Times Quick Cryptic 1616 by Wurm

I particularly enjoyed this puzzle as it seemed to be that good blend of challenge and get-ability which makes a QC. There were also many smiles along the way notably 1, 9, 15, and 16 down.
Last week it was my pleasure to read posts from people starting on their journeys in Crossword land and posting times of 30 minutes or more in the hope of encouraging other new starters. I fully support this as, in many ways, the QC is an intro/learning point to the joys of cryptic crosswords. All comments, as always, are greatly appreciated.
I worked mostly clockwise around the grid on this finishing in the SW with 16dn in 11 minutes.


1. Perhaps U-boat, with German, to surrender (6)
SUBMIT – U-boat (SUB), ‘with’ in German (MIT). A good surface to get us going.
4. Catherine shackles artist in sport (6)
KARATE – Catherine (KATE) shackles artist (RA).
8. Female without experience strangely genuine (7)
INGENUE – anagram (strangely) of GENUINE.
10. Scheme to involve one expert at banking? (5)
PILOT – scheme (PLOT) to include one (I). The banks in question are river/sand banks which can take an expert to navigate.
11. First wife and knight on terms (4)
EVEN – not (W)ife but first wife (EVE) and knight (N in chess). On terms in a competition=level.
12. One kills when elite troops stray from path (8)
ASSASSIN – when (AS), elite troops (SAS), stray from path of virtue (SIN).
14. Show on here (9)
REPRESENT – on the subject (RE), here (PRESENT).
18. Agree money taken by party as reported (8)
COINCIDE – money (COIN), homophone (as reported) of party/team – side.
20. Egg on some burgers (4)
URGE – some of b(URGE)rs. Another fine surface.
22. African country about to embrace second religion (5)
ISLAM – West African country (Mali – about = ILAM) to embrace second (S).
23. Unrestrained, a politician breaks into bombast (7)
RAMPANT – a (A) and politician (MP) breaks into bombast (RANT).
24. Diane mistaken for another woman (6)
NADINE – anagram (mistaken) of DIANE.
25. Shun Italian man denied introduction (6)
IGNORE – Italian man s(IGNORE) denied introduction.


1. Polish initially reviled in The Sun? (6)
SHINER – polish (SHINE), (R)eviled. Not the newspaper but our star which, fortunately for most of the country, has shone for much of the last many weeks making lockdown conditions much easier to bear.
2. Nightmare with stomach after illness? (7)
BUGBEAR – stomach/stand (BEAR) after illness (BUG). Bugbear is defined as ‘a thing that causes obsessive fear or anxiety’ so does, I think, justify nightmare.
3. Hostelries in North and South (4)
INNS – in (IN), North (N) and South (S) – their reopening is greatly anticipated.
5. Some characters moving a table outside pub (8)
ALPHABET – anagram (moving) of A TABLE outside public house (PH). And why not if the sun is shining?
6. Titan hiding in downbeat LA suburb (5)
ATLAS – hiding in downbe(AT LA S)uburb.
7. Former nurse making offer (6)
EXTEND – former (EX), nurse (TEND).
9. TV cockney sneered at broadcast (9)
EASTENDER – anagram (broadcast) of SNEERED AT. Lovely surface again with broadcast being used as the anagram indicator.
13. Small fast bowler one rocket-propelled (8)
SPACEMAN – small (S), fast bowler (PACEMAN).
15. Is it too darn windy? (7)
TORNADO – I loved this clue – a tornado is, obviously, too darn windy. Anagram (windy – in the sense of the letters wind about themselves – brilliant) of TOO DARN. Additionally, tornados are frequently experienced in the American mid-West where the expression too darn windy may, reasonably, be expected. COD.
16. Order to begin shooting in battle (6)
ACTION – double definition where I didn’t expect the first to be the first 4 words – which relate to shooting a film.
17. Boil these, exploding with energy (6)
SEETHE – anagram (exploding) of THESE with energy (E).
19. Turned over papers brought to light (5)
IDLED – papers (ID), brought to light (LED – light-emitting diode which is a semiconductor device that emits light). I didn’t initially see turned over as in an engine idled.
21. Sticks up for superior (4)
SMUG – sticks – gums – upwards (SMUG).

44 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1616 by Wurm”

  1. I biffed ASSASSIN–a biffable word, and one that shows up all too often–and SPACEMAN–DNK PACEMAN, of course. The SW corner slowed me down some, with IDLED my POI and ACTION LOI. 6:38.
  2. That was me above – doing Monday’s puzzle the Friday before must have made me unfamiliar with the routine! Nice to be back.
  3. I raced through this until I came to the SW corner where my only entry was NADINE. I then had a mental block until the remaining answers emerged very slowly. 14 minutes in total.
  4. Another victim of the SW. I started with all the first four acrosses straight off but then only got another two before another six downs. So promising beginnings but then I slowed to finish over 20m yet again. I made things hard for myself by trying to make exhibition fit for REPRESENT which closed my brain off from what should have been an nice easy route to lots of checkers but the real problem was with COINCIDE and IDLED. Coincide because ‘coin’ and the start of coincide sound totally different and I just couldn’t get there and IDLED because it just beat me, even when left with I_L_D I couldn’t see what was going on with the clue, so thanks Chris, I’d still be wondering which end to find the definition without the blog. Relieved to be all green once I’d finally decided it couldn’t be anything else.
  5. Got bogged down by idled, coincide, even, alphabet (COD) and LOI shiner.

    23m in total.

  6. Nice one Wurm. I took the “expert in banking” at 10A to be a fighter pilot manouevering his jet. I liked TORNADO best. 4:39.
  7. Well, we took a pummelling on this one and ended up with a shiner! After a pretty good start in the NE corner we sort of expected a reasonably quick time. However, it was not to be and we limped home in 43 minutes. Although Wurm’s challenge was a fair one, we struggled with coincide, shiner, spaceman….etc etc. Happily, we persevered and finished it!

    FOI: karate
    LOI: idled
    COD: ignore

    Thanks for the blog Chris

  8. Like others, I ground to a halt in the SW after a smooth and rapid start. In the end, I joined the SCC after anticipating a sprint….
    NADINE and COINCIDE took too long and even then didn’t help me with IDLED. I thought ACTION was tough. I had to go back to 11ac where I had entered EXE_ (EX being first wife) before realising it just couldn’t work. A potential triumph turned to a disaster. Ah well, thanks to Wurm for a sharp lesson and to chris for a helpful blog. John M.

    Edited at 2020-05-19 10:45 am (UTC)

  9. Just not on the same wavelength this morning. dnf.
    I don’t play either chess or cricket and am always getting caught out by the, to me, obscure terms which I really ought to know by now.
    Loved the egg on the burgers.
    Thanks to Wurm and all the bloggers without whom I’d find it far more difficult to progress with these puzzles.
  10. I also got bogged down in the SW and came in over my target. SUBMIT went straight in, but it was a battle of wits after that. Liked TORNADO and SPACEMAN. 12:33. Thanks Wurm and Chris.
  11. Only just the right side of 20 minutes for me, after being slow to see the usual suspects, and a couple of brief interruptions. Enjoyable puzzle from Wurm and a good blog from Chris. Thanks both.
  12. I thought of the pilot banking the plane too 🙂 Can’t agree with bugbear, that’s a very rare use. Idling is a bit more specific than just turning over and that clue is particularly tough for a short word. I do agree though that this crossword is good training for tougher ones. Thanks setter and blogger.
  13. Tricky Wurm back in town today. I had quite a few unparsed -so thanks for the blog- and got stuck after about 20 minutes on 1d and 11a. Eventually I worked out SHINER so EVEN was LOI. About 23 minutes on paper.
    INGENUE reminded me of a song by Thom Yorke and then NADINE appeared, please let me off the bus. But no sign of Nina.
    COD to SPACEMAN. David
  14. I too was held up by the SW, having done everything else in 27 minutes, but just having NADINE in that corner. Even up to this point I felt it had been a fairly tough ride, but I somehow knew that the last bit would be another level. Finally got ISLAM, which brought SPACEMAN to mind, followed by COINCIDE, IDLED (COD) and LOI ACTION. That took me up to 56 minutes exactly. NHO ingenue. Is it something specific they have no experience of, or is it impolite to ask?
    1. I think young and inexperienced in the ways of the world is a good summary.
  15. Chuck Berry can spot NADINE quite easily, but catching up to her is quite another matter. The SW corner took me almost as long as the rest of the puzzle put together.

    MER at “IDLED = turned over”. The engine turns over while you’re trying to start the vehicle, and ticks over thereafter. OK, so “ticked over” wouldn’t read correctly in the surface of the clue, but I doubt it would have been LOI but for that anomaly.

    TIME 0.86K

  16. My LOI was NADINE. Unfortunately DANNIE beat her to it by several minutes and caused untold misery in the meantime. Nonetheless, lots to like in this tougher than average offering.
    My thanks as always to Wurm and Chris.
      1. Anonymous, it’s a big faux pas on this blog to explain a clue that has already been explained, I’ve observed. Some of the senior chaps don’t like it and as they are so helpful we don’t want to upset them.☺️
    1. Well, yes, why shouldn’t it? However, I still prefer my working in the blog (crosswords often use the term bank or banker for river) despite the seeming consensus for air vs water.
  17. 30 minutes or so for me, so about average. Found it fairly straightforward apart from the SW corner. Haven’t seen INGENUE used for a very long time. ACTION and IDLED both lovely pieces of misdirection
  18. Could not parse IDLED
    Did not get SHINER or EVEN
    And also had to use the Crossword Book
    Ashamed I didn’t get ALPHABET
    Oh dear
  19. … as I came in only a whisker under 20 minutes. Like many I found the SW corner a challenge and 19D Idler was my LOI – having spent much time looking for a word to “turn over” and run backwards.

    Tough, but also fair. All parsed when I completed and all understandable, so a very good puzzle from Wurm. COD 23A for the image of politicians breaking into bombast – there are many one can think of, on both sides of the Atlantic!

    Many thanks to Chris for the blog

  20. Held up as were most by the SW corner, LOI being COINCIDE.

    A good puzzle I thought. Completed in 7:37.

  21. I don’t feel quite so bad after reading that others found today’s challenge a little tricky.
    I biffed quite a few so thanks to Chris for his informative blog. MY COD goes to ALPHABET.
    Wurm kept me scratching my head for just under 25 minutes – an improvement on my weekend efforts when Mara’s 1614 kept me busy for around half an hour.
    My excuse is that I was using my iPad in the sunshine!
  22. I am yet another solver who foundered on the rocks of the SW corner, after plain enough sailing up until then. COINCIDE, ISLAM, IDLED and ACTION were an unholy foursome and my pencil was chewed for a good 1.5K just over those – ouch! Well bowled, Wurm.

    FOI SUBMIT, LOI EVEN, COD TORNADO (a really top notch clue). All done and parsed in 3K for a Poor Day.

    Thanks Wurm and Chris.


  23. Yes, I was held up in the corner as well, but in my case the NW one. I would never equate nightmare with bugbear – they are an order of magnitude apart – and as for Shiner, does that mean we will have to contend with Yellowy as a descriptor next time round? An iffy Even/On Terms and an obscure Ingenue gave me a flan’s worth of GRs in the NW. Hard to believe these were clues from the same setter who gave us the excellent 15d, Tornado. Invariant
    1. Bugbear came up in a Jumbo I blogged in April clued thus:

      Something frightening, British, and not half unattractive to put up with (7)

      My comment was “I only knew bugbear as an object of annoyance or dislike but the dictionaries have it as something frightening too.”

      For example, my Chambers app has “an object of terror, dislike or annoyance” (so the terror bit comes first).

      So whilst in common parlance (entre nous at least) a bugbear is an annoyance rather than a nightmare, in crosswords the dictionary is king. The only argument left is whether it’s “fair” to use an arguably uncommon meaning in the QC.

      Regardless, thanks to my past experience I was able to write it straight in today.

      1. From another angle – the term ‘nightmare’ seems to be increasingly used in a less severe sense – ‘I didn’t get under ten minutes today – it’s an absolute nightmare!’. So bugbear and nightmare may be converging.’
    2. Couldn’t agree more, I thought there were so many iffy things in this QC. We had “knew” for 11a, kn for knight, ew for Ex Wife, on terms with someone, know them. Obviously made 1d impossible, but I am fairly sure I could look at that until next week and not get “shiner “. Got 24a eventually, but only after having “Edinna”, which is a genuine name – one of the (many) problems with using personal names is that there is no definitive spelling.
      Our first DNF for a long time, and probably the first one I don’t think we should have got!
  24. DNF as I put “Eugenie” for 8ac thinking it was a female (especially a royal one with no experience). Should have known better, especially as I couldn’t work out why 1dn “Shiner” didn’t fit, but as I DNK “Ingenue” then I can’t really complain.

    The rest all went in around 30 mins with some very nice clues from Wurm – especially 10ac and 19dn.

    FOI – 1ac “Submit”
    LOI – DNF
    COD – 19dn “Idled” – nicely constructed with a hint of misdirection

    Thanks as usual.

    1. I liked 91dn too, now I remember. I felt the ‘brought to’ was clever as it could be read as ‘papers brought/led to light (LED)’.
      1. LED = light is one of those I often forget – but it was the clever use of the definition that held me up the most.
  25. SW corner was a challenge for me too, together with 1dn and 11ac. Eventually had to have a second sitting to complete the SW corner and even then couldn’t complete the NW, so had to come back a third time. Definitely not on the wavelength today and relieved to come to the blog and find that others encountered the same difficulties.
    FOI – 1ac submit
    LOI – 1dn shiner
    COD – a toss up between 5dn alphabet and 20ac urge.

    Thanks to setter for a good workout and to the blogger for making everything clear.

  26. Like everyone else it seems the SW caused me an awful lot of head scratching but my real bugbear today was that I simply cannot remember that the German for with is MIT not WIT. So I got hopelessly bogged down with the 1s as well as I couldn’t get OUTWIT out of my head, even though it doesn’t even fit the definition!!
    Considering all that I was quite surprised to only just miss my target time, finishing in 15.21.
    Thanks to chris.

  27. QC1616
    Liked 9D, incidentally a cockney is a person born within earshot of Bow bells (St Mary le Bow) which hardly any of the East End is. Also the Tv show Eastenders is based on a square in Walthamstow or Dalston (depending on who you believe), neither of which are actually in the East End.

    Also why are the blogs mixed up with the 15×15?

    1. There’s a blog for each crossword (15×15, QC, Mephisto etc) on the day they appear, or, for the case of the Saturday and Sunday prize puzzles, when the time period to enter has passed. So they’re always ‘mixed up’.
  28. stuck on 18A “agree money taken by party as reported (8)”
    liked 13D “small fast bowler one rocket-propelled (8)” …amongst others.

  29. Sadly a DNF because of the SW corner – 16, 18, 19 & 22. Just not on Wurm’s wavelength (again), but enjoyed the struggle if not the (lack of) outcome!
  30. I could rant abut the iffy meaning of bombast but won’t bother now.

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