Times Quick Cryptic No 2433 by Joker

Well, this was a genuine Quick Cryptic from Joker, at least as far as I was concerned. I might have stumbled over 1a for a short while, but everything else went in comfortably, inside 9 minutes and with no major hold-ups.


  • Quarter ration for domestic male worker (5-7)

HOUSE-HUSBAND – HOUSE (quarter) and HUSBAND (ration, as in husbanding supplies).  I was briefly thrown by this, but it fell once I had a checker or two.

8 A pot is slightly open (4)

AJAR – Something of a chestnut, A and JAR (pot).

9 Mask at one time put in cradle regularly (7)

CONCEAL – ONCE (at one time) included in alternate letters of CrAdLe.

11 Including queue for bank (7)

INCLINE – INC{luding} and LINE (queue).

12 Charlie has branch to shin up (5)

CLIMB – C{harlie – phonetic alphabet) and LIMB (branch).

14 Highly motivated daughter needs rent (6)

DRIVEN – D(aughter) and RIVEN (rent, as in torn).

15 Notice problem about temperature (6)

POSTER – POSER (problem) containing (about) T{emperature}.

18 Fallacy nicely traps one disinclined to believe (5)

CYNIC – Hidden answer inside (traps) {falla}CY NIC{ely}.

20 Look forward to penny credit being corrected (7)

PREDICT – Anagram (being corrected) of P{enny} and [CREDIT].

21 Pick up child likely to make mischief and wander (7)

IMPROVE – IMP (child likely to make mischief) and ROVE (wander).

23 Song West Side Story heroine left unstarted (4)

ARIA – MARIA (West Side Story heroine) after the M has been dropped (left unstarted).

24 Men let gannet free in mix-up (12)

ENTANGLEMENT – Anagram (free) of [MEN LET GANNET].  This came easily to mind, as I have recently been reading about quantum entanglement.


2 Dissent from job notice badly drafted (9)

OBJECTION – Anagram (badly drafted) of [JOB NOTICE].

3 Young fish from South Africa, right to eat (7)

SARDINE – S{outh} A{frica} followed by R{ight} and DINE (to eat).

4 Joint English and Yankee game (6)

HOCKEY – HOCK (joint, on a quadruped) with E{nglish} and Y{ankee} – (phonetic alphabet).

5 Coins newly minted using sound waves (5)

SONIC – Anagram (newly minted) of [COINS].

6 Cutting tool unknown in A&E (3)

AXE – X (unknown in mathematics) inside A and E (A&E).

7 Intended fine food shop to roast? (10)

DELIBERATE – DELI (fine food shop) and BERATE (to roast, as in to give a roasting to).

10 Revengeful, formally charge four in five with Ecstasy (10)

VINDICTIVE – INDICT (formally charge) with IV (four in Roman numerals) all inside V (five in Roman numerals) and E{cstasy}.

13 Sixth sense currently being taught (9)

INTUITION – If one were currently being taught, one might be IN TUITION.

16 Finished weapon – and method of delivery (7)

OVERARM – OVER (finished) and ARM (weapon). Bowling OVERARM is a type of delivery in cricket (and other, lesser games).

17 Charm of a quiet ringing of bells (6)

APPEAL – A (a) P (quiet, musical notation) and PEAL (ringing of bells).

19 Boast new coronation headgear (5)

CROWN – CROW (boast) and N{ew} – this should be fresh in everyone’s memory, both from the coronation itself, and yesterday’s puzzle where it appeared in the plural form.

22 Exercise time for Rover? (3)

PET – PE (physical exercise) and T{ime}, with Rover (common name for a dog) serving as a kind of definition by example.

72 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2433 by Joker”

  1. 8:12. I enjoyed a lot of the definitions-mask for CONCEAL, bank for INCLINE, look forward for PREDICT, and pick up for IMPROVE. One I questioned was young fish for SARDINE as I think the sardine is its own species not an immature stage of some other one.

  2. Like curryowen, I had a ? at SARDINE, so I just now went to Wikipedia, where I learn that “The United Kingdom’s Sea Fish Industry Authority, for example, classifies sardines as young pilchards.” So down goes my eyebrow. I took ‘pick up’ at 21ac at first to be a homophone indicator, thus wasting some time. 5:16.

  3. Well! It turns out that the RONCEDE is not a mask used by ladies at balls in 17th century France, and the correct alternative letters to select from cradle are c-a-l, not r-d-e, giving CONCEAL. Once that was sorted out this was mostly straightforward except for HOUSE HUSBAND. I would like to thank Rotter for his elucidation about husbanding supplies but I’m only half convinced, without the ‘ing’ it doesn’t really work. We’re running out so we’ll have to husband our water. Anyway, all done in 8.58.

    1. I think Rotter’s explanation is spot on. A simple ‘google’ of ‘husband verb’ gives: use (resources) economically.
      E.g. ‘Times are hard and we have to husband our resources’. John.

  4. Safely strolled in within my target time of 20+ minutes, coming in at 22:55. So very pleased with that.
    I found this a very satisfying QC and enjoyed chewing over each clue. There was nothing very surprising this morning but DRIVEN raised a smile and I especially liked INTUITION and ENTANGLEMENT.
    Thank you Joker for a very pleasant start to my day, and thanks to Rotter for the blog.

  5. 9 and a bit minutes. I was thrown into a tizzy by 1a so looked elsewhere for a few confidence builders to get me back on track. Everything went in steadily once I’d settled down though VINDICTIVE was bunged in first, parsed later. I liked the misdirection of the ‘Pick up’ def at 21a, which like Kevin I initially thought had to be a homophone indicator.

    Thanks to Joker and Rotter

  6. 14 mins and no complaints but not the walk in the park that others found it either with a few clues tripping me up for a while including HOUSE HUSBAND, DRIVEN (I was set on an anagram of D & NEEDS) and DELIBERATE among others.

    Thanks Joker and Rotter.

  7. 7.06

    Just couldnt see HOUSE HUSBAND which was my LOI not made easier by HOCKEY the POI

    DRIVEN was rather good or maybe too close to the bone!

    Thanks TR and Joker

  8. Nervous, and blinking in the bright sun streaming through the door of the SCC, I took a tentative step outside the Club.

    First. Time. Ever.

    It was a close-run thing (19.37) and I felt lucky to have spotted a couple of answers straight away – very unusual for me – but I feel persistence has paid off. I don’t expect a repeat for many weeks, as my times are shockingly variable, but the regression line points gently downwards, which keeps me hopeful.

    Thanks Joker and Rotter.

    1. The SCC is a fine and worthy establishment, home to many who eskew the rush and bother of chasing the stopwatch in favour of Savouring Cryptic Clues in a relaxed manner. The occasional wander outside does however offer variety and the thrill of the unusual, and congratulations on experiencing it.

    2. Well done Snail 👍 There will be ups and downs as you rightly acknowledge and they get easier/quicker with practice. You are on a good trajectory already.

    3. Thanks all. Still on cloud 9, but I fear it is a flash in the pan. It was nice briefly to taste the rarefied atmosphere outside the Club, but I shall settle back into its warm embrace on the morrow.

  9. Two in a row for a good start to the day, and foregoing my usual corner chair with an 18.35 sprint past the club door. Spent a while trying to parse HOUSE HUSBAND before failing to find a satisfactory explanation to satisfy HOUSE. Shrug and move on. Thanks Rotter, and Joker for a fine QC exemplar.

  10. An excellent puzzle from Joker which I enjoyed. Knowing the setter, I took it steadily and parsed everything (after a ‘more haste less speed’ experience yesterday). I finished just within target with my LOI ENTANGLEMENT.
    Thanks to Joker and Rotter. John M.

  11. Very nice puzzle, another “true QC” and all done in 6½ minutes. Same initial concern as Curryowen about Sardine being described as a young fish but following Kevin’s explanation that is marked as Another Thing Learnt. Slightly larger MER at House husband being described as a domestic male worker; if I described Mrs S as a domestic female worker I would get a domestic thick ear.

    Many thanks to Rotter for the blog

    1. Arguably you’d get a thicker ear if you failed to acknowledge all the work Mrs S does to keep Statherby Towers in pristine condition …

  12. A slow start while I looked at 1a with bemusement, then went to 10d with similar results. Back to the acrosses and things picked up and with a couple of checkers in place both HOUSE HUSBAND and VINDICTIVE became clear and a swiftish solve ensued.
    Finished with POSTER and INTUITION in a pleasingly round 7.00.
    Thanks to Rotter and Joker

  13. Agree with most of what has been written above.

    LOI was IMPROVE just because it was, HOUSE HUSBAND probably COD.


  14. Failed on three of the four long ones so limped around the grid picking things off as I went. HOUSE HUSBAND needed all the checkers and like Cedric I don’t think much of the definition. I liked DRIVEN and HOCKEY.

    Here’s hoping that England’s OVERARM bowlers behave in a VINDICTIVE manner against the CYNICal Aussies, producing some SONIC deliveries and successful APPEALs. My INTUITION tells me that they will be DRIVEN to IMPROVE.

    All done in 09:27 for 1.9K and a Sluggish Day.

    Many thanks Joker and Rotter.


  15. I have to confess that, having completed my first pass through the clues, and with only my LOI not solved among the Downs, I simply filled in HOUSE-HUSBAND from the letters in place without re-reading the clue. Thanks Rotter for the explanation – I just might have struggled with the parsing. I never think of the little fish eaten cold on sandwiches in the same way as those delightful SARDINES that the Portuguese barbecue so delightfully!

    TIME 3:31

  16. A gentle stroll indeed for a Joker offering. AXE to ARIA in 5:43. I tried NORTH and SOUTH as the first word of 1a, but that led nowhere. Once I had the RHS top row downs, HUSBAND was obvious and HOUSE was a write in. Thanks Joker and Rotter.

  17. 5:38

    Slightly robbed by my laptop deciding it had run out of battery about one minute into the grid – took perhaps a minute to find cable and plug in, while time ticked on…. Bunged in 1a from definition and cursory thought that HOUSE = quarter. Nothing else too difficult to bung in and confirm from cryptic. LOI POSTER

    Thanks Joker and Rotter

  18. A friendly one at last! All done in about 45 minutes. FOI POSTER, COD VINDICTIVE, LOI HOCKEY. All the anagrams were easy, only needed AJAR to see where the J went. Thank you, Joker.
    Interesting to see the different reactions to HUSBAND; for me HOUSE was obvious but took longer to see HUSBAND (agree with Cedric, wrong to associate HUSBAND with “worker”).

  19. Pretty much a top to bottom solve – after a bit of a delay with 1a. Some really nice surfaces and enough to get the brain cells ticking over without flooring them completely. Glad to stick my nose out of the SCC as well in 16:39. FOI SONIC, LOI ENTANGLEMENT, CODs CYNIC and VINDICTIVE. Thanks Joker and Rotter.

  20. I’m usually on Joker’s wavelength and certainly was today, and probably quick enough to bring me out of the SCC, where I happily reside as the pressure of a stopwatch would slow me further. Guessed 1a immediately, but waited for crossers as was not convinced by the parsing, but now am thanks to the blog. FOI AJAR, LOI APPEAL, COD DRIVEN. Nice puzzle, thanks Joker and Rotter.

  21. 19.40 corrected DNF on IMPROVE as had been staring at IMP-O-E for a while and was stuck between implode and implore. Had the SCC not been approaching I might have been willing to spend the time on an alphabet trawl – which clearly would have been worthwhile – but I bunged in IMPlOrE in the hope it was some synonym for “picked up”.

    The QC itself always felt a bit slow to me, so was very surprised to see the clock at 16mins gone with only three left – the other two being the OVERARM/POSTER crossing. That’s really a mark of how far I’ve come in my 18mths or so of QCing. The clock is beginning to tick slower and while I don’t always find them easy, they are usually done in 30mins or less.

    On that note, just to wish everyone well and explain I realised on completion that my interests are heading off into pastures new and my emotional investment in the QC is diminishing. While I will still do it, it doesn’t captivate me like it once did. I’m sure I will pop in from time to time but I doubt it will be as often as it was. The dark winter months may see renewed enthusiasm 👍

    1. Would be sad to see you go….. I’ve enjoyed your contributions. Wonder what your “pastures new” are?

      1. Thanks Martinů – I’m sure I’ll be around occasionally. After 10+ years of concerted effort at trying to be a distance runner, I’ve realised I’m not built for it* Looking to rebuild anaerobic capacity and trying to get my 25+ inch thighs back to see what I can do for my 200/400m times. Probably in ten years’ time I will finally accept I’m no good at them either 🤣 But at least I will be maximising my health as old age creeps up. Turning 52 this year, so not old but I’m aware that bits are declining.

        * Just like the QC really, lot of perseverance and effort to achieve better-than-average results but never been a natural at it.

        1. Sprinting? In your 50s? I pray for your hamstrings!

          Let us know where the SCC cut off is for 400m and we’ll all compare times!

        2. Hope you can find time and inclination to drop in and keep us posted on your running and your life in general!

        3. Good luck with sprinting in your 50’s! I’m 49, and keep my sprinting strictly to the bicycle.

          Don’t be a stranger.

    2. Sorry to see you go L-Plates. Just as I was about to show my stats tomorrow as well.

      Hope you do pop in every now and then.


    3. I will really miss your posts and the support you have provided. As you know, I am finding the QC very challenging at the moment and motivation is sometimes difficult. I suspect you are in a similar place, particularly given the tough spell we have had recently.

      I think your mojo (is that the right word?) will return. Don’t you always tell others that they can check out but never leave?

      Good luck with the running. As a semi-fit 53 year old, I stick to hiking these days.

      1. Your week so far … 27 / 28 / 42 / 26
        My week … 35-40 / 33 / 27 / 20 (Monday I took a break at 31mins then did the last 5 clues in my head while doing other stuff like running and talking to my mum 🤣)

        So we’re tracking about the same. I rate myself as a decent solver so by that standard, so are you.

        I’m still doing the QC, I just don’t have the emotional investment I used to. Across my life this has happened with a bunch of things – I am a force of nature when I am “into” something and then one day I switch off and move onto something new.

        I’ll keep an eye on you though … 😉

  22. My fastest for some time at just over 8 minutes. LOI POSTER after resisting bunging in Hotter.
    A proper QC we all seem to agree. And nicely clued.
    I was late to the QC yesterday so I would like to give another pat on the back to Jalna. for his effort.

  23. Very much on the easier side for a Joker offering I thought, as my time of 7.21 seems to confirm.
    My eye was drawn to the answer at 16dn OVERARM, and I’m immediately reminded of that other gloriously sporting Australian captain Greg Chappell who instructed the bowler to bowl the final delivery of the innings underarm and along the ground, as their opponents New Zealand wanted a six off the last ball to beat them. Things don’t seem to have changed do they! Not that I’m bitter or anything …….

  24. A straightforward QC with no obscure vocab and enough slightly chewier clues to keep up the interest levels. In other words a very good and enjoyable QC. It took me 15 minutes with everything parsed except HOUSE HUSBAND which I parsed after stopping the clock. I got very few of the across clues on the first pass, although I did see ENTANGLEMENT straight away. Luckily the downs were much more fruitful leaving me with only a handful to polish off at the end.

    FOI – 8ac AJAR
    COD – 13dn INTUITION

    Thanks to Joker and Rotter

  25. It’s on days like this that I am really impressed by those who routinely record superfast times. Only a few solutions eluded me on my first pass and those that did succumbed second time around. I finished in 15 minutes with the feeling that it had all been a hell of a rush and amazement (yet again) that it’s possible to work through 2, 3, 4, 5, … times faster.


    Many thanks to Joker and Rotter

  26. FOI was AJAR quickly followed by OBJECTION. I got the HOUSE before the HUSBAND and the latter was derived from checkers. I knew of husbandry but not husband. VINDICTIVE was sort of parsed. LOI was POSTER in a pleasing 7:07 and tomorrow’s date when I will be seated at Wimbledon Centre Court hopefully in the sunshine.

    1. Forecast is superb for tomorrow (I live a mile or so down the road). Enjoy the tennis.

  27. Started slow, picked up speed and then got a bit stuck on VINDICTIVE and INCLINED to miss out on a fast one – still all green in 12 though. I’ve known the pilchard is a grown up SARDINE since university, so no eyebrow workout for me. Not sure how I know it but glad to have that bit of GK needed and not something from the arts for once!

  28. I managed to complete this taxing but enjoyable QC from Joker, a setter I don’t usually associate with the words “enjoyable QC”.

    House-Husband held me up for much of my solving time. I’m not overly happy with husband being ration. I do feel that if he put his mind to it, Joker could have given a better word to describe husband in this clue.

    Other than that a nice QC, though I don’t think I would have been able to complete it without a little help from the cat (who liked the sardine clue).

  29. No actual time, but must have been around 20m, fastest for many a day. Spent a short time trying to recall Maria for 23a. A very pleasant solve, thanks Joker.

  30. HOUSE HUSBAND went straight in and that got me going OK, but am I really a domestic male worker? 10D only came after I had all the checkers. Good puzzle and not too difficult – my fastest time for 2 weeks. Thanks Joker and Rotter. 4:01.

  31. 12:10 Battle of Gestilren: King Sverker II of Sweden is defeated and killed, by King Eric X of Denmark who then takes the Swedish throne

    No real trouble, HOUSE HUSBAND needed all the checkers.

    AJAR is surely a very ancient Chestnut. “When is a door not a door. When it is AJAR”

  32. Am I the last POSTER today? Busy days are like that, dipping in and out and savouring them. Joker does bring a smile to me and I like that. Today especially for OVERARM very topical and PET.

    I am about to cook my fresh SARDINES tonight. Now I know they are young fish it explains why each week at the fishmongers they seem to be getting bigger!

    Thanks very much to Joker, great puzzles and the Rotter for the explanations.

  33. 15:44 HOUSE HUSBAND took a while. I wondered if a quarter ration might be a MOUSE something. But I was still heading for a quick finish until I spent more than six minutes on LOI POSTER. An entertaining puzzle anyway.

  34. A slow but enjoyable plod for me today. Needed all the checkers for HOUSE HUSBAND. Enjoyed DELIBERATE. Didn’t know SARDINE was a young pilchard, or that there was a verb ‘to husband’ – well I never. Thanks all. Short and sweet. Andy Murray match is calling…

    1. Sorry to hear that Ian. I thought there were some tough clues today.

      Have you tried the Quintagram? I try to attempt this now but without any expectations. It hasn’t improved my performance yet, but I think it’s a good learning device. Why not give it a go as a warm up for the QC?

  35. 27 mins – split over three sessions.

    I found this on the harder side, and it took an age to get 10dn “Vindictive”, 11ac “Driven” and 21ac “Improve”.

    Some good clues though.

    FOI – 6dn “Axe”
    LOI – 21ac “Improve”
    COD – 10dn “Vindictive”

    Thanks as usual!

  36. At least I finished today, although I found it very hard. I was totally lost with 1ac and hadn’t a clue what type of clue it was. With the A and D at the end, I saw worker and thought of HAND! That rather set the tone.

    There were some difficult synonyms and I struggled mightily with POSTER, despite understanding the word play. I also had problems with HOCKEY (got the EY easily enough) and IMPROVE (needless to say, I saw the clue and thought homophone).

    Thanks again to those of you who took the trouble to offer me words of encouragement yesterday. I’m still disappointed with my time today (26 mins), as those I am usually on a par with seem to have jumped ahead. I will persevere, although I’m struggling.

    Thanks as always for the excellent blog Rotter. I needed it to parse a few today.

  37. All done in 8:40. As many others, HOUSE HUSBAND needed most of its checkers.

    Thanks to Joker & TheRotter

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