Times Quick Cryptic No 2182 by Joker

8:30. I found this a bit tricky, though I was also a bit distracted. Joker’s puzzles are always on the harder side, so I suppose I’m just glad to have finished!

My conventions in the solutions below are to underline definitions (including a defining phrase); put linking words in [brackets]; and put all wordplay indicators in italics. I also use a solidus (/) to help break up the clue where necessary, especially for double definitions without linking words.

1 Officers mostly / keeping horse like a sort of plot? (9)
PARABOLIC – POLICE without the last letter around ARAB

When you try to fit a parabola to a set of data points. (As opposed to a line, etc.)

6 One teetotal in party? The same again! (5)
DITTO – I + TT in DO
8 Ascertain Dicky [is] a member of narrow group (9)
9 Minor argument about head of rotten fish (5)
SPRAT – SPAT around first letter of ROTTEN
10 A quiet / finish in part of book [is] an addition (9)
12 Consider parking with warning light, no reversing (6)
PONDER – P + reversal of RED + NO
13 Language [is] initially just gas (6)
JARGON – first letter of JUST + ARGON

This took me a long time to see.

16 Lying at home because having only half rent (9)
INSINCERE – IN + SINCE + first half of RENT
18 One going around with horn (5)
RHINO – I + HORN anagrammed (“going around”)

Nice all-in-one clue!

19 Spider natural at running (9)
21 Sauce good with fish around five (5)
GRAVY – G + RAY around V
22 Be taunted about young girl in society (9)
1 Cost of sending item [with] label in place (7)

Had a hard time seeing POSE = ‘place’ but the definition was clear.

2 Instructions for dish — ready to eat with even bits of peach in (6)
RECIPE – RIPE around even-numbered letters of PEACH
3 What holds up / home computer? (5)
BRAIN – BRA (“what holds up”) + IN

I suppose a BRAIN can compute!

4 Garland [of] little irises in part (3)
5 Disapproving pair of Conservatives / about Democrat backing article (12)
CONDEMNATORY – CON + TORY around DEM + reversal of AN

Rather elaborate wordplay. One of my last in.

6 Let down, as dipped into irregularly (12)
7 End [of] school time / in / America (8)
11 Heavenly, a cake decoration (8)

I guess this is a thing where you candy the plant and put it on cake! Didn’t know that.

14 Mean to state / how long a person’s lived (7)
15 Send back alien in right vessel (6)
RETURN – E.T. in R + URN
17 Group — new one beginning to trend (5)
NONET – N + ONE + first letter of TREND
20 Polish [in] game with British (3)
RUB – R.U. + B

65 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2182 by Joker”

  1. Look, I finished this in 17 min because I felt it was a biff fest. I saw the definition, fit in the word, and either managed to parse it or I didn’t.

    LOI: nonet. I nho, but the wordplay worked. Now I look at it, it’s just a group of nine things isn’t it

    Second last one in: parabolic. I needed all the checkers, I just didn’t know what horse I was looking for.

    I feel like hardly any of the definitions were the less usual definitions, hardly any red herrings or misleading clues.

    I also didn’t know what an angelica was, I wrote in Angelina first but I did end up parsing it in the end and correcting it.

    No geography or wine or sports or literary references! No wonder I was alright with it 😀

    Thanks Jeremy and Joker!

    1. NONET as ‘group’ could be general as you suggest but is usually associated with music, as in a group of nine musicians or a piece of music written for such a group as in the better-known quartet, quintet, sextet etc.

      1. Nonet is much better known in crossword circles than any where else. Groups of nine people which are never called Nonets:
        — A Baseball team
        — The US Supreme Court
        — Muses
        — The wraiths from Lord of the Rings
        — The von Trapps

        1. This is the best list I’ve seen in a long time

          I laughed out loud and I’ve been sad all day (got bad news/went to a funeral) so thank you Merlin

        2. No honestly I can’t stop imagining the Nazgul dressed up as The Ronettes, with the sign ‘The Nonets’ singing ‘Be My Baby’

    2. @plusjeremy I thought 1a was “Relating to a parable”?

      Just checked my dictionary : parabolic (2) —adjective of, pertaining to, or involving a parable.

      1. Hadn’t thought of that–well, I hadn’t thought of anything, just biffed and moved on–but it does seem a bit difficult for a QC. Then again, the surface is pretty ugly either way.
        I’m reminded of Major-General Stanley:
        I can quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus;
        In conics I can floor peculiarities parabolous.

    3. Never did like angelica. Used to get it on cakes when I was a kid but, fortunately, I haven’t had to suffer it for many years. IIRC it comes fron an umbellifer of the same name that grows wild in the UK.

  2. Totally missed the anagram for RHINO, put it in anyway as a cryptic definition where the crossers fit. Liked “Dicky” as the anagram indicator, almost filled in ASCERTAIN as the answer as I had the C, the I, and the N. Then I read the clue again 😀. Finished in an enjoyable 15:49. FOI LEI, LOI BRAIN, COD CONDEMNATORY, for being complex but fair.

  3. 23:15. Was moving along steadily at my usual pace till I came to BRAIN and PARABOLIC and was stumped for 6 or 7 minutes. Finally saw who the officers were and what the horse was and that answer made the computer obvious. Thanks for help parsing RECIPE and RHINO and also explaining what PARABOLIC and ANGELICA were about.

  4. Biffed a few: PARABOLIC, DEBUTANTE, parsing post-submission, and RHINO, which I never figured out. ANGELICA has appeared a couple of times, but probably not in a QC. 5:54.

    1. Definitely a biff-fest. Many parsed after biffing. Even then, couldn’t parse 1a or 1d. I didn’t think of ARAB for horse and a bit of a MER at POSE for in place.

      Guess I must be improving as I finished this one in less than one coffee….

  5. 7 minutes but PARABOLIC went in because it fitted the checkers and because I knew the word existed in ‘parabolic curve’ although I’ve no idea what that is other than being a type of curve (obviously). On further thought I deduced ‘plot’ might be something to do with graphs but haven’t been able to confirm that.

    1. I was thinking PARABOLIC had something to do with the trend in modern television to have story arcs connecting together all the episodes in a season

  6. Very straightforward except I couldn’t parse PARABOLIC. I was fixated on Para being army parachutist officer and could not move my brain away. Thanks Jeremy for pointing out the obvious in retrospect.
    COD RHINO. So clever. Thanks Joker. Time under 20 but started after midnight and finished before 07.00 with timer running.

  7. 20 minutes.
    LOI: APPENDAGE needing checkers and BIFD.
    PARABOLIC got from wordplay and checkers only.
    Favourite: GRAVY.

  8. Waded through a tough set of clues but beaten by ANGELICA. Joker often beats me or gives me a good going over. He won today after a bit of a wrestle.

    Satisfying anagram of ‘ascertain’.

    Thanks Jeremy

  9. Just snuck in under target with JARGON and the NHO ANGELICA, proving stubborn at the end. Thought RHINO was excellent and enjoyed piecing together CONDEMNATORY. Finished in 9.53 with an unparsed PARABOLIC.
    Thanks to Jeremy

  10. Another 20th Century solve (19:21). LOI ANGELICA where I was looking for “a-cake” not “Heavenly-a”.

    Messed up 16a as I though because=SO and half rent=NT so words like INSOLVENT looked good.

    Not a fan of NONET (also NONAGON) which exist more in crosswords that anywhere else. Who ever called a baseball team a Nonet? Or the Supreme Court?


    1. Merlin, as mentioned in my comment above NONET is chiefly used in musical circles and it is the accurate word for a group of nine musicians or a piece written for nine people.. It’s just as valid as ‘trio’ or ‘quartet’ etc as it’s the right word for the job. I said it might be applied in other fields, and perhaps it is in some, but I’d agree it’s unlikely to be used in the examples you have given.

    2. Good sir, I am a musician and a mathematician! I can only shake my head in disappointment at your poohpoohing of NONET and NONAGON! Such words are the salt of the earth.

      More seriously, I think it unwise, or at least contrary to the spirit of the game, to disdain words you don’t know. Half the fun of cryptic crosswords is getting to broaden your vocabulary. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a puzzle, it would be a vocab test.

      Other good non- words: nonillion, nonagenarian, Nones (the 9th day before the Ides — I would have guessed this meant the 9th day, oh well), nonuplet

      1. Also, how about Non-U (meaning nine upper class twits)? Sorry about that! I’m just trying to cement U = Posh in my useless brain, after failing (for the nth time) to spot it in a clue a week or three ago.

  11. Unfortunately I could not finish this one. 1a, 18a, 14d just would not come to me. Had to give up in the end.

  12. 6.10

    Liked it. Yes it was a bit lengthy but I thought CONDEMNATORY was rather good (and my LOI)

    Otherwise no hold ups.

    Thanks Jeremy and Joker

  13. I found this an odd mixture of brilliant clues (Rhino in particular) and some rather less so. Parabolic was put in from the checkers and a word search, but never parsed, and when I saw the explanation (or possibly explanations) from comments above I can see why I failed to parse it. Not a great clue IMO. Ditto Postage – as Jeremy says, “Had a hard time seeing POSE = place”, which I think is polite bloggerese for “pretty poor clue actually”. Also took lime to see that Jargon = Language.

    But, all green eventually in 13 minutes, and since I don’t always complete Joker’s puzzles, today counts as a (fairly) Good Day.

    Many thanks Jeremy for the blog

  14. For a somehat less serious alternative parsing: 14D – I was satisfied, without justification nor second thought, that ‘state’ indicated a homophone and therefore if I ‘ave ‘er age, I know how long someone has lived.

  15. 21 mins…

    Got a bit messed up with the NE corner at first, especially putting “Stand” for 3dn and misparsing 1ac “Parabolic” (thought it had something to do with the Paras).

    Once I resolved those I managed to wade through the rest fairly steadily. 17dn “Nonet” comes up quite a lot and I pulled 11dn “Angelica” from a vague recollection of a previous crossword.

    FOI – 1dn “Postage” (I agree, I struggled with Pose = Place)
    LOI – 21ac “Gravy”
    COD – 18ac “Rhino”

    Thanks as usual!

  16. FOI DISAPPOINTED and my LOI PARABOLIC. I think getting DISAPPOINTED so quickly put me in a good mood. I tried terminal instead of TERMINUS but saw the error of my ways. RECIPE and ANGELICA were biffed. 7:01 and a sub Jeremy for an excellent day.

  17. I needed the top row downs before I got PARABOLIC, but I had no trouble with the definition. If you plot the trajectory of a projectile on a graph, it will form a parabolic arc. However, I failed to spot the anagram for RHINO and just biffed it. LEI was FOI and INSINCERE was LOI. 8:19. Thanks Joker and Jeremy.

  18. After 15 minutes I was two short. I got the excellent BRAIN and then wondered how PARABOLIC could parse. I now see I was not alone. Decided to chance it and come here. About 17 minutes.
    As ever I enjoyed Joker’s humour. This was easy enough in places and hard in others.
    I had SCRAP at 9a for a short while.

  19. Like a few others I biffed PARABOLIC, BRAIN and ANGELICA: thanks for explanations! I always find Joker’s puzzles on the (very) hard side.

  20. A stern test from The Joker and I was pleased to sneak in under target at 9.48. LOI CONDEMNATORY preceded by JARGON. Some answers seemed more 15×15 ish to me particularly 1ac and 5dn. Very enjoyable test however, and well done Joker.

  21. Finished but slow. Lots of biffs. Couldn’t find the other Conservative in Condemnation, but finally penny dropped. Equally was not sure how Bolic could mean horse after the Paras.
    So blog was much needed. Luckily ANGELICA sprang to mind, not much used on cakes these days. Did not recognise Dicky as an anagrist at first.
    LOI BRAIN – aptly enough.

  22. Considers dying in London (7,3) The answer is at the foot of my post.

    I froze at the same point as curryowen, but not for as long, and with the lightbulb moment coming once I engaged my BRAIN properly. Missed my target by some way.

    TIME 6:22

    Answer to my clue :

    PONDERs End

  23. Somewhat DISAPPOINTED with this.

    My least favourite grid … last time 1hr50 determination to solve after two previous dnfs with skateboarder and veggie-burger in 6D.

    So I was super-pleased as they went flying in, to the extent that I had all but five done in 11-12 mins. Then crickets for 10-mins so I took a break.

    Couldn’t figure out GRAVY on its own and wonder whether it was something like GroVe or perhaps a super-cryptic “around five” = GloVe. Needed CONDEMNATORY to get the Y and then it was obvious with G–VY

    PARABOLIC and ANGELICA in NHO territory, so along with BRAIN and the two above, it ended up taking around 36-mins.

    As I say, a touch disappointed after a great start but glad to add it to July’s solved list.

    Thanks to the Js 🙂

  24. A tip of the hat to anyone who started with Parabolic – I went down the Disappointed route and, after a poor night’s sleep, that more or less described my efforts today. A slow, plodding 30min solve, with the Angelica/Rhino pairing needing a second cup of coffee. One to forget. Invariant

  25. DNF. Ended up with 3 remaining (1ac, 8ac and 3dn) after 26 mins, which was already slow. Given that 2 of the blanks crossed with 1dn POSTAGE I spent some time reviewing that, but couldn’t see what else it could be, although I was unsure about the parsing. Never saw Dicky as an anagrist otherwise I might just have had a break through with that. Should have got 3dn given the prevalence of “bra” = “support” in the QCs. In 1ac I had worked out that officers referred to polic(e) but couldn’t find the horse! Not one of my better efforts.

    FOI – 6ac DITTO
    LOI – DNF
    COD – 18ac RHINO (which I biffed) or 19ac TARANTULA

    Thanks to Joker and Jeremy

  26. Tricky! I started with DITTO, but my second didn’t arrive until I was near the bottom of the grid. I fared a little better with my first pass of the down clues, but only slightly. Joker then made me work hard almost every step of the way from then on. I DNK (or did not remember) the meanings of NONET and LEI, but I trusted to luck with those. PARABOLIC and BRAIN were very late arrivals, but CONDEMNATORY was my LOI – even though I saw both CON and TORY, and I had all the checkers. That’s my poor vocabulary for you. Total time = 34 minutes (quite pleasing).

    Fresh from knocking off four of her backlog of QCs yesterday, Mrs Random romped through today’s Joker until she had just two to go. Those were PARABOLIC and BRAIN, and the delay they caused meant she also crossed the line in 34 minutes. A tie between the Random’s.

    Many thanks to Joker and Jeremy.

  27. Out and about today so solved on a phone waiting for a train. Small keyboard / big fingers / not paying attention gave me angelics and that made GRAVY very hard. Where to put the V in G-S-Y. All green in 19 nevertheless.

    Edited to correct more phone typing difficulties.

  28. Enjoyed until I didn’t! Couldn’t see Brain therefore not Parabloic….Angelica escaped me as did the middle of cond—-atory…
    Rats beaten again!
    Thanks all

  29. Slow today but all finished in around 25 mins. Not being a mathematician I thought PARABOLIC related to a plot in a parable… mathematical plotting much less of a stretch! FOI DITTO, didn’t spot the anagram for RHINO (very clever), LOI BRAIN (needed ‘b’ from parabolic), COD CONDEMNATORY. As others, also needed blog to parse POSTAGE. Enjoyable. Many thanks as ever.

  30. Also had trouble with 1a parabolic and 3d brain. After a quick start on the left hand side, the right hand side proved tricky.

  31. DITTO – same as yesterday at 13 minutes. A sporadic solve, with a few going in quite easily and others being very sticky – PARABOLIC and CONDEMNATORY being the main offenders. Never fully parsed RHINO – if I had, it might have been COD. Lots of fun though – I liked PONDER, JARGON and ANGELICA a lot. When I was a child, I remember decorating trifles with crystallised angelica along with glacé cherries, flaked almonds and silver balls – that was fun too. It sounds so sickly now!
    FOI Ditto LOI Parabolic COD Sectarian
    Thanks Joker and Jeremy

    1. Chocolate dragees, hundreds and thousands, angelica .. how did we eat all those cakes and trifles? 🙂

  32. 21:18

    All going fine with 15 minute finish in the offing before coming unstuck on RHINO and LOI ANGELICA.

  33. A slow solve with some very tricky clues. NHO nonet/lei/angelica. Made some good guesses but had to check before putting them in. Really struggling to spot anagram indicators such as dicky. Glad to finish but very poor time. Progress with the QC seems a thing of the past at the moment.

    1. I would say LEI is a fairly common crossword answer so add it to your list.

      As the clue suggests, it’s a garland of flowers – probably best known if you’ve ever seen people arriving in Hawaii or any other places in the Pacific.

      Well done on the solve 🙂

  34. Did this just now on a train home for a change (too busy this morning).

    Enjoyed it; Joker is aptly named because his puzzles are always witty.

    FOI DITTO, LOI PARABOLIC (hmm), COD RHINO, time 07:56 for 1.3K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks J&J.


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