adversity”).


1   Unemployed stopped living around southern United States (7)
DISUSED = DIED around S + US

2   In the country, right on river in Russia (5)

3   Unfortunately not angelic, that’s been the case since birth (10)

4   Old fool shutting in European wild cat (6)
OCELOT = O + CLOT around E

6   Highly favoured? Not so much when retired, possibly (7)
BLESSED = LESS in BED (har har)
Most highly favored lady, Glo-o-o-o-o-ria.

7   Unravel clue — only when verb’s included (5)
SOLVE = SOLE around V

10   Reissue shares in existing station (10)
I didn’t parse this at the time, but I guess it’s the sense of someone being stationed/located somewhere.

14   Queen travelling by rail in country (7)

16   Reunite scattered staff (7)
RETINUE = anagram of REUNITE

17   The French entrance Papal ambassador (6)

18   Boast about French footwear (5)
SABOT = anagram of BOAST

20   Resistance interrupting attempt to sell fish (5)

69 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2052 by Joker”

      1. The Googly is delivered by a slowish bowler (spinner) .curveball is pitched at about 100 mph by a speed demon, Good to see you and Lawyer Reflux out on trolling duties! Speed however is not your forte! So where’s Kevin when he’s needed?
        1. That’s just not cricket.
          Curveball: something which is unexpected, surprising, or disruptive.
          Googly: to do something that someone did not expect and is difficult for them to deal with.
          No personal experience of facing either.
          Better get back to my duties for the evening and start with an unexpectedly fine white burgundy.
    1. That’s ‘where’? “Where is President Biden?” “Commander-in-chief of the armed forces.”
      1. Yes, it’s playing a bit on “over.” You could, though, say that on an organization chart the bishop could be (depicted as) literally over the diocese.

        Edited at 2022-01-19 07:11 pm (UTC)

  1. I was on the 19 :45 slow stopper from Stranraer to Settle

    FOI 2dn RURAL

    LOI 21ac BEAM — no BRA will be a great relief to Lords Cecil and Merlin.

    COD 23ac TENT

    WOD 18dn SABOT

    BOD I adore 22acs

    Edited at 2022-01-19 05:57 am (UTC)

  2. 11 minutes with 18ac as my LOI causing the delay that took me a minute over my target time. I thought of the water sport immediately but was distracted by ‘plane’, thinking of aircraft.
  3. 24 minutes of hopping round the grid so no smooth solve.
    LOI: DETAIL with a shrug.
    6dn BLESSED parsed after stopping the clock.
  4. Settle! Once I’d seen it I realised I’d heard of it. 2,564 residents at the 2011 Census. Looks lovely and lots to do according to Visit Settle, which is quite surprising because I was brought up in Wincanton which has twice the popualation and precisely nothing to do (apart from horse racing, golf, eating out, pleasant walks and Discworld stuff — what with it being twinned with Ankh-Morpork).

    Seven on the first pass, all green in 14. Generally fast until the SE intervened where as Vinyl said, nothing was too tricky but everything was a bit hard.

  5. Really struggled here. Could not get the CONGENITAL anagram — felt sure it would end with ING. This led to absent checkers in the SW corner, NHO SABOT and also was not familiar with the device “out of river”, which means subtract the “r” apparently. Is that like “out of money”?

    Tout/trout, beam/bream, cod/cord, tench/trench are all fish clues I can remember, but haven’t seen “out of river” before.

    For “dock, perhaps” I was going for “leaf”, then tried point=dot. More dead ends. Although now I see the answer, this is a good clue.

    For me, SETTLE is famous for its train route to Carlisle, which I have yet to take.

  6. 3Js this morning. I enjoyed the jokes ‘what do you get if her majesty uses the railway..ER in Train’ ….Longboarding champion scratches this… Fortunate to have got up earlier than usual…
    Many thanks J and J I reckon a googly is a good metaphorical approximation to the baseball curve ball (doesn’t move during flight but kicks in opposite direction than delivery suggests confounding the batter..knuckleballesque)

  7. My usual quick start then it became a messy search around the grid looking for inspiration.
    I thought clues like OVERSEE, DETAIL, SURFACE, OCTET, TENTH, REALLOCATE…. OK there were too many to list…… were really clever.
    I had no problem with the anagrams, given a few crossers. My LOI, BEAM, took too long to click (I started by being sidetracked by the usual supporter/bra).
    I thought it was a brilliant puzzle. I’m only sorry I don’t have a time — I was interrupted in mid flow and lost a few minutes and my concentration. I’m sure I was over my target, though. Many thanks to Joker for a good workout and to Jeremy — refreshing to see a blogger can be unsettled by some clues like the rest of us! John M.

    Edited at 2022-01-19 09:30 am (UTC)

  8. Parson yesterday Rector today but I am even less a fan of note being a random letter A to G than I am of random first names. That said I really enjoyed this puzzle and COD was the amusing DETAIL.
    Settled into my usual corner chair bang on 22.00.
    Coincidentally, ate my first macaroon in years after dinner last night. A re-gift from someone that hates them. Also not a fan. Perhaps I should re-regift to Horryd.
    Thanks Joker and Jeremy

    Edited at 2022-01-19 09:26 am (UTC)

  9. … and only just avoided the SCC, with the clock stopping just after 19 minutes. I agree with our blogger — some relatively straightforward clues and quite a few that required a lot more thought, indeed much of the bottom half of the grid for me. And even though I completed the puzzle, not all the clues were parsed — I still don’t really understand 10D Reallocate. But even so, I was a little surprised how long the puzzle took — a true challenge from Joker today!

    The Ural river in 2D Rural was a PDM for me — most of us have heard of the Ural mountains, I suspect, but the river of the same name is much less well known. Yet I see it is over 1,500 miles long, so hardly a minor stream.

    COD to 6D Blessed — is there a special name for these self-referring clues/answer combinations, with “retired” giving “in bed” which in turn gives “put the word Less in the word Bed”? Very enjoyable when you crack them.

    Many thanks to Jeremy for the blog

    Edited at 2022-01-19 09:23 am (UTC)

    1. I’m pretty sure the River Ural has popped up in the 15×15 a couple of times recently.
  10. Twenty minutes satisfyingly hard graft, but a DNF with one pink square as I put bear (LOI) for beam, bear being to support, with a question-mark over it as I knew it didn’t parse. Now I see why. FOI ibis, fourteen on first pass, COD surface. A few write-ins, and a few to ponder over. Thanks for the blog, Jeremy, and for the puzzle, Joker.
  11. “I had T{r}OUT here until I saw 20 Down” – snap! (Snapper?)

    I found the RHS acrosses easier than the LHS acrosses so my grid looked very unbalanced until starting on the downs. Anyone calling a MACAROON a “light” biscuit has never been to tea with my Great Aunt Madge.

    FOI DIRECTOR, LOI REALLOCATE, COD SURFACE, time 10:37 for an estimated 2K and a Perfectly Respectable Day.

    Many thanks Joker and Jezza.


    1. I recall my grandmother making some kind of coconutty splodge of biscuit, possibly dipped in chocolate, which she called a macaroon, long before I became aware of the French confection.
      1. Absolutely! The trendy French macarons (note only one O) are barely a mouthful – I’m sure Bake-Off is responsible for their popularity here now. Mind you, when I lived in France for a bit in the 70s, a macaron was just a medium sized almond biscuit, with either a cherry or an almond on the top. Give me a splodge of coconut dipped in chocolate any day 😅
        1. I think Alan Bennett, Thora Hird and Dead Ringers parodying both played a large part in the revival of macaroons in the UK. And that was some years before Bake Off

          Edited at 2022-01-19 02:22 pm (UTC)

          1. Ah, I was thinking of those little colourful ones. I bet AB and TH didn’t have pistachio or cassis flavoured macaroons 😅 They’d be like a cup of tepid Liptons compared to a hot cup of Yorkshire tea!
  12. I slipped over the 7 minute mark to my consternation.

    However, this doesn’t necessarily seem to have been a bad thing today for what was quite a hard puzzle, though a good one. DETAIL was my favourite.

    I wasn’t helped by the Yorkshire town of LOCATE existing only in my head, and therefore slowing up the bottom right quite considerably!


  13. Quite a tricky one today, stretching me to 11:09, with CONGENITAL, DETAIL, REALLOCATE and MACAROON contributing to the slow progress. Thanks Joker and Jeremy.
  14. I made hard work of this from the off. FOI DIRECTOR, a biff which left with an uneasy feeling. ONBOARD at 12a and TUTOR at 19a were further examples. After what seemed like a slow tour around the grid I managed to correct the errors. I had forgotten SETTLE was in Yorkshire; I’d have said Cumbria. That was late in. LOI was OCTET and the clock said 17:12.
    A good puzzle from Joker which had some challenges.
    And I also had T[R]OUT at 21a for a bit.
  15. Hit my 30 min mark and called it a day with 13ac “Detail” and 14dn “Terrain” still to complete.

    Whilst I can see 13ac, and understand the clueing, the definition on first sight feels
    counter-intuitive which is why I probably struggled. In my mind, “detail” is often the important point — please someone help me if I have, ahem, literally missed the point.

    Not sure if I’ve heard of “moon” = “dreamily infatuated” either. The only other moon I know of is the somewhat ruder one.

    After regularly travelling the A65, between Yorkshire and Cumbria, Settle wasn’t an issue (even if I did bypass it most of the time).

    Other than that — another tricker puzzle.

    FOI — 1dn “Disused”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 24ac “Resettle”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Yes, I was thinking along the lines of “spare me the details” / “don’t get bogged down in the details”.
  16. Just avoided the SCC at 19 minutes, so toughish for me. It was the usual suspects which held me up — BEAM, SABOT LTI. I was unsure of DETAIL because I don’t see a detail as being unimportant — is it just me? I think I liked BLESSED and SURFACE best. Thanks both.
    1. Chambers has the verb and noun pulling in different directions. I had a clunk with dock for detail, satisfied myself with “spare me the details” and moved on. If I’d thought about it longer it qould have bothered me!
    2. I’m with you Rotter…I saw it as important – however, I can see both sides. I once had a boss who often told us not to get mired in the “detail” – not exactly sure if that’s the right connotation.

      Edited at 2022-01-19 11:29 am (UTC)

    3. If something is a minor detail it’s unimportant. Then again, it’s where the devil is so could go either way.
  17. ….one small DETAIL, which probably added 30 seconds at the end. I wonder if it was that clue that delayed Verlaine ?

    TIME 4:23

    1. Something certainly delayed the great man. Might be the first time I’ve ever scrolled down from my name to his on the leaderboard.
  18. Toughest QC for a while, with most of the SW corner taking some time. Not convinced that a DETAIL is unimportant.
  19. Mostly quite straightforward but I came to a grinding halt in the SE with glider, macaroon and resettle taking much longer than they should have. I also needed aids to get my LOI – detail (and even then considered detain for a while, thinking of a dock in a courtroom). 21 mins including using the aid, so a tricky one.

    FOI – 1ac DIRECTOR
    LOI – DNF
    COD – 12ac OVERSEE

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  20. That was a struggle, particularly in the SW, which was depressingly blank, with the exception of TENT for quite some time. Should have got SABOT more quickly but missed that it was an anagram. Eventually DETAIL came to mind and that seemed to unblock things, finishing in 16.10 with LOI BEAM.
    Thanks to Jeremy
  21. Lots of good clues, but this was definitely a step up in difficulty from Tracy yesterday. Detail/Terrain and Legate/Resettle caused real problems, but Sabot (only dimly remembered) saved the day in the SW and allowed what now seems a respectable enough 26min solve. CoD to 18ac, Surface, in a strong field. Invariant
  22. Slow going today. The SW corner proved trickiest. Unlike Jeremy I didn’t question DETAIL although I needed all three checkers to solve it. I also had tout instead of BEAM until I saw TROUT at 20d. My final entries were SURFACE, SABOT and TENT in 11:31.

    Edited at 2022-01-19 12:01 pm (UTC)

  23. 13 minutes today – nearly twice as long as yesterday. I’m another who thinks Joker’s puzzles are getting harder – I felt some of today’s clues were borderline 15×15, particularly 6d BLESSED, which I didn’t parse, and 13a DETAIL, which I did. There was a lot to enjoy though – OVERSEE, OCELOT (probably because the clot part made me chuckle – such an nice old-fashioned feel to it) and DETAIL. I’m enjoying the interesting debate about DETAIL – there is someone much in the news currently who is appparently not interested in them!
    FOI Director
    LOI Detail
    COD Ibis – just a very nice &lit
    Thanks Joker and Jeremy
  24. Very pleased with 9:58 given some other comments here. Had to have a second or third run at a good number of clues including RESETTLE, REALLOCATE, BEAM and TERRAIN (first considering many nations before landing on alternative meaning of country). A very satisfying solve involving a bird a cat and three fish (including EEL) Thanks Joker and jeremy.
  25. Hurrah – finished correctly in 25 mins.
    Three in a row – must be a record for me.

    18 Down ‘SABOT’ (a shoe shaped from a single block of wood). We have had this several times before. Is it the only type of shoe that French people wear ?
    No wonder global warming in on the increase with all those trees being hacked down to make uncomfortable French shoes.

    21   Support freshwater fish out of river (4) BEAM = BREAM without R
    I quite liked this one – a change from the usual fishy clue involving eels.

  26. Well, well, well! Very pleased indeed to see others complaining about this as I think this is one of the quickest I’ve finished! We don’t do it against the clock but the answers just flew in. I wonder why??
  27. Also a little yacht with a shoe on the sail. Belgians must also wear them if the apocryphal story about them ‘sabotaging’ production by tossing their shoes into the production line is true.
    Liked this one – thanks J and J!
    1. You could be right about the shoes being thrown in to the machines by ‘saboteurs’. Wearing these wooden blocks all day would probably make the workers bolshie enough for anything.
  28. As I understand it, an overseer in the cotton mills etc was a supervisor. I’m beginning to find that being a bit old is a definite advantage – it’s rare that I come across a word that I’ve not heard of. Not that it helps me to crawl out of the SCC. Apart from Monday this week with a PB of 14 mins. Disappointment though yesterday and today.

    1. It wasn’t easy today, but read the blog and keep trying — you’ll get there.
  29. Failed on DETAIL, TERRAIN (shd have got), BEAM. I see others struggled too. Very quick at first but then I ground to a halt. Had a PDM with SURFACE, no problem w SABOT and LEGATE, but then everything was as sticky and muddy as our 5m walk today.
    Liked IBIS, KEEL, OCTET, RE(SETTLE) (been there!)
    Thanks all, esp Jeremy.
  30. Thought we were going for a quick time for us until the sw corner. Found detail and terrain tricky, added another 10 m.
  31. I completed exactly 50% before realising that I was not at the races today.
    I put in Detail but MER on reading blog to understand the clue.
    KenKen and Winning Move beckon!
    Thanks all
  32. It most certainly is – but don’t start this caper as and when you reach retirement! Experience is everything, as Jeremy will attest – with unlucky 13. This slowed me down but was home in 6:20 mins. COD a merely details, details! WOD Sabot merely a Dutch clog! And I do believe that ‘saboteur’ derives from this Luddite footwear. Memories of Bill Tidy.
  33. I sprinted out of the blocks with DIRECTOR, IBIS, DISUSED and RURAL all going straight in. A handful more followed at a more sedate pace … and then I really hit the buffers. Bit by bit, I pieced together the right hand side, but much of the left remained blank.

    STRANGER, SALVE, DETAIL, SURFACE (my LOI), BEAM, TENT, TERRAIN, CONGENITAL, OCELOT and LEGATE all required many minutes of hard work, alphabet trawling and re-working of the clues before they fell. I succeeded in the end, but only after a super-concentrated 64 minutes.

    I’m now mentally exhausted and have yet to read everyone’s comments, but I hope no one dismissed it as easy, even if they did a quick time. As a fully paid up member of the SCC, I can confirm that it was a beast to SOLVE and nearly made me KEEL over. Either that, or my lack of crosswording ability is CONGENITAL.

    Many thanks to Joker and Jeremy.

    Edited at 2022-01-19 04:49 pm (UTC)

  34. Enjoyable puzzle but on the tough side, I think. Once again we suffered from “last clue-itis” — took us ages to get BEAM. Coincidentally, Steed has just enjoyed a macaroon (coconut variety) — one of my wily ways of using up egg whites!

    COD: CONGENITAL (such a lovely anagram)

    Thanks Jeremy and Joker.

  35. Took 25 minutes to complete due to huge holdup in SW corner. NHO SABOT. Guessed that from the clue but discarded BREAM as I thought they were sea fish and ended up with BRAE (BRA being support and the answer being the Jamaican river).
  36. on the old LMS by Skipton, Settle, Carlisle and north to Carstairs, where the train divides for Edinburgh and Glasgow. The shy stay and look out of the window, the brave jump onto the platform and watch while the engines change over, then hop back just in time to continue their journey. A lot of clever thinking clues today, steady stuff in 38 min a GN8. Thanks all.

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