Times Quick Cryptic No 2249 by Joker

Today we have a typically entertaining Quick Crossword from Joker with plenty of neat surfaces and amusing wordplay. Like a sheep I was properly led astray by my LOI 12D, but otherwise had no significant hold-ups. I also liked 22A, 2D and 21D, among others. I was all done in 5:15, just under an average time for me. Thank-you Joker. How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is my turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the latest crossword, which is entitled “We’ll meet again?” here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 62 here.

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, {deletions} and [] other indicators.

1 Written paper having minutes on old plot (9)
MONOGRAPHM (minutes) ON O (old) GRAPH (plot).
6 Bow made of stripped larch (3)
ARC – {l}ARC{h} [stripped].
8 Disastrous game in Oxford University Society (7)
RUINOUSRU (Rugby Union) IN  O.U.(Oxford University) S (society).
9 Illegally seize something from Manchu, surprisingly (5)
USURP – Hidden in [something from] ManchU SURPrisingly.
10 Tests machine for adjustment correction (12)
CHASTISEMENT – (Test machine)* [for adjustment].
12 Grain husks for cornflake recipe appeal (6)
CEREAL – Outside letters, [husks], of CornflakE RecipE AppeaL.
13 Like some goose egg good and ancient (6)
GOLDENG (good) OLDEN (ancient).
16 Support slowing down in speech that’s exhausting (12)
BACKBREAKINGBACK (support) BREAKING, sounds like BRAKING (slowing down) [in speech].
19 Incense, perhaps of note, mostly of the Catholic Church (5)
AROMAA (note) ROMA{n} [mostly] (Catholic Church).
20 Structure I have to keep records (7)
ARCHIVEARCH (structure) I’VE (I have).
22 Sheep is how I refer to my solvers, reportedly (3)
EWE – Sounds like [how I refer to] YOU (my solvers).
23 Loss of red mitten, unfortunately (9)
DETRIMENT -(red mitten)* [unfortunately].
1 Planet has a harmful influence (4)
MARS – Double definition.
2 Not even one of two in three is out of order (7)
NEITHER – (in three)* [out of order]. Lovely surface!
3 Go round something sticky (3)
GOOGO O (something round).
4 Trouble following fool’s attack (6)
ASSAILASS (fool) AIL (trouble).
5 Put up painting, say, for cleaning? (9)
HOUSEWORKHOUSE (put up) WORK (painting, say).
6 Area with rather attractive grave (5)
ACUTEA (area) CUTE (rather attractive). I had a MER at this. Isn’t an acute accent the mirror image of a grave accent? Should the clue have said “accent” rather than “grave”? But I was looking at it wrongly. It works if you think of medical conditions instead of diacritical marks where an “acute” one can be “grave”.
7 Beats initially typifying any naval sailor’s drum given a turn? (7)
CAPSTANCAPS (beats) [initially] Typifying Any Navy.
11 Brilliant set of directors, right? (9)
STARBOARDSTAR (brilliant) BOARD (set of directors).
12 Savoy perhaps putting luggage item in taxi with energy (7)
CABBAGEBAG (luggage) [in] CAB (taxi), E (energy). I was, as misdirected, thinking of hotel and then opera before finding the vegetable.
14 Hollow in end of canine may show this (7)
DENTINEDENT (hollow) IN [end of] caninE. Another nice surface.
15 Perfectionist exercises Italian poet endlessly (6)
PEDANTPE (exercises) DANT{e} (Italian poet) [endlessly].
17 Block hydrogen being put into fuel (5)
CHOKEH (chemical symbol for hydrogen) [put into] COKE (fuel).
18 Group around a throne, perhaps (4)
SEATSET (group) [around] A.
21 Greek character’s cold greeting (3)
CHIC (cold) HI (greeting).

51 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2249 by Joker”

  1. 17:34. Everything was gettable for me with each clue taking 40 seconds or so, and only NEITHER and HOUSEWORK standing out as being harder than the rest.

  2. 13 minutes, so another 10 minute target missed but at least I’m out of yesterday’s red zone and back to amber.

    The clues that took me over the line were HOUSEWORK (‘painting, say’ is a bit vague) and MONOGRAPH, a word I simply didn’t know existed, let alone what it meant. A little research confirms it has appeared once before in the TfTT era (in 2014) in the main puzzle when I also didn’t know it, but on that occasion it was clued as an obvious anagram – Dreadful porno mag, husband’s paper.

  3. Got there in the end but probably the least I’ve enjoyed a crossword in ages I’m afraid – it was a just a bit too hard I think. Special mention though to NEITHER for being a brilliant clue. The alternate MONOGRAPH clue from Jackkt too!

  4. 21 minutes with CEREAL BIFD, annoyed for not seeing the parsing.
    FOI: MARS.
    LOI: GOLDEN as it took a moment or two and checkers to see what was going on.
    Favourite: ARCHIVE.

  5. Felt tricky as I was working my way through this, but it was one of those days when the answers just seemed to click into place, so had no major hold ups.
    DENTINE came to mind quicker than it might have due to a trip to the dentist on Tuesday and I managed to resist my initial urge to bif lettuce at 12d.
    Started with ARC and MARS and finished with CHASTISEMENT, HOUSEWORK and the unknown MONOGRAPH (where I also managed to resist biffing monogram earlier in the solve).
    Finished in 8.45 with COD to NEITHER and an honourable mention to CEREAL.
    Thanks to John

  6. Another monumental piece of idiocy as my finger, as if impelled by external forces, hit “submit” while my brain was screaming at it “BUT IT SAYS 98% COMPLETE, STOP, STOP”. (6d was showing A-U-E at the time.)

    Woe is me. Never before and now twice in a week.

    COD was CEREAL in a strong field. Wasn’t convinced by “Like some goose egg” as a definition for GOLDEN – shouldn’t it be “eggs” plural?

    Thanks Joker and John.


  7. A highly immersive puzzle. Some very good clues but some were more demanding than usual, I thought. Sadly, I almost doubled my Wednesday time and tipped into the SCC. I liked CAPSTAN, RUINOUS, and DENTINE but my COD was NEITHER.
    Thanks to both, John M.

  8. So as not to wake guests, I was doing the crossword on line in bed this morning, FOI MARS. Oh, 1a must be Manuscript, I thought without counting, so tapped Reveal Word to save typing, and found my careless error. Oh dear.
    But later once up and dressed and furnished with the newspaper, I began again.
    Had to jump/plod around the grid but liked GOLDEN, CEREAL (POI), CAPSTAN, STARBOARD, CABBAGE. Quite slow on AROMA, NEITHER, HOUSEWORK, ASSAIL.
    Thanks vm again, John.

  9. After a slow start (Mars seemed suspiciously easy, so I waited for the Ruinous crosser), I picked off a few clues here and there, and even managed to see the two long answers without too much trouble. Loi Acute needed an alphabet trawl (starting mid-alphabet definitely didn’t help this time), and pushed me close to, but still within, a sub-20. CoD to 14d Dentine for the (enamel) surface. Invariant

  10. I’d hardly call this puzzle entertaining. Dreadful comes to mind. I did struggle with this one initially. Did need some help.

  11. I found this hard work, taking 19 minutes. But it was a good puzzle.
    LOI CEREAL misled by the Husks. POI NEITHER,not fully parsed but I could see enough to be confident. ACUTE also took me a while.
    COD to hard work HOUSEWORK.

  12. Nine today. Hopeless. Thankfully, the seminar is next weekend, which is needed now more than ever!

    1. Nine isn’t hopeless.

      This was hard and there were few giveaways. Look on everything you are doing at the moment as good preparation for the seminar. You would be surprised at how much you will have learned by now, even if progress seems slow.

  13. FOI MARS and LOI ACUTE. CHASTISEMENT was a late solve. My favourites were RUINOUS and STARBOARD. 8:31 for a good Friday. Thanks in advance for the fortnightly weekend QC.

  14. I’m familiar with MONOGRAPH, one of my literary heroes having written “a little monograph on the ashes of 140 different varieties of pipe, cigar, and cigarette tobacco”.

    I could have done with his help with today’s puzzle, which hardly flowed. CAPSTAN was my LOI from wordplay, and it turns out I had no idea what it was, other than something nautical, after which a brand of cigarettes was named. Looking at the pack online, I now see that it features a picture of a capstan!

    Definitely at the more difficult end of things for me. Lots to like though, DENTINE being my favourite today.


  15. Slower today, at 11 minutes. I thought it was a bit of a curate’s egg – some (AROMA and CAPSTAN in particular) seemed quite tortuous, while I really liked the surface of others, such as CHASTISEMENT, ARCHIVE and STARBOARD . But at least it was a steady solve with everything parsed. My first thought at seeing Savoy was indeed CABBAGE rather than hotel!
    FOI and COD Arc (simple and effective) LOI Neither
    Thanks Joker and John

  16. GOO got me going and I had a reasonably steady journey through the grid with nothing particularly holding me up. Got to LOI, SEAT in 8:57. Thanks Joker and John.

  17. Found this very hard and needed help to finish: AROMA, ACUTE, CEREAL really difficult to parse.

  18. Very much on wavelength today for a 10 minute solve, all parsed. Cannot point to any significant hold-ups and enjoyed the puzzle throughout.

    I did think that cluing Acute for grave might result in some comment. Apart from the cleverness of the two types of accent, I’m not sure they are really synonyms: one can have a grave situation which is not acute and an acute one which is not grave.

    Many thanks John for the blog and on to the Saturday Special

    1. I take your point about ‘acute/grave’, Cedric, but very few synonyms work in all contexts and situations, and for crossword purposes only one overlap is required. It’s not difficult to construct a sentence in which ‘grave’ and ‘acute’ can be substituted without any change of meaning.

  19. Serious efforts required by both Random’s today. Mrs R did 39 minutes and I took 46 minutes. Strangely, we both finished with ASSAIL and ACUTE. I put our difference in overall times down to an almost 10-minute mental block that I suffered after my first pass through all of the clues. By that stage I had solved nine – not so many but they were dotted about all over the grid and ideal for building from. However, my brain seemed to shut down at that point and I had to remain patient until inspiration struck once more.

    I found most of the upper half of the grid more challenging than the lower half. MONOGRAPH, MARS, NEITHER, RUINOUS, ASSAIL, HOUSEWORK, CHASTISEMENT an ACUTE all took some considerable time to unravel.

    Many thanks to Joker and Johninterred.

  20. No time, as dragged out shopping by Mrs R, but I’m sure I was inside my target of 15 minutes. A bit of a darker mood today, I thought, with RUINOUS, CHASTISEMENT, DETRIMENT in the horizontal answers and many similar in the verticals. Thanks both.

  21. 26 mins…for another tricky Joker offering. Does he always do Friday’s now? Always feels like it.

    Some nice clues. I was also looking for something to do with hotel for Savoy for 12dn – but my main delays were the NW corner where I was struggling with 1ac “Monograph” (nho), 5dn “Housework” and 2dn “Neither” where I was trying to unravel latters from “three is” rather than “in three”.

    FOI 1dn “Mars”
    LOI – 1ac “Monograph”
    COD – 12ac “Cereal” – nice use of the husks to signify the outside letters.

    Thanks as usual!

    1. If you’ve NHO MONOGRAPH you clearly haven’t read enough Sherlock Holmes. I believe Watson referred to his monograph on soil types. Or was it tobacco brands? I forget. But essential reading nonetheless.

      1. I’ve watched a lot of Sherlock Holmes but still don’t recall it. Never got around to reading the written stories.

      2. “I have, as you know, devoted some attention to this, and written a little monograph on the ashes of 140 different varieties of pipe, cigar, and cigarette tobacco.”

        He was also thinking of writing one on the typewriter and its relation to crime.

  22. Enjoyable, but quite difficult. I had to put it down and do other things at one stage.
    I liked the device used for CEREAL.

  23. Referring to medical conditions, ACUTE means sudden onset as opposed to CHRONIC which is long acting; GRAVE means serious as opposed to TRIVIAL perhaps.

  24. 17 mins, with acute hangover. Chastisement, golden, capstan and neither all ruinous to my time.
    COD housework.

  25. Capstan Full Strength
    Is how I would describe today’s QC Any old sailors smoke those? Rotter? It was the cigarette your grandfather gave you to put you off for life.
    Got there in the end with 2 assists from Roget. J

  26. When the SARS(Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic hit in Canada several years back I asked my niece, a nurse-practitioner, why is it called”severe” and “acute”-aren’t those words synonymous? She explained ,similarly to JuCrow’s take, that these terms have specifically distinct medical meanings.

  27. I found this quite tricky, especially the top half. Finally crossed the line in 24 minutes (having considered giving up on 20 minutes). Couldn’t parse CEREAL or NEITHER (neat) and only half parsed CAPSTAN. The word MONOGRAPH was familiar to me but it still took a while to unravel the clue – in fact I found a lot of the clues rather wordy and struggled to work out what definition I was looking for. Joker definitely won the contest I think.

    FOI – 6ac ARC
    LOI – 2dn NEITHER
    COD – 14dn DENTINE. Also liked 11dn STARBOARD

    Thanks to Joker and to John for explaining everything

  28. For some reason I seem to get stuck in the top left hand corner of crosswords lately, and today followed suit. I didn’t recognise 10ac as an anagram for some time which slowed me more than any other clue. It didn’t help that I’d biffed NOISIER for 2dn even though I couldn’t parse it. Once CHASTISEMENT was worked out I realised NEITHER was the answer. I knew I was close to my target today, and was disappointed to find I’d just missed out in 10.32. However, I think it was tougher than the norm, and on reflection I’m happy with the time. A good puzzle, thank you Joker.

  29. Absolutely no joy for new solvers. In fact increasingly puzzles are getting harder. Really depressing that we cannot have an occasional easier puzzle. Sorry Joker but this was not fun

    1. You may care to try today’s Weekend QC (link in the blog above). I managed to solve 14 of the 26 clues.

      1. I’m glad you managed so much of it. It is, I think a little harder than our usual WQC…. but not as hard as today’s daily, I think. Enjoy your seminar next week.

  30. That was fun. Got there in the end but it took a long time. Housework and golden my last ones.

  31. 22:30

    This one seemed quite tricky but there’s nothing too bad, just well disguised clues. LOI AROMA.

  32. Feeling rather flat following a long week at work and a mild cold. I am trying to be positive about having completed this one rather than being disappointed at the time (around the 50 min mark). No massive hold ups, just a lot of hard clues.

    Loved the alternative clueing for 1ac and learnt a new piece of wordplay (husks). Still troubled by long anagrams. Perhaps it’s a sign of my lack of culture that I saw 12dn straight away and was not troubled by thoughts of the hotel or Gilbert and Sullivan.

    COD 11dn. Had me completely fooled for a while.

    LOI 19ac. Proud of myself for working it out.

    Thanks for the blog John.

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