Quick Cryptic 1984 by Wurm

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Sorry – bit late this morning but thankfully a gentle offering from Wurm which took me about 5 minutes. I did quite a lot of biffing. I stared longest at 22a, which was my LOI. You may or may not have heard of 19d, I only know it from crosswords. I am a sucker for a good cryptic definition so COD goes to 5d.

1 Theatrical and exaggerated Frenchman in beret (4)
CAMP – M for French man, inside CAP
3 Bond chasing chess player in formal attire (5,3)
BLACK TIE – TIE is a bond, BLACK is a chess player
8 Exotic mink and sentient apes (7)
MANKIND – anagram (‘exotic’) of MINK AND
10 Still time for adventure (5)
11 What doors should do is obvious (4-3-4)
OPEN-AND-SHUT – double definition
13 Potion team in anger knocked back (6)
ELIXIR – XI (team) inside RILE, all backwards
15 Picnic in light wind (6)
BREEZE – double definition
17 Office item most recent one used in City group (7,4)
ELASTIC BAND – LAST I inside EC (City of London) + BAND for group
20 Rwandan king of old is back (5)
TUTSI – King TUT + IS backwards
21 Bananas all tear on the side (7)
LATERAL – anagram (‘bananas’) of ALL TEAR
22 Good bread in fact stale (8)
23 Cheese some sent back from a delicatessen (4)
EDAM – Reverse hidden word: froM A DElicatessen

1 Familiar with monarch but no aristocrat (8)
2 Chop rotten at one end consumed by rodents (5)
MINCE – N (one end of ‘rotten’) inside MICE
4 Pretentious boy on Cretan mountain (2-2-2)
5 Vanishing cream consumer? (8,3)
CHESHIRE CAT – disappearing cat from Alice in Wonderland. cryptic definition. Cute.
6 Rate revised within the playhouse (7)
THEATRE – anagram (‘revised’) of RATE inside THE
7 Takes in tea brewed by son (4)
EATS – anagram (‘brewed’) of TEA + S
9 Wise men in island country offering vision (11)
12 Swinger has choice about complete uniform (8)
PENDULUM – PLUM is choice, outside END + U
14 Sloth one near it disturbed (7)
INERTIA – anagram (‘disturbed’) of I NEAR IT
16 Hot stone cracked around lake (6)
STOLEN – anagram (‘cracked’) of STONE + L
18 Parched swallowing cold bitter (5)
ACRID – ARID with C inside
19 Love shown by husband leaving this regretful lady (4)
OTIS – O + T{H}IS. ‘Miss Otis Regrets’ is a song by Cole Porter

54 comments on “Quick Cryptic 1984 by Wurm”

  1. Unusually for me I had all but 3 of the clues in on the first trip around the grid, which took just over 20 minutes. Thought I was well on the way for a PB.

    Got held up in the SW corner, OTIS, STAGNANT and TUTSI all unanswered after another 20 minutes and more coffee.

    I did find some of the definitions slightly ‘looser’ than normal for QC, e.g. INERTIA, ACRID, HOT, MINCE

    Otherwise a decent enough finish (or non-finish in this case) to the week.

    Thanks Curarist and Wurm.

    Edited at 2021-10-15 07:48 am (UTC)

    1. I sympathise with your mental-block plight, as the same curse strikes me far too frequently. Today, I also ran into the sand shortly before the 20-minute mark, and my final four clues took another 15 minutes to solve. Since I started doing these accursed puzzles I have found that, when the buffers appear, I have to force myself to remain calm and focussed, to completely forget about the clock, and to remember that the answers are somewhere in the clues. Good luck next week.
      1. Absolutely, I couldn’t agree with you more. Sometimes I leave the puzzle for a few hours and when I come back and the answers pop right off the page!

        Most often though, I just want to come on here and see the solution… Have a good weekend.

  2. I found this gentle too, starting with CAMP and finishing with STAGNANT in 6:35. Thanks Wurm and Curarist.
  3. Did not do well on this one, answering only 16 clues, three of them with aids. Many clues just made no sense to me and I didn’t even know where to begin with them. So only one solve this week. Poor.
  4. I am surprised that curarist found this gentle. I have a sneaking suspicion that many less experienced solvers will find this rather chewy, to say the least. Some very good clues but I felt I was doing a good deal more lateral thinking that usual. I ended up feeling rather pleased to be only just over the SCC boundary. I thought OTIS was a bit niche but it followed from the precise clueing. CHESHIRE CAT raised a smile when it clicked. CAMP took longer than it should but was neat and my LOI IMAGINATION came to mind only when I dredged up MAGI. LA-DI-DA and PENDULUM were biffs that were justified by later parsing (and how many people bring Mount Ida to mind easily? Not me!). Same for STAGNANT which, unlike john_dun, I did not parse with ease! Strange how different minds work (and interesting that some regulars have not posted yet….).
    All in all, a very interesting end to a very mixed week. QCs really are getting tougher IMO.
    Thanks to both, John M.

    Edited at 2021-10-15 07:41 am (UTC)

    1. “Surprised Curarist found this gentle …”
      I agree. Less experienced solver — tick. Found this rather chewy — tick. More lateral thinking than usual — tick. QCs getting tougher? — certainly my experience too; I keep a (rough) record of my times and the average completion time, which earlier this year was 10-12 minutes, is now more like 13-15 in recent weeks. And I have noticed that others I consider roughly my comparators are posting longer times too.


  5. All a bit of a blur, but probably due more to eye surgery earlier in the week and hourly eye drops which focus the mind on how quickly time passes! A good end to the week with a medley of suitably cryptic QC devices. A read through was encouraging and LOI OTIS was unparsed, thanks Curarist (with a grateful nod to the profession) and Wurm. COD, several contenders but PENDULUM just swung it for me. Had booster jab yesterday. Is there still a world outside? Good to rediscover.
    1. Goodness, you’re having a rough time of it this year. Fingers crossed for better times to come 😊
      1. Thank you! It seems that one way or another the past 18 months have been somewhat outside my usual rude health! Fortunately, an almost continuous stream of adrenaline fuelled work challenges have kept me less concerned with the inconveniences of my apparent dilapidation!
  6. … and another finish around 15 minutes, which is rapidly becoming the norm for me. I thought this was a good mix of clues — many quite addressable but the last half dozen or so considerably more challenging, and several went in not fully parsed. NHO Mount Ida in 4D La-di-da, did not see the cleverness in 5D Cheshire Cat till way after completion, and LOI 22A Stagnant needed an alphabet trawl to come up with the word and only then a PDM as I understood the parsing. But I had heard of Miss Otis and managed to drag her (lift her?) out of the deep memory banks.

    Slight MER at 10A Event: both still = even and adventure = event seem pretty loose to me. COD to 8A Mankind, not a difficult clue but made me smile.

    Many thanks to Curarist for the blog, and a good weekend to all

  7. Some tricky clues today. The parsing of CAMP took a while and the SW was decidedly chewy with th
    e NHO OTIS, STAGNANT and LOI INTERTIA putting up a fight. CHESHIRE CAT went in from the checkers as, never having read Alice, the clue was gobbledegook to me (the fault of my GK not the clue).
    Considering all the above I was surprised to finish within target at 9.38
    Thanks to curarist
  8. A nice end to the week. FOI camp, usually a good sign. LOI stagnant. Unparsed – stagnant, la-di-da (NHO Mount Ida), pendulum, all got from being clearly defined. COD mankind.
    Twelve minutes. Thanks, Curarist, and Wurm.
  9. I was left with 22a, and for the life of me couldn’t see it. I was convinced it ended -ING, and couldn’t decide on the definition being ‘Good’ or ‘stale’. ‘Bread’ also being money in yesterday’s 15×15 also left me zugzwanged. All other clues I thought were fairly gentle.
    I need a coffee.
    Thanks to blogger and setter. Have a lovely weekend!
  10. 10 minutes, achieving my target but with only a second or two to spare. I enjoyed the reference to Miss OTIS who sent apologies that she was unable to keep a lunch engagement as she had a prior appointment at the wrong end of a noose. Dark stuff!

    Edited at 2021-10-15 04:58 pm (UTC)

  11. Only one completed this week. I don’t think I’m getting worse, as I am doing better on the 15×15, so it seems to me the QC is getting harder.

    Two short: CAMP, did not see M=Frenchman, but with a word dense clue for only four letters, in retrospect a one letter abbreviation looked likely.
    OTIS tough if you didn’t have the GK, I was looking for a classical reference to take the H from Hera? Hero? Did not consider the significance of ‘this’.

    WOD LA DI DA, immortalised in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, for the hapless Gunner Graham.


    1. I look forward to comparing 15×15 notes from April. I accidentally renewed my Telegraph subscription last year and I’m too mean to not use it and can’t justify three crosswords a day very often!
    2. M for Monsieur, as you know, of course. Always M as the equivalent of Sir, Mr or Mister in English.
      I only mention it because Curarist did not make this totally clear.
      John M (not short for Monsieur here). 😎

      Edited at 2021-10-15 11:19 am (UTC)

    3. I had precisely the same thought as the solution to 4d came to mind – and it put a smile on my face.
  12. A rare sub-9 today. Seven on the first pass of acrosses, almost all in the top half but then good progress until I was left with only CAMP to go where it only took s short trawl and a pause to parse. Had to trust the clue for OTIS and the definition for LA-DI-DA (apart from the LAD bit) and took a while to see what was going on with STAGNANT — the setters have impressively aligned to give regular reminders that it’s not necessarily ‘naan’.

    On recent trickiness of QCs, my times don’t seem to be improving but my rankings on the Club have — my par now seems to be the 140s down from the 160s.

  13. 13:21 today after a long look at my LOI STAGNANT. Did not parse it before submitting. Tough clue I thought.
    Nothing else delayed me unduly. I knew the Miss Otis song which helped. PENDULUM and several others I found tricky.
    A good test, not easy.
    Are the QCs getting harder? It’s very hard to say as it’s so personal. With each day’s new puzzles solved, I learn more. But I’ve had a rough time this week.

  14. As you get more used to the style of the 15×15 clues, it becomes easy to overthink the QC ones — that’s my excuse anyway 😉
    1. It’s the additional checkers that make the difference. I was beaten by two four letter words today. I even find the Jumbo Cryptic achievable some weekends.

  15. Started with a parsed 1ac, but couldn’t see 1d (make of that what you will), so I moved across to the NE and a clockwise solve. Steady progress thereafter left me with just 22ac to crack after 18mins. However, it then took me another three to get Stagnant, and only then because I suddenly thought of Nan for bread. So, a bit of a Sting in the tail from Wurm. CoD has to go to 5d, Cheshire Cat, for the smile it produced 🐱. Invariant
  16. on LOI STAGNANT.
    Very enjoyable until I had to ponder about 22a for ages, despite taking a Pilates break.
    I couldn’t parse PENDULUM tho it solved itself straight away.
    At the back of my mind, I can hear Ella Fitzgerald singing Miss Otis Regrets.
    Thanks all, esp Curarist.
  17. I’d say I’m one of the more experienced solvers round here now, after having had a go at every crossword since #1, but I didn’t find it particularly easy – as wriggly as I would expect Wurm to be! I got off to a quick start, then slowed right down, but completed and parsed eventually in 19 minutes, so just missed the SCC by a whisker. There were some great moments along the way – CHESHIRE CAT, BLACK TIE and COMMONER were highlights.
    Of course, when you review the puzzle, you wonder what you found so hard, but I did struggle over a few, with 22a taking even longer than all the other LOIs combined this week 😅
    Miss Otis Regrets is probably one of my all time favourites! I first heard it when I was about 11, on a 78 on a wind-up gramophone – very atmospheric and still the best way to listen to it, I’d say!
    FOI Camp
    LOI Stagnant
    COD Otis
    WOD Elixir
    Many thanks Wurm and Curarist
  18. I found this pretty chewy and was firmly in the SCC. Like others, I got stuck in the SW, but also struggled with 1 AC . I think Otis for the regretful lady is pretty obscure, I’m in my 40s and have never heard of it. Also always forget that bread=nan, mainly as I would spell it naan. Also biffed pendulum
    FOI- Black tie, LOI – Otis COD Cheshire Cat

  19. Over target but avoided the SCC — just, at 19 minutes. The top fell in quickly, but the SW resisted quite strongly with the usual suspects taking me over time. OTIS was last one in, and I was considering that when dragged away for the daily ‘what do you want for dinner?’ question by Mrs R. That added a minute or two (included) before Miss Otis occurred to me. Otherwise, nice puzzle, good blog — thanks both.
  20. I am a relative newcomer to QCs but they have become an essential start to my day. I much enjoyed the THEATRE-based NINA this morning, what with CAMP, MINCE, LADIDA, BLACKTIE, the wonderful Miss OTIS – and of course the opposite of COMMONER… Great stuff. Thank you Wurm.
  21. … but I still managed a 5-0 result vs the setters. These QCs must be getting easier (definitely not!) or I’m getting more resilient (perhaps).

    My FOI was MANKIND and I then made decent progress until about the 20-minute mark, at which point I slowed to more of a strolling/loitering pace to the finish (in 34 minutes). I had never heard Ella Fitzgerald’s song (so I’m listening to it now), and have never read Alice in Wonderland. I have heard of the CHESHIRE CAT, but only in the context of grinning. My Last two in were EVENT and CHESHIRE CAT, both of which had to be alphabet-trawled.

    My favourite clue today was 13a (ELIXIR), because I managed to construct the solution purely from the elements of the clue, without any checkers. I would undoubtedly have DNF’d on this clue last year.

    Many thanks to Wurm and curarist.

    P.S. I will come back to report on Mrs R’s effort later, as she is currently out and about.

  22. We were doing very well, thank you very much, until we hit 19D. Eventually we guessed OTIS because it was the only thing we could think of. Although we’re aware of the Cole Porter song we just didn’t make the link (thanks for explaining the answer Curarist). So, a rather undistinguished end to the week — we took 24 minutes to finish.

    COD: OPEN AND SHUT (amused us).

    Thanks to Curarist and Wurm.

  23. A faint heart and a lack of the right musical knowledge cost me a DNF here. From the wordplay, I could see OTIS, but I couldn’t make sense of it since OTIS, as far as I’m concerned, is a male forename. So I didn’t write it in and gave up at that point with 22a not done either. Grr.
    1. I’d have though the most prevalent usage is given by this alternative

      Love shown by husband leaving this elevator (4)

  24. This was my best time for a while, so I’m with Mr. Curare and not Mr. Poison.


    LOI 18dn ACRID


    WOD ‘zugzwanged’ from the Doc.

    Edited at 2021-10-15 01:39 pm (UTC)

  25. 5:26 this lunchtime after a delightful walk with Mrs P in the border country this morning.
    Might have achieved target but for a delay over LOI 22 ac “stagnant” where I unaccountably started trying to fit in “pain” for bread.
    Some tricky clues from Wurm today, although I wasn’t too keen on 4d “la-di-da”, perhaps because I wasn’t sure of the spelling of “di” or “de” and since I hadn’t heard of Mount Ida, which would have clarified matters, I had to make a guess.
    19 d “Otis” — indeed a bleak song from Cole Porter. Interestingly the words “Mr Otis regrets” appear in “Lulu’s Back in Town”, although I can’t believe there is an intentional connection.
    COD 5 d “Cheshire Cat”.
    I’d agree with earlier comments today that this was a harder than average week for the QC
    Thanks to Curarist for a concise blog, most of which matched my own observations, and to Wurm.
  26. I thought it was almost obligatory for a Brit to read Alice in Wonderland, or have it read to you, or see a TV version or a film. Surprised that some chaps don’t know it.
    Miss Otis is quite a bit more obscure though, for the younger generation. Do people sing Cole Porter these days, I wonder.

    Edited at 2021-10-15 03:49 pm (UTC)

  27. Been coming here for a year to see other peoples take on crossword but what is SCC you all refer to?
    1. There’s lots more jargon to get used to, I’m afraid! But if you check out the glossary on the front page of TftT blog, you’ll find out what it all means, and might be quite amused by some of it too!
  28. Can anyone explain why fact is stat, please? The Oxford Dictionary doesn’t give fact as a definition. Is it from statistic?
    1. Yes, most dictionaries have stat(s) as an abbreviation of statistic(s) and Collins has: Statistics are facts which are obtained from analysing information expressed in numbers. However I would query that statistics are necessarily factual. To quote Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

      Edited at 2021-10-15 05:06 pm (UTC)

  29. The time was set recently at anyone over 21 minutes in order to add a bit of encouragement to the also rans. I myself was in the SCC recently – a bit of mis-direction or lack of General Knowledge (GK) or just off the wavelength can be somewhat time consuming. Penny Drop Moments (PDM’s) make it all worthwhile.
    Under thirty minutes for those starting out is encouraging and as you will find here, doing the QC with a partner can be a good way to proceed and should bring your times down more rapidly.
    The ‘Greyhounds’ who dip under five minutes are to be admired, but those who can do it in 3-4 minutes and under are either liars (neutrinos) or The Elite and there are quite a few of the latter hereabouts! Then there’s Verlaine!

    Most can ride a bicycle and should have learnt how to swim; the QC simply requires a bit of dedication and practice. Bon Chance!

    Edited at 2021-10-15 05:05 pm (UTC)

  30. I was over the line on the Greyhound Bus, 4:19 mins. My COD goes to the inscrutable Cheshire Cat at 5dn.
    My FOI Camp was fun, as was Miss Otis!

    Edited at 2021-10-15 05:15 pm (UTC)

  31. Was on for a very good time for me, but then came unstuck in the SW with 19d and 22a. After what seemed like an age I saw how OTIS worked, though I had no idea who she was. I had hoped that having the first letter of 22a would give it away, but no, I had another while of head scratching before the penny dropped. I was then quite surprised to find I’d still managed 21:02, which just goes to show what might have been. Oh well. COD to STOLEN. Thanks Wurm and Curarist.
  32. I’d agree with those saying the QCs are getting harder. Today STAGNANT as last one in but no idea of the parsing. Experience going up and times not coming down
  33. Not on Wurm’s wavelength.
    Too many obscure crossword canards — TUT, PLUM, EC, STAT…
    I suppose if you can remember them all it is a breeze.
    DNF SW corner
    As an engineer, I don’t see inertia as sloth — it’s resistance to movement from rest or constant motion.
  34. Just didn’t get chance to do the QC on Friday, so only 2 days late. For what it’s worth, as I’m guessing no one will read this, I dnf — struggling on 1dn “Commoner” and 22ac “Stagnant” after 30 mins.

    Again, I thought this was hard from Wurm. DNK 19dn “Otis” nor Mt Ida for 4dn but they were obtainable.

    FOI — 3ac “Black Tie”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 22ac “Stagnant”

    Thanks as usual!

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