Times Quick Cryptic No 2103 by Wurm

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Some neat surfaces, nice definitions and more unusual words in this puzzle from Wurm, and a European and Asian geographical feel to it, with several towns and regions included in the answers and clues.  My FOI was 1a after I could unscramble the anagrist, and unscrambling the rest took me 14 minutes for a within-target solve for the second time in two days.

Thanks to Wurm for the workout – there were a few tricky bits of parsing along the way.


1  Black lagoon swirling in city (7)
BOLOGNA – Anagram (swirling) of [LAGOON] after B{lack}, to give the northern Italian city.
5  Never right, agriculturist comes to prominence (4)
FAME – FA{r}ME{r} (FARMER = agriculturist), but drops the letters R (never right).
7 Major artery in Longleat Road to the west (5)
AORTA – Reverse (to the west) hidden in {longle}AT ROA{d}.
Private taxi almost back in one minute, making turn (7)
MINICAB – BAC{k} (almost back) IN (in) I (one) M{inute) all reversed (making turn).
10  There’s nothing in Kenilworth (3)
NIL – Hidden in {ke}NIL{worth}.  There are more than 22,000 residents in Warwickshire that might disagree with this statement.
11  UK decried broken down supplier (5,4)
EIDER DUCK – Anagram (broken) of [UK DECRIED].  Nice surface here, requiring ‘broken down’ to be lifted and separated, and then DOWN to be combined with SUPPLIER.
13  Judge I see with priest and prophet (6)
ELIJAH – ELI (the only priest in Crosswordland) with J{udge} and AH! (I see!).
14  Person who may register twenty runs? (6)
SCORER – SCORE (twenty) and R{uns}, although this could also be a cryptic, all-in-one definition.
17  Vibration caused by roller in good condition? (5,4)
SOUND WAVE – SOUND (in good condition) and WAVE (roller).  The question mark is because there are other types of roller.
19 Stable employee maybe happy, heading off (3)
LAD – gLAD (happy, dropping first letter (heading off)).
20  Roll containing old chicken (7)
ROOSTER – ROSTER (roll) containing O{ld}.  Something of a chestnut.
22  Cover and centre of magazine in yellow colour (5)
TOPAZ – TOP (cover) and {mag}AZ{ine} (centre).
23  Sailor on street to attack with knife (4)
STAB – ST (street) and AB (sailor – able-bodied).
24  Impulse to stop boy becoming doctor (7)
SURGEON – URGE (impulse) inside (stopping) SON (boy).


1  Beer artisan brewed is a problem (11)
BRAINTEASER – Anagram (brewed) of [BEER ARTISAN].
German siren from tradition that is left over (7)
LORELEI – LORE (tradition) and IE (that is, or id est) and L{eft} reversed (over).  Die Lorelei is a siren of German mythology.
3  Good dance party given by police in cemetary (9)
GRAVEYARD – G{ood} with RAVE (dance party) and YARD (police – Scotland Yard).
4  Weapon a lawyer in America ships (6)
ARMADA – ARM (weapon) and A DA (a district attorney – a lawyer in America).
5 Enjoyment in pool curtailed (3)
FUN – FUN{d} (pool = fund, curtailed = drop the last letter).
6  Scotsman needing gold in gambling mecca (5)
MACAU – MAC (Scotsman) and AU (gold – chemical symbol).  MACAU (pronounced mc cow) is a gamblers paradise, ex-Portuguese city, part of the People’s Republic of China).
Thirteen loaves? (6,5)
BAKER’S DOZEN – Cryptic hint.  Any set of 13 items can be called a BAKER’S DOZEN (or devil’s dozen or long dozen).  Google BAKER’S DOZEN to find out why.
12  Fish product around box on river in Kentish Town (9)
ROCHESTER – ROE (fish product) around CHEST (box) and followed by R{iver}.
15  Pearls cast before swine finally to deteriorate (7)
RELAPSE – Anagram (cast) of [PEARLS] followed by {swin}E (finally).
16  Crazy artists making medium-hot curry (6)
MADRAS – MAD (crazy) and RAS (Royal Academicians – artists).
18  Sinking vessel about to explode (1-4)
U-BOAT – Anagram (to explode) of [ABOUT].
21  Slow boat contrary to expectation capsized (3)
TUB – BUT (contrary to expectation) reversed (capsized).

41 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2103 by Wurm”

  1. 4:47, with a fair bit of biffing from crossers and enumeration. BAKER’S DOZEN seemed to be barely even cryptic.

    Thought EIDER DUCK was a superb clue though.

    Thanks Wurm and Rotter.

  2. Got everything eventually but had to come here to study blogger’s explanations. Thanks! Learned topaz is yellow and Lorelei was just one girl and not a chorus of sirens. I assume the nothing in Kenilworth was referring to the magnificent ruin of the castle. A friend and I were let off there while hitch-hiking years ago. Just googled it and was really impressed by all the history it was part of.
  3. At 6 minutes this was my fastest QC solve (inc parsing) since 8th March when I achieved 5 minutes, and was very welcome having spent the whole of last week in double figures. I lost half a minute because I wrote TUG at 21dn, not having thought it through properly.
  4. I blanked for a bit at __CHESTER, only Ilchester coming to mind (the number one best seller at the Natural Cheese Emporium), but then I got EIDER DUCK. 5:58.
    1. Ilchester a town near Yeovil — I’ve often visited, or at least passed through to collect friends on the way to teh Electric Studios.
  5. Bit distracted on thus and oddly needed a good minute or more for FAME (assumed it ended with an s) and the chestnut FUN.

    Also struggled with the city at 1ac

    Neat puzzle

    Thanks Wurm and Rotter

  6. I could not finish this one without a lot of help. Some very obscure clues.
  7. 28 minutes of absolute fun and all parsed. L/H side fell first.
    FOI: BOLOGNA unusual for me to get an anagram on first look followed by BRAINTEASER another anagram.
    LOI: SCORER for no other reason than it was the last one I looked at.
    COD: All of them, some lovely definitions and surfaces.
  8. Was on the right wavelength for once as I accelerated down to the SE to knock on the door at 19.30. Enjoyable puzzle. Only Ah unparsed. Ah! Thanks Wurm and Rotter.
  9. … to getting out of the SCC. Five to go at 16-mins … but held up by SOUND-WAVE, ROCHESTER, SURGEON, FUN, FAME.

    SURGEON eventually came when I paid it some attention. Helped by the recently added MADRAS (which I tried to overthink).

    That gave me ROCHESTER – I kept thinking case = box which doesn’t fit. Ultimately the clue combines my least two favoured areas of trivia – food and geography.

    SOUND-WAVE did for me, as I could only think of SOUND-BASE for “good condition”. And that was plopped in at 20:03.

    In an earlier parse I’d thought FAME/FUN but couldn’t parse them at all and took them out. So they were staring down at me throughout without any further help from unseen checkers waiting. It took another 1-2 mins for funD to present itself, BIFD FAME and register the DNF.

    LORELEI/ELIJAH held me up with the parsing.

    FOI – BAKERS-DOZEN. I thought this was a straight definition of one. Didn’t seem cryptic.
    LOI – FAME
    COD – ARMADA. Made me laugh that I even went back and reread the clue instead of moving on.

    You don’t get anything in this game for a DNF.

  10. Not as tricky as some of Wurm’s past offerings but some thought required. EIDER DUCK provided my favourite PDM for some time but my main hold up was LOI SOUND WAVE, where I couldn’t get SQUID GAME (I believe the name of a Netflix show) out of my head from the checkers.
    Finished just under target in 9.54.
    Thanks to Rotter
  11. After taking three quarters of an hour yesterday, this one somehow all fell in after 5:58, which may be the only time in history my solve = 1 Kevin. SOUND-WAVE was my LOI as it took a minute to recall what roller nearly always denotes.
  12. Just under 10 mins after a slow start. Pleased to finish after a bruising on the 15×15.
    Agree lots of good surfaces, liked brainteaser, eider duck and graveyard.
    LOI Rochester.
  13. ….and missed my target. Couldn’t see EIDER DUCK as a supplier and was reluctant to enter it. Didn’t know MACAU was some kind of Oriental Vegas either, and I usually spell it Macao anyway. Not much 6D for me today.

    TIME 5:19

  14. Yesterday, PUPA did for me. Today, it was ELIJAH. I got the priest (ELI) and I saw AH for ‘I see’, but J for ‘judge’ would never have occurred to me and I have NHO the prophet. So, I was forced to guess and put ELIZAH, as it seemed a biblical sort of name. Incidentally, why is J an acceptable abbreviation for ‘judge’? I’ve never seen R for ‘referee’, M for ‘magistrate’ or S for ‘sheriff’. Is it one of these things crossword solvers just have to learn, or is it something those in the legal profession would know?

    ELIJAH aside, I enjoyed the rest of the puzzle and made good progress, finishing in just 24 minutes. SOUND WAVE was a clever clue and MADRAS brought a smile to my face.

    Mrs Random took 30 minutes today, but her avoidance of errors means she takes the family point today … as usual, of course.

    Many thanks to Wurm and Rotter.

    1. You ask a very good question, src, and it’s useful sometimes to revisit things we take for granted and think them through.

      I looked in all the usual sources and found only Chambers has J for judge. It’s not in the Oxfords nor in printed Collins, but you would find it in the online version of Collins in the American sections.

      Wikipedia (not one of the usual sources when it comes to language etc) would seem to confirm your suggestion: J, an abbreviated title of a High Court judge (in Law Reports, etc.), e.g. Bloggs J.

      It’s rumoured that The Times has a limited list of permitted single-letter abbreviations and this one would appear to be on it as I have seen it many a time, but it does seem a bit of an oddity. Unlike say, J = Jack, which is in standard use in card games.

      Edited at 2022-03-31 11:29 am (UTC)

      1. Very interesting, and many thanks for your investigative efforts. I will try to remember it, but I find single-letter abbreviations with a real-life use (such as B for ‘bowled’ on a cricket scoresheet or M for ‘married’ on a family tree) easier, so I’m likely to make the same error a few more times before it finally sticks. Maybe this conversation will help cement it in place.
  15. Straight off the mark with BOLOGNA today, then just went where the crossing letters took me, finishing with BRAINTEASER in 6:33. Just under 30 seconds of proofreading turned out to be unnecessary, for a change. Liked EIDER DUCK. Thanks Wurm and Rotter.
  16. Took a while and needed a bit of help, but eventually got there. EIDER DUCK & ROCHESTER the major hold ups.
  17. Fourteen minutes, all parsed except Elijah, in which I did not see “I see”. FOI Bologna, thirteen on first pass. LOI brainteaser. COD u-boat. Thanks, Rotter, and Wurm.
  18. I thought this was quirky in a good way. LOI was FAME.
    Solved over lunch so not timed; nearer 15 minutes than 10.
    A slow start but once 1d went in, a lot came quickly. COD to EIDER DUCK but liked SURGEON and others.
    Not all parsed before entering. Helpful that I used to visit Rochester regularly. Haven’t been since lockdown.
  19. As a student it was regular practice to stagger into the local “indian” for sustenance after a night of binge drinking. A phaal curry was regarded as de riguer. Rigor mortis was not far away. Its sounds like the Carolina Reaper is a close relative. I shall pass on without hesitation.

  20. 16 minutes with all parsed except for TOPAZ (definite brain fade on that one). Very few acrosses on the first run through but managed much better with the downs. An enjoyable xwd, so thanks to Wurm and to Rotter for the blog.

    FOI – 14ac SCORER
    LOI – 4dn ARMADA
    COD – 11ac EIDER DUCK, with 14ac running it a close second.

  21. Struggled throughout and ended up with a typo on BRAINTEASER, which I should have spotted because SOUNDWAVE looked like it had to start with an E at one point — somehow ‘brainteassr’ made it to submission. Pink squares creeping back in after better vigilance recently.
  22. No time due to various puppy interuptions, but we found this fairly straightforward, no unusual words. Found 21d tricky and unsolved until we had the t and b.
  23. Single-letter indication is a mare in Crosswordland. The Times and DT have lists for them, but unfortunately, and as you might expect I suppose, they are not the same. In The Grauniad, The FT and The Indy it would seem that anything (that is found in Chambers) goes, which gets ridiculous as no-one is going to remember that P can be purl or pula as well as page.

    We need the j for judge to compile an authoritative — not to mention consistent — list.

  24. Some great clues and fun answers so thanks to all concerned
    Cod eider duck but liked armada
  25. Another enjoyable solve today, and at 17:16, considerably quicker than yesterday’s. Glad I remembered LORELEI from a previous QC. Liked U-BOAT and was almost sad that it was so easily biffable by the time I got to it with U_O_T already in. COD has to go to EIDER DUCK though. “Why on Earth is an eider duck a supplier?” I thought in exasperation, before one of those great PDMs. Thanks Wurm and Rotter.
  26. Thought there were some lovely surfaces here: 10ac “Nil” made me chuckle, as did 11ac “Eider Duck” and 12dn “Rochester”.

    DNK 2dn “Lorelei” — but it was obtainable. Main hold up though was 17ac “Sound Wave”, where it seemed to take an age before I twigged the last part.

    FOI — 6dn “Macau”
    LOI — 17ac “Sound Wave”
    COD — 11ac “Eider Duck”

    Thanks as usual!

  27. Pretty straightforward and nearly 5 minutes under target for the second day in a row though wasn’t entirely sure about ELIJAH or LOI ROCHESTER.
  28. Grateful to Rotter for the full parsing of Elijah – I had ELI and the JAH just had to be. FOI 1a Bologna LOI 2d Lorelei (was worrying about the correct spelling so left it until last. COD 3d Graveyard. Some lovely surfaces and misleading directions. Thx all.
  29. Hello all. As a relative newcomer to the Times Quick Cryptic and these comments, I am seeking a little advice. First, is there a list I can access that will tell me the meaning of the abbreviations used in these comments, and second, I notice that a couple of people have mentioned that their grid went all green – what does this mean? Many thanks for your help.

    Roy Mathers

    1. Hi, Roy,

      The abbreviations are covered in the Times for The Times Glossary. You will find a link to it somewhere towards the top of your screen depending on the device you are using. On a standard PC/laptop it’s on the RH side.

      The grid going green is something that happens when you complete a puzzle correctly online at The Times newspaper / crossword club site and click ‘submit’. If you have errors they will be highlighted in red.

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