Times Quick Cryptic No 2158 by Joker

I found this quite tricky to finish off: I had four clues left at the 6 minute mark, and took another 4:30 for the 11d-13ac and 6d-19ac crossers.

6d my LOI, possibly because it comes quite far down my list of things that could reasonably be called a mode of travel: for me it would involve going from A to B via H (hospital), and possibly a charge of ABH.

Lots to like – many thanks to Joker!

1 Our foe is wildly carrying clubs … and is this? (9)
FEROCIOUS – anagram (wildly) of OUR FOE IS, carrying C(lubs)
6 Small border plant (5)
SEDGE – S(mall) EDGE (border)
8 Place for obsolete metal and paper cash in circulation (9)
SCRAPHEAP – anagram (in circulation) of PAPER CASH
9 A boxing match is concerning (5)
ABOUT – A BOUT (a boxing match)
10 Publican popular with new guard (9)
INNKEEPER – IN (popular) with N(ew) KEEPER (guard)
12 Ladies’ hat with head backed with open-weave fabric (6)
BONNET – NOB (head) “backed” with NET (open-weave fabric)
13 Spirit of anger around one (6)
WRAITH – WRATH (anger) around I (one)
16 A right turn-off: stomach botanic garden (9)
ARBORETUM – A R(ight) BORE (turn-off) TUM (stomach)
18 Surrounded by team on green to some extent (5)
AMONG – teAM ON Green “to some extent”
19 Sham diamonds for queen in welcoming party (9)
DECEPTION – RECEPTION (welcoming party) with D(iamonds) substituted for R (Regina = queen)
21 Empty vehicle seen round outskirts of Lille (5)
CLEAR – CAR (vehicle) around LE (“outskirts” of LillE)
22 Remember, I’m sincere in a fashion (9)
REMINISCE – anagram (in a fashion) of IM SINCERE
1 Established in a number of celebrations (7)
FESTIVE -EST(ablished) in FIVE (a number)
2 Full of enthusiasm, getting a role initially in Wagnerian epic (6)
RARING – A R (Role “initially”) in RING (Wagnerian epic)
3 Police start to encircle group of trees (5)
COPSE – COPS (police) E (“start” to Encircle)
4 Poem soldier regularly read (3)
ODE – s O L D i E r “regularly read”
5 What can increase power of fantastic horse (12)
SUPERCHARGER – SUPER (fantastic) CHARGER (horse)
6 Traveller who stands, second one getting on holding girl (12)
SKATEBOARDER – S(econd) BOARDER (one getting on) holding KATE (girl)
7 What can open party or ball (8)
DOORKNOB – DO (party), OR, KNOB (ball)
11 Parking on verge, went up for flower (8)
PRIMROSE – P(arking) on RIM (verge) ROSE (went up)
14 Love affair upset Cameron (7)
ROMANCE – anagram (upset) of CAMERON.
15 Central features of bets which use a moral framework (6)
ETHICS -“central features of” b ET S  w HIC h  u S e
17 Mature writer is after religious instruction (5)
RIPEN – PEN (writer) after RI (Religious Instruction)
20 Computer aided manufacturingthe flower of a top university (3)
CAM – double definition, the second as in flower = thing that flows = river.

68 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2158 by Joker”

  1. Biffed 16ac and 1d. I mistakenly took IV to be the number in FESTIVE, which wasted me some time. And I wasted more at 19ac by trying to see how RECEPTION worked. SKATEBOARDER was my LOI, too, and for the same reason as Rolytoly. 6:00.

  2. It’s technically a DNF for me because I had to reveal a letter that gave me the K for Skateboarder, but the rest was done in 27 minutes!

    I thought all the clues were very fair and though some words were tricky like arboretum, every clue had obvious wordplay mechanisms, it was just the words themselves that were escaping me

    Foi: Sedge
    Loi: Skateboarder
    Cod: deception. I just like the surface reading a lot

  3. 18:20. The last five minutes or so spent on SKATEBOARDER. I kept thinking if I can get the girl it will unlock the answer but it was when I finally saw get on= board that it appeared. Liked RARING and WRAITH . Didn’t think of knob as ball but now I can see it is. Thanks for explaining DECEPTION and ARBORETUM and rest of blog.

  4. I also had difficulty finishing this off and having taken 10 minutes for all but two answers I found the clock was on 17 minutes as I wrote in SKATEBOARD and BONNET.

    This being a QC, I felt the clue to ARBORETUM ought to have made some mention of trees.

  5. I supercharged through this on my skateboard at 6:30, down Primrose Hill.

    LOI 13ac WRAITH
    WOD 16ac ARBORETUM – nullarbor plain!?

    I need a lie-down after that!

  6. 6:50 for me. That’s a post 6 mins for three days in a row. Took far too long on primrose. Biffed a couple and parsed later. Trickier than usual I thought.

  7. 9.50

    I found this a bit on the tricky side too, wasting time trying to work out that the material might be NET and staring blankly at that long one on the left for some time at end

    I was also surprised by the definition of ARBORETUM and tend to agree with Jackkt but the dictionaries are clear so I’ve learnt something

    Having said all that when I flicked through the clues at the end there were some nice smooth surfaces: ROMANCE, INNKEEPER; DECEPTION and others

    Thanks Joker and Rolytoly

  8. 21 minutes of enjoyment.
    Favourite FEROCIOUS once I worked out what was going on. Also, CAM as its what I do (did) along with CAD.

  9. FOI SCRAPHEAP, LOI SKATEBOARDER. Favorite today is CAM, as today (it’s still Wednesday here) was the first day of the Cambridge May Bumps, which take place on the Cam and my daughter is rowing for Newnham. Probably just a coincidence, as this is Thursday’s puzzle in the UK, but it made me happy. Time? 13 something. Took an age to find the last word. Fun, though..

  10. 14d made me chuckle; I’m sure there was no political comment and whoever this Cameron is had no opinion on the antics of romancing Matts… Just missed the SCC today good puzzle many thanks

  11. Another in the tricky camp.

    Took me ages to unwrap the anagram for FEROCIOUS, and the last 2 in were SKATEBOARDER and BONNET.


  12. I must have read 19a in my Yoda voice because I confidently inserted RECEPTION, thinking the instruction was to switch the D in the sham for the R. So that made SKATEBOARDER even harder (tough definition!). However, quite speedy elsewhere, so swings and roundabouts.

    FOI FEROCIOUS, LOI PRIMROSE, COD DOORKNOB, time 07:58 for 1.25K and an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks to Rolytoly and to Joker for a smooth and witty puzzle.


    1. Yep, I had RECEPTION also but my excuse was my over reliance on half biffs.

  13. Similar experience to some others it seems. Confidently put in RECEPTION which made LOI SKATEBOARDER even harder. Other than that a mainly straightforward solve – although I was relieved that PRIMROSE and RARING involved pieces of GK from two of my weaker areas that I actually knew.
    Finished just under target in 9.26. Tip of the hat to SUPERCHARGER.
    Thanks to Rolytoly

  14. I spent too long on PRIMROSE and WRAITH. Like Templar and Plett, I biffed RECEPTION and spent ages trying to find word for 6d, any word, to fit all the crossers. There isn’t one so I had to rethink and finally saw DECEPTION. D’oh.
    I found this very tricky in parts but there were some very fine clues and quite a few ‘penny drop’ moments. I was a few seconds into the SCC but with all parsed.
    Thanks to Joker for a very clever challenge and to Roly for a clear and concise blog. John M.

  15. Gave up at an hour with SKATEBOARDER, DECEPTION, WRAITH, PRIMROSE unsolved and not that sure about CAM.

    Felt it was way too tightly clued for a QC. If I hadn’t unscrambled FEROCIOUS at 25-mins, I’d have given up then with about six done. That’s a shame because I really liked clues for ETHICS, CLEAR, DOORKNOB (but even the latter is an example of what I didn’t like about it – KNOB=ball?)

    Thanks to Roly for the explanations. I will have to come back and reread the breakdown when my mood has improved.

  16. A clever and witty puzzle, not too difficult, all enjoyed except LOI 6d where I share Roly’s thoughts. Having solved 6a, was about to biff STRAPHOLDER, but luckily realised it was a letter short before so doing. FOI 1a, after a short struggle, COD WRAITH, nice surface. Thanks setter and blogger.

      1. I think I meant STRAPHANGER🤐. Given the right letter count and wordplay it coukd have been COD!

  17. Well into the SCC today at 21 minutes, with at least 5 of those trying to see what was happening with SKATEBOARDER. Also slow on WRAITH and PRIMROSE. Good crossword from Joker, and blog from Roly. Thanks.

  18. Just crept in under my target at 9.50, but thought it tougher than usual. My LOI was WRAITH which will always to me be associated with an ancient model of Rolls Royce. I have checked and discover it was manufactured by Rolls between 1948 and 1956, and the illustration it showed is to me the classic Roller look of my childhood (not that you saw one very often!)

    1. 1948-56 R-R was the Silver Wraith. The Wraith was 1938-39, being basically a Phantom III with a 6 cylinder engine.
      Not that I am a R-R nerd…
      As for the crossword, I was hobbled by the SKATEBORDER/BONNET pair.

    2. RR still produce the Wraith, which (I believe) is the fastest ever car the company has produced. A few years ago, I got to see them being manufactured on the production line at their factory at Goodwood.

  19. A day of half biffs most of which speeded things up including SCRAPHEAP, INNKEEPER, BONNET and RARING (the Wagner reference was lost on me). RECEPTION meant SKATEBOARDER was my penultimate solve but my LOI was WRAITH in a not too shoddy time of 7:23.

  20. ODE, COPSE and FESTIVE trickled in and led to FEROCIOUS, which led to SUPERCHARGER, SCRAPHEAP and INNKEEPER in short order. WRITH took ages to see, even with the crossers. A biffed RECEPTION was soon changed to DECEPTION after I reread the clue to try and parse it. SKATEBOARDER still took a while, as did DOORKNOB. BONNET brought up the rear. 8:31. Thanks Joker and Roly.

  21. Needed two sittings to sort this out. A far from Ferocious start set the tone for a plodding solve before I needed a pause with three (6d, 12ac and 13ac) to go. Bonnet (quite a clunky clue) was first to fall but, even with all the crossers, Skateborder still had to be teased out. I was on the point of giving up when loi Wraith finally popped into my head. One to forget. Invariant

  22. Yet another DNF 😕 SKATEBOARDER & DOORKNOB doing for me today.

    Clever clueing- poor solving.

  23. I found this tough – finished in 20 minutes with a lot of biffing.

    13 Across took me a long time to get.

    I should have remember the team from the SSL ( Scottish Supernatural League) :

    Wraith Rovers .

  24. First pass at this was not very encouraging with few entries, but they eventually started coming, helped by getting both Skateboarder and Supercharger quite early on. All eventually done in just under 12 minutes.

    Doorknob was my LOI, and put in from checkers (especially the final B), but it didn’t really convince me, either knob = ball or the idea of a doorknob opening, as I muttered to myself “it’s the door that opens, not the knob”. On further reflection post completion I accept that the knob is used to open the door, but even then, isn’t it the person holding the knob that is doing the opening (more mutter mutter). Ah well, life is short and one lets it go …

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

  25. Just outside the SCC today with SKATEBOARDER and DECEPTION my last two. FOI FEROCIOUS. Some write-ins and some trickier – WRAITH took a long time as I was running through a variety of drinks 😆 and couldn’t see BONNET for love nor money. Liked ROMANCE and SUPERCHARGER. Many thanks rolytoly and Joker. Happy to finish today.

  26. 1745 : Jacobite Rising

    17:45 time was due to much head scratching at 1d. I had SURFBOARDER and SAILBOARDER but could not get a 5 letter word. Trawling through girls names didn’t work.


  27. Tired today so took it quite gently, and was pleased to finish in 11 minutes. There was loads to enjoy though – I really liked SCRAPHEAP, DECEPTION, REMINISCE, and ETHICS. Like others, I took a little while to sort out SKATEBOARDER – I was another straphanger to start (fortunately those days are long gone!)
    FOI Ferocious LOI Wraith COD Ferocious
    Thanks Joker and Roly

    We were at Kedleston Hall recently when about 15 or so vintage Rolls Royces drove in – not sure if there were any Wraiths (silver or otherwise). They were being driven by members of the Irish Georgian Society RR owners club who were on a rally. Absolutely beautiful old cars -and a few of the members were wearing Georgian costume! Now there’s niche for you 😅

  28. DNF SKATEBOARDER and WRAITH. Also biffed Reception without thinking much. I too thought for a sec that I had a PDM with Straphanger but…
    The puzzle went well to start with, with 1a, 6a and SUPERCHARGER. Also managed DOORKNOB and BONNET, and ARBORETUM, thanks to Tum.
    A witty QC, but finally too tricky.
    Thanks, Roly.

  29. I was another who started quickly- got FEROCIOUS immediately- and then struggled to finish.
    LOI was SKATEBOARDER. I too wanted to fit in STRAPHANGER. DECEPTION was difficult to parse and I had RECEPTION at first with a question mark.
    And I was struggling to parse Doorknob; my experience described by Cedric above.
    Not timed as I’m on holiday but under 20 minutes when about 10 was on the cards.

  30. A rarity (I think) for me, given the comments above, as I seem to have bucked the trend. I finished in 24 minutes, which is very fast for me – and all clues were fully parsed. I had to correct rECEPTION and think hard about DOOR____ along the way, and WRAITH (my LOI) only surfaced after a 4-minute alphabet trawl. However, everything else just seemed to fall into place without the usual level of anguish.

    Perhaps my crossword brain had been well warmed up, as I had tackled yesterday’s Oink earlier this morning. I finished that puzzle in 30 minutes, with my LOI being ALPHA AND OMEGA presenting the most problems. Although I solved it correctly and have read the blog and all of the comments, I still don’t really understand how the clue works.

    Mrs Random is currently several days behind with the QC and she is visiting her parents today. She has just sent me a photo of them sitting in a shady spot at the RHS garden at Wisley.

    Many thanks to Joker and rolytoly.

      1. I’m afraid we haven’t had the opportunity yet, Penny. However, we did watch Carol Klein’s programme about it, last year.

        1. A bit further up the M1, about 40 minutes away. I take it you’re a bit closer? We discovered the gardens by chance last year, when I picked up a leaflet in a local cafe. What a marvellous place 😊 SRC and I got chatting about it because I mentioned the flamingoes!

          1. I go there often but live in Hampshire. Pity we are randomly scattered.

            1. Dear Mme Countrywoman1,
              Have you been to Great Dixter (Northiam, E Sussex)? Mrs Random and I are both ‘Friends of GD’, as we love the backstory and ethos of the house and garden. It’s our mostest favourite-ist garden of all. Fergus Garrett, the head gardener, is a star.

              1. I’ve never been to Great Dixter but have a lovely book by Christopher Lloyd – lots of inspiration! I’m also keen to go to Nymans and, as I’m an Arts & Crafts fan, Standen is on the list too. I feel a trip to Sussex coming on 😊

                1. For Arts & Crafts you should also visit Charleston Farmhouse (a few miles to the East of Lewes), which was the country home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. A very interesting visit.

                2. Hi Penny,
                  Just to say that if you and Mr B do decide to visit Sussex at some stage Mrs Random and I would be happy to offer you TfTT mate’s rates in our 2-person AirBnb guest suite. We are a situated under the Downs a few miles West of Brighton. Just alert me if interested.
                  Mr Random

                  1. I’ve just discovered that by pressing reply, I have been incorrectly replying to notifications from the admin team, rather than linking into the blog (apologies John and Vinyl) so I don’t know if you saw my earlier post. Suffice to say that sounds wonderful – we will definitely be in touch.
                    It does seem to me that if we want to communicate about this, the blog is not really the best place. At least on LJ, we could send private messages. I understand about the data protection issues, but wonder if there’s a way round it.

                    1. I think I have been seeing your messages, as they seem to be in a logical flow. I agree that a method to facilitate the continuation of a private conversation would be good. In the meantime, if you would like to come this way and team up for some cultural outings or a stay then just reply to one of my posts and I’m sure we’ll be able to exchange contact details, semi-coded if necessary. Your solving prowess is clearly better than mine, so I imagine de-coding shouldn’t present much of a problem.

            2. Well, you’ve made me wonder whether we should organise some sort of TfTT gardening group! After all, there are regular meet-ups in various parts of the country, usually in a good pub – next time I’m in the south of England, I’ll let you know 😊 Maybe some others would join us!
              Do let me know next time you’re going to Coton Manor (or anywhere else in the East Midlands). Penny

              1. Gosh, have only just thought to look back at these replies. (Have now ticked the reply box.). Yes, will let you know if I go to Coton. I’m afraid most midlands stops involve M1 services on the way to Yorkshire.

              2. Good idea! The Randoms would be interested in such a gathering (Mrs for the horticulture, Mr for the beer!).

  31. Apt that one of the answers was ethics.
    Do you think Jim Callaghan or John Major had an ethics advisor? Perhaps you only need one if you have no moral compass whatsoever.
    About 35 today so 10 over target. J

  32. Dnf…

    Hit 30 mins with 6dn and 12ac still to complete. Just couldn’t see what was going on with the former and biffing “Reception” (like many others) didn’t help. Upon reflection, I’m not convinced it’s a great definition.

    Overall, it took me ages to even get going on this and I found it pretty difficult. All the rest took quite a bit of work to tease out.

    FOI – 4dn “Ode”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 7dn “Doorknob”

    Thanks as usual!

  33. Quick question – and I know this isn’t probably the forum to ask – but if you take out a 7 day print subscription with the Times (which also gives access to the website I believe, but not the apps), does this give access to the web version of the puzzles and thus the Quick Cryptic?

    1. No idea James, but you would have the problem of half a tree dropping through your door every Sunday. . . Invariant

    2. If I remember correctly, when you have the full subscription, you have access to the online Crossword Club via the Web or the app. I gave up on the paper version a while ago, but could do the crosswords on my tablet or laptop (website) or on my phone (app) even then. Is that what you wanted to know?
      It does mean that you can find all the crosswords from the past 20 years or so, inc the quickie! Good for practising 😉

  34. Joker set the first ever QC that I completed, over six years ago, so I had always assumed that his/her crosswords must be ‘easy’, but in fact they are often quite chewy.

    I like a QC that I can dip into throughout the day, and today’s was good for that. But there’s usually one clue that holds me up at the end, and today’s LOI was WRAITH. Mrs L and I puzzled over it for a long time. Eventually I went away and did something else, and then the answer came to me.

    1. There was a time (long gone) when I regarded Joker as the easiest regular setter !

  35. Pretty straightforward solve with FOI 1A Ferocious. LOI 6d Skateboarder, but pretty obvious once it appeared. COD 13a Wraith, where I was at least on the right sort of spirit for a change. Missed the anagram at 8a. Thankful that 6a, 11d and 2d came easily and not needing technical-GK. Usual high standard from Joker and an excellent blog too. Didn’t start until late as visited the excellent GOLD exhibition at the British Library – I commend it to anyone close enough to visit.

  36. Another one who put in reception and so struggled with skateboarder until the penny dropped. Occupying my usual seat in the SCC but a hugely enjoyable puzzle. Wraith is such a beautiful word.

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