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Times Quick Cryptic 1436 by Joker

Excellent QC fare here - many write-ins, a few to think about and an excellent COD and LOI at 13dn. I thoroughly enjoyed the (just under 10 minute) solve and writing up the blog. Thanks Joker.


8. Look at dance organ (7)
EYEBALL - organ (EYE), dance (BALL) - which nearly works - but, but with thanks to The Rotter - this works better - organ=eyeball from look at (EYE), dance (BALL).
9. Ugly dwarf’s charge for passage across river (5)
TROLL - charge for passage (TOLL - on a motorway or across a river bridge), across river (R).
10. Almost failing to start ahead of schedule (5)
EARLY - almost failing to start n(EARLY).
11. Mark of wound allowed to be red (7)
SCARLET - mark of wound (SCAR), allowed (LET).
12. Reverse one’s opinion to support railway infrastructure? (9)
BACKTRACK - support (BACK), railway infrastructure (TRACK).
14. Rodent sailor’s turned back (3)
RAT - sailor - tar - turned back (RAT).
16. Style of singing used in opera performances (3)
RAP - in ope(RA P)erformances. Seems very much not the done thing to actually incorporate rap into operas but if it hasn’t already been done, no doubt one day it will be.
18. I am dock worker material (9)
IMPORTANT - I am (IM), dock (PORT), worker (ANT).
21. Architect of plans boy wizard has left inside (7)
PLOTTER - boy wizard (POTTER) has left (L) inside. A ruse used by JK's Ministry of Magic to discredit young Harry. With 'troll' at 3ac I wondered about a theme but nothing else turned up.
22. Upset about time in shop (5)
STORE - upset (SORE) about time (T).
23. Quiet anger in part of the country (5)
SHIRE - quiet (SH), anger (IRE).
24. Fib about fermented honey drink being a non-alcoholic one (7)
LIMEADE - fine (LIE) about fermented honey drink (MEAD). Neither of these drinks appeal.


1. Concerning MP’s recall (8)
REMEMBER - concerning (RE), MP (MEMBER).
2. Measurement system encountered resistance with current Celsius (6)
METRIC - encountered (MET), resistance (R), current (I), Celsius (C). A little background on why current = I - the conventional symbol for current is I, which originates from the French phrase intensité du courant, (current intensity). ... The I symbol was used by André-Marie Ampère, after whom the unit of electric current is named, in formulating Ampère's force law (1820).
3. A lot that’s new in a month in spring (4)
MANY - new (N) in a month in spring (MAY).
4. Component of blood pressure lowered after some medical attention at first (6)
PLASMA - (P)ressure (L)owered (A)fter (S)ome (M)edical (A)ttention.
5. Fierce critic upset at racket (8)
ATTACKER - anagram (upset) of AT RACKET.
6. East London area, much favoured but not upper-class (6)
POPLAR - much favoured, properly said, would be 'popular' which may be shortened by some to 'poplar' as in 'e's right poplar, that geezer is'. I quite liked this but it was eclipsed for cod by 13dn. As brnchn points out an alternative (and, I think, correct) explanation is much favoured (POP)u(LAR) not upper class - without the 'U'. However, my explanation made me smile so I’ll stick with it.
7. Dreary set of rooms all on one level (4)
FLAT - double definition was my original take thinking that 'set of rooms' didn’t necessarily mean a flat. However, I bow to Sally below (and democracy - I’m outnumbered!) in upgrading this to a triple definition - dreary, set of rooms, all on one level.
13. Hit enter randomly to get something in the first cell here? (8)
THIRTEEN - anagram (randomly) of HIT ENTER. So far so good, but then I wondered if, as is common, I didn’t have the GK of a work of literature or a board game to understand the clue. Then lightning struck - the crossword is made up of cells and in the first cell of this answer is the number thirteen. COD.
15. Tons treated badly being in rags (8)
TATTERED - tons (T) and an anagram (badly) of TREATED.
17. In favour of healthy gain from trading (6)
PROFIT - in favour of (PRO), healthy (FIT).
19. Temporary release for good conduct of personal assistant’s function? (6)
PAROLE - personal assistant (PA), function (ROLE).
20. Obsessive geek is a girl in a thousand (6)
ANORAK - a girl (NORA) in a (A) and thousand (K). This was my second last in as I just didn’t see it for some time.
21. Fool’s under pressure to overtake (4)
PASS - fool (ASS) is under pressure (P).
22. Amount of money offered initially for wrestling (4)
SUMO - amount of money (SUM), (O)ffered.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 10th, 2019 02:07 am (UTC)
Hi Chris, I read this clue as meaning take “u” for upper class out of popular, but maybe the lower class pronunciation reading also works!
Sep. 10th, 2019 06:30 am (UTC)
RE: Pop(u)lar
I think you’re absolutely right so I've amended the blog (whilst sticking to my sideline explanation because I quite liked it). Thanks.
Sep. 10th, 2019 02:38 am (UTC)
Back to normal....
...as this proved a bit more difficult, and I had a hard time getting started. The clue for 13 really gave me difficulty, and I only saw it after putting in the only possible anagram of 'hit enter'. Time, 8:32.
Sep. 10th, 2019 02:55 am (UTC)
I had everything but POPLAR in under 5', then spent a vain minute or so pondering my ignorance of East London. I knew a U was to be removed, but couldn't imagine what from.
Sep. 10th, 2019 05:14 am (UTC)
11 minutes, missing my target by 1 minute as a result of delay in the lower half where I wrote TATTERED at 13dn instead of 15dn. This presented problems solving 18ac until I realised my error.
Sep. 10th, 2019 05:23 am (UTC)
All green but held my breath on submitting as PLASMA and THIRTEEN were both unparsed. LOI was POPLAR, I felt sure the East London area must be BOW and stuck with that for too long given I couldn't make sense of the rest. Took a great effort to admit the definition was at the start - got there in the end, so entered POPLAR with confidence as I'd heard of it - and it fitted - but not sure I knew is was East London. Good test and quite fast for me at a little over 15m.
Sep. 10th, 2019 06:18 am (UTC)
Was well under 10 minutes with just 13d to go. But I couldn't see the answer from the anagrist and did not know what the clue was looking for. Finally THIRTEEN emerged and I saw what was going on; a device new to me and clever so I'll make that COD.
Time was 10:13. Enjoyable puzzle with something for everyone I think.
Sep. 10th, 2019 06:39 am (UTC)
11 mins.

Last few were thirteen, backtrack and many.

For 13, I was looking in the first cell of the grid, R, so took a while to sort out, and for 12a I thought the definition was railway infrastructure.

Liked anorak and plasma, Cod to 13.
Sep. 10th, 2019 06:59 am (UTC)
Nice puzzle. I enjoyed TROLL, and IMPORTANT but THIRTEEN was my favourite. 4:45.
Sep. 10th, 2019 07:35 am (UTC)
Lots to like about this puzzle, with THIRTEEN a highlight once I'd spotted it. I liked IMPORTANT too. EYEBALL FOI. Knew POPLAR. ANORAK and THIRTEEN were last. 8:24. Thanks Joker and Chris.
Sep. 10th, 2019 07:53 am (UTC)
I normally find Joker very tough but he was in generous mood today and this was done in 9:16, much of which was spent puzzling over THIRTEEN - in the end I shrugged, wrote it in and came on here for education. Thank you for lightening my darkness, Chris! I don’t think I’d ever have worked that out.

Personally I would define RAP not as a style of singing but as a style of mumbling very fast to a monotonous beat while waving one’s hands about, but I guess that’s just age.


Sep. 10th, 2019 08:04 am (UTC)
Could 7 down, flat, be a triple definition. Sally
Sep. 10th, 2019 08:44 am (UTC)
Possibly but I think set of rooms on one level defines a 'flat' better than just a set of rooms. I like the thinking though.
Sep. 10th, 2019 09:30 am (UTC)
Blog updated with an upgrade to 'triple'. Thanks.
Sep. 10th, 2019 08:21 am (UTC)
Wow - 13:40, easily a PB. It could have been even better as I had only 13D to go after 10 minutes, but it took me three to shuffle the letters of the anagram.
I must have been on the wavelength for once as I usually struggle with Joker's wordplay.
Thanks to Joker and Chris

Sep. 10th, 2019 08:28 am (UTC)
Just inside 11m for me, so at the easy end. I parsed 8a differently, with the definition at the other end of the clue, I.e. definition = organ, answer EYEBALL and word play look at = eye and dance = ball, which allows the order to be correct without reversing the wordplay elements. Nice puzzle, thanks both.
Sep. 10th, 2019 08:47 am (UTC)
I agree that is better - and avoids the two pieces of word play being the wrong way round. Blog to be updated. Thanks.
Sep. 10th, 2019 09:08 am (UTC)
Yes, I agree on EYEBALL
Sep. 10th, 2019 08:53 am (UTC)
On the level...
...I'm with Sally all the way regarding the triple definition for FLAT. If it were not the setter's intention, the last four words would be superfluous !

A pleasant stroll all the way to my LOI - a very clever clue which took up just over 10% of my total time. Thanks to Joker for an excellent QC, and to Chris for his blog.

TIME 4:15
Sep. 10th, 2019 10:16 am (UTC)
Big pb today with 16:01. Previous best was about 19:40 so pleased with that. By the time I'd gone through all the clues, not referring to checkers, I only had 8 and 18 across and 7 and 20 down left, although I hadn't been able to parse 13d. I couldn't believe I'd been able to write so many in. I'd only taken just over ten minutes to get that far. I was hoping I could do the last few quickly but I was getting worried my earlier speed would all be in vain as the minutes ticked by. Important went in first, which gave me the A that revealed anorak. Then I thought of putting ball in for dance which gave me the eye and then finally a penny drop moment with flat.
I never did parse 13d, but having been told, that definitely gets my COD. It makes me wonder what comes first, the grid layout or the clue. Do the setters think of the clues and then wait until they've got an opportunity to use them?
Sep. 10th, 2019 10:21 am (UTC)
As others have said, a fun puzzle with something for everyone. About 12 minutes, but interrupted by one of those annoying silent phone calls from random numbers. They seem to come in clutches so I'm expecting another three or four today 😡

Anyway, the puzzle: for some reason I got stuck on 6d. Like mendesest, I headed towards Bow initially, but eventually realised I needed to go a bit further east and ended up in Poplar. I don't know why it gave me grief - we've seen similar cluing in the past. BTW Poplar is where Call the Midwife is set - but you probably already knew that!

I really liked 16a - the idea of rap in opera made me chuckle. And after all, they play all sorts at the Proms these days, so why not?

FOI Troll
LOI and PDM Poplar
COD The brilliant Thirteen at 13d
Sep. 10th, 2019 12:06 pm (UTC)
6.20 today so fastest for a while for me. I rather liked the idea of rap in an opera at 16ac so that’s my CoD. No quibbles here and fwiw I also took 7d to be a triple definition

Sep. 10th, 2019 05:07 pm (UTC)
I thought I might be on for a PB today but a brief hold up with ANORAK meant I just missed it. Still, i can't complain about finishing in under 7 minutes. Fortunately I had all the checkers in place before getting 13d so solving the anagram wasn't too testing and it gets my COD for novelty value.
Thanks for the blog
Sep. 12th, 2019 07:34 pm (UTC)
Like your journal, but where are your solutions to 449? It's the hardest I've ever come across & I thought I'd get some help...
Sep. 13th, 2019 06:52 am (UTC)
RE: 27,449
If you mean 27,449 - the 15x15 variety - then here’s the blog:
Sep. 17th, 2019 02:16 pm (UTC)
Catching up with last week and delighted with a PB of 36 minutes! Thanks Chris for explaining thirteen and Joker too of course.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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