Times Quick Cryptic No 2309 by Wurm

A neat Quick Cryptic from Wurm today. After ABNORMAL LOAD yesterday our overseas solvers might find another couple of clues requiring some UK-centric knowledge, but, as a local, no such problem for me. Much to like here – I had ticks against 9A, 15A (my LOI), 5D, 14D, 21D and, my Clue of the Day for its excellent surface, 19D.  Finishing in 4:42, it completed an unusual  full week of sub-5 minute times for me. Thank-you Wurm. How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic.  This time it is my turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the crossword, entitled “I Can Sing A Rainbow Too”, here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 68 here.

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, {deletions} and [] other indicators.

1 Fellowship of real ale drinkers crossing a delta and lake (11)
CAMARADERIECAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale; real ale drinkers) [crossing] A, D (delta) ERIE (great lake). Hmm. I wonder if our overseas solvers will know of CAMRA?
8 Good news for investor? Buy in quantity! (5,2)
STOCK UP – Double definition, the first a cryptic hint.
9 Please employ snuff! (5)
DOUSEDO USE (please employ). Snuff as in snuffing out a candle.
10 Dishevelled having suffered blow? (9)
WINDSWEPT – Cryptic definition, where blow is what wind does.
12 Drinks cooler that is cold inside (3)
ICEI.E. (id est; that is) with C (cold) [inside].
13 Brides distraught in the rubble (6)
DEBRIS – (Brides)* [distraught].
15 Cleric in bother about religious instruction (6)
PRIESTPEST (bother) [about] RI (religious instruction).
17 Devour pork for example leaving starter (3)
EAT – {m}EAT (pork, for example) without the first letter, [leaving starter].
18 Irish leader to put round article: one shilling apiece (9)
TAOISEACH – I was glad of the wordplay to help me spell this… TO [put round] A (article), I (one) S (shilling) EACH (apiece).
20 Is seeing television commercial in reverse? (5)
DATES – SET (television) AD (commercial) [in reverse] -> DATES.
22 Japanese massage — it has us relaxed (7)
SHIATSU – (it has us)* [relaxed].
23 Boorish behaviour by boss — he’s in for a shaking (11)
YOBBISHNESS – (by boss he’s in)* [for shaking].
1 Amusing performer depressed in outskirts of Croydon (5)
CLOWNLOW (depressed) [in] [outskirts of] C{roydo}N.
2 Improvised fashion garment (9)
MAKESHIFTMAKE (fashion) SHIFT (garment).
3 Repair damaged fencing sword (6)
RAPIER – (Repair)* [damaged].
4 Moore a failure? (3)
DUD – Double definition. The first the actor, comedian, musician and composer Dudley Moore.
5 Carter out in Egypt holds standard (7)
ROUTINE – Hidden in, [holds], CarteR OUT IN Egypt. A nicely disguised hidden with other potential wordplay indicators (out, in) to lead you up the garden path. As Slowcoach reminded me in the comments,  Howard Carter was the archaeologist and Egyptologist who discovered Tutenkhamun’s tomb. Very clever.
6 Love hunt, here sabotaged at the last minute (8,4)
ELEVENTH HOUR – (Love hunt here)* [sabotaged].
7 Fast start when Sheffield team includes Henry (3,9)
ASH WEDNESDAYAS (when) WEDNESDAY (Sheffield Wednesday, the football team), including H (Henry, the SI unit for electrical inductance). The football team is another bit of UK knowledge that may test our overseas solvers. Or did you all know it?
11 Revolver found at entrance to ground? (9)
TURNSTILE – And staying with football… a related cryptic definition.
14 Objection raised after City’s home fixture (7)
BATHTUB – Despite the surface, the answer to this one isn’t football-related. BATH (city) BUT (objection) [raised] -> TUB. Bath City is a football club, though, currently playing in the National League South.
16 Hieronymus perhaps swallowing king’s soup (6)
BORSCHBOSCH (Hieronymous, perhaps) [swallowing] R (king). The beetroot soup of Eastern Europe. Other spellings are also available.
19 Choir members in cathedral to sing (5)
ALTOS – Hidden, [in], in cathedrAL TO Sing.
21 Runner starts to sprint and keeps improving (3)
SKI – Initial letters of [starts to] Sprint Keeps Improving.


62 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2309 by Wurm”

  1. NHO CAMRA, NHO the Sheffield team, but that didn’t stop me from biffing. I never know how to spell TAOISEACH. 6:54.

  2. ‘Overseas Solver’ from the US here. Didn’t have too many problems with the UK-centric words–tonight anyway.

    Biffed ‘camaraderie’ in 1a because of ‘fellowship’ and the initial ‘c’ from 1d, and the final ‘Erie’. Never heard of CAMRA, but now that I have I’d like to hoist a few with them.

    Ditto re ‘Ash Wednesday’: biffed that because it was the only possible answer given how much of the grid I had completed. ‘UK sports’ is my weakest clue category. Now I need to do some reading on Sheffield Wednesday.

    Favorite answer tonight was 16d ‘borsch’: simple and smile-worthy.

  3. Not knowing about Japanese Massage, I used the DuckDuckGo search engine to check my spelling. I now know FAR more about Japanese Massage than I need to!

    Google is far more circumspect!

    All the others went in rapidly.

  4. Really liked this puzzle. Steady solve until last half dozen clues which took 10 mins. For me 24 mins (on phone at 3am) is good LOI 5d ROUTINE. Liked the misdirection of Howard Carter famous Egyptologist of 1920s. (? discovered Tutenkahmun’s tomb). Also looked for Jimmy didn’t like standard as definition for routine. In 14d Didn’t really get definition of BATHTUB as home fixture but nicely clued otherwise. Thanks to Wurm and Johninterred.

    1. Thanks for the reminder about Howard Carter, which I’d missed. Now added to the blog.

  5. Well into the SCC at 22:57, but was sure it would be a Pink day, so at least it was only a Green Paint day.

    LOI PRIEST because I had “bother” as FRET or ADO, then various clerics such as VEN, FR, DD, ELI, REV. With no checkers I was sure AREVDO might be some kind of Muslim school…

    Slow to see DATES=“is seeing”, and ELEVENTH HOUR was a real struggle.


    1. I’ll look out for AREVDO as a potential answer now somewhere 😂

      With all bar one of the checkers in for 2D I was determined to parse MINISKIRT somehow, despite everything screaming ‘not possible!’.

  6. 9 minutes. I lost time over the Irish PM which I can never remember despite repeated attempts to make it stick in my brain, but fortunately with a couple of checkers in place and after thinking the clue through I got to it eventually.

    No problems with CAMRA today which as a seasoned beer-lover I have known of since it was founded in 1971, but on its last appearance (in a QC last August when I was on blogging duty) I struggled for 6 minutes to see it in wordplay clued as ‘beer drinkers’. I felt I would never live that down!

  7. 15 mins with LOIs PRIEST and ROUTINE – the former because I was set on RE not RI despite the clue being explicit (and PRIEST being the most obvious biff ever for cleric.) The latter was just well hidden – well, to me anyway.

    I found a fair bit to chew on throughout. I was very satisfied with myself when DOUSE went in.

    Thanks Wurm & John

  8. Got both the first two but then just two more on my first pass of acrosses – although I also knew it had to be TAOISEACH but wanted to wait for the downs to help. Footfall then helped with ASH WEDNESDAY and TURNSTILE going straight in and providing handy checkers, particularly for YOBBISHNESS which became a write-in with the Y. The missing T in BORSCH bothered me but not enough to stop me submitting – all green in 15.

  9. 13 minutes but with a pink square for CamEraderie. The danger of spelling it as per the pronunciation (and of not parsing it properly).

    Otherwise I found this tough but doable – the Dud/Douse pairing especially took time. A remarkable number of words in another language too – shiatsu, borsch (which both I and my spellchecker spell as borscht), taoiseach, even débris.

    Many thanks John for the blog and looking forward to the first Saturday Special of the year.

  10. I was on Wurm’s wavelength today, helped by 3 of the 4 long perimeter answers going straight in – the tricky one being ELEVENTH HOUR. Had TAOISEACH appeared in the concise crossword I would have spelt it wrong so was grateful the for the generous cluing. DO USE, DUD and PRIEST (wanted to fit RE in to it) were my last in, having started with CAMARADERIE.
    Finished in 6.39 with a lot of strong contenders for COD including DO USE and ROUTINE.
    Thanks to John

  11. Stretched a little by this one which took me over my target slightly. I knew the TAOISEACH, but waited for crossers to get the correct spelling. If I could only make myself remember that it breaks down into the phrase Tao Is Each! Once I’ve got it, of course it come back to mind. A careful parsing of 1a avoided the CAMERADERIE trap. ELEVENTH HOUR was LOI. 10:24. Thanks Wurm and John.

  12. Very slow and dim today, but every time there was a PDM I thought ‘should have got that sooner’. e.g. CLOWN wasn’t difficult. Had I solved it at first glance, I wd have biffed CAMARADERIE. And that wd have been a good start. As it was, I dotted rather glumly about the grid solving randoms. Thought Sheffield was Wanderers then I remembered WEDNESDAY and got the ASH. Lucky that the Irish leader was generously clued as spelling v tricky.
    Liked MAKESHIFT, SHIATSU (knew that, at least), WINDSWEPT, TURNSTILE.
    LOI RAPIER as I was trying to use Epee. POI ROUTINE, groan, well hidden.
    Thanks vm, John.

  13. An interesting end to the week that shattered my illusion that I was good at spelling (yes, the rogue E in 1ac). Apart from that bit of hurried/lazy parsing, I was under 15 mins.
    I tried to add the T to BORSCH and had to settle for the 6 letters. DOUSE and DATES took some thinking out and I thought ROUTINE was a brilliant ‘hidden’. I liked BATHTUB and also ASH WEDNESDAY when the ASH finally clicked (d’oh). I was pleased to select MAKESHIFT instead of biffs that came to mind.
    Good puzzle and blog. Thanks to both. John M.

  14. 14 minutes for me delayed by having MINISKIRT in my head for 2d. My last two were STOCK UP and MAKESHIFT.
    Carter was a neat misdirection; it worked on me.
    And I corrected my spelling in CAMARADERIE having followed Cedric at first.
    A good puzzle.

  15. A small handful of seconds over my target of 15 minutes for this excellent puzzle from Wurm. Where help with spelling was needed (TAOISEACH, CAMARADERIE, BORSCH) it was provided by the wordplay. ROUTINE was a brilliant hidden, but my COD goes to DOUSE for its simplicity. Great blog from John, thanks to both.

  16. Did not find this one too difficult, though I did get a little stumped over spelling of BORSCH as my dictionary had it as BORSCHT, which didn’t fit. However, I was sure BORSCH was right, so in it went. Never heard of Hieronymus so struggled there for a bit.

    Had no idea of the Japanese massage, but as I did with a clue yesterday, I wrote a list of possible answers from the remaining letters of the anagram and chose the one that “looked right”.

    I was also confused with 15a. I wanted to put PRIEST, but held up by thinking of religious instruction being RE, which would have given me PREIST. But it just had to be Priest, so again in it went.


  17. I thought this was at the tricky end of the QC scale, so was pleased to find myself in the top 10 on the leaderboard.

    FOI CAMARADERIE (I’m a CAMRA member, first joining in the 1970’s)

    LOI ELEVENTH HOUR (or in this case fourth minute)

    COD DOUSE (raised a smile)

    TIME 3:53

    My pride has, however, been severely punctured by abandoning the 15×15 with 7 clues unsolved. And that after a typo yesterday. I suppose it stops me outgrowing my boots….

  18. I thought this was an excellent crossword and a tough test. I just crept in under target at 9.50, and felt I needed to be on form to do so. Would never have got the spelling right for the Irish leader had it not been for the direction in the clueing.

  19. Very pleased to survive unscathed today. I normally follow an SCC escape (which I achieved yesterday) with a DNF or a 1-hour marathon. Wurm tried his best to bring me down to earth, as I had NHO DOUSE for snuff, or of SHIFT as a garment (although I did at least know that MAKESHIrT wasn’t a word for improvised). He also seriously challenged me with TAOISEACH and CAMARADERIE, where I kept not realising that I should split ‘a delta’. In the end, however, I crossed he line all correct in 29 minutes (fast for me).

    Mrs Random started shortly after me, finished before me (in 21 minutes) and carried on knitting a leaving present for a friend who is moving away from the area. She’s very industrious is Mrs R.

    Many thanks to Wurm and John.

  20. 4:31

    Right on the wavelength today – everything I tried seemed to work – even the spelling of TAOISEACH.

    Thanks John and Wurm

  21. After a good start in the NW, I slowed down dramatically (Turnstile!) before coming to a complete halt with Dud, Douse and Routine unsolved. Dud went in from the definition (what next, a safe blowing chef ?), but Douse and loi Routine needed a second (and third) sitting. I still don’t know how I missed the hidden, but I certainly went down every rabbit hole I could find. Physician, heal thyself comes to mind. . . Invariant

  22. Dnf…

    Lots of errors from me today. Couldn’t get 4dn/9ac – mainly because I had “Pluse” for the latter which I think I made up. For some reason I thought Borsch was Gorsch and I had Makeshirt for 2dn. Completed my error ridden grid in about 21 mins.

    FOI – 1ac “Camaraderie”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 20ac “Dates” – took me a while to see this.

    Thanks as usual!

  23. 12.36 I enjoyed this one more than yesterday’s and it felt quicker but I was actually a minute slower. Finished by biffing ROUTINE, then spotted the hidden.

  24. Way off this. DNF in the end with DUD/DOUSE – have barely heard of Dudley Moore and douse/snuff seems tough. Didn’t matter because I’d assembled the random vowels in TAOISEACH wrongly anyway.


    Thanks Wurm and John.

    Templar in plane to Geneva whoopee

  25. Just under 15 minutes. I got a lot of these from definition and enumeration and then went back and parsed. Knew Camra from old friends and worked out the difficult spelling of Taoiseach from the clear clueing. BATHTUB was slow to get because when I saw the initial B I thought the BUT must start the answer. I didn’t get DUD until I had both D’s and then kicked myself. BORSCH(t)- beet or cabbage version?

  26. First time out of the SCC in 2023 at 18:43. Thought there were some rather lovely clues in there and enough anagrams/hidden words/easily built answers to give enough checkers for the tougher stuff.

    My only clue complaint was DUD where he’s a bit too old school for me as I’ve never seen 10 or Arthur which are his signature films and his TV days were behind him by the time I was allowed to stay up past 7pm. Not helped by his name being shortened and I was thinking Patrick (Moore) and then when the starter D appeared, Demi happily wandered into my thoughts for a moment.

    On another day the WINDSWEPT / TURNSTILES crossing could have been a struggle and my LOI MAKESHIFT really wanted to be a -SHIRT or -SKIRT especially as the attendant was drawing back the shutters and curtains and beginning to rattle the locks of the SCC. But I managed to hold back the urge to bif a wrong ‘un.

    Many thanks to bloggers and setters this week. Have a nice weekend all 😀

    1. Well done L-Plates. 👏👏👏

      I feared the worst when I saw it was a Wurm day, but, like you, I had a good one. Much needed after a trying week.

  27. Second good day running. 12 minutes.
    LOI Douse after just spotting the hidden Routine (as a feeling of dread was just beginning!) I got the Wednesday quickly but had initially considered Gross Up and struggled before Ash came into focus.
    Taoiseach of course needed all checkers and a careful construct but was achievable.
    Thanks all

  28. Was Dudley Moore every known as Dud Moore?

    Had Borscht in Russia many times but didn’t like the clue not knowing Hieronymus, and I prefer Solyanka.
    My suggestion would be: steal back school soup.

    13 min.
    COD Turnstiles.

    1. I think he and fellow-comedian Peter Cook were often referred to as “Pete and Dud”. (Often that is in the 60’s and 70’s!).

      1. ‘Pete and Dud’ were the iconic characters they appeared as in their TV shows and elsewhere.

  29. This seemed tough as I was doing it and I was pleasantly surprised when I stopped the clock at 16 minutes, which is about average for me. Never managed to parse DUD as I never thought of Dudley Moore. Never heard of SHIATSU but used Poison Wyvern’s method of assembling the missing letters of the anagram to something that looked as if it might be Japanese (googled it afterwards to check). Would not have been able to spell TAOISEACH without several crossers and a careful construction from the clue.

    FOI – 8ac STOCK UP
    LOI – 22ac SHIATSU
    COD – a number of contenders here but I marked these two on the way through: 7dn ASH WEDNESDAY and 14dn BATHTUB. Also liked 9ac DOUSE

    Thanks to Wurm and to John for the blog

  30. Quite a chewy puzzle. Struggled to spell first bit of TAOISEACH and guessed BATHTUB and DATES which I couldn’t parse – not seeing CITY as other than a football team for ages. Isn’t DUD(ley) Moore somewhat esoteric these days?

  31. I was so pleased to have remembered CAMRA from a previous discussion on this site but my good fortune ran out quickly. I did finish but in a decidedly slow (for me) 14:52 with the DOUSE/ROUTINE crossing. I also hang my head in shame as I got the BOSCH part of the soup clue from the fictional character in the novels by Michael Connelly!

  32. It’s an upside-down world chez PB – setters who I usually find hard have provided me with my best times this week (Izetti, Teazel and now Wurm) while it was the reverse with Oink and Trelawney. I don’t know what’s going on.
    So 9 minutes more or less on the dot for this enjoyable way to end the week. As others have said, there were some cracking surfaces here. I struggled a bit on DOUSE and ROUTINE but enjoyed the PDMs, and of course the vowels in TAOISEACH took a bit of unravelling! I liked MAKESHIFT, BATHTUB and PRIEST, and DUD made me smile (in more ways than one – I used to enjoy Not Only.. But Also a lot. Obviously showing my age here 😂).
    FOI Camaraderie LOI Douse COD Shiatsu
    Thanks Wurm and John

    Having read Phil’s comment about the biggie, I now understand why I’ve only got four clues so far, despite having worked on it for quite some time! I’m not sure whether to battle on or not …

    1. For Janet perhaps? But re Ninja Turtling, my most frequent interaction with Bosch is with various white goods 😂

    2. Yes, I liked Pete and Dud too, but other Moores sprang to mind at first – From Thomas to Demi.
      Congrats on recent swift times🙂

  33. Finished and all parsed in 10:44, which is fast for me. Held up slightly by switching the O and I in TAOISEACH, (which my brain insists on remembering by rhyming it with “tea shop”).

    No problems with the U.K. knowledge needed for 1a and 7d, but if setters ever start using Britishisms invented since I left in the early 90s I’ll be in trouble. Should be safe for a couple more decades, I think 😀.


    Thanks to Wurm and John.

  34. Later on: I decided to return to the biggie after our walk. Maybe the fresh air helped – I got some more, but finally threw the towel in with 4 to go. Not one I would recommend 😅

    1. Bad luck. But the SNITCH stands at 137, which is nearly “very hard”. Only 72 reference solvers have been successful (and 9 others completed but with errors), so you are in good company.

      1. Thanks John. By the sounds of it, I’m in very esteemed company! Not a place I’m accustomed too at all 😅

  35. Many years ago, I was a keen golfer. I eventually retired (or gave up) because I could never attain any kind of consistency. One day I would be in the 70s and the next in the 90s.

    This week’s QCs have reminded me of those days – two days of struggle, two days of being close to a PB (and then blowing it), and then today. For the first time this year, I definitely avoided the SCC, with a time of 17 mins. What makes it all the sweeter is that it was a tricky one.

    My LOI was BORSCH. I had a dreadful feeling that last clue syndrome was going to strike again, but I dredged up Bosch from somewhere. Happy days 😀!

    Some brilliant clues, with COD going to DATES, largely because this is the type of clue I often struggle with.


    Good to see some of my fellow SCC members having a decent day as well.

    Best wishes to everyone for the weekend and thanks to John for the blog.

    1. Well done Gary – it was as I predicted a couple of days back – good times were ahead.

      I used to golf as well until I got frustrated by being unable to find a coach who could unlock the power I should have had. Nonetheless scraped into the 70s on three occasions and a hole-in-one along the way.

      Of course the big difference with golf is that you normally play the same course day after day so other than conditions and flag settings, there isn’t much changing. Unlike the QC where the setters change daily AND their levels can be variable!

      Are you keeping the stats? I really feel they’re useful for getting a realistic picture of what’s going on. A way to remind of good times but also spot when we’re in a tough run.

      1. Thanks L-Plates.

        I never made a hole-in-one. but I was witness to several!

        You’re absolutely right about the difference between playing the same course and the ever changing daily challenge posed by the QC. I think that is why I find it so much more satisfying.

        I haven’t got into the habit of keeping stats yet, but it’s something I will do.

  36. Nina??
    I’m a lapsed Irish catholic having just watched an Xmas ghost story on catch-up.
    But I’m sure there’s something going on in this puzzle. J

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