Times Quick Cryptic No 2348 by Wurm

Good quality puzzle, pitched somewhere around average difficulty.

I really enjoyed this, with a lot of fun surfaces, well-constructed anagrams and a couple of more unusual bits of wordplay. The anagrams helped move things along nicely, and some crosswordy vocab staples continued the pace if you’ve seen them a few times before.

I clocked in at 6:27, quicker than the last couple of days. Lovely stuff – many thanks to Wurm!

Anagram indicators in italics.

1 Jack in bar, old music-maker (5)
BANJO – J(ack) in BAN (bar) O(ld)
7 Prepared banana, red for Indian side (4,5)
9 Vessel attached to second pipe (5)
SEWER – EWER (vessel) attached to S(econd)
10 Christian sacrament involved such a rite (9)
11 Hidden by tutu, monstrous belly (3)
TUM – “hidden” by tuTU Monstrous
12 Girl ultimately liked keeping cat, it’s stated (9)
ANNOUNCED – ANNE (girl) D (“ultimately” likeD) keeping OUNCE (cat)
14 Run car buyer gets for his money? (4,5)
TEST DRIVE – cryptic definition: read the clue as “Car buyer gets (a) run for his money”, and you have an idiom meaning “car buyer has an enjoyable experience”. Nice idea to pun on getting a run for one’s money, and with a test drive being free it works especially well. (I originally toyed with “run” being a (cricketing) drive in a test match, but that clearly led nowhere.)
16 Very good time in Hell? (3)
PIT – PI (short for pious = very good) T(ime)
18 Pig keeper: wind here’s terrible! (9)
20 I love wearing stupid expression (5)
IDIOM -I, O (love) wearing DIM (stupid)
21 Height of euphoria about English verse (9)
ELEVATION – ELATION (euphoria) about E(nglish) V(erse)
22 Move close, extracting a person beyond help (5)
GONER – GO NEAR (move close) “extracting” A
1 Hamper opinion surrounding request (6)
BASKET – BET (opinion/guess) surrounding ASK (request)
2 Hiram’s nephew resettled in US location (3,9)
3 Single chap died protecting king awaiting trial (2,6)
ON REMAND – ONE (single) MAN (chap) D(ied) protecting R[ex] (king)
4 Scandalous dance in two prisons (6)
CANCAN – a CAN being a prison. Originally scandalous, according to Wikipedia, partly because of the everyday wearing of something called “crotchless pantalettes.” (For hygiene reasons, apparently. One of those things that makes you wonder what future generations will pillory us for.)
5 Two bishops in sober company: Swedish group (4)
ABBA – B B (two bishops) in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous = sober company)
6 Made long story short? (6)
EDITED – cryptic definition
8 Special piano designed for religious sort (12)
13 What nun and faun have in common? Not getting close! (8)
UNENDING – nUN and faUN both have UN-ENDING. ‘Close’ as in ‘finish’.
14 Drunken treats for wine expert? (6)
15 Peninsula in Russian region sons must leave (6)
IBERIA – sIBERIA (Russian region), S(ons) must leave
17 Shock as river gets into reconstructed Metro (6)
TREMOR – R(iver) in reconstructed METRO
19 Antelope kicking tail shows style (4)
ELAN – ELANd (antelope), kicking tail = ditch the end


76 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2348 by Wurm”

  1. NAAN BREAD always looks odd to me, like ‘pizza pie’; it’s just NAAN for me. 4:30.

  2. 9:09. EPISCOPALIAN hard for me too. Thanks for explaining TEST DRIVE for which I didn’t understand the ‘money?’ bit . Just about put in the hidden “gaper” for GONER at 22a. Liked UNENDING and the surfaces for the small but perfectly formed TUM and PIT.

    Thanks to Wurm and rolytoly

  3. 9:28 928 Moors raid southern Italy, capturing Byzantine cities of Taranto and Otranto and enslaving the inhabitants.

    Gentle run after yesterday’s DNF. FOI BANJO which seemed familiar, LOI ELEVATION with its smooth surface.

    Crossword staples of PI and OUNCE made their appearance on their long walk to the retirement home.


    1. I would willingly pay for a taxi for them and relieve them of the walk if it sped up their retirement! Two more words seen “only in Crosswordland”.

    2. PI and OUNCE were problematic for me as someone who has only lived in Crosswordland for a year or so. The former especially so as it was my LOI and multiple options to choose from. Oh well 🤷‍♂️

  4. 9 minutes, so a welcome return to form achieving my target today.

    I’m not quite so enamoured with TEST DRIVE, but then I didn’t know the expression ‘have a run for one’s money’ could mean just to have an enjoyable experience, which I have since found confirmed as a secondary definition in Collins. The first one – the one that I know – is to come up against a strong and close challenge in a competition. And having got into nit-picking, at the test drive stage the driver has not yet bought the car and may decide not to do so, in which case no money would be involved.

    Elsewhere I wondered about the clue to EDITED which is barely if at all cryptic and is almost straying into single straight definition by example territory.

    1. Same on TEST DRIVE, in that never heard of a run for one’s money meaning having an enjoyable experience. I wondered instead about the point of view of the car dealer: the reason they give a test drive is ultimately with a view to making a sale.

      1. Same here, and I’m not sure I believe it, having never heard the expression used in that sense, only for situations in which you have put something in (not necessarily money, it might just be effort) in order to get something out. For me, the clue doesn’t make any sense, since test drives are free. Didn’t stop me writing it in, since ‘TESTDRIVE’ was obviously the solution given the letters already in place – it was my LOI though.

  5. Fast in the top, slower at the bottom before ending up with EDITING where the lack of hidden depth seems to have caught me out. EPISCOPALIAN jumped straight out which saved a bit of time and gave good checkers. Enjoyed EUCHARIST appearing but was very slow on IBERIA even though it must have appear a million times before and I needed the I to get TEST DRIVE. Ashamed to say I need the blog to understand GONER – moved on after ‘goaner’ and wasn’t thinking of splitting – school boy errors. All a few seconds over 10 thanks to EDITING pause.

  6. I found this one tough to start. After jumping around, trying to pick off a few ‘sitting ducks’, I began to make progress and it gradually came together.
    Some excellent clues and I managed to complete it on the cusp of the SCC but with a fat-fingered AANCAN.
    It looks as though I am the first of the slower solvers to post today but Indid parse them all. Ah well, at least I finished in time to get the train to Brum to see the Spitting Image show this afternoon (snow willing).
    Thanks to Wurm and Roly. John M.

  7. 7.21 which is fast for me. Too many anagrams for my taste. MER that editing makes something shorter. I have edited stuff and included extras. I don’t have Chambers etc. so no doubt Wurm is correct.

    1. I’d say 95+% of the time editing makes things shorter. But technically you’re right that it can also make things longer.

  8. I am a loyal and habitual SCC member, but today all done in 14 mins despite it not seeming fast by my normal pace. Lots of good clues but no real holdups. The top went in smoothly, aided by the two long anagrams, but slower towards the end.
    Slight hesitation faced with peninsulas and antelopes, but no big issues.
    Liked the neat anagram for EUCHARIST. Didn’t remember PI = good, but left with P*T I could see the answer!
    Needed the blog to understand GONER fully, but I wasn’t going to delay finishing to parse it completely.

  9. Found this decidedly chewy in places and had a quarter of the grid blank as my target time approached. Finally cracking the anagram for EPISCOPALIAN seemed to unlock things and I finished in a rush.
    I really struggled to work out what ‘Indian side’ meant and couldn’t get past IPL teams, which I knew wasn’t what the setter was looking for. A major forehead slap when the penny finally dropped.
    Finished in 10.23 with LOI TASTER and COD to GONER.
    Thanks to Roly for the blog and Wurm for the entertaining workout

  10. Not too taxing. I wasn’t convinced by TEST DRIVE, and, like Jackkt, I thought EDITED a bit weak too. Otherwise all good. When I saw SWINEHERD I had to glance at the byline to check it wasn’t Oink today. I liked GONER but COD to UNENDING. Thanks Roly and Wurm. 4:09.

  11. Very pleased with 8:31 while indulging in a 3+ course self serve buffet breakfast at a conference hotel, so plenty of pleasant interruptions (may still make it 4 courses yet).

    No problems at all bar the parsing of GONER thanks Roly for the fine blog as usual.

    While I didn’t, I thought there may be more here having a MER over ‘opinion’ for ‘bet’.

    Really enjoyed UNENDING.

    Thank you Wurm.

    Ps yep – pineapple and melon make it 4. Disappointingly no mango 😔

  12. Seems to be a mixed reception to this offering from Wurm, with some recording fast times and others finding it more challenging. I’m in the latter camp, with a 14 minute completion, but I can’t now really see why.

    My LOI was Edited, an odd clue and not cryptic at all really, and I needed the three checkers. Before that I was held up by Test Drive, which I don’t think works: the whole point of a test drive is that you don’t shell out any money for them. In my youth I drove quite a lot of cars way above my finances by claiming to be “considering” them as a possible purchase – good fun too until the local garages rumbled me and stopped the game.

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

  13. When I got EUCHARIST and EPISCOPALIAN I assumed it would be Izetti; then SWINEHERD made me think it was Oink. I wonder if they do these things on purpose?

    Anyway, quite gentle for a Wiggly Wurm. Got stuck only on LOI EDITED (which turned out to be because I’d typed EUCHARISY) and NAAN BREAD, where as so often turns out to be the case I followed the same line of thought as Plett11 and was trying to think of an IPL cricket franchise!

    All done and parsed in 08:46 for 1.9K and a Reasonable Day.

    Many thanks Wurm and Roly.


  14. 16:10 … pleased with that after the past couple of days. In fact, found myself thinking this is too easy early on and then having minor tremors as my computer screen began glitching because it was probably running some background process at the same time. This usually makes things unworkable and I have to reboot. Would have been miffed if it had undone me today but fortunately it affected nothing more than 1A.

    The left side was done in 6mins but the odd shape of the grid meant there were some places where checkers were sorely needed but never going to appear.

    At 12mins, I was left with NAAN-BREAD (I was spitting swear words convinced it was some place in India – “near Banda”), EPISCOPALIAN, GONER.

    PIT was my LOI and left with no obvious choice from the wordplay between PAT, PET, PIT, POT, PUT. And “Very good time” kind of had me thinking about PBs (or PRs for personal record as the Americans say). So it was a trepidatious final keystroke for the solve.

    One to remember!

    1. Lovely puzzle thanks. Was going to report a sub 30 minutes solve but put an E in Idiom and Epicopalian. Own silly fault for rushing for a time.
      After a few months of practice I’m becoming familiar with Ounce for a cat and pi for very good.
      COD 13d UNENDING – made me smile.

      1. Ahhh – unlucky that man but it’s a confidence booster to know you can start getting these sort of times.

        Must admit I wrote out episcopalian and crossed off the letters of the anagrist. But I was at about 14mins so not on for a PB and enough time to make it out of the SCC.

        That next good time will come for you #5. Good tenacity on having one more look at yesterday’s this morning as a warm-up 👍

  15. One day I will remember the chestnuts, Pi in particular. It catches me out every time before the penny drops. Didn’t parse Test Drive (thks Roly), jt COD, GONER and UNENDING. Comfortably in the SCC, usual chair, with coffee and petit pain. Thanks Roly

  16. Lots to enjoy here so thanks. I’m always irritated by pi – only ever see it in crosswords these days and I will keep making the point about girl – I’m married to an Ann who is in her 70’s and doesn’t like being referred to as a girl. Not really convinced by test drive either but unending is clever as is most of the rest. Only my opinions though!

    1. But Ann was a girl once … so why can’t “girl” be used to indicate “Ann”? Why would it have to be “woman”? The setter is referring to a hypothetical bearer of the name, not to an actual person (where the difference is, or at least may be, important). Wurm might have had a young Ann in his mind’s eye, not an older Ann.

      In the same way “Ed” could be clued as “boy” or “man”.

      (I don’t like random name clues, but that’s another matter.)

  17. Back on target at 11 minutes, which I am happy with – I was beginning to think that I had lost my mojo. LOI IBERIA and stand-out COD UNENDING. As for others, EDITED and TEST DRIVE didn’t really work for me. How about simply ‘Teddie dieted?’ for the first, and there are loads of options for the second. Thanks Roly and Wurm.

    1. I’m astonished that as a respected member of the blogging team IBERIA was your LOI. That whole Iberia / Siberia thing comes up so often it’s almost a chestnut.

  18. 11 minutes for me today , including quite some time over LOI CANCAN. I had the wrong definition in mind.
    Like others, I felt there was something not quite right about TEST DRIVE; it occurred to me straightaway but I felt it did not parse -still struggling.
    But a fun puzzle overall.

  19. Steady away today with BASKET getting me off the mark. Got NEW quickly at 2d but had to wait a while for HAMPSHIRE to materialise. UNENDING and GONER trickled in last. 8:01. Thanks Wurm and Roly.

  20. 5. 42. So about average for me. As with others I’m not sure test drive works, bet and opinion not really synonyms in my world, but unending my favourite clue once I understood how it worked. Thanks Wurm.

    1. 11:23. Almost identical take as you on TEST DRIVE , BET, and UNENDING- but in double the time!

  21. I thought it was a bit tougher than average, though my time of 8.11 doesn’t necessarily reflect that. Like Jack I was scratching my head over EDITED where I could only see a straight definition. The clue that gave me the most bother was NAAN BREAD, where like others, my mind immediately went to a cricket connection. It shouldn’t have really have, as my favourite accompaniment to an Indian curry is a Peshwari Naan.

  22. Thankfully more approachable than some recent puzzles, but had to guess a couple: PIT (not aware of PI= pious/very good – one to remember); TEST DRIVE (answer pretty obvious, but still don’t really get the money bit) and the long anagrams took a bit of time. Good to see a porcine reference not by setter Oink!

  23. 9:33, a big improvement over yesterdays DNF. Nice to meet the Ounce again, I will be sad when it is eventually retired.
    I have been solving in the club site for the last few days, since for some reason the direct web version will not load in Safari in my iPad. It works OK in Chrome however.

  24. I’m one of the ones on the easier side, with my first dip under 4 minutes so far this year.

    LOI was IBERIA, and I liked UNENDING.


    1. Well done, well up the leaderboard today I would have thought (although the Times Club keeps refusing to show me the actual list unfortunately)

  25. 7:53

    I wasn’t convinced by TEST DRIVE nor EDITED but otherwise all was quite comfortable, despite having only two across clues filled in on the first pass.

    Thanks to Wurm and Roly

    1. How do you manage to get that sort of time with only two on first pass?

      Usually I read through clues and move on if I’m not getting anything but that still takes me the better part of 5-6mins. I understand having read them allows time to ferment and they can seem more obvious on second look but even so …

  26. 8:47, I fair whizzed through it today, although I did first go for ODESSA instead of IBERIA, so a bit of amendment needed. Nice to see old favourite OUNCE as part of an answer – has anyone ever heard or used it outside of a crossword? TEST DRIVE took the longest as I couldn’t get the parsing…my first instinct was “Cash -” something. I’ll echo the previous commenter’s exasperation over the use of “girl” to denote a female name in crosswords. Actually this is an another example of something I’ve noticed a lot in cw’s – the rather antediluvian/outdated language often used. I’m not a born-again woke evangelist, but it’s surprising that it hasn’t been noticed and “cancelled”, to use the trendy parlance. For example, recently there was a clue in the main Times crossword along the lines of “Fat woman heads science team” (I’m paraphrasing) giving the answer FLAB. Even Simon Anthony on the Cracking The Cryptic YouTube channel mentioned it (and humorously substituted “enormous” for “fat”, Roald Dahl-style). Sorry for the rant, it’s just something I’ve noticed while doing all these puzzles 😉

  27. Seemed easier at first as my anagram-head worked for a change. Someone here advised writing out the consonants on one side and the vowels on the other and that did help today.
    Finally stuck on BASKET. Friend appeared unexpectedly wanting to walk dogs, and on return I had a PDM so finished the puzzle at last. FOI BANJO. COD ABBA.
    Thanks vm, Roly.

    1. I liked the ABBA clue too. Not sure if it’s an old chestnut and therefore didn’t get much respect, or simply people flew past it so quickly they forgot it. Four-letter Swedish Group really didn’t take much thought – so perhaps it was too generously clued to be appreciated.

      I too write my anagrams out by separating consonants and vowels. Not sure I picked it up from anyone, just that I never found the circular method any use.

  28. There were some clues that really had me thinking for a while. PI = good was one I had never heard of before, but I had P_T for 16a, so it had to be PIT.

    I really liked 13d, with nUN and faUN both ending in UN, therefore being “Un ending” words.

    I knew Episcopalian, but did have to check on the spelling.

    My last one in was 6d. I had _D_TED, but it seemed to take an age for it to drop on me.

    A nice puzzle that combined easy clues with some more thought provoking ones. I like these sort of QCs. Not too easy yet no nonsensical or pompous clues.


  29. Eucharist and Episcopalian were write-ins for me, and New Hampshire wasn’t far behind, so for once no anagram hold-ups. I didn’t bat an eye-lid over Test Drive, but bet/opinion and Edited as the answer for 6d, both left doubts over the parsings, even though they were clearly what Wurm intended. Loi, Idiom prevented a sub-20 – I was more than just a bit dim wondering what ‘idm’ had got to do with it. CoD to the wonderful surface of 22ac, Goner. Invariant

  30. After the last couple of days I was glad to finish all green in 22:16. If I deduct breakfast eating time, I’d probably be out of the SCC! It always helps when the long anagrams come early and quickly. Didn’t much like TESTDRIVE – my only entry not fully parsed – for all the reasons previously stated and was slow to remember OUNCE=cat. TASTER then ELEVATION (LOI) gave me the finish. COD UNENDING. Thanks Wurm and roly.

  31. 4:46 this morning, so a little below average time.
    I felt this was easier than Tues/Wed but harder than Mon.
    With this sort of grid, cracking the longer clues is usually key and today was no exception.
    Liked 13 d “unending”, I’ve seen the cryptic element only occasionally in the past.
    Agree there was the odd flaky clue, but I was happy to grant Wurm a little poetic licence, as it was a well crafted puzzle otherwise and fun to complete.
    Thanks to Wurm and Roly for the blog.

  32. 16 mins…

    Not too bad, but I had a few frowns on a few of clues: 14ac “Test Drive” and 6dn “Edited” in particular.

    The parsing of 20ac “Idiom” puzzled me, as the way it was worded sounded like the “dim” should be within the “i” and the “o”. In addition, I missed the two word split for 22ac “Goner” and the subtlety of 13dn “Unending”.

    I always forget “pi” can be short for pious.

    FOI – 1ac “Banjo”
    LOI – 8dn “Episcopalian”
    COD – 13dn “Unending”

    Thanks as usual!

  33. It feels so good when it all comes together so quickly. FOI NEW HAMPSHIRE and LOI ELEVATION with just a little hesitation over the spellings of EUCHARIST and EPISCOPALIAN (thankfully they were anagrams). I liked the device used in the cluing for UNENDING. 6:58 for an excellent day.

  34. A return to a more reasonable time after the last couple of days. All done in 18 minutes (seemed quicker, so I was surprised when I looked at the clock). Couldn’t parse GONER – thanks for the explanation Roly. Raised an eyebrow at TEST DRIVE and EDITED and also at the number of anagrams. However I really enjoyed the puzzle as evidenced by the number of ticks against clues that I liked.

    FOI – 1ac BANJO
    LOI – 16ac PIT (took me a while to remember pi=pious=good)
    COD – 13dn UNENDING. Also liked NAAN BREAD for the misdirection, SWINEHERD for the surface, CANCAN and ABBA.

  35. 23.46 At a glance I thought that “Hiram’s nephew” had the wrong number of letters and tried to make an anagram out of “in US location”, thinking that Hiram was perhaps a biblical character I had forgotten about. Madness. I also struggled with ANNOUNCED, but once those two were in the remaining holdouts followed.

    UNENDING was very good.

  36. Slow today, on a number of clues that were straightforward. No problem with 8d Episcopalian, but very slow with 14d taster. Enjoyable puzzle.

  37. 13:03

    Piece of cake after the last couple of days. Nothing too testing. LOI PIT which I didn’t parse but 3 letter words meaning hell starting P ending T are fairly limited.

  38. 12 minutes but carelessly wrote in Episcapalion and didn’t give it a second look.
    Needed the blog for 22a and 15d (surely should just be son not sons!)
    Never seen ounce = cat – yuk…
    Otherwise good fun for a dnf
    Thanks all

  39. Nice after yesterday’s fiasco
    All done and dusted fairly quickly although brain dead after a funeral
    So must have been easy

    1. An improvement Ian. You picked a tough week to return but this was a good showing. Great to see you back!

    2. Echoing GA.

      Over half right, stay focused on what you’re achieving to build confidence.

  40. Well done Ian for getting lots today. For me, as for you, this was much more accessible than the others this week. Thanks Wutm

  41. I improved on my time of yesterday by an hour, finishing in 13 mins. The long anagrams flew in for once and I had a few biffs. But for the ❄️, I would have been eating naan bread this evening at the Bengal Brasserie in Leeds.

    Contrary to many, I thought 14ac was a great clue. A car buyer gets a test drive (the ‘run’) from the seller in the hope that he will then buy the car (‘for his money’). Isn’t that how the clue works? That is how I read it.

    LOI – PIT
    PDM – not required

    It is unlikely to happen again, but I was chuffed to just pip Cedric, whose comments I always enjoy reading.

    Thanks for the excellent blog Rolytoly.


    1. Great work for the 13-mins GA 💪

      The classic phrase is “getting a run for your money” i.e. the buyer gets a test drive for their money, not the car. I don’t think it quite works but it was a nice attempt.

  42. I seem to be slowing down of late. Too many things to do and not enough time spent on crosswords. Hence, I was pleased to finish, if only in 23:28. LOI and COD ELEVATION. Thanks all.

Comments are closed.