Times Quick Cryptic No 2063 by Wurm

Some of the parsing here didn’t get finally clarified until I came to write the blog (inc. 1, 3, 4 and 7d), and I don’t have an accurate time as I was interrupted several times whilst solving, but I am sure that it was inside my target time of 15 minutes.

As hinted at above, some of the parsing took a time to resolve, but all was fairly clued, and I hope that my parsing issues didn’t delay you too long.  My thanks to Wurm for a good QC.


1  Ram perhaps caught up in meadow flower (9)
BUTTERCUP – BUTTER (a ram is perhaps an example of one) and C{aught} and UP.
Bug snug in this hairpiece? (3)
RUG – Cryptic clue recalling the saying ‘as snug as a bug in a rug’.  A RUG is another name for a hairpiece.
8  Nuncio confused about rook as mythical creature (7)
UNICORN – Anagram (confused) of [NUNCIO] around R{ook} (chess notation).
9  Animal finally going for synagogue official (5)
RABBI – RABBIt is the animal from which we drop the last letter (finally going).
10  Chopped the ham and tripe that’s brought in a bowl? (12)
AMPHITHEATRE – Anagram (chopped) of [THE HAM] and [TRIPE] and [A] (that’s brought in a…).
12  Plant found in Manila (4)
ANIL – Hidden in (found in) {m}ANIL{a}.  ANIL is the Indigo plant or dye.
13  Stupid person accepts fine offering (4)
GIFT – GIT (a fool or stupid person, or sometimes a ‘rotter’) containing (accepts) F{ine}.  These days GIT is probably better known as a software version control system, although I am sure that it used to be the name given to a head boy in some Scottish public school. 
17  Private chat in centre – listen with child outside (5-2-5)
HEART-TO-HEART – HEART (centre) and HEAR (listen) with TOT (child) outside.
20  Daughters initially on ship wear formal clothes (5)
DRESS – D{aughters} (initially) RE (on) and SS (ship).
21  Writer Dante mostly one to hang around? (7)
PENDANT – PEN (writer) and DANTe (mostly, drop last letter of DANTE).
23 Hunk from poster put on weight (3)
WAD – AD (poster, as in ADvertisement) put on W{eight}.  WAD as in large quantity or hunk of money.
24  Delicacy to complement sour vegetable? (9)
SWEETMEAT – A SWEET MEAT is the opposite, or complement, of a SOUR VEGETABLE, and is also a delicacy.


Attack in boxing contest (4)
BOUT – Double definition, the first as in a BOUT or attack of illness.
2  Not fat, I am tucking in, finding nutrient (7)
THIAMIN – THIN (not fat) with I AM inside (tucked in).  I had an MER at THIAMIN as a nutrient as it is a Vitamin (Vit B) but I suppose nutrient is such a general term that it does pass muster.
The author Umberto Green? (3)
ECO – Double definition, the first as in Umberto ECO (auther of ‘The name of the rose’, and the second being a synonym for green, as in ECO-warrior.
King, but not crowned, protected by staff (6)
CANUTE – CANE (staff) protecting bUT (but not crowned, i.e. remove first letter, B).  It took me a while to unscramble this one, but not long to get the answer.
5 Voracious shark splintered bargepole (9)
PORBEAGLE – Anagram (splintered) of [BARGEPOLE].
6  Steal from books to make automoton (5)
ROBOT – ROB (steal) and OT (books, the old testament).
7  Covering stored in short German aircraft (6)
GLIDER – LID (covering) inside (stored in) GER (short German).
11  Embarrassing condition, this I also spread around (9)
HALITOSIS – Anagram (spread around) of [THIS I ALSO].
14  Incinerator’s features including receptacle for ashes (7)
FURNACE – FACE (features) around (including) URN (receptacle for ashes).
15  Dog had Miss Piggy brought round? (6)
SHADOW – HAD (had) with SOW (Miss Piggy) brought round.
16  Locks perhaps not totally secure? (6)
TOUPEE – Artificial hair locks, cryptically defined.  Another hairpiece, but I don’t see a theme.
18  A top up (5)
AHEAD – A (a) and HEAD (top).  If one is UP in a race, one is AHEAD.  Nice concise surface.
19  It’s Let It Be that concludes this great live event (4)
STET – Final letters (that concludes) of {thi}S {grea}T {liv}E {even}T.  STET is a written instruction to restore, after originally marking for deletion when editing, hence ‘let it be’.  This answer also appeared in yesterday’s 15 x 15.
22  Fortune Tory keeps after taxes (3)
NET – Hidden (kept) in fortuNE Tory.

60 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2063 by Wurm”

  1. I didn’t notice how much time had passed, and I’m not sure why I was so slow. DNK PORBEAGLE. 10:06.
  2. Was amazed to see (the previously unknown) PORBEAGLE (?!?!) in a QC.
    Wild word! Though the dogfish is a shark too, as it happens.
    LOI, of course.

  3. Some great clues, notably NET, which had me in a lot of trouble for a long time, and AMPHITHEATRE and SHADOW but a bit short on sparkle overall. 20m.
  4. 12 minutes. I agree this was hard. I don’t think that PORBEAGLE has any place in a QC and one or two other references seemed a little out of place too. I didn’t find the clues to SWEETMEAT or TOUPEE at all satisfying.

    Not one of Wurm’s best, I fear.

  5. Like everyone else, I’d never heard of PORBEAGLE so had to assemble it from its component parts. Was not sure about TOUPEE, the clue didn’t seem very precise. It was my LOI and I submitted since I couldn’t see anything else that fitted and pleased to get all green.
    1. I am slightly surprised to find so many people are unfamiliar with PORBEAGLE sharks. I have no special interest in sharks or marine animals generally, but seem to have always been aware of them as a species, and the anagram seemed obvious to me when solving, hence no comment in the blog. I have no idea where I first heard about them.

      I do sympathise with comments about TOUPEE and SWEETMEAT where the clues were not very tight.

      1. Point taken but as has been mentioned in a couple of very recent QC discussions, one person’s GK is often another’s obscurity.

        In this case in support of my original comment I would mention that PORBEAGLE has come up only once before in the TfTT era and that was in a Saturday prize puzzle in December 2014. Not even in a Mephisto!

        The clue on that occasion was ‘Shark left tailless by black bird of prey’ – POR{t} (left) [tailless], B (black), EAGLE (bird) – an IKEA assembly job that is perhaps more suitable for a tricky answer than an anagram. I didn’t know it then either but remarked that I found the wordplay helpful.

      1. Please see Hopkinb’s helpful answer to another Anon question above, or is that from you as well?
      2. …affix it to your head with toupee tape, then stride manfully down the street, fooling no one.

        Hope that helps… 😉

        Explanation for the parsing of the clue, in Rotter’s blog, and in a comment from me further up.

  6. Completely foxed by NET. Bunged in NIT on basis that NI could be taxes. Don’t see why PORBEAGLE needed ‘voracious’ in the clue. Aren’t all sharks voracious?
    1. Voracious sharks …
      Well they all eat. And if you happen to be what they eat, even the mildest might seem voracious to you. But basking sharks are generally considered very gentle, and not voracious at all.
  7. I could simply copy and paste either of Paulmcl or Jackkt’s comments above but I’d have to add that with not knowing STET this was a messy DNF for me. You live and learn but some lessons are more satisfying than others. This was at the lower end although I did like SHADOW
  8. Not sure what to say about this, taken me 35 minutes again.
    Started well with FOI: BUTTERCUP filling the top half quickly but found trouble in the SE. BIFD NET did not see the hidden until after and my last ones in SWEETMEAT, STET and TOUPEE went in with a shrug taking time to understand the wordplay.

    Edited at 2022-02-03 09:08 am (UTC)

  9. Slowed down by the SE corner …
    … but even so surprised to see the clock stopped on 17 minutes, as it didn’t seem that long. Some great clues but some rather questionable ones as others have highlighted (16D Toupee took a word-search), and my LOI 22D Net took an age as I contemplated Nat, Net, Nit, Not, Nut …

    Never corrected parsed 10A Amphitheatre; indeed until Rotter’s blog I hadn’t even noticed that “Ham and Tripe” was one letter short!

    Many thanks to Rotter for the blog

    Edited at 2022-02-03 09:06 am (UTC)

  10. TOUPEE or not TOUPEE? That is the question, as I hesitated over the LOI 16d.
    12mins, but my laptop battery ran out during this and the timer didn’t cut me any slack.

    Edited at 2022-02-03 09:23 am (UTC)

  11. Finished this rather tough offering in under 30, but with a lot of unparsed biffing (like Cedric, didn’t notice the anagrams for amphitheatre needed an ‘a’!) Sweetmeat was fun, but toupee is still something of a mystery. Total mess in SW initially by trying to apply yesterday’s logic that ‘on ship’ (‘= on board’) must mean the answer begins and ends with an S. But as mangohomme says – you live and learn!
    Thanks Rotter for clearing so much of the fog of unparsed solutions today.
  12. Like a drunk in a boxing ring I biffed and bashed my way round until collapsing in a heap in the left hand corner at the end of the 9th. I always have trouble with Wurm and today was on par. Too many feints and blows to the head.
    Thanks Rotter for the smelling salts which cleared the mist but I threw in the towel before the bell.
  13. I thought I was on for a really quick one today. No problem with PORBEAGLE. Then I moved south….
    I took ages over SHADOW and WAD so took time over AHEAD. I needed all the crossers and some time to sort out AMPHITHEATRE. In the SE, I liked FURNACE and was fine with STET and NET but took too long to see my LOsI TOUPEE and SWEETMEAT (not good clues IMO). In the end I tipped into the SCC. Talk about stings in the tail? My last 4/5 took as long as the rest of the puzzle.
    Some nice clues but a few that were perhaps not really suited to a QC? Thanks to WURM for a bit of a shocker and to Rotter for a check (and some improvements) on my parsing. John M.

    Edited at 2022-02-03 09:55 am (UTC)

  14. Never heard of Porbeagle – neither has my wife and with respect to the rotter we aren’t that young and not particularly dim. I think Git was always a term of abuse for someone when it was more common use in the days of Alf Garnett – unpleasant person rather than a fool – one of those where the dictionary has a definition so it’s right – but not really ??. Bits to enjoy but overall way too tricky! Thanks though!
    1. I associate the Porbeagle shark with Cornwall — all the UK reports of sightings seem to include ‘off the Cornish coast’.
      I always thought they were small and harmless. Well, it turns out that they are relatives of the Great White and recent catches have easily exceeded 500lbs. However, they rarely attack humans so that’s alright! 🙄
    2. Yes, Alf’s favourite term of abuse for Mike (aka Tony Blair’s father-in-law) was ‘scaarse (Scouse) git’. When he wasn’t calling him ‘Shirley Temple’, that is.
  15. Was over my target 10 minutes with 2 left to do. Put in SWEETMEAT, but was totally flummoxed by TOUPEE for which I put COUPLE reasoning that if things are coupled together they are secure. 14:34 WOE. Thanks Wurm and Rotter.
    PS No problem with PORBEAGLE.

    Edited at 2022-02-03 10:14 am (UTC)

  16. Glad to see I’m not the only one giving this puzzle a low mark. I normally enjoy Wurm very much but that was below par. TOUPEE a particularly weak clue.

    There was a stuffed PORBEAGLE shark on the wall of Norwich Castle Museum in my childhood so that didn’t detain me long, though I was puzzled by the addition of “voracious”. It also gets my COD (ho ho) for the neatness of the anagram.

    Time 12:31 for 1.25K and a Meh Day.

    Thanks Wurm and Rotter.


    Edited at 2022-02-03 10:08 am (UTC)

  17. …just like contrafibularities, it is a common word down our way. I’m sure that Wurm is anaspeptic, phrasmotic, or even compunctuous to have caused such pericombobulation to those not familiar with the species of shark.

    Anyway, I’d half heard of it, so it caused no great problems.

    What slowed me up was thoughtlessly biffing FIREPIT where it should have been FURNACE, then eventually struggling to parse SWEETMEAT before submitting anyway, and coming here to find out why it was right from the esteemed Rotter! Thanks Rotter.

    I didn’t think TOUPEE was that bad a clue, I’ve seen worse.

    Well over target though at 7:42.

  18. I always find Wurm’s puzzles difficult and today was no different. I’d heard the word PORBEAGLE somewhere but couldn’t have told you what it was. Also struggled with git being a stupid person, SWEETMEAT, NET and LOI TOUPEE which required an alphabet trawl.
    Got there in the end, finishing in 19.07
    Thanks to Rotter
  19. Pretty tough. Had to look up PORBEAGLE and guess ANIL (NHO either) and struggled with TOUPEE (didn’t see locks = hair).
  20. Hard yards today. I eventually untangled the Porbeagle (!) Amphitheatre intersection, but took so long that I pulled stumps when loi 16d Toupee resisted my initial attempts — there is only so much enjoyment to be got from yet another alphabet trawl. CoD to the succinct 18d, Ahead. Mine now needs arest. Invariant
  21. A frustrating Dnf, as I came to a halt around the SW corner. Had a feeling 15dn had something to do with harass or hound, but for some reason got stuck on thinking about the floppy eared dog in the Muppets (whose name still escapes me). Although I did think of hair for 16dn, “Toupee” wouldn’t come and I ended up with the incorrect “Couple”.

    Otherwise, an enjoyable and challenging puzzle from Wurm.

    FOI – 1dn “Bout”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 24ac “Sweetmeat”

    Thanks as usual!

  22. There was nothing quick about this QC. I have NHO PORBEAGLE but it was gettable from the checkers. The same goes for the author ECO and the plant ANIL. I had wig instead of RUG at 6a which meant I couldn’t solve ROBOT for quite some time. I don’t see GIT as a foolish person….contemptible yes but foolish no, although no doubt it is in the dictionary. My LOsI, neither of which I liked were SWEETMEAT and TOUPEE in 16:44. I suppose the setters are allowed to have an off day but I look forward to a return to form.
  23. Like others, I put Couple instead of TOUPEE, as couple can mean lock and couple(d) would be more secure.??
    Otherwise finished eventually.
    FOsI. BUTTERCUP, BOUT, ECO. Felt a bit smug about the latter but pride comes before a fall.
    Struggled around the rest of the grid. Managed STET (due to former job), SWEETMEAT. Slow in SW as well as SE, though HEART TO HEART sprang to mind straight away luckily.
    Also struggled with the anagrams AMPHITHEATRE and HALITOSIS.
    Biffed ANIL and saw snug as a bug in a RUG. No problem with GIFT though.
    Thanks, Rotter, for much needed blog.

  24. Mm, what to say about this one. We raced through the top third — so far, so good — then we struggled our way to the end. We have never come across GIT as meaning someone stupid (our understanding was that it relates to an unpleasant or contemptible person) and clearly not all unpleasant people are stupid so we struggled with this one until the checkers were in place. Like others we took a while to get TOUPEE even though we were focusing on locks = hair. In the end we finished in 22 minutes feeling slightly frustrated with our efforts but pleased to have avoided a DNF.


    Thanks Rotter and Wurm.

    1. Like Phil, I came here to check as I found it hard to believe TOUPEE, my last one in with a big shrug, was the answer. Yes I know cryptic definitions can be a bit marmitey, but I really didn’t like this one. 6:59.
  25. Slow progress all round on this one, which I thought was very tricky. Had to dredge up porbeagle from some dark recess of the subconscious but originally spelled it porebagle, which I only corrected when I saw amphitheatre. Had no idea what was going on with 3dn, never having heard of Umberto Eco, so eventually bunged in ego. Several answers biffed so thanks to Rotter for the elucidation. Not great fun today imo, but that may be just because I found it so difficult.

    LOI – 16dn TOUPEE
    COD – nothing stands out although I quite liked 6dn ROBOT and 11dn HALITOSIS.

  26. A terrible puzzle. To many obscure clues and answers for a QC. Fine for all the experienced solvers who do these puzzles in under 10 but not for those who really want a QC.
  27. Seventeen minutes all done, mostly parsed, hooray. This seems to be my usual solving time lately. Pleased to finish after two rather annoying DNF’s with a letter or two wrong. But lucky, I have to say, as I biffed toupee and wondered why there were two wigs in the grid. Two wigs and a head to put them on. FOI buttercup, LOI ahead. COD the shark attacking the bargepole. Agree with everyone about the git.
    Late posting as have been for a walk around Nobottle – now going to look up why it is so called. Thanks, Rotter and Wurm
  28. Plenty of porbeagles hereabout, so no problem with that. Never thought of them as particularly voracious in the sharky way of things however.
    ANIL was a new word for me, first for a long time, but clued clearly. Same MER as others about the wig and the delicacy, and wasted time thinking BOUT was tooo obvious and not very cryptic, but no alternative presented itself so in it went.
  29. An assisted 1hr40 for me. So I guess that’s technically another DNF.

    40-mins this morning (7-8 clues in first 20mins then not much extra).

    A further hour this afternoon where I started checking my answers after 45-mins as I began to lose the will to live. A couple of small corrections got me PENDANT, NET and ANIL then bludgeoned my way through THIAMIN (finally remembering it), SHADOW, WAD.

    LOI TOUPEE (bludgeoned)
    NHO ANIL, PORBEAGLE (but thought as we were looking at predators it likely ended in EAGLE)

  30. Late start, and no finish. Did manage to guess Porbeagle, but refused to put STET in, as never heard of it and it looked unlikely.

    Also missed TOUPEE, although I did have the right sort of locks.

    NHO ANIL for that matter either

  31. Pleased to have everything correct in the end, but I would have been closer to the half hour mark had I not spent several minutes convincing myself that SWEETMEAT was definitely right (by seeing how the clue worked), that TOUPEE was probably right (even though I didn’t see what the “perhaps not totally secure” was doing) and that STET was the most likely thing, though I’d never heard of it. One thing I didn’t have a problem with was PORBEAGLE, and I can’t help feeling that if RABELAIS, HEGEL and whatshisface (I’ve already forgotten him – no I haven’t, it was TARTUFFE) can appear in a QC, then the common name of a British species of shark that I’ve known about since childhood, can have a place too. We all have different GK. Final time 37:41, COD BUTTERCUP. Thanks Wurm and Rotter.
  32. Struggled with this one and failed on CANUTE, PORBEAGLE and TOUPEE despite having clicked that locks was hinting at hair of some sort.
  33. Very late solve by the Randoms and, I’m afraid I haven’t got time to read everyone’s thoughts and comments. However, I will do so tomorrow.

    In summary, I found this QC incredibly difficult. The wordplay in several of the clues seemed very contrived and, even though I somehow staggered over the finish line unaided, I remained unsure of the parsing for more than a third of them. That shouldn’t happen nowadays (I’ve been going at this for 20 months, now), so I would suggest it wasn’t really a QC. 66 minutes for me.

    Mrs Random, of course, would (rightly) take issue with my conclusion, as she polished it off in just 21 minutes. Her mysterious ability to guess randomly, but also correctly never ceases to amaze me.

    Many thanks to Wurm and Rotter (I will go through your blog at leisure tomorrow).

  34. This was one of the hardest QCs I’ve attempted. I failed to finish for most of the reasons listed above, though I did learn that anyone calling me a stupid git can be informed of their tautology. Unless, of course, their meaning is that I am both foolish and a contemptible person.
  35. I found it difficult. Didn’t know the shark although I was almost there with the letters of the anagram. Hate anagrams. Stet means let it stand not let it be. That is amen. Also re means about or concerning or in the case of not on, surely? Didn’t know anil but guessed it.
  36. Found this one impossible. PORBEAGLE, TOUPEE, PENDANT all stumped me among many others. I actually use STET in everyday life (publishing background) but didn’t get it. Ah well.

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