Times Quick Cryptic No 2487 by Joker

Solving time: 9:21

My solving time is the longest it has taken me to complete a Joker grid since the last time I blogged them on 17th May (QC2397) – each of their eight grids since then has taken me less than eight minutes, so I wonder if this is around the medium-pace level?

I counted only two-and-a-half anagrams, one double definition and one hidden. None of the vocabulary is unusual, apart from perhaps 19a.

How was it for you?

Definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [directions in square ones].

1 Inclination to write and sing (8)
PENCHANT – PEN (write) and CHANT (sing)

This word is from the present participle of Old French pencher “to incline”, used as a noun.

6 Let go loose-fitting dress (4)
SACK – Double definition, the first perhaps somewhat euphemistic

Variously described by sources as ‘a woman’s long loose dress or gown’ and as ‘a woman’s short loose unwaisted dress, typically narrowing at the hem, popular especially in the 1950s’.
8 Be careful of worker full of hostility (6)
BEWARE – BEE (worker) containing [full of] WAR (hostility)

Wasn’t sure whether or not the word ‘of’ should be part of the definition. On the one hand, ‘BEWARE of the dog’, on the other, ‘BEWARE the ides of March’…

9 Building level of falsehood reported (6)
STOREY – Homophone [reported] of STORY (falsehood)
10 What publisher will do in Shoreditch (4)
EDIT – Hidden in Shoreditch
11 Showing astonishment about queen being greedy (8)
GRASPING – GASPING (Showing astonishment) about R (queen i.e. regina)
12 Pulped food is nothing but the ultimate in unpalatable (5)
PURÉE – PURE (nothing but) + E i.e. the ultimate letter of {unpalatabl}E

I tried substituting PURE for ‘nothing but’ in a sentence but found my attempts somewhat clunky.

Clearly, ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth‘ means ‘purely the truth’ or ‘the pure truth’ but that doesn’t seem a very smooth substitution.

Any suggestions?

13 Wear down staff in middle of week (5)
ERODE – ROD (staff) inserted into EE i.e. the middle of {w}EE{k}
15 Cob’s zeal running in crazy hunt (8)
HAZELNUT – There are two anagram indicators here. We have an anagram [running] of ZEAL inside an anagram [crazy] of HUNT

In Ireland and the UK, a cob or cobnut is another name for a HAZELNUT.

17 Fast run, which sometimes follows slap (4)
DASH – DASH can certainly follow ‘slap’ to make SLAPDASH meaning ‘shoddy’.

I wondered if the surface intended that a slap having been given, the slapper or slappee would run away quickly?

19 Household name, eg Dicky (6)
MÉNAGE – Anagram [Dicky] of NAME EG
20 What’s standard, perhaps, on large vessel (6)
FLAGON – FLAG (What’s standard, perhaps i.e. a standard is a FLAG) followed by ON

A FLAGON typically has a volume of two imperial pints, though other countries such as Ireland and New Zealand may have FLAGONs of different volumes.

21 Young bear with energy and power (4)
CUBE – CUB (Young bear) with E (energy)

CUBE here refers to the product of a number multiplied by its square i.e. to the power of three

22 Small stream entering the river is a mystery perhaps (8)
THRILLER – RILL (Small stream) entering THE then R (river)
2 Correct me, turning up before finish (5)
EMEND – ME ‘turning up’ is EM before END (finish)

‘turning up’ is apposite here as this is a down clue.

3 Meeting of canons is more fitting after church (7)
CHAPTER – APTER (more fitting) after CH (church)

In the 6th-century, St Benedict directed that his monks convene daily for the reading of a chapter of the Bible. Over time, expressions such as “coming together for the chapter” (convenire ad capitulum) found the meaning transferred from the text to the meeting itself and then to the body gathering for it. The meeting place similarly became known as the “chapter house” or “chapter room”.

4 Regularly watches brilliant play at Wimbledon (3)
ACE – Every other letter of [regularly] watches
5 Drunken mates in camp accommodation will (9)
TESTAMENT – Anagram [Drunken] of MATES in TENT (camp accommodation)
6 Sailing boat in second go round (5)
SLOOP – S (second) LOOP (go round)
7 Can eels wriggling get free of mud? (7)
CLEANSE – Anagram [wriggling] of CAN EELS

Think the question mark is only there to make the surface more grammatically correct

11 Fresh blow for countryside round London? (5,4)
GREEN BELT – GREEN (Fresh) BELT (blow)

The term was coined by social reformer Octavia Hill in 1875 and refers to a ring of countryside where urbanisation will be resisted for the foreseeable future, maintaining an area where local food growing, forestry and outdoor leisure can be expected to prevail.

12 Table to coat with metal gold (7)
PLATEAU – PLATE (coat with metal) AU (chemical symbol for gold i.e. from the Latin word for gold which is ‘aurum’)
14 One who does little conventionally, not even dance (7)
ODDBALL – ODD (not even) BALL (dance)
16 Get rid of Times English (5)
ERASE – ERAS (Times) E (English)
18 Small ice cream bun (5)
SCONE – S (Small) CONE (ice cream)

Should I expect some debate on whether scone and bun are synonymous? (In my view, they are not).

I’m just glad that SCONE hasn’t been clued homophonically. The hotly-debated pronunciation of the word is alluded to in the following quatrain:

I asked the maid in dulcet tone
To order me a buttered scone;
The silly girl has been and gone
And ordered me a buttered scone.

20 Reduced cost of travelling a long way (3)
FAR – FARE (cost of travelling) is reduced i.e. has the last letter removed

84 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2487 by Joker”

  1. Pretty straightforward. DNK ‘cob’. Pure drivel=nothing but drivel looks OK to me. There’s also the Stone of [skun]. 5:24.

    1. Come on … don’t be shy … what was your time? 😃 The gods are worried that I was only sixteen seconds behind you across Monday and Tuesday …

      1. L.P.-you’re certainly having a super week-great! Unfortunately I was stymied by the problem others had and couldn’t get today’s puzzle on my phone and when I tried on i-pad I could see today’s puzzle but no letters to type available! I’ve had this issue with i-pad before and think I need grandkids’ help clearing caches or some similar nonsense. Anyways I gave up and just went to blog and read through the clues and answers. I have to say I don’t think I would have matched your time today! Oh well,have to see what Thurs and Fri throw at us…..

        1. Ugh – I.T. things 🙄 I had to do a reinstall of Windows on my Notebook recently because it was bluescreening. What a palaver that was …

          Why is nothing simple anymore? And why am I being forced into participating in this complicated new world? 🤷‍♂️ I don’t mind progress but none of it seems like genuine progress …

    1. The sack dress was perhaps the worst example of women’s wear since the hoop skirt. It was appropriately named.

      1. I had NHO it either – and I cannot imagine any woman consciously wanting to wear something called a sack. If I said to Mrs S that her carefully chosen garment looked like a sack I would most certainly be in the doghouse!

        1. I think it as more of a pejorative term rather than an actual style. Like your nearest and dearest, the normally not very self-deprecating Mrs ITTT has several ‘sacks’ for hot weather wear and refers to them as such. However, I have learned that this is not an open invitation for me to refer to them similarly.

  2. 14 1/2 minutes. Couldn’t get going today, not helped by taking time to see GRASPING and PURÉE and initially biffing SOUTH EAST for 11a. Kevin’s example of PURE for ‘nothing but’ works OK, even if the more likely substitution would probably be “sheer” or “utter”.

    Thanks for the information about the origin of the term CHAPTER in a religious sense which was new to me. If Guy pops in he may have something to say about ‘What publishers will do’ and EDIT.

    Thanks to Joker and Mike

  3. 18:40
    1840 first postage stamp, the Penny Black

    Found this hard, especially the bottom half. DNK cob for HAZELNUT. Put MENACE in for BEWARE because it fitted my checkers and I had MEN for “worker”. I decided that Joker would never use a plural for a singular so went back and looked for another insect after ruling out ANT via checkers. Do any other insects have workers? Wasps? Hornets?

    Thanks Mike for the top trivia in the blog. I was uneasy about PURE as well.


    1. I think termites can be grouped with ants and bees as very social creatures with queens and workers in their populations.

  4. Gladdened this town planner’s heart to see GREEN BELT. Couldn’t see DASH because surely ‘tickle’ was the only answer and then stalled at the end on the crossing ERASE and MENAGE. Couldn’t do ERASE (Times, excellent! Wanted X) so stuck in ‘exise’ and that blinded me to the anagram – plus I was badly wrong footed by Dicky. Just made me think ‘bow’ so any thoughts of anagram indicators left my brain. All green in 18 – brilliant puzzle I thought!

  5. 23:43. Handicapped myself by entering SLIP for the loose dress, and somehow thinking that HAZLENUT was the correct spelling. But eventually sanity prevailed, and both errors got fixed.

    COD FLAGON, where I was thinking that the “large vessel” would be something like an oil tanker.

    Thanks to Joker and Mike.

    1. I also started with Slip, which I think is a reasonable answer (and better than calling any woman’s garment a sack)

  6. I can’t access today’s puzzle on the app either. It still has yesterday’s completed grid coming up.

  7. Most of this was relatively straightforward but got held up at the end by some tricky ones.
    Didn’t know that COB was a hazelnut so needed all the checkers and pen and paper to work out the anagram. I think I remember it being clued somewhere as ‘filbert’ recently as well so it seems to be a week for learning the various different terms for it.
    THRILLER and FLAGON took some thought and I spent too long trying to arrange the consonants for LOI MENAGE.
    Finished in 8.55
    Thanks to Mike for the excellent blog

  8. Not held up by PURE= NOTHING BUT, nor most of the tricks so managed for a change to escape the SCC. Did not like STOREY and needed reminder from partner that SACK can be a dress, and enjoyed puzzle. FOI ENEND, LOI PUREE, COD PENCHANT. Thanks Joker and Mike

  9. Had to throw in the towel with three unsolved: could not find any building S-O-E- more likely than stores (but was of course on the wrong track), and failed PUREE and PLATEAU. Thanks to Mike.

    1. Another DNF here, undone by PUREE, PLATEAU and HAZELNUT. Oh well. Thank you to Mike for the blog!

  10. 13:56 (battle of Poitiers)

    Apart from the delay for the app to sort itself out, no problems today. This crossword was pure pleasure/ nothing but pleasure.

    COB took a while, despite having, earlier this year, pruned several cobnut trees.

    LOI was DASH.

    Thanks Joker and Mike

  11. (I eventually got in, having popped over in the meantime to complete the online DT 15×15 which was relatively straightforward today.)
    Anyway, a nice puzzle from Joker which helped me move towards the front of the class today, if not right under the teacher’s nose, at 18:07. (Now I have to spend at least a minute spellchecking before I submit I could legitimately take sixty seconds off that.)
    I still can’t get used to EMEND rather than ‘amend’, which held up PENCHANT for me, which I thought was a nice clue. CHAPTER and HAZELNUT were today’s favourites for me.

    Thanks to Joker and Mike 👍

  12. 12 minutes for this tricky puzzle, full of traps for the unwary (ie, me). I got completely the wrong end of the clue for Storey and took a long time to see that the definition was Building level, and I tried very hard to get an X into Erase. Amazed that anyone ever thought Sack was an appropriate name for a dress (what next, the “bin-bag dress”?) and took time to realise that Table could mean Plateau – still not 100% sure but I suppose Table Mountain is the link? LOI was Menage where for a long time I had no clue as to what was going on – and -E-A-E as checkers is not an inspiring set to try alphabet searches on.

    So, I would agree with our blogger that this was perhaps more of a struggle than some from Joker, who I usually complete rather more quickly.

    Many thanks to Mike for the blog.

  13. Had to hop about a bit, slow in parts. Liked PENCHANT, THRILLER, DASH, FLAGON. GREEN BELT and EDIT a write-in.
    Put Slip instead of SACK at first which made CLEANSE tricky. I remember the sack dress, maybe Twiggy era.
    No problem with HAZELNUT/cob for us countrywomen.
    Knew Dean and CHAPTER.
    Horsey people sometimes muddle Manège (enclosure for dressage training) with MENAGE.
    Thanks vm, Mike.

  14. Excellent QC from Joker which I found very challenging.
    About 14 minutes to get to my last two- PUREE and MENAGE. I got PUREE quite quickly but nearly gave up on the last one. Did not spot the anagram indicator for too long. 23 minutes eventually.
    Some great stuff in here I thought. High quality surfaces.
    PS I solve on paper so untroubled by IT glitches.

  15. Around 17 mins and found it tricky.
    Did this in 2 parts as I got stuck at the end with sack, grasping, and sloop outstanding.

    COD Cleanse

  16. Nothing to unduly tax the brain cells, but a very good puzzle nonetheless. Smooth surfaces.



  17. According to Collins dictionary, a sack dress was a loose, unbelted dress that hangs from the shoulder. Popular in the mid-1950s. I remember my sister being very proud of hers.

  18. I’m finding Joker puzzles more and more torturous to solve, and today was no exception, with a few clunky surfaces thrown in for good measure. Needed a second sitting to sort out the NE corner, as nho Sack for dress and was slow with the Sloop (John B or otherwise). CoD to 22ac, Thriller, though it was nice to see the M25 central reservation get a mention at 11d. . . Invariant

  19. Just short of 16 minutes, but close enough to it that I can’t claim an on-target solve under my strict rounding rules, even if the actual time taken did start with a 15, so a win for Joker with this ace puzzle. Also an ace blog by Mike – I loved the extra goodies he added. Last two in were SLOOP and STOREY, but excellent clues all over the grid. Thanks both.

  20. Once I could access the paper, another day of quick then slow solving. Entered SLIP without a second thought, second thoughts then when the S worked for 6D but not 7D which was fortunately an easy solve, otherwise I would have not been tempted by SACK. Another learning day.
    19A and 16D delayed me some minutes, a bunch of Es and an A not helping greatly. Once I worked out that Dicky was probably an anagram indicator it still took me a little time to see the answer. Having tried to get an X or ages or various others into 16D, having passed over ERASE for a reason I don’t now remember, I eventually came back to finish. All good fun and outside the SCC for today.

  21. After typoing my way out of yesterday’s puzzle, I got back on track with this gentle offering from Joker. Apart from trying to be too clever with SLOOP (I tried to take ’round’ as a reversal indicator, biffed it, and parsed it afterwards) I had no problems.

    TIME 3:34

  22. QSnitch at 101, bang in the middle of “moderate”.

    I found that gentle for a Joker, but as usual clever and witty with smooth surfaces. COD to ODDBALL.

    All done in 07:47 for 1.6K and a Good Day. Many thanks Mike and Joker.


  23. I found this tricky, especially the SW corner until I spotted FLAGON and the rest followed quickly leaving GRASPING/SLOOP/STOREY as the last 3. Phew!

  24. When describing any substance pure = nothing but. 2 Examples from either end of a spectrum:

    Pure apple juice = nothing but apple juice
    Pure cocaine = nothing but cocaine
    etc etc

    11 mins today

    I believe the ? is there in CLEANSE because mud is just an example of something you can get rid of to cleanse

  25. Fairly straightforward I thought, although held up slightly by THRILLER and LOI ERASE (I know!). Wondered about SACK but went with wordplay. Liked DASH although, as has already been said, I immediately thought of ‘tickle’. Enjoyable. Great blog Mike. Thanks Joker.

  26. As for 10a my publishers used to edit many years ago but they have long since given up doing anything useful for their money

  27. I found this quite hard and nearly gave up a couple of times but pushed on and finished in 1h 03m.
    I also had SLIP for 2a so CLEANSE was second last in with LOI being MÉNAGE as I’d missed Dicky as an anagrind.
    COD 12a PURÉE
    Very enjoyable puzzle thanks Joker with plenty of PDMs and a most informative blog from Mike.

  28. 30 mins…

    Started off fairly well on this, but slowed down with around 5 clues to go. 6dn “Sloop”, 9ac “Storey”, 11ac “Grasping” and 19ac “Ménage” all proving somewhat difficult.

    It didn’t help that I spelt Hazelnut as “Hazlenut” for 15ac either.

    FOI – 2dn “Emend”
    LOI – 19ac “Ménage”
    COD – 1ac “Penchant”

    Thanks as usual!

  29. 17:43 so better for me than yesterday.
    DNK 3dn CHAPTER, but biffed from the clue – thank’s for the explanation Mike.
    Also DNK 15ac HAZELNUT or 6dn SLOOP and resorted to a dictionary and Google search of ‘sailing boats’ (is that considered cheating?).
    LOI: 9ac STOREY (it felt like it took an age for me to see the answer)
    COD: 17ac DASH
    Thanks to Mike and Joker

  30. I’m not always tuned into Joker’s offerings, but today was an exception, finishing in a respectable 7.04. The only thing that held me up at all was HAZLENUT, where I was initially looking for the wrong set of letters to form the anagram. Enjoyable puzzle from the Joker who never disappoints, at least as far as I’m concerned.

  31. Started off fairly quickly with ACE FOI, then slowed as I got further down the grid. MENAGE was LOI. 8:28. Thanks Joker and Mike.

  32. 7.55

    Happy enough to finish all correct as it wasn’t the smoothest solve but plenty of pleasant clues

    Thanks Mike and Joker

  33. I’ve just completed today’s 15 x 15 (a very rare occurrence indeed) so I would definitely recommend giving it a go

  34. 31.36 I made a meal of this. I considered MENACE for hostility and SLIP for dress but rejected them both to get the top half done in six minutes. The last four – SCONE, MENAGE, ERASE and FLAGON – took over ten minutes yet FLAG was the first thing I thought of when I saw standard. A scone is definitely not a bun but there’s no excuse for the rest. If I can finish the next two puzzles in 35 seconds each I’ll make my target for the week. Thanks to Mike and Joker.

  35. I don’t understand THRILLER as a synonym for MYSTERY. Can anyone explain? They seem 2 different things to me.

    1. I took it to be referring to book/movie genres. I think there’s probably an overlap between them but you could be right that they are distinctly separate.

  36. I thought this was a hard one and needed a lot of aids but I also spelt Hazel wrong which completely messed up the SE corner.

  37. All green and parsed in 18 minutes. Although I don’t keep records I think this is a better time than the last few Joker puzzles I have completed as I was under the impression that his puzzles were becoming more difficult. A couple of hold-ups along the way – putting in tableau at 12 dn and, once that was sorted out, trying to anagram the wrong words at 15ac. No problems with sack dress – I remember my mother having one in the 50’s in a rather bilious pea-green shade!

    FOI – 8ac BEWARE
    LOI – 15ac HAZELNUT
    COD – 14dn ODDBALL. Also liked DASH and MENAGE

    Thanks to Joker and Mike

  38. Joker is probably my favourite setter for reasons of usually quick, enjoyable surfaces and doesn’t use words I don’t know. Menage was a bit of a exception to that today but with checkers it was the most feasible anagram and sometimes you refer to crazy households as a menagerie and I assume menage-a-trois usually takes place at home behind closed doors 🤷‍♂️

    Thought perhaps he was a little out of sorts today with some of his clues but still enjoyed CUBE, ERASE, FLAGON among others. Noting that there was a sort of minitheme involving ERASE, EDIT, EMEND plus ERODE and CLEANSE.

    18:07 for a successful completion and easily my best start ever to a week with less than 45mins spent so far. 14:01 on Trelawney (reached that last pair at 7:20) and only 12:15 on yesterday’s Orpheus which was a surprise when I looked at the clock.

  39. I didn’t get many laughs from the Joker today, I’m afraid. I was just not on his wavelength at all and made heavy weather of my slow descent into the SCC.

    Probably not helped by getting soaked to the skin and blown to bits at the start of a much-anticipated Norfolk break. Even the ducks are sheltering. John M.

  40. Another day, another nightmare.

    Finished in 37 minutes. Totally lost it at the moment and find my times embarrassing. I really am going backwards and dreading the daily ‘challenge’. I thought this was hard, but, looking at the comments, realise that it was simply me being inept. After reading the blog, I can’t believe how hopeless I am. Some of the clues were so easy and yet I couldn’t see them.

    The QC is no fun when you have my level of incompetence. I’m not accustomed to being the class fool and I really don’t enjoy it. The harder I try, the worse I get. It was bad enough hitting a plateau and not getting any better, but to get worse is just ridiculous.

    Thanks for the blog. Back for more humiliation tomorrow.

    1. I found it hard and took longer than usual.
      I’m not sure if the setter sets for both quickie and 15×15 (suspect they do) but I am usually on Joker’s wavelength, such as today in the 15×15, but was way off on the quickie.

      In summary don’t be so hard on yourself!

    2. Dear Mr A,
      To raise your spirits once more, you could try descending to my level of competence.

      1. Thanks Mr R 🤣

        I saw you had some trouble today. You have however been on a very good run recently.

        MÉNAGE gave me all kinds of trouble. I saw it was an anagram but couldn’t for the life of me work it out. It came eventually, accompanied by a huge groan.

        Let’s hope we both have better luck tomorrow. 🤞

    3. Oh GA 🤷‍♂️ Didn’t you do 11mins on Monday? Another 11min’er last week? That doesn’t sound like a complete incompetent to me. Try and give yourself some credit that is due.

      There was a point today where I was in danger of taking an extended time and then something clicked in. If green belt hadn’t been an inspired moment, I could have been staring for a while. I certainly don’t rate it as a particularly easy one today.

      As an aside, I’d reckon a good chunk of my improvement has come from branching out to other crosswords. They all seem to have a subtly different style. But also doing them without any time pressures and then throwing them away / closing the screen and forgetting them is helpful. I still consider the books to be one of the best presents you can ask for if you’re a typical bloke like me, who says “I don’t really want anything” because it ticks the present box and you can pick up and do when you like.

      1. Thanks L-Plates.

        It’s achieving the 11-minute solves that makes me so unhappy when I struggle, because I can’t fathom how I can be ‘on it’ one day and not the next.

        I’ll have a look at other cryptics when time permits. We’re in an intense induction period for new students at the moment, but I think experiencing other puzzles will help. The Quintagram helped for a while, but I have found it increasingly challenging.

        The books are now on my Christmas list.

        Good luck tomorrow. Let’s hope your hugely impressive start to the week continues. 🤞

  41. LOI Ménage. Being in rural Hertfordshire we see properties advertised with one such rather than a manège. But that’s estate agents for you. They need to emend their blurbs. 🤪 J

  42. Due to some unplanned interruptions, I tackled this in 3 phases and ended up making extremely heavy weather of it.

    Phase 1 went reasonably to plan with 20 clues solved in 24 minutes. However, my progress slowed significantly when I came back for phase 2, as the next (penultimate?) 5 clues – STOREY, PUREE, PLATEAU, HAZELNUT and ERASE – took a further 21 minutes.

    Phase 3 was even more embarrassing, as it was solely devoted to one clue (MENAGE), but took a full 15 minutes. I didn’t see that it was an anagram, so I had to resort to a massive alphabet trawl. Even then MENAGE didn’t feature, as it’s not an English word and I don’t speak French. Total time = 60 minutes.

    Mrs Random completed it in 23 minutes and teased me mercilessly over my LOI. My only comeback was the opportunity to explain why CUBE was the answer to 21a.

    Many thanks to Joker and Mike H.

    1. Commiserations Mr Random. You had been having a nice week to this point. Like you, I did Trelawney / Orpheus in succession on Tuesday with pleasing results.

      In fact it had all gone by so quickly I then attempted the Jumbo for Students in Sunday’s Good University Guide. Have you seen it? I am outraged 👿 as I’m sure you will be by a certain Across clue! I think a letter / email to the Editor may be in order, perhaps you may like to sign too …

      1. Hello Mr Plates,

        This is just to say that I will be visiting my elderley father again in Christchurch next week and I wondered if it might be a good opportunity to meet for a l chat. I will be travelling by train on this occasion, so it would be most helpful if you could come over to Christchurch. My suggestion for a venue is The Raft (9 Castle Street), which serves excellent coffee/tea and snacks. Or perhaps you might prefer a beer at Ye Olde George or The Ship in town.

        As regards timing, I can be quite flexible during my visit, so more-or-less any time between early afternoon on Tues. 26th and lunchtime on Thurs. 28th should suit me. Please take your pick and let me know when woul be most convenient for you.

        All the best, Mr Random

        1. Hi! More than happy to come to Christchurch. I’d quite like to avoid the traffic that builds up near Bmth Hospital in daytime – so could we do Tuesday at 8pm in Ye Olde George for a beer?

          Not sure how we’ll identify each other than but I’m 6’2″ and unmissable! Always wearing a hoodie.

          1. Good stuff! I’ll be there at 8pm on Tuesday.
            As regards ID, the clues I’ll give are:
            • I’m an old prog-rocker from the ’70s.
            • I won’t be wearing a hoodie.
            • I’m confident you will quickly work out who I am, despite me being just SomeRandomChap.
            See you there!

  43. Like others, I put Slip instead of Sack at first. Was tempted by Menace for 8A, but resisted. Liked Oddball. Also liked the scone quatrain in Mike’s commentary. Thanks to Joker and Mike.

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