Quick Cryptic 2404 by Wurm

Mostly gentle with one completely unparsable clue. Looking forward to being enlightened in the comments by the TftT hive-mind.

1 Descent from unstable pier edge (8)
PEDIGREE – anagram (‘unstable’) of PIER EDGE
5 Police officer seizing horse meat item (4)
CHOP – COP with H for horse inside. Still don’t know exactly why H means horse in crosswords.
8 Hoof with heel and toe? (3,5)
TAP DANCE – This one wrote itself in when the checkers were in place, but I am completely stumped as to the parsing. What am I missing?
9 Church leaving whisky for highlander? (4)
11 Crazy corner in bike racing? On the contrary (5)
BATTY – on the contrary, it’s bike racing (TT) in corner (BAY)
12 Spoons bent right back (7)
SPONSOR – anagram (‘bent’) of SPOONS + R
13 Complete religious work in Ireland (6)
15 Spear seabird we hear (6)
SKEWER – sounds like SKUA
18 Saucy verse a link to the White House? (7)
HOTLINE – HOT (saucy) + LINE (verse)
19 Unknown German eight in luxurious vessel (5)
YACHT – Y (unknown) + ACHT (German for ‘eight’)
21 Form attachment with 007? (4)
BOND – double definition
22 Cryptic Don, naive fellow from Exeter say (8)
DEVONIAN – anagram (‘cryptic’) of DON NAIVE
23 Cosmetic procedure for legendary friar (4)
TUCK – double definition
24 Finance two aeronautical operations (8)
BANKROLL – BANK and ROLL are two aeronautical manoeuvres
1 Scooped-out potato — food fit to ingest (7)
POTABLE – PO is ‘potato’ minus its innards, + TABLE (food)
2 Drank excessively up in storeroom (5)
DEPOT – TOPED backwards
3 Opportunity to profit from art varying wildly (5,5)
GRAVY TRAIN – anagram (‘wildly’) of ART VARYING
4 Two letters mentioned extravagance (6)
EXCESS – sounds like ‘X’ ‘S’
6 Dull reporter saying something cutting? (7)
HACKSAW – HACK (a dull journalist) + SAW (saying)
7 Saintly gatekeeper‘s famous rabbit (5)
PETER – double definition
10 Academic with crucial job? It’s drudgery (6,4)
14 Inca dances led by bird: how did that go down? (7)
TITANIC – TIT plus anagram (‘dances’) of INCA
16 Relation jittery lacking a certain vitamin (7)
RETINOL – anagram (‘unstable’) of RELATION minus A. Retinol AKA vitamin A1
17 Money once raised in late September (6)
PESETA – reverse hidden word lATE SEPtember
18 Husband with somewhat loose garment (5)
20 Carbon monoxide swamps breathable gases in city (5)
CAIRO -CO surrounding AIR

122 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2404 by Wurm”

  1. I couldn’t have told you what RETINOL was, but the anagrist was there, so … Biffed BATTY, parsed post-submission. A hoofer is a (professional) dancer, so presumably one hoofs; not that I’ve ever seen the word, mind you. 5:14.

  2. I’m with Ibo, hoofing is an old term for dancers and tap dancing uses heels and toes and I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that. Though like you Wurm I overthought it so it was blank for a while. Never really thought of a storeroom as a depot and over the years I’ve owned a couple of little yachts that were anything but luxurious!

    1. “Line” for “verse” is fair enough (eg Collins – “a unit of verse consisting of the number of feet appropriate to the metre being used and written or printed with the words in a single row”).

      But I agree about “bay” and “corner” – neither Collins nor Chambers supports “corner” as a meaning for “bay”. I was so puzzled by this that I wrote it in and took it out twice!

      1. I thought that to ‘corner’ an animal, say, could be to hold it at ‘bay’ – that was how I justified it, but not necessarily what was in Wurm’s mind.

      2. Isn’t a Bay Window sometimes called a corner window? I’ve seen that on estate agents’ details from time to time I think? That was how I read it.

  3. 12 minutes, rather slow for no apparent reason.

    The dictionary definitions of ‘hoofer’ seem somewhat contradictory but I suppose the term has been used casually over the years and has come to mean different things to different people. I’ve always associated it with performers who can turn a useful step or two but are not expert dancers. For example one would never refer to Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly as ‘hoofers’ unless one wished to be disparaging.

    1. “Hoof” just means “to dance”. I don’t think there’s anything more to it than that.

  4. A toughie to end the week for me at a tad over 32 minutes. I really struggled with PEDIGREE and GRAVY TRAIN for some reason even though they’re quite straightforward clues. POTABLE took a long, long time to see.
    I enjoyed EXCESS and BANKROLL, two very similar clues.
    Thanks Wurm.
    Enjoy your weekend all 🌞

    1. H for heroin is in both Collins and Chambers. H for horse is in neither Collins nor Chambers.

      1. But horse for heroin is in the dictionaries, and even a sober and drug-free pensioner like me has heard of H for heroin.

        1. Yes, obviously. The original question was “why does H indicate horse?” The answer is that this comes via horse = heroin = H (as RR said), not via betting slips.

    2. h (lower case) = horse (equine) is in the Concise Oxford and ODE and is also to be found among the racing card abbreviations on the Jockey Club website. H = heroin is a separate entry.

  5. I got to H via the heroin route too, learned here. My struggles at the end were with BANKROLL, HOTLINE and PESETA. The last because I was looking for a much less recent currency or unit and BANKROLL because I was trying to make ‘back’ work for ‘finance’. With HOTLINE I was thought ‘White House’ would be doing more. I’d heard of RETINOL but the White House Hotline is news to me. All green in 14 after a worrying long wait to get my first answer in.

    1. Wasn’t it the White House hotline that either saved the day in the Cuba crisis in JFKs day, or was set up as a response to the near disaster – I can’t remember which?

  6. A quick start with a lot of the top going straight in but things got trickier in the south.
    Like Mendesest, BANKROLL, PESETA and HOTLINE put up a fight at the end and I gave up trying to parse TAP DANCE. Lovely PDM for DONKEY WORK.
    Finished in 9.04
    Thanks to Excurarist

  7. I needed POTABLE to find BATTY, having tried DOTTY, NUTTY and POTTY in vain. I had no problem with TAP DANCE knowing hoof for dance and that the tap dancing shoe has taps on heel and toe. Thanks Wurm and Excurarist 5:46. P.S. I noticed the name change… has our blogger just retired?

  8. Honestly, wtf was that? 52mins after 1hr20 for Mon-Thurs. This is why I’ve lost enthusiasm for the QC and I’ll only be popping in occasionally henceforth. Every Friday seems to be a crash with no chance to redeem oneself until Monday and therefore to stew and feel rubbish about it over the weekend.

    Spent last 20-30mins on the NW. Without POTABLE (which I’ve barely heard of, certainly don’t know meaning of and using food=TABLE at QC-level is atrocious), I was left wondering –T-Y … ANTSY, POTTY, DOTTY, NUTTY and a convoluted clue and it turned out to be BATTY 🤣 Not helped in that area by TAP-DANCE and DEPOT=storeroom? Throw in RETINOL, the HACKSAW=something cutting and fortunately having CSE grade 5 German for 8=acht and … it was another Friday masterclass in the misjudged QC.

    Anyway. I don’t much like the tone of myself having a repetitive moan so I will bugger off and leave you all to it from here onwards. Have a good weekend all 👍

    PS Tomorrow marks the 1st anniversary of my first SCC escape – had 14 escapes last year with a further 8 corrected DNFs; another 23 + 8 so far this year -about 20% of the 258 QCs we’ve had in that time.

    1. Oh I do enjoy a good rant so please don’t stop! And congratulations on tomorrow’s anniversary 👍

    2. I agree with ITTT, nothing like a good rant, and our community would be poorer without you L-Plates. I, personally, hope you will persevere.

    3. As you well know L-Plates, we all go through phases. Keep going – you offer very good insight to newcomers and those aren’t as speedy.

    4. I agree with TheRotter that your input is appreciated and enjoyed. Hey,maybe the abject gloom you’re suffering today will make future victories all the sweeter! Good weekend to you too, L-P.

    5. Sympathies. I crashed and burned today. Probably five or six short before deciding it was a sunny day and bashing my head on plausible sounding vitamins wasn’t how I wanted to spend it.

      My advice, throw the towel in at a pre-determined time.

    6. I’m with you all the way L-Plates. Whilst I made some schoolboy errors today, some of the clues/answers were horrible. It always seems to happen on a Friday as well which, as you say, leads to a weekend of angst.

      On the positive side, an anniversary to celebrate and clear evidence that you are making progress with the SCC escapes. I amended my goal to a weekly one to limit the impact of the bad days (not that I have achieved my goal yet!), and you should take heart from the good times achieved earlier in the week.

      Have a good weekend. At least your football team won’t be going down!!


      PS Just seen your comment from this morning on yesterday’s QC. I think we both need to hang in there. The more I think about it, the more I feel that Wurm’s QC today was just one of those quirky ones that sometimes come along and not a QC to get too down in the dumps about.

    7. Only 52 minutes? Very well done, Mr Plates! I still had three to get at that stage … and another quarter of an hour of head-scratching ahead of me.
      Up the Cherries! From 0-9 to safety-with-a-few-games-to-go. How about that?

    8. Thank-you all for your kind thoughts and comments..

      Just to clarify, I will still be QCing and so on – not giving up yet. Just my enthusiasm has waned and I can feel myself less willing to invest in it to the same extent as before. Maybe not such a bad thing in some ways 🤷‍♂️

      Actually just had a go at the 15×15 from earlier in the week which snitched in at 58. Slight struggle on my first pass (only 4 answers) and did some 3-4 checks early on before hitting my stride to have completed all but the final 2 clues at an hour which is my cutoff. Just discovered it was actually Monday’s 15×15 which rated at 93 on the Snitch and Tuesday was the easy one 🤣

  9. I didn’t like this puzzle, and had to come here to find out how BATTY worked. “Bike racing” is something like the Tour de France, or an event at the Olympics. It isn’t the TT which is a specific motorcycle event on the Isle of Man.

    Overall, I thought it was an atypically slack offering from Wurm.

    TIME 4:33

    1. The TT literally *is* “bike racing” though Phil … and what else was it going to be in a 5 letter word?!

      1. I wanted it to be BARMY but couldn’t parse it – unsurprising, as it was a barmy answer.

      2. Tourist Trophy
        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        Tourist Trophy may refer to:

        Isle of Man TT, the original Tourist Trophy motorcycle racing event
        RAC Tourist Trophy, the longest awarded prize in motorsports
        Dutch TT at Assen, a MotoGP event
        Eifelrennen (German TT), held until 1974 as a combined motorcycle/automobile event
        Australian Tourist Trophy, held on and off since 1956
        Australian Tourist Trophy (for motorcycles), unrelated to the above and held on and off between 1914 and 1996
        1936 Australian Tourist Trophy, a one-off race unrelated to the Australian Tourist Trophy
        Tourist Trophy (video game), a 2006 motorcycle game for the PlayStation 2
        Audi TT, a sports car named for Tourist Trophy

  10. I enjoyed that, except for having to toss up between RETINOL and RITENOL at the end … guessed right, fortunately. And I don’t think a “bay” is a corner. Lots of clever clues elsewhere – SPONSOR, DONKEY WORK and COD TITANIC chief among them.

    All done in reggo 08:26 for 1.6K and a Good Day. Many thanks to Wurm and the artist formerly known as curarist.


  11. Tough to get going and had to take a break before I got on a bit of a bumpy roll jumping round the grid to complete in 30+ mins. Can understand some of the dissatisfaction but I’ve no real complaints. I recognise ‘hoof’ as dance (albeit not in everyday usage) and see ‘heel and toe’ as a basic instruction of how to TAP DANCE.

    So, yes, a tough puzzle but no real complaints from me bar BAY as ‘corner’ which generated a MAJOR eyebrow raise.

    Still, thanks Wurm and excurarist.

    Have fine weekends all.

    1. Ah – I’ve never heard that, but if that’s the case then my eyebrow is lowered. Thanks for the explanation.

      Edit: And now I realise that it may perhaps be related to holding someone “at bay” ie cornering them. I’ve heard of that!

    2. My dogs bay at the moon but they definitely don’t corner it … “bring to bay” means “corner”, I suppose, but that’s “bring to bay” not “bay”

      1. Merriam-Webster online dictionary:
        to bring to the position of one unable to retreat and forced to face danger : to bring to bay (see BAY entry 5 sense 2):
        ‘hounds baying a fox’
        I’m familiar with “to be at bay” but not seen it as a transitive verb before.

        1. No, me neither. But the dictionaries have brought me to bay on this, as usual.

  12. I felt happy with my pace until I got totally cornered by hoof and tope (DNK the word other than as a type of shark). I did know Retinol from school biology.

    Pray, what qualifies as SCC time? The glossary is silent on this. And don’t say x number of Kevins as that doesn’t help this noob.

    1. As a seasoned member of the SCC I can confirm that it’s a 20+ minutes solve.
      Maybe we should introduce an Ultra SCC for over 30 mins? I’d qualify for that too.

  13. Couldn’t start this in the NW but I filled in the complete RHS smoothly and quickly. Most of the SW was OK but HOTLINE took a while and is a poor clue imo. Getting back to the NW, I was unimpressed by POTABLE but it had to be. TAP DANCE was either weak or very clever according to taste. DEPOT doesn’t equal ‘storeroom’ in my book – warehouse would be closer than room. A depot is for storage/distribution of large quantities e.g. arms depot – or a place where large items are stored – e.g. Bus depot.
    BATTY had to be but I didn’t like it or parse it until later (bay = corner?). I saw TT but is it a general term for ‘bike racing’?). The only redeeming feature of the NW was my PDM – GRAVY TRAIN.
    My COD was BANKROLL but much of the left-hand half was a very strange lapse from WURM as far as I am concerned.
    Thanks to Excurarist for a good, honest blog. John M.

  14. Some days are more learning than achieving, and this was one. Right half almost all green (FOI YACHT, COD SPONSOR), left half not. Too many NHOs: hoof = DANCE? SKUA (but correctly biffed)? Is BAY a corner? Food = TABLE? Only ever HO POTABLE in the context of water. TOPED? RETINOL? All NHO, just too difficult for me. (16d: what is “certain” doing there?) Thanks to Excurarist for the explanations, therefore, but discouraging nonetheless. Comforting to read some sympathy above (but NHO “to bay a fox” either).

    1. See Ianb above for an explanation of bay as a verb = to corner. Makes sense now – it didn’t before to me either.

      1. It doesn’t make sense. You don’t “bay” an animal, you “bring it to bay”. [On edit – it turns out I was wrong, grumble moan whinge.]

            1. I reserve the right to be horribly wrong but I would see a bay window as being in the middle of a wall and so-called because of its shape, rather than its position in a corner…

            2. I thought that would be the answer, but an alcove isn’t a corner and neither Collins nor Chambers supports “bay” as “corner” (as a noun).

              bay(2) noun (bays) 1 an enclosed or partly enclosed area within a building, vessel, etc for storage or some other purpose. 2 in compounds a compartment for storing or carrying, eg in an aircraft • bomb bay. 3 a a parking bay (see under bay2); b a loading bay. 4 a small area of a room set back into a wall. See also bay window. 5 Brit a section of side track in a railway station, especially one where a branch line terminates.
              ETYMOLOGY: 14c, meaning ‘an opening in a wall’ or ‘space between two columns’: from French baer to gape.

              in British English
              1. an alcove or recess in a wall
              2. any partly enclosed compartment, as one in which hay is stored in a barn
              3. See bay window
              4. an area off a road in which vehicles may park or unload, esp one adjacent to a shop, factory, etc
              5. a compartment in an aircraft, esp one used for a specified purpose
              the bomb bay
              6. nautical
              a compartment in the forward part of a ship between decks, often used as the ship’s hospital
              7. British
              a tracked recess in the platform of a railway station, esp one forming the terminus of a branch line

              I think Rotter has found a way out for Wurm though – Chambers sense for the verb “to bay” – 5 to bring (a hunted animal) to bay.

              1. Oh wow. I’ll be honest I jumped straight to your line about Rotter’s ‘get out’ for Wurm!!

                1. Can’t believe you skipped the 14th century etymology, that was the best bit.

              2. Sorry, but I disagree with all attempts to justify bay/corner with reference to animals hunting etc.

                A decent thesaurus (Collins for example) that classifies synonymous words by areas and shades of meaning makes the association clear to me as in my comment above:
                corner: niche, nook, recess
                bay: alcove, niche, nook, recess

                1. I agree. I just thought bay = alcove = corner. Close enough for me not to raise an eyebrow.

            3. Thank you. Bay window did occur to me as a possible justification, but then I thought: isn’t that just what that kind of window, shaped like a half-opened square bracket, is called? In other words, it’s the description of its shape, rather than of its location. True or false?
              I now see I posted this at exactly the same time as MangoMan was posting his. We agree!

          1. I have no problem (well, not much of one) when a clue in the 15×15 requires appealing to the 4th definition in Chambers for justification, but this is a Quickie.

        1. Merriam-Webster says that you can indeed bay an animal. But it’s new(s) to me!

          1. Merriam Webster is American, surely. British hounds do not bay a fox as a verb.
            But I was thinking of a bay window as a corner, as mentioned above.
            Sorry, more than enough said about Bay.

    2. Agreed, there were some very esoteric word usages here (food = table and corner = bay for example). Definitely discouraging to the inhabitant of the ultra SCC. Perhaps (like L-plate) I’m just meant to go away.

      1. I think you’d find there are a lot of people who are happy to take the challenge, and treat the QC as a bit of fun and not give a fig if it takes a couple of hours or more. Many will be lurkers here. Only go away if it’s not fun!

  15. No hovering around the 20min mark today ! Nearly missed the coach entirely thanks to the NW corner – trying to parse every answer can sometimes be a curse when dealing with a nho meaning (hoof/dance), and as for trying to make perigee into a verb. . . definitely not at my best today. Invariant

  16. Another over target – topping off a 37m 23s week.

    TAP DANCE was my LOI. I liked SPONSOR a lot.


  17. A rare day when I sailed through (7 minutes and change) and came here expecting a chorus of “not too challenging” comments, only to find others discovering potholes I had either escaped or simply failed to notice. It happens occasionally, even if not very often, so I take it happily when it does.

    I did query Bay=Corner, and Line=Verse, both answered by others above, but otherwise no holdups.

    Many thanks to our newly rechristened blogger Excurarist (tell us more!) and a good weekend to all.

    1. I am sure we will be told. Anaesthetists don’t retire, they just ran out of gas.

  18. 8:16

    Eyebrow-raise at BAY = corner – never heard of hounds baying/cornering a fox either.

    Nothing else ungettable but took a punt on RETINOL – didn’t know it was a vitamin.

    Thanks Wurm and Excurarist

  19. I’m glad it wasn’t just me that struggled. Don’t the setters ever get their colleagues to try them out? – might be a good idea if they did! The top left corner is batty for sure! Even if a corner is a bay , it isn’t within TT or does Wurm mean it corners it in? Together with Potable and Tap Dance it’s an obscure mix. The rest of the grid was fine! Thanks all!

    1. To be fair, it’s TT in BAY, hence “the contrary” – the blog surely clarifies that.

  20. Wow! Lots of controversy today. I was slow (18 minutes) but thought everything fair and reasonable. My last three in were DEPOT, BATTY and TAP DANCE where most of the aforementioned controversy is centred. I had heard of RETINOL but didn’t know it was Vitamin A. Thanks Wurm and Excurarist – what have you done with your predecessor?

  21. Another slow time for me finishing in 14.08, completing quite a tough week. I share others confusion about the definition of BAY, and I’m not really convinced by various solvers alternative explanations. A poor week for me time wise with a total of 54.50 giving a daily average of 10.58.
    I see Robin Hoods ecclesiastical pal TUCK gets involved at 23ac. If he should ever appear in a crossword with his full title, I trust the compiler doesn’t absentmindedly think of involving Dr Spooner!

  22. No complains from me today, but I was stretched to just over my target time. TOPED and TAp DANCE were my first 2 in, and the former was quickly changed to DEPOT when BATTY arrived. LOI was HOTLINE. 10:11. Thanks Wurm and Excurarist.

  23. Can someone explain to me what ‘on the contrary’ is doing in that clue please?

  24. DNF without aids. Was confused by POTABLE as I knew it meant water fit to drink. Shd have lifted and separated Food. As soon as BATTY was revealed, I finished that corner. TAP DANCE a wild guess. NHO hoofing. Thought of RETINOL eventually but uncertain again. BANKROLL LOI, but good clue.
    Smiled at BOND. POI HOTLINE a biff.
    Very difficult so not enjoyable, but did like PETER.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.

  25. Was completely stuck in the NW and after running out of patience bunged in some guesses with BATTY, DEPOT, TAP DANCE and POTABLE none of which I could be sure was accurate. Amazed to be 100% correct but this can’t be right for a QC (to be fair I forgot about ‘toped’ which get me every time)
    Bay for Corner? Table for Food? On the Contrary meaning what it did?
    Some nice clues like SKEWER but a bit spoiled by the above.
    Thanks for the blog.

  26. 12.11 The NW went straight in but the NE totally stumped me at first. I got there eventually and, like Mendesest and Plett11, PESETA, HOT LINE and BANKROLL brought up the rear. 72 minutes for the week.

  27. 14:41. Most answers were straightforward but had no idea how to parse BATTY. RETINOL looked familiar after I teased out the letters.

  28. A bit under 12 minutes. A few MER’s, as covered in detail in posts above, but after a v. difficult 15×15, I didn’t have the energy to get too fussed and just moved on. I really liked the TAP DANCE cryptic def, but if I hadn’t spotted it quickly I can see it would have been frustrating.

    Maybe not a TIP TOP puzzle, but I still liked this one.

    Thanks to our newly titled Excurarist and to Wurm

  29. I didn’t know the bird SKUA and I had no idea what was going on with my LOI TAP DANCE. I looked at the checkers for a good couple of minutes before coming up with the unparsed answer. 10:51

  30. 25 mins…

    Personally, I found this tough. DNK “Retinol” but it was guessable I suppose. Main hold up was the NW corner and working out 1dn “Potable”, 8ac “Tap Dance” and 11ac “Batty”.

    FOI – 9ac “Scot”
    LOI – 1dn “Potable”
    COD – 14dn “Titanic”

    Thanks as usual!

  31. Definitely out of step with most others today. Having struggled most of this week, today was pretty straightforward although TAP DANCE and BATTY went in only partially parsed.

    COD toss up between TITANIC and SPONSOR

    Thanks to WURM and medic formerly known as CURARIST.

  32. This was a weird day for me. Barely a clue solved in the top half to start with. Then the bottom half seemed to go in fairly easily. At that point I seemed to get on the wavelength, and the top clues which had previously been impenetrable suddenly seemed straightforward. Still took 25:53 though. I, too, was unhappy about a few clues. As a Yachtmaster, my experience of yachts is mostly anything but luxurious. And the depot = storeroom is quite a stretch, IMHO. Glad to learn why Horse =H. Apart from that some really nice clues – liked SPONSOR, HACKSAW and SKEWER and PESETA was well-hidden. Thanks Wurm and excurarist.

  33. I think I must have done a different puzzle from Excurist as this was really hard. Some of the clueing just bizarre. Good rant above

  34. Is it a coincidence that Peter Rabbit appears in both the crossword and The Times Daily Quiz?

  35. 14:38. It’s not been a good week for times – I’ve hovered either side of the quarter of an hour mark for most puzzles! Overall, I don’t think this has been a vintage week for clues tbh – I’ve found very few CsOD, so DONKEY WORK just about sums up my experience.
    As a woman of a certain age, who is always being told by cosmetic ads that I should buy very expensive anti-aging face creams, RETINOL was no problem! On that note, I did think TUCK was quite amusing.
    I remember POTABLE from days of yore in France when taps for drinking water would be signed as ‘eau potable’. A bit niche, I realise, but it helped me with the clue.
    Hope next week is more fun – fingers crossed there will be smiles back on a few faces 😊
    FOI Chop LOI Pedigree COD Cairo really stood out from the rest
    Thanks Wurm and Excurarist – would it be appropriate to wish you a happy retirement, or good luck in a new job?

  36. I didn’t find this too hard, managing to escape the SCC by a couple of minutes. No problem with TAP DANCE as a one time hoofer myself. I biffed BATTY, my LOI, but don’t really have much of a problem with this clue. MER at DEPOT for SHED but pleased to remember ‘tope’ from crossword land. Biffed SKEWER – very poor bird knowledge. Liked CAIRO. I enjoyed this QC. Interesting to hear all our very different views. Happy weekend all. Many thanks to Wurm and excurarist – things have changed for me so I might consider a name change too 🤔

  37. Everything I wanted to say about this QC has been given a thorough airing above.

    I completed this in somewhere around 40-45 mins, as a result of both the difficulty of the QC and my own incompetence. When solvers who are new to the QC are solving it much more quickly than me, it is a real blow to my confidence. The penny dropped a long time ago that I will never be in the major leagues, but these repeated struggles are depressing.

    Thanks for the blog Excurarist. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

    1. I wonder whether there really are many newbies solving it more quickly than you… I suspect many read the blog (as I did for a few years) but don’t comment. I stopped worrying about my highly variable times a long time ago. I still remember how it challenging it felt to answer even a few clues so I’m always happy with a finish regardless of the time taken 😄

      1. You’re right. I need to accept that times are liable to fluctuate greatly. 😊

    2. I agree with sltrach – there are many lurkers.

      That said, I mentioned to my very linguistically able friend last year (languages degree and great at all word games) that I’d take up the QC. He didn’t respond. Two weeks later a Whatsapp pinged up and saying “finished in 22 mins” … a couple of days later it was 19 then 17. I don’t think he had much of a clue about how cryptics work, he’s just very good at crosswords. That was always my downfall – I like puzzle solving, my crosswording was decidedly average at that’s really the key skill – familiarity with the words and their synonyms.

      FWIW My current goals are:
      – to achieve 1 SCC escape each week, ideally two – which I’ve managed almost every week since March
      – solve the whole week’s (only done once since Feb)
      – to avoid having any grid in the month take longer than an hour (thanks Izetti – 1hr26secs last Friday.

      Given that every week has come in around 2hr20-25 in recent months, the Realistic element of SMART says a sub-2hr goal is too much for me. Even though I was easily in position to do it this week 🤷‍♂️ So the time goal thing doesn’t really exist for me other than to see me wracking up more escapes and watching the avg. time fall.

      1. Yes, some people just have that facility with word puzzles, a bit like being naturally gifted at ball sports.

        I like your goals. I often forget that there is much to be said for completing the full set in a week and avoiding a DNF. The stats from your earlier post show you are on the right trajectory with SCC escapes. 👏👏

  38. A late solve for me … and a very slow one, to boot. Only time now to report the outcome. 68 minutes! An embarrassing time, but at least it wasn’t a DNF. Main difficulties were in the NW corner.

    Many thanks to Wurm and Excurarist.

    1. Tough day at the office, Mr R. It was a hard one, a classic Wurm. Better luck next week. And well done Bournemouth!

  39. I don’t know why any of you are embarrassed by a finishing time of an hour or more. I … have only EVER managed to finish a ‘quick’ one and that was last year and only because it was full of anagrams. I’m quite good at those. I’ve been trying to learn how to do Cryptics for about … 4 years! Have yet to complete another …. still learning and squirming! Can only DREAM of finishing in an hour – ish! Please tell me there is hope … ?!

    1. There is hope Sandy. Get yourself a list of the common abbreviations/words from the internet and do the QC with these to hand. That is how I began. Also, learn to spot the common types of clue/wordplay – again I used the internet.

      There are many books out there as well, but I religiously wrote down all the new abbreviations, synonyms, types of clue that I can across each day. This is where the blog is so useful. I still write things down each day, because I find that helps things to stick in my mind.

      I’m sorry that none of the above is particularly earth shattering, but it is a slow process and you need to do it bit by bit.


    2. It took me a good few years to finish one! I started with some of the Times QC books but didn’t really understand many of the answers. I eventually found this amazing blog and lurked on an off for another couple of years before beginning to finish the odd one – there is still hope! Also, unless you have a competitive streak time is irrelevant. It just seems important because most people post their times (I’ve fallen into this trap). Enjoyment is a far better measure.

      1. I couldn’t agree more. Do the puzzles the way that you enjoy the most. For example, I’m not very good at anagrams, so if I’ve figured out that a clue is an anagram but it hasn’t come to me in a reasonable time, I’ll use an online anagram site. (I feel that at least 75% of solving an anagram is spotting that it is an anagram in the first place: the rest is just letter rearrangement.) As for what a “reasonable time” is, that’s a function of state of mind, time of day and whether I’m going to be late for something, among many other factors. That way I avoid feeling that I’m banging my head against a wall.

  40. 26hrs 32mins with breaks for sleep, work and food etc.
    Conclusion. Concluded.
    Puzzling in parts, straight forward in others. QCC at the harder end of scale for me.
    Enjoyed the overnight accommodation provided at the SCC.
    Happy bank holiday /Memorial Day weekend.

  41. Potable went in straight away but then I began to doubt. Potable means fit to drink not eat and we don’t normally ingest fluids. Explanation that table= food was a new meaning to me. Otherwise no problem.

  42. Well I’ve just completed this today and have so enjoyed all of the comments, so thought that I should add mine. No real recorded time since when I first looked at this I took 15 minutes and only managed a handful and put down as ‘impossible’. Then I came back to it today and verily raced through the rest ultimately really enjoying it! Probably 30 minutes total.
    Somehow needed to get on that elusive wavelength.
    Overthinking many.
    Thanks all

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