Times Quick Cryptic No 2269 by Joker

We are entertained by Joker at his trickiest in today’s Quick Cryptic. Some clever cluing gave me some head-scratching (e.g. 7D, 13D (my COD), 20D and my LOI 1A) and I was held up by not seeing two of the long anagrams for a while. But it is quite educational as well as being fun. In all it took me just over 7 minutes – 1 1/2 minutes over target. Was I just being slow or did you find it tricky too? Thank-you Joker.

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic.  This time it is Sawbill’s turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find his crossword here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 64 here.

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

1 Fresh openings for a number of traditional singers (12)
GREENSLEEVESGREEN (fresh) SLEEVES (openings). Sneaky definition meaning a traditional song. My LOI.
9 Join retinue returning after shelling (5)
UNITE – {r}ETINU{e} without the outside letters, [after shelling], [returning] -> UNITE.
10 Get back with protection by Royal Engineers (7)
RECOVERRE (Royal Engineers) COVER (protection).
11 Visitor frequently wants a short time in shade (7)
HABITUÉA BIT (a short time) [in] HUE (shade).
12 Scrounge penny once in prison (5)
CADGED (a penny before decimalisation) [in] CAGE (prison).
13 Knock out with weight — ouch! Fall on the floor? (6)
KOWTOWKO (knock out) WT (weight) OW (ouch). Kowtowing involves “kneeling and touching the ground with the forehead in worship or submission as part of Chinese custom”. As Kevin suggests in his comment, “fall on the floor” could refer to “falling to one’s knees”.
14 Force company representative to take European line (6)
COMPELCO (company) MP (representative) E (European) L (line). Did anyone else try to get REP in the answer?
17 Prohibited a bishop entering as well (5)
TABOOA B (bishop) in TOO (as well).
19 Caught one making bowlers talk a lot (7)
CHATTERC (caught on a cricket scorecard) HATTER (one making bowlers). No. Despite the surface it’s not a cricketing answer.
21 Brave woman taking two drugs together (7)
HEROINEHEROIN + E (Ecstasy) (two drugs together).
22 Reclaim sodden land of delta before wet weather (5)
DRAIND (delta in the Greek alphabet) RAIN (wet weather).
23 NE brown ale drunk in northeast is gone once it’s consumed (3-9)
NON-RENEWABLE – (NE brown ale)* [drunk] [in] NE (northeast). Tricky. I needed the checkers to get this even after seeing it was an anagram.
2 Uproar about a fashionable black emblem used for the NHS (7)
RAINBOWROW (uproar) [about] A IN (fashionable) B (black).
3 Tending to produce current clever item too freely (13)
ELECTROMOTIVE – (clever item too)* [freely].
4 Run steamship around Great Lake (6)
SERIESSS (steamship) [around] ERIE (Great Lake). More setter’s sneakiness – the definition is run, the noun although it’s a verb in the surface reading.
5 I concealed pay when working for a good reference (13)
ENCYCLOPAEDIA – (I concealed pay)* [when working].
6 Four in six days will be bright (5)
VIVIDIV (four) in VI (six) D (days).
7 Bizarre marine mammal eating meat in hurry (7)
SURREALSEAL (marine animal) outside, [eating],  [meat in] {h}URR{y}. I’m not sure I’ve seen “meat” as a contents indicator before.
8 Outback hospital is after transport for many passengers (4)
BUSHBUS (transport for many passengers) H (hospital).
13 Where one might see utensils and cold chicken? (7)
KITCHENKIT (utensils) C (cold) HEN (chicken). A semi&lit, where the whole clue is the definition and some of it the wordplay. Lovely, but a bit tricky for a QC.
15 Hidden danger of wrong sort of fat in tablet (7)
PITFALL – [Wrong sort] (fat)* in PILL (tablet).
16 Plan scenic home movie on vacation (6)
SCHEME – Outside letters, [on vacation], of S{ceni}C H{om}E M{ovie}E.
18 Prohibit working peer (5)
BARONBAR (prohibit) ON (working).
20 Primarily, rip on purpose? (4)
REND – [Primarily] R{ip} on END (purpose). A sort of reverse semi&lit where the whole clue is the wordplay, and all but one word is the definition.

73 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2269 by Joker”

  1. Not an easy one. No problem with KOWTOW; to kneel to is fall to one’s knees. Does REND work as an &lit? Surely ‘primarily’ is not part of the definition. (‘on purpose’ is, I think, although it needn’t be; ‘rend’, unlike, say, ‘rip’, is intentional.) 8:00.

    1. Ah yes “fall to one’s knees” is probably what our setter was intending to reference in the clue. As for REND, on reflection I think it has to be a sort of reverse semi-&lit, where the whole clue is the wordplay and the definition all but the one (first) word. Thanks, Kevin. I’ll update the blog.

  2. Close to 30 minutes (many interruptions, so no exact time). Didn’t know ELECTROMOTIVE and kept focussing on singers as definition for GREENSLEEVES and didn’t see number was the key part of the definition. I also tried for too long to fill in Hu-e instead of H-ue for HABITUE. SURREAL and KITCHEN were difficult for me too. All in all a tough grind!

  3. That was the toughest of the year for me but enjoyed the challenge. COD to the difficult SURREAL.
    Do give my weekend offering a try (it is not as difficult as today’s, I think).

    Thanks Joker and John.

  4. 15 minutes . This was a slow but steady solve for me and I was hampered throughout by being unable to solve the elusive 1ac which turned out to be my LOI. I realised quite early on that I needed to take time to work out the anagrams and other long answers if I was to get through it. My usual technique with QCs if an answer doesn’t leap out at me is to move on and await the arrival of new checkers.

    Like others I have misgivings over the clue to REND.

  5. I usually rank about 160 on the QC in the Crossword Club when I log in the following morning. Having made it to the end I expect to make a rare appearance in the top 100 even with a 29m solve because this was tough. Spotted KITCHEN would fit early but with Rotter’s second law still fresh in my mind from yesterday I left it blank for too long – kitchen is nearly an anagram of chicken and that distracted me. Kevin came to mind too as I’m sure he’s suggested we learn the Great Lakes more than once and I could have done with being able to recall Erie much more readily. ELECTROMOTIVE and HABITUE were just words outside my comfort zone. A good school day I guess.

    1. I don’t recall saying anything about the Great Lakes, but then there’s a lot I don’t recall these days. Erie of course is the most likely one to come across here.

      1. For what it’s worth Kevin, I just completed an old QC from 15 Oct 2020 which involved Erie and you mentioned in the comments that they are remembered using the HOMES acronym.

        I’m not sure why this doesn’t spring to mind two years later 😀

        (A later replier says to use the She Made Him Eat Onions mnemonic for remembering them West to East. Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario)

  6. You’ll find me in a comfy armchair in the SCC after this one. Long anagrams are my nemesis, and when one of them has a rogue A for a spelling that I haven’t seen in decades, that makes it even harder. LOI and COD was the lovely GREENSLEEVES: I had all the crossers but didn’t see it until GREEN came to mind as a synonym for “fresh”, and then the other meaning of “number” came to mind.

    Living in the US, I didn’t know about the NHS rainbow badges, but asked Mr Google post-solve and it’s a fascinating story.

    23:29 for a slow but enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to both Joker & Johninterred.

  7. A very chewy 18’30” with a couple of moments where the towel was about to be thrown in. GREENSLEEVES, SURREAL, PITFALL & REND all put up stiff resistance.

    I like the sound of the word HABITUE.

    Glad to have finished with no pinks.

    Thanks Joker and John

  8. 28 minutes to finish but not all parsed.
    LOI: GREENSLEEVES as I needed all the checking letters.
    I didn’t fully parse SURREAL, KITCHEN and RENT although reading the blog I should have.
    Favourite VIVID.

  9. Tough going, particularly in the NE where not having solved the sneakily defined GREENSLEEVES until the end caused me no end of problems.
    ELECTROMOTIVE was new to me and the anagram fodder needed writing out, as it did for the reference book.
    Finished in 16.30 with KITCHEN unparsed and VIVID just edging out SURREAL for COD.
    Thanks to John

  10. A very fine puzzle from Joker that had me completely engrossed from start to finish. Not a QC by any stretch of the imagination but I’ll forgive him because of the quality of the clues. I had to write out the clever long anagrams and needed quite a few crossers. I ended up way into the SCC despite an encouraging start.
    This is one to learn from so I’ll go back to the blog to extend my solving skills at leisure.
    There will be some long times and gripes today but hats off to the those who can avoid the MSC and SCC. That excludes the usual boffins who will somehow manage to complete this in under 10 mins and are in a class of their own.
    Too many super clues to pick out a COD. My LOI was GREENSLEEVES, following REND.
    Thanks to John for an excellent blog and to Joker (who had not a laugh but a huge guffaw at my expense). Roll on next week.

  11. Firmly in the SCC at 23 minutes for this excellent, but very tough QC. I didn’t help myself by initially biffing livid, habitee and coerce for VIVID, HABITUE and COMPEL, but Rotter’s Second Law came to the rescue when I couldn’t fully parse any of them. The top and bottom rows both held me up, and I had an MER at the definition for ELECTROMOTIVE, where it doesn’t mean ‘tending to produce current’ to me. Otherwise, I really liked this and the challenge that it presented. Thanks both.

    1. I’m not sure what other dictionaries will have but Merriam Webster has for electromotive “of, relating to, or tending to produce an electric current”.

      That said I did share your MER at first till I looked it up.

      1. To me, it means much more of or relating to, rather than inclined to produce, but that’s probably my shortcoming. Thanks.

  12. A real challenge today and pleased to have finally completed this puzzle, which I would rate as more of a young 15×15 than a true QC. No accurate time as I was interrupted twice; at the second restart (and after a strong coffee) the intractable clues suddenly seemed tractable and I think I just avoided troubling the SCC.

    Most of my comments have already been made: long anagrams, new wordplay tricks, very clever and misleading surfaces and even an antiquated spelling (shouldn’t it actually be Encyclopædia?) So masses to stretch the poor innocent QC-er here. And I was certainly stretched. Even the shorter simpler clues had their chewy moments.

    Many thanks John for the blog and I look forward to Sawbill’s Saturday Special.

  13. 21 minutes had elapsed as LOI GREENSLEEVES went in.
    Prior to that KITCHEN and HEROINE held me up.
    All other comments above.
    COD to VIVID.

  14. The clue for 2d on my iPad was fashionable bachelor in colourful display not black emblem or NHS.

    1. How curious. The clue is as in the blog in both the printed and online version in the crossword club.

      1. It is also written as “a fashionable bachelor’s colourful display’ on our paper version which my husband uses. I do it on my tablet which was fine. We live in Shropshire so it is perhaps an early edition. Very confusing.

  15. Yes, a tricky offering indeed. I started off confidently enough with VIVID and a couple more in the top half, but the 1a and the long anagrams didn’t materialise for quite some time. I was unsure about KOWTOW, wondering if I might be looking for some sort of wrestling move. Anyway, persistence had its reward and RAINBOW, together with ELECTROMOTIVE gave me enough letters to spot GREENSLEEVES, and LOI ENCYCLOPAEDIA appeared through the fog once I’d written out the anagrist. Went over target though. 12:34. Thanks Joker and John.

  16. Distracted solve, not ideal when faced with something this tricky. Do we now have Friday stinkers for the QC too?!


    I liked RAINBOW best of all, but this was a high quality puzzle.


  17. Guest pass to the SCC today but at least I didn’t give up. The four long ones held out the longest. The first to fall was NON RENEWABLE and the last and my LOI ENCYCLOPAEDIA. I struggled to parse HABITUE and I wasn’t sure that KOWTOW equated to a fall on the floor but at least I could see the parsing. I failed to fully parse SURREAL. 21:00 precisely!

  18. Agree with others that this was a tough test. I wasn’t helped by the fact I’ve got a stinking cold, and was stopping to blow my nose at regular intervals. Eventually crossed the line in 13.42, which seemed slow at the time, but looking at some of the times above maybe not so bad. A very good crossword I thought, so congrats to the Joker

  19. If the Editor feels the need to adjust clues (colourful display vs NHS emblem in 2d) I suggest he looks no further than 1ac, which I thought was way beyond tricky for a QC. ‘For a traditional song’ would have been much more appropriate at this level. As it was, Greensleeves, Rend and stubbornness combined to take me well over the 30min mark, but at least I managed a finish when a DNF was looking far more likely. CoD to 7dn, Surreal, for the parsing pdm. Invariant

  20. I found this one to be difficult. I was stuck forever on “Great Lakes” as for some reason I was thinking of England’s Lake District. After a long time I realised my error.

    “On vacation” puzzled me as an indicator of removing inner letters from words. I assume it’s an indication of the inner letters vacating a word. Still, I feel that a better indicator could have been used.

    Completed, but did need a gentle nudge in the right direction for 1a.

    I was also confused with 5d when I entered it as I did not realise the first A was present in that word.

    Tough but enjoyable. Nice end to the week.

  21. Started slowly and failed to accelerate today. I only managed a handful of answers in the first run through and they were mostly scattered around the grid. Eventually solved from the bottom up with both the NE and NW giving me the most problems. Eventually completed in 37 minutes, all parsed.

    FOI – 17ac TABOO
    LOI – 1ac GREENSLEEVES (didn’t like this as a QC clue)
    COD – 13dn KITCHEN

  22. Surely too hard for a Quick Cryptic. I could get hardly any of these. Gave up after 30 mins.
    I do not even understand the answer for 5 down :
    5 I concealed pay when working for a good reference (13)
    ENCYCLOPAEDIA – (I concealed pay)* [when working].

    1. My notation means the answer is an anagram of “I concealed pay” with the words “when working” indicating it is an anagram – i.e. when you work the letters into another configuration, like working dough into shapes. The definition is “a good reference”. Does that help?

    2. It is an anagram of [I CONCEALED PAY] with the anagram indicator (anagrind) being ‘when working’, I.e. work the letters that constitute the anagrist (I CONCEALED PAY). The definition is ‘a good reference’ as in a place to look things up.

    3. The ( )*, as our blogger indicates at the beginning, is the blogger’s way of showing that the letters within the parentheses are an anagram–here (I concealed pay)* is an anagram of ENCYCLOPAEDIA. ‘when working’ in the clue is the indication that there is an anagram;; the ‘anagrind’ (anagram indicator), as some say. Take a look at the glossary.

  23. A toughie from Joker which I struggled with to start with, but gradually I got the odd clue and a couple of the long anagrams, which set me on my way. LOI GREENSLEEVES, only because every other letter was in by then!

  24. Crikey. That was, umm, challenging. I feel like the tailender surveying his shattered stumps, with Joker as Fred Trueman snarling “That were wasted on thee, lad”. If that had been a 15×15 I reckon it would have had a Snitch rating of about 90-100.

    All my struggles well documented above. GREENSLEEVES held out to the last. COD to VIVID (brilliant). Limped over the line in 11:48 (and was amazed it wasn’t over 20, which was what it felt like) for a Tough Day.

    Many thanks Joker and John.


  25. A tough, enjoyable one completed with a little help. Thrown with greensleeves because I see it as a number for.., not a number of..

  26. Really pleased to complete that in 38min40 – tentative moment as to whether it would be -leAves or -leEves. Took a break at 30mins having spent about 5-mins getting nowhere on GREENSLEEVES and SURREAL. Before that had to build the NHO HABITUE.

    Some tough anagrams in there and I think Joker used almost every device apart from substitutions; and no gimme hidden words or initialisms. The definitions were there but unbiffable.

  27. Ridiculously difficult. DNF. No fun at all and spoiled my morning. Still baffled by 16D. ‘On vacation’ means the first and last letters? Since when and how?

  28. Delighted to finish all correct (and nearly all fully parsed) in 36 minutes today. This is bang on my average time these days, but having read the comments above and knowing how often Joker flummoxes me, I regard it almost as a sub-SCC outcome.

    My FOI was CADGE, but the only other across clue I solved on first pass was DRAIN. Fortunately, the down clues were a little kinder and I was able to use their checkers to work my way back up the grid. My last few in were ELECTROMTIVE, ENCYCLOPAEDIA, SURREAL (although I never parsed the _URR__ bit), GREENSLEEVES and REND. Actually, I nearly DNF’d, as I initially stopped the clock without having solved REND. Luckily, I reviewed the grid and spotted the gap before coming here, but it still took a 3-minute alphabet trawl and some willpower to force myself not to go with RENt. Phew!

    Many thanks to Joker and Johninterred

  29. For those of you for whom it is a rarity, welcome to the SCC. Nice to have you with us for the day.

    I really enjoyed this QC because it showed me how far I have come. I took ages but also felt great pleasure in working out the clues, and a real surge of satisfaction when I finished.

    So many brilliant clues, but particularly liked 6dn.

    Thanks for the blog.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

    1. Dear Mr A, I enjoyed it for precisely the same reasons as you. Well said and well done!

        1. I agree. Nice to see how far we’ve come. Doubt I would have got GREENSLEEVES, SURREAL, KITCHEN, KOWTOW, HABITUE among others a while back

  30. Dnf

    Not unexpected – but after 30 mins I did only have 1ac to get, which isn’t too bad based on the comments above. You could have probably given me another hour and I still wouldn’t have got it. Definitely one of the harder QC’s in quite a while.

    I wasn’t sure about the parsing of 9ac “Unite” until I read the blog. I thought the “returning” element was sufficient to show the hidden word and didn’t need the “after shelling”, but the more I think about it, the more it probably does need something.

    Haven’t heard “Cadge” for a long time, so it brought a smile when the penny (or “d”) dropped.

    FOI – 2dn “Rainbow”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 7d “Surreal”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. The wording for 1ac was ridiculous for a QC, I really don’t know how it got past the Editor.

      1. Whilst it was tough and I enjoyed the challenge, I did think it was a little clunky in places – but that may be because I’m just used to the QC and ignorant to the way things are worded in the biggie.

  31. Had to look up GREENSLEEVES, then RAINBOW, HABITUE and KOWTOW fell into place. Also failed on REND.
    So not a good day. But thanks, John.

  32. I’ve done quicker 15×15’s, though I wasn’t helped by making a series of typos (I had 5 goes before ENCYCLOPAEDIA was in place correctly !) and then carefully checking before pressing submit. My brain took around 5 minutes but my fingers added a 25% surcharge.

    TIME 6:33

  33. Tough and a DNF as I didn’t move on from 14a ‘coerce’ into ‘compel’ and that denied me 7d and 15d. I saw 1a quickly but couldn’t parse it with sufficient conviction until near the end – it was the ‘of’ that threw me, ‘for’ would have been convincing. No problem with 20d as R + end.
    FOI 9a Unite
    LOI n/a
    VCOD 6d Vivid – ingenious clue I thought.
    Will try the Saturday puzzle!

  34. I found this one very hard. It needed two sessions, several hours apart to finish. Last two in were ENCYCLOPAEDIA and GREENSLEEVES. The lattter was also my COD.
    I had no problem with ELECTROMOTIVE, which went straight in. It seem that a degree in physics has its uses.

  35. In my digital version, 2 down was a different clue but same answer.
    “Uproar about a fashionable bachelor’s colourful display”
    ROW round outside, A IN (for fashionable), B for bachelor.
    I wonder why they changed it.

  36. DNF

    Completely defeated by the NW. Had building blocks for all the words but couldn’t get RAINBOW, HABITUE or KOWTOW. TBH was pleased just to get the rest. Tricky today!

  37. Found this pretty tricky at 14:54 but really enjoyed it, many thanks to Joker & John. I wrote out an anagram for 1ac of “OPENINGS FOR A” and spent some time trying to solve it, as it still worked even with the first three checkers in place…

  38. Another DNF not helped by the different clue for 2d in the newspaper version. No idea about 1a even though I know the tune well. Never seen “eating meat” for inner letters before but at least I did know “on vacation”. And I got 2 of the 3 long anagrams fairly quickly so some happy moments.

    1. just to be clear, eating and meat are two separate wordplay directions here. “eating” being an inclusion indicator and “meat” meaning “all the letters except the first and last”, thus you need to put the “meat” of hurry in SEAL.

  39. It took a long time, but I completed this including biffing the unusual HABITUE, and must confess to having enjoyed it, especially when the penny dropped for the extra A in ENCYCLOPEDIA. Seriously, however, with inter alia, two and-lits, one in reverse and the unusual URR by meat in HURRY, I thought this was by some way too difficult for a QC, and it is fortunate that I attempted it after coming home rather than before going out.
    I have forgotten my FOI and LOI, though 1a is my COD although I question the definition.
    Some little-used words, but nothing unfair, and several devious and clever clues, so thanks, Joker and John, who I suspect felt well interred after blogging this.

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