Times Quick Cryptic 1956 by Wurm

I didn’t get the long anagram at 1ac until towards the end so worked round the grid finishing up in the NW. Last 3 were 1ac, 2dn and LOI 10ac which had a, to me, tricky definition. Still, it was all fun with a rash of anagrams and completed in 7:30 – good to see a fast time again.

Definitions are underlined.

1 Crooked city alarms me when rebuilt (12)
ASYMMETRICAL – anagram (when rebuilt) of CITY ALARMS ME.
8 Talk tediously about old whale killer (7)
HARPOON – talk endlessly (HARP ON) about old (O).
9 Clergyman bringing six to vehicle (5)
VICAR – six (VI) to vehicle (CAR).
10 Butcher’s no good for pop (5)
LANCE – a butchers (hook) = look = glance without good (G) g(LANCE). Pop as in lance a boil.
11 Top nude worked out, firm through exercise (5,2)
TONED UP – anagram (worked out) of TOP NUDE.
12 One as eligible keeps artistic support? (5)
EASEL – kept inside on(E AS EL)igible.
14 Top criminal seizing power (7)
SPINNER – criminal (SINNER) seizing power (P).
15 Hard nut in bad accident (3-3-3)
HIT-AND-RUN – anagram (bad) of HARD NUT IN.
17 Old man died in flat (3)
PAD – old man (PA), died (D).
19 To term clerics eccentric creates great disturbance (8,5)
ELECTRIC STORM – anagram (eccentric) of TO TERM CLERICS.
21 Left in Paris? That’s awkward! (6)
GAUCHE – double definition.
22 Inexperienced eco-politician (5)
GREEN – double definition.
1 A cold fish accepting she shows weakness (8,4)
ACHILLES HEEL – a (A), cold (CHILL), fish (EEL) containing she (SHE).
2 Unusually frosty north: undergarment found (1-6)
Y-FRONTS – anagram (unusually) of FROSTY NORTH. A definition not at the beginning or end is unusual.
3 Runs to escape bad-tempered elk (5)
MOOSE – runs (r) escape (taken out of) bad-tempered (MO)r(OSE).
4 European in marquee establishes principle (5)
TENET – European (E) in marquee (TENT).
5 Pub brings in satellite after opening? It’s born of necessity! (9)
INVENTION – pub (INN) brings in satellite (IO) after opening (VENT).
6 Pair connected somehow more than usually liable to mishap (8-5)
ACCIDENT-PRONE –  anagram (somehow) of PAIR CONNECTED.
7 Appropriate to support Her Majesty (6)
PROPER – support (PROP), Her Majesty (ER).
13 Involved in a cult that’s crazy (7)
LUNATIC – anagram (involved) of IN A CULT.
14 South African right to eat fish (7)
SARDINE – South African (SA), right (R), to eat (DINE).
16 Written in Sanskrit, he takes letter to Greeks (5)
THETA – written inside Sanskri(T HE TA)kes.
18 Villain needs second to enter study (5)
DEMON – second (MO) inside study (DEN).
20 Endlessly long story is flop (3)
SAG – endlessly long story (SAG)a.

53 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1956 by Wurm”

  1. ASYMMETRICAL was my FOI, a quick glance at the anagrist suggesting that they were in fact the anagrist. Biffed INVENTION, only parsing post-submission. My problem was LANCE: couldn’t make anything out of the clue, even knowing ‘butcher’s’. Thought ‘no good’=NG, which suggested LUNGE; finally thought of GLANCE, and submitted without ever figuring out ‘pop’. 5:47.
  2. Pesky rhyming slang — I was going very fast until the NW when MOOSE, ASYMMETRICAL and especially GLANCE all needed very careful extraction. GLANCE only came through an alphabet trawl and went in with a cross between a groan and an arrrgh. Still fast for me at 8m.
  3. Liked all the anagrams which had some smooth surfaces. Favourite was probably ELECTRIC STORM.

    Nice puzzle

    Thanks Chris and Wurm

  4. Sub 14 (no aids) held up by moose and gauche (celui là and sinistre filling my head and leaving no room for gauche) Biffed invention from the saw but couldn’t see it until Chris explained. BTW is IO in orbit?
    Many thanks Wurm and Chris

    Edited at 2021-09-07 06:31 am (UTC)

    1. It’s the innermost of the four Galilean satellites of Jupiter, displaying intense volcanic activity. Diameter: 3640 km; orbital radius: 422 000 km
  5. 8 minutes. MER at ‘MOROSE / unusually frosty’ as I think of it more as ‘gloomy’, but Collins has: miserable, bad-tempered, and not willing to talk very much to other people.
    1. That sounds like a COBUILD definition, i.e. for non-native speakers learning English. Not that that should matter, but.
  6. I’m not sure if there were more anagrams than usual, but it certainly felt like it and it left me feeling a little underwhelmed by this one. No real hold ups, but like others I had a MER at morose/bad tempered and didn’t untangle 1a until towards the end.
    Finished in 7.44 with LOI LANCE and COD to HARPOON.
    Thanks to Chris
  7. Much more straightforward than the last few days, thanks to lots of anagrams which helped me along. I got stuck on 10ac too and was also tempted by lunge when I remembered lance=pop.

    Edited at 2021-09-07 07:20 am (UTC)

  8. … as after yesterday’s big DNF I am reminded that I can complete QCs, and occasionally in quite respectable times too. This gem from Wurm took me just under 8 minutes, aided a lot by getting the long anagrams fairly quickly which gave a real structure to the solve. Word-play helped me spell Achilles correctly too in 1D — not (as I used to think) Achilees, despite that being the way it is usually pronounced!

    7 anagrams in all does strike me as a relatively high tally. Not that I am complaining, as I find them less daunting than, say, having to dredge up random girl’s names to complete a clue.

    Many thanks to Chris for the blog

  9. ….but the stats, and comments here, don’t bear this out. I simply couldn’t see the 1A/D conjunction for some while.

    TIME 3:37

  10. 7 anagrams in 25 clues seems reasonable. The daily allows up to 5 I think, from however many (up to 30 I suppose) so it doesn’t seem too radical a departure. Two hidden though. Good Lord.

    Anyway, 9 minutes for the warm-up. On to the daily.

  11. 13:07. All my times would be much better with a faster FOI, staring at an empty grid gives me a sense of panic until a few go in.

    ASYMMETRICAL was a clever 1a with anagrind and definition looking the same, and the anagrist contacting a helpful LY which didn’t feature at the end. Odd-looking word as well.

    IO for satellite, wow, I didn’t spot that I hadn’t parsed that one. I can see that it is a handy device for setters. Since I=one, and O=zero, how about IO= ten?

    Surely “electrical storm” not “electric storm”?


  12. I felt very MOROSE after failing to crack either 1dn or 1ac at first pass, but eventually I got a foothold somewhere and it all flowed reasonably smoothly from there. I enjoyed it, Wurm is an excellent setter.

    FOI THETA, LOI PROPER, COD LANCE, time 09:43 for 1.7K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks Wurm and Chris.


    Edited at 2021-09-07 08:25 am (UTC)

  13. FOI: 9a. VICAR
    LOI: 10a. LANCE
    Time to Complete: 47 minutes
    Clues Answered Correctly without aids: 23
    Clues Answered with Aids: 1
    Clues Unanswered: 0
    Wrong Answers: 0
    Total Correctly Answered (incl. aids): 24/24
    Aids Used: Chambers

    At last! A solve! Took me 47 minutes with my LOI, 10a GLANCE, taking me a long time to see. It didn’t help that the cat kept wanting to eat the pen every time it moved, and lay across the newspaper.

    18d. DEMON, I did answer this one but could not see how the clue worked until I came here.

  14. I found the grid pattern rather unfriendly and couldn’t see 1ac until the end. A slow tour of the grid for me but increasing numbers of crossers allowed quite a few biffs (all parsed). Some good clues but I didn’t really appreciate them at the time in my frustration to untangle wriggly wurm trails. 3 mins over target but glad to have got to the end. Thanks to both. John M.

    Edited at 2021-09-07 08:24 am (UTC)

  15. Biffed FOI ACHILLES HEEL before parsing, which helped. Liked Y-FRONTS, GAUCHE, VICAR, PROPER.
    Could not parse INVENTION, as tho I knew Io was a moon of Jupiter, it passed me by. ASYMMETRICAL and ELECTRIC STORM went in fairly early, tho had to write the letters in a circle. ACCIDENT PRONE a write-in.
    LOI LANCE. Cockney RS clues must be difficult for Americans.
    Thanks all, esp Chris.

    Edited at 2021-09-07 09:44 am (UTC)

  16. A successful solve, but slowed down by no access to a printer. Doing the anagrams in my head made it heavy weather. Last in were ASYMMETRICAL and LANCE.
    I think I would have been under 15 minutes with pencil and paper, but over 30 doing it on my phone.
    IO is one of the most volcanic bodies in the solar system.
  17. I got off to a good start with TENET MOOSE and ACHILLES HEEL. LANCE held me up for a while as I struggled to make sense of the clue, but got there eventually. The rest of the puzzle just seemed to drop into place. 6:16. Thanks Wurm and Chris.
  18. About 25 mins, similar issues to most above. I do anagrams in my head so having some less obvious long ones kept me grid hopping until I had enough to fill them in. Would never have parsed MOOSE without the blog, so many thanks for that: totally bifd by me so thankfully it was very obviously defined.
  19. on for a Phil-bothering mid 3’s time, as I was biffing/semi-parsing merrily away at quite a rate.

    However, ASYMMETRICAL and (fittingly) ACHILLES HEEL took a while to drop, as did Y-FRONTS (!!), and that dragged me into the low 4s.

    Too many good clues to list, but proof that an easier puzzle can be of high quality. Thanks Wurm, and to chris as well – I forget so often to thank the bloggers for their dedication.


  20. I noticed that the grid was ASYMMETRICAL (Well you know what I mean). Cannot see anything else relevant.
    1. The grid is symmetrical all right, but not in the more usual way – it’s symmetrical around the NW-SE diagonal.
  21. Asymmetrical was almost a write-in for me, but 1d held out until near the end, which didn’t help. Too many anagrams for my taste, even though they were friendly enough. Had a complete grid after 23mins, but couldn’t parse Lunge for 10ac, so spent another couple of minutes playing around until Glance/Lance came to mind. Honourable mention to Invention, but CoD to 14d Sardine, a pdm. Invariant
  22. Sub-10 at 9:28 which I am well-chuffed with, to use the not-so-modern vernacular. I saw 1a almost immediately, and then got all of its descendants (except 1d which needed extra crossers to see). LOI SARDINE for no particular reason. Thanks both.
  23. 11 minutes, my fastest for a while. LOI was LANCE because I couldn’t see LANCE = POP at first. An unpleasant image to finish an enjoyable puzzle!
  24. Fifteen minutes, all p[arsed except for invention which I biffed, not seeing Io. FOI vicar, LOI by three minutes, lance, an alphabet trawl giving me only lunge and lance, and not seeing the Butcher’s for some time. Enjoyed it all. COD hard to choose, so I’ll go for the moose. Thanks, Chris, for the blog, and Wurm for the entertainment. GW.
  25. Just delayed over (G)LANCE until I managed to banish the non-parsing LUNGE from my head and wok out the use of pop.

    Thank you, chrisw91 and Wurm

  26. 3:52 this morning, seemed to have got my mojo back after yesterday’s travails, although I note from the Times leader board that there are 3 genuine sub- 2 minute completions, which suggests some people found this easy.
    As I’ve said before this sort of grid requires the longer clues (anagrams today) to be cracked quickly. Didn’t get 1 ac immediately so moved onto FOI 9 ac “vicar” and got into a good rhythm thereafter. LOI 10 ac “lance” where I parsed before submitting but wasn’t 100% sure until the dreaded pink square didn’t appear.
    COD 5 d “invention” which was exactly the experience of my sister-in-laws husband when running his first hostelry in a small village. I didn’t envy him his job.
    Thanks to Chris for the blog und Herr Nematode.
  27. 27 mins today, but felt I probably should have been faster. Not keen on lots of long anagram clues, and 1ac “Asymmetrical” took far too long.

    Didn’t think villain = demon was obvious as a definition and agree that electrical storm is probably a more common usage for 19ac.

    For 10ac, I kept wanting to put “ng” together, but all that would produce was “Lunge” which didn’t make sense. Luckily, the whole “lancing a boil” thing appeared and it was a write in.

    FOI — 3dn “Moose”
    LOI — 10ac “Lance”
    COD — 14ac “Spinner” — lovely and succinct.

    Thanks as usual!

  28. All done in just 15 minutes, which is a silver medal performance for me and only my eighth excursion out of the SCC. Also, a joyful surprise after the horrors of yesterday.

    My FOI was HARPOON and I jumped around the grid rather slowly at first, before really speeding up towards the end. The only clue I struggled to parse was DEMON (my LOI), as it took me some while to see MO for ‘second’.

    Just to say that Mrs R is still a few puzzles behind and otherwise engaged again today, so it may even be next week before I can report on her experiences at the right time.

    Many thanks to Wurm and chrisw91.

    1. I always get to see any posts so do let me know if you manage a sub Mrs R. Congratulations on your outing by the way – may they become often and numerous.
      1. Thankyou Mr W91 (what an interesting name!). I do occasionally do better than Mrs R, but it’s generally because my pencil slipped and I accidentally entered the correct solutions in the correct cells. I don’t like to crow on these occasions, because I can sense what will come the next day.
  29. Nice puzzle. I tend to find Wurm puzzles on the easier side and whizzed through this, leaving 1A until I had some checkers from the downs. Finished in a top-10 fastest QC time for me of 3:10.
  30. I was slow to see/solve some of the long anagrams which led to a poor time of 21 mins for a puzzle generally agreed to be on the easy side. That’s 7 in a row at 20 mins plus. Actually a good 3 mins was spent on my LOI LANCE, so I was consoled by the fact that several contributors seem to have struggled with this one. Also never managed to parse 5dn INVENTION although I knew Io as one of Jupiter’s moons. Thanks for the explanation on this one Chris.

    FOI – 8ac HARPOON
    LOI – 10ac LANCE

    1. Dear Mr Flyer,
      If it’s any further consolation you may wish to know that today’s puzzle marked the end of a streak of 45 in a row at 20+ minutes (12 of which were DNFs) for me. I’m now on a record-equalling streak of 1 in a row under 20 minutes. I have never achieved these dizzy heights twice in succession, but who knows what tomorrow holds.
      Good luck tomorrow and beyond!
      Mr Random
  31. Copy and paste Chris’s commentary and add 57 secs = my solving experience today. Good to make target after a trying few days.
  32. After yesterdays troubles, this was a relief. 9m approx except we chose lunge for 19a, considered lance but missed the meaning of butchers. Only 2nd time under 10m, so a good day even with the error.
  33. All done in 15 today. My best for a very long time, maybe ever! Having found yesterday’s and last week’s exceedingly tricky it was refreshing to get a good time (for me) on this one. All parsed bar LANCE. Enjoyed the long anagrams. Spent a long time on SPINNER and PROPER, of all things. Many thanks Wurm and Chris.
  34. I had no printer yesterday so will now try the Monday QC brute before bed.

    This was rather easy going and I just made 6:30 mins with 1ac my LOI.
    I failed to noticenotice the ASYMMETRICAL grid until it was pointed out! Well done spotter.

    FOI 4dn TENET

    COD has to be 1ac!

    WOD 21ac GAUCHE

    2dn Y-FRONTS! never liked ‘em!

  35. One of the easiest for a while. I’m pleased to break 20 so sub 11 very rare for me. All the anagrams provided a skeleton and then it was just a question of filling in the gaps. Never did parse lance but filled it in using the pop definition.
  36. A similar story to others from me. Took a little while to see and then spell ASYMMETRICAL (had one M until it didn’t fit) and then I didn’t get any of the next three so I thought I was in for a long haul. Most of the others went in in short order however, so I ended up with a pleasing 12:50. I’ve just worked out this is my joint 8th fastest ever and my 15th under 15 minutes (15×15 if you will, as if to celebrate a rare successful completion of the big one yesterday – my 83:01 included cooking and eating tea, so it would have been well under an hour). Anyway, FOI ASYMMETRICAL, LOI (my) ACHILLES HEEL, COD HARPOON. Thanks Wurm and Chris.
  37. Pleased to complete — a few hurdles here with the long anagrams and misdirections etc.

    My LOI was Sardine
    And Lance was a late struggle

    But pretty enjoyable I must say.

    (Chris — if still reading — trivial- a typo in your blog of 10a for completeness — regards)

    Thanks all
    John George (and forgot to press send at 8pm!)

    1. We alway read comments – some can be weeks later. Thanks for the typo – surprising it wasn’t picked up all day. Congratulations on the completion.

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