Times Quick Cryptic No 2630 by Joker

Not much written on my copy of this typical Joker Quick Cryptic which has one or two tricky bits, especially 8D. COD to 22A but I liked 20D too. It took me 4:40. How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic.  This time it is Sawbill’s turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the crossword  here. If you are interested in trying our previous offerings you can find an index to all 99 here.

SAVE THE DATESaturday 15th June at The George, Borough High St from 12 noon.  After we had such fun with a summer get-together last year, attended by some TimesforTheTimes old hands, bloggers and commenters, we thought we would have another one. Read about last year’s here.

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

1 Tiny part from a male cat (4)
ATOMA TOM (male cat).
3 Saying something seconds before reaching the top (8)
SPEAKINGS (seconds) PEAKING (reaching the top).
9 Prepare unit to invade landing stage (7)
PIONEERONE (unit) in PIER (landing stage). Prepare as in paving the way.
10 Language that’s a part of Klingon (5)
LINGO – Hidden in kLINGOn. Who knew there were dialects of Klingon? Lol.
11 Elbow’s bare, broken by golf (5)
NUDGEG (described as “golf” in the phonetic alphabet) in NUDE (bare).
12 What brings luck millions wanted at racecourse (6)
MASCOTM (millions) ASCOT (racecourse). The “wanted at” indicates take the M off the answer and get ASCOT, the racecourse. I think. It seems a bit clunky to me. Better parsings welcome! On reflection, the “wanted at” is just a juxtaposition indicator.
14 Clue is roundly trashed in a cynical manner (13)
INCREDULOUSLY – (clue is roundly)* [trashed]. Hmm. Cynical seems a bit of a stretch for incredulous, but you can get there via the thesaurus.
17 Country hat (6)
PANAMA – Double definition. Despite their name, Panama hats have never been made in Panama, and originate in Ecuador, the only place in the world that has such a long lasting weaving tradition. The construction workers whose strength was tested building the Panama canal used Ecuadorian Hats as protection from the harsh sun.
19 Concentration of force with company backed by United States (5)
FOCUSF (force) CO (company) [backed] -> OC, US (United States).
22 A source of tea cups and saucers? (5)
CHINA – Double definition.
23 Vast amount of hard water ruined beer in one hundred gallons (7)
ICEBERG – [ruined] (beer)* in I (one) C (hundred) G (gallons).
24 My son sent back bogus musical work (8)
SYMPHONY – MY S (son) [sent back] -> SYM, PHONY (bogus).
25 King with no time for granny? (4)
KNOTK (king) NO T (time). A definition by example, hence the ?
1 Addition to book — a page to finish in pictures (8)
APPENDIXA P (page), END (finish) in PIX (pictures).
2 Round hole is egg-shaped (5)
OVOIDO (round letter; round) VOID (hole). A bit of an oxymoron of a clue. It’s either round or egg-shaped. Make up your mind!
4 Walk one in pram, mostly before noon (13)
PERAMBULATIONI (one) in PERAMBULATO{r} (pram) [mostly], N (noon).
5 Book of maps a sailor’s taken up (5)
ATLASA, SALT (sailor) [taken up] -> TLAS.
6 Made from lava energy using oxygen to mix (7)
IGNEOUS – (e (energy) using O (chemical symbol for oxygen))* [to mix]
7 Beginning to get cheap light radiation (4)
GLOW – First letter of G{et}, LOW (cheap).
8 Lover’s song — no advert for calm (6)
SERENE – Tricky! A lover’s song is a SEREN{ad}E. Remove [no] the “ad” (advert).
13 Vision certainly present in a number (8)
EYESIGHTYES (certainly) in EIGHT (a number).
15 Stuff about even pieces of antique skull (7)
CRANIUM – Alternate letters of aNtIqUe in CRAM (stuff).
16 Method of printing’s not working on gel (6)
OFFSETOFF (not working) SET (gel).
18 Flooded area was hard (5)
AWASHA (area) WAS H (hard).
20 Wipe top of cooker with very little fat on (5)
CLEAN –  First letter of C{ooker}, LEAN (with very little fat on). Lovely surface.
21 Playing cards in runs? That’s not right (4)
ACES – {r}ACES (runs) without the R [that’s not right].


77 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2630 by Joker”

  1. I thought ‘millions wanted at racecourse’ meant just that: M is needed to add to ASCOT to get the answer. Seemed fine to me. MER at INCREDULOUSLY (you can get just about anywhere with a thesaurus if you try). Never parsed EYESIGHT. 8:50.

    1. Thanks. Of course – “wanted at” is just a juxtaposition indicator so the clue isn’t as convoluted as I first thought it.

  2. 12 minutes for me. Also MER at INCREDULOUSLY as cynical. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use the word PERAMBULATOR rather than the abbreviated PRAM.

  3. Same here re INCREDULOUSLY, which held me up at the end and took me to 9.17 which surprised me a little because the solve seemed quicker than that. Thanks John for EYESIGHT, gosh that was a quick time. I thought AWASH was a hidden and was about to get indignant at the lack of an indicator when it all became clear…

  4. 6:20. Can only echo what the blogger has said. Sawbill’s bonus puzzle was a nice little romp as well.

    Don’t think I’ll be at The George this year John but put me down for 2025. If anyone else is half-considering attending, I highly recommend that they fully consider it!

    1. Maybe we should consider an Aussie equivalent- at least on a city by city basis. I nominate the Botanical in South Yarra because it’s near where I live…

      1. Nice idea but I’m not sure that we have the numbers in any one city to sustain it. That’s why it’s easier for our UK friends, they all live five minutes from each other.

        1. Tee hee Galspray! Five minutes indeed – with our rubbish trains, knackered roads and closed motorways, it takes ages to get anwhere 🙄

        1. We can do this Tina! Except not on June 15 because I’ll be in…Crete, I think. We have other comrades in Melbs so let’s see if we can get something going. Galspray makes a fair point, we don’t have the numbers of the London contingent but seriously, how many do you need to organise a piss-up? One way or another it would be fun to meet up.

  5. 13 minutes for this one. I lost time considering and rejecting ‘addendum’ at 1dn and worrying about the parsing at 4dn.

  6. At last! I finished one giving me a running total of 1/5 so far this week. OK, it took me 27 minutes but I finished. I enjoyed this one even though I was seriously held up by SERENE, INCREDULOUSLY and ICEBERG, and although I thought of PERAMBULATION immediately I couldn’t parse it so that slowed me down too. (Biffing ADDENDUM at the outset didn’t help either.) My COD has to be EYESIGHT.
    Many thanks to Joker and John for the entertainment.

  7. Bit of a biff fest but got there in 24.50 just under our 25 target so happy days.

    Liked serene although we both had a senior moment picturing Romeo and trying to remember the word for what he was doing!

    Thought of perambulation straight away but tried to find anagrams of one in pram and other bits for too long.

    Ooh the get together sounds fun, count us in please.

    Thanks Joker and John for the blog

  8. I struggled mightily with the last few, DNFing after 27mins.

    Nothing I hadn’t heard of, though a couple of the definitions were MERworthy for me. Mostly, I just didn’t have the crossers I needed to see them.

    I hope I can redeem myself tomorrow.

    Happy Friday all. Pi

    1. I am always confident approaching a Joker that I will know all the words he includes. I usually fail on puzzles where setters include words I’ve NHO even if I get the word itself.

  9. Like some others INCREDULOUSLY raised an eyebrow so needed a lot of checkers before I entered it with any confidence but other than that I found this fairly easy going.
    Started with ATOM and finished with SYMPHONY in 6.44.
    Thanks to John

  10. 17:34 with today’s daily breezeblock being SERENE for five mins 🙄

    Couldn’t parse PERAMBULATION because it turns out to be much more simple than I expected.

    No issues with INCREDULOUSLY=cynical. They both seem like an expression of disbelief to me.

    Seemed like a real mix of very obvious and a little obscure. Enjoyed ICEBERG and EYESIGHT among others.

    5/5 and 1hr47 thus far for the week. Have a good weekend those who aren’t back tomorrow 👍

  11. 11 minutes to complete the grid, but I failed to parse Perambulation and join others in a MER at Incredulously. Whatever the thesaurus says, they are at best very loosely related, and I can best illustrate this by saying I was incredulous that Joker equates it with cynical – but my incredulity was nowhere near cynicism.

    That apart, a nice puzzle with (for me) the right balance of chewy clues and more friendly ones. Many thanks John for the blog and I look forward to the Sunday Special. And I will definitely be joining you on 15 June – and this time I’ve blocked out the whole afternoon so I don’t have to leave just as the party is warming up!


  12. Managed to complete this one with help on just one clue from His Orangeness.

    However, a DNF as neither of us could think of the answer to 25a. I had _N_T, and having no idea whatsoever I just put CNUT. I knew it would be wrong but I thought its better than leaving one unanswered. Kicked myself when I saw the answer here.


    My verdict: 👍
    Pumpa’s verdict: 🐈

  13. 19:23 but with a pink.

    I decided that the only word that fitted in the bottom right was CNUT for king. Couldn’t see quite how it would work, though.

    BARGE for “ Elbow’s bare, broken by golf” looked perfectly OK to me, as barge is a pretty good synonym for “elbow”. This held up APPENDIX.

    I thought PERAMBULATION was a bit of a weak clue.

    Not helped by mistakenly starting the 15×15 for 10 mins thinking, “this is tough stuff today”

    1. I biffed PERAMBULATION and didn’t think twice, and now am rather disappointed in the parsing. Not much wordplay if you’re only slightly altering a word with the same root as your answer.

  14. 10:27. COD to ICEBERG for the definition. LOI was ACES.
    I share the MER about INCREDULOUSLY meaning in a cynical manner.

    Thanks Joker and John

  15. As usual a sinewy puzzle from the funny man, too good for me in places. COD to KNOT, which took three visits and a headslap when the answer emerged. What a lovely clue; I hope Joker had a chuckle to himself as he wrote it down. More eyebrows at INCREDULOUSLY for cynically, though – I am regularly incredulous at the submissions of my opponents but that doesn’t make me cynical.

    Another above target day in 09:55 for 1.3K and Below Par Day.

    Many thanks to the two Js. Looking forward to Sawbill’s!


  16. I started well with both clues (ATOM and SPEAKING) across the top row, followed by some of their dependants. And, I think for the first time ever, I was able to work steadily down the grid (almost) from top to bottom.

    Some clues were entered faintly with question marks – APPENDIX, PERAMBULATION, GLOW – as I couldn’t fully parse them and I had to dot about a bit at the bottom, but it was as close to a top to bottom solve as I am ever likely to have.

    Time = 17 minutes. My second outing from the SCC this week. Wonders will never cease. In fact, my aggregate time for the last three QCs (Wednesday’s Trelawney, yesterday’s Jalna and today’s Joker) is less than the time I spent on Monday’s Teazel and only a little longer than the time taken for Tuesday’s Oink. A week of chalk and cheese.

    Many thanks to Joker and John.

    1. After my comment yesterday that we often had similar times I was surprised to see that we both managed 17 minutes today.
      I was saved from CNUT by always thinking of Canute. Those things stored in your brain at a young age tend to stick – the same with Boadicea and the names of many African countries.

      1. Well done, Wheatstone! I’m generally quite happy with anything under 40 minutes and very pleased if I sneak under 30, so I’m always overjoyed if I escape from the SCC for a day. 17 minutes felt like I was sprinting most of the time.

  17. I did this quickly after a bad week’s solving. Perhaps the lesson is I should stick to attempting puzzles by Joker as we’re on the same wavelength

  18. 6.56

    Despite seeing what was required, I too did not have INCREDULOUS immediately pop into mind for cynical. Also had to return to SYMPHONY, IGNEOUS and LOI SERENE.

    Good challenge, thanks all.

  19. 7:54

    Completed just before dropping off last night – perhaps a shade slower on my ‘phone. Found myself jumping around a little and as with others was slightly incredulous at INCREDULOUSLY. LOI was SERENE which had me thinking through all types of love songs until eventually alighting on the correct one.

    Thanks Joker and John

  20. I was going pretty well on this and then got bogged down in the nw corner. The main problem was that I had biffed ADDENDUM for 1dn, and forgot to go back and check the parsing. By the time I’d realised where I’d gone wrong, my target time had passed and I finally stopped the clock at 12.35.
    My total time for the week was 50.59, giving me a daily average of 10.12. So overall a reasonably good week.

  21. Also had MER with INCREDULOUSLY. Biffed PERAMBULATION but obvious parsing seeing the blog. Thanks for this John and the explanation about Panama hats – had previously wondered why they were called that, knowing they’re made in Ecuador.

  22. Fairly straightforward, but I counted more than just ‘one or two tricky bits’ on the way through. In fact Joker nearly had the last laugh when I was left with loi 8d, *e*e*e – more than just a tad daunting. After a further minute or two Serene/calm came to mind and, once I had backfitted Serenade, I was happy to promote the clue to CoD, just ahead of Cranium. 18mins all told. Invariant

  23. I was delayed by entering ‘barge’ at 11ac which jinxed the NW corner until APPENDIX forced a rethink. I also delayed entering PERAMBULATION and INCREDULOUSLY until I had most of the crossers in each case, the former seeming too obvious and the latter hardly a synonym for cynical imo. Eventually all complete in 19 minutes, progress having been steady but rather pedestrian.

    FOI – 1ac ATOM
    LOI – 23ac ICEBERG
    COD – 3ac SPEAKING

    Thanks to Joker and John

  24. Held up by PIONEER, SERENE (like Roundabout Here I struggled to retrieve serenade) and LOI RACES (had no idea about this one for several minutes). Shrugged at INCREDULOUSLY. Biffed then parsed a fair few. No problems with KNOT. COD to EYESIGHT. Thanks Joker and John.

  25. Just over 10 minutes with PERAMBULATION and IGNEOUS both biffed. Otherwise nothing too demanding in retrospect but the answers didn’t jump out at me, hence the not exactly speedy solving time.

    Thanks to John and Joker

  26. I also put BARGE in for 11ac which held up 1d, 2d and 8d until I realised 1d had to be APPENDIX and the rest followed quickly.

  27. 25a KNOT was tricky, delayed me with Cnut insisting he was relevant.
    4d PERAMBULATION biffed, thanks for the explanation. I was trying to find a B somewhere.
    POI 6d the definition is a bit iffy. Wiktionary: “Igneous
    1) Pertaining to or having the nature of fire; containing fire; resembling fire.
    The stone had an igneous appearance.
    2) (geology) Resulting from, or produced by, great heat. With rocks, it could also mean formed from lava or magma.
    Granite and basalt are igneous rocks.”
    COD 8d SERENE which was LOI with a PDM. Lots of words fit ?E?E?E.

    1. What’s iffy about “made from lava” for IGNEOUS? Even your Wiktionary quote (not the best source) has “formed from lava”.

  28. Stuck on ACES at the end for far longer than I should have been – just couldn’t see what was going on – and was impressed by seeing’using’ as anagrist in IGNEOUS. Ended up all green in 12.

  29. Oh, pity, failed on LOI KNOT. Lazily put Knut. Must have been exhausted by then. Otherwise enjoyed this puzzle, tricky in parts. Likewise MER at cynical INCREDULOUSLY.
    Thanks vm, John. Cd not parse e.g. EYESIGHT.

  30. INCREDULOUSLY I got it quite quickly from the anagram fodder. With the C from CRANIUM already in place I didn’t dwell on the definition. I didn’t fully parse PERAMBULATION either. I’m with those who thought of AddENDum at 1d before reading the clue properly. ACES was my penultimate solve and my LOI was PIONEER. 6:35

    I would like to come to the get-together in London but as per last year I will be away in Mallorca in June. Thanks for the invite and I loved seeing the photos.

  31. Another to fail on KNOT – CNUT the only thing I could think of. Gave myself a good kicking when I saw the blog!! Did the rest fairly swiftly, with the long words becoming obvious with the crossers. Not too sure about INCREDULOUSLY = in a cynical manner, however.

  32. 13:02. Wondered about the incredulous/cynical equivalence like many above, but also pioneer/prepare was slow for me to grasp. Enjoyed SERENE, ICEBERG, SYMPHONY, and AWASH most. Thanks for explanation of Panama/Ecuador hats!

  33. 8.59

    Some gentle, some trickier. PIONEER proved strangely difficult to envisage even though I was thinking ONE and PIER.

    Thanks John and Joker

  34. 18 mins…

    A good workout that needed quite a bit of thinking in certain parts. Quite a long time spent on my LOI 16dn “Offset”, where I nearly put in “Offpeg” after an even earlier attempt of “Offgel”. At one point in started to sound like something from The Handmaid’s Tale. Pioneer as the definition for 9ac also didn’t stand out.

    Liked 13dn “Eyesight” and 23ac “Iceberg”.

    FOI – 1ac “Atom”
    LOI – 16dn “Offset”
    COD – 24ac “Symphony”

    Thanks as usual!

  35. 8.36 I’ve stopped worrying about the dubious synonyms like incredulous/cynical. If it’s close enough and everything else works it’s almost certainly right. LOI IGNEOUS made no sense initially but it was an obvious biff with the checkers. Including USING in the anagrist was a nice misdirection. A good day and 55 minutes in total make a good week. Thanks John and Joker.

    1. re IGNEOUS. Biffed in an instant then puzzled for ages over IGNUS. Read the blog twice and was still no wiser. Read your content and suddenly the light arrived. Sometimes the obvious is staring one in the face but hidden under a self created cloud of deception. Fire and brimstone.
      Thanks. Definitely my COD.

  36. IGNEOUS – biffed, but left me baffled until helpful comments above. Never come across ignus before. Completed 5 seconds short of 30minute target as PIONEER went in.

  37. Not that easy but all done earlier in the day than usual
    love to be at the gathering but will be abroad

  38. 12:30 here. Held up by the crossing CHINA and ACES in the SW corner. I had the I and the A for the source of tea, so my brain fixated on INDIA and wouldn’t let go for ages, even though the I is in the wrong place. Ho hum.

    Thanks to John and Joker.

  39. DNF. Not helped by misspelling perambulation as pre…. 6D too hard as well. Loved China. Thanks all

  40. All done in one Costa…so quick for me, and it was Joker. I’d like to think I was on the wavelength but in reality he was generous today. Pretty well a top to bottom solve. Agonised over Knut/Knot until the PDM arrived. With a K and an X I was on pangram alert, but not to be.
    FOI 1a Atom
    LOI 25a Knot
    COD probably 23a Iceberg for misleading me to begin with.
    Will try to resist the call of Sawbill until Sunday…

  41. Dog sitting again, so I find it difficult to concentrate – I really need utter quiet to focus, even on the quickie! But somewhere under 15 minutes, with a few of those on my LOI. I didn’t parse PERAMBULATION – like RH, I just biffed it on the basis that it was some kind of anagram plus other bits I couldn’t work out 😅 I liked MASCOT and the anagram for INCREDULOUSLY was fun, even if the definition was a bit loose.
    FOI Mascot LOI Serene COD China – so not TK Maxx or John Lewis then?
    Thanks Joker and John

    It would be lovely to join you at the George. However, I think I’ll be in Wales that weekend. What a shame – thanks for the invite John.

  42. we found this tricky and took a long time to finish even with help. Enjoyed the knot clue, clever.

  43. This one seemed to go quite quickly, but annoyingly I don’t have a time because work intruded. Something less than 51 minutes, then. Thank you for the blog!

  44. Don’t bother reading this, it’s depressing…

    42 minute DNF ☹️

    I struggled from beginning to end, put ACTS for ACES and CNUT for KNOT. I failed to understand either clue.

    This was a horrible experience, even worse than Monday’s nightmare. I hit another new low today, because nothing went in easily and I found so many clues impossible. I am at my wits end as to how to improve and read clues properly. There were so many today that just left me bewildered – why???

    I haven’t read any other comments as I just can’t stand the comparison between me and the rest of you. I have been doing this for so long and I am still at square one!

    I shall spend another miserable weekend berating myself for my idiocy, incompetence, inability etc. I thought I was reasonably bright until I began the QC. I now realise that I am a total ignoramus, and that is hard to take. Frankly I’m just embarrassing myself here.

    I am so far behind those I was once on a par with, and my target (5 solves in 2 hours) is as far away as ever. Is it time to give up? Have I any hope of becoming a real solver and deriving any pleasure from this?

    PS These are rhetorical questions. Don’t feel the need to comment. There’s nothing anyone can say that will make me feel anything other than wretched.

    1. Maybe you need to step back and appreciate that the 11min solve you achieved this week is a very good performance given this is the standard of your solving.

      1. Thanks New Driver. You may be right. I just feel that I should be far better than I am by now. In general, there’s nothing particularly difficult about the QC, but my mental processes operate in a different way. I can usually work out the type of clue and what the word play aspect is. Today, that was beyond me for two very simple clues. I won’t be happy until I can avoid these kind of basic failings.

    2. Dear Mr A,
      5 solves in 2 hours? That’s a mighty challenging target. I’ve only achieved that twice in almost 200 weeks.
      My suggestion is that you relax your target somewhat. Lower your expectations! I did and, despite starting with 63 minutes on Monday and 47 minutes on Tuesday, I have enjoyed this week’s QCs. My primary goal these days is to enjoy the journey. A good time, should it happen, is merely a pleasing bonus.
      So, enjoy next week’s set of challenges. Take delight in the ingenuity of the setters and admire the prowess of the speed merchants, but don’t aspire to match their performance.
      Have a good weekend.

      1. Thanks Mr R, I’ll try to do that. I need to put my competitive side on the back burner, although that will not be easy. It’s been one of those weeks when a couple of the QCs have thrown me completely.

        1. Competitiveness is a good trait, but only up to a point. Take the London marathon for example: 40,000 competitors, but only 4 winners – 1st male and female runner, 1st male and female wheelchair racer. Everyone else is a loser and, presumably, returns home absolutely gutted after all that effort and those months of training.

          1. I take your point. It’s about striking a balance between competitiveness and enjoyment, something I need to work on.

    3. You know first years at MIT is only pass/fail? They don’t get graded because the kids often go into shock because they were the top of their year, the big fish the smartest kids in a 50km radius where they came from and then they come to uni and they’re suddenly middle of the pack and the comparisons actually do a physical number on the kids and they can’t handle it

      I reckon it’s like that around here. Everyone I know looks at cryptic crosswords like they’re in another mystical language, so I feel pretty good that I can do them and you get here and people have had years of classics training or are well travelled or whatever and you just realise that maybe you know nothing lmao

      1. You’re right Tina. It’s the abbreviations that get me. They’re so simple when you know them all but I still miss a lot of them because I’m looking for something more complicated. I like the MIT story. I wish I taught that calibre of student at my university!

  45. In a train for an hour or more, so enough time to successfully finish this one, though CNP ACES, and NHO PIONEER = prepare – but agree it’s in the dictionary … Some clever and enjoyable clues today.


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