Times Quick Cryptic No 2338 by Joker

Quite Challenging today, I found.

A 14 minute DNF (having Hot for Cold in 8ac). I was left with a very sparsely entered grid after a first pass of the acrosses, and things didn’t improve any time soon. Tricky things going on all over the grid, but I mainly struggled with half of the six long clues (6d, 10d, 16ac).

Lots of very satisfying wordplay made this well worth persevering with – many thanks to Joker!

1 Drunkard eating cheese unknown? Not what he’s known for (8)
SOBRIETY – SOT (drunkard) eating BRIE (cheese), Y (unknown, as in x and y), with the definition referring back to the drunkard.
5 Old friend’s a gem (4)
OPAL – O(ld) PAL (friend)
8 Small bird’s run quickly (5)
SCOOT – S(mall) COOT (bird). I was able to convince myself that a HOOT was either an affectionate name for an owl, or some other well-known variety of bird whose existence had thus far eluded me.
9 Decoration one’s oft put around (7)
FESTOON – anagram (put around) of ONES OFT
11 What could be hot and horrid ashes all over the place (11)
HORSERADISH – anagram (all over the place) of HORRID ASHES
13 Acknowledged a deadly sin (6)
AGREED – A, GREED (deadly sin)
14 Be condescending about son’s plan (6)
DESIGN – DEIGN (be condescending) about S(on)
16 Something in the air, perhaps whistled not badly (11)
THISTLEDOWN – anagram (badly) of WHISTLED NOT. The ‘perhaps’ is required because, naturally enough, thistledown must spend some time on said thistle before taking to the skies. In any case, I couldn’t get something-SNOW out of my head.
18 Rush suddenly around place to spend lavishly (7)
SPLURGE – SURGE (rush suddenly) around PL. (place, abbrev., as in a town square)
19 Hang around with daughter and partner (5)
DALLY – D(aughter) and ALLY (partner)
20 Four points for the bulletin? (4)
NEWS – N, E, W, S, being four compass points
21 One who may sell you ale without something to carry it (8)
BETRAYER – BEER (ale) without/outside TRAY (something to carry it)
1 Second round — well average (2-2)
SO-SO – S(econd) O (round) SO (well)
2 Wasn’t horrible around relatives (8-2-3)
BROTHERS-IN-LAW – anagram (around) of WASNT HORRIBLE
3 Destroyed copter after moving inert military plane (11)
INTERCEPTOR – anagram (destroyed) of COPTER after another anagram (moving) of INERT. 20ac to me.
4 Sweet time not working middle of week (6)
TOFFEE – T(ime) OFF (not working) EE (“middle” of wEEk)
6 Friendly about song contest but abandoning EU for now (13)
PROVISIONALLY – PALLY (friendly) about euROVISION (song contest, abandoning EU)
7 Record about new worker fully written out (8)
LONGHAND – LOG (record) about N(ew) HAND (worker)
10 Actor with an interest to become established in short series (11)
STAKEHOLDER – TAKE HOLD (become established) in SER. (“short” series)
12 As a print reproduced on one side (8)
PARTISAN – anagram (reproduced) of AS A PRINT
15 Greatly respect vicar before? (6)
REVERE – REV. (vicar) ERE (before)
17 One changing fabrics in launderette machine — not right (4)
DYER – DrYER (launderette machine, without the R(ight))



73 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2338 by Joker”

  1. 12 minutes with the parsing of STAKEHOLDER (my LOI) left over to be completed after I had stopped the clock. I needed to work out four anagrams on paper before I was able to write the answers in.

  2. Just like rolytoly I was a 14 minute DNF and found this quite hard. I couldn’t work out STAKEHOLDER and ended up bunging in “stageholder” for no better reason than it had something to do with ‘Actor’.

    A quirk of the grid, but I noticed the crossing ALLY(s) at 6d and 19a. The last three down answers also have some connection with the American Revolution (an Eliphalet DYER was a statesman and jurist from Connecticut during the revolutionary years, so Wikipedia tells me) but it’s not enough to constitute a theme.

    Thanks to Joker and rolytoly

  3. I thought this was much harder than usual. DNF with 7 to go at my cut off of 40 mins. Stakeholder and Provisionally defeated me and I struggled to parse some of the clues I couldn’t finish.

  4. Only two on the first pass of across on the way to a 20m DNF. Couldn’t see what was going on with STAKEHOLDER and entered ‘shareholder’ so that gave me my two pink squares. After struggling with PROVISIONALLY I think I was just relieved to find something that fitted – and I was still miles off getting ‘ser’ from ‘short series’. I’m probably not alone – 29% of submitted puzzles have an error so far!

  5. A DNF in c.12mins that had much in common with many others so far – identical thinking to Roly on SHOOT, a slight and delaying misbelief that BROTHERS IN LAW came from that anagram, and a bit of a gamble with STAKEHOLDER going unparsed over ‘shareholder’ or ‘stageholder’.

    I thought this was a tough and terrific grid.

    Many candidates for COD but BETRAYER pips SOBRIETY, NEWS and PROVISIONALLY.

    Is OPAL the most clued gem??

    Thanks Joker for some great clueing and Roly for the super-clear blog.

    1. Whenever I see a four-letter gem called for I can’t help but think- Ruby! But of course, as you say,it’s always OPAL.

  6. I had my anagram hat firmly in place today which saved me from some of the troubles that previous commenters experienced. My major issue was with LOI STAKEHOLDER which I never did parse and I’m now relieved that shareholder didn’t occur to me as a possibility.
    Lots of high quality clues but, like MangoMan, my two favourites were SOBRIETY and BETRAYER.
    Finished in a sprightly 8.54
    Thanks to Roly

  7. Did not enjoy this much – tough anagrams (Interceptor as a military plane held me up for ages) and long words (21 is an unusually low “highest clue number”) made it a real struggle. But cheered to find on coming here that I was far from alone, and in retrospect I am quite content with a 12 minute finish. LOI Betrayal was a great clue and a satisfying one to end on after the struggles.

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

  8. As I was solving this seemed like an endless procession of anagrams, but counting back I think it was only six. Maybe it was because they were so long.

    Tough as usual from Joker, but also witty as usual. Very much enjoyed SOBRIETY, PROVISIONALLY and BETRAYER in particular. (Today “without” was indeed “outside”.) Fortunately didn’t think of “shareholder”.

    All green in 10:36 for 1.1K and a Very Good Day. Many thanks Joker and Roly.


  9. I found this one tough. After 53 minutes I gave up with 14 and 10d unanswered. Also an incorrect answer at 8a.


  10. Enjoyed this tricky puzzle in above average time, though frusrtated by little used words which took a long time to come to mind, though not obscurities, eg INTERCEPTOR, COOT, THISTLEDOWN, SPLURGE; that is what made this a difficult puzzle. FOI SOBRIETY, LOI STAKEHOLDER, COD PROVISIONALLY, all three and BETRAYER among several well thought out clues. Thanks Joker and Rolytoly.

  11. Like others I found this tough, and finished well outside target at 12.28. I took not far short of two minutes to get my LOI which was STAKEHOLDER, mainly due to the fact that I couldn’t help thinking it had to begin with STAGE.
    I wonder if Joker is quietly paying his respects to the late lamented Meldrew with his clue at 11ac?

  12. I found this tough too but managed it in around 10. Don’t fully get stakeholder- what’s actor got to do with it? I’m probably just being thick, Thanks all

    1. STAKEHOLDER – It’s the second definition of actor, “A participant in an action or process” not the first”a person whose profession is acting on the stage, in films, or on television“.

      1. But of course although invariably misused, stakeholder is someone without an interest – some not taking part in the wager and hence disinterested who holds the stakes for the participant. My explanation of course suffers from the fact that disinterested is now usually seen as synonymous with uninterested. I think I have got old!

      1. Well, that’s very generous of you, but considering many of the sillier opinions I’ve held and even sillier pronouncements I’ve spouted, not to mention the less than sensible life decisions made, I have to own up to “thickness”!

      2. Re: “No one here is thick” – Given her extensive knowledge one person here, Mrs Random begs to differ.

  13. I was slowed down as, like others, the anagrams didn’t come to mind quickly without crossers – I wrote out the letters for BROTHER-IN-LAW so I could cross out IN-LAW and see the rest. I thought 21A was going to be BARsomething, but REVERE fixed that and the resulting BETRAYER was my COD. Tricky stuff in places from Joker, I think. Thank-you Joker and rolytoly. 5:33.

  14. Bang on Joker’s wavelength it seems, below target for me.

    LOI STAKEHOLDER, with SHAREHOLDER having to be dismissed due to inability to parse, similarly abandoned SHOOT for the much more likely SCOOT.



  15. 19:47 – 1947 India and Pakistan achieve independence

    Just a few seconds away from the SCC today. with LOI BETRAYER. No complaints with the long anagrams, just take time to winkle out.

    There are hundreds of synonyms Ancient and Modern for “drunk”. But for “drunkard” they all have a rather old-fashioned feel: sot (today), toper, soak all make appearances in crosswords.

    Struggled with STAKEHOLDER, where SHAREHOLDER and STOCKHOLDER looked promising. The enumeration, with those hyphens, rather spoiled the excellent anagram from BROTHERS-IN-LAW. Not many words have two hyphens.

    COD BROTHERS-IN-LAW (Very good surface)

  16. 18 minutes again, but unlike yesterday, no silly mistakes like DERRY! Some great clues here, I thought. I slowed myself down by trying to remove the whole of EUro from the song contest, leaving PROALLY to parse for friendly, which made no sense – then the light dawned. Many thanks Roly and Joker.

  17. 59mins for the solve! Loved both the surface and construction of PROVISIONALLY.

    Had the SHOOT / SCOOT issue but when you’re slow, you’ve got time to leave it alone and rethink.

    Was stuck for a long time after 30-mins until I found the correct letters to anagram for HORSERADISH. Last 3 were LONGHAND, DESIGN, STAKEHOLDER. I spent an extra 2-3mins trying to parse it but couldn’t so it was hit and hope. At one stage I was thinking SmallHOLDER until design came in, or an -ORDER (for series) ending.

    Another tough day at the QC mill.

  18. DNF. Had to reveal STAKEHOLDER in order to finish last 3. Struggled with FESTOON , LONGHAND, and DESIGN too.
    FOI SO-SO, appropriately. Am not vg at anagrams.
    Thanks as ever, Roly.

  19. I was completely on Joker’s wavelength today. Working top to bottom I had all but 14a, 21a and 10d in 11 minutes with a single run through the clues. Then it all went to pot – another 10 minutes to get the last 3! BETRAYER was the first of these to go in (my COD) and then DESIGN. Even with all the crossers it took ages for STAKEHOLDER to emerge, not properly parsed. Oh well – at least all green in 20:51; but very frustrating. Thanks Joker and rolytoly.

  20. 12 minutes including a minute at the end deciding that LOI STAKEHOLDER was better than Shareholder; both words occurred to me when I read the clue. The TAKE part won the day; I did not see the Hold until reading the blog.
    I also paused over FESTOON; got the word quickly but I thought it was a verb.

  21. DNF – put SHAREHOLDER for STAKEHOLDER. Some hard long anagrams and very chewy answers: BETRAYER, DESIGN, REVERE. Pleased to have done as well as I did!

  22. The crowbar came in useful today, to tease out more than a few of Joker’s little testers. Thistledown, Provisionally and loi Stakeholder all took longer than they should have, but the delayer-in-chief (and CoD) was 21ac, Betrayer. I had a good idea how the clue worked, but of course everyone knows beer is transported on a dray. . . Crossed the line sometime after 30mins, several of which were pleasant. Invariant

  23. A tad “thinky” today so took longer than normal. My first pass only picked off the very low-hanging fruit. Not much glamour in getting SO-SO, NEWS & OPAL, but at least it ticks a few off ha.

    COD- I quite like DALLY
    LOI – blooming INTERCEPTOR \0/

  24. I also found this a challenging puzzle. My first thought for 8a was SWIFT, but BRO’ IN LAW put paid to that, then SHOOT crossed my mind but was fortunately soon evicted by SCOOT. THISTLEDOWN somehow floated straight into view from the T_I___ crossers although PROVISIONALLY AND INTERCEPTOR took longer. SO-SO was FOI and STAKEHOLDER brought up the rear. Scraped under target at 9:17. Thanks Joker and Roly.

  25. 28 mins…

    Definitely tricky – with the main hold ups 10dn “Stakeholder” (wanted to put Stage in there somewhere) and 21ac “Betrayer”. Didn’t help that I made a rookie error in initially biffing Swift for 8ac.

    FOI – 1dn “So So”
    LOI – 21ac “Betrayer”
    COD – 21ac “Betrayer” – very clever

    Thanks as usual!

    PS. Is 20ac the chestnut of all chestnuts?

  26. 19.24 Started well with the whole of the NW going straight in but it got tougher. COD PROVISIONALLY, BETRAYER was nice and LOI STAKEHOLDER. Satisfying.

  27. 14:28

    Completed while out walking so a few seconds lost due to traffic. On the tougher side definitely, though HORSERADISH might have gone in more quickly if I’d not fatfingered INTERCEPTOR.

    Not keen on LOI STAKEHOLDER though, thrown by ‘Actor’ and uncomfortable with SER being short for series. While it undoubtedly is, which satisfies the clue, wasn’t aware that it is a recognised abbrev.

    Did like BETRAYER though.

    Thanks Joker and Roly

  28. At 25 minutes, this was a good day for me. And, having read the comments above, this was an excellent day for me.

    I particularly enjoyed SOBRIETY and BETRAYER, but I struggled a bit with INTERCEPTOR and couldn’t parse STAKEHOLDER. Actually, I went back later (after ShArEHOLDER, SpAcEHOLDER and StAgExxxxxx occurred to me) to try and parse STAKEHOLDER. I did succeed, but only after a further quarter of an hour. My trouble was that I couldn’t see TAKE HOLD, couldn’t see SER for ‘short series’ and had no idea why ‘actor’ was in the clue.

    Mrs Random had no trouble in escaping the SCC yet again.

    Many thanks to Joker and Rolytoly.

    1. Well played Mr R. Nice to confound the expectations of some of our more skilled posters!

      Great performance also from Mrs R (but we’ve come to expect nothing less).

  29. Needed lots of aids for this very tricky puzzle and was lucky with Stakeholder and Betrayer because I really couldn’t parse them at all.

  30. 6:25 late this morning. As soon as I saw the setter’s name and the grid design I reckoned this puzzle would be of above average difficulty and so it proved.
    Getting the first two across clues definitely helped deal with the two 13-letter anagrams at 2 and 6 down. Some of the definitions were quite deceptive, which added to the difficulty. So although my time was 20% over my long term average, I was happy with my performance and enjoyed Joker’s challenge as ever.
    Newcomers can learn a lot from Roly’s fine blog, but just remember you are dealing with guidelines as opposed to hard and fast rules. For example if you see “round” in a clue it could indicate an inclusion….or c for “circa”….or the circular-shaped letter O……and probably you can come up with others. It’s part of the setter’s skill to encourage the solver to plump for the wrong option, by constructing misleading wording in the clue. Part of the eternal attraction (or frustration?) of crossword solving!
    Anyway, back to today, particularly liked 1 ac “sobriety” and 21 ac “betrayer”, fine examples of the setter’s art, among many others.
    Thanks to Roly and Joker.

  31. Slow solve but an enjoyable challenge. Long clues took some time to unravel. Had shoot for 8a, minds were blank for coot for no good reason .

  32. I must have been on the wavelength today to achieve 10a and 8d on a sure-footed (and speedy for me) first pass – and it’s a Joker too! I found the top all fell into place and then the SW and SE, and was left to come back to the remaining stubborn few after being called out. 10d Stakeholder was one of only two choices I could come up and opted on a hunch for the correct one. I really liked 20a News even if it is a chestnut. In fact, lots of clues to enjoy – 7d, 21a, 11a for Horryd among the best. Apart from 10d, the ones that held me up most were 14a Design, 17d Dyer, 21a Betrayer.
    FOI 1d So So – which was tackled to confirm SOT+Y for 1a
    LOI 21a Betrayer
    COD 11a Horseradish

  33. DNF with the made-up ‘stageholder’ rather than STAKEHOLDER. Have only just cottoned on to the other meaning of ‘actor’ having read the comments above. Feeling rather dim. Took a while with LOI BETRAYER – my COD once solved. Also liked SPLURGE – what a great word. Very enjoyable overall. Thanks roly and Joker.

  34. I used to teach students. Now I have stakeholders!

    After recent horrors I thought our editor was twisting the knife by giving us a Joker after Izetti.

    However, and to my surprise , this went smoothly and I just escaped the SCC. The long anagrams were, for once, not too bad and I got many of the clues from the ‘straight’ definition.


    Thanks Rolytoly for the great blog.😊

  35. I have learned so much from this website and almost feel that I know some of the frequent contributors – Jackkt, Kevin Gregg, John Interred, Vinyl and especially the Rotter. I have received a true education from all of you and many more. But have some of the contributors lost their sense of humour? Offensive is offensive but there are some contributors who seem to have developed an excessive desire to take offence about clues which are dinner party benign and harmless. I can do 3/5 QC’s in under 20 minutes but could complete the 15×15 on one in thirty occasions. I am a less able solver and take not the slightest offence at the term. Self-insight and cameraderie amongst friends and enthusiasts trump the excesses of PC. Apologies if I sound preachy!

  36. Very glad to find that others had the same option as me: hard but very satisfying. Happy to have finished in 21:47. A toss-up for COD between BETRAYER and PROVISIONALLY. LOI PARTISAN, since I totally missed the anagram indicator for ages. That was a real “d’oh!” moment when the penny finally dropped.
    Thanks to both Joker and rolytoly.

  37. I came to this late, again, after another long day on the road. I quite enjoyed it but made the mistake of trying to ignore Question Time on TV in the background. I was put off by the grid and the longer clues at first but surprised by how many of them dropped out fairly quickly. LOsI were BETRAYER and STAKEHOLDER. I was a couple of minutes over target but I believe I would have been within it if I had solved in silence.
    Some very neat clues. I thought PROVISIONALLY was clever. Thanks to Joker (and Roly).

  38. Came to this very late (by two days), but so enjoyed it that I thought I must comment. Maybe took a little longer than usual, but all done and parsed. Although chewy in places, it was very satisfying, and the combination of the surfaces and elegant constructions gave me great pleasure. Thank you, Joker.

  39. Am new to cryptic crosswords and need to persevere, sometimes for days! Thanks to this page, I’m improving. Found STAKEHOLDER, SPLURGE and BETRAYER impossible. Great sense of satisfaction eventually to solve others, no matter how long it took.

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