Times Quick Cryptic No 2529 by Wurm

A rather neat Quick Cryptic of, I think, average difficulty from Wurm today. I finished in just 1 second over my 5 minute target being held up only by 13D and my LOI 18D, failing to spot it was a triple definition for a while. I liked the “Riotous House”‘s  “food delivery route” and “cricketer on the drink” best. Thank-you Wurm!

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is Sawbill’s turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the crossword here. If you are interested in trying our previous offerings you can find an index to all 90 here.

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

1 Bake ground British meat served on skewer (5)
KEBAB – (bake)* [ground] B (British)
4 Dramatic moans voiced with microphone (7)
SEISMICSEIS, sounds like [voiced] SIGHS (moans), MIC (microphone).
8 Carlyle so thought to contain kingdom (7)
LESOTHO – Hidden in [to contain] CarlyLE SO THOught. The southern African kingdom.
9 Danger for each one left (5)
PERILPER (for each) I (one) L (left).
10 Riotous House as GOP reveals food delivery route (10)
OESOPHAGUS – [riotous] (House as GOP)*. The house will be the American House of Representative… GOP is Grand Old Party, a name for the Republican party. Food delivery route – ho ho.
14 Former model in show (6)
EXPOSEEX (former) POSE (model).
15 Campanologist‘s double? (6)
RINGER – Double definition.
17 Short ballad penned by a writer in World’s End (10)
APOCALYPSECALYPS{o} (ballad) without the last letter, [short], in A POE (Edgar Allan Poe; writer).
20 Direction and distance leading to Zola? (5)
EMILEE (East; direction) MILE (distance). Another author, this time Émile Zola.
22 Forecaster to gain advantage we hear (7)
PROPHET – Sounds like PROFIT (gain advantage), [we hear].
23 Drum roll to precede result in this lottery? (7)
TOMBOLA – Double definition, the first a cryptic hint referring to the rolling of the container of the tickets before drawing them.
24 Exceptionally wide for instance (5)
EXTRA – Double definition, the second a cricketing one.
1 Learner donning Christopher’s traditional garment (4)
KILTL (learner) in, [donning], KIT (Christopher).
2 Singer, born idiot (4)
BASSB (born) ASS (idiot).
3 Cricketer on the drink in London district (9)
BATTERSEABATTER (cricketer) SEA (the drink).
4 Boy having to collect trophy? Precisely correct (4,2)
SPOT ONPOT (trophy) in SON (boy).
5 Island politician a little devil (3)
IMPI (Island) MP (politician).
6 Get Margo prepared for an expensive commitment? (8)
MORTGAGE – (Get Margo)* [prepared].
7 Something painful insensitive lover boy raised (4,4)
COLD SORECOLD (insensitive), EROS (Greek god of love often represented as a boy; lover boy) [raised] -> SORE.
11 A single drop of the hard stuff? (9)
HAILSTONE – Cryptic definition. Ha ha.
12 Ginger beer right for crisis situation (3,5)
RED ALERTRED (ginger) ALE (beer) RT (right). Fun surface. There I was I thinking it was a nice cup of tea that was called for in such circumstances.
13 Saw old king in horrible mishap (8)
APHORISMO (old) R (Rex; king) in [horrible] (mishap)*. Not the meaning of saw you might think of at first.
16 Private investigator in unruly Mayo seeing problem (6)
MYOPIAPI (private investigator) in [unruly] (Mayo)*. Short-sightedness. Did you think the definition was just problem. If so, Wurm might say “gotcha”.
18 Moved suddenlyphotograph ruined (4)
SHOT – A triple definition. It had me scratching my head before I realised it was.
19 Energy worker climbing fiery mountain (4)
ETNAE (energy). ANT (worker) [climbing] -> TNA.
21 Swelled head? Say nothing! (3)
EGOE.G. (for example; say) O (nothing).

76 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2529 by Wurm”

  1. 15:25. CALYPSo for ballad, POT for trophy, EROS for lover boy, and SEISMIC for dramatic were definitions that held me up. HAILSTONE was my COD but also took me a long time to figure out.

  2. I thought it was an enjoyable puzzle from Wurm with many clever and slightly offbeat clues. I especially liked OESOPHAGUS (it’s easy to spell now), APHORISM, BATTERSEA and APOCALYPSE, even though I have never thought of calypso and ballad as being on the same page. LOI SEISMIC (dramatic? If you must…) with MORTGAGE also taking a while as well as EXTRA. Surprising, considering I was up past 3.30am watching the Aussies edge South Africa out of the World Cup. Or maybe BECAUSE I was up past 3.30 am etc etc. Thank you John, 10.31 for me.

    1. Oh i was hoping to blame my dnf on staying up for the cricket after attending a rock concert

      But alas I think it’s just my deficiencies

  3. Dnf

    One day I’ll remember that a ‘saw’ is a saying. *Aragorn voice* BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!

    I also didn’t get TOMBOLA despite us playing vocabulary bingo in primary school Italian classes. A word deep in the recesses of my memory. It’s not a word I’ve come across since.

    Everything else was fun though, I even got the London district despite never having heard of it! I never would have parsed APOCALYPSE either

    1. You’ve obviously never been to a village or Christmas Fair. But maybe a wise move as if you are anway near Midsommer it might not end well.

      1. Well, I’ve been to many a village around the world, my family hails from the rice paddy farming villages in South Vietnam but no tombolas there 😊

        No constant murders either though

          1. Thanks for dropping by. Your crossword was much appreciated. I’ve not see that film, but just looked it up. It does sound rather nasty.

  4. Biffed APOCALYPSE, TOMBOLA, never parsed. LOI SEISMIC: I couldn’t see what would complete S_I_MIC for the longest time. 5:38.

  5. I really liked HAILSTONE and the ‘food delivery route’.
    Good luck, everyone, with the Weekend QC.

  6. 14:22. Had trouble with SEISMIC, APOCALYPSE (tough parsing), TOMBOLA (biffed and unparsed) and especially my LOI HAILSTONE for which I looked in vain for a separate def and wordplay. Favourites were the ‘seeing problem’ def and the SHOT triple def.

    Thanks to John and Wurm

  7. Might have got a sub 10 if my GK on French literature was better and my brain could tear it’s thoughts from footballers and barefoot runners… many thanks Wurm (Yes… I get it now, however fragile and close to the edge is my preferred experience) and John for an excellent blog

  8. 13 minutes. I missed the parsing of TOMBOLA whilst solving and trying to see it added maybe 2 minutes to my time.

  9. 3/5 is my final score this week, coming in all green in just under 30 minutes for this very tricky one.
    I fair flew through most of it but needed to ponder long over HAILSTONE, EXTRA and SHOT. I especially liked OESOPHAGUS, which I nearly spelt wrongly but saw at the last moment.
    It’s a very chilly, if beautiful, start to the day down here in Dorset at just 2 degrees so I have reluctantly fired up the heating to make sure it’s warm enough for Mrs ITTT when she eventually heaves herself out of the marital couch. The price of gas makes this very uncomfortable, but not nearly as uncomfortable as a chilly Mrs ITTT.
    Have a good weekend all, and many thanks to Wurm and to John for their sterling efforts.

  10. 18/26 after 20m. Plodded on for a while but DNF.

    HAILSTONE, EXTRA, APHORISM – not a chance.
    SEISMIC, PROPHET – should have seen but didn’t.

    Off to do something more profitable, while the day is bright and bracing.

  11. A sting in the tail as my last two in almost doubled my time – OESOPHAGUS and HAILSTONE being the culprits. Both excellent clues but a bit too clever for me.
    Relieved to finish in 9.28 with COD to MYOPIA.
    Thanks to John

  12. 12:15 (Magna Carta)
    The top half of the Across clues flew in, then I ground to a halt on the lower half, slowly picking them out as the Down clues went in. TOMBOLA went in unparsed – I thought TOM must be the drum, and wondered if a BOLA was some sort of bread roll. On 12d I wasted time looking for an anagram of “beer right”.

    Thanks John and Wurm

  13. 10 minutes for this, of which at least 2 minutes puzzling out my LOI Hailstone – our blogger notes “Ha ha” and in the end I see the joke, but as a clue I thought it was one of those you see the point of only after solving it, and I confess I thought it more “funny peculiar” than “funny amusing”. My lack of sense of humour I suspect …

    But otherwise, a very neat puzzle and I particularly liked Oesophagus.

    Many thanks John for the blog, and I look forward to Sawbill’s latest Saturday Special.

    A good weekend to all.

  14. 6.46 DNF

    Another pink square. Went weeks without one but it seems it’s every day at the moment. Here it was a stupidly careless LOSOTHO.

    Shame as this was an excellent offering from Wurm

    Thanks all

  15. Plenty here to engage my sluggish brain for 30 mins. Many thanks for the blog as I needed some retrospective enlightenment on some of the parsing. Lots of clever surfaces which slowed but never unfairly hindered me.
    Off to check out the Sawbill Special in the SCC with a strong coffee. Happy weekend, everyone.

  16. Gentle for a Wiggly Wurm, but still ingenious and witty. I very much liked OESOPHAGUS (straight in, anagram hat fitting nicely today) and HAILSTONE (not straight in and in fact LOI with a massive forehead slap when seen). I did not know that the origin of TOMBOLA is the Italian verb meaning to somersault, so that’s today’s addition to the GK.

    All there in 07:23 for 1.3K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks Wurm and John.


  17. DNF after 1 hour, not getting APOCALYPSE or HAILSTONE. I don’t think I would have ever got them honestly.
    I was wondering while solving whether experienced solvers would find this relatively not as hard as I did. Clues like APOCALYPSE in particular are quite overwhelming to me. Between the number of synonyms to check and the placement of the contained word I feel as if I have very little hope without biffing the answer. I assume regular 15×15 solvers are better at both biffing and at thinking of the right synonyms to check.

    1. I also gave up after 54 minutes, when I just couldn’t figure out the last one (APOCALYPSE). Wish I’d have given it another few minutes now!
      In contrast, I got HAILSTONE almost straight away.
      My mind boggles when I see the times people are completing these crosswords in, but shall keep plugging away and hope to improve.

      Recently found my way to this website after searching for the explanation to an answer I couldn’t figure out. It’s really useful, so thank you to everyone who contributes.

        1. Thank you. These Quick Cryptic crosswords, combined with access to the explanations here, seem like getting the keys to the cryptic kingdom.

          Does the ‘interred’ in your username refer to a certain ship burial? If so my guess is you are somewhere in or near Woodbridge!

    2. I’m not a regular 15×15 solver at all, but you are right that as you get more experienced you get better at picking the definition, thinking of the answer and then reverse engineering to see that it’s right. So on APOCALYPSE I thought “Must mean end of the world; begins with A [I had the checker]; ah, how about APOCALYPSE; fits; now, how the heck does that work?” Then I saw A POE and it all made sense.

      The speedsters do that in nano-seconds! It takes me rather longer.

  18. 15 minutes for me needing time at the end to get LOI HAILSTONE; this was after carefully parsing APOCALYPSE which went straight in but the parsing, later on, took quite a while.
    And I now see I should have spent more time on spelling. I’m hopeless at all medical type terminology so a confident AESOPHOGUS gave me an error; I even changed the PHAGUS part when I realized I had an extra O.
    A nice puzzle. CODs- agree with Sawbill.

  19. Very pleased to have successfully negotiated what I thought was a tricky offering from Wurm. Time = 31 minutes.

    I started with KEBAB and worked my way around the grid by utilising newly available checkers. The pace slowed after I’d entered SCC territory, with KILT, COLD SORE, HAILSTONE, PROPHET, EXTRA, SHOT and SEISMIC all challenging my rather rudimentary crosswording skills. HAILSTONE was the key to unlocking those in the SE corner, but SEISMIC was my LOI. For some reason, I’d written SaIdMIC in faintly on the way through. No idea why.

    Many thanks to Wurm and John.

    1. I agree, after thinking I was going well, it did turn into a ‘tricky offering’. I experienced very similar issues with the clues you’ve mentioned.

  20. Got there in the end, but struggled to get APOCALYPSE, HAILSTONE, TOMBOLA and SEISMIC as unable to parse any of them at first. Quite hard, I thought (again).

  21. I found this less than straightforward and went well over my target. I’ll blame it on doing it in bed on my ipad with an old pair of glasses which made me squint at the clues, and the fact that I did it very early as I couldn’t sleep. KEBAB went in first. I was held up at the end by HAILSTONES and LOI, APOCALYPSE which I eventually biffed. 13:57. Thanks Wurm and John.

  22. Somewhere over target, but short of the SCC after several disruptions and interruptions, but my overall impression was that this was harder than expected from Wurm. Some nice stuff though, and I enjoyed the challenge. Thanks both.

  23. Some clever clues here and an enjoyable puzzle even though it beat me – I could not solve HAILSTONE and APOCALYPSE even with all the checkers. The rest went in fairly easily with a tip of the hat to the triple definition for SHOT.
    Coincidentally, last night I was doing Izetti’s QC from 9th November which also had RED ALERT. With all the words and phrases in the language it amazes me how frequently words come up twice in a short period. Perhaps the setters are reading the same news(paper)?
    John thanks for the blog, helpful as ever. I’m not surprised you struggled with your LOI, 18A, as there isn’t one 😉

    1. Ha ha. Well spotted on my error. I meant 18D of course. Blog corrected. As for recurring answers I’ve sometimes wondered if a setter sees a clue in some else’s crossword and thinks they have a better clue they could use in one of their own. But a lot of it is just coincidence – I know from regularly seeing words (and even, in one instance with an identical clue) in our Weekend QCs appear in other crosswords between our compiling and publishing,

      1. Please explain triple definition of SHOT if you would be so kind. I can barely understand one definition

        1. Shot – 1. moved suddenly “it shot across the room”
          2. Photograph “I got a really good shot of the sunset”
          3. Ruined “my brain is shot”

          Think that’s it. 😊

  24. 10.24

    …but I’ll take a minute off for website problems (on both IE (or whatever it is called these days) and the other one whose name temporarily escapes me) – had to complete on phone. Such interruptions don’t put the brain in the right relaxed mode for a smooth solve. Found myself scrabbling for checkers to give myself a chance with the longer answers.

    Thanks Wurm and John

  25. A minute or so failing to parse Tombola, and backing out an earlier Armageddon biff, found me at the SCC threshold with ‘just’ Hailstone as my loi. I convinced myself (I can be very accommodating) that this was an alcohol related clue. Cue mounting frustration and the need for a coffee break. Even then, Hailstone needed the crowbar to tease out – too good a clue for me, but enjoyable all the same. Invariant

  26. Failed on APOCALYPSE and HAILSTONE. Should have got the former once armageddon had been ruled out by the crossers. Not sure that I would ever have got the latter – wasn’t terribly impressed with the clueing for this. No exact time but it must have been around the 30 minute mark that I gave up and used aids for the two outstanding answers.

    FOI – 1ac KEBAB
    LOI – DNF
    COD – 16dn MYOPIA

  27. The end of a tough week of QCs saw me once again fail to get under my target finishing in 12.55. I was particularly held up in the se corner where SHOT and finally HAILSTONE were my last two in. I thought at least I had finished with everything correctly solved only to discover I didn’t know how to spell OESOPHAGAS, by transposing the first and seventh letters. I should have noticed it looked wrong but dashed it in without a second thought and didn’t return to it.
    My total time for this week was 56.28 giving me a daily average of 11.18. Not too far adrift from my ten minute target, but as I only had one solve under target this week, I suppose it’s not too bad.

    1. With all due respect … you still don’t how to spell oesophagus 😂

      Glad you said it was a tough week because it reminded me that it was so. Spent half my time on Monday on last five, 12mins on Tuesday on 1 clue, 20-30mins today on another five. About an hour all told on just a handful of clues – too much. Did I enjoy Joker’s QC though

    2. I did the same as you even though it looked odd. Led into it by AESOP I suspect.
      Your impressive time for the week is less than my time on this puzzle alone.

    3. Never mind that – you finished yesterday’s 15, which was off the scale difficult!! 👏🏻

      1. Nobody was more surprised than me with my time, particularly when I looked at some of the other times posted! Yet earlier in the day I was way slower on the QC than many solvers whose times I usually beat. It’s a funny old game as someone once said …. Or to misquote Alex Ferguson “Crosswords, Bloody Hell”!

  28. Quite difficult, but finished and enjoyed most of it. TOMBOLA I biffed straight away but could not parse, as village fetes don’t have drums on the tombola stall. Like others, I wondered what a Bola was.
    LOI RED ALERT -rather dim on that one. Serves me right for feeling smug about EMILE, APOCALYPSE, HAILSTONE and APHORISM.
    Quick start in NW but slower below.
    Thanks for much needed blog, John.
    PS I used to live in Worlds End, Chelsea, in days of yore.

  29. Initially every clue going in immediately and most of it done in 10mins. Got blocked getting into the SE other than ETNA. Sat and stared for 20 more minutes then set it aside.

    Came back, bunged in PROPHET almost immediate (don’t know why it needed advantage), added SHOT and EXTRA then a bit of alphabet trawling to get to HAILSTONE and then banged in APOCALYPSE.

    Wonder if anyone outside of crossword land (or the Caribbean) would think of calypso if asked to name a type of ballad. Perhaps better suited to BBC’s Pointless quiz.

    All in all, what started out as quite enjoyable turned out to be a pile of 💩💩💩

    Have a good weekend everybody 👍

    Edit: Sawbill’s weekender in 13:34 – few mins on last 4 or 5 but somewhat more enjoyable than Wurm’s offering. Thanks to him and JohnI (for organising and the blog)

  30. Blimey this proved to be a hard one after a good start.
    SEISMIC only popped into my head after a walk in the park and a double espresso.
    Then the bottom half was a nightmare with TOMBOLA and LOI APOCALYPSE unparsed. The latter was very hard for a QC clue.
    I did think that some of the clues were really clever and enjoyed the PDMs.
    Thanks Wurm and John.

  31. 10:12 (1012 Ælfheah, archbishop of Canterbury in England, is murdered by his Danish captors after refusing to pay a ransom of 3,000 pounds for his release.) Ælfheah is proud of his Æ ligature, just like œsophagus. We should bring back ligatures in crosswords, gives the setter more room to manœuvre.

    I thought HAILSTONE a bit weak, but it felt like a Cryptic Def, so I got it quite quickly.

    COD SHOT, triple def and smooth surface.


    1. Ælfheah was murdered by supporters of Thorkell the Tall, despite Thorkell’s orders to spare him.

    2. The New York Times crossword sometimes has multiple letters in a single square. Must have been hell for the programmers!

  32. Dnf…

    After 30 mins, still didn’t have 22ac “Prophet”. How I didn’t get this I still can’t fathom, as it is now seems so obvious. However, I did think this was on the more trickier side, and clues like 10ac “Oesophagus”, 11dn “Hailstone” amd 13dn “Aphorism” took a while to work out.

    FOI – 1ac “Kebab”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 10ac “Oesophagus”

    Thanks as usual!

  33. 27.17 Oh dear. HAILSTONE, APOCALYPSE and EXTRA took an age then PROPHET and SHOT took a further ten minutes at the end. I eventually recognised that “Moved suddenly – photograph ruined” must be a triple definition but this didn’t help until I had the checkers. A good challenge though. Thanks John and Wurm.

  34. DNF by 2. APOCALYPSE and HAILSTONE. Would never have got the first (random non-ballad and random author) or the second (always caught by cryptic clues where there are not two parts). Generally tough, best part of an hour.

  35. 24:24
    Bit of an emotional roller coster this one for me. Started off at a great pace wondering if I might break the 10min barrier only to pass my 20min target time and start to wonder if I was heading for a DNF.
    Biffed APOCALYPSE and TOMBOLA – thanks John for breaking the clues down. Struggled with HAILSTONE but smiled when it arrived.
    Then just stared at EGO and EMILE wondering if I should just call time. When EGO finally came, I Googled EMILE, as that seemed to be all that would fit, and was relieved to see Zola. (Still not sure if that’s considered cheating?)
    FOI: 14ac EXPOSE
    LOI: 20ac EMILE
    Thanks to John and Wurm

    1. Well done on keeping the time respectable. In retrospect, I’m happy to solved and avoided having to quit.

      Heartsinking moment to see Zola only needing 5 letters – no chance of it being Gianfranco, the Italian footballer; but it did then pop into my head as it comes up from time to time. As to whether it’s cheating, it’s not the World Championship so you can set your own standard.

  36. Found this very hard and ended up failing having misspelled OESOPHAGUS. Somehow I thought it started AESOP…

    Thanks to Wurm and John.

  37. I struggled in the SE corner today wanting to put SNAP for the triple definition: Moved suddenly photograph ruined.

    Took an age to see PROPHET which led to my LOI SHOT.

    I biffed EXTRA and groaned when read that it related to cricket.

    COD Hailstone.

    Lots to make me think and enjoy so thanks John and Wurm.

  38. You know what’s coming so you may want to skip my comments below. Don’t blame me if you find them depressing….

    I might as well just get my coat and leave. I clearly don’t belong here.

    A 90 minute DNF as I couldn’t get HAILSTONE. Saw STONE and still couldn’t get it. That is off the scale incompetence!!!

    I am running out of words to describe just how utterly useless I am.

    Nothing is going right and I cannot see a way forward with this. I predicted on Wednesday that I would be broken by the end of the week, and so it proved.

    Whilst others progress, I get worse and worse every week.

    Today was just a nightmare from beginning to end. I have no confidence, no enthusiasm, no ability and no energy left.

    I’m frankly embarrassed to give my time alongside so many brilliant solvers.

    56 mins to Wednesday.

    Thursday/Friday – 2 hours for 2 DNFs. Abysmal, appalling, abject.

    I try so hard every day, but most end in sheer despair at my lack of ability.

    Thanks for the blog John.

    PS Did Quintagram in 3 mins. That makes me feel even worse about the QC today!

    1. I’m still so impressed by your tenacity, Gary. I’m by nature a giver-upperer. My DNFs always about the 25 min mark. I think i dnf three times this week.

      In the parlance of us millennials, ‘you do you’, if your natural inclination is self chastisation then sure, I’m glad that we can be here to share your frustrations with you! I just hope you’re having some sort of fun doing these!

      My initial reaction to reading you beat yourself up is to yell NO GARY NO, as there was a very popular anti-smoking ad here twenty years ago where a cheer squad would follow Gary around and chant NO GARY NO every time he wanted to light up 😂

      You def belong here – hobbies are for everyone!

      1. It seemed so at the time, not just as a result of the DNF, but also the time and the performance of other solvers. Perhaps, on reflection, I was being a touch harsh on myself, but I still regard it as a very poor day.

    2. Hi, Gary, of course you belong here! Some people can’t do cryptics at all – you clearly can, as you nearly finished this one. My advice is to stop beating yourself up about the ones that don’t come easily (or at all) and congratulate yourself on those you can do. I’ve lost count of the ‘obvious’ answers I’ve failed to get – and believe it or not, some of those are from the Quick cryptic rather than the 15 x 15, which I normally do. It’s a mindset thing. I quite often need to pass the crossword across to my other half when completely stuck, as he can see things that elude me, though he claims never to be able to do a full one himself! He did half of this one, gave up, and I finished it, which is why I came to the blog. Also, you don’t have to give your time. I never time myself, as I am so slow compared to the speedy solvers – I rarely finish under the half hour, to be honest, and can spend a couple of hours or more on a really tricky one. Convince yourself that you are doing this because you enjoy the challenge, not because you’re in a race against time or others and you’ll improve once you relax into it. Some of these commenters have been doing crosswords for 50 years!

      1. Hi alto_ego,

        Thanks for the advice. It is very much appreciated. I’m too prone to comparing myself with other solvers, when I should just be thinking about my own performance and having fun. I was frustrated yesterday after a decent start to the week, which had left me hoping I would achieve my target.

        Thanks again.


        1. Just to echo A-E, I’ve been doing these things for nearly eight years, and still occasionally get completely stumped – Hailstone very nearly added a notch to my DNF tally. Life’s too short: just go with the flow and enjoy the challenge. You can only fully appreciate success when you experience failure !

  39. A very long time since I’ve enjoyed a QC so much. Some truly original clues that had me smiling broadly, the pick of them being OESOPHAGUS, COLD SORE and HAILSTONE.

Comments are closed.