Times Quick Cryptic No 2557 by Joker

Solving time: 7:45

Was flying initially though slowed down somewhat during the second half. Don’t think there was anything especially difficult, just perhaps that some of the answers needed a trifle more thought.

How did you find it?

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

1 Praise pence and pounds being found by check on accounts (7)
PLAUDITP (Pence) and L (pounds i.e. Libra) found by AUDIT (check on accounts)
5 Cleaner vehicle filled with hydrogen (4)
CHARCAR (vehicle) filled with H (hydrogen – chemical symbol)
7 Bird’s cry as it loses height (3)
OWLHOWL (cry) loses H (height)
8 Wine drink hotel introduced to small Paris estaminet — red initially (8)
SPRITZERRITZ (hotel) inserted into (introduced to) initial letters of Small Paris Estaminet Red
10 What provides some light at the end of three darker months? (5)
EMBER – EMBER appears at the end of SEPTEMBER, NOVEMBER and DECEMBER i.e. three darker months
11 I am in favour of oven being stripped to upgrade (7)
IMPROVEIM (I am) PRO (in favour of) {o}VE{n} [being stripped i.e. remove end letters]
13 Where one may find shops are introducing computer aided design (6)
ARCADEARE with CAD (computer aided design acronym) introduced
15 Observed European keeping queen calm (6)
SERENESEEN (Observed) E (European) keeping i.e. insert R (queen i.e. Regina)
17 Mess is large in naval vessel (7)
CLUTTERL (large) in CUTTER (naval vessel)
18 What volcano may do during another upthrust (5)
ERUPT – Hidden in [during] another upthrust
20 Replace drink with tea, perhaps (8)
SUPPLANTSUP (drink) with PLANT (tea, perhaps)
22 Greek character’s quiet greeting (3)
PHIP (quiet i.e. music notation p = piano = soft) HI (greeting)
23 A feature of summer headgear worn by English (4)
HEATHAT (headgear) ‘worn by’ i.e. surrounding E (English)
24 Street vehicle’s maximum distance of travel is unusual (7)
STRANGEST (Street) RANGE (vehicle’s maximum distance of travel)
1 Demonstrated broken cane’s origin (10)
PROVENANCEPROVEN (Demonstrated) then anagram [broken] of CANE
2 Off-the-cuff remark nowadays left one blanked initially (2-3)
AD-LIBAD (nowadays i.e. anno domini) L (left) I (one) then initial letter of Blanked
3 Bad reflection with CD dirties playing (9)
DISCREDIT – Anagram [playing] of CD DIRTIES
4 Sweltering temperature, very unpleasant but not hot (6)
TORRIDT (temperature) HORRID but not i.e. without H (hot)
5 Little girl’s pet (3)
CAT – The girl is CATHERINE so a little girl might be CAT?

Is it as simple as that? Alternative interpretations welcome.

6 Part of genome naturally’s given rise to plant (7)
ANEMONE – Reversed [given rise] hidden [Part of] in genome naturally’s
9 Pieces given regularly ere pierrot is performing (10)
REPERTOIRE – Anagram [is performing] of ERE PIERROT

‘Pieces’ as in written, musical or artistic creations.

The French word ‘répertoire’ stems from the Late Latin repertorium, meaning “inventory” or “list”.

12 TV host with president shortly to come in (9)
PRESENTERPRES (president) [shortly i.e. abbreviated] ENTER (to come in)

Apparently, PRES is a recognised abbreviation for President.

14 Remedy that holds out for fashion design (7)
COUTURECURE (Remedy) that holds i.e. contains OUT

COUTURE is from a fancy Old French word costure meaning “dressmaking, sewing”

16 Old coins — tons in Argos circulating (6)
GROATST (tons) in an anagram [circulating] of ARGOS

The English groat was originally worth fourpence and contained 90 grains (5.8 g) of sterling silver.

19 Free parking in university before noon (5)
UNPIN – P (parking) in UNI (university) before N (noon)
21 Top up container (3)
POT – Reverse [up – apposite as this is a ‘down’ clue] of TOP


41 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2557 by Joker”

  1. 17.06. PROVENANCE took the longest as I was looking at everything the wrong way round. Similarly distracted by thinking somehow applaud or acclaim figured in PLAUDIT. Also wanted H for hotel in SPRITZER. I have known a few Catherines go by CAT so I guess it’s just a rarer short form. I looked up sterling silver values to see how much a GROAT would be worth nowadays but was disappointed. I keep forgetting silver hasn’t taken off to stratospheric heights like gold! Thanks for extra interesting info re word origins.

  2. 10 minutes with TORRID and SPRITZER delaying completion by an extra couple of minutes. I also looked twice at CAT, but it had to be right so I moved on.

  3. Slow again, not sure why; biffing PROVENANCE & REPERTOIRE didn’t save much time. Like Jack, I looked twice at CAT, but what else could it be? 8:33.

  4. 21:39 with a hard-earned refreshing lager on the sun-dappled terrace of the SCC as consolation; none of these SPRITZER concoctions for me. Slow for everything except the few easy ones like POT. My experience with PROVENANCE was exactly the same as curryowen’s and the REPERTOIRE anagram was a long time coming

    You could argue that 19d could be UNPEN; there’s a University of New England that springs to mind, though it’s not in the obvious continent.

    For CAT, I thought La Blanchett.

    Thanks to Joker and Mike

    1. CAT may be short for “Cathy” or “Catherine,” but Blanchett is a Catherine who has chosen something different—just as short, syllable-wise.

  5. Got them all but put PROVEDANCE instead of PROVENANCE, thus continuing a dismal finish to the year’s QCs at 0/3 for the week so far. This was slow for me at over 30 minutes.

  6. Not entirely straightforward. Needed all the checkers for REPERTOIRE and a carelessly biffed ‘cruiser’ at 17a delayed DISCREDIT.
    Started with PLAUDIT and finished with SPRITZER in 9.35 with COD to PROVENANCE for the PDM (nothing to do with marches then).
    Thanks to Mike

  7. Wow, what a slog.

    I normally throw in the towel at 30 mins, but as I’m snug in bed with snow all around outside, I decided to plod on, bringing this one home in a marathon 43 mins. What a dullard I must be! REPERTOIRE was LOI.

  8. An odd puzzle with some quite straightforward clues (eg Cat, Pot) and some requiring munch more thought. Found the long anagrams tough today – they just failed to come – and then held up at the last by Spritzer, where I totally misunderstood the word play and (among other false starts, garden paths and blind alleys) also tried to fit an H into. All made for a slow 14 minute solve.

    Many thanks Mike for the blog

    1. “munch more thought”

      Bit chewy? 😉

      (I know: I’ll get my coat… Well, my raincoat in this weather)

  9. 23:04, and entry to the Club. I’m married to a Catherine who has never been called CAT by anyone, and was well stumped by SPRITZER, where I was sure an H was going to be introduced to a French word like Bistro.

    COD EMBER, always nice to see a completely different species of clue.

  10. 15:33 (Thomas Cranmer becomes Archbishop of Canterbury, and annuls Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon)

    COD to SPRITZER, where I also fell into the trap of looking for a word with an H.

    LOI was PROVENANCE, where I took too long looking for words ending in C, after something meaning broken.

    Thanks Joker and Mike

  11. I spent a good minute and a half over my last two answers. Once the penny finally dropped with TORRID my LOI jumped out and bit me.

    TIME 5:02

  12. 4.59. Similarly to our blogger today, I found one or two took a bit of thought to work out – e.g. the REPERTOIRE anagram. I liked CLUTTER and HEAT. Thank-you Joker and Mike.

  13. Some typically elegant and witty clues from Joker today. I particularly liked PROVENANCE, CLUTTER and COD EMBER. Not so keen on the rather clunky surface for LOI SPRITZER, which held me up quite a bit by trying to crowbar an H into it. In fact I seemed to fall for most of Joker’s misdirections today!

    Squeaked under 10 in 09:59 for a Slow Day.

    Many thanks Joker and Mike.


  14. Back at the crossword coalface after a couple of days eating and drinking. Must go back and do Monday’s and Tuesday’s. Belated festive wishes to you all.
    I thought I had suffered from the break, being a little stodgy, but WITCH tells me it was around a par time for me for the puzzle.
    Several ticks from me – OWL, SPRITZER, EMBER (LOI).

  15. I thought I would race through this but, like others, some clues caused big hold-ups.
    I spent most time on my last two which were SPRITZER and LOI TORRID where I was stuck with words like Torpid and Turgid.
    19 minutes.
    CPD to SPRITZER for the clever misdirections.

  16. Mince pies etc have reduced me to even slower progress than usual. In hindsight, nothing unduly complex, but in the solving I felt as if I was wading through clotted cream (yum). All the issues mentioned above, and some, but I enjoyed the mental exercise. Now to go back to the Izetti I missed…

  17. Very enjoyabel QC after a week off, finished in 18 mins but unsure whether to go for Unpen or Unpin in 19d. Plumped for the more standard ‘uni’ fortunately. I enjoyed the long down clues – PROVENANCE went straight in but all the e’s and r’s in REPERTOIRE took a while to sort out.
    I enjoyed the clever surface of CHAR but COD to EMBER.
    Thanks Mike for blog.

  18. Quite a struggle today. For a long time it seemed as though I was inching towards an inevitable DNF, but a rush of answers (if two can ever be a rush) resulted in a slow 30min finish. Joker seems to have perfected the art of making cryptics look impossible to solve, only to become blindingly obvious when the answer arrives – 8ac being a good example. I prefer Izetti’s more precise style, but each to their own. CoD to 10ac, Ember, for the pdm. Invariant

  19. Like others I was delayed by PROVENANCE, and needed all the crossers for REPERTOIRE, then RITZ took a while to SUPPLANT H in 8a. No trouble with 5d as my daughter Catherine is often called CAT by her hubby. PLAUDIT was FOI and EMBER was LOI. 9:21. Thanks Joker and Mike.

  20. I’m not sure why September should be a “darker month”.

    Most of it comes before the equinox.

    1. I guess just darker than June, July, and August. As boys addicted to playing baseball, my friends and I certainly lamented the earlier onset of darkness in September signalling the end of our summer.

  21. 19 mins…

    Nothing massively stood out here. Main problem was trying to parse 12dn “Presenter” and wondering whether 19dn “Unpin” was a bit of a meh.

    FOI – 1ac “Plaudit”
    LOI – 1dn “Provenance”
    COD – 10ac “Ember”

    Seriously wish it would stop raining. The only time it seems to have stopped since September is when it snowed.

    Thanks as usual!

  22. Despite an almost continuous infusion of fine and not so fine chocolates, interspersed with snacks of festive port with runny brie, my brain seems unusually sluggish and I toppled into the club on the 30 minute mark to find a few chairs left untidily on the terrace in the rain. Nothing to add to already commented on content.
    Thanks all

  23. 14.58 Mostly quick again but the two clues down the sides and LOI SPRITZER took an age. Thanks Mike and Joker.

  24. I didn’t expect this to be anything other than a good test from the Joker, and I wasn’t disappointed. Although I was under target by almost a minute at 9.09, I felt it was tougher than my time suggested, but I just happened to be on the right wavelength.
    LOI which took me a while to see for some reason was the relatively straightforward UNPIN. PROVENANCE which seems to be a stumbling block for some came to me almost immediately.

  25. Haven’t done a QC for a couple of days – this was a nice one to return to, thanks Joker. Also thanks for the blog and interesting additional info, Mike.
    Sadly, put PROVEDANCE for 1d; it looks even worse here – wince!
    I’m just not good at seeing down clues properly. If it had been Mr SR filling it in, we’d have been fine.
    Wrt CAT, there’s Cat (short for Catherine) Deeley and one of Mr SR’s Christmas presents was a book by Dr Cat Jarman (hopefully covering both low- and highbrow culture there 😀).

  26. Ambled my way through this, with time taken to get PROVNANCE, SERENE and (LOI) TORRID. A pleasant stroll!

  27. Dissatisfied with my performance today. Took 25 mins as a result of missing some easy ones. Should have done much better, but I am where I am. Slightly surprised to see so many found it hard as I felt there were a lot of straightforward clues (not that I got them as quickly as I should have done). Rather frustrating after a good day yesterday.

    Put AD HOC for AD LIB initially and stupidly failed to get CHAR on first pass. Also took ages to get UNPIN and ANEMONE, despite the clear instruction in the clue. Took far too long to get REPERTOIRE, although again the clue was clear.

    Did ok on Quintagram for once, so perhaps some tiny sign of progress. I’ve had days that have been much, much worse.

    Thanks for the great blog Mike.

    1. Dissatisfied with 25 minutes? Surely not! You must set some high standards, Mr A.
      I managed 24 minutes and am absolutely delighted, especially as the setter was Joker. Good luck tomorrow!

      1. Well done Mr R 👏👏 👏

        I had one of those days where the harder clues were straightforward and the straightforward clues were hard.

        On reflection, I am happy with the time overall but kicking myself (slightly) at missing first time a few of the ones mentioned in my post. As you say, it was a Joker, so definitely one of my better times for that particular setter.

        Hope tomorrow’s solve goes well.

  28. Took a while making sense of EMBER and parsed UNPIN incorrectly (I had ‘parking in’ as PIN, and ‘university before noon’ as UN – doesn’t really make sense I know). REPERTOIRE held out for quite some time. Otherwise all done and dusted fairly quickly. LOI PROVENANCE. Liked COUTURE. Thanks Joker and Mike.

  29. Made it home in 25 minutes which, considering the setter, is jolly fast for me. I started with CHAR and finished with UNPIN, but nearly came a cropper in a few places along the way.

    I had aWk instead of OWL, parADE instead of ARCADE and UNPeN instead of UNPIN for a while, but a combination of solving subsequent crossers and some re-parsing helped me make the required corrections before coming here.

    By the way; What’s an ‘estaminet’ when it’s at home?

    Many thanks to Joker and Mike.

    P.S. For completeness: I tackled Monday’s Izetti and yesterday’s Kenny earlier today with excellent results (for me). Kenny detained me for 24 minutes with JACK causing a 5 minute delay at the end, and I demolished Izetti’s Christmas Day offering in just 15 minutes – definitely my fastest Izetti and quite close to a PB.
    I think the setters and editor are in a benevolent mood this week.

    1. Blimey, that’s good going on the Monday puzzle. I didn’t see the Izetti QC, but what an excellent time!

      Great stuff 👏👏👏

      PS I had to look up estaminet afterwards – a small cafe serving alcoholic drinks apparently.

  30. 13:30
    Did last 3 crosswords on phone waiting in the car at supermarket after getting back from family Christmas.
    Had proveDance but I’m overlooking that due to my rubbish typing skills on phone.
    COD ember.

  31. 22:21 here, adding to the crush at the bar of the SCC. The two longish anagrams held me up for the longest time, as both needed to be written out and stared at blankly for a while.

    COD to EMBER, by a nose from SPRITZER, which was my LOI.

    Thanks to Joker and Mike.

  32. A fine example of setting clear clues where you know when the answer is correct without any misgivings – although I was a tad disappointed by 7a 23a 24a 19d 21d but still… Over the last couple of days I’ve been toying with a themed puzzle so this Joker was an object lesson for me!
    FOI 1a Plaudit
    LOI 17a Clutter
    COD 6d Anemone where I was impressed by the setting of this as a reversal.

  33. Easier than I thought for a Joker

    Can anyone tell me why I get logged out every time I log in?

Comments are closed.