Times Quick Cryptic No 2677 by Wurm

I found this a bit on the tricky side, with plenty of effective misdirection.

About half the grid went in without too many problems, but that left me with gaps in all but the top left corner that required a bit more thought. I finished up in the bridge-roister-stub corner (in that order) in 8:08.

Some very neat and witty clueing made for a lovely QC, for which many thanks to Wurm!

1 Muse in sloop on Derwent (6)
PONDER – “in” slooP ON DERwent
5 Fill drinking vessel coy drunk holds (6)
OCCUPY – CUP (drinking vessel) that an anagram (drunk) of COY holds. Simple enough components and directions, but an anagram of COY is an unlikely-looking collection of letters for the outside of a six-letter word.
8 Feigned and fanciful fact-feed (8)
AFFECTED – Anagram (fanciful) of FACT-FEED
9 Individual article or a couple? (4)
ITEM – double definition
10 Any number leaving stadium locality (4)
AREA – N (any number) leaving ARENA (stadium)
11 Small step taken by male astronaut (8)
SPACEMAN – S(mall) PACE (step) taken by MAN (male)
12 This helps when changing banks (6)
BRIDGE – very nice cryptic definition, playing on the “riverbank” sense of bank. See also BANK-ER (and of course our beloved FLOW-ER) for river.
14 Urge one to join Liberal Party (6)
LIBIDO – I (one) to join LIB (Liberal), DO (party)
16 Celebration third at sea, within cove (8)
BIRTHDAY – anagram (at sea) of THIRD, within BAY (cove)
18 Name is French for snug retreat (4)
NEST – N(ame), EST (is, in French)
20 Hurt toe — slippery start with bath? (4)
STUB – S (Slippery “start”) with TUB (bath). The B checker certainly had me looking in vain for a three-letter word for slippery.
21 Ordering option: porter brought round a trolley (1,2,5)
A LA CARTE – ALE (porter) brought round A and CART (trolley)
23 Old City man politely pressing (6)
URGENT – UR (Old City) GENT (man, politely)
24 Stuart queen is turning brown (6)
SIENNA – ANNE (Stuart queen) IS, all reversing, or “turning”
2 Assassin’s proposal? (5)
OFFER – whimsical double definition: just like FLOW-ER for a thing that flows, here we have an OFF-ER, for a person that “offs”.
3 Difficult to follow the German action film? (3,4)
DIE HARD – HARD (difficult) to follow DIE (the, German)
4 Rocky outcrop to climb — and perish! (3)
ROT – TOR (rocky outcrop) “to climb” = to reverse
5 Officers at first lie badly, bent in court (3,6)
OLD BAILEY – Anagram (bent) of O (Officers “at first”) and LIE BADLY
6 Agree that man should come into church (5)
CHIME – HIM (that man) enters CE (Church of England)
7 Spotted baked dish — no cover on top? (7)
PIEBALD – PIE (baked dish) BALD (no cover on top)
11 Firm dates fixed without delay (9)
STEADFAST – anagram (fixed) of DATES, FAST (without delay)
13 Roll about one and make merry (7)
ROISTER – ROSTER (roll) about I (one)
15 Dress circle next to stage — no way! (7)
BANDAGE – BAND (circle) next to AGE (stAGE, without the ST. for way)
17 Story involving British data chart (5)
TABLE – TALE (story) involving B(ritish)
19 South African money gets material (5)
SATIN – SA (South African) TIN (money)
22 Fool in Tarsus regularly (3)
ASS – in  t A r S u “regularly”


62 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2677 by Wurm”

  1. 14:58 DAS BOOT was my first one in but luckily was soon replaced when crossers led to the right action movie. BANDAGE took by far the longest time while OCCUPY, PIEBALD, and LIBIDO were favourites.

  2. Slow going on this one, AFFECTED, LIBIDO, & LOI PIEBALD especially taking some time. A MER at BIRTHDAY=celebration; if a birthday is a celebration, what’s a birthday celebration? 9:33.

  3. I didn’t know what Old Bailey was even though I’d heard of it and I nho of the word Roister. I couldn’t work out Occupy, nor did I know who the Stuart Queen was.

    But the rest of it was pretty good! I liked the assassins proposal and I thought a lot of the surfaces were neat, like for Spaceman.

  4. Nice one from Wurm which was plenty tricky, taking me 10.28. My two LOsI, BRIDGE and STEADFAST, took about a quarter of that. Could not see bridge for the life of me and thought, for the latter, I needed an anagram of firm dates. So count me as fooled. I biffed SIENNA and OLD BAILEY without a thought so thank you roly for showing us how it was done. Nicely pitched QC I thought.

  5. I really enjoyed this QC, coming in around half my average time. My LOI was STEADFAST after spending too long trying to find an anagram of FIRM DATES.
    Feels like we’ve had a pretty nice run of QCs recently.

  6. 12 minutes delayed by hesitating over ITEM where I missed the first definition first time round so I didn’t write it in. SIENNA needed a bit of thought too.

    My hesitation over DAS BOOT paid off though as it wouldn’t parse so it didn’t go in.

    On Kevin’s point about BIRTHDAY I’d think of it meaning a celebration if only in the abstract sense, whereas if somebody mentions a birthday celebration I’d assume they meant a party of some sort.

    1. I put in “unit” on my first pass through the acrosses, looked at it, hesitated, took it out again. Had the checkers when I returned and then it was easy.

  7. A bit like a slower LindsayO – tried to anagram ‘firm dates’ and took an age over BRIDGE. A whopping 9 (nine) on the first pass of acrosses so I thought I was going to fly through this but BANDAGE, SIENNA and especially BRIDGE spoiled that. I thought of banks of a river pretty quick but never literally enough, good groan when it came – I’d been swapping Ls and Rs in words and trying to force in things like ‘cradle’ to fit the letters, so well misdirected (there and with the without in the clue for STEADFAST). All green in 15.50.

  8. 31:12, just about my slowest finished QC, I usually resort to towel throwing way before then. I was another one who tried Das Boot, what a film that is.

    Spent way too long looking at an anagram of “firm dates”.

    SPACEMAN has an excellent surface.

  9. Ouch! The hardest one I can remember for a long, long time. Double SCC for me today at around 40 minutes with ITEM being the last one in. However, I came in all green so I can at least take some comfort there. No real favourites this morning although I guess SIENNA felt like the most accomplished solve.
    Thanks to Roly and Wurm.

  10. Cracking puzzle with some excellent surfaces such as for SPACEMAN, BRIDGE and OCCUPY.

    Thankfully when I came to the film I already had D_E with the answer going straight in. OFFER went in unparsed. I did not time my solve but about average for me.


  11. With 25 minutes on the clock we had barely half of the grid filled and were also looking for anagrams of firm dates. Then suddenly, with a bit of biffing, the rest came quickly for us to be all done in 34.17.

    Agree there are some clever surfaces but have to love liberal urges! Mrs RH really liked piebald.

    Thanks Wurm and Roly

  12. 4:37. Unlike others I seem to have found this quite straightforward. Never thought of DAS BOOT as I already had the D_E at the start from the across clues. I liked OFFER and BRIDGE best. Thanks Wurm and Rolytoly.

  13. I had a long look into the DAS BOOT elephant trap but fortunately managed to avoid the temptation to throw myself in.
    I found this fairly straightforward in the main but BRIDGE, ROISTER, BANDAGE and SIENNA all put up some stiff resistance.
    Started with PONDER and finished with SIENNA in 7.04 with COD a toss up between DIE HARD for the misdirection and OFFER for the pun.
    Thanks to rolytoly.

  14. Interesting puzzle which I enjoyed. I too thought DAS BOOT but like Jackkt could see it didn’t parse.
    At 12ac I had the D and E checkers so wrote PADDLE to one side thinking if that’s right then my COD so was a little disappointed when the R arrived and BRIDGE went in. Still a fun clue though.

  15. 12 1/2 minutes. Missed the DAS BOOT trap (yes, great film) but found PIEBALD for ‘Spotted’ and STEADFAST for ‘Firm’ difficult. Favourites were the surface for SPACEMAN and the misleading theatrical hints for the non-theatrical BANDAGE.

    Thanks to roly and Wurm

  16. Made a complete Horlicks of that by sticking in “bondage” at 15d. I thought it was slightly an unconventional form of “dress” (!) but remembered the “bondage skirt” from the age of punk and decided it must have spawned a dress as well … and “bond” for “circle” sort of works if you look at it quickly …

    Oh well. Terrific puzzle, nice clear blog, COD shared between DIE HARD and PIEBALD, many thanks Wurm and roly.


    PS roly – you’ve got a typo at 11a for the first letter of SPACEMAN


      Thanks, well spotted – bit late in the day but will correct the blog.

      But tut tut – you carelessly missed a second typo spotted by Cedric below! (Or perhaps politeness had you refrain from listing them all.)

  17. 20:58
    Gosh that was hard! Sitting down with a cup of tea in the SCC to recover.
    I fell in all the traps, wasting time looking for an anagram of FIRM DATES, and looking for a wording meaning spotted that was a baked dish minus the first letter. In 12a I imagined myself in a boat in the river, so put in PADDLE as a necessary tool for changing banks, which delayed seeing ROISTER.

    Thanks Wurm and rolytoly

  18. Stumped by two “firm”s in two days! – struggling with anagram of “firm dates” to mean “without delay”, disaster.

  19. A quick start with PONDER and OFFER raised my expectations of a breakneck speed, sadly dashed. Lots to like with the satisfaction of a led than obvious untangling of clues. SIENNA took longer than it should with the clear SI start, DIE HARD was a write in, PIEBALD and SPACEMAN got a hat tip. Overall, a well earned coffee on my usual corner chair in the club after 33 minutes.
    Thanks Wurm and Roly

  20. Some difficult clues in this. Could not parse BANDAGE while solving, SIENNA a tricky one. My last two were ITEM and CHIME where I was looking at men’s names like ALF.
    Anyway all correct in 13 minutes.
    COD to DIE HARD, excellent surface.

  21. 9:54

    Wurm for me, is the second trickiest of the more regular QC setters (behind Pedro) so I wasn’t surprised to find this a compelling challenge.

    A few bunged in without fully understanding: A LA CARTE, SIENNA. As with others, took longer than necessary for BIRTHDAY thinking ‘third at sea’ would be an A stuffed into a seven-letter word for ‘cove’; held up too by the misdirection for STEADFAST, leaving the in-retrospect-obvious BRIDGE.

    I liked BANDAGE the most – worthy of the 15×15 – and the always-amusing OFFER for assassin.

    Thanks Wurm and Roly

  22. I don’t know what it was about this QC, but I found it to be dull and uninspiring. I tried to stick with it but it was like pulling teeth.

    In the end I got so bored with it that I stopped and watched my newly painted wall dry.

    My verdict: 🥱
    Pumpa’s verdict: 😴

  23. It’s strange how some bloggers seem to find one QC straightforward but I don’t, and then several found this one challenging whilst I found it relatively simple. Just the one cup of coffee needed today. LOI BANDAGE, COD A LA CARTE. Also liked PIEBALD.

  24. A very enjoyable puzzle with the left hand side flying in and the right hand side needing rather more thought and slowing me down after a fast start. Lots of heffalump traps – I too thought of Das Boot, and tried to find an anagram of firm dates – but I wriggled free of Wurm’s deceptions for a bang-on-par 12 minute completion. Bandage my LOI and against some stiff competition also my COD.

    Many thanks Roly for the blog- PS in the clue for Chime I think the wordplay is CE for church not CH.


  25. A nice puzzle from Wurm, with some lovely surfaces. I actually biffed my COD, but when I came back to it the cleverness was quickly revealed.

    TIME 4:28

  26. Comfortably the hardest of the week, and I struggled from the off to build up any kind of speed. Every bit of misdirection worked as far as I was concerned, finding my way down so many blind alleys. I join others in wanting to put in DAS BOOT, but couldn’t parse it so resisted the temptation of actually writing it in. 11dn really threw me when I spent far too long trying to make an anagram out of ‘firm dates’. Eventually the penny dropped and I was able to work out my LOI which was BRIDGE. I took 2dn to relate to the quote from ‘The Godfather’(I think), when someone (a potential assassin perhaps) utters the line “I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse”. Probably not what the setter had in mind at all!
    I eventually staggered over the line in 13.03, which was a disappointing time but I enjoyed puzzle nonetheless.

  27. Lovers of Elizabethan theatre will know Ralph Roister Doister by Udall, so that one popped in and helped with birthday and urgent. But the R gave me a false friend for 12a which I biffed as credit (wrong banks) until steadfast righted the ship! I enjoyed the French and German wordplay and the Old Bailey anagram. Just into the SCC today but with a smile – thanks Wurm and Rolytoly!

  28. Fell into same traps as others with Das Boot and ‘firm dates’ but after sorting those it was POI BRIDGE that almost did for me. Totally misdirected. Eventually solving this clue provided the much-needed last checker for LOI ROISTER (only VHO). Favourite clue was BANDAGE for the surface and the misdirection! Thanks Wurm and roly.

  29. 9:19

    Thought this was a cracker: thanks Wurm.
    Steady solve with plenty of thought going into very satisfying PDM’s. Couple of minutes on LOI PIEBALD.

  30. One of my best starts for ages, with all bar three of the across clues going in straight away. Unfortunately two of the missing ones later became my last pair – Sienna and (the far from) Urgent – and with them the chance of a sub-20 was gone yet again. Roister was also quite a stretch, and at the time made me doubt whether my Bridge biff was correct, before roll/roster came to mind. I had 6d Chime marked as CoD for a long time, but on reflection 11ac Spaceman just noses ahead at the post. Both surfaces are excellent, but the Armstrong quote is unbeatable. Invariant

  31. Given the comments above I was clearly on wavelength. Das Boot never occurred to me so no delays there. FOI PONDER and LOI OCCUPY (just because I skipped over it on my first pass). I liked the cluing of PIEBALD. 6:11 for an excellent day.

  32. Fell into much the same traps as others with Das Boot and trying to anagram firm dates. I managed to understand what was required at 12ac immediately but had no crossers at that point and was disappointed to find that ferry didn’t fit – for some reason I never thought of BRIDGE until the d from DIE HARD appeared. All in all pretty slow at 22 minutes. I can’t really see what took the time unless it was some rather convoluted clueing (2ac eg), but then hindsight is an exact science!

    FOI – 9ac ITEM
    LOI – 15dn BANDAGE
    CODS – 11ac SPACEMAN, 21ac A LA CARTE and 2dn OFFER

    Thanks to Wurm and Rolytoly

  33. 9.15 This seemed quite tricky and after the first pass I’d done less than half. The answers flew in on a second look though. BIRTHDAY was LOI. BANDAGE took a couple of minutes to parse after I was done. Very enjoyable. Thanks rolytoly and Wurm.

  34. Good witty puzzle but DNF as had to reveal BRIDGE, CHIME and SIENNA.
    It felt easy to start with in the NW and the OLD BAILEY, but soon I ground to a halt, apart from e.g. A LA CARTE and STEADFAST. Finally struggled through with the help of the aforementioned revelations.
    Now exhausted, after a busy morning! LOI BANDAGE.
    Thanks vm, Roly.

  35. This felt like it went in slowly, but all fair and square I thought. Some very good clues, particularly the Old Bailey. I too fell into the trap of trying to find an anagram for “firm dates “, and wasted time on this. At 6.35 well over my five minute target.

  36. 30m Done over a few sessions, not sure on the exact time but putting 30m as it felt a long time.
    Where can I lodge a formal complaint that this type of QC infringes on my work time!

    The words in question were: steadfast, piebald, and the last 2 which took the longest bandage and libido.
    COD piebald

  37. The first 6 across clues yielded easily then I had a few gaps in the bottom half. That of course meant DAS BOOT wasn’t on the menu and DIE HARD arrived without incident. BRIDGE and LIBIDO arrived on the second pass. SIENNA, BANDAGE and LOI, STEADFAST took a bit more cogitation. 7:36. Thanks Wurm and Roly.

  38. Great puzzle, fast start, slow finish for 27:36 of enjoyable head-scratching. It’s so nice to have company in all the traps I fell into. I could see how BANDAGE had to work, right away, but BAND for circle was a step too far for a long long time. I loved BRIDGE partly because for some reason it clicked instantly and also made me laugh. SIENNA took a lot of time because first I had to decide how the clue must work, then my knowledge of British royalty is a bit thin and I had to talk myself through,”let’s see, Mary of William & Mary was a Stuart, and I think Queen Anne was their daughter so I guess she was a Stuart too.” Loved the poetic clue for 8A AFFECTED.

    Thanks Wurm, you trickster, and to rolytoly for the entertaining blog.

  39. Some enjoyable clues here, including LOI BANDAGE, OFFER and BRIDGE. Pleased as well to finally finish ahead of our par for the first time this week. 12:09. Thanks, Wurm and rolytoly.

  40. Dnf…

    Had everything after 20 mins, but stumbled on my last clue 7dn “Piebald”. Should really have known this, but it eluded me and after contemplating “Pietand”, which sounded reasonable but couldn’t parse, I gave up.

    Only other issues were 13dn “Roister” which I dnk, and 3dn “Die Hard” where I nearly biffed “Das Boot”.

    FOI – 4dn “Rot”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 1ac “Ponder” – plenty of sloop to muse in Windermere if Derwent isn’t your thing.

    Thanks as usual!

  41. 10:49 here, so a good day for me. COD to BRIDGE, which I pencilled in on my first pass with a “well, maybe”. It’s a lovely feeling when the crossers confirm that you have the right answer!

    Thanks to Wurm and rolytoly.

  42. A QC by Wurm normally fills me with dread, but I have to say that today’s was a joy. I started well with PONDER, AFFECTED and AREA in the NW corner and I managed to maintain a good pace whilst jumping around the grid ….. until the last few, of course.

    On the way through I really liked the wordplay for BRIDGE, SPACEMAN and (my favourite) A LA CARTE and I was hoping not to have engage in any enjoyment-sapping alphabet trawling at the end.

    My last five clues – OLD BAILEY, ITEM, PIEBALD, BANDAGE and SIENNA – took up 10 minutes and I crossed the line in a pleasing 28 minutes. SIENNA, my LOI, was my only NHO today.

    Many thanks to Wurm and Roly.

  43. Pretty tough….managed to avoid some traps and to see e.g. Ponder/Bridge/Offer/Birthday/Urgent/Stub, ‘tub’ again)/Sienna/Roister (credit to Flanders & Swan again) and others straight off, but took ages on Piebald/Bandage among others. Die Hard was pretty straightforward imho.
    FIO 1a Ponder
    LOI 15d Bandage (thought the device to drop the st was neat)
    COD 21a A La Carte

  44. A few went in quickly eg 1ac but we ha d problems with the rest. Das B00t also came to mind, but to no avail. Difficult for us.

  45. DNF. Defeated by BANDAGE and LIBIDO, and almost so by a few others too! By far the hardest of the week.

  46. 9:26 for what appears a relatively fast solve, given the comments. Had a pause on loi BANDAGE as I didn’t see band=circle so, whilst the answer had to be bandage, I struggled to parse. STEADFAST also took a while as I was trying to do an anagram of firm and dates – good cluing.


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