Quick Cryptic 2224 by Wurm

I found this very neat and tidy with some nice surfaces, particularly 22ac and 5 dn. Pretty much on-target 6 minutes for me.

1 Praying to find wild child with talent (6,7)
INFANT PRODIGY – anagram (‘wild’) of PRAYING TO FIND
8 Gay guys initially in for drink (4,3)
PINK GIN – PINK (gay) + G + IN
9 I must leave master class (5)
10 Log of charges for entry? (9,3)
BATTERING RAM – cryptic definition
12 Menu needs rump put into cooker (6)
AGENDA – END (rump) inside AGA
14 Start of alpine trail an upward slope (6)
ASCENT – A for alpine then SCENT
17 Bats rescued wolf (7)
SEDUCER – anagram (‘bats’) of RESCUED. ‘Bats’ as in batty, mad.
19 Pickpocket maybe one the force imprisons (5)
THIEF -THE + F,  with I ‘imprisoned’ inside
20 Bank invests pound for working man (5)
TILER – TIER with L inside
21 Clever sort rounded hill covering wide area (4-3)
KNOW-ALL – KNOLL around W + A
22 Doctor Marten with no decoration (8)
ORNAMENT – anagram (‘doctor’) of MARTEN + NO
23 So, America on Thursday? (4)
1 Wicket lost in fine game (1-3)
I-SPY – WISPY (fine) minus W for wicket
2 Showy display from cool and distant European (7)
FANFARE – FAN (verb, cool) + FAR + E
3 Dark near bottom of shaft (5)
4 Insect kept in ferret’s food store (6)
5 System converting song into aria (12)
ORGANISATION – anagram (‘converting’) of SONG INTO ARIA
6 Private meal served without starter (5)
INNER – DINNER minus the first letter
7 Natural attraction? See family lost out (8,5)
11 Voice raised in row by Cornish river (8)
FALSETTO – SET-TO (row) after FAL
13 Propriety after month nothing strange (7)
15 Remarks on stone heap moved around mine (7)
EPITAPH – anagram (‘moved’) of HEAP outside PIT
16 Defective machine-gun all right inside (6)
BROKEN – BREN (machine gun) outside OK
18 Part in Normandy landings for Thomas? (5)
DYLAN – hidden word: NormaDY LANdings. Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet and epic drinker.

60 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2224 by Wurm”

  1. Is pink = gay the way that rainbow = gay? Like the usage of the pink triangle?

    In my personal experience pink has always referred to female things.. Like the pink tax (identical objects made for women tend to be more expensive). Is the usage = gay still in use?

    My COD was battering ram

    1. We talk about (or used to) the power of the pink pound, the spending power of ‘the gay community’.

      1. Yeah that makes sense I wonder if we just didn’t use it in Australia or whether it has fallen out of fashion as I grew old enough to pay attention to such things

        1. I think it is quite dated in the UK too – the derivation is that gay men were thought to be effeminate, and so “girly”, and so pink. Now considered by many to be a mixture of condescending and insulting (to both men and women!), not to mention downright wrong. Plenty of gay men are very masculine …

          1. Oh i thought it may be a reference to the pink triangle used to denote lgbt people during wwii which has since been reclaimed by the lgbt community

            Because yes if it means effeminate then that is quite problematic and time to find a new word!

          2. It’s neither regarded as condescending or insulting by gay people of my acquaintance, and the dictionaries I use seem not to support your assertions. I suppose that were such a term considered in any way anti-LGBTQ, the communities would take steps to reclaim it, as they did with e.g. queer, but ‘pink’ has never been controversial as far as I know. Thanks to Steve below, to which I’d add that The Pink Paper was popular for a long time, prior to the establishment of PinkNews.

            1. Fair enough. I was only going on the (strongly held) opinion of a friend of mine – very male, very gay, and very “I.do.not.like.pink”

  2. 15 minutes for me, stuck forever at the end trying to guess the best permutation of left-over anagrist to fill the unchecked squares at 7dn but getting it wrong. Yet another example of an unknown (I might venture obscure) word being clued as an anagram with nowhere to go if you didn’t happen to know the answer. A little research reveals that YOSEMITE last appeared as an answer in January 2020 also clued as an anagram and defined as ‘mountain valley’. I cried ‘foul’ at that one too, but at least it was a 15×15, not a QC. Prior to that it was in a 15×15 puzzle in 2007 defined as ‘watery cascades’.

    Shame, as other than that, this was an enjoyable solve.

    1. I didn’t know there was a Yosemite Falls but it wasn’t much of a stretch to assume that there might be a waterfall in the National Park of that name, which I thought was quite famous.

      If you can’t get there that way I assume most people have seen / heard of Bugs Bunny’s adversary Yosemite Sam (he of the big hat and ginger facial hair) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yosemite_Sam

      1. I saw very little of Bugs Bunny. Occasional shorts in support of films at the cinema perhaps, but I don’t recall him being readily available on TV in my childhood.

  3. Seeing it was Wurm on a Friday I settled in for a challenging solve so was surprised to finish within target (if only just).
    I thought I’d heard of most of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls but the one in Yosemite had passed me by so needed a lot of the checkers before the penny dropped. Having looked at some images it may have to be added to the growing list of places to visit at some point.
    Started with I SPY and finished with COD BATTERING RAM in 9.43
    Thanks to Curarist for the blog and Wurm for the high-quality puzzle

  4. 28 minutes all parsed. Would have been a little quicker if I hadn’t returned to a clue I had BIFD FALSETTO determined to see the WP before checking the time.
    Favourite: I-SPY.

  5. I knew of YOSEMITE as a climbing Mecca (if you haven’t seen the documentary “Free Solo”, I recommend it) but NHO the waterfall so that took a while.

    Tough, clever puzzle. I suspected it was a Wurm as I wrestled with it (you can’t see the setter on a phone). Very enjoyable.

    COD & LOI BATTERING RAM, time 11:54 for an estimated 1.5K and a Reasonable Day.

    Many thanks Wurm and Curarist.


    1. I still have galloping vertigo from watching Free Solo. An excellent documentary of a genuinely awe-inspiring (if absolutely insane) achievement.

    2. If you enjoyed Free Solo, then I would also recommend watching The Dawn Wall (2018). A similarly stunning achievement.

  6. Tough and clever as Templar says but I hopped around the grid like a frog on a hotplate and found it a slog. I thought it was quite a challenge for a QC. I may not be alone, looking at the current small number of posts.
    At least I knew Yosemite Falls from memorable road trips when we lived in the mid-west (and later with our sons). My LOI was FANFARE.
    I didn’t really enjoy 2224 and tipped into the SCC for a disappointing end to an otherwise pretty good week for me. Perhaps I will come back to the blog later and feel more positive about it.
    Respect to Wurm and thanks to curarist. Roll on Monday! John M.

  7. Always encouraging to solve a long 1a in a flash so that helped a lot. Glad to finish (at a medium pace) which was for me an enjoyable puzzle.
    YOSEMITE seemed to fall into place but I needed checkers for NHO FALLS. Struggled with BATTERING RAM until PDM. LOI I-SPY!
    Liked DECORUM, PANTRY, AGENDA, among others.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.

  8. I always like Wurm’s puzzles, and this gave me no reason to revise that view.

    I enjoyed FALSETTO, ORNAMENT and ORGANISATION and particularly the cryptic BATTERING RAM. NHO of YOSEMITE FALLS, but the Y made it a write in. LOI was FANFARE.

    Another one taking me over my target range, but as I said earlier this work, none the worse for that.


  9. Tough but fair in the main – Heard of Yosemite but not the falls. Enjoyable but not very pc – working man for tiler and pink for gay in 2022? Thanks setter and blogger!

  10. A cut above the standard QC level, but I got off to a good start with Infant Prodigy and most of the offspring, unfortunately not including the other long answer. . . CoD Battering Ram proved more of a barrier than a way into the bottom half of the grid, and like OB above I had to hop around until crossers gave me a way in to some of the more troublesome clues. My loi was Falsetto, but by then I was just outside a sub-20. Invariant

  11. I thought this was one of the toughest we’ve had for a while. I went all the way down to 23ac before putting my first answer in. I eventually finished outside target at 11.44, but I was relatively pleased with that in the circumstances. Particularly liked BATTERING RAM, but share others disquiet about the validity of YOSEMETI FALLS as a clue in QC.

  12. Just over my 10min target. Slowed down by initially putting FINESSE for 2dn, but all sorted when I got 10ac, my COD.

  13. I started with NIGHT and —-GIN, but waited for I-SPY and FANFARE before entering the suspected PINK. Liked BATTERING RAM. Knew YOSEMITE SAM, but not the FALLS, so waited for crossers. LOI was ORNAMENT. 8:59. Thanks WURM and Curarist.

  14. Tough going for me LOI was battering ram but DNF as just couldn’t see 1D- I get brain freeze if I think cricket knowledge is required! Thanks Wurm for a great challenge at the end of the week and thanks to Curarist for helpful blog needed it to parse broken!

  15. I agree with those who found this a tough workout. I hopped all over the grid and struggled with Seducer (took a moment to see it as a synonym for wolf), Battering Ram (well misled by the clever surface) before my LOI Yosemite Falls (NHO – despite having actually been to Yosemite). The last is IMO borderline inappropriate for a clue in a QC – well a British QC at least. Minor geographical feature in foreign national park clued as an anagram asks a lot!

    Having said that, much to enjoy and all done and parsed in 15 minutes – longer than I usually take for a Wurm puzzle but a good Friday workout.

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

  16. I got there eventually but I needed 18 mins on my phone before my LOI I-SPY came to me. I needed some of the checkers for YOSEMITE but I had more of a problem with working out PINK for gay and SEDUCER for wolf. Thanks all.

  17. 17 minutes and 2 over target after a day off. It looks like I missed a great QC and even better theme / Nina yesterday. I remember blogging (and spotting) the Coleraine FC puzzle, but I would have had zero chance of spotting yesterdays, had I been blogging as normal. Back to today – a good puzzle from Wurm and blog from C. My only real problem was the second half of the YOSEMITE FALLS.

  18. Looked hard at first and only a few clues solved at first pass. However, slow but steady progress thereafter with the solved anagrams helping to make other answers obvious. LOI FANFARE. COD BATTERING RAM.

  19. Well, that was a bit of a mental work out and pleased to have got there in the end. FOI- THUS (the only clue that jumped out at me in the first pass and the last in the list), liked BATTERING RAM. LOI- FANFARE. I think I need to learn all the Cornish rivers as they seem to turn up quite often.
    Thanks Wurm and Curarist.

  20. Absolutely nothing on the first pass and missed the first couple of downs. Then the Times called about my subscription and then things got better. Struggled through to finish in over 30m only to have a typo for YOSEMITr FALLS. A bad week for accurate typing.

  21. Eighteen minutes approx. Enjoyed wispy=fine, row=set-to,fan=cool and ferret=pry. Was somewhat surprised when neither Niagara nor Victoria were the Falls but the letters offered could only be YOSEMITE and as I knew it was a park it was likely to have a waterfall. Nice to see a log as an actual piece of wood for a change!

  22. dnf….

    I was defeated by the SW corner after hitting my cut off of 30 mins. It didn’t start well, as on the first pass I didn’t get anything in the top half. Some good clues though, including 1dn “I-Spy” and 17ac “Seducer”.

    I raised at an eye brow at 8ac “Pink Gin”, as it did feel a little dated, and whilst I’ve heard of El Capitan in Yosemite, I’ve never heard of Yosemite Falls. My attempt to insert Uzi into 16dn did not end well.

    I’ve been caught out by clues like 22ac “Ornament” before. I thought the anagram related to the Marten and that the “no” element should be put at the end, but I should have known it can work both ways.

    FOI – 14ac “Ascent”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 10ac ” Battering Ram”

    Thanks as usual!

  23. I found that jolly tough. After my first pass through all 24 clues, nearly a quarter of an hour had passed and only 5 clues had been solved (PINK GIN plus 4 downs). I started to feel a creeping dread that I might record a personal worst. However, my second and subsequent passes proved more fruitful and I finished with GENUS in 49 minutes. Phew!

    I started these QCs on 1st June 2020, and today’s was my 600th puzzle. My progress since then has been like a series of four steps forward followed by three steps back. Unremarkable, but fairly steady when viewed over the full term (see below).

    1st 100 puzzles: Success Ratio = 47% Mean Time (excl. DNFs) = 41 minutes
    2nd 100: SR = 62% MT = 43
    3rd 100: SR = 80% MT = 41
    4th 100: SR = 76% MT = 36
    5th 100: SR = 83% MT = 37
    6th 100: SR = 85% MT = 35

    To date, I have escaped the clutches of the SCC on 20 occasions, and my current PB (an Izetti) is 12 minutes. My slowest successful solve (a Joker) took 96 minutes, and my worst attempt (an Orpheus) was when I jacked it in after 60 minutes with 12 clues remaining unsolved.

    Many thanks to Wurm and Curarist for today, and to all setters, bloggers, other contributors and Mrs Random (of course) for the 600 days of torture, anguish and occasional delight.

  24. P.S. Did anyone else notice the non-standard symmetry of today’s grid? It was in the SW/NE diagonal, rather than the usual 180 degrees rotational symmetry. How nerdy!

    1. We do get the occasional one with non-standard symmetry.

      Also good to see your steady improvement but, as always, it’s how much enjoyment you get that counts.

  25. 10.29 WOE

    I knew I was going to find the reference to PINK somewhat “dated” (a polite word for objectionable) and so it proved. Incredibly spent around 2 minutes on that clue alone. Also can’t spell epitaph. A v poor effort today

    Thanks all

  26. 7 clues completed today. I know I’ll never complete a QC, but I do enjoy the few clues that I do solve. I think that ASCENT may be a regular visitor to QCs?

    Many thanks for the helpful blog and comments.

    1. I wouldn’t have got anywhere near a finish in my first 12 months with something like this, so don’t despair. It really does get easier – eventually 😉

    2. I had a shocker today Ian so don’t get discouraged. You perhaps already do this, but it helps to really spend some time going through the blog and understanding the word play. I missed two anagram indicators today (‘wild’ in 1ac and ‘out’ in 7dn), which – with my experience – I should have got, but by really spending some time on the blog these have hopefully now fully gone in my brain for future reference.

      Today was also a hard QC (Wurm is a tough setter) as you will have seen from the comments.

      Keep going!!


  27. Started slowly and never managed to speed up! I found this very tough and my final time was somewhere between 45 and 50 minutes with several unparsed. There were some interruptions/distractions but I can’t honestly say they added much to my time. I wasn’t particularly keen on pink = gay or on inner = private. On the other hand I did know of the Yosemite Falls, so that one didn’t detain me too long.

    FOI – 14ac ASCENT
    CODs – 17ac SEDUCER and 5dn ORGANISATION

  28. Very difficult puzzle starting with only three answers on first pass and much help needed from aids. Not helped by thinking the ‘natural attraction’ was MAGNETIC FORCE or FIELD as I had the F from THIEF but this did not fit with any other crossers. Have visited Yosemite but don’t think the falls are famous enough to be in a QC.

  29. On line today after golf ,and felt pleased to finish in 12:07. LOI AGENDA.
    I kept trying to find the pig clue and only realised coming here that I was imagining the wrong setter.
    I wasn’t sure about all my answers but enjoyed today’s challenge from Wurm.

  30. I found this super tough and had to have so many breaks I can’t really record a time (or it’s 6h58m including them all). Enjoyable but a tough end for me to week that I’ve been whizzing through until now. I was only in Yosemite a month ago and it was still my penultimate one in. What a donkey.

  31. I thought this was quite user-friendly really, as Wurm can be quite challenging. I too wasn’t sure about the FALLS, but with F, A, L, L and S left over in the anagrist… well, it wasn’t too tricky.

    COD 10 ac for a super bit of 15×15 quality. Thanks Wurm and Curarist.

  32. Definitely on the hard end of the QC scale, but lots of excellent clues. Loved BATTERING RAM, BROKEN and THUS among others. Thanks as always!

  33. For me this was a real toughie. After 15 minutes I had very few answers in the grid and was scraping around to add any more. In the end I used this blog to add a couple of the long entries to give me clues for some of the others, which helped quite a lot. Some clever clues, but in my opinion many were more suited to the 15×15 than the QC.

  34. This was a fight all the way through! Only Thief and Thus in the first pass and didn’t try the Down clues but concentrated on the SE to get some purchase. Dylan, Epitaph and Broken helped but it was then a real slog. Not an enjoyable solve tonight.

  35. Definitely tough. Not often I finish the 15×15 but get defeated by the QC (FANFARE and BATTERING RAM; latter was a great clue even if I couldn’t see it)

  36. I printed out the extra Weekend QC 59 but now can’t find the solution. Please can anyone point me in the right direction?

  37. I had a nightmare with this one. Didn’t see the anagram at 1ac and put in infant promise, which really mucked things up. Also stupidly missed the anagram for 7dn. Did ok on the rest but ended up with a DNF, with four clues either incorrect or incomplete. I’m cross with myself because I think this was eminently doable, but I was just on a very bad day. Disappointing as this had been a decent week so far.

    My progress is definitely not as good as I had hoped. I don’t think I have improved at all in recent months, but can’t work out why.

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