Times Quick Cryptic No 2458 by Wurm

A quality puzzle, pitched a touch on the harder side of average.

I struggled a bit with the acrosses, only getting five on the first pass, but the downs were more forgiving. No major hold-up at the end either, to make a pleasant change: 8.39 (with several unparsed).

Some very nicely misleading definitions (such as 1ac and 12d), along with tricksy wordplay and good surfaces (19ac being my favourite) made for a lovely puzzle – many thanks to Wurm!

Anagram indicators in italics.

1 Banking controller in a role changed (7)
AILERON – IN A ROLE changed. As in a flap on a wing that controls how much a plane will bank/tilt.
5 Animal taking the writer into California (5)
CAMEL – taking ME (the writer) into CAL(ifornia)
8 Criminal locates impure silver perhaps (8,5)
9 French in luck having missed initial boost (7)
ENHANCE – EN (French for “in”) cHANCE (luck) missing the initial
10 Tosca for example   works in Latin (5)
OPERA – double definition, I suppose, just about. The plural of opus (work, in Latin) can be opuses or opera. But not opi. Never say opi.
11 Delight as property initially let (6)
PLEASE – P (Property “initially”) LEASE (let)
13 Clairvoyant touring London sees crime (6)
FELONY – FEY (clairvoyant) touring LON(don). I was aware of several senses of FEY, including supernatural, but not specifically clairvoyant. It’s there in Collins and Chambers though.
15 Girl around island back for crop producing fibre (5)
SISAL – SAL (girl) around IS. (island)… er, oh right, that’s not it at all: so it’s LASS (girl) around I (island) “back” = reversed.
16 Airborne 12 preferred defensive feature (7)
PARAPET – PARA (airborne soldier (as per 12d)) PET (preferred). PET as an adjective.
19 Snog then it’s off with brief amour (3-5,5)
ONE-NIGHT STAND – SNOG THEN ITS off , AND (with). That sneaky AND for WITH, it can always catch you out.
20 Singer a little overweight? Enormous! (5)
TENOR – nicely hidden in “a little” overweighT ENORmous
21 To agree — completely! (7)
TOTALLY – TO in plain sight and TALLY (agree)
1 Cider producer doubling pressure in beer (5)
APPLE – doubling P(ressure) in ALE (beer). Well if you didn’t get this, maybe cryptic crosswords aren’t your thing.
2 The Leninist shot outside City in principality (13)
LIECHTENSTEIN – THE LENINIST shot, outside EC (City of London)
3 Control report of wet weather (5)
REIGN – is the same as report/talk of RAIN (wet weather)
4 European in sauna developed queasiness (6)
NAUSEA – E(uropean) in SAUNA developed
5 Fruit dessert to arrive without container (7)
COMPOTE – COME (arrive) without/outside POT (container)
6 Shiny layer from flap o’ the ormer possibly? (6-2-5)
MOTHER-OF-PEARL – FLAP O THE ORMER possibly. A semi-&lit clue, as the whole clue could pass as a definition for mother-of-pearl (but as “shiny layer” isn’t wordplay, it isn’t a pure &lit).
7 No song for a wake? (7)
LULLABY – cryptic definition, with a pun on wake: funerary in the surface; as opposed to a sleep in the literal.
11 Faint expression of petulance when idiot enters (4,3)
PASS OUT – POUT (expression of petulance) when ASS (idiot) enters.
12 Sild and roe prepared in private? (7)
SOLDIER -SILD and ROE prepared
14 Result of lob? (6)
UPSHOT – double definition
17 Clear others stashing MDMA (5)
RESET – REST (others) staashing E = Ecstasy = MDMA
18 Tray emptied to hold rum drink (5)
TODDYTraY “emptied) to hold ODD (rum)

61 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2458 by Wurm”

  1. Biffed the long ones–LIECHTENSTEIN, MOTHER-OF-PEARL, PRECIOUS METAL, ONE-NIGHT STAND–never bothered to parse, opening up the grid nicely. DNK sild, not that it mattered. I assumed that MDMA is Ecstasy. 4:53.
    I’m being given one hour in which to edit; wasn’t it 12?

    1. Yes, Johninterred installed an update yesterday following a change by WordPress that prevented the editing time displaying correctly as it had done previously. I think he’s planning to make an announcement but you spotted it first. Another change is the new Commenter Notes page on the Help Menu which mentions that the editing time is now 1 hour.

      1. It is actually a problem with the plug-in that we use for comment editing that started displaying countdown as 11:719:59 after a recent update. Did anyone spot that? Their attempt to fix it failed so I just changed the parameter from 720 to 60 minutes. Announcement about that and a couple of other minor changes when I’m home again next week.

        1. Yes absolutely I spotted the bizarre 11:719:59 and wondered at it – but why does that earlier fault now mean we only get one hour to edit? Or will that also be “corrected” back eventually? I would welcome a few more hours – frequently something occurs to me later in the day. What was the drawback (i.e. for the admin) with 12 hours?

          1. I would appreciate it if we could reset to 12 hours again. I sometimes post late at night, here in the US, when typos are more likely.

        2. Another surprising and unwelcome development is that I seem to be logged out every time I leave the site and later return, despite ticking the Remember me box. Any suggestions?


          1. That happened to me for a while a while back, and then it stopped happening; I have no explanation.

          2. Yes, that happened to me, too – that’s how I temporarily lost my avatar. But now I’ve redone the bookmark so that when I click on it, it gets me immediately to the QC blog and “Log Out” at the top, i.e. I seem to be logged in. Maybe the problem is now solved?

            1. it appears one stays logged in as long as one does not close the website, but it logs you out if you do (or if you turn your phone off for example).

              Hardly a major crisis but unhelpful and it didn’t happen before. A bit of a puzzle.

          3. Have a look at your browser’s cookie and privacy settings.

            If your browser (or an add on) is configured to delete cookies when you close the page or when you close the browser then you will be logged out. If you use private browsing this also deletes cookies and logs you out when you are finished.

  2. 14:02. I parsed SISAL with SAL and not LASS but see from the blog it’s the latter that’s correct. I had TENOR for ages but couldn’t see why as I often have trouble remembering to look for hiddens. REIGN as control seems like it must be right but the only sentences I can think of using either word don’t seem to allow for substitution. Never eaten an ORMER but they look tasty online.

  3. Like Kevin I entered the four longies straight away without having to fiddle around unscrambling anagrams etc. I mean how many 13-letter principalities are there? Got round in 8.51, the COMPOTE/FELONY intersection and UPSHOT (it looks easy now) taking a chunk of time at the end. I too went SAL and IS. A nice puzzle, thanks to Wurm and roly. So fey means clairvoyant? You learn something every day. Well, you do here.

    Oh I’m being given 59 to edit as well.

  4. Today I found out that I didn’t know how to spell either AILERON or LIECHTENSTEIN. 😀
    But I knew what I meant and understood how the clues work, so not too upset with my pink squares. All done in 14:48.

    Thanks to Wurm and rolytoly.

  5. I finished in 10 minutes, which was welcome after yesterday’s rout. I’d have been faster but for confusion in my mind over 3dn where ‘control’ clued as a homophone for ‘rain’ surely had to be REIN, but that wouldn’t fit the squares available. I went for REIGN eventually but it was only after I had stopped the clock that I could see how it fitted the definition.

    FEY as ‘clairvoyant’ was unknown but the answer had to be FELONY.

  6. A long solve for me but I enjoyed it, coming in at just over 30 minutes. I got bogged down in a couple of strategic places. I saw LICHTENSTEIN quickly but took ages to spell it properly, and I spent way too long on ONE NIGHT STAND as it had to be right but I couldn’t see the ‘AND’ so biffed it. MOTHER OF PEARL was satisfying. AILERON made me smile.
    Thanks Wurm and Roly. This provided a very nice start to my day.

  7. A nice puzzle, done in 9 minutes with the Upshot/Parapet crossings the hold-outs and LOsI. Not immediately obvious once I had got them why these two took so long.

    Like others, I did not know that meaning of Fey (and wasn’t expecting London in the clue to give just LON), so Felony parsed after entering, and I also had a double-take at Control = Reign. But otherwise no problems.

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

    1. RE LON
      I’m not sure that I’ve seen it before now as an abbreviation for London but I do know that when you type in LON in a flight search it means London all airports.

  8. A rare visit to the SCC as I usually throw in the towel at 20:23. Pink square for LIECHTENSTEIN, there are many ways to spell it wrong, and I found one.


    BTW if you’re the kind of person that likes to edit your comments, John applied an update so you now only have one hour, not twelve.

  9. Massive hold up in the SE. Loved TOTALLY when I finally got it and PARAPET too but it was UPSHOT that held out to the end to finish with a groan. MOTHER OF PEARL held out a long time because I’ve heard of it but don’t know what it is or what it’s for and even RESET for ‘clear’ was hard for me. All green in 18.

  10. Made short work of this with my only issues being the order of the ‘e’ and the ‘i’ in AILERON, a word I always struggle to spell, and briefly looking for an obscure fruit rather than a dessert for COMPOTE.
    Felt rather satisfied to finish a Wurm puzzle quickly only to discover a typo in SISEL 🤦‍♂️.
    Thought LULLABY was particularly good.
    Thanks to Rolytoly

  11. Just under 11 minutes. Thank goodness for the crossers for the spelling of LIECHTENSTEIN. I didn’t know FEY for ‘clairvoyant’ as an adjective either so it was my last in. With AILERON and CAMEL as the first couple in, I wondered if there was going to be an aviation theme, but it didn’t go any further. Favourite was the surface for TENOR; bring anyone to mind?

    Thanks to Wurm and rolytoly

  12. Beaten by FELONY, RESET, AILERON (went ‘aeliron’ stabbing at a mythical Greek river!), CAMEL (was looking for CxxxA = “cinka”?!) and so missed LULLABY too.

    So not a good day for me.

    Thanks, of sorts, to Wurm and thanks to Roly for the very clear blog.

  13. Just posting to experience the 1hr v 12hr edit timeframe as I haven’t registered a window of editing opportunity before. MER and NOA (nod of approval) at MDMA =E…very progressive. 13min -many thanks to Roly and Wurm

  14. A good puzzle. All my comments (FEY, Wurm’s spelling lessons, and clever misleading definitions etc.) have been made already. Like others, I finished with PARAPET and LOI UPSHOT, the last one taking time. I finished 3 mins over target despite a quick start – Wurm has put me back in my place after a quick solve yesterday.
    Thanks to Wurm and Roly. John M.
    P.s. I often find typos in my posts after sending. The new, limited time for correction is a good idea but I will need to be quicker with my post-posting proof-reading.

  15. Another who didn’t know FEY means clairvoyant. I had REINS for 3D at first which left me scratching my head over 9A for too long before I realised. And then I tried to make 20 TITAN, failing to spot the hidden. Ironically, I am away in Southwell for a few days at the moment singing TENOR in the choir guesting for the minster choir during their summer break. Time to head for rehearsal now. Time for the puzzle 5:44

  16. I liked this one a lot.

    Slightly held up by LIECHTENSTEIN – I was looking for an increasingly unlikely city in Wales before I finally saw the light.

    DNK FEY = clairvoyant, though that seems universal! Liked banking controller, but ONE NIGHT STAND made me smile.


  17. The four long anagrams all came very quickly but, unlike Kevin and his ilk probably, I had needed the help of a few crossers. With the top half finished I thought I was heading for a record time, but then Wurm’s tricks got the better of me and overall time was average. MER at FEY, FOI AILERON, LOI UPSHOT, COD TOTALLY. Thanks Wurm and Rolytoly.

  18. 9 minutes today, on the wavelength.
    LIECHTENSTEIN and PRECIOUS METAL came easily and my only hold ups were FELONY and LOI MOTHER OF PEARL.
    As noted, a high quality puzzle.

  19. A bit harder for me today, pushing me over an hour. But got there in the end. AILERON was my favourite.

  20. Could only do half of this in an hour – now I really must get on with the day. NHO AILERON but it had to be. California can be CA, but where/how CAL? Ditto LON for London; is this permissible, PAR for Paris, MIL for Milan, and so on? Never seen that. NHO MDMA, FEY (in that sense) or (I thought) SISAL but should have remembered that from a QC some months back. Misery. Thank you, Roly, for all the explanations.
    Sorry, Rotter, I belatedly realised it was that sort of rum, and deleted my bewildered question at the same time as you answered it.
    As a coin (and erstwhile stamp) collector I have no problems with obscure places like LIECHTENSTEIN!

    1. I think CAL is a fairly standard abbreviation for California, usually with a full stop, where CA is the two-letter state indicator. LON for London is admittedly rarer, but not unreasonable. When I was an ankle-biter growing up in Leicester, there was a well-known tramp in the city centre that everyone knew by the name of ‘Rum Weather’, because he would constantly reiterate that phrase and spit as he wandered around the market-place, meaning of course ‘odd weather’. RUM=ODD is very common in Crosswordland.

      1. Cal(.) and Calif. have long been accepted abbreviations for California, long before the Post Office adopted the set of two-letter abbreviations for states. (For an alumnus like me, at least, Cal is what we call the University of California (at Berkeley, it goes without saying.)

        1. OK, pill duly swallowed. But you can’t plead that in the case of LON = London, can you?

  21. A few minutes of panic whilst no principalities with long names would come to mind, but then a few crossers and actually trying to parse the clue restored order. RESET and UPSHOT also had me a little concerned at the end but I got there. I did know fey so that helped.
    Needed Roly’s help to fully parse 19A. Good grid, good puzzle.

  22. 12 and a half minutes of enjoyable solving! As for others, FEY was new to me. I saw the first three across answers off the bat, and then all of their descendants for a very quick start, then slowed some to finish with UPSHOT and TOTALLY in that order. Thanks Wurm and Roly.

  23. 12:11 (Llewelyn the Great agrees peace treaty with King John)

    Liechtenstein jumped out of the page, but proved hard to spell – my first attempt was a letter short, with one T unused.

    CAMEL not spotted on first pass, since I was looking for a C…A word. However Cal gets used in CalTech, so it’s not just a crossword thing.

    Thanks Wurm and Rolytoly

  24. 8:17

    Knowing from the start that Wurm is one of my nemeses in QC land, I resolved to make a fast start – knowing how to spell AILERON off the bat and remembering that with LIECHTENSTEIN, there are NOT two EIs in it, so the second being STEIN, the first must be spelt LIECH, certainly helped.

    As with others, the long answers were all bifd without checking the parsing. The only remaining question marks for me were clairvoyant = FEY and MDMA = E (I never knew!).

    Result? Middling – I brought down my average against Wurm by less than 10 seconds, but I’ll take that…

    Thanks Wurm and Roly

  25. TOTALLY enjoyed this crossword which was ENHANCED by my CODs of LULLABY and AILERON which had me laughing into my cornflakes. AILERON is one of those words that for me has such a pleasing ring to it and I love sitting by the window and watching them on planes.

    SISAL is one of those words from the Crosswordland farms.

    Thanks Wurm, great puzzle and RolyToly.

  26. DNF. Couldn’t get a few of the clues. Thought 19a was a very poor clue indeed.

    Was surprised I got Liechtenstein so quickly. Took a long time over compote though it did come to me quickly, but I wasn’t initially confident. Likewise with lullaby.

    1. I’m with you on that point. A DD (or is it a synonym?) embedded within an anagram feels a bit OTT for the QC, IMHO. How many more abbreviations can I squeeze in here?

  27. I needed 12 mins. I started with APPLE and I struggled to spell AELIRON and had to look up the order of the vowels. Of the 13 letter clues ONE-NIGHT STAND took the longest. I think the hyphen threw me. My LOI was an unparsed FELONY. Two new meanings learned today i.e. FEY (clairvoyant) and SILD (herring).

  28. Slow today crossing the line in 12.15. One wrong however as I managed to transpose the e and the i in AILERON, not for the first time if I recall correctly. I had no idea what MDMA was, and after concluding it had to represent the missing e, still didn’t connect it to the drug!

  29. 9 minutes finishing on FELONY. A bit surprised by London=LON but it’s in the dictionaries. Loved the surface of ONE-NIGHT STAND.

  30. All seem fazed by MDMA but we had it quite recently and I remember looking on Wiki. From same source CALIFORNIA has this list of abbrevs:
    USPS abbreviation
    ISO 3166 code US-CA
    Traditional abbreviation Calif., Cal., Cali.
    So lots to choose from.
    I too had the IS in SAL rather than I in LASS backwards, so careless of me.

  31. FOI was APPLE. I got LIECHTENSTEIN straight away, but needed the crossers to spell the first half of it properly. FELONY was LOI. 7:05. Thanks Wurm and Roly.

  32. Gave up after about an hour because I couldn’t get UPSHOT and thought I must have made a mistake elsewhere, but pleased to have got the others, even though I only understood several after coming here… Spent my working life in tax, so Liechtenstein was easy to spot!

  33. 7m
    The anagrist for 19a is just (snog then it)* i.e without the s.
    LOI please. COD aileron.

  34. A very enjoyable QC, IMHO. Clever and challenging clues, but nothing too obscure (other than FEY for clairvoyant, perhaps), and achievable for a crosswording numbskull like Mrs Random’s hapless other half.

    I found the down clues yielded more quickly than the acrosses and only really got stuck with three to go in the SE corner. PARAPET finally ended a 5-minute hiatus, and REST and UPSHOT followed soon afterwards. Total time = 28 minutes which is fast for me, given the setter.

    Many thanks to Wurm and Rolytoly.

  35. This is the second time in recent days that I’ve composed an erudite, hilarious commentary, which has failed to submit, and I’m not inclined to recompose it. I should have copied the text before posting…but didn’t. So you’ll never know, lost forever.

  36. 29 mins…

    Definitely on the harder side, and even then it wasn’t guaranteed as I wasn’t sure if I’d spelt “Aileron” correctly.

    Whilst I didn’t know “Fey” referred to a Clairvoyant (is it a specific one or just a general term?), I did know that MDMA was Ecstasy, which pretty much sums up my level of knowledge.

    FOI – 1dn “Apple”
    LOI – 5dn “Compote”
    COD – 12dn “Private” – mainly for leading me down a totally different path.

    Thanks as usual!

  37. 19.21 I spent ages trying to find some armour for 19a. Possibly a something guard. Like Johninterred I started with REINS for 3d and spent another age on 9a. A very nice puzzle. Thanks to rolytoly and Wurm.

  38. A quick start in the NW before getting a bit bogged down waiting for the pdm to understand what sort of private was needed for the slid/roe anagram. In the end, what should have been a comfortable enough sub-20 was thwarted by loi Upshot. It’s not as if 14d was a difficult clue, but I had a complete brain fade and convinced myself the answer was almost certainly going to start with an ‘s’. . . CoD to 7d, Lullaby, for the smile, with my thanks to Wurm and of course Roly, especially for sorting out Sisal. Invariant

  39. 12:18. A very late visit this evening after a day out at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park – first time since pre-pandemic. Excellent as usual!
    I enjoyed this, above all for my COD – the funniest clue in an age!
    My daughter’s dog is called Opie – we have to say it quite a lot 😅
    FOI Camel LOI Aileron 5 star COD One-night stand
    Thanks Wurm and Roly

  40. Didn’t enjoy this at all. NHO AILERON, SISAL, FEY or MDMA. Another week blown with a DNF, as put SASIL for 15ac. Truly wish I hadn’t bothered.

    Having taken 53 mins to solve the first 3 QCs this week, I am completely fed up and dejected. This put me right back to square one and my confidence is once again shot to pieces.

    My mood wasn’t helped by spending 40 mins on Quintagram and only getting first two. Just when I think I’m getting somewhere, I get a day like this and realise how hopeless I can be.

    Thanks for the blog.

    1. Sorry to hear your sadness Gary. Yes our experiences of the QC can be very up and down, often depending on general knowledge. I got off to a good start today with AILERON simply because I built lots of Airfix kits as a child . . . my wife (who never built Airfix kits) had never heard of the word.

      1. Thanks Dave, much appreciated.

        I vaguely remember Airfix kits. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to them 😊

  41. Didn’t much appreciate your comment on ‘ apple’. I’m trying to get into cryptic crosswords, having been written off by my family for being hopeless and these QCs with the explanations are ideal to expand my technique and confidence. I am grateful to those who provide the glossary. So when I got ‘apple’ quite easily I experienced pleasure and pride and a confidence boost. To be undermined by your comment – because it took me some effort to parse. There are lots of clues that are obvious to you, a good solver, but take me effort. And surely the point of the QC is to have an entry level. So please be aware of the less experienced, the struggling, in your explanations. If you want to take the high ground, the main crossword is there for you.

    1. I don’t usually comment here, but I have to agree that this blogger’s comment about APPLE was gratuitously insulting. (And isn’t “cryptic” crossed out now because of their opinion that the clue is too obvious? It is quite the original move to insinuate that a clue in a QC is too easy.)

      Maybe blogging the QC isn’t their thing.

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