Quick Cryptic 857 by Wurm

Our good timelord notified me that we have a new setter today, who has offered up this pleasing and gentle puzzle. Perhaps a sign that those who prefer a milder challenge are being heeded? Or perhaps Wurm is lulling us into a false sense of security for the next appearance?

In any case, this fits very nicely with the quicky ouvre – a good balance of clues, just a few definitions on the outskirts of memory, and a smattering of funnies. Thanks and welcome, if you’re reading.

My CoD goes to the elegant 11ac.

Definitions underlined.

1 Romantic thought is introduced to lieutenant (8)
IDEALIST – IDEA (thought), and IS surrounded by (introduced to) LT (lieutenant).
6 Bachelor wanting commission returned makes complaint (4)
BEEF – B (bachelor) and reversal of (returned) FEE (commission)
8 Employer admitted to serious error (4)
USER – hidden in (admitted to) serioUS ERror.
9 Barman in a club dancing on piano (8)
PUBLICAN – anagram of (dancing) IN A CLUB, all next to P (piano).
10 Cheerio to Napoleon? (2,6)
AU REVOIR – French for (to Napoleon) cheerio!
11 Top copy put with Times (4)
APEX – APE (copy) and X (multiply, times).
13 Ensure bandage unravels: a source of beef? (8,5)
ABERDEEN ANGUS – anagram of (unravels) ENSURE BANDAGE.
16 Notice alpha male is first man (4)
ADAM – AD (advert, notice), A (alpha) and M (male).
17 Nineties eccentric or exceptional intellectual? (8)
EINSTEIN – anagram of (eccentric) NINETIES.
19 Equipment: a large amount I needed for pasta (8)
RIGATONI – RIG (equipment), A TON (a large amount), and I.
21 Base aim (4)
MEAN – double definition.
22 Military group you join together, we hear (4)
UNIT – homophone of (we hear) “you knit” (you join together).
23 Odd couple from Eire seen with motor mechanic (8)
ENGINEER – two odd letters (odd couple) from EiRe, after ENGINE (motor).
2 Duets Bird composed getting interrupted (9)
DISTURBED – anagram of (composed) DUETS BIRD.
3 Concede match (5)
AGREE – double definition.
4 I make suggestion about PR to achieve better result (7)
IMPROVE – I MOVE (make suggestion, as in ‘I move to make a motion’) around PR.
5 Wood losing mass in Roman river (5)
TIBER – TImBER (wood) losing the m (mass).
6 Clever person embodies that certain something in this country (7)
BRITAIN – BRAIN (clever person) surrounding (embodies) IT (that certain something).
7 Period covered by Northanger Abbey (3)
ERA – hidden in (covered by) northangER Abbey.
12 Make clear convoluted clue with answer in new edit (9)
ELUCIDATE – anagram of (convoluted) CLUE, and then A (answer) inside an anagram of (new) EDIT.
14 Unrestrained and extravagant speech about a politician (7)
RAMPANT – RANT (extravagant speech) around A MP (a politician).
15 Granny meets monarch in Chinese port (7)
NANKING – NAN (granny) and KING (monarch).
17 Eastern European needing lift to abscond with lover (5)
ELOPE – E (eastern) and POLE (european) all reversed (needing lift).
18 Athenian misanthrope puts doctor in metal box (5)
TIMON – MO (medical officer, doctor) in TIN (metal box).
20 Popular name for pub (3)
INN – IN (popular) and N (name).

47 comments on “Quick Cryptic 857 by Wurm”

  1. Straightforward. 5d and 18d had definitions that almost demanded biffing. Last in 3d and 1ac. 4:15.
  2. I was undone by that well known pasta KITALOTI, and took a couple of minutes to sort it out, eventually finishing in 9:38. Otherwise very straightforward. I think it’s bedtime! Thanks Wurm and William.
      1. Yep. Me too. I made up the pasta kitaloti. I then looked it up on Google to check if it existed, and only found this post (which must have been indexed very quickl).
  3. For some reason this took much longer than it should.
    Had linguine (yes, I know doesn’t parse) and band for the military group. So took some time to unravel and recognise the Angus beef.

    And not heard of TIMON?

    Fun though. Thanks all.

  4. 29 mins.

    Some chewy clues: 6a (beef), 21a (mean), 3d (agree), 6d (Britain) and 14d (rampant).

    Wasn’t sure about Timon but the wordplay was clear.
    And mean and agree went in tentatively.

    Also new:
    IT = that certain something.

    CsOD 1a idealist and 11a apex.

  5. My initial reaction was ‘well maybe having an uninterrupted night’s sleep does make a difference after all’ as I flew through this one.
    Always v. grateful when recent clues are repeated: ‘Flag’ yesterday and the beef supplier today.

    COD 10a which made me smile.

    Thank you and welcome Wurm.

  6. 7 minutes for Wurm’s first outing. I assumed TIMON was the guy in TIMON OF ATHENS although it’s not one of Shakespeare’s plays I know anything about.

    Mentioning motor mechanics and engineers in the same breath often leads to dissent in the ranks so I was pleased to realise the definition was only the final word of the clue at 23ac, the penultimate being part of the wordplay.

    Edited at 2017-06-21 07:47 am (UTC)

  7. A very quick quickie that would probably have been solvable from definitions alone, especially once a few checkers went in. Hopefully Wurm is just easing his way into it with this one. 4.33 is very close to my ipad PB.
  8. Till 23ac, which held me up for an unfeasibly long time. Got “odd couple from Eire” being ER, but was determined to put the ER at the front and so when the G appeared from NANKING I then obsessed over a solution starting with ERG (which didn’t seem that bonkers).

    Anyway, very eventually the penny dropped.

    COD was APEX for me, penultimate one in for me

    No train cross check today I’m afraid, sadly there’s been an accident and we’re all crawling along. May have to try the BigBoyPuzzle to alleviate boredom, though tried it yesterday and it was so tough it made me cry and run away.


    1. Oh great – the BigBoyPuzzle turns out to be a National Qualifier today. I think I’ll do the sudoku!
      1. The qualifiers are almost never at the difficult end of the spectrum, presumably in order to entice people to enter, so don’t be put off trying the puzzle.
  9. Held up for a while in NE: at 9ac, a ‘barman’ in crosswordland surely has to be musical, and at 6ac (my LOI) I spent far too long trying to think of a disease that fits the checkers.
  10. Average difficulty I thought for this Wurm debut.
    I had put Acme for 11a and was pretty confident about it. That made 12d harder and slowed me down a bit as I reconsidered. Was slow to get 1a. LOI was Beef.
    18 minutes in total. David
  11. I was thinking was a bit easy until 6, 11 and 21 ac all caused me to stumble. Think some of the bloggers here are being a bit harsh, there were some neat clues (enjoyed 11ac) and a good mixture. Look forward to the next.
  12. Always glance at the setter and a new one fills me with doom. However, was pleasantly surprised today and pleased to complete without too much difficulty at all. Thank you.
  13. Oh dear
    How disappointingly easy!
    I whipped through it, parsings and all.
    I hope this is not going to be the norm?
    1. So what if it is the norm? You can go off and do the 15×15 if you’re that smart. Several commenters here found some of the clues a bit ‘chewy’ as did I. Does it make you feel good to post here how clever you are? Well, don’t bother in future.
      1. I recognise that it was me who started the conversation regarding difficulty (always a risk), and so feel I have the responsibility of moderating this ensuing conversation.

        We will forever disagree with each other on the relative difficulty of these puzzles, as that depends on so many factors (probably least of all how clever one is). There may also be as many views about the purpose and pitch of the Quick Cryptics as there are solvers of it.

        What we can certainly agree on is that this is a friendly forum for likeminded enthusiasts, beginners, experts and lurkers. And that contributions as blogger or commenter are made solely for the pleasure of it (even if they are sometimes unintentionally irksome). All are welcome, even those who remain anonymous. I would certainly like it to stay that way.

        So let’s keep the commentary on the puzzle, eh?

  14. I didn’t think it was that easy (I’ve found plenty by regular setters simpler than this), but it was fun. Learnt a couple of new clues – didn’t know MO for doctor, or just P for piano. I thought ELUCIDATE was a great clue, far simpler than it first appeared, and same for EINSTEIN. Thank you Wurm and William.
    1. its the musical direction meaning softly (piano) not the instrument. f (forte) is the musical direction for loud. A piano (the instrument) is actually called a pianoforte, and is called that because it could play both softly and loud

      Edited at 2017-06-21 12:14 pm (UTC)

  15. Bickering amongst the anons! – one’s own comparative times are the best guide to difficulty. I personally wish the bloggers would set a standard here. I know Jack disagrees.
    One element of the QCs is that we know the setters so styles and difficulties can be more easily ascertained. I also would prefer the Times 15×15 to follow the same course – Araucaria and Bunthorne are celebrated today by Verlaine! And why not!

    This puzzle kept me busy for 5.52 mins which in my opinion is easy, however if one hasn’t come across RIGATONI or NANKING (Nan Jing) before then it is certainly more difficult!

    COD 17ac EINSTEIN (genius!) WOD 19ac RIGATONI (sopranos!)

    But I believe we are all here to learn!

    Edited at 2017-06-21 12:22 pm (UTC)

  16. Whizzed though in about 8 mins, all except 21a. I just about get both definitions now that they have been explained
  17. Ah ha, now I get it! Didn’t catch the musical notation there at all – thanks Graham 🙂
  18. I am a beginner and was getting a bit disillusioned with limited success, but today 19/25 is a pleasing score with room for improvement. I am encouraged once more! Thank you Wurm.
  19. Found it hard to get going but once one went in the others seemed to follow. I’ve now completed three in a row for the week. Maybe I will hit the jackpot and get them all completed at the end of Friday.

    With regards to the clues, I also had a Kit for equipment in 19ac until it twigged. For once I remembered the “X” for Times, although Apex was easily biffed. Nanking I know because of the well documented wartime atrocity.

    Is Britain a country however? Not in my book. Great Britain perhaps if you’re thinking physical geography…probably being pedantic and I guess it relates to Britain of thousands of years ago.

    Overall I enjoyed this. Thanks as usual.


  20. Unlike a Harpsichord which could not and depended on the strings being plucked rather than controlled by hammers…
    1. The thing about harpsichords is that they can play both loud or soft in the same way as a church organ, but they rely on pedal settings (organs have stops) to achieve the result.

      By contrast, the piano(forte) is touch sensitive and variations of loudness and softness are obtained according to how hard and/or fast the player strikes the keys.

      Edited at 2017-06-21 01:13 pm (UTC)

      1. In addition, the length of notes when played on a harpsichord were the same – thus giving that short, sharp sound. In the piano if the keys were kept down, the note could be held.

        Some composers extended notes by the use of the “trill”…which was carried forward to the piano.


  21. I thought this to be just the thing for a Quick Cryptic I must say. And I agree that at the easier end of the daily spectrum, clues of this difficulty aren’t particularly uncommon. If this is a puzzle for the novice, that is….
  22. No, I didn’t find it as easy as most others. Well outside my usual target of 30 minutes.
  23. I was well over my usual target of 30 minutes here. Admittedly, I zoned out at one point and did something else for a bit, so no point giving an exact time. However, I got them all in the end, and I’m not sure what the hold up was. I guess the times just depend on how well you “get” that particular setter. All enjoyable in the end, though.
  24. How smug I felt – finished in decent time, and all looked good.

    Struggled a bit with 18 down, but found TIGAN in Wiktionary (“person with bad habits” inter alia) – which gave me GOAL for 21 across.

    Will bow deeply and research Harikiri . . .


  25. I enjoyed Wurm’s first foray into QCland with a number of clues that kept me entertained. I was making fairly swift progress until my last 2 in which were 6a and 6d which I stared at blankly for a while. Once I got 6a I embarrassingly struggled to think of countries beginning with B.
    Eventually completed in 18n minutes.
  26. Slow to start with this, but then made good progress until my last three – 6ac, 11 and 21. Yes, I hate four letter answers as well. Crossed the line in 30 mins, so about average. Nice opener Wurm, do come again. Invariant
  27. Not for me! Yesterday’s was much easier, in my opinion. 13 minutes yesterday and just over half an hour today…. and I’m still trying to get my head around aim = mean!!!! At least I finished and I enjoyed the challenge and look forward to more from Wurm. MM
    1. Half an hour is a good time!

      Try: “I mean/aim to improve on previous efforts”, or something similar. Not a common way of speaking, but plausible.

    2. Half an hour is a good time!

      Try: “I mean/aim to improve on previous efforts”, or something similar. Not a common way of speaking, but plausible.

      1. Definitely not easy. Some straightforward clues but others I struggled with. Some new items (MO for doctor, for example). Won’t comment on the mechanic!=engineer issue 🙂

        Please don’t listen to those who want to make the QC harder! I agree with William that “this fits very nicely with the quicky ouvre”. Thanks

        Edited at 2017-06-22 07:55 am (UTC)

  28. So obvious now. I can be really thick at times! Thank you both for your help. MM
  29. How smug I felt – finished in decent time, and all looked good.

    Struggled a bit with 18 down, but found TIGAN in Wiktionary (“person with bad habits” inter alia) – which gave me GOAL for 21 across.

    Will bow deeply and research Harikiri . . .


  30. I know this is so late nobody will see it (I often get to look at the puzzles a day late), but thought I’d post something for the first time as I decided I had finally reached the standard necessary to brave timing myself for the first time. Came in at 58:22 so pretty pleased with myself even though I know that’s way slower than most on here. I hadn’t even finished reading through the ac clues by eight minutes, so how people can have solved the entire thing in that time is beyond me. Still, maybe one day. Like others on here, I enjoyed 11ac, should have got Einstein quicker as that was the name of my house at school, and LOI was 19ac. Thanks Wurm for a test of just the right difficulty. Crispian.
    1. Welcome to the club, Crispian. Anything under an hour is perfectly respectable, so well done. Invariant

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